Disclaimer: I do not own Voltron or any of its characters but after 30 stories, it seems like I should. *sigh*
In response to the KAEX Challenge: Lights Out in the Cold. Power outage in the castle during an epic winter storm.
Thank you to Cubbie, who read through the story for flow and content. All spelling and grammar errors are mine. ;-D
Rating/Setting: Rating is T. Setting is DotU
A/N: Hope you enjoy the story, I decided to post it as a one-shot.
"So what the hell is going on around here?" Lance demanded as he walked into Castle Control. "My room is cold and all I had was cold water for a shower. Throw in the emergency lighting and I'm wondering why an alert hasn't been sent out."
Coran spun his chair around from the monitors and glared at the young man. "Really, Lieutenant, your attitude isn't helping anything."
"Well, right now my attitude is the only thing keeping me warm." Here he smirked. "Attitude and my leather coat."
Coran had just opened his mouth to explain when Pidge and Hunk walked in. Seeing the Green and Yellow pilots, he paused and then said, "Why don't I let the cause of the massive power failure tell you what happened."
Lance turned to face his friends and said, "What gives?"
Looking sheepish, Hunk began, "I was doing a power system overhaul on Lions and needed to do a power surge test and well-"
"The power surge Hunk sent from the central core had an unexpected rebound effect when it entered the Lions." Pidge broke in.
"Yeah, I didn't expect the Lions programming to do a reversal of the current… and it went back to the core and shorted the system." Hunk finished.
"So how long until it's fixed?" Lance asked with concern.
Scratching his head, Hunk looked to Coran who nodded. "Um, all systems should be back online in two days and the heat should be online in 24 hours."
"Twenty-four hours!" Lance's internal temperature went up several degrees. "You guys do realize that it's been snowing for two days and the temperature outside hasn't gotten above freezing in a week. The castle is getting colder all the time."
"We're doing the best we can," Pidge said. "Just dress warmly.
"That's what I'm doing!" Allura's upbeat voice came to them from the doorway.
Looking to the door, Lance whistled. Allura was dressed in some type of velvety white fitted snow suit, complete with a hood lined in white fur. "Do you have a suit like that for all of us to stay warm, Princess?"
Laughing, Allura responded, "Actually, I do!"
Four pairs of eyes turned to her in surprise.
"Well, you fellas didn't have any luggage when you came. You had things shipped here after arriving, but I noticed that none of you seemed to have winter weather gear. So I asked the Alliance to supply some suitable clothing in case you had to do any type of winter recon. The suits came in the last shipment."
Hunk cleared his throat and looked concerned. "Um, Princess, please tell me that our suits don't look like yours."
Laughing again, Allura said, "No. They are very military in design. Snow type camo. Although, I do think they have fur in the hood."
The three military men looked at her skeptically.
"Come on, I'll show you." Turning to head out, she stopped and asked, "Where's Keith?"
Keith was grumbling to himself as he dressed in his flight suit. He had been guaranteed that the uniform was designed to be cool in summer and warm in winter. Mentally cursing the makers of the suit he decided that silent cursing wasn't enough and verbalized some thoughts as to the parentage of said makers and the Garrison personnel who assured him that the uniform was perfect. What he wouldn't give for Lance's leather coat right now…
Finally dressed, he pulled his wet hair back into a ponytail at the nape of his neck. Now he was not only cursing his flight suit, but whatever desire had caused him to let his hair grow so long. With nothing to dry his hair with besides a towel and no heat, he was even colder. He prayed that whatever had caused the power failure would be fixed quickly because he just couldn't take being this cold. Already feeling pressure in his sinus passages, he scrounged through his bathroom vanity and located some sinus medicine and swallowed them without any liquid. Any liquid would be cold and he didn't need to be cold on the outside and inside. Well, time to go find out what was going on.
As Keith left his room, his com unit buzzed. "Kogane."
"Where are you, Keith? Everyone is down in Castle Control but you." Allura's voice sounded way too chipper and happy.
Letting the cold get to him, Keith snapped back, "I'm on my way down now to find out what the hell is going on." He instantly regretted his tone, but it was said and he wouldn't take it back. However, Allura didn't seem to notice as her voice was just as chipper when she replied.
"Oh, don't come to Control. The team and I are headed to Supply Station 2 to pick up your winter gear. Meet us there and we can fill you in on what happened."
"Acknowledged, " Keith replied. Winter gear? What winter gear? Keith didn't know what she was talking about. However, just the term winter gear gave the impression that it was warm, and as he sneezed, he decided that even the thought of warmth was enough to send him to Supply Station 2.
The team and Allura were already inside the room when he arrived and he could hear the sounds of happiness from his crew as he approached. Stopping in the doorway, he took in the sight of the team holding up what looked to be insulated parkas and fleece lined pants. All he knew was there had better be a set for him or Lance would have to share either the parka or the pants.
Even the sight of Allura's beautiful face surrounded by the soft fur didn't cause him to deviate on his path to a pair of pants lying across a box. Walking straight to them, he checked. Yes! My size! Then he rummaged in the box underneath to find the parka in his size and a long-sleeved thermal shirt to go under the parka. He immediately pulled on the parka and felt warmer.
Hearing a hint of laughter behind him, he turned to find Allura smiling at him. Looking a little guilty, he said, "Sorry I snapped at you on the com. I was just so cold."
Allura's smile continued as she responded, "It's okay." Looking over to Lance she said, "You weren't the only one being a bear about the cold."
Following her gaze, he saw Lance pulling the pants on over his jeans. Smiling, he said, "Yeah, the beach boy has a big problem with cold. But then, I seem to as well." Taking on a more serious tone, he then asked, "So why are we freezing in this state of the art castle?"
After Allura explained, he said, "I guess we should stay in the castle with that storm outside. No need to make ourselves colder by going anywhere. At least the heat will be back on in less than a day." Keith didn't say it, but that meant either not showering or having another really cold shower before the heat came back on.
Noticing his frown, Allura asked, "What is it?"
Turning a little red, Keith said, "Nothing."
"Ha! You can't get away with that Keith Kogane. You never frown for no reason."
"I was just thinking that it meant having another cold shower."
Of course, Lance had to overhear that. "Like that's the first cold shower you've had to take at the castle."
Allura noticed the threatening look that Keith sent in Lance's direction and innocently asked, "Do you often take cold showers, Keith?"
The other three force members began to snort or cough as they tried to cover their laughter.
Frowning, Allura looked from the snickering teammates back to Keith's slightly flushed face. Perhaps he was coming down with something. "Keith, you look flushed, are you coming down with something?" She reached her hand up to touch his brow. For reasons beyond Allura's understanding, this made the team laugh even more. She glared at them as Keith moved away from her touch.
"I'm not coming down with anything Prin-" But his sentence was cut off by a sudden sneeze.
"Well, I think you shouldn't plan on taking any more of those cold showers, Commander." Then looking perplexed, she asked, "If you don't like cold showers, why on earth do you take them?"
Unable to control his laughter anymore, Lance shepherded the other two laughing force members from the room saying, "As much as I'd LOVE to hear you explain that one, Keith, I think I'll leave now."
Keith muttered under his breath something about retribution and revenge.
Pulled back to the here and now, his face colored as he looked at Allura's questioning eyes. Damn it. Why hasn't Nanny explained these things to you? Keith thought. Then as he thought just a moment more, he realized that if he were Allura, he wouldn't really want Nanny to be the one to give a sex talk. Romelle. He needed to contact Sven later and see if he would speak to Romelle about having a girl talk with Allura. To be sure the princess wasn't clueless about sex, but then, he thought of Nanny. It could be she had the completely wrong idea about sex if Nanny was explaining it.
He felt a fresh rush of heat to his face as Allura placed a hand on his chest. Leaning his head back and taking a deep breath, he questioned, "You're not going to let this go, are you?"
"Then I'm definitely not going to let this go."
Letting his deep breath out, he could see a faint trace of vapor. The castle was getting even colder. Looking around, he said, "Let's go somewhere warmer." He grabbed the boots and socks that went with his parka and pants. Taking her by the arm, he headed out towards one of the castle's interior rooms. They were more likely to have retained warmth and would be better than the cold Supply Station. He was surprised when she stopped him.
"Let's go to my quarters, Keith."
His eyes widened. What was she up to? With the topic they were going to discuss, he didn't think being in her private chambers was a good idea. "I don't think we should be alone there together to discuss… cold showers."
Frowning, she said, "If you want to go somewhere warm, my chambers are exactly where you want to go." Blushing a bit, she added, "Even during a power outage, my rooms have a separate back-up battery for heat, air, and water."
Heat. Her rooms had heat. Turning her in the direction of her room, he said, "Let's go."
Allura smiled. After thinking on it for a few minutes, she had some idea of why the Commander needed a cold shower. In fact, she would love it if he needed one after their conversation. However, after the awful ribbing that the guys gave him in the Supply Station, she thought it would only be fair for him to have a hot shower.
When they entered her rooms, she keyed the lock so that only Coran and Keith could override the lock. She didn't want Nanny bursting in, not when she had Keith alone in her room to explain cold showers. Stifling a somewhat devious smile she turned innocently to Keith and motioned for him to sit on the settee. After he put his winter attire on a side chair he seated himself. Once he was seated she sat down so their legs were touching and when he moved over, she followed.
"So Keith, what is so embarrassing about cold showers?"
"Um, guys, and sometimes girls, take cold showers when they are trying to calm down."
Allura gave him a confused look. "Calm down? Take a cold shower to calm down? Well, I suppose that might work."
Keith mind momentarily drifted, the princess had been right, her room was warm. The parka now seemed like a sauna, but he didn't really want to take it off.
Allura watched as a small bead of sweat formed across Keith's upper lip. Inwardly she chuckled. He's hot, but doesn't want to start taking off clothes in front of me. Well, maybe I should go first, Allura thought. "It's a lot warmer in here than the rest of the castle. I think I'll take off my parka." Looking over to him, she said, "You should take yours off too."
Reluctantly, he shrugged out of his. Standing, she took both coats and placed them with his other clothes. Sitting back down, she pursued the line of questioning she had started. "So, what happens that you need to calm down so much?"
Allura watched as a crimson hue spread up from his collar to his face. Deciding to let him off the hook, she reached over and took his hand. "It's okay, Keith. I know why guys and girls take cold showers." She watched as a wave of relief washed over his features and he leaned his head back on the couch.
With his head back and eyes closed, he asked, "If you knew, why didn't you say so?"
"It was perhaps a little cruel of me not to have spoken up with the way Lance was teasing you so. However, I think that sitting in this warm room and perhaps having a HOT shower might make up for it."
Keith slowly sat up. "Did you say HOT shower? What if Nanny comes by?"
The princess was inwardly elated that he hadn't shot the notion down completely. "Nanny has no reason to stop by and if she does, the door is locked. And even if I did let her in, it's not like we'd be showering together." She colored slightly when she said that.
Looking at her, he thought, I'm going to need a cold shower if she keeps talking like that. He cleared his throat once again. "As much as I should say no, I'm going to accept your offer of a hot shower." Then he added a little sheepishly, "And can I use your hair dryer too? I'm afraid that I've let my hair get too long… and well, with it being cold-"
Laughing a little, Allura said, "Say no more, Commander. Use whatever you want."
"Thanks, Allura." Keith stood and gathered his clothes to take into the bathroom.
Allura watched him go with a secret smile. She had had no idea that this incredible opportunity would land on her doorstep because of a power outage and a winter storm. Once she heard the water going and she was sure that Keith was actually in the shower, she entered the bathroom. Gathering up all of his clothing, she left the room and waited.
After a long shower and then drying his hair, Keith went to grab his clothing. His eyes narrowed as he looked at the spot where they should be. They weren't there and there was only one person that would have taken them. What was Allura up to? Making sure the towel was snug around his waist, he opened the door to adjoining room and saw Allura sitting there with his clothing.
This was it, Allura thought as she watched the door open. She had put his clothes back twice during this shower, but retrieved them each time. The princess was determined not to let her nerves stop her.
Keith looked from Allura to the clothes and back again. "Is there a reason you took my clothes?"
Gathering her courage, Allura stood and walked closer stopping only when she was close enough to touch him. But she didn't. "Yes, I do have a reason, Keith." She watched him closely as she asked, "I know the reason that guys take cold showers. The question I have is, why do YOU need to take cold showers?"
Keith froze. He thought he had dodged this bullet. There was no way to answer without incriminating himself in some fashion.
She could tell she had caught him off guard and that he was searching for an answer - one that wouldn't point to her. Deciding this was now or never, she said, "Let me tell you why I have to take cold showers." She saw his eyes widen. Obviously, he had never considered that she might have lustful thoughts about him. Taking a step closer but never taking her eyes from his, she laid a hand on his warm chest. "I have to take a cold shower when I think about you, Keith. Especially when I think about kissing you."
Keith thought the cold must have addled his mind. Was Allura really talking about taking cold showers because she thought about kissing him? It wasn't something she would lie about. Searching her eyes, he said, "I take lots of cold showers because I think about doing this way too often." Reaching out, he pulled her against his chest.
The heat and dampness of his body leeched through her clothes. Her arms encircled his neck as his wrapped around her waist. When their lips met, all thoughts of showers, power outages, and heating concerns left.
Later that evening, as they all sat huddled eating a cold supper in the dim emergency lighting, Lance snickered as he asked, "So, Keith, did you explain cold showers to the princess."
Keith glanced at Allura, they had already planned how they would handle any questions. Thankfully, Lance had waited until the end of the meal to start in on his teasing. "Um, yes." He then returned to eating.
Lance looked from Keith to the princess and raised an eyebrow. With hardly a pause, Allura wiped her mouth with a napkin and said, "Yes, Keith was quite thorough in his explanation. I believe I was able to help solve his problem. Honestly, I don't think he'll have a need for cold showers anymore."
Keith kept eating, Lance and Pidge sat with mouths open, and Hunk spewed a mouthful of cold chicken across the table.
"Hunk are you okay?" Allura asked with sincerity.
"Um, yeah, Princess." Hunk hurriedly took a drink of water.
Lance's mouth opened and closed a couple of times before he said, "Just what did Keith tell you cold showers were for, Princess?"
Giving him her best haughty royal look, Allura bristled as she responded, "Really, Lance, I hardly think that it's appropriate for you to ask that."
Turning slightly red himself, Lance said, "Sorry." However, he continued to alternate staring at Allura and Keith. Perhaps the cold had addled his mind. He shook his head. Looking to Hunk, he saw the big man shrug. Obviously, he too was at a loss for Allura's strange comments. The remainder of the meal was eaten in silence and the cold.
As Allura stood to exit, she smiled at Keith and said, "If you need help avoiding a cold shower in the morning, stop by my chambers before breakfast." Glancing over at the rest of the team, she said, "Try to stay warm tonight."
When the door swished shut behind her, hazel, brown, and green eyes turned to look at Keith with awe and confusion.
Finishing his last bite, Keith wiped his mouth and tossed down his napkin. As he stood to leave, he said, "I'll probably be late to breakfast in the morning. I plan to stop by Allura's chambers." Giving them an uncharacteristic grin and wink, he left them speechless.
Turning the corner in the corridor, he found Allura waiting for him. She could barely suppress her laughter as he walked up to her. "Oh, Keith, the looks on their faces! It was priceless!"
Casting glances up and down the hallway, he planted a quick kiss on her lips and then held his arm out for her. As she linked her arm with his, he said, "You know Lance is probably thinking all sorts of perverted things now." He gave her a worried glance. "I hope he doesn't say anything inappropriate."
Turning her twinkling eyes up to meet his, she said, "Oh, he can't embarrass me any more than Romelle did when she told me all about cold showers."
"Oh, don't offer him a challenge. He'll find a way. If nothing else, he will embarrass the crap out of me." Glancing down at her he asked, "So, what do we do now? Search out closet to kiss in?"
Sighing and watching the stream of cold vapor disperse in the air, she said, "I don't know. I'm just glad you're willing to kiss me. Perhaps you're willing to do more?"
Chuckling, Keith said, "Kissing and not much more or I will need A LOT of cold showers. If I have any hope of getting Coran's approval, we have to limit our… activities."
Having reached her door, she turned and asked, "Do you want to sleep in a warm room?"
Keith threw back his head and groaned. "Are you trying to drive me to another cold shower?"
With the castle being so cold, there was no one in the corridor that was only lit softly with the emergency lights. Allura reached up and pulled his head down. Their cold noses touched as their lips met and they kissed for what would probably be the only time in the open. At least for the foreseeable future since the heat would be back on before the next night.
As they parted and Keith walked down the darkened corridor, Allura stood in her doorway. She thanked whatever forces had brought about the cold weather and Hunk's power surge. As she closed the door and entered her warm sanctuary, she thought about what had occurred earlier in the day. Keith in the towel… kissing her. She started fanning herself. Crap, she thought, I need a cold shower.