The Darkest Night

by Taryn

Disclaimer: Voltron belongs to World Events Productions.

Note: This story was part of an evil Keith challenge, which makes it about as AU as you can get.

"So what now?"

Keith leaned languidly back against the cold stone of the wall and regarded the indistinct shadow his companion made against the greater darkness of the forest at his back. It could be anyone sitting across from him. If he squinted he could make the shadow be anyone at all, and for a silent moment he was transported back across time to sunset when another sat in almost exactly the same spot, eyes dancing with the irrepressible light that made it nearly impossible to say no.

"Can't we just stay out here all night? No one will notice we're gone."

"Keith? Are you listening?"

Keith shook his head and pushed himself upright, slipping unconsciously into the rigid posture of command. What now? Honestly, he had no idea. The plans never progressed far enough in his imagination for now to exist. He couldn't let the indecision show, though. He would be thorough to the last, if nothing else.

"Now we wait."

The big man nodded in silent agreement, leaning back into the grass and staring up into the darkness of the sky. What he thought he was waiting for was an interesting question in and of itself, but one that would wait for another night. There would always be another night when he needed one more ghost to haunt him, to remind him of exactly who and what he was.

Keith ignored the stars shimmering overhead, the pinpricks of light that had seemed to fascinate his teammates to no end. They saw life in the sky, not the cold dead vacuum that the universe truly was. Even at the last they clung to hope with a tenacity that would have been shocking to one not already so experienced in the minds of humans.

The battle had been no surprise. They'd expected it, known it was coming. Every ounce of concentration and initiative for the last several days had gone into preparing for the worst.

The problem with human imagination was its inherent limitation. No human can ever truly believe just how bad the worst can truly be.

Even now as he lay here the sound of their arguing voices rang through his head, indignation and affectionate teasing blending into a maddening whole with the shrilling of the alarms and the rattle of explosions outside the steel walls and the amplified screams of the dying.

Not his teammates though, never them. They'd loved him to the very end. Every one of them had gazed up at him with those adoring compassionate eyes as the sharp blade of his knife bit into tender unprotected flesh, draining away the red flow of life until the control room seemed to run with blood. In the end, even the big man he'd taken as his acolyte with soft promises of an end to the fighting had been largely unnecessary, although Hunk's affinity for blood had astounded even him.

The attacks, the death of the entire planet, were secondary. Purely coincidental timing, but it was no matter. It was done. The time of cleansing was finished, and the light was further dimmed by the darkness of cold purpose and hatred.

The air around him began to vibrate ever so slightly, a quiet warning to those with the ability to feel. With a sigh Keith heaved himself to his feet and stared regretfully down at Hunk, his knife clenched loosely in one hand.

"It's time."

Hunk stared up at him, the whites of his eyes shining through the darkness. "It's all right, Keith. I understand."

Keith bit down on a scream of frustration as the knife blade caressed the sticky stained skin of Hunk's exposed throat. No it wasn't all right. Why couldn't they see?

He stared down at the body at his feet, oblivious to the blood trailing over his hands and uniform in a small river, until the last of the light faded from his former acolyte's eyes. Standing he silently called the gateway, his eyes drifting one last time to the twisted shadow of the broken castle rising over his head. The gateway sliced away the darkness in a flash of blue light that lit up the dark river of blood flowing by his feet. Unclenching the hand curled around the handle of his knife, Keith held up his hand and released his treasure, watching a slight wind catch the mingled locks of hair, blonde and brown dancing away with auburn, releasing a tiny rain of blood as they fell.

"I love you."

Biting his lip he turned to the gateway. There would be a next time, maybe soon. Next time someone would see through him to the heart of what he was. They would understand. And then it would all come to an end.

Next time.

The gateway faded, leaving the world again in darkness, silent except for the faint rustling of the wind.

Send comments to Taryn

Back to the Voltron Story Archive