Hand Caught in the Cookie Jar

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

I really cranked this one out fast, so it may have more errors than my usual self-edit. I may try to clean some of them up later, but I just wanted to get this one out. ;-D I'm sure that I will probably look on the errors in horror when I read through it with clearer eyes than I have right now. Oh well, forgive me.

Rating/Setting: Rating is T. Bit of fun fluff. Setting is in DotU.

In response to the KAEX Challenge: Broken
"Rules: your story must only be a one-shot (one chapter). The theme is "broken." Take that any direction you want. It must be K/A-centric, of course."

Well, she said one chapter, she just didn't say it couldn't be a really LONG chapter. ; - D


Keith looked at the shattered remains of Nanny's favorite cookie jar. Truly it was a service to Arus that it was broken irreparably, but there would be hell to pay. How did this all come about? What had occurred to make the serious commander do something that in hindsight was incredibly childish and foolish? Sighing, Keith looked at the shards and said softly, "I can't blame it all on hindsight. I knew this was foolish from the start. Well, time to clean up this mess…."

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

Earlier, after supper when all of the team is the rec room relaxing…

Keith watched with apprehension as Lance entered the rec room rubbing his hands together. What mischief did his friend have in mind? He cast a nervous glance at the princess. Lance was always up to something to put the two of them into some kind of romantic situation. Usually to Keith's great embarrassment.

Striding to stand in the middle of the seating area, Lance moved his hands to his hips and asked, "Okay, so is everybody ready for tonight's entertainment?" His voice was full of relish and gusto.

Even Hunk was a little nervous at this show of bravado from Lance. "Um, sure Lance. What did you have in mind?"

Keith closed his eyes for a moment and prayed that Lance didn't suggest strip poker. Actually, it turned it to be worse.

"Truth or Dare!"

Hopping up from the couch, Keith quickly said, "Sorry guys, I have a boatload of work to catch up on-"

Moving quickly, Lance placed himself between Keith and the door. "Come on now Keith. If you really had a lot of work to do, you wouldn't have come to the rec room." Lance winked at him as he said, "Someone wouldn't be a little chicken now would they?"

Frowning at Lance, Keith said, "I don't think that playing truth or dare makes someone brave."

"Oh, come on Keith," Allura laughed. "I've never played before! What is it about this game that has you so nervous?"

"I'm not nervous!" Keith hurriedly said, although his tone and the speed at which he said it indicated otherwise. Knowing he was stuck, he dropped back down to the couch and grumbled, "OK. But I'm only staying for one round."

Giving everyone a toothy grin, Lance said, "Hey, that's all I'm asking… Now who wants to go first?" Lance was back to rubbing his hands together in anticipation.

"Wait guys! You still haven't explained the rules!" Allura was extremely interested now that she knew that the game made Keith nervous and involved the words truth and dare.

"Pidge, would you do the honors?" Lance asked as he sat down.

"Sure thing! It's pretty simple Princess. A player asks another player, "Truth or Dare?" If they choose 'truth' then they have to answer that person's question fully and honestly. If they choose 'dare,' they have to do the dare that the person gives them. It can't be anything dangerous. Once they answer the question or complete the dare, then that person chooses someone to ask."

"It sounds like fun. Did you guys play it a lot at the academy?" Allura asked with interest. She noticed that all the boys' faces turned red.

Hunk finally spoke up, "Yeah, yeah, we did. But it was the kind of stuff that was a little dangerous… or it um… it um… it often involved girls."

This time Allura colored as she just said, "Oh."

Looking at all the red faces, Lance laughed and said, "Okay, time to start. Let's see… whom shall I choose?"

Keith's eyes narrowed as they looked at his second in command. He was surprised that he wasn't Lance's target. Instead, he chose Hunk.

"Truth or dare Hunk?" Lance queried as he sat down in a nearby chair.

Hunk stared at Lance for a few moments before carefully saying, "Dare."

Leaning forward he winked at Hunk and said, "I think you'll love my challenge. You've got ten minutes to get a woman's lipstick on your cheek. AND it can't be Allura's. Too easy."

"What? Wait? How am I-"

"Times a-tickin' Hunk," Lance said as he looked at his watch.

The group started laughing as Hunk tore out of the room.

Pidge said, "I bet he goes to find Julie in the medical wing. I think he has a crush on her. I just wonder if he'll have enough time to get there and back." And then a little wistfully, he added, "I hope I get a dare like that."

"What happens if he doesn't complete it?" Allura asked curiously.

"Then I can make him do another dare." Smiling mischievously, he said, "Usually one that's harder."

Just as he finished saying it, Hunk came strolling in with a bright red lipstick on his cheek. Pointing at his cheek, he smirked at Lance, "Saw Brianna in the hallway. She was happy to accommodate me."

Laughing at the smug look on Hunk's face he said, "Well done! Okay, your turn Hunk."

Hunk surveyed the group. "Keith."

Surprised chocolate brown eyes turned to Hunk. "Uh, yeah?"

"Truth or dare?" Hunk dropped himself down into the chair and a half which was really just a chair for someone his size. He seemed unconcerned about the lipstick or perhaps he was actually enjoying it.

Still nervous about having to tell the truth when it might involve the princess, he cautiously said, "Dare."

"Ah. I'm so glad you chose that Commander." A big smile lit Hunk's face.

Becoming increasingly nervous, Keith rubbed his sweating palms on his pants and waited for whatever embarrassing thing Hunk had decided or more likely, been coerced into by Lance. He was, therefore, shocked at the dare that was issued from Hunk's mouth.

"Nanny made a batch of Arusian Cream Cookies earlier today and she wouldn't let me have any. She put them in that hideous cookie jar she loves." He wrinkled his nose at the thought of the ugly jar. It looked like a clown to him… a really scary clown. Nanny affectionately said it reminded her of her childhood. If that reminded her of her childhood, no wonder she was such a grump.

Everyone watched as Hunk visibly shuddered at the thought of the clown cookie jar. They all knew that he hated it. Clowns were one of the few things that Hunk was scared of and Nanny knew it. Placing the cookies in that jar and then putting it on top of the cabinet was a safety measure for her.

"Soooooo. Do you want me to eat the cookies?" Keith asked tentatively.

"No Keith. I want you to go get the cookie jar and bring it here so that I can eat the cookies." Hunk sat back, incredibly pleased with his dare.

"You want me to bring you the cookies?"

"Not just the cookies, but the cookie jar too. I want to hide it."

Snickers sounded from the group and Allura said, "Oh Hunk."

"Princess, Nanny torments me with that cookie jar and you know it."

Sighing, Keith said, "Okay Hunk. Do I have a time limit?" He supposed he was getting off easy considering what he could have been asked. If Nanny was in the area and saw him with the jar… well, he'd be in a lot of hot water.

"I'd say twenty minutes should do it."

"But that's not much time to get there and back!"

Quoting Lance from earlier, Hunk said, "Time's a-tickiin!"

Keith hated losing, even games like this one. So at Hunk's comment, he tore out of the room in a red blur as his friends' laughter followed him down the corridor. Twenty minutes, he'd have to hurry. Twice he had to slow down as he heard other staff coming down the hallway. He knew he was going to be pushing the time limit when he entered the dark kitchen pantry area. This section of the kitchen was deserted at the moment. Looking around to verify that the room was empty, he moved to the cabinet. Looking up at the grinning clown cookie jar, Keith thought that Hunk was right. It was rather creepy. Standing on his toes, he reached up and firmly grasped the jar and pulled it off. Unfortunately, the space mice took that same moment to race across the floor between Keith's legs. As he fumbled to catch the ungainly jar, the mice turned back for a moment to apologize and then rushed off with their stolen prize of fruit. But Keith didn't see or hear them as everything turned to slow motion as the hideous face grinned at him before it fell to the floor and broke, scattering cookies and pottery shards in all directions.

Keith looked at the shattered remains of Nanny's favorite cookie jar. Truly it was a service to Arus that it was broken irreparably, but there would be hell to pay. Sighing, Keith looked at the shards and said softly, "I can't blame it all on hindsight. I knew this was foolish from the start. Well, time to clean up the mess." There was no way he was going to leave the evidence in the trashcan for Nanny to find. The missing jar would be a mystery. But first, he needed to call the group.

"Um, I'm not going to make it back in time. I, um, had an accident with the cookie jar and need to clean it up."

Hunk's voice came through loud and strong as he asked, "But what about the cookies Keith? Are they okay?"

Scratching his head, Keith looked at the cookies scattered across the floor. "Well, I'm afraid not. They're on the floor with the broken cookie jar."

Silence greeted this statement and then he heard Hunk's sad voice. "It's okay Keith, I know it was an accident and I'm sure you did everything you could to save them."

Smiling at Hunk's grief over the cookies, he said, "Well, I'm going to bag up the pottery shards and toss the cookies in the disposal. I'm not leaving the pottery evidence here. So you guys go ahead without me. I'll be up in a little bit to see what new dare Hunk has for me. In the meantime, I choose Pidge." Giving Pidge a moment, he then asked, "Truth or dare?"

"Will you give me a dare like Hunk's?"

Laughing, Keith said, "Sure, if you like."

The enthusiasm in Pidge's voice brought laughter from the entire team. "Boy do I!"

"Okay, then your challenge is the same as Hunk's. Lipstick kiss not from the princess in less than ten minutes." Keith hadn't even finished saying it when Lance broke in.

"He's already left the room Keith." Chuckles could be heard over the com.

"Okay. Glad he's enjoying it. Maybe I'll be up in about fifteen minutes or so."

"Okay Cap'n."

Looking back at the mess, he shook his head and went to get his clean-up tools.

About five minutes later, he had finished dropping the cookies into the disposal and was sweeping up the last of the shards into the bag when he heard footsteps approaching. Keith pressed himself against the wall and waited to see who was coming in.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Beating the ten minute time limit with no problem, Pidge sauntered back into the rec room with his own red lipstick kiss print on one cheek and a coral colored one on the other. Smiling, Pidge pointed at the red lips and said, "Brianna" and then pointed to the coral ones and said, "Helen." His grin was ear to ear as the team laughed and clapped him on the back.

After congratulating him, Lance said, "Well, I guess you get to ask the princess truth or dare."

Still grinning broadly, Pidge turned to Allura and pushed his glasses up on his nose before putting both hands behind his head and leaning back on the couch. "So, what will it be Princess? Truth or dare?"

"Well, so far everyone has gone with 'dare,' so maybe I should choose 'truth'?" She posed it as more of an uncertain question.

Pidge thought she was just going with 'truth' to be different, but he had a feeling she wanted 'dare.' Well, Keith had helped him out with his dare, so maybe he'd help out Princess and Keith at the same time. "Oh, come on Princess, don't you want 'dare'?" Seeing her blush, he continued, "I mean, if you decide on truth, I might ask you something like, 'How do you really feel about Keith?'" Ha! He thought to himself, he had surprised all of them.

Allura felt herself start to blush and stared with wide eyes at Pidge. She had expected this from Lance, but not Pidge. Did she really want to talk about how she felt with the team when she hadn't even told Keith? "Um, I think you're right Pidge, maybe I should go with dare. So what is it?"

Winking at Lance, Pidge said, "Go find Keith and kiss him. And not like the kisses Hunk and I got either."

Allura felt her face burn with the blush that had to be there. Glaring at Lance who had fallen out of his chair laughing, she asked, "Did you put him up to this Lance?"

Before Lance could answer, Pidge said, "Nope! I figure that Lance gets kisses all the time from girls, and Hunk and I got kisses tonight. I just thought that you and Keith shouldn't be left out." He couldn't get the smile off his face. "So are you going to take the dare or shall I come up with a harder one?"

Allura's eyes widened at the thought of what he might ask her to do if she denied this dare. Speaking quickly, she asked, "Is there a time limit?"

"Twenty-five minutes and you have to be back here." Nodding at this he said, "Better hurry Princess. You probably have time to catch him in the dark pantry if you move quickly!"

"Ooooo Pidge!" Allura sounded irritated and exasperated at the same time. But she didn't hesitate long but hurried out of the rec room, hearing the cat calls behind her from Lance- "Don't do anything I wouldn't do Princess!" Laughter followed her out.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Allura opened the door to the pantry area and saw some of the broken cookie jar still on the floor. "Keith?" she whispered loudly.

"I'm right here," Keith said as he moved out of the shadows.

"Ohh!" she squealed as jumped at his voice. "You startled me!" Looking back at the floor, she added, "Looks like you're almost through. Need any help?" Now that she was here, she didn't know quite what to do. She was glad that the room was dim as it hid the blush that she was sure was on her face.

"Nah," Keith said as he moved past her to kneel down and sweep up the remaining pieces. He turned and gave her a dazzling smile. "Now if Nanny finds out what happened, I will definitely need some help." Standing up, he put the broom and dust pan away and turned to retrieve the bag, only Allura was in the way. He was a little startled to find her so close as he closed the door to the custodial closet. Moving quickly around her, he asked, "So did Pidge complete his dare?"

Biting her lip as Keith moved around her she answered, "Um, yeah, he actually got two lip prints and was quite full of himself."

Laughing Keith picked up the bag of broken pottery and turned back to her. "I'm glad. He needed a little pick me up."

"Well, we'll see if you still think that in a few minutes," Allura said in frustration.

Brow wrinkling, he moved toward the hall door. "What do you mean? Did something else happen?"

He was almost to the sensor to trigger the door she called out, "He gave me my dare."

Keith stopped in his tracks and turned to face her somewhat nervously. But this was Pidge. To be sure he didn't… he wouldn't… His breath caught in his throat as Allura approached him and put her hand on the middle of his chest. She wasn't looking him in the eye but at the center of his chest. He was sure she could feel his pounding heart. What the hell had Pidge asked her to do? Her hand started moving up his chest and he grabbed it. Looking down at the top of her head, he said, "Allura. You don't have to do anything just because they dared you." And then he said softly with emotion, "I don't want you to anything… just because it was… a dare." He'd love to kiss her, but not because Pidge had dared her.

Allura felt his heart pounding under her fingers and moved her hand up his chest trying to work up the courage to kiss him. Then he grabbed her hand and she drew in a deep breath. Was he going to push her away? No, he didn't want to kiss her because of a dare… was that longing that she heard in his voice? His hand still held hers pressed against his chest. Very slowly she lifted her eyes until they met his. Softly and with longing in her own voice she said, "It was a dare." She watched a shadow entered his eyes. "But it was a dare I wanted. In fact, I think I was hoping for it." She watched the light return to his eyes.

The hand holding the bag of broken pottery fell to the floor and from the sound of it, there were now even more pieces. But neither Keith nor Allura cared about that right now.

Keith's arm went to Allura's waist as he said, "What was the dare Princess?"

"Go find Keith and kiss him, but not like the kisses on the cheek that he and Hunk got." Allura could feel the heat on her face.

He leaned down toward her as she tilted her head back and kissed her softly on the lips. Even though it was a gentle kiss, it was very powerful to the two people involved. He gave her another kiss as he released her hand and it snaked up around his neck and into his hair. And as their kiss deepened, so did their understanding that they could never go back to how things were.

When they stopped kissing many minutes later, they stood in each other's arms. Allura chuckled and said, "I didn't make it back in time to complete my dare. I wonder what they're thinking?"

Smiling as he held her close, he said, "I'm sure that they have figured it out." Rubbing a hand up and down her back, he said, "I think I owe Pidge big time for this."

Chuckling, she pushed back from him and said, "We both do." Then she glanced down at the bag on the floor and frowned. "I can't have Nanny mad at you for a broken cookie jar. I know where we can get another one of those." Seeing the grimace on Keith's face, she said, "Hunk will have to live with it."

Keith picked up the bag and walked out of the pantry hand in hand with Allura. He thought about the broken jar and how he was similar to it. He had put his feelings away on a shelf hidden behind a sometimes gruff and cranky exterior, but inside he was like the Arusian cream cookies. He smiled at the thought. Allura had broken through that exterior and found his true feelings on the inside.

He reveled in the feel of her hand in his. His mind returned to the comparison of himself and the cookie jar and he realized that the comparison stopped there. The cookie jar was headed for the trash because it was broken, but he had been made whole by the woman beside him.