.

.

"I keep having this reoccurring dream…"

Little stuff happened first — Keith throwing a red-faced, screaming tantrum as a baby, and trickles of hot, ashy smoke rose quickly from his crib and his tiny, purple hippo.

"About when I was a kid…"

Nobody said anything. Nobody knew who to contact, let alone how to reach Keith's mother. The neighborhood woman turned down the offer to watch him for an afternoon, after witnessing a eight-year-old Keith calmly placing his hands on her stove-top, his hands consumed by orange flames.

"Dad died because of me…"

Struggling from the clutches of a nightmare, he woke up to the shack's roof groaning under its own weight, burning rapidly and falling apart. Keith ran into the cold, dark night, gasping and coughing and turning around as everything brightly vanishes into the fire's roaring maw.

"Then I turn into ash…"

Keith shuts his eyes, wiping underneath his long, moistened eyelashes with the palm of his hand.

The energy in his body simmers with a low, charring heat, vibrating his molecules. He would see it sometimes in his mind — the day when it comes, his energy-driven magic would overtake him, spouting out a powerful, monstrous fire, until he crumbled away from existence, begging for help, sobbing.

Dying.

Dying alone.

"Gods, this is bullshit," he mutters, tapping a button on his laptop, ending the vlog. Keith shoves it away, jumping to his feet and heading to his closet-shelves, rummaging for the bundle of heliotrope he clipped earlier. Its buds are a milky-purple, clumped together and odorous of the fresh soil.

Tying it the loosened, green stems up with a bit of white string-floss, Keith holds it up. He searches around his quarters for his missing lighter.

Still missing apparently.

He huffs, gripping his teeth on the edge of his thermal-resistant, black glove on his left hand, yanking off the material. With the barest push of his own energy, Keith's fingertips glow neon-red, heating up effortlessly to seventy degrees, eighty, ninety, climbing higher and higher.

The heat and flames never hurt him — no man-made fire, natural or unnatural. Not even his own.

Not yet.

"Patience yields focus."

Shiro's words cascade over him, like soothing, deep waters, and lowers Keith's temperature. He pinches the very tip of the dried-out flowers, letting them crackle and smoke in heavy, thick wafts.

Water isn't Shiro's element — he's mutable, wise Air, charged with both darkness and light. He's the one who discovered Keith living on the streets, befriending him and introducing the organization who trains and employs young, secular druids, like Shiro had. Faith is not regarded as a discipline. Druids are the speakers of injustice who defend the balance of the world; they are the knowledge-keepers and the seekers; they celebrate magic wherever it appears from, instead of rejecting and fearing it.

During his third-year novice, he had been challenged by Lance, who truly was Water — fluid by nature, intuitive, resilient, but driven purely by those emotional impulses of his.

The boy who could turn objects, people into a liquidy puddle with the touch of his hands.

Keith never saw him without a variety of gloves, during classes or the recreational periods. It was supposedly only Lance's hands themselves that acquired this permanent, cruel ability.

Lance grew up in the societal and underground regions of the Druids, coming from an ancient line. Instead of absorbing and redirecting energy like Keith, he channeled his magic with bloodletting — depending on the spell, it required a tiny smudge off Lance's thumb or even opening a vein.

While on a dangerous and botched assignment, Keith witnessed the other man cut open his thigh, to banish a hellish, astral troop of shadow-entities, as if it was nothing. Lance passed out on the street, and Keith quickly bandaged him up and hauled him to the elders, cursing his stupidity instead of thanking Lance for saving him, and cursing Lance's gentle, teasing smile.

Keith doesn't know how falling in love happened, between all three of them. He's given up asking the questions in order to pointlessly defy what is fate and its mercy.

As he mouths out a chant, slowly waving the grey, smoking heliotrope out in the corridor, one of the doors rattle open. Lance steps out and furrows his brows, glancing over at Keith in a pair of dark, featureless boxers as if slightly outraged by Keith's own presence.

"What the hell are you burning, dude? It smells like my aunt's old mildewy library books…"

"Flowers," Keith says monotonously. "I'm trying to do a cleansing—you mind?"

Lance makes a small, annoyed grumble, itching over his exposed throat. There's a new, purpling bite-mark that Keith doesn't remember giving him. Lance's two-set, white-and-blue striped pajamas seem visibly rumpled, as if he wrestled inside them. When he gazes down noticeably to Lance's erection bulging against the front of his pajama-pants, Lance eeks and covers himself up one-handed.

"DUDE—" he whines, humiliated.

Something ripples in the air. Keith tunes into the new, familiar aura before it can manifest completely, as a force of pitch-black, smoky vortex whirlwinds into existence without blowing a single hair on Keith's head.

Shiro emerges from it wordlessly, with every muscle-tendon and bone in their rightful place, the hair not buzzed off Shiro's head swept into a high, messy bun. There's a glossy, silvery streak right on Shiro's widow's peak. His eyes glow the same silver.

"When did you get corporal?" Keith asks, watching as the older man marches forward, de-materializing the chaos-manipulation behind him. Shiro goes further upright, but not tense or rigid, offering a broad, comforting smile to Keith's concern. He strokes his index finger over Keith's temple.

"The physician said it would be alright if I took it slow."

For weeks, Shiro couldn't manifest into a human form. He flickered in and out of being, getting poisoned by an unknown enemy with corrosive, preternatural fumes while out in the field. When he could reappear long enough for his examinations, Shiro's naked, muscular body would be plastered with blotchy, raw-looking welts and sores. The fumes leaked out of Shiro's opening mouth and his eyesockets, and the irises to Shiro's dark gray eyes paled out to nothingness.

Eventually, Shiro was able to recover. He lost one of his arms to the elbow permanently.

"I don't need a replacement… I'm still me."

Keith leans into Shiro's fingers lightly exploring over his cheek, shortening the distance and hugging him, smushing his nose and mouth against Shiro's hairy, firm sternum.

"Missed you…" he says, croaking out his words.

Shiro groans, mostly in relief and awe.

"You feel so good, Kee…" An arm locks to Keith's bare, sinewy torso, quaking. "You and Lance… I don't know what I would do… …"

That's more emotion than any of them can handle right now. Keith shushes him quietly, reaching up and pressing a brief, warm kiss to Shiro's lips. He pulls away after a moment, staring up as if hypnotized by Shiro's glow-silvery eyes, swallowing and relocking their mouths, kissing him deeper.

Somewhere in the haze, Keith feels Lance's soft-suede glove brushing his forearm attentively, drifting and petting over to Shiro's rib-cage. "Think we could get him to shut up 'til morning?"

Lance flashes him a wide, sly smile, as Keith's head registers the suggestion.

Oh.

OH.

The heliotrope is left burning in the sink, as Keith chases eagerly after his partners, jostling and laughing within the darkness of his own quarters, Lance's gloved-fingers squeezing roughly on his asscheek and Shiro's cock twitching against Keith's stomach when their hips roll erratically.

It's difficult to feel cursed while loved.

.

.


Voltron isn't mine. Taking a break from Plance to bring you,,,,, SHKLANCE! What a delightful and wholesome OT3! It's finally posting time for the Shklance Flower Exchange and I was paired up with saltedsaltine (on Tumblr) and decided to use heliotrope flowers! Mmmmmmm I'm a little in love with this Modern Magic AU here and the roles/types of druidic magic I gave everyone. I may expand one day. Maybe. I always say I'm gonna tho adhjshb anyway IT IS ALSO STILL VLD POLY WEEK and I'm posting a day earlier than the schedule but "Day 7: Free Day/AU" here we go! Thanks for stopping in and please please yes leave your thoughts if you liked this!