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Sonnet 116

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Keith was a lot of things, and at first he believed that oblivious wasn't one of them. However, looking back on the events that had led up to this moment, he realized he couldn't have been blinder.

"This is Keith,” Zarkon introduced to Alfor, one hand on Keith's shoulder casually as a relaxed smile filled his face. Keith stood awkwardly, trying to appear calm in front of both his emperor and the king of Altea. "I believe that he is fit to watch over Prince Lance," Zarkon continued on.

"Is that so?" Alfor asked, a small smile filling his face as he looked over Keith. He seemed roughly about the same age as Lance. He was wearing the normal galran armor, and Alfor could clearly see the nervousness in his eyes.

"Why Keith?" Alfor asked, then he looked at Keith and shrugged. "No offense, of course," he said afterwards, much like an afterthought.

"He may be young, but he has been climbing the ranks. He knows how to access a situation and he doesn't believe in leaving any man behind," Zarkon explained, tightening his grip on Keith shoulder. "Even if it would mean sacrificing himself."

Alfor nodded his head at Zarkon's explanation. "I meant more, why the name Keith. Just seems a lot different than the traditional galran name," Alfor explained, bringing a hand up to rub at the back of his neck sheepishly.

"My father named me," Keith spoke up finally. Alfor looked at him, raising an eyebrow. "I'm not sure where the name came from other than that. I know my mother wanted to name me Yorak though," Keith continued to explain, starting to ramble on.

"That's understandable," Alfor said, bringing his hands up and clapping. "Well, I certainly do approve of him, especially since you personally have recommended him, but we need to leave the final decision to Lance," Alfor explained.

Zarkon nodded his head, nudging Keith forward. "And how is young Lance doing?" he asked as the two men began to walk. Keith began to walk behind the two leaders, keeping himself quiet. When Zarkon proposed this new job for Keith he immediately jumped on board—any chance to get away from the galra empire and the loneliness that seemed to surround him would be a blessing. Sure, he had never met this prince, but how bad could a prince really be? Prince Lotor wasn't too bad, and he had only heard good things about Princess Allura, so surely Prince Lance would be just fine.

Keith could feel his right ear begin to twitch slightly, an easy sign of telling that he was somewhat anxious. It was at this moment he wished that he had on his uniform helmet, a blessing to help hide all of his usual tells. Speaking of tells, his tail was wrapped tightly around his leg, the tip of it twitching against the skin of his leg. Another sign of nervousness. The three of them continued to walk, Alfor and Zarkon chatting and catching up with each other as Keith stayed lost in his own thoughts.

"We're here," King Alfor said, stopping outside one of the palace rooms. The giant door leading to the room was white with some light blue accents traveling across it. Keith took in the sight of the door and the corridor that it resided in. If Prince Lance approved of him, then he would likely have to stand outside of this room for long periods of time, and he figured it was best to go ahead and get acquainted in the surroundings as soon as he could.

King Alfor stepped closer to the door, bringing up a hand and knocking swiftly. From inside the room there was a shout, the words inaudible from outside of the doors. Keith frowned at that new information. He had previously planned to be stationed outside of the room, but if something was to happen inside the room, there was a good chance that the sound would be muffled due to the almost complete soundproofing.

The door swung open a minute later, breaking Keith out of his own musings. Prince Lance stepped out of the room, and it was as if he took all the oxygen with him. His brown hair was mussed slightly, his ocean blue eyes shining brightly as his pale blue altean markings stood out against his tanned skin. His long ears twitched slightly, taking in the sounds of the corridor.

"Hello, Father," Prince Lance spoke, and Keith blinked dumbly.

'Is there anything about him that isn't perfect?' Keith thought to himself, continuing to let his eyes roam over the prince. Prince Lance continued conversation with King Alfor, and it was at that moment that he looked towards Keith, raising an eyebrow at him.

"And who is this?" Prince Lance asked, looking at Keith.

Keith swallowed slowly at feeling the others eyes on himself. He took this moment to properly introduce himself. "I am Keith, your highness. I have been requested to be your personal guard, if you should so approve of the decision." Keith spoke, lowering himself into a small bow and tilting his head slightly. He stood back up and noticed a slight flush on the others face.

Prince Lance spun around, facing the opposite way. "I see, well..." He trailed off, taking a deep breath and turning back towards the three of them. "That is surely a very kind offer. I believe this arrangement was originally made between my father and Lord Zarkon, correct?" He asked, looking towards Alfor and Zarkon. Both of them nodded their heads.

Zarkon stepped forward. "Your father has offered much assistance in researching the mysterious phenomenon back on Daibazaal, and I wish to fortify the peace between our two planets as such. I'm afraid we already keep your father away with all of the work that comes with being Paladins of Voltron; and so, as a way to help garner good grace, we collectively decided that you should have some extra protection."

"Is Allura also getting a guard?" Prince Lance questioned. Keith frowned slightly, not having the information to answer him. He would have to continue to let Emperor Zarkon and King Alfor speak for him.

"Allura has Coran," Alfor said, looking at Lance strangely. "He is more than capable of protecting Allura while continuing with her studies."

Lance nodded his head, bringing his eyes back over to Keith to let them slowly rake over his body. Lance then took a few steps towards him, raising a hand out. "I'm Lance. I'm sure it will be a 'pleasure' to get to know you."

Keith brought his own hand out, grasping Prince Lance's gently before bringing it close and kissing it softly. The way that Lance had said 'pleasure' didn't escape Keith, but he chose to chalk it up to nervousness. Lance was surely feeling the same type of nervousness that Keith was, so he wouldn't put it past him to sound weird in some of his sentences.

Keith rose slowly, looking Lance in the eyes while he spoke. "I will gladly put my life on the line for you, if you should allow my to be your guard, your highness," Keith spoke calmly, purple eyes meeting ocean blue with pure sincerity.

"I should hope that it will not come down to that," Prince Lance said, letting a soft smile fill his face. He then brought his attention back to his father and Lord Zarkon. "I think that Keith will be a wonderful guard."

At that Alfor clapped his hands together once again. "Ah, yes, that's truly wonderful news." He then turned his attention back to Keith. "Would you like to start the job now, or would you prefer to take the day to get used to your new surroundings? I can arrange for someone to take you to your room."

Keith let his eyes look towards Lord Zarkon, before bringing them back and focusing on King Alfor again. "If it's quite alright with both of you, I would like to get started as soon as possible," Keith said, tilting his head in a slight bow once again.

King Alfor nodded his head in understanding. "Well, I don't think that will be much of an issue, right Lance?" King Alfor said, shooting Lance a look.

Lance smiled back at his father. "Of course not, Father. Keith and I can take this time to go over my usual schedule."

King Alfor nodded at him. "In that case, Zarkon and I shall take our leave. Keith, I'm leaving Lance in your hands for now."
Keith nodded his head to him, eyes serious.

"Keith," Emperor Zarkon boomed, causing Keith to instantly jump to attention. Emperor Zarkon held his gaze. "Do well to make me proud."

Keith nodded his head once again. "Of course, my lord," he said. He then brought his right hand up into a tight fist and placed it on his heart. "Vrepit sa!" he said, bowing.

Zarkon let a small smile slip through his usually stoic demeanor. "Vrepit sa," he repeated, making the same movement as Keith. Zarkon then turned towards Alfor. "I believe we should leave them now. There is still much to discuss and very little time to do it all," he said, as the two began to walk away, leaving Keith and Lance alone.

"Would you like to come inside?" Prince Lance asked him. Keith nodded his head and began to walk towards the door. Prince Lance smiled, and opened it wider for him to come inside.

Once he entered the room, Keith could tell that this room was vastly different from his own back on Daibazaal. Within the middle of the room against the back wall was the bed, which was very sizable. The sheets were a pale white, while the blankets actually covering it were a collection of blues and purples. Looking closer, Keith saw tiny gold accents on it, which gave it the look of the stars out in space. Hanging above the bed was a translucent canopy, its cloth draping towards the floor. It was hanging on a wide circle, and it more than likely completely covered the bed when pulled fully closed. Keith continued to let his eyes roam across the rest of the room. There were multiple shelves lining most of the walls, and on those shelves were a collection of random things. There seemed to be plenty of different types of space rocks and a few different types on plants. Lining a few other shelves there were pictures.

'I should look at those later, and see if there's anyone in them that I'll need to know about,' Keith thought to himself, continuing his mini investigation of the room.
On the wall to the left of the bed there was a tall bookshelf, filled to the brim with books and more small, seemingly random items. Next to the door there was a fireplace. A pale blue rug was in front of it, and two plush light blue chairs were further in front of it.

"So..." Prince Lance said, deciding it was time to break the silence of the room. "How'd you get into the guard business?" he asked, leading Keith over to the chairs. He took the chair on the right, while Keith sat stiffly on the chair to the left.

"I was originally just a soldier, but I've been working a lot lately and this is how things just ended up working out." Keith explained. "How'd you end up being a Prince?" Keith asked, before freezing as Prince Lance's mouth quirked up into a smile. "I'm sorry, that was a really dumb question to ask," he said quickly, feeling a blush form on his face.

"You're fine, Keith," Prince Lance said, continuing to smile in his direction. "So, what would like to do?" he asked.

"We can do whatever you usually do. Honestly, just pretend that I'm not even here.”

Prince Lance frowned slightly at that, looking away as a light blush came upon his cheeks. "Yeah, sure, like that's going to be easy," he grumbled quietly to himself.

Keith looked over at him and tilted his head slightly in confusion. "I'm sorry, your highness, did you say something?" he asked, head still tilted slightly as Prince Lance looked his way again. Keith could clearly see the flush on his face now, however it was also accompanied by a frown.

"Okay, no, we need to fix this now. Look Keith, you don't have to call me ‘your highness,’ or even use my full title Prince Lance of Altea. Honestly, man, just Lance is fine with me. That sound good?"

“Lance,” Keith tried out. He let a small smile fill his face. “I can try.”

Prince Lance—no, Lance—smiled. "Great! Anyway, have you met Allura yet? Or I can introduce you to some of my friends around that castle?”

"I haven't met Princess Allura. I've only heard about her, and I would like that," he said, before quickly speaking again. "Meeting your friends. I'd like to meet your friends," Keith explained even more. Lance nodded his head, standing up and stretching before offering a hand for Keith. Keith looked at Lance's hand in confusion, eyes flicking between the offered hand and Lance's friendly face. Keith slowly took the offered hand, letting their hands grasp together.
"It's a pleasure to meet you Keith." Allura smiled softly at her brother's new guard, holding out her hand to shake his.

"It's nice to formally meet you as well," Keith replied, taking Allura's hand and shaking it. He then bent down into a bow.

"Oh, you don't have to bow." Allura said.

Keith nodded his head and straightened up, allowing himself to go back to his full height.

"Well, I'm sure that Allura is busy, so we're going to go hunt down Hunk and Pidge. See you later 'Lura!" Lance said, grabbing Keith by the wrist and tugging slightly to get him to turn around.

Allura bit her lip, watching her brother as he began to explain something to Keith. His face had completely lit up and he had dropped Keith's wrist, instead using his hands to help explain whatever he was saying. Keith watched him, a very small smile on his face.

"Hmm, this could be interesting." Allura spoke aloud, continuing to watch her brother and his guard.

"What's interesting, Princess?" Allura's personal adviser, Coran said while walking into the room. Allura only smiled and waved him off.

"Oh, it's nothing. We'll just have to wait and see."
"So, Hunk is the best chef you will ever meet. I'm not exactly sure what galra eat, but I guarantee that you haven't lived until you tried some of Hunk's cooking," Lance gushed to Keith as they were approaching the palace kitchens. "Not only is he an amazing cook, but you should see him with technology! Hunk also happens to be an amazing mechanic, which is really cool when you think about where he came from!"

Keith tilted his head at that comment. "Where he's from?" he asked, confusion filling his features. "Is he not altean?"

"Hunk? Oh, no, Hunk's balmeran!" Lance chirped back. "He's also my best friend, even if Pidge keeps trying to come for my place."

"Wait, shouldn't Hunk be living on a Balmera then?" Keith asked, still confused about the situation.

At that Lance's eyes darkened slightly. "He used to live on a Balmera, but a group of people began stealing the crystals from the planet without properly exchanging energy.”

“Yeah. How much do you know about the balmeran's and their planet?"

"I don't know that much. Just that the planet is alive."

Lance nodded his head at that. "Yeah, it is alive. Alteans use the Balmera's crystals in many of our ships, and in exchange for the crystals we give the Balmera some of our energy. The people who stole from Hunk's planet didn't do that, and so the creature began to die." Lance continued on.

"I thought the Balmera was a planet?" Keith asked.

"It's hard to explain really. The Balmera is alive because it isn't just a planet, but an actual living being that's just really big." Lance spoke using his hands to show the difference in sizes. "But anyway, we're getting off topic, Hunk's Balmera became so unstable that by the time that we found out about it, it was either stay on the Balmera and die, or leave. A few balmerans chose to leave, and Hunk happened to be one of them. We met, became instant friends, and the rest is history.”

They reached the doors to the kitchen. The doors opened quickly, allowing the two to enter. It was then that Keith finally got to see the man who he had quickly come to learn so much about.

"Lance!" Hunk exclaimed, setting down a bowl with some type of green goo inside of it. He quickly made his way across the kitchen to scoop Lance up in his arms. His bright yellow eyes were squinted slightly and he had a wide smile on his face. His long tail sat on the floor behind him, and he had a yellow headband tied around his forehead that matched his pale yellow earrings.

"Having some trouble breathing, buddy," Lance said, beginning to look a little blue but still smiling widely. It was at that moment that Keith decided that he should step in, at least before Lance died on his first day of the job.

"I'm going to have to ask you to put him down," Keith commanded, walking forwards and forcefully separating the two. Hunk let go of Lance as Keith pushed himself between them, stepping back and drawing himself up to his full height. Hunk then raised an eyebrow, staring down at the newcomer.

"And who do you think you are?" Hunk asked, bringing his chiseled arms up and crossing them. Keith opened his mouth to retort, before quickly getting interrupted by Lance.

"Okay stand down you two." He moved from behind Keith to get in between the two boys. He placed a hand on each one’s chest, pushing them apart slightly. "Hunk, this is my new guard, Keith. Don't get all territorial on him just because he was trying to keep my beautiful face full of oxygen," Lance said. At the word 'beautiful,’ he brought both of his hands forward, crossing his right one over his chest and bringing his left one up in a finger gun underneath his chin.

"Oh.” Hunk instantly allowed his posture to relax, now knowing that Keith wasn't some unknown threat. “I thought your dad changed his mind on you needing a guard?"

"Yeah well, so did I," Lance said, a slight edge filling his voice.

Keith blinked owlishly at the tone in his voice, hiding his confusion behind a mask of indifference. 'He seemed happy to have me here,' Keith said to himself, thinking back to his earlier interactions with Lance. He hadn't seemed upset to have him around, and he didn't seem opposed to a guard, but maybe that was just because King Alfor had happened to be there at the time? Keith wasn't sure.

“I guess he changed his mind,” Lance said, snapping Keith out of his thoughts.

He stepped around Lance, offering a hand out to Hunk. "Lance has told me a lot about you, Hunk. My name is Keith."

Hunk nodded at him and smiled, returning the handshake before pulling Keith forward into a tight hug. "Hey man, it's nice to meet you. Make sure you don't let lover boy over here get killed while he's off flirting," Hunk teased, releasing Keith from the hug. Keith looked back over at Lance and saw that his cheeks had pinked slightly.

"Aw, shut up, Hunk,” Lance grumbled. “We're gonna go see Pidge, so just get back to whatever you were making." He turned away from the two, crossing his arms. Keith looked at him in confusion, watching as Lance’s earlier openness transformed into a more shielded appearance. Keith glanced back at Hunk, who smiled and shook his head.

Hunk brought up a hand to wave at the two. "Well, it was nice to meet you Keith. I'll probably see you around later if you're gonna be with Lance all the time," Hunk said, before turning back to his bowl of goo and continuing to mess with it, letting a slight hum leave his body.

Lance began to walk out of the kitchen so Keith quickly followed suit.

"He seems," Keith paused, searching for right words. "Nice?" he finished lamely, wincing internally at how insincere his own words sounded. Thankfully, Lance didn't seem to think anything about Keith's awkwardness.

"Hunk really is a good guy, even if he thinks he knows everything," Lance grumbled, and yet a small smile rested on his face, letting Keith know that he wasn't seriously upset at anything Hunk had said. "Speaking of knowing everything, come on! I bet we can find Pidge in their lab. They're crazy smart about most things, but then again, so are a lot of the Olkari."

"You sure have a mix of different individuals here," Keith said, taking in the new information. "So you're friends with not just a balmeran, but an olkari too? Anyone else I should know about?" Keith asked.

Lance brought a hand up to his chin. He tapped it in thought before shrugging and shaking his head.

"Nope, not really. That's about it. You already met Allura and Hunk, and Pidge is really the last of the bunch you need to meet. That's all my friends," Lance said easily as they walked towards the labs.

"I find it hard to believe that those are your only two friends," Keith said dryly, thinking back to the amount of people he's had to know due to working closely to Emperor Zarkon's family.

"Why, because of my charming personality?" Lance asked, practically sparkling.

"Sure, we'll go with that." Keith deadpanned, rolling his eyes at Lance's switch in moods.

Lance smiled, before he sighed and let his face fall into a frown. "You'd be surprised to know how hard it is to make close friends as royalty." Lance said, placing his hands in his pockets as they continued to walk.

"Wouldn't most people want to be friends with royalty?" Keith asked, letting his eyes scan the surroundings as they walked.

"That's the issue isn't it? A lot of people want to be friends with the 'royalty.’" Lance spit the word as if it was venom. "Not a lot of people want plain Lance. Without the title, I'm not much fun to have around."

Keith bit his lip, watching the overly cheerful expression he had come to associate with Lance fall into a more somber look. He sighed before stretching, causing Lance to look over at his sudden movements.

"I know I can't speak for everyone, especially since we only met today, but if those people only want Prince Lance, and not just Lance, then they're letting themselves miss out on a great person," Keith said sincerely, before starting to walk in front of Lance as he stopped in the middle of the corridor. Keith paused, turning back around to face Lance. "You coming, lover boy?" he asked, before smiling sheepishly and lowering one hand to rub at the back of his neck. "I still don't actually know where we're going."

Lance rolled his eyes at Keith and began to walk in front of him. "Yeah, yeah. I'm coming, kitty cat, so don't you worry your pretty little head about getting lost."

"Kitty cat?" Keith said, scrunching up his nose. "What's a kitty cat?"

"It's some type of animal. I saw it in a book that my father brought back for me during one of his many travels in the galaxy with the rest of his group."

"And I remind you of this creature how?" Keith asked dryly, raising an eyebrow at Lance.

"Uh dude, you literally have the same fluffy ears, same stripes, same hair—or should I say fur?” Lance paused. “Well, anyway, it looks as fluffy as the cat in the book did. Plus I bet you even have a tail too." Lance grinned.

"You're showing me this creature later." Keith said, narrowing his eyes at Lance as he let out a laugh.

"Yeah, yeah, okay fine, that sounds good to me." Lance agreed. Keith smiled and nodded his head as they began to walk in silence together. "Hey Keith?" Lance asked, his voice sounded softer than usual.

Keith looked at him and raised an eyebrow.

"Thanks." Lance smiled.

"No problem, Sol." Keith replied.

"Wait, what? Why are you calling me ‘Sol’ suddenly?" Lance asked, scrunching his nose in confusion.

Keith just let out a small laugh as a smile filled his face. "Don't worry about it. We almost to Pidge?" Keith asked.

Lance nodded his head, stopping outside of some more doors within the palace. "Much like the kitchen, the lab is also on the first level. Wouldn't want to have to deal with anything too bad if something were to blow up," Lance explained nonchalantly.

"Do things blow up here often?" Keith questioned, tilting his head as his ears twitched.

"It keeps things exciting!" Lance said, his eyes glinting as a smile filling his face.

Keith froze, eyes quickly snapping to Lance's face. He had always been told staring into the sun would be painful, but no one prepared him for the complete euphoria of it.
It was then that Keith noticed Lance looking back at him. "That's uh," Keith paused, feeling the heat raising to his cheeks. "That's good to know. So that I know what to look out for of course." He continued quickly.

"Yeah, of course." Lance repeated, a small smirk appearing on his face. He then turned back towards the doors in front of him, entering the lab. Keith followed close behind.

"Take cover!" a new voice yelled, and Keith instantly jumped into action. He grabbed Lance, pulling him down as he simultaneously moved to position himself in front of the prince as a sort of shield. A loud 'BOOM' sound was heard behind him as he wrapped his arms around Lance, pulling him closer and tucking him completely into his chest.

After a few moments passed, Lance spoke up, "You know, as much as I'm enjoying this, I feel like it's safe now."

"Oh, uh, right. Sorry," Keith stuttered, moving his arms away from Lance as if his touch burned him. Lance stood up and walked over to the new figure as Keith took a minute to gain control over himself. He stood up as well, ignoring the lingering warmth on his skin. He took a deep breath and joined the others.

"Keith, this is Pidge. Pidge, this is my new guard, Keith," Lance introduced.

Keith smiled awkwardly and outstretched his hand toward the olkari. “Nice to meet you.”

They reached out to shake his hand, grinning. "It's a pleasure to meet you. As this goof said, I'm Pidge. If you have any tech stuff you need, then I'm your person.” They began to walk over towards a lab table that had some sort of metal triangular robot on it. “Oh, and if you ever need to find me? I'm usually in here." They threw another smile in Keith’s direction.

Keith smiled back, before giving the triangular robot a second glance. "Hey, that sort of looks like galra tech.”

Pidge smiled widely, amber eyes lighting up. "That's because it is! This is Rover. He was decommissioned, but I was able to fix him up. He's still a work in progress right now, but soon he will be even better than his original design allowed!" Pidge spoke excitedly, activating Rover while talking, causing the little robot to begin hovering over their left shoulder.

"Pidge, can you come check this out?" another olkari called from across the lab.

Pidge smiled apologetically at the two. "Sorry guys, duty calls. It was nice to meet you, Keith. Lance, are we still up for movie night next movement?"

Lance nodded his head excitedly. "Yup! I already have the best movie picked out, you just need to tell Hunk if you want any special snacks. Now go! Get back to work."

Pidge rolled their eyes at him, "Of course, your highness." they quipped at him, turning on their heel and swiftly hurrying over to their fellow scientist.

Lance and Keith walked out of the lab and back into the white corridor. "I guess we can head back to my room for now,” Lance said, as the double doors closed behind them. “I don't have anything pressing that I have to attend to today, although tomorrow I have a few diplomatic meetings with Allura. The meetings are probably gonna be super boring, but they are important. You can skip them of course, if you would prefer you can hang out with Hunk or Pidge, or just adventure around the castle grounds and stuff."

"If it's okay with you, I would rather accompany you to the meetings," Keith said, cutting into Lance's ramblings.

Lance smiled softly, so much warmth spilling into his eyes that Keith could have sworn that he was emitting light. "Alright, but don't blame me when you begin to regret that decision." Lance locked eyes with Keith, ocean blue meeting deep violet.

"I don't think I could regret any decision involving you," Keith spoke, before he even processed his own words. Once he realized what he said, he froze, lips parting but words being unable to come.

Lance blinked at him owlishly before throwing back his head as laughter poured out of him. "And yet you call 'me' lover boy, you secret charmer!" Lance brought a hand up to wipe away the water gathering at the corners of his eyes. "Looks like i'm gonna have to step up my game if I want to keep that title, right kitty cat?" Lance threw a wink at Keith.

A series of noises left Keith's mouth (that he would later deny ever making) as he once again demanded to see what a kitty cat was.

After that first day, life became sort of routine for Keith—or as routine as it could be with Lance. Sure, there was the responsibility that Lance had as a prince, yet he acted drastically different than what Keith had been expecting. He had thought that he wouldn't actually be interacting with the prince as much as he actually did. Prince Lotor never interacted much with his own guards; he would usually ditch them to go meet up with his generals, instead of allowing them to do their job when he was at the palace. If Keith had to pick a certain thing that he was most surprised about, it would probably be how clingy Lance was. He was a very affectionate person, and anyone could tell that with how he was constantly touching Hunk, Pidge, or Princess Allura.

Keith just hadn't expected Lance to also be as touchy with him as he was with the others. Which led straight into Keith's current predicament.

"Do you want me to take him?" Hunk asked Keith, as Lance slumped against the latter’s shoulder. He had officially been Lance's guard for a full movement, and had been invited to the movie night that the trio held. Which then developed into Keith becoming Lance's personal pillow for the evening, it would seem.

Keith looked back at Hunk and sighed, before shaking his head. "No, it's fine, I can carry him back. Do you want to get Pidge, or should I come back afterwards?" Keith questioned, pointing to the other sleeping member.

"I can get them. You just make sure he gets back to his room safely," Hunk said, standing up and making his way over to the sleeping olkari.

"Well, that's sort of my job," Keith lightly teased, also standing. He gently lifted a sleeping Lance into a bridal style carry.

"Was that a joke?" Hunk turned to look at Keith, a sleeping Pidge curled up in his arms. "Wow, galra Keith is pretty funny."

"I've always been galra Keith,” Keith said, his right ear twitching slightly.

Hunk let out a quiet laugh. "Yeah, but you always seem like you're trying to be super serious. It's okay to cut back and have some fun sometimes." He paused, and Keith could see an internal struggle flash across Hunk’s face. Hunk blinked, before sighing. He smiled. "Anyway, I should let you get him to bed while I take this monster to their room. Night, Keith. I'm sure I'll see you around sometime," Hunk turned and walked out of the room.

"Goodnight," Keith said softly to Hunk's retreating figure. He adjusted Lance in his arms. Lance sighed unconsciously, snuggling closer to Keith's neck and sighing once again in contentment. Keith bit his lip, a warm flush slowly filtering onto his face. He walked briskly towards Lance's room, stopping briefly at the door in order to enter the code that unlocked it. He then walked towards the bed and carefully lowered Lance onto it. He was starting to walk away when a hand shot out and grabbed his right arm.

"Don't go," Lance mumbled, eyes half lidded with sleep as he stared at Keith.

"You need to go back to sleep, Lance, and I need to go get some sleep as well." Keith tried to gently remove Lance's grasp.

"You can just stay here." Lance pulled down on Keith's arm, causing him to lose balance and fall towards the bed.

"Lance, if you want me to stay, I can go sleep on one of the chairs over there," Keith said, nodding his head towards the sitting area in Lance's room. Lance simply shook his head and tugged Keith closer.

"Warm," was all Lance responded with, his death grip refusing to allow Keith to successfully leave.

"You're going to be the death of me, Sol," Keith murmured, bringing up his left hand to move some of Lance's hair away from his forehead.

"Mmhm, you called me Sol again," Lance mumbled.

Keith rolled his eyes at him. "Yes, I did. Now scoot over, lover boy. If you're gonna make me share a bed with you, then I'm not sorry if my tail whacks you." Keith said, slightly pushing at Lance until he moved and made room for Keith on his already giant bed.

"You have a tail?" Lance asked, starting to sound slightly more awake.

"Yeah, I keep it wrapped around my leg all day," Keith answered back.

"Isn't that uncomfortable?" Lance’s eyebrows furrowed slightly.

"I mean, yeah, I guess it is." Keith paused before continuing on. "It's not too annoying though, I can handle it. Otherwise it would just get in the way." At that, Keith allowed his tail to relax and reached behind him, gently grasping his tail and pulling it out from inside of his loose pants. He then tentatively laid on the bed, stiff with uncertainty.

"Come here, kitty." Lance pulled Keith closer to him, bringing a hand up to lazily play with Keith's hair.

"What are you doing?" Keith quietly questioned, enjoying the feeling of Lance's hands in his hair and his nails lightly scraping against his scalp.

"Just let me cuddle you, mullet," Lance said, bringing his body closer.

"It's not a mullet," Keith responded, eyes starting to slowly flutter shut.

A few dobashes passed before Lance spoke again. "Are you purring?" he asked, feeling the rumble in Keith chest.

"Shut up and go to sleep, Sol." Keith quipped back, no actual bite in his words.

"Sure, sure, whatever," Lance murmured, as sleep began to claim him. He curled up closer into the warmth that was Keith as they both drifted into sleep.

In Keith's defense, he didn't mean to make it a habit. He was content to let it be a one time thing, but more often than not Lance would fall asleep in a lot of areas that weren't his room, and every time the same scene would play out, and at this point it was just routine.

It was easy to say that, of course, but Keith couldn't lie to himself. He liked seeing Lance first thing in the morning, he liked waking up to the other's sleeping form, and he liked being the first thing Lance would see when he would open his eyes, that soft smile always filling his face as he would sleepily tell Keith good morning.

Needless to say, Keith was fucked.
"Okay, so today I have to meet up with some diplomats from Arus," Lance said to Keith one morning, choosing to lay contently in bed instead of getting up.
Keith began to get up, but Lance grabbed him from behind and pulled him back into the bed.

“Nope, stay here.”

"Don't you need to begin to get ready?" Keith asked. At this point he had been Lance's guard long enough to expect this type of behavior.

"Why should I worry about getting ready when I have a pretty boy in my bed?" Lance questioned in mock innocence.

Keith rolled his eyes, ignoring his now flushed face and the way his heart had fluttered at Lance's compliment. "Probably because you have a twelve step face routine you do every morning," Keith said back, tilting his head against Lance's shoulder and shooting him a look. Lance sputtered, a cheery laugh escaping him as his body began to tremble from behind Keith. Keith chose to use that opportunity to make his escape, standing quickly and turning to face Lance once again. His tail swished behind him peacefully as he took in the laughing boy.

"If you're jealous of my perfect skin, then you're welcome to join in at anytime. Your own skin would probably thank you for it," Lance retorted, sticking his tongue out at Keith, scrunching his face up as he did so.

Keith let out a small laugh at his expression. "Careful, if you make that face any longer no suitor will want to marry you." The words left a bitter taste in his mouth as they left his lips.

"Who said I wanted any suitors?" Lance quipped back, eyes narrowing in defense.

"Well from what I heard, there's a reason why people call you ‘Lover Boy Lance,’" Keith said, raising an eyebrow and schooling his expression into one of boredom.
"Does it bother you?" Lance asked, voice tinged with an emotion that Keith couldn't place.

"Why would it?" he shot back, quickly turning on his heel and heading towards the door. "I'll be outside the room when you're finished getting ready." With those words Keith quickly made his escape, going through the white doors into the empty corridor.

A few windows dotted across from him, showing a few of the gardens that flourished under the care of the castle. Keith sighed, bringing up his hands to push up the side of his face and messily thread into his hair.

'I was brought here to protect him, not to wind up in his bed every night,' he thought to himself, blowing air harshly out of his nose. He brought his head back up to stare out the windows. A sort of flying species native to Altea began to take flight, and he followed its path with his eyes. The creatures here were all so similar to the creatures back on Daibazaal, yet so different.

'Like us.' Keith thought to himself. 'He's a prince. He's the embodiment of the sun. He's so bright and so warm, and I'm just so...' Keith paused in his musings, trying to search for the right word. He sighed, tilting his head back against the cold wall of the corridor. 'Not. I'm just some guard, a soldier who is replaceable. He's the only thing that matters now.'
Keith was drawn out of his head when he heard Lance's door open. Lance stepped out of his room, wearing one of his more formal outfits. The white cloth and light blue accents complimented his tan complexion well.

"Should we go?" Lance asked, staring at Keith's face and biting his lip.

Keith's eyes slowly focused on the movement before snapping back up to Lance's face. "Y-yes, of course, we wouldn't want to keep the arusians waiting," Keith stuttered, bringing a hand forward and gesturing for Lance to lead the way.

Lance stood there, his mouth open as if he was going to say something before sighing and shaking his head, turning and beginning to lead the way.
Keith took a breath. "Oh and Lance?" Keith spoke after a moments silence.

"Yeah?" Lance responded slowly, almost carefully.

"You look nice," Keith said quickly, somehow managing to make the compliment sound as if he was talking about the weather.

Lance snorted, bringing a hand up into a loose fist over his nose and mouth as the sound escaped from him. "Thanks Keith,” he said afterwards, bringing his hand up to slide through his hair. "Okay! Let's go meet these arusians!" Lance said loudly, pumping both his fists in front of him and nodding his head.

They quickly made their way to the meeting room, pausing briefly outside of it for Lance to school his usual carefree expression into a slightly more serious one. His friendliness was still there, but it now had a slight edge to it. This was someone you wouldn't want to cross.

The two entered the room, and Keith took a moment to analyze their surroundings. The room was a sort of pentagon figure, with the two outer walls being made fully of glass, to show off the scenery from outside. Sitting at a table were three individuals. Keith saw that Allura had already beaten them to the room, more than likely having arrived earlier than necessary. Seated across from her sat two arusians.

Though the arusian people were small, you could clearly tell the height difference between the two. The arusian on the left was taller than the one on the right, and it was clear that the tall on was the one in charge. Around their black dual horns rested a white circlet, while the other lacked one.

"Lance, welcome! This is Prince Shiro of Arus, and his life mate Adam," Allura said once the two entered the room.

Lance smiled and tilted his head into a small bow. "It is a pleasure to meet you, Prince Shiro, and you as well, Adam." Lance spoke with ease and grace, making his way towards the table. His expression faltered slightly when he noticed that there was only one empty chair. He shot a look towards Keith, who only shook his head and moved to stand near one of the walls closest to where Lance and Allura would be sitting. Lance blinked, and shook his head, regaining his composure. He turned back towards the table, and gave the arusians a smile. "As Princess Allura said, I am Prince Lance of Altea." Lance paused in his sentence and gestured towards Keith. "This is my royal guard, Keith of Daibazaal."

Keith furrowed his brow slightly at the formal introduction. 'Prince Lotor never bothered to introduce his guards to anyone he was meeting,' He thought to himself.

"Would your guard like to join us? I'm sure we could have a chair brought in," Prince Shiro said, eyes locking on Keith.

"No, it's fine. I can stand here and make sure nothing could possibly happen to any of you, your highness." Keith replied, casually leaning against the wall and watching the royals while also keeping an eye on the giant windows.

"Are you sure?" Adam asked, moving out of his chair and walking over towards Keith as Lance, Princess Allura, and Prince Shiro all began to talk.

"It's really no problem, your highness. I should be standing so that I can move quicker in case of any danger," Keith reassured the smaller arusian. Much like his mate, he too had dual horns. However, his horns were a light brown color, complimenting the darker brown of his skin. Much like Keith himself, Adam had two pale white stripes on both side of his face, contrasting Prince Shiro's duel black stripes.

"There's no need to call me your highness, that's all Takashi. I just happen to be his life mate," Adam explained, choosing to lean against the wall with Keith instead of going back to his seat at the table.

"Uh," Keith paused, eyes flickering between the table and his new, tiny companion. "Wouldn't you rather go sit with the others?" He asked.

"I'm sure Takashi can handle it. I would rather keep you company," Adam responded back easily, eyes lazily watching the table as well.

Keith paused unsure on how to continue. Of course it was at that moment that Lance casually glanced back, taking in the arusian and the galra standing side by side. Lance stifled a quick laugh at the height difference, causing Keith to narrow his eyes and stick out his tongue. Lance rolled his eyes, turning back towards the conversation at the table. Keith let a small smile fill his face.

"I can't promise that I'm exactly the most interesting or sociable of people," Keith replied after a moment.

Adam simply shrugged his shoulders. "Well, I'll be the judge of that. How did you become a guard?" Adam asked, and then continued on before Keith could answer. "Last I had heard, the altean people were a very formidable race, and it surprises me that one would need a guard."

"Lord Emperor Zarkon proposed the idea to me, and who am I to deny orders? But it was actually Lance's choice whether or not I became his guard."

"Just Lance?" Adam said, calling Keith out on his slip up. "Not Prince Lance?" He pressed on.

Keith could feel the tips of his ears heat up in embarrassment at his slip up, and never had he been so happy that he had fur covering the skin. "Of course Prince Lance, I apologize for the slip up," Keith said, bowing his head slightly in apology.

At that Adam let out a laugh. "Don't apologize. It's nice to see that the royals here are close enough with their workers that they can casually call on them without the titles." Adam moved his eyes away from Keith to watch as Prince Shiro laughed at something that Princess Allura had said. "If only the arusian people could become that comfortable."

"How did he get that scar on his face?" Keith asked, before realizing he had spoken without actually considering his words. "I mean, you obviously don't have to answer that. I'm sorry," he quickly backtracked.

"It's fine," Adam said, bringing a hand up and waving it down. "Takashi is the best warrior that the arusian people have. He got that scar protecting me, actually. It was before we were even bonded together. A beast had gotten into the village and there was nothing that any of us could do. Then comes Takashi, the crowned Prince, rushing into battle with a sword that he himself had forged." Adam paused, sighing and letting a soft smile fill his face. "The idiot almost got his arm chewed off by the beast. If I hadn't thrown that rock when I had, he probably would have lost it. As it was, I hit the beast in the eye and it panicked and slashed, getting him across the face. I'm the reason for his scar."

"You're the reason he's alive." Keith spoke up, crouching down to rest a hand on Adam's shoulder and to look him in the eye. "If he would have lost his arm, he more than likely would have gone into shock and then bled out." Keith made sure Adam's eyes were locked onto his own. Deep earthy brown meeting violet. "You saved his life, Adam. A scar is the better option."

Adam continued to stare into Keith eyes, mouth agape before he suddenly lunged forward and wrapped his arms around Keith's neck. Keith froze in shock at the unexpected contact.

"Thank you, Keith of Daibazaal," Adam spoke softly.

It was then that Keith noticed that the occupants at the table had taken interest in what was happening. Both Princess Allura and Prince Shiro had alarmed expressions, but Lance’s expression was soft.

"Keith, is everything..." Allura paused, taking in the arusian cuddling himself further into Keith's arms. "Okay? Is everything okay?"

"Yes, exactly. Adam, are you okay?" Prince Shiro asked his life mate. Adam pulled back slightly from his grip on Keith.

"Everything is fine, Takashi." Adam stopped speaking then, clearly beginning to think about something before smiling widely. "I want this one!" He then nuzzled more into Keith who just stood there, wondering what he had signed up for when agreeing to take this job.

"You can't just claim someone, Adam," Prince Shiro said, smiling slightly in amusement at his life mate.

"Well, I want him and I think you would like him too," Adam stubbornly insisted.

Finally, Lance seemed to catch up on the conversation. "Wait, if you're wanting to take Keith, I'm going to have to respectfully decline. I'm afraid he happens to be my most trusted guard," Lance explained, while Keith's expression fell flat.

'Is it really a compliment to be his most trusted guard when I'm his only guard?'

"He could stay here, of course. We could never separate Keith from his life mate, but I would like him to be my young." Adam said, looking at Lance in confusion while Prince Shiro simply sighed and nodded his head.

"What do you mean be your young?"

"What do you mean his life mate?"

Keith and Lance both looked at each other as they spoke at the same time. Lance's face was flushed slightly while Keith's eyes showed nothing but confusion over this entire situation.

"...Are you not his life mate?" Adam asked Lance, tilting his head in confusion.

At that Lance's entire face lit up and he started sputtering, at the same time Keith's eyes widened and he felt that familiar heat fill across his face. Princess Allura simply raised a hand over her mouth, eyes twinkling in mirth at the whole situation.

"I think you misunderstand, Adam. I'm Lance's guard and nothing more," Keith explained quickly, before freezing and thinking. "Well, I wouldn't say there's nothing more like, we're friends obviously? But nothing more than friends. Just two guys being pals, you know? Please tell me you understand," Keith rambled, feeling his face flushing with every word he said.

"Oh, I see. I may of made things awkward then," Adam said, having the decency to at least look sheepish at his observation.

"And what do you mean you want me as your young? If you haven't noticed, I'm probably around the same age as you roughly, give or take a few decaphoebs," Keith continued on, quickly trying to change the subject away from himself and Lance.

"True, I guess you would be close to Takashi and I in age," Adam said, going quiet while musing. "I shall take you as a sibling then! Takashi, would you like a younger brother?" Adam asked Prince Shiro, who looked quite amused at this whole situation. A wide grin filled his face while he watched the chaos his life mate was causing.

"I don't see why not," Prince Shiro replied, hopping down from his chair and walking over towards the two. When he got closer, he stuck a hand out for Keith as Adam finally released his grip on Keith. Keith hesitantly reached out and took Prince Shiro's tiny hand in his own very much not tiny hand.

"Uh," Keith said very intelligently.

"It’s an honor to welcome you to the family," Prince Shiro said, grin still wide. Keith shot a look to Lance and Princess Allura, who just shrugged. Allura looked entirely too pleased with the situation, grin firmly in place and looking only a few dobashes from breaking out completely into laughter.

"Thank you? Prince Shiro," Keith said, sounding more like a question than a genuine thank you.

"Just Shiro is fine, we're brothers now after all." Shiro eyes were alight with mirth. He turned back towards Princess Allura and Lance. "I think that should be all we needed, correct?" he asked them.

Princess Allura nodded her head. "Yes, we were able to get everything figured out today. If you still agree to the terms of the treaty, then all that is left are your signatures," She told him, smiling charmingly.

Shiro nodded his head and grabbed Adam's hand. "In that case, would it be alright if we called it a day? We've already gotten much done."

Allura nodded her head at his question. "Yes, of course, Prince Shiro." She then turned towards Lance and Keith. "Lance, Keith, you both are dismissed and may have the rest of the day for yourselves."

Lance frowned at her. "You don't have to dismiss me, Allura, I can technically leave whenever."

Allura rolled her eyes, but nodded at him. "Of course, Lance, I'm 'so' sorry," she said to him, sounding the complete opposite of sorry.

"Princess Allura, Prince Lance," Adam spoke up causing the two royals to look at him. "If it's not too much to ask, could we have Keith for the reminder of the day? I think that the two new brothers should be able to talk and bond," Adam requested.

Keith snapped his head up and shot a pleading look to both Lance and Princess Allura for them to not approve of this request. Lance opened his mouth, a slight frown appearing.
However, Allura spoke quicker. "Of course you may. Keith, you are to go with our two arusian guests before reporting back in with Lance later tonight. Understood?" Allura said, leaving no room for Keith to argue with her.

Keith simply sighed, nodding his head. "Understood." He shot a quick, dejected smile to Lance before following the two arusians out the door.

Lance now stood alone with Allura. He crossed his arms and frowned, staring at the door before letting his eyes slide over to his older sister.

"So, who died and made you queen suddenly? You can't just assign my guard to someone else," Lance quipped, voice slightly cold, and a prominent edge to his words.

"Hm, well, I believe Mother died first. But please, Lance, I won't be queen for a long time," Allura responded easily, letting her own sky blue eyes lock with Lance's ocean blue. They continued to keep eye contact before Lance sighed and broke it, looking away.

His shoulders relaxed before his face turned into a pout. "I'm sorry," Lance said, glancing up at his sister who just smiled at him.

"It's fine, but I should be the one to tell you," Allura began, the vagueness of her words catching Lance's attention. "There's going to be a ball for you in roughly a movement."

Lance caught the subtle meaning of her words. "A ball for me, huh?" he mused out loud. "What's the special occasion?" he asked, even though he already knew.

"Father believes it is time you found a suitor," Allura said, face scrunching up slightly as she said it.

"You didn't have to have a ball for one," Lance muttered dejectedly.

"I've also been promised since before either of us were born. Just be happy I came first, or else there would be a much different galra in your life." she frowned, picturing her future husband.

"You know, you could probably ask Keith about him. He did come from Daibazaal, and he would know more than just the gossip," Lance said, pausing to let his mind catch up on all of Allura's words. "Wait, what do you mean, ‘a much different galra?’" he asked.

"I'm not blind, Lance." Allura said in a deadpan, rolling her eyes at her brothers obliviousness. "You clearly have an interest in Keith, why else would you agree to a guard when you have no reason to need one? You are the best sharpshooter in all of Altea, plus you are becoming very proficient with the altean broadsword. There is no reason for you to require a guard, and as much as father has been pushing it on you, you've always denied the others."

"Allura..." Lance trailed off weakly.

"Lance, surely even you must have noticed that you were interested in Keith." She crossed her arms. At Lance's blank expression, she let out a gasp, uncrossing her arms to bury her face into her palms. "Oh you poor, poor, idiotic brother of mine."

"I'm not an idiot. I'm literally just as smart as both you and Hunk," Lance said blandly. "I'm not even that far behind Pidge, depending on what subject we're doing."

"Well, for someone who claims to be the expert in romance, you sure are dumb when it comes to recognizing your own feelings," Allura responded.

Lance scoffed and crossed his own arms, looking away from his sister and her knowing gaze. "I knew when I liked Plaxum," Lance shot back, frowning.

"Plaxum was nothing but a passing attraction, and you know that. Other than finding her attractive, could you honestly picture yourself in a relationship with her?"

Lance frowned while he thought. 'While it's true I love the water, I want to be able to fly, to pilot a ship someday.' Lance sighed and snuck a glance towards Allura. "No, I would miss the stars too much.”

"Now picture Keith. can you picture yourself in a relationship with him?" Allura asked, looking earnestly at her brother.

Lance closed his eyes and allowed himself to think. He thought of Keith's first day with him in the castle, when he first appeared outside of his door. Lance had been so shocked by the attractive figure in front of him that he had just agreed to anything his father said. He then thought to how Keith interacted with his friends, how he had tried to intimidate Hunk when he thought he was harming Lance. Or when he had instantly jumped in front of Lance to protect him from Pidge's explosion, even though it wouldn't have actually hurt Lance at all. Or when Keith comforted him with that soft smile, the warm expression on his face when he told him that anyone who only cared that he was royalty was missing out. Scenes of Keith continued to flash through his head. His laugh, his smile, how he looked when he was sleeping and completely comfortable, how he looked when he was annoyed, how he looked when he felt like teasing Lance, how he looked when he would speak without thinking, and how he would look when he blushed, the flush being just as prominent on his purple skin.

"Oh, quiznak," Lance cursed, thoughts of Keith still spinning through his head. His smile while he was talking to Hunk and Pidge during movie night. The soft look in his eyes whenever he calls Lance ‘Sol.’ The disgusted expression on his face when Lance had finally shown him what exactly a kitty cat was.

"Well?" Allura prompted, breaking Lance out of his thoughts.

Lance took a deep breath, his entire being alight with the sensation that was Keith. "I think I'm in love with Keith," Lance whispered quietly, the shock of his words filling his ears and the words themselves repeating like a mantra inside of his head, swirling, filling his entire being.

Fuck, he really was in love with Keith.

Keith walked into Lance's room later that night with a teasing grin on his face. His eyes quickly located Lance within the room, sitting on his bed with a green face mask on his face and his hair wrapped up in a towel.

"Thanks for abandoning me," Keith said, walking towards Lance and sitting down next to him on the bed.

"Yeah, no problem," Lance replied distractedly, pointedly avoiding eye contact.

Keith furrowed his brows slightly, grin dropping slightly into a frown. "Are you okay?" he asked Lance, continuing on before Lance could even think to answer. "Did something happen while I was gone?"

Lance bit the inner corner of his lip, still avoiding eye contact. "I had a talk with Allura, and just," Lance paused, bringing a hand up to push it through his short brown locks. "I just... I figured out some things and got some news that I didn't exactly want."

"You can tell me about it if you want. Vent to me. I mean, I'm always willing to listen," Keith told him quickly, eyes locked onto Lance's form.

"So, you've been here for roughly three movements now," Lance said suddenly. Keith raised an eyebrow and nodded his head slowly.

"Uh yeah, I have. Even though it feels like I've been here longer."

"A good feeling like it's been longer, or a bad feeling like it's been longer?" Lance continued to not look at Keith.

Keith frowned, and he scooted closer to Lance. "Hey, look at me."

Lance shook his head, continuing to avoid looking towards Keith.

Keith sighed. He reached out and brought a hand up to Lance's face, gently cupping it while taking great care to avoid the face mask. Slowly, he tilted Lance’s face up. Once his face was turned towards him, Keith could see the conflict in his ocean eyes, as if a storm was taking place within them.

"I don't—"

"Shush.” Keith cut Lance off. “I'm going to talk and you're going to listen. Okay?"

Lance nodded his head slightly.

Keith took a deep breath. "Lance, it's a good kind of longer. Honestly, I feel like I've known you for longer than just a few measly movements. Being assigned here was the best thing that could have happened to me. Altea is so different than Daibazaal, and I'm so honored to be able to call you my friend," Keith said, before his traitorous mind cut in, whispering to him.

'Though I wish I could call you more.'

He closed his eyes and breathed in another breath of air, releasing it before continuing. "I don't know if you even feel the same way, but I'm here for you. Not just because I'm your guard and because the king told me to, but because I'm your friend. And friends are here for one another," he finished, watching Lance's eyes search around his face for any hint of a lie.

"A ball is being held for me in a movement," Lance said, voice quiet and lacking his usual enthusiasm.

"What's the occasion?"

Lance laughed bitterly. "Marriage, of course." he replied.

Keith froze, feeling as if he had just been run through with a sword. He could vividly remember every grueling training session he had participated in, could clearly remember the pain of each blow that had hit him. Yet, no physical blow could prepare him for emotional pain. It was as if his heart had just been squeezed, leaving a hole in his chest. His stomach tightened, and both a freezing cold pain and a burning heat flowed through his body.

"What?" Keith asked softly, the question so quiet it was as if it was a simple exhale.

Lance nodded his head numbly. "Apparently, it's time that I find a proper suitor. I've been able to avoid it this long due to Allura's betrothal, but it was apparently only a matter of time." He looked at Keith, whose expression was unreadable, face completely blank. Lance laid back on his bed, tearing his eyes away from Keith and choosing to instead stare at the ceiling above him.

"Is there anything I can do to help?" Keith asked after a moment of silence.

Lance brought his gaze back down to the galra boy in front of him, the galra boy who always seemed so confident.

'Might as well indulge,' Lance thought to himself before gripping Keith's shoulder and pulling him down until he too was laying on the bed. Lance then took that moment to move closer to Keith, slotting perfectly against him.

"Just hold me?" Lance hesitantly asked.

Keith nodded his head, slowly wrapping his arms around Lance. He tightened his hold on him, pulling him closer. "Anything," Keith quietly replied, closing his eyes before reopening them to reveal a slight glint. "Though you might want to go wash that gunk off your face."

Lance sputtered at him, sitting up and pushing a laughing Keith away from him.

"Keith, get up!" Lance exclaimed the next morning, his usual energy seemingly back in place and the only evidence of anxiety being the small stress lines around his eyes.

"No," Keith mumbled back, rolling over and burying himself further into the covers, his tail laying limply behind him.

"Look here, grumpy cat," Lance began while reaching over and yanking the blankets away from him. "I'm feeling restless, I'm sure you're feeling restless. I wanna go train."

That caught Keith's attention. He slowly cracked open and eye to look at Lance, continuing to look overly unamused. "I train every night." Keith muttered back, causing Lance's mouth to open in shock.

"What? When?!" he half asked, half shouted at the boy. Keith rolled his eyes and sat up in the bed, feeling a pout form on his face but being too tired to care.

"Usually you're busy doing your ridiculous skin care stuff, so I go and train for an hour. Usually I’m done by the time you've finished your last step." Keith yawned, exposing his sharp canines.

Lance narrowed his eyes at Keith before sighing. "Just come train with me," he said, turning to walk out of the room.

Keith watched him go, eyes slowly blinking before he let out an annoyed sigh and stood up. He took his time stretching, only pausing to glance at his exposed tail. He shrugged, deciding to allow his tail to stay out and flick lazily behind him. He walked over to a nearby table, grabbed his purple knife—a gift from his mother before she was assigned elsewhere in the galaxy—then followed after Lance towards the training room.

It didn't take long to reach the facility, especially since the walk barely required Keith to think anymore. Walking into the room, Keith lazily looked around before his eyes landed on Lance, who was looking at the different weapons.

"So, what kind of weapon do you use?" Keith asked suddenly, causing Lance to jump and spin around.

"You know, you could at least warn a person when you enter a room!" Lance exclaimed in mock annoyance.

Keith rolled his eyes at the display. "Yeah, yeah, whatever,

Anyway, what weapon do you use?" Keith repeated, lips quirking upwards when Lance let out scoff.

"I use this baby," Lance said, grabbing a weapon and spinning back around for Keith to see what he had grabbed. "Keith, meet Blue. Blue, this is Keith." Lance said, introducing the blue painted rifle to Keith.

Keith nodded his head, taking in the weapon. "You should have just told me you where a gunner."

Lance tsked him. "I am a sharpshooter, keep up, Keithy." Lance gestured towards the weapon rack. "Take your pick, we have almost everything." He then paused to point towards Keith's knife. "Unless you would rather use that?"

Keith yawned again and walked over towards the weapon rack. He looked over each weapon available before his eyes drifted towards a red colored sword. It had an unusual hilt, which is what had originally drawn Keith's attention, but the sword itself was double edged and looked exactly like Keith's style. He picked it up and held it in his hand, giving it a few test swings before a smirk filled his lips. The sword was perfectly balanced for him.

"I'll pick this one," Keith said to Lance, gesturing towards the sword.

Lance nodded his head towards him. "Ah yes, Red is pretty good. I should have assumed you would pick her."

Keith raised an eyebrow at him. "You're really not the best at naming things, are you?"

Lance scoffed. "Look here, mullet. Names are important, and guess what? Blue and Red happen to like their names, even if you can’t appreciate them."

"You realize these aren't alive, right?" Keith asked, raising up Red as he said it.

"If they were that would be pretty morbid though." Lance mused.

Keith raised an eyebrow in question.

"What? It would!" Lance defended himself as Keith rolled his eyes yet again this morning.

"Whatever, let's just start training." Keith walked towards the middle of the room. He paused, shooting Lance a look over his shoulder. "Show me what you can do."

Lance nodded and joined Keith in the center of the room. He quickly spoke out loud, starting the training simulation. Instantly his eyes focused, his joking demeanor melting away to something much more serious.

The two began to move as soon as the bots emerged, working like clockwork as the moved in a synchronized tandem.

"Duck!" Lance shouted, and Keith instantly ducked down. Lance fired, taking down a robot that was approaching from behind Keith.

Keith shot a small smile in Lance’s direction. He instantly turned and sliced two robots that were approaching. The first robot was sliced through the chest using Red, the second was stabbed in the leg using Keith's knife. He yanked Red out of the first robot and brought it down upon the second to fully kill it.

The two continued on, calling out moves and watching each others backs. The robots kept steadily coming as Keith continued to slice and dice them while Lance continued to make constant headshots, stopping the robots before they even had a chance to get close to himself and Keith. The two were so focused, they were easily able to block out all of the broken robots laying on the floor. Really, it was a matter of time before something happened.

"Keith, left!" Lance shouted as he turned to shoot an incoming robot. It was at that moment that his foot happened to get caught on the dismembered leg of one of the earlier waves. He tripped, causing him to fall into Keith, sending them both tumbling to the ground.

Keith let out a pained groan as Lance landed swiftly on top of him, causing Keith to land uncomfortably into a pile of destroyed robots.

"Ugh, end simulation," Lance groaned as the simulation came to a close, leaving the two boys pinned to the ground.

"If you wanted to be on top of me, you just had to ask," Keith deadpanned, looking at Lance blandly.

Lance's face flushed at the comment and he began to sputter. "W-what? No, I, oh, come on! It's not I planned to trip over the dumb leg," he whined.

"Yeah, well, as nice as this is, I think I have an arm digging into the middle of my back," Keith said, the tip of his tail tapping against the floor.

"Oh right, sorry." Lance stood up, offering a hand for Keith.

Keith took the outstretched hand and pulled himself up, letting go of Lance's hand and stretching his back forward. "I don't recommend laying on robots, they aren't too comfortable." Keith continued to stretch his body, causing Lance to tilt his head in confusion.

"Why are you stretching so much?"

Keith just looked at him. "Well," he started, "we just worked out for a bit, and so I'm stretching to as a cool down," he explained. He then stretched both of his arms up behind his head, his loose shirt following the motion and raising to expose some of his stomach.

Instantly, Lance's eyes locked onto the sight, looking at the exposed skin. With a grunt Lance snapped his eyes back at up Keith, who was looking at him in amusement.

"Might want to take a picture." Keith smirked. "It might last longer." At that, he let his arms drop down, walking over to collect his knife and Red from where he had dropped them.
Lance opened his mouth to retort before quickly shutting it, pouting at being caught. Keith looked over at him and rolled his eyes. He then walked back over and bumped their shoulders together.

"Come on, your royal clumsiness, let's go wash up and get breakfast," He teased.

"If anything you're the clumsy one, Lance shot back, looking indignant. “You couldn't even catch me!”

"Sorry, I thought you were able to walk on your own," Keith said, shrugging. He walked over to the weapons rack, placing Red back on it. Lance quickly followed his lead and placed Blue back onto the rack as well. "I do have to admit though," Keith began as they walked away.

"Admit that my dashing good looks were just distracting you too much?" Lance asked, placing a finger gun under his chin and winking at Keith, who just stared at him in response.
"I was going to compliment you, but never mind. I take it back." He turned on his heel, continuing to walk away.

Lance quickly dropped the pose and chased after him. "Wait, Keith, no!" he shouted as he jogged to catch up. "Come on, tell meeee."

The movement seemed to pass quickly after that. The two continued to go to the training room in the mornings, followed by showers, Lance doing his morning skincare routine, and breakfast. After that they would continue on with the day. These days, it was a lot of greeting more guests who were coming to the castle in preparation of the ball, much to the chagrin of Lance. He was becoming increasingly tense as the quintant's passed and the ball became closer and, well, Keith really should have seen this coming.

"You want me to what?" Keith asked Lance, crossing his arms over his chest and staring at the determined prince. They were currently in Lance's bedroom, and it was the night before the ball. Needless to say, Lance was as stressed as could be.

"I want you to do a face mask with me," Lance repeated, holding up a container of some type of green looking sludge.

"Why would I want to willingly put sludge on my face?" Keith asked, furrowing his brows slightly in confusion.

Lance sighed once again. Keith had honestly lost track of how many times he'd caused Lance to sigh tonight.

Lance held up the container. "First off, this isn't sludge. It's a mud mask." He opened his mouth to continue but Keith beat him to it first.
"And why would I want to put mud on my face?"

Lance shot him a look. "If you would let me explain, then you wouldn't have as many questions." Lance shot back, raising an eyebrow, challenging Keith to speak up again.
Keith promptly decided to let Lance explain it fully.

"Anyway, this type of mask has a lot of stuff in it that's good for your skin. You just have to let it set for fifteen dobashes at most, and then you can wash it off." He paused in explaining and narrowed his eyes at Keith suspiciously. "Are you sure you've never done one before?" he asked.

Keith simply shook his head. "Nope."

Lance sighed. "You don't deserve your clear skin," he promptly declared. "Now, are you going to do this with me? Or are you going to be a baby about it and force me to make you do it?"

Keith bit the inside of his lower lip, looking closely at Lance. He could clearly see how this past movement has caused Lance stress. His body was fully tense, jaw clenched with just enough tension to show that Lance was more than likely doing it unconsciously.

"Sure," Keith said, and the effect on Lance was instantaneous. His shoulders relaxed and his jaw unclenched, the tension slowly leaving his body as he shot Keith a warm smile. "Do you have a hair tie?" Keith continued on.

Lance raised an eyebrow in question but nodded his head, standing up to quickly retrieve one before walking back towards the bed where they both had been sitting.

Keith nodded his head in thanks and took the hair tie, running his hands through his hair a few times before gathering his bangs and the sides of his hair. He pushed the strands upwards, quickly looping the hair tie around them so a small ponytail rested on the top of his head.

Lance let out a slight breath of air and Keith looked back at him, tilting his head in question.

"Ah it’s, uh. It's n-nothing," Lance stuttered out slightly, a light dusting of red appearing on his tanned skin.

Keith didn't really believe him, but before he could say anything Lance began to spread the mud onto his face. Keith scrunched up his nose at the feeling.

"Hey, stop it!" Lance said, causing Keith to pause. "If you move around too much while it dries, you'll crack it. Just let it sit, it should cause some slight tingling."

Keith tried to keep his expression neutral but a small frown came to rest upon his face anyways. "What if it stains my face?" Keith asked, eyeing the colored mud that was both in the container in front of him, and now on his face as well.

Lance rolled his eyes at the question. "Oh please, it's not going to stain your face. I use this all the time and I'm still my beautiful self," Lance bragged, pointing towards his own face. "And anyway, no talking. Just sit back and enjoy it, okay?" Lance asked, eyes connecting with Keith's.

And of course Keith was nothing but weak to those eyes, so he simply nodded meekly.

Lance quickly got to work, scooting closer to Keith and slotting their legs together. He then reached two fingers into the bottle and got a glob of the mud mask onto his fingers. "Close your eyes,” he said softly. Even though Keith looked uncertain at the action, he nodded his head, lowered his guard, and closed his eyes for Lance. Lance quirked a smile and got to work, spreading the mask over his face carefully.

"It feel weird," Keith said, his voice deep and content.

Lance chuckled, rolling his eyes and tapping his fingers against Keith's cheek. His ear flicked in response, and Lance laughed a little. "Deal with it you big baby," he teased, continuing to apply the mask until Keith's entire face was covered in the substance. "And now it’s my turn!" Lance said, starting to dip his fingers back into the container before Keith reached out and grabbed his wrist.

"Let me do it," Keith said, voice uncertain.

Lance raised an eyebrow, but eventually let his expression slide into one of contentment. "Yeah, sure,” he said, nodding. "Let me just wash off my hand."

When he returned, Keith was ready for him, gesturing for him to hurry up and sit down. Lance let out a laugh at his pushiness and sat down, resuming their previous position and scooting closer until their legs were locked together. He instantly closed his eyes as Keith began to mimic his earlier movements.

"My face feels tight," Keith complained as he worked.

"Well, that means it's working." Lance said as Keith worked on applying the mud. Keith grumbled something that Lance didn't pick up as he continued to work. There was a certain gentleness that always seemed to exist when Keith did anything with Lance.

'Other than sparring,' the traitorous voice in Lance's voice chimed in, reminding Lance of the countless bruises the galra boy had given him in their sparring matches. Keith may let Lance win whenever they do something else, but when it came to training? Keith definitely didn't mess around—though he would sometimes rise to Lance's banter.

Keith continued to cover his face with the mask while Lance continued to think. Realistically, Lance knew that his feelings weren’t mutual. He knew that the only reason Keith even hung around him was because he was ordered too. He would have to be stupid to not know the facts, and yet there was still that voice in the back of Lance's head, the one that whispered, 'What if?' The one that made Lance want to try. 'But for what?' Lance asked himself. 'The stupid ball is tomorrow.’

"Why are you looking at me like that?" Keith's voice cut into Lance's thoughts, causing them to scatter as he tried to process the question. It was at that moment that Lance realized that he had opened his eyes. He took in the scene in front of him. They were so close, and Keith was looking at him, eyes warm.

'Warmth,' he thought to himself before he even realized what he was doing, his body moving without his permission. He heard the small gasp that left Keith's mouth, but his body was still moving, needing to be closer. Suddenly the warmth landed onto his lips, a softness that he wasn't expecting. His eyes slipped shut as he continued to press himself to Keith, kissing his soft lips and grasping his shirt with one hand.

Keith himself was unmoving.

It was then that Lance realized what he had just done.

He tore himself away, physically moving backwards as well, putting distance between the two as Keith slowly blinked, confusion on his face. "Q-quiznak. I'm so sorry, Keith!" Lance stuttered, mortified at himself. "I just did it without thinking!” He paused. "That really doesn't make it any better though, does it? I swear, I didn't mean to kiss you, Quiznak, I'm so so sorry—"

"Did you mean it?" Keith asked suddenly, as Lance continued to ramble his apology, slowly becoming more frantic.

"I swear I didn't mean to kiss you," Lance repeated. His face was probably burning bright red underneath the face mask he was wearing.

"But did you mean it?" Keith stressed.

Lance paused in talking, opening and closing his mouth multiple times before closing it, nodding slowly. He closed his eyes and turned his head away, forcing himself to not even risk looking at the look of disgust that was probably plastered all over Keith's face.

"Then you won't have to forgive me for this," Keith said.

Suddenly Lance felt a hand on his face and he snapped his eyes open, moving to look at Keith. It was then that those familiar warm lips fell over his, and Lance instantly closed his eyes, allowing himself to enjoy the feeling. He brought his hands up, wrapping them around Keith's shoulders as Keith wrapped his arms around his waist, pulling him closer.

They continued to slot their lips together, each taking their time with the kiss, fully just enjoying the feeling of having the other so entirely close. Keith opened his mouth and let his tongue lap against Lance's lower lip, causing to Lance to instantly open his mouth in response to the unsaid question. They continued to stand there, completely caught up in everything that was just, well, each other.

It was Keith who broke the kiss first, Lance trying to chase his lips as he pulled away, causing him to lean back in and continue to leave small pecks.

"As much as I would love to continue this," Keith said, a slight pant in his unlawfully deep voice, "we really should wash this gunk off of our faces."

Lance groaned. "How many times are you going to ruin the moment because of a face mask?" He leaned back in, connecting their lips once more.

A pitiful noise left Keith's throat, and Keith instantly responded back to the kiss, deepening it once again.

Needless to say, the masks ended up staying on much longer than they were originally supposed too.

"I really don't want to do this, 'Lura," Lance said to his sister as she sat in his room and watched him put on his formal suit. Allura herself looked beautiful, her light blue gown draped around her. The light pink and yellow accents stood out starkly against the blue material, causing her eyes to shine. Her long hair was done up as as well, framing her face with her circlet laying against her forehead.

"I wish I could do something to help." Allura stood to help Lance move the fabric so that it sat against him naturally. As Lance fiddled with the cuffs of the jacket, she walked over to his dresser and bent down, opening the bottom drawer and pulling out his own circlet. It was much like her own, but instead of golden it was silver in color.

"Is it too late to cancel the whole thing?" Lance asked, reaching towards the bed and grabbing his blue cloak, clasping it onto himself as Allura walked back over to his side. She held the circlet out and raised a patronizing eyebrow at him. He sighed and lowered his head so that she could put it onto him.

"Much too late, and neither of our decisions I'm afraid." Allura said to him as she brushed some of his hair away from his forward, pushing the circlet into place.
"Any chance we could barter with Father for my freedom?"

Allura stepped back to take in his appearance fully. He definitely looked like a Prince of Altea instead of his usual casual self. "You know nothing will change his mind until you have chosen someone. He just wants to make sure that we'll both be looked after."

Lance frowned, eyes filling with desperation. "But I have chosen someone!"

Allura's eyes lit up. "Wait, did you and Keith get together?!" She bounced up and down, clasping her hands together in excitement.

"Yes!" Lance said, then paused. "No? Like, we kissed a lot last night, but we didn't really get a chance to talk about it before the mess that is today," Lance continued on, trying to explain to Allura the complicated situation.

"Okay, so it sounds like you two just need to sit down and talk, go to Father, tell him you chose Keith, and then you two can be happy," Allura said, listing the different things off on her fingers.

"Allura, it's not that simple. Keith is supposed to be my guard!"

A sly smile came across his sister's face. "Sounds like he ended up guarding more than just your physical well being." Allura said.
Lance looked at her blankly.

"He guarded your heart as well?" Allura continued on, causing Lance's face to drop into a deadpan while he released a groan, causing Allura to smile.

"I can't believe I'm even related to you. I'm not doing this. I'm disowning you," Lance said dramatically, turning his body away from his sister.

"I got it from you," Allura answered back, rolling her eyes at her brother’s dramatics. It was at that moment a knock came from the door. "Enter," Allura announced, looking towards the door with Lance, who had turned as well.

"Hello, Prince and Princess, I do believe it's time for you both to enter the ballroom," Coran said, popping his head into the room. Lance sighed and Allura nodded, waving a hand for Coran to enter the room.

"Thank you for telling us, Coran, someone here is just having cold feet," Allura said to him.

It was at that moment that Coran noticed Lance was actually wearing his circlet. "I thought you had lost that!" Coran exclaimed.

Lance let out yet another sigh. "No, I just," he groaned, dragging a hand down his face. "Whatever, it doesn't matter. Let's just get this over with shall we?"
The other two nodded, and they began to walk down the corridors of the castle. But with each step they took, it became harder and harder for Lance to shake the gut feeling that he was marching towards his own doom.

Keith let his eyes roam over the ballroom, eyeing all of the different guests that had filled the room. He lazily glanced across the room, spotting some of the different aliens he had slowly became friends with over the course of his stay in the castle.

Hunk was talking with another group of balmerans, though he kept shooting looks to one in particular. Keith raised an eyebrow at the sight. 'Lance never mentioned that Hunk was trying to court someone,' Keith thought to himself, watching Hunk continue to become more flustered while the other balmeran laughed at something that he had said.

Keith tore his eyes away from the scene and continued to let his gaze roam, landing upon Pidge, who had decided to come out for the festivities of today. They were standing off to the side, talking animatedly to another olkari. Keith continued to look at the two of them before he realized that Pidge was talking to Matt, their older brother. Even though Keith and Pidge found themselves to be fast friends, he had never actually met Matt before. 'I should go say hello,' he thought to himself, but before he could begin to head that way he felt someone tug on the bottom of his cloak.

"Hello Keith,” Shiro said, smiling softly at him. At seeing the smaller arusian Keith let a smile fall upon his face.

"Shiro," Keith said, "shouldn't you be dancing with Adam?" he asked, looking away from Shiro to see if he could locate the other arusian.

"Adam went to get a drink, he wanted to try some of that fermented Nunvill." Shiro said, leaning against the wall with Keith.

"Is that a good idea? Nunvill can be kind of strong if you aren't used to it." Keith pursed his lips in a sort of grimace. His first experience with Nunvill definitely hadn't been something that he enjoyed—not that he hadn't experienced much stronger drinks back on Daibazaal.

"I wouldn't worry too much about him, he can handle it." Shiro responded.

Keith shrugged his shoulders in response. "Alright, but when he gets drunk you'll have to be the one to deal with him."

"It's more like I get the honor of getting to be with him."

"Huh, that's one way to look at it," Keith said, beginning to think about his own recent developments in life.

"So, how is Prince Lance doing?" Shiro asked him, a teasing look appearing on his face.

Keith looked down at him, deadpan. "No."

"What? I didn't even say anything."

"Just no, we aren't doing this right now." Keith crossed his arms and looked away, ignoring the faint heat he could feel on his cheeks.

Shiro rolled his eyes at the display. "Sometimes you just need to take a leap of faith. You don't want to live life with any regrets." Shiro said, eyes morphing into sympathy.

"Shiro, just," Keith sighed, running a hand through his hair. "He's the prince. I can't— No, we can't. He's meant to find a suitor at his ball, and I'm meant to protect him from any harm. We can't do this."

"Are you trying to convince me or yourself?"

"I..." Keith let both hands drop to his sides while he looked up at the glass ceiling. "I don't even know anymore. I was supposed to guard him, not somehow seduce him."

"Well, don't freak out too much, but he's coming this way." Shiro warned.

Keith's head shot forward, and there was Lance. Walking towards them.

Keith froze, taking in the prince’s appearance. Lance was simply glowing. His pale silver circlet standing out against his golden skin, his hair teased just enough that it looked messy but styled. His outfit also stood out against him, a mixture of golds, silvers, and blues. Finally, two blue stones earrings dangled from his ears, and with a second glance Keith noticed some light silver makeup was added to his face to help his eyes stand out, even though they stood out well enough on their own as it was.

"See something you like?" Lance said, quirking an eyebrow at Keith.

"Absolutely," Keith responded in a sigh, continuing to take in Lance's appearance.

Lance's face flared up into a blush. "I, you, argh, you can't just say stuff like that!" Lance blushed, completely flustered. He buried his face into his hands, trying to regain his cool.

Shiro smiled at the scene and looked at Keith once again. "I'll leave you both to it. Prince Lance, thank you for inviting me to your ball. Keith, we'll talk later." With that, Shiro made his leave.

"So..." Lance trailed off, eyes looking off to the side.

"So..." Keith trailed as well, continuing to stare at Lance.

"May I have this dance?" Lance finally asked, offering a hand out to Keith.

Keith bit his lip and looked at the hopeful look in Lance's ocean eyes. "Isn't it improper to dance with your guard?" Keith asked meekly.

Lance raised an eyebrow at him. "What's improper is all the different things I could do with my guard. Dancing is least of their worries." Lance shot Keith a wink with his statement while Keith's face finally lit up with a blush on his own. "Now, may I please have his dance?" Lance asked yet again.

"Well, how could I say no to a prince?" Keith responded, a smile filling his face as he accepted Lance's hand.

The two made their way from the side of the ballroom to the middle of the floor, different alien species all parting as they walked arm in arm. They began to dance, easily falling into rhythm of the music playing. Keith followed Lance's lead, allowing him to fully control the steps of the dance. He looked around the ballroom, taking in all the faces of the people who were staring at the two of them, yet trying to appear that they weren't.

"What is it?" Lance asked him quietly.

Keith looked around the room once again before looking into Lance's eyes. "Everyone is staring at you."

A smile overtook Lance's face as warmth flooded into his eyes. "No, my darling, it is you that they are staring at."

Keith finally let a soft smile fill his face, allowing himself to fully enjoy the moment of just the two of them, together in their own bubble on the dance floor. "You know, if you keep flirting with me in front of your potential suitors, it's going to make it very difficult for you to get married." Keith said softly.

Lance looked at him and let out a loud laugh, their dancing coming to a halt as the noise caught the attention of everyone in the room. Lance then leaned forward, bringing their foreheads together to rest against one another. He let out a sigh as he stared into Keith's eyes. "That's sort of the point." He then slowly moved until their lips touched once again.
Keith sighed into the kiss which caused Lance to smile against his lips. They slowly pulled apart, Keith chasing after Lance's lips.

Lance laughed lightly. "Who knew you would end up guarding my heart?" Lance said, causing Keith to freeze in his place.

He pulled back and shot Lance a dry, unamused look. "No, I take it back." Keith said, causing Lance to let out a choked laugh.

"You can't just take it back!"

"Well, I just did."

"But we were having a bonding moment!"

"Nope, don't remember. Didn't happen." Keith shot back with a smirk.

Lance's smile slowly molded into a smirk of his own as he stepped closer to Keith, bringing an arm behind him and pulling him closer. "Well, maybe you need a reminder."

"Maybe I do," Keith said, as his eyes slowly slipped shut, their mouth's coming together once more.

Chapter Text

Keef froze, toking in the prince’s oppeoronce. Lonce wos simply glowing. His pole silver circlet stonding ouwut ogoinst his golden skin, his hoir teosed juwust enouwugh thot it looked messy buwut styled. His ouwutfit olso stood ouwut ogoinst him, o mixtuwure of golds, silvers, ond bluwues. Finolly, two bluwue stones eorrings dongled from his eors, ond with o second glonce Keef noticed some light silver mokeuwup wos odded to his foce to help his eyes stond ouwut, even thouwugh they stood ouwut well enouwugh on their own os it wos uwu.

"See something youwu like?" Lonce soid, quwuirking on eyebrow ot Keef.

"obsoluwutely," Keef responded in o sigh, continuwuing to toke in Lonce's oppeoronce.

Lonce's foce flored uwup into o bluwush. "I, youwu, orgh, youwu con't juwust soy stuwuff like thot!" Lonce bluwushed, completely fluwustered. He buwuried his foce into his honds, trying to regoin his cool.

Shiro smiled ot the scene ond looked ot Keef once ogoin. "I'll leove youwu both to it. Prince Lonce, thonk youwu for inviting me to youwur boll. Keef, we'll tolk loter." With thot, Shiro mode his leove.

"So..." Lonce troiled off, eyes looking off to the side.

"So..." Keef troiled os well, continuwuing to store ot Lonce.

"Moy I hove this donce?" Lonce finolly osked, offering o hond ouwut to Keef.

Keef bit his lip ond looked ot the hopefuwul look in Lonce's oceon eyes. "Isn't it improper to donce with youwur guwuord?" Keef osked meekly.

Lonce roised on eyebrow ot him. "Whot's improper is oll the different things I couwuld do with my guwuord. Doncing is leost of their worries uwu." Lonce shot Keef o wink with his stotement while Keef's foce finolly lit uwup with o bluwush on his own. "Now, moy I pleose hove his donce?" Lonce osked yet ogoin.

"Well, how couwuld I soy no to o prince?" Keef responded, o smile filling his foce os he occepted Lonce's hond.

The two mode their woy from the side of the bollroom to the middle of the floor, different olien species oll porting os they wolked orm in orm. They begon to donce, eosily folling into rhythm of the muwusic ploying. Keef followed Lonce's leod, ollowing him to fuwully control the steps of the donce. He looked orouwund the bollroom, toking in oll the foces of the people who were storing ot the two of them, yet trying to oppeor thot they weren't.

"Whot is it?" Lonce osked him quwuietly.

Keef looked orouwund the room once ogoin before looking into Lonce's eyes. "Everyone is storing ot youwu."

o smile overtook Lonce's foce os wormth flooded into his eyes. "No, my dorling, it is youwu thot they ore storing ot uwu."

Keef finolly let o soft smile fill his foce, ollowing himself to fuwully enjoy the moment of juwust the two of them, together in their own buwubble on the donce floor uwu.

"Youwu know, if youwu keep flirting with me in front of youwur potentiol suwuitors, it's going to moke it very difficuwult for youwu to get morried." Keef soid softly.

Lonce looked ot him ond let ouwut o louwud louwugh, their doncing coming to o holt os the noise couwught the ottention of everyone in the room. Lonce then leoned forword, bringing their foreheods together to rest ogoinst one onother. He let ouwut o sigh os he stored into Keef's eyes. "Thot's sort of the point uwu." He then slowly moved uwuntil their lips touwuched once ogoin.

Keef sighed into the kiss which couwused Lonce to smile ogoinst his lips. They slowly puwulled oport, Keef chosing ofter Lonce's lips.

Lonce louwughed lightly. "Who knew youwu wouwuld end uwup guwuording my heort?" Lonce soid, couwusing Keef to freeze in his ploce.

He puwulled bock ond shot Lonce o dry, uwunomuwused look. "No, I toke it bock." Keef soid, couwusing Lonce to let ouwut o choked louwugh.

"Youwu con't juwust toke it bock!"

"Well, I juwust did."

"Buwut we were hoving o bonding moment!".

"Nope, don't remember. Didn't hoppen." Keef shot bock with o smirk.

Lonce's smile slowly molded into o smirk of his own os he stepped closer to Keef, bringing on orm behind him ond puwulling him closer. "Well, moybe youwu need o reminder."

"Moybe I do," Keef soid, os his eyes slowly slipped shuwut, their mouwuth's coming together once more uwu.