Finding Love in a Lion

Disclaimer: I do not own Voltron or any of its characters.

This fanfiction is in response to a KAEX Challenge related to Keith and Allura in Blue Lion from awhile back. I came across another fanfic writer's brief description of the challenge. Since it was awhile ago, my understanding of the challenge may be incorrect; nevertheless, I hope it is fun. The comment about Keith 'accidentally' getting into Blue Lion was in episode #62, "War and Peace…and Doom!" By the way, SUCH an 80s Soviet episode. ; - D

Keith was standing at the bottom of the shaft that held the small craft that carried the pilots to their Lions through the underground tubes. He hadn't come down the traditional way on the T-bar, and the rest of the team wasn't with him. He had come down the very long flight of emergency stairs and was standing in the 'wagon wheel.' The spokes of the wheel led off to the different Lions. Keith could have taken the elevator down, but he didn't want anyone to see him with the package he was carrying, so the steps were his choice. He looked around as he wasn't down here often on foot. Transparent, shatterproof materials, cold steel, and equally cold stone were around him. The Castle of Lions was a true marvel. Well, he had better get moving. It was a little dangerous being in the tunnel without Castel Control knowing he was down here.

Keith clipped the flashlight back to his jeans as he entered the tube and placed a hand on the smooth cool surface. The automatic lights had triggered with his first step. He hadn't been sure if they would activate for foot traffic or not, but it appears that Alfor had thought of everything. Time was wasting and he didn't know how much of it he had. Keith shifted the small pack on his back and broke into a light jog. He marveled at the workmanship of the tube as he gazed through the transparent material to see the aquatic life in Castle Lake. He was lucky that Blue Lion was so close to the castle. He was at his destination in fifteen minutes, making his way through the hatch into Blue's cockpit. The Lion's lights flickered on as he stood up and closed the hatch with his foot.

Keith looked around, he had been in all the Lions, but it had been awhile since he had been in Blue. He could sense that the Lion knew its regular pilot wasn't inside. "It's okay Blue, Allura is fine. I'm just here to leave her a…." Keith paused. What was he leaving? A surprise? A present? A mystery? "I'm leaving her a token of my affection." Yes, that would be correct. He wasn't leaving a note with it, but that didn't change the affection that was behind the action.

Keith pulled the small bouquet of flowers from the pack. They had weathered the trip well. He had taken care to pick flowers that hadn't fully opened and then attached water pods to the stems so they wouldn't wilt. The hardest part had been scaling that cliff face to pick them. He placed the bouquet near the main console. Keith had just reached the hatch when he heard the familiar hum that indicated the connector tube was activated. He closed his eyes and stood. He had waited too long. He took too much of a chance and now he would pay the price. He couldn't get out without her seeing him. He went quickly to her console and pressed a few buttons and then moved back to the hatch.

Allura had been looking forward to an outing in Blue Lion all morning. Sometimes she just liked to go out and see for herself the progress that was being made all over Arus since the Voltron Force had arrived. It was a beautiful day and she was going to enjoy it; it was just a shame that she didn't have anyone to take with her. She thought of a certain handsome commander and sighed. He would never come with her unless it was for security. He just didn't see her as girlfriend material. She focused back on her Lion as her command chair locked in place and she sensed a presence. It only took a moment for her hand to hit the com. She yelled, "Coran! Someone's in here with me!"

"Princess! What are you talking about? Who is it?" Coran sounded frantic.

Allura jumped up from the chair and drew the blaster that Keith always made her take when she went out in the Lion. She turned to the corner of the cockpit where she knew the intruder was standing. The blaster and her arm dropped. Her hand keyed the com unit. "It's okay Coran, it's just Keith. Everything is fine."

"The commander is your Lion? Why? I don't have anything down for maintenance."

"I'm not sure why he's here…" Allura's gaze landed upon the small bouquet of flowers. "I'll let you know. Allura out."

Allura holstered the blaster and leaned back against the console, her fingers straying to touch the silken petals of the lily blossoms. She looked from the flowers to Keith. He hadn't spoken. He was waiting for her to make the first move. He was always so careful and reserved. She knew that he hadn't meant to get caught. Her heart was beating quickly, but she hoped that her nervousness wasn't evident. They were alone. He had brought her flowers. This was an opportunity that she wouldn't let pass her by. It could be months before he would let his guard drop again.

Allura picked up the flowers and brought them to her face. The floral perfume filled her nose and she closed her eyes as she smiled. She glanced at him shyly over the flowers. "These are my favorite. But you already knew that. You could get injured collecting them from the cliff area." She saw him shrug his shoulders.

"Some things are worth a little danger."

It was the first words he spoke to her. Did they have a double meaning? Was caring for her a danger to him? She supposed it was.

"There's no card and I know you didn't mean for me to find you here. What was your purpose? Did you want me to wonder who my mystery admirer was?"

Keith glanced away and hated himself for doing so. He had given himself away but he hadn't expected her to hone in on his plan so quickly. Well, not exactly his whole plan.

Allura saw him turn away. She had hit on something. Still holding the bouquet, she walked closer to Keith and stopped. She was surprised when he took a step back. Was he scared of her? Why would he be scared? He obviously wasn't afraid that she was going to attack him. Was he afraid of being physically close to her? She decided to test her theory and took a couple more steps forward. He took another step back.

Why was she moving closer? Keith stepped back yet again and felt the wall of the cockpit pressing cold against his back. What could he say to her question? He could avoid answering, lie, or give her the truth. He let out the breath he had been holding and ran his hand through his hair. He was pretty good at dissembling, but did he always want to hide his true feelings? Wouldn't it be better just to know? He turned and looked at the woman who occupied his thoughts.

Allura looked at Keith who was backed up against the wall and smiled. Who knew that she had such power over such a strong man? She watched him battle some inner conflict as he ran his fingers through his hair. Her breathing quickened as she thought about putting her hands in his thick hair….

"Princess."

What? Oh! He was speaking! She blushed and looked into his eyes. From the way he was looking at her, it appeared that he had come to a decision. "Have you decided to tell me about the flowers?"

Keith nodded and locked his eyes on hers. This was it. "I didn't put a note with it because I wanted to see how you would react. I wanted to see who you went to first." He watched her head tilt to the side and her brow furrow as she pondered his statement. His voice was soft as he asked, "Are you glad the flowers are from me, or do you wish they were from Lance?"

Allura's eyes widened as she realized what he was saying. He cared for her but was uncertain about her feelings. Did he really think that she had feelings for his best friend? "Lance? You think I'm interested in Lance?"

"Are you?"

"What have I done to make you think that?"

She wasn't answering his question but asking lots of her own. He had opened this particular can of worms so he might as well see it through. "You talk to him all the time. I see you laughing with him…. You often touch him." He couldn't help the wistful tone in his last sentence.

Allura's heart lit with a spark. He watched her and paid attention to what she was doing. She had hoped to have his attention but…. "I talk to him and the others a lot because they are my friends. I try to talk to you, but you clam up. I would love to talk with you Keith. I laugh with Lance because…well, because he's funny and makes a lot of jokes. You don't often joke with me, but I'd love for you to do so. I touch him because friends do that. There's nothing romantic about it." She walked away for a moment to put the flowers down and then walked back to him. The distance between them was small. She had to tilt her head back slightly to look up at him. She smiled slightly as she had noticed that he had tried once again to back up but he was already against the wall. Her voice was soft as she spoke, "Anytime I try to get close to you, you always back away." Heat filled her face as she continued. "I'd love to touch you Keith; you just won't let me."

Keith couldn't decide whether he needed to breathe rapidly or not breathe at all. Was she saying she wanted to touch him? Kiss him? He could ask for clarification, but he was tired of being cautious. If he was wrong he'd get a slap across the face. But if he was right…. Keith took a small step forward, keeping his eyes on hers and reached out and gently pulled her soft body against him. She wasn't resisting and her arms were moving up around his neck. He watched as she closed her eyes and tilted her head back and to the side. It was an invitation that even someone as awkward around girls as he was, would understand. His lips met hers and he felt her hands in his hair as she kept his lips against hers. This wasn't going to be a quick chaste kiss. Her lips opened under his and he groaned as he accepted this new invitation.

They parted as the com unit went off and Coran's voice filled the cabin. "Princess Allura? Come in Princess. I haven't heard from you or the commander. What is going on in there?"

Keith went to the com. "Coran, it's Keith. I was planning on checking out the tube structure to Black Lion but chose the wrong tube. What can I say? It was dark. Once I realized my error, I decided to finish the check and run a test on Princess's weapons' panel. If you remember, there was a slight glitch in the system the last time we had a scheduled weapons' test."

"You…C ommander Kogane… made a wrong turn in the dark?" Coran's voice held a slight tone of disbelief.

Keith sighed. "Yes Coran. If you doubt my story, you can check and see that Princess' weapons' console has been running a diagnostic since before she arrived."

"I don't have to check Commander. Your word is enough. When do you think the diagnostic will be finished?"

"I think it will be done in the next 15 minutes. I'll have the Princess drop me off at the castle before she heads out on her ride."

Allura looked over Keith's shoulder and saw that a diagnostic was indeed running. He really knew how to take care of things. Now it was her turn. "Actually Coran, after the diagnostic, I think I'll take Keith with me as I tour the southern province." She turned to look at Keith. "I'd like to have the company if Keith isn't too busy."

Keith looked surprised but started smiling. "I'd be happy to accompany you Princess Allura."

Coran cleared his throat as he responded. "As long as it fits the commander's schedule, that will be fine with Castle Control. Have a good trip Princess. Control out."

Allura turned back to Keith and moved to run her hands up his chest. She felt him tremble beneath her touch. She looked at him and then back to the console. "Why didn't you use that excuse with me when I confronted you?"

The feel of her hands on his body made it hard for him to think. "The flowers would have needed an explanation. I'm afraid that getting lost in the tubes while trying to take flowers to Black Lion just wouldn't have fooled you." He smiled as she laughed. He pushed an errant curl from her jaw so that it was behind her ear. "Lance told me that you were just friends. He tried to tell me that you weren't interested in him, I was just too hard-headed and insecure to believe him."

Allura looked at the man that had saved her and her world more times than she could count. She didn't want him to be insecure about her feelings. She ran her fingers through his hair. "You don't know how long I've wanted to do this."

Keith laughed. "You can do it as much as you like. I, on the other hand, have been wanting to do this." He leaned in to kiss her again.

When they had dinner that night with the team, the story of the precise commander getting lost in the Lion tubes had made the rounds. The team was loaded with comments to tease Keith. It wasn't often that they got to joke with him about making a mistake.

Hunk started things off. "I think I'll install some signs over the Lion tubes to help direct traffic."

"Yeah! I think I'll install a sensor that will trigger a verbal message about what tube you are in." Pidge was laughing.

Pidge and Hunk made a few more comments. Keith just smiled.

Lance was watching Keith and Allura. She had blushed when the teasing started, but Keith seemed unfazed. "Sooooo, you two were in there awhile waiting for that diagnostic. What did the two of you do to kill the time?"

Allura turned red while Keith responded. "Oh, you know. We monitored the read outs, talked about the last pilot performance reports, and the up-coming security checks for the castle." He lifted the glass of flavored tea to his mouth but paused to say, "We also talked about which pilots did the best job pulling late shifts and who would be best to accompany Nanny back to her home village for a visit."

Keith saw with satisfaction that all of the team paled considerably with two threats over their heads. He didn't mind the teasing, but he didn't want Allura to feel uncomfortable. In addition, their relationship change wasn't something they wanted out in the open right now. He took a long drink and then started pulling Allura back into the conversation.

Lance watched as Keith put Allura at ease and the blush left her face. He also noticed how happy his best friend was. Keith's comment was an unsubtle way to tell them to lay off. But to lay off what? Something had happened in the Blue Lion to change the relationship between Keith and Allura. He thought about this as he watched them finish breakfast.

Lance and Keith stood as the princess left the dining hall. Lance saw the look in Keith's eyes as he watched Allura. Lance leaned over to him and quietly said, "I think I need to make a wrong turn in those tubes myself."

Keith's eyes never left the departing form of Allura. "Feel free my friend, but just know that the tube to Blue Lion is taken."