Keith hacked away at the underbrush. He was so sick of this damn jungle and this blasted humid heat.
“Keith, come on man hold up!” Lance shouted after him, “I don’t want to get lost!”
“Well then keep up!” Keith yelled as he swung. “I want to get back to Red and get off this damn planet.”
Lance laughed as he pulled some vines away from his face, “Come on, it isn’t that bad. It kinda reminds me of Cuba. This is almost like a rainforest!”
“This heat is insane, and I lived in the desert,” Keith complained.
Lance just kept chuckling to himself as he caught up to Keith.
He was walked and was whacked in the face by a branch Keith had pushed out of the way. When he caught back up with Keith, their fearless sweaty leader was frozen in front of a large, bulky, fanged creature. His had a large bulldog-like head that was eye level to Keith’s chest and stood on four furry trunk-like legs with teeth literally dripping with a runny pink substance.
“Wow… what is that?” Lance whispered.
“No clue,” Keith replied through clenched teeth. They could hear a warning growl coming from the creature, “But when I say three we run right.”
Lance nodded in agreement, “understood.”
“Okay. One. Two. Three!” The two launched themselves immediately to their right but the creature was faster than they thought.
It lunged at Keith. I’s teeth sunk into Keith’s right leg. Blood gushed from the beast’s mouth and splattered on the ground. Keith let out an ear-splitting scream as an audible crack echoed through the forest.
“KEITH!” Lance screams as he ran towards the beast, his Bayard shifting into his sword. With a steady hand, Lance sliced through the creature's head, cauterizing the wound with the blades energy lining.
Keith fell with the beast’s mouth firmly sunken into Keith’s leg. Lance knelt next to his leader.
“Keith! Are you okay?” Lance pulled the teeth way from Keith’s injured leg. Blood seeped into his suit, darkening the black fabric.
Keith gritted his teeth, hissing from the intense pain. “I think I’ll be okay, it’s a good thing we got the head to identify it with later.” He let out a loud scream of pain as he clenched his teeth. “There was some type of venom on its teeth. It hurts. It hurts a lot” Keith screams as he starts tearing at his leg. “I might… I might need the med bay for this.” Keith chuckles as he moves to get up on his left leg.
“No duh” Lance looks down in worry as he rushes to grab his idiot leader. That is till Keith starts putting pressure on his left leg and suddenly falls flat on his face. Lance just barely caught his shoulders in time
“Ah… Keith?” Lance says as he sits down and leans Keith against him. “You still okay?”
Keith looked worried now. “I... can’t move my limbs.”
“Yeah… Not good. That is very not good.” Lance fretted. He then grabbed Keith’s bag with the plant they had been sent to gather, “Okay. I’ll just carry you back. No big deal.” He grunted as he hoisted Keith up bridal style with the creature's head in his lap. “I’ve got you, Samurai.”
Keith glanced up at Lance as he instinctually leaned into him. Lance’s heartbeat pulsed strongly in his ears.
“Don’t worry Keith” Lance said as he started to quickly make it down the hill to the Atlas that was peeking through the treetops, “We should make it back soon.”
Keith flinched suddenly as something rammed into his injured leg. He may not be able to move it, but he can still feel it. “Shit” he screamed out through the pain. At least he could still talk.
“Shit, sorry man.”
“It’s okay… Just… be careful.” Keith said through the pain
They made it back to the Atlas and Keith was immediately rushed to the med bay. The creature's head was taken and the venom extracted. The paladins and Keith’s pack all waited impatiently for any news on Keith’s health.
A few varga and still no word. Shiro and Adam sat to the side, their hands entwined together in a tight embrace. Pidge was busily using her laptop to try and help with breaking down the venom, Hunk was panic eating as he mumbled in anxious worry as lance paced behind adding to Hunk's mumbled voice.
The Pack was the most boisterous of the group. Ever five dobdashes they would be up asking if there was any change and constantly pulling out there blade trying to find something to do. The med staff finally caved a bit saying one of them could go in to be with Keith. The swords were unsettling them. Without hesitation, Krolia stood and rushed in.
A few ticks later Kolivan’s pad dings with a message from Krolia, “He is out of the surgery. Apparently the bight was so great that it shattered the kit's right leg. They are still in the process of realigning the bone and will be putting him in a cast for the next few movements. The venom is highly toxic and works as a paralysis agent. We are still waiting on the effects of it and if an anti-venom can be created.”
“But he isn’t going to die from it right?” Adam asked.
Kolivan shook his head, “It does not seem so. Though there is a worry about how long the full-body paralysis will last. They have informed Krolia that Keith has very limited mobility in his limbs and can’t do anything unassisted.” Everyone remained quiet at his words.
That is until a ping was heard from Pidge’s computer. “They have an answer about the venom.” She exclaimed, though as she read her face shifted from a smile of excitement to a frown of dread. “There is no visible way to treat it, but it is showing signs of leaving his system, they project it to take 3-4 movements.”
“At least he isn’t dead or dying?” Lance tries to comfort everyone. This was going to be an interesting few weeks for Keith.
Keith glared at the walls of his nest room. He was sick and tired of this and it had only been one day! The med staff released him once he was in a cast and confirmed that he wasn’t going to die. Everyone figured that with his Galran heritage he will heal better with his pack in their nests. But he was stuck here. He still couldn’t move and felt completely useless. Keith groaned in annoyance as he flung his head back, the only movement he can do.
Krolia came rushing over, “What’s wrong? Do you need anything Keith?”
“No, just board” Krolia felt bad for her kit, but there wasn’t much she could do to help him. “Would you like me to pull a video up on the pad or one of the English books?”
Keith thought for a bit, “sure I guess. Watching something might make the time go fast. We have a bunch of shows on the Atlas right? Can you put on supernatural?”
Krolia smiled and did just that. She pulled Keith up to lean against her and adjusted him so he could lay more comfortably as they watched together.
A few episodes in Krolia gets a beep on her cellphone, “The pack was wanting to know if you wanted to go to the mess hall or not for lunch.
“Not hungry.” Keith simply commented.
Krolia knew exactly what the real reason was and was not having it. “You can either eat here or eat in the mess hall, but you are eating. And you are hungry. I’ve heard your stomach growl once already. I was just waiting for you to say something.” Krolia glares at her son.
Keith huffed in annoyance, “Fine. Here though. I don’t want anyone seeing you carrying me.”
“They won’t judge you. Everyone knows the reason for it and besides isn’t our dinner with Shiro and Adam tonight?” she asks.
Keith blushed bright pink. I think I’ll just skip it these next few weeks. Till I can move on my own again.” Krolia just cocked her eyebrows. She knew exactly what would happen if he did that. Adam already messaged her.
“If that’s your decision then I will let them know.”
“Thanks, Sara.” Keith smiled as he turned his head into her.
When everyone came in, Keith was immediately plowed into by Krex and Vredria. This actually caused him to tip over and fall off his mom’s shoulder and face-first into his lap. He groaned in frustration and then from pain as Krex bangs into his cast.
“Kits!” Krolia chastised, “What did I tell you last night.” She quickly sits Keith back up and moves him into her lap
Both looked a bit ashamed, “Not to be ruff with Keith while he can’t move.”
“Yes. And what did you just do? In front of me no less.”
“Sorry, Sasa.” They say again in unison.
She sighed softly, knowing they were just full of energy right now, “Please just be more careful. You even banged into his injured leg.”
Krex immediately felt bad and nuzzled Keith purring in apology. Keith had been blushing a bit at being so easily knocked over and not making eye contact. But he did purr back in acceptance of the apology.
Krex chirped happily. “Can we eat with you? We can even help!” Keith just looks up at his mother pleading with his eyes.”
She chuckles lightly, “You can eat with us, but I think it would be better if feeding Keith while he is like this is left to adults.”
“Okay,” Krex says sullenly.
Keith reluctantly allows his Sara to feed him some of the meat. Since they have better control over what he eats now, there are a lot less vegetables. And he had really hoped they would have gotten him some.
Keith smiled as he was propped up against some of his pillows and Krolia left to get a dessert of mixed veggies. Though Krex and Vredria slid in next to him. He really didn’t want to deal with them right now.
“What do you guys want?” he bluntly asked.
“Sara mentioned you are just like a kittling now, and you never got your Kakara!” Krex comments.
“We got a bottle of it though!” Vredria adds. And sure enough, she had a large baby bottle full of it. Just great.
Keith tried to keep his mouth shut and hoped his Sara would hurry back, what was taking her so long in the kitchen. But they managed to worm it in his mouth and he hated to admit that he still had some of the sucking reflexes that all kittlings have. kits apparently grow out of it by the time they are 30, which was still a while for him. He unwillingly nursed from the bottle as he couldn’t fight them without the use of really any part of his body. He was completely helpless to anyone.
Krolia chose that moment to come back in. she froze at the sight of her Rasal and Sasal trying to force-feed her kit a bottle of Kakara. He had a look of desperation in his eyes. She growled threateningly at them. They jumped up and Jezeev came rushing over to defend her kits.
“What do you think you two are doing?” Krolia demands.
The two shrank behind their Sara. “We were just trying to help him,” Krex tries to explain.
“Sara mentioned that he was like a newborn kittling now!” Vredria adds.
Krolia glared at her littermate’s mate. “You told them to do this?!” she accused.
The two mothers growled at each other and Kolivan, Antok, and even Akira jumped in. Krolia was caught off guard at the sight of him. He was supposed to be working in the med bay all day today.
“Thought I would surprise you a bit and get off work early, guess you still managed to surprise me though. Kosmo had been trying to drag me home”
“I had wondered where he was.” Krolia thought.
The two had been interrupted by Keith whining. He was now sucking down air from an empty bottle.
The parents rushed to him and pulled it out. He let out a very loud belch immediately.
“Well pardon you” Akira jokes.
Keith just glared at him, “Not funny,”
Akira just chuckled as he pulled up the tablet and his son to his side, “So what are we watchin’?”
“Supernatural. Sara and I...” Keith bean talking to his pa.
Krolia tuned them out and turned and walked to Jezeev who was with Antok, Kolivan, and Marmora.
“What were you thinking telling that to your kits!” she quietly shouted. “You know how this is effecting Keith. Why would you even think to tell those two that? So they would try and do that to him? He already can’t defend himself and you do that!”
Marmora turned to Krolia. “Easy my kit. Your anger is understood, but misplaced. Jezeev meant no harm in her comment, only wanting them to be more careful with Keith as well.”
Krolia still glared at Jezeev. She turned to her mate and then lowered herself to be eye level with her kits. “You know what you did wasn’t right, do you? What you did had scared Keith, he doesn’t like the circumstance he is in, and doesn’t like being treated younger than he actually is.” she started lecturing, “how would you like it if we suddenly started treating you both like young kittlings?”
“No!” they both shouted. They then immediately turned to Krolia “We’re sorry!”
Krolia nodded but said, “I am not the only one you need to apologies too.”
The two rushed to Keith, but this time came to a stop and kneeled next to him. “We’re sorry,” Vredria says.
“We were wrong to do that. It won’t ever happen again!” Krex adds.
Keith glared at them from behind the pillow he had his head on, “You better not.”
“Krex, Vredria. Come over here please, we still aren’t done talking,” Antok calls to them.
Krolia joins Akira and Keith. The three watched the show with Kosmo curled at Keith’s feet. Everyone was surprised by a sudden knocking at the door. Kolivan opened it and glared down at whoever dared interrupted his pack’s downtime.
The paladins all looked up at him including Allura, Shiro, and Coran.
Shiro stepped forward to address him, “We ah... just wanted to know how Keith is doing. We were notified he was released from the med bay to recoup at his quarters and well…
“We also made some snacks or him!” Hunk exclaimed nervously.”
At the sound of his teammates, Keith perked up slightly than immediately tried to hid his head in him mom’s shoulder, since it was the only part of his body he could move.
Kolivan looked over to the kit and then to his parents who both smiled and nodded. They all knew Keith didn’t want visitors like this, but his teammates were different, and while he verbally said he didn’t want to see them, his pack knew differently. The human’s and Alteans were his pack just as much as they were.
Kolivan moved aside and retook his spot next to Marmora as all of them entered and rushed over to where Keith was next to his parents and sister.
“Keith!” Lance exclaimed. “I am so sorry about what happened. And so so glad you are okay.” He then launched himself at the paralyzed teen, hugging him tightly, though being mindful of the cast.
“A... thanks Lance.” Keith commented as Lance pulled away and everyone sat down.
Hunk held out a small box that he opened to show candied fruit and some veggie chips. “I made these for you. I know how much you like fruit and veggies.”
Akira smiled and reached for them as Krolia glared at them, “Thank ya for that, Hunk.” Akira comments as he grabbed it.
They all were looking at Keith worried now, not used to seeing him so still. Keith took noticed and Krolia could feel his agitation and sadness so she started rubbing his hair to soothe him. It worked almost too well. With all the meds Ulaz had him on and having just eaten, it relaxed him just enough to let him fall asleep, even with everyone around him.
“Today must have really tired him out.” Shiro laughs lightly.
“I forgot how younger he looks when he sleeps” Allura comments, “He almost looks like his Galran age.”
Akira chuckled at that, “Don’t let him hear ya say that princess, he never likes when people bring it up.
Pidge laughed, “Oh don’t we know that.”
“I think it best that we let him sleep in peace now though.” Krolia tells them, “Though you can all come back later, I know that while he won’t admit it freely he will enjoy your company.”
Everyone nodded and rose to leave. Shiro paused and turned back to Krolia, “when he wakes up think you can let him know not to worry about the paladin training, I can take over while he is out. And he can join back in when he is all healed up.”
“He will be slowly joining in,” Ulaz interrupts, “An injury like that will cause him time to get his muscles back in working order.”
Shiro chuckled, “I’ll let you tell him that part, but thank you. I am really glad he has all of you to take care of him. It was hard when he injured himself at the Garrison and only had Adam and I.”
Krolia smiled as she nuzzled him close. “I cannot even imagine what he had gone through without us. Thank you for taking care of him then.”
Shiro bowed slightly, “And thank you for being here for him now.” he then turned to leave with the rest of him after one last ruffle of Keith’s hair. The teen grumbled in annoyance in his sleep. Causing all the adults paying attention to laugh softly.
Because of the whole paralysis thing Keith was too embarrassed to leave the Pack nest. He was back in diapers because of this for Pete’s sake since he could even use the restroom without causing a disaster. He was just glad when he noticed the toxin was wearing off.
He smiled as he stared down at his toes and wiggled them. He focused on his legs. He desperately wanted to move more than just his toes. He tried thinking about pulling his leg towards him. He watched it twitch and moved towards him. But only a few inches. But he did something!
“Well, that’s a good thing to see” Akira comments as he sits next to his son.”
“Yeah. I can almost completely use my arms too!” Keith exclaimed as he moved them himself.
“We did hypothesize that the toxin would be strongest in the area of the bite wound. So by what’s happening now, your right leg will probably be the last area to gain mobility.”
“Great…” Keith groaned.
“Well, at least you probably won’t even notice it since the toxin is supposed to be out of your system long before that cast comes off. Nice color by the way.”
Keith smiled at it. He was still glad he was able to get red. He liked the color the most. And once he explained it, all his packed signed his cast as well. “It’s my favorite.”
Akira laughed, “Oh boy don’t I know that. I remember you had once spent a whole month refusing to wear anything but red when you were two. Even when Colleen had made you a lavender sundress.”
“Well, I’m definitely passed that,” Keith mumbled.
“Though you still wear it a lot!” Regris teased as he sat next to Keith on his other side.
Akira smiled, “Regris, Glad you made it back safely. Already checked in with Ulaz after your mission?”
“Yep, mostly clean bill of health,” Regris says, “just a few scrapes and bruises. Nothing too big, but Ulaz wants me to stay and relax for the next two days.” He turned to Keith. “I figured you could you some change of pace, I downloaded a new game on my tablet it’s supposed to be this weird Vasillian game that is meant for two players, want to figure it out with me?”
Keith perked up a bit at that. “Sure!” the two kits lean over the screen together and tried to decipherer the rules. Akira meanwhile leaned back to watch them. He was overjoyed that Keith wasn’t alone anymore, and was glad to see him healing. He just wished he would let others besides the Pack in to see him. Krolia had assured him though that is was a natural kit instinct to only seek comfort from pack while seriously injured. He was just glad that most of this will be behind his son soon. Just then his cell pinged with a message.
Akira looked down to see it was from Adam, ‘Family dinner tonight at our place. I have the stuff to make your hamburgers that Keith loves so get that demon cat here or I will drag him here myself.’
Akira chuckled to himself causing both young adults to look up.
“What’s so funny pa?” Keith asked.
“Oh nothing, Adam just wants to have dinner at his place.”
Keith’s mood instantly soured as he blushed red and tried to curl in on himself the best he could, not making eye contact with anyone, “I told them that I didn’t want to go anywhere until I could move on my own again.”
“Even if Adam has me making my burgers?” Akira tried.
That made Keith pause for a minute, but he eventually still shook his head, “No, not even for that. Adam will just try to embarrass me or someone else will see. I don’t want my team to see me so helpless like this! Most of the Garrison thinks I’m too reckless to be the leader of Voltron, and all the other leaders hate me for being part Galra.”
Akira immediately pulled his son I for a deep hug, “You know none of those things matter to those that actually matter. You are an amazing leader. And I know the paladins and Shiro all miss you. They ask about you every time they see your ma or me. You shouldn’t pull away from those that love you son.”
“I know… it’s just…just so hard. I couldn’t even eat for myself.”
“Though now that you can, now that the only thing that you can’t do is walk think you can actually adventure outside the nest?”
Keith blushed and looked away, “not right now… maybe… maybe tomorrow?”
Akira nodded, he didn’t want to push his son. He will do things when he is good and ready. Akira nodded, “I’ll let Adam know.”
Adam was told and decided to ignore it. At 6 he banged on the pack nest door. “Come on demon cat! You need some fresh air!”
Kolivan smiled as he allowed the man in. “I take it you want to see the kit?”
Adam glared up at him as his arm fell through the door he was about to bang on again. “Yes, he should come to dinner with Shiro and us. The kid needs some fresh air. He has been cooped up for weeks already.”
“I told pa I didn’t want to go!” Keith shouted from the nest.
“And I told him that you need to go. It’s not healthy for you to be cooped up like this! A change of pace does a body good.” Adam came over to where Keith was curled up with his Sara and pa. “And I worked too hard finding this meat to make burgers for you, to cheer you up. So you are coming to Shiro and my apartment and having a damn good burger with some homemade coleslaw with your parents.” He looked over at Axca who was sitting next to her mother as well, “and your sister of course.” He turned to her, “Sorry for not inviting you last time.”
“That’s okay, and I would be glad to come as well.”
“I told you I’m not going!” Keith wined as he tried to dig himself into his nest, and managed to pull his blanket over his head.
“You can move your arms now! That’s great!” Adam cheered. “Now we have reason to celebrate!” he looked at Krolia who smiled and he then proceeded to scoop up Keith and swing him over his shoulder.
“Hey!” Keith shouted as the two walked out of the room. Akira, Krolia, and Axca just smile and get up to join the two.
Keith huffed he was left in the living room on the couch with Shiro and his sister. He glared at both of them. Shiro and Axca were playing a game of checkers. Keith was advising her one moves against Shiro.
Krolia, Akira, and Adam were in the kitchen making the burgers. Keith smiled as he heard them arguing about how long to cook them. It was something about the meat they chose. Krolia was adamant that cooking it as long as the two men were wanting to would turn it near inedible.
Keith laughed out loud when he heard his Sara say, “I’ve been in space far longer than either of you combined and know far more about how to properly cook different types of meat. Now let me do it properly!”
When dinner was done Krolia came by to get them Keith just willing held up his arms for his mom to easily pick him up. He nestled into her neck as she walked over to the table.
“Aw, I always knew he wanted to be carried.” Adam teased lightly.
“Not funny,” Keith said as he glared at Adam as his Sara placed him in his chair. Akira placed a burger in front of him. Axca sat next to him and Krolia and Akira across from him. Shiro sat to his right with Adam on Shiro’s other side.
“Made it just the way you used to like it, hope it’s the same,” Akira asked.
Keith nodded and eagerly dug into it.
Krolia smiled as she turned to Axca, “we were using trillk meat, and these two were wanting to cook it on high heat for 10 minutes.”
“That would make it near inedible even if there was just a bit of it.” Axca laughed.
The humans just ate their burgers and Keith separated from his and added, “Well it turned out great.”
“Thanks, kiddo,” Akira said with a smile.
Dinner had been simple and enjoyable. Axca was invited to the rest of the family dinners, she was excited to learn more of her sibling’s human half. They had ended the night with Axca and Keith in the laps of their parents as all 6 of them watched a movie.
The next day Keith reluctantly was carried to the med bay, much to his annoyance, by Ulaz. And because of his refusal at the beginning, it led to a very unceremonious hold by being held tight to Ulaz’s chest.
Both Akira and Adam were there too great him. Akira was bandaging James’ arm from a blaster injury during practice with the paladins. Akira had heard some ranting from James about how crazy the paladins are and how sensitive they are about jokes. And some more mumbling about Lance being stupid. Nothing was seriously harmed so Akira figured he shouldn’t interrupt whatever was going on with the two groups.
His son, on the other hand, needed his attention it would seem. He never did like hospitals, and it was definitely partly Akira’s fault for that. “You’re free to go Lieutenant Griffin. Just keep it clean and it should heal up on its own, come back if you see anything out of the ordinary.” The young adult nodded and headed out.
Akira moved next to Ulaz and Adam as one tried to hold down Keith as the other was examining Keith’s cast.
“Come one, why can’t I just yank the blasted thing off?” Keith complained for who knows what time, “It is itching like crazy and I can feel that my leg is already healed!”
Akira chuckled as he walked over, “you could never sit still for stuff like this.” he then moved to his kid’s head and started massaging the back of his ears and Keith’s body went limp.
“Damn,” Adam comments, “wish I knew about that back then.”
Akira chuckled softly, “He will be quite upset with me after, he always hated when I did this to get him to let me do anything.”
Ulaz huffed in amusement as he examined the kit’s leg, “It’s a common practice with unruly kits. What you are doing is applying pressure to a key nerve cluster that instantly relaxes a Galran’s body. It's why many of us will guard our heads when in any unknown company.” He then brought everyone back to focus, “Keith’s leg, much to his admittance is still not fully healed, though to ease his comfort I may be able to bind his leg in a more boot-like structure. It will be more comfortable and less cumbersome. While he is like this I would also like to draw a blood sample.”
“Better do it quickly then. He was always only lightly dazed when I did this.” Akira comments.
The three moved quickly and Keith sat staring at his new boot and glaring at his pa in a few short minutes. “You know I hate when you all do that.” He said annoyed.
“Yes, but it’s effective when you are being a brat about treatment.” Akira adds as he pulls out a pair of crutches and has them adjusted to Keith’s height, “Hopefully these will make up for it.”
“Finally! I was beginning to wonder if you all would ever let me walk again.” Keith cheered.
Ulaz looked over to him. “Though we still can carry you if we need to.” He warned, “now can you touch my hand with your toes.” Keith complied easily.
“See, no venom left. Now can I please get out on my own?” Keith whined.
The adults all chuckled as Keith looked up at them pleadingly.
“Yes, yes, you may go. Even if you have trace amounts of the venom I can’t see it hindering your movements now.” Ulaz agreed.
“Though be at the mess hall for dinner at 1700” Akira added.
Keith nodded as Adam added, “I think the paladins are still in training if you want to watch them.”
Keith grabbed the crutches and moved to get off the bed, Akira nervously held out his hands, worried that his boy may fall over. Keith though, stood steady on his unbroken leg and the crutches. He took one step and showed no problems. He turned back to smirk at his pa, “See I got this.”
Akira nodded and let his son go.
“You are not to engage in any training exercises!” Ulaz shouted out to him.
“As if Shiro would let me,” Keith shouts back as the door slides behind him.
“I think his ma is going to miss being able to constantly cuddle him” Akira voiced.
Ulaz and Adam chuckled, “Know Keith, he will probably wind up in a similar position again.” Adam added.
“Hopefully one not leaving him as injured, or more so,” Ulaz added.
“I can agree with ya on that.” Akira nodded. It was nice being able to comfort his son again like that though, Akira thought.