"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 24
A Dream... or a Premonition?

Sven had rejoined his former teammates back in the Control Room.  He and Hunk had returned in their lions from the unsuccessful search for the missing Princess of Arus.  Their spirits were solemn since seeing Allura sacrifice herself to Lotor.

Sven especially was disturb about the incident, as he recalled having to contact Romelle on the ultra wave, informing her of her cousin's disappearance.

Romelle cried...and Sven was heartbroken for his Princess love as she cried alone on Pollux, without even the comfort of his arms to hold her.

It was a disappointing day...

Not to mention that he now had to face his friend, Keith, for the first time since Allura's disappearance.  He had to face Keith for not fulfilling his promise, to keep Allura safe in Keith's absence.   Sven felt a deep sense of failure, and somehow could sense the sorrow of
all of Planet Arus...having been suddenly stripped of her ruler.

As he entered the control room, Sven froze as he saw everyone there...

Pidge, Lance, Coran, Hunk...

...and Keith.

Sven took a loud inhale of breath that drew glances from everyone in the room...accept for the Voltron Commander. 

Keith's lack of concern for his presence in the room, only served to heighten Sven's
apprehension about entering in.

Keith was seated at the control console, his fingers dancing rapidly over the keyboard that was in front of him.  He hadn't yet acknowledged Sven's presence.  His mind was instead consumed with the task of finding an ion trail of some sort that would lead to discovery of Allura's whereabouts.

Sven cleared his throat loudly as he tried to gather the Voltron Commander's attention.

"Might as well git dis over wit..." Sven thought anxiously, as he sighed aloud.

Upon hearing the sorrow sigh, Keith quickly turned around and saw Sven standing rather downcast in spirit over by the door...his head was low as a knight returning from battle in defeat.

Keith rose to his feet and walked over to his former second in command.

As he came to a halt directly in front of Sven, both men facing each other, one man's head down, and the stern Commander looking straight on... it was the stern Commander who had finally made the first move.

"I wasn't your fault,"
Keith said comfortingly as
he gently placed a hand on his
defeated friend's shoulder.
"You did what you could. 
And I appreciate what you did."

Sven only shook his head.
"But...I let you down, Keit. She's gone"

"Sven, Allura has a will of iron sometimes. 
Even if I was the one who was there instead
of you, I doubt very much that I could have stopped
her.   She's stubborn, and devoted, and you know
as well as I, that once she gets an idea into her head,
she'll carry it out...and damn the consequences
to herself.  She wasn't thinking of herself...
and I admire her for her selfless spirit.  But you can't let her disappearance destroy you like this. You have to realize that if you or I, or any of us were there...none of us could have stopped her." Keith replied. "Allura would still be gone."

Sven looked up...meeting the gaze of the man he was suddenly proud to call...friend.

Keith smiled. "I need you now, my friend.  I have an idea, but I can't do it without all five lions.  I need you, Sven.  Will you help me find her?"

The tears of both joy and relief broke out from Norwegian man's eyes, touched to the heart by the compassion being shown...and the love for the Princess of Arus that was evident in Keith's eyes...

He recalled what Romelle had once said to him on Pollux...

"The eyes are the gateway to the heart.
What is in the heart...is in the eyes."

Sven reached for Keith's hand and shook it, while wiping the tears from his eyes with the other hand, nodding rapidly to his friend. "Yes... I will stay and help you."

A wide smile broke over Keith's face. "Thank you." Keith simply replied.

Keith turned and walked back to his awaiting team, Sven walking close...behind. He faced his subordinates with determination in his eyes that equaled theirs.

"I have to share something with all of you," Keith began. "Remember the story I told all of you...when I had traveled back into time to save the Princess...and Lance followed a short time later?  Do you remember when I was hurt in Blue Lion, and had to be hospitalized for my injuries?"

"Yeah, you almost died, chief!" Hunk huffed.

"Well, I had a very strange dream while I was recovering." Keith said. "I dreamt that Allura was somehow captured and stolen away from Arus.  I dreamt that Blue Lion led us right to where she was being held captive.  Now I know this is going to sound crazy, but just here me out..."

Everyone's attention was on Keith as he continued.

"I realize that it was just a dream.  But the point that I'm trying to make is this...  The lions are in tune with Allura's spirit.  I think they can show us where she is!"

Pidge stepped forward. "But Keith...how can a machine take on the characteristics of life?"

"I don't pretend to understand it, Pidge," Keith replied. "All I'm saying is that I think that maybe my dream was meant to serve some purpose.  Who knows...maybe it was a premonition of some kind."

"A premonition?" Lance scoffed. "I think it's some of that Albacorn Root poison still floating around in your brain!  Do you really expect the Blue Lion to act like a hound dog?"

"I know it sounds crazy, Lance!" Keith replied. "But I really believe that Blue Lion can do it! Allura is attuned to Blue Lion, like you are with Red Lion, Pidge with Green Lion, Hunk with Yellow Lion, and me with Black Lion.  I'm telling you...I really believe it will work!"

"And I'm telling you that you're crazy!" Lance shouted objectionably.  "You can't really expect a piece of machinery to act like a homing pigeon!  We need a better plan then that if we're going to find her!"

Hunk jumped in to defend Keith. "Now wait a second, Lance," Hunk said defensively. "The Princess has always said that the robot lions are much more then machines.  They represent the five spirits of the five living lions from long ago in Arus's history.  I think Keith's on to
something.  It could work..."

"Not you too!" Lance huffed angrily at Hunk.
"You guys are wasting time daydreaming
up fantasies, while Allura remains in danger
the longer she's with Lotor!  And now you
two expect me to believe... that... Blue Lion
is smarter then its computer chips!  Get real!"

Coran rubbed his noble chin thoughtfully.
"Ah yes...I see now," he murmured just loud enough for everyone to hear him. "The Blue Lion can indeed lead you to the Princess.  He will know where she is..."

Lance turned to the stately advisor, throwing him a careful glance before speaking. "Coran... you can't seriously believe..."

"That...plus her unique connection with him as well.
Blue Lion can lead you, I am sure of it!"
Coran replied, affirmed of his convictions.

"Then why are we just standing here!" Pidge shouted.

"Right!  Let's go git da Princess!" Sven agreed.

Lance stared at his companions before uttering another word. "I... I don't know.  What if the big cat just hangs in space and does nothing?"

"Then...what have we lost?" Sven replied. "We tink up anudder plan!"

"What do we have to lose at this point?" Hunk added.

Lance glared at his friends before finally dropping his head and shaking it defeatedly. "Okay, okay...let's test out this theory and see what happens...I guess."

"Okay...to the lion ships!" Keith shouted.

"GO!" everyone shouted in agreement.

Coran rose the floor of the command center, revealing the hidden tunnels beneath it.  As the team turned to run for their tunnel to their lion ship, Coran hastily restrained Keith by grabbing his arm.

"A moment of your time, Commander," he said.

Keith anxiously turned to Allura's advisor, throwing him a questionable glare. Coran smiled as he spoke.

"Commander Keith...the Princess has a keen sense of mental energy.  Her energy directs itself not only to Blue Lion...but to you as well.  I can
sense it even now."

"Mental energy?" Keith questioned.
"I don't understand, Coran."

"You and her...I can sense a special
connection between the two of you.
Let your heart speak words of
encouragement to her...
wherever she may be." Coran replied.

"But...but how can I encourage her, when she can't hear me?" Keith asked, an expression of confusion crept onto his face.

"Your heart, Commander," Coran replied, as he gently reaching out his hand and placing it over Keith heart. "You must speak to her from here.  She will in turn, hear you, and reply in a like fashion.  She will hear your heart, and you will hear hers.  You have been drawn back here, Commander, by your heart's cry."

"Gee, I thought it was Galaxy Garrison's idea," Keith replied, half-sarcastic. "No offense, Coran, but I don't have time for this mumbo-jumbo."

"Commander, I am telling you the truth.   When you left here, Allura was crushed, as if part of her had left with you.  And I dare to say that if you search your feelings, you find the same was true with you.   When you returned to our world, Allura's spirit brightened, and the Castle took on a new brightness along with her.  And by your own words, you did say that you were happy to return to her service."

"Yeah, but... returning to her service and being one in spirit with her are two different things, Coran!" Keith replied.

"Not if you are keenly aware of what is going on, Commander." Coran replied. "You must bring her home.  Her destiny is here on Arus...as is yours, I feel."

Now Keith was really confused. "Do you mean to tell me..." he started to say.

Coran finished his thought. "That your destiny lies with hers?  Yes... that is exactly what I am saying.  Our good King Alfor once told me that he envisioned that the young man that was destined to be Allura's intended... would not be a prince or noble.  He would be someone who would care for her...body and soul.  Although you are not ready to admit your true feelings for her, I had sensed you were the one that King Alfor spoke of, since the first time I met you those many years ago in the hallway of the old Castle of Lions.  I knew it then, and your actions toward her have done nothing but confirm it for me."

"How?" Keith asked.

"Because Keith, you are noble in spirit... and your spirit intertwines with hers.  Even now, if you listen carefully, you can hear her heart crying out to you over the light-years...begging you to find her...to rescue her."

A muscle in Keith's face twitched as he listened to Coran continue. "You do love her.  I can see that.  But I can also see that you are afraid, Keith.  Overcome your fears, for your sake, and hers."

"I can't love her, Coran!" Keith shouted, suddenly throwing his arms in the air and walking a few steps away from him. "It's not my place to love her!  You know that!  I'm her commanding officer..."

"And you were in love with her when you met her...long before she was under your command." Coran added calmly.

"Yes, but I can't have these feelings for her!" Keith insisted. "It's not right! I'm a pilot from Earth!  She's the Princess of Arus!  I'm not worthy..."

"You are as worthy as any nobleman, perhaps even more so," Coran interjected calmly. "Your intentions for her are from a pure heart.  No one has ever loved her more deeply then I suspect that you do.  She must be found, Keith.  She must return to Arus."

Keith blinked what seemed to be one hundred times in just a few seconds.  He suddenly felt a flurry of emotions but none more predominant then fear and excitement.  He wanted Allura... more then anything.  But he feared her...having never been intimately involved with any woman in his entire life.

What Coran was saying made sense...and was even agreeable to him.  He did love her... deeply.

But Keith was afraid...

"I have to go." Keith said quietly, turning to leave. "I...uh...we...will find her."

Coran nodded, deciding to say nothing
more at this time. "Good hunting, Commander."

"Thanks..." Keith replied cautiously,
turning and running toward the
tunnel chute to join his team in the air.

As Keith reached the Black Lion
cockpit and activated his lion with
the key, he suddenly took notice of the Blue Lion, hovering above his position on the Lion Monument with the other robot lions.  He sighed, taking a moment to open himself to what Coran had said.

Could she really hear him this far away?  He decided to allow his heart to test it out.  Keith cleared his mind with a slow inhale and exhale of air, and began to concentrate on the vision of loveliness his mind had grown so familiar with producing to him at night when he closed his eyes. The blue-eyed, blonde-haired Princess that had captured his heart...

"Allura...Allura, if...
if you can hear me... don't be frightened.
I know you're afraid.  We're going to
find you...somehow.  If you can hear me,
Allura, open your heart to us.
Show Blue Lion where you
are.  Help us, Allura help us find you.
Help..help me... to find you."

Across the thousands of miles of space, Allura lay in the bed of her assigned chambers on the flying Doom Fortress.  She sighed sadly, trying to resign herself to her fate.  The tears had long since dried up, leaving her drained.

As she lay on her side, eyes closed, her mind began to drift, and conjuring a vision of Keith... dressed in his military best... kneeling in front of her, holding something in his hand...

As his hand opened to her, her mind saw a diamond ring that he carefully placed on her left finger.

She opened her eyes quickly, as if startled by the vision in her mind.  She sat up quickly in her bed, gathering her thoughts together; wondering why her mind would betray her like this with such a painful thought.  It was never going to happen now.

Lotor had her, and there was no escaping him.  And no way to let the others know where she was.

Then...she thought her mind hear something.
A voice...a small repeating voice.

Allura recognized it...

"Keith?" she uttered his name
in a whisper of a voice.  She then
heard it again.  Closing her eyes
once again, she began to concentrate
on the sound. It was then that she
heard him clearly...

"Allura...Allura if... if you can hear me... don't be frightened.  I know you're afraid.  We're going to find you... somehow.  If you can hear me, Allura, open your heart to us.  Show Blue Lion where you are. Help us, Allura help us find you. Help...help me... to find you."

It was Keith!

She smiled suddenly, her heart
rekindled with the joy of knowing at
last beyond a shadow of doubt that
he was alive and well. His heart was
reaching across the miles to hers.
She concentrated on her response...

Keith opened his eyes after sending out the message to Allura, not really sure if she could even hear him at all, but trusting that somehow, she did. He was about to open the COM to the rest of the team, when suddenly...he heard it...faintly.

Keith withdrew his hand from the
COM and quickly closed his eyes and
brought his hand up to chest...
covering his heart as if to beckon it
to reveal to him what he was sure
he had just heard...

...Allura's voice.

He was sure it was hers.  He felt it inside.

"Allura..." he thought carefully.
"Allura, is that you? Can you
hear me?"

"Keith...?" the inner voice repeated itself.
"Keith...can you hear me?"

"Princess...I can hear you!"
he thought back. "This is incredible!"

"It's telepathy, Keith." her voice echoed in his mind.  "Are you alright?"

Keith smiled as he replied. "I'm fine.  Are you?"

"For now, yes." she thought back.

"I'm so amazed!  Coran said this would workand it does!" Keith thought excitedly.

"Are you feeling alright, Keith?  I was so worried..."

"I'm fine, Allura.  The Parma bark worked."

"Oh Keith, I miss you!  I miss Arus!  Is everyone okay there?"

"Fine.  Have you been treated well?"

"Yes, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to face Lotor at some point.  And when that happens..."

"Fight him off, Princess!  Don't let him touch you!  Use every once of energy you have to resist him!"

"I'll try..."

"Where are you now, Allura?
Do you have any idea?"

"I'm afraid I don't know, Keith."

"Keep your mind open.
Try to lead Blue Lion to you.
We can follow!"

"I can... I'll try..."

"You must!  I have no other way to find you,
Allura!  You must lead us to where you are
through Blue Lion.  Open your mind to him. 
Call out to him!  He'll do the rest."

"I will, Keith."

"I'll find a way to rescue you, Allura.  Don't be afraid."

"That's very hard to do."

"You can do it!  Remember that I'm only a thought away.  When you need me, I'm here. Okay, Princess?"

"I'll remember, Keith.  Thank you."

"For what?"

"For never letting me go..."

Keith smiled as he sat inside of Black Lion's cockpit. "I will never let you go, Allura. You just keep that thought near to your heart.   I won't give up until I have you safely back on Arusian soil.  I promise you, Princess, I'll find a way to get you back home safely."

"I suppose you're angry with me for doing what I did...and getting you in this predicament,"

"What I am is touched beyond words.  Your sacrifice for me was noble.  And I appreciate it. No, I'm not exactly thrilled with your decision, but I'm not angry with you, either.  What you did for me goes well beyond the realms of friendship.  And I thank you for thinking that highly of me, that you would sacrifice yourself for me."

"If I had to...I'd die for you, Keith."

"And I for you, Allura."

Silence drew in their minds as they both absorbed the last set of phrases they shared between them.  Allura finally sent out another thought to him.

"Follow the Blue Lion.  He'll know where to go."

"Hang on, Allura. We'll be there soon."

"Hurry, please!  No telling what Lotor will do next."

"I'll be there as quickly as I can.  You just remember that I'm with you."

"I will, Keith.  I'll never let go of that thought."

"Okay, I'm going.  Start your thought pattern to Blue Lion."

"Right..." she thought as her voice faded from his mind.

Keith opened his eyes, the smile still
remaining on his face.  Coran was right.
She is who he had been searching for...
whom his heart had long confirmed it to
be, but his mind had denied it.

There was no turning back now.

He had entered a new dimension relating to his friendship with the Princess.  He wanted nothing more then to get to know her in a more intimate way.  He envisioned quiet walks in the gardens, quiet talks on the bench, relaxing rides through the countryside of Arus's green hills...

Yes, things were going to be different from now on with her.

"Happy Birthday, Keith..." he chuckled to himself.