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Koi No Yokan

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Marmora was 286, young for a Galran, but old for one who had been involved in the war since it had started. Probably one of the last.

 

The days of Altea and the paladins of Voltron had long since passed, the lions presumed to be destroyed along with the planet itself. Zarkons evil was steadily spreading throughout the universe, like black ink in water, sucking away all the light. The Galran Resistance, once a raging fire to be reckoned with was slowly being snuffed out.

 

The spark of hope, the link to the old days, when peace and justice reigned, was slowly but surely being severed. All that the paladins, all that Altea and his family had stood and died for was on the verge of becoming nothing but a legend, a myth, a soon to be forgotten echo of the past.

 

Maybe that’s why he did it; maybe that’s why he suggested this plan. (It definitely is.)

 

But, Marmora of house Norogae was 286 years old and he has nothing left to lose and that is why he volunteered.

 

******

 

The bombs had been set and an entire fleet was heading towards Saddra’s second moon, the last base of the Galran rebellion.

 

The escape shuttles had left quintents ago.

 

Carrying in them the last of the rebellion, all heading for different corners of the universe to start their silent cold war against Zarkons rule. The base remained, now just an empty shell, a haunted corpse with a sole Galran walking its halls.

 

He’d been chosen (volunteered, requested, demanded…there were many ways to look at it)- to stay behind.

 

Someone had to. Someone had to make sure the computers didn’t crash, giving away the fake life signs that came up on the Emperial fleets’ sensors, revealing that there was in fact but one person on the moon. Someone had to make sure that the mines hidden in the moons debris rings blew up AFTER some ships had managed to land and send in ground troops, when the fleet was in range and not before. Someone had to watch and wait, until as many fighters and troops as possible were in the surface, close to the base, close enough to be vaporized. Torn apart, atom by atom. Someone had to push the right buttons.

 

Someone had to stay behind to die.

 

Marmora had said he’d do it. No one had dared try to stop him.

 

*******

 

"The Rebellion can’t go on like this-" Someone laughed, the sound was shrill and carried throughout the chamber, piercing the heavy silence. "What Rebellion? We’re no rebellion. Not anymore." The voice dripped with bitterness, the tone of one who had already jumped head first into resigned despair.

 

And the truth was, as much as everyone present wanted to deny, they were right.

 

This particular group of rebels, formed by those of their race who had opposed Zarkons tyranny from the earliest stage, who had fought alongside soldiers of the Altea Core Alliance itself, was fast reaching its end. It had been years since it had first been formed, all but one of the original members now buried in a battlefield grave. Their forces and supplies were so low in numbers that they’d had to evacuate several bases and now only two major HQ’s remained. Even those….how long would they last? They were being hunted down like pigs for slaughter.

 

The silence was then broken by dozens of voices speaking all at once, practically screaming to be heard over each other. Eventually the shouting died down to faint murmurs, though how long that would have taken was anyone’s guess; yet there was no neat solution to be found of the multiple conversations that had just taken place. They were back to square one.

 

"Perhaps we don’t have to be a rebellion."

 

The entire assembly collectively turned towards the speaker, all a bit startled, for it was Marmora who had spoken.

 

Marmora of house Norogae, last surviving founder of the rebellion.

 

There was silence as everyone waited for the legendary warrior to continue. It was such a rare occurrence nowadays; for Marmora to speak. Marmora was still very young, and in perfectly good health, but he seldom if ever spoke, barely functioned as little more than a machine. A ghost of his former self. It had been so ever since Aviden….

 

Despite being one of the top heads of the rebellion, he was usually silent and reserved, only ever bothered speaking when absolutely necessary, as if doing so physically exerted him more than his rigorous training schedule. He fought, commanded his troops in battle, and really; that was probably the most normal he ever got close to being. Not that anyone really knew that, those who had known him when he’d been more than a shell of a man were long gone.

 

But the point was, general Marmora didn’t talk; thus when he did, people listened. Because whatever prompted the legend out of his own head was bound to be at least a little important.

 

"Maybe we don’t have to be a rebellion," he repeated more surely. "Not in the traditional sense." He raised his fierce amber gaze to sweep over every Galran in the room.

 

"Zarkons army is strong, and getting stronger. Realistically speaking, attacking their bases is useless. It causes us more harm that it does the empire. Statistically, three in five of our direct assaults fail. At this rate, any opposition to the empire will be killed off not too long from now,"

 

It was a fact; most of the other planets followed the rebellions lead. If they were to be eliminated, any resistance would die out not long afterwards.

 

"But most of our stealth ops, those are far more successful. Our recon and sabotage missions are more efficient and though they don’t deal as massive a blow as a direct assault would…. it’s still something. And considering our resources, it’s our best option." Marmora knew he was rambling; he wasn’t really good with words, words that would appease a dozen different personalities. Words that would make plain to them what he meant and why.

 

Voltron, he hated talking.

 

"Maybe the rebellion is not meant to succeed, at least not this way. We’re the only thing that keeps hope alive in the universe, ensuring that resistance to Zarkon and his empire carries on is our main mission. And to do that if we have to become a secret organization, then so be it."

 

He raises his voice to be heard over the murmurs that have broken out amongst the generals, commanders, lieutenants and other such officers.

 

"Our best option is to retreat, to disappear. Make the empire think that the rebellion is dead while we regroup and become stronger. Infiltrate their ranks and bring them down from the inside, take information to smaller opposition groups. I know it seems cowardly and goes against the Galran way, but it’s either that or we allow ourselves to be completely destroyed. Taking away the remnants of the universes hope with us."

 

Marmora all but falls back into his seat; not that anyone notices, too busy discussing what had just been said. He really hated talking, he always had but now it was especially draining. But he refused to let hope die out, refused to let everyone who’d died die in vain.

 

He wouldn’t ever know it, but his words had kept hope alive.

 

*******

 

Once, Marmora’s world had been lonely, and dark. Devoid of color. His childhood had been spent surviving, even after he’d become closer to his brother, he’d felt everything like one hears sound when submerged in water.

 

But Alaren had changed that. With him had come vibrancy and sound that he hadn’t known existed. Alaren had breathed life into his monotone world, had taught him what warmth was. Lying beneath the stars, Alarens smaller hand clasped in his, he’d been so so in love. He remembered listening to Alarens hopes and dreams before, when they’d just been friends, he remembered telling the Altean his own. And slowly but surely their futures had started to merge together, until they’d been impossibly, inseparably intertwined.

 

They’d had so many plans back then.

 

Before the surprise of Aviden had come along, and even after. So many places to take their little family. And in the quite joy and peace that had followed Alarens revelation of his second pregnancy, they’d talked and imagined how their family would grow.

 

Such simple mundane thoughts back then; what color scheme should be chosen for the nursery, names, where they’d take their next vacation, what to do for Allura’s birthday…such small inconsequential things. There were things that Marmora didn’t really even try to remember back then. But now, as his memory started to make edges sharper and voices higher or lower, he clung to the memories like a dying man clings to life.

 

******

 

He always looks at his holo’s of his family, no matter how painful it is. Because he’s rather go through the pain than let time fade the memory of those blue eyes.

 

*********

 

The absence had been glaring, obvious, unbearable in the beginning.

 

The pain raw and seemingly never ending. The loss so great, too great to ignore, too great for his soul to EVER forget. It constantly tore at Mamoras heart, an ever-present pain that he’d grown used to over the years. A hole in his heart, in his mind, in his soul that had once been filled with soothing presence of his mate. A broken bond that he would have to bear, one of the many. There were others, one for his father and another for his beloved little Amara.

 

The last bond he had had was with his son, Aviden. His little baby boy, whom he and Alaren had raised with such love, who had eyes as blue as his fathers. Aviden was the only thing that had kept him sane, kept him grounded. He was the only reason all that Marmora had continued to exist, tampered by grief and lost but still very much himself.

 

Honestly it made cruel sort of sense that the universe decided to take his son from him as well.

 

**********

 

When he had been alive, Alaren was known to be a self sacrificing idiot. Always taking fire that had been meant for the other paladins, always trying to get himself killed in the name of the greater good when there was clearly and alternative which didn’t involve him dying. (Sue him if Marmora had thought in some far corner of his mind that it was endearing.) (Sue him twice since he couldn’t exactly talk.)

 

In short; both Alaren and Marmora had been self sacrificing, throwing themselves into danger (Marmora especially.)

 

It was one of his greatest regrets that that character trait had been passed on to Avi.

 

Maybe if he hadn’t inherited that particular stupidity he wouldn’t have thrown himself in the line of fire, maybe he wouldn’t have gotten shot in the lungs. Maybe he wouldn’t have choked on his blood and fallen, cracking his head against the wall. Maybe his father wouldn’t have to be running through the halls trying to get to the rendezvous point carrying his dying son in his arms.

 

Marmomra met up with Delta squad and they scrambled onto the ship, someone died before they took off, Marmora knows this though he didn’t know who it was. He was too busy strapping Avi in and raiding the med kit for something, anything that would keep him alive till they got him to a proper doctor. "No don’t close your eyes!
You’re going to stay awake and you’re going to be fine. We just ha-"

 

The ship shuddered. "Marmora the hit fried the targeting system! You’ve gotta hook it up to the spare wires of I’m shooting blind!!" Verin yells from the cockpit. Marmora swears, and finishes tying a bandage around Avi’s head, placing a kiss on the little patch of white left in his hair before heading over to help get them the hell away from their pursuers.

 

They’re finally able to wormhole away, and he’s smiling the first moment they drop out on the other side of the portal, but then he feels it. It’s for a second a creeping sense of dread and pure fear, and then it’s a second or an eternity of pain and he’s left with nothing. Nothing but emptiness. ‘no, No, NO!!!’ He thinks as he runs out of the cockpit, Verin right behind him.

 

Avidens hair was white. Always has been.

 

White as the sheets of snow that covered the mountains of the Eastern lands of Altea. White like the ridi blossoms that bloomed once every three years, covering the walkways with their fallen petals. White as the silky memorial robes the royal family donned for mourning. White like his fathers.

 

The white strands had once been long, grown out over the years to be tied up in different styles, first by Alaren and then by Avi himself. Mamora hadn't really done much beyond brushing both his son and husbands hair. But he'd marveled at the softness while combing it, enjoying the love and intimacy that came with the action.

 

Now, Avidens white hair was splattered with red.

 

The red seeped from the rights side of his head and inked its way into the rest of his hair. Marring the pure white with dark blood. It wasn't a bright red, but a red that leaned towards purple but just wasn't. It was the combining of the blue blood of an Altean and the dark mauve of a Galran.

 

The blue eyes which once held so much life in them were dead.

 

Frozen in one final emotion which Marmora could not name. The cheek markings had dulled, and the fiery life that seemed to seep from every cell of Avi's being...was gone...

 

His son was dead.

 

Never in his 216 years had he felt so cold, so hollow, and never again would he have the capacity to feel so utterly broken.

 

And Marmora will remember for the rest of his days how he kept thinking; ‘It can’t be true. It’s NOT true! You can’t take him away from me! Please don’t take him away from me.’

 

He’ll remember promising gods and goddesses he never believed him that he’d do anything, anything if they’d not take his baby away from him. He remembers most of all, exactly how he felt when the hollowness of another broken bond truly settled, when he saw Aviden dead. The savage scream that was ripped out Marmora’s throat upon seeing his son’s corpse made Verins blood turn to ice, and that sad, sad sound would stay with him forever.

 

He’ll never forget that pain. After all, it’s a feeling he’s been carrying around ever since.

 

********

 

Alaren's eyes were the blue of the Altean sea's, shifting under the light and pulling Marmora in, bringing him peace as he drowned in them, in the love and warmth that his beloved had showered him in.

 

Aviden's eyes were like that too, so many shades of blue under the light.

 

In happier times he'd loved to watch his husband and his son side by side, to see bits of Alaren and himself in their little boy. And then later in the dark and shadow filled years, where the grief and the anger threatened to consume him, Avidens eyes, so much like his fathers were the only thing that had kept him sane.

 

The only rock that had stopped him from drowning in the sea of emotion that Alaren had brought him to.

 

But those eyes were long gone and Marmora had long since sunk to the cold, dark depths of the ocean floor.

 

***********

 

They don’t really talk about them much, he and Aviden. Recalling the years of memories filled with Alarens vibrant smiles and loving presence and the few desperate hours of watching and seeing how wonderful Amaranthine could have been were just too painful. It was the kind of pain that many in the universe would come to know. The pain of losing everything and having to bear its memory.

 

The pain of surviving.

 

It was hard to bear when you remembered, almost unbearable…. So they didn’t really talk about them, or Allura or Ixchel or Alfor or any of the Alteans, a race that had died out so long ago…

 

********

 

He thinks of his brother sometimes, he mourns him. He had been a good man, and Marmora wonders sometimes, in the dead of night, if there had been anything he could have done to save him. Sometimes he wonders what had he done to save him? It doesn’t really matter in the end; his brother is dead.

 

That monster that sits on some twisted throne, watching as millions die at his command? That thing isn’t his brother.

.

.

.

He thinks of his brother sometimes; and sometimes he dares to wonder if that thing that was once his brother thinks of him.

 

**********

 

Marmora is 156 when Altea is destroyed.

 

The once paradise planet. The center of the Core Alliance, was now gone. Torn apart by Zarkons latest weapon. Now the Alteans along with their world were nothing but dust, to be scattered by the cosmic winds. No more was Altea, with its luscious forests, endless blue lakes and spiraling high rises, not even left was the land ravaged by over a decade of war. Now, where Altea had once been, was nothing.

 

Nothing but space.

 

Nothing but pain.

 

Marmora had held Avi as he’d cried. Marmora would cry too, but as a Galran he’s physically unable to do so. His son however, is half Altean. They both hold onto each other for dear life, they’re all they have left. Aviden had exhausted his energy and had passed out a while ago, but Marmora knows that he’ll cry again when he wakes up.

 

He feels so much, just like his father.

 

They’ll mourn together for years to come, he and Avi, for Altea had once been their home too.

 

********

 

Marmora doesn’t talk to his family much, honestly it’s more because of time constraints that anything else. As a founding member of the Rebellion there’s a lot he needs to do, it’s good in a way.

 

It keeps him from thinking too much. Makes sure he’s not too in his head that he loses sight of what’s important. Honestly he’s not a leader, so he leaves that to people like Yaddeith and Balia and instead focuses on training new recruits and managing their supplies. But all of it adds up and he doesn’t really have time, so he doesn’t talk to his family.

 

And though he doesn’t know his sons reasons, he knows that Aviden doesn’t either.

 

(He also knows that he misses home very much. Marmora does too.)

 

*********

 

Sometimes when he sees the blue and grey sunsets of Gailfre, the planet which his current assignment was on, he remembers the way Alarens faces flushed a beautiful blue and the way his cheek markings had glowed on their wedding night and many countless nights afterwards.

 

His soul hurts.

 

*************

 

Marmora is 147 when he and Aviden leave Altea, unable to live in a castle that haunts them with memories of the family they had lost. He helps unite scattered bands of Galra who oppose Zarkons actions and form the Galran rebellion.

 

They work with the Altea Core Alliance and fight against Zarkons ever expanding army. He see’s Alfor in passing, mostly through transmissions, and at meetings. He see’s Alarens sister Demetra and his brother Elohir too. Elohir is especially hard to miss; after all, he pilots the blue lion now.

 

*********

 

Everything had been ripped, shredded, in a way that he felt like he was only half himself. Everything hurt in a way that he could never even think to describe.

 

*********

 

The world had stopped making sense that day, from the moment the siege started Marmora couldn’t really tell what he knew and what he didn’t.

 

He thinks he still can’t.

 

All he knows is that he’d gotten there just in time to stop Zarkon from cutting down his niece. Just a few moments before Zarkon called off his armies and fled, having sensed Alfor getting closer. All he knows is that by the time he made it to his beloved mate’s side, it had been too late.

 

 

*********

 

Marmoras 147th birthday had come and gone without much celebration, save for a hug and card from Avi and soft morning kisses and wishes from his beautiful husband. Even the unborn baby, whom Alaren swore was a girl seemed to send him some sort of happiness through their still developing paternal bond.

 

Marmora almost feared the day his second child would be born, not because he didn’t want them. No; he already loved them with every fiber of his being. But they all knew that Elohirs position as the Blue paladin was only temporary. That Blue only allowed this for her true paladin’s wellbeing and that as soon as Alaren was healthy and fit enough, after the baby no longer depended on him for food, he’d have to return t his duty as a Paladin of Voltron.

 

Such had been the blue lion’s terms.

 

In the end, he had been right to fear the day that his second baby would come into this universe; just not for the reasons he thought.

 

 

He had been 147 for a little less than a week when Zarkon had attacked Altea. He’d stayed away from the planet, away from Alfor for this long.

 

Because while Zarkon was the black paladin, Alfor’s life force was intertwined with those of the lions of Voltron and he threatened Zarkons control over the black lion. He had never dared attack an area anywhere near where Alfor was.

 

Which was probably why he’d laid siege to Altea then.

 

While Alfor tried not to leave his home world for this very reason, this time his presence four star systems over was required and unavoidable. He’d left in secret; even Allura didn’t know he was off world. But apparently all the cloak and dagger hadn’t been enough. Galran battleships had appeared through wormholes, casting shadows over the skies of Altea like a bad omen.

 

Then they’d fired.

 

The ground shook, once then twice. He could hear explosions, and one look out the window and he saw the skies darkened by a fleet of cruisers. Galra cruisers. As Zarkons troops stormed the castle he’d fallen into the simple minded functioning; kill, survive and find to find his family.

 

Zarkons armies had stormed the capital, forcing their way into the castle of lions and then swarming the castle halls…killing everyone in sight and hoping to find…to this day Marmora has no idea what.

 

All he knew was that Altea had been so very unprepared for this surprise attack.

 

All he’d known then was that he had to keep fighting, protecting until Alfor got back. A distress signal would have reached him by now; unless Zarkon had found some way to disrupt Altean magic.

 

All he knows, is that amidst the chaos, Zarkon had found little Allura, at the time still only twelve. All he knows is that Zarkon would have killed her in cold blood, had his husband not gotten in the way. All he knows is that Alaren hadn’t been able to hold his own, his staff no match for the twisted form Zarkon’s bayard had taken, his pregnancy hindering his movements. All he knows is that Aviden had been elsewhere, fighting his own battle and that Allura had been frozen in fear.

 

He remembers there being so many attackers, left and right and he’d lost himself in the fight, buried so deep in concentration that the world around became nothing. He became separate. It was a mindset he hadn’t been into in years.

 

But then he was torn away from it.

 

By a bright sear of white hot agony.

 

An unexplainable tearing through his soul.

 

He was running, his feet guiding him, his body reacting without his mind, because his mind could process nothing.

 

He didn’t scream when he saw Zarkons sword clear through Alarens chest.

 

The world started dimming in color.

 

Little by little, as Alarens life slipped away, Marmora found himself in a place in-between where he’d been before and after he’d met Alaren. A world in which the only light and life that shine through was brought through Aviden and Amaranthine, his little stars, the reason Marmora continued to exist.

 

(Amara died a day later, still too young to breath on her own.)

 

Aviden was all he had left. His soul reason for living.

 

His last link to the love of his life.

 

But any color in Marmora’s life disappeared with the death of his son. And he was left with less than what he’d had as a child. Left in this place, where he lived for nothing but a cause which was slowly losing its meaning to he who couldn't find meaning in anything.

 

A weird space, where he clung to life by a thread, always always more and more tempted to simply let go.

 

The world went silent.

 

************

 

It had been so calm around the universe. Peaceful. Nothing so dire that it required Voltrons interference. Marmora hadn’t really paid it much mind at the time, instead enjoying the fact that Alaren was on Altea and that both of them had less work. (Well not yet anyway, pretty soon they’d have to start buying supplies and drawing up plans, but for now they were able to be lazy. Tease Aviden about that girl from school.)

 

This short period, he’d much later think, was the calm before the storm.

 

*********

 

Marmora is 146 when Alaren tells him that he’s pregnant again. The war starts two weeks later.

 

**********

 

The destruction of Daibazaal had crippled his people.

 

Though the planets whole population had been evacuated, losing a home….was not an easy weight to bear. For Marmora, the earliest stages of his life, training to be a soldier was in the name of is home planet. To protect and serve Daibazaal, and even after Altea and its people had become more his home, his heart still ached with grief at the thought of never being able to see the lilac skies of Daibazaal again.

 

At the thought of it no longer existing.

 

Most of the Galra were wracked with grief and fear over what the future had in store for them.

 

Zarkon however, Zarkon was furious.

 

*************

 

He’d never thought that he’d get to have a family.

 

He’d never thought that he’d want one. Never thought that he’d be able to have one. He’d always imagined that, had he dared tried to, he would bring upon them nothing but pain. He’d always feared that he would be an awful mate and horrible father. How could someone love someone like him?

 

It didn’t really have anything to do with his status as a bastard, but more to do with the fact that he wasn’t the easiest person to get along with.

 

But with Alaren he’d found a perfect harmony of push and pull. Of give and take.

 

He’d found that revered, sacred type of love that warranted the permanence of a mating bond. And in the child that Alaren had given him he found a love unlink any other. With his family he’d found a place he’d never thought he’d have.

 

********

 

"Gg..bb….a..mm…" Aviden garbled as his chubby little lilac fingers reached towards him, his blue eyes shining with an innocence that only small children possessed, a sparkle that was lost with age. Little fingers clasped his ring finger as Avi brought it towards his toothless mouth.

 

"Shhnmy little Sashbee" Marmora cooed, his voice, full of awe barely a whisper as he looked down at his child.

 

And Marmora couldn’t tell if he was trying to kiss his finger or eat it but he knew then that this warmth that spread though his veins, this glow that vibrated through his soul was another type of eternal love.

 

The love of a father for his child.

 

*******

 

He’s still relatively young by both Galran and Altean standards. And people talked; talked about how he and Alaren had rushed into marriage, how they’d been too hasty when they’d decided to be mates and how they were stuck with each other now…. Honestly? They couldn’t have cared less. And he definitely didn’t care what the universe said now because his little baby boy is perfect. Galran kits are so rare, and even then their survival is not ensured. His culture treasures children, and to be able to have one of his own with Alaren…

 

Marmora becomes a father when he’s 121; it’s the happiest day of his life.

 

**********

 

The Northern landmass of Altea, where the capital sector of the planet was, was famous for the breathtaking junneberry blossoms that grew there. They only grew in the north and covered entire fields with their vibrant purple petals. Junneberries were not a seasonal flower, and this bloomed at all times of the years. The air of the Northern lands, especially the country side, was always saturated with the sweet scent of the purple blossoms.

 

While the ever present smell had been strange to Marmora during his first visit to Altea, he had gradually gone to associate the smell with Alaren, with home. Alaren always smelled like Junbeberries, not because he used any junneberry products but because of how often he’d lie in the fields, watching the stars.

 

Before alone, but now with Marmora.

 

The smell would cling to him.

 

It was because of Alarens habit of dragging his husband out into the fields at random times when he wasn’t attending to his paladin duties, that Marmora didn’t suspect much when Alaren had brought him there once again.

 

They sat down a few feet away from blue; Alaren gently pushed him to lie down. Proceeding to lean over him, his long white hair swept over one shoulder. "Well isn’t this familiar?" he asks, tracing Marmoras jaw line with his long fingers.

 

His wears his signature smirk, but something dulls his usual obnoxious aura. He’s nervous about something, Marmora knows it.

 

Not through their mating bond, no bonds don’t give partners the ability to read each other’s minds unless both parties are willing. (And even then it’s always some abstract emotion if you try hard enough) –No, Marmora understands his beautiful Alarens hesitation through the other little things, like how he keeps glancing to the side, how his fingers seems jittery continuously tapping out some rythem, little tells that you’d only notice if you know someone as well as you know yourself.

 

He waits patiently for Alaren to gather his thoughts, to find his words. Just like Alaren does for him. He allows himself to get lost in thought as he waits.

 

Finally, Alaren breaks the trance, moving the lay down a little over Marmora, so that his waist lies near the Galran’s face. His expression is neutral as he motions for Marmora to lean his head on his stomach.

 

Marmora does as instructed; laying his head down gently, for something that had always haunted him was how he could hurt Alaren.

 

Technically he knew that Alaren was much stronger than his lithe build suggested, but he’d had nightmares before about how his claws could shred the unmarred brown skin to shreds. How, if he accidentally lost control, he could snap one of his beloveds’ bones. All the different ways he could hurt this wonderful Altean. This phobia had been for the most part dispelled by Alarens confident assurances that Marmora would never hurt him; but he couldn’t help but be careful.

 

He laid there for a few moments; the steady duel beat of the Alteans heart the only thing he could hear. Then he finally looked questioningly back at Alaren, who watched him with curious eyes. "Listen harder," he whispered. Marmora did, overcome with the sudden fear that Alaren was trying to tell him he was sick, that he had heart failure or flusothamia or-But then he hears it.

 

An extra pair of heart beats.

 

Marmora’s head had snapped up to look at Alaren, his yellow eyes wide with shock. He remembers how the Altean had just grinned, before his lips had pulled into a wide smile brighter than the suns. He’d laughed, his cheek markings glowing blue as Marmora had peppered his face with kisses, cradling it tenderly between his hands. Whispering ‘I love you’ ‘Thankyou’ ‘You’re amazing’ over and over again.

 

**********

 

Alarens fingers were long, rough and playful.

 

They often skimmed over Marmora's arms, traced the muscle of his stomach and cradled his face oh so lovingly as their lips had met. Over and over, until Marmora’s whole world had been made of nothing but the Altean who he loved so much.

 

They worshipped each other like heathens, Alaren was his everything. Before and especially after he'd claimed him. The kisses alternated between slow and fast and their hands wandered desperate but wanting to take their time. Each action filled with a connection that both of them hadn’t really believed they’d find.

 

And later when they're curled together, Alaren fast asleep his hair messy and splayed everywhere and his head resting on Marmoras chest, fingers intertwined with his own, Marmora remembers thinking that he was so so lucky to belong with this beautiful man.

 

*********

 

Marmora remembers telling Zarkon of his and Alarens engagement.

 

He remembers the way his brothers face had gone completely blank for a total of five seconds, then he remembers some look, a mere flash of emotion flash across his eyes. The meaning behind that minute would huant Marmora for the rest of his life, along with many other things; had it been anger? Disgust? (He’d later, years later piece together that it was disappointment, that it was regret and sadness for letting something slip by.) But that look had been there, for a few brief seconds before it was replaced with a polite smile.

 

A fake look of happiness.

 

He thinks that’s when the rift between them started.

 

Sometimes he wonders of that's when everything started.

 

*********

 

Marmora hadn't had a bad childhood.

 

Yes he was a bastard, but kits were precious to the Galra as they were so rare, and because of this, though he was an illegitimate child of the king, his father treated him well. Not lovingly, not exactly, he was not a man who showed love freely enough to shower his official son in, never mind his 'secret' offspring with it.

 

But considering the circumstances, Marmora had had many things, and education, food, clothes and shelter which many other children throughout the galaxy did not.

 

He'd worked hard and that’s how he'd made it to where he was at such a young age, the drive to prove himself worthy enough to be taken notice of. It was only when he was older that Marmora realized that his father had always taken notice of him, just not in a way that most people understood.

 

Not in a way that was really considered ENOUGH. After everything, for a while it didn’t seem like enough...but eventually he came to accept it as the way of the world and that was that.

 

His half brother ever was a different story.

 

He and Zarkon hadn't really run in the same circles as children, the latter being a prince and the other a bastard who was just treated as a noble. But after Marmora's graduation of the academy with flying colors and at the top of his class, that changed. He was suddenly seeing Zarkon a lot, and...he was amazing. Zarkon didn't hesitate to accept Marmora and they got along pretty well. Though it did take them both time to adapt to being brothers, it happened eventually.

 

Zarkon was often an ambassador to Altea and Marmora often accompanied him (the latter was often kidnapped by a certain duke while the former discussed various matters pertaining to politics and the economy with king Alfor and Queen Ixchel) And after Zarkon was chosen as the black paladin, his and Marmoras presence on Altea became more permanent.

 

And everything continued as usual for years.

 

But things changed, slowly but gradually. Now that he thinks about it, Marmora is sure when it started, but he hates thinking about it.

 

He hates thinking of the ‘what if’s’. He hates remembering his brother, whom he’d loved. Whom he hates now with every fiber of his being, because if he starts thinking, of the galra who had clapped him on the shoulder after a successful mission smiling brightly, who had babysat Aviden and Allura, the memory ends with the image of that very same mans sword piercing his lovers heart.

 

*********

Alaren takes him on that long promised ride on blue. Honestly; Marmora had thought that he was going to die, but thankfully he hadn’t. (Or had he? Was heaven sunset at a field of junneberries?)

 

Alaren, his most trusted friend of five years had landed the blue lion in the middle of the field and now they both stood a little away from the giant mech, watching the skies of Altea turn from a dusty pink to purple to blue as the sun vanished underneath the horizon. He remembers thinking that Alaren looked beautiful like this, this his white hair blowing out of his face, the final rays of sun giving his brown skin a warm glow.Looking so peaceful and just….Alaren.

 

There was no other word to describe him but that, Alaren; the Altean word for breathtaking and precious. Irreplaceable.

 

Alaren had always been such a beautiful person, inside and out. He was loud, obnoxious, cocky and such a drama queen, but he was also warm and kind and had the biggest heart in the galaxy.

 

And over the years Marmora had come to love all of these things. He’d come to love Alaren, not just the good. Not inspite of the bad. But the good and the bad together. Alaren was childish and hid his feelings behind a fake smile, his words could be sharp and cutting but Marmora loved him for it. He loved everything about him. Sometimes Marmora felt like they were inevitable, it was the times when Alaren would meet his eyes in a room filled with people and they'd both look at eachother for a little too long. It was how when they spoke, Marmora felt safe, like he could bare his greatest weakness to this man without fear of it ever being used against him. It was when he felt like they understood eachother in a way that no one else understood them, in a way they didn't understand anyone else. Sometimes, he wonders of they are like two different world coming closer and closer together, their collision inevitable since they'd first met. He felt wrong thinking that sometimes, he felt selfish and disgusting. But then he'd see Alaren, his smile and soft eyes that sparked hope unlike any other in Marmoras chest. His heart soared when he smiled and his soul sang, urging him to reach out for his one and only. The someone who could complete his soul.

 

So really, it’s not surprising that the words slipped passed his lips without permission; apparently Marmora himself was tired of denying his feelings.

 

"Marry me?"

 

They both freeze.

 

‘Quiznak. Quiznak quiznacking quiznak.

 

What the frack had he been thinking?!! He HADN’T been thinking! (When does he ever think goddammit?!!) Obviously you don’t just outright ask someone you’re not courting to freaking marry you!! And even if you did, Alaren deserved much more than a two word proposal, he deserved candle lit dinners and big romantic gestures and what had Marmora even been thinking, thinking he’d had a chance??! He didn’t even know if Alaren felt that way! Just becuase HE felt like they were two planets or whatever poetry he'd been waxing (VOLTRON he's been waxing poetry?! Since when the quiznack did he do that??!!)- didn't mean that Alaren wanted anything of the sort.

 

Before he can take the words back though he’s being tackled onto the floor and he briefly wonders if Alaren is trying to kill him due to some violation of Altean tradition that he’d committed. But no, Alaren isn’t trying to strangle him or anything of the sort, instead he buries his face in Marmora’s neck. The Galra general is so overwhelmed by Alaren filling all his senses, of the feeling of him in his arms that he doesn’t really even mind the ridiculous white hair that slaps him in the face.

 

But voltron is he confused.

 

He sits up carefully; Alaren still snuggled into his shoulder, strong brown arms wound around his neck. Marmora brings his hands to cautiously sit on the Alteans waist, still unsure of what’s happening (he’s a bit dense like that.)

 

"Uhh… Is that a yes?" He reasons that it’s a valid question, he’d just asked his friend to marry him with no prior courting or anything. He thinks it’s a good question but apparently Alaren thinks he’s an idiot if the look he gets is anything to go by. The Altean rolls his eyes in fond exasperation, lifting his head to look Marmora in the eye.

 

"Well obviously mullet head, why else would I be straddling you in the middle of a flower field?" Marmora ducks his head, hiding his smile.

 

"Ah ah nah...none of that," Alaren says and nimble fingers move to tilt his face back up. "Let me see you," Alarens voice is a breathy whisper and Marmora knows his face is turning that blotchy purple he so despises….but right now he really can’t be bothered to care.

 

He’d said yes. Alaren had said yes.

 

Said Altean laughs, the sound bright and music to Marmora’s ears, he’s sure that it’s his favorite sound. It was like water bubbling from a silver jar, but in no way did it match the hooded look he was giving his friend turned fiancé. Alaren placed his hands on the galrans shoulders and pushed him to lie back down before settling on top of him. His legs on either side on Marmora’s hips, and his hair falling over one shoulder like a curtain of snow.

 

"I’d love to marry you," Alarens warm breath ghosts over the shell of his ear, sending pleasant shivers up Marmora’s spine. He remembers wishing that they could stay like that forever, just him and Alaren tangled in each other in a field on junneberries.

 

Alaren lips then press against his in Marmora’s first ever kiss. He’s 119.

 

********

 

Marmora is 114 when he meets Alteas head ambassador to Daibazaal for the first time.

 

As one of the kings most trusted soldiers, he’s in charge of the security detail for the ambassadorial party from one of Daibazaal’s strongest allies; Altea. The first thing Marmora thinks, when he spots a tall, long haired Altean in blue, white and gold robes is that he’s pretty. He is. Blue eyes, caramel skin, soft looking white hair and legs for quintents. Pretty. But as pretty as Ezvanasi Alaren is, he’s annoying, and loud and a goddam flirt because he’d been on the planet for less than fifteen minutes and he’s shot at least one pick up line at every single member of his security detail and his own diplomatic party.

 

The idiot nearly dies too, almost crashing his speeder through a window in pursuit of some guy that security is after as well. But later he was like ‘hey I caught the guy and got back the stolen purse so who cares if I nearly died?’ And all to woo some Olkari too, honestly Marmora thinks he’s stupid and is missing a fear gland and wants to kick himself for thinking the cocky bastard was pretty in the first place. How is he going to tell his dad that king Alfors son nearly got himself killed while he was supposed to be escorting him to the palace? For such a small made species Alteans sure caused a lot of trouble…

 

In fact shortly after the speeder incident, Marmora had lost track of Ambassador Ezvanasi again. Cursing under his breath he’d asked his second to get the rest of the party back to the palace while he looked for the particularly annoying Altean.

 

He’d found the moron amongst a bunch of street vendors that lined the farther halls of the space port. Some were honest and some were cheats, and Marmora was very well versed in how to identify the ones that were out to con you out of house and home. Such as the one whom Ezvanasi was gambling with right at that moment. The idiot would have probably signed his life off had Marmora not intervened.

 

"Hey c’mon! I totally had that-" The stupid Altean had whined.

 

"No, you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into. For all you know he could have asked for a limb." Marmora retorts, trying his best to keep his temper in check. The Altean scoffed, "Oh please as if I’d fall into something that stupid."

 

Marmora side eyes him dubiously as he dragged the shorter man through the port. "I’m not so sure, for an ambassador you’re pretty impulsive."

 

"Why on Altea would you think that?" He asked, his voice laced with innocence. Marmora met this adorable expression with a deadpan look; this guy just got more impossible by the second. "You stole a speeder and nearly drove it through a window." Alaren had lifted his chin up defiantly, blue eyes blazing.

 

"I totally had that guy! Besides, what would you have had me do? I saw someone who needed help and I acted on it."

 

"Yeah by nearly dying," Marmora had pointed out. Alaren had winked, giving him a cheeky grin. "Where’s the fun if that wasn’t involved in the equation?" Marmora had stopped and stared at the ambassador blankly, before letting out a long suffering sigh.

 

"You’re either suicidal or just an idiot." He’d said, before ignoring the Alteans squawks of protest as he walked towards his hover car.

 

He hadn’t known it then, but that’s when he’d started living.

 

They hadn’t known it then but that had been the funny start to their tragic end.