Something to Remember Her By

by Karen

Quick Disclaimer: Voltron is the property of WEP.


Sven stood staring at the letter in his hand. It was like a foreign object. The words alien. He took a deep breath and forced back the tears that were threatening to overtake him.

He folded up the telegram and shoved it deep into the pocket of his uniform pants. He tilted his head up sharply as he heard footsteps coming down the corridor.

He had just graduated with the rest of his friends and they all had joined Galaxy Garrison Space Academy. He had wanted to be with them and to be where the action was. That action was in space and this was the place to go. He knew, now, that that had been a mistake.

Sven's two best friends, Keith and Lance, came into view. Sven had been in the cafeteria as they came in.

They had just come back from eating outside. It was a nice day and they ate outside whenever they could. With a hot meal in their bellies, they thought they would find Sven and egg him into playing a few strategy games with them.

They became quiet when they saw Sven. He didn't, often, come down to the cafeteria during school hours. He saved the nourishment until he got back to his place, not far off campus.

"Sven?" Keith asked, 'you okay?"

"Yeah," Sven turned sharply on his heel and left.

Keith looked at Lance with concern.

"Is it just me or were those tears in his eyes?"

"Something's wrong." Lance turned quickly to pursue his friend, leaving a confused Keith behind.

Sven could hear sharp footsteps coming up behind him.

"Leave me alone. I don't want to talk about it right now. If I need you I'll call you. But for now just go away."

Lance stopped up short. Sven's tone of voice was sharp and it, actually, had hurt Lance's feelings. Lance and Sven had been friends since they were kids, but this was the first time Sven had ever been sharp with him.

Sven turned and looked at Lance, "Look, I'm sorry but I really can't talk about it right now. Get back to me in a few days. Until then, please, just leave me alone." Sven turned and left leaving Lance standing in the hallway.

***

The next few days passed as routinely as possible. Keith and Lance kept an eye on Sven. He seemed to be pulling back into himself to the point that he wouldn't even talk and they had always been able to talk about almost anything.

Sven was; again, in the cafeteria when Lance found him.

"Sven, didn't you hear the page? You're late for class. Mr. Sanchase is furious. This is the second time. What is going on with you?"

"Nothing." Sven snarled, walking past him, "just get off my back."

After Sven went to class, Lance went up to Keith. They both had free periods and were studying in the library.

"Keith? Can we talk?"

"Yeah." Keith turned in his chair to face him. Lance looked worried but more than normal.

"I don't know what to do. Something's really rattled Sven's cage but he won't talk to me about it and its really hurting his performance. In the last two tests he did his marks were so low I thought I would have to crawl under the desk to see them."

"Yes, I know. He came to me to ask for help studying. He never asks for help, his marks are so high it's usually us that ask him for help. He claimed it was too hard for him to understand. Nothing is too hard for him to understand. He can whip through a problem faster than you can whip through chocolate pudding. I asked him if something was bothering him to the point that he couldn't concentrate he clamed up and left. It has me worried too."

"He bottles things up and it's hard to get him to talk about it. I just hope that when it comes to down to business, like exams, he knows where to put his mind."

Keith opened his mouth to say something but was interrupted by Ginger and Lisa, two others that had joined up at the Space Academy. They came rushing over to their table in almost a blur.

"You guys have got to get to the hospital. I just heard a couple of the teachers talking about it. Sven went nuts and drove his car into the side of a building."

Keith and Lance looked at each other, the colour draining from their faces. In a shaky voice, Keith asked, "He did what?"

"He freaked. He just got in his car and drove it into the side of a building." Lisa repeated.

"That's it." Lance growled, "I've had enough. I'm going to see him and if he's conscious, I am going to find out what the hell is going on and I ain't leaving there until I do."

***

When Sven opened his eyes the pain was intense. Everything was blurry and he felt sick to his stomach. When his vision cleared slightly he could see that someone was there with him. He was in a room; it looked like one of the private rooms at the hospital.

The person was back to, looking out the small windows at the sky. Sven moved slightly in the bed and the figure turned around. It was Lance. He came over quickly and leaned over the edge of the bed.

"It's about time you woke up, you had me scared to death. What the hell were you thinking?"

"What happened?" Sven's throat felt dry, his voice came out as a croaking sound.

"You smashed your car into the side of a building, deliberately. It was lucky you weren't going very fast or you could have been killed. "Instead, you got severely bruised ribs and chest and a concussion."

Sven closed his eyes and turned his head away.

"Sven, what is going on? I have never seen you act like this. What's wrong?

"What is so terribly wrong that you can't talk to me about? Why are you blocking me out? I'm your best friend; we're almost like brothers. Talk to me."

"It's personal."

"Personal, hell. You damn near got yourself killed. Whatever it is, Sven, you can talk to me."

"It hurts so bad. I've even started to have dreams. Sven's voice sounded almost like a cry.

"Dreams?" Lance looked at Sven with big eyes, he never knew Sven to dream. Lance knew that the average human dreamed it was the brain's way of relaxing. But if Sven dreamed, he never talked about them.

"Yeah. I can remember some, some I can't."

"Svenů"

Tears started to flow down Sven's cheeks and his chest hitched slightly.

"Mom died."

"Died? How?"

"The telegram said it was her heart. It just gave out. I knew that was coming, she had been having heart problems for quite awhile. It's the fact that I couldn't go to her funeral. I didn't know. I had lost track of her when I left home. I was so mad I wanted to sever any ties I had, now she's dead and I can't even say goodbye let alone apologise. You can't begin to imagine how that feels.

"After all she's done for me I can't even begin to thank her by going to her funeral. I can't believe I missed it. The letter said she never spoke of me when she moved to a new place. They didn't know she had any children. Just her two best friends who tracked me down. She had everything that reminded her of me packed away." Sven heaved a deep sigh. "She helped me so much. Why did she put me out of her mind?"

"Are you ready to talk?"

"Yeah. I think it's time I told someone, get it over with. It'll come out sometime, probably when it goes on my record as a permanent mark. Dangerous driving." Sven snorted, "If we wind up in space who's gonna need to drive? Won't be me."

Sven chuckled then sobered, "Mom and Dad never really got along, at least not when I was around. Dad drank a lot and when he drank he got violent. I would come home from school sometimes and find Mom crying. I would know what had happened. He'd hit her or sometimes he would do worse things to her.

"I don't now why he was like he was. Mom said he was never like that when they had met and started dating but one day he took it up and never stopped. Mom got so she couldn't take it anymore and we left. I never got hit much, Mom always protected me, took it for me.

"It was hard going for awhile but she found a job and I still went to school. She wanted me to finish no matter what. I had no trouble. I had high hopes in school, my marks were excellent and the harder the courses got the better I liked it. I became fascinated with space and in my senior years I discovered that they were accepting candidates for training programs. Unfortunately I had found out too late and missed the deadline. Mom weaselled it out of me why I was so sad. She took my marks and went to see Marshall Graham personally.

"I don't know all of what went on that day but I was accepted for their advanced classes."

"Sven, I know your Mom did a lot for you but I can see that's not all of what's bugging you."

"I never got to tell her how sorry I was. She never knew and I never got to tell her."

"What?"

"We had such a big fight, I never meant to say all those things to her before I left. I was so mean."

"She knew, Sven, she loved you too much not to know. All mothers know their children never mean the things they say."

"Then why did she pack away all memories of me? You and Keith are family now, especially from the day when we joined Galaxy Garrison Space Academy. I had told Mom that's what I wanted to do but she was dead set against it.

"She didn't want to see her only child killed in some senseless battle defending some strange planet. That's what Galaxy Garrison stood for to her. Space travel, and if you travelled in space you died. She got me into the classes only because she thought I would take a desk job as a navigator or something along those lines. I could deal with space but, to her, I wouldn't actually be in space. I thought it was because of all those space movies Dad used to watch. He used to tell her that they were based on truth. We said some nasty things to each other, and then I left. I walked out of the house and never looked backů."

***

Sven kicked at the cracks in the sidewalk in front of him. He was of age now; he could do what he wanted. Why was she making such a big fuss over it? He wouldn't get killed; he had no plans on dying until his was a ripe old man.

He shifted his eyes up too look at the night sky. It was dark, not a star to be seen. It was quite late and getting cold. He had been gone long enough for the both of them to cool down. He would go home and talk to her again, only rationally this time. Make her see that nothing was going to happen to him. He would be all right and he would make her proud.

As he cut through an alleyway he could hear voices. He couched low and slunk along the wall, staying in the shadows he came across two Drules. They had captured a Galaxy Garrison officer and were trying to get information out of him.

Sven bit his knuckles in fear, how had they got on the planet? He didn't have a clue but that didn't matter. What mattered was making sure that they were captured. He had to do something. He crouched behind a couple of crates and watched for a few minutes then stood up. He straightened himself up to his full height, which was impressive for all of his eighteen years, and puffed out his chest.

"I demand you let go of that man and surrender."

The two Drules looked over at Sven and snickered. "This doesn't concern you."

Sven grabbed a piece of metal pipe from a garbage can and wielded it like a baseball bat. His heart was pounding in his chest. He couldn't believe he was going to try such a dangerous stunt.

He came at the Drules, growling deep in his throat. The Drules laughed loudly as one grabbed the pipe and the other grabbed Sven. Sven struggled but the Drule held him tight, he wasn't going anywhere. He stopped struggling to catch his breath.

***

Unnoticed the Galaxy Garrison officer managed to slip away. He had to get out in the open and flag someone down. If he made fast enough tracks he could get back to Galaxy Garrison and get help. That boy had been brave enough to try and help but he would be no match for those two.

***

Sven slowed his breathing down and forced himself to be calm, this was going to take more than brute strength to get out of this one. He turned his head to look at the Drule that was holding him and forced his voice to be calm.

"Since you don't know me, I'll give you a fair warning. It's not a good idea to squeeze me so hard."

"Why not?"

"I have been known to pass a very toxic gas; anyone standing within a half a mile radius had been known to die a horrible death. They watch themselves slowly dissolve into a puddle of goo. Or, in your case, you'll just dissolve."

Sven's giggle died in his throat as the punches started. He had never felt anything like it in his life. He knees sagged and he felt sure he was going to vomit. He fell to the ground and felt the kicks start. So much for his sharp wit, he should have kept his mouth shut. The only thing he could do now was wait to be killed. It was the only way for him to be silenced, he knew the Drules didn't want anyone to know that they were there and that was the only way to do it.

***

About that moment coming down the sidewalk were Sven's two best friends, Keith and Lance. Lance had known Sven since they were kids starting school but Sven didn't meet Keith until a few years later. But that didn't matter; they were still the best of friends.

Keith and Lance had decided to go for a walk to enjoy the night air after a long hot day. It was the end of summer and school would start soon. They're first year at Galaxy Garrison.

Keith and Lance laughed and carried on with each other. Training for space would be a lot harder than regular school but they hoped they would enjoy it as much as the graduates that had gone before them.

As they passed by this particular alleyway they could hear sounds of a fight. They looked at each other then dove for cover on either side. They, quietly, made their way into the alley. They could see two Drules beating up someone. Lance looked over to Keith and nodded his head; they found weapons in the garbage. A couple of lead pipes like the one Sven had found and used.

They jumped out of their hiding places and ran at the Drules. The Drules, monetarily startled, let Sven fall to the ground. Lance and Keith attacked the Drules with all the force they could muster. The Drules, knowing they would be outnumbered in a matter of minutes if someone else heard the commotion, ran for their lives and managed to get away.

Keith and Lance went over to Sven and helped him to set up. He looked like he had been though a war. He lifted his head to look at his rescuers, his two best friends.

"Thank you." Sven's voice was shaky.

"We've got to get you to the hospital." Keith said but Sven heard no more, he, mercifully, passed out.

***

When Sven opened his eyes, he was in the hospital. Keith and Lance were over in the corner talking quietly to each other. He moaned to let them know he was awake.

They came over and stood by the bed.

"You're pretty lucky," Keith smiled, "nothing's badly damaged. You should be up and moving in a few days. The officer you rescued is eternally grateful. He says he'll put in a good word and recommendation for you in whatever you want to do."

"I want to graduate from Galaxy Garrison Space Academy with the best goddamn marks possible. I want to train for the space missions. I want off this planet as fast as I can get off. I want to leave and never look back. I hate it here and that attack tonight just proved it. I want to rid the Universe of assholes like that. Keep the Universe safe."

Keith and Lance looked at each other and nodded. "Don't worry, if you keep that fire going you're sure to get something in space. Fighter pilots with the kind of fire you have don't come often. You might get a position there." Lance looked serious at Sven for a moment; "do you want me to call your mom and let her know what's going on?"

Sven closed his eyes and turned his head away, "No. It's just me, from now on. I can't go back there. Not right now, I'll get a place on campus for the time being and don't ask me why. I'm not ready to talk about it just yet."

***

Sven opened his eyes, coming back to the present. "That's why I've been so crabby the last little while. I never looked back. I never even dropped a line to say where I was moving to or even if I was still alive after the attack. I don't know what possessed me not to say anything to her. I guess, somewhere, even though I had cooled off I was still mad at her. I thought if I could get away while I was still mad, it would make it right. It didn't and I was wrong. The attack was all over the news so she probably heard that I saved that man but that's all. They never did catch those Drules but they were never seen again.

"I can't believe what a jerk I've been. I can't believe I did that to my own mother. I owe her so much and that's how I repaid her. I could just kill myself, I should never have survived that crash."

"Don't talk like that, Sven. Everyone feels guilt now and then. Get some rest. I'll check back in a bit." Lance left to let Sven get the much-needed rest he deserved.

***

Lance went back to the school library. He felt heartsick. He now knew why Sven was so upset and not able to keep his mind on his work. He was just about to leave again to go find Keith when a man with a package approached him.

"Are you Lance?"

"Yeah."

"I was told that I could leave this with you. It's for Sven but he is unable to receive visitors at the moment, he's resting."

"Yeah, sure, I'll take it." Lance took the package, thanked the guy and closed the door. He looked at the shipping label. It was from right here in the city. He decided to forget finding Keith and take the package directly to Sven. He would be able to see Sven.

***

He sat on the edge of Sven's bed and lightly shook him.

"Sven?"

Sven opened his eyes, "Yeah?"

"This came for you. The messenger wasn't allowed to bring it to you so he delivered it to me. My name is the second name on the shipping label. Whoever sent it assumed that you and I were still friends. The others must have directed him to me."

"Let's see." Sven pushed himself up in the bed slightly and opened it. It was some of his mother's personal belongings. Sven felt a lump welling up in his throat.

There was some of her jewellery, a few books and photo albums. He knew his mother never kept much in the way of personal things and it all seemed to be right here. He picked up a few photos of him and her that had been placed in frames. He would only have been five or six.

"These were Mom's favourite pics."

"What's that?" Lance pointed to something white on the bottom of the box.

Sven picked it up and looked at it. It was a letter addressed to him. He quickly opened it and read it out loud.

Dear Sven,

If you are reading this, I guess, it means that I'm dead. My ticker ain't so good these days. I know you, probably, think I lost track of you after the night we had that big fight but I didn't. Marshall Graham and I had been friends ever since you joined the Academy. I just wanted you to have your space to cool down.

Sven, you are a head strong, stubborn son of a bitch, just like you father and it started to sink in after you left. I knew there was no way to stop you once you got something set in that thick skull of yours. So I gave up trying, I, eventually, grew to understand why you wanted to go your love of space was as strong as your father's and I couldn't fight that.

So, I just want to say how proud I am of you and that I love you. I never stopped loving you. You are my son and nothing is ever going to change that, I was just scared that I would outlive my only child.

Sven, I love you and I forgive you for everything. I am so proud of you I could just burst. I didn't leave you any physical things in my will because I know that you aren't one for material things. I packed a lot of your stuff away because it hurt to look at your picture and not have you by my side.

Most took it for granted I had no children but my closest friends knew that's why you have this box in front of you right now. But always remember this no matter where you go or what you do- I love you and that is all that matters.

So, I leave you this to remember me by, I leave you all my love and affection. I leave you the sense of how proud I am of you and I want you to be the best in everything that you do. I will be in your heart forever as you will be in mine.

Love forever,
Mom

Tears streaked Sven's face as he read the letter over and over.

"She knew, Lance, she knew."

"Yeah, she did. I'll let you be to get some rest."

Sven nodded and set the box on the table beside the bed. He clutched the note tightly in his hand as he drifted into a peaceful sleep. Somewhere in the back of his mind he could faintly hear his mother's voice.

"I love you, Sven, and I'll always be proud of you. Don't ever forget that."

Sven smiled in his sleep, he would never forget. Until he met her again the next life he would, always, remember his mother's love and be proud.


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