Edit: As much as I love the idea of Pidge being non-binary, later in the comic Gen refers to them more as female, so I'm changing her pronouns.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Hola, mamá. How are you doing?
Lance stares at the commotion, not registering any of the voices clamoring about. His focus is only on the blurry figure standing between the Black Paladin and the Altean princess, the two yelling frantically between each other.
It’s been a month now since we’ve been in space. I miss you so much. I wish I could see you right now.
“You two Alphas, get out. Even if the helmets are scent-proof, we still can’t trust you in here,” The Yellow Paladin’s voice barely breaks through his haze. He almost misses the Green Paladin nodding along with his words.
I wish you could tell me…
“Let’s go, Lance.” He doesn’t move, attention still fixed in one spot. Sweat trickles down his neck, his face starting to flush. Pidge calls out to him again, but he can’t hear anything again.
How I can stop breathing in that sweet smell…
The smell is what’s getting to him the most; it’s overwhelmingly sweet. Almost like his family’s homemade chocolate chip cookies, or the nights spent camping with marshmallows toasting over the fire pit. If he really focuses, he can pick up the faint scent of the beach after it storms. Bits and pieces of conversation trickle through the blanket of fog.
“Wait, I forgot! The Blue Paladin’s helmet! The scent-suppressor was broken!”
“How could you forget such an important detail?!”
“I’m sorry, it’s been nearly ten-thousand deca-phoebs!”
“We can’t be blaming each other right now! Pidge, Hunk. Get Lance out of here. Now.”
Someone grabs his shoulder, trying to force him back. He pushes back against the arm, not sure what he’s doing as he tries to walk towards the enticing scent.
“I don’t wanna go…” he slurs, mind's too hazy to come up with a simple sentence. “I want to…” Hunk’s voice shatters the haze surrounding his mind.
“No, Lance! I know it’s hard, but try and think straight here, buddy. You can’t go near Keith!”
Reality comes crashing back into Lance and everything snaps into focus. Hunk is holding him back from walking towards Allura and Shiro. The two of them are holding the trembling Red Paladin in their arms, supporting his weight so he doesn’t fall over. His face is contorted in pain, features flushed as his body quakes. He looks at Lance for a second before burying his face into Shiro’s shoulder.
“Wait, Keith?” he mutters, blinking in confusion.
“Yes, Keith,” Hunk says, pulling Lance in front of him. The Cuban boy loses sight of the black-haired teen as Hunk looks him dead in the eyes. “He’s in heat right now. You can’t go near him.”
“What?” And then the pieces click together. “Wait, that smell is Keith?”
“Yes! You just went into a scent-coma for a minute. Now help yourself and get out with Pidge, okay?” Hunk spins him around towards the door, Pidge ushering them to hurry up. He mutters an okay before following Pidge into the castle halls, making out the last bits of Shiro and Allura’s conversation before the doors close. What he doesn’t notice on the way out is the Red Paladin’s gaze on him and the silent plea for him to stay dying on his lips.
They’re rivals. Lance should hate his scent. He shouldn’t be overwhelmed with the urge to pin him against the wall. He shouldn’t want to touch every part of his body. He shouldn’t want to know what his lips feel like against his own. He shouldn’t want to tear off his clothes. He shouldn’t-
He manages to get a grip on himself, running a shaky hand through his hair as he pushes any memory of Keith’s scent into the back of his mind. After changing out the paladin armor, he heads towards the lounge area. Pidge had said they should keep an eye on each other until Shiro and Hunk got back from scouting the abandoned Galran base.
The Castle’s halls glow a soft blue as he steps out of his room. He stretches, rolling out his neck as he starts walking towards the lounge. The large floor-length window shows off the thousands of stars etched into the dark expanse of space.
The barely visible planet below is where the Galran base is. It’s where their mission just was. It’s where Keith started lagging behind the group. It’s where Keith stumbled into Red. It’s where Keith started flying back to the Castle with jerky movements. It’s where Keith started groaning in pain into the comms. It’s where Shiro had to grab Red and bring Keith back to the Castle.
He fails to remember that to get to the lounge, he needs to walk past the Red Paladin’s room. His footsteps falter as he passes the room. A quick glance at the door makes him realize that it’s open. He panics, trying to pick up his pace. The scent hits him again and he’s no longer in charge of his body as he drifts towards the open door.
The lights are off, but he can make out Keith’s figure lying on the bed, still shaking. Next to him, Allura holds his hand, whispering words of comfort to him as he pants, whimpering in pain.
Lance is two steps away from entering the room when the door suddenly slams shut. He jumps, blinking owlishly before he feels a tug at his arm. He went into another scent-coma. Pidge all but drags him to the lounge, pushing him down onto one of the seats. Sighing, she sits down in the seat across from him, crossing her arms and staring him down.
The Blue Paladin stares at his hands, still trying to wrap his head around what happened the past few hours. His scent-coma wears off after a few minutes and things start fitting into place, filling in his memory lapse. He groans, bringing a hand to his face and hiding his eyes.
“So?” Pidge asks, tapping her arm as they wait. “Knock it all off yet?”
He nods, rubbing his hand over his face. “Yeah, pretty much.” Groaning again, he rubs at his nose, trying to forget the sweet smell that’s cause him so much trouble. “Dios, I can’t believe I almost jumped Keith. Mami would kill me if she knew.”
“Well, it’s not exactly your fault,” Pidge says, holding up a finger, counting off. “Or Keith’s. Or Allura’s. Or anyone else’s, really. We don’t even know what caused Keith’s heat.”
While the paladins were exploring the abandoned base, they split up into three groups to cover more ground: Pidge and Hunk, Keith and Lance, and Shiro went alone. He and Keith had been checking rooms if there were any hostages and/or survivors when Lance accidentally set off a smoke trap. The orange-tinged gas had no effects on the two paladins thankfully, but Keith had started acting strange after they regrouped with the others.
“It could’ve been the gas from the abandoned Galra base, but how?” he voices his thoughts to Pidge, the small teen glancing at him curiously. “Keith was wearing his helmet for the entire mission.”
“Exactly!” The doors hiss shut after Coran steps through. The Green and Blue Paladin turn towards the eccentric Altean. “I’m currently fixing your helmet, Lance, and I found something worth sharing. Well, I’m not just fixing your helmet; I’m checking all the paladin armor as well,” he rambles. “Except for Shiro and Hunk’s, of course. They should be heading back down to the base right now.
“The thing is, every armor set has a small dysfunction from disuse. Pidge, your heat generator hasn’t been functioning properly.” Pidge’s eyebrows furrow, resting her hands on her knees. “No wonder it’s always cold on missions.”
“As for Keith’s armor, the gas protector in his is unstable. Sometimes when it turns on, it will shut off for a few dobashes and then come back online. It’s most likely the reason the gas affected him,” he concludes, placing his hands on his hips.
“But my scanner said it was harmless,” Pidge counters, tiling her head in confusion. They weren’t wrong; Lance had taken off his helmet when the air was confirmed to be breathable (against the other’s judgments) and he hadn’t been affected by the gas.
“Well, Shiro and Hunk will figure it out and report back to us.” The three lapse into silence. Lance swallows the lump in his throat, picking at a loose thread on his jacket.
“Anyway, how is Mullet?” he asks, shifting in his spot before looking back at Coran.
“He should be in his room with Allura, most likely,” the Beta-Altean responds. “Speaking of which, Altean Omega heats are never this wild! They’ll just have a fever and get tired easily for three days and then it’s back to normal. Human heats seem so much more violent; all the symptoms and the strong pheromones. How can they live their everyday life while in heat?”
“Well,” the small Alpha trails off. “They don’t.”
“Usually they just stay home for a week until their heat breaks,” Lance jumps in, remembering how his twin sister would have to stay home from school when they were younger when her heat happened. “If they have a mate then they’ll be together.”
“Ah, so like many other species! I got it. You guys look so much like Alteans that sometimes I forget that you aren’t,” Coran chuckles, turning towards the door. “You’ll have to tell me more about how your species works sometime, but not now. I have to go help Number Four. Shiro said that he would need a lot of soft pillows and blankets for, ah,” he thinks for a second, rubbing his mustache between his fingers. “Oh! Nesting? You’ll have to tell me and Allura about that too-“
“Wait, wait!” Lance interjects. Before he can think twice, he’s shrugging his jacket off his shoulders. He holds the bundle of fabric up to Coran. “Take my jacket and give it to Keith, please? Sometimes having clothes from the people the Omega trusts to use as nest material can help with their heat too.”
“Uh-huh,” Pidge hums, smirking at the other Alpha. “What a way to be a gentleman to your so-called ‘Rival’, Lance, but what makes you think Keith even trusts you?” He whirls around to face the small teen, a blush creeping its way onto his face.
“W-we form Voltron, don’t we?” he stutters, glaring daggers at Pidge. “And why can’t I be a gentleman to my rival?”
She laughs, rubbing her eyes as she stands. “I’m just joking,” she says, turning to the orange-haired man. “Coran, I’ll go with you. I wanna grab my stuff for Keith too.”
Coran looks questioningly at the two Alphas before accepting Lance’s jacket. “I guess this is what we should do, yes?” Lance nods, standing up. He feels weird without his jacket, but he’ll make do without it. As long as he can help make Keith feel more comfortable. The image of the black-haired teen curled up whimpering in his bed worms its way into his thoughts, but he forces it back into his mind.
“Yeah,” he responds, propping a hand on his hip. “It’ll let the Omega know that they aren’t alone.”
“Alright. Don’t worry, Lance. I’ll bring this to Keith for sure.”
Lance beams. “Thanks, Coran! Oh wait!” The Green Paladin and Altean stop in their tracks, turning back to the Blue Paladin. “When you bring the nest materials to Keith, don’t go inside his room. Make the princess bring it to him. He’ll at least feel safe if it’s another Omega bringing it to him.”
Coran nods, adjusting his hold on Lance’s jacket. “Shiro already told us that. Don’t worry, Lance. We’ll take care of him.”
Lance flashes him a thumbs up as Coran turns away, the doors automatically opening. Pidge shoots him a confused look before shaking her head and following Coran. Once the doors close, Lance sighs, running a hand through his hair.
It’s so hot in his room. He’s used to the sweltering heat from living in the desert, but his heat always amplified it to the extreme. Even with frigid air blasting through the Castle’s cooling system, it was still overwhelmingly hot.
On top of that, his entire body was sore. His pain tolerance is usually high enough that he can block most of it out whenever he’s injured. During his heats, every nerve screams in agony, demanding some sort of release. Tears stream down his face, his entire body sticky from sweat.
Someone knocks on his door. “Keith?” Allura’s voice is muffled by the metal door. “I’ve brought stuff for your nest. I’m going to be in for a tick, alright?” He doesn’t respond, panting as another wave of heat crashes over him.
The door hisses open, light filtering into his dark room. He squints at the sudden shift, barely making out the Omega-Altean crouching down to put a basket of fabric at the edge of his doorway. She stands, lingering for a few seconds.
“Get well soon,” she mutters, sending him a sympathetic look before the door shuts. Darkness envelopes the rooms again, save for the blue glow of some of the Castle’s lights.
Shakily, he pushes himself off the mattress. He tries to stand, but his wobbly legs give out on him. Opting to crawl over on all fours, he drags the bin towards himself when it’s within reach.
He starts pulling blankets and pillows out, setting them on his bed as he riffles through the assorted fabrics. Most of the fabrics smell of the generic soap the Castle’s cleaning system uses to wash all their clothes, but he can make out a few of his friend’s scents mixed in the pile.
One scent stands out among the rest and he’s rummaging around to try and find the source. It doesn’t smell bad necessarily; it’s just a lot stronger than the vanilla from Allura and the old book smell from Pidge, but different from the blueberry pie from Hunk or the cotton from Coran.
He pushes back one of the pillows and is met with the familiar green, black, orange, and white colors of Lance’s jacket. The scent hits him in waves. First it smells of the ocean on a hot summer day, then it shifts to the scent of an oncoming rainstorm before switching to the smell of smoke coming from his dad’s cooking and the cycle repeats.
He stares at the jacket in shock. Lance gave Keith his jacket. It’s such a kind gesture from the normally obnoxious Cuban. His hands tremble as he clutches the jacket close to his chest. Lance’s scent washes over him and he relaxes against his bed. He feels safe, burying his face into the hood of the jacket. It takes him a second to realize that he’s smiling.
“Anything, Hunk?” Shiro asks in to comms as he wanders the halls of the abandoned Galran base. He and Hunk had split off a few minutes ago in search of what could’ve triggered Keith’s heat. The Black paladin sighs as another room turns up empty. He turns and continues his search in another room.
“I just finished scanning all the data from the base and uh,” Hunk’s voice crackles over the comms. “I think I know what caused Keith’s heat.” Shiro pauses, standing up from where he was crouched looking through one of the storage crates.
“First off: we were wrong thinking this was a military base. It’s… Well, it’s more like a clinic.”
“Clinic?” Shiro questions, crossing his arms. Hunk hums in agreement.
“An Omega clinic, to be specific. The gas traps we triggered when we came here the first time? It’s for heat treatment, specifically Omegas. Usually, it’s used on Omegas whose heat doesn’t come naturally. The gas helps trigger it. If it’s used on healthy Omega’s, like Keith, it makes their heat more violent, but there should be no lasting damage.
“So, this means Keith isn’t in any real danger. You can stop worrying now, Shiro.”
Shiro breaths out a breath he didn’t realize he was holding in, placing a hand on his chest. He was going to end up with more white hair this early on in his life with how much stress he’s been feeling.
“You’re right,” he says, turning around and heading back in the direction he came. “Thank you, Hunk. Let’s get back to the Castle, then.” He presses a button on his communicator, switching frequency channels.
“Castle of Lions, we’re heading back.”
I wanted to give it a shot to actually publishing something (This is literally the first story thing I've ever posted). I'll put emphasis again on the fact that the story isn't mine. I wanted to practice my writing and try to enhance my storytelling capabilities by using a comic series as a reference. If anyone has any questions about this, I highly recommend checking out the original creator's Instagram page for the comic. Practically everything is explained there.
Idk how often I'll update this; it's just kind of a side thing I want running so I can have motivation to publish stuff.
Panels: 1 - 58
My update schedule is probably gonna be weird. It all depends on the length of the scenes and what's going on in school for me etc.etc. Granted, I write at any chance I get while in classes and at home. Plus it's all based off the comic so I won't get stuck in writer's block that easily. Unless it's in betweens I'm coimg up with. F*** I'm rambling.
Anyways, enjoy the next chapter! Little longer than the last by 2000+ words.
Edit: I should've done more research beforehand because I was completely unaware that Red was a boy(even thought I think Red's a girl). Oops. I'm fixing it, don't worry.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
If Lance ever wanted to be alone, he would pace the halls of the Castle. The ship was way too big for the seven current residents, but it was a plus when Lance needed time to unwind. He’d wander the glowing blue pathways to clear his head, staring out any of the windows he passes.
When he wanders through the halls, he ends up thinking about Earth. Sure, he misses the park by his house that he used to wander and the pizza shop down the road that sold his favorite garlic knots. Though more than anything, he misses his family; his siblings bickering over what to watch, his mother’s home cooking, his niece and nephew chasing him around, his father’s warm hugs and loud laughter, his abuela’s smiles and praise.
His feet stop him at one of the windows, eyes set on the endless void of space. He knows it’s near impossible, but he hopes that one of the stars he’s looking at could be Earth’s Solar System. Heaving a sigh, he continues his wandering.
He walks by one of the hallways when he hears it. Confused, he backtracks and follows the sound. Hands in pockets, he comes to a stop at the training deck doors. It’s still early; almost no one would be up at this hour to use it. If anyone was to use it, it would be Keith, but said Omega was still in heat.
Curiosity gets the best of him and he opens the doors. Two figures fight in a blur of motion, each trying land a hit. They’re moving too fast for Lance to pinpoint who it is until they cross weapons, freezing their movement.
Sparks fly off where the blades grate together. The training bot’s blade glows blue as it pushes harder against the opposing blade, mere inches from hitting its target. The other lashes out, placing a foot on the bot’s chest before pushing it away.
The sudden momentum change startles the bot enough that it staggers backwards until it falls on its knees, driving the plasma sword into the ground to help it stand up. The other slouches over, using the front of their black shirt to wipe the sweat off their face.
Annoyance boils in Lance when he realizes the figure in front of him is Keith. He should still be in heat, in his room resting, not vigorously training. It doesn’t make any sense.
Before he realizes what he’s doing, Lance shouts out to the command console to end the training sequence. The bot fizzles out of existence in a flash of blue light. Keith whirls around, piercing Lance with anger-filled eyes.
“What the hell, Lance?!” Keith shouts, pushing his bangs out of his face with his free hand. His bayard shifts back to its neutral state as Lance walks over to him.
“Don’t ‘what the hell’ me!” he retorts, glaring right back at the Red Paladin. “What the hell are you doing out of your room?”
He gives the shorter teen a once over as he clips his bayard to his belt. Aside from the slight flush on his face from training, he looks okay? His scent isn’t as strong as it’s been the past few days. But that shouldn’t be possible.
“Wait, your heat already broke?” he asks, tilting his head in confusion. Keith scoffs, propping a gloved-hand on his hip.
“Of course! Why else would I be here?”
“I don’t know? Isn’t Omega at least a week long? Yours already broke and it’s only been four days,” Lance rambles, placing a hand on Keith’s forehead without thinking. “You sure you feeling alright, Mullet?”
The black-haired teen huffs, smacking the hand off his face before crossing his arms over his chest. “Yes, I’m totally fine,” he raises an eyebrow at the Cuban. “This is normal for me. I’ve never had a heat longer than four days.”
“Dude, that’s strange. Have you ever seen a doctor about it?”
“Of course I have,” Keith retorts, glaring at Lance. “They can’t explain it either, but they said nothing was wrong with my body.”
“Well, yeah. I have heard of some Omegas having shorter heats, but none short as yours,” Lance trails off, scratching the back of his head as Keith continues to glare at him.
“Whatever, just let me get back to training,” the Red Paladin mutters, turning away.
“Wait! Your heat just ended, so you should rest and recover. Don’t overwork your body.” Why is he saying these things? He doesn’t care that much about Keith, does he?
Keith looks back at him, arms crossed again. “What, are you my mom, Lance?”
“I can be your mom!” Lance clears his throat, clasping his hands together and batting his eyes.
“Oh, Keith,” he says, voice raising a few octaves. “My sweet, sweet child. My honey-poo dearest. I love you sooooo much.” He shifts back to his normal voice, smirk plastered on his face. “But stop being a stubborn bitch and take care of yourself, damnit!”
Lance expects Keith to groan and roll his eyes at his charade, to snark back with some nasty comment. More likely Keith would just glare at him and stay silent. But Keith does something that Lance least expects.
“Okay, fine!” the Red Paladin says between giggles. “I’ll go back to my room, yeah?”
The Blue Paladin just stares at him, wide-eyed and mouth open. This was Keith he was talking to. Keith doesn’t laugh at his antics. He fumbles with his words for a few moments before colleting his thoughts.
“Are you… laughing?”
“No,” he responds, tapping a finger against his arm. “I’m crying because your face is too funny.” And there was the snarky comment.
“First off,” Lance starts, jabbing a finger at Keith’s chest. “Shut up, smart ass. My face is gorgeous. Second: just like that? Aren’t you supposed to be mad and fight me?”
“Of course I’m mad. You shut down the simulator while I was using it. But,” Keith trails off, shrugging a shoulder. “I’m not really that mad. You’re just annoying.”
“I-I’m not annoying!” Lance stutters, cheeks turning red in embarrassment.
“Whatever,” the shorter teen sighs, turning back around and walking towards the training deck’s entrance. “You wanted me to go to my room, right? Then let me.”
“Stupid Omega, stupid mullet,” the Cuban teen huffs, glaring at Keith’s back. His thoughts still linger on the other’s laugh. In the month they’ve been on the castle, Lance has heard Keith laugh once or twice. He hates to admit it to himself, but the black-haired teen’s laugh is cute. His face lights up as he flashes the smile everyone so rarely sees, eyes squeezed shut.
“Hey.” Keith breaks him out of his train of thought. He’s paused in the open doorway. “Um… thank you for your jacket. It was… really nice of you.”
Lance grins, placing his hands on his hips. “Oh, no biggie. I was just being myself, you know; the handsome Alpha who always helps those in need.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Keith throws a half-hearted wave over his shoulder before walking out. “See you later, ‘big tough Alpha.’”
“Damn right I am!” he says confidently. He was glad Keith was finally seeing him for who he was after giving him his-
“Wait!” He sticks his head out of the doorway, shouting in the direction he saw Keith go. “Keith! When will I get my jacket back?”
The piles of fabric surround him on the bed as he stares at the soft blue lights glowing around the room. His friend’s scents all mingle together in the nest, though Lance’s still stands out among the rest. It’s probably due to the fact Keith is clutching the Blue Paladin’s jacket to his chest.
It’s been a few hours since his heat ended, so he figures he should get up to wash and return everything he’s borrowed. He sighs, turning so he’s laying on his side, still holding Lance’s jacket in his arms. The fabric is soft between his hands as he adjusts his grip.
He still doesn’t understand. Why would Lance care about him and how his heat went? What does he want from him? The multitude of questions fill his head and he lets out a huff, blowing his bangs out of his face only to have them stubbornly settle back in place. Even if he questions Lance’s actions, it still feels nice that someone besides Shiro cares about his well-being.
Lance was usually loud and obnoxious, trying to aggravate Keith any time they’re in the same room. Annoying as it may be, he liked the attention the Blue Paladin gave him.
When he was at the Garrison, he only ever talked with Shiro and ignored everyone else. Then there was the whole year after the failure of the Kerberos mission when he got kicked out. He lived alone out where he and Shiro used to ride around, following that strange energy that eventually led him to find Shiro and the rest of the Paladins.
The more he thinks about it, the more things start to click together. He was drawn to the Blue Lion’s energy who, in turn, is connected to Lance. He enjoys those random moments when the two of them aren’t at each other’s throats. Behind the obnoxious mask is someone who cares deeply for his friends. It’s rather endearing and it makes him want to grab the Blue Paladin and hold him close, burying his face in the crook of his neck so he can smell the ocean rolling off of him.
His face goes beet-red at the realization, dropping the jacket out of his arms as he jerks up from his bed. Gloved hands frantically grab at the blankets and clothes on him bed, gathering them into a pile before shoving the mix of scents down the laundry chute. He runs a shaky hand through his hair, grabbing his jacket off the hook and shrugging it on.
Body running on auto-pilot, he heads to Red’s hangar wrapped up in his thoughts. He can’t possibly like Lance that way, can he? It has to be post-heat thoughts, but when he thinks about it, it doesn’t make sense. The more he thinks about it, the more he realizes how strong his feelings are.
The Galran commander’s yelling was muffled by the particle field containing him as he pounds against it. Keith sighs, bayard retracting back into his armor. Pidge walks over to Shiro, helping him out of the cuffs restraining him as Allura takes Sendak… somewhere. Lance is still lying on the ground, slipping in and out of consciousness from the injuries acquired after pushing Coran out of the way of the bomb.
The Red Paladin walks over, ready to help the Blue Paladin to a healing pod as soon as the Balmera Crystal is connected. He offers his hand.
“Lance, are you okay?” Lance grabs at Keith’s hand and pulls, trying to lift the Cuban teen to his feet. He can see the fatigue in his eyes, barely able to right himself before falling back down and dragging Keith with him. He crouches next to him, not letting go of his hand.
“We did it,” Lance mutters, smiling softly at Keith through the pain etched into his features. “We are a good team.”
He realizes that’s when he started feeling something more towards Lance. They had more “bonding moments” after that; getting Lance after he got cuffed to a tree by Nyma, pulling Lance away from the airlock when the Castle corrupted from the Galra Crystal. His stomach did flips as he thought about it. Keith didn’t know how to deal with emotions like this. It made him feel vulnerable. God, Lance was going to be his downfall.
Cheeks still burning as he’s lost in his mind, he takes a corner too fast and runs into Pidge. The smaller teen stumbles back a few steps, sending a glare his way before smiling wide.
“Hey! Your heat’s over!” she exclaims. “How’re you feeling?” Keith fights to keep his face neutral.
“Like I’m not gonna die at any second,” he says, cracking his knuckles.
“Good to hear. When am I getting my sweater back?”
“Soon, hopefully. I put everything down the chute a few minutes ago.” She nods, pushing her glasses up before walking away; most likely towards the lab. “Pidge, wait a sec.” The Green Paladin turns back around, raising an eyebrow.
“Yeah, what’s up?”
“The information we pulled from the abandoned base; it’s about Galran biology, right?” he questions, subconsciously grabbing at his knife’s handle and rubbing it between his fingers.
She nods, crossing her arms. “What about it?”
“Would you be able to give me a translated copy of it?” he trails off, suddenly finding the floor more interesting to look at.
“Sure, yeah. Just, why do you want it? You’re never usually interested in stuff like this.”
“I just…” He tries to come up with a believable excuse, keeping his anxieties in check. “I figured it be helpful to know how they work. Maybe find a weakness or something.”
Pidge opens her mouth to respond before shutting it with an audible click, shaking her head. “Alright, I’ll get it for you. It’s gonna take a while for me to translate it, though.”
“Thanks, Pidge,” he flashes her a smile before resuming his walk towards Red’s hangar. He hears Pidge’s footsteps recede farther down the hallway and he breathes a sigh of relief, opening the door to the hangar. The mechanical lion stays stark still as he enters, but he hears her purr in the back of his mind.
“Hey, Kitty,” he mutters, sitting down on one of his paws. Red nudges at the edge of his consciousness, a sense of comfort washing over the Red Paladin. He can’t help but smile. Leaning back against Red’s leg, he drums his fingers against his claw.
“Yeah, I’m alright, boy. Just… a lot on my mind.” He feels him question why; a gentle nudge that lets him know that he’s willing to listen.
“It’s just,” he sighs, crossing his arms and looking up. “I don’t know. I guess I’m just confused. I’m not good with handling emotions.” He purrs again.
He smiles. “Guess we have that in common, huh? No wonder you chose me.” Sighing, he sits down, crossing his arms over his chest. “I just can’t even understand how I could have feelings for… him. It doesn’t make any sense. We’re ‘rivals.’” Gloved hands air-quote the last word as Red hums.
Standing, he looks at the Red Lion looming above him. “I’ll come back later. Gonna check in with the others so they know I’m alive. Just wanted to come and see you.” The hangar doors automatically open as he walks over to them. He looks back at his Lion, smiling softly.
“Thanks, Red.” He turns, walking down the hall towards the control deck. They’ve been on the Castle long enough that he knows the layout of it well enough he doesn’t have to focus on which turns he has to take.
He steps onto the control deck and two seconds later, arms are around his neck as he’s enveloped in the smell of blueberry pie. Awkwardly, he pats at Hunk’s side.
“Keith! You’re alive!” Hunk shouts extremely close to his ear. His ears have always been sensitive, so he flinches away from the noise.
“I was in heat,” he answers, voice muffled by Hunk’s shoulder. “I wasn’t dying or anything.” The Samoan teen pulls away, gripping Keith by the shoulders.
“You looked like you were!” The poor boy looks like he’s on the verge of tears. Pidge is next to him in a second, sending a playful glare at the Yellow Paladin.
“Calm down, Hunk,” Pidge says, crossing her arms and glancing at the black-haired teen. “Welcome back to the land of the living, Keith.”
Shiro walks over to Keith, resting a hand on his shoulder and flashing him an affectionate smile that Keith returns. “Good to have you back, Keith.”
“Yeah, good to have your stupid hair around again, Mullet.” And then there was Lance. He shoots a glare at the Blue Paladin over his shoulder.
“Good to know you’re still a jerk too,” he snarks back. The brunet huffs and crosses his arms, opening his mouth to says something.
“Stop it, both of you,” Allura chides, stepping between the two. Lance snaps his mouth shut, looking away from the princess, looking annoyed and… hurt? Did his remark actually hurt his feelings? It was no different from what they’ve said in the past when bickering.
“Keith,” Allura snaps him out of his thoughts as he glances towards the Altean princess. “I’m glad to see you’re better. You came just in time, too. We’re about to plan our next move.” Pushing away any thoughts plaguing him mind, he gives the other Omega a grin.
“What are we waiting for? Let’s do it.” Lance mumbles something, but it’s drowned out by Allura telling Pidge to show them her idea. The rest of the Paladins gather around Pidge’s chair as she riffles through the code and symbols that flash across the screen.
“Somewhere inside Sendak’s memories, we should be able to find out some sort of inside information, maybe giving us the key to take Zarkon down,” the Green Paladin mutters as her hands fly across the glowing screen, eyes darting this way and that.
“I don’t think your father would approve of us searching through the enemy’s memories,” Coran says, the older Altean’s eyes are filled with concern.
“I know, but we have to do everything we can to defeat Zarkon,” Allura responds, crossing her arms as her eyes flit over the five Paladins.
“Yeah, and once we learn all his weaknesses, we can drive up to his front door and challenge him to a fight,” Lance say, placing his hands on his hips and puffing out his chest. “Winner gets the universe!”
The room goes silent as everyone stares at Lance. Keith can see how uncomfortable the Blue Paladin gets with all the eyes on him. He clears his throat, Shiro looking over at him. He raises an eyebrow and gestures at Pidge. The Black Paladin shakes his head before looking over at the Green Paladin.
“Anything yet, Pidge?”
“Most of it is a garbled mess,” she responds, pushing her glasses up. “But one thing keeps repeating: something called a ‘universal station.’ Or it could be ‘galactic hub.’”
“Or ‘space base!’” Lance chimes in.
“We should go take a look.”
“I’m sorry Princess, did you say ‘we?’” Keith asks the Omega-Altean. She’s always stayed in the Castle, save for when they were working with the Balerans for the rejuvenation ceremony.
“Of course! I’m going with you,” she grins at the Paladins. “I’ve traveled through the Galra transportation routes many times. I know more about them than you do.”
Coran walks over to Allura, placing a hand on her shoulder. “Princess, I’d rather you stay here-”
“I’m a part of this fight as much as everyone else,” she cuts Coran off. “I am going. Does anyone have a problem with that?” Her silver hair whips around as she faces everyone.
“No offense Princess, but…” Hunk raises a finger, but the princess turns to him quickly.
“Try saying the ‘O’ word and you’ll regret it.” Allura’s tone is harsh as she stares down the Yellow Paladin. He jerks up, waving his hands around frantically.
“No! No, I wasn’t going to say that. I’m just concerned, y’know? You’re a princess and stuff.” She sighs, expression easing out a snarl.
“I’m sorry for snapping at you, Hunk, but you don’t have to worry. Now then, anyone else have anything more to say?” Keith glances around at the rest of his team. They’re all looking at each other before looking at Shiro.
The Black Paladin shrugs. “Alright, fine. Suit up.”
Coran looks ready to strangle Shiro.
Blue lights glow softly as Allura walks towards the cryopods. Team Voltron had just gotten back from being separated in the wormhole jump. Dealing with Coran at the different stages of his life had been, interesting, to say the least. It was terrifying enough trying to escape the time loop. She and Coran were lucky enough that Pidge had managed to enhance the Green Lion’s signal enough for the two Alteans to get a lock on its coordinates.
They were able to lock onto both the Red and Black Lions’ energies as well as the Yellow and Blue Lions’ as soon as they left the corrupted worm hole. Thank the Ancients they were closer to Keith and Shiro since Shiro had been gravely wounded during their battle with Zarkon. He was currently in one of the cryopods to recover.
Her footsteps echo around the empty halls. She had been extremely worried about the Paladins over the course of their separation. Save for Shiro’s wounds, the five Paladins were alright.
The doors to the cryo-chamber open, Lance, Coran, and Hunk walking towards her as they head towards their rooms. She gives them each a warm smile and a wave before walking through the now-open doors.
It doesn’t really surprise her that Keith is standing in front of the Black Paladin’s pod as he recovers. Ever since they first arrived at the Castle, maybe even before that, they’ve always been extremely close with each other. The other Omega stands with his arms crossed; a worried expression on his face.
“Keith,” she calls out, standing next to him. He blinks a few times, as if coming out of a daze.
“Princess.” The Red Paladin looks over at her and she gives him a small smile before looking at the pod.
“How is Shiro?” she asks, clasping her hands behind her back.
“Well, as you can see…” Keith trails off, drumming his fingers against his arm.
“Alright.” The Altean princess lets out a sigh, guilt clutching at her heart. “I’m sorry, Keith.” He looks over at her as his expression shifts to one of confusion, eyebrow raised.
“What are you sorry for?”
“Well, I feel like this is partially my fault. If I had done something differently, this wouldn’t have happened. Now your mate is-”
“Wait wait wait.” He holds up a hand for her to stop as he cuts her off. “Who is whose mate again?” It’s her turn to look at the Red Paladin in confusion.
“You and Shiro? Wait, you two aren’t together?”
“No! Nothing like that! We’re like brothers!”
“Oh… Oh my stars, I’m so sorry! You two are so close, so I assumed…” Keith chuckles, blowing his bangs out of his eyes.
“It’s alright, Princess. You’re not the only one. Besides, Shiro and I… We can’t even mate if we wanted to. He’s a Beta. Human Betas can’t form a mate bond with a human Omega.”
“Really? How come?” she questions. Humans and Alteans seem to act similarly in many aspects from what the Paladins have told her, but they haven’t touched the topic of mating or secondary genders yet.
Keith shrugs. “Don’t know. Biology books said so.”
“I see. Well, it sounds familiar to Altean Betas, except they can’t form mate bonds with an Alpha,” she states. “Usually it’s because of their quintessence; it’s too weak for the Alpha.” Keith nods, looking back at Shiro.
The mice told her something a few quintants ago that the Altean just remembers, and she can’t help the sly grin that crosses her face.
“So,” she trails off, tapping a finger against her chin in fake wonder. “If it’s not Shiro, then who are you in love with?” Keith’s breathing audibly hitches and he coughs. A hand flies over his mouth and his face starts to rival his jacket in color.
“W-what are you talking about?” he stutters, avoiding meeting Allura’s eyes.
“You know what I’m talking about,” she teases, trying to contain her laughter. “The mice know all, Keith. You better watch out for them. However, they aren’t sure who it is, so I don’t know myself.”
The Omega glares at the cryopod, face still flushed as he pointedly avoids looking at the Omega-Altean. “I’d rather not talk about it,” he mutters under his breath.
“Alright, alright, I won’t push you then,” she chuckles. “But in all seriousness, if you have something on your mind and you want to talk with someone, please know that you can come to me anytime. I want us to be friends. We are the only two Omegas in the Castle, after all.”
“Um… Thanks. I’ll keep that in mind.”
“Good. I have to go now; there’s some things in the Castle that require my attention. I’ll see you later.” Allura turns and walks a few steps before the Red Paladin calls out to her. She looks back over at him.
“About what you said earlier, you don’t have to apologize. It’s not your fault, okay? So stop beating yourself up about it.”
“Alright. Thank you, Keith.” With that, she turns and walks though the bay doors.
“Oh!” Keith shouts back at her. “Tell those mice to mind their own business!” She can’t help but giggle at that as the doors close.
This took too long, oops. I had state-testing back at the beginning of the month, so my brain was fried after that. Now I'm reviewing for an exam I'm not even going to take, so that's sapping my brain juice. But, I managed to work this all out.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Waking up before any alarms could blare always has its perks. No rushing around trying to get ready for battle, no practice drills to test them on response time. Just peaceful silence and an appropriate amount of sleep gotten.
His back arches as Lance reaches his hands over his head, groaning at the satisfying stretch of his muscles and the occasional pop of stiff joints. He relaxes, hands still above his head as he pushes the sleeping mask off his face. Soft music plays through the headphones he stole from Pidge back when they first landed on Arus.
Despite the many accommodations in the Castle, the guest rooms – or at least his – didn’t have windows. It’d be nice if he could stare out at the dark void of space and count the small pinpricks of light until he passed out.
He shrugs off the headphones as he sits up, still humming the song. Warm feet meet the cold floor when he slips out from under the blankets, setting the green headset on the bed as he walks over to the bathroom connected to his room.
When they first arrived at the Castle of Lions, Lance was pleasantly surprised at the fact that the bathrooms were pretty much the same as they were on Earth. He has the time to shower and relax, hopefully. With everything that’s happened the past few weeks, he hasn’t gotten a chance to get his chill on.
Flicking on the sink, he scrubs the now-set overnight mask off his face. Water drips off tanned skin as he takes in his appearance in the mirror. Sharp blue eyes wander his face, checking for any blemishes that the mask didn’t remove.
Satisfied, he strips down, folding up the clothes and putting them on the sink for later. He walks over to the shower, setting it on a warmer temperature before stepping in. The chill of the water against his back causes him to hiss. Eventually, the water warms up and he relaxes, sore muscles easing from the heat.
As he massages the shampoo into his hair, his mind wanders back to what he’s dubbed The Teludav Incident.
It was supposed to be calm and peaceful while they made their way there. He had planned on checking out the pool Allura mentioned and taking some time to himself, but a certain mullet ended up butting in before he could head down.
Things only went downhill from there. The elevator ended up stopping, for some odd reason. The small space was completely dark until Keith had managed to pry the emergency hatch open.
Both boys were in nothing but swim trunks and towels, communicators left in their rooms. With no way to contact the team, they had two options: wait for someone on the bridge to notice the elevator malfunctioning and reboot the system, or somehow climb up the elevator shaft to one of the floors above.
Not wanting to take any chances being alone with Keith for an extended period of time, Lance hauled himself through the hatch. The shorter teen followed him up shortly after, taking in their surroundings.
Because Altean technology was so advanced, the chute was completely smooth; no uneven surfacing to grip. There wasn’t a pulley system either, so no cable to climb up.
They stood around for a few minutes trying to come up with an idea how to get up the chute until Lance remembered a scene from one of the old movies his abuelos showed him. Arms linked and backs pressed against each other, they walked their way up the elevator shaft.
The entire time he struggled to ignore the skin contact with the Red Paladin. He was so focused on keeping his focus off the other’s body heat that he ended up zoning out and almost caused them to drop back down to the elevator below; a drop which would probably kill them from the point they were at. Keith had yelled at him and the two ended up in a shoving war that lasted two seconds before they both gave up from exhaustion.
At that point, Keith had found a vent shaft that led to the on-the-ceiling pool, only for the emergency alarm to ring and the teens rushed up to the control deck. The Castle wormholed away from Zarkon’s army and into a magnetic storm since it would “give enough interference so we can’t be tracked,” as Pidge had put it.
Not even a minute later and Zarkon had found them again. They had to use some of the cookies that Hunk made, which he somehow managed to bake Scaultrite into them, and hold them in place so they could make a full wormhole jump. Now, they had to get new Scaultrite lenses at the “Space Mall” Coran was talking about.
They were on the way to the mall when Pidge had picked up Galra activity on a planet called Taujeer. It was in the same direction as the mall, so they were going to stop there to help the natives. Coran said they would be there in a little under a quintent, so the team had time to rest and relax.
Lance shut off the water, steam lingering in the air as he steps out. He towels off any extra water left on his body before pulling his night shirt over his head, pants following after. Eyes flick up to the mirror as he dries his hair, widening at the blush on his face that totally has everything to do with the muggy temperature of the room and not the fact he was thinking about his rival shirtless.
Sighing, he wraps up his hair in the towel, grabbing for one of the small tubs of skin care masks on the sink. The turmeric-scented cream is cold against his face as he smears it across the bridge of his nose. Soon enough his whole face is covered with the green substance and he caps the container, pulling his robe on before walking back over to his bed.
He grabs his diary when he passes his desk, flopping down on his bed and turning to the next blank page, tapping the pen against the book before starting to write.
You know, mami, you’re right about writing in a diary. It really helps, even if I prefer post-shower skincare routines for stress relief- which is very needed around here. Shiro seems a little down after that Galra from the “Blade of Mashmello” or something sacrificed himself to save us. Keith too, for some reason. He looks at his knife more than usual. Not that I notice or anything! The only person who looks happier than ever is Pidge. I think she found her mate after we visited Olkari: technology. And this-
The emergency alarm shrills, making him draw a dark line across the page unintentionally. He sighs, shutting the journal and setting it down on the bed before pushing himself up. Both Alteans had drilled into the Paladins that speed was of the utmost importance when the alarms sounded, so he quickly changes into his clothes. Long legs carry him out of his room as he towels off his face.
“This better not be Zarkon!” he says once the bridge’s door open, revealing Hunk, Shiro, and Coran.
“I wish it was Zarkon this time,” the Yellow Paladin calls back to him. The patter of footsteps sound behind him before Pidge shows up behind him, pushing up her glasses.
“What happened this time?” she groans. “It better not be Zarkon; we just escaped from him!”
“That’s what I just said!” Lance retorts, walking over to his seat and plopping down.
“It’s not Zarkon,” Shiro says, hands resting on hips as he glances at the Altean text flashing in front of them all. “But one of the pods disappeared in the middle of the night. We can’t find Keith or Allura either.”
“We tried pulling the emergency alarm to see if they’d come. Clearly, they aren’t here, so they must be on that pod,” Coran states, frantically tapping away at the console. Pidge slumps down in her seat, panel glowing as she types away.
“What?! Keith and Allura?!” Lance shouts, sitting up ram-rod straight. They ran away together in the middle of the night. Did it mean something? “You don’t think they’re sittin’ in a tree?”
“They’re both Omegas, Lance. Why would they be ‘sitting in a tree’?” Hunk whispers, raising an eyebrow at the Blue Paladin.
“Don’t be ignorant, Hunk!” he retorts, rolling his eyes dramatically. “You’ve never seen two Omegas in a relationship before? It’s a thing, trust me.” The Black Paladin sighs, obviously trying to ignore the side conversation running in the background as he asks Coran to contact the pod. Lance perks up, attention turning to the Betas.
“Yeah, contact that pod!” he yells, pointing dramatically at the holo-screen that boots up as Hunk tries to calm him down. It takes a few seconds, but soon enough, the Red Paladin and Altean Princess’ face flicker onto the screen.
“Allura! Keith!” Shiro says calmly, a hint of concern and scolding edging its way into his tone while he crosses his arms. It makes Lance sit up straighter subconsciously. “Where exactly are you two going? Why didn’t you tell the team? If this is about Zarkon tracking whoever, I won-”
“I’m sorry, Shiro, but this is about Zarkon,” Allura cuts him off, determination blazing in her eyes. “We have to know if it really is one of us Zarkon is using to track the team.”
“Wait wait wait,” Hunk butts in, worry etched in his face as he talks with the two Omegas. “Were you two planning this together? In secret? Didn’t tell anyone?”
“No,” Keith states bluntly. “We just ran into each other in the hangar, so we decided to come together.”
“Okay, well, you two didn’t- I don’t know -consider talking to us about it?” Lance states, standing up to pace around. Hands make wide gestures as he continues to talk. “Last time I checked, we’re a team, right?”
The Green Paladin fidgets in her seat, crossing her legs as she leans back. “Maybe they thought we wouldn’t let them go if they told us.”
“Pidge is right. If we told you we were leaving, would you have let us test our theory?”
“You don’t know that, Princess,” Shiro lets out a huff. “You really thought we wouldn’t respect your choices? Maybe if we talked about it, we could’ve come up with a better plan. You both flying to wherever split up the team, leaving us far more vulnerable.”
Both Omegas are silent on the other end of the transmission, obviously weighing the pros and cons of the situation they accidentally put the team in. Even if he did yell at them for not talking about their thoughts, Lance knows he would’ve done the same if there was the possibility he was the one that was exposing the team.
“We need both of you back here no-”
Shiro gets cut off when warnings flash across the front of the ship as a planet comes into view, the Castle knocking into something that throws everyone off-kilter. Alarms blare as the transmission flickers out unexpectedly.
“We’re caught in some kind of debris field!” Hunk shouts, images of the planet popping up on-screen.
“I believe it’s coming from Taujeer,” Coran presses a few buttons as he stares at the console. “Correction: I think it is Taujeer! Some kind of radiation from the planet is interfering with communications.”
“Coran, move the Castle away from the field so you can reestablish the link,” Shiro says before turning to the Paladins. “Everyone else, get to your Lions.”
Voltron disbands as soon as the Taujeerian ark is on the moon, leaving Keith to pilot Red back to the Castle. He lands him back in the hangar, taking his helmet off and shaking his hair out before looking over at the Altean princess with him. She gives him a stiff nod, walking out of the cockpit.
After the transmission cut out, the two Omegas had stayed out in space. They made small talk about possible outcomes their “experiment” had to offer until Coran’s voice came crackling back, confirming that Zarkon had tracked the Castle in some way that wasn’t them and that the rest of team Voltron was being attacked by a Galra fleet.
The Red Paladin had turned the Altean pod around and activated the booster engines Pidge had added on back when they were going to look for their father. No sooner after his hand touched the button, both him and Allura were ejected out of the pod only a second before the ship exploded. They were left tumbling in space until Keith used his jetpack to right them. The two were left to fly in what they assumed was the direction of the Castle with no way of contacting the team.
Both Paladin and princess stayed flying ship-less until Keith had felt the familiar pull at his consciousness. Soon enough, the Red Lion had scooped both of them up, flying back to the Castle so they could help the rest of the team.
Keith sighs, Red giving him a reassuring push as he follows the other Omega down the halls. Before wandering over to the bridge, he turns into his room. He sets the helmet down, shrugging off his armor and suit afterward. Pulling on his jacket, he steps out of his room, eyes drifting towards Allura as she stands waiting for him by some unspoken agreement.
They’re both silent as they walk to the bridge, Keith lingering a few paces back as the doors open. Coran yelps at the sight of her, pulling the princess into a hug.
“I was so worried about you,” the Beta-Altean says, pulling back as he looks her up and down for injuries.
“I’m really sorry, Coran,” she replies as the other Paladins swarm around her, asking her what she thought of being on a mission with them and other things.
Like usual, Keith stands off to the side as he watches the rest of the team interact with each other. He knows he’s always been different from the others, not ever keen on making attachments with other people that he could lose in a moment’s notice.
His mother left him a few months after he was born, only leaving her knife to remember her by.
His father died when he was just a kid, running back into the house fire to save the child still left in there.
He hopped around foster homes until Shiro and Adam all but adopted him when he enrolled in the Garrison.
Shiro was “killed” during the Kerberos mission, and Adam lost faith in him when his anger would get out of control.
Iverson deemed his behavior unfit and booted him from the Garrison for disciplinary issues.
Someone blocks the scene in front of him, pulling Keith out of his thoughts as he meets eyes with the Black Paladin. Shiro crosses his arms, gaze stern as the Red Paladin braces himself for the oncoming lecture. The team may have been happy when he showed up to help, but that doesn’t negate what he and Allura did hours before.
“Care to explain why you thought that was a good idea?” Keith avoids his gaze, finding a random spot on the floor more interesting to look at than Shiro’s eyes. He stays silent.
The Beta in front of him sighs, shaking his head before pulling him into an unexpected hug. All he can do is stand there stunned and stiff as he tries to understand the sudden burst of affection from his brother-figure.
“Keep this up and I’m not gonna live long, Keith,” he mutters for only said Omega to hear. “Stop giving me a heart attack.”
The Red Paladin hesitates before hiding his face in Shiro’s shoulder, gently returning the embrace as he whispers a barely audible “I’m sorry.” They stand there for a few seconds before he feels the Black Paladin’s grip on him tighten.
“Still,” Shiro’s voice is dead serious, making him flinch. “There’s things that need to be set right. Let’s have a talk. Allura, with you too.” He can see over the Black Paladin’s shoulder as Coran places a hand on the princess’ shoulder, making her flinch as well. Lance, Pidge, and Hunk apparently take that as their cue to leave, the three walking off the bridge as the doors shut with a resounding thump.
After an hour and a half of Shiro’s lecturing, the team reconvenes in the bridge. Keith fidgets as everyone stands in front of him and Allura, uncomfortable with all the attention on him. He chooses to swallow his anxieties, keeping his head high.
“I’m so sorry for leaving,” Allura says, saving Keith from having to start the conversation.
“Me too. We thought we were doing the right thing,” he adds in, shifting his weight from one leg to the other. Everyone looks at him with looks of concern and confusion before Shiro smiles at both Omegas.
“It’s alright. At least now we know Zarkon is tracking us through the Black Lion,” the Black Paladin says, turning to address the entire team. “But we need to work more on team bonding. Not one, but two of our members leaving without consulting the team makes it all the more obvious we don’t trust each other as much as we should.”
Keith crosses his arms as the two Alteans and Shiro discuss different things team Voltron can do for “team building exercises.” Blue, Green, and Yellow Paladins go off into their own conversation and he’s left alone in his own mind. Again. Figuring there’s no more discussion to be had, Keith starts drifting to the doors.
“About that,” Hunk perks up, causing Keith to stop in his tracks and turn back around. “Well, Lance, Pidge, and I have been talking about this and well, the reason we were taking so long to change clothes wa-”
“Just get to the point, Hunk,” Pidge cuts off the Samoan teen’s rambling.
“Alright alright. We were thinking we should form a pack.” Keith bites back the protest he feels forming at his lips, digging his nails into his arm instead. It’s bad enough he has a crush on a certain Blue Paladin, but a pack with the team?
“A pack?” Allura questions, raising an eyebrow. “We can do that?”
“Alteans can’t?” Shiro asks in turn.
Coran jumps in on the conversation. “Well, we can, but we don’t usually form a pack with non-relatives or without our mates.”
“Yeah! That’s the point too!” Lance says, pacing around the expanse of the control room. “You see, we’re all very far away from home; floating in space, fighting an evil purple alien empire, et cetera et cetera. Even if we’re a team right now, it’s not enough to erase the loneliness some of us must feel.”
Even with his checkered past, Keith can’t help but blush at Lance’s words, taking the time to actually think them over. It would be beneficial to the team when it came to becoming closer. Plus, it would help them form Voltron easier. Maybe it would help him get over his fear of attachments. Maybe he’d actually get the guts to ask Lance out.
“So yeah, becoming a pack could help with that problem,” Lance continues. “Besides, a pack of the Defenders of the Universe? Sounds like a great thing to get a pretty Omega’s attention.” The Red Paladin deflates at the last comments made. Who was he kidding? There’s no way Lance would like him.
“Well, if you don’t count the last part,” Shiro scolds Lance. “I quiet like the idea. I’m in. How about everyone else?”
Both Alteans nod in agreement. “It sounds strange for us, but it’d be interesting to try,” Allura comments, eyes sparkling in excitement.
“What about you, Keith?” The Black Paladin asks, all heads turning towards the black-haired teen. “How do you feel about forming a pack?”
“I, uh,” he stutters, clearing his throat and cracking his knuckles to shake off his nerves. “I’m cool with it, actually.” Everyone lights up at his words, smiles breaking out across their faces.
“So it’s settled then!” Shiro says, the three teens cheering that their idea was a hit. Keith can’t help the small grin that creeps its way onto his face at Lance’s happiness. He knows the Cuban teen is homesick more often than not, so seeing that he has a home-away-from-home and that he’s a part of it makes him feel warm.
“By the way: Lance, Pidge, between the two of you, who’s going to be pack leader?”
“We already talked about it,” Pidge says, crossing her arms and pushing up her glasses as Lance swings an arm around the smaller teen’s shoulders. “”We both agreed that it won’t be either of us.”
“What?” Shiro’s face scrunches up in confusion as he stares at the two Alphas. “IF not you, then who else? You two are the only Alphas on the ship!” The Altean princess tilts her head in confusion.
“Earth stuff,” Keith slides over to her, nudging her with his shoulder. “Normally only an Alpha can be a pack leader.”
“I’m too young,” Pidge says, continuing the conversation. “And Lance doesn’t want the responsibility.”
“I mean, I want to be a leader, but not when I’m only eighteen! I’m just not ready.”
“Then… Oh…” Shiro trails off, giving them a flat stare before continuing. “You want to use the exception case rule.”
“I know you already head Voltron, and you have so many other responsibilities,” Hunk glances around nervously before pointing at the Blue and Green Paladins. “But I’d rather it be you for now then one of those two.”
Before he even realizes what he’s doing, Keith rests a hand on Shiro’s shoulder, grinning widely at the Beta. “Isn’t it great, Shiro? This is what you’ve always wanted to do, yeah? Being in a position no one thought a Beta could be in!”
“Are you… trying to help them convince me?” The Black Paladin raises an eyebrow, obviously confused with Keith’s behavior. Said Omega nods before grinning mischievously at his older brother. Shiro pauses for a few moments before glaring at Keith.
“Is this revenge for the lecture?”
“Yep!” Keith says, resting his free hand on his hip. Even when Keith was younger, he loved to torment and tease Shiro for anything he did.
“Excuse me, but what is the ‘exception rule’?” Allura asks.
“Oh, it’s ah…” Keith trails off, trying to find the right wording to his thoughts. “It allows a Beta to be pack leader when there’s no Alpha who’s able to be leader.”
“Oh, so that means, congratulations, Shiro! I’m sure you’ll make a great pack leader!” The Omega-Altean beams at him.
“Um, thank you, Princess,” the Beta clears his throat, resting his robotic arm on his hip. “Well, if everyone says so, then I guess I have no choice. Thank you for trusting me with this role. I’ll do my best.”
Keith punches him lightly in the shoulder, sticking his tongue out at him. “You just wanted to say it,” he teases, only for Shiro to ruffle his hair. The gesture makes Keith swat at his hand, silencing any further teasing.
“No,” Shiro cuts off Lance quickly. “Back to Zarkon first. We’re still being tracked, remember?”
This took a little longer than I'd've liked it to since I had so much state testing review I had to do and I had no ideas or words to write. Most of this was written in one day a.k.a today and I've pretty much been working on it non-stop since I already missed posting last week. Aiming for a chapter every 2 weeks. There's so much dialogue in here that it's boosted the word count really high, so enjoy!!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
And that’s how we formed our pack! Pretty sweet, right? What was next… Oh right! The Space Mall! I bought a cow! An Earth cow, Mami! Can you believe it?
Fingers fly across the phone’s screen as Lance types away, recounting the journey to the Space Mall they just got back from. Ever since the Castle of Lions left Arus, he’s wanted to keep record of all the missions the team has been on so he can tell him family. He’s still buzzing with energy, despite the stinging wound on his forehead he got when he decided to taunt the mall cop. Curse those stupid low ceiling supports.
“Lance.” Oh. He forgot a certain Red Paladin was in the room with him. “Could you stop playing with your phone and turn around? Do I have to say ‘please’?” Normally, any injuries they got on missions would be healed afterward in the cryopods, but since the wound was superficial, Lance was left to just get patched up and let the blemish heal on its own.
“Okay, mom. I’ll turn around now,” he huffs, resting a leg on his knee as he spins to face Keith. “And you don’t have to say please; makes it seem like you want to check the cut, which is gross.”
“I’m trying to be nice here. Stop making it difficult,” Keith groans, rummaging through the med-kit for whatever he needs. Lance rolls his eyes, leaning back over his phone.
Stupid Mullet. He thinks I’m playing on my phone. Well, I’m not, thank you very much. I’m writing a diary, but I won’t tell him. He’d tease me to death for sure.
“What are you writing?” He nearly jumps out of his skin, Keith hovering over his shoulder as he jerks the phone screen away from his prying eyes. “Is that Spanish?”
“Noooooo, it’s Thai,” he mocks, glaring at the Red Paladin. “Of course it’s Spanish! And don’t look!”
“I won’t look if you stay still and let me check your head already!” Keith yells, teeth gritted together as he glares at Lance. The Blue Paladin flinches again, shoving his phone in his pocket before raising his hands in surrender.
“Okay, okay! I’ll stay still! Just don’t look at me like that!” he shrieks, hands moving in front of his face as he squeezes his eyes shut.
“Look at you how?” Keith asks. Lance peeks out of one eye, still tense. The Red Paladin looks genuinely confused, tweezers held loosely in one hand as he grabs for a cotton ball. He relaxes, placing his hands behind him.
“Well, it looks like you want to punch me or something,” he trails off. Keith rolls his eyes, bringing the tweezers to Lance’s forehead and cleaning the blood away rather forcefully. The Blue Paladin winces, biting back any snarky protests floating around in his head.
“Why would I want to punch you?” Keith asks. “You’re not being a dick. You’re just annoying.” Lance sighs, wincing again when Keith cleans the cut on his forehead. Next time: don’t go taunting mall cops standing up while riding on the back of a cow that’s on a hover-pad.
His conversation with Keith lapses into silence as the Red Paladin digs around the med kit again. Why’d he even end up with Keith helping him anyway? He knows he could’ve done it himself.
“Hey.” Keith breaks the silence, pausing his movements. He sighs, hands hanging limply while the anti-septic dangles loosely from his fingers. Lance tilts his head as indigo eye meet his. “Do I look like a violent person?”
Lance stares at him confused, blinking once. “What?”
“You know what I mean,” Keith huffs out. “I know my temper isn’t exactly the best, but I don’t think I’m the type of person who’d punch someone every time I’d get angry, at least… until recently. Granted, a lot of people have thought of me like that in the past. I didn’t really care about it before and I don’t know why I started caring about it now, but it’s been bugging me a lot.
“So, be honest with me here.” He looks at Lance. “Am I really like that?”
Never in the time that he’s know Keith did Lance expect to have the Red Paladin ask him for his opinion. They had short fuses around each other; any time they were in the same room it was almost inevitable they would start arguing. It’s not like Lance wanted to constantly be walking on thin ice around Keith. He really wanted to be friends with the other teen. Maybe even-
“Well, yeah, you kinda are.” He cuts off his thoughts. There’s no way he’s going to hop aboard that thought train with the Omega sitting right behind him. Just focus on trying to comfort Keith.
Keith sighs, unwinding the gauze roll in his hands. “Well, I expected that. Lower your head so I can finish patching you up.”
“Hey! I’m not done yet!” Lance interrupts, turning so he can face Keith better. The black-haired teen looks at him, obviously startled that he still has more to say. The Cuban boy leans on one hand, gesturing with the other as he keeps talking.
“Sure, you do look like a ticking time bomb ready to explode at any second, but that’s just what you look like. In the end, you know in your heart who you really are.” Keith blinks, eyes wide as he keeps staring at Lance. It’s clear the Omega is dumbfounded by his word choice, and Lance can’t help but feel pride.
“Pretty deep, huh? Those are my mom’s words,” he gloats. “She told me that when we figured out I was an Alpha and people kept saying I didn’t look like one, but I know in my heart how awesome of an Alpha I am!”
Standing, he places one foot on the bench while the other stays planted on the floor, striking a pose. He hears Keith stifle a laugh, covering his face with a hand as he looks away from his dramatics.
“Yes,” he hums, sitting back down and grinning at Keith. “Laugh Mullet, laugh.” The Red Paladin glares at him, but there’s no malice in his gaze as he keeps a hand over his mouth. It makes him smile more. They’ve managed to have a conversation without it resulting in heated words or unnecessary bickering.
“You are the worst,” Keith says, rolling his eyes before grabbing Lance’s head and brings his forehead to eye-level. “Just, c’mere.” Lance huffs but complies, letting Keith finish taping the gauze to his head.
“Here, done.” The shorter boy pulls away, gloved hands lingering by Lance’s face for a second, checking his work before they fall to the space between them. Lance expects Keith to look away, set everything back in the kit and leave, but he doesn’t. Indigo eyes meet his ocean blue ones and his face flushes when Keith doesn’t look away.
He tries to ignore his heart pounding in his chest at how intimate the situation has gotten. He tries to ignore the other’s breath fanning against his lips. He tries to ignore the scent of sweets and sand that engulfs the rest of his senses. He tries to ignore how dangerously close their bodies are to touching. He tries to ignore the stunning galaxies swirling in purple depths.
He needs to look away, but something is telling him not to. He’s telling his body to move away, to break away from the gaze that’s dragging him farther down this spiral of emotions, but his body isn’t listening to him. If anything, it’s pulling him in closer and closer.
Lance doesn’t realize how close he’s gotten to the Omega until Keith’s head snaps back, face beet-red as he breaks eye contact. He pulls back, eyes wide.
“Um…” Keith stutters, focusing on a random point in the room in front of him. “That was awkward.”
“Yeah… Let’s just, put some space between us,” he mutters, shuffling off to the side to give the Red Paladin more room.
Silence fills the room, tension filling the empty space to the brim. Lance drums his fingers against his leg, mentally slapping himself. He needs to get a better grip on himself and his stupid Alpha instincts. His older sister always had hers under control, so did his brothers and his dad.
“So, you must really love your mom, huh? You talk about her a lot,” Keith says, thankfully changing the topic to make the situation less stressful. He’s always up for talking about his family whenever someone brings it up. His face breaks out into a grin before he answers.
“Yeah, I really do! I miss her…” he trails off, the cold reality of how far away from Earth they were washing over him. “I… really miss her.” Teeth gnaw at the inside of his cheek as he tries to hide the grim expression that dances across his features. He misses all of his family; the harsh truth that he might never see them again hurts. They’re on Earth god knows how many light years away from him and he’s in the middle of an inter-galactic space war trying to make sure nothing happens to Earth while trying to free enslaved planets from the Galran Empire. Anything could happen.
His fears clutch at his heart; the ideas festering like an open wound. It pulls him deeper and deeper into the darker parts of his head.
Until he feels a gloved hand rest on his shoulder, squeezing lightly. It’s enough to snap him out of his daze, turning back towards the Red Paladin. The way Keith is looking at him sends butterflies to his stomach. There’s no teasing or hate in his eyes, just pure, genuine, real concern and care.
“You’ll see her again, Lance.” He swallows, pushing back all his thoughts and focusing on Keith’s touch. It anchors him enough and he flashes him the best smile he can muster at the moment.
“Well,” Keith starts, grabbing the med kit and standing up. “I should go check on Shiro now. I heard he just ‘spirit fought’ with Zarkon or something. Want to make sure he’s okay.”
“O-oh,” Lance stutters. “You… you really are close with Shiro, huh?” There. He asked the question that’s been bugging him ever since they rescued Shiro after his ship crashed and the Garrison had him quarantined. The two of them obviously had been close before Shiro’s kidnapping, but it still confused Lance on how far that boundary actually went. It didn’t help that he had these feelings for Keith, which made everything all the more complicated. Frankly, it was beginning to drive him and his Alpha instincts insane.
“Of course,” Keith says, shifting his weight side to side as fingers tap on the side of the med kit. “He’s my best friend.”
“Yeah,” he responds, grinning awkwardly back at the Omega. “Yeah, of course.”
Keith nods, turning around and walking out the door. They shut quietly, a dull thump sounds throughout the room before he sighs. Running a hand through his hair, he pulls his phone back out, fingers tapping away at the screen.
Mami, help. I don’t think what I’m feeling for him is a good idea…
He almost kissed Lance.
He almost kissed Lance. They had been so close to each other after he patched his head and he just couldn’t pull away. Ocean-blue eyes caught him in a riptide, and he had to swim back before he got dragged down. He kept leaning in closer until he got a grip on himself, pulling back before he did anything he’d regret.
At this point, he’s accepted the fact that he has a crush on the Blue Paladin. He should’ve realized it earlier on, but nope. Now he’s stuck trying to figure out either to confess and face the possibility of rejection, or just keep it to himself and find ways to hide it.
His stupid Omega instincts keep saying that he should go for it; he can trust that the Alpha to protect and take care of him. Lance will make sure that he stays safe. But he almost always ignores it, always pushing himself to not rely on anyone. He never wants people to see him as a “weak and helpless Omega.”
Practically everyone he’s grown close to, he’s lost them. He’s still relearning how to interact with people and now that he’s in a pack with the rest of Voltron, it’s another hurdle he has to get over.
Shiro’s voice calling his name pulls Keith out of his thoughts. He rests his elbows on his knees, rubbing a hand over his face as he recollects his thoughts, trying to remember what they had been talking about before he spaced out.
“Keith, are you okay?” Shiro asks, resting a hand on the smaller teen’s back, concern laced in his voice.
“Aren’t I supposed to be the one checking on you?” he huffs, moving the hand covering his face to rake through his hair. “You’re the one who just fought with Zarkon in some weird, out of body thing.” Fingers lace together and he rests his cheek on his hands, looking up at the Black Paladin.
“Yes, but I’m not the one who spaced out in the middle of our conversation. Is there something wrong?”
The Red Paladin sighs, shifting his gaze to the floor as he fights the blush off his face. “I’m fine, Shiro,” he lies, cracking his knuckles before dropping his head off his hands, hair covering his eyes so he doesn’t have to see Shiro staring at him.
“Keith, I can tell there’s something on your mind,” Shiro says, bed creaking as he shifts around. “I may have been gone for a year, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still read you.”
He flinches, blowing his bangs out of his face and sitting up. “What… what gave it away?”
Shiro chuckles. “Aside from you getting lost in thought, you crack you knuckles when you’re nervous and bite the inside of your cheek when you’re lying.” He immediately stops gnawing on the soft flesh on the inside of his mouth, resting his hands on his knees. Has he always been that obvious? “Want to tell me what’s going on?”
“It’s nothing,” he replies, catching himself before he starts chewing on his cheek again. “Don’t worry about it. I just have a lot on my mind right now.”
“Then wouldn’t it be better if you got everything off your chest? Talk about it and work through it with someone?” the Beta leans forward again, meeting Keith’s gaze.
“It really isn’t a big deal, Shiro. I’ll be fine.”
“Can we drop this? Please?” Keith snaps, digging his fingers into his eyes.
“Alright,” Shiro huffs, leaving the conversation to hang in silence.
As much as he wants to tell Shiro everything that’s making his thoughts run a mile a minute - the blade sheathed securely on his back, how weird his body has been, his feelings for Lance - he knows he can’t put that burden on him. He’s already leading Voltron, the head of the pack, and practically takes care of them all. Shiro would insist that it’s fine, that he can talk to him, but Keith doesn’t want to worry him.
It’d be so much easier if the Beta still smelled like lemongrass and the oil from the hoverbikes; if he still smelled like home. It was a sense of comfort that had him spilling every secret he kept hidden. He missed it when Shiro “died” on the Kerberos mission.
After he found him that night quarantined by the Garrison, after that year of being imprisoned in space by the Galra, Shiro scent just vanished. He did a double-take at that, checked to make sure that it was indeed Shiro strapped down to the table. Once Shiro woke up, he questioned him about it and the only answer he got through Shiro’s haze was the stress of what happened while he was gone.
“So,” he starts again for the second time that day, bringing them out of the tension-filled silence. “You’re feeling alright after that whole, whatever you did with Black?”
“Yeah, feeling good. The Black Lion and I definitely have a stronger bond now. I don’t think Zarkon will be able to track us now.”
“That’s good to hear. So, that means we’ll be able to head the coordinates Ulaz gave you, right?” Keith does his best to hide the ever-growing excitement in his chest. Maybe he could get some answers about the knife his mom left for him.
The Black Paladin nods, leaning back on his hands. “It definitely will be interesting to see more Galra against Zarkon’s reign. Though, considering the fact that the Teludav still needs repairs, Coran says it could take up to three weeks to fix, so it’s gonna be slow going.”
“As long as we have more allies in the end,” he says, standing up and dusting the imaginary dirt off his pants. “Well, if you’re sure you’re one-hundred percent, Allura said she wanted you on the bridge to go over stuff for the mission before we watched an Altean movie. ‘Pack bonding’ thing or whatever.”
Shiro nods, stretching his arms above his head. “I’ll head up in a few. What are you gonna do in the meantime?”
“Probably train,” he shrugs, grabbing the med kit to take back to Coran before looking back at the Black Paladin. “Don’t give me that look. It’s better than just sitting around and doing nothing.”
“Can’t argue with that.”
“Yeah. I’ll see you later, Shiro.” He throws a wave over his shoulder as he walks out the door. Maybe he can tire himself out enough that he’ll struggle to process all the thoughts bouncing around his head.
“Keith.” Feet stop and he turns back to face Shiro, raising an eyebrow. “You know you can come talk to me whenever, right?”
The Red Paladin sighs, shifting from side to side. “I know, Shiro,” he nods. “I’d just rather sort these thoughts out on my own. You’ve already got enough on your plate.”
“Just make sure you take care of yourself, okay?”
“Yeah, yeah. I will.”
“Will you now?” Shiro smirks, crossing his arms. He’s always had a habit of losing himself in physical activity as a way to cope. It used to be to the point that Adam or Shiro would find him passed out in the Garrison’s training deck from exhaustion. He’d forget to eat or take breaks; time slipping through his fingers as he pushed any and all thoughts away to just forget everything.
“Ha ha, very funny. You’re not the only one who’s changed in the past year. I’ve gotten better at it,” he grins, throwing another wave over his shoulder as the door shuts. He missed those dumb moments where Shiro would tease him, and vice versa. It’s nice that he has that back in his life.
With the first real moments alone since the Space Mall trip, he feels his thoughts creeping back, face flushing. He can give the med kit to Coran later and he starts walking to the training room.
Lance is going to be the death of him.
The lounge is dark as the team works on setting everything up for the movie; Coran and Pidge work on fixing the projector, Hunk finishes cooking whatever snacks he had planned, Allura and Keith are building a nest, and Shiro isn’t there yet. Whatever conversation between the pack drones on and Lance isn’t paying that much attention.
He’s still wrapped up in his own thoughts, mind replaying how he and Keith almost kissed. It shouldn’t be that big of a deal to him, but anytime he tries to push it away, it comes worming back.
Even if he’ll never admit it out loud, he knows he’s had a crush on Keith for years. Despite that, he can’t tell if the Red Paladin even likes him back. If he wasn’t absolutely terrified of the possible rejection, he would’ve asked Keith out long ago.
“Lance!” Shiro’s voice snaps him out of his thoughts as his head whips over to the Black Paladin sitting down next to him. “Are you alright?”
“Huh? Oh, yeah, I’m good. Why?” he asks.
“You aren’t talking as much as usual and you’re sitting by yourself. There something on your mind?” His thoughts scream warnings at the fact Shiro somehow managed to pick up on his mood. Heart thumping, Lance pushes the hair out of his face.
“Don’t worry about me, Shiro,” he waves him off, voice raising an octave at his nervousness. “I’m fine! When am I ever not fine? Never!”
He’s panicking. Why is he panicking? It’d be so much easier to just talk it out with him. But Shiro is Keith’s… whatever he is. They’re close to each other, so Lance telling the Black Paladin that he has a crush on Keith and doesn’t know what to do about it probably isn’t the best choice. He’ll just stay tight-lipped about it.
“Well that’s… good. Are you excited to see the Altean movie?” Shiro coughs, trying to change the subject.
“Yeah, uh-huh, of course,” he flails with his words. Just the simple confrontation of if he’s okay has him all high-strung and ready to bolt in a moment’s notice. He can feel the unintentional tension in the air. These stupid thoughts need to get out of his head so he can function normally. If it gets any worse, it could affect Voltron which will affect their ability to save planet which-
“Hey Lance.” Shiro’s voice drags off the thought train before it gets any further.
“Huh?” he turns to the Beta, blinking when he leans his normal arm against the couch.
“Call me ‘onii-chan’,” Shiro grins. Lance can only stare as he processes that Shiro, the Black Paladin, the head of Voltron, the pack leader, his idol, just told him to call him ‘big brother’ in Japanese.
“… What?” he croaks out, still trying to wrap his head around it.
“You heard me!” the Black Paladin laughs, practically beaming at Lance. “Come on! Call me ‘onii-chan’!”
“O-onii-chan…?” he stutters out, still confused at Shiro’s antics. Slumping against the couch, he lets his weight drag him down as he stares at some point on the wall.
He full-blown smiles at Lance. “That’s it! See, Keith? It’s so easy!”
“Stop using that joke whenever you don’t know what to say!” Keith yells, glaring at Shiro. “It’s not funny!”
The Blue Paladin can see Hunk and Pidge in the corner of his vision, both deadpanning at the Beta.
“Why, Shiro? Why?” the Yellow Paladin questions.
“Look at me, Shiro. This is my disappointed face,” Pidge says.
Shiro frowns, obviously disappointed. “I was just trying to bond with you kids!” Lance pats his cheeks a few times, trying to recollect his thoughts as he sits back up.
“I’m confused,” Allura says, turning to the other Omega sitting next to her. She looks confused, but also mildy concerned, for some odd reason. “What is ‘onii-chan’?”
“It’s a word from one of the human languages. It means ‘big brother’ from where Shiro’s from,” Keith says, shifting one of the pillows in their makeshift nest.
“Oh,” she responds, picking at one of the loose threads on her nightgown. “You know, it uh, it somewhat sounds like an Altean word that means ‘child molester’…”
Everyone goes dead silent at what the Princess said. She flushes with everyone’s eyes on her and she turns away. Lance coughs, turning away and focusing back on that random point on the wall. Awkward much?
“Let’s just watch the movie,” Shiro says, and everyone starts moving again, muttering ‘okays’ as they get in place for the movie. Hunk settles in on his left while Allura sits above them on the actual couch.
“Alright, I’m going to start the movie everyone!” Coran says, pressing the ‘play’ button and sitting next to Allura. Luck is not on his side as Keith plops right in the space between him and Shiro. The Blue Paladin’s face flushes, and it only gets worse when Keith has to shift closer to him as Pidge grabs Allura’s hand, hauling the small Alpha up onto the couch next to her.
The movie starts playing as Pidge rests a foot on his shoulder. He’d push her off, but that just end up in the two of them wrestling, so he leaves her be.
“Wait, Coran?” Allura asks above him. “Why are we watching from the last part?”
“Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the first two.” With that, the pack stops talking focusing on the movie.
If he really focuses on it, Lance can see the similarities between the Altean movie and one of the ones his abuelos kept hidden from him as a kid since it wasn’t ‘suitable for his age’. His siblings would always sneak it and watch it when they were supposed to be sleeping, so he’s seen it once or twice. Too bad this version is entirely in Altean; he can’t understand a word of it, and he doubts any of the others can understand, besides the Altean Beta and Omega.
Soon enough, though, he can hear the snore of the rest of the team when they each pass out. Coran first, then Hunk, who’s currently leaned up against his side. Pidge and Allura dozed off around the same time, and then Shiro. Keith has yet to pass out, but Lance is wide awake. He stopped paying attention long ago, letting his thoughts run rampant again.
He sees Keith’s head fall forward when he passes out, wobbling slightly. Shrugging, he turns back to the screen to watch however long is left of the movie. Then he feels weight on his shoulder and he flinches.
Eyes drift down and he finds Keith sound asleep against his side, breathing slow and even. His face flushes when he catches a whiff of Keith’s scent. It’s such a stupid cliché, but his heart stutters in his chest.
The Red Paladin shifts some, head pressed in the crook of his neck, shoulder against his chest. Lance wants to push him away so he doesn’t do anything stupid that he’ll regret later, but he just sits there. Without the normal glare on his face, Keith looks peaceful as he sleeps, soft snores leaving parted lips.
Adjusting his sitting, the Alpha goes to snake an arm around the smaller Omega’s shoulders and hold him close like he’s always wanted to do, until a thought stops him. Keith standing in front of Shiro’s pod after Allura rescued them from the mermaid planet.
He jerks his hand back, grinding his teeth together. Who is he kidding? With his luck, Shiro and Keith are together. There’s no chance for him and Keith.
But he can at least indulge in the other’s body heat for a little longer.
By the time he wakes up, the movie is over, screen dark and dull. No one else should be up as he glances around the silent room. His eyes land on Lance, the Alpha leaning over Keith’s face with something in his hand.
“Lance?” Shiro calls out groggily. “What are you doing?” He jerks back, tossing a marker over his shoulder. As he blinks the sleep out of his eyes, he can see random scribbles all over the Omega’s face and from the marker Lance just threw, it was probably his doing.
“I just…” the Blue Paladin laughs nervously before sighing in defeat. “Never mind, you saw it.”
“Is Keith sleeping?” Shiro can’t help but chuckle.
“Oh, yeah. He is.”
“Ah, I should’ve figured; it’s pretty obvious. Should’nt’ve asked, but it’s good he’s asleep. He seems like he’s got a lot on his mind lately.” Lance turns to him confused. “I asked him earlier what was wrong, but he refused to tell me. It makes me a little sad. I mean, I don’t want to know all his secrets; it’s his right to keep them to himself, but…” The Black Paladin knows he’s rambling, but he can’t find a reason to stop, mind still muddled with sleep as he voices his thoughts out loud.
“I don’t know, I just wish he’d trust me more.” The young Alpha doesn’t respond. From the look on his face, he’s obviously off in his own world. “You seem like you’ve got a lot going on in your mind too,” he says, catching Lance off guard again for the third time that night.
“O-oh? Really?” he stutters, avoiding looking at Shiro. If he had to guess, from the way both boys are acting, they’re dancing around each other. Both Alpha and Omega are oblivious to each other’s feelings and are too scared to admit it to the other. He can’t help the knowing smirk that spreads across his face. If he remembers correctly, it’s how him and Adam used to act before he got enough courage to ask the other Beta out on a date.
“You don’t have to tell me, Lance, but just know that I’m here if you need to talk to anyone.”
“Oh, okay.” Lance smiles at him, obviously still flustered that he was caught red-handed before he could finish a prank.
“Also,” he finds himself continuing the conversation. “This isn’t really important, but I figured you should know: you remind me a lot of my younger self.”
“Wait, what?!” The Blue Paladin’s jaw drops, staring at him as he continues talking.
“I used to be like you: young, adventurous, full of hopes and dreams, wanting to be someone that no one thought you could be. When I first attended at the Garrison, people looked down on me. ‘A Beta from a small island? He won’t last long being a pilot. He’ll give up one day.’ I felt unstoppable when I proved all them wrong.
“But then I learned about my illness. That didn’t stop me though, and I went on the Kerberos mission. Then I got kidnapped by the Galra. Those hopes and dreams, that fire in me slowly faded, and…” he glances down at the cyborg prosthetic that replaced his missing right arm. Catching himself before he says anymore, he turns back to Lance, sitting there wide-eyed as he listens.
“Anyway, I must say, seeing how you have that same fire and determination I once had, it’s honestly really inspiring. I may scold you a lot, but that doesn’t erase the fact that I respect you, Lance; as an Alpha and as a man.” Arms crossed, he smiles warmly at the Cuban boy. “You have so much potential, kid.”
“W-what was all that for?” Lance questions, clearly baffled at the amount of praise that just flew out of his leader’s mouth. The Black Paladin shrugs, leaning back against the couch.
“I honestly don’t know. It’s the middle of the night I just woke up. My mind’s still a little foggy and I want to get back to sleep. Besides that, care to help me carry everyone to their room? Doubt it’s gonna be comfortable sleeping out here.”
Both Paladins stand and stretch before Shiro helps pick Keith up for Lance to piggy-back him back to his room. The Blue Paladin flushes, adjusting his grip on the Omega before starting the trek to their room. Shiro can’t help but chuckle as he picks up the small Green Paladin.
Keith blinks slowly, the lights from his room blasting at full intensity as he wakes up. He pushes himself up on his… bed? Last he remembered, he had been watching the Altean movie with the rest of the pack, but he must’ve passed out at some point. Someone had to have carried him to his room, but who?
Raking his memory, he remembers very briefly waking up, legs not moving, but someone carrying him on their back. Arms were draped over a lean body, the smell of the ocean coaxing him back to sleep.
His face flushes. Lance had carried him back to his room in the middle of the night. He buries his face in his sheets, trying desperately to forget the memory, but it’s stuck in his head on repeat.
Sitting up, he walks to the bathroom so he can stick his heated face under the tap. Black lines on his face makes him do a double take, pushing his bangs out of his face to get a clear look. Random doodles cover his face in black ink. Any mushy, lovey dovey feelings he had not even ten seconds ago are replaced with rage as he bolts out the door, grabbing his knife from under the pillow.
“LANCE YOU SON OF A-”
Next chapter might also be a little delayed since I'm gonna end up doing a drabble thingy for Bleusacrelle's Last Sunrise contest. It'll probably go up on my instagram since I'm trying to make it pretty short, but I might cross post it on here. Who knows at this point?
Panels: 220 - 322 Words: 5455
Fuck me, I'm so sorry this took me over a month to finish. I had exams for school that fried my brain into oblivion and I had a trip I need to pack and prep for, so that was fun. I did a huge chunk of this this week and I'm finishing it at three in the morning but oh well. I'll check for typos in the morning. Hope you all enjoy and sorry again for the wait! I promise I'll try and find a decent upload schedule.
WARNING - There is some smut, but it's really really light. However, if you don't want to read it, just skip the italicized section at the beginning. Someone *coughcough*Gene*coughcough* wanted some smut, so I have delivered my poor excuse of a first attempt.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Hands on his body trace random patterns on his bare back, tracing the outline of the two-toned flesh from when Sendak attacked the Castle. His own hands grip at the hips below him, keeping them from pressing up as lips meet each other sloppily, kiss after kiss.
He’d question how he even got in this situation where he has a horny Omega pinned under him, but with whoever is below him sucking and biting at his neck and shoulders, hickeys dotting tan skin, he can’t bring himself to care.
Delicate fingers tracing his back make their way lower and lower, circling his ass and sending a shudder down his spine. His grips slips, grinding against the similar problem with the person underneath him, ripping a shaky moan out of both of their mouths. He slips a still-clothed knee between open thighs, pressing against the other man’s hardness as he runs his hands up and down pale sides, hands splayed to touch everything he can.
The Omega grinds down on his thigh, pleasured gasps leaving parted lips as he leans up, one hand finding purchase in Lance’s hair, locking him back in place with lips while the other drifts up his leg and hooking a finger in one of the belt loops with a gentle tug.
Pulling away, he shimmies his jeans off, kicking them somewhere in the dark. The black-haired Omega is sitting up by the time he hears his pants hit the floor. Arms outstretched and desperately pulling Lance closer, trapping them in another heated kiss. He stays standing, teeth clacking against each other as tongues explore.
His hands tangle in ebony hair when the Omega pulls away, indigo eyes blown wide as he starts trailing love bites from his neck down his chest, still staring right at Lance.
Teeth nip at his v-line, grabbing at the elastic of his boxers. He gently tugs at the black hair in his grip, encouraging the Omega to keep going. A smirk plays at the other man’s lips, fingers hooking under the waistband before slowly dragging them down until-
The heat in his room is what wakes Lance up suddenly. It’s almost unbearable as he rolls over to press his face into his pillow. The Castle’s cooling system shouldn’t be broken, as far as he knows. Groaning, he sits up, kicking the thick blanket off his body. It only makes the heat worse as he pants. He can feel how warm his face is, sweat trickling down his neck.
Groggily, he starts gathering his thoughts slowly, running through any possible situation where the room could even feel like a sauna. If the cooling system was broken, Pidge or Hunk would’ve come by to bug him about it. He could’ve left the heating system on, but he prefers to sleep in cooler temperatures just so he has an excuse to bundle up in blankets.
Taking a wild guess, he forces himself to wake up more before glancing down and – yup, he’s hard. He’d brush it off for just waking up with a boner, but with how hot he feels, he has an idea on what is probably happening. Sighing, he leans back, heaving a sigh and standing. He waddles over to the comm panel by the door, turning the automatic lock on before opening the comm link to the control deck.
“Hey, anyone there?” he pants, slumping against the wall. Dios, everything’s so hot he can barely think straight. Not that he was straight. He shakes his head at his own stupid joke, his own humor a little too much for him to handle in his current situation.
“I’m here, my boy,” Coran’s voice crackles through the comm. “What’s the matter?”
“Uh…” he trails off, wiping the sweat off his forehead with his free hand. This is normal for Alphas. A stupid but normal body process he has to go through. Nothing to be embarrassed about. “I don’t feel good. Think I’m going into a rut.”
“Oh, alright! Do you want anything? Do human Alphas make nests too? How long does your rut usually last?” The Beta-Altean fires off questions, obviously still curious about how human and Altean secondary genders differ.
The Blue Paladin swallows past the lump in his throat, answering off each question in the order he heard them. “I’m okay; don’t really need anything. Just warn Keith and Allura so they don’t come by my room. No, we don’t make nests. It’s really only an Omega thing for humans. Alpha ruts are longer than Omega heats, so I won’t be able to pilot Blue for at least two weeks.”
“That’s quite a long time, but we can figure it out. Definitely longer than Altean-Alpha ruts,” the other man marvels. “How often does your rut come?”
“Only once a year, don’t worry,” he reassures the orange-haired man. “You should worry about Keith, though. Human Omegas have heat about every three months.” With how much he’s mentioned Keith since the Red Paladin had his forced heat, it’s amazing no one has picked up on his crush on the Omega. Well, as far as he knows of, no one has any idea he’s completely head-over-heels. He’d prefer it if it stayed that way.
“Keith already informed me of that,” Coran says. “Anyway, rest well, Number Three. I’ll let the team know about your rut.”
“Thanks, Coran,” he sighs. “You’re the best.” The Altean has always been nice to him, even after their… interesting ways of defending themselves after they woke Allura and Coran up from the cryopods. He’s like the team’s weird, crazy Space Uncle. Like how Shiro is their Space Dad and Allura is their Space Mom.
“Always a pleasure to be of service, my boy.” The comm crackles off as he pulls his hand away, sitting back down on the edge of his bed. Now that he doesn’t have to worry about anyone from the team barging in, he can shower to try and make the heat die down.
Maybe he can figure out that weird dream he had while he’s at it.
Even if they were in empty space without the threat of being tracked by Zarkon, they always had to stay on their toes. Anything could happen at any moment. Allura would send out one of the Paladins every two vargas just to make sure everything was okay and there were no immediate threats.
Keith eases up on Red’s controls, the Lion slowing down some now that the Castle is a couple miles away. The radars scan for activity - distress signals or Galra ships – that could be in this sector of whatever galaxy the Castle is in. Though the days leading up to meeting with the Blade of Marmora have been almost eerily quiet. He’s never been one to stay still; always needing to move around and do something productive.
His eyes flick over the readings, groaning in frustration when they all come up negative. He flops back in his seat, Red’s purrs of reassurance nudging at his mind.
“I’m alright, Red,” he mumbles, patting the seat as if he could comfort the giant flying lion. “Just wish there was more to do instead of just waiting around until we get to the Blade of Marmora.” The Lion purrs again, urging him to talk about what’s been eating away at his mind for so long.
“It’s just,” he sighs, crossing his arms. “I wanna tell Lance about how I feel. I really do, but how can I? With that piled on top of Shiro wanting me to lead if he’s ever… There’s just no one to talk about this with. Allura and Coran are always working on the Castle or making plans for missions, Pidge and Hunk are constantly working on projects to help better Voltron, Lance is an obvious no-go, and I just can’t burden Shiro with my problems anymore. He’s already got enough on his plate.”
Another rumble from Red, worry slipping into their connection. “I know I should tell him, Red, but I just don’t want to lose anyone else. I’ve… I’ve already lost my parents and Shiro back when the Galra took him.” The words spill past his lips. He’s venting to a gigantic robotic lion, but they’re connected with each other despite Keith wanting to avoid forging bonds. Besides, Red is easy to talk with, even if he is temperamental at times.
Red whines, warmth seeping into the edges of subconscious as the stars move slowly by outside the Lion. Keith chuckles, resting his hands back on the controls. “I’ll be fine, boy. I’m used to being alone anyways. It’ll work out eventually. Besides, I’ve always got you I can come talk to.” The Lion roars, obviously elated at the affection before deciding to do a loop.
The Red Paladin laughs, the comms buzzing once before Coran’s face pops up next to the radars.
“Is everything okay, Number Four?” the Altean asks.
“Everything’s alright, Coran. Red’s just happy,” Keith says, a smile breaking its way through his normally stern expression.
Coran smiles back at him. “That’s good to hear! Are the scanners picking up anything?”
“Nothing at the moment, like it’s been for the past three days. I think I’ll head back to the Castle since there’s nothing.”
“We’ll see you when you get back then.” Coran goes to end the communication, but Keith stops him.
The Altean pauses, raising an eyebrow at him. “Yes, Number Four?” Keith cracks him knuckles, sighing before looking back.
“Would you…” he trails off, tightening his grip on Red’s controls. “You know how I’m an Omega, yeah? And how I don’t really smell like anything really unless it’s later in the ‘day’?” Coran nods in response, listening intently.
“Yeah, it’s ‘cos I, uh, I take Omega suppressant, but I’m almost out. Do you know if there’s any in the Castle?”
The orange-haired Altean thinks for a second, propping a hand on his hip as the other fiddles with his moustache. “I believe we have some in the med bay. I can find them while you return to the Castle. You’ll just have to meet me there so I can give them to you.”
“That works. I’ll probably be back in a few dobashes. See you then, Coran.”
The Beta-Altean salutes before the screen flickers out. The Omega sighs, spinning Red around back towards the Castle. He lands him in his hangar, the Lion lowering his head and letting Keith out with another warm purr. He walks back to his room, shrugging off his armor and pulling on his jacket before heading down to the cryopod chamber.
There hadn’t been any use for the med-bay since there were the healing pods, but the two wings were adjoined in case there was any malfunction to the pods, so said by the two Alteans. Allura said that it was mostly used now to store any medicines they may need, from Altean equivalents to pain relievers to suppressants.
He was crossing his fingers Coran could find the correct suppressants for him. He accidentally got Alpha suppressants one time at the Garrison and Shiro nearly murdered the pharmacists who gave him the pills. It was a horrible pain-filled experience he doesn’t want to live through again. All he remembers from that week was the constant nausea and vomiting, his Omega instincts screaming and clawing at the foreign feeling inside him, a fever wracking over his body despite the chills that kept cycling through, the itch under his skin that it just wasn’t right.
His footsteps echo around the currently empty pod chamber. The faint sound of objects being shifting around hits his ears and he turns to the room on his right, doors hissing open as he walks up to them.
He stares at the scene in front of him. Cabinets are thrown open, different vials and containers littered across the counters, storage containers with the lids off and contents disorganized. The Altean advisor currently is head-first in one of the crates, digging around and muttering under his breath. Keith fidgets in place, about to speak up and make his presence known when Coran shoot up, startling the Omega enough to have him reeling back a few paces.
“Ah-hah! Found them!” he shouts triumphantly, a clear blue bottle in the hand held over his head, contents rattling inside. Keith takes a second to steady his breathing before walking over to Coran.
“The Omega suppressants?” he asks, pointing to the bottle.
“Indeed, Number Four.” The Altean hands him the container, pills clacking together. “There should be enough in there to last you a while.” He turns the bottle in his hands, trying to read the Altean scribbles on the holographic label. Other than a few letters and the basic number system, he doesn’t know that much Altean. He can just make out what he thinks is an expiration date, eight numbers lined up next to each other. If it’s anything to go by, the suppressants expire in eight months, but he’s willing to take that chance.
The container opens with a pop and dumps one of the pills into his hand. Compared to the Garrison’s large, ovaloid yellow pills that taste like dirt, the Altean version of Omega suppressants are small and round, barely bigger than his pinky nail, and they’re filled to the brim of the container.
“Thanks, Coran. You’re a life saver,” he says, shutting the container with a snap. He swallows the pill dry, shoving the bottle into one of the pouches on his belt. The suppressants work fast; the clean cotton scent from the Beta-Altean slipping away.
“Always happy to help. Let me know if you need anything else,” Coran grins. The Omega nods, turning away and walking back to his room to leave the suppressants on his bathroom counter.
Gloved hands grip the sink’s edge as he stares down the drain, contemplating what he could do to pass time. He could run through more training simulations, but the memory of talking with Pidge after his heat surfaces. It’s been almost three weeks since he asked. Sighing, he rolls his shoulders and heads towards Pidge’s lab.
The doors to Green’s hangar open and he’s surprised the Alpha isn’t in there with her Lion. Normally, she’s with Hunk coding up some project or looking up information to find her brother and father, but the Green Paladin is nowhere near her Lion.
He takes one last glance at the Green Lion before spinning on his heels, heading towards the other place Pidge is commonly set up at. Footsteps echo dully around the empty halls, weaving through the Castle’s twists and turns until the doors to the library slide open. The Alpha looks over at him as the doors hiss, smiling at him and beckoning the Omega over.
“Oh, hey Keith,” she says, reaching behind her laptop and plugging a cord in. “You’re just in time! I was just gonna call you down here.”
“You’ve got what I asked for?” He tries not to sound pressing. He’s been waiting to get this information for ages.
Pidge chuckles. “With blood, sweat, and tears. Galran was a pain in the ass to translate. You owe me now, dude.” Pale fingers fly across the keyboard, typing away at something before unplugging a tablet. The Green Paladin sighs, leaning back in her seat before handing him the tablet.
“Alright,” he laughs under his breath, taking the unlit screen from her hand. “Thank you, Pidge.” As much as he wants to immediately turn on the tablet and read through the information, Keith knows he should wait. There are answers for him in the translated text and he’s buzzing with anticipation to find them, but he can feel Pidge’s gaze on him, cold and hard as she glares at him. He turns to leave, but the small Paladin’s voice stops him in his tracks.
“So… why do you want to know about Galran biology so badly?” the Alpha questions, arms folded across her chest as she turns in her seat to face him. He tenses, knuckles white as he grips the tablet in his hands, trying to steal himself to look unaffected by the question.
“That’s none of your concern, Pidge,” he says, voice steadier than he thought it’d be.
“Fine, fine, whatever,” she responds, waving him off and turning back to her screen, but continuing to talk. Deep breaths. He needs to keep his cool, neutral expression plastered on his face while he gnaws on the inside of his cheek.
“You know, Galran biology is interesting. A female Alpha can actually get pregnant, but the chance of miscarriage is a lot higher than the female Betas and Omegas. Their ruts don’t come regularly either; they have to be triggered. Galran Omegas have heat every three or four days every month. That must be the reason we’ve never met an Omega before. If their heat comes that often, they’d have to be well-protected.”
Right off the bat of Pidge’s rant, he can tell what hidden implications she’s implying. She’s smart; always has been and always will be, but it still surprises him every time she’s able to theorize and pinpoint evidence to back it up. It’s downright terrifying being on the receiving end of it all though as he glares at the door, the temptation to just walk out and leave overwhelming.
He hesitates before responding, still avoiding eye contact with the Green Paladin. “That… sounds sexist, but I guess it makes sense.”
The small Alpha hums, typing away at the keyboard before she pauses. “Why did you think Zarkon was tracking you?” Keith flinches, still staring at the floor.
“Why are you so interested in the Galra? Is there something on your mind I should know?” The glare Pidge levels him with sends chills down his spine, but he keeps his mouth shut despite the itch screaming at him to just open up to someone. He knows he’s stubborn and nothing will change that. So he takes a deep breath and holds his head up high, glaring at the wall.
“Good day, Pidge.” He turns and walks towards the doors and Pidge doesn’t stop him, even if he can feel her glaring daggers into his back. The tension melts off his shoulders as he gets a foot out the door.
Then the Castle shakes, something knocking the ship off kilter. Everything moves and shifts as he loses his footing, the floor slipping away as he falls back inside the library. He sees Pidge lose her balance on the chair as it tips back, landing with a harsh crash that gets lost in the rumbling.
Two seconds later, the power in the Castle goes out, leaving the blue glow of the emergency lights burning through the darkness. He glances at Pidge and she looks right back. Something happened between patrols and two of the Paladins have no idea what’s going on.
Cold water sprays across his face as he tries to combat the stifling heat his body is producing. Everything feels like it’s on fire, nerves buzzing under his skin for some sort of relief. It’s only two weeks in his sweltering room in the constant need to rut up against something for pleasure so he doesn’t jump anyone who walks past his room. What could possibly go wrong?
His mind wanders back to the lingering haze of his dream, trying to sharpen the details on what he’s missing and who his brain decided to make him fuck so he’d start his rut off with a bang. All he can remember is soft lips on his and high-pitched whines from whoever was underneath him.
He runs a hand through his short hair, face under the shower spray as he concentrates, trying to not let the dream slip from his fingers. His mind helpfully gives him flashes of soft pale skin, dark hair tousled from hands constantly carding through it.
Indigo eyes stare back at him and he reels back, hitting the wall and breathing heavily as he tries desperately to forget what he was trying so hard to remember, but now that it’s in his mind, he can’t get it out. He feels his dick twitch in interest at the false memories and he panics, forcing himself to try and think other thoughts and failing miserably.
He had a sex dream about Keith. Oh, dios, what is wrong with him? His face flushes despite the freezing water running and he feels the arousal go straight down, pooling warmth in his stomach.
Shaking hands grab the valve that shuts off the water flow, stepping out of the shower. The need to find Keith, inhale his scent, and fuck him senseless keeps growing as he tries to repress the dream. He’s so much better than just jumping some random Omega whenever his rut decided to hit full force. Usually it’s on the second or third day his body decides that he just absolutely needs to find some sort of relief.
Distracting himself with routine instead of focusing on his stupid rut musk, he towels himself off, shrugging on his clothes. He catches himself twice thinking about the purple galaxies and ivory skin before he reigns himself back in, concentrating on washing the moisturizer off his flushed face.
Stupid rut, stupid thoughts, he chides himself, glancing up at his face before the Castle suddenly lurches to the side and knocks him off his feet. His head jerks violently to the side as it collides with the countertop, sending sharp waves of pain through his skull and making him fall face-first to the floor.
“What the fuck?” he pants under his breath, grabbing the edge of the bathroom door and pulling himself forward. It still feels unbearably hot, but he pulls himself upright, wobbles towards the door. He jumps when the power abruptly goes out, leaving him confused in the blue glow of some of the emergency power strips that are constantly running.
Even with the room dark, the door still opens when he walks towards it. The pack probably isn’t anywhere near his room, but that doesn’t stop him from calling out to them.
“Is anyone here?” he yells as best he can, sweat running down his back. When it comes to heats and ruts, people aren’t supposed to really move around for long periods of time unless they want to end up passed out on the floor or accidentally picking up some stranger to help them through. But the Blue Paladin pushes through, shuffling through the halls so he can try someone who can explain what’s going on.
His feet drag him in the general direction of the lounge, too focused on staying upright to notice anything around him slowly whizzing by. It’s almost too much physical exertion, breath coming out in quick pants as the heat around him starts to suffocate him again.
Then he picks up the scent. Warm, rich coffee like his mami would make him with just a hint of vanilla she’d sprinkle in. There’s something else mixed with it; a flower from what he can tell, but nothing like any of the plants back on Earth. He has no control over his body as it turns back the way he came, eyes hazy as focuses on the scent. He knows who it is.
“Allura..?” he calls out, voice weak as his feet propel him backwards, negating any plans he originally had with the overwhelming need to find the Altean-Omega. His body weaves through the halls, his mind not registering anything. There’re two voices, growing louder as he gets closer to Allura’s scent. He can barely make out any of the conversation through his rut haze and scent coma, not absorbing any of the words said.
“It’s… something. It’s not bad, but it’s very disturbing. It almost smells like your scent when you were in heat, but it’s stronger; more prominent.”
“Wait, shit… Then that mean… We need to go right now!”
A yelp, the voices getting closer. “Go? Is it about the smell?”
“Yes, it’s Lance!”
“Lance? What about him?”
He hits something solid, arms instinctively gripping onto shoulders so whoever’s in front of him doesn’t fall over. Allura’s scent is still there, lingering farther back from the person in his arms. Face flushed, he pulls back some, looking at the Paladin in his arms.
It snaps him out of his scent coma as he jerks back from the Omega in front of him, panic washing over him as Keith stares back at him wide indigo eyes.
The shaking stops almost as soon as it began, emergency lights pulsing slightly as Keith shifts his hands under himself and pushes off his face. He glances around, the tablet flung a few feet in front of his, screen cracked as the orange light flickers on and off before dying out completely. It’d be more concerning if he wasn’t panicking from what happened.
Pidge lays a few feet in front of him, hissing slightly as she tries to sit up, glasses askew on her face. He scoots over, the tension from not even a minute ago melting away as he rests a hand on her back and helps her sit all the way up.
“You okay?” he asks, giving the small Alpha a once-over, checking if she’s okay.
“Yeah,” she groans out, rubbing her temples and wincing. “Hit my head on the floor, but I’ll be fine.”
Static crackles somewhere in the room before he hears Coran’s muffled voice. “Pidge? Can you hear me?”
The Green Paladin reaches behind her, grabbing the hand-held communicator that everyone should be carrying on them; his was on one of the ledges in his room. She clicks it on, leaning on her free hand as Keith puts a hand on her shoulder to help support her.
“Loud and clear, Coran,” she responds.
“Great! Where are you?” the Beta-Altean sighs in relief.
“With Keith in the library.” Pidge glances over at him, fixing her glasses so they rest evenly on her face. “What happened?”
“Did we get attacked or something? I didn’t see anything on my patrol when I was out,” he asks.
“It was Muchou!” Coran shouts, panic dripping from his voice. The Omega looks over at Pidge confused, the same expression on her face.
“Mushu?” he mutters, still trying to figure out how an alien creature would be named after an old movie character.
“We don’t have much time!” Hunk shouts, voice growing softer and louder, most likely pacing to get rid of the nervous energy he’s built up. “Are you guys trapped in the library? Please tell me you aren’t.”
“We aren’t, Hunk, don’t worry. The doors are stuck open,” Pidge soothes they Yellow Paladin on the other end. “You guys are trapped?”
“Unfortunately.” Shiro’s voice crackles through the small comm. “That… thing is going destroy and possibly eat the Castle from what Coran’s told me if we don’t hurry. Pidge, we need you here to help Hunk with getting us unlocked from the bridge. Can you do that?”
She nods. “Easily.”
“Perfect!” the Altean claps. “And Keith; we need you to go find Allura and both of you should meet us on the bridge as quickly as you can so we can figure out how to handle this. I was expecting her to have her communicator on her, but apparently not.”
“Yeah, I can do that,” he says, shifting so he’s sitting on his knees. “But what about Lance?”
“Quiznak, I forgot! Lance told me while you were on patrol, Keith. He’s in rut, so you’ll need to be careful.” He feels his mouth go dry, a fresh wave of panic washing over him. This is going to be a problem if he’s for some reason up and walking around instead of staying in his room.
“I don’t know how intense human ruts are, but judging by your heat, I think we should be worried about it. I’ve been trying to contact him so he’ll stay in his room, but he’s not responding. Why does no one keep their communicator on them?!”
He swallows the lump in his throat, standing up and throwing a glance at Pidge. “I’m on suppressants, so I’ll be fine, but I’ve got a feeling I should go find Allura right now.”
“Be careful, Keith,” Shiro says, and the Red Paladin can hear the worry in his tone. Pidge stands up, giving him a nod before he turns and books it out of the library.
Breathing heavy, he runs up and down the halls, calling out the Princess’ name. The Castle is huge; it could take him ages to look for Allura on his own. If everyone else wasn’t stuck on the bridge, it’d be a much faster process. It’d be better if that stupid alien didn’t attack them either.
He leans against one of the walls, panting as he tries to catch his breath. There isn’t enough time. Licking his lips, he pushes off the wall, cupping his hands around his mouth.
“Allura! Your mice are stupid!” the Omega shouts, pausing for a few seconds for a rampaging alien to come charging at him. Nothing happens.
“Allu-” he calls out for her again, but sharp clanging noises cut him off. Relying on his hearing, he follows the sound until he’s standing in the hall that leads to the training deck. He walks to the doors, ready to push his hand on the lock despite the power being out when one of the training swords slams through the crack between the adjoining doors. The blade stays as he reflexively jumps away from it, blinking owlishly at it.
“Allura? Is that you?” he asks.
“Keith?” Allura’s voice is muffled behind the doors, but it’s her. “Oh, thank the Ancients! Please help me with the doors.” The Red Paladin nods, even if she can’t see him as he walks closer to the door.
“Do you think you can twist the sword? It’ll open the doors wider so I can get a better grip and then we can pull them open,” he says, trying to wedge his fingers in the thin crack.
“Alright, on three.” She counts off before twisting the blade, the doors opening up enough that he can press his palms against the inside, slipping his foot between just in case. Allura drops the sword, reaching above his hands and helping him struggle to push the doors open. Soon enough, the Altean-Omega’s strength kicks in, hands crushing the sides of the doors as she forces them open. He flinches back as the Princess levels him with a glare, ponytail whipping behind her as she walks up to him.
“Keith, how dare you call my mice ‘stupid’!”
“So, you heard that, huh?” he scoffs, crossing his arms. At least he was able to find her easier. “’Thank you for helping me, Keith.’ Sure, Princess. Not a problem,” he mocks, not really that irritated, but more on edge from everything that’s happened.
Allura groans, rolling her eyes at him. “You and your charming personality. Anyway, what happened? I was in the middle of training when the Castle started shaking and then everything went dark. Did something attack us? Galra?”
“No, not the Galra,” the Omega shakes his head. “But Coran mentioned something called a ‘Muchou’?” He probably butchered the pronunciation, but from the wave of panic that crosses Allura’s features, she knows exactly what he’s talking about.
“Oh stars, then we need to work fast. Do we have a plan?”
“Yeah, we do, but there’s something you need to know first.” The Princess looks at him irritated, obviously buzzing with anticipation and ready to go help the rest of the pack.
“What is possibly more important than… Wait…” she pauses, sniffing the air and cringing. “What is that smell?”
He cocks his head, confused. “What smell? I’m on suppressants right now; I can’t smell anything.”
“It’s… something,” she shudders, placing a hand over her nose in an attempt to block whatever scent he can’t smell. “It’s not bad, but it’s very disturbing. It almost smells like your scent when you were in heat, but it’s stronger; more prominent.”
He feels himself stiffen in place as the realization hits him. The whole situation just got a thousand times worse. “Wait, shit… Then that mean… We need to go right now!” A gloved hand grabs Allura’s arm, dragging her towards the bridge, setting a fast pace to try and avoid what could be coming. He hopes he’s going in the opposite direction of the scent.
“Go? Is it about the smell?” Allura yelps, yanking her arm out of his grip and following behind him.
“Yes, it’s Lance!”
“Lance? What about him?” He’s practically running at this point, but they need to get to the bridge before-
His movements are abruptly stopped as he crashes into someone, their hands gripping his shoulders so he doesn’t tumble to the floor. He pulls away and is greeted with Lance’s flushed face, expression mirroring his panicked one. The Blue Paladin jerks away with a yell, throwing himself a few feet back, hands raised as Keith backs away some, holding an arm in front of Allura.
“¡Dios mio! Perdón, perdóname,” Lance shouts, flinching when he realizes he’s speaking Spanish and Keith has no clue what he’s saying. “Well shit… I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to-”
“Lance?” Allura cuts him off, shock and worry seeping into her voice. “What happened to you? Is that your scent?”
“He’s in rut,” Keith explains, sighing as he glances back at Allura. “That’s what I was trying to tell you.”
The Altean Princess whirls on the Cuban, taking a step forward to almost go comfort Lance, but the Red Paladin sees her think better of it, staying behind him. “Why didn’t you stay in your room?” she yells.
“I know I should’ve stayed in my room!” Lance retorts. “I just wanted to know what was happening and then I smelled you!” The Blue Paladin pauses, leaning against the wall, face flushed as he pants. “Sorry, it’s really hard to control myself right now. Can anyone tell me what’s going on? I’ll go right afterwards, I promise.”
Keith cracks his fingers, nerves on edge. Lance is obviously uncomfortable, being in rut and thinking that walking around the Castle was a good idea in his state. Someone needs to help him back to his room just to make sure the Alpha gets back safe. Allura is out of the picture since Lance could possibly jump her because of her scent, Pidge would go feral around him, and everyone else was stuck on the bridge. He doesn’t really have much of a choice.
“I’ll explain everything, Lance,” he says, walking slowly towards him. “But I think you need to go back to your room first; it’s not safe for you out here.” Once he’s close enough, he grabs one of Lance’s arms, slinging it over his shoulder, wrapping is free arm around his waist so he can support the Alpha while they walk back. He tries to ignore the churning of his stomach from being so close, taking a few deep breaths before turning back to the Princess.
“Allura, I’m gonna take Lance back to his room. The rest of the team needs your help on the bridge. Just make sure you tell them I got Lance.” Shiro is probably going to murder him for his choice.
“Understood,” she nods, turning towards the direction of the bridge. “Take care of him Keith.” He nods back, turning he half-helps, half-drags the Blue Paladin towards his room.
“Keith, I can walk myself back to my room,” Lance huffs in annoyance, shifting beside him. He rolls his eyes in response.
“Your face is telling a different story,” he mutters back, adjusting his grip so he can better support Lance. The Alpha turns, coughing into his hand for a few seconds before turning back. He sniffles, raising an eyebrow at him.
“Wait, why can’t I smell you?” Lance asks, breaths coming out in short pants, face rivaling the color of his jacket.
“Suppressants,” he responds bluntly, not sure how else to really explain it.
“Oh, makes sense,” he groans, leaning more into his side. “I’m thirsty…”
“Can’t you stay still?” he huffs, wincing at how harsh he sounds. Sighing, he tries again, softening his tone. “Want to stop by the kitchen first? Get something to drink?”
The Cuban nods. “Yeah, good idea. I forgot to stock food for my rut. It’d definitely be good to do that.”
They shamble down the hall, Keith squinting against the soft blue lights as he navigates them to the kitchen doors. Surprisingly, the doors are wide open even with the power out. He nudges Lance, urging him in the direction of the opened doors.
Just when they reach the doors, the lights flicker back on and he squints against the sudden burst of being able to see properly again.
“Huh, guess it’s good no-”
He spoke too soon. Almost as soon as the power’s back on, the Muchou crashes back into the side of the Castle with a loud bang, knocking the ship sideways. The Omega loses his grip on Lance, both of them falling into the kitchen. Lance lands on his stomach and Keith lands on his back, elbows propping him up so he can see when the power shuts off again. The doors slam shut, locking both Alpha and Omega inside the kitchen.
His eyes go wide, panic clutching at his heart as the room slips into darkness, blue lights flickering mockingly at him. This is bad. So bad.
OH MY GOD THIS TOOK ME SO LONG I'M SO SORRY! I traveled back home, started a DND campaign, been driving everywhere, stress for school starting soon, etc. etc. more bullshit excuses. But hey, we're at The Kitchen Scene™!! This part was so fun to write and holy hell the word count is flippin' huge. Crossing fingers that I can get the next chapter out much faster than 43 freakin' days.
Also, I don't usually say this because I feel it's redundant and I see it everywhere, but thank you so much for the kudos and comments!!! They make me feel really good about my writing and I'm so glad y'all are enjoying it!! Leave some if you want, they make me ERROR 404 every time I see one.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“It won’t open!”
“What?!” He feels his heart leap into his throat, sweat running down his face at the words as the metal doors ring with each contact made, pushing himself off the ground to stare at Keith in front of the sealed doors.
The last thing Lance expected was to get knocked off his feet, fall face first into the kitchen, the power shutting off, and the doors slamming shut. Here he was; trapped in the kitchen, in rut, with Keith banging furiously on the door as if they would open by some miracle.
“You stay there, Lance!” the Red Paladin shouts at him, grabbing his knife from its sheath and trying to wedge it between the shut doors. The blade bounces harmlessly off the metal doors, but Keith keeps trying, muttering curses under his breath.
Of all the situations he could’ve been in, this was the worst. It would’ve been so much better if he wasn’t in rut, but his body decided to fuck him over and it was only going to get worse from that point; he could feel it lingering in the back of his mind.
The Omega in front of him was on suppressants, but Lance can feel the sweet hint of chocolate chip cookies and marshmallows in the air, edging its way through and he knows he’s fucked. His Alpha instincts are riling up, clawing at his mind to just grab the Omega and take him right then and there, but he can hold himself back. For now.
“Just open, damnit!” Keith growls, slamming a hand on the door.
“Keith,” the Blue Paladin swallows thickly and rubbing a hand over his face. Keith turns to look at him, worry etched into his features. “I… my rut is getting stronger. You’re- you’re gonna need to re-take your suppressants. They’re starting to wear off and I’m starting to smell you…”
Despite the emergency lights shifting the tones to soft blues, he can still see how white Keith’s hand is from gripping his knife so tightly. “Hold on, Lance. I’ll get us out of here.” The Red Paladin tries to reassure him, but it just hits a nerve, frustration bubbling over.
“Stop it, Keith! That door isn’t gonna open, stupid!” he yells, hiding his face in his hands as the tears start flowing down his face. “I don’t know but we need to…” They need to do what? Everything is jumbled in his head and he can’t focus on anything long enough to come up with anything decent to help the two of them. He knows that he just needs to stay as far away from Keith as he possibly can so they reduce the chances of him trying to jump him, but even then–
“Lance,” Keith’s voice is caring and soft, guilt dripping from his words. It’s a tone he never thought he’d hear from the Omega, let alone directed at him, but his brain struggles to comprehend anything. “Lance, I’m s–”
“Tie me up.”
It’s a split-second decision. The Blue Paladin’s hands shake as he pulls them away from his face, glaring at the ground and grinding his teeth.
“What?!” Keith shrieks, eyes wide and horrified at his suggestion.
“FUCKING TIE ME UP RIGHT NOW BEFORE I ATTACK YOU!” he screams, emotions running high as he snarls at Keith. It’s the only option they have if they’re going to be stuck in here and he needs Keith to understand that.
The Omega flinches back a step, knife held defensively in his hand, fear and worry clear in his indigo eyes. Lance feels his throat constrict with guilt, a sob slipping past his lips. He doesn’t want to see Keith look at him like that ever, hands hiding both the black-haired teen from his vision and the tears streaming down his face from view.
“I’m sorry.” His voice cracks, shaking as his composure slips through his fingers. “I’m so sorry, Keith. Just… please…”
“…I’ll find some rope,” Keith mutters. Lance hears the Red Paladin sheath his knife, soft footfall echoing around the empty kitchen. When he knows Keith isn’t in front of him anymore, he drags his shaky hands down his face. He’s terrified of what could happen.
Now that some of the initial fear and anxiety has calmed down, he can feel the itching nag of release start to build up again, face flushing. He tries taking deep breaths to calm his nerves like how his familia taught him, but Keith’s scent keeps poking through the sterile air of the kitchen, making him squeeze his eyes shut to try and not focus on the sweet-smelling aroma.
Cabinets creak open and shut as the Omega rummages around. The Alpha bites his tongue, curling his legs up and resting his arms on his knees, burying his face in his arms to hide the hot tears of frustration running down his face. His mood switches on a dime when he’s in rut, which just adds to the frustration of being in this situation to begin with.
He should’ve just stayed in his room. Then Keith could be with the rest of the team, actually doing something to help the pack get them away from the problem faster instead of trying to take care of his sorry ass because he was dumb enough to wander out of his stupid room only because he didn’t know what was going on. Someone probably tried to contact the comm in his room to check on him and started panicking when he didn’t answer which probably led to a whole other set of problems involving the missing Alpha in rut and why the fuck he was wandering about when he could pass out anywhere in the Castle because of the physical exertion from walking around when he should really be in bed trying to take care of himself instead of–
Keith’s voice snaps him out of his self-deprecating thought train, head whipping up as ocean-blue eyes meet nebula-purple ones. Keith shifts from side to side in front of him, a cord of rope dangling from one hand and all Lance can feel is relief. One item off the horrendously long list of complications he’s managed to rope himself into.
Nodding, he shuffles over to one of the legs on the counter. It digs into his spine as he leans against it, but it’s gonna have to make do while they’re here. Wrists together behind the pole, Keith starts looping the rope around his hands and securing them, tying off the loose ends.
He can feel Keith lingering behind him, hesitating to move away. His voice is soft and worried as it cuts through the silence. “Does it hurt? Too tight?”
“No, it’s okay,” he shakes his head, testing the strength of his bound wrists to make sure there’s no way he can get out. “Thanks though. Now, just stay as far away from me as possible.” The heat starts creeping back in, sweat running down his face as he tries to keep his instincts in check, face flushed red.
Keith sighs. “Just want you to know; even if this is necessary, I don’t like seeing you like this…” He can’t help but chuckle. He knows Keith is trying to show that he cares, for some reason, but the stupid rut-haze is making everything seem like it has hidden implications.
“What? Is it making you feel kinkier?” he asks, trying to fake their normal banter for the sake of having some sort of normalcy.
“Ha, funny,” Keith mocks, though Lance can hear some genuine amusement slip through.
“Yeah, that’s me,” his voice is shaking, struggling to keep his thoughts rational and sane before everything fogs over. “Go sit on the other side. I don’t know how long it’s gonna be until I lose myself.”
“Wait,” Keith cuts him off, shuffling over towards him. His eyes go wide when the Red Paladin shrugs off his jacket, coaxing a hand him to sit forward some before slipping the cropped jacket around his shoulder. Keith’s scent clings to the fabric, sweet and filling his senses, taking the edge off of his rut.
“I don’t know if this works for Alphas too, but it worked for me and…” the Omega trails off, pressing his knuckles against the floor to support himself before Lance hears the pop of some of them. “Since you gave me your jacket while I was in heat, I figure maybe I should do the same for you, too.”
They slip into silence for a few moments, his heavy breathing filling the air as Keith looks him over. “…Is it helping?”
“Yeah,” the Alpha swallows past the lump in his throat, smiling at the other teen in front of him. “Yeah, it does help. Thanks.”
Keith nods, glancing at him once last time before walking over to the still sealed entrance to the kitchen. Pressing his back against the doors, he slides down, propping a knee up and resting an arm on top. Lance sighs, tilting his head against the counter behind him.
This is gonna take a while.
They’ve been sitting in the kitchen for who knows how long; Keith’s lost count of the minutes at this point. He can feel the cold metal of the sealed doors against his back, eyes closed as he focuses on his breathing instead of the anxiety trying to claw its way through, tapping a mindless rhythm against his arm. The silence in the room is deafening.
Lance has tried to keep up some of their usual banter, but it falls short with each new wave of his rut washing over, making Keith panic every time the Alpha tenses. Somehow, Lance had managed to curl up on his side, facing Keith and using his jacket as a pillow, arms still bound tight to the counter. Each of the Blue Paladin’s breaths are uneven; he’s clearly shaking just from how unsteady every inhale and exhale is.
Ruts and heats have their differences, but it’s the same basic principle for both Alphas and Omegas: getting ready from mating. He’s never seen the point of it. It’s always just been an inconvenience to him as he struggled through his younger years and throughout the Garrison. There was probably a pill or whatever on Earth that negated the effects of either, but it would’ve been expensive as hell.
His first heat was definitely an experience to say the least. It came later than most of the kids his age because he was anxious about living with Shiro and Adam and still grieving over his father even if it had been years since it happened. A few days into learning their routine and getting situated, he was hit with the first waves and he had no idea what was going on. He panicked, locking himself in the room that was given to him, refusing to let either of the Betas in because he didn’t understand what was wrong with him.
He remembers letting them in eventually and both Shiro and Adam helped him understand what was going on and how to deal with it. And then it was the rushed hospital visits after his heat ended 3 days earlier than what was normal.
The memory has him digging his nails into his skin, trying to derail himself from the thought train he’s boarded. He should be focusing on finding a way to get him and Lance out of the kitchen and back to his room.
“…Keith?” Lance’s voice cuts through the silence, wavering barely above a mumble but still clear enough the Red Paladin can make out what he’s saying. “Are you sleeping?”
“No.” His response is blunt, but it gives him the opportunity to shift his focus on the Alpha just to make sure he’s as okay as he can get in his state.
“Keith…” the Blue Paladin mutters, repeating his name over and over, fear laced in his tone that Keith isn’t there anymore, that he somehow managed to vanish, but it’s mixed with some other emotion he can’t put a name to.
He can’t help the small bubble of affection that breaks in his chest, a small grin working its way over his face. It’s happened once already while they’ve been stuck. Even if it’s most likely not meant to be heard this way in his presence, he likes hearing Lance say his name. Let him indulge in the possibility the Alpha could like him back before rational thought takes over.
“Yes, Lance. I’m here,” he reassures.
The Blue Paladin’s words are slurred and incoherent, muffled by Keith’s jacket and his pain. He can vaguely make out his name being repeated again and something that he has that Lance can’t stand. Anything else is lost in the mumble.
“Okay, what the hell are you saying?” he asked, mildly concerned from how much Lance is shaking and how red his face is. The position he’s in is bound to be uncomfortable at this point. His hair is plastered against his forehead, sweat and tears running down his face and Keith wants to help him, but he doesn’t know how to. There’re his instincts pestering him about that option, but he won’t go there, unless by some miraculous turn of events Lance ends up consenting to it if he had the guts to ask at all.
“I don’t know anymore, dude,” Lance groans out, shoulders scrunched up to his ears. “My dick is burning me alive and I’m trying to distract myself from the pain? But seriously, how can you wear a mullet and it still looks good? And why are you so talented, like, what the hell?”
He catches himself mid eye-roll, ready to tell Lance for the umpteenth time that it’s not a mullet but an amused snort leaves his lips instead, otherwise staying silent as the Alpha continues to rant about nothing. Shifting slightly, he crosses his arms and rests them on top of his knees, resting his chin on top as he keeps watching Lance’s form.
“You make everything seem so easy. How the hell did you even manage to get a ten-out-of-ten on every exam? All the instructors complimented you all the time. It was annoying.”
“Is that why you claimed me as your ‘rival’?” he butts in, genuinely curious on why the one-sided rivalry even happened. He remembers seeing Lance in his classes at the Garrison, but that was after he dug up those repressed memories.
Lance jerks up, still laying down but glaring daggers at him. “No! Well, yeah, it’s part of it but…”
“The first time we met, I tried to be your friend. It was after a simulator run or something; I can’t really remember right now. Went up to talk to you and you brushed me off like dirt.”
“What?!” He… doesn’t remember that. It feels like ages ago he was first enrolled at the Garrison. He should remember that, remember that first interaction with Lance, but he’s punching himself in the gut for letting that be lost in the abyss of his mind.
“Nah, you wouldn’t remember it,” Lance continues, voice shaking but words still clear and easy to understand. “I was just really hurt, man. So, I tried to distract myself from it by making you my rival. I wanted to beat you at something, ‘cos maybe then you would’ve noticed me and talked to me, but as you can see, I never succeeded. Plus, Iverson and all the other instructors looooved to compare us and how much shittier of a pilot I was after you got kicked out. So yeah… I’m kinda jealous.”
“I… I never knew…” Keith swallows the lump in his throat, feeling the guilt wash over him. A thumb wraps around his finger before he pops the joint. “Is that why you hate me?”
“No!” The Blue Paladin sputters, looking away from him. “I never hated you! Where did you get that idea?! I just–I don’t know–I’m just being petty? But I never hated you.
“Actually…” he pauses, hiding his face in the fabric below him. Keith waits, lets Lance get his thoughts together. Thinking is hard sometimes when your brain is muddled with hormones. “I… I really think you’re so damn amazing. At everything. Looking at you is like looking at the sky; no one can touch you. You don’t even have to say it, but everyone knows you’re above us, like you’re in a class of your own.
“And you’re… really beautiful…”
The Omega’s face starts heating up. There’s no fucking way, no way in fresh hell this could possibly be happening. No way Lance could reciprocate his feelings.
“What… what are you talking about?” he questions. The logical part of his brain is telling him that Lance is too deep in his rut, mind foggy and grasping at straws. He even said he could smell him since his suppressants were wearing off. His scent could be affecting Lance, making him say this. But his gut is telling him to let the Blue paladin explain, let him see what could happen.
So he waits.
“Yeah, beautiful like a sun: sunrise, sunset, just the sun in general. Your eyes look like they have a friggin’ galaxy in them and you’re so full of energy to just kick someone’s ass and it’s awesome, but you’re really kind too. Like, I see you helping everyone when they’re in trouble without hesitation all the time. You remember that one time you threw a chair at one of the instructors after they were talking shit about Shiro for the hundredth time? That was pretty awesome too. Gosh that sounds so weird… But you really care about everyone on the Castle, hell you even care about me even when all I’ve done is be a dick to you and no matter how much I try to deny it,
“I’ve only found myself liking you more and more…”
He just sits there in stunned silence, the Alpha’s words washing over him, repeating in his head over and over.
“I like you, Keith… I really like you,” he pants out, body trembling and jerking. “Sorry, I shouldn’t have told you this… I know you don’t like me, I know. Just please don’t hate me… I just- just… I’m sorry I’m so, so sorr–”
“That’s enough!” he cuts in. “You have nothing to be sorry about! Even if I didn’t like you, I wouldn’t hate you just because you have feelings for me, okay?!”
Lance sits there, staring at him in shock. “You’re talking like… like you like back…”
“Because I am!” he yells, holding their gaze for a few agonizing seconds in silence, letting the words he let slip past sink in for Lance and himself. The Red Paladin shifts back from when he got onto his knees, not even realizing he was ready to get up and bolt over to Lance. Gloved hands fidget in his lap as he tries to piece together the jumbled thoughts in his head.
“Look. I like you too,” he says, face flushing even more. But he feels the smile edging its way onto his face. “You were never a dick to me. Sometimes, yes, you were pretty rude, but most of the time you’re nothing but supportive and kind. You’re- you’re a real gentleman with a big heart, god this is so cheesy what the hell am I saying? But, yeah, I… really like you too, Lance.”
The Blue Paladin sits there, still processing everything he just said, eyes wide. Keith waits.
“But… don’t you… like Shiro?”
“What?” The Red Paladin raises an eyebrow. That came out of nowhere. “Of course I like Shiro. He’s like my big brother.”
“You mean like…” Lance pauses and Keith can see the gears working in his head. “Like, normal kind or anime kind..?”
He sputters, running a hand through his hair. “Of course it’s normal kind, What the hell, Lan– Wait… You thought I like-liked Shiro?!”
“You two are so close with each other! You were always by his side back at the Garrison!”
“That’s because he’s my guardian and supervisor and the only person I felt close with!”
“Oh my god, I’m an idiot!” Lance says, a broken laugh slipping through.
“Yes, you are!” He can’t help the burst of laughter that joins Lance’s. He likes Lance, and Lance like him back. There’s no way this is real. The thought leaves him smiling.
“I feel so happy right now…” he sighs, flopping back onto Keith’s jacket. “Why did it take us being in this situation to confess to each other? I should’ve asked you to hang out, find some nice restaurant, maybe a nice view and confess to you, make it all special and romantic and shit…”
He can see Lance’s expression shift from the happiness and relief back to pain and fear. “This isn’t good at all, and… now I want you even more. I don’t regret confessing to you but… it shouldn’t be in this situation, not with I’m like this. God, I really want you now… I… Keith… Keith, Keith. Keith.”
It hurts seeing Lance like this. It hurt before, but knowing now that both of them confessed and feel the same way for each other, it hurts even more. He wants to help him, wants to get rid of the pain. And there’s really only one way. His nails dig into the leather of his gloves as he looks at them. Is he really ready to do this? Biting his lip, he sighs, peeling his gloves off.
Shiro is going to murder them.
Standing, he walks over to Lance, face red as he sets his gloves on the counter, plopping down in front of Lance. The Alpha jerks up, eyes wide.
“W-What are you doing?!” he shouts as Keith leans closer. “Are you crazy?! Don’t come near me!”
“Let me help you, Lance.”
“I can’t stand seeing you like this any longer! And- and I want you too so… why the hell not?” He grabs at his jacket, shifting it to the side so he can get closer. He feels his face heat up even more.
“You- you must be getting affected by my scent. There’s no way you’d consent to this!” Lance shrieks, trying to shuffle away.
The Omega scoffs. “I’m on suppressants, remember? I can’t even smell shit right now.” He can’t believe he’s doing this right now.
Lance stammers, trying to protest.
“Lance, do you want this or not? Or… wait…” The realization has him reeling back, dread and embarrassment shaking him to his core. “Or that was your rut speaking and you didn’t- I’m so sorry! I should know better! I’m sorry I took advantage of you!” What was he thinking? Lance is still in rut, his instincts probably have a better grip on his than his coherent brain does, oh god, he feels so stupid–
“No! It- it wasn’t my rut talking!” Lance interjects, trying to shift closer to him, but his hands are still bound behind him. His expression is pinched with worry. “I really want you…”
“You’re sure?” He has to ask, know if Lance is still there enough to say yes to this, that he wants Keith’s help. “You’re in rut, Lance. Is this what you really want?”
“Well, I did say I’ve liked you all along so…”
It’s all he needs.
He unwraps the rope, angry red marks marring the Blue Paladin’s wrists from constantly shifting against the makeshift restraints. They were too tight; Lance should’ve said something about it., but at the moment, it’s forgotten about.
Slowly, Lance moves closer to where Keith’s sitting, giving him an opening to change his mind, but the Omega stays in his spot, heart hammering in his chest as he coaxes Lance closer by the shoulders. Hesitant arms wrap around him as the Alpha curls up to him, burying his face in his neck. Keith hugs him back, tentatively bringing a bare hand up to card through the short, disheveled locks.
Lance pulls back, their faces centimeters apart, breaths mingling with each other, faces flushed. He holds a hand between them, Lance reaching for it and locking their fingers together. Compared to his hands, calloused from training and worn from battle, Lance’s are soft and smooth, like anything harder than a soft squeeze will break the skin.
He doesn’t know who initiates it first. One second he’s lost in the depth of the ocean-blue eyes in front of him, the next their lips are brushing against each other, soft and hesitant, testing the waters.
Warmth rushes everywhere and he’s pulling back slightly, eyes fluttering open. The Alpha as the same awestruck look on his face before diving back in, free arm wrapping around the Omega and holding him close, kissing him with more confidence. Keith loses himself in the feeling, fingers finding the short strand at the base of his neck as he feels himself sinking deeper.
It’s sweet, the eb and flow, the push and pull of their lips slotted together, finding a slow, steady rhythm. Until Lance is pressing harder against him, releasing their intertwined hands and cupping his face, angling his head back and swiping his tongue over his lips, trying to swim deeper.
Keith groans, opening his mouth in invitation before wrapping his arms around Lance, dragging them closer together, pulling Lance on top of him as they fall back, completely enveloped in each other.
She hisses, sparks jumping out at her bare hands as she tries to solder the wiring back together. Hunk is so much better at building stuff than her, why couldn’t he just do this part while she works on re-coding the door? Because she was stuck on the side with all the parts they needed and passing things through the opening was downright impossible.
“You okay, Pidge?” The Yellow Paladin calls out to her.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” she huffs out, going back to trying to fix the damn door. “Just not used to soldering sparking wires and one got me. How did the Muchou even manage to do this?”
“Well, it’s actually quite an interesting concept, Number 5,” Coran says, voice muffled by the wall between them. “The Muchou feed off the Balmera crystals we use to power our ships. Since they can’t get close to the actual Balmera, they use our ships as a food source. I’m surprised one has even survived this long!”
Hunk blanches, staring wide-eyed at Coran, or what she assumes is the direction Coran is standing in. “So, wouldn’t that mean, like, it should still be attacking us?”
“As long as the ship isn’t emitting any energy, we should be fine. Though it could possibly still attack us trying to get to some of the pods.”
Footsteps echo in the hallways and Pidge turns, expecting to see both the Red Paladin and the Princess. Allura stops next to her, resting her hands on her knees as she catches her breath.
“Allura? Where’s Keith?” she asks, raising an eyebrow at the Altean.
“He’s… It’s better if I tell you all at the same time,” the Princess trails off, rubbing a hand over her face. “Why aren’t you with the others?”
“The doors are jammed shut.” The Alpha points over her shoulder at the still sparking panel and sealed doors. “Do you know any way to open them with the power off?”
“There is one way, but Coran isn’t going to like it…”
Pidge cocks her head to the side, confused. “What do you mean, ‘Coran isn’t going to–’” She doesn’t even get to finish her sentence before Allura is running past her, throwing her body weight and then some into the doors, denting them in enough so there’s an opening for her hands to fit through. Hunk and Coran scream at the crunch from the doors bending enough to create a suitable opening.
“Ignore my question, I see what you mean now,” she says, pushing up her glasses as she follows Allura through. The pack minus Keith and Lance are littered about the room; Hunk is still by the sparking panel, staring wide-eyed at the Princess, Shiro stands off to the side, sighing in relief as the walk through, and Coran is sputtering as he points at the doors.
“Princess!” the Altean shrieks, but Allura holds up a hand, quieting her advisor.
“I’m sorry, Coran, but it was the fastest way to open the doors with the power out,” she says sympathetically as the rest of the group wanders over to them. “Unfortunately, the training deck doors might need repair as well.”
Coran goes to protest, but Pidge sees Shiro’s eyes widen as he looks around at the group, taking account of everyone there. She tenses.
“Allura,” the Beta says calmly, trying to hide the tension in his voice, but some of it slips through. “Where’s Keith?”
The Omega-Altean tenses beside her, weaving her fingers together as she keeps her gaze trained on the floor. Sighing, she looks up at their pack leader apprehensively. Keith’s whereabouts can’t be good if the Princess is scared of Shiro’s reaction.
“He’s…” she trails off, biting at her lip. “He came to find me and we were headed this way, but Lance had wandered out of his room and Keith had offered to help him.”
“He did what?!” Shiro roars, making everyone in the room flinch. Shiro never gets mad; he’s always calm and collected. But it makes sense. Keith’s obviously close with him and an Omega. Lance is an Alpha, in rut on top of that. It’s not hard to deduce what could possibly happen between the two.
“Keith said he’d be fine! He told me he’s on suppressants and just going to take Lance back to his room before coming back!”
“They could wear off at any point, Princess, and then what happens?! Lance is in rut, there’s no telling what he could do to Keith!”
“Give Lance more credit than that, Shiro! I’m sure he’ll be able to keep himself in check!”
It’s like watching two parents argue back and forth, voices loud and echoing around the bridge. It’s rare to see Shiro angry, but it’s even rarer for Shiro to raise his voice at anyone, let alone Allura. Pidge looks over at Hunk, biting at her nails. She wants to step in, but knowing her, she’s going to get frustrated and end up yelling. Alpha Voice would not be good in this situation.
The Yellow Paladin glances over at her and she nods over at the Paladin and Princess arguing. He gets the silent message, walking over to Shiro and placing a hand on his shoulder.
“I know you’re worried about Keith, Shiro,” Hunk says, drawing the Black Paladin’s gaze towards him. “But trust me when I say he’ll be fine with Lance. I’ve known him since we were study partners at the Garrison. He’d never… y’know? He knows how to keep his instincts suppressed and knows the steps to make sure that Keith won’t get hurt. Have faith in him.”
“The faster we can come up with a plan and get this creature out of the way, the faster we can get to Keith,” she states, trying to ignore the bitter taste in her mouth. The Red Paladin was up to something. She has her theories and the evidence was there, but she doesn’t want to assume anything without direct confirmation from Keith.
Shiro casts a glance at the busted doors behind her, sighing in defeat and nodding. “Alright, let’s figure out how to deal with this. Coran, Princess, anything you can remember about this Muchou?”
“I remember my father telling me about the Paladins of Old encountering one during an escort mission,” Allura says, walking over to the dead controls. “But it’s been so long since I heard the tale.”
“From what I can remember,” Coran butts in, resting a hand on his chin as he thinks. “King Alfor mentioned that it had blind spots they could hide in while they distracted it enough to let the ships pass. It’d be much easier to show you where they are, but for now, you have to stay underneath it and aim for the spots between its scales. That should cause enough of a distraction for us to figure out a way out.”
“What if I go down and fix the power?” she mentions. “I’ve done it before when Sendak raided the Castle back on Arus. Well, I shut off the power, but if I had instruction, I can get it done.”
“I’m going to have to reboot the systems from here, so I can give you directions, Pidge,” the Princess says.
“But that would only leave us with two lions distracting the Muchou,” Hunk states nervously.
“Once the Castle’s systems are back online, I should be able to give you back-up with the defense system.”
“Coran, how’re repairs going with the Teludav?” Shiro asks.
“I still need time to replace the broken lenses and recalibrate the system. I’ve already changed some of them out, but if we were to use it, I’d need to adjust the cracked ones. Even then, we might not be able to wormhole away.” The Beta-Altean fidgets with his moustache.
“It’s a risk we’re gonna have to take,” the Black Paladin sighs. “Alright, team. Hunk and I will distract it for the time being while Pidge goes down to the main engine room and start the Castle back up; she’ll join us when she’s done. Once the systems are online, Allura can provide support while she finds cover. Coran, you’ll go down to the Teludav and hopefully fix it enough we can wormhole away from it. If Keith come us, send him out so he can help.”
The pack nods, running off in different directions. The Alpha hastily scrambles to her room, slipping into her armor and slapping her helmet on before running down to the engine room.
Her feet echo along the catwalk, sound bouncing against the cavernous room. The blue engine core sits in the center, humming, but not harnessing the Balmera crystal’s energy. She walks over to the control panel, trying to tap the dashboard to life. When it doesn’t respond, she connects her suit to the panel, controls flickering to life on her wrist.
“Alright, Princess, I’m here,” Pidge mutters into the comm link, prying the metal sheet off the console, exposing the wire and circuits.
“Good.” Allura’s voice crackles through the comms. “Shiro and Hunk are distracting the Muchou now, and Coran should hopefully be adjusting the Teludav. Let’s get the power up and running again.”
The Omega-Altean guides her through the steps: adjusting wires knocked out of place, typing in different commands, inputting values, recalibrating the entire system, figuring out what has been touch and what’s been tampered with.
After Allura’s fourth attempt at restarting the engines, the core glows brighter. The Castle hums to life, lights brightening as Pidge and Allura cheer. The Alpha can feel the ship start moving as she disconnects her wire from the console and replacing the panel. She gets up, letting Shiro and Hunk know that she’s on her way to help them distract the creature so Allura can open a wormhole.
But the ship is knocked off-kilter again. Shaking and rumbling, parts of the ten-thousand-year-old shifting and falling from above. The power starts flickering out again as a metal panel falls toward her. She dives out of the way, but not before the Muchou crashes into the Castle again, throwing off her balance.
Pidge grips desperately onto the edge of the walkway, trying to pull herself up, but one hand slips.
She tries to jetpack up, but the Muchou rams into the Castle again, the entire structure shaking and she loses her grip, tumbling further and further down to the floor.
Her arm aims up, bayard in hand as the wire attachment shoots out, blade embedding itself to the walkway. She jerks to a stop, arm burning, but she’s not splat on the floor. The Castle stops shaking, power shutting off again. Sighing in relief, she starts jetpacking her way back up to the catwalk. Her boots tap against the metal floors as she lands and breaks out into a sprint, tapping her comm to life.
“Guys!” she shouts, using her jetpack to boost her to Green’s hangar. “I’m coming out to help!”
“But what about the power?” Allura asks.
“I can get it working again,” Coran responds. “Not all the lenses are in place, but it’s another risk we’ll have to take. As long as we can make a jump somewhere.”
“Alright, let’s hope it works. I’ll contact you all once we’re ready to wormhole.”
There’s a mutter of acknowledgment across the line as she hops into Green, shooting out of the hangar and into open space. She can see Black and Yellow zipping around, and she finally gets a glimpse at the Muchou. Dark green outer scales coat the creature’s body, underbelly exposed. Four sets of eyes line the ridge across its front, two fins protruding from its side. Its body narrows out into a tail, violently thrashing at the two lions as they try to get close.
She aims at one of the eyes, firing a blast at it, distracting it enough to let Hunk navigate away from getting swallowed. Black and Yellow Lions settle next to hers, Shiro and Hunk’s faces poping up on her screen.
“We need to draw it away from the Castle to give Allura and Coran enough time to get the power on again!” Shiro says, diving down towards the Muchou’s eyes and flying around in odd patterns to get its attention.
“Did you guys find any weak spots?” she asks, avoiding the tail trying to swipe at her and firing another barrage laser at the soft flesh underneath its massive body.
“Eyes, in between some of the scales, parts where the fins and body meet,” Hunk lists off as he slams Yellow into the Muchou’s side, trying to push it off course. With her, Hunk, and Shiro, they’re able to direct its attention away from the Castle. Dodge, attack, push someone out of the way, rinse and repeat until Allura’s face flickers to life on her dashboard.
“Paladins, we’re ready!” Allura shouts. Pidge pulls up the camera feed angled at the Castle, wormhole sparking to life and holding steady.
“You heard the Princess! Let’s go!” Shiro yells, Black dodging another tail swipe from the Muchou and darting off towards the wormhole. Firing one last shot, she spins Green around to the wormhole, diving straight through behind Yellow. Her cameras show behind her Lion, the Muchou trying to catch up and go through the wormhole, but it closes just before it can get through.
She sighs the second the wormhole deposits them somewhere away from the creature, releasing Green’s controls from her death grip. None of them got separated this time, but more of the Teludav lenses probably cracked from the jump.
Once they finish a head count, the three Paladins pilot their Lions back to the Castle and head back to the bridge, lights on and bright. Allura stands at the console, flicking through the Castle’s systems for any damage. She smiles at them as they walk in, Pidge pushing her glasses up her face.
“Great work, Paladins! We managed to make the jump without any structural damages, but the Teludav might take a little longer to repair,” the Princess says, walking over to the group.
“With Lance in rut, the extra time might be helpful,” she states, adjust her helmet in her grip. “Don’t want to go charging into the Blade of Marmora’s headquarters with a horny Alpha on board.”
“Speaking of Lance, any word from him or Keith?” Shiro asks, tension thick in his voice. He’s probably been worried the entire time they were out distracting the Muchou.
Allura tenses, avoiding looking at any one as she speaks slowly. “Unfortunately, I haven’t heard anything from either of them.”
The helmet being thrown across the bridge and clanging against the wall makes them all jump. Eyes wide, she glances at Shiro. The Black Paladin is practically seething, clenching and unclenching his fists. His movements are jerky as he turns, stomping towards the door.
“Shiro, calm down!” Hunk yells, trying to stop the other Beta from leaving.
“Not now, Hunk!” The doors shut behind him, loud in the silence their leader has left them in, footfall echoing down the hall.
The first thing he notices is that he’s warm, almost unnaturally so even with the cold floor underneath him. Then it’s the arms around him and his arms looped around Lance, bare legs twined together. Then he notices the smell; waves crashing against the shoreside during a storm that should make him terrified, but he finds himself relaxing as it washes over him. He nuzzles closer, trying to fall back asleep when he hears the thud of footsteps.
He squints against the lights, body slowly waking up. The team must’ve fixed the power while they were sleeping. But who the hell is stomping through the hal–
“Keith! Where are you?!”
Any fatigue leaves his body as he bolts up, Shiro’s voice muffled by the door.
“Keith! Answer me if you can hear me!”
One last glance at the Alpha to make sure he’s still asleep before he’s scrambling to sit up. He grabs at his shirt, but Lance is laying on it and Keith doesn’t want to wake him up. Lance looks relaxed, peaceful even, like he hasn’t seen the horrors of an intergalactic space war and being ripped away from his family just because he was chosen. He reaches a finger out to brush away some of the bangs across the Blue Paladin’s face, trailing it over his cheek and he can’t help the fondness squeezing his heart.
Shiro’s steps getting louder jerks him out of his actions, picking up Lance’s shirt and tugging it over his head. It’s loose, but it’s comfy and it smells like Lance. The Red Paladin gets up to put on his briefs when his knees buckle under him and he crashes into the counter, legs and back sore and stiff. His face flushes, memories flashing through his head. He’d look for pain meds, but there’s no time with Shiro getting closer and closer. He’s just going to have to suck it up.
Somehow, he manages to stand up, legs shaking but he’s upright nonetheless. He hisses at the pain, but he gets his underwear on. Shiro’s footsteps stop and he books it to the doors just as they slide open.
“Keith, are you i–!” His arms are splayed wide to block the sleeping Alpha from Shiro’s view, panic running through his veins.
“Oh hi, Shiro!” he says, voice wavering. “May I help you?” They sit there in silence, Keith biting at his lip in hopes the Beta won’t notice anything. The initial look of shock morphs into relief.
“Keith! Thank god, I was looking for you everywh–” Shiro stops mid-sentence, sniffing the air and looking him up and down.
Oh shit. He’s wearing Lance’s shirt, the top low enough on him to see the hickeys blooming on his collarbones, he probably smells like Lance after everything they did, and the Blue Paladin is probably visible behind him.
The Beta steps forward, anger clear on his face, ready to charge Lance. “That son of a–”
“Stop right there, Shiro!” He’s jumping in front of the Black Paladin, jabbing a finger into his chest.
“What?!” Shiro manages looks confused, worried, angered, and shocked all at the same time.
“Whatever your stupid head is assuming isn’t true!” he hisses. “We both agreed to this, okay?” He knows how Shiro thinks and he has to confirm with him that, yes, he gave consent to do this. It’s how he gets when he’s in Big Brother mode; over-protective and over-analyzing every detail.
“You didn’t come to the bridge, we couldn’t contact you or Lance, and Allura said you were with him! What was I supposed to think?!” Shiro yells before sighing, rubbing a hand across his face. Keith crosses his arms in front of him and stays in front of his brother. “But… okay, you both consented, good. Then, as team and pack leader, I have to ask, what in heavens do you think you’ve done?”
“Um… Fuck?” He raises an eyebrow. Was that not obvious? The Black Paladin sighs again, resting his hands on his hips.
“You and your beautiful language. Well, you are nineteen; you can do whatever you want and I can’t interfere anymore. But, as your brother, I need to tell you: Lance is in rut, right? I’m not an Alpha, and I know he can’t think clearly in this state, but you need to talk to him after it runs its course, okay?”
The Omega pauses, tapping a mindless rhythm against his arm as he thinks. He’s got himself tangled in a messy situation. As long as he doesn’t mess up, everything should work out fine. Talking about feelings, though, that isn’t his strong suit.
“Yeah,” he mutters eventually, avoiding Shiro’s gaze. “Yeah, I will.”
“Good,” the Black Paladin nods, a sly smirk making its way across his face as he flashes a thumbs-up at him. “But, as a dumb friend: congratulations, Keith! You finally got the guy of your dreams, lost your virginity, and became a real man!”
He feels his face heat up as he tries to curl in on himself, glaring at the man in front of him. “Shut up, Shiro! No one wants to listen to you! And get out before Lance wakes up!” He pushes at his brother, trying to get him to move out the doors.
“I think you should move him into an actual room,” Shiro just keeps on talking. “This place isn’t the best for rut and I’m pretty sure Hunk and Coran are gonna kill you guys after this.”
“I’ll do it once he gets up,” he huffs, ignoring the last part. “Get out! Shoo!”
“Just make sure you come to the bridge this time after you take him to his room. The creature’s gone now and we need to discuss the situation and Lance’s inability to pilot Blue.”
“I’ll be there, don’t worry, just get ou–”
“Oh wait.” He’s going to punch Shiro one of these days. “Did you use protection?”
He pauses his shoving, crossing his arms again as he glares at the Black Paladin. “You know I don’t need that,” he mutters.
“I know, but STDs are still a th–”
“Jesus fucking– GET OUT!” Keith shrieks, pushing Shiro one last time until he’s out the doors, shutting behind the Beta before he can get another word in. He stays in front of the doors, listening as Shiro’s footsteps fade away. Sighing, he finally relaxes, only now noticing his legs quivering from standing for so long.
Shambling a few steps, he collapses against the counter, groaning at the soreness. It burns, but he doesn’t regret it in the slightest. Curious, he risks a glance down at his legs. Blooming purple hickeys and bruises dot along the insides of his thighs, disappearing under his briefs and circling around to his backside. His face flushes at the memory slips its way into his mind, heart stuttering.
A groan from below him makes him look over the counter down at Lance, frantically feeling around the floor. “…Keith?” The way he says his name is panicked and scared that he actually ditched the Alpha while they were asleep.
“Hey,” he says, shuffling over to Lance while using the counter to support himself. Lance grins at him, sitting up as Keith slides next him, grabbing his hand and squeezing. The butterflies flutter in his chest as he leans over and presses a kiss to his cheek. “Hey, Lance, I’m here.”
“Keith,” Lance mutters again, resting his head against his own. He leans into the warmth, content to stay right there for the rest of eternity. Affection is always awkward for him, but with Lance, it feels normal, comforting. A quick look up and down Lance has an odd sense of pride swelling in his chest; bruises and bites that he put there are littered around his chest, up his neck, and even down his arms.
“Yeah, that’s my name, don’t wear it out,” he chuckles, running his thumb against the back of the Blue Paladin’s knuckles. “How’s your rut?”
“Still cooled off for now. It’ll probably take a little for another wave to hit.” The Alpha pulls away, glancing at him worriedly. “Are you okay? Are you hurt? I think I went too hard with you, I’m sorry…”
His face heats up again, looking away from the blue gaze that snares him and tightens his grip on Lance’s hand. “It’s okay!” he squeaks out, fumbling with his words. “You didn’t hurt me, and uh… I liked it.”
Embarrassed, he hides his head in his hands, face warm to the touch. He just made everything so much more awkward, but there’s still things he needs to address, so he takes a breath before he continues, grabbing at his shirt now that the Alpha is off it.
“A-also: we need to move you to your room since you need an actual bed instead of whatever’s in here.” Lance nods, raising an eyebrow when the Red Paladin nudges him as he hands him his shirt.
“Is everything back to normal with the Castle?” Lance asks.
“Yeah, it is,” he responds, grabbing at the edge of Lance’s shirt, ready to pull it over his head when he sees the Blue Paladin perk up.
“You’re wearing my shirt?”
“Well,” his face flushes as he looks away again. “You were using mine as a pillow, so I didn’t really have a choice.”
“Oh. Well,” Lance trails off as Keith looks back at him. “Don’t take it off! It looks good on you!” His face heats up even more as they stare at each other as the words sink in. But then the matter arises.
“Wait, then what are you gonna wear?” he asks, resting his hands on his knees.
The Alpha fidgets with his shirt in his hands. “Um… if you wouldn’t mind, could I borrow your shirt?”
“No, I don’t mind!” he stutters. “Go ahead! I-I would love to see you in it!”
His poor heart can’t take more of this, pounding loudly in his ears as he falls backwards, covering his face and groaning. He hears Lance fall over, voice muffled. Even during his time at the Garrison, he was never intimate with people. This was a whole new experience and he has no idea what to do. It’s embarrassing.
“God, this is so weird!” Lance shrieks, face red. “Can we just go back to insulting each other back and forth like before?!”
“Don’t ask me!” he yells back, blindly grabbing at his pants. “I’ve never done this before, remember? Just put some clothes on so we can go to your room before the team murders us!”
“Yeah, yeah, good idea,” the Blue Paladin mumbles, trying to find the opening of the black shirt.
“Also,” he cuts in, crossing his arms and trying his hardest not to pout, face still burning. “You destroyed my bottom half. You’re gonna have to carry me.”
“Alright, alright.” Lance pulls his shirt over his head and Keith can’t help but stare at the shift of muscles under bronze skin before it’s hidden away. He turns away before Lance can see him staring, like it was a crime to just look at admire at the Paladin he did so much with a few hours ago. Either the Alpha doesn’t notice or doesn’t care, because he’s pressing against his side, shooting finger guns and winking at him.
“As you command, my prince~” Lance says over obnoxiously, waggling his eyebrows.
“Ew, no, don’t call me that again,” the Omega huffs, no real malice in his voice as he tries to shuffle into his pants without aggravating anything sore.
“Don’t like that? How about…” Lance pauses, shuffling over to grab his pants. It’s silent as the Blue Paladin thinks. He’s never had a pet name; they’ve always seemed weird to him. Though, Lance seems insistent on giving him one.
“Stop it or I’ll gut you,” he says, threat empty as he tries to contain the smile that slip through. The name makes him feel warm, and Lance smirks at him when he looks over at Keith, handing him his gloves.
With everything on and jacket it hand, he stands shakily, throwing out his arms to stay balanced. Lance is rushing over in a second, wrapping an arm behind his back, slinging his other arm over his shoulder. He almost starts walking with the extra support from the Alpha, but Lance surprises him by slipping an arm under his knees and lifting him up bridal style.
“Unnecessary!” Keith grumbles.
“You’re welcome,” Lance mumbles pointedly, starting their trek to the room in silence. As long as they don’t run into the pack, he won’t be more flustered than he already is.
“Hey,” the Blue Paladin says, adjusting his grip. He’s grinning smugly down at him, a glint in his eyes when Keith looks at him.
“We had a bonding moment. I cradled you in my arms.”
“SO YOU DO REMEMBER, YOU LITTLE–”
Lance stumbles as he fidgets in his grip, trying to grab at him and punch him. The fucker remembers. Of course he remembers. Why wouldn’t he remember?
“KEITH!” the Blue Paladin shrieks, avoiding the hands trying to slap at him. “¡Dios mío! Keith, I don’t wanna drop you– Ack! Stop trying to hit me! I was just making a joke, jeez! Uncle! Mercy! Good lord, Keith, if you don’t stop, I will actually drop you.” The Red Paladin huffs, crossing his arms and looking away.
The rest of the walk is spent in silence, an awkward tension hanging in the air as he refuses to look at Lance. On one hand, he’s glad that Lance remembers what happened before he was placed in a healing pod after Sendak ambushed the Castle. But on the other hand, it stings that he’d lied about not remembering the subtle intimacy that had happened.
“Why did you lie about it?” he asks, question slipping past his lips as Lance opens the door to his room. The Alpha pauses for a second, avoiding eye contact as he places Keith on the bed, but keeping his arms planted on the bed on either side of him.
“I don’t know, man,” Lance sighs, head downcast. “It was embarrassing at the time, I guess. The person that I dubbed my ‘rival’ was the one who helped me get to the pods and made sure I was going to be alright. I didn’t think you were gonna be so irked about it.”
Shiro’s words ring in his head, his own instincts urging him on to open up and say how he feels. For once, he decided not to push it away.
“I know I shouldn’t be, but it hurt in the moment. I thought it was a chance for us to start getting closer instead of arguing constantly.” He rests his hands on top of Lance’s, avoiding the piercing blue gaze that snaps up to his at the gesture. “But we should talk about it more after your rut.”
The Alpha nods, flipping his hands over and weaving their fingers together. The action has his face flushing for the whatever number of times during the thirty minutes they’ve been awake. Lance chuckles, pulling away from his orbit and walking towards the connected bathroom.
He walks out a few minutes later, dressed in his sleep clothes, Keith’s shirt in one hand, a pink bottle in the other. The Blue Paladin hands both to him. He shrugs off Lance’s shirt, replacing it with his own before taking the bottle. The Altean writing on it roughly translates to “pain killers” in English. Awkwardly, he thanks Lance for the random but thoughtful gesture, popping open the cap and taking two of the pills dry.
Lance slides onto the bed beside him as he grabs at his jacket, pulling it on. Tapping the pill bottle against the bed frame, he glances over at the Alpha.
“You should probably get some rest. I’ll be right back.”
“Wait, where’re you going?”
“I just need to discuss everything with the team. I’ll be right back after we finish. Promise,” he says, leaning into Lance’s side slightly, just to reassure him that he is coming back.
“You can walk now?” Keith levels the Blue Paladin with a glare, reaching up with his free hand to flick him in the forehead. Lance flinches as he stands, still wincing, but the pain not as present as it was earlier. Does all Altean medicine work fast? He places the meds back in the bathroom before walking to the door.
“I can go with you!” Lance’s words stop in the doorway. He turns, noting the worry on his face.
“You’ll go feral when you smell Pidge,” he responds, shaking his head. “I’ll only be gone for a few minutes. Just be a good Alpha and stay here, okay?”
Realizing what he said, he blushes and walks out the door. If he stayed, no doubt Lance would’ve teased him about calling him “Alpha.”
Not wanting to be away for long, he lengthens his strides, heat cooling from his face as he reaches the doors to the bridge. He pauses, takes a deep breath, and walks in.
“Guys, I’m sorry I’m la–”
He stutters mid-step. The pack’s all either looking at him or looking at everything but him, tension thick in the room. Subconsciously, he pulls at the collar of his jacket, trying to hide any of the possibly visible hickeys.
“What?” he asks warily, raising an eyebrow.
“Keith,” Shiro starts slowly behind him. Turning to face his brother, he waits for an explanation. “It’s– They… There’s a camera in the kitchen, and they might’ve accidentally saw you and Lance before I got there…”