"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 23
Misinterpreted Facts

The accommodations that Lotor had provided were comfortable...but dreary.

The room's décor was black...everything black.  Lotor said his favorite color was black, matching his black heart.

Thanks to Hagar's magic, the wormhole sufficiently lost the fool pilots of Yellow and Blue Lions.  And now, they were in the Crimson Quadrant, traveling faster then light speed.

Princess Allura observed her surroundings in her chambers of the flying Castle Fortress of Doom. 

This was her new home now...of her own choice...her own free will.

And yet, she couldn't help but let her thoughts drift toward a certain Black Lion pilot, and wondered if he even survived, and if Lotor was true to his word regarding the Parma bark he claimed to have possessed.  She may never know now.  Allura could only trust that Lotor had kept his word regarding the bark.

And if he hadn't, Keith would be deadand her sacrifice would have been in vain.

But she wanted to believe otherwise.  Her heart kept repeating it over and over and over again... like a drum's repeating beat.

He's alive...
Keith's alive...
He must be alive...

Allura sighed...desperately trying to believe what her heart told her. 

If only she could.

Now, her life meant nothing more then endless slavery...to a master she wanted nothing more then to run as far away from as she could.   This was not the dream she had for herself, but it was the only choice she could make.

With Keith's life on the line, she had no other choice...

Then, there was the guilt of letting her people down.  Her father would not have approved of her decision to abandon Arus for the sake of one man.  But she simply couldn't live life knowing that she could have saved Keith...and didn't.  He had done so for her many times
over.  Allura felt it was the right choice.

She sighed sadly again as she walked slowly through the solemn room that had been designated as hers.  Her thoughts wondering still daydreaming what might have been...

What might have been...

A wedding so perfect...

The groom more handsome then any prince alive...

Allura slowly made her way down
the isle on the arm of her handsome
Prince Consort. She turned and smiled
at him...together at last.

Keith turned his head and met
her gaze with a tender smile...

As they both approached the crowds
of adorning subjects, each bowing
as they passed by, Allura found a
smile of her own, and couldn't keep
it from lighting up her face.

"Oh, Keith..." Allura sighed contently. "I'm so happy!"

"I am too, Allura," he returned the smile with one of his own. "I've never been more happy in my entire life!"

"And I as well," Allura returned.

Together, the happy royal couple passed by the members of the brave
Voltron Force.

First, they passed Lance Andrews, who had been promoted to Voltron
Leader, the position vacated by Keith when he became Allura's
intended. Next were Hunk Simon and Pidge Villatoro. All bowed
respectfully to the Princess and the new Prince of Planet Arus...

Even Nanny had found the strength
to return for such a joyous event.
She stood next to Coran, Allura's advisor.
Both of them beaming with a pride
as deep as any parents could have for their child.
It  mattered not that Allura was not truly their child.
They had raised her from birth... and continued
her training after King Alfor's untimely demise.
To them...she was their daughter, and she was
marrying on this day, at last.

Keith and Allura slowly approached the awaiting royal carriage, which would take them on a tour of the countryside, for the people that were unable to attend the wedding of the century. Keith stood by the side of the carriage, grabbing the bottom of the seemingly endless ruffles
of Allura's white taffeta wedding gown. He offered his bride his waiting hand, and she accepted it gladly.

Allura stepped up confidently into the open-top carriage, grabbing more of her gown behind her, and attempting to seat herself on the cushion.

Keith stepped up behind her, grabbing more of her dress, content with the fact that he most likely would have to have some of it around his legs for the ride.

He looked at herand her gaze met his once again...
And they smiled deeply at each other...
Their love beaming brightly for all to see...

Keith took his place next to his beloved Princess...and now, beloved wife. He truly could not have been happier.

Together, Prince Keith and Princess Allura waved to the tremendous crowd of subjects that had gather to witness the grandiose event.  The driver signaled his two horses to proceed forward with a hardy, 'Giddy-up!'

The Prince and Princess continued to wave to the people as they rode off slowly.

The people were happy...
Their Princess at last was happy...
The new Prince was handsome and protective...

Keith leaned into Allura and kissed her tenderly on the lips...
A gentle sigh escaped her as their lips met...
They rode off into the sunshinewishing that this day might never end...

Allura suddenly returned to reality...and found that her daydream was only a cruel ruse in her mind.  What might have been certainly will never be now. For her prince was not handsome at all, and was certainly not gentle by any means.  He was the terror of the galaxy, and she was doomed to spend her life at his side.

Tears began to appear in her eyes, as she reached into the pocket of her jumpsuit, removing a single picture that she managed to take with her from her chambers back on Arus.  As she looked at it, she didn't know whether to laugh or cry at the sight.

There was Keith...he was holding Lance in one of his famous, 'So... you think you're so smart?' holds; his arms around the troublesome pilot's head.  Behind them were Pidge and herself...laughing hysterically at the sight.

The picture was taken by Hunk.

She stared at the picture, a small smile coming to her face, as she allowed herself to recall the memory of that day.  But, as quickly as the smile came, it disappeared, as she realized once again, that her present life would never allow her the luxury of those happy moments.

Lotor was certain to never let her out of his sight.

Allura found a chair to sit down in...and as she continued to look at the picture that held the captured memory of the brave and handsome Voltron Commander performing the mock-chokehold maneuver, the tears that were forming in her eyes, began to fall as rain. 

The sharp reality finally hit her...

She would never see any of her friends again.

"Oh Keith," she sighed his name tenderly across her lips. "If only I had told you before any of this happened.  If only...you knew how I truly felt about you."

She clutched the picture memory close to her chest, coddling it like a child holding her doll, and then tucking her chin to her chest as well...

Yesterday, she was entertaining a ball for her brave champion's birthday.

Today...she was wishing with all of her heart that she could have been at his side when he awoke...if he awoke...if Lotor hadn't double-crossed her.

Allura heaved as the tears fell more rapidly then before, her body racking with mental torment that would seem to be hers for as long as she lived.

"Keith..." she whispered, her voice thick with tears. "Oh Keith..."

She continued to utter his name, rocking her body back and forth as she sat in the chair.  A buzz at the door stopped her movements, and she froze with overwhelming fear for who could be awaiting on the other side.

The door swished open, revealing Witch Hagar.  She hovered into the room and up to the grieving Princess.

Hagar sneered. "What's the matter, pretty Princess?
Not happy with your accommodations?"

Allura remained silent, choosing instead
to keep her head and gaze
low to the ground.

Hagar saw that Allura was
trying to avoid her, but it meant
nothing to her. "I come with a message,
Princess Allura. You will be wed to
Prince Lotor by tomorrow...becoming
the new Princess of Doom.
You are to be prepared for this."

Allura effortlessly protested. "I will not marry him. And you can tell him that."

"Now remember, Princess" Hagar hissed. "You are here because you have chosen so.  The price to be paid for the cure of the Voltron Commander."

"A price that never should have
been placed on the bark that was
abundantly available...until your Prince...
if you can even call him that...
destroyed the Parma trees without even
a thought of the consequences!"
Allura spat out bitterly.

"Nevertheless, you did agree to be
Lotor's bride in exchange for the
only remaining bark, did you not?" Hagar reminded.

"I had no choice, if you recall," Allura replied.

"You have chosen, and your wishes were honored!" Hagar said angrily.  "Your Commander received his cure! You shouldn't be so quick to be ungrateful."

Allura suddenly looked up with anger. "And how do I even know that he's alive?"

Hagar smiled a sinister grin.
Bringing her magic globe before them
both, she answered the Princess's question.
"Here, let me show you"
Hagar said as she waved the globe around,
suddenly producing a fuzz
image inside of it.

"Look closely, and you shall see him for yourself"

Allura cautiously leaned toward the globe, focusing in on the image that was trying to come into clearly.  As she stared intently, she started to see the image come clearly into view. She gasped aloud, clutching at her heart and the picture of her friends still tightly against her chest.

The image was that of Keith...

He was walking quickly through one of the Castle hallways.  There was no sound, so she couldn't tell where in the Castle he was headed.

As the image widened, she also saw the image of Gem...walking along side of him.

They appeared to be talking as they walked.  The image was too fuzzy, and Allura couldn't make out what they were saying.  Suddenly, Keith halted his pace, and appeared to turn toward Gem.  He quickly grabbed her hands in hisand appeared to be speaking to her in a gentle manner.

Hagar smiled wickedly. "You see, Princess.  He is quite alive, and quite well.  But it would seem that he has forgotten all about you already, and has found another to fill his heart's desire!"

"No!" Allura said sharply.

"What do you see, Princess?' Hagar spat back. "You see them holding hands, exchanging gentle conversation...and..."

Suddenly, Gem reached up and locked her arms around his neck, planting a gentle kiss on his cheek.  He appeared to be wrapping his arms around her as well...

Then...the image vanished, returning the globe back to its original green hue.  Allura gasped once again, begging for the image to return.

Hagar declined, "Why?  So you can see the painful truth once again?  Commander Keith has always been too military minded to even notice you were alive.  Why...he's even holding her...barely missing you at all, it would seem."

Allura shook her head angrily. "NO!" she shouted. "I WON'T BELIEVE IT!"

"Believe it, Princess.  Your friends have abandoned you.  You have nothing left...except the love of the prince who worships the ground you walk on.  You must not keep him waiting, Allura.  Lotor will take care of you, and treat you as a princess should be treated.  Not in
the manner that Commander Keith treats you.  Why, he's not even looking for you.  Don't you think that if he were really interested in looking for you, that he would be doing so now, rather then spending his time cuddling with Gem?"

"He...he wasn't cuddling her..." Allura stammered. "I'm sure of it..."

"Are you so sure, Princess?   It looked like cuddling to me, my dear." Hagar replied. "I'll leave you to think it over for a few hours.  After dinner, we'll discuss it further.  Lotor will be busy this evening, so he asks that you forgive him if he does not join you for dinner."

Allura nodded her head slowly.

"Good." Hagar replied, turning to hover toward the door. "Then I'll leave you to ponder what you have seen."

The door swooshed closed as Hagar exited the room.  The image of the globe left a burning imprint in her mind.  Allura looked at the picture she had been holding.

"I can't believe it," she said out loud as she shook her head, trying to free her mind of the thought she had been thinking. "Keith would never abandon me...he promised he would search to the ends of the universe for me, if...if..."

She tucked her head back to her chest, once again coddling the picture.  She just couldn't believe it.  Hagar must have manipulated the image somehow. 

Yes...that had to be it!

And yet...her mind began to replay the image once again, and her mind could not help but question her heart once again as to why Keith indeed, was wasting time talking, rather then searching the galaxy for her.

"There must be a reason..." she whispered silently. "He would never...give up on me."

The sad Princess resumed her rocking motion once again, and the tears once again flowed like rain down her satin-skin cheeks.

At the Castle of Lions, the image of Keith and Gem that Allura had seen in Hagar's globe was playing itself out back on Arus...with Keith returning Gem's affectionate hug.  The words they were speaking were not of love...but of apology.

Gem was still remorseful over her part in the whole incident.  Keith turned and stopped them both in their progression to the control room.  He did reach down and take her hands, as the image had suggested.  But the words were not what Hagar had suggested them to be.

"Gem...please now.  I've forgiven you.  And I'm sure Allura has too.   But I must go and look for her!   If you truly know how much I care for her, then you know I must go." Keith said, holding her hands with his.

"I understand..." Gem replied, reaching up and wrapping her arms around his neck, and placing a gentle kiss on his cheek. "Go and find your princess.  And when you do, cherish her near to your heart."

Keith reached his arms around her, returning her hugging gesture. "Thank you, Gem.  Don't worry...I'll bring her back."

"Be safe, Keith." Gem said with a whisper in his ear.

"I will." He replied.

Swiftly, he broke off his embrace with her, and sprinted down the hallway to the control room, to join the rest of his team in the search for Princess Allura.

Gem returned to her room, realizing that all of this was most likely her fault.

She suddenly wished she were dead.