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How to eat (alien food) Right

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“WHOOOOO-HOOOOOOO, CANNON-BAAAAAALLL!!!!!!!!” cried Lance, wearing nothing but his blue shorts, diving off a rock ledge and into a crystal clear lagoon with a waterfall.

“This is the best….” he sighed once he floated back to the surface, letting himself drift about.

“I’ll say~” sighed Pidge in agreement, floating past Lance as well wearing nothing but a teal tube-top and shorts as well, courtesy of Allura.

“Look out, below!!!” called out Shiro diving in from the rock ledge this time, causing a big splash that caused the two Paladins to flounder about a bit, spitting water at their leader once he came up for air in retaliation.

The three ended up laughing as Allura sat at the edge of the lagoon dipping her legs wearing what one can only describe as a blue monokini with an Altean patterned Sarong wrapped around her waist. Her mice were all lounging in the water on a big lilypad looking leaf, enjoying the tranquility of the day while Coran had a fire going and a weird looking grill of sorts.

“Oh Coran, this planet is absolutely beautiful~!” exclaimed Allura over her shoulder as she closed her eyes and took in the sounds of the jungle around them and rush of the waterfall of the lagoon.

“I’m pleased you all enjoy it~,” replied Coran with a smile. “Me and my father used to come here when I was a boy, but with all the Galra attacks, I was half afraid this planet would have suffered like the Balmera.”

Shiro swam up to the edge and rested one arm on the flat stone edge. “Well, thank goodness this place is still thriving,” he said enjoying the waters. “We really needed this.”

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Flashback

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“I believe after the latest battle we are all a bit...TENSE...and are in need of some rest for a bit.” Allura said tiredly as she observed the exhausted paladins in front of her.


Pidge looked like she was about to fall over if she wasn’t already leaning against Hunk who was barely staying awake himself. His eyes would close for a few seconds before he would wake back up and look around as if expecting an attack.


Shiro looked exhausted both physically and mentally as he was rubbing his head trying to nurse a migraine that had come from separating the blue and red paladin once more. Combining that with the constant fights with the Galra for the past several days he was surprised he was still functional by this point.


Lance and Keith were covered with cuts and bruises which was no surprise to anyone, unfortunately the two were scowling at each other having another argument just before Allura summoned them to the control deck. Both of them at this point had a hair’s length of between patience them which resulted in more brawls between the two and more arguments. The rest of the crew hadn’t been near them until near the end of whatever argument took place all they knew was something happened that the two were just sending scathing looks to each other and giving each other the silent treatment.


“The Galra have ceased for now so if we move the castle ship soon we won’t run into them hopefully for a while which will allow us to rest and recharge,”Coran said twisting his mustache. “Princess if you’ll allow me I know of a planet that may be a good place for us to recharge. It’s in Firdaus Galaxy I recall your father going there at times to rest himself.”


Allura nodded trusting her adviser. “Please do so Coran that quicker the better.”


“As you wish princess we should be there in about six vargas after we go through a wormhole!” Coran said as he started input the coordinates and Allura gave a tired sigh as she agreed, turning towards the Paladins.


“Rest in your rooms Paladins we will inform you when we arrive.” Allura said.


“No I shall inform you after you activate the wormhole princess you shall rest as well. You have been just as exhausted as the other Paladins and need your rest too, ” Coran said firmly.


Allura looked like she was about to argue but one look from the advisor reminded her of a look her father use to give her when she wouldn’t listen and nodded giving in.

With that the Paladins separated as they headed to their rooms, each one dragging along the way. Shiro was in the lead managing to keep straight, Hunk was still supporting Pidge practically carrying her to her room and while Keith and Lance weren't talking either, almost unconsciously they were leaning against each other for support as they walked.

“Don't worry princess I know the perfect place to go for our rest, just take your sleep and I'll let everyone know,” Coran said pushing Allura out of the main area.

“Okay let me at least put the coordinates in Coran,” the Princess said smiling tiredly,”since I'm the only one who can.”

“Quite right, alright Princess here they are.” Coran said and Allira nodded inputting the coordinates before she was shuffled off to bed.

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End flashback
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“Why aren't Hunk and mullet head here?” Lance asked as he was floating right by the princess languidly. “They're seriously missing out.”

“Hunk wanted to take this time to gather some food from here,” Coran replied poking the fire. “It's alright everything here is quite safe to eat.”

“Uh are you sure? Last time Lance ate something safe he ended up with food poisoning for three days…” Pidge asked as Lance groaned remembering making Shiro sigh.

“I told you not to eat those berries Lance,” Shiro sighed. “Hunk was still cleaning them.”

“But they looked like regular blueberries!” Lance whined eliciting a chuckle from everyone else while Coran nodded solemnly.

“You lot may laugh now, but one must always be careful in preparing food no matter what! Who knows what side effects might occur?” warned Coran as he continued poking the fire.

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“Wow…. I can't believe all these are edible,” commented Keith, plucking a strange looking pear with spots that looked almost like little hearts from a low hanging branch.

Hunk scrolled through some documents with information on them projected on his little screen from his device as he plucked some bean pod looking vegetation from a vine, placing them into an Altean storage container. “According to these documents Coran gave me, this entire planet is apparently a garden oasis. It’s known as the most thriving, bountiful planet in the Firdaus Galaxy.”

“Sweet….” Keith said a little impressed as he placed more fruits he found into a small pile in the centre of a large cloth.

Hunk could not help but skip from tree to tree in excitement as he gathered more alien fruit and vegetables into his containers. “Oh boy, oh boy! I can't wait for Coran to show me what we can do with these~”

“Hey, if you're cooking, you could definitely work some magic on these alien stuff,” reassured Keith over his shoulder, earning a grin from the Yellow Paladin as he tied up his harvest into a bundle.

“Welp! This should be enough to tide us over for a while!” exclaimed Hunk gathering up his own harvested items as he began marching back towards their camp. “Let's go Keithy!”

Keith hummed a response when he suddenly heard his stomach rumble. Patting his belly, Keith slipped a hand into his bundle and pulled out a little pink, peach shaped fruit that had yellow stripes. The paladin gave it a sniff, smelling its fruity fragrance before shrugging and wiping it on his shirt, eating it heartily as he trotted after Hunk, slinging his bundle over his shoulder.

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“Okay so if we peel these and then boil them it should be safe for us to eat… ” Hunk read as Keith was looking around the kitchen pulling out anything resembling kitchen tools from the cupboards.

“Any ideas what you're going to try and make?” Keith asked as he pulled out something that looked like a cross between a spatula and a fork, shrugging he put it on the counter with the others.

“Maybe something resembling pasta? I think we can make something like vegetable pasta with that shredder thing you pulled out,” Hunk said eyeing the tools. “Maybe that or some soup?”

“It might be easier and vegetable stew sounds good," Keith relied as Hunk nodded.

“Alright might as well keep it simple and hearty for now and then we can try to make pasta once I get a better feel for the food,” Hunk said grinning as he tossed Keith an apron. “Alright from what Coran’s data says grab the purple looking leek things and see if you can cut them about an inch thick?”

Keith nodded and was about to start when Hunk grabbed his wrist.

“With a normal knife Keith.”

“.....do we even have normal knives here?”

“We have spoons so probably?”

The two just shrugged at each other before searching the cupboards and drawers.

All of a sudden, Keith felt a little warm and woozy as he leaned against the kitchen island for a bit. “Hey Hunk, I think the heat is getting to me… will you be alright in here on your own?”

Hunk shot Keith a good natured smile and thumbs up as Keith returned the gesture and went to go and change.

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Keith slipped into the cool lagoon with a contented sigh as Lance and Pidge were squirting water at each other.

“Hey Keith! Pidge is declaring a Knight rider battle! I need a rider!” called Lance waving over to his teammate.

Keith gave a little irritated growl at being disturbed but shrugged it off as he went to join the others where Pidge was riding on Shiro’s shoulders and Lance was waiting. Keith was only just a short distance away from them when Lance suddenly dived under water.

“Woah!” exclaimed Keith suddenly getting hoisted out of the water sitting on Lance’s broad shoulders who grinned cheekily.

“LET'S DO THIS!!!” declared Lance excitedly while Shiro and Pidge got into position.

“First one to fall does clean up!” announced Shiro hanging onto Pidge’s legs as the girl got her game face on.

“You're goin down Keithy boy!”

“H-hold on!” Keith said a bit shakily, he had come here to relax not to play but it was too late now. He just hoped the dizziness and warmth from earlier passed so he didn’t end up accidentally drowning.

“You’re going down midget!” Lance snickered as Keith saw Pidge growl angrily at the cuban as Keith glanced down at the tanned male underneath him.

“Did you really need to insult Pidge?” Keith asked as he felt Lance’s grip on his legs tighten as Lance got a determined look on his face.

“All part of the plan Keith!” Lance smirked back as Keith resisted the urge to roll his eyes as the two teams got ready to fight. “Allura count us down!”

“Alright Paladins begin in 3....2...1...GO!!” Allura called as Shiro and Lance moved forward as Pidge and Keith were grappling from above trying to shove the other down into the water while Shiro and Lance tried to keep them balanced and make the other one topple over.

It was a huge challenge for Lance and Keith seeing that Pidge practically weighed nothing when being supported by the strong and sturdy Shiro. However, Keith had excellent core strength while Lance was very at home in the water and had no trouble regaining his balance whenever it looked liked Pidge was able to push Keith over.

Allura and Coran were cheering their support from the side of the lagoon along with the mice who hopped up and down excitedly.

At that moment, Hunk emerged from the castle carrying trays of food, expertly balancing them on his broad arms and head as he lay them all down on the picnic mat Coran had laid out earlier.

Hunk placed two fingers in his mouth and whistled loudly. “Come and get it everybody!” he called out, diverting their attention.

“You're wide open!” exclaimed Keith seizing his moment as Lance lunged his rider forward.

“WAH!!" *SPLASH!!!* went Pidge as she and Shiro tipped over.

“We won! HA! Take that Pidge!” Lance crowed over the sputtering Green Paladin who was hissing like an angry cat while Shiro sighed but looked relaxed and was laughing as he picked up Pidge by the back of her swimsuit.

“I call foul!! Hunk distracted us!” Pidge screeched as she tried to get the two as Lance was still laughing as he was whooping with joy that he managed to work with Keith and beat Shiro and Pidge.

“Too bad! Take that Pidge!” Lance snickered as he threw his arms up in the air cheering loudly and looked like he was about to start dancing but he had forgotten about a certain weight on his shoulders. Keith had to literally wrap his legs around Lance’s chest and grab his hands that were in the air so he wouldn’t topple over.

“Lance! You idiot, I’m still on your shoulders!” Keith hissed looking down at the Cuban.

“What afraid of the water desert boy?” Lance retorted smirking as he got a familiar look on his face. It was the same look that preluded the start of a bad idea that the Blue Paladin had brewing in his head, either that or when he thought he was being slick with the flirting. Keith tighten his grip on Lance’s chest.

“Lance don’t you dare.” Keith hissed as Lance’s smirk got wider.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about all I know is I’m not about to carry you to the edge of the lagoon so…”

“Lance don’t you fucking even think about it!”

“It’s just water mullet.”

“Lance I swear to god! Let me get down myself!”

“Better hold your breath Keith!”

“LANCE YOU FUCKING-”

*SPLASH*

“image”

The rest of the Paladins watched with varying degrees of amusement seeing the two argue and then Lance laughing as he leaned backwards sending them both into the water with a loud splash.

The darker skinned Paladin was the first to emerge from the water laughing hysterically as he quickly moved back to the shore as Keith came up gasping for breath, his hair plastered against his face with a look that he was ready to murder Lance.

“Oh you are so dead!!!” declared Keith splashing after Lance who made a speedy swim back to shore.

Shiro quickly threw a towel in Lance’s face as he hauled Keith out of the water like a wet cat and placed another towel on Keith's head.

Keith glared heatedly at Lance who smugly grinned back and walked off.

Unknown to him, Keith stealthily power walked behind him, winding up his wet towel vigorously while everyone else just watched silently.

*WHAP!!!! *

“SONOVABI-!!!!!”exclaimed a startled Lance jumping about a foot in the air, grabbing his stinging left buttcheek as it became his turn to glare at Keith who returned a smirk.

Lance looked he was about to retaliate when Hunk got in between them, placing his arms around their shoulders.

"Come on guys! Leave the Towel-Fu for later! Let's eat!!” exclaimed Hunk jovially as the two decided to cease fire although Lance signaled ‘I’m watching you!’ warningly to Keith who rolled his eyes.

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Hunk’s ability to make humanely palatable food using alien food stuff never ceased to amaze Team Voltron as everyone eagerly wolfed down their food.

“Hunk, you are the culinary wizard of alien food!” exclaimed Lance pointing his spoon to Hunk.

“My compliments to the chef!” said Allura in agreement.

Hunk gave a theatrical bow with a flourish of his hand. “Thank you~ Thank you~”

“Oh this is just like how mom use to make it,” Pidge said groaning happily drinking the soup eagerly. “You're a serious miracle worker Hunk.”

“Mmm it's been awhile since I've had soup at all since Earth,” Shiro said smiling fondly as he took the soup with both hands and drank the broth.

“It's really good as usual Hunk,” Keith said chewing on a vegetable but winced when he felt some stomach pains and frowned,deciding to ignore them for now as he looked back at the yellow paladin,”what's your plan for dinner?”

“I might try that pasta idea as talked about earlier I tested that shredder thing in the kitchen and made some mini pasta samples with the vegetation,” Hunk replies as he tossed a small yellow vegetable from the soup into his mouth." “It looked like it came out fine.”

“Hunk, my best buddy in the world…” Lance said grinning as he leaned closer to Hunk.

“No Lance I haven't figured out how to make garlic knots yet,” He replied as the Blue paladin pouted. “I haven't seen anything resembling wheat to make bread yet.”

“I call first dibs when you do!” Lance declared firmly before he heard a groan next to him and frowned when he saw Keith put down his near empty bowl. “What's wrong with you Mullet head?”

Keith looked a bit pale as he was sweating, holding his head in obvious pain looking like he was trying to focus. Lance leaned a bit closer and put his hand on Keith shoulder to make sure he didn't fall over.

Hunk frowned as he recalled earlier how unsteady Keith looked in the kitchen. “You still not feeling better Keith?”

“You're ill?” Allura asked concerned but Keith raised his hands up stopping them from jumping to conclusions.

“Guys I think it's just the place’s heat or something, I was a little dizzy earlier and it's coming back. I'm just going to go back to the castle ship and rest.” Keith said as he saw the others looking worried. “I should be fine after a nap.”

“Do you need someone to walk you back? If you're dizzy I don't want you to hurt yourself,” Shiro asked standing up but Keith put up a hand.

“No really! I’ll see you guys later…” he said getting up and heading back inside.

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Keith slowly made his way through the halls, his body getting warmer and warmer as he leaned against the walls for support. His room seemed further away than usual as Keith’s head was feeling progressively heavier.

It took a little while but he eventually managed to find his way to his room as he gratefully collapsed on his mattress, passing out before his head even hit the pillow.

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Hunk looked towards the castle in concern as everyone helped pitched in to clean up the empty dishes.

“You're worried about Keith?” asked Lance, placing a hand on his friend's shoulder.

“He really didn't look well…” noted Hunk turning to Lance."I hope my cooking didn't make things worse….."

“I doubt it, but you’re right, he did look bad….” said the Blue Paladin before turning to the others. “Hey! We’re gonna go check up on Keith!”

The rest all nodded in acknowledgement as Lance and Hunk made their way inside.

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Hunk rapped on Keith’s door. “Keith?” he called out softly.

The didn't hear anything which made them worry even more. They had grabbed some juice packets on their way over to the Red Paladin’s room hoping it would help but they weren't even sure what his condition was.

“Don't look so down buddy, we all ate your food just fine and none of us got sick maybe Keith is just allergic to some space tomatoes that you used,” Lance said patting his robust friend’s back. “Seriously don't worry about it.”

“I know but I can't help but worry, he seemed fine when we were gathering food together,” Hunk sighed as he knocked again. “Keith, Lance and I brought some juice packers for you to help. Can we come in?”

Lance frowned and pressed his ear to the door when the deafening silence lingered longer than they would've like.

“I can't really hear anything…” Lance said as he leaned closer to try and hear anything on the other side of the door. “Do you figure he locked it?”

“Probably if the door hasn't already opened,” Hunk replied from behind Lance.

“Well we could try again later?”’ Lance said frowning as he pulled back folding his arms. “He really looked really out of it when we were eating.”

Hunk sighed as he walked over to the door but pushed a panel to the side and there was a keypad there. He quickly pressed a number code and the door’s light above turned green.

“What did you just do?” Lance asked as the panel closed up before he could see what it was. “Did you just unlock Keith’s door from the outside?”

“It's an emergency override code I found while going through some data with Pidge when we were trying to fix the castle up,” Hunk replied grinning. “You know just in case we get stuck somewhere inside where we can't get out or if someone sleeps in and locks the door.”

“You're the one who keeps unlocking my door!?! I thought I was going crazy when I swore I locked it!” Lance shouted at his best friend. “Really Hunk why do you have to be like that and just let me sleep in?”

“Because it's either me or Shiro and Allura comes in dragging you out of bed so you can do extra training for sleeping in,” Hunk teased as he quietly walked inside the darkened room, straight for the bed. “Keith? Hey we have some juice packets to help you."

“Hunk? How'd you get in? I set the door to lock automatically when I'm inside,” Keith groaned out from under the blankets.

Hunk blinked. It...sounded like Keith but something was off…

“Was too worried to let you just sleep Keith,” Hunk replied as he gently patted the lump on the bed. “Feeling any better?”

They saw the lump move a bit.

“A little bit? I still feel really warm though,” Keith sighed getting up from under the covers as Lance’s and Hunk’s eyes popped wide open.

Keith gave a yawn as he rubbed his eyes and blinked blearily at Lance and Hunk.

“Did you guys get bigger?” Keith asked sleepily looking up at them.

“Uuuh….hey buddy? You feeling any different?” asked Lance unsurely as Hunk and Lance’s eyes followed Keith’s movement as he repositioned himself on the bed.

Keith shrugged. “Well, my headache is gone I guess..why are you guys staring at me?”

Lance and Hunk glanced at each other unsurely.

Keith stretched, cracking his neck. His bed felt bigger than usual but maybe it was because he still felt a little woozy. Keith dragged himself to sit on the edge of his bed, expecting his feet to reach the floor, only to have them dangle there.

Now Keith was wide awake as he waved his feet, trying to reach the floor. That was when he noticed how small his feet had become, and his hands.

“Huh?!” went Keith as he pushed himself off the bed, wobbling on his feet. His shorts apparently got bigger as well as his hands quickly flew the waistband in order to prevent them from slipping off.

“Guys….” Keith said looking up, waaay up at the now super tall figures of his teammate. “What’s going on?!”

“Should I tell him or should you?” stage whispered Lance.

“What?! Tell me what?!” demanded Keith, suddenly realizing his voice had gotten higher.

“Um...Keith? You remember going through puberty right?” asked Hunk nervously.

“What?!”

Lance face palmed himself. “Oh for the love of-! Look in the damn mirror!”

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Two seconds later, the rest of the team of the team jumped in shock as a familiar scream rang out from the castle as they were cleaning up as Shiro and Pidge had lost the game against Lance and Keith. They had just entered the castle to drop the plates and everything in the kitchen when they heard the shout.

“KEITH!!” Shiro shouted hearing the Red Paladin and dropping the plates he had in the sink he took off the fastest anyone has seen him run.

“Whoa, never seen Shiro move that fast and was that Keith screaming?” Pidge asked Allura as they ran behind Shiro after discarding their own silverware as the Black Paladin had a good head start towards the Red Paladin’s room.

“I believe so, though I fail to understand what made him yell like that in the first place, he hardly ever makes that kind of noise,” Coran said as they were hurrying over to the paladin’s quarters.

There they reached Keith’s room, where they saw an indent in the metal door probably from Shiro’s mechanical arm forcing the door opened in his haste to get inside.

The doors slid opened and they stayed by the doorway to properly figure out what was going on.

Hunk and Lance were still staring in disbelief as Shiro was holding a small dark haired pre-teen that looked very familiar.

“Where’s Keith? We heard him screaming and where did this child come from?” Allura asked as she stepped in to get a closer look.

“I thought you said this planet was wasn't inhabited Coran?” Pidge asked looking at the advisor.

“Last I checked it wasn't but then again it's been about ten thousand years,” Coran replied twirling his mustache. "Still it's rather fascinating to see a native.”

“Guys you might want to take a closer look before you ask any more questions and make more assumptions,” Lance said speaking up and getting their attention.

“Uh Allura we might have a problem…” Hunk coughed as the princess that looked at the trio until the young teen in Shiro’s arms spoke. A familiar anger in the voice but sounded much much younger.

“Takashi...put me down.”

“KEITH!?”

“How the...you're a kid!” Pidge squawked racing up to look at Keith now upon closer inspection was about twelve years old." How did that happen!?”

“How the fuck should I know!?” Keith rages trying to get his brother to put him down on the ground and not hold him up in the air like he was on display.

“Language!” Shiro automatically said use to trying to curve Pidge’s cursing and now was doing it to his again little brother. “Keith how the...why are you so small!?”

“I have no idea!! One minute I was feeling sick and hot the next thing I know I wake up like this!” Keith seethed back.

“Maybe we should all converge to the meeting room and talk there…” Allura said trying to grasp what was going on.

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They all sat on the rounded couches with everyone looking at Keith who was grumbling as he sat in Shiro’s lap scowling as much as a twelve year old could with oversized clothing.

Keith had to tighten the cord on his shorts while his black shirt just hung off him loosely.

“Ok, think back Keith, what happened earlier today?” questioned Allura as Keith pushed himself of Shiro’s lap and sat properly on the couch next to him.

Keith rubbed his chin as he thought hard. “I remember getting when we landed, then I volunteered going with Hunk to collect ingredients……”

Hunk nodded in confirmation. “Nothing unusual happened, we just gathered up what we could get and left.”

Coran scratched his head in confusion. “That's it? You didn't get bitten or sprayed by any native life form?”

Keith shook his head."Pretty sure none of that happened… we grabbed the fruits and vegetables and left. I remember getting hungry and eating one of the fruits on the way back.”

Coran narrowed his eyes suspiciously."Hmm…. What exactly did this fruit look like?”

The boy shrugged."I dunno, small? Pink and heart shaped… with yellow stripes?”

“Heart shaped you mean one of the peach looking fruits?” Hunk asked as he remembered that was one of the last areas they had picked fruit from before they had headed back to the castle. “Let’s go to the kitchen I put the fruit away I think there were a lot of similar ones so we can double check.”

“Yes I think that would be the best plan of action then I can really see what it was Keith had eaten.” Coran said concerned looking at the Red Paladin who was folding his tiny arms, it would’ve been a cute sight if there wasn’t a scowl on his face.

“We warned you about not eating anything that wasn’t cooked Keith,” Shiro said looking at the younger Paladin by his side who looked away, ” I thought Lance was a pretty good example.”

“Hey I’m right here! And that was just once!” Lance shouted indignant, "You do something once and others never let you forget it…”

“Story of your life Lance,” Pidge smirked as she skipped away from the Blue Paladin who made a move to grab her as they stood up with the others heading to the kitchen, Keith was about to walk on his own when Shiro picked him up and threw him over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes.

“Takashi…” Keith said his voice dripping with venom glaring at his brother.

“What? This is faster, and it’ll be just like before,”Shiro couldn’t help but laugh much to Keith’s embarrassment as he wiggled and struggled to get down from Shiro’s shoulder." Stop squirming Keith it will be faster just to carry you so we can figure out what fruit you ate.”

“Not until you put me down!” Keith growled trying to kick Shiro’s face as his own was red from embarrassment from being hauled up like a sack of potatoes.

“Was he like this when he was that age?” Lance couldn’t help but ask remembering his own time when he was twelve, always running around with his siblings and family playing with them.

“Nah he was quieter, his body may be twelve but it’s obvious he still has his eighteen year old brain.” Shiro replied as he had to tighten his grip on the squirming twelve year old. “Keith stop or I’ll hold you upside down until we get to the kitchen.”

Keith stilled and scowled, knowing Shiro he would actually go through with his threat if he didn’t stop. So Keith settled being carried over the Black Paladin’s shoulder while Pidge, Lance and Hunk couldn’t help but grin at the sight at the pouty looking Keith as they continued down the hall. They got into the kitchen where Hunk walked over to the panels and opened it up showing all the food they had collected from the variety of planets. There was a panel on the side where it would spin and switch to different shelves so that they knew what from came from what planet.

“Here’s the stuff we gathered today.” Hunk said turning the fridge shelves a few times until it showed all the fruits and vegetables he and Keith had gathered. “Do you recognize the fruit you ate Keith?”

Shiro held Keith in his arms since he was a lot shorter now and couldn’t see all the shelves, his indigo eyes scanned the display before he saw a hint of pink near the back of the fridge. Urging Shiro to move closer he pushed some of the fruit aside until he pulled out the one that he had eaten, it had the same symbols and shape from the one he had consumed and showed it to Coran and the others.

“This was the one.” Keith said as Coran took it and examined it.

“Well if I recall correctly generally this fruit is used from creams and other products for skin care, also a rather effective medical ointment if I do say so myself,” Coran replied as if he was recalling a fond memory. “A sort of younger age look if you may, but I never thought the effects could be this drastic.”

“I do recall reading that this particular fruit is awfully potent so only a small bit is used, but Keith ate an entire fruit!” pointed out Allura. “Will he be alright?”

“Will WE be alright?!” panicked Lance.

“We ate those in the pudding!” exclaimed Pidge equally concerned.

Hunk quickly pulled up the screen on the fruits he was using earlier and found what he was looking for, before heaving a sigh of relief. “Ok good news and bad news.”

Everyone looked to him at attention.

“The good news is, only the skin contains the youthful properties, not the fruit itself. Since, I skinned those particular fruits when I made the pudding we should be safe.”

Everyone heaved big sighs of relief simultaneously.

“And the bad news?” asked Shiro, furrowing his eyebrows.

“Well….” started Hunk reading the cautionary footnote. “Warning: Consumption of the skin and fruit will result in mass cell rejuvenation within the next, um….”

Hunk paused as he mentally converted the Altean timing to human timing. “48 hrs….well 44 hrs, if we factor in the time Keith ate the fruit…”

“Wait so I’m going to get smaller!?” Keith exclaimed horrified. “This happened within an hour!!”

“Uh...he has a point if he get’s any younger he could revert to being a toddler,” Shiro grimaced, “that’ll just leave us in a bit of trouble not only with Voltron but having a child around when we’re still clearing out the castle.”

“Hunk is there a way to I don’t know reverse it? Was the fruit itself that made Keith young or do you think it could be what was in the soup that combined with the raw peach fruit thing he ate that sped up the process?” Pidge asked as she looked at the fruit as Hunk browsed through the information and frowned.

“Well there is a list of ingredients you shouldn’t mix with the fruit but I have honestly no idea what they are, ” Hunk replied. “There’s pictures of what shouldn’t be mixed so I can go through that and we can figure out how to reverse this before Keith gets any younger.”

“I’ll help you Hunk, I know if not most of the plants of the planet given the many times I was brought here with us here it shouldn’t take long to grab all the ingredients you used for your lunch meal and the pudding.” Coran said as Pidge nodded.

“I’ll help too and see if I can look up the chemical combinations, I updated the laptop with the information the castle holds so it should be pretty up to date with any food we come across and tell us if we can use it to reverse this...situation.” Pidge said before grinning. “At least I’m not the youngest anymore!”

“입 닥쳐(shut the hell up)!” Keith growled making a face at Pidge as the other Paladins stared at the miniaturized Red Paladin.

“What was that he just spoke?” Allura asked fascinated as Keith continued to glare at the green paladin before Shiro sighed and pinched Keith’s face eliciting a painful yelp.

“That’s Korean, Keith rarely speaks it unless he’s really mad,” Shiro explained holding Keith’s cheek for a few more seconds before letting go, Keith rubbed his face. “It’s one of the many languages back on Earth just like how Lance slips into Spanish when he’s flirting or cursing at Keith.”

“How the heck do you know I’m cursing at Keith in spanish?” Lance asked looking at Shiro warily,” and I don’t flirt with mullet head!”

“I never said you flirted with Keith specifically,and your tone usually gives it away,” Shiro replied shrugging as he adjusted Keith in his grip, Keith had always been small for his age, when he was twelve he actually looked 9 or ten. “So we just have to wait until you guys figure out what can reverse this?”

“Pretty much it’s not like we can continuously test different combinations for all we know that could speed it up even more or have other effects,” Hunk replied as he was already sorting through the list of ingredients of what he used and what could possibly reverse Keith’s condition.

“I’d like Keith to go to the medbay and just do a check up just in case there are more internal effects of the fruit, ” Allura said as she looked at Keith frowning concerned. “And maybe find some more appropriate clothing on him.”

“I’ll go with Hunk!” volunteered Coran, stepping forward.

“Right,” nodded Shiro in agreement.“Pidge and I will come too. Lance, you stay back here with Allura and watch over Keith.”

“I don't need a babysitter!” protested Keith, folding his arms only to get a warning look from Shiro.

“Ok, let's go!” announced Shiro as his team nodded and headed out while Allura took Keith's hand and led him down to the medbay area with Lance.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


“Ok here's the ingredients we need,” informed Hunk showing the list to the others as soon as they arrived at the spot where Hunk said they harvested the vegetation.

“Let’s hurry and gather these ingredients before Keith shrinks anymore than he already has,” Shiro said as he looked over the list. “Hunk do you remember what ingredients you used when you were making the lunch today?”

“Yeah it’s still pretty fresh in my mind and with Coran we should be able to figure out what to use to try and fix this,” Hunk said as he stopped by a tree and picked a few fruit from it, crossing it off the list.

“That’s good, still what were the chances of someone actually de-aging like that,” Pidge said as she picked several fruits off of some bushes nearby. “Then again with our luck you can never be too sure.”

“True, we’ll just have to take it easy for now and focus on getting Keith back to normal,” Shiro replied glancing at the list and nodding as he tossed the fruit he gathered into the growing pile. “Found a few more Hunk.”

“Great! We’ll take as much as we can but still leave some, it’s best we gather as much as we can so we don’t have to keep making trips, besides this is going to be all experiments and we have to get it right the first time, ” Hunk said, “I don’t want to imagine what else could happen if we don’t fix this.”

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“There he goes Lance!” yelled Allura as a small figure darted past her.

“I see him!” exclaimed Lance sprinting after it. “Keith! Quit being a butt!!”

“Make me!” yelled Keith over his shoulder, leaping out of the way of Lance who dived at him.

“For the love of-! Just sit in damn pod!! It’s not gonna hurt!”

“NO!!! It’s boring!!! And it’s cold!!!” retorted Keith running into the lounge where Allura was lying in wait.

“Got you!” declared Allura pouncing on Keith, sending them both into a tumble as Allura held him in a hold. “Keith! This is for your own good!”

“Noooo!!!!” wailed the boy, trying to struggle before giving up, exhausted as he pouted.

Allura heaved a tired sigh as she held the boy closer to her when she suddenly felt something warm and wet coating her arm. The princess slowly looked down to see Keith hanging his mouth open, let his saliva drool all over Allura’s hand, making her shiver in disgust.

“EW!!” she squealed jumping and shaking her arm, inadvertently letting go as Keith seized his chance to scramble way only to be foiled by a blanket being thrown over him as Lance bundled him up and threw the struggling bundle over his shoulder with Keith’s muffled cries of protest coming from it.

“Lemme go!!” came Keith’s muffled voice from the blankets. “I don’t wanna go into the stupid pods!”

“Hell no you little brat! You’re only be in there for bit and then you’re out!” Lance panted, keeping a good grip on Keith before looking at Allura. “Holy crow what happened!? One minute he was walking fine even if he was sulking and then out of nowhere he tries running away!?”

Allura was staring at her arm with the saliva on it with disgust before turning primly to look at Lance holding Keith tightly in his blanket prison. They walked back to the med bay stopping by the kitchen so that Allura could grab some towels and wipe her arm off as she thought about her red paladin’s sudden change in attitude. He did seem fine even a bit reluctant to go to the pods but that was probably due to his new size, the sudden need to run away from the pods was something she did not expect.

“My only explanation is...the longer Keith remains the age he is currently at and possibly even younger, if we do not figure out how to stop this his mind will catch up to his body and revert back to his mentality at that age,” Allura finally said.

“Didn’t know he was such a brat at this age,” Lance grumbled jostling Keith a bit making the younger paladin yelp.

“I doubt you were a perfect child at that age Lance,” Allura said smiling while Lance mocked gasped at her.

“I was a perfect angel to my dear mama and family thank you very much!” Lance said insulted, though he could hear a snort coming from the blanket that Keith didn’t even believe that himself. “You be quiet since you’re hardly an angel right now mullet.”

“I don’t have a mullet you meanie!” Keith argued even if he was muffled. “And I can’t breath in this blanket!”

“Fine,” Lance huffed as he pushed the blanket down to where Keith’s head popped up and he gasped for air before sending a weak glare at Lance. “Happy?”

“You suck,” Keith replied giving Lance a raspberry.

“Yeah, yeah, whatever,” retorted Lance rolling his eyes as he tucked Keith under his body when he suddenly frowned. “Did you just get lighter?”

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Careful, Pidge!” yelled Shiro from the ground as he watch the young girl high up in a tree shimmying along a thin branch tossing down the fruit growing along to a sack Shiro held open.

“Sure! Just one more!” Pidge yelled back getting to the end of the branch, reaching out for one last over-hanging fruit.

“Almost there….Got it!” said the girl triumphantly grabbing the fruit. “Shiro, Catch me!”

“Wait what?!” exclaimed Shiro bewilderedly when Pidge suddenly let herself teeter and plummet.

Instinctively, Shiro dropped the sack he was holding and shuffled about with his arms open, trying to accurately position himself under her.

“Oof!” he grunted, successfully managing to catch the youngest member in his arms giving Pidge a look while the girl flashed him a cheeky grin.

“My hero~” said Pidge cheekily batting her eyes while cupping her face.

“Are you finished?” asked Shiro dryly as Pidge nodded in response, still smiling as the Black Paladin placed her on the ground. “Come on, quit fooling around! We got what we came for!”

“Aye-aye, Captain!” saluted Pidge picking up the sack and dropping in the fruit she picked before hauling after Shiro.

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Allura was looking over the readings from the pod as Lance stood right next to her, though his eyes kept straying to where Keith was in an induced sleep to keep him inside. They had run several tests, including blood tests so it had been about two hours since the team had separated to try and cure their Paladin.

“So anything unusual?” Lance asked trying to read Altean, he recognized a few symbols but other than that he couldn’t make much out of the readings that were being displayed in front of them.

“No, thankfully nothing seems out of place for Keith,” Allura said moving a few screens that showed the scanning, “which is a relief.”

“You’re telling me,” Lance said walking to the pod Keith was in as Allura pressed a button opening the pod up.

Lance waved away some of the cold air that came with the pod and waited to see a mop of black hair appear, he frowned when he couldn’t see anything. Concerned and trying to press down the growing panic he moved forward feeling around for Keith he heard a small groan and got to his knees in time to catch Keith though both his and Allura’s eyes widened when they saw the state of the red Paladin.

“Quiznak…” they both cursed as bleary indigo eyes blinked looking up at Lance confused.

“Where’s Takashi?”

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Allura how is Keith!?” Shiro asked dropping off the food over into the kitchen where Hunk, Pidge and Coran were quickly working together to find a way to reverse the aging.

He froze at the door when Allura and Lance looked nervously at each other as Lance was holding said paladin he was looking for.

“Keith?” Shiro asked in disbelief.

“H-hey Shiro uh…” Lance started before Allura cleared her throat making Shiro look at the Princess.

“Well...he's perfectly healthy there isn't anything wrong with him internally,” Allura coughed while Lance put down the squirming child on the floor and tiny feet ran across the floor over to the door.

“Takashi!” Keith voice shouted happily seeing the Black Paladin.

Shiro still in shock knelt down and soon had an armful of Keith….a much younger Keith in his arms who wrapped his arms around his neck and blinked when he got a better look at Shiro.

“Hey Takashi why is your hair white? I thought mom said you couldn't dye your hair? And where's you get the cool scar?” Keith asked poking Shiro’s face,”and is that a robot arm!?”

“GUYS….” Shiro practically begged as his voice cracked waiting for an explanation as he turned towards Allura and Lance.

Keith noticed them too he was actually more focused on Shiro when he saw him walk in and didn't see the other two very well.

“You know the pretty lady Shiro?” Keith asked innocently.

“Yes and the pretty lady is going to explain what exactly happened!” Shiro replied ignoring the fact he had just called Allura pretty to her face, even if the princess had a bit of pink dusting her cheeks.

“In the past 2 hours, he went from 12 years old to about 6 years old….” informed Lance as he watched little Keith excitedly swing from Shiro’s metal arm.

“We believe the de-aging has slowed down a bit but he's still getting younger as time goes on,” added Allura in concern.

“Translation: If we don't give Keith that antidote soon, by the end of 48 hrs, he’ll be de-aging himself out of existence…” chimed in Lance, furrowing his brows.

A look of horror crossed Shiro’s face as he looked down at Keith who appeared oblivious to the situation as he smiled back at his brother.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“We’re really in space?” Keith asked amazed as he sat on Shiro’s shoulders walking around the castle. “And this is really a spaceship? It’s huge!”

“Y-yeah, hey Keith what was the last thing you remember?” Shiro asked as he held tightly onto his brother’s legs dangling over his shoulders while Keith was looking at everything as they passed by the control room.

“Uh...dunno...it’s kinda hazy and blurry? I think I was taking a nap?” Keith replied looking down at Shiro as he tried thinking of what he was doing before waking up to two strangers and his brother. “That’s it.”

“I see, alright.” Shiro sighed as they continued walking, they had past the control center where Shiro proved to them that they were in space when he showed him the starmap of the planets and galaxies around.

Allura had told Shiro she was going to check on the others and said that she will call for him when they figure out something, she had Lance go with Shiro just in case Keith tried to escape again and run away. When Shiro was told that he had to cover his mouth with his free hand and try not to laugh trying to imagine Lance and Allura chasing after a bratty twelve year old Keith, they figured the best way to prevent that was to give him a tour of the castle. They didn’t want him to go outside since he could run off and get lost, then they would have more trouble.

They had showed him the observatory which showed the greenery and plantation on the outside of the planet it had Keith staring surprised and eagerly prodded Shiro he wanted to go outside but Shiro was adamant in refusal saying it was too dangerous.

“What’s in that big room over there?” Keith asked pointing to the entrance of the training area.

“That’s where we train together and against the droids.” Lance explained.

“There’s more robots here?” Keith asked as they stepped inside the large area. “Wow, this place is probably bigger than both our rooms back at home, so you train here by fighting? Can I see?”

Shiro opened his mouth to say no when Lance smirked and took out his bayard Keith’s eyes on the little object before he saw it transform into his weapon. “Sure why not?”

“Lance…” Shiro said warningly.

“It’ll be fine Shiro, you'll be up in the observation deck with Keith,” Lance replied as he stepped out further from the two into the middle of the room while Shiro carried Keith to the safety of the control room.

Upon giving the signal, Altean drones began rising out from the floor and rushed at Lance, who opened fire as he dodged their blows.

Keith bounced up and down excitedly looking down from the window while Shiro whistled.

‘Looks like Lance has really been working on his footwork and maneuvers…’

“Hey what does this button do?” asked Keith pushing a random button on the panel.

“Keith, No!”

It was too late, the laser blasters were activated and began firing at Lance who quickly used one of the drones to block as he quickly deployed his shield and began running around the room doing his best to dodge and block.

“Shirooooo!!!!! Do something!!!!!” cried Lance, narrowly avoiding a shot to his head.

Shiro quickly moved to the panel and looked over the buttons as he tried to turn off the lasers while Keith was looking worried at Lance who was still barely dodging the lasers as his face was pressed against the glass. His face caked with worry as he watched Lance roll out of the way from the onslaught of lasers, he cried out when Lance’s arm got singe by one of the lasers.

“Shiro! He got hurt!” Keith said scrambling down off the panel but Shiro grabbed him before he could try to go down, he slammed his hand on the emergency stop, which turned off the lasers much to Lance’s relief.

He tuned his bayard back to its hidden form as he tried to catch his breath. Shiro came down the control room the two quickly left Shiro putting Keith down as the child clung to Shiro’s legs as his brother looked over Lance. He removed his jacket and took a look at the marks.

“It's not too bad probably just need some salve,” Shiro said relieved. “There wasn't any other spots you got hit?”

“No I managed to deflect and avoid most of the damage, what the hell happened?!” Lance asked and Shiro sighed as he pushed Keith forward making the blue Paladin look at Keith who was shifting nervously.

“Keith, what do we say?” Shiro said sternly.

“I'm sorry for making the lasers attack you,” Keith said keeping his head down.

Normally Lance would have gone off on Keith, saying he did it on purpose which would quickly escalate into another one of their usual arguments, but this time Lance couldn't bring himself to yell at kid Keith.

Lance sighed as he knelt down in front of the boy and ruffled his mop of a hairdo.

“Hey don't worry about it kiddo! Just be careful next time ok?” said Lance giving Keith a reassuring smile, earning back a smile from the boy.

Keith gave a hearty nod before running back to Shiro’s side smiling happily as the man placed a hand on the boy’s head, looking approvingly.

“Can we see more of the castle?” asked Keith with big fascinated eyes.

Shiro was about to answer but Lance beat him to it.

“Hey, Keith? Wanna ride around in a giant robot space lion?”

Keith looked at the Blue Paladin as if he just met Santa Claus himself.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“So there's five lions and each one is a different color and you each pilot one?” Keith asked as this time Lance was carrying him on his shoulders.

“Yep and together they form one huge giant robot called Voltron!” Lance said grinning,” and your brother is the leader of the group so he and I can fly in our lions all the time.”

“Of course Shiro’s the leader he's the best pilot his school has,” Keith states matter of fact,” he's always wanted to fly!”

“Now he flies a giant space Lion!” Lance laughed as they headed to the hangers though Shiro looked like he wanted to grab Keith, but his brother looked so happy being told he could ride in one of the lions.

“Lance just be careful…” Shiro gripes,”I'll follow you in the black Lion…”

“Shiro it'll be fine, I won't go too far out into the atmosphere and I'll stay by the planet’s surface,” Lance said grinning, for once happy he without the risk of his lion being stolen or Zarkon attacking.

Shiro still looked dubious as they were passing the other Lion’s hangers, when Lance felt a grip on his hair making the Cuban stop.

“Ow hey there watch the hair Keith,” Lance winced as he stopped. ”Keith?”

Shiro looked over to see Keith staring at one of the hangers just as they passed by.

“Which lion is in this one?” Keith asked quietly.

“Uh that'll be Red’s hanger,” Lance replied. “ Why?”

“I felt like there was something in the back of my head and I hear loud purring…” Keith replied tilting his head a bit. “She misses me? I know her?”

Lance and Shiro exchanged knowing looks as Keith jumped down from the Paladin’s shoulders as he ran towards the Red Lion, looking up at it with eyes filled with wonder.

“Woah…..” he breathed as the other two caught up with him.

Lance and Shiro said nothing since it was apparent that Keith's bond with the Red Lion is still evident. Keith went up to the giant Lion’s paw and scampered on to it, placing his cheek against the cool metal of her leg. He could hear the lion purr louder in his mind, it was soothing, he felt comfort, and affection.

“Hi Red… I’m Keith..”whispered the small boy to the robot as if gently talking to a pet.

He liked this robot and he could feel the robot liking him back. Keith giggled a little as he rubbed his face against the leg before yawning and slowly closing his eyes.

Lance and Shiro slowly tiptoed over to Keith to find out the little boy had fallen asleep, a small comforting smile on his face as he cuddled against the Lion's Leg.

“Red~...”yawned Keith pleasantly.

“Daaaw~” cooed Lance softly, tilting his head to one side.

“At least he wore himself out, so we don’t have to worry about him running around,” Shiro said relieved though he had to smile at the sight of his brother sleeping peacefully without any worries. “We should probably move him to his bed it can’t be comfortable sleeping like that.”

Shiro went to grab Keith but the younger male made a whining sound wanting to stay with the Red Lion, the Lion sharing the same sentiments as it surprised both the Black and Blue Paladin when it let out a low growl. Then they watched as the Lion actually lie down, it’s large metallic tail wrapping around its paws as she kept Keith close to her.

“Well, looks like Red doesn’t want Keith to leave anytime soon,” Lance said rubbing his head as he stepped forward, he held his hands up when when could hear the warning rumble from the lion. “I’m not going to take him Red.”

Lance knew the Lion didn’t have to turn her head to look at him but he could almost feel her stare, when she deemed that Lance was telling the truth she moved her tail letting Lance get close. He took off his large jacket and draped it around Keith to keep him warm since it got pretty cold in the hangers sometimes.

“I’ll stay with him,”offered Lance climbing onto the paw and leaning his back against Red’s jaw. “Why don't you go and check on how that antidote is coming along?”

Shiro nodded in agreement before turning to leave, patting Keith's head on the way out.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Coran rubbed his chin. “Hmmm…Let's see… this herb here should neutralize the effects…” he muttered plucking some blue grass like plants from the pile. “And this fruit here has encourages bone growth… but will it affect age?....”

“So how do we know this antidote won't kill Keith?” asked Pidge staring at the various concoctions that Hunk and Coran had brewed using the different ingredients.

“Don't do that Pidge….” muttered Hunk worriedly.

Coran scrolled through the recipe for the antidote and clicked his tongue. “Those Altean herbalists and their jargon…”

“Anything new?” Shiro asked walking into the kitchen but had to step back when he was hit with some very strong smells and all the concoctions surrounding both the counter and the table. “It's like a whole science lab here,”

“I'm afraid not Shiro, we have some good theories about what to do with Keith but we only get one shot at this and trying to make sure this is right is rather troublesome,” Coran replied frowning as he chopped the grass and sprinkled it into a bubbling pink bowl and a small explosion happened making Hunk, Pidge and Coran who were close to duck on the other side of the counter. “Hmm looks stable…”

“Alright I think I baked these right,” Hunk said pulling a tray out of some purple and red baked apples. “You really think mashing these will help?”

“The properties in those apples are suppose to help stabilize the growth. If we mash them it might make them act faster,” Coran said. “Or does this say we’re suppose to cut and boil them?”

“Where is Keith?” Allura asked noticing that the child paladin was missing. “He's not running around the castle is he?”

She did not want a repeat of earlier trying to get Keith into the pods.

“He's with the Red Lion he must be worn out since he's napping in the hanger,” Shiro said chuckling when he saw Allura’s relieved face, “Lance volunteered to stay with him.”

“Wait Lance actually willingly stayed with Keith?” Pidge asked nearly dropping a bowl of blue like sauce if Hunk hadn't dived for it.. “Seriously?”

“They can get along when the time calls for it.” Shiro said. “And yes he willingly stayed behind, maybe Keith being a kid makes it easier for Lance.”

“No surprise there, Lance has a big family, with a little brother and sister too,” explained Hunk, concentrating on mashing the apple like stuff before mixing in with the pink stuff followed by the blue stuff.

There was a small hiss as the mixture released a bit of purple mist before settling into a pudding like substance with colorful swirls.

“Looks like a melted clown…” noted Pidge uneasily looking over the edge of the bowl. “How do we know it works?”

As if to answer Pidge’s question, Coran plucked a seed from one of the fruits and placed it on a plate. Then he scooped a blob from the pudding and dropped it on the seed. Suddenly, the blob wiggled before a young sapling emerged from the seed.

“Okay well we know it works, kinda?” Pidge said poking the sapling waiting for some sort of implosion or for it to combust, “at least this is progress then from what we first started.” She made a glance at the pile of saplings that either looked burnt, withered, petrified, or mutated. “Much better, but do we know if this’ll get him to the right age?”

“It should in theory, I think depending on how much he consumes that should build his age right back up to where he is!” Coran replied enthusiastically bright and cheerful.

“Or it could make him have a bad reaction and he stays that age,” Pidge groaned.

“Pidge please we’re trying to cure our friend? I know you’re worried but so are we and everyone,” Hunk asked as he looked at the pudding. “As least it's not some weird foul smelling soup, I know how hard it can be to get kids to eat if it’s pudding it should be easier.”

“Well if I’m reading this right this should be exactly what we need,” Coran said reading over the instructions once more. “I don’t believe I’ve forgotten anything hmmm...then again half of this is in altean and the other is in that weird jargon of the herbalist...I told Alfor they should’ve made a dictionary for them.”

“Can’t believe it aged Keith so fast though,” Shiro grimaced. “Within four hours he was reduced to almost a quarter of his real age, are we sure he won’t de-age any further?”

“I believe due to the sheer potency of the fruit he ate and taking into account how young he is the properties of the fruit must’ve gone through his whole body much quicker than usual,” Coran pointed thinking. “Which is probably why he was reduced to such a young age, by this time the effects should be slowing down and won’t be as drastic.”

“We can only hope so,” Allura sighed shaking her head. “When should we give it to Keith? I’m almost afraid if we let him sleep he’ll be younger when we find him again.”

“If Coran’s theory is right then he should still be the same age, and he just fell asleep. Lance would let us know if he got younger again,” Shiro assured. “Right now let’s just make sure that there’s nothing we missed regarding the cure for Keith.”

“We checked and double checked before we started, Coran would’ve told us if we missed anything.” Hunk said. “On a brighter note since we were learning about all these fruits and what to do with them I took the leftovers we didn’t use and made alien fruit tarts!”

Everyone gave Hunk a look.

“Relax, I made sure to research this time!” he said taking a bite of the fruit tart to prove its safety, no one noticing a piece of the tart falling into the mixture and sinking out of sight.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Keith rubbed his eyes as he clung to Lance who carried him out of the hangar to the dining area where the others waited for him.

“Hey, little buddy~ Time to get up,” called Lance gently, patting Keith's back.

The toddler stubbornly shook his head as he hugged Lance’s neck tighter, wanting to go back to sleep.

“Daaaaw~” went Hunk and Pidge this time, tilting their heads.

“Oh… I feel terrible for waking the dear up…” lamented Allura softly, melting at the sight.

“How'd you get Keith away from Red?” Shiro asked amused as he watched Lance trying to coax Keith to wake up. The tired toddler whined and tried to bury himself against Lance so he could sleep more.

“What do you mean get Keith away from Red? You were taking him near the lions?”
Allura asked concerned looking at Lance and Shiro.

“Lance was just going to give Keith a ride in Blue but as we were walking past Red’s hanger Keith could feel her calling towards him,” Shiro explained making Coran and Allura’s eyes widen surprised.

“Fascinating, the bond remained strong even after Keith is the age he is now and with no memory of the lions.” Coran said looking at the toddler closely.

“He's as stubborn as the twins when they didn't want to wake up from their naps,” Lance sighed fondly “I told her I was taking Keith to hopefully get back to normal. “She may not be Blue but even I could hear the warning growls she gave.”

“Guess the Red Lion grew more protective of Keith seeing him as a child,” Allura said. “But we do need him to wake up and eat if we want him back to normal.”

“Come on Keith you have to wake up, otherwise you won't get your snack,” Lance said rubbing Keith’s back.

“Snack time?” Keith yawned as he rubbed his eye adorably, looking at Lance. The Blue Paladin smiled as Keith still had Lance’s jacket wrapped around him like a blanket.

“Yes snack time, you're probably hungry so it's time for your snack, okay?” Lance replied as Keith mumbled but nodded.

“Okay…” He said tiredly and Lance couldn't help but lean forward and brush his lips against Keith’s forehead.

Keith wrinkled his face as Lance placed him down on a chair as Hunk slid a bowl to Shiro.

Taking a spoon, the black paladin scooped a spoonful of the pudding and held it out to Keith who eyed it cautiously before pursing his lips and shaking his head.

“Come on Keith, it's pudding, you love pudding!” pleaded Shiro a little making Keith shake his head even more.

“It looks weird….”

“Please Keith?”

The toddler folded his arms and pursed his lips further.

“Hey, Keith, if you eat it we can go play with Red~” bargained Lance making Keith lighten up and eagerly eat the spoonful of pudding, swallowing it in one gulp.

Everyone except Hunk looked at Lance in surprise.

“What? I’ve dealt with kids before.”

“How are you feeling Keith?” asked Shiro in concern as Keith smacked his lips.

“Hmmm…tastes like mango and…. Sushi…” commented the boy after some thought.

“Ew,” was the general response to that statement, especially with Hunk who made a face and could only imagine the horror the two combined flavors had.

Keith looked at Shiro still holding the pudding like food in hand as Shiro seemed to be waiting for something.

“Maybe it takes a while for the effects to kick in? Keith did eat the peach on his way back to the castle. “Pidge said watching the toddler squirm a bit in his seat. “And only started feeling the effects a bit later.”

“That's a good theory,” Hunk said. “I mean we did everything right so the aging should stop and we just have to wait for the pudding to take effect, however long that takes.”

“Can I go play with Red now?” Keith asked poking Shiro’s face since that was the closest part of his brother. “Or do I have to eat more of the stuff?”

“No no you don't have to eat anymore,” Shiro said quickly pushing the desert away from him. He didn't want Keith to eat too much of the pudding and get too old as he lifted Keith out of the chair and put him on the floor turning to talk to Coran, Hunk and Pidge.

“So we just have to wait it out pretty much?” Shiro asked not liking that idea since he was already on edge with the chance his brother just disappeared on him.

“I'm afraid so, we only got one chance and we used it, so just have to sit back and observe really,” Coran said playing with his mustache making Shiro sigh.

The toddler walked over to Lance and tugged on his jacket.

“Back to Red now?” Keith asked looking at Lance surprising the Blue Paladin, he figured Keith would've asked Shiro to go with him.

“Why not ask Shiro?” Lance asked bending down to Keith’s height.”Wouldn't you want him to go with you?”

“It's not nice to bother grown ups when they talk to each other,” Keith said as serious As a six year old could be. “Besides I wanna go with you.”

“Oh?” Lance asked grinning and decided to tease the child a bit. “And why’s that Keith? Cuz you like me better than Shiro?”

He had to hold back laughing at the sour look Keith.”I dun like anyone better than my brother but you feel nice to be around...and you have pretty eyes,” The child stated bluntly.

Lance looked genuinely taken aback at the response, unsure how to respond.

Hunk made his way to Lance’s side and solemnly patted his shoulder. “You really do, buddy.”

Lance blinked a few times. “Thanks… Keith…”

Keith beamed brightly before tugging Lance’s arm. “Come on!!! Let's go!!!”

“Ok! Ok!”

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

“WHOOOO-HOOOOOOOO!!!!!” whooped Keith in Lance’s lap as they flew over the jungle treetops.

Lance was pleased and rather surprised that the Red Lion had given the Blue Paladin permission to pilot her. She was usually quite stubborn, like her pilot but Red apparently really wanted to give little Keith a fun time as she maneuvered through the clouds.

“Faster! Faster!" cheered Keith excitedly.

“Hang on!” warned Lance as Red began spinning through the air.

“WHEEEEEEEE~~~~!!!!!!” cheered the two of them, throwing their hands up as if riding a rollercoaster.

“Whoops can't have you falling on your head!” Lance said as he had to quickly grab Keith since there weren't exactly seatbelts in the Lions. Lance was able to hold onto the controls to keep him taking a smooth flight but was still going pretty fast
“But yeah she is amazing just like my precious Blue.”

Keith could hear the proud and satisfying purrs in his head from Red making him giggle joyfully.. “Can Red and the others really fly in space?”

“Why don't you show him Red?” Lance said as he gripped the controls. “Hold on tight Keith and close your eyes!”

Keith gripped Lance’s jacket as tightly as he could as the Blue Paladin turned Red and they shot straight up, they were passing the layers of the planet’s atmosphere. Keith kept his eyes shut as he could feel the force of how fast they were going coming down on him before it just stopped.

“Okay you can open your eyes now,” Lance said as Keith blinked trying to get his eyes to focus before he let out a gasp of amazement.

“There's so many stars…” Keith gasped as he moved towards the screens, seeing the stars so close you could practically touch them, the plant they were on looked like earth but a lot more green with two rings intersecting each other, he could see shooting stars and stray asteroids floating about.

This was nothing compared to the books Shiro would show him,before he turned to Lance. “You get to see this everyday and pilot a lion like Red?” The child asked in wonderment.

“Yep, every day when we’re not fighting bad guys this is what we see most of the time,” Lance replied rather proudly.

“You must be really good if you're piloting the lions, they must be hard since they can talk to you too...” Keith said softly. “Lance, do you think I'll get a chance to pilot Red when I'm bigger? Like how you and Shiro pilot your lions?”

Lance couldn't help but suppress a smirk before ruffling Keith's hair. “I know you will Kiddo~!”


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Shiro waited worriedly in the hangar with his Lion who watched him pace about.

Black gave a small rumble.

“What's wrong? Nothing's wrong! My little brother has only been shrunk back to a toddler because of some weird fruit and we only just fed him an experimental antidote with more weird fruit!” exclaimed Shiro folding his arms, trying to keep it together."I’m fine, perfectly fine!”

Black made a motion almost as if rolling her eyes and gave a growl.

“Of course I’m worried! He’s my brother and a member of the team! He’s my responsibility!”

Black made little grumbling sound that sounded a bit like laughter. Shiro frowned at his Lion.

“You are a terrible source of comfort…”

Low growl.

“Well screw you too.”

At that moment, Shiro was alerted to the sound of Red’s hangar, signifying their return.

There was another growl from the black lion that had Shiro narrow his eyes at her.

“And how do YOU know what a mother hen is?” he grumbled walking out of his hanger for another purr rumbled in his head nearly making him trip up. “Not you too with the space dad thing!”

He could distinctly feel his lion was laughing at him again as he quickly left the black lion and got into Red’s hanger just in time to see the Red Lion do a barrel roll and then a forward flip before she landed safely into the hanger.

She lowered herself down opening her mouth letting Lance walk out carrying an excited Keith in his arms.

“That was so cool when Red took over and did those last two flips!” Keith said excitedly,”it really was like a roller coaster!”

“She probably just wanted to show off,” Lance replied smiling as once they were out of Red, Keith put his hand on her face still grinning.

“Thank you for the ride Red, it was really fun you're an amazing lion!” Keith said before he giggled when he could hear her preen at the praise before she let out a comforting purr.

“Had fun you two?” Shiro said walking up to them. “It's been a few hours...you still feeling okay Keith? You don't feel warm or anything?”

Thankfully for the two Paladins Keith remained his current age and wasn't getting any younger, which was a good thing. That had to mean the antidote was working even if it was a bit slow.

Keith nodded. “Yep I feel fine Takashi, so what're we doing now? Can we play games?”

“Nope, it's way past your bedtime so we have to wash you up and get you to bed,” Shiro said taking Keith from Lance.

“Awww but I'm not tired!” Keith pouted.

“Lance, Hunk saved you some dinner so I'll put Keith to bed alright?” Shiro said as Keith sighed knowing he couldn't win against his brother.

“Nite nite Lance thanks for taking me flying in Red,” Keith said settling his head on Shiro’s shoulder.

“Nite, nite little guy~” replied Lance waving as Shiro carried the toddler away.

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Keith yawned loudly as Shiro tucked the toddler into bed. The little boy hugged Shiro’s arm tightly, smiling as he cuddled into the sheets.

Shiro smiled endearingly at his little brother as he lay down with Keith and closed his eyes, wrapping his other arm around his brother before falling asleep himself.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Shiro shifted a bit on the bed. He moved his hand to feel for the toddler only to feel a much larger body.

The man instinctively popped his eyes open and looked down to a mess of black hair sticking out from underneath the sheets and Keith's familiar teenage silhouette.

Keith gave a small groan as he stirred.

“Keith? You ok?”

“Ugh… Shiro?” Keith replied except he didn't sound like himself.

Shiro’s eyes grew incredibly wide as Keith sat up, the covers slipping off him.

Keith was back as a teenager alright, although something was definitely off as Shiro glanced down at his brother… if he could still call him that.

“Guuuuuuuys!!!!!!!" hollered Shiro loudly, his voice travelling down the halls

Chapter Text

“Shiro what the hell?” Keith groaned rubbing his ears from how loud his brother was yelling. “Why are you yelling?”

He heard some movement and the change of weight of the bed which meant Shiro was off the bed. Keith paused, why was he in bed with his brother in the first place? He hadn't shared a bed with Takashi since he was a kid?

“Keith I...you...oh fucking hell…” Shiro groaned facepalming as he could feel his face started to turn red. “Just s-stay in the blankets okay!?”

“Shiro what's going on why are you acting so weird?” Keith asked but stopped when he heard his voice, was that him? Why did he sound so different? The door to Shiro’s room opened and in came Allura and Pidge since their rooms were the closest to Shiro’s.

“Shiro is everything okay!? We heard you scream and….well fuck,” Pidge gaped as she looked around the room and her eyes landed on Keith.

“Language,” Shiro said burying his face in both his hands. “I thought we fixed him!?”

“Oh dear, maybe Coran and Hunk missed something?” Allura replies.. “But shouldn't we get Keith some more...suitable clothing as his previous ones seemed to have...ah...ripped due to being too small?”

“Uh I’d let Keith borrow something but I'm not as ‘gifted’. He looks to be the same as
you though princess…” Pidge coughed.

“Wait Why?!” demanded Keith, not noticing the octave change in his voice.

It was at that moment he realized how heavy his chest felt as his hands felt two soft lumps. Tensing his shoulders, Keith slowly looked under the covers between his legs in horror.

Two seconds later, a feminine scream erupted from under the blanket.

Hunk, Lance and Coran almost as quickly barreled into the room, striking kung fu poses.

“Are you alright Princess? Why did you scream?” demanded Coran in concern.

Pidge cleared her throat and stepped forward."Allura didn't scream, Coran. He did,” informed the girl bluntly pointing towards the bed.

The trio blinked and turned toward the bed where their mouths dropped in shock as they stared at the black haired woman in Shiro’s bed. A woman with familiar indigo eyes that looked very much like a certain red paladin.

“I thought that antidote was suppose to turn him back to normal!?” Shiro exclaimed his face still embarrassed as Keith was holding the blankets tightly his own face red with embarrassment or anger.

“That's Keith!?” Lance nearly screeched while Hunk’s mouth dropped staring at Keith who’s face was burning as attempted to duck under the blankets.

“Uh I thought we got everything! We can check the antidote when we get to the kitchen,” Hunk said though he was having a hard time pulling away as well.

Shiro saw this and couldn't help but twitch as he cleared his throat.

“Ahem! Let's get moving? Allura will help Keith into some clothes that'll fit him...her…” Shiro said his face looking like it was starting to crack.

“I'm sure I have something Keith can borrow…” Allura said trying to think about her wardrobe.

Keith just tightened the blanket around his new female body. His day just couldn't possibly get weirder….

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“No! No-No-No!!! I am not wearing that!!” protested Keith folding her arms."No disrespect Princess, but I do not do dresses!”

“Do be reasonable Keith, your current clothes don't fit and these are the only garments available to your size," explained Allura holding out one of her more casual dresses.

“Can't I just wear my Paladin armor?”

“The last battle caused quite some significant damage to your armour, it will be some time before they are restored to their original state.”

Keith pouted as she stared at the dress a bit before giving a defeated sigh.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

“I don't understand we checked everything the worse that should've happened was Keith ending up a year or two younger or older than his original age,” Coran said frowning as he went over the notes he wrote down when they were creating the antidote.

“Not a full change of gender that wasn't something I'd ever consider happening,” Pidge said as she scrolled through the tablet list of fruits they used,” what’re the chances of that happening?”

“Probably super low, then again how were we to know eating one raw fruit would de-age someone that rapidly,” Hunk sighed pulling out the bowl of pudding antidote from the makeshift fridge. “Hmm smells okay.”

He took a large spoon and started to slowly stir it seeing if there were any chunks or something they may of missed before they gave the pudding to Keith yesterday. He glanced over at Lance who was suppose to be grabbing the fruits from yesterday but he seemed to be in shock as his hand was hovering inside. It looked like he was having some sort of internal battle with the faces that he was making.

‘Holy crow Keith looks really pretty as a girl? Then again he's always been pretty ackk! Wait abort abort abort!!!’

He pokes his friend waiting for a response. He got Lance nearly jumping to the ceiling and holding his chest as if he was having a heart attack.

“Lance? Hey you alright there buddy?” Hunk asked concerned. “You look a little pale. You didn't snack on the pudding as a snack did you?”

“Nope! Didn't touch the stuff at all!” Lance replied through his response failed to lessen the concern Hunk had. "I'm fine! Peachy even!”

“Is this about Keith’s new uh..look?” The yellow paladin got his answer when Lance groaned and thunked his head against the wall next to the fridge. “It's alright, we’ll get him back to normal soon.”

“Hunk can I ask you something?” Lance asked quietly practically whispering as he was glancing at Coran and Pidge afraid he'd be overheard.

“Sure thing what's up?” Hunk asked as he was trying to see if he missed anything as he poked the pudding.

Lance coughed before he sidled up to the robust paladin and whispered, “Hunk hypothetical question, did Keith look good as a girl as he did as a guy?” Lance asked looking at Hunk.

Hunk stopped what he was doing and stared at his friend with a blank look, making Lance shift where he stood.

“Uh...I don't know I never really looked at Keith that way, but I guess maybe?” He replied though his head was already processing the reasoning for what Lance had asked. “Why?”

“L-like I said! Hypothetical!” said Lance defensively as he buried himself into looking up the fruit on the tablet in front of him.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Keith shifted uncomfortably in the dress Allura gave her as the princess brushed her hair into a ponytail.

“No offense Allura but is this really necessary?” asked Keith dryly.

“Say what you want Keith, I’m still a princess regardless, I deserve to indulge myself with female pursuits,” replied the princess indignantly.

“How come you don't do this with Pidge? She’s an actual girl.”

“Come now, we all thought she was a boy at first.”

“At first…” parroted Keith glancing up at Allura unconvinced as she averted her eyes before dusting off Keith’s shoulder.

“There! Don’t you look nice~!” she said loudly in an attempt to abruptly shift the conversation.

Keith grumbled making Allura pinch her sides making her yell and rub the spot that was pinched. She was pulled off out of her seat by the eager princesses as she was shoved in front of a lengthwise mirror and stared.

“Pretty good right?”

“It's...interesting…”

Keith frowned as she looked at the dress that Allura had given her, it was similar to the one Allura was wearing but the skirt was shorter only going a bit pass her knees and flaring out. The skirt was a pure white color with the edges a light purple similar to his eyes while the torso’s color was a light lavender with gold lining the v part on top which was over a white sleeved part that stopped at her hand. He had on a pair of Allura’s boots since she practically tripped in her own. It did look good on Keith as the dress hugged her new figure in the right places which made her feel weird.

“Come on now that we got you dressed we can check to see if the others had figured out what had happened with the antidote,” Allura said as she pushed the reluctant paladin out of her room where Shiro was waiting outside for them. He turned to greet the two when he saw Keith and couldn't help but grin.

“Not a word Takashi…” Keith growled warningly. ”Least just get this over with and get to the others.”

“Right right at least you're in clothes that fit on you Keith,” Shiro snickered while Keith groaned."Don’t worry I'm sure they've figured out what happened...at least they better of…”

“Calm down Shiro, Hunk, Pidge, Coran and Lance are doing what they can to figure out the problem,” Allura said as they walked down the hallway, Keith lagging behind Shiro and Allura to use the two older ones to block the others from seeing him.

“This is ridiculous how the hell am I supposed to train in a dress?” Keith hissed, wanting to punch something, the droids being a good stress reliever for the Red Paladin, when she wanted to be by herself needing to think or just to work out some frustration.

“You don't,” Shiro replied simply, prompting an aggravated sigh.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“So how did it go?” asked Shiro entering the room just as Coran was finishing an analysis of the sample.

“Good news, we found out what went wrong,” announced Coran confidently, holding up the culprit; Hunk’s fruit tarts.

“The fruit tarts?” asked Shiro in confusion.

“According to our breakdown of the pudding, we cross-referenced everything according to the ingredients when we found something extra,” explained Pidge adjusting her glasses. “A piece of the tart must have fallen in because someone had to eat right next to the bowl.”

Hunk sunk his head on to the table, whining like a sad dog while Lance gave his bestie a comforting hug.

“Hey, lay off Pidge, he said he was sorry,” defended Lance petting Hunk’s back. “Don't rub it in!”

Coran cleared his throat to redirect the conversation while Pidge stuck her tongue out at Lance.

“Well needless to say, the extra bit of ingredient caused a chemical change in the antidote causing… well, you know…” the advisor the explained.

“So now what? Remake the pudding or do you guys have to start all over?”’ Shiro asked frowning.

“The pudding was for the peach so that option is out. But theoretically, if we can use the same ones we used with the pudding and isolate certain chemicals, we might be able to reverse the effects,” Pidge said adjusting their glasses.”Bottom line this may take longer since changing gender is pretty much something we didn't take into account.”

“I'm really sorry Keith!” Hunk wailed making the three that walked in surprise.”The fruit tarts I made I was for when you got back to normal and I guess I rushed it if they were the cause.”

“It's...it's alright Hunk, not like you did this on purpose,” Keith said still hiding behind Shiro and Allura way too embarrassed to come out.”You figured out the cure the first time so you can do it again…”

Hunk, Pidge, Lance and Coran tilted their heads.

“That you Keithy?” called Lance.

Keith just responded sticking out a thumbs up from behind.

Allura and Shiro just exchanged looks with each and suddenly stepped aside leaving Keith with nowhere to hide as she froze in place like a deer in the headlights as the others widened their eyes at her.

Pidge was the first to give a shit eating grin. “Heeey Good Lookin’~” she teased finger gunning Keith as Pidge did that eyebrow quirk Lance typically does when he is flirting.

“You look so cuute~”cooed Hunk with sparkly eyes

Keith quickly shot a look to Lance. “Say anything and Blue’s gonna need a new Paladin.." she hissed threateningly.

Lance had to physically restrain himself by covering his mouth but his face was red as the furious paladin he was staring at.

Pidge was looking nice between Lance and Keith and she just held her stomach as she started laughing while Hunk was smiling at Keith. Lance himself was having an internal battle.

‘Quiznak...Keith really does look good in that outfit even if he is a girl…’ Lance thought as he was fighting the urge not to say something that would 100% guaranteed for him to get hit with something,’but this is still Keith! The soft looking mullet wearing, pain in the ass jumping into danger first, Paladin that's my rival but still a friend and….dammit this is not helping!’

“I must say you look rather good in one of Allura’s old dresses Keith,” Coran grinned as Keith facepalmed, feeling he had dealt with the others enough.

“I'm going to go to the training deck,” Keith hissed turning around and tried to walk away but Shiro grabbed the back of her dress stopping her.

“I just said you can't train in a dress Keith,” Shiro said though his lips were quirking up in an amused smile. “You're going to have to figure out something else to do.”

“Allura! Don't you have any training clothes or anything for me to borrow instead of this dress?” Keith begged.

“I'd have to dig for it a bit more in my closet it could take awhile,”Allura said thoughtfully. “But really this is still technically a break you should be relaxing not training. “

“I just woke up without my man parts, yeah I totally feel like relaxing...." she growled sarcastically, stomping out the kitchen with a hairflip.

There was an awkward silence in the kitchen.

“Welp...He got the hair flip thing down…” piped up Lance, trying to break the tension but all it did was earned him exasperated looks from everyone.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Keith sat in the Lion's Hangar curled up on Red’s snout, the lion purring in comfort to her Paladin.

“This sucks Red, no offense but I'd rather be back to a guy…” Keith groaned wrapping his arms around his legs, though it was awkward trying to pull down the skirt so nothing was showing. He was embarrassed enough.

She heard a low rumble making Keith groan.

“I don't know how I can enjoy myself when Shiro and Allura are keeping me from training.” Keith grumbled. “I need to do something and training is what I usually do.”

Keith was quiet as she listened to Red and made a face at what the giant robotic lion was saying.

“Are you crazy? Why do you think hanging out with Lance would be a good thing? Sure we've gotten along better but really?” Keith asked before she ended up sputtering. “You let Lance pilot you!? Why!?.....show off? Urgh you're not making sense Red.”

Red just gave a low purring like she knew something and wasn't telling her.

“Heeeey…..Keith you up there?”’Lance called as Keith groaned and peeked over Red’s nose to see Lance waving his hands around.

“What do you want Lance?” Keith grumbled as Red lowered her head so that the two were eye level,” the threat still stands you know. “

“I’m cool I'm cool, but I came to uh hang out? Oh and Shiro wanted me to tell you he hid your bayard so no training,” Lance said sheepishly.

“Dammit Shiro!!” Keith growled. “Shouldn't you be helping the others?”

“Too many people in the kitchen, Shiro and Allura are making sure Zarkon isn't around, Coran , hunk and Pidge are working on the antidote and I figure you could use someone to talk to? Or at least kill time with.”

“I guess…” Keith sighed.”So what's your plan on killing time?”

“We could take Red and Blue on a casual flight? I'm sure they want to have fun too?” Lance replied.

Keith sighed and folded his arms, turning away from Lance. “No offense to you or the Lions, but I don't really feel like flying right now….”

Red gave a growl in understanding, prompting Keith to smile a little and rub the Lion's nose, making her purr affectionately.

Lance rubbed the back of his neck a little, thinking a bit. “Ok, forget flying. Wanna go explore the jungle a little bit more?”

Considering the fact that she didn't want to be cooped up all day in the castle, Keith gave a shrug. “Sure… why not…?” she answered bluntly making her way to dismount when her hand suddenly missed the edge.

“Whoa!” she yelped, flailing as she slipped off Red’s snout only to be caught in Lance’s arms.

Keith unconsciously clung to Lance as he steadied himself with the sudden shift in weight. Once he was steady, Keith looked up to see Lance shooting him a teasing grin.

“If you make a 'Falling for you’ joke, the next words out of your mouth are going to be ‘Ow, my jaw! You broke my jaw!’. Got it?” hissed Keith as Lance’s face faulted.

“Really? I just saved you from a painful fall and that’s what I'm getting?” replied Lance dryly putting Keith back on his feet.

Keith flared her nostrils a bit. “Fine…. Thanks… “ she mumbled before walking out the exit.

“Why did I ever consider for a second you would change even AFTER being turned into a cute girl,” Lance sighed to himself as he hurried after Keith so he didn’t lose the other Paladin in the foliage of the planet.“Keith wait up!”

Keith slowed her pace down waiting for Lance to catch up, it was only a few seconds before the Blue Paladin was next to Keith. The two walked in silence for a while Lance not knowing what exactly to say to Keith in this situation and while Keith appreciated Lance with him he wasn’t sure what to say either. Though something did make itself heard.

Keith turned red when her stomach growled really loudly as she wrapped her arms around her stomach.

“I...probably should’ve ate something before leaving the kitchen,” Keith grumbled and turned to Lance who chuckled Keith was about to say something but stopped when he saw the duffel bag thrown over his shoulder.

“Kinda figured you’d get hungry so I asked Hunk to pack up some food that’s safe for you to eat,” Lance said as he pulled out a fruit tart and Keith cringed away. “Okay probably not the best thing to eat first uh here try this instead.”

Keith eyed the fruit kabobs Lance pulled out and warily took one as Lance took one for himself.

“Hunk made sure they were safe so you’ll be fine,” Lance said chomping into one as Keith sighed giving in knowing he had to eat something and started to nibble on the fruit slowly at first. When he didn’t feel sick or anything he took bigger bites.

“These are really good for simple fruit kabobs.” Keith said chewing.

“That’s because they were handled with a HUNK of TLC~” chimed Lance like an infomercial announcer while striking a flashy smile.

Keith couldn’t help but let out a snort of laughter as she covered her mouth to hide her smile. “That was actually pretty good~” she snickered in amusement.

Lance lit up excitedly as he fist pumped. “Yes! I knew I could make you laugh!”

Keith blushed a little. “What? Of course I can laugh!”

“Yeah, but you always look so serious… I thought you didn’t know how to loosen up..”

Keith gave Lance a disbelieved scoff. “I do so know how to loosen up!”

“Well ya could’ve have fooled me.”

“Well your jokes aren’t usually funny.”

Lance gave an offended gasp as a hand flew to his heart looking at Keith as if he just said something mean about his mother. “You take that back.”

Keith quirked her eyebrow and folded her arms. “I will stand by my statement.”

“You’re mean!”

“And what are you? Twelve?”

“Ugh! You’re one to talk!”

“What’s that supposed to mean?!”

“Wouldn’t you like to know?” sneered Lance walking ahead making Keith blow up her cheeks in anger.

“YOU ASSHOLE!!!” shouted Keith pounding her fists on Lance’s back.

“Keith what the-!” Lance said surprised as he felt the Red Paladin’s fists against his back, though usually the hits would be a lot harder but with Keith’s sudden change it didn’t hurt as much, kinda reminded him when his sisters would try to tackle him down.

Turning around he caught Keith’s wrists looking down at the shorter Paladin, her cheeks were flushed red angrily, still pouting as her dark indigo eyes glared at up at Lance trying to get her wrists free and failing somewhat as Lance just tighten his hold on her.

“What the hell did you mean by that?” Keith demanded. “About being twelve?”

Lance narrowed his eyes as he looked at her, like he was thinking about what he wanted to say to Keith.

“Exactly how much do you remember after eating that one fruit?” Lance asked wondering how much Keith had remembered, if he recalled being such a brat and then an adorable toddler when the fruit continued to de-age him yesterday.

“I woke up being a kid, you and Allura were taking me down to the pods while the others went out and then that’s it.” Keith replied narrowing her eyes. “Did something else happened from then until I woke up this morning.”

“Eeehh stuff.”

“What stuff Lance?”

“Stuff that doesn’t really matter, you wanted to explore right? And you haven’t even finished your kabob.” Lance said pointing to the half-eaten kabob on her hand. “Come on let’s go princess~”

Scowling darkly at the comment she smirked when she swept her foot making Lance cry out in surprise as he fell down but she had forgotten that Lance was still holding her wrists and yelped when she was brought down as well.

“Oof!” went the both of them as Keith landed right on his chest while Lance’s arms wrapped around her waist.

Keith and Lance realized their awkward position and quickly separated, both giving a shudder.

“We shall never speak of this again," said Lance bluntly.

“Agreed,” replied Keith as they both got up and dusted themselves off.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The two walked around exploring the forest keeping clear of anything that looked questionable.

“Come on Keith hurry up!” called Lance scrambling up some creepers clinging to a tree trunk.

“It's kinda hard to do this in a skirt you know!” Keith retorted after Lance.

“Hey I told you to tie it up!”

“No way! I might ruin it! It does belong to the Princess you know!”

“I’ll sew it back up! Come on, ya gotta check out the view here!” yelled Lance from a branch.

“You can sew?” Keith muttered as he hurried up the creepers wrapped around the large tree they had found.

Keith was having to pause every now and then when he felt a breeze go by and froze, before he continued up a few feet below Lance.

“You almost there Keith!? Come on!” Lance exclaimed as he peeked over the edge and saw Keith was nearly there and was about to climb over when she felt resistance. Cursing, she looked and growled when she saw a small stray branch had caught her skirt.

“Ugh...quiznak…” growled Keith as she tried pulling but gave up, knowing that anymore tugging would rip the skirt. “Lance….help…please...”

Lance glanced down at Keith. “Are you sorry for being a butt to me?”

“Ugh...Yes…”

“And that my jokes are funny?”

“Yes! Yes!”

“And that I’m a better pilot?”

Keith made a face at Lance. “Don’t push it…”

Lance gave a shrug. “Eh, I’ll take what I can get, Hang on Keithy!” said Lance as he climbed down the creeper positioning himself under Keith so that she was sitting on his shoulder.

“Lance! What-?!”

“It’s easier this way, just hold still,” explained Lance hanging on to a creeper tightly with one hand while his other worked on breaking the branch bit grabbing the fabric. “Got it!”

Suddenly, Keith felt herself being pushed up as she involuntarily stumbled onto the giant branch with Lance scrambling up not far behind.

“Welcome to the top Keith!” Lance snickered at Keith sitting up and rubbing her head since she had hit it slightly when she was pushed up by Lance.

Lance stood up and helped Keith up brushing off the stray leaves that had fallen and landed on her hair."Come on it's just a bit over here.”

Keith let Lance pull her over front and center pushing back a few branches and grinned when he saw Keith’s face shift into one of amazement.

“Holy shit…”

“I know right!”

Endless green from the forest that seemed endless and stretches out until it hit the blue of the ocean as the sun shines down onto the water making it sparkle fresh and clear. It was breathtaking, there was no other village inhabitants of the planet so this was purely all the planet that she was seeing.

She could hear a few birds cry out as they flew towards the ocean but all around her the view was breathtaking, there were mountains to the west where she could see tiny tips of snow but this really was something she wouldn't forget.

“I'm kinda hoping once we get you all fixed up so we can go to the ocean, it would be great feel the water again…” Lance said fondly looking at the view.

Keith quickly bit her lips stopping from saying something that would ruin the moment. She's seen that expression on Lance, he got that same look earlier before she tried tackling him or when he says something about his family and Earth.

“It's beautiful…” commented Keith with a sigh.

“Yeah… I never thought you know... That we’d actually find a planet out here that would feel like…” said Lance wistfully, staring out into the distance.

“Like Earth?” asked Keith softly, glancing up at the side of Lance’s face.

“Yeah…”

Keith couldn't help but feel sorry for Lance. Out of everyone in the team, she had noticed that Lance appeared the most homesick after finding him staring at their planet several times on the star map. That and recalling during training with the mind links she realized Lance’s first thought was not himself as she thought but his family.

“Hey….” called Keith softly, opening her arms to him.

Lance looked at Keith and blinked.

Keith was fully expecting Lance to reject the gesture so imagine how surprised she was when Lance accepted the hug, squeezing the Red Paladin tightly. “I just wanna go home Keith…”

Keith closed her eyes and patted Lance’s back. “I know Lance, I know…”

Keith widened her eyes when she felt warm drops on her shoulder. “Lance?”

“Sorry… just… let me stay like this for a while…..” she heard Lance whisper in a cracking voice.

Keith just nodded into Lance’s shoulder and stood there silently allowing her teammate to just let it out as she comfortingly rubbed his back.

“image”

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Keith was determined as she pulled Lance’s hand back to the castle making the Cuban boy look at her confused. As soon as Lance had felt he cried enough and pulled away from Keith the red paladin had surprised him by grabbing his hand and pulled him back to the edge where they climbed up.

Once they were back in the ground Keith was practically sprinting back the way they came. Lance asked what was Keith doing and the only reply she got was,” I know what I wanna do now.”

Lance just let her pull him along as he was left with his thoughts. He still missed Earth a lot but it felt good to have a good cry, even if it was with Keith of all people. Once they got back to the castle Keith paused a bit as she stopped by the hangers looking around and thinking.

“Stay here for a minute,” She said and to his surprise ran into Blue’s hanger!? Lance was stunned for a few seconds before he chased after Keith.

“Keith! What are you doing with Blue!? You have your own lion!” Lance shouted as he entered the hanger just in time to hear a low purring emanate from Blue making him pause. It was like she agreed to something as her eyes glowed a bit.

“Don't worry! I just asked her something!” Keith grinned as she walked over and tugged on Lance’s hand.”Get inside, Blue is gunna go ahead while I grab Red,”

“Red for what!? Keith if you wanted to fly you can tell me!” Lance frowned, as he watched the other paladin run off and turned to his own lion,” and what's this agreeing with Keith?”

A purring resounded making Lance blanch.

“I do not! I'm just worried about him! Her!...Keith!”

A low growl that sounded like Blue was laughing.

“Do not...alright I'm moving.” Lance grumbled as he got inside, though once he sat down the screens didn't show what was going on outside.

“Uh Blue I kinda need to see to pilot you.” Lance said trying to take the controls but Blue just purred again before she took off, and he could hear another Lion leaving the hangar.

“Keith what the hell did you tell Blue!?”

::You'll see!! Just enjoy the ride!:: Keith laughed over the com.

Lance tried to argue and get the screens up but Blue was stubborn and Lance folded his arms pouting. A few minutes later they landed and he felt Blue lower her head.

“Let's see what this surprise is,” Lance said as he got out of Blue grumbling all the way out and into the ground...or what was suppose to be ground? He heard a familiar crunch and looked down, instead of grass or dirt, it was sand...his eyes widen as his head snapped up to see Keith grinning at him already ankle deep in water barefooted.

“Come on!” called out Keith waving to Lance.

Red and Blue both yawned and lay down on the beach as Lance began kicking off his shoes and threw off his jacket as he went to join Keith.

Lance breathed in the familiar smelling briny air as he wiggled his feet into the wet sand, contentedly savoring the sensation between his toes. The Blue Paladin closed his eyes and held out his arms to the side. The sensations were so new yet so old at the same time. It felt so much like home that for a moment, Lance forgot about all his problems.

Being Light years away from home, Zarkon, the Galra… all of it felt blown away the beach wind.

“Feeling better?”asked Keith walking up to Lance.

“Yeah…” sighed Lance contentedly."Thanks Keith..."

Keith gave a small smile and stood next to Lance, also burying her feet in the sand. “No problem, Lance~....”

————————————————————————————————————————

They got back to the castle when the sun down and it was getting too cold to run around at the beach when the only lights they had were the ones from their lions. Lance couldn’t remember the last time he felt he was really enjoying himself without that nagging feeling in the back of his head that something was going to attack them. His thoughts were interrupted when Keith suddenly sneezed.

The Red Paladin was holding Lance’s jacket tightly around themselves since Lance had given it to her earlier, before they left it seemed like Blue wanted to have a little fun and had swung her tail at the ocean splashing the two of them, completely soaking them. It was a good thing he remembered to take his jacket off before running up to catch up to Keith in the water so it was warming the Red Paladin up, even if it looked like he was drowning in the jacket.

“Well besides getting completely soaked that was still liven up the day,” Lance said as they headed to the kitchen to check up on the others and see how they were progressing. Just as they entered they heard Pidge shouting.

“FIRE IN THE HOLE!”

“THAT IS NOT APPROPRIATE!”

“WHATEVER JUST DUCK!!”

Both the Blue and Red Paladin’s eyes widen when Pidge tossed a sliced piece of fruit into a pot and was pulled down by Hunk as Coran was on the other side of the table using a bowl for a shield. The two by the door saw the fruit land in the pot making whatever concoction inside of it splash before they could hear the inevitable bubbling and a green bubble was growing rapidly.

“Oh Quiznak…” Keith and Lance said as Lance pulled Keith back into the hallway, pressing themselves against the wall as the inevitable explosion made the kitchen shake and they could hear splatters of the food being flung.

Lance peeked inside as Keith was behind him and they stared at the state of the mess. Purple mush was all over the wall while some green thick soupy stuff was hanging on the ceiling and dropping to the floor.

“I am not eating any of that…” Keith said cringing as she held onto the hood to protect any of the food from hitting her face.

“What the quiznak?!” exclaimed Lance looking at the disaster in the kitchen.

“Oh! Lance! Keith! Back so soon?” asked Coran cheerfully, popping up from his hiding spot wearing the bowl like a helmet. Pidge and Hunk did likewise wearing helmet bowls as well.

“Sooo… I guess antidote making is going well?” asked Lance bluntly.

“Well the good news is, it's almost ready,” piped up Hunk only to get some of the gunk come plopping back down onto his head before giving a sheepish grin.

“Again, I am not eating any of this…”

Pidge straightened up as she dodged another falling goop. “Welp, you're gonna have to if you ever want your man parts back, although personally having another girl on the team isn't so bad~”

“Pidge!” exclaimed Keith and Lance in unison making the girl laugh and put her hands up defensively.

“Relax guys, I’m just kidding!!”

“I kinda expected Keith to speak up against being a girl, didn’t expect Lance to speak up as well.” Coran said amused while Lance’s eyes widened as he tried to come up with an excuse.

“It’s it’s because it’s weird thinking about my rival Keith as a girl! Not that there's anything wrong with girls but I’m just used to Keith being a guy and having him as a girl is just weird even if it’s just for a day!” Lance quickly said his face turning red.

“Looks like you got use to Keith being a girl enough if she’s wearing your jacket~” Pidge said grinning just as Keith’s nose twitched and he let out a series of small sneezes, “awww isn’t that cute?”

“Hahaha very funny Pidge,” Lance said grasping Keith’s shoulders and turning her around pushing her out of the kitchen,” let’s go Keith, call us when the cure is done! “

“And where are you two going?” Hunk called laughing, “going to spend more time together?”

“As long as it keeps us away from the goop explosion? Then yes!” Lance said as the two disappeared back into the hallway just as Shiro and Allura came in through the other entrance and stared horrified at the mess of the kitchen. Though the Black Paladin made a face when some purple stuff landed on his head.

“I thought we heard Lance and Keith,” Shiro said wiping the purple stuff off of him.

“Yeah apparently both of them were soaking wet and went to change.” Hunk replied scraping some of the splattered goo into another bowl. “It looks like they had fun together so at least that's one good thing that came out of this is those two getting along better.

“Well...that’s good,” Allura said as she backed away from some more goop. “Coran, Hunk, Pidge once Keith is given the cure I’d like it if you three would clean up the kitchen from this explosions…”

“But it was necessary to make it explode!” Pidge whined not looking forward to cleaning up the huge mess.

“Even so, I’d rather the kitchen be spotless…” Allura said and yelped when some green stuff finally landed on her own hair making the others snicker as she gave them baleful looks.

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Keith had to tie her red sleeping shorts as tight as she could and several times to keep them up on her slimmer hips while she wore the bra that Allura had given her for the dress chest before slipping on one of her black shirts, she grumbled when Allura was right as the black shirt was barely hanging onto her. She suffered enough wearing a dress she didn’t want the chance of being forced to wear a nightgown. She was still cold and had Lance’s large green jacket over her body as she stood outside the Blue Paladin’s door.

Why was she there she had no clue.

“Lance? You there?” Keith asked while knocking.

There was some muffled scuffling inside before the door opened revealing Lance with his shirt worn inside out and backwards, evident he had put it on in a hurry.

“Keith? What are you doing here?!”

“Um…” Keith before quickly removing the jacket, rolling it up and shoving back in Lance’s arms. “I just wanted to return your jacket!”

Lance looked down at the jacket in his arms in confusion. “Uh….thanks…” he said about to close the door when he realized Keith was still standing there. “Yeeeeees?”

“Are you sure you're ok?”

Lance blinked a bit. “What?”

“I said, Are you sure you’re ok?”

“I heard you, Lady Pyjamas!” retorted Lance before softening his expression. “I’m fine….”

There was an awkward silence between the two.
“Um….you wanna come in?” asked the Blue Paladin standing aside.

Keith gave a small shrug and accepted the invitation, walking past Lance. “By the way, your shirt is inside out, and backwards…” he informed making Lance do a double take and quickly readjust his clothing.

Keith looked around the room and eyed the array of alien beauty products on the table.

“Wow…. Where'd you get all this stuff??”

“It was in the bathroom closet.”

“Oh... “

“Yeah I went through the bathroom and stuff when I got to the room just to see what was around,” Lance shrugged as he went back to the table while Keith grabbed a bottle between Her fingers looking at them curiously.

“Is that why your face was literally shining when you walked in after the first alarm?” Keith asked. “And does that include the robe and slippers?”

“Haven't you looked through your drawers in your room? I think the robes are in each one of ours,” Lance asked before grinning. “And you noticed how good I looked with the product after one day huh?”

Keith rolled her eyes but had a smirk,”It was really hard not to see how your face was like a beacon with how shiny it was.”

“Pift you're just jealous you'll never be able to achieve soft and smooth skin,” Lance said while Keith raised an eyebrow.

“Why would that matter?” Keith asked.

“To make an impression! To show they not only that we’re defenders of the universe but we can look good doing it,” Lance replied, though he narrowed his eyes when he heard Keith snort and shorten the distance to the Red Paladin and poked her cheek.

Both of their eyes widened at the move, Keith because she had no idea why Lance was doing that and Lance because he was shocked how soft Keith’s face was. Curious he grabbed Keith’s face between his hands.

“You don't do anything to your face do you?” Lance frowned looking at the Red Paladin closely.

“I just told you I don't! Leggo mah face Lance!” Keith grumbled.

Lance couldn't help but squish her face even more until Keith finally had enough and wrenched her face out of his hands. Unfortunately, the sudden pull away caused Keith to stumble backwards towards the dresser.

Lance gasped as he quickly moved forward, arms out and grabbed Keith, stopping her just inches from hitting her head against the sharp corner of the dresser. With one strong yank, Lance pulled Keith back up but the sudden shift in balance caused them to fall over with the girl landing on the Blue Paladin with loud grunts of pain from both of them.

“Ugh… you ok?” asked Lance wincing a little having taken the brunt of the fall.

“Yeah… thanks…” groaned Keith back.

This time since the room was smaller the their faces were close to each other as Keith was balancing himself with her arms on Lance’s shoulders as the other had a hand on the small part of her back.

They took a few seconds to let the pain pass before they both seemed to realized their positions again and they froze up, after they realized they had been staring at each other in silence.

Keith quickly scrambled off of Lance until her back hit the side of Lance’s bed as the Cuban boy sat up both looked uncomfortable and were both red as they didn't look at each other.

“Uhm s-so if the robes were already there what about the slippers?” Keith asked desperately trying to change the subject.

“I made them,” Lance replied rubbing the lump on his head. “There was a lot of material to use and a lot of it didn't fit me so I figure I could make something useful out of them.”

“Blue lion slippers are useful?” Keith couldn't help but look amused at Lance with that.

“Hey they are warm and comfy against the cold floors of the castle when you want a midnight snack.” Lance retorted folding his arms.

“You can't just wear your own shoes?” Keith asked. “And what were you doing before I knocked?”

“I don't want to wear my shoes all the time,” Lance said as he stood back up with Keith following the suit. “Anyway before you interrupted I was going through the products.”

“......I'm surprised this stuff works so well.” Keith said. “But how the heck do you know what to use?”

“Hmmm...wanna try some?” Lance asked grinning as Keith made a face. “Come on it's not going to kill you and we can have more ‘bonding moments’ that I remember.”

Keith gave Lance a sour look making the Blue Paladin laugh and pulled Keith over to his side at the table.

“If you make me look like a clown Lance I swear-!”

“Oh relax ya big baby, I do this with my sisters all the time,” retorted Lance dipping a makeup sponge of sort into a cream and immediately rubbed it on Keith’s face, making her flinch.

“What is this stuff?”

“Facial peel, it makes the dead skin cells fall off.”

Keith wrinkled up her nose as she kept her eyes shut. “It kinda stings.”

“That means it's working, now hold still.”

Suddenly Keith felt something warm and wet, maybe a little rough. A towel, the Red Paladin deduced as Lance gently wiped Keith's face clean of the dead skin and cream.

Lance looked impressed when he glanced at the towel at the lack of dirt he wiped off before putting the towel aside.

“Ok Keith, just lie down…”Lance instructed, guiding Keith to the bed, making her sit first then lie down after positioning some pillows under her.

“You're not gonna do anything weird are you?” Keith asked suspiciously.

“Oh she of little faith…” she heard Lance saying with a tsking sound followed by a cold light slap of cream.

“Facial Mask,” she heard Lance explain, feeling his fingers firmly and yet, gently apply the mud mask to all over her face, tracing the outlines of her features before finally two cold patches covered her eyes. “Good, now just chill out for the next few minutes.”

Keith replied with an 'OK’ gesture at Lance as he sighed and laid back into the pillows.

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“And we’re SURE this time around nothing will happen?” Shiro asked looking at the purple soup like substance that Hunk placed in front of him, he had to stop his hand from dipping into the stuff and tasting it. It didn’t smell bad which was a blessing but he couldn’t be sure of the taste since the pudding they had given Keith tasted like sushi and mango…

“Yes all the spare food is on the other counter, we made sure nothing was dropped inside the soup.” Pidge said adjusting her glasses. “By our calculations this should work about 80% of turning Keith back.”

“And the other 20%!?”

“Weellll it could make Keith permanently female is our best estimate.”

“At least he’ll still be his right age though so that’s a silver lining!” Hunk said trying to lighten the situation as Shiro groaned and buried his face in his hands “and dinner’s ready too so now we can eat and get Keith back to how he’s suppose to be!”

“Well that’s good…” Allura said though she sighed she did have fun dressing Keith up and doing her hair.

“I’ll go get Keith and hopefully tomorrow we don’t have anymore incidents.” Shiro sighed. “Is he back from going outside with Lance?”

“Yeah they came back awhile just in time to see the explosion happen,” Pidge said. “Kinda funny how it took Keith turning younger and into a girl for the two to get along, they haven’t fought once since Keith ate that fruit.”

“Let’s just hope it carries over when Keith is back to normal it would be nice not having to separate them every five minutes because of their arguing.” Shiro said. “So they should be in their rooms?”

“They came in soaking wet so I’m assuming they are,” Pidge replied. “We’ll set the table you go grab the two.”

The others watched Shiro leave and Hunk started to hand out the bowls of food to the others to place on the table.

“By the way can Keith eat anything else besides the soup it’s going to kinda suck if he has to eat just that awful soup,” Pidge asked as Hunk handed her something resembling spaghetti with blue noodles purple meatballs.

“It shouldn’t affect the soup in anyway,” Coran said flipping through the tablet. “I mean what are the chances of something happening again!”

The older Altean laughed while Pidge and Hunk nearly dropped the bowls they were holding and looked at each other than at Coran.

“Why did he say that?”


“Do Alteans have no sense of karma?”

“We’re screwed…”

Allura just watched amused as Pidge and Hunk seemed to look at Coran in fear while her advisor just laughed it off.

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“Keith?” Shiro called out as he knocked on Keith’s door, when he didn’t hear a reply he was surprised the doors opened since Keith usually kept it locked when he was inside. Looking inside he didn’t see his brother anywhere and frowned.

“He was with Lance...maybe…” Shiro said as he walked to the next room over and knocked, “Keith? Lance?”

“It’s open Shiro! I got Keith in here with me!” Lance called making the Black Paladin blink as he stepped inside.

“Hey so Pidge, Hunk and Coran said that the antidote is ready so-” he started but stopped when he his eyes widened as he stared and felt his mouth drop a bit when he saw Keith. He saw his brother turned sister sitting on the floor with her bangs pulled back by a headband looking up at Shiro with a raised eyebrow.

“What?” she asked looking at her brother, her skin practically glowing radiantly.

Gone was the mud mask and space cucumbers. Lance appeared to have had applied lip gloss to her lips making them look full, and pink. However, what really got Shiro was the fact that Keith was patiently sitting still as she had her right hand in a bowl of water while Lance was filling and repairing her battle worn nails on her left.

“Hey Shiro,” greeted Lance, not looking up, focusing on getting the nail shape just right. “Damn Keith, you really should take care of your nails better! Cracked nails could get infected if you're not careful!”

“Really?” asked Keith in genuine surprise.

“Yeah, it’ll be bad if your nails split in a fight and you can barely hold your bayard.”

Keith involuntarily winced at the thought.

“It can get that bad?” Keith asked as Lance nodded as he was working diligently on Keith’s hands.

“Yeah my older sister Daniela, She's a cop and had to tackle this guy down on the streets cuz was making threats waving around a knife, a few of her nails split when she hit the concrete,” Lance said examining the fingers. “She didn't notice it was bad until she could barely make a fist let alone hold her gun. She was pissed.”

“Okay okay I believe you, is this the same sister that got you into this?” Keith asked as Lance hummed.

“Partially, it's my other sister Lisbeth though Dani can be girly especially when it comes to her boyfriend Nicholas.” Lance chuckled. “Alright done gimme your other hand.”

Keith did and noticed Shiro was still watching the two of them stunned.

“Lance shouldn't take too long to finish we’ll be at the table soon Shiro,” Keith said.

“Uh you two are going to be okay?” Shiro asked still finding this whole situation surreal. “Didn't think you'd be interested in skin care Keith.”

“Lance can be convincing and it's not too bad, I'm still not doing this everyday though. Once a week Lance wants me to come and do this again,” Keith said looking at Lance who huffed.

“I still say at least twice a week,” Lance argued back. “Maybe three knowing your workout.”

“Ugh, fine, Twice a week,” compromised Keith looking at his newly buffed fingernails and raised his eyebrows. “Heeeey, not bad."

“I told you, I do this for my sisters all the time,” replied Lance as he finished applying nail repair solution." AAAAAND Done!!! Shiro, you want me to do yours next?”

Shiro started a bit." Uh…. I’ll... Take a rain check on that…” replied Shiro with an awkward grin.

Lance shrugged as he stood up and stretched as Keith followed the suit, he picked up the bowls of water and his tools, Keith was helping him as well. “Alright let’s head over to dinner then and see if we can get Keith back to normal.”

“None of that stuff had better been scraped off the floor…” Keith shuddered still remembering the explosion that took place, as he put the tools on the table as Lance dumped the water in the bathroom and left the bowls there, ” hopefully with a better taste too.”

“Dunno about that, this is alien food though can’t expect it to taste like garlic knots or pizza...though with all the vegetables and fruits we picked maybe a veggie pizza or something,” Lance said licking his lips. “Come on let’s go what Hunk and the others made.”

“Yippee…” Keith deadpanned dragging her feet as she followed Lance out of his room with Shiro behind her. “I’m soooo not looking forward to eating a strange concoction of plants and fruits.”

“Well either that or stay the way you are Keith, at least the team will be even with three girls and three guys, well four guys counting Coran since I counted Allura,” Lance said grinning as Keith grumbled loudly.

“Screw that let’s get this over with,” Keith said catching up with Lance and walking next to him.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Keith eyed the bowl of bubbling green concoction with distaste as Lance slowly peeked over her shoulder.

“Yummy..." commented Lance with dry sarcasm.

“Don't make this worse than it actually looks…” responded Keith bluntly side glancing Lance as she sat down and picked up a spoon.

The red Paladin steeled herself with a deep breath as everyone watched her take a large spoonful from the bowl and ate it.

Keith slowly swallowed and smacked her lips. “Hmm… that’s…. Not bad actually…kinda spicy but a little bit sweet…”

“Are you feeling anything?” asked Pidge a little concerned.

“Doesn’t this stuff usually take a while?” asked Lance as Keith suddenly gave a big yawn and slumped over, hitting the table with a thud.

“Keith!!” exclaimed everyone.

Lance grabbed the Red Paladin’s shoulders pulling her back upright as Lance was turning her towards him. “Hey are you okay!? Keith!? Keith!?”

“What did you guys put in that!? Was that suppose to happen!?” Shiro exclaimed as Pidge was furiously looking through the control pad while Coran was scratching his chin and Hunk was panicking but trying to calm down Shiro as Allura grasped her Black Paladin’s arm trying to stop him from doing something rash.

“Uh uh I think it was one of the effects of the fruits we used!” Pidge said as her eyes stared at a few fruits that could’ve knocked Keith out.

“Well at least this way we don’t have to wait that long to see any effects when Keith turns back to normal. “Coran said looking at the Blue Paladin hovering over Keith. “Don’t worry Shiro we know what we’re doing we’re sure it’ll work this time!”

“That’s what you said LAST TIME!”

“Coran there’s no need to bring Keith to the healing pods is there?” Allura asked as Hunk and Pidge hid behind the Altean advisor.

“No, Keith isn’t displaying any symptoms so in theory he should be fine when she wakes up. The most we could do with the healing pods is just scan him but I believe we made sure that nothing would happen. It’s fine princess! ” Coran replied assured while Hunk and Pidge were looking uneasy.

“I’m still expecting the worse because he jinxed it earlier...as scientific as I am even I don’t say things like that.” Pidge muttered while Hunk nodded furiously.

“Yeah man you don’t mess with karma ever…”

Lance looked worried at Keith but when he heard a soft snore and nothing seemed to be wrong with her, outwardly he let out a relieved sigh. Seeing that Keith was now asleep it was probably better for her to be in her own bed rather than sleeping on the table so he placed a hand on her back and under her knees lifting her up, he was surprised by how light Keith was as a girl.

“Lance?” Allura asked seeing the Blue Paladin pick up Keith as the asian’s head lolled over to rest on Lance’s shoulder.

“Since Keith is asleep I’m going to bring her to her room okay?” Lance said and headed out of the dining room.

Everyone looked a little speechless to see Lance of all people be the mature, level headed one in the current situation.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lance walked out of the dining area, away from all the chaos carrying Keith back to his room.

Once inside, Lance gently lowered her into her bed. The girl automatically rolled over and curled up on the mattress, her shirt hiking to reveal some unnecessary skin.

Lance blushed a bit as he gingerly picked the ends of Keith’s shirt and lowered it to modestly cover her and pulled the blanket over her. Lance stared a bit at Keith's comfortable expression.

'She’s actually kinda cute, when she's asleep.. *sigh* Too bad you're not a real girl, Keith…he’s still pretty cute as a guy though…’ sighed Lance mentally before turning and walking away, flipping off the lights.

“Night Keith,” he said before closing the door.

Keith pulled her covers tighter around, snuggling down into her pillow as a pair of cat ears slowly popped up from her hair.

Chapter Text

The door to Keith's room opened.

Footsteps pattered out.

It’s dark, but everything can be seen clearly.

Hungry… smell food. Kitchen.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hunk yawned as he blearily shuffled into the kitchen.

After Lance had taken Keith to her room the rest had quickly put away the soup that she had been eating away in the fridge hoping that this time Keith was back to normal. Everyone had then settled in for eating once Lance came back from dropping Keith off, though once dinner was finished they were all crossing their fingers hoping that their fellow paladin was back to normal.

“Welp nothing to do but wait and hope that it works. Might as well try to make something resembling pancakes for breakfast,” Hunk said clapping his hands together turning on the lights.

He had to let his eyes adjust from the sudden brightness, though once they were adjusted he saw that someone was already at the table eating, and his eyes widened.

“Keith! You're back to normal!” Hunk exclaimed walking quickly over to the Asian who was eating the remains of the soup from last night, his face in the bowl, licking it clean.

What happened next totally caught Hunk off guard.

Keith looked up from his food startled, his pupils dilating and immediately took off, bounding out the kitchen, on all fours.

Hunk was left in the kitchen, stunned, his brain trying to process it all. He would have passed it off as a dream except for the now empty bowl that Keith had left behind.

“What the Quiznak?”

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Keith patterned down the hallway, once he was sure he was alone he stood up. His tail waved behind him as he sighed and looked around. He walked down the hallway his ears twitching all the way looking for something.

His ears perked up when he sniffed the air and hurried down until he got to a door and pawed at it. Once it opened he quickly moved inside and moved over to the bed where he curled up feeling safe and warm.

It wasn’t long before Keith let loud a long and content purr, snuggling against the warm body in bed, who was in too deep a sleep to realize the unexpected companionship.

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“Keith? Keeeeeeith?" called Hunk, searching the hallways for their teammate.

He had tried the Paladin’s room, but it was empty.

It was at that moment, Hunk bumped into Coran who was just turning a corner.

“OOF!” went the moustached Altean, bouncing off Hunk’s belly, falling over to the floor.

“Whoops, sorry Coran,” apologized Hunk, helping Coran up back to his feet.

“No problem Hunk though I have to ask what Are you looking for so early this morning?” Coran asked curiously.

“Coran we have a problem! I saw Keith!” Hunk said looking worried.

“Why not? How is the lad anyway? Is he back to normal now?”

“Yes! No...kinda!? We have to find him before Shiro wakes up and sees!” Hunk exclaimed grabbing Coran’s shoulders and shaking him.

“Why what happened?” Coran replied. “You said he was back to normal.”

“He was! But but he has...he has some new features that I think we should be concerned with especially since he's back to normal but isn't ACTING normal.” Hunk stated seeing Coran’s confused look Hunk groaned."Coran he's acting like a cat!”

Coran looked horrified. “Quiznak! We have to find him!” Coran exclaimed, about to run off when he stopped. “Wait, what's a cat?!”

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“Keith?! You here?!” hissed Hunk trying to make as little noise as possible as he searched around the hangars.

“Red! Have you seen your Paladin?”

Red gave a equivalent to a shrug, accompanied by a low growl.

“Gotcha, thanks girl!” piped up Hunk, patting the lion’s paw before dashing out.

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Coran in the meantime was peeking into the rooms just in case Keith had run into those.

Allura? Nope.

Shiro? No, thankfully.

Pidge? Nothing.

Negative on his and Hunk’s room as well. That left one more.

Coran quietly opened the doors and peeked inside. Lance was snoring on his bed with his eyes covered and headphones on, aside from the pillow pile next to him, Lance appeared to be alone in his room.

“Quiznak..” cursed Coran, snapping his fingers before leaving.

Just as the door closed, the pillow pile shifted as a small figure poked its head out, lavender eyes glowing in the darkness.

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“Anything!?” Hunk asked panicking.

“Nothing! I didn't see him in any of the rooms!” Coran groaned. “Where else could he be!? Did you check Red?”

“Nothing, we haven't tried the training deck yet,” Hunk said biting his nails nervously ,” we have to hurry Shiro is usually up by now training!”

“Hopefully not, I don't exactly know what our Black Paladin will say when he sees Keith...again…” Coran grimaced as the two remembered how Shiro reacted to Keith’s second change.

“Okay okay so let's try maybe the training deck and maybe Lance’s Lion? I mean they've been getting along better so it's possible….” Hunk said.

“Alright I'll head to the Blue Lion and you check the training deck.” Coran said as Hunk nodded and ran as fast as he could to the training area.

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Shiro was in the training room, practicing his hand to hand combat with an Altean droid when Hunk came dashing in with his PJ’s.

The Yellow Paladin gave a squeak and froze in place when his and Shiro’s eyes met, just as the Leader took down the droid.

“SHIRO! HI!” squeaked Hunk in an unnaturally high voice causing Shiro to look at him strange yet amused way.

“Hi…?”

Hunk glanced about fidgeting. “Whatcha’ doooin?”

Shiro quirked an eyebrow. “Training. What are you doing?”

“Me?” squeaked Hunk again before clearing his voice. “Um… nothing much! Just… walking!”

Shiro looked questioningly. “In your Pjs?”

Hunk looked down at his attire and sweated nervously. “I was… Sleepwalking! Yeah, Sleepwalking!”

“Uh-huh….”

“Yeah and I just woke up! So I’m just gonna go now! Ok? Ok! Bye-bye!” said Hunk hurriedly before rushing out leaving a confused yet suspicious Shiro behind.

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Coran skidded into the Blue Lion’s hanger and looked up at the lion.

“I may not be able to understand you like the Paladin's but any chance Keith had come in and see you?” Coran asked the lion. “We’re trying to find him before Shiro does!”

Blue seemed to purr a bit like she knew something but wasn't telling. Coran groaned. “Maybe we missed something…” He said as he walked out of the hanger trying to think of places where Keith could be hiding.

Blue watched as the Altean advisor left her hanger. Poking at her bond with her paladin, Blue gently prodded him to wake up. She knew her paladin had a nice time with Red’s Paladin so it wasn't hard to figure where the missing Paladin was.

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Back in his room, Lance could sense Blue calling out to him as he slowly sat up in his bed and yawned loudly, removing his headphones and eye cover.

He blinked a bit to clear the blurriness from his as he stretched, popping some joints in the process. Smacking the dryness from his mouth, Lance shifted to move his legs off the bed when his hand rested on some fabric that was not part of the bed.

Curious, he looked down and did a double take to find Keith's shirt and shorts in his bed. “What the-?” he went picking up the shirt when the bra Keith wore the night due to his change yesterday before it fell out of the shirt on to his lap.

Lance blushed red as he gingerly picked up the bra and bundled it in the shirt with the shorts.

“If Keith's Pjs are here… then where's...?”

“Prrr-row~” Lance heard sound out as a small warm body rubbed against the small of his back.

Slowly, Lance turned around to see a small black kitten purring while rubbing its head against Lance’s side before crawling onto his lap and sitting there, it's familiar lavender eyes looking up at the Blue Paladin.

“Oh Quiznak… Keith? Is that you?” asked Lance nervously although he knew what the answer was.

“Woe~” mewed the kitten, sitting up on its hindlegs asking to be carried.

Lance scooped the kitten up in his hands, earning a loud purring. “Don't take this the wrong way Keith,” said Lance as he turned the kitten around to check under its tail briefly before turning Keith back to face him. “Well…. Congrats… you got your man parts back….”

Keith just slow blinked at the Blue Paladin as the kitten reached out a paw and booped Lance on the nose.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“He turned into a what!?” Pidge exclaimed nearly dropping their tablet staring at Hunk and Coran.

“From what Hunk explained to me, a ‘cat’ as he says, Keith has turned into a smaller baby lion,” Coran said.

“I still find it hard to believe you know what Lions are but don't know what a cat is,” Hunk muttered before shaking his head. “Look we haven't had any luck finding Keith so maybe if you can do some sort of scan of the castle we can find him before Shiro notices.

“It's going to be hard for him to not see Keith around and get suspicious,” Pidge pointed out making the Hunk whine. “Alright, alright I can probably put something together, is Shiro up?”

“He's training but that was awhile ago…” Hunt said nervously. “I knew something bad was going to happen.”

“You always think something bad is gonna happen Hunk,” pointed out Pidge bluntly.

“And I’m usually right!” retorted Hunk making Pidge roll her eyes.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lance watched as the black fluffy kitten began attacking one of his slippers rolling about on the floor.

“Oy….Shiro is so not gonna like this….” muttered Lance in disdain as he got up to change outfits.

Once he slipped into his normal attire, Lance crouched down on the floor. “Here Keithy~ Here boy~” he called clicking his tongue.

Keith looked up from attacking the lion slipper and bounded over to Lance who picked him up and slipped him into his jacket pocket.

“Awww~ You’re small enough for my pocket~” cooed the Blue Paladin as Keith poked his head out with a contented expression.

“Woe~” crooned the kitten as Lance made his way out.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Okay well I got a lock on Keith and he's moving…” Pidge said her fingers a flying through the tablet.

“That's good!” Coran said.

“He's heading towards us,” Pidge added as her eyes narrowed watching the tiny blip on her screen watching it move. “At least it seems he got hungry again so he's coming back to the kitchen. Which is great so we don't have to look for him.”

“Hey guys what're you doing?” Asked as Shiro came walking in with Allura next to him.” I stopped by Keith’s room but wasn't there any idea where he could possibly be?”

“This is bad!” Hunk hissed angrily looking at the other two. “M-m-maybe he's walking around! You know stretching his legs since he's gotten changed so many times?”

“Maybe he’s looking for his bayard?” suggested Pidge forcing a grin while Coran nervously twirled his moustache.

Allura and Shiro exchanged looks before eyeballing the trio who were sweating subtly.

At that moment, Lance walked past the group on the way to the kitchen.

“Hey guys,” he greeted casually walking past, but nobody took notice as Allura and Shiro were giving Hunk, Pidge and Coran an intense staredown.

Lance shrugged and continued on his way.

“We’ll keep an eye out for Keith,” reassured Coran, trying to maintain his composure.

“Mmhmm…..” responded Allura, quirking an eyebrow.

“Well, let us know…” she said walking away with Shiro.

Just as soon as the Space Parents disappeared, the three all simultaneously released their held breaths.

“Ok, that was too close!” exclaimed Pidge.

“Quick, quick! Check for Keith!” hissed Hunk nudging the younger Paladin as she quickly went back to the tablet.

“He…. went past us?” said Pidge in confusion.

“What? When?!” demanded Coran looking over Pidge’s shoulder.

“Do you think he snuck behind while we were talking?” Hunk asked.”Last I checked he was still human, maybe those features gave him extra senses like how cats are super quiet.”

“I don't know but now that we avoided the space parents let's hurry,” Pidge said as they hurried down the hallway following the signal.

They kept their eyes on the radar trying to find Keith, they followed the signal to the couch area where the only thing they saw was Lance.

“It says he’s here but I don't see him!? I know this thing is working! I built it!” Pidge growled.”Work dammit!”

“Odd most of the stuff you make do work.” Coran said not seeing Pidge glare at him.

“What do you mean most of the stuff I make!?”

“Lance! Have you seen Keith?” Hunk asked.”We’re trying to find him! I...I think he changed again!”

“Uh about that see-” Lance started but Pidge let out a frustrated growl.

“It's working fine!”

“Keith isn't here so it isn't working! Now let's get that thing fixed…” Coran argued with Pidge.

Hunk tried to play mediator but it wasn’t working too well. Lance sighed as he stood up since no one was listening now and headed off.

Once he was out of the room Lance plucked the sleeping kitten out of his pocket and held him up to his eye level.

“Well little buddy, guess you and I are gonna be waiting around till someone actually cares to listen…” said Lance as Keith yawned in his face before wriggling out of his grasp and hopping on to the Paladin’s shoulder, purring as he rubbed under Lance’s chin, slipping into his hood.

“Comfy?”

“Prreow~” replied Keith, snuggling down into the hood.

Lance just smiled and walked off down the hallway.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Do you think they seemed a little odd to you Shiro?” asked Allura sitting on Shiro’s back as he did one-arm pushups in the training room with his human arm.

“Urgh….I guess but aren’t those three always up to something?” grunted Shiro pushing himself off the ground.

“A fair point. You don’t suppose they’re hiding something are they?”

“Very Likely.”

“And...we are not going to address it?”

“They are freaking out already, I say we wait it out…”

Allura smiled deviously, glancing at the back of Shiro’s head. “I never pegged you for a psychological warfare sort of man~”

“Thank you, Princess.”

“Still I wonder how long this can go on, obviously this has something to do with Keith but they're not telling us.” Allura said as Shiro grunted.

“Well they can hide as much as they want there's no way they can hold out for long,” Shiro couldn't help but smirk. “So waiting it out is perfect.”

Allura just laughed agreeing wondering how two of the Paladins plus Coran are going to be when they're confronted again.

‘Not very well.’ She thought as she continued to help Shiro train.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Okay there is no way this is broken so you two can't say anything!” Pidge said glaring at Hunk and Coran. They had adjusted the program for finding Keith and were walking down another hallway following the trail Keith had gone apparently.

“Now...we should be getting close….” noted Coran as the blip on the screen got closer and closer to their location when suddenly-

“OOF!” went Pidge as she collided with Lance, causing her to drop the tablet while Hunk managed to catch her.

“Whoa! Sorry Pidge!” apologized Lance, when Pidge let out a despaired scream.

“NO-NO-NO!!!” freaked out the teen prodigy flying out of Hunk’s grip and snatched up her tablet.

Unfortunately, the fall had caused the screen to crack causing the device to fizzle out.

“Oh dear…” went Coran while Hunk patted Pidge’s back.

Lance looked down guiltily. “Aw geez Pidge, I’m really sorry.”

Pidge shook her head as she sighed dejectedly. “It’s alright...my fault really..”

“Well, how are we going to find Keith now?” asked Hunk, twiddling his fingers worriedly.

“Actually-” Lance wanted to speak up but was cut off by Coran.

“Well we could fix it in the workshop, maybe upgrade it a little?” suggested Coran.

“Guys wa-”

“GREAT IDEA CORAN! LET’S GO!” exclaimed Pidge excitedly, jumping to her feet.

“But Keith is-!” Lance tried to tell them but the trio sped off once more, making Lance face-palm himself.

“Woe~?” mewed Keith, sticking his head out from the hoodie.

Lance sighed as he looked over at the kitten and scratched his ear, getting another pleased rumble. “I bet you could get their attention easy without even trying..” he commented dryly.

“Prreow….” the kitten mewed in response as he booped Lance’s nose again.

Lance gave a little huff of laughter as he rubbed the kitten’s head. “Thanks Keith.”

That just made the kitten purr even louder as it made Keith rub his head against Lance’s hand even now. The kitten really seemed more excited and happy when he cheered Lance up.

“Ya know I half expected you to be clawing and hissing at me not purring and nuzzling,” Lance said and he swore he could bear Keith huff as he bopped his nose a little harder.”Okay I'm sorry, guess we might as well walk around, though you haven't eaten anything have you kitten?”

“Mao~!”

“Lunch it is then,” agreed the paladin as Keith rode his shoulder. “Boy I hope this castle has space tuna or something….”

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Allura swung her staff about, lashing at Shiro who dodged and deflected her strikes.

The princess planted her staff into the ground and vaulted over the black paladin before delivering a kick to his back, which Shiro only barely managed to block with his robot arm.

“Pretty good reflexes there Princess.”

“I could say the same about you~” replied Allura dodging a punch and flipping backwards. “But I won't~”

Shiro pretended to look injured as hand flew to heart. “Ooh… an internal blow. Well played, your Highness.”

Allura couldn't help but laugh.

“Someone’s been hanging out with Lance a bit too long,” Allura laughed as she held the staff up ready to defend while Shiro laughed right back.”If you're assuming complimenting me is going to distract me then I'm not sorry to say it's failed.”

Shiro replied with a cheeky smirk before running at Allura and raising his arm to punch Allura but the princess held the staff tightly.

She blocked it again but didn't expect Shiro to then grasp the staff pulling himself up flipping over Allura and landing behind her and then kicking her behind the kneecaps.

“Whoa!” went Allura as she buckled to the floor with Shiro grabbing her arms and pinning them behind her as Shiro pressed her to the floor.

“I’d say it worked a little~” teased Shiro, his breath tickling Allura’s ear, making the princess blush and shudder a bit.

Allura smirked back at Shiro as she used her Altean powers to increase her size, using her new body mass buck Shiro off her, sending him into a forward roll towards the wall.

“OooF!” went Shiro landing upside down with his eyes swirling.

Allura chuckled as she stood over the black paladin, slowly shifting back to her normal size. “You’ll have to try better next time~”

At that moment the door to the training room slid open revealing Lance who stared at them with big eyes.

“Um...Am I interrupting something?” asked Lance awkwardly as Allura and Shiro blushed as they righted themselves back up.

“No-no!” “Nothing at all just training!” the two denied at the same time while they avoided eye contact with each other.

“Uh-huh…..I’m just gonna find another shortcut to the kitchen…..” informed Lance slowly backing out, closing the door shut.

“Ahem uh well…” Shiro coughed looking at Allura who was a bit pink in her face matching her marks.

“W-we should continue!! We need to kill some time before we go and try and find the other Paladins and see what they’re really hiding.” Allura quickly answered as she grabbed Shiro’s hand, pulling him upright.

“Sounds like a plan,” Shiro said agreeing rather quickly as they went back to their places in the middle of the training hall before starting once more.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Well that was awkward,” Lance said as he entered the kitchen.

He looked around and didn’t see Pidge, Coran and Hunk in so they still must be trying to fix and upgrade Pidge’s tablet. He was a bit relieved since that meant he still had the Red Paladin turned kitten to himself, though he would think the others would try to listen to him rather than talking over him.

He was about to set Keith down onto the table but the kitten mewled digging his claws a bit into Lance’s sleeve not wanting to leave the Cuban boy.

“Man you sure are clingy as a kitten,” Lance said not putting up much a fight against Keith as he resettled him onto his shoulder as he opened the fridge, but now he had a new dilemma...he knew you were suppose to cook the food a certain way if not then well the results had shown the past two days of Keith’s previous transformations. “Great...no space tuna but what the heck do I feed you that doesn’t change you?”

Lance shrugged. “I’m guessing no to space goo?”

Keith hissed and fluffed up, making Lance flinch in pain.

“Eeeyah! OoH! Keith! The claws! Mind the claws! Ok! OK! No goo! Got it!”

It was then , Keith calmed down.

“Woe~”

Suddenly, Keith’s ears perked up as he turned his attention to the table. The four space mice sat there munching on one of Hunk’s fruit tarts when they froze, sensing the hunter’s gaze on them.

The kitten’s eyes became slits as he steadied himself on Lance’s shoulders.

“MAAAAWWRRR!!!!!” meowed Keith pouncing .

The mice gave a huge squeaks of fright as they hightailed it out of there as Keith gave chase close behind.

“Keith NO! Bad Kitty! Come back!!” called Lance, running off after the kitten.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Okay so there is no way we can miss Keith this time around,” Podge said their face glued to the screen with Hunk and Coran hovering over her shoulders. The trio had done everything they could do make sure they could find the missing red paladin and weren't going to miss him.

“Look out coming through!”

The three of them presses themselves against the wall as a cursing Lance came running by them.

“What’s his hurry?” Hunk wondered before the tablet started to beep and they saw that Keith had run by them.

“What the!?” Pidge gapes. “We missed Keith! Dammit what is going on!?”

“We just saw Lance maybe he knows?” Coran said as they all chased the other paladin down who had disappeared down the hallway.

“Lance get your butt back here!” Pidge shouted as they tried to catch up.

Meanwhile Lance was trying to stop Keith from pouncing on because one, the mice were cool and two Allura would kill both him and Keith even if he was a kitten if anything happened to the mice.

“Keith get back here right now! Here kitty kitty!” Lance tried as the kitten seemed determined to catch the mice.

Maybe it was a good thing the mice were spacemice as the largest one squeaked something to the others and they took off in another direction making the kitten follow them. Lance groaned as he picked up the pace focusing on getting Keith before he did anything he'd regret once he was big again.

The big mouse as they passed a wall jumped up and hit a hidden panel opening a door in the wall and the mice ran in. Keith followed and Lance had to dive for the entrance as the door closed behind him just as the others had caught up to him.

“The hell!? I swore he came this way.” Pidge glowered looking around as she fiddled with her tablet. “Some reason it shows Keith moving very fast somewhere?”

“Great now we can't find Lance and Keith,” Hunk groaned while Coran and Pidge were trying to make heads or tails of the reading. “Then again it's not like we know every inch of the castleship.”
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


“Holy hell!” Lance yelled as when he slid through the door he and Keith along with the mice landed on like a slide going somewhere rapidly.

He had managed to catch Keith as the kitten was surprised by the slide and tried to stop. Thankfully, Lance had caught him and put him in his pocket, while Keith mewled in protest.

“You are in so much trouble you little troublemaker!”

The mice squeaked-laughing as they were ahead and soon Lance saw an opening though he just saw the mice drop down and let out a surprised scream as he fell as well while landing on something hard.

“Owowowo…”

A familiar purr came through his head prompting Lance to look down to see what he had landed on top of.

“Blue?!”

A low rumble from the robot lion came in reply.

Lance rubbed the back of Blue’s ear getting a loving croon. “Thanks girl~”

Blue lowered her head closer to the ground allowing Lance to slip off with Keith, who looked really sulky with his ears lying flat on his head. Keith made a really grouchy mewl as he readjusted himself in the pocket.

“Aw, just behave yourself ya little…. Furry thing you…”

Keith mewled in protest once more making Lance just roll his eyes with a smile.

“There's the Keith I know~!”

Keith just sulked a bit more while Blue made rumble that sounded distinctly like laughing.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Allura gasped a bit as she received a mental image from the mice.

“What is it Allura?”

Allura closed her eyes and focused on the image. “The mice… they are being chased…..by… a purple eyed black lion?”

“......Huh?” Shiro blinked wondering if Black had shrunk and decided to chase the mice.

He got a low growl in his head and a nice little mental smack like a mother scolding her child to even consider that. The Black Lion clearly took offense.

“Ow, ok stupid thought sorry girl…” Shiro muttered rubbing his head.“But did an animal sneak into the castle last night?”

“Let me see if I can get more information…” Allura frowned reconnecting with her mice she was sent an image getting a better look at the ‘lion’ she saw it was a small creature, but what caught her attention was the blue paladin chasing both the tiny creature and the mice. “Strange...Lance seems to know the animal.”

“I think Lance would know better than to bring strange creatures into the castle, we’re already having issues with food,” Shiro said dryly shaking his head.

“Still we cannot have a strange creature running amok, not to mention my poor mice,” Allura said. “Let's find Lance and have him explain.”

“Alright I'm kinda interested what this small black lion looks like,” Shiro chuckled when he came to a slow sudden realization. “Wait, you said it had purple eyes?”

Allura quirked an eyebrow at Shiro. “Yes?...” she replied when it dawned on her too.

The Princess and Paladin looked at each other when the light bulb finally went off in their heads.
Without another word, both of them quickly dashed out of the training room to look for Lance.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

While everyone was on a frantic search, Lance decided to hang around in Blue’s cockpit, lounging on the floor while Keith lay curled on his chest, riding the rising and falling of the paladin’s breathing.

Lance closed his eyes and relaxed, listening to the harmony of the simultaneous contented purring of Blue and Keith. He had to admit, this was the most relaxed Lance had been in a long time.

It was comfortably warm inside Blue’s head yet the floor was nice and cool as well. It reminded Lance a lot of the beach back home, floating on his surfboard, gently rocked by the waves.

Drifting away into his thoughts, it wasn't long until Lance finally fell asleep.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lance was dreaming he was back on the beach of his hometown, riding the waves as he flashed a dazzling smile to numerous bikini babes on the shore chanting his name.

La~ance! La~ance! La~nce!

Lance blew suave kisses to his fans who all dramatically fainted in awe.

Suddenly, a particularly huge ominous wave came, towering over the current wave Lance was riding on as a vision of Zarkon formed on the waves.

In a panic, Lance slipped, causing to wipeout, getting swallowed by the Zarkon tidal wave as he flailed about, suffocating in the water.

The sounds of the fans chanting his name could still be heard only this time it sounded more sinister as Lance sank deeper and deeper into the sea.

La-ance...

La-ance…

La-ance…

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Lance! Lance!”

Lance squirmed as he slowly opened his eyes at the familiar sounding voice.

“Lance! Wake up!” yelled the voice.

Lance’s vision was slightly blurry, but he could make out the familiar outline and fluffy mullet.

“Ugh… Keith?” responded the blue Paladin groggily when his eyes popped open in realization.

“Keith! You're -!” *BONK!!!*

“GAH!!!!” grunted the two in pain as they clutched their aching heads, having collided due to Lance suddenly sitting up and Keith not moving away in time.

“Ohmigosh! Keith! You're not a cat anymo-oooOooOOH!!! WOAH, You are NAKED!!!” exclaimed Lance excitedly turning to Keith before he glanced down and quickly covered his eyes in embarrassment.

Keith wrinkled his face at Lance as he ducked behind the pilot seat.

“Thank you Captain Obvious! Mind explaining what am I doing with you in Blue without Pants on?!”

Just at that moment, the rest of the Paladins plus Allura and Coran came running in.

“What happened?! We heard a yell….. Ooooh… ” demanded Allura when she trailed off upon seeing Keith sinking further behind the pilot’s chair blushing brightly.

Allura quickly turned around without another word while Hunk quickly covered Pidge’s eyes.

“So uh...hi? You're back to normal?” Hunk coughed as he averted his eyes deciding that Lance was a better target, as Shiro was walking over to Keith as the red paladin was hissing something at him, his face still burning.

Lance kept his eyes off of Keith as he took off his large jacket and handed it to Keith. Keith grumbled something and snatched the jacket slipping it on quickly, zipping it up as well. The jacket hung just above his knees but thankfully was enough to cover everything.

“Soooo buddy is there something you should be telling us?”

Lance glared at him still rubbing his forehead,as he stood in front of Keith. “I don't know.. you wanna tell me how your panicked search for Keith turned out?”

“At least he's here!” Pidge argued. “But that doesn't explain why I couldn't find him earlier!”

“If you lot had let me speak I would've told you Keith had turned into a kitten!” Lance shot back making the trio’s eyes widen.. “He's been riding in my pocket and hoodie the whole time!”

There were three simultaneous groans.

“That's why when we were looking for Keith we ended up running into Lance!” Pidge groaned. “See I told you my tablet wasn't broken!”

“Why didn't you speak up or tell us Lance?” Coran asked.

“Kinda funny Keith ended up sticking by Lance the whole time, though I kinda wanted to see a kitty Keith.” Hunk sighed.

“Again if you three had stopped interrupting me I would've told you,” Lance growled, folding his arms looking sourly at the group.

“Keith what do you remember?” Shiro asked placing his hands on his brother's shoulders."Anything at all?”

Keith wrinkled his face trying to think back."Ummm… we were having lunch… then I felt sick… I went to bed… I shrunk then….” Keith recalled in bits and pieces. “Everything else is a blur.”

Shiro and the group stared in disbelief.

“What?”

“Keith that was like two days ago!” exclaimed Pidge, flailing her arms, Hunk still having his hands over her eyes.

Keith tilted his head. “Did… did something happen?”

“How about we get some pants on you first and then we'll fill you in at dinner…” suggested Shiro placing his hands on Keith's shoulders.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

After getting back into his clothes, Hunk made a celebratory dinner to celebrate Keith's recovery as everybody gathered around the table and recounted the missing two days. Save for Lance who was being unusually quiet.

It was Keith's turn to look at his friends in disbelief.

“All that from one fruit?!” he exclaimed.

“That fruit and a combination of other food,” Hunk counted off,”and the stuff we made, you should've seen it we had to purposely make something explode in the kitchen.”

“Speaking of which, how is Keith back to normal?”

Coran twirled his moustache in thought."Well… I would have to hypothesize that that his body fully metabolised all the substances we gave him. And since he ate the entire bowl of the last concoction, I believe his body was just experiencing a side effect.”

“Seriously though, nothing? Completely blanked out!?” Pidge asked in disbelief, as she sent subtle looks to Lance who had yet to say a word,” I mean you seemed with it when you were a girl and you recognized us!”

“Yeah I'm still iffy about that girl thing...that...that really didn't happen did it?” Keith asked looking at Allura and Shiro,”especially the dress part that's made up right?”

“Uh sorry Keith but I know what I felt when you woke up with me after you had turned into a toddler, trust me and that scream was definitely a pitch you wouldn't be able to reach as a guy,” Shiro coughed.

“Keith all of that happened, we wouldn't lie to you about something that serious,” Allura said though she had a quirk to her lips,”though it was nice to dress you up.”

“You can dress Pidge up,” Keith grumbled his face red while the green paladin rolled her eyes.

“I'm not close to Allura’s height so I'd be drowning in her outfits,” Pidge smirked,”though you did make a cute girl...and kid…”

She waved her tablet around knowing Pidge had made it function with a camera somehow and Keith looked like he wanted to murder it.

“Besides if anything Red and Blue could tell you since you stayed close to the lions with your transformations.” Pidge said looking at Lance who hadn't spoken a word yet.

Keith felt concern and reaches out to Lance gently shaking him from the shoulder,” Lance hey you alright? You've been quiet.”

“Huh oh, just surprised really. So...you can't remember anything? Completely?” Lance asked hoping to see even a little bit of familiarity.

He looked at Keith and he frowned as the red paladin was trying to think but nothing seemed to show on Keith’s face.

“Sorry Lance, I'm not recalling much,” Keith replies, for some reason he couldn't help but feel guilty as he saw a sad look pass through Lance’s face before Lance sighed disappointed and gave Keith a small smile.

“It's alright Keith it's just good to have you back to normal,” Lance said back to the Red Paladin.

Keith tried to smile back, in the back of his head he felt like he was missing something, even though he felt he understood Lance better throughout this whole thing. A memory flashed through his head: Lance smiling so happily and honestly staring at the ocean, looking like he didn't have a care in the world. Arms spread out enjoying the sea breeze and that expression Lance gave him when he smiled at him when he stood next to him...it made his heart beat faster.

“Hey Keith you're not gonna fall asleep at the table again are it?” Lance asked prodding the dark haired paladin joking somewhat.

“I'm fine I'm fine, just a slight headache, don't worry about it.” Keith assured as Lance still looked worried. "Really!”

“Uh huh we’ll just keep an eye on you just in case Keith, you know just to be sure.” Lance said patting his back while Keith rolled his eyes.

“I’m not going to change into a girl again much less anything else Lance,” Keith said dryly pointing his spoon at Lance.

“You never know with what you just experienced.”

“It was one time I'm not about to do any of it again, I can't even remember what we...what I did!”

“Oh come on we totally had multiple bonding moments! I held you in my arms and we hugged!”

Keith couldn't help but smirk as he looked at Lance. “Nope, don't remember, never happened.”

“Oh come on Keith!!”

The rest of the table gave a collective sigh of relief as norm was once again in the norm as they listened to the banter between the Red and Blue Paladin.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Later that night, Lance flew over to the beach from the other day in Blue and sat curled up on her snout staring out into the ocean looking woeful.

There was a rush of jets and a blast of warm wind, causing Lance to look up and see the Red Lion come sailing in and landing right next to Blue.

Red’s mouth opened and out walked Keith onto Blue’s snout.

“Hey, Lance. Mind if I join you?”

Lance replied with a shrug as Keith sat next to him.

There was silence for a bit.

“Are you still upset that I don't remember?”

Lance rested his head on his knees. “Upset? NAAAAAAW….. Just disappointed…”

Keith looked at his boots a little guiltily. “I’m really sorry Lance.”

Lance glanced over at Keith and gave him a good natured shove. “Hey don't worry about. If you don't remember, you don't remember.”

Another brief silence between them.

“The others told me that you took care of me while I was… you know.. Soooo… thanks..” said Keith blushing a little as he punched Lance’s shoulder lightly.

Lance gave a scoff of laughter as he returned the punch.

The two settled back into awkward silence as they both looked out into the ocean.

“So… I wonder when should we meet again for the spa treatment?” muttered Keith offhanded but just loud enough for Lance to hear.

Lance perked his head up just as Keith decided to stand and make his way back to Red.

“Hold up! Keith, do you actually…?”

Keith looked over with his shoulder, giving Lance a vague smile before jumping into his Lion just as Lance began scrambling to his feet.

“Wait! Hold on there!!!”

Red roared as she came to life and took off into the air with her pilot.

“KEEEEEEIIIIIITH?!!!!!!!!!”