Disclaimer: Voltron is the property of World Events Productions, not mine- a fact for which you should be forever grateful.
Keith took a deep breath and slowed his descent, fingers tightly gripping crevasses in the face of the cliff as he shifted his weight on his feet. He could see the brilliant blue and red blossoms of the flowers now. Just one more step and they'd be within his reach.
He paused to give his muscles a moment's rest, resolutely ignoring the drop beneath his feet. He tore his eyes away from the velvety petals for a second to glare up towards the mostly hidden form of his best friend at the top of the cliff.
Lance was going to pay for this. Just because he had a temporary lapse of sanity last year on Allura's birthday didn't mean that these damn flowers needed to become a yearly tradition. But no, Lance just had to bring them up, making that devoted light glow in Allura's eyes. He never could make himself say no to her when she got that rapturous look on her face.
"You're her knight, Keith. Surely getting a bouquet of flowers for the princess on her birthday isn't too much to ask of her knight."
Oh yes, Lance was going to pay.
Tomorrow morning was going to be all hand-to-hand combat practice, and he was going to kick his second-in-command's ass, all in the name of training. And for once he wasn't even going to consider for a second that it was a bad tactical move as far as teamwork was concerned.
Gritting his teeth, Keith slowly shifted to the right, one hand reaching out for the promised blossoms.
"Keith! Look out!"
Lance's frantic yell reached him a second too late. Jerking his head up just as his fingers closed over the flower stems he couldn't do more than gape at the fall of rocks tumbling towards his unprotected head.
Then there was only darkness.
The world that slowly intruded on the dark safety of his dreams was primarily one of sound. Quiet voices filtered through the veil of sleep, comforting in their familiarity. At least, they were voices, and he was almost certain they were familiar. There was something out of place, though, something swimming just out of reach. He shifted slightly, feeling the soft mattress reform around him. Something about…rocks?
His eyes shot open, revealing a dizzying swirl of color with absolutely no regard for shape and form. He quickly closed his eyes again, turning his head into the warmth of the fluffed pillow and biting down on a violent wave of nausea.
The second attempt at vision was much more successful. A couple of blinks even managed to bring entire objects into focus. The room Keith found himself resting in was dimly lit with the ambience that always accompanies sick rooms when healthy people adopt the misguided notion that sick people hate light. It looked vaguely familiar. After a moment's recollection he realized that it could almost pass for his own room in the castle if he overlooked the deep crimson paint covering the sensible white of the walls and the unmistakable feel of satin sheets under the bare skin of his arms and back. If he wasn't mistaken, there even appeared to be drapes tied back around the four high posters of the bed.
The soft sounds of rustling sheets drew the attention of the other occupant of the room. A thin woman with brown curls falling softly around a frowning face sat gingerly down on the edge of the mattress and raised a gentle hand to touch his forehead. She was dressed in what appeared to be a parody of a French maid costume that barely covered the top of her shapely thighs.
Keith blinked again, just to be sure he wasn't hallucinating. The woman remained the same. He was almost certain he'd never seen her around the castle before, but there was something familiar about her nonetheless.
The woman took her hand away with a worried frown. "No fever. You just took a nasty fall. You really need to be more careful, Keith. What would the Princess do without you to protect her?"
The heavily accented voice was unmistakable. Keith stared helplessly at the thin woman who bore only a passing resemblance to Allura's robust and bossy Nanny, unable to come with a single coherent answer to that question. There had actually been a hint of deference in her tone. Nanny deferred to no one, least of all the leader of the boys sent straight from Galaxy Garrison- or Hell, which was probably the same thing in her eyes- to corrupt the Princess.
This was beyond weird.
There had to be a logical explanation. And of course there was. His mind working at lightning fast speed- despite the whole head injury thing- Keith suddenly hit upon the answer in a burst of inspiration. Nanny had family in one of the villages. This had to be a cousin or something. Simple as that. All he had to do was ignore the uniform and the crimson walls and satin sheets and things were just dandy.
The thin Nanny-relation peered into his face again with a worried expression. "How do you feel?"
"I…" Keith paused to take inventory. Amazingly, the headache was gone. He felt fine. He felt better than fine, truthfully. "I think I'm all right."
Nanny sighed with relief as if his physical condition was somehow entirely her fault. "Good. I'll let the Princess know. She's been worried sick." With that she hustled out of the room.
Keith sat up in the bed and peered through the dim contours of the room for anything that resembled a closet. Maybe if he could find his clothes and get dressed, the world would start making sense again. He'd just started to climb out of bed when the door swung back open.
"Keith!" With a cry of joy Allura launched herself at him.
About the same time Keith realized he was completely naked. Dropping back down on the bed, he clutched the sheet around him like a shield. "Allura… What?"
The words froze in his rapidly constricting throat. The phrase "if Nanny sees you running around dressed like that she'll kill you" immediately came to mind, but in light of the Nanny-relation's outfit maybe that wasn't such a good estimation of the situation. Regardless, Allura in a silk camisole and g-string barely concealed under a short sheer robe was the last thing he expected to see directly after waking from what must have been a massive head injury.
There really was no other explanation.
"Keithie, Keithie, Keithie," Allura sighed, fighting with Keith's death-grip on the sheet covering him, "whatever am I going to do with you?"
"Um…go outside and let me get dressed?"
Allura smiled wickedly and wrapped her fingers around his. "Why? It's never bothered you before…" A depraved glint lit her eyes, making the hair rise on the back of Keith's neck. "You've been naughty, frightening me that way. I think you need to be punished."
Keith was certain that if his eyes got any wider they'd pop straight out of his head. He was saved from having to form a reply by the sound of the door opening on the far side of the room.
They both turned to see the silhouette of a muscular man in tight black leather pants framed against the brighter light from the hallway. The man crossed his arms. "We weren't done with our meeting, Princess."
Allura dropped her hands from their grip on Keith's sheet and began to pout. "But Keith's awake."
"So he is. Now come."
Allura hesitated, glancing sulkily back at Keith.
The man uncrossed his arms and cracked a small whip that had been hidden in one hand. "Now!"
Allura sighed and jumped to her feet. "Coming, Coran." She turned back to Keith with a predatory smile and ran her fingernails slowly down his naked chest. "We'll discuss your punishment later." With that pronouncement, she turned and glided from the room with all the bearing of a Queen despite her current state of undress. Coran shot him a threatening look and closed the door tightly behind her.
Left alone at last, Keith launched himself out of bed and began to tear the room apart. Clothes. There had to be clothes here somewhere, and then he could go outside where things had to be sane.
He found the closet eventually. The things in the closet, however, appeared to only have a passing acquaintance with clothes as he knew them. Every item was a crimson red that perfectly matched the walls of the room and some of them apparently required instructions in order to get them on. Finally, buried at the very back, he found what appeared to be a pair of satin pants and a matching long-sleeved shirt. They were the same shade of red as everything else, but if he ignored the way the fabric floated over his skin he could pretend he was dressed in his ordinary red flight suit.
He would pretend, because this was all a dream and he'd be waking up shortly. Granted, his dreams didn't usually involve half-naked women, especially not Allura or anyone even remotely resembling Nanny, but a dream was the only explanation.
He wasn't even going to think about Coran.
Glancing furtively around to make sure he hadn't missed anything that could be used as a weapon, he opened the door and headed for the area outside the castle walls at a dead run.
Several wrong turns made evading some very determined Royal Guards and a couple of plot holes big enough to drive a Mack truck through later, Keith finally staggered into a clearing beyond the lake. He was free. Nothing else could go wrong. Any minute now everything would make perfect sense. That was the way life worked.
The startled voice from the far side of the clearing, given the predilections of the author of this particular story, was only proof that he was right. Keith turned around with a huge grin. Lance was normal. Lance was relatively sane.
Lance was wearing an outfit made entirely out of skintight black latex.
That was okay, though. At least this was now descending into more familiar dream territory.
Keith tried to stop staring and answer, but his eyes refused to cooperate and he couldn't think of anything really worth saying anyway. Lance stared back at him suspiciously.
"Does Allura know you're out here?"
That penetrated the fog. "What?"
"Allura? The Princess? Remember her? Does she know you're out here?"
Keith blinked. "No. Why should she?"
Lance sighed and glanced over Keith's shoulder to the rising bulk of the castle. "Why should she? Well, I guess it's about time you stood up to her. So, were you headed someplace in particular, or are you just exercising your freedom?"
Keith blinked again. Somehow this was making less sense than he anticipated. His subconscious mind kept informing him that he should head back to the castle and try to make sense of everything and maybe rescue Allura from Coran's clutches, but the rest of his mind wasn't listening. Lance was wearing skintight black latex. Nothing else seemed quite as important right at the moment.
Lance tore his eyes away from the castle and shrugged. "I guess I can't leave you out here. Come on. I'll take you into town, and we'll think of something from there, all right?"
Keith smiled happily and let Lance lead him through the woods and out onto a well-traveled dirt road. The sun was rapidly setting, making the surrounding outskirts of the village even more surreal. Keith was relatively certain that a village attacked and rebuilt weekly should at least theoretically not have this much neon- he wasn't quite certain that he remembered all the people sleeping in the gutters with ecstatic smiles on their faces, either- but most of the blood had abandoned his brain to travel to more interesting locations, making rational thought difficult. So instead he followed obediently until they reached what looked like a neon-lit brick warehouse on the far edge of the town. A sign over the door named the place Oz, which sounded vaguely familiar. A memory concerning witches and flying houses and monkeys attempted to surface, but that probably wasn't important right now either.
Lance glanced back to make sure he was still following. Taking Keith's hand with an encouraging smile, they slipped through the wide-open doors. The building was as large as the outside suggested, with brick walls soaring high overhead into an obscurity of dim lighting and thick scented smoke. The smoke down towards floor level was cut with pulsating beams of multicolored light and more neon signs scattered over the walls and bar. The place was packed. Men in various stages of undress lounged in chairs around the outskirts of the room, leaned against the bar, laughed in small groups, danced on the floor… Keith closed his eyes and took a deep breath, trusting Lance to lead him wherever they were going. The air was cloying, making his head spin.
He opened his eyes again when Lance increased the pressure on his hand slightly and stopped. They were at the back of the building standing before a set of chairs near a slightly raised platform that could serve as a stage. There were stairs leading from the stage to empty cages set on poles halfway up the walls. Waiting in the chairs was the last person Keith expected to see.
Keith blinked again, just to be certain. Lance released his hand and smiled warmly as Lotor, clad only in a leather thong, stood up and embraced him, kissing him deeply. Massive muscles slid under blue skin glistening with oil in the smoky light.
"Lance! It's about time you showed up! We thought maybe you found someone more promising and ditched us."
Lance grinned. "Would I do something like that?"
"In a heartbeat." Lotor grinned back and glanced at Keith over Lance's shoulder. The smile faded from his face, replaced by a look of incredulous disbelief. "You have got to be kidding."
Lance glanced back at Keith and shrugged, looking faintly worried. "He was in the clearing outside of castle grounds. What was I supposed to do? I couldn't just leave him there. Can you imagine what Allura's going to do when she gets her hands on him?"
Lotor shuddered. "All too easily. I guess there's nothing else for it then." He glanced back at Lance. "But why here? I thought he was completely straight."
"I couldn't think of anywhere else to go. We'll work something out." Taking Keith's hand again, he pushed him down into the soft recesses of one of the chairs. "Wait here. I'll be right back."
Keith's whirling mind finally decided it was time to argue, but Lance was already gone. He turned to look at Lotor, who was staring down at him in what appeared to be amusement. "What's so funny?"
Lotor laughed out loud and sank into the chair opposite. "You." He shook his head in silent mirth. "So what made you finally decide to ditch the Princess after all this time? We'd all given up hope."
Keith stared back wordlessly. It was starting to seep into his consciousness again that there was something very wrong. "What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be attacking us or something?"
Lotor frowned and stared back.
Lance slid down into the chair at Keith's side and pressed a glass of something into his hands. "Here, drink up. Hunk should be here in a couple of minutes."
Keith glanced down at the glass in his hands and back up at Lotor. Lotor smiled encouragingly. Keith shrugged and drank the fiery liquid down in a quick gulp.
Lotor shook his head and stared at Lance. "I don't know, Lance. I think he's damaged."
Lance glared back. "Who wouldn't be? Just give him time."
Keith was about to interject that he was fine and could speak for himself when the lights went down and spotlights trained on the stage. A small shape slipped out of the shadows and vaulted across the smooth surface, turning to fix the audience with a sultry smile. All Keith's rational thoughts once again went flying out of the window. Pidge winked down at them from the stage, his small form completely naked except for the dark lines of tiger stripes painted across his body and the shimmering silver of two nipple rings linked by a thin chain to a silver cock ring. His wild auburn hair stood out from his head in disarray, and his brown eyes seemed vulnerable despite the makeup without the thick protective lenses of his glasses.
"Pidge?" Keith whispered incredulously.
Lance took the empty glass from his hand and replaced it with a full one. Keith gulped it down again without a thought. It could only help at this point.
On stage, Pidge began to dance to the throbbing sensual beat of the music. The sight was unbelievably primal and Keith found himself completely unable to tear his eyes away. Even the appearance of Hunk in the chair next to Lotor, dressed in a black velvet suit glittering with mounds of gold chains, couldn't recapture his attention. He was aware of Lance and Lotor leaning in and arguing with Hunk in muted whispers in only the vaguest kind of way.
"You're asking me to take a big risk, Lance. What's Allura likely to do when she finds him missing?"
"Come on, Hunk. We have to do something. You can't honestly send him back!"
"I don't know. Do you think he can even handle this kind of work?"
"He's practically drooling over Pidge, isn't he?"
"Fine then, but I want to be sure. You brought him in here, it's up to you to find out."
" I think I can manage that."
"I'm sure you can."
Finally the song ended and Pidge left the stage with a last lavacious wink, freeing him from his spell. He turned in his chair to find that Lotor and Hunk were gone and Lance was watching him with an oddly penetrating expression.
Keith took a strangled breath and felt all the blood drain away from his brain and other unimportant extremities again. The black kohl lining Lance's eyes made the pale hazel seem to glow with intensity in comparison. Keith wasn't sure he could look away if his life depended on it.
He wasn't at all sure that he wanted to.
Never releasing Keith's gaze, Lance pulled the empty glass from his lax fingers and dropped it down on a table. He stood and crossed the space between them, dropping down on his knees and straddling Keith's legs. He leaned in till their faces were inches apart, a slight smile curving his lips as his eyes darkened with desire.
"How are you enjoying freedom so far?"
Keith reached up and tangled one shaking hand in Lance's hair, his very being vibrating with need. Lance laughed softly and pushed down against Keith's rock hard erection, one hand sliding up under the satin confines of Keith's shirt.
Keith heard a gasp tear its way out of his throat as the heat radiating from Lance's latex-clad arm seemed to ignite every nerve in his skin, and then…
"Keith? Come on, Keith, look at me!"
Keith's eyes shot open again, wincing as the headache returned with a renewed vengeance. He found himself staring into a pair of very concerned hazel eyes that retained their intensity even without the benefit of black eyeliner. One of Keith's hands brushed his leg, feeling the scratchy fabric of his flight suit.
Closing his eyes again, Keith sighed. The expected relief was being flooded under a surge of what could only be termed disappointment.
Pushing Lance away he climbed to his feet, the flowers miraculously still clutched in one clenched fist. Without a word he turned and stalked up the trail to the top of the cliff.
He was going to give Allura her damn flowers and then find a Bishounen Union representative. He was finally about to get laid and not in a worshipful awe kind of way, either, but in an "I'm going to fuck you right here right now" way that he never got to see, and he woke up? Oh no. This was not happening.
Someone was going to pay.
Lance stared after Keith's rapidly retreating back with wide eyes. Okay, so he could accept the fact that he was probably the last thing Keith wanted to see upon waking, but there was really no need to be so blatant about it. With a sigh, he started up the path. Well, at least he could always dream.
The movement made his shirt brush against his new nipple ring, sending a shiver down his spine. Given Keith's mood, slipping out with Pidge to that club Hunk found hidden in the forest shouldn't be a problem at all. Oz, he thought it was called.
A predatory smile crossing his face, he hurried to catch up with his captain. Maybe the rest of the night would be promising after all.