"A Christmas to Remember"

Copyright 2002
Adele Previte

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 Twelve
A Happy Reunion

Dawn came early that Christmas morning, and Keith rose from his warm bed to the sound of Gabe calling out to him from the doorway.

"Its morning, and the storm is over!" Gabe shouted. "Come on! I've made a hearty breakfast for you to enjoy!   Then, you can go home!"

Keith sat up in bed and rubbed the back of his neck with his hand.  The window shade couldn't hide the bright sunlight that tried its best to come in. Gabe quickly threw open the window shade, letting the bright sun inside the room.

"Sleep well?" Gabe asked Keith.

The Voltron Commander let out a yawn. "Actually, this is going to sound crazy, but... I slept better last night, then I have in a long, long time!"

"It must be the fact that you could actually let your guard down for a change, and just plain, relax." Gabe said with a smile.

"I guess so...maybe." Keith replied hestitantly.

"Come on!" Gabe chuckled. "You're friends will be waiting to see you!"

Keith kicked back the covers and jumped out of bed. After making the bed, he walked determinably into the other room.

After a delicious breakfast, Gabe filled up a container of fresh, hot cider, as Keith was dressing back into his clothes once again, now dried by the fire's heat.

Moments later, the Voltron Commander emerged from the bathroom.  He walked over to Gabe, and handed him the borrowed clothes.  He hesitated for a moment as he went to give them back.

"Is there something I can do for you, to show you my graditude?" Keith asked politely.  "Maybe chop some wood for your fire...or..."

Gabe shook his head, a smile dawning on his face.  "A simple 'thank you' will be enough, Commander Keith."

"Thank you...thank you for everything." Keith said a smile to Gabe. "I know now that if it weren't for you, I'd have died out there last night."

Gabe smiled. "Just doing my job, Commander.  Just like you, we all have a job to do.  Your's is to watch over and to protect Arus, its princess and its people.  Mine is...is..."

"Yours is...what?" Keith echoed.

Gabe held his breath for a moment, then let out a sigh.  "Mine... is to be in the right place, at the right time."

"Well, thanks for being in the right place, at the right time, for me." Keith smiled again. "And thank you for the use of the clothes...and...for the words of wisdom."

Gabe smiled. "You're welcome, Keith.  I hope you'll take them to heart."

"I'll... consider them." Keith replied in a rather non-committal attitude.

Gabe accepted the worn clothes back from Keith, and then turned and dropped them to the floor.

Gabe patted Keith on the back. "Come on.  I've got a horse all ready for you, outside waiting for you!"

Keith nodded his head and followed Gabe to the outside.

The snow had completed its magical artwork on the landscape.  There was easily a good eighteen inches of it freshly dropped from overnight.   It blanketed the countryside like a beautiful painting, set down by the creative hand of a well-trained artist.

The sunlight reflected off of it, giving a somewhat amazing brilliance to the world suddenly. And the air was crisp and cold....but the smells were fresh and gleaning.

Gabe led Keith over to the waiting steed, and the Voltron Commander mounted the animal with ease. He then leaned down and accepted the container filled with hot cider.

"This is for your trip, Keith." Gabe said. to him.

"Thanks." Keith replied, and then, reached down his hand to grab Gabe's firmly. "Thank you for everything."

"I'm glad I was able to help, Keith."

The horse bucked a bit, impatiently waiting to begin his journey.  Keith calmed the animal down a bit before returning his attention back to Gabe.

"I'll return the horse as soon as I..."

Gabe raised his hands in front of himself, waving them. "No!  You keep him!  He needs the comfort of a family of horses, and I suspect that Princess Allura has a whole stable full of beasts like this one.  He'll do much better with those of his own kind."

"And what about you?" Keith said to Gabe. "Why don't you come back with me to the Castle of Lions! The Princess would love to meet you, and to thank you personally for your kindness to me!"

Gabe smiled. "No, I appreciate the offer, but I have...more pressing business to attend to today.  But you make sure to take care of yourself."

"I'll be sure to visit you, Gabe." Keith said to him.

"I'm sure you'll try!" Gabe replied with a smile. "Now, get going!  Your friends have been worried all night over you.  Don't make them wait any longer than need be!"

Keith hooked the container of cider to the animal's saddle, and gave him a gentle kick in the side, sending the horse galloping away from the cozy log cabin.

Gabe watched as Keith rode out of sight...and sighed gently. "He'll do just fine." Gabe said out loud.  "Arus has nothing to worry about.  Its future rides on that horse...safe and sound."

More than twenty minutes into the journey...it hit Keith suddenly in the stomach...

Keith quickly stopped the horse's trek down the main road, and he began searching for the present that he had bought for Allura.

The box...

Where was the box?

After searching himself, he realized suddenly, that he must have carelessly left it behind.  He quickly turned the horse back around, heading him back toward Gabe's cabin.

The area was unfamiliar to him, but the path back was easy. He just followed the hoof prints in the snow.  They would lead Keith right back to the cabin.  Once there, he could retrieve the gift box and then head home once again.

But when Keith and the horse neared the area where the cabin was... Keith suddenly halted the animal abruptly.  Squinting several times to make sure he wasn't imagining it...Keith began to shake his head slowly...in disbelief.

"It...it must be here!" Keith said quietly, his words slurring past his cold lips. "I know it was right here! But...where is it now?"

Keith was talking about the cabin.

The horse's hoof prints had brought them back to the cabin...but the cabin was no longer there!  The hoof prints simply...stopped.

"This can't be!" Keith gasped, now more bewildered then ever. "How can a whole house just...disappear?"

Keith began to call out for Gabe. He even rode his horse up and through the area the cabin was to be sitting. But there absolutely was no sign of it... none whatsoever.

It was gone.

And Gabe, with it.

"But...how in the galaxy..." Keith wondered to himself. "I couldn't have missed it!"

Bewildered beyond human reasoning, Keith turned the horse around, and began heading back toward the main road to the Castle once again, suddenly forgetting entirely about the Princess's present, but instead, thinking about where Gabe and his cabin were.

Back at the Castle of Lions, Hunk and Pidge woke early, finding sleep difficult anyway, knowing that their friend and Commander had not made it home last night.

The Princess had shared her conversation with Hunk, Lance, Pidge and Coran, assuring them all that Keith was fine, and that he had survived the storm. Still, Hunk and Pidge wanted to venture out early.  Now that the storm had cleared out, they wanted to have another go at looking for Keith.

Blue Lion was in the repair bay, and would be back functioning by late morning.  The Princess could join in the search at that point.

Lance rose up early, intending to also go out and look for Keith.

Allura was in her chambers. Unable to sleep, she had spent the entire night looking at old holo-photos of herself and the team.  Events they had been a part of through the years. She sighed from both fatigue and sadness... missing her dearest friend.

She rose from her chair and walked to her window, which overlooked the front of the Castle to the main gate.

Allura began to daydream as her eyes gazed on the snow that had fallen on the grounds.  She recalled the times she used to play in it, as a child.  Those were times of peace on Arus. Times before Zarkon was a common word...and a name to be feared.

As she stood daydreaming, her eyes glanced up toward the Black Lion, perched high up on top of the monument that overlooked the horizon.  Much like its pilot, Black Lion watched over Arus with a burning fervor of dedication.

It was then that she noticed Black Lion's eyes...they seemed to flash suddenly.  Allura found it peculiar behavior for the robot lion. 

But then, as she looked back down to the ground...and her heart leaped for joy suddenly...

Arriving on horseback, and now entering the main gates of the Castle grounds... was Keith!

"Keith!" Allura cried. "Oh Keith! He's back! He's back!"

Without a moment's hesitation, she quickly grabbed her shoal and threw it over her shoulders, and exited her chambers.

Allura began running down the hallway, shouting as she passed Castle Control...

"Keith!  He's back!  Keith's home! He's back!"

Hunk, Lance and Pidge stopped what they were doing, and immediately followed after the Princess.

Allura ran past Coran, who was making his way toward the Control Room.

"Your Highness!" Coran called out to her as she ran past in her jumpsuit. "Where are you going?"

"Keith!  Coran...Keith's back!"

"The Commander?  He's returned?" Coran gasped happily, and turned to follow after Allura, joining the other three Voltron pilots.

Keith had reached the bridge that led to the Castle.  He dismounted his animal and grabbed onto the reigns. As he looked up at the Castle of Lions... and sighed, grateful to be home once again, the sudden thought came to his head. This place WAS his home. And the people inside, are his friends.

"It's good to be home, again." Keith uttered quietly.

Seconds later, the main doors to the Castle burst open, and Allura came charging out, dressed in only her pink jumpsuit and something draping over her shoulders.  He looked at her coming toward him...

The sight of her was like food to a starving man...

"PRINCESS!" Keith called out to her, waving his hand up, and then suddenly took off running to meet her.

"KEITH!" she screamed back to him.

The two met halfway across the bridge. Allura leaped up into the air, dropping her shoal to the ground. Keith reached out his hands and caught her in mid air. but he suddenly lost his footing on the icy, snow covered bridge, and the two of them fell to the ground with a thud.

"Allura!" Keith said while holding her as he lay on the ground, flat on his back. "You're gonna freeze out here dressed like this!"

She was squarely on top of him, hugging him fiercely... as a long lost friend.

The words weren't meant to be harsh. They were said more in a pleasant tone...and tone that conveyed to her that he was very glad to be home...and to be with her.

Her hands were snow covered and freezing, but the cold seemed less of an interest to her, then the fact the Keith as finally home...safe.

Coran, Lance, Pidge and Hunk suddenly arrived on the tender and touching scene. Coran gasped, seeing the Princess sprawled out over Keith, and the two of them laying together in the snow.

"Princess Allura!" Coran said to her as he ran up. "You must remember yourself!"

"I am, Coran!" Allura shouted, hugging Keith with everything she had.  "I am!"

Lance wasted no time, and immediately began his usual needling.

"You know, Keith," Lance began. "You really should get a room for something like this!"

"Yeah, thanks for the suggestion, you comedien!" Keith replied to his second, more with a chuckle than anything else.

He quickly sat up, and Allura got up from the ground, allowing Keith to stand up as well. Coran quickly picked the shoal up from the ground and threw it around the Princess's shoulders once again.

"Really, Allura! Look at you! You are soaked! What would Nanny say if she were here right now?" Coran asked.

Hunk laughed out loud and answered for Allura. "She'd gasp and faint!"

"Yeah!" Pidge added. "And fall right into the snow too!"

Keith rose to his feet and met Coran's glare. "I'm sorry, Coran. I should have gotten up sooner. I apologize for this...its my fault."

Coran disappointing glare melted into a smile. "Welcome back, Commander.  It is indeed, good to see you, sir!"

Keith smiled back in return. "It's good to be seen!"

Impulsively, Allura thrusted herself into Keith's arms. The Voltron Commander hesitated in returning her affection...but then saw Coran's nodding head, and immediately wrapped his arms around the Princess.

"Come now... let us get inside before we all catch a cold." Coran suggested. "It is much too cold out here to be carrying on conversations."

"I'll take care of the horse, Keith." Lance offered.

Keith nodded...and then walked with Allura, Pidge, Hunk and Coran back into the Castle doors.

I was indeed good to be back home once again.