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- by Moira


Cubbie's KAEX Fan Fic Fall Challenge
Issued for Fall 2013

Cubbie’s key elements to hit for this challenge were
- Fall (Check)
- School (Kinda check)
- Uniform (and preferably lack there of) (Oh yeah, check.)

It could be any range from Fluff to Smutt but has to have mandatory K and A sparks for sure. (AKA: The more shifting in the seat for the reader the better)

As this is a Cubbie challenge I’ve also added on the extra challenge for myself of making this a Voltron Force (nicktoons) setting fic. This fic takes place early to mid series when K is still adjusting back to his place in the team and all the changes on Arus.

For those old schoolers unfamiliar with Voltron force. Allura has matured into a much more take charge and know what she wants woman. Keith has returned from a five year long absence and has become much more the taskmaster and an emotional isolationist. And Lance, well, Lance is Lance.

This started as a short, then kind of just kept growing from there. Hope you enjoy it.

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“There is no way, no way that I am going with you!”

“Come on Lance.” Allura pleaded with the red lion pilot. “You have to. Hunk is too busy making repairs to the castle, Pidge is in the middle of a weapons upgrade and the cadets are still grounded from their last escapade.”

“So take Coran.” Lance shrugged.

Allura rolled her eyes at him. “I really don’t think Nanny’s kids would want a surprise visit from a diplomat. Someone from the Force needs to go. Come on, Lance, dozens of kids idolizing you, isn’t that your dream?” She bat her eyes and slightly puckered her lips.

“Mehhh, overrated, I got enough of that at the academy, but in any case the thrill of idol-hood does not change that she will be there and after last time...”

“Lance, please.” Allura’s eyes shimmered. “You have to. If you don’t then the only one left is…”

Lance’s lip slowly tugged up into a lopsided smile. “Now that sounds like a perfect idea.”

Allura’s eyes turned cold. “Don’t. Don’t you even suggest…”

Lance moved to Allura’s side draping his arm over her shoulder gesturing to an imaginary scene in front of them. “Come on, it’s perfect. A weekend away from his routine. Battling Nanny may be just the thing to snap him back into his old self.”

“Or just make him snap period.” Allura reached up to rub between her eyes.

“Come on, I know you are as tired as I am waiting on him to snap out of his self imposed isolation. We’ve done it his way, why not give him a little excuse to stop working for a few days and relax. Our old friend has to be in there somewhere.” He gave Allura’s shoulder a squeeze. “And I believe you are the one who can fish him out.”

Allura spat out a laugh. “Are we talking about the same Keith? He’s hardly spoken to me at all since he came back.” She let out a huff of breath and looked down to the tile floor. “And anytime were alone it’s just been… well, awkward.”

“Look, I don’t think I want to know what shit he must have had to deal with when out tracking the Black to turn him into the ice man, but I don’t want to give up on him Allura, I know he’s in there, you have to believe me.” He leaned forward to whisper in her ear. “I saw a glimmer of him when we were fighting those waves of robots together when Lotor last attacked.” He pulled back to lift up her chin to look at him. “He even smiled.”

“He smiled?” A shimmer of hope washed over Allura’s face. “Really?”

Lance nodded. “The man just needed some old school buddy buddy ass kicking time to relax enough to let his armor down, as for getting him to take it off completely...” He gave Allura a wink.

“Lance!” Allura smacked Lance hard in the arm.

“Princess you can try pretend all you want with the others that there were no sparks between you two before he left, but not to me, and least of all to yourself.” He looked her up and down not trying to hide his appreciative eye of her body’s curves. “How far are you willing to go to stoke those sparks that I know are still smoldering behind his icy walls?”

Allura flushed lifting her arms across her chest to screen it from Lance’s leering eyes and turned away.

Lance’s eyes dropped to her backside and he let out a chuckle. “Oh yes, that view would work too!”

“Lance!” Allura turned back to face him, her face crimson.

“You do know you are beautiful when you are angry.” Lance tisked. “If I didn’t know how much you two loved each other…” He gave her a wink.

“Enough!” Allura began to laugh and playfully shoved him. “Like I’d be interested in an egomaniac, hot headed skirt chaser like you!”

“Oh no, I believe you are more interested in the tall, dark and brooding type.”

“Fine! Yes, okay, are you happy?” Allura crossed her arms again. “But it has been obvious since he came back that he’s not interested in me.”

Lance pondered a moment. “True, he’s always leaned more to the athletic, strong willed, and gorgeous type. Oh yeah and he’s got a particular thing for blonds with curves.” He lifted his eyes to the ceiling as if in deep thought. “Know anyone like that?”


“Come on Allura, he still loves you. The man may have put up walls but he still can never say no to you. Have you not noticed that he still crumbles at your requests?”

“My royal orders you mean.”

“Pfff, you go on ahead and keep believing that. We all saw how well he followed Garrison’s orders. He does what he believes is right, orders be damned. What he has never allowed himself to do is to do something that is right for his own selfish reasons. And being with you, well, in his mind is the most selfish thing of all.”

Allura’s brows furrowed as she looked back at Lance disbelieving.

“Look, all I’m saying is you just need to turn up the heat a little and maybe, just maybe he’ll melt a little and do something for himself for a change.” Lance looked her up and down again. “Those hips have the power to turn any man into putty, including our ice captain, you just need to learn to use them. Trust me!”

Allura raised a brow. “Trust you?” She let out a laugh. “I’m not one of your tarts!”

Lance grinned. “Have I ever led you astray?”

“Do you really want me to answer that?”

Lance let out a belly laugh, “Well, I suppose not. Come on. Let’s go find old cranky pants. I believe I know right where he is. Just follow my lead.”

“What’s in this for you?”


“Yeah you?”

“Let’s just say I’d like to see my best friend truly happy for once in his life. And if it means I have to manipulate him into finding happiness so be it!” Lance winked.


Lance let out a breath into his bangs. “Well that and a little weekend fling may be just the thing to finally get him to relax the fuck down. Since he got back he has been running every moment of my life! It’s been work, work, work and no play for o’l Lance”

“Gee, good to see you’re all heart.”

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After giving Allura a few tips Lance with his arm draped over Allura’s shoulder guided her down the halls and to the control room to find their quarry right where he imagined he would be, surrounded in a semicircle of holo-screens standing in a wide stance in front of them, one arm across his chest the other hand holding his chin, intently focused and even though his back was to them Lance could well picture the scowl etched on Keith’s face.

Without a flinch Keith spoke in a curt tone. “Something I can do for you two?”

Allura recoiled a bit but Lance pushed her forward. “Why, yes, yes you can.” Lance grinned pushing Allura even more forward in front of him bracing his arm behind her back so she broke into Keith’s personal space.

“Look, I really don’t have time for…” Keith spun around and froze finding himself suddenly nose to nose with Allura.

Allura reflexively tried to back away but Lance’s arm held her firm reminding her of their plan and he felt her back muscles flex as she adjusted her posture to better display her assets. Lance smiled as he watched Keith’s eyes battle not to look down “The Princess has something she would like to ask you.”

Keith’s eyes looked conflicted for only the briefest of moments then his sour mask fell back into place, his intense eyes locking on Allura’s. “What?”

Allura slowly dropped her eyes from Keith’s then ever so slowly raised them back up to his again. “I, I thought it would be good for you, that is it would be best for… Ummmmm.”

Keith’s nostrils flared and he cocked his head in annoyed confusion.

Lance quickly stepped in to try to further divert Keith’s defenses, draping his arm of his friend’s shoulder. “Keith, my friend.”

Keith’s eyes rolled back in his head. “Oh great.”

Lance beamed. “Her Royal Highness is hereby officially requesting you to accompany her to Nanny’s school and village harvest festival as her escort and guest.”

Keith’s eyes narrowed onto Lance but Lance ignored them.

“Her Royal Highness,” He repeated for emphasis. “needs an outstanding member of the team to accompany her on her visit to the village to help her rally their spirits and well there just isn’t anyone more outstanding, sans myself of course.”

“Of course.” Keith snorted. He shot his eyes to Allura who bit her lip and shrugged in response.

Lance continued. “What better way to thank the community for their support than to have Her Royal Highness and the Commander of Voltron visit them on this holiday!” He walked around to Keith’s other side and leaned in. “And what better way to illustrate to the grounded cadets that no matter how much they want to go only those who earn such a privilege are permitted to go on such outings.”

“But I don’t want to go.” Keith challenged.

“Beside the point!” Lance waved him off. “Obviously just discipline isn’t getting through to those kids, so I, as the one you put in charge of their punishment, want to show them what perks they loose by misbehaving ergo, you, Captain get to set the example of only hard work earns your reward.”

“So you want to trick them into behaving.”

Lance beamed. “Exactly.”

“Sorry, but there is entirely too much going on for me to take two days off. With Pidge focused on reprogramming the new systems, Hunk repairing the perimeter shields and Wade and Lotor on the…”

“Yes, yes, exactly! Your absence will be the perfect opportunity for the cadets to have to take on extra shifts and to get a clear picture on how much work you balance on your shoulders every day. Let’s see how bad Daniel still wants to jump into leadership when he sees the whole of what the position entails.”

Keith crossed his arms. “You seriously want me to leave the planet’s defense in the hands of three green cadets?”

“Myself and three green cadets.” Lance beamed.

“Even worse.” Keith muttered and turned back to the video screens trying to pretend they where not there.

“Can you imagine how jealous the cadets would be to see you out where they want to be?”

“The more you talk the less convinced I am.”

“Never mind, Lance.” Allura interrupted them. “It’s obvious he doesn’t want to go, no matter how much good it would do for my people, I won’t force him.” She turned away and began to take her leave. “Good day, Commander.”

Keith spun back around to respond to her but froze, mouth falling open as she exited the room.

Lance noted the extra sway Allura put in her hips with a wry grin. “Allura wait…” Lance mock called to her, far to late to stop her as he amusingly watched Keith’s scowling mask drop to reveal a rare glimpse of lust to be overcome with concern. Yes! Yes!

“Princess…” Keith whispered so quietly if Lance hadn’t been looking at his friends lips he wouldn’t have heard it.

Damn, Lance thought. She’s good.

“Does she really want me to go?”

Lance seeing his chance moved in for the kill. “She is petrified to go without you, something about only feeling safe with you. Since that recent attack when Lotor tried to grab her she doesn’t trust anyone else to protect her, but she really needs to make this school visit.”

“She shouldn’t be going at all.” Keith shook his head.

“You going to tell her she can’t go visit Nanny’s kids?”

Keith’s jaw snapped shut, his eyes still focused on the doorway Allura exited. “I believe I’m the last person Nanny would want to see.”

“Yeah yeah, she hates us all, ‘corrupting her baby’, blah blah. But those old wounds have been slowly mending over these last five years.” Lance lied, he knew the hatred Nanny held for Keith was on an entirely different level than the rest of them but it was high time they had it out or Allura and Nanny’s relationship would never fully mend. Lance studied Keith for a moment as he continued to look at the door and decided to go in for the kill. “You should go. It’s what Allura wants.”

“Well if it’s what the Princess really wants then I guess…”

“It’s what you want?” Lance finished Keith’s sentence with a smirk. “She misses you you know, Hell I miss you. You know it wouldn’t hurt to try and be her friend again.”

Keith’s eyes drifted closed. “I am still a friend.”

“Yeah, right. You forgetting how close you two were or were all those late night talks you used to have just work? Now you don’t even talk to any of us anymore unless its work. It’s not healthy man.”

Keith’s lips twitched and he finally ripped his eyes from the door to lock them with Lance. “Fine!”

“Fine?” Lance repeated.

“Fine!” Keith flared then spun back to the monitors.

“How about a thanks for the weekend off, Lance?” Lance spoke to the back of Keith’s head but was met with the wall again. He threw his arms up into the air then turned his back on his friend and began walking to the door having a mock conversation with himself. “Thanks Lance… No problem buddy anything for you, you deserve a break!... No, no, it’s you who really deserves it Lance, but if my going is what the Princess needs… It is, and don’t worry I’ll take care of all the arrangements so it wont impact your oh so busy day.” Lance paused at the door to control to turn back and take in the figure of his stoic commander again, a wicked grin tugging at his lips. Yes yes, don’t you worry, I’ll take care of everything.

Once out of the room he tapped is Voltcom, “Hey Hunk, you got a minute?”

The sound of loud blaring music hit Lance’s ears, Hunk’s voice shouting over it. “Sup Lance?”

“Hey buddy.” Lance grinned. “How far along are you on repairing that bike of Keith’s?”

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“This is stupid!” Daniel muttered as he keyed the last few strokes to key up a diagnostic report on one of the castle’s wall com units.

“You shut up! You’re the one who got us into this.” Larmina muttered as she watched the readings for anything anomalous.

Daniel fisted his hands. “I’m a pilot not a techie!” He turned to glower at Vince who was standing across from them leaning against the wall. “You’re the one who should be doing this chore!”

“I don’t dare touch those things, Are you forgetting if I touch it I’ll fry out the panel then and then our new punishment job will be to fix that too!”

“Will you two just shut up, we’re almost done. This is the last panel and by these green readings it doesn’t need any…”

“Did I hear that you’re almost done?” Lance’s amused musical voice sung down the hall to them.

The three cadets groaned in unison. “Thanks a lot, big mouth.” Daniel muttered to Larmina under his breath.

“Oh have I got the most amazing project for you three! You’re going to love it.” Lance shooed the three to walk down the hall, he walking up between Daniel and Larmina to drape an arm over each of them. “Time to learn about some old school technology. To the maintenance bay!”

The three cadets muttered the whole way to the maintenance bay as Lance lectured on the merits of knowing about past technology and how it influenced today’s tech. Lance guided them into the bay and past several of Pidge and Hunk’s projects in half completed states. “… and so in knowing how things were constructed in the past it gives us a greater understanding of where we can take today’s technology into the future.” Lance approached a work area off in a back corner and in it lay a lumpy grease stained tarp on the floor beside a workbench. “That and well… some of this old stuff is just too fricken cool!” Lance bent over and grabbed the edge of the tarp and with a dramatic flourish unveiled the pile of parts it was covering.

The three cadet’s faces froze in bewilderment at the site before them. On the floor lay a pile of metal shapes and machined parts totally unrecognizable to them.

“Ain’t it beautiful?” Lance beamed.

“Errr” Daniel looked at the pile then to Lance, then back to the pile again, utterly confused as to how this pile of scrap could be beautiful to anyone’s eyes sans Hunk’s?

Larmina reached down to pick up a curved piece of pipe. “Uh, what is it?”

Vince shook his head. “By the two wheels It looks like a cart or conveyance of some sort but I don’t see its computer guidance system or…?”

“Computer?” Hunk’s amused laugh reached them. He walked up to the pile and tapped his temples. “The only computer this vehicle needs is in here.” He waved his large palm to the parts on the floor. “This, my young friends, is a motorcycle.”

“No fucking way!” Daniel’s confusion transformed into delight and he dived for the pile and began picking up and handling all the pieces trying to puzzle out each one.

“Moterwhata?” Larmina asked confused.

“Motorcycle.” Vince rubbed the back of his neck. “Internal combustion driven personal conveyance that our current hover bikes were designed after.”

Daniel was still lost in ogling the parts “Holly crap how did you guys get this! This has a lot of original parts not just some carbon fiber mock up.”

Hunk grinned at the cadet’s enthusiasm but then frowned and looked to Lance concerned. “Are you sure this is a good idea? It’s not really ours to fix.”

Lance gave Hunk a winning smile. “Hunk, really. He’s had this thing sitting down here in parts since he got back. He had you repair the laser barrage damage but he’s been so busy he never got around to reassembling it. Let’s give the guy a present.”

Daniel froze and ogled the part he was holding. “Wait. This…  This is Keith’s?” He slowly looked up from the pile. “Oh my god! He’s way cooler then I thought!”

Lance rolled his eyes at Daniel’s continued hero worship of Keith but decided to go along with it not wanting to loose the rare moment of having Daniel actually interested in something. “Yep, it’s Keith’s. He acquired it when he was out tracking down information on the Black, but it got shot to kingdom come in the process.”

“Yeah.” Hunk chuckled. “Gas tank looked like Swiss cheese. Managed to patch it all up and repaint it. Told him we should paint it glossy black with lighting bolts but he likes that old dingy black it was so ehhh.”

Lance walked up to Vince. “And the best part of this li’ll project. No computer technology so o’l Vince here can get his hands dirty with you!”

“Hold on hold on.” Larmina put up her hands. “I don’t know the first thing about motorwhatevers and what exactly do you mean by dirty?”

Hunk beamed reaching over to the workbench and pulling out a grease stained apron for each of them and began tossing them out. “Ahhh yes, getting your hands dirty is the best part!”

Lance clapped his hands together. “Great so get to work. I need it working by tomorrow.”

“Hunk froze and snapped his head to Lance. “To what?”

“Tomorrow.” Lance shot Hunk one of his winning smiles. “Trust me, for the sanity of the whole team, tomorrow. I’ll take your patrol shift tonight so you can work on it.” He gave Hunk the full force of his puppy dog eyes.

The big man let out a sigh then gave Lance a sheepish grin. “Cadets, looks like it’s an all nighter in the shop.” He keyed his voltcom and suddenly a blaring guitar riff filled the air as a rock track began playing out of all the maintenance bay’s speakers. “Cadets!” Hunk grinned. “Get me my tools!”

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Overnight bag flung over his shoulder Keith grumbled as he walked down the corridors of the castle to the hanger bay where he was to meet with Allura for their trip. He had refused to let his mind wander to the fanciful idea of spending a weekend with her, instead occupying his mind with the backlog of issues this two day absence was going to create for him. It wasn’t just that he would not be here to keep tabs on things but he knew there would be additional work as Lance and the Cadets were sure to create a mess for him to fix when he got back. When he reached the hanger bay and saw the smiling faces of those troublesome individuals his face soured even more. Lance and the cadets stood side by side in a tight line, exaggerated grins making them look incredibly guilty about something.

Keith walked up to them and took a deep cleansing breath. “What did you break this time?”

Lance grinned. “Oh nothing, nothing at…” His eyes shifted to look behind Keith “Oh hey Princess, My you are looking lovely this morning.”

Keith’s eyes narrowed then he slowly turned to look at Allura, dressed not for a courtly outing but instead in her blue uniform that caressed her every curve and hid nothing from his imagination and her hair pulled back into a tight ponytail. Gods he hated when she wore that thing. He clenched his teeth not to let out a hiss. “Princess, I don’t believe Nanny would quite approve of you arriving for a royal visit in that.”

“Nor do I.” Allura approached his side setting her own bag down at her feet. “But Lance informed me that I would need to wear this for the trip as a dress would get ruined.

“Ruined in a hovercraft?” Keith’s eyes drifted back to Lance and bore into him.

Lance rocked back into his heels with a smug grin. “But you’re not going in a hovercraft.”

“We’re not taking the Lions.” Keith glowered at them all. “You are all to keep to the training schedule in our absence.”

“Absolutely, Captain.” Lance nodded. “Target drills begin in an hour.”

Keith crossed his arms and shifted his weight. “Then what are we taking?” Lance’s toothy grin made the short hairs on the back of Keith’s neck stand up. “Out with it!”

“Your transport, Mon Capitan.” Lance and the cadets parted to reveal his motorcycle fully reconstructed and standing up on its stand behind them.

Keith’s mouth slightly dropped open and he let out a surprised gasping smile but quickly tried to catch himself, forcing a scowl onto his face but from Lance’s expression he knew his teammate saw it all. “What did you do to my bike?”

“Oh my goodness!” Allura squealed and quickly moved up to the machine. “This is yours, Keith?”

Keith lips moved to answer but he stammered as he watched Allura walk around the bike and let her fingers slowly glide along the worn leather seat and trace circles on it. “I... well... you see.”

Hunk walked up to them, drying his hands on a towel. “Yep, it’s Keith’s. Lance here figured he’d never get around to fixing it so he asked me and the cadets to do it.”

“Did he?” Keith’s eyes shot back to Lance threatening bodily harm.

Lance took a step up to Keith matching his gaze and not taking his eyes off him. “Go ahead and sit on it Allura. See how it feels.”

“Really? Wow I’ve only ever seen videos of these.” Allura lifted her leg over to straddle the bike. Hunk helped her feet to find the pegs and pointed things out here and there as the cadets gathered around him.

Keith’s lip involuntarily curled as Allura’s firm and tightly clad derriere lowered to settle in the curve of the seat, her body bending forward to grip the handlebars as instructed by Hunk.

“Problem, Captain?” Lance still in Keith’s face grinned.

Keith snapped his eyes back to Lance trying to keep his suddenly heavy breathing somewhat under control.

“It’s not safe.”

Lance laughed. “You’re the best rider I know.”

“For her!” Keith corrected. “It has no defensive…”

“Nor do the hovercraft… Next excuse?” Lance beamed.

“It’s not, we wouldn’t… ughhh.” Keith shook his head.

From her position laying down almost flat on the bike hands caressing the fuel tank as Hunk pointed out the engine parts Allura turned her head to Lance and Keith. “Oh please. I’ve always wanted to ride on one!”

Keith’s eyes snapped to her and he swallowed hard.

“I believe her highness wants to go for a ride?” Lance sneered.

Keith lowered his voice so only Lance could here. “You sir, are dead.” He reached down and grabbed up his and Allura’s bags and tossed them to Hunk who caught them and began strapping them onto the back of the bike. Keith walked up to the bike and shrugged at Allura. “It’s a two hour ride. It won’t be very comfortable for you.”

Allura slowly sat back up in the seat giving him a soft smile. “But I bet it will be a lot more fun.”

Keith bit his cheek to try and keep his body and mind in check. “You may get dirty.”

Allura shook her head with a laugh and pointed at her wrist. “I have my Voltcom.”

Keith rolled his eyes, his own rule of never leave without your voltcom hitting him in the ass for with it she had a change of clothes at her command. He then thought of the one thing that could change her mind. “Nanny is going to kill you when she sees us ride up on this.”

Allura laughed and tossed her head back so her hair flew over her shoulders eliciting another swallow from her captain. “She’s going to kill me anyway when I show up with you. Be just like old times.” She grinned at him. “Come on.” She bounced on the seat. “Lets go!”

“Dead” Keith muttered to Lance again who just grinned back at him.

“Here ya go cap!” Hunk tossed Keith the bike’s key.

Catching it Keith lifted the key up to look at the ornament that was dangling from the keychain to see a little anime version of black lion looking back at him. He eyed the trinket with disgust and then looked back to Hunk.

Hunk shrugged. “Larmina, thought it was cute.”

“Cute?” Keith shook his head. Not having the energy to continue arguing an obviously lost cause he let out a long breath. He reached to his voltcom and keyed up an old outfit stored in its memory he hadn’t had to wear since his return. His body shimmered as in place of his uniform appeared dark grey riding leathers, complete with gloves, heavy armored riding boots and helmet with drop down visor. He flicked the visor up and looked to Allura and spread his arms wide. “You may want to change into something with a bit more protection, just in case.”

“And make it pink!” Lance laughed

Allura glared at Lance not amused at all then her eyes drifted back to Keith searching him up and down with a peculiar smile. She then raised her voltcom up and triggered it to scan him, and then with a few button strokes she was wearing the same outfit but in a softer dove grey. “How’s that?” She asked.

“Hot!” Larmina grinned at her aunt.

Keith swallowed trying not to show his full appreciation of how well she looked. His eyes shifted back to Lance. Bastard.

Lance shot him back a winning smile as if he read his mind. “Burning Daylight.” He winked.

Keith grit his teeth and walked up to the bike. He gestured for Allura to scoot back and flung his leg over it to sit in front of Allura. He balanced the bike under him then rolled it off its stand. Taking the key he inserted it into the ignition and started it up. The bike rumbled to life with a deep throaty purr.

Lance walked up to the machine and gave it an appreciative pat. Now that is what a bike should sound like, not like those sissy hoverbikes.

Daniel gave a visible flinch at the remark but had to concede and give an affirming nod.

Allura shifted on her perch not quite sure how to position herself behind Keith. Lance leaned in to her and placed his hand on her back. “You’re going to want to scoot forward and hold on.”

Allura looked puzzled. “Hold on? Hold on to what?”

Lance snickered. “Why Keith of course.”

Keith’s entire body shivered as Allura’s hands gripped onto his hips. Until that moment he had not fully thought through all of what this ride had in store for him and what torture it was going to be.

Lance gestured to Hunk to key the hanger bay door open and the morning sun met their eyes. Lance gave Keith’s shoulder a smack. “You better get going or will never get there. Nanny’s going to be pissed enough, don’t need to add being late on top of that.”

Keith gave Lance one last threatening glair. “When I get back…”

Lance raised up his hands in defeat. “Dead, yep, I know.” He gave Keith a wink. “Now go!”

Keith shook his head giving the engine a few revs then shifted the bike into gear and rode out of the hanger. He rode the bike in a few slow figure eights outside to get a feel of the newly rebuilt gearbox and breaks. Once familiarized he steered his way to the road that would take them to Nanny’s village. He paused there to bask in the wave of undeniable pleasure it was of being back on this bike with an open road stretching out in front of him, a slow smile growing on his lips.

“What’s wrong?” Allura asked unsure why they stopped.

“Nothing just… well… forgot how fun this was, happy I guess.”

“Happy?” Allura laughed. “I thought you forgot how to be happy.”

Keith turned to look at her with mild annoyance. “Hey, I can be happy.”

“Uh huh.” She smirked at him. “Commander Grumpypants, isn’t that what the cadets call you?”

Keith shot her a petulant pout.

Allura mirrored his pout, crossing her arms in signature Keith fashion for emphasis. “Commander Grumpypants actually allowing himself to have some fun, who would have thought?”

Keith let out a laugh, the first real laugh he could remember laughing in a long time. After gaining control of himself he closed his eyes. How long had it been since he really laughed? She was right, it felt like it was a lifetime ago. He slowly reopened his eyes to look at her, her eyes studying him, no longer teasing but shimming in understanding. He gave her a weak apologetic smile.

Life hadn’t been fair to either of them, their lives filled with their own personal trials had been pre scripted out for them, she with her path he with his. While their paths were parallel they were never destined to intersect, no matter how much he had dreamed of it. His youthful fantasies inspired him all his first years on Arus, and remnants of those fanciful dreams kept him from loneliness all his years away, but now back, and having to face the reality of what they really were he had to wall off those feelings.

He knew it wasn’t fair to her to have closed off the part of him she used to have access too, but out of self preservation what choice did he have? But looking at her now, with her so close, he felt the loss of that closeness they had shared so acutely. In that moment he wanted to tell her everything, his lost hopes, his forgone dreams, his disillusions. But in looking into her understanding eyes it was as if all of that was spoken in the silence between them.

Allura’s eyes softened and drifted away from his. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean too...”

He let out a weak laugh. “Pathetic, aren’t we?”

She nodded her head at him. Her eyes then came back to meet his, shimmering with mischief. “How about we forget the whole Princess, Commander thing this weekend and just have fun as friends.”

His eyes studied her with concern brow lifting in amusement. “Friends?” The blush that he saw growing up Allura’s neck to her ears confirmed Allura’s thoughts mirrored his own. They could never be, just friends.

Instead of looking away and hiding her blush she continued to look right at him. Her eyes wandered over his face then locked back onto his.

Her eyes were asking him a question that his body was at that moment more than willing to answer. He shook his head clear of such crazy thoughts and turned back forwards and looked out to the road as he revved the engine. “Are you sure you are really ready for this, Princess?” He then swallowed at the unintentional double-entendre of his words that thankfully she didn’t seem to notice.

“Ready for what?”

Feeling the bike rumbling under his legs and the heat of her body sitting behind him, in spite of all his discipline to fight off his emotions Keith felt his lips pulling into a wicked knowing grin. “You may want to hold on tighter, Princess.”

“Tighter? Why would I need to…”

Before Allura could finish Keith spun the back tire of the bike and then released the front break so it took off like a rocket in a cloud of smoke. Her body pressed against his as her arms reflexively wrapped fully around his torso and her legs flexed tightly against him eliciting a purr from someplace deep within Keith. Luckily the loud whooshing of air made her hearing it impossible. He could feel her laughter as her body clung to him and he reveled in the sensation of it as the air whooshed past them. Feeling exposed and free, a feeling one could not have in the Lions.

He felt Allura move to look over his shoulder. “Faster!” She yelled over the air currents and he instantly abided, kicking the bike into a higher gear and earning a giggle of delight from her.

Several miles down the fall kissed tree lined road Keith pulled the bike up to a stop, his booted feet dropping to the ground to keep them balanced. He looked at the road markers ahead of them. He felt Allura’s bodyweight shift on the bike as she stood up on her pegs using his shoulders to keep her balance. He gestured to the intersection. “Left is the rural road, right is the city route.”

She reached over him and pointed of to an unmarked side trail beside the left road. “Or we can take that.”

He shook his head with a laugh. “That… will make us late for sure.”

Allura leaned down to his ear. “Mmm, perhaps, but totally worth it.”

Keith’s hand reflexively flexed on the throttle giving the engine a rev. “My Princess, I do believe you are a bad influence on me.”

“Well someone has to do it.” She looked him over. “For a wanted fugitive you sure do follow the rules an awful lot.” She teased him.

He couldn’t help but to laugh. “You sure about this?”

Instead of a reply she just beamed at him and she plopped back down onto the seat behind him, her hands finding their familiar hold.

He hissed at her touch as he turned back to the road ahead to divert his attention. “Keep your weight in your feet like riding a horse, this is going to get bumpy.”

“Just go go go!” She laughed.

“And here I thought I was the adrenaline junkie!” Keith smiled revving up the engine again and with a flick of his foot slamming it into gear and they were off, turning off the main road onto the side dirt trail.

Keith tried to keep focus, eyes on the trail ahead, deftly picking out the best track along it for the bike, going fast enough to make the ride a thrill but not too fast as to be reckless. He continued to have to fight to keep focus as his mind was being teased with other attentions far more interesting than the feel of his restored bike or the pleasure of the ride. He took a deep breath as her fingers dug into his chest as the bike topped over rise and the musical sound of her laughter filled his ears.

It had taken him five years, five years to try and free his mind from imagining having a fictional life with her as his partner in it. And now here on this motorcycle seat, all of those dreams that he battled to forget were coming back to him like a tidal wave. Years of learning to accept the impossibility of his fantasy, years of training himself to isolate his heart from any emotion. Years of coming to terms that she didn’t belong with him but was destine to live her life as someone else’s queen. He blinked his head clear as the bike approached a muddy patch, no way around it but to go right through. He increased their speed so as not to get stuck in it. “Hold on!”

The bike quickly ripped through the muddy ditch, muck shooting up in waves on either side of them.

Once out of the ditch she leaned back away from him and let out a fit of giggles her hand slapping him on the back. “Again! Do it again!”

He pulled the break sending the bike into a sliding stop leaning it sidewise on his mud laden boot. He shook his body to free the mud clumps and used his sleeve to wipe his visor off. “Sorry bout that.” He turned his head around to look back at her completely covered in mud and in spite of all effort not to he soon was grinning at the sight of her royal highness, crown princess of Arus completely unrecognizable covered in a layer of muck.

She blushingly smiled back at him. “I forgot how good it feels to see you smile like that!”

He pulled back in confusion. “Hey, I smile!”

“No, not like that, not since…” She looked away as if not wanting to think about it.

Coughing to diffuse the awkward topic Keith turned his head away. “If we don’t keep going we’re goanna be late for sure.” He turned the bike back down the trail that began to smooth back out before rejoining the rural road and they road along in silence.

Allura settled in behind him for the rest of the ride, laying her body against his back, arms wrapped tightly around his waist her fingers pressing into him as she took in the sites from the back of the motorcycle.

Keith decided to just enjoy it, enjoy this little time they had, enjoy the feeling of having her all to himself. Enjoy the rare free moment to just be.

“So beautiful.” Allura called out from behind them as they entered a thick tree lined lane the leaves raining down as they passed under the branches.

He had to agree, the sight of fall on this part of Arus was breathtaking, the trees all turning various shades of yellow orange and scarlet, their fallen leaves dancing around them on the road as they passed various scattered farms.

They topped a hill and the village where Nanny now lived came into view far in the distance on the other end of the valley before them. Keith brought the bike to a stop at its crest so they could look down on the vista below.

Allura took in a deep breath to take in the crisp fall air. “The colors are so stunning here.”

Keith nodded, it was postcard perfect. The farmers had done so much to restore the land back to its former bounty, so different a view than his memories of war torn Arus. Keith called back over his shoulder. “Need a quick stretch before the last leg?”

“Oh yes please.” Allura and pointed off to a nearby meadow. “How about there?”

Keith nodded and slowly rode the bike off the road and into a small clearing where he turned the engine off and propped it up on its stand.

Holding onto Keith’s shoulder Allura gingerly slid off the side. “Thanks.”

Keith reached his arm out for her to grip onto to steady herself as her legs suddenly turned to jello. “Will take a few minutes to get your land legs back. He then got off himself hands going to his own backside to rub out the numbness as he arched back. “Been a while for me too.”

Allura stretched her arms up over her head looking up into the lacy canopy of fire kissed trees.

Keith tried to avert his eyes from her long frame as she slowly and tantalizingly removed her helmet and pulled her hair free from her leather jacket but he utterly failed. He was mesmerized as she stretched out each and every muscle of her supple body, so much more matured than the Allura he had left. It wasn’t until his eyes finally drifted up her torso that he noticed she was staring back at him. He quickly looked away. “I umm.” He tried to cover. “We should probably try and clean up a bit.”

Thankfully to him she didn’t seem to notice his ogling for what it was. Instead she just gave him a nod with a soft smile and turned for a nearby brook.

He couldn’t help but to let his eyes follow the sway of her hips as she turned and walked away. He then gasped as her leathers shimmered the dirt falling away with it. Her body shimmered again, another layer vanishing before his eyes until she appeared almost topless behind the swaying line of blond hair. The ever increasing sway of her walk sent her hair to move with it giving him a clear enough view to see she at least had on her cropped sports top but that knowledge did little to detour his imagination. He leaned back on his bike to try and calm his fraying hold on his thoughts. Soon they would be at Nanny’s, the woman he had happily not seen in over five years, and he was actually growing to welcome the idea of the distraction of one of her tirades to put his weakening resolve back in place. So long had he fought to block out all these crazy thoughts that haunted his dreams. And here they were, so tantalizingly close yet still as impossible as ever.

What are you insane? He heard Lance’s voice mock him in his head. She obviously wants you, you want her, what’s the harm in a little… Keith coughed, not wanting to hear the end of the thought. But he had to agree with the voice’s assessment, if he wasn’t already driven nuts, seeing her like this was sure to drive him insane.

His life just was too complicated now, to many expectations and responsibilities. Their lives were bigger than they were. He was jealous of the relationship that she and Lance had built while he was gone. He wished they could be just friends too but it was too difficult for him to be that close again and ignore the truth of what he really wanted.

Come on why can’t you at least try and be just friends? Lance had been nagging him. “Just friends.” Yeah right. Keith mumbled as he eyed the exaggerated curve of her spine as she bent over the water, now loosened hair perfectly arranged to cascade over one shoulder to exaggerate the length of her supple neck and looking very much like a pinup. His lips curled into a sidewise smile watching the alluring display that seemed almost too perfect. You do not play fair, my princess.

His brow suddenly shot up in realization… Lance! Lance had to be behind this, he was orchestrating every little detail of this whole thing! He cocked his head. So did that make Allura a willing tease? Had Allura been purposely torturing him this whole morning? To what end? She knew more than anyone why they had to stay at arm’s length, she had a roster of rich and powerful prospects just waiting to be chosen. So why was she playing with him like this? Was this just some game she and Lance had cooked up to get back at him? Unless she really… No, she couldn’t really still have those kinds of feelings for him after all their years apart.

A mischievous smirk grew on his lips. His eyes narrowed in on her and he keyed his own voltcom. If it’s a game of tease you want, fair princess then it’s a game of tease you will get.

line break

Allura was so glad her back was to him as she walked repeating to herself sway sway, sway, sway, her uniform shimmering away into her workout training gear.

She couldn’t believe how bold she was being. In spite of the cool air touching her now exposed skin she felt a tingling warmth of excitement she had never known. Lance had said to push it, work the assets she had and she blushingly had to admit it seemed to be affecting him as she caught him looking at her. Was there really still a spark hidden away in her captain?

Lance was also right in fixing his bike, it seemed to be so therapeutic for him. ‘Captain Crankypants’ was no where to be seen once he got on the back of his bike. No matter what happened this weekend she was going to have to insist on more rides in the future if even just for the excuse to get to touch him.

She reached the stream and knelt down in front of it. She pulled her hair free from its tight ponytail and then leaned over scooping up the clean cool water to splash her face with it. She shivered at the cold but it felt so refreshingly clean at the same time. She repeated splashing her face with the water, carefully washing away the mud of the road that had found its way through the gap under her helmet.

“Here.” His voice came from her side and he extended a wadded up kaki tee-shirt to her.

“Thanks.” She took the offered shirt and raised it to her face to dry off. On inhale she almost gasped as the smell of his musky scent hit her full force. It then dawned on her that he must have just stripped this off. She forced her eyes forward so as not to look over to confirm her suspicions but the shimmering shirtless reflection in the stream answered any doubt for her.

She couldn’t help but to stare as he bent low beside her and dunked his entire head into the stream, his hands going to his face and then to his hair giving it a few brisk rubs and then with a flip he sat back up, tossing his hair back, water cascading down all around him. “Whew that’s cold!” He sputtered as his hands wiped the droplets from his face.

“Here.” She passed him back his tee and he began drying his hair off with it. Following his slow motions her eyes looked onto a sight she had not seen in many years, the bare chest of her captain. It still bore the scars of his past she remembered but as her eyes roamed she began discovering new marks she did not know the stories for. Her gaze lingered on three scarred over puncture wounds on his side just under his ribs.

“Turns out Drules are better shots than Doomies.”

Allura blinked then looked up to see a bemused expression on her captain’s face looking back at her. “I… What?”

He chuckled then raised up his right arm to stretch it over his head to expose the full wound to her. His fingers pointed out the punctures. “Tight grouping.” He then pivoted so she could see the matching holes on his back, “Went clean through too. Laid me up for months.”

“Keith!” why didn’t you ever tell us you were hurt? One of us would have…”

“Exactly why I didn’t.” He shrugged at her. “Couldn’t risk any of you being implicated if I got caught.”

She gave him her best princess pout with an accusatory stare that could bore two new holes threw him.

He let out a chuckle and rose to his knees to face her. “If you think that one is bad you should see…” He reached for his belt as if to unfasten it.

At that Allura’s eyes boggled and she flushed a bright crimson turning away.

He sputtered a laugh and dropped back down beside her. “Sorry, couldn’t help it.” His eyes drifted over her face with a soft smile of his own. “It’s good to see you smile too.”

She was soon lost in a fit of shy giggles. While she may have thought she was becoming the master of the tease apparently he had a trick or two too. Once she collected herself she looked him up and down. “Who are you and what have you done to my Captain?”

He pointed his thumb over his shoulder. “I left him back at the castle.” He cocked his head at her. “Isn’t that what you and Lance wanted? You want me to go get him?”

“No!” She screamed more loudly than she wished, her hand coming to her mouth to cover it. “I mean, it’s not that, I, well.” She sat up straight and dignified. “No.”

He leaned in closer to her. “You sure? Would only take a moment.” He grinned.

Her royal composure broke as she felt him moving closer, so close she felt the need to lean back to keep some distance. Her eyes began darting all around seeking an escape. What happened? What was he doing? This wasn’t just her old Keith this was something so much more. Something she had to admit she wanted to see more of, much more.

“What is it, my princess?” He spoke from a mere whisper away. “Or are you the only one who is allowed to tease?”

Tease? “What? I wasn’t! I mean… Lance just thought that if I...”

He leaned back on his heels and raised his brow at her. “So it was Lance. I knew it. He put you up to this didn’t he?” He let out a breath and an exasperated grumble. “Why can’t he just get his own life and stop meddling in mine?”

Allura let out a snort, her hand snapping to cover her face in embarrassment for getting Keith to relax and take some time off is what Lance believed he needed to happen to have some spare time.

Keith’s brows furrowed. “What? What’s so funny?”

“Nothing.” Allura’s skin flushed.

“Nothing?” Keith asked, cocking his head to one side and again leaning forward.

“Nothing!” Allura gasped, leaning back on her hands to keep her distance.

“Princess.” Keith bit his bottom lip. “You are a terrible liar.”

“Fine! Lance just thought that well, you needed to relax a bit and have some fun and well I hoped that maybe we could have some of that friendship we used to have. I miss having you as my friend.”

“You both don’t seem to understand.” He closed the distance between them again. “There was one thing I came to know in my years of isolation away from you, my princess.” He took in a deep breath through his nose. “I can’t just be your friend, Allura.” He slowly backed away. “I wish I could be what we were but I can’t do it anymore.”

“But we could…”

He shook his head, “No buts, it’s just too much. When I was gone I saw the news feeds of you dating this one and that, it drove me crazy! I fully expected you to be married when I got back. When you start dating again…”

“Dating? Married?” Allura laughed. “I’ve never had a date nor am I ever getting married!”

 “Right, sure. Are you forgetting who you are, Princess, Queen, Heir? If you were not holding auditions for your prince charming then what in the hell were all those news reports?” He ran his hands through his wet hair. “Nanny and Coran made it very plain to me when I left that I should use my time to separate myself so I wouldn’t be hurt when I got back and you were married. At first I didn’t want to believe them, but then the news feeds began and it was too much. I chose to forget who I was and go off grid to hunt the Black.”

Allura couldn’t believe what she was hearing. He disappeared not just to find the black but to forget about her, what they were? “Keith?” She cocked her head. “Do you even know why Nanny left my service?”

Keith leaned back rubbing the back of his neck. “I assumed it was the usual power struggle.”

“It came down to her giving me an ultimatum after you left. Nanny said I had a year to get over you and that I must marry by the end of that year.” She moved her eyes from him not wanting to see his reaction. “She and Coran started setting up those diplomatic meetings, sending out press releases that insinuated there was more going on than the trade negotiations they were. But the whole thing backfired on them. They sent the people into a fervor alright, but not the fervor that Nanny and Coran had expected.”

Keith backed away confused. “Wait, those news reports were faked?”

Allura sighed. “Well not the core of them. The meetings did happen but the context of them was entirely twisted to make it seem that I was having romantic liaisons. And when interviewed about it none of those jerks denied it!”

Keith leaned back as Allura’s rage grew.

“And you know what was the worst?” Allura fumed. “The people believed it, believed those idiots boasting on the news and felt I was a betrayer! Heck, I hadn’t even done anything and I felt like a betrayer.”

“Betrayer? Betraying what?”

“Them, Voltron…” Her eyes met his. “You.”

Keith swallowed, his entire reality as he knew it crashing in on itself.

“I eventually gave Nanny and Coran an ultimatum. Cease and desist and they need to find another way to achieve their ‘heir’. If they continued to force marriage on me I would relinquish my crown. I refuse to live a lie for my people.”

“Larmina.” Keith whispered.

Allura nodded. “Yes, Coran was able to track down Larmina, the orphaned daughter of my third cousin and we began grooming her for court, my only hope is that she doesn’t fall for an off-worlder like I did. Nanny couldn’t accept her as my true heir so she chose to leave.”

“But you’ve always wanted children of your own Allura. You deserve to have a family.”

“What kind of family would it be if it was not with the man I love?” Her eyes flashed back to Keith. “And in case you’re still being too dense to get it, that’s you, stupid.”

Keith struggled to meet her eyes. “I… I had no idea. I mean I knew that you, that we… uhhh.”

“I’m sorry,” She fanned her face. “This shouldn’t be your burden. You’re not trapped into a monarchy. You can still have your own life, family, and…”

Keith silenced her by grabbing her arm. His eyes searching hers. “Do you really still love me?”

She met his eyes. “You are stupid.”

Keith let her arm go. “How can I possibly be just your friend knowing that?” He darted his eyes away then he let out a sigh. “But I cannot live my life with you and without you.”

“Then don’t.” Allura challenged.

Keith shook his head with a chuckle. “Allura, married or not one day you’re going to be the queen of Arus, you can’t have a…” He swallowed.

“Lover?” She asked and then smiled as he slowly bit his bottom lip. Feeling emboldened at his reaction she moved closer.

“Lover.” He tested the word on his lips. His head cocking to one side in mild amusement. “I don’t know about you but I don’t much feel like seeing Nanny just now.”

“Captain Kogane, are you suggesting we play hooky from school?”

Keith leaned closer and smiled. “I am a felon you know. Didn’t your overprotective Nanny warn you about motorcycle riding felons?”

“She warned me about all sorts of things, especially you.” Allura challenged.

Keith grew so close as to smell her neck but he didn’t touch her, the sensation sending a shiver across her skin. “Promise me one thing.”

“Anything.” Allura gasped.

“Don’t tell Lance he won.”

Allura leaned back. “Did he?”

Keith snorted and leaned back on his heels. He lifted up his right wrist between them and keyed open his com. “Keith to Control.”

“Go for control.” Lance’s voice responded. “Um, don’t tell me you’re lost.”

“Ha, very funny Lance. Can you radio ahead and let Nanny know we will be a few hours later than scheduled?”

“What! Are you nuts? She’ll kill me!”

“Exactly why I’m having you do it instead of doing it myself. And I believe after this little stunt you pulled today you owe me. All you’ve managed to do was make things even more awkward.”

“And what exactly should I tell Nanny is more important?”

Keith met Allura’s eyes. “Reconnaissance.”

Allura’s eyes flared was he, did he really mean to. Her heart started racing.

Keith hissed then killed the com link. His eyes flashed to Allura and he flipped a hidden switch on his Voltcom, disconnecting it from his arm and dropping it to the ground. Both he and Allura stared at his bare forearm then their eyes then drifted back to each other.

Allura reached out to touch the freshly exposed flesh of his arm. “But you never take off your…”

Keith reached out to touch her cheek. “I’ve never done a lot of things.”

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What are you insane? He heard Lance’s voice mock him in his head. She obviously wants you, you want her, what’s the harm in a little… Keith coughed, not wanting to hear the end of the thought. But he had to agree with the voice’s assessment, if he wasn’t already driven nuts, seeing her like this was sure to drive him insane.

His life just was too complicated now, to many expectations and responsibilities. Their lives were bigger than they were. He was jealous of the relationship that she and Lance had built while he was gone. He wished they could be just friends too but it was too difficult for him to be that close again and ignore the truth of what he really wanted.