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It’s Alright, Little One

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“Do you need anything else?” Coran asked softly, hand hovering on the frame of the door he was standing in, preventing it from closing until he was sure he was no longer needed.

 

Allura sniffled, rubbing her eyes to rid them of tears, but nodded. She sighed. “No, I’ll be alright. Thank you Coran.” She said genuinely, although she didn’t have the strength to offer him a smile to go with her words. “You should go check on the paladins as well. You and I are both aware of how close they are to him.”

 

Him because it was too painful to speak Shiro’s name. Are because the pain of their teammates’ loss was too fresh for her to entertain the fact that he might be dead.

 

Coran nodded in wordless agreement. In part, the paladins’ closeness to their leader was why he had chosen to seek out Allura to comfort first. The impact on her was less because her relationship with the black paladin was nothing more than professional. She had a strong heart too, so she could bear the pain of loss much better than their human teammates could.

 

Her composure allowed the man time to let his own emotions process, to let him grieve a little as well before he had to put on a strong face for the paladins. He wasn’t particularly close to Shiro either, but he was both a teammate and the paladins’ caretaker; he was their doctor, their trainer, and sometimes their therapist. He knew all of them intimately. To lose one of them left a wound in his chest.

 

“Goodnight princess.” The Altean whispered as he took a step back, letting her bedroom door slide closed with a gentle rush of air. He gave himself a moment to take in the accompanying silence and breathe, steadying himself so he could be strong for his teammates. They were all shaken by the day’s earlier events, and with Shiro gone they needed someone else to look up to and lean on. He was willing to fill that role until they could get back on their feet.

 

Once he was ready, he headed towards Pidge’s room. He found her working on her laptop, looking distraught and exhausted but composed. When he asked how she was doing she gave a small shrug and a sigh. “It hasn’t processed yet.” Was all she could respond with. “I’m just confused. You know, with how everything happened.” The young girl rubbed her eyes. “It feels like something out of a fiction novel.”

 

Coran hummed. It did seem oddly like Earth fiction, didn’t it? “Are we going to sleep soon?” He suggested with a gentle tone, aware that the green paladin used technology and work as an outlet for stress. She needed sleep, however, after a battle as extensive as their last.

 

Pidge seemed to think for a moment, considering, before she nodded tiredly. “Yeah, I’ll finish this last line of code and hit the hay. Might as well while I can, huh?” She mused, though her voice was monotone and devoid of emotion.

 

The Altean made a soft sound of recognition, unsure of how else to respond. He was still learning the meaning of earthling phrases such as those. “Do you need anything?” He wondered softly.

 

The youth was quiet for a moment while her fingers tapped along the keyboard. Suddenly done, she closed the laptop and set it aside, rising to her feet and ushering herself closer to the man in a single breath. She wrapped her arms around his middle and pressed her face into his sternum, seeking comfort.

 

Coran embraced her lightly in return, letting the teen linger until she pulled away, eyes raw. “Goodnight.” She mumbled, turning away to crawl under her blankets.

 

He knew she didn’t want to be disturbed, so he slipped out of the room without a sound.  

 

He went to check on Hunk next, finding to his slight surprise that he and Lance were spooning on his bed and watching a movie. They both looked half asleep- they hadn’t even noticed his presence at the door- so he left as quietly as he came, deciding they would be okay with their own devices for the time being.

 

Knowing that the younger paladins were settled for the night, Coran turned towards the eldest’s room. Only, he couldn’t help but ponder the irony of the thought as he came to a stop at the door of Keith’s bedroom, able to hear the teen’s muffled sobs through the thin layer of metal. He pressed his palm to the scanner beside the door, causing the barrier to rise with a gentle swish. The muffled cries rose in volume to heart wrenching sobs, bringing a soft frown to the Altean’s face.

 

Keith sat in the middle of the floor wailing, his head hung low. The boy was still suited with his armor, probably having not had the will to take it off before he broke down in tears, and the sight only made Coran frown more.

 

The man wordlessly crossed the distance between them and gently lifted the boy’s limp body into his arms, comforting him with the embrace as he sat on the bed with the teen in his lap. After a moment the Altean started removing the red paladin’s armor, dropping the pieces on the floor beside the bed. Keith made no effort to help, laying bonelessly against his chest while sobs clenched his own, but the man managed.

 

Coran gently laid him down on the bed so he could remove his undersuit. Keith laid still, not having the energy to squirm or reach out for comfort. He simply cried louder, wanting Shiro to take care of him and hold him and tell him he would be okay. Only, his older brother wasn’t here to do that for him.

 

The Altean changed him into a diaper before dressing him in a set of soft, warm pajamas, then lifting him back into his lap. “It’s alright, little one.” He soothed quietly, softly rubbing the paladin’s back. “I’ll look after you while we find your brother.”