Disclaimer: WEPownsVoltron. Bah.
This is the other fic I started writing in frustration at not having Gifts with me to work on. I can’t really blame anyone for this one -- I was talking to Taryn, but I think it was entirely my own idea. ^^;
Taryn beta’d it in the beginning (before it was half finished), but I didn’t want to give her any more excuses not to write, so I sent it to be beta’d in the end to poor, suffering Forest.
Please, let me know what you think.
Warnings: Extremely sappy and fluffy. Some swearing.
Lightly linking his hand with Allura's, Keith makes a show of escorting her out, enduring the glares of Nanny and Coran, and the knowing smirks of their teammates.
Managing to look around without being too obvious, he mutters into a delicate ear. "All right. We're clear."
Breaking apart, the two move down the hallway a more comfortable distance apart.
"How much longer, Allura? You can't keep this up forever."
"I know. But Jayce still isn't comfortable..."
"Princess, he's not going to get comfortable. He's just going to have to deal with it. If he wants to marry you, anyway, he's going to have to learn how to handle it."
Allura nods miserably. "I know."
In silence the two head back to their rooms.
Lance sighs in utter disgust, as he contemplates the garden in front of him. *Keith and Allura are so perfect together...* Perking up a bit, he catches a gleam of motion below him. *Allura? She should know by know to hide her hair...* Lance stays in place, watching, cursing his morbid sense of curiosity. *She must be out to meet with Keith... I wonder what they do? I bet she just lets him hold her hand...*
Stiffening, Lance stares in disbelief as he sees Allura embracing someone dressed in a guardsman's uniform. *What's going on? That's not Keith... His hair is too light... How can she cheat on him..?* Stunned, Lance watches as the couple disappears into a secluded grotto.
Pushing off the railing, he makes his way out of the garden, stopping abruptly in surprise. "Keith?"
The lone figure sitting at the side of a pond stiffens and turns. "Lance? What are you doing here?"
"Nothing much. Are you here to meet Allura?" Lance can't quite keep the bite out of his voice.
Pausing, Keith studies Lance. "What's wrong with you?"
Lance opens his mouth, only to be interrupted by the breathless arrival of Allura.
"Keith! I was afraid I was going to miss you... Lance? What are you doing here?"
Lance takes in Allura's innocent face and the easy way she clings to Keith. *I can't believe her...* "Just couldn't sleep, and needed to take a walk." Lance barely manages to keep his voice smooth.
"Well, then, if you don't mind giving us a little privacy...?"
Lance bites his tongue. "Sure, Princess. See you tomorrow at practice." Turning, he leaves, a subtle tension dancing in his muscles.
Watching his back recede into the shadows, Allura looks worriedly at Keith. "That was close. What's wrong with him? Do you think he’s finally getting jealous?"
Keith shrugs helplessly. "I don't know. But I doubt he’s jealous. I’d think, if he was going to be, he’d’ve gotten jealous a long time ago."
Allura rolls her eyes. “Keith -- Lance is _dense_ about certain matters. I can’t believe --”
Keith glares at her. “Stop right there. You need my cooperation, right now, far more than I need yours.”
“Fine, fine.” Grinning at him, she pokes him in the shoulder. “You don’t pick on my love and I won’t pick on yours. Though I still can’t believe he’s so blind.”
Keith snorts. “And I can’t believe you’ve been seeing yours for so long and he _still_ doesn’t feel comfortable asking for your hand. He needs more spine.” There is rather more bite than usual in Keith’s retort.
Trying to lighten the air between them, Allura puts on a mock serious look and taps her lips. “His spine is _perfectly_ fine -- along with the rest of him, thank you for your concern.” For a moment, her eyes go dreamy.
Rolling his eyes and relaxing at her antics, Keith bows elaborately and takes her arm. The two of them laugh at their silliness as they walk out of the gardens.
A shadow with bright hair watches them leave and frowns, disturbed.
Practice the next day does not go well.
Stalking down the hall, Keith glares at Lance. “What is your problem today?”
Lance glares right back. “I don’t have a problem.”
“You’ve never been this hard on Allura before--”
“Maybe if we were harder on her, she’d be better.”
“She hasn’t had the training--”
“She’s been part of the team for years! She ought to be a lot better than she is!”
“Lance. What’s really bothering you?” Refusing to be drawn in further, Keith’s voice is quiet as he reaches out to grip Lance’s bicep.
Stiffening, Lance pulls back.
Hurt, Keith immediately lets go. *He never minded me touching him before...* “You’ve never been cruel to Allura before. And that’s exactly how you behaved today. _All_ of us -- including Allura -- know that you can fly rings around her. Why choose today to rub it in?”
Lance shuts his eyes. “What, can’t a guy have a bad day, now and then?”
Lifting an eyebrow, Keith snorts. “Oh, sure. But usually when you have one of those, you take it out on me.”
“I--” Lance’s eyes snap open, to meet the smirking eyes of his captain. *Shit. How could I even think I could tell him...* Whirling away, Lance storms into his room.
Eyebrows arched, Keith stares after him. *What was that? Maybe Lance is having an off day, but I’ve never seen him have an off day like this.* His expression settling into a frown, Keith makes his way back to his room. *It’s not like Lance to take his bad moods out on an unsuspecting person like Allura. And if he does, he usually apologizes right away. This time -- it doesn’t seem as if he’s even going to do that... Something is very wrong with him. Now I just have to figure out what it is.*
Allura rushes to her room, managing to make it in before she breaks down. *I can’t believe this. I know I’m not as good as the rest of them, but I’m trying my best...*
“Your Highness?” A soft, tentative voice interrupts her self-castigating.
“Jayce!” Sitting bolt-upright, Allura tries vainly to scrub away her tears. “I told you -- you can call me by my given name.”
“I know. It still feels .. odd, after so long thinking of you as ‘Highness’...” Hesitantly, he settles himself next to her. “I know you said I could visit anytime, but maybe I ought to leave you alone...?”
Sniffing, Allura manages a watery smile at him. “No, it’s okay. It’s, just that practice was harder than usual today...”
Gently, he puts an arm around her shoulders. “You want to talk about it?”
“No.” Sniffing. “Just -- hold me?”
Snuggling closer, Allura sighs.
Tightening his grip Jayce leans his chin against her soft hair. *She really does want forever from me...*
Wandering down in the repair bay, Pidge makes his way toward the banging noises. “Hunk?”
“I told you, don’t call me that!”
“And I told you I’d call you that if you’re bothering me.”
Sighing, the big guy gives up, and pulls himself out of the blue lion. “What d’you want, Pidge?”
Frowning, Pidge jumps up next to Hunk. “Do you think something was just a bit, well, off with Lance today? I mean, he was riding the Princess pretty hard -- Keith kept having to tell him to back off.”
“Yeah... He’s not usually like that -- he pushes her, but I don’t remember him ever pushing her so far that Keith was yelling at him for it...”
“Usually, it’s the other way around -- Allura’s yelling at him for being soft on her...”
“I don’t think we ought to bug them, though.”
“But -- “
“Look -- the skipper’s probably got everything under control. Give him a few days to straighten them out, and everything will go back to normal.”
“I don’t know, Hunk.”
“If it doesn’t straighten out in a few days, then I’ll help you pin them down. Deal?”
Relaxing, Pidge beams at Hunk. “Deal. How about I help you with Blue Lion’s repairs?”
Hunk grins back at Pidge. “Help is never turned down.”
Sprawled out on his bed, Lance frowns at his ceiling. *I can’t tell him. I have to tell him. What kind of friend would I be, if I just let him go on, unknowing? Yeah, sure that’s the whole reason you want to tell him. Try another one, Lancer.* Groaning, Lance turns over and pushes his face into his pillows. *I can’t let him just... be.. well, bamboozled. But if he’s already figured out that I dump the shit on him, when I have problems coping, maybe he already knows? I mean, I’d _hope_ that Allura’s a lot less subtle than I am. Of course I’ve never noticed any cracks in her acting... Argh! I gotta tell him. And it’s not like he knows I love him, right? Then again, maybe I’m more obvious than I think I am? What if he dismisses it all, chalking it up to jealousy? Ahh!* Shaking his head, Lance gives up for the night and forces himself to fall asleep. *Tomorrow. I’ll figure out what I’m going to do tomorrow.*
Groaning, Lance turns over in bed. *It can’t be tomorrow already...* Looking at his alarm clock, he yelps and rolls out of bed. *I’m going to miss breakfast...*
Pidge glowers at his food. *What’s _wrong_ with everyone? Allura’s still red-eyed. Lance’s jumpier than a cat in a room of rocking chairs, and Keith keeps looking at both of them as if he’s afraid they’re gonna crack. Sheesh.*
Hunk pats Pidge on the shoulder, giving him a reassuring look. *Keith’s on it. Just relax and give him a chance.*
Pidge sighs. *Fine. For now.*
Keith, taking in the significant glances between them, smothers a grin with a sip of coffee.
Practice goes better than yesterday. Sort of. Everyone is exquisitly polite to each other, to the detriment of their teamwork.
Keith sighs, and gives up for the day. *I better find out what’s going on with Lance, or the next robeast is going to make all of this relationship muddle moot.*
*Right. If I’m going to tell Keith, I’ve got to have more than just... suspicions. I mean, this is _Allura_. Given a choice between believing what she says and what I say -- even I’d almost go with what Allura says. She’s got the air of ‘pure and innocent’ down pat...* Lance’s lips lift in a sneer. Brooding, he hovers near the break room. *How am I going to get proof, though? It’s not like I can stake out her room... The space mice wouldn’t let me even get into her room without raising a fuss...* Blinking, Lance’s eyes widen as he sees a very familar blond head of hair atop of a guard who is moving rather more furitively than one would expect. *Hmm... Maybe I just got lucky.* Camera unobtrusively at hand, Lance manages to casually follow the fellow. The blond awkwardly makes his way to Allura’s chambers. Lance shakes his head. *Bad. Very, very bad technique. If he wasn’t wearing a guard’s uniform, he’d’ve been toast by now. Well. The fact that his fellows are trying to help manages to negate _some_ of his lack of ability...* Eyes narrowing, Lance captures him on film, full-face no less!, as he enters Allura’s room. *Gotcha! Now, I just have to show Keith. And watch his heart shatter... Damnit!* Clutching the camera firmly, Lance mutters quietly all the way back to his room, apparently arguing with himself.
Pidge watches Lance walk into his room, muttering, and later, walk out of his room, still muttering. *I don’t know if Lance is going to last long enough for Keith to straighten everything out... Though I did promise Hunk not to interfere... Maybe if I tell him what Lance is doing, he’ll change his mind about sticking his beak in...*
Determinedly stalking to Keith’s room, Lance hesitates in front of the door. *I can’t do this.* Shoulders slumping, he turns to walk away, when the door slides open.
“Yep. Surprise, I know, considering this is my room.”
“Ah...” Lance can feel the blush burn on his cheeks.
Looking at his second, Keith shakes his head. “Right. Why don’t you come in?” Grabbing Lance’s shoulder, Keith hauls them both into his room before Lance can muster a protest. Forcibly settling Lance down on chair, Keith sits down across from him. Closer to the door, of course.
“So. Lance. You going to tell me what’s wrong?”
Fidgeting, Lance refuses to look at Keith. *Crap. So -- tell, or not tell... Hells. I’d better tell, since, clearly, I can’t act normally...* “Allura’s cheating on you.”
Blinking in surprise, Keith gapes at Lance. *Of all the things I thought he’d say-- * After a moment, Keith manages a calm, questioning tone. “And why do you think that?”
Looking up at the quizzical expression on Keith’s face, Lance’s expression becomes intense. “I _saw_ her. Yesterday, before I met you in the garden. She was in a clinch with another guy. And today, I saw the same guy sneaking, sort of, into her room.” Lance flourishes the picture as proof. To his dismay, Keith barely gives the picture a cursory look, choosing to stare at him in amazement instead.
“_This_ is what’s upsetting you?” *Allura in someone else’s arms?*
“Yes! It’s not right.” Launching out of his chair, Lance paces restlessly around, glaring sideways at Keith. “I guess you know all about this already, right? Don’t you _care_?”
“No, but --” Keith stops, abruptly aware he just betrayed Allura’s secret.
“No! It figures. Going all noble... She obviously isn’t worth it!”
*Maybe I wasn’t as obvious as I thought. Lance certainly seems to have missed the point...* “Ah, Lance? Why are you so upset that Allura isn’t ... faithful?” *Sorry, Allura. But.. does Lance have his eye on her? Is he upset because he thinks he missed his chance?* Something twists, deep inside Keith, a place that he’s gotten used to ignoring over the years.
Anger, as usual, winning over good sense, Lance stops pacing in front of Keith and just about growls. “She’s got you, why the heck does she need anyone else?”
Keith’s black eyes grow even wider. “Lance...?” *It almost sounds as if he’s ... jealous of her... Lance -- chaser of all cadets female -- jealous of _Allura_? I have got to be missing something...*
*Shit.* Lance collapses back on his chair, covering his eyes. *I can’t believe it.* Dropping his masks, he looks intently at his shoes. *Well. I’ve blabbed this much. Might as well get it all off my chest.* “Yeah, well. I’m biased. I’m in love with you. Not brotherly love. The life and death, stay by your side forever, whisper sappy nothings type of love. I can handle it -- I’ve handled it since the Academy.” Gathering all his bravado, Lance looks straight into Keith’s stunned eyes. “I suppose, now, what matters is if you can handle it, Keith.”
Throughout Lance’s speech, Keith’s eyes grow even larger, and start to glow. *I don’t believe this! Lance is in love with me... I guess Allura was right about the jealousy gambit...* Eyes blazing, Keith smiles dazzlingly at Lance. “Oh, I can handle it.” Reaching out, he takes a hold of Lance’s hands, entwining them with his own.
Startled, Lance almost pulls back. “Keith?” *What the heck--? Is he trying to pay Allura back by cheating on her with me? That doesn’t fit. He looks -- incandescent, now...* Hesitating, Lance can’t quite keep himself from questioning. “What about Allura?” *What happens when she comes to her senses?*
“Oh, I love Allura.”
Lance flinches, and looks away. *That answers that. I must be reading him wrong.* Hurt twisting his mouth, Lance tries to pull away. *I see how much my declaration meant to him...*
Keith chuckles warmly, refusing to let go. “I love Allura exactly the way she loves me. Sibling love, not a deathless passion.”
Now, it’s Lance’s turn to gape. “But... The two of you...” *He’s ... messing with me...? Serious, solemn Keith? Of all the times for him to find a sense of humor...*
Tilting his head to one side, eyes glowing with -- yes! love -- Keith grins at Lance. “I’m playing cover, because Allura’s love has very tender skin. Coran and Nanny would bruise him terribly. At least, that’s what she thinks.”
Lance snorts. “And he’s going to develop a thick skin, how?”
Keith’s grin widens. “My thoughts exactly. Before -- I didn’t really have any reason to force them out of hiding. I thought the one person I could love would never be interested in me.”
Lance grins back at Keith, finally feeling as if this is real. *He loves me!* “So.” *I want to know more but...* “I can think of better things to do than talk about Allura’s love life.” *I want to _hear_ Keith say he _loves_ _me_...*
Allura’s lips part in delight. “Jayce!”
“Uh, yeah...” Nervously, his gaze skitters from Allura’s, moving all over the room, before settling back on her face.
Hesitantly, he drops to one knee before her, carefully opening a small jewelry box. “W-would you be willing to m-marry me?” His hand shakes ever so slightly.
Allura’s eyes widen in delight. “YES!” Swooping down, she scoops up the box in one hand, and grips the back of Jayce’s head with the other, pasting a kiss on him that ends with her sprawled on top of him on the floor, both of them grinning madly.
Swallowing hard, Allura stands in front of Coran and Nanny. “I have accepted an offer of marriage.”
“What! Allura -- you _know_ you can’t do so --”
“It’s explicitly stated in the Laws of Arus -- the monarch is allowed to choose consorts. And I have accepted a proposal of marriage.”
Glowering, Nanny turns on Keith. “You! I would have thought even you would have a better sense of propierty --”
Blandly, Keith smiles. “I do.”
Coran turns to him. “What do you mean?”
Jayce nervously steps forward. “What he means is...” Clearing his throat, he looks to Allura for reassurance, and receives a beaming smile in response. “...he isn’t the one who asked Allura for her hand in marriage. I am.”
Sputtering, Nanny is reduced to incoherance.
Licking his lips, Jayce continues, an arm wrapped possessively around a glowing Allura. “Captain Keith was gracious enough to cover for us, when we wanted to meet.”
Coran glares at Jayce. To his credit, Jayce manages to meet his gaze.
Then, abruptly, he relaxes. “You, young man, are going to need a great deal of schooling if you want to be Consort.”
Steadily, Jayce inclines his head. “I know, sir.”
Coran nods, slowly, in conditional approval.
Nanny glares for a moment more. “So. How many relatives do you have? We have to start planning the wedding...”
“Ah--” Jayce’s eyes go slightly wild. Allura giggles delightedly, nestled in his arm.
Grinning, the rest of the Voltron force ease carefully away, before they’re swept up in the plans.
About to rib Keith for letting himself be a ‘distraction’, Pidge’s mouth falls open as he sees Keith casually take Lance’s hand, kissing it.
“I told you he could do it.” Keith’s eyes are dancing as he grins at Lance.
Lance grins back, and kisses Keith lightly on the lips.
Suddenly, the two of them pull back (hands still entwined), looking hesitantly at the other two members of the Voltron Force.
Hunk raises his eyebrow. “It’s about time, you two.” Nodding at Pidge, he grins. “I told you Keith would straighten them both out.”
Pidge, eyes huge, bows deeply. “Of course, O great Sage...”
Laughing, the four of them retreat to the kitchen, to fortify themselves until Nanny catches up with them.