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Reason Number 127 Why You Should Never Separate From Your Group

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Keith was reckless; that much was obvious. But he usually held back when he knew his reckless actions would lead to nothing but disaster for him (besides his near-suicide at Naxela).

This, however, was not one of those times.

-

It was a simple, run-of-the-mill mission for Keith, made easier by the fact that there were several more Blade of Marmora members then just the standard three or four per mission. So, by that logic, how could things go wrong?

Well, things could go very, very wrong for Keith.

In hindsight, he really shouldn’t have separated from the rest of his group to go see what he could find. He had been lectured time and time again by Kolivan about how important it was that he kept with the group, but Keith hardly ever heeded the advice. But yet, here he was.

The hallways of the Galra ship were, surprisingly, mostly empty, with only the occasional sentry that was rather simple to take out so keith could continue on his way. At the end of a particularly long hallway was a door with a label written in Galra.

Now, Keith had been learning Galra, but it was a rather complicated language, so it was slow going. According to Ulaz, though, he was doing exceptionally well in what he had learned. Keith had never officially learned what the symbols on the label meant, but Keith had seen the same label on one of the doors in the Blade of Marmora headquarters time and time again.

Control Room.

Keith hesitated for a moment, his hand hovering as if he was planning to reach out to the door to open it. The mission was to obtain data, after all, and what better place to get that data than in the control room of the entire ship?

Keith reached down to a broken sentry, grabbing the arm and splaying the hand on the handprint recognition scanner to gain access to the room. As the doors opened, Keith promptly decided that this was probably one of the worst ideas he had ever had.

There, inside the wide control room, were dozens of sentries and commanders, all of which who looked over at the door to see who was entering.

Keith could take out a dozen of them easily, but this many? Keith knew he was done for before he had ever even brandished his blade towards the group. One blade against dozens of guns? Like the saying goes, don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.

And he had done exactly that.

The group charged at Keith as if they were all one being. Keith could take out the sentries just fine, but the commanders? They were a little trickier to take down.

Keith felt a strong arm pin him to the wall, and before he could look over to see what it was, he felt a sharp prick in his bicep, not unlike the needles Ulaz used when he needed a vaccination or any other sort of injection. Immediately, Keith was flooded with panic. What was it they had injected into him? Poison?

Keith felt a bit fuzzy, the same feeling he had felt when he was a kid and he had to have surgery to get his appendix removed. The anesthesiologist had Keith count backwards from ten as they gave him the anesthetic to put him under during the surgery. Keith knew he had never even made it to three before he was asleep. Keith suddenly realized that whatever they had given him was some sort of sedative or anesthetic, meant to knock him out for a time. His world turned dark as he passed out.

-

Everyone that had been with Keith on the mission were incredibly worried about what could have happened to their brother-in-arms. They had tried to search for them, but they had been forced to board the pod they had arrived on and leave, with or without Keith.

Honestly, they all considered Keith a friend. Keith had always been at least civil, if not kind and polite, unless he was having a bad day. He was willing to help new recruits with their knife skills, and he was a very good sparring partner for the more experienced. He greeted them in the hallway. It sometimes frustrated all of them that Keith was so stubborn to avoid accepting his kit instincts.

How were they going to explain this to his pack? It would be hard to explain to any old pack, but Keith’s pack included their leader, his mate, his two close friends, and another kit. Kolivan would surely be angry, would they be punished? They had tried to locate Keith, but had been overrun by sentries that had been alerted to a foreign presence on the ship.

-

In the past months since Keith had become a member of their pack, Antok had been the victim of several heart-stopping moments. It was only natural, considering how reckless Keith was. But nothing could ever top the pure terror of watching the blades exit the pod and not seeing his kit. It was easy to pick him out of a crowd, since he was always shorter than anyone else in his group.

“Where is my kit?” He growled, his tail swishing angrily. One of the blades were pushed forward by two of them, apparently the one they had volunteered to explain what had happened.

“Well, you see, Keith was sort of… taken? We do not know what happened to him, exactly. He separated from his group and did not appear at the meet-up point. We tried to search for him but we were forced to leave. We believe he may have been overrun by the sentries on the ship.” The blade explained nervously. Antok’s heart dropped. Keith could be dead somewhere because of the fact that he separated from his group. He stalked away, whimpering quietly as he sought out his pack.

He encountered Ulaz first, coming back from a break from the medical bay

“Antok, whatever is the matter?” Ulaz asked worriedly. He had only ever heard Antok whimper the way he was one time before, on a time he thought Kolivan was dead.

“Keith did not return from his mission.” Antok said, his voice breaking. Ulaz gasped and whimpered.

“Keith is... “ Ulaz trailed off, the very idea too much for him to process. Antok shrugged.

“Mostly likely.” He said, and Ulaz could pinpoint the moment tears started spilling out of Antok’s eyes, even without seeing his face. He led Antok to the nest, sending a message to the rest of the pack to do the same.

When they heard what had happened, they were all extremely upset. It was likely that Keith was dead, but equally as likely that he was imprisoned. Regris had immediately started to cry, whimpering. Despite only being in the pack for a few months, he was extremely close with Keith. Kolivan had curled into Antok’s side for the rest of the night, silent. Ulaz could see his puffy eyes and tear tracks, though. Thace had whimpered and started crying as well.

They were extremely close with Keith. They had never considered the possibility that Keith could be imprisoned, but now that it was here in front of them, they hoped they would be able to find him soon.

They had no idea how to break it to the paladins, or to Krolia, but they knew they had to.

It felt wrong, honestly, to go to sleep without Keith. They all expected him to walk in safe, but he never did.

-

It was two weeks later that Keith’s blade uniform and knife were located on a mission to retrieve Keith, but Keith wasn’t on the ship at all.

Paladins and blade alike mourned the possibility that Keith was dead.

-

It was a month after the discovery of his uniform and knife that Keith was found.

It had been a fairly routine mission for the paladins, all things considered. They really had only attacked the Galra ship because it was too close to the castle for comfort.

It was fairly simple to navigate, though Shiro was beginning to realize that nearly every Galra ship was identical in the layout. It reminded him of the way there were models of planes that a large amount of manufactured in the same way on Earth.

He wandered through the hallways, glancing around for sentries that were milling around that he would be forced to take out in order to meet his goals. It wasn’t hard, considering that sentries were at the lower ends on the difficulty scale.

Shiro had just turned the corner when he heard soft whimpering. He almost wanted to keep walking, but he was put off by how familiar the whimpering sounded. Glancing around, he located the door that seemed to be coming from and stepped forward. He activated his arm as he prepared to open the door, half-expecting to see a Galra that was mimicking whimpers to draw him in. He pressed his hand to the handprint-recognition scanner and stepped back, drawing his arm back slightly as the door opened in case he needed to strike.

Sitting at the far wall was a slim figure, their knees pulled up to their chest as they whimpered. Shiro almost struck the figure for the fact that they looked like a Galra, before he caught sight of an unforgettable mullet.

“Keith?” Shrio called, out, his body flooded with worry for his unofficial little brother. Keith glanced up, his purple eyes widening.

“Shiro?” He called out, his voice unbelieving. His hair had grown out and Shiro could see his eyes fill with hope. He quickly walked forward and crouched down in front of Keith.

“You’re gonna come take a ride back to the castle with me, okay? We’ll call your… your pack? I’m still not used to these Galra terms, but you get the point, right? We’ll call them and tell them you’re okay. Or… as okay as you can be after spending a month and a half in a Galra prison.” Shiro said softly. Keith smiled and nodded, letting Shiro help him up. Shir focussed on him comm for a moment.

“Hey guys, I found Keith.” He said.

“Yeah, we heard your conversation with him. Is he okay?” Pidge responded.

“I don’t think he’s too injured just by looking at him. He might need a good meal and a shower and a bit of time in a pod just to be safe.” Shiro responded, looping an arm around Keith’s shoulder as he led him to the black lion.

“Should we call off the mission for right now? Keith should be the top priority right now, in my opinion.” Lance piped up. Shiro glanced down at Keith in worry.

“Yeah. Based on what I know about Galra, he’ll probably want all of us there with him.” Shiro said, letting Keith settle in his lap. The half-Galra leaned against Shiro’s chest, his ears pinning back uncomfortably. Shiro frown as he put his lion on auto-pilot for a bit while he focussed on Keith.

“What’s the matter, Keith?” he asked, his eyes gentle as he regarded the younger boy that he had considered a member of his family. Keith avoided eye contact as he swished his tail into Shiro’s line of sight. Shiro winced in sympathy when he saw how Keith’s tail bent at an angle, and how had he missed that? It was clearly broken. Plus, Keith’s tail was either always laying straight or curved, never at an angle.

“That’s gotta hurt, buddy. We’ll get it fixed when we get to the castle, okay?” he said, pulling up a video call with Matt, who was waiting for them to get back to the castle. The elder of the two Holt children answered the call, smiling brightly.

“Hey, Shiro!” he said. Shiro sighed softly and smiled.

“Hey, Mattie. Can you do me a favor and get a pod ready for when we land?” Shiro asked, his hands skimming along Keith’s clothes, looking for obvious injuries.

“Of course I can! Are you injured? Is someone else injured?” Matt asked worriedly. If he were a Galra, Shiro was sure his ears would be pinned back. He adjusted Keith in his lap until the teenager was facing Matt. Matt gasped and smiled widely.

“Keith! Oh my god, you’re okay! Well, not okay if I have to prep a pod..” Matt said. Keith smiled tiredly.

“Shiro says its just in case I do have injuries. Well, I’m pretty sure my tail is broken.” he said. Matt nodded and smiled softly.

“That sucks, dude. Keep it still for now okay? I’m not sure how broken tails work. Looking forward to seeing you again, Keithy. I have to prep that pod for you, okay?” he said, ending the call and rushing to the medical bay.

-

Shiro helped Keith off of the lion, noticing how to was favoring his right leg over his left. He paused and fixed the other four paladins with a look that said ‘stand back for now’. He didn’t want to overwhelm Keith as he helped him to the medical bay. Matt and Coran were waiting to help him into one of the pod suits. Keith grinned at them before wincing.

“Do you need any help Keith?” Shiro asked, handing him the pod suit when the shorter male shook his head. He pulled a curtain around him so he could have privacy. Lance came over, clearly concerned.

“Keith’ll be okay, right?” he asked uncertainly. Shiro smiled warmly and nodded. He helped Keith into a pod and watched it close, sighing sadly as Keith was put into an induced sleep.

“We should call his pack.” Shiro said, heading for the control room and pulling up a video call.

“What is the problem?” Kolivan asked, scowling. He had been irritable and upset since Keith had been taken, which Shiro could understand. He himself finally understood how Keith had felt when the Kerberos mission failed.

“Well, there isn’t really a problem.” Shiro started. He quickly continued with Kolivan started to open his mouth to speak, “We found Keith. We thought you’d like to know.” he said. Kolivan perked up and grinned.

“Is he okay? Was he hurt? Where is he?” he questioned. Shiro smiled and glanced in the direction of the medical bay.

“All things considered, I think he’s okay. His tail was broken and I think his left foot was hurt because he was leaning more on his right foot. He’ll probably have some cuts and bruises, and I think the medical report from the pod said he had a broken rib as well. He’s in a pod right now, and should be out in about two vargas. Then we’ll give him a good meal and let him take a shower and get new clothes on.” Shiro said. Kolivan nodded and frowned when he glanced at his datapad.

“Well, we are about two quintants away from your location. We will be there then.” he said. “Try to make him comfortable.” he added, signing off. Shiro smiled and walked by the kitchen, seeing Hunk making a meal for Keith that wasn’t just food goo.

“What are you making, Hunk?” Shiro asked curiously. He loved hearing about his teammates’ interests. He himself was absolutely terrible at cooking, but he enjoyed helping Hunk or just listening to him talk about what he was doing. He enjoyed watching Pidge work on her inventions and codes, even if most of it went straight over his head; he would forever be impressed by Pidge’s advanced knowledge of such things.

He enjoyed listening to Lance talk about his beauty products, and even occasionally let the boy try them on him. He wouldn’t lie, though, the products that advertise ‘relaxing aromatherapy’ really worked. Plus, it felt nice to just relax for a bit and let Lance apply a facemask or do his hair.

He loved listening to Allura talk to the mice like old friends. It reminded him of how he would spend hours chatting with the family dog when he was a kid, never expecting an answer.

After the clone incident happened, he made a point to spend more time with his team, to let them talk about their interests to him even though he would never understand it. He reminded himself to praise Lance more during training and after missions, all in hope that he would reverse at least some of the damage done by the clone that the team had begun referring to as ‘Kuron’.

“I’m making something similar to a beef stew, but lighter. I have no idea about the meals at a Galra prison, so I don’t want to accidentally make him sick with food that’s too heavy if he was starved. Plus, I read that Galra are omnivores with a strong preference for meat, so I thought he’d like this. And, I was researching, and Galra actually need a ton of vitamins and nutrients that humans don’t, and I know that Ulaz is managing Keith’s diet and all, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s still super deficient after a lifetime of eating vitamins and nutrients that Humans need, but Galra don’t, so I’m adding in some vegetables that are rich in those.” Hunk said. Shiro smiled and nodded.

“Good thinking, Hunk. I’m not sure about regular meals either. I know I was fed a filling amount of food, but that may be because I was regularly in the public eye and the Galra didn’t want to expose awful conditions by treating me like other prisoners. Plus, you’re right, Keith probably is deficient in some vitamins if he needs them and humans don’t.” Shiro said. It was always difficult to talk about anything relating to his time in Galra imprisonment, but he found that it was easier the more time that went on. Maybe it was because he paladins didn’t pity him. Maybe they did, internally, but it helped Shiro to know that he could talk about what had happened without people pitying him.

Shiro headed towards the medical bay, tilting his head when he saw Lance sitting in front of Keith’s pod, looking like a lost puppy. Shiro walked forward and placed a hand gently on Lance’s shoulder.

“He’ll be okay, Lance.” he said. Lance nodded and sighed sadly.

“I know he will be, its just… did you know that every other time he was in a pod at the castle, none of us were there when he got out?” Lance asked. Shiro frowned, guilt twisting in his stomach.

“But he was always there every time any of us got out of a pod.” Shiro said, horror creeping into his voice when he remembered every time Keith would wander into the lounge when he got out. At the time, he looked the same as he always did, but looking back, Shiro could see the dejected look in Keith’s eyes, upset that no one had been there when he got out but feeling too out of place to speak up about it.

Well, hindsight always is 20/20.

“We’ll fix that from now on, Lance.” he said, sitting down next to the former blue paladin.

“We shouldn’t even have made that mistake. He was a member of our team. He was always, always there when we got out of pods, he always steadied us and made sure we were okay. But we never did that for him. He was probably so sad about it too, but we just labelled him as a loner and refused to see the problem.” Lance said. Shiro sighed and nodded, rubbing Lance’s shoulder in a makeshift massage.

“I know. And we’ll make it up to him as best as we can.” he said. Lance perked up and ran out of the room, coming back several minutes later with a cart of big, soft blankets, pillows, and a few heated blankets.

He began to arrange the blankets into a nest-like structure. It was comfortable-looking, but it was far from the polished, neat look Keith pulled off when he built nests.

“You’re making him a nest?” Shiro asked, tilting his head.

“Well, yeah! Kolivan said that nests were a great comfort for Galra, so maybe this’ll make him feel better!” Lance said. Shiro smiled softly and nodded, glancing back at Keith’s pod.

“That's a great idea, Lance. I’m sure he’ll love it.” Shiro said. Lance grinned happily at the praise and placed pillows around the nest.

-

The pod opened with an audible hiss as Keith stumbled out, eyes bleary and confused. He felt two different pair of arms steadying him, slightly garbled voices asking him if he was okay.

“What are you talking about? Of course I’m okay.” Keith said, his voice confused and a bit scared. Lance smiled gently.

“Alright, Keith, that’s okay.” Shiro said softly. Lance led Keith over to the nest, grinning when Keith instantly brightened up and hugged Lance tightly, kissing his cheek.

“I know its not as neat as Galra can make it, but I thought it’d make you comfortable.” Lance said. Keith grinned at Lance.

“I love it, Lance. You’re the best.” he said, climbing in and crawling under the blankets. He blushed when his stomach audibly growled.

“Looks like you must be more than a little hungry. I’ll have Hunk bring you your food so you don’t have leave your nest, okay?” he said, leaving the room. Shiro smiled a bit.

“Can I sit with you, Keith?” he asked. Kolivan had told him that it was important to ask if you could enter a nest unless permission had already been given, since Galra were fiercely protective of their nests. Plus, he didn’t want to push Keith’s boundaries on what he was comfortable with.

Shiro carefully climbed into the nest after Keith nodded, sitting next to him. He activated his arm, watching it glow a bright pink as he swallowed down the initial jump of fear that he was going to hurt Keith. He knew that he only had it turned on so a light heat was being emitted, enough to satisfy Keith’s constant search for warmth. He wrappex his arm around Keith, smilung when the younger smiled and squirm so he was comfortably laying against Shiro, purring at the warmth.

Keith grinned when Pidge and Matt came in, waiting patiently to enter the nest until Keith said they could. They settled down next to him, hugging him close.

“We were so worried about you, Keith! Thank God you’re okay. Physically, anyway.” Matt said, scratching gently behind Keith’s ear, grinning when Keith purred louder and stretched out.

“Matt is right, in a way. I doubt you can spend a month and a half in Galra hell and not have nightmares. We were so worried, though, Keith. Never do anything like that again or I promise I will tie you to a bed to keep you safe.” Pidge said. Keith smirked and grinned at Pidge.

“I missed you all a lot.” he said softly. He perked up when Hunk came in with food, quickly followed by Lance, Allura, and Coran. Keith grinned when he saw the food, settling the warm bowl in his lap. The four newcomers settled around the nest as Keith start to eat, purring at the burst of flavors that only Hunk could pull off. The food was hot, but not so hot that it burned his mouth. He recognized the taste of a few of the vegetables, but he couldn’t place some of the others, though they tasted delicious nonetheless.

Keith looked up when he heard thre solid, confident knocks on the doorframe to announce a presence. Keith felt himself smile when he saw Lotor standing there, dressed in casual clothes.

“I just wished to drop by and visit for a moment, if that is okay.” the now-emperor said, smiling softly. Before anyone could turn him away, Keith spoke up.

“Of course its okay.” he said, making room for the other half-Galra in the nest. Keith leaned against Lance’s chest, relaxing as Lance wrapped his arms securely around his waist and held him there. Lotor settled down in the nest and gently ran a finger over a mostly-healed cut on Keith’s collarbone, nodding in satisfaction.

“That should be healed in a day or two if you leave it alone. A pod can do a lot, but it would still be a good idea to have a member of your pack look you over. Isn’t one of them a doctor?” Lotor said. Keith nodded a bit.

“Yeah, Ulaz is. Speaking of, are they coming?” he asked, looking at Shiro.

“Yeah, they’re coming, buddy. They’re a while away, though, so they won’t be here for about two days.” Shiro said, rubbing Keith’s back. Keith pouted at the fact that he had to wait so long to see his pack, but nodded.

-

After two days, Keith was done with waiting for his pack to appear. He knew he couldn’t just magically make them appear, but he felt that he couldn’t wait any longer; every part of his body was waiting anxiously for them to arrive, and that point, they were the only people he truly wanted to see.

That wasn’t to say that Keith didn’t want to see his friends, but could anyone blame him for wanting the people he considered parents after such an ordeal? The paladins’ company was nice, but it only went so far to soothe him after nightmares.

He was currently laying against Lance’s chest, the warm air of Lance’s hairdryer brushing over his skin as Lance helped to dry his fur quicker after a shower. The warmth was quickly lulling him to sleep, but he struggled to stay awake because he wanted to be awake when his pack arrived. Lance chuckled fondly at the way Keith forced himself to snap awake when he started to drift off.

“Go to sleep, babe, I’ll wake you up when your pack gets here, okay?” Lance said, handing Keith a shirt since the upper half of his body was dried. Keith grinned when Lance draped his jacket over Keith’s body, a soft ‘aww’ sound leaving him when he saw how big it was on Keith, as well as the fact that Keith promptly buried himself in it, drifting off to sleep.

-

“Keith, honey, wake up. Your pack is here.” Keith heard Lance whisper gently, shaking his shoulder. His eyes fluttered open and he grumbled in protest at being woken up. Lance just chuckled and patted his back.

“Your pack is here, babe, look.” Lance said, gesturing to the group of Galra that had gathered at the edge of the nest. Keith glanced up and instantly brightened, holding out his arms. His pack instantly climbed into the nest and pulled him close.

Keith tried to give affection to every one at once, like an overexcited puppy when it sees its whole family come home from work. Kolivan smiled and handed him to Ulaz, who held him still while checking his injuries. Antok grabbed Keith next, holding him close and enveloping his body in a hug. Kolivan hugged him and was almost refused to hand him off to Thace, pouting a bit and leaning against Antok. Thace groomed him and let Regris nuzzle against him, clinging on desperately. Keith’s ears perked when he heard a commotion from down the hall, glancing at the group in confusion.

“Two nutjobs are trying to claim they’re your family. One random Galra lady and the blue girl we fought! Can you believe that?” Lance explained, shaking his head in disbelief. Keith tilted his head and got up, darting into the hallway, where Krolia and Acxa were trying to fight off the paladins, who were under the impression that they were trying to infiltrate the castle.

“Stop!” Keith shouted, running in front of the paladins to protect his mom and sister. Shiro sighed softly.

“Keith, these two are trying to infiltrate the ship. Just step by me and we can handle it.” he said calmly, trying to pull Keith’s arm. He dropped the arm when Keith growled in warning, his ears pinning back.

“They aren’t random Galra, Shiro. They’re my mom and twin sister.” Keith said, pulling the two Galra ladies to his nest and curling up against Krolia, pawing playfully at Regris and Acxa. Lance tilted his head.

“Mom, can you hand me that datapad over on your left?” Keith asked, grinning when Krolia handed the pad to him.

“Babe, that’s your mom?” Lance asked in surprise. Keith snickered and nodded.

“Yeah, Lance, I thought that was obvious. Or were you under the impression I call random Galra women mom?” Keith asked. Lance huffed a bit and pouted. Krolia smiled.

“This is the Lance you’ve told me about, kit?” She said, looking Lance up and down. Keith nodded and laid against Lance chest, sighing in contentment when Lance hugged him close and wrapped a blanket around him. Krolia smiled in satisfaction and went back to grooming Acxa, who narrowed her eyes at Lance.

“Try and hurt my brother and I promise that gun of your’s won’t have a use against me.” she said. Lance looked at Keith in bewilderment.

“Acxa, play nice. You want to be in good terms with my boyfriend, and the rest of my friends, don’t you?” Keith said. “That’s my twin sister Acxa. She’s the protective sibling. Well, Regris is too, but he’s fine with you.” He explained to Lance. Lance simply nodded and sighed in relief when the rest of the paladins came in the room.

Keith tried to initiate a play fight with Regris and Acxa, but they both pushed him back down.

“No play fights for a week if you had to be in a pod. You know the rules.” Thace said calmly, “Pods wear you out so easily. It takes a while to recover fully from a stay in them.”

“Keith, do you want to explain who these two are?” Matt asked, gesturing to Acxa and Krolia. Acxa bared her teeth and growled in warning, but stopped quickly when Keith whined to her.

“This is Krolia, my mom.” Keith said, gesturing to Krolia and purring when she hugged him.

“And that’s Acxa, my twin sister. You guys know her at the blue lady we fought but she’s actually really nice, I promise.” Keith said, “Since she’s my age too in Galra years, she’s been helping me understand everything I need to be healthy.”

“That’s great, Keith.” Shiro said, ruffling his hair gently. Keith purred and grinned when Pidge grabbed a comb and hairclips, starting to style his hair in ridiculous styles. It was a tradition they had, for them to do each other’s hair in strange styles to cheer each other up.

“Do you want to introduce us to your friends, Keith?” Krolia asked. Keith shifted and nodded.

“Well, you already know Lance. The one doing my hair is Pidge. Her older brother Matt is the one cuddling with Shiro, they’re boyfriends too. Hunk is the guy who was trying to get the others to stop fighting you when you came in, and he’s the one making snacks in the kitchen. Allura is the princess, and the man next to her is Coran. He always downplays his importance but don’t let him fool you, I don’t think any of us would be alive without him.” Keith said, “Acxa, you already know Lotor, and I know you guys have some… bad history, but he’s on the ship so please don’t try to fight him if you two cross paths?” Acxa huffed but nuzzled against Keith in agreement.

-

The kits were all asleep, curled up together and against the adults. Keith and Lance were clinging to each other, sleeping soundly. Most of the paladins and Alteans were also asleep, save for Matt and Shiro, who always had a hard time falling asleep. Krolia smiled as she watched the couple sleepily watching an old Galran romance movie.

“I do want to thank you two.” she said, softly so that everyone else wouldn’t wake up. The two in question jumped and turned around.

“Why? We haven’t done anything.” Shiro said, tilting his head in confusion. Krolia smiled softly and shook her head.

“No, you did do something. You genuinely tried to be friends with my son. According to him, you two were the first people to ever try to break past his metaphorical walls. And I do want to thank you for that.” Krolia said. Matt smiled a bit.

“Well, you don’t really have to thank us for being friends with your son. Its not like he’s some unbearable mini-demon. We really did want to be his friend.” He said. Krolia smiled and nodded.

“I do have a feeling, though, that Keith would be much more closed off if you didn’t show him that it was okay to let people in.” Krolia said. She hugged them both close for a second before letting go.

“Do try to get some sleep, alright? It is important for you to get a decent amount of rest so you can have a good attitude.” Krolia said, laying down next to Acxa and letting her nestle close. Shiro nodded and laid down against Matt’s chest, the smaller male cradling him close as they tried to drift off to sleep.

-

Krolia was awoken by whimpers and the minute shifting if the blankets in the nest. Glancing over, she could see Keith squirming and whimpering, his face scrunched up in distress.

Krolia sat up and leaned over to Keith, running her hand through his hair in an effort to soothe him without waking him. She frowned when she saw Lance’s eyes open and glance at Keith in worry.

“You should be asleep, young one.” Krolia said softly.

“How can I sleep when I know my boyfriend is scared and upset? Its impossible.” Lance said, rubbing Keith’s back gently.

Keith awoke with a soft whimper, sitting up in the nest slowly and glancing around, his eyes slightly unfocused.

“Keith, you’re okay. You’re in your nest that I made you in the medical bay. Everyone is here, see? You can reach out and touch Pidge’s hand, or Antok’s tail, or Regris’ ear.” Lance said softly. Keith nodded and reached out, relaxing when his hand made contact with the smooth fur of Regris’s ear, scratching gently for a moment before pulling back. He glanced over at Krolia and whimpered, nestling close to her. Krolia wrapped her arms around him and rumbled to him, the soft vibrations that were a bit more intense than a purr soothing Keith.

“Do you want to talk about your dream, kit? Do not feel pressured to, though, it is okay if you do not want to talk about it.” Krolia said softly, rubbing his back. Keith hesitated and glanced at Lance, clutching onto his jacket. Lance smiled gently and draped the jacket that Keith loved so much around him.

“I don’t know what it is about you and this jacket, but if it makes you feel better I’m not going to complain.” Lance said. Keith blushed and smiled.

“It smells like you.” He said softly, avoiding eye contact. Krolia tilted her head.

“I did not know humans had unique scents.” She said. Keith smiled.

“No, they don’t. Well, not in the way Galra do. But his jacket smells like this cologne he always uses, so it smells like him.” He said. He turned to Lance, “Galra have unique scents that are soothing to smell for a pack or significant other.” He explained. Lance nodded in understanding and smiled.

“If you want to, can you tell us about your dream?” Lance asked. Keith took and deep breath and nodded.

“During the mission, I was stupid. I decided to separate from my group and go to the control room. There were so many sentries and commanders, I couldn’t fight them off. They gave me this… sedative, I guess? It knocked me out. When I woke up, I was so scared because I had no idea where I was but I was in one of their prisoner uniforms and I could hear people crying like they were being hurt. It was so scary, I had no idea how I had gotten there and they took my knife, my blade. And in my dream, there was this guard who always gave me the creeps. They came in and grabbed me, and took me to this room, I guess, and tried to tie me down to a table. The person there said I wasn’t the right person, though, but it scares me to think about what would have happened if I was the right person.” Keith said. Krolia frowned and hugged him tighter, and Lance kissed his cheek and pet his hair.

“That’s awful, Keith, but it’ll be okay. Maybe not right now, but at some point, okay?” Krolia said softly.

And Keith believed her. It would be okay. Maybe not right then, but at some point.

Everything would be okay eventually.