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They Came Through The Rift

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Lance, Hunk, and Pidge ran through the halls of the Altean ship, Slav and Sven on their heels as they turned the sharp corners.

“Yoo Hoo, in here!” Sven’s sing song voice rang out as he darted into a room. All 5 slipped in, closing the door as they heard the boots of the Altean sentinels run past. “Ok, so we need to come up with a plan! Any suggestions?”

“We need to get to Keith and Allura!” Lance felt like he had said this at least 20 times already. “I don’t want to leave them with that commander.”

“If we leave this room we’ll be totally exposed” Hunk was clearly nervous, his fingers flying to his mouth.

“But if we stay then we're trapped!” Countered Pidge. She had a point; they couldn’t stay here and wait to be found.

Suddenly there was silence in the hall, the boot falls having stopped. All 5 stared at the door, Hunk and Slav were cuddled together while Pidge held her breath. Lance and Sven were ready to strike.

The door opened to a young Galra standing there staring angrily at the group. He had the trademark Galra ears with yellow eyes, sharp fangs, purple skin, face markings, and black hair. The black hair had a slight purple hue and was undeniably a mullet. Even though he was purple, Lance would recognize that face and hair anywhere.

“Wait - KEITH??” The mention of their team member causing realization to dawn on the other paladins.

“Who the hell is Keith?” Snapped the Galra, crossing his arms and raising an eyebrow. Yup this was definitely Keith. “Sven, Slav! What the hell guys! You were supposed to be back at the ship 10 dobashes ago. WHAT HAPPENED??” The sudden change from annoyed to angry was all it took to remove any doubt from the other two paladins.

“Hey, Not-Keith we need to move!” Pidge’s sarcastic name calling made the Galra shoot her an incredulous look before nodding once and turning to leave. The group followed as Not-Keith sliced his way through the sentinels with ease.

Soon reinforcements arrived and while Sven, Not-Keith, and the three paladins were skilled - they were vastly outnumbered. Not-Keith ducked down a hall and vanished, as the others were taken captive to be brought back to the commander.

“Sven are you ok? You saved my life!” Lance looked down at the injured man, a tear coming to his eye.

“I’ll be ok, just get me to space hospital!” Sven wasn’t looking so good, but there was nothing they could do. Shots fired around them and Lance heard Keith’s voice command them to their lions. He lay Sven down with Slav and ran for his lion. They were going to stop this! He would avenge Sven and stop the evil alternate Alteans from getting the comet ore!

Keith and Allura were walking back from the control room, a heavy conversation weighing on them both - Lotor had the comet ore. They walked in silence down the halls as they made their way to the lounge until Lance came sliding around the corner.

“KEITH!!! KEITH!!! KEEEEEEEITH!!!!” His voice yelling as he ran.

“What is it?” Keith was ready to strike, his bayard fully formed in his hand. Lance stopped in front of him, pausing to catch his breath. “LANCE! What’s going on?”

“Not-Keith and Sven are in the medbay. They sneaked into one of the lions before we left!”

“What? What are you talking about? Who’s Not-Keith? What’s going on?” He was so confused. The others had gone off with Shiro's alternate reality version (Sven) and Slav while he stayed with Allura. What did they get up to? Did they find an alternate reality version of him too?

Keith and Allura exchanged a pointed look before they both tore off in the direction of the medbay, hearing an exhausted groan from Lance as he tried to catch up.

The doors opened to Slav (their version) standing with Coran over the controls while Pidge and Hunk were talking to a Galra. Allura immediately drew her bayard and charged at him, ignoring the shouts from the two paladins. The Galra easily dodged her attack and slid to the side of the room as Lance tackled Allura.

“STOP! Allura don’t hurt him! It’s Keith - well it’s Not-Keith!” Hunk’s urgent voice carried over the room.

“What? Is it Keith or not?” Allura was thoroughly confused.

Lance moved off her, offering his hand to help her stand.

“Wait! Did you just say Allura? As in the Altean EMPRESS Allura?” Not-Keith’s jaw was on the floor, which only served to showcase his sharp fangs.

“Ok what is going on??” Keith’s voice cut the tension. “EXPLAIN!” he was done! Enough with the confusing half information. Someone had better explain the situation in full immediately or he was going to start swinging.

Not-Keith turned his yellow gaze over and his eyes flew open in shock. “Well, I guess you must be Keith” He said with a sarcastic chuckle and sly grin crossing his face. Who the hell is this guy? Keith thought to himself. His eyes taking in the figure from across the room. The young Galra’s features were softer than normal, looking almost human aside from his yellow eyes, fangs, Galra ears, and purple skin. As he looked closer he noticed more and more familiar traits. Like looking into a funhouse mirror - the reflection was close but not quite the same. Suddenly the name ‘Not-Keith’ clicked!

“You’re me? From an alternate reality?” the shock in his voice was hard to hide.

“Hmmph” Not-Keith exhaled “I could say the same.” He gave Keith a quick once over before continuing, “You look like them, why?”

“What? What do you mean why? I’m half human.”

“No shit, me too genius.” Not-Keith rolled his eyes and kicked off from the wall, walking towards him adding “But why do you look like our human father, and I look like our Galra mother?”

“Alternate realities! Obviously it gave different opportunities for your mixed genes to express themselves.” Pidge interjected. Both boys turned to look at her, blinked twice then turned back to each other. They both crossed their arms and huffed at the same time. “Woah this is weird!” She added having watched the exchange.

“Ok Not-Keith” Lance was about to continue before the Galra threw his head back and groaned loudly.

“STOP CALLING ME THAT!” he glared pointedly at the Cuban boy.

“Fine, what’s your name then?”

“Yurak.” All eyes turned to Keith; he had answered the question with out even thinking about it. “That’s my middle name. My father said it’s what my mother wanted to call me but they had settled on Keith instead.”

Yurak nodded, “Ya. Except the Galra don’t have those, so I’m just Yurak. Never heard the name Keith before.” His gaze softened as he spoke to his counterpart. “Did you grow up on Earth then?”

“Ya, did you grow up with the Blades?”

“Who are the Blades?” Yurak cocked an eyebrow at him, waiting for an explanation.

“The Blade of Marmora, a Galran rebel group trying to take out Emperor Zarkon.” A light bulb went off. “Wait, in your reality it's the Alteans that took control for the last 10,000 years. So that means you are fighting them.”

A not so subtle glare from Yurak landed on Allura. “Mhm. The Alteans destroyed our home; they hunted down the Galra and tried to make us their slaves. But we’re not so easily concurred” his lips were pulling back over his fangs, claws rounding into fists as he became increasingly more agitated. He spoke his words to Keith, not once moving his gaze from Allura’s eyes.

“Nor are we” She stared right back at him.

“hmm you sure about that Princess? If what your Slav tells me is true, and you really are the last of the Alteans in this reality, then you seem pretty concurred to me.” The smirk on his face doing nothing to hide the hostility.

Keith let out a small chuckle as everyone turned to look at him; a mixture of angry glares and shocked surprise. “Well he’s not wrong” Was all that came out - and he was pretty sure that was a mistake the moment the words left his lips. His relationship with Allura was slowly improving since his heritage had been revealed, but they still had a long way to go.

Yurak shot him a half-cocked smile and turned back to meet Allura’s glare, an air or arrogance hanging around him like a cape. Keith realized he needed to change the topic, get them back on track before things got out of hand.

“If you didn’t grow up on Earth, where did you grow up?” He wanted to know so badly; if Yurak had grown up with their mom then he could ask him about her. Maybe even find out who she is and track her down in this reality.

“With the Guns of Gamara.” He shrugged the answer like it was no big deal. “When I was born I looked almost completely Galra - almost, too Galra to pass as human, so mom realized we couldn’t stay on Earth safely. We ended up leaving when I was still a small kit, about 2 yrs old. I was too young to really remember dad or even Earth for that matter.” He dropped the nonchalant tone and stared at Keith for a moment before continuing. “Maybe we should talk about this in private. I’d never met a human before Sven and I certainly don’t walk to talk but private stuff, and especially the Guns of Gamara, in front of the Alteans.” He shot a wary look at Allura and Coran.

“K.” Keith didn’t care that everyone was loosing their minds, he wanted to know more about his mom and the life he could have had. “Let’s go to my room.”

“Not till Sven wakes up. I need to make sure he’s ok.”

“Let me guess … “ Lance put on an incredibly mocking tone “… He’s like a brother to you”

“Actually he’s my mate" He turned to menacingly face Lance, "so shut your mouth before I permanently shut it for you.” Yurak was back to hostile. If this is what it was like for the paladins to deal with Keith, he knew now why they got so annoyed with his mood changes. But for some reason that last line had him PISSED OFF. His face must have betrayed him because he caught Yurak giving him a knowing look.

Lance blushed from pink to deep red and every shade in between. Before turning to look at Keith and blushing even more. Naturally this did not go unnoticed by Yurak, who also turned to look at Keith again.

“Is the loud one your mate?” he asked as if it was no big deal. Both Keith and Lance sputtered their protests and tried to form words but neither fully succeeded. Yurak just laughed, a genuine laugh - not the typical sarcastic laugh he and Keith shared. “ya ok, sure thing guys” he added with a wink.

Pidge died, she fell to the ground clutching her sides laughing as Hunk blushed and giggled. Lance continued sputtering his objections and Keith just gave up, rolling his eyes.

It was at this point that Coran made a small sound, like a throat clearing, and Keith realized he had completely forgotten he and Slav were even there. The Altean crossed the room and stood beside Yurak who visibly tensed at his presence.

“Shiro - Sven, will be in the pod for at least a few more vargas, maybe even a full quintant. His injury was pretty severe. I'm glad we could get him into a pod in time.” Coran was speaking directly to Yurak, and his words were kind, even though the other was shifting slightly into a more aggressive stance.

“Thank you.” The words came through clenched teeth as Coran had placed his hand on the young Galra’s shoulder. “Once he is out will he be ok to go home?”

“I’m afraid even if he was, that it would be impossible. We need the comet ore to travel between realities, and it was stolen.”

“Ya, by you guys! I watched you take it. So just use it to get us back.” Yurak was getting agitated. His ears pinned back against his head.

“We can’t!” Keith countered. “Coran is telling you the truth. When we got back we were hit by an energy blast from the Altean ship, it knocked us all out and Lotor stole the comet. We can’t take you back to your reality Ok.”

“WAIT! LOTOR?? He’s still alive? That traitor sold out his own father and joined the Alteans!” Yurak was back to yelling.

“Joined the Alteans?” Allura piped up, “How could he join the Alteans, he’s Galra”

“Not completely. His mother, Honerva, was Altean.” He cocked up his eyebrow again, “Do you not know this?”

Allura shook her head as her hand flew to her mouth. The room was silent and the tension was building.

“Well this is awkward." He looked back to Keith, "Since I’m stuck here, I guess we have more time to talk then I thought.” His attempt at a joke didn’t help defuse the situation. Everyone was still reeling about the news of Lotor’s Altean ancestry.

The door to the medbay slid shut behind them as Keith and Yurak left to talk in private. Lance looked around the room, the confusion and frustration Yurak left in his wake was probably to be expected since he was basically Keith - purple alien Keith. He shook his head, trying to clear the cobwebs from his brain as he looked over to Sven in the pod. This whole day was making his head hurt.

Allura and Coran were deep in conversation, while Pidge and Hunk were becoming increasingly more annoyed with Slav who was erratically pushing buttons on the console. Lance watched them all for a moment before deciding it was really Keith and Yurak he wanted to talk to. He turned and left in the direction he had seen the two half-Galra walking. It was weird to think about, Keith’s heritage was known now but it was easy to ignore since he didn’t look at all Galra. Sure the boy had violet eyes, and Lance swore there was a slight purple tint to that mullet, but other than that he looked completely human.

Yurak on the other hand was the opposite. He looked almost completely Galra with only a few features that looked more human. He had the same sharp jawline that Keith had, and the same high cheekbones, and the same body build. Lance would never admit it, but he noticed these things right away. Which brought another thought to his mind; if Yurak and Sven were … what was the word he used? ‘Mates’ - did that mean that Keith was also into guys? He knew Shiro was.

Lance stopped when he heard the voices through Keith’s door. “… But what about Mom?” “What about her?” “She’ll have no idea where you are. Aren’t you worried?” “No, I’m on a mission, she knows that. Besides, I’ll get back eventually.” “Hopefully, but we have no idea where Lotor went or how to get that comet ore back” “Well then your Altean PRINCESS needs to figure that shit out.” “We ALL need to figure it out.” “What ever. What about dad, does he know you’re out here?” “Dad’s dead, I’m sure he’s fine with it.”

The cold tone in Keith’s voice had stopped the conversation in its tracks. Lance suddenly felt terrible for eavesdropping, realizing exactly why they had wanted privacy. He turned to leave but it was too late. The door hissed open and Yurak grabbed him by the collar and slammed him into the wall.

“What are you doing out here? Spying on us? DID THE PRINCESS SEND YOU?” He was inches away from Lances face, teeth bared and eyes narrowed into a menacing glare.

“No, No, I just - I came to talk to you!”

“LET HIM GO!” Keith growled and Lance could tell he was seconds away from ripping Yurak off him. The Galra released his shirt, shoving him hard against the wall again. “What the hell Lance. Get out of here.”

“What the hell Lance?? I’m not the one who went all feral and attacked.” Lance literally jumped, his skin crawling at the snarl that ripped from Yurak.

“Don’t call me feral!!” His teeth were clenched which just served to make him look even more wild.

“UGHH! For FUCK sake, get the hell out of here Lance! Yurak, leave him alone or I swear to god I’ll …”

Lance didn’t wait to hear the rest of Keith’s threat; he was already running down the hall. Something about Yurak scared him, and he wondered if Keith had that same edge and just kept it buried or if his stronger human genes made him more ‘tame’. He knew Keith was aggressive and hot headed but he never seemed feral, not like Yurak did.

Chapter Text

The door shut behind the Cuban boy as he ran down the hall. Keith kept right on yelling – he was pissed! How could this version of him be so mean to Lance? Didn’t he know special Lance was?

“Wow, ok calm down! I didn’t mean to piss you off; I just want to be sure the Altean isn’t planning something.” Yurak seemed to sense the anger rippling off him and shot his hands up in surrender.

“UGHH SHE ISN’T! I know it’s hard for you to grasp but on this side of the rift the Alteans are the ‘Good Guys’ and it’s the Galra who took over.” Keith felt like he had explained this too many times already. Just get it already!

“hmm doesn’t hurt to be wary.” Yurak shot a skeptical look at the door.

Their conversation hadn’t been going well; he was incredibly difficult to get along with. Refusing to open up or share any personal details and incredibly stubborn. This seemed cool at first but now Keith was not having a good time. He was NOT as stubborn as Yurak, they others always say he’s stubborn but NO, he was not like this.

Without even realizing it, he had let out a slight growl of annoyance. The more time he spent around Yurak the more he noticed his own Galra characteristics.

“Fine, you’re so damn stubborn. It’s really annoying.” Yurak voiced exactly what he had been thinking - again. Crossing his arms and plopping down on Keith’s bed he continued, “So what now? You trust the Empress Princess,” he corrected himself, “and I trust you – er – me kinda. I don’t know this whole thing is so confusing.” With that he threw his arms up and fell back against the bed.

Keith moved to sit beside him, and feeling the weight of the situation, fell back as well. They lay there for a few ticks before Yurak broke the silence.

“I want to go check on Sven.” He didn’t get up, but turned instead to look over at Keith. “Where is your Sven? I haven’t seen him.”

Keith blinked, and the pain at the loss of his brother hit him hard. “Shiro,” he replied, “Our version is named Shiro, and he’s missing.” He turned his face away; he didn’t want Yurak to see him upset like this. But if he couldn’t hurt in front of himself, then who could he share this with?

“Oh” a simple answer, but all that was needed. “I’m sorry.” And he was. Keith could feel it in his tone, there was genuine sympathy there. “You wanna talk about it? Tell me what happened?”


“Thank god, cause I didn’t really wanna hear it.”

“What the hell? Then why ask?”

“Curtesy. But I’ll just imagine him as Sven, who is currently in a healing pod. I don’t know if I can handle that.”

“That’s fair.” He understood completely.

The two just lay in silence for a little longer before Yurak moved. “Ok I can’t take it anymore, I gotta go see him.” He got up and went for the door before pausing and turning back. “You coming?”

“Oh, um ya I’ll come with you.” Keith followed him out the door and down the hall towards the medbay, watching the way he moved. It was eerie how similar they were but he didn’t want to think about that – it was too weird.

The door opened and the room had mostly cleared in the time they had been gone. Only Lance and Coran were there, both of which gave the two boys an apprehensive look when they entered. Keith had a feeling Lance had told him what happened back at his room.

All three of them watched as Yurak walked over to the pod that held Sven and placed his hand on the glass. He hung his head as a small sniffle escaped him before sliding down to a crouched position, hand still touching the pod. His head now buried in his knees, he let out barely notifiable cry, body shaking slightly as he kept his hand still. His quiet tears streamed down his purple cheeks and he curled up in front of the pod, never once losing contact.

The stillness in the room was deafening. Keith could hear his own heart beating as loud as thunder in his ears. The pit in his gut, the one that he had been denying existed ever since Shiro disappeared, suddenly became too much to ignore. He crumbled next to Yurak, holding his counterpart tightly.

“I know you’re worried about him, but he’ll be ok. Coran will make sure of it.” Yurak’s eyes darted over Keith’s shoulder to meet with the ginger Altean. He could feel the hesitation in the other’s mind and continued quietly, these next words were for only him to hear, “when it was Lance that needed the pod, it killed me. I was so worried about him but Coran assured me he would be fine – and he was!”

The other boy just nodded and rested his forehead to the base of Keith’s neck. They sat there for a while, neither one really wanting to move. It was comforting to have someone to be so intimate with; someone who truly knew what you were feeling and needed you too. Keith kept looking up at Sven, trying to will him into being Shiro, but he knew better. Yurak was going to get his beloved mate back, but Keith’s brother was still missing.

Yurak looked up at him from over Keith’s shoulder and the tears made his yellow eyes look like they were filled with sparkling liquid gold. Ok so maybe he wasn’t as scary as Lance had thought. He remembered back to when he first met Keith, how Keith had intimidated him back then, and how they were so close now. He was wrong to have jumped to conclusions so fast. He knew how Keith handled pain and loss – it always came out as anger, maybe his counterpart wasn’t so different.

He turned to Coran, ready to take back everything he had said and saw a knowing look on the man’s face. Nothing needed to be voiced, Coran understood, and Lance was grateful for that.

After about 3 vargas Lance finally broke the silence. Keith and Yurak was sitting side by side, leaning against Sven’s pod, not saying a word.

“Coran said it could be a full quintant before Sven is ready to come out.” Both of them looked up at Lance at the same time, both narrowed their eyes in the same way, and both turned to look at each other before Keith turned back to Lance.

“You’re right; we should probably get something to eat.” Keith smiled at him, and Lance blushed. Then he turned to address Yurak, “If you want to stay here I get it. I can bring you some food goo to eat, but you shouldn’t sleep in here tonight.”

“Do I even want to know what ‘food goo’ is? Doesn’t sound very appealing.”

“Ha, it’s terrible. But it’s food … ish.”

After taking a moment to mull it over Yurak looked up at Sven, nodded once, and stood. “Ok let’s go.”

Chapter Text

Sitting at the large table in the kitchen, Yurak scowled at his bowl of green food goo. Keith had been right, this stuff was as terrible as it looked. Yellow had plopped down beside him and was now offering a small jar of spices. They looked odd as well, and had strange symbols written on the label. He looked around and saw that Blue, Green, and Yellow had already put these weird flakes in their bowls so he took the jar and sprinkled a small amount before taking another bite. The sensation that followed was more alarming than he could have expected. The flakes had added quite a bit of spice to the meal making his tongue and throat burn while his lips tingled. It was awful!

He started sputtering while desperately clawing at his throat, gasping for air, and searching the table in need of water. Feeling the heat rising to his cheeks as sweat started to form on his forehead. He hissed loudly at Green when she appeared out of nowhere to pass him a pouch of water. Then swiped his claws at Yellow when he reached across him for the jar of pain flakes. Blue’s reaction time was impressive, he had foreseen what was about to happen and grabbed Yurak’s wrists before the claws connected with the skin on Yellow’s arms, pinning them down to the table. Growling loudly, and menacingly at Blue, he bared his teeth and narrowed his eyes.

Suddenly a hard whack to the back of the head had him growling in another direction, only to be growled at right back. The three paladins all froze in place, jaws on the ground as they stared at the one who had hit him. Keith was standing directly behind him, his eyes had changed and now had the distinctly Galran yellow sclera with narrowed pupils. He was still letting out a low, quiet growl from deep in his chest. The others were in shock but Yurak knew exactly what the reaction meant; it was a warning to leave the blue paladin alone.

As Keith sat beside him, eyes returning to their normal white and rounded violet, he felt his wrists being released. Immediately reaching for the water pouch he slurping most of it down in a single sip. The cool water was a refreshing relief to the burning that had taken over. Once calm he turned to Keith to apologize only to be met with a cold stare that he knew was meant to point him in the right direction. The nice thing about Keith was that they didn’t need to voice their thoughts for the most part; they could understand the other based on expressions and general body language - perks of being the same person he guessed.

“Sorry for scaring you …. all of you” He said to Blue before turning to the other two paladins as his counterpart gave a single nod of approval.

Green and Yellow verbally accepted the apology but Blue was still staring at Keith.

“W-What the hell was that??” He sputtered out.

Keith just shrugged “Ever since activating my blade I’ve noticed more Galra instincts coming to the surface. Guess I had them really suppressed or something.” His words sloughed off him like they were no big deal, obviously hoping it would end the discussion. Instead they only served to pull the green paladin’s attention.

“Interesting,” She said, hands weaving together while the two index fingers pressed against her lips. “We should look into this, see if anything else has changed.”

Keith just rolled his eyes and ignored her, picking up the jar of pain flakes before spitting out the contents of his mouth in surprise. “You didn’t add this to your food goo did you? No wonder you freaked out.” He threw his head back laughing as he put the jar back down.

“Are they poison? They were not enjoyable!”

“No I bet they weren’t.” He was trying to get the words out through his laughter, but managed to calm down enough to continue, “These are chili flakes, they come from Earth and lots of Humans like to add them to food for added flavour and a little heat. Lance found them in the space mall and bought all of the jars they had. Personally I’ve never really liked them, but a tiny sprinkling did make the food goo a smidge better. Ever since my Galra side has been coming to the surface I’ve found I can’t even handle a little bit anymore. Too spicy”

Yurak nodded and pushed his bowl away - too spicy indeed. ‘Lance’ was a name Keith had mentioned several times, and usually in the presence of the blue paladin. He looked across the table at Blue and raised an eyebrow, catching the boy’s attention.

“Lance?” He asked and the boy nodded. He then turned to Yellow and raised his eyebrow again, cocking his head to the side and waited for the human to provide his name.

“That’s Hunk.” it was Lance who spoke and Yurak turned to meet his gaze. “This is Pidge, and you obviously already know who Keith is.”

Yurak nodded, “Hunk - Lance - Pidge” he said as he looked around the table, making eye contact with each.

They were walking back to the medbay, Keith and Yurak in the lead matching each other’s strides and gate exactly, with Lance following close behind. Hunk leaned in and Pidge almost didn’t catch what he was saying, she was far too lost in thought about running some comparisons with the two half Galra.

“I wonder if we have doppelgängers out there. I mean we probably do, but would we meet them if we travelled through the rift again?” Hunk was trying to speak quietly enough that the others didn’t over hear.

“Probably not, Keith is part alien so that’s why he was in space in that reality. No Voltron remember. We wouldn’t have been paladins so I doubt we would run into ourselves unless we went to that reality’s version of Earth.”

“What about Shiro - er, Sven. He isn’t part alien but he ended up in space!”

“I don’t know Hunk! Just ask Yurak if he knows our counterparts. He didn’t seem to recognize the three of us so I doubt we ever made it off Earth in that reality.” She paused, a new thought crossing her mind, “We could ask Sven when he wakes up, he might recognize us from the Garrison. Shiro was one of our teachers before he left for Kerberos after all.”

“GREAT IDEA!” The excitement on Hunk’s face was infectious and Pidge found herself smiling broadly as they received a questioning look from Lance. The ‘twins’ as she was going to call them, didn’t seem to register anything aside from their own conversation.

Nothing had changed with Sven in the varga since they left. Coran and Allura were gone from the room, leaving only Slav. Without hesitation Yurak walked straight for the pod and sat down in front of it, pulling out a data pad from his back pocket. Keith walked over to him and sat down, looking over his shoulder at the pad and recognizing the lettering as Galran. Realization dawned on him - Yurak was raised by the Galra, by their mother; of course he would understand Galran.

“What does it say?” he asked not really wanting to pry but trying to let him know that the information was still private.

Yurak didn’t look up, he simply read aloud the message on the screen “Scheduled departure time lapsed - report to base for immediate check-in. Pod 14A5 - status report requested. Immediate status update requested for Pod 14A5. Distress signal activated remotely for Pod 14A5 - all units be on look out. Pod 14A5 location found - still docked with Altean ship - do not engage. Pod 14A5 crew presumed deceased.”

He tried to send a message out in return but received an error. “Looks like I am still receiving updates but I can’t send any out. Weird.” Pidge grabbed the data pad out of his hands and started furiously tapping away, delighted when it responded to her touch. Clearly this version of the Galra didn’t bother genetically encoding their tech.

“Hmmm I don’t think you can actually receive anything. These messages came in as Voltron was travelling back through the rift to our reality. It must have warped time from your reality in the process, letting you receive messages that hadn’t been sent yet.” She was still hunched over the pad as Yurak yanked it back.

“I’m going to start a log, so that when I make it back to my own reality I can share an accurate recount of events. Can you help me fill in gaps in my knowledge of your reality’s timeline?” Pidge nodded yelling something about her laptop as she ran out of the room.

“Yurak, can you teach me to read Galran?” Keith’s voice sounded weaker than he intended, nervous about the boy’s response.

“You can’t read Galran?? Can you speak it?” As expected he sounded genuinely shocked.

“No, I grew on Earth and the only languages I speak are Human ones.” Yurak nodded with understanding at Keith’s explanation. And padded the floor beside him.

“K, sit. We’ll go over the basics but it will be easier to teach you to read if you can speak the language so we’ll do that first. I don’t know how long I’ll be stuck here but we may as well make the most of the time we have.” He smiled then looked down before meeting Keith’s eyes with a questioning look. “Will you teach me our father’s language? You call it English right? I can understand you guys because of the translators but it would be cool to actually be able to speak it.”

“Of course but you have two languages to learn if you want to learn dad’s language and the language the paladins speak.”

“Wait, they’re different?”

“Ya, the paladins and I all speak English with each other, and that’s the language Sven was speaking on the Altean ship. But our dad was of Japanese decent and that’s the language we would speak when I was growing up.”

“Are they similar?”

“HA not even close.” A small chuckle escaped him and he looked up at Sven before a heavy weight settled on his chest. “Shiro is Japanese too, we used to speak it together at the Garrison. He would leave me notes in my locker, or on my tests and assignments in Japanese. It was like our own secret language in a way since there wasn’t many other students or staff that understood it.” A tear slipped down his cheek, which he quickly wiped away. “I really miss him.”

Without skipping a beat Yurak pulled him close and started purring. It was an incredibly odd sensation but Keith melted into it, relaxing into the comforting sound as instinct took over.

Chapter Text

The full quintant Coran predicted had come and passed with Sven still in the pod. He showed no signs of improvement and the stress was starting to weigh on the group, none more so than Yurak who was an absolute mess. He had not left the medbay since the chili flakes incident and now even refused to leave the vicinity of the pod, having setup a makeshift bed in front of it. Keith had decided to stay in the medbay over night with Yurak to keep him company while the rest of the team split off to their rooms.

It was early, but Lance was worried about Keith. Normally he would be sound asleep, peacefully listening to ocean sounds while dreaming of home. But last night was different, he couldn’t sleep, he was too worried about the three in the medbay to rest peacefully. Reluctantly he crawled out of bed and hit the showers hoping the water would pull him out of this funk. Lance desperately needed his beauty rest, if he didn’t get a full 8hrs of sleep he was grouchy and irritable - basically he turned into a Spanish-speaking version of Keith.

Rushing through his normal routine, Lance found himself standing in front of the medbay doors. He paused for a moment, knowing Yurak would refuse to leave for food and decided to grab three bowls of food goo for them. As he entered the kitchen he smelled what reminded him of freshly made French toast and looked around to see Hunk hunched over a mixing bowl.

“Hey dude, whatcha makin’?” He stuck his face over Hunk’s shoulder and popped a finger into the batter.

“Eww Lance! Contamination man, gross.” Hunk swatted at his arm and turned away, protectively hugging the bowl.

“Come on, just let me try it! I’m starving.”

“No, you can wait and eat with everyone else. If you’re that hungry grab a bowl of goo.” It was hard to genuinely annoy or offend Hunk unless it had to do with food.

Lance huffed loudly before sitting on a stool to wait. “Sooooo … what is it? Smells like French toast but looks like pancake batter.”

“Ya, ya it’s kinda both. I don’t know what food Galra eat for breakfast but I know what a typical Norwegian, Japanese, and American breakfast is like. So I’m making something of each. This way Sven can have a little taste of his home, and Yurak can try foods from his other heritage - kinda like how Keith wanted to try Galra food.”

“Hey cool idea!! I assume this is part of the American breakfast?”

“Ya - French toast pancakes. It’s impossible to find maple syrup in space so I’m flavouring them like French toast instead.” Hunk was so proud of himself for the solution he had come up with, beaming at Lance as he stirred the batter. “I also made some miso soup, rice, and fish for the Japanese breakfast and for Sven I made scrambled eggs with what I hope is a salmon like fish. It’s pink and smells kinda salmon-y so fingers crossed!”

“Eww fish for breakfast?? As long as there’s some strong coffee I’m fine.” Lance was already moving towards the coffee maker they had found at the space mall - that place was a godsend really. Hunk had already brewed a pot and Lance poured himself almost half of it. “We should bring it all to the medbay, I don’t think Galra Keith is going to wanna leave for food.”

“Galra Keith?” Hunk chuckled “you know that our Keith is just as Galra as Yurak - he just looks more human.”

“And acts more human too ... well kinda ... until you piss him off I guess.” Lance was already almost done his coffee and helped himself to the rest of the pot before starting another one so the other paladins could have a cup.

“Hey what was up with that literal growl he gave Yurak last night?” Hunk seemed hesitant to say the words, but his curiosity was clearly getting the better of him.

“Ya and did you see his eyes? So freaky!” Lance added. And kinda hot.

“NO! I missed that from my angle - were they Galra?”

“Ya, yellow and slit. Made him look like a peach version of Yurak.” Lance watched as Hunk nodded to himself and placed the now finished pancakes on a tray with the rest of the food.

“Can you help me take this to the medbay then? Don’t forget the coffee!” he added as the door closed behind him.

They entered the medbay together as quietly as possible, not wanting to wake the two half Garla incase they were still sleeping. Hunk placed the food trays down on the ground and set out a stack of plates & bowls, cups, and cutlery while Lance set down the tray and the coffee pot he was carrying. A weird growly sound could be heard in the room and he turned to see Yurak and Keith sitting beside the pod speaking to each other.

Yurak was saying a sentence, and Keith was repeating it back. Sometimes he would get it close or almost perfect and other times Yurak would stifle a laugh as he corrected the pronunciation. The two looked like they were genuinely getting along which was great, Keith had a hard time connecting with others. But did Yurak count as ‘other’ if they were technically the same person? Lance shook his head; this alternate realities thing was giving him a headache.

He crossed the room and greeted the twins making them jump. Keith exhaled sharply while Yurak hissed at him, both clearly oblivious to the presence of the two paladins. Lance was laughing too hard to tell them about breakfast, but luckily Hunk stepped in to save him.

“Hey guys! I made some breakfast for everyone. I thought ... you know ... with all of this” he gestured between the twins and to the pod, “that it would be cool to try some new things.”

Keith and Yurak stared blankly at him before turning to look at each other then back to Hunk, raise their left eyebrows, and say in unison “What kind of things.”

Hunk launched into an explanation about the foods he made and Lance just watched as Yurak’s eyes lit up! He glanced at the pod then nodded to Hunk and made his way with Keith over to the food station taking in all the options. He made some weird growly sounds that Lance recognized as Galran, and without skipping a beat Keith replied with growly sounds of his own.

For the next few minutes Yurak would point at one of the food items and ask a question in Galran which Keith would answer, also in Galran. Either he picked the language up incredibly fast or it was super simple to learn. Lance settled on it being simple, but after asking Pidge later he would learn that it’s actually really confusing and Keith must just be naturally good at picking up languages - because of course he is! That boy seemed to be good at everything.

Yurak was far too restless to sleep and Keith was determined to keep him company. The two boys stayed up together as Yurak taught him the basics of Galran. The language was incredibly complex, the same word could mean two different things depending on where you put the stress, and getting the sounds just right was proving incredibly difficult. They had been working on it all night but Keith was proud of the progress he had made. Over the course of the evening he learned that his normal speaking voice was more ‘rough’ than most people because his vocal cords were slightly different. Once he had figured this out, it was much easier to make the growly and guttural sounds of the Galran language. Everything started clicking into place around 4 AM and he was able to hold a simple conversation in the new language. Yurak had been incredible impressed with how quickly Keith picked it up, but if he was being honest with himself; most of the sounds were fairly familiar. He vaguely remembered hearing them before - presumably from his mother before she left.

They had decided to teach Keith Galran before teaching Yurak English or Japanese, so that everyone would be able to communicate in at least one language if the coms ever went out. Teaching Yurak English would be more effective, since it was simpler to learn and all the paladins plus Sven spoke it, but they both liked the idea of being able to use their shared cultural language together. Pidge had been learning Altean and Keith was pretty sure both Slav and Coran could speak Galran though they both clearly preferred Altean.

The more time he spent with Yurak the more comfortable he felt with his Galra heritage. Watching him made his own quirks make more sense. Now that those instincts were stronger, he wanted nothing more than to spend as much time with his ‘twin’ as possible. He couldn’t explain it, but he felt incredibly protective of Yurak. Their relationship seemed so easy and natural, they understood each other in a way that no one else could. For the first time since his dad died and Shiro went missing, Keith felt like he had found family. Shiro was as close as he could get to a brother and loved him dearly - but Yurak was blood.

It was now 6:30 AM and he watched his twin’s eyes catch on the door. Turning to look over his shoulder he saw the back of Lance’s head as he walked away, heading for the kitchens. This made his stomach gurgle and he realized how incredibly hungry he was.

“Desire? Shall food get?” he asked in terribly broken Galran. Yurak looked puzzled for a minute before snickering and correcting him. Keith just blushed. Why is this language so damn hard? He thought to himself as he repeated the corrected sentence back. The Galran word for desire could mean both hunger / desire for food OR lust / sexual desire, based on pronunciation. This would most likely lead him into some very awkward conversations if he didn’t make sure to get it right. Based on Yurak’s expression he had definitely gotten it wrong this time.

He cleared his throat and tried again, “Desire? Food us shall get?” Perfect! He had gotten it spot on this time and Yurak’s pleased nod / grin combo made him so happy. The boy looked up at the pod; grin faltering as he furrowed his brows.

“No. Here I shall stay. Worried for Sven still I know I am.” The Galran words took a moment to process, their sentence structure was so different from that of English. Keith nodded, understanding his feelings completely.

“Here I also shall stay.” Yurak let out a little chirp of excitement. Keith had gotten the pronunciation of the words perfect without any help, and he had properly reformatted the sentence. The two kept talking back and forth, discussing Sven’s prospects and trying not to worry. Occasionally Yurak would correct his pronunciation or wording with Keith repeating it back until he got it right. They were so wrapped up in the conversation that neither of them noticed Hunk and Lance come in until the latter was standing right beside them talking.

They ate their breakfast, Yurak choosing a small amount of eggs and salmon before spitting it out and having a bowl of miso soup and rice with Keith. The others arrived one by one and devoured all the pancakes leaving only some rice, eggs, and salmon left over, which they all agreed they would put aside for Sven. Lance had complained loudly about the smell of fish first thing in the morning but shut right up after Keith shoved a pancake in his mouth, making him choke. The twins and Pidge were laughing in hysterics, while Allura and Hunk acted concerned for Lance’s well being. Coran and Slav didn’t even seem to notice.

After a few moments the pod door hissed open and Yurak sprang to his feet, flying across the room to catch a collapsing Sven. They sat in the blankets below the pod as Yurak purring gently, holding him close to his chest. It was far more intimate than when he had done the same for Keith.

Chapter Text

Blinking as the sudden change in setting had his brain whirling; he slowly started to focus on his surroundings. He would have been scared if it weren’t for the familiar feeling of Yurak’s claws combing through his hair, and the soft purring sound coming from his chest. He turned his head up to look his boyfriend in the eyes and smiled as he saw the telltale streaks of freshly shed tears.

“Sven! Glad alive. Not again ever you to do that! Understanding me? NOT AGAIN EVER!” The panic in his voice at the thought of losing him made Sven’s heart leap. He had spoken to him in Galran and Sven was glad he had taken the time to learn it.

He didn’t have the vocal cords needed for the language so he stuck to English for his reply. “I’m sorry, but I did what I needed to. It was the only way to make sure they could stop the Alteans.” He countered, feeling his words being silenced by a swift kiss. His boyfriend was clearly done discussing this. “Ok you win” He managed to get out between kisses.

The room looked oddly familiar, but not in a comforting way. He felt like he had been somewhere similar and it brought up feelings of dread. Looking around again he noticed the white walls and bright blue lights before his eyes settled on the two figures standing by the console – Alteans. We’ve been captured! He started to panic, eyes darting around the room searching for an escape as his breathing picked up. How was Yurak so calm if they had been captured? Was he resigned to their fate?

Suddenly Slav’s face popped up directly in front of his, taking up the majority of his field of view. He gasped and jumped back, falling out of Yurak’s arms in the process.

“Oops, sorry to scare you Shiro! Just making sure you are not dead.” Slav’s thick accent and cheery voice rang through his ears.

“Who – who is Shiro?” He asked. They were all looking at him – Slav, the two Alteans, and several other humans? How was this possible? As far as he knew he was the only human to leave Earth’s solar system. Suddenly the memories came rushing back, and a sharp pain took over his head. The bright lights in the room sending his eyes rolling backwards as the pain shifted into a migraine and he felt a wave of nausea hit him like a brick wall. A water pouch and two little pills appeared in his hand. He had no idea who put them there but he didn’t care; he swallowed the pills and madly chugged the water back.

As they began to work their magic, the migraine cleared and he started to recognize the faces around him. The humans were fellow Earthlings from another reality that he had tried to save from the Alteans, and these two Alteans were clearly from the other reality as well. As he looked at the yellow, blue, and green paladins he realized there was an extra, one he had seen but not spoken to. This one looked an awful lot like a human version of Yurak – Could it be? He turned to his boyfriend and then looked back to the red paladin. It must be; the similarities were too close.

“What is your name? Paladin I haven’t met – red one.”

“Keith, I’m this realities version of Yurak.” The human boy exchanged a look with his Galra counterpart before speaking again, “Sven, do you remember what happened?”

“Yes, it all just came back to me. But where are we? Are we still on the Altean ship?”

This time it was one of the Altean’s who answered and he remembered her as Princess Allura. “No and also, yes. Yurak snuck you into one of the lions of Voltron before we crossed back to our reality. This is my castle, so yes you are on an Altean ship – but no you are not on THAT Altean ship.”

“In essence, you are safe now!” The other Altean clarified. “We placed you in one of our healing pods and fixed you right up! Good as new!” He was positively beaming, pleased with his successful efforts to save the human man. And Sven was grateful. He’d much rather be trapped in another reality than be dead, especially since Yurak was with him.

He turned to face his boyfriend, using his thumb to tenderly wipe the tear tracks from his purple cheeks. “Thank you.” He said softly as he placed a gentle kiss.

Sven was reluctant to eat anything until he saw the food that was saved for him. Lance watched as he hungrily ate every last bite on his plate and slurped down the remaining coffee from the pot. Yurak was chuckling as he sat with his hand on his mate’s back, having retained at least one point of physical contact at all times since he exited the pod. It was actually kind of adorable and reminded him of the breakfast scene from Beauty and the Beast. He was lost in his Disney dream world when a nudge to his shoulder brought him back to reality.

“Um Earth to Lance, are you home?” Keith’s sarcastic tone and cheeky raised eyebrow were very effective at shattering the reverie.

He shot him an incredulous look before biting back with his own sarcastic comment. “Um we’re not on Earth Mullet. You should have said ‘Castle ship to Lance’ then at least you would have been accurate. Now you’re just rude and wrong!” He made sure to throw in a sly grin so his hotheaded comrade would know it was a joke. It worked!

“Har har aren’t you hilarious.” He somehow managed to roll his eyes, shake his head, and huff is words all at the same time. The boy was running sarcasm on expert level. Lance opened his mouth to reply but was stopped in his tracks by growly sounds from Keith followed by immediate sputtering laughter from Yurak and Coran.

“Ahh number 4 you need more practice. That slipup was incredibly funny!” Coran was struggling to breathe.

“Nope, I meant it that way.” Keith replied with a wink and both Yurak and Coran doubled over. Lance wondered why he couldn’t understand what Keith had said, the translator in the ship should have made it sound like English, in fact the Galran from earlier should have sounded like English but it didn’t.

“Um guys, why can’t I understand you?” He was worried – was there something wrong with the castle? Did the castle get hit by the Altean energy blast as well?

“Oh right – we deactivated Galran from the translator so that Yurak could teach me and totally forgot to turn it back on.” Keith had literally face palmed and was muttering ‘so stupid’ under his breath as he walked over to Coran.

After a few ticks Coran had Galran back online and they were all able to understand each other again. Unfortunately for everyone in the room it happened to activate just as Yurak was whispering dirty nothings to Sven in a not-so-quite voice. They both blushed deeply when they realized the whole room could understand them and Sven started apologizing profusely while Yurak decided it was hilarious.

Hunk and Allura were blushing on their behalf and Keith, Pidge, Lance, and Coran were laughing along with Yurak. That morning had gone from quiet to somber to joyful in a matter of a few dobashes and Lance was starting to feel the effects of getting up early as a large yawn took over.

Within a tick he had Keith and Yurak yawning as well, neither one having slept that night. Allura noticed and announced that they were going to hang tight and recover for the day. They would resume their search for Lotor tomorrow. She insisted the twins and Sven get some much needed rest while instructing their guests to follow her to some empty rooms. Yurak objected to being separated from his mate and eventually Allura conceded, allowing them to share a room.

Taking full advantage of the moment, Lance slipped away to for a much needed nap.

Chapter Text

Desperately clawing at the fading tendrils of sleep, Keith peered a murderous eye over his shoulder to the intruder. Lance didn’t seem to register his slight, and kept right on shaking Keith’s shoulder, whispering for him to wake up.

He flung his arm up, knocking the blue paladin’s hands from his shoulder and glared pointedly at him. “You have got to kidding me! What do you want Lance? This better be important damn it.”

The boy blushed and moved his gaze to the side, embarrassed by what was clearly a mundane reason for waking him. Keith let out a huff and rolled his eyes, turning to face Lance who was on his knees beside the bed. The position change put Lance in exactly the right spot to – NOPE! Not gunna think about that! He scolded himself and gave his head a little shake; hopefully Lance would assume he was shaking off the sleepiness. But he managed to catch the faintest hint of a blush on those tanned cheeks before Lance spoke.

“So I have a weird question. I don’t know how to word this so I’m just gunna come right out with it ok?” He waited for some kind of ‘go ahead’ and Keith nodded in approval. “Ok so you know how Sven and Yurak are … Mates? Well they are both guys and … well … that would make them gay right?” Was he seriously asking Keith this question? On his knees, in Keith’s bedroom, in the dark? He held his breath but Lance continued.

“… So I know Shiro is gay, so that makes sense, but you and Yurak are the same person right? So if Yurak is into dudes, does that mean you are too?” The last bit was rushed – he was trying to get it out before he lost his nerve.

Keith didn’t know what to say. He could diffuse the tension and say ‘no it didn’t necessarily mean that – they are two different people after all’ and leave it at that, or he could take the opportunity to come out to Lance and hope for the best. Unfortunately Keith was stupid; so so stupid.

“Yurak is purple. Do I look purple to you? We are different versions of each other Lance.” He rolled over before he could catch the expression on the other boy’s face. He didn’t want to see the relief that was most likely there.

“Right … ok, ya that makes sense.” Did he sound – disappointed? Keith ventured a glance over his shoulder and saw Lance sitting back on his heels with his head down, chin resting on his chest. Huh, that was not how he expected him to react. Against his better judgment, he rolled back over to face the blue paladin.

“You disappointed?” Best to just cut right to the point. He cocked his eyebrow and plastered a big ol’ grin on his face, trying to come off as nonchalant.

“WHAT? Pfft no! I – I just wondered and I – I just was thinking maybe, that you know, that … “ he was stammering and it was adorable. Keith chuckled at his flustered attempt to regain control. “HEY! Don’t laugh at me! That’s so rude man!”

“Oh and coming into someone’s room when they’re trying to sleep, just to shake them awake and ask if they’re gay isn’t?”

Lance looked down at his hands and nodded. “Ya you’re right, sorry to bother you. Stupid question.” He moved to get up and Keith panicked. He couldn’t let the conversation end like this – they had just moved out of the rivalry stage and were actually becoming friends.

“Wait, Lance.” He stopped just before the door but didn’t turn around, he was waiting for what was to come next and trying to hide is reaction. Keith took a deep breath and braced himself.

“I didn’t say – ugh, I just said we aren’t the same person, ok. But I’m not going to answer that cause it’s way too damn personal.” Lance looked over his shoulder slightly. It was subtle, but thanks to his increasing connection to his Galra side, Keith caught the small smile through the dark.

Yurak walked out of the room and down the hall. Sven was still sleeping but he had gotten all the rest he needed and now wanted to talk to Keith. As he rounded the corner of his counter part’s hall, he caught sight of Lance leaving his room ... no wait, that was Keith's room. The tanned human had a small, soft smile planted lightly on his lips and a faint rose tint to his cheeks. This made him incredibly curious, what was going on in there? He grinned widely and ducked back around the corner – he would ask the paladin before the boy could avoid him.

Just as expected, the human boy wasn’t paying attention to his surroundings, they never did. “Whatcha smiling about?” His voice seemingly appearing out of thin air caused Lance to jump and yelp.

“DAMN! Where did you come from?” Lance was panting, trying desperately to catch his breath but what he held in his hand did not go unnoticed by the young Galra.

The paladin had formed his blaster and it was pointing directly at Yurak’s chest. Instinct took over and he pulled his own gun, aiming it between the boy’s eyes. “Don’t.” This single word held the biggest threat he could give, make one move and I’ll blast your head open. Before either of them could retract their weapons, two swords came flying down the hall, knocking them out of each hand.

One blade was a dark metal with an insignia in the trademark Galra purple, while the other was black and white – clearly formed from one of the Altean bayards. “Stop it!” Keith’s voice rang out. He was still half asleep but his aim was impeccable. He had reacted to the sound of Lance’s fright. “Some one want to tell me what’s going on out here? Why are you idiots trying to kill each other in the middle of the hallway?” He wasn’t looking at Lance; his eyes were hooded and narrowed, and looking directly at Yurak.

Rolling his eyes and giving a huff of exasperation, he turned to address his twin “Ask your mate! He drew his weapon first.”

“Only because you scared the begeezus out of me.” Lance took a second to fully process the entirety of what was said before squealing, “And we’re not mates!!”

“Wanna tell me what’s going on? Someone!” Keith was losing his patience, eyes darting between the two boys equally now.

“Ughh, I was coming to talk to you, Lance doesn’t pay attention and jumped when I spoke, he pulled his bayard so I pulled my gun. Then you showed up and cut both of our knuckles with your knives.”

“Swords.” Keith corrected.

Lance picked up the now deactivated purple Galran blade and said, “That’s not a knife, THIS IS A KNIFE!” in a very strange accent that Yurak didn’t recognize. It must have been hilarious cause Keith burst out laughing but slammed his palm to his forehead as he did so.

“God, Lance you’re such a loser.” He was shaking his head but still chuckling slightly and Lance just grinned.

Not seeing any way out of this awkward spiral, Yurak turned to Lance. “So your bayard forms a blaster eh? We should do target practice sometime. I assume you have a training deck of sorts?”

Lance nodded enthusiastically but Keith answered, “There’s a robotic gladiator you can practice with.”

“Orrr,” he drew out the word turning back to Lance, “we could put receivers on our arms, legs, forehead, and chests then use a training blaster and practice our aim and dodging techniques.”

Lance beamed, jumping up and down he threw his arms in the air and shouted “HELL YA!!! LASER TAG!!! I’m gunna go tell Hunk, his bayard takes the form of a blaster too. Meet you in the training room in 1 varga!” Then he took off down the hall.

Yurak was smirking; he could see why his twin was so fond of this one. He turned back to Keith only to be met with a glare and a low growl.

“What?” he feigned innocence?

“You know what.”

“He’s cute, I see why you like him.”

“Stop, just – just stop!” Keith was shaking his head and holding up his hand. “The whole damn castle doesn’t need to know that!” He picked up his bayard from the ground and sheathed the knife Lance had handed back to him. “Let’s just go to my room. What was it you were wanting to talk about?”

“It’s fine, I just wanted to kill some time. Can you show me where the training room is?”

“You have a varga, find it yourself.”

“Ya but you can help me with my sword skills and I can help you with your blaster skills until Yellow and Blue show up.”

“Hunk and Lance.”

“Right, until Hunk and Lance show up.”

“Fine. Let’s go.”

Chapter Text

Lance didn’t get very far, only just rounding the corner before skidding to a stop. He realizing Pidge would be super pissed if he didn’t pass along the laser tag invite. Her room was back the other way, so he spun on his heel and turned around. Before he could turn onto the hall from which he had just come, a low growl stopped him in tracks. Was that Yurak … or Keith? No, it was definitely Keith.

“What?” “You know what.” “He’s cute, I see why you like him.” “Stop, just – just stop! The whole damn castle doesn’t need to know that!”

Wait what? Keith thought Lance was cute? No, it was Yurak who said he was cute – but Keith had agreed didn’t he? His head started swirling as he tried to figure out what this meant. He had stopped listening to the conversation and thus was unprepared for the twins’ sudden appearance. He had assumed they were going back to Keith’s room and once again, he jumped and yelped in surprise.

Yurak laughed but Keith stood there frozen, eyes wide as dinner plates before morphing into an angry glare.

“Were you listening to us?” The tone was accusatory, as if Lance had been purposefully listening in on a soul bearing conversation. Which he guessed he kinda had in a way – Keith did admit to thinking he was cute after all … didn’t he?

Oh no. Lance felt a blush creep across his face and he quickly looked away to try to hide it, but it was too late. Keith hissed at him, literally HISSED at him. Fists clenched and shaking at his side. Lance ventured a glance up to meet Keith’s eyes and instantly regretted it. They had that slight yellow tint but hadn’t fully narrowed. His Galra side was definitely getting stronger with Yurak’s presence.

“WHAT THE HELL LANCE!!” Oh he was pissed; Lance could almost feel the anger rolling off him.

Looking over at Yurak he saw the Galra retreat, eyes wide and fearful while staring at his counterpart. Was that a bad sign? Was Lance in actual danger here?

They had been discussing the various potential ways to return their guests back to their own reality all morning. Slav had finally worn on her last nerve and Allura needed some peace.

Coran walked silently beside her on their way for the control room. Their Altean genes making for quiet foot falls, barely noticeable to even the sensitive ears of a Galra. Which is how she ended up pinned to a wall with Keith’s Marmora blade at her throat, while Coran struggled against Yurak’s grip; gun pressed into his side.

Coran had heard the low growl and recognized it as a Galra warning, rushing towards the sound they heard the following loud and distinct hiss. Something had their Galran guest extremely riled up. Allura turned the corner immediately behind Coran, but neither of them was quick enough to escape the instinctual reactions of the two half Galra.

Yurak reached out and spun Coran’s wrists behind his back, slamming him into the walls as he jammed his Gamara Gun into the man’s side. This drew Allura’s attention just long enough for Keith to execute a spinning back kick, which sent her flying against the wall only to be pinned by his fully extended blade landing at her throat.

Keith’s eyes were shining with a barely concealed rage, his Galra side no longer contained. It took him just over a tick, but it felt like an eternity before reality came into focus. Deactivating his blade, his now human eyes dropped to the ground. Lance had dashed over to them and was frantically checking her neck for any injuries while shooting glares over his shoulder to his fellow paladin.

Coran had been released from Yurak’s grip, but only after a prompt from Keith. The twins then exchanged a look, Keith nodded, and they both walked away without any explanation. She found this to be incredibly rude.

“I’m sorry Allura, this was kinda my fault! Keith was already in fight mode when you got here.” Lance, who had finished investigating her neck and was now satisfied she would live, had apologized on Keith’s behalf. This was unacceptable! She was going to track down those two quiznaking Galra and make them apologize for their actions.

“Lance, do not apologize for them.” Her voice was firm but kind, he wasn’t the one she was mad at.

Yurak was setting up the training room with various obstacles to make their ‘laser tag’ training as effective as possible, but Keith was being no help! He had collapsed to the floor in the middle of the room, unable to even move as his brain wracked him with guilt. He knew he was in the way, Yurak was making that very clear with his grunts and grumbles, but he didn’t care. He was busy at the moment, busy being consumed by a black hole of shame and guilt and dread. In the span of less than a varga he had gone from almost coming out to Lance, to literally hissing at him, to full on attacking Allura.

He let out a laboured moan and rolled his head back and forth on the mats. It wasn’t even noon and he was already having a terrible day. This could not possibly get any worse.

It got worse. It got so much worse! The door to the training room slid open and a thoroughly pissed off Allura came flying in. The whirlwind of tan skin and white hair whipped easily around the obstacle course being constructed. She stood by Keith’s head and just glared at him. He could feel her eyes burrowing into his soul, but mostly he felt the disgust she was barely concealing.

“YOU!! You quiznaking Galra think you can attack me on my own ship then use MY training deck to sharpen your skills? I THINK NOT!” She was fuming.

The sudden lack of movement in his peripherals caught his attention. Yurak was standing poised and ready to strike if given the go ahead. All the hate and anger Allura felt for the Galra was exactly what he felt for the Alteans. Keith was caught in the middle, but only sort of. He understood why she hated the Galra, they had destroyed everything, and he understood why she would associate that anger with him and Yurak – they were Galra after all. A fight between them would only make the entire situation worse. Unlike his twin, he held no ill will for the Alteans, but he would defend Yurak from Allura like his life depended on it.

So here he was, caught between taking the blame for a misunderstanding, or defending himself against Allura and risking it getting out of hand. He knew what would happen if it did, if this became an actual fight he would side with Yurak – no questions asked.

But that would destroy his relationship with Allura, and cause unnecessary stress and tension amongst the paladins, which would harm Voltron. He knew he should just take it, just let her take out the anger on him and be done with it – but this wasn’t his fault. Why should he have to ‘take it’ just because she sneaked up on them while they were already on edge? How was reacting on instinct HIS fault?

God he wished Shiro was here, he would have known exactly what to do. Keith could feel the black hole forming again, this pit had become a part of him ever since his brother’s disappearance and it was slowly eating away at his strength. He put up a good front, he had created that mask a long time ago, but it was just that – a mask.

As if summoned, the other occupants of the castle entered the room. Immediately Sven ran to Yurak’s side, Coran moved to stand beside Allura, and the paladins stayed by the door taking in the scene around them. A part of him wished they would have come to his side and it stung a bit that they didn’t.

“Ok nobody move, if my calculations are correct we could be in for a terrible reality!!” Slav was freaking out as usual. He ran across the room and jumped onto Keith’s chest causing him to yelp. Grabbing a fist full of his shirt and pulling him up to within an inch of Slav’s face, the funny little alien narrowed his eyes and asked in the most serious tone Keith had ever heard “What. Colour. Is. Your. Underwear?”

Huh? What colour was his underwear? What the hell did that have to do with anything? Before he could even answer Yurak and Sven were rolling their eyes, complaining about how their Slav would have pulled the exact same ridiculous stunt. Hunk and Pidge started snickering at the mention of ‘underwear’, and Lance was blushing deeply. Only Allura and Coran remained stoic.

Slav gave him a violent shake, which resulted in Yurak growling loudly as Keith’s head hit the mat hard. “Answer my question!! What colour? You do not understand the importance of this.”

The situation was rapidly escalating. Allura had tensed and glared at Yurak’s growl, Sven was actively holding his boyfriend back, the paladins had stilled, and Keith was trying to regain his composure.

Slav’s shaking was unrelenting – he just kept shaking and shaking Keith as his head continuously hit the mat below him. Yurak’s growling didn’t stop and he continued to struggle against Sven’s hold. The paladins weren’t moving.

“PINK” Keith yelled. The shaking stopped immediately.

“You are sure??” Slav seemed hesitant. “Which pink ones?”

“What? The only ones I have that are pink.” His face was now the same shade as his underwear.

“I need specifics to ensure we are in the right reality.”

“Ughhhhh they were white – but I washed them with a red shirt and now they are pink. HAPPY?”

“Praise the Ancients! We will not die in an explosion, this is the reality where we all survive!” Slav looked genuinely relieved.

“Explosion? Was that even an option?” Lance spoke the confusion everyone was feeling.

Shuffling himself free of Slav’s grip, he rose to his feet and instantly Yurak was beside him, checking his head for injuries. Allura’s cold gaze had followed him across the room and settled on them both. He took a deep breath before turning to face her.

“I’m sorry we attacked you, but you have to understand that it was an accident. Neither of us heard you coming until you appeared out of nowhere. We were already on edge and it was just an instinctual reaction. I’m sorry Allura, I didn’t mean to hurt you.” He meant it, he really was sorry for his actions but he was not about to take the full blame.

“Think nothing of it number 4! No harm no fowl as I always say!” Coran’s chipper voice was a welcome relief.

Allura took a moment to respond, her head dropping to her chest before straightening up into Princess mode. “I am as well. I reacted terribly just now. Keith, we have made such progress in our relationship and I fear I almost undid all of that with my anger. And Yurak, when I look at you all I see is Galra and that isn’t fair. It took me a long time to accept Keith’s heritage, but I’m afraid it will take longer for me to be comfortable with you. Please try to understand.” She seemed genuinely troubled.

Yurak stepped away from him, moving to stand directly in front of Allura, meeting her gaze.

“I’m sure you know this from Keith, but I’m not very good with this kind of stuff. Emotions and shit.” He shrugged and took a deep breath. Looking between Allura and Coran before landing back on the princess, he continued. “What you feel, that anger and fear and uneasiness, I feel it too. The Alteans destroyed Dibazaal; they hunted down the Galra to near extinction. I may be the face of your enemies, but you’re the face of mine.” He scrunched up his eyes for a moment and looked over his shoulder to meet Keith’s before proceeding.

“Keith acted on instinct; he was distracted by his mate. But I saw you coming and … well, I’m sorry too.” He shot her an apologetic look as Lance was grumbling something in Spanish. “If you can make an effort than so can I. Can we start over, I would be willing to try to get along.”

You could hear a pin drop. He had just admitted to attacking on purpose and you see the emotions fly across Allura’s eyes as she processed it. Finally a small smile pulled at the corner of her lips.

“I would like that.”

Chapter Text

Laser tag was cancelled. Keith had a headache so naturally they all had to suffer. To be fair it was from having his head repeatedly bashed into the floor by Slav – but still! INCONVENIENT MUCH?

Lance paced in the Green lion’s hangar. He could feel Pidge’s growing annoyance like a cloud of toxic gas spreading out from around her. Don’t care, not fair! Ha that rhymed.

“Whenever you’re done grinning like an idiot can you either stand still or GET OUT?” Yikes she was scary; small and feisty that one.

“Ya ya.” Pfft, he didn’t have to take this. “Hunk, let’s leave the gremlin to its tinkering”

“OH NO YOU DON’T! Hunk is being helpful – you’re being annoying. You leave; Hunk stays.” Pidge didn’t even look up from her laptop.

“Sorry buddy, I’m needed here.” Traitor he thought to himself as Hunk shot him an apologetic look.

He decided to leave, but not because Pidge told him to – no no, it was because he was bored! Yup, that’s why. He needed to find something to entertain himself and he knew just the trick! If this didn’t work, nothing would.

Breaking out into an almost run, Lance took off down the hallway. He knew with these heavy footfalls that he wouldn’t be surprising any one, and that was a good thing! SOME people on this castle-ship were a little too stabby for his liking. Crazy people should not be allowed sharp pointy objects, especially if they were highly skilled with them.

He didn’t foresee any visitors, the only people who knew which room they had been assigned were Keith and Allura – and both of them were busy. So it was an even bigger surprise when he opened the door to find Blue, er Lance. He gave the Human a questioning look while waiting for him to catch his breath.

“Yur – ak! Can you – do me a – favour?” He was panting; they really did need to hit the training deck. Offering him a non-committal groan, he motioned for the boy to continue.

“I want to pull a prank on Keith.” Oh this was unexpected.

He arched his brow, interest peaked. “What kind of prank?”

“You’re teaching him Galran right?” Yurak nodded, this was common knowledge. “Cool, I figured you guys are going to work on it tonight again, and you’ll turn Galran off in the translator right?” He nodded - again. Where was he going with this? “Ok so, here’s what I’m thinking - can you teach me to say something? I want to throw him off his game with something the others won’t understand but he will! And he won’t be able to react without giving away what I said.” The grin he felt spreading was sure to swallow his whole face. Lance was in for a treat – Yurak was the MASTER of pranks. This was going to be so much fun. He would get BOTH of them at once.

“Oh yeah, I can do that. Sounds like fun! He’s going to be super pissed though.” And he would be, Keith was sure to be fuming when he was done with this. It was going to be amazing.

Lance looked ecstatic, his face erupting into a massive smile as he quite literally jumped for joy. “Ok ok this is great! If he comes by and I’m here he’ll immediately be suspicious. So, the three of us should go to the lounge. Sven, you need to be there too cause if it’s just me and Yurak then he’ll get suspicious again. I’ll meet you there in 15 dobashes!!!” And just like that, he was gone.

Yurak chuckled to himself as he turned around to face his mate. Sven looked up with a small tug at the corner of his lips “This is going to end very badly!”

“I know; I’m counting on it.” His couldn’t hide his own grin if he wanted to.

They had been searching for the comet ore’s signature for almost 2 vargas, ever since leaving the training deck. Allura was wearing herself out but Coran had tried and failed several times to get her to take a break. Using her own quintessence to scan for the ore was draining her.

“Please, you must take a break Princess.” He pleaded once more. But before she could dismiss him again the door opened and Yurak walked in.

“Turn off Galran from the translator.” Not even so much as a general greeting. Coran knew this directness was typical of the Galra and didn’t take it personally, but Altean’s found it incredibly rude to enter a room and not greet the inhabitants. Especially when one of them was a Princess!

He put on his brightest smile and cheerfully greeted the new arrival, perhaps it would rub off on him, or maybe he would eventually take the hint. “Oh GREETINGS purple number 4!” Yurak rolled his eyes at the new moniker but didn’t otherwise object, merely crossing his arms and huffing. It really was eerie how similar he was to Keith. “More lessons in the Galra language tonight I take it?”

A grunt instead of words. Once again he didn’t take it personally; preferring nonverbal communication in simple exchanges was also very typical of the Galra. He wondered for a moment if Keith even realized he did that? Probably not to be honest.

“Alrighty then, just give me a tick!” Suddenly he had the perfect excuse to force Allura into a break. “Princess, could I have a moment alone with purple number 4 please?” This made Allura’s eyebrows shoot up, while Yurak furrowed his.

“Of course, I will be in my quarters if you require any assistance from me Coran.” She smiled brightly at Yurak as she passed him, and he returned with a nod – it wasn’t much, but it was progress.

“What?” The question was both accusatory and defensive at the same time.

“Oh nothing my boy, I just wanted to Allura to take a break.” He kept his smile firmly in place as he twirled his moustache. The young Galra stared blankly for a moment before bursting into laughter.

He liked Coran. He didn’t think he would ever find himself liking an Altean, but wouldn’t you know it. The man was funny and though he came off as goofy a lot of the time, he was actually incredibly astute. Using his entry as a distraction was clever. ‘Purple number 4’ on the other hand – ya he was putting an end to that one.

“Don’t call me that.”

Coran didn’t miss a beat. “Ahh not a fan eh? Fair enough, what you prefer?”


“Hmm, well you see I have a hard time remembering which is which – all of these Humans look fairly similar to me.”

“Yea not buying it, I look nothing like them.”

“On the contrary, you look exactly like number 4 – just purple!”

Ok yea, he couldn’t object to that. So instead he just huffed and grunted. The Altean would know what it meant.

Walking over and standing beside him, Yurak peered down at the console. He was pretty sure the small one was learning to speak Altean but he didn’t know if she could read it yet, he could. He’d spent his life with the Guns of Gamara listening in to Altean chatter, reading their communications, and hacking into their systems. The writing was slightly different, but it had been 10,000 years since any Alteans had been around in this reality. Language is fluid and changes over time, so it was to be expected. The Galran he speaks is not the same as it was 10,000 years ago either, he noticed that when Coran had spoken to him using the language the other day.

“Engaged? Quizzing I am now.” Ugh his Galran needed updating. Yurak made a mental note to give him a quick run through of how the language had changed. Based on their previous interactions it really shouldn’t take long at all.

“Confirm Engaged.” He replied. “Appreciate.” He gave a quick grunt followed by “Coran?” Waiting until he had the Altean’s attention, he continued. “Testing – quizzing not.” He would correct this slipup now before he forgot.

“Appreciate. To purple.” Yurak bit back his laugh, he had mixed up for (to give to) and four (number) in his new nickname. This one he didn’t bother correcting, he could chuckle at it each time it was used incorrectly; it would be his little joke. Come to think of it, he wondered if Keith would pick up the mistake. He should test that; most likely he would since he was picking up the language really quickly.

“Umm Coran? Participate ruse with Lance and I?” The man just stared at him for a second before twirling his moustache again.

“Galran not. Skill lack from use not.” Coran clearly didn’t feel comfortable conversing like this with the translator off for the language. Yurak had been speaking Galran exclusively since arriving on the castle; the translators made it so everyone was able to understand each other regardless of language. This meant that he would not be able to communicate with any of the Paladins except through Keith or Sven until Galran was turned back on. He could however communicate with the Alteans.

Without skipping a beat he gave a huff of approval and a curt nod before switching to Altean. “Paladin Lance and I wish to perform a prank in an attempt to fool Paladin Keith. Your participation would be appreciated, yet not required.” Ughh this language was so formal. But he noted that Coran must not have expected him to be able to speak Altean given his genuine surprise.

“Dear boy, you possess an ability to converse in the Altean language? I do find myself impressed.”

“A skill I have attained through decaphebes of reconnaissance. You forget good sir, the Altean people have not perished in the reality from which I come.”

“Ahh a fair reminder! Please, elaborate as to the details of this prank you wish to perform.”

Yurak was grinning which probably wasn’t a good sign. He figured backing out would be wise but decided against it. Keith was standing off to the side of the room, leaning against a wall drinking a refreshment pouch. Now was as good a time as any. Getting up from the couch he approached, silently running through the words Yurak had taught him.

“Hey.” He smiled brightly and that was a mistake. Keith immediately narrowed his eyes, giving him a suspicious look. Taking a deep breath Lance placed his hand on the red paladin’s shoulder. Being sure to look him directly in the eyes, he steadied himself and focused on trying to make the right growly sounds.

“Hair. Mates become can we? Arguments put aside. Lustful beauty is me.” Ending with a wink. Keith spat out his drink and choked, his face turning a deep crimson. From the couch behind them he heard Yurak and Sven burst out laughing.

Keith was still trying to regain his composure as he gasped for air. After a minute or so he looked up to face Lance, still breathless and red. “WHAT??” another cough, “what the hell was that? I – I don’t think you said it right. What did you mean to say? TELL ME RIGHT NOW!”

Lowering his voice so the others wouldn’t hear (though he figured the Galra would still be able to), he repeated the phrase he had asked Yurak to teach him, but in English this time. “Hey Mullet. I can see if our rivalry became a crush for you. I’m pretty irresistible.” He even ended it with a wink again.

Keith was speechless. He stared at lance wide eyed for a moment before blushing all over again. “Yea that’s not was you said.”

“Well what did I say?” Did that smartass pull a fast one on him?

Keith took a deep breath, “Umm ‘Hair’ – which I guess would be the only way to say Mullet. So that’s right, but the rest is ‘Put aside our differences and become boyfriends. I am sexy / horny.’” And he ended it with an exaggerated wink.

Now it was his turn to blush. “OMG!!! Yurak!!” He turned just in time to see a purple figure dart out of the room. “I’m gunna kill him!”

“Not if I beat you to it”

They both moved for the door, and turned in the direction the sneaky bastard had run. They could see him round the corner at the end of the hall and Keith picked up speed. Damn he was fast! Lance wasn’t too far behind and they both noticed a door close ahead of them.

“He ran in here.” Keith was already pressing his hand to the key pad, and slipped in as Lance caught up. It was dark in the room, but as they reached the middle the lights flickered on.

Empty. The room was completely empty, not even a box in it. This was a trap! He immediately turned around and saw Yurak and Coran waving to them as the door slid shut; followed by the distinct sound of the locks being enabled. Yup, they were trapped.

Uh sorry number 3 & 4 – this wasn't my idea!' Coran’s voice rang over the intercom in the room followed by a bunch of growly sounds Lance recognized as Yurak speaking Galran. Right, the translator still had the language turned off. He looked over at Keith who was trying to murder the speaker box with his eyes.

“What did he say?”

“They aren’t letting us out till we talk.” He crossed his arms and continued to glare upwards. Lance joined him – they’d have to let them out eventually right?

Chapter Text

Turns out – no. They had no intentions of letting them out. This was fine, everything was fine! There was no food, water, or toilet in the room but EVENTUALLY they would need Voltron and that would mean freeing their red and black paladins … right?

Lance was starting to panic. How long had they been in here now? Vargas? Quintants? Phoebs? Ok probably not Phoebs, but it did feel like forever. How Keith could stand motionless for so long was just plain weird. The boy hadn’t moved at all. He just stood there with his arms folded across his chest, glaring up at the speaker box. Occasionally he would mutter something in Galran for Yurak to hear, or give off a frustrated growl but that was it.

Lance on the other hand was currently working on their escape plan by wearing a hole through the floor with his pacing. After another few PHOEBS at least, Keith had had enough.

“Will you stop it? You’re driving me crazy!” He had his eyes squeezed tightly shut, and was pinching the bridge of his nose.

“Uh oh cabin fever getting the better of you?” He was stuck here too and was just as frustrated.

“What?” Keith just stared at Lance with a confused expression before exhaling and letting his head fall back. “This SUCKS! Yurak! CORAN!!! You guys are so dead when I get out of here.”

“We.” Lance corrected. “When WE get out of here. I want to kill them just as much as you do.”

The room fell into an awkward silence for a while before Lance spoke up. “It feels like a whole quintant that we’ve been trapped! LET US OUT!!!” He screamed into the air, not even sure if anyone was listening.

“Ugh it’s only been 20 dobashes, don’t be so dramatic.” Keith rolled his eyes and finally moved from his spot, turning to face Lance. “They have to let us out eventually. This is your fault anyways.”

“WHAT? How is this my fault? I’m a victim here!” His voice had gotten higher than he’d like to admit.

“Like hell you are. You started this! You snuck into my room this morning, spied on me in the hall, and were trying to make me uncomfortable in the lounge. What is your problem? You formed a made up rivalry at the Garrison and now you’re creating some imaginary crush you think I have on you. Are you that obsessed with me or just that arrogant?” His arms were out in that typical defiant Keith stance. The words carrying a heavy biting tone. It hurt.

The first part was right, he had done all of those things. Lance could blame Yurak for tricking him and locking them in here, but it had been his idea to pull a prank in the first place. That’s not what hurt him though, he could admit to his part in their current situation, what hurt was the last part.

Lance wasn’t stupid, he knew the rivalry was one sided, he knew he had started that as a way to get Keith to notice him. But that last line really stung. His bravado could come off as arrogance sometimes, but he thought Keith knew him better than that. To hear that everything was all in his head, that he was imagining it all as part of some crazy obsession – that’s what hurt. Not only was it a denial, but Lance knew it to be an out right lie. He had heard the words of confirmation straight out of Keith’s own damn mouth. Granted he was never meant to hear that, but he had.

He had heard Keith basically admit to liking Lance, he had seen his reaction that morning to how close they had accidentally gotten, and he had picked up on little clues here and there. Keith was full of shit and he was taking out his own issues on Lance. But Lance wasn’t going to take it, oh no, he was no ones punching bag. Least of all Keith’s. If the half Galra Mullet wanted to be miserable that was fine, but he wouldn’t be pulled down with him.

Ok maybe he took that too far. It wasn’t fair of him to gaslight Lance like that. He should apologize, but he was too pissed off. They wouldn’t be in the situation if Lance weren’t such an idiot! A clearly upset idiot – shit. Realization hit him like a ton of bricks; he really had taken it too far. The look in Lance’s eyes was enough to break him. He wanted to cross the distance and pull the other into tight embrace, apologize over and over, beg for his forgiveness but he just couldn’t bring himself to do it. He knew if he did Lance would never let him live it down. He would tease him and mock him relentlessly for it. Keith could already hear the taunts ‘Oh wow Mullet you really do have feelings.’ Or maybe he would bring his Galra heritage into it with something like ‘I didn’t know the Galra had hearts.’ – no he wasn’t going to let him win. He wouldn’t give Lance the satisfaction.

But god it was killing him to look into those eyes. He was so upset; Keith had done that. His words had hurt Lance more than he ever intended. He was mad sure, but this wasn’t the reaction he was going for. His heart sank and won out; stepping closer he put his hand on the red paladin’s shoulder and waited for their eyes to meet.

“I – I’m sorry Lance.” He didn’t miss the surprised expression that crossed the boys face, but pressed on in spite of it. “I shouldn’t have said that, I was pissed off and frustrated and – and I’m sorry.”

“Holy shit. Did you actually just apologize to me?” Yup, this was a bad idea. He knew he should have stuck to his guns and just dealt with the fall out. A few days of Lance being pissy around him were way better than the inevitable taunts.

Keith just narrowed his eyes into a glare, ready to spit out that he took it back but Lance continued. “That actually means a lot. Thank you Keith.” Wait what? No mocking? Not snarky jab?

“Uh yea, you’re welcome I guess.” Now he was blushing, and he had made the stupid mistake of looking Lance right in the eyes, and there was no way to hide it. Stupid, so stupid! He suddenly realized his hand was still on Lance’s shoulder, and their eyes were still locked, but he couldn’t move. Something in those ocean blues was holding him in place, cementing him to the exact spot he was in.

“Keith?” his voice was shaky, questioning and Keith knew his wouldn’t be much better. He opted to respond with a simple grunt instead of words, it felt more natural anyways.

“I’m sorry too. I should have just left you alone, but I didn’t. I kept pushing, even after you said it was too personal. I’m sorry for my part.”

“S’fine. I forgive you.” And he did. Dammit if that boy couldn’t just take the fight right out of him sometimes.

Lance took a step in, and his heart picked up its pace. “Does this mean it wasn’t all in my head?”

Back to blushing. He felt it creep across his face faster than he could turn away. And to his embarrassment he watched as a sly grin took over Lance. With a chuckle and that smirk of his, he looked Keith dead in the eyes. “Guess so.” Dammit.

“Look – Lance, I – I don’t …” he didn’t get to finish his thought. Though he had no idea what he was trying to say, it didn’t matter. Lance had closed the distance. Their lips met, if only for a brief second before Keith stepped back. His heart was beating wildly, pounding in his ears. “Wha – What just happened?”

Lance had resumed their eye contact. “I like you too.” OH! His heart suddenly stopped all together, this was not at all what he expected. “That’s why I got so upset when you pretended you didn’t like me. Cause I knew you did and it hurt.”

“I’m sorry. I was … I thought … I thought you were into Allura?”

“Yea, and you dummy.” He was smirking again.

“Is calling me a dummy really necessary?”

“You tell me … dummy.” He couldn’t help it, he let out a chuckle, all the tension in the room dissipating in an instant.

“Ok yea maybe I am a dummy, but you’re an ass for starting this whole thing.”

“That’s fair!” Lance’s smirk never left his face.

“ughhh what a crazy day!”

Chapter Text

There they were, trapped in an empty storage room and most likely being watched. Keith had never really hid his sexuality per say, but he wasn’t exactly super open about it either. He’d admit that he kept it to himself, but he kept most things to himself so this wasn’t really an exception. What he HAD kept hidden were his feelings towards Lance. He had been so afraid that Lance would ‘freak out’ or that it would make things awkward with the group, that he had buried them - deep. The thought that Lance actually might actually feel the same was mind-boggling.

They hadn’t gotten close again, every time Lance stepped in Keith stepped back. He didn’t know who was on the other side of that door watching, listening. The thought of such a private conversation, a private moment between them, being shared with the rest of the castle just didn’t sit well.

Lance was starting to get the wrong idea, he could tell by the nervous look in his eyes. If he didn’t say something soon then all of this could be destroyed. But that was the problem – he had no idea what to say. Even if he did, he didn’t want everyone else to hear it.

“What’s wrong?” Keith didn’t respond, instead he bit his lip and glanced up at the speaker, before looking back to meet Lance’s eyes. He really did have incredible eyes.

Following his lead Lance looked up then back to Keith, seeming to understand he just nodded and stepped back. “So what now?”

Taking a deep breath, Keith finally spoke. “Now we wait till they let us out.”

“That’s not what I meant and you know it. Dammit Keith are you that thick?” His voice was starting to rise.

Making a pointed gesture towards the ceiling, he hissed “No.” through clenched teeth. The other boy merely rolled his eyes and stepped further away from him. Finally Keith could breathe; he didn’t even realize he had been holding it.

“Look I just don’t want to have a serious talk like this while we’re trapped in what is essentially a glorified closet.” He continued, crossing his arms over his chest.

“What’s the matter Keith, afraid to come out of the closet with me?” Lance and his stupid cocky grin were now inching closer again, emboldened. Keith blushed, but knew there was no getting out of this; anyone who may be listening already had enough information to piece together what happened.

Instead he just threw his arms up and huffed, “I’m not the one that needs to ‘come out of the closet’ Lance.” Air quotes and all. That got him; Lance’s eyebrows flew halfway up his head while his eyes became so wide they almost lost all of their blue.

“Um, what? I’m sorry but I was way more open than you just now.”

“Just cause I’m not very open about my personal life doesn’t mean it’s a secret. It’s not something I actively hide Lance.”

“Correction – YES IT IS! I flat out asked you this morning and while you didn’t DENY it you certainly weren’t honest by any means.” He was getting agitated, voice rising in volume again.

“Well – that’s – that’s because it was you dummy!” Keith threw his own word back at him and rolled his eyes. Huffing again, his arms returned to their default crossed position.

“What’s that supposed to mean? You don’t care if people know shit about you, just not ME?” Keith could tell he was offended.

“No, it’s not like that. It’s just – I don’t know, somewhere in my stupid brain I thought that if I told you - ya know, that I’m ‘into dudes’ as you put it, then you would get it in your head that I was into YOU.”

“Which you are?”

“Obviously.” This made the Cuban boy visibly relax; his cocky grin returning.

“Ok but it’s true and you ARE into me, than why not just tell me? I don’t get it.”

“Cause you’re into Allura and – “

“ – and you … dummy” he snickered as he cut Keith off, making him roll his eyes.

“Right, but I didn’t know that! How was I supposed to know you were into me when all you ever do is chase after Allura, or stare at Allura, or talk about Allura? Like, FUCK Lance! I was worried that if you found out I was gay you would assume I was into you, cause you ALWAYS assume everyone is into you. Then it would get weird and I didn’t want that and – “

Lance cut him off with a kiss again and after a few seconds, he pulled away, “You’re rambling.” Keith just rolled his eyes.

“You can’t keep doing that.”

Lance feigned innocence, “Doing what?” His smile just begging for Keith to call him out.

“You know what. You can’t just kiss me every time you want to stop a train of – *** - Dammit Lance what did I JUST SAY?!”

“I don’t know, I wasn’t listening.” And in that moment Keith wanted nothing more than to rip that stupid grin off his face, preferably with his lips.

A thought dawned on him; for once Keith would be the one with more experience here. All of Lance’s past encounters had been with women. A devilish thought came to his mind; he would make Lance squirm. This he could do, it would be easy. He had hooked up with guys before, sometimes even in closets, so this exact situation was nothing new to him. He had even had an almost boyfriend back at the Garrison – but no one knew about that. Not because he was hiding it – the other boy didn’t want to tell. But he knew for a fact that Lance had never been in a situation like this before – at least not with another guy.

A dirty grin came over him, and he watched Lance’s eyes widen. Stepping forward he pushed the red paladin against the wall, placing a hand on either side of his head. Lance was blushing deeply, his breath coming in short shallow spurts.

Keith leaned into the nape of his neck and put on his most sultry voice, which he had to admit was even better now that his Galra side was stronger.

“Ok, you win.” He whispered against the skin. He could literally feel the shiver run down Lance’s spine as his breathing stopped completely. Giving a dark chuckle he placed a light kiss before moving his mouth to the base of Lance’s jaw, a few more trailing kisses and their lips were locked.

But this kiss wasn’t like the quick pecks that had been used to silence him, this was deeper, hungrier. He knew he wanted Lance, he had for a while; but until this very moment he didn’t realize just how much Lance had wanted him in return. His hands were still pressed against the wall but the Cuban boy had snaked his fingers into Keith’s hair and round his neck. Just as he moved to step closer, remove any distance between them, he heard the lock on the door click.

He had always thought Keith was easy to fluster. For someone who tried so hard to be distant, their resident ‘lone wolf’ was incredibly emotional and apparently very unpredictable. One second they were bantering back and forth (he had the upper hand as usual) and the next he was pressed against a wall in a steamy show of dominance. He had no idea how it came to this, but here they were. Keith had switched almost instantly from flushed and annoyed to composed and sexy. How he could turn it on like that so fast was incredible, it left Lance’s head swimming.

And just like that, as quickly as it started, it was over; Keith was walking to the door. He placed a hand on the control panel and it opened, closing behind him as he left the room. Lance couldn’t move; he was using the wall as support, if he was to try and step away his knees would certainly give out.

He let them; he let himself sink down the wall to rest against it. His head was still a mess and his breathing hadn’t evened out yet – don’t even get him started on his heart beat.

Coran had convinced him to walk away. He had wanted to stay and witness the exchange in the little storage room but the Altean had rambled on about respecting other’s private moments. It didn’t matter; he knew he could always ask the little one to pull up the footage, so he complied and left the two boys alone.

Before they left, Coran set the door lock on a timer – 1 varga, after which the door would automatically unlock. He didn’t think this was long enough, wanting to make it 3 vargas and really make them squirm. But Coran simply pointed out that it was an Altean ship and as the only Altean participating, that gave him the authority to make the call.

His logic was incredibly flawed but hilarious so Yorak had agreed. He decided not to say anything to the paladins they had trapped, as long as they didn’t hear the click or try the control panel after a varga then they wouldn’t know it had unlocked.

“Coran? If you could be so kind as to return Galran to the active list of languages aboard this Castle-Ship it be would greatly appreciated.” He really did hate the Altean language.

“Why of course my dear boy, I shall proceed to do so immediately!” Yorak gave him a curt nod and grunt of appreciation. Grinning from ear to ear as he made his way towards the green lion’s hangar, excited when he found both green and yellow there.

Just as he opened his mouth, Yellow cut him off. “YORAK, buddy! What happened in there man? What was that all about? Where are Keith and Lance?” A massive grin spread across his face.

“Spill.” Green put the pieces together and figured out he was up to no good. His eyes narrowed and he turned to face her, grin firmly in place.

“Can you access security footage?” Good, Galran is back! He thought before immediately frowning at Green’s snarky retort.

Can I access security footage – What kind of question is that? Sit tight and watch this.” Cracking her knuckles Green set to work. She scanned each section of the castle looking for bio rhythms, locating Coran with Allura, Sven heading their way, and Slav in the engine room. Finally she located the storage room where he had locked Keith and Lance.

“Quiznak! There’s no video footage in there, only audio.” She complained as she pulled up the feed and adjusted the speakers.

‘ … out eventually. This is your fault anyways.’ ‘WHAT? How is this my fault? I’m a victim here!’ ‘Like hell you are. You started this! You snuck into my room this morning, spied on me in the hall, and were trying to make me uncomfortable in the lounge. What is your problem? You formed a made up rivalry at the Garrison and now you’re creating some imaginary crush you think I have on you. Are you that obsessed with me or just that arrogant?’

There was a long silence, and he started to think that maybe, just maybe, this hadn’t been such a good idea. The final words, Keith’s words, had been harsh and flat out wrong. He knew how Keith felt but he couldn’t understand why he would lie about it. But then he spoke again.

‘I – I’m sorry Lance I shouldn’t have said that, I was pissed off and frustrated and – and I’m sorry.’ ‘Holy shit. Did you actually just apologize to me? ... That actually means a lot. Thank you Keith’ ‘ Uh yea, you’re welcome I guess’ ‘Keith? I’m sorry too. I should have just left you alone, but I didn’t. I kept pushing, even after you said it was too personal. I’m sorry for my part.’ ‘S’fine. I forgive you’ ‘Does this mean it …’

Suddenly the laptop was slammed shut. Sven was standing over it give all three of them a disapproving look. “Yoo hoo, what are you three doing?”

Green and Yellow started sputtering nonsensical gobbledygook about it being Yorak’s fault and them not knowing what was going on. Traitors. But whatever, he had already roped in Coran and now them so he was fine with being the ring leader.

“We’re listening in on stage two of the plan.” He shrugged. “Besides, you were fully aware of everything and therefore you’re just as guilty!” He watched as his mate’s disapproving glare morphed into an embarrassed pout.

“Ya ya ok, you’re right. But no more being spies.”

Jumping off the side of the desk he had been leaning on, Yorak moved to kiss him on the cheek, a sultry glint in his eyes. “Ok, you win.”

Chapter Text

Something wasn’t right. He had thought of every possible outcome, every possible turn of events, but in none of his scenarios did it end with zero resistance. Granted the Altean ship blasting Voltron at the last moment had rendered the weapon and its paladins unable to fight, but he had expected their castle-ship to attack in lieu of this. The whole situation was starting to feel like it had been too easy.

Lotor took great pride in always being a step ahead of everyone else and was used to his plans going smoothly because of it. However this felt different, and it made him nervous. A variable he hadn’t accounted for could be the one thing that ruins his plans. The troubling part was he couldn’t think of anything he might have missed.

Yurak was waiting for him. He opened the door to his room and found the young Galra sitting cross-legged on the bed. It had been a long ass day and this was the last face he wanted to see.

“Ay, Dios mío! What are you doing here?” His words escaping as a groan. Yurak just stared at him, unblinking before throwing his hands up with a smirk.

“I come in peace.” The cheeky grin on his face making it clear he knew exactly what he was referencing. For someone who had been raised in space, sometimes he was better at Earth culture than Keith was. “How was your ‘bonding moment’ Blue?” Oh, so Keith must have told him about that.

“Why do you keep calling me Blue?” He knew that shouldn’t be the part he addressed, but it had been bothering him since Yurak boarded their ship.

“Uhh aren’t you the blue paladin?”

“No, I’m the red paladin.” Yurak’s face scrunched up in confusion, Keith made the exact same expression when he was confused. Making this face, Yurak looked like his brain was hurting, but without the sharp fangs and creepy Galra eyes, Keith just looked adorable. The more he got to know Yurak, the more he saw the Human parts of him, but also – just how Galra Keith was.

“Hmm, but you wear blue armor?” The statement was both an observation and a question.

“Yea, I USED to be the blue paladin – now I’m the red paladin.”

“What happened to the red paladin?”

“Nothing – well not yet at least. Though I’m about to kill him and his Galra twin.” Lance smirked. It was fun to confuse him. He watched as the gears turned, seeing the realization dawn on him and spread across his face. Lance may not be able to physically beat Keith or Yurak in a fight, but he could confuse the hell out of this alien boy and that was good enough – for now. He still fully intended on retribution, but a part of him knew Keith would want in on that.

“So you and Keith switched lions but not armor? He wears red.”

“No, Allura became the blue paladin.” If Yurak’s face was scrunched up before, it was now crushing itself into oblivion. Soon there wouldn’t be a face left.

“But – Hmm.” He left him to stew. Walking into the adjacent bathroom to wash his face and apply some peel and mask treatments. This day had been one stress after another and if he didn’t do something he was sure to breakout from it. Closing the door behind him, he could hear the muffled muttering coming from the other side.

Face washed and peeled, he applied his mask, the honey yellow goo slowly drying into a tan colour incredibly similar to his natural skin tone. It was a peel off mask and a thought popped into his head. Waiting until the mask was fully dried, he opened the door and leaned against the frame. Yurak hadn’t moved, much like Keith back in the closet, he was perfectly content to stay still for long periods of time, which was more than a little unnerving. Lance slowly started to peel the mask off his forehead, watching as unbridled horror took over the Galra’s face. Yurak shrieked, hissed, and lunged backwards into the corner of the bed, having nearly jumped out of his skin. The fur on his ears was standing on end and it did nothing to reduce Lance’s impression that Galra were essentially just giant purple space cats.

Letting the mask hang over his cheeks, Lance slapped on the most innocent face he could muster. “What’s the matter? Do you not shed your skin?”

It took him a minute to gain enough composure to answer, but once he had, Lance could hear the shaky tone to his voice. “Uh no. Is – is that a thing Humans do?”

“Of course. When ever we are under too much stress we shed a layer of our skin.” It took every ounce of self-control he had to not crack a smile. “I’m surprised Sven hasn’t told you about this.”

He watched as those yellow slit eyes darted from side to side. Nodding he raised his head to make eye contact with Lance, who seized the moment to start peeling the mask again. Yurak looked like he was about to be sick and got up from the bed, sticking close to the walls of the room.

“I – uh – I’m going to go.” He darted out the door and as he left, so did Lance’s self –control. Bursting into a fit of laughter he collapsed against the bed. That moment alone had made the whole closet fiasco totally worth it.

Losing track of time was a constant problem for her. She would get so engrossed in her research that meals and sleep were often missed. This also affected her ability to monitor her surroundings and subsequently made her very easily startled.

“GREEN!” The sudden and loud words made her shriek and jump. Clutching her heart she locked eyes with Yurak – if only she could master ‘murder eyes’ like Keith.

“What?” Pidge gasped, still trying to control her breathing. Seriously though, what do people on this ship have against knocking!

With no regard for personal space, he stood mere inches from her face. Studying her forehead as though it would speak to him. Both incredibly weirded out and uncomfortable, she repeated her question. “What?”

Without moving or blinking, he simply hummed. After a few more ticks he leaned back, hand on his mouth and tapped a claw against his lips. “Are you stressed?”

“Always.” She answered. What a strange question to ask someone. But he didn’t give her a chance to think on it, immediately the space between them vanished, his eyes boring into her skull once again.

“Seriously? Back off! You’re being weird.” She pushed her chair away from him but his reflexes were too quick. Grabbing the chair, he locked her in place and moved a claw up to scratch at the base of her hairline. This was NOT ok; he was waaaay too close for comfort. She lifted her knee and it collided with his gut – not what she was aiming for but it still did the trick. Grunting he backed off.

“What the hell!” She spat at him. Arching an eyebrow he gave her a confused look and tilted his head to the side. “You can’t just go around trapping and touching people. NOT COOL!”

He seemed to accept this and nodded. “Sorry. I forget sometimes.” Pausing to think a moment, he continued, “Why is your face not peeling?”

Now that was unexpected. Why WOULD her face be peeling? Sure she didn’t have a great skin care routine like Lance – or any skin care routine for that matter, but that wouldn’t make her face peel off. Freakin’ aliens with their weird questions and lack of personal boundaries!

“Again – what?” Was all she could come up with in response.

“Blue – er, Red?” He paused, is he asking me? She thought before he continued. “Red said that he was under stress, then his face started to PEEL OFF! He said it was normal for humans but – my face has never peeled off and I get stressed all the time. But I’m only part human so maybe it wont happen to me. Does it happen to you? Your face doesn’t look loose. ”

She just stared at him as he spoke, mouth agape, taking in his words until it suddenly clicked. A facemask, Lance had used a damned facemask to trick Yurak into thinking he was peeling off his skin. Forcing her devilish grin into a cage, she met his eyes with an impassive expression.

“It won’t peel till later. You just startled me now so it will take a while before the layer loosens and can be peeled away.” She added a shrug to make it seem like it was no big deal. Totally normal human stuff.

He paled, eyes darting around before humming to himself again. Still forcing down the grin, she turned back to her laptop. “I’m getting back to my research while your brain short circuits.”

He opened and closed his mouth a few times before finally giving up and walking away. Watching the door close, she activated her com to connect with Lance.

Standing outside the green lion’s hangar, his mind was racing. The door had already shut behind him and there was no one in the hall so he took the opportunity to breath. Leaning against the door, he let his head fall back and rest on the cool metal. Their faces peeled off? That was so disturbing. A shiver ran down his spine. Sven sometimes made comments about the Galra having weird habits and traits but this; this was weird.

Still leaning against the door, his ear twitched at the sound of a small voice inside the room. He knew only Green had been in there, so she must have contacted someone via a comlink. Turning his head, he pressed his ear to the door and listened.

‘… hilarious. How long are you going to let this go?’ ‘Until he figures it out or things get out of hand.’ ‘haha brilliant!! Lance I didn’t think you had it in you!’ ‘Gee thanks for the vote of confidence.’ ‘No problem. Should we warn the others to play along?’ ‘Oh ya good call – the only weak link will be Sven.’ ‘What about Keith?’ ‘Nah he’s pretty pissed at Yurak. He’ll play along.’ ‘K, you talk to Hunk and Keith, I’ll get Allura, and Coran, and then we both go for Sven.’ ‘Deal! Thanks for rolling with it Pidge.’ ‘ Hey what can I say, I’m always up for a good prank!’

Prank? He’d been had! Those sneaky Humans!! If it’s a war they want then it’s a war they will get, he just needed to get to Sven before they did. There was no way he was going up against the entire castle alone. After he got his mate on board, he would win over his twin too. Though that might just take a bit more effort, and a lot of apologizing.

“No! Absolutely no more pranks on my ship. We need to be united. I will not have you running around pranking each other while we are trying to defeat the Galra.” Allura reached her limit. She had needed to speak with her black paladin about the Lotor situation, but couldn’t find him anywhere. After searching the entire castle ship looking for him only to find that he had been locked in a storage closet for an entire varga, she was very annoyed to say the least! What if they had been attacked! Still she took some responsibility for this, after all what did she expect by bringing mere children into a war.

But enough was enough, Lance and Yurak may have started this, but she was going to end it. “If I find out that more pranks have been pulled, there will be consequences. DIRE consequences. This is a large ship, with many toilets, all of which require regular cleaning.” Pidge flinched at her threat. Taking a breath she calmed herself and continued, “Pidge, I am filled with joy that you are all able to let loose and have fun. I am also glad that everyone is getting along, including our guests. But you must understand the importance of the situation. Harmless fun is welcome; pranks can lead to animosity, which can lead to a lack of unity, which can lead to cracks in the foundation of the paladin bonds that strengthen Voltron. It is not worth the risk.”

The young girl crossed her arms over her chest and let out a huff. “Ya, ok you’re right. We’ll tell Yurak the truth and call it off.”

“No, I shall call it off. He may think it a bluff should you approach him. It is best if I announce the new rule for all inhabitants of the castle at our next debriefing.”

“When’s that?”

“I will call a meeting on the bridge in 15 dobashes. This must be addressed immediately.”

She watched as Pidge slumped her shoulders and walked out of the room. Turning back to Keith, she gave him a weary eye.

“Do not follow in their footfalls – “

“ – Footsteps.” He corrected her.

“Right, yes, well – do not follow in their footsteps. Lead by example Keith, it is what Shiro would have done.” She smiled; warm and bright, hoping beyond hope that he did not take her words the wrong way. The black lion had seen something in him, something that would make a great leader and she did not wish to cause him to question that. She did however, want him to understand that he was no longer just another paladin – but the head of Voltron. And with that position came certain responsibilities.

“Ya, ok.” Was all he said, his voice soft and sorrowful. Her heart sank, she knew it hurt him to bring up Shiro, but it was necessary to remind him of the roll he was in, the responsibility he carried.

‘Attention all castle inhabitants! Please convene on the bridge in 15 dobashes for a defriefing.’

Chapter Text

“So, we are all in agreement that there are to be no more ‘pranks’ on my ship?” Looking around the room she saw a mixture of expressions ranging from frustration to embarrassment. When her eyes fell on Yurak, she couldn’t resist narrowing them, he had been the one to start all of this after all.

“Right, ok then!” Coran interjected. “Shall we discuss the Galran Prince and the comet?”

Everyone on the bridge flinched as Yurak let out a low and menacing growl, though she would hardly admit to it, she had stiffened at the sound. “He is no Galran Prince. If he betrayed us once, he’ll do it again!” All eyes were focused sharply on him, his yellow gaze boring a hole into Coran. “All he wants is power; he doesn’t care about anyone or anything – except maybe Altea.”

With that Allura definitely flinched. “Altea? What do you mean ‘except maybe Altea’?”

“Lotor has always had his eyes on the Altean throne, everyone knows that. Empress Honerva may not have been of royal lineage but she still gave him a legitimate tie to Altea and the Altean people.”

Coran gasped, and if she weren’t in absolute shock she might have done so as well. “Empress Honerva?” Her words were breathy and hushed, not the strong voice of a Princess as she had hoped.

Yurak shrugged and gave a grunt followed by a short soft growl, the Galra may prefer non-verbal communication but she did not. “Please, explain. Honerva perished after Lotor’s birth. How did she become Empress in your reality?”

“The quintessence field.” He shrugged again before deciding to clarify, however blunty. “Zarkon and Honerva entered it – got corrupted – eventually went bonkers - then were taken out by King Alfor and Prince Lotor. He didn’t even try to save them! His own parents, he just slaughtered them for power.” His casual demeanor had changed; hands once folded in front of chest were now tightly clenched at his sides. The sound coming from his chest was a growl but it was nothing like the ones he had made earlier. Where they had been meant for communication, this was pure rage. His teeth were bared, eyes glinting in the light of the crystal, and his entire body was tensed. He looked every bit the Galra he was.

Turning her gaze to catch Keith from the corner of her eye, she saw him tense. His reaction to the distinctly Galran display of emotion did not go unnoticed by the paladins. Nervous glances shooting between the two half Galra until Keith himself broke the tension.

“We’ll make him pay for EVERYTHING he has done. He may be dead in your reality, but he can still suffer in ours.” Although the castle ship automatically translated it, she recognized the movement of his mouth and throat; he was speaking in Galran. She wondered briefly why he would switch languages until she took in Yurak’s expression. It had softened considerably. Nodding to his counterpart he took a breath before speaking.

“I think it’s for the best we decided to catch a ride in the red lion. We may be of use!”

So that was how they had managed to get through the portal with them – in the red lion. Allura had wondered originally, but shelved the thoughts for the time being. She internally chastised herself for not having looked into it further. He had mentioned that they snuck into one of the lions, but how they could access it was what had her baffled.

“Yurak, if you don’t mind me asking, how did you manage to access the lion? And why choose the red lion in particular?”

Once again, he simply shrugged, but used actual words this time. “It was the only one that let me in.” Lance gasped and shot him a pointed look. “What? They all had their particle barriers up, but as I approached the red lion she lowered hers.”

“So you just waltzed in?? Just dragged your boyfriend into MY lion? I didn’t even know you were there!” Lance seemed almost personally offended that the red lion had allowed Yurak to enter.

“I mean yea. The particle barrier came down and the mouth opened so I carried Sven up the ramp and hid in the cargo hold. I didn’t care if you found us, I was pretty sure I could take you.” Lance scoffed at that but didn’t actually object. “And besides, there was no alternative. I couldn’t just let Sven die! If we stayed on that ship the Alteans would have captured us and turned us into mindless drones like everyone else they capture. But if we escaped in our pod then Sven would have died from his injuries before we could make it back to our base. This was our only option! I wasn’t – I couldn’t – he needed to be ok. I HAD to do SOMETHING!”

Sven had moved closer to his mate, wrapping both of his arms tightly around the young Galra. “I couldn’t let you die. I – I don’t know what I would do without you.” He spoke softly into the Human man’s shoulder. The room was silent, feeling the weight of war resting on them all. It suddenly became painfully clear they were missing one of their own.

“Yes it is fortunate the red lion chose to allow you access. However, the real question is WHY, or perhaps HOW?” Coran broke the intensity of the moment, pulling them all back to reality.

“I’m not sure, but it felt almost alive. When I locked eyes with the red lion I just knew we’d be safe in her. And as we got closer she let us in. I don’t know why – maybe out of gratitude for Sven saving her paladin, maybe cause Keith used to be the red paladin, or maybe some other reason that no one can fathom. Who’s to say?”

“Yes, yes the lions are quite mysterious.” Twirling his mustache he looked between the twins and Lance. “Perhaps we should test this, see if the red lion will allow you access again, or even if you could pilot her – we might be able to use that to our advantage.”

“Uh no – I’m an assassin not a paladin! Besides, I definitely did not get the ‘hey buddy come fly me’ vibe from the red lion at all. It was more of a general ‘you can hide here’ feeling.”

Lance exhaled. Allura knew that he struggled with hidden insecurities, and she could almost feel the relief wash over him.

“Doesn’t matter. Lance is the red paladin – that’s not changing.” To hear Keith come to his defense so quickly was comforting. Lance preened at him and Allura pictured little hearts in his eyes, making her chuckle. It was a highly inappropriate reaction given the circumstances. Seeing as no one was privy to her internal monologue she found all of their questioning eyes suddenly focused on her.

Clearing her throat and attempting to conceal the blush that crept across her cheeks, she steadied herself and returned the meeting to task. “Right – the primary reason we are all gathered here is to discuss the situation surrounding Prince Lotor. We need a plan, any suggestions?”

It took a while, longer than any of them would have liked, but they eventually concocted a plan. Granted it wasn’t a GREAT plan he thought, but it was better than nothing. Hunk wasn’t overly fond of the idea of Sven stepping in as Shiro, he understood why it would work it was just that it made him uncomfortable because – you know, it felt disrespectful. Yea, that was exactly why. He didn’t like this plan because it felt disrespectful to Shiro’s memory – NO! Not memory that made it sound like he was dead. It felt disrespectful to his legacy – but that just sounded like he was dead too. He internally groaned as he walked with Sven to the armory.

There were multiple suits of armor for each paladin. The only reason Allura wore her pressure suit was because Lance was still in his blue armor. And the only reason Lance was still in blue was because of Keith. Keith refused to switch out of his red armor into black. He had begrudgingly accepted the role of black paladin, he flew the Black Lion and he used the black bayard – but he would NOT wear the black armor. And Hunk got it, he did, but like it was kind of annoying that the red paladin was wearing blue and the black paladin was wearing red and Allura didn’t even get armor now! But Keith wouldn’t budge. The Galra were incredibly stubborn and that was true even for half Galra it seemed.

Sven put on the black paladin armor and yea, this was clearly why Keith was so upset with the plan. Sven looked exactly like Shiro, well they were the same person so of course they looked alike, but with the black armor he almost BECAME Shiro standing there. Hunk felt a little catch in his throat because obviously he missed Shiro too – like a lot.

“Yellow Paladin? Umm Hunk? I look ok, ya?” Oh right, focus! Hunk had completely spaced out – HA spaced out. Returning his attention to the here and now he gave Sven a thumbs up.

“Looks good.” He smiled. “Ok let’s go meet up with the others.”

He had left the bridge with Yurak and Lance, heading to the former’s room. Against his suggestions they had decided to pass Sven off as Shiro in the hopes that it would throw Lotor for a loop. He didn’t like it, but he understood the tactical benefit. It was going to be 'all hands on deck' for this mission and that included their guests. Yurak changed into his Guns of Gamara uniform, grabbing his weapon, and they made their way to the Black Lion’s hangar to meetup with the others.

The plan was simple; Keith would fly Black with Yurak and Sven inside. Once they caught up to Lotor, they would board his ship as all five paladins – Sven impersonating Shiro. The generals would target them, that was a given, but it would allow Allura and Yurak to slip out of sight without suspicion. With ‘Shiro’ returned, it would seem obvious that Allura had stepped down as the blue paladin and remained behind to operate the castle. No one knew Yurak existed and with all five paladins accounted for, it would give them the element of surprise to sneak up on Lotor and deal with him once and for all.

Allura’s plan was to capture Lotor, return him to the castle-ship, and lock him up for questioning. Keith and Yurak had other plans. With Zarkon gone someone needed to pay for the sins of the Galra Empire, for taking away Shiro – and that someone was going to be Lotor. Yurak had even more hatred for Lotor. His home had been destroyed, his people had been murdered, and his culture had been lost all because of the traitorous Lotor. He was just itching for revenge. Allura may want him alive, but Keith knew Yurak had no intentions of letting him live. They would wait till Lotor was in custody in the Black Lion and then the two of them would deal with their fellow half breed - permanently. It wouldn’t bring Shiro back, but it would certainly make him feel better.

Chapter Text

The ride in Black was much smoother than it had been inside Red. Maybe it was the skill of the pilot or maybe it was the difference in urgency of the situation, either way Sven wasn’t complaining. The first and only time he had been inside a Lion of Voltron was to escape the Alteans, and now they were charging into battle WITH Alteans. It had been a crazy couple of days.

Sitting in the cargo hold of the black lion with Yurak, both of them in full armor and battle ready, was a familiar comfort. He sat leaning against a wall, stroking his boyfriend’s hair and rubbing the fur at the tips of his ears between his fingers. This was their pre mission ritual, it helped to calm them both and mentally prepare them for the stressful situation they were about to enter. Yurak was curled in his lap purring as they heard Keith’s voice over the com.

“Guys, we’re gunna be docking soon – get ready.”

Waiting to sneak onto Prince Lotor’s ship was nerve wracking. This wasn’t new to him, they had both been on countless missions with the Guns but those were against Alteans not Galra. He didn’t know how this would go, he wasn’t familiar with this Prince Lotor; the Galran Prince was long dead in their reality. If there was anything their organization drilled into its member’s heads it was to always be prepared, always have as much information as you can, always know what you are getting into and how to get yourself out. The Guns of Gamara never went into a mission without a detailed plan and at least two equally detailed backup plans. Rushing in with little more than a general concept of what to do was unthinkable.

Yet that was the boat he currently found himself in. Plunging head first into battle with these young paladins he barely knew, pretending to be their leader, and having no idea what he was doing. If they somehow succeeded he would be surprised, though he had faith in Yurak and Keith. Yurak he trusted with his life, he would follow him to the depths of hell and back without needing to be asked. While he didn’t really know Keith at all, he could see the twin was highly skilled and loyal, he could also sense the same drive and determination that he so admired in his boyfriend.

The plan involved Lotor’s generals not knowing he wasn’t the real black paladin – Shiro as they called him. He would have to make his exit from Black obvious, while Keith rushed out with the others. They landed all of the lions on the exterior of the ship, and everyone gathered in Black. Allura moved to hide in the cargo hold with Yurak while the paladins gathered in the head, ready to rush out as a single unit.

Keith guided Black to the hangar doors and blasted them open, flying the lion inside the ship. As predicted all four generals were waiting for them as the lion opened its mouth, letting the paladins rush out. Sven was the last to leave the lion, making his exit command attention. Lance and Keith were still able to control their old bayards, but he could not control the black bayard, he wasn’t actually a paladin after all. Instead he had brought his Gun with him, it was black and grey instead of black and white like the paladin weapons, but hopefully no one would notice that. Hopefully they just see his black paladin armor and the black weapon and assume it was the bayard, no questions asked – hopefully.

Sven rushed out of the black lion guns blazing – literally. He jumped into sync with the paladins so effortlessly that it took a moment for Keith to remember he wasn’t actually Shiro. The best part was that their plan seemed to be working; the Generals had been genuinely surprised to see ‘Shiro’. When Ezor made a snarky comment about the pretty Princess not being there, Lance immediately shot back saying she was commanding the castle. It was almost too perfect, right at that moment Coran had begun to fire on the ship as if to prove Lance’s testament. Things were going smoothly, which really only made Keith more nervous. Something was bound to give and if it wasn’t the paladins part of the plan, then it would end up being Allura and Yurak’s part.

Which reminded him – the two were still hiding in Black, unable to leave with out cover. Thinking quickly Keith dove between Zethrid’s legs, somersaulting to his feet, and jetting across the room. He could hear the frustrated grunt from behind him as he easily lost her to his superior speed and agility. Looking back he saw Hunk and take his place, Sven and Lance taking on Ezor and Narti together, and Acxa – wait, where was Acxa? And where was Pidge?

Frantically looking around the hangar he spotted the two of them. Pidge was using her tech skills to rig a distraction while Acxa was sneaking up on her from behind. The green paladin was oblivious to her surroundings as she focused deeply on the task at hand. Now that he was free of Zethrid, Keith could use his own stealth abilities to get the jump on Acxa.

He climbed up on the crates of supplies stacked along the walls of the hangar, running across the tops as quietly as possibly, closing the gap between himself and his fellow paladin. Once Acxa got close enough he would jump down, bayard at the ready, and take out one of the threats.

He didn’t get his chance. Zethrid threw a heavy metal pipe at Hunk who managed to dodge it, causing the pipe to crash into the crates Keith was perched on. A stroke of luck saw the pipe knock out Acxa on its way. Keith jumped down to finish the job and was immediately stopped by Ezor, her head tentacle wrapping tightly around his wrist and throwing him away.

Pulling out his bayard again, Keith slashed at the appendage causing Ezor to scream. The sound of her pain grabbed Zethrid’s attention and soon he found himself terribly out matched. The two Generals were the perfect fit; one fast and agile while the other was strong and sturdy. Keith ducked, bobbed, and weaved trying to avoid any hit from either of them, but he was slowly running out of energy. It was too hard taking them both on. From the corner of his eye he saw Lance ready his bayard in the form of a rifle. Sensing Zethrid to be the more difficult opponent, he positioned himself so that she would move into range, allowing Lance to take his shot.

The sharpshooter did not disappoint. Zethrid stumbled and dropped to one knee, Lance lining up for another shot. Before he could take it Pidge electrocuted him. Standing over his body as she turned her bayard on Hunk, who had joined Lance for backup. Sven was now fighting Acxa but Narti had a hold on Pidge, her reptile like hand gripping tightly around the back of the green paladin’s neck.

Keith growled, it was guttural and it was instinctual. He didn’t even think about it, the sound escaping him before he had finished processing what happened. Lance - LANCE was laying unconscious on the ground and Zethrid was getting to her feet. Something came over him, something he couldn’t recognize but he didn’t fight it. Instead he channeled this newly sourced energy into his rage.

Pidge’s bayard launched at his chest, dodging it easily he focused on the General using her like a puppet. His growls turned into hisses as Ezor and wrapped her tentacle around his ankle, dropping him and smashing his face into the ground. This only served to add to his newfound rage, fueling it even more. He pulled his bayard down with all the force he could muster, cutting clean through the restraint this time. Instead of a scream Ezor let out a blood-curdling shriek, her pain echoing off the walls of the hanger. Keith smiled at her, a menacing glint to his eyes; he wanted to hear it again. Lance was unconscious on the ground, Lotor’s General had done that, and if he couldn’t get to Narti then he would take out his anger on Ezor.

He took advantage of her confusion and kicked his still tangled foot in her face, colliding with her nose. She fell to her knees, clutching her face as Keith rose. Removing the tendril from his ankle and using it to wrap around her throat. Digging his knee into her back he pulled on the appendage, forcible cutting off her air supply. The General squirmed and clawed at her own former tentacle trying desperately to get free until eventually succumbing to a lack of oxygen and passing out. He knew she wasn’t dead, just unconscious; he would have to hold her like this a little longer for that.

“Keith?” The shock in Lance’s feeble voice pulled him back to reality. Blinking he looked up to see Zethrid and Acxa bound and gagged, with Narti’s body laying on the floor. Yurak was standing over her, blood dripping from the Marmora blade Keith had lent him.

Releasing his grip, he let Ezor’s unconscious form fall to the ground with a thump. Zethrid was struggling against her binds but Sven and Hunk had their weapons aimed at her head. Allura’s hand was over her mouth in shock and Pidge looked like she was still a little dazed.

His twin crossed the distance producing cuffs for the incapacitated General. With out saying a word, the two secured her wrists and ankles before Keith unceremoniously dragged her limp form into Black.

The black lion, being the largest, had holding cells inside. They separated the three Generals and Keith activated particle barriers between each cell. They weren’t taking any chances.

Not a word had been said. No one commented on his actions or the fact that their mission had failed. They didn’t get Lotor, they didn’t get the comet ore, and they didn’t have any idea how to return Yurak and Sven to their own reality.

They did however, have all three of Lotor’s Generals with the fourth having been terminated. While Lotor had been their intended target, he would take this as a suitable alternative.

He stared down at Ezor in her cell, the small stub of her tentacle like appendage was twitching and still bleeding profusely. Allura had stepped inside and was attempting to stop the blood loss, while Zethrid cursed a string of profanities in their direction. Keith scoffed at her, leaving the cargo hold and heading for his pilot seat. They needed to return to the other lions before Lotor caught on to what happened.

Leaning back against the walls with arms folded across his chest, Yurak kicked Zethrid through the cell. “Would you shut up?” He scolded and she growled at him - he growled right back. Keith snorted as the cockpit door closed behind him.

He didn’t know when it happened, but at some point between leaving the Altean ship and the fight in Lotor’s hangar, they had lost Keith - the Human Keith at least. Don’t get him wrong, Lance had no problem with Keith getting in touch with his Galran heritage, that kind of stuff was important, but this was too far. The Garla were vicious and destructive and so so aggressive. He had always hoped that Keith’s Human side would help to rein that in, but it was looking like he had hoped wrong. Yurak’s true colours were starting to show too, he had seemed like a purple version of Keith. Totally chill and way easier to talk to, but still essentially just a purple Keith. And that was the problem, Keith had a penance for loosing his shit, he could go from calm and quiet to freaking out in the blink of an eye. The guy challenged ZARKON for crying out loud.

But this, this was too far. Yurak had burst into the hangar and sliced down Narti before any of them even knew what had happened. Then they heard Ezor’s painful scream, and saw Keith’s smile that followed. It had made Lance sick. He would never have thought Keith was capable of such cruelty, inflicting pain for the sake of pain. Then it got worse; he had tried to kill her. They had all killed before, it was a part of being soldiers in a war. Lance knew and understood that, but killing for self-defense in a war was different than purposely strangling someone with their own severed body parts while smiling about it. That was just sadistic and that WASN’T Keith.

Zethrid was suffering, she watched her mate nearly have the life strangled out of her then watched as she was hauled into a cell. Allura was only trying help but Ezor was still in pain. When Yurak kicked Zethrid, he realized that maybe it wasn’t some outside force affecting Keith, that it was something deeper. If they both were capable of this, then it needed to be addressed sooner rather than later.

This kind of behavior was not ok and certainly not acceptable for a paladin of Voltron.

Chapter Text

With all the commotion it was easy for them to slip out of the black lion undetected. He watched as the small one started a distraction for them, noticing one of the Generals sneaking up behind her. Yurak had to physically restrain the Princess from blowing their cover as she made a move to protect her paladin. Pinning her to the floor of the hangar, wrists gripped above her head, Yurak straddled the Princess using his body weight to hold her down, she was surprisingly strong.

“Stop it” he hissed. “You’re going to blow our cover.”

“I can not just let one of Lotor’s Generals harm Pidge. I must do something.” Allura whispered back. There was a sense of urgency in her voice but he wasn’t going to let her go.

“We ARE doing something – we’re stopping Lotor. Keith is already on the crates he’s got this. Let the others handle it, we need to move – NOW!” Keeping the rage from his voice was hard. He wanted nothing more than to let out the ferocious growl that was building, but he knew that would only make the situation worse. It would draw attention to them, giving away their position and his existence in this reality.

Nodding her head Allura let out a breath and he released her. They moved closer to the hangar doors as a heavy pipe crashed through the crates and clanged against the metal walls where they had been hiding. Freezing in place Yurak scanned the room, had that been aimed at them? Or was it just a coincidence? The fight raged on in the hangar unaware of their presence and he let out a tightly held breath.

Suddenly the doors to the hangar exploded, the small one jumping to her feet and squealing with delight, but the General was already crawling out of the crates. Again, the Princess inhaled sharply as the green paladin was back in the thick of things. Using the distraction for what it was, he grabbed the Princess’ wrist and the two of them slipped from the hangar, making their way down the empty hall.

Allura had pulled up a map from her wrist gauntlet showing the four dots for each of the paladins and one for Sven in the hangar with the four purple dots of the Generals. It also showed their two dots heading for a black triangle.

“Is that Lotor?” He asked skeptically. Why would Lotor be a triangle? Was that just to make it easier to find him?

“No, I am afraid it is not.” Allura sounded just as confused as he was. “Lotor is here,” she said pointing to a purple dot in another part of the ship. “-but this is not a Human, Galra, or Altean signature. I am not sure what this is. We must be on guard.”

With that he drew his gun closer to his chest. Incase of emergency, Keith had given him his luxite blade, which was tucked into his suit. The real reason for the knife was to use against Lotor, but Allura didn’t need to know that.

They rounded the mystery corner and found themselves face to face with a creature neither had been expecting, one he hoped he would never see again. Allura seemed genuinely surprised but not frightened of it and let her guard down accordingly. Yurak however recognized this being for what it was, something ancient, something to be very very afraid of. Where there was Kova, there was dark power. The energy of the creature entered his mind, it made him picture the lizard-like General and he knew, somehow he just knew she was by far the most dangerous; perhaps more so than Lotor himself.

Stopping in his tracks Yurak grabbed Allura by the arm. “Stop, we need to go back!”

“What?! We cannot! You said it yourself, we must complete our mission, we must not jeopardize our element of surprise.” She was genuinely shocked, and he had to admit that he sounded crazy.

“Allura the whole team is danger. There is an ancient power here, something no one was prepared for. We have to go back! Lotor be damned – we’ll get him another time.” He was pulling on her arm, half dragging her back the way they came, away from Kova’s gaze.

It was too late, the creature had already alerted its master. The lizard General was controlling Green like a puppet, using her to take down the other paladins. As they entered the hangar they watched Yellow fall beside Lance. Panic clenched at Yurak’s heart, he immediately searched the room for Sven and found him battling it out with the sneaky General. His eyes then turned to Keith who was strangling the pink one with her own tentacle. His eyes were narrowed into slits, the sclera having turned a vivid yellow. Yurak barely had time to process this as he made his move on the lizard. The element of surprise was crucial here.

Drawing the luxite blade he sliced her hand from off at the wrist, severing her connection to the green paladin. She let out a horrid sound and Yurak silenced her for good. Pulling the knife from her back he let the dark blood drip from the tip as her body crumbled.

Sven made short work of the sneaky one after that, taking advantage of the distraction. Allura had moved to take down the big one, but was losing terribly. He held the knife in one hand and pulled his gun with the other, aiming at her already injured knee.

If there was one thing Yurak was proud of, it was his aim. He didn’t miss, energy beam hitting its intended target as she let out a loud scream. He had fired another shot into her other knee before she could even turn around, and a third into her side as she dropped down. He held his aim as the Princess cuffed her wrists and ankles, letting out a fourth to lightly graze the side of her ear as a warning for good measure.

“Keith?” Lance sounded fearful, and it was only then that he realized the paladin was awake. Looking over at his counterpart he watched as Keith’s eyes shifted back to their rounded, more Human appearance. He let go of the pink one, her limp form flopping gracelessly to the ground.

No one said anything to Keith, or each other for that matter. He did hear Yellow and Green mumbling slightly, though he couldn’t quite catch what they were saying even with his superior Galra hearing. Once they had everyone loaded into the black lion, the Princess tended to the pink one’s injury. Keith had really done a number on her, if they didn’t get this one back to the castle soon she could very well die from the blood loss alone.

The sneaky one was being awfully quiet, she seemed to understand the situation and knew to keep her mouth shut – something the big one wasn’t very keen on. Loosing his patience he kicked her through the cell bars.

“Would you shut up?” he used his most condescending tone and she growled back at him. Two can play at that game, he was just as Galra as she was. He locked eyes and growling right back at her. This she understood, and finally silenced herself. Sitting in her cell, nursing her injured knees as she watched the Princess tend to the pink one. Keith snorted as the door shut behind him and the big one let out a snarl.

Yurak chuckled to himself, what did she think she was going to do? Bust out of the cell? Keith had prepared for that and put up particle barriers, she was going nowhere. Hearing him laugh made the paladins look his way; he could feel their eyes on him.

“Why are you laughing?” Lance didn’t sound confused, he sounded incredulous.

Shrugging he simply stated the obvious, “She’s not going anywhere. That snarl was supposed to be a threat – “ he turned his head to meet the big one’s eyes again, “- but you don’t scare me.” This brought out another snarl and a hiss, to that he simply chuckled again. Baring his teeth he lowered himself to her eye level and growled back, wrapping his claws around the bars he smirked at her.

“Enough, you Galra are so aggressive. I will absolutely NOT tolerate any taunting of the prisoners, we will transport them back to the Castle of Lions to be held for questioning.” He rolled his eyes at the Princess’ orders but respected her authority. Standing up he nodded his head in agreement and gave her a slight bow.

“Yes Princess.” She positively beamed at him. Odd reaction he thought, but just brushed it off. “I’ll stay here and keep an eye on the prisoners.”

“I’ll stay here and keep an eye on Yurak” Lance chimed in. Arching a brow he simply snickered.

“Oh. And who will fly the red lion back?”

“Right. Shit. Ok fine – but someone needs to stay here and make sure you don’t kill anyone.”

“I’m not going to kill anyone” rolling his eyes “… else.” he added remembering the lizard lady formerly known as the fourth General.

“I will stay.” Sven spoke up, concern clear on his face. Yurak smiled at him, of course he would stay, Sven would always stay with him. The others left for their lions and he felt the jolt as Black took off again.

Sven was sitting on the floor, leaning back against the wall next to Sneaky’s cell. The Galra are a heavily touch oriented species, and half-breeds were no exception. Yurak moved to sit between his mate’s legs, leaning against his chest and relaxing into him as Sven wrapped his strong arms tightly around the smaller boy’s chest. He was Galra but his Human mate was bigger than him, it was odd but oh so comforting. There was nowhere more secure than being wrapped in Sven’s arms and he relished it.

Somewhere, deep inside himself he felt a ripple. It was a strange feeling, something that shouldn’t have been there but yet it was. He tried to put his finger on it, tried to source where it had come from but couldn’t. Closing his eyes he concentrated on the feeling and suddenly he was in the cockpit. No, he wasn’t actually there, he could still feel Sven wrapped around him, still smell his mate’s scent and feel his breathing on his neck, this was different – more like a projection. He continued to focus on the feeling, watching as the pilot’s seat got closer and a sickening feeling came over him. Kova.

She sat silently as she watched the young Galra curl up to the black paladin. It was strange that he wasn’t flying his lion, Keith was. She had noticed something off about him in their fight, he seemed less ferocious and he hadn’t once activated his hand weapon. Perhaps this wasn’t the black paladin after all, merely a doppelgänger but that didn’t make any sense. He didn’t just resemble the black paladin – he was IDENTICAL to him. But then there was the young Galra, Yurak they had called him. Galran features aside, he was strikingly similar to Keith she noticed. She always noticed Keith, Ezor was quick to point that out. Ezor!

Looking over at her cell she saw the General curled up in a ball, quietly crying at the loss of her tentacle and the pain she was in. Zethrid hadn’t made another sound since the Galra boy threatened her. And she could see why, though Zethrid was a force to be reckoned with, this Yurak seemed like quite the opponent. He had taken down Narti so fast she barely noticed him before her fellow General fell. He scared her, he may look like Keith but he wasn’t as merciful. But then neither was Keith today. There were many times in the past where they had all nearly killed each other, but the paladins only fought to escape – never to intentionally cause pain and suffering. Today had been different; he had intended to kill Ezor. She was unconscious and defenseless, a state in which the paladins would normally stop their attack and move on, but he had not. Acxa could see it in his eyes that he was enjoying himself, a much more sadistic side coming out. It was uncharacteristic for him, granted she didn’t know him well – or at all to be honest, but based on every encounter she had with him, this wasn’t the way he normally acted.

The memories of the weblum came to mind; he had tried to protect her. Even after he found out she was Galra he had still tried to protect her, he even let her keep her weapon when she used it to blast the acid creatures.

Something was off. She opened her mouth to speak, hoping to convince their Galra guard, but before she could get a word out he had jumped to his feet.

“KEITH! Danger in cockpit! Saving Keith now. Call help Sven, Paladins or Princess or Moustache!” He shouted his words in Galran as he lunged across the cargo hold. The doors of the cockpit sprang open and she caught him hiss as he tackled something small and black. She couldn’t get a clear view to see what it was before the doors slid shut but she didn’t need to. That screeching sound was something she wouldn’t soon forget – Kova. If Narti’s conduit was in the black lion they were all in danger.


Chapter Text

Lance sat down in the pilot’s seat of the red lion. A rush of heat and concern flooded his veins. It’s ok Red. I’m sure he’s fine; I’ll give him shit later. Let’s head back!

He could feel her hesitance in the back of his mind, and the very thought of it made him worry. Keith had been deeply connected to Red, stronger than his connection was, and stronger that even King Alfor’s had been. His connection to Red was so strong that sometimes Lance could feel him through her. It’s what made him nervous when he found out Yurak had been given access by Red. ‘Not the one’ Red purred in mind, and he took comfort in that. He new Red would take Keith back in a heartbeat, but he was Black’s now and she wasn’t getting her old paladin back – she was stuck with Lance. ‘Not stuck - chosen’ Red purred again. And Lance couldn’t help but smile.

Silence hung in the air of the ship. It shouldn’t be this quiet he thought to himself as he paced in the fortified control room. An uneasy feeling was settling in the pit of his stomach. Had his plan failed? Had he missed something in his calculations? He knew the best way to defeat the paladins was to have them defeat themselves. Using Narti to take control of the smallest, knowing the others would restrain themselves from hurting their friend. This would allow his other Generals to over power them quickly. It should not have taken this long, and it should not be this quiet. No, something had definitely gone wrong.

Just as he made the revelation, the ship gave a lurch. Looking out the window he caught the tail of the black lion flick, watched it rise out of view, and felt the jolt as it landed heavily on top of his ship. Less than ten ticks later all five lions were leaving, without any pursuit. Where were his Generals? Why were they not following the lions in their ships?

Lotor unlocked the door to the control room and headed straight for the hangar maintaining his calm demeanor and pace incase he ran into anyone, though he was starting to doubt he would. This suspicion was confirmed the moment he walked through the doors. The hangar was completely empty, aside from the crumpled form lying in the middle of the room surrounded in a pool of thick blood. Narti.

He took a moment to check for vitals but already knew it was no use. Her severed hand lay a few paces away from her body and the wound in her back was deep, a sword or a blade of some sort had clearly caused it. Only one paladin carried such a weapon and he found it oddly fitting that the only Galra member of Voltron had been the one to end his General, a fellow half-breed herself.

Looking around he noticed the other blood pools. One appeared to be the result of a survivable injury and the other was large and smeared in all directions – obvious signs of a struggle. He noticed Ezor’s tentacle resting in the large pool of blood and felt a pang in his gut. It wasn’t sadness for her loss; those emotions were for the weak and Lotor was anything but weak. No this was anger, pure and simple. He had been robbed of his Generals, two of which were permanently lost. Narti was dead and based on the severed limb, and volume of blood loss, he assumed Ezor was too. If not already, she would be soon.

The rage boiled in his veins, these were his Generals, HIS Generals! How dare the filthy paladins take away what was his. He would make them pay for this, pay with their lives – mostly; there was one he had other plans for. Narti and Ezor were valuable tools, their abilities were especially useful to him and if he were to be down two half-breed Generals then he would need to replace them. And he knew exactly where to start; he would take Voltron’s half-breed. Use Kova to take over his mind and replace Ezor and Narti with him instead. All the better that he came with a connection to not one, but two Voltron lions.

Lotor laughed, he could turn anything to his favour, but rarely did an opportunity like this present itself. If he had known losing Ezor and Narti could lead this, he would have sacrificed them a long time ago.

The trip back to the castle-ship was smooth. They weren’t being followed or attacked as usual, but that was a given seeing as though the ones who would be attacking them were currently locked up inside the black lion. His mind raced over the events in the hangar and froze on the image of Keith strangling Ezor. It had been a horrid sight, one Lance never wanted to see again. He thought for a moment that he should call up a link to the black lion, check in on Keith, and make sure he was ok. There was a sinking feeling in his guts that he couldn’t explain and it was making him nauseous. If this is what it felt like to be Hunk then he understood his best friends apprehensions; this feeling sucked.

It took a minute, but he realized that it wasn’t just him that was worried, so was Red. If she was worried then something must really be going on, he decided to open the link and contact Keith, just to be sure.

Reaching for the dashboard controls he froze, suddenly he was standing in a vast fire, it was raging all around him and he could smell the embers in the air. The flames were licking at his skin but he wasn’t burning, it was warm but not hot. Everything was red, the bright orange and yellow flames were dancing all around him and he spun around desperately taking in his surroundings. ‘LANCE!’ He heard his name, ‘LANCE!!!!’

‘Keith?’ No way! Where were they? What was going on? Why could he hear Keith IN HIS HEAD? The voice was definitely in his head; he could feel it tingling at the back of his mind but HOW?


‘Keith?? What’s going on?’ Suddenly Keith was in front of him. He was shimmering like some sort of ethereal projection, a purple hue emanating from all around him, stars shone through his form and a calming cool spread through the fire. Looking down at his own hands Lance saw the flames licking through them, a red glow surrounding his essence. Where were they?

Lance! You need to help us. We’re under attack by … I don’t know what! Please I can’t hold out much longer. We need your help, I need your help!’ His tone was pleading and he could see the projection flicker before him. Keith was fading.

Panic shot through him, and he silently chastised himself for even humoring the idea that Keith was losing his humanity. Keith needed him, he needed his right hand to back him up and Lance wouldn’t let him down. They were a team, they were united and bonded, they were brothers, they were - something more.

He felt the surge of rage come directly from Red as Keith’s image flickered out entirely. The cool serenity he now recognized as the black lion faded with him, replaced by raging flames. A heat that seared his flesh and ignited in his blood. He felt Red on a level he had never felt her before, this is what her connection to Keith had been – she had connected to his very essence. Taking him as a part of herself, allowing them to connect their consciousness even when he was no longer her paladin.

As suddenly as it had appeared, it was gone. No longer inside Red’s consciousness but back in his pilot seat. Lance opened up a line to the other lions.

“Guys, something big is happening. Keith came to warn me THROUGH the red lion. We need to help them!”

“What? Lance, what is going on man? What do you mean ‘through the red lion’? Like he just popped into Red?” Hunk tried to hide the fear in his voice but Lance knew him too well.

He turned his lion around and saw Black floating lifelessly behind them all, Lotor’s ship getting dangerously close.

“Lance, do you see that? What do we do?” Allura was asking him. Even though she was the princess, with the black lion and Keith out of commission, control fell to the right hand – the red lion. Lance was now the de facto leader of Voltron, the others were counting on him and he wouldn’t let them down, he wouldn’t let Keith down.

“Pidge, Allura, Hunk – distract Lotor. I’m going for Keith and Black.”

“Roger that buddy.”
“Yes, of course.” Hunk, Pidge, and Allura all sounded off as they moved their lions into position.

Lance took a deep breath and rushed for the black lion. I’m coming for you, Keith.

Chapter Text

It wasn’t until his hands touched the controls of Black that he felt the darkness ebb. What had happened with Ezor wasn’t completely within his control, but HAD been completely his decision. He had felt a darkness pulling him towards the actions but it hadn’t forced him to do anything, in the end he had wanted to. Still it wasn’t an impulse he normally would have acted on. Seeing Lance crumbled on the ground like that, Pidge taken over by Narti, and Hunk about to fall – it made something in him snap. He had let the darkness take over, it had scratching at him the entire battle but in that moment he had let it in.

Black rumbled in the back of his mind, further chasing away the fog. Keith closed his eyes tightly and took a deep breath. He would deal with this later, right now they needed to get their prisoners back to the Castle of Lions to be secured. Ezor was in desperate need of a healing pod, and he was pretty sure Zethrid could use some time in one too.

It only took about 30 seconds to get from the hangar to the spot on the ship where the other lions were waiting. The other paladins had to exit through the cockpit, and while only Lance gave him a second look, it was enough to make his heart sink. Those ocean blues were deeply troubled, something weighing heavily on them. Keith knew what it was, Lance was worried about him. He understood why, but he still didn’t know what that darkness had been. He needed to figure out if it was a part of himself that he had always kept buried or if it was an outside force taking action. Honestly both options sucked and both options were terrifying but he hoped it was the later. If was a part of him then he would have to deal with it for the rest of his life, but if it was an outside force – he could kill it.

Something stirred at that thought, and he swore he could almost feel eyes watching him. They felt predatory, like something was trying to sneak up on him, readying for an attack. The hairs on the back of his neck stood on end and the door to the cockpit opened as Yurak burst through.

Everything happened so fast, one minute he was flying Black towards the castle-ship, and the next he as on the floor with Yurak holding down what could only be described as a space cat. The creature hissed and clawed under his grasp, wriggling its entire body in an attempt to get free. The sounds it was making hurt him to hear, tearing at his heart making him want desperately to free the poor beast. But Black was rumbling a warning in the back of his head, letting go was not an option. Still he couldn’t stop the feeling of pity that was building, he wanted to protect the poor animal.

Black rumbled louder and he felt a sharp pain as something tried to gain control. He fell back against the pilot’s seat, nails digging into his scalp. If Keith had claws he would surely be using them to tear away at his own flesh. The sharp pain was blinding, it cut out his vision and his hearing, taking over his senses entirely. A cold creeping feeling made its way from the back of his skull down his spine, seeping deep into his bones.

He hated it, the sensation felt like death and he couldn’t see or hear a damned thing. He started to panic, breath coming in short shallow bursts and he faintly heard Yurak scream. What ever was happening – it was bad. They couldn’t risk taking Black anywhere near the castle, not with this thing, this entity, on board.

Keith mustered what little control he had and reached out to Black, their connection was growing weaker and he could barely feel the lion anymore. Patience. Yields. Focus. He took a deep breath and focused all of his energy; every last vestige if strength he had was channeled into reaching his lion.

He felt the familiar calm and serenity of Black, the comforting cool of a peaceful space as he reestablished their connection and pleaded with her. Stay away from the Castle. Please Black! Don’t go home, don’t let anyone in, don’t let what ever this is escape! And with that the connection was severed, replaced with the icy cold sensation in his bones and a sharp biting in his mind. What ever this was, what ever was trying to take control, it was incredibly powerful. But Keith was not going down without a fight. If it wanted to control him then he would fight it tooth and nail. He was never one to just roll over and surrender. Victory or death his mind supplied, and for once he didn’t question the Galra Empire’s motto. The only thing he would give this entity was a corpse, he’d fight it to the bitter end. He hated the Galra Empire, he hated everything they stood for, but even the Blade of Marmora fought to the death – it was the Galra way, and he was Galra after all. So he would fight this or he would die trying.

Yurak screamed when Kova bit him, the blood coming to the surface as the beast clung to his arm. He waved it frantically trying to fling her off but the creature’s grip was too tight. He felt the teeth make contact with the bone in his arm. The pain was blinding, he could stars at the edge of his vision as a fang scraped the bones again. Cursing in Galran he frantically tried to pry the creature’s mouth open but it swatted at him with its claws. He screamed again as they sliced through the flesh and warm blood started rushing to the surface.

It took everything in him to fight, Kova was tiny but powerful and he knew he couldn’t give up. Keith was clawing at his head, blood pouring down the sides of his face and spilling out of his mouth as he bit down on his lips. He was certain those eyes were yellow and slit, but they were scrunched tightly closed so he couldn’t tell for sure. It seemed that Kova was fighting on both fronts, taking Keith mentally and him physically. They needed to switch, Keith was starting to lose his control and Yurak couldn’t take much more either, if they switched they could fight with fresh strengths.

He smashed his arm into the floor, Kova’s head connecting to the hard metal. The creature let out a harsh shriek of pain and he watched as his twin flinched. Suddenly Keith’s nose started to bleed and Kova unlatched from his arm. The cold air brought a stinging pain that shot through his whole body, but the release of the pressure and the sudden stop of the scraping was enough to make him cry with joy.

In that moment he heard it, unlike anything he had ever heard in his life. It was different from the red lion; she had pushed a feeling, one that said she would hide them. But this was something else; this was a loud roar in the back of his mind, one that rattled at his very soul and he knew immediately what it was – the black lion.

He couldn’t explain it, but he just knew what he had to do. Yurak heard Black in his head clear as day ‘protect him.’

How? What am I supposed to do?’

Sven - it takes two. I will help.’

“SVEN!!!! COCKPIT NOW HELP!! SVEEEEEENNNN!!!!” Yurak screamed the Galran words at the top of his lungs and the door hissed open. He had Kova pinned down, the cat writhing and twisting horridly under his grasp. Sven rushed to his side, helping to pin the creature and inhaling sharply as he took note of the blood on both himself and Keith.

“Help from Black. Contain Kova.” His words were dripping with urgency; they needed to buy Keith as much time as possible. He watched the blood pour from his twin’s nose, rushing down with the rest of it to soak his armor. Every so often he would twitch, his eyes rapidly moving around behind closed lids.

Kova was struggling still but when he met the cat’s eyes he instantly regretted it. Darkness, darkness all around him and a sinking cold that tried to consume his soul. He felt it deep inside, the cold brought pain but took his senses. He couldn’t feel the creature in his grip, he couldn’t see his mate watching him, and he couldn’t hear the shrieks or concerned words. Everything was cold, everything was darkness and then – light, a soft purple light in the distance. Yurak knew it wasn’t possible, he knew they were still inside the black lion but it felt more like standing in the vastness of space. It was calm here, peaceful really and he wondered briefly if he was dead.

‘Keith?’ a familiar voice questioned. It sounded confused and as he turned around he nearly jumped out of his skin.

‘Sven?’ His mate gave a start, narrowing his eyes in confusion and everything clicked. ‘Oh, Shiro then?’

‘Yea, Keith what happened to you?’ He was looking Yurak up and down, eyes blown wide with shock.

‘I’m not Keith – well kinda, but not really. My name is Yurak – I’m Keith from another reality. My version of you is named Sven. Where are we? What is this place? Are we dead?’  He watched realization dawn on Shiro’s face. How Keith could choose Lance over this man was beyond him. Sure Lance was cute and funny and kinda sweet to be honest, but he wasn’t the man that Sven or Shiro, was. He guessed it was all circumstantial, he had met Sven through the Guns of Gamara. They had trained together and risked their lives together; it built a close bond between them that eventually became so much more than that. But Keith had grown up with Shiro watching over him, protecting him, mentoring him – they were brothers. Ok so he kinda understood, but he still thought Keith was crazy.

Shiro watched him have his little epiphany, smiling warmly as he became lost in thought.

‘Yurak? I need you to focus ok? Can you do that kiddo?’

‘Don’t call me kiddo – it’s super weird coming from you. And you didn’t answer me. Where are we? Are we dead?’

‘We are in the consciousness of the black lion. And you are not dead.’

‘Wait, you said WE then YOU … Shiro? What’s going on? Where have you been? The paladins have been searching for you! You need to come back.’

‘I fought Zarkon here, inside Black. I defeated him – but the price was high. Still, it was a price I was willing to pay.’ He took a deep breath and looked Yurak dead in the eyes, a warmth there that reminded him so much of Sven, but a pain he hoped his mate would never have to feel. ‘I have felt Keith’s grief through Black and I can feel him fading as we speak. Black’s connection is weaker than Red’s, he is reaching out to Lance for help, the paladins will come but you need to deal with the creature.’

‘Kova. But how?’

‘Black showed me her, from before. She belonged to Honerva before she became the witch Haggar. It is the witch that is taking control of Keith. She is powerful, more powerful than you can imagine. Her connection needs to be broken.’

‘Kill the conduit. Got it.’

“Yurak? I promised him once that I would never abandon him – I’ll be here if he needs me. Please - take care of him.’

Before he could reply Shiro was gone. The calm of the black lion’s consciousness faded into the chaos of the cockpit. “I will.”



Chapter Text

The red lion raced away from the group. Somewhere in his adrenalin and fear addled mind he registered that the connection to the black lion was missing. When they formed Voltron he could feel each of the others clearly and even though it was weaker when they were just flying their lions, it was still there. The paladin bond being this omnipresent force that connected them. Except now he couldn’t feel Keith. He could feel Allura and Pidge’s concern, Lance’s worry mixed with determination, and his own fear, but nothing from Keith. He didn’t really know what this meant, but there was no way it was a good sign, like how could it be? Lance had sounded so panicked when his voice came over the coms, and now there was no connection to Keith or the black lion?

Breathe, breathe, breathe! Hunk reminded himself over and over like a mantra – actually no, not like a mantra, it basically WAS his mantra. Shiro may have taught Keith ‘patience yields focus’ but he had ‘breathe, don’t puke’ which, honestly, way more practical.

Speaking of which, a shot from Lotor’s ship caused the yellow lion to jolt, sending Hunk’s stomach looping around. The next time they went to the space mall he was going to check that Earth store for some Pepto he could keep in his lion.

Coming back to reality, he flew his lion into the battle. Lotor had no Generals to help him, this meant that he was manning the controls himself and it showed. The ship wasn’t attacking with the same intensity it usually did. They were easily out fighting him, inching their way to a swift victory. Maybe this would work out even better; maybe they could get the Generals AND Lotor! That would be a huge step towards ending the war – a huge step!

No sooner had he thought it did Lotor activate the ion canon; the pending blast aimed directly at the red and black lions. Once again panic struck him, because obviously! A hit like that was enough to decimate the defenses of the castle-ship, who knew what kind of damage it would do to the lions. Hunk moved to block the blast from hitting Red, he wasn’t even thinking at this point but he knew Black and Yellow had the thickest armor while Red had the least. He positioned his lion just in time, and the blast tested the very limits of his armor. He felt the power behind it as Yellow shuddered, the force of the blast knocking him out of position and decimating Yellow’s reserves.

“-NK? Buddy can you hear me? Ay, mierda esto es malo! Hunk, HUNK!!” He hadn’t even realized the blast had knocked him out for a few seconds. Lance was so panicked he had reverted back to Spanish.

“Yea, I’m – I’m ok man. Yellow on the other hand, yea um that’s a different story. He’s not responding. I think the blast took him out of the fight dude.” Hunk tested the controls again, yup nadda. He was a sitting duck just like Black. That had been a stupid move, he shouldn’t have done that – but then it would have hit Red and the damage would have been way worse. No, it was a good thing he took that hit.

“Lance, go deal with Keith I’m fine buddy. Really, I am. Yellow just needs a sec to, I dunno, rest or whatever.”

“Yea, ok – you’re sure?”

“Yea man, go! Allura and Pidge got this. I’ll help them out when Yellow is back online. Go save our leader.” As Lance disconnected he was left sitting there in silence. Huh, he had never really called Keith their leader before, but it was true. He had really taken up the mantle and slipped into the position Shiro left behind. Keith wasn’t the perfect leader, heck he was still pretty much the same hot headed, aggressive guy he had always been. But now he at least listened to the rest of them – most of the time. He was growing and Hunk was proud of his half alien buddy. So proud!

Lance had just reached the black lion when he saw the flash of yellow at the side of his screen. He was about to pull up a link and ask Hunk ‘what gives’, when a bright purple blast smashed right into the yellow and black lions. Hunk had positioned Yellow in a way that completely shielded Red from the blast. Lance couldn’t react, he couldn’t even think! There was no way Red could handle a hit like that and since he hadn’t noticed it coming, there was no way he could have dodged it. Hunk had literally just saved his life, he owed his best friend one hell of a hug!

Resuming course he reached the black lion and opened up a channel.

“Keith? You there? Answer me man! Keith??” Nothing. No answer – no response of any kind. Lance knew the situation inside Black was bad, after all Keith had asked him for help THROUGH Red instead of using the comlinks. But he hadn’t expected it to be like this. To be honest, he didn’t know what he had expected, just not this; he could never have expected this.

Trying and failing to establish a connection again, he decided the best way to assess the situation was to just go ahead and enter the black lion. He positioned Red so that he could skip from her to Black as quickly as possible before exiting the lion.

In theory it was a great plan, but something things just never worked out for Lance. Black refused to open up. She was not letting him in and now he was just floating in space banging on the lion’s face. He used the communicators in their paladin armor to connect to Keith, desperate for some way to reach him.

“Keith? Come on man, open up!” Lance called for him at least a thousand times – ok so maybe it was more like 10 but still! If Keith was unconscious that was not a good sign. He briefly wondered if Yurak would be able to control the black lion enough to give him access, but he doubted it. If Red wouldn’t give him any control, he doubted Black would. But then again, Red was notoriously picky – the thought made him swell with pride, if only a little.

He needed to find a way in, he needed to help Keith and stop whatever was going on. Keith needed him, and without his help they could very well be down two black paladins. A thought that made his heart sink for so many reasons, and suddenly the prospect of never knowing what he and Keith could be terrified him.

Red? Red I need you to get me in there. Please Red! He pleaded with his lion, maybe Red could reach out to Black; get the lion to open up without the command from her paladin. Suddenly he heard Keith’s voice, though mildly distorted through Black’s memories.

‘Stay away from the Castle. Please Black! Don’t go home, don’t let anyone in, don’t let whatever this is escape!’ The desperation in his voice was enough to bring Lance to tears. Listening to Keith like that, for his voice to sound – No, Lance couldn’t think those thoughts. Not now, not ever! If he did, then he would let the fear take over and he wouldn’t be any help to the one person he wanted to save more than anything. What he needed was to get into the black lion – against its paladin’s wishes.

Lance pressed his head against Black and sighed. Please, I need to help. I NEED to help Keith. A tear slid down his cheek and he didn’t care how pathetic it made him look. He was desperate and it didn’t matter if it showed.

Suddenly the mouth of the black lion opened, allowing him access. Without missing a beat Lance jet packed inside the second the gap was big enough for him to fit. Rushing into the cockpit he was met with a sight straight out of a horror movie; there was blood everywhere, literally everywhere. Keith was slumped over on his right side leaning against the back of the pilot’s seat, while Yurak lay unconscious near the door to the cargo hold. There was splatter on every surface and a mix of bloody hand and boot prints as well as tiny bloody paw prints. A smear of blood on the cargo door was enough to have him rushing in that direction.

Opening the doors he stepped into yet another nightmare. Ezor was lying in her cell showing no signs of life. She had been in dire need of a pod and this delay was taking precious time. Zethrid was silently curled up in the back corner of her cell, which was incredibly out of character and creepy as hell. He looked into the third cell but realized that he couldn’t see Acxa, or Sven for that matter. Suddenly the panic was back. What had happened here?

Chapter Text

The sounds coming from the cockpit made her more nervous than she already was. Acxa knew what Kova was capable of, how Narti could use the creature as her senses. A thought had long scratched at her mind, if Narti could use Kova then who else could?

The screams grew continuously louder before she heard the Galra call out for his mate. The Human immediately jumped to his feet, crossing the cargo hold in mere ticks before vanishing into the cockpit with the others. In the split second the door had been open she could see enough of the scene inside to make her desperate for escape. Keith was slumped over and seemingly unconscious, the Galra boy had the bone of his forearm exposed, and blood coated the floor. Kova was desperately squirming to get free, making terrible shrieking sounds that had her suddenly clambering to her feet. She needed out, she needed to get out of her cell and get out of the black lion or she could be next.

“Acxa?” Zethrid’s voice sounded weak, something she had never heard before. It added a new level of severity to the situation. “Acxa can you see Ezor? Is – is she breathing?”

Looking over in the direction of her fellow General, Acxa watched as her chest rose and fell ever so slightly. She was still holding on, but she wouldn’t last much longer.

“She’s alive. We need to get out of here. Can you bend the bars? Is there anything we can do to get free?”

“No, I’ve tried. The bars aren’t a problem, it’s the force fields that are keeping us in.”

“At least they’ll keep everything else out.” It was a small comfort.

After a few dobashes she heard a familiar regal voice come through the overhead speakers demanding the release of his Generals. Lotor was coming for them! He was rushing single handed against the Voltron lions to save his Generals. A small part of her brain supplied the dark thought that he could merely be trying to get them back because he needed his followers, but she shoved that far far away, tucking it into the deepest parts of her mind.

The hit from the ion cannon had done severe damage to the black lion, she couldn’t tell exactly how much damage – but she knew another hit like that and they would all be dead. But Lotor wouldn’t risk it; he was far too smart to kill off those who were most loyal to him. He would rescue her and her fellow Generals, bring them back to his ship and, knowing Lotor, probably take Keith with them – willingly or not.

After more screaming and struggling, the door to the cockpit opened. The Human came stumbling out, blood soaking through his clothing and obvious injuries covered his body. He fumbled his way through the cargo hold as he headed towards the back of the lion. She watched as he pawed at the walls, searching for something and muttering to himself. It appeared as if he was having a conversation with someone, but there was no one else there. Briefly she wondered if Kova was in his head, having taken over and instructing him to act.

Acxa managed to catch the Human’s eyes; they looked sharp and alert. If Kova was not controlling him then who could he be communicating with? She knew the coms built into the paladin’s armor wouldn’t work inside the black lion right now – not after a hit from the ion cannon. So that ruled out communication with the other paladins and the sight of the two unconscious bodies in the cockpit was enough confirmation that they were not able to communicate in any way. Which left her with hallucination or Kova, neither of which was a good option.

Based on the way he was speaking, friendly and calm, she determined that it couldn’t possibly be Kova as the Human would be empty – void of all emotion and any semblance of a personality. That was how people acted once being puppeted by Narti and she figured Kova’s control would be similar. This seemed more like a voice in his head that was guiding him as he searched for something.

Acxa watched from her cell, there was nothing she could do and it made her feel helpless. Suddenly the Human was standing directly in front of her, staring through the bars, assessing her with his gaze.

“General –“

“Acxa” She interrupted. Her mother had taught her that people, regardless of species, tended to me more compassionate to those with a name. As long as you remained a nameless prisoner it was easy for them to dissociate and become almost cruel. When her Galra father came for her, taking her to be trained by the Empire, she had learned to deal with her fair share of cruelty. Being a half-breed stripped her of the respect others received – until she met Lotor. She wanted this Human to see her as more than just a Galra, something that had taken her a long time to find any pride in. She had struggled to be seen as an equal, until Lotor showed her that being a half-breed wasn’t a bad thing. She wouldn’t let go of that now, not after everything her Prince had done for her. “My name is Acxa.” Her voice was more resolute this time.

“Okie dokie, Acxa! If Shiro lets you out, will you try to run or fight back?” Wait - let her out? They were going to let her out? She blinked a bit at that before shaking her head. She would tell him anything he wanted to hear if it meant they would let her out of this cell.

He stared at her for a moment more before letting out a breath and nodding. “Ok then. We need to help Keith and Yurak. They will be dying soon if we can’t get them help. Also, I fear your pink friend will die with out a healing pod.” He looked over at Ezor with sad eyes. Why did he care? And he did care, she could tell from his eyes that he genuinely did care for Ezor’s well being. He may have been willing to fight them in the hangar but he was just like the rest of the paladins; he didn’t actually wish to cause unnecessary death.

It took her by surprise. She looked over at Zethrid, who was now curled up in the corner of her cell, the injuries to her knees and shoulder causing large amounts of pain and blood loss. If they were going to get out of this then she needed to do something. Turning back to face the Human she nodded her head.

“I will not fight you, but we must BOTH try to escape if we wish to survive. If we do not, then I am safer in this cell.” Acxa wanted to be honest with him, if he let her out and she made a break for it – which is exactly what she was going to do – he could very well just shoot her. At least this way he would know why she was running and potentially help the escape.

“I am not leaving my boyfriend to die. If Shiro lets you out, I need you to help me kill the creature. Will you do that?” His voice was pleading and she couldn’t help but feel a pang of sympathy in her chest. Yes, yes she could do that. If they were going to help Ezor with a healing pod, then she could certainly help kill Kova – it was in her best interest after all.

“Yes, I will help you kill the conduit.”

He watched Sven speaking with Acxa, using Black to assess her words. He could tell that she had no intentions of helping them beyond her own benefits but at this point they were desperate. Keith had lost his connection to both Black and Red, which was incredibly worrisome. Yurak he couldn’t feel anymore either. He had asked Keith’s counterpart to help him take care of his little brother, but he had forgotten that Yurak was in danger too. He was worried for them both.

Shiro? She will help. Can you let her out now?’ He watched Acxa a moment longer, waiting for her to slip and reveal herself to be lying but he didn’t see any signs of it. Using his own connection to Black, he lowered the force field around her cell – ONLY her cell, and Sven unlocked the door.

She rose to her feet and slipped past him, moving towards the cockpit. “I need a weapon.” He heard her say. Sven seemed to contemplate it for a moment before nodding.

“There is a Galran blade inside the cockpit – you can use that. I will use my gun. Shiro has told me about the creature, it is connected to the witch Haggar and we MUST kill it to sever her connection to Keith.”

“Kova will fight back like crazy – I say we contain her and drag her out into open space.” Sven seemed hesitant but Shiro liked it – it was clean. All they needed to do was capture Kova then he could open Black for them, exposing the beast to the vacuum of space. Sven and Acxa would be protected by their armor but Kova would be fully exposed and would surely die. If not – they could always fall back on using their weapons.

I like it. Lets do that – I will open Black when you are ready.’ He sent his words to Sven who hummed in agreement, putting on the helmet of the black paladin armor.

Shiro had never felt so useless in his life, there was nothing he could do but wait. He watched as Sven and Acxa struggled against Kova, but with two of them they had a much easier time than Yurak had. The poor boy had tried to wrangle the beast alone, not wanting his boyfriend to get hurt trying to help. In the end he had been injured so badly that he was of little help himself when Sven came to assist.

Though Sven was injured, they were only minor cuts and scrapes, most of which were caused by force of the blast from Lotor’s ship. The two of them managed to contain the creature securely enough that it couldn’t get free but in order to kill it one of them would need to lessen their grip. Luckily, they had a better plan and he heard Sven give him the signal.

‘We are ready – open the hatch!’

‘Move to the cargo hold – Yurak and Keith don’t have helmets on.’

The moment the doors closed, sealing them off from the cockpit Shiro did as he was asked. Once again reaching out with his connection to Black and opening an exit in the floor of the cargo hold. He felt his connection to Sven vanish as they exited the black lion and he hoped desperately that this plan worked. There was nothing further he could do, so he took to his normal routine and settled himself next to Keith. His little brother couldn’t feel him there, not physically, but he hoped that on some level he could draw strength and comfort from Shiro’s presence.

He stayed like that for a moment before he felt the flames licking at his ethereal form. The entire cockpit burst into flames that weren’t really there, a sudden rush of heat and urgency taking over – this was Red. He could hear Lance’s pleas being carried through the lions.

‘Red? Red I need you to get me in there. Please Red!’ There was a slight pause before he heard Lance again, this time the pain in his voice was unbearable. ‘Please, I need to help. I NEED to help Keith.’

Shiro felt the tears on his face, he wished he could slap both of them in the back of the head, make them see how much they both cared. But he couldn’t, all he could do was sit here and try to offer a comforting spirit to his little brother.

Except that wasn’t all! He COULD help, Keith may have instructed Black to lock everyone out – but he was Black’s paladin too. He reached out again and willed the lion to allow Lance access. It worked; he felt the mighty jaws open and heard the rush of Lance’s jetpack as he flew inside. Finally – help had arrived.

Chapter Text

They all rushed into the castle as fast possible, Sven carrying Yurak and Lance cradling Keith. We had a bonding moment; I cradled you in my arms!! Played in his mind as he rushed towards the medbay. It made him smile, and he decided right then and there that when Keith wakes up he’s going to tell him everything.

He would tell him how much that bonding moment had meant to him, how he felt terrible for denying it, how much he had cared, and how much he STILL cared. Lance had pushed all of his feelings down, deep deep down – so deep that even he didn’t know they were there. It took an alternate reality version of Keith locking them in a closet for him to acknowledge how he felt. And now that he knew, he wasn’t going to let it slip away. He would get Keith to the medbay, stick him in a pod, and be there when he woke up. If that meant he stayed in the room for days then so be it. He finally understood how Yurak felt when Sven was the one in the pod and he didn’t like it one bit. The worry and the fear were horribly overwhelming.

Running through the halls with Sven, he could hear the heavy footfalls of Hunk far behind them. Hunk was supporting Zethrid as they also made their way to the medbay; she was alert but needed a pod thanks to Yurak shooting out her kneecaps. In the lead was Allura, she was the fastest of them all and given the dire state that Ezor was in, she had rushed at full speed.

When he entered the room he saw that Coran had five pods setup. Ezor was already being sealed in the first pod and he watched as it frosted over. Placing Keith on one of the tables, he got to work removing the paladin armor, followed by the black under suit and his fingers trembled slightly. ‘This is not how I imagined undressing you for the first time’ his very unhelpful brain supplied. Luckily Coran noticed his struggles and came to take over, nimbly switching the black paladin into the special pod suit.

As it frosted over Keith’s form, he watched Yurak and Zethrid’s pods seal around them. Lance expected to see Sven settle in by Yurak, like the Galra had done for him, but instead he found the Human man putting on a suit of his own and stepping into the fifth and final prepared pod as Coran tapped in the settings.

The medbay suddenly felt so empty and so heavy. Acxa was in cuffs, shackled at the wrists and ankles while she sat between the two pods holding her fellow Generals. Hunk and Pidge were hovering over Keith’s pod, and Slav was being ushered out of the room by Coran muttering something about not touching any more buttons.

Lance moved to stand next to Allura; her head was hung low as she stared out the windows of the room, watching the empty halls. A heavy expression lay on her face.

“Allura?” He questioned, his voice was weak and quiet, not wanting to disrupt the rest of the room or draw any unwanted attention. “You ok?”

“Hmm? Oh – yes, thank you Lance.” Her slightly dazed expression shifted to a small smile as she looked up at him.

“Are you sure Princess? Cause you look kinda … lost.”

“I – Lance? I cannot help but feel uneasy having Lotor’s Generals on my ship. I would feel better if they were in containment, however cruel that may be.”

He could see the pain in her eyes clear as day. She was conflicted, fighting between her well-deserved hatred of the Galra (specifically Lotor’s Generals in this case), and her desire to help. He could understand, Acxa was dangerous but she was only one against three paladins and an Altean princess. Except Zethrid only needed to be in her pod for two hours, then Acxa would have backup. A part of his brain reminded him of how Yurak had acted and he realized that Zethrid would be of no help to Acxa as long as her mate was still in the pod.

When Hunk had arrived in the room with her, he thought for sure she would try to fight being put in a pod. He had watched her face as she witnessed both Keith and Yurak being placed in one, and took note when she opted not to protest. He didn’t know if she trusted them or if she just felt she had no other option.

The two hours passed and Hunk moved to stand in front of the pod as it prepared to open. Allura joined him with cuffs and affixed them to Zethrid’s wrists and ankles the moment she was released.

The large half Galra tried to fight them but she had underestimated just how dazed the pods leave you, making her easy to over power. Lance watched as Allura bonded the energy cuffs to Ezor’s pod and the General slowly gave up her struggle, settling down next to Acxa instead.

The two General’s conversed back and forth in Galran, the ship’s translators would have made it easy for everyone in the room to understand them had they been talking any louder. Every so often Acxa would sneak a glance over at Keith’s pod, her brows furrowing, before she quickly righted herself. A pang of something ugly spread across his chest and he realized it was jealousy. It was stupid really, Keith had told him directly that he was gay; it didn’t matter if Acxa threw herself at him because he would ultimately turn her down. But yet, it still didn’t sit well, as if she were the competition. Lance internally rolled his eyes at himself.

Half an hour passed and Sven was released, falling into Coran’s grasp. After a moment or so he seemed to fully recover from the haze and moved to sit next to his boyfriend’s pod. Lance realized then that he was leaning against Keith’s pod himself. He hadn’t even noticed, having subconsciously migrated towards him, using the pod for support as he leaned against it.

A full two days later and Lance felt Sven’s hand on his shoulder. “Lance? You should eat something and take a shower. Coran said there is still another varga before Keith’s pod will open.” Having him there hurt so much, it was a constant reminder that Shiro was still missing. But like Shiro, his advice was sound so Lance took it.

He made his way to the kitchens for a quick bowl of goo, before heading to his room and taking a hot shower. The moment the water started falling he could feel his tension start to ebb. He scrubbed his hair and body then washed his face. Once his routine was complete he simply stood there, letting the warmth cascading down his back pull all resistance from his muscles as he relaxed into the heat.

Stepping out of the shower Lance dried off, got dressed, and made his way back to the medbay. In those two days everything had changed and there was nothing he could do but wait for Keith to come back to him. Finally the pod hissed, releasing the black paladin inside.

When his eyes opened there was a chill settling in around him. Blinking, he moved to step forward but lost his footing on weakened knees. Stumbling forward a pair of strong arms caught him as his face collided with a warm chest. All Keith could smell was a soft scent reminiscent of coconuts, close but not quite. It filled his senses with every breath, making his head swim in an ocean of comfort and warmth and sunshine. He knew this smell, he would recognize it anywhere – Lance.

The healing pods had done their job; he was fine now, but he stayed like that for a moment longer. Keith focused his ears on the room around him, thankful for his Galra hearing. He listened to see if anyone else was there, secretly hoping they were alone.

Once again he was disappointed, it seemed the entire castle was present. Like roll call he picked out each voice starting with Pidge who was talking rapidly to Hunk at their left, Allura and Coran he could hear off to the right, and Sven was groaning next to Slav directly behind Lance. Even though he was slightly annoyed they weren’t alone, it warmed his heart to know how much everyone cared.

It had been almost 30 seconds now and Lance’s grip was still firm. He wanted to let his knees go, let them fall down into each other’s embrace, but there were too many people around. Keith had always been private; he kept his emotions and thoughts to himself – mostly. So he resisted the urge to hold Lance tighter, to bury his nose in the nape of the tanned boy’s neck, to drink in the sweet scent coming off his skin, and to collapse into the warmth he found there.

His head dove and swam around in his thoughts, in the scent of the boy surrounding him - in Lance. He could get lost like this. Just as he was about to give in, allow himself to feel everything he had been pushing down for so long, a voice rang across the room.

“Keith? Is he ok?” The female voice was familiar, but he couldn’t place it. Pidge and Allura were the only females on the castle-ship and he had already accounted for them – so who was this?

Pushing back from Lance he blinked as the bright lights of the Altean medbay assaulted his eyes. Human eyes adjusted quickly to brightness, but Galra eyes were better suited for dim or dark lighting. The instant headache caused him to wince as he clapped a hand over his face, shielding his eyes from the overwhelming stimulation. They should have adjusted by now, he briefly thought as the bright lights continued to burn, causing them to water.

The chill was back, he felt the warmth of Lance’s body vanish from his grasp as the boy walked away. Just as he was about to feel the tug of loss, the lights dimmed and sweet, sweet relief flooded through him. The Cuban boy returned to his side, standing far closer than friends would, but not as close as lovers. He could feel the other’s presence next to him and if he moved his hand just a little he could almost make their fingers touch, almost.

He fully opened his eyes in the dimmed light and surveyed his surroundings. There were eight people in the room besides himself and Lance, as well as two pods still in use. Focusing on the unidentified female voice his eyes landed on a sight he had not expected. Standing slightly to the side of the room, near one of the occupied pods, were none other than Acxa and Zethrid.

They had been bound in energy cuffs affixed to a pod and it took him a moment to process the scene around him. Did he wake up in an alternate reality where Lotor’s Generals weren’t constantly trying to kill them? It wasn’t impossible; Sven and Yurak were proof of that. But it didn’t seem plausible. What happened while he was in that pod? And for that matter, how LONG had he been in there?

Ugh he mentally groaned, rubbing his temples to sooth the headache. Everything was a blur, he tried to remember what had happened but it was all coming back in bits and pieces. Vaguely he remembered being with Lance inside Red, and he (maybe?) remembered seeing Shiro talking to Yurak inside Black. But everything else was a blurry mess with one glaring exception; the grip, cold as death, that Haggar had had on his mind. He would not be forgetting that feeling anytime soon, if ever.

It had been horrible, he could feel her trying to use the paladin bond to take over the others. She had gone for Lance first, sensing how much Keith cared and wanting it to be personal. He had fought her, it took everything he had but he had fought her off. Sealing himself inside the consciousness of the Red lion, using his connection with Red to communicate with Lance. Red had stood guard for him, holding Haggar back so he could beg Lance for help, and when he couldn’t hold on any longer, Black took him. He had been sitting in the calm abyss of the black lion for what felt like an eternity, before he heard Sven and Yurak talking – except it wasn’t Sven, the voice didn’t have a melodic Norwegian accent. Instead it was calm and proud and familiar, so familiar that it hurt: Shiro. God, hearing his brother’s voice had caused him to nearly fall apart. He had no idea how it was happening but it was, Shiro was there talking to his twin, then suddenly Shiro was everywhere. All around him he could feel the comforting presence, and he felt at peace. Black was holding Haggar at bay for now, but he knew that wouldn’t last much longer, he could already feel her grip coming back as the cold crept up his spine once again.

And suddenly everything was gone; he was alone with the Witch in his mind. Black was gone, Red was gone, Shiro was gone. He struggled to fight her off again, but it was getting harder and harder, his strength waning as she chipped away at his reserves. With every second he felt her getting closer to the paladin bond, itching to take over any of the others. She no longer cared to make it personal – she just wanted in.

“EITH?? CAN YOU HEAR ME?” Lance was shaking his shoulders and he slowly came back to reality. What happened? “Keith? Answer me!”

“Yea – yea I’m ok.” His voice sounded shaky and he didn’t even believe himself.

“Dude you zoned out there then started having a full blown panic attack. Are you sure you’re ok? You don’t look ok.” There was so much concern in his eyes that the remaining tension just melted away. For once in his life Keith honestly didn’t give a damn who was there, he didn’t care if they saw him, he didn’t care if they heard what he was about to say; he just needed to say it. He needed Lance to hear him and he needed Lance to hold him because honestly, he wasn’t ok – but he knew what would help and this time he gave in.

Closing the distance between them Keith wrapped his arms tightly around the Cuban boy, burying his nose in the warm soft skin at Lance’s neck. His words would be muffled by the contact but he didn’t care, he knew Lance would be able to hear him and that was all that mattered.

“I am now.”

Chapter Text

“I am now.”

Those words hit harder than he had ever thought they would. Lance melted into a pool of sunshine at the warm breath on his neck and the strong but slender arms wrapped around his torso. Those words coming from Keith, they were exactly what his heart had wanted to hear and he instinctually tightened his grip.

They were having a little moment, just the two of them, and he had completely forgotten that anyone else even existed, let alone that they were present in the room. It wasn’t until Keith got a little too ‘into the moment’ that Hunk awkwardly cleared his throat. Lance’s shoulder was glistening from where the pale boy’s tongue and lips had been, and the air of the medbay felt cool against his wet skin as Keith separated them.

“To be continued” was whispered seductively in his ear before Keith fully pushed away from him, leaving Lance standing there completely dazed. This boy had just recovered from the brink of death, endured a psychic battle with a witch, nearly murdered someone, and been released from a healing pod only two minutes prior. Yet he was able to pull off being this smooth? It had taken Lance almost three hours to fully regain his faculties after his own experience in a pod. If he hadn’t already made piece with the fact that he was super into Keith, he would have been pissed. This was exactly the kind of stuff that led to their rivalry! Keith just being naturally good at EVERYTHING was so unfair.

He hadn’t meant for that to happen, especially not with everyone in the room. It just kind of … did. One minute he was holding Lance, burying his face into the boy’s soft skin and the next he was kissing it. Keith had always been a rather physical person, taking out his anger and frustration with his fists or … other parts. Hey, sometimes hate sex was just as effective as a fight; he had learned that in his dealings with Griffin back at the Garrison. Punching was cathartic, but fucking someone into a mattress so hard they had a limp the next day – that was just gravy!

But Keith was like that with every emotion, not just anger. Touch was extremely important to the Galra and now he realized just how much it had played a roll in his own life. Leading him to react physically to everything from stress and anger to joy and comfort. Normally he pushed it down, deep down. Most people didn’t react to touch like he did and the homes he had lived in thought it was super weird how clingy he was. As he got older he had learned not to respond that way. But sometimes he would slip, sometimes his instincts got the better of him and he would be swept away by them without even thinking.

This was one of those times. He hadn’t even realized until it was too late. Soft kisses on a tanned shoulder, his tongue snaking its way up Lances neck to plant a kiss behind the boy’s ear, and quick nip at the delicate earlobe. It wasn’t until Hunk had cleared his throat that everything came crashing back to reality. Keith decided to just go for it, to hell with modesty – he wanted Lance to know this wasn’t over.

“To be continued” he practically purred into the boy’s ear. The reaction he got was immediate and amazing. Keith was grinning from ear to ear as he stepped away from Lance’s embrace, leaving the normally cocky paladin completely at a loss for words. If he had known this was all it took to shut him up, Keith would have jumped him a long time ago.

Shaking off the proceeding inappropriate mental images, he stepped away from the pod and into the rest of the room. Hunk was the first to greet him, moving to sweep him up in a bone crushing hug that lifted him a good three inches off the ground – it was nice.

“Get off me Hunk.” He had an image to maintain.

“Oh man, I’m so glad you’re ok! We were so worried about you buddy. Like, ok we knew you would live, but like you fought off a witch, dude. A WITCH! Like who does that in real life? No one that’s who!” Hunk was rambling and the way he had described everything that happened made it all feel so strange.

“Yea I guess.” There really wasn’t anything else to say to that.

“Well I for one am glad you didn’t come out of the pod as a blithering idiot. I’m not cleaning your drool.” Pidge followed up her words of encouragement with an elbow to his side. “But seriously, I’m glad you’re ok. You really had us worried.”

“So elegantly worded Pidge.” They exchanged a little smirk between them before he caught Allura’s eyes. A small smile from her and a massive grin from Coran was enough; he looked around for the only other person he really wanted to see. Turning back to look at the pods he saw both Ezor and Yurak still inside. His heart sank as he it dawned on him that his twin must have been severely injured if he was still inside the pod. He knew Ezor was seconds from death, he had practically hand delivered her to reaper himself, but for them BOTH to still be in there – that was worrisome. He would have to get someone to fill him in on what happened.

There was a tingle in the back of his mind and he scanned the room looking for its source but found nothing. Furrowing his brow he decided to ignore it.

“So what happened? I don’t remember much, mostly just bits and pieces, and crap that wasn’t even real. What happened to Yurak? Why are Acxa and Zethrid here? How long was I in there?” Gesturing his head towards the pods he scanned the room making eye contact with everyone in the hopes that he would get some answers.

To his great surprise it was Acxa who spoke. “About two and a half quintants. And we are here because Ezor is here.” Her tone was serious and left no room for question. Still it seemed odd that Allura would allow them to be in the medbay instead of a cell, even though they were chained up.

He just hummed his acknowledgment of her words with a nod.

“I didn’t know you and the red paladin were mates.” He heard Lance sputter behind him, but decided at this point it was just best to embrace what everyone already suspected was about to happen between them.

“Consider yourself informed.” Lance actually choked at that, as did Hunk. Acxa just looked – disappointed? That can't be right.

Ugh his head was pounding. He hadn’t been in a pod before so he didn’t know if there were any side effects, however based on everyone else’s experiences he figured this wasn’t normal.

“Coran, do you have any pain killers? My head is pounding.” Without even thinking about it, his hands moved to his temples and his eyes squeezed shut. The sharp pain between his eyes was making the edges of his vision start to blur.

“Hmm a headache eh? What does it feel like number four? Dull ache? Sharp pain? Deep throbbing?”

“Sharp pai - ” was he got out before collapsing, the blur taking over completely and plunging him into darkness.

This time he recognized the itch for what it was – Haggar. He felt the familiar prickles as she clawed at his mind and saw Lance flicker before him. NO! He screamed at her and forced the image away. She did not like that and he could feel her grip tighten painfully. Suddenly there was a bright blue light, one that was shattering the darkness, forcing the witch back. Not just back, he realized; out! What ever this was, it felt a lot like the witch herself, except instead of feeling cold as death; it brought a spark of life. He felt it reinvigorate his very soul, and the fire that had always driven him was suddenly back, bursting all around.

Pulling strength from the fire he fed the flames, using them to burn away the last vestiges of the witches grasp. Feeling them lick across his mind as he incinerated the binds she placed there. The liberation felt incredible, and as the last connection the witch had was severed, the fire burning everything down to ashes, he finally felt at peace. A calm was setting in, something familiar and comforting. Where the fire was an embodiment of who had always been, this felt more like who he could become.

The fire would never truly be gone, he WAS fire after all. He burned with a heat and intensity not many could match or even begin to understand. But this calm was something he strived for, something he wanted. The closer he got to it the more he missed the fire, but he knew the flames would always be there, ready to ignite at any moment. This calm serenity was like a lens through which he could focus his thoughts and energy. Patience. Yields. Focus. Old words holding new meaning. He finally understood; he finally knew what Shiro had meant. It wasn’t just about taking a deep breath or about stopping to think, it was about finding that inner peace that lets you truly step back to see the bigger picture.

The fire had always driven him, sent him rushing into every life headfirst. It was his instincts and his passion that made him who he is today, but it would be this calm that would shape him into who he needed to become. He could never replace Shiro as the head of Voltron but he would give it his damnedest. He would throw everything he’s got into this, just like he had with everything else in his life. Only this time he would think, he breathe, he would focus.

Chapter Text

Allura lay in her bed, eyes wide open, as she stared up at the ceiling. Never had she felt anything like that, it was truly awful. Her father had been teaching her the basics of Altean alchemy before the war began. He had briefly touched on a few of the more advanced lessons; she was a fast learner after all. One of the last subjects they went over was learning to identify the feeling of corrupted quintessence. What she felt today had been similar those training sessions, only unfathomably worse.

That kind of power could not have come from anything but an Altean, yet it was obvious she had been fighting Haggar. Allura could see Zarkon’s witch clearly as she fought to release the tight grip from Keith’s mind. The sickening thought had occurred to her when Yurak mentioned ‘Empress’ Honerva earlier that quintant – yes earlier that quintant! She lay there and rolled her head to the side in disbelief. How could all of this have happened in just one quintant? It just did not feel like such a short amount of time had passed since they set off for Lotor. In fact, now that she thought about it, it felt like several MOVEMENTS had passed since returning from the Altean ship trapped between realities. So much had happened in such a short time, her head was having difficulty adjusting.

Rolling onto her side Allura let out a long sigh, sleep would not come easy tonight. She closed her eyes and tried to drift off, but each time she got close a feeling of terror came over her. When Haggar attacked Keith in the black lion she had felt the prickle as the witch scratched at the paladin bonds. The others had not felt it, but she was more sensitive to these things. The prickle had died down as Keith used his connection to his lion and was strong enough to fight her back, but in the medbay it had been a different story.

The witch took advantage of the daze being in a pod creates. Keith was not fully in control of himself yet and Haggar used that to reestablish her fading connection. Allura had felt it immediately.

Eyes still tightly closed she found herself back in the medbay, the memories of what had happened played behind her eyes, forcing her to relive every vivid detail. Allura watched it all play out again as Keith collapsed to the floor and she felt the clawing at her mind, stronger this time. Tanned skin and the soft smell of coconut flashed briefly before immediately vanishing as she heard Keith’s voice screaming. She had opened her eyes from the shock, and saw the other paladins were experiencing the same thing, the paladin bond linking them to Keith and exposing them to the witch.

She could feel him fading, alone he was not strong enough to fight her off a second time, but he was not alone! He had them to back him up and the paladin bonds worked both ways. It exposed them to the witch’s influence but it also exposed her to them.

“We need to help.” Lance’s voice had been weak, scared. She was about to say something but Coran beat her to it.

“The mice brought the mind melding headbands! Allura did you send them?” She had not. She thought about using them, but she had not had the chance to ask anyone to retrieve them. She would need to give the mice a little thank you later!

The paladins sat in a circle in the medbay, placing one on each of their heads, and the moment the final headband was placed on Keith they all felt the darkness. It was deep, cold, and strong. She felt the ripple of dread as it made each of the paladins shiver.

“Focus!” She urged them. “Focus your energy on me.” And she felt the sudden surge as they came together, granting her access to their quintessence. She used it, channeled them all through her self and connected to Keith. Immediately she was affronted with the sight of the witch, hunched over and horrible. Allura focused all of their combined energies, and using the cleansing lessons her father had taught her, she began to purge the black paladin’s mind of the darkness engulfing it.

She felt the witch’s connection to his quintessence snap, her grip still firmly on his mind but no longer draining his spirit. Suddenly there was a drain on her own; she felt all of the paladins grow weaker as a rush of heat burst in her mind. Through flames she saw his form appear, aglow with soft purple light, as he summoned more fire to his cause. The flames consuming everything in their path, rushing to form a blinding brightness that chased the shadows from the corners of his mind as he wielding the element with ferocity she had never seen before. This was Keith; this was the very essence of Keith all around her, around THEM. All of the other paladins were there, she may be the channel through which their energy flowed, but they were all there together. Standing strong.

She felt the calm take over as the flames died down. The witch was gone and a sort of peace was befalling them. If the flames had provided a rush of adrenaline, this was more a serene understanding.

Their connection dissolved when Keith regained consciousness. Each of the paladins leaping forward to tackle him, amped up on the endorphins his fire had provided.

“What a rush!” Pidge was gasping, trying to catch her breath. Hunk looked like he was sweating a bit too much, and Lance – Lance was being inappropriate.

He had been the first one to launch them self at Keith and was currently sprawled across the shorter boy’s body on the floor. He had his fingers twined in the dark hair and was locked into a deep kiss.

Allura lay in her bed and rolled back to her other side, keeping her eyes closed to embrace sleep. Once again she found herself back in the medbay, the memories of what had happened played behind her eyes, forcing her to relive every vivid detail. Allura watched it all play out again as Keith collapsed to the floor and she felt the clawing at her mind, stronger this time. Tanned skin and the soft smell of coconut flashed briefly before immediately vanishing as she heard Keith’s voice screaming …

She had not slept. The memories from the medbay had been on repeat in her mind all night as she tossed and turned. There was something deeper nagging at her, an underlying cause. As the night progressed Allura had started to realize what it was.

While bonded she had felt the witch’s connection to Keith’s quintessence break, but she had also felt a pull on her own. She knew it was not the witch, it did not feel the same as Altean power, and Humans were not capable of harnessing quintessence. The only other species with that ability was the Galra. Keith was Galra. He had gone from completely drained to bursting with renewed power in less than a tick. This was what had really kept her up all night. Keith had tapped into her quintessence to re invigorate himself, using her energy and that of the paladins, to fuel his rage and drive. It made her nervous and leery.

Though she felt he did not realize what he had done, it would never the less be something they needed to address. She just did not know how to bring it up.

He was torn, part of him wanted nothing more than to leave with Lance, feel a connection between them and feel his warmth chase away the chill from his bones. But another part of him wanted to sit with Sven and wait for Yurak to be released. In the end the decision was made for him as Lance plopped down on the floor of the medbay.

“Only a few more hours right? Mind if we wait with you?” Keith couldn’t help but glow at how genuine Lance was. He wasn’t just being polite, he actually cared and it showed in his tone and the soft smile that crinkled at the corner of his eyes. God he had it bad for this boy. How Yurak could choose Sven over someone like Lance was beyond him. Sure Sven was attractive (Shiro may be like a brother to him but Keith wasn’t blind!), but it was different – he gave off more a ‘dad’ vibe where Lance felt like an equal, a partner. He guessed it was due to circumstances – Shiro having practically raised him as well as their age gap, while Lance was younger than him and more of an equal. Shiro made Keith feel safe and protected, but Lance made him feel – well there really wasn’t a way to describe it other than ‘equals’ which he realized was just getting repetitive.

Keith had always placed Shiro on a pedestal and it put a distance between them that couldn’t be breached in that way. He loved Shiro, he missed Shiro, he desperately wanted Shiro back, but he didn’t want Shiro like he wanted Lance. His one sided rivalry with Lance had progressed into a genuine friendship and now it was progressing into more. It felt natural, like growing up together.

He watched as Sven rested his forehead against the pod, and he saw the relationship between him and Yurak. It was different than his relationship with Shiro – obviously, but not so different from the one he was building with Lance. They were both fighting together in a war that was bigger than themselves, they were both a source of familiarity in a rapidly expanding world, and they were both trusting their lives in the other’s hands. It created a bond, one that Yurak and Sven had cultivated over years of trusted partnership, and one that he and Lance were just starting to figure out.

The others had all left for their beds, while Acxa and Zethrid had been moved (the latter with great protest) to cells for the night as Ezor would still be in the pod until morning.

Keith smiled as he moved to join them. With it being just Sven in the room he decided not to care, he gave in to his Galra instincts and curled up in Lance’s lap. The boy took in a sharp breath at the unexpected closeness, but Keith just nuzzled in, he wanted contact. He needed to be touched; he needed to feel someone there.

It was strange to think about how comfortable they were with this now, when only a few days ago they had screamed their affections at each other in a locked closet. He chuckled against Lance’s chest making the Cuban boy arch an eyebrow at him.

“S’nothing. Just thinking about this, er – us I guess.” The words came out as he felt the rise and fall of Lance’s chest, followed by a warm hand on his back.

“You two remind me of us.” Sven smiled as he stared at the pod.

They stayed like that for most of the night until said pod hissed open and Yurak stumbled out into Sven’s waiting arms. Finally Keith could breathe, everyone he cared about was ok and the connection with Haggar had been destroyed. Maybe he could get a little sleep yet tonight.

Chapter Text

He stood waiting outside the bathroom for what felt like forever. Honestly, how could someone possibly take that long unless they were somehow stuck. He banged on the door one more time for good measure, letting the very selfish occupant know to hurry up.

“IN. A. MINUTE. - Damn!” The disembodied voice floated through the metal of the door. He huffed and leaned against the opposite wall, knee hitched and arms folded. Yurak was a lot of things but patient was not one of them. Sure on a mission he could sit still for vargas at a time, but this wasn’t a mission; this was him desperately needing to pee.

His claws were tapping on his arm as he waited another 10 dobashes for Lance – because of course it was Lance, to exit the now very steamy bathroom. The tan skinned boy had a basket full of products and several wet clothes, each a different colour and size. No wonder it took him so long to shower, his routine had more steps than the ancient temples of the Carpin system.

“‘Bout time.” He chastised, pushing himself off the wall. “Why’re you even here? Don’t the paladin quarters have private bathrooms?” It was more of a general complaint really; he hadn’t been expecting a reply so it took him by surprise when he heard the Human’s justification.

“Yea, but Keith’s hogging mine.” Lance said it so nonchalantly, even included a shrug for added ‘meh’-ness. But Yurak didn’t miss for one tick the implication there. If Keith was in Lance’s bathroom – the one that was attached to his bedroom – that meant he had stayed the night there. A massive grin came over his face as the realization dawned and he watched the Human boy blush significantly.

“Ooooohhh? Is that the case?” His tone was incredulous as he spun back to question Lance, suddenly forgetting all about his need to pee.

To his credit Lance merely blushed a little more but didn’t actually respond to him, instead turning to walk down the hall towards his room. Yurak caught him by the wrist and sniffed at his neck, the distinct scent of hormone fueled activities lingering there. Chuckling slightly he released the incredibly embarrassed paladin.

“Alright, well I guess I’ll see you in the kitchens for breakfast, I’m sure you’re both very hungry this morning.” A wicked grin firmly in place as he slipped into the bathroom, letting the Human retrieve his jaw from the floor.

He had just returned to his own room to get dressed when the door slid open letting Lance in, an exasperated look on his face.

“What happened?” Keith couldn’t possibly figure out how something could bring about that expression so quickly in the morning.

“Ran into not-you at the bathroom.” Lance said with a sly grin before wincing, “he knows.”

“Wha–WHAT? H-how?” Keith’s brain was short-circuiting. They had spent the remaining few hours’ of the night sitting alone in Lance’s room talking about where they stood and how to proceed. Bouncing back and forth between ‘let’s take it slow, get to know each other a bit better’ and carnal desire. The latter won, but what could you expect from two teenage boys cooped up and fighting a war in space for almost a year. The fact that it had taken this long to begin with was the real surprise if Keith was to be honest.

Nonetheless they had agreed that, while they would acknowledge their involvement with one another, they would not tell anyone the extent of it – not yet. Eventually it would come out, but for now it was something they wanted to figure out on their own. As far as Keith was concerned, for once he had it easy. He got to have a little fun with Lance as long as he kept his mouth shut about it, something that came naturally to him being as he didn’t really share much to begin with. Lance on the other hand, he had a lot more to juggle.

One of the main talking points of the night had been Lance coming to terms with his desires. The knowledge that he was, in fact very much attracted to Keith and his want to act on it, while simultaneously struggling to accept what that meant. Keith didn’t truly understand, how could he? He had never really had this struggle. He had always known he was into guys, so watching Lance waffle back and forth with something that he clearly wanted but was afraid of, was strange to Keith. In the end hormones and desire won out, neither of them complaining about the outcome. If anything, it had helped Lance accept his feelings a bit more.

“It’s not like I told him!” Lance nearly shouted his reply, pulling Keith from his inner monologue.

“Then how?”

“I don’t know! He just sniffed me and knew!!” He threw his arms in the air as he mumbled ‘Galra estúpido y sus sentidos estúpidos’ under his breath. The only parts Keith understood were the words ‘stupid’ and ‘Galra’. The castle ship didn’t translate Earth languages. Pidge had mentioned something about the blue lion syncing with the castle when the arrived on Arus, allowing the systems to translate English immediately. But Keith hadn’t really been listening to her and he didn’t really understand it – space magic was as good an explanation as any.

“Oh. Yea that makes sense.” If Yurak had sniffed at Lance’s neck he would DEFINITELY be able to smell their activities on his skin; Keith still could. The thought made him blush but Lance just rolled his eyes. “I’ll talk to him, tell him to keep quiet.”

To this Lance just nodded and headed back for his own room right next door. “See you in the kitchen then.” was his parting line as the door closed behind him.

The three of them walked to the kitchen together. Being Human, Sven couldn’t pickup on scents like Yurak, but he could definitely see that something was different. The way Keith was smiling, how he seemed so much more relaxed, and the flush on his cheeks when he had asked them to stay quiet. He may not be able to sense things like his Galra boyfriend could, but he certainly wasn’t blind.

Keith grabbed a plate of pancakes (which were green) and sat down at a table with Pidge and Hunk. Sven and Yurak liked to keep meal times between the two of them and the paladins respected that. Mostly he attributed it to fear, as his partner wasn’t very social in the morning. On more than one occasion he had quite literally hissed and almost bitten one of them when they had snuck up on him unannounced. Though he sensed Keith was much the same way based on how they also skirted around him.

When Lance finally entered the kitchen he sat next to Keith, causing Pidge and Hunk to exchange a smile between them. Keith merely leaned over and planted a light kiss to his now boyfriend’s forehead. It was incredibly sweet, and Sven could have sworn everyone would see little hearts in his eyes as he gushed over the scene before him. He was a hopeless romantic; he just loved ‘love’! Especially new love.


Chapter Text

The Galra were (or are, in this reality he supposed) a warrior race and it showed prominently in their culture, not that there was much of a culture left after the Alteans destroyed everything. Everything: his home, his people, his culture; they had quite literally destroyed all of it. And those who hadn’t been killed were instead fitted with one of those horrifying devices called a hoktril. He had seen Galran members of the Guns be taken, only to end up fighting them in later battles. The effects of the hoktril were unnerving to say the least; it took away the very essence of what made you YOU. Former allies turned into unwitting enemies – it was the stuff of nightmares. His nightmares to be exact, because he did in fact, have nightmares about the hoktril.

He’d been born on Earth, but his mother had raised him amongst the Guns. They had been stationed on a base that was made up of mostly Galra so he was lucky enough to be raised in their customs. Those who survived clung to the old ways, trying desperately not to let the Alteans rob them of the last vestiges of an identity they had. There once was a mighty race known as the Galra, but now they were no more than a whisper of their former selves. More than could be said for the Alteans of this reality he noted.

Yurak winced at that thought. The Alteans had tried to destroy them but they had fought back vehemently. Combat was a pillar of their culture and it made them a formidable opponent. The Alteans on the other hand, hadn’t really stood a chance against Zarkon when the rolls had been reversed. Not that they couldn’t hold their own in a fight – they could, they just weren’t evenly matched. That was why when war broke out in two different realities, the Galra survived while the Alteans did not. He felt bad for Allura, at least he had some semblance of Galran culture to identify with and hold onto – she had nothing left.

He realized that Keith had no idea about their culture; he would have to rectify that. But not yet, right now he was desperate to get some training in. It had been far too long since he had worked on his skills and he was not about to let himself become dull or weak. He was a proud member of a proud people and he would NOT allow himself to be complacent.

They had never actually gotten around to that training session. After going through all the effort of setting up, Allura had burst into the room riding a wave of fury. Once everything calmed down, the mood had taken a dramatic shift and they all merely parted ways. Leaving the idea of target practice dead on the training deck floor.

He returned to the training deck and found that it was still mostly the way he had left it. Right, it really hadn’t been that long. The past movement seemed to blur and bleed one quintant into one another, making the time feel much longer than it was. The fact that Keith seemed to be the only other person who used the training deck regularly also played a factor.

He moved some of the obstacles into new positions and started searching for the training weapons. He could just use his own, but he didn’t want to risk anyone walking into his line of fire and being injured.

Once he was satisfied with the arrangement of the room, he turned to face his mate. “Hey you.” A warm smile spreading across his face, “Wanna go get Yellow and Green? I’ll grab Keith and Lance. Meet back here in half a varga ok?”

Sven merely stood up and gave him a soft kiss for confirmation. They stayed there for a moment, arms wrapped around each other as they stared deeply into the other’s eyes. Bright violet set in gold met steely grey set in white. Yurak nuzzled his head under Sven’s chin, purring lightly as he felt the strong embrace of his mate’s arms tighten around him. He hated the war. His time spent relaxing on this Altean ship had let him adjust to soft moments like this and he loved it. He knew they needed to go back to their own reality and he even knew that they were still at war here, but a part of him felt disconnected from it all. As though on the Castle of Lions they were safe, they could relax and just be. He knew it wasn’t real but it didn’t stop him from longing for it.

Breakfast had been eventful; Keith kissed him in front of EVERYONE. Ok so maybe not everyone, but Pidge was there and he was pretty sure that little gremlin wouldn’t let him live this down. Shortly after he arrived, Yurak had dragged a gushing Sven off to – well he didn’t actually know where those two went all the time. Knowing Yurak it was probably the training deck since that’s where Keith would have gone.

Speaking of Keith, the black paladin was currently running his hand up Lance’s thigh under the table and it was very distracting. Luckily Hunk didn’t seem to notice; Pidge would have, but she had already left much to his relief. Hunk was rambling on to Keith about – something, to be honest Lance had no idea what was being said. He was far too distracted. Damn you Keith and your stupid traveling hands. If he didn’t know better he would think this was Keith’s way of getting back at him for all that rivalry stuff. Actually yea, that made sense! He was a vindictive little shit after all, so Lance wouldn’t put it past him. One look at the grin on his face and the dark theory was confirmed. Damn it. This was not going to be the last of it either.

Lance tried to distract himself by paying attention to Hunk’s words. It was proving far too difficult to listen to something he simply didn’t have a vested interest in. No offence buddy but spices are boring. So instead he decided to just get up and leave, except NOPE that wasn’t happening either. DAMNIT KEITH! So he sat there, letting Keith finish what he started and just trying not to make it obvious. They were going to be having a serious talk after this.

Once again things didn’t work out the way he had planned. Keith had just taken his hand back, satisfied with a job well done, when Yurak came into the kitchen. The Galra paused in the doorway, sniffed the air, grinned wickedly at Keith for a fraction of a second, and then waltzed in to lean against the counter. Lance fought the blush that was creeping up, but Yurak still caught it and his grin became permanent. Hunk, who had been sitting with his back to the door, didn’t notice him until he spoke, causing the big guy to jump.

“You’re so sneaky!” Hunk breathed as he tried to calm himself back down. To his credit Yurak didn’t refute the statement, simply chuckling instead.

“So, how was breakfast?” A knowing look exchanged between twins as Keith merely shrugged his shoulders. “Lance?” The matching half-cocked grins were far too irritating for Lance’s liking so instead he decided to take control back.

“Meh, I’ve had better.” And Keith nearly choked on his hydration pouch, while Yurak split his sides with laughter.

“Ok yea, um I feel like I’m missing some inside joke here so, um I uh, I’m gunna just go.” Sheepishly Hunk blushed as he moved to cleanup his dishes, most likely about to head down to the green lion’s hangar to help out Pidge with something.

“Hey Yellow - ”

“Hunk” Keith interrupted.

“meet in – what? Oh right, Hunk meet on the training deck in half a varga. Sven went to get Green -”

“PIDGE” Keith interrupted again, far less patient this time.

“and let – ughh, Sven went to get PIDGE and let her know.” Hunk’s eyes darted between the twins as Keith looked like he was about to pounce. In his defense, he HAD told Yurak their names like a million times already. At this point it just seemed like he was either doing it on purpose or he just didn’t care. Lance would put his money on the later.

“What’s going on in half a varga on the training deck?” He asked; curiosity peaked.

“Training – obviously.” Well when you put it that way then yea it was obvious, but did he really need to be so flippant?

“What kind of training smart ass?”

“Target practice … dumb ass.” Wha – how did he know that phrase?? Lance just gawked at the young Galra for a moment. It never stopped surprising him how well Yurak had picked up on Earth culture, especially when Keith still had a hard time with it – and he had been raised on Earth.

“Ooo like the game of laser tag we were going to play a few days ago?” Hunk interjected, bouncing on the heels of his feet as his eyes widened with excitement.

“It’s training Yell Hunk, not a game.” There was a disconnect between the serious but condescending tone of his voice and the smirk on his face that was both intriguing and unnerving at the same time. It was such a ‘Keith’ reaction.

“Oh, yea, um right. I’ll just go find Pidge and we’ll meet you there.” Hunk paused at the door, “half a varga right?”

“Not any more – hustle!” Yurak clapped his hands in Hunk’s direction, causing the poor nervous wreck of a guy to jump and scurry out of the kitchen. Lance watched as Yurak slid into Hunk’s seat across from them, claws tenting in front of his face as he stared at Keith. “So, I thought you said this thing of yours was on the … what was the phrase you used? Download?”

Lance couldn’t help the snort that escaped while Yurak shot him a pointed glare.

“Down LOW.” Keith corrected.

“Well that doesn’t make any sense.”

“And ‘download’ does?” Lance managed to squeeze out between chuckles.

“Well … no I guess not. But most of your Earth phrases make no sense. Do you know how disgusting whistles are? Not at all clean!” He mumbled ‘no sense’ under his breath a few times.

“Yea I never understood that one either.”

“OMG you guys!! It has to do with the clean SOUND the whistle makes. Not the actual cleanliness of the whistle itself.” Lance nearly fell out of his chair. Leave it to the two half-aliens to completely miss the obvious. “And we ARE keeping this on the down low. Keith is gunna pay for that later.”

“Counting on it.” The look on his boyfriend’s face had him choking on air. The dirty look in his eyes, and the way his mouth turned up into that wicked grin of his, were enough to send Lance’s head spinning. He tried to make a witty comeback, he really did, but his brain had stopped functioning. Luckily Yurak had his back.

“Slut.” He snorted and Keith kicked him under the table, causing the Galra to yelp and hiss.

The six of them arrived at the training deck within a few tics of each other. She had to admit that she was a little offended with the lack of invite, however she squared her shoulders and addressed the group.

“Good Morning Paladins, and guests.” Allura made sure to place her brightest smile, she did not wish for them to know her feelings had been hurt. “Are we getting in an early morning training session? I am glad to see it is not just Keith here for a change.”

Lance sputtered a rebuttal of some sort but quieted when Keith gave him a pointed look, calling him out. Something was very different about their dynamic, she did not know what it was but if she were to venture a guess it would be that they had finally decided to become intimate with one another. A blush sparked at the thought and she forced it down. That was NOT an appropriate reaction for a Princess to have.

“The paladins need to practice their evasive maneuvering and their aim. Both suck.” Yurak stood, arms folded and looking very much like the purple version of Keith that he was.

“I’ll have you know that I have perfect aim, and since I’ve never been shot, I clearly know how to evasively maneuver or what ever.” Oh dear. Lance was very easily offended when it came to his skills and she sensed that Yurak was intentionally goading him. “Keith back me up here man!”

“Uh yea, he’s never been shot.”

“What?? You call that support? What the hell dude!”

“Well, I mean – your close range shots could use some work.” And with that the situation dissolved into Lance sputtering in an abnormally high-pitched voice for a Human male, while Keith appeared to shrink into himself; clearly regretting his choice to speak.

As amusing as the display was, Allura’s diplomatic nature got the better of her as she opted to diffuse the tension. “That is enough. Lance, Keith is quite right. Your long-range aim is impeccable however, your short range could use work.” She took a moment to scan the group before adding, “In fact you could ALL use work. Keith, might I talk to you a moment?”

“Wha – why doesn’t Keith have to train?”

“As a swords man, his skill set is not well matched for the specific training session planned. Also, I require his input on a matter that has been plaguing me.” She gave him a small smile and he returned in kind with a curt nod. Right then, she should have expected as much from a Galra. They never were a species known for showing affection outside of their kin and mates. Which explained why the only two people Keith showed affection to were Shiro and Yurak, and now evidently Lance?

Allura watched as their fingers grazed the other ever so slightly, a subtle movement she knew none of the Humans would notice, but she could. The accompanying flush on Lance’s cheek was the confirmation she had needed. She would still talk to Keith about this, but now she would know for certain if he lied to her. Something had definitely changed between them. Allura just hoped it would not affect Voltron.

They walked away from the group in silence, it seemed a bit awkward but Keith couldn’t figure out why. He watched Allura as her eyes darted to his every so often. Once the others were inside the training deck, and they were far enough away that not even Yurak could hear them, he stopped in place. Allura didn’t miss a beat, but he doubted she would, she had been watching him after all.

“Why do you keep looking at me out of the corner of your eye?”

“Oh, I am sorry. I thought you would not notice that.” To her credit she had the decency to blush significantly at being caught.

“Well I did, so spill. What’s going on?” Keith crossed his arms defiantly; he wasn’t taking another step until he knew what this was about.

“I will do you the favour of being blunt, if you do me the favour of being honest. Does that sound like a fair trade?” Her tone was curious if anything so he merely nodded and gave a grunt of acceptance.

“Right, well then. I wish to speak to you regarding a number of things. The first is over the nature of your relationship with Lance, or rather, the sudden shift in said relationship.” H-how had she noticed? He stared blankly at her for a moment, attempting to gather his thoughts but she pressed on. “I understand that Yurak and Sven are mates, and well – I noticed the touching and -”

“We are.” He said bluntly. She was struggling to find a way to word her thoughts so he spared her the burden. “Mates that is. Or at least, we’re together now. From what little I know about Galra culture, being mates is a serious commitment. Kinda on par with being like, married or something, and we are NOT there yet. But we are – together now.” Keith shrugged the last line but looked worriedly up at her. He may be the black paladin, but Allura was still the Princess and Voltron was hers. If she wanted, she could split them up. He would hate her for it and he didn’t think he would ever forgive her, but she could do it.

Just the thought had him worked up, a low growl already forming in his chest. It startled her, the normally composed Princess took a step back and a stunned look crossed her face. He realized that his hands were formed in tight fists squeezed at his sides and he could only imagine what expression he was wearing. Taking a deep breath and calming himself, he relaxed.

“I’m sorry, I – I don’t know what came over me.” Keith shook his head and stared at the floor. “Sorry Allura.”

“No, no it is quite alright. You think I wish to break you apart? I assure you that is not my intention.” She gave him another soft smile. “I simply wish to ensure that your relationship does not become a problem for Voltron, and to warn you of the paladin bonds.” Allura must have sensed his confusion as she quickly clarified.

“Do you remember how you were able to connect to myself and the rest of the paladins through the paladin bonds, using our pooled quintessence to fight off Haggar?” Keith nodded. “Right, well, the stronger an emotion or desire, the higher the chances that it will be shared through the bonds, however unwittingly.”

“So you’re saying that if we have dirty thoughts in Voltron then the other paladins will be able to see, or feel, them too?” Keith wasn’t one to admit when something was bothering him but this, yea this was not good.

“Presumably, yes. We all felt your pain at loosing Shiro and your anger when you fought Zarkon, so it is reasonable to assume that the bond could share other feelings as well.” Aaaand now he was mortified.

Keith raised his fingers to pinch at the bridge of his nose as he gave a large sigh. “Ok, thanks for the heads up, we’ll – we’ll work on that I guess. What’s the second thing?”

“The second thing? Oh yes, I wish to discuss the Generals. I fear Lotor will not stay quiet much longer. We must form some sort of plan in regards to how we intend to handle the situation. As the black paladin and leader of Voltron, your input in the matter is important, however as a half Galra I feel you have a unique insight that we may be able to utilize. I wanted to speak with you alone regarding the matter before we involved the rest of the paladins.”

“Allura, I – I might be part Galra but I know nothing about them. With Yurak here, shouldn’t we be talking to him?”

“Yes, I will admit the thought crossed my mind however, Yurak is from a reality in which the outcome of the war played out very differently. While I believe his knowledge of Galra culture, habits, and instincts will be most useful, I fear he does not know enough about the Empire to contribute in a meaningful way.”

A sharp huffing sound came from around the corner as Yurak stepped into view. Keith had picked up on his scent about midway through Allura’s reply, but she clearly did not know he was there. Her eyes flew wide as she blinked to mask her surprise.

“I may not know much about the Galra Empire, but I can tell you what I know about Lotor.” He crossed his arms and took on a more condescending tone. Narrowing his eyes at Allura, he continued, “That is, if you want me to ‘contribute in a meaningful way’.”

“I apologize, you were not meant to hear that.”

“Yea, clearly.”

Suddenly the air in the hallway was tense, tenser than it had been between them since Yurak’s arrival.

“What’re you doing here anyways? Shouldn’t you be training with the others?” Keith asked. He didn’t even notice at first, but he had crossed his arms in a similar fashion, quickly correcting the unintentional mirroring.

“I got eliminated.” The embarrassment hanging on those words was enough to make them both snort. Yurak shot them both a pointed glare and Keith simply stared dumbfounded at Allura. He had not expected that reaction from her at all.

“I am sorry to hear that. How did you become eliminated?” Her lighthearted tone was laced with a hint of a teasing smile.

“Yea, what happened?” Keith seconded.

“Your mate shot me in the face.” Keith lost it. He couldn’t contain the sudden influx of laughter that burst from his mouth as he collapsed against the wall for support.

“Not funny asshole.” He couldn’t even refute, as he was too busy trying to collect himself. Doubling over with laughter each time they made eye contact.

“Yes, well it would appear that Lance’s aim does not in fact ‘suck’.” Allura grinned as Yurak let out a warning growl. And Keith finally managed to compose himself.

Standing up once again, he placed a hand on his twin’s shoulder. “K, let’s go see the Generals. Maybe we can figure out what Lotor’s plans are.”

“Do you really think they will tell us?” Allura asked.

“Hell no, but I don’t intend on ‘talking’ to them.” Keith affirmed and the twins exchanged a knowing look.

Yurak nodded to his words. “Want me to go first then? You paladins have a reputation as the ‘good guys’ to uphold.” He offered.

Allura looked horrified. “You will not use torture on my ship. I will not stand for it. That is NOT the Altean way.”

“You’re right Princess, we could see about creating a hoktril and taking away their free will, forcing them to tell us everything. Is that better? Cause that’s the Altean way I know.” Yurak’s cold gaze fell on her and settled heavily.

“Allura, I didn’t say anything about torture.” Keith assured her. “Let us handle this, leave the Galra half-breeds to deal with the other Galra half-breeds. If we can’t make any progress then it’s your turn. Deal?”

“I do not like this, but if you promise me you will not harm them, then I will concede.”

“I Promise.”

“Than proceed.”

“You lied to the Princess!” He whispered as they walked away from her heading for the holding cells on the lower levels.

“No I didn’t, I said I wouldn’t harm them – I didn’t say anything about you.” Yurak laughed. His twin could be sneaky when he wanted to be. “Besides, we ask nicely first and if they don’t cooperate, then we ask again.”

“And by ‘we ask again’ you mean you pass me your fancy knife and I ask in a decidedly less polite way?”

“Pretty much.”

“Got it.”

“So Lance shot you in the face huh?” Keith was snickering, a wicked grin splayed across his face. Yurak groaned in response.

“Yea, I don’t wanna talk about it.”

Chapter Text

It felt like she had just barely managed to fall asleep when Zethrid’s voice prodded her awake. It was hoarse but muted in an attempt to stay unheard; a warning that the elevator doors had opened. She sat up in her cell and blinked blearily wanting to be fully awake before their visitors got close. A few images raced through her mind, but in the end she was completely at a loss as to who it would be.

“Acxa? Who?” Ezor sounded worried and to be honest, she was too. There was no doubt that the green, yellow, and red paladins would be kept away from their cells; they didn’t really have what it takes to run an interrogation. The Princess would be persuasive but most likely easy to shut out, kindness being her weakness. The black paladin would be the one she would send if it were her ship. In fact, she would send the black paladin and the Princess together; they would be the most effective team.

As the footsteps came closer, she was able to pickup on the scent of their interrogators. It was faint, which she attributed to her dulled sense of smell due to being a half-breed, but it was distinctly Galran. So the black paladin then! But there were two scents; they were shockingly similar, so close it could easily be mistaken for the same scent, yet the subtle difference was there. As she desperately retraced her memories, trying to find the source of a second Galra scent on the Castle of Lions, she remembered the young Galra from the black lion. Yurak, he had been called.

She could hear them speaking, but could not understand the language which meant that down in these lower levels there were no built in translators. This might play to her advantage; Galran could be tricky with some words having different meanings depending on the context. She could use this to confuse the paladin since he didn’t understand Galran; they had tested that awhile back.

A sudden kick to her cell’s barrier had Acxa jumping from her reverie and looking up at the new arrivals. Standing side by side she could see just how similar they looked, it was eerie really. Aside from their obvious racial differences, they looked completely identical, even the way they held themself was the same. She suspected they were twins, one who took after their Galra parent and one who took after their … what species were the paladins again? Human! So one who took after their Human parent. Twins were incredibly uncommon in the Galra, but maybe not for Humans, her own other parentage held twins so it could be possible, and the similarities were too striking to ignore. Yet, if they were twins why was it that one spoke Galran while the other did not?

They may have grown up apart from one another, their parents splitting them up based on their obvious differing appearances. She knew the paladin’s home world was pre contact, so it may have been that the more Galra looking twin was raised off planet. Acxa wondered if this ever bothered them, having been separated and raised apart. Perhaps she could use the fact that only one had been chosen as a paladin to cause a rift between them. There was already a disconnect between the black paladin and his Galran heritage, the lions could be a source of contention.

Acxa sat quietly in her cell. She waited for the twins to make the first move, but they simply stood there staring back at her silently. It felt like vargas had past before Yurak finally spoke, except it was in that strange alien language again. They spoke back and forth a few times and the dark glimmer that appeared in Yurak’s eyes made her incredibly nervous.

“Acxa.” Keith’s firm, velvety voice floated through the cell, though it was curt and laced with a harsh tone.

“Keith.” She replied in an equally clipped manner.

“Sneaky.” While hearing him speak didn’t surprise her, what he said did. He spoke the word as if it was her name, and she had to bite back a chuckle.


“Ahh, knowing my name.” He seemed genuinely surprised.

“Perceptive. Used in my presence. Remembered.” He gave her a nod and a grunt of understanding.

“Lotor’s plans? Share for freedom.” Keith was speaking to her in Galran. Keith! Was speaking in Galran?? It took her a moment to process his words, still caught up on the fact that he could speak their language. After a few ticks, Yurak grew impatient and violently kicked the barrier again. The action sent a shock through the entire cell, causing a strange electric sensation to run up her spine; she did not enjoy it.

“No. Not sharing.” She wouldn’t; she would never betray Lotor. After everything he had done for her, she could never betray him like that. He wouldn’t betray her and she was not about to crumble under pressure.

“Protect a monster. Betray you if convenient to his own goals. Loyalty is foreign to Lotor.” He spat his words at her. They may look alike, but their personalities were very different. Yurak was far more aggressive than Keith, which was saying something. She had watched Keith nearly kill Ezor, but Yurak had ACTUALLY killed Narti. And that was the difference between them.

“Acxa. Telling us, please.” Keith’s voice had softened, like a warm melody in contrast to his twin.

“Never. Acxa, No words.” Zethrid yelled to her. The response from Yurak was immediate. A fierce snarl ripping from his lips as he whirled around with effortless grace, kicking the barrier on Zethrid’s cell so hard it caused her entire body to convulse from the electric shock. Ezor screamed but Yurak spun to snarl at her as well, causing the still recovering General to shrink back in surrender.

Keith didn’t so much as flinch at the display of aggression and dominance, merely maintaining firm eye contact with her the entire time. She had, the snarl alone had made her flinch, and she didn’t miss the smirk that touched at Keith’s lips. It had appeared for a fraction of a tick before vanishing. Perhaps she misjudged him; maybe what held him back wasn’t a stronger connection to his other parentage, but the Altean Princess. Perhaps, if given the chance, he would be just as aggressive as his twin brother seemed to be. That thought scared her, up until this point she had been nervous, worried at most. But now she was scared.

She looked into Keith’s eyes, and watched as the sclera briefly flashed yellow before he closed them. Letting out a slow breath, they opened as if nothing had happened; brilliant violet set in a crisp white.

“Nothing! Telling you nothing. Die first.” She heard Yurak chuckle at that and mumble something in regards to ‘being arranged’ that made her face pale. Keith elbowed him but didn’t refute his statement; instead passing his twin brother a dagger. This interrogation was taking a dark turn.

The scary one had shocked Zethrid at least 15 times by now, and Acxa around 4 or maybe 5 times. She kept trying to tell Zethrid to just stay quiet but her mate was very opinionated.

In his hand he idly twirled the dagger the black paladin had given him. Though it was an absentminded reflex, it still seemed fairly menacing, a reminder that he had a weapon and they did not. Zethrid must have said something because he was growling at her again.

The black paladin was rolling his eyes and talking to Acxa. It was a smart strategy; if anyone could get her to talk it would him. Ezor watched their exchange for a while, he seemed calmer than the other, though they were incredibly similar. Definitely brothers, perhaps twins even. They exchanged a silent look, nodded, and switched places – yup, probably twins.

As the black paladin moved towards Zethrid’s cell Ezor locked eyes with him. They were cold, she had never seen the paladins look so detached from emotion before; their Human faces were incredibly expressive. It was as if the interrogation was having no effect on him at all, just another day.

She watched his eyes flicker up to her missing tentacle, narrowing as he lowered them to meet hers; betraying nothing. He turned his attention to Zethrid and, with his supposed twin at his side, brought down the barrier to her cell.

Instantly her mate snarled and lunged forward, the scary twin snarling back as he ducked beneath her grasp. She watched in utter shock as the dagger was tossed back to the black paladin, shifting into a full sword in his hands. NEVER had she seen a weapon like that before. In one fluid motion the black paladin sliced threw the tendons in Zethrid’s ankles, causing her to scream as she dropped to her knees. Ezor let out a cry of agony, watching her mate in pain was terrible! Quickly the sword shifted back into a dagger and the black paladin drove it into Zethrid’s shoulder.

“Fighting must stop Zethrid. Not allowed.” She had severely underestimated the paladins, or at least the black one.

“Lied to Princess.” The smirk on the scary twin’s face seemed like an ‘I told you so’ expression, and it did not fit the tone of the situation at all.

“Oops.” The paladin responded with a shrug. Once again there was a strange juxtaposition between the tone of the words and that of the room. The sarcastic note of his smirk gave way to a more appropriately serious expression. “Yurak.” He tossed the dagger back, and nodded in her direction.

Skittering backwards in her cell, she crammed herself into a corner as far from the barrier as possible. Normally she would stand and fight, but she was still tired and rundown from her near death experience and there was NO way she could take him on.

“Talk?” Yurak asked her, and she shook her head, the recent loss of her tentacle causing her to lose balance and fall over.

He snorted at that, “Lotor’s plans. Share.” This time a low growl was mixed with the words.

“Join Lotor. Know his plans by helping us.” Acxa spoke up, her words pulling Yurak’s gaze in her direction. A wild look was in his eyes and she thought for a moment that he would kick the barrier like before. Except he didn’t, he stood stock still for several ticks, just staring at Acxa as she slowly wilted under his penetrating gaze. Time seemed to freeze; the black paladin placed his hand on the other’s shoulder as he spoke words in an alien language she did not understand.

Ezor watched the array of emotions flutter across his lavender face, golden eyes narrowing as they darted side to side. Their private conversation lasted several dobashes. They both gestured animatedly, voices rising and falling with the intensity of their debate, eventually coming to an agreement.

“Acxa. Join Voltron for freedom.” The black paladin spoke, it did not go unnoticed by her that his brother had moved to stand closer to Zethrid’s cell.


“Understand we make the same choice. Hell is where Lotor can go. Joining him is no option to us. Share Lotor’s plans ... please.” He paused, almost seeming to plead with his eyes for her to understand something that went unsaid. She watched as the dagger was repositioned in the scary one’s hand. Acxa merely shook her head.

“Acxa. Reconsider please.” He spoke to her again. The black paladin had dropped to his knees, hands pressed to the barrier, voice softer than it had been since they arrived.

“Understand that I cannot. Loyal to Lotor I remain.” He dropped his head and spoke a single command in the alien language. Immediately the twin spun on his heal slicing the dagger into Zethrid’s cell.

The barrier clouded with a dark fog, blocking her view of her fellow Generals. The last thing Ezor heard before her isolation was a loud growl followed by a pained scream.

Her world went dark.

Allura exited the elevator on the lower levels and heard a blood-curdling scream almost immediately. She should have known better than to let the two Galra handle the interrogation. What had she been thinking?

Rushing towards the cells she saw that the barriers had been darkened, casting the Generals into isolation. Yurak was walking out of Zethrid’s cell, wiping Keith’s dagger off on his clothing. Allura prided herself on her reserve, her ability to remain in control of her emotions, but she suddenly found that ability slipping from her. A rage took hold and she unleashed on her paladin and his counterpart.

“You possess a nerve of which I have not witnessed in deca-phebes. Weapons are not required instruments of an interrogation amongst civilized peoples. This thought process I must assume is lost on you for the Galra have long been known for their volatile and barbaric practices. Have you no shame? Justify your actions at once, I demand this of you.”

Keith stared at her blankly but Yurak rolled his eyes, a defiant action that she would not ignore. Opening her mouth to reprimand him, she was instead cut off by his voice, words breathed in an indifferent tone. “Princess, you fail to recall the lower levels of your ship are not equipped with translators. Keith lacks a necessary knowledge of the Altean language for your words to hold meaning. I suggest you either switch to Galran or we move our exchange elsewhere, lest all parties not be privy to what is discussed.”

Right, she had forgotten they spoke different languages. The convenience of the translators was a subtle blessing. “I shall not lower myself to speaking in a language I do not wish to use. We shall reconvene one level above our current location in approximately 5 dobashes. I presume you understand this request and intend of following such orders?”

“Yes, Princess.”

“Splendid. Inform your fellow Galra of the arrangement.”

“Yes, Princess.”

“The outcome of today's interrogation is unacceptable and there will indeed be consequences for your heinous actions. I am most disappointed in the both of you.” She did not wait for him to respond, turning on her heal she marched out of the cellblock. Allura would not be making this mistake again. Yurak was clearly a poor influence on her paladin and the twins would need to be separated.

“What was that all about?” Keith asked, glad that Sven had been teaching Yurak English. It had given them a language to talk in that none of the Generals could understand. He had intended on teaching Yurak himself, but they just didn’t have the time alone to do so.

“Ughh, she’s pissed. She didn’t want to switch to Galran so we have to go up a level and talk to her where there are translators.”

“K, help me put the healing patches on Zethrid’s wounds first. Allura can wait.”

“Ohhh she’s not gunna like that.” Yurak laughed.

They entered Zethrid’s cell, pulling out the Altean healing patches Coran had given them. She was unconscious at the moment so they worked quickly, applying one to each of her ankles and her shoulder, as well as the fresh one on the side of her head. Lastly Keith set a hydration pouch and some pain medication down by the corner with instructions written out in Galran by Yurak. She stirred briefly and they both skittered out of the cell, not wanting to have to knock her out again.

“Alright, lets go deal with Allura.” Keith said, not at all looking forward to the confrontation. “How pissed is she?”

“Oh ho very! I might be in danger!” he mused.

Chapter Text

Walking into the room Keith realized he had never actually been in this part of the castle. When they first arrived he had made it his mission to explore and make a mental map of the castle’s layout. While he had come to this level once before, he didn’t take the time to explore it much. This area was mostly full of scrap metal and extra parts with various tools and equipment lying around haphazardly. It must be some sort of workshop he presumed.

The room was lit with what would be a normal amount of light on Earth but was considerably dimmer than the rest of the castle ship.  Altean’s were fond of bright (painfully bright) lighting and the only places that did not induce blindness were Keith’s room, the observation deck, the archives, and the cellblock on the lowest level. So stepping from the intensely lit hallway into this workshop was a welcome relief to his eyes, which had still not fully adjusted. He doubted if they ever would adjust to the brightness of the castle, Galra eyes were adapted for seeing in the dark, and even Human eyes had trouble with how bright the ship was. He knew Shiro had sometimes struggled. Shiro. God he missed Shiro.

Having Sven around was bitter sweet; he wasn’t Shiro – even if he looked just like him. It was like Yurak and him, similar but not quite the same. Keith looked over to his twin, he was fidgeting with the hem of his shirt and his eyes were darting around the room, taking stalk of their surroundings. He did that a lot Keith noticed, but then again Lance had pointed out that he did it himself too.

“There’s another exit on the other side of the room.” Yurak leaned in to whisper at his ear. “And I’m not sure, but it looks like there’s a door over -” he nodded his head in the direction of a large cabinet on their left side. It was old and full of trinket-y things and was clearly being used to barricade a small door. “- behind that case. Might lead to a storage room of some kind. Don’t think it’s an exit.”

“Wanna check it out later? I mean, providing we still have our skin when Allura is done with us?” He smirked causing Yurak to snort slightly.

“She’s a hypocrite. How come we have to play nice but she’s allowed to use intimidation on us. Not fair I say.”

Keith just shrugged. “Her ship dude.”

He didn’t catch it completely, the sound of the doors hissing open had muffled Yurak’s voice, but he had heard enough to know it was said in a mockingly authoritative tone. The words ‘My ship, my rules’ floating to his ears as Allura entered the room.

“Yes, I do make the rules on this ship. I am glad you are aware of that fact. It will save me having to remind you.” Her tone was cold and clipped and the quickly muttered expletive from Yurak was not lost between them.

“Can we just get this over with?” Keith huffed as he crossed his arms. For their plan to work he needed to get back to Acxa, he needed to take advantage of the situation they had created before she shut them out.

Allura turned her sharp gaze to him, cutting deep into his very soul and it sent a shiver up his spine. She was really, really good at glaring.

“Keith I – I am so very disappointed in you.” She shook her head and the anger from a moment ago was replaced with a deep sense of betrayal. It hurt; he had seen that look on the faces of people who had tried to give him chances over the years. Foster homes that tried to get to know him, counsellors who had given him the benefit of the doubt, and teachers who gave him leniencies. It always ended the same way, he would do something they deemed unforgivable and that look, the one Allura was currently wearing, would appear on their faces as they told him he had to leave.

He knew she wouldn’t just kick him out, she couldn’t after all; there was no one else to pilot the black lion. Still he knew if she had any other option he would be gone, heading off to the Blade of Marmora permanently. They were the only place he really could go; in fact he knew Kolivan wouldn’t be scolding him in a workshop for this. Actually, he was pretty sure Kolivan would be more upset that they hadn’t pushed harder.

“Allura -” He tried to protest but she cut him off.

“No, please. I do not want to hear any of your Galra lies.” The shock on his face must have been clear, as he stood there stunned for a moment.

“Is – is that how you see me? As just another Galra?” Keith’s voice was quiet, barely above a whisper.

“When you act like one - yes.” And those words, those simple words hurt more than her anger, more than anything else she could have said. He thought they had been making progress, a level of trust building between them, some mutual respect even. It was why he had held back for the interrogation, trying to maintain a controlled calm and not allowing Yurak to slice his way to a quick answer. That simple confession shattered everything he thought they built. He was just another Galra to her. No different than the soldiers they fought on a regular basis, no different than the Generals currently in the cells below them.

Suddenly rage bloomed in his chest and he felt his vision narrow as a strange prickling warmth radiated across his skin. He could feel his nails digging into the palms of his hands as he clenched them tightly into fists, shaking at his sides. Later he would regret this reaction but right now it wasn’t something he could stop, instinct taking over as his own feelings of betrayal clouded his judgment.

A low growl started in his chest, he felt it rising but couldn’t do anything to stop it, not that he wanted to. In that moment all he wanted was to lunge across the space between them and tackle the arrogant Princess to the ground. If she saw him as Galra then he would just embrace that, show her just how Galra he could be. And now that he was more in touch with that side of him, it turned out the answer was very – he could be very Galra.

The growl had caught her off guard, her stern expression faltering briefly as a flicker of fear grazed her face. She took a step back, and he took one forward. There was no way he was backing down from this, he hadn’t done anything wrong and she had no right to treat him this way. He felt a familiar rush of fire in his mind – Red. Drawing on it he took another step towards her, rising to his full height as the growl grew. If he had fur it would be standing on end.

Yurak stepped between them, his hand forcefully pressed into Keith’s chest as he growled back. It was a different growl than the one Keith was letting out. His was dripping with aggression and rage but also pain and hurt, while Yurak’s was a warning. To anyone else there wouldn’t appear to be a difference, just two Galra growling at each other. But Keith knew it for what it was - communication. He could hear the difference in the sounds and knew what his counterpart was telling him; he needed to calm down.

Taking a step back, and a few deep breaths, Keith calmed himself. The growl stopped and the fire died down, allowing him to think more clearly. He chanced a look at the Princess but instead his eyes fell onto pools of blue. Yurak had jumped between them, but he wasn’t the only one. Keith didn’t even notice Lance arrive, but he was here and he looked terrified. His body was positioned between Allura and Keith in a protective manner, the sudden realization that he wasn’t the one Lance had come to protect hit him like a ton of bricks.

Those clear blue eyes, blown wide with shock, stared back at him; eyebrows knit in the middle and turned up in alarm. “What the hell Keith.”

“I – I - ” Keith stammered but he couldn’t form any words, his brain was still foggy and the smoke hadn’t yet cleared. “- I – shit!” he spat, “Lance omg. I’m so sorry, I – I don’t know what came over me.”

“I’m so not the one you need to be apologizing to! What the actual fuck was that?”

Keith made eye contact with Allura; she looked shaken but stood tall behind Lance with a strange expression on her face. “Fuck.” He cursed under his breath. “Allura -”

“No. You – you do not need to apologize.” Her voice was soft and it floored him.

“Wait WHAT?” Lance practically screamed as he whirled around to face her. “That was terrifying Allura! Why the hell WOULDN’T he need to apologize? I’m still shaking and it wasn’t even directed at me!!” He held out his right hand as proof, and yup - it was trembling in the air.

“Because it was my fault; I provoked him. I am sorry Keith. I should not have said what I did. Though your outburst was incredibly alarming as Lance has pointed out.”

He stared at her, unable to move, unable to think. “Allura, I – I don’t want to be like them. I don’t want to give you any reason not to trust me, and I don’t want to be a monster.” He couldn’t look anyone in the eyes, his head was down but he heard Yurak’s huff at the word ‘monster’. Turning to face his twin he continued, “I know the Galra aren’t monsters, my time with the Blades and with you has shown me that. But you can’t deny the Empire and Lotor are monstrous. Zarkon was the biggest monster of them all and he used to be the black paladin.”

“I know.” Yurak spoke quietly, turning his gaze between Keith and Allura. “The Altean Empire are monsters too, but I know Allura and Coran aren’t. It’s just hard to get along and work together when we’re all so different. We approach situations differently, we have different ideas of what the best tactics are, what the ‘right’ thing is. When everyone reacts to things so differently it makes it hard to connect or form an understanding, you know? Cultural differences kinda suck.” He added light heartedly and it was enough to break the building tension. Allura, Yurak, and Keith all cracked a slight chuckle but Lance remained quiet.

“Yes, they certainly do.” Allura agreed with small smile.

“How are you all ok with this?”

“Lance I -” And as he took a step forward, his boyfriend took one back with a flash of fear in his eyes. It made Keith freeze in his tracks. But Lance kept backing up, eventually turning and running from the room. “ – LANCE!” Keith yelled after him as the door shut. He felt his world crumble around him, he had just won Lance over and now his stupid Galra side was pushing him away.

“Go. Go talk to him. Don’t let him slip away or you’ll regret it.” Yurak was pushing him towards the door but he didn’t need the nudge; he was already moving to follow Lance.

“- then you simply add this piece and … LANCE!!!!!”

The sudden Earth shattering scream of his name made him jump and shriek (though he would never admit that) as he landed on the ground with a thud. Heart beating rapidly in his chest he struggled to catch his breath. Thank god he wasn’t Hunk or he probably would have ralphed all over the green lion’s hangar and Pidge would have been soooo pissed!

“What the hell Pidge! Holy shit!” he finally managed to stammer out as he clutched desperately to his heart.

“Oh, I’m sorry did I wake you?” She said in a mockingly sweet voice.

“As a matter of fact you did!”

“Well, I’m sorry if I bored you with my explanation of how to fix YOUR controller. Next time I’ll just leave you to do it yourself then.”

“No no no, Pidge please, I’m sorry! I was listening, promise!!” he was ashamed to admit his tone had become incredibly desperate, pleading with the gremlin, or more accurately – groveling.

“Liar. Doesn’t matter I’m done anyways – but you owe me big time.”

“Yea for sure! Anything!”

“Anything?” Oh no! Lance knew that tone, she was going to make him do something terrible or humiliating or both!

“Ok not anything, but within reason.” He clarified, snatching up the controller, and bolting for the hallway before she could argue.

“Nope, too late. You already suggested ‘anything’. And Lance?” he turned back, locking eyes with the demon (yes ‘demon’ because ‘gremlin’ was starting to sound far too kind). “I intend to collect.” Coño!

Lance made his way back to the previously empty room where he and Pidge had setup their Mercury Gameflux console, ready to crush another round of Killbot Phantasm I. Just as the music started up, he felt the roar of the red lion in the back of his mind. He paused the game and focused on his lion, and then he felt him – Keith, and the anger rolling off him. But it wasn’t just anger; it was pain and betrayal and pain!!! So much pain. Lance dropped the controller and ran for his boyfriend. He didn’t know where he was going but he followed the red lion, she would bring him to Keith.

The elevator doors opened to a hall that was way too quiet. There were only two doors on this level, one to his right and one to his left. He debated which way to go for a fraction of a second before he heard the growl, it was low and quiet at first, but it was quickly building into something fierce and threatening. Without thinking Lance rushed for the sound. He had heard it before; Galra soldiers would make a sound like that when they were losing a fight against the paladins. If Yurak was making this sound it meant he was probably about to rip Keith’s head off.

The doors to the room opened and his eyes landed on a terrified Allura as well as a thoroughly surprised Yurak. But if he wasn’t the one making that awful sound then …

Keith? Lance watched the pain in his boyfriend’s eyes as it morphed into anger at Allura’s retreating step back. Keith advanced, the terrifying sounds coming from him getting louder and Lance sprang into action. He had never seen Keith like this and it was horrifying.

Lance rushed to throw himself between a still advancing Keith and the Princess. Taking a protective stance and watching as Yurak placed a bracing hand on Keith’s chest then growled back at him. It was honestly one of the most terrifying things Lance had ever witnessed and a part of him wished he had his bayard so he could protect himself and the Princess from his FUCKING BOYFRIEND – like what the hell!

Keith’s eyes were Galra, and he was squeezing his fists so hard they had started to bleed from his nails. Now that he was here, he couldn’t feel Red any more. She had ended their connection, having used it as a way to bring him to Keith, to help Keith – but it wasn’t Keith who needed the help so he stayed in front of Allura. It didn’t take long after he arrived, maybe 30 seconds, before Keith calmed down and stared him in the eyes. Lance was in shock, he watched those Galra eyes shift back to his boyfriend’s more Human ones, and dimly realized they were all talking. He heard Keith sputter some apology, and faintly noticed he was speaking back to him before Allura interjected apologizing herself.

“Wait WHAT?” Lance couldn’t believe his ears. Had she seriously just apologized to Keith for KEITH’S freaky ass Galra blowup?? He spun around to face her. “That was terrifying Allura! Why the hell WOULDN’T he need to apologize? I’m still shaking and it wasn’t even directed at me!!” He held out his hand to show her, and Keith, how badly he was still trembling.

They talked, he half listened. It was all kind of a blur. Keith said something about being a monster and if Lance was being honest – he was sort of in agreement there. Then they all laughed, not a real laugh but more of a tense ‘ha ha this is so awkward’ laugh and Lance lost it. “How are you all ok with this?”

“Lance I -” Keith was talking to him now but Lance couldn’t look him in the eyes. He took a step back but Keith advanced. It reminded him of a moment ago, and the rage he had seen on Keith’s face flashed in his mind and suddenly he was terrified of his boyfriend again. He turned to leave and ended up running away like a little kid. He heard Keith call out his name again but he didn’t stop, he just ran for the elevator and didn’t look back.

Keith searched the castle-ship for what felt like hours before he finally found Lance. The Cuban boy was curled up on the observation deck, staring out at the stars as he held his knees tight to his chest. Taking a deep breath, Keith moved closer before pausing.

“This seat taken?” He asked cautiously.

“Depends, you gunna eat me?” Ok that was unexpected. The surprise made him chuckle a little and he couldn’t tell if Lance was joking or not, so he decided to settle on joking.

“Only if you want me to.” Keith added a not-so-subtle seductive tone to his words trying to lighten the mood. It didn’t work - so not joking then.

“Ugh, what do you want?”

“Are you ok?”

“No KEITH! I am not OK!” Lance had turned to face him and he had tear tracks on his cheeks. It shattered Keith’s heart, he felt the pit forming in his stomach as he stared at the beautiful boy before him; terrified that he would never be allowed to hold him again. The sting of tears pricked at his own eyes now, but he blinked them back.

“Lance, I – I am so so sorry. I didn’t mean to react like that, I just – I don’t even know how to describe it. It just kinda happened.” He spoke as he moved to sit beside him, turning his upper body so he could look his (maybe?) boyfriend in the eyes, those amazing blue eyes.

The other boy seemed to deflate a little, letting out long sigh. “What happened? I know you well enough to know you wouldn’t have acted like that unless you had a reason. It’s not ok though, you can’t be acting like that, but I – I know something triggered it.” Lance paused to take a breath and Keith could tell he wasn’t finished so he waited quietly. “Allura said it was her fault. What did she do?”

And Keith told him, he told him what Allura had said about him being just another Galra, about the face she had worn; the face that matched the people from his past, he told him about his fears, and he told him about all the things that had been weighing on his mind. For the first time in his life Keith told someone everything, not just the cliff notes version, but EVERYTHING. He felt safe talking to Lance, he knew his secrets would stay between them, but he was still terrified of being rejected.

“Wow.” Lance said after a long while. Keith had finished spilling his heart and soul but Lance just sat there in silence. “That’s a lot for one person to feel. I had no idea you were struggling with so much.” He looked up to meet Lance’s eyes and he saw – love and compassion? OMG Lance you are too good for me.

“Why didn’t you say anything? You know you can talk to me right?” Lance continued in a soft, inviting tone.

“I – I didn’t want to burden you with all my shit. I didn’t want you to see how broken I am and reject me for it. You deserve better than me Lance.” And now he was crying. Great.

“OMG Keith! No, babe no! Don’t you ever think that. You are so great – you are strong and smart and sexy as hell and -”

“hmph you think I’m sexy?”

“Uh, yea dude, I think we established that last night.”

“But that was Human me – Galra me had you trembling.” He countered as he hung his head.

“Ok for starters, I’m pretty sure I was trembling last night too.” He said with a wink and Keith blushed. “Plus, I guess you didn’t notice but about half way through, your eyes had turned yellow and slit. And I definitely didn’t miss you growl at the end or the way you purred in your sleep.”

“I WHAT?” He knew he had growled but purring? Maybe Lance was right about him being part cat. Ughh he hated it when Lance was right.

“Pu-rr-ed!” he said slowly, emphasizing the syllables for dramatic effect. Keith just rolled his eyes and blushed significantly. “It was cute – Kitty.”

“Omg no way. You are NOT calling me Kitty.”

“Oh come on” he whined, and Keith just shook his head. “Fine how about Space Kitty then?” That one earned Lance a glare, which he laughed at and tackled Keith into a hug.

“So – we’re good?”

“Yea we’re good – Kitty.” Oh he is NOT getting away with that. Keith shoved Lance down and growled at him playfully before kissing the cocky smirk off his face.

Chapter Text

A desperate Keith chased after Lance’s retreating form and when the door shut behind him, they were left in silence. It was, without a doubt, incredibly awkward. He rocked on his heels a little, twitching his mouth side to side, as he tried to think of something to say to the Altean Princess. Anything. But nothing came to mind.

Allura cleared her throat delicately and he glanced in her direction, eyes meeting briefly before she darted them away. She was just as uncomfortable as he was, but both of them knew the interrogation could not proceed without Keith. He was about to speak when she cut him off.

“Allu -”

“Yurak, I - Oh, I am sorry, go ahead.”

“- No no. It’s fine.” He gestured for her to continue and she nodded politely, offering him a small smile as she furrowed her brow.

“Right, Yurak I must apologize to you a well. My words must have been hurtful.” She sounded genuinely remorseful and surprisingly he felt himself jump at the opportunity to reassure her.

“Nah, I’ve always considered myself Galra. I’m proud of who I am and the race I’m part of. In my reality we aren’t the ones who run the evil Empire.” He paused, noticing her flinch slightly. “Look, I know it hurts you to hear about the Altean’s in my reality, but it feels the same for me when you talk about how evil the Galra are. I’ve tried to refer to them as the Altean EMPIRE and not just the ALTEANS because I know there’s a difference. But when you talk about ALL Galra as if we are inherently evil it’s – well, it’s not a nice feeling. That’s partly why Keith lost his shit on you. It takes its toll.”

“Yes, I understand that it would. However you must see things from my point of view as well. The Galra – The Galra EMPIRE, they destroy worlds. When I watch him now, I see how he has changed. How his increasing connection to his Galra heritage is changing the way he acts and responds to situations. To be honest, it is not a welcome change.”

“Allura, I don’t know how to say this so I’m just going to be blunt. You’re being a hypocrite.”

“Pardon me?”

“You heard me.” She huffed at that but Yurak ignored her and pressed on. “You talk about spreading peace and unity throughout the universe but you cant even fully accept one of your own paladins because of their bloodline. It’s absolutely quiznaking ridiculous.” She had the decency to blush at being called out for it. “You asked Keith to run the interrogation because he’s Galra, then you freak out when we do what you asked -”

“I specifically recall instructing you to NOT torture the prisoners – a request which was agreed to and yet broken! Zethrid’s blood is still smeared on your clothes.” She shot back, cutting him off yet again.

“Oh relax Allura, no one died.”

“Your flippant disregard for orders is incredibly irritating. You call me a hypocrite but I call you arrogant, aggressive, and cruel.” The words were spat at him with such venom that her carefully constructed grace crumbled around her.

“Hmph. Do we get three now? Cause I’m happy to modify my list of you: Hypocrite, imperious, xenophobic. Better?”

Allura stared at him in stunned silence as her face reddened with anger. Suddenly she slipped into the youth that she was – no longer the poised and rigid diplomat, but an impassioned, angry, and offended young adult.

“OH! OH!! You listen here you quiznaking Galra BRAT! How DARE you call me imperious!! I am a Princess, of course I command authority. If I come off as domineering, perhaps it is because YOU do not follow orders and must be put in your place.”

“Put in my place? HA! And here I thought we could have a civil conversation Princess.” He sneered at her and she straightened her back, bracing for a battle of wills. “Besides, to be a Princess you need to have a kingdom to rule. All you have is a 10,000 year-old ship, an eccentric mechanic, and a bunch of human teenagers – one of which is a Galra hybrid.”

“Get off my ship.” He would admit he had not expected that reaction. He knew going against the Princess wouldn’t end well, but he had not actually expected her to kick him out. There was no way she would ‘evict’ Keith, but Keith was the black paladin and she needed him. Yurak was just some stray Galra half-breed that snuck onto her ship and antagonized her. Ok yea – this may be entirely his fault. He ducked his head; ready to swallow his pride and apologize when she doubled down on her demand.

“I said, Get. Off. My. Ship.”

“And where would you have me go?” He didn’t mean for it so sound antagonistic, he really didn’t – it just kind of came out that way.

“I do not care. Try the race you are so proud to be part of.” And with that she spun on her heal and stormed out. Shit.

He sat alone in the workshop for a least 3 vargas. Honestly, he had no idea if the Princess was serious or not, but based on the look in her eyes he would assume that yes, yes she was. He didn’t even know how he got himself into these situations. Actually, if Yurak was being completely honest, he did know, he just didn’t want to think about that.

In those 3 vargas he had had plenty of time to think about what he was going to do. Keith had mentioned the Blade of Marmora a few times, so that’s where he would go. Since there didn’t seem to be any way of getting back to his own reality, he was going to have to form a life in this one. He had hoped that life would include Keith, it was nice having a brother of sorts, but maybe that just wasn’t going to work out for him. He’d blown his chance of getting to know Keith better by getting kicked out.

So the Blades then, that could work. He could do the trials, become a member, and work with Keith as an ally. At least he would be useful, and if Keith could pass the trials then he should be able to; they were the same person after all – sort of.

But what about Sven? Would the Blades allow a Human to live on their base? Leaving him behind wasn’t an option, Yurak was pretty sure it would kill him to be separated from his mate like that. Well, maybe not literally kill him, but still, why risk it. Dying of a broken heart was a real thing in Humans, and he’s part Human. But Sven is ALL Human – what if being separated like that could actually kill him?

Yurak took a deep breath, he was panicking and that was bad. You can’t think clearly when you panic. He took a few more deep breaths and nearly jumped out of his skin when the door opened.

“Ah Purple Number Four, what are you doing in here -” He hated that nickname, but he would let it slide this time. “- sitting alone in the dark? Contemplating life dear boy?” Coran twirled his moustache as he stared at him.

“Yea, something like that. And I’m not sitting in the dark Coran.” He would normally use a more lighthearted tone, but he just wasn’t feeling it right now. Part of him didn’t want to have to say goodbye to this crazy, but entertaining and endearing, man. He just spoke in a low voice while looking down at his feet as if they were the most interesting things in the entire universe.

“Hmm, perhaps not literally, but I sense your thoughts are in a dark place.”

There wasn’t much he could say to that, so he opted to nod and grunt his confirmation. He knew Coran understood his Galran habits, and it made his heart sink at the way he had referred to him. “Have you spoken to Allura?”

“I have.” The Altean man merely stared back at him, still twirling his moustache. “I’m sure Keith will be sad to see you go.” And there it was, he really had to leave. Coran’s tone was heavy but his face didn’t betray anything. I guess this is it then.

“Yea.” Was all he could get out, a lump forming in his throat as he blinked back the sting that threatened his eyes. Part of him had expected Allura not to follow through with it after calming down, but the other part chastised himself for being so optimistic. Of course he was leaving, he wasn’t a permanent part of team Voltron, the plan had always been to leave. He just thought that would mean going back to his own reality, not being kicked off the castle-ship in a reality he knew so little about.

Coran had busied himself with fixing up one of the training droids. Repairing damaged limbs and circuitry with practiced ease. He really was the silent heart of the ship and without him, Yurak thought; the whole castle could come to a standstill. Allura was incredibly fortunate that he had been placed in a cryo-pod alongside her.

He couldn’t stop it, before he even realized what was happening his arms were already wrapped tightly around the Altean man. “I’m sorry Coran. I’m really gunna miss you.” Now this caught him off guard. Coran seemed genuinely startled at the contact, and even more startled by the confession.

“Now, dear boy, we all say things we don’t mean when we’re upset. And from what I remember of the Galra, your kind tends to get upset quite easily. I know you didn’t mean it and I forgive you.” He hugged back; a light squeeze of reassurance and a soft pat on the back were added for comfort. “What are you plans?”

“Probably look into this Blade of Marmora Keith talks about. They’re Galra and they’re on your side so I think that’s the best bet.”

“Ah, a fine choice. We are indeed allied with them, and Keith has passed their test of sorts. I believe he has a standing invitation to become a member should he choose. I think that is a good plan.” He was nodding and twirling his moustache in the most ‘Coran’ manner possible. Suddenly Yurak felt a pang of guilt – he really was going to miss him.

“Well, I’m all done here. Try not to stay down here for too long.” He smiled as he left the room, door closing to leave Yurak alone once again.

Right. If I’m leaving, I may as well go out with a bang. He thought to himself. Yurak picked up one of the screwdrivers from the workbench and made his way back to the cells, blinking as he stepped into the too bright hallway.

The cell barrier opened and the Galra entered, but Keith did not. She quickly scanned the area with all of her senses before the barrier closed again. From what she could tell, he had come alone. This made it easier, she could try to over power him and escape – it was then that she noticed the screwdriver. What was he planning to do with that?

He noticed her spot the makeshift weapon and move to wave it lazily between them. “Don’t. Not ending well if you try.” He warned, and she believed him.

He closed the distance and crouched in front of her, resting his weight on the balls of his feet as he sat back on his heels. “New direction. Ask you once. Asking again won’t be nice.” There was a dark glint to his eyes, one that had her very, very nervous.

“Lotor’s plans? Share for freedom.” He said, repeating the way Keith had started the interrogation originally as he idly toyed with the tool in his fingers.

“No. Not sharing.” The same question got the same response, except this time she added “Killed Narti AND Zethrid. Why speak to you? Kill me too any ways.”

He hung his head, a reaction she hadn’t expected. Taking a deep breath he lifted it to look her in the eyes. “Lizard yes, Big one no.” He shook his head as he spoke. Acxa looked down at his leg where Zethrid’s blood was smeared and she narrowed her eyes at the liar.

Yurak noticed, he stood and moved over to the panel at the barrier, typing something in before the barrier’s fogging abated. In fact, as she looked out she could see that it wasn’t just her cell that cleared. Ezor’s scream for joy when she noticed Zethrid alive was the biggest relief she had ever felt. It confirmed that it wasn’t just a trick he was playing; Zethrid really was fine.

“If wanting to talk, then why bring weapon?”

He shrugged. “Precaution.” That was a fair enough reason she assumed. “Useful … IF needed.” He added, and she did not miss the double meaning. It would be useful for self-defense if she tried to attack, but also useful to extract information if she wasn’t forthcoming enough. She ventured a glance to Zethrid, noting her bandages but also the fact that she was alive, a little worse for wear – but alive.

With the resistance and hostile behavior she had exhibited, there was no doubt that had Zethrid been Lotor’s prisoner she would be dead by now. Her Prince did not tolerate insubordination, especially from prisoners. The Altean Princess seemed to be different; she had made them promise not to hurt her or her fellow Generals. Acxa new this based on the comments made earlier. ‘Lied to Princess.’ Yurak had said to Keith after the latter stabbed Zethrid in the shoulder.

“Acxa, safety from Lotor.” Why would she need to be granted safety from Lotor? She was his most trusted General, he would be coming to rescue her any dobash now.

Acxa sat straighter and held his gaze as the Galra rolled his eyes. “Fine. Hard way.” He tapped the tip of the screwdriver with his claw before using it to lift her chin, as he looked deep into her eyes. The movement was gentle, almost seductive in nature. If she didn’t already know he had a mate, she may have taken it that way. Yurak seemed to be judging her soul, his eyes darting between hers as he searched for something.

He must have found it, the corner of his lips twitching up into a wry grin and a single eyebrow cocking upwards. “Mate already.” He said with a smooth as silk voice barely concealing the humour hiding there.

“Aware. Watched you in lion.” She witnessed the grin morphed into a smirk and his lips twitched with the threat of a laugh.

“Not me.” Oh … Oh. Why did that make her sad? A part of her knew Keith wasn’t interested in one of Lotor’s Generals, someone he saw as the enemy. But she had hoped that if the plan to bring him over to their side worked, then maybe something could happen between them. He had saved her in the weblum, something he didn’t have to do, and she had saved him right back. There was a bond between them, one that she had felt the moment she looked into his violet eyes – or was that just her? The news that he already had a mate was disheartening. It almost took the fight right out of her – almost.

Zethrid watched the tears stream down Ezor’s face as she smiled at her mate, the pain that had been present quickly melting away. She didn’t know why the weird twins hadn’t killed her; if this were Lotor’s ship there was no doubt she would be dead. She had been relieved when consciousness returned to her. Finding her injuries bandaged and pain medication set aside was a bonus, the instructions had even been written in Galran. Her loyalties were to Ezor, they always had been, and she was starting to see that perhaps Lotor wasn’t the saint he paraded himself as.

She knew he desperately wanted the black paladin as a General, he had wanted him the moment Acxa returned from the weblum and mentioned he was a fellow half-breed. She also knew that Lotor would do anything it takes to get what he wanted – even if it meant sacrificing or double-crossing allies. But enough time had passed that he should have come for them, if he had planned to get them back at all. What was she thinking? Of course he planned to come for them; he needed them. It was simple, Lotor didn’t care for them, or anyone other than himself really, but he NEEDED them and they needed him.

The empire was not a great place for a half-breed; none of them would have risen above the rank of foot soldier due to prejudice. Lotor had changed that; he had given them the opportunity to shine and she was grateful. But she wasn’t delusional. She knew when Lotor spoke of peace, what he really wanted was power. He was just as obsessed with quintessence as his father.

Acxa’s scream pulled her from her realizations. Looking over at the General she saw a screwdriver had been stabbed through her right hand. The more Galra looking twin was holding tightly to the handle as he spoke to her softly. Every time she gave an answer he didn’t like, or no answer at all, he would jerk his wrist causing her to scream again. At first Zethrid didn’t understand why Acxa wouldn’t just attack him with her free hand, only to realize that it had been cuffed to her ankle. Left wrist to right ankle.

She listened to the screams a few more times before they stopped. He had pulled the tool from her heavily bleeding palm and was now making his way out of the cell towards her own. Panic set in, she was not one who normally felt fear but in this situation she was entirely helpless. The severed tendons in her ankles made escape impossible, the wound to her shoulder make fighting back difficult, and her brain hadn’t fully cleared from the blow to her head. She was in no state to refuse him if he turned his interrogation her way.

Instead he stopped outside her cell. “Bandages and medicine.” He demanded – no it wasn’t a demand, more like a request. His voice had been softer than expected and she obliged, placing the supplied in front of the barrier.

He opened the barrier and entered her cell, not making any moves to attack, but simply taking half of the supply and leaving her the rest. He then made his way back to Acxa and proceeded to clean and bandage her would, leaving her the other half of the pain medication.

His clothing was covered in Acxa’s blood, though she realized some of it must be her own. This time he made his way to Ezor and the rush of panic came back in full force. Ezor scurried away from the barrier, still in no shape to fight back after the loss of her tentacle, but he didn’t seem to care. The Galra twin merely stood outside her barrier and sank to a crouching position. “Sorry. Hurting your mate was not kind. Carried away a bit. Understand?” Ezor nodded, because of course they understood; they were Galra themselves. The bloodlust had a habit of taking over, it was stronger for her than the others, and she sensed it was stronger for him than his twin. While it made her a fierce combatant, it was also a burden when you were trying to not to kill someone.

The boy nodded and stood, before addressing all three of them. “Patience Allura is better at than me … Keith too.” He chuckled a little before continuing, “Actually, no pushing luck with Keith. More patient than me – much less than Allura. Much less!” He spun the tool in his fingers as he walked out of the cellblock.

“Acxa! Ok?” She asked immediately after the doors closed and received a groan and a nod in response.

Chapter Text

They had all been called to bridge. It sounded urgent but he had been on the observation deck and could confirm that they were definitely not under attack so he couldn’t figure out why Allura had called them all. Keith tentatively reached his fingers to graze his as they walked down the hall. He was a walking talking juxtaposition. Sometimes Keith was full of confidence, charging head first into the situation, running purely on instinct. And other times he could be downright skittish or withdrawn. This was one of those times. Lance noticed that typically if the situation was something physical like battle, sparring and training, or even sex then Keith didn’t have any hesitations; he would just rush headfirst and make it up as he went along. But when it came to emotions or intimacy, that’s where he ran into problems.

Lance stared with gushy googly eyes at the black hair and pale skin walking half a pace ahead of him. To even make a small, almost imperceptible, reach for his hand was a huge step. Keith would have to take the lead for some things, things Lance was familiar with in different circumstances, but were entirely new with Keith. And Lance would need to show him how to be with someone. He didn’t mind, the idea of being Keith’s romance tutor made him giddy, his heart fluttering around in his chest like a caged butterfly.

He reached his own hand out in a much more decisive manner, lacing their fingers together, and grasping Keith’s hand tightly in his own. Keith squeezed back and it made Lance warm with joy. If he had told Past Lance back at the Garrison that he would be walking through a spaceship and beaming ear to ear while holding hands with Keith Kogane, Past Lance would have laughed in his face. He really had been an oblivious idiot back then. How had he not noticed his crush? Or did the jealousy not become a crush until they got to the castle? Yea too deep to think about, he really didn’t want to explore that right now, not when they were being called for some sort of emergency.

Naturally they were the last ones to make it to the bridge, with the exception of Yurak but his presence was apparently not necessary as Allura began speaking without him.

“Thank you all for responding promptly.” She had an obviously forced smile on her face, but her voice was pleasant and sweet. “There are a few developments that must be brought to everyone’s attention. Firstly: I will be assuming responsibility of interrogating Lotor’s Generals. The direction that had been taken was less than ideal.” Lance didn’t miss how her eyes darted to Keith. What happened? He wondered.

“Secondly: We will be saying farewell to one, but most likely two, of the Castle’s residents.” Everyone shifted uneasily – there were only two people on this ship that weren’t paladins aside from Coran, and Allura herself. She turned a remorseful glance towards Sven and continued. “Please know that your presence will be missed.” What was NOT missed was her emphasis on the word ‘your’. So whatever happened must have been with Yurak, and it must have been bad. Very bad.

As if his ears had been burning, the door hissed open to reveal the twin. Pidge, Hunk, and Coran gasped, Sven and Keith barely reacted, but Allura glared menacingly. And Lance? Lance was frozen, completely stunned. Yurak sauntered in, blood soaked clothes, and a still dripping screwdriver in hand.

“Don’t worry Princess, you don’t need to bother with any interrogation. The big bad Galra did your dirty work for you.” Nobody missed the sneer to his words.

“What. Did. You. Do?” Allura was seething. It was practically pouring off her in waves.

“Your dirty work – were you not listening?” Yurak’s tone was entirely dismissive as he folded his arms and arched a brow at her.

“Ok what’s going on here?” Keith interjected. “Why are you covered in blood and why are you leaving?”

“I got the information Allura wanted, and I’m leaving because she told me to. Simple.” Shrugging his shoulders he looked Keith in the eyes. “Not my choice. Believe me.” And Lance did, he could see it in Yurak’s eyes; he really didn’t want to go. The others knew it too. Pidge was shooting Allura a dirty look, and Hunk looked like he was on the verge of tears, but Keith – Keith looked like he was in shock.

In meetings Keith had a habit of hanging around at the back of the group, usually leaning against a wall all casual like, as if being aloof and sexy just came as second nature to him. This time was no exception meaning that when Yurak came in, and they all turned to face him, it effectively put Keith’s back to the group. No one could see his face, but they could see his fists curling into ever tightening balls as they shook at his side. They could also see Yurak’s eyes blow wide, and they didn’t miss him take a step forward. They also didn’t miss Keith’s face when he finally turned towards Allura.

This time she gasped, hand flying to her mouth in surprise. Keith’s eyes had gone fully Galra, even his teeth looked a little sharper than usual, but the biggest change was the anger burning on his cheeks that reached the tips of his ears – instead of a bright crimson it was a deep violet. He looked like he was ready to scream.

Through tightly clenched teeth Keith somehow managed to get out the words. “Why are you doing this?” And though he had said them quietly, they echoed menacingly in the still room.

“He forced my hand.” Curt and cold, not at all the Allura Lance was familiar with. “And I can see that I have made the right choice. Tell me, what is the state of our prisoners?” She asked Yurak directly.

“Alive.” His deadpan reply gave no emotions. “If a little worse for wear.” He paused to take a breath and adjust his posture. Taking a few steps closer, he closed the gap to Keith and placed a tentative claw on his twin’s shoulder. Squeezing gently he resumed talking.

“Princess, you may not like it, but this is how the Galra do things. The Generals would never have told you anything – they don’t respect you, and your pleasantries would get you nowhere. The fastest way to earn a Galra’s respect is to prove you are tougher, stronger, or more fearsome than they are. I proved to the sneaky one – Acxa, that I am capable of more than she anticipated. I showed her no fear and no mercy until I earned her respect. Hate as well most likely, but respect in the end. Point is – after that, she told me what I needed to hear. Her loyalties to Lotor can be swayed, as can those of the other two Generals.”

“Yurak, I -” Sven cut himself short, opting instead to stand beside his boyfriend and cup his face in his hands. It was strange in a way, for a while Lance had been incredibly jealous of Shiro when Keith would open up to him but looking at this exchange made it all the more clear how different the two relationships were. “- I will follow you anywhere.”

“Lance? Why are you crying?” Keith asked incredulously.

“I – I don’t even know!!” he sniffled out. “They’re just so sweet!” He wiped the tears from his cheeks before the next wave hit him. Realization that they would leaving, both of them would be leaving, smacked into him like a brick wall. “Oh man I’m really gunna miss you guys!!”

“Well don’t” Keith said pointedly, “Cause they aren’t going anywhere.”

“This is my ship, I decide who is permitted to reside onboard and Yurak is no longer welcome. Unfortunately I understand this means Sven will be leaving also. However regrettable that may be.”

Yurak snorted and grasped Sven’s hand, moving them towards the exit. This was it. This was really it!

“Where are you going to go?” Keith leaned in the doorway of Yurak and Sven’s room, arms folded, and eyebrow cocked.

“Plan is to contact those Blades your always talking about. Hopefully Sven will be allowed to come along as my mate.”

“Maybe, but he wont be allowed to join. Need to have Galra blood to activate the luxite blades. I’ll contact Kolivan, see if he will grant us permission to come to the base.”


“If you think for one second that I’m not coming with you, then you’re an absolute dumbass.” He said it with a smirk, playfully hiding the very real pain just below the surface.

Lance could see it though, no more than an hour ago Keith had completely opened up to him. Sharing about his foster homes, the abandonment, and his fears of loosing those closest to him; again. So with Allura essentially evicting Yurak, he could see the fear and desperation below the surface. Keith had finally found a brother, even if they weren’t actually brothers, they were still family. Actually, this whole alternate reality version of him thing was super weird. But his boyfriend had never really had family, and now that he did there was no way he would give it up.

Keith had a standing invitation to become a member of the Blades, and with Yurak being Galra they would allow him to try too. While Kolivan might make an exception and allow Sven to follow his ‘mate’ as the Galra called it, Lance knew there was no way the Blades would do it for TWO humans. With his duty as the red paladin, he had to stay at the castle – but so did Keith. This whole situation was become a mess.

“If you think for one tick that you ARE coming with me then YOU’RE the absolute dumbass. *khhck* Castle of Lions to the BLACK PALADIN do you copy?” He used a mock CB radio voice and even made the static sound at the beginning. (Which sounded more like a hiss when it came from Yurak). It made Lance chuckle and drew their attention to him.

He blushed. Significantly.

“Yurak is right. You must stay here.” Sven’s sing song voice freed him from the intense gazes of the two half Galra. “Keith I know you want to get closer to Yurak, but the universe needs you as the black paladin.”

“This universe can suck it. Maybe when we find that comet I can come back with you guys and Allura can just bite me.”

“Really? Is that what you think is going to happen? What about Lance? Would you leave him behind?” Yurak gestured in his direction and once again he very much in the spot light.

“Of course not!” Keith answered incredibly quickly. It made Lance giddy. “He can come too.”

“I can’t go to another reality Keith! I have my Abuelita, Mami, Papi, my brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews. Keith I can’t just up and leave this reality it doesn’t work like that.” Keith stared at him with sad eyes, and it broke Lance’s heart.

“Keith, I can’t go back to my reality anyways. Sven and I are stuck here; permanently.”

“WHAT? Why? Not that I’m complaining, I kinda like having you around.” Lance was completely taken a back. All they had to do was find that trans reality comet and poof, they would spring Yurak and Sven right back where they came from.

“The comet is gone. That’s part of the information I managed to get from Acxa. Lotor has already turned it into a ship; he’s trying to make his own Voltron.” Lance gasped, Keith’s eyebrows shot up, and Sven sat down on the bed to collect himself.

“Stuck – here? Forever?” Yurak nodded and moved to crouch in front of his boyfriend, taking his hands in his and placing a gentle kiss on the knuckles.

“Yea, it sucks. You’ll never see your parents again, and I’ll never see my mom again. It’s not fair I know, but – but at least we have each other and I wont go anywhere that you aren’t welcome. Even if that means we have to scour the universe together in search of a home. There probably aren’t many places in this reality where I’ll be welcome, but I’ll happily do what ever it takes.”

Lance’s heart melted. He couldn’t hold back the tears and he started crying all over again. “No, this is NOT ok! Can’t we change Allura’s mind? There has to be something we can do!” He sobbed.

“Honestly Lance, I don’t think there is. It’s my fault anyways. I – I said some pretty harsh things that I cant take back. She’s been gracious enough to let us stay here this long and it’s not like I’ve been a great guest.”

“I’ll contact Kolivan.” Keith was out the door before anyone could protest. Lance had heard the gravel in his voice and knew he was barely holding himself together. So he turned to follow but Yurak grabbed his arm.

“Lance? Can – can you do me a favour?” He asked sheepishly and very out of character.

“Of course.”

“Don’t let Allura take him down. Don’t let her force him to suppress the Galra side of him again. It’s a part of who he is and he should be allowed to embrace it without her judgment. I’ve tried to give him that, but I’m not permitted to stay here so I need you to protect him from her. Can you do that for me?”

¡Claro! – er, of course!”

“Thanks.” Yurak gave him a soft smile before turning back to face Sven. There were tears streaming down his pale cheeks and in that moment he looked so much like Shiro it actually hurt. Lance’s chest tightened and he felt the lump in his throat again but decided to leave them to their moment.

“Don’t you think this is a bit extreme? So what if he offended you? I said almost the same thing the first time we met!”

“That had been a different situation, Pidge. You did not say it with the same venom he used. Also, you are a chosen Paladin of Voltron, I could not just ‘kick you out’ as you put it.” Allura maintained her calm dismissive tone, having already made up her mind and refusing to be swayed from her decision.

“This just isn’t fair! You’re being a hypocrite. I say it and it’s no big deal, Yurak says it and he gets evicted? It’s bullshit Allura. You’re only doing this cause he’s Galra.”

“I am doing this because he has antagonized me from the moment he arrived on my ship, he has corrupted Keith into becoming even more violent and aggressive than he already was, he tortured two prisoners, insulted me to my face, and he refuses to show respect to anyone on this castle with the glaring exception of Keith. He does not even refer to you by name, merely by the colour of your lion. He has overstayed his welcome and must leave. My decision is final.”

“But Allura -” Hunk tried to stop her but she was gone, the door closing with finality behind her.

“I have already tried to speak with her Number 2. She takes after her father I’m afraid and he was notoriously stubborn. In fact I remember one time when we were stuck in the hurveild marshes, oh what a day that was. You see our travel partner, Lyffa, had suggested we go around the marsh but NOOO Alfor thought we could save time and surely make it across on foot. It wasn’t until - ”

“Uh Coran? No offense buddy but this isn’t a good time, I mean, like, I totally wanna hear about it cause it sounds super interesting and all, but like, maybe not right now ok?” Hunk tried to put on a sympathetic tone, but it was merely to ease the blow. He knew the paladins didn’t care much for his stories, and he knew he had a habit of rambling. It was one reason why he would sorely miss number 4’s counter part.

Yurak listened to his stories. He would let Coran drone on and on about the old days, he would ask questions, and even share his own stories. Sometimes they would speak in Altean together, though he knew the boy wasn’t fond of it. A small tear pricked at his eye and he felt a lump forming. He cleared his throat to mask it before speaking again.

“Right, well, another time perhaps.”

“Yea, yea another time for sure.” He liked Hunk quite a lot. The Human boy had a genuinely kind soul and even though Coran was no fool (he knew ‘another time’ would never come), he appreciated the consideration of his feelings. Hunk really was the perfect fit for the yellow lion.

“There has to be something we can do? This can’t just be it, can it?” For the first time since he had known her, the green paladin looked as though she had no clever solution. Maybe that was because there wasn’t one; there was nothing more they could do at this point. Allura’s mind had been made up and as much as it pained him, he would follow his Princess’ orders as he had once promised her father.

“I’m sorry Number 5. The only way to undo this is to change Princess Allura’s mind, but you would have an easier time trying to wrestle a Swargian Moon Rat.” He had to chuckle, the mental image of the tiny green paladin wrapped around one of those giant grey beasts was quite hilarious. Yurak would know what they were, he should recount this to him later and they could share a laugh at poor Number 5’s expense. The lump was back.

“There has to be another way, there has to be something we can do to reverse this.” Ahh there’s the green paladin he knows.

“Well short of a miracle, or perhaps time travel, I’m not so sure there is.” Alfor would have been able to talk to her, he would have been able to calm her down and bring her to her sensibilities. The worst part, he thought to himself, was that in a movement or two she will calm down enough to regret her decision but it will be too late to undo the damage. He wasn’t sure if her tenuous relationship with the black paladin would recover from this. Most likely not.

“So, good news and bad news. What do you want first?” His counter part had a wary look in his eyes, which could only mean one thing; he had spoken to the leader of the Blades.

“Both, let’s just get it over with.”

“K.” He paused to take a breath and glanced briefly over at Sven before continuing. “Kolivan says that if you are truly mates, it is not the Galra way to keep you apart. He said that he would never be that cruel. He also said ‘though the Human will not be permitted to become a member of the Blade of Marmora, he could accompany us on missions provided he has his own suit and weaponry’.” Keith used a mock authoritative voice so retell the leader’s words and it made Yurak chuckle. “So your Guns of Gamara gear then.”

“Ya, except you cut my gun in half back on the Altean ship remember?” Right, he had forgotten that Keith did that. Sven didn’t sound upset, just a little annoyed and Keith blushed and apologized.

“You can have mine babe. I wont need it.” Yurak smiled at his mate who nodded in response. “Ok so that’s the good I guess. What’s the bad news?”

“If you fail the trials you are not allowed to stay, and since Allura wont let you stay here -”

“We’ll be on our own.” Yurak finished for him.

“Yea, basically” Keith folded his arms and leaned back against the doorframe. “We can sneak you back on the castle-ship, Black will let you stay in her and you can use the training room and kitchens after everyone goes to sleep.”

“No offense Keith, but I hate that plan. If Allura wants me gone then I’ll leave. Sneaking back on without her knowledge would be incredibly disrespectful and I can’t do that.”

“Yea, I wouldn’t be able to do it either. I just don’t want you to have nowhere to go. I want to make sure you’re safe.” The concern in his twin’s eyes was heart warming to see.

“We’ll be fine. I’ll pass their test and join their ranks, and we’ll be able to work together to take down Zarkon. Once this war is over we can figure out the rest.” He had closed the distance between them and pulled Keith into a tight hug. Neither of them realized it was happening until they were wrapped in each other’s embrace.

“If you pass the trials I’m going to start my training with the Blades. My paladin duties come first, but at least we can train together still. I don’t want to lose you, we’ve gotten so close and I – I don’t know what I’ll do without you here. And I want to keep learning about my Galra heritage and Galra culture.”

“Yea your Galran is still kinda shit too.” He poked back in jest and they both laughed. “I’d like that though.”

“I’ve liked not being the only Human around.” They both turned to face Sven, seeing the pain on his face as clear as day. Humans really were incredibly expressive.

“I know and I’m sorry I got us into this mess. If we had just stayed in our own reality then none of this would have happened.”

“But I would be dead, and you never would have met Keith. No, this is how it was meant to play out from the beginning, I’m just sad it has to hurt so much.”

“Me too babe, me too.”


He wore his Guns of Garmara suit as he stood in the Lion’s hangar, staring up at the large yellow eyes so similar to his own. “Hey Shiro.” The lion didn’t move but Yurak swore he saw recognition in its eyes. “I’m so sorry. I promised you I’d look after him but – but I screwed up and now I have to leave him too. It’s not fair, I know it’s all my fault but it’s just not fair. He doesn’t deserve this.” Yurak dropped to his knees, a quiet sob threatening to break through. “I asked Lance to take over, to make sure she doesn’t break him but I don't know if he’ll be strong enough to stand up to her. I’m sorry. I’m so so sorry.” He repeated it over and over, head hanging in his claws as he fought back tears.

“Keith and Sven will be here shortly, I trust you already said your goodbyes?” He had heard the hangar door open and her light footsteps approach but he had not expected her to speak so – kindly?

Rising to his feet he wiped the tears off his purple cheeks before turning to face the Altean Princess. “Yea, it’s done.” Yurak tried but he couldn’t keep the defeated tone from his voice, there wasn’t really a point any more; she had already won.

“Good. I wish you luck with the Trails of Marmora, from what Shiro recounted of Keith’s test, they seem quite gruelling.”

“Uh, thanks, I guess.” She merely nodded back to him.

They stood in awkward silence for a bit, neither one daring to make eye contact. Saying goodbye to the paladins had sucked, but his farewell with Coran had been surprisingly hard. The Altean man had somehow become his best friend on the ship. Keith was as close to him as a brother but Coran was a friend, something he wasn't really used to having grown up as a soldier in a war. A friend who’s weird stories he was actually going to miss and the image of Green wrestling a Swargian Moon Rat popped back into his head forcing him to fight back a chuckle. Why was this so hard? He’d never had a hard time leaving before, so why was this so different?

“Whom had you been speaking to?” She finally broke the silence.


“Wha – Shiro?” Allura was genuinely surprised, eyebrows shooting higher than he would have thought possible.

“Yea, he spoke to me when we were in the black lion before. He asked me to look after Keith for him – but I guess I failed at that.” He hung his head again. She had a way of making the object of her gaze feel insignificantly small.

The Princess stared up at the lion, a whispered ‘Shiro’ on her lips.

Not much time passed, perhaps a dobash or two, before the rest of the castle’s residents filed into the hangar. Keith and Sven separated from the group; walking up to the black lion as it lowered it mighty head to grant access. Keith was in his paladin armor and Sven wore his Guns suit with Yurak’s blaster in the holster.

“It’s not much but we put together some stuff for you to take along; Shiro’s clothes for Sven and some of mine for you. I didn’t have a lot so it’s mostly just stuff I had picked up at the space mall.”

“Thanks. I appreciate it.” Keith nodded to him and walked up the ramp, disappearing inside his lion. He took a shaky breath and turned to the group, eyes landing on Coran. “Bye again, I’m really am gunna miss you.”

Yurak heard the crazy ginger explode into a fit of loud sobs as he made his way into the lion with Sven, hand in hand, fighting back his own tears.

Why did goodbyes have to be so hard?

Chapter Text

No one paid much attention to him, Sven turned a few heads, but mostly the eyes were on the black paladin. Some Blades greeted Keith as a guest, others greeted him as a returning member, and others yet simply ignored them. Keith didn’t seem bothered by it; he just marched his way through the base, the two Guns of Gamara following closely, until the three of them reached the Blade Leader’s office.

Since Yurak was not yet a Blade, he wasn’t permitted to enter alongside his twin. Instead he sat in the dimly lit hall with his mate, watching the various Blades walk around below. Kolivan’s office was alone on what was more of a loft really, overlooking the primary cafeteria on one side, and a series of training rooms on the other. Yurak watched as some members trained using their blades, and other trained using blasters. Their skills with blasters were decent, but his Sven could blow them out of the water.

“What?” Sven looked down at him with a confused expression and Yurak realized he must have been gushing.

“Just thinking how great you are.” He cooed and watched a significant blush take over his mate’s handsome face as he gave a nervous chuckle.

“Is this your mate?” The voice was rough, pulling him from the liquid steel eyes he had been drowning in.

“Yes.” Yurak curtly replied, suddenly on edge. In his reality there was no shame in having a mate from another species, the Galra were small in numbers thanks to the Alteans, but from what Coran had told him it appeared that was not the case here. The Galra Empire frowned upon half-breeds, and those who chose mates that were not Galra were treated with disdain (the mate was treated even worse). Though he realized the Blade of Marmora would be different, they had accepted Keith into their ranks after all; he could not shake off the concern for his mate so easily.

The Blade raised his hands in surrender. “I mean no harm, merely curious. I didn’t know the Black Paladin of Voltron had chosen a Galra mate.”

“I am not Shiro.” Sven spoke kindly with his singsong voice as he rose to his feet, looking the Blade in the eyes and outstretching his arm in greeting. They clasped forearms and he continued, “My name is Sven and this is Yurak.”

“Welcome, I am Regris. Will you be staying with us? Mates are welcome, though all who reside on the bases are put to use. Since you are not Galra you will most likely be asked to serve in the kitchens or the medical wards. Do you have any training in those fields?” He tilted his head to the side curiously as he regarded the Human.

“Uh no I have no medical training and I uh, I – I am actually a terrible cook.” Sven sounded mildly dismayed at the reveal and Yurak snorted. He remembered fondly the last time his mate tried to cook for him; it had been a disaster. How one could burn something as simple as soup was mind-boggling. But leave it to Sven to turn a broth soup into a blackened sludge.

Regris seemed to pick up on this and a small smirk lifted the corner of his lips. “I see. What skills do you have?”

“Sven is highly skilled with blasters. His aim is impeccable.” Yurak boasted. Any opportunity he had to show off his mate was one he would jump at.

“Is that so? Perhaps we should go to the training deck and see what a Human can do. I assume you are the same species as the paladins, correct?”

“Regris.” A cold but neutral voice called out. It was full of authority and commanded attention. Kolivan. He thought as he turned to see the large figure standing in the doorway. Though his mask was not activated it made little difference, the leader of the Blade of Marmora’s face was utterly unreadable. Was he filled with joy? Dying on the inside? Bursting with rage? There was no way to tell. It reminded Yurak so much of his mother, she was incredibly stoic and rigid as well. He missed her greatly.

“Leader. You requested my presence?” Regris stood to his full height, towering over Yurak and showing the utmost respect for his leader. It reminded him of the respect they all showed to Frythyl, the leader of the Guns of Gamara. She was well respected and very honorable, but not nearly as stoic or intimating as this Kolivan – then again Frythyl was not Galra.

The Guns was made up of many species, his base had been mostly Galra but that was a rarity. It would be nice to work with so many Galra, to be lead into battle by his own kind; it almost made him giddy. Having the surroundings designed for his senses was a huge relief. It wasn’t too bright like the Altean Castle, or too cold like some their bases, but most importantly – he could smell the meat in the cafeteria. Meat! It was going to be nice to not have to eat that terrible green plant based goo the Alteans tried to pass off as ‘food’. Yellow was a decent cook - but there’s only so much you can do without proper meat. The Galra were omnivores but they had a strong preference to meat and could service on it alone if necessary. 

“I did. The trials will commence first thing next quintant.”

“Sir, what preparations are in order?”

“Escort our potential new recruit and his mate to the guest quarters and ensure adequate nutrition. You are to remain in their presence until after the completion of his trials.” Kolivan turned to face Yurak, “Pass, and you will be granted full access to the base as well as membership into The Blade of Marmora. Fail but survive, and you will be asked to leave immediately.”

Yurak gave a single nod and grunt of approval. The ‘survive’ was not lost on him, that was the Galra way, ‘Victory or Death’ had always been his people’s Motto and that had not changed between realities. Though the Blades had modified it to ‘Knowledge or Death’, the connotation was the same. If he died during the trials, Sven would be allowed back on the Castle of Lions there was no doubt about that. If he passed, they had a new home here with the Blades. Failure wasn’t an option; it never was.

He passed. Yurak was now a welcome member of the Blade of Marmora and it was bitter sweet. He had been given an un-awakened blade for the trials, it had been cold and lifeless, a dark metal that lacked the glow of Keith’s dagger. But when the trials were over he had managed to awaken it and the sigil now glowed a brilliant purple, imbued with his life force; he could feel the heat of it in his hand. This blade was now a part of him and it was unlike any weapon he had ever held.

Sven had unceremoniously tackled him after his success was announced and it made some of the Blades snicker. He didn’t care, he was exhausted and collapsing into his mate’s arms was the only thing he wanted. They would make this home, it would work out; it had to.

Keith walked with Regris back to the cafeteria after having left Yurak in the medical ward to be checked over. During his own trials he had received a nasty gash to his right shoulder, one that left quite the scar and his twin was just as unlucky. Keith had been stubborn and refused the pods when he and Shiro returned in Red, opting instead to bandage his wounds himself. The Galra didn’t have healing pods like the Alteans did, so Yurak’s injury would scar as well.

His twin had taken a slice to the back, and nearly toppled from it. Instead he used his own blood to make his opponent slip and fall; it was quite impressive if not a little gross. Standing in the observation deck Keith had been able to hear the commentary from the others. Some comments were in awe of Yurak’s movements, how fluidly he could move and the grace with which he struck. Other comments about his size and lead to debates between whether he was still quite young, a runt, or a half-breed; most settled on half-breed.

Yurak’s mental trial had been for him to accept that he was trapped in this reality. They all got to watch as the war played out with a different ending. Watch as the Alteans destroy the Galra and hunted them down one by one, the horrors of the hoktril, and the resurgence of the Galran race as they fought back. They watched Yurak as a member of the Guns of Gamara save the paladins and make the choice to hide in Red, trusting in Alteans to save his mate. And finally they watched as Yurak refused to suppress his Galra traits and mannerisms, leading to him being kicked off the Castle of Lions by a hate filled Allura. He was forced to acknowledge his own faults and the realization that his treatment of Allura wasn’t much different from her treatment of him. He had accepted it in the end, accepting that he would never see his mother again, never return to his own reality, and that Sven was all he had left.

Though they tried to hide it, Keith heard a few sniffles from younger Blades and felt his own heart being ripped apart. He knew how it felt to have no family and no friends, to be utterly alone except for one person. And while Keith and Shiro’s relationship wasn’t nearly the same as Yurak and Sven’s, it didn’t stop it from being any less true that they were just destined to be important parts of each other’s lives.

Keith had found the family he never had in Shiro, while Yurak had found love in Sven. And now they had both found a place amongst the Blades.

Watching his boyfriend fight at such a high intensity for hours on end had really worn on his nerves. He had stood beside Keith in the observation deck and felt the boy tense up several times. The fact that Keith had already passed the trials was a small comfort to him; it meant that Yurak was capable of passing as well, at the least the physical portion.

Physically the twins were an almost perfect match for each other, with only their differences in training or weaponry giving either one an advantage over the other. Mentally though, that was a whole different ball game. Keith was strong and mentally hard, he had suffered his entire life and it showed. Yurak was much more open and laid-back, though he had suffered great loss; it was never directly personal. The loss of your people and culture during a war is very different from being bounced around through foster care, neglected and abandoned by those who were supposed to take care of you. Both twins had been hurt, and both were strong and resilient in their own way. They were equally Galra and equally Human.

But he had passed. Yurak had pulled through and passed the trials. Now that Sven was allowed to see him it was taking every ounce of self-control in him to not just charge and tackle his boyfriend into a massive bear hug.

Sven was a weak man. He lay on top of Yurak as his boyfriend laughed and melted into him. He didn’t care that there was an entire base of highly skilled Galra watching him and he certainly didn’t care that he was acting like a lovesick idiot because that’s exactly what he was. He was so in love with this boy and so proud of him that his heart was about to burst. Some of the Blades were snickering and making little comments here and there and Sven was pretty sure he heard Keith groan something about PDA and getting a room.

Get a room they did, but not in the fun way – not yet. Now that Yurak was officially a member of the Blade of Marmora they got to have an actual room on the base. It was far nicer than the guest room, larger and more homely. It was setup like a hotel suite with a small lounging area as you walk in the door, a bathroom complete with toilet, sink, and small shower to your right, a large storage closet immediate across from it on the left and a door that led to the sleeping quarters at the back. It wasn’t much but it was their new home and they would make it nice.

His boyfriend was still in the medical ward. Keith, himself, and the Blade named Regris had been asked to leave for the time being. Keith and Regris went off together but he had decided to get their room ready so that Yurak could sleep well that night.

That was how he found himself in his current situation. Sven had just finished putting away the bag of clothing that Keith had given them, hanging things in the closet and folding others into drawers, when there had been a knock at the door.

The Galra standing before him had his mask up and at first he thought it was Regris, but the tail was slightly different. Said tail swished in irritation behind the Blade, clearly waiting for acknowledgement.

“Hello, can I help you?” He asked as politely as possible, though worry was building in the back of his mind.

“You’re a Human like the paladins correct?” Not-Regris asked.

“Ya.” He replied, maintaining his positive tone and smile.

“I watched your mate’s trials. I saw that you are skilled with a blaster. Perhaps you should train with us? Kolivan has it in mind that you will be useful on missions and we should become familiar with your fight style.” He was blunt, but most Galra were. That was something Sven had learned about them a long time ago. He also learned that an invitation to spar was a grand gesture of welcome and it would be perceived as a great insult to decline.

“That would be wonderful.” He agreed without hesitation.  The Galra gave a nod and grunt before stepping to the side. “Oh, right now?”

“Is this not a good time?” The hint of insult was floating between them; one wrong move and Sven could do irreparable damage to his reputation and any potential friendship with this Galra.

“No, no now is as good a time as any. I simply wished to check on my mate once more.” He didn’t hate the word mate, he understood the importance of its meaning to the Galra, but it just felt so … alien to him. Although he supposed that being the lone Human on base made him the alien.

“A reasonable request.” Not-Regris agreed. “Do you know the way or do you wish for an escort?”

“If you escort me then we can head for the training deck immediately afterwards.” His words were met with a beam of joy. Years spent living with Yurak had helped him understand the Galra and their social interactions in a way that would be incredibly beneficial here. Potential social crisis averted.

“I am Sven.” He extended his arm.

“Welcome Sven, I am Sergin.” Sergin clasped his forearm and they proceeded towards the medical ward.

“What is your roll in the Blades?” He asked trying to make small talk.

“I am a medic.” Sergin shot him a dangerous glare when he snickered.

“I’m sorry! It’s not what you think. On Earth, the planet Humans are from, there is a specific type of medic that is called a Surgeon. The position title sounds incredibly similar to your name and it is very fitting.” He struggled to calm the offended Galra, not wanting to make an enemy of him. The hesitant smile put him more at ease.

“I see, quite fitting indeed.”

As it turned out, Sergin was incredibly easy to talk to. He was friendly and took most things in stride. There was something comfortable about his presence and Sven found he greatly enjoyed the company. They had made it to the medical ward in record time, only to find that Yurak on lying on his stomach fast asleep from heavy medication. The wound on his back looked much worse now that the suit was no longer covering the majority of it. The edges were a clean cut from the sharp blade, however it was very deep and hours of sweat and rubbing clothing had irritated it more than necessary. The medics had already stitched it closed and were placing glowing purple patches over the fresh stitches that would speed up the healing process.

He sat on a stool beside the hospital bed lacing their fingers in one hand and stroking the hair on his boyfriend’s head with the other. One of the medics gave a soft cooing sound as a sleeping Yurak began to purr. She smiled at him as she worked, taking the chance to glance up from the corner of her every so often. Sven didn’t mind her watching him, it wasn’t hostile in any way, instead it felt like she was admiring his devotion. He knew how important the roll of ‘mate’ was in Galra culture and how seriously they took the bond. It was the only reason he was permitted to stay at their base, and the only reason the medic was tolerating his presence as she worked.

Sven looked out the large window of the medical ward and saw Sergin, Regris, and Keith talking away. The half Galra looked so small standing next to the others, and though he was the same stature as Yurak, he looked far more of place.

Galra walked by the windows, glancing in as they passed. Most stared with long faces at their injured comrades, while others stared at him. He was used to it, most people in this reality had never seen a Human before, and back in his own reality people would mistake him for Altean until they looked closer. Stares were something he barely registered anymore.

“They watch you.” Her voice was softer than he expected. Looking up Sven met her golden eyes, pupil-less like so many other Galra, and saw that she was smiling.

“Ya, I am used to it.” He smiled back, though his worry over Yurak kept it from fully reaching his eyes. She hummed in response and continued her work.

After several more minutes the medics began tidying up. “He will wake in approximately 5 vargas if you wish to return at that time.” That was his cue to leave. Sven nodded and planted a gentle kiss in soft dark purple-y black hair before rising to his feet and leaving his sleeping partner’s side.

He had woken sooner than expected. The medics nearly jumped out of their skin when they heard him speak and one was still clutching her chest, hissing at him if he looked her way.

“Mate joined your twin brother and two Blades on training decks.” A kind voiced woman told him. “Healed well but will scar. Free to go now. Not allowed any training or physical activity for 3 quintants. Understand?”

Yurak nodded and gave a half whine half grunt. He understood, he just didn’t like it. She smiled warmly at him and he realized the suit from the trials had been removed leaving him naked with only a light blanket providing cover. He was about to cleared his throat for attention and ask for something to wear when he spotted a neatly folded pair of leggings on the stool beside him.

“Wear those. Not allowed top today. Removing patches tomorrow then you can wear shirt.” He nodded again and got dressed.

“No training! Stitches will open. Understand?” He rolled his eyes but nodded once again and she seemed to accept it this time. “Mate speaks Galran?” She asked, and Yurak had a vague sense that Sven had been there, the ghost of soft lips pressed to his head and he felt himself smile at the half memory.

“Yes, I taught him.”

“Wise choice. Translators in suits but easier to just understand.” He couldn’t agree more. He had taught Sven Galran incase their systems were ever damaged. Not a soul in the universe spoke his Earth languages, so it was important for him to have a backup language to speak. With Yurak being Galra it only made sense for that language to be Galran.

It suddenly struck him that her words perfectly matched the movement of her mouth and throat. He had become so accustomed to the words of the others on the Castle of Lions being translated that the lack of synchronization didn’t even faze him anymore. The Blade’s base was already starting to feel familiar to him, providing comfort in being surrounded by his own people, his native tongue, and things that were designed for his senses. The clothing provided was soft against his skin and for the first time since they came to this reality, he didn’t have a dull headache from the too-bright lights. Yurak felt better than he had in a while and suddenly felt a surge of joy take over him.

Walking into the training deck was a shock. It took several ticks to process the scene before him. There were two groups of Galra lying on the floor, collapsed from exhaustion, while Sven and Keith sat off to the side drinking refreshment pouches. Regris was sitting with them, as was a Blade he had never met before, and they were laughing as they chatted away. Keith appeared a little worse for wear but Sven was glowing with accomplishment.

“Ahh your mate.” The unknown Galra spoke to Sven as the Human’s eyes widened into dinner plates.

“What are you doing awake? They said you would be asleep for at least another few hours!” Yurak had to duck and weave to avoid to the bear hug he knew would hurt like crazy.

“Yea, half-breeds take medication differently. Sometimes it knocks us out longer, other times we metabolize it faster.” He let out an incredibly undignified shriek when the abruptly loud yell of victory sounded behind him. A large, and rather intimidating Galra, was collect GAC from the surrounding Blades; having clearly won some sort of bet.

He turned to face Keith and the words from the medic came back to him. ‘Your twin brother’ she had said. “Think we are twins.” The Galran words flowed easily as he switched away from English.

Keith nodded to him. “Blood work while sleeping. Found familial connections. Me: from sample taken after my trials, and shared mother. She is member of Blades.” Yurak’s jaw dropped to the training room floor. His mother was a member of this rebel group? Of COURSE she was, leave it to Krolia to find herself in a Galra rebel group regardless of which reality they were in.

He realized that he and Keith hadn’t spoken about her yet and wondered if she was here on the base. Would Keith get to meet her too? He must have noticed the thought cross Yurak’s mind since he chose that moment to speak again.

“Deep cover mission. Not on base so we can’t meet her.” To anyone else he would sound indifferent, but Yurak knew Keith better than that. He could hear the subtle sadness in his counterpart’s voice and he could see the disappointment in his eyes. Yurak felt it too, for a fraction of a tick he had the glimmer of hope that he would see his mother again, but it was too good to be true.

“We are here forever now; you will see her when her mission is completed.” Sven’s warm smile and constant optimism was the reassurance he needed. “Keith, how long will you be staying?” oh right. Keith had his paladin duties and would need to get back to the Castle of Lions.

“When Yurak is healed I’ll go. If Voltron needs me sooner, they can call and the black lion and I will meet up with them. But I want to stay for a while and begin my Blade training while I’m here.”

“You’ll come back to the base for training again right?” Yurak couldn’t keep the slight panic from his voice; he wanted his twin to come back so badly.

“Of course. Maybe next time I’ll bring Lance and we can stay longer.”

“Hard to be away from your mate.” Regris’ matter-of-fact tone and use of the word ‘mate’ made Keith sputter and choke on his pouch.

“We aren’t mates.” He protested. “We’re just – I don’t know – together I guess. But it hasn’t been long enough to call us ‘mates’ yet.” The pink blush on his cheeks betrayed him and Yurak made a mental note to tease him for this later. They would have a bit of time yet before Keith left and he was going to make the most of it.

“Sergin.” The other Galra abruptly changed the topic, much to Keith’s relief, thrusting his arm out in greeting. Yurak clasped the outstretched forearm and replied with his own name receiving a nod of acknowledgement.

“Mate is talented with blasters.” Sergin’s eyes roamed the room and suddenly it became clear. He had been right; his Sven was a far superior shot than the Blades. Pride poured from him, enveloping him in a warm cocoon and causing his entire being to glow. Sven seemed to melt at the sight, while Keith and Regris made gagging sounds, and Sergin beamed at him.

“Yes, he is. Proud to be his mate.”

Chapter Text

It had been uncharacteristically quiet lately. No bickering, no yelling, no name calling, but what stood out the most was no laughing. The paladins glided mindlessly through their daily routines, Lance worst of all. She had watched him miss shots he could easily make with his eyes closed, the training droid sending him to his quarters bruised and beaten nightly.

A whole movement had passed since the black lion had departed for the Blade of Marmora’s headquarters. While there was no doubt that if needed they could call on their black paladin and he would come, it did not change the heavy weight his absence had left. What is just his absence? Her unhelpful subconscious supplied. While she had expected the paladins to take Yurak’s departure with heavy hearts, she did not foresee the toll it would take on her dear friend and advisor.

Coran’s usual cheerful disposition had been replaced with a glum expression, one that hinted at the loss of a close friend. Allura tried to push it from her mind but found that she could not. Perhaps she had made a mistake, acted too rashly in her anger, and held too tightly through her pride. Coran had tried to reason with her, tried to give her the opportunity to change her mind. ‘Offer forgiveness and patience’ but at the time she had only seen it as weakness. How she wished she could go back, undo what had been done. But it was too late; she would need to live with her decision, as would everyone else.

She just hoped they wouldn’t hate her for it. That he wouldn’t hate her for it.

God he missed Lance. He’d been separated from the paladins for longer than this before so why now was it so damn hard. All he could think about was Lance and his stupid soft hair, and his crystal blue eyes, and that annoyingly hot smirk he got when he knew he was pushing Keith’s buttons.

They had walked into the cafeteria for a quick breakfast and as he passed the fruit table a soft fresh scent wafted in his direction. He spun around and, for a fleeting moment, his eyes searched for a sexy Cuban boy only to be met with a universe of disappointment.

A pit was forming in his stomach now, and he pushed his plate away, no longer hungry. Regris sat across from him and shoved it back.

“Eat paladin. Training takes energy.” He scolded but Keith merely rolled his eyes and groaned as he dropped his forehead to the table, producing a loud bang that echoed in the cavernous room. “Missing your mate.”

It wasn’t a question as much as a statement of the obvious. He had thought he was hiding it well but apparently not. Rolling his head from side to side, he groaned a bit more and Yurak laughed. Traitor. The paladins weren’t going into battle anytime soon, and Allura could wormhole him to her in a pinch, which is why he had chosen to stay at the base a little longer than initially planned.

His training was going well and the growing connections with his fellow Blades were easy, so much smoother than it had been trying to connect to the cadets back at the Garrison. He briefly wondered if it was just easier for him to connect to the Galra than Humans. Most likely, the culture lined up better with his own passions. Maybe that was why there had been a shift in his behavior after Yurak’s arrival. He had noticed Galra instincts and physical changes bubbling to the surface after activating his blade, but once Yurak arrived it was like a cultural shift had taken place. He had really liked it, the changes feeling more natural to him. Without Yurak’s intervention how long would it have taken for him to pluck up the courage to make a move on Lance? He probably never would have if he were being honest with himself.

Keith sighed and lifted his head from the table, the red mark now boldly glowing on his forehead eliciting a loud snort from Regris and he glared at his new friend. Regris didn’t seem bothered, simply shrugging his shoulders as he shoveled more strange food into his mouth.

After – (wait, how long had they been paladins now?) – this long Keith really shouldn’t have been surprised by the strange colours and textures of the alien foods. Honestly what had he been expecting? Bacon and eggs? Maybe some home fries and thick cut toast with strawberry jam? Coffee too. Ugh he would kill for a hot cup of coffee right now. His stomach rumbled, betraying him to the others at the table, and Yurak (a traitorous traitor if ever a traitor existed) shoved a piece of sweet dough in his mouth.

“Eat brother. Mate will have our heads if you starve to death. Not under my attention.” Keith did his best to appear intimating while soggy, honey soaked bread dripped on his chin. He shot dangerous glares to Regris, Sergin, and Yurak when they snorted, vowing to make them pay for this slight in the training rooms.

He wasn’t as strong as a pure Galra, but he was fast. Faster and more nimble due to his smaller frame and lean build. He used this to his advantage against larger opponents, easily slipping past their defenses. Yurak was impossible to do this with; they were evenly matched physically, the movements of one perfectly mirrored by the movements of the other, almost like a dance. Their hand-to-hand sparring matches would go on for hours with neither gaining the upper hand. Groups of Blades would start to gather at the edge of the training room walls, watching and critiquing their every move. Eventually one of them would slip up, and the other would take the victory.

Keith’s training with swords and bladed weapons was substantial. His luxite blade was a unique weapon that reacted differently in his grip than the Bayard, but it was an easy adjustment for a (almost) master swordsman. Lance would call him a master, but Keith still felt he had a long way to go before he earned that title.

Yurak had little to no experience with blades, having trained primarily using guns and blasters. Weapon training was one of the few areas in which Keith had a distinct advantage on his twin. Yurak was excellent shot, but his swordsmanship needed a lot of work. It seemed to come naturally to him, learning the proper footing within a day or two and managing to keep his balance as he swung. His movements became more graceful and fluid, almost instinctual; mimicking Keith’s style gave the best results.

Keith swallowed the mouth full of soggy bread and wiped the sweet sauce from his chin. His hearing, eyesight, and reflexes had improved since activating his blade, yet due to his more Human physique he was not at the same level as his twin. This was why Yurak’s sudden growl startled him. He had heard the other Blades sit at a table near them, but he couldn’t make out what they were saying; Yurak could. Looking up he noticed both Regris and Sergin had stiffened and he trained his hearing on the conversation behind him.

He struggled, picking up a word or two, but one that seemed to garner the most response from the Galra at his table was the word ‘grekkin’. Yurak hadn’t taught him that one, and it hadn’t been programmed into the translators, which meant that it most likely was some sort of slur. He looked up to meet Regris’ eyes and noticed that they darted between Yurak and Sven each time the word was used. So it was a slur.

Keith was about to say something, ask what it meant perhaps, when Yurak burst from his seat. His twin pulled a move no pure Galra could manage. Using his slight frame to flip in mid air and land on the table behind them, dropping into a crouch that placed him at eye level with the offender. Regris and Sergin both gasped at the display, and Yurak growled menacingly mere inches away from the substantially larger Galra’s face. His claws dug into the Blade’s shoulders as he put his weight into leaning the other back. He held him far enough over the edge of his seat that his center of balance was lost and only Yurak’s grip held him up.

His friend rose and moved to attack Yurak but Keith had already noticed his body tense with intention. Keith spun in mid air as he jumped into a standing position, allowing himself to face the threat. He could feel his eyes narrow, the slightly too dim lights becoming brighter as they changed. He knew the rules, no pulling weapons on your fellow Blades, so he steadied his hands and dropped into a fighting stance. His left foot was behind him on the edge of the table, while his right foot was steady on the bench, he could use this position to push himself into his opponent with added force.

At some point in the commotion he had started to growl as well. Letting out a low warning to the potential threat as they locked eyes. There was no way Keith would back down, especially when he knew he would win. And he would, he didn’t appear like much of a physical threat but he was. Keith was much stronger than he looked and substantially more agile than others gave him credit for; when coupled with his skills and intense training, it made him quite the formidable opponent. The other Blade seemed to register this and backed down, returning to his seat but never breaking eye contact. He wasn’t admitting defeat, merely acknowledging a worthy adversary.

Regris and Sergin had moved to either side of the Blade, backing up Yurak. The larger Galra snarled at them but his twin dug his claws deeper, drawing out a yelp of pain. Keith looked around the once deserted cafeteria to find a large (alarmingly so) crowd had started to gather. He wondered if they would get in trouble from Kolivan for this. Allura would loose her mind if this were the Castle of Lions.

As he scanned the crowd he noticed the familiar red markings and telltale braid of the Blade’s leader. He was seated at a table off to the side, watching the exchange with a passive expression. Beside him was the behemoth of a Galra that had tackled him the first time he ever came to this base. Back when he and Shiro had arrived in the red lion to form an alliance. Antok was his name; he was Kolivan’s right hand and the primary training instructor on the base.

The two sat at their table, one eye fixed on the situation, but not fully giving their attention. Keith took it to mean they were free to proceed and dropped his stance, jumping down from the bench as he crossed the distance to his twin.

He met Yurak’s gaze and received a curt nod before grasping tightly to the offender’s head fur and yanking him down.

“Yessek! Apologize to Yurak and mate.” Regris was furious, he glared at Yessek with bared teeth but before anyone could say a word Yurak interrupted.”

“SVEN.” He shouted. “Mate’s name is Sven.”

“Grekkin” Yessek hissed back and though he didn’t understand what it meant, Keith tightened his grip and yanked, hard. Yessek’s head jerked back and he snarled at Keith who laughed in return. The man was still partially seated on the bench while his upper body was pulled back beyond his natural limits, holding him in a painful bend.

Sven seemed to get the hint; let his Galra boyfriend deal with the Galra social threat and breach of etiquette. He remained seated, continuing to eat his breakfast as though nothing were happening. It was only when Yurak’s claws wrapped around Yessek’s throat that Sven stood.

“Enough.” He spoke in Galran. All heads snapped in his direction. “Offended by words, but not surprised. Defector from Empire I assume? Raised to feel superior.” Though he continued in Galran, it was soft, the words taking on a much kinder tone coming from his Human vocal cords and compassionate voice. He smiled at Yessek; bending down to meet his eyes and plant a small kiss to his forehead. “Forgiven. Not happening again or I will not intervene.” It was a threat, that much was clear. It spoke to the fact that only Sven was able to hold back Yurak’s ferocity.

The Blades around them were whispering to each other as Yessek nodded his head. A difficult, and painful, move considering the grip Keith still had on his fur. Releasing him, Keith stepped back and Yurak jumped down from the table, feigning a lunge as he hissed. It made Yessek flinch, if only briefly.

The morning had been quiet, another typical day at the base. He’d heard grumblings from some of their order regarding letting the Human stay with them, but nothing much had come from it. All Galra understood the strength of a mate’s bond and most would never be so cruel as to force a separation. Yurak would be no good to them if he were emotionally crippled by loss.

The new recruit had fire; he had seen the same fire in the paladin during his trials. Though he’d had reservations about allowing the Human free range of the base, it was proving a wise decision. It seemed the only person truly capable of walking into the inferno of Yurak’s presence without getting burned was his mate.

Kolivan watched the exchange as it escalated. The boy was agile and quick, like his counterpart, but also viscous and far more aggressive. Keith had been tamed by his life amongst the Humans; Yurak had been raised in war. The difference showed. The fire that drove Keith smoldered below the surface, ready to ignite when fueled. When released, he burned with the same intensity as his brother, an unstoppable force that consumed all in its wake, raging until satisfied. Unquenchable.

Yurak’s fire was always lit, it sparked behind his eyes, and flared at his will. Ready, waiting, craving to be set free. He had been raised to be fearless, and in his short time at their base he had already gained the respect of many. This display would do little to change that, if anything it would serve to bring him more supporters.

Weakness and cowardice were traits the Galra despised, and both were far from anything one could use to describe either of the half-breed twins.

Chapter Text

They had been in the training room for VARGAS! He was panting trying to catch his breath and only just managed to see the slim figure in his peripherals before the swift blow followed. It knocked him back and this time he didn’t bother trying to get up. The half-breed danced around him, bouncing lithely about with far too much energy for someone who had just taken on a room full of opponents.

“Nap time?” The little demon teased as Regris groaned on the mat. Honestly he barely had the energy to roll over towards the edge where the others were recovering. Sergin tossed him a hydration pouch and he watched as it landed on the floor beside him, he couldn’t be bothered to move his arm and pick it up. You didn’t need hydration if you were dead anyways.

Keith had sparred with all of them, one by one, a total of 7 opponents. Though he had taken the most hits, he wore each partner to exhaustion, leaving himself the sole Blade standing. Except the little half-breed wasn’t standing, he was bouncing on his feet, still in a fighting stance. Regris groaned again as his head fell back to the mat. Where did he get this energy?

“Test your … endurance levels … half-breed. Less fazed … by continued exertion … than the rest … of us.” Marra managed to say, her chest heaving up and down with her heavily beating heart.

“Humans are endurance fighters.” All heads that had the energy turned to acknowledge Sven as he entered but all Regris could muster was a grunt. He could smell it was the Human, so there was no need to waste valuable energy rolling his head. In fact, they could ALL smell the Human. Regris felt himself blush a little.

“Hey man, where’s Yurak?” Keith’s innocent question, spoken in his native language, was met with a deep blush from Sven that made Marra, Sergin, and Vrek burst out laughing.

“Ugh, he’s sleeping. He’s pretty – tired.” No doubt. And that thought broke Regris. Joining them in their chorus of laughter as the poor Human’s blush deepened to a dark crimson. Regris sputtered even louder as he watched the meaning of Sven’s words slowly dawn on Keith, his face flushing in response.

Sparing them all further embarrassment, Marra spoke up. “Endurance fighters? Meaning what?” She asked with her head cocked to the side.

“A long time ago, ancient Humans hunted by running their prey to exhaustion.” Though he knew Galran, Sven chose to continue speaking in Ingish (or whatever that Earth language was called.) “Humans aren’t very fast, but our bodies are designed to endure sustained exertion, it just comes at a lower ‘setting’ so to speak. We can maintain a steady pace for long periods of time, and self-regulate our body temperatures using sweat. That’s why Keith is dripping and you aren’t.”

“Gross body function.” Sergin chuckled as he crinkled his nose at Keith who merely shrugged and shook his head violently, sending beads of salty liquid splashing against them. Marra and Sergin hissed, scrambling away from him as he laughed. Regris didn’t bother moving, he was still too exhausted to even try.

“Keith … fast.” He struggled to get the words out through his heavy breathing.

“Ya. Keith is fast, faster than the average Human and that’s because he is part Galra. The Galra are fast and agile, designed for quick and powerful strikes to take down enemies or prey with strength and speed before they have a chance to get away. Keith and Yurak are Human AND Galra. They can move with fast, furious attacks but are able to sustain those attacks as well. It’s why you can over power him and beat him quickly, but if the match goes on longer your chances of winning drastically decrease. You tire substantially faster than the twins do.”

“Ugh cheating.” Regris complained to no one in particular. Sven passed him the hydration pouch and he desperately drank it down. Bless him; this Human was now his new favourite person.

“Yurak and I aren’t as strong as pure Galra, only a little stronger than a Human to be honest.” Keith folded his arms across his chest as he spoke. He did that a lot Regris noted. They both did. It was incredibly weird to think of them as being technically the same person.

“Still think testing is good idea. Pushing limits to see what you can do. Compare to pure Galra and to pure Human.” Marra smiled at Sven who nodded and agreed to help another day, after everyone was well rested. Reluctantly she had agreed in the name of clean results and her first true love; science.

Marra was small, not quite as small as the twins but still smaller than the average Galra, and slight of frame. She was one of the rare Galra whose head fur contained multiple pigmentations, and like Yurak; she had markings that were a deeper shade than the rest of her skin. She also had a very obvious crush on Keith.

It was pretty funny to be honest. Since Keith and his partner were not yet a mated pair, he was still ‘available’ by Galra standards. Marra had made her intentions quite clear, though he was oblivious. Regris and the others thoroughly enjoyed watching her blatantly flirt with the paladin as he took her in absolute seriousness. Kolivan had stopped by the training room earlier and watched the sparring for a few dobashes before moving on. Regris didn’t miss the twinge of a smirk on their leader’s lips when Keith pinned her and she proceeded to bat her lashes and lick one of her fangs in a seductive manner as he stared blankly down at her. It was all Regris and Sergin could do to hold in the laughter.

Some instincts he seemed to just get, like his subconscious was processing the information and he just innately understood. Other things baffled him and it was hilarious to figure out which reaction you would receive. Their group had started taking bets.

In one of their sparring sessions from this past movement, Yurak had managed to pin Keith and teasingly flicked the tip of his ear.  It had resulted in a loud hiss from the paladin, startling everyone in the room; including Keith whose strange white eyes flew open wider than usual. He mentioned that he’d done it before, but never without thinking, never as a purely instinctual response.

It was interesting watching him. He was kind but closed off, talented and skilled but lacking in restraint, and instinct driven even when it took him by surprise. The harder he pushed himself, the more his instincts took over. Regris knew most Blades saw Yurak as Galra and Keith as Human, even though he’s equally as Galra as his brother.

The encounter at breakfast only severed to prove that fact, Keith IS Galra; he may not look it but he is. The changing of his eyes and the sharpening of his teeth in the cafeteria stood as a stark reminder, as did his growling.

Regris hadn’t expected that, it took him by surprise and some of the others commented on it. There had been a mix of support there that morning. At the beginning most sided against the twins, new comers to the Blades who were only half-breeds getting into fights during downtime. However by the end, almost everyone present had been swayed to their side. BOTH of the twins displayed a ferocity of which the Galra greatly respect, neither backing down from the threat. Though it was clear Keith didn’t understand the vulgar word used, he clearly did understand the meaning behind it.

The impressive display of agility and acrobatics from both definitely helped. Skills like that were incredibly rare and very … well, impressive! Regris was impressed! There was no other way to describe it. The half-breeds were small but intense; they were also incredibly loyal and, as it turned out, a lot of fun.

Keith had a keen sense of adventure. He’d been caught sneaking around and exploring the base after lights out a few times already. One night, Antok had picked him up by his collar and carried him back to his quarters as he squirmed. Another night he found himself trapped in the laundry room until morning when the time locks turned on. Having the paladin on base was like having a young child around, one that was a trained fighter and skilled swordsman, but no less curious and accident prone. The amount of trouble that boy could dredge up was surprising.

Yurak on the other hand had a pension for causing trouble. While Keith stumbled into by accident, Yurak was usually the instigator or the root cause. He had bonded really well with Vrek, Tebbit, Zavin, and himself. They had welcomed the half-breed into their group with open arms when he played an admittedly hilarious prank on Zavin. The now 5 of them were already planning their next prank. Yurak was easy to get along with, he laughed and joked around with them and, while he had a devious streak, his jokes and teasing was good-natured. He was a lot of fun.

Sven was Human. He seemed nice enough, and he was friendly with a warm smile, but he was Human. Regris liked Sven, he really did, but it was hard to really connect with him due to cultural differences. Sergin had a lot in common with him and their personalities matched up really well. He had gotten the closest, the two of them started spending more and more time together and were well on their way to becoming ‘besties’ as Keith had condescendingly called it. He could tell it was some kind of Earth slang for close friends so their group adopted it as a gang name. The five of them were now called ‘the besties’ and Sven would snicker at it. But they didn’t care – it was cool to have a team name in a different language.

When he woke up he realized that Sven had left. A little disappointed at that, he reached over to check the time and nearly leapt out of his skin. Somehow he had managed to sleep for 3 vargas. Quickly rolling out of bed he rushed to the shower to clean himself off and get dressed before heading to the cafeteria for some lunch. He hadn’t actually gotten to eat his entire breakfast before those assholes showed up. If he came across Yessek again – well he didn’t know what he would do but it would be swift and it would hurt.

The doors to the cafeteria were still locked. He looked at the sign to see when lunch was served and found he still had another varga to wait so instead he made his way to the training rooms. That was where he was most likely to find Keith any ways.

He walked the halls alone, the occasional yawn breaking the silence, until he heard voices around the corner. They were speaking in a group and the sound of his name caused him to pause.

“ - Yurak?”
“Yea. Not impressed?”
“Hmph. Seen better.”
“Have not. Impressed me! Agile and fast. See that flip? Impressive!!”
“Hmph. Half-breed still.”
“Not making him less impressive. More impressive because of it!”

He could turn around, that would be the smart thing. OR he could jump out around the corner and scare the stars out of them. Yea that would be way more fun. He chose that the latter.

They screamed, hissed, and jumped as Yurak struggled to maintain a stoic, passive expression as if he wasn’t ticks away from crumbling into hysterics. “Better attention to surrounds.” The words came out as impassively as possible, a small hand wave added for emphasis.

One of the Blades had drawn his knife but was now sheathing it as the other spoke. “How long there? Hear much?”

“Enough.” Watching their eyes avert his gaze he continued, making enemies wasn’t the goal anyways. “I’m Yurak, you already know that. Names?”

The one who had pulled his knife was Rubin and the other was Plak. Both were of average height and build for Galra and they looked related, brothers or cousins maybe. Plak was cool; he seemed nice and friendly, if a little skittish while Rubin was much more standoff-ish. He opened up as they walked, Yurak wasn’t entirely sure how it happened but at some point Plak had volunteered to take him to Keith.

The base was massive. He had mentally mapped out most of it, but there were so many floors and halls and rooms that it was just too much to process all at once. The main routes he had down pat. Things like where on the base his quarters were located, how to get to the cafeteria from both his room and the training decks, as well as how to get to said training decks. There was a large meeting room used for mission debriefings that was located on the main level. It was huge; one could even call it ‘grand’ considering this was a rebel military base hidden deep inside an asteroid.

The base was state of the art with technological advancements that would have Green drooling with glee. Wait, why was he thinking about Green? Yellow had crossed his mind when they first arrived and a few times since (mostly because of food), but now Green? He had thought about Coran a lot, but they were friends so that made sense, but when had he grown to care about the paladins? But more importantly, why did he miss them?

The Humans had wiggled their way into his life whether he liked it or not and a part of him even missed Lance. They had kind of become friends over a shared love of torturing his twin and he realized that he would miss that. Not just the paladins, but everything. Keith would be leaving; he couldn’t stay on the base. He was a paladin of Voltron first and foremost so he needed to go back to the Castle of Lions where he belonged. Except did he?

There was no denying that life on the base seemed easier for Keith, it had only been a movement but it was obvious. There was a certain ease that came with being able to let your guard down, not having to monitor your thoughts, actions, and words at all times lest you offend a racist snooty Princess.

Ok, that was maybe a little harsh. Yurak mentally scolded himself for it but a part of him believed he was right. She was racist, she hated the Galra and it showed in the way she treated Keith, her BLACK PALADIN, compared to the other paladins. She was harsher to him and less friendly – even if neither of them seemed to notice.

He understood how both could go without seeing it. Keith had been abused and neglected; he seemed to take that treatment as normal. Allura probably didn’t even notice her tone shifts or her changes in body language when directed at Keith. Green noticed, she had mentioned it a few times and they had talked about it the night he sat up with her updating the Castle’s translator to modern Galran. She had mentioned it a few other times as well, always when they were alone. He was supposed to teach her to speak and read Galran like he had Keith. She was smart, and desperate for knowledge; he liked that about her.

He also liked Yellow and the welcoming warmth he radiated. Yurak found it easy to talk to him, he was genuinely a kind and caring person who took interest in the feelings of others; it was refreshing. Lance was similar to yellow but opposite of Keith if that made any sense.

Keith cares little for others, but he cares DEEPLY about those close to him. Lance takes an interest in everyone. Keith is reserved and always keeps to himself. Lance is full of an infectious energy that could revitalize a room the moment he enters it. Keith is skilled and smart but rash and impulsive. Lance is clever and creative but lazy. They balance each other and work well together – when they aren’t butting heads.

It occurred to him that he’d been so lost in thought, missing the bloody paladins he wasn’t supposed to care about in the first place, that he totally missed what Rubin had asked. It didn’t matter, they had arrived at the training room and based on the heaving breathing and salty scent coming from inside he knew it was the right one.

“Wait, where is Keith?”

He hadn’t worn his paladin armor since arriving at the base. It was heavier and bulkier than the Blade suits, and the bright white plating made him standout like a sore thumb in the dark halls. But it was a symbol of who he was and the part he played in this war. Heads turned to stare at him as he walked; some simply stared while others gave him a curt nod. By the time he made his way back to the main entrance Kolivan was waiting.

“Leaving paladin? Short visit.” His usual stoic expression gave away little of his feelings.

“Call from Princess. Need Voltron.” His obligations were to Voltron and the Blade of Marmora was secondary, so why did he feel guilty about this? Kolivan hummed his acknowledgement before stepping to the side, letting him pass and enter the elevator that exited the base.

The ride to the surface was quiet and heavy. It felt like he had been torn in half, his soul with the Blades, but his heart with Voltron. If only he could bring his heart to the base, then everything would be complete. But that was impossible. Lance wasn’t his mate, he loved him but it wasn’t like Sven and Yurak; he wouldn’t be allowed to stay on base. Until then, Lance would have to stay with Voltron, but where did that leave Keith? Stuck between two homes and none. The Castle of Lions wasn’t really home anymore, not without Shiro or Yurak, and the Blades could never be home without Lance. He belonged with both his fellow Blades and his fellow paladins. He also belonged with neither. He was Galra and Allura had made it clear she hated that fact, but he was a paladin of Voltron and he couldn’t devote his full attention to the Blade of Marmora because of it. He envied Yurak. His twin got to stay at the base, surrounded by fellow Galra, and the one he loved; it was the only thing Keith had ever wanted. He wanted to belong, to fit in and be accepted, and he wanted to be loved the way that he loved. It wasn’t fair.

Wait. Did He just admit that he loved Lance? Holy shit. He did. He did love Lance! When did that happen?

Once again there was no time for reflection as the elevator opened to the surface of the asteroid, revealing the looming form of the black lion. His senses told him he wasn’t alone, there was someone here. A quick scan of his surroundings showed a Blade leaning against the mighty paw of his lion. No, two Blades. NO, two Blades and another.

The odd man out was Sven; his Guns of Gamara suit was distinct. The smaller of the two Blades was leaning against Sven, clearly Yurak. The other had a tail and was either Sergin or Regris, but he’d put his money on Regris.

“Leaving so soon? Not giving ‘farewell’ brother?” His words were sarcastic but laced with genuine hurt. Keith knew leaving would be hard, he didn’t want to say good bye, he hated saying it.

Instead he shrugged, “Sleeping. Not wanting to wake you. Call from Allura, needing Votron now.” Another time he would have been proud of himself for how easily the Galran language was coming, how naturally it had started to flow. Being on base had helped, but mostly Yurak was just a really good teacher. It hurt to leave.

“Coming with you.” Well that was unexpected.

“What??? Allura not allowing you on Castle.”

“Not staying on Castle unless invited. Coming in pod.” His twin pointed to two pods stationed beside the black lion. “Pods dock inside Black. Fly out when arrive at battle. We help you. Black brings pods back to base.” He had this whole thing planned out, or more likely he had just decided to tag along and Sven worked out the finer details.

“I help too!” Yup definitely Regris.

“Not safe. Lion’s have more armor. You could die!”

“War, Keith. Death always a possibility.” Yurak pushed off from Black and stepped forward to place his hands on Keith’s shoulders. “Not letting you go alone.” He smiled and Keith pulled him into a hug. Damn he loved his brother.

“Fine. Get pods in Black. Leaving now.” Allura wasn’t going to like this, but then again did he really care? Yes, he actually did.

Chapter Text

He’s only a call away. He’s only a call away. He’s only a call away!! Maybe if the words were said enough they would be more believable. Likely not.

“Oh, there you are! I feel as though I have searched the entire Castle.” Allura looked exhausted. She had been running herself ragged since the departure of the black lion. “I require assistance with the training droids. It appears one of the settings is malfunctioning and they have become dangerously unbeatable. Our paladins are terrified of stepping foot on the training deck and poor Pidge might require medical attention.”

“Right! Well, best not keep them waiting. I’m right behind you Princess.” Coran put down his hydration pack and followed her through the halls. He had filled it with nunvil and was starting to feel the effects, perhaps it would be wise to simply deactivate the droids and attempt to repair them later when he wasn’t so tipsy.

Yurak would have dared him to chug the rest of the pouch THEN try and fix the droids, but he was reckless (and fun). Allura wasn’t much fun – she kept throwing him sidelong glances when he breathed through his mouth. He knew she could smell it on his breath, but this was his downtime and she had sent away his only quiznaking drinking buddy! Perhaps Keith would share a drink with him. Would he be as good company? Doubtful, he was a gloomy Mr. serious pants. Ok maybe he was a bit more than tipsy.

The fruity smell of nunvil had hit the moment the door opened. If she had any other option she would take it, but the droid needed to be deactivated. The only way to do so was to override the system, defeat it, or cancel the routine. Pidge was nursing a concussion and could not think clearly, no one could beat the level it was set to, and the program would not cancel.

She felt bad disturbing him, and she felt worse considering his mood the last few quintants, especially since it was her fault he was upset. In fact, it was her fault everyone was upset. Lance was desperately missing Keith, even if he tried not to show it. Pidge and Coran were heart broken over Yurak’s ‘banishment’ as they called it, and Hunk missed all three of them.

She disliked admitting she was wrong, and she stood by her previous assessments that Yurak was a bad influence, however he had been right. She was gaining no ground with the Generals, they did not respect her, and it was only a matter of time before Lotor came for them. Her biggest fear was not that he would come for his Generals, but that he would come for her paladin.

He had lost a General and deep down, she feared he would take Keith as a replacement. But she knew Keith well enough to know he would not go willingly. It was a small comfort.

They reached the training deck to find the droid standing idle in the middle of the floor. There was a ‘blind spot’ in the droids programming that created a small area the droid’s shaft never reached. Here is where she found three of the Defenders of the Universe huddled together. The air in the room felt strange, almost crackling around the droid as it stood unnaturally still. Coran advanced to the mats and before she could stop him, his foot landed squarely down across the safety lines.

The moment he stepped down, the droid swung to life. It swiftly spun around to face Coran; shaft raised high in the air, and lunged at its assumed sparring partner. She barely registered the flash of blue as Lance barreled across the room, blocking the blow of the droid. Allura reached out and grabbed Coran’s collar pulling him back from the mats and hurrying him out of the room.

“What the quiznak!!” Coran was gasping for breath as he leaned forward, hands supporting his body on his knees. “That was almost as terrifying as the time your father had a Gylling beast as a pet!” The memories made her snicker. Watching her father and his advisor wrestle a large reptilian beast with sharp teeth and even sharper claws was quite entertaining. Or at least it had been until Coran nearly lost a leg to the beast’s jaws. Gylling were NOT pets, they were horrifying monsters, relics of a prehistoric time who had adapted well enough to survive. As they were native to Altea, she doubted she would ever see one again.

“We must deactivate the droid before Lance is seriously injured.” A terrible thought crept its way into her mind. “Or worse.”

“Yes, Princess.” Coran hurried off to the observation room. It housed the master controls for the training protocols and could be used to issue a remote shut down of the droids. He had used it before to operate the invisible maze and again to force Keith to stop training after Shiro’s disappearance.

When the commotion died down she ventured back inside the room to find all three of her paladins lying exhausted on the training deck floor.

“Never again, NEVER again.” Pidge exclaimed as her head rolled from side to side on the mats. “Training sucks.”

“Here, here!” Lance chimed in and Hunk groaned in agreement, not bothering to move a muscle.

Allura smiled; sometimes it was hard to remember that they were mere teenagers caught in a war their people knew nothing about. Shiro had at least been an adult and a trained soldier. Keith was Galra and war came easily to him, but the others had been carefree on their isolated planet, blissfully ignorant of the battles raging beyond their system. It made her wonder if their planet, this Earth as they called it, was still unaware of the looming threat the Galra posed. She hoped for their sake they were.

But was not knowing better? Did it matter? These were questions she couldn’t answer. No one could.

He felt worlds better after a hot shower. The ache in his muscles had started to dim but the ache in his heart was still strong. Damn it if he had known feelings would hurt this much he never would have grew them. Grew them? Developed them? Sprouted them like little flowers growing in the warmth of their love? Lame.

Lance rolled his eyes at himself. Stupid Keith and his opening Lance’s bi-eyes to all the possibilities and being all dangerous and sexy, then taking off for almost TWO WEEKS. Lance was going to kill him when he got back. Ok he was going to jump him, THEN kill him. The order of events was crucial.

He caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror; deep bruises were already starting to form from the training droid. Whoever had set that damned thing to level 57 was insane. Since it was using a staff instead of a blaster it was probably Keith, but there was no way he was that far in the training protocols right? Like, Lance was on level 12, Hunk was on level 4, and Pidge hadn’t ever logged in. They had even checked Shiro’s last login to see that he was on level 42. Maybe it was Yurak, he was pretty intense and he used Keith’s logins to train. But Yurak used a blaster not a sword, so he wouldn’t set the droid to that intensity with a staff. Would he? To be honest they were both kinda weird like that.

Keith and Yurak were so similar it was eerie, but at the same time they were complete opposites. Keith was so closed off, while Yurak was so open.

It wasn’t until the doors opened that he realized he had wondered into Keith’s room – again. He was doing this more and more. Sleeping in Keith’s bed at night, or just hanging out in here when he was bored or lonely. He didn’t know why but he did know that he felt better when he in here, surrounded by Keith. Was this normal? Or was it the side effects of having an alien boyfriend? ‘Im not an alien!’ he could almost hear Keith yelling at him. Yurak was though; he could ask him what happened to other species that became ‘involved’ with a Galra. In fact, he could get an exact answer to his situation since Sven was Human and Yurak was basically Keith.

He flopped down on the bed and buried his face in Keith’s pillow; almost drifting to sleep when the alarms blared. Jumping up he ran to his own room, threw on his paladin armor, grabbed his bayard, then bolted for the bridge. All in record time.

In the center of the room was Allura, standing regal as ever in her pressure suit, long silky white hair pulled into a tight bun. She didn’t turn to greet him as he entered, skidding to a stop at the red paladin chair. Pidge and Hunk came flying in shortly after him, rushing to their own seats. Coran stood at his console as he feverishly smashed a series of buttons. And Keith didn’t come. The black paladin controls remained off and the seat remained empty.

The screen pulled up a strange ship approaching. It was grey, lighter than the Empire ships with orange and blue embellishments. The main pod of the ship was balanced in the middle, with two large ‘arms’ protruding on either side. The ship had an odd presence but what made it stand out was its speed. It moved faster than any ship he had ever seen. Coran had put up the Castle’s particle barrier and began shooting at the strange ship as it dodged around their fire. Spinning and twisting in the air with ease similar to the way the lions flew, not as graceful as Keith but closer to Pidge, Hunk, Allura, and himself.

And then the ship fired back.

The blasts rocked the Castle’s defenses, knocking Coran over and causing Allura to brace herself. “Princess, we can’t take another hit like that. Our defenses won’t hold.” He could feel Coran’s panic and Pidge muttered something about diverting power. They needed to get out there, they needed to get in their lions and fight off this ship.

Before he could even suggest it, Allura had a link established with Keith. Lance heard Keith’s grumbly voice over the speakers as Allura told him what was going on. ‘I’m on my way.’ Was all he said before disconnecting.

The strange ship was sitting idle, not advancing or attacking, just sitting there, waiting. It was freaky. Lance was officially freaked right the hell out and it only got freakier when the face appeared on their screens.

Lotor’s smug ass grin took up the whole screen and his arrogant voice filled the room. “Princess Allura, a pleasure as always.” He paused but Allura didn’t acknowledge him, she just stared deadpan. “I request that you release my Generals and provide adequate compensation for my losses or I will be forced to continue the assault on your ship.”

Something Yurak had said about the General’s loyalties being swayable inspired his next action. He switched on the speakers throughout the entire ship, broadcasting Lotor’s voice to every nook and cranny – including the prison cells.

“I refuse your request. If you continue to attack my ship you will kill your own Generals as well.” Allura was in full diplomat mode. “Lotor I urge you to disengage.”

There was silence for a moment before his voice came back; silky smooth and calm, like a snake trying to assure its victim that it was harmless. “I see you are missing your black paladin. Perhaps once your ship is destroyed I can replace my lost Generals with a Paladin of Voltron.” He had a sick smile on his face that was dripping through his words.

They were sitting ducks. One more blast from Lotor’s ship and the shields would be down, another after that and the Castle would be obliterated. He needed to buy some time for Keith to arrive. “Lotor you would sacrifice your own Generals? Keith will never join you, you can destroy all of us and Voltron but he will NEVER join you.”

“Is that so? Who better to understand the plight of a pitiful half-breed? While I myself am half Altean and therefore do not understand what it is like to be mixed with a primitive species, I can relate to him in a way none of you can. I can offer him that comfort, as I did my Generals. He will make a fine replacement once his attachments have been destroyed.” That was it, that was the money shot! He knew Lotor’s arrogance would make him spill; make him say something he wouldn’t want his Generals to hear.

“Allura,” Keith’s voice rang through the coms for the entire castle to hear. “Wormhole, now!” Was he speaking Galran? Yes, he was.

Lance didn’t have a chance to process this, the wormhole formed directly behind Lotor’s ship and the Black lion came out guns blazing. Keith swooped around the strange ship, shooting the lion’s mouth canon directly at the center pod. They were treated to the wonderful sound of alarms blaring in Lotor’s ship and his sudden cursing. The connection was severed and Lotor’s ship moved after the black lion.

“Allura, we need to help! We need to get to our lions and help Keith!” Lance stood from his seat as he spoke, about to make a run for the red lion’s hangar.

Just as suddenly as Keith arrived, two small pods dropped from the lion’s belly and began circling Lotor’s ship. They were substantially smaller than the pods the Empire used and were a solid black with only a slight purple shine to the metal.

Keith’s voice crackled over the coms “Don’t attack the pods! They’re Blades.”

“Looks like he brought backup.” Hunk mused as they all rushed for their lions, leaving Coran alone on the bridge to command the ship.

“- none of you can. I can offer him that comfort, as I did my Generals. He will make a fine replacement once his attachments have been destroyed.” She shook her head at Lotor’s words. How could he say those things? He was speaking of them in the past tense as if he had already written off their lives. It must have been bait, simple words used to goad the paladins into fearing Keith’s allegiance. Lotor wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss them, dismiss her, would he?

“Allura, wormhole, now!” Keith’s voice was clear on the overhead speakers. She could hear the others talking but their strange alien language was gibberish to her. Acxa listened for more Galran, waiting for something she could understand but all she heard was the voices of the paladins before Keith spoke again about allies in pods.

Everything about her current situation sucked. It sucked to be stuck in a cell on an alien ship, it sucked that her Prince was attacking said ship even though he knew she was still inside, it sucked that if the ship blew up she would die, and it sucked that there was nothing she could do to protect herself. It just sucked!

Lotor’s voice didn’t come back over the coms again for a while. The speakers had been left on but his link had been disconnected. She could hear the paladins communicating with the Altean man, though Acxa couldn’t understand a word they were saying. That was another thing that sucked – the lack of translators in the cells.

She heard Keith’s voice a few times but he had switched to that same alien tongue the other paladins used. She heard Lotor’s name as well as what she assumed must be the names of paladins, but other than that it was all just gibberish.

The little battle raged around them and the castle stayed mostly unaffected by the blasts. The lions and their pilots were well practiced at protecting it, which she was thankful for in that moment.

The cells had a small window at the back that looked out into space. She found herself crushed against it desperately trying to watch the chaos outside. Every now and then a streak of colour would fly past as the lions rushed around, a few times she saw the rebel pods and then, horror flashed across her face as her eyes landed on Lotor’s ship. It was the new one, the ship that he had built from that strange comet. It was the final confirmation that she needed, he wasn’t coming to rescue them at all; he was coming to destroy Voltron and the Castle of Lions. Lotor didn’t care that the three of them were still onboard; he had already cut his losses if he was using this ship. The Altean man had been right, one more blast from the Sincline ship’s lasers and the Castle’s defenses would be toast, another shot and they would all be dead.

This was bad. This was very bad. How could he do this to them, to her! A new voice pulled her from her spiral, it was rough and gravelly and distinctly Galran. The new voice was also speaking Galran and sounded panicked.

“Too fast!! Pods don’t have enough power.” Gravelly voice said and one of the paladins responded. Gravelly replied, “Ok, coming!” and just as he finished talking a small black pod shot across her window followed closely by the other one.

“Behind you Regris. Covering your back!” YURAK! That was Yurak! She’d recognize that voice anywhere; he had interrogated her and driven a screwdriver through her hand after all. But she was relieved he was here.

The paladins spoke some more, the Altean man spoke too, but she couldn’t understand so she just tuned it out, watching the battle rage outside her tiny window. Lotor was losing. He needed them and with out their help he was losing. Good. She thought to herself, serves the traitorous bastard right. She hoped they caught him, she hoped they threw him in a cell and unleashed Yurak on him. That would teach him.

Outside her window she saw his ship stop moving as it positioned itself to face the castle. A bright light started to form between the two arms and she knew what was coming, this was it, this was the end and her death would be at the hands of her Prince. Ezor gasped in the cell beside her and Acxa realized she must have been watching as well. She heard Ezor’s heart breaking goodbye to Zethrid, and she closed her eyes as the force of the blast sent her flying to the other side of her cell and everything went black.

“CORAN!!! CORAN!! Please Coran answer me!” Allura screamed over the coms. The pain in her voice rang in his ears and triggered something deep within him. Everything went red and his focus on Lotor became all encompassing. He could see nothing else; he could only see red and Lotor.

“Woah! What’s happening? Are you guys feeling this?” Pidge panicked.

“Yea, yea I feel it! It’s like something is pulling my lion!” Hunk sounded nervous.

“Yea mine too! What’s going on? Allura?” It was Lance’s turn for concern.

“Coran? Please Coran! - Keith? Keith what are you doing?” He could feel them, all of them. He could feel the panic and the fear coming from the three Humans and the concern coming from the Altean. He could feel their lions and each of them and he drew them in. Pulling them closer to the black lion, willing them to merge. He needed Voltron and he needed to destroy Lotor.

“Keith! Checking on Coran now. Good Luck to Voltron!! Regris, following me now please.” Yurak was going to Coran, he would be fine! They could focus on Lotor, kill him, destroy him, take him prisoner – he didn’t care which it was, though he had a preference.

He reached out through Black and pulled. All of the paladins gave another startled noise as they felt their lions draw closer to him. He pulled again and again until they were in position. If Zarkon could use his connection with Black to separate them why couldn’t Keith use his connection to join them? So he reached out through his lion and pulled again, one last time as he felt the others, their minds and quintessence merging as Voltron took form.

“OK, what the HELL was that? How did we just form Voltron? Keith?” Lance sounded confused and worried at the same time. The influx at the end of Keith’s name gave him away.

“No time to explain. Form Sword!” Was that English or Galran? Even he couldn’t tell which language he used, he was too focused on Lotor and the panic from the others was messing with his concentration. Keith dug down deep into himself, into his connection with Black and sent a burst of calming energy from his lion to the others. He needed their minds to shut up so he could focus. “LANCE! Form Sword!” He repeated.

Lance connected his bayard to Red and Keith felt the jolt of quintessence. The sword formed instantly and he ordered the shield from Pidge. Holding the shield in place he maneuvered Voltron between Lotor’s new ship and the Castle of Lions. One more hit and the Castle would be destroyed. Pidge raised the shield to block anything Lotor sent their way and Lance swung the sword down on one of the arms of the new ship. It collided with a thundering clash but the damage wasn’t anywhere near what it should have been. What was this ship?

“The comet is gone. That’s part of the information I managed to get from Acxa. Lotor has already turned it into a ship; he’s trying to make his own Voltron.”

Yurak’s words came flying back to him and everything clicked. This was the comet. They had found it! If they could just get it away from Lotor maybe Allura could do her alchemy thing and let Yurak and Sven go home. The more pragmatic part of his brain knew that wouldn’t work.

“Guys, it’s the comet. This is the ship Lotor built from the trans reality comet to rival Voltron. We HAVE to destroy it.” The other paladins flooded his mind with their panic and he cursed them for it. They need to focus not panic. God he sucked at this leader thing, Shiro would have known what to do, Shiro would have been able to say something that would calm them down and rally the group to fight with a renewed sense of purpose.

He wasn’t Shiro, he couldn’t lead them like Shiro, but he could fight and he could lend them all his drive and determination. He felt Red roar as he filled them all with his Galran bloodlust and his single-minded focus on their target. Black hummed in the back of his mind.

“Holy shit, you guys feel that?” Hunk
“Yea. What the hell is that?” Pidge
“I don’t know but it feels incredible! I feel like I could take on Zarkon himself right now!” Lance

“… Wait! Keith? Is that you man?” Lance again.

“Yea me. Sharing Focus! Not allowing panic anymore – focus on Lotor!”

“Babe are you speaking Galran?”

“FOCUS!! Hunk: shoulder canon. Now!”

“Yea, yea coming right up! And Lance – don’t think we’re letting ‘babe’ go without comment!” Hunk and Pidge both snickered and Lance groaned, at least no one was panicking anymore.

“Allura: contact castle. Reach Coran. Pidge: shields up!” Ok now or never, time to make Lance blush. “Babe: Form blazing sword!” The snickers were music to his ears.

“Pfft, BABE!!” Oh shit! They were still connected to Regris and Yurak and the Castle! But it didn’t matter; his acknowledgements had lit a fire in Lance and the sword Voltron held ignited into the most powerful weapon in their arsenal.

He stared at Lotor’s ship as hate brewed deep inside. “ATTACK!”

Chapter Text

The castle’s emergency systems were on but nothing more. Everything was dark, the floors lit by a strip of faint blue light on either side; it gave the normally too bright halls an eerie glow as they ran towards the bridge. The air was still, the din of the ships engines and systems having quieted leaving the only sound that of their breath and foot falls.

Yurak’s ears twitched as he scanned the halls for sound, searching for something, anything that gave off signs of life. He heard nothing.

They reached what he assumed was the command room of the ship due to its location. The doors were melted (melted!!) shut and the control pad was no longer responsive with the systems being offline Apparently the Altean castle deemed floor lighting essential but door opening a luxury – weird. At least the life support systems were running.

He watched Yurak attempt to force them open, only to smell the flesh of his hands burn on contact. It didn’t seem to faze him though; Yurak kept his grip on the doors and continued his attempts to pry them apart. He could help but that would risk his own hands being burned which wasn’t an option if he needed to use his blade later. It didn’t matter, Sven yelled from behind him to grab Yurak out of the way as he lined up his blaster. Regris pulled his friend so hard they both toppled to the ground as Sven’s blasts melted a hole in the fused door.

Instantly the heat poured out of the room and he started panting, desperate for air. Sven took a few more shots, opening the hole wide enough for them to crawl through, as sweat dripped down his forehead. Yurak had sprung to his feet and was already scrambling his way towards the hole; his burnt hands were wet with his hybrid body’s sweat.

It was odd, he had seen Keith sweat but the paladin looked more human than his brother so he hadn’t thought much of it, but to see Yurak sweat was strange. Yet here he was, standing between a Human and a Human-Galra hybrid, both literally dripping on the floor around them. It was gross. Regris was not a fan.

He was last to crawl through the hole. The heat in the room was stifling, it was also incredibly loud as the consoles sparked and fizzled in the flames. That’s right – flames! The room was engulfed in a massive wall of fire, flames licked at the screens that projected the castle’s surroundings, the colour coded paladin chairs, the walls and ceiling, and every other conceivable surface. In fact, Regris was pretty sure that even the fire was on fire! Figures that the one time he gets to go on a cool adventure to an extinct species’ flying castle and it’s ON FIRE! He thought sarcastically to himself.

There was no way to contain it, the only thing to do was open the room to the vacuum of space and hope the lack of oxygen killed the flames before they spread. The problem with that was the Altean in the room was not in a suit, opening up the room would expose him to space and surely kill him.

It didn’t matter, Yurak was already dragging the man’s limp body towards the hole in the door and Regris had to jump out of the way lest he be run over. He grabbed the Altean’s legs and helped push him through, reveling in the cool air of the hallway. The flames were starting to lick their way through the hole, preparing to spread into the rest of the ship. Sven was trying desperately to find something with which to block the hole but there was nothing. Well, there were lots of things – just nothing that wasn’t currently on fire!

Scanning their surroundings he spotted the medbay doors at the end of the hall. Regris grabbed Yurak’s arm and half dragged the boy away from the unconscious Altean. “Come! Needing your help to pull door!” he urged.

They hurried down the hall and into the room, the two of them worked together to pull a metal cabinet door from its hinges and rush it back to the hole. He popped his head into the inferno and quickly scanned for the Human.


“HERE!” His voice came from behind a wall of flames and Regris could only barely make out the shape of his body as he crouched beneath a console.

“Blocking door hole with panel to seal. Open to space. Give 10 tics.” He instructed.

“Ok. I checked and all the vents are sealed already, Coran must have done that. Your 10 tics start now! 10 … 9 … 8 …”

He pulled his head out and slammed the panel in place. Once the room was opened it would suck the panel against the door and form a seal, protecting the rest of the castle from the vacuum of space. To be on the safe side Yurak was already dragging Coran to another room where he would seal the door for good measure.

Regris activated his suit’s mask and leaned his weight against the panel. The pain was almost instantaneous as the metal transferred the heat of the room to his Blade’s suit. Said suit was protecting him from burns, but it wouldn’t hold out much longer and relief flooded his veins when the panel was sucked tight to the door.

He crouched beneath the red paladin’s console. Ironic, he thought, that the guardian of fire was the only one not currently engulfed in flames. Maybe the fire was showing favouritism? He would laugh at that if he weren’t in serious and immediate danger.

“… 2 … 1!!” He finished counting and hit the button he had already pulled up on the console. It was an emergency protocol he found that opened a large vent into space. An alarm went off in his helmet to notify him that oxygen levels in the room had dropped to a dangerous level, and again to notify him that the room had become a vacuum. The flames vanished, snuffed out by a lack of fuel, revealing the insane amount of damage they had caused. Fy Faen! He cursed in his native tongue. This was bad.

Though Sven hadn’t been on the castle of lions for that long, he had been able to see how the Princess flew the ship and how she created wormholes. They would certainly be stranded now as the entire bridge had been destroyed. But it was dangerous to be stuck here, this was Empire territory and they were sitting ducks!

Sven struggled against the pull of the vacuum to reach up for the console, hitting the button again to shut the vent and seal the room. He sat there for a few minutes, thinking of a plan for how to proceed with the repairs while he waited for the oxygen levels to rise. Once everything was back to normal he knocked on the metal panel and felt it fall the ground as Regris stepped aside.

Sven’s eyes shot up as he took in the young Galra before him. The entire right side of his suit had been melted and there were severe burns to his arm from prolonged exposure to the heat of the metal panel.

“Are you ok?”

“Yes. To Yurak now.” The Blade reminded him of one of the Galra members of the Guns he had worked with, young and eager but loyal and determined. Regris was a warrior at heart; he ignored his own pain to focus on his mission. And right now that mission was to make sure Coran was ok and protect the Castle of Lions. A fond smile found its way across his face. If he and Yurak were going to be stuck in this reality, than it was a blessing they had managed to make friends like Regris and Sergin at their new home. He just wished that home could include his fellow Humans.

They followed the instructions Yurak had sent to Regris via the communicators in their Blade suits. His partner was smart; he had taken Coran to the medbay immediately and sealed the doors. The systems were still offline so Regris had to pry the doors open manually to grant access to the room.

%% (Start of Skip) %%

Once inside, they found a very naked Coran laying on one of the cots as Yurak slathered a faintly glowing blue gel over his body. It was a sight Sven wished he would never see again. There were chunks of melted skin stuck to the pile of clothing on the floor, raw muscle was visible on his torso, and the flesh of his arms and face had been charred to a dark burgundy almost black. Everywhere the skin had been exposed was damaged beyond repair and where the clothing had protected his skin; it had fused to the fabric. The amount of pain he would be in once consciousness returned would be excruciating.

Yurak worked away, slathering the gel and being sure to rub it into each open wound and the exposed flesh. Sven rushed for the healing pods and tried to activate the panel to no avail.

“Tried already. System down, Sven.” Yurak’s tone was calm, he was doing what he could and that would have to be enough for now. Once the Princess returned to the castle she could get everything back online. Until then, the gel was their best bet.

“I’ll check for pain killers or an anesthetic of some kind. He doesn’t need to feel this.” Sven felt the lump in his throat, now one deserved this kind of pain, especially not Coran.

“Pain killer in gel. Please passing bandages to me.” He rushed to the desk that housed Coran’s medical supplies and pulled out a large package of bandages. Opening the package he passed them to Yurak who responded with a strained smile as he deftly wrapped the Altean’s body.

Regris said nothing, didn’t even move, he simply stood by the door and watched Yurak work. Sven wondered if he had ever seen anything like this before, he’d been in the field on missions with his fellow Blades but had he ever seen injuries this severe? Likely not if he was reacting in this way.

He called the Galra’s name but got no reaction, those yellow eyes remain transfixed on the Altean’s wounds. Yurak looked up and made a strange chirping sound that he had never heard before. It did the trick as Regris shook his head and he came back to reality.

“Ok Reg?” Regris nodded back to Yurak and his partner seemed to accept it, returning to the task at hand.

%% (End of Skip) %%

“Regris? Please messaging Keith. Telling Coran is alive.” Yurak instructed and he nodded, connecting back to the paladins. Soon they all heard Keith’s voice as he acknowledged the transmission, Regris relay the situation, and the Princess’ relieved gratitude.

Keith disconnected.

They had to split up. There was no other option. Keith looked back at the Castle of Lions, Regris’ words confirming what he was afraid of. ‘Systems offline. Emergency power online. Needing Princess to restore.’ It was a worst-case scenario – no, worst-case would be the loss of Coran. This was bad but it could definitely have been worse. He was suddenly incredibly grateful that Yurak had insisted on coming along. His brother would ensure Coran’s survival, and he could focus on that bastard Lotor.

Voltron had decimated his ship. They managed to form their most powerful weapon and use it to cut the center pod away from the arms of the strange ship. Now they needed to transfer the pod into the castle and contain its pilot to a cell.

With the systems offline they couldn’t just hail Coran and get him to open the bay doors. So next best thing – Pidge.

“Pidge! Can you access the castle’s controls and open Black’s hangar remotely?”

“Why Black?” Allura was questioning him? Did she still not trust him? After everything that happened, after she unfairly kicked out his counterpart and treated BOTH of them like crap, after he dropped everything to be at her ‘beck and call’, after all that and she STILL didn’t trust him?

“Because Princess,” He didn’t bother hiding the frustration in his voice, “Black’s hangar is the largest, it’s directly below the bridge, and because I said so.”

“I don’t understand why we wouldn’t just use the main hangar.” She pressed.

“Ughh, BECAUSE Yurak and Regris’ pods are in the main hangar. Lotor can’t fly one of the lions but he can easily steal a pod. We’d catch him but it would still be a huge, unnecessary pain in the ass. So, I ask again – Pidge, can you remote open Black’s hangar. Please.”

“On it!” At least Allura wasn’t objecting any further.

He opened up his link to Regris again. “Coming into hangar. Meeting you where?”

“Medbay. Not going into bridge yet. Please confirm!” He sounded worried. It must be much worse than he thought.

“Confirmed. Taking Lotor to cell. Coming then to medbay.” He disconnected from the Blade line before opening another to the lions again.

“Ok, here’s the plan.” Constantly switching between Galran and English was starting to give him a headache but he carried on, “We’re going to split up Voltron. Hunk, I need you to help me tow the pod into Black’s hangar when Pidge gets it open. Pidge, open the other lion’s hangars right away while you’re at it. Princess, I need you to get the main systems back online so we can control the cells, lockup Lotor, and get a healing pod setup for Coran. Babe, you need to land Red then meet Hunk and I in Black’s hangar so we take Lotor to the cells.” Lance was going to kill him for using ‘babe’ on the coms again but it was worth it, Keith could almost feel the blush that had most likely taken over his boyfriend’s face. He definitely heard the giggle from Hunk.

“Why don’t I just come into Black’s hangar with you guys. It would be faster.”

“No, the hangar isn’t big enough to fit Black, Yellow, Lotor’s pod, AND Red. Just land in Red’s hangar and meet us there. We’ll wait.” Lance huffed but didn’t object so he took that as a victory.

“Hangar doors opening!” Pidge shouted triumphantly and sure enough, the doors were opening to grant them access. They broke apart and each lion headed off for their respective task.

He ran down the halls making his way towards the Black lion’s hangar. The fastest way to get there was through the bridge but the Blade had made it clear they weren’t supposed to go there. Why though? He wanted to check it out, see what was so bad, but it would waste valuable time and he needed to get to Keith and Hunk as fast as possible.

Lance arrived in the Black lion’s hangar just in time to see Hunk step out of his Lion. Keith was already standing in front of the pod, weapon raised, and Hunk was scurrying down the ramp with his bayard in hand. The green lion hovered just outside the hangar doors effectively blocking the exit.

Lance positioned himself by the only set of doors leading into the castle, his bayard taking the form of a blaster as he readied himself to stand his ground. Keith gave him a single nod of acknowledgement before turning back to Hunk and giving a command Lance couldn’t hear.

The pod opened and Lotor walked out, hands above his head, a sly grin plastered on his smug face. Lance hated him, he really did.

Keith moved in, as graceful as ever, and cuffed Lotor before marching him towards Lance and giving Pidge the green light to land in her own hangar. They walked down to the lower levels with Hunk in front, Keith and Lotor in the middle, and Lance taking up the rear. Hunk entered the cellblock and turned down the hall where the Generals were kept but Keith dramatically cleared his throat to gain his attention.

“Hunk we don’t want him any where near the Generals. We’ll stick him on the other end of the hall.”

“Yea, yea good idea!” Hunk agreed before turning to face Lotor. “Don’t get any ideas about escape! You have no where to go!”

“Hunk, he can’t understand you. There aren’t any translators down here.” Keith rolled his eyes as he said the words and a burning blush took over Hunk’s face. He muttered something along the lines of ‘oh yea ok makes sense’ but didn’t actually say any thing to Keith.

They locked Lotor in a cell at the far end of the hall. Lance was in charge of checking the Galran Prince for weapons and communicators, and then Keith activated the particle barriers as well as some sort of fog that sealed him off from sights and sounds in the hall. Solitary confinement Altean style.

“- and you’re sure, like 100% sure, that he can’t get out?” Hunk sounded nervous as usual.

“Yes.” Keith just sounded exasperated.

“What about the Generals? Can they -”


“Well what about –

“NO!” Keith was doing that nose-pinching thing he does whenever he is trying to hold in his temper; as if it is going to leak out through his nose and pinching it is the only form of containment.

“Ok, ok, but I’m just saying, I mean, I get it I do, but like, what if -”

“HUNK! OMG! HE CAN’T GET OUT! Unless he can phase his way through the cell door AND the particle barrier, he is staying put!” Containment breach on level: Keith’s self-control!

Lance snickered at his own thoughts but Hunk was already sputtering again, letting his ill-timed giggles fall on deaf ears.

“Well yea, but I mean he is Galra and Altean right? And this is an Altean ship so like, what if he can, like just deactivate them or something, I dunno.”

“Hunk, he’s not magic! And besides, the Alteans didn’t genetically encode their tech, his being Altean doesn’t mean shit.” With that Keith gave the cell a little kick before spinning on his heel and traipsing off down the hall.

“Hunk, buddy. Keith’s right, he can’t get out. That’s the whole point of the cells right?” Lance put his hand on his best friend’s shoulder for comfort and instantly regretted it. An embarrassed smirk settled into place on Hunk’s soft face, hinting at what was to come.

“I know, I’m just being cautious - ” The smirk morphed into a full blown grin, “- Babe!” He batted his eyelashes and made a little kissy face. It was all Lance could do not to smack him.

Lance groaned. “Yea, Keith’s so dead for that!”

“Oh come one man it was funny! … Babe! Haha I didn’t take Keith as the kinda guy that would use pet names.”

He didn’t either. If Lance was being honest with himself he thought the transition to relationship with Keith would be a lot more awkward and difficult. It was so hard to get the guy to open up, but as soon as they ‘knocked boots’ suddenly Keith was an open book. Well, as open as Keith can get. They had talked about his feelings, his fears, and his dreams. They had held hands and snuggled. They had even started sharing a room – although that was more out of convenience than choice. It was just easier to sleep in the same room rather than stumble back to his own after said boot knocking.

But pet names were something he really hadn’t expected. It was like a whole other side to Keith was coming out, and Lance liked it. He liked this relaxed, open Keith. It was cute. He was cute. And now Lance was blushing, his stupid gooey eyes had glazed over in his reverie.

“Aww Lover boy Lance is in love!” Hunk cooed.

“What?! I’m not in love! I’m in ‘like’, really strong ‘like’ with a healthy helping of lust. But not love! NOOOOPE! Definitely not lov - AH!!” Lance had thrown his hands up and stepped backwards, away from Hunk and right into the particle barrier on Lotor’s cell. A quick electric shock jolted through his whole body and he dropped to his knees panting.

“Yea, he’s definitely not getting out of there!” Was all he could think to say.

Hunk chuckled and extended a hand to help him up. “Ok, I feel a little better about it now actually. I didn’t know they even had that setting.”

“Well clearly Keith did.”

“Yea, yea clearly.” He paused for a moment before tentatively continuing. “Hey dude, your boyfriend is kind of a psychopath.” It wasn’t mean to be mean, Hunk never intended to be malicious; his heart was too pure for that. It was simply an observation.

“Yea, I know - It’s kinda hot.” He said with a smirk and a wink as he took off down the hall.


Chapter Text

The destruction was obvious the moment he turned the corner. They hadn’t made it this far down the hall before he’d made Hunk turn around, and the damage the Castle had taken was starting to become apparent. The lights had gone out, leaving only a single strip of faint blue lines on the floor. He could see just fine but Lance and Hunk would have trouble.

Keith made his way to Acxa’s cell first, glancing in and seeing nothing but smoke. He panicked, opening the door immediately and nearly tripping over her body as he stepped inside. Dark blood was pooling on the floor around her, the air was stiflingly hot and rapidly becoming un-breathable as the small cell filled with smoke. He choked on the thick air and heaved a strained breath against the heat.

Grabbing Acxa he dragged her out and closed the cell, trapping the flames inside. Keith bent down and checked her vitals finding her pulse and confirming that she was alive. Once satisfied, he reached for the control panel and opened the emergency release. The window inside the cell retracted, sucking all the air out and smothering the flames before sealing once again.

He stepped over her and checked on Ezor only to find her in the same situation. Opening her cell he repeated the series of events, dragging her out and extinguishing the flames.

Zethrid’s cell was undamaged but she was an emotional wreck. He peered inside and saw her curled in the corner crying, it was the kind of pain he had seen on Yurak’s face when Sven had been close to death. Taking pity on her he opened up the communication line.

“Zethrid - Ezor lives. Injured but alive.” The relief washed over her in waves, her shoulders shuddering as she gasped on a long, desperate breath.

“Gratitude for telling me.” And it was sincere. Her words reflected the glimmer in her eyes that spoke to him in a way words never could. He gave her a nod before turning back to the unconscious Generals.

“Lance! LAAANCE!” Hunk’s voice carried down the hall, echoing off the walls in the too-quiet air around him as Lance’s bright laugh rang like a bell.

Lance rounded the corner first, stopping just short of where Keith had laid Acxa, panting to catch his breath. “Hey Kitty, what’s going on?”

Hunk made an undignified snorting sound as he appeared. “- Kitty!” and Keith shot him a glare.

Pinching the bridge of his nose he turned to Lance “What did I say? Don’t call me that!”

“Oh ho ho! You called me ‘babe’ like 3 times over the coms, I’m totally calling you ‘Kitty’ whether you like it or not! Plus, I still haven’t gotten back at you for that breakfast incident from like 2 weeks ago!” Oh ya! A blush ran across his face and he smirked at the memory of the impromptu hand job before Hunk’s awkward cough brought him back to reality.

“What breakfast incident?” Hunk asked, a single eyebrow rose as he gave them both a questioning look.

“Yea Lance, what breakfast incident?” He asked with as wide a smile as he could muster, fluttering his eyelashes innocently, and tilting his head to the side. Lance blushed deeply.

“Ok, I’ll tell you – but ONLY you Hunk. We aren’t telling everyone about us just yet.”

“Uh Lance, buddy, we all know you and Keith are like, kinda seeing each other now or whatever. It’s not really much of a secret yunno?”

“Guys …” This wasn’t the time for them to be having this talk so Keith tried to interject but was being completely ignored. Lance had turned to face Hunk now, cutting Keith out of the conversation as he argued with his best friend about the nature of their relationship. So much for privacy.

“Ya but you don’t know how fast or slow we’re going, if we are dating, just seeing where things go, or if we’re just staying the same but more.” Lance countered.

“Buddy, we’ve all seen you guys. Keith kinda made it clear when he licked your neck in the medbay. Then you like, totally made-out after we helped clear Keith’s head. We get it dude, you’re a ‘thing’ – it’s cool.”

“… Guys …”

“Yea, yea but I mean just hear me out. I want you to know how serious we are.”

“Serious? Dude, are you like dating for real? I was just joking when I called him your boyfriend earlier.”

“… Guys!!”

“Keith is my boyfriend. We’re together, like feelings and boots and what not.”

“Boots?” Hunk sounded incredibly confused and Keith had to agree with him there – boots? What the hell do boots have to do with relationships?

“Yea, you know like ‘knockin boots’.” Lance added an eyebrow wiggle for flare incase no one understood his now incredibly obvious reference. Keith literally face palmed. This was his boyfriend – this idiot. Maybe he needed to rethink his life choices.

“Wait – wait! Are you saying you guys like … um ...” it was now Hunk’s turn to blush.


“Yea, we did.” Lance blushed

“So are you like, gay or … ?”

“No, I’m pretty sure I’m bi.”

“Pretty sure?”


“Yea – I mean I still find Allura super hot. I always knew I was into girls, past experience can vouch for that, but I just never realized that I was into guys too. And yea, I’m totally into guys. Like – really really into guys. Or at least just really into one.” He was blushing – hard!

“Awww omg that’s so cute!! But maybe it’s more of an alien thing and not a ‘guys’ thing. Like you’re into all those alien chicks and Keith is kinda an alien and -”

“- Keith’s not an alien!” Thank you, Lance! “I mean yea, he’s part Galra but he was born on Earth so he’s not an alien. Plus he’s Human where it counts.”

“But he’s not completely Human is what I meant.”

“HE IS RIGHT HERE THOUGH!” Keith yelled. “Seriously, stop having a conversation about me when I’m standing right the fuck here!”

Both had the decency to blush.

“Now, can you PLEASE shut the hell up and listen to me?” When neither of them made a move to speak he breathed out a ‘finally’ and continued. “Acxa and Ezor need a pod, Allura needs to be informed about what we’ve done to secure Lotor, we all need to check how Coran is doing, and we need to get the Castle out of Empire territory! So if you two idiots are done discussing our sex life can we please get back to the task at hand??”

Lance choked and blushed again while Hunk’s eyes shot wide with embarrassment.

“Ugh, yea man – sorry! I just – just wanted to um, you know …” Hunk was stammering.

“OMG ok fine – you want to know what’s going on between us? The two of you could go back and forth for VARGAS so let me make this clear.” He looked them both in the eyes and folded his arms across his chest. “Lance and I fucked. It was hot and we were BOTH super into it. Lance is probably bi I guess, I’m gay – we’re dating! The breakfast incident was a hand job, and I’m NOT a fucking alien! Everybody on the same page? GOOD! Hunk: you carry Ezor, I’ll take Acxa, and Lance: you get the doors and make sure we have a clear route to the medbay.”

There was a spattering of ‘OK’ and ‘sir, yes sir’ but he didn’t know who said what. Keith was just glad there were no translators down here so Zethrid couldn’t understand what had been said. A small relief.

“Oh and Hunk?” He waited for the big guy to look at him before continuing in a softer tone. “Only you, Yurak, and Sven know about this. Lance didn’t want anyone to find out about our ‘boots’ so please don’t say anything.”

“AWW Kitty, you used my euphemism!!” Lance was gushing but Keith just rolled his eyes. ‘Kitty’ was kind of growing on him – in private he might allow it.

“Don’t call me ‘Kitty’ Lance.” his boyfriend did not miss the blush.

Regris was standing watch outside the medbay. This was still Empire territory after all and the castle’s defenses were completely offline. The Princess had managed to get a few more systems running (mainly the pods) but not much. There still weren’t any functioning doors.

Yurak and Sven had placed the Altean man in one of the pods and tried to get Regris to take one for his arm but he had refused. Yurak was injured – his hands were severely burned and he couldn’t hold a blaster; someone needed to stand guard, so that someone would be him. Sven was inside the medbay bandaging his mate’s hands and tripping over the oxygen mask he wore as he treated himself for smoke inhalation. Once everything was secure and they were out of immediate danger, the three of them would be taking pods. Until then, Regris would stand watch.

The burns on his arm were incredibly painful though. He tried not to think about them but it was hard – pain has a way of just taking over your though process. He didn’t even realize he wasn’t paying attention until the elevator doors opened. The surprise caused him to shoot the blaster in his hands immediately down the hall. A voice yelped and a lean frame jumped back into the shadows of the elevator.

It was dark but Regris could see just fine and he watched the figure inch out slightly to get a better angle on his position. He aimed his blaster and lined up his sights for where the figure’s head would be when it moved to take it’s shot. He waited – watched – his breathing slowing as he steadied his hands and peered down the blaster, target in sight.

When the tip of the figure’s blaster rounded the corner he saw the flash of red and white. It was distinctly Altean, most likely the red bayard, which meant that the figure was one of the paladins.

“PALADIN.” He called out but the bayard didn’t move, didn’t even waiver. “Paladin, I am Regris, Blade of Marmora. Not shooting me please!” With the systems offline the castle wasn’t translating anymore, but their armor still would.

“Lower your weapon! Put it on the ground and kick it away from you!” The figured called and Regris guessed that without being able to see he wasn’t taking any chances. Smart.

Doing as he was told he placed Sven’s blaster on the ground and kicked it lightly down the hall. Once satisfied the paladin lifted their weapon and came around the corner to see the lights in the medbay lit and Regris standing there, arms raised.

“Dios mío Regris, you scared the shit out of me!” The Human paused “Wait, who even are you?”

Keith and a much larger Human came around the corner caring two unresponsive half-breeds. “He’s a Blade. Help him with the damn door Lance!” Keith barked.

The Human – Lance, jumped and scurried over to help open the heavy doors.

“OMG! What happened to your arm? Are you ok? You need to get in a pod like, now!” The Human’s concern was comforting. Regris smiled at him before realizing he still had his mask up. Tapping the control on the side the Blade of Marmora mask dissolved, revealing his face and showing the soft smile he was wearing. He liked this Human; it was kind.

A low growl sounded behind him and he flinched, turning to see Keith glaring angrily at him from the doorway. Regris was taken aback for a moment before he darted his eyes between the half-breed Blade and the Human paladin. OH! This was his mate. Well, not mate as they weren’t officially a mated pair, but this Human was his.

Nodding once and giving a little chuff of understanding, he joined the others in the medbay. “Needing help with corpse?” He asked helpfully and received a shriek of horror from the Altean Princess in response.

Keith just laughed. “Not corpse. Unconscious currently. Alive but needing pod.”

They placed the two half-breeds in pods, followed by Sven and Yurak, then finally himself. He had never been in a healing pod before; the Blades didn’t have this technology. Hell, even the EMPIRE didn’t have this kind of tech! Once he got out he was going to drill the Alteans about all their cool stuff. Maybe Kolivan would let him stay on the Castle to help with repairs, that’s what you did for allies right?

A cold formed all around him and sunk into his bones, the chill making him shiver before he drifted out of consciousness.

Chapter Text

Having been the least injured, Yurak needed the shortest amount of time in the pods; only a couple vargas to heal the 2nd degree burns on his hands. As the pod hissed open, Keith reached up to catch and steady his counterpart, watching as his eyes squeezed tight, slowly adjusting to the bright lights of the Altean medbay.

“Systems back online?” Yurak asked as the pod’s haze cleared from his mind.

“Yea. Allura, Hunk, and Pidge have been working on repairs non stop.” Keith confirmed. “Lance and I have been monitoring the pods and the cells. We have Lotor in custody by the way – thought you’d like to hear that.” Keith smirked as his twin’s eyes shot wide open then giving an angry hiss at the pain from the sudden brightness. He immediately squeezed them tightly shut and Keith chuckled as tears formed around Yurak’s eyes.

“Not funny!! These damn Alteans and their bright ass lights. Bullshit!” Keith’s chuckle morphed into a full laugh.

“Glad to see you’re just fine.” He nudged his twin’s shoulder and stepped back, heading for the console to check on the progress of the others.

Yurak rubbed his eyes and turned around to inspect the occupied pods. “Looks like Regris finally agreed to a pod. How much longer will he be?”

“Another varga, Sven too.”

“How is Coran?” Yurak’s voice was strained with worry. They had become quite close during his time on the Castle of Lions. Sven was his mate, Keith was his brother, but Coran was his friend. Yurak’s exile from the castle must have been difficult for him to take. He had fought to keep them, he had tried to convince Allura to see reason but it was no use, she was blinded by rage and racism. Her hatred for the Galra prevented her from being rational and it was all of them, including Coran, who had to suffer. But things had changed now.

“He’ll be ok. What ever that gel was that you used, it probably saved his life. Allura said without it his body could have gone into shock or he could have gotten an infection.”

“We had him in the pod before the Princess got here. How did she know about it?”

Keith turned to face him and paused a moment as he read the tight lines etched into his counterpart’s face. The worry made him seem older. “The pods give an analysis of the injury and any attempted medical treatment. The gel popped up showing it was all over his body; it popped up on your hands too. Regris confirmed that you provided emergency medical treatment and I’m pretty sure Allura’s eyebrows rocketed off her face.” Yurak snorted at the visual and smiled up at him through loose bangs.

“I didn’t want him to suffer.” The words were said so quietly that Keith almost missed them and if he had been fully Human he certainly would have.

“I’m sure he would appreciate that.” Keith reassured, offering a warm smile. “You should change. Your Blade suit is over there -” he pointed to a table top off to the far right “- and you could use some food, or water at the very least.”

Yurak just nodded and gave a long look back at the pods before moving across the room to change.

He was busying himself in the engine room with Pidge barking out orders over the coms. Allura had taken Lance away from the cells to help her cleanup the bridge and prepare it so they could try to fly the Castle. Keith was monitoring the pods and trying to contact the Blade of Marmora HQ.

Without their trusty Coran-ic, repairs were slow going. He had a rough idea of what to do, seeing as he’d helped Coran like, oh - a billion times by now at least. The Castle of Lions was 10,000 years old and in constant need of repair. With the two of them being the only engineers on board, all of the work had fallen on their shoulders. Not that Hunk was complaining, oh no no no he quite liked busy work and he loved tinkering with machine and engines – especially alien ones! But like, it was a lot of responsibility – being both one of the paladins AND one of the two mechanics.

The screwdriver fell from his hand. Without the engines running the entire castle had gotten much, much colder and his hands were shaking. The vacuum of space has a way of sucking out the heat and making everything as cold as death. The paladin armor moderates body temperature, as does Allura’s pressure suit, and the Blade suits but it can only do so for a limited amount of time. The prisoners and Coran didn’t have any protection he realized.

Hunk felt his hands shake again, and this time it wasn’t from the cold. Please be ok, please be ok. He found himself thinking on repeat as he worked away. The situation with Coran wasn’t good, Allura had made sure the pods were working but it wasn’t enough. They needed to re-route power from the engines to rejuvenate the Balmeran crystal in order for flight, but that meant diverting power from other systems – like the pods! Without the pods Coran wouldn’t make it. Without the crystal they were sitting ducks. There was no good option here and it super sucked!

The panel he was screwing into place slipped from his hand and fell to the ground, 3 storeys down. Hunk hung his head and smacked his forehead against the walls. This was pointless, he needed help.

“Ugh guys, can anyone come help please? Like, I can’t do this by myself, I need a hand or two or ten. That would be great.” Hunk begged over the coms.

“I am sorry Hunk, but I must ready the Castle of Lions for flight.” Allura
“Helping Allura on the Bridge. Sorry man.” Lance
“A little busy at the moment. The whole quiznaking system needs rebooting!!!” Pidge
“No.” Keith

Hunk sighed and leaned his forehead against the wall again. This was going to take forever.

He shuffled himself up with way more effort than it should take, and moved to the small ladder that spanned between the levels of the engine room. With the Castle systems only partially operational, and Pidge running reboots, he couldn’t afford to get stuck in the elevator. The memories of Keith and Lance’s experience came flooding back and made him chuckle. Lance had ‘complained’ about it for WEEKS afterwards. He and Pidge tried to lockdown the elevator on them a few times after that but Keith usually got skittish and took off before being alone in the elevator with Lance. Sometimes those Galra instincts really put a damper on fun.

Squeezing his large frame into the ladder shaft was impossible; he just wouldn’t fit. Turns out most Alteans are quite lean, something that Hunk definitely was not. As his mom used to say, there was just more of him to love. Luckily he was still wearing his paladin armor, so that was a bonus. Using the boosters on the back, Hunk gently floated down to retrieve the panel, then propelled himself back up to where he had been working.

The room was slowly coming up to a more manageable temperature and soon he would be able to take off his gauntlets and helmet which would make it a lot easier to continue. Because like, gloved hands and a visor obscuring your view are not the best for intricate work. After securing the panel in place he reached out his hand to retrieve the screwdriver by his side. Hmm. He reached out again, and again, and did a little sweeping motion, and – oh shit, he had dropped it earlier! Letting out a loud groan and throwing his head back he realized the predicament he was in.

A light tap on his shoulder made him jump. “You dropped this.” Yurak was right behind him and he hadn’t heard the guy even enter the room. Quiznaking purple Keith and his quiznaking ninja skills. Ughh.

“Uh yea, thanks man!” Hunk took the screwdriver and began securing the panel. “You scared the crap out of me. Can you like, I dunno, announce your presence or something before you just appear behind some one?”

“Didn’t you hear the door? Or my footsteps?”

“Nah but it’s cool. Just for next time y’know.”

“Whatever.” He used the same defensive tone Keith was notorious for and even crossed his arms over his chest with a huff. It made Hunk smile; they were so much alike. “You’re putting that on backwards by the way.”

“What? No I’m not. It goes this way – doesn’t it?”

“Nope.” He reached across and flipped the panel, letting all of the screw holes lineup perfectly. Hunk just groaned. He was way too tired for this. “Want me to do it? I’ve had to make these kind of repairs before. If you want, I mean, I don’t want to over step or anything.”

“OMG YES! Please please please help me! We need to fix almost ALL of these panels and there’s like, 50 of them!”

“There’s actually 270 in a standard Altean ship engine.” Hunk groaned – again, and Yurak just laughed. Clapping a hand on Hunk’s shoulder he continued. “Looks like you only have to repair the ones on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th levels though. Everything else looks fine. Did you have a chance to run diagnostics on the spectral generator?” Hunk nodded. “What about the VIN bays?” He nodded again. “All 9 of them?”

“There’s 9? I thought there was only 7!”

“Nope – 9. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if a ship this size has 11 of them. There should be the 5 in the engine room, 2 in the teludav, 1 in the control room, and 1 on the bridge. If there are 11 on this ship then there’s 6 in the engine room and 3 in the teludav.”

“There’s only 5 in here. How do you know all this?”

“Sven and I have been fighting the Alteans for deca-phoebes, we sabotage their ships sometimes so knowing how they function is key.”

“Makes sense. But figures you know all this through nefarious means, you and Keith are shockingly alike.”

“Yellow, we are technically the same person, so yea – that’s a given.”

Hunk laughed. He shouldn’t be surprised by how similar they are, but somehow he couldn’t help but be blindsided by it each and every time. Like Keith, Yurak was pretty easy to work with. He kept quiet and didn’t distract Hunk with constant jabbering (Lance!), he followed instructions well and didn’t get lost in side projects (Pidge), but most importantly – he was actually pretty funny. Like, really funny! They mostly worked in silence, concentrating on getting as much fixed as possible in as short a time frame as possible, but every so often one of them would crack a joke.

It took another 2 hours but they managed to get the engine room fully operational without having to redirect any of the power. There was no way he could have done that by himself, and even if he had Pidge (because let’s face it – she was the only one who could really help him) they still wouldn’t have been able to make the repairs as efficiently. Yurak really knew his way around an Altean ship and his help had been vital. There were panels Hunk didn’t know where to find, electrical circuits he didn’t know existed, and various other stuff he had no idea how to contend with. On more than one occasion he has zapped himself with things that had no business being electrified! If the voltage was low Yurak would let him get shocked and giggle, but he always intervened if there was an actual risk.

The Galra became his gopher. Running up and down the narrow ladder to fetch things or check the systems on other levels. He would climb up on the engine and wedge his way into places Hunk didn’t even think Pidge could fit.

Currently they were working on making sure the teludav had enough power for a jump – some of the scaultrite lenses had been cracked again. There was no chance Hunk was going back inside a weblum. No way, no how!

Princess are you good for a jump? Hunk how’s the engine?’ Keith’s voice came through the coms.

“Yurak, Keith wants to know if we are good?” He asked and received a nod and a grunt in reply. “All good here.” He answered into the com.

“Yellow, some of the lenses are cracked but we should be ok to make a few short jumps or one really big one. Can you pass that through?”

“Yea! Guys – Yurak says we can make one big jump or a couple small ones. The teludav has taken damage and that’s about all it can handle.”

“Yurak says this?” The Princess’ voice sounded indignant but after a moment she sighed. “Very well, I’m sure he knows more about Altean ships that any of us do.” And honestly, Hunk was stunned. He literally stood there with his mouth hanging on the floor, drool spilling out, and unable to fathom what just happened. “Lance and I are ready here. We will make a single jump in 1 dobash. Hunk: make sure you and Yurak are nowhere near the teludav at that time. I will find a safe place to move the ship.”

“No need Princess. We are heading to the Blades. Kolivan said we are safe dock the Castle this time – something about the flares or whatever. Any ways, the Blade’s engineers will repair the ship and we get all the systems back online.” Keith said his piece as if it were the only option and there was no room for contesting – which, yea, it kinda was their only option! They really did need the help and the resources to fix the Castle.

“Wow, that’s super nice of Kolivan!” He broke the silence; the tension was palpable even through the coms. The silence dragged. No one spoke – no one dared to. This was between Keith and Allura now and everyone was too terrified to get involved.

“Ugh, can you relay that the longer we wait the greater the chance of being attacked!” Yurak let out impatiently.

Ughh, Princess, makeup your mind.” Keith was getting annoyed now too. “Kolivan wont wait all day and the longer we sit here the more likely we are to get attacked!” Trippy! Hunk shot a glance to Yurak who was tapping his claws against his forearm crossed over his chest.


“NOTHING! Keith just said what you were thinking – are your coms linked?”

“No.” He got another grunt, followed a second later by a loud growl as Yurak’s arms flew into the air. “This is pointless! We need to MOVE!” The Galra crossed the distance between them, moving his face so close to Hunk’s that he could lick the other’s nose. “PRINCESS MAKE UP YOUR QUIZNAKING MIND! We have to get out of Empire territory NOW!”

“Was that Yurak? How did he get on the paladin line?” Lance sounded confused as usual.
"He’s using Hunk’s link dumbass.”
"Shut up Pidge! How was I supposed to know that!”
“How else would he be on the PA-LA-DIN’S line?”
“I don’t know – maybe those Blade of Morma suits have multiple lines!”
“Marmora! It’s the Blade of MARMORA Lance.” Keith sounded pretty done and Hunk was picturing him with his fingers pinching the bridge of his nose.

“Guys, yea it was Yurak. He leaned close into my helmet, like really close. But he’s right. We need to move – either to somewhere neutral or the Blade’s base. But either way we can’t just sit here.”

… Hunk was just about to ask again when Allura’s voice came over the coms.

“Fine. Send me the coordinates. We will accept the Blade of Marmora’s assistance.”

Chapter Text

Flying the Castle of Lions through the narrow path was going to be nerve-racking, not to mention impossible. Luckily the Blades had that covered. Shortly after the castle arrived they were met by a series of what could only be described as ‘tugboat’ pods.

The wormhole had been shaky and unstable as lens after lens cracked and shattered. Yurak had been right – they could only get one large jump and would definitely need more scaultrite to replace the lenses. The Balmeran crystal was damaged too, the ship maxing out at half power but only if all non-essential systems were offline. Allura had managed to heal the crystal enough that they were able to power a single jump to the base, but they would not be able to actually fly the castle through the path.

He stood on the bridge with Allura, watching the projection of their surroundings on the cracked and broken screens before them. A fractured depiction of Kolivan appeared instructing the tugpods to bring the Castle to the base and informing the Princess of what she needed to do to assist them. Keith had departed in the black lion, while Yurak remained in the medbay keeping a close eye on Coran’s pod. Hunk and Pidge were in the engine room making sure the ship stayed in one piece while they were being towed past two black holes and a volatile blue star.

Lance sighed, he could see the strain this was causing for Allura but at the same time it irritated him that she was even struggling with the decision at all. The Blades were only trying to help. She knew this, he knew she knew and she knew he knew she knew – wait he was confusing himself. Lance shook his head, drawing her attention.

“Lance, are you ok?” Though her brow was furrowed in concern, her tone had been warm.

“Yea, just thinking too much is all.” Lance threw a cocky grin and she giggled.

“Well try not to hurt yourself.” A playful smile appeared at the corner of her lips and he couldn’t help but smile back. After a pause her face fell and her eyes moved from his to the ground.

“Lance? May I speak with you for a moment? I – I have something important to say.”

“Of course Princess, you can tell me anything.” He lowered his voice and tried to sound as genuine and sincere as possible, willing her to feel at ease around him.

“While I am not certain of the full extent of the relationship between yourself and Keith, I do know that things have changed. I saw how difficult it had been for you the past few movements and I am sorry that my feud with Yurak put distance - ”

“Princess - ”

“No Lance, let me finish. I see that I have greatly misjudged Yurak, and that I have been far colder to Keith than intended. While I do not particularly like Yurak, I understand that we can trust him.” She paused to take a breath and Lance waited, not wanting to interrupt her again. “I am mature enough to admit my own short comings and failures. My father raised me better than this and I see now that I let my own anger control my actions. Please, Lance, accept my deepest apologies for the unnecessary hurt I caused you.” About have half way through her tone had switched and she was now using her practiced diplomat voice. While the pleasantry of it was forced, the sincerity behind the words was not and Lance found himself nodding in acceptance.

“Allura? We all understand why you feel the way you do. It was easier for us to get along with him because we haven’t suffered in the way you have, and he was far nicer to us than he was to you. We get it, I get it. But it doesn’t change the fact that it shouldn’t have gone down the way it did. We all understand why – we just don’t approve of how. Do you know what I mean?”

Allura smiled; the kind of smile that lifted a world of pain off her shoulders as it reached her eyes. “I do Lance. Thank you.” She moved in and hugged him deeply, burying her face in the crook of his neck and letting out a sigh. “You paladins have forced me to re-evaluate everything I thought I knew. When we first met I thought of you as a cocky, shallow, immature boy bursting with an unearned bravado - ”

“Ok ouch!”

She snickered and pulled out of their embrace, arms firmly holding his shoulders as she looked him in the eyes. “But now I see you for who you really are: a kind, caring, brave, and loving young man. Lance, my changing opinion of you has opened my eyes to the reality of the world, to the fact that personality and character are fluid. We grow and we adapt and we change, and it was – it IS wrong of me to hold so tightly to my first impression and judge everything through that lens. I am afraid the only paladin of whom I adjusted my opinion was Keith, and for the wrong reasons. I let my anger at the Galra reshape my opinions of him and filter his every word and action through the knowledge that he is Galra. It influenced my interactions with him in a negative way and I am ashamed of myself.”

She closed her eyes for a moment before she began again, reaffirming their eye contact. “Do you remember the first thing I said to you when you arrived at the Castle of Lions?”

“Yea, you insulted my ears.”

A light chuckle escaped her again and she blushed, squeezing his shoulders slightly. “Yes, I did. And did you hold my lack of decorum against me? No, of course you did not. You, Shiro, Hunk, Pidge, and Keith looked to me as a leader and - ”

“- drill sergeant” he interjected.

“- a friend … what? Is that how you all saw me at the beginning?” She chuckled and for a brief moment the old Allura shone through. A version of her he’d glimpsed from time to time, an Allura from before her world was destroyed.

She looked at him with warm eyes again. “Lance. Thank you for always seeing the best in me, for always coming to my defense, and for your unwavering loyalty.” Allura leaned in and placed a small kiss to his right cheek. “Keith saw your true value long before I did. Though I envy him for it, I will not stand between you. I will strengthen Voltron’s alliance with the Blade of Marmora and perhaps we can even work with Yurak more closely again.”

“Keith would like that.” Why was his voice shaking? Allura looked so sad, a deep longing hidden behind her jewel like eyes. A familiar longing he had seen sparkling behind amethyst before Yurak intervened and brought them together. What if they had never met him? What if Yurak and Sven never snuck into Red and returned with them. What would have happened? Would he have ever realized his repressed feelings for Keith? Would Allura have discovered hers? Who was to say, there was no way to know what would have been. Maybe he would still be having this exact conversation but with Keith instead of Allura.

“Yes, I believe he would.” Her voice deflated, but a moment later she puffed herself up into Princess Mode and stepped out of his space. “Right, we need to be ready for our arrival at the base in just under 2 dobashes. Please let your fellow paladins know to be prepared. There is someone I need to speak with.”

Allura stepped past him, every bit the Altean Princess she was, and he knew where she was headed. Lance turned to the fractured monitors and contacted the engine room.

“Hey guys, Allura says we’re arriving in less than 2 minutes. She wants everyone in the main hangar ready to go.”

Ok yea, so we should be good down here, for now at least. But like, um, it’s going to be a rough landing. Our docking systems are completely destroyed, and like, we can’t use the thrusters to make the landing more stable.” Hunk was rambling; the castle was in worse condition now that it had been after sitting abandoned for 10,000 years.

Yup, what Hunk said. I’ll reroute power to the stabilizers for landing, which should do the trick for now at least. We’re pretty much stuck here till the Blades get us fixed up.” He could hear Pidge feverishly typing away as she spoke.

“Ok cool. Hurry up and meet us in the main hangar in full armor.” Lance disconnected the link and left the bridge.

Standing outside the medbay she took a deep breath and steeled herself for what she knew in her heart was the right thing to do. The doors hissed open and she glided inside, years of training allowing her to maintain an effortless grace even as her mind raced around her.

The Human man was standing by the console, while the two Galra were off to the side playing some sort of hand game that looked an awful lot like lighthearted slapping. She pulled herself to her full height and gently cleared her throat, gather the room’s attention.

“Sven, you look well! No lasting effects from the smoke and heat?”

“No Princess. The pods did their job.” He tentatively smiled at her, shooting a wary look towards his mate who had stiffened significantly.

“Excellent! And … Regris was it?” The Blade nodded. “Your burn wounds appear to have also healed fully.” She smiled at him and he looked at her with a mix of surprise and gratitude as he gave his ‘thanks’. She turned her attention to the final occupant of the room and paused a moment before returning her gaze to Sven and Regris. “We will be arriving at the Blade of Marmora base in 2 dobashes. Please head to the main hangar and be sure you are in your suits. The Castle’s docking system are too damaged so we will instead need to land on the surface of the asteroid. Yurak, could I have a moment?”

There was a long pause before Yurak nodded slightly to Sven, and the others left them for the hangar. He crossed his arms over his chest and leaned his weight onto his right foot, assuming a very ‘Keith’ pose. It made her smile. Allura allowed herself a moment to take in their surrounds, the bloodied gauze on the prep table, the tube of gel still sitting to the side, and the 3 pods that were still occupied. She breathed a deep breath and let it out with a sigh.

“Yurak - ”
“Princess - ”

They broke the silence the same time; a palpable heaviness clung to the air around them. “Oh, yes? Go ahead.” She ushered him.

He rolled his eyes and huffed. “I was just going to say that I know you don’t want me here, but I had no choice. I had to be sure he was ok and I had to be sure the Castle could make the jump to our base. I’m sorry I came on board – I know I’m trespassing and all, but you have to understand -”

She had no idea what came over her. Maybe it was hearing the urgency in his voice as he talked about helping Coran, maybe it was the worried glances he was shooting at the pods, maybe it was the injuries he himself had obtained in an effort to help - or maybe it was the fact that even after everything she had said to him, everything that had transpired between them, he still risked his own life to rush through a wormhole when she called for backup.

Allura could not place exactly what it was that had caused her to react in this way, but she found herself cutting off his words with a tight embrace. Pulling the young Galra close and wrapping her arms around him as she sobbed into his shoulder.

“No, No it is I who am sorry! I am sorry for the way I treated you, sorry for the things I said, sorry for forcing you to leave, and most of all I am sorry for how I hurt you.” She pulled back and looked into his yellow eyes, cupping her hands on either side of his violet face. “Yurak I am so, so sorry. I terribly misjudged you and our entire team paid the price. My eyes have been opened to my foolish behavior and I wish for us to start over – repair our relationship if that is at all possible.”

She stared at him with pleading eyes, begging him to accept her apology and relieve her of the guilt weighing heavily on her chest.

His brows furrowed and a thousand emotions flickered behind his eyes as he grappled with her confession. “We’ve already tried starting over Princess or don’t you remember?” His tone was distrustful and it hurt more that she cared to admit.

“Yes, I recall you offering a fresh start in the training room.”

“Yea, you stormed in and nearly ripped mine and Keith’s heads off after you snuck up on us. If it wasn’t for Slav that whole thing would have gone a lot worse.” He crossed his arms once again, a defensive gesture, but matched her gaze head on.

“It seems we can both be quite stubborn. I was not ready to start over, but I am now.” Yurak’s eyes fell to the floor but she continued. “At the time I had agreed for the sake of keeping up appearances, but I did not truly mean the words. Not yet.”

“I did.” His voice dropped so low it was barely a whisper. Those two words, those two simple words were enough to allow Allura to let go of her pride completely. Dropping to her knees she sank before him, pressing the side of her head against his stomach.

“I am so sorry. Please Yurak! The way you cared for Coran, the pain you caused yourself in the process – you saved his life and for that I am eternally grateful. I – I do not know what I would do without him.” Tears were streaming down her face uncontrolled and her arms shook as they hugged his waist. She could feel how tense he was, clearly uncomfortable with the contact, but he said nothing. Instead he placed his hand on the top of her head and ran his claws through her hair as he began a soft purr.

It was comforting. Just as Allura was beginning to relax he sunk down to meet her on the floor. “I pushed you. I should have taken the time to think before I acted. I know you’re not much older than I am, and that we have been through similar situations. I – I really should have considered that more before lashing out and pushing your limits. I’m sorry too. We’re both to blame.”

She wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him into another tight embrace and he yelped in surprise. They stayed like that for a moment before she pulled back. Looking him in the eyes and echoing his words from what felt like deca-pheobes ago, she made her offer. “Can we start over? I would be willing to try to get along.”

Yurak blinked at her briefly before bursting out into laughter. “I would like that.” He echoed back. Her old words sounded far more genuine coming from him. He actually meant them – and she did too this time.

When Yurak and Allura arrived in the hangar everyone had been on edge not knowing what to expect. The doors opened to laughter as they entered, side by side, an air of comradery flowing around them. Yurak smiled warmly at him, the affection reaching his eyes and making them sparkle like amethyst set in pools of gold. Sven felt his heart burst, he was the luckiest man in the universe and it seemed like the Princess was finally beginning to see what he always knew – that Yurak was a blessing. His presence on the Castle of Lions had brought Keith and Lance together, allowed Keith to connect to his heritage, created a balanced friendship for Coran, let Pidge update the translators and tracking systems, and he was instrumental in helping Hunk repair the Castle.

Sven had always seen his value, and he was glad that Allura was starting to see it too. The repairs to their relationship wouldn’t be instantaneous, but they would be worth it. And it looked they were off to a good start.

Chapter Text

Black circled the asteroid, searching for the right location to land. The problem was the sheer size of the Castle of Lions; it was easily almost half the size of the asteroid they were trying to land it on. In the end he settled on the same location he and Shiro had landed the first time they made contact with the Blades.

The pods guided the Castle into place and helped to ease the impact of landing. Once everything was secured, the doors opened and everyone emerged. Regris came running out, breezing past Lance and Hunk. Tebbit was exiting one of the pods and started laughing in hysterics as Regris stumbled over the small frame of Pidge while yelling excitedly about how ‘totally awesome’ the Altean Castle was. More than 100 pods had been deployed and most were returning to the hangars again. 5 pods remained, one of which was Tebbit’s, and as the other pilots exited their pods he realized why they had chosen to stick around.

Zavin, Vrek, and Marra swarmed Tebbit and Regris, eagerly listening to the latter’s retelling of their battle with Lotor. The fifth pod belonged to Sergin who was making his way over to Sven, tail swishing excitedly behind him. They greeted each other and Yurak nodded his acknowledgment before moving on to the rest of ‘the besties’. Honestly that name still made him laugh. So lame – he couldn’t wait to tell Lance about it.

Antok was waiting patiently by the elevator doors, Allura gracefully sashaying her way through the crowd to greet him. Keith would have joined her but before he could make a move he was being tackled to the ground, a gangle of blue and white limbs wrapping themselves tightly around him. His surprised yelp garnered the attention of Every. Single. Person. But Keith didn’t care. He wrapped his arms around his boyfriend and laughed happily, their paladin armour preventing them from getting any closer.

“I’ve missed you so much Kitty!” Lance whispered in his ear.

“Lance, you literally just saw me inside the Castle less than an hour ago.”

“Yea but that doesn’t count, we were with Hunk and escorting Lotor to a cell.”

“But you still saw me.”

“Not enough of you.” Lance countered, dropping his voice to a sultry low note and adding a wink that was barely visible through their visors. Keith felt his whole body blush.

Ugh! Guys! Your coms are on – don’t be gross.” Pidge scolded. And yup, sure enough Hunk was nervously staring at his feet and Allura was blushing at them with an odd look.

“Oh shit! Sorry guys!” Lance chuckled into the coms before turning his off. “So where were we – oh yea, all the things I didn’t get to see -”

LANCE! OMG Keith’s com is still on you perv!” This time Keith couldn’t hold back the small chuckle.

“Sorry Pidge. Lance get up, we need to move inside the base.” He didn’t bother turning off his coms, once they were inside he would be taking off his helmet anyways.

Yurak, Sven, and Regris had ditched them on the surface; taking the two pods from Black into the hangars with the other Galra that had greeted them. It was actually a good thing – the elevator wasn’t very big and everyone was already squished inside. The doors opened to a long room lined with fully suited and masked Blades, it was a show of arms and Lance was man enough to admit that he was definitely intimidated. 

He felt Keith stiffen slightly beside him, straightening to his full height, and Lance moved to release his hand from where he was holding it. Without turning to look at him, or saying a word, Keith’s grip tightened and he dragged him along, refusing to separate them. Their group, lead by Antok, marched through the long hall lined with Blades until they arrived at the head of the room, and the paladins were directed to stop at the steps of a small stage or platform. Honestly Lance didn’t know where that line was drawn, was it still considered a stage? Was it a platform? Or was it more of a landing? You know what, doesn’t matter – whatever you call it, it was enough to signal that this guy was important.

“Welcome Princess Allura and Paladins of Voltron.” His voice was deep and rough yet it gave no hint of emotion, a very unnerving sound when accompanied by his mask. “I am Kolivan, leader of the Blade of Marmora. Though we have met before, this is your first time on our base.” His penetrating gaze flickered over to Keith and he gave the standard Galra salute, right fist slammed over left chest. “Blade.” Kolivan greeted with a curt nod, a nod that Keith matched.

“Leader.” His voice was level and calm, no emotion as he returned the Galran salute. Their left hands were still locked together and Lance felt the force of the salute reverberate through his arm. It made him shiver.

Kolivan spoke to them about how the Blades would repair the Castle ship but since it was all Greek to Lance he mostly just ignored it. Instead, his attention was drawn to the group of 7 Blades and 1 Sven that filed into place amongst the others lining the room. He noticed the smallest was standing closest to Sven with two tailed Galra on either side of them. One standing beside Sven and the other beside what he assumed was Yurak, aside from his height difference it was nearly impossible to tell any of them apart.

“Yurak.” Kolivan called out, the simple speaking of a name holding far more command than one would expect. Suddenly Lance felt like he was back at the Garrison, listening to Iverson address them by their rank and reprimanding him for failing another sim run. He wondered briefly how Keith had handled being on the Blade’s base with Yurak for almost 2 weeks. He hated the military, he hated the tightly regimented system of rules and commands and authority. Always testing his limits and challenging his superiors, that behaviour wouldn’t go over well here he thought. Keith had stuck it out at the Garrison for as long as he did strictly due to his love of flying and insane amount of skill. Until he lost his shit when Shiro vanished, actually come to think of it he kinda lost his shit the second time Shiro vanished too and -

“-ollow me.” Yurak spun on his heel and turned to leave the room with Hunk, Pidge, and Allura following as they had clearly been paying attention.

“Keith, stay.” Kolivan’s words were a command, not a request, and he felt Keith’s hand release their grip as his arm fell limply to his side. Lance wanted to stay with him, he wanted to stay with Keith and offer support and hold him and just be what ever Keith needed him to be. He didn’t know if their Black paladin was in trouble for leaving or if he was being welcomed back or some other thing Lance just wasn’t aware of. But what he did know was that he didn’t want to follow Yurak, he wanted to stay – with Keith.

A throat cleared and he turned to see that all eyes, or at least what passed for eyes on those creepy Blade masks, were staring at him. The throat cleared again and he found Yurak waiting impatiently with arms crossed, claws tapping on his forearms.

“Lance, you coming or do you not understand how to follow orders?” And – ok wow! Like what the hell Yurak! He was just about to give a sassy retort about how he could totally follow orders if he had been listening in the first place, but Keith beat him to it. A low growl sounded at his right side and all of the creepy glowing lights turned to look at him instead. “Ok, ok, calm down.” Yurak said in the most ‘done’ tone ever, arms rising in a mock surrender before turning to face Lance again. He plastered the largest, fakest, cheesiest smile on his face and the presence of his fangs only made it creepier. “Oh Lance, mighty and brave paladin, please will you grant me the honour of your presence as I lead you through our humble base.” His voice had changed to a surprisingly accurate imitation of Allura (minus the accent) and he threw a sly grin.

Keith rolled his eyes and huffed, muttering something under his breath that sounded scarily similar to ‘I know where you sleep’ which was alarming on it’s own until you took in the look of absolute MURDER in his eyes. Yikes Keith, damn!

Some of the Blades had snickered and some were shifting on their feet, but most seemed unfazed by the display; too well trained to break from something so trivial. “Go.” Was the only thing Kolivan said but it was enough to light a fire under Lance’s butt. He scurried over to the other paladins, leaving Keith standing in the middle of the room facing his stoic leader.

They followed Yurak down the halls, all substantially dimmer than the Castle ship and while none of the Humans had the best night vision, it was clear that Allura was struggling the most.

“It is so dark here.” She said quietly to herself, but Yurak stopped and turned to face her.

“Our eyes see better in low light and since this a base built by, and designed for, Galra – all of the lighting is dimmer than you’re used to.” He gave her a small smile, and Lance felt like maybe he missed something. When did they go from absolutely hating each other to friends? Actually, it was more like a genuine civility not actual friends, but a thousand billions times better than what they had been before.

She smiled back at him. “The Castle of Lions must have been quite the adjustment for you.”

“Uuuggghhhh I’m still fighting a headache from all the bright!” His groan was long and drawn out and dramatic. It made Lance chuckle. For all the ways he and Keith were the alike, there were times that stood to remind everyone that they were two different people who had two different life experiences. Keith would never have reacted that way. In private, with just Lance or Yurak, sure – but never around the others, and certainly never around Allura.

Her smile stayed firmly in place as it reached up to her eyes, a genuine warmth replacing the diplomatic pleasantry. After a few seconds their tour resumed.

Lance was in awe. Pidge and Hunk were oohing and awing at all the tech and gadgets they could see around the base but Lance was unabashedly gaping at the sheer size. The Blade of Marmora HQ was MASSIVE. He thought maybe that they had built their base into the asteroid but it was starting to feel more like they just stuck bits of asteroid onto the base. There were so many floors that each level could benefit from a ‘you are here’ map. It was like being in the Mall of America, but with fewer Build-A-Bear workshops and more espionage.

Yurak expertly lead them around the base from the main area (lobby?) to a set of stairs and a wall of elevators. He hit one of the buttons and a door opened, letting them all file in as the sole occupant shuffled uncomfortably to the side.

The elevators on the Castle ship didn’t have a control panel, you just walked in and it took you where you wanted to go. How it worked was beyond him, probably some kind of freaky space magic or something. But these were more like the elevators on earth. They had a control panel with buttons that represented different floors – except there were two panels, and they were different from each other. The symbols on the buttons were Galran, he could tell cause they just looked like squiggles. Obviously Yurak knew what they meant because he proceeded to type a series into the panel and it blinked in a deep violet colour before lighting up magenta with a ~bing bing ding~ tune that was waaaay too cheery for the Galra.

Suddenly the small elevator began to climb several floors before violently jerking to the left. Everyone (Ok only the three Humans) crashed into the right wall, and groaned loudly at the sudden assault. Yurak, that little bastard, started snickering.

“Yea, I remember the first time Sven used an elevator on the Gamara base. He hadn’t expected that either.”

“The base from your other reality was similar to this one?” Allura was genuinely intrigued and Lance noticed their guest passenger perk up for a response as well.

“Well yea, it was designed and built by Galra so there are a lot of similarities to this base and also Central Command according to what I’ve heard. Kinda like how the Castle of Lions is so similar to the Altean ships Sven and I used to raid.” He winced. “Oh, sorry Princess.”

“No, no it is quite alright. We have made our peace and I do not wish to back peddle.” She offered a warm smile and he gave a curt nod. The stark contrast between Altean and Galra culture could not have been clearer.

Lance turned around to look out the window. He hadn’t noticed it at first because the elevator shaft had hidden the fact that the entire back wall was actually a window. But now that they were clear of the shaft, he watched the base fly by. Lance had been in a glass walled elevator before when his family took a trip to Niagara Falls to visit his cousin Dante who had moved there to work at a winery. They had stayed a few days in Toronto after their flight landed and his favourite thing had been going up the CN Tower and watching the sprawling city shrink below them, so this was nothing new but it was still super cool.

“Why do you need to have a stupid ass Willy Wanka elevator? Just walk down the hall.” Pidge grumbled under her breath as she adjusted her glasses and rubbed her very sore arm. Being the closest to the wall, she had found herself at the bottom of their pileup.

“Oh wow, what a stellar suggestion Green.” Yurak’s voice absolutely dripping with sarcasm. “How about I let you out here and you meet us at the cafeteria. It’s a 5mile walk through the winding hallways and you have 30 dobashes before lunch ends. Have fun!” The shit-eating grin plastered on his face was hilarious and Lance snorted, earning him a pointed glare from the little gremlin.

Pidge mumbled something about her jetpack but ultimately didn’t say anything further.

Stars! His eyes were wide and sparkling because he had just died and gone to buffet heaven! Oh this was the best day of his life – or at least since they had been shot into space.

Yurak had decided to head for the main cafeteria before showing them to their rooms. And oooh did Hunk agree with that train of thought! He was totally and completely 100% on board with this!

Looking around the room he saw rows and rows of tables setup cafeteria style with a large (huge, really) buffet table running along the entire back wall. There was a station setup with fresh squeezed juices and something dark that smelled bitter like it could be space coffee. Yurak had swatted his hand and told him to stay clear of it if he didn’t feel like having terrible diarrhoea which, yeah no, that wasn’t something that sounded fun at all. It seemed like all the Galra were drinking it though so could it really be that bad?

Turns out yes – yes it could be that bad. Pidge, poor sweet caffeine addicted Pidge, hadn’t heard the warning and excitedly gulped down two glasses of what they were now discovering was essentially liquid Ex-Lax to Humans. She had run, hand over bowels, behind Yurak as he dragged her to the nearest restroom.

“Is she gunna be ok?” Lance asked worriedly and Hunk was surprised Yurak was able to hear the question over his unrestrained laughter. Taking a gasping breath, he slinked to the floor outside the bathroom door and looked up at them.

“Yea.” He managed as he wiped a tear from his eye. “She’ll be fine. It might take a few vargas but it will stop eventually. I had to learn about kimbin’s effects the hard way so I know what she’s going through.” He was still clutching his sides as his body shook with laughter. His efforts doubling over at the painful groan coming from behind the door. “Aww Green you’ll be ok! I’ll bring you some vyn-fruit juice it will help!”

whassit taste like?” Her shaking voice came through the door and Hunk felt his heart just melt for her. Poor thing!

“Sven said it reminded him of something called a cocknut – but that can’t be right. Tropical he said.”

Lance sputtered. “You mean Coconut?”

“YES! Thank you, Lance!” Yurak beamed at him before tearing off towards the cafeteria again and returning in record time with several glasses of a bright pink liquid.

“OMG, Hunk you gotta try this!! Tastes like a pina colada holy shit.” Lance had already finished his glass and moved on to Allura’s who had been giving hers a sceptical look. Hunk took a tentative sip and oooo Lance was right! It tasted exactly like a pina colada. The drink was cool and sweet and so so good, a little more on the coconut-y side than a true pina colada should be but mmm was it ever nice.

Yurak had passed Pidge what could only be described as a pitcher, through a crack in the door and told her to drink it slowly. After a few minutes she stepped out of the bathroom, sweat dripping from her forehead and a bright red glow on her cheeks.

“Uh, hey guys. Don’t. Ever. Mention. This.” She warned.

“Hot kimbin?” Keith’s ninja voice came out of nowhere making all three Humans jump and shreik. “Sorry Pidge, that sucks. Been there.” He added, nodding to himself.

“KITTY!” Lance practically tackled him in a bear hug and Keith groaned from the force, or the pet name, or most likely both. “What did Kolivan want? Did you get in trouble? Did you get an earful? What happened? Do we need to stay on the Castle? Is everything ok? Do you want some vyn-fruit juice? Where is our room? Wait – it is our room right? I don’t have to be separated from you again do I? Can you join us for the tour? Wait is that why you’re here? No wait, you’re probably here to catch some lunch! OMG Stay away from kibbin or kimbim or what ever Pidge drank -”

Keith slapped his hand over Lance’s mouth and Yurak muttered a ‘finally’. “Wow, that was – a lot.” A very muffled ‘sorry’ came from under Keith’s hand and he chuckled. “If I remove my hand do you promise not to speak?” a nod. “Ok, here goes. And Lance – if you speak, I will punish you.” There was a dark glint in his eyes that left no room for the imagination; it was anything but subtle.

Lance blushed, Pridge groaned, Yurak snickered, and Allura just looked completely taken aback. But Hunk – he was going to defend his best friend’s honour.

“Actually, he still owes you a punishment from ‘the breakfast incident’ so if he speaks then you are technically even.” Lance turned and beamed at him, not daring to open his mouth.

“Fair.” Was all Keith said before he turned to Yurak. “You continue the tour and I’ll take Pidge down to the medbay. Let me know if Lance speaks.”

“Nope, your bedroom shit is between you guys. Come on, we’re heading to the guest quarters now.”

And with that they split up. Allura, Lance, and himself following Yurak while Pidge traipsed along beside Keith. The base really was massive and Hunk knew that without one of the twins around, there was no way he was going to find where he was going. And where he was going was definitely back to that cafeteria.

Chapter Text

He woke up to the most intense brain haze he had ever experienced. Coming out of a 10,000 year Cryosleep hadn’t even left him this out of sorts. Luckily the arms that caught him were strong and steady. Coran looked up into pools of gold and his heart skipped a beat, Yurak? No Allura had sent him away. He wasn’t allowed back on the Castle of Lions so Coran must be imagining it. His brain must be translating Keith as Yurak. Yea that’s right, it’s probably Keith.

“Coran? Have you returned to full cognitive function? I understand how the spectacular healing pods can leave one without their senses. A timely response to confirm your status would be much appreciated.” Keith speaking Altean? IT IS YURAK!!

Coran wrapped his arms around the boy supporting his weight and took in the shocked expression on those purple features. Those beautiful, beautiful purple features. Oh how he missed his friend.

“Uh dear boy! I feared our reunion would never come to pass. Tell me what, pray tell, you did to convince the ever-lovely Princess Allura that you should be granted access to the Castle of Lions once more?” He removed himself from their embrace and stood on his own legs, the haze starting to lift.

Yurak chuckled and smiled brightly at him. “Well good sir, I disregarded her previous commands and rushed to save your life. Evidently the ever-lovely Princess Allura values you and your well-being far more than she values our feud.” He leaned in and lowered his voice, “Between the two of us dear friend, I believe the injuries I sustained during said life saving efforts were the catalyst to repairing the Princess and my relationship.”

“Splendid news indeed! Oh my – No no not that your injuries are splendid but rather, the knowledge of a re-established bridge between you. I am most pleased with this, note the joy upon my face.”

Yurak laughed again and pulled him into another hug. “I have greatly missed you dear friend. Please, I request that we depart the Castle of Lions. The systems have been brought offline for repairs and though I am well versed in the language, I am less than fond of speaking Altean. Tis a language far too formal for my liking, I do hope you understand.

“Why of course! Shall we proceed? Please guide the way dear friend.”

“Before we depart this vessel, you must disrobe. The specialized suit for the pods must be removed from your person and replaced with a pressurized suit for entering into space. I shall avert my gaze to preserve your dignity. The appropriate attire has been laid out for you on the table to our right.” Yurak smiled and turned around, moving to stand as a barrier between him and the windows of the medbay.

Coran changed as quickly as possible; body still aching from his now healed injuries. The fatigue would take more time to wear off, but he could already feel his wits coming back in full. Once dressed he placed a hand on the young Galra’s shoulder and gave a slight squeeze.

“Right, ONWARD!” He thrust his right arm into the air and marched ahead listening to the light chuckle behind. The boy moved swiftly, stopping him just before the heavy doors.

“Halt.” A hand lifted into his path. “Dear friend, the medbay is the only room in which the life support systems have been activated. Please place your helmet on your head so we may proceed safely into the rest of the ship.”

Coran followed his orders and Yurak opened the doors, having activated his Blade of Marmora mask and ushering them silently into the cold, dark halls of the Castle of Lions.

As they walked along, their path illuminated by the faint purple glow of Yurak’s suit, they passed Blade after Blade working on repairs. At least 100 Galra were on-board the Castle repairing everything from paneling to circuitry to the complex internal systems. He wondered how much effort it must have taken to convince the Princess to allow this. Much, he guessed. But it was for the best. Based on what he could see as they made their way down the corridors, the damage was severe. So severe in fact, he doubted they would have been able to make the repairs themselves.

Number 2 is an incredible mechanic and engineer, Number 5 is nothing short of genius, Number 3 is enthusiastic and willing, and Number 4 is a quick learner and adaptable. His team would have been able to fix the Castle – eventually, but they didn’t have the luxury of time. They were in a war. A war that made acquiring the necessary resources difficult and dangerous, a war that made staying one place for too long a risk, a war that made the damaged Castle a liability instead of the secure fortress it was meant to be.

Coran felt himself tire at the thought. With the systems off they were most likely drifting lifeless in space. He imagined how many pods must be docked in the hangars to account for all the Blades present and wondered if the lions carried any on board. They passed the bridge and his heart stopped. The damage done was … well it was beyond words.

The doors were fussed together, the only access being through a hole blasted into them. There were large, dark scorch makes radiating from the hole as the ghost of long extinguished flames licked the surface, hinting at the destruction that lay inside. He spoke no words, couldn’t if he wanted to, as he turned from the procession to look through the hole.

His face paled, air punched from his lungs, as the full extent of the damage settled in. Amongst the twisted metal and charred furnishings were the remains of the central control panel. Coran had been standing there at the time of the blast and as his eyes scanned the scene before him, the memories overlay his vision.

“We have another suppressor out - VIN bay 3 and 8 are offline – there goes VIN bay 7!! – the coolant is leaking into the engine – one of the thrusters is damaged – nope, never mind it’s been blown right off now! - ” Coran called out a constant stream of updates over the coms to his Princess.

This Castle was falling apart. The lions were doing an expert job of maintaining the focus of that strange ship Lotor had, but the small blasts getting through were adding to the damage they had already taken.

He frantically mashed the buttons on his console, activating emergency protocols and diverting power to the most important systems – life support and floor lighting. As long as he could breathe and see where he was going then he could run repairs. The particle barrier was far too damaged to activate and most of their other weaponry had been directly targeted by the small blasts from Lotor. He was defenseless; no weapons and no shields, but Coran Hieronymus Wimbleton Smythe was no quitter. No siree – he was a survivor! There was no way he was going to let the last legacy of his people be destroyed the Galran Prince, not while his Princess was out there fighting, not while paladins were still in their lions, not while there was still hope.

He saw the light form in front of the ship as it prepared another large blast like the one that had taken out his defenses. This was it; this was the last hit the castle could take. Coran took a deep breath and activated his crazy plan, a last ditch effort to save the castle and himself from certain destruction. Diverting the power of the Balmeran crystal this time, he activated the particle barrier directly in front of the where the blast would hit. It wouldn’t be enough to stop it, but it would hopefully prevent the castle from outright exploding.

When the blast hit, Coran felt the shock wave rip through the bridge. The screens shattered, eliminating his view of the battle outside and leaving only the chaos that surrounded him. Everything was darkness as panels sputtered and fritzed, sparks of electricity raining down in all directions. His head was swimming and through the pain he felt the heat swell as a sudden blaze ignited all around.

Rushing to the vents, he sealed the room. ‘At least the damage can be contained’ he thought, he could spare the rest of the castle and only sacrifice the bridge. He would repair it after the battle. Once the vents were sealed, he made his way to the doors but they would not budge. With the systems offline he would have to manually open the heavy double doors. Turning back into the inferno he tried to find something, anything that could be used to pry them apart. The air was thickening, smoke and heat choking him and making every breath a struggle. Coran grabbed a chunk of metal that used to be part of a paladin’s chair – green he noted, and rushed back for the doors.

Wedging the piece into the door he tried with all his might but they wouldn’t budge, not even slightly. There was no other way out, he HAD to get the door open or he would die in this room, consumed by the flames the Galran Prince had ignited. A small explosion pushed him against the door and he felt the heat through his clothes. Another eruption like that could blow the cover off one of the vents, allowing the fire to escape into the rest of the castle. He couldn’t let that happen, the door would have to wait; the castle needed to be protected.

Coran dropped the metal wedge and rushed into the center of the bridge. Passing the already exploded blue station, he moved to the red paladin station and began activating the extinguishers. Just as he was about to move on, the yellow station exploded and the sudden heat made his chest tighten, his breath burned with each gasp coming in painful and shallow -

“-oran? Coran, can you hear me?” The Galran words, translated through his helmet, took a moment to sink in; blinking he pulled himself back to reality. The heat on his skin and the burning in his throat vanished as the memories subsided. The Castle had been protected, Lotor had been defeated, and he was alive. Everything was fine.

Taking a deep, calming breath Coran looked up into the glowing purple orbs that served as eyes. “Had a bit of a spell there. Nothing to worry about!” He said, summoning as much cheer as he could muster.

“It’s ok to not be ok, Coran.” Though his expression was impossible to determine with the mask concealing his face, Yurak’s voice was soft and comforting. “When we get off the ship you should go to our medbay. We have some teas that will help with the nerves and let you rest.”

“That would be nice. Are we taking a pod then?”

“Uh, no?” The boy’s head tilted to the side and his voice gave a questioning influx at the end. “RIGHT! OMG you don’t know! Obviously!” His hand flew to his forehead in what Number 3 had referred to as a ‘facepalm’ gesture in the past. “The ship was stranded in Empire territory, we had to move it before we could begin any repairs so Kolivan said to dock here, at the main base. Our people are doing the repairs and Green, Yellow, Sven, and I have been helping. Also – Slav is here so brace yourself, he hasn’t shut up about asking you if he can make improvements.”

So they were at the Blade of Marmora base? In a ship that was so damaged they could no longer defend themselves! And Allura had agreed to this? Coran felt a swell of warmth in his chest for the maturity of his beautiful Princess. She was growing into the fine woman her father had always knew she was capable of being. Moving past her personal woes to make the rational decision, one that caused her emotional stress but was the best overall. Proud, Coran was so very proud.

“Will. You. Shut. UP!!!” Keith was pinching the bridge of his nose and clenching his jaw as he yelled; the very last of his fraying nerves starting to give. Slav blinked a few times before continuing where he left off, rambling on and on about potential outcomes. With all the hustle and bustle surrounding Sven and Yurak that first week, he had completely forgotten Slav even existed! Coran had mentioned something about calling an escort for the weird little alien, but Lance really hadn’t paid much attention.

After another 20 seconds, Keith’s patience finally gave out. Slav squealed, jumping to avoid the wrench chucked at his head; it was priceless. Lance nearly lost his balance as he doubled over, gasping for air. He hadn’t announced his arrival and it took Keith by surprise. His half-Galra, ninja boyfriend leapt out of his skin with a loud and aggressive hiss, crumbling the last of Lance’s strength as he fell to his knees, collapsing in a fit of laughter.

“LANCE! OMG, what the hell.” There was mixture of suppressed giggles from the various Blades in the room and Slav was back to rambling, though all Lance could hear was Keith’s voice. He focused on it like an anchor dragging him back to reality and a strong hand reached down to hoist him up.

“Oh Kitty that was perfect, just perfect.” He giggled as he wiped the tears from the corner of his eyes.

“Yea, sure. Lance why are you - ” Keith froze. He stared wide-eyed at Lance, grasping his chin between a partially gloved index finger and thumb, and lifting his face into the light. “Lance … what happened to your face?” His voice went calm, scary calm. If it had been a person who gave him these bruises Lance would have feared for their safety.

“Oh nothing, it’s just from the training droid. It was stuck on some crazy high level and I didn’t stand a chance. It was a massacre Keith – A MASSACRE!” Lance threw his arms up in an exaggerated motion and pulled a small chuckle from of his boyfriend. “But you know what? You should kiss it - ” Just as he added a little wink to punctuate his point, Keith’s lips grazed his lashes. Light kisses ghosted over each bruise before landing briefly on his lips.

“Better?” His voice was low, barely above a whisper and Lance only managed enough breath to exhale an airy ‘yeah’ against Keith’s very close lips. The dark haired boy smirked before letting go of his chin.

Keith stepped back and turned around to see half a dozen pairs of yellow eyes focused on them. “What?” he defiantly asked the room, and one of the younger Galra burst out laughing causing Keith to roll his eyes and mutter something about maturity levels.

It was weird, they had been fighting ‘the Galra’ this whole war and he had never once thought of them as anything other than … well … ‘other’. The Alteans, while being aliens, had always felt normal yet different; not necessarily Human, but still people just the same. That went for the Olkari, Rolo and Nyma, and all the other aliens they rescued. But the Galra had always felt so – alien. They were the big bads of the universe, an evil race that knew nothing but death and war and destruction. Yet here they were, laughing and joking around, one of them making little kissy noises at Keith as he swatted back and tried to grab them. It was cute, it was juvenile, but most importantly – it was Human.

Lance looked around the room, really looked, and for the first time he saw not the terrifying purple aliens, but an oddly cat like species of purple people. Yurak had been the one exception to the Galra; he was basically just Keith so in their eyes he wasn’t really a ‘Galra’ like the others. He watched as a very Human looking Keith blended right in, aside from his pale skin and white eyes. He had all the same mannerisms, his graceful movements seeming almost fluid, and his discerning eyes were sharp and observant. The more he watched, the more he understood. Keith looks Human, but Keith isn’t Human, he isn’t Galra either – he’s Keith. A clever, talented, and downright sexy mess. A half-breed who is both Human AND Galra but not fully either. But most important of all; Keith is his. His to stare at, his to kiss, his to snuggle up to, his to talk with, and his to love.

Lance felt the shift, like something deep inside him had slotted into place, and before he could even process what had happened, Keith’s lips were on him. It was a deep yearning kiss, one that threatened to suck the life right out of him, and he wouldn’t have had it any other way. Lance wrapped his fingers in black hair and parted his lips just enough that a soft tongue pushed in. His breath was gone, taken away and replaced with the smoky scent of Keith. All he could taste was Keith, all he could smell was Keith, all he could feel was Keith; every thing was Keith. Keith. Keith.

Panting for air he separated them and the black haired boy blinked down at him from a daze. The room had gone silent and he ventured a glance over a strong shoulder to see every single eye in the room focused on them. Suddenly a deep blush crept up his neck and across his cheeks, hyper aware of the various Galra watching them.

“Lance.” Keith breathed his name, and he tried to reply but the other had already grabbed his wrist and was dragging him out of the room, a chorus of laughter left in their wake.

Chapter Text

Their room sucked. Team Voltron had been given guest rooms and since the Blades don’t have many guests, they had been buddied up. Pidge and Hunk were sharing a dorm style room with two twin size beds on opposite walls, twin closets, but no bathroom. Allura and Coran shared a room that had a private bathroom, twin closets, and two twin size beds set into the wall with heavy curtains for privacy. Lance was staying in Keith’s room, which sucked. It wasn’t the sharing a room with Keith that sucked – no; it was the actual room that sucked.

It was small and reminiscent of a cheap motel. There was no bathroom, only one closet, and a double bed in the corner. The only upgrade their room had over the others was a data pad that came loaded with movies, TV shows, and video games none of which Lance understood. They were all in Galran with the option to switch to Common, and sure he had a translator in his helmet but he didn’t feel like wearing it in his room.

Lance fell backwards onto the bed and was surprised by how comfortable it was. The soft blankets and sheets had a fresh smell akin to a summer rain and it made him feel more relaxed. The room was dim, even dimmer than the halls had been, with soft purple lighting and dark metal walls. Honestly the Galra were as obsessed with black and purple as the Alteans were with white and bright blue.

He lay on the bed in the dimly lit room and tried not to think about how much things had changed. They were on a base that was made up entirely of Galra with the only exceptions being Sven and the rest of the paladins – OH and Slav. Lance groaned as he recalled Slav’s incessant rambling. The funny little alien was by far the most annoying creature to have ever existed. He had been talking Coran’s ear off since the Altean man walked off the Castle and it was only when Yurak clocked him that he finally shut up. They had re assigned him after that, placing the pain in the butt with Keith – until the other twin chucked a wrench at him. Now Slav was working by himself altering blueprints and plans for modifications to the Castle of Lions, far far away from the twins. Coran was partly over seeing the changes but mostly he was trying to get some rest.

Yurak and Keith were supposed to be going into a Weblum tomorrow to retrieve more scaultrite and neither seemed very pumped at the prospect. Hunk was incredibly relieved though; he had paled considerably at the very mention of a Weblum. Instead Hunk, Allura, and himself were heading off to a nearby Balmera to replace the Castle’s battleship class crystal. They would be taking the Blue and Yellow lions, with Yellow transporting the crystal and Blue taking Lance. He was excited to be back in his original lion, granted he wasn’t going to be flying her but still. Though he was a little bummed that Red was being left behind, the excitement of having something to do for the first time in days was enough to boost his spirits. Allura wanted to perform the rejuvenation ceremony for the Balmera, ensuring that its gift was appreciated and replenished. Her words. Lance just hoped they didn’t run into any Galra while they were there.

Pidge and Sven were working on a transport unit to move Lotor off the Castle Ship and into a cell on the base. Kolivan didn’t want any chance for the Prince to escape or glimpse his surroundings; he would know where they were located and what their defences were like. It seemed that if they moved Lotor off the Castle that he would never leave this base – alive. That was unnerving, Lance knew that Lotor was a bad dude and that he deserved to be a prisoner but it still didn’t sit well with him. The Generals had started to open up to the Blades running their interrogations about some of the more horrible things he had planned. And yea, it was not good. Lotor had some serious villain plans brewing, like really really bad stuff. Dude was evil.

Allura hated watching them, she couldn’t stand to be on the other side of the two-way mirror and watch the Blades draw information. Lance had tried to stay with her for comfort but he’d had a hard time stomaching some of it himself. The worst was when they had taken some liquid and poured it on Zethrid’s arm. Whatever her other species was, they were allergic to this substance and it made the flesh blister like a bad burn. After she told them what they wanted to hear, she was bandaged up and provided with medicine and painkillers, then returned to her cell. It was still horrible to watch.

The Blades had run medical diagnostics on all three Generals and customized their interrogations accordingly. Lance wondered what they would do to Keith or Yurak if the rolls had been reversed. What kind of adapted torture would they use on the half Humans? He shuddered to think about it and rolled over to his side. It was strange to think that this was no big deal to them; the Blades hadn’t even thought that what they were doing was cruel or wrong. The strangest part was how they had gawked and paled at the conditions the Generals were kept in on the Castle.

Lance had thought the cells on the Altean ship were nice, humane even. They had little windows, a decent looking bed, a toilet, and even a sink. There was plenty of space to move around and they were clean and well lit. He had heard some mutterings about the cruelty of the Humans and Alteans but thought that was absolutely absurd. They weren’t the ones customizing torture after all. In fact, Allura had made it very clear that she would not tolerate that method at all. So how they could be considered the cruel ones had blown Lance’s mind.

Until he saw the cells the Blades had.

They were small, much smaller than the cells on the Castle Ship, but they were softer somehow. Instead of crisp, clean white and bright blue, they were the same dark metal and purple as everything else on the base. They didn’t have the medical feeling the Castle seemed to emanate; instead they felt warm and almost alive. The purple and magenta accents were the only sources of light, casting a soft glow inside the cells. It would have been far too dark for Humans or Alteans but Lance knew the Galra preferred dim lighting – the Generals had probably suffered a constant headache from the lights on the Castle, even though the cells had been considerably dimmer than the hallways.

The bedding in these cells looked softer too. Altean beds were firm and thin, with thin crisp blankets and sheets. These beds were soft and thick, wrapped in a bundle of fluffy looking blankets and a stack of pillows that would make a 13-year-old girl jealous. Even the paladin’s guest rooms were filled with fluffy blankets and pillows. Lance knew Keith liked to snuggle himself in the blankets when he was sad or lonely. Shortly after arriving at the Castle they had found all of the empty rooms on their floor stripped bare; eventually finding the missing bedding folded neatly in Keith’s closet. It had made him laugh when they discovered it, and he’d thought it was adorable when he found Keith burrito-ed in his bed after getting a bad migraine from a blow to the head in battle. He’d chalked it up to a weird Keith quirk but maybe it was just a Galra thing? Maybe both, Humans like to snuggle up with pillows and blankets too – Lance was living proof of that.

The most notable change in conditions though was something he had never even considered. On the castle they had separated each General into their own cell with a locked door and a particle barrier that apparently doubled as an electric shocker. The barriers had the ability to fog and block all sound, effectively cutting off the cells from any outside stimuli and plunging the occupant into solitary confinement.

He hadn’t found this weird (aside from the super advanced tech), after all Human prisons utilized solitary confinement as a punishment for volatile or misbehaving prisoners. It wasn’t until the Blades found Lotor’s cell with the barrier fogged that they had gasped dramatically. He found out from Regris and Tebbit that it was considered the second cruellest form of torture. Second only to separating mates - which they had also done with Zethrid and Ezor.

The Blades had thought of them as being horribly cruel until Keith explained that it was just how it was done on Earth, that separating prisoners was normal. He explained that it was what they were used to and he hadn’t realized the effects it would have on Galra. Yurak had stayed suspiciously quiet for the discussion and when the large one, Antok, turned to ask him if it was different in his reality like it was on Earth, he had confirmed that it was not.

The knowledge that Yurak knew exactly what he was doing when they separated Zethrid and Ezor made all of the Galra in the room gasp and blanch. He had shrugged like it was no big deal but Lance could tell some of the Blades were scared of him, and others thought he was cruel. Kolivan asked for a justification and Yurak had told them all that he was angry because they had threated Sven. That seemed to satisfy the Galra but Lance thought it was a silly reason. Apparently this ‘mate’ thing was a much bigger deal than he thought.

Zethrid and Ezor were now in a shared cell. Acxa was separated from them but she was not cut off completely like she had been on the Castle. The cells allowed for open communication between them. He had seen the prisoner cells the Empire used and it was further proof that the Blade of Marmora was nothing like the Empire.

Lotor’s cell was different though. It was being setup in a much higher security area and he would be separated from the Generals but not left in solitary confinement. Yurak had advocated for the ‘gallows’ instead but received a lot of glares from the room so he shut up. Allura had actually backed him though which was weird. Not that she agreed with him, she hadn’t, instead she had offered justifications for his views. Explaining the horrid things Lotor had done in Yurak’s reality and why his hatred for the Prince was so strong. Lance couldn’t understand hating someone that much, he hated Zarkon and Haggar but he would be happy to lock them away instead of killing them.

He had wanted to ask what their plan was for Lotor in the long run. Like, keeping him contained was all well and good for now but it couldn’t be their end game for him. He had wanted to ask, he just chickened out. Even though the Blade of Marmora were a thousand times better than the Empire, and not quite as scary as he had originally pegged them, they were still Galra and they had their own ways of doing things. Ways that Lance, as a Human, was not allowed knowing about. He briefly wondered if he could get the information out of Keith, and while normally his boyfriend wasn’t very chatty, he became a lot more open behind closed doors.

Lance rolled his head on one of the many pillows and sputtered out a mouth full of fuzz. Last night had been their first night on base and he had to admit that he hadn’t slept that well in a long time. It was nice to curl up in a swarm of blankets with Keith wrapped around him, purring softly in his ear. When he had mentioned the purring again in the morning the black haired boy had become as red as his former lion. Lance didn’t think it was weird though, he knew Keith was part alien so odd little quirks were bound to be there; he actually thought it was incredibly cute and oddly comforting.

They were stuck going into a weblum. It was going to be the worst. Sven had laughed at them and said they deserved it but he wasn’t there – he didn’t have to listen to Slav blather on and on and on and on and on and OH GOD IT WAS NEVER GOING TO END. Coran had just come out of the pod, he was exhausted and needed to rest, but Slav was unrelenting. Yurak tried to be polite, really he did, but Slav just ate away at what little self-control he had. Keith had done the same – kinda, he had used a wrench instead of his fist but that’s only because Yurak didn’t have anything to throw. Kolivan was now punishing them for their ‘lack of restraint and patience’ like it was their fault. Ok, admittedly they had both lost their shit but come on! This is Slav they are talking about – how can you NOT lose your shit when dealing with him.

Sven was a dead man; Yurak was going to kill his mate when he got back from training with Sergin. The traitorous, self-righteous, sexy bastard had thrown him under the bus. Wait, not sexy! That was a compliment and Yurak was mad at him, even if he did have eyes of sharpened steel that could cut through his soul, and skin so smooth it put a well-aged whiskey to shame. Mmm he could spend the rest of his life just drinking in that man’s existence, basking in his beautiful presence, and admiring his everything! Sven was beautiful inside and out. What was he angry about again? Oh yea! Weblum, so now he and Keith had to go into a weblum all because of stupid Slav.

They had all been called into the main meeting room to discuss the repairs on the Castle of Lions. Kolivan and Coran had made a list of everything the Castle needed that the base didn’t have and would need to be acquired. The list wasn’t very long but it was almost entirely risky stuff. Like scaultrite, a balmeran crystal, and some tech stuff from the Olkari they would need to travel through Empire controlled territory to get. Naturally the Princess, Lance, and Yellow were going for the crystal, Green was being sent to Olkarion with Sven and Slav (suckers), while he and Keith were being punished so they got the giant planet eating space worm. Fun.

When Kolivan announced their punishment Allura had chuckled and Yellow looked incredibly relieved but Sven had agreed whole-heartedly. OH YEA!! He was mad at Sven! That sexy bastard had ratted him out. ‘Yurak should have known better. We’ve worked with our reality’s version of Slav for deca-pheobs. They’ve never gotten along but I don’t think he’s ever hit him before.’ He’d said. Dick. Ridiculously attractive dick, but a dick nonetheless.

Yurak groaned and continued loading their supplies into the black lion. He packed the collapsible containers they would fill with scaultrite as well as some emergency kits in case of, well, an emergency. Those kits included first aid provisions, thick heat trapping blankets, hydration pouches, food rations, puzzles to prevent space madness, and long-range backup communicators to signal for help. Luckily he was going with Keith so he didn’t need to worry about the translators going down if they lost power, but there were still a thousand ways a simple mission could go wrong. And this wasn’t a simple mission – this was a trip inside a weblum. Sure he had done this several times before back in his own reality, and Keith had done it once already too, but there was always a chance that this time something could go wrong. Especially since weblums are so dangerous. Like come on – giant planet exploding face laser, did he need to say anything else?

Yurak had learned from the Guns of Gamara that you always plan for failure. It was better than expecting to succeed and being left without help if you didn’t. Maybe that was a pessimistic outlook but it got the job done and it had saved his ass on numerous occasions. Being stuck adrift in space was not the same as being stuck on a planet. You couldn’t just abandon ship and hope for the best, not when your ONLY chance of survival was to stay on board said ship and wait for rescue. Space is huge, like infinitely huge, and rescue takes time. It is the waiting you need to prepare for.

He had been right – this SUCKED. The weblum they were sent out to was massive. Way bigger than any he had ever been in before and Keith confirmed it was bigger than the one he’d been sent to. The thing was so big they could fly Black right inside if they had wanted to. Keith didn’t want to risk it though, he didn’t want to expose his lion to the acid creatures that live inside a weblum and if Yurak was being honest, he didn’t want to risk their ride home being digested. Which meant that when the acid creatures attacked it was Yurak who got covered in acidy goo. It was Yurak who had to fight his way through the stomachs of the space worm. It was Yurak who fell into a puddle of digestive juices and got his suit covered in partially digested planet gunk. All because ‘princess paladin’ had to fly his lion to make the weblum activated its laser. So Yurak got to be the one to go inside. Worst. Punishment. Ever.

They made it to their Balmera safely, no attacks, no random Galra scouts, no sentries to take down. It was nice to find a Balmera that hadn’t been taken over by the Galra but then again in a way it had; the Blade of Marmora was using this one. They didn’t treat the creature the way the Empire did, and they weren’t mindlessly mining it for its crystals. The Blades only took crystals when they needed one, but they weren’t Altean so they couldn’t give back like Allura could.

The Balmerans that lived here were a different species than Shay and her people. Hunk didn’t know why he thought they would be the same. Because like, obviously they had developed on completely different balmera, in completely different parts of the universe. It would have been silly if they had been the same. But for some reason he found himself disappointed that they were so different.

These Balmerans were much friendlier than Shay’s people had been. But like, yea Hunk totally understood why. Shay’s people had been oppressed by the Galra and forced to mine their beloved balmera to the point that it was dying. But these Balmerans had only ever met the Blades and it showed. They weren’t nearly as wary and were much more trusting, welcoming Hunk, Lance, and Allura with open arms.

Their food was better too. While the three paladins waited for the creature to generate a battleship class crystal, the Balmerans provided them with food and drink and general merriment. They did some dances and played some music and ate some stew and told ancient stories about their history and legends. It was all super fascinating and even Lance was showing genuine interest. Honestly though, even if this balmera had been over run by the Empire and they had to fight their way to the surface, it still would have been better than going back inside a weblum. He shuddered just thinking about it. He felt bad for the twins.

No, really – he did! He felt super bad for them cause like, the weblum sucked! It sucked so bad! Hunk didn’t even think they deserved their punishment cause he knew what Slav was like and, yea it was no surprise the twin hotheads had lost it. It’s not like they tried to ‘off’ him or anything, but Kolivan had insisted that he holds his Blades to a higher standard. That they need to be able to withstand large amounts of stress without snapping and yea, Hunk could understand that. If the Empire ever captured them then they would have to suffer far worse than listening to Slav for a few hours.

“Hunk, we are ready to depart the Balmera.” Allura’s face popped up on his screen giving the go ahead to launch. The crystal was so large it barely fit inside his lion’s cargo hold and it had weighed a TONNE. No offence to Lance, but his spindly little arms weren’t much help so it was mostly Hunk and Allura who had loaded the crystal into the lion after the Princess completed the rejuvenation ceremony. Lance supervised and guided them, but in the end they hadn’t really needed him at all.

Hunk could tell that Lance noticed. He saw the red paladin, his best friend in the whole universe, awkwardly bound about as he tried to find some way to be of use. He couldn’t help with the crystal, he couldn’t do the ceremony, he didn’t have a lion to fly, and there were no Galra to protect them from. A dejected Lance lumbered into Blue and stood quietly behind Allura.

“Roger that Princess! Gatito Amarillo taking off!”

“Gatito Amarillo?” She whispered, incredibly confused. Hunk knew Lance; he knew the use of his best friend’s native language would perk him up. And it had worked. Lance excitedly translated ‘yellow kitty’ to Allura and his face spread in a fond smile.

Taking a road trip (space trip?) with Sven was kinda weird. This time they were IN the green lion this time instead of trying GET the green lion, but it was still way to similar to the one on one trip she took with Shiro.

Sven stood behind her with his left hand on the back of the pilot seat and his right hand on his hip. He leaned his body weight into the chair and spoke to her in a calm voice that was waaaaay too reminiscent of Shiro’s. Sure, Sven spoke with a great deal more influx than Shiro, his Norwegian accent offering a more melodic tone, but underneath that his voice was the same.

He was super easy to get along with though which was nice. He didn’t treat her like a small child, which Shiro did sometimes. Having known her through Matt, he remembered little Katie Holt and she knew that was how he still saw her. Sven hadn’t known her as anything other than the Green paladin so he saw her as a capable young adult and she really liked that. In fact he had even asked her what gender she went by – not what gender she is, but what she chose to be. It was nice. Lance always kinda saw her as a boy, which was totally fine with her. The others saw her as a girl, which was also totally fine. But Sven saw her as simply Pidge and she really liked that.

She had told the paladins that she was a girl, and often times she used female pronouns for herself, even in her own head, but it was mostly out of habit and it felt nice to not have a label – not have a box to be fit in. Maybe this was something she would spend more time thinking about. But not right now – right now she suddenly needed to focus!

A billionish Galra pods appeared out of nowhere just outside of Olkarion. Green was faster and more agile than Blue, Yellow, and Black but not nearly at the same level as Red so there was no way they were going to out run or evade these pods. She could, however, fight back.

“You might wanna sit your butt down or risk falling on it!” She hollered out behind her as she pushed her lion to its top speed. A low grunt sounded in the distance when Sven fell on his butt as predicted. He quickly jumped to his feet and rushed for the cargo hold. They had brought a small pod along from the Blades and he was already climbing inside before she knew it.

“Pidge, open the hatch!” He called from inside the pod and she happily obliged.

The sleek pod dropped from Green’s belly and raced for Olkarion, easily dodging the Empire attacks, its smaller size allowing for more manoeuvrability. Pidge turned Green around and started chasing after the Empire pods, drawing their fire from Sven, and acting as the distraction. God what she wouldn’t give to have the red lion with her for backup! Why did it take 3 people to get a crystal but only 2 to enter Empire territory? Allura was stronger than Lance, they didn’t need his help but she sure did!

Opening up the coms she sent out a call to the other lions. “GUYS! If you are anywhere nearby we could use the help!”

Hunk answered saying they were still on the Balmera waiting for Allura to finish her ritual, but Keith responded saying he would head for her right away. They had all been sent off on their missions via wormhole and were supposed to message Coran at the castle for a return jump. Allura had imbued the mostly repaired Castle of Lions with enough energy to create a return wormhole for each of them.

Pidge heard him contact Coran asking for a wormhole to her location and a few seconds later Black was firing away as Keith flew into view. Not a second later a sleek black Blade pod dropped from Black as Yurak joined the fight, the three of them taking out as many Empire pods as possible.

Black ripped through them like butter, the Blade pod flew circles around them causing them to crash into themselves, and Green rocketed from pod to pod with her jaw blade. After another hour and a half of this dance, Sven popped up on her screen asking for a lift. There were way too many Empire pods focused on his location for him to get off the planet safely so Pidge activated her cloaking and headed for an extraction.

With Sven, his pod, and the tech they came for safely loaded inside Green she headed off Olkarion and back into the thick of it. Pulling up Coran on her screen she yelled for a wormhole while dodging shots and pods. Yurak’s pod flew past, just barely avoiding colliding with the side of Green’s face and she realized his pod couldn’t detect her like the other lions could. They would need to fix that when she got back to the Blade’s base.

The wormhole opened up and the 2 lions followed by 7 pods (Yurak + 6 Empire pods) arrived outside a Balmera.

“I thought it would be best to route you here in case you had any followers!” Coran’s voice explained.

Smart! Don’t want to give away where our base is.” Yurak enthusiastically agreed. “Keith, I’m coming back in, the Green and Black lions can easily take care of these pods.” He continued as his pod repositioned itself under Black before disappearing inside.

He was right, it didn’t take much time for them to ‘take care of’ the 6 pods that followed and soon they found themselves simply waiting for the Yellow and Blue lions to finish up. After another 15 minutes Allura called for their wormhole and all 4 lions headed back to the Blade of Marmora’s main base. Missions successfully completed.

Chapter Text

They forgot Slav. Yurak was gasping for air as he tried to regain his composure. Pidge and Sven had gone to Olkarion with Slav in the cargo hold since he was too annoying to keep in the cockpit. As they loaded the tech and pod in the green lion, Slav had slipped out mumbling something about a reality where Green was blown up. In the chaos they had taken off and totally forgotten about him.

It was actually the best news Yurak had received all day – all movement to be exact. Going into a weblum and getting covered in 'gross' was totally worth it now. He wiped a tear from his eyes as he heaved a deep stuttering breath before buckling into another fit of uncontrollable laughter.

The repairs to the Castle of Lions were progressing at an acceptable rate. The men and women of the Blade of Marmora worked diligently to ensure the Legendary Defender’s base of operations was, well, operational. Kolivan stared out the heavy window of his office at the ancient Altean war ship. It was magnificent. He had heard stories of the mighty Voltron growing up, stories that had been nothing more than myth and legend, all perceived truth having been lost to time. Those 10,000 years of silence hadn’t stopped his grandfather from gushing about the once great lions and the fearsome robot the formed. If only he could tell his younger self how real it all was.

The first time he had seen a lion of Voltron had been the red lion, when its paladin had undergone the trials resulting in the beast attacking their base. He shuddered at the devastating power the lion had wielded, even without its paladin controlling it. Boarding the castle ship after that had been surreal, working alongside the paladins to take out Zarkon had been a pleasure, and the defeat of their Emperor had been oh so satisfying. That is, until he learned of the loss of the black paladin, and the potential survival of the Emperor.

But things were looking up. The castle was well on its way to being fully operational, with the addition of several important upgrades, and they had not only 3 of his Generals but also the Prince himself in their custody. Kolivan smiled at his reflection. Whatever Lotor had been planning; it no longer mattered. What ever Haggar had been planning; it wouldn’t last without a legitimate claim to the throne. A Kral-Zera was most likely to take place in the next few pheobs and the Blade of Marmora would be ready to send one of their operatives.

Many had suggested that he ascend the steps of the Kral Zera, but Kolivan knew he was not what the Empire needed. Some one like Thace would have been perfect. Perhaps Krolia? He had a short list of names he trusted for the position, but with the continuation of this war that list grew shorter and shorter. So many valiant soldiers lost already.

He turned back to the mountain of paperwork on his desk and sighed heavily as he sat back down. Rubbing his temples, Kolivan tried to ward off the mounting headache. A fruitless battle if ever one existed.

Lance had once thought Iverson to be the epitome of cruelty, until he learned about Zarkon. But as he was now learning, even that tyrant seemed like a pouty child in comparison to the combined evil that was Pidge and Marra.

The treadmill beneath his feet continued along, oblivious to his muscle’s protests. His lungs burned with exhaustion but someone had given the little gremlin a cattle prod. Ok so maybe it wasn’t an actual cattle prod but it functioned in basically the same way. On second thought, it was probably just her bayard. Lance’s brain wasn’t processing anything other than ‘need water, need air’ at that moment and the terrifying green paladin had threatened that the first to quit would get zapped. Faintly he heard the thump of steady foot falls around him, the others were still going and Lance was not a quitter. If Keith, Yurak, and Sven were all still running then Lance would push himself. He would not be the first one to fail. How Hunk had gotten out of participating was beyond him, but it certainly wasn’t fair!

After what felt like another 80 hours of running (it was actually only 30 minutes) his foot finally dragged enough that he stumbled. The unforgiving treadmill spat him off the back, sending him flying into the gremlin herself. Lance didn’t bother moving, he couldn’t anyways. His legs felt like jelly and his lungs were burning, a thirst like no other was taking over him and he felt endless waves of pleasure and relief when a hydration pouch landed squarely on his face. Gulping down the sweet, sweet cool water inside he felt the haze clear and looked around the room, taking stock of his surroundings.

On the treadmill that had been setup behind his was Sven, while Yurak and Keith’s equipment were facing the other two walls opposite each other. The four of them had been setup so no one faced another, this way they couldn’t gauge each other’s progress. As he looked closer he noticed Yurak sitting on the edge of his treadmill, sipping away on a hydration pouch, absolutely drenched in sweat, and rubbing his arm as if it were sore. Lance chuckled lightly knowing Pidge had one hundred percent followed through on her threat to zap them.

Keith and Sven were both still going. Keith looked like he was running on fumes, sweat dripping down his neck and soaking the back of shirt as he ran. Steady footfalls starting to waver as his muscles screamed in exhaustion, pushing forward through sheer force of will. Sven on the other hand, had clearly mastered long distance running. His controlled breaths and arm movements gave away his obvious comfort with the task. Though after almost 3 hours of continual running, he was starting to show the tell tale signs of fatigue.

“Ugh, babe don’t tire yourself out too much. We were going to finish moving in tonight remember?” Yurak groaned as he fell back against the equipment. They had lived on base for 2 weeks before Keith was called away to help fight off Lotor. With the castle having been docked here for almost a week now, it had been a grand total of 3 weeks that Sven and Yurak lived on the Blade of Marmora’s main base. How the hell were they still not fully moved in? It’s not like they had a bunch of stuff either.

Lance must have had a very confused look on his face; that was the only way to describe the strange expression Yurak gave him. The twin cocked a brow and twitched the corner of his mouth into that signature shit-eating grin he wore so often. “Yes, Lance?” His voice hinted at something, but Lance’s exhausted brain wasn’t picking it up. He just stared blankly back and it made the boy laugh. “Think about it.” He added with a wink. “I’m sure you and Keith would like to finish moving in too.”

For some reason that made Keith lose his footing and fall flat on his face, the merciless treadmill flinging him to the ground with an audible thud.

“DAMMIT YURAK! You’re screwed up the data!!” The green and purple gremlins were livid. Two small, but very angry, beings descended upon Yurak brandishing their data pads and unleashing a flurry of angry curses punctuated by the odd word. He snickered as pleading yellow eyes looked up at him, begging for a lifeline. The little shit disturber was on his own, Lance was already making his way to Keith.

He bent down and offered out his hand, pulling Keith up from the ground and into a sitting position as Lance crouched beside him. It was all very familiar. “Keith, are you ok?” His boyfriend looked up at him, smiled dreamily, then suddenly narrowed his eyes.

“I knew you remembered.” Oh shit. Lance’s eyes flew wide. Yea he remembered all right, but he’d had an image to maintain as a ladies man at the time, and that meant gaslighting Keith. Denial is a powerful thing.

Lance blushed as he met those accusing eyes. “Do you want me to cradle you in my arms?”

“Kinda.” Keith winked in response. Has this boy no shame? Lance’s brain questioned as the Galra standing near enough began snickering.

The two boys sat on the edge of Keith’s treadmill drinking their hydration pouches. Keith had calmed the two gremlins by conceding that he was, in fact seconds away from calling it quits. This seemed to placate them and they turned back to their data pads, moving closer to Sven who was still giving it his all. After another 15 minutes Sven had run out of steam and slowed his treadmill to a stop.

Yurak bolted up with a surprising amount of energy and dashed towards his mate, but Sergin beat him to it. Scowling heavily, the twin tapped his claws on his arm in exasperation as the other Galra gushed his praises to a clearly spent Sven. Lance chuckled which drew Yurak’s ire resulting in a low growl aimed at him. He was ashamed to admit that it made him flinch slightly but the responding hiss from beside him made the entire room flinch. Yurak’s eyes shot wide before rolling dramatically in his head and a half-hearted ‘sorry’ was mumbled in Lance’s direction.

“You performed admirably Paladin!” Regris beamed as he plopped down beside him.

“Lance.” Keith deadpanned. He was gearing up to do this all over again, correcting those who did not use his name. “If the Paladins can learn the Blade’s names then the Blades can learn the Paladin’s names.” He was pinching the bridge of his nose now. “I mean, it really shouldn’t be that hard. There’s only 5 names to learn! Coran, Allura, Pidge, Hunk, and LANCE!”

Regris looked completely taken aback for a moment before blinking and turning back to Lance. “Yes, Lance -” He said the name with distinction and Keith groaned. “- you did well. We were all really impressed. I think if you had not tripped you could have continued!”

Keith made a strange snorting sound. “You tripped? On a treadmill? Was there a root sticking up?” He condescendingly mocked and Regris burst out laughing.

“No, asshole, my foot caught on the belt.”

“Ohhhh so you tripped on your own feet. That’s much better.”

“Why you gotta be so mean?”

“It’s a gift.”

“Ok results are in!” Pidge’s voice cut through the mounting tension as Keith’s forehead found its way closer and closer to his own. “Thank you to all of our Human participants. Now for team Galra! Regris you’re over there, Tebbit there, Zavin over here, and Vrek is on that one.”

Tebbit and Zavin he recognized, but Vrek he hadn’t yet met. He knew the group had become really close with Yurak, but Vrek had been selected as one of the main repairmen overseer people (or what ever you call some one who manages the repairs of a borderline magical alien war castle-ship) and therefore hadn’t really been around for bonding and / or shenanigans like the others had.

The four Galra took their places and started up the treadmills at the same speed the 2, and 2 half, Humans had been set to. In the name of blah blah blah science mumbo jumbo gremlin 1 and gremlin purple had decided that today would be endurance running and tomorrow would be a speed test. They set everyone at the same speed and were looking to see how long the Humans (and half Humans) lasted vs how long the Galra lasted.

Pidge said tomorrow was going to be fun, they were going to set the treadmills at today’s pace and slowly increase the speed until you pulled the emergency stop cord or wiped out. So you know, evil mad scientist fun - AKA Pidge’s idea of a good time.

20 ish Minutes later all four of the Galra were lying on the ground panting heavily. Tebbit had been the first to go, having pulled the cord at the 15 minute mark. He had yelped incredibly loudly when Pidge hit him with her bayard. ‘Fair is fair’ she had said with no remorse. Almost immediately Zavin and Regris dropped, with the latter being flung across the room to land beside the Tebbit. Vrek lasted almost a whole 5 more minutes before succumbing to the same fate as the Regris. He was now picking himself up from the floor while an absolutely hysterical Yurak struggled to catch his breath from laughter. As if reading the minds of everyone in the room (except maybe Sven, and obviously Yurak) Pidge gave Yurak another quick zap from her bayard.

“For good measure.” She smiled brightly at him as he hissed up in her direction.

They had two hours left before dinner was being served in the mess hall, and Coran finally chose to speak up from his seat in the corner. “Right, well. Not much time left now. Every buddy, go get cleaned up. We have a meeting in the main hall in one hour. Be sure you wear your suits and Paladins -” He turned to face the group of Humans “- put on your armour. Keith you are our Black Paladin tonight, not a Blade.” He smiled warmly and Keith gave a curt nod. There was a collective groan as the group dissipated.


One full hour later and Lance was standing in the main hall with Keith. They had gone straight to the showers then headed for their room to change and get ready. Now they stood in the main hall, hand in hand, waiting for the others to arrive. Keith moved closer and rested his head on Lance’s shoulder, his wet hair flopping against Lance’s cheek.

“You always smell so good.” Though speaking directly into Lance’s neck muffled Keith’s words, it didn’t matter; they still brought a warm blush to tanned cheeks. He planted a light kiss to the top of Keith’s damp mullet and smiled to himself.

Coran and Allura arrived next, followed closely by Pidge and Marra. The green paladin cleared her throat to announce their arrival and, reluctantly, Keith and Lance separated. It didn’t take long for Regris, Zavin, Tebbit, Sergin, Vrek, Kolivan, Antok, and a large number of other Blades Lance didn’t recognize to arrive. Everyone was milling about, talking casually about training or the castle-ship or science depending on where you eavesdropped. There was also some general gossip about life on the base that Lance found mildly entertaining. Apparently someone named Rubin had a bit of a thing for the Princess. Good luck with that buddy. Lance thought to himself. Keith had resumed his catnap on Lance’s shoulder and shortly there after, Yurak and Sven arrived.

Allura was the one to speak, inviting the group to the Castle of Lions for a ‘Thank you’ dinner prepared by Hunk. Allura had asked for his help, and so he had been in the castle’s kitchens all day putting together a feast for all the Blades who had helped repair her ship. So that’s how he got out of running on those treadmills. Lance quietly noted. There was some excited chatter going around again and the group made their way to the exit. The Blades activated their masks and the Paladins put on their helmets as they filled the elevators and headed for the castle ship.

Once inside, it was once again safe to remove their protection. It felt so good to be back on board the Castle of Lions. The shock of bright lights, white walls, and blue accents hurt his eyes at first but made him feel comfortable and relaxed. It was like coming home after a long trip. And that’s what the Castle had become; home.

Their procession made its way towards the dinning room. There very one that had been the location of their food fight during that first week they had been Paladins. The fond memories hit Lance like a brick wall and he felt the sting of tears prick at his eyes.

“Are you crying?” Keith asked; his voice laced with genuine concern. It was enough to make Lance break. The last time they had used this room the two of them had been ‘rivals’, locked in place with handcuffs and forced to learn to work together despite how much they annoyed each other. Now they were walking in hand in hand, Keith having laced their fingers together at some point.

Lance nodded. He knew he couldn’t trust his voice to speak just yet but he cleared his throat and gave it a try any way. As predicted, it was a little too breathy and there was a slight hitch every few words. “It’s just – we’ve come so far. Like, all of us.” He held up their combined hands as if to punctuate his point. “Look how much growth we’ve made.”

Lance smiled warmly at his boyfriend who gave an equally sappy smile in return. He continued, the words spilling straight out of his heart. “The last time we were in this room we hated each other. Now look at us, holding hands and blushing. I always figured this thing between us would move past ‘hate’ but I never thought I’d land on love.”

Keith froze in his tracks. Their fingers were still laced together so the sudden stop jerked him back, crashing into his boyfriend’s body. The move was unexpected and it caused Yurak to walk right into Keith from behind. “Wha – what did you just say?” His eyes were wider than dinner plates as he stared at Lance.

“I said ‘look at us holding hands’ -” once again he lifted their still laced fingers to prove his point. He was going to continue but Keith cut him off.

“No, Lance. After that.” He was still staring straight into Lance’s eyes.

“Oh, yea – um, I said I moved past ‘hate’ and into uh – love.” Please don’t freak out, please don’t freak out. He sent his thoughts out into the universe, pleading with who ever was listening to help him out.

Silence. Keith stared at him in utter silence for what felt like way too long. The Blades grumbled about them being in the way as they walked around the roadblock. Panic started to fill his chest and Lance’s mind began running through every conceivable response the black haired boy could give. It wasn’t looking good. The longer the silence dragged, the worse his heart felt.

“Keith’s brain has stopped functioning, but he loves you too.” Yurak interjected. That seemed to do the trick, Keith came crashing back to reality very suddenly as he lunged forward to capture Lance in a passionate kiss that knocked the wind right out of him.

“I do. I – I love you too, Lance.”

Chapter Text

Dinner was going well. He had some in the kitchens from 3 Blades who had volunteered for the task and everything had gone really smoothly. There was one moment where a few of his helpers had gotten into arguments, but it had been nothing Hunk wasn’t able to diffuse with ease. Because, lets face it, you just can’t be angry if you’re enjoying something delicious. That’s the thing with food; it has a way of bringing people together.

He suspected the two who kept bickering were related. Plak and Rubin were their names, and while Plak was light-hearted and fun, reminding him quite a lot of Yurak or even Lance, Rubin was totally Keith. The main difference (aside from Keith not being purple) was that Rubin stammered and drooled every time Allura walked in.

It provided so much entertainment for the day, like honestly it was pretty funny. Plak and Vo’al, his other helper, had made countless jabs at Rubin’s expense after he very literally drooled on his chin. Allura didn’t seem to notice and if she did, well - she was much too polite to say anything.

In the dining room, the table had been extended, and more chairs had been added, to accommodate all of the attendees. Kolivan and Allura sat at either head with the Paladins and Blades scattered in various seats around the table. Naturally, Rubin had plunked himself down right next to Allura, with Plak on his other side. Antok and a Galra Hunk didn’t recognize, had seated themselves on either side of Kolivan. Not quite halfway down the table was Keith, with Lance to his left and Yurak on his right. Beside Yurak was Sven.

On the other side of the table Pidge sat beside the small Blade named Marra. They had a data pad hidden under table and were sneakily analysing the data they had collected that day. Hunk chuckled; it was such a ‘Pidge’ move. Coran sat between Sven and Allura excitedly flailing his arms in increasingly flamboyant gestures, while retelling what was most likely a wildly exaggerated story. Hunk himself was seated next to Pidge, beside Vo’al.

She was really nice, they had totally clicked in the castle’s kitchens and she even gave him one of her family’s recipes for a casserole-like dish. It was mostly meat but he was still excited to make it!

“Attention. Attention all present.” Coran’s voice boomed through the room, cutting the cacophony of voices. Excited chitchat quickly dissipated as the attention drifted to Coran. “Right, now that I have all of your attention, Princess Allura of Altea would like to say a few words.” He sat back in his seat and Allura gave him a small smile-nod combo before rising to stand.

“Thank you for that lovely introduction Coran.” Allura turned her gaze back to those at the table. It was insanely impressive how she could scan a room and make it feel like she was talking to you directly. But hey, that’s what it takes to be a leader right? Like, he always felt that Iverson was yelling right at him when their squad got in trouble. He wasn’t though, because usually it was directed at Lance, but still. Iverson knew how to instil fear in his cadets, and Allura knew how to inspire hope. Wow, Hunk would have to pat himself on the back later for how eloquently he had strung that thought together. Maybe he should take to poetry after being a paladin? Nah, he had his dreams of being a chef. Oooo he could do both!! The Poet Chef. Ya that sounds cool. He could like, create poems that described the rich details of his dishes. They could characterise the flavours and textures and aromas. Ok now his mouth was watering and Allura was still talking but he had missed it. Wait, why are all the paladins standing? And why is everyone staring at him?

Pidge jabbed her bony little elbow into his rib cage. “Get. Up. Hunk.” She commanded through tightly clenched teeth. He quickly rose to join the other paladins and Keith gave him a scowl, shaking his head ever so slightly.

“On behalf of the Paladins of Voltron, Coran, and myself I humbly thank you for all that you have done for us this past movement. The Castle of Lions would not be in the state it is today if not for all of your diligent work. Though we come from different worlds, times, and for some; realities, we have proven that by working together all things are possible.”

There was a sudden uproar of shouts and table banging as the Galra held up their drinks in cheers. Hunk is man enough to admit that it startled him. That’s right – it startled the crap out of him. It was a good thing the cheering was so loud or everyone would have heard him shriek.

Dinner was served, and Hunk beamed with pride at all the praise directed his way. He wasn’t one to seek it out, but a little recognition is always appreciated. And like, yea – everyone was totally appreciating the meal and he loved it.

Dinner ended and Kolivan assigned various Blades to clear away the plates. Yurak stood off to the side of the room, leaning against a wall with his arms folded across his chest as he faced the horde. He closed his eyes for a moment and, though they had been dimmed considerably, the sting from the too-bright lights was all too familiar. Yurak press the heel of his hands against each eye and groaned.

He felt her presence beside him before she spoke. “Hello, Yurak.”

“Hello, Princess.” He sighed heavily and removed his hands from his eyes, blinking as the light filtered back in.

“Still too bright for you?” She asked kindly.

“Mhm” was all he could muster; the combination of a full belly and a mounting headache drained his energy reserves.

“Hmm this could be a problem for future collaborations with the Blade of Marmora. We cannot have our allies suffering while on-board our ship. Perhaps we should consider a liaison position. Someone who understands Galran needs and culture yet is able to co-exist with the Human paladins as well.” She looked him straight in the eye and gave a small smile. “Any suggestions?”

He looked at her for a moment, letting her words sink in before tentatively replying. “You have Keith.” Her eyes dropped momentarily before snapping back to meet his.

“Yes, we do. However, I am afraid his roll as Voltron’s Black Paladin keeps him far too busy, and he cannot devote the time required to the new position.”

“What are you getting at Allura?” Her eyes shot wide but he continued. “Let’s stop dancing around this. Just come out and say what you wanna say so I can give you an answer.” He kept his voice purposefully neutral, holding her gaze as she processed his request.

“Very well, we shall forgo formalities. Yurak, I deeply regret my rash judgement and my demand that you permanently leave the castle. I stand by my reasoning; your behaviour and attitude were not acceptable, but I do regret the decision that I made. I know we have already discussed this and that we have already agreed to move past it, but I -” she stood tall and squared her shoulders. “- I wish to correct my mistake. We – Voltron, will be working much more closely with the Blade of Marmora from here on out and will therefore be needing a liaison of sorts. Someone to bounce between the Castle of Lions and the Blade’s bases, juggle the requirements for each group, and effectively communicate with both teams should we lose our translators. Of course we have Keith who is a fully realized member of the Blades and now speaks fluent Galran, but as I said, he is our Black Paladin and it is unfair to split his loyalties in such a way. I feel you would be fair, you have strong ties to Voltron but you also have found yourself a home amongst the Blades as well. Kolivan and I have discussed this at great length and we both agree that you are the obvious choice. Do you accept?”

He stared at her for a moment. Accept what? Would he be moving back to Castle? Would he be stationed with the Blades but organize cooperative missions with Voltron? Or would he be a glorified consultant re: Galra stuff. “Can I think about it?” was somehow the only thing that came out and judging by her reaction, it was not what the Princess had expected.

“Oh – of course.”

"Where would - what -" He took a breath and tried again. "What are the logistics?"

"You could stay with the Blades and wormhole to Voltron when needed, or choose to move back to the Castle. I am leaving that decision up to you, just know that you are welcome here. There is more to the position but we can discuss that if you accept." Her smile was reassuring, he really did have a choice here. He could choose to walk away or return the 'olive branch'.

“This sounds like something I need to discuss with my mate before I just accept or decline. You understand don’t you?” Her expression shifted to a warm smile and she turned her head to look at Sven. He was standing on the other side of the room, absolutely gushing over Keith and Lance, practically bouncing on his feet. It was adorable and Yurak felt a tug at the corner of his lips.

“Yes, I understand. As will Kolivan. But Yurak? Please give us an answer soon, I would like to get Voltron back into this war before my Paladins become too soft.” She nudged her head in the direction of Yellow who had passed out at the table with drool pooling around him. Yurak grinned and scanned the room for the other members of team Voltron. Coran was telling a vivid story to a group of Blades, excitedly rambling on about something from the ‘good old days’ with Alfor most likely. Green was tucked away in a dark corner with Marra and Regris as they crunched numbers and ran code on their data pads. Keith, Lance, and Sven were still standing together but now Tebbit, Zavin, Vrek, and Plak had joined them. Rubin was pacing behind Allura and having a mini conversation with himself. Probably building the courage to speak to her. He thought and it made him smile.

Looking out at the room he let the scene sink in. These were his people, it had been great to get to know the Human Paladins but he belonged with the Galra Blades. Sadly, there was no denying that Keith belonged with Voltron. It wasn’t a thought he particularly liked, but it was true. He would miss his brother but this new offer might just be the best of both worlds. He would get to stay with his fellow Galra at the Blade of Marmora where the lights didn’t hurt his eyes and the food had a generous portion of meat. The chance to participate in rebuilding the Galra in a way he couldn’t have even dreamed back in his own reality was something he wasn’t capable of walking away from. But to say good-bye to Keith and Coran would be too hard.

This way he got to stay in touch, come to the castle-ship whenever he wanted, hangout with his twin and kooky Altean friend, and continue to build a relationship with actual Humans. Maybe he could even go see Earth with the Paladins one day. Sven would support this. It wasn’t even a question he needed to discuss with him now that he thought about it. Sven had always supported him, in everything, no matter how crazy or fool-hearted it was, no matter how little planning went into one of his stunts, it didn’t matter because Sven was always right there with him. He would absolutely support this too.

As far as Yurak was concerned, this was the biggest ‘win’ for him. He got to keep his friends, both in the Blades and with Voltron. He could continue to build his relationship with Keith. And maybe he could even find this reality’s version of Krolia; she was a Blade after all. Not to mention the Alteans. Sven would be happy having Human contact as well. Yes, this was the perfect compromise. He would choose to remain at the base and wormhole to the castle when needed or just to visit. And if they decided to return to the castle permanently, it was nice to know that was an option.

Warmth radiated across his hole body and he couldn't hold back the smile that formed. “Allura – Princess?” She had started to leave but turned back around to face him. “I accept.”