Between a Rock and a Hard Place

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

KAEX Challenge Topic: "Stuck" – can be as many chapters as needed to finish the story.

Rating/Setting: Rating is T for mild swearing and ballroom dancing. Setting is DotU about 5 months or so into the first season. For those of you that love to hate Nanny… this story is right up your alley…


Chapter 1

Keith stood outside of Nanny's office waiting. It was true that he was a little early, but it was also true that Nanny probably wanted him to wait. So he stood and waited. He leaned his tall frame against the wall and nodded at several staff who passed by. He thought he caught a sympathetic smile from some of them.

Nanny may have only been here a few months, but she had made her presence known... forcefully. From the beginning, she had made it known to the Space Explorers that the princess was off-limits to commoners, ruffians, and hooligans such as them. He studied the tile floor in front of him and thought back to the day that he met the princess… Allura. He wasn't sure what happened that day, but he felt that the princess was going to be more to him than a friend. Shaking his head in consternation, he thought that it slightly ridiculous that he would even entertain such thoughts. Their differences in station, his military career, her belligerent watchdog of a nanny… Like anything even had a chance of happening anyway. The princess didn't really seem to notice him as a man anyway. She treated all of them the same. Releasing a breath, he knew it was for the best if things stayed exactly that way.

The telltale swish of the door opening drew his attention and he uncrossed his arms and pushed away from the wall. Giving her a slight bow, he respectfully said, "Nanny."

Putting a fake smile upon her face, Nanny looked up at him and said, "Good morning, Commander. I didn't know you were out here. Please come in."

Keith didn't even comment, but his thoughts were loud in his mind. I knocked AND called her name. She just wanted to make me wait. He moved passed her into her office. He hadn't been here before and that was fine with him. The room was very similar to the woman who called it hers. There were no pictures or knick knacks to be seen, except for a small picture of Allura that sat upon her desk. Everything was pristine and utilitarian. While Keith could appreciate this, he also found it slightly intimidating in relation to this woman. There was nothing that showed her personality, but then maybe utilitarian and precision were her personality.

Moving to her chair behind the dark colored wooden desk, she waved her hand in a motion that indicated he should seat himself.

"What did you need to speak to me about, Nanny? Is it relating to the up-coming ball?" The ball would be in two weeks and he was handling security for it. Perhaps she needed clearance for more workers….

"It is about the ball, Commander, but it's not about security." Nanny crossed her arms in front of her on the desktop. She sat ramrod straight and looked him the eye.

Feeling confused about his reason for being here, he cautiously asked, "Then why…?"

"Dancing."

Now completely perplexed, he incredulously repeated, "Dancing?"

"Yes, Commander. Even though you will all be on security detail, you will each be expected to dance upon occasion. The guests will want to socialize with the famous Voltron Force. This means that all of you need to have lessons. I will not have Arus become the laughing stock of galactic royalty."

Keith wanted to laugh, but he knew she was serious and laughing at a serious manner would only reap trouble for him. Keeping his face neutral, he said, "All of us have some dance training." Seeing Nanny's skeptical look, he said, "Galaxy Garrison has a formal officers' ball once a year and cadets that are invited are expected to behave appropriately. Garrison also considers it good training for officers who may go to worlds that still hold such events." He sat patiently, waiting for her judgment on what he had shared.

"I will be the judge of whether you boys are competent or not. I have spoken to Coran and he agrees. Please clear your schedule and that of your team for tomorrow after lunch. We will practice from 1:00 to 3:00." Seeing that the commander was going to argue, she said, "Consider it a governmental requirement. When you go to your office, you will see a missive from the Alliance indicating that you are to follow all Arusian requests NOT related to security in regard to the ball."

Balling his hands into fists in his lap, Keith succinctly said, "Understood." He stood to leave when she authoritatively said, "Not yet, Commander. Please be seated."

Keith sensed that was enjoying have this power over him. He sat back down respectfully and waited for whatever she had to add.

With a cold stern voice she said, "I know, Commander."

"I don't understand, Nanny. What do you know?"

"I know that you have romantic feelings for the princess." She wanted him with an eagle eye. The signs had been very subtle and no one, not even Allura knew that the space explorer was giving her special attention.

Keeping his features neutral and not looking away from the woman in front of him, he said, "I'm sorry, Nanny. You're mistaken. I respect the princess in her role as monarch and as the pilot of Blue Lion. It has been made very clear that the princess will be marrying into a royal family." He watched her closely and saw a muscle twitch next to her eye.

"That may be Commander, but I think you feel more than respect."

"What do you want me to say? You don't believe me and I don't think I can convince you. I know that she's out of my league. I know that none of my team are considered worthy. I know that she is destined to marry a prince." Standing, he said, "Let's leave it at that. I'll take my leave now." Keith was irritated and concerned. Irritated that she felt she had the right to call his behavior into account when he hadn't done anything and concerned that she of all people had seen the signs.

With a raised tone, Nanny said, "I haven't given you leave, Commander." A small smile turned up the ends of her lips as she saw him stop on the way to the door. However, it appeared he would not return to his seat. She would really like to see his face, but she felt if she pushed further he'd just leave. "I believe you Terrans have a phrase that goes something like 'stuck between a rock and a hard place?' That's where you are Commander. You're stuck with feelings for a woman that you aren't allowed to love but you have to be near her and protect her. I will hold you to your duty and if you get out of line, I'll contact Galaxy Garrison regarding conduct unbecoming an officer."

At the mention of contacting the Garrison, he turned back to face her. "I would never do anything inappropriate."

Still sitting just as she had at the beginning, Nanny looked him in the eye. "I believe you wouldn't do anything YOU consider inappropriate. Just be sure that you don't do anything I would consider inappropriate."

Keith didn't know what to say. He had just been threatened by a nanny for things she thought he might do. What the hell was he supposed to do? He gave her a nod and as he exited, he heard her call out, "One o-clock sharp tomorrow."

He walked automatically to his office and sat down. Spinning his chair to look out the window he thought about what she had said. The guys already accused him of being too reserved and quiet. It seems like he would have to become even more so… at least around the princess.