They are on a mission. A crucial mission. Krolia knows this. She also knows that this mission has too much free time (even the survival aspects are child’s play, she’s survived worse as a pup) and she’s bored out of her mind.
Not one of her comrades would dare to call her lazy or carefree--her devotion to her work is unparalleled. But even she needs to wind down and her only company in the Quantum Abyss is a son as quiet and awkward as she.
She needs to figure out something, some way to relax and to allow them to open up to each other, even just a little. And during a routine scavenge to find edible fruits and vegetation, she finds her answer in the form of Mulflox berries.
Roughly ten quintants later and her pet project is complete. She beckons Keith over to a small hole inlaid with stone, located about ten feet from their cave.
“What is that--” The rest of Keith’s question cuts off once he gets a whiff of the potent smell from the makeshift container once Krolia lifts the flat rock covering it. “Is that, is that alcohol? You seriously made booze? Here?” Krolia simply shrugs and pulls out two stone cups she brought with her.
“I figured we could use a break. And what better way to relax than some good mead?” She dips each cup in the mixture and hands one to Keith, keeping the other for herself. “While I’m positive this is safe for consumption, I had to let natural yeast ferment it. So the effects may be a bit. Unpredictable.”
Keith raises an eyebrow, holding the cup and squinting, as if the contents were some poisonous chemicals. “And yet you want us to drink this stuff.” Krolia finishes covering the hole back up, then picks up her drink, a mischievous glint in her eyes. “What are Galra if not possessors of strong stomachs?”
They enjoy the mead after dinner (Krolia having to wheedle Keith into at least trying some to humor her) and Krolia is treated to a pleasant buzz that bleeds the pent up tension from her muscles. Krolia also learns something very important. Namely that while Keith’s stomach is certainly strong, his Galra genes did not bless him with alcohol tolerance. At all.
After only a single cup, Keith is already plastered. How is this possible? Krolia has not the faintest clue. The first ten dobashes he spends slumped on the wall singing, or really just repeating the same three lines because he clearly forgot the rest of the song. Although he does have a surprisingly nice singing voice. He definitely got it from Henry.
He somehow manages to slide the rest of the way down, stares at the ceiling and stills. Krolia assumes he's asleep until she hears giggling. Because as he tells her, a groove in it looks like Shiro’s scar.
“Mom. Mom. Look. Look at it.” He tries to pat her leg but misses and hits the ground three inches away. She rolls her eyes. “I know Keith, it looks like your brother.” His snickers turn into belly laughs, which continues for a few minutes. He quiets suddenly, jolts up, and nearly faceplants, Krolia catching him just in time.
Keith blinks and stares at Krolia, his normally sharp eyes bleary and unfocused. Then decides he has an invitation to jump in her lap and cuddle, as if he was a tiny pup and not an adult male made of long and gangly limbs. Despite the slight discomfort, she finds herself rather pleased with this arrangement. Keith usually resists any sort of touch and while Krolia is hardly the affectionate type, she does have urges to hug her son on occasion. Which she fully indulges in now, wrapping her long arms around his torso.
He buries his face in her shoulder and slurs “Sing to me? Please?” Krolia’s thoughts stutter to a stop. “Sing?” He nods. “Pop sings to me all time. He has a nice voice.” She replays that in her head and realizes he used present tense to describe his father. Something breaks a little in her heart and she blinks back sudden tears. “I can sing you something. But my voice isn’t as nice as Henry's.”
Krolia wracks her brain for a moment, before deciding on a simple Galran lullaby. One she would hum to Keith when he was just an infant. She indulges in the sweet memories, softly rocking until she hears the faint breathing of sleep from her son, a small smile tugging his lips.