Story Fourteen - Forgotten
Lotor was relaxing in his father's office. He loved spending time with him, even if he worked a lot. He found it strange that Kolivan was working on his data pad before he sighed. Lotor made a questioning sound that made Kolivan's head shoot up. "What is it, kit?"
"Are you all right, Dad?"
"Yes, just I'm going to have to go to a nearby base. From everything I heard, it's going to take about a movement, including travel time."
Lotor stared at his father in desperation. He had to leave? He remembered how Regris acted the previous deca-phoebe when Antok had left for two movements. He didn't want to act like that. He was very close to his mother and to Keith. As long as he had them, he would be okay until his father returned. Lotor took a deep steadying breath. "Okay. I will wait for your return."
Kolivan drew closer to his kit, rumbling to him. Lotor nuzzled him, who was purring. "You will truly be okay?"
Kolivan nosed his headfur and guided him back to the familial nest, where Krolia was waiting. She apparently had a sixth sense as to when one of her kits was going to need her. "Whenever you're ready, kit. I'm here for you."
Lotor stayed in Kolivan's arms a little longer, enjoying the feeling of his father's arms around him. He nuzzled Kolivan again, purring. Kolivan nosed Lotor's headfur again, rumbling to him in response. "I love you, my kit."
"I love you, too, Dad."
"I have to go, kit."
Lotor gave an extra tight squeeze before releasing him and climbing into the nest. Krolia opened her arms, and Lotor tucked himself under her chin. He closed his eyes so he wouldn't see when Kolivan left.
Krolia stroked Lotor's headfur as she watched Kolivan walk out of the nest room, him feeling a little guilty for forcing his kit to leave his arms. Krolia purred to him, hoping that this wasn't going to end up like the last time one of the Dads went on a long mission.
Lotor approached his brothers and asked, "Do you want to play?"
"Sure." Regris grinned.
Keith shrugged. "I guess."
"What's wrong, Keith?"
Keith shrugged in response to Regris's question.
"That's not an answer, Keith," Lotor gently reminded him.
"I just...I miss Kolivan. I didn't get to see him before he left. He just left." Tears slipped down Keith's cheeks.
Regris understood a little of how Keith felt. He knew if Antok had left without saying good-bye, he would have been in a worse state. He approached his youngest brother and picked him up. He carried him to the nest, where their mom was. When they entered the nest, Lotor rushed ahead. "Mom, there's an issue."
"What's wrong, my kit?" Krolia asked, reaching for him.
Lotor reeled back. "It's not me! It's Keith!"
"Keith?" Krolia looked up as Regris carried a quietly crying Keith into the nest. She reached out and slipped him out of his brother's grasp, pulling him into her lap. Keith tucked himself under her chin. "Oh, kit. What happened?"
"K-Kolivan left w-without s-s-saying bye," Keith stammered. "I didn't see him at all!"
Krolia cooed to the youngest kit. "Oh, kit. He was worried about the issues on the other base. He didn't intend on causing you distress."
"He forgot about me?" Keith's lower lip trembled.
Krolia hugged Keith tightly. She was going to have a long talk with Kolivan, but right now, she had a kit to comfort.
"Krolia, what's the matter?"
"You neglected to say good-bye to one of the kits." Krolia growled.
Kolivan blinked, and one of his ears flicked. His ears usually didn't move unless he was confused or amused. He was clearly confused, which made Krolia want to hiss at him. She was so glad she had Keith stay in the nest, cuddling with his twin. "Who?"
Krolia hissed, startling Kolivan. "Keith! You forgot to say good-bye to Keith! You didn't even see him before you left! He thinks you forgot about him!"
Kolivan's ears drooped. He had been so focused on making sure Lotor wasn't going to go catatonic that he completely forgot to bid good-bye to the other kit that was close to him. "Is he okay? Should I come back early?"
"He's okay for the moment. He's cuddling with Acxa right now. As for coming back, you need to make that decision on your own. Me telling you what to do won't do any good for Keith. You need to show him that you love him as much as Lotor." Krolia terminated the link. She sighed. She couldn't believe Kolivan had actually forgotten about Keith. She just hoped he would be able to make it up to Keith.
Kolivan bade the major in charge of the base farewell. He told him there was an issue at headquarters that required his attention. However, he didn't immediately go back to the base. He made a quick stop at the space mall. He needed to pick up something special for Keith. He looked mostly human. Maybe something from the Earth store?
Kolivan entered the nest a quintant later, with a wrapped package in his claws. Keith was curled around his twin, and Krolia was curled around his back. He sat down near Keith's head and laid the package to the side. He leaned over and gently nuzzled the longer strands of his hair, breathing in his scent. He was pleased to note that he couldn't smell any distress on the kit. He looked around the nest and saw all five of their kits were napping with Krolia. He carefully shuffled over to where Lotor was and nuzzled his kit, who cracked an eye at the affection and purred when he saw his father had returned.
"Go back to sleep, kit. I'm home," Kolivan whispered. Lotor closed his eye and did as his father suggested.
Kolivan moved back over to where Keith was and ran his claws through Keith's hair. He couldn't believe he hadn't said farewell to the precious kit who had taken such a shine to him as soon as his mother was willing to let him out of her sight. He never wanted to cause any kit distress, especially not the two closest to him.
A sleepy chirp shook him out of his reverie. He looked down and saw Keith blinking his eyes slowly at him. The kit was so tired that it didn't register that Kolivan was back. Kolivan purred to the kit. Keith's eyes shot open when he heard Kolivan's distinctive purr. It was a soothing mid-range purr that immediately put Keith at ease. He carefully extracted himself from his sister's and mom's embraces and threw himself at Kolivan, tiny whimpers escaping him.
Kolivan pulled Keith fully onto his lap and started nuzzling the kit. "I'm so sorry, Keith. I never thought I meant that much to you."
"You have always meant a lot to me!"
"I'm glad to hear that. I have something for you." Kolivan smiled as he put the package in Keith's hands. As Keith unwrapped it, Kolivan said, "It's going to be big on you now, but you'll grow into it."
Keith pulled out a red and white crop jacket. He purred and immediately put it on. Kolivan was right. The sleeves swallowed his arms, the collar went up to his ears, and the bottom of the jacket rested on his thighs. The yellow stripe, which was supposed to go across his chest, went across his waist. "Thank you, Kolivan! I love it! I love you!"
"I love you, too." Kolivan hugged the youngest kit in their pack, silently vowing to never let him feel forgotten ever again.