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- by Moira


A Voltron Christmas Short
`A Merry Unraveling Christmas'

This is a stand alone fic based on the original series and not related to any of
my other fics. (First Penned in 2010)

Walking the cool halls of the castle Allura's face just contained the utter
relief she had knowing they had all returned safely home. She closed her eyes
sucking in her lips as she remembered it all. The attack had come quickly to the
group out caroling and distributing simple gifts to the villagers, the
Commander's instance of an armed guard and a lion pilot on standby nearby the
only reason she was walking her own halls and not those of Doom. There were
injures though, thankfully nothing to serious that the medics couldn't heal, but
the thought that her actions yet again cause her people and its protectors
injury gnawed at her stomach. As much as she hated to do it she had to go see
them see for her own eyes that everyone was going to be alright and apologize to
that overprotective party-pooper for yet again being right.

She reached the large room next to the med bay that was always on standby to be
set up as temporary shelter, well capable of handling the large group of
villagers, she held her breath as her eyes skimmed the room but seeing the
relaxed demeanor of the med staff weaving among them allowing her to exhale, no
one injured seriously enough to put them into the focused machine like mode she
has seen all to many times before. But her heart then skipped as a doz or so
small faces turned to her with toothy grins, their clothing filthy from the
attack, various parts of their bodies wrapped with clean white bandages,
gleaming out against all the dirt. The children seemed to not mind their
injuries, seeing the princess herself making them forget their bruises, but for
the princess' part all she saw was their stolen innocence. She put on her smile
and walked up to the children, keeling down to receive hugs and kisses from all
of them. Anyone who truly knew her would have seen the pain behind the forced
smile, but to all that looked on her all they saw was her all embracing love.

After hearing their wide eyed heroic tails of the attack she took her leave.
Fighting off the tears that were rising in her she moved to the hall that would
take her to the individual medical bays. This is not how she had imagined her
people spending their Christmas eve, town and homes damaged, running to the
castle for shelter. She paused to collect herself, but all had survived, the
alternatives could have been far worse, they were lucky… she shook her head, no
not lucky, what they were was prepared, and because of that preparation, what
could have been a horror was insted a small skirmish that would probably never end up even as a footnote in a history book. He was right, she clenched her jaw in
defiance, damn him, a soft smile flowing through her lips, but this time a
genuine one. She caught herself mid flush before anyone saw her, shaking it off
and recomposing herself into her encouraging princess look again but not longer
having to fake it.

She passed the first two bays where people were having their wounds cleaned and
bandaged smiling and nodding as she went, her gaze then focusing on the next
room as the sound of his laugh caught her attention. As she got closer she saw
him and froze, he was positively beaming, a broad grin on his face, his
attentions fully on the beautiful nurse who was wiping clean a gash on his
forearm. Allura paled, moving back, the wall behind her halting her retreat, her
eyes then seeing the blushing flush of the woman on the receiving end of his
smile. Then his other had moved up to grab her wrist forcing her to look at him,
his eyes smiling at her as he spoke a few words and she blushingly turned away.

Allura couldn't breath, she silently choked on the air, snapping her eyes shut to
center herself. She got her balance but the nurse's squealing and his responding
laugh pushed her over the edge, she had to leave and leave now, air, she needed
air. As quickly as she could without seeming rude to her people she took her
leave of the med bay. Away, away anywhere, her thoughts of that morning racing
trough her head, the argument she had with him, how she yelled at him for
wanting to ruin her day in the village, how he was worse than an overprotective
mother, how he was worse than Nanny and Coran put together. How he single
handily was ruining her Christmas… `I never want to speak to you again!' She
had yelled at him as she stormed off, if there had been a door to slam in his face
she would have.

She proceeded to ignore him the whole day and the times she was forced to
interact with him she was obnoxiously formal and by the book, `Yes, Commander'
`Whatever you think is best, Commander.' she would say, to all he asked of her,
but her words were all cold and robotic to match her icy stare. And the worst of
it he didn't even seem to care, always looking away never really paying
attention to her.

In hindsight, how right he was, his gut was right that morning, his intuition
was right setting up the guards and Lion where he did, and is keen senses which
were focused on everything around the village instead of her picked up on the
magically screened attack before any sensors did, grabbing her kicking and
screaming body and pulling her away from harm well before she or anyone else
even knew anything was happening.

Is it any wonder that he would look to another for attention…. for comfort… for…
she let the last thoughts trail off to avoid the obvious concussions.

She wandered the halls of the castle as knots of jealousy took hold of her,
growing more and more cold.

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Keith still chuckling to himself grabbed her wrist in his to stop her and get
her attention. "If you don't ask him, I will." Keith smiled broadly.

"You wouldn't!"

"Oh wouldn't I?" Keith laughed releasing her hand to grab his com. "Keith to
Captain Jeremy, can you meet with me in infirmary room…" He paused to glance up
at the head of the bed were the room info sign was. "Room three?"

She squealed at Keith, trying to grab the com away but a deep voice answering on
the come silenced her with a flush of red. "Jeremy here, I'll be right there,

Keith laughed at the rosy glow washing over her just at the sound of
Jeremy's voice, and the thought that the chief captain of the ground troops was on
his way. Keith grinned broadly…. "You or me Rachael, who's goona ask him?"

She meet his amused eyes with a cold changing stare then went about finishing
cleaning out his would now using far more antiseptic than necessary, the sharp
sting causing him to curse under his breath and make a fist to ward of the
stinging pain as she began to wrap it. She just grumbled at him.

"Sir." The same deep voice, only resonating a bet richer than the tiny com could
manage poured in from the doorway. "Did you want me to…" His eyes found and
locked on the eyes of the flushing Racial catching his focus away from Keith for
a moment. He then forcefully ripped his eyes away, subtly shaking his head to
finish his thoughts… "follow after the Princess?"

Keith's cocky smiling demeanor instantly shattered, his lips parting at her
name. "Follow her?"

"Yes, she just left the ward." He was watching Keith but every once and a while
his eyes would dare a quick glance to the still flushing Racial who now was
studying Keith entirely too closely for his liking. His jaw set as his teeth

She was here but didn't come to see me? Keith's hands subconsciously fisted
turning white remembering her morning's words to him `I never want to speak to
you again.' He though she was just being her wonderfully feisty self…. was she
serious? Was she really that angry with him? Keith blinked his head clear and
back too the two in the room with him who were now staring blatantly at him Racial
looking utterly bemused, Jeremy looking like he was ready to punch something.

Keith took a moment to gather himself putting his personal thoughts aside as he
was practiced in doing. "Jeremy, please relax, this isn't work related."

Jeremy looked at him as if he was speaking some forgin language, his eyes set in
a confused yet piercing stare, every once and a while looking longingly to
Rachel who was looking a Keith now with a cat that ate the canary all to pleased
look dancing in her eyes.

Keith looked at her confused but then paled in realization, Rachael saw his
reaction to Allura's name, and he saw the amusement dancing behind her eyes. He
quickly composed himself before she could read too much into his reaction, he
then glanced back to Jeremy, a trusted friend, one who had given up much that
most take for granted to protect them all. A true soldier. Yet his eyes stealing
glances of Rachel betraying his longing to be able to have more. Keith seeing
himself reflected there ached for him, but Jeremy's `Princess' was right here,
and already well infatuated with him, and she wasn't an off limits…. an
unattainable royal. "Jeremy, what are you doing tonight?"

Jeremy looked at Keith, snapping from a predatory look to all business. "I was
going to review the reports on the attack Sir. And then work on a training
plan on how to counter the new cloaking technology we saw…"

Keith raised his hand to silence him. "On Christmas eve?"

Jeremy looked on him puzzled. "The day matters not to me, I have no plans, I
have no family or…"

"Ah good" Keith stopped him mid sentence again. "The reports can easily wait."
Keith waved the thought of them off with a gesture of his hand then slowly
looked up to the man standing now utterly befuddled in front of him. "Jeremy,
this is not a request by your commander but as a friend and you are free to say
no…" Keith glancing over to Rachael who was now looking petrified and sucking in
her bottom lip. Keith smiled turning back to his friend who's face was now
etched with concern over Rachel's expression. "Would you be interested in…"

"NO!" Rachael yelled in a panic silencing him before he could finish the
question. She then regained herself, straightening her scrubs then meeting
Jeremy's confused eyes. "Ill do it" She swallowed then slowly walked up the man,
he standing a good foot taller than her. "I…" she cranked her neck up to look at
him… "I was wondering if… I mean… oh never mind, its nothing"

Keith then shook his head, this was getting nowhere. He jumped off the table and
headed to the door pausing to stand behind Jeremy. Being of the same height of
the other man Keith easily leaned in and whispered into his ear. "Ask her out
tonight or ill have your ass in the training room." He then moved to the man's
other ear… "She really likes you."

Jeremy started, eyes flashing open wide, and then down to the blushing beauty in
front of him who was turning away. He reached out a hand to take her chin and
move her face back to meet his, studying the flush and longing mist growing in
her eyes.

Keith grinned leaning in to whisper again, "Hmmm, loves you even I'd say" Giving
the man a hearty shove forcing him to take a step into her, the couples body's
colliding flicking some unseen switch in each of them, his head dipping down to
hers and she reaching hers up to him. Keith took a step and turned away and as
their lips touched. He pulled the fabric drape that screened the room from the
world, his hands then lacing behind his back as he wandered down the hall
looking all to pleased with himself.

War does that, intensifies emotions so they are balancing on a knife. So acute you could cut the air with them. He had known Jeremy loved Rachael of quite some time now what he hadn't know was that Racial was utterly taken with him until she saw her tending to him in the infirmary, her touches lingering too long, her body leaning in much closer than she needed to be. His blunt questions to her on the matter when she was working on his injuries and her blushing denials were all the conformation he needed. His questions turning to teasing and her shy confessions of hidden loggings and memories of brief stolen moments, Keith's caring nature relaxing her into bearing her hearts true longing for Jeremy to him.

He reached the large room where the villagers were being tended to and the room
he left was all but forgotten. His heart sank, homes and village damaged, not to
the point of being unable to recover quickly, but enough that the comforts that
keeps one warm and safe from the elements were taken away, the castle the
temporary refuge until the repairs can be made. Those fit and strong enough had
retuned home to begin the clean up and repairs, leaving injured, elderly, the
young and their mothers here in the relative safety and warmth of the castles
walls. But he didn't see sorrow on any of them, he only saw hope, community, and
love. His body rocked as those very empty parts of him cried out, seeming all
the more empty upon seeing the community before him. He wasn't allowed long to
be lost in his thoughts as when spotted he was quickly approached by the
village's children. His empty hands filled with their small hands and was led
into the group.

He sat there with them for a while, listing and smiling, eyes glancing around to
the happiness all around him but as he watched he grew more and more puzzled by
it all. How was it that this group who were torn from their homes on such a
meaningful night be so happy?

It must have read on his face as one of the elder women that he had met on
several outings before and knew was one of the village matriarchs approached
laying her bony hand on his cheek, another moving out of the seat across from
him to give it to her. "What troubles you young man."

Keith blinked at the question, puzzling out the best way to explain his
confusion. "Hours ago you were under attack, uprooted from your homes, on
Christmas eve no less, yet no one is sad… . It just puzzles me"

The crone laughed. "Mmmmm yes, but you have to remember we have lived the
alternatives, we know homes can be replaced. Yes it is a hardship, but faith
endures… it must or they have won."

"Wisdom indeed." Keith let that settle in him, liking those words very much. "So
tell me, what is it you would be doing now if you hadn't been uprooted?"

"These are undeniably hard times, in the years before the attacks we would have
had grand parties and many gift exchanges. But in the last few years with war at
our doors we are happy with simpler things, the company of family and friends,
the roar of a cozy fire, a good meal, and snuggling in for the reading of
stories." The crone settled back into her seat musing a bit to herself. "I often
think on it, how these times bring out the truer meaning of the holidays, so
much was taken for granted before, but with all that striped away you know what
matters most. Community… Family… Friendship… Love…"

Keith smiled across to the woman but his eyes held a bit of sadness, loving the
sound of those words, even though he himself could only imagine what that would
be like. With growing up in a military academy with no family and few he could
call friends all he could do was look onto the group with envy. What he had here
on Arus was the closest he had ever come to having anything resembling family
but duty always took the front seat and especially holiday times he was always
the one to take the work shifts so that others could escape to the arms of their
loved ones. But he knew he was lying to himself that it was duty that kept
others at arms length, it was fear, fear of the unknown, fear of being seen as
weak, and long buried childhood fears of abandonment and rejection.

The elder reached out to caress his cheek again as if she heard his unspoken
thoughts. "Join us here tonight." And with her words all the children huddling
around them perked up eyes flashing to Keith in eager anticipation.

Keith panicked, started to fidget a bit as his stomach bound in knots, his fear
churning within him, yes he did long for that kind of connection and acceptance
but whenever was invited into folks lives he always closed up not knowing how to
truly let go and relax. Duty was his comfort zone and was thankful he had a
genuine excuse for not being able to go. "I'm sorry, I wish I could but I have
to be on duty tonight so that the others can be with their familes."

"Commander…" A deep but contented voice came up from behind him, the one who
could ruin his escape that he forgot was here. "I can easily juggle the schedule
to have someone cover your shift for you. Ill even take the shift if I have to."

Keith slowly tuned to the man now at his side, his arm wrapped tightly around
the waist of nurse Rachel, she nestled against the side of him whit such
familiarity as if she had always been there. Keith couldn't help but smile at
the picture they made. "No Jeremy, you need to take tonight off." His mouth
qwerking to one side as he gave them a look of don't you dare ruin this by going
to work Jeremy.

Jeremy looked sternly back at Keith. "Commander we all owe you. As long as I've
know you you have always been on duty, take a night off. If I tell the men I
need someone to cover for you to take even tonight off, all of them would step
forward." He stole a glance of the lady at his side not taking her eyes off her.
"And I believe I owe you even more than them."

All the children around Keith were in a buzz their anxious energy radiating out
of them, choruses of please please please beginning. Keith closed his eyes as
the panic attack started to well up even stronger within him. "I.." his eyes
then scanned the anxious faces and then to the smiling elder hating the idea of
disappointing them after loosing so much. He swallowed. "Alright, ill come."

Woots and cheers came up from the villagers as Keith shook his head with a
chuckle, afraid of what he has gotten himself into now. The crone smiled at him.
" It is our honor to have you. Thank you, Commander." Her keen eyes noting his
distress "It's a causal affair so no need to worry or to dress formally, and
don't worry about bringing a thing but yourself."

Keith stood up stretching a bit while running a hand trough hair to calm
himself. "Thank you." He then smiled at the kind woman.

"Any time in the evening you want to join us is fine, we understand that you are
a very busy man."

Keith nodded and smiled "Then I will see you all later some time tonight, thank
you all again."

Jeremy slowly let go of his beloved and fell in at Keith's side as he head to
the door. "I will take care of finding some men to fill your shift, if several
split the evening it won't be a hardship on them or their loved ones."

Keith tuned to his friend. "Thank you Jeremy… I think." Letting out a nervous
chuckle. He then looked back into the room to Rachael. "Just be sure you're not
on that list, okay?"

Jeremy nodded with a snappy salute. "Yes Sir."

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Clear of the room Keith's mind was again then free to focus on what concerned him the most, Allura. As he walked his mind was again confronted with how she had come
to the infirmary, yet not sought him out. She had never done that before, she
was always there, for every scrape, for every bruise, and for the worst she had
always come to sit visual over him, he now realizing how deeply those visits had
meant to him and how much he had come to expect, even rely on that comfort. He
wanted to just pick up his com and call her and ask her outright, but if she was
as mad at him as he now thinks she is, that he did not want to face. She had
been angery at him on many occasions, but never to the point of closing him out.
He paused as his gut seemed to fall out from under him the thought of losing
that one little piece of her he was allowed to have.

He then thought of the one person he could go to about this and made his way to
the wing that held the crew quarters.

"Come in" Lance called upon the chime at his door.

"Hey" Keith said as he entered with a low exhale of air and began to pace as the
Red Lion pilot was holding up two ties to his impeccable formal suit comparing
one tie to another in front of a large mirror on one wall.

Lance looked over to Keith. "If this about Jeremy's request for shift changes
tonight. I hope you don't need me." Lance waggled his brows as he put away one
tie tossing the other over his shoulder.

Keith looked up, having already put tonight out of his mind it took him a moment
to shift gears to make sense of Lance's question. "No no," He eyed Lance's
expensive suit shaking his head with a forced chuckle. "Can't let an outfit like
that go to waste, can we?"

Lance's face faded and he walked over to the seating area near his friend to
take a seat. "What's wrong, Keith? Something is obviously eating at you and
what's with this not taking your normal holiday watch shift?"

Keith let out a laugh, "The first… lets just say it's the complicated usual, the
second easy, the villagers from the town hit today asked if I would join them
tonight and I couldn't say no."

"Ahh, alright. I was really worried something was going on."

Keith started to rub the back of his neck falling into a chair across from
Lance. "Lance, how pissed at me is she?"

Lance looked across with a smirk. "Keith, she's not pissed at you at all, she's
pissed at herself but is to stubborn headed to admit that to you."

Keith blinked, that reasoning not even occurring to him, but upon hearing it it
just felt right. A soft smile tugged on his lips at the idea that he was not
hated, he then looked up at Lance. "Enough that she wouldn't come see me while
she was visiting the infirmary?"

Lance was taken a back by that, not like Allura at all to hold onto something
over seeing that he was truly okay with her own eyes. He began to rub his chin.
"Well she could be just too embarrassed about the whole thing, I mean she really
went at you this morning in front of everyone."

Keith grumbled hands going into his hair. "Doesn't she get I don't care about
that, that's just the stubborn `My people first' Allura I lov…" Keith caught
himself too late, he swallowed and dared not look up.

Lance chose not to tease him on it, knowing the slip was a sign that Keith was
really in distress over this, more than he would ever admit. "Do you want me to
go talk to her? I have a bit before my date."

Keith studied the rug beneath his feet for a bit then glanced up to meet the
eyes of his concerned friend saying `yes' without saying a word.

Lance smiled back, standing to move to his friend to put a hand on his shoulder,
Keith wilting under it letting every muscle go limp and whispered "Thank you."

Keith's com then squeaked to life with a chirp. Keith lifting it to see who was
calling. "Keith here, go ahead, Jeremy."

"Just wanted to let you know you are all coved for tonight so don't worry about
a thing."

Keith smiled standing up lifting the com to his mouth. "And what about you?"

"I am also scheduled off as ordered, SIR." His emphases on the sir comical
causing Lance to cock his head.

"Good." Keith grinned, "I'd hate to see all my work was for nothing. Merry
Christmas, Jeremy."

"Merry Christmas to you too, Commander."

Lance crossed his arms across his chest. "And what was that all about?"

Putting his com away Keith chuckled. "I kinda, maybe pushed Jeremy and nurse
Rachael to hook up."

"YOU WHAT!" Lance shaking his head in utter disbelief. "I mean sure I get them
getting together, long overdo, but you… YOU? How."

Keith shrugged. "I don't quite get it myself. I just saw them and all that pent
up emotion and well, pushed."

Lance gave Keith an evil eye. "Yet you yourself won't allow yourself be pushed
into the arms of love?"

Keith's eyes became slits. "That is entirely different! Allura and I…"

Lance's grin was so huge it threaded to break his face it two. "Allura eh?"

Keith's mouth twisted as if trying to remember how to make sounds a frustrated
grumble all he managing to produce. "I… no…. look…. aghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…." He
fell back into his chair burring his head into his hands.

Lance moved to sit on the low table in front of Keith, proping his elbows on his
knees and lacing his fingers to lean his chin on them. "So your saying you saw
in Jeremy someone too strong, too proud and duty bound to admit he needed love
in his life, longed for it."

"Lance." Keith looked up, eyes weary. "I know where you are going with this,
please don't, its an entirely different situation. They are in a position to
have what I can't."

"Bullshit!" Lance spat. "She fucking loves you you idiot!"

Keith gasped at air. "No she doesn't, hell right now she hates me and all I
stand for. I'm just the overprotected Grinch who stole her Christmas."

"You are such a fucking idiot." Lance reached out to rattle the others
shoulders. "Don't you get it? Her overblown emotional reactions to you are
BECAUSE she loves you and doesn't know how to deal with it! She would never blow
up like that to anyone else. She blows up because it is the only way she can
stop herself from just jumping into your arms for god sakes!"

Keith was dumbstruck, never in his wildest flights of fancy had he imagined that
Allura's yelling at him was a shield… could it be? He shook his head no,
consciously refusing to entertain the thought, but even though his best effort
to shut the idea down the seed had been planted and in spite of his mental
discipline his mind continued to wander there to play with it, even if it was
just a fallacy.

"Ughhhhhhhhhhhhh. fine fine, I'll go check on her." Lance rolled his eyes as he

"Thank you, Lance." Keith's voice sounding far away. "I know she's angry with
me, I just need to know she's okay."

Lance turned back to Keith with another retort on his lips, but seeing Keith's
now slumped over form he thought better of it, knowing Keith was not going to
hear him no matter what he said then left the room.

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Allura chose to busy herself before dinner with wrapping up the reaming presents
they had to distribute, the green and yellow's pilots helping her. As they sat
around the large round table she found their laughing small talk a good tonic to
distract her mind from the constant gnawing in her stomach. She played along but
her smiles and laugher rarely met her eyes, and she often found her mind
wandering away from the conversations.

Lance poked his head into the room and spied out his teammates and made his way
to the table they shared.

"Wooohooooo" Pidge whistled on his approach eyeing his fancy suit.

Lance grinned pulling up a chair to sit next to Allura turning sidewise so he
faced her and giving her a little boy pout.

Allura couldn't help but laugh at him, turning in her chair to face him and
grabbing the tie from his shoulder. "I know you know how to do this."

He grinned. "Perhaps, but its more fun when you do it."

Allura rolled her eyes at him, thankful being pulled from her thoughts tossing
the length of the tie over his head and threatening to strangle him with it. He
made the pouty face again earning a smile and she began to work on his tie.

"So what's the plans for tonight?" Lance smiled.

Allura smiled back but again the smile seemed forced. "Finish up here, then a
formal dinner with Coran and Nanny."

The three pilots all shuddered at the thought of having to sit through a formal
dinner with Nanny on the lookout for any breach of etiquette. Hunk leaned over
the table to whisper, "Sorry Princess, its not you but…"

Allura had a quiet chuckle. "No offence taken, Hunk. If I could get out of it I
would too." She winked at him patting his large hand. "So what are you boys

Hunk leaned back grinning like a Cheshire cat. "Have been asked to go help in the

Lance laughed. "Isn't that like sending the fox to guard the henhouse?"

Allura tugged him quite with the tie. "Well its obvious what Lance is doing,
Pidge what about you?"

Pidge smiled. "I going to go watch some old movies with the engineering guys,
they managed to hack into a stream showing some great old stuff… oh that and I'm
taking an hour in control so Keith can be off."

At hearing his name Allura's hands finished on the knot fell to her lap her
throat closing up.

Lance studied her carefully. "He's goona go hang out it the med bay, why don't
you go with him?"

Allura's stomach flipped, he took Christmas eve off to be with HER. She

Lance seeing her distress grabbed her hands. "Alllura, he would want you too…"

"Lance, last thing he would want is for me to be there getting in his way." She
looked up at him utterly cold lip trembling.

"Are you kidding? He loves it when you get in his way!"

The look on Allura's face could only be described as utter horror dissolving
into a far away look and she pulled away. "No Lance, you are mistaken." She
stood, straightening her skirts. "If you don't mind finishing up here I have a
dinner to go to."

Lance tired to grab her again but she slipped away towards the door. "Allura
what's wrong?" he called after her as she disappeared out the door. "Shit.. not
good not good…" He glanced at the time. "Shit." He stood up grabbing out his
com. "Can you guys finish this up and ill try and catch her." He keyed his com
as he left the room.

"Keith here, what's up Lance?"

"Alright so you were right and I was wrong, she's pissed but I have no clue
why." He looked down the two hall options in the corridor, choosing the one
he though most likely. "She's really out of it, what the heck did you say to

"I didn't say anything."

"Ughhhh, saying nothing is worse than saying something." He reached the end of
the hall and no Allura. "Blast, I don't have time for this..."

"Lance, just go, its my mess, ill clean it up."

"Like hell you will, you'll just box away what really matters and make it worse,
as always." Lance looked at the time again. "Blast blast blast. Aright, I have
to go before I get in the doghouse with you. Don't Do anything! You hear me! Ill
find her when I get back and sort this out."

"But you said not doing anything…"

"Aghhhhh" Lance killed his com, and started a slow jog to meet up with his date
for the evening muttering the whole way.

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Keith shut off his com utterly confused. Do I go to her, do I not go to her, do
I apologize for something, does she want to apologize?
Soon his head was
spinning in a million permeations. Do nothing he reminded himself, that is what
Lance said, and one thing Lance understood was the female gender. He sighed, he
would never understand the mind of a woman, least of all this ones.

He had wanted to cool his head so he had already had a shower, stripping
off the stained clothes of the day and letting the water wash way the rest. He
was feeling calmer until Lance's call, and now he was all nerves again. Even
though he was already dressed in casual jeans and a sweater he entertained the
idea of having another cleansing shower but dismissed it as silliness to need
such a thing.

He wandered over to sit in front of his computer to flip through the various
cameras and scanners, seeking the calming familiarity of being on watch. He
leaned forward over his desk, elbows propped up in front of him to rub his
temples as various views flipped passed on his screen. Knowing he was not truly
on duty he decided to let his eyes drift shut, just for a moment…

It was a good hour later when he woke with a start, he wanted to curse himself
for it but also understood his body must have really needed it. Was a habit one
learned in the Academy, sleep fast, sleep hard as you never knew when you'd have
an opportunity to sleep again. He stretched again watching the images move
before him, then seeing her he hit the button to stay on that camera. She was in
the hall in front of private dinning room, The camera just showed her back with
Coran looking at her very concerned and Nanny, well Nanny looked like she was of
all things, dancing…. Wha?? He wanted to flip to the camera to see Allura's face as
well as zoom in and enable the sound but he new that that was an intrusive line
he would not cross, he forcefully hit a button and his screen when blank. His
jaw clenching, he had to go talk to her now, to put his own mind at ease, if she
hated him fine, he just wanted the truth. Lance could ream him out later.

He head out down the halls to where he assumed she would be heading, most likely
going to her room to change out of the very formal dress so to her room first
and then take the path to where he had seen her on the camera. He was halfway to
the dining room when turning a corner there she was heading right for him her
eyes pined to the floor then as if sensing someone they snapped up to him and
she froze, eyes looking utterly pained.

All he had thought up to say upon seeing her was lost, he took a step… "Allura…
are you… alright?" He reached out a hand but she pulled away.

"I hope your evening is going well, Commander." She looked him up and down
taking in his casual dress, something she had rarely ever seen him in.

"Um, fine so far I guess, yours?" He rubbed his neck.

"It went very well, thank you." She semi inclined her head to him in a polite
gesture of appreciation, as formal as the silk dress she was wearing.

He was facing the biggest walls he has ever seen in her. "Allura…" the name
seeming sorely inappropriate to how she now looked and was acting to him. "Are
you okay, I mean are we okay?"

"We?" The word held such a haughty tone to it that he flinched.

Just then Nanny came whizzing down the hall… "So much to do so much to doooo"
She hummed, then upon seeing Allura she squealed giving her a big squeeze. She
then turned on Keith grabbing him up into a bear hug and lifting him off his
feet to spin him around. "Allura this is the best Christmas present I could have
ever had, you will not be disappointed."

Allura gave the woman a formal nod and Nanny curtsied and skipped… SKIPPED off.

"What the…." Keith watched her go adjusting his sweater back down as he slowly
turned back to Allura. "What's wrong with Nanny?"

"Nothings wrong, I just told her to start looking for suitors. Good night,
Commander." She made a quick nod of acknowledgment and walked passed him.

Keith almost choked stunned frozen. He then spun on his heal to her. "You…." his
voice then failed him… the ground seeming to give way beneath his feet as he

"Keith!" A female voice called from the same direction Allura and Nanny had come
from. He reluctantly turned just in time to see Rachel flinging herself into his
arms in a giant hug. He eventually managed to pry her free enough to see a
laughing Jeremy just rounding the same corner approaching them. "Thank you thank
you thank you" She laughing giggled at him. "This has been the best Christmas

Keith extricated himself and turned but Allura was gone all he could think about
doing was chasing her down. He turned a mask of a smile to the couple. "If
you'll excuse me I have to go check on the Princess." He inclined his head a
bit. Jeremy seeing Keith's business like demeanor scoped up his lady into his
arms. Keith couldn't help the twinge of envy at the picture they made. "Merry
Christmas." And he took off after Allura.

"Don't do anything, don't do anything, I didn't do anything!!!" He muttered as
he ran, finding her has she was just entering her quarters. "WAIT!" he slid
along the floor, sliding in and past her as she entered her room. He lost all
color as he saw the tears poring down her face. "Allura!" He strode toward her
to catch her tears but she pulled away.

"Leave me alone!" she spat at him. "Go do whatever it is your goona do with her."

"With…what….?" Keith blinked. "What are you talking about?"

"Don't play with me Keith. Rachael! You two were flirting in the infirmary, she
was just all over you in the hall and you actually took the night off so you can
be with her tonight in the medical ward." Allura was crimson and fuming under
the tears.

"I… wait… what????" Keith grabbed his hair in his fists, her words slowly
falling into place. She's Jealous? A soft smile began to tug at his lips, and he
dropped his hands to his side. He swallowed to collect himself. "Ally…. She's in
love with Jeremy, I was teasing her about it in the infirmary and just now in
the hall she was just thanking me for getting them together." He took a cautious
step forward. "Ally, you have to believe me. I don't love her, I love…" his
whole body trembled as he reached out this time connecting with her stunned
face, thumbs wiping away the wetness he found there. He dropped her forehead
to meet hers and instead whispeed what he was always too afraid to say aloud…
"I love you."

Allura ripped herself free of him. "No you don't, how can you! Your always
justifiably angry with me, I'm always putting you and my people in danger with
my choices. You should be with someone like her who you can…"

He grabbed her arm pulling her to him. "I don't think you get to decide who I
chose to love and who I don't!"

She continued as if his confession was nothing… "Nanny will soon find someone
for me that can take over making my decisions and I won't be a bother to you

"Over my dead Space Explorer body!" Keith's hands were now tightly gripping her
upper arms. "No one thinks for you, ever! Got that!" Lance's earlier insight on
her using her anger as a shield buzzing in the back of his thoughts. He then did
the only thing he could think to do that was the exact opposite of what his gut
was telling him, run run away. He released his grip and instead running he
scooped her up to him in a most intimate of caresses, pulling her body tightly
against him, her every curve nestling to him, her feet floating off the ground,
her head at the height of his so his head fit into the crock of her neck. He
slowly exhaled across her skin.

Her entire body begin to unravel around him, the tension releasing as sobs
overtook her, her arms and legs wrapping around him in a desperate almost primal
embrace his hands moving to support her shifted weight against him. Between
wracked sobs she spoke. "How could you love me, I almost got people killed
today, if you hadn't forced your way…"

He pulled his head back enough to look on her, her face wet and red, strings of
disheveled blond hair now clinging to her face. "And if I had gotten all my way,
none of the dozens villages you had visited earlier today would have had a
visit, all those people need to see you, see that life can be somewhat normal. I
need you to push me to reach out to them just as you need me to rein you in, to
keep you safe." He paused, a bemused look washing over his face. "If I were to
truly have my way I'd have you locked away in the basement."

With that confession her face threatened to break into a laugh but she fought
it, her lips curling up with the effort making him smile. She then sobered,
blinking a few times she looked on him again as if now just seeing him. "You
love me?"

He looked at her as if she had just asked the dumbest question in all the
worlds. His lips instead of speaking choosing to answer her question in an all
new language. He took her lips with his and consumed her, his hands grabbing at
her beneath the rich silk of her dress fighting to pull her closer. Drunk with
the taste of her he slowly pulled away, softly setting her down and taking a
step back from her entwining limbs to find his center again, he looked away
anxious yet fearful.

Allura's eyes drifted shut as her hand went up to cares her swollen and ruby
lips, breaths coming in gasps. but her com broke the trance as Nanny's voice
came bubbling into the room. "Allura I know tomorrow is Christmas but we must
meet fist thing and discuss your prospects." Allura grabbed up the device and
tired to calmly speak back her words coming between gasps for oxygen. "I'm
sorry… Nanny, the wine… must have… gone to my head. Cancel the whole thing … I
do not wish to discuss the matter further."

Keith's eyes then boggled as Allura took the com that was now sputtering Nanny's
refusals and she tossed it hard against the wall, shattering it. He swallowed as
her look went from bemused to something all new, something predatory, something
he liked very much.

She broke her hungry gaze away looking at the door. "We have about five
minutes…. before she busts down that door."

Keith didn't think he just grabbed her by the wrist and pulled her out the door
and down the hall. They tried to run but the thick layers of her skits just
bound up around her legs, he then scooped her up into his arms to carry her
quickly ducking into an nearby alcove just in time as hurricane Nanny swept by.

Keith let out a sigh, then looked to Allura who again as looking at him in that
all new way. As he set her down he moved into her, pining her and her volumes of
skirts between him and the wall of the alcove. He then keyed his own com. "Keith
to Control."

"Control here Keith, what's up cap?" Pidge's voice chirped back. "Couldn't stay
away from work could ya?" He laughed.

"Listen Pidge, Nanny will be calling you any minute looking for Ally. Just tell
her she's needed a break and she is with me and safe."

"Ahh Got it, so Allura's just been on Nanny overload again?"

"Yeah, something like that." Keith smiled as he looked over the pined princess.

"Good to know, we were a bit worried. Alright if we really need ya well know to
look for you down in the infirmary. Control out."

With the those last words Allura looked up to him curiously. "If you're not
going there to see her then why on Arus are you…"

Keith tucked away his com and raised his hand to place his fingertips over her
mouth as the sound of Nanny's rustling skirts could be heard growing closer.
They both held their breath and went deathly still as her muttering voice passed
them. Keith pulled away to lean out into the hall. "Looks like the coast is
clear for now."

Allura gabbed a handful of his sweater and pulled him back. "You didn't answer
my question… why are you going to the infirmary tonight." She blanched. "Wait,
your not really hurt!" She began to feel his for bandages though his sweater. "I
could never forgive myself if I had gotten you hurt again."

Keith's hands when to the backs of hers that were now on his chest, trapping
them there. "I'm fine, just the gash on the arm and a few scrapes and bruises."
His lips parted with a smirk. "But if you want to know why I'm going, well,
you'll just have to come with me. Gods know I'm going to be out of my element
and could use your help." He then eyed the volumes of silk spilling
around him. "But you'll be a lot more comfortable if you changed I think."

Allura's eyes drifted up from his hands that were still trapping hers to his
bemused eyes, her own eyes sparking with mischief. "And what would you have me
wear, Commander."

He leaned into her pressing his forehead to hers… "Less." He swallowed hard to
pull himself from more intimate thoughts that he wasn't quite ready to fully
acknowledge yet. He stepped back with gesture to what he was wearing.

Allura laughed as she looked him over. "I don't believe I have anything quite
like that in my wardrobe."

Keith laughed stepping back and puling her off the wall and they headed back to
Allura's quarters. Keith watched the door in case they had a return visit from
hurricane Nanny as Allura went to her bedroom to change.

When she appeared out of the back room she cleared her throat and when he turned to look at her his breath was taken from him. She looked…. Normal… that is the gown was gone replaced with what would have been worn as just an underdress, it was a simple deep blue smock of a dress but made of a knit so not to thin for the cool night. Instead of projecting out from her the fabric lightly caressed her torso hips
and legs having no heavy skirts or constricting corsets beneath it to alter her
form. He approached her as he took it all in. "You look beautiful. But…" He
reached up to her hair, some loose strands had tantalizingly broken free but the
most of it was still tightly bound on her head. He pulled the encrusted ornament
that was holding it up there free to set it aside on a side table, her hair
stayed up a moment then seeming to come alive now free of its confines it
cascaded down around her. His eyes danced over her no longer hiding how much she
enraptured him.

Under his gaze she began to tremble, always having dreamed of seeing him look at
her this way but never daring to think it could actually happen, yet here she
was inches from him. She reached up to touch the ring of metal on her head and
slowly lifted it free to his wide eyed amazement. She set it down on the side
table next to the hair ornament. She then reached up her hands to lace into the
hair around his neck and with a quivering voice she said the words she always
wanted to say to him. "I love you… I've always loved you, I could never be with

His hands found her trembling waist and he sent his finders around her body to
pull her to him bending down to her ear. "And you are my everything." He let out
a deep exhale of breath slowly taking it all back in letting her scent bathe him
inside and out. He the stepped back not daring to get lost in her lips again,
knowing his self control with her was close to shattering completely. He ran his
hands down her arms to interlace with her hands. "Ready?"

Allura looked up to him trough her thick lashes and nodded, her eyes seeming to
say she would do anything he wanted.

His lips parted at the site of her looking at him in such knowing way and he had
to take a few centering breaths to not just grab her and toss her onto the bed
behind them. "You are not going to be happy until you unravel me completely." He

Allura smiled, her innocent mask she wore snapping briefly back into place to
give him a look it then fading again as she took a step to him closing all
distance. "I think Id like to see you unraveled very much." She then released
his hands so they could go around him and each grab a firm handful of his long
admired bottom. She laughed as she spun free running to the door keying it open
she winked at him and then was gone down the hall.

He gasped then laughed, laughed like he had never laughed before. He was quickly
unraveling indeed.

line break

He had caught up with her in the hall each taking teasing and flirtatious
physical and verbal jabs at one another as they made their way to the medical
wing. The smell of rich foods and the sounds of music and song beckoned to them
well before they reached the doorway. Allura stopped cocking her head. "The
villagers? Your visiting with the displaced villagers."

Keith nodded with a weary smile.

She sprung into him, her arms wrapping him up so tight and fast he didn't have
time to return the embrace before she had pulled away from him to look him up
and down. "But… you…your…" She couldn't find the words to describe Keith's
unease in those kinds of situations. He was always great in formal visits, balls
and parties when there was protocol to be followed but in casual ones he always
shut down preferring small groups over large ones.

He laughed, as he ran a calming had though his hair to then rubbing his neck.
"Out of my mind? Yeah. But they asked and I couldn't say no so" He shrugged his
shoulders. He then took her hand in his, "But with you here…" He lifted her hand
to slowly kiss it. The feel of her skin on his lips a soothing tonic.

She watched him as the nervousness seemed to drain out of him with the kiss. She
had always found it amazingly cute that the man who could face down a robeast
and not bat an eye became a bundle of nerves in casual social situations. But
these settings is indeed where she was at her best. "Perhaps this is another way
our differences compliant one another, my warrior."

His eyes lit up liking very much her endearment. "To battle then." He chuckled
lacing his hand with hers and cautiously approached the door to his doom, she
moving behind him so she could reach over and lay a supporting hand on the
center of his back with her free hand as the door opened.

Many of the faces in the room turned to the door and smiled broadly upon seeing
him, a herd of children breaking free to run up to him. The elder woman who had
invited him early also stood and made her way to him.

Allura stayed a step behind slightly tucked in behind him. She looked to her
hand laced in his now clammy one giving him reassuring squeeze as her hand at
his back was kneading into the now rope tight muscles there.

"Welcome Commander, the woman said with open arms surrounded by jumping children our temporary home is yours." She then gestured to the room which was much more full of people than it was earlier as all those uninjured who were out making repairs to the village had come to the caste to celebrate with their loved ones.

Keith swallowed as he scanned the room. Every face warm and welcoming. He felt a
soft attention getting squeeze on his hand reminding him that the polite thing
to do would be to speak now. He let out a small laugh at needing the reminder.
"Thank you very much for the welcome, its is an honor indeed." The woman then
eyed the blond at his back with a curios cock of the head, Keith then realizing
that they had no clue who she was dressed as she was, de-crowned and her head
cast down. Keith smiled. "I hope that you do not mind that I bought someone with
me for the evening." He felt her lean lovingly into his back her hand moving up
to his shoulder.

"She is welcome indeed." The Woman smiled brightly but as Keith took a small
step to the side and the blond raised her head to let her blond locks part at
reveal her face the woman gasped with joy and dropped into a deep curtsy. "You
Highness! You bless us with your visit."

Allura gracefully walked to the woman placing her hand on her head. "It is you
who bless me. Thank You." Allura gestured for the woman to stand. "Please let it
just be Allura tonight. I wish to celebrate Christmas Eve with my people as my
people." Her hands then going to touch all the hands of the children around her
and then to touch the welcoming hands to the crowd that had then gathered behind

Keith was amazed at how she could just do that, put the whole room at ease with
a few well chosen words. He smiled at her as she worked, relaxing everyone from
rigid formality into relaxed smiles. He made his way to stand at her back as she
greeting every person, for some using their names having met them before. How
she could remember the names of all the villagers always was a wonder to him. He
reached out a hand to her golden locks and without thinking ran his hand into
them to rest it at the nape of her neck letting his thumb trace up and down her
neck. Some of the looks the villagers were giving them shifted from just smiles
at seeing their Princess to winks and knowing grins. It took him a moment to
even realize what he had done and was about to remove his hand when Allura
turned her head slightly to look up at him and the look on her face and in her
eyes made him just smile and rub her neck more deeply. They hadn't had time to
think about let alone talk about if and how they wanted to reveal this new
chapter in their lives, somehow it just seemed right to stay physically

As if she heard his thoughts she turned into his arms to give him a comforting
hug. He laughed as he wrapped her up the happy crowd around them parting
slightly to let the elder approach.

She smiled at the couple and then gestured for them to follow her to an area
where they have set up a circle of rugs pillows and various chairs. "Please make
yourselves comfortable."

Keith held Allura's hand steady as she lifted her hem with her other hand to
step into the circle of cushions finding one to her liking settling down into
it, favoring the cushions on the floor over the formality of the chairs. Keith
grinned at that. She patted the cushion next to her for him to sit on. He made
his way around her lowering himself down with catlike grace, the rest of the
villagers then moving in to join them in the circle leaving a seat free for the
elder. Allura seeing they had a moment while the room found their seats leaned
into Keith's and he dropped his ear to her. "Thank you for this, this is
lovely." She spoke softly.

He then turned to lean his mouth to her ear. "You amaze me at how you handle
people so easily."

She laughed. "You forget, I've had a lifetime of training and practice." She
reached up to stroke his chin. "You don't mind this? Mind people seeing us
together? Touching? This is all so new. We don't have to if…"

He stopped her words with a well placed fingertip. "Honestly I thought it would
be the worst hell on Arus." He grinned at the daggers she shot him. "But I think
I like it." He leaned in closer whispering very softly, "Though I don't think I
dare kiss you. He turned his head so his lips brushed her ear. "I'd loose myself
completely if I did that." He let his lips drag across her cheek as he leaned
back to upright a devilish look in his eyes. "Want to take a bet how long it
takes for the rumor mill?"

She looked on him puzzled. "Rumor mill?"

He flushed a bit at the thought. "How long it will take before the whole castle
knows… Knows that we are…" the corner of his mouth curling up. "Touching."

She flushed beautifully leaning against him to burry her face in his sweater.
"Knowing this castle." She looked up to him. "They all already know."

Keith paled then laughed, his arm wrapping around her. He then glanced up to
see several smiling faces watching them and then the elder approaching with an
armful of books. He shifted a bit so Allura could see and she slowly sat up and
smiled at the woman as she sat beside Keith on a chair.

On the rugs in the center were the children all huddled together like a giant litter of pups. around that were the adults sitting or lounging against the various pillows,
couples snuggling into one another, the outer ring of chairs were the elders and
the injured who's body's needed the seats. Others were milling between the
people distributing plates of various goodies to snack on. Keith taking a plateful of
finger foods they were offered for he and Allura to share, she leaning against
him and his arm findound her back, hand playing in her hair.

The elder fingered the tall stack of books on her lap. "Who wishes to chose the
first tale?"

Lots of eager little hands raised and the elder pointed to one. The child stood
and walked up to the woman, pulling out his favorite. He then tuned and took it
to who seemed to be his father who smiled taking the child into his lap and
opened the book, He began to read it aloud. It was a fun Arus Christmas short
tale about an elf who didn't know how to make toys.

The elder continued picking out the children to have their stories read. As the
evening progressed Keith's keen eyes began to notice others coming to the
circle, individuals and families not from the village but from the castle, and more
and more pillows and chairs were appearing, as were happy pairs of eyes, looking
at he and Allura and trying not to be too obvious about it.

As the evening grew later and several tales told most of the smallest ones had
drifted off to sleep. That's when the elder reached into her skirts and pulled
out a very old book. "And now, for my favorite and as it is an old story from
earth…" she turned to Keith. "I would love if you would honor us by reading it."

Keith mouth fell slightly open and he blinked. He felt Allura's reassuring hand
come again to his back. He reached up and took the book from the elder, the
cover so worn he couldn't read the title. He opened it and read the title… A
Christmas Carol. Keith blanched as his fingers traced over the words. One of his
personal favorites, one he read himself every year. "I don't know if I can do it
justice, I'm sure there is someone more practiced than I who can read it." He
gently closed the old book.

Allura leaned up against him reaching around to finger the binding. "I would
love to hear you read it."

Keith chuckled. "Is that an order, My Princess."

"No." She smiled.

"Ughhh." Keith grumbled.

Allura looked at him curiously, soothingly pushing a stand of his hair behind
his ear. "I said it wasn't an order."

He smirked, "An order I can logic my way out of." He took her hand in his. "But
a wish I cannot." He dropped a kiss on her hand only to glance up and see Coran
standing behind the circle, a sidewise smile etched into his normally stoic

Several people turned to see who Keith was looking at and a seat was soon
offered to him near the front. Coran nodded and carefully weaved his way to the
chair placing his cane in between his feet so he could lean forward on it.
"Please Son. We all would love to hear you read it"

Coran had never called him son before. The weight of that hitting Keith hard, he
feeling Allura's soothing hand at his back coming up to calm him, her other hand
in his giving him a loving squeeze.

Keith swallowed and let out a deep exhale settling himself in, letting Allura's
hand go to reopen the book to the first page he began to read loudly and clearly
so that all could hear… "A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens" Keith's eyes
drifted over the words a moment before he spoke again. "Marley was dead to begin
with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was
signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner.
Scrooge signed it: and Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change, for anything he
chose to put his hand to… Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail."

Allura snuggled in against him as he continued the introduction, letting her
eyes wander around the room as Keith's telling of the story was rapidly
captivating them all as a hush fell across the room, It quickly became obvious
that he knew this earth story intimately well, and once he found his rhythm not
really needing the text at all.

Keith dropped his hand holding the book to his side leaning forward looking over
them all "The mention of Marley's funeral brings me back to the point I started
from…" His tone then changing as if sharing a secret with them as he leaned in
more. "There is no doubt that Marley was dead. This must be distinctly
understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate. If
we were not perfectly convinced that Hamlet's Father died before the play began,
there would be nothing more remarkable in his taking a stroll at night, in an
easterly wind, upon his own ramparts than there would be in any other
middle-aged gentleman rashly turning out after dark in a breezy spot…" He
gestured a hand in the air. "say Saint Paul's Churchyard for instance… literally
to astonish his son's weak mind." He sat back upright with a knowing nod lifting
the book back up.

The room was at that moment completely swept away into the magical tale of a
Christmas scrooge painfully learning to see his blessings. Those straggling in
and joining the circle quickly getting sucked along. Pidge and Hunk wandered in
mid telling and grinned upon seeing Allura snuggled tightly against their
captain who's hand was absentmindedly playing her loose hair only to leave it to
turn a page. He occasionally paused to take a sip of the cider glass that had
been offered to him.

Keith eventually came to the conclusion of the tale… He glanced up to the
ceiling. "Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more…
and to Tiny Tim, who did not die … he was a second father." Then looking out
over the enraptured group he spoke without reading…"He became as good a friend…
as good a master… and as good a man… as the good old city knew, or any other
good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world." He then turned to
Allura his pace slowing, words deliberate and his tone changing to something
laced with honey. "Some people laughed to see the alteration in him…but he let
them laugh, and little heeded them… for he was wise enough to know that nothing
ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their
fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind

Allura gasped her hands wrapping around his arm tightly.

He smiled then glanced back to the text in his lap to center himself speaking
out to the group again. "He thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up
their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart
laughed… and that was quite enough for him." Keith took a long pause then lifted
the book up in front of him. "He had no further intercourse with Spirits, but
lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle, ever afterwards; and it was always
said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed
the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us!" He smiled to the
group. "And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us… Every One." His eyes drifted

He softly closed the book to set it down in his lap and let his head drop
forward, relaxing his head, Allura's reassuring hand soon there kneading the
ropes in his neck The room around them began buzzing in applause, sniffles,
thank yours and praise of the story and its storyteller as the people begging to
stand to stretch tight muscles and share hugs.

When Keith lifted his head the first person he saw was Coran who was now leaning back in his chair looking all too pleased. The man giving him a smile and a nod when their eyes met. He then turned to Allura at his side to caress her face. "Thank You. I couldn't have done that without you here."

"That was amazing" She ginned at him, "You know you are going to have to read
that every year now."

He then felt another hand on his other shoulder and tuned to the elder woman on
his other side. He smiled up to her passing her the book back. "A wonderful
book, thank you."

The woman took the book back reverently, her eyes misty. "This book was my
grandmothers and her grandmothers before hers, it has passed down to me and it
will go to my grandchild next. You honor us all by reading it, thank you very
much. Bless you."

Keith then felt two petite hands coming from above, under his arms to his chest
and guiding him up to his feet, the now growing very familiar body soon nesting
behind him as he found his feet, her arms wrapped around his waist. He extended
his had to the Elder woman, who took it and he aided her to her feet.

She smiled at them. "You are truly a beautiful couple."

Keith paused a moment, the word slowly setting in as if he hadn't quite
takent the time to relize there was a word that so clearly defined the change in their relationship. "Thank You." He accepted the complement and as such also accepting that new definition of what he and Allura were. He slowly tuned in her arms to face her and lowered his head to pressing his forehead to hers his eyes drifting shut to whisper. "Some people laughed to see the alteration in him…but he let them laugh, and little heeded them…"

Her lips closed in on his and stopped his words with a sharp intake of air at
his surprise of it, as she publicly showed all in view of all how much she held
him in her regard.

He pulled back, eyes dancing over her face, his mouth open to easer take in the air he was suddenly lacking. "I thought I warned you about the whole kissing thing." His lips moved in to just to brush over hers, eyes daringly dark with the promise of so much more.

A distinctive clearing of a throat beside them saving Keith his undoing Keith
grinned at her. "Coran." Then he slowly turned to him looking a bit sheepish.
"I'm sorry this isn't how, I mean I would have come to you and…"

Coran silenced him with a wave of his hand. "I am just glad to see her so happy…" He reached out to touch Keith's arm. "to see you happy."

Keith bit his lip, brows knitting together. "So your okay with…"

Coran just started to laugh. "If you hadn't noticed my Son, everyone in this
room is okay with this. Not only okay but I think most had already assumed…"
Coran gave them a wink.

Pidge and Hunk reached them just in time to see Keith turn the deepest shade of
red. Keith sputtered… "You mean the people already thought that Allura and I…?" He
scanned the room again remembering how no one seemed shocked by their
familiarity… "That we were already…" Keith started to choke.

Hunk laughed giving Keith a few firm smacks on the back… "And those of us who
knew better were praying for it." He eyed both of them "You two look amazing

Keith tuned his head to glance down at Allura who was also bright red and
burrowed into his side his arm holding her tightly there. He then glanced back
up to his two teammates. "I need the truth guys, I know this is Lance's dream
but tell me honestly are you really okay with this? It may really change the
whole dynamic." Instead of answering them Pidge and Hunk stepped forward and
wrapped them both up in a massive hug, Coran joining them too.

When the separated Coran bowed to the couple. "Don't worry about Nanny, I know
how what she needs to hear to get her full support." He then let go to approach
Keith and Allura pulling them close to him to speak softy. "Take this from
someone who has loved and lost…" His eyes grew misty. "Never regret, never
second guess, and whether at peace or at war live each day together as if it
could be your last."

Keith bit his lip and tired hold his emotions in check as Allura beside him
begin to mist over. Keith blinked a few times pulling Allura to him so her damp
face buried into his sweater. "We will… I promise you this."

"Good, because I'd hate for what I'm going to have to tell Nanny to get her on
board with this were to be a lie." He winked and turned to take his leave.

Keith looked down to Allura to ask her what he meant but she read the question
in his eyes and just shrugged. He grabbed her hand and went after Coran stopping
him at the door. "What are you going to tell her?"

Coran looked the two of them over twisting his mustache sly grin. "Oh nothing
much, just that if she wants Allura to have a traditional wedding she best just
not complain about with who and to start planning it now… before its to late."
He laughed. "And if she bocks ill remind her that her own son was born full term
and a healthy nine pounds a mere five months after her own wedding, a true
miracle!" He laughed again of the memories of what seemed lifetimes ago. He then
grinned at the two of them and took his leave of the stunned couple.

Keith's face palled as Allura's flushed. Their minds both reeling with Coran's
words, marriage and children something neither of them ever dare to dream of
such possibilities.

Keith turned to Allura in the doorway his eyes dancing with
all the possibilities, he then grabbed her face in his hands and took her lips
and with the mere taste of her proceeded to unravel for all to see.

line break

He's goona kill me, he's goona kill me. Lance made his way to Allura's room
early Christmas morning. His jacket and tie over his arm shirt now loose at the
neck. He got to the door and hit the com. "Hey Ally, its Lance, I know its
early, can we talk?"

It took a moment for her voice to reply. "Lance? Okay, give me a minute."

The door opened to reveal Allura wrapped up in an oversized fluffy robe pulled
tight around her to ward off the cold with her hair gracefully cascading all
around it. She looked beautiful but utterly exhausted. "What is it Lance?" She
asked with a yawn.

He moved into the room taking her hand and guiding her to sit with him on the
sofa. "I'm sorry for getting you up but you were so upset, I was worried about
you all night."

Allura smiled reaching out to pinch his color and pull it out a bit to reveal
the ruby red lipstick smeared there. "Not too worried I see." She reached up to
stroke his cheek. "Its okay, Lance. I'm fine now, but thank you for worrying."

"Allura you're not fine, listen..." He took her hand back in his. "Yes Keith is
a big overbearing oaf but he's that way because he cares, and cares deeply about
your safety." Allura glanced off and he grabbed her chin to pull her to look
back at him again. "Ally, you have to hear this."

She blinked a few times before re-centering on him a sideways smirk pulling on
her lips. "You're not suggesting I apologize?"

"I am exactly suggesting you apologize!" he pleaded. "Come on Ally you know he's
far too stubborn and closed to do it, he'll just stay locked away brooding."

Allura's hand went to her mouth to catch the laugh just as it exploded out of
her mouth. Her eyes drifted away from him again and when they drifted back they
were daring. "And what exactly would you have me say to him?"

"How about just an I'm sorry for being upset over you trying to protect me,
thank you for keeping me safe." Lance rolled his eyes at her. "I'm assuming just
telling him the truth about how you feel about him won't ever happen…" He shot
her a glair.

Allura crossed her arms across her chest. "Lance how exactly is professing my love
to Keith going to help anything!"

He reached forward to clasp her shoulders. "Ally, give the oaf a chance, he may
just surprise you at the depths of emotion he keeps he keeps hidden away."

Allura's eyes drifted off behind Lance again as she thought on that for a
moment. She then looked back to Lance. "Ugh, so you just want me go up to him
and say "Keith, I love you! Thank you for being my protector and keeping me
safe. Oh did I mention I love you, oh yeah and I apologize for yelling at you
for doing you job."

Lance ginned and nodded with glee then froze as a voice came up from behind him
filling the room with its amused tone, "Apology accepted."

Allura started to giggle uncontrollably as she watched Lance's face twist into
utter shock. Lance slowly turned around to see Keith leaning in the doorway to
Allura's bedroom clad only in low hanging jeans and an un-tucked white tee shirt, his hair looking more unruly than normal, the look on Keith's face just contained his
utter amusement.

Lance's mouth moved a bit before words came. "You.. wait… why…
I told you too…"

Keith laughed and ran his hands into is unruly hair then entered the room making
his way around the sofa to sit so close behind Allura that the cushion she was
on gave way so she had no choice but to lean back into him. Keith let his arms
snake their way around Allura's torso to hold her snugly to him, resing his chin on the top of her head. "Yeah, umm about that advise of yours to wait and do noting till you got back…"

Lance looked at them dumbfounded he tried to look angry but it soon dissolved
into a sly grin. "Shit." He then started to mentaly take in their dress... Allura, hair wild, from what he could see only dressed in her robe... and Keith, feet bare and jeans hanging loosely only because they wern't quite buttoned up all the way... Lance's mouth was soon gaping as his mind imagined the only logical conlusion to explain the picture they made. His composure changed into something just shy of dumbstuck. "Shit." He slowly grinned again thinking up things only Lance could imagine. He shook his head clean and smiled widly at them then reached out to clasp Keith's arm. "Now don't go being an idiot and ruin this. Okay?"

Keith pulled Allura closer to him. "I promise."

He then looked to Allura. "And when he he's an idiot in spite of himself don't
get mad just hold him okay?" He gave her a wink.

Allura twisted and turned her neck to look up at Keith her palm moving up to stroke his jaw dragging it across his lips to receive a tender kiss. "I promise."

Lance beamed, "Alright, and with that…" He eyed the two of them with a waggle of
his brows."It looks like you two are managing just fine without help from little o'l
Lance." He stood up and head to the door turning back to them. "Ill see you two
later." He gave them a wink. "or not" He waggled his brows again. "Love you

"Thank you Lance, Merry Christmas." Keith smiled as Lance left and the door
closed Allura then tuning in his arms, her robe loosening a bit in the friction
of his arms to drop off one shoulder reveling her skin. Keith's attention was
instantly riveted, her skin rising in goosebumps at his attention. He leaned in
to scent her neck before tasting it. "Merry Christmas Love."


“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!” .

Charles Dickens