It all started when Pidge had decrypted some files taken from a Galra base the paladins had recently raided. The base was located on a remote planet and would have gone completely unnoticed if Pidge hadn’t followed her family’s trail there. So they had formulated a plan, gotten into the command center and from there Pidge had hacked into the bases network to try and find any clues while also taking advantage of the opportunity to download as much information as she could to analyse later. Unfortunately the only information they found was that Matt and their father had been but only briefly and that it was a long time ago. Still, the green paladin was determined to get as much use out of the data she’d collected as she could. Keith had been in the training room when Pidge had called them into the castles command center, when they had all gathered she told them some of the more interesting things, but what had really caught her attention was an invitation she’d found while going through the commanding officers personal mail.
"Commander Kital, you are formally invited to a grand soirée hosted by General Xilitol to celebrate his recent military achievements for the Empire in the Oban system. We sincerely hope you will be able to attend, blah blah blah, glory to Zarkon, blah blah blah. P.S. I swear if you wear that stupid hat again I will drag and throw you into the gladiator pits myself. Your reluctant friend Xilitol.’” Pidge looked up from her computer and turned to the rest of them. “We all know what this means right?”
“Yes, if we get into that party there’s a chance we may learn something useful, important figures within the empire, maybe even future military campaign perhaps.” Allura sounded very intrigued by the idea, Lance, however looked doubtful and took the opportunity to raise his complaint.
“Don’t get me wrong this sounds great and all but we still have one huge problem, it’s a party for galra! We can’t stroll in there and be like ‘Sup Galra dude, mind telling us your diabolical plans for conquering the universe,” he threw his hands in the air, “I mean come on! We’d be vaporised in seconds.”
“Lance does have a point, all the information in the galaxy won’t matter if we get caught, there’s no way any of us five could get in undetected,” Pidge agreed, looking to the room for suggestions when Allura suddenly shot up from her seat, grinning.
“I have exactly what we need” the princess happily informed before making her way to the door, gesturing for Coran to follow, “We’ll be back in a few ticks” and with that they were out the door.
The two Alteans had come back a little while later, Corans was holding clear a box filled with what looked like power cords while Allura holding some sort of grey and black fabric folded neatly over one of her arms, which she then held out to present to them.
“I believe the human phrase is ‘ta-da!’” Hunk leaned forward in his chair, hand on his chin and tilting his head as he tried to figure out what was so special about it.
“Uhh ok, but what are ‘ta-da-ing’ exactly?”
Allura was holding up some kind of grey skin tight suit, it was covered in thin black lines that which spread across the entire thing and all connected to small black lumps on the ends of the sleeves, leggings and neck. Coran had placed the box on the nearest console before turning back to them and gesturing towards the suit as if it were some sort fashion miracle, it wasn’t.
“This dear paladins is a state of the art Altean chameleon suit, designed to alter a person’s outward appearance in accordance to an imputed command that also works in accordance with the wearers own genetic coding, so as to not change anything that may cause them any physiological or neural harm.”
“Why would an Altean ship have a suit that could change a person appearance though, I thought you could already do that yourselves.” Pidge frowned. Coran merely twirled his moustache.
“Well number five, even though we Alteans can indeed alter our appearance, the truth is that the degree to which this can be done varies among Alteans, most can drastically alter themselves with ease but there have always been a small few who could barely change their own hair colour without great difficulty, and in the some extremely rare cases there have been Alteans who couldn’t even do that, these suits were made in the event that an emergency representative happened one of those who had trouble.” Everyone had gathered around the suit to get a better look at it, it was then that Keith saw that the black lumps actually looked like computer ports, which made sense as you’d have to program it somehow. “And with some time we should definitely be able to make it be able to alter a human’s appearance as well.”
“Ok we have a disguise, but who’s going to be the one to wear it?” It was the one question that had been bothering him the most and no one had seemed to even give it any thought. He immediately wished he didn’t ask because once the last word had left his mouth everyone had turned to look at him expectantly, he crossed his arms in protest when he realised why. “What, no, you can’t be serious.”
“Please Keith” Allura clasped her hands in front of her, “Out of all of the paladins, you’re the one who would stand the best chance of blending in amongst the galra.”
“Zarkon did say you fought like a galra solider, and the Blade of Marmora were pretty much the same, maybe you act like a galra in other ways that we’ve just never noticed,” Pidge added.
“Why though? The suit can change any of us right, so just send Lance, or Hunk! They’re good with people.” Lance spun around and looked at Keith, crossing his arms in a huff.
“Uh-uh, no way, I am not going into a place full of aliens that want to kill me. Not without backup at least.”
“I would also like to not do that,” Hunk said, looking back and forth between Keith and Allura.
Not caring enough to keep arguing, Keith sighed.
“Fine, let’s get this over with.”
After getting changed and returning to the command center Keith had been told to sit in his chair and keep still. Pidge began hooking up her laptop to the suit ports with the cords Coran had brought, before sitting down crossed legged on the floor next to him and focusing on her computer. Allura knelt behind her, peering over the paladins shoulder to get a better look at the screen and occasionally helping the green paladin when she had difficulty on a new Altean word. It was pretty simple how the suits programs work, the suit had a program installed in it where, once plugged into an appropriate console, you could basically pick a species from a list then the suit performed a scan on the wearers DNA and would then alter the appearance to that of the desired species by mulitpulating the persons skin cells, hair cells etc. Despite its simplicity the process was a slow one, Keith had tried to be patient but he had been sitting here for what felt like hours, Pidge had scolded him once when he had tried to scratch his ear, saying that his movement was disrupting the DNA scan. Lance and Hunk had left for the kitchen, promising to bring Keith some if he wasn’t done by the time they finished their meals of space goo.
“Please tell me this won’t take much longer,” Keith groaned.
“Well to be perfectly honest I’m not really sure how long it will take,” Allura moved from Pidges side and started to pace in front of him, looking down in careful thought, “The suit’s designed for Altean biology so adjusting it to work for a human will certainly prolong the time needed for it to work, but it’s possible that your pre-existing Galran heritage might assist in speeding up the process.” With a sigh she came to a halt and gave Keith a small shrug, “I’m afraid we’ll just have to wait and see.” Keith groaned and let his head fall back against his chair.
Keith woke with a wide yawn, briefly wondering when he’d fallen asleep. He sat up and stretched his arms height above his head, unable to supress another yawn. He was about to turn to his left when he heard what he thought sounded like choking but Allura quickly darted in front of him and leant towards him, effectively drawing his attention, with a wide grin and eager eyes.
“Oh, you’re awake, fantastic!” she took a step back, and clasped her hands together “My apologises for not waking you sooner, but simply none of us had had the heart to wake you. You simply looked too, uh, peaceful! when you were sleeping.” Allura bent down to grasp his hand, pulling him up from his chair, someone having already disconnected the suits cords, and directed him to stand in front of a full body mirror. “I brought this in from my chambers so that you can get a proper look at yourself.” Allura moved to the left of the mirror, excitement all over her face.
Keith could hear faint snickering behind him and felt his ears twitch. Wait, his ears twitched? Oh no.
For a moment Keith avoided looking at his reflection and felt his gut twist, what if he had giant ears on top of his head like Sendak, what if he couldn’t even stand to look at himself, what if he didn’t even recognise himself?
But when he finally brought himself to look up he felt silly for worrying, he didn’t look too different; his hair hadn’t changed at all and what parts of him had was just mostly in colour. His skin had gone a dark violet, slight darker than most Galra. His eyes almost looked the same, only the whites of his eyes had changed to yellow. His ears however were a different story; they were much longer and ended in points much like an Alteans, except being longer, thinner and the fact that they had a short trail of dark fur that grew along the outer edges, growing longer towards the tips. Yeah, he definitely looked like a Galra but he also still looked like…him.
The moment of peace was quickly broken by the tell-tale choking sounds of barely restrained laugher; Keith turned around to ask what was so funny, but paused in confusion at the state of his fellow paladins.
Lance had both hands clamped tightly around his mouth, wide eyed and- was he crying? Yep, his eyes were definitely watering but the crinkles around his eyes told him it was from laughter, Lances entire body was shaking as he tried not to lose it. Next to Lance, Pidge wasn’t much better, still sitting crossed legged, the green paladin was doubled over, her shoulders shaking like crazy and with arms wrapped tight around her stomach. But the weirdest reaction by far was Hunk, he had both hands on either cheek, the hugest grin on his face and Keith swore he could practically see stars in the big guys eyes, he didn’t like that look, that was the face you made when you had saw adorable baby animals.
“Why are you looking at me like that?” It was Hunk who answered.
“You look like a kitten!”
He looked like a…
Hunk had of course been referring to Keith’s fuzzy ears combined with his new set of fangs, which the rest of the paladins had jokingly cooed and teased him over, he hadn’t opened his mouth in front of the mirror so he hadn’t seen them but everyone else had gotten a full view when he had woken up yawning, they were thin and only somewhat longer and sharper than usual and when combined with his ears he did not look like a kitten, thank you very much.
As he made his way towards the manor where the party was being held, having been dropped off by the cloaked green lion a fair distance away, Keith let his thoughts drift, it was always nice to see everyone laughing and smiling together so Keith let them have fun at his expense, he knew they were just trying to help him be more at ease with the situation, although at one point he’d been very tempted to bite Lances hand after the other paladin had started smooshing Keith’s cheeks together saying things like “Who’s a cute little galra? It’s you, it’s you!” but Keith had resisted. Barely. His only real concern now was that he had to go alone, the castle ship had only had the one chameleon suit. Coran had wanted to tag along to see the latest in Galran fashion and show off his dance moves, but had lamented over how any knowledge he had of Galran formal and social etiquette was probably super outdated and would only serve to either embarrass them or get them kicked out. And as for Allura, well…
None of them had managed to bring themselves to ask her.
If she went she would be surrounded by the people who were loyal to man who destroyed her home, all dancing and laughing like there wasn’t a care in the world, and none of them felt it was right to ask that of her. It wouldn’t have been fair to ask her to put aside her feelings and force herself to make nice with those who had wiped out her entire race just for intel that might not even be worth much in the end.
And so Keith was attending the party alone, it was being held on a Galran colony planet called Nartifan, at a manor belonging to General Xilitol himself. It’d been easy enough finding the place, not only was it huge and grand but in front of the building was a line of dressed up aliens queued in front of the entrance of the large building, party goers that weren’t lined up were milling around, talking or presumably waiting on friends or dates. It all seemed so…normal, change the aliens to humans and the scene looked just like some fancy party you’d see back on earth, well almost. The numerous armed guards stationed around the fringes of the property and patrolling along the outside of the building were an effective reminder that this wasn’t Earth and if he messed up here he would either be arrested, executed or thrown into the gladiator pit.
A pair of soldiers stood on either side of the large doors while staff scanned the guests’ invitations at the entrance. Keith quietly walked up the stairs leading up to the entrance to join the queue, fully trusting that his invitation would get him in without issue. Pidge had used the invitation for commander Kital to make a fake one for Keith. Lance had asked why they couldn’t just say Keith was the commander and save the time and effort but Hunk was quick to remind him that people who actually knew Kital would be attending and that they’d know right away that Keith was a fake. There was also a chance that the real commander might still attend despite the mess they made of his post, and even if he didn’t know someone else had used his invitation the staff would undoubtedly catch on and the jig would be up. Then Hunk had gone into hysterics about Keith being caught and thrown in Galran Space Jail and something about fighting giant fire breathing space crabs to earn his freedom.
Having nothing better to do as he waited in line Keith decided to just listen to the conversation of the pair queued in front of him.
“The general nearly passed out when he’d heard the news.”
“I’d have thought he’d be way too busy to come to some generals party.”
“Yeah, he was saying something about unity and morality within the empire or some crap. Personally I think he’s just bored.”
“Well I can understand that. If I’d stayed on Tersagun one more day I probably would have launched myself into the nearest star.”
“Tersagun huh? Had a buddy go there on shore leave, heard it was supposed to be relaxing, guy came back and couldn’t have been happier to be back on active duty.”
“I don’t doubt it, ever second you’re on that forsaken colony you can feel your soul wasting away.”
His other Galra merely laughed at his companions torment before changing the topic to some new food that had quickly become the favourite of the higher ranks so Keith stopped listening and looked around to see what the other guests were wearing, he wasn’t surprised to see most were wearing some form of military regalia.
His thoughts turned to his own outfit. Keith wasn’t sure if Coran had made the outfit super quick or had simply had it lying around like the chameleon suit, he wasn’t sure if it would have been polite to ask, but the outfit itself wasn’t too bad, surprisingly Keith thought he actually looked quite nice in it
He wore a royal purple tunic that had three buttons on the front of the collar, set slightly to the left; each button was a simple silver disk embedded with a black gemstone. Over that he wore a cape similar to Alluras, only his ended in a point a little below his waist rather than going down to the floor and fanning out. It was made of a thick, darker purple fabric with a magenta trim and golden clasp, his pants were black with the ends tucked into a pair of black, low heeled boots. He still had to wear the chameleon suit underneath but luckily it had been designed for that so he could easily forget he was even wearing it. Unlike most of the party’s attendants he wore no chest armour but since it was still a military affair he wore a simple pair of smooth, silver bracers. The outfit was topped off with a crimson sash tied around his waist, Keith had wanted something that he could use to add his own personal touch, and after a quick trip to the space mall, he had it. Keith had wanted it as a small display of defiance, to show that the (ex-)red paladin of Voltron, one of the Galras greatest enemies, could just waltz right into their party before their very eyes without them ever realising it.
And if they somehow did find out his knife was holstered in its usual place on the back of his waist, his cape just long enough to keep it out of sight. Bringing it was a small precaution, since he wasn’t able to wear a communicator because all the ones he had tried on were too obvious with his new ears, so he was forced to go in blind but Pidge would stay where she dropped him off and if he was gone too long or something seemed off she would come in and get him, his blade was to give him time for her to get there. He could see he wasn’t the only one who brought weapons, there were a fair number of guests who had swords or small firearms strapped to their waists.
When he had tried his outfit on to show the others Allura had clapped her hands together and declared that after he got back they were all going to have a paladin fashion show. Lance had been the only one of them not preparing an excuse to not to play dress up, or at least he had been until Coran had declared that no one could possibly look better than him in ceremonial Balmeran crystal harvesting robes, then Hunk, with some eager encouragement from the former-blue paladin, had taken him up on that challenge alongside Lance who declared that he would look the best in everything Allura could throw at them. Pidge had rolled her eyes at the boys but with some playful teasing she quickly became determined to show the two of them up. Keith had kind of stood there awkwardly and-
“Invitation please sir”
Keith was startled out of his thoughts by the doorman’s voice, quickly glancing around to see he had reached the front of the line.
Here goes nothing
He presented the data chip that held his fake invite and held his breath. The doorman plugged it into his wrist mounted device, stared at his screen for a moment before finally nodding, returning the chip and gesturing towards the doors.
“Having a good evening sir”
As Keith walked through the doors, letting out a small breath of relief as he made his way through the foyer and to the main hall.
When the paladin walked through the entrance he stopped and widened his eyes, the entry way to the hall was about a meter higher than the rest of the room with a short staircase leading down into the main floor, giving Keith a perfect view of the room. Keith had been expecting the interior to pretty much be the same as all the ships and bases they’d been in, darkly lit and with grey walls and the empires symbol everywhere.
Instead what he got was a very wide, well-lit rectangular room with golden high arching ceiling, the furthest wall curved outwards in a half-circle where a band was playing strange instruments on an elevated stage, guests spun and moved with the music yet never left that section of the room so that was most likely the designated dance floor. The rectangle part of the hall had a smooth white floor, while the semi-circle area had some kind of alien hardwood. Thick tapestries bearing the empires symbol (he got that right at least) hung from the walls and dotted around the room were tables covered in a wide variety of colourful and extravagant dishes and drinks while uniformed servants wandered around cleaning up and replacing empty platters and cups.
The black paladin spotted a few alcoves with dotted along the walls, most of them had the curtain drawn and were occupied by guests sitting on cushioned benches talking and eating with each other while some of the others had their curtains were closed to give those inside some privacy. Throughout the hall, floating a good height above the guests, were small luminescent orbs, each around the size of Rover(rest in peace buddy), and each softly glowing a different colour, giving the atmosphere an other-worldly touch. For a moment Keith entertained the idea of snatching one before he left, Pidge and maybe Hunk would no doubt love to look one over and try to figure out how it worked, and if not someone else would at least find it pretty. But the only way he’d be able to reach one was if he climbed the walls and jumped to snatch one out of the air which didn’t exactly strike him as appropriate behaviour for this type of party.
Even the outfits were a lot less purple than he’d expected. The room was full of guests from all corners of the empire, some wearing flashy armour in an attempt to impress the higher ranks while some just seemed to be here for the food.
Not really having a plan Keith decided to follow their example and made his way to one of the tables over by the wall.
Keith had lost track of how long he had been standing at the table, goblet in hand with his back to the room. He was beginning to think this whole idea was a bust, every conversation he’d spied on had either been people sucking up to each other or gossip, not that it was bad gossip but still, it wasn’t what he was here for. He would’ve just left but he was currently way too invested in a conversation about an affair going on with one of guests friends. Keith held his drink close to his face in an attempt to look inconspicuous as he listened. I mean, he could understand that the marriage had its problems, but that was never an excuse to cheat, if they felt that their partner was being distant then they should just talk to them about it, not jump in bed with the first person who made them feel special. Keith was so absorbed in the conversation that he didn’t notice footsteps approaching and coming to a stop on his right.
“You know if you’re going to eavesdrop you might want to keep your ears still. The twitching gives you away.” Keiths grip on his glass went white as he had to stop himself from instinctively spinning around and punching the surprise speaker in the face. There was no way he could’ve been found out already, he hadn’t even really been doing anything so there was no way they were talking to him right? His hopes were quickly dashed when the other continued speaking. “Although I must admit I’m curious to hear what has you so enraptured.”
That was when Keith finally brought himself to turn his head and face his new company, “Ok first off I wasn’t eavesdropping, I was just-” Oh.
That’s not what he was expecting.
What Keith had been expecting some large, hulking cat person, not this…guy. Not just that but he was an attractive guy to. He didn’t look anything like any of the Galra they’d met before with the exception of purple skin and yellow eyes, Keith just hoped his own purple skin would hide his blush.
The man was still nearly a full head taller than Keith, and while he was muscular he wasn’t bulky, his features were sharp and elegant, his eyes were almost the same as Keith’s only whereas Keith’s irises were violet this mans were dark blue, his ears were long and pointed and long white hair cascaded down his back with a single lock hanging in front of his face. His armour wasn’t like a traditional soldiers either, especially in terms of colour, the majority of it was different shades of dark blues, instead of the traditional purples of the empire it was accented with orange and even more blue. Something about it seemed familiar but he couldn’t seem to place it. He wore an alluring smile that showed just the smallest hint of fangs and his voice wasn’t too bad either, if Keith was being perfectly honest.
The Galra held out his held, “Apologises if I startled you, I saw that you were alone and decided to offer my company.”
“N-nice to meet you.” Keith eased one of his own hands out of its vice-like grip on his cup and grasped the taller mans hand, he’d assumed it was for some sort of hand shake, and felt his breath hitch when instead the other lifted Keith’s hand to place a kiss on his knuckles.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you my dear, tell me, is your name as lovely as the rest of you?” Keith was caught off guard by the man’s blatant flirting.
“It’s Keith,” he blurted out before he could stop himself. He wanted to slam his head against the table, he could practically hear the other paladins groaning at his mistake. Nice going Keith, tell the strange Galra your real name, because that won’t end badly for you.
Oddly enough the other didn’t react to his name at all. “Please, there’s no need to be nervous,” the other reassured him, his voice was nice. The paladin let his shoulders relax a bit and gave a small exhale, maybe this would be so bad. “Although I must admit I’ve never heard such a name before, where do you hail from?” Keith took another breath. Okay Keith Just play it cool.
“I’m from the colonies,” he said.
“I see, and which colony does a marvellous creature like you belong to?” And just like that Keith was a nervous wreck again. Why does he keep calling Keith lovely?! How was he supposed to react to that? Should he thank him or-or compliment him back? Keith wasn’t good with flirting! Wait, what the question?
“Uh, what?” Smooth. Sometimes he just wanted to slap himself.
Well, at least the guy didn’t seem to be offended by his blatant rudeness, all he did was chuckle, “I asked where a beauty like yourself calls home.”
Ohh ok, he was asking what colony Keith was from. Wait. Shit, shit, shit. The only colonies Keith knew the names of were the ones they’d liberated as Voltron. He hadn’t planned on anyone talking to him, let alone asking where he was from, so Keith was starting to feel the beginning of panic start to set in as he wracked his brain trying to come up with something. Then he’d remembered the conversation at the door.
“T- Tersagun! I’m from Tersagun.” There, that should be enough to satisfy the guy.
“My, my, that’s quite the journey, what brought you here all the way from the fringes of the empire?”
“I was invited.” Wow he was bad at this.
“Yes but surely you didn’t come all the way out here just for one lesser general’s soirée?” Oh come on, does this guy never stop asking questions? It’s okay, take a deep breath and think, Lance was good with strangers, just do would he do in this situation.
“I-err, heard you would be here?” Come on Keith if you’re going to try and pretend to flirt don’t make it sound like a damn question. Okay so maybe don’t channel Lance again. Thankfully though the other man seemed to find Keith’s awkwardness endearing and actually seemed pretty pleased with the answer.
“I’m flattered you would go through all that trouble just to meet me.” Well, the hardest part seemed to be over and if Keith was being honest with himself, he was bored. The taller man had been the only person Keith had spoken to all night besides the doorman, so he welcomed the company, and if the guy ended up being too much Keith could always just ditch him later.
With that in mind Keith allowed himself to relax a little. Looking towards the table he got an idea, the black paladin had wanted to try some of the food but he’d been worried he might eat something that’d make him sick if he didn’t eat it right or with the right drink or some stupid high class crap like that. There was a lot of food he wanted to try and he had only the one night to do it and after all the best lies always hold some truth to them, so that’s what he did, after that the next lie came easily.
“Hey what do you think I should try first?” Keith said as he turned back to the table.
“I…what.” The other man arched in eyebrow in disbelief. If Keith didn’t know any better he’d say the guy was actually stumped and he couldn’t help but feel smug. Not so flirty now are you. The paladin could feel the smirk trying to reach his face but managed to nonchalantly shrug instead.
“I mean if you don’t want to that’s fine, I’ve just never been to these kinds of things so I don’t know what to choose.”
The Galra was silent as he gave the paladin a once-over before resting his gaze on Keiths face, no doubt trying to tell if Keith was serious, he must have found what he was looking for though because he gave Keith a coy smile. “I would be delighted.”
For the next few minutes or so his new companion had been all too happy recommending dishes for the shorter try, telling him which went best with what, what was sweet, what was savoury, even going into the origin and history of some of the more exotic dishes, although they were all exotic to Keith not that he needed to know that. Keith could only smirk in amusement as the other talked, it felt an awful lot like the guy was trying to show off his knowledge, unaware that it was pretty much lost on Keith. He was surprised to hear that Keith didn’t even know that names of most of them, but Tersagun must really suck because he never once questioned Keith’s honesty, didn’t stop him from voicing his surprise though.
“You’ve really never tried Redigan eel before? It’s extremely common at formal events, it’s practically required,” The taller galra said.
“Yeah well, there were never any parties back home” Not in the desert at least.
“So you said, not the social type I see,”
“No, not really” Keith said as he shook his head.
“That just makes you being here all the more special,” the other moved closer, the paladin felt his cheeks grow warm as his lips brushed against Keith’s ear, speaking softly, “Whatever you do don’t eat the Lovitigi.” Keith blinked, the galra leaned back with a teasing grin. That cheeky son of a- He had to think of a way to get back at him, he turned his attention back to the platters of food on the table.
“Which one’s Lovitigi?”
“That one,” The white haired Galra pointed to a curiously untouched tray of what looked like pale green crackers topped with a thick slice of grey dotted, substance that reminded Keith of bad cheese, and a small dollop of orange goo on top. Quite frankly it looked gross, like it was off and if he’d seen it on his own he’d have avoided it like everyone else had, it looked like it’d make him sick but the other Galra kept talking. “It’s said to be so spicy that it’s sent some of the empires finest bursting into tears and crying for their mothers. Only the brave or foolish ever try it.”
Keith gestured towards the plate, “Then go ahead your highness, let’s see what you’re made of.”
The galra threw Keith an amused look. “Oh I know full well what would happen if I ate one but I’ll tell you what, if you are able to eat one without crying, then I’ll eat two. But I promise you’ll regret trying, everyone does.” the other teased, like he knew Keith wouldn’t do it.
Keith looked the Galra dead in eyes, grabbed a piece of Lovitigi and, without any hesitation, put it in his mouth and chewed.
And then immediately regretted his decision.
When the other man had said it made people cry he wasn’t kidding, Keith could see or rather feel why, to say his mouth felt like it was on fire was an understatement, it felt like he’d stuck his tongue in lava, held it there for five agonising seconds and then licked a slab of hot iron for good measure. His eyes had started stinging almost immediately and within seconds it felt like they were watering so much the blue lion could have swam in it, and his entire body went rigid as he forced himself to swallow the spawn of Satan that was Galran Lovitigi. With that done he quickly downed what was left of his drink but it did little to help him, he’d been about to look around for another only for his partner to hold one out right in front of him. He snatched the cup and sculled it as fast as he could, letting the cool liquid sooth his poor, burning mouth, his eyes still stinging.
While Keith was doing that the white haired galra had seemingly produced a few more glasses out of thin air, handing one after another to Keith.
“I warned you,” The bastard didn’t even try to hide his amusement, Keith wanted to knock that smug smirk right of his stupid, handsome face.
He blamed the warmth in his cheeks on the Lovitigi.
“At least you managed not to spit it out, most can’t even keep it in their mouth for more than two seconds, let alone bring themselves to actually swallow it.” The tall galra said.
“Would it have sucked less if I did?” Keith groaned.
Keith was standing hunched over the table, one arm holding him up and the only thing stopping him from face-planting on the table as he wiped his face. It’d taken a while for Keiths mouth to no longer feel like a furnace, once the spice had calmed down he’d started using his cape to wipe the tears off his face until a servant had brought him a wash cloth at his companions request. His companion gently rubbed his back in a soothing gesture, but the paladin could tell he still found the whole thing amusing, the look in his eyes made it obvious but at least he wasn’t smirking anymore.
The taller galra opened his mouth to reply when a loud applause caught both of their attention, a crowd had gathered around the dance floor at the end of the room and were clapping and cheering while the band was playing a song whose beat was progressively getting faster, the clapping of the audience keeping in time with the increasing beat.
The Galra turned back to him with a smirk, tucking one arm behind his back and offering the other to Keith, “Think you’ve recovered enough to go see what all the commotions about?”
It would be a welcome distraction if nothing else, making sure he didn’t look like he’d just been crying Keith set the wash cloth on the table and linked their arms together, placing his free hand on the taller mans bicep, and together they went to join the crowd.
As they got to the front of the crowd, (which for some reason parted to make room for them to get to the front, leading Keith to believe that whoever he was with was clearly well-known which made his lack of introduction make sense) Keith could see that the applause were certainly deserved. A brightly coloured, oddly non-glaran looking alien was doing some sort of acrobatic dance, one second she was doing flips, the next she was spinning in place on her hands before going back on her feet to do something else, all the while staying perfectly in beat with the fast-paced music. Keith couldn’t help but be impressed and as the song ended he clapped along with h the audience but had quickly gone still when he got a good look at the dancer, what was she doing here.
The colourful alien was none other than one of Lotors generals, you know, the one with the weird, colourful head tentacle thing? Keith still had no idea what it was actually called and frankly the way it bent weirded him out. The clapping faded and Keith forced himself to keep waking as his companion, whose arm was still linked with his, begun to make his way towards her, gently pulling the paladin along with him.
“Always be the center of attention I see,” the taller galra teased. Lotors soldier spun around, grinning widely and placing her hands on her hips.
“Oh there you are. We were wondering where you’d wondered off to.” Keith tensed when she turned her attention to him, “Well well, who’s this? You finally found someone brave enough to be your date?” He felt his fingers twitch for his blade.
“Ezor, this is Keith, Keith, Ezor”
“Keith…”It took all of Keith’s will power not to lash out when the alien, at the mention of Keith’s name, moved closer, squinting at his face in concentration, one hand her chin and sticking her face way closer than Keith was okay with. “You look familiar.”
Something in Keiths gut told him she knew but his head told him that if he attacked her here and now there was no way he was getting out of this place. He was already at a major disadvantage, he was surrounded, at the back of the hall with a huge crowd of enemy Galra in between him and the exit, and one of his arms was currently linked with the white haired man beside him who, despite his pleasant attitude, the black paladin was certain could easily pin Keith to the ground if needed, the time it would take to grab his knife with his free hand and attack him would leave him open to an attack from Ezor.
The white haired Galra frowned when he noticed Keiths grip on his arm tighten.
“Ezor, you’re making him uncomfortable.”
“Oh sorry!” Ezor jumped back, smiling as if nothing had happened, looking back to the white haired man. “I’m gonna look for Zethrid, heard she’d started arm wrestling people in the garden,” but before walking past them she elbowed the taller Galras side and wiggled her eyebrows, “Make sure you two have fun eh?” And with that she and her cheeky grin were gone.
If Keith hadn’t been so distracted by Ezors very presence he might have questioned how the two knew each other.
“Well since we’re already here-” The galra unlinked there arms to stand in front of Keith and offered his hand with a small bow and a charming smile,“-May I have this dance?”
“Uh I’ve never really danced before.” Keith said.
“You said yourself you’ve never been to any parties, why not take advantage of the opportunity and enjoy yourself?” the taller man assured him.
“You’re not worried I’ll embarrass you?” Keith teased.
“Oh please, one doesn’t get where I am by allowing themselves to be bothered by the trivial opinions of strangers.”
Keith didn’t know if it was the Galras smile, his words or maybe his drinks had been alcoholic but he felt himself agreeing with him. He’d already made a fool of himself in front of the guy and the other hadn’t even cared, so what did it matter if he ended up embarrassing himself in front of all these strangers? It’s not like he was going to see any of them again, and even if he did it’s not like they’d recognise him. So yeah, Keith decided he would dance with this handsome stranger he was never going to see again, might be his only chance.
With newfound confidence Keith took the offered hand and the galras smile widened.
When Keith danced with the white haired galra he’d found himself lost in the music and in his companion, who hadn’t once taken his eyes off Keith. The taller galra had one arm wrapped firmly around Keith’s waist, thankfully his dagger hung low enough that the other didn’t notice it, while holding Keith’s hand with his other one. Keith had put his free hand on the other shoulder and was pleased to find that the height different didn’t make it too awkward. Keith had been up being a clumsy dancer at first, but quickly found his feet, the taller man had assured he just needed to relax and gave him a sultry smile that almost had Keith melting. They’d spun during some of faster songs and stepped back and forth during the slow ones, all the while never breaking eye contact, the other man had even French-dipped Keith at one point and the paladin had barely restrained himself from wrapping all his limbs around the others body in fear falling onto the floor. Keith had been right on the money about the other being able to pin him because the man had held the paladin in one arm before pulling Keith back upright with another smile. If Keiths face hadn’t been purple then it definitely would have been red, but felt himself smiling back either way.
As the night went on Keith’d become certain that his companion was definitely one of the most high ranking guests here because when Keith had purposefully stuck his foot out and tripped a military officer walking past(hey they were still enemies after all) they had turned to cuss Keith out but, upon seeing who Keith was with, had completely frozen before sputtering out an apology and scurrying away when his companion glared at them, the white haired galra either didn’t know Keith was doing it on purpose or for whatever reason disliked them just as much as Keith did. Keith tripped two more officers after that.
At one point during the night Ezor had come back inside and had started some kind of Galran line dance, a line of party-goers linking arms and doing a bunch of kicking move with their feet in time with the music, she’d tried to invite the two of them to join in. His partner turned down the offer with a small wave and Keith also politely, but firmly refused, still on edge by her mere presence, it was one thing to have fun with a Galra he didn’t know, and quite another to dance alongside someone who’d already attacked him and his teammates in the past.
If Keith had been paying attention to the other guests throughout the night he would have noticed them watching him and his partner and whispering amongst themselves.
Keith almost hated to admit it but he was really enjoying himself with his new one-night friend, the other man was flirtatious and charming, he made Keith smile despite how much he’d deny it. Perhaps the most important thing the paladin liked about him was that he never expected anything of Keith. With him Keith wasn’t a paladin or saviour or any of that stuff, tonight he could just be Keith and have fun at a party. He hadn’t realised just how much he’d needed this.
As the night went on the two had found themselves alone in one of the alcoves, the small space was quiet, the music and chatter of the guests being muted by same closed curtains that hid them from prying eyes. They were sitting together on a plush, armless couch, close enough for their legs to gently press against the others, small end tables on either side where Keith had placed his empty cup, the other still holding his own as he spoke.
“Have you had much combat experience Keith?” the Galra asked, taking a sip of his wine.
“Yeah, how’d you know?” Keith looked at the galra with an arched eyebrow.
“I assumed the blade on your waist isn’t just for show,” the taller man said.
“Having a weapon doesn’t automatically mean you know how to fight.”
“Yes but you keep it sheathed, out of sight and never call attention to it. The only ones who go around showing off their weapons are the ones who are insecure in their strength and so feel the need to scare potential challengers away, a real fighter would find such gestures childish. The fact that you have it but don’t flaunt it shows that you are confident in your abilities,” the white haired man explained. “That and you simply strike me as someone who enjoys the thrill of battle.”
Keith blinked up at the galra, “That uh…That was not what I was expecting.”
“Ah, I can picture you now, blood-soaked blade in hand, standing amidst a field of fallen enemies, fangs beared, the fire of war in your eyes, you’d look exquisite,” a shiver went up the paladins spine when he saw the others wicked smile.
The white haired galra placed his goblet down on the side table and Keith squeaked when slid an arm around Keith’s waist to pull smaller man closer, his other hand cupping Keith’s face and tilting it upwards, the paladins’ breath caught in his throat at the proximity. The others face was so close that Keith could feel the other males warm breath on hips lips, the taller man’s eyelids lowered, his voice as smooth as silk.
“I’m sure you would look exquisite beneath me as well,” The taller galra lowered his head to Keiths neck, the paladin let out a small gasp as he felt the other gently bite down on the side of his jaw, fangs lightly scraping against the skin before he spoke again, “Not that you’re not already beautiful, but what I wouldn’t give to feel your bare skin against mine, to hear you cry out my name,” the paladin couldn’t help the shiver that went up his spine. The hand that had held Keith’s face ran his fingers through the paladins’ dark hair before sliding down to his back, as he continued to place light kisses along Keith’s neck. The shorter man found hands gripping the others shoulders as he tilted his head to allow the other more access. No matter how hard he tried to get his thoughts together he couldn’t stop being distracted by the others warm touch, promises whispered in between kisses on his neck in a voice that made Keith’s stomach twist. Noticing his partners’ silence, the galra pulled back so that they were facing each other again, his voice was low and quiet.
“May I kiss you?” Yes he wanted the other to kiss him. The paladin gave a small nod and the galra moved to bring their lips closer. Keith let his begin to eyes close, his hands moving to wrap around the galras neck as their faces came closer to-
“Excuse me sir!”
Fuck! If it hadn’t been for the arm around his back and waist Keith would’ve flown off the side of the couch with how hard he jumped, the atmosphere was completely shattered and his heart was racing a mile a minute. Keiths companion didn’t look even remotely embarrassed at being caught in such a position, in fact he just looked irritated at the interruption, and if looks could kill that servant would be a pile of limbs on the floor.
“Speak.” His voice was so cold, Keith felt himself shiver and almost found himself feeling sorry for the servant, the poor guy looked seconds away from wetting himself.
“I’m afraid there’s a problem with one of your companions. I-I was told to get you right away.”
With a tense exhale he turned back to smile at Keith. “If you’ll excuse me for a moment,” the galra placed one last kiss on Keith’s cheek before standing to leave the alcove with the servant in tow.
Now that Keith was alone he could only blink as the full reality of his situation dawned on him. He’d been so swept up in the other that he’d forgotten that he was in disguise, the other was only attracted to him because he thought he was a galra thanks to the suit, if he took it off his appearance would change back and he’d be screwed, not even in the fun way. It might not have been intentional but that servant had actually given Keith the perfect out, the paladin would’ve had to make up an excuse at some point to get out of there anyway if he didn’t want the galra to know the truth and here was the perfect opportunity right in front of him.
Keith stood and took a few steps so that he could pull back the curtain and give the hall a brief once over, once he made sure his companion was nowhere in sight Keith hurried towards the exit, he had to be fast if he didn’t want the other to come back and stop him. As he made his way through the crowd Keith couldn’t help but feel a little guilty for running off without a word to the handsome stranger who’d kept him company all night, if things were different he would have loved to spend more time with the guy. When he reached the top of the stairs and stood in front of the exit he couldn’t help himself from turning back to get one last look at the room when, out of the corner of his eye, he noticed one of the floating orbs had drifted closer towards the wall beside the door, right in front of one of tapestries. I could but someone might try to catch me. He looked back out to the crowd of Galra, but then again I’m already leaving, as he looked down at his own claws the black paladin felt an idea forming, And besides it’s not like they’d care that much if just one went missing, he looked back to the tapestry.
Ah screw it.
With that Keith took a few steps back before running forward and launching himself at the tapestry, sharp claws digging into the seams to help his grip as he pulled himself up until he was high enough to snatch the orb out of the air. He heard collective gasps from below but ignored it as he slid down the side of the wall hanging, jumping onto the stairs and then sprinting for the door. He heard yelling behind him as he ran out into the cold night air, his smirk turning into a grin face as he let the adrenaline carry him all the way back to where he knew Pidge and the cloaked green lion would be waiting.
Pidge had been looking through some files on her laptop when the green lion told her Keith was approaching, she was worried when she saw Keith running full sprint towards her quickly opened her lion’s mouth to let him in. She looked back to see the boy walk into the cockpit and pressed his back against the wall, hunched over and clutching something in his arms while his shoulders shook, she’d been about to ask what happened when the other threw his head back and laughed. Keith, who had barely even smiled since Shiro went missing (again), was laughing. Her glasses nearly slid off her nose before she pushed them back up, shook her head and turned to the control, no point in hanging around here anymore. As they made their way back to the castle, Keiths laughter started to die down and the green paladin felt herself smile, it was good that Keith had managed to have some fun, whatever happened down there seemed to have done the black paladin wonders.
She’d demand answers later.
Lotor stared at the console before him, trying to plan their next move against Voltron in order to distract him from the bad mood he was in. What had started off as a dreadful evening had been saved by the presence of a lovely young man named Keith. Lotor had been surprised to find himself enjoying smaller man’s company, the other galra had neither sneered at the princes heritage, nor grovelled at his feet. Of course the shorter man had been nervous and unsure at first, but that wasn’t surprising, Lotor was the new ruler of the empire after all, and yet all of that nervousness and reservation had soon melted away, replaced with a fire in the other’s eyes that Lotor couldn’t get enough of, after that the other had truly begun to enjoy themselves.
So when the prince returned to the alcove and pulled back the curtain he’d been surprised to find the space empty. Lotor had told his generals to ask around, shortly after which Axca had informed him that the other had fled out the front door after climbing the decor and stealing a Lumus ball. The others actions made no sense, Keith had clearly been enjoying himself and never once protested Lotors company, so then why did he run off the first chance he got? Had he been embarrassed after they’d been so rudely interrupted? But then that didn’t explain the random act of petty theft.
The whole thing had left a sour taste in the princes’ mouth, which still persisted even after the journey back to his ship. And now Lotor was sitting in his chair in the command center, frowning as he considered what to do next, Perhaps it’s time to activate Project Kuron, when Ezor had walked up behind him and nonchalantly leaned herself against the side of his chair.
“Soo… You did know Keith is the black paladin right?”