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Statecraft Without Borders

Chapter Text

“Morning sunshine, the Earth says hello.”

Keith wakes up to the strange sight of Slav hovering over him.  “What are you doing?”

“There’s a forty-nine percent chance that this is the last morning you’ll wake up on sheets with this particular thread count.  One nine nin—“

“Okay whatever, Slav.”  Keith sits up and sighs, “I’m sure the universe is not going to end because of my bedding.  Please go away.”  He grabs Slav by his third right arm and drags him to the door while he sputters on about possibilities and choices and royal weddings.  Keith shuts the door in his face and slumps against it.  Waking up to a chatterbox like Slav has a ninety-nine percent chance of ruining his mood for the whole day.


The return to the Balmera was not what the locals expected.  The great Lions and the Paladins were subdued.  Tired, strained, and struggling with too many changes and failures under the belt.  Failures that Keith felt keenly anytime he looked at his team.  Dark circles under their eyes, bruised bodies.  Even Coran seemed down.  He was less talkative than usual after sharing the story of Voltron's origin.  Allura was closed off, claiming not to remember much of the story herself.  And then the matter of researching their current enemy came up.  They learned from the Blade of Marmora that Lotor was a very different ruler.  The sectors he captured were assimilated, not conquered.  And now as the head of the Galra Empire, he was spreading propaganda and campaigning like an elected official, not a sole heir.  And he was winning. The Galra empire was rebuilding itself, and that could not stand. 

Allura accepted the Balmerans offer of shelter while they all trained with their new lions and leadership.  Keith and Shiro talked a lot about leadership, and in the first few days argued constantly.  Keith felt the weight of holding everyone and universe together on his shoulders and knew in his heart that he was too weak to lead them adequately when their real leader was back with them.  Changed, perhaps, but still strong.  If only Black Lion would listen, thought Keith, bitterly.  They wouldn't be in this mess if the head of Voltron had any sense.  He kicks the lion out of frustration and only gets a sore foot and a growl for bothering.

"I know, I know.  I'm sorry," says Keith patting her on the side.  "I didn't mean it."  The lion seems to accept his apology and Keith sighs, walking away from the hanger. 

The castle is full of noise that day.  Allura and Pidge are training with their bayards.  Allura is teaching Pidge to use her small size and speed to take advantage of a larger enemy, she’s even shapeshifted into a Galra to help it along.  It looks like good progress, but there’s a lot of screaming and high-pitched laughter too.  Outside one of the windows, Keith sees Hunk is refitting some critical outer layers of the castle armor with help from the Balmerans.  Keith passes as Lance seems to be taking his role as second in command more seriously, listening to battle strategies from Coran.  Upon closer inspection, he finds his friend is snoring behind his screen while Coran prattles on about recognizing the right time to change from offensive maneuvers.

Shiro and the Balmeran elders are looking over a map of the known galaxy and talking about Coran's idea to deploy early alert satellites around their systems.  He looks up, clearly wanting Keith to come join them.  Keith shakes his head, leaving the work of making sound, reasonable decisions to his betters.  He walks with slumped shoulders and wanders out of the castle.

It seems everyone has a job to do and everyone knows their role.  But Keith feels like he's lost.  Singled out and orphaned all over again.  He turns inward and decides to go for a walk on this own to clear his head of intrusive thoughts.


Balmera is small compared to most of the worlds they've been on.  But it is alive, and sometimes changing, making the topography way more interesting than a world twice its size.  Keith narrowly avoids a new crop of crystals breaching the surface.  And then notices the way they light a path farther and farther away from the castle.  He follows it, wondering if the sensitive creature that benignly hosts them all, knows he's in need of the quiet.  He follows the path to a cavernous hollow, much smaller than the one the Balmerans emerge from in their main village.  He looks down and calls out, "Hello?"  He expects to find some small family here, but no one answers.  Another set of crystals light his way down and Keith sighs in relief.  The tunnel leads to a dark tunnel, the one closest to the opening is dim with the light above but comfortable.

He doesn’t how long he stays in the comfy, cool shade of the little cave he settles in, but he dozes while sitting against a round rock in front some pretty crystals that seem to hum a lullaby.  Keith wakes up with a crick in his neck and a parched tongue.  He rubs the cool earth beneath him, "You wouldn't know where I could get some water would you?"

The last thing he expects is a hand to thrust out from behind him with a canteen.

Keith scrambles forwards and looks up at the newcomer in shock.  "You!"

The Galra soldier tilts its head, and Keith wonders how crazy he sounds.  There's no way for him to tell one Galra from any of the other in uniform.  This one is a little bulkier but the way they stand, the benign gesture... Keith is certain it’s the same one from the worm.  Lotor’s General.  He accepts the canteen, a little voice that sounds like Hunk, warning him of poison or alien effects on his system.  But he's already half Galra, and he believes this one is different by every measure from the creatures that attacked them recently.  They still must piece together why Lotor would attack his own empire, and perhaps he could get her to start talking, he thinks.

He drinks the water in desperate gulps and the Galra seems pleased with the acceptance of his gift.  She stands back up and watches Keith drink it all with a hand on her hip and tapping her foot.

Keith smiles up at the soldier, "What?  I was thirsty."  He grins while handing the empty container over.  "And I can repay you.  Are you... here alone?  Or still working for the empire?"  The soldier is silent and Keith sighs, "Still not talking?  Look, if you're here to scout for the empire, understand that Voltron will not allow any harm to come to our ally.  The Balmerans are protected.  And I'd sooner knock you down than risk letting you go back to alert them.  But maybe you’re different.  Like our people.  My people, the blade of Marmora.  All Galra do not have to fight for Zarkon.  He’s on the wrong side of history here."

The soldier is still quiet, and it’s frustrating to be on the talking end of a one-sided conversation.  The soldier gestures to her breastplate, tracing the symbol.  Keith shrugs, not understanding the significance.  If it is rank or station.  The soldier slumps like she just lost a round of Pictionary.  She seems more real and it makes Keith smile.

"You gave Prince Lotor the scaltrite crystals for the teledav didn't you?  Were you the one piloting that ship that attacked us?”

The soldier stands up straighter and salutes but still doesn’t speak.  Perhaps she really is playing a game with him and whatever she’s up to within the Galra, she doesn’t seem to mean Keith any personal harm.

Keith sighs, "Fine.  Don't tell me anything.  I rather you leave here in peace, without hurting the Balmera or its people.  Do you think we could shake on that deal?  And I won't have to knock you out and drag you back to a holding cell."

The soldier seems to laugh at him, her shoulders shaking but she extends her hand anyway.  Keith sighs as he takes it and gives it a strong shake, "Fine.  It’s a deal.  I'm gonna follow you and make sure you leave the planet."  He points at the water, "And go back to wherever you came from without hurting the Balmera.  If they sent you to take the crystals, by force, it won't work."

The soldier crosses her arms and Keith just knows whoever it is under the helmet is rolling their eyes.  "I'm not kidding around here!  Only the Balmerans and Alteans know how to harvest it without hurting the Balmera."

The Galra has the nerve to raise her hands in mock surrender and walk deeper into the dark of the tunnel.  There, her ship sits.  It’s a different model from before, and Keith wonders if their tenuous truce would allow him to ask for a look at the thing.  The soldier walks over to it and climbs in the cockpit.  Keith takes cover, expecting some noise and heat as the ship takes off.  Instead, there's an alert, flashing lights and what appears to be a particle shield thrown up at the entrance.

"No!"  Keith turns back to the pilot.  "What are you doing!"

The whole thing shuts down and the cavern is dark again.  The pilot climbs back out with a bag over her shoulder and walks forward with her hand raised again. 

"Stop mocking me!"

The pilot shrugs, "Have it your way.  I was going to try and make this as painless as possible.  Given how much I owe you, Red Paladin."

"I know that voice..." 

The soldier removes the helmet.  His white hair is bound tightly in a braided crown around his head.  "And I know you, Red Paladin.  Tell me something. That day you let Acxa escape with the scaltrite, what did you think would happen?  Did you think you and your fellow paladins would defeat my father and that would be the end of it?  Did you think it was would be that easy to destroy a ten-thousand-year-old empire that stretches across the whole known universe?"

"Lotor."

The man smiles at him and pulls out a second canteen, "Here if you're still thirsty.  I have plenty of reserves for my mission at hand.  I can afford to share with an old friend."

 

Chapter Text

The words send Keith into a fury and he attacks with his blade without thinking.  The new head of the snake that is the Galra Empire is alone but here he is, still acting like he has the upper hand.  There’s nothing friendly between them, and Keith wants to prove that.  He lashes out and Lotor ducks and dodges, evading him without striking out once and has Keith fumbling over the boulders around the cave.  "Stay still!"  Keith strikes out again and the prince flips over his head and lands perfectly on a stone nearby with a flourish.

"No."  He smiles down at Keith.  "You're trying to kill me, little pilot.  Why in the world would I stand around and let you?"

"Because you owe me!"  Keith thrusts with his sword and regrets it instantly when Lotor jumps up and pins the blade down with his feet.  With his weight on top of it, Keith can't move.  He expects Lotor to draw his own weapon but nothing happens. 

The moment stretches before them.  Lotor sighs and steps away, freeing Keith.  "I hope you're done getting exercise.  I'm bored now, my friend."

"Don't call me that!  I'm not your damn friend!  I'm a paladin and I'll do whatever it takes to defend this world from you and whatever you're planning."

"You could just ask."

"What?"

"You could just ask,” he repeats with a smile.  “Nicely, by the way.  I have nothing to hide from you, Red."  His fanged grin makes Keith's stomach twist and turns when he looks up at him.  It’s different facing Lotor in person.   The Galra Prince in the campaign recordings is always so above his people.  His features obscured from distant shots, speeches from high up, shadowed in flags and banners.  Up close, he's not much taller than Shiro.  Small for a Galra, and clearly a half-breed like himself.  His face is delicate compared the other Galra they've met amongst the Marmora.  Keith wonders about Coran’s story.  If his mother is the Altean alchemist he could be as old as... as Allura. 

There are just too many unanswered questions, and here he has the prince himself willing to answer.  "Okay," says Keith through his teeth.  "Tell me what you are doing here."  The prince raises his brow.  Keith almost growls, "Please."

"See, that was easy enough, friend."  Lotor jumps down and looms over Keith.  But despite their opposing positions in the war, Keith has a feeling there'll be no sneak attack here.  Lotor studies him, "You're the one piloting the Black Lion now, aren't you?"

Keith tries to step away but Lotor grabs him by the chin and looks him in the eye.  "Let go!"

"Interesting."   He lets go of Keith with a gentle shove back and steps away to look at Keith from head to toe.  "Very interesting.  Just what are you, boy?"

"You said you'd answer my question."

"I didn't say when I would."  He grins.  "I have questions of my own.  Perhaps a fair exchange is in order.  If you ask nicely, I'll tell you anything you want to know."

"Yeah right.  And you expect me to do the same?  Forget it."

"If you're worried about betraying your people, don't bother.  All my questions are rather singular in subject."

"What about?"

"You."

Keith feels like his ears are turning red, he sputters, "...No.  No deal.  I'm turning you in."  He reaches for his communicator but then Lotor pulls out his gun.

"Don't be rude.  I'd hate to use this.  And I’d think you want to know about yourself, Galra."

"How... did you know?"

"You said ‘my people’.  You fight well enough.  With a luxite blade, no less.  A traitor’s sword.  And disguised like one of the Terrans... is that what you are?  Half earthling?  What in the world was your mother thinking?"

"Shut up!  You don't know anything about my mother!"

"Neither do you, I'd wager.  Would you like to know?  It was your mother, wasn't it?  We hybrids tend to look more like our fathers.  And you... I've never seen anything like you before.  Human and Galra make quite the impression.  You’re pretty for an alien.  Like a pet bred to be small and hairless, all for the pleasing if useless aesthetic."

Keith blushes at the scrutiny and barely resists covering himself with his arms, "Stop being a creep and let me out."

"Ah!  Now you acknowledge you're powerless."  He stalks forward and Keith can't help backing away.  Lotor seems keen to smirk at him in the darkness, teasing.  "I was wondering if you thought you had the edge here.  Drinking my water and demanding answers.  And giving me nothing in return.  You're turning out to be a bad friend, Red."

"Stop calling me that,” says Keith through his teeth.

"Well, what should I call you, Paladin?  Blade, Galra, Earthpet?”

"...Keith."

"Key-th?"  Lotor narrows his eyes as mouths the name again under his breath like it tastes funny to say it.

Keith sighs, wondering how something as boring as his name could be weird by alien standards.  "Yeah, just Keith.  Keith Nobody."

Lotor leans against the wall, “Well that’s rather telling.  So many of us feel the same way.  All the half-breed sons and daughters are born Nobody’s in the Empire’s eyes.  It’s something I’m very vocal against in my policies.”  He moves away and Keith tries not flinch at the movement.  Lotor smoothly bends down and sits crossed-legged on the ground with the bag in his lap.  He opens it and pulls out a lantern, puts it before him and then pulls out two bowls.  “Come here.”

Keith is frozen to the spot, “No.”

“I’m asking nicely.  The least you could act like you have some manners.  You weren’t brought up in a sty, were you?”

“No, thank you,” says Keith with hands on his hips.  “I’m not sitting there while you eat anything.  Whatever you’re planning…”

“I’m here to collect crystals.  Just a few,” says Lotor.  He reaches into the bag again to demonstrate.  “And I didn’t have to hurt anything to gather them.”  Keith doesn’t want to believe him, but Lotor doesn’t appear to have any mining equipment with him.  Lotor demonstrates by leaning over with his palm outstretched and closes his eyes.  After a second or two, a small crystal frees itself from the ground nearby and floats to his hand.

“Altean magic,” Keith stares wide-eyed and his feet walk over with no instruction from his brain. He squats down on the other side of Lotor’s lantern, “So it’s true.  Your mom is the witch…”  Lotor gives him a flat-eyed stare and Keith backpaddles, “I mean, uh the Altean sage, alchemist.  Whatever.” 

“Haggar is not my mother.  She’s the former Queen.  She and my father haven’t shared a bed for centuries, or so I’m told.”  He looks down at the food bowls and hands one to Keith.  “Now it’s your turn.  Why did you let Acxa leave with the scaltrite?”

Keith shrugs, “She helped us collect it.  She didn’t attack us.  It was just fair, I guess.”  Lotor smirks at him, and Keith squashes down the need to punch him in his smug face.  “And that’s enough of that.  Let me out.”

“No.  Have some canwirna first.  I made it myself.”  He hands Keith what appears to be meat and noodles.  The prince takes slow and measured bites of food, sitting upright and perfect, not unlike Princess Allura.  Keith sighs feeling strange about not accepting it.  Lotor grins, “I wouldn’t poison my own rations, Paladin.  Please, try some.  And ask your next question.”

“Why are you being nice to me?”

“It’s only fair, I guess,” smirks Lotor.  “As you said before, not all Galra have to fight for Zarkon.  I want my reign to be different from my father’s.  And to start with, I have to root out those loyal to his views.  Real change is going to be hard to bring about, and you valiant Lions aren’t doing me any favors.  Not from the outside.”

Keith thinks about his words while taking an experimental bite.  It's spicy and not unpleasant.  He’s almost surprised a prince would admit doing anything himself, but he’s seen for himself how Lotor operates.  “What do you mean from the outside?”

“It’s my turn to ask a question.”  He actually winks at Keith and the paladin has to restrain himself, thinking it would be bad manners to throw his bowl at the smug prince’s face.  Lotor grins, “What’s your favorite food?”

Keith glares at him, “Not whatever this is.”

Lotor laughs, and it’s a genuine ringing sound, his shoulders shaking while he points with his chopsticks, “I’ll take that.  Your turn.”

Keith almost hates himself for feeling more at ease, “…What’s…”  It’s on the tip of his tongue to ask something banal and stupid.  But he can't afford to let the first bit of levity he’s felt in a long time get to his head.  Not connecting with his team is not a good reason to go dallying with the enemy.  He shakes his head and clears his throat.  “How many ships do you have around the Balmera?  Who knows you’re here?”

Lotor narrows his eyes, his shoulders going rigid, “That’s one question too many, but I’ll allow it. My battleship is just outside the system.  Only two of my generals know I’m here.”

“Two?”

Lotor shakes his head, “My turn.  Two questions.”  He puts down his bowl and reaches up, undoing his hair and shaking it out.  He seems far too relaxed for what Keith thinks is a negotiation.  He flips his long white hair over his shoulder and grins.  Keith is starting to really hate the fanged tooth smile. 

“Don’t.  Whatever you’re thinking don’t.”

Lotor leans forward, “Who knows you’re here, Galra?  And why are you all alone?”

Keith sighs in relief.  He was half-expecting to be asked about the castle’s defenses.  He figures there’s no harm in lying, “I’m… scouting.  Everyone knows where I am.”  Which is partly true.  Anyone in the castle can find his location if they were looking.  But he didn’t tell anyone where he was going before he walked out.  “And they know where to come looking for me.”

“Scouting?  On an allied planet that is only,” he gestures with his fingers, “...yay big?”

Keith smiles back and shrugs, putting the bowl down.  “That’s too many questions.  I think this game has gotten out of hand.”  He gets up and Lotor follows suit, standing up smoothly.  Keith is annoyed, wondering how he mistook him for the other soldier.  He’s much taller, and Keith is so tired of always having to look up at people.  Pidge is kind of a godsend.

Lotor stares at him like he’s looking for answers behind his eyes, “You’re right, Galra.  Key-th.  I think I’ve learned enough for now.  Would you mind allowing me to escape with my crystals, as you did Acxa?  I’ll really owe you one then.  Perhaps, I won’t target your Lion at our next engagement.”

Lotor reaches out and Keith hesitates before shaking his hand, “Get out of here.  Knowing you, there’s really a whole fleet just waiting for any kind of distress signal.  Leave the Balmera peacefully, and I won’t have to kick your ass.”

Lotor claps their joined hands, “Knowing me?  Well.  Understood, little Red.” 

Keith watches the prince gather his things and climb back into his cockpit.  He lets the barrier down and gestures for Keith to get out of the way.  Keith takes cover behind a large rock and Lotor's ship takes off, expertly maneuvering in the tight space. 

Keith watches the leader of their enemy just leave after their strange interaction and curses himself, “What the hell am I doing?  I’ve got to tell the others.”  He keeps his place though, waiting just long to be sure the ship has long gone before walking back to Castle Lion.

Chapter Text

Keith feels like everyone can see what he did, like its written on his face.  ‘Traitor ate noodles and made the enemy laugh’ in big bold lettering that probably glows in the dark.

But no one bothers him about the walk.  And the Balmera isn’t attacked by a nearby battleship.  Keith works himself into an anxious twist, ready to jump on a zip line to Black Lion with every alert.  He has to turn off his alarm and tune out all the other innocuous sounds the ships make.  Especially after he drew his Bayard at the breakfast slop dispenser. 

“The poor thing,” says Pidge while repairing it.  “Did that mean ol’ Keith try to get seconds?”

Keith slumps, apologizing and offering to stay and help repair it.  It’s the least he could do.


  

“The coalition has to make bigger strides in legitimizing itself.  We have to act as one, not only should Voltron protect as the vanguard knight, but the other planets have to pledge forces to protect each other when needed.”  Allura faces down several leaders, and they all nod in agreement.

They left the Balmera to hold this little meeting and submit a status update to their current allies.  But faith in Voltron is wavering with every world recaptured by Lotor’s forces.

One alien senator is keen to bring it up, time and time again.  “We cannot act independently of the Galra Empire yet.  You must hear me out.”

The others boo him, as they have been doing, but Keith thinks back to Lotor’s words in the cave.  He speaks up for the first time, “Wait.  Just listen to him a moment.  He might have a point.”

Allura pinches her nose, “Appeasement in the face of the atrocities committed by Zarkon…”

“But Zarkon’s down,” says Keith.  All eyes turn to him and too late to back down now.  “I mean… we displaced him as ruler.  And Lotor is not his father.  We don’t really know what he is yet.  And that’s kind of impossible to do when we’re still fighting him head on…”

To say everyone looks shocked is an understatement.  Allura stares at him but her mind is obviously working a mile a minute, considering his words.  Lance looks like he’s boiling and Hunk may have died of a heart attack, there’s no way of telling until someone gets him off the floor.

Pidge scrapes the floor with her chair, “What are you talking about!  We can’t negotiate with them!  They’re monsters!”  She shakes her, “We have to free anyone we can of their tyranny.  And then, after we’ve dusted the Empire, we’ll talk about surrender.  Theirs.  Not ours.”

Lance looks up at her even more surprised, “Whoa now.  That was a little dark, Pidge.  You okay?”

She slaps her hand on the table, “It's not about me!  We can’t just start having tea with Lotor or something!  That’s insane!”

Keith’s feels called out and turns red, “It’s not like that!  I just think we can try a different tactic first… if it fails we’ll have contingencies in place to go back to smacking each other around for control of the planets.”

Shiro hums, hand on chin and eyes closed.  He looks up and smiles, “I agree with Keith.”

The councilmen and Pidge all shout out at one time but Allura calls for them to calm down.  When she’s got some control back she sighs, “They’re right.  And as Princess… I should be the one to reach out.”

“No!”  A Misca alien, covered in horny armor gets up and towers over Allura.  “We will not risk you, Princess!  If you reach out first, it will look like weakness!  And we cannot afford to look weak at this juncture!”

Lance crosses his arms, “And how else do you think we can ‘reach out’ if we don’t actually reach out and call them up?  It’s not like they’ll just hail the castle and put Prince Lotor on speaker, like ‘Yo! Paladins want to chat?’, pshhh.”

Keith scratches his neck and everyone holds different arguments all at once.  He wishes he hadn’t said anything but he catches Shiro’s eye, and his friend looks proud of him.  Shiro steps up to him and claps him on the shoulder, “That was a good thought, Keith.  It shows forward thinking.  This might seem a little chaotic right now, but we’ll figure it.”

He gives Keith another approving clap and walks off to join the fray, arguing with the allies who are vocal against opening themselves to any communication with the Galra Empire.  Just as the discussion starts to turn physical, with one leader throwing his pizza rolls at another, Coran interrupts the proceedings.

“Princess!  I’m sorry to disturb you, but there’s an urgent call from… well.  You’ll have to take it for yourself.  And bring the Paladins.”


  

Lance stares up at the screen with his mouth open and Keith is kind enough to shake him out of it.  No one was really expecting a call from Prince Lotor.  Lance whispers, “I talked him up!  My grandma used to say…”

“No one cares about your grandma, Lance.”  Keith pushes him forward despite him murmuring about how everybody cares about his gram-grams. 

They gather around Allura while Lotor’s generals gather around their prince.  They recognized the soldiers from the hanger fight and the air is thick and guarded.

But on their side, Allura looks calm and purposeful.  And Lotor stares at them all with a calculating gaze.  Keith can’t tell if the Prince is about to rat on him for their meeting in Balmera.  He feels like he can’t breathe in the seconds it takes Lotor to finally say anything. 

“I am Prince Lotor.  And soon, I will be Emperor and sole ruler of the Galra Empire.  My father is on his deathbed.  And I see no reason to go on pretending to be aligned with his views or policies.  I am here to request a special conference with an emissary of your choosing.  We’ll meet on neutral territory and discuss a future for both the present Galra Empire and those who oppose our union and seek independence.  There need not be rebellion when there can be peaceful and orderly exit and a return to a more flourishing and prosperous time for all of us.”

Everyone on Castle Lion is shocked to hear this.  Allura recovers first, “And if we were to agree to such a thing, what assurances would we have that that an emissary wouldn’t be held hostage by you and your empire.”

Lotor kneels in front of his throne, “You have my word, Princess.  No one sent to me for these talks would be used against you and your people.  I’m interested in finding a solution to the problem that plagued my father for ten thousand years.  And with that, I see no other way but to reach out to you, not as subjects in open rebellion, but future allies.  Ones with the power to change the universe.”

“I see,” says Allura.  “I am not alone in this decision.  We’ll need some time to consider this proposition, Prince Lotor.”

Lotor rises and comes closer to the screen, “Take all the time you need.  And contact me when you’re are ready, fair Princess.”

“Pff,” says Coran.  “Fair Princess my fanny.”

The others start arguing about who to send, if they can risk a paladin or if the coalition representatives will even agree.  They go back to the meeting hall and share the news, sparking an even more contentious debate.

Keith keeps to the sidelines, thinking about Lotor’s words in the caves.  “We keep getting in his way…”

“What’s that?”

Keith looks up and joins Allura.  “He said he’s trying to distance himself from his father reign, right?  Maybe he’s on the up and up.  And so far we’ve just disrupted his own plans to take down the empire… Well not take it down.  Rebuild it.  I think the potential for this to pan out positively outweighs the risk and… that said.  If someone’s going, it should be someone who won’t be missed if they’re gone.”

The Micha growls, “And who do you think that is, little man!  No one from my people would volunteer for such a purpose!”

Shiro steps forward, “No, don’t---”

Keith speaks clear and loud, “I will.  I’ll go and face Lotor.  I met one of his generals before,” he considers telling them about the cave but shakes the thought out of his head.  “And if he keeps their counsel, then perhaps he knows about me.  I’ll go.  And I’ll come back with a deal.”  He looks to where Pidge is fuming, “Maybe even the location of your family.  Who knows.  We should make up a list of demands and concessions…”

“Concessions!  To Prince Lotor!”

“Concessions that we can live with if they come up.  Things I know for sure we as a group don’t mind.  Help me prepare for this and I’ll go and try my best to work something out.  If that doesn’t work,” he looks sadly to Shiro.  “You have a leader and pilot for the Black Lion right here.  You can still form Voltron.  Don’t go walking into any traps for me, but let me do this.”

Shiro sighs, “No, Keith.  That’s out of the question.  I’ll go.”

Lance jumps in, “We just got you back!”

Hunk agrees, “Maybe we could all go and if anything goes wrong- boom!  We form Voltron we fly right out of the trap.”

“Or,” says Pidge, “We send a trap.  We go in, fire everything and take Prince Smirkface out once and for all.”

Lance frowns, “Again with the darkness?  Hunk, no more meat in this kid’s breakfast bowls.”

“Gotcha,” says Hunk, “Look I hear what you're all saying.  But I don’t think we should split the team up.”

They go around in circles, talking themselves in and out several resolutions.  Keith feels like tearing his hair out as they keep his solution in the bin.  He finally throws up his hands and leaves the table.  He goes back to the bridge where Coran is watching several screens.  He gives Keith an update, “I see Lotor’s ship is nearby.  I’m keeping a close eye on it.  If he tries anything we’ll be out of here faster than you can say ghanimatsplatic!”

Keith deadpans, “I believe that.”  He looks at where the location of Lotor’s ship is drifting nearby.  “Which neutral world do you think he was going to hold the conference?”

“Probably one aligned with the Galra, but not quite under their yoke.  There’s a handful of evildoers up to such a task.  But closest to us is an underdeveloped world.  Maybe he meant that.  Hey!”

Keith runs out the room, thinking two things.  He can find out if he made the right choice when he let Lotor go, and help his people all in one move.  One big, stupid move.  Stupid, he thinks to himself, is the operative word.  He suits up and grabs a pod, ignoring the low hum of disapproval he can feel from both Black and Red Lions.  “I’ve got to do this.  They’re down there talking themselves out of it, I just know it.  Someone has to take the risk and it may as well be me.   I’m the weakest link…”

Stealing the pod goes smoothly and Keith holds his breath reflexively, as he always does when exposed to space.  Before he can lose his nerves he points to the thing in the direction of Lotor’s battleship and holds on for the ride.

 

 

Chapter Text

Keith is collected by the hulking General and taken to the ship’s bridge with little fanfare.  No one bats an eye and Keith suspects he was expected.  “Where’s Lotor?”

The soldier he saved turns and looks him up and down, “You should be more respectful.  If you’re the acting emissary you should act like you give a damn about diplomacy.  Right?  So as a diplomatic officer, you’ll address His Majesty as…”

Keith curls his lips and pulls away, “Prince Lotor.”

“Right,” she says with a smile.  “I am General Acxa.  This is General Zethrid, General Ezor, and General Narti.  It is our pleasure to have you here, Emissary of Voltron.”  She gives him a little bow.  And its condescending but Keith isn’t afraid they’ll spring a trap on him for coming. 

“I need to speak to Prince Lotor,” he says biting the bullet.  “Where is he?”

“Waiting for you, of course.”  She gives him a deeper bow, and the others laugh.

Keith hates being made fun of, but he tamps down on his urge to lash out and start something he can’t finish.  Not without Voltron at his back. He allows them to lead him away to room nearby that looks statelier than the bridge, with a throne and a long conference table occupying its center.  Lotor sits up on the dais looking down with his pointed smile.  “That will be all Acxa.  I have much to discuss with the honorable Paladin.  Opening terms, I think will go better if they’re one on one.  Do come here, Keith.”  He steps down from his throne and sits at the table’s head, gesturing to the seat to his right.  “I promise not to feed you my own cooking.”

Keith sits down with a straight face, “I didn’t mind it that much.  What are you doing here, Lotor?”

“Are we playing another game?”

“If we are, it’s your turn to answer.”

Lotor pauses like he’s coming up with some thoughtful answer.  Or a joke at Keith’s expense.

Keith leans forward, “Hey, I came here on my own to see if this is serious.  And you’re going to let me walk away from it because you owe me one for letting you go.”

“Really?  The others then know about our little fete?  They agreed to this?”  He looks at Keith like he knows the answer already.

“No,” answers Keith.  Like last time, he’s keeping an instinct to slap the grin off Lotor’s face, down.  He crosses his arms and sits back in the chair.  So far back, his feet dangle off the floor.

“Ah!  Then you just couldn’t wait to see me again.  I’m sorry I didn’t prepare something after all. More water perhaps?”

Keith isn’t sure why but smiles at the mention of water.  “No, just tell me.  Why should any of us trust you?  If you want to agree to a ceasefire…”

“I didn’t say that.”

“Then what?”

“There should be rules to engaging with each other.  Rules and policies in place for the worlds rebelling to seek sovereignty without leaving the empire.  And if those rules aren’t met, they will be dealt with.  What I need to know is will Voltron be there, at the forefront of every battle, even ones legally engaged?”

Keith sneers, “Legally?  What’s legal if you define the laws?  Of course, we will.  You can word it any way you want, but the rebellion is by enslaved planets who never wanted to be a part of the Galra in the first place.  We have a duty to free them.”

“And what of those happy with their statehood?  Are you going to force this independence on them as well?  There’s plenty of worlds that back the Galra happily.”

“I bet there is.  After ten thousand years of not having the full story…”

“Are you saying you would spread rebellious misinformation to my people?  How shameful, Paladin.”  Lotor looks away to one of his Generals in the doorway.  She gives him quick nod and he waves a hand to dismiss her.

Keith is tempted to ask but he rather they stay on the subject.  “You can’t expect us to sit aside and tolerate what you’ve been doing.  If you’re only campaigning to get support and oust your father, that’s one thing.  But you can’t expect Voltron and the coalition to be complicit with the Empire changing hands and going back to iron rule.”

Lotor leans forward on the table and stares at Keith until he feels his face turns red, “Are you alright, Keith?  Is this room not comfortable enough?”

Keith puts a little distance between them, leaning as far back as he can in his huge chair.  He swears he can even smell a slight clean scent and if he’s close enough to smell the enemy, he’s too damn close.  He clears his throat, “Princess Allura thinks…”

“You look tired, Keith.  Please accept my gratitude.  This has been a most insightful discourse.  If you’d like to return to your base, feel free to do so.”  Lotor gets up from the table and seems to expect Keith to follow him.

“Wait, is that it?”  Keith gets up and scrambles to follow he Lotor’s long strides to the doorway.

“Opening negotiations is but the start of a long relationship, little Red.”  Lotor turns on Keith with a smile, “And I look forward to our next meeting.  I’ll send word when a place is chosen.  And I expect to see you there unarmed.  For now, I’ll call off my fleet and the forces waring with the rebels will be alerted.  A ceasefire, you said?  Fine.  I concede that if I have your agreement.”

“All that for one little talk?”

“You’re quite persuasive,” grins Lotor.

“Ass,” Keith catches himself before he thinks of anything else to call the prince.  “You’re completely transparent.  I know you’re up to something.  You’re not doing this for the greater good.”

“That’s a horrible thing to say to royalty.”  He leers at Keith, “What else could possibly motivate me to correct a ten-thousand-year-old wrong?  I’m not here for myself, Paladin.  And neither are you.  Have fun explaining this when you sneak back in your castle.”  He grins and turns away leaving Keith red-faced.


 

“Keith!”

Keith is not expecting everyone, including the councilmen and Slav to be in the hanger when he returns.  “Guys?”

“Hey man,” says Lance pointing a finger at his chest, “Don’t ‘guys’ us!  You ran off and could have gotten yourself killed or kidnapped.  And now we have all this stuff to deal with it.”

Shiro steps up, “You realize Lotor’s people sent word that our choice of emissary was accepted and we kind of freaked when we realized we couldn’t find you anywhere on the castle.”

“My bad,” says Coran sheepishly from behind Allura.

“Yeah and we took it out on poor Coran.”  Shiro points to the crates in the hanger, “Then they sent all of this stuff… they said was it was traditional to gift emissaries with suitable attire and offerings,” he glares at Coran.

“Also, my bad.”  He shrugs, “They asked for your measurements and I sent them along before putting two and two together.”

“So, we came down,” says Lance going through a box of what appears to be food, “To scan this crap and make sure there’s no bombs or bloody letters pieced together in newsprint.”

Pidge is wearing some kind of purple scarf on her head and still scanning with a large device, “And we find its all just… what’s this?  Underwear?”  She’s holding up what appears to be silky underwear.  Everyone turns to Keith with confusion and suspicion written on their faces.

Before Keith can speak up, Slav jumps into a crate and pets set of sheets, “Oh my!  The good stuff!  And it’s the right color and everything!  We’re in luck!”  He points at Keith, “We have to send him to the planet Lotor requests tomorrow.  And its imperative you wear exactly what I tell you, your emissary-ness-ship!”

Keith rolls his eyes, “Whatever.”

Chapter Text

Keith went through a gauntlet of questions and tried to answer everyone’s concerns.  He lets Hunk know he was not poisoned and at no point did anyone plant a tracking device on his person.  He lets Pidge know that talk of prisoner exchange hadn’t come up yet, but he’ll bring it up first thing as one their primary demands.  Allura tried to talk him out of going altogether, asserting the fact that she was their Princess and a diplomat used to the circuitous language used by people of power.  Though she was probably right, Keith stood firm.  He reminded her that she was a pilot of Voltron, the last Altean royal, and the diplomat the coalition most respected.  And one of only two people who could pilot castle Lion and use the teledav.  If Lotor was planning anything devious, taking her would set them back incredibly.  Lance seemed quietly dreading the whole thing but had enough nerve to go through the things and pilfer some of it.

Shiro seemed disappointed and Keith confronted him just moments before he was due to head out.  “I’m sorry.  I know this isn’t what you wanted.”

“What I wanted?  You made a call without consulting the team and put yourself in danger.”

“I know…”

“And we got boxes of candy and clothes instead of being blown out of the sky.  So at least they seem to like you.”

Keith blushes, “It’s not like that.  Maybe it’s just because I’m like them… the Generals and Lotor.  They’re all half Galra, too.  He says he’s been trying to change the way the Galra look at us.”

“I see, that’s good then.  If this proves to be on the up and up, you’ll have an even deeper connection to your people.  I’m happy to hear that, Keith.  But I still want you to be careful out there.  If I could switch places with you—”

Keith rushes forward and hugs Shiro tight, and looks up at him with tears in his eyes.  “We’re not losing you again.  You’re staying here.  And I’ll come back.  I promise.”

Shiro gives him a soft look and hugs him back with his real arm tight around Keith’s neck.  He even gives Keith a quick kiss on the forehead before letting Keith pull away to gather himself and wipe his eyes.  “Okay.  I believe in you, Keith.  Take care on this new endeavor and come home.”

Keith gives him a curt nod and starts to walk away, hoping no one saw that bout of sentimentality.  Hoping his eyes aren’t all red and puffy.  But he runs smack into the others, all kneeling around the corner.  They stare at him and as one six-armed, six-legged Earth monster, they jump him.  Keith survives the hugs and kisses, but just barely.


 

Just moments before departing Allura comes into his room.  “Wow, this is all so different.  Before the only personality in here was your jacket on the wall.  Are you going to keep all this Galra stuff?”  She moves to the bed, topped now in the new sheets and rubs a hand over it.

Keith thinks back to Slav’s prediction and grins, thinking of how similar he found Allura and Lotor.  “Slav seems to think there’s a chance of all this ending in a royal wedding,” he smirks at her while trying on the Galra robe he was sent.  Slav picked this one out for him and stressed how important it was.  But Keith doesn’t like the look of it, even with its cut to fit him.  He feels like one of Haggar’s creepy druids.  He ignores his own discomfort to tease Allura, “And I’m only friends with one Princess, you know.”

Allura goes stock still, then blushes and starts stammering.  “That’s ludicrous!  Completely insane!  I would never ever in a million years think of marrying… Well, it was nice seeing you, Keith.  You look lovely in that dark purple.  Hope it all goes well today.”  She gets up and leaves in a hurry, almost running into the door before it opens.  “Hahaha!  Timings off on this thing.  Must get this fixed.  Tuddles!”

Keith laughs to himself after she’s gone but doesn’t dismiss the reaction.  Maybe Slav is right and the only way to formalize their agreement is with that kind of transaction.  If that’s what Lotor is thinking, he might be using Keith just to get to Allura.  He sighs, thinking he’s glad he ran off when he did.  Now he’ll just be careful if the subject comes up.  He can act in their best interests, but putting their friend and Princess up for an offering is just not on the table.


Keith is sent off in a pod ship.  Pidge outfits him with a special BLIP communicator and tracker that looks like a thin bracelet.  The world Coran thought was undeveloped turns out to be a paradise of greenery and flowers and freshwater.  Keith follows the coordinates he was given to what looks like a palatial estate.  He lands just inside the walls and walks up to the first person he sees.  He’s surprised to be met by an Unilu female.  “Welcome,” says the girl.  “Paladin of Voltron.  I am Athanie.  Please follow me to your quarters.  There you can take your rest until this evening’s festivities.”

“Wait,” says Keith keeping still.  “I’m supposed to be here for a diplomatic mission.  Is Prince Lotor here or not?”

The girl frowns at him, “Yes, sir.  Of course.  But the more formal negotiations aren’t until tomorrow.  The rest of the guests have not yet arrived, in fact, you are very early.  Please allow me to show you to your rooms until then.  I will be your personal guide and valet for the duration of your stay.”  She starts walking, expecting Keith to follow.

Keith sighs and crosses his arms.  The planet is too warm for the heavy robes and he wants desperately to climb out of them.  They walk and walk, and Keith tries to take everything in.  The gardens and lawns they pass, the gilded halls, the groups of idle aliens of various species talking and milling around.  Keith notes that everyone seems relaxed.  And why shouldn’t they, in the middle of a paradise?  He wonders who rules here if not Prince Lotor.  “I don’t see many Galra here.  Is this planet not occupied by the Galra Empire?”

Athanie looks back him with a smile, “This is Eche, the free world.  Prince Lotor put it aside with protected status years and years ago.  No full-bloodied Galra steps foot in this world.  It’s a sanctuary for those like us.”

“Us,” says Keith looking at her more carefully, “You’re half Galra, too?”

“Most of us are.  Prince Lotor collects us to live here, not to just serve him, but to host his diplomatic functions.  Such as this conference.”

“Oh,” says Keith.  He thinks of prying more, but he’s grown tired and sweaty from their long walk in the warm clothes. 

Athanie shows him to his rooms and where his private bath is, “Please call me if you need anything.”  She hands him a little buzzing device that flies around the room.  “Just say my name and it’ll be activated.  Your things have already been unpacked and there’s refreshment for you here in the sitting room. It was a pleasure meeting you, Paladin of Voltron.”  She bows and exits before Keith can say another word.

“Well,” says Keith to the empty room.  “I need a bath.”

Keith checks the room and finds there are indeed clothes put away for him.  They look about the right size and so he lays out a simple tunic and pair of pants on the bed.  He imagines he’ll be cooler in those and sets to stripping and climbing into the bath.  It's set deep into the floor of the next room like a pool.  The water is cool, but not too cold and Keith lets himself relax, dozing off after he bathes with the provided flowery soap.

He’s just thinking it might be time to get out when he hears footsteps in the bedroom.  He calls out, “Athanie?  I’ll be out in a moment.”  He gets up and covers himself with a thin robe they provided and walks out into the bedroom, “I’m fine really.  But if you could tell me when the talks start, I’d really appreciate getting to work… Ah!  You!”

“Me.”  Says Lotor while sitting on his bed.  “I was just coming to give you a tour.  And here I find you already tired and getting ready for bed?”

“No!” says Keith backing up to the doorway and holding his robe closed with tight fists.  “No, I was just cleaning up.  It was a long walk and I wasn’t dressed for the weather.”  He silently curses Slav under his breath.

“Well that’s a shame,” says Lotor.  The prince doesn’t seem bothered with Keith’s nudity, in fact, he sits back and crosses his legs. “I tried to send along comfortable attire.”  He looks down at the clothes on the bed, “Ah, well.  It couldn’t all have been perfect.  Manufactured so quickly by a battleship’s drones, no less.  I’ll send for something more befitting.  There are tailors here that will be happy to have a creature like you model for them.  You’re so tiny and delicate.  Like dressing a doll.”

Keith hides behind the doorway in the bathroom, his face tight with indignation.  “I’m not a damn doll!  And get up from there!  GET OUT!  I’ll see you when I’m ready.”

Lotor sits forward with a grin on his face, “Are you kicking me out of rooms in my own palace?”

Keith ducks behind the doorway and knocks his head on the wall before speaking up, “Yes!”

Lotor is probably laughing at him but Keith doesn’t hear anything.  Keith peeks around the doorway to see if the Prince actually left and gets a face full of Lotor’s chest armor.  He cries out, “Ah!”

Lotor grabs him by the shoulders and pulls him into the bedroom.  “Calm down.  You almost fell over.  Is that your plan, Keith?  Brain yourself on the marble and have your friends storm my palace to seek revenge?”  He looks down at Keith’s face and their locked stares stretch out for a long moment.  Until Keith’s eyes drift to Lotor’s mouth and that stirs things he is not willing to think about.  Keith pulls out of Lotor’s grip and backs away to the bed. 

“I’m fine.  You just surprised me, a little.  Please just… get out and give me some privacy.”  If anyone asks he is not pouting.  Keith keeps his eyes down and steps further away.

Lotor doesn’t leave without the last word, “I’m sorry to have disturbed you.”  He backs away and looks down at where Keith’s hands are trembling in his robe. “I hadn’t realized your sex.  I misgendered you, obviously.  Its complicated business with so many species on this world.  My sincerest apologies, Keith.  I’ll summon you properly next time.  He takes Keith's hand and gives it a kiss at the knuckles.

Keith gasps while watching Lotor go, the shock of it all stunning him and the word sex ringing in his ears.  The smooth feel of Lotor’s lips burning on his hand… That is until he gets why Lotor now thinks he’s a girl.  “You jerk!”  He runs to the door but Lotor is long gone.

Keith sighs and turns back to the room.  He could guess that Lotor thought another male or masculinely gendered alien would have no problem with being naked in the same room, and here he is, clutching his robe and trembling and doing all that stereotypical Victorian romance novel stuff.  Keith checks his BLIP, hoping it didn’t record any of that.  The last thing he needs is for Pidge to have that kind of ammunition. The teasing would last for years.  Keith falls face down on the bed and sighs.

“I’m so screwed.”

 

Chapter Text

The other delegates started arriving late in the evening, apparently on time.  Keith had walked around in his simple tunic up to that point, but Athanie made him redress in Galra formal wear.  A long red and black robe with a high collar clasped tight at his neck.  The fabric is decorated with fine gold embroidery and cinched at the waist with a thin gold sash. Loose, flowy gold pants and thin, soft red slippers are pushed on him. Under it all, he wears a thin silky white undershirt and matching underwear.  Keith thought it was still too warm, but the temperature dropped with the setting sun.  He found time to check in with his team while observing from his room’s balcony. 

“Guys?  Anyone listening?”

“Keith!”  A screen pops up and Keith sees his friends and hopefully they see him.  Lance starts laughing and Keith amends that thought.  They definitely see him.

“Shut up, Lance.”

“Are you wearing a dress?”

“What’s wrong with dresses,” says Allura.  She side-eyes him until he goes silent and drops away from the screen.  How is it going, Keith?”

“Fine.  I thought it was it was going to be simple, but the conference doesn’t start until tomorrow and tonight there’s a fancy party for the other dignitaries.”

Slav jumps in the way, “Quick, Keith.  From your vantage point is there a lovely blue and yellow Plimkian Princess walking in the gardens with blue flowers braided in her head tentacles?”

Keith looks out trying to identify someone like Slav asked for, “There’s a green cat-like woman with pink flowers wrapped around her tail.”

“AH!” screams Slav.  “Whatever you do, don’t talk to her!  Lance is too young to be a father!”

“What?”  Lance tries to push Slav out of the way, “Let me see!”

Keith hangs up on them and sighs.  A moment after the cat-like lady walks off, a woman with head tentacles in a flowing dress walks under his balcony.  She smiles up at him and when he smiles back and waves, she blows him a kiss.  One of the flowers float off and lands on the railing nearby.  Keith accepts the flower and waves again.  Whoever she is, he thinks it’d be nice to be friends.  But he’s absolutely too young to be a father.


Keith joins the other ambassadors and emissaries in one of the gardens where there is music and buffet tables are set up.  Everyone is milling about casually, but there’s no sign of Lotor.  Keith is hesitant to introduce himself at first, but Athanie comes to his side.  She tucks the flower in his hair and turns around, announcing him as The Red Paladin of Voltron, Emissary of the Unlawful Rebellion.  Things get interesting as the party seems to split in two.  People come up to accuse him of war crimes while others praise him for Voltron’s efforts.  It seems Lotor asked for many representatives from various systems, but none of them have had direct contact with Voltron or the coalition.  They’ve only heard stories.

One priggish man makes a point of speaking loudly about what he’s heard about the war.  He points at Keith and shouts in different languages, but Keith gets the message.  Athanie faithfully translates and he has to wave her away.  “That’s enough.  I don’t want to hear any more.  Is there any point to all this gossiping when we have work to do?  I’d like to state my case for Voltron and the defense of worlds that don’t want to be tied down and brutalized by the Galra Empire.”

People around him go quiet and Keith angrily looks down at his feet, glad that shut them up.

A heavy hand lands on his head and Keith is half ready to fight any one of the emissaries.  But it’s Lotor, petting him like some indulgent cat owner, and smiling at the crowd.  It’s the first time Keith’s seen him out of his armor.  He’s wearing similar clothes to Keith, but he owns it better.  And he’s way shinier with a thick gold necklace with dark blue stones and gold cuffs at his wrists.  He’s more at ease but still holds himself so straight and gracefully, that Keith wonders what kind finishing school Galra princes are sent to.  Lotor pets him again and when Keith doesn’t move right away, his fingers comb through his hair, his thumb and pinky claws scratching just behind both ears.  The gesture has Keith a little breathless with a shock of pleasure down his spine and he pulls away wishing the prince would stop acting so familiar.

Lotor smiles as he’s evaded, “I see everyone has met my friend, The Red Paladin.  The pilot of the Black Lion.”  That really draws attention.  Keith thinks of running off, but it would look cowardly in front of the gathered crowd.

A creature with a sloping mouth drawls, “How exactly does that work?”

Lotor puts his hand on Keith’s shoulder and drags him back to where everyone is circling them.  “I’m not sure.  I hope the honorable knight will regale us with the tale of how she was appointed Head of Voltron.”

The people oh and aw.  The princess from earlier passes Keith another flower and the Cat faced woman purrs while hanging off Lotor’s other side.  Great, thinks Keith.  Lotor still thinks he’s a girl or a something in between.  He takes the flower out of his hair and crushes it in his hand.  Keith feels terrible, constricted.  Suffocating with the collar at his neck and Lotor nearness.  With everyone’s nearness.  He shakes his head forcing out an answer, “It’s no big deal.  Our leader fell and we had to reorganize.”

“Ah!”  Says the Plimkian Princess.  She eyes where he’s hiding her gift in his hands but gently smiles, “The battle with Zarkon did do a number on you then.  But you reformed.  And there are others worthy of taking up the mantle in your absence?”  She says while looking at him hopefully.

Keith sighs, “Yes.  Of course.  It’s a special calling, but the Lions can choose whoever they want to pilot.”  He pulls away from Lotor and the mob.  “Please, excuse me.”  He says hurriedly while trying to make his escape.  He makes it as far as a nearby table.

Lotor blocks him again, “If you wish to address the conference tomorrow, you’ll have to get used to talking to the others.  They’re not just here playing dress up.  They are spying and spreading misinformation to each other.  It’d be more helpful if you tried to write your own narrative before the proceedings.”

Keith is surprised to hear that from Lotor, “What do you care?  Aren’t we on opposing sides here?”

Lotor gives him the same slow, appraising look he did on the Balmera.  “Hardly.  We’re going to be closest of allies soon.”  He comes closer and whispers in Keith’s ear, “And I’m dying to get to know you better.  With all the wonders I’ve collected, you’re an especially rare find, little Red.”

Keith huffs and pushes him away, thinking of the old Earth stories of the wolf that talked his way into grandmother’s house.  Well, Keith has no grandmother and he’s not a little Red anything.  “I need you back off before I rearrange your face.”

Lotor especially amused, “And why would you do that?”

“Because, you idiot, I’m not...” he stammers, having a hard to getting the truth out after going half the day without correcting anyone.  “I’m not a girl or female anything.”  He clears his throat and speaks deeper, “I’m a man and I’ve no interest in being one of your collectibles.  You’re barking up the wrong tree, asshole.”

Lotor looks at Keith like he said something especially cute while he was trying to menace him.  “I’ve got other guests to entertain, but don’t you move.  We have got a lot to more to talk about.  You’ll see.”  He turns away and leaves Keith wondering what just happened.

Athanie chirps in beside him, “Refreshment, sir?”

Keith looks at her, “Are you a boy or girl?”

She bends her head like the question doesn’t translate, “I’m Galra and Unilu.”

Keith is losing patience with the whole planet, “But you’re female, right?  I’ve noticed there’s a lot of females.  And all of Lotor’s Generals are female.   I think.”

She frowns, “We are all different.  Some of us are completely unique.”  She shrugs, “And I am female.  But what does that have to do with anything?”  She offers him a cup and Keith snatches it up.

“Nothing, apparently.  Just… I’m a little confused.  Or Lotor is.  Whatever.”  He drinks the sugary drink in one gulp and regrets it.  It's so sweet it makes his head hurt.  He passes the cup back, “I need air.”

Athanie looks around them, “There’s more than enough air outside, sir.  Perhaps you should go sit down.”

She leads him back to an atrium and helps him to a bench.  “Please rest here.  I hope our climate isn’t disagreeing with your physiology.  Perhaps I should call a doctor?”

He waves her away again, “No, please.  I’m just tired or something.  I’ve had a weird day.”  She nods and dismisses herself, leaving Keith alone with his anxiety.  He’s more annoyed that he keeps reacting so much to being anywhere near Lotor.  Dealing with his smug face and big hands is not what he came here for.  Keith reaches up into his hair and scratches, “What the hell was that?”  He doesn’t feel what he felt when Lotor scratched behind his ears and he sits there mussing his hair trying to replicate the sensation.

He stops when he hears laughter in the hall and looks up to see Lotor standing at the edge of it with his face in his hands.  He looks up and sighs, “Please tell me you didn’t bring Terran parasites with you to my palace.”

Keith gets up and starts to march away, “I’ve had enough of this place.  There’s no point in me wasting time being roasted for being a Paladin or teased by an arrogant jerk.”

Lotor catches up to him and offers his arm, “I sense your real problem here is ignorance.  You don’t know enough about the others, or me, or even yourself.  We missed our tour earlier.  Perhaps I can educate you now?”

Keith stares at where Lotor strong arm is crooked, flexing his bicep and it’s… probably not on purpose.  Keith rolls his eyes and walks ahead with his hands behind his back.  “Fine, Lotor.  Show me something interesting or I’m going home and planning an offensive to just smack that stupid look off your face.”

Lotor laughs again, easily overtaking him with longer strides and guiding him around the palace. 

Chapter Text

Lotor points out a conservatory that nurtures rare, off-world plants.  And a patch of land full of trees where native animals come to be hand fed.  Nothing politically noteworthy at first but they pass some guests and when they do, Lotor dishes.  That one smuggles textiles in his galaxy.  That one is hiding her marriage to a commoner from her parents.  That one is a notorious pirate pretending to be legitimate.  And so and so forth.

Keith listens and follows Lotor back into the palace.  They cross into a wing outside of the guests’ villas and Lotor takes him up into a building that looks a little out of place, tech, and labs everywhere.  Keith recognizes some of it.  “This is Altean technology?”

Lotor nods, “I dapple in alchemy in my free time.  And this building houses sciences and recorded history from all over the universe.  It’s my personal library.”  Keith imagines Pidge, Hunk, and Coran would die to get in here.  He thinks of turning on his BLIP to scan things, but he rather not while Lotor’s looking.  He leads Keith to a lab with a medical bed and strange pod up against the back wall.  “Here, I’ve recorded the unique makeup of every hybrid Galra on this world.  Would you contribute a scan?”

Keith looks at the pod, wondering if Lotor has anything to gain from killing him from space radiation or something at this point.  “Why?”

“Well to learn about yourself, of course.  You didn’t know your mother, did you?  Have you always known you were Galra?”

Keith shakes his head, “No.  I’ve just learned about it in the last year.”

Lotor gives him a pitying look, “And there’s no one among your team or the Blade of Marmora willing to fill you in on this?  Don’t you want to know what you are?”

Keith’s been too embarrassed to ask about his physiology, but he doesn’t want to say it out loud.  “I’ve learned about honor and traditions and fighting styles but… what’s the point?  Outwardly, I’m what I’ve always been.  Keith Kogane.  Earth guy.  It's no big deal if I can use Galra tech too because of my DNA.”

Lotor seems unconvinced.  He turns to the machine and it whirs to life, the pod opens and screens and tubes come out of various places.  Lotor silently sets the thing up, “No big deal?  Galra is one the oldest First Seed life forms in the universe.  The First Seed are cells that spread from star to star, world to world and adapted.  Evolving into the longest, continuous strains of genetic parentage.  Every cell is capable of the same potential, but pushed to different limits and erupting in different ways, all while remaining compatible to its cousins in other worlds.  Galra cells are so old and so pure, it’s especially adaptable.  There are six subspecies, nine races and hundreds of unique genotypes that originate from dozens of different worlds.”

“Woah,” says Keith meekly. 

“Indeed,” Lotor gestures to the pod again, “And if you’d grant me permission, I could help pin down exactly which of those world’s your mother originated from.”

Keith looks into the pod and then back at Lotor who’s standing there like he’s full of good intentions.  Keith doesn’t trust it all.  But what’s the most he can lose?  He steps up in the thing and it brings him up about six inches above Lotor.  He smirks down, “I can see my house from here.”

Lotor raises a brow, “Enjoy the ride.”  The pod closes and there’s nothing but darkness.  Then Keith sees a bright light starts at his feet and he closes his eyes while it passes over him again and again.  When it finishes, he almost falls out, feeling seasick. 

“What was that!”

Lotor catches him with a hand on his chest and pushes him back in, “Preliminary data and modeling.  But there’s more to collect.  Keith notices the Prince is now wearing some kind of blue gloves.  Lotor snaps the elastic rim on his right hand.  “And with your permission, I’d like to examine you further.”

“…fuck.”

“Well if you insist,” Lotor grins.  Keith feels his heart jackhammering in his chest.  Lotor pushes him into the pod and presses several buttons.  Something like an arm rail on an amusement ride slides down and pins Keith’s chest down.  Lotor slides his hands down Keith’s arm and slowly rolls up his sleeve.  “This won’t hurt at all,” he says looking up through his lashes while a wave of white hair falls over his shoulder.

Keith takes a deep breath expecting a clinical pinprick, but like Lotor promised he feels nothing.  He looks down at where blood is drawn and deposited in one of the tubes jutting out of the machine.  “What’s that for?”

“Analysis,” answers Lotor.  He frees Keith but then surprises him by taking a step up into the narrow pod, pressing his body close with his hands on either side of Keith’s ribs.  “And one more,” he says reaching back.  His right-hand trails Keith’s spine and when he steps back down he has a small clear vial that he deposits in another tube.  His left stays on Keith, his thumb circling on his abdomen.  “Well, there could be another?”

Keith is gasping, “And you ah, do this much collecting with all the hybrid Galra?”

Lotor steps back into Keith’s personal space, “I’m a very thorough collector.  I have to account for every variation, of course.  Would you mind if I collected skin cells?”  He thumbs the clasp holding Keith’s robe closed in the middle and looks up into his eyes. 

Keith swallows, “If you want to feel me up, in here, you could just ask.”  It’s crazy and traitorous but Keith’s blood is thumping with anticipation.  He trembles where he stands and waits for Lotor to break the tension that’s been between since that first encounter.  That thing he’s been reluctant to acknowledge, but at the moment, looking down at the beautiful Prince, he can’t remember why it’d be such a bad idea to indulge.

Lotor opens Keith robe, one clasp after another before pulling off the sash and letting it pool on the floor.  “Are you certain?”

Keith closes his eyes, breathing harshly and thinking of firm pressure of Lotor’s dexterous hand on his side.  “Do something, before I talk myself out of it…”

Lotor leans, “That’s not very confident.  Perhaps if I should be more direct.  May I kiss you, Keith?”

Keith nods and accepts the first gentle kiss while Lotor’s hands explore his torso.  He gasps into the second kiss when Lotor skims his nipples through the silk and falls forward when Lotor deepens the kiss.  He can’t believe he’s really allowing this to happen, but it feels so good, he reasons.  He’s an adult.  He’s not in any immediate danger.  At the moment, anyway.  And Lotor smells so good…

“Keith,” says Lotor between nips at his lips.  “Lay back.” 

Keith falls back again and Lotor’s hands squeeze his sides, just firm enough to massage in some places and then up under his arms is a ticklish sensation.  Keith smiles into their next kiss and sighs when Lotor knocks the robe off his shoulders and lifts up the undershirt.  He tosses it to the floor and falls on Keith’s neck, sucking and biting at his pulse point.  Keith hopes no one hears all the sounds he’s making, mewing like an animal in heat with every nip and lick and squeeze.  He’s hard and thankful for the loose, soft fabric of his pants.  Lotor’s body is hard and he presses close, giving Keith purchase to rut desperately, disturbing the prince’s necklace and jewels.  Lotor doesn’t seem to mind.  He grins while his hands squeeze Keith’s backside, dragging him up and closer.

Keith can’t keep his hands to himself, he fists them on either side of Lotor’s head, scratching his scalp and pulling his hair.  Lotor practically purrs under him.  He pulls off Keith’s neck and pants, “That’s very good, just there.”  His eyes flutter shut and Lotor presses his own hardness against Keith’s thigh.

Keith moans again, he kicks off the thin slippers, toes curling from pleasure.  He’s practically climbing Lotor’s body and the prince kisses him again, holds him back with his left hand to Keith's neck.  He pulls Keith’s leg up around his waist and frees his neck to undo his pants.  When Keith’s cock is free and bobbing, red and full between them, Lotor reaches over to a control and punches some buttons.  Keith frowns, “Don’t tell me you’re still using me like a guinea pig?”

“Using you is the objective, not hurting you.”  He dips his gloved fingers into a vial and puts them around Keith, slick and warm and tight.  Keith cries out from the contact and thrusts up into the hand.  Lotor watches him while his head falls back.  He pumps his hand and whispers, “Or you might not let me do this again…”  His thumb presses on Keith’s slit, he looks down and slows with realization, “You’ve been altered?”

Keith nods, “Its common on Earth.  But I it just makes me more…”

“Sensitive, I imagine.”  Lotor twists his palm, focusing on what he must find strange about Keith's circumcised cock.  He licks lips and Keith thinks his heart stops at the thought, but the Prince is just teasing.  He pulls Keith in for more kisses, deep, probing, and rhythmic.

It is not long before Keith feels close to coming, and he tries to warn Lotor.  Lotor jacks him harder at first, then slows down, wringing him from root to tip, milking him with firm squeezes that leave Keith seizing and gasping, clutching Lotor’s shoulders while his legs give out.

Lotor presses him back into the pod with his free hand while he gathers streaks of come from Keith’s belly and dips his fingers back into another collection vial on the machine.  “Thank you.  I, in point of fact, leave that particular collection up to the donor most of the time.  But since you assumed.”  He grins.

“Oh, shut up,” says Keith slumping forward.  He feels like soup.  He’s all strung out as if he went on a marathon run.  Lotor catches him and lifts him up out of the pod.  He deposits Keith on the examining table and lays him down on his belly, stroking his back.  Keith leans into the massage.  He wasn’t expecting aftercare but when he opens his eyes, the first thing he sees is the bulge in Lotor’s pants.  He thinks for a nanosecond before sitting up and reaching for the Lotor’s waist.

“Ah, ah.  Not yet.”  Lotor avoids him by walking around the table. 

“I’m not a child,” pouts Keith.  “I’m a grown man.”

Lotor pets his thigh, “Your scan says you are on your sixth cycle since Galra maturation… You’re ah, grown enough.”  He gives Keith a leer and climbs up on the table.

Keith’s looks over his shoulder.  He’s not exactly a virgin, but he didn’t think he would land on the planet and take it up the ass by a much larger Galra.  He has some concerns about this working, given he still hasn’t laid eyes Lotor’s cock.  “Wait, a sec.”

“I’m not going to hurt you,” promises Lotor.  “Trust me and turn over.”

Keith sighs and turns over, feeling a little stupid for not climbing off the table and going back to his room.  “What... Oh!”  He’s not expecting a gentle pressure the end of his tail bone.  A firm circular motion and then the harder rubbing down along his spine.  Keith stretches under it, ass in the air and not a care in the world.  Lotor pulls his pants all the way down and Keith assumes they’re with the rest of his clothes on the floor.  He rests his head on his arms and closes his eyes, to just focus on feeling.  Lotor trails his fingers between his thighs.  They feel slick again with whatever lubricate Lotor is using.  He pulls Keith by his hips until he’s on his knees, exposed.  Keith gasps when he feels his cheeks spread and a finger circling his hole with gentle insistence.  The rubbery glove slides in easy with the slick and Keith clenches around it while his toes curl.  He reaches under himself to hold the base of his cock, feeling it getting heavy again. 

Lotor fingers him with just the one digit, but his hands are large and Keith tries not to think of the claws at the end of the long fingers.  His hole is stretched slowly with the crooking finger and Keith starts to pump himself when he’s fully hard, back arching with every thrust of Lotor’s finger.  “Breathe, Keith.  Remember to breathe.”

Lotor shuffles behind him, pulling Keith's hips higher and closing his legs.  Keith’s head is pressed down with an insistent squeeze at his neck.  He follows Lotor’s lead and keeps himself still.  His own hand a loose circle around his cock head while he listens.  The tale-tell sounds of Lotor jacking himself off, unseen has Keith moaning again.  He cants his hip, expecting something to fill him and at this point wanting it.  But Lotor finger’s returns to his hole and plunges in deep and crooks while his other hand grabs Keith’s hair.  “Ah!”  Keith squirms, moving with the finger while tugging himself.  Then there’s a nudge of velvety skin sliding along his thigh.  Keith opens his eyes wide, mouth hanging open, “Oh.  Yes.”

“Tsk,” breathes Lotor.  “You’re not quite ready.  But this…”  His knees bracket Keith’s and keep them closed while he slips in between his thighs.  The head of his cock rubs Keith’s balls and he slips back out and then pushes in again with more force.  He lets go of Keith’s hair to hold his hip, his finger still twisting in Keith’s hole as he pistons in the space between Keith’s thighs.

Keith feels so overstimulated he takes his hand off his own cock.  But it’s too late, he’s coming again and Lotor follows shortly after him.  Keith gasps while shocks of pleasure tear through him.  His body feels electric and wet and full.   He passes out, up there exposed to a known enemy thinking about how he will be angry later for Lotor underestimating him.  His cock’s not that big.

Chapter Text

Keith wakes up in his guest room.  He’s clean and the only evidence anything happened is the soreness in his thighs and ass.  The heavy, bruised feeling of swollen and bitten lips.  He stretches, feeling surprisingly good.  Like all the tension in his body was completely drained.  He smiles sleepily up at the ceiling and arches his back.  He sighs as his cock rubs against the ridiculously silky sheets.  Keith bites the knuckles of one hand, wondering if he has time to touch himself before finding out where Lotor went.  There is important work to do after all.  But still…  He smiles to himself slowly letting his arm down in front of him, when he hears a chime.

“OH NO!”

He grabs his own wrist where the BLIP usually displays holograms and records images.  He covers the thing and tries to get out of bed.

Which is interesting, when he finds his legs are reduced to jelly.  He falls over on the floor, and in doing so throws out his hand to catch himself, then wrestles with his own arm trying to hide.

“Keith?”

Keith sighs, keeping his hand on the screen.  “Yeah, Pidge?”

“Are you okay over there?  How’d the party go?”

“Boring,” says Keith.  He lies easily enough, maybe he’ll get through this.  “I came back to bed after dinner.”

“Ah-huh.”

“What?”

“Nothing, just kind of suspicious that you’re hiding from your holo scanner.” 

Keith sighs and sits up, clapping his free hand around his neck where’s he bruised before the projection pops up.  “Nothing’s wrong.  I just slept funny.  There’s a crick in my neck.”

“Yah-huh.”

“What!?”

“Nothing, just last night an alert came on your BLIP, but the vitals were the same as they usually are when you’re ahh,” she gestures with her hand, jerking it in the air, and Keith doesn’t think he’ll ever unsee the little girl do that.  His eyes bug out, “Pidge!  That’s rude!”

“Well, you were!  And I know all you guys get up to it, but really Keith.  You need to focus on the conference.  And wash your hands!”  She cuts off before he can try and explain himself.

Keith falls backward, hoping that somewhere out there in a parallel universe he’s avoided the last three minutes of his life entirely.

 


 

Athanie comes in about twenty doposhes after Keith cleans up and gets dressed.  She takes one look at him and turns him around, redresses him more opulent clothes.  Keith puts his foot down on her doing anything to his hair.  “Don’t touch my hair, please.”  He smacks away one hand, but three more takes its place.

“Sir, I don’t know what kind styling is traditional on your homeworld, but here we comb our hair.”

Keith yanks away, “No, thank you!”  He marches out of the room in his white and red-lined suit.  He looks like he’s going to a wedding or something.  But he finds most of the guests are wearing white.  He joins them at the auditorium.  In the center of it is Prince Lotor on an obsidian throne.  The cat-faced woman from last night is on his shoulder whispering and Keith has to tamp down on feeling jealous.  It was just one night of relieving tension after all.  It didn’t mean anything.  He crosses his arms and sits up high enough to see everyone.

The priggish guy from last night walks to the center, “Shall we open the conference of the United Galra Principality of New Drule with new news?  I for one find it appalling that we have in our midst agitators and sympathizers with the rebellion.”  He looks up at Keith, “And even war criminals.  I call for their immediate expulsion, or better yet, their imprisonment for crimes against the Empire.”  He bows and turns to Lotor.

Lotor leans over whispers something in the cat woman’s ear and she in turns steps forward, speaking loud and clear.  Her voice echoes and Keith feels strange.  Like there are many voices in his head speaking many languages.  “We are the Crown of Daibazaal and we will judge who is our enemy or friend.  We find this congregation fractured and wish only to heal it for the common purpose of peace throughout the universe.  We will not name anyone criminal without a fair trial.”

There’s an uproar, the Priggish guy and half the assembly objecting to his words.  One small yellow, alien climbs out of his seat, “You can’t be serious, sire!  You can’t seriously forgive the traitors who live to torment your loyal subjects and disrespect your rule!”  He points across the aisle, “Like those Plimkian savages!  They work in cohort with those who undermine the Empire!  I have proof they’re giving information to the Blade of Marmora!”

Keith looks at where the Plimkian Princess seems unbothered being called out.  She calmly stands up, “My people didn’t ask the Galra to take our moons and destroy the lifegiving Balmera in our system.  We have a longer memory than most of you, and though we prosper now, we remember what it was like to be truly free.”  She looks to Lotor, “Did you not invite me here to represent the known separatists in your Principality?  May I speak on behalf of my people’s history?”

Lotor whispers again and his interpreter announces, “We have already deliberated on the matter.  We shall forgive minor transgressions against the Empire and our honored father.   You were asked here today to come forward.”

She does as she’s told and kneels at the throne.  Lotor comes forward, “I pardon your system for their transgressions.  They were non-violent acts of rebellion, begging for cessation.  I grant you protected status as a Free System.  And for now on, any world or system begging to secede shall be reviewed.”  He looks around the crowd, “Consider all the worlds and systems present, a part of this new republic.  You will be the vanguard of what a strong empire truly looks like.  Free people.  Free worlds.  Friends and allies.  Our strength will be insurmountable after we cast off the yoke of oppression that has plagued this universe.” 

Keith is in awe of how everyone is eating it up.  There are whispers just below him, praising the decision.  But some people shout out, ‘No!  Don’t forsake us Prince Lotor!’  Keith stands up, not sure what to say, but knowing he can’t let Lotor manipulate people with lies. “And this decree of yours?  Does it apply to the rebellion? No, you said non-violent offenders.  So, you won’t consider people fighting for their lives for ten thousand years.  Why am I here, Prince Lotor, when I represent those currently at war with you?  We don’t want to settle for a piece of paper or a name change.  We want real freedom.  Starting with the prisoners of war captured by the Galra and imprisoned in your arenas.”  Some of the crowd cheers him on.

Lotor looks up and smile, “And we will all get there together, my friend.”  He raises his hand the crowd simmers down, taking their seats and listening.  “There are fourteen new laws to be processed in the coming days.  I assure you, your worries will be addressed.  For now, let’s address the other news.  Honorable Speaker Ghol, you may continue.”

Lotor sits back on this throne while they move on to other matters.  Territory disputes, import, and exports, taxes.  Keith sits through it all, now watching the others closely.  He didn’t realize so many potential allies for the coalition were so close to Lotor.  He looks across the aisle to the Plimkian Princess and she gives him a soft smile before entering a lengthy argument with the speaker.


 

It takes hours for the meeting to come to an end and everyone is tired and hungry.  The interpreter announces the time for the evening festivities and urges everyone to relax in the hours available until they next convene.

Lotor walks out with the Speaker and a handful of fast-talking delegates.  Keith figures it’d be more prudent to retire to his rooms and update the Paladins.  When he gets to his room he stands on the balcony and watches as some of the guests sit around outside the villas.

“Keith, you there?”

“I’m here, Princess.”  Keith takes off his BLIP and lays it on the table so he can back up and give her a full scan. 

“Oh my, don’t you look handsome.  How’s it going?  Are you ready for us to charge in and set up explosives?  Have you started any fist fights?”

Keith rolls his eyes, “I’m behaving myself.”  He doesn’t think on the marks covering his body that say otherwise.  “I spoke today.  Lotor’s trying to sell them the idea that if he frees them, they’ll be free.  And so he’ll change the name of their sectors and everyone will be happy.  I kind of challenged that.  I asked him about the prisoners.”

Pidge comes up, “And what’d he say?!”

Keith shakes his head.  “I didn’t get an answer.  But… I’m going to track him down and get one.  Can you send some video of Matt?  I want to show it around and see if anyone recognizes him.  There’s a good deal of leaders sympathetic to Voltron and the coalition.  I think they might help.”

“Good thinking,” Pidge disappears and a clip of Matt takes up the screen.  Her voice plays over it, “Thank you, Keith.  For doing this.  I’m sorry I teased you this morning.  I won’t bother you again about your privates’ private time.”

“What?”  Allura wipes the feed of Matt and looks at Keith, “What on Arus is she talking about?”

Keith stares wide-eyed before hanging up them.  He puts the BLIP back on and goes on his mission.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Looking for signs of Matt turns up nothing.  The Plimkian Princess, tells him about raiders, but it's just stories she's heard.  She gives Keith another flower and introduces herself as Princess Eiuri.  This time he takes and puts the flower in his hair on his own.  He runs the gamut of everyone he noticed speaking for more freedoms in their systems.  Anyone with an ax to grind against Galra rule.  And when that comes up empty, he turns to those close to Lotor. 

The priggish man, Speaker Gol, is from the Gyruk system, one of the first ceded over to Lotor’s power years and years ago.  He goes on and on about his lustrous Prince Lotor, who enlightened Gol’s homeworld of Zaul when he was just a boy.  Keith finds it tiring talking to him and the other Empire supporters.  But their reverence for Lotor brings up a good question.  He sets out to ask in person, looking for Lotor all over the palace.

In the end, he’s summoned by Athanie, who leads him closer to the center of the palace and high up on the top floors of the most beautiful building.  The Center Palace is full of even more hybrids, but they’re dressed stately and rich.  Keith can only guess at their function, he wonders if Athanie has fine rooms here.  Athanie happily guides him, her hair bouncing while her four hands point in every direction, “And there is the Royal Dining hall, where His Majesty hosts the most important guests and newcomers.  And there is Princess Corral's royal guest room when she visits.  And there is…”  She talks and walks fast while leading Keith. 

They exit an elevator near the top floors and while she’s explaining, Keith is studying everything and taking the odd picture with his BLIP.  “You ever leave here, Athanie?”

The Unilu turns back with a puzzled expression.  “Why would I do that?  This is the most beautiful place in the universe.”  She ushers Keith to two large doors and bows before backing away.

Which leaves Keith alone outside of wherever they are.  “Hello?”

The doors open, and there’s a large marble fountain in the center of the floor, people in various states of dress laying around on silks and pillows.  Well, thinks Keith.  That answer the question of what function pretty hybrids serve near Lotor.  Keith fumes and wonders if he’s got the wrong room, but the cat-faced interpreter comes over, “His majesty was looking forward to speaking with you, Honorable Knight.  Please come in.”  She brings Keith into an empty chamber and leaves him sitting alone on a cushion.  There are two sets of doors on every wall, but Keith doesn’t bother to check them.  He feels like he was sent to the principal’s office.  There’s a long wait until Lotor finally emerges, wearing his armor with his hair tied up. 

“I need to ask you some questions,” says Keith professionally.  Because he’s an adult and he can be in the same room with a one-night stand and not fall apart, jealous about the others outside.  He’s on a mission.

Lotor nods but he seems more concerned with pouring himself a drink.  Keith’s a little mesmerized watching his throat work, then watching his lips, reddish with the wine.  “Come with me.  I have much to show you.”  He passes Keith and frowns over his shoulder before coming back and plucking the flower from Keith’s hair and leaving it on the seat.  “I hate the way those smell.”

“Hey!”  Lotor pays him no mind.  He keeps walking, so Keith gets up and follows him through the opposite doors on the east side of the room.  They enter what must be Lotor’s bedroom.  Giant bed, an enormous tub, rows of bookshelves and baubles.  Interesting artifacts and maps and giant windows on either side of the bed and a massive balcony opened to the warm air.  Lotor’s tub is like a small pool near the bed.  He strips quickly out of his armor and leisurely walks over to it.  “Care to join me?”

Keith blushes, thinking that’s just unfair.  Lotor long, lean and muscular in just the right proportions.  And he’s suddenly grateful the older man judged him unready last night.  He tries not stare at the half-hard girth, swaying freely between Lotor’s legs.  “Maybe later.  But I need you to answer questions….”

“I’ve been answering questions all day, Earthpet.”  He smirks at Keith while strolling to a desk near the tub.  He picks up a pink vial and licks his lips before turning to Keith, giving him that slow look over again.  “I’m tired.  I’d like to relax before this evening.  I can think of a few ways.”  He opens the tube and pours a little of the contents on his hands then reaches for Keith.

“Oooooh, no you don’t,” says Keith while stepping around him.  “I’m not playing around here.  I’m on a mission.  My whole family is counting on me…”

“Ah, you do have a family?  And they didn’t’ bother to tell you were Galra?”

“I mean the other Paladins and Allura and our allies.  They are my family and they’re depending on me and the risk I’m taking in being here.”

“You are in no danger.  If anyone so much as breaths wrong in your direction, I’ll have them torn to pieces.”

“Okay,” says Keith blinking.  “That was quick.”  He rubs his neck, “Look, just please?”  He holds out his wrist and activates the video of Matt.  “He was captured the same time Shiro was on Kerberos, and then taken by another group.  We’ve made no headway in recovering him.  And I couldn’t live with myself, knowing he’s still a prisoner of Galra Empire somewhere while I’m fooling around with the Prince.”

“Okay,” says Lotor mimicking his earlier tune, “That was quick.  You think I’ll give you special favors just for falling in my bed?”

“No!”  Keith huffs, “But you clearly think you can manipulate me into forgetting about my mission.  I’m not here to play games with you, there are lives on the line.  And I expect you take it just as seriously as I do, if you’re being true to your word and sincere and not just using everyone to further your own interests.”

Lotor walks over to the bed.  He sits on the end near the pillows with the vial and waits for Keith to join him.  Keith rolls his eyes but comes over.  He tolerates Lotor holding him by the waist while looking up at his eyes.  “You are a rash fighter, little Red, but you have good instincts.  Are your instincts telling you I’ll betray this intimacy?”  He runs his hand up to Keith’s neck and slips into the collar.  His fingers brush the bruises he left.  “Do you think I’m the kind of man who would deliberately hurt someone I pursued?”

“I don’t know,” says Keith breathlessly.  “I really don’t know.  I was talking to the others earlier, and the way some of them think of you… I hadn’t put it together.  But how old are you?  How long have you been the only leader they’ve ever known?”

Lotor’s smile is snakelike and he draws closer, whispering like he doesn’t want anyone to overhear.  “Too old.  Far too old and not old enough.”  He backs away grinning.  “And here we are playing questions again.  Let’s assume it’s my turn.”

“No, not until you tell me about Matt.”

Lotor looks down at the BLIP and pulls it off with a slick tug.  He tosses it on the floor where it skids half-way to the tub.  “Let’s pretend I can actually answer that question.  I’ll need time to do it.  But for now, you’ll have my word that if your people accept the terms and regulations presented at the end of the conference, I will do everything in my considerable power to do so.”

Keith scowls, remembering the lengthy itinerary Athanie left him.  “No.  That’s not good enough.  The conference lasts six more days and my friends deserve to know now what happened.”

Lotor sighs, “You’re becoming a handful to keep…”

“AND that’s another thing!”  Keith steps back out of Lotor’s reach.  “Some of the others insinuated that you’re not just giving hybrids a safe harbor, your building some kind of harem.  Eche is your pleasure planet.”  He thinks back to the beautiful creatures lounging just outside the door.  “If you have all that, what do you need me for?  I’m not special.”

“Oh, but you are.  I don’t want to hold any of them.  I want you.  Now come here,” he commands.

Keith’s head says no, but his feet move forward while he tells himself perhaps the Prince can be manipulated.  And all he has to do is give in a little.  He looks down where Lotor’s cock juts up from its nest of white curls, it’s all dark purple and pulsing and leaking precum over the foreskin.  And Lotor is practically panting on the bed, reaching out to catch him as soon as Keith’s near.  “Just the once,” says Keith weakly, when he’s caught.  “Then I’m leaving.”

 

Chapter Text

Three years ago, Keith’s roommate in Galaxy Garrison introduced him to the idea of ‘stress relief’, what with them being at the top of the class and polar opposites to the staff.  The adults expected Keith to perform perfectly, but frequently disciplined him for being an outsider.  They expected Wade to be just as good, but to toe the line and be a perfect angel as well.  The stress of it all got to them both.  And they helped each other through it in his first year, hand in… hand.

At the present Keith wouldn’t say he was inexperienced or a blushing virgin, but he feels eclipsed, just looking at Lotor in all his very, very, very masculine glory.  But Keith wouldn’t tell him that.  Lotor dug enough with the jibe about being ‘grown enough’ and Keith is keen not to bring it up again.  Now’s not the time to confess to how many partners he's had (two) and how many times he’s had anal sex (also two).  He focuses on the here and now and puts away the thought that perhaps he missed something in sex ed because he’s sure there’s only so far he can stretch.  Then again, he is Galra now.   Maybe Lotor knows something he doesn’t.

Lotor runs his hand down Keith’s thighs, then unfastens his slacks.  “Ceremonial colors look very good on you.  Do you know why it was insisted on?”  Keith shakes his head as he puts his hands on Lotor’s shoulder and steps out of the pants.  “Because,” continues Lotor, “The delegates have a habit of tailoring their factions with unsubtle uniformity.  Honestly, they’re more like gangs.  I didn’t want any of that on your first day.  Still, you could tell them apart?   I saw you questioning them.   And the way you talked and listened.”  He looks awestruck and Keith feels himself blushing.  Lotor's hands move up to his top and open the jacket and shirt.  He pushes them to the ends of Keith’s shoulders and ropes him in, pulling him down to his lap.

“It’s nothing, your people are childish…”  Keith breaks off to sigh.  He sits with his cock rubbing against Lotor’s.  Lotor licks at his nipples with little flicks of his tongue.  When Keith kneels up, the tip of Lotor’s cock catches in his navel and they both sigh at the sensation.  They fall into a long kiss and when they break apart, Lotor’s hands move back to the red undershirt and white jacket pulling them down to Keith’s elbows, forcing his arms back.  Keith gives a token struggle before Lotor bites down on his shoulder while pinning his arms with one hand.  His other hand busy holding their cocks together in his slicked fist. 

Keith pants, rising and falling on his knees, back arched and head thrown back.  “Ah,” pants Keith. “That’s not fair.”

Lotor bites his earlobe and Keith almost comes, shouting while his thighs twitch and Lotor laughs, “Fair enough.”  He frees Keith’s arms before it gets uncomfortable.  Then drags the shirt and jacket off him entirely and tosses them on the floor.  “I am very impressed.  You’ve been very well trained in the art of submission.”

“The hell?”  Keith frowns at the wording, thinking he could get up and storm out.  But Lotor grabs him by the wrist and tosses him on the bed.  He smiles down at Keith while spreading his legs open and pouring some of the lubricate over his balls and thighs.  He kneads the muscles in Keith’s calves and Keith moves with it, thinking it’s natural enough to raise his ankles to Lotor’s shoulder.

Lotor looks a little surprised but he takes the opportunity to reach Keith’s still sore hole.  That one clawed finger on his right hand is slow and gentle and careful while stretching him again.  Keith tries to buck upwards but Lotor puts his free hand on his belly, “Don’t move.  I’ll need time.”  Keith watches him, his own mouth hanging open, gasping.  Lotor pulls out and strokes himself with his eyes closed.  Keith licks his lips, but before he can ask to taste anything, Lotor is climbing off the bed. 

Keith frowns, “Hey!  What gives?”

Lotor walks over to his desk and rifles through bottles and opens drawers, he waves, “Don’t bother waiting.  You have two good hands.”  It's flippant and easy going and Keith wants to laugh.  He’s surprised by how often Lotor makes him want to smile.  He's genuinely kind of content in this moment, in a way he rarely feels even with his family of Paladins.  Even with Shiro.  The thought is too heavy for the moment and Keith shakes it off.

He ends up shrugging, thinking the man does have a point.  Keith sits up leaning on his left elbow and tugs his cock until its fully hard while listening to Lotor knock things around.  He stops to suck on his fingers, licking them before reaching under his leg and stretching himself with two fingers.  He rolls over on his side and bites his forearm while fucking onto his own fingers.

“Well, don’t finish without me,” says Lotor as he returns.  He has a remote and a strange blue ball.  He squeezes the ball until its cylindrical and presses to it Keith’s hole.  “Move.”  Keith withdraws his hand, holding himself open while looking over his shoulder.  The ball sits softly at his entrance.  “Stay still.  This may be shocking the first time.”  The toy fits just inside the rim of his hole, then propels itself forward slowly while widening and secreting cool jets in his channel.

Keith squirms on the bed, “What is that?”

“It helps the way in,” he says watching.  He spreads Keith apart with two fingers while rubbing himself to the sight.  “I’m going to prepare you well before the day is out and have you on this bed, Paladin.”

Keith cries out filling almost too full, the device twists and crooks inside him, beating rhythmically on his prostate while widening at the base.  But its good, and Keith is not on board with Lotor’s plan to put things off again.  “No, you’re fucking me right now.  Before I come and can’t… fuck!  Please, Lotor?”  Keith bites his forearm again when the device starts pulling out, pulsing and crooking as it goes. Keith expects it to be withdrawn, but Lotor puts the flat of his palm down on the base.

“Not yet, my dear.  After some time with this.”  He turns Keith over and holds onto the back of his shoulder as he lays down, rubbing his cock alongside Keith’s again.  He takes advantage of facing Keith and kisses him hard, pulls away to nip on the bruises on his neck, then buries his face, panting while he starts to thrust harder, rutting desperately.  Keith hands slide up Lotor’s side, pinches his erect nipples and rolls them while Lotor seeks release.  “There, yes there,” he whispers just under Keith’s ear.  Keith obeys, finding the right pressure between his thumbs and forefingers.

Lotor hands move up to the center of Keith’s head and he smirks down at him, “You know, I read the full results of your scan.  Guess what I learned?”  He scratches the top of Keith head, a small bump under his hair.  Keith has combed and washed his hair, not paying any mind to the sensitive knob of bone.  But he will now, he thinks.  His toes curls and he comes hard against the planes of their torsos.  He wraps his legs tight around Lotor, spasming while he wets them both. Lotor teases by sitting up and pulling out the toy.  He holds Keith down by the belly again and lines the head of his cock to the hole.  But he doesn’t fuck into Keith.  He tugs until his cock is jerking and twitching, just touching the rim.  He presses forward and when Lotor starts to come, Keith wonders at his restraint as the bulb of his cockhead stretches the hole without pushing any farther.  Lotor closes his eyes while semen warms Keith and mixes with the lubricate. 

Lotor pulls out, and he looks pleased with himself for having such restraint.  He sits back on his heels, his arms and legs shaking.  Below him, Keith feels marked and thoroughly used, but he could still punch Lotor in the face.

Lotor has the audacity to put the toy back in, “There.  In a few hours.  We’ll have you truly ready.”

Keith squirms feeling too sensitive.  “I don’t want to sound like an idiot, but I am ready.  Not now, but maybe in a few minutes…”

“No,” says Lotor.  He flops down on the bed and pulls Keith in his arms.  He kisses the top of his head and Keith wonders at it.  Who knew the fearsome Prince was a snuggler?  Lotor sighs, “Trust me in this.  I’ve had many, many, many—”

“I get it,” snarls, Keith.”

Lotor laughs, “Many different partners.  Of all different shapes and sizes.  And one memorable occasion, a different plane of existence.  But I find it difficult with Galra like you, Keith.  If you were full-blood Galra, your maturation would have given you a proper growth spurt.”  He pets Keith on the shoulder, “Poor thing.  But you’re pretty nonetheless.”

Keith is too sore and tired to fight, and the damn plug is set to gently twist or pulse to keep him from drying out.  Still, Keith frowns, “Did you just say I’m cute for a short guy?”

“Well, there’s nothing wrong with dwarfism.”  He kisses Keith again, “And you are cute for a short guy.”

Keith sighs, resisting the urge to get up and storm away.  It's easy when he thinks his legs will give out on him again.  Then he has thought, “Hey did you say hours?  What about the dinner?  I can’t stay in here until the dinner with this thing in me.”

“Of course not,” says Lotor.  “You’re keeping it throughout dinner as well.  And when we retire back here, I’ll take it out and make sure you are probably fucked to within an inch of your life.”

Keith can’t be bothered to argue with that plan.  So, he doesn’t.

Chapter Text

After napping with Lotor in his arms (and waking surprised to see the Prince still there, drooling peacefully into his armpit), Keith shrugged off the weight of the deep-sleeping monarch and took a bath.  He sat at the end of the pool and watched Lotor hug the pillow in his place and smiled.  He was sore everywhere, and couldn’t get the toy out without causing himself discomfort, like a reverse Chinese finger trap it widened when he tugged and shrunk when he left it alone.  After realizing that, he looked back at Lotor sleeping like he wasn’t guilty of trapping come and lube in Keith’s ass.  The bastard, thought Keith.  He was definitely going to punch him in the face later.

He climbed back in the bed when he was done and whispered, “Hey, how do I turn this thing off?”  The only answer he got was Lotor grinning in his sleep and reaching out to him.  “Damn it,” said Keith.  He slapped the hand away and just Lotor rolled over, leaving his question unanswered.

Keith dressed quickly in his discarded clothes and put his BLIP back on, then did the walk of shame back to his own rooms.  All the while the device plugging him still gave the odd twist.  It was a long, long walk.  And many of the denizens of the Center Palace gave him knowing looks, and little smirks.  One large hybrid male glared daggers at him, even flexed his muscles in some kind of demonstration until Keith was out of sight, safe in the elevator and away from the top floors.  By the time he made it back to his rooms in the guest villas, Athanie was waiting on him with an unsurprised look.  She had medical things she thought he’d appreciate for aftercare and his clothes for the dinner festivities laid out.  A light blue robe, more like a kimono with a large heavy gold sash.  Gold embroidery even more fine and intricate than the first night, more like the clothing, the hybrids in the Center Palace wore.  It made Keith feel embarrassed to accept it, wondering if Athanie thought he was just another concubine.

Keith washed up again but still felt marked.  He felt like he could smell Lotor on is skin, and if he could, so would everyone else.

And if Keith thought he was blushing through all that, he was positively beet-red when he got a call from home. 


Keith thought the worst of last night’s fallout was over.  He’s pacing his room, reading reports Coran sent him on the known delegates and their systems when he gets the call.

“Hey man,” says Hunk.  He’s looking everywhere but at Keith.  “Glad you’re free.  Hey… um… are you okay?”

Keith frowns, only thinking about the pressure of the upcoming talks, “I’m fine.  Lotor says he’ll have his resources look into Matt when the talks are over and if we comply with his laws. I want to talk to Allura tomorrow about the details they’re drawing up.  Athanie said I’ll have a copy of the first draft in the morning, I’ll send it to you guys.   I asked around and no one could tell me anything definite about Matt or what happened to the gladiators.  Why are you doing that?”  On the projection Keith’s holding up, Hunk looks sweaty and nervous, his head hung instead of looking up at Keith. 

“Look man, I don’t know how to say this… but I saw you.  Earlier…”

Keith tips his head thinking back to when the BLIP chimed while he was questioning the delegates, “Yeah?  Like five hours ago?  I told Pidge I’d check in later.”

“No, no, I know.  But ah…. Pidge had a thing.  And when you didn’t call right back, she sent me to check on you.  And um…  Man.  I saw you.  On a bed… with a guy… was that Prince Lotor…?”  He covers his face and looks up with tears in his eyes, “Man, you gotta tell me!  Are you okay!  Cause I’ll fly down there right now with Yellow and pick you up!  We can do like Pidge suggested and just blow the whole planet up from space!  I can’t believe we let you walk into this alone and now he’s… .he’s…”

“WOAH!”  Keith stares wide-eyed at where Hunk is a sobbing mess.  “I can’t believe you-  Why didn’t you say anything?  Wait, did you tell anyone?  Oh my god!”

“I’m sorry!  I wish I could unsee it!”

“Me too!”

“Your pert little ass was in the air!”

“Stop!  Pipe down before someone hears you, Hunk!”

Hunk cries harder, “And that slapping, fleshy sound!  I was terrified you might be hurt, but you were all ‘ah yes, yes’ and I just wish this hadn’t happened!”

Keith feels like crying too, his face burning, “Me too!  Look do me a solid, man and just keep quiet over there?  Okay?  Please?  It was a one-time thing…” He lies and hopes it’s convincing.  “I don’t know why I did it.  I mean you saw him, right?  I tried to pass it up, but he’s so damn fuckable and…”

“LA LA LA!”  Hunk covers his ears, “I AM NOT listening!”

“Yeah, okay!  I get it.  This is uncomfortable for the both of us.  But you have to promise not to tell anyone, okay?”

“I don’t know.  You’ve been compromised. Really, really compromised.  How do I know it’s not some Galra Keith mating instinct taking over and driving you mad?   How do I know you won’t sell out the whole coalition for some giant purple dong, huh?”

Keith sighs, “Because it was just the once.  Really.  It’s out of my system.  Maybe you’re right and my body just wanted to have mind-blowing Galra sex while it was available.  But it won’t happen again, I mean it.”

Hunk blows his nose, “I don’t know.  I feel like you’re lying to me.  Your vitals say you’re being deceptive you know.  I’m still at the BLIP console.”

Keith rolls his eyes, “Okay, I will try and not let it happen again.  But no matter what, trust that our interests come first.  The freedom of the coalition from Galra occupation.  I’m going to do everything I can.  I mean it.”

“Yeah okay.  I’m going to pretend you’re a bond girl villain.  Like in the movies, you know.  They’re deadly but they always resort to seducing with their ta-ta’s hanging out and everything.  That’s you.  You’re our bond girl villainess infiltering with your ta-ta’s hanging out.  I’m worried for you man.  Please be careful.  I won’t tell the others.”

“Tell the others what?”  Says Lance coming up from behind Hunk.  He looks at Keith who is trying to compose himself.  “What’s a matter with you?  Hey!  Do you need me come down there with Red and get you, Pidge wants to…”

“I know,” says Keith feeling strangely happy to know they worry about him.  “Pidge wants to blow the planet up.  Don’t let her do that.  I got this.”

“Yeah!  He’s working on relations- oh!”  Hunk slaps a hand over his mouth, his eyes darting from Lance to Keith. 

Keith sighs, and Lance seems oblivious.  “I’ll call you guys tomorrow morning.  And remember to chime next time, Hunk.”  He cuts off on them and lays down on the bed, on his belly. He sets his BLIP to the loudest alert volume and bites his lip, thinking he should deactivate calls for the night.  But that might make them more worried.  He takes it off and leaves it on the bed, wondering if he can get away with explaining he forgot it in the room.

The toy reminds him it’s there, crooking just a little while the base gets wider.  Keith grips the sheets and breaths in deep, knowing Lotor has a remote and is doing this on purpose.  He resigns himself to having a light, perhaps liquid dinner, and gets up to deal with the delegates.


 

The dinner is strange.  The faces Keith expect to see aren’t in the hall Athanie showed him earlier.  There’s a handful of delegates, about a dozen hybrids, and Prince Lotor sitting at the head of his massive table with the interpreter just behind his seat.  Athanie announces him and escorts him to his seat, on Lotor’s ride side and backs away, but stands just behind Keith.  Keith looks around, “What’s going on?  Where is everyone else?”

Lotor steeples his finger and leans forward, whispering, “I don’t like them.  Among us now are my favorites.  And they know it.  And so do the others.  That’s why they’re outside and we’re inside.  I’m making it very clear to the traditionalists what I’m willing to put up with and who wins the crown’s favor in this regard.”  He waves at guests gathered at the table. 

Princess Eiuri, sits a few seats down from Keith, smiles and raises her drink.  “A toast, to our honorable host, His Imperial Royal Majesty, Prince Lotor.  May his future reign as our Emperor be long and prosperous.”

“Here, here!”  The guest cheer and clink their glasses and stomp their feet. 

Lotor stands up and gives them all a bow, “I am fortunate to serve you now as your Prince, and I promise, our future together will be a new golden age in advancement, tolerance, and growth.  To the Empire and the Free Systems Republic!”

The cheering is thunderous and Keith marvels at Lotor’s gall.  He really has them all wrapped around his little finger and it will be hard to dissuade them from their plans to become Free Systems, a.k.a. Still Freaking Galra Empire.  Keith must look as unimpressed as he feels.  He takes a sip of his wine and over the glass, he sees Lotor giving him a concerned look.  But it’s not addressed out loud.  Instead, Keith feels the toy widening again at the base, and Lotor turns to speaks to his Interpreter, passing on the news to the delegates.

Keith sits through it and glares, thinking two can play that game.  He’s planning on getting a headache retiring to his own bed after dinner.  Fuck Lotor and all his well-laid plans.

 

 

Chapter Text

Keith’s plan to excuse himself and go back to his room is paid no attention.  He drinks a little too much and before departing leans down close to Lotor and whispers, “Give me that damn remote, or I’m cutting it out of your hand.”

Lotor raises a brow, but smiles.  He hands it over in front of everyone, and Keith can’t tell if anyone knows what it is, but he shoves it up his sleeve and walks away quickly, with Athanie jogging to keep up with him.

“Sir!  Lord Paladin?  Is something wrong?  I thought you were entertaining the night with His Highness?”

“His Highness is an ass.  He can entertain himself.”  He closes the elevator on her face.  The doors open on the next floor and Keith frowns, “What?”

“Hey there, little guy,” says a voice from beside him.  Keith looks back to see Ezor appearing out of thin air.  She pats him on the head, “You cute little Terran, you!”  She pushes him out roughly and Keith faces Axca. 

“Prince Lotor wishes to have a word with you.  And for some reason, he thought you’d tell a valet no.  But don’t worry.  I can show you to his private rooms.”

Ezor pinches his cheeks, “Oh!  But he knows the way there, don’t ya squirt?”  She grins and Keith pushes her away.

“I’m not going anywhere with either of you.  I’m done with Lotor.  We’ll talk politics in the morning or fight or whatever, but I’m not going up there.  I’ve had enough of him and his ego!”  And that’s just that, thinks Keith.  He nods his head and turns around to the elevator, only to be yanked back.  And thrown in the air.  And caught.  He sits bridal style in the arms of the largest general.  “Put me down.”

Zethrid grins, “If you’re not going with them, you’re coming with me.  Hang on, Tiny.”  She runs, down the hall and up a flight of stairs and its all Keith can do to hold on or fall.  He wonders how he went from being on a diplomatic mission to scanner flirting, to fraternizing, and now being kidnapped.  It’s a wonder Pidge or Hunk haven’t chimed in about his heart because it's beating out of his chest, but then he remembers he left the BLIP in his room and he’s too far away for it to scan.  Zethrid slows down and dumps him on the floor of the next level, back in front of the massive doors.  “Get in there, or I’m throwing you through the door.”

“I believe you,” says Keith getting on his feet and adjusting.  “Fine.  I’ll go in.  But he can’t… make me do anything I don’t want to do.  My friends are looking for any reason to blow up this planet.  And I’m not some damn concubine!”

Zethrid looks confused, “Get in there and stop yapping.  Lotor’s waiting.  And I want to get home!”  She shoves him when the door opens and slams it shut, leaving him back in the sitting room with too many doors.  Keith waits and doors to Lotor’s room open slowly.

He storms inside and sees Lotor sitting on the edge of the bed, calmly toying with some cube.  “What’s the big idea kidnapping me!  I don’t want to see you like this anymore!” He waves the remote, “I want this damn thing out of me and I want to forget I ever laid eyes on your deceitful ass!  You pompous son of—”

“I need you to leave the planet.”

“The fuck?”  Keith stops his tirade and stares.  “I… wait what?  Are you kicking me out of the conference?  Because I won’t sleep with you again!?  You are really are an ass!”

Lotor sighs and holds the cube up, a projection of a woman with a large ugly bird appears, “My intended betrothal is coming soon.  She wasn’t actually invited.  I suspect this is Haggar’s doing.  Since she’s the one who arranged our marriage in the first place.”

“You’re married!”  Keith’s heart sink.  And he wasn’t expecting it to.  Even knowing what the hybrids outside are to Lotor, the last thing he thought he’d feel would be jealousy.  Or lost.

“No, not yet.  And I didn’t have a choice in the matter, not while my father was alive and well.”  He stands up puts the thing away on one of his shelves.  He walks over to Keith, “If I can seize complete control of the Empire before he wakes, and better still if he dies, I won’t have to marry her.  Emperors aren’t beholden to the promises of Princes.”

“I get it, then you’re rushing to solidify your power to keep out of an arranged marriage?”  He shakes his head, “I’m sure there are better ways to go about it than deceiving all those people out there.”

“I’m not deceiving them!  It’s the truth.  As Free Systems, they will have their own autonomy and no occupation by Galra forces. They will be our allies, not slaves.  I extend the same freedoms to you and your people.  If you comply with secession laws.”  He gives Keith a soulful look and it’s the most earnest he’s ever appeared, “But I need you to leave before she arrives.  Merla is spiteful.  And jealous.  She can’t do anything to the residents here, they’re protected as my courtesans, they have rights within the Galra Empire.  But you’re the enemy, and you put my father down.  She’ll have every reason to hurt you if she finds you here and discovers us.  I’m sorry, but I would not risk losing you.”

Keith’s touched by the admission, “You’re scared for me?”

“Yes,” Lotor shakes his head.  “Give me that,” he says holding out his hand.  Keith gives up the remote and Lotor turns away, Keith following him while he walks to a doorway, “Go in there and shower, the plug will come out when you’re relaxed.  I’ll find you something to wear… you can stay the night in your rooms but in the morning, you’ll be escorted back to your ship.   Tell your Princess, that the truce will be in effect until talks are concluded and she’s reviewed our resolutions.” 

He pushes Keith inside what looks high-end spa, not a shower.  A wide marbled room, steamy and warm, with mirrors and shelves of more vials and soaps.  And cascading water from some point along the ceiling on one wall.  Keith gets undressed and stays under the water, thinking this is ridiculous.  A moment ago, he was ready to start a fight with the Prince, and now he’s sad to be turned away.  He stands still, hugging himself while the water beats down on his neck.  He wonders how he’s supposed to explain the affair to Allura and the others.  How can he explain being dismissed because Lotor is afraid his future wife will catch them?  He can’t… It's terrible.  He failed everyone, again.  Before he knows it, Keith is sobbing, and he stays in the shower until he calms down enough to clean himself up and take out the plug.  So much, for being prepared for this evening, he thinks.  He stays in the room, alone and leaning against the wall for a long, long time.


When Keith comes out, wrapped up in a large towel, he finds Lotor at his desk, balling up some paper and with his head down before picking up his pen and starting again.  He looks back at Keith with sad eyes, “I’m trying to find the right words to explain this to your people.  I don’t want you returning with the shame of this hanging over you.  It’s my fault.  I should have left you alone, and kept our relationship professional.  I am sorry, Keith.”

Keith looks down at where several balls of paper litter the floor.  He wipes his eyes and pads over to pat Lotor on the shoulder, “Its okay.  I’ll think of something.  You don’t have to draft a speech or anything.”

“But I do.  This mission was important for the both of us.  I jeopardized everything for an unclaimed Mae Drule, and that was my arrogance, and I am sorry.  I should not have looked at you and seen a future possession of such rarity… Please.”  He gets up and holds Keith’s hand, “Forgive me.”

Keith is ready to fall for it, head over heels, jump into Lotor’s arms and never look back.  But he gets a glimpse of the paper on the desk.  And thanks to exhaustive hours with Pidge and Kolivan, he doesn’t recognize it as Galra or Galra shorthand or cursive or anything.  It's scribbling.  He pulls away from Lotor and bends down, picking up one of the papers on the floor.  “You ass!”  He waves the paper and what appears to be a scribble of Haggar with a mustache.  “You absolute lying, deceitful, conniving ASS!”

Lotor has the decency to drop the act and grin with his pointed teeth, “An unclaimed Mae Drule is hard to find in this universe.  And the ones still living are so old, one could hardly tell they were the all-time favorite Galra consort race for their beauty and um… delightful submission.”

Keith doesn’t think as he shoves Lotor, then barrels into him, throwing them both on the bed and starts punching Lotor’s arms and chest, “Delightful WHAT!”

Lotor is giggling under him, and with too much ease he lifts Keith by the waist puts him aside.  He sighs after having his good long laugh.  “Well, you’re only half Galra.  One can’t expect all the qualities of a pure line.  But I like you nonetheless.  He cups his hand under Keith’s cheek, “And I will miss you.  I don’t want to see you depart without having you again.  But would you have me, Red?  Knowing I was intended for someone else?  And with your rank, I could hardly ask you to lower yourself and become a courtesan.  I’ve heard enough complaints today from Polik.”

“Big guy, muscles on his muscles?”

Lotor nods while sitting up, adjusting the towel around Keith’s leg so he can rub his inner thigh.  Keith wouldn’t tell anyone he lets it happen, but he does.  He even spreads his legs a little for Lotor to move higher.  Lotor grins up at him, “Polik seems to think I’m going to send him and the others back to their homeworlds and marry you for the alliance like my father dismissed his concubines when he married.  I have a sneaking suspicion he’s the one who tipped off Hagar.  Jealousy and self-preservation look ugly on him, but I won’t send him away for the temporary lapse in beauty.”

“So you just collect people you think are beautiful and everyone is okay with this?  You lie and use people for your own gain and nothing that comes out of your mouth is genuine, how is everyone okay with that… why am I okay with that!  I should be on my way to my ship and back to Castle Lion after what just did.  Is Hunk right?  Is there a weird Galra mating instinct making me ignore how horrible you are?”

Lotor laughs so hard he falls on his back and sighs, “I wish.  Maybe then all my problems could be solved with a wink.  When I was a child, I used to try and hide my mixed blood.  I cut my hair, wore fake ears, and once I even wore a fake nose.”  He grins at himself, “It was ridiculous.  It was Haggar who slapped sense into me and told me I would grow up to be one of the most handsome Galra and I should stop acting like a baby.  Since then, I think flaunting my appearance deliberately makes it harder for some to say no, even when they fundamentally disagree with me.  Tell me, Keith.  Does your Princess think I’m attractive?  If I were going to plot the downfall of Voltron bedding one of you, she’d be the best hope of it.”

“But I got in the way…”

“You got exactly where I wanted you.  Since the Balmera you’ve been all I could think about.”  He takes Keith by the wrist and kisses his pulse.

Keith could play it cool and pretend to be unbothered by the gesture but a breathy sigh escapes him anyway.  He leans forward and bites his lips.  Thinking of how to restore balance in this weird Galra mating dance they’re doing.  An idea clicks in his head, “You have to make it up to me.”

“Anything,” says Lotor quickly.  He sits up, his hair falls over a shoulder while he looks up with big blue eyes, “I’ll pleasure you for hours.  With my hands, with my tongue…”

“Get off the bed.”

Lotor pauses then smiles and quickly complies.  He holds out his hand, waiting for instruction.

Keith considers him, still dressed for the banquet downstairs with too many fancy silk layers.  “Get undress.”  Lotor starts a slow striptease and Keith shakes his head, “Quickly.”  And with that, the clothes drop faster and Lotor stands before him, semi-hard and waiting to be told what to do.  Keith sits with his legs crossed and his chin propped up on his hands, thinking of ways to abuse this power and pay Lotor back for trying to manipulate him.  “Okay.  Do you know any songs?”

Lotor clears his throat, “I see.  Well, I’ve had the finest training in the universe in every art form.”  He starts to open his mouth and sing and Keith pinches his side.  “Ow!”

“No, no, no.  Do you know, ‘I’m a little teapot?”

“What?  What sort of song is that?”

“It's simple.  It’s a nursery rhyme.  I’m a little teapot.  Short and stout.”

“Oh,” says Lotor staring at him. Keith has to pinch him again.

“It's not about me, you idiot!  Okay.  Now stand on one foot.”

Lotor narrows his eyes, “Why?”

“Because I say so,” Keith sits up and crosses his arms, waiting.  Lotor takes the order with a roll of his eyes, but he does it.  Keith grins, “And hop.  And sing, I’m a little teapot.”

Lotor puts his hand behind his back, he has excellent balance and posture for something so ridiculous as he obeys. “I’m a little teapot!  Short!  And Stout!”

Keith laughs and shakes his head, “Okay, okay that’s enough.”

Lotor sighs in relief.  Even with the demonstration, his erection is unwavering.  “May I touch you now?”

He seems desperate for it, but Keith is still mad.  And he gets another idea of how to punish Lotor.


 

Keith stands behind a screen and watches as Acxa and Zethrid stand in the doorway trying to control their faces.  He can’t help laughing to himself as Lotor orders the menu Keith asked for in a high-pitched, sing-song voice, while he’s still naked.  He’s only wearing a sock with googly eyes drawn on them over his now wavering cock.

Zethrid looks around and probably sees Keith, and starts to laugh.  Acxa seems committed to being stoic but there’s a crinkle to her eyes that says she’s laughing on the inside.  She gives Lotor that condescending bow and salutes, “Vrepit Sa!  Your Royal Majesty, Imperial Crown Prince, Highest Lord of the Principality of New Drule, Heir of Daibaazal…”

“Yes, yes, get out!”  Lotor closes the door on them both and Keith comes out from behind the screen.  They can hear the women laughing, Zethrid’s booming voice shouting about ‘the eyes were crossed!’ and Acxa’s surprisingly high chortle.

Keith is laughing so hard he doesn’t see Lotor stomping forward.  He’s picked up and thrown over Lotor’s shoulder, taken back to the bed and thrown in the center. Keith barely keeps the towel covering himself.  “That was priceless.  I wish I had recorded it.  Oh man, I can’t remember the last time I laughed this hard!”

Lotor looks less offended and gives Keith a soft smile, “Its good to see you smiling, even if it’s at my expense.”  He climbs on the bed and parts Keith’s legs with a serious air about him.  “Now that I served my penance, let's get on with the ravaging.”

Keith leans forward and kisses Lotor sweetly on the lips.  “Absolutely.”

 

Chapter Text

Keith is having the best time and it’s a surprise that he wouldn’t have thought possible a few days ago when he let Lotor leave with the crystals.  The smirking, charismatic monarch had an effect on him, to be sure.  But Keith didn’t think anything would come of it.  Certainly not this moment, where Lotor has climbed up his body and started sucking happily on his neck, murmuring at turns about his beauty and uncommon spirit.  Keith sighs and relaxes on the bed, his body open and loose and waiting.

Lotor sits up to stare down at him seriously, “I’m going to ruin you for all others.”

Keith laughs outright, “I thought we were done with the joking!  Honestly?”  Lotor smirks like he’s thinking ‘challenge accepted’ and kisses a path down Keith’s torso.  He bites down hard, just over his heart before licking Keith's nipple and sucking on it gently.  Keith moans and arches his back into it, holding Lotor by the back of his head.  “Right then.  No more talking.”

Lotor obeys and moves down, nipping at Keith’s ribs and then just over the navel. He licks and bites and kisses until he’s just above Keith’s cock, his hands firm on Keith’s thighs.  He breaths, a puff of warm air over the cockhead before swallowing it whole.  Keith is mesmerized, looking down at the Prince.  His hands comb through Lotor’s hair while he tenses, feeling close to coming already from the stimulation and anticipation.  He yanks on Lotor’s hair, panting.  When Lotor looks up, Keith simply shakes his head and closes his eyes, trying to calm himself down.  Lotor pets his legs and comes up, smacking his lips.  He licks the tip again anyway and when Keith seizes he laughs, “A little excited, I take it?”

“Shut.  Up.” 

Lotor laughs again and sits up, slapping Keith on the thigh, “Turn over.  It’s time for an anatomy lesson.”

Keith grumbles but rolls over and gets up on hands and knees.  “I know how this works, asshole.  You’re the one dragging things out!”

Lotor’s fingers tap across his back, “And for good reason.  My home system had fourteen habitable planets and moons. The Galra spread out amongst them first, eons ago.”  He spreads Keith’s legs with his own and holds on his hips.  “And on the Daibazaal moon called Mae, evolved a Drule race that adapted to the world’s thick atmosphere and light gravity.  They were small, dainty creatures.  Dark fur, long slender tails, and fine silky hair.  Some even had wings!  Alas, the moon died long before Daibazaal and those from Mae dispersed to other Galra colonies.”

Keith rolls his eyes, “That’s fascinating, but you said something about ravaging earlier, not lecturing.”

Lotor draws his claws down Keith’s spine and like the first time, Keith feels an electric sensation.  He whimpers and falls forward on his arms, hiding his face while Lotor repeats the gesture, raking again and again from neck to tailbone.  “I’ve educated myself on mating with every know subspecies, and one thing I find fascinating is how much Mae enjoyed being marked and held down.  Like that wanted they wanted their wings to fall.  And the base of their tails is very, very sensitive.  Do you feel the loss of that Keith?  Some instinct to wrap a tail around my hand while I ready you?  That’s how it would have been done.”  He slaps Keith on the ass and spreads his cheeks apart, “And just look at you.  Still wet and open.  I could take you right now…”

“Oh for the love of god… You could if you’d stop talking about it!”

“You’re quite mouthy, you know that?  You must get it from your Terran side, Mae Drule…”

“Sounds to me like your peopled fetishized a whole race perpetuating some pretty stupid myths because you’re a bunch of macho pigs.  Seriously, which sounds more likely?  A planet of fairy Galra submissives or the systemic oppression of your perceived lessors?”  Keith starts to sit up and climb off the bed, ready to storm out for real this time after Lotor’s history lesson.

Lotor lets him, and Keith turns over to look at the prince’s puzzled expression.  “I…. I honestly don’t know.”  He looks at Keith with sad eyes, “My entire education was shaped by victors, and I know how we rewrite history now.  I’m well aware of what really to my mother’s people… well aware.  I can only imagine it then.  I’m sorry,” he looks contrite and hangs his head, “I won’t bring it up again.”

Keith rolls his eyes, “You are a walking mood-killer you know that?”  He takes Lotor by the hand and plants it on top of his head, “Now scratch me in that place I like and get on with the ravaging.”

Lotor lights up, scratching the little nob under Keith’s hair and then behind his ears. Keith feels so content he practically purrs.  He has to stop his foot from tapping the bed and everything.  Lotor flips him back over without warning.  Keith cranes his neck to watch as Lotor spreads his cheeks apart and strokes himself with lubricate.  Keith whines and sits up, impatient and hard enough to ache.  He starts to stroke himself with his head thrown back, but Lotor wraps his hand around Keith’s neck and pushes him over.  Keith sees between his legs, the large purple cock head bobbing just under his balls and pushes back.  Lotor stills him, shaking his neck, “Please don’t rush this.  I’d like not to hurt you.  I’m serious.”

There’s a quip at the tip of Keith’s tongue, but all the words are forgotten when he feels Lotor finally moving forward.  The stretch and ache punch the words and air out of Keith.  He gasps, forgetting his own cock and holding his belly.  Lotor slides in easily with the slick, but he moves slowly.  The drag of skin and the slight burn of the stretch is all Keith can think about.  He starts to feel full and aching and realizes he’s been holding his breath when Lotor is finally all the way in. 

Keith is shaking and Lotor squeezes his neck, “Breathe in, Keith.  Please remember to breathe.”

“I know,” pants Keith.  “I know that!  This is not my first time… I just need a second.  God!  It feels like… like….”  He’s at a loss for words, feeling filled in a way he didn’t think possible.  And the pressure of it all, any little movement along his channel from Lotor’s cock sending sparks up his spine, and the weight of it pressing his prostate makes him feel like coming.  “Oh god, don’t move.  Just don’t move yet.”

“Does it hurt?  Burning or tearing?   Do you want me to stop?”  His words are caring while his hand trembles at Keith’s neck with his restraint, holding himself still while rubbing along Keith’s side with his other hand.  “Just relax.”

“I am relaxed!” Snaps Keith, “But I’m going to come if you do anything, so don’t.  Just be still while I adjust.  Fuck.”  Nothing happens between them for a long stretch and Keith sighs feeling a better knowing Lotor will listen and take this at his pace.  He presses his hands against his belly and takes deep, shaky breaths, “Okay.  I’m ready.  Go slow.”

The first thrust is a mindful glide halfway out and pushes back in, where Keith feels Lotor twitching and pulsing already inside him.  Another and another, then shallower pushes follow.  Keith grounds himself with one hand on the bed and takes his cock in the other, holding the base tight to stave off coming too fast.  Lotor speeds up, his cock popping out with loud squelch as he adjusts Keith, dragging a pillow down to prop under him.  Keith is thankful for it, his legs feel useless.  He slides down to the bed while Lotor puts his hands on his lower back.  He presses back in, rocking gently while Keith’s cock skims the pillow. 

Keith keens with reedy breaths with every movement and soon comes across the bed.  “Fuck, fuck…” he says with tears running down his face.  Lotor fucks him through it but pulls out without coming himself.  He turns Keith over and kisses away the tears and Keith can tell he’s about to apologize again, “No its fine. I’m fine.  Its just a lot to get used to and I felt it everywhere.”  He sobs a little and wipes his eyes with his forearm, “I’m okay.  But wow.  Thanks for taking it so slow with me.”  He looks down at where Lotor is waning, unstimulated and hovering just over him.  He reaches out wraps his fingers around the alien cock. And laughs a little.  Lotor makes a confused face and Keith has to assure him, “No, it’s just… kind of like holding a hot coke bottle all shook up.”

Lotor opens his mouth, probably to ask what that means, but Keith leans up to kiss him.  He strokes Lotor while they adjust their positions.  Lotor lays on his side and lets Keith take his time exploring.  Keith finds a deep indented scar under his ribs, that he hadn’t noticed before.  He realizes the only thing fine-boned about Lotor is his delicate face.  He’s solid, muscular, lean but not ropey.  Perhaps if he takes a few pictures it’ll be easier to explain the affair to the others.  Keith takes his time, scratching his hands in the white curls over Lotor’s cock, and teasing the nubs of his erect nipples with his tongue.  He tries to find the places like the ones that Lotor scratched or pressed on him.  He succeeds when he bites down just over Lotor’s heart and the man’s toes curl and he comes in thick ropey jets in Keith’s hand.  Keith sits up, grinning.  “Any fancy mating books about your ancestors?”

Lotor sighs, “Yes, but they’re very boring.  I don’t have any ridges to exploit or anything.  But you and your little… kitten teeth.  That’s fine.  You can bite me anywhere.”  He grins at Keith and pulls him up for a deep kiss.  They roll and paw each other.  Keith’s never thought of how fast he could recover, but he thinks of it now, when he feels Lotor’s cock rising against his leg.

Keith moans into their next kiss, “Hey, it’s not a race!”  Even as he says it he feels himself hardening again just from the nearness.  He pulls away panting, “Wait a second.  I didn’t think to ask before but is there… like any Galra sexual disease.  What was the stuff Athanie gave me this morning?  She said for infection…”

Lotor looks completely puzzled, “Certainly if you tear, or a bite goes bad.  What do you mean sexual disease?”

Keith shakes head, “Nevermind, Terran safe sex talk later.”  He puts it away in his head, to perhaps look into everything Lotor research later.  “I um, feel up to a round two.  Are you?”

Lotor grabs his hips, “Round two, three, four, and five already plotted.  I have many, many plans for you before the night is over.  And I’m determined to see them all through.”  Keith laughs again and Lotor rolls his eyes, “And that.  I’m going to put a stop all that laughing.  You’re going to take bedding me seriously.”

Keith aches everywhere but he sits up on Lotor’s lap.  He grins down, “Don’t worry.  You have my utmost attention, Your Majesty.”

Chapter Text

Keith wakes up alone in Lotor’s bed to the sound of Athanie’s voice.  He stretches slowly, feeling too tired and sore to move again.  He pokes his head out from under the sheets, “Athanie?  What are you doing in here?”  He yawns and stretches, noting everywhere he thinks he still feels Lotor’s fingers digging into his skin.  He looks down at her hands and sees the BLIP and promptly sits up in a panic.  “Where did you get that!”

Athanie flips it around in her hand, “I went to get clothing for you as Prince Lotor requested, and found this.  It was making a ringing sound.”  She holds it out to him and Keith snatches it away. She frowns at him, “There’s no need to be rude, sire.  I told that strange creature you’d contact them, as soon as you were up and ready.  Now it’s time for a bath.”

Keith stares at her with wide eyes, “You did what?!”  He fumbles with the BLIP getting it on his wrist, “Hello!?”

Lance answers, his face almost coming through the projection.  “TRAITOR!”

“I can explain!”

“Of course you can, that’s what all traitors say!”  Keith’s heart sinks and he tries to cover the marks on his skin but it’s too late.  Lance points at him, “You did it!  You went to bed with my future baby-mama!  How dare you!  I’m coming down there, buddy!  Don’t think I’m just gonna sit up here and let you woo your way into my genetic line!  Little Lance Jr. and Lancelot and Lacilla don’t need your mullet sniffing around their mom!”

Keith sighs in relief, “Oh.  You’re just being you.”

“WHAT!”  Lance points again and spends almost ten minutes of accusing Keith of sleeping with Lotor’s interpreter, screaming about a plot to disrupt his future marriage.

Keith lets him do it before yawning, “It wasn’t what you think, Lance.”

“Oh yeah!  And what was it, Mr. Hickey?”

Keith smirks, “None of your business.  Bye Lance.”  He hangs up and this time disconnects.  He throws the thing on the bed and addresses Athanie, “I’m sorry I yelled at you.  It’s just… my friends aren’t going to understand any of this.  It’s something I should tell them in person, I think.”

She nods, “I understand.  Courting a royal suitor must be tough.”  Keith watches her move around comfortably in Lotor’s things, assembling odds and ends on a cart that she brings to the bed, before walking back off.  There’s a table laid out with food in front of the pool and all the balcony doors are open.  Everything is breezy and light.  Athanie looks through a vanity and pulls out hairbrushes and a heavy robe before coming back and laying them out on the bed.

“You’re not one of the courtesans then?”

She looks boggled over that, “No!  My word, sir.  I’m married.  And Prince Lotor is very respectful.  I serve my function as a liaison and valet, and my husband fights for the empire.  He’s a lieutenant under General Zethrid.  Twice awarded Medals for Strictness.”  She smiles proudly before pushing a cup of purple goo at him.  Keith takes it with a tight smile, it’s the same stuff she gave him yesterday with his little ‘aftercare’ package.  It’s horrible, but he doesn’t mind this morning.  When she’s satisfied he’s had enough she gives him an injection and takes his vitals.  “You should be right as falling ash in a moment, sir.  Your breakfast is over there.  I suggest you eat up.  And drink plenty of water.”

Keith sits up and wonders where’s Lotor’s gone and looks around for him.  “What time is it?  I have to get ready to address the floor.”  He doesn’t think it’ll look right if he does a walk of shame this morning and then preach about Lotor being self-interested.  Even with last night behind them, Keith won’t settle for being soft on what he suspects is a terrible policy.

Lotor walks in from his bath suite before Athanie can answer.  He doesn’t mind being completely naked and sits down at the breakfast table.  Athanie hurries over with the hairbrush and pulls his hair back into a loose braid.  “I’ve sent for your things,” says Lotor.  “You’ll remain in my residence for the duration of the talks.  No need to go back to the villas.”

Keith crosses his arms, feeling annoyed by Lotor’s assumption, “What makes you think I’d agree to that?”

Lotor cocks a brow at him, “Why wouldn’t you?  The Center Palace is the most beautiful place in Eche.  If you want your own rooms here, that could be provided.”

“Are you serious?”  He looks to Athanie who returns to fetch the robe.  “Is he being serious?”  She shrugs in answer and hurries back to Lotor, holding the robe up.

Lotor waves her away, stalks over Keith, still shamelessly naked.  “Are you not honored by the position I’m giving you?  You’re not a courtesan, you’re a consort.”

Keith throws up his hands, “What the hell does that mean?”  He then covers his eyes, “And put that damn thing away, there’s a lady in the room!”

Athanie chimes in, “You always say the oddest things, sir.”  She looks down squarely at Lotor’s ass.  “I’m not a Lady, I’m a valet.”

Lotor laughs, “I’m beginning to think these prudish hang-ups of yours are systemic to your people.  Are you Terrans never naked?”  He kneels on the bed in front of Keith and gives him a knowing look.  “Are you always dressed?  Even when you copulate?  What’s wrong with your people?”  He tries to nuzzle just Keith’s chin, but Keith jumps away, still wrapped up in the sheet.  Lotor laughs again, “You’re dismissed, Athanie.  I don’t think he’ll tolerate you being in here while his ankles are up on my shoulders.

Keith snaps, “No one would want to watch that!”

Athanie bows, “Its fine sir, I’ve attended to His Majesty throughout many, many, many times with the courtesans and other suitors and various celebratory orgies.”

Keith looks over Lotor shoulder while the smug bastard laughs, “Thank you, Athanie.  You are very much dismissed.”

She gives them a bow and hurries out, while Lotor falls on the bed still laughing.  “Come here.”

“No!”  Keith gets off the bed and puts on the robe Lotor ignored.  It’s too long and too wide, but he wraps it around as best he can, “I’m going back to my room, and I’m getting ready to make my case.  Don’t think you can keep me here and distract me!”

Lotor clears his throat, “Perhaps a shower first, my darling.  I’m quite satisfied with how you smell of me, but to others like Gol, it might be a bit much.”

Keith struggles to keep the sleeves up and walk in any direction before he gives up on the robe.  Which only makes Lotor laugh harder.  He ends up taking a shower and hoping Lotor will be gone when he comes out so he can get his head together.


Keith’s not certain if the aftercare regimen is standard in space hygiene, he knows little to nothing of the Galra still.  But the effects of whatever Athanie gave him are more apparent while he’s in the shower.  He’s less sore and some bruises fade away.  And then without warning, his cock is rock hard.  Keith takes care of himself, twice.  All while thinking of last night and the way Lotor’s hands circle his waist and hold him still.  The way his hair falls over his shoulder.  The sound of his voice when it's low and husky, the smell of him, the taste of him…  Whatever magic or science at work gives Keith a new uncomfortable problem, but he can’t hide all day in the water.

When Keth finally exits the bath suite he pauses and stares at Lotor’s room with his mouth hanging open.  There’s new furnishings, a second vanity, and Athanie is busy moving his clothes from a rack into Lotor’s large walk-in closet.  Keith frowns, “What are you doing?”

Athanie holds out a suit, “His majesty insisted.  I’m afraid his orders supersede your own.  It’s like my uncle always says, there’s only one showman at the Slice Capades.”

Keith takes it with a flat look, “Good to know.”


 

Keith leaves Lotor’s rooms dressed more plainly, despite Athanie’s showcase of even finer clothes.  He makes it to the speaker’s auditorium in just a tunic and comfortable pants.  He gets, even more stares for it.  Just as Keith is wondering if he’s taken a step in the wrong direction, appearing disrespectful to the audience, Lotor appears in full regalia, cape and sword, and armor.  He takes his place at his throne. His hair is done up in elaborate braids with a crowning diadem.  He’s glittery and gorgeous, thinks Keith.  Keith crosses his arms over himself, “…Okay, maybe I should go back and change.”

Lotor gives Keith a smile before turning to the delegates, “Today the new business of free systems will be addressed, line item by line item.  Speaker Gol, you have the floor for introductions.”

Unlike Keith, Gol is wrapped in layer upon layer of finery and jewels.  He clanks and shimmers as he announces the order of addresses, “My dearest friend Duke Gibra would like to voice his personal accounts of the destruction wrought by the heathen Voltron on innocent systems under Galra protection.”

Keith holds his tongue and listens to the Duke.  He’s actually moved when learns the full body count of living soldiers, not sentinels, on the ships since destroyed in their battles.  He weathers it all and focuses his thought, thinking of what Allura would say.  Of Shiro’s advice.

When the Duke finally finishes, Gol joins the audience in thunderous support.  And then turns to Keith with a sneer, “And now I have the dishonor to introduce this wanton criminal.  A half-breed whore who’s ensnared our illustrious Prince with his lies…”

Keith and the collective room holds their breath as Lotor comes down, lightning fast and cuts Gol in half.  There’s some screaming but it dies down quickly when Lotor turns on the crowd.  He points his bloodied sword at the crowd, “I will not tolerate disrespect.  Any grievances against the empire are to be aired respectfully.  Grievances against the rebels while they are our honored guest, will be aired respectfully.  I will not repeat myself on this matter.  You have the evidence of my ire if any one of you should test me again.”

He doesn’t bother sheathing his sword.  Instead, he walks back to the throne and sits down, crossed-legged with the metal dripping at his side.  Duke Gibra surveys everything before speaking up, “If I may, your majesty, continue for my friend, respectfully.”  Lotor gives him a bored handwave and Duke Gibra raises his hand, “I have the honor to introduce a warrior of increasing fame, the Red Paladin, and Pilot of the Head of Voltron, Sir Keith.”  He gives a low bow and backs away while the delegates give up a nervous applause.

Keith shakes his head and stands up, “Look at you.  You’re all terrified.  And who can blame you?  Lotor is just as ruthless as his father when it suits him.  And for all the smiling and partying and dressing up, I think most you know this whole thing is a farce.  I came in the hope that we could reach a middle ground in a war that waged way too long with the same old tactics.  But this is not what I came for, and Voltron will not stand by rulers that intimidate for any reason.  Even to defend my honor from bigoted, small-minded underlings.  I’m sorry, but I can’t do this today.”  He climbs down from the seating and moves to the exit while the crowd murmurs.  He turns his back as someone calls out his name and walks away from the auditorium.

 

Chapter Text

Keith goes back to his own rooms and calls Allura, “Princess.  I need your help.”

She gives him a kind smile before clearing her throat, “I thought you might.  So, you want to know how to orate in front of a massive crowd.”

“No, that’s not…,” starts Keith, but Allura doesn’t seem to hear.

“To begin with you must project, project, project!  Project your voice and speak clearly!  Project your ideas, your every thought, concisely.  Avoid rambling whenever possible.  If you’re boring yourself in your head, then it’s time to wrap it up!  And most importantly, project confidence!”

“Princess, please I have something important to say!”

“That’s the spirit!”

“I don’t know what I’m doing!”

“That’s not quite the spirit,” her face falls, “Why, Keith, what’s the matter?  Has something happened?”

Keith sighs, “A lot has kind of happened.  It’s a long story and I’m going to drive myself crazy if I don’t tell someone soon.  It’s been like two days, but I feel like whole chapters of my life has been wasted on one stupid, hormonal mistake.  Please forgive me.”

“Keith…”  Allura frowns but then looks softly at him, “Don’t worry.  Lance will understand.  Slav doesn’t think he’d have been happy with that Gatodai Mindspeaker.  He really is too young for a litter of kittens.  I hope you took precautions.”

Keith sighs, “…right.”  He starts to hang up on her but shakes his head.  “No.  I can’t keep putting it off.  Allura.  I made a mistake.  You sent me here in good faith that I’d keep the interests of the coalition at the forefront of my mind.  But I didn’t.  I mean, I tended to my mission…”

“For diplomatic outreach.  Touching bases with the Galra Prince.”  She nods sagely.  “A very important mission and we all have the highest respect for you reaching out to embrace our enemy.”

Keith slaps his forehead, “I’m not going to unhear any of that.”

“Any of what,” says the Princess obliviously.  “What on Arus are you going on about, Keith?”

“I… I…”  Keith starts and stammers before really confessing, and Allura looks on at him, her countenance more impatient with every wasted tick.  The door to his rooms open and Keith looks back and sees Lotor.  He panics at the sight and turns back to her.  “I will call you back.”  He hangs up on her shouting and disconnects the BLIP, putting it aside and then putting some distance between himself and Lotor. 

Lotor marches in the room and coolly stares at Keith like he’s sizing him up for battle.  “I told everyone you were overwhelmed with my display of good faith, and so exited as one unfamiliar with the graces of royalty.  One does not leave my presence without being formally dismissed.  Not in that hall.”

“You killed a man.”

“Yes!  You think I can sit among those talkers and politicians as a weakling!  I have to be above them!”

“That is not how we do things,” Keith is backed into a corner outside the bathroom door.  Lotor pins him to the wall with his stare.  “That is not what Voltron stands for and I can’t just sit around while you murder your own people…”

“He dared to pass judgment on me!  On you!  I could not let that stand!”  Lotor crowds around Keith, hands on either side of his head while he stares him down.

“But I could,” says Keith softly.  “I heard him the same as you, and I was going to give my speech anyway.  The votes that mattered were listening and I still had something like integrity… but now I’m just… I’m just… I want to go home.”

Lotor freezes, “No.”

“I want to go home.  I’m not getting anywhere with this.  And I should tell someone what I’ve done.  I’ve blown this opportunity to do any good on selfish desires and it was stupid and weak of me…”

“No,” he shakes his head, “Do not regret me.  You cannot do that!”

“Or what? You won’t allow it?  You’ll cut me down too?”

“Never… I…”  Lotor reaches out to wipe Keith’s tears, “I did not mean to cause you more pain, or confusion.  I am sorry, Keith.  Please, forgive me.”

“Stop it,” Keith pushes Lotor away and moves to the center of the room where’s there more air.  He spins on Lotor and points a finger, “You always think you know just what to say!  I think it’s just how you are.  You’re an insincere asshole…. A sociopath!  Everything about you is fake!  And I’m so wrapped up in it, the lie, the seduction…  How am I supposed to present myself as one way when they know where I’ve been every night!?  When I haven’t the balls to tell my family!”  For every step Lotor takes forward, Keith takes one back, “I mean it!  Just keep away from me.  I’m going home, Lotor.  You can show your true colors now, but I’m not holding anything back this time.  I don’t need my lion or my sword to knock you on your ass.”

“No, you don’t.”  Lotor draws his sword and holds it out, “If you’d ask to strike me down with my own sword I’d allow it.  And your mission would be finished.  You could go home victorious.”

“Stop being so damn dramatic!”

“What’s the difference in letting you cut me down here and letting you talk my subjects into open rebellion!  I’m trying to control the chaos that ensued after you nearly killed my father!  I’m doing all that I can to set things right, and you’re determined to hinder me!  So, what if I use you as a tool to gain their approval.  Understand this Keith,” he drops the sword with a loud clank and walks forward, standing toe to toe with Keith.  “One way or the other, I will have what I want.”

Keith turns his back on Lotor and heads for the door, “Not this time.”

Keith makes it all of two steps before an arm wraps around his throat.  He tries to fight it, kicking and scrabbling to get free but Lotor holds him close, lifts him off the ground.  “Don’t fight it.  You haven’t considered every possible outcome, and I fault myself for not considering your condition.”  He breathes in deeply just behinds Keith’s ear and Keith feels powerless to stop him.  His struggles slow and his arms fall while his vision blacks out around the edges.  The last words he hears from the prince, “Take some time to sleep on it.  I’ll watch over you.”


 

Keith comes to in Lotor’s bed.  He’s not sure how much time has passed but he’s been undressed and tucked in, the sun in the sky is getting low.  He sits up, considering everything in the room, his own body.  He doesn’t feel… violated.  But with their healing tech, there’s no real telling.  He looks around the room and finds all the balcony doors closed.   And just outside the eastern door, is Lotor leaning against the railing.  He’s shirtless, armorless, crownless.  But still wearing his sword at his side.  Keith watches him for a long quiet moment and sees red.  Before he knows it, he’s out of the bed and sneaking forward, eager to try out Lotor’s suggestion and cut him down with his own sword.

Before he can get to the balcony, the doors open and Lotor calls out to him, “I’m glad you’re up.  I worried I starved you of blood and oxygen for too long.  How are you feeling?”  He says plainly like he wasn’t the one to choke Keith.

“How do you think I’m feeling!”  He lashes out, trying to draw the sword but Lotor evades him.  It’s like their first fight, Lotor dancing circles around his swings.  But Keith is fueled by more than duty this time.  This is personal.  He anticipates Lotor dodging him and feints a blow to the head while kicking him in the gut.  It works, but Lotor catches his leg for the second blow and turns him around, flipping him across the room and back on the bed.  Keith rolls out, kicking as he goes and slamming his heel up into Lotor’s face.

“Argh!”

“Not too happy when someone mucks up your looks!”  Keith reverses, headbutts Lotor and drives forward, knocking them both on the floor in front of the pool. 

Lotor grabs hold of Keith’s hair and yanks it, shaking him.  “You’re an obstinate little bitch!”

Keith punches him in neck and tries to run off while Lotor chokes.  But the prince recovers too fast and grabs him again by the hair then throws him into the pool.

The shock of cold water has Keith floundering, “Fuck!”  He swims to the other side, racing Lotor as he walks around it.  He tries to get out first, but Lotor beats him to it and again pulls his hair. “Stop!”

“No!  I’ve tried charming you, wooing you, even bedding you didn’t work!  Is fighting all that will satisfy you, tiny Drule?”  He smirks, and it’s even more insufferable than the hair pulling to Keith.  “You’re more Galra than you know.  Much more.”

“Shut up!”  Keith claws the arm holding him and shoves Lotor away.  He sees red, and a blind fury lands on top of Lotor on the floor, scratching and punching and snarling.  “I hate you!  I hate you!”  He’s not even fighting anymore as he swings and thumps and claws.  “I hate you!  This is all your fault!  I failed everyone because of you!”  He freezes, shoulders hunched his vision clouded with tears.  “I betrayed my friends for this…”

“No, Keith.”  Lotor pulls Keith down by the back of his neck and lets him cry on his shoulder.  “You did nothing wrong.”

“I did,” cries Keith.  “I’m all over the damn place and I don’t know why!”

Lotor sits up and rocks Keith in his lap, combing his fingers through his hair while he sobs.  He kisses Keith on the forehead, “I know.  I get that now.  You really know very little about yourself?  But its nothing to be ashamed of, Keith.  I promise you, this is natural.  I told when I first scanned you, you were only six cycles past maturation?”

“What does that even mean?  What like Galra puberty?”

“…I think so.”  Lotor shrugs, “What age would they say you are on Earth?”

Keith wipes his eyes, and sits back, “I’m eighteen years old.  I’ll be nineteen in few months.”

“Nineteen Terran summers?  Well, that is awfully young for such a long-lived species.  Galra and Alteans are some of the longest living of the First Seed, only the Taujeerians live longer than us.  Nineteen… you’re practically a child.”  He looks a little upset putting it to words, and stands up, leaving Keith on the floor while he paces.  “You have to understand, Galra’s earliest ancestors, the first Drule were just animals crawling around the surface of Daibazaal.  We’re a warrior race now because we came from these ever-waring creatures that fought for dominance, territory, scarce resources, and the right to mate within the best and strongest lines.”

Keith crosses his leg and feels a little like a kindergartener, “So you're saying I’m going through a lizard puberty?”

Lotor rolls his eyes, “I’m saying that only the most undiluted of our kin still feel the bloodlust and urges passed down in eons of genetic memory.  That’s why my father’s army is so dispersed with sentinels.  Most have evolved to be so...”

“Mellow.”

“Yes, in comparison.”

“So I’m a throwback going through lizard puberty.  Even better.”

Lotor smiles down at him, “You’re very special.  And I’m very much like you.  But for one exception,” he raises his hand and it glows a soft pink.  He holds it to his face and the bloody nose and bruising fade.  “I’m afraid Altean dilution has made me a little less rash, and time and many cycles spent on this world have given me more clarity.  I don’t hide from myself anymore and in knowing what I am comes understanding.  Not just of myself but of my opponents and allies.”

He reaches out and Keith takes the hand up, but he still feels angry.  He tries to tamp down on the feelings and focus.  “Okay then.  I’ll stay.  For the duration of the conference.  And to learn whatever else there is to know about all this… this weird lizard-cat stuff.”

“We are not lizard-cats.”  Lotor gives him a flat stare.  “We are Galra.”

“Right, whatever.  But I want to be clear.  If you give another demonstration like the one earlier, I’m gone.  And I’ll advise Allura not to take the deal at all.  We’ll be back to fighting at square one and I don’t care how many times I come across you in the battlefield, I won’t hold anything back because of sentiment.  You understand?”

Lotor smirks, “I understand you believe that.  But I think our connection is deeper than you know, Red Paladin.”  He leers at Keith and walks away, “I have work to do to keep the unrest you stirred up earlier to a minimum.  Rest here.  I’ll send Athanie in to look after you.”

Chapter Text

Keith keeps to Lotor’s room despite feeling split in a million directions.  He wraps up in one of his bathrobes and paces the room.  He wants to run.  He wants to fight everyone on the planet.  He wants to go home to the other Paladins.  He wants to go home to Earth.  He wants to know who he is and where he comes from.  Lotor’s little history and biology lessons aren’t helping things.  He only has more questions after every revelation.

When Athanie appears with a meal and some more supplements and injections, he refuses.  “What’s all this for?  I mean do you know?  I want the details.  Can you give me a book or something about Galra physiology?”

She blushes, eyes shifting from side to side, “You need instructions for love-making?  You poor thing…”

“No!  I just need to know what this… Okay.  Never mind.  Let’s start with you.”

“Me?!”

“Yeah, you.  You said your husband was a soldier.  You’re part Unilu, but how much?  Besides the arm thing… I mean it’s not obvious.  Was your mom or dad Galra?”

She looks confused by his question at first but snaps her fingers, “Oh yes!  I know what you mean!  You come from a world of only two sexes.  This must all be confusing.  No wonder, oh you poor child.”

“I’m not a kid… wait what do you mean only two sexes?”

Keith sits in for a lesson on Unilu sexes, which is apparently varied and complicated and Athanie falls high on the end of a baby carrying spectrum, which is why she appears female and the others on the planet refer to her as ‘she’, but the parent who gave birth to her was middle-grade.  She happily shows a picture of her parents, what appears to be a female Galra soldier and a pregnant male Unilu.  “I have twenty-seven brothers and sisters.  Some from Oma and some from Ama.”  She smiles, “I hope to be an Ama myself someday.”

Keith nods, “I see.  I’m sorry I was so confused.”  He says knowing he’s still pretty confused.  “And for being so rude earlier.  I’m just trying to wrap my head around this.  And Lotor is not really helping things.”

She offers the injection again, “If you’d prefer not to prevent pregnancy, you are of course free to refuse.  But I didn’t think a Paladin would have time for child-rearing.”

Keith stares at her blankly for several beats, “…You’ve been giving me birth control.”

“All the courtesans have to, I mean you’re not a courtesan but Prince Lotor is not looking to be a parent yet.  So, we take precautions with all his mates.  You see, there are no children in the Center Palace, and he prefers it that way.”

“Right.  Of course, he does.”

She nods in the affirmative, “And you’re too young for that anyway.”

Keith falls face down on the bed, “I need a minute to digest all that.”

“But you haven’t eaten anything?”

“Not the food, the info.  Please, could you leave me alone for a tick?  I’m just not feeling too well”

She gives him a nervous look and takes up her medical things, leaving the food on the table, “Yes, of course, sir.  I’ll return if you call for me.  Take care and rest until you feel better.”

The doors click behind her and Keith feels like throwing up. 


 

When Lotor returns he looks tired.  He’s dressed in a fine red suit, his hair parted into ponytails, entwined with strands of gold and jewels that fall over his shoulders, his diadem centered on this forehead catches the light as he sits at his four-mirror vanity and starts undoing what is probably Athanie’s fine work on his hair.  “I had to haggle out there with those pirates over giving you more time to speak tomorrow.  Can you believe that?  It’s something I’ve had to face my whole life. My authority is questioned at every turn by weaker minds.  I excused us both from tonight’s festivities.  We’re staying right here and I’m having you on that bed in every way I can imagine.”  He smirks at his reflection and winks, “I might even make up something new.”

Keith’s been sitting at Lotor's desk.  After Athanie left the first time he requested she bring him his BLIP, then asked for access to the data Lotor collected on hybrids.  She quickly retrieved the BLIP but was reticent to give him anything that wasn’t public knowledge, telling him he had what was basically the Prince’s published scientific findings.  Keith had Pidge decrypted it and he spent the last couple hours reading up on Galra anatomy, history, and sexuality.

Which is why is he doesn’t feel bad about throwing an ornate glass ball at Lotor’s head.

“Hey!”  Lotor ducks with only half his hair loose while his mirrors shatter.  He turns on Keith, “What is the matter with you now!?”

“You’re trying to knock me up!”

Lotor tilts his head, “What are you talking about?”

Keith stands up from the desk and picks up another bauble, “You’re a scheming son-of-a-bitch and you’re trying to keep me here like some sex slave!  That’s what your research on the Mae Drule amounts too!  They were kept for breeding into the upper echelons!  Some kind of craze to mimic Alteans, right?  And you got me in here taking supplements and banging me every chance you get!”

Lotor looks unimpressed by his deductions.  He gives Keith a long look up and down before saying with a straight face, “I don’t really think you’re equipped for my nefarious plan, Keith.  Especially when I mandate anti-fertility drugs to all my bedmates.  Just in case, for myself and their own trysts.  I rather no accidents with so many potential fathers and mothers.” 

Keith feels his face getting red and sits down at the desk again, “Oh.”

“Oh, indeed.  Do you really think I’d bother with activating your dormant Galra abilities to breed you?  I like you just the way you are and I find little ones… eh.”  He makes a face that says enough about what he thinks of children.  “No, that’s simply not an attractive prospect to me, at all.  In fact, one of the reasons I’ve been avoiding Merla altogether is she and Haggar plot to steal an heir from me.”

“Steal an heir?”

Lotor gestures in a princely manner to his junk.  “And they’re not getting one.  I’m the only heir of the Galra empire and it’s staying that way until I cement my power.”

“Oh,” says Keith again.  “Sorry about that… um.  Ball thing.”

Lotor looks down at his lap before laughing and looking up, “Ah, you mean the Olrite orb.  That’s fine.  It’s just a trinket.”  He undoes the rest of his hair and gets up, “Have you’ve been in here reading my research this whole time?  The published findings barely scratch the surface, you know.  I could show you more if you just asked.”

“I did ask!  I want to know everything.  I feel like I’m burning up or something,” Keith squirms in his seat.  “I’m wet and open and hard all the time… How do I know you’re not doing this to me on purpose?  I didn’t feel like this before I met you.  And none my exes had me wanting to fuck all day and night, however many cycles ago that was.  I can’t help but suspect you for this.  If you’re doing it just to keep me here from forming Voltron, you need to get that there’s another pilot for Black Lion.  We can still kick your ass.”

Lotor stops in front Keith and kneels in front of him, looking up at his eyes while rubbing his knees.  “You think I would go to so much personal trouble to stop Voltron?”

“I don’t know what you’re capable of,” he says thinking of Lotor’s first attacks on his team, separating them and working out their weaknesses and exploiting them.  Attacking his own Empire for the teledav.  “You are kind of vile in general.”

Lotor bark out a laugh, “Well its good someone appreciates my efforts to keep up with Father.  But I’m not doing anything to you.  If you’re feeling different this time around, I’d say it’s because we’re very, very compatible.”  He bends down and kisses the top of one knee, then the other.  Then parts Keith’s thighs while looking up again, “And you would never find my match among those Earthling peasants.”

Keith lets his knees spread wider and Lotor bends to kiss higher up on his thighs, sighing just as the head of Keith’s cock peeks out from the under the robe.  Keith then snaps his legs shut. “Okay,” he says pulling Lotor up by the hair.  “Maybe that’s true.  And maybe I’m weird enough to be a collectible to you on your Boning Planet, but I can’t keep letting this drive me to distraction.”

Lotor smiles up at him, “Then we should satisfy the calling.  I have an idea.”  He sits up and holds out his hand.

Keith stares with a pout on his face, missing the good ol’ days when all he had to worry about was flying a simulator straight.  “Fine,” he says standing up and poking Lotor in the chest, “But if I think for one second you’re trying to knock me up, I’m going to knock all your teeth out.”

Lotor laughs and claps him on the shoulder, “I’d like to see you try,” he smiles down at Keith, “Besides.  They grow back.  Sharper.”  He snaps his jaw and Keith is glad no one else there to see him jump up in the chair.  That would be embarrassing.

 

Chapter Text

Keith insists on getting dressed.

Lotor ignores him and drags him by the hand back out into the weird sitting room.  Keith realizes he’s never been through the other doors or into the rest the Center Palace.  He hesitates, “I don’t know.  What about that muscle guy?  I’m pretty sure he hates my guts.”

Lotor tugs him along to the opposite doors and opens them, “He’s a spoiled courtesan, Keith.  He’ll let you bend him over if you offer him something shiny.”   He stops and makes a face, “And don’t do that, by the way… He gets possessive. And I rather not fight over you.”  Lotor wraps an arm around Keith’s waist and walks him into a hazy smoke-filled room.  Keith can’t see clearly, but he hears the tell-tale sounds of slapping flesh and moaning.  He clings to Lotor and wonders where they’re going.  The room is lined with couches and on them, all are different couples, and threesomes, and foursomes.  Some obviously in mid-coitus, some just starting up, some just resting together.  Lotor leads him to the center of the dimly lit room.  Keith wants to laugh hysterically at the sight before them.  There is a dais and yet another throne.  It’s back is high and its wide enough for two people to sit.  Or a really tall Galra.

“How many big chairs do you have anyway?”

Lotor pinches Keith on the hip and twirls him around, then lifts him by the waist and sits him on the throne.  Keith tries to pull down the robe but Lotor slaps his hand away.  His insufferable smirk well in place while he skates his fingers up Keith’s bare thighs.  Keith punches him in the shoulder and he finally falls back, laughing, “Fine, fine.  Look.  I can survey everything from right here.”  He waves a hand and a holo-screen projects just over the chair.  It's focused on a dim corner where a couple is sucking each other off.  Keith covers his eyes and Lotor laughs at him.  “You won’t learn anything that way.”

Keith sits back in the chair, clutching the robe at his chest, “Porn?!  Your idea is live porn?  From the courtesans?”  Lotor steps away as Keith reaches out to grab him by the collar, “Oh no you don’t.  You’re not just leaving me here!  What if someone propositions me!?”

Lotor pulls free and kisses Keith’s hand.  “You’re free to do anything you want to do.  Stay there and I’ll be right back.  I’m going to line us up a good example.”

“Lotor!”

“Sir Paladin,” says a voice in Keith’s ear.  He turns to see a woman with six grey eyes and long black feathery hair, blue spotty skin and thick pouty purple lips.  “Are you in need of company?”

“…no,” squeaks Keith.  He sits back on the throne and tucks his legs.  Knees together and hiding as much skin as possible.  “I’m good.  Thanks.”

She blinks with all her eyes, “I understand His Majesty is keeping you all to himself.  How mean of him.”  She leans over the right arm and Keith nearly climbs out over the other side.  “No need to run, little one.  I don’t bite.”

Keith is sure the implied ‘hard’ is hanging between them.  He clears his throat, “I’m good, really.  Just waiting for Lotor.  Sorry.” 

She finally gives up and steps away.  But another hybrid takes her place, a smallish creature with large dark eyes, and amphibious features.  It’s rather cute, and Keith tries smiling back at it.  When he does, the creature’s mouth hangs open, two long forked-tongues roll out and it gives Keith a wink.

“…no.”  Keith shakes his head, “Just.  No.”

Keith ends up with his arms crossed and staring at the screen for any sign of Lotor’s return.  “Pardon me,” says another visitor.  Keith looks up to see the Polik.  He flexes his arms and turns around, flexing his legs and ass.  Keith shrugs.  It is one hell of a body.  A large scaly, furry, lizardy body.  Polik leans over and bats his big yellow eyes, “Would you like to come back to my rooms for the night?”

“I thought you hated me,” says Keith.  He realizes his mistake when he feels the throne shift from Polik leaning closer.  “I mean, it doesn’t matter.  I’m not here for anyone.  I’m just waiting for Lotor.  He’ll be back in a tick.”

Polik sighs and turns around, walking away with his bouncy, muscular ass and a hanging head.

“I’m glad you’re making new friends,” says Lotor.  He grins near Keith’s ear and Keith gives in to his first instinct and slaps the man across the face.  “Ow.”

“Shut up!  Get me out of here!”  They’ve gone past making him uncomfortable, and now he’s mad.  And Lotor doesn’t seem to be bothered by it.

Lotor rubs his jaw, “No.  I want to introduce you to a special pair.  This is Eng and this Ruse.”  He steps back and two small feminine creatures with serpentine faces walk up.  Their breasts are bare and they have long snake-like tails.  And very tented slacks.  Keith stares until Lotor laughs, “They’re twins.  Found in an Aspidoci hatchling pit.  I could only wonder what their Galra parent was thinking, but well…”  He kisses the one called Ruse on the head, “They are delightful sport.  And I think they’ll make excellent learning tools this evening.”

Keith shakes head, “I don’t want to hang around and watch people have sex… or watch you have sex with people, either.”

Lotor sighs, “Did I say anything about sex?  Come here.”  He pushes Keith over and sits down, then pulls Keith onto his lap, his skinny legs dangling over the throne arms.  “I want you to look at this, but clinically.  Here,” he points to the screen and changes it with gestures.  “The races and species that mix with Galra is almost innumerable.  I’ve collected a mere three hundred and fourteen, eighty of whom are in the Center Palace and about thirty are in this hall.  Only two of the whole lot is identical, and that’s these twin hatchlings.  They’re three hundred and four deca-phoebs old.  And I have never seen more like them.  It shouldn’t be possible considering…”

“Considering what?”

Eng turns around and lifts their tail while Ruse strips out of it’s slacks.  They both have penises and Keith isn’t sure what he’s supposed to make of it.  Lotor kisses him on the head like he knows Keith is slow to keep up.  “All Aspidoci are born female, they’re hermaphrodites.  They don’t procreate at all.  At least usually.  Eng and Ruse have penises and produce sperma, when their sister-mothers all have one single ovum and a cloaca. They are complete outliers to their entire race, all because of a little Galra mixing.”

Eng and Ruse back away from the throne and both take on partners nearby on the couches.  Eng topping the six-eyed woman and Ruse bottoming for Polik.  Keith stares for a long moment before hiding his face in Lotor’s shoulder, “Okay.  I get it.  I think.  Can we go now?”

“No, I don’t think you do.  Don’t you want to know what I know about the Galra?  About what you are?  You’re not like anyone here and I hold you in special esteem for several reasons.”

“Gee, thanks.”

“You have a strange beauty and strength.  Qualities that hark back to the purest, oldest lines of Drule kind.  Adaptability, fierceness, pragmatism, a measure of volatility.  Physically you have the dense bone structure of a much large creature and mentally the ability to barrel headlong into anything that slightly provokes you. ”

“Also, thanks.”  Keith tries to get up from the throne but Lotor pins him down, one hand wrapping around his chest while the other holds his neck.  Keith sighs, “I don’t think you get it.  I’m going to count to three and you’re going to let me go, or I’m going to have to kick your ass in front of your all walking sex toys.”

Lotor smirks down at and whisper, “They don’t all walk.”  He laughs at his own joke, “Some fly, some crawl.  You know, you’re not really angry with me.”

Keith frowns, “You don’t fucking tell me when I’m angry with you- ah!”  He tries to jump away but Lotor’s hold is tight.  He shivers as Lotor bites down on the shell of his ear. “What are you doing?”

“What do you think I’m doing?”  Lotor whispers before licking the outer shell and giving it another nip.  He grins down at Keith and steals a kiss while he’s shocked.  “What you’re going through physically is one of the oldest, basest instincts of the Galra.  We’ve been together in every way imaginable but you want more from it?  You want our coupling to make an impression.”  The hand at Keith’s neck slides down into the robe and inside, rubbing his right nipple.  “There used to be a rite of combat for mating, long before marriage ceremonies civilized us.  It was the natural way, asserting dominance over a partner while all contenders witnessed.”

Keith shivers under Lotor’s hand.  There’s a thrill he can’t explain to the feeling of being seen, but he’s confused by Lotor’s words.  “What do mean assert over a partner?  The couples fought each other?”

Lotor fanged grin gets wider before he kisses Keith on the forehead, “Most certainly.  One would have to claim the best for themselves and prove to their mate they deserved the union.  So, they fought.  And when they finished fighting,” he kisses at the corner of Keith’s mouth.  His hand slides down, untying the robe and wrapping around Keith’s hardening cock in front of everyone.  “They consummated.”

Keith sighs, his eyes falling shut while Lotor strokes him.  He still cares they’re out in the open, but he’s not sure he wants to stop for modesty’s sake.  He pants while resting his head on Lotor’s shoulder, his legs falling open.  He feels feverish and dizzy and drawn to the warmth of Lotor under him.  He starts to suck on Lotor’s neck, and Lotor bends and gives him better access while his fingers circle Keith’s cock.

Lotor hums, “Mm, I think we’ve fought enough.  You’ve bested twice now, and I concede.”  His hand stills and pulls away, bowing his head, “And I surrender.”  He holds his hands up by his head.  “If you’ll have me.  Vrepit sa, Keith.”

The words ring in Keith’s head, and he shifts in Lotor's lap.  He straddles him while Lotor holds his submissive pose and something in Keith snaps at the sight.  He kisses Lotor hard, fingers wrapping around his neck while he does so.  Lotor moans into the kiss and Keith feels encouraged, he rubs his thumbs into Lotor’s pulse points.  He doesn’t give a damn about the crowd.  He growls while tearing into Lotor’s clothes, ripping his top open then his slacks, freeing his cock.  Lotor lets him frantically rub their cockheads together with one hand while the other scratches for purchase.  He finally settles for holding the side of the throne and sitting high, while the tip of his cock marks Lotor’s chest with precum. 

Lotor finally moves, holding Keith by the hips while he lines up his cock.  When Keith sinks down on it, they both gasp.  There’s a quiet in the room around him and Keith supposes the others have stopped to watch.  He grabs a handful of Lotor’s hair and holds on while rising and falling, riding Lotor’s cock. 

Lotor looks completely blissed out and Keith feels a surge of power and strength.  He yanks Lotor’s hair again, “I’m tired of you throwing all this bullshit science at me.  I’m tired of hearing you explain to me that it’s basically throwback biology, and my sorry, common ass can’t help it.  I’m a Paladin of Voltron!”  He slams down harder and Lotor looks up with a gasp.  “I’m not fucking around here because you’re a magic sex god!  I’m my own man!  I make up my own damn mind about who I want to be with!  And I wanted you!  Not my blood!  Not some damn prehistoric instinct!  Me!” 

Keith claws at Lotor’s chest and when that’s not satisfying enough, he bends down to bite Lotor hard on the shoulder.  He rocks with Lotor still buried deep inside and only pulls up after hearing ragged breathing and feeling Lotor pulse quicken under his hands.  He pulls away, licking his lips and smirking while Lotor looks up at him in wonder.  Keith then rides Lotor hard and fast, clawing at his skull and pulling his hair.  When he’s close to coming he wraps a hand around Lotor’s neck and squeezes, while Lotor’s fingers dig into his hips and asscheeks, spreading him wider as he thrusts upward desperately.  He comes with a loud groan and Keith notices a handful of onlookers creeping up to stare at the prince as he shakes apart under Keith.

“Ah!”  Keith wraps both arms around Lotor’s neck again, rutting his cock between their bodies while Lotor softens inside him.  Lotor’s cock slips out just as Keith comes.  Keith shivers with a static discharge all over his skin.  He clings to Lotor, hands still full of white hair before he slumps forward.  “Fuck.”

Lotor seems reduced to being speechless.  There’s an applause from somewhere in the room, then moaning and the sounds of sex from the others again.  Keith sighs and closes his eyes.  He feels incredibly lethargic.  It’s different from the night before and their marathon sex sessions.  He feels…  finished.  Lotor pulls him down for a kiss, “Feeling better?”

Keith shrugs, “Sleepy.”

Lotor pets him and gathers him up in his arms before standing.  He takes them back to his rooms while Keith dozes in his arms.  A while later, Keith blinks a little at the realization that they’re in the bath.  The water has a soft blue glow to it and Keith yawns.  He doesn’t have time to question it, he thinks. Lotor seems to know what he’s doing.  So Keith sleeps.

Chapter Text

The next morning with the sun barely up, Keith feels… completely content.  Deeply satisfied, full and warm.  He realizes that Lotor is sleepily pushing into him from behind, and merely hums with it.  He props his leg up to give Lotor more access and the Prince takes it, rutting into him slowly and deeply.  Keith turns his head back enough to accept a kiss and grins into it when he notices the tangles in Lotor’s hair.  It’s going in every direction and it’s the most rumbled he’s ever seen the other man.  He rolls his hips with Lotor’s thrusts.  Lotor’s arm under him squeezes his chest and plays with his nipples, fingers brushing the tips while the other hand rubs his thigh.

It feels like hours, but it’s probably only twenty dobashes.  The slow-paced lovemaking and comfortable snuggling and kissing is a fine way to wake up with the rising sun’s soft glow filtering into the room.   Keith tugs his own cock in an unhurried manner, and Lotor helps, rubbing his thumb over the cockhead and slit until Keith finally comes in thick pulses.  Keith sighs softly and Lotor other hand slips fingers into his mouth.  He sucks and licks at them while Lotor tugs his soft cock. 

Behind him, Lotor had stilled, but he starts again.  It seems their marathon sex sessions have a reset button.

They spend the rest of morning in bed, ignoring Athanie’s calls at the door and the responsibilities waiting for them with the conference.


 

Sometime just after midday, Keith finds himself stretching on the balcony.  He’s stark naked, still wet from his long bath and sipping wine without a care in the world.  He looks down at where a few delegates are milling around in the gardens.   And he can’t help smirking.  He sees the interpreter glare at him with her arms crossed.  She’s been calling on Lotor all day.  Keith merely winks at her and turns back to the room.  He looks at what he feels is surprisingly right.  Lotor laid out, face down on the bed with marks all over his body.  His hair knotted and flipped over his face.  His large feet dangling over one side of the bed. And a bit of rope still tied to his wrist and dangling off the other side.  They had a lot of fun after they really woke up.

Keith nods at the sight, thinking he did that.  He put the indomitable Imperial Majesty out cold and he feels triumphant.  It’s a little like winning a fight… in front all contenders.  Keith giggles to himself and paces around Lotor on his tiptoes, careful not to wake him.  He makes it halfway to the shower when he hears the chime of his BLIP and runs to the desk.    He throws on a discarded robe on the floor and checks his face in the pool’s reflection.  “Ah fuck!”  He settles and runs into the bathroom before answering.  “Um… Hey, guys.  What’s up?”  His voice is hoarse and husky and he coughs, hoping his state of ‘well-fucked’ isn’t caught on.

Shiro looks at him with a frown, “So its true.  You’re seeing someone down there.”

Keith blushes and shakes his head, “No, no, no…. it's not what you think.”  But he could kick his own ass.  It's worse than anything Shiro could imagine.  He can only wonder what Shiro thinks of the redness around his lips, the evidence of him trying to fit more than Lotor’s cockhead in his mouth.   “I mean.  Well, it’s complicated.”  He stands in front of the falling water, hoping nothing in the room will give away its owner.  “It’s really, really complicated.  I’ll tell you about it when I get home.”

“You’ll tell me about it now.  I’m not saying you can’t have a private life, but you’re in enemy hands and we can’t afford to have you compromised.  The Black Lion… she’s not listening to me.  And there’s no telling if she ever will again.  She needs you, Keith.  We need you.  So, don’t go doing something rash and leaving yourself vulnerable.”

“I’m not a child, Shiro!”  Keith doesn’t know why he snaps when in his heart he knows Shiro is right.   “No, I’m sorry.  I mean… you’re right.  But you have to trust me.  I’m not going to abandon the mission.  And the truce is still in effect, right?  Everyone is safe, and for the first time ever the Galra forces have laid down arms.  Right?”

Shiro rolls his eyes, “…Yeah.  But I don’t trust it.  A couple days of peace is nothing compared to centuries of oppression.  I hope you don’t let them forget that.”

“I won’t.”

“Good.  Allura said you were having problems with making your address.  Did you work it out yet?  Do you need us to… I don’t know, draft a speech or something?  We can work on it together.  Hang on, I’ll get Pidge and Hunk in here.”

“No!  I mean, that’s fine.  I’ll work on it.  I rather be spontaneous.  You know that.”

Shiro pinches the bridge of his nose, “This isn’t something you can make up as you go along.  There has to be a sound strategy going forward.  We can’t let Lotor get away with manipulating everyone.  And you and I both know there’s more to his proposal than meets the eye.”

“I know,” he says except now Keith wonders.  He looks at the door and imagines seeing through it and on the bed.  He wonders if Lotor orchestrated this whole affair just to see him again.  It’s a vain thought, though.  This is all too important just to be a ruse for a booty call.  Keith leans against the door, “I’mma get cleaned up and get back to work.  Thanks, Shiro.  For putting things back in perspective.”

“Okay, Keith.  Whoever he is, I hope you’re okay.  I’d hate to think of anyone hurting you again.”

Keith freezes.  He’d almost forgotten.  Shiro was there was when his second boyfriend left the barracks.  He broke up with Keith and called them both some nasty names.  He thought Keith was really sleeping his way through the garrison for attention.  And it broke Keith’s heart at the time.  Shiro held him up through it.  Keith gives the screen a watery smile, “I’m fine.  It’s nothing serious.  I didn’t get married or anything.  We’re just blowing off some steam.  Tell everyone not to worry.  I won’t fail you today.  In a few hours, I’ll let the Galra Empire know how we stand and that we’re not moving for anything less than complete independence.”

Shiro nods, “Patience yields focus.  Prodigies have a harder time with things that don’t come easy.  I don’t think diplomacy is like hand-to-hand, Keith.  You’re not going to be able to take down everyone and force your way through.  You bring us the best resolution you can, and the team will figure things out.  You understand?”

Years later and Shiro is still an awesome teacher, thinks Keith.  He smiles, “I understand.  I’ve gotta go.  I’ll report back to you after the speech.”

Shiro salutes and signs off, and Keith is left with the enormity of his task to focus on.  He takes a deep, fortifying breath and walks out of the shower.

Lotor is still sleeping, blissfully unaware and giving himself a regal scratch on the ass.  Keith grins at the sight but then sighs.  He makes up his mind to get dressed and leaves the Center Palace.  Thinking if everything turns south in the next few hours, at least he’ll have the memory of the last few nights.  And knowing the enemy is a person, not a monster.  He’ll bleed just like anyone else.


 

Athanie is not happy when she’s summoned back to the guest villa room.  “His majesty awoke without you and had everyone looking all over for you in the Center Palace.  He was afraid your new union had already been intruded upon.  They questioned poor Polik and everything!”

Keith shrugs, “I’m sorry.  I just had to get out of there and clear my head.  What do I wear today?”

She pauses, “You want me to decide?”

“Yes of course.  Whatever will help me be taken seriously.  I can’t walk in there like I did last time, right?  The coalition is made of poor ravaged planets, and the statesmen have to scrape together a tarp to wear.  But Lotor’s court is prosperous.  They don’t know how to look at me if I come in there without finery, right?  I get that now.  So um… yeah.  Doll me up, Scotty.”

Athanie claps her hands together, stars in her eyes.  “Yes, Lord Paladin!  At once!”

Keith has a feeling he’ll regret it once the storm of four arms and fabric starts to get going.  But he has to concede, she dresses Lotor.  She probably knows what she’s doing.


A few hours later, Keith sighs at his reflection in a garden pond.  Athanie dolled him up, alright.  Floor length red and gold robes, his hair braided in a halo, a little diadem in the center of his forehead.  He shakes his head at the sight.  He feels too hot under all the layers and wants to just jump in the pond.

“You look resplendent, young sire.”  Eiuri walks up to him, holding out one of her flowers.  “Truly a fine sight.”

“Thanks,” says Keith.  “I feel ridiculous in all this.”

She comes close and tucks the flower in his hair, “You left us quite abruptly last time.  The others were surprised you weren’t executed for that show of rudeness.  But I’m not.  You've got a fire in you.  And His Majesty is drawn to it.”

Keith can’t help blushing under her scrutiny, “It’s nothing…”

“Oh, but it is.  And I believe your will is going to do us all proud today.”  She offers her hand and Keith takes it, following her to the speaker’s auditorium.  Instead of hiding up in the nosebleed section, he sits beside her with the other delegates who want to be recognized as Free Systems.  They smile when they see him and shake his hand and offer congratulations.

Keith gives them all nervous smiles.  He supposes living through a royal tantrum raised his status a bit.  Unless the courtesans talked about last night… Damn, thinks Keith.  Of course, they did.  Everyone knows he’s getting a second chance to address them because he put on a show.  Keith ducks his head and waits patiently for Lotor to arrive and the speaker starts things.

It seems to take an age but Lotor finally arrives, dressed more like an Altean, in soft mauve and dark grey.  No armor or sword at his side, and his hair in a simple low ponytail over his shoulder.  Great, thinks Keith.  Now this time he feels overdressed.

The new speaker, Duke Gibra gives everyone a low bow.  He announces the news and resolutions of the last meeting.  One group applauds when they learn their trade deal is accepted.  A man is dragged out, apparently sentenced for kidnapping and raping the daughter of his neighbor.  Everyone boos and Keith wonders just how much he missed when he stormed out.  The minutes tick by and Keith tries to pay attention to things.  To their reactions.  He thinks of what he wants to say and remembers what Shiro told him.  He’s not going to stand out there and fight all of them one on one.  He has to prove his point.  While Lotor sits there and listens.

The speaker finally turns to him, “And now I have the pleasure to respectfully introduce, the honorable Sir Keith, Paladin of Voltron on behalf of the rebellion’s coalition.”

Keith takes a deep breath and stands up.  Lotor's eyes lock on him and he smiles at first.  But as the moment stretches out too long without Keith smiling back, Lotor frowns and sits back.  Like he’s waiting to be executed in his own court.

Chapter Text

Keith clears his throat and looks at the people around them, and thinks it's not right.  He’s addressing them, but he can’t see them as who he’s fighting for when they’re all benefitting from the Galra Empire and the regime of oppression.  He closes his eyes and imagines the Balmerans.  The Taujeerians.  The Blade of Marmora.  He doesn’t know the full story of where he comes from, but he imagines his mother fought the empire.  Fell in love on Earth… and perhaps she’s still alive out there somewhere fighting the Galra.  There's a part of him that hopes he finds her and the answers that really plague his dreams.  The answers Lotor can’t fill in with his nifty biological record.  The answers Kolivan withholds from him.  But he puts aside the personal and imagines the faces of the people suffering.  And the ones fighting by his side.  Patience yields focus.

Keith sighs and opens his eyes, “Voltron is more than a giant robot.  I’m sorry there’s been so much loss of life in this war.  But we can’t back down.  The Galra has used fear to control the known universe, and Voltron stands with those who can’t fight for themselves.  And those who’d rather die than live another day under the yoke of Zarkon’s regime.  And Prince Lotor may be different from his father, but its just words in this place.  Until all the systems enslaved by the Galra are free, truly free, and autonomous powers, then his words are empty.  We will accept an offer of real friendship if it is earnest.”  He looks at Lotor and sees him sitting up, with his hand clenched under his chin.  “But there is nothing you can do to force our acquiescence.  We will fight.”

There are some murmuring and Keith looks to see Lotor whispering in the ear of his interpreter.  She calls for the audience to calm down.  They hush again and Keith continues.

“And we will fight for you too if you realize living under the power of the Galra empire under any name is still slavery.  Don’t let him talk you into being passive and giving up your rights for a false peace.  If Zarkon rises tomorrow, what’s to stop him from taking everything his heir has done and tearing it down?”

Lotor smiles at that and stands up, “He’s right!”  The court turns to him, gasping and murmuring.  “He is right,” repeats Lotor.  “There’s nothing to separate my rule from my father’s so long as I am unwed and still only the heir apparent.  True Galra do not conspire behind closed doors or wait like snakes for their parents to die.”  He steps down from his dais with his arm raised and all eyes are on him.  Keith frowns and looks around, realizing there’s a handful of droids flying around the room.  He bites his inner cheek, realizing too late what’s happening.  Lotor continues, “I can make all the promises I want to make things peaceful.  But the moment my father awakens, should he live, he will take that power back from me.  He will take your power back from you.  I cannot offer you a lasting peace with that threat hanging over us.  I can only promise that my reign will be different.  And I can promise to do everything in my power to fight for you.  Alongside Voltron!  I swear to you, and all the systems tormented by the ten-thousand-year-old siege, that I will fight my father.  In court, in combat, on every field to undo the wrongs committed in this universe.   Will you stand beside me, my people?”

There’s a thunderous applause.  Eiuri and her cohorts are on their feet, applauding and crying out Lotor’s name.

Keith catches Lotor’s eye as the droids circle him, probably capturing the moment in vivid light.  The first close up of the Galra Prince, and he’s a freedom fighter.  Willing to fight his own father.  He smirks back up at Keith, and Keith’s stomach turns at the sight.  It's done, he thinks.  He runs out of the auditorium, shrugging out of his robes and running out into the open.  He played right into Lotor’s hands anyway.  Just being here was enough for the show he wanted to put on.

Keith pulls the diadem out of his hair and crashes out on the garden grass.  He wipes his face before any tears can fall and turns on his BLIP.

“Keith?”  Pidge looks up at him with eyes wide.  “Are you okay?  Your heart is going a mile a minute.”

“Guys, I think I fucked up.  We played into exactly what he wanted.  And I don’t think he means any of it.  Not a single damn word.”

Shiro bends over in front of Keith.  “We saw.  I think everyone saw.  We were beamed a message before your speech.  We saw the whole thing.”   His eyes go soft, “You did nothing wrong.  Come home, and we’ll think of what to do next.”

Keith nods, “I’m sorry…”

Allura pushes Shiro out of the way, “There’s nothing to be sorry for Keith.  You spoke well.  Acxa sent us a message, inviting herself up to our ship to open negotiations.”  She rolls her eyes, “She’s a bit presumptive, isn’t she?  Come home, when you’re ready, Keith.”

Keith wonders why she would say that but then remembers they all think he’s got some delegate boyfriend or girlfriend to say goodbye to.  He shakes his head, “I’m coming now. Right now.  I’m not staying on Eche for another tick.”

He all but runs to where he left his ship and finds its still there.  He climbs in, wearing only the silk white undershirt and fancy slacks while holding the diadem in his hand.  He hadn’t noticed but there’s something Galra etched on the inside.  He rubs his thumb across the words, then throws the thing across the lawn.  Whatever it was, it’s not important.  He starts the ship and heads home.  Angry and embarrassed and sad.


The hanger is quiet and dark when Keith arrives.  He climbs out of the pod, feeling alien and alone.  And used.  For a moment, he’s completely lost and ready to break down.  But then the doors open and the hanger is full of light and sound.

Pidge runs up to him first, hugging his waist while Hunk grabs them both and lifts them for a bear hug.  Lance chatters on and on about the interpreter and his future kitten-babies and not holding it against Keith.  For the moment.

Shiro gives him a big hug and walks him to his rooms.  They give him space to get ready.  Acxa is on her way with the final draft of the resolutions.  After he’s dressed back to normal, all of the finery gone and dumped in a waste bin, he joins them at the castle’s helm.

Several coalition leaders and Allura are already arguing but she stops them all to hug Keith.  “Thank you for all that did down there.”  She gives him a kiss on the cheek.  And Keith accepts it with his eyes down.  He feels like he accomplished nothing but a sore ass and some finger-shaped bruises.

When Acxa arrives, the official business gets underway.

“His majesty sends his regards to you, Princess Allura.  And if you should agree, he will come here himself to sign on the deal.”  She lays it out for them, “The planets and systems that wish to secede will be allowed to do so.  Galra occupation will end immediately.  We can agree to your demands to recognize statehood and ask for a list of representatives for all the newly formed sovereign worlds for the future.  It would be in everyone’s best interest if trade could be established, and the Galra empire is willing to pay reparations for resources plundered during Emperor Zarkon’s regime.”

Allura nods, “That sounds like a good start.  Does it not council?”  Many nod in agreement, but Allura presses, “And how do we know the Prince will not renege on this agreement?”

“His majesty only asks that you support his transition to Emperor.  Even if Zarkon lives.”

“You’re asking us to support a coup?  Does his royal majesty not have enough resources to usurp without our help?  Is he so afraid of his ailing father?”

“Zarkon is a powerful, nearly immortal being, and to defeat him will take more than just Voltron and rebel outliers.  Allow his majesty to helm this transition, and he promises to honor all of your wishes for peace going forward.”

The council chatters before Allura agrees, “We accept his offer.  For as long as it is genuine.  But if there is even the slightest inkling of oppression recorded in the systems, or any pressure from our trade deals to favor the Galra, we will oppose him.”

“Understood.”  Acxa hands over the documents for them to continue to study.  “And there’s one last matter His Majesty wishes to go over.”

Lance rolls his eyes, “What else is there?”

Pidge leaps forward, “Is it news about my brother?”

Acxa looks at her sadly, “I’m afraid not.  He tasked me to look into the matter personally.  I will need more time after this.  But I will report to you directly if I find anything.  Is that acceptable?”

Pidge nods and crosses her arms, looking less pleased with the news.

Acxa turns to Allura again, “But an even more important matter to His Majesty remains.  He wants to know when he can expect the return of his Consort, for their official ceremony.  While old Galran rites are still legally binding within the Empire, he’d prefer the union to be universally recognized.”

Everyone freezes, wondering at her words.  Then Hunk and Shiro are first to turn to Keith.  Keith is certain he has turned dark red, his ears burning with her words.  Allura looks puzzled before putting the pieces together and turning to Keith, “You can’t mean…?!”

Shiro throws his hands up, “You said you didn’t get married!”

Everyone is shouting and Keith wishes he could just disappear.  Pidge looks scandalized and Coran starts telling everyone to calm down, “Hold your Bqishes, there’s no reason to jump to conclusions.  We all know Keith is young and was sowing his wild towxers out there, but there’s no reason to think… he wouldn’t… eh.  Hey,” he turns to Keith.  “You didn’t accidentally mate in front of witnesses, did you?”

Lance looks confused and Hunk starts crying, “I was at your wedding and I didn’t even know it?”

Pidge cringes, “You saw him have sex with Lotor and didn’t say anything!”

Allura sighs and rubs her temple shouts above everyone in the confusion, “That’s enough!  It is… deeply concerning, but it’s a private matter.”  She turns back to Acxa, “Please return to your prince and tell him, he has no place to demand I turn over one my pilots.  If Keith wishes to return, he will do so on his own.  Understand?”

Acxa gives her a smirk and Allura gets a little red in the face, “Understood, Princess.”

She leaves and all the noise starts up again.  Shiro argues vehemently with one of the representatives that thinks they should never have sent a ‘half-Galra spy’ to begin with.  Coran starts listing all the ways that a Galra marriage can be annulled.  Pidge berates Hunk, and Hunk hides under a console claiming he couldn’t stop the wedding from a BLIP.

Keith just sits silently through all of it, accepting their rage and confusion.  He can’t think of anything to defend himself.

Lance saddles over and gives Keith a slow look up and down before pointing a finger at his chest.  “I get it now.  Having my future baby-mama wasn’t enough for you, flyboy.  You ditched her for the Prince?”

“I didn’t do anything to that woman, Lance.”  Keith rolls his eyes.  “I was with Lotor the whole time.  And we’re not married.”

Slav appears out of nowhere, “I’m glad you resisted the Mindspeaker’s charms.  But you, my friend, are definitely married in this timeline.  I’m so excited I could just burst!”  He turns to Lance, “And fortunate for you there’s an eight to one chance the Mindspeaker is not coming onboard when Lotor lays his claim.”  He claps Keith on the shoulder, “I really am so excited!  This is the first royal wedding I’ve been to in this universe!  What should I wear?”

Keith sneaks out and locks himself in his room.  He plans to stay there for a very, very long time.

 

Chapter Text

Keith rolls up on his side in his room and covers his head with a pillow.  It’s all soft and luxurious, the gift given before he went down to Eche.  Keith sobs into it, regretting everything he did the moment he let Lotor fly out of the Balmera cavern.  There’s persistent knocking at the door, but he ignores it.  The others want answers and he’s just not ready to face them yet.

There’s a soft tapping from Allura at some point.  When he doesn’t open the door, he’s shocked to see a screen by his bedside, Allura’s face staring at him.  “The council agreed to the conditions.  We’re expecting Lotor in the morning.  Are you going to be alright, Keith?”

Keith wipes his eyes, “I’m not.  Can I just have some time alone?  I know I have to answer for what I did…”

“Oh Keith, no.”  She looks at sadly, “You’re not on trial here.  I think Lotor did… something awful.  And if you’re not ready to face him, then you keep to your room.  Did… did he hurt you?”

Keith shakes his head, “He was charming and goofy and gorgeous and I just fell for it, I guess.”

She sighs, “Okay.  Then I won’t have to rip his head off when he gets close enough.”  She smiles, “That’s good to know.  About this marriage matter… We can petition for annulment easily when the coalition is officially recognized.  Coran will represent you.  He’s never officiated a divorce, but he’s keen on suing for spousal support.  He thinks you could own Eche and a couple of battle fleets at this rate.”

“I don’t want anything…”

“Can I come inside?  Talking through the door is a little awkward.  Pidge is hiding around the corner.”

“I AM Not!”  shouts pidge.

Keith sighs and gets up to let her in.  They sit together on the bed and Allura wraps her arm around Keith, “I’m sorry you’re hurting.  I’d give anything to set things right.  I should have been the one to go down there.”

Keith sighs, “Its fine.  I wanted to go… I wanted to see him again.”  He sits up and finally tells her about the Balmera and letting Lotor go.  And with that he confesses giving in the first night he was there.  And hours later, and again and again.  “I’m just so sorry.  It was for such a short time, and I just… went completely rogue.”

She pats him awkwardly on the back, “Coran seems to think you’re going through some kind of lizard puberty.  Lotor was wrong to take advantage of that.  Are you sure you don’t want me to rip his head off tomorrow?”

Keith huffs out a laugh, “Its fine.  Thank you for thinking of me.”  His laugh turns into a shaking sob.  “I’m fine… I’m fine, it's just.  It fucking hurts.”

“Ah, Keith.”  She rocks him while he cries and they stay together until Keith feels all dried out.  She lets him lay down and kisses his forehead before leaving, “Rest, Keith.  You’re home now, and your family is going to look after you.  If I have to, I’ll fight that smug Prince and all his generals with my bare hands.”

Keith smiles at her, “Even Acxa?”

She flusters, “Especially her.  The kalternaker.  Called me ‘Princess’.  Pfft.”  She stomps away Keith smiles before closing his eyes and getting some sleep.


 

Keith wakes up to the familiar darkness of his room, then realizes there’s a shadow in the corner.  Just by the door, something darker that doesn’t belong.  Without thinking about it he pulls out his knife and throws it at the shadow.  He misses and the shadow slinks forward grabs him by the throat and holds him down.  Keith struggles, wondering if anyone on the ship was alerted to the assassin’s presence.  But the shadow doesn’t make another move against him.  Instead, he’s freed and the shadow steps away from the bed.  Keith stares up as the mask comes off and white hair comes tumbling down.  “You!”

“Me,” smirks Lotor.  “You left without a proper goodbye, my friend.  Without being formally dismissed.  Again.  I’m willing to overlook it, but we must work on your decorum for the future.  As my Consort…”

Keith flicks on the lights and gets out the bed, looking for his knife, “Shut up.”

“No.  You’re being incredibly childish, Keith.”  He says it with his lip turned up, “I’m beginning to have my doubts about your scan.  Perhaps I should wait a few hundred years…”

“Shut.  Up!”  Keith turns on Lotor and tries to punch him in the nose.  Lotor dodges and evades while Keith swings and kicks, attacking him all over the room.   Keith gets frustrated enough to activate the blade and slash through Lotor’s chest plate.

Lotor looks down like he’s annoyed, “That was Olkari stealth technology.”

“Now it's trash.  Next is your face!”  He thrusts forward with the blade and tears the suit at Lotor’s shoulder.  Then nicks some hair.  Every strike gets closer and closer to making its mark.  But then Keith has to stops himself.  Lotor went still and closed his eyes, and if Keith follows through with another swing he’d take his head off.  “Move!”

Lotor shakes his head, eyes still closed, “If it makes you feel better, then by all means, cut me to ribbons.  I surrendered, remember?  I’m yours to do with as you like.”  He raises his hands and lets out a shaky breath.  “I’m not sure why you’re so angry this time.  You have all that you and your people wanted.”

Keith growls and barrels forward, knocking Lotor to the bed and holding the blade at his throat.  “You asshole!  You used me for a photo-op!  You planned the whole thing from the start to get what you wanted!”

Lotor frowns up at him and with a twist of his legs upends Keith and rolls him on his back.  He takes the knife and throws it away, then shakes Keith by the neck.  “I did what I had to do.  Yes, I used you a little for optics.  I’d do it all over again.  No matter which of you play emissary, I need you and Voltron backing me.  It’s the only way!  Don’t you see that?!  I can erase everything my father’s done.  We can all do it if we work together.”  He eases up, looking down at Keith, “I didn’t think I’d find something so precious in the process…  But I need you at my side, Keith.  Come home to me.”

Keith tries to kick out of the hold but Lotor presses his full weight and there’s no give.  Keith cries out, “Fuck!”  He struggles wildly until he’s out of breath.  “I hate you!”

Lotor covers Keith’s mouth with his hand.  And then bends down to kiss him on the forehead.  “Maybe so.  But we’ll have an age to grow used to each other now.  I… I deserve your ire, young paladin.  I’ve used you in many ways.  Merla has no claim on me if I name you my Consort and second in command.  Haggar will have no more influence on the Empire if I’m Emperor.  And there will be real peace.  I promise you.  That is what I genuinely want.  And we can attain it, together.”

Lotor slides his hand down to squeeze lightly at Keith’s throat then rest on his chest, pressing down to keep him in place.  Keith thinks about his words all the lies and half-truths, and everything that’s happened in the last few days.  And shakes head, “I can’t trust you.  I’m not coming back.  And you can’t make me.”

Lotor sighs and slumps forward, head on Keith’s shoulder.  He sits up with wet eyes, “I understand.  It’s your decision.  There’s no rite for separation in Galra tradition.  There’s the civilized divorce law, but that will take an age for you to acquire.  The fastest way to annul for a state or military official to dissolve the union.  But I won’t do it, and I won’t allow anyone that works for me to do it quickly either.”  He smirks down at Keith before kissing him gently on the lips.  “I won’t give you up easily, my friend.”

Keith blinks up at Lotor, breathing out his nose harshly before speaking through his teeth.  “Fine.  Then I’ll do it the hard way.  But I’m not marrying you.  Or staying married.  Whatever it is.  Get off me.”

Lotor shakes his head, his hair cascading loose around their faces.  “Make me,” he teases.  The smug look is still insufferable but makes Keith’s stomach flip and flop.  Knowing what it feels like to have Lotor pressed inside… Lotor knows what effect his having.

Keith braces his hands on Lotor’s shoulders to push him away, but Lotor takes him by the wrists to pin him down.  And angles his hips to rub across Keith’s pelvis.  Keith gets red in the face, realizing his stupid body has been conditioned, he feels excited and gets harder just from the slide of the bodies.  He starts to struggle again but that just makes things worse.

Lotor laughs at him, “Stop fighting me, Red.  I surrendered.  It’s your turn to play along.”  He leans down to suck just under Keith’s chin and moans, “Only a few hours, and gods!  How I missed the taste of you!”  His hands slide away from Keith’s wrist and down his arms and sides to the hem of his pants, undoing the fasting and pulling them down his hips.

Keith feels dazed at first.  Not fighting sounds like a good idea to parts of him.  He’s ready to spread his legs and let Lotor do whatever he wants.  But then he opens his eyes and looks around his room.  And remembers with startling clarity that he’s really fucking angry.  So he kicks.

“OW!!”

Keith pushes Lotor off the bed and looks down at him, “That’s for using me and twisting me up and being just unnecessarily sexy all the time!”  He climbs off the bed while Lotor writhes on the floor holding his crotch.  Keith opens the door just as Coran is walking by in his night clothes.  “Hey!  Tell someone to ready a pod.  His Majesty was just leaving!”

Coran peeks in the door while Lotor is getting up, “What in the quizznak!  How’d he get in here!  Why you!”  He storms forward and grabs Lotor by the ear, “You cheeky Velesertjam!”

“How dare you,” shouts Lotor.  He tries to pull but Coran is latched on like a crab.  “Do you know who I am?!”

“You’re humpy, horny teenaged royal, is what you are!  I’ve put down enough like you in my time in court!  Allura’s first cousin was a wily one too!  Don’t think I can’t throw you out on your ear and paddle that royal blue bum of yours!”

Keith watches in amazement as Coran drags Lotor down the hallway.  Lotor struggles to get free, his face pinched and purple, “You can’t tell me what to do!  Let go!”

Coran lets him go with a straight face and Lotor goes flying into the wall, “All right, whipper-snapper.  Let’s say I wake up Her Majesty, Princess Allura.”  He gives Lotor a slow look up and down, “And in your present state, we discuss finalizing our agreement and broadcasting the signage.  Eh?  While you’re looking like some rural, humperdinking hooligan?”

Lotor's shoulders sink, “Fine.  I’m leaving.”  He looks pouty and Keith can’t help laughing out loud.  Lotor turns at the sound and stands up straighter, shoulders back.  “But I will return in the morning.  And you, my darling, best pack your things.  You are coming with me.”  He nods at his own words and marches off, his clothes in tatters and his hair mussed.

Coran follows after him like a stern nanny and Keith can’t help laughing again.  He goes back to bed with a smile on his face and a strange hope in his heart.

Chapter Text

The next morning, Keith joins the others to wait for Lotor for the signage.  Allura and Keith talk quietly about what to do if Lotor starts his Prince of the Free people act.  But Keith’s a little distracted by Pidge hovering around.  She’s a little pink in the face and looks like she’s trying to think of the right way to ask something.  She finally blurts out, “So every spike recorded in your heart readings was you having sex, then you guys were going at it, on average, eight times a day over the course of four days.”  Everyone stops to stare at her and she points at Keith, “Gosh.  You must be so sore right now….”

Keith rolls his eyes, “Can everyone stop thinking about my sex life?!  Please?!”

Hunk shrugs, “I’ve been trying to scrub my brain and nothing really works.  It just sticks with you, you know.  The size difference alone…  It'd be like me taking someone itty-bitty… you know like Lance and just bending him over…”

“WHAT THE WHAT!”  Lance shouts and Keith tries to scrub that thought out of his head.

“That’s enough of that!”  Allura stomps her heel, “It would be inappropriate to discuss it further!  Especially with Lotor on his way, with his cameras and his court entourage.  The last thing we need is for him to paint Keith as a love-addled, cock-obsessed sycophant.”

Everyone turns red at her use of the word ‘cock’, and Keith covers his face with his hand, “Just… can everyone shut up?  Please?  I’m going to be sick at this rate.”

Shiro pulls him close, “Stick by me.  If he so much as looks at you, I’ll chooo choo!”  He swipes the air with his robotic and Keith appreciates the gesture.  And the bad sound effects.  But it’s not really helpful.  He keeps his place though, tucked under Shiro feels like a safe place to be, kind of unseen and he’d admit to no one but… the guy always smells nice.

Coran comes in with Lotor and his entourage.  Acxa winks at Allura, and Athanie gives Keith a low bow.  There’s several of the camera droids buzzing around snapping pictures and taking video.

Lotor’s in his full armor, with his hair down.  He looks stunning and graces them all with a bow and then takes Allura’s hand for a kiss.  She blushes and pulls away, “On behalf of the coalition I represent, I welcome you on board, Prince Lotor.”

“And I’m glad to be here, Princess Allura.”  He flashes a smile as a camera spans them both and Keith can imagine what people are thinking.  The handsome prince and the beautiful princess, getting along after centuries of war.  Lotor ignores everyone as they get on with business, agreeing to concessions while he’s ratifying the laws of secession.  There’s applause from his entourage but Allura remains stoic.

“We certainly hope this is a new beginning, Prince Lotor.  For all our people.  But I warn you, if you try to double-cross the coalition and undermine those who’ve resisted Galra rule in any way, I will personally rip off your head and feed it to your generals.”  She smirks at Acxa while everyone sort of pales at her threat.  Everyone but Acxa.  She looks on wistfully like the Princess asked her out to a movie date.

“I see,” says Lotor unmoved.  “Understood.  I will strive to prove myself trustworthy.”  He bows again and kisses her hand before giving a little speech to the cameras. 

Keith tunes him out, and Shiro gives him a squeeze, “You think that guy’s attractive?  He looks old with all that white hair.  And… and short for a Galra.  Like really short.  And he talks too much.  What the hell is that accent anyway? Fake-ass Legolas wanna-be.  Hey, I bet he’s hiding twelve-sided dice in his pocket.”

“Yeah, he’s pretty lame, right.”  Keith is embarrassed all over again and tries hiding his face while Lotor circles the helm, shaking hands with Hunk and then Pidge.  Pledging publicly to help her find her brother.  Then shaking hands with Lance and Coran before turning to Shiro.  He looks down at the arm wrapped around Keith and gives them a tight smile.  Keith starts to pull away but Shiro holds him tight.

Shiro offers his hand, “Prince Lotor.  I’m Shiro.  I hope we can get along, moving forward.”

Lotor takes his hand with a loud clap and Keith gets the sense they’re really arm wrestling not shaking hands.  “I know all about you, Champion.  We’ll get along fine in the future.  I believe you’re doing your utmost to keep something precious of mine safe.”  He lets go with a little shove and turns to Keith.  “My darling.”  He holds out his arms, leaving the expectation between them while the cameras circle.

Keith clears his throat and steps forward.  He accepts Lotor’s embrace and some petting.  “Right okay.  Nice to see you too…”  He tries to pull away but Lotor holds him tight.

“My darling, as you see, I will do everything in my power to protect you.  And I will wait eagerly for your return to my side, as my Imperial Consort.  I agree a summer wedding sounds most appealing.  Perhaps suitably on Arus.  What do you think, my dearest?”

Keith narrows his eyes and looks to Allura.  She nods, giving him the go-ahead to do like they talked about before.  Keith bats his eyes and leans in like he’s swooning.  “That sounds excellent, my darling.  I’m so glad you’re going to keep your end of the bargain, fighting for Princess Allura to help upend your own father…”  He kisses Lotor before he can counter anything Keith said.  Keith pulls away smiling, “Voltron is glad for your support of the resistance.  I’m so proud you, and I personally find this change of heart you suddenly had terribly appealing!  You’re like a whole new person!  Willing to do anything for love and freedom!”  He clings to Lotor and Lotor is speechless.

“That’s a wrap!”  Acxa stomps over, guiding the little droids away.

 Lotor shoves Keith to the side, snarling, “What was that?”

Keith deadpans while Shiro and lance come to stand behind him.  “That was Optics, babe.”

Lotor's jaw drops and Keith holds out his hand, Lance slaps it for a high five then jumps in front of him, “That was Team Voltron owning you all over the universe!  Way To Go Number 4!!” He cheers Keith on while dancing and posing with Hunk.

Lotor looks like he about to tear them all apart, but Acxa grabs his collar.  She addresses Allura as she drags him out, “Well played, you lot of amateurs.  But we got what we needed.  Until next time.  Princess.”  She smirks and drags her regally angry prince behind her. 

The team erupts in cheers, Pidge mimics Keith patting Hunk on the chest, “Oh Prince Lotor!  I’m so glad you’re going to fight your own dad for lil' ol’ me!”

Hunk stands still and salutes, “Absolutely!  I’m a love-sick puppet of the coalition!  There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for some Hybrid Galra tail!”

“…whoa,” says Pidge pushing him off. “That’s a bit much.”

“Sorry, I got really into character.  But that’s it right, that’s what we were going for?”

“Indeed,” says Allura.  “He’ll have to explain that display to his advisors.  He’ll think twice before using your relationship for propaganda again.  Well done everyone.  Let’s get something to eat.  Hunk, are there any pee-za rolls left?”

“Coming right up, lovely lady!”


 

The team dines together, talking a mile a minute about their future prospects.  They stay on a long conference call for most of the day with the Blade of Marmora and the coalition leaders.  Kolivan offers up the what he says is the most common and easiest way to disrupt an old rite marriage.  Keith sits through it, red in the face while the others laugh at him.  Kolivan has employed little finger puppets and everything, “So if the Oma sire falls pregnant from an intruder, the Ama sire’s claim is forfeit.  The proof of the union is null.  And so I guess… I’d have to volunteer.”

Keith blinks at the screen, “No.  Thank you, Kolivan.  I’m not really in the mood to be pregnant.  From anyone.”

Lance makes light of the whole thing, “If he has kittens before I do, I’m packing up and going home.  That’s it.  That’s the last straw.”  Everyone laughs and Keith feels a little better, not feeling judged by his team for what happened.

The business moves on to more serious matters.  Their network of first-alert satellites is recording the Galra withdrawing to their home systems.  Lotor’s command ship is still nearby.  Coran leaves them to keep an eye on it, determined to keep any humperdinking hooligans from sneaking back on the castle.  After the meeting and dinner, they break up for bedtime and routine ship maintenance.

Shiro walks Keith to his room, “If you ever want to talk about anything.  You know, I’m always here.”

Keith nods and gives him a little hug before waving goodbye.  He yawns feeling tired and stretches out before going in his room.  He turns on the light and doesn’t feel the slightest bit surprised.  “You.”

“Me,” growls Lotor.  He sits primly on the bed.  “You tried to make a fool of me in front of the whole universe.”

“Optics.”  Keith shrugs, “We’re just playing by your rules.”

“You undermined my authority!”  He stands up and towers of Keith, “I told you, I’ve struggled my whole life for control!  And manipulating the masses is the only way I can maintain power!  You made me look weak to your will, and that cannot stand!  You will have to rectify this, publicly!”

Keith pulls away, “No you’ll have to own up to the truth.  I want a divorce!”

“We’re not married yet!”

“Ah-hah!”  Keith points a finger, “Then it’s going to stay that way!”

“You don’t understand.  We’re bound.  You are mine.  And I’m yours.  The union is done.  And you’re going to start holding me with some deference before you act!”

“Asshole,” says Keith.  “You’re not my boss.  You’re not my prince.  And you’re not my husband.  I don’t have to answer to you for anything.  I don’t need you for anything!”

Lotor shoves him up against the door, “Is that so?”

“…yeah.”  Keith swallows a lump in his throat.  Lotor is less menacing, with his long hair and his pretty face and stupid fanged smirk and his clean scent.  “Absolutely.  Nothing.  You may as well leave if I have no use for you.”

Lotor grins at that shoving a hand in his chest, “You humiliated me.  You made me look small in front of the masses, all while batting your pretty eyes.”  He nips the top of Keith’s right ear and whispers, “I’m impressed.  For all of me that’s angry I’m stirred in all the right ways. It’s not beyond me to reward you for such cunning.”

Keith blinks up at him, “Are you saying we can still fuck?”

Lotor laughs while getting down on his eyes undoing Keith’s pants, “What do you think?”

“I hate it when you answer my question with a question… oh!”

Lotor rubs him through his underwear and Keith falls back against the door.  Lotor pulls his cock free and swallows it in one go.  He’s teased Keith before about being half his size, but he’s happy enough on his knees with his mouth full.  Keith puts his hands in Lotor’s hair and starts to fuck his face, but Lotor holds his hips back.  He comes off with a pop and shakes his head free.  “No, no, little Red.”  He flicks his tongue against the tip of Keith’s cock.  Keith wonders if the nickname has been transferred.  “I have an idea.  I discounted it considering your alteration… but I’ve had second thoughts.  It might even be more pleasurable for you.”

“I hate it when you start talking.”

Lotor chuckles and gets up to stand over him again.  He pulls Keith’s top up over his head and then backs away to unfasten his armor.  Keith takes the hint and starts rushing to get nude as well.  Lotor puts his things away slowly and piece by piece with his back turned to Keith.  Keith gets a little glimpse of Lotor’s skin and almost falls over trying to get out of his socks. 

He stands up straight when Lotor notices the noise and smiles, “Right.  I thought we did everything you could think of before.”

“There’s always something else,” grins Lotor.  He pulls Keith to the bed and bends down to tug off his last remaining sock and bite his thigh.  "Now sit up on your knees.  Face me.”

Keith does as he’s told, holding out that Lotor’s mouth is going for an encore with a new tongue trick.  Instead, Lotor stands close, with Keith on the bed, he rubs their cockheads together.  Then pulls away, dragging his foreskin up with long strokes.  Keith mouth waters at the sight.  Perhaps Lotor thought of a new way for them to 69, he thinks.  That’ll be fun.  He still can’t fit more than the head in his mouth but he can damn well try.  And stroking Lotor with both hands while he tries is more fun than it should be.

Lotor rubs the head of his own cock and pulls Keith's forward until their slits line up.  Kissing heads, tacky with precum and sensitive when they meet.  He then tugs his foreskin down.  Keith stares and gasps.  His cockhead disappearing under the violet velvety skin, slick with their precum.  “OH my god!”  Lotor huffs through his strokes.  Keith's legs feel weak and he grabs hold of Lotor’s shoulders for purchase, but he can’t take his eyes off the spectacle.  Lotor strokes them both through his foreskin and Keith watches the bulb of his cockhead bulge as he papery skin gives easily with every thrust.  Keith can’t help himself, moving his hips and chasing the new sensation.

Lotor sighs with it, “That’s good, love.  Come on.  Come for me, just like this.  I want to see it.”  He reaches behind Keith with his free hand and squeezes his ass, dragging a finger down his crevice and dipping the tip just inside the clenching ring of muscle.

Keith shakes all over, “God!”  he comes like Lotor said, pulling out with drips of come between them.  Lotor pats his head, scratching behind his ears.  His other hand now pumping his finger into Keith steadily.  He pulls it out to hold Keith with both arms when he falls on his shoulder, “Okay.  That was new for me.”

“I can’t imagine how your world works.  Is everyone altered as you are?”

“No,” pants Keith.  “I know for a fact Hunk and Lance aren’t but, you know.  We all come from different places.  And ah… geez.  I can’t talk about my friend’s dicks.  I can barely breath after that.”

Lotor laughs lets him down on the bed, “Recover yourself.  I’m not done with you yet.”

“Oh boy,” says Keith.  He worries he might die if there’s anything more.

 

Chapter Text

Keith supposes things could be worse for him.  He could be back at the barracks trading handjobs with rival cadets and insecure ex-boyfriends.  Not on his knees, on a magical flying castle with the heir of the universal menace rubbing his wet cock up and down his crevice.  Lotor is slicking the way with Keith’s own come and he doesn’t know why but the thought has him hardening again.  He thinks of how tight the fit was, the feel inside the foreskin.  And Lotor let him pump into it without hesitation like it’s common for Galra mating… Mating, he thinks is a complicated word.  When it comes to mind Keith sits up, remembering Athanie’s warning.  Lotor grabs him by the neck and pushes him back down, “I’m nowhere near done with you yet.”

Keith sighs, turning his face into the sheets as Lotor stretches his hole.  It’s probably as Lotor said, and the precaution isn’t necessary.  Keith switches gears from worried to impatient.  It’s only a been a day since they were last together, but Lotor still takes his time.  He adds a second finger and crooks until Keith is backing onto his fingers.  “Yes, come on.  Please?  I hate begging for it, you know that.”

Lotor slaps him on the ass, “And I hate rushing into things.”  He slaps Keith harder on the other cheek and with the distraction, slips inside.  The stretching burns just with the bulb of his head inside and Keith bites down on the sheets under him.  “Shhh,” says Lotor stroking his back.  “There, you are.  Be still.”

Keith writhes under him, trying to move but finding Lotor’s big hands holding him down.  Keith reaches back to hold himself open and Lotor growls, like a damn animal.  He pins Keith’s hands behind him, holding both his wrist one hand.  Then pulls Keith up by the neck.  Lotor slides into the root, all while biting hard on Keith's shoulder.  Keith is so overstimulated he feels like he’s coming again, dry shocks through his body while Lotor fills him.  He clenches around Lotor’s cock and pants with his mouth open “Fuck!  Fuck, yes!”  He starts to cry out and Lotor hand moves to cover his mouth.  His other hand frees Keith’s wrist and wraps around to hold the base of his soft cock.

Keith moans loudly with every thrust, tears in his eyes, mouthing at Lotor’s palm desperately until he fills it with two fingers. Keith sucks on them while rolling his hips.  He’s not even trying to be quiet, he can’t remember why that’s necessary in the first place.

“Hush, pet.  You’re too loud,” warns Lotor.  He pulls out his fingers and holds Keith by the throat and gives him a shake.  “Hush now.”

“Ooh, that is not helping—ah!”  Keith rocks onto Lotor and bats his hand away to stroke his own cock.  It’s hard again he feels so close to coming even harder than before.  “Lotor!”

“I said hush,” Lotor bites down harder and Keith whimpers through it.  He grabs Keith by the hair and forces him down. Lotor brings up his own leg on the bed and starts to fuck into Keith with earnest.  The slapping of their skin echoing in the room with all of Keith’s little whimpers and Lotor’s own grunts.  There’d be no mistaking the sounds, thinks Keith distantly.  He vaguely remembers he doesn’t live alone and there are five nosy shipmates onboard the enormous castle.  But he can’t be bothered to quiet himself, not when Lotor hits just the right spot.

“Oh god, yes!”  Keith hangs his head while he seizes on the bed, coming again in thick ropes that stain the sheets, his cock twitching upwards before it softens gradually.  And Keith still feels unfinished.  Lotor backs away and flips him over.  Keith doesn’t put up any resistance or make any sound as Lotor pulls his legs up over his shoulder.  He closes his eyes and lets all the sensations wash over him.  Lotor holds one ankle up while his other hand strokes Keith’s torso, dipping in his naval, twisting and pinching his nipple before coming up to squeeze his neck.  Then up into his hair to scratch. 

Keith’s mouth is hanging open and he puts a little effort into moving with Lotor’s thrusts, but it’s not necessary.  He’s used and filled and it feels glorious when Lotor drops his leg to the side, finally starting to come.  Keith looks down at where their bodies meet, and when Lotor slips out for a brief second, he guides him back in.  He keeps his hand in a tight ring around the base and watches as Lotor comes apart, finally pulsing inside him.  He pulls out, the foreskin of his cock drags in Keith’s hand.  And Keith smiles at it before falling flat on the bed, staring up at his ceiling.

Lotor lays down on the other side and after a beat clears his throat.  “That was…”

“Yeah,” grins Keith.

Lotor sighs and gives Keith a sleepy smile, “I’m keeping you, you understand.  There’s not in a force in this universe that can take you from me.”

Keith snorts, “Yeah right.  Do you ever hear yourself talk?”  He drops his voice an octave and mimics, “There’s not a force!”  He giggles when he gets the accent wrong and closes his eyes, happy to fall asleep, with his legs spread and His Royal Majesty still at his side. 

Lotor rolls over and strokes Keith’s hair back from his forehead and gives him a long deep kiss.  “I know what I’m saying.  And I mean every word.  You’re mine.  And I’m yours.”

Keith nods in agreement, “Well.  Okay.”

Lotor lightens up at that and kisses him again.  Then sits up and looks around the room like he’s seeing it for the first time,  “Why do you sleep in a closet?”

Keith starts laughing so hard, he’s sure he pulls something in his side.


 

They doze for a while, and Keith has to shake Lotor to wake him up.  “Hey!  Don’t you have an empire to run or something?”

Lotor nuzzles him, “I’ll do it tomorrow.”

“No,” says Keith.  He kisses Lotor on the forehead, “I’ve gotta get you out of here before Pidge finds us.”

“Pidge?  What in the world is a Pidge?”

“It’s a nosy little sister that’s not going to let up on the teasing for like ten deca-phoebs.”

“Ah,” says Lotor.  “You mean an Ezor.  I know all about them.  Well.  I better get going.”  He starts to sit up but looks down at Keith with a soft smile and bends to kiss him goodbye.  The kiss turns into a rocking embrace.  The embrace turns into frottage, the frottage turns into…

Well.

They’re caught and Keith has no way of explaining to Lance why the royal majesty has a tongue up his ass.  Breakfast that morning is a very awkward affair.  Coran invites Lotor to eat with them, not knowing Lotor was there all night.  Lance can’t seem to look anyone in the eye and keeps hyper-focused on his pancakes.  Lotor tries to charm Allura, and she threatens to cut off his dick while demonstrating on a sausage link.  The rest of meal is quiet after that and Hunk comes out of the kitchen, afraid everyone hated his cooking.  It takes a while for them to assure him otherwise.

Keith and Lotor part ways, solemnly.  Keith waves him off and promises he’ll answer any call as the emissary in the future. 

A few hours after Lotor left, he sends them encrypted messages.  Keith has to turn to Hunk and Pidge to decipher them.  It turns out to be idyllic locations and venues for the wedding.  Keith pretends to ignore them all, not responding in the affirmative to any while Pidge or Hunk are around.  But he saves a few places in his computer.  Just in case.


 

Two weeks later, all hell breaks loose.

Keith rides the zip line to Black Lion and leads the Paladins to answer the call.  A system is under attack by enemy forces.  Their coms are open while Coran assesses the situation from the helm, “It’s not Galra exactly.  The banner of Queen Merla?  Why on Arus would she attack the Plimkian homeworld?”

Keith imagines he knows why.  He leads the lions into the fray.  They destroy numerous ships, but one battle cruiser evades all their attacks.  Shiro takes a pod down to the capital to help with the evacuation of the capital that was under attack.  He reports, “Guys?  I’m seeing something weird.  They’re pulling out!  The enemy ships are just taking off!  It can’t be anything good.”

The battlecruiser broadcasts a strong signal to Plimkia and the lions.  A voice screeches over it, “Traitor whore!”

Lance cries out, “Whoa!  What is that about!  Hey lady, there’s no reason to call people names!  Don’t listen to her Blue, you’re a classy lady and I still love you!”

“Lance,” says Allura patiently, “She’s not talking about the Lion.”

Keith hopes that’s the end of it, but the voice comes screaming again, “The Red Whore will pay for taking what is rightfully mine!  I have your little friend, the Princess onboard my ship.  Trade yourself for her life!  Or I’ll fire on the capital!”

Pidge rattles off calculations, “That city can’t take a direct hit!  There are over six million citizens there!”

“And I don’t appreciate this lady calling us names right off the bat,” says Lance.  “Even Keith.”

Keith notices the others have spread out, drifting away from him, “Where are you guys going?  Don’t you think now is a good time to form Voltron?!”

Hunk raises his lion’s paw, “I don’t know.  This seems kind of personal to me.  Maybe we should stay out of it while you work things out.”

Allura screams at them all, “She’s planning to fire on the planet!  It’s not just personal anymore!”

“She’s right,” says Keith.  “Form Voltron!”

Chapter Text

The fight for Princess Eiuri’s homeworld ends with a pyrrhic victory.  A second ship, appearing to be Galra, fired on the capital and they failed to recover the princess before Merla’s ship escaped.  Keith wants to chase after her, but Allura insists they stay and help the ravaged planet.  They capture a few sentries and learn that Haggar ordered the reinforcements for Queen Merla.  She’s been undermining Lotor since he publicly sided with Voltron, but this is the first battle they can connect to her.

The castle lands on the planet and they do what they can for the survivors.  Keith feels guilt-ridden.  The kind princess is gone and the world was targeted, all because of his undisciplined lust.  If only he hadn’t caved into his desires, he thinks.  If only Lotor wasn’t so desperate to turn their affair into something official, solely to challenge Haggar’s power, to begin with.  The same thoughts run through his head, again and again.  The only noise louder than his guilt is the suffering people around him.  Keith agrees it was best to stay and wait on coalition backup, after seeing the devastation up close.

He keeps separate from the others while working in the recovery.  And after hours of digging in rubble and feeding and healing the people misplaced, he cracks.

Keith walks out to a green bog, blossoming with the water flowers Eiuri wears in her head tentacles.  Something like a turtle keeps him company while he sits on a rock and studies one of the plants.

“I couldn’t save her,” he says to no one.  “Anytime someone’s a little kind to me, the worst happens.  I think I’m cursed.”

“I think you’re melodramatic.”

The turtle thing gives him a look that says, ‘no it wasn’t me bub’, and Keith turns to see Lotor picking his way through the mud.  He’s in full armor again, his hands dirty.  Keith can’t imagine him digging with the others, but he’s not surprised.  “I didn’t think you were coming.”

“Of course, I came.  This was a declaration of war.  Plain and simple.  The Galra Empire is now at the start of civil war, and Queen Merla declared for the other side.  More’s the pity.  I have had fun with her on occasion.”

“Everyone’s dead because of me.”

“Really melodramatic,” sighs Lotor.  He shrugs and comes forward to join Keith on his rock.  “This fight has been coming for a long time.  And Eiuri foresaw it a long time ago.  She has a gift for clairvoyance.  She warned me about you, and I didn’t listen.  Now here we are.  But I trust in Voltron.”  He says smiling, “You will recover the Princess.  And you have all my resources at your disposal.”  He takes the flower and tucks it in Keith’s hair.

“And what will you do?”

“Coordinate mostly.  I have some business halfway across the galaxy.  I can’t stay.  But I can see to it this world rebuilds.  I’ll take care of the people.  Just go out there and bring them their princess back.”  He pats Keith on the back, “I believe you can do it.”

Keith shakes his head, “I’m not sure.  I’m not as strong as Shiro.  I wish Black Lion would take him back.”

“…pfft.”  Lotor wraps an arm around him, and for once it’s merely comforting.  No trace of their earlier sex-driven energy.  Keith relaxes enough to hold him back.  Lotor kisses the top of his head, “I don’t hate my father.  He was a good man once.  A strong Galra leader.  You share a lot of his traits, you know.  Perhaps the Black Lion prefers you for that reason.”

Keith holds up his hand and stares at it, “A while ago some goo… I think it was quintessence… it got on me and I felt changed.”  He looks up at Lotor, “Not like crazy, but… um… purple.”

Lotor snickers, “Um Purple sounds like a symptom.  Undiluted quintessence can cause poisoning of the spirit.  Like my father and Haggar.  But I think you’ll be fine.  Just don’t go bathing in the stuff.”

“So noted,” says Keith.  “What about you?”

“What about me?”

“Do you share a lot of your father’s traits?  You talk sometimes like he’s everything Galra.”

“He is, in many ways, exemplary.  The best of the best.  The strongest of the strong.  But I’m afraid I have never valued the same things he did.  Not really.  And he kept me at arm’s length for believing as I do.”

“That’s sucks,” says Keith intelligently.  He wonders how much of the words are true, and how much is just lip service from a guy who’d manipulate anybody for any reason.  “I barely remember my dad.  Shiro’s the closest family I got.  I mean, I’ve grown to care for the others but he’s still like a big brother to me.”

Lotor looks over their shoulders, “Which is probably why he’s coming this way.  With quite the scowl on his pinched face.”

Keith remembers their last meeting and rolls his eyes as Lotor squeezes him tight.  He wouldn’t bother getting up anyway.  He’s just thankful they don't whip out their cocks for a measuring contest.

Shiro circles them and puts his hands on his hips.  “Are you okay,” he says addressing Keith.  Keith gives a little nod of his head and Shiro sighs, “Good.  I was worried this villain dragged you behind a tree or something.  Allura would like a word with both of you.”  He keeps his eyes on Lotor as they get up.  And Lotor keeps his hold on Keith.  “Now.”

“Do you presume to command me, peasant?”

“Look you royal mother-“

“Hey!”  Says Keith raising his hands.  “I was feeling down, and he just came over to check on me.  I’m fine.  Tell Allura we’ll talk at dinner.”

Shiro doesn’t look happy, but he walks off to relay the message.  Lotor kisses Keith on the cheek, “My hero, my brave Knight.

“Yeah right.  I’ve no problem letting Shiro beat you up, you know.  I’m just tired.”  He tries to step away but Lotor follows him.

Lotor leans heavily on his shoulder, “Shall I sing you a song to make you feel better?”

“No, I’m good.”

“I’m a little teapot!”

“Shut up!  You, goofball,” he ducks but Lotor grabs him by the hand.  “Let go!  Oh don’t, don’t do that.” 

Keith laughs while Lotor twirls him, dancing a little before squatting and coming back up with his eyes crossed.  “Short and stout!  Here is my handle!”

Keith laughs through the rest of song and stays with Lotor for a few more minutes.  When they regroup with the others, he watches Lotor accept Allura’s leadership and coordinate the soldiers and sentries he brought along. Nightfall is a spectacular sight.  The world has two close orbit moons, and Keith wishes he were visiting under better circumstances.  They join the survivors in a communal meal while coalition leaders and Lotor’s generals discuss the plans going forward.

Acxa shows everyone the schematics of a ship, “This is a Toku.  Engineered by the Olkari, like the stealth suit you destroyed.”  She frowns at Lotor, not Keith, before moving on.  The prince actually looks a little shamefaced under her stare and steps just behind Zethrid.  She sighs, “It can fly faster than any Galra ship known and has superior computer and stealth capabilities.”

Pidge climbs in front Acxa to look closer at the screen, “It’s beautiful!  But when did you force the Olkari to make this?”  She gives Acxa a side eye and the General rolls her eyes.  “Never mind.  I assume you’re bringing up this stolen tech to help us out some way?  I can fly it after Merla and recover Princess Eiuri.  Then take the ship back to the Olkari where it belongs.”

Acxa gives Pidge a flat look before Zethrid steps forward, grabbing her by the waist like a doll and sitting her further away, where kids were eating. “As I was saying,” continues Acxa.  “This ship could be used to recover Eiuri without force.  Our command ship will follow close behind and attack once the princess is safe aboard.  And though the ship is Olkari designed, it only responds to Galra genetic markers.  Like the hybrid engineer who built it.”  She all but sticks her tongue out at Pidge and kids’ table.

Lance looks to Keith, “Let me guess.  You’re gonna volunteer to go in alone on this dangerous mission.  And I’m supposed to sit here and try and talk you out of it.”

“Pretty much,” says Keith.

Lance throws up his hands, “Fine then.  I volunteer to go with Keith.  Someone has to keep him out of trouble.”

“No way,” says Hunk.  “Keith is my danger bro.  I volunteer to go with Keith.  There’s no shotgun volunteer policy.”

Lotor sighs, “I don’t think that’s necessary.”  He looks at Acxa.

She nods, “I’m the pilot.  I think the Lions and their paladins should keep their distance.  Especially the one Merla wants.  Your lions can escort the command ship and hang back.  I’ll let you know when we have her.”

“We?  Who’s we?”  Hunk looks around, “I see you pointing in my direction, but I de-volunteer.”  He picks up a covered plate and sits down.

“Boo!”  Ezor appears beside him and scares him into screaming on the ground.  She giggles over him, “I like him.  He’s big and strong like bathre bull stud.”

“A what the who now?”  Hunk stammers while the vibrant general sits in his lap.  “Oh.  Okay, I see your point, Keith.”  He blushes while Ezor makes herself comfortable and eats whatever he had in his covered dish.  “The former enemy is both strange and alluring.”

Allura rolls her eyes, “I’ll be sure to let Shay know you think that.”

Hunk cries out, throwing Ezor in the air while getting up to run in the direction of the Balmeran aid camp. 

Lance slides in place just as Ezor comes down and hangs off her shoulder, “Yeah he’s married to a fine rock lady.  But I’m totally available.”  He winks at her.  Ezor twists his arm before flipping him over and walking off.

Keith sighs, “I guess we have a plan.  Let’s get to work before Lance realizes you brought along your interpreter.”

Lance stands up and sneaks up to Lotor and Keith, “Interpreter?  Mindspeaker?  My future baby-mama?”

Lotor looks disgusted at the phrasing, “A Gatodai Mindspeaker would never lower herself to mate with a common backworld peasant.  She’s worshipped as a goddess in some realms.”

Keith has no real problems with Lotor’s assessment, but Lance looks heartbroken.  So, he sticks up for his teammate, “The legendary Voltron is now piloted by four common backworld peasants, myself included.”  Lotor pauses like he’s trying to think of a way out of what he said, but Keith grabs Lance by the hand, “Come on, my friend.  We’ve got a battle to prepare for.  If we see that interpreter, I’m introducing you as my best friend, the Honorable Sir Lance of Playa Azul!”

Lance nods along, “Thanks, man.  Good looking out.”  They fist bump and leave Lotor speechless with his generals.

Chapter Text

Nights are long on Plimkia, but they don’t stay to enjoy it.  With the recovery handed over to coalition aid, the paladins set off with Acxa, Ezor, and Zethrid.  Castle Lion tracks down the strange cruiser and jumps them all close enough to keep an eye on the extraction.  Then the paladins go on standby, awaiting news from their lions.

It takes more than forty doboshes, but they finally get word from Ezor.  Keith looks to his com projection and feels sick just looking at the scene. “Please tell me that’s robot oil.”

Ezor wipes her hands on a nearby banner, “If it makes you feel better, sure.  I’m in.  And I’ve got Eiuri.  But she’s kind of loopy.  They gave her something to knock her out.”  She bends down and lifts Eiuri, throwing the princess over her shoulder in a fireman carry.  “She’s heavier than she looks.  But I’ll have her out in a tickety tick.”

Hunk sighs in relief, “I’m glad something is going right!”

Alarms go off behind Ezor on the screen.

Hunk slaps his helmet, “Why’d I say that!”

Ezor drops out of the com while she presumably makes a run for it.  Acxa bops up, “I need cover fire now!  They’re not going to make it back to me without a distraction.”

“On it!”  Keith leads the lions forward, “Spread out and keep the cruiser busy.  Hunk guard the exit.  Lance and Pidge, lay down suppressing fire.  Allura with me.”  He scans the mid-size ship and sends the data to Blue lion, “There!  Fire ice on the helm!”

“Right!”  Allura aims and Blue freezes the lower half of the ship.   Lance and Pidge circle the ship, destroying the artillery and ion cannon. 

Hunk rams the side of the ship, “Hello?  Where are you guys?”  He starts to stick Yellow’s head into the hole, but the tiny specialized ship comes zooming out.

Acxa reports, “Princess recovered.  Merla and her crew have been dealt with.  Feel free to destroy that ship entirely.”

“That’s not how we do things.”

“Liar,” says Acxa.  “Now blow it up and walk away.  We’ll take her home and Zethrid will escort you back to Prince Lotor.”

“Lady,” says Lance, “Did you hit your pretty head in there?  Who do you think you’re ordering around here?!”

Allura locks Acxa out of their coms, “Everyone’s hearing the same thing, right?”

“Right,” affirms Pidge.  “Keith are we going to keep trusting them?”

Keith closes his eyes, he has a terrible feeling in his gut.  And he goes with it, “No.  We’ll play along to find out what’s going on.  Pidge can you track me from long distances without a BLIP?”

She clicks away, “I scanned everyone’s Bayard and the unique energy signature from the Lions.  I can track your signal no matter where you go.  But are we splitting up?  It sounds like we’re splitting up.”

Hunk chews his nails and shakes his head, “No, no, no!  I can’t tell you how bad my stomach is turning right now.  Splitting up is a bad idea!”

Lance agrees, “You really want to ditch us for a guy who wants to knock you up?!”

“No!”  Keith puts them all on silence while he opens up to Acxa.  “You there?”  Her ship circles the Black Lion and he turns without asking anyone else.  He fires on the battlecruiser and destroys it.  He ignores the distressful, silent faces of his teammates.  “Acxa?  Tell Lotor I’m coming.  The others are escorting you back to Plimkia.  I’m leaving Black Lion to go back to the ship.  Have Zethrid pick me up.”

She narrows her eyes, “It would be better to bring your Lion.  You might be of help in the fight against Haggar.”

Keith crosses his arms, “I’m sure.  My team will be on standby.  And we’re not going very far away.  But I want to see him alone first.”

She rolls her eyes, “Understood.  New bondmates are so clingy.  Fine.  I’ll relay your orders, Sir Paladin.”

Keith unmutes the others, and they promptly fill his cockpit with noise.  “You can’t agree to this!”  Allura shouts, “I don’t like her one bit!  That condescending psille in the grass! Hunk’s right!  If we split up now, who knows what will happen!”

“I know exactly what’s going to happen,” says Keith.  “I’m gonna let Zethrid take me to Lotor and then I’m going demand answers, and if necessary, kick his ass.  End of story.  Get back to Plimkia and make sure everything is all right with Eiuri.  Don’t make such a fuss about it, they don’t need to know we suspect them.  Get moving.  And keep tracking me!”

They all log out and their screens disappear.  Keith gets out of his seat and starts to exit when a com opens up, Lance looking at him sadly.  “Hey, man.”

“What is it now?”

“Look, I know you.  You want to go in there swinging punches and normally you would.  And that would be the bad thing. But this is different, this thing with you and Lotor.  Don’t go and let him bury you in the smooth talk and winky-wink.  I trust you.  Just be careful.”  He shuts off before Keith can respond.

Keith leaves his Black lion, listening to her and Red Lion roar in his head while he drifts in space awaiting pick up.  He watches his team retreat to the castle and then disappears in a wormhole.  Zethrid collects him and tells him he should join her at the helm.

When he gets there, he looks around for any signs of treachery but can’t tell much.  All he knows is with ten thousand years, the Galra advanced greatly.  And Lotor’s special command ships are even further ahead with Olkari tinkering and his own Altean alchemy. 

Keith takes the seat in the center of the bridge and Zethrid snickers, “Look at you.  Taking the big chair.  I only ever get to sit in the big chair when Lotor and Acxa are gone.  And now you’re here, you think you can just sit in the big chair.  You barely fill it!”  She snickers and turns back to her controls, “I’m going take an image of that and send it to my friends.  Look at this kitten that thinks it’s people.  Hilarious.”

Keith ignores her and keeps the seat.  “Take me to Lotor.”


 

Hours of flying and Keith can’t settle comfortably in the big chair.  Zethrid notices and puts the ship on autopilot to escort him to a room.  “Get some sleep, twinkle toes.  We have a long while yet, and I doubt you rested on Plimkia.”  She pats him on the head and leaves him in spacious quarters.

Keith recognizes some of Lotor’s things, fine sheets, extra armor, flight suits.  A damn crown on the bedside.  He rolls his eyes but sits in the center of the king-sized bed, unable to sleep.

He’s just wondering if he did the right thing, splitting up from his team when hears a clicking noise at his side.  His bayard glows yellow for a second then returns to normal.  He smiles at it, hoping that was Pidge checking in on him.  He eventually closes his eyes and dozes.


 

Back at Galaxy Garrison, Keith would flunk team participation exercises when his squad couldn’t keep up with his leaps in judgment.  He’d decide a path to take and would run through it without consulting them.  He’d fire on simulations, fly through arches, follow his gut when everyone was still trying to calculate things.  But Shiro says that was prodigious, not stupidity.

Keith wakes up alone on a Galra ship, drifting toward a Prince who tricked him into marrying him… and wonders if he did something prodigious, or stupid.

He rejoins Zethrid at the helm and asks for a status report.  She gets up from the big chair and bows with a sardonic flourish, “Your Highness.  Do have a seat.  I wouldn’t want your skinny legs to tire before we get there.”

Keith stays on his feet, “Where are we going?  Is Lotor nearby?”

“He was on en route to system X-9-Y.  There was some trouble with defective scouts on the outer rim.  And since he made so many promises to you, he thought he should see to it personally.”

Keith stares, not quite believing his ears. “He’s going to earth,” he says softly.  “And how close are we to him?”

“We’ll intercept in two vargas, but the trip to X-9-Y is a two movements journey.  A lot can happen in that time.  Shame someone blew up our teledav.”

Keith’s not sorry and says as much, “I’m not sorry.”

She huffs and ignores him, in favor of taking the seat back.

Keith moves to the ship’s coms and scrolls through it.  He’s not picking up Galra as fast as Pidge but has one advantage, interacting with the thing and using his suit’s computer to decrypt it with Pidge’s software.  He thinks of calling home to assure the others he’s all right.  But an idea worms into his head.  And he hails a ship nearby first. 

The blind general answers and turns back to Lotor.  Lotor looks like he was dismantling something on the floor.  He comes up with a dismembered sentry hand.  “Keith!  I’m on my way now.  Did you miss me terribly,” he smiles while waving the hand.

Keith asks him flatly, “What are you playing with?”

“This?  It’s one the droids recovered from Plimkia.  It had the messages about the rogues in your home system.  Did Zethrid fill you in?  I hear you sent the others away.  I think it’d be best to call on them.  You might need Voltron to defend your world.”

Keith crosses his arms, “Voltron?  What do I need Voltron for?  I have you, remember.  Surely you can dredge up enough support to lay down some little threat in a backworld system?  Or are you going to fail me this early into our marriage?”

Chapter Text

Lotor is not pleased with Keith’s challenge.

He hangs up on him and when the ships rendezvous, he sends for Keith.  Zethrid is not gentle about sending him out to the much larger warship, all while laughing at him.  Keith finds Lotor in the hanger, fuming after his recovery.  “Do you really think I can be so easily manipulated,” says Lotor.  “I’ve dealt with players far more skilled than you on this board.  Your attempt was half-rate at best.”

Keith smiles at him, “But you’re still going to do it.  Without Voltron.  You’re going to take me to Earth and I’m going to watch you defend my homeworld.  And if you succeed…”  He walks up feeling more confidence than he has in a long time, “I’ll marry you.  Wherever you want in front of everyone.”

Lotor acts like’s he’s unaffected, and for all Keith knows, he is.  But there’s a little chink in the Prince’s armor.  His body and posture are tense, there’s none of his usual smug bravado.  His hackles are really up.  “I’ll agree but only because I was already going there.  And you were already going to marry me.  And the spectacle and venue were always going to be of my choosing.”  He turns his back on Keith and leads him into the ship.  “It’ll be a cold day in Jarre before I give in to something as base as a little…”  He pauses as Keith frowns at him.

“Go ahead,” says Keith feeling ready to swing, “Say it.  Whatever comes to mind.”

Lotor rolls his eyes instead, “Unbelievable.  Come along.”  He takes Keith to his private quarters, even bigger than the ones on the command ship.  “Stay in here and try not to break anything.  I know you younglings have a difficult time with not making messes.”

“What happened to me being ‘grown enough’?”  Keith holds his chin up, “You insists on treating me like your lessor when it suits it.  I’m a grown man.  And I didn’t have to deal with politics all my life, but I know when someone’s trying to blow smoke up my ass!”

Lotor makes a face, “What does that even mean?  Honestly, you make no sense most of the time.”  He throws his hands up, “Stay here.  I have work to do on that droid.”

Keith lets him leave.  And the second the door closes, he goes on a rampage.  A very mature, well-thought-out rampage.


 

Lotor returns to his room to find it covered in feathers, fibers, spilled fluids, broken glass, ripped papers, and turned over furniture.

Keith sits in the center of the bed, stripped out of his armor, his flight suit arms rolled down and tied at his waist.  He meticulously takes apart an ornate cube thing, throwing gears around the room.  “I got bored.”

“I see.”

“And I just couldn’t help myself.  Destruction of your personal property seemed appropriate.  Considering.”

“Considering what?”

“Considering I suspect you’ve done something to Earth.  And Plimkia.”  He had a long time to think on his own.  And a long time to dig through Lotor’s things and translate his transmissions.  “If Eiuri is psychic, why didn’t she warn anyone about the attack?”

“There wasn’t time,” says Lotor.  He steps over ripped clothing and walks through some spilled wine.  “Her gift wasn’t controlled.  She was intuitive, not precognitive.”

“Liar,” says Keith.  He holds up a cube thing he found while ripping Lotor’s coats apart.  He presses play, and Eiuri’s face appears. 

“Lotor, my dear friend.  I see you having a hand in this.  I don’t know why at the moment, but I’m sure he will guide you to something better.  I forgive you.  But please.  Save my people.”

Keith lays the cube down gently, “How could you?”

“We’re not doing this.”  He starts to walk away and Keith gets up to follow him.

“Face me, coward!”  He pulls on Lotor’s arm and he reacts by shoving Keith.  Keith, in turn, shoves back.  “Answer me!  You’re no better than your father!”  Lotor raises his hand like he’s about to strike Keith.  But he holds his hand in mid-air.  And even that pisses Keith off.  He grabs Lotor’s hand bites down hard enough to draw blood.  Lotor cries out and throws him across the room.

He chases Keith around the bed and pins him.  For a moment Keith is fearful, Lotor’s not holding back his real strength, and Keith realizes he’s powerless to stop him unarmed.  Lotor starts pulling at Keith’s clothes, “No!  Don’t!”  Keith panics and Lotor shoves him to his side before flipping him over and grabbing the cube.

He hovers over Keith, tears in his eyes.  “I am not my father!”  He gets up and sits with his head down in a chair beside the door.

Keith rests his head on the bedposts.  “Just tell me.  Please?  I know something awful happened.  I feel it in my guts, and I trust that more than I do you.  And you can make me follow through with this thing between us.  We could get married.  We can usurp your father.  And all the while, every single day, I’ll think of nothing but doubt and guilt.  And I’ll hate you as much as I do now.  For the rest of my life.”

Lotor puts the cube down, “I can’t tell you everything right now.  I’m sorry.”

Keith wipes his face and gets up, “I can’t look at you.”  He tries to walk out the door but Lotor takes him by the hand.  “Let go.”

“Please,” says Lotor softly.  “I can’t tell you everything right now.  But please.  Be patient.  You’re too quick, my little Red.  And I see you putting things together, but you don’t have the whole picture.  Not really.  Give me time.  I need time.  But please,” he kisses the inside of Keith’s palm, not minding the blood smeared between their hands.  “Don’t leave me alone.”

Keith wipes his eyes and looks at the door.  It’s like Lance said, after all.  Keith’s head knows better.  But his heart is with the teary-eyed prince.   Lotor drops his hands and Keith quickly runs out the door.


 

Keith loses himself in a lab.  He cries and cries while hiding in a corner.  He doesn’t know how much time passes, but a strange cat crawls up to him and hisses.  Keith stares at the thing, “Shoo.  This is where I’m sitting.  Go find someone else to bug.”

The cat hisses and reaches out to claw him but goes still with a strange look in its eyes.  It turns away meowing and runs back off.  Keith looks around the corner and sees Narti in the doorway.  The cat climbs up her shoulders and hisses again before she leaves.  Keith turns away and tries to hide better.  The last thing he wants to do is face any of Lotor’s people.


 

Keith later wakes up in a bed, and figures he cried himself to sleep.  He looks around Lotor’s room and it’s almost pristine.  A sentry is still wiping up one of the mirrors and the door is open.  Keith starts to get up to leave and find somewhere else to hide but Lotor comes in the doorway.  “Don’t bother.  I’m not carrying you again.”  He turns to the robot, “Get out.  You can finish that later.”  The thing whirs away and Lotor slams the door.  His hand is wrapped up in a bandage and Keith wonders why he didn’t just heal the bite.  Lotor sits at his desk with Eiuri’s missive in front of him, “When my father destroyed Altea, he proceeded to wipe out the race from all of their colonies and ships.  Enslaving the ones too weak to fight back and using them as slaves.  What’s left of their descendants are Haggar’s druids and a few hybrids.  Born of slave women.”

Keith lets that sink in, “Your mom was a slave?”

“My mother was talentless.  Guileless.  Pretty and docile.  And she died asking for mercy.  My father’s last act of violence against her wasn’t her death, it was the order to put down all the Altean slaves in the empire.  Your princess was spared the sight of what her people became.  I’m afraid I wasn’t.  I don’t want you to live through the same thing.”

Keith moves over on the bed, indicating the room to spare.  “I’m cold over here alone.”

Lotor comes over and lays down.  He looks up at the ceiling while trailing a hand down Keith’s bareback.  “I had the droids fashion you some more armor.  A spare flight suit.  And plenty of casual wear.”  He points to a dresser that survived Keith’s attack, “Go on and put something comfortable on.”

Keith listens, not minding Lotor’s presence while he strips out of the flight suit and his underwear.  He puts on a long tunic and comes back to the bed and covers up.  Lotor lays on top of the sheets and strokes Keith’s side.  Keith lets him, “I can never tell when you’re being real.  If you’re ever being honest with me in the first place.  And it’s driving me crazy.”

Lotor leans over to kiss him on the shoulder, “I understand that.  Really, I do.  But you’re going to have to trust me.  I won’t let any harm come to you.  Or your wily little friends.  I need Voltron at this point.  My father had too long to grow into his power and I’ve been stepped on for my whole existence.  Believe me when I say need your freedom as much as you need my future reign.  And there are costs to that end.”  He kisses Keith on the neck, “I’m willing to sacrifice anything to see it come true.  And avenge my mother.”

Keith thinks the words ring true.  Whatever Lotor’s up to, he’s looking at a bigger picture.  “Okay.  But there are lines you can’t cross, and if you do, I will find out.  And I will…”

“Kick my ass,” says Lotor smirking.  “I know.  I’ll hold you to it.”  He kisses Keith on the mouth and pulls him close.  “Rest up.  You’ve had a long few days.  It's a long trip to your system, even with my command ship.”

Chapter Text

Keith explores the command ship at his leisure for four days.  Narti gives him the helm to contact Castle Lion and report his well-being to his friends. They tell him about arriving on Plimkia and staying there to help the recovery for the first day.  Eiuri thanked them in a modest ceremony, awarding them all medals.  Shiro tells him he’ll hold on to Keith’s until they reach them. After the third day started heading for Keith, but a distress signal from nearby led them in the opposite direction.  They’d like to jump to Keith’s location after dealing with Galra defectors at the skirts of the system.  And from there rush them all to Earth’s solar system to investigate.

Keith wishes he were with them, but he hears Shiro giving orders and knows they’re fine without him.  He feels listless at first, keeping his distance from Lotor.  Sleeping when the man is not in bed and walking when Lotor retires.  They’re at opposite points. 

Keith finds Lotor back in the room, changing out of his flight suit.  He tries to keep his reaction to himself, “Fuck.”  He fails and inwardly curses himself.

Lotor smirks, “I was outside repairing a long-range transmitter cell.  I can’t wait for Acxa to return.  This ship falls apart when she’s not here.”

“Right.”  Keith stares while Lotor leaves his clothes in the chair and heads for his private bathroom.  “Hey.  Um, they’ll be here soon.  They were caught up with a distress call.”

“I know,” says Lotor.  He gives Keith a knowing once over, “Care to join me?”

“…no.”  Keith crosses his arms, determined to act like he wouldn’t fly across the room and throw himself on Lotor’s cock.  “I’m good.  There are things I need to check on… and stuff.”

Lotor shrugs, his body line a solid, delightfully beautiful sight.  His cock twitching with interest.  But he turns his back, and there’s just the sight of his firm buttocks.  “Suit yourself.  I’ll tend to myself.”

“Right.  You do that.  Cause I’m not humoring you anymore.  Until you do something like… really remarkable.  You’re gonna have to earn your way back into my pants buddy.  Just standing around all gorgeous is not going to cut it.”

Lotor looks at him over his shoulder, “I’ll let you fuck me, if you want.”

Keith’s not aware of how fast he moves but he sure he holds a record somewhere.  He knocks Lotor down onto the bed and mauls his neck while struggling to get out of his clothes.  Lotor lets him, grinning all the while.  Keith pulls his hair, “Oh shut up and… and…”

“Turn over?” suggest Lotor.  He flips to his stomach rises on his knees, enough to expose himself.  In all the times they’ve been together he let Keith take this side twice.  Keith came too soon the first time and the second time was followed up by a very eager 69. 

Keith tries to hold himself together while he strips out of his pants.  He has a feeling that he’s not really impressive given Lotor’s experience with other, larger Galra males.  There’s always a sense that he’s just humoring Keith, and that spurs him on.  When he’s finally naked from the waist down, he spits into his hand and strokes himself.  “This is not going to be like the first time.”

Lotor actually laughs, “I wouldn’t hold it against you.  You’re young yet.  You make up for lasting with sheer will and youthful regeneration.”

“Shut up,” Keith pinches Lotor right cheek and the man groans with it.  He can play with that, and treating Lotor roughly is turn on as well.  He pulls the prince’s hair.  “I want you to count every stroke.  We’ll see long we both last this time.”  He claws his fingers down Lotor’s back and spreads his asscheeks before slipping into the tight ring with his barely slicked up cock.  The drag and pull aren't that comfortable at first so he pulls out, wets his fingers and slips them inside Lotor, crooking, and twisting.

“Mmm,” groans Lotor.  “Am I meant to be counting now?  Out loud?  Sir?”

Keith grins and bites his lip, “…no.”  He wasn’t expecting the thrill of feeling in charge of anything.  He hates leadership.  He usually hates topping.  But Lotor invites him to do so and it’s just roleplaying, but taking him down a peg will feel good.  Keith gets an idea.  He keeps his two fingers inside while lining up his cock.  He pushes in, stretching Lotor more than he did the first two times.

Lotor falls to the bed, “Oh yes, sir.  One.”

Keith grins while plunging his fingers in with every stroke.  Moving slowly while Lotor counts out loud.  Keith feels like his heart is trying jackhammer out his chest, but it’s worth the effort.  He slams in hard and Lotor shakes with every thrust.

“Fif… fifteen, sir.” 

“Say thank you.  For everything I give you.”

Lotor starts to smile, but then his mouth hangs open with a groan.  When he doesn’t count the next thrust Keith slaps his ass. “Ah!  Yes, thank you.  Sixteen, sir.  Thank you!”

Keith gets into it, ramming into Lotor until he’s up to fifty-three.  Keith pulls his fingers free and holds on tight to Lotor’s hips while he reaches back with his other hand to stretch himself.  Lotor rolls his hips along while still counting off and calling Keith ‘sir’ and saying thank you.  Keith is barely listening as he comes, pressed to the hilt.  He falls to his knees and tries to catch his breath, his eyes closed.

Lotor shifts on the bed, rolling over.  And the next thing Keith knows the feel of Lotor’s cockhead is pressing at his lips.  He moans and opens up, sucking and licking what he can while Lotor holds himself at the base.  Lotor reaches down and pulls Keith up by the arms and turns him around.  He bends down to lick into Keith’s hole while he strokes himself.  Keith watches the whole thing in the vanity mirror across the room.  He combs his sweaty hair back from the top of his head and rubs his own nipples while he watches Lotor get him wet.  When Lotor deems him ready he grabs Keith by the legs and brings him down onto his cock.

Keith rides him while arching his back, rolling his hips while still feeling sensitive to touch. Lotor drops his arms to grab his shoulders and hold on while thrusting up into the tight heat of Keith’s channel.  “Ah,” moans Keith.  “Yes, yes, yes!”

“That’s right pet.”  Lotor fingers curl at his throat, “Be as loud as you like this time.  Come on.  Sing for me, Red.”

“Fuck!”  Keith's head falls back, letting Lotor hold his legs up just under the knee while he fucks up into him.  “Yes!  Please, Lotor!  Do it, make me come again!  Just like this!”

“That’s a good boy,” says Lotor.  They lock eyes in the mirror.  “You were so good.  I’m going to get you a lapring.  Do you know what that is?  I’m going to keep you keep hard.  You’ll fuck me again.  And I’m going to use it to ride you on my throne in front everyone.  My strong, little Paladin.  How does that sound?”  Lotor starts biting and sucking his neck while it's presented to him.

Keith's mouth waters, he watches his cock hardening while Lotor assaults his senses.  Lotor lifts and drops him so easily, Keith marvels as the strength.  He can barely do more than writhe and seize.  The thought of claiming Lotor again has his cock hard and leaking.  His hole clenches around Lotor’s cock.  Keith pants, “I want… I want…”

“Anything Keith.  I’ll give you the whole universe if you ask for it.”  He bites down Keith’s ear and Keith almost comes again, his torso tensing.  He watches the length and girth of Lotor disappear inside him and groans.  Lotor rewards his vocalization with another nip, “You see yourself, pet?  You are beautiful.  You are mine, and I am yours.  I’m desperate to keep you, and you know it.  You know it,” he shakes Keith by the throat like it’s an accusation.  “You could command me to do anything.  I am yours.”

“Ah,” pants Keith.  “Stop fucking talking… Ah!  Fuck.  Move, let me down.  I want to see you.”  Keith’s legs shake while he gets free of Lotor.  Lotor lifts him the waists and lays him on the bed.  Keith moves up to the headboard and strokes himself, his legs spread.  “Come here.  I want to see you.  I need to see you.”  He feels weak and breathless but Lotor does as he’s told.  Like Keith holds all the cards.  They roll together while Lotor wraps a big hand around Keith’s cock and strokes him while rocking his hips.

Keith sighs when Lotor goes still, coming inside him finally.  When Lotor recovers enough to pull out, Keith grabs either side of his head and pushes him down.  Lotor goes with it, swallowing Keith’s cock and sucking hard.  Keith scratches his head and fucks up into his mouth until he comes again.  Lotor swallows and pulls up with a little come staining his lips.  “Forget what I said before.  I’d not trade this for any ambition.  You want to me manipulate me, then do so.”  He sighs and rests his head on Keith’s belly, humming while Keith plays in hair.  “Gods.  If you want to ask me to march up to my father’s deathbed and strike him down, I’ll do so.  You hold such a power over me, and don’t even realize.”

Keith rolls his eyes, “I don’t think anyone would have to ask you kill your dad.  But I appreciate the sentiment.”  He pats Lotor on the head.  “When my legs work again, we’re taking that shower.”

Lotor climbs his body, kissing a trail up from his navel to over his heart.  He bites Keith’s chest and sucks on his nipple.  Reaching down to hold his cock in his hand.  Rubbing his thumb under the head before letting go, squeezing Keith’s hips while his tongue flicks on the nipple.  He moves to the other side and bites down harder.  Keith tries to rut between their bellies but Lotor holds him back and moves up for a long, deep kiss.  He bumps foreheads with Keith and smiles sadly. “You appreciate the sentiment you say?”

Keith nods kissing him while bringing his arms up to circle Lotor’s neck.  He sighs, feeling completely sated.  “Messaged received, wacko.  I’ve got the milkshake that brings you to the yard.”  He grins at the old Earth joke and nips Lotor on the lip.  “I get it.  You’re pretty damn irresistible yourself.”

Lotor shakes his head before hiding his face in Keith’s neck.  He comes up with shining wet eyes and kisses Keith at the corner of the mouth.  “You don’t understand little Red.  I’m very much in love with you.”


 

You don’t just tell a guy you love him without consequences.  Keith was speechless at the time.  Shocked and a little dismayed.  A little flustered.  They lay together while they recouped and then Lotor dragged him to the shower.  But the words were still ringing in Keith’s ear.  He kept his distance at first, but Lotor kissed him sweetly.  They washed together and dressed for dinner in a tense silence.  Keith couldn’t think of anything to say.

So of course, he blurted the first stupid thing to come mind when they were served wine, “All that over a little water?”

Lotor looks at him over his glass, “I beg your pardon?”

“I mean…”  Keith stutters, not really knowing what to say.  “We met.  We fucked a little.  A lot.  In the span of about month and you’ve already decided you… how could say that over a little water?”  He gets up feeling panicky, “I can’t repay you with something like that.”

Lotor frowns, “It’s not a hard leap to make.  We are bonded, we will marry.  Did you think I was incapable of loving someone?”  He looks angry and Keith imagines his upbringing.  A crazed king for a father and slave for a mother.  Haggar controlling his life up to this point.  “I can love.  And I know I love you.  How can you stand there and balk at that?”

Keith shakes his head, “It’s not that, okay.  I want to get it.  But it’s just...  It’s just too much.  This was politics.  Or convenience, and fucking around.  And then you blurted that out.  Who does that!”  He feels manic and wants to run away.

Lotor leans forward and takes his hand, “Calm down.  I’m not asking you to say it back.”

“Good because it’s a bit much!  For goddamn water!”  He knocks over his wine and a sentry rushes to clean up.  He pushes the thing away and bends down to clean his own mess.  His hands shake while he mops it up.

Lotor’s chair skids on the floor and he joins Keith.  He stills Keith’s hands, “Don’t.  I meant what I said.  And I wouldn’t tolerate anyone lying to me.  Don’t struggle with yourself about reciprocation.  If it’s enough for you to share this bond, my bed, our responsibility to the empire and the coalition… it’s enough for me.  But I don’t want you to forget it.  I love you very much.”  He kisses Keith again and pulls away.  “You’ll be the death of me, you little brat.”

Keith smirks feeling a little less panicky.  “Okay.  We can work on that.”

Chapter Text

Keith needs to keep busy while he waits.  He tours the enormous ship, explores the hangers and barracks, the living quarters, the mechanic holds.  He finds a strange, peaceful park and spends a lot of time alone there, under the artificial leaves of the ship’s oxygen scrubbers.  But he flounders at making himself useful to the crew and tries to avoid Lotor.  Ducking behind corners and giving him nervous waves like the man asked him to prom, not said ‘I love you’ post-coitus.  Lotor must tire of Keith’s fumbling and sends him a distraction.  A very large distraction.

“I am Miyu!  And you are?”  Says a giant Galra.  He’s bigger than the Beta Traz warden and dressed in a tight white jumpsuit.  He looks at Keith through a strange monocle, “Oh never mind.  I’m calling you Chuck.  Chuck, may I call you Chuck?”

“No,” says Keith.  “I’m Keith.”

“Listen, Chuck,” says the flamboyant Galra, “I am dead tired.  And the task ahead of me is e-nor-must!  But we’re going to get through it.  I just got up from a movement-long nap, and it’s time to,” he spins Keith before picking him up and tucking him under his arm like a football, “CREATE!”

Keith sighs.   “Lotor sent you.”

“Yes!”

“You are not a soldier.”

“God no!”

“What do you want?”  Keith crosses his arms and accepts things while being carried off to the underbelly of the ship.  There are drones that manufacture and 3d print things for the living crew.  Like the flight suits and clothes, Keith was given.  Miyu rushes past them and locks Keith up in a room covered in fabrics and mirrors.  He puts Keith down on a little golden dais.  And Keith sighs.  “You’re the tailor.”

“HOW DARE YOU!”  Miyu gets in his face, “I am the one and only MIYU, there’s no one like me in the whole universe, I am without peer.  I am no mere tailor.  I am an artist of the highest degree!  And you…”  He pokes Keith in the chest, “You little pink and white thing… I have some work to do.  I was severely disappointed in your last two public appearances.  I should have been consulted first!  How dare you go out in what was obviously peasant tarp!”

Keith tries to step down but a particle barrier comes up and prevents him, “Hey!  You can’t trap me in here!”

“Behave yourself or you’re getting gassed!  The problem with those Eche amateurs is they rely on tech for measurements.  And that’s the quickest way to do a shoddy job.  I, however, am old school.”  He pulls out a strange red tape with Galra number markers, “I’ll have your exact fitting done in a snap!  Hold still.  This might hurt a little.  Or a lot depending on your sensitivities.”

“Lotor!”  Keith screams as he floats off the platform and flips around.  A weird vacuum sucks off his shoes and pants and then some lasers blast him and his shirt disappears.  Keith covers his junk and screams louder, “Lotor!!!”

“In space, no one can hear you scream, little piglet.  Now hold still.”  Miyu snaps his fingers and Keith falls on his head.  “Get up,” he says putting Keith on his feet.  He whips out the red tape and measures Keith’s arm, “An even 7, how cute!”  Then moves down Keith’s leg, “And a 4 and one half.  Weird.  How on Daibazaal do you balance?  No tail even!”

“Please stop…”  Keith keeps trying to cover himself, but the Galra smacks his hand and actually measures his soft penis.  Keith is red in the face as the man moves up to his chest and then nipples.  “Hey!”

 “Such an oddling,” says Miyu.  “That’s a 99 and two-thirds.  Why are your little nippsies so enormous?  Are you pregnant?”  Keith covers his chest with one hand while the other cups his privates.  Miyu doesn’t respect any of that.  He moves back down to Keith’s calves and shakes his head, “Watery at best.  I better give you some support.”

Keith kicks the man away, “Are trying to fit me for a calve bra?”

Miyu towers over him, “If you know what’s good for you piglet, you’ll shut that trap and hold still!”

Keith stands his ground.  “Challenge accepted!”


Keith wonders what Lotor was expecting when he comes down to Miyu’s studio.  He marches in, wearing his flight suit and with his helmet in hand.  Finding Keith dressed in a floor-length red gown, his hair up in a tiara and wearing elbow-length white gloves is probably weird.  Finding Keith at a table with a mouth full of Galra candies and playing the equivalent of Galra poker with Miyu and a sentry is probably weirder.  He stares at them all with a strange look on his face.  “Miyu.  I thought I told you to stay away from my consort.”

Miyu blanches, “He needed me!”

Keith shrugs, “We bumped heads at first but then agreed.  Red is definitely my color.”  Miyu nods.  Keith gets up, finding the whole thing hilarious.  He had fun the last few hours with Miyu’s distraction and he feels a bit better despite all the things he had to deal with in the last few days.  The levity is very welcomed.  He does a little twirl and almost knocks off the tiara.  “Whatcha think?  Too sparkly, right?  I feel like a damn disco ball.”

Lotor keeps his distance and looks Keith up and down slowly, without a trace of laughter or mirth.  Keith starts to feel embarrassed and crosses his arms.  Maybe the bare shoulders were too much.  He helped design it, based on what he remembered of old movie stars.  All the fun in the room seeps out with Lotor in it.  Lotor sighs and throws his helmet on the floor and takes his gloves off, “Miyu.  Leave.”

“But sire…”

“Leave.  And lock the door.”

Keith frowns, “Hey don’t be mad at him. We were just goofing around.  Why… why are you looking at me like that?”

Miyu doesn’t stick around for an answer.  “Be safe, Chuck,” he gets up and grabs his winnings from the table and runs.  The sentry follows as the doors slide shut with a loud click.

Keith swallows a lump in his throat, “Seriously.  It’s not a big a deal.”  Lotor prowls forward and Keith steps back until he bumps into the table.  “Honestly we were just goofing around.  And it’s not like I had anything else to do.  Why the hell are you looking at me like that!?”  He starts getting a little pissed off, “I said cut it out!  It’s just a damn dress!”

“Just a dress…”  Lotor says softly while stepping forward and unlocking his chest plates, tossing them to side.  He unzips his flight suit and pins Keith in.  “Tailor made to fit you, just perfectly.”

Keith blushes and ducks his head, realizing his little vow to keep Lotor at arm’s length is in the trash.  Again.  Lotor’s not mad about anything… he looks fucking hungry.  Like a damn wolf.  And Keith rolls his eyes, “I’m not some damsel waiting around to be ravaged or anything.”

“Why not?”  Lotor steals a quick kiss and nips Keith bottom lip while his hands hold Keith at the waist.   He puts Keith up on the table and whispers, “I think that sounds like a delightful prospect.  If you don’t mind, of course.”

Keith shrugs, nerves abating any excitement.  This is a little different from their usual thing.  And unfortunately, out of the realm of his personal experience.  “Is this a safe word thing?  I feel like this is a safe word thing.”  He keeps his knees together, bare shoulders up around his ears.  “Just cause of the dress?”  Lotor shakes his head, then kisses the center of Keith’s forehead.  Keith freezes, “Oh the crown!  Geeze, is the only way to get you hot with embroidery and regalia?”

Lotor chuckles, “Safe Word Thing, you said.  Like when you tied me to the bed and had me say ‘manamana’?  Is Safe Word Thing some kind of game on Earth?”  He leans in to nip at Keith’s ears while pawing any bare skin he can get to.  His hands stroke Keith’s shoulders and the top of his chest.  Then tugs just enough to uncover the right nipple.  He bends to bite Keith’s clavicle.

Keith gasps, trying to remember the question.  Lotor moves down to suck on his exposed nipple just over the top of the dress.  And Keith has to push him off, feeling ready to come then and there.  “…um.  Oh, Earth games!  Yeah, I think some people roleplay like in full costume and everything.  And some people experiment… with um… different things.”

“Like we have so far,” says Lotor.

“Yes and no.  I’m always me when I’m with you.  I’ve never been a… a… damsel.  Waiting to be ravaged.”

“That’s debatable.”

Keith chuckles and punches Lotor in the shoulder.  “Shut up, asshole.  And get with the program. Here.”  He pushes Lotor off and climbs off the table. 


 

Keith’s plan was simple.  He’s had a strange recurring fantasy since Lotor first started calling him Little Red.  And now he’s followed the impulse and dragged the prince to the fake leafy park.  He even got a little basket of goodies and a red cloak over his dress.  He walks through the doors, barefoot and unarmed thinking, this is either the craziest thing he’s ever thought of, or someone is recording the whole thing and Lance or Pidge will find out.  The dress he could get away with, but there’s no way to justify the lack of underwear.  He spent a long time stretching himself while Lotor disappeared to go get in character.  And now he’s here.  Open, ready, and willing. 

He tries to get into it, but he’s not quite sure how to do it.  He rather not go skipping through the greenery, and Keith walks in a stilted manner, knowing Lotor is supposed to be a little ahead of him.  Keith feels too awkward and stops.  “You in here?  Lotor?  No one’s going to see this right?”  No one answers and Keith walks further in with his little basket.  Minutes tick away and Keith frowns, wondering if Lotor understood the story.  He gives up and sits down under one of the fake trees.  He shrugs, feeling hungry and knowing he does have some little desserts in the basket.  “Dear Diary,” he says aloud to no one, “Today I dressed like a girl, and ate cake.  The universe is burning and I ate cake.”  He rolls his eyes feeling annoyed as he takes a bite.  “And my alien boyfriend is an idiot.”

 

Chapter Text

Keith gets through two bites before he hears rustling.  He turns to the fake trees, “Lotor?” 

If anyone asks, he thinks.  He didn’t walk around a former enemy’s ship, unarmed and in a dress with no underwear, looking to have kinky sex with his Galra bondmate.  Keith hears the sound again and follows it.  It’s coming from low on the floor. He sighs thinking it’s Narti’s cat again.  He gives up on following it and turns back to fetch his basket.

Just as Keith bends down he hears the rustling again.  “For the love of Arus, why don’t you get lost, you stupid…” He turns in time to find a giant beast.  Keith backs away, grabbing his basket, thinking he’ll throw it.  He wonders if someone’s pet has got lost.  “Are you… are you a yubber?”

The thing doesn’t answer.  It steps forward and Keith freezes as he realizes if he could imagine a werewolf, that would be it.  The thing comes closer.  Grey-blue fur, a white mane, nine feet tall.  Muzzle full of sharp looking teeth.  And familiar blue eyes set in yellow.

Keith is shaking but he reaches out, “Lo… Lotor?”

The thing smiles at him and Keith wants to fuss about taking the role too seriously.  But he’s a little mesmerized.  Lotor looks amazing, half animal, half Galra.  Keith holds out his hand like he’s greeting a stray dog, and Lotor comes forward.  He gives Keith’s palm a sniff and then licks it, bowing his head and letting Keith pet him between the ears.

Keith giggles, marveling at the strangeness.  “You can shapeshift!  Like Allura. I… I can’t believe it.  God.  You’re beautiful.”  Lotor practically purrs at the compliment.  But he doesn’t change back.  Keith looks down and sees quite the bulge in what remains of his flight suit.  And it’s completely intimidating.  He laughs nervously.  “Well, this was fun.  You can change back now.”

Lotor shakes his head and holds out his clawed hand, holding two vials and a little ball.

Keith lights up with recognition, “That’s the stretching thingy!”  A second later he pulls away with a deep frown, “Wait.  You don’t really think I’m gonna let you… not like this.  I said it happened once in a dream.”  He lies.  It happened several times.  Also, while daydreaming.  “But this isn’t happening, asshole.”

Lotor actually rolls his eyes which looks ridiculous on a werewolfgalra-altean, thinks Keith.  He holds out his hand again and the little ball flies forward.  Keith swats at it, but it splats against his chest.

“Hey!  What’s the big idea!”  He tries to peel it off but it sinks under the dress, settling just over his navel.  “Hey!  I can’t be any clearer here!  Manamana!  This is not okay!”  Keith unties the cloak and drops it in a heap while struggles to get free of the putty thing.  He stops and waves a finger at Lotor, “I mean it, asshole!”

Lotor grabs him by the wrist and holds him still.  He growls, “Patience, little Red.”  His voice is deeper but still the same.  Keith freezes while the putty toy slides down and wraps in a ring around his flaccid cock.  Lotor tilts his head, “Aren’t you the least bit curious about what I have in mind?”

“Maybe,” pouts Keith.  “But prolapsing rectums isn’t sexy, pal.  And if you hurt me at all…”

Lotor pushes forward with his muzzle in Keith’s neck, “I would sooner set the galaxy ablaze.  I promise.  I’ll give what you can take.  And not an inch more.”  He smiles wide at Keith and it’s not at all reassuring.  He puts his massive clawed hand on the top of Keith’s head and scratches it gently.  That on spot at the top calms Keith down.  “You said the Little Red one was vulnerable and cowering when the wolf found him.  But here you are, ready to beat me with that basket.  There’s so much fight in you, Red.  I could just swallow you whole.”

“First of all,” says Keith while pulling Lotor’s hand away, “The story is about a little girl and I think it’s actually an analogy about child predators, but that’s literary semantics.  And I’m a grown man.  In a dress.  With a basket.”  He slaps Lotor on the nose and backs away, “My problem is you coming anywhere near me with that purple bowling pin in your pants.  Change back cause you’re not swallowing anything with all those teeth.”

Lotor holds out his hand again with the two vials, “You’re thinking of the limitations of your Terran physiology.”

“Damn right!”

“But I look at you and see potential.”  He’s delicate with the little glass vials, holding them up for Keith to see the glowing gold in one of them.  “I warned you that too much undiluted quintessence is a danger.  But a small amount, engineered for a single purpose can create wonders.  This is formulated just for you.  To help your body express its Galra strength.  But you don’t have to, of course.  I can change back and we’ll wait quietly for your friends to catch up to us.”

Keith snaps, “You can’t reverse-psychology me into taking that shit!  It turned me purple last time!”  He looks down at Lotor’s palm, totally uninterested despite asking, “Is it permanent?”

Lotor’s werewolf chuckle is deep and growly, “No.  As many of the poor souls augmented by Haggar know, the effects wear off.  And for you, it’ll only last for a single varga.”

It feels like he’s taking up a dare at the garrison.  Keith can’t count the number of times he was told ‘no’, or ‘I bet you can’t’ and how every time someone issued a challenge, he took it up.  Dangerous maneuvers, stealing, breaking into the girl’s dormitory, he did a lot when provoked even just a little bit.  In hindsight, it's not a very smart way to live your life.  But to be fair, Lotor’s outstretched hand looks like a challenge.  So, he snatches the glowing vial up, pops the top and swallows it down, then smashes the glass.  “There!”

Lotor blinks twice and stares.  “That… was not for you to ingest.”

“Oh.”

“It was topical.  To help with, um… Well,” chuckles Lotor.  “I wonder what will happen now.”  He grins at Keith excitedly, his tail thumping behind him, “Please have kitten ears!” 

“Shut up, you asshole!  I’m not turning into a cat!”  He freezes and frowns, feeling strange and light headed.  “Wait.  Am I turning cat?  You damn cat-lizard people!”  He holds his stomach and bends over, waiting for the wave of discomfort to pass.  “Its always something with you.  Why couldn’t you just show up and get… Ah!”  He doubles over, with a strange shock down his spine. 

Lotor hovers over him, “What’s wrong?”

Keith looks up and sees red at the edges.  His body is sensitive and tingling.  He’s hyper-aware of his nipples hardening under the dress, of his cock growing erect with the ring squeezing it.  “Topical huh?  I think you accidentally invented Galra Viagra.”

“Via-what?”  Lotor tilts his shaggy head and it's cute.   And oddly submissive.  He sits back on his haunches waiting for Keith to recover, “I messed up, I think.  We should get to the med lab…”  He offers his palm and Keith takes it.

Keith feels weird all right.  Stronger than he’s ever felt.  Brazen.  Hungry.  He pulls Lotor close and kisses him on the nose.  “Nah,” he says breathlessly.  “I’m good.”  Lotor looks surprised at the words and even more so when Keith strongarms him, flipping all nine-feet of the prince over on his back.  Keith straddles his legs, the dress bunching up on either side while he rubs his bare ass against the line of Lotor’s cock.  “Fuck me.  Touch me.  Like a beast… I want it.”  He combs his fingers in Lotor’s chest fur, “I demand it.”

Lotor shakes his head, shifting down to something closer to a man.  Smaller muzzle, wide, intelligent eyes and less fur.  “I don’t think you’re in your right mind.”

“Me neither,” says Keith.  He backs up and tears open what’s left of Lotor’s flight suit.  His cock is even more massive and despite his protest, its full and twitching with interest.  Keith pulls up the dress and rubs his own cock alongside Lotor’s.  Keith wonders at the impulse to feel the enormous thing inside himself.  “I think I’m a little high right now, actually… But god, you feel good.  And I want this.  Now.”  He claws a hand down Lotor’s chest and revels in making him growl again.

Lotor hands him the other vial and Keith smirks down at him while slicking his fingers.  Then pours the rest on Lotor’s cock, and strokes him with both hands. He falls forward and Lotor flips the dress up his back, giving him access to stretch himself while his head rests over Lotor’s heart.  He listens while rubbing his cock against Lotor’s between their bellies and the dress.

Keith deems himself ready and sits up, his leg shaking while he holds the dress up in one arm, his other arm is over his head and he bites at the glove, moaning while he sinks down on Lotor’s cock. 

Lotor seems unstable under him, shaking and holding his claws back.  Keith offers his free arm and Lotor drags his hand down it, tearing the glove.  Then ripping the dress at Keith’s chest and sitting up to lap at him.  Keith shivers at the rough tongue before he pushes Lotor back.  “Down boy.”  He grins.  He sinks down to the root and his own cock pulses in the ring of the putty toy.  Keith’s thighs strain with effort, but he rises up again.  “Fuck yes,” he breathes, “I can do this.  I feel…”  He’s not sure what to say, but when he pushes Lotor he stays down.  He feels invincible.  He grins again feeling smug.  “This is way better than the other story.  I told you I wasn’t a damsel.”   He rides Lotor, happy the stupid ring is keeping him hard.  Reveling in the feel of skin and fur, Lotor looks beautiful and close to coming.  Eyes closed and moaning.

Lotor’s eyes open suddenly, dark and narrowed at Keith with a low growling sound.  He looks like he’s shifting back into the full animal.

Keith quirks his head, “What?  Think you can do better?”  Lotor grabs him by the hips and tries to move him, but  Keith slams him back down.  They repeat the action twice more before Lotor flips him and puts Keith on his knees.  The dress is torn again and Keith laughs, “I don’t think you’re in your right mind either.  Mimic too much?  Does it feel good?”

Lotor howls, holding Keith by the shoulders while forcing him face down and pumping into him.  Keith pants with it, “Yes, yes, yes, fuck… yes!”  He pumps himself and wishes he could come, feeling like he’s boiling over.  The ring on his cock gets tighter and tighter while Lotor drives into him.  Lotor’s claws scratch at his shoulders then he bends to bite hard on Keith’s neck.  Despite the ring, Keith feels like he’s coming, shaking apart and clawing at the ground and fake grass.  “Yes!  Fuck!”  The ring falls away and Keith comes so hard he feels like all the air in his body is rushing out.  Things go fuzzy, and then black.


 

Keith wakes up with sore knees and a slight headache.  His neck feels tacky, and he wipes it, finding a little dried blood where the skin was broken.  He blinks in the darkness of the room, lying in the grass with a large arm thrown over him.  He starts at it but then remembers.  “You haven’t changed back.”

“I can’t yet.  Not finished.”  There’s a lick to Keith's neck bringing him fully aware.  He’s still full of Lotor’s cock, and it feels wide at the base.  Unmoving. 

“You’re fucking kidding me.”

“Give it a moment,” sighs Lotor.  “I’ve never done this kind thing outside of Eche.  You’re very brave.”

Keith rolls his eyes, “Thanks.  Asshole.”  He sighs, “Okay.  Change back or something.  Before someone comes and finds us like this.  Lotor ignores him.  Instead, he rubs Keith’s nipples and plays with his flaccid cock.  Keith twitches under the attention, starts getting hard again, “Hey come on.  Let’s go back to your room first.”

“Can’t,” says Lotor giving him another lick.  “Isn’t going down until I come again.  And you fell asleep.  So, I waited.”

“I black out, and you thought I’d appreciate your dick still being stuck- you know what.  Whatever.  You’re a real gentleman, waiting and all.”  He rolls his eyes again, “Okay, I’m up now.  Get going with it.”

Lotor yawns behind him, “Shapeshifting is not a natural talent for me.  It comes at a cost.  I’m very tired now, but, if you insist.”  He nips at Keith’s shoulder rolls him on his belly.  He fucks into Keith’s hole with the bare inch of give he has and grinds their bodies together.  Keith doesn’t bother stroking himself through it.  He feels hard again.  With Lotor pressing deep and coming in steady jets eventually, Keith feels dizzy, like he could black out again.  Blissed out.  It goes on and on and Keith finds himself coming from the sensation alone.  He groans as Lotor softens inside and finally and falls out, fluid dripping down Keith’s leg as they separate. 

Keith rubs his sticky thighs together.  “That was the weirdest sex I have ever had.”  He sits up on his elbow, “When are we doing it again?”

Lotor laughs and yawns again.  “Not anytime soon, I’m sorry.  I need a rest.  Just leave me here if you have to.  I canceled maintenance in this quarter.  No one will bother us.”  He changes back to his normal form and blinks sleepily.

“Fuck that,” says Keith.  He still feels uncommonly strong.  He stands up on shaking legs and takes a second to reorient himself.  Gravity doing him no favors as the Lotor’s seed runs down his legs.  He wipes at it with the dress before taking off the other glove and throwing aside.  He sighs at Lotor, knocked out and unmoving.  Keith bends down and throws the prince over his shoulder in a fireman carry and takes him all the way back to his room.

They sleep for a long, long time.

Chapter Text

Keith is listening to a Galra language lesson while Lotor rocks his hips, fucking into him slowly and deeply.  It’s the kind of love-making that makes Keith’s toes curl while he clutches Lotor.  They’re soft from a recent bath, and he’s finally recovered from their extreme sport's version of sex four days earlier.  The video tutor, projected beside the bed rattles off words and pictures for him to memorize.  Lotor’s given it a very specific vocabulary list and Keith turns his head to see the symbols and grin as the happy recording pronounces the next words.  “Ghusa tal.” 

Lotor stills on top of him until Keith answers the meaning.  “Oh!  In the mouth!”

The teacher congratulates him with a little fireworks display and Lotor starts moving his hips again.  He grins down at Keith, “You’re a fast learner when you’re motivated.”

“Shut up, asshole.  Next question.”

The recording freezes and the screen switches to Narti.  Keith panics and starts to cover himself, but Lotor stills him a hand on his belly.  “She can’t see you.  Calm down.  What is it Narti?”

The General tilts her head like she’s waiting for something.  The screen changes again and this time Keith screams.

Hunk on the screen screams as well.  “Bud!  No!  Not again!”

Lotor rolls his eyes and shamelessly slides out of Keith and stands up.  Keith rushes to cover himself while Lotor gestures and makes the projection smaller and focused on his face.  “What do you want?”

“Does this mean you’re like twice married now, ‘cause I witnessed it again.  Keith, buddy I’m sorry man.  I didn’t mean it!”

“I’m not going to repeat myself, Paladin.”

“Right,” Hunk closes his eyes and rushes out the explanation.  They stayed longer in the Plimikian system because the princess started acting strangely.  In several instances over the last few days, she lashed out.  When they came back to check on her she demanded they leave.  Acxa suspected they grabbed the wrong person.  “Long story short,” says Hunk.

“Too late.”

“Yeah, I know.  Anyway, we think the Princess is Haggar in disguise.  We don’t know where the real one is, or if she was still on the ship.”

Keith goes still on the bed.  His blood feels like its freezing in his veins, “The one I destroyed?”

“Yeah.  Hey, man.  We can’t be sure of anything yet.  The Plimkians want her to stand trial.  What’s your ETA to Earth?”

“Still over seven days,” answers Lotor.  “But things would move quicker with your castle.  Tell Princess Allura to come to our location.  She can send us to Earth quickly with her teledav.  And bring the traitor with you.  I know Eiuri better than anyone.  I will uncover her whereabouts from the witch.”

Hunk looks nervous, “I don’t know about that.”  He looks to Keith.  “What do you think, Keith.”

Keith puts his head in hands.  “I probably killed her.  It doesn’t matter what I think, does it.”

Lotor turns off the screen just as Hunk starts to counter him.  “What’s wrong?”

“What do you mean what’s wrong?  I killed Eiuri and walked away.  I came all the way out here to get dicked down instead of staying with my team!”

“Calm down.”

“No!  Don’t talk to me like I’m being crazy.  It’s not right.  I did something horrible…”

“We don’t know that yet,” Lotor sits on the bed and pulls Keith in his arms, “It doesn’t help anything to speculate.  We’ll get dressed and go to the bridge.   Tell your princess to come along with her castle.  This whole mess doesn’t have to drag out forever.”  He kisses Keith on the head.

Keith wishes he could feel anything but the guilt eating away at him.


 

About twenty dobashes later, Keith stands behind Lotor’s command chair, hiding from his family while they report the problems with Eiuri.  His stomach turns whenever someone says her name and he sinks down behind the seat wishing he could disappear. 

“Keith,” says Allura.  “Keith?  Are you there?”

He wipes his face with his sleeves and tries to swallow the lump in his throat.  “I’m here, Allura.”

“Are you well?”

“He’s fine,” says Lotor.  “A little space sickness.  The inertia dampeners need work, right Narti?”

Keith wants to appreciate Lotor trying to shield him but he can’t hide forever.  He gets up and faces them on the screen.  Lotor stands up and loops an arm around his back.  Keith feels unsteady, but he brings it up, “If we can’t find Eiuri, we can assume I killed her when I destroyed the cruiser.”

Acxa counters him, “At my urging, sir.”  She looks contrite, head hanging, “She was a good friend to Prince Lotor.  And I’m sorry for both of you, sirs.”

Ezor pipes in, “Me too.  I grabbed the wrong one.  I’m extra sorry.”

Lotor waves his hand, “I’ll deal with you two later.  But for now, it’s more important that Haggar is dealt with.  My last report on the deserting forces in X-9-Y came in garbled.  We can’t redirect course now.  It will take too long, even at this speed.  Please, allow us to use your teledav for transfer, Princess Allura.”

Allura nods, “Yes, of course.”

“And bring me Haggar.  I will secure her on this ship and interrogate her to define her purpose for kidnapping Eiuri.”

Allura starts to agree again, but Keith pulls away from Lotor’s arm.  He remembers the bad feeling he had about giving them prolonged access to both the teledav and all the lions.  “Scratch all of that Allura.  Shiro?”

“Yeah, Keith?”

“Go with Pidge, Lance, and Hunk to Earth.  Now with the teledav.  Patrol the system with the lions and get back to us.  Allura can come and get me.  But I don’t think Haggar should leave our holdings.  She’s out cold?”

“What are you doing?”  Lotor shakes his shoulder.  “I need her here for questioning.”

“You can question her in the castle.  She’s already secured.  And if we risk moving her she might wake up and voodoo everybody.”

Lance calls out, “I like that.  Leave her sleeping.  It was hell getting her in that pod.  She almost took my eye out.”

Allura nods again, “Fine, if we’re all in agreement, we’ll go along with Keith’s plan.”

“No!”  Lotor pushes Keith out of the way, “Bring me that damn witch!”

Allura narrows her eyes.  “You can come and see her for yourself, Prince Lotor.  We’ll be there shortly.”  She cuts off the transmission and Lotor turns on Keith, looking murderous.

Keith doesn’t back down.  He crosses his arms, “I know that’s not what you wanted, but—"

“But what!  Undermining me again!  This isn’t foreplay, Keith!  It’s important!  How dare you speak above my orders!?”

Keith steps up to him, “That’s my team!  I’m the head of Voltron!  And I put them first.  Earth is in trouble and we don’t have time for you to take out your revenge on Haggar!”

Lotor growls at him and pulls his own hair, “I don’t believe this!  After everything we’ve been through!  You still don’t trust me!”

“Newsflash, asshole!”  Keith doesn’t back down, he holds his hand out knowing he can summon his Bayard if he has to, “We’ve been together for thirty damn days!  We are not married!  We’re barely allies!  And I can’t trust you any more than I could a Vegas hook-up with my name tattooed on their ass!  My gut is still telling me you don’t really mean us well!” 

Lotor is fuming and Narti approaches him and puts a hand on his shoulder.  He slaps it back and draws his sword and points it a Keith, “Go back to the bedroom.”

“No.  I’m going home.”

“No!”  Lotor looks torn between running Keith through and falling on his own sword.  He throws the thing down and steps up to take Keith by the arm and drags him to the door.  “You’re staying right here!  I don’t care if I have to lock you up in a cell!”

“I’m going home!  You can stay here and pout for all I care!”  He kicks Lotor in the shins and turns to run off, but the scuffle starts to get serious.  No one’s swinging, but Lotor forces him into a corner and pins Keith down.  Keith twists and headbutts Lotor hard enough for him to step back, holding his bloody nose.  Keith runs off and alarms start blaring on the ship.


Keith spends several minutes running up and down corridors, avoiding sentries before a strange panel opens into what appears to be an extra parts closet.  Bits of sentry hands and feet and one very large Galra in a hot pink tracksuit with matching fanny pack, sipping on a juice box.

“Miyu!” 

“Chuck!”

Keith rushes inside closes the door.  It’s a tight fight but Miyu gives him enough room to stand against the wall.  Keith sighs in relief before turning to his new friend, “Wait a minute.  Why are you in here?”

Miyu shrugs, “Red alert usually means we’re under fire.  This is the exact center of the ship and there are escape pods only twelve feet away.  Its where I go.”  He side-eyes Keith, “Why are you in here?”

Keith shrugs, “Me and Lotor are having a little spat.  Nothing big.”

Sentries stomp around the halls and Lotor’s voice booms over the intercom, “Find my consort at once!  Or I will self-destruct this blasted ship!  Keith!  Get back here and face me, you little coward!  That was a cheap shot!  I expect better of you Paladin!”

Miyu sips on his drink and then rifles through his waist pack.  He offers Keith a Galra juice box and Keith takes it.  At least someone on the ship is on his side. 

The door slides open and the sentry they played cards with stands there with an armful of fabrics, “Sir the commission.”

Miyu and Keith freak out.  Miyu shoos it, “Go away, can’t you see I’m hiding a fugitive bride!”

“Keith!”

“…ah shit.”  Keith runs down the hall a few steps and pauses.  He smiles before slamming a button and opening a hatch to what must be Miyu’s escape pod.  He can still hear Lotor screaming nearby, and starts to press everything until something works.  He recognizes a few symbols from his lesson.  “Ghasan ni!  HAH!  In the hole!”

He slams the button and the pod takes off.

Chapter Text

Allura welcomes Keith in the Black Lion’s hanger, “Are you alright?  You look like you were mauled by an animal.  What happened over there?  Did they attack you?”

Keith steps out of the rescue pod and catches his reflection in its glass.  There are marks that haven’t faded over the collar of his fine Galra clothes.  There’s nothing for explaining it, “I’m not hurt.  I pissed Lotor off when I disagreed with him.  But this happened when we were still on good footing.”

“Oh.”

“Footing like rabbits.  And by that, I mean-”

“I don’t…” Allura shakes her head, “I don’t want to know what that means.  Hunk and Pidge are going to check on your homeworld while Lance and Shiro look for the rogue Galra.  Are you alright to pilot?”  She gives him room.  “If you need time to heal…”

Keith walks past her and activates the Lion, “I’m good.  I’ll see you on the other side.”  He stops, “Oh, wait.  Where’s Haggar?”

“Hopefully still sleeping.  Coran and Slav are watching over her.”  She turns her back while Keith strips down and changes into his armor.  He flicks a wrist and summons his Bayard back from Lotor’s ship.  She looks at him and blinks, “Wow.  I didn’t know you could do that.”

“Me either,” says Keith honestly.  “But back to Haggar, don’t let Lotor move her.  He’s going to try to come aboard and take her.”

“How do you know?  She’s our prisoner.  Perhaps we can get him to agree to new terms with the coalition for her capture.”

Keith shakes his head, “That’s not going to work.  The way he talks about her… his problem with her is personal.  He’s not going to let her go if we ask nicely.”  He thinks of the speaker cut down in front of everyone and doesn’t think he could stomach it if Lotor dragged the old woman out in front cameras for some kind of public execution.  “Just get us to Earth.  If he wants to follow us…”

She nods, “Then he’s free to do so.  Keith?”

“Yeah.”

“You have terrible taste in men.”

Keith claps her the shoulder.  “I know.”

Keith climbs in Black Lion and listens to her.  The Blue Lion seems upset too and Keith listens to them as he makes up his mind to not blindly trust anything Lotor has to say.  Impressive dick aside, the guy’s good qualities are… Keith pauses as he struggles to think of them.  Then smiles sadly to himself.  “Well.  He does make me laugh.”

“Counting down to jump!”  Coran announces, “And boy is it going to be a doozy.  Two long-distance calls all the way across the known universe in one day.  Oh boy.  I hope the scaltrite can take it.  I’m feeling slippery just thinking about it!  But let’s go!  Is everybody buckled in?”

They jump and Keith waits for confirmation they reached the Earth’s solar system.  Allura chimes in, “Made it.  And it seems we have some guests after all.  The command ship and Lotor’s personal fighter.  I’m sorry Keith, but if he attacks the castle head on, I’m firing everything we have.”  She might be joking.  But she’s probably not.

Keith sighs, “Noted.  But I’m ninety-nine-point-nine percent sure this is the universe where he follows me.  I’m going out.”  He dashes away with Black Lion and sure enough, Lotor chases him.  “See.”

Allura appears in the comlink, “Pidge and Hunk reporting.” 

Pidge comes up all smiles, “We’re almost home guys!  And so far, no Galra.   Shiro.  How’s it looking?”

He appears to be hovering over Lance, “We just took down two fighters.”

“We,” says Lance looking up.  “As I recall, I did the taking down and you did the backseat driving, grandpa.”

“Paladins,” says Allura, “Acxa and Ezor just took off in their ship.  Haggar still appears to be in the pod, but Slav's gone quiet.  I’m going to check on it, then I’ll join you in Blue Lion.  Coran, take us to Earth.  Pidge and Hunk, you are my ambassadors.  Good introductions are expected.”

Hunk grins, “No problem, Princess.  We’re going to swoop in and do that ‘razzle dazzle’ thing.  They’ll eat it up, right Lance?”

Lance gets all starry-eyed, “I’ve always wanted to razzle dazzle in front of my gram-gram!”

Allura sighs, “Put your razzle away Lance and focus on tracking those rogues.  Keith?  Are you still being followed?”

Keith heads for Kerberos and hovers just over the little dwarf planet.  Lotor is gaining on him, but they’re far enough away from the action now.  “I am.  Give me some time.  I’m going to try and reason with him.  But you know what you can do for me if he still has his head up his ass?”

Allura grins, “Freeze him?” at the same time that Pidge chimes, “Hit him the vine ray?”

Keith hangs up on them both, satisfied that if his crazy boyfriend snaps and somehow defeats the Black Lion, he’ll have two very angry Paladins to avenge him.

Lotor breaks into his com, “I don’t know what you think you’re doing.  The only way to defeat my father is with you and Voltron at my side.  And for that…”

“For that, you need something from the Lions and the castle that you know we’re not going to give up.”  He lands on the rock and opens the mouth of Black Lion, despite her growling. 

Lotor follows his lead and lands his ship nearby.  He walks the surface and stands before Keith with his arms raised, “Permission to come aboard?”

“Granted,” says Keith even while the Lion roars.  Keith keeps back while it snaps her jaws and Lotor hesitates before coming up.

He looks around with like he’s star-struck.  “Somehow… I always imagine it to be more magical.  The way my father would describe it.  I thought there was something more mystical than just a giant robot head.”

Keith sighs and holds onto his seat while the Black shakes her head, sending Lotor falling forward.  Lotor bangs his head on the front console and looks up at Keith.  “Did you do that?”

“Nope.”

“Bit of a temper.”

“Not usually.  She’s the good one.  If I were still piloting Red she’d have eaten you, so there’s that.”

Lotor grins before getting up, “I didn’t mean to scare you.  I’m not planning you and your giant beasts any harm.”  He leans over and puts his hand on Keith’s knees, “It wasn’t even an hour ago that I had you bed.  We were happy, remember?  That’s the sum of all my desires now, I can’t come close to that contentment if I really mean you harm.”

“Me maybe,” says Keith.  “But what about the others?  What about Voltron?”

“Voltron is just a tool.  The others are just… they are important to you and I respect that.  I do.  So, I would not knowingly plot their demise.  I promise.”

“But you have thought of something, and for whatever reason, you don’t want to say anything because you know you’ve done something… something I’m not going to tolerate.”

“You don’t understand.  Please hear me out,” Lotor tries to pull him up from the seat, but Keith yanks his arm back.

“I’m all ears.”  If Lotor’s trying to get him close, Keith can see it snowballing from an apology to a romp in the head of Black Lion.  And then they’d both be eaten or spat out.  Keith crosses his arms, “ You’re always happy to share knowledge, right?  Well go ahead, Professor Sex Ed, teach.”

“I love you,” says Lotor.  He raises his hand and Keith feels relaxed and subdued until Black Lion roars in his head.  He snaps out of it and notices the pinkish glow around Lotor’s hand.  Lotor pulls away, “It’s not what you think.”

“Wrong answer!”  Keith expels him from the Lion and takes off.  He opens a link to Allura, “Princess?  Is Haggar still on the ship?  Allura?  You hear me?”

“She’s with us,” says Lance.  “We found the other rogues.  Bout time you put your pants back on joined the fight.”

“I’m not… I didn’t… Shut up, Lance.”  He watches as Lotor rolls on the ground then gets up and runs to his ship.  He sighs in relief, “I still don’t know what he was planning, but we need to get to Earth.”

“Guys, we’re having a little problem.”  Coran appears with flashing lights and alerts behind him while Slav sits calmly in Keith’s seat drinking a milkshake.

“How little a problem?”  Keith can’t imagine what’s happened now, but he sure it involves Haggar.  “Where’s the witch?”

“She’s gone.  And Castle Lion is out of control and careening full speed towards your homeworld.  We are going crash and KAPOW.  No more Terra.”

Slav still doesn’t seem bothered in his seat, “Don’t worry.  This could be the universe she locks you all on Planet Bomb.  We’re doing fine at this rate.”  He takes another sip of his milkshake.  Then spits it out, “I forgot the cherry!  This is worst!  This is going to be much worst!  Ah!”  He starts running around the bridge while Keith and Coran ignore him.

Coran tries to stabilize the ship but the alerts keep going.  “I need Allura back here immediately.  She might be able to take control back.”

“We’re taking heavy fire,” says Allura.  “Hurry Keith!  We need to form Voltron there’s a whole fleet hiding in your system’s inner ring.”

Keith chases the other Lions but they’re too late.  Most of the fleet has reached Earth.

“No!”  Pidge calls out, “We have to do something!  We can’t let them fire on the planet!”

Keith shouts, “Get into formation!”

Chapter Text

Voltron carves into the backend of the fleet.  The team tears into a battalion trying to reform near Earth’s moon.  Hunk uses his Bayard to take out most of the remaining ships.  Keith eyes the space around Earth, “Is that it?  Any stragglers?”

“What happened to Lotor?” Lance narrows his eyes, “I thought he said was coming to help.  All he did was fly after you.  You probably scarred the Black Lion for life.”

“We didn’t have sex in the Lion!”  Keith is not pouting no matter what Black lion thinks.

“They took off,” says Allura.  “Like a bunch of cowards.” 

Pidge flicks through her console and reports, “I think they all returned to Lotor’s command ship.  But look down there!”

“What in the world is that?”  Hunk grins “GUYS IS THAT WHAT I THINK IT IS!”

Keith swallows a lump in his throat, after almost a year away, they look on at their homeworld.  They expected Earth to be defenseless against a Galra attack.  But what they see is amazing.  “The Garrison.  They're sending fighters!”

Team Voltron cheers and Allura nods, “Your world looks amazing, guys.  And those ships!  They’re moving quite fast.  I’m impressed with your planet’s advancement.  When I was a child this world was still covered in trees and giant beasts.  And now look at you.  All grown up and building space fighters.”  She coos over the sight as the fighters rapidly approach.

“Um… guys,” says Hunk.  “I think they’re coming after us.  Shouldn’t we hail them or something?”

“Right,” says Allura.  She takes off her helmet and pats her hair.  “I wish I had more time to prepare something.  Do I look I sweaty?  Never mind.”   She nods when she feels ready and Pidge opens a broadcast, “Ahem.  People of Earth, I am Princess Allura…”

“Quiet Aliens!  You’re under arrest!” 

“Did he call us aliens?”  Lance screams, “Hey!  Only two of us are aliens!”

“Lance you’re not helping,” says Shiro. “I know that voice.  Mitch?  I mean Commander Iverson?”

“Shiro?”  They receive visual communications with one of their old instructors.  “Shiro!  Keith?  Hunk and Pidge!  That kid that crashes things!”

“Lance.  My name is Lance.”

“Whatever!  What are you all doing in that thing!  Get down here right now!  You are truant and violating international airspace regulations!  You will all be disciplined for skipping class, going AWOL, and having that… that thing!”

“Sir, we’re going to have to pass,” says Shiro respectfully.  “We just came to deal with the enemy combatants.  You might have noticed the giant space battle going on?  When you’re ready, we’ll like to talk about the Earth joining the Voltron Coalition of Free Systems.  But it was good seeing you again, Mitch.”

“Yeah,” chimes Lance.  “And if you see my Gram-Gram, let her know I’m doing fine and saving the universe!”  He puts Voltron in a pose, “I miss you Gram-Gram!”

Hunk starts crying, “Me too!  Not his gram-gram, but my cousins and mom and step-dad and my ex-girlfriend Teuila!  I’ve moved on, but I still think of you fondly!”

They say their goodbyes and despite the Earth’s clear advancement in the last year, they out run the ships back to the outer belt.  Keith opens up to Coran, “Is the castle still careening towards Earth?  We kind of need it not to do that.”

The transmission is filled with screaming from Coran and Slav.  Voltron separates and Allura dashes ahead in blue lion, “Try and slow it down while I get on board and take the controls.”

Keith and the others headbutt the ship while she gets onboard.  Things are tense while the Castle keeps speeding towards Earth.  Keith wishes they could just deploy a giant parachute or something for times like these.  It feels like the Castle has a close call every month or so.  “Allura!  How’s it going!”

The transmission from her is garbled, “Not well.  Darkness has infected all the systems.  I’m trying to pull it back.  I don’t know if I can…”

Keith considers their option, he doesn’t want to destroy their ship, but it's on the table as a last resort.  “Pidge, can you get in there too and try to hack it back down?”

“No,” says Pidge.  “I don’t think I can.  But wait!”  She flies off and fling vines to heavy asteroids in the innerbelt and tying them onto the ship.  “Maybe we can slow it down!”  Lance and Hunk help her corral rocks big enough, but the ship doesn’t slow.  “It’s not working.  Allura!”

“I know!”  She sounds strained on her end, “Too many systems.  I can’t…  I can’t…”

“You can do it, Allura!”  Lance cheers her on, “We believe in you.  The people of Earth are going to believe in you too.  You might have to join us in detention or something, but I think you got this.  Now stop that castle!”

“I’m trying!”

Keith looks back to where an object is hurtling towards them, “What is that?  Is that Lotor?”  Lotor’s ship joins them and they watch as Lotor jumps out to climb into the castle.  “What the hell is he doing?  Allura!  Can you hear me?  Lotor is on the ship.  I don’t know what he’s doing there!”

“I’ve got him,” says Coran.  “He says he can help.  We’ll be back with you in tick.”

The castle goes silent and Keith worries about what Lotor was planning to do.  “Guys I’m going in!”

“No, Keith,” shouts Shiro.  “We’re strained as it is.  If they can’t stop the ship from the inside then we’ll have no choice but to cut it down.  Stay put.”

Keith slams his fists on the control, “He could be up to anything in there!  You don’t know what he tried to do to me!”

Pidge growls, “I knew it!  I’m going to slap his face clear off his body!”

“Damn, girl.”  Lance nods, “But at this point, you’d have to get in line because I’m killing the snake in the grass first.”

“No,” says Keith. “It’s not like that.  It's not a sex thing.  The sex is great.  I’m all for sex with Lotor.”

“I can’t unhear that,” groans Hunk.

“He tried to mind whammy me or something back on Kerberos.  What if he’s in there doing something to the Castle we can’t fix?  What if he’s giving Allura the mind whammy?”

“That two-timing bastard!  How dare he whammy anyone willy-nilly!”  Lance slams his fist.

Shiro yells over all of them, “We can’t all go in there!  Stay put and try and stop the castle while…  hey, what’s that?”

The ship appears to be slowing, glowing a bright blue before finally coming to a stop.  Keith tries to communicate with the ship again, “Allura?  Coran?  Anyone there?”

“You know,” says Slav over static, “If I had to guess at this being the reality where you not only wear red evening gowns but purple badges and dog tags, I would have been a lot calmer a minute ago and finished my milkshake without the cherry.”

The team breathes a collective sigh of relief and everyone rushes to find out what’s going on in the castle.


 

They find Allura and Lotor slumped over in the center of the ship’s controls.  Coran looks to them all with unshed tears in his eyes.  “That was an unbelievably close one.”  He turns back to his controls, “The ship is dead in the water, but they’re alive.”  Keith and the others run forward and crowd around Allura and Lotor.  Keith pulls up Lotor while Shiro sits Allura up.  Coran sighs, “I just checked their vitals.  Get them to the med bay.  I’ll try to control our drift and raise the shields before your friends reach us.”

“Friends?”

Coran pulls up a screen, where Commander Iverson’s face is bigger than life.  “Cadets!  Report back to the barracks ASAP and bring all of that alien stuff with you, before I have you shot down for being truant and not doing your homework and… and being traitors to Earth!”

Pidge blows a raspberry, “You can’t just send us to our rooms!  We’re not kids anymore!  We’re Paladins of Voltron!  The greatest heroes in the known universe!  We are soldiers!  We will never surrender!”


 

Two hours after they surrendered and accepted the Garrison’s help in towing the castle to Earth, Pidge is outed as a girl and her mom is called.  She riles against Iverson as security takes her away, “You big jerk!  You’ve no idea what you’re dealing with!”

Keith gives her a sad wave, “Don’t fight it, Pidge. We’ll come for you.  Just as soon as things are up and running again.”  Security takes her back to her room for lockdown.  The same thing happens to Hunk and Lance. 

Iverson stands over Keith, “Technically I can’t call your parents and you were expelled from service.  You’re not one of my cadets and you didn’t graduate.  I oughta have you locked up in a cell offsite with the other adults.”  He sighs, “You always making yourself extra special, eh Keith.”

Keith rolls his eyes, “You have no idea.”  He stands up while the guards clap him in handcuffs, “What are you going to do with Princess Allura?”

“Princess?”  Iverson strokes his chin like he didn’t already know that, “Sounds like a political situation above my pay grade.  The appropriate authorities have been alerted and the situation with the aliens will be dealt with.”

“And Prince Lotor?”

“Prince?  What are they?  Brother and sister?”

Keith shrugs, “No.  They’re former enemies in a ten-thousand-year-old war spanning the known universe.  Allura and Coran are Altean and Lotor is Galra.  And also kind of my husband or boyfriend or something.”

Iverson nods along like he knew all of this, “Sure kid.  And I’m the former Queen of England.  Get him to quarantine and lock him down too until they can all be questioned.”

Keith sighs.  He should have known better than to blather.  Iverson has a long track record of not believing a word he says.  He walks calmly to a dorm room across from Lance and sighs.  Lance is making a fuss and hitting on the guard that's locking him down in quarantine.  Keith can hear Hunk crying about being hungry in his room up the hall.  He hopes Shiro has better luck explaining his alien excursion this time than he did the last time he fell to Earth.

Chapter Text

“Gram-Gram!”

Keith sighs and holds his head.  They’re locked up in quarantine but Lance is on a call with his grandmother.  Keith told him not to spill everything and it sounds like…

“So, I’m the pilot of the Blue Lion of Voltron and I go schwwom, schwwom and I’ve met so many nice girls and I’ve been saving the universe and making friends and I’ve just been an awesome man of valor and all around good guy.  Really, really!  No, I don’t have a girlfriend yet.  Well, there’s this princess…”

“LANCE!”  Keith gets up and kicks his door, “Stop telling your grandmother everything!  The Garrison is probably recording your call, you idiot!”

“Nah-uh!  My gram-gram wouldn’t stand for that!  It’d run up her light bill!  Right, Gram-Gram!”

Keith knocks his head on the door and gives up.  The room feels small.  It’s not much different from his room at the Castle.  In fact, he thinks of Lotor calling his room a closet and thinks that’s a fair assessment.  He never puts much personality in his personal space.  Not outside of the shack anyway.  Keith lays down on the bed and thinks about how they’re going to get out of this.  He tries to concentrate on all the ways he can sneak out of the barracks, but idle fantasies start to torment him.  Little thoughts that usually involve Lotor.  Lotor breaking into his room and making out with him before they escape, Lotor breaking him out and dragging him out to the desert shack, Lotor fucking him in the flight simulator…

Keith is a little too happy to keep daydreaming but Iverson comes down the hall and opens his door.  He stands there like he expected fanfare or something to play from the intercoms.  When Keith keeps ignoring him, he sighs.  “Well.  It seems you’re not all carrying mutant pathogens that will wipe out the planet.”

Keith sighs, “Great.  It only took you two days to figure that out.”

“Except you of course.  Your blood work came back with all kinds of anomalies that don’t match what we had on file.”  He steps inside and the door closes behind him.  Keith settles back down, resigning himself for a lengthy talk.  “Care to tell me what happened to you out there?  And Shiro.  What the hell happened to his hand?”

“I don’t know what conclusions you’re going to jump to, but I’m still me.”  Keith leans back on the cot and sighs, “And Shiro is still Shiro.  We’re not clones.  We’re not aliens.  We’re not here to destroy the Earth.  If we wanted to do some damage we could simply walk out of here, but we won’t.  We’re going to respect your stupid, tedious procedures.  Because we’re the good guys.”

“Space Knights, huh?”  Iverson pulls out a chair at the little student issue desk and sits down.  “You really think I can believe all this hogwash.”

“No.  I think you can believe the four aliens, giant space castle, and five giant lion robot lions.”

Iverson scratches his chin, “Four aliens, huh?”  He points a finger at Keith, “So one of you is an alien then!”

Keith wonders if the man hit his head.  “What are you talking about?”

Iverson counts out on his fingers, “I’ve got one alien princess, one alien prince, and one alien butler in custody.  Who’s the fourth, Keith?”

Keith smirks to himself.  This means Slav is still hiding somewhere on the Castle.  “Kalternacker.  She looks like a cow.”

Iverson gets up, clearly patting himself on the back, “Well.  This has been an enlightening little talk.  I’ll go see if your story correlates with what the rest are saying.”  He closes the door and Keith rolls his eyes.

A little chime goes off and Keith checks his undershirt.  Pidge gave everyone BLIPs that look like dog tags before they surrendered.  The tech wasn’t collected when they quarantined.  It looks like simple slabs of metal on the outside.  Keith calls up Pidge, “How’s that scrambler working?”

“Great.  They’re still trying to fix the security in this wing.  Iverson is talking to Hunk.”

“Damn.  He doesn’t know about Slav.  We need everyone to keep quiet about that.  Oh, and I think he knows I’m Galra.”

“Keith, you idiot!  What if they Area 51 you!?”

“They’re not going to Area 51 me.  I don’t think.  Do you have a location for the others yet?”

“They’re off base out in the desert.  Are we breaking them out yet?”

“No.  Let’s give the commander one more day to figure it out peacefully.”

“You just missed the earth food or something.

“That too.”

 


 

Keith was planning to wait for nightfall to escape before they could be further separated so they could rescue the others.  He wasn’t expecting a rescue to start before then.  So, he’s a little surprised when they start hearing explosions. 

“Pidge?”

“Not me.”

“Hunk?”

“Also, not me, I’m kind of in the bathroom.”

“Lance?  … Lance!?”

“What huh, what?  I’m trying to sleep.  You guys shut up.”

Another round goes off and Keith gets up to his feet and puts his ear to the door to try and listen.  “Guys?  What’s going on?  Do you think it’s Shiro?”  There’s a thump on Keith door and he backs away.  “Who’s there?”

No one answers and there is another bump and the door creaks as it caves in.  Keith takes cover behind the bed while the door comes down.  Allura stands on the other side.  “Keith!  Your world has terrible manners!”  She dusts herself off before turning around to Lance’s door and doing the same thing.  “This was no way to treat a Princess.  Argh!”  She frees them all and hands over their bayards while they regroup in the hallway.

“Where’s Coran and Lotor?”

“Getting the Castle back online with Slav.  Our ride should be here any minute.  Slav confirmed the Lions were still in their hangers.  But Lotor’s ship was collected by your people.  I don’t think we should leave it behind.”

Keith clicks his BLIP, “Shiro?  You there?  What’s your location?”

“I’ve got Mitch.  We’re trying to work things out.  I don’t want to just up and leave without them understanding.”

Allura rolls her eyes, “Yes fine.  I understand.  But you have fifteen ticks and nothing more.  Then I’m coming in to extract you too and we’re all getting off this blue marble.”

They follow Allura’s lead and take out cadets and officers with minimal damage.  Keith punches a guy that used to call him a ‘country hack’ perhaps a little too hard in the nose.  But they lock up the others in the dorms while running to the roof. 

Pidge points at where a Galra command ship is breaking into the atmosphere.  “Its Acza and Ezor.”

Allura rolls her eyes, “Who called them?”

“I did,” says Lotor as he climbs up over the wall.  “I had to secure my ship.  And I thought you wanted that thing as well.”  He points to where Kalternaker is hovering on its disc behind him.  “I suppose we’re all parting ways now to get away from this awful little planet.”  He turns to Keith, “I’m sorry you didn’t understand what I was doing.”

“That’s not an apology, asshole.”  Keith wraps his arms around himself.  In the distance, they can hear more explosions.  Three shuttles on autopilot fly down.  There’s fire and noise while the other scramble to escape.  Lance is screaming while Kalternaker resists him.  Cadets climb up to the roof and open fire on them.  Keith and Lotor just stand there in the middle of it all.  Keith looks down at his feet, “Coran told me what you did for Allura.  Thanks, I guess.”

“She’s important to you.  And the only one that can command that damn castle.”

“Yeah, that too.”  Keith ignores his friends while they call him.  He can see Pidge jumping a guy twice her size while Hunk physically moves a pod out of the way while cadets rush them.   All of the action is just background noise.  “I want to trust you, you know.  But you make it really hard to do so.”

“I love you,” says Lotor earnestly.  “With every fiber of my being.  I’m going to do everything in my power to prove that.  Come with me, Little Red.  Back to Eche.  I can protect you…”

“No,” says Keith.  He looks over to where Pidge has headbutted the guy and jumped in the pod, then dragged Hunk up inside.  Allura throws Lance over her shoulder and leaps up to a ship that couldn’t get any closer.  “Look.  I have my family to think about.  And I’m not saying I don’t… I mean I have feelings kind of… about stuff.  I guess.  But I’m not going to throw all of this away.”  He gestures to the nonsense blowing up beside them while the last shuttle hovers over his head.  “I’m not going to be satisfied with just being your consort.  Not in this reality.  I’m sorry.”

Lotor blinks away tears in his eyes.  “I want to say I understand.  But I don’t,” he rasps.  “I could give you the whole universe.  I’d die to protect you, Keith…”

“Don’t say shit like.”  Keith pats him on the shoulder, “Just.  Get out of here.  Go home and run your empire.  And we’ll talk when its less um…”  He looks over to see his escape pod is being shot up by cadets.  “Shit.  We’ll talk later.”  He stands up on his tip-toes and kisses Lotor on the cheek.  “I’ll see you around, Your Majesty.”  He ducks away and runs back to his pod. 

Lance screams, “Don’t you leave my baby, mullet head!”

“Yeah, yeah,” says Keith.  He launches a tether from his shuttle to the hoverboard and tows Kalternecker away from the battle.

Lotor’s own ship comes up out of nowhere on auto-pilot and he climbs inside.  They all escape the Earth with Iverson screaming after them as they jump in a wormhole.  Keith is grateful when they come out far away, somewhere dark and quiet and all alone.

 


 

 

Keith spends the next day moping in his room, while the others seem more recharged and excited, now that they know Earth is okay.

Lance comes to Keith’s room that night with an offering of popcorn, milkshakes, and video games.  “Hey man.  There’s nothing I can say to you about the loss you’re feeling right now.  I’ve never had a psycho boyfriend.”  He shrugs while making himself more comfortable.  They sit on Keith’s bed after Lance eyes it suspiciously, “You, ah, change those sheets since last I saw you in here?”

“Yeah.  This isn’t the bedding where I got tongued down.”

Lance cringes, “Ah man, don’t say stuff like that.  It’s bad enough seeing it.  God.  Who knew the rumors were true?”

“What rumors?”

Lance looks everywhere but at Keith, “You know.   Stupid stuff.  Some guys would say after you left.”

“Like I was the Garrison Rent Boy.”

“No!  Yeah, maybe.  I don’t know.  Just stupid stuff.”  He bounces on the bed while offering his popcorn.  “I never put much stock in it.  You were my rival after all.  Of course, you had mad skills and they were just a bunch of jealous haters.  They probably said the same thing about me behind my back.”

“But you’re so obviously a virgin.”

Lance chokes on his popcorn and Keith has to pat him on the back.  When he recovers he sighs, “Yeah.”

They settle side by side.  Keith is actually comforted by the company.  They spend almost ten minutes trying to get out of a maze in the game when Hunk comes in with two more milkshakes and a tray of snacks. “No way!  I was coming to cheer you up.  And here you are, leveling up without me.  That’s not cool, guys.”

They throw him a controller and spread out around the little room in front of the monitor.  The door opens again to Pidge with, “What in the world is draining all the power in this sector—WHAT!  Are you guys leveling up our party without me?  I told you not to do that!”  She stomps into the room and snatches up a controller.  “You’re lucky I don’t delete all of you.”

 

 


 

Allura and Coran check in on Keith the next morning and laugh at the sight of their little sleepover.  Keith’s not sure how everyone managed to fit on the bed, but he and Pidge are using Hunk as a mattress while Lance sleeps curled up like a cat at the top of the bed.  Keith manages to sit up and shrug.  “Its called a sleepover.  It’s an earth thing.”

Allura frowns, “Hardly.  And next time I fully expect to be informed if there will be pee-za rolls and milkshakes.  There should be a system-wide alert for games and confectionary treats.  In fact, I’m mandating that for now on.”  She nods her head as she finalizes her decision.

Keith frowns at Coran, “Did she invite herself to all of our sleepovers from now on?”  Coran shrugs and follows her out.

Lance mews while being wrapped around Hunk’s feet, “I’d love some Fritos.”  He takes a bite out of Hunk’s big toe and gets kneed in the crotch.

Keith moves Pidge before she can be swept in up in ensuing fight.  She looks up at him sleepily and smiles, “Best sleepover ever.”

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Two weeks after the battle in Earth’s system, the coalition agrees to send some first alert satellites to the edge of the system, and something like a proper introduction to Iverson.  Everyone agrees that leaving the ‘primitive’ Earthlings alone, for the time being, would be best.  But the decision to keep distant affects the team.  Keith notices Pidge squirreling away for hours at a time in her mission to find her brother.  Acxa sent one report on rebel activity and Pidge is certain she’s closer to finding her brother.  Hunk spends a lot of time talking to their allies about Earth and wooing them with his food and idyllic stories of growing up in a world with blue skies and vast oceans. 

That’s not a problem for Keith.  He hopes Pidge finds her brother.  And he thinks Hunk is an excellent ambassador for Earth.  But Lance is getting homesick.  He pushes everyone harder because ‘guys come on we finish this, and we can be back before my Gram-Gram’s birthday!’  And Shiro, being Shiro takes the lead.  More often than not.  And there’s nothing wrong with that in Keith’s eyes either.  But the two of them remind him of how much he doesn’t fit in anymore.  Lance pilots red easily now and everyone looks to Shiro and Allura for command.  No one has time to deal with the lone Galra orphan and his feelings.

So, after they put some distance between themselves and the Earth and start revving up their campaign for the coalition, an idea worms its way into Keith's head.


 

“Keith, it’s good to hear from you.  And the rest of you as well.”  Kolivan gives them a worn smile while greeting everyone on the Castle’s bridge.  “I’m sorry to say it’s true.  The Galra activity we’ve spotted points to a swing in leadership.  And there’s been no word from Lotor since he escaped X-9-Y.”

He brings up the data the Blade’s collected and points out a route.  Pidge gets closer to analyze it, “Odd.  These routes come and go nowhere.  Who’s using them?”

Kolivan shrugs, “That’s just it.  We don’t know for sure.  But I believe it’s Lotor.  He’s up to something on a huge scale and keeping his own people in the dark about it.  The witch has returned to their base of power and is rallying support.  The tide of their civil war has turned on the Prince.  And he seems to not care.”

Everyone turns to Keith and he has to sigh, “No.  I don’t know what’s going.  And I haven’t seen him since we left the garrison.”

Coran looks unconvinced and comes over to pull on Keith’s collar, “Are you certain?  There hasn’t been any humperdinking on my ship while we were all busy, was there?  You usually look the part when there is.”

Kolivan clears his throat, “Perhaps there was, but there are ways around their bond…”

Lance slides in front of Keith, “No way, pal.  We already told you.  He’s not having your kittens either.  Right?”

Keith is about to confirm this but Regris interrupts, “Perhaps we could use him to lure Lotor out.  Lotor is keeping to himself, in the meanwhile.  But we could provoke him.”

Lance looks back at Keith, “No way!  We’re not dangling the head of Voltron on a hook!”

Pidge agrees, “If Lotor wanted to see Keith, he knows where to find him.”

Keith ducks his head, feeling a sting he wasn’t expecting.  “Yeah.  If he wanted… but he’s obviously not thinking about me at all.”

Allura pats him on the shoulder, “Don’t do that to yourself, Keith.  I’m sure your relationship, however misguided, is important to that overblown Prince Tyrant.  He’s just out there, prioritizing his usual evil agenda over further leading you astray for the moment.”

Keith sighs, “Thanks.  That actually kind of makes me feel better.”

“No problem,” says Allura with a smile.  “And you know…”

“I know,” sighs Keith.  “I have terrible taste in men.”

Pidge looks up from where’s she buried under projections and doing ‘science’ with Regris, Hunk, and Coran.  “Hey.  Maybe he took your goodbye kiss to mean ‘get lost’ or something.  It certainly looked like you broke up.”

Lance snorts from his seat, “Good!”  He gets up and throws an arm around Keith’s shoulder.  “Hey man, don’t get yourself down about it.  I’ll be your wingman.  Together we can hit all the space clubs and beaches and places where potential hook-ups hang out and find you a new Sugar Daddy in no time.  Wait,” he frowns and looks at the floor.  “That didn’t come out right.”

Hunk pipes in, “I don’t think we should rush him into another relationship.  He needs time to heal.  When my ex-girlfriend and I mutually ended things we took some me-time to rediscover ourselves and oddly enough became better friends.”  He grins, “Maybe you two can write each other.”

Keith sighs,” That’s sweet a thought, Hunk.  But we’re not a ‘thing’ or a ‘thing that’s over’… we’re just, its… argh.”  He rolls his eyes and throws up his hand, “Can we please move on to other business.”

Shiro coughs in hand, “Right.  Back to um… tracking Lotor’s whereabouts?”

Everyone gives Keith sad looks and he pushes past Lance to stomp off from the bridge.  He’s halfway to his room, when he realizes, ‘thing’ or ‘no thing’, Lotor is still going to be an important part of his life.  He may as well prepare for dealing with it.

 


 

Keith spends every minute he can learn about what the Blades have been up to in their absence and shadowing Regris and Kolivan on their downtime.  He learns about tactics and Blade of Marmora history from Kolivan while Regris meets with him to spar regularly.  After one session, Regris claps him on the shoulder, unbothered that he lost a match to a smaller opponent.  “You should join us on the next fact-finding mission.  Your Galra is so much improved, I think you’d be a real asset to the team.”

Keith wipes his brow and thinks it over seriously.  The strain he’s felt since parting with Lotor and the hectic non-stop promotion of the coalition has him feeling run down.  He shrugs, “Maybe.  I’ll talk it over with Shiro at meal time.  Come on, let’s go again.  I want to learn how to do that thing you did with your tail.”

The Galra spy laughs, “You don’t have a tail.”

Keith does a leg sweep, dropping Regris on his back while he flips backward on one hand.  “Doesn’t mean I can’t compensate for it.”

Regris sighs and lays back with a thud, “I hate overachievers.”


The news that Keith will join the Blade on Kolivan’s next mission is taken in and not given much salt.  They all eat together.  Joke together.  Plan together.  But afterward, Keith is cornered by Shiro and Allura, doing their best to look like concerned parents.

Shiro clears his throat, “It’s not that we don’t trust your judgment…”

“But,” adds Allura with hands clasped over her chest, “We are concerned.  Lotor is a wildcard at this point.  And as Galra activity swings back to normal, there’s no telling if he has reneged on his promises or if he’s been betrayed.  And if so, with his own people after him, you are now a public figure in his life.  You may be targeted.  For more than being Black Lion’s pilot.  And we’re discomforted by the notion of using you to lure Lotor out.”

Keith rolls eyes, “I hear you, both.  I do.  Kolivan is not dangling me anywhere and I'll be undercover, just like all the other operatives.  No special treatment.  Yes, there’s a risk to this, but… I think it’s worth it.  Isn’t it better to know for certain than to leave things up in the air?  I need to find where Lotor went.  I need to know what he’s doing.  And if anything happens… If I don’t make it back…”

“Don’t talk like,” snaps Shiro.

“Just listen,” says Keith stepping closer and looking Shiro in the eye.  “I know Black Lion is still your partner and always will be.  I just know it.  You guys don’t need me here.”

“We do,” says Allura.  “You are vital, Keith.  Not just as the head of Voltron.  But as our friend.  Our brother.”  She pulls him into a hug and gives his neck a little kiss before pulling away and wiping her eyes.  “Don’t think for a moment that you’re replaceable.  You are one of kind, Keith.”

“She’s right,” says Shiro.  He claps Keith hard on the back and pulls him forward to kiss the top of his head.  “But we won’t hold you back. If you think this is vital to our overall mission, we’ll give it a pass.  But you’ve got one time to call in late and I’m sending Pidge after you.”

Allura nods, “And if I think for a moment you are forgetting us in favor of your new Galra friends, I’ll have you tied up and locked in your room.”

Keith and Shiro blink at her.

“What?  Was that too much friendly concern?  I’m sorry.  I’m still new at this.”

Keith grins, “Its fine.  I get it.  I can expect to be grounded if I make you worry.”  He sighs before hugging them both, “I… just… Thank you, guys.  I mean it.  I’ll try my best and come home when we’re done.”

Allura gives him a watery nod while Shiro gives him a salute. 

Keith leaves the dining room wiping tears from his eyes.  He didn’t know it would hurt so much to lie to their faces.


The first two missions are easy.  Keith feels comfortable in the Blade's stealth suit.  And natural in a way he’s never felt before.  Onboard Kolivan’s command ship, he keeps to himself when he’s not training, wary of making new friends.  And coming home to a jealous Allura.

But Regris finds him after hours, and that leads to talking and sharing and laughing.  He sneaks in behind Keith’s walls and becomes a good friend in no time.  Keith expects to see him every evening before bed, and one night almost three weeks after leaving his team, he leaves his room to go looking for the tech expert.  He remembers the way to Regris’ room and finds it easily enough, but stops just short of barging in and demanding entertainment.

He starts to knock on the door when he hears a loud thump from inside the room.  He steps closer to the door and hears another thump and another.  Keith blushes and pulls away, “Guess Kolivan got here first…”  He grins awkwardly and starts to walk away, trying not to think of the two of them together.

But the door opens and closes quickly as Regris steps out in his stealth suit, mask on and tail swishing excitedly in the air.

Keith frowns, “What were you doing?  Galra Pilates or something?”  Regris doesn’t answer and Keith shrugs.  He turns on his heel, “You wanna go look at that nebula from the deck?  Or we can go back to my room and swap some grumpy boss stories.”  He turns back and finds Regris is nodding and laughs, “Right.  I can’t believe how much dirt you have on Kolivan!  I can hardly imagine him young, let alone young and awkward!”  He laughs harder, snorting while opening his room door to let Regris in then runs over to pull out his computer.  “Hey, you want to take a look at the mapping system Pidge sent…”

Keith pauses to look up at where Regris has gone still, leaning on the closed door with his arms crossed.  His tail stops swishing and he seems to grow an inch or two taller.

Keith sighs, “You.”

“Me,” says Lotor as the mask disappears.  His hair falls in waves around his shoulder while he smirks down at Keith.  “It took you long enough to notice.”

Keith puts his hand on his blade in warning, “What did you do to Regris?”

Lotor raises, “Nothing.  He’s just taking a nap.  He’ll wake up in a very good mood.” 

“Why are you here?”

“Why do you think?  I don’t like this line of questioning.  Don’t I get a turn?  Why are you sneaking around into bedrooms?  If I didn’t know better, I’d think you’d forgotten me.”

Keith rolls his eyes, “What?  No.  Not after you ‘ruined me for all others’.  Why on earth would you think that?”

Lotor smirks, “You’re right.  How silly of me.”  He flips his hair and stalks forward, “Come here, Little Red.”

“No,” says Keith.  “You’re not distracting me from my mission again.  In fact, you’re the one we’re all looking for.  I’m turning you in this time.”

“Like I’d allow that.”

“Well, I’m not going to let you hurt anyone here.  How did you find us anyway?”

“That’s my business.  What are you doing so far from home?”

“That’s my business,” mimics Keith.  He notices Lotor hasn’t lost the serpentine tail yet and it still swishes behind him.  “How did you get onboard this ship?  Where’d you get that suit from?”

Lotor sighs, “We’re talking in circles at this rate.  Let’s leave it at this much.  Neither of us is where we belong at the moment.  We may as well make use of it.”  He grins and starts unfastening his stealth suit.

“Oh no, you don’t!”  Keith reaches for his communicator and Lotor takes it with his fake tail.  He holds it over Keith’s head.  “Give that back.”

“No.  Come here and say hello with a proper kiss."  He turns his face to the side and indents his right cheek with a finger.  He smiles while looking at Keith, "We still have a wedding to plan after all.”

“How," says Keith with every ounce of smartassery he can muster.  "Your empire is splintered and no one on my side can trust you, let alone celebrate something like that.”

“We’ll wait until later of course.  I have a lot to do going forward.  But I haven’t changed my mind about you.  I want you by my side, Keith.  And I’m going to burst if I don’t kiss you soon.”

“Tough,” says Keith as he imagines Lotor blowing up right then and there.  Smug bits of princely annoyance flying everywhere.  It'd be great, but who'd clean up the mess, he reasons.  “Look.  Just leave the way you came or something… and…”  He shakes his head.  “No.  Not this time.” 

Lotor looks surprised when Keith tackles him, but he doesn’t put up much of a fight as Keith wrestles him to the floor.  Keith ends up straddling his chest and yanking the communicating from his tail’s grip.  Lotor laughs, “I lose again.  Go ahead and call them.”  He licks his lips while looking at Keith’s crotch, “But I’d really like to have your cock in my mouth.”

“Shut up.”

“I miss it, you know.  The weight of it, the taste of it,” he sighs and stares ahead wistfully.  “But call your friends first.  I love consummating with an audience.  Because we are going to fuck, you understand.  Whether they’re all in the doorway, or not.  Whether I’m in irons… oh.  There’s a thought,” he grins.

Keith punches his shoulder, “You’re not funny, asshole.”  He climbs off Lotor on shaky legs, his cock half hard just thinking about Lotor's stupid mouth.  He makes it to the door before sighing and resting his head against it.  “Besides.  A part of me thought you forgot about this… thing.  And went back to Eche or wherever you go.”

Lotor rolls his eyes and crosses his arms as if Keith said something especially stupid.  “Don’t be dense, Red.  How could I forget my own Consort?  I’m not the one who ran off to play space pirates with your little rebel friends.”

“No,” Keith turns around steps over Lotor to glare down at him, “Don’t you try turning this on me!  After what you did!   That… that mind whammy nonsense!”

Lotor sits up on his elbows, “I don’t know what you mean.  Honestly, you’re making up words now.”

“No, I’m not!”  Keith fists his hands at his side, frustrated as hell. “You know what you did!  The pinky purple thingy with the hand!  That was you!”

Lotor gets up and crowds Keith until his knees hit the bed.  He gives him a little shove and bends down to snap, “That was to help you calm down!  You were all over the damn place, and I needed you to understand.  I needed you to trust me, and you didn’t!  You flew off and allowed my one chance to capture the witch and control the situation get away!  Do you know what I’ve been through because of you?!”

Keith pouts, “I take it your side’s not winning the civil war.”

“There is no civil war now!  My father is awake!  They’ve dismissed my service!  I’m scrambling to hold everything together.  They even sent generals and envoys to my sectors to expropriate them for the empire.  All my work is being undone.  The Free systems are over before it could start!”

Keith looks down, wondering if he made the wrong call listening to the Lions.  “I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to cause all that.  If you’d just tell me the damn truth…”

Lotor shakes his head and steps away, “It’s no use.  And I’m not here to squabble with you about the past, however damaging your judgment’s been to my legacy.”  He takes a deep breath while pinching the bridge of his nose.  “Now take off your clothes.”

Keith stares at him, “You.  Asshole.”

 

Chapter Text

“Don’t look at me like that,” says Lotor while stripping out his suit.  Keith stares at him like he’s grown a second head and Lotor scoffs, “I’m at the end of my cycle.  And courting you disrupted my baseline.  Therefore….”

“No.  No!  You don’t get to throw pseudo sex-ed ‘I wrote the book on Galra Sex’ at me this time.  I’m getting the others.  And you’re answering some questions!”

Lotor knocks him over, “You, irresponsible little shit!  You have a duty to me as my bondmate!”

“We are not married, asshole!  And even if we were, I wouldn’t have to sex you up just because you said so!  Go back to Eche and let Ruse and frog guy and the rest of the hybrid harem service you, Your Majesty.”

“First of all,” says Lotor in his especially annoying, superior voice, “They wouldn’t dare after your last display of rightful conquest.  Remember that?  And secondly… I can’t.  Eche was recaptured and I’ll be arrested as soon as I step foot on the planet.”

Keith stares up at him.  “What did you do!?  No.  I’m not getting into this here.  I’m getting the others and your ass is getting thrown in a cell until this is figured out.”

“I’m in a great deal of discomfort and you want to lock me up with those barbarous rebel spies!”

“Well!  Duh!”

Lotor growls and tackles Keith onto the bed, lining their bodies up until Keith can feel the impression of his hard cock.  “This isn’t going away until it's dealt with, and I don’t want anyone but you.  Do you think your little friends won’t take the opportunity to intrude on the bond?  If you have me locked up, I’ll be in no position to protect myself.  That’s a fact.”

“They’re not like that.  We’re the good guys.”

“You’re Galra!  And they are old warriors and fighting to the death for the chance mark up an enemy like me is not out of the realm of possibility.  Do you want that on your head too?”

Keith shakes his head, “Stop.  Just stop.”  He pushes Lotor gently on the chest until he sits up and gives him air.  Keith sighs, “Okay I think you’re just trying to manipulate me.  I’m used to it.  But that was a new low.”

“I’m not—”

“Quiet!”  Keith sits up and holds Lotor by the chin.  “You don’t have to… Look at me.  I missed you.   I wanted to know you were okay and I left my team to come out here and stalk your shady ass.  Be honest with me.  And promise me, you’re not going to hurt my friends.  You’re not going to steal anything or sabotage our mission.  You’ll leave…”

“Whatever you want--”

Keith shakes him until he quiets.  “If you give me any more reason to doubt you, Lotor, I swear.  I will run you through with my bayard.  This isn’t a game.  Promise me.”

Lotor sits still in his lap, and whispers, “I promise.”

“You’re not just saying that to get in my pants.”

“I’m entirely saying that to get in your pants.”

“Lotor!”

“You said to be honest!  But my promise stands.  I won’t blow this ship up or attack their network or anything else.  Despite it being in my right to do so.  Just as long as they stay out of my way.  I promise.”

Keith sighs. That's as close to an assurance as he's going to get.  He nods and slides his hand down, feeling Lotor’s pulse before pulling him down for a kiss.  Just a soft press of lips that turns deeper.  Lotor holds himself back and lets Keith takes the lead.  The stealth suits are great for sneaking in and out of bases, but kind of cumbersome to get in and out of quickly.  He drops his chest plate on the floor and wiggles free from the top of his suit while Lotor climbs off the bed and does the same.  Keith sighs, “You didn’t just mind whammy me into giving in, did you?”

Lotor peels away his clothes while fixating on Keith’s bare skin.  Keith has to snap to get his attention.  “What? Oh, no.  I told you, I’m not a natural with my Altean abilities.”  Keith realizes the tail has vanished and Lotor eyes droop like he’s a little tired.  “Shape-shifting and magic both take a lot out of me.  If I were going to waste energy on doing both of them, I’d have to supplement first.  And I hardly had time to formulate any quintessence.”  He finishes and just stands there, naked and hard until Keith catches up with him. 

“Okay,” says Keith after he’s done and sits up to curled over with his arms wrapped around his knees.  “It’s been a while.  And I haven’t been with anyone but you… so take it slow okay.  Like the first time.”

“I would never…”

“I know.  I’m just letting you know.”  He starts to turn over but Lotor holds him by the shoulders and kneels between his legs.  Keith lets out a shaky sigh and grins.  “You have a problem with oral fixation, you know that?”

“Mmhm,” mumbles Lotor.  He licks at Keith’s cock while it starts to get hard and sucks on the head.  He groans while reaching under himself and stroking his own heavy cock.  Keith watches with his knees parted, wondering if he has the patience and restraint Lotor did their first few times together.  Lotor moans again while swallowing him to root and Keith’s eyes flutter shut while he falls back on the bed and enjoys the attention.

To be honest, he was already a tight coil of tension just before Lotor showed up.  Regris is so frank about things and much more forthcoming than Kolivan about Galra sex.  He had confirmed that all Galra have fertility cycles where they’re more likely to fall pregnant.  Even certain males.  And that last thought has Keith’s eyes open and his knees shut. 

“Ah!”

“Sorry,” says Keith.  He pushes Lotor back.  “Just um, a thought.”

“About clapping my ears?”  Lotor sits up and rubs the side of his head while frowning down at Keith. 

“You’re not trying to get me pregnant?”

“We’ve been over this.”

“And what about you?  Can you um, do the carry thing?”

Lotor shrugs, “Perhaps.  It’s feasible.”  He climbs up and hovers over Keith’s cock.  “But with everything before me, do you really think I’d want to do so now?  I just want your cock, Little Red.”  Keith is still not sure who’s being called little red.  Him or the cock.  Lotor lowers himself with shaking thighs.  He sighs when he’s full of Keith, “Oh yes.  Don’t worry about little monsters in the making and whatnot, Keith.  I need you and I don’t plan on sharing you with anyone.  Now, fuck me…”

It’d be rude to make the guy ask twice, reasons Keith.


 

It’s getting close to time for his morning drills.  And there’s a critical mission briefing on the agenda.  Despite the dozing prince in his arms, Keith does have stuff to do today.  He gives Lotor a shake, “Hey.  Your Majesty.”  Lotor smiles with his eyes closed and rolls over to hide his face in Keith’s chest.  Keith sighs while combing his fingers through the white hair.  “Babe, come on.  I need you to get dress and get the hell out of here.”

“Rrhohgrrr."

“What?”  Keith shakes Lotor again until he rolls back on his side and stretches with a wide Cheshire cat grin.  He arches and stretches his back with a groan before settling, with a deep sigh.  Keith smiles down at him.  “Yeah.  I did I good work, huh.”

“Mmhmm,” smiles Lotor.

“But you still have to get the fuck out my bed.”

Lotor frowns a little, “Now?  Didn’t you lock the blasted door?”

“Yeah, but it doesn’t matter.  If Regris wants to get in here and make me run the length ship, he’ll have no problem getting in.”

“Pah,” says Lotor with a wave of his hand.  “He’ll be out for hours.”

“It’s been hours.  I’ve done my… bondmate duty.  And you are very welcomed by the way.  But now ya gotta go.”  He slaps Lotor on the ass and starts to sit up.

Lotor grabs him by the arm and pulls him into a hug.  “I don’t want to move.  And you’re not going anywhere.  I’m not done with you yet.”  He nips at Keith’s ear.  “You can make it easier on the both of us and just come with me.”

“No, I’m not abandoning the mission…”

“What mission?”  He combs his fingers through Keith’s hair and kisses him at the temple.  “Following me around and stealing what I would freely give you?  Come with me.  I’ll tell you everything.  I’ll show you everything.  I’m so close to having everything, no matter what my father or Haggar thinks.  And what they don’t know,” he grins and sits up excitedly.  “Let me trust you with this knowledge, Keith.  Come with me.”

Keith mulls the thought over.  “I promised to come home after the next mission…”

“Where?”

“What do you mean where?”

“Don’t look at me like that, I’m the one you’re spying on.  I’m trying to save you time.  Where?”

Keith frowns.  That does make an odd kind of sense.  “Sector 6-0-1.”

“The Ackranium supply line to Maura.  Done.  I’ll send you all the details.”

“The fuck?”

“It’s called cooperation, Keith.  I’ll support our allies and you’ll hurry along with your tedious business and come back to me.”

“Wait.  No.  It’s not as simple as that.”

“Why not?  There’s no rule saying we have to struggle against chosen roles to be together.  I am the sole heir of the Galra Empire, and I will do as I please.  I am no cardboard cutout villain in some Unilu space mall matinee.  I am me.”

Keith kisses him on the forehead.  “Okay.  I hear you.  I’ll take that intel to Kolivan, but you still have to leave.  I’m not explaining this…”

“Done.  You see how easy this is.  Ask me to blow up a moon.  Or ask me to walk on fire, next.”

Keith grins, “I get it, asshole.  I um…”  He smiles softly before kissing Lotor on lips and staring in his eyes, “Yeah.  Me too.”

“Not quite all the words yet.  But I’ll take that.”  Lotor sits up and snaps his fingers.  There’s a flashy spark and he grins while Keith pretends not to be impressed.  He laughs out loud, “Fine.  My stoic, love.  Be that way.  But this,” he says opening his palm, “Is yours.”

Keith looks down at the little circlet, too small to be a ring and pouts, unexpectedly disappointed.  “What is it?”

Lotor gives him a patient look, before pulling the thing apart, either with magic or technology until it’s a familiar diadem.  “You left it.  Again.”

Keith rolls his eyes and pushes Lotor’s hand away, “What is it with you and these stupid things?”

Lotor’s hand shakes and pulls away, “Not a stupid thing… I declared in front everyone and this is yours,” he says sadly.  “I want you to have it.” 

Keith grabs him by the wrists and takes the circlet.  “Okay.”


 

 

Keith’s not sure of how Lotor got out of the command ship.  He gets cleaned up and heads for the training room, pretending he didn’t just spend the night fucking his boyfriend senseless.  He’s surprised to find Regris and Kolivan already there.  Kolivan appears to be checking the back of Regris’ head.  “I don’t see anything there now.  Best to hose your room down, though.  You, ah,” he coughs into his hand.  “May need to stay in my room for a few nights to be sure.”

Regris puts his mask back on but Keith has a feeling he’s smiling under it, “Understood, sir.  I’ll issue a ship-wide alert.”  He turns to Keith.  “Ah, there you little friend.  I discovered a dream parasite in my quarters this morning.  They’re harmless but terribly annoying.  You ever heard of Hesian Bed Bugs?” 

Keith shakes his head and settles in for a long lecture about space microbes and parasites and other things that stow on long flights to annoy people.  They talk all the way back to the bridge.  Keith is actually quite into it when he remembers the reason Regris thinks there’s infestation, is his duplicitous boyfriend snuck on the ship.  “Right, right.  Um about our mission to 6-0-1?”

Kolivan starts to pull up their route data, “What about it, Paladin?  Have you new intel from the Castle Lion?”

“Not exactly…”  Keith sighs.  He weighs lying now against telling the truth.  And something in his chest gets tight and he imagines the voice of Black Lion urging him to be honest from far away.  So, he bites the bullet, “Lotor was here.”

“What!”  Regris closes down everything while Kolivan pulls out his blade and holds it to Keith’s neck. 

Keith raises his hand, “I didn’t let him in or anything.  He snuck in to see me.  It’s the end of his cycle.  And um… you know.  But that’s not the end of it.  Look, I think he made a fair point.  We’re spying on him when he can just tell us what’s going on, right?  He said the supply line in 6-0-1 is trafficking Ackranium to someplace called Maura.  He didn’t say why he needs it though.  If you still want to check it out…”

“No!  We’re not walking into the enemy’s hands on your words.  Your judgment is clouded.”  Kolivan keeps his blade up but Regris steps up between them.

“Wait,” says Regris.  “Hear him out.  If you and I were separated as they are…”

“I would not abandon protocol to simply be with you.”

Regris falls away and Keith knocks the blade out of Kolivan’s hand.  “Did you hear yourself?  He’s not just a soldier or your second in command!  How could you say that!”

“I’m not just being, cruel, Paladin.”  Kolivan turns to the Regris, “This is bigger than anyone’s feelings.  And we were both trained to know that.  Your brothers and sisters knew that.  And I had hoped you’d never be in the position…. But you are now with Antok’s fall…”  Regris gives him a nod and something passes between them, that Keith can’t see.  But Kolivan turns back to Keith, “I don’t think we can trust any feelings from your union.  And I still think breaking the hold he has over you would best.  But if he came here… just to see you.  That implicates the hold isn’t as one-sided as I thought.  Perhaps we can use this intel after all.”

Keith crosses his arms and sighs in relief.  At least he’s not being thrown in a brig for now. “Okay then.   To Maura.”


 

Maura is not what he expected.  It’s a small planet with dense clouds and an icy ring and moon system.

The people on the surface are enslaved, and it appears to be under control by an army loyal to Zarkon, not Lotor.  But while scouting for a safe place to surveil the planet, they notice the trafficking data actually leads to space at the poles of one the moons.  “I don’t know what he’s doing there.  Let me go ahead first and check it out.”

“I’ll go with you,” says Regris.  “Kolivan can extract us if we need an out.” 

Keith nods and puts on his mask and follows Regris out. 

They use their jetpacks to reach the moon and hover over some of the ring’s asteroids while tracking Pidge’s tracer.  “There,” says Regris when their mark finally arrives.  Its small and flies straight for the pole while Zarkon’s official ships seem to ignore it.  “It’s cloaked.  But transmitting that code he gave you.”

Keith nods, “Lotor said if we’d waited, we see.  Let’s wait.”

The ship vanishes in a glowing blue ring.  Regris gasps, “What was that?”

“An invisible ship disappearing from radar entirely… Man, I don’t know.  That damn idiot.  He always telling me half the story.  But whatever it is, he’s going to use it against Zarkon.  My worry is…”

“The Maurans.  Does he even care?”

“I… honestly don’t know,” sighs Keith.  “Let’s go back and report to Kolivan and the coalition.”

 

Chapter Text

There’s a new face when they hail the Castle of Lions.  Keith smiles, “Pidge.  You did it.”

“I sure did!”  She throws her arms around her brother, “This is Matt!  You won’t believe how cool he is now!  He’s even cooler than Shiro!  He’s like a tech ninja without the robot arm!”

Shiro seems to pale behind them and offers up an awkward smile, “I’m right here.”

Matt seems to agree with his sister, “We know.”  Shiro seems to shrink the background in the background but Pidge punches his shoulder before hanging off his prosthetic while he laughs.  Matt grins at them then turns to Keith, “So you’re the other brother I’ve been hearing about.  I remember you from the garrison.  It's nice to see you again, Keith.  I hear you’re a super spy now.  And married or something.  Congrats.”

“Thanks, but I’m not… oh, never mind.  Look. We went to Maura and we still don’t know what’s going on.  Do you think it’ll interfere with the plans to take Naxella?”

Slav appears out of nowhere on the screens.  “Can I just say, now, in this moment, I’ve never hated you all more?  I just want to be on the record that in almost every reality foreseen, you all come to the same dumb and heroic conclusion, and I for one, do not approve, no matter what the outcome.  I was really hoping this one would be a miss, but darn if I didn’t wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning!”

Coran walks out of view and returns with a burlap sack, dumps it over Slav’s head and throws the ranting alien over his shoulder.  “Ignore him.  He’s been like that since you said you were even humperdinking over there the other morning.”  He points a finger at Kolivan, “I expected better supervision from you!”  Kolivan’s shoulders slump but he doesn’t answer for failing to keep Keith’s pants up.

Slav thrashes in the bag while Coran walks back off.

Shiro sighs, “Well moving forward, then.  The coalition is ready.  I wish you were here with this, but I’m glad we can count on your support.”

Kolivan nods, “Let’s get everyone into place.  But…”  He turns to Keith, “I think it better not to tell the Prince about the blitz.”

Keith bristles, “I didn’t!”  Everyone continues to stare at him and he throws his hands up, “I mean it!  I haven’t!”  He crosses his arms and pouts, “And I’m not planning to.  Let’s take this system.  If he wants to talk peace when it’s over he’s free to do so.  Right?”

Kolivan and Shiro share an unconvinced look through the screens.  Shiro answers, “Well.  We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.  We’ll see you see soon.  Over and out.”

Keith hopes they all make it through next challenge.  When he retires to his rooms that night he turns the diadem in his hand and watches intergalactic news feeds on his computer.  Team Voltron with Allura playing ‘Keith’ makes him smile.  He misses his team more than they can know.  And if anyone asks he was not crying.  But he’s proud they’ve all come so far and are planning to really push back against the Empire. 

The news floating through the sector varies, but there’s a lot of focus on the war.  There’s a call to arms across the galaxy to assist the coalition.  Interviews with people happy to enlist.  Interviews with people bitter about the rebel interference.  And snippets of stories about the Lost Prince.

Keith sits up on his bed and watches a 30-tick special about Lotor called, ‘The Fall From Power’.

“Things went downhill, for the only son of Zarkon when he was radicalized by one of the Paladins of Voltron.”  Keith pouts, as the clip shows video of him speaking at the conference and continues with, “And here is the odd-looking Pilot after their unofficial marriage.  The main contention between father and son, perhaps.  Lotor is known to have kept company with other races, species, and hybrid Galra all his life.  He turns his nose up at pure Galra.  The fact is, Lotor has chosen an enemy to wed instead of the late Queen Merla.  After their unofficiated wedding, Voltron murdered both Merla and Princess Eiuri of Plimkia.   As it stands, every Galra citizen has a duty to turn in both the traitor Prince and his enemy Consort.”

Keith turns the thing off and lays back.  He puts a pillow on his face and screams before sitting up and beating the fluff out the pillow.  He gives up as his mess settles and lays back down, sobs and falls asleep.


 

Rallying multiple systems and planets across a third of the Galra’s territory is hard work to do quickly, but they have no choice.  Constant communication is key.  Keith checks in on the rebels lining up to take the second Zaiforge cannon.  “Matt, you guys ready?”

Matt appears to be tinkering with something on his ship while a crew member answers for him, “Ribbit.  Ribbit.  Roger that, Star Fox.”  He gives Keith a thumb up, “I designed our new blasters myself.  We’ll take that cannon, no problem.  Ribbit.”

“Slip, dude,” says Matt.  “I need a little space here.”  The toad man walks away and Matt shakes his head.  “That guy.  He is the worst pilot.  But he does make a mean blaster.”

Keith laughs, “We can’t all be polyglot genius ninjas code-breakers, Matt.”  He gives Matt a warm smile, “Look.  I have this thing… um. Could you help me with it?”

“Sure.”

Keith feels just behind his ear, where’s he keeping the circlet around a lock of hair.  He scans the Galra etched on it and sends it along.  “It’s not a big deal or anything.  I just can’t seem to translate it on my own.”

“Whoa.  That’s a shocker.”

“You’re definitely Pidge’s brother.”

Matt laughs, “No I mean the text.  It’s old.  Like Galra Middle Earth old.  Um… heck.  I’m going to need to look up different sources to decipher this. It might be a while.  And with everything going on…”

“Yeah, it's fine.  Like I said.  It’s not a big deal.  Take your time.  We have a war to fight.”  Keith feels a little stupid for bothering Matt with something personal, but he didn’t feel comfortable taking it to Regris or Kolivan.  They talk about making sure the long-distance systems for tracking each other accurately during the battle works.  And then wish each other luck before signing off.

 


 

A few days later the offensive against the Empire starts off well.  They take several systems at once, with Naxella at the center of their crazy plan to disconnect the region from the Galra central command.  But as the battle wears on, Keith opts to join the main fray and assist Matt and the rebels.

Which is how Keith finds himself alone in a ship barreling towards Haggar’s command ship.  His life flashes before his eyes.  He sees himself as a kid.  He sees himself at the garrison and the first boy he kissed.  He sees himself fighting the gauntlet to earn his blade.  He hears the others calling him back.  Matt screaming on the com but he keeps heading for the shield.  He starts to set his ship to autodestruct.  He might as well get a big bang out of his sacrifice.

And then.  Everything stops.  He freezes as a strange ship appears out of nowhere and fires on Haggar.  Keith overrides the self-destruct and stares up at Lotor’s ship.  “What?  You?  Where did you come from?”

"We have much to discuss,” says Lotor. He whizzes past Keith and the rebels for Naxella.

The coalition rallies on the surface while techs and dismantle the terraformer.

Keith lands his ship just as Matt and the rebels do.  He climbs out and runs over to his team.  Hunk catches him in a bear hug, “You tiny little hothead!  Don’t you ever, ever, ever, ever…”

“I get it,” pants Keith.  He feels crushed but Hunk doesn’t let up.

“EVER!!! Do that again.”  Hunk ends his hug with a gentle headbutt and he pinches Keith’s cheeks.  “Man.  It’s been a long day.  My stomach can’t take any more days like this.  Or stunts like that.  I’m not even hungry.”

“Hunk!”  Calls Shay as she climbs out of a ship with her brother, “Are you alright!  We took P-Order9!  And I’ve got cakes to celebrate!”

Hunk runs off and Keith breathes easier.  He watches as Matt and Pidge hug and cries together while Allura and Coran walk over to him.  Allura bows, “Thank you for trying to save us.  I’m glad you’re still… you didn’t…”  Her eyes well up with tears and Keith sighs as he ends up with an armful of the princess.  She sobs and subtly wipes her nose with the hood of his suit.  “I’m so glad you’re okay.”

Keith swats her hand, “I didn’t do anything.  Lotor saved us.  He’s on the run from Zarkon now.  Can we…”

She nods, “We can at least hear him out.  Shiro’s gone to meet his ship in the east landing bay.  It might be too much to have him out in the open with the coalition.”

“I understand.”  He gives her hand a squeeze before trying to run off.  Only to trip over a blue helmet.

“Didn’t think you’d get by with that showy piece of heroism did you?”  He punches Keith in the shoulder, “I’m tired of you trying to upstage me all the time, Mullet-head.”

Keith rolls his eyes, “I’m glad you’re okay too.”

“Yeah well.”  Lance pouts and claps Keith on the shoulder.  “At least there’s that.  Good talk.”  He starts to walk off and Keith grins.  He yanks Lance and dips the taller young man and kisses him full on the mouth. 

When Keith lets Lance up, there’s applause from somewhere and laughter from Pidge and Matt.  Lance looks stunned blushing while stammering.  Keith kisses him on the nose, “Just in case, you know.  Now you can say you’ve been kissed by a hero.”  He winks and runs off to while Lance curses after him in Spanish.

 


 

 

Keith finds Shiro and Lotor where Allura said they’d be, but standing close and speaking quietly.  They shake hands and Shiro nods at Keith before saluting them both and walking away.

Keith jogs over, “What was that?”

Lotor flips his hair over his shoulder and smiles, “That was two men coming to an agreement.  I’m going to do all that I can to help you bring the Empire down, but he’s agreed to offer me refuge.  Given what's in my cargo hold, he was unsurprisingly agreeable.  As of right now, my father has most of the known universe out to kill me.  I know I have supporters out there, but it will take time to find them all.”

Keith looks down at feet, feeling strangely shy.  “So, you’re going to be around for a while…”

Lotor tilts his chin up and gives him the same smug smile, “What do you think?”

“Don’t answer my question with a question,” starts Keith.  “You know I hate that.”

Lotor rolls his eyes, “You’re the most stubborn and irascible person I’ve ever met.”  He leans in to kiss Keith on the lips, “But I love you enough to ignore your many flaws.  You’re young yet.  There’s a chance you’ll grow out of them.”

“Gee thanks, asshole.”  Keith bites down Lotor’s bottom lip, “So ah… you want to move in with me?” 

He pulls away and holds out his hand.  Lotor takes it, answering with a smile and they head for the Castle.  A few steps in and Lotor stops.  “Wait.  Does this mean we’re both be sharing that closet?”

“Lotor…”

“I wish to speak to the Princess at once. We must have better accommodation.”

“You’re such a dick.”  Lotor smirks, and Keith cuts him off, “And no.  That wasn’t an Earth compliment.”