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Volume Four

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"De-Aged Paladins"

Allura resisted the urge to pinch the bridge of her nose. Somehow, her Paladins were nothing more than children now. They had physically regressed in age with Shiro still being the eldest at 6. Keith, Lance, and Hunk were 5, and Pidge was 4. They seemed to recognize each other but not her or Coran. However, they weren't afraid of her or Coran; quite the opposite actually. They started calling her some form of mom. Pidge called her 'Mom,' Hunk called her 'Mum,' Keith called her 'Mama,' Lance called her 'Mamá,' and Shiro called her 'Okāsan.'

It was adorable, and so were they. Her little Paladins were so adorable but had little differences than what she was used to. Little Keith was shy around anyone who wasn't Shiro, Pidge was energetic, Lance was sweet, Shiro didn't have his prosthetic or scars and was open and friendly, and Hunk was outgoing.

She took on the role they gave her and took care of them. She didn't know how long they were going to be de-aged, but she was going to make sure they were being taken care of and cared for. She spent time with them one-on-one and with the group. When she was spending one-on-one time with them, Coran watched the others, and when she was watching the group, Coran resumed his search for a solution to the de-aging problem.

There hadn't been any issues until bedtime. She had to carry Pidge to bed and tucked her in, plucking the glasses from her tiny face. "Good night, Pidge."

"Night night, Mom."

Allura checked on Hunk and found him sitting on his bed. She walked over and knelt down next to his bed. She had him lay down and tucked him in. "Mum, can I have a story?"

"Of course." Allura paused. What story could she tell him? She proceeded to tell him a story about the Yellow Lion, which effectively lulled him to sleep.

She stepped into Keith's room to see him looking at his Marmora knife, which was still in its sheath. She didn't have the heart to take it from him, knowing how much it meant to him. "Hey, Keith. It's bedtime."

The little boy looked up at her and clutched the knife to his chest. "Please don't take it."

"Oh no, Keith. I won't take your knife. In fact, no one will. Did you want to sleep with it under your pillow? That way you know where it is." Keith nodded and slid it under his pillow. Allura tucked him in and noticed that he looked like he wanted something. "Did you want something, sweetie?"

"M-May I have a story, Mama?"

"Of course, sweetheart." She settled next to him and carded her fingers through his long hair, while she weaved a story about the Red Lion and her relation to her current Paladin. During the story, Keith's eyes fluttered closed and his breathing evened out, signaling that he had fallen asleep.

Allura carefully slipped out of Keith's room and over to Lance's. She walked into the room and immediately felt little arms wrap around her leg. "Mamá!"

Allura smiled and picked up Lance. She cuddled him, carrying him to the bed. She set him on the bed and tucked him in. She leaned over and gave him a big hug and three kisses, one on his forehead and one of each cheek. "Good night, sweetie."

"Night night, Mamá!"

Allura entered Shiro's room and was worried when he seemed restless, even though he was sleeping. She hurried over to his side and shook his shoulder. "Shiro...Shiro." He wasn't waking up. "Takashi!"

His eyes flew open, tears slipping down his cheeks, and looked at her. "Okāsan?"

Allura scooped Shiro into her lap and rocked him. "It's okay, Takashi. I'm here. I've got you."

Once his breathing was under control, he said, "Okāsan, I don't want to sleep alone."

"Would you like to sleep with Lance? He should still be awake."

Shiro nodded, and Allura carried him next door. She knocked on the door before opening it and calling out softly, "Lance, are you still awake?"

"Yes, Mamá." Allura walked in holding Shiro. "Is Shiro okay?"

"He had a bad dream and doesn't want to sleep alone."

Lance pulled back his blanket, scooted over, and patted the bed next to him. "He can stay here."

Allura set Shiro on the bed and tucked the two boys back in. She stroked Shiro's short hair and gave Lance another forehead kiss. "Good night, boys."

"Night night."

Allura watched as Lance pulled Shiro into his arms, and Shiro snuggled into Lance's chest. She smiled as the door closed. She sighed in relief. As much as she liked them as children, she really hoped Coran could find a cure and return them to their regular ages, so they could continue their work against the Galra Empire.