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Volume Four

Chapter Text

"Tired"

Keith awoke with a gasp. His breaths were coming in pants, his ears were folded against his skull (almost disappearing into his fluffy hair), and his tail was twitching. He clutched his blanket to his chest and tried to calm his breathing. It was just a nightmare, no matter how real it felt. His pack and team weren't going to leave him just because he didn't look purely human or Galran. He knew that, but he also knew that he wasn't going to get back to sleep by himself. He wrapped his fluffiest blanket around his shoulders and left his room.

%%%

The bridge of the Castle of Lions was eerily quiet in the middle of the night. Shiro hadn't thought a room would be creepy, but this one was. Maybe it was the low hum of the Balmeran crystal or maybe it was the missing murmur of the rest of the Paladins. Whatever it was, it set the Black Paladin on edge.

Maybe Shiro shouldn't have taken a midnight shift when he hadn't been getting enough sleep as it was, because he started dozing off in his Paladin seat.

The door to the bridge opened, and Keith approached the lightly dozing leader. He shifted on his feet. He didn't really want to wake Shiro if he was actually sleeping, but he needed the comfort of his brother. "Nii-san?"

Keith's voice startled Shiro awake. He quickly looked over his shoulder. "Ototo? What's wrong?"

Keith still hesitated. He didn't want to sound weak, even though Shiro had comforted him through many nightmares before.

Shiro took a good look at Keith's posture and instantly knew what he wanted. He held his arms open. "Come here, Keith."

Keith saw the invitation and took the opportunity to sit on Shiro's lap. He sighed in contentment, hearing Shiro's heartbeat in the ear he had pressed against his chest. Shiro carded his left hand through Keith's hair.

Keith snuggled into Shiro's chest, but he felt like he needed verbal confirmation that his dream wouldn't come true. "'Kashi?"

"Yes, Keith?"

"You don't mind that I look more Galran, right? I won't get kicked off the team because I don't look like I used to?"

"Keith, I don't care if you looked like a pure blooded Galra. You are still my little brother. None of us care that your Galra heritage is more obvious now. You are the Red Paladin, and you're not getting kicked off the team. Besides, I don't think Red would allow it." Shiro noticed the lingering doubt on Keith's face. "Also, the Blades don't care that you don't look full Galra either. They love you, because you are you. They took you under their wings, and you are pack to them. They will never abandon you, and neither will we."

"Thanks, nii-san." Keith yawned.

Shiro wrapped the blanket and his arms around Keith. "Get some rest, ototo. I'll be here when you wake up."

Keith's eyes closed, and his posture relaxed as he fell asleep, firmly ensconced in his brother's arms. Shiro tried to stay awake for his midnight shift, but it was hard with Keith's comforting weight and his body heat. Without meaning to, Shiro fell asleep.

%%%

When Allura stepped onto the bridge that morning, she was not expecting to see her Black and Red Paladins sleeping in the Black Paladin seat. It was adorable though, especially with Keith purring. She took a few pictures with her data pad and sent them to the rest of the team, Coran, and the four members of Keith's pack. She tucked it away before she shifted. She grew in size, so she could safely carry both sleeping Paladins at the same time.

It was difficult to get them out of the Black Paladin seat without disturbing either of them, but she managed to do that. She carefully carried them to the lounge and laid them on the couch. She paused when Keith stopped purring and whined a little. She quickly realized that his blanket had slipped off of him. When she situated the blanket back over him, she realized why Keith liked the blanket. It felt like Galra fur and was weighted as well. Allura smiled and couldn't help but pet Keith's hair, causing him to resume purring. Allura only stayed for another dobosh or two before leaving the Paladins to continue resting.

%%%

Shiro opened his eyes slowly. He recognized the lounge, but wasn't he just on the bridge? Keith was still on his chest, covered with his weighted fuzzy blanket. He didn't want to move while Keith was still sleeping. He carefully fished his data pad out of his pocket and was surprised to see that he had a couple of similar messages, one from Pidge and one from Ulaz.

The messages had a picture of him and Keith asleep in the Black Paladin seat and text stating that they looked adorable sleeping there with Ulaz adding the line that they shouldn't sleep in chairs because it wasn't good for their health.

Just then, Coran entered the lounge and noticed that Shiro was awake but not Keith. He instantly quieted his voice. "Good morning, Shiro. I trust you had a good rest."

"Did you move us, Coran?"

"Ah, no, Number One. That was Allura. She's also the one who sent everyone these pictures." Coran showed Shiro all the pictures Allura had sent him.

Shiro blushed and tightened his hold on Keith. "Keith's not going to be happy that people have seen these."

"He'd have a problem with it, even though it's just the team and his pack?"

Shiro stopped and thought about the conversation he had with Keith the previous night. He combed his fingers through Keith's hair and replied, "Maybe not."

"I'll leave you two be. The princess said you two need rest. She's ordering an easy quintant for everyone unless there's an attack."

"You should lock the training deck then," Shiro muttered.

"Allura's already taken care of that," Coran stated before he left the lounge.

"Not funny, Shiro," Keith groused but didn't open his eyes.

Shiro grinned at his brother and petted his hair. "It's true, ototo, but just go back to sleep. It's all right."

Keith grumbled under his breath but snuggled against Shiro's chest anyway. Shiro chuckled and tucked Keith's weighted fuzzy blanket around him but wasn't surprised to feel Keith's tail wrap around one of his legs. He had learned that it was a sign that Keith didn't want the person he was snuggling with to go anywhere. Shiro had no intention of leaving his brother any time that quintant anyway.

Fin