The First Break
Pidge suddenly burst through the door into the conference room. "It's the princess! They just brought her in and took her to the infirmary!"
Keith and Lance shared worried looks and immediately jumped to their feet and headed for the door.
Pidge tried to catch his breath. "I'll go tell…"
"No!" Keith yelled, grabbing onto Pidge's arm. "Don't you dare!"
Lance's eyes went wide in panic. "She'll kill us if we don't tell her! What if it's serious?"
"If it's serious then I will call her. If it's not then I don't want her in there getting all over emotional over a scratch."
"She'll still kill us." Pidge reminded him.
"Tell her it was an order from me, then she'll only kill me. Let's go!" Keith bolted down the hall.
As Lance and Pidge fell into stride in his wake Lance muttered to Pidge. "She'll kill him and then kill us as accessories."
Pidge nodded in agreement. "Is your last will and testament current?"
Keith's eyes narrowed having heard the exchange. He slid to a stop at the elevator and glared at them as he called it to their floor. "Hey, if you think its better having an emotionally irrational woman in the infirmary with us then you go on ahead and call her."
The doors swished open. Both pilots swallowed, nodded in understanding and the three stepped into the elevator.
As the lift flew down Keith closed his eyes to center himself. He felt the knot rising in his throat as is mind raced through all the possibilities. No! He had to be the calm, clear headed one. Take this one step at a time and not let his emotions get the best of him. First see what happened and then react. As the doors swished open he pushed past the other two into the infirmary. "Where is she!" He barked. So much for cool headed.
The staff immediately all stood at attention on his arrival and pointed to a room down the hall.
Keith nodded and sprinted to the door skidding to a stop in front of it. Lance and Pidge tentatively walked up behind him but chose to hang back a bit to give him some space.
In the room the doctor was busily working on the princess's forearm. Besides that injury she seemed fine. Keith let out a relieved breath.
At the sound of his exhale a pair of azure blue eyes flashed up to meet him from the bed. They looked defiant, ready to meet his challenge, the patented princess pout already locked in place. He was taken aback for a moment, for it was those same eyes and that same look and expression he had fallen in love with all those years ago.
Keith met those eyes and against his feeling of utter relief that she was okay forced a glower of his own, knowing well that look he was getting from her often accompanied guilt.
"Princess?" He questioned her with a raised brow.
The princess looked away, unable to match his accusing gaze.
"Well it's a clean break." The doctor said. "That must have been quite a fall!" He smiled at the princess. "I'll be right back with my treatment equipment." The doctor bowed as he left the room leaving the two alone.
"Princess?" Keith's voice rose in question again.
The princess's eyes danced around the room looking everywhere but at Keith.
"Princess!" Keith finally barked. "Care to explain yourself?"
"I fell." She said simply.
"Fell?" Keith crossed his arms across his chest. "So you were just walking along and woops, fell?"
The two locked off in a stare off but a banshee like scream erupted out from back down the hallway causing both to flinch. "MY BABY!" They both looked at each other in fear. "Where is my baby!"
"Gahh, who told her?" Keith's growled as his eyes grew in panic as did the princess's. He raised a finger to her in warning then pulled it to his lips. "Shhh. Do not upset her." He took a focusing breath then turned, stretched his arms across the doorway and braced for impact.
"My Baby!" The banshee wailed yet again. The staff as well as Pidge and Lance wisely dodging away to either side of the hall to avoid the woman's wrath as she flew down the hall like a fierce storm. "Baby!" She screamed as she reached the door and pushed into Keith trying to get past him.
Keith flexed every muscle trying to hold her back. "Allura… Allura!" He yelled. "Allura calm down! She's fine!"
Hurricane Allura didn't seem to hear him she kept pushing into him. "My baby! Who hurt my baby!"
Keith grabbed onto her shoulders and forced her to look at him. "Allura! Look at me. Allura! She's fine."
Allura's eyes slowly seemed to see him. She looked at him but was still in a panic. "She's fine?"
Keith nodded. "Yes, she's fine."
The raven haired princess looked up from her bed and waved her good arm at her mother. "See Mom, fine. Just a broken arm is all."
"What! You broke your…" Allura struggled in Keith's grasp. "Let me go!"
Keith shot the princess a challenging look and she meekly recoiled. He then turned back to Allura. "Allura. Allura! She is fine. The arm will mend. It will be good as new in a few days. She is in good hands here." He then slowly spoke out. "You need to calm down."
Allura suddenly broke into tears, Keith's arms becoming the only thing then holding her up as wracked sobs shuddered through her body. "I'm such a terrible mother, how could I have let this happen." She gasped between sobs.
Keith looked out the doorway to Lance and Pidge who were wisely staying well clear, looking utterly confused as to what to do. "Get me a chair for her." He asked them and they both scrambled away. He looked back at Allura, still sobbing in his arms. "Allura, nothing is your fault. These things happen."
Allura's legs strengthened and she stood up tall, her eyes suddenly flashed angrily at him. "No! It's not my fault! It's your fault! She gets this from you, not me!"
"Me!" Keith pulled back a bit. "Allura, please. You need to calm down." He looked her in the eyes again. "Look at me… Breathe with me."
Allura again seemed to hear him, her eyes looking into his like a lost child. As he took a few deep exaggerated breaths she mirrored him. She soon got lost in his eyes. "I love you."
Keith bit his lip not to laugh at the whirlwind of emotions coming from Allura. "And I love you, my Queen."
"Your Majesties." A nurse bowed as she arrived with Lance and Pidge by her side as they helped her push in one of the large reclining chairs from another room.
Keith coaxed Allura to sit down in the chair. "Water." He asked to no one in particular. Soon a cup appeared in his hand and he lifted it up to Allura to take a sip.
"Thank You" Allura smiled, taking the cup from his hand. She continued to sip on it, her body visibly relaxing.
"Is it safe?" The doctor laughingly called from the doorway.
Keith looked into Allura's eyes and smiled. "Safe for now."
The doctor nodded then looked to Allura. "The hormonal swings are normal but shouldn't last much longer."
Allura blinked in confusion, her hand then reflexively going to the almost invisible bump of her belly. Her eyes snapped to Keith suddenly worried.
"Shhhhhhhh." He breathed soothingly to her. "Everything is okay. We're all okay. You just need to relax, okay?" Keith focused on Allura's eyes slowly nodding his head until she mimicked his action.
The doctor returned to the young princess's bedside where the nurse had began to prep her arm for the process of fusing the reset bones back together.
Lance and Pidge feeling the energy begin to relax in the room dared to walk up to the other side of the Princess's bed to watch the doctor work his magic. They had each been on the receiving end of his care many times for similar breaks and bruises and each gave her reassuring smiles and thumbs up.
Keith sat down on the arm of Allura's chair so he could keep a grip on her hand in case she got worked up again. "Was just a matter of time." He said, smiling at his daughter.
The princess looked up from what the doctor was doing to her arm to question her father, her thin dark brows knitting together.
"That you broke something. The way you run around I was beginning to think you were immortal."
"So kiddo." Lance grinned. "How did you do it?"
The raven haired beauty pouted and looked away with a blush. "It's embarrassing."
"Bahh!" Lance laughed. "Those are the best ones!" He sat down on the side of the bed next to her. "Don't feel bad, we've all been there. Spill!"
The princess shook her head.
"Fine. I'll tell you mine." Lance looked dreamily up to the ceiling. "I was at the academy and I had just paid a midnight visit to my…" He paused searching for the right words. " er, colleague… We were… discussing… yes, er… business… Yes, discussing business when I got an emergency call and had to leave real quick. Yep that's it and well, when I was climbing out the window…"
"Why were you climbing out the window of a business meeting?"
"Window, er yes. Because it was faster. Yes faster. So I was climbing out this window and my pants fell down and they got caught…"
"How did you pants fall down? Were they the wrong size?"
"Uh, yeah, they were now that you mention it. Anyhow I ended up dangling there upside down, when my pants tore I slid and landed wrong on my leg. Snapporoonie!" He grinned at the princess. "So there I was laying sprawled in the ground with a broken leg, pants torn open and my bare bottom flashing the world! Ha! Beat that for embarrassing!"
"Weren't you wearing any underwear?"
"I errr, well."
Keith coughed. "Perhaps someone else's tale of breaking their first bone may be more appropriate?"
Pidge looked up in thought. "Hmm let me think. The first time I broke a bone… Ah yes… Me and my brother were working on a Rube Goldberg Machine to automatically flush the toilet."
"Of course you were." Lance rolled his eyes.
"No way that could have gone wrong." Keith chuckled.
"It worked perfectly! Well, that is until one night it wasn't reset properly." Pidge flushed and rubbed his neck.
"So what happened?" Allura leaned foreword on her chair and took a sip of her water.
"Well it was the middle of the night and I uhh, had to, er go. I hadn't bothered to turn the lights on so I didn't see the problem. So I did my thing and pulled the start chain.
"And?" Lance prodded.
"Ughh anyway… On the seventeenth step of the chain reaction the chain that was supposed to lift and release the bowling ball to slide down the shoot was somehow hooked on backwards causing the bowling ball to fall from its perch."
"It fell?" The princess asked.
"Yep. Fell. Right onto me, and into the toilet. Knocked me down onto the floor and cracked my ribs in the process. But that wasn't the worst of it. The splash into the toilet, which hadn't been flushed yet mind you… splashed up all over the bathroom and me!" Pidge shuddered.
"Ewwwwwwwwwww!" The whole room groaned as they leaned back. The princess held her nose and shuddered.
"So there I was, sprawled out on the floor, cracked ribs, covered in filth and my bare bottom flashing the world!"
Silence hung in the air as they all contemplated that picture then they all collectively burst out laughing Pidge quickly joining them.
"Hehe," Pidge got control of himself. "Well heck I guess that ended just like Lance's story!" Pidge laughed. So Princess, is your story more embarrassing that that?"
The princess pursed her lips. "I think that was more gross than embarrassing."
All eyes in the room swung to Keith who shifted on the arm of Allura's chair.
"You're up, Cap." Lance beamed at him.
"Oh no, no way. She doesn't need to hear about…" Keith shook his head.
"Oh come on, Keith. Tell us the story of your first broken bone." Allura squeezed his hand.
"Yeah, Dad. Tell!" The princess giggled.
Keith's eyes narrowed on his daughter. "Okay, but if I tell you have to tell too."
The princess shook her head. "Only if it's more embarrassing."
Keith rolled his eyes. I don't know if it's so much embarrassing as just dumb." Keith settled back. "I was about seven I think. I was told over and over again not to go out on the horses alone, but… Well I wasn't listening and took one out when a thunderstorm started. The horse lurched to one side mid run sending me flying off into the bushes and I snapped my ankle in the fall.
"Well that's not very embarrassing." The princess pouted.
"Ah, but that's not all. Not realizing the injury I stood up and took a step forward. My leg buckled and I tumbled over forward and fell down into a mud filled sinkhole. It apparently was what the horse had flinched to avoid. I landed smack on my shoulder and broke my collarbone too. It took them hours to find me down there, well past dark. The pain was so much I started getting delusional thinking the roots were monsters grabbing at me. Had nightmares about that for years." Keith shuddered.
"Still not embarrassing." The princess shrugged.
"Fine. If you really want embarrassing…" Keith turned to Allura. "Allura, tell her your story."
"What! Keith, I told you that in confidence. You promised you would never tell."
"But I'm not telling! You are." He stuck his tongue out at her.
"Come on, Mom!"
"Yeah, Allura, tell us!"
"Fine! I was maybe ten. I was walking down the hall reading a book… and well…"
"What, what happened?" The princess looked on eagerly.
"Fell down the stairs?" Pidge asked?
"Nope" Keith answered with a smug grin.
"Tripped over something in the hall?" Lance pondered.
"Nope" Keith continued to grin.
"Tripped on your hem!" the Princess guessed excitedly.
Keith shook his head. "Nope. Nope. Nope."
"Hush you!" Allura pushed him.
"Well what was it then?" Pidge raised his palms up in question.
"I just er…"
"Allura?" Keith looked at her with amusement twinkling in his eyes.
"Fine!" She took a deep breath and let out a huff of air. "I walked into a wall."
Lance and Pidge shared stunned glances with the young princess.
"Hard." Allura added.
Silence continued to fill the room.
"So hard that I broke my nose!" Allura's hands reflexively went to her nose to rub it.
"Mom! You broke your nose by walking into a wall?"
The doctor looked up from his work with a wry smile. "I can verify, I set the nose." He gave Allura a wink.
There was continued silence but soon everyone was trying not to snicker then they burst into laughter.
"It's not that funny!" Allura challenged them all.
"Yes it is." Keith chuckled from her side.
Allura scowled at him but soon began to smile and laugh at herself. "And I was just walking with a book. Think of what I would have done to myself if I had run with scissors!" The room then completely lost themselves into a fit of laughter.
Eventually the room settled down. The doctor finished up and set the arm in an immobilizing split and a sling. "Well there you go, Your Highness. The bones have been knitted back together. It may feel fine but it isn't. You can't use that arm until I tell you you can. Do you understand?"
The princess nodded.
Allura slowly rose, Keith standing to help her to her feet. She reached out a hand to the doctor. "Thank you Doctor Gorma, for taking such good care of us all."
Gorma smiled back. "It is my pleasure to serve you and your house, Your Magisty." He looked back to his young patient with a wink. "And knowing how this one takes after her parents I imagine it won't be the last break I'll have to mend."
Keith felt Allura go weak in his arms again. Oh great. "Ummm, thanks, Doc." He slowly eased his suddenly panicked and paling wife back into her chair. "I think you better go now before…"
"Dude!" Hunk suddenly burst into the room and rushed excitedly up to the princess's bed. "I heard you totally broke your arm! Did you get to see the bones? It's totally cool when you get to see the bones!"
"Bones! Bones! My Baby!" Allura cried jumping back up to her feet.
"Wha'd I do?" Hunk asked dumbfounded.
"Nothing." Lance chuckled. "Allura's just still a bit…" He circled his finger near his temple.
"Ohhhhhhhhhhh." Hunk nodded with a goofy grin.
It took everything Keith had to keep Allura from grabbing up her daughter from the bed and possibly injuring her still fragile arm. "Allura. Allura!" He yelled.
Allura finally snapped around to look at him, wetness shimmering in her confused eyes.
Keith reached out to stroke her cheek to try and calm her. "Allura? Sweetie? Maybe it would be best if you go lay down for a bit? For the baby." He let his eyes slowly drop down to Allura's belly so she would fully understand his meaning.
"The baby." Allura repeated as her hands followed his eyes down to caress her stomach.
Keith looked over to Lance, his eyes pleading with him for a rescue.
Lance let out a laugh then nodded back. "Come on guys." Lance said. "Now that we know the princess is fine let's help Allura get back to her quarters so she can get some rest."
Pidge nodded and moved to the door.
"You too, Hunk." Lance added.
"Aww, but I just got here!" Hunk pouted.
"We will all get to see her soon once she's released. Daddy Keith has this under control here."
Allura walked up to the Princess's bedside one hand still on her belly. She looked to Keith with a smile. "I'll see you two in a bit." She then bent over to kiss her daughter's forehead. "I love you, little princess."
"I love you too, Mom."
Keith dropped his hand down to stroke his daughter's hair. "Go rest, love. I'll finish up here with the doctor."
Tiers began to well up again in Allura's eyes as she looked to Keith's protective hand on their daughter. "I don't deserve you."
"Lance?" Keith pleaded.
"On it!" Lance chuckled, extending his arm around Allura's shoulders and began guiding her out of the medical bay. "Come on Allura, I think Nanny had mentioned something about whipping you up a special chocolate cake."
"Ohhh?" Allura brightened as Lance walked her out of the room.
Keith followed them to the room's door and watched as the team led Allura away. He didn't relax until they were well out of view.
"Ah good, you're still here." The Doctor smiled as he walked up to Keith. "You've had enough broken bones to know the drill. But since you are terrible at following instructions I will repeat them."
With a laugh Keith crossed his arms across his chest. "Keep it elevated. Keep it in the sling. Don't try and use it for anything. Bed rest. Drink plenty of fluids. Let you know if there is any pain. And we come back to see you tomorrow for a checkup." Keith raised his brow. "Anything else?"
The doctor shook his head. "So you were listing to me." He poked Keith in the bicep. "No excuses for next time then!" The doctor looked into the princess's room. "Well little one, if you are feeling alright you're free to be discharged into your father's care." He gave her a wink. "Better mind him better than he minds me!"
"I will." She promised him, giving her the full force gaze of her deep blue eyes.
The amused doctor shook his head knowing a lie when he saw one. "Have a good night, Your Majesty." He bowed his head to Keith. "And good luck." He added with a grin. The doctor gave Keith's arm a pat then took his leave.
"As always, thank you Doctor Gorma." Keith called after the man who gave him a friendly wave in return. Keith then looked back into the room. "So, you ready to go?"
The princess looked up to Keith and gave him a shrug.
Keith cocked his head at her. "What's up, Kitten?"
Keith resisted the urge to roll his eyes as he walked back into the room and up to her bedside and gestured to her with his thumb. "Scootch."
The princess scooted over so he could lay down next to her.
Keith squeezed into the bed alongside her, stretching out his long legs and crossing them at the ankles. He lifted up his arm so she could snuggle in against his side. His other hand reached across to rest on her splinted one. "Does it hurt?"
The princess shook her head.
"You know, when I was a kid…"
"Daaaaaad, no When I was a kid speeches okay?"
Keith chuckled. "Okay." He instead decided to wait her out. It didn't take long.
"They're going to laugh at me."
"Who's going to laugh at you?"
"My friends, they saw me fall. They're all going to laugh."
"Dad!" She poked him in the ribs. "That doesn't help!"
"You want me to lie? Okay." Keith cleared his throat and put on his overly sweet daddy voice. "Of course they're not going to laugh at you, Sweetheart."
Keith let out a chuckle. "Kitten, sometimes people will laugh at you, friends, family, but if it comes from a place of caring and love it's all good. The trick is learning to laugh at yourself with them."
The princess slowly nodded.
"We all laughed at Mommy's story of how she broke her nose. It was so funny because of how much we love her and how silly it was for her to do."
The princess let out a giggle. "That was funny."
They both sat giggling for a few moments. Keith then gave her a sidewise smile. "So, you going to tell me what happened?"
The princess let out a sigh. "I was climbing a tree and fell."
Keith blinked. "You fell out of a tree? That doesn't sound like you at all, you're a monkey."
"I know! It's embarrassing."
"So you slipped? Lost your grip? Missed a jump?"
"No, I grabbed onto a branch and it snapped."
"Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh." Keith leaned back, nodding his head knowingly.
The princess looked at him confused, turning to stare at his face. "What oh?"
"You didn't fall, the tree broke causing you to fall." He gestured up to the ceiling. "You didn't fail at climbing, you failed to properly asses the integrity of the tree."
"I didn't fall?"
"Nope" he shook his head. "Tree broke, causing you to fall." He cocked his head. "One thing you need to learn about politics is its all in the semantics." He smiled at her.
The princess grinned back at him.
Keith's eyes slowly turned serious "Kitten, what I don't want is this fall, or the embarrassment of it, to stop you from reaching for your dreams." His lips pulled into a sly smile. "Now what I will get mad at is if you continue to misjudge the risk when doing such things." He tapped her nose three times. "Don't be stupid. Understood?" He gave her a grin.
She grinned back. "Got it. Don't walk and read a book at the same time."
"Or make a machine that involves a bowling ball suspended over your head. Who does that?"
"And always were your underwear!"
Keith sputtered. "Especially that!"
They both got lost in a fit of giggles for the longest time.
Keith then turned to look at his little princess. "Kitten..." He patted her arm in the sling. "life is all about getting past broken bones," He gestured up to the air. "broken dreams," He then reached down a finger to tap on her chest. "broken hearts." He gave her a soft smile. "No matter how much it hurts or your embarrassed by it know that we're all here, your family, your friends to help you through it. Do you understand?"
The princess nodded. "And they may laugh even though they love you."
Keith grinned at her and gave her ribs a tickle. "Especially if they love you."
The princess let out a squeal wiggling out of his arm.
"So are you ready to go see your friends? I bet they're all worried about you."
The princess nodded.
Keith rolled out of the bed and stood up with a stretch. He then walked to the door and waited for his daughter. When she reached his side she reached up her free hand to him and he took it in his giving it a reassuring squeeze as they walked out of the room.
"Dad. When the baby is born I'm going to take it climbing with me."
Keith froze and he dropped down to his knees. He placed his hands on her small shoulders and looked in her eyes. "Please, Kitten. Do not say that to Mommy." He let out a chuckle. "At least not for a few weeks."
The princess's eyes grew wide, her good hand snapping to her mouth and she let out a laugh.
"Promise?" Keith lifted up his pinkie.
"Promise." She wrapped her little pinkie around his and they shook on it.
Keith gave her a wink then stood back up, taking her hand in his again and continued down the hall.
"How long is Mom going to be crazy?"
Keith smiled. "Not much longer… I hope."
"Was she this crazy with me?"
"Worse!" The princess gasped.
Keith reached down and swooped his daughter up into his arms. "Mmmmmmmmmhmmmm. He rubbed his nose with hers. "But it was all worth it." He set her back down in the open doorway to a waiting room full of anxious young faces. He placed his hand on her back and whispered down to her. "Go on. They are all worried about you."
The princess tentatively took a step into the waiting room. As she did a swarm of children enveloped her. A chorus of voices erupted in the room
"You broke your arm! How cool!"
"I want to see it, let me see it!"
"Did it hurt? It musta hurt."
Keith leaned back against the doorway as he watched the glowing smile on his daughter's face. Yes, very worth it.