A knock came at the door.
“Come in!” said Allura as she sat up in her bed. She let out a gasp when the door opened. “Keith?”
“Hi princess, may I speak with you for a moment?”
“Um, yes, of course.” A hundred different emotions seemed to rage on in her head, and in her heart. They hadn’t been alone like this since he left for the Blade of Marmora. Then again, she had been avoiding him, in a way. The things he had said when they were lost in space still stung. Not only that, but, she and Lance had begun dating. Wait, why was that making her feel almost guilty?
“Thank you. Um, you remember when we were lost in space … how could you forget?”
“When you said those things about my father?” said Allura in a hushed voice.
Keith let out a sigh. “Yes, I … I want to apologize for that. I should have let you continue speaking, your father probably had said a lot of things that would have lifted our spirits right then, but instead I let my own feelings get in the way and snapped at you. It wasn’t right of me. And I apologize for bringing up Lotor. You were already hurting from that, and it wasn’t fair of me to open a wound that was trying to heal.”
“Keith, we were going space mad.”
“It still wasn’t the right thing to do. We are friends, we need to work together. We need to have each other’s backs.”
“Yes, we should. Thank you, for apologizing to me. Has it been on your mind this whole time?”
“For the most part. I don’t want this huge hole in our teamwork because of some horrid things I said.”
“I understand. I too should apologize.”
“When I brought up how you left us?” Keith’s eyes seemed to widen. Allura knew she was doing the right thing, she could see he regretted that decision. “I was wrong, you were doing the right thing. By leaving, you became a stronger, more confident leader. You made a hard decision because it was the right thing to do for us, for the team. We have become stronger than ever before because of that decision. Unfortunately, we doubted you and your leadership skills. You have proven time and time again that you are a true leader. You are the rightful paladin of the Black Lion.”
Keith smiled softly. “Thank you Allura.”
Allura’s heart fluttered at the sight, but she quickly calmed it down before speaking. “You’re welcome Keith. Was there anything else?”
“Well, um, there … there was one more thing …”
“Allura!” Lance paused at the doorway as he glanced between Keith and Allura. “Um, am I interrupting something?”
“No, we’re finished. I was just leaving.” Keith walked out the door.
“But you said there was something else.”
Keith paused before turning around. “Well, um, if it’s not too much trouble, I wa … I was wondering if you could teach me some advanced Altean moves?”
“Oh, I’d be happy to! Lance, would you like to learn as well?”
“Oh, yeah, sure!”
“Great! What time were you thinking of training?”
Keith gave a slight shrug. “Uh, tomorrow after lunch, I guess.”
“That’s definitely doable for me,” said Lance.
“Wonderful! Tomorrow after lunch it is.”
“Thank you, princess.” Keith bowed before walking down the hallway.
Lance turned to Allura. “What else was he here for?”
“Oh, he was apologizing for what he said back when we were going space mad.”
“Oh,” said Lance as he glanced down.
“And … I apologized as well. You should too. If it weren’t for Hunk, I don’t know how we would have gotten out of there, not just alive, but to be still friends.”
“Yeah, I guess, I guess I should. It would help the team stay strong, I hope.”
“Yeah, that’s why I came to see you. Have you noticed something’s off with Pidge?”
“No, not really. Why?”
“Because just now, I was going to ask her about borrowing her game console so you and I could play, but she was acting all weird about it. She knows I won’t destroy it! She put far too much time into it so we could play it! Not wrecking that!” Lance crossed his arms and let out a huff. “And then she was getting all irritated at me! I didn’t do anything!”
“Maybe it’s just you. She’s been acting fine around me,” said Allura with a shrug.
Lance threw up his hands. “Oh great, Pidge is mad at me, and I don’t even know what I did to make her mad!”
“Maybe it’s best if you just let her cool down for a bit before you ask her.” Allura rubbed his arm to comfort him.
Lance let out a sigh. “I guess that’s best. Unless, unless her family or Hunk knows why? I can ask them.”
Allura smiled. “There you go! How about you go do that. I’ll go ask Coran to help me with a training program for you and Keith.”
“Hey, you want me to find out if anyone else wants to learn?”
“Of course! That would be great! I’m sure Romelle would like to learn, among everything else we still have to teach her about Altea.”
Lance gave her a thumbs up. “Alright, I’ll go ask around and see if anyone wants to learn. Tomorrow after lunch, right?”
Allura nodded. “Yes.”
“Alright, I’ll ask around. See you at dinner tonight?”
“Yes, dinner sounds good.”
Lance pecked her cheek. “I’ll see you then.”
“See you then!” said Allura as he dashed out the door with a quick wave. She let out a huff and surprised herself by hoping that Keith would show up at the door again. She shook her head. Why was she thinking like that? She was over him now, just like she was over Lotor. She got over him so she could be with Lotor. But now Lotor was gone, and Keith was back, and boy was he good-looking. She squeezed her eyes shut. No, she couldn’t think like that, not about him, not anymore. She was with Lance now, and she was happy. Wasn’t she? She opened her eyes, she didn’t want to acknowledge that answer. Instead, she let out a huff and set out to talk to Coran.
The next day, Allura and Coran walked into the training room. Allura let out a soft gasp. Not only was the rest of the Voltron team there, but so were the MFE pilots, Romelle, Shiro, Veronica, Acxa, and Matt Holt.
“Is this everybody?” asked Allura as she and Coran approached the group.
“Yup,” said Lance before he greeted her with a kiss. “Figured it would be best to start off with a smaller group and with people you know.”
Allura smiled. “Lance, that’s so sweet of you.” She turned to the group. “Coran is going to give pointers as needed while I show you the moves. We’ll practice for a bit before moving on to the next move. We’ll be practicing for two hours …”
Hunk’s hand went up. “Two hours?”
“Yes,” said Allura.
“But Lance told us three hours!” blurted Veronica.
“That’s what Coran told me!”
“That’s because that final hour is needed to wind down after such a practice,” explained Coran. “It’s a customary Altean practice to sit down and relax for an hour, so I’m bringing in another Altean custom to help us with that. Hence why I won’t be showing you the moves.”
“Oh,” said the group.
“Ooh, I can’t wait! Can we get started now?” said Romelle.
“Yes, everyone, take a baton, please!” Everyone took a baton from the far wall and regrouped in front of Allura. She proceeded to show them several moves. Coran mainly focused on making sure Romelle got all the moves down, but he did help others as they needed. Once the two hours were up, Coran led the moaning and aching group to a lounge room where a table and fifteen chairs were set up.
“Oh man, I can see why you need an hour after all that,” said Lance as he sank into a chair.
“Yeah, no kidding,” said Pidge as she plopped down next to him. “I think my legs and arms have turned into spaghetti.”
“That’s the best description,” said Matt as he plopped down in the chair next to Pidge. “I don’t want to do a thing for the next twenty-four hours.”
Ina placed her head on the table. “I’m too tired to think.”
“I’d say something, but, I’m too tired to think too,” said James.
“How come you two are fine?” asked Hunk, glancing up at Keith and Acxa.
“Well, we’re both half Galra,” said Keith. “Galra have a pretty extensive training regime.”
“Right,” muttered Lance.
“Go figure,” mumbled James.
The others merely groaned.
“So, what is this Altean custom that Coran was talking about?” asked Romelle.
“Ta-da!” Coran placed a holographic map, figurines, and cards on the table.
Lance, Hunk, and Pidge all jumped up with excitement. “Monsters and Mana!!”
Allura gasped. “You were able to save it!”
“Well of course! Not going to let an old Altean game disappear into the winds of time. Besides, it’s one of my favorite games, why would I leave it?” said Coran as he fiddled with his mustache. “You three take a seat, and I’ll explain the rules.” Allura sat down next to Lance, Keith sat between her and Hunk, and Acxa sat between Veronica and James. Coran quickly went over the rules and helped each person create their character, besides Allura, Pidge, Lance, and Hunk. He was practically in tears when Shiro decided on a barbarian for his character.
“Alright, now that that’s done,” said Coran as he went to the empty chair, “we’re going to play this somewhat differently than how the paladins played before.”
“How different?” asked Allura. Seven panels popped up on the board, separating the fourteen characters into groups of two.
“Each group is going to have to finish an important side quest before we can move on to the main quest.”
“Oh good, I’m with you, Hunk,” said Romelle as she let out a sigh of relief.
“Wait, why am I with Pidge and Allura’s with Keith?” blurted Lance.
“That’s just how this dice rolled, so deal with it or leave the game,” said Coran as he tossed a die onto the table.
“Ugh, fine,” said Lance as he sat back and crossed his arms. But a few minutes later, he was deep into the game, he and Pidge working together as quickly as they could so their characters wouldn’t die in the many traps Coran had set up in their side quest. The hour passed rather pleasantly, despite James and Acxa barely able to work together and Nadia nearly dying every five minutes. She was super glad Ryan was a healer, she needed every bit of knowledge his character had to stay alive. When the hour finished, Hunk and Romelle were the first ones to finish their side quest, followed by Shiro and Veronica, and then Matt and Ina. The others were either really close or not even close. But they had to pause the game so several people could get back to work. Shiro did suggest that Coran teach the rest of the crew Monsters and Mana.
“You know, that might not be such a bad idea. We could even have tournaments!”
“That’s actually not a bad idea!”
“Can I help with that?” asked Romelle.
“I’ll bake goodies!’ announced Hunk.
“Well then, looks like we’re off to a start. I’ll let you handle the details,” said Shiro.
“Yes sir!” chorused the three as they gave a salute.
Shiro smiled as he turned and walked out into the corridor. He glanced to his right, Lance and Allura were walking towards the dining hall, Lance’s arm around Allura’s shoulder. Lance just finished saying something as Allura laughed right then. Shiro raised his eyebrow. Something wasn’t right with that laugh, something wasn’t right with the way she looked at Lance. Had anyone else noticed? He glanced down the left of the corridor and saw a quick glance of Keith turning the corner. But Keith wasn’t fast enough, Shiro had seen the look on his face.
“Hey, Keith!” Shiro chased him all the way back to his room. Shiro reached his door right as it shut. “Keith, can I come in?”
Keith opened the door, a surprised look on his face. “What’s up?”
“I saw the look on your face,” Shiro said.
Keith blinked. “What look?”
“The look of someone who’s in pain because the person they’re in love with is with someone else.”
Keith’s eyes widened. “How?”
“I guess I looked at the right time. Do you want to talk about it?”
“Why?” asked Keith, his demeanor and tone turning cold.
“With everything you’ve done for me in the past few months, this is the least I can do.”
“Yeah, well, with everything you’ve done for me, that was the least I could do.”
“Come on Keith, we’re brothers, right? Let me help you. You were there for me when I mourned Adam.”
“Yeah, well, Adam’s dead, Allura’s …” Keith turned towards his bed, keeping his face hidden from Shiro.
“Allura’s with Lance,” whispered Shiro as he entered the room, the door closing behind him.
“Yeah, guess he can now say he was able to beat me at something.”
“He can’t say that, Keith, because he doesn’t know you love her.” Shiro placed his hand on Keith’s shoulder. Kosmo got up from his bed and walked towards the left side of his master. He rubbed against him with a soft whine.
Keith turned to Shiro as he patted Kosmo’s head, there were tears in his eyes.“It hurts so much. I want her to be happy, but it hurts to see her with Lance.”
“Actually, that might because she might not actually be happy.”
Keith glanced at Shiro in surprise. “What? What do you mean?”
“You were too far away to notice, but I saw them going down the corridor and, well, the way Allura looked at Lance … I don’t think she really is that happy in the relationship.”
“Yes, I’d say give them some time. They’ll figure out on their own if they’re going to keep at this or break up.”
Keith sniffled. “Yeah, sure.”
“Here, why don’t you stay here, I’ll bring some food and we’ll talk. How does that sound?”
“That, that actually sounds good. Thank you Shiro.”
Shrio wrapped him in a hug. “Of course, that’s what brothers are for. Now, don’t leave, I’ll be right back with food.” Shiro glanced at Kosmo. “Kosmo, don’t let him go anywhere.”
“Hey! I’ll be here!”
Shiro grinned. “Just making sure. I’ll be back soon!” He dashed out the door and towards the mess hall. As he neared the kitchen, he passed a sad and dejected-looking Pidge. “Pidge?” She didn’t seem to hear him, and if she did, she ignored him and continued on towards her quarters. “Great, do we have two love-sick puppies?” He sighed before continuing on towards the kitchen. He found Colleen stirring a big pot of soup.
She smiled at him as he entered. “Hello Shiro, what can I do for you?”
“Oh, um, did you notice Pidge?”
Colleen sighed as she nodded. “Yes, I’m making this soup for her, in fact.”
“Is she, is she love-sick?”
“You noticed too, huh?”
“Well, not only that, but, I have another patient.”
Colleen blinked. “Really? Two cases in one day?”
Shiro sighed. “So it would seem. I’ll order that they take the day off tomorrow.”
Colleen nodded. “Good, I was just going to ask if you can order a day off for Pidge. Now, if you don’t mind my asking, who’s the other patient?”
Shiro nodded. “Yes, and that’s kind of why I’m here. I was going to pick up some food and bring it back to his room so we can talk.”
“Would you like a bowl of soup for yourself?”
“If that’s not too much trouble for you, yes please.”
“Oh, not at all. I’m sure I’ve made enough for the whole crew.”
“Oh, by the way, where are Hunk and Sal?”
“They’re eating right now. They left not too long before you came in, in fact. They helped me get this soup together.”
Shiro sniffed. “Well, it does smell really good.” His stomach grumbled and he grinned sheepishly. “And I am kind of hungry.”
Colleen chuckled. “Alright, I think it’s about done. Can you get me some bowls please?” Shiro helped Colleen serve three bowls of soup. She added bread and crackers for each serving before they each grabbed a tray and headed towards the rooms. Shiro went to Keith’s room, and Colleen went to her daughter’s.
She knocked on the doot. “Katie? I brought you some soup.”
There was a slight rustling from behind the door before it opened to reveal a red-eyed Pidge. She took a whiff of the soup. “That … smells good.”
“Good,” said Colleen as she entered the room, “then I hope you’ll eat it all.”
“But, I’m not really sick.”
“Honey, being love-sick is almost just as bad.”
Pidge’s eyes widened. “You, you know?”
Colleen placed the tray down on the dresser before wrapping Pidge into a hug. “First of all, I’m your mother. Secondly, it’s not too hard to notice it. Shiro noticed it when he passed you on the way to the mess hall.”
“Oh, I didn’t mean for anyone to notice.”
“Apparently, and you didn’t even tell me about it. Why?”
“I, I thought it would have gone away by now, but, it … apparently hasn’t.”
“Of course not, if you’ve had a crush on someone for a long time, it could take just as long to get over it. And if you’re actually in love, well, all bets are off. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see if Lance will like you back.”
Pidge gasped as she glanced at her mom in shock. “How?”
“I just told you, I’m your mother, I notice these things. But right now, you’re just going to have to wait. Time will tell if Lance and Allura really love each other. Time will also tell if you really do love Lance, or if it’s just a crush.”
“What do I do in the meantime?”
“Be Lance’s friend. The reason why your father and I work so well together is because we’re the best of friends. Being in love is important for a relationship, but being the best of friends is equally so.”
Pidge sniffed. “Yeah, alright.”
“Oh, and Shiro did order that you are to have a day off tomorrow. Maybe it will help a bit.”
“I’d like that.”
About half an hour later, Colleen left the room with a pile of dirty dishes. She nearly ran into Lance on the way back to the kitchen.
“Oh man, I’m so sorry Mrs. Holt!”
“You’re fine Lance, I didn’t drop anything,” said Colleen with a smile. “Where are you off to in such a hurry?”
“Oh, Shiro just announced that Pidge and Keith have the day off tomorrow because they aren’t feeling too good. I was just wanting to check up on Pidge.”
“Oh, don’t worry, it’s nothing serious. She’ll be back to her old self after a good rest.”
“Oh, good. I had noticed she wasn’t her normal self, but I couldn’t ask her if she was alright. She always seemed so mad at me. But, I’m glad to hear she’s going to be feeling better soon.”
“Me too. Thank you for looking after Pidge.”
“Oh, no problem, that’s what friends are for,” said Lance with a smile. Colleen smiled sadly. “Mrs. Holt?”
“I’m sorry Lance, it’s just … Pidge didn’t have very many friends before going to the Garrison and becoming a member of Voltron. I just wanted to thank you for being one of those friends.”
“And I’m glad that we are friends. Well, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go let the rest of the team know about Pidge. Bye Mrs. Holt!” Lance waved at her before taking off down a corridor.
Lance paused and turned. “Yeah?”
“I’ve heard a bunch of stories saying that you were the dumb one.”
“Oh uh, yeah, about that …”
“They’re wrong.” Lance blinked as Colleen continued with a bright smile. “You’re obviously one of the few smart people, because you were smart enough to see how special my little girl is, when not many others did. Thank you.” Colleen turned and went towards the kitchen, leaving Lance stunned. “Now, if only you’d be smart enough to realize that you like Katie as more than a friend, we’ll be good,” she mumbled to herself.