"What the Future Holds"

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 Previte.  Please do not use them without asking for permission.  Thank you.  Enjoy!

Chapter 27
Keith and Allura: Love at Last?

All was quiet at the Castle of Lions.  The Voltron Force of the future had gone to rest for the night.  Coran retired to his stateroom with a cup of tea...one of the many flavored teas that he liked to import from Earth every so often.  Coran found he was drinking it in large gulps, however.  Still pondering the day's events, he wondered to himself how time travel could be possible. 

His mind began to relax, and as it did, he found himself experiencing flashback... just bits and pieces of things that appeared in his mind.  Then he saw a flash of Princess Allura in what appeared to be  a coffin...

Coran immediately opened his eyes and gasped, horrified at what he imagined.  "No, I mustn't think such horrible things!   How can I even imagine our Princess's death?"  He quickly made the sign of the cross, in an effort to bring comfort from divine intervention.

Coran didn't realize that his mind was calling to review an alternate timeline.  He merely shook it off as another unusual thought; a thought that goes with such an unusual day. 

He shrugged it off and returned to the quiet peace of his thoughts and his flavored tea.

In another part of the Castle, Allura awoke from a restless sleep.  She sat up in bed and looked at her clock monitor nearby: 2:13:am.  She couldn't sleep any longer. 

Her thoughts remained on the three young time travelers who referred to her as 'Mom'.  She also couldn't stop thinking about Keith. 

Was it love that she was feeling for him?  And could he have felt the same way about her?  The future Keith did...obviously.  But what about the present Keith...could he possibly be in
love with her?  He had never said anything that would have led her to believe that he did have feelings for her.  He was a quiet man...he always kept to himself about his feelings.  Her thoughts were confused. 

And yet, she suddenly couldn't picture herself ever living life without him by her side.

Sighing, she shook her head and pulled back the covers.  No sleep would come to her this night.  Putting her slippers onto her feet and grabbing for her robe, she decided that perhaps a night walk along the Castle wall on the balcony, might be enough to tire her out.

She exited her chambers and walked quietly to the entrance of balcony.  She moved toward the Castle wall and looked out over the peaceful land that was hers to rule.  Allura sighed heavily. 

"What would I do if he ever left Arus again?"  She thought.  "How do I find the words to tell him how I feel?"   She became lost in her thoughts...

"Princess..." a whispered voice uttered from the shadows.

Startled, Allura turned around to see who was foolish enough to be up at this hour too.

"Sorry to disturb you, Allura."  The voice, now familiar, broke the quiet of the night air again.  The figure stepped out of the shadows of the Castle. 

It was Keith. 

She put on a smile for him.  He was not exactly the person she was looking to see so early in the morning.  He was one of the reasons she couldn't sleep in the first place. 

"It's quite alright, Keith.  Did I wake you?"  Allura asked sweetly.

"No, I was awake already.  Can't sleep with all of this going on."  Keith sighed; pointing to his head, referring that his mind was too active for sleep.

"I understand."  Allura sympathized.  "Me too." 

She turned back around and resumed her gaze over the land.  Keith moved next to her and looked over the balcony as well.  He left some distance between them, feeling very awkward being near to her all of a sudden.

They remained silent for several minutes. The only sounds that could be heard, were those of the night insects...and each other's breathing.

"Keith" Allura addressed him finally.  "If I ask you a question, would you answer me honestly?"  She felt she was taking a chance by confronting him.  But she knew she had to find out the truth.  Was he really in love with her?

Keith looked over toward her, almost afraid of what she was going to ask.  "Sure."  He replied quietly.  "What's on your mind?"

Allura turned away and gazed toward the horizon again.  She took a deep breath and held it for a moment.  Keith's heart was racing nearly as fast as hers was.

"Are you...that is...do you... like me?"  Allura frowned to herself.  Not the question she intended to ask of him, and now, feeling rather foolish for the way it sounded.

"Of course I do."  Keith responded, trying to keep things general.  "We all do. Why wouldn't we like you?  You're pleasant, gentle in spirit, and just fun to be around."

Allura bowed her head.  Either he didn't get what she was trying to say, or he was avoiding the subject matter all together.  She couldn't dance around the issue any longer.  She had to come out and ask him.  But how could she?

"Keith" She started again.  "What I meant to say is...do you...you yourself...love me?  Romantically, I mean?"  She bit at her lower lip nervously...waiting for his response.

Now she did... it he knew this question would come up sooner or later.  Keith could feel his blood pressure rising from fear.  His heart was beating so fast that he thought it would give out.  He realized that he was now entering into unknown territory. 

What was he going to say now?  He promised her he would answer honestly.  But what would she think of him after he unveiled the truth?  What would become of the friendship that they enjoyed?  What if it all came to an end in a moment's time?  "Well, Keith" he thought to himself, trying not to look at her. "She's waiting for an answer...so just answer her!"

"Yes Princess...I...I am in love with you...romantically."  The words came out so fast, that he hardly had time to hear himself say them.  "I've been in love with you for a long time.  Since the first time I met you, I knew something inside me had changed.  You had unknowingly captured my heart the day we had found you and Coran alone in what was left of your first Castle of Lions."

Silence filled the air again.  Neither of them spoke a word to each other.  Keith started to regret telling the truth, if it meant destroying their friendship, which he held dearer then any feeling of love he had for her.  Keith decided that now would be a good time to leave.

"Goodnight, Princess." he said, turning to leave.  "I'm sorry for the intrusion."

Allura was still looking forward.  She hadn't said a word in response to his leaving.  Keith's heart sank in his chest, and he could feel a lump developing in his throat.  "I've lost her."  He said to himself as he walked away.   He had almost reached the entrance to the Castle, when...


Keith stopped dead in his thoughts...as he heard the sound of Allura's voice, calling after him.  He remained facing in the direction he was headed, standing in a military position.  He couldn't turn around and face hernot now.

"Please...don't go!"  Allura's voice beckoned again.

Keith inhaled and exhaled slowly.  Suddenly, he felt her hand on his left shoulder.  "I don't want you to go."  Allura's voice continued from behind him.  "Please stay, Keith..."

Keith turned his head slowly around to look at her.  He found himself getting lost in her beautiful blue eyes.  Realizing what he had started, he quickly attempted damage control.  He felt so unworthy of her... 

"Princess look, I overstepped my bounds!  This isn't going to work between us.  You're a Princess and I'm a pilot!  I've no royal blood in my veins!  I'm not in the same class as you!  Besides, what would Coran think..."

"I don't care what Coran thinks!  This is my life, not his!"  She responded harshly.

"I know that...it's just...I shouldn't have told you.  I'm sorry, Allura.  I should have kept my place!"  Keith relented, shaking his head.

"No, I'm glad you said it.  Its what I asked of you.  The truth was what I wanted to hear, not a lie or diversion.  It confirmed what I was also feeling."  Allura said, her gaze fully on him.  "I was always afraid to say it.  I didn't know if you loved me, I thought you might, but I wasn't sure."

Keith shook his head again.  "Look Allura, both of us are filled with a lot of future talk.  The future is whatever we make of it.  We might be acting on the knowledge of what we heard...thinking we should be together!"

"I don't think so, Keith!  I'm not speaking from what's in my head, but from what's in my heart.  I love you, Keith.  I love you with all that is in my heart." 

Her hand was still on his shoulder, while the other, she placed lightly on his right cheek...
"And you said it yourself, that you've loved me from the first time you saw me.  I must admit, it took longer for me to catch up, but I did fall in love with you... your personality, your laugh, your smile, your 'overprotective' nature, even the way you scold me for not obeying orders.  It all drew me to you."

Keith turned completely around and looked at her.  "Allura." He started with a sigh "This is very dangerous for me.  It could severely interfere with my ability to protect you!  Haven't you thought about that?" 

"I have, and I don't think it makes a difference.  You will, no doubt, continue to be as objective with me as you always have.  Does it really change things now that we've both confessed?  Did our silence make it any easier for you to be objective with me?  I think you know the answer to that question is... no. You were always protective of me, always shadowing me around the Castle grounds when I'd walk alone..." 

Keith jumped in  "I wasn't trying to spy on you... you know!  I was doing my job!  Protecting you!  That's what I was brought here to do in the first place!" He defended. 

"And I'm sure you will continue to do so, whether or not you are courting me!"  She interrupted sternly.  "I am still under your protection, aren't I?"

"Well of course but..." Keith tried to further defend.

"Then, it's settled!" Allura smiled, placing a finger to his lips.

Keith sighed.   Then he laid his hands gently on her shoulders and suddenly she began to shake.  "I don't want this to destroy our friendship.'

"It was our friendship that started this process from the beginning."  Allura added.  "It's because of our friendship that I fell in love with you."

"Me too."  Keith added softly.  "I'd die for you.  You know that I would."

"I know..." she smiled again.  Her eyes were as blue as a deep blue ocean in the moonlight.  "You almost did...twice... remember?  And I don't know if I can ever forgive you for frightening me like that!" she playfully huffed at him, turning her head away from him.

"Oh, I think you can." He smiled, placing his finger on her chin, guiding her face back around to meet his gaze.  "And in fact, you already have." He said quietly, smiling.

She smiled gently at him, her eyes longing...

Keith leaned in toward Allura.  He felt the moment was right.  He'd dreamt of this moment for so long...

Allura's heart began to pound in her chest. She had often wondered what it would feel like if he were to kiss her.  She closed her eyes and tilted her head upward toward him  waiting...

They both were about to find out...

Keith reached his arms around behind her, embracing her, gently.   He then moved his head down to meet hers.  Allura's arms reach up to wrap her fingers around the back of his neck.  There was a momentary hesitation.  Then suddenly... their lips met. 

They both melted in each other's arms...as if it was natural and the two of them were destined for each other. 

Even their struggles with Lotor faded into the background of this single kiss. 

When it was over, Keith looked lovingly at Allura.  "I should go now."  He said with a smile.  "I don't think I should stay any longer...for both our sakes."  He then released her from his arms.

Allura nodded her head; a slight flush was on her face.  Keith was noble, one of the many things she really admired in him.  He had the wisdom to know that it was time to go.

"Until tomorrow, Princess."  Keith took her hand in his, and knelt down in front of her, kissing her hand gently as he departed. 

"Goodnight, Keith."  She replied, now obviously blushing.

As he turned to leave, he winked fondly at her.  "Goodnight, fair Princess Allura." 

When he had gone, Allura returned her gaze back to the night sky on the horizon.  This time, her mind was filled with the excitement of her new-found love.  She pondered it for several moments.  The night air was chilled, but she didn't notice it until after Keith left.  She decided it was true what she had heard about love...it keeps you warm.

She sighed as she turned to go, crossing her arms in front of her, retaining what little body heat she had left.  "What a wonderful night..." She thought as she twirled around joyfully, heading in the direction of the balcony entrance.  "I'll never forget this night...the night my prince finally came for me!"

She pondered her fairy-tale romance as she returned to her room. 

The next morning, before dawn, there was a scheduled team meeting.  The future Voltron Force members were not awake yet.  Pidge, Hunk, Lance and Coran were in the Control Room awaiting the arrival of Princess Allura and Commander Keith. 

"Whoa, this isn't like Keith at all!  He's always on time!"  Pidge said, looking at his watch. 

"Yeah, wonder what's keeping him?"  Hunk added, yawning.   "If he's not showing, I'm going back to bed!"

"Perhaps he is still recovering from his injuries and his body required more sleep."  Coran said.  "We have to remember that Commander Keith still has not regained all of his strength back yet."

Keith entered the room at that moment.  "Did someone say my name?"  He asked, catching only the last half of the conversation.

"We were just saying how you're never late, that's all."  Lance said. "What are you...paranoid?"

Keith shook the sleep off his face.  "No, what makes you say that?"

Keith hadn't slept very well last night.  He was much too excited about the kiss that he and Allura shared.  It was then that Allura entered the room.  "Good morning everyone!" She said cheerfully.  "And how is everyone this morning?"

The guys looked at her strangely.  "Hey Allura,"  Lance asked, "What's with the cheery greeting?"

"I'm sorry...I don't recall passing a decree banning morning cheerfulness!"  She said to Lance, rather sarcastically.  She quickly ignored him, discouraging any further response from him, and turned to address Coran,  "Good morning, Coran.  Did I miss anything?"

"No Princess, we were just waiting on you and Commander Keith."  Coran replied, raising his eyebrows at her with sudden suspicion.

"Oh?" Allura replied.  She turned to Keith,  "You were late too?":

"Well, yeah, I was kind of... detained." Keith replied awkwardly, avoiding eye contact with anyone for the moment. 

"Well, looks like everyone's present and accounted for." Pidge said, stifling a yawn.

"Then let us begin."  Coran said. 

During the meeting, Keith kept glancing over toward Allura, and she likewise would sneak a glance at him.  Lance noticed the odd sort of behavior, but remained silent through the meeting.  Afterwards, Lance pulled Keith aside to talk with him...

"Hey buddy, what's up here?"  Lance said, not beating around the bush.

"What do you mean?"  Keith said, knowing that Lance must have figured out that something was going on.

"You've been making goofy eyes at Allura all during the meeting.  You barely paid attention.  Is something going on with you two?"  Lance asked, pressing Keith for information. "Come on, spill the beans to Uncle Lance!"

Keith, at first, didn't wish to share his feelings with anyone...especially not with Lance.  But at the same time, thought he had to tell someone else, and Lance was his best friend.  So, he decided to take the chance and 'spill the beans' about last night's encounter....

"I kissed Allura."  He simply said, his eyes turned upward, then gazing off to the side. 

Lance looked at Keith for a moment.  He wasn't really sure if he heard what he thought he heard. 

"Say what?"  Lance replied in a hushed voice. "Could you repeat that for the 'hearing impaired' please?  I didn't quite get that."

Keith huffed aloud and leaned in closer to Lance.  "I said...I kissed the Princess, last night! 
I kissed Allura!  Did you get it that time around?" 

Lance remained blank for a moment.  Then he said..."You kissed her...  You kissed the Princess...on the lips?   You did?" 

"What...is there an echo around here?  Yes!  I kissed Allura...on the lips!"  Keith said, forgetting someone might hear his raised voice.  He then lowered it and leaned once again toward Lance.   "And I don't know what to do next."

"What do you mean you don't know what to do next?  Have you asked her out or anything?"  Lance asked. 

"Well, no, not yet."  Keith replied back.  "I've never...well...been serious about anyone before... not like this.  You know that!"

"Oh man, Keith, you are definitely in trouble now!  Do you need to me tell you about the birds and the bees?"  Lance teased, elbowing Keith playfully in the ribs.

Keith became defensive.  "Oh, come off it, Lance!  I didn't tell you this so you could rag on me about it!  And I didn't tell you so that you can tell everyone else either!  I expect you to keep this quiet for now.  Got it?" 

"Yeah, yeah... whatever you say...Commander Romance!"  Lance giggled, slapping Keith on the back.  "I'll keep your secret.  But you better not look like two lovesick puppies anymore.  If I picked up on this, Coran is sure to."

"Yeah I know...do you think he noticed?"  Keith asked, looking around for any sign of Coran.

"Nah, I think that you were lucky.  But I would stress that caution is the word, Keith.  You don't want to be discovered before you're ready to tell everyone." Lance then winked at Keith.

Keith nodded his head in agreement.  It was then that Allura walked up behind Keith and Lance.  "Hi Lance... hi Keith!" She addressed them both.

Both men turned around to look at her.  "Oh, hello, Princess!  Nice to see you!"  Lance said to her, pouring it on thick. 

Keith gave Lance foul looks for the goofy greeting. 

"Well, I'm sure I'm needed somewhere right now.  I'll leave you two alone.  Don't do anything I wouldn't do!"  Lance laughed out loud at them both as he turned to leave. 

Keith was not amused at all.  At this moment, he wanted to kill Lance!  "What a jerk!"  Keith thought, rolling his eyes upward in disgust.

Allura and Keith watched Lance leave the Control Room in a laughing fit.  They were now the only two left in the room now. 

Allura turned to Keith... "Did you tell him?" 

Keith, feeling awkward as it was, answered... "Yeah, after he figured it out for himself.  He said we were too obvious."

"Well, that might explain why Coran wants to see us both, then."  She replied with a worried look on her face.  "I think he's pick up on something too.  What should we do?" 

"We go talk to him.  It may not be such a bad thing, telling him now anyway."  Keith said, trying to convince Allura and himself that facing Coran now with the news would be better than later.  "Either way, we can't lie to him about it." 

"Oh Keith, I feel so wonderful, and yet so frightened.  It's like our whole friendship has taken a new path, and the road is unfamiliar.  I'm afraid."  She said, with her head down.  "This is all so new to me.  Nanny and Coran have always sheltered my life; my suitors were always handpicked for me...none of which I liked.  But now...you and I..."

Once again, Keith's strong hands gently fell on her shoulders.  "Listen Princess, if this makes you feel uncomfortable, we won't go any further.  I told you last night that our friendship means more to me then any romantic feelings we may share." 

Allura looked uptears in her eyes.  "But I know in my heart that I love you, Keith.  I've known it for a long time.  I've dreamed of this a thousand times before.  I was just too afraid to tell you so."

Keith pulled Allura close to him in an embrace of both comfort and love.  "I fell in love with you from the moment I laid eyes on you that day we first arrived here on Arus.  I'll never forget the way you looked that day.  You were as beautiful then as you are now.  And when we went our separate ways after Zarkon and Lotor's defeat, I never stopped thinking of you."

Allura looked up into his eyes... "I never stopped thinking of you either.  I even thought of coming to Earth on several occasions to see you.  But I thought that I might be intruding on your life.  What would that look like... if you had found someone else on Earth, and all of a sudden, here comes a woman of your past?  I couldn't make myself do that to you.  Besides, I would have just died if you had found someone else."

"There's no one else in my life, Allura.  No one except you."  Keith held her tight, her head was resting on his chest.  

He continued:
"I've always been a military minded person.  Sure...I've dated here and there, but I've never thought of having a serious relationship with any woman, much less, falling in love.  I guess I just pushed that thought out of my mind.  Now that I have fallen in love, its like nothing I've ever experienced before!  Like nothing I've ever imagined it to be.  I never thought I would find someone like you.  You're like a dream...a dream come true." 

Allura turned her head upward and looked at him with a smile.  "And you are my dream come true.  You're the prince I've been waiting for." 

Keith smiled back at her.  "And you are literally the 'Princess' I've always hoped I'd find."

Then, Keith leaned down once again and kissed Allura.  The kiss had barely begun, when a voice was heard from the doorway of the room, a male voice...clearing its throat.  Keith and Allura broke off their embrace suddenly to turn around and look in the direction of the voice.

Allura gasped.  Keith bowed his head....

There was Coran, standing at the doorway with a sour expression on his face.  "Commander Keith, I'd like to have a word with you, sir."  He said sternly.

"Yes, of course Coran."  Keith somberly said to him, nodding his head in agreement. "Might as well get this over with."  The passing thought came to his head.

"I'm coming too!"  Allura added.

"No, Your Highness.  I'd like to have a word with the Commander, privately."  Coran objected.  "It will not take long.  Please wait for us in your chambers."

"Coran"  Allura protested.  "I have something to add to this.  I think you should speak to us both...." 

"Princess Allura....I will hear no more of this!  You will keep your place and do as I have asked of you!"  Coran declared. 

Allura backed down.  Even though she clearly had the right to demand her way, and get it too, she decided that it may be better if Coran did speak to Keith first.  "Very well, Coran.  I'll return to my chambers."

Allura grabbed Keith's hand as she turned to go.  "Don't let him push you around.  Remember, my love, this is my life, not his."  She smiled at Keith and turned to leave. 

As she walked past Coran, she huffed in a whispered voice... "You be nice!"

Coran placed his right hand over his heart and bowed slightly to the Princess as she left the room.  He then raised his eyes to Keith, still standing a distance away from him.

"Commander, we obviously need to speak about this."  Coran began, his face still looking crossed.

"I was planning on telling you, Coran.  This was not something we intended to hide from you.  We were just looking for the right time to come to you, that's all."  Keith began to explain. 

Coran walked over to Keith and stood by his side, Keith facing one direction, and Coran facing the other.  Both men looked straight ahead, never making eye contact.

"What are your intentions here, Commander?" Coran asked.

Keith inhaled aloud; "I love her, Coran.  This isn't something that just happened overnight, I have been in love with Princess Allura since the first day we met.  Coran, this isn't some teenage crush.  I love her, sincerely.  And I have sincere intentions."

"And the Princess?  How does she feel about this?" Coran asked quietly.

"She feels the same."  Keith replied directly.

'I see"  Coran said.  "Commander, it is not that I do not like you.  I have been entrusted as her guardian since her mother and father's untimely death.  I have cared for her, watched out for her.  She is like a daughter to me.  Do you understand?" 

"Of course I do."  Keith said empathetically.  "I'm sure I'd feel the same in your position."

"Then you understand that I do not want to see her get hurt.  And you will also understand why I am going to have to ask you to discontinue your pursuit of her.  She has the duty of ruling Arus, and must produce an heir of Royal blood."

Keith was still staring straight ahead.  He was now becoming frustrated at where this was leading.  "Coran look, I know I'm not of any sort of royalty. But I have good intentions.  I love her, Coran... and she loves me.  Isn't that what true love really is?  It's not a match prearranged by you or anyone else, for the purpose of breeding an heir to the throne.  It's for love's sake.  We love each other, and that's what's needed to make a marriage work." 

Coran turned his head and glared at Keith.  His eyes were focused and wide.  "I appreciate your comments, Commander.  But truly, she is not your concern.  You are a Galaxy Alliance pilot... a space explorer.  You are stationed here on Arus.  If you should be called away to some distant galaxy on behalf of the Alliance, you would be forced to leave her here, and she would grieve in your absence.  I can not allow that to happen to her.  Moreover, your love for her could severely compromise your objectivity, and your ability to protect her.  Therefore, I am respectfully demanding that you discontinue your romantic intentions with her...immediately!"

Keith now turned himself around to face Coran.   He was ridged with anger.  "What are you afraid of?"  he shouted.  "Are you afraid that I'm going to take her away from Arus?  I'd never do that!  Furthermore, may I remind you that I am called to serve Allura and the House of Arus, a pledge I vowed before you and her a long time ago!  I am the Commander of Voltron and the pilot of Black Lion!  That supercedes any obligation I have to the Alliance!  And in case you've forgotten, Arus is part of the Alliance!  You're just using this as an excuse!  And as far as hampering my ability to protect her, I think that's a lame excuse too!  I believe I have done more than required to protect her!  I would die for her!  In fact I almost did!  Twice within a week's time!  What more do you want?  Should I ride in on a horse dressed
like Prince Charming?  Would that make you happy, Coran? "

Keith suddenly stepped right up into Coran's face "I love her Coran! You're her guardian, but you can't live her life for her!  She has to be free to make that choice for herself!  Don't take that happiness away from her!" 

"Commander, please I beg you, don't make this harder than it has to be!  If you continue down this destructive path you have chosen, I will be forced to message Galaxy Garrison Headquarters, and have you forcibly removed from Arus... if necessary!"  Coran threatened.

Keith took a step back from Coran.  He couldn't believe what he was hearing!  This is the man he had worked with day in and day out for years, in pursuit of defeating Lotor and his Doom Fleet. 

Now... this is the man that was threatening to ban him from Arus altogether.

"I can't believe you'd do that Coran!"  Keith challenged. "I can't believe that you'd destroy her that way!  You know she won't stand for that.  She'll rebel against you!"

"It will be in her best interest, Commander."  Coran replied, now turning around and refusing to look straight at Keith.  "Someday, she will realize that."

"She won't realize that!" Keith said in a raised tone of voice. "She'll hate you!  You know that she will!"

"I await your answer, Commander Hunter." Coran replied dryly, a note of formality in his voice suddenly.

Keith grunted aloud and turned around, facing in the other direction, his back to Coran.  "I...
I guess you'll have to send me packing then.  I won't deny what my heart feels... I've played that game for too long."

Coran sighed painfully.  "Then...you leave me no choice.  I will contact Galaxy Garrison immediately and ask for your replacement."

It was then that Coran heard another voice calling out... "No Coran!  You can't do that!"

Coran turned around as did Keith, to see who was crying out to them. 

It was Andretta.  She was standing by the door. 

"Andretta," Keith said, startled that she was there.  "How long have you been standing there?"

"Long enough, Dad."  She replied coldly, staring at Coran with her warm blue eyes suddenly frigid.

"Young lady!" Coran said sternly.  "It is not polite to be listening in on a conversation without being asked into it.  You should not be here."

"I can't believe you!  Mom always had such high respect for you!  Why would you stab her in the back this way?  Why?"  Andretta shouted.

"Princess Andretta please...this doesn't concern you.  Return to your quarters."  Coran replied.

"NO!  I WON'T GO!"  She shouted, at the top of her lungs.  "YOU CAN'T TREAT MY FATHER THIS WAY!  I WON'T LET YOU!"

Keith saw Andretta getting out of control and tried to calm her down.  "Andretta, it's alright.  Coran and I are just talking.  Don't worry.  Go see Allura."

"No Dad!  I can't leave you!  I won't leave you!"  Andretta continued to shout.  Then she looked at Coran.  "If you make him leave, Mom will never forgive you!  She loves Dad with all her heart!  She told me many times of how happy she was when her and Dad first met.  How can you even think of taking that away from her?  You terrible man!" 

Coran just stared at Andretta, speechless.  Keith said nothing further, his eyes now staring at the ground. 

Meanwhile, down the hallway, Allura heard someone screaming at the top of their voice as she sat quietly in her chambers


Allura got up from her chair and headed for the door.  She recognized the voice as belonging to Andretta.  It sounded like it was coming from the Control Room.  And if she had to guess, it sounded like it was being directed at Coran.  She decided that she needed to go back down to there immediately...even if it met with Coran's disapproval. 

She walked down the hallway quickly.  As she drew closer to the Control Room, she started to hear more of the exchange.

"How can you even think of taking that away from her?  You terrible man!" 

Allura came along side of Andretta and put her hand on her shoulder.  "Andretta, what's going on?  Why are you shouting like this?"  She asked, pushing back a lock of blonde hair that hung in Andretta's eyes.

Coran turned and looked toward the door.  He bowed his head in recognition of the Princess... "Your Majesty."  He said.

Allura entered the room past Andretta.  Tears were streaming down Andretta's face, but she didn't say anything to Allura about why she was shouting.  Allura approached Coran.

"What is going on here, Coran?  Why is Andretta so upset?  What did you say to upset her?"  Allura asked.

"Princess, she was intruding on part of a conversation that she heard between myself and Commander Keith."  Coran replied. 

"What was going on in this conversation that made you so upset?"  Allura whirled around and addressed Andretta.

"Coran was threatening to make Dad leave Arus, if he didn't stop courting you!"  Andretta replied.  "Go ahead, ask him yourself!"

Allura returned her gaze to Coran.  "Is this true?"  She said puzzled.

Coran took a deep breath... "Yes Princess.  I asked the Commander, for the betterment of our planet, not to pursue a relationship with you. "

Allura stared at Coran blankly.  "Why would you do that?  How how could you, Coran?"

"I think it is best, Princess."  Coran said drolly.

Allura turned around and gazed at Andretta.  She then turned to look at Keith, who was already looking in the other direction.  She decided that her conversation with Coran was to be private...away from Andretta and Keith. 

She turned back to Andretta... "I would like you to go to your quarters now.  I'll take care of this."

Andretta wiped the tears from her eyes.  "Mom, don't let him do this!  Don't let him send Dad away!"

"Andretta, I will take care of it.  Please do as Coran asked and return to your quarters."  Allura again said, with an insisting tone.

Andretta reluctantly turned to leave.  Once she was gone, Allura turned to Keith and asked of him the same... "Keith, please leave Coran and I alone." 

Keith turned to look at Allura.  He then bowed his head in respect for his Princess, and then also left the room. 

Allura now turned her attention to Coran.

"I don't understand you.  You're always afraid that I'll never marry and never provide an heir for the throne.  Well, I've finally found someone I truly can see myself spending the rest of my life with, and now you want to chase him away from me!   Please explain this to me, Coran!"  Allura said.

Coran bowed his head for a moment.  He then began:

"Princess Allura, I was charged by your father, King Alfor, to watch over you and to protect you.  I have always fondly looked upon you as my very own daughter.  Sometimes, it is hard to understand why parents or guardians say and do things that they believe will better suit the needs of those they are charged to protect.  I have only sought the best for you, Allura." 

Allura responded.  "I understand, Coran.  But your fatherly affection for me has to also understand that I am a young woman who is capable of making her own decisions.  I love Keith, Coran.  I know you can't understand this..." 

"Oh, but I do, Princess!"  Coran interrupted.  "I remember what it was to be in love.  I loved someone very much once.  I remember that feeling very well.  It nearly destroyed me when I lost her during the early raids on Arus.  I don't even know where she is...  my wife, Leda, and our son, Garrett.  I had to send them away long ago, when Arus was being attacked by Zarkon.  I never saw either of them again.  You were but a child then."

Allura looked compassionately at Coran as he continued,  "Princess I don't want to see you emotionally destroyed, I want to protect you from that pain!  Commander Keith is an Alliance pilot, and at any moment may choose duty over his feelings for you.  I could not bear it if you lost him to that."

"Coran" Allura responded.  "I understand your concern.  But I am an Alliance pilot too.  As long as I fly the Blue Lion, I am also an Alliance pilot, in addition to being Princess of Planet Arus.  I too may be called away, and its always possible that there might be a mission in which I may never return to Arus..."

"Princess...God forbid that ever happens!" Coran exclaimed, his eyes wide with fear.  "Planet Arus would be lost without you!  This is exactly what I am saying!"  Coran then turned to walk slightly away from the Princess.  "If something were to happen to Commander Keith, you would be devastated.  Planet Arus would suffer as her ruler does.  Don't you understand, Princess?"

"I understand, Coran.  But you must understand that I am no longer a baby!  I am no longer the small child that you've spent years protecting and caring for.  And please don't misunderstand what I'm saying...I appreciate all that you've done for me, and all that you will continue to do.  I owe my very life to you!  But if my father were here today, he would have to make this same decision...letting go of the child he still held so dear, and letting her be free to make her own decisions.  Even if you felt they were wrong.  They might be wrong for you, but not for me, Coran."

Allura walked over to Coran and placed her hand on his shoulder.  He turned around and looked at her...and he realized she was right.  He still only beheld her as the small child who found herself ruler of a huge planet way before her time. An orphaned princess; thanks to Zarkon and his Doom armada.   To him, she had not grown up. She was in a timeless state of childhood.  But Coran heard her wisdom; wisdom that reminded him of King Alfor; wisdom far beyond her years, and realized that he had to let her go, painful as it was to do.

"Princess...please forgive me."  He bowed his head and wept.  "I was wrong..."

She placed her hand on top of his head.  "Forgive you of what?  For caring about me and caring for me all of these years?  Forgive you for your wise counsel, and wanting the best for me?  No Coran, I can not forgive you of these things.  I love you, Coran, like I would love a father.  You have been like a father to me, in my own father's absence.  You have always been here for me.  I have asked you more questions of life then I have asked of anyone.  I trust your counsel, Coran."

"I've been such a fool, Princess.  I was holding on too tightly.  I apologize"  Coran said.  Then he looked up at her, tears swollen in his eyes.  "Do you really love Keith?"

Allura smiled and blushed.  "Coran, I do!  He'll always be there for me.  And he's not taking me away from here.  He wants to share his life with me here on Arus...as we always have done as a team.  And we'll go on being a team, but in a much deeper sense of the word then
he and I have ever known."

Coran wiped the tears from his eyes.  "I would like to speak again to Commander Keith.  I must tell him I was wrong."  

Allura smiled gently.  "I'm sure he would be most pleased to talk with you again." 

Allura then reached for Coran and embraced him.  "I love you.  To me, you are my father." 

Coran smiled and hugged the Princess in return.  "And you are as my daughter." 

Meantime, in the hallway, a pair of  eyes observed the event as it unfolded, and as those eyes watched the outcome, a smile came over the watchful snooper's face. 

But then again, Andretta had always stuck her nose where it didn't belong.  As she turned to go back to her quarters, a sigh of relief came over her... "Well, at least that turned out better than Mom had said it did."  She thought to herself.

Andretta had recalled a conversation she once had with her Queen Mother about this very event...and how it seemed to start a path toward the end of a close relationship that she had shared with Coran. 

If Andretta had not remembered it, she would have not thought to intrude on the
disagreement that Keith and Coran were having. 

It would have been days later, when her father left for Earth out of anger, that Allura would have found out about the exchanged words between Keith and Coran.  Moreover, how many months it would have been before Allura could convince Keith to return to the Castle of Lions.

And even afterwards, the continued stress between Keith and Coran, and between Coran and Allura...

Andretta smiled as she returned to her quarters, knowing that she averted a cold war.

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