Chapter 1: Hospitals and Homes
Kolivan had no idea what exactly had happened. In all honesty, he wasn’t entirely sure he wanted to know exactly what had happened.
All he knew was that the Galra empire, led by Sendak, had taken control of Earth. He understood that the paladins had defended Earth and ultimately defeated Sendak’s army and saved Earth, but he didn’t know all of the details. He and Krolia had gone to Earth with the blades they had gathered to meet Keith on Earth, only to find the planet in near-ruins, the survivors being treated for injuries and being given supplies. They also found a large group of rebels, led by the green paladin’s older brother, on Earth when they arrived.
Krolia had gone up to the first person she had seen and grabbed their shoulder urgently.
“What happened to the paladins of Voltron?” She asked, worried for the teenagers and, most importantly to her, her son. The humans she had grabbed looked panicked for a moment before smiling when they saw Krolia’s blade of Marmora blade.
“Voltron saved us, but the paladins are in pretty bad shape from what I’ve heard. They crash-landed back on Earth after the final battle. You’ll have to ask an official for more information.” They said. Krolia nodded and thanked them for the information, stalking off to find the first Garrison official she saw.
“I’m looking for my son. He flies the black lion of Voltron.” She said. The official turned to her and smiled politely.
“Keith? He’s recovering from his injuries right now, but I’m afraid you’ll have to provide evidence of being his mom if you want to see him.” They said. Krolia nodded and thought for a moment. She didn’t have any official documents like a birth certificate that she could show them.
“Why would I need to do that?” Krolia asked in confusion.
“Well, as I’m sure you understand, we can’t have random people going to visit them. As I’m sure you also understand, we’re a little skeptical when an alien says they’re the mother of a human.” The official explained. Krolia nodded, since she supposed that made complete sense now that it was explained to her.
“Would there be any possibility of a blood test?” She asked. The official nodded and smiled, leading the two to the infirmary section of the Garrison. They retrieved one of the doctors that were milling around, leading them to Krolia and Kolivan. The doctor smiled up at them and quickly but carefully took a small sample of blood from Krolia.
“Stay here while I go take a sample from Keith and run the tests. Our technology has come a long way, so it shouldn’t take more than ten minutes.” The doctor said, walking down the hallway and turning a corner before disappearing from Krolia’s sight. Kolivan sighed softly and worriedly, shaking his head.
“You know, your son takes after you quite a bit.” Kolivan said. Krolia looked over, her ears twitching in confusion.
“In what ways?” She asked.
“He inherited your natural ability to attract trouble.” Kolivan said. Krolia chuckled and nodded in agreement.
“Yes, I’ve noticed that.” Krolia said, just as the doctor rounded the corner again. She looked up expectantly and frowned when she saw a slightly shocked look on their face.
“Amazing. A human with alien blood. That’s unprecedented.” The doctor said, leading Krolia and Kolivan to Keith’s hospital room. Krolia entered and frowned when she saw Keith. Her son was sleeping deeply, bandages wrapped around his head, his led wrapped in a cast and propper up, wearing the standard loose hospital uniforms.
“We put him under some pretty strong anesthetics while we stitched up his injuries, so he’ll probably be asleep for a little while longer.” The doctor said, leaving the room. Kolivan reached over and sighed softly, reaching out and swiping a lock of hair from Keith’s forehead.
“He is so young, yet he has been through so much.” Kolivan said. Krolia nodded sadly and sat at the foot of Keith’s bed, looking at her some with warmth in her eyes and expression.
“Yes. When this is all over, I intend to give him as normal a life as he can have. Time to explore his kit needs and instincts in an environment where he will not be judged.” Krolia said. Kolivan frowned, his ears pinning back.
“Kit? Exactly how old is Keith, Krolia?” He asked urgently.
“Let’s see… He was eighteen when we went on our mission to the quantum abyss, we spent about two years there… It’s been about three years since then… twenty-three, roughly.” Krolia said. Kolivan let out a choked, horrified noise.
“Only 23?! Quiznak, I let a child go through the trials, much less go on such brutal missions!” Kolivan said. Krolia put a hand on Kolivan’s shoulder in as soothing a manner as she could.
“You didn’t know. Keith never would have told you. On Earth, eighteen in the general age of maturity in humans, so he did consider himself an adult.” Krolia said. Kolivan nodded and glanced back at Keith. He looked up when he saw one of the nurse enter the room to change the bandages on Keith’s head and check the stitches.
“What is that beeping? Is something wrong with the machinery?” Kolivan asked in confusion when he registered the heart rate monitor. The nurse shook her head and looked over with a smile.
“No, that’s just the heart rate monitor, It beeps to let us know that his heart is still beating, and it becomes one long sound if it stops.” The nurse explained. “But that’s unlikely. He’s pretty banged up, but he’ll make a full recovery.” She said, leaving the room. Kolivan took a seat by the window, throwing one of his legs up onto the ledge and resting his arms on the knee as he regarded Keith. Krolia sighed softly and perked up when she saw Keith shifting, smiling gently. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see a smile forming on Kolivan’s face as Keith turned his head towards them and cracked his eyes open.
When Keith awoke, the first thing he registered were two darker blobs of color in the room. He blinked a few times to straighten out his vision, smiling lightly when he saw Krolia and, to his disbelief, Kolivan in the room.
“How are you feeling, Keith?” Krolia asked softly, reaching out and running a hand lightly through Keith’s hair, cautious of the injuries.
“I feel okay. I’ve definitely felt better, though.” Keith said. “What are you guys doing in here?” He asked curiously, trying to push himself up. Kroli gently eased him back onto the bed.
“Settle down, kit. There is no rush.” Krolia said gently. “And did you think we would just let you wake up alone?” she asked. Keith shrugged and looked away.
“I mean, I guess I’ve never really had anyone who would make sure I didn’t wake up alone.” Keith said, as though it were the most obvious thing in the world.
“Well, rest assured that that will never happen again.” Krolia said determinedly, helping Keith sit up slowly and giving him a styrofoam cup of water. It had taken several attempts with the combined effort of the two Galra to fill the cup, since their claws repeatedly punctured holes in the cup. Krolia tilted the cup enough for small sips, pulling away when it semed that Keith was going too fast.
“There is the idea of housing, Keith. The Garrison is willing to give each family unit of the paladins an apartment in the Garrison. But, there is the issue of packs. Kolivan and I have always considered each other pack, so he will be living with us.” Krolia explained. Keith nodded a bit. He was fine with Kolivan living with them.
“What’s a pack?” Keith asked. Kolivan glanced at Krolia in alarm.
“How does he not know about packs?” Kolivan asked incredulously.
“Well, Kolivan, humans don’t participate in packs. So, he wouldn’t know about it.” Krolia explained. She turned to Keith. “A pack is a bit like a found family, Keith. A group of close friends live together and take care of each other, and work together to care for kits that live with them.” Krolia explained. Keith nodded and looked around.
“Can I leave yet?” He asked.
“I don’t think so, Keith. I am fairly sure that the doctors here wish to keep you for a few more days to ensure there will be no lasting damage from your head injury, as well as making sure you are healing well.” Kolivan said. He got up and moved to Keith’s side, a hand settling on Keith’s shoulder. Keith nodded and sighed impatiently.
“I hate hospitals.” He admitted, leaning his head on Kolivan’s arm.
As Kolivan had predicted, Keith had been held in the hospital for a few more days before he was allowed to leave and go to his, Krolia’s, and Kolivan’s apartment.
He had spent a solid fifteen minutes arguing about a wheelchair with the nurse that was helping him check out, insisting that it wasn’t necessary. However, the argument was futile, and he soon found himself in a wheelchair, his head leaning against Krolia’s stomach as the woman pushed him to their apartment. Kolivan was walking next to them, a small smile on his face.
“The apartment is fully stocked with supplies, as well as as many blankets and pillow as I could bargain for for the purpose of nesting.” Kolivan said. Keith perked up and looked over at Kolivan.
“Nest?” He asked. Kolivan looked even more bewildered, looking at Krolia for an explanation.
“Again, it is not a human practice, Kolivan.” Krolia explained to him. “A nest is a structure of pillows and blankets, constructed with the intention of a pack sleeping in it. Of course, if you are uncomfortable with that, there are bedrooms with beds in it if you would rather sleep there.” Krolia said. Keith nodded and smiled lightly, closing his eyes. He was still dressed in the hospital clothes, since his only other clothes were the skinny jeans that wouldn’t fit over the cast on his leg, blade of marmora armor, paladin armor, and his cadet uniform. Since Keith had agreed that he’d rather be comfortable, he had snatched a few sets of the clothes for himself before they had left.
“I must say, though, human food is rather weird. I tried a small red sphere and it was very sweet.” Kolivan said.
“Do you mean a grape?” Keith asked, laughing a bit. Kolivan looked over.
“Is that what it’s called?” Kolivan asked as they came across the door to their apartment. He scanned a key card and watched as the door slid open, stepping inside. Krolia pushed Keith inside and smiled, as the door slid shut behind them. She helped Keith up and handed him a set of crutches.
“Why don’t you go pick your bedroom and unpack your things? All of the boxes that have your things are marked with your name.” Krolia said. Keith nodded and looked around, relaxing when he saw Cosmo laying in the dining room, asleep. Satisfied that his pet was okay, he disappeared into the hallway. He chose a bedroom at random, going to search for his belongings before realizing that all of the boxes were marked in Galran.
“Uh… I can’t read Galran.” Keith said, attracting the other two residents’ attention. Krolia went to Keith and grabbed the boxes of his things, putting them into the bedroom that Keith had chosen. Overall, the bedroom was standard-looking; a bed sat in one corner, with a nightstand, a desk sat against the opposite wall, and there was a closet on the other wall. The bed was covered in standard white sheets, with two pillows at the top of the bed.
When Keith looked into his boxes, he wasn’t surprised to find that he really didn’t own that much. His clothes, mostly consisting of various armors, took up the most room. He also had a small collection of colored pens that he hadn’t even been aware had been taken from the castle of lions. He loved to doodle, and it warmed his heart in a way that someone had thought to saved the items that seemed so insignificant. He had his various knives, and he was surprised to find that someone had thought to also pack his red paladin pajamas and lion slippers.
It didn’t take long to find a place to put all of his belongings, but by the time he did, he was hungry. He supposed it was because he didn’t eat much of his breakfast, sick of the bland, weirdly-textured hospital food that he had been given over the last few days. He went out into the main living area, pausing when he saw that must have been the most bizarre sight he had ever come across.
Kolivan and Krolia were working together to build what Keith could only assume was a nest. Layers of blankets covered the entire living room floor, and more blankets formed cave-like burrows or small, covered areas. Looser blankets, clearly intended for burrowing under, covered the top of the nest, and the two were placing pillows in what seemed like planned places.
“Hello, Keith. Are you finished unpacking your things?” Kolivan asked. Keith nodded and smiled when Cosmo teleported over, nuzzling Keith with a soft, excited whine. Keith laughed and sat down, burying his face in Cosmo’s thick fur. He froze when his stomach growled audibly, the two Galra watching in amusement as Keith blushed up to his ears.
“Are you hungry, Keith?” Krolia asked gently. Keith, finding it useless to argue, nodded, letting Krolia lead him into the kitchen. He hopped up onto the stools at the breakfast bar as Krolia rifled through the ingredients in the cupboards. Krolia eventually set a plate of meat cubes and crackers in front of Keith.
“Thank you.” Keith said, digging into his snack with a smile. When he was finished, he got up and went into the living room, Cosmo not far away, hesitantly settling down in the nest. A small part of him trilled in delight, settling down for the first time in his life.
Keith had to admit, the nest was very comfortable. Cushioned just enough, blankets soft against his skin.
Krolia and Kolivan walked into the nest to find Keith rolling around in the nest, making amused ‘merp’ sounds as he settled down with a laugh. Krolia pulled out her phone and snapped a few pictures, intent on starting to capture memories in pictures.
Looking over at Kolivan, Krolia grinned, knowing that the two of them would protect and nurture Keith at all costs.
Chapter 2: Outdoor Walks
Krolia, Kolivan, and Keith go outside to go for a walk so that Keith can get some fresh air.
It had been a week since Keith had been released from the hospital. In that times, Kolivan had learned a few things about the boy.
First, Keith wasn’t very talkative. Admittedly, this fact was something Kolivan had been aware of before, but he had assumed it was because Kolivan was in a position of power over him. After all, many blades were less talkative around him for that reason. But, a short conversation with Krolia revealed that Keith was never very talkative.
Second, Keith never obeyed things that he was told to do. Despite the fact that he had been told to avoid strenuous activity for a while, Keith had left the day after settling into the apartment to assist with reconstruction efforts. The three had ended up right back in the hospital after Keith had arrived home with blood on his clothes because his stitches had ripped.
The day after and for the rest of the week, Krolia had stopped Keith from leaving to go back to help with the reconstruction efforts, though Keith was clearly not happy about this development.
“But I need to help!” Keith had insisted after the fifth time Kolivan had put him in the nest following an attempt at leaving.
“You saved them from Sendak and the empire. They will understand that you are focusing more on recovering than rebuilding for the time being.” Kolivan said. Keith groaned but decided not to argue anymore, instead laying on his stomach with his head resting on his forearms.
“It is not that bad, Keith. Just think of it as having a free day.” Krolia said. Keith nodded and sat up, stretching his arms over his head with a yawn.
“Can I sleep some more, then?” Keith asked.
“Of course. Anything that isn’t strenuous activity.” Krolia said. She sat next to Keith and smiled when Keith curled around her, his head pillowed on her lap as he drifted back to sleep. Kolivan smiled at the sight, draping a blanket over Keith.
After about an hour, Krolia started to feel Keith tossing and turning next to her.
Her and Kolivan had been entertaining themselves by watching TV. They had gotten frustrated by the remote, so they had decided to settle with what had been on, which seemed to be old animated movies. Though they were clearly intended for children, they were quite entertaining. Kolivan had just gotten up to go start on lunch for the three of them, since Krolia was kept in place by Keith sleeping on top of her.
Krolia looked over when she heard Keith whimper, rubbing Keith’s back in hopes of calming him but keeping him asleep. It had always worked when Keith had had nightmares on the space whale, so it was confusing to her when Keith’s face scrunched up and he whimpered louder. Kolivan, concerned by the distressed noises, wandered out of the kitchen and looked at Keith in worry.
“Shh, my son, you are okay. Nothing that is going on in your mind is going on in reality.” Krolia said quietly. Keith’s eyes opened and he looked around. He hesitantly grabbed onto the fabric of Krolia’s shirt, squeezing for a moment before reaching up and raking his hands lightly through the thin layer of fur of Krolia’s arms.
“You’re real.” Keith mumbled, as if in disbelief. Krolia nodded and sat Keith up.
“Yes, I am, Keith. What was your dream about to make you think I wasn’t real?” Krolia said. Keith hesitated and glanced over at Kolivan.
“You’re real too?” He asked softly. Kolivan nodded and let Keith grab onto his braid, allowing Keith to dig his fingernails into the braid to feel every strand of hair, rubbing his back.
“Yes, I am real. Do you want to talk about your nightmare?” He asked. Keith opened his mouth to talk, but closed it and slowly shook his head.
“That’s fine, Keith. Take the time you need. We can go help Kolivan with lunch or we can stay here in the nest if you want.” Krolia said. Rather than answering, Keith got up and followed Kolivan into the kitchen, Krolia close in tow. It was a tight fit for the two full-grown Galra and the one full-grown human-galra hybrid, but they were determined to make it work.
“What would you recommend we make, Keith?” Kolivan asked, opening the pantry and the fridge to show Keith to selection of foods they had. Keith looked around, brightening when his eyes laid on a certain type of food.
“Chicken nuggets!” He exclaimed, pointing to a box in the freezer. Kolivan picked up the box and examined it, nodding a bit. He turned it over and read the directions, staring blankly at the oven.
“Preheat?” He asked in confusion. Keith chuckled and came up to Kolivan’s side, showing him how to preheat the oven,
“These are the best. The peak of human cuisine.” Keith said. Kolivan nodded and poured the entire box onto the cooking sheet, figuring that they needed that amount to feed all three of them. He jumped when the over let out several shrill beeps in quick succession, whirling around and making a noise of confusion when he saw Keith slipping the cooking sheet into the oven.
“Relax, the oven makes that sound when it reaches the temperature it should be at.” Keith said as he set the timer for half an hour. He sat back down in the nest, sighing. In the last week, he had become a lot more comfortable with lounging in the nest, and had even added his own additions in the form of his favorite blankets and pillows and the creation of a small nook that was all his own. The small nook was big enough for him to fit in, and had a wall of blankets and pillows on one side. Though, he still wasn’t entirely comfortable with sleeping for longer than a short nap, but he was completely willing to lounge about the nest.
Keith settled down close to Krolia, leaning his head on her shoulder. Kolivan sat down on Keith’s other side, brushing out Keith’s long hair.
“We were kind of… drifting off in space for a while.” Keith said. Krolia looked over and frowned in confusion. “Well, it was after you and Kolivan went to gather the other blades. We were continuing in the lions and we kept going through these weird white lights that pulsed up randomly, kind of like those lights that made us see the past and future in the quantum abyss. The lions were completely knocked out by it, and we were separated from the lions when we went to go try and fix it. So we spent a while just… drifting in space. I was so scared, I was worried our suits would run out of oxygen and we would die, or we would starve to death or die of dehydration. We couldn’t sleep in case we let go of each other in our sleep, and after a while we started seeing things that weren’t there, which was why I was asking if you guys were real. We got into arguments and we, that is, the other paladins and I, said some pretty hurtful things. Shiro and the Alteans and cosmo were all frozen and separated, and I thought they were dead.” Keith explained. Krolia pulled Keith into her side and whistled Cosmo over, prompting the wolf to flop down into Keith’s lap.
“We are okay, Keith. You are okay. That is no doubt a terrifying experience, but that is no longer the reality.” Krolia said. Keith nodded and buried his face in Krolia’s shoulder, balling his hands into fists around the fabric of Krolia’s shirt, taking a deep breath as Kolivan started to rub his back.
“Do not hold back your emotions, Keith. Emotions being bottled up are not healthy in the slightest. No one here will judge you, you have my word.” Kolivan said. Keith immediately started crying, his shoulders shaking and occasionally heaving with the force of his sobs.
“Do you think that that’s why they don’t want to hang out with me?” Keith asked quietly.
“I am unsure what you are asking about, Keith.” Krolia said.
“Do you think the hurtful things I said are why they didn’t really want to… talk to me? I mean, I get that they were all hurt too, but is it too selfish to just want them to even come just check if I’m okay? I mean, I couldn’t get up, but I sent them cards. They did tell me to just leave, so maybe I should.” Keith said. Kolivan let out a short growl, stopping when he heard a whimper from Keith.
“No, Keith. It is not selfish to just want to know that your friends care. I suggest that you talk to them at some point. I am sure they had a good reason that they didn’t visit you. But I am sure that your friends weren’t ignoring you because they didn’t want you around.” Kolivan said. Keith nodded and looked over, smiling lightly.
“Yeah. Yeah, I’m sure they had a good reason. Besides, they were hurt too.” Keith said.
“That is the spirit, my son. After lunch, why don’t we go take Cosmo on a walk? He’s getting restless, being cooped up in here. Plus, it’ll be good for you to get some fresh air.” Krolia said. Keith nodded and smiled.
“Yeah, I’d like that.” He said. Kolivan got up when the timer went off, taking the chicken nuggets out of the oven and piling them onto a plate. Upon Keith’s request, he had filled a small dish with ketchup for the kit to dip his food in, bringing the two items to the nest and setting them down. Keith immediately started to dig in, since chicken nuggets were some of his favorite foods. Krolia and Kolivan were a little more hesitant due to the fact that they had never tried the food. Krolia, though she had lived on Earth for a while, had never tried chicken nuggets. Her favorite Earth food was spaghetti with meatballs.
Kolivan took a bite and smiled when he found that chicken was a type of meat. Out of curiosity, he dipped it into ketchup before taking another bite, letting out a soft purr at the taste.
“This tastes delicious!” He said. Keith nodded enthusiastically as he ate. Krolia took a bite and smiled at the taste. Though it was nowhere near the level of spaghetti, it did taste pretty good. Besides, she had an idea of what chicken tasted like, as she had eaten it a few times on Earth, so she had an idea of what to expect.
It didn’t take long for the three of them to finish off the plate of food. Keith had eaten significantly less than what Krolia and Kolivan had eaten, which had worried Kolivan until Krolia explained that Keith’s stomach was smaller and he couldn’t eat as much as a Galra without feeling sick from overeating.
Afterwards, the three of them had left the apartment with Cosmo to take the wolf on a walk. Krolia and Kolivan slowed down their speed so that Keith could keep up on his crutches. Cosmo was trotting next to Keith, his tail whipping back in forth in excitement.
It didn’t take long for the three of them to leave the building, following the paths that were laid out outside. Keith was clearly enjoying the sun, soaking up the warmth with a smile as he followed Krolia and Kolivan. Cosmo was running a bit ahead, chasing the insects that were flying around. He was soaking up the attention of workers that gave him quick scratches behind the ears as he ran by.
“Keith, buddy! Its good to see you up and about!” Keith turned around when he heard his name, narrowly avoiding being bowled over by Hunk.
“Uh, y-yeah, I guess it is?” Keith said. Hunk pulled him into a quick hug and smiled, pulling away quickly.
“Yeah! We were all pretty worried about you. According to Shiro, you were the worst hurt out of all of us, and you woke up a while after us all. We wanted to come visit you, but Shiro said you’d be too overwhelmed by us all.” Hunk said. Keith relaxed when he heard that, though he supposed that Shiro was right. He would have been too overwhelmed by waking up to all of the paladins surrounding him.
“Oh thank god. I thought you guys didn’t want to see me, you know, after all that happened when we were drifting in space.” Keith admitted.
“What? No, no, no! We would never avoid seeing you because of things you said when you haven’t slept in four days, hadn’t eaten or drank anything, and you were drifting in nothingness for that entire time!” Hunk said. Keith grinned and let out a sigh of relief, leaning into Hunk’s hug.
“What have you been up to all this time?” Hunk asked. “We haven’t seen you at all since we sent you home after your stitches ripped.” He said.
“Yeah, sorry about that, I’ve been staying home for a while.” Keith said, walking with Hunk to catch up with Krolia and Kolivan.
“Dude, don’t apologize for that! We’d rather you stay at home than get involved in rebuilding and have your injuries get aggravated again. Besides, you’re looking a lot better now.” Hunk said. Keith nodded and laughed when Cosmo came over to them, licking Hunk’s face in greeting.
“Yeah, I guess I am. I’ve been sleeping a lot and my mom and Kolivan make sure I eat and drink regularly. Plus, I’ve found out a lot of stuff about Galra instincts and stuff that really help me.” Keith said. He had been sleeping a lot better when he was in the nest and surrounded by Kolivan and Krolia.
“Yeah? That’s great, Keith. You definitely look like you’re doing better, for sure. Listen to your mom and Kolivan, they obviously know what’s best for you and your health.” Hunk pointed out. Keith nodded in agreement and walked in silence next to the yellow paladin.
Krolia glanced back when she realized that Keith was no longer next to her and Kolivan. She relaxed when she saw him a little bit behind them, talking to Hunk. He had a small smile on his face as he walked, looking completely relaxed. Whatever Hunk was talking about was clearly relaxing Keith.
She glanced over when she heard Cosmo bark, darting off after a squirrel and nearly bowling over one of the MFE pilots, the blond one that didn’t talk a lot and never really looked too interested in situations. However, Krolia knew that she was very intelligent.
“Apologies, Cosmo just got excited.” She said.
“Its fine. Cosmo acts on a dog’s wishes, which are very similar to Earth dogs despite him being from galaxies away.” Leifsdottir said simply, scratching Cosmo’s ears when he came back, disappointed that he hadn’t caught the squirrel. She walked back in the direction of the other MFE pilots, who had been taking a break before going back to help rebuild nearby cities and towns.
Keith and Hunk caught up with the two Galra, who were chatting with a few other blades.
“Krolia, this is your kit! He’s so tiny, are you sure he’s full-grown? How old are you?” One of the blades asked, leaning close to Keith.
“I’m twenty-three, why?” Keith asked. The blades made a symphony of concerned noises, looking at each other.
“Only twenty-three? Why, children your age have hardly just started attending school!” One of the blades said. They pulled him close to them, and Keith soon found himself being passed between the blades, who seemed to be analyzing him.
Keith looked over at the blade who had a grip on his arm, letting out a short warning growl that conveyed to the gathered Galra that he was not happy with the situation. The blade who was holding onto Keith growled in a lower, more threatening way that seemed, even to Hunk, to be challenging in nature. Keith turned to Kolivan and Krolia, letting out a long, low whine that told the two how much Keith hated the situation.
Krolia grabbed Keith’s other arm, pulling him away from the group of blades and tucking him against her body in a protective manner. Keith tucked himself into Krolia, hiding away and giving into his instincts for a short moment. Krolia placed her hand on the back of his head, running her hand through Keith’s long hair.
“Can you not see that he is uncomfortable? None of you know how to treat a kit.” Krolia said. Kolivan frowned in disapproval and reached over to Keith, resting a hand gently on his back as Cosmo ran over and growled at the group of blades.
“Do you want to keep walking, or would you rather we go back to the apartment?” Kolivan asked.
“I’d rather keep walking, I like being outside.” Keith said. Krolia let go of Keith and let him continue walking, smiling when she saw how much her son was enjoying the sunshine.
“Do you like being outside, Keith?” Kolivan asked. Keith shrugged a bit.
“I mean, in decent weather like this. I don’t like it when its too hot or cold, but I like being outside when its nice.” Keith said. Kolivan nodded and continued walking until keith decided that he wanted to go inside, explaining that he was getting tired. When Krolia heard that Keith was tired, she didn’t hesitate to pick him up and hold him so he could sleep. Keith protested for a bit before settling down, used to being carried around from the multiple times on the space whale that Krolia had carried him to their cave shelter when he fell asleep out in the open.
It didn’t take long for Keith to fall asleep, his head pillowed on Krolia’s shoulder and his arms draped loosely around her neck. Both Kolivan and Krolia shot glares that, if looks could kill, would kill someone ten time over to everyone who looked at Keith weird. Krolia gently laid him down in the nest, tucking him under the most comfortable blanket and pillowing his head on the softest pillow that the nest had to offer.
Keith squirmed for a second to get comfortable, settling down with a soft purr.
Chapter 3: Lunch and Drawings
The small family enjoys a peaceful lunch together.
After the first walk that Kolivan, Krolia, and Keith had taken, they had agreed to keep it up as part of their routine.
Every day, they would, at some point, leave their apartment with Cosmo and take a walk outside. Krolia had observed that Keith seemed a lot more relaxed after that little walk became a regular part of his routine, as if being outside relaxed him.
After Keith’s injuries had healed enough that the Garrison doctors declared that he could engage in more physical exercise than walking, the youngest member of the group would run ahead with Cosmo, the two running out their restless energy that just couldn’t be let out in the apartment. However, it was only a few days after that declaration that the doctors had reluctantly allowed him to go back to helping with the reconstruction effort, only under the conditions that he took it as easy as possible.
Keith often came back from the day of reconstruction absolutely exhausted, looking ready to just flop down on the spot and sleep. But, he would stay awake long enough to eat some dinner and go on their nightly walk, which had become a way to wind down at the end of the day before everyone settled down to sleep.
Kolivan was in the kitchen, working on making lunch for himself, Krolia, and Keith. Keith, whom Kolivan was starting to consider a kit of his own, was taking a day off since his worse, still healing injuries had been aggravated from the previous day’s work. From his place in the kitchen, Kolivan couldn’t see Keith, but he knew that Krolia was with him and she would definitely be vocal if Keith was in any sort of pain, so Kolivan wasn’t worried about whether or not Keith was hurt.
Kolivan turned his attention back to the stove in front of him. He was attempting to cook a traditional Galran meal with ingredients that had been brought along by a group of blades and distributed amongst the blades to give them a sense of home on the foreign planet. Kolivan wouldn’t consider himself a particularly good chef by any means, but what he made didn’t taste bad. He could certainly make a meal for himself and two people.
Just as Kolivan was adding in the measured amount of various vegetables, he began to hear Keith’s voice drifting in from the living room.
“Cosmo, stay still! I’m trying to draw you!’’ Keith exclaimed. Cosmo merely looked at him and howled, jumping up and down as if he expected to get a treat. Keith sighed quietly and reached forward, scratching at the dog’s ears. He was settled in the nest, his paper and pens scattered around him as he doodled to occupy himself. Krolia was lounging in the nest, half asleep after she had made absolutely sure that Keith was in no sort of pain. She looked up when she heard his voice, smiling in amusement when she saw what was going on.
“I would advise you to tidy up your papers for the time being, Keith. I think Kolivan is almost done preparing lunch.” Krolia said. Keith nodded and stacked his papers neatly, setting them aside with his colored pens on top, just as Kolivan came in with plates of food for all three of them.
Keith looked down at the plate that was set in front of him, tilting his head at what he saw. He could make out strips of what he thought was meat, with various vegetables and what he assumed were noodles.
“What is it, if you don’t mind me asking?” He asked curiously, picking up his fork, he picked some of it up and tried a bite, smiling at the taste. “Its good!” He exclaimed.
“I am glad you like it, Keith. This is a traditional Galran dish called gwog haern. It is cooked aberrant insect, which is the meat, with wolpertinger noodles, udeakins, which are the orange and purple spotted vegetables, and klajenes, which are the maroon balls, cooked in an argali blood sauce.” Kolivan explained. Keith nodded and ate a bit more before looking up again.
“Is it common for Galra to eat insects?” Keith asked curiously. Kolivan nodded.
“Indeed it is. Only the larger insects, though. Anything smaller than an aberrant just simply won’t sustain a Galra unless one eats a very large amount. Is it not common for humans to eat insects?” Kolivan said. Keith shrugged.
“Well, in some places its common. In other areas, though, it isn’t. Is that argali blood sauce actually blood or is it just a name given to it?” Keith asked curiously.
“Well, argali meat is actually not nutritious for Galra, and also doesn’t taste very good. The blood, however, is very thick and sort of sweet, so it is often used as marinades and sauces for various dishes with some added seasonings.” Krolia explained. Keith nodded and finished his food, setting his plate in the sink and laying down in the nest. On his days off, Keith had grown used to taking a short rest during the afternoon. At first, it had been due to Krolia and Kolivan’s insistence that he give himself a chance to rest since he had been through quite a bit in the last several months, but now it was just a force of habit when he spent the day at home.
Krolia rubbed Keith’s back gently after she came back from putting her own plate in the sink, smiling fondly when she noticed that her son was already asleep. She knew Keith was well-fed, as the pair of adults had found the perfect amount of food to give him without underfeeding or overfeeding him. As they had found, he required more food than a human did, and hadn’t been eating enough for a while, likely because he had no idea he was supposed to be eating more than he had been.
Kolivan reached out and gathered Keith’s drawings, with the goal of putting them back in Keith’s room so they didn’t get damaged during their normal movement in their sleep. He got up and went into Keith’s room, putting the papers on his desk. Out of curiosity, he briefly glanced at the other drawings that were scattered over the desk.
Keith wasn’t the most detailed or the greatest artist, but it wasn’t hard to see what he had intended to draw. There were several drawings of the voltron lions, as well as a couple of drawings of Cosmo, as well as various things he had seen in space during his journey, such as a drawing of an Arusian that Kolivan could see.
Krolia came in with Keith’s pens, setting them down on the desk. She looked over, tilting her head when she saw a soft smile on Kolivan’s face. She leaned over to see what he was looking at, an equally soft smile spreading on her face at what she saw.
On the desk was a paper that held a drawing of three figures, clearly intended to be Keith, Kolivan, and Krolia, lounging together, happy and serene and just generally being a family.
Keith wanted them to be a family just as much as they wanted him to be comfortable as a member of their family.
Chapter 4: Nightmares
Kolivan had been having nightmares far more often than usual since he was freed from the druid's clutches.
It was only a matter of time before Keith found out about them.
Kolivan had been having nightmares.
Really, he couldn’t be surprised by them. He had had nightmares just due to the fighting and death he had seen as the leader of the blades, but in recent times, they had gotten much worse due to his captivity at the hands of the druid. He had unwillingly drawn blades to their deaths as they responded to his distress signal, and he had been tied up, out of sight and in a hard to reach area.
Krolia hadn’t been too surprised by his nightmares when they went to gather the blades, understanding why he wouldn’t have nightmares. Kolivan, although he trusted Krolia and had for many years prior, was still a pretty embarrassed about waking up the woman because of his nightmares, though Krolia repeatedly reassured him that she was fine with it.
But sleeping around Keith was a different story.
Don’t get Kolivan wrong, he was glad the kit had gotten used to sleeping in the nest, even if he did wake up several times during the night with nightmares of his own. But, at the same time, he didn’t want to wake to kit with his own nightmares.
“He won’t mind, Kolivan. If he does, it would be kind of hypocritical seeing as he wakes us up with his nightmares.” Krolia tried to reassure him, but Kolivan still didn’t want Keith to know about his nightmares. The kit shouldn’t be bothered with his problems, even if he would be understanding.
Of course, Kolivan’s decision to not tell Keith about his nightmares didn’t last for long, but not of Kolivan’s own accord.
Keith had nightmares fairly often, sometimes multiple times in one night. Of course, Krolia and Kolivan were always right there to calm him down and make him feel better, staying up with him until he felt like he could go back to sleep. Sometimes, however, Keith wouldn’t feel like he could sleep again after particularly bad nightmares, insisting that Kolivan and Krolia get as much sleep as they could.
“Are you sure you will be fine if we go to sleep?” Krolia asked after one such occurrence. “We do not mind staying up with you if you want some company.” She said.
“Yeah, I’ll be fine, I promise.” Keith said. “Just because I can’t sleep doesn’t mean you two can’t sleep.” He said. Krolia nodded and hugged Keith gently, nuzzing his cheek.
“Alright. But do not hesitate to wake us if you need anything.” Krolia said. Keith nodded and smiled.
“I will.” Keith assured quietly.
“Anything.” Krolia emphasized. Keith smiled and nodded.
“I will, I promise.” He said. “Now, sleep. You guys need it too.” Keith said. Krolia nodded and kissed his forehead before laying down again, Kolivan following suit after a quick ruffle to Keith’s hair, eliciting a laugh from the youngest pack member.
Keith stayed up, watching a few movies on a low volume to avoid disturbing Krolia and Kolivan. It was halfway through the second movie that he heard soft whimpers that were quickly turning into whines and quiet mumbles. Confused, he turned around, frowning in concern when he saw the the whimpers and whines were coming from Kolivan, who’s face had scrunched up a small bit.
Was he having a nightmare? Keith didn’t know, and he was a bit hesitant to wake Kolivan up. That was, until Kolivan started to thrash, a strangled sound making its way out of him. Keith scooted over and gently nudged Kolivan.
“Hey, hey.” Keith whispered as gently as he could, nudging Kolivan a bit harder until he jolted awake with a gasp, tears welling up in his eyes from the moment they opened. Keith smiled sadly and reached up, gently rubbing his back. “Hey, everything’s okay. Whatever happened in your dream, it isn’t happening now.” Keith said, unsure how to comfort Kolivan. Kolivan took a deep, shuddering breath, sitting up and rubbing at his face. Keith got up and went into the kitchen, filling a mug with water and putting it into the microwave to heat it up. Usually, he would boil it, but he was simply too lazy to at that moment. After taking out the mug, he placed a tea bag of chamomile tea into the water, not knowing much about tea and figuring that it would be good since he always heard that it was good for relaxing. He added a bit of sweetener and took it out to the nest.
“Here you go. I heard this was good for relaxing.” Keith said quietly, passing the mug to Kolivan. Kolivan smiled in thanks, sipping at the tea. Keith sat down and quietly leaned against Kolivan, giving silent comfort. “Do you wanna… tell me what your nightmare was about?” Keith asked quietly. He wasn’t too sure about how to comfort others, going off of what Kolivan and Krolia often told him after his own nightmares.
“Not particularly, no.” Kolivan said, harsher than he originally meant to. Keith didn’t react to the harsh tone, merely nodding.
“Okay, I’m not going to force you.” Keith said. “But whatever it was, um… it wasn’t real, you just dreamed it.” He said. Kolivan gripped the mug a bit tighter, a quiet growl leaving him.
“It was real.” Kolivan snapped. Keith merely nodded and smiled reassuringly.
“I’m not saying that what you dreamed about didn’t happen in real life, if that’s what you think. I’m saying that the dream wasn’t real. Its okay now.” Keith said calmly. Kolivan nodded and sighed quietly.
“Apologies, Keith. I did not intend to let you see that.” He said after a few minutes, when he had gathered himself.
“You don’t need to apologize, Kolivan. You can’t help having nightmares.” Keith said. Kolivan sighed and nodded, nuzzling his kit and purring proudly.
“Thank you, kit.” He said quietly. Keith hugged Kolivan and laid down, coaxing Kolivan into laying down as well.
“You’re welcome, Kolivan.” He said quietly. He yelped when he felt Krolia nuzzle him with a proud growl, realizing that his mother had been awake and observing the entire time.
Chapter 5: Grooming Day
It's grooming day in the Galra household.
Keith was awoken very early in the morning by Krolia. A quick glance out the window told Keith that it was still dark outside, or, in other words, so early it should be illegal for anyone to be awake. He let out a quiet whine that he recognized as a purely Galran sound, rolling over. Krolia chuckled quietly and nudged Keith again.
“It is grooming day, my kit.” she said quietly. “I wanted to know if you wished to join.” She elaborated at Keith’s look that asked ‘and?’. Keith smiled softly, having sort of enjoyed grooming days.
While on the back of the space whale, both Krolia and Keith were hesitant to dirty their only source of drinking water with their bathing, so Krolia had suggested grooming. It was a normal thing Galra did, as they didn’t take showers or baths. It had been rather awkward and uncomfortable for Keith the first several times, sitting undressed save for his underwear while the mother he had only met a little bit ago licked him clean. But, it was either that or contaminating their drinking water.
After a while, though, it had become a comfort to him. It was routine from their normally irregular lives, and it often soothing the stress away for a short while.
“Yeah, I’ll join you guys, just give me a minute to wake up.” Keith eventually said, slowly sitting up. He made a grabbing motion to the kitchen, whining tiredly. “Please give me the energy bean.” He said, briefly forgetting the word ‘coffee.’ Kolivan chuckled and went into the kitchen, starting a pot of coffee for the kit.
He found it bizarre, that humans could find such energy in the form of a watered-down bean. But, his kit was dependent on it on days when he had to wake early or during times that he had to remain awake late. The drink tasted rather bitter to him, and he had been shocked when he had first witnessed Keith drink an entire mug with a straight face.
“Here you go, kit.” Kolivan said, handing the mug over to Keith. He made sure Keith had a firm grip on the mug before letting go, as there had been incidents before of Keith spilling coffee all over himself because he hadn’t had a secure grip on the mug. Keith smiled gratefully and sipped at the drink for a while before he smiled.
“Okay, I think I’m awake enough for this.” Keith said. Krolia nodded and smiled, turning away politely while Keith removed his t-shirt and sweatpants. Although he was used to and even comforted by the grooming, it would forever be awkward for him to be mostly undressed in front of his parent. Krolia turned back around at his word, smiling gently as he gently started grooming him.
Now, it wasn’t a necessity. Keith had access to showers and running water now, but he found that he missed the grooming. It had become a routine in his life, and it was always difficult for him to let go of things that had become a routine for him, when his life sometimes seemed to be nothing but one strange turn after another.
Keith felt a small tap on his shoulder, looking up at Kolivan.
“Would you be okay with me grooming you as well, kit?” He asked.
“I don’t mind. I’m tired.” Keith said, going back to his lounging position.
“No harm in dozing off, kit. Heavens knows you deserve the rest after all the hard work you’ve been doing with the reconstruction efforts.” Kolivan said. Keith smiled and leaned his head back onto his pillows, closing his eyes tiredly.
“I like doing it though. I like helping.” Keith mumbled lazily.
“No matter if you like it or not, son, there is no denying that you deserve a good, long rest.” Krolia said. Keith nodded and stretched out, slowly drifting off to sleep.
Keith woke up briefly when he felt a loose shirt being pulled over his head, and a blanket being draped over him before he was laid down again. He stretched out and rolled over, smiling.
“Good morning, kit. Did you have a good rest?” Krolia asked. Keith nodded and burrowed deeper under the blanket, yawning. He seemed to be resisting being awake, whining at the daylight that flooded through the window and into his eyes. Kolivan pulled the curtains shut so that the only light was the artificial light that Krolia and Kolivan already had on. Keith made a noise of gratitude and laid his head back down on his pillow.
“I don’t wanna be awake yet.” Keith said. Kolivan nodded and smiled gently, sweeping a bit of hair from the kit’s eyes.
“Then you do not have to be Keith. Take a day for yourself, all of your paladin friends do when they need to. You all have spent years of your life defending the entire universe as well as humans, I am sure everyone will understand if you choose to take a day for yourself.” Kolivan said quietly. Keith nodded and leaned back, wrapping a blanket around himself and he woke up slowly.
“I guess that makes sense.” Keith said softly.
“However, I am a bit confused. You did not know about things such as nests or packs, yet you knew and accepted grooming. Why?” Kolivan asked curiously. Krolia smiled and handed Keith a cup of coffee to help him wake up.
“On our mission to the quantum abyss, we had a single source of drinking water. I did not want to risk him dirtying it by bathing, so I suggested that I groom him to keep him clean. He acted rather awkward about it at first, but it became a comfort to him over time.” Krolia explained gently, running her fingers through Keith’s hair. Keith nodded and smiled.
“I didn’t want to give it up. Its odd to humans, having your parent lick your clean, but it was somehow comforting to me.” Keith admitted. Kolivan nodded and smiled.
“Indeed. It is a Galran instinct to groom your pack members. I know of only a few other species that have the same instinct.” Kolivan said. Keith nodded and sighed softly, looking down into his coffee. He was silent for about a minute, though Krolia could see him working himself up to saying something.
“Can I ask you guys about Galra stuff?” Keith asked shyly.
“Of course you can, Keith. You can ask me, Kolivan, or any blade. We would not turn you away for wanting to know about Galran things. The worst case scenario is that they will refer you to someone else because they do not know the answer.” Krolia assured her son. Kolivan nodded in agreement and smiled gently at the young kit. Keith thought for a few moments before curling into himself shyly.
“Why do I always have this overwhelming urge to run to Krolia’s nest when I have a nightmare?” He asked, immediately getting an embarrassed look in his eyes and hiding in his blanket. Krolia and Kolivan glanced at each other, and Krolia chuckled fondly and she coaxed Keith to stop hiding out of embarrassment.
“I wish I was aware of this instinct of yours sooner. After a kit is born, they spend the first several months in the mother’s personal nest, and then they spend the day with the pack so that the mother can sleep, before returning back to the nest for the night, until about a deca-pheobe old. The mother’s personal nest is considered to be the safest place a kit can be, closely followed by the pack nest. As a result, when scared or overwhelmed, a kit will retreat back to the mother’s nest, where they feel safest, up until they reach the age of maturity.” Krolia explained. “You are a kit in Galran years, and a very young one at that. It is no wonder you are experiencing this instinct. Do not hesitate to go there if you are spooked or if you have a nightmare. I will never turn you away when you want comfort.” Krolia said. Keith nodded and leaned against Krolia, a small, broken purr leaving him. Krolia grinned and ruffled Keith’s hair. Keith paused and shuffled closer to Krolia, leaning up to her ear as if to tell her a secret.
“Do you think Kolivan would let me into his nest too? Sometimes I feel like I wanna go to him too when I’m scared.” Keith whispered to his mother. Krolia was about to ask why he didn’t just ask Kolivan himself before realizing that Keith was still a little bit nervous about having Kolivan in his pack, a bit too scared of rejection to outright ask him.
“I am positive that Kolivan would allow you to do that.” Krolia said reassuringly, rubbing Keith’s back. Kolivan perked up at the sound of his name, looking over from where he was browsing movies for the three of them to watch.
“I would allow him to do what?” Kolivan asked curiously.
“Keith was wondering if you would let him into your nest if he wanted to go in there when he was scared.” Krolia explained plainly. She quickly felt a nudge and a hissed, embarrassed ‘mom!’ from Keith.
“Of course I would, Keith. Our nests are always open to you should you feel you want or need it. You are a kit, and kits deserve to have comfort in the form that they feel is best for them.” Kolivan said. He moved so that he was next to Keith, gently rubbing his back. Keith thought for a few minutes before looking between the two adults of the pack.
“Does that include when you’re mad at me?” He asked quietly.
“Absolutely it does, my kit. All day, every day, no matter what mood we are in or if we got into an argument, our nests are open to you.” Kolivan said.
“Almost especially if we are angry with you, my kit. Our anger at you will never last forever, and we would never want you to feel like you are not loved over one bad argument.” Krolia said. “Because believe me, you are so very loved in this pack. Never forget that.” She reassured. Keith grinned and leaned his head on her shoulder, hugging both her and Kolivan tightly.
And if Krolia found Keith the next morning, curled up in her nest, she didn't say anything. She merely covered Keith with a blanket and set a glass of water nearby for when he woke up.
Chapter 6: The Stomach Bug
Kolivan gets sick, and is very confused as to why.
When Keith looked at Krolia and Kolivan, it never once crossed his mind that they had never been exposed to a variety of human illnesses.
Of course, Krolia had been exposed to the common cold, the flu, and probably things like chicken pox when she was on Earth, so she wasn’t entirely shocked by it. Kolivan, on the other hand, had never visited Earth, and had never been exposed to even the common cold.
Keith was awoken early the morning after the grooming day by a strange noise that he couldn’t place right away. It was still dark outside, and a quick look around the nest told Keith that Kolivan was not in the nest.
At first, Keith thought Kolivan had gotten up for something, and he had most likely been woken up by the sound of the faucet running for a glass of water or the toilet flushing. However, the noise sounded again, and Keith got up, going slowly in the direction he thought that the sound had come from.
In the hallway of their modest apartment, Keith heard the sound once again, much clearer and more recognizable as someone vomiting. Concerned, Keith lightly knocked on the door of the bathroom.
“Kolivan, are you in there?” Keith called through the door. A miserable, confused groan sounded from the other side of the door. “Are you okay?” He called worriedly.
“I am unsure if I am okay or not. I appear to be… expelling something.” Kolivan called, his voice scratchy and weak.
“Yeah, that’s called vomiting.” Keith said. “You might be sick.”
“Sick?” Kolivan answered in disbelief. Keith heard the toilet flush and the bathroom sink turn on and off before Kolivan opened the door, looking as though he had just walked through every ring of hell several times over.
“Yeah, sick. Vomiting is a symptom of being sick.” Keith said. Kolivan’s eyebrows furrowed in confusion as he went back to the nest.
“Yes, yes, I know that, I am not stupid, kit. But I got vaccinated for your Earth diseases. Pox of the chickens and measles, illnesses such as that.” Kolivan said as he laid down in the nest once again.
“Yeah, but humans have some diseases that we haven’t created a vaccination for yet. You probably have a stomach bug or something. Just relaxing and eating light foods for a few days and you’ll be fine.” Keith said. Kolivan’s eyes went wide with shock and fear.
“I have an insect living inside of me?!” Kolivan shouted, startling Krolia awake with the sound of his voice. She wrapped her arms around Kolivan and pulled him securely against her, and Keith watched in surprise as Kolivan relaxed immediately, purring quietly as Krolia comforted him.
“No, not an actual insect. Its an expression. You’ll just feel awful for a little bit, but you’ll be fine. Trust me, I know some great recipes for stuff like this.” Keith said. Kolivan smiled and relaxed against Krolia, his ears flicking back out of relaxation. Krolia wrapped a blanket around him and smiled lightly before repeating the action with Keith, kissing her son’s forehead.
“Go back to sleep, my kit. You need all the rest you can get, as kits need a great deal of sleep and relaxation time.” She said. Keith nodded and laid down in his usual spot in the nest. The nest spot was worn down so it had a divot in the blankets from Keith’s usual sleeping position. Likewise, Kolivan and Krolia’s usual spots had similar divots, but a larger than Keith’s due to their naturally larger frames.
“Goodnight, kit. Wake us up if you need anything.” Kolivan mumbled sleepily. Keith nodded and pulled the blanket tighter around him before drifting off.
When Keith awoke later that same morning, he was met with Kolivan being dead asleep nearby, and Krolia watching over her two pack members like a hawk. Or a very protective mama Galra, which was exactly what she was.
“Mom?” Keith called sleepily, sitting up slowly and shaking his long hair out of his eyes. Krolia looked over and smiled.
“Good morning, my kit. How did you sleep?” She asked quietly, mindful of the sick, sleeping Galra nearby. Keith shrugged and yawned, stretching with a satisfied sound.
“I slept fine. Is Kolivan still sick?” Keith asked. Krolia nodded sadly and gently brushed Kolivan’s long hair out of his eyes.
“Indeed. I think he does have one of these stomach bugs you speak of. He seems rather miserable, but he does not have an elevated temperature.” Krolia said. Keith nodded and got up, going into the kitchen. “What are you doing, kit?” Krolia asked curiously.
“I’m gonna make some soup. Its light and really nice for people with a stomach bug. Plus, its really comforting, too.” Keith said as he pulled a cooking pot out of the cabinet. He set it on the burner and added several cans of chicken noodle soup. He would have made it one can, but he knew that Galra ate significantly more than a human in one sitting, and he thought it was easier to make soup for all of them. It was filling, after all.
When he had the soup simmering to heat, Keith leaned against the counter and waited patiently for it to heat up.
“Mom?” Keith asked curiously. Krolia looked over and smiled.
“Yes, kit?” She prompted from where she was folding laundry to occupy herself until Kolivan woke up.
“Do you think Kolivan is going to be okay?” He asked worriedly.
“I am positive. He has been through much worse than what is essentially a very upset stomach. He will be miserable for a while, but he will turn out okay.” Krolia said reassuringly. Keith nodded and smiled, pulling some bowls out of the cabinet for the soup and dishing up the food. Krolia reached over and gently nudged Kolivan awake.
Kolivan rolled over and whined quietly, wanting nothing more than to sleep off his ailment. His eyes cracked open, looking questioningly at her. “What?” He asked quietly.
“Keith made lunch, and it would be good for you to eat a little bit. You can sleep more after you eat.” Krolia said. Kolivan nodded and sat up, his ears flicking lazily and his fur fluffed up out of indignance for being woken up when he was sick. Keith brought in the bowls of soup and handed them to his two family members, retreating back into the kitchen to grab his own bowl. Kolivan stared at the soup, as though afraid of eating it while he was still sick.
“Don’t worry, its soup. Its what a lot of humans eat when they’re sick. Its light and easy on your stomach, but still nutritious.” Keith explained. Kolivan nodded and started eating slowly, smiling at the taste.
“You are a rather good cook, kit.” Kolivan said. Keith laughed between bites of his own food.
“Oh, I didn’t make it. It came from a can and I just heated it up.” Keith explained. Kolivan shrugged and smiled.
“Well, it is still quite tasty.” Kolivan said. He finished his bowl of food and laid back down in the nest, covering himself with many of the blankets. He looked at Krolia in confusion when she set a trashcan within his reach.
“Just a precautionary measure, Kolivan. Stomach bugs are awful, and even foods intended to be light and safe like soup may result in you vomiting again.” Krolia explained. Kolivan nodded and settled down to sleep again.
Keith was doing various chores around the apartment to distract himself from his worry about someone he considered to be like a father to him. So far, his bedroom, the kitchen, and the entryway had been scrubbed spotless because Keith despised sitting still when he was concerned.
“Kit, you must rest. Lay down in the nest or in your bedroom. You do not need to sleep, but you must rest.” Krolia told her son, smiling. Keith shook his head and went back to organizing the cutlery drawer in the kitchen. Krolia frowned and easily picked Keith up, putting him next to Kolivan in the nest. Keith seemed to relax and curl up against Kolivan, leaning his head on the elder Galra’s arm.
“I’m just… worried about him.” Keith said.
“I know, my kit. But I can assure you that Kolivan has lived through much worse things than a small human ailment. He was able to survive for deca-pheobes in the hands of the druids.” Krolia reminded gently, her finger running through Keith’s hair to reassure him. Keith nodded and closed his eyes, thoroughly reassured that Kolivan was going to be okay.
Keith didn’t know when he had fallen asleep, but when he woke up again, Kolivan was grooming his hair and smiling calmly. Keith started to purr, opening his eyes and looking up at Kolivan lazily.
“Did you sleep well, kit?” Kolivan asked. Keith nodded and sat up, watching as Kolivan’s ears flicked in reponse.
“Why do your ears flick so much?” Keith asked. Kolivan smiled lightly.
“Galra with larger ears like mine have ears that are far more sensitive. They flick at any touch and most sound.” Kolivan said. Keith nodded and lightly poked Kolivan’s ear to test it, nodding when the ears flicked involuntarily. “And, I like to flick them more because it seems to entertain the younger human children.” He added.
“Are you feeling better?” Keith asked.
“Yes, I am. Krolia hunted down a Galran medic who was able to give me some medicine that would work on a Galra.” Kolivan said, and Keith smiled in relief. “Your mother told me you were quite worried about me. While I appreciate it, you need not worry about me.” Kolivan said. Keith shrugged lightly.
“I can’t help it, I worry about people I care about. I know you’ve probably handled worse illnesses, but I can’t help but worry.” Keith said. Kolivan nodded in understanding and smiled.
“I understand, kit.” Kolivan said, getting up to start dinner for the small family. As Keith got up to help out, he saw Krolia fast asleep in the nest, having worn herself out from taking care of and keeping an eye on her kit and Kolivan.
Chapter 7: Words
Words are said that truly solidify the newly formed pack as a family.
Kolivan never thought he would find himself feeling so protective over a kit. He had never really wanted kits of his own, though that was mostly because he hadn’t expected himself to live to see the end of the war, and he didn’t want to have a kit growing up in the turmoil of the war-torn universe.
He found himself caring fiercely for Krolia’s young kit as though he was his own. Keith was confused by this newfound protection and care, unaware that this was how Galra treated their young, and Keith was still very, very young by their standards. He was distressed whenever the kit was distressed, willing to move universes if it meant Keith would smile again.
Why was this? Kolivan didn’t know, but he did know that he would protect Keith with his life if it became necessary.
As he laid in the nest, the only light in the room being the moon that shined through the window, he could vaguely make out Krolia asleep next to him, and her kit curled up on his other side though not as close. It was almost as though Keith was hesitant to cuddle him, though the kit acted that way with most forms of affection.
Kolivan wasn’t able to sleep, which wasn’t common. Although he was plagued by nightmare a lot of nights, he was still able to sleep. He stared up at the ceiling and sighed as he sat up, his blanket falling into his lap. There was no point in just laying there, but there wasn’t much he could do without accidentally waking his pack members.
Keith stirred in response to the shift in weight, rolling closer to Kolivan’s warmth with a small sound of confusion. Kolivan smiled down at the kit and adjusted his blanket so it was settled comfortably over him.
“I am merely going to get a glass of water, kit. I will be back soon.” Kolivan whispered, a claw running through the longer black hair. Keith latched onto the fabric of Kolivan’s shirt, his grip strong despite his mostly-asleep state.
“Don’t go.” Keith mumbled, and if Kolivan had to guess, he probably wasn’t even aware of what he was saying in his sleepy state.
“I am not leaving permanently, kit. Like I said, I am merely going to get a glass of water.” Kolivan reassured. Keith didn’t let go of his shirt, instead almost holding tighter.
“Don’t go.” He repeated. Kolivan sighed quietly and gently pried Keith’s hand off of his shirt, taking special care to ensure his claws never made contact with his delicate human skin. Keith let out a soft, upset sound as Kolivan got up. Kolivan yearned to go comfort the kit, but he really wasn’t going to be gone for long.
“I promise I am not leaving forever, kit.” Kolivan said before he went into the kitchen. Keith shuffled in the nest, his hair sticking up in all directions as a result. From Kolivan’s place in the kitchen, Keith looked rather perturbed.
True to his word, Kolivan didn’t take long to come back to the nest, settling down. He was surprised when Keith curled up right against his side.
“Goodnight, kit.” Kolivan said, seeing how close Keith was to falling asleep once again.
“G’night, dad.” Keith said sleepily, promptly falling asleep soon after. Kolivan froze at the term and glanced down at the sleeping kit. Part of his wondered if Keith knew what he had just said, but the rest of him was filled with affection for the sleeping kit next to him. He smiled softly and tucked the blanket around Keith.
When Keith awoke, he knew exactly what he had said the night before. He saw Kolivan lounging in the nest while Krolia made breakfast because she had been the first to awaken. Or, more correctly, she had forced Kolivan to try to sleep and insisted on making breakfast.
“Kolivan?” Keith asked. Kolivan looked over and smiled.
“Good morning, kit. Did you sleep well?” He asked. Keith nodded and sighed.
“Yeah, um… About last night… I’m sorry if I made you uncomfortable, I can just… forget it ever happened if you want to?” He said, unsure of how to go about this conversation. Kolivan smiled in response and whined. Kolivan smiled and put a gentle hand on Keith’s head.
“On the contrary, kit, I do not mind that name. In fact, I am honored that you consider me a father figure.” Kolivan said. Keith smiled shyly up at the larger Galra.
“Really?” Keith asked.
“Truly. I would not mind at all if you want to continue to use that name.” Kolivan answered. Keith grinned and looked over when Krolia came in. Krolia smiled widely and kissed her son’s head.
“While I am glad you two are finally talking through this, breakfast is on the table.” She said. Keith furrowed his eyebrows and tilted his head in confusion.
“What do you mean, finally?” He asked.
“Oh, don’t think we haven’t caught on to the several times you have almost called Kolivan dad.” Krolia said teasingly. It was true, Keith had began to called Kolivan dad before quickly correcting himself, several times in fact. Keith smiled and got up, going to the table.
Kolivan was awoken from his sleep that night by a soft whimpering sound that came from Keith.
The kit had wormed his way between his mother and Kolivan earlier that night, chilled by the breeze that was coming through the window that was accidentally left open. He was trying to get warm, and neither of his pack members minded.
“Kit, what is the matter?” Kolivan asked, cracking his eyes open. Keith looked over and quieted down out of embarrassment.
“N-nothing, I just had a nightmare.” Keith whispered. He was curled up against Krolia, a hand clinging tightly to her hair to prevent her from leaving him again in the night.
“Do you want to talk about it, kit?” Kolivan asked, a frown making its way onto his face out of concern for Keith. Keith shrugged and sighed quietly.
“Have you ever thought about leaving me?” He asked. Kolivan was surprised by this question; since when had the kit had such an idea?
“Never, kit, not unless you wanted me to.” Kolivan said. “Why would you ever think that?” He asked worriedly. Keith shrugged and hid his face in his blanket.
“I don’t know… its just, my dream was about you and mom leaving me because you thought I wasn’t good enough.” Keith explained, his voice loud enough to wake his mother.
“What? Keith, my kit, I would never think you less than perfect, you’re my son! I would never leave you until you’re ready to leave me, and I’m so, so sorry that I had to leave you when you were a child.” Krolia said, nuzzling her nose into her kit’s hair. Keith looked up at her and hugged her tightly.
“Indeed, kit, I would never leave you willingly unless you wanted me to.” Kolivan said. Keith looked over at him with a small smile, relaxing. Kolivan laid down once again and watched as Krolia settled the blanket back over Keith.
“Thank you.” He said quietly.
“You don’t need to thank us, Keith. You are our kit.” Krolia said. Keith looked at them both in confusion.
“Our kit?” He questioned curiously. Kolivan smiled and ruffled Keith’s hair.
“Yes, kit. Despite us not being related by blood, I do see you as my kit. You are my son, in every way that matters.” Kolivan said. Keith looked up at him with a grin and tackled him in a hug. Krolia chuckled at Kolivan’s surprised look.
“While I am glad my two boys are happy, it is too early for any of us to be awake. Why don’t we lay down to sleep?” Krolia said. Kolivan smiled and nodded, laying Keith down. The two parents waited to sleep until Keith was sleeping peacefully.
When he was sure that Keith was asleep, Kolivan looked over at Krolia. “Your boys?” He asked playfully. Krolia nodded and smiled.
“Yes. You are my family just as much as Keith is.” Krolia said. Kolivan smiled softly and laid down, curling protectively around his two family members and positioning himself so he was closest to the door to protect his family from any potential intruders.
Keith was held protectively between Kolivan and Krolia, safe and secure as a kit his age should be. Soft purrs were sounding from the smallest member of the pack, rough with disuse over his life. It was a wonderful sound nonetheless.
Chapter 8: Nests
The paladins find out about Keith's nest.
Keith also gains his nesting instinct.
I saw a comment wondering how the paladins would react to Keith's nest, and this was born.
“What is going on here?” Kolivan asked. Keith looked up from the nest with wide eyes, looking like a deer caught in headlights.
Keith was currently rearranging the blankets and pillows in the nest. Blankets were strewn about the living room, waiting to be put back in a new place by the youngest member of the pack.
“Nothing.” Keith said quickly, trying to hide the blanket in his hands behind his back.
“Are you sure? It looks like you are trying to change the nest.” Kolivan said, glancing at the blankets strewn about the room. He couldn’t hide his amusement at his kit, who looked like he was doing something wrong when they both knew he wasn’t. Or, at least Kolivan knew Keith wasn’t doing anything wrong at least.
“Yep, I’m sure.” Keith said quickly.
“I do not think you are sure, kit. It looks to me like you are nesting.” Kolivan said. Keith furrowed his eyebrows and looked at the strewn about blankets.
“Is that what’s going on?” Keith asked, more to himself than to Kolivan. Kolivan chuckled.
“It looks like that is what is going on, my kit. It is normal for kits your age to develop a nesting habit.” Kolivan explained. “In fact, as far as I know, it is a sign of healthy development.”
“So… can I stop it?” Keith questioned, looking tired of the whole thing.
“No, kit, I do not think you can just stop a kit’s nesting instinct until they have a nest of their own set up.” Kolivan said fondly. Krolia came out of the bathroom, vigorously towel-drying her hair from a shower. She paused and looked between Keith and Kolivan with a smile.
“What is going on here?” She asked. Kolivan smiled at Krolia.
“It seems as though Keith has developed his nesting instinct.” Kolivan explained. Krolia gasped in delight and grinned at Keith.
“That is amazing news, my kit!” She said brightly. Keith sighed quietly and made a noise of frustration.
“I want it to stop!” He exclaimed. Krolia smiled fondly and sat down next to Keith.
“I am sorry, kit, but a kit’s nesting instinct will not stop until they have a nest of their own. It is a simple, if annoying, process. You are welcome to take any of the blankets you want for your nest, but we would appreciate it if you did not completely rearrange our pack nest.” Krolia said. Keith sighed and nodded, gathering up his choice few blankets and darting off to his bedroom. He emerged after about forty-five minutes to find Kolivan making lunch for the entire pack.
“Are you calm now, Keith?” Krolia asked kindly from where she was sitting. Keith nodded and laid down in the nest.
“Yeah. I guess? I don’t know.” Keith said. Krolia laughed.
“It is a weird feeling, is it not? Do not worry, you should feel better in a little bit.” Krolia said. Keith nodded and waited patiently until Kolivan finished lunch.
A few days later saw Keith accompanying the paladins once again to assist with rebuilding their destroyed home planet. It was nice to spend time with his friends, doing something good for the Earth. He would really have liked to be flying the red lion, and not the black lion, but he wasn’t complaining.
After they were done for the day, Keith had invited them over to relax. His pack apartment was relaxed and quiet, which was exactly what they needed after such a long day. They had all already gotten food from Hunk, and they were planning on watching movies for the night.
“Uhh… Keith, I know Galra do things way differently than humans, but why are there blankets all over the floor?” Hunk asked when he saw the nest. Krolia looked over and smiled.
“That is a nest. It is a staple of the Galran household. It is where members of the pack sleep, relax, and find comfort. This is just the pack nest, we each have a nest in our bedrooms as well.” Krolia explained. Hunk nodded.
“It looks nice.” Hunk said, going to step in. Pidge kicked his feet before he could take a step into the nest.
“Its impolite to just step into a nest without permission! How would you feel if someone just barged into your room without permission?” Pidge said, looking over at Krolia. “May we go into the nest?” They asked. Krolia smiled.
“Of course!” She said. Keith sat down and grabbed the remote as the other paladins clambered into the nest. There was plenty of room for all of them to relax and stretch out.
“What do you guys wanna watch?” Keith asked. He heard multiple requests for multiple different movies, so he picked the first one he heard, Toy Story.
It didn’t take long for all of the paladins to drop off to sleep, exhausted from the long day. Kolivan sent a message to each of the families of the paladins to let them know where they were so that they wouldn’t worry. He also attached a picture of the paladins’ sleep pile.
The next time Keith was on the Atlas was two days later, having spent the day after their movie night to do repairs on the black lion. He was surprised to find a nest built in a room that connected to the control room.
“What is this?” Keith questioned with a teasing smile. Coran perked up.
“Pidge told us about the nest you have in your family’s apartment, and I thought it was a perfect idea. This is where we put exhausted crew members to sleep. We made it sound proof so that they won’t be woken up!” Coran explained. Keith smiled.
“It looks nice.” Keith said with a smile. He made a noise of confusion when Matt ran up to him, and promptly made a noise of disgust when he saw his new haircut. “What the fuck is up with your hair?” He questioned.
“My mom made me cut it.” Matt explained. “Anyway, do you know how Galra started to construct nests? It is such a marvel that Galra even have a nesting instinct, based off of the research I’ve done.” Matt said.
“Well, I guess its just as some sort of protection or comfort thing? I don’t really know, you might have to ask Kolivan or my mom about that one.” Keith said. Matt nodded.
“The Galran empire may be a bunch of power-hungry assholes, but they knew what they’re doing in terms of comfort.” Matt said. Keith laughed and nodded. He always felt at ease around Matt, as he always made Keith laugh.
“Yeah, they do.” Keith agreed. “I like that you all found use in nests, too.” He said. Matt nodded.
“Well, my dad needs me to help with something, so I’ll see you later.” He said, pulling Keith into a side hug and walking away. Keith smiled and went to train, only to find that it was occupied by a few blades.
“Oh, it is leader’s kit!” One exclaimed, their expression hidden by their nest. The other two looked over at Keith, and Keith felt himself becoming relaxed around the blades for once.
“You really helped the crew by introducing the paladins to nests. They all very well-rested.” One of the other ones said. Keith nodded and sighed.
“Do you mind if I trained with you guys?” he asked.
“We will not go easy on you just because you are leader’s kit.” The original one warned.
“I wouldn’t want you to.” Keith said, laughing as he was pulled into a sparring session.
Later that day saw the original blade taking a sleeping Keith to Krolia.
“Your kit fell asleep after training.” They said. Krolia nodded and took Keith into her arms.
“Thank you for bringing him to me.” She said, taking Keith to the pack nest. Kolivan chuckled fondly when he saw Keith fast asleep in her arms.
“I’ll put a plate in the microwave for when he wakes up.” He said as he finished up dinner. Krolia nodded as she laid Keith in the nest, draping a blanket over him.
“He seems to have won the hearts of the blades, and not because he is our kit.” She said. Kolivan nodded.
“I could have predicted that. Many of the blades become protective of someone smaller than them. I am sure some of the blades could be taken down in battle by Keith. Not to say that they are not talented fighters, but Keith is quick and quiet.” Kolivan said. Krolia nodded and gently swiped Keith’s hair from his forehead.
“Indeed. He is a good fighter, but he is also caring.” Krolia said.
“Yes, he is. We will foster that in him, correct?” Kolivan questioned.
“More correct than ever before.” Krolia agreed, getting up to get a plate of dinner from Kolivan.
Chapter 9: Clumsy
Keith is clumsy sometimes, and Krolia and Kolivan are very protective Galra parents.
For what it's worth, Keith isn't a clumsy person.
It's just that when he is, he's very, very dramatic about it.
This was not a fact that Kolivan was aware of, for he had always seen Keith as a steady warrior. Now, though, it made perfect sense; kits were clumsy, and Keith was a kit, so he should be at least a little clumsy.
He'd just awoken from a nap, having to take a moment to discern what time of day it was because he didn't often take naps. A quick glance around revealed Krolia sleeping next to him, but Keith was bustling around the kitchen.
“What are you making, kit?” Kolivan called. Keith jumped and looked over with a smile.
“Oatmeal!” He said brightly. Kolivan was familiar with a food; a favorite of Keith's that was a staple in their pantry. He didn't eat it, as he had quickly discovered that oatmeal was very bad for a full Galra, giving him stomach pain for several hours. Keith called it “oat-intolerant” because he didn't know the correct name of it.
Keith had always enjoyed oatmeal. It was quick and easy to make, and it filled him up for a long time. Plus, you could put all sorts of fruit or honey or peanut butter in it, which gave variety so that Keith wouldn't get tired of it.
He had long since discovered the perfect water-to-oats ratio. He would have used milk, but he just didn't think oatmeal was worth the pain of his lactose intolerance. Pizza? Absolutely. But not oatmeal.
Keith looked over when he heard the microwave beep, going to pull the steaming hot bowl out of the machine. Except, his hand slipped.
Keith had felt pain that was a lot worse that his thumb going into burning hot oatmeal, but the unexpected aspect of it made him screech and drop the bowl, squealing in a pitch that he didn't even know he could produce and shoving his burnt thumb into his mouth and get off the oatmeal that was still burning his thumb.
Kolivan got up and rushed to Keith's side, examining the burnt thumb like it was brutal injury. He turned on the cold water in the faucet and stuck Keith's thumb under it, rumbling soothingly.
“I'm not hurt.” Keith tried to protest.
“Your finger is burned. That is an injury.” Kolivan said, pulling the thumb out from under the tap and putting a cooling cream on it. From what Keith could tell, it was a Galran product if the strange letters on the package were anything to go by. But it soothed the pain, so he wasn't complaining.
Keith glanced over at the counter. To his surprise, the bowl hand landed upright, with just a small splattering on oatmeal here and there on the surrounding counter. Kolivan follows his eyes and smiled, grabbing the bowl and offering it to Keith. Keith took it and began to eat with a smile.
It would always confuse Kolivan how a food so simple could be Keith's absolute favorite. But, he supposed Keith never did enjoy super extravagant things.
“Be careful not to do that again, my kit.” He said. Keith nodded in response, how mouth full.
“Roger that.” Keith said once he had swallowed his mouthful. He seemed to be completely fine now, despite his distress earlier. Was this a trait that was specific to humans? Kolivan would need to ask some blades if they had ever done something similar.
Later that day, Keith was helping Kolivan file important reports from blades in the filing cabinets by his desk. It was easy work, filing them; Kolivan didn't have a very complex filing system.
Keith was seated in the nest, surrounded by repotts. Similarly, Krolia was too, though she was busy grooming Keith instead of filing reports. Keith had relaxed once the grooming started, a quiet purr sounding from him the entire time. He was starting to get drowsy from it too, but he was determined to have all of the reports organized before going to bed.
It took a while, between dozing off on Krolia's shoulder and becoming distracted by the grooming, but Keith finally had all of his papers organized. Now, he just had to give them to Kolivan for him to sort into filing cabinets. Keith offered the multiple stacks of papers to his father, laying on his desk.
“Thank you, my kit. You look exhausted, go on and sleep.” Kolivan said. Keith nodded and rubbed at his eyes tiredly, pivoting on his heel to go back to the nest.
Kolivan's desk was made of a sturdy metal with a nice wooden top and a few drawers. As Keith turned around, he felt his pinky toe make contact with one of the metal desks. Hard.
A screech, not unlike the one from when Keith burned himself on the oatmeal, disrupts the calm silence of their apartment. Keith bounced over to the nest on one foot, collapsing into the soft blankets and clutching at his foot, chanting “ow ow ow fuck ow ow” over and over again.
“Kit, are you alright?” Krolia asked worriedly, kneeling next to her son. Keith nodded through gritted teeth.
“Yeah, I just stubbed my toe.” Keith said, clutching at his foot. Kolivan sat down next to Keith, work completely forgotten.
“You are in pain.” He pointed out bluntly. Keith nodded.
“Yeah, hurts like a bitch when you hit your toe against something.” Keith responded. Kolivan nodded.
“Would you like some ice?” Krolia asked.
“No, no it isn't that bad.” Keith said. Krolia got up anyway, returning with an ice pack that she laid gently across Keith's hurt toe. Keith couldn't lie, it did make it feel a bit better.
Keith felt Krolia move again to gather the stray papers and move them out of the nest as Kolivan gently rubbed Keith's back.
“The rest of the filing can be saved until tomorrow.” Krolia said, draping the blanket over Keith and turning out the light. It was easy to find her way back to the nest in the dark, as Galra had amazing night vision. She stopped the drape a blanket over Kolivan as well, a gentle smile on her face as she laid down beside him and nuzzled her nose between his shoulder blades as she wrapped her arms around him.
Playfully, as he did every night, Keith made a fake disgusted “ugh” sound when he saw that. He didn’t mean it, he never did. He saw the way Krolia and Kolivan interacted with each other, and he wouldn't dare deny either of them the happiness that deserve, whether it was with each other or not.
Chapter 10: Cosmo
Something's wrong with Cosmo.
Listen Adam is alive and anyone who tells me otherwise can square up.
Keith loved Cosmo, that wasn’t a hard thing to realize. The wolf was his best friend and partner in crime, had been since he had adopted him on the space whale.
Keith had been the one to convince Krolia to keep the wolf. He had begged and begged for days on end; or, as close to begging as Keith was willing to get. Eventually, Krolia had given in and allowed the wolf to stay at their campsite, slowly growing fond of their new companion.
Krolia noticed that Cosmo became a comfort to Keith, who was so overwhelmed with so many changes in his life all at once; first, meeting his mom for the first time in his life, and second, he found himself stranded on a space whale. Cosmo became someone Keith could cry to, a fact that Krolia knew because she heard Keith crying in the night, mumbling his feelings to the wolf. In turn, Cosmo had become very protective over Keith and Krolia.
Naturally, Keith was distraught over any sign of illness in his beloved companion.
Cosmo was becoming lethargic quickly, and it didn’t take Keith long to realize that. He had awoken Krolia in the middle of the night, crying over Cosmo being sick.
“Shh, my son, do not fret. We will take Cosmo to the veterinarian first thing in the morning, alright? There is a blade that is a trained veterinarian, and would know more about Cosmo’s species than a human would.” Krolia said softly, holding her son close and rubbing his back. Keith let out a few more sobs and buried his face in Krolia’s shoulder, taking deep, shuddering breaths.
“He can’t die. He can’t.” Keith said softly.
“An he will not, my kit. I assure you.” Krolia said in response. Keith nodded and wiped at his eyes, gently petting the beloved pet in question. He laid down next to Cosmo, tucking himself against the weakened animal. Just the sight of his ailing friend made keith start crying again.
“Mom, are you sure he’s going to be okay?” Keith questioned, burying his face in the dog’s fur.
“I am positive, my son. Now, go to sleep. We will take him to get help in the morning.” Krolia assured, laying between her son and Kolivan, tucking herself up against the blade leader. Kolivan, although still asleep, seemed to sense Krolia’s presence and pulled her close, relaxing in his sleep.
“You love Kolivan, don’t you?” Keith asked his mother.
“Well… uh… Indeed, kit, I do. I see no reason to lie to you about such matters.” She said.
“Does Kolivan know you love him?” Keith asked.
“Indeed he does. We were waiting for the right time to tell you, but it seems you have already figured it out.” Krolia said. Keith shrugged and hugged his mom.
“I’m happy for you guys. You guys deserve to be happy after so much, and I’m glad you guys found that happiness in each other.” He said. Krolia smiled softly and held her child close.
“Thank you, Keith. That means a lot. I am glad you accept it.” Krolia said. Keith nodded and settled down to sleep, curled tightly against his animal companion.
Early the next morning, Kolivan, Krolia, and Keith set out to locate the veterinarian blade, Cosmo following lazily in tow.
It wasn’t particularly hard, she was in charge of taking care of all the pets from space that were brought to earth. She was always up early, but she also went to bed early to make up for the lost sleep.
“Lodriar.” Kolivan said. The blade in question turned around and smiled.
“Hello, leader. How can I help you today?” She asked. She seemed to be middle-aged, and Krolia knew she was a very mild-mannered lady.
“My kit’s pet is ill.” Krolia explained. Lodriar looked over and smiled when she saw Cosmo, gesturing for him to jump up onto a nearby table she was using as an examination table.
“Can you explain why you think he is ill?” Lodriar asked as she took initial measurements for Cosmo.
“He’s been really weak and tired lately, and he usually isn’t like that.” Keith explained. Lodriar nodded briefly and began to examine the wolf.
“What are you feeding him?” Lodriar questioned.
“Human dog food. Why?” Krolia answered. Lodriar frowned and looked over at them.
“Well there’s your problem. Human dog food probably doesn’t provide what your pet needs to eat, so he is not getting the necessary nutrients and is tired and weak as a result. I recommend switching to a raw meat diet, and he should be back up to strength before you know it.” Lodriar said. Keith gasped and whimpered.
“We’ve been starving him?!” He questioned, absolutely horrified by the idea even if he never intended it to be that way.
“Yes, but you did not intend to. It has a simple solution, and it has not affected him beyond repair.” Lodriar said. “You should avoid doing in the future, of course.” She said.
“Of course! I wouldn’t do it again now that I know what’s wrong.” Keith said, hugging his beloved pet. Cosmo took it like a champ, licking at Keith’s cheek affectionately. He helped the wolf down and took him to the apartment before leaving to go get some meat to stock up for his friend.
At the newly-opened market, Keith encountered Shiro with Adam. The two men that had become like older brother to Keith seemed so happy to be together again.
“Keith!” Adam said when he saw the boy, hugging him tightly. “I’m so glad you’re okay! Takashi said you were hurt badly.” He said.
“I was, but I’m better now. I met my mom and she’s been taking care of me.” Keith explained, hugging the man tightly. “I missed you.” He said.
“What are you shopping for, Keith?” Shiro asked, gesturing at the basket full of raw meat.
“Cosmo got really sick because we weren’t feeding him the right things, so I’m getting what he’s supposed to be eating.” Keith explained. Shiro nodded, although Adam looked confused.
“Who’s Cosmo?” He asked.
“He’s my pet space wolf. He’s really cool, and he’s almost as big as me now!” Keith said. Adam looked impressed.
“Damn. Well, do you want to come hang out with Takashi and I? We’ve been waiting for a chance to catch up with you.” Adam said. Keith nodded and followed the happy couple around the market as they shopped for their groceries.
“You seem pretty happy, Keith.” Shiro observed after a few minutes of companionable silence.
“Well, Kolivan is letting me call him dad, and I just… really like having a real family.” Keith said. “I’ve always dreamed of having one, but I just had the foster families, you know?” He said. Shiro and Adam knew that it was hard for Keith to spill his feelings like that. It had always been hard for him, so they were careful to show that they were listening.
“That’s great, Keith. You sure do look happier.” Adam said. “But remember, our door is always open to you if you need it, okay? No. Matter. What. No matter what time or under what circumstances. Our apartment is in the same place it always has been.” Adam said. Keith smiled.
“Thanks. I appreciate it.” Keith said. He walked with the pair to their apartment, helping to ptu away the groceries. He figured that if was going to be there, he might as well do something helpful for them.
The apartment was a familiar comfort to Keith. He remembered many times when he would be taken here as a student, allowed to relax and wind down from a bad day. Shiro and Adam were never angry if Keith showed up at the door, no matter if it was two a.m. or six p.m. It hadn’t lost its homely comfort, if anything being filled with more homely comfort than he remembered.
Keith returned to his apartment after about half an hour, putting the meat in the freezer and giving a large portion to Cosmo for dinner before laying down in the nest.
“I saw Shiro and Adam at the market today.” Keith announced.
“Who is this Adam?” Kolivan asked.
“He’s Shiro’s fiance.” Keith answered.
“Fiance?” Krolia questioned.
“They’re going to be mates, but they’re planning the ceremony right now so it isn’t official yet.” Keith explained in the way he could for the two Galra to understand.
“Oh, well good for them. Are they doing okay?” Krolia asked.
“Well, as good as they can be doing. They’re getting better at managing nightmares and such.” Keith said. Krolia nodded.
“Yes, I have a feeling every family will be doing that.” She said.
After a few days, Cosmo was back to his regular, energetic self. Keith was ecstatic at this development, cheering and playing with Cosmo all day to celebrate his friend getting better.
Kolivan and Krolia watched in amusement as Keith and Cosmo ran around outside, soaking in the sun as they played fetch. Cosmo still wasn’t the biggest fan of fetch, but he was starting to understand the point of the game.
Keith came back inside with a smile, his hair messy from the wind and his clothes dusty and dirty from the dirt of the desert.
“Mom, dad, Cosmo is playing again!” Keith announced gleefully, almost dizzy from relief at the fact that his companion was well again.
“That is good news, Keith.” Krolia answered, letting the tired out wolf lay on her lap for a nap.
Chapter 11: Night
Keith and Kolivan, on a night where Krolia is away.
It didn't take long for the small family to realize that Keith had some form of separation anxiety when it came to his mother. Perhaps it stemmed from an overwhelming fear that she would disappear again, even if Keith knew that Krolia wouldn't dare leave him again unless she was dragged away kicking and screaming.
Kolivan tried his best to soothe Keith when Krolia had to leave on various blade missions, but he simply didn't know how to help him. Keith was distraught, often curling up in his bedroom and locking the door, feeling as though he was too old to be crying over his mom leaving.
Keith knew that he may be far more attached to his mom and dad than the average 23-year-old, but could anybody blame him? He had been without them for most of his life, his biological dad dying when Keith was so young that he barely had any memories of him. He had been labelled as a discipline case by his schools and he had been passed through foster homes. He had been forced into an intergalactic war at 18, and forced to be a central part of it for 5 years. Could anybody say he was wrong for having such an attachment to promises of stability, safety, and comfort; for wanting to always stay by his newfound family?
On the other hand, Keith knew he was still very, very young by Galran standards, and perhaps most children his age were this way even without all of the things he had experienced. Maybe that was why neither Kolivan or Krolia seemed to be too concerned about it.
A while ago, Krolia had explained that kits his age would still be hiding behind their mother's legs at the park, or crawl between their parents because they had a nightmare. They would never stray far from someone they trusted, or someone the parents trusted. This was all very normal behavior for a kit his age.
Kolivan stared at where Keith was fitfully dozing in the nest. Krolia had needed to go handle a blade issue in the night, Keith certainly hadn't been happy. He seemed very close to tears, but he refused to actually cry.
It broke Kolivan's heart to see his kit so upset. While Keith was much, much larger than kits his age, he was still small enough to definitely not be at the age of maturity, small enough to still be relying on the pack to provide food, water, shelter, and all other things necessary for life. Small enough to come running when he needed to cry everything out without judgement.
Kolivan remembered just how excited Krolia had been when she had first had Keith. She had contacted him in a secure channel as soon as she felt rested enough to do so. Kolivan could remember the pure pride in her voice as she introduced him to the baby, so proud of the fact that she had born this perfectly healthy, amazing child.
Baby Keith had been wide awake when Krolia had first shown him to Kolivan. His big purple eyes looked at Kolivan the way he was sure the kit had looked at everything at that point: studying it, trying to wrap his mind around this strange world around him and the people in it, figuring out what was what. By that point, he could easily identify his mother and father, although he couldn't voice that fact.
Keith had grown quite a bit since then, but Kolivan knew that Krolia was still so, so proud that she was the mother of such an amazing kit. Keith was no less curious than in his infancy, but it shifted more into figuring out how to make things better.
Kolivan was stirred from his thoughts when he heard a soft sniffle. Looking over, he saw the kit wiping away a few tears that spilled from his eyes, and Kolivan's heart hurt when he saw it.
“Keith?” He called softly, drawing Keith's attention. “Would you like to go on a walk?” He questioned. Keith shook his head and laid dejectedly in his spot, which was actually the spot Krolia usually occupied at night.
Kolivan frowned and snagged Keith by the back of his neck, not surprised when Keith went limp in his hold, dangling there as though it were perfectly natural. He moved the kit to his chest, simply trying something out that he knew other kits could do.
As though on instinct, Keith latched his hands around Kolivan's shirt and stayed there,tucking himself comfortably against his father figure. Kolivan knew that kits often did this when being carried, effectively keeping arm free for various tasks.
Where Kolivan came from, it wasn't rare to see a Galra with a young kit clinging to their chest, dozing quietly, and maybe one or two older kits running alongside the adult while they went about their routine shopping or going to get some lunch. He knew that, a long time earlier, Galra developed this trait to make it so that their pack could easily hunt while holding their kit, in their hunting-gathering days. It was a universal help no matter the circumstances.
Kolivan glanced around the nest, a hand protectively keeping Keith upright, just in case he lost his grip. He smiled and grabbed a light blanket, draping it over Keith. He turned on a nature documentary, the narration becoming calming background noise.
“Your mother would never leave you, kit.” Kolivan reassured. Keith glanced up at him lazily.
“Are you sure?” He asked, his voice quiet, unsure.
“Of course I am sure. Your mother was so, so proud of you when you were born, the first and only human-Galra kit of the time. She was devastated when she was forced to leave you, but she knew it was for a good cause, to keep her family safe. Now that she has you back, I think she would rather die than willingly leave you again.” Kolivan said. “She is still very proud of you.”
Keith remained silent, although he was noticably calmer. Kolivan made his way into the kitchen, removing various Galran fruits and vegetables from their fridge. He set them on the counter and pulled out a cutting board and a colander.
“What are you doing?” Keith asked sleepily. Kolivan smiled as he put the foods into the colander to wash them, putting them under the sink water.
“I am preparing easy snacks.” Kolivan said. He had gotten the idea to prepare easy, healthy snacks since he knew both Keith and Krolia had a tendency to search the kitchen for a late night snack. Although he didn’t want to discourage the snacking, as he understood that sometimes, you just wanted a midnight snack, he also didn’t want them to eat unhealthily. He began to chop the vegetables and preparing the fruit, the rhythmic chopping sound lulling Keith into a lightly dozing state.
Kolivan put all of the prepared snacks into the fridge in small containers, smiling lightly. He went back into the nest and sat down, letting Keith down and laying him in the spot Krolia usually occupied. Keith shuffled around and laid his head on Krolia’s pillow.
The sound of the door opening roused the two men from their sleep. Keith looked up lazily, quickly becoming alert when he saw his mother. He hugged her tightly and relaxed completely, purring quietly. Krolia smiled and nuzzled his hair, rumbling to him.
“Hello, Keith. I missed you too, my son.” Krolia said soothingly. Keith buried his nose into her shoulder and closed his eyes, fully relaxed now that he was sure his mother hadn’t disappeared on him again.
“Go to sleep, my kit. I will be here when you wake up, I swear to you.” Krolia said. Keith nodded, and Krolia watched as he drifted off to sleep.
“He was very distressed over you leaving.” Kolivan said quietly, draping a blanket over the sleeping kit.
“He will be distressed if either of us leave for a while, until he feels secure in the knowledge that we will not leave him.” Krolia said. “He may never completely let go of that fear, but it can surely get better.”
“Me? But you are his mother, you are the guide in his life.” Kolivan said. “He doesn’t want you to disappear.”
“Yes, but he calls you dad. His biological father passed when Keith was still rather young, so Keith has never had a stable father figure, or just a guiding male figure in general.” Krolia said. “You became that for him the moment he called you dad. Keith needs you just as much as he needs me, and he is just as scared of you abandoning him as he is of me abandoning him.” Krolia explained.
“I guess I never thought of it that way.” Kolivan admitted quietly. He gazed at Keith with a soft smile on his face. “He can cling on the way a Galran kit can.” He said.
“Can he now? That will certainly make things easy.” Krolia said. As she glanced down at her sleeping kit, she felt an intense urge to wrap him layers upon layers of bubble wrap to protect him from any danger.
Maybe Keith wouldn’t mind if she did that?
Chapter 12: Shopping and Pranks
Krolia and Kolivan go shopping.
Keith wasn’t very forthcoming with details about himself. Occasionally, he would let slip a small detail about himself, such as his favorite movie or type of candy. It was something that Krolia and Kolivan made sure to remember every time, never wanting Keith to doubt that they wanted to get to know him as their kit.
So, when the first true supermarket opened up after rebuilding efforts, the pair knew exactly what to buy.
Up until then, food was bought at a street market, locals selling things that they needed. Alongside humans, various aliens were selling goods from their home planets. A large majority were blades and rebels, selling things that Krolia and Kolivan knew of well, and loved to introduce Keith to.
Keith wasn’t a picky eater, and he had quickly developed a taste for traditional Galran cuisine. Occasionally, he would come home with a small snack that a blade had given him. To his parents’ amusement, they were all snacks that were very appealing to young kits. They were typically various dried fruits, chips, or jerkies, all of which Keith fell in love with and had gradually gathered a small stash of.
It was quite endearing to watch Keith indulge in his kit instincts with the blades, looking up to the older blades like they were his aunts and uncles. Which, in a way, they could be; Keith was around them on a daily basis, and the older blades were always happy to help him or give him advice, and would always indulge him with sweets or other snacks despite Krolia’s and Kolivan’s disapproval. Plus, Keith enjoyed his time with the blades, more than happy to train with them and often being found resting against the wall if they noticed him getting tired.
The supermarket was almost identical to the ones Krolia remembered from her time with Keith’s father, from what he described them as. The lights were bright, further illuminating the bright white laminate floors. There was music playing softly in the background, creating a soothing atmosphere as people of various species did their shopping. The owners had worked with as many different aliens as possible to stock the staples of their traditional cuisines, which was an amazing move in Kolivan’s opinion. It was a small step, but working to try to stock staples of cuisine was a good step in creating peace between humans and the new aliens on their planet.
To his delight, he found many Galran staples that he threw into the cart, which included everything from meat to candies. Krolia laughed and grabbed Keith’s favorite foods, careful to look for lactose-free alternatives to various things for her son. Although Keith may not care whether or not he ingested lactose, regardless of the fact that it made him sick, Krolia wanted to ensure her son’s health.
Kolivan had made a small list of things they definitely needed, but the rest of the cart was mostly snacks that he loved, Krolia loved, or things they were sure Keith would love. He made sure to grab human snacks to provide Keith with something he was more familiar with. Although Keith was very open to all sorts of food, Kolivan knew he sometimes preferred to stick with what he was familiar with, something comforting. Kolivan always had the pantry stocked with Keith’s favorite cookies, something familiar and quick for him to eat when he had a nightmare.
Krolia was laughing as she watched Kolivan dart from shelf to shelf, patiently pushing the cart and following him. She was once again reminded of how much she loved her mate, and how glad she was to have her son as a part of her family again.
Krolia remembered how happy she had been when she had seen Keith against after eighteen years. She was so proud of what he had become, yet so distressed over how willingly self-sacrificing her kit was. Now, Keith was flourishing under the guidance of his parents, almost completely at ease with himself as a person.
“Krolia, look!” Kolivan called, startling Krolia out of her thoughts. Looking over, Krolia nearly doubled over laughing when she saw Kolivan balancing a box of instant pasta on his nose. He seemed so proud of himself that it was absolutely comical, especially for someone who was usually so serious of foreboding. Kolivan began to chuckle in response, the box clattering to the floor before Kolivan picked it up and put it back on the shelf.
“We should pick up some toys for Cosmo.” Krolia said, leading her mate to the pet section. Kolivan seemed to be having a grand old time messing around and having fun, not caring in the least about the confused glances from other blades who were doing their shopping.
Kolivan looked around the pet section, but he couldn’t find anything that Cosmo wouldn’t rip to shreds in seconds. Although, he had collapsed in laughter when he discovered a rubber chicken that screamed when he squeezed it. Krolia laughed and repeated the squeezed it, watching as Kolivan continued to laugh, wiping tears of laughter from his eyes.
“Krolia! Krolia, stop!” Kolivan gasped between bouts of laughter.
It had taken a several hours, but Krolia and Kolivan had finally returned home, arms full of their prizes from the store. Keith glanced up from his spot in the nest, trying to rearrange his spot and putting a heated blanket in the divot he usually slept in.
“What’d you guys get?” Keith asked, wandering into the kitchen to help with unloading and putting away the groceries. He gasped in delight when he found all the snacks they had bought, retreating into the nest with a bag of cheetos. “You remembered?” He questioned in awe.
“Of course we remembered, kit. We always remembered things you tell us.” Krolia answered, running her fingers through her son’s hair.
“Thank you. No one’s ever made an effort to remembered things like that. Well, except for Shiro.” Keith admitted.
“We will always strive to remember things like that. You are our kit, and we want you to be able to feel wanted and loved here. One part of that is remembering things like your favorite human snacks.” Krolia said. Keith grinned and tapped his head against his mother’s shoulder, purring in contentment as he popped a cheeto into his mouth.
“We had quite a lot of fun at the supermarket.” Kolivan said, his ears flicking quietly.
“As in, Kolivan was acting like a five decapheobe old on a sugar high.” Krolia clarified. Keith had to cover his mouth to keep from spitting out his food as he laughed. “He was! He was balancing things on his nose and such.” She said, making Keith laugh harder as he leaned against his father figure.
“I may have been a bit silly.” Kolivan agreed with a smile. Cosmo nudged him with his nose, barking quietly as he laid down next to Keith. The large wolf had become very protective of Keith, growling at anyone he didn’t trust being near his owner. Keith loved going on walks with the dog and his paladin friends, and he especially loved utilizing Cosmo in a prank against the blades.
“Today, Cosmo helped me tie the training equipment to the ceiling.” Keith announced, prompting a round of laughter from his family members.
“That might be the best prank you’ve pulled so far, kit. I am tempted to join you in your mischief sometimes.” Kolivan admitted. Keith gasped in delight and clapped his hands.
“I’m turning you over to the dark side!” He cheered brightly. Krolia looked up from where she was straightening out the heated blanket Keith had laid down, looking amused as she observed her mate and her son.
She was extremely glad Kolivan and Keith were getting along so well. She had been worried that the pair would be tense and awkward, but they seemed to slip easily into being a family, as though it were fate that they would become family.
Overall, she thought she had had a wonderful day with her mate and kit.
Chapter 13: Play Fighting
Krolia and Kolivan are gone for the day because of an urgent meeting with the Coalition. Keith finds a new friend.
Keith, as it turned out, was fawned over by not only his new pack, but other blades as well.
No matter what, he’d always find himself being nuzzled affectionately by one blade another in the training halls, or accompanied to various places by the more protective of the blades. It confused him, if he was honest; sure, when he first became a blade, he became the object of fascination of the other blades because they had never seen such a swift, tiny person with Galra blood. But it had never been like this.
“Hey, mom?” Keith asked, curling up against his mother with a smile. The day was winding down at long last; Kolivan was doing dishes in the kitchen, his quiet humming filling the calm atmosphere of the apartment.
“Yes, kit?” Krolia asked gently, wrapping an arm around her son, rubbing his back.
“Why do all the blades nuzzle me and follow me places and stuff?” Keith asked, truly curious. It wasn’t that he didn’t like it; he rather enjoyed the company. It just confused him.
“Well, you see, kit, kits are rare, and hybrid kits are even rarer. Well, you might not think that is true, because hybrid Galra are very common, but the incidence of their birth has less of a chance happening than that of a full Galra. Anyhow, Galra feel the innate need to protect the kit at all costs. If they see you without company, instinctually, they see you as being exposed and vulnerable and see it their duty to protect you. Galra commonly raise their kits in large groups, and often small villages will all work together to raise the kits.” Krolia explained with a smile.
“Oh.” Keith answered, smiling. “I like that. I was just confused. I like having the company.” He said, grinning when Kolivan joined them in the nest for the night.
As the representatives of the Galactic Coalition, it was common that Krolia and Kolivan would need to attend meetings quite frequently, leaving Keith to entertain himself for the day. As of late, Keith was feeling quite lonely without his pack members to hang out with.
“Kit?” Keith looked up from his place lounging in what Kolivan referred to as the communal nest. Standing next to him was a blade, who, judging by their uniform, was a senior member, although not quite of the same rank of Kolivan or Krolia.
“Yeah?” Keith asked, muffling as yawn as he curled up.
“You seem rather bored. A kit without stimulation is always bored and likely to cause mischief. And besides, your pack members are at a meeting today, are they not?” The blade asked, sitting down next to Keith. Keith chuckled and shrugged lightly as he listened.
“Yeah, they’re not here today.” He said quietly. “I miss them.” He added after a moment, turning rather forlorn.
“Yes, I understand. Being away from your pack is a taxing experience, eh?” The blade said. “Come on, let us get you worn out with some play fighting. Getting tired makes it much easier to rest without your pack, I have found.” They offered their hand to help Keith up, which the younger accepted and used to assist in standing up.
“Alright. Yeah, that sounds good.” He agreed. The blade smiled and lead Keith to a small, empty training hall that was spacious enough to give the two room to run and tumble without restraint, without being too overwhelmingly big.
Keith wandered around the room for a few moments before pivoting all of the sudden and launching himself playfully at the blade, laughing when they snatched him and flipped him over their shoulder. The blade then swiped their tail at Keith’s feet, but Keith jumped out of the way and pounced onto their back with a giggle.
On and on this back and forth play went, until Keith was laughing and gasping for air, absolutely worn out from the activity. It satisfied both the goal of tiring him out, and helping him become more at peace with his Galran instincts.
“Tired, little one?” The blade asked affectionately. Keith nodded and yawned. “Alright, well, let me accompany you back to your pack nest so you may rest in a familiar place.” They said gently, following Keith to his pack nest. Keith unlocked the door and turned to the blade.
“Thank you. I really liked playing today.” He said shyly.
“It is not problem, kit. I am glad you enjoyed it.” The blade said, ruffling Keith’s hair with a smile before wandering off.
Keith stepped inside of his pack nest and yawned, curling up in the large nest of soft blankets. Almost immediately, he pulled the blankets over himself and fell asleep, calm and relaxed at last.
“Do you think Keith is doing okay? He hasn’t been all alone all day before.” Krolia fretted as Kolivan unlocked the door to their pack nest.
“Krolia, dear, you worry too much. He is fine, I promise.” Kolivan responded calmly, smiling. He swung open the door and grinned. “See? There he is, fast asleep and completely safe and sound, just like I said.” He said softly to avoid waking the kit. As quietly as possible, Krolia and Kolivan crept inside of the nest and laid down on either side of Keith, wrapping an arm around his middle before settling down for a nap of their own.
When Keith awoke from his nap, he was surprised to be surrounded by warmth and comfort and the unmistakable presence of his pack members. To his right, Krolia was fast asleep, purring quietly as she dreamt. To his left, Kolivan was snoring lightly, dead to the world for at least the next several hours.
It was good to have his pack back. At the same time, Keith was no longer afraid to find company in other blades, for it always presented the opportunity to become friends.
Chapter 14: Kits, Kits, and More Kits
Krolia is the go-to babysitter for the Blades that were currently living on Earth. This raises some tensions with Keith.
The end of the war was a time of celebration. Everyone was in high spirits, humans and alien alike, ecstatic to be at peace at last.
Along with that came blade couples having children. Finally safe to settle down and raise a family. Krolia, a mother herself and one of the only current blades who had ever had a child, had taken on the task of helping new parents through their first days with their child; teaching them how to interpret the different cries of a baby in the days before they learned how to speak their needs on a basic, instinctual level, teaching them how to properly exercise a child and such. Her efforts were greatly appreciated by all, but it kept her away from her nest more often than not.
Keith had no idea what his mother was doing, and he was more than a little upset at her sudden absence.
“Stay, mom?” Keith asked quietly, a hand snagging in them hem of Krolia’s shirt.
“Kit, I have very important work to attend to. I’ll be back as soon as possible.” She promised, kissing her kit’s head. She hadn’t told Keith about her endeavor, not wanting to make the boy feel as though he was being replaced. She left, the door closing with a near-silent noise.
If Kolivan were to describe the sound that started to emit from Keith, he would say a sort of scream-sob. It was heartbreaking to see his kit run off into his bedroom, curling up in his personal nest and starting to cry. Kolivan sat down on the outskirts of the nest, reaching forward and putting a gentle hand on his shoulder. Keith shrugged it off, sobbing into his knees.
“Oh, kit…” Kolivan said quietly. Keith sniffled and wiped at his eyes.
“Go away, please.” He requested meekly. Kolivan nodded and brushed Keith’s hair out of his eyes.
“If you need anything, kit, I will be right out in the familial nest.” Kolivan stated quietly, leaving the room. Keith stayed in that position, sobbing into his knees. He didn’t understand what was wrong or why his mom was leaving so often. In the past week, she had only slept in the familial nest twice, and Keith was rather worried. Was she slowly abandoning him again? The idea hurt too much to dwell on, so he decided to take Cosmo on a walk around the building. He whistled to the wolf, calling out to Kolivan that he would be home soon and leaving the apartment.
The Garrison buildings were never asleep. There were humans working late, lights shining under their doors compared to those who were dead to the world at that time of night. On top of that, there were several nocturnal alien races that worked at night, and readily agreed to take over the night shift on jobs so that the humans could sleep on a normal schedule. The had required was rearranging of jobs, but everyone was happy in the end.
The lights in the hallway were still on, and Keith doubted they ever turned off anymore. Cosmo trotted next to him happily, and Keith’s upset state didn’t fail to attract the attention of those still awake or just waking up. Keith ignored them, though, just wanting to calm down enough to sleep.
Keith turned into a different hallway, stopping in his tracks at what he saw.
Krolia was standing in the hallway, lightly bouncing a small Garan infant in her arms while a man, presumably the father, fed the child, humming quietly. Keith felt his heart drop; so this was what Krolia was doing, she had a kid and she didn’t want Keith to know. Krolia’s kit choked on a sob and sprinted in the opposite direction just as Krolia looked up with a smile on her face.
Keith had run up to the roof. It was a calm place, and devoid of people more often than not. He had discovered it in his days as a cadet at the Garrison, and it had become a safe place for him ever since. He didn’t know how long he’d been up there, but the evening desert breeze felt nice in his face.
“You are quite difficult to locate when you do not want to be found, you know.” A voice said from behind Keith. The paladin whirled around, relaxing when he saw it was another blade. This particular blade was of a peculiarly tall and slim shape that was rare with the way the Galran army liked to beef up their subjects from childhood for preparation for future military service. Keith recalled that the blade was often the one sent on stealth mission as a result, as they could fit in small spaces easier.
“Its not that I didn’t want to be found.” Keith answered.
“Okay, so you were not resisting being located. Your pack is worried sick about you, you know. Krolia said you just ran off. I think there was a small misunderstanding in the circumstances. I love Krolia like my own family, but she does have a tendency to leave out important story points.” The blade said.
“What is there to misunderstand? She had a kid, she didn’t want me to know about it.” Keith said. The blade simply shook their head.
“That is the misunderstanding. That is not your mother’s kit. You are her only kit, I can assure you. Should she and Kolivan decide to have another kit, however, they would not keep you out of the loop.” The blade said. “You really raised alarms with your disappearing act, kit. No one knows where you went. Let’s go down before your mother and father have a stroke, yeah?” They said, leading Keith down to where Kolivan and Krolia were fretting over where Keith was. When they heard the door open, their heads snapped up and over, and relief flooded their faces when they saw Keith. They rushed forward and pulled him close, rumbling quietly.
“Oh, thank the heavens that you are okay! Where were you?! You had us worried sick about you!” Krolia said, a worried edge to her tone.
“Sorry, mom. I was on the roof.” He said quietly. Kolivan sighed and shook his head.
“Kit, never disappear like that again, please. I never want to feel as worried as that again.” He said quietly. Keith shied away, looking guilty.
“I’m sorry.” He repeated meekly, his voice choked up slightly. Krolia frowned and reached forward, gently massaging Keith’s shoulder.
“Oh, kit, do not cry. We are not mad, I promise.” She said quietly, which only seemed to make Keith cry more. It wasn’t long before he was wailing, curled up in his mother’s arms. “Keith, sweetheart, you need to breathe. We are not mad, I promise. Just settle down.” She whispered, gathering him up in her arms as she made her way back to their nest, laying him down and curling up next to him. Kolivan laid on the other side, humming gently to his kit.
“Oh, Keith, we love you so much. We just want to know why you disappeared.” Kolivan said. Krolia sighed sadly.
“He saw me with Gruthoa’s new kit.” Krolia said. “Keith, I know what you are thinking and none of it is true. That was not my kit. I have been helping new parents navigate how to take care of their kits, and I was just taking care of the new kit in the hallway so the mother could get some rest.” She explained quietly. Keith looked up with wide eyes.
“Oh.” He said quietly, looking a bit sheepish. Krolia smiled and pulled Keith close, rumbling to him.
“It is a common misconception for young kits, you need not worry my dear.” She said quietly. “Just sleep for now, and everything will be okay.” She encouraged. Keith nodded and stretched out, closing his eyes. It wasn’t long before he had fallen asleep at last, curled up between his mother and father, perfectly content as he snored the night away.
Krolia and Kolivan held him protectively between them, smiling at how peaceful he seemed in sleep, so unlike how he was during the day. It was a very welcome change to see, and they individually vowed to themselves to make sure Keith maintained that peace for as long as possible.
Chapter 15: Picnics
Keith goes to a picnic with Hunk, Lance, Shiro, Pidge, Matt, Allura, and Coran.
Keith was warming up to his kit instincts more and more by the day, and anyone could see that. With each passed my day, he was less ashamed of asking for what he wanted or needed, but he still hesitated before asking. Krolia and Kolivan hoped to break him of that apprehension sooner rather than later, but it just wasn't working out that well.
"Kit, is everything okay?" Kolivan asked. They were lounging in the training room, watching as blades sharpened their skills in training, albeit a bit lazily. The war was over, so there was no need for rigorous training regimens anymore; blades were free to come and go from the training rooms as they pleased. Kolivan urged that they dedicate at least an hour a day to training at minimum, however, just to make sure they didn't get rusty with their skills.
"Yeah, I'm fine." Keith answered quietly from where he was seated at Kolivan's feet. He had decided to sit down and get comfortable on the soft mats that covered the flooring of the training rooms which were, in actuality, a converted gym that used to house PE classes at the Garrison. Classes were running as planned at the Garrison, although PE more came in the form of play fighting with the Galra. It was a good workout for the teenagers even if the Galra was being gentle, and it provided entertainment to Galra that we're going crazy without having some sort of goal to work for as they had for so long.
"I don't think that's the case, kit." Kolivan said. Keith shrugged and fidgeted in his spot before scaling Kolivan and ending up on his back. "Oh, so that's what you wanted." Kolivan said with a chuckle, rumbling to his kit.
It was rare that neither Kolivan nor Krolia could be around Keith. However, Keith was a little happy about these short bouts of freedom. Well, that wasn't a good description of it; Kolivan and Krolia let him weren't strict nor were they overbearing towards him. They let him go about his life as he pleased, only stepping in if their kit needed guidance.
On one particular occasion, Keith was spending the day at the park with the other paladins and the Alteans. It was sunny and not too overwhelmingly warm, which was saying something for Arizona. Cosmo was running around the group that had settled down for a picnic. Each had brought a dish for the picnic as they had agreed on several days earlier.
Each dish was, in a way, very fitting for each other. Hunk's was well presented and pretty, a reflection of his love of cooking. Lance's wasn't as pretty, but it was packed with taste and the particular homeliness of a home-cooked dish made together. Shiro's was carefully put-together, perfectly planned in the way everything in his life was. Pidge and Matt had brought some food that was a little messy but still tasted delicious, both engineers being messy people in general. The Alteans had worked together to make a traditional Alteans dish with ingredient substitutes they found.
"It likely won't taste exactly the same, but we got it as close as we could." Allura said. "We could find several ingredients because they are common in other cultures as well, but others… we just had to find substitutes."
“I’m sure it’ll still taste really good.” Lance answered with a grin. He helped Hunk to distribute the food across everyone’s plate so they all had a serving of everything. Keith dug in with a grin, humming at the taste. The rest of the paladins followed suit, smiling at how relaxed and open Keith seemed to be. It was such a welcome contrast from how stern Keith was as a paladin and even as a student at the Garrison himself. He seemed much more like himself, as he should have been years ago. But that was in the past, and Keith was happy now, and so the rest of the paladins were happy as well.
“This is delicious!” Pidge said, grinning around a mouth full of food. Matt looked up from his position next to them and grinned widely.
“Its all delicious!” He corrected, stealing some food off of Pidge’s plate just to spite them.Pidge groaned and hit Matt’s arm in fake annoyance.
Keith was content to listen to the conversation all around him, only occasionally offering his own thoughts into the conversation. It was nice to be around those who were his family in all but blood. He cared about the paladins and Alteans just as much as he cared about his family.
“Keith, are you… are you purring?” Hunk broke the roll of the conversation and suddenly, all eyes and ears were on Keith. Keith looked at everyone in confusion, looking around in confusion.
“Um… yeah? Its a Galra thing. We purr when we’re happy.” Keith said quietly, feeling his face flush red at all the attention. Shiro smiled and pulled Keith close against him, ruffling his hair with a grin.
“We’re glad you’re happy and comfortable enough around us to indulge in your Galra instincts. Its a good thing, we don’t want you to feel like you have to restrain them around us.” He said gently. Keith grinned and nodded.
“Yeah! I mean, I’m used to doing around other Galra… they have their own language, but they mostly communicate in growls and purrs and stuff like that. I don’t have to talk if I don’t want to.” He said. “I like these new Galra things I’m learning. It makes me feel more.... Myself, if that makes sense.” Keith said.
“That makes sense. We’re always going to be happy to hear that you’re embracing something that you need.” Lance said. “Dog pile on Keith!” He declared, and Keith barely had time to prepare himself before all the paladins and the Alteans jumped on top of him, eager to give him all the hugs and affection he could ever want.