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Chapter One

Keith stared at Galra leaning over the holographic table with suspicion. How was Allura so calm, so unworried with Lotor right freaking next to her? Hell, how were the other paladins okay with this? He glanced about, from Shiro to Pidge to Hunk to Lance, and he even checked Coran's reaction. None of them seemed to be bothered, except perhaps Lance. Keith scowled at the Garlan Prince and stalked up to the table, Kolivan right behind him.

"So," he said, deceptively casual, "what'd I miss?"

"Lotor killed Zarkon," Shiro said, not looking at him. Keith blinked, stunned by that little piece of news. Lotor straightened up at the mention of his name and killing his father. He watched Shiro for a moment before he turned to look straight at Keith, frowning slightly. "He tried to take the throne at Kral Zera, but Sendak beat him to it. Lotor is now a fugitive of the Galra Empire."

"It is unfortunate," Lotor muttered, glancing away from Keith and returning his attention to the table before him. Allura laid a hand on his shoulder and Keith wanted to sneer at the action, but he tried to keep his expression carefully neutral. He wasn’t sure if he succeeded or not. "Haggar now has the puppet she wanted, and together, her and Sendak are going to keep this war going..."

"Hopefully," Allura said softly, grip tightening on Lotor's shoulder, "Voltron can do something about it."

Lotor shrugged her hand off and stalked away from the table a few paces, crossing his arms over his chest. Keith watched him go, frowning at the other half-Galra's back. Something was... off here, but he couldn't quite put a finger on it. At least Zarkon was gone. That just left the witch and her puppet...but where did that leave Lotor? Hadn't he wanted the throne? Hadn't he wanted to rule?

"This is not how I wanted things to go," Lotor said, hunching in on himself. Keith dragged his gaze off Lotor and met Shiro's eyes. He was frowning in Lotor's direction, and almost looked...concerned? Impossible . Shiro was the one that the Galra tortured and forced to fight. They took his arm--by force--and gave him his Galran tech. Shouldn't he hate Lotor?

"Lotor--"

"No, Shiro. You knew my plan as well as the rest of the paladins." Lotor turned back, not meeting anyone's gaze as he shoved a handful of long, white hair back over his shoulder. "It was foolproof. I don't know how the witch outsmarted us." Here, the exiled Galran Prince glanced up, a fierce glare on his face. "I should have known better!"

"Lotor." This time, it was Allura speaking. She approached him slowly, taking him by the shoulders and turning him away from the group. "It is not your fault. You need to stop blaming yourself for everything...." Her voice trailed off as her and Lotor moved further away from the holographic table.

Keith, thoroughly confused by now, turned to Shiro. He knew partly what had happened. He'd been there with the Blade, after all, but he was still apparently missing some key pieces of information. Shiro shook his head slightly, arms crossed over his chest. The tech arm was glowing slightly--not enough to indicate that he'd activated, but enough to indicate that something was going on.

"Okaaay," Hunk said, drawing out the word a little. "I think Pidge and I needed to show Coran that thing we were working on."

"What thing?" Pidge asked, frowning. She turned to the bigger paladin and crossed her arms. "Seriously, what thing?"

"Uh, you know...the thing...with the lights and stuff?"

"Oh, yes!" Coran said and began to rattle off something science-y and very complicated-sounding. Keith didn't bother to listen further, focusing on Shiro again. "Come on, Hunk, Pidge."

"To the hanger!" Hunk crowed and proceeded to drag both Coran and Pidge from the room.

Keith turned to watch them go and then joined Shiro by the table. "So, what's our game plan now that Lotor's plan to take over the Galra has fallen through?"

"We keep fighting back," Shiro said, glancing past Keith to see Kolivan standing beside him. "We use the Coalition, we use the Blade. We use everything we have at our disposal to take back the universe."

"The Blade are willing to help in whatever way we can," Kolivan said, inclining his head. He'd taken his mask off and was now watching Lotor closely. "We still have many spies buried in the Empire's ranks. They will be willing to sabotage what they can."

"Good," the black paladin muttered, gaze straying back to where Allura and Lotor were, speaking in low voices. "We need to regroup first, I think. When Allura is done, tell her to call for a Coalition meeting." He turned towards Keith, gaze assessing. "Lance, take Keith to his room. Kolivan and I need to discuss a few things. I'll check in on everyone later."

Keith nodded, cast Lotor one last suspicious look before allowing Lance to drag him out of the room. He kept looking back until the door closed behind them, before he turned to stalk off down the hall.

"What is with everyone and trusting Lotor?" he muttered, not expecting Lance to reply. "It's like we've completely forgotten that he was attacking us just a few months ago!"

"I don't know," Lance said, catching up to him quickly. "I mean, after Lotor failed—and he was injured pretty badly, y’know—, he had to spend some time in a healing pod while you were off with the Blade doing whatever it is you were doing--"

"I met my mother."

"What?"

Keith stopped short and turned towards Lance, nearly colliding with him. "I. Met. My. Mother," he repeated, sternly his time. Lance stared at him. "And she's Galra, and a Blade, and I don't know what to think."

"Oh, uh, well...." Lance trailed off, rubbing a hand over the back of his head, fluffing up hair as he did so. "Was she...nice?"

He shrugged. "Distant, but I suppose so."

"That's good, then."

Keith snorted. "She's here, by the way," he said, turning away from the other paladin. "On the Castle somewhere. Probably with the rest of the Blades." He sighed and gestured towards Lance. "You were saying?"

"Hm? Oh, right! Well, yeah. Lotor spent time in a healing pod and when he came out, he and Allura...uh, well, they mind melded." At Keith's glare, Lance waved his hands and smiled grimly. "Under Shiro and Coran's strict supervision, of course!" Keith narrowed his gaze. "Anyway, turns out Lotor was being used. Something about Quintessence and corruption, and brainwashing or something?" Lance shrugged. "Basically, Allura's helping Lotor come to terms with things."

Keith paused, head spinning with confusion and nausea. He didn’t trust Lotor with the Princess. That was just asking for trouble but all this talk of brainwashing and corruption and Quintessence... He shuddered, sucking in a couple of shallow breaths. He leaned against the wall, touching his chest as his lungs seemed to seize up. Keith squeezed his eyes shut, trying to fight the sudden sensation of being unbalanced. What was wrong with him? He opened his eyes and tried to focus on one spot, but the hallway swayed and blurred.

"Keith!" Lance was suddenly right beside him, hand gripping his elbow tightly. "Are you alright?"

"I'm fine," he muttered, forcing himself to straighten up. He winced at the way everything began to spin and turned to give Lance a small grin. "Just...think I need to eat something."

Lance was staring at him, concern written across his face. He didn't look convinced, and Keith was reluctant to speak about the heat that had been plaguing him on and off for weeks now. It was bad enough that the Blade had been giving him odd looks, but now Lance and Lotor and Shiro? Hell, even Kolivan had been spending less time with him while simultaneously keeping closer than Keith would've liked. It was...perplexing.

"You don't look so good, Keith."

He shrugged. "I'll be fine, Lance. Trust me."

For a moment, it looked like Lance would protest, but then the other paladin sighed and tugged him away from the wall. "Let's go," he muttered, hauling Keith into his side and hustling them off down the hallway. Keith didn't bother to protest; he was still ridiculously dizzy, and the lazy heat in his veins was threatening to pool lower, to build and build....to something . He didn’t know what.

The walk back to his room was a blur, and he was somewhat glad for it as he shoved Lance back out the door, reassuring him that he'd be fine before slamming it shut in Lance's face. He groaned and leaned back against the door, glad that Lance hadn't insisted on staying with him. Keith would rather be alone right now than have to deal with Lance's stupid, petty insults.

He rubbed a hand over his face and steeled himself before pushing off the wall. The dizziness receded but the heat lingered. Keith crossed to his bed and sat down, taking out his knife and staring down at the Blade’s symbol until his vision blurred. There had to be something wrong with him. There had to be.



A few days later, he was feeling much better and decided to claim the training deck for the day. Keith brought up a high-level training routine and set about annihilating the training dummies, pushing himself harder and harder until he was forced to end the routine. The gladiator bot had knocked him flat a number of times now, and he was sure that there’d be bruises later, but it was exactly the kind of distraction he’d been needing.

Keith lay on the floor, panting heavily as he stared up at the training deck’s ceiling. He let out a huffy sigh and pushed up into a sitting position. Although he felt much better, the heat was still lingering. It infused him with a heady warmth and distracted him with brief flashes of intense arousal. He tossed his dagger aside, burying his face in his hands with a little groan of frustration.

He was an exhausted, sweaty mess and yet the heat lingered in his gut and his veins, and just... Keith slammed a fist down into the ground, cursing himself. The wrongness in him was worrying, but he’d push it down and back, and focus on other things. Like Blade missions and Voltron, and the Coalition, and--

“Keith? Are you in here?”

He froze, jerking his head up to look towards the door. It was still closed, but he knew it wouldn’t be for long. Keith got up and retrieved his dagger just as the door slid open. He straightened up and glanced towards the door. Lance stood in the doorway, frowning at him.

“What?” Keith asked defensively as he stashed the knife away. “You want something, hotshot?”

“Nothing, mullet. Just checking on you.” Lance casually leaned against the wall just inside the door, eyes scanning over Keith intently. “Training pretty hard, there, huh?”

Keith shrugged, stretching a little before he joined Lance by the door. “Blade training is unforgiving and I didn’t want to get rusty.”

“Shiro doesn’t seem to think you’re rusty,” the other paladin said, lifting a shoulder in a half-assed little shrug. “Quite the opposite, actually.”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?!” he shouted, rounding on the other boy and shoving him back into the wall with one hand. “I’m fine! How many times do I have tell people that? First you and then Hunk and Pidge and now Shiro!”

Keith jerked back, breathing hard. He stared Lance down, daring him to say something, anything. And Lance stared right back, a slight crease between his eyebrows. He huffed out a slightly distressed noise and stalked out into the hall, ignoring Lance. He didn’t want to deal with whatever was wrong with him. He didn’t want to even acknowledge it. Keith just wanted to be left alone.

“What is your deal, Keith?” Lance asked, having followed him out into the hall. Keith tried to ignore him, thinking about the dance of blade against blade, about driving the Red Lion, anything but the heat singing in his blood and the fuzziness invading his every unguarded waking moment. “You’re even snappier than usual and you look pale but all the sensors say your temperature is elevated—”

He turned on Lance abruptly. “What,” He ground out, grabbing a fistful of Lance’s shirt, “did you just say?”

“Uh, your... temperature is elevated?”

“Fuck. You. Lance.” Keith practically spat the words at him, shoving him backwards and into the nearest wall. “I don’t want you spying on me!”

“I wasn’t spying!” Lance shouted, grabbing his wrist before Keith could pull away. “Pidge and Allura mentioned it at this morning’s meeting—which you missed, by the way—and suggested that someone check on you.” Keith swallowed at the look Lance was giving him. There was concern written all over his face in big, bold letters. Keith hated it. “Shiro’s been busy lately. Like attached-at-the-hip busy, with Lotor. So I volunteered.”

Keith blinked slowly at him, relaxing his grip on the other paladin’s shirt. He even let Lance ease his hand away, and didn’t protest when the other paladin seemed disinclined to let go of him.

“Why?” He whispered, confused and suddenly disorientated. Didn’t Lance hate him? Wasn’t that why the other boy gave him so much shit in the first place? The sudden concern was distracting and somewhat disturbing. “Why do even care, Lance?”

“Because you’re family, dumbass,” Lance told him, voice going soft. Keith felt something pricking at the corners of his eyes and firmly told himself that he wasn’t crying. That...had been something he’d needed to hear for a long time now, and Lance said it so sincerely... He swallowed the sudden lump in his throat, dropping his gaze to the floor to try and avoid looking at the other boy. “And family sticks together. They look after each other. Now, why don’t you tell me about what’s going on, huh?”

“Fuck you, Lance,” he muttered, but he told him anyway. It felt good to get it all off his chest. Now he knew that he wasn’t quite as alone as he thought.



For the next several weeks, he and Lance developed a routine. Keith would train and when he... issue got too much to bare, he’d let Lance help. How that happened, Keith wasn’t entirely sure, but he certainly wasn’t complaining. It had taken an edge off his singing blood that nothing else could, but it was taking its toll on Lance. Leaving a mark, so to speak, in the form of an almost ever-present state of exhaustion in the other boy. Keith couldn’t not notice it; it was glaringly obvious. Lance’s whole beauty regimen had taken a hard hit, and there were dark bruises beneath the other boy’s eyes. His skin was paler than it used to be, with a sickly sheen to it.

Keith knew he couldn’t keep hurting Lance. But that meant admitting that something was wrong with him, probably to Shiro. He wasn’t sure if he could say it, if he could put his problem into words. Besides, he still didn’t understand what was going on with him. How was he supposed to ask for help if he didn’t really know what, exactly, was wrong with his stupid half-breed body?

He slammed a first into the shower wall, grunting with the sharp pain in his knuckles. What the hell was he supposed to do? What would Krolia do? What would his dad do? He sighed and shoved his head under the spray, shuddering at the extremely low temperature of the water. He needed to figure something out, and soon. Or he might just go crazy. Which meant he had only one option...

“Keith.”

Keith froze beneath the cold spray of the shower, not moving an inch at the sound of someone saying his name. He was sure he’d locked everyone else out of the training deck but apparently not. Keith sighed again, somewhat resigned, and shifted to look over his shoulder at Shiro, making sure the Black Paladin couldn’t see his arousal. He’d already come twice and it just wasn’t going away. Sure enough, the black paladin stood just beyond the shower cubicle, arms crossed and expression stern.

“Get dressed,” Shiro told him, not looking away from his face. “I think we need to talk.”

Chapter Text

Chapter Two

Shiro's grip on his arm was tight, unforgiving, and Keith wasn't sure if he appreciated or not. To be honest, he was just resigned. Shiro knew something was wrong with him now, so what point was there in fighting or denying it? He sighed, stumbling slightly as they came to a stop outside Shiro's room. The Black Padalin turned to look at him, seeming to debate with himself for a moment before he just turned and opened the door.

Keith hesitated, digging in his heels, but Shiro gave him a gentle shove into the room and followed after him, blocking him from his only escape route. The door slid shut and Keith had the distinct impression that he wasn't going to be leaving the room anytime soon. The sensation of being trapped crept up over him, making the hair on the back of his neck stand up. Keith half-turned to put Shiro in his line of sight and caught movement on the bed.

"Shiro?"

He froze, glancing towards the bed and stared at the expanse of pale, lavender skin he could see. Lotor was in Shiro's bed, apparently naked if the uncovered bare leg he could see was anything to go by. As he watched, Lotor sat up and stared right back.

"What the hell, Shiro?" Keith exclaimed, turning to put them both within his line of sight. He glanced between the two, confusion growing. As soon as he caught Lotor's gaze, though, the heat singing in his veins surged forwards and he doubled over, panting.

"I think Keith might need a little Galran advice," Shiro said, tone even and calm. Keith glanced up in time to see Shiro leaning back against the door and crossing his arms as he stared right back at Lotor. "As you can see, something is wrong."

Lotor let out a little chuckle, sitting up even straighter and tugging the blankets over him properly. "Nothing is wrong, Shiro," he said, studying Keith as he abruptly sat down on the floor. "At least, nothing we can't deal with." Lotor sighed. "Besides, I thought I smelled him the moment Keith stepped into the council room."

"What the hell is going on?" Keith hissed, curling in on himself as if that would protect him. "Stop talking like I'm not even in the room, damnit!"

"I was wondering what the look had been about," Shiro muttered, sounding somewhat amused. "Care to share with the class, Lotor?"

"I didn't want to pry with Kolivan and the Blade right there, Shiro." Lotor shrugged one shoulder, shifting until he was sitting on the edge of the bed. "Besides, Kolivan seemed pretty damned protective of Keith, especially when he saw that I was there."

"Aw, was he worried that you'd corrupt their little half-Galra?"

"Shut it, Shiro."

"....how did you know where to find me?" Keith asked, trying to focus past the haze that was descending over his mind. He shook his head and peered up at Shiro from beneath his eyelashes. He tried very intently to ignore Lotor's presence, but it seemed to be a bright spot of heat in his senses. "I was dealing with it fine!"

"And Lance is exhausted, Keith," Shiro told him, pushing off the door to come and crouch before him. "Have you actually looked at him lately? He's pale, shaky and he actually told me that he couldn't keep up with you anymore." He laid a hand on Keith's shoulder, squeezing gently. "I asked him about that and he basically explained what was up with you. That's why I went to find you and brought you here, Keith." Keith closed his eyes, biting his lip. "We can help."

"Not to mention, I'd informed Shiro that something was off with you."

Keith opened his eyes and turned on the other half-Galra with a heated glare. "No one asked you to help me!" he spat, surging up onto his feet. He swayed almost immediately and suddenly Lotor was there, holding him up. "Let go of me!"

"No," Lotor told him, voice soft as he heaved him in closer. "I can help you, Keith, but first I need to explain to you what's going on."

"No," he muttered, pushing ineffectively at the older half-breeds chest. "No--"

"Yes, Keith," the exiled Galran Prince muttered, softening his tone. "Now let Shiro sit you down, please. You're testing my limits here."

Keith didn't protest as Shiro drew him away from Lotor and plopped him down on the bed. He couldn't stop staring at Lotor, though, even as the other half-Galra wandered off a few feet to get dressed. Keith noticed that Lotor was half-hard, and he was having a hard time ignoring that fact.

When Lotor turned back, there were tiny marks high on his cheeks. And they looked to be a dull, angry red colour. Keith stared, blinking stupidly at the older half-breed. Lotor frowned at him. "What?"

"....are you...blushing?"

"No."

"Then what's with the red on your cheeks?" Keith asked, frowning as Lotor came closer. He watched as one of Lotor's hands drifted up to touch one cheekbone. Lotor looked confused.

"He means the Altean marks, Lotor," Shiro supplied helpfully.

"Oh," Lotor muttered, carefully lowering his hand. "That means my rut is ramping up again." He fixed Keith with a knowing look. "That's your fault, you know."

"What? How?"

"You've reached sexual maturity," the exiled prince said, crossing his arms over his chest and affecting a teacher-like tone. "That means you've been building up to your first season these last few months--symptoms include nausea, dizziness, elevated temperature, pale, clammy skin, intense arousal that won't go away and the sensation of heat in your veins--which you've been showing pretty intensely lately."

"Lance pretty much confirmed what Lotor--what we --have been suspecting," Shiro added, tugging Keith towards him. Keith followed reluctantly, unwilling to take his eyes off Lotor. "I wasn't sure what to do, but Lotor convinced me that you needed to know about what was going on with your body. Hence bringing you here."

"You're about to get a lesson on Galra breeding habits, Keith. Do try to pay attention."


"So what're your saying," Keith muttered, rubbing a hand over his face, "is that this won't stop until I find another Galra to mate....to have sex with?"

"Essentially," Lotor said, leaning back against the wall and not looking at him. In fact, he was looking anywhere but at Keith. "I don't like it either, but honestly. I can help. Once this first season is over, you should be fine with whatever partner you choose."

"Basically....you're telling me it's kind of a fuck or die situation?"

"Not...exactly, but it will get worse. Possibly even make you sick."

"Fuck you, Lotor," Keith hissed, crossing his arms over his chest. "I'm not doing it."

"Keith--"

"No."

Shiro sighed, pushing up onto his feet to plant himself between Keith and Lotor. "Keith," he said, grabbing his chin and tilting Keith's head up until their eyes met. "I wouldn't have considered this if there was another way." He narrowed his gaze at him. "Would you prefer that Lotor and I go find another Galra? Someone who may be less inclined to be gentle?"

"I don't trust Lotor to be gentle! He's likely to strangle me the first chance he gets!"

"I would not strangle a sexual partner," Lotor ground out, sounding offended. Keith leaned to the side and peeked past Shiro to see the scowl on Lotor's face. "I'm insulted that you think I'd be capable of that."

"But Zarkon--"

"I am not my father!" Lotor hissed, pushing off the wall abruptly. He stood there watching Keith and Shiro for a moment before he turned on his heel and stalked out of the room.

Keith froze, something deep in his brain whimpering at the reaction that had evoked. He shuddered, squeezing his eyes shut even as Shiro sighed and pulled him up off the bed and into a hug. What the hell? Why was he reacting like this? It couldn't be something to do with his funky Galra side's biology, could it? Lotor had told him some things he did, that the way he reacted to another Galra's emotions may confuse him. Had Lotor's anger just triggered this? Keith shook his head, muttering nonsense into Shiro's chest.

"Shh, Keith," the Black Paladin hummed, voice dropped into a soothing tone. "Shh, he didn't mean it." A moment later, Shiro pulled back and gently eased him back down onto the bed. "Why don't you curl up in bed while I go speak to him? I promise, he's not mad at you."

He shook his head, but did as Shiro asked and crawled into the bed. Shiro tugged the sheet up over him and straightened up. Keith barely heard the older boy leave. All he could focus on was Lotor's intense glare and the anger in his voice. He shuddered again, curling in on himself with a whimper that he'd later deny had ever happened.


The door sliding open alerted Keith to Shiro's return. He rolled up onto an elbow, rubbing at his face tiredly. He didn't remember falling asleep, but apparently he had. It took him a moment to realise that Shiro wasn't alone. Lotor was with him. Keith froze, glancing between the two. "Shiro?"

"It's okay, Keith. I calmed him down."

Lotor snorted at that but didn't comment, crossing to lean against the wall where he'd been before. Shiro exhaled heavily and turned to close the door, punching in a sequence that locked it. Keith stared at him, then twisted to stare at Lotor and then back at Shiro.

"Now, I don't care about the issues you have with him, Keith," Shiro said, turning to face him with a stern glare. "You're going to let him help you."

"Why?"

"Because I said I would," Lotor huffed out, still not looking at him. "Now shut up and let Shiro explain things, will you?"

"Fine," Keith muttered, seeming to sink in on himself. He avoided looking directly at the other half-Galra, not sure how to react to everything that was happening. He also refused to look at Shiro, knowing that the older boy would be giving him a look full of concern. They'd known each other for years, and cared for each other as would-be brothers should. Not to mention that Keith respected Shiro like crazy.

"Lotor," Shiro said, and Keith glanced up. The exiled Prince pushed off the wall and approached slowly, hands drifting to the buttons on his shirt. It was only then that Keith realised it was one of Shiro's shirts. He stared as Lotor undid the buttons one at a time and oh, so slowly. It was almost as if it were practiced. "Keith, just...relax. Let Lotor take the lead."

"Shiro is the one in control here, though," Lotor said, letting his hands drop from the buttons to hang by his hips. "Don't let his deceptively soft tone fool you."

" Lotor ," the Black Padalin repeated firmly, and then there were hands on Keith's shoulders, fingers digging into his collarbones. He hadn't even realised Shiro was moving, let alone that he‘d gotten onto the bed behind him. "Kiss him."

Keith went very still, eyes widening slightly. He wasn't sure if he wanted to run very far away...or stay and see what happened. Keith, through his indecision, was left frozen in place. He felt lips by his ear and shuddered, leaning back into Shiro's hold on him.

"Just relax, Keith," Shiro whispered, as Lotor reached the bed and leaned towards him. "Relax and let us look after you for a little while. It's okay to surrender..."

Lotor's fingers touched his chin, then slid up his cheeks to cup his face. Keith stared as Lotor leaned towards him, gently guiding his chin up. There was a strange look on the other half-breed’s face, but his eyes were half-cast and he almost seemed to be smiling.

"I've been waiting to do this for months," he whispered, and then he leaned in close. Lotor's lips met his and Keith closed his eyes, pressing up into the feel of warm, dry lips moving against his. It was chaste for the moment, but then a tongue touched the seam of his mouth, and Keith was parting his lips without thinking.

"That's it," Shiro breathed, right by his ear, warm breath brushing against his skin. Keith felt a shiver crawl down his spine just as the heat singing in his veins roared to life. He pressed up into Lotor's kiss and then back into Shiro's hand, torn between the two men touching him and a strange desire to submit. "Just like that."

In that moment, Keith made his choice. He chose to submit.

Chapter Text

Chapter Three

Lotor pulled back in time to watch Shiro tug Keith's chin to the side, urging him into an awkward kiss. He exhaled carefully, pushing back his covert desire to belong, to have a place where he was cared for and wanted--he wasn't sure if it was here yet or not. Lotor swallowed, gaze fixed on the way Shiro's metal fingers dug into Keith's hair, on how the other man lowered Keith down to the bed. He'd wanted this before, the moment he'd caught the other half-Galra's scent in the council room, but now...

Shiro pulled back and shifted slightly. Lotor caught a sharp inhale as the human's mouth found Keith's neck. Keith moaned, and it went straight to Lotor's cock. He clamped his mouth shut, forcing himself to stay still as he watched them. One of Shiro's hands slid down to Keith's hip and pressed him into the bed. Lotor was frozen in place, at least until Shiro turned to look at him and smirked.

"Lotor," Shiro said, practically purring his name. "Come here."

For a moment, Lotor was tempted to resist--but then something in him snapped, and Lotor crawled onto the bed, swiftly reaching Shiro and Keith. He settled beside them, gaze fixed on Shiro's. The smirk faded into a fond smile. "What would you have me do, Shiro?"

The human hummed for a moment, Galran hand drifting over Keith's clothed chest. "He's wearing too many clothes," Shiro mused softly, glancing down at Keith's flushed face. "Undress him."

Lotor snorted. "Why don't you get him to undress himself?"

Shiro's eyes flicked up to meet his. "Excellent idea," he said, and withdrew from Keith. "Keith. Take your shirt off."

Keith scrambled to obey, nearly tearing his shirt in his rush to pull it off. Lotor was vaguely amused by the sight, but when he caught sight of the expanse of newly bared skin, he was worried. Keith, he knew, was usually fairly fit, but this... He swallowed. Keith's ribs were showing, sharply defined beneath the younger half-breed's skin; clearly he wasn't as well off as they'd thought.

Lotor shot Shiro a sharp look. The Black Paladin met it with an equally sharp look. Obviously, Keith wasn't telling them everything. Lotor gave Shiro a slight shake of the head. They'd address the issue later. For now, there was a bigger issue they needed to deal with, and Keith's whimpering was getting harder for Lotor to ignore.

"What's wrong, Keith?" he asked, pushing up to hover over the younger man. Keith's eyes were squeezed tightly shut, and he was shuddering occasionally. Lotor shifted until he could touch those sharply defined ribs, and then slid his hand up to cup Keith's neck. "Keith?"

"Please," Keith whispered, barely audible. "Please."

"Please what?" Shiro asked, suddenly right there beside him. Lotor barely restrained his flinch, managing not to look away from Keith's face at the last second. The younger half-Galra shook his head, pressing his lips together--but Lotor could smell him, could smell the need rolling off him. "Keith," Shiro said, his voice turning stern and commanding. "You need to tell us what you want or nothing is going to happen." Shiro paused and Lotor suddenly felt the older paladin's eyes on him. "Right, Lotor?"

Lotor shuddered at the reminder, breath stuttering. He blinked slowly, shifting a little until he caught Shiro's expression from the corner of his eyes. "Yes, sir," he muttered, the words calculatedly casual. Shiro's eyelids lowered slightly more, the older man's breath catching slightly. Lotor turned back to Keith, fighting the smirk that wanted to tilt his lips up, even as he hated himself for his reactions to Shiro's casual comment. "Keith, why don't you tell us what you want, hmm?"

"Please," Keith repeated, almost blindly. He shifted on the bed and Lotor had to pin one hip down so he'd stop squirming. "Please--more...."

"More?" Lotor asked, raising an eyebrow. "More what, Keith?"

Keith grabbed his wrist in one hand, and curled the other around his neck, tugging him down closer. "Please, Lotor," he whispered, right into Lotor's ear. "Please fuck me."

Lotor froze, a shiver travelling down his spine. He pressed his face into Keith's neck, suddenly very aware of how hard the thought made him.  Gods, did Keith have to say it in that tone? He breathed in Keith's scent for a moment, trying to stay in control. Lotor knew Shiro would pull him back if he thought that Lotor was going to hurt Keith, but even just the thought was keeping him in check. But only just. He exhaled and pulled back, finding Keith's glazed eyes.

"He has no idea how very...close my control is to snapping, does he?"

Shiro chuckled. "I don't think he cares right now, Lotor."

"Shiro." Lotor tried very hard not scowl at the Black Paladin, focusing on the way Keith was pressing up against him, fingers of one hand tangled in Lotor's hair and the fingers of the other hand tightening and loosening on his wrist. It was distracting, but Lotor wasn't far enough gone to let Keith's behaviour shatter his control. Not yet.

A hand slid onto his back, a reassuring weight across his ribs, and then Shiro's mouth was by his ear. "Would you like me to direct you in pleasing Keith?" the Black Paladin asked, his tone low and husky. It sent another shiver down Lotor's spine, making him exhale shakily. "To give you....orders to follow?"

“Yes,” Lotor breathed, and allowed Shiro to guide him down to Keith, to let the human’s hand tangle into his hair as Shiro brought Lotor’s mouth to Keith’s. He kissed him, trying to be careful of his fangs, but Keith’s grip on him tightened, as did Shiro’s, and then Keith’s teeth were in his bottom lip, drawing blood. He groaned. “Damn you both--”

The words were cut off by a sharp tug on his hair, courtesy of Shiro. “Enough talking,” the Black Paladin demanded, grip tightening slightly more before the hand slid away, back down to rest on one of Lotor’s hips. “Prepare him for us, Lotor.” There was a pause, and then; “slowly.”

"Yes, sir," he breathed, sounding strained as he stared down at the way Keith's gaze focused on Shiro touching him, as if transfixed. He let Shiro draw him up onto his knees and tried to control his breathing, tried not to just ravage them both. Shiro was in control here, not him.

"Here," Shiro murmured, and something was pressed into his hand. He glanced down to find Shiro's flesh hand closing his fingers over a small tube-like object. Lotor frowned at it, then glanced up at Shiro. The Black Paladin chuckled. "Lube."

Oh, Lotor thought, expression clearing. Of course. Human males didn't self-lubricate. He exhaled shakily, fingers curling around the tube. "Thank you," he murmured, turning back to Keith. He eyed the other half-Galra thoughtfully for a moment and then grinned, settling a hand on one of Keith’s still clothed knees. “Are you ready, Keith?”

Keith gave a stilted little nod before releasing Lotor and propping himself up on his elbows. Lotor took a moment to just look at him, fingers flexing around the little tube in his hand. It was a familiar weight and not something he held very often unless Shiro was in a particular kind of mood. He sighed, dragging his gaze down to where his hand rest on Keith’s knee.

“He’s still wearing far too many clothes,” Lotor muttered, scowling at the offending pants.

Shiro chuckled. “He is, isn’t he?”

And with that, he shifted until he was laying beside Keith, one hand darting down to the catch of the other half-Galra’s pants. Lotor’s breath caught, watching intently as Shiro deftly unfastened Keith’s belt and zipper and button, and began to shift the fabric off Keith’s hips. He had to shift his hand off of the younger half-breeds knee and dig his fingernails—his claws—into his palm to keep himself still. Lotor firmly reminded himself that this was Shiro’s show, not his.

Together, Shiro and Keith stripped Keith of his pants and then his underwear. Keith’s boots were probably back wherever Shiro had found him, considering he hadn’t exactly been wearing shoes when he’d first entered Shiro’s room.

Lotor watched with rapt attention as the rest of Keith body was revealed. His legs had fared better than his chest, his ribs, and it left Lotor wondering what the hell Keith might’ve done if he hadn’t offered to help. Galra, when they came of season, weren’t exactly known for being very logical, let alone ignoring their instincts. He supposed that’s where the issue lay. Like himself, most of the other half-Galrans he met had had trouble with conflicting instincts.

He sighed, letting his eyes drop to half mast as he finally ga glimpse of Keith’s hard, aching cock. It was different to his own, more human looking—like Shiro’s—but with a distinct texture to it that more resembled a Galra that human. Lotor ached to touch it, but knew he could not. Not yet. Not until Shiro said he could. He supposed that was probably for the best, especially when he couldn’t trust his own instincts. And to think he’d have trouble like this after ten thousand years.

A flash of darkness twisted through his mind and he flinched, hard. Immediately, Shiro’s attention was on him. Lotor could feel the human’s gaze, heavy and knowing. He swallowed with some difficulty, closing his eyes to try and find the calm place in his mind. He had to fight for it tooth and claw and fang, but he found it. The effort left him shaking and with shadows lingering in the corners of his eyes—a remnant of past wounds, emotional or otherwise. An invisible wound that would stay with him, probably for another ten thousand years.

“Lotor.”

He opened his eyes and met Shiro’s gaze, knowing that he would see the haunted look lingering there and finding very little reason to care. “Yes?”

“Do we need to stop?”

He gave Shiro the tiniest of smiles, fond but tired, and shook his head minutely. Always that same question, always in a calm, knowing tone. Shiro has been talking to Allura again.

“No,” he said, and turned his attention back to Keith. The momentary lapse in focus has dimmed his arousal, but not completely. Gazing at Keith, naked and waiting, brought it back up swiftly. “I’m fine. Let’s just help Keith.”

The silence from Shiro was telling, and it spoke volumes. Are you sure? Lotor didn’t take his eyes off Keith’s glazed ones. He knew that Shiro would want to talk about it later. It could wait. Keith could not.

“Keith,” Lotor said, leaning forwards. He un-clenched his fist in the process, prying his claws from his palm. It didn’t matter if he bled or felt pain. Pain would help him focus. “Tell me you want this.”

Shiro’s focus shifted, and Keith’s eyes widened slightly. “Please,” he whispered, “I want this. Please, Shiro, Lotor—“

Lotor dove in for a kiss, all teeth and tongue, cutting him off. That was all the permission he’d needed, even more so than Shiro’s directions. He chuckled breathlessly when Keith pressed up against him, meeting every nip and press of tongue with his own. The sensation drove Lotor crazy, but he forced himself to hold back. He needed to be gentler with Keith. He didn’t know what the younger halfling liked yet, or didn’t like. This was about exploration, not domination. The last thing he wanted to do was scare him. Lotor was determined to show Keith that he could be trusted, that he was not his father.

“Slow down,” Shiro ordered, and Lotor eased the kiss into something almost tender, slow and deep. Fingers slid into his hair, resting against the nape of his neck. “Now, time to move this along.”

Lotor groaned as Shiro gently guided him back a little, exhaling heavily as Shiro effortlessly held him in place. Keith was panting, hands above his head and clenching the fabric of Shiro’s pillow tightly. It made for a rather endearing, debauched image. Lotor liked it.

“Prepare him,” Shiro prompted, grip tightening slightly. Lotor fumbled with the lube, nearly dropping it before he managed to open it. He didn’t protest when Shiro took it off him and tossed it off the edge of the bed once he had a generous amount coating his fingers. “Do it, Lotor.”

Taking a shuddering breath, Lotor slid the back of his hands down the inside of Keith’s thighs until he reached the crease where thigh met ass, and then further, between his ass cheeks. He slid a slicked finger over Keith’s entrance, watching the younger half-Galra’s face, his expressions. Keith looked absolutely enraptured with him. It was probably Shiro’s casual man-handling of him, but Lotor didn’t care. It was time to get started.

“Breathe,” he reminded gently, and bent to his task, slowly teasing Keith until his thighs stopped shivering before pressing inside. Keith took the first finger easily, and the second. It was the third that made the arousal in his eyes dim. Shiro was there to counteract it, fingers of his flesh hand enclosing Keith’s flagging erection firmly. Lotor couldn’t stop watching it all, focusing drifting from where he was pressing a third finger into Keith, to Shiro’s hand around the other halfling’s cock, to Keith’s face and back, over and over again.

Finally, after several minutes, Lotor felt the slight give in Keith’s entrance and his fingers were sliding in, all three buried to the knuckle. He inhaled shakily, scenting Shiro and Keith both, the musk of arousal, a hint of sharp anticipation. His eyes fluttered closed and he dropped forwards to press his forehead against Keith’s hip. Gods, how was he supposed to withstand this? Shiro alone was bad enough, but he was only human. Keith was half Galra. The pheromones he was putting out were making Lotor’s head spin. He’d have to trust Shiro to know when to stop him, then. As he usually did.

Absently, Lotor began to move his fingers, pulling back eventually to open his eyes again and watch Keith’s every expression. The younger half-breed was clearly liking it now, if the little gasps and moans he was making were anything to go by. Lotor glanced down and found Keith’s entrance stretched and loose, clamping down on his fingers only briefly every few thrusts. He withdrew his fingers, eliciting a tiny whimper from Keith.

“Please,” he begged blindly, hips shifting as if trying to find purchase or friction, anything to ease the ache or arousal. Lotor stared, gaze intent as Keith shifted uncontrollably. “Please, Lotor—Please—“

Shiro’s hand was gone from Keith’s cock, but the hand on Lotor’s neck was still there. And there was a line of warmth plastered down his side, lips by his ear, a rigid cock against his hip. “You had better please him, Lotor,” Shiro whispered into his ear. “Look at him, at how he begs for you... Don’t you want to take him? Make him scream your name as he comes?”

That sent a hard shudder through him. Lotor hauled Keith’s ass up onto his thighs, legs spread obscenely wide as he lined up his cock. His control was a thin thread of red across his mind, held in place only by his desire to not hurt anyone. Especially a fellow halfling who knew very little about himself or his body.  Shiro’s metal fingers dug into the side of his neck, hot against his skin, nearly to the point of burning.

“Go on, then,” Shiro hissed. “Take him. You know you want to.”

His fragile control shattered at Shiro’s words, even as he pressed into Keith, steady and slow. The last thing Lotor clearly recalled after that was the feeling of bottoming out inside Keith and Shiro’s filthy, pleased laughter in his ear.

Chapter Text

Chapter Four

Keith woke up abruptly, clawing his way up out of a nightmare. He was disorientated for a moment before he recognised the wall he was staring at. He was in Shiro’s room, in the Castle of Lions and he was naked. And he’d spent the night with Shiro and Lotor. He flushed, peeking under the sheet covering his lower body and staring at the hickey he found on one hip. It had the hint of teeth to it, and somehow he doubted that that was Shiro’s handiwork. He groaned and shoved the pillow over his head.

Movement jostled him and he shoved the pillow off, twisting to look over his shoulder. Lotor was sitting on the edge of the bed, stark naked, with his back to Keith. Keith stared, taking note of the scratch marks down Lotor’s back and the occasional bruise. Had he done that? God, how long had it been since he’d felt this clear headed? Since Shiro has dragged him into this room and he’d seen Lotor laying in Shiro’s bed as if he belonged there?

“I see you’re awake,” Lotor said, not looking at him. He seemed really tense, like he wasn’t sure what he was and wasn’t allowed to do now. Keith jerked upright, putting his back to the wall, heedless of his state of dress—or rather, undress.

A quick glance around the room showed him that they were alone. “Where’s Shiro?”

Lotor's back stiffened. "He's gone to get food," the other half-Galra muttered, sounding tired--probably more tired than he wanted to show--and then leaned forwards, shifting to rest his elbows on his knees.

Keith stared at him, shifting gingerly. He could...feel how... enthusiastic he'd been during the night....days? He wasn't sure. Keith tugged the sheet up over his hips and crossed his legs, frowning. "So, uh," he began, clearing his throat. Lotor still wouldn't look at him. "How long have you and Shiro...y'know...been a thing?"

"A thing?" Lotor asked, turning his head slightly to peer at Keith over his shoulder and through a tangled fall of white hair. "You mean...sleeping together?"

"Er...yes..."

"Since I arrived on the Castle," he admitted, gaze narrowing. "Though we first met at the Arena....of a sort..."

Keith scowled at him, his own gaze narrowing. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"It means I--" Lotor cut himself off with a frustrated little growl. "Nevermind! It just means I used to watch him fight in the Arena and decided to meet the Champion..."

"So, back when you were 'testing' us....you knew?"

Lotor sighed, shaking his head. "Yes."

Keith snorted. "Typical," he muttered, crossing his arms over his chest. He rolled his eyes at Lotor and dropped his gaze to the bed. "So...what was he like...before?"

The half-Galra turned towards him, frowning. "He was....magnificent," Lotor muttered, turning away. There was something almost wistful about his tone. "Watching him fight...watching him take down far stronger opponents by outwitting them... It was truly a sight to behold." He sighed and rubbed a hand over his face, muscles bunching and shifting beneath marked up lavender skin. "We...met a few times... He was interesting to speak to. Always has been."

"What...happened to him? In the arena?"

"I'm sure you can imagine," the other half-Galra spat, turning to pin him with a narrow-eyed glare. "Especially if you've spoken to Matt."

Keith flinched, gaze flickering up slightly before he settled on staring at the bed again. He began to fiddle with the sheets, adjusting and readjusting how they lay over his legs. "My apologies," he muttered, tone sour. "I did speak with Matt, once...but he wouldn't tell me much." He sighed and shifted slightly, wincing. "I don't know which one of you it was, but my ass hurts."

Lotor snorted. "You gave as good as you got."

That got a chuckle out of Keith. "Yeah, I can see that."

They fell silent and Keith went back to adjusting the blanket, sighing. He caught a glimpse of his wrist and stopped short. There were bruises wrapped around it, in the shape of fingers. He glanced at the other one and saw a similar bruise, and swallowed. But he had to wonder whose fingers they'd been... Shiro's or Lotor's?

Keith wasn't sure he wanted to know, so he shifted to look at Lotor's back. "I've always wanted to know," he said, keeping his voice low, "but I never had the guts to ask..."

"Ask what?"

"How Shiro lost his arm..."

Lotor went very still, straightening up stiffly. He refused to look at Keith, seemingly focused on the floor or the wall -- Anything but Keith. "I--" He shook his head sharply, cutting himself off. Whatever it was that Lotor knew, he clearly didn't want to talk about it. "Nevermind."

Keith pushed off the wall, opening his mouth to push for more but hesitated. He took a moment to study the other half-breed, frowning deeply. The tension in Lotor's shoulders betrayed him, but Keith wasn't sure why Lotor didn't want to talk about it. The ex-Prince's reaction made him suspicious and wary, and far too curious for his own good.

He was about to actually push for more when the door slid open and Shiro stepped into the room. He turned towards him just as Lotor did. "Ah, you're awake," Shiro said and pressed an elbow to the door controls, closing the door. "About time, too."

Keith studied Shiro for a moment as he moved and blinked. There were fresh bite-marks and hickeys all along the older man's neck and shoulders. He could even see the hint of fangs in some of those and absently reached up to touch his mouth, wondering if those were from Lotor's fangs...or his own. He winced, looking away sharply and avoiding both Shiro and Lotor's questioning gazes.

"Hungry?" Shiro asked, as if he hadn't noticed Keith being weird at all. "You should be, Keith. We've been holed up in here for three days."

That jerked his head up and Keith stared at Shiro, eyes wide. "Three days?"

"I thought I explained this," Lotor muttered, standing abruptly. Keith's gaze shot to him, watching as Lotor turned to look for pants. It afforded Keith a very good view of Lotor's ass...and the well-used look of it. Along with several hand-shaped bruises and a well-placed bite-mark. He swallowed again, averting his eyes. "Honestly, Keith. You need to learn to listen better."

"Lotor."

"Yes, I know, Shiro. I'll lay off him, as you keep saying."

"Food," Shiro said, tone firm and Keith sighed, gaze darting back to the other man. "You need to eat. Both of you."

"I'm not hungry," Lotor muttered, expression mulish when he turned to face Shiro. Keith's gaze drifted down over the older half-Galra, eyes widening at the ugly scar slashing across his right-hand side. How bad an injury had that been for the healing pods not to heal it perfectly? "I'm going to take a shower instead."

"Lotor..." Shiro trailed off, moving out of the way as the ex-Prince stalked from the room. He sighed and turned to face Keith, a scowl on his face. It was wiped away as soon as Shiro noticed Keith watching him. "Well, then.... Food?"

Keith turned his gaze on the door, confused. "What about Lotor?"

"He'll come back when he's ready," Shiro said, exhaling carefully. He glanced towards the door, sighed again and then crossed to the bed. "How are you feeling?"

He was quiet for several long minutes, glancing past Shiro to the door and then back to the Black Paladin. "Tired," he said, glancing away again. He shifted slightly and grimaced, adding; "Sore."

Shiro chuckled. "I'll bet you are," he said and set the plate of food down on the bed. "Come on, you need to eat. Apparently these... seasons Galra go through can be very tough on your bodies."

Keith snorted and kept his gaze firmly on the sheets. "I noticed," he muttered, eyeing the plate thoughtfully. He was suddenly starving. "I'm famished." He glanced up. "Did you already eat?"

"Yeah," Shiro said, taking a seat gingerly on the bed. "Hunk wanted to make sure we were all alright, so he may have gone a little crazy on the baking."

That made Keith chuckle. "Certainly sounds like Hunk."

The conversation melted into causal, non-committal commentary and Shiro didn't mention Keith's state of undress or the night they'd spent together. He was grateful for that, for Shiro not mentioning it. Especially Lotor's involvement. Now that the lazy heat that had been lingering in his veins was gone, Keith wasn't quite sure how he felt about the other half-Galra. Either way, he way feeling much better and he refused to think about why that might be. Instead, he listened to Shiro talk about what he'd miss while he'd been with the Blade and ate until he couldn't eat anymore.


Three days later saw Keith on a mission with Kolivan and two other Blade members. They were on a small planet with a Galran fleet in orbit above. The mission was to get in and out with the planet's leader's children before the Galra found them. Keith didn't need to know what would happen to the kids if Sendak and his forces got a hold of them. He could just imagine Haggar cackling gleefully at the thought of new test subjects.

Keith glanced towards Kolivan and found the older Galra watching him carefully, a small frown creasing his forehead. They'd stripped off their Blade outfits earlier, and he was now in an under-suit with a disguise of underneath it. Kolivan had halted them in the shadows of a large building, looking concerned. There were enemy Galra everywhere. Which meant that Keith might have to go in alone, considering Kolivan and the other two Blades would attract too much attention, even hooded and cloaked. Keith swore under his breath, shifting further back into the shadows. Kolivan and the others followed.

"This is not good," Kolivan muttered, coming to lean against the wall beside him. He glanced towards Keith, nostrils flaring in what Keith assumed was agitation. "Looks like you'll have to go in alone."

"I don't like not having backup," Keith muttered back, ignoring the way Kolivan's gaze lingered on his neck as he tugged at the collar of the under-suit. He sighed. "Guess I've got no choice, then."

He pushed off the wall and began to strip off the under-suit, trying hard to ignore the looks the Blade members exchanged with each other. Kolivan, on the other hand, wasn't looking away, and Keith was suddenly nervous. They'd see the marks Shiro and Lotor had left on him, the bruises and bite-marks--and Keith wasn’t sure if he wanted them to see. Especially Kolivan. He began to strip down anyway, trying to shove the nervousness down deep where it wouldn’t bother him.

“What?” he asked, already half-way stripped down when Kolivan sucked in a sharp breath. He glanced up, frowning at the older Blade. “What’s wrong?”

Kolivan shoved him back into the wall, one hand gripping his wrist to raise it up. He was staring intently at Keith’s now-bared wrist. “What is this?” he asked, gaze fixed on the slightly faded bruises wringing Keith’s wrist. “Keith--”

“It’s nothing,” Keith hissed, trying to shove Kolivan away. The Galra refused to budge, and Keith pushed harder on his shoulder, annoyed now. “Seriously, Kolivan, it’s nothing--”

“It’s not nothing!” Kolivan hissed back, pressing him into the wall harder. He shook Keith’s wrist before releasing it and reaching up to turn Keith’s head to the side. “What did he do to you?”

Keith froze. “What the hell are you talking about?”

Kolivan sucked in another breath as if to say more, but one of the other Blades interrupted before he could launch into a tirade or lecture. “Kolivan, now is not the time!”

He had a feeling he knew what Kolivan had been about to say, but he was glad for the distraction. Kolivan growled and pulled away, turning to face the other Blade. He said something sharply in Galran and the other two Blades flinched back from him. Keith sighed and pushed off the wall, grabbing Kolivan’s arm.

“If you’re worried about my choice of bed partners,” he said carefully, tugging Kolivan around to look at him. “Don’t be. It’s not what you think it is.” Kolivan looked like he wanted to argue, but Keith finished stripping down to his disguise and brushed past him. “Now, I believe there’s some children to save?”

Kolivan didn’t argue as he handed Keith the hooded cloak and watched him throw it on. Keith offered him a small smile, pulled the hood up and strode out of the alley with a confidence he wasn’t feeling. Kolivan was definitely going to be lecturing him or interrogating him about it later. Probably both. Keith sighed and went to find the planet’s stupid leader so he could rescue the damned kids.

Chapter Text

Chapter Five 

Lotor entered the Council Room   as quietly as possible, ignoring the looks that Allura and Kolivan gave him. They were deep in discussion about something, probably to do with the Vanovi leader’s children. He kept quiet, leaning casually against the wall, arms crossed, as he watched them speak. Shiro was next to Allura, and he caught Lotor’s gaze carefully. Lotor almost smiled at him, but managed to contain it to a twitch of his lips before glancing away, towards the three other Paladins. They stood close together, heads bowed as they spoke in low voices.

He watched them for a moment, frowning. They were talking about Keith. Something about him being hurt? He tried to listen in on their conversation, but Allura calling the meeting to an end distracted him, making him glance her way. Kolivan was stalking towards him. Lotor tensed up, uncrossing his arms and pushing off the wall. Over his shoulder, he could see Shiro speaking to Allura, clearly focused on whatever they were discussing.

Kolivan was on him before he could move, one hand on his throat and shoving him back into the wall, aggravating the wound Lotor had gotten on his last mission and had hoped he could hide. “What did you do to him?” Kolivan demanded in a growl, pushing harder against his throat. Lotor found himself scrambling at the Galra’s wrist with both hands, breath hissing out between his teeth as the force Kolivan used to press him into the wall winded him. “Tell me what you did! I saw what you’ve done to him, what you---”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Lotor managed, forcing the words out past the pain in his ribs and the hold Kolivan had on his throat. “You’ve obviously been mislead--”

“Keith,” the Galra practically hissed, fingers tightening minutely. “You hurt him. I saw--”

“I didn’t do....anything,” Lotor ground out, shifting a foot off the floor and pressing it against Kolivan’s knee, trying to force him back, away, anything to get the angry Galra to let go of him. “That he didn’t....ask for...” He glanced past Kolivan to see Shiro striding towards them, a murderous look on his face. “Ask Shiro--”

“Kolivan! What the hell are you doing?”

Shiro sounded furious. Black dots started creeping in at the corners of vision, his hearing narrowed down to his laboured breathing and racing heart--and then Kolivan was yanked away from him. Lotor bent over, gasping for breath and holding his ribs gingerly, curling in on himself protectively, shielding his left side from any potential abuse. He coughed, rubbing at his throat with his other hand, wincing when the movement caused his ribs to ache. He tried to say something, but only dissolved into a coughing fit that forced him down onto one knee.

“He hurt Keith!” Kolivan was yelling when his hearing returned. He sounded equally as furious as Shiro was, but there was an undercurrent of concern threading through his voice. “I saw what he did! I could smell him on Keith--and Keith on Lotor!”

“Kolivan,” Shiro said, tone deadly. There was a hand on his shoulder. Lotor pressed up into it unconsciously, closing his eyes. “I would think very carefully on your next few words.”

Silence. Deathly so. Lotor opened his eyes and glanced up, finding every set of eyes in the room fixed on him, Shiro and Kolivan. He cleared his throat, catching Shiro’s wrist and using it to pull himself up onto his feet. His throat ached, but at least he wasn’t dissolving into a coughing fit now. He let Shiro steady him before pulling away and facing Kolivan.

“You knew he was in season,” he said quietly, voice raspy, and watched the way Kolivan went very still. “And yet you didn’t tell him, and you did nothing.... You let him  suffer , Kolivan...for months...” He rubbed his throat, wincing slightly before straightening up as much as possible despite the ache of his cracked ribs. “Why didn’t you do anything?”

Kolivan stared at him for several moments in silence, a dozen expressions flickering over his face until it become deliberately, worryingly blank. Lotor frowned at him. “I don’t have to answer to you,” Kolivan said emotionlessly before he turned and stalked out of the room.

Lotor collapsed back against Shiro, taking a deep, gasping breath. He curled his arm tighter around his ribs and refused to meet anyone’s gaze, his own fixed on the floor. “I believe,” he said slowly as Shiro slid an arm around his back, “that was...not how I planned for him to find out.”

Shiro sighed. “It doesn’t matter,” the Black Paladin muttered, and Lotor relaxed a little more. “It was going to happen eventually.” There was a pause, and Lotor squeezed his eyes shut. “Now, I believe you need the infirmary as well. Let’s go.”

He let Shiro guide from the room blindly, eyes still tightly shut. The walk to the infirmary was uneventful, despite Lotor’s increasingly laboured breathing. He even stumbled once or twice, and that told him that he was far worse off than he’d initially thought. Shiro kept him upright until he could smell the clean, chemical scent of antiseptic and something Shiro called bleach. 

Lotor opened his eyes in time to see the doors opening. Shiro guided him inside and to the right. Keith lay on cot nearby, curled up and shivering. Lotor spared him a glance and then Shiro was sitting him down on a cot, moving in front to tilt his chin up with a gentle flesh hand.

“Damn,” Shiro said, tilting his chin one way and then the other. “Kolivan really did a number on you, didn’t he?”

“It’s not like he stabbed me,” Lotor muttered sullenly, and then sucked in a sharp breath when Shiro leaned down and pressed against his ribs with his metal hand. He groaned, pain clouding his head and making his nausea rise. “Not... the first time... that someone’s tried to kill me, Shiro.”

“I don’t think he was trying to kill you, Lotor,” the Black Paladin murmured softly and pulled his hand away. Lotor missed the contact almost immediately, and wasn’t that just messed up? That he would take whatever Shiro gave him, even the pain? He sighed and looked away from Shiro, even as Shiro shifted the hand on his chin upwards and cupped his check, thumb brushing over his cheekbone. “I think this,” he added, sliding his hand down to Lotor’s bruised throat, “was just a warning.”

“Some warning,” he murmured back softly, leaning into Shiro warm palm. “I grow weary of people trying to kill me.”

Shiro chuckled darkly. “They’ll have to get through me first,” he said, completely serious. They stared at each other for a long moment, and then Shiro was leaning in to kiss him. Gently, of course, but firmly. Lotor groaned into Shiro’s mouth, then practically whimpered when the Paladin pulled away. “Now, where the hell is a doctor when you need one?”

“Right here.”

Lotor froze, eyes wide, even as Shiro turned abruptly to face the speaker. An Olkari woman stood on the far side of the room, bent over something on a bench. As he watched, she straightened up and turned to face him. He tensed, unconsciously leaning towards Shiro. Lotor had had enough bad experiences with Haggar’s so-called ‘doctors’ to last ten thousand lifetimes. He swallowed, wincing when it aggravated his bruised throat.

“Nisat,” she said and strode towards them, seemingly ignorant of Lotor’s reaction to her presence. He had no reason to fear an Olkari, so why was he terrified?  “Ah, Lotor. What have you done now?”

He didn’t remember this Olkari woman. Not at all. That she appeared to know him made him uncomfortable and sent a cold wave of dread down his spine. “Shiro,” he whispered, knowing he sounded pathetic, terrified, but unable to hide it. Not from Shiro. Never from Shiro. “Shiro--”

“It’s okay, Lotor,” Shiro said, turning to him with a smile. “You can trust Nisat. She treated you after your fight with Sendak.”

Oh.  Oh . Lotor swallowed again, grimacing. “I’m afraid I don’t remember.”

Nisat chuckled. “I’m hardly surprised,” she said, moving in front of him as Shiro shifted away. She took his chin in a firm, gentle grip and tilted it up. “You were quite badly injured at the time, not to mention heavily under the influence of whatever Haggar had been using to control you.”

He grimaced again. It was true, though. He had not been entirely in control since Haggar had requested his return from exile. Lotor hadn’t realised quite how much control she’d had over him until his mind-meld with Allura. He knew he’d fought it, with a vague, impersonal sense of distance; knew he’d hidden things from his father, from Haggar, that even torture would not make him reveal. And Haggar had revelled in his torture, too. He still found some of his time between his summons and mind-melding with Allura to be difficult to remember. He  did  remember killing his father with Shiro’s bayard, though. That particular memory would not leave him easily, it seemed. 

"Is it still in my system?" Lotor asked, keeping his voice low. Over by Keith's bed, the space wolf lifted its head, glancing towards him. He tried to ignore it. Nisat seemed to hesitate, so he pushed her for an answer. "Is it," he demanded harshly, "still in my system?"

Nisat grimaced. "No, it is not. Thankfully."

Lotor snorted and glanced away. "I surely hope it isn't," he muttered, leaning into Shiro. Now that they were alone in the infirmary, he felt a lot more relaxed than he'd been when confronted with Kolivan's ire. He exhaled slowly, trying to breathe past his bruised throat.

The Olkari doctor tutted at him in what appeared to be muted fury, but her fingers were cool against his skin as she checked him over. The fingers on his chin tightened momentarily before she released him. "I would like to have a word with your attacker," Nisat muttered, backing up a step. "Perhaps I shall have a word with them."

"That won't be necessary," Shiro said, stepping between them. "I'll deal with Kolivan."

"It was Kolivan?" Nisat seemed surprised by that if the tone of her voice was anything to go by. Lotor could see her shifting beyond Shiro. It almost looked like she was crossing her arms, and when Shiro moved aside again, Lotor could clearly see that he'd been right. "Why am I not surprised?" she asked as she moved off to a cabinet set into the wall between Lotor and Keith's bed. She stepped deftly over the space wolf as if she'd done it a thousand times before. If Keith had been in here for as long as Lotor thought, then she probably had. "Let's see here..."

Lotor exchanged a glance with Shiro, who shrugged, as Nisat muttered to herself while searching through the cabinet. She had slipped into Olkari as she searched and, though Lotor had ten-thousand-years of experience, he could only understand a small handful of her words. He was glad that most of the races he encountered in the universe spoke common--a variant of the Earth's English.

Shiro shrugged at him, moving to sit down on a bunk nearby. "Nisat's a brilliant doctor," he said, offering Lotor a smile. "She's not gonna let you die on us."

He froze, gaze darting from Shiro's smile to Nisat's back. What if he didn't want to live? What if the only reason he still breathed was to stop Sendak and the witch? Lotor dropped his gaze to the floor, avoiding Shiro's dying smile and Nisat's knowing look as she turned back to face them.

"Here," she said as she came back over. "This should help."

Lotor glanced up to find her holding out a small, flat jar full of a grey-green substance. He blinked at it then met her stern gaze, making no move to take it just yet. "What does it do?"

Nisat sighed. "It's a blend of healing herbs and a couple of chemicals to ease the burning feeling of your bruises and will help them heal faster." She glowered at him. "Just take the damn jar, Lotor."

He scowled but took it, slowly and with great reluctance. "Directions?" he bit out, glowering right back. He turned it over, examining the flat, glass jar with a sneer. "If you'd please."

"Rub into the bruises twice a day," Nisat told him, turning away to return to the bench. "Once in the morning and once in the evening. It should work for your ribs as well."

Lotor froze. "What do you mean--"

"You know exactly what I mean, Lotor. Now get out before I throw you out."

"Come on, Lotor," Shiro said, distracting him from Nisat's stiff back. He met the Paladin's narrowed gaze, frowning at him as he turned the jar over and over in his hands. Shiro stood up and held out a hand for him. "Let's go back to my room."

Chapter Text

Chapter Six

The blaring of an alarm woke  Lotor from his sleep, and he groaned. Beside him, Shiro shifted and then swore sleepily. Lotor threw an arms over his eyes as Shiro got up, muttering sleepily about proximity alarms going off. He sighed and rolled over, tugging the blankets up over his shoulder as he did so. He listened to Shiro for a moment as the Paladin scrambled to find his clothes.

"Shiro." That was Allura. Lotor pushed up onto an elbow, now wide awake. Shiro had paused in the middle of pulling on his pants to peer up at the ceiling. "There's an incoming transmission."

Lotor sighed. "What does it say?" he asked, shifting into a sitting position and rubbing at his face. "And don't paraphrase anything."

"Uh," Allura said, sounding unsure. "Something along the lines of , well. I'll just play the transmission for you, shall I?"

There was a beat of silence and then a very familiar voice was saying, "This is Kimon of the Baqiran Pirate Fleet. Prepare to be boarded. We have much to discuss."

Lotor groaned again and then swore in several different languages. He got up on shaky legs and went to find his clothing. "I'll be right there," he said, not looking at Shiro. "Tell them to wait."

Allura was quiet for a moment before she sighed. "Very well, then."

Silence fell in Shiro's room, and Lotor finished dressing. When he straightened up, somewhat stiffly, and turned to Shiro, he found the human waiting for him. Shiro was fully dressed now in something more casual than his paladin gear; dark pants and a dark shirt. The paladin opened the door and stepped out. Lotor eyed him thoughtfully for a moment then moved to follow him out into hall.

"So, want to tell me why that message made you so angry?"

"I'm not angry, Shiro," Lotor muttered, clasping his hands together behind his back, trying not to betray his injury. His ribs ached. They’d been lucky enough to get a few hours sleep, which meant Keith was probably still in the med-bay with that weird wolf of his. And why the hell was Lotor thinking about Keith right now? "I'm annoyed and frustrated. They're not supposed to be here."

"Who isn't supposed to be here?"

Realising that he'd spoken without thinking, Lotor pressed his lips into a thin line and refused to give Shiro any names. Instead, he said; "You'll see."

The rest of the wall to the bridge was made in silence. Shiro kept casting him worried glances, but Lotor firmly ignored him. At least until they stepped onto the bridge and came to a stop beside an increasingly harried-looking Allura. She looked distinctly ruffled, like she’d been woken up by the alarm herself. Lotor decided not to comment on it.

"Lotor," she hissed, turning towards him and gesturing to the holographic vid screen floating before her. "Make them stop!"

As soon as Lotor caught sight of the screen, his sighed. Three Alteans with pale hair and slightly Galra features were crowded into the cockpit of a fighter, all trying to take centre stage in the video. As soon as they saw him, their eyes lit up.

"Father!"

"Wait, what?" Allura sounded stunned. Lotor grimaced. Why was he not surprised?

"Kimon," he said exasperatedly, meeting the centre figure's purple-yellow gaze. "Please stop harassing my friends."

"Yes, father..."

"You're a father?" That was Shiro. He cast the paladin an unreadable look. Shiro looked confused. Very confused. "When...? H-how...? Oh my god--"

"Yes, Shiro," Lotor said, gesturing to the screen and trying very hard to hide his wince as the gesture pulled at his ribs. They already ached just from the walk down to the bridge from Shiro’s room. "I am, indeed, a father. Don't look so shocked now. You know how old I am."

"I, uh... I just wasn't expecting, well..." Shiro gestured at the trio who were watching their exchange with rapt expressions. "This."

He exhaled carefully, turning to give Shiro a pointed look. "May we discuss this later?"

Shiro swallowed and looked away, his body language exuding discomfort and sheepishness. "Oh, of course." He gestured for Lotor to take centre stage. "Please, introduce us."

Lotor sighed heavily and half-turned to gesture at the screen. The movement aggravated his ribs further and he was determined to ignore it, to not let on that he was injured. He didn’t want his children to know. That was the last thing he needed. He swallowed down the pain and forced himself to focus.

"Kimon, my eldest," he said, and then indicated the other two. "My second eldests, Arik and Amita."

"Twins?" Shiro asked, sounding somewhat surprised. Lotor turned towards him with a frown. "Interesting."

"I'm...not sure what you mean by 'twins', Shiro."

"Born at the same time? Of the same mother?" the Black Paladin offered, and Lotor's confusion smoothed out.

"Oh, you mean litter-mates?"

Shiro blinked a him. Lotor stared back. "You know," Shiro said slowly, "sometimes I wonder how much experience you really have. Surely, in all your years of exploring, you would've heard of twins?"

Lotor shrugged and turned back to the holographic screen. "It must be an Earth thing," he muttered, eyeing his three children. They stared back with bright, excited eyes. He cleaned his throat, slipping his hands behind his back and gripping one wrist tightly with his other hand. "Now, Kimon, Arik, Amita. Care to explain to me why you thought it was a good idea to leave the Colony?"

The trio on the holographic screen exchanged glances. "Uh," Kimon said, looking uncharacteristically nervous. "About that... Can we  please  have permission to board? Father and I need to discuss something."

Lotor sighed and glanced towards Allura. "Your Highness?"

Allura looked like she might not allow it but then she sighed and threw her hands up as if to say  'do as you like, you’re obviously going to ignore me anyway'  before glowering up at the screen. “I don’t see how keeping a father from his children would be a security issue.”

He snorted. “Oh, you haven’t met them yet,” he drawled, watching as his three children broke out into wicked grins. “Not properly.” He fixed the screen with a sharp, knowing look. “You will behave while you’re on this ship, won’t you?”

“Yes, father,” the trio said together and the feed cut off.

Lotor turned to face Allura with weariness he wasn’t able to hide. She stared back with wide eyes, then her gaze flickered past him and there was a hand on his shoulder. He tensed before realising who it was. 
Shiro . Lotor relaxed and turned towards him, releasing his grip on his wrist.

“I had no idea,” Allura said slowly, carefully. She watched him closely for a moment and then sighed. “I’m sorry.”

And with that, she turned and swept out of the room, leaving Lotor and Shiro staring after her. Lotor exchanged a glance with Shiro. The Paladin was frowning deeply. Lotor found his expression frozen into blankness.

“Well,” Shiro said neutrally. “That was... something.”

Lotor hummed in reply, glancing towards the door that Allura had left through. “Hm, we had best go to the shuttle bay and greet my children.”

He exhaled carefully, reached up to press a hand against his ribs and then shrugged Shiro's hand off his shoulder. Lotor carefully did not look at Shiro as he stalked towards the door and out into the hall, knowing the Black Paladin would follow regardless. He had a trio of wayward children to chastise.

The shuttle bay, when they reached it, was thankfully empty expect for the Altean-style fighter that had docked in an empty spot. And, apparently, Allura. She stood staring at the fighter with something akin to longing. Lotor and Shiro joined her.

"I never thought I would see another Altean besides Coran again," she said softly, gesturing to the fighter. "Let alone an Altean fighter and three Alteans."

Lotor sighed. "I apologise," he said just as softly. "I had a great many secrets that I did not want my father or Haggar to discover. I had no intentions of keeping them from you, at least until you'd promised not to go straight to them."

Allura chuckled. "I think I would have been glad just to know that they existed."

"Well, now you have a chance to meet other Alteans."

The fighter abruptly opened and three figures tumbled out. All, of course, had hair as white as Lotor's, but more Altean features than Galra ones. The tallest figure straightened up first and turned towards them. They hesitated a moment and then Kimon was flying towards him, yelling 'father' and apparently crying. Lotor had to brace himself for the impact but Shiro was there to hold his son back.

"Father?" Kimon asked, confused as he glanced between Shiro and Lotor. "What's wrong?"

Shiro leaned in and whispered something into his ear and understanding crossed his face. Kimon nodded and then approached him as a far slower pace. Lotor pulled him into a hug and pressed his face into his son's hair. He had missed his children. He'd missed them quite a lot, but he'd had to leave them isolated where at the Colony for very good reasons. Haggar had summoned him back, and then she's drugged him, and well. What was he supposed to do? Let the witch take his secrets for easily? No, he would rather die.

"Kimon," he muttered into his son's hair. "What do you think you're doing? You three were supposed to stay at the Colony!"

Kimon pulled back with a sigh and a sad look. "We had to leave," he told him. "There was a visitor... An Altean woman. She called herself Honerva."

Lotor froze. "Impossible," he whispered, shocked and fearful. "That is impossible, Kimon..."

"Father?"

Lotor released his son and took a step back, half-turning away. He caught Shiro's worried glance but ignored it. And that was when the twins, as Shiro had called them, joined Kimon. They exchanged worried glances with each other as Lotor fully turned away and took a couple of shaky steps away from them.

"Father?" Arik called, but he quickly fell silent. Lotor couldn't focus on them. There was a ringing in his ears and the edges of his vision were pulsing with light and colour before edging towards darkness. "What's wrong with him?"

"I'll talk to him," Shiro said, and then he was there, beside Lotor and Lotor couldn't ignore him. "Lotor?" Shiro took his arm gently, turning him towards him. "Lotor, what's wrong?"

"Honerva was my mother," Lotor whispered and watched as Shiro's face went pale. "Haggar... Haggar, when she had me last, said she thought her and Honerva were one and the same."

"Shit," the Black Paladin hissed out, glancing towards Lotor's children. His grip on Lotor's arm tightened painfully, but Lotor ignored it. "Shit. That's not good, is it?"

Lotor swallowed, trying to fight past the nausea rising in his chest. "No, not at all."