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Volume Four

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"Kit Keith"

Kit. Keith had been hearing that word a lot since he came to the Blade of Marmora headquarters. He didn't know what it meant. Maybe it was their way of saying human? They did say it to him or about him, instead of saying his name. He was 'the kit.' It was getting annoying not knowing what it truly meant though. Perhaps he could get it out of one of the Blades he routinely sparred with, Regris.

He skipped breakfast like he usually did and went straight to the training hall. He stepped into the familiar room and was surprised to find it empty. That was strange. There was usually someone in the room, no matter what time it was. Keith was a bit earlier than normal but didn't think that was a factor.

%%%

Kolivan, Antok, Thace, and Ulaz liked to think they were observant beings. There were only two lapses in judgement since Kolivan became leader of the Blades. Those two lapses resulted in Regris and Keith becoming Blade operatives when they were actually kits.

Speaking of the kits, only one was present for breakfast. Regris was sitting between Antok and Thace. It was his favorite spot, since he didn't like sitting between either pair of mates. After taking a bite of food, Regris looked around their table and then the hall, slightly confused. He swallowed and asked, "Where's Keith?"

Thace ran his hand down Regris's spine, a comforting motion. "We're not sure, kit. He's definitely on the base though."

"He better not be training," Antok grumbled. "The kit trains more than any other Blade."

Regris whined softly. He considered Keith a younger brother and didn't like the fact that he didn't act like a kit. Ulaz leaned across his mate and stroked Regris's headfur. "It's okay, kit. We'll find your brother. Just eat."

Regris went back to eating, earning him some pets from Antok. He briefly purred to him in between bites. Kolivan stood up. "I will go find our errant kit and bring him here. He needs to eat."

The leader of the Blade of Marmora was not usually one for searching for errant members. For him to volunteer to look for Keith, it meant that he was worried about him. Kolivan was indeed worried about Keith. He was too short, skinny, and skittish, especially for a kit. He was also way to proficient with a sword than kits even twice his age! In fact, kits Keith's age should still be prone to clinging to their parents and taking long naps.

Kolivan briefly stopped at the room Keith was originally assigned since it was on the way to the training hall. He knocked and called through the door, "Keith? Kit, are you in there?" After not receiving a reply, Kolivan said, "I'm opening the door."

He opened the door, revealing an empty room. Kolivan's ears drooped at the state of the room. He expected a messy room with a comfy nest in the middle, but what he saw was a room that barely looked lived in. The only thing that told Kolivan that this was someone's room was Keith's red and white jacket hanging in the closet and an extra pillow on the bed. It was so barren and cold, it hurt Kolivan's heart, and this being a kit's room made it hurt even more. Kits should be surrounded by soft things and pack members. Keith didn't have any of those things in his room.

Kolivan snagged Keith's jacket (and found his Marmoran uniform in the closet and taking it as well) and the extra pillow from the bed. He carried these things to his pack's nest room and set them to the side. The other kit was joining his pack; he didn't have a choice. The kit had to be suffering being alone. He made his way to the training hall, mentally berating himself for having another lapse in judgement. He thought the kit was okay and enjoying himself when he wasn't on missions, but that apparently wasn't what happened. The kit wasn't taking care of himself, which shouldn't have been a surprise given his age; he was a toddler, but Kolivan had thought that his human DNA had been in control more than his Galra DNA was. Apparently, it was only in appearance.

Kolivan entered the training hall and stopped when he saw the kit in question training. He knew he had been, having heard the clang of metal against metal from outside the room. He let the doors close behind him before he growled loudly.

%%%

Keith froze when he heard the growl, blocking the gladiator bot. He let his eyes flick over to where the growl originated from and was surprised to see Kolivan. Keith decided to quickly end the bot and see what his leader wanted. Keith sliced through the bot and sank to one knee. "Leader."

Kolivan stopped growling and approached Keith. "Rise, kit. Why are you in here so early? Everyone is still at breakfast."

"I don't usually eat breakfast."

"Kits should eat breakfast."

Keith paused. "What's a kit?"

Kolivan stared at Keith. "You don't know what a kit is?"

Keith shook his head. "I've heard the term many times, but no one ever told me what it meant."

"You never knew what it meant?" Kolivan swept Keith close and held him against his chest.

Keith closed his eyes and relished the contact. He liked how Kolivan was holding him. "No. What does it mean?"

"Kit is the term for a Galran child."

Keith opened his eyes and looked up at Kolivan. "But I'm not a child. I'm an adult on Earth."

"That may be true, but in Galran terms you are a small kit. Now, how long have you been training?"

"Uh, I woke up early. I don't really know how long I've been in here."

Kolivan nosed his hair and started grooming it. Keith froze before he relaxed against him.  "That feels good."

Kolivan didn't say anything, just kept licking his hair for a couple more doboshes. Keith felt his eyes close, and he started purring. Kolivan wasn't that surprised to hear the kit purring. Most kits liked getting groomed; he figured Keith wasn't any different. When he was done grooming, Kolivan scooped up the kit, who was half asleep. "Come along, kit. The others are waiting for us to join them at breakfast."

"So...sleepy."

Kolivan paused. It wouldn't do to have the kit eat when he didn't have the energy to stay awake, but it also wasn't good for the kit to miss a meal, especially when he was so skinny in the first place. Kolivan pulled out his data pad and typed out a message to his pack to make a plate for Keith and bring it to the nest. He didn't wait for the inevitable reply. He put his data pad back into his pocket and secured his hold on the now dozing kit. He carried Keith out of the training hall and into the nest room. He stepped into the nest and sat down, reclining in the nest. He settled Keith on his chest, stroked his hair, and softly rumbled to him.

The door to the nest room opened, admitting the other four members of his pack. Thace held a container in his claws, clearly it was meant for Keith. He placed it on the table before entering the nest with the rest of the pack behind him. They gathered around Kolivan and Keith.

"Is he okay?" Regris asked.

"He was training again. He grew tired when I groomed him. I only intended to get the sweat out of his hair before going to breakfast, but being such a young kit, it was inevitable. Speaking of which, he didn't know what the word kit meant."

"He didn't know? We have been calling him a kit since we found out," Ulaz mentioned.

"He asked what it meant when I called him kit. He was insisting that he was an adult on Earth. Antok, could you hand me that pillow? The one with Keith's jacket."

Antok snagged the pillow with his tail and handed the soft, red, round pillow to his mate. He watched as Kolivan put the pillow next to the kit. "Where is the rest of the kit's stuff?"

Kolivan's ears drooped at his mate's question. "That's all he has. He didn't have a nest. His room was as barren and empty as it was before he was assigned to it."

"What? Why?" Regris looked distressed.

"Because I was launched into space with nothing but the clothes on my back and whatever I had in my utility packs." Keith cracked an eye open before he saw his pillow. He snatched it up and hugged it to his chest. "Where am I?"

Kolivan carded his claws through Keith's hair. "You fell asleep back in the training hall when I groomed your hair, so I took you back to the nest I share with my pack. We want you to be a part of our pack."

"Pack?"

"It's like a family, kit," Thace answered. "You need a pack. It's one of those Galra needs that you deny yourself of, one of many."

"Wha-?" Keith was fighting to keep his eyes open.

"Shh, kit. It's okay. Get some rest. We'll talk when you've rested," Kolivan stroked Keith's hair some more.

Antok laid down beside Kolivan with Regris in his lap. Regris snuggled closer to Keith and wrapped his tail around his right leg. Antok's tail was wrapped around his mate's waist. On Kolivan's other side was Thace and Ulaz, the latter on the former's lap. Thace was nuzzling Ulaz's neck and stroking Keith's cheek. Kolivan knew his pack was going to need to take the rest of the day off to tend to their new kit's needs. They also needed to stop by a space mall soon in order to get more supplies, not just for the base but for Keith as well. The kit was going to be taken care of; Kolivan was going to make sure of that.

Fin