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Always There

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Always There

 

You knew you’d find Keith in his room.  When he was doing well or was particularly angry, he was in the training deck and you could tell his mood by how far he’d made it in the training program, or at least by the difficulty.  If he was moping or conflicted, he tucked himself into his room and hoped nobody came by to talk.  He’d open the door for you or Shiro, but Keith just wanted to be left alone.  If things were really bad he’d show up at your room while everyone else was asleep, but that hadn’t happened so far…

That worried you, to be honest.  It was fitting with his patterns outside of devastation, or something equally bad, but it just felt like…like he was teetering on the edge and someone had to pull him back to safety…but he didn’t think anyone would.  You’d never seen him like this, and you weren’t entirely sure what to do.  Shiro wasn’t entirely sure what to do…there was a point where words just weren’t enough, and it could be hard to tell just how much faith Keith would put into words anyway.  He was a very act first, think later kind of person, and sometimes the only way to get through that stubborn head of his was through action.

You didn’t know if you were the best one for the job either.  You and Keith, despite your long-lasting friendship, were like two different sides of a coin.  You thought carefully about your next move, calculated every approach and used your intelligence to feign confidence.  You could be very open and friendly, you’d already formed a litany of inside jokes with Lance, and picked your battles very carefully.  You kept your cool, no matter how hard you had to bite the inside of your cheek, and the right words just came naturally to you.

To top things off, after a short stint in the pod after getting some Balmorrans to safety as the Paladins tried to distract the robotic monster sent after them, a discovery was made that caught everyone by surprise.  Coran had known about King Alfor’s outpost stations towards Earth’s system, but he had assumed they had been taken down with the rest of the Alteans, but it seemed that wasn’t entirely true.  You certainly weren’t 10,000 years old, and whichever of your parents were Altean had to be alive within the last eighteen to nineteen years to conceive you, so there had at least been one more at some point.

Growing up in the foster system before being adopted by your parents, you couldn’t exactly say you knew much about your biological parentage.  You never wanted or needed to.  Your parents had adopted you young, they were the family you knew.  They were small, odd, and each one coming from an adoption of some sort, but they were good, and they were yours.

Just like this family.

Still, finding out you’re half Altean had sort of…raised you on a pedestal.  Maybe not literally, but Allura immediately found herself clinging to your company and teaching you Altean herself instead of leaving you to the dangers of the teaching programs.  She would follow you into the training deck, teaching you how to use your abilities to control and connect with Quintessence, an ability natural to the Alteans that explained why you were so, as one of your moms called it, clairvoyance.  You were surprisingly sensitive to it, even for an Altean, but Allura was confidant it was something you could get a grasp on in no time.  You doubted you’d be opening wormholes, but Allura’s enthusiasm was…encouraging you to push yourself, at least.

You did learn you had quite the gift for Altean Alchemy, once you got the hang of it.  Certainly made any repairs on the lions much quicker.

When Keith found out he was at least part Galra, the reaction was entirely different.  Nobody knew what to say, even Hunk stuck to making awkward and uncomfortable jokes.  Lance furiously attempted to act like it was all normal, Shiro was just trying to remind the team that genetics didn’t make up who Keith was, and the only three that were unphased by the change seemed to be you, Pidge, and Coran.  Granted, Pidge admitted it explained a few things, but that mostly had to do with Keith’s own abilities or other material facts she noticed in the field, nothing beyond that.  Coran still recalled a time when the Galra were allies, maybe part of him hoped things could return to similar days.

You…you were just worried about the effect this information had on Keith.

It was late, really late, and you doubted anyone was actually asleep.  They were all in their rooms, the lights in the halls had been dimmed, but doubtless everyone was lying awake.  You kept quiet as you slipped down the hall, wrapped in the fuzzy blanket and comfy pajamas you bargained from a merchant in the Space Mall.  It wasn’t the only thing you got, you had amassed quite the closet with your bargaining abilities.  There was also the fact you may have forgotten to drop a few of the tops you were looking at when Keith snatched you during a mad escape…on a cow…

Keith had snatched you off the ground before you even had a chance to register that those idiots riding a speeding cow through the mall to escape mall security were your idiots.

“Keith,” you whispered as you slipped through his bedroom door, light on your feet as you shuffled through the Red Paladin’s barren room and let the door shut behind you.  Keith shifted in his bed, but not fast enough to watch you crawl into his bed and situate your fuzzy blanket over the two of you.  He finished rolling over, lying on his side to face you as you snuggled deeper into the blankets.

“What are you doing here?” Keith asked, keeping his voice low in the dark room and watching as your eyes popped back open and you looked up at him even with half your face covered by the blankets.

“I’m anxious about tomorrow and I couldn’t sleep,” you explained, keeping your own voice low, that the big mission to prep for the even bigger mission to stop Zarkon had been nagging on your mind, “I figured I’d be able to sleep better here.”

“But…why?”  Sure, you’d been friends – best friends – for years but…he was part Galra.  Keith wasn’t blind, he’d caught the way the others looked at him when they thought he wasn’t looking…the looks Allura gave him were downright murderous.  Despite all that, there you were.  Right in his bed, snuggling closer to him in an attempt to find comfort and he couldn’t help but wonder why –

“Cause you’re here, duh,” you retorted just before you yawned and scooted closer to him, almost cornering him against the wall of his bed as you curled up into him.  Your cheek against his chest, a soft smile on your lips as you started to doze off and Keith could swear he saw a rounded point to your ears and the skin where most Alteans bore their markings was just that little bit paler than the rest of your skin.

Of all the places you could be, of all the places you could find comfort, you chose to do so with him.  Not because you had to, but because that was where you’d always found comfort.  You always had, and you always would.

Just like you’d always be there for him.  So, for once, his hug wasn’t soft or gentle, just barely there to prevent scaring you off, but gripping and tightly holding you close as he nuzzled into your hair and made himself comfortable.

You’d always been there, and you always would be.