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Wake Up Call

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Lotor woke to the feeling of warmth seeping through his skin. There was a comfortable haze setting in his mind, waving away all thoughts of emerging from sleep completely with rare thoughts such as you have time and five more minutes. Right now, he was caught in the strange purgatory of awake and asleep. Both tugged at him.

The latter was winning so far. Sleep was awfully appealing to his groggy mind. Especially when the soft sheets and warm body pressed against him were added into the equation. All of it made for a very convincing argument. One that was swaying him to it's side easier than he'd like to admit.

But he decided to at least sneak a peek before he drifted off again. He opened the eye not pressed into the plush pillows the slightest bit only to meet Keith's face inches away from his own. He was still fast asleep, normally furrowed brows and tense shoulders now free and relaxed. His puffs of breath against Lotor's skin were slow and steady.

Keith- the reluctant stand-in Black Paladin of Voltron, a raging whirlwind of thick unforgiving smoke and harsh determined flames on the battlefield- looked like neither of those things in that moment. In that moment, he simply looked... free. Like the searing claws of life hadn't yet sunk it's claws into his skin. Like he wasn't thrust into a leading position he didn't really want to fill the void his (somewhat?) father figure left behind.

If anyone else knew how that last one felt, it was Lotor. It stung and tried it's absolute hardest to drag you down.

And Lotor didn't even like his father. He could only imagine how Keith possibly felt.

But for the moment, none of that mattered. A war raged on outside their hotel room; a war that the two were unfortunate to be the opposing leaders of. They'd both have to wake up soon. Reality would eventually set in and they'd step out the room to their respective ships to go back to fighting against one another.

Right here, right now, however? They were... something else. Something that felt intangible, impossible to describe in mere words. Something chaotic and beautiful wrapped up in one complicated package. Ravishing and breathtaking by night, yet mellow and almost domestic once the sun started to peek through the curtains of sky.

The first few times, he'd only wake to a cold other side of the bed and memories. All this probably would've been better that way. Stay for the stress relief you came for, leave after it's done. Not taking any chances of falling into the inevitable black hole of emotional entanglement. Whatever all this was could only lead to disaster and heartbreak. Falling in love with the enemy is always a horrendously bad idea.

And yet here they were once again, limbs entangled with each other and the comfortable smell of... (what did Keith call it?) 'pine tree nettles' enveloping them. The lazy warmth nearly lulled him back to sleep. He wanted to enjoy this for as long as he possibly could.

But then he noticed something, trailing his eye down Keith's barely-clothed body. His shirt was hiked up to show pale hips and white and red boxers.

His boxers hadn't had a speck of red at all last night. The same shade of it coated his inner thighs. Specks of it were even on the cream colored bedsheets, starkly contrasting the peaceful color.

...Wasn't Keith's blood red?

With that thought, Lotor immediately snapped awake. He let a wave of concern and rampant worry wash over him without a second thought. It stayed in his mind, churning dark and foamy. He sat up carefully as to not wake Keith up yet and opened both eyes. Keith groaned slightly but didn't wake. His arms clung to Lotor's side, naturally adjusting to the movement. He examined what was currently visible to him.

He couldn't make sense of it. Was Keith injured somehow? How was that possible? They barely even did anything last night other than eat less than favorable food and pick fun at bad vids till they both fell asleep. Did someone come in and cut Keith? If someone did, why there, of all his vulnerable places? How did Keith not wake up after that?

Maybe whoever did it poisoned the blade. Keith was a pretty light sleeper, able to be up and moving at any slight provocation. Maybe his consciousness was suspended, making him unable to wake up.

Every explanatory thought was worse than the last. His chest felt tight; his breath coming in much faster than it had been before. Everything he came up with was horrifying. But at least he actually had a way to assure himself that they were all wrong.

"Keith," he started shaking Keith's shoulder urgently. "Wake up! Please wake up."

Immediately Keith groaned, cracking an eye open. It was still bleary from sleep. He looked up at Lotor with groggy confusion. "I'm awake, I'm awake." Lotor immediately stopped. "What's wrong?" He sat up, rubbing at his eyes. "Everything seems pretty okay. Something going on?"

Lotor sighed in relief. At least one horrific fear was dashed. "Not really, Kadan." He gave him a soft, worry-tinged smile.

Keith grunted, raking fingers through his own messy hair. Probably trying to make it look more presentable. (With very little success.) "Are you ever going to tell me what that word means?"

'My heart'. A name reserved for those very close to you, for obvious reasons.

"Probably not." He glanced down at the blood stains quickly. Should he ask? Keith seemed perfectly fine, but maybe that was just his body's subconscious response to help him keep going. 'Shock'- at least, that's what he believed it's called. It would probably wear off soon. He looked back up. "Are you... feeling alright?"

Keith stopped with a bit of confusion. "...Yeah," he said. "Why do you ask?" His shoulders were tensing. He started to glance around. If there was one nearby, he'd probably start reaching for a knife by now. Lotor knew this look too well- he'd seen it many times. Except the protective anger was usually pointed at him instead of on his behalf.

"Nobody but us is here, Kadan," he assured with a hand to his shoulder. "It's just that... you're injured." Keith's brows furrowed at that. "Bleeding, even." He pointed down to Keith's boxers.

Keith's eyes followed his finger down to see what Lotor was pointing at. They quickly widened in surprise at seeing the red mess.

"Shit!" he practically shot out of bed, racing for the small bathroom. All the while hissing the same word over and over again under his breath.

Lotor didn't attempt to stop him, only watched the sleek metallic bathroom door slide to a close. "Keith," he called. "Are you sure you're alright?" There was a bit more blood under where Keith's hip had rested. "Do you need me to help with anything? I can tend to your injury, if you want. Make sure it's not infected or anything."

There was a still silence for a few moments. Lotor briefly wondered if he somehow said something wrong.

"...No," Keith finally spoke up. His tone sounded... strange. Almost like his proposal caught him off guard somehow. "It's not an injury, just an annoyance. I'm fine."

"'Just an annoyance'?" Lotor asked incredulously. "You're bleeding, for the Creators' sake!"

"Yeah, well," running water sounded for a few seconds before it stopped. "Human bodies suck. Mine's pretty much gonna throw a temper tantrum 'cause I'm not pregnant by birthing out clumps of dead organs." He sounded so casual about it. "It happens every once in a while."