Disclaimer: I don't own any of the Voltron characters. I just love writing about them.

This is a product of my procrastination.

Despite their new relationship status their job as paladins didn't give them much time to be together outside of their work, their training and their nights wrapped in each others arms.

What time they did have was rare and precious and they never wasted any of it.

Even if it was only kisses traded for comfort before parting on missions or brief embraces shared after exiting a healing pod.

They were at war and every day was stressful and exhausting and just generally busy, but Keith wouldn't have traded it for the universe.

It was worth it to help those that needed it and to give freedom to people that had never known it to exist in their lifetimes.

It was worth it to see Lance light up with joy when he was able to prove to those same people that being Galra didn't make him evil. That his species didn't determine his nature.

But most of all, as weird as it was, he was happier in space, in the middle of a war, than he'd ever been on Earth.

Because Voltron had given him a mission, a family, and Lance. Things he'd never dreamed were possible before he'd come to space.

It might have been wrong to be happy in his situation, but if it was, he didn't care. Not when it meant he got to wake up to Lance's smile everyday and a chance to make an actually difference in the universe.

He would take his happiness and fight to keep it.

None of the Paladins were oblivious to his joy, Shiro least of all.

He was the only one aboard the castle that had known Keith well prior to the start of their journey and he knew just how much he'd changed in the months since they'd taken on the title of Paladins of Voltron.

The standoffish teen from before was gone; replaced with a paladin that allowed himself to be loved and taken care of, something he never would have accepted on Earth.

It brought both joy and worry to the forefront of Shiro's mind as the weeks turned to months.

Joy that Keith had found someone and worry about the person he'd chosen and their relationship.

A worry he brought up the first time he and Keith got a chance to be alone after a mission.

Lance was away gather supplies that they needed on the nearest planet with Hunk.

So Shiro cornered him in the training hall and dared to try and broach the subject.

"You're different than you used to be Keith. Being with Lance has really changed you." He began carefully.

Keith smiled down at his bayard as he continued to clean it.

"I know Shiro." He responded absently; his thoughts already thinking of the evening ahead that he would share with his boyfriend.

The black paladin frowned in response.

"I'm a little concerned about how you're changing so quickly Keith. Plus how rapidly your relationship with Lance has been progressing. It's not like you to get so attached to a boyfriend."

Keith stilled at that statement, a faint protective instinct rising to the forefront of his mind, and making the hair on the back of his neck bristle.

"What are you saying Shiro?" He asked in his most neutral voice; praying that he was misinterpreting things.

The older man stepped forward to place a placating hand on his shoulder.

"Nothing bad Keith. I've just never seen you like this. You've always been so independent, so seeing you come to rely so heavily on Lance in such a short period of time is a little unsettling."

This time more than just the hair on the back of his neck bristled as Keith returned to cleaning his blade with a much harsher amount of force than before.

"What's wrong with wanting to rely on him? To want to be taken care of for a change?" He hissed through gritted teeth.

Shiro was poking at something that was already so vulnerable inside him and he hated that his first instinctive defense was to lash out at his friend. Especially when deep down he knew that Shiro wasn't doing this to be cruel.

"There's nothing wrong with that." Shiro conceded gently before continuing on.

"But you practically moved him into your quarters the day after you got together, you let him drape himself all over you all the time, and I've never known you to share a bed with any of your past boyfriends. It's all really out of character for you."

Keith returned his bayard to its smaller form before he did something he regretted and then turned to face his oldest friend.

"So what if I've never done any of that before? So what if we're sleeping together? We're both consenting adults Shiro. I don't need your permission to have a boyfriend." He hissed out with icy anger.

Shiro wisely removed his hand from the younger teen's shoulder and instead used it to rub the back of his own neck, clearly uncomfortable with the direction their conversation had taking.

"I know that Keith, I'm not saying you need my permission, but I've got to look at this from the perspective of the leader of Voltron and your friend. I've got to know that if things go south between you and him that you'll be okay. That we'll still be able to form Voltron."

Keith's first irrational thought was to deny the possibility of that ever happening. Galra were monogamous and Lance had picked him. There would never be a falling out between them because they were mates.

Keith visibly flinched as his mind reminded him that that wasn't exactly true.

Despite dating for months and toeing the edge of really going further, they hadn't actually had sex yet. Lance kept insisting they weren't ready and every time he did the vulnerable spot in Keith's chest got just a bit more tender. A bit more bruised.

It had seemed like the most natural thing in the world to combine his and Lance's worlds to the point where they were too tangled together to be separated. To offer up to Lance on that first night something he'd never shared with a boyfriend before. His home, his bed, and even himself.

It felt as natural as the courting had and it wasn't until Shiro phrased it the way he did that he began to feel ashamed of himself for being so easy.

Was that the reason that Lance didn't want him? Because he was too willing? Too eager to provide everything he thought a mate should?

Keith didn't know anymore. His instincts said Lance was it. They'd picked him and would have no other.

But Shiro's words were burrowing into his mind like eager earwigs and the more rational part of himself that he'd been ignoring roared back to life with avengeance.

Shiro had been right. He hadn't been acting like himself. It wasn't like him to accept others so easily. To open himself up to such potential for heartache.

It wasn't in his nature.

Plus if what he little knew about Galra was true, Lance should have already started calling him mate and proving just how serious his intentions were.

He hadn't doubted Lance for a second before. But now he wasn't so sure of the strength of the argument he would have made to Shiro that they would never break up.

Rattled to his core Keith left without another word to his friend. The dueled haired man made no attempt to stop him, just watched him go with worried eyes.

It was late by the time Lance got back to the castle and he wasn't surprised to find that Coran was the only one awake to greet them when they finally arrived home.

Still, he was eager to see Keith again, eager to wrap his arms around his beloved and tell him about everything he'd seen on the planet's surface.

His excitement didn't even wane when he arrived at their quarters and found Keith curled up on the far side of their bunk, dressed in his paladin PJs.

He merely got ready for bed himself before lying parallel to his boyfriend. The other teen's breath was a tad hoarser than usual and Lance worried he might be coming down with something, but that didn't stop him from slowly weaving his body around Keith's until the smaller teen was wrapped snug in his arms with his back pressed to the Galra's chest.

Noting the slight rigidity in his form Lance whispered into his ear.

"Are you awake my Treasure?"

A slight nod confirmed his suspicions and brought a smile to his face.

"Sorry to wake you up Kialto. I know you need your rest. I just wanted to be closer to you."

The teen in his arms said nothing, just pressed his hands over Lance's own around him tighter.

This brought a flicker of concern to the surface within the Galra. Keith was normally fairly quiet, but something about this silence felt different. Strained almost.

"Hey, are you okay?" He asked gently, miffed at himself now that he'd arranged them in a way where he couldn't easily see his love's face.

Another shake of the human's head confirmed that he wasn't and made Lance grow even more concerned.

He dropped a quick kiss to Keith's exposed shoulder before placing his chin atop it and asking him what was wrong.

There was a long pause and when Keith finally did respond his voice was hoarse and low; almost like he'd been crying.

"Do you love me?" Was all he asked.

Lance's brow furrowed at the question.

Hadn't that been obvious from the moment they'd gotten together?

Still, confused as he was by the question, he didn't hesitate to answer it honestly.

"Of course I love you. You're my Kialto, my Treasure, my boyfriend." He insisted.

"But not your mate." Was Keith's only response.

Lance froze at that.

It was true. No Galra would recognize their relationship as anything other than a strange post courting union. Anyone on Lance's planet would have been ashamed of how he was playing at being mates with Keith without actually going through the natural steps of making it official.

They would have thought he was crazy since the moment he'd pushed Keith's advances away the first night after their courting. The traditional night to mate and mark and solidify their relationship.

Keith had done everything a courted Galra was expected to do, but Lance hadn't accepted it. Not even when the other teen offered himself to Lance again and again. The Galra had rejected him every time and the damage from that seemed to be showing now.

"No." Was all he could whisper. "Not my mate." He admitted with shame.

Keith curled in on himself a little after that. Lance knew he didn't know enough about Galra society to know just how wrong their relationship was, but he seemed to have picked up on enough to be upset about it.

They should have become mates months ago and on some level Keith must have sensed his reluctance to let that happen. Knowing only that he was being rejected and not knowing the very good reason Lance had for why.

A reason he wasn't ready to share. Not yet. Not till he knew for absolutely sure that his theory was right.

Lance had hoped the more human like boyfriend relationship would be enough for the time being, but the hurt in Keith's voice told him it wasn't.

Because just like a human relationship Keith knew that this one wasn't guaranteed to last forever like a mating would. It wasn't the safe port he'd been searching for in the storm of his life.

It killed Lance to bite his tongue and not explain to his Kialto why they weren't mated yet. Almost as much as the next words out of his mouth.

"I'm sorry Kialto." He whispered to the teen trembling in his arms.

Keith said nothing for a long moment as his frame shook with silent withheld sobs.

"I love you." He finally admitted between gasps. Seeming to be more tortured than comforted by the fact.

Lance merely held him through the tears, kissing the nape of his neck and nuzzling his hair in an almost cruel imitation of what a good mate would do.

Just as close as they had been every night for months, but further apart than they'd been before their mission had ever started.

Yeah, just FYI to people new to my work, I really enjoy cliffhangers and angst. So…..Sorry? (There's always a happy ending though. Promise.)

PS: I love reviews that give genuine feedback. What did you like? What could I work on? (Please PM if you want to point out a spelling mistake so I can fix it without seeing a review saying I need to fix it and always having to go back and check to make sure I did). Reviews full of hate without reason will be ignored.

Yours truly,

Lacy Fairgold