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Red and Keith

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"Red and Keith"

Keith was miserable. He wanted to be on the training deck, but Allura had locked it! He tried to go out with Red, but his lion kept her barrier up. She didn't shut him out completely though. She spoke telepathically to him, her voice accompanied by a purr. "You need rest, cub."

"I'm fine, Red."

"No, cub, and don't try to fly with Black. She won't be as nice as I am."

Keith groaned and pleaded with her. "Please, Red. I need to get out of the castle for a little bit."

"Sorry, cub. You are exhausted. If you do not rest, you are going to fall unconscious. You need to take care of yourself."

"I can't. I don't deserve-" Keith was cut off when Red lowered her barrier and knelt down.

"Get in here," Red growled.

Keith climbed into Red's mouth and sank into the pilot's seat, gratefully. He pulled his legs up onto the seat and wrapped his arms around them. Red lowered the lighting in the cockpit a little, trying to soothe him. He laid his head down on top of his knees and tried desperately to hold his tears in. When Red purred to him, Keith lost the fight, tears coursing down his face. Red felt bad for her Paladin. He didn't feel like he could talk to the other Paladins about anything. Everyone thought he was always on the training deck, but that was only partially true. He spent half of his time on the training deck; the other half he was with her. Sometimes they talked; sometimes he let her into his mind, letting her see and feel things he either couldn't bring himself to verbalize or didn't know how to verbalize. This was the reason they had such a strong bond. Red loved him like he was her own cub, which was why she called him that. She was exceedingly pleased that he was back to being her Paladin. She liked Lance well enough, but he was so mouthy and acted so...different from Keith.

Speaking of Keith, he was shaking now, tears still streaming down his cheeks. She lowered the lights all the way down, a little at a time as not to overwhelm her beloved Paladin. She kept her purring to a soft, comforting rumble. She felt him finally drift off to sleep. It was far from a restful sleep though.

%%%

Lance, Pidge, Hunk, Shiro, Allura, and Coran were gathered around the table for dinner. Hunk had prepared seven plates without even considering someone hadn't even shown up as he was wont to do. The full plate sitting in front of an empty seat bothered Shiro on multiple levels. Why hadn't Keith shown up? He couldn't be on the training deck, and all of the lions were in their hangars, so what was he doing? He looked at the others and noticed that they kept glancing at the empty seat next to Lance. Lance kept putting a hand on the seat of the chair like he was expecting Keith to be there. The longer they were in space the more touchy feely Lance became with the entire team, even Keith. Shiro finished his food and announced, "We should go find Keith."

"I can scan the entire castle in an instant and see where he is," Allura offered. Shiro nodded, and Allura left the dining room. It didn't take long for her to report back to them. "He's apparently in Red Lion."

"Lance, since you have a bond with Red, why don't you see if you can at least check on him?" Shiro suggested.

With one last look at Keith's empty chair, Lance left the dining room. He was worried about his teammate. He didn't eat much, didn't sleep well, and trained too much. His rival (who wasn't much of a rival anymore) didn't take care of himself. How did he survive all alone in the desert for an entire year? He entered Red's hangar to see his secondary lion online with her particle barrier up. He cautiously approached the lion. "Hey, Red." He knocked on the barrier and got a slight shock (something akin to a static shock). "Red?"

"I'm sorry, but Keith is my priority," Red spoke into Lance's head.

"Is he all right? He missed dinner, which means he might not have eaten all day."

"He needed sleep more."

"He's napping?"

"Yes."

"Can I see him?" Red sent a mental image of Keith curled up in his seat sleeping to Lance. He smiled slightly but noticed the tear tracks on Keith's cheeks. "Sleep well, buddy."

Fin