A Moment of Reflections
At a momentary loss for words, Allura sat at the edge of the bed, holding one of Coran’s hands. It was frightening to seem Coran like this, so pale and vulnerable in the medical bed. She had always thought of him and Nanny as indestructible. She imagine them always being there, picturing them there to help her raise her own children. But now, she was very aware of just how human her guardians were.
The princess gently rubbed the hand she held. Her mind filled with memories of the times that his hands offered her comfort, doled out her punishment, but all the while had helped shape the person she became. With a sad, yet affectionate smile, she studied the silver streaks at his temples.
“I guess I’m responsible for quite a few of those,” she stated softly. “I know it was hard for you and Nanny to let me fly the blue lion. You both wanted to protect me as you had done for years. But you finally realized that I wasn’t a little girl anymore.”
She squeezed his hand as she fought the tears. “I may not be a little girl anymore, Coran, but I need you. I still have so much to learn from you. I can’t rule Arus on my own. Not yet.”
She closed her eyes. “Dr. Gorma can’t give us a lot of answers until you wake up, Coran. So, you need to wake up and let Dr. Gorma check you out. You have to get better.”
The room fell into silence. She couldn’t keep talking. She couldn’t find the right words to say to the man who had carefully watched over her, who had become her surrogate father. She closed her eyes and bowed her head, asking some unknown deity for a miracle.
“You know he might just enjoy the rest,” a quiet voice commented. “When was the last time he had a vacation?”
Allura jerked up and stared at Keith.
“I didn’t know you had come in,” she stated softly. Her eyes turned back to the figure in the bed.
“I didn’t want to intrude,” he said, “but Nanny was getting worried about you.”
He walked up behind her and placed a gentle hand on her shoulder. “I am sorry this happened, Allura. I can’t imagine how hard this is for you.”
“Yes, you can, Keith,” she said after a pause, turning to look up at him. “He’s important to you, too. So, you can imagine.”
She covered the hand on her shoulder with her own and turned back to face her fallen guardian. Keith kissed the top of her head and just stood there with her in the silence. She realized that Keith was doing what he usually did for her: offering her strength and support in her times of crisis.
“I’m beginning to see why he likes you so much,” she murmured.
“I’m starting to see why Coran likes you so much,” she said a little louder, turning to him with a faint smile.
“Really?” Keith asked, returning her smile.
“Yes,” she stated, “I think that he sees a great leader and an even greater person in you.”
Keith lifted a dark eyebrow. “That’s a pretty lofty evaluation. I am human, Allura, despite what Lance thinks.”
Allura’s smile faded as she thought of Coran. “Sometimes we get a remainder of our vulnerability, don’t we?”
“Give Coran some time, Allura,” Keith said, squeezing her shoulder. “He’s pretty tough.”
“I know,” she sighed, “but I always thought that he and Nanny would be around forever.”
“Chasing little Alluras around, maybe?” he quipped, trying to inject a little lighter mood.
The prince gave another faint smile. “Something like that. But I realize that it may not be that way.”
“We’re not given too many promises about the future,” Keith said, “but you shouldn’t give up your dreams and hopes for it.”
Allura smiled at him affectionately. “Like us?”
“Especially us,” he said, kissing her forehead.
A knock on the door stopped the moment. Keith stood up as Allura called for the visitor to enter. A young nurse stepped in, bowing slightly to Allura.
“I need to check him now,” she said, “and visiting hours are over, Your Highness.”
“Can we stay for a few more minutes?” Allura asked.
The nurse shook her head. “I’m sorry, but I’ve waited as long as I can. You may see him again tomorrow morning.”
“The princess will be ready in a moment,” Keith said, a familiar hint of command in his voice.
The nurse paused and then, with a slight nod, left the room. Keith gave Allura’s shoulder one last squeeze and told her he would wait for her in the hallway. Grateful for his help, she kissed his cheek and watched him leave before turning one last time to Coran.
“Rest, Coran,” she whispered as she kissed his forehead, “and get better soon. We all miss you.”
Giving his hand a final touch, she rose. She made sure the blankets were high enough and then realized that she was stalling. Whispering “good night,” she headed for the door and left the room.