The earth-light streaming in through the hospital's window fades into a neutral, tawny glow, slanting and haloing the crest of Allura's vase of white orchids.

Hospitals are lonely, she realizes, folding her arms delicately over her stomach. Earth refers to their med-bays as hospitals — they seem so peculiar about their customs and strict regulations, and feel that isolation will help mend someone faster.

It couldn't be more untrue to Allura's deeply held beliefs.

Perhaps they do not know of the cosleedtual — the ritual of sleep-sharing.

Back on Altea, it was considered good luck for someone who was injured or suffering from a grievous and non-contagious sickness to be in physical contact with someone who was healthy. King Alfor called such a thing superstition than presentable and accurate fact, but it never stopped Allura's mother frequently visiting her daughter who caught a Gnuburl condition of the leg-muscles, stroking Allura's hair and shushing her through the long cramping pains, wrapping an exhausted, whimpering Allura into her arms.

During her weakest conditions after saving Voltron's paladins, or when Coran received a bleeding, large wound against his side, she would seek Coran's understanding and his reassuring, tangible presence. Allura remembers curling down on his lap and half-listen to him reminiscing about her father, giggling softly along with him, and dozing off.

Allura pulls herself out of her memories as her hospital-door clangs open. "What are you doing?" she asks, frowning at Romelle quickly hiding behind the door, slowly closing it.

"Sneaking in!" Romelle's smile goes bright and cheerful. She keeps her voice low, brushing off her orange-and-white, belted tunic, shaking her head in disapproval. "I must say… there are far too many guards for something as unremarkable as a med-bay…"

"Hospital," Allura corrects her, her own lips twitching up when Romelle glances up, flustered and reddening and smiling bigger. "I believe they call it a hospital."

The titanium-alloy framework creaks slightly when Romelle flops down on the edge of Allura's cot. "Are you feeling alright?" she murmurs, eyeing the visible, webbing-dark bruise against Allura's exposed collarbone and the heavy, white bandage against her left forearm.

"I think so. It's…" Allura doesn't want to admit she's feeling lonely, and hesitates, licking her bottom lip. "It's very quiet," she admits somberly.

"Coran isn't here?"

"The nurses believe it would be best if I slept alone."

Romelle's face twists up suddenly. A tiny, appalled noise escapes her mouth — a perfectly little pink and gorgeous mouth Allura has caught herself staring at on numerous occasions.

"How horrid of them…" Romelle whispers, clapping a palm over her breastbone. Allura watches in mounting confusion and embarrassment as the other woman hikes up her uniformed knee to push herself onto the hospital-cot, balancing up. "That won't do, no. Not at all."

"You needn't—"

"I must," Romelle answers her protest with sternness, furrowing her brow. "Allura, you can't rest alone. That's not how it's done," she insists.

Instead of focusing on the Altean woman crawling closer to her, Allura considers the possibility that Romelle's people did indeed share most of their oldest bits of wisdom and culture. Lotor did the unthinkable to her but he did keep his word for one thing at the very least. "So even your people knew of cosleedtual…?"

Romelle nods, leaning forward and grasping the sheets. "I consider them our people, with all due respect," she says, emphasizing this and then becoming flustered again when Allura's expression softens with admiration. "I-if you believe that is… …"

"Forgive me for thinking otherwise," Allura interrupts her, unfolding her arms and straightening up. Romelle's cheeks stain with a lovely, irresistible pink.

Pink like that little, plush-round mouth.

"Sh-should I get Coran…?"

Romelle's voice rises meekly, and a tad squeaky. The atmosphere practically vibrates with her nerves, and Allura tuts sympathetically, patting the empty side next to her.

"You can stay," she announces, laughing kindly when Romelle shuts her eyes and blows air through her lips, smacking both of her hands to her puffed-up, blushing cheeks. It's hard to keep her attention from straying when Allura can feel Romelle pressing up against her back, cozily nestling, gently placing her fingers to Allura's waist.

It's still warm even through the barrier of their clothes, and thank the ancients, Romelle doesn't tense or bump up against her clumsily, petting her other hand against Allura's silvery-white curls, brushing them from Allura's chin and her lips.

"I hope that… your dreams are sweet, Allura…"

Allura buries herself into the sterile, thin pillow, her pulse thudding quickly and her features burning.

Nothing could be sweeter than Romelle's words, lithe, full of light and love.