"Forever...United."

A story based on, "Voltron, The Third Dimension"
Copyright 2004
By Adele Previte

"Voltron" and its characters are a trademark and copyright of World Event Productions.
All other characters are copyrighted by me and can be used with my permission.

Thanks! 

Enjoy!


Chapter 26
"I'll Be Smiling For You, Tomorrow."


Eleven-forty six at night. . . . it had finally come at last.

The Castle Control Room was deathly silent as all awaited the arrival of Commander Keith, escorted by Princess Allura.  Hunk, in a hover chair, on release from the infirmary, was sitting with his head hanging low.  Young Pidge was to his left.   Coran stood silently, witnessing the unthinkable.

The royal advisor had just received word from Pollux that Lance and Sven were on their way back to Arus.  Coran began to regret not having called either of them to let them know what was happening.  Surely, Lance and Sven would have wanted to say their farewells to Keith as well.

Things had gone on so quick.  Coran barely had time to process them in his mind and heart.  How can this be happening?

Pidge looked at his wristwatch and sighed. "It's . . . it's almost time." he said with a note of sadness in his voice.

Hunk shook his head slowly; the big guy overrun by emotions. He still couldn't believe what was about to happen. Keith…going away...no...being stolen away...from all of those whom
loved and cared for him.

And what of the Princess?

Her heart had to be shattered, nearly as much if not more than his own.  The relationship between the Princess and Keith had just barely begun to blossom, and now, it was about to end.

Hunk's mind had been reliving memories of his friendship with Keith and although he was a, 'by-the-book' kind of guy, which sometimes rubbed Hunk the wrong way, he had to admit that in the end, it was the right thing to do.

"I can't believe this," he muttered out loud. "What does this lady want with Keith?"

Pidge shrugged his shoulders. "Who knows.  Keith thinks it's a trap set by Lotor and this woman is baiting him into it."

"Lotor!  That miserable son of a - he's the reason for all of this!" Hunk seethed. "Why can't he just leave us alone and leave Allura alone too?"

But before Pidge could think of anything else to say in reply, the door to the Control Room slid open, gathering everyone's attention.  There at the top of the staircase were Keith and Allura.  he Keith had bag of his personal belongings flung over his left shoulder.  On his right side, the sad Princess of Arus clung to him, as if she were hanging on for dear life, itself.

Indeed...she was.

Slowly, the two lone figures began to descend the staircase to the floor of the Control Room.  Step by pain-staking step, Allura led Keith down to where the others were waiting.

Keith felt as if he were being led to the executioner.  Somehow, he wished he had been.   At least dead...the pain would stop.   Having to leave his friends, those he had grown to love and respect. . . . dare he say grown to call, 'family', was the hardest thing he had ever had to do in his life.

His eyes roamed back and forth, trying to print a lasting image in his mind of the things he had once taken for granted . . . things he considered being, 'normal routine'. Things that would now become his most cherished memories.

Tears flowed from Hunk's eyes as he watched helplessly as Keith and Allura took each painful step toward the floor.

This was it.  This was good bye.

Coran made his way past Hunk and Pidge to meet the Princess and the Commander at the bottom of the stairs.

As their feet met with the ground, Keith dropped his bag from his shoulder and reached his hand out to shake Coran's hand.

Keith smiled. "You've been a good friend, Coran...and a great person to work with."

"As have you been, Commander." Coran said, trying to stiffen himself up on the outside, while the inside was dying. "I had recently said this…only a week's time ago.  But I shall say it once again. You have…and will always remain...Arus's greatest Lion Knight. We shall never forget you...nor your sacrifice to the Crown."

Keith bowed his head slightly, in reverence to Coran and his position as Allura's trusted advisor. As he rose his head up...he smiled at the older man...

"I'll miss you too, Coran."
Keith replied back.
"Make sure you . . . you tell
Lance and Sven…"

"I will make all the necessary
arrangements." Coran replied back,
quickly. "Go in peace, Keith."

Keith nodded his head...then, released Allura's arm as he walked passed Coran and to his two dear friends, waiting just behind him.

Hunk rose to his feet...the large figure sobbing, as he wrapped his arms around his friend. "I swear, Keith, I won't rest until I've figured out a way to bring you home again."

"Take care of Allura," Keith replied back to him.  "That's the most important thing you can do for me now."

Hunk suddenly hugged Keith tighter. "You find a way back to us and ake care of yourself, buddy."

"I'll try," Keith replied back, near to tears, himself.

They released each other and Keith quickly turned toward Pidge.

Pidge immediately rushed to the Black Lion Knight.  "You've been like a big brother to me, Keith," Pidge said softly. "Its...its hard to say goodbye...again."

"I know," Keith said in return, hugging Pidge. "What I told Hunk applies to you too."

"I'll watch out for her, Skipper," Pidge replied back, now looking up at Keith. "I promise."

Keith nodded.  "Make sure Lance and Sven know how much I appreciate them both...and make sure you tell Lance I left with no hard feelings."

"I'll make sure, Keith," Pidge wept. "I will."

The Voltron Commander nodded his head once again and then, looked at his watch.  He sighed softly.   It was now eleven-fifty five.

Allura approached him from behind and he needed only the touch of her hand to give him the strength to go forward.  He turned and saw her, standing behind him . . . his bag in her hand.

"I'll be smiling for you tomorrow," Allura stated bravely, painting on a smile through the tears.

"I will, too," Keith managed to utter.  "And everyday after that.  You will always have my heart.  Nothing and no one will ever take that away from you."

"And you will always have mine too, Beloved," the Princess nodded. 

Impulsively, he took her in his arms once again, holding her tightly against him.  She dropped the bag to the floor and wrapped her arms around him, holding on to him closely.

"Don't give up," he whispered into her ear.

"I won't," she replied tearfully. "I promise. I won't."

Wishing that he could hold her forever...but knowing that was now impossible...he forced himself to part from her.  He glanced at his watch once again . . .

Eleven-fifty seven . . .

He rose his head up and wiping the tears from his eyes and cheeks, Keith lifted his voice up to the ceiling.  "AUDRA! CAN YOU HEAR ME?"

Silence embellished the room as the sound of Keith's booming voice echoed.  For a moment, Keith began to entertain the thought that maybe this was all some sort of test of loyalty . . . that perhaps, Audra wouldn't show up at all or better still, come and tell him that he had passed her test and could stay on Arus.

That's how it works in fairy tales.

Suddenly, a lime hue began to light up the room and the thought   Keith had momentarily entertained had vanished, instantly.

The room began to fill with a green colored mist and seconds later, Audra appeared before them all.  Only Allura and Keith recognized her presence from their past encounters.

Allura instantly stepped forward.  "I beg of you, Audra!  Don't do this!  Don't take him away from us."

"From you, don't you mean?" Audra said, now standing in the distance.

"Yes, from me," she replied back in a smaller voice.  "Either way, I beg you, don't take him from those who love him and whom he loves!"

:Silly simpering creature," the enchantress mocked the Princess.  Ignoring the Princess, Audra smiled, then, called to the Voltron Commander. "Have you made a decision?"

Keith paused for a moment and then, forced the words from his mouth.  "Yes. I've decided to go with you."

"A wise decision and a healthy one for the Princess of Arus," Audra responded back, coolly. "And now, take your place next to me, Keith Hunter, and let us be on our way."

Keith nodded and then, turned to look at his friends.  He smiled briefly before reaching down and taking hold of his bag from the Princess' hands.  Keith came to attention before his military comrades and snapped a crisp salute to them.  Respectfully, Hunk and Pidge offered up
military farewells to their soon-to-be former commanding officer.

Keith returned to them a crisp, military salute of his own...with tears rolling down his cheeks. He turned his head and nodded to Coran…who now was holding Princess Allura by the shoulders.

Allura's eyes were pleading to Keith's. And he knew exactly what they were saying...

Never give up.

He nodded with understanding.

"I'm waiting, human!" Audra suddenly bellowed, impatiently.

Keith turned his head and looked at her. "I'm coming," he returned angrily.

Pidge and Hunk walked up to stand behind Allura and Coran.   Keith nodded once more to his friends and then, turned and walked over to where Audra had been standing.   Falling in just behind her, Keith turned and with tears in his eyes, he looked at his friends once again.

He then balled his fist up and rose it above his head...crying...

"ARUS FOREVER!" he shouted triumphantly. "LONG LIVE, PRINCESS ALLURA
DEVILLE! LONG LIVE VOLTRON!"














Allura immediately burst into tears, no longer able to control herself. She took one step forward... her eyes, pleading . . . begging . . .

Keith brought his arm down once again and shouted, "GO VOLTRON FORCE!"

Audra was amused and smiled smugly with confidence in herself and in their inability to stop her. She then rose her hands above her head and with a spoken word, the green mist began to surround her and Keith.

His eyes fixated on Allura's . . . never parting from hers.

"I'll be smiling for you tomorrow!" she cried out to him.

"Remember Princess, we are forever united," he told her in parting.  "Remember that - Forever united."

"Forever . . . united . . ." she repeated sorrowfully.

The green mist overtook Keith and Audra and soon, their images began to fade.

Allura immediately darted out toward them both, screaming.   "NO!  TAKE ME WITH YOU!   DON'T LEAVE ME, PLEASE!"

Keith closed his eyes and turned his head away from her.  He couldn't bear to see her cry.

Hunk and Coran quickly grabbed the Princess from either side, while Pidge ran in front of her. She twisted in their grip, pleading  with them to release her.  "KEITH!  KEIth, COME BACK!"

"I LOVE YOU, PRINCESS!  NEVER GIVE UP!  FOREVER UNITED" his voice echoed as he
and Audra faded from sight.

"NO!" Allura shrieked as she crumbled to the ground in utter anguish. "No . . . no . . . "

Hunk and Pidge knelt down to her side, trying to comfort her and themselves as well.

"I shouldn't have let him go!" she screamed, at first in anger, then, in sorrow.  "I shouldn't have let him go!"

"It'll be all right, Princess," Hunk tried to console her. 

"We're here, Allura," Pidge added.

As the two Voltron Force members tried desperately to offer what little comfort they could impart to the grief-stricken princess, her royal advisor stood straight and tall, glaring toward the area from which the now, former Commander of the Voltron Force had disappeared from.  As the sound of Allura's sorrow filled his ears, Coran suddenly took in a deep breath of air...and held it.

His mind was racing...and he began to think upon one single, troubling thought...and now, questioning his own judgment...and perhaps...the archives themselves…

They spoke of a man, a stranger from a strange land...coming to Arus in its time of need. A man, who would help to resurrect the tradition of the Lion Knights of Voltron...and once again, bring Arus out of the near disaster that it once had found itself in. This man... was to be the greatest Lion Knight that Arus had ever known... and who would one day, rule as the new sovereign King, beside the natural born Queen of Arus...

The prophecy...foretold hundreds of years before Coran's time…... spoke clearly of such a man…

"I have always thought Keith to be the one that the prophecy foretold of.  The one who would become the greatest Lion Knight that Arus has ever known.  The one who would become sovereign ruler of Arus and protector of her freedom.  I have always believed it to be Keith. I n
my heart... I knew it to be so.   But...how can only half of the prophecy come to pass?  If he is now gone from among us...apparently, for all time to come, how can he become the sovereign? In the name of King Alfor... tell me...how?"

He turned his head...

The natural born Queen of Arus...

Allura...

Coran knew that Allura would have no other as her king.  And if the prophecy were left unfulfilled, there would be no heirs to the throne.

And what was to become of Arus now?

"Perhaps...he was not the one after all." Coran thought quietly. "Perhaps...perhaps, there is yet another to come. Perhaps...this is Arus's most desperate hour...and perhaps...the sovereign shall yet appear to us."

Hunk and Pidge had helped the Princess from off of the floor. Coran listened, as he heard her repeating his name…as if saying a prayer...

Keith... Keith... Keith...

"How indeed, can a prophecy be left, unfulfilled?" Coran thought once again.

He turned to help Pidge and Hunk escort the royal Princess to her chambers for some much-needed rest. He will contact Dr. Gorma to administer something to her to induce sleep... perhaps...with a fresh perspective on things, she will function more rationally...

Perhaps...not.

Coran only knew one thing... Alfor's spirit was gone...and now Keith was too. And if the sovereign is yet to come... but no...

"It must be Keith!" Coran's mind repeated. "He is the greatest Lion Knight! He helped to resurrect Voltron! His devotion to the Princess far surpasses any other suitor she has ever had in the past! He MUST be the one! But...what will become of us now...now that the sovereign has been stolen from us!"

As Allura continued to weep bitterly, Coran held her up from behind, as Hunk and Pidge led the way out of the Control Room.

Coran's mind paused one final time, as he thought sadly... "What will become of Keith? Will he ever return to us…or is this truly, the last we shall ever hear of him, as well?"



And somewhere in the universe, a lonely man sits . . .wondering the very same thing for himself.


END OF BOOK TWO