When Keith is five years old, he remembers the way his mother’s inky black hair--darker than the night sky above--draped over her dark lilac shoulders. The dark waves cascaded to her waist as she knelt beside him, staring into his eyes.
“You’re going to be an amazing prince one day,” she always tells him. Her voice is a summer’s breeze, warm and inviting. A sign of life and rejuvenation. He smiles as he snuggles up to her warm body, small, chubby arms wrapping around her waist.
Her eyes are yellow, bright like the rising sun in the morning. Bright like the rays that touch the earth, kissing the soil and plants with its soft glow. Her touch is gentle and unmistakeable as she often runs her fingers through his hair in comfort.
She is his world and he is hers.
Keith’s mother is a Queen in every sense of the word--manners, intelligence, and famed beauty. Being able to command the Blade of Marmora while raising a child awes him as much as his young mind can understand. Everything is perfect. Yet, sometimes there are moments he wishes weren’t a part of his life. Specifically, the snide taunts from the other Galra children that would visit every so often as their families tried to woo his mother with riches and land, the disgusted looks he’d catch out of the corner of his eyes… sometimes it is all too much.
Even as a young child, he knows he is different from the other Galra. The reason for why in certain lighting his skin can be considered a pale peach and not the usual dark purple tone. The reason for why he only has a tint of yellow mixed in with his gray-violet irises. He doesn’t have his mother’s sense of smell or eyesight--though he does have excellent hearing due to his ears, one of the only Galra traits that remain present.
The only thing that can connect mother and son is their hair color, equally as black as the night.
At five, Keith had never known his father. He was a star explorer, apparently. Gallant and brave in search for adventure. He never understood why his father didn’t stay. Did he not stay because of Keith? Was Keith too ugly, unimpressive? Was Keith a disappointment even as a baby?
His mother always said how much this stranger--a human--loved her and vice versa, but there was never any mention of love for Keith.
At five, it bothers him more than it should.
By the time Keith reaches the age of nine years, he is officially alone in the universe.
He watches his mother with sad eyes as her body is burned on a large pyre. She had collapsed suddenly from a sickness that had swept through the Galran aligned planets; most members of the Blade weren’t affected--and if they were, they had recovered quickly. Keith had been spared but his mother hadn’t.
For weeks, she remained delirious of the outside world, often mistaking Keith for his father though he doubts they look anything alike. Both Thace and Ulaz--two of her most trusted advisors--constantly shielded Keith from her though. Kolivan stepped up to take temporary command of the Blade until Keith turns of age. Everyone had already accepted the worst by this point, and with tear tracks staining his skin, Keith had come to accept it too. He was not allowed to visit her in her last moments. Not that it mattered, she wouldn’t have known it was him anyways.
The fire crackles around her body, burning her hair, melting her skin, and leaving nothing but ashes behind.
By ten years old, he is passed into another man’s hands. Not literally of course, but he finds himself sitting in the back of a transport ship, a small bag of his belongings at his feet and next to him sits Thace, scanning over a holopad.
He doesn’t resent them, not really. Well, maybe a little.
But the Blade doesn’t know how to take care of a child. Why should they? They’re trained for combat and stealth, not for entertaining a small child that’s not even fully Galra.
So he’s being pawned off on another man on a different planet. He’s heard of them before, the Alteans. Traders love to tell stories of their advancements in science and the beauty of all members of the Royal house. King Alfor is widely known for fostering children until they come of age, his generosity legendary. Keith will just be one more brood on that planet.
During his time there--as Kolivan has told him--Keith will no longer have the title of Prince; he will be presented with a clean slate. In time of course, Kolivan had continued to assure the ten year old child who could care less about titles and leadership roles, he will be able to regain his former position when he’s grown.
It’s not that bad of a deal. He’ll be with children his age or a few years older, and he’ll be educated with the finest tutors. Even with all the perks--though Keith can’t see many; he’d rather stay behind with what he knows--he will still feel alone.
The transport ship shudders and rocks, and Keith shrinks further back into the shadows.
Thace places a bag of offerings in front of Alfor. It’s a customary gesture, one that has almost been forgotten as the decades continue to slide by, but even now, this is a sign of respect.
Keith knows his mother’s knife, a ceremonial dagger of the Blade, is nestled somewhere near the bottom of the other offerings such as jewelry and gems and gold. During many of the long nights spent in space, Keith would dig through the contents while Thace slept, thus unable to scold him. He would pull out the silver dagger, thumbing the vibrant purple stone. The blade was smooth, gliding over his skin as he brought it across his forearm. If he angled it just slightly, he would knick himself, but he never did. He was always careful.
At this moment, Keith wants to lunge forward, to grab it out of foreign hands, but he can’t disappoint anyone. Not anymore. He’s already done that enough by existing.
“These are more than satisfactory,” Alfor proclaims. “My family will enjoy them.” He holds up a few blue earrings; Keith vaguely wonders if those will be given to his daughter or son. Neither of his children had showed up today. Keith’s not sure why he thought they would to begin with.
Thace, continuing to kneel, says “I am glad of that, your majesty.”
Alfor’s eyes dart to Keith, who ducks his head lower as if ashamed of his appearance. Ashamed by how he doesn’t look like the Galra next to him. “Is this the child you spoke of?”
“He is.” Thace gently nudges him to speak.
“I’m K-Keith, your majesty, I am humbled to be brought into your household.” He winches at how his voice sounds, weak compared to the two adults’.
“We are very glad to have you, Keith.” Alfor’s eyes sparkle with a new found kindness. It doesn’t pull a smile out of Keith though, who continues to stare straight at him, expressionless. “My advisor will show you to your new quarters.”
An oranged haired man walks into the light. Blue markings are drawn beneath his eyes and his skin is much lighter than his King’s. Keith marvels at how the Alteans can look so different but still see each other as one race.
Without a word, Keith follows the new Altean, never glancing back at Thace, who doesn’t even utter words of farewell. It doesn’t sting.
“My name’s Coran, young one. I am sure you’re nervous right now; most of our new ones usually are, but I’m sure over time you will make friends and become adapted to life here.” Coran, who had been walking in front of him, slows his pace for Keith to catch up.
“I’m not nervous, sir. I know why I’m here, and there’s no use having anxiety over it. I can’t change my fate.” Keith wishes he had found this confidence back in the throne room. “There’s nothing left for me at home now.”
“It’s sad to hear a child say that,” Coran mutters mostly to himself. Then he gazes down at Keith as they stop by a door. “This will be your quarters. You’re sharing with three other boys; they’ll help show you the ropes.”
(They, in fact, do not-- either scared by his Galra-like appearance or simply because they do not like newcomers--but Keith never has the heart to tell Coran that)
Three weeks later, Keith meets the Altean Prince. Rumors of the royal have always floated around the boys and girls he is forced to mingle with. The ones who have been here the longest of course have seen him too many times to count--even having hung out with him once or twice when the Prince feels the need to interact. With how many unique--or most likely, accurate rumors that swirl around his head, Keith has been dying to see the Prince. Anything to lessen the boredom of the same routine day after day.
When he sees him for the first time, Keith has already formulated a first impression.
The Prince is loud and annoying and beautiful. It’s almost too much to comprehend. Everyone sits in the banquet hall--the other children the King fosters, the Princess, the Prince, and of course the King himself.
Keith doesn’t dwell on Princess Allura for too long. She is as well known for her brains and diplomacy accomplishments as she is for her beauty. He finds that the traders have never exaggerated her appearance, with her long white hair curling into ringlets, her flawless dark brown skin, and those striking blue eyes. It’s her younger brother though that has Keith quickly drawing his eyes away from the famed Princess and onto the boy his age.
There has always been many different myths and legends in every culture about what the most beautiful creature in the universe is. Mostly, this accomplishment is attributed to the gods, but Keith can’t believe anyone holds a candle to the Prince.
His presence ensnares the banquet hall with his large smile and glinting eyes. A piece or two of familiar blue jewelry hang from his pointed ears; they wobble as he moves his head, laughing wildly at a joke his sister whispers in his ear. His brown hair--different from his father and sister, and Keith is already conjuring up a mental picture of the Prince’s mother. The queen’s chair is left empty and he doesn’t want to dwell on what that signifies--is cropped much shorter than Keith’s own which almost brushes his shoulders. Locks hang in perfect waves on Lance’s forehead and never reach his eyes. A few strands curl over his ears, and Keith’s fingers twitch on the table, partially eager to find out how soft it is.
His brown skin is as flawless as his sister’s and his eyes are a dark, almost midnight, blue.
Keith’s cheeks begin to heat and the tips of his ears tingle as a sensation begins to knot deep inside of him. These strange feelings are new to him.
But he finds he doesn’t mind them.
Keith stares long enough and hard enough for the Prince to finally take notice. There’s a tilt to his head as he begins to study Keith, who, now frozen, can’t drop his gaze. A twitch of a smile is apparent, and even from this distance, a rosy coloring stains the Prince’s dark skin. Shyly, he waves at Keith before being jerked into another conversation by his sister.
Keith can’t find the courage to wave back or look away.
Fortunately though, the Prince does not gaze at him again, so Keith continues on with his study, lost to the world.
“The tutors are looking for you,” a voice states above him. It’s dark in Keith’s hiding place, having found a small storage room no one ever wanders into.
There’s one window above, a stream of light breaking through the panes and dusting the floor. As he tilts his head, Keith finds two bright blue eyes blinking at him. It seems that the Prince has found him nestled between two bags of something reserved for the upper class. How humiliating. Though since Keith could care less, he’s not embarrassed.
Instead, he simply utters “Oh.” Returning to drawing patterns on the dusty floor, he’s startled to find the Prince sitting down in front of him.
“Why aren’t you going?” the boy asks, a thin eyebrow raised. His eyes track Keith’s movements, watching as swirls reveal the light gray floor underneath a film of dust.
He hasn’t made it to a tutoring session in about two weeks. There’s no surprise that someone has come for him at last. What’s surprising is that the Prince has searched for him and not someone like Coran. Keith wonders what his punishment will be. Do Alteans whip children? Will his daily meals be rationed? If he went to the lessons, he’d probably know more about Altean society than he does now. He knows nothing about these people.
“I don’t want to,” Keith says at last, sighing. “It’s stupid. Who cares about all your kings and queens. It’s not my culture.”
“No, I guess you’re right.” The Prince wraps his arms around his legs, dragging them closer to his body. “I mean, I wouldn’t want to learn about the Galran royalty. So I understand.”
“I don’t want to learn about that either. It’s boring,” Keith mumbles, eyes still averted away from the Prince’s face. Up close he’s ten times as beautiful than he is far away.
“What do you like?” the Prince asks with what must be feigned interest. Because why would he care about Keith; why would anybody care about Keith’s interests, likes and dislikes, and thoughts. No one has asked before.
“Why do you care? You probably don’t even know my name.” Keith has forgotten his manners and status, but the Prince doesn’t seem to mind.
“You’re Keith; you’re our newest foster, and you’re part Galra. I know enough.”
Keith nods, unable to speak.
“So what do you like?” the boy repeats again. He’s closer to Keith now than he was a minute ago. It’s physically impossible to look somewhere and not see a part of the Prince.
With another resigned sigh, Keith stares at the Prince in the eyes, cataloguing every hue of blue that he sees. At first, he had thought the boy’s eyes were a single shade of a dark blue, but now he can pick out lighter hues that sparkle as they mix with in with the rest of the ocean. “I like weapons and learning how to defend myself. I like gazing at the stars and pretending I’m somewhere else.” I like to look at handsome boys instead of pretty girls, even though for most boys our age it’s the opposite. I like to be alone but I hate being lonely.
I like you even though we have never spoken before today.
“I think I know what will make you feel better.”
The Prince stands, holding out a hand for Keith to take. He hesitates of course, confusion swimming in his eyes and brows drawn together in thought. After a second, Keith grabs onto the Prince’s hand. It’s warm, comforting, and so right all at once. They hold hands as they run down the hall, the Prince jerking him around different corners and into different corridors he has never ventured into before.
For once, a smile shines on Keith’s face.
Unexpectedly, they wind up in a training room. Every type of weapon is mounted on the white walls. Blasters, axes, staffs, swords. Keith’s eyes expand to absorb the new sight. A training bot stands in the center of the room, asleep and awaiting instructions. The Prince ignores this and walks over to one of the walls, opening an invisible draw beneath one of the displays.
Curious, Keith silently follows, only to stop short when he finds something all too familiar clutched in the boy’s hands. It gleams under the light as the Prince holds it out to Keith to have a better view. He doesn’t need one though; he has already memorized every detail of the weapon.
“My father gave me this many months ago. It’s beautiful, isn’t it?”
Keith steels his breath but speaks what is on his mind anyways. “That was my mother’s.”
“Oh.” The Prince is silent now. He holds the dagger with a newfound delicacy. Extending his arms farther out for Keith to take it, he whispers “I never knew my mother, much less have something of hers. This belongs to you.”
Keith shakes his head. “I can’t take it. It was gifted to your family. If I was caught with it.... they would think I stole it.” I would be punished, he doesn’t say out loud. He’s not sure what the Altean custom is for dealing with thieves, but he has heard of far away places where one of your hands was the price to pay.
“Well it was gifted to me, so now I’m gifting it back to you. But I guess we can keep it here if you want. It’s yours though, always remember that.”
“T-thank you, your highness.” Keith dips his head, body angling into a bow. He wonders if he should be kneeling right now.
A growl startles Keith into straightening his spine and staring at the Prince with fearful eyes. “Don’t be formal like that; it’s too weird. My name’s Lance.”
“ Lance ,” Keith had meant to repeat the name in his head, but it ends up rolling delicately off his tongue.
“There you go.” Lance smiles encouragingly, his white teeth in perfect view. “Now we’re friends.”
“I’ve never had a friend before,” Keith mutters, slightly embarrassed, deciding to be honest for once.
Preparing for Lance to laugh, he avoids the boy’s gaze only to feel a gentle hand grasp his shoulder and another giding his chin back to the front. “I’m glad I’m your first.” The sincerity in his eyes and words leaves Keith with nothing to say.
Noticing the sudden difference in the atmosphere, Lance swiftly changes the subject, returning to the display of weapons behind him. “A dagger’s not my type of weapon anyways.” Lance brings forth a gorgeously carved bow, crafted from the finest wood and scored with ocean waves along the curves. “I’m training to be an archer.”
“Are you any good?” Keith inquires in awe. He’s heard about archers but never seen them in action. That is not the Galran choice of weapon.
“I hit the center about nine times out of ten,” he brags in the way young boys do.
“I don’t believe you.”
Lance smirks, eyes alight with a challenge. “Just watch.”
They train together every day after that. Lance with his bow and Keith switching between his mother’s dagger and a sword. It’s more enjoyable than the lessons he has begun attending again, but even those now have an added bonus, they include Lance and only Lance.
They train together, they study together, they eat together. They talk and they listen. They share childhood stories and secrets, midnight confessions on their lips.
And soon they grow closer together.
To the world around them, they are inseparable.
Keith feels less alone now than he ever has. Sometimes, Lance’s nimble fingers will wrap around his wrist as he drags him to a new destination, usually to show off a new toy or something he discovered during a walk. It’s the highlight of his day. Keith learns to covet every moment he spends in Lance’s company, cataloguing away those sweet smiles that light up on Lance’s face for when Keith’s alone in his shared quarters, surrounded by people who don’t care.
Lance makes him laugh and bicker and be the child he should be.
“You should put your hair up,” Lance says, lazily brushing a hand through Keith’s long locks. “So it doesn’t catch on anything when you train.”
He rolls a strand of hair between the pads of his fingers, frowning. “Or I could just cut it.” His fingers brush the hilt of his dagger, prepared to chop off his hair if it’s really going to be that big of an inconvenience.
Warm and dark fingers wrap around his thin wrists. Two fingers land on his pulse line and a shiver races through his body. “N-no, no! You l-look good with long hair; it suites you.”
A violent brush spreads across his cheeks, and suddenly self conscious, he attempts to brush his bangs behind his ear though they immediately fall back into place the minute his hand leaves. Keith huffs in annoyance and Lance chuckles.
Keith reaches up to toy with Lance’s shorter hair. His thumb brushes over one of the blue Altean markings; Lance’s eyes flutter closed. “Y-you don’t look so bad yourself…. with your short hair, of course. Yeah.”
Lance’s eyes snap open, brown skin dusted with varying pinkish tints. “I like you,” he decides at last with the bluntness of a child.
Keith’s not sure what to make of anything anymore. So he pretends Lance meant it in a friendly way for his heart not to be crushed.
“Why do you still hang out with me?” Keith curiously asks one day as he watches Lance scribble out something for his tutors.
He doesn’t even pause to form an answer. “You’re interesting. And I’m always captivated by interesting and pretty things.”
Keith wakes up screaming. He wakes up to a scratchy throat and cold sweat. His limbs are paralyzed underneath the sheets as his heartbeat races erratically, pounding against his chest. There’s not much he remembers of the night terror, a dark shadow or two, the sickening scent of blood and death filling the air. Burying his face into his pillow, a whimper pulls at his lips until he falls back asleep.
There’s no explanation for what causes these terrors. Keith’s just happy he has the quarters to himself now, the other boys having grown and started a new journey. It allows him to easily cry in peace.
On the fifth straight day of waking up in agony, the door to his room slides open, the dark figure silhouetted. Keith repeatedly blinks, watching the figure fumble for a light switch, and the room is suddenly bathed in light without warning. Black spots dance in front of his eyes as he winces. It’s easier to see who stands in his room now. A blue bathrobe is loosely tied around his waist and his feet are adorned with blue lion slippers.
Without warning, he kneels on the far end of Keith’s bed, watching him with worried eyes. “You screamed. Are you alright?”
Sitting up now, Keith rubs the heels of his hands over his eyes. “I’m fine,” he mumbles unconvincingly, his voice raw.
“Did you have a bad dream?” Lance leans closer, his hands creating indents in the thin mattress. He half expects a taunt or a joke, but one never comes. This is Lance after all; he is never cruel.
“I guess you could say that.”
“Allura always used to let me sleep in her bed when I had one,” Lance shares.
Keith cocks his head, a frown on his lips. He’s too tired to comprehend what’s happening. “What does that have to do with anything right now?”
Despite Keith’s obliviousness, Lance happily soldiers on. “I’m asking if you’d like some company.”
A few moments of shock linger on his face as his mind begins to register Lance’s words. He ducks his head, bangs shadowing his face, and soon he falls back onto his pillow, to avoid Lance’s concerned gaze. “I guess,” he whispers.
Lance’s breath flutters across his cheeks as his warm body find its way to Keith’s side. “I promise I won’t hog the covers.”
“Good,” Keith weakly retorts back, eyes half closed.
In the morning, Keith will find Lance curled up to his side, their legs tangled together under the sheets. Too sleepy to care, he rolls over, burying his face into the crook of Lance’s neck. There’s a sharp tang of regular musk mixed with a waft of cinnamon and other spices. The grip around Keith’s waist tightens as Lance subconsciously tugs him closer.
And Keith finds that he doesn’t mind this at all.
Over the years, Keith has watched Lance grow into his lanky limbs, filling out with thin muscles and broadening shoulders. Lance has grown an inch or two taller than him by now, something he lords over Keith when there’s a need to boast. Keith himself doesn’t feel like he has changed.
They’re fifteen now and find themselves on the beach.
The waves crash into the sand, darkening it before it ever has time to dry under the beating sun. A sprinkling of droplets pepper their legs as they lie down on the beach, sand rubbing against their skin and tangling in their hair. Lance is radiant; his brown skin glowing under the pure light.
Suddenly the sun is blocked and Keith watches as Lance leans down closer and closer until their noses brush. They both erupt into a fit of giggles. Keith urges his body to arch up, complete the connection by locking their lips together, but Lance backs away before anything can come of the thought.
“I want you to be my companion,” Lance says at last, returning to lie on his side.
Keith turns to face him. “Oh?” There are many meanings to that sentence; he’s not sure which one he hopes for.
At his confused expression, Lance elaborates further, suddenly remembering Keith isn’t originally from Altea. “A prince or a princess usually picks a person to be their companion, their comrade in arms, chief advisor, et cetera. You’d be my right hand man. Whatever you’d like to call it.”
Why me, he wants to ask. The words do not leave his lips. “I’d like that.”
A pleased smile winds its way onto Lance’s face. “Great, great. That’s fantastic.” He pauses for a moment, expression becoming solmen. “You’d--we both--have to take a blood oath and everything. It’s very serious.”
“I don’t mind,” Keith replies softly and truthfully.
“I’d do anything for you.”
A hand caresses his cheek, brushing off a few particles of sand sticking to his skin. “I’d do anything for you too. You know that right?”
“I never doubted.”
Lance’s eyes are striking as he peers into Keith’s soul. His lips part slowly. “What would you do if I kissed you right now?” In his eyes, Keith spots hope and love and happiness and anticipation. A blush threatens to reveal every emotion he has as his skin darkens with a reddish tint.
Keith’s not sure where his reply originates from; he has never been good at flirting. “You won’t know unless you try.”
Partially chapped lips press gently into his. It’s all very chaste, the warmth spreading through his body, the spark tingling from the contact, until Keith weaves his hands into Lance’s short hair. He drags the Prince closer and closer, so close that all of Lance’s weight is on his lap. Humming in pleasure, Lance smiles into the kiss, fingers gripping his long hair.
Keith reciprocates the action and the sun continues to shine behind them.
As blood mixes with blood, hands clasped together becoming sticky and slick in the tight embrace, they offer each other secret smiles, other promises not being spoken aloud found within their gazes.
“I’ll follow you wherever you go,” they repeat the oath out loud.
I’ll love you to the end of time, they promise in their hearts.
He finds that being a royal’s companion comes with hidden perks. He is able to attend private meetings of the household, add in his own thoughts to the discussion, and he has also been moved into better quarters--a room right next to Lance’s. He often wonders what the servants theorize when they find his bed made and tidy as it had been the morning before. He has no use for that room; it’s cold and empty where Lance’s is the definition of home.
They don’t do anything more than sleep, but Keith loves listening to Lance’s heartbeat before the darkness takes him. All night terrors simply vanish.
To wake up to soft kisses on his lips and Lance’s eyes bright and blue and their bodies tangled together is everything Keith didn’t know he wanted or needed. A smile can be found on his face more than usual. It had taken his whole life to feel like he belonged somewhere.
“Keith,” King Alfor calls out to him as he and Lance pass by the throne room. “There’s someone I’d like you to meet.”
Both Keith and Lance had been too lazy to attend the meeting, leaving it in the hands of Allura and Lance’s father. They hadn’t used enough stealth to sneak by the throne room it seems. Caught in their escape, Keith hesitantly steps into the room with Lance following close behind, eyes skirting over the delegate from another planet, presumably the male of his species.
“This is the ambassador from Earth who has come to make a peace treaty with us,” Alfor explains. “I thought you would like to get to know him.” To understand the other half of yourself, is the unspoken line in the room.
At fifteen, it’s the first time Keith has ever met another human being from the planet called Earth. It’s strange, he soon finds out, both he and the human share very similar skin tones--though Keith’s in the right lighting can be said to have a thin glimmer of violet--and hands and feet, unlike his Galra comrades. Keith of course acquired the Galra’s large ears, but now he wonders what he would look like without them.
He’s not human and he’s not Galra.
He’s in a class of his own.
The man, with two toned hair and a prosthetic arm, speaks without prompt. “Excuse me for the interruption, but I didn’t think the Galra looked similar to humans at all. The Garrison depicted your race very differently.”
His gray eyes study every feature and flaw of Keith’s face. Lance’s presence trickles over him. There’s a faint weight of pressure as the pads of Lance’s fingers press into the small of his back. The action is hidden to everyone else, but it gives Keith enough comfort to answer.
“I’m only half. My father’s a mystery to me. I know he was human though; I am part human.”
Though humans were known around the universe as having little advancements in their society, barely being able to reach past their own solar system, there are a few, like the man here and Keith’s father and probably a few other undocumented cases, that have ventured beyond the limits of their world. It seems humans are finally coming into their own.
“And your mother?” the man asks politely.
“She was a Galran Princess.”
That’s all I remember. It’s been too long now.
Later, Keith discovers that the man’s name is Shiro, and he reluctantly walks around the courtyard with him alone. Many flowers are now in bloom, including Lance’s favorite. He can easily pick out the purple flower--the one that can change between red, blue, and eventually purple depending on the time of day--among the pinks and oranges. A fresh breeze sweeps through the garden, rustling Keith’s hair enough for it to fall away from the leather cord he had tied it in.
“Are you and the Prince dating?” the man asks suddenly, feet scraping against the gravel.
Keith directs his gaze elsewhere, unable to stare Shiro in the eyes. Betraying him, his ears begin to redden. “That’s a forward question to ask a stranger you just met.”
With his head turned, Keith can’t see Shiro’s knowing smirk, eyes soft with the understanding of first love. “I’ve been asking many forward questions today, but you did not seem to mind them.”
“This is different.”
“Is it supposed to be a secret?” A hint of panic can be found in Shiro’s voice.
Keith faces Shiro again, a faint smile playing at his lips. He tucks a lock of hair behind his ears before he speaks. “No, it’s just--it’s special and raw and untainted by any worry. We like to keep it to ourselves, to enjoy the bliss.”
They’ve stopped under a large tree, trunk wide with age, just beginning to flower. Keith reaches up, plucking off a rather beautiful white flower speckled with blue dots. Twirling it in his hands, he decides he’ll give it to Lance.
“He loves you, you know. The intensity in his eyes--in your eyes too--is almost painful to look at sometimes.” At Shiro’s statement, Keith’s eyes snap up to meet his.
“And I love him just as much.”
“Then I wish you two the best.”
(The human leaves a few days later, and for once, Keith is sad to see someone go. For once, he had made another friend).
“Keith,” Allura calls to him as she walks into the library, “I want to talk to you.”
Her hair is tied back into a tight bun, her eyes a piercing blue. Gulping, Keith allows the holopad to land softly on his lap, providing her with his whole attention. This is one of those few times where he’s not found by Lance’s side, and he realizes Allura must have picked this moment for that exact reason.
Allura stands over him with a stern expression, arms crossed against her chest. “As the older sibling, I am required to say this, you better take good care of my brother. No heart breaks, you hear me? Or else you’ll be in a world of pain.”
Lance had warned him about this. About Allura’s astute mind and her ability to pick up on certain changes, that and Keith knows Lance told Allura. There’s not much the siblings don’t share. “I love him, Allura, I could never hurt him,” Keith replies honestly, standing to meet her.
A smile reaches her lips.
He leans against a column, listening and definitely not spying. Allura turns twenty, and in a few years she will ascend the throne. A ball of course is thrown in her honor and Keith shrinks back into the shadows, anxiety prickling at his skin. Lance had left his side to scout out the drinks, maybe find something a little more potent, but then Keith had heard the thin voices of an argument and decided to follow. There’s nothing trustworthy about Lotor--the bastard son of Zarkon, Emperor of the Galra empire--so Keith’s muscles tighten in anticipation to jump in the minute Lance shows any signs of distress.
“You seem more attached to your companion than most usually are,” Lotor sneers, drink clutched tight in his hand.
A low, threatening growl proceeds Lance’s words. “What are you trying to insinuate?”
“That I don’t doubt the rumors saying that you two share the same bed at times. Tell me, what would your father do if he found out you mated with that Galra servant?”
The metal is cold against Keith’s cheek. They have kissed and kissed and kissed but they have never gone much farther than that. Lance knows enough not to correct Lotor though, not wanting to provide more concrete proof.
“Keith’s not a servant. He’s a respected member among my family. You should learn your place , Lotor,” Lance spits, “You have no claim to your father’s throne; Keith will become leader of the Blade when he is of age and ready. He ranks higher than you I’m afraid, and if you ever speak lowly of him again--of any member of my family--I will personally throw you out on your ass.”
A growing smirk encroaches on Lotor’s face. Even though he is only half Galra as well--whispers say his other half is Altean--he looks more the part of a Galra than Keith ever could. “There’s always truth in rumors, son of Alfor, and you just proved them all.”
“I don’t think I have. But I can’t change what you think.” Lance swivels on the balls of his feet. “Have a nice night, Lotor.”
“I hope you’re happy with your little Galra. We mate for life after all, so I’m afraid you’re stuck with him.” Lotor says it to be cruel, but Keith catches Lance’s smile.
Suddenly their eyes lock, and Keith realizes he has been discovered, embarrassment quickly coloring his cheeks, but Lance doesn’t seem to mind. He continues to gaze wishfully at Keith as he speaks one final time. “I’m afraid he’s stuck with me too then.”
My perfect other half.
When Lance turns seventeen, he is finally a man in the eyes of Altean society. They attend another ball, and for once Keith doesn’t hide in the shadows. Vibrant purple and maroon silks adorn his body; they’re loose and fan out whenever Lance twirls him on the dance floor. Lance, with golden studs in his pointed ears and his crown nestled in his brown hair and dressed in blue silks that sparkle as he moves, always looks beautiful.
Keith knows--they both know--that this ball is specifically meant for Lance to find a suitor. Many women ask for a dance, and only Lance’s hand on his back prevents him from growling at them.
Back away, he wants to snarl, Lance loves me.
The women are beautiful he has to admit, and he has always known that Lance is attracted to the female sex as well. But it does something to his heart every time he hears Lance’s soft voice whispering a polite refusal. It’s amazing how many court members have turned a blind eye to his and Lance’s relationship. Many bask in their naivety, dreaming of an opportunity to have the Prince be theirs. Keith knows Allura understands them. He’s not sure about Alfor though.
“Are you okay?” Lance asks, mouth dipping near his ears.
Their hands are clasped together, feet moving in perfect sync to the flow of music. The hand Lance has placed on his waist rubs soothing circles through the thin material. “It’s nothing; it’s stupid.”
“Go on,” he encourages, curious now.
Keith bites back a whimper. “They’re all looking at you and they don’t understand that you’re taken.”
Since their chests are pressed tightly together, Lance’s low chuckle soon vibrates through Keith’s body. “Do you want to do something about that?” he husks, eyelids fluttering.
“Claim me, Keith. Make me yours. Gods know how long I’ve been waiting.”
Keith stalls in his movements and Lance almost trips. “H-here, right now?” His blush glows brighter than the Altean markings.
Lance rolls his eyes. “Not here-here, but yes, right now. If you’re up for it.”
The blush hasn’t dimmed in the slightest. “Yes, please.”
“Have I ever told you how much I like this?” Lance’s lips discover a sensitive part of his neck; a moan rumbles at the back of his throat.
“No.” Keith smirks against the skin of Lance’s shoulders, muscles bulging underneath his hands.
“What about this?” His lips trail farther down Keith’s chest, sucking and biting where necessary and peppering soft kisses as an apology. A hand grips his thigh, pressing gently into the delicate skin, while the other strokes him.
“Hmm, maybe. But tell me again--ah, yes!” His hips arch up, grinding against Lance. His body fills with heat as the strokes increase and as Lance’s lips touch him. They both know he won’t last long, but he doesn’t care. Keith glows.
“Of course,” Lance says with a smile.
Lance’s Altean marks loop over his body in sharp curves. Keith’s fingers delicately trace every one, dipping down the waistband of his pants when the marks travel that far. A few encase his thighs, the bright blue cutting through the rich, brown expanse of his legs. In one fluid motion, he rips off Lance’s underwear, releasing him.
A pleased smile graces Lance’s lips. “Like what you see?” he whispers coyly.
Keith glares before allowing his head to fall back onto the pillow, slender neck exposed. Heat grows inside him again, untamable now. “Gods, Lance, just fuck me.”
“Eloquent as always,” he laughs into Keith’s lips, reaching up for a kiss.
He fulfils Keith’s request.
The minute King Alfor abdicates the throne and Allura is crowned as new ruler for many decades to come, they decide to leave.
Keith and Lance are both eighteen now, simultaneously too old to be housed by their family and too young to have an opportunity to make a name for themselves. In a year or two, Keith will have to undergo rigorous tests to become the leader of the Blade and he hopes Lance is allowed to follow when that happens. But for now, they’re free.
“Where do you want to go first?” Lance sits in the pilot's seat of a small, two passenger ship Alfor had gifted them to start their adventure. He had also graced the two of them with his blessing; Lance hasn’t stopped smiling since.
“Space,” Keith deadpans, glancing sideways at the man beside him.
Lance laughs at his vague answer. “You’ll have to be more specific I’m afraid.”
Thinking for a moment, Keith stares out at Altea. It had been his home for a little less than ten years of his life; he can accurately predict the time of day the sun will set, what flowers bloom during what seasons, a list of the kings and queens dating back to their first documentation. But no, he’s wrong; this had never truly been his home. “It doesn’t matter as long as I’m with you.”
Lance is his home.
Lance is his everything.
The ship shudders to life as Lance gently pushes the craft into motion as it lifts off the ground. They’re surrounded by the darkness of space within seconds. “So you want it to be a surprise then?”
A smile tugs at Keith’s lips as he studies Lance. “A surprise, yes. That sounds perfect.”