Time to Say Goodbye
Time to Say Goodbye

The brush clattered to the dressing table as Allura buried her face in her hands, desperately fighting back the sobs. ‘You knew that this day would come,’ she told herself sternly. ‘You prayed that it would come.’

She lost the battle and surrendered to the sobs. Her head sank deeper, pillowed by her folded arms. Hot, salty tears spilt onto the pink sleeves of her gown, trickling down to pool upon the polished surface of the table.

The princess didn’t even her the knock on her door or the entrance of the other person in the room. The figure froze, shocked by the sobbing form. “Princess?”

Allura sat up with a jerk, hastily wiping her tears as she turned to face the direction of the voice. “Oh, Nanny, it’s you,” she said sheepishly. “I didn’t even hear you come in.”

The princess tried to smile but her effort failed. Clucking in sympathy, the former nursemaid stroked the girl’s hair and picked up the brush. Allura relaxed under the soothing rhythm of the brush gliding through her hair.

“There, there, dear,” the older woman said comfortingly. “You don’t want the boys to feel bad about leaving, do you?”

There was a pause before Allura reluctantly shook her head. Yet, she couldn’t trust her voice.

“Well, I have to check on some other things. You don’t have that much longer to get ready.”

The younger woman nodded. “I know, Nanny. I will be finished shortly.”

“Okay.” With a final concerned glance, the other woman left the room. Sighing, Allura cupped her chin in her hand, studying her reflection. She let her thoughts drift back to the past couple of days.

* * * * *

“Do you still feel like this is some kind of dream, Allura?” Romelle asked, scanning the people in the ballroom.

“Yes,” the other princess replied, watching the five Space Explorers as they laughed by a buffet table. “Yes, I do.”

The defeat of the Doom Empire had finally come thanks to the combined forces of Voltron and the Galaxy Garrison. The victory had prompted parties, feasts, and festivals that were now approaching their third week. Everyone was so happy.

“If I’m dreaming,” Allura said with a smile to her cousin, “don’t even think about waking me up.”

They both giggled. “Me, too,” Romelle managed to say among her laughter. “Oh, me, too.”

“And just what are you two up to?” a male voice asked.

The two princesses blushed as they noticed the expression of two Space Explorers. The cousins glanced at each other and began giggling again. Keith rolled his eyes at the pair and gave a long-suffering sigh. However, Sven chuckled softly.

“If I may, Princess Allura,” the Swede began, “I wish to borrow your cousin for a dance.”

“Of course,” Allura replied, noticing the slight flush on the cheeks of both Romelle and Sven.

Sven bowed and offered his arm to the Princess of Pollux. Smiling beautifully, Romelle curtsied and accepted. Allura sighed as she watched the couple join the dancers already in the center of the ballroom. The captain gave the princess a curious look.

“Would you care to dance, Princess?” he asked, drawing her attention from the dancers. She studied him so intently for a moment that Keith wondered if she was going to turn him down.

“I would love to, Keith,” Allura replied.

She let him take her hand and lead her to the dance floor. As they moved with the music, Allura allowed herself to treasure the joy of the moment. There was no threat of ensuing battles, no robeasts threatening Arus or any other planet, no more alarms to yank them from their sleep in the middle of the night.

“Peace,” she murmured, enjoying the sound of the peace. “At long last, peace.”

Keith looked down at her with an understanding look. Feeling her cheeks flush with heat, she averted her eyes. Yet, when she looked back, Keith was still looking at her, his expression serious.

“Keith? Something wrong?”

The music faded before he could answer. Applauding, he glanced back at the princess. “Would you like to have some punch?”

Allura nodded her assent, allowing him to escort her to a nearby refreshment table. Several of the citizens paused to comment on the happiness of the occasion, the beauty of the Castle of Lion, or how proud the people were of their princess.

Thanking them, Allura sighed with relief when they finally reached the table. She gratefully accepted a glass of punch from Keith. As she sipped, she watched various groups around the room.

“It’s wonderful to see everyone so happy, isn’t it, Keith?”

Keith smiled. “Indeed it is, Princess.”

Allura turned to him, transfixed the expression in his brown eyes. “Thank you,” she said softly.

His brow furrowed. “For what, Princess?”

“For making all of this possible,” she said, her arm sweeping to indicate the whole room and beyond. “For making peace a reality.”

“We may have helped, Princess, but you are as much responsible for this as anyone.”

She smiled, speechless by such praise from the man who had taught her to fly, to fight, and to defend her people. Yet, she knew that Keith and the others had taught her so much more.

Before she could reply, Coran appeared.

“Good evening, Princess,” he greeted, bowing slightly. “Keith, I need a word with you.”

Keith immediately set his cup of punch on the table. “If you will excuse me, Princess.”

She nodded, watching the two men leave the room. By Coran’s expression, she knew that something important was going on. Declining an offer to dance, Allura left the ballroom.

* * * * *

“I understand, Commander,” Keith said.

“We are very proud of what your team has accomplished, son. Congratulations.”

“Thank you, sir.” Keith saluted and the commander signed off.

Keith turned to Coran, and the older man held the captain’s gaze before sighing. “When are you going to tell the others?”

“Tomorrow,” Keith replied. “I want them to enjoy the celebration. We probably won’t see a party like this on Earth.”

Coran’s lips twitched, but he couldn’t bring himself to smile at the captain’s quip. Keith smiled weakly, rubbing the back of his neck. Coran stood up.

“Well, I must return to the celebration. Are you coming, Keith?”

“In a while,” he replied.

Keith watched the older man leave the Control Room. He ran a hand through his dark hair, debating on what do next. He left the Control Room and headed to the garden.

* * * * *

Allura watched the clouds over the moon as a gentle breeze passed through the garden. How many times over the years had she escaped to these gardens to think, to escape, to collect herself? She stopped at a large rose bush, leaning to smell a few delicate blossoms.

The bush had been planted on her parents’ wedding day, as a symbol of their love. While parts of the gardens have been ravaged during the long series of battles, the roses had remained unscathed. For that miracle, Allura was eternally grateful.

Hearing some footsteps on the path, Allura turned and was surprised to find Keith round the curve. His hands were shoved deep into his pockets, his face focused on the ground a few inches in front of his toes. Whatever he was thinking about, those thoughts were not happy ones, she realized.

“Keith? Is everything alright?” she asked.

The captain looked up and smiled sheepishly when he realized that it was the princess. “Princess, why are you not at the celebration?”

“I came out here to think. So much has happened in these past few weeks, it’s kind of overwhelming.”

Keith nodded. “I know how you feel, Princess.”

They stood in a companionable silence for a moment. After a few moments, Keith cleared his throat. “We should return to the celebration now, Princess.”

Allura took a final glance at the garden, bathed in the ethereal moonlight. ‘We have peace at last, Father. Thank you.’

She turned to Keith with a radiant smile. “Let’s go enjoy our peace, Keith.”

* * * * *

Allura jerked herself out of the reverie, wiping the fresh tears from her face. She walked into the bath and wiped her face with a cool, damp cloth. If the guys saw her with her face all red and swollen, she would never hear about. Especially from Lance.

‘Yet, Lance won’t be here tomorrow,’ a part of her realized. Allura swallowed the threatening sob. She was not going to let the team see her like this.

A knock on the door echoed in the room. Checking herself in the mirror, she called, “Come in.”

Allura watched in surprise as her cousin entered the room. While Romelle appeared calm, Allura quickly noticed the red rims surrounding her eyes, the tears threatening to spill at a moment’s notice.

“Romelle, what are you doing here?”

The other princess gave a shaky laugh. “Didn’t Keith tell you? The orders were for the original force to return to Earth. Sven is leaving, too.”

Allura wrapped her arms around the shaking form of the other girl. “Romelle, it’s going to be okay. Sven loves you. He’ll come back.”

Romelle nodded. “But I never thought about him leaving. I never dream that peace would take him away.”

“We have to be strong, Romelle. Sven will come back to Pollux. Let’s not make this harder than it already is.”

Romelle looked at her cousin in awe. Now she knew how Arus had survived the full brunt of the attacks. The strength that the Arusian displayed at the right moment was inspiring.

Allura noticed the changed in Romelle’s mood, tightening her embrace before releasing the other princess.

“Now, shouldn’t you be with Sven right now?” Allura said, interjecting the right amount of teasing in her voice.

Romelle nodded and headed to the door. “Thank you, Allura.”

* * * * *

“It’s time to go, team,” Keith said quietly.

Romelle gave Sven one last hug, whispering something into his ear. As he pulled away, he nodded and was rewarded by a beautiful smile. Hunk thanked Nanny as she gave him a package containing generous portions of his favorite desserts.

The guys lined up and gave their final goodbyes to the two princesses. Allura managed to say goodbye to Pidge calmly. However, when she turned to Hunk, she threw her arms around him.

The man appeared stunned, holding his package away from the crushing embrace of the princess. Gently, he put his free arm around her and hugged her gently in return.

“You will to come back to visit, won’t you?” Allura asked.

“Of course, Princess,” the big man replied. “We all will, the next chance we get.”

Pidge, Lance, and Sven seconded his reply. Allura stepped back, flushing in embarrassment by her sudden action. “I will hold you all to that promise,” she said, smiling.

“Come on, team,” Keith said. “We have to go.”

Sven gave Romelle a sudden kiss, ignoring the cheers from the others. Coran shook everyone’s hand, wishing each a safe journey. Allura hugged each one as they entered the ship until it was finally Keith’s turn to enter.

The look in his eyes was so intense that it startled her. Before she could say or do anything, he knelt before her and kissed her hand. “I promise to bring everyone back for a visit the first opportunity we get,” he promised.

Allura nodded as he rose to his feet. As he turned to the door, she threw her arms around him in an impulsive hug. However, a second later, she stepped.

“I will hold you to that,” she said quietly. “Safe journey, Keith.”

“Thank you, Princess.”

Romelle held her hand as the metal hatch closed. They watched the ship slowly pick up speed before vanishing into the blue sky. They all stood wordlessly for several minutes before Coran coughed, clearing his throat.

“I need to go check on things in the Control Room,” Coran stated, bowing to the two princesses before leaving.

Nanny smoothed her apron. “I’d better see how dinner is progressing.”

Allura glanced at her cousin. “We have a few hours before you leave for Pollux, Romelle. What do you want to do?”

“Let’s get out of here,” Romelle said, pulling her cousin to the door. “Let’s just get out of here.”

* * * * *

Allura pulled her nightgown down over her head, watching the moonlight through the translucent drapes. The castle was so unbelievably quiet with the guys and Romelle gone. Sighing, she turned down the blankets of her bed.

‘They promised to come back,’ she reminded herself. She prayed it would be very soon.