the medic (keith x reader)
17k. something weird’s going on with keith, like alien weird. as the team medic, you’re concerned.
he is avoiding me,” you muse aloud, grabbing one of the pink alien food
biscuits that were Hank’s latest experiment. Though it had been hours
since Voltron had taken out the Galra Empire’s presence on this Balmera,
you’d only just seen the last of your patients. Altean medical
equipment did wonders.
After a battle, you were hardly surprised
to find Hank in the kitchen, grounding himself as he cooked. You were
surprised to run into Keith.
“Yeah,” Hank nods, “Probably trying to avoid another dental exam.”
flush bright red, “His teeth fell out! Sorry for being concerned.”
Between you and Lance, you’d managed to get a look at Keith. A fist
fight with some alien species that was cooperating with the Galra had
not gone Keith’s way, knocking out two of his teeth.
predictably, had waved it off and accepted Keith’s insane explanation
that his teeth would grow back on their own without question: given his
hand waving of the red paladin’s eyes glowing slightly in the dark, more
than any human’s should (human eyes didn’t glow at all!). Hindsight was
The yellow paladin shrugs as he mixes orange noodle-esque things in a bowl.
Team Voltron was full of strong personalities. Add in Lotor and his friends dropping in, there was always something going on.
just wanted to unwind from spending the past few hours destroying heavy
duty mining equipment without hurting the planet. “So how are the
You chew on one, still bothered by Keith. Maybe Hank
was right and he was trying to hide something from your keen gaze. You
hoped not. Knowing the red paladin, and after two years in space, you
certainly did, he’d rather suffer in silence until there was no other
option than get medical attention. Back on earth with needles and
scalpels, you understood, but in the Castle of Lions…
like a rice cracker,” you tell Hank helpfully. “In a good got snacks at
H-Mart way, not the sad quaker oats rice snacks.”
“Oh H-Mart,” Hunk smiles, “they don’t have those in space. They do have salt though. Found that at the last market we went to.”
long as alien food doesn’t poison us,” you comment. It was lucky that
hadn’t happened. It was alien food. But not one negative reaction which
either made humans some of the most hardy species or you were just
“Yeah,” Hunk chuckles, “I’ve gotten pretty good at
recognizing what’s edible and not. I know Pidge said there’s some books,
but my Altean is pretty bad.”
“Languages are hard.”
“Wish there was a space version of google translate.”
genius!” You look at the yellow paladin, wondering how a universe with
speech translators never thought to do the same for written language.
“I know,” Hunk smiles while popping another tray into the oven.
finishes painting your toenails. It was a rare day when there were no
space battles or rebel meetings. “Pidge,” the blue paladin whines, “let
me paint your-”
“Don’t even think about it!”
“It’s supposed to be team bonding night,” Lance counters.
“Lance,” Allaura frowns from where she’s sitting with Shiro, “the castle’s night cycle has not started.”
“Well we can change it,” he counters, “there’s no up or down in space. OR day or night.”
can paint my nails,” Hunk offers. “Won’t last long though between the
cooking and the vents I’ve been cleaning. This is a 10,000 year old
castle. No offence,” he glances at Allura.
“No offence at all.
The battles have taken their toll and I’m sure Coran appreciates the
help. He is only one man.” She lets out a sigh. The only other remaining
Altean was a bittersweet subject for her.
Hunk kicks off his shoes. “My pleasure. Literally. This Castle is so cool. The artificial gravity alone!”
watch the paint dry on your toes. Only your big toes had actual
drawings on them, strange alien creatures you’d all encountered over
your time in space. The others were clear with green and blue swirls.
“You’re a good artist Lance.”
The blue paladin winks, “I’m a regular old Michaelangelo.”
You laugh, “of course you are.”
“And I’m not just good with a brush,” he wiggles his eyebrows, more boyish flirting than anything serious.
You roll your eyes.
Pidge throws a cushion at Lance. “Oh please like you’ve got past the first date!”
“I have! Vivian Tran from Calculus.”
“Can you focus on my nails,” Hunk asks, but Lance is busy waving the thin brush in hand as he argues with Pidge.
“And Atticus from Cantonese.”
“Didn’t you drop that class,” Hank asks.
“Well, the hindi teacher was way nicer and didn’t hate me. I was good at drawing the characters though.”
“Can you speak hindi,” you ask, having taken French for your language fulfillment.
“Eh-” Lance shrugs.
“Can you flirt in Hindi is the real question,” you ask with a grin.
“He can’t even flirt in English,” Pidge points out scathingly.
“My nails Lance,” Hunk grumbles.
“Right. Right,” Lance focuses back on his task, going with a yellow that matches Shay. “What language did you take Shiro?”
“How many dialects does Earth have,” Allura asks.
lot,” Shiro tells the alien princess. “The Garrison pushes being
multilingual in its program. Most cadets were already bilingual to start
with, generally covering major languages.”
“Got bored of the training room,” Pidge asks Keith as he walks in, flopping down on an empty sofa.
“It timed out.”
“Sure,” Lance immediately starts, a dog with a bone, “not like you couldn’t beat it or anything.”
can’t even get past level 9!” Keith growls back, sitting up with a
jolt, skin still slick from sweat and his cheeks were flushed with
Lance gets up, puffing out his chest. Oh boy, here they
go again. The rivalry thing they had going on got old fast to everyone
around them. While it did push them to be better paladins, it was
annoying to hear. “Oh like you’re any better.”
Hunk takes the brush from Lance, finishing off his last toe on his own.
“I am,” Keith bites back, a growl still audible from his chest.
“Only because you cheat!”
“It’s not cheating!”
is it not-” Lance stops, furrows his brow, then grins. “You got a
little something there.” And like a thirteen year old, Lance points and
Keith frowns, his hand coming up to his cheek.
Sure enough, Lance was right. Keith had a couple of angry red blemishes on his cheek.
have adult acne,” Lance giggles, immature as ever. He was always able
to find an angle to everything. It was what made him such an excellent
“It’s not adult acne!” Keith scowls, scratching at the blemishes.
“Its been three years,” Lance retorts smugly.
frown. “No. It’s been like two.” You look over at Pidge to confirm,
“Right?” You were like ninety percent sure you were twenty.
“Two and a half,” Pidge answers.
“Ha! You’re twenty! Adult-”
“I don’t have adult acne!”
They’d fought over more meaningless things before.
it was two and a half years, maybe you were twenty one? You frown. How
old would you be before you ever saw your family again?
that depressing thought away, you focus on Keith and the red marks on
his cheek like a line coming down to his jaw. “It could be a rash,” you
utter thoughtfully. Pidge and you had already encountered a very itchy
plant before. “Or space ringworm-ring line?”
For the first time in days, Keith looks at you, meeting your gaze. “It’s not a rash!”
lift your hands up, “okay. Okay. Geez.” When it came to Keith, you
didn’t push too hard. He was too stubborn for it to work.
Lance, however, “hey, it’s okay Keith-buddy, just use toothpaste.”
“Toothpaste makes it worse,” Hunk counters. “Not great for your skin either.”
“It always worked for me,” Lance counters. “Or a clay skin mask.”
“Clay? You mean that green mud,” Keith clarifies.
“Clay would work,” you agree with Lance. “Hey it could be like a spa day!”
“I could go for a spa,” Hunk nods.
Pidge shakes her head, “right. I’m going to try and see if I can get a signal back home.”
Shiro looks over at you, “do you really think it could be something serious?”
You shrug. “No clue.”
Keith huffs, “Just drop it,” he states dramatically, headed for the door. He was over being the center of attention.
“So face masks?”
You nod, “want to try it Allura?”
“I would love to try the clay mask,” she smiles brightly.
Te-Osh’s rebels had sent for Voltron, less fighting than rebuilding.
you were no paladin, you had spent the majority of the day helping
Allura take stock and synthesizing medicine, everything from serums to
numbing gels. Just your luck the machine had overheated and given out on
the last batch. It was a pretty large machine.
You stick your
head inside, waving off the smoke. With your nails, you pry open the
hutch and take stock. You were no Pidge or Hunk, still unsure how the
thing even worked, but it was clear it needed a new regulator and
starter. “Plenty of those lying around,” you utter, scrunching your face
at the awful burnt hair smell. Your finger finds the ventilator button
on your wrist controls, and there-the smell gets sucked out of the
“Is this a bad time,” Keith asks behind you.
you bang your head on the mental. “Keith,” flushing hotly when you look
back and realize you were ass up in front of him.
He doesn’t even notice, grimacing, hand rubbing his nose bridge.
“What’s wrong?” You hurry to wash your hands.
Keith sits down at one of the medbay tables. “My skull feels like it’s being cracked open,” he explains flatly.
look him over closely, standing right in front of him. “Where exactly,”
you ask, frowning when you notice the blemishes had grown to a full
blown rash, hot angry skin peeling and cracking like twin marks down his
cheeks. You should have pressed. What if it was a parasite? Keith was
It was easily forgotten given how human he looked.
Sure, the signs were there: his unhuman night vision, more strength than
he should have, good ears and nose, nails that had torn through metal,
but it all faded into the background.
“Does it itch,” you ask, raising your hand, fingertips hovering over the marks on his cheeks.
“Yes,” Keith nods, averting his eyes from your gaze, “mostly it’s hot. And my sinuses…all the way down to my neck. Hurt.”
you turn, reaching for the medical scanner. There was no way you could
ever go back to being a medical officer at the galaxy garrison. Earth’s
technology was ancient in comparison. “Hold still.”
“Alright,” he says seriously. Keith holds his breath.
You look up at him, in his violet eyes, and smile before laughing. “Keith!”
said to hold still,” he points out sincerely, before the corners of his
lips turn up. Keith was an expressive guy, his smile lit up his entire
being, a lightness in his eyes that made you smile wider.
“Let’s try this again,” you giggle, clicking the scanner and aiming right at his rash first. “Pew.”
He rolls his eyes, snorting. “You too?”
“Mine’s the only right one,” you wink, then look over the reading.
“Not even close.” He scratches at his cheek listlessly.
Whatever reason he had for avoiding you had worked itself out. You’d missed his company.
yeah,” you challenge, “then what’s the sound?” The readings came up
clear. Keith was in perfect health. So not a parasite…space allergies?
Those wouldn’t come up on the scanner.
“What is it,” Keith asks, noticing your pensive expression.
“How’s your sense of smell? Stuffy nose?”
He looks up, then takes a deep breath, “now that you mention it…I can’t smell your soap anymore.”
“What?” This was news to you. “You can smell my soap?”
whatever planet we’ve been on,” Keith fidgets, blushing as he ducks his
head, bangs falling over his eyes, “the soil. It’s all different. But I
can’t right now.”
That was worrying. But if the scanner said
nothing was wrong…you had to wait and see. It might clear up on its own.
You’d give it a day or two.
“Nothing came up on the scanner,”
you tell him, “so it should go away on its own. It might just be
allergic to something out here.”
He nods, accepting your diagnosis.
“Let me get the medicine.”
pass him a tube of gel and add that to the list of medication you need
to synthesize once you fix the machine. Then grab a weekly supply of
pain tabs. “Here.”
Keith pops one in immediately.
“Let me know if it doesn’t clear up in two days,” you tell him.
“Eh, I can always set Lance on you again,” you snort. Shiro was a pushover when it came to Keith. He was no help.
Keith laughs, looking a little more himself. “I could take him.”
“You could,” you agree, “but don’t tell him I said that.”
He tilts his head, smiling. “Coming? Shay got food for us.”
“I’ve got to fix this machine first.”
“Might ask Hunk or Coran,” you admit.
“No,” you cut him off, placing your hand on his shoulder, “go eat and rest. That’s an order.”
leans into you. “Are you going to write me a doctor’s note too,” he
asks, his delivery always so earnest you had to do a double take to
figure out if he was joking or not.
“If I have too,” you stick your nose in the air. “I’ll even send one to Zarkon.”
Keith laughs easily. “Why didn’t Lotor think of that.”
You snort. “I’m going to check your lymph nodes,” you tell him, taking a step towards him again. “That okay?”
Keith tilts his head back, “Go for it.”
“Wow,” you chuckle, “who are you and what did you do with Keith Kogane.” You brush his hair out of his face.
when you broke your arm,” you point out, gently pressing your fingers
over the side of his throat, feeling the swelled bean shaped lymph nodes
under his ears, behind his jaw. “And said nothing for like a week?” It
had been your first year at the Galaxy Garrison.
“It was only a sprain,” Keith grumbles.
You laugh, “I’m glad you asked for help.” Because this was still Keith
and you didn’t want him to think you were laughing at him.
“Mm,” he closes his eyes as you trail your fingers lower, making sure it wasn’t too bad.
The fact they were inflamed at all worried you. You had no clue what was the space equivalent of antihistamines.
breath tickles your shoulder, deepening and evening out like he’d
finally relaxed. That was most of your patients once you gave them
answers and they knew they’d be getting care and treatment. You liked
You pull your fingers back, ever the consummate
professional. It was like the ghost of your garrison advisor was
hovering over your shoulder. “They’re not too swollen if you can still
eat. Can you still chew?”
Keith opens his eyes. His expression is glazed and feverish.
“Keith,” you utter, worried.
“Yeah?” His gaze is heavy as it meets yours.
Your skin warms up because he wouldn’t stop looking at you like that.
“Any jaw pain,” you ask, focusing on the task at hand. You bring your hand up to his forehead. He was warm.
Keith leans into your touch, “no.”
You bite your lip. Could it be some weird galra thing? Wouldn’t it have
come up? You feel your own forehead. He was for sure warmer.
You were going to have to corner Coran about it.
Keith lets his eyes fall shut again and honest to god purrs, leaning into you.
Add cornering Lotor to your list.
don’t pull away, figuring it was harmless. Lance, Hunk, and Allura were
more prone to random hugs. You were more than happy to indulge Keith as
well. He already wasn’t feeling well.
You wrap your arms around
the red paladin’s shoulders, hugging him, “I’m looking forward to a
break from Coran’s post mission food goo once I get done with the
He was completely out of it.
His breath tickles your cheek.
I’m not sure there’ll be any left if I don’t go there? Maybe I should
grab a plate and then come back here,” you ramble. Keith had never
sought you out for comfort. It was touching that he trusted you now.
You’d been friends with the others before, with Keith and Shiro and the
Alteans, you had skipped right over friendship and gone right to
You look behind you.
Te-Osh takes a step back, “forgive my intrusion. I was unaware-”
snaps out of whatever was going on with him. Bolting off the exam
table. “It’s fine. We’re done here.” He hunches his shoulders and
beelines for the door.
You frown, still processing.
“I can come back,” Te-Osh tells you, glancing between you and the door Keith had just escaped through.
You shrug. “No. I’ve got time. What do you need?”
“If you’re sure?”
Nodding, you smile, “yeah, what can I help you with?”
is where we will focus the blunt of the attack on. Keith, Lance, engage
the fighters. Hunk,” Shiro explains, “you’ll be with me taking out the
communications towers. We want to keep the damage to the minimum. The
resistance leaders want the factory intact. Pidge-”
Pidge waves the Black Paladin off, “I’ve got the code written.”
“It really does come in handy,” Lance observes, “all those vents are Pidge size.”
green paladin grumbles, “easy for you to say when you’re not the one
crawling around in there. It’s not your knees getting banging up.”
“Well the galra are all like nine feet tall,” Hunk points out, “the vents probably aren’t that small from their perspective.”
Lance unsubtly glances over at Keith.
rash had cleared up, but not before spreading. In its place were two
purple slash marks running from his cheek to jaw, galra markings. No one
You were just glad it wasn’t some weird space parasite.
Her brother ruffles her hair, “Pidge sized! A micro pidge,” Matt jokes to himself.
She smacks his hand away, “five feet is a perfectly reasonable size.’
“She could still have a growth spurt,” you add, though it was highly unlikely.
“No,” Matt’s eyes go comically wide as he hugs his sister, “not my hobbit,” relishing in her embarrassment.
summation,” Allura calls you all back to attention, “the paladins will
take out Galra forces and Pidge will open the weapons factory up to
Vexuin rebels to take over. I will be manning the Castle to ensure no
fighters target the work camps and coordinating communications with the
rebels.” She turns to look at you, “Matt and you will take down the
sentries, freeing the people from the work camps.”
Everyone looks over at Keith. The horror on his face is easy to read.
What had brought this on?
Shiro clears his throat.
Keith ducks his head, letting his bangs obscure his features.
“Why not,” Pidge asks grumpily, time was running out. You were all just ironing out the details, “your plans suck.”
“Pidge,” Shiro chastises.
The green paladin was right.
fought the same way you played video games, caring about nothing but
reducing the enemies stats to zero. He’d gotten great at teamwork, but
he was hardly a strategist.
“Keith,” Allura asks, “do you have any legitimate reasons why Matt should go on his own?” And when she phrased it like that…
The red paladin crosses his arms over his shoulders.
Pidge taps her foot on the floor.
“Okay then,” Shiro takes over, “let’s get to our lions.”
Come in earthlings!,” Coran chimes in over the system, “remember this
planet’s atmosphere is toxic to breath, too much sulfur in the air, not
to mention the heat will give you all a taste of the slipperies. And
worse! So keep those space suits on Vol-”
“-Tron,” Lance grins back, having taken a liking to having a kooky space alien uncle.
lock your helmet in place as Matt pilots the pod towards the work
camps. They were just as grim as the first time you’d seen them. It was
the same all over in many of the Empire’s work planets. They were at the
bottom of the totem pole. There were some planets where the native
species and Galra coexisted more or less peacefully, this was not one of
“So what’s up with Keith,” Matt asks you.
shrug. “No clue. I keep waiting for Lotor or one of the Blades to drop
in so I can corner them but he’s a picture of perfect health so I’m not
“But the,” he takes a hand off the wheel, motioning to his face.
frown, arching a brow. You’d never looked at Allura quite the same
after the way she had treated Keith upon learning about his heritage.
It’s not like he’d been a completely different person, she’d known him
for over a year.
Matt might be Pidge’s brother, but you weren’t
about to let anyone get away with giving someone you loved shit.
Especially not Keith who would just silently take it.
It made your chest ache, thinking about how sweet he looked when he smiled. He didn’t deserve any of it.
“What about it?” You stare back at him cooly.
focuses back on landing the pod just beyond the sentires line of sight.
“Nothing. Pidge figured it was nothing, didn’t even seem curious. I
figured you might know, you two are pretty close.” He glances over at
“We’ve known eachother since the garrison,”
though you hadn’t really been friends. Keith had been kind of a loner.
You’d tried to include him, having shared a couple classes with him here
and there, but he’d never taken you up on any offer.
doesn’t sound all that convinced. “Glad to hear it’s all good. I caught
the sneazles while in the work camp,” Matt makes a face.
“It was horrible! But also like an episode of spongebob somehow?”
is weird.” You had way bigger problems and had seen stranger things by
now. For fucks sake, you were saving dragon looking aliens from the
Galra right now. This planet was like a silent hill game!
fog obscured the rocky landscape. Even from within your suit you could
smell the stench of rotten eggs. Yet this was home to the Vexuin.
Shiro gives the signal.
take the safety off the taser gun Pidge had built for you. Anything
pilfered off the Galra was too large for your small stature, just a hair
shorter than Keith. The gun packed a punch, with enough voltage to take
out the robots.
Matt and you get to work.
“Almost got it,” Matt mutters as you take aim and shoot.
Stupid damn biolocks.
the fuck up,” you tell him, dodging a shot from another sentry before
frying it with your own weapon. One shot, one sentry. You needed to take
them down before they got close. The robots were durable and strong.
You knew better than to think you could go hand to hand with one, you
were a medic not a fighter.
“I am, I am,” Matt insists. “Ah there,” he grabs a taser flash bomb out of his pocket and tosses inside the sentry outpost.
You shoot again, trying to keep your hands steady. It was easy when it was just programmed machines. Nothing to feel bad about.
and you rush inside, stepping over more fried sentries. You take
position at the entrance, gunning down anything that makes its way
towards the two of you.
“You in,” you ask him.
young apprentice,” Matt says, laughing at his own joke, “it’ll take a
moment for my worm to work its way through the software and give me
The ground shakes as the main part of the
battle takes place outside, at a monsterous factory that’s gray, chimney
shooting out smoke. You can only see hints of lions shooting and Galra
fighter ships lighting up the sky.
The sulfuric fog coats everything.
You taste rotten eggs on your breath.
Inside your suit, sweat runs down your back.
“Okay,” Matt chimes into the coms, “I’ve hacked the camps. Ready to open the gates.”
The rolling low grutal voices of the Vexuin rebel leaders fill your coms, “Good.”
“Go ahead Matt,” Allura gives the order, “Voltron?”
answers, “dropping in, should override their” static, “ticks.” Then an
explosion reverberates in your ear where the communications device is.
“Pidge,” Keith yells out.
“Keith cover Lance,” Shiro grunts out, blasts audible from here. “Pidge?”
Matt’s face goes ghostly white.
“Pidge, come in Pidge?” Allura asks. “Paladins? Are you able to reach Pidge?”
“Negative,” Shiro replies, “Hunk, take the main gate! Time to land.”
“Guys,” Lance yells, “the shield’s down. Pidge hacked them.”
“Keith,” Shiro yells, “wait!”
decide to hope for the best. There was nothing you could do for any of
the paladins all the way from here. “Turn it off,” you tell Matt.
He steals himself. “Right.”
lights of the compound go out. Sentries power down where they stand,
puppets with their strings cut. Locks disengage, and for the first time
in decades, the Vexuin are free to leave the barracks free from Galra
You and Matt go out to meet them.
get used to this,” Pidge calls out as everyone meets on the planet’s
surface. Rebels come in from the forest slowly, making sure this is for
real, before sniffing the air and calling out to their loved ones
lingering around the liberated camp complex. Their vision worked in the
infrared, all the better to see on this planet. You’d need at least
three showers to get the smell out of your hair.
Keith carries Pidge, careful not to jolt the youngest member of Voltron. She holds a leg stiffly, a sprain or fracture.
Matt rushes to his sister, “Katie!”
She waves him off, “I’m fine.” Then snaps her fingers, “Down.”
There’s a small smile on Keith’s mouth as he places her down on the ground gently.
Lance comes up behind Keith, ruffling his hair, and being every bit himself as he comments with a smirk, “good boy.”
shorter paladin smacks Lance’s hand away, but it’s too late, Lance is
already smothering Keith in a hug that turns into a competition, like
always with those two. Keith shoves at Lance’s face while Lance tightens
his grip on Keith.
Shiro clears his throat, “paladins.”
“A dobesh in the pod,” you ask Pidge as Matt gets his turn to fuss over her.
Landed right as an explosion went off,” Pidge frowns. “Not my best
moment, but my program still did it’s job and,” she pats her bayard, “I
took them out.”
“Can’t be that bad if you can stand,” you agree.
Nothing serious but you’d be keeping an eye on her all the same. The
faster she got into the pod and took weight off her injury the better.
You didn’t want to exacerbate the sprain.
“The jet pack helped,” Pidge points out.
“Lucky you,” you grin.
and Allura are consummate professionals as they go over the last of the
logistics with the Vexuin, “It would be wise to stay until your people
have situated themselves in case the Galra Empire retaliates,” Allura
states, ending her sentiment in a question, “but it is ultimately up to
The Vexuin chatter among themselves for a moment before one
speaks up, “we would not turn down Voltron’s help. A few quintants
should be enough time.”
“Then we will make ourselves of service to you,” Shiro nods. “Please, let us know anything we can help with.”
A red scaled one smiles, showing off her many sharp and jagged teeth, “our people long to see the camp destroyed.”
Hunk offers, “I could help rig a controlled explosion.”
system inside the weapons factory is down,” Pidge tells them, “but I
can reprogram it to keep the Galra out so that you can decide what to do
with the place.”
“Oh no you don’t,” you cut in, “Matt can take care of that. You’re going in a pod first.”
“Pod person,” Matt mutters under his breath with a snort.
“Then let us get to work,” Allura dismisses everyone.
Pidge tries to take a step, and almost falls over.
You grab her.
Her face goes crimson from the pain.
The adrenalin must have been keeping the bulk of the pain away.
Keith picks her up.
not until you’ve loaded Pidge in for three vargas that you pull off
your helmet, savoring the crisp clean air of the Castleship.
“I can still smell the sulfur,” you comment, wrinkling your nose.
Keith shakes his hair out.
You look at him thoughtfully, “must be worse for you though.”
“Why,” he asks, genuinely puzzled.
your nose,” you point out, then frown, “your sinuses did clear up
yeah?” He never said anything about it so you figured they had and he
could smell fine again, but you weren’t sure.
“Oh. Yeah. They did.”
smile fondly, “very convincing Keith,” you tell him, reaching out to
him. He lets you run your fingers right under his ears, behind his jaw.
Everything was in order.
A knot of anxiety dissolves in your chest.
“Well,” he asks, “satisfied?”
“Mhm.” You look at the purple markings on his skin.
Keith’s breath hitches. His gaze is trained on you, watching carefully.
if not rotten eggs,” you ask, slowly bringing your fingertips over the
marks on the sides of his face, giving him every opportunity to pull
away, “what do you smell?” You couldn’t help it. It was that scientific
curiosity. Everyone at the garrison had ended up there because they were
nerdy in some way: devoting themselves to some STEM field while other
kids were watching cartoons. You’d had a stutter as a kid, self
conscious about it too, so instead of trying to make friends you read
your textbooks under your desk, racing ahead.
Keith’s eyes meet
yours. There’s a level of vulnerability in his gaze that worms its way
into your chest and all of a sudden you’re incredibly aware of how close
you two are, the lack of space between your bodies, your fingers
caressing his skin.
You look away, focusing on the marks. They
were purple, which was obvious. His skin itself had grown purple,
“Like wet soil,” Keith explains finally,
“when they just added fertilizer.” You wince, remembering the smell of
the horticulture center wafting through the garrison’s campus during the
spring. “And garlic.”
“I like garlic. I’d kill for some,” you
tell him, sounding very much like Hank. You hadn’t expected to be
homesick for food. “Best food they served at the cafeteria.”
“That’s not saying much,” Keith mutters, amused.
You chuckle, pulling your hands away from his face.
leans forward, asking for physical comfort in a very Keith way:
unsubtle and wordlessly, putting the onus on you to get the hint.
Pidge must have freaked him out more than he was willing to discuss.
wrap your arms around his waist, hugging Keith. “Pidge’ll be fine.”
Sure, she was younger and short, but she was more than capable of
handling herself. “I’m more concerned about how she left the other
guys,” you comment lightly resting your chin on Keith’s shoulder.
His shoulders shake as he laughs easily. “They asked to surrender to her personally.”
“That’s Pidge all right.” You glance over at the pod. She’d be back on her feet in no time.
breath against your skin feels nice. Your heart flutters in your chest
and you find yourself blushing and pulling away, thoughts racing as you
realize just how much you liked this boy. You pull away, unsure what to
do and suddenly finding it too awkward to be around him at all.
start of a whine escapes his throat before he smothers it, looking
away, as he lets his bangs fall over his eyes, effectively hiding his
easy to read features.
“Let’s go help the others,” you say,
fumbling to grab a med kit and click your helmet back in place, your
face too warm and it must be obvious. You didn’t want to make things
weird. You didn’t. But-
“I’m going to stay here until Pidge wakes up,” Keith tells you.
Okay.” You nod. “That’s a great idea. It’s always confusing as hell to
get out of the pods.” It was akin to waking up from a midday nap:
completely confused and exhausted instead of rested.
would be more useful with the Vexuim than fussing over Pidge at the
moment. And having something to do would keep your mind off Keith.
know,” Lance comments, sliding up to you as you watch Lotor strut away
from you after another failed attempt to talk to him. “If we bottled up
whatever galra repellant you have going on, we could defeat Zarkon with
You look over at Lance, trying to suppress a smile. “What would you call it?”
“That’s-that’s actually pretty great,” you tell Lance.
“I know,” he grins. Then the latino boy sobers up, “trying to find out what’s going on with mullet?”
You nod. “I even tried to corner Acxa,” you admit. For an eight foot tall purple alien, boy could she make herself scarce.
Lance’s eyes widened in delight, “like could and should peg me Acxa?”
You groan. “Lance, sometimes it’s okay to keep things to yourself.”
“I’m just saying,” he laughs, “the ship’s not that big…”
“It’s designed for six thousand people.” You’d learned that fun tidbit while practicing your Altean with Pidge.
“Like for real!”
“Ay dios mio,” Lance utters, “you’re screwed.”
You finally hit the motherlode.
and his generals are in a stately room that reminds you of the socratic
lecture halls at the garrison, sofa arranged in a half circle, with
Shiro and Allura. The former Prince had shown up for a reason beyond
making a nuisance of himself. Allura looks at her wits end with him, as
he smiles like a douche, her eye twitching.
She invites you in without hesitation, “take a seat next to me,” and effectively uses you as a human shield against Lotor.
Literally since you and Shiro were the only humans here.
has been thoroughly discussed,” Lotor comments dryly, snubbing you once
more. Normally, you wouldn’t have cared but you were trying to get
information out of the man. “Unless either of you have further
Shiro hums, rubbing his chin, “I know saddling you
with a rebel ship or two will slow you down but I don’t see another way
around it. A display of size on their part will go a long way to show it
is an alliance and not the Galra Empire hy another name.”
nods, a small smile on her lips as she looks over at Shiro, “The black
paladin is right. It will be a steep hill to climb to show that you are
not the Galra Empire. Their fears would be alleviated with the presence
of the rebel alliance.”
Zethrid sucks in a sharp breath, “So that’s it then. We will always be scorned and merely tolerated.”
Shiro sighs with a look of gentle understanding at the muscular woman,
“they need time. You can’t erase 10,000 years of history. It is hard to
extend trust after being imprisoned and enslaved.”
has started coordinating with you and the Blade directly have they not,”
Allura asks stiltedly. It was by the necessity of time that they had
stopped going through Voltron first. Lotor might be too smug for his own
good, but his team was effective at sabotaging warships and
infiltrating Galra ranks to liberate prisons and cities, enough to turn
the tide for the rebels.
Her feelings towards Lotor and the Blade were still tinged with suspicion, her treatment of them lukewarm at best.
Still, Lotor brushed it off and continued to help. “Well then, Princess, Shiro, we have a long journey ahead of us.”
They shake hands.
You stand up, ready to corner Lotor.
“But first a word Shiro, it is a private matter.”
“Yeah, sure,” Shiro leads Lotor away.
Your eye twitches.
and Narti walk purposefully away as Allura pushes in her chair,
ignoring the last two of Lotor’s team. “Princess,” Acxa, tries. “Until
next time.” She nods at you, “stay safe.”
Allura gives the woman a strained smile, hooking her arm with yours. Human shield.
“You too,” you tell her. She doesn’t wait, already halfway out the door. You sigh.
giggles, by far the friendliest and easiest to get along with of
Lotor’s team. “Stashing food and water will cut down the embarrassment
“Oh,” she shrugs, “I guess Lotor was right. Darn it! Now I owe him one hundred GAC.”
But she scurries off.
you kick the wall, tired of everyone being weird. The usual frustration
with being caught up in a space war was just the salt on the wound.
Your toe throbs, “fuck,” you hiss.
are rather tiring to deal with,” Allura agrees, reading the situation
wrong, “but it hardly calls for assaulting the Castle.”
you flush red with embarrassment. “I just had a question for Lotor and
he seems intent on never being in the same room as me.”
Allura smiles easily, “Lance did mention that you were in possession of a
Galra repellent.” The twinkle in her eyes lets you know she was in on
“Come, let us work our frustrations out with some
introspection.” Which was just Altean for weird breathing exercises that
supposedly helped you do alchemy. She had managed to rope you into
practicing with her before.
“Anything to spare the wall,” you joke.
walk back from the library. It was a cozy room, especially when you
dimmed the lights. The Castle was always so bright, designed with the
Alteans sight needs in mind.
Sometimes you just needed some time
away from everyone. You loved them, but spending years with the same
people while floating through space…you had no clue how Shiro had
Getting a walk around the ship was also nice. It was
easy to forget how big the Castle was when you mainly stayed on the same
three floors. Just a couple months ago Coran had rediscovered the
greenhouse. The plants were a little piece of Altea, and had quickly
become one of Allura’s favorite spots.
The windows were wide portholes. It unnerved you still, looking out and not recognizing any star, any constellations.
lump of homesickness lodges itself in your throat. It had been over two
years, your siblings would have grown so much in that time. You
certainly had. The last vestiges of childhood had gone from your face.
Acne cleared up even without Lance’s ten step routine.
walk across the bridge, trying not to look down. The viewing platform
was clear glass in space, you could lay on it. It freaked you out a
It was the only constantly dark place in the castle.
still yelp when you spot Keith, his eyes luminous violet like a glow in
the dark t-shirt. That should have tipped all of you off, but alien was
not the first thing that came to mind when you previously believed
aliens had never visited earth.
He whimpers, curling up further.
“Keith,” you gulp, focusing on him and not the glass separating you from the void of space. “What’s wrong?”
He looks up at you miserably, blinking sluggishly. “I have the worst migraine.”
“And you’re down here instead of getting painkillers?”
Keith shrugs. “It’s not as bad, quiet. Dark.”
sit down next to him. “I can go get you something,” you offer, your
cheeks warming up and it was ridiculous how you can’t even manage to act
normal around him anymore.
“Coran already gave me a dose.”
“Oh.” You were hurt. You were supposed to be the medic. That was your role on Team Voltron.
hug your knees to your chest, and look down at space. It was darker
than the photographs back on earth. Not so purple and blue.
weren’t Matt who was just as good as Pidge with technology or Allura who
was the leader and a princess to boot, you’d just planned on having a
late dinner with Hunk once he got over the motion sickness before Lance
roped you into following Pidge. You weren’t a paladin.
Keith shuts his eyes. “You were with Allura. I didn’t want to bother you.”
“It’s no bother.” You swallow thickly, letting silence fall over you both.
listen to Keith breathing, looking around the darkness of space for any
familiar stars. You knew the space around Shay’s Balmerra, and Arus was
at least a little familiar. But the universe was so vast and wide.
were planets you’d only ever been to once, each with a different night
sky. Some of them never even had a night, with multiple suns staving off
a night cycle.
“Do you think Allura minds?”
“Mind what,” you ask.
Keith clenches his jaw, rubbing his temples. “That I look more Galra.”
has always been harder on the Galra. For her, it had been such a short
time since Zarkon had destroyed her world and her people. You didn’t
agree, but you could understand where she was coming from, the pain
still there as she continuously wore Altean mourning pink.
You look over at him, the outline of his body against the glass. “I think your marks look cool.”
do,” you whisper gently, considerate of his migraine. Those were the
worst. “They frame your face. You look nice,” you finish lamely, looking
away. You look nice. Lance might say stupid things but at least he
“What if I looked even more Galra?”
purple and tall?” You couldn’t really wrap your head around it. It also
seemed incredibly unlikely. Could his phenotype change so drastically?
On earth the answer was no, but who knows how the Galra work. It was
fascinating to see such a wide range of traits in one species.
He was also half human.
You worried if his body would even tolerate such a drastic change.
he says, not waiting for you as he rants in agitation, “the rebels hate
the Blade and Allura doesn’t trust them at all and that’s not even
“That’s not true. Te-Osh likes Acza and Ezor.
Lotor’s kind of annoying if we’re being honest, and I’m sure his being
Zarkon’s son makes it a little hard to believe he’s on our side,” you
try to reason. “And don’t write off the Galra who have changed sides or
were in the camps right alongside other aliens.”
Keith says nothing in response, mouth a thin line as he thinks.
You wonder how long it’s been bugging him.
want to reach out and hug him, but he isn’t Hunk. You’re not sure he’d
want to if he’s not initiating the contact. So you don’t.
knows how the last Galra paladin worked out.” A low growl in the back
of his throat is enough to clue you in to how distressing this was for
Your heart hurts. “And everyone knows you’re not Zarkon,” you state evenly back. “We already know you’re Galra.”
Keith snorts humorlessly. You can’t see his eyes; they’re hidden by his bangs.
glowing eyes are not exactly subtle dude,” you point out, “not to
mention your hair does the poof thing guinea pigs do when they’re
eating, but not when you’re eating, more like when you get annoyed.”
His eyes go comically wide as he sits up. His dark hair does the thing,
making him look like a character from those old Japanese kids movies.
You giggle, “you’re doing it.”
Keith tries to look at his reflection in the glass.
blush, grateful that it’s too dark to see, and then realize that wasn’t
true for him, so you look away, hoping he didn’t notice. “Yeah. I’m the
medic, it’s my job to know these things. Like how Pidge has two webbed
digits on her foot and Lance is allergic to flax seeds and bees.”
“That…makes sense.” Then he smiles, “still didn’t put two and two together.”
be a smartass.” Reason number three thousand Iverson had it out for him
back at the harrison. “And if anyone has a problem with you I’ll kick
“You?” Keith snorts. “You wouldn’t even flip me during self defense.”
remember that?” You run a hand over your face, “I didn’t want to hurt
anyone,” you always took forever to practice on your partner. And your
weak arms didn’t help.
“That’s what the mats were for.”
Keith laughs at your expense.
You smile, taking delight in watching him smile and laugh and you wish it could always be like this and the war would just end.
Then you sober up. “You’re going to be okay, right?”
He doesn’t answer you right away.
“Keith-” you reach out, voice cracking. “You’re going to be okay, giant purple space cat or not, right?”
He takes your hand, squeezing it firmly. “Yeah. Don’t worry about it.”
you utter, but tears bead up in your eyes anyway. It was terrifying
watching someone go through something unknown that you couldn’t help
them through for all your medical training. You knew how to set bones
and run a pod…not whatever this was.
You trusted Keith.
He knew himself better than anyone. After all, he’d been right about his teeth growing back.
“You really are worried,” he whispers in disbelief.
can smell it on you,” then he seems to realize what he said, and pulls
away, ducking his head. Like he hadn’t meant to say so much.
Learning about anything alien biology was pretty cool, you had to
admit. Allura had once described colours that you couldn’t perceive. It
was a fun talk. And then she’d made you meditate for alchemy stuff or so
she claimed. It might have just been payback. “Is that new?”
Keith admits, still drawn into himself. “Can we not-I already feel like
enough of a freak already without,” he waves aggressively at himself.
bite your lip, nodding. You wanted to say something, to get it through
his head how you saw him, incredibly kind and fiercely loyal (to the
point of taking on Zarkon by himself) and an endearing smile you never
got tired of seeing.
You liked him.
The universe was lucky to have him as a paladin.
you don’t know how to say it in a way he’d accept. And he asked you to
drop it, so you do. “Right, I’ll just go then.” He’d been here first,
and the glass made you nervous.
Could it withstand a hit from a galra battleship?
opens his mouth like he wants to say something else, but he just nods,
then winces, “Argh,” he groans as he curls up on his side, covering his
ears with his hands.
You rush to his side, kneeling next to him, “Keith,” you utter softly, not wanting to make it worse.
His eyes are pressed close and for all your medical know-how, you’re at a loss.
So you running your fingers through his hair soothingly and wait for the pain to pass.
He shifts, laying his head in your lap as he whimpers.
can’t stand to watch him and do nothing. You press your com, pinging
Shiro and Coran. This was beyond you. He’d trust Shiro with whatever was
going on and he’d gone to Coran. You respected that even if it did
Your pride meant little so long as Keith felt comfortable and sought help.
“Shh, shh,” you whisper gently.
Sweat beads on his brow.
Whines escape his throat.
“Fuck,” he grunts, clenching his teeth.
warm to your touch and that rouses another bout of worries. At this
temperature it’s a fever, but he didn’t have the symptoms, the flushed
cheeks and chills.
Keith curls up further, muscles stiff.
After what feels like ages, Shiro and Coran finally appear.
“Number four, Number five,” Coran claps his hands.
You hold out your hand, motioning them to shut the fuck up as Keith winces at the sound.
His hair is damp near his ears.
“Keith,” Shiro utters much more gently, kneeling down on his other side, “I’m here, I’ve got you.”
raises his head, blinking groggily at Shiro, trying to concentrate
through the pain, “Shiro,” he reaches for his brother who easily pulls
him against his chest. Keith buries his head in the crook of Shiro’s
You sit back, trying to get out of the way. Your hands are wet.
You look down and realize it’s blood. His ears-
“Number five,” Coran says gently, helping you up, “I’ll take great care of our Paladin. Why don’t you go get cleaned up.”
You don’t get any sleep that night.
were always struck with cognitive dissonance walking around colonized
planets like Rahiri where the natives and Galra lived side by side. This
was not a planet ravaged by the empire. The flora-like aliens in all
shades of green with rootish limbs and leaves and petals for hair had
assimilated into the Empire, achieving citizenship over generations.
10,000 years deca-phoebs was a long time. That was a huge source of
tension in the Alliance, what to do with the world who neither wanted or
wished to leave the Empire.
It was also a source of dark humor
that no one spared the four of you a second glance despite two paladins
of Voltron walking around.
Hunk holds Shay’s hand in front of you as they point and awe and drag their feet on the way to the space port.
“You could always stay with,” Hunk says hopefully, “we could just drop you off. Personal taxi service.”
Shay smiles back kindly, “that would be wonderful but I have been away from home for too long. I am, as you say, a homebody.”
“Aw, yeah,” Hunk chuckles, “I feel that. I like the ground. And dirt. Piloting is overrated.”
let yellow here you say that,” Keith comments so dry, you think he’s
serious for a second. Allura and Pidge had gone shopping for supplies.
That was an advantage of a planet that had not seen war.
glances back, clearly having forgotten we had tagged along in case
anything went down. “Yeah well, she’d like a small moon. Or an asteroid.
There’s colonies on those.”
“Very true,” Shay laughs. “I think my
balmerra is also like a moon. A beautiful creature. We have learned how
to ask for crystals so we do not need to cut them.”
“That’s impressive. Did the books from Allura help,” Hunk asks.
much as you liked getting to stretch your legs, seeing a different
planet where the threat was not imminent, you didn’t like being a third
wheel, or fourth wheel if you went according to Coran’s favorite
numbering pattern. That inch difference between you and Keith mocked
You glance over at the red paladin.
His gaze kept flickering back and forth, around the street. The occasional loud noise of crates being unloaded made him jump.
“You good,” you ask Keith, cracking a joke so he’d know you weren’t judging him. “You see la llorona or Davy Jones?”
“You know…a famous ghost? Do they have ghosts in space?”
Keith snorts, cottoning on. “They don’t even have ghosts on earth.”
You pull a face, “well that’s no fun. Seriously, you okay? Or have we been made?”
He shakes his head, glancing around again just to be sure. “So much for Zarkon’s finest.”
laugh, following Hank and Shay into the space port. Shuttles were
departing pretty consistently. Everything was in orderly fashion. You
especially liked how no one was shooting at you.
“It takes some getting used to.”
“What does?” You watch as Keith shakes his head, making his hair fall back from his face.
Shay and Hunk go to the ticket counter, but you decide to find somewhere off to the side, wanting to give them privacy.
You roll your eyes at Keith, “you suck.”
crosses his arms over his chest, leaning against the wall, looking
anywhere but at you. “Lotor explained it to me and Shiro…what’s
“Oh.” You swallow, looking at Hunk and Shay hugging
and saying their goodbyes yet again. They’d said them last night at
dinner, this morning in the pod, and again when you’d split from Allura
and Pidge. It was cute. They were adorable.
you glance over at Keith, not sure why he would be sorry about anything.
He was the one getting screwed over by half of his heritage.
can smell that too,” you ask him, holding his deep gaze. There was an
intense commitment to everything Keith did; it was reflected in the
depth of his violet gaze. He didn’t do things in halves.
“Now I can.” He looks at his shoes, red dusting his cheeks. The red didn’t tinge the purple marks on his skin.
“So this is all,” you’re not sure how to put it, “nothing to worry about?”
said it was normal. But because I’m half there’s no way to know what to
expect.” He looks away as he says it, stiff as he glances around.
anxiety that had settled into your jaw since you’d had to wash his
blood off your hands eases up. “Giant purple space cat,” you joke,
nudging his side.
“Oh fuck no,” Keith grumbles. Even that furrowed expression that crossed his chiselled features made you feel all giddy inside.
not hurt I-I just wish you trusted me,” you finally admit. It was
silly. You felt selfish, so you tack on, “You know I’m here for you if
you need me. We all are. I know Shiro’s your brother, but we’re your
“I know,” he sighs wistfully, “I do trust you…it’s
just-it’s been hard. I don’t know how to feel about any of it and I’m
not used to it either.”
“It’s fine,” you tell him, “I’m being
silly, making this about me. As long as you know I’m here for you…I’m
not trying to force you to tell me anything…” you cringe internally at
yourself. The galaxy garrison had been made up of nerds, so it followed
everyone was a character. It hadn’t helped anyone’s social skills.
You wish you could just go, I worry about you because I love you instead of stumbling through word vomit.
on,” Keith brings you out of your thoughts, grabbing your hand and
pushing through the crowd of people coming and going to different
boarding gates, “I think Hunk’s going to need some comfort food.”
glance around, finding Hunk’s form making it’s way to you both. He was
wiping his eyes, bittersweet smile, making no move to really hide that
he was crying.
“Let’s get back to Allura yeah,” he tells you both.
“Or,” you go with Keith’s idea, “we can get something to eat. Allura gave us a good hour or so.”
“Varga,” Keith supplies.
nods, “that sounds nice. It’s just,” he looks back at the departing
shuttle, “it’s hard. It’s war and you never know when your going to see
each other again but it’s not like she can just drop everything and I
wouldn’t ask her too, if anything I’d like to retire there. Nice and
quiet. Maybe open a restaurant…”
“Vrepit Sal two,” Keith offers.
make it a chain,” you add with a smile. Hunk, like you, was not such a
gung ho pilot. You had landed the flight simulation without crashing
exactly once, for your final emergency protocol exam.
guys,” Hunk grins, “but I think I’ll bring some earth out here. Give
these people a taste of traditional earthlign cuisine.”
“So your menu’s going to be as long as Cheesecake Factory’s,” you ask with a silly grin.
not that long. A burger, ramen, scratch that, pizza instead of a
burger.” Hunk rubs his chin thoughtfully sniffing the air and following
his nose to a food stand. You trusted him for food. He had a knack for
combining goo and exotically colored food that screamed fake and
poisonous into pretty great meals.
Keith was still holding your
hand, not as a loose afterthought: every now and then he’d rub his thumb
against the back of your hand and it sent a thrill down your spine.
don’t pull away, wanting to savor the feel of his skin against yours
even if it wasn’t that deep. You’d hugged and napped with everyone at
least once, grabbing each other’s hands in the confusing crowded hovels
of swamp malls (actual swamp malls and not places Coran thought of as a
You nab a table outside the stand.
Everything was in Galra which none of you could read. “Damn,” you mutter looking over.
Hunk glances at Keith without subtlety.
You were starting to think only Allura and Shiro could do subtly.
Keith raises a brow.
“Nothing,” Hunk looks down at his screen.
“Point and hope for the best it is,” you shrug.
love a good surprise,” Hunk nods, then looks down at his hands, “we’ll
see each other again right? Shay…they’re pretty safe. And well…yellow’s
got thick armour.” He sighs, resting his cheek against his fist, elbows
on the table.
“Shay’s a badass,” you confort Hunk, “she figured
out how to communicate with the Balmera and through the Balmera. She’ll
“Yeah, she’s pretty freaking amazing,” Hunk blushes.
order from an alien that somewhat resembles Ezor, all cotton candy
color, and twiddle your thumbs, enjoying the rare moment of rest and
“I could get used to this,” Hunk comments, savoring the strange dish he’d been served.
“Get a travel food show,” you tease, “I’d watch it.”
could be like this all the time,” Keith muses hopefully, “aren’t
planets like this proof we could all get along.” He bites into the
glowing blue lotus root shaped meal, and blinks widely.
“What,” you ask, looking over at him.
Keith grabs a napkin and spits out his food. “I think I just lost another tooth.”
“You think,” Hunk raises a brow, “how could you not notice a missing tooth?”
“Smile,” you nudge Keith sitting next to you.
rolls his eyes, before fake smiling which was always so undeniably
forced when he did it. You laugh, nodding, “yup, missing tooth.”
Keith frowns for a second, before continuing to eat.
“Oh,” Hunk utters, before he kicks your leg lightly.
You look up, meeting the yellow paladin’s searching gaze.
He looks at you with a knowing smile.
rushes to your cheeks, the tip of your nose burning hotly, you look
down, shoving a questionable sticky black slice into your mouth. It was
easy to chew despite the sticky-ness, the flavor starchy and nutty.
There was no way this wouldn’t get back to everyone else in the Castle. No way.
They were all so nosy.
“It sure is hot in here,” Lance says with a challenging smirk at Keith.
You roll your eyes.
Lance stretches, resting his arms against the back of the sofa, his hand tapping annoyingly against your shoulder.
is unmoved. Or more accurately, Keith’s mouth twists as he tries hard
to ignore Lance’s latest attempts to get him to remove his hat, a lime
green thing that clashed perfectly as was his fashion sense, or lack of
any fashion sense.
Pidge smacks her head, then peaks curiously at Keith: at Keith’s hat.
You flick Lance’s cheek. “Hey hot shot, don’t hug me when you’ve set the thermostat to ninety degrees.”
five actually,” he winks, hugging you towards him. Ugh, you couldn’t do
it. You’d already done away with your afghan coat, tied your lavender
flannel around your waist, what more could you do. You didn’t have
shorts in space. The skirts stored in the castle were breezy, but made
you feel at risk of tripping over the hem with each step.
“Hm,” Keith voices, taking a seat, “reminds me of home.”
Hunk snorts, “really thought that through,” he tells Lance.
Lance is undeterred. “Could go higher.”
“I don’t think your cow would like that very much,” you point out.
The blue paladin sulks, looking down at you, “you’re just saying that because you like-”
You jab your elbow into his side.
“Ow! What ever happened to do no harm?”
“Technically,” you tell Lance, “I never graduated.”
got you there,” Pidge smirks from beside Keith. She was taking apart
yet another radio. The signal had yet to reach earth.
“Thank you Pidge.”
She shrugs, “It’s true.” Then turns on Keith, “The hat, explain.”
He looks like he wishes he could merge with the sofa at that, slumping in his seat.
You decide to step in, “I’m going to turn the thermo down.”
is quick to wrap his arms around your waist and pull you back onto the
sofa, “come on, relax. Like mullet said, it’s homey.”
You throw him a dirty look.
Pidge side-eyes her fellow paladin. He’s sat up, gripping the sofa
cushion so tightly he’s ripping hole into the ten thousand year
“You okay there buddy,” Hunk asks.
Keith sucks in a breath, and with deliberate motion, pulls the hat from his head.
Your eyes widen.
His ears had changed.
weren’t nearly as alien as Allura’s, but no one would mistake their
shape for human. Keith’s ears tapered up and out, portrudding, but it
was more than just a pointed tip, the entire shape of his ears had
transformed, resembling a butterfly’s wing. It was still human in color,
Hunk breaks the stunned silence first, “so are you going to like to end up purple?”
Keith ducks his head, wrapping his arms around himself.
one else gets the chance to further interrogate Keith, or hear his own
thoughts, because Allura calls everyone up to the bridge.
hailed the Castle of Lions. Everyone stands around the bridge while
Shiro and Allura take the lead as usual. They might as well be twins
given how well they got on, communicating differing ideas without
undermining the other.
“There are nine warships in the system,”
Lotor acknowledges, “I would be much indebted if you would do me the
favor of sending Voltron for the aerial battle.”
presence is still in its early stages,” Acza explains, “but their
terraforming development for the planet will cause the destruction of
the Talpidae living there.”
“Then we have no choice,” Allura
clenches her fist, never one to sit back while there was something she
could do about it, “we will provide air support. Sent me the coordinates
so that I may Teleduv there.”
Lance is still obviously eyeing
Keith’s latest development. It was readily visible, and you were
fighting the urge to do the same.
But you weren’t also trying to flick his ears.
Keith growls lowly.
Pidge offers Lance a piece of paper to make paper balls with.
sighs long sufferingly, having resigned himself to the more childish
side of his two friends. They were terrors. Put Pidge and Lance
together, and they were gremlins out of a horror movie made for
elementary school teachers.
You slip your hand into Keith’s,
squeezing reassuringly. It would take some getting used to like anytime
someone got a new haircut, but you would. Like his atrocious boots,
they’d become an endearing part of him.
Keith squeezes your hand back.
Shiro nods, agreeing with Allura, “have the Talpidae been contacted.”
“Very much so,” Ezor chimes in, “they’re funny little people. And their sensory-”
“The point Ezor,” Lotor sighs, rubbing his nose bridge.
sent for help to the rebels. We were closest to their system,” Exor
elaborates with a shrug, “they do not have the background to fight head
on, and will evacuate most of their people into bunkers, but they have
been digging under the new construction and weakening the structural
integrity of the Galra outposts.”
“Very well,” Shiro accepts, “Princess Allura and our chief medic will meet with the Talpidae as a show of goodwill.”
“Our only medic,” Hunk points out.
Keith growls, his hand squeezing yours hard.
You all look over at him.
Paladin,” Allura says, trying to look as professional as possible in
front of her least favorite of Voltron’s allies, “is something the
matter.” She shares a look with Shiro, but otherwise looks unsurprised
at Keith’s less than human ears.
Or maybe she’d make a great poker played.
“Can’t you meet with the Talpidae after the battle,” Keith utters harshly.
“They may need immediate tactical support,” Allura reasons, “we should be there in person to provide it.”
“It’ll be fine Keith,” Shiro adds.
words do little to calm Keith down. His dark silky hair puffs up. His
grip on your hand tightens and you feel miffed. You’d been on the ground
working triage before. You might not be a fighter or pilot but you
could look after yourself.
You pull your hand out of his. “I really don’t see what the problem is,” you tell Keith pointedly.
“I’ll watch Allura’s back and she’ll have mine.”
Allura nods. “Our chief medic is correct-”
His ears twitch, “You’re not exactly a fighter.”
Shiro covers his face with a hand.
brows furrow. You’re livid. “So! I won’t be fighting. We’ll be in the
bunkers with the Talpidae. It’ll be safe so it doesn’t even matter.”
it’s perfectly safe then you don’t need to be there,” Keith’s voice
breaks, a whine escaping his chest but you don’t care, done with the
“Yikes,” is Ezor’s quiet whisper.
You’re not a
paladin so you don’t care, you just stalk off the bridge ready to go
scream into your pillow in frustration. Or better yet, go for a swim and
“Wait-” Keith follows you.
You ignore him.
just-,” he keeps trying as you stalk down the stairs, deciding your
room was better after all if only because you could lock Keith out.
“Listen-,” he whines.
“I didn’t mean-”
didn’t mean what,” you round on him, hands on your hips, pissed off and
maybe some of its was from being stuck on this stupid ship all the damn
time but like eighty percent was earned. You might not be taking on a
squad of Galra soldiers, but you could take one on if it came to it.
at least has the decency to look miserable, sad chirrups in his throat
as he crosses his arms over his chest and looks at the ground.
“Well?” You tap your foot on the ground.
“I just don’t want you to get hurt,” he finally manages. “Especially if you don’t need to be there.”
I do,” you counter, “There’ll be people running into those bunkers
having escaped soldiers and sentries and the faster they get treated the
better chance they have.”
“I didn’t mean it,” Keith repeats
himself. “You-you can hold your own.” He looks up at you through his
bangs, still hunched in on himself.
“Obviously.” There’s no heat,
the anger having deflated already. It was just white hot ache in your
chest, hurt at the idea that Keith thought you would get in the way,
that you had nothing of value to add to the Alliance and Voltron.
You bite your lip.
Don’t cry, you think to yourself.
You were being dumb.
He was just being plain stupid.
“I mean it,” Keith repeats, “I’m sorry. I was just looking for an excuse to make sure you were safe.”
“Right, because Allura can handle herself but I can’t.” Your voice cracks.
“No,” Keith says in a rush, “it’s not the same.”
“Because I can’t fight?”
not,” Keith runs a hand through his hair, “It’s me okay. I’m-I’ve
always jumped into things without thinking, but I decided to go for it,
like breaking Shiro out but now I’m doing things before I even notice
and it’s all these stupid Galra instincts!”
sorry,” he tells you once more. “I didn’t mean to and I’m sorry. No one
thinks you can’t handle yourself. That’s why Shiro paired you up with
Allura, because he knows you’re capable of watching her back.”
Your smile is fragile as you look over at him, “yeah?”
“Yeah.” Keith holds your gaze, looking as skittish as a stray dog. Another whine escapes his throat.
What the heck.
hug him, “you’re such a dumbass.” You understood why he’d worry. This
was war. Pidge was on a two man campaign with Shiro to get Matt to stay
on the Castle, both scared witless that Matt might die on a mission with
the rebels. Ulaz had died so everyone could get away.
patients in the last decaphoebs you could do nothing but ease their
pain. You’d had patients that you couldn’t even administer anything for
the pain because of how torn apart they were: guts spilling out, charred
people shapes that you were surprised to still find breathing.
The images would never leave you as long as you lived.
“I’m sorry.” Keith buries his head in the crook of your neck, his breath tickling your skin sent shivers down your spine.
hug him tightly, aware that every battle could be your last: the last
time you saw him. “You’ve said that already,” you tease, memorizing the
smell of him, stale sweat and something cloying that you had wanted to
bottle up from the moment you’d met him and had never found on anyone
else. As embarrassing as it was to admit to anyone other than yourself,
Keith smelled good. Really good.
Most people smelled like nothing at all.
“But it’s nice to hear again.”
Keith smothers a laugh.
You kiss his hair. Boys were so dumb.
You smile goofily, warmth building under your skin, and toes curling up in your shoes. You should say something. Right?
At some point?
Or maybe it shouldn’t be said under the looming threat of an upcoming battle.
You can’t decide, so you say nothing at all.
Bombs still pelt the surface.
teeth chatter as the ground shakes even deep underground. Even more
soil falls onto you. Your spacesuit was more oche than white at this
point as you carry an injured Talpidae in your arms. It’s arm had been
completely blown off. Sluggish blue blood oozed out.
Allura was last, tailing the group.
You reach the bunker.
The sentries had followed some of the feeling Talpidae into the tunnels, but they’d been sorted out.
people here were strange, russet in fur colouring, with no discernable
eye, just strange pink flagella protruding from their nose and large
claws for digging. They stood at about Pidge’s height.
The bunker seals and you get to work.
Tourniquet here, pain patch there. There were so many of them banged up.
The fight continued on the surface.
The paladins had to form Voltron.
and Allura work as a team, she takes the bruises and broken bones with
no immediate risk of death. You triage the worst of the Talpidae, giving
away your precious stash of painkillers to those you can’t save and are
not in for a quick death, a Talpidae lies twitching, it’s nose blown
off but alive. Another holds it’s hand, but shakes their head when they
look at you. They weren’t going to make it.
Training kicks in and you focus on saving those you can.
Your hands stain blue from the blood.
Allura works alongside you.
You cauterize a Talpidae named Soedob’s hand, the claws on their right limb were gone, but most of it was spared.
“You smell Galra,” Soedob utters, blinking out of the pain induced haze as the painkiller kicked in.
half hear, half don’t, so focused on the task at hand. It was easier to
not stop until you were finished and could curl up and sleep and not
think about blood and war and Zarkon.
“We have Galra allies,” Allura answers diplomatically, leaving the issue of the half Galra paladin alone.
It irked you.
“No, not them,” Soedob notes. “Those had a different aura.”
you guess, finishing off. You hoped the fighting ended soon. You supply
was not unlimited. The castle had better facilities.
“Is that what you call it?”
“Our primary sense is sight,” Allura explains, giving you a long look.
shrug. You hadn’t even seen any of Lotor and his team. There hadn’t
been time. It had all been relayed over coms, over video.
swallow thickly, flushing with embarrassment because you both spent
time around Keith but Soedob was only smelling him on you and it’s not
like you had been doing anything intimate…well, it had felt intimate,
hugging Keith, but it wasn’t anything like when cadets snuck into each
others dorm room, shoving a sock on the door handle in the universal
symbol of don’t bother us. “The red paladin is part Galra.” Mercifully,
your voice doesn’t shake from the embarrassment, but you can’t look at
“Ah,” Soedob nods, neither outraged nor pleased.
there’s no more time, you have more Talpidaes waiting for medical aid.
You give their own healers some of your supplies, freeing up Allura to
find the clan leaders.
You can feel Allura’s questioning glance on you.
“Team meeting in the mess hall,” Shiro calls over the coms system.
“Mess hall,” Pidge rolls her eyes, “it’s the dining room.”
like to think of it as the dining room too,” Hunk offers. “I mean
there’s only eight of us. It’s sort of like being home again.”
“Mess hall makes me think of the garrison,” you admit, falling into step besides them. “and the food.”
“Ugh,” Pidge groans. “That was the worst. Matt wasn’t kidding.”
does make the space packs easier to digest,” you muse, “maybe that was
the point.” It took the garrison two years to get to Mars. It was funny,
once you’d thought that was a long way from home.
“I liked the cheese garlic bread,” Hunk allows.
“Food goo,” Pidge grins, “or the garrison space food?”
“Food goo.” Hunk doesn’t even have to think.
“Food goo,” you agree. “Though not Coran’s paladin special.”
“You don’t even eat that,” Hunk huffs, half outraged half amused, “you’re always like well I’m not a paladin so…”
You laugh. “Seeing it is more than enough.”
rest of the ship’s inhabitants are already there waiting for you. Lance
is trying to teach Coran how to play slide, moving very slow as he
claps their hands together.
Shiro and Allura are in easy conversation. Her mice scamper around her feet.
looks absolutely miserable next to Shiro, folding himself into the
smallest possible size, trying to disappear. It was hard to reconcile
the Keith that was quiet with the Red Paladin that shot first and asked
You smile at him, excited to see him, but also
figuring he could use some reassurance, whatever it was going through
his head. Keith meets your gaze and the corners of his mouth turn up,
before he ducks away.
You know better than to take it personally.
It was Keith.
toes curl inside your shoes and you bite back your smile, suddenly
aware of how much you might be revealing and not wanting Lance of all
people to start a meeting by commenting on it. For him, it might be all
fun and games, but you weren’t sure what to do with these newfound warm
and fuzzy feelings. You sure as fuck didn’t want to be called out on
You weren’t sure what to do about liking Keith so your current plan of action was: nothing.
you everyone for being here,” Shiro claps his hands together, his
leader impression defaulted at awkward dad. He thought he always had to
be on. Despite being the most trained out of us, he’d only just started
his career during the Kerberos mission.
You wonder if he’d picked up his leadership style partly from Pidge’s dad.
“Where else would we be,” Pidge shrugs, never one to miss a shot.
“All the same,” the older man smiles.
“Yeah, no problem my dude, bro,” Lance flashes finger guns at Shiro.
You snort, taking a seat between him and Hunk.
seriously, what’s up,” Lance leans forward. “Or is this some lowkey way
to keep us on our toes,” he winks at Allura who smiles indulgently.
“I await the news alongside you paladins,” Allura answers, hands resting in her lap. She looks over at Shiro.
The whole room turns to look at Shiro.
He had called the meeting.
tended to be informational in nature: updates about the expansive war,
rebels hailing Voltron for intervention, the Blade passing on the rare
bit of information, and the always popular distress signals. But Shiro
and Allura both looked too calm for that.
Keith goes rigid, a spring wound up too tight.
You wondered if the elephant in the room would finally be addressed.
puts his hand on Keith’s shoulder, smiling encouragingly the way a
parent dropping their child off for their first day of school would, “go
The red paladin focuses his gaze on Shiro, his expression more sour than it’s been in a long time.
past few years had done a lot to get him to open up to everyone on
board, but right now, he looks exactly like the stubborn closed off
cadet he had been back on Earth.
His ears twitch slightly. He
manages to look even more taunt, and you wonder if he’s going to wave
this off. Then, he lets out a breath.
His body is stiff, but Keith
no longer pulls away from Shiro. He looks down at his hands pensively,
nails cut to the quick. “Right.”
You can feel the nervous energy of the rest of the room, leaning in, waiting to see what Keith wants to say.
“Mhm, go on,” Lance says, chin in hand.
Hunk elbows him in the side.
“Hey!” Lance is about to start in on Hunk.
“Guys,” you snap, shoving Lance’s shoulder.
“Okay, okay,” Lance zips his mouth and throws away the key, “shutting up.”
“Looks like that didn’t work,” Pidge snarks.
“Paladins,” Allura’s clear commanding voice rings out. When everyone shuts up again, she nods at Keith, “you may continue.”
He looks up at everyone through his bangs, “I’m going through Galra settling.”
Hunk looks over at Allura, who was far more familiar with all this alien mumble jumble than anyone else.
Shiro squeezes Keith’s shoulder.
“And that is,” you prompt gently, before Keith hastily decided that was all he needed to say and left.
meets your waiting gaze. Under the ship’s bright rooms, his eyes were
obviously violet, heavy on the purple. He’s chewing his bottom lip like
he isn’t sure he wants to go through with saying any of this and you
wonder if he must be thinking of how weird things were between everyone
when he learned of the alien part of his heritage.
Your mouth quirks up into a smile.
were more than willing to stuff someone into a cryopod if they bothered
Keith. He may be part of Voltron, tasked with defending the universe,
but you’d make sure there was someone to defend him.
An embarrassing rush of heat bubbles under your skin. You look away, nervous.
“Shiro,” Keith asks.
nods, wrapping his arms fully around Keith’s shoulder. “Galra settling
is when Galra,” he looked like he was trying to figure out exactly what
he was talking about as he said it. Aliens were weird. “When Galra reach
a certain age their appearance locks in.” Even Shiro looks a little
puzzled. He was a pilot, not a biologist. You knew organisms back on
earth who could manipulate their genotypes, generally sex changes with
the right environmental conditions, but you weren’t sure there was
anything comparable to whatever this was. “The Galra are apparently very
adaptable in individuals. That’s why there’s such a range of them.”
That explained the fur, range of tails, more reptilian looking once, and the eyes.
wanted a Galra biology course, a full semester long one. What exactly
caused such a plasticity in their phenotype? Did the trait have to be
encoded in their genotype to appear or was there something freakier,
Allura’s space magic, going on?
“-because he’s half human and we
don’t go through anything like this it’s more painful than it would be.
Lotor said the chameleonic abilities of Alteans helped him when he went
through this,” Shiro finishes without a satisfying or thorough
At least Keith wasn’t dying.
Thank whatever freaky Altean magic existed in the universe.
“So,” Lance starts, “it’s Galra puberty.”
a split second Keith loses any self consciousness about the situation,
“it’s not Galra puberty!” His hair puffs up and you have to fight the
urge to laugh, covering your face with your hands.
“There’s…” Shiro glances at Keith, before Lance and Keith could really get into it, “there’s more.”
Keith looks mullish, but ultimately gives Shiro the go ahead.
of these..changes,” the black paladin explains, “have brought out some
Galra instincts.” Clearly he was having as much trouble grappling with
what this meant as Keith was. Your body suddenly deciding to change was
no fun when you had no context for it. “Among them, the need to scent
Pidge tilts her head, “is this like the most convoluted and emotionally constipated way of asking for a hug,” she asks Keith.
Keith smiles wryly, “pretty much.”
“Oh come here dude,” Hunk grins, engulfing Keith and Shiro in a hug.
number four,” Coran points up in the air, “I am now just recalling the
galra that lived on Altea having explained this once, of course it
didn’t occur to me because of the apparent dominance of your human
“So they’re actually co-dominant,” you muse as Lance drags Pidge along for a “group hug!”
Pidge makes a half-hearted effort to wiggle out, being a younger
sibling herself, was used to being subjected to affection. She smiles
even as she struggles.
“It would seem so,” Coran nods, “though not every gene.”
“Just these.” You wonder if there’s a space equivalent of the human genome project.
“Lance,” Keith yelps, “that’s my foot.”
“Buddy, I am not feeling the love here.”
“Is it working,” Hunk asks, peering at Keith, “are you going to turn purple now?”
“No one turns purple from hugs,” Keith replies, annoyed but makes no move to pull away.
“Thank you for trusting us with this Keith,” Allura smiles, her eyes crinkling.
in on this too Princess,” Shiro motions over, before catching your
gaze, “you too. Don’t think you can get out of this. You’re part of
You snort, and join the group hug.
elbow is a bony thorn in your side and there’s the slight hum from
Shiro’s prosthetic, but it’s a good mix of warmth and intimacy with the
people you were closest to in the entire universe. Allura’s shoulder
presses into you back and it’s sort of ballooned to ridiculous
proportions, Keith somewhere in the center of it all, his hair barely
visible to you.
“Add cuddling Keith to the chore wheel,” Pidge proposes.
“How about we let Keith decide,” Shiro proposes.
You snort, knowing him too well. “Are you willing to take that risk? Died-from lack of hugs.”
Shiro looks convinced by your stellar argument.
“I’m not that bad,” Keith grumbles.
a terrible hugger,” Lance argues back. “You’re all stiff, like you’re
enduring one of Iverson’s paradox sims. Not as bad as my abuelo but
Keith lunges for Lance.
Someone topples over.
laugh, smothered by limps and someone’s hair in your mouth…maybe
Hunk’s? You don’t move, worried about kicking someone’s head.
From somewhere, Keith does that low rumbling chest noise that reminds you of a cat purring happily.
No one makes fun of him for it.
should comb your hair before we take the pod down,” you tell Keith.
You’d spent your free time before this alliance dinner scrolling through
a datapad, trying to learn names, where they hailed from, species,
things that may prove useful.
Half a varga ago, Keith had found
you balled up on a sofa, and sat next to you, his way of asking for
physical comfort. You’d obliged him readily, throwing an arm over his
shoulders and spooning him as you both laid on the sofa. He was already
in the paladin uniforms that Allura had dug out once the alliance became
a reality instead of a loose string of rebel groups fighting the Galra
You’re both short and slight, fitting together perfectly.
squash any feelings you have, this wasn’t about you, it was about him.
You’d done it a thousand times with Hunk or Lance, fallen asleep
listening to Allura, why should Keith be any different? (You know why.)
He’s reading the screen with you.
doubt they’d notice,” he remarks as you scroll to a particularly vivid
color alien race with sensory appendages sprouting from their heads.
“You have a point desert bum,” you tease, “I’d rather be a bum by a beach town. All surfer bro.”
“Can you even surf,” he asks flatly.
Learned how to swim at the garrison,” you admit. “But tanning by the
water has to be more appealing than roasting under the Texas sun.”
“I like the desert.”
“I know.” You were pretty sure everyone just liked their homes.
“It’s quiet,” he admits, “and watching how the sunlight transforms the landscape…”
“It’s too big and wide,” you admit, thinking of space. Flat land that went on forever…empty dark space that went on forever.
“Good for driving,” Keith smirks.
laugh. Or course that’s where his mind went. “Sure, but it all looks
the same, everywhere you turn.” It was disorienting. To be fair, you
were a city girl. Your background noise was cars honking and people
yelling even at four in the morning. The garrison had been a big
“It’s really not. You just have to look.”
trust my gps,” you counter, “not my sense of direction. I’d probably
end up one of those cautionary tales about mirages and deserts.”
can’t really get a good signal,” Keith replies lazily, his body slack
against yours, “out there. It’s best to mark a trail with chalk if you
don’t know the area.”
“But you do, know it I mean?”
“Out past the Garrison? Mhm. All of it. We used to go hiking…before,” he trails off.
You press your lips to his hair lightly, before shifting, “my arms asleep.”
“I don’t mind.” You sit up, “it’s nice. I used to put my sister to sleep this one year she had nightmares almost every night.”
miss her,” Keith states, sitting up, looking at you with his intense
expression. Having someone focused one hundred percent on you was a new
experience. He wasn’t thinking of a thousand other things, just you.
do. I miss everyone, but,” you shrug, “I’ll see them again. Meanwhile
you’re stuck with me.” You smile fondly at Keith. “I’m going to change
before we have to go to dinner.”
“I’d take fighting Zarkon
anyday,” Keith mutters, cringing at the upcoming show of diplomacy.
There was so much smiling and hand shaking. It was exhausting to be that
extroverted with a roomful of strangers.
Even Lance zonked out after these things.
“Knock on wood,” you laugh.
Treaties have been signed. A wrecked Galra fleet floats in space above the planet your on today, but today’s battle is won.
of Lotor’s General’s is here, Acza. She’s wary, and surprised at the
warm reception she’d received. She might be Galra, but she’d been
crucial in taking down the Galra base’s shields. Biolocks, Zarkon should
really rethink those.
You sip at your thick drink, warm and
flavored like cinnamon oatmeal, that chases off the chill of the night.
The idea had been to sleep, your hands still ached from all the sutures
and stitches you’d woven, but Allura refused to hear it, dragging you
along. There would be time for sleep on the Castle, she’d claimed,
joyous to have helped another besieged planet.
“My congratulations,” a Blade utters from behind their glowing mask.
jump, not having known there was even a Blade here. They were allies,
yet their anonymity that made them so useful in information gathering,
created a gap between you. You had no way of knowing who this person
was. Their suit obscuring any details, the mask a rank.
You couldn’t even see their eyes.
what,” you ask, puzzled. You hadn’t fought. Your skills made you most
useful after the battle, trying to save lives and patch up wounds. It
was important and emotional draining work, but you hardly won battles.
Because of the mask, you can’t get a read on their reaction. Blades. Spies. Maybe if you could see their eyes…
They nod, and walk off without explanation.
You watch them go, still confused until they disappear among the bodies loitering around, celebrating liberation.
It was a feat to disappear when you were eight feet tall.
First the Galra had avoided you like the plague, the black plague, now they were being cryptic as fuck.
lean your head down, trying to sniff your armpits without making it too
obvious. Was it the blood? Or the space bleach? That tended to linger.
You didn’t smell that bad. Certainly like bleach and rubbing alcohol…
take another sip of your drink, looking around for a place to sit.
You’d been on your feet for too long. You wanted to sleep.
Someone would find you.
wander around. Smiling when someone notices you, and thanks you and you
hurry to get away before they ask you a hundred questions. There were
only eight humans in space. Well, seven and a half. You stood out.
They wanted Voltron, but you would do.
“There’s space here,” Acxa calls out.
“Thanks,” you plop down next to her, sagging into the seat. Oh, yeah, you were so freaking tired.
“Of course. You look dead.”
“Yeah,” you look around the rebel camp, “I’ve no clue how they have the energy.”
“It’s like that everywhere. This is their home,” Acza offers, “people fight hard for their homes.”
You nod, before looking over at the alien woman, “not avoiding me anymore then?”
shrugs, not disputing the allegation. “No need anymore, now that you
and Keith sorted yourselves out.” She’s so blunt about it. “Galra are so
sensitive when settling. We didn’t want to cause any incidents.”
this about the scenting?” You still hadn’t had time to read through the
information you’d gotten your grubby little hands on.
put your drink down on the mossy ground. “Yeah, Keith explained it.
Well, Shiro did, really. Lance is over the moon about having an excuse
to bother Keith.” Now you really all were a family. You’d named it
Acxa’s brows furrow, “Lance?”
“I think he just
misses his family a lot,” you offer. “We all do and while we’re family
too, it’d be nice to see our family back on earth too.”
She frowns. “Keith and you are not,” she asks slowly.
and Keith,” you flush, ducking away from her. “No-I, no. We’re not.”
You should’ve gone back to the Castle the moment Allura turned her back.
She would’ve never known.
Acxa’s frown becomes tinged with anger
and worry, her hand grabs your wrist. “Galra have more than one type of
scenting, between families, and between partners.”
try to connect the dots but your brain gets stuck between ideas.
Scenting. Keith. You. You and Keith. It was right there but-
isn’t marking you as family,” she explains slowly, “he’s marking you as
his partner.” Acxa waits until her words sink in before adding, “to do
so without letting the other know…” She makes it clear what a social
taboo that is.
But you’re one step behind her.
Did Keith like you?
think back to all the times you’d been with him in the past few vargas,
trying to pinpoint any hint: he’d smiled at you but he was happier now
in general so it could be a coincidence…
“If you need,” Acxa offers, “I will help clarify the situation.” It’s an awfully kind gesture.
you say in a rush. “no. It’s-I think I need to go talk to Keith.” He’d
known what he was doing…you could draw a thousand conclusions but
nothing would be better than confronting him about it.
“If you’re sure.”
am,” you stand up, glancing around. During parties, Keith tended to
find a quiet corner out of the way. He’d opened up, but he was still
more of an introvert.
You find Keith lying stretched out in the
shadow of a makeshift building, looking up at the stars. It’s his eyes
that give him away, reflecting the light enough to be inhuman, nocturnal
“We need to talk,” you wrap your arms around your body.
You weren’t angry, just confused. Didn’t he know he could just come talk
to you about it by now?
Keith looks up, startled, then stands.
“Alright.” He sounds resigned, a man sentenced to detention for a month
which was janitorial duties at the garrison. It kept even the most
smartass cadets humble.
You look around.
No one was really here. You could hear the music and people a bit further into the heart of the camp. Here was good enough.
talked to Acxa,” you start, “she said-” you look down at the trampled
vegetation underfoot. It was embarrassing to your human preconceptions
to even think, let alone say, which was why you were pretty sure Keith
didn’t mean any harm. Scenting meant nothing on earth, where he’d grown
up. “She said you’ve been scenting me, which like I know but not that
way?” You look up at him as realization sets in and he ducks his head,
looking away. “Is it true?”
He crosses his arms over his chest.
“I-,” he takes a deep breath before ranting, the agitation and months of
buried emotions flooding out, “I hate this. I hate that I can hear the
conversation outside and smell which direction Shiro’s in and how much
my eyes hurt on the Castle from how bright it is but I don’t-I can’t say
anything because I’m already enough of a freak. Before I was just the
weird kid but now I’m just a fucking alien freak! There’s always so much
going on and I don’t even know what’s next!”
You wait, wondering if there was more.
It was a lot of changes.
couldn’t understand, there was nothing in your life comparable to your
biology deciding to be a little more Galra after twenty years.
I tried not to-,” he admits, meeting your waiting gaze, “I tried to
leave everyone alone so you wouldn’t,” Keith swallows, forcing himself
to continue with an obvious disgust at himself, “you wouldn’t smell like
me or whatever Lotor explained but I couldn’t-it was driving me crazy
like this itch, this buzzing under my skull and seeing you guys with
others-I thought I was going crazy until Lotor explained. And then when
Lance would ruffle my hair or you would check that I wasn’t about to
fall over and die and-,” he waves his hands in the air, “I would just
“Oh,” you utter, recalling past events with a newfound
understanding. Keith had been reaching out, all instinct even when he
was trying not to be a bother. It broke your heart, how he always came
from the perspective that he was an inconvenience.
“I did know,” he says in a small voice. “That-you…but I don’t know if it’s me or this, or all these things happening to me.”
expression wobbles. You bite your lower lip, trying to get a handle on
it. How silly to worry about a crush when Keith was going through it.
like you, but I don’t know if I like you or if it’s just these stupid
Galra instincts messing with my head.” Keith deflates, drawing into
s…it’s been a lot.”
“I get it,” you
utter, “maybe not the situation but I’m not mad. Though Acxa was ready
to kick your ass and she totally could,” you try teasing.
But Keith flinches, looking away guiltily.
“I’m joking. I-I get why. It makes sense. It’s a lot to get used to.” You swallow, not sure what to do about anything either.
a huge offence,” Keith utters, “that’s why she was pissed. Made worse
because you can’t even tell…I-I couldn’t think straight and I…it took
the edge off.”
You take a step towards him.
Keith’s eyes meet yours, his attention entirely captivated by you. It
sends a thrill down your spine. You’d seen how he could be when laser
focused: on piloting, on training. “I know they say it’s wrong but you
and Lance do stuff like that all the time. And I thought…I figured I
could figure out how much of what I’m feeling is me and how much of it
are these new instincts.”
“You don’t have to apologize,” you tell
him. “I-you’re right, it’s whatever to me. Like, a Blade congratulated
me earlier which was weird but fuck them you know? I can ‘smile and
nod’,” you smile as fakely as possible to show what you mean, “through
it so long as you’re okay.” He’d bled in your lap.
Keith looks a little unsteady, unsure what to do with your lack of anger. “You don’t-”
“So is it like galra marriage then?” You were curious as to what exactly the Blades were going to gossip about you and Keith.
He makes a choked sound. “Sort of. They bond. It can be broken but that generally means someone killed the other.”
“Let me guess,” you reply, “Zarkon fucked even that up.”
“That guy’s the worst.” Your voice is light.
Keith snorts, smiling for a split second. “I won’t anymore. I’ll-”
your voice cracks as you out your hand on his arm to keep him from
rubbing off, “if its really causing you all this additional confusion in
too of everything…you can…” the words were too intimate to say, too
charged with a sensuality that he clearly was figuring out. You were
willing to wait. For him.
He was conflicted enough without you dumping your feelings on him.
raise your hand, caressing the side of his face with the back of your
hand, ghosting over the purple mark on his cheek, “I don’t mind.” Sure,
you had a crush on him, you could admit that much, but more simply, you
This was a small ask.
Your gaze flickers to the tips of his ears.
You had washed his blood off your hands.
“Besides, shit’s hard enough. My arm falling asleep is a small price to pay if I can help you.”
Keith’s mouth quirks up in a smile.
You laugh, “come here.”
finally sinks in that you weren’t just talking bs. You meant it, as you
hug Keith, wrapping your arms around his middle. He smelled good in
spite of the battle he’d been through earlier.
Without really thinking, you breathe in the scent of him.
Keith hugs you back, cuddling you against his chest, resting his chin on your shoulder.
You yawn. “want to sneak back into the castle?”
“Only if you tell Allura you’re the one who wanted to leave,” he deadpans dazedly.
Allura motions as you stand from one of the Castle’s weapons systems,
“we must meet with the rebel leadership on planet.”
The planet was a farming camp.
The slaves were overworked and underfed and they had still revolted when they learned Voltron was near. Now, they were free.
“Princess,” Coran calls out, “it appears that number four is heading back to the ship.”
pained expression crosses Allura’s broad features, her full mouth
frowning, before she decides to pick her battles for the day. “I am sure
Keith has a good reason for his actions.” She sounds like she’s trying
to convince herself.
You don’t want to go down there either.
entire last week had been spent synthesizing medicine and treating
thousands of people made harder by the range of species. The garrison
better give you that medical degree immediately.
“I’ll go check on him,” you say automatically, “he might need me to prep a pod.”
“Fantastic idea number five,” Coran believes your excuse.
“Let us know if anything happens,” Allura says, giving you a long look, before heading for the exit.
central Galra soldiers had been taken out, but small bands of fighters
were still fighting to their last breath. It’s why Voltron has remained
on the planet.
The lions had roamed the landscape answering calls for aid and hunting down the last of Zarkon’s forces here.
You meet Keith in the red lion’s hanger.
He’s popping his helmet off, running a hand through his flattened hair. “I thought you were headed out with Allura?”
shrug, suddenly feeling awkward. “I was, but I wanted to check on you
first.” That was a normal thing to do for your friends. There was no
reason to overthink things.
He sets the helmet
aside, working on undoing the armor off. There was dirt and dust but
thankfully no blood to speak of, his or otherwise.
“Then I’ll see you there,” you ask.
looks over, a kid with his hand caught in the cookie jar, his smile
slight when he replies, “I’m not heading there.” Blunt. Concise.
“It is depressing,” you admit. There was so much resource allocation and need planet-wide.
He raises a brow. “Oh. Yeah.”
“Keith?” Now you’re wondering what the real problem was. “What is it?”
it matter. I don’t need to be there. Shiro and Allura can handle it.”
He looks away, suddenly very interested in the wall. Unlike the rest of
the ship, the red lion’s hanger was dim, in a permanent night cycle.
“I think the people would like all of Voltron present.” Then you make a face, “oh god, I sound just like Allura don’t I?”
Keith laughs, “just a bit. As long as you don’t make us all meditate…”
“It’s so boring. I fall asleep.” You smile softly, “Seriously, go down for a moment. Then you can hide out here.”
“I-I’d rather not.” He shifts uncomfortably. “Four out of five is is fine.”
“I’m sure they’ll understand,” you agree.
“I’m sure they’ll be glad.”
you start, knowing he already felt hyper aware of how his appearance
had changed. Before, it hadn’t really ever come up outside of the team.
No one would tell and if Keith wasn’t vocal about it…now everyone in the
entire universe probably knew.
There were rebel Galra, mostly in prisons and work camps. Feelings varied.
not true,” you say, not sure if it was true, “you helped free them.”
You shift your weight onto your other foot, “there’s a few assholes
He gives you a long look. “The Galra enslaved all these people.”
“Pfft,” you wave off, “you look like one sixteenth Galra. And-”
“Because you’re a paladin,” you reason. “Pidge is also cranky about the attention.”
The paladin armor lies in a discarded pile.
step forward to him, “anyone would be lucky to have you as a pilot. And
Voltron sort of lucked out when the red lion chose you.”
Keith’s eyes widen as he looks at you, pink dusting his cheeks.
for a penny, in for a pound, you lean forward and kiss his cheek,
ghosting over his skin, “face marks and all.” You can’t meet his gaze
when you pull away, blushing fiercely.
Why did you do that!
God, you were so dumb-
He cups your cheeks and brushes his lips over yours.
“Is-is this okay-,” Keith starts asking.
You feel giddy, smiling before kissing him. Yeah, it was okay.