Hello everyone! I'm sorry it has taken me this long to post. My new job has me very busy. I said this was going to be a long chapter and it is! So take your time and hopefully you'll like the finished product.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my editor Mertz . Gracias my friend. I know that I killed you this week and I appreciate all the help you've given me throughout this story.
KathDMD: LOVEY. You, as always, have made writing even more fun than usual. Thank you so much for sticking with me.
Animebookchic; JustLuck05; TinyRose, 1868; Cubbie, Achangel Wolf; Imhooked; Smithy; KeithnAllurafan; Jelilogray; ; petite0312; feli3; bknbu; Thank you for always reviewing and sticking to this story. I am so thankful for your support, encouragement and kind wishes! THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU.
*If I missed anyone, I will definitely resubmit an updated chapter.
Author's Note: The blessing at the end was a quote I found and I thought it was nice enough to reword it a little into a blessing.
Right now it is 1253 in the morning. I hope you like the ending. See you all next time!
Doom: The night before…
After disposing of both Dorma and Hazar's bodies, Lotor returned to his room tired, but satisfied with himself. A little thoughtful of the past few days, the prince walked right over to his liquor cabinet and poured himself a glass of Arusian wine. He always found it amusing that he preferred the wine of his enemy rather than the one from his own planet. He took the first glass down in one gulp. Pouring himself another glass, he downed it again. After putting the glass down, he walked away from the cabinet when he heard a knock on the door.
When he opened it, he found one of the Drule nursemaids holding his newborn son, "Sire, I thought you'd want to bid the little prince goodnight before I tuck him in for the night."
Lotor smiled a little. It was amazing to him that in such a short amount of time, he was married, had a child and lost his wife, all by his own hands. The time with Dorma was a waste. But, at least he had something to show for it, his son.
"Oh, my dear boy," he sighed happily as he took his son into his arms, "Leave us. I'll take him to his room."
"Yes, sire," she curtsied before turning and leaving his presence.
Once the woman was gone, Lotor closed the door and carried his child in. As he walked, he looked into his son's eyes, his eyes, "My beautiful, beautiful boy," he whispered. "You are what turned this nightmare around."
The baby gurgled happily as he watched his father. Every time he saw his father, his little heart bounced with joy. He smiled and laughed, not understanding a word his father said, but loving the soft and gentle tone of his voice and his luminous smile.
"You and I will conquer the galaxy, Callum," he continued speaking, "You and I will save our race. Maybe that's why all this happened. Maybe that devil of your mother was used as a way to bring the true ruler of this galaxy. Once she served her purpose…well, there was no use for her, was there?"
The baby laughed. Lotor gleamed.
"So what's next for us, my child?" he asked. "Perhaps we should find you a mother fit just for you. Maybe a mother with golden locks and eyes as blue as our skin."
The vidscreen in his room suddenly alerted him of an incoming call. When Lotor looked at the screen, he snorted in anger, "You are the last person I want to speak to right now."
Zarkon smiled, "I really don't give a damn, son."
"What is it that you want?"
"First, I'd like a little explanation as to why I wasn't invited to the festivities earlier today?" Zarkon asked his son in the coolest of tones, "I would have enjoyed watching the demise of our esteem commander turned traitor. Too bad about Dorma though, I'm sure she could have been used as an incentive to our guards. They look forward to the remains we leave behind."
Lotor shrugged, "Who'd want those remains? They're poisonous to one's health."
Zarkon laughed, "Perhaps you are right." Pausing for a moment, he asked, "What of the child?"
Lotor looked at his father with question, "What of the child?"
"He is half Dorma's. Even you have to realize that he is half-poisonous. Half…worthless."
"He is my son," Lotor replied just as calm as his father, "And just by that, he is of royal blood, capable of taking the throne when his time comes."
"Come now Lotor!" Zarkon's smile faded, "You can't expect that bastard child to take the throne. His mother was nothing but a traitor, a harlot! What will our people say when they see that a child of a traitor has taken the throne?"
"You forget that our people are just puppets. They do what we want and believe what we want," the prince laughed at the thought coming to his mind. A planet full of marionettes waiting to be handled by the puppeteer, "Come now, Father. Callum will have no problem being accepted them."
"What if I have a problem?"
"Oh," Lotor raised his voice and smiled, "Well, now I see what this call is about."
"What are you thinking boy? That you'll become the world's greatest father? Now, instead of conquering planets for the benefit of Doom, you are playing house? Who's going to be the mother? Oh, let me guess, a certain blue eyed damsel who's been the pain of my existence since you saw her?" Zarkon was no longer talking, but screaming in full rage. He wouldn't accept this embarrassment. He had been made a fool long enough and he would not continue to be talked about behind his back. "Lotor, think this very thoroughly, I will not have this child ascend the throne. You have until tomorrow to decide or I will decide for you." With that, the king terminated his connection, leaving Lotor standing, carrying his son and looking at the black vidscreen.
The baby cooed again and the prince looked at him, "Seems that your grandfather has it in for you, my child." Calmly walking to his bed, he took out his communicator from his pocket with one hand while holding the baby with another before sitting down.
"Sire," he heard the voice of the nursemaid who had dropped off his child. Looking down at his son, he ordered, "I want you to bring Callum's crib over to my rooms, my son will sleep with me tonight."
Without questioning him, she answered, "I will have the crib and necessities delivered to your room in about fifteen minutes, Sire."
Ceasing connection, he then called another person, "Cossack."
"My prince," he heard the voice of his right hand man, "Is there something you need?"
"Come over to my room, now."
"On my way," he answered before severing communication.
About five minutes later, Cossack appeared in Lotor's room, "You called, Sire."
"Yes," Lotor replied as he finished securing Callum in the middle of the bed with pillows around him, so the baby would not fall. "I have a request." Walking over to a table by the corner of the room, Lotor handed his commanding officer a card. "Read it."
A little bewildered, Cossack took the card and began to read it to himself, then he looked at the prince, with an initial shock before stoically answering, "Yes, Sire."
"Good. Have it all worked out."
"It will be done," the commander answered before turning and leaving the room.
Waiting by the landing bay, Lance watched three Garrison soldiers walk toward him. He had contacted the Alliance soon after the incident at MedTech. He couldn't wait until Davis Freedman was out of their lives for good. The team had enough to worry about without the added irritation of the crazy man held in the castle cells.
An older man walked ahead of two younger men, who from Lance's view, looked like cadets. He limped a bit, even though he tried hiding it with his slow gait. The older man saluted as he came closer to Lance, "Sargent Edward Grant reporting for duty, sir." He wasn't much older than Lance, maybe by five or seven years.
"Lieutenant Lance McClain," he responded. "Sargent Grant? You're one of the Associate Professors at the academy, are you not?"
The olive skinned dark haired man smiled, "Am I that popular?"
"After that rescue mission you pulled in the Crimson Quadrant…" Lance started as he shook the man's hand, "You're going to be famous for two lifetimes."
He had single handedly saved his platoon from a group of renegade Drules, who had defected from Planet Doom. Acting like pirates of the galaxy, they wanted to take over a Garrison base and use it as leverage for money.
"Well, although famous, I am now going to be on teaching duty, at least until I'm able to run again." Grant had been hurt during the battle and Garrison doctors were in process of reconstructing his left leg. It had been a year since the ordeal and he had made great progress. Yet, everyone knew he wouldn't be back on active duty until his was completely fit for battle. "They are saying another year. To tell you the truth, I don't mind it too much. But I know the time will come when I'll be itching to get out there again."
Lance smiled, "Enjoy it while you can."
Grant nodded, knowing full well what Lance meant by enjoying the temporary assignment, "Well, I have Cadets Harrison and Rodriguez with me. We're here to pick up one Davis Freedman."
"Music to my ears," Lance replied. "Follow me."
As the two men walked ahead of the cadets, Lance couldn't help asking, "Is this what the Garrison means by hands on training?"
Grant laughed sarcastically and lowered his voice, "McClain, I fought the powers that be tooth and nail on this. These cadets haven't been at the academy for a full year and yet, they are here picking up a perp. All they know is the theory and procedures they've read on tablets. But you know the space marshal, he's adamant about having them on the battlefield by their second year."
"That's crazy! You can't push this type of training," Lance responded, annoyed at what he heard. "They have no idea what's out there."
"I agree," the older man told him, "But, the Drules are getting smarter and quicker on formulating plans. We need more soldiers out there."
"This isn't the way."
"Tell that to the marshal."
When the doorbell rang, Sarah briskly walked over to it, expecting it to be Allura. She was to have breakfast with her and Keith after he was discharged. Instead, she found Nanny at the door.
She had heard about the woman who was, in a way, Allura's mother figure. But, had never met her until now. At the moment, she hadn't heard much, other than what Keith had told her when he had come home.
"Good morning Mrs. Kogane, I am─"
"Yes!" Sarah smiled, "You must be Nanny! I am so happy to finally meet you. I've heard so much about you."
Nanny, surprised, didn't know what to say, "You have?"
"Of course, please come in," Sarah replied as she led the woman in the room. "My son has told me so much about you. I have to tell you, I'm happy that those kids have someone like you to keep them in line."
At that statement, Nanny didn't know what to say. Unable to think of anything, she allowed Sarah continue.
"I know that they have so much responsibility," the woman continued, smiling, "But in the end, it's good that they have someone like you. Every one of them needs a mother figure for the hard times they have when family is not around."
"Well," Nanny finally said, "I'm not so sure they think of me that way."
"Of course, not!" Sarah laughed, "They would never say that out loud to anyone. When Keith was…oh around fourteen, I think, you could never get him to admit that he liked that I made him his lunch every day, but every now and again I would see the disappointed look on his face when I didn't have time and he'd have to buy his own that day. You see, they'll never admit they need you…you just have to see the signs."
Nanny didn't see things the same way Sarah Kogane did. But for a moment, the governess pondered on her words. Smiling a little awkwardly she replied, "That's a very interesting way of seeing things Mrs. Kogane." She sighed a little and then continued, "I actually came here to officially introduce myself. I know with everything that has happened in the last day or so─"
"Oh, yes," Sarah nodded, "Well, at least Keith's out of danger and that has calmed me greatly. I'm also glad that Allura is alright as well. Those two have gone through so much already, they don't need anything else."
"Yes," Nanny agreed, "My poor child went through a great ordeal."
"And I'm glad she had you during it," Sarah answered, "Keith told me how you never left her side and protected her so much."
"He did?" Nanny asked curiously.
"Yes," she nodded, "He also told me that he was glad you were there during his absence. He felt a little peace that she had you for support."
Nanny couldn't believe that Keith would say those things considering the way she treated him for the past few months. "He didn't say anything else?"
Feeling uneasy, the governess answered, "Nothing…I just thought he'd…never mind, Mrs. Kogane."
"Nanny," Sarah suddenly grew a little serious, "I know it must have been hard to see Keith after…well, after it happened. But, please understand that my son would never hurt Allura. He loves her so much. Please do not let what happen blur your image of him."
Nanny's vision had grown a little blurry from unshed tears. Sarah Kogane was right. Coran had shared with her what had occurred in the last few hours. And now, meeting Sarah Kogane, Nanny knew that Keith couldn't possibly be the man, she thought he was.
She had made a huge mistake.
Davis waited restlessly in his cell. It was a small cell, made of steel, with a small twin sized bed and a toilet at the corner of the room. Other than that, there was nothing else and it was driving Davis crazy that he didn't have anything else to keep him entertained. For hours, he had heard nothing. No one had come in or out, and he had absolutely no idea what his future held. Soon, however, his wait was over. Lance walked in.
"Freedman, hope you had a good evening, I sure did," Lance began. "Slept well in a very comfortable bed, had a pretty awesome breakfast…" he sighed, "I feel great!"
Davis looked at him, seething in anger.
"I have some news for you," Lance smiled, ignoring the look of contempt coming from Davis.
"Really? Can't hardly wait," he sarcastically answered as he stood up from the bed he lay upon.
"Garrison officers are here, and will be picking you up in about twenty minutes. They are signing release forms outside," he replied without reacting to Freedman's sarcasm. "You'll be charged with attempted murder of a Garrison officer. You're lucky that Arus isn't charging you. Allura doesn't want you on her planet any longer than necessary."
"There's no way it will stick," he yelled as slammed the bars with his fist. "I'll fight it! I have enough money and then some, to buy my freedom."
Lance laughed, "Not with the proof we are handing over to the Garrison. You better get a good lawyer, Freedman, because you are going to need one."
Desperate now, Davis asked, "What about Liam? He was in this just as much as I was."
Laughing again, Lance shrugged, "Unfortunately, since he is royalty, we can't do a damn thing for the moment. He'll have his choices to make, but I think you should worry about yourself. You're looking at life. Don't know what lawyer can get you off of that." This was a great play. Davis would surely talk and Liam would sooner or later have to turn himself in. Satisfied by the encounter, the Red lion pilot began to walk out of the cellblock, "Don't get to comfortable, Freedman. We'll be back soon."
"You can't do this to me!" Davis yelled at Lance's back, "You can't do this! I'll fight it and I'll win! I always win, you son of a bitch. Know that I always win!"
Lance shook his head at the hysterics of the man. It would take some time, but he was sure that both Liam and Davis would get what was coming to them.
As he stood on one of the balconies overlooking the lake, Keith tried to contain the anxiousness he felt inside. After checking himself out of MedTech, he walked over to Control to run surveillance on Doom. He knew…felt… they would attack at any moment, but nothing came. Not one fleet, not one ship, not even a damn coffin. Doom was nowhere in sight, and that made Keith frustrated. How could he ever show Allura he loved her? "This is impossible," he whispered.
After two hours of surveillance, not to mention the small argument with Allura, he gave up and left Control, walking over to the balcony to appreciate the morning sun, and hopefully, to come up with a plan.
"You are supposed to be in your room resting," he heard a thick accented voice of a woman. "How will you ever get better if you don't rest?"
At hearing the voice of the woman, Keith turned. Shocked, he asked, "Why are you here?"
Nanny wasn't surprised by the question. He wouldn't think different of her despite what his state of mind was at the moment. "I came to tell you that…I'm…sorry."
He looked at her even more i curiously, "I don't understand. Why are you saying that to me?"
Carefully walking closer to him, she answered, "Because I was wrong. Because, I treated you unfairly. Would you…forgive me?"
"I…" Keith sighed; this was just something he wasn't expecting. He nodded curtly, but not before saying, "I know that you'll feel better after I prove to Allura how much I love her."
"No!" the governess raised her voice, "You mustn't do such a thing. You can't!"
"I thought that of all people, you would understand. You would approve," Keith snorted, "None of you have any understanding of what must be done!" Without another word, he left the balcony and Nanny behind. His anger rose by the minute.
"Ready to go, Freedman?" Lance gloated as he entered the holding cell that held Davis. Behind him, Grant and his two officers followed. "Sergeant Grant and his men will escort you back to Earth."
Davis smiled, "The accommodations here are barely one star."
"As they should be for scum that decides to harm someone on Arus," Lance replied happily, "Get the hell off my planet."
"This isn't over," Davis seethed as the younger officers handcuffed him with a laser type handcuffing system.
"As of now, I suggest you remain quiet, Mr. Davis," Grant now answered. "Everything you say can be used against you."
Davis laughed at the men in front of him, "This isn't over at all."
Allura ran out of Coran's office like a deer sprinting through the forest. She had finally found the answer she had been looking for. Her father had shown her the cure without her realizing it until now. She had to find Keith, she just had to. Her excitement clouded her attention and she didn't realize who was about to collide with her. Fortunately, the younger man stopped himself from crashing into the princess, "Whoa!"
"I'm so sorry, Pidge," Allura was flustered, "I need to get to Control."
She shook her head, "No, actually, It's…it's great. I have to go!" The princess bypassed Pidge with an urgency that surprised the young man.
"Where are you going?" he yelled.
"I have to find Keith!" the princess answered, not looking back.
Leaving Nanny behind, Keith's thoughts went back to the one idea that kept circling in his head since early morning. He needed space, he needed to think. Taking a ride in Black would have been perfect, except that Black was in the repair bay. He thought about taking Blue lion. It was always his second choice. Probably because it was Allura's.
"I need to find a way soon Allura," he muttered to himself. "It's the only way we'll both be at peace." Sighing, his thoughts of flying Blue fizzled when he remembered that Hunk and Nate were still out on a mission. "Crap!"
He'd have to take a regular fighter. It was better than nothing.
Solemnly, he made his way to the launching bay, thinking that maybe some time in the air would allow him to gather his thoughts.
As Davis, Lance and the Garrison officers walked toward the landing bay, Freedman continued to think of a way to escape. McClain's words continued to plague his mind. Would Liam be exonerated from the attempt on Kogane's life? He was as much to blame. After all, Liam was the one who poisoned him, not Davis. Freedman could make it look like Liam blackmailed him to be his accomplice in Kogane's attempted murder. Yes, it will take some planning, but I can find a way to get off, he thought to himself as he continued walking.
His thoughts went to Keith, damn bastard. Although he knew he was in knee deep in shit, Freedman couldn't help thinking that he'd give anything for one more chance to get even with Kogane. He'd do anything to make him realize what it was like to lose something valuable. He wanted to make him pay. He just needed to know how.
Allura ran into the Control Room, only to be disappointed to find Jill and another officer inside, "Where's Keith?"
"Allura?" Jill responded as she turned around. "Something wrong?"
"No," the queen answered, "I just thought Keith was in here. He was here earlier this morning."
"He left not too long ago and left Officer Talbert in charge," Jill answered as the officer looked speculatively at the queen. "I just finished speaking with Nate. He and Hunk are almost back. We just gave them clearance."
"That's good," Allura nodded curtly, "Do you know where Keith is?"
"Jill, I think I have the answer. I think I know how to take out the suggestion," the queen answered anxiously, "Listen, I don't have time to explain, I need to find Keith."
Turning to the office, Jill asked, "Can you locate the prince consort?"
Nodding, the officer answered after a few seconds, "He's on his way to the launching bay area."
"Why is he going there?" the queen suddenly thought. "Why‒" Allura stopped herself from finishing the sentence. Could he be going to Doom? Not waiting for an answer, she quickly turned and ran out of the room. She had to stop him.
The group had made their way to the hangar. Lance and Sargent Grant spoke while the cadets secured their prisoner. Freedman watched Keith walk out after them, on his way to one of the fighters waiting on the opposite side of the bay.
Davis studied Keith as he walked out, the guy seems flustered…anxious about something. He kept his attention on the prince consort when suddenly he overheard loud engines coming from above. His gaze snapped up. Then, as if noticing the diversion, he noticed the cadets, along with Lance and Grant watching the Blue and Yellow lions began their descent from the sky.
"It's the lions!" he heard Lance shout aloud.
Quickly, he looked back at Kogane, who, unlike the others, had his attention focused on him. Freedman smiled.
Seizing the opportunity, Freedman turned to the cadet on his left and snatched the blaster the young man carried on his holster. Turning the gun to Keith, Davis' attention suddenly snapped to another person who was running out of the hangar.
Smiling maliciously, he fired the weapon.
Walking out to the landing bay, Keith's mind was focused on getting to a fighter and taking off into the skies to clear his head. His mind was cluttered and he was feeling somewhat fatigued. He guessed he still had some of the medication in his system. He felt stronger than the day before, but Keith knew he wasn't a hundred percent.
As he walked, his mind kept drifting until he heard the engines of the lions approaching. Then, he suddenly heard Lance's voice shout out, "It's the lions!"
His attention went in the direction of the voice and that's when he noticed Davis Freedman from afar. Freedman caught him looking at him. He watched Freedman smile and suddenly turn to the cadet standing next to him, snatching the blaster from his holster.
Keith knew what was about to happen and was prepared for it when he suddenly heard another voice calling out to him from behind. He watched Davis quickly turn his attention from him to the person behind him.
"Allura!" Keith yelled as he turned toward her, crying out in pain.
He was ready for the end to come.
Running out to the landing bay, Allura almost caught up to Keith. Hearing the engines of the lions descending, she called out, "Keith!" and suddenly stopped.
The next seconds passed by in slow motion.
Allura's eyes widened when she heard Keith's gut wrenching cry as he called out her name. Then, she watched as he ran toward her with lightning speed. He tackled her to the ground as she heard him cry out in pain.
Lance heard the sound of the engines coming from the Blue and Yellow lions, and called out, "It's the lions." Unintentionally, he and Grant looked up for a second. Suddenly he heard the voice of one of the guards, "Hey!"
He watched Freedman quickly pull the blaster away from the cadet. He heard Grant yell, "Damn it!" just as he looked to see whom Davis was pointing the gun at. Impulsively, they both ran to stop Davis from shooting. Lance had reached him first, just as he heard Keith shout, "Allura!"
Allura's here? He didn't have the time or nerve to look. Tackling the man down as he fired the blaster, Lance prayed that he had stopped him in time.
Looking at Allura, eyes closed as if she had passed out, brought Keith a sense of panic. His heart began beating fast as he called out her name, desperately wanting her to open her blues.
Seconds became hours, but when she finally did, she looked shaken.
"Are you alright?" he asked, his tone wrapped with concern.
She nodded, "Yes, I'm…fine. Just got the air knocked out of me, that's all."
After making sure she was all right, Keith began checking himself over, as if desperate to find something.
Allura, who remembered him crying out, began checking too and noticed that the back of his shirt had a blaster burn at the tip of the shoulder blade. It had only been a scratch. Then, she noticed the desperation in his face when he noted that he was all right.
"Keith," she stopped him, "You're fine. It's only a scratch."
"Yes," he sounded disappointed.
She was about to tell him something when she heard Lance's voice booming from across the bay.
On the ground, Davis felt like he couldn't breathe. Both McClain and Grant were on top of him, like football players from the same team tackling an opponent. Suddenly, he felt the weight lighten as the men began lifting him up. He felt the blaster yanked out of his hand.
Lance quickly looked toward the other side to find that both Keith and Allura were fine. "Get up, you son of a bitch!" he yelled, turning his attention back to Davis and handing the gun to Grant. Dragging Davis up with the help of Grant, he continued looking at the two cadets, "What the hell where you two thinking!"
"You haven't seen the last of me!" Davis replied without remorse. "I will finish him off if it is the last thing I do!"
"After what you just did, I highly doubt it!" Grant answered taking the prisoner. "Now, I can add another charge to your current charge of attempted first degree murder of the prince consort. Attempted first-degree murder of the Queen of Arus. Galaxy Garrison is going to love this one." As he was about to take him to the ship, one of the guards came up to help, "Stand down, Cadet. Get the transport ready, I'll secure the prisoner. I will speak to you and your fellow cadet after takeoff!"
With his heart beating rapidly, Lance turned back to his friends, who were looking at him with interest at the scene in front of them.
The lions were making their descent a few hundred feet in front of them and Lance took the opportunity to give a quick nod to Grant before going to his friends, "Are you two alright?"
"Yes," Allura nodded, "Are you?"
"I guess Davis wasn't about to give up easily," Lance replied, still a little shaky. "That was close." Noticing that his friend had not said a word, but rather seemed far away in thought, he asked, "Keith?"
She had no time to deal with Freedman or to explain to Lance her plan. She'd have to deal with all of that later. "Lance, I need to take Keith somewhere."
"I don't have time to explain, just trust me. Do not follow us, and don't contact us either."
Glancing at Keith, who also looked at Allura with confusion, he asked, "Where are you going?"
"I can't tell you just yet. Please, Lance. All I can say is that I have found a way to make everything better," the queen answered with a smile.
Turning away, Allura looked at her husband, "Keith, do you love me?"
"Of course," he answered with a matter of fact tone.
"Then, come with me. If you really want to save me, you will come with me now."
"And that's all I have for now," Sven said from the vidscreen. He had called Castle Control and found a woman who introduced herself as Dr. Jill Eckhart. She, in turn, had called for Pidge to speak to Sven.
"This is incredible," the young man answered. "Are you sure?"
"My sources are never wrong," the dark haired man answered. "If I find out anything else, I'll let you know, but for now keep vigilant. Lotor will attack sooner rather than later."
"I'll alert the group," Pidge responded.
"This must have been the woman Keith saw when he and Allura were kidnapped," Jill chimed in. "They must be the ones who caused all this."
"Looks like it from what I've heard," the man nodded, "This is a different Lotor, we have to be very vigilant."
"We understand Sven," Pidge replied, sighing.
"Thank you for letting us know, Sven," Jill smiled worriedly.
"That's what I'm here for," he answered. "If I hear anything else, I'll let you know. I must go now. Bandor and I are working on defense strategies in case Lotor decides to pay us a visit as well."
"You guys have to be careful as well," Pidge nodded. "He'll be just as pissed with you as he is with us."
"I'll talk to you all later."
"Later Sven, thanks!" the younger man answered as Lance walked in with Hunk and Nate.
"Who was that?" Hunk asked.
"Sven," Pidge smiled. "Where are Keith and Allura? I need to speak to them."
"They are out," Lance replied, no knowing fully where the pair had gone. "Allura asked not to be followed, so we wait until she comes back."
"But…" Jill began.
"Don't worry," Lance grinned. "I told her that the tracking devices cannot be disabled.
"So what did you have to talk to Sven about?" Nate asked.
Pulling up the visuals on the vidscreen, the group saw a picture of a Drule woman and a Drule man. They looked like siblings. Pidge smiled, "Meet Dorma and Hazar, from planet Demos. Dorma and Hazar were the heirs of the Demos Empire."
"Okay…" Hunk shrugged.
Pidge continued smiling, "Dorma was Lotor's wife."
The men stared in disbelief at their young counterpart and the doctor.
"He's married?" Hunk asked in shock.
The kid shook his head slowly, "He was. You guys need to listen to this."
They had gone to the stalls as Allura specifically wanted to travel by horse rather than transport. Not understanding why, Keith insisted, "Allura, you're in no condition to travel by horse."
"Where we are going, the transport will only take us so far. Then, we will need to walk," she replied. "Trust me Keith. We will travel slowly."
He took Lightning. Allura rode along with him. Slowly, they made their way into the forest where the queen guided him. They rode in silence for a while. Allura had had something on her mind for a while. She hadn't mustered up the courage to ask. It didn't help that Keith was in the state that he was in, but she had to find out. Whatever the answer was, she had to know, get past it, and fix the situation they were in. No matter what.
"Keith, can I ask you something?"
He continued looking ahead, but answered, "Of course."
"Did you ever…" she sighed, "Did you ever do anything with Councilwoman Janner?"
He stopped the horse abruptly. He didn't say anything for a moment. Then, Keith got off the horse and helped Allura dismount. The queen, who felt his body stiffen when she asked that question, grew nervous to the point that she could hear herself breathing.
Looking at her intently, Keith shook his head, "No." Then, running his hand through his hair, he answered as he looked at her with firm, but cold eyes, "We could have. We almost did. But…I stopped it. I can't lie to you, Allura, I was tempted. We had just lost the baby, and I was feeling like shit. She was there when I had no one. I'm sorry. But, I promise you, nothing happened. Nothing."
"How far did it go?" she asked with a seriousness in her expression that also frightened him.
He sighed heavily and gently drew closer to her. His hands on each of her shoulders, "Just know that we didn't, Allura. It didn't happen. I stopped. I never loved her. I love you. I will always love you."
His words were enough for Allura and she hugged him with all the strength she had. "I believe you."
He hugged her back and closed his eyes, relishing the feel of her body against his, "Thank you."
Smiling, but still clinging to him, she said, "Come on, I still need to lead you to where we are going."
"Allura, I don't understand why we are here," he told her, his voice reflecting the frustration he felt inside. "I should be doing other things."
Keith didn't answer her at first. After pausing a minute, he said, "I…I just think we shouldn't be here."
"Trust me," she answered, hugging him tighter from behind. "Please Keith. I know what I'm doing, trust me on this. We're almost there. Just a few yards ahead. Go through that opening, right there."
He did as instructed and once he did, his eyes widened a bit at the sight of majestic plum tree that stood apart from the rest of the trees in the forest, "What is this?"
Allura smiled, "It's what's going to save us."
"So you are saying that this…Dorma and Hazar, planned to take over Zarkon and Lotor's empire?" Lance snorted, "They sure had balls."
"Well, if they did, they didn't keep them for long," Jill replied looking at her boyfriend, "Lotor found out and got rid of them."
"It's just the way that it was done," Hunk stated as shivers went up his spine. "Pretty ruthless."
"This is a whole new Lotor," Pidge reminded the group, "Whatever they did, it must have affected him. What's worse is that when he gets his chance, he'll come for Allura with even more determination."
"He needs a mother for his son," Jill answered, without looking at anyone in particular. Unconsciously, she took Lance's hand. He gently squeezed it back as an acknowledgement of her actions.
"We need to warn Keith and Coran," Nate offered as he watched the exchange between his friend and sister, "And form a plan of defense."
"We need to get Keith back to normal before all that," Lance sighed, finally looking up. "Let's just hope Allura can do that."
The group was quiet for a while, all lost in thought after what they had heard. Nate, finally broke the silence, "I guess we will wait for them to come back. Guys, I need to get something to eat. Anyone want to join me?"
"Can't, I have to get this information to Coran," Pidge replied, "He's with Keith's parents now."
"I need write out the report," Hunk stated to Nate, "I'm sure the Garrison will want a written account of what happened with King Donal & Prince Liam before Davis arrives back on Earth."
Jill looked at her brother, "I guess we can keep you company."
"We who?" Nate asked with sarcasm as he looked at Lance.
"What?" the Red Lion pilot asked, "Why are you looking at me that way?"
"Because, you and I haven't had a discussion yet about a certain individual in this room."
Looking at her brother, Jill's eyes widened a bit, "Conversation? Since when did you become Dad?"
"Since he's not here!" Nate laughed. Looking back at Lance, he said, "So, how about joining us for breakfast and you can tell me what your plans are."
There was a twinkle in Nate's eyes despite the firm tone. Lance gave his friend and possible future brother-in-law a sly smile before turning to Jill, "Babe, I guess we better have that talk."
"Good choice! Let's go," Nate nodded with a smile.
The three walked out of the room, leaving Pidge and Hunk on their own. Turning to his friend, Pidge said, "Hey, I'm going to talk to Coran. I'll be back in a few minutes."
"Take your time," Hunk replied, "You know that completing these reports takes longer than we think."
"Okay," the young man sighed, "Still, I'll be back as soon as I can."
After everyone left, Hunk began typing up his report. His attention was disrupted when a call came in. Looking up at the large vidscreen, he saw that the call was coming in from the Councilman of Irmiria. Pressing the button for viewing, the Yellow lion pilot was mesmerized by the woman who appeared on screen. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever laid eyes on.
"Good morning," she began, "This is Councilwoman Elika Janner."
"Good…morning," Hunk replied, trying to compose himself. "How may I help you, Councilwoman Janner?"
She looked a bit nervous, but also hopeful, "I wanted to see if I could speak to the Prince Consort. I heard he was ill and wanted to know if it was possible to see him."
"Thank you for your concern," he began, "The Prince Consort is doing well. Unfortunately, he's unavailable, he and the queen left earlier today to…um…together. They're...they're together." Inside, he berated himself. Hunk was never good with solving these types of issues. He blushed.
"So they're…together?" Elika asked, with curiosity in her tone.
Somehow, Hunk picked up on the meaning of her words. Growing serious, he answered, "Yes, they're together."
"Ah," Elika nodded. She paled slightly, as if hurt washed over her. Trying to compose herself, she looked at Hunk, "Well, the prince started a job for us in Irmira, and I just wanted to see if he'll be able to complete it or at least provide some help for us."
Hunk watched her grow paler with each word she spoke. He suddenly felt empathy for the young woman on the screen. She looked sad and very hurt. Now, he felt the urge to help her, "I had heard that he was working on flattening the land. I'm not sure he'll be able to complete the project at this point, but…I'm sure I can."
She stayed quiet for a moment, "Ah, I…"
"You need to finish the project," Hunk said gently, "Isn't that why you needed him?"
"Yes," her voice reached a higher tone, "Of...of course."
"Then, I can finish what he started," Hunk answered with a small smile. "I'd be happy to help you, Councilwoman Janner."
After a few seconds, she nodded her approval. Despite the sadness in her eyes, she smiled back, "Thank you…"
"Sergeant William Garrett. I pilot the Yellow Lion."
"Oh," she said in a surprised tone. "The prince had mentioned once to me that the Yellow lion could do the type of work we needed. Thank you, Sargent Garrett."
"You're welcome," he nodded. "You can call me Hunk."
Suddenly and accidentally, she burst out laughing, "Hunk?"
Realizing why she had just laughed, Hunk blushed, "I…I…that name is not because I think…"
"No," she interrupted him after she watched his face turn red, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean anything by it." She laughed a little again, "I'm sorry. I...I needed that little laugh. Thank you for that. And, thank you for helping us."
"My pleasure, Councilwoman Janner," he answered, composing himself. When he saw her laugh, she looked even more beautiful.
The tree that stood out from the other trees in the forest mesmerized Keith. This tree had massive purple leaves that hung loosely on its branches. Just being under it gave Keith a feeling of peace rather than the constant turmoil he felt since the night before. He closed his eyes, trying to imbibe himself in that feeling.
"You can feel it, don't you?" Allura whispered as she walked closer to him.
Opening his eyes, he asked, "What is this place?"
"I told you," she answered calmly, "It's the place that will heal us. This tree, it's trying to heal you. You've got to let it."
"It's peaceful here," was all Keith could muster up after he heard Allura's words.
She smiled, "That's exactly how I felt, peaceful. I had a dream about this particular tree. You were in those dreams, you kept me strong, and you told me to find my way back to you. Now, I need you to do the same thing, I need you to find your way back to me."
"How?" he breathed out.
"By believing that I need you with me," Allura answered, walking to him. "You need to believe that I need you alive and well so I can live. Find your way Keith. Find your way to me." Drawing closer to him, the queen kissed him so deeply that neither felt it when the world around them dissolved into a pure, bright white light.
They woke up in a field filled with lavender leaves, their bodies wrapped around each other in perfect synchrony. Around them, rain fell, but neither felt cold. They were naked, but neither felt ashamed.
When Keith opened his eyes, Allura's baby blues stared back at him with a soft gentle charm that made him smile. "I love you," he whispered. "I've missed you."
She smiled back, "Show me."
He pulled her toward him, and very gently pressed his lips to hers as he lay over her. Allura wrapped her arms around him as she kissed him back. Suddenly, more rain poured over them. Despite being naked and uncovered, neither felt uncomfortable. Their wet skin felt smooth, perfect, and glorious.
Each caress felt more enticing, more provocative, more teasing than the last. Allura ached for him and Keith moaned, trying to take in every ounce of pleasure she gave him.
He released her lips and worked his way down her neck. Allura drew in a deep breath as seconds later, his lips found their way to her nipple, where he wiped away the continuous raindrops with his tongue. Without warning, his mouth fastened onto her hardened nipple. She trembled as Keith warmed her breast and the rain fell around her. There was sun, yet there wasn't. Rain and leaves fell around them. It was perfect.
Keith let go of her breast and worked his way down, leaving a trail of kisses down her abdomen to her navel. Allura closed her eyes, trembling with pure ecstasy with each soft, wet kiss from her husband. Slowly spreading her legs, she allowed his mouth passageway to her soft curls. He buried himself in them, stroking and caressing her opening with his tongue. Allura crooned out his name as his tongue played havoc on her senses. Feeling ecstasy coming soon, she whimpered, "No…please. I want you inside me."
Sitting up, she looked at him straight in the eyes, "No more. I want you inside, now. Please."
Waiting for no further pleas, Keith laid her back down and placing his body over her, protecting her from the rain. Resting his forehead against hers, he stared into her eyes, "I love you," he whispered. His eyes were bright with emotion, desire, and pure love.
Allura found everything she ever wanted in those eyes, "And I you."
"Open yourself to me, Allura," Keith whispered.
Moving as asked, she felt his member slowly slide within her. Allura closed her eyes, enjoying the pleasure. Keith stared at her face, studying the play of emotions. For one brief instant, he didn't move. He just stared at her, mesmerized by the woman he was with. He loved being inside of her, the warmth she gave him against the wetness surrounding him.
Ready to take on every feeling coming to him, Keith began to thrust. Allura screamed with pleasure. The queen wrapped her arms around him and tightened around him, holding every part of her against him. Every thrust Keith gave electrified her. His hips moved forward, then pulled back slowly at first, but soon he grew impatient and slow became moderately fast and then faster until he heard himself groan in pleasure.
He began pushing in deeper and then deeper. With each thrust, he made Allura cry out even more. They could hear the wet, smooth sounds of their bodies clasping in the otherwise silent surroundings. The rain became more powerful. Allura's cries sent shivers down his spine and although he wanted the feeling to last forever, he knew he couldn't hold much longer. Keith was going to come at any moment.
"Keith!" she cried out, "I can't…I…." Allura released her pleasure in a pure, raw scream.
Upon hearing her roar, Keith viscously let out one of his own as the world around them turned into a cloud of whiteness.
The light brought them back to their world just as it had taken them from it. Both woke up on the ground, fully clothed and dry, but with the intense feeling they had felt in the alternate world. Lightning stood by the side road, unaware they were back. Did he even notice they were gone?
Turning to her husband, Allura asked, "Are you all right?"
He nodded, "I'm…great." Keith laughed, "I…I feel better than I've felt in months."
Sighing satisfactorily, the queen answered, "Me too."
Keith took her hand and kissed it gently, "I can't get enough of you."
"Nor I of you," she laughed. "I can't wait to start my life with you."
He looked at her, a slight concern shadowing his face. "Allura, the way our marriage started was not joyous," Keith began trying to cautiously share his feelings with her.
"I know," she nodded. "But, what can we do about that?"
"Marry me," he smiled slowly, "again."
At this, Allura grinned happily, "I'll marry you anywhere and however many times you want!"
She looked around, realizing what he thought, "Do you think it's possible?"
"I know it is. I feel it. It's the right thing to do," he concluded. "Do you want to?"
Pulling out the comm. unit from his pocket, Keith called his friend, "Lance, come in."
"Everything all right`?"
"Never better," Keith's voice boomed with excitement. "Allura and I are heading back, but I need you to round up the troops. We are going to take a short trip. Dress…formal."
"What? What are you talking about?"
"I'll explain when we get back," Keith responded, ignoring the question. "We don't have much time. Just please, do what I ask."
"All right," Lance replied, still confused. "See you in a bit."
Evening hit the already dark sky of Doom. In his room, Lotor lay in bed, playing with the baby. He had spent most of the day with his son, feeding him and even participating with the nursemaid in bathing him. The Drule woman was surprised and bewildered by such behavior, but the prince, known for his unpredictable behavior, would surely kill her should he observe her noticing him. In all, she remained calm and nonchalant about the matter and continued working.
Other than the witch visiting him in the middle of the day to discuss a possibility of attacking Arus once more, Lotor had no other visitors for the rest of the day. After dinner, he was summoned.
Getting out of bed, he picked up his child and walked over to his father's chambers. The majestic doors opened and he walked inside.
"You brought the little bastard," Zarkon nodded satisfactorily.
"I have," the prince answered, holding the child with his left hand.
"Then," the king continued, "You have accepted the terms discussed?"
Lotor remained quiet for a moment, before answering, "You will not accept my child. I have no other choice, do I?"
"I'm glad you see things my way, son" Zarkon replied. "Give me the child."
Lotor looked at his child, who stared intently back at his father, "My son. I'm sorry."
With his right hand, like quicksilver, he drew his blaster and shot Zarkon four times in the head. The king fell backward, like a tree being cut from its trunk. Walking closer to Zarkon's body, Lotor shot him three more times, just to make sure the king would stay dead.
"I'm sorry, son," Lotor sighed, "I'm sorry you won't ever get to meet your grandfather."
He called Cossack, who appeared a few minutes later in the room, "Sire, you called."
"Yes. Is everything ready?"
The Drule nodded, "The entire army will round in the exhibition area in an hour. Those stationed at bases across the planet will listen to your speech via video. I made sure all communication were relayed across the appropriate channels.
"Good," the prince nodded. He took a look at his dead father lying on the floor, "Cut off his head and make sure it is displayed in the middle of the atrium for all to see. That should make the army know who they are now dealing with. I'll address them within the hour."
With that, Lotor turned and left the room with his child in hand.
Three transports waited a few yards away from the opening. Everyone had gathered, wearing their very best. The Force had worn their Garrison uniforms. Mr. and Mrs. Kogane had been given formal Arusian wear from the Arusian Royalty closet, and Coran and Nanny dressed in formal attire befitting of their stations.
Allura, as soon as she made it back, ran straight to her mother's closet and pulled out the wedding dress the queen wore the day she and King Alfor became one. It was a beautiful organza and tulle gown with a strapless sweetheart neckline and ruffled skirt with a court train. It was the dress she dreamed of wearing when she found the love of her life and now that she had, she had no reservations in wearing it.
When the two arrived back to the castle, Lance could already see the change in their faces. Keith and Allura walked in holding hands. Her smile was full of happiness. His best friend held no darkness in his features. He looked genuinely happy.
"Lance, are you all getting ready?" he immediately asked as they walked in.
"What is all this about?" the Red lion pilot asked. "Are you two all right?"
"We'll explain on the way," Allura said as she kissed Keith on the cheek. "I need to get ready."
"For what?" Lance asked.
"For my wedding!" she yelled as she ran off.
"Wedding? You guys are already married."
Keith shook his head, "No, not really. Allura and I want this to be the day we become one. Today is our real wedding day. Get ready buddy, I want to be out of here in twenty minutes." Keith turned around and quickly left the room.
It had felt surreal to the group, but magically, they were all ready within twenty minutes. Before they knew it, they had arrived at the site.
"We'll need to walk from here," Allura said to the group as Keith helped her out of the transport.
"It's not that far," Keith added in.
The group followed the couple, still unsure of what had transpired while they were away. Soon, however, they found the answer. When they entered the clearing, they all look with awe at the majestic plum tree.
"What type of tree is this?" Gregory Kogane asked in wonder.
"It's the tree of Grianne," Coran whispered to himself. "I thought it was just a legend."
Allura walked toward her adopted father, "It's been here since…well, since it happened. That's how my father was able to communicate with me. The tree healed Keith and I."
"And we don't have much time," Keith chimed in. "It's time is limited. Allura, we better go now."
"Go where?" Sarah asked.
Smiling, the couple walked up to the tree and touched its trunk. Within seconds, the entire group was transported to another forest, full of plum trees with leaves flying through the wind. Snow fell from the sky, yet no one felt cold or uncomfortable.
"Oh my God!" Nanny called out.
"We wanted to share the beginning of our lives together with all of you," Keith began. "This is where Allura and I healed, and where we finally found each other."
"Coran," Allura began as she walked up to the older man, "Would you perform the ceremony?"
"It would be an honor, my child," he answered. "But, who will give the blessing?"
"How about me?" a voice from above replied.
The queen looked up to the sky, "Father!"
As if it was the most natural thing in the world, King Alfor appeared next to his daughter, "I'm glad you found your way, my child."
Allura's tears ran down her face as soon as she saw him, "Daddy!" She hugged him and he felt real. "Just like in my dreams," she whispered in his ear.
Looking at his daughter, he wiped the tears in her eyes, "Chances like these are rare. I came back to make sure you were happy, Allura." Turning to Keith, he said, "I wanted to make sure you were both happy."
Keith smiled and took Allura's hand.
"Your Majesty!" Coran looked at the former king in awe. "How is this possible?"
"My friends, Arus holds many secrets," Alfor began. "Some you will learn in your lifetime. Others, you will find out in the afterlife. For the moment, I am here to attend my child's wedding. Let us gather around for the blessing."
They gathered around in a large circle with Allura and Keith facing each other as Alfor took their hands and united them within his, "May your joys be as bright as the morning, and your sorrows merely shadows that fade in the sunlight of love. May you have enough happiness to keep you sweet, enough trials to keep you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, enough hope to keep you happy, enough failure to keep you humble, enough success to keep you eager, enough friends to give you comfort, enough faith and courage in yourselves to banish sadness, enough wealth to meet your needs and finally, enough determination to make each day a more wonderful day than the one before."
Coran entered the circle and stood next to the king, "Would you like to state your vows to each other?"
Keith nodded, looking at Allura as if she was the only person around, "One day, two years ago, I was walking down the hallway to my office and I caught myself smiling, for no reason. Some people looked at me, curious to know what was making me so happy. I soon realized, I was smiling, I was happy, because I was thinking of you. Allura, you make me happy. You fill my heart with everything that is good and I am so blessed to have you. I love you. There will never be another, but you."
Tears fell down Allura's cheeks and Keith gently wiped them off with his thumb. "I love you," he whispered.
The people around them cried just as much as Allura. Sarah and Nanny's whimpering could be heard around them. Gregory smiled as he proudly looked at his son. Jill, usually strong, took Lance's hand and squeezed it. He turned and watched as she cried silently. He squeezed her hand back. Hunk, Pidge and Nate stood strong, but even then, they felt their eyes water.
"Allura, it is now your turn," Coran gently coaxed his adopted daughter.
"I now know what love is because of you," she began, her voice shaking. "You are so special to me, Keith. My journey to find you was not easy, but I'm so glad I took it. Every time I see you, I fall in love all over again. I am blessed to have finally found you. I feel stronger and alive when you are with me. What lies ahead is a mystery, but I'm not afraid, I have you by my side. Thank you, Keith. Thank you for the love you've shown me. I promise to love you each day even more than the one before. I love you. I love you so much!"
The king smiled, "May Arus thrive under your leadership and reign, and may your days in life be full of joy, happiness, and endless love. My daughter, my son, live and love eternally."
Sensing the unspoken finish, Keith stepped closer to his wife and kissed her so passionately that they barely heard the shouts of happiness in the group around them.
"I love you, my queen," Keith said when he finished kissing her.
Allura smiled at her husband, excitement and happiness washing over her as she knew what needed to do next, "And I you…my king."
From a faraway distance, unbeknownst to those around them, Keith and Allura both heard the very faint sounds of a child's laughter.
"The course of true love never did run smooth. Love is a familiar. Love is a devil. There is no evil angel, but love." William Shakespeare