Still in the Dark

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

What is going on… 3rd response to KAEX Challenge Lights Out in the Cold. So, a couple of people mentioned that it would be nice if there was another chapter to "Out in the Cold." The thought occurred to me as well. Hope you find it worth the time to read. :-)

Rating/Setting: Rating is T. Setting is DotU


Keith sat in his hospital bed with his data pad on his lap and the remains of his cold evening meal on the side tray. The painkillers that Dr. Gorma had given him had worked wonderfully and his arm and knee were only a dull ache... as long as he didn't more them too much. Things had been quiet since the team had left earlier with only an occasional check-in by one of the medical staff. It appeared that they trusted him this time to follow doctor's orders. Admittedly, he was only doing it because here he could complete some reports and catch up on some articles while staying warm and having adequate light. If he weren't in MedBay, then he'd be in the cold and most likely in the dark as the emergency lighting was only for castle maintenance and critical areas like the kitchen and castle control. He still felt slightly chilled from earlier and with his knee and arm, he realized that this was the best place for him… for now.

His gaze lifted from the article on thermal dynamics to the door. Some type of commotion was occurring outside in the entryway to MedBay. The "commotion" made its way into his room.

Allura burst into Keith's room with a frown. Nanny was hot on her heels talking about 'appearances' and 'proper behavior' for a princess. The princess saw Keith raise an eyebrow as he looked from her to Nanny. Obviously, he heard part of her governess' ranting. Finally, three steps into Keith's room she could take it no longer.

Wheeling around to look at Nanny, Allura heatedly said, "We'll be staying at the END of the hallway. The TWO of us." Then pointing behind her in Keith's direction, she inquired caustically, "Honestly, Nanny? Does he look like he's in any shape to ravish me?" Realizing what she said and where she was, Allura straightened.

Nanny's frown continued, but she had stopped talking as she looked past her charge to the blushing young man in the bed behind her. "Honestly? No, he doesn't look like he could ravish you at this time." Making the decision not to argue any longer, she looked at Keith and said, "Just you remember young man, that I'll be with her all night." Turning on her heel, she left them alone.

Keith stared at the door as it swished closed and then he glanced with some apprehension at Allura, whose back was still turned towards him. What was he supposed to say to all of that? Where did this talk of him ravishing the princess come from? "Um, what's going on?"

When Allura turned to face Keith, her face was bright red even in the reduced light and her eyes didn't meet his. "Um, well… My room is below freezing, so Nanny insists that I stay in the MedBay where it is warm." Her eyes flickered up to his for just a moment and saw him nod. "And, um… well, you're in MedBay, and I'd be in MedBay, and we'll be sleeping together. Wait! I meant sleeping with each other." Slapping her forehead with her hand, she hurriedly said, "No. No. NO! I meant-"

Laughing softly, Keith interjected, "It's okay, Princess. I know what you're trying to say. I just think you should just stop trying to tell me because if Nanny had heard any of that…"

Looking shyly at Keith between her fingers, she saw him smiling. Dropping her hand, she sighed, "If Nanny heard any of that she would lock me in a room and break your other arm."

Keith laughed some more and said, "I think that's an accurate assessment." Looking at the closed door behind her, he continued, "I'm surprised that she even allowed you to stay in here with me right now without a chaperone." Chuckling, he added, "I guess it's just a perk of being injured to the point where I can't ravish you." He watched the blush creep back up Allura's neck to her face. "Don't look at me like that. You're the one who said it."

Groaning and throwing her head back as she moved to drag a chair to his bedside, she said, "Don't remind me. THAT was an incredibly embarrassing thing to have said in front of you."

Enjoying the fun of the situation he couldn't help remarking, "What does that mean? Do you and Nanny often talk about my ability to ravish you?"

Seeing the teasing glint in his eyes, Allura decided to play along with this totally improper discussion. Leaning back and crossing her legs, she said, "Why, actually, we do Commander." In fact, it wasn't far from the truth with all Nanny's talk about chaperones. Soft laughter escaped her lips as she saw his eyes widen in shock. "But don't let this inflate your ego. Any man younger than Coran is considered a threat to my chastity." Truthfully, Nanny would be appalled that she was saying any of this to Keith. However, Nanny wasn't here… for the moment, so she'd enjoy the bantering while she could.

Keith was relieved. He sensed that the conversation was starting to get away from him and going in dangerous directions, but he couldn't seem to find the willpower to steer it toward safer topics. It was probably the pain meds that Dr. Gorma had given him that had lowered his guard.

"Has Nanny always been so… guarded of you?"

Thinking back, Allura responded, "Well, no. You know that Coran only brought her back recently. Before that, he was my chaperone and guardian while we lived in the caves and in the rubble of the old castle. But he was never quite so… strict." Allura's brows knit together for a moment. "Things were never so strict until you boys arrived." Eyes widening, she blushed as she realized the implications of what she had said. Rushing a little, she said, "I'm sure Coran isn't implying-" She stopped as Keith raised his hand.

With a slight grin, Keith said, "It's okay. You don't have to apologize. They mean well. Coran and Nanny just want to protect you and your reputation. When Coran brought Nanny in, we hadn't been here that long. He didn't know us well enough."

"True… but…"

"But what, Princess?"

Allura frowned a little as she considered what she had to say. "But now they DO know you and they still act this way."

Keith couldn't look at her. She was obviously hurt at what she perceived as a slight by her surrogate father and nanny towards her friends. Looking at his data pad he placed it on the side table. "It doesn't mean that they don't trust us with you, Princess. I'm sure that they're doing it to protect your reputation." As he considered what he was saying, he looked at her thoughtfully. His voice was unusually soft and quiet as he said, "After all, someday soon, you'll probably marry a prince or a king. And that man will appreciate their efforts to protect you." Keith found he wasn't at all happy about the thought of Allura marrying. Involuntarily, his thoughts went to that brief, almost imagined kiss earlier in the day.

Allura, Crown Princess of Arus, stared at the Commander of the Voltron Force. He was right. He was exactly right. And she hated it. Coran and Nanny were protecting her reputation so that she could marry a prince or king. They had already dropped hints about it. What irritated her more than any hint dropping was the fact that Coran and Nanny would think she would marry any man who thought her friendship and relationship with the team was anything less than proper.

"Allura?"

The princess started. She was been concentrating so hard, she hadn't heard Keith speak. "I'm sorry. Did you say something?"

"No. You just seemed lost in thought."

Allura looked down and played with the zipper on her parka. "Yeah, well. I was just thinking about what you said… about getting married." She was still looking at the zipper and didn't see the look of pain that momentarily crossed Keith's features.

"You were thinking of… getting married?" His tone was flat. He really didn't like the thought of her getting married.

At this, Allura lifted her head with a smile. "Actually, I was thinking just the opposite. I have no desire to get married anytime soon."

Relief washed over Keith. He was just concerned about a friend. Nothing more. He just didn't want her pushed into something she was ready for. His thoughts went again to the kiss and then he pushed them away.

Allura saw the brief look of relief before Keith schooled his features back. She too was relieved now that she thought about it. Her relief at the decision had nothing to do with the man sitting across from her or that brief kiss earlier. No, her relief was solely at making that decision for herself. Her eyes locked with his.

"Princess… earlier today when we were on Black Lion's pedestal-"

The door swished open and the 'commotion' returned to the room. "Ack! Princess, are you still here? Come with me. It's time that you were going to bed."

Was Keith going to ask her about the kiss? She wasn't sure that she was ready to answer anything about that. For once, she was glad of Nanny's interruption. However, she gave Keith an apologetic look and said, "Got to go. I'll check on you in the morning." She saw him nod and then left the room. She was glad her friend was doing well. Yes. That's what he was… her friend.

Nanny gave Keith a glare as if he had kept Allura against her will in his room.

Keith watched the door closed. For once, he was glad of Nanny's interruption. What had he been thinking? He probably imagined that kiss. It was a good thing Nanny came in. He closed his eyes, content with the thought that his friend wasn't going to let Coran or Nanny push her into something she wasn't ready for. Yes. He was happy for his… friend.

As the hour grew late, the Arusian landscape outside grew dark, and along with it most of the Castle of Lions. And even though there was warmth and gentle lighting in MedBay, a young military man and a slightly younger princess who slept there still remained in the dark regarding their growing feelings.