"Happy Birthday, Keith."

Story by Adele
Story Copyright 2002
A story based on the series, "Voltron, The Third Dimension"

The characters of Voltron are the property of World Event Productions.  All other characters are the copyright of Adele.  Please do not use them without asking for permission.  Thank you.


Chapter 14
Gem Missing?

Lance had spent most of the morning looking throughout the Castle for Gem, but there was no sign of her anywhere.  He checked the gardens, the fitness room, and her quarters.  He even checked some of the local towns and villages in Red Lion.

She was no where to be found.

Dismayed, Lance returned to the Castle.  As he came through the Red Lion shuttle tunnel, Pidge and Hunk were there to meet him.  Lance was obviously in a depressed state.

"Couldn't find her either, huh?" Pidge asked.

Lance shook his head. "I just don't get it!  How could she have just disappeared off the face of Arus?"

"Well, here's another piece of bad news for you." Pidge said. "Keith's sick."

"Sick?" Lance said, contorting his face at Pidge. "With what?  When?"

"With what...Allura said Dr. Gorma suspects the flu." Pidge answered. "As to when, I guess he woke up with it."

"Which would explain why he wasn't at breakfast." Hunk added.

Lance crossed his arms over this chest. "So I guess the party's off."

"Nope, the Princess said the party goes on." Hunk replied.

"How?  I thought the party was for Keith's birthday!  It would be kind of silly to have a party without the birthday boy...don't you think?" Lance said.

"The Princess said Dr. Gorma feels that Keith will be well enough by party time." Pidge advised. "So...the party's still on."

"And the Princess said Keith wouldn't let her cancel it, either." Hunk added, suddenly noticing Lance was paying no attention to what they were saying.

"Sure wish I knew where Gem was..." Lance mumbled, his mind wandering past his friend's condition, and on to the missing girl.

"She'll turn up," Pidge replied. "I wouldn't worry."

"What if Lotor kidnapped her?" Lance wondered nervously.

Pidge shook his head. "Not possible.  There's not a Doom ship within miles of Arus."

"Still...I just wish she'd left word with someone before going out." Lance said, scratching his head.

"Maybe she went to get Keith another present, or something like that!" Hunk suggested.

Lance shook his head. "I checked the stables.  All the horses are there.  I even checked a few locals around here.  No one's seen her." Lance responded. "I'm getting worried."

"You've got it bad for her!" Hunk teased. "Am I finally hearing wedding bells for Lance?"

Lance smirked. "You only wish!  Hey...I'm a confirmed bachelor!  And don't you forget it!"

"Yeah, yeah...same old song that many a single man has marched to... all the way down the church isle!" Hunk joked.

"Yeah, well here's one single guy that isn't going to get so wrapped up in a girl, that he's afraid to let her out of his sight!" Lance snorted. "Much like our adoring Commander, for our Princess!"

"But you're mooning over her, like Keith does when Allura takes off...with no word given where she's gone off to!" Pidge chuckled. "Sounds to me like you're no different then he is!"

"I'm not so sure Keith pines after Allura the way we think, guys." Hunk added. "Keith keeps to himself about his love interests.  I haven't seen him with a girlfriend in ages!"

"That's because he's got one here on Arus!" Lance smirked.

"Who's that?" Hunk said, dumbfounded.

"Allura, you idiot!" Lance yelled. "You must be blind, if you can't pick up on that!"

"Then I must be blind." Hunk huffed.  "He spends time with her, but he's never actually said the word, 'love'.   Has he?"

"The walks together in the gardens... the horseback rides together... picnics for two... Come on Hunk!  You can't see they're in love with each other?" Lance needled his friend.  "You don't need words to see that its written all over their faces!"

"Well, I guess it is a bit unusual." Hunk replied reluctantly.

"A bit unusual?" Pidge added. "How about even now!  Keith's sick as a dog, and she's spending her day taking care of him, rather than taking care of the party plans."

"I wonder if I should look around some more for Gem." Lance said, suddenly lost in thought again.

"We've got things here.  Go on...before you drive us nuts already!" Pidge said, shagging Lance back into the lion tunnel.

Dr. Gorma had just taken Keith's vitals.  A smile crossed his face, and he shared it with his Princess. "Our Commander has improved." Dr. Gorma said to Allura. "His fever has broken, and it looks like his breathing has stabilized."

"Thank heavens." Allura replied with a relieving sigh. "Should he even attend his party tonight?"

"Given his present condition, I don't think there's any reason why he couldn't go.  But really, it's up to him." Dr. Gorma replied.

"I feel fine, Doc." Keith replied, feeling much better after a long nap that lasted until two o'clock.

"My advice would be not to go." Dr. Gorma said. "But...knowing how stubborn you are, Commander, I can safely say that I'll see you at the party tonight."

Keith smiled. "I promise...only one dance tonight." he said, tongue and cheek.

The comment drew an objection from the Princess. "And just who are you going to share that dance with?" she said, giving him a daggered gaze in jest.

"Don't worry.  All of my dances are saved for a beautiful Princess!" He replied with a wink. "Besides, it would be terribly rude not to offer a dance to the woman who planned this big affair just for me!"

"Not to mention I'd never speak to you again if you didn't ask me to dance!" Allura snorted playfully, turning her head and sticking her nose in the air.

"If you two will excuse me, I'll take my leave." Gorma replied, as he gathered his things and left the room.

Allura leaned down over Keith and placed her cheek up against the skin of his forehead.  He smiled. "Don't trust the instruments, Allura?" he said with a chuckle.

"No...I trust my own instincts." She replied, suddenly leaning back up and looking up at him. "Well, I guess you're okay."

"What time should I call on you, Princess?" Keith said, suddenly jumping ahead of the conversation.

"I'll be ready at six o'clock," she said simply. "And I have a new gown to wear tonight... just for the occasion."

"I look forward to seeing you in it." Keith winked.

"I look forward to seeing you up and around again." she smiled sweetly as she rose to her feet "Now, I have a million things to attend to before tonight.  Are you sure you're going to be alright?"

"I'm sure...you go on. I'm fine." He said reassuringly."

Allura nodded slightly. "Alright. And you'll come for me at six?"

"On the dot!" Keith said firmly.

"And remember...if you don't feel well...you'll tell me, right?"  Allura asked. "You must promise you'll tell me."

"I'll let you know." He replied. "Now go on!  You've wasted enough of the day babysitting with me."

"I didn't mind...and it certainly wasn't a waste!" she scolded, mocking injury.  The door swooshed open and she exited, throwing him a wave of her hand as the door closed behind her.

Keith smiled... shaking his head fondly. 

He decided to get up and take a quick shower.  Carefully, he placed his feet out of the bed,
one after the other.  He carefully walked over to the dresser, testing his strength to see how he faired walking short distances.

He quickly pulled off his shirt, revealing the golden chain that Gem had given him as a present.  He reached his hands up and removed it from around his neck, laying it on the dresser before him.  He didn't want to damage it somehow while showering.

Slowly walking to the bathroom, he grabbed a towel off of the shelf and headed for the shower.

A small fly buzzed around Keith's room...happy to see that perhaps the effect of the Albacorn Root had passed her friend by.

She could rest easy now...
So she thought.