A Mid-Summer Night's Swim

By (Kitty)Shannon

Disclaimers: Voltron and all associated characters are owned and copyrighted by WEP. Original/new characters belong to the author.

Rating: PG for Mild Language

Contains a SPOILER if you've never seen past the first few episodes of Voltron - but I think most people already know about it.

It was hot. The kind of hot where you could actually see the see the heat rising in waves off of the ground outside. It seemed, Arus was in the middle of a heat wave.

Lance tossed the magazine he'd been reading to the side and looked around the rec room. He found Hunk sound asleep on the couch, his snoring rhythmic and annoying. Pidge was sitting at the desk with his studies. Nanny was a real stickler when it came to studies, and while the Royal Governess had no real authority over the youngest member of the Voltron Force, she made it clear that, like Allura, Pidge would receive a proper Arussian education.

The pilot of the Red Lion shook his head and gave a silent prayer of thanks that he was done with school. He glanced over at the clock and realized Keith would be off his watch at Castle Control any time now.

That was a good thing because he was bored. And it seemed every time he was bored he also found himself in trouble before the day was out. He picked the magazine back up and returned to flipping through the pages, only stopping to look at the occasional picture of some beautiful model all dressed - or undressed - up.

He flipped another page and came across the picture of a woman that looked remarkably like the Princess - only the woman in the magazine was wearing what seemed to be at least a dozen necklaces, thigh high boots, while dressed in a super-tiny bikini with some gauzy material floating around her. The ad made no sense whatsoever, especially when he realized it was an attempt to sell nail polish.

~'At least she's one hot chick!'~ Lance thought. ~'But she ain't got nothing' on Allura.'~

Now that was one girl he'd both love to see in a get-up like that model was wearing, and at the same time, he was glad he never would! He had far too much respect for the Princess of Arus to ever want to see her objectified in such a way.

~'Besides, Nanny won't even let her leave her room in a pair of shorts, let alone pasties and a g-string!'~ He shook his head as he considered the idea.

His thoughts were interrupted when the door opened. He glanced up expecting Keith but found it was Allura.

"Hey Princess," Lance said, secretly hoping she didn't see the flush he felt creeping over his cheeks as he noticed her pair of pink shorts. He smiled rather sheepishly, feeling guilty about where his thoughts had been headed.

"Hi." Her voice was quiet.

Lance noticed that not only were her shorts new, but also the way her long blonde hair had been pulled into a ponytail. He wondered how she had escaped her governess dressed like that!

"Aren't you supposed to be working on your studies too?" Pidge asked, drawing her attention. His large green eyes smiled in welcome at the break.

"I've already finished," Allura smiled. "Looks like I beat you today."

The two had a sibling like competition over who would complete their studies first each day. Most of the time it was Pidge, but some days she was able to finish first.

"Ohhh," the youngest member of the Voltron Force maoned, "it's just so hot that I can't concentrate."

"I know the feeling." Allura replied as she rolled her bright blue eyes heavenward in exasperation. It was one of the hottest summers in Arussian history. Even the nights were unbearably warm.

"So Princess," Lance began, determined to sate his curiosity. "How'd you get away from Nanny in those?" He gestured toward her shorts.

She grinned. "I told her that I was so hot that I would faint dead away if I were forced to continue wearing pants."

"And she bought it?" The pilot of Red Lion's dark eyes were skeptical.

"No," Allura answered. "I snuck out of my room when she went to get me something for lunch."

Laughter erupted from both Lance and Pidge, their faces reflecting the merriment in their hearts. The younger pilot's expression suddenly turned thoughtful.

"Nanny said she was going to check on my studies this afternoon. You better not let her catch you!"

"Catch you what?" a familiar voice came from the doorway.

"Chief," Lance said, peeking around the Princess, who still stood before him.

Keith disregarded his second-in-command and asked again, "Catch who, doing what?"

"Uh, nothing..." Allura smiled sweetly and turned around to face the dashing young leader of the Voltron Force. Her cheeks dusted a rosy pink when she saw that Keith was wearing a pair of black shorts with a matching black T-shirt. She had never seen him dressed like this, except for the time they had all gone swimming and she had lost her top... Which reminded her of the time during the Space Olympics when she had walked in on their leader getting out of the shower...

Her already pink cheeks turned a deep red. "I... um, I have to go..." she mumbled as she rushed from the room.

"What was that about?" Keith asked.

"I dunno," Lance said, but of course he had his suspicions.

"Maybe I should go make sure she's okay." The pilot of Black Lion's face clouded with concern as he turned toward the door.

"I'll talk to her," Lance shot up out of his seat and almost bolted for the door. "I've been sitting here all morning with nothing to do. Besides, somebody has to wake up Hunk. He has the next watch."

The black haired captain watched his friend disappear from the room. He then turned to face the youngest Voltron pilot.

"I think I'd better take my lesson to Nanny." Pidge began, "If I don't get it to her before lunch, I won't get an astrocake." He quickly gathered all his things and headed for the door.

Keith shook his head. He looked over at Hunk's inert form... how did he always get stuck doing these things?

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Allura ducked into the observation deck. She didn't think Nanny, or anyone else, would look for her in here. Crossing the room, she plopped down in a chair that was hidden from view of the main door by a small potted tree. She sighed before letting her eyes drift closed.

~'What's happening to me? I have to work up my nerve just to be in the same room with Keith anymore... And whenever he takes me by surprise, my hands shake and I can't even think straight!'~

She didn't understand what was happening and had even wondered if she were falling in love with Keith. Then she'd overheard two of her maids talking about their boyfriends, and the things they'd been saying... ~'Well, it's a good thing Nanny wasn't around to hear them that day!'~

After that, she had all but dismissed the idea of falling in love with Keith. Sure, she wouldn't mind it if he kissed her, but those other things the maids had been discussing. . . Well, Nanny had said those were things that were shared between a man and a woman in love, but only after marriage.

Of course, today, she'd felt something stir in her body. Something she hadn't felt before, nor could she identify. The only thing she knew for sure was that it had been Keith who made her feel that way.

Her cheeks turned crimson, embarrassed beyond all reason at her thoughts... when she had turned around to find Keith in the doorway to the rec room... Those shorts showing off his muscular legs... The time she'd accidentally seen him in his full naked glory as he stepped out of the shower... and then all the things that she'd heard her maids saying flew through her mind...

She let out a huff of air before sliding down into her seat.

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Lance had rounded the corner just in time to see the Princess duck into the observation deck. He slowed, trying to figure out what he was going to say to her. He'd noticed the way she'd been acting around Keith and he knew! He was already convinced that the Captain had a thing for her, even if Keith wouldn't admit to it. And now, he knew the Princess was falling for Cap'n Keithy!

Lance stepped up to the door and it slid open. He strode in, ready to confront Allura, but found the room empty. He took a second look around and caught a glimpse of pink behind the tree.

"Hey Princess?"

Allura sighed deeply. At least it wasn't Keith. "I'm over here."

Lance made his way over to where she sat. He stood in front of her and looked down into twin pools of a soft blue sea. He quickly noted the mask of frustration on her features, as well as the flush on her cheeks.

"Why'd you run off? Keith wouldn't have told on you."

She looked puzzled just for a moment, the last traces of her musings about a certain gorgeous specimen of a man fogging her concentration. As her mind cleared, she realized what it was he was talking about. "Oh. For the shorts."

"Yeah."

"I know he wouldn't tell," she was trying her best to sound casual. "I didn't want Nanny to catch me. That's all."

"Oh," he sat down in a chair across from her.

The Princess looked at him with upraised eyebrows. As usual, she got the feeling he was up to something. "What is it, Lance?"

"What's what?" he asked, feigning innocence.

"Why'd you follow me in here?" She wasn't buying his act.

"We're going swimming and I thought I'd invite you." He smiled sweetly. "Wanna come?"

Allura turned a very deep shade of pink. When she spoke a combination of regret and relief filled her voice.

"I wish I could, but you know Nanny would never let me."

For the first time she could remember, she was thankful for Nanny's domineering.

"I already thought of that," he began, he wasn't going to let her get out of it that easily. "We'll go tonight, after everyone goes to bed."

"What do you mean?"

"Just what I said," he answered. His was line cast. "When everyone goes to bed, we'll all meet in here and then sneak down to the lake. We've done it a few times already, so I know it'll be plenty warm, if that's what you're worried about."

"Oh," she couldn't help feeling a little left out. She wanted to go, but she didn't want a repeat of the last time they had all gone swimming. Or worse. "I don't know."

A little tug... "It's a lotta fun. And we all feel a little guilty out there without you."

"Well, I don't want you guys to feel guilty, you deserve a chance to have fun, but-"

"But nothing," Lance said. trying not to smile. Now to reel her in. "You know, Keith's the one who feels really guilty about it."

"He does?" She tried to hide a smile but the sparkle in her eyes gave her away.

"Yep," He watched her carefully, trying his best to read her every emotion. "In fact Keith... nah, I can't tell you."

Her eyes filled with intense curiosity. "Keith what?"

"Well, I really shouldn't be telling you this," Lance began, looking around conspiratorially.

"Go on," she urged.

He grinned. "Are you coming swimming with us tonight?"

She looked confused for a moment, then realized the game and the price she would need to pay. "Yes."

"Good," he said, "then I'll tell you later."

Allura gasped indignantly. "You tell me right now!"

Lance rose, made his way across the room and through the doorway. He paused and turned back to face her.

"We usually meet around eleven." He disappeared as the door slid shut, leaving Allura to wonder what secret he had about Keith.

She grinned as she decided to make the most of things. She quickly stood up and headed back to her room before Nanny found her missing, or worse, wandering about in her shorts.

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It was ten 'til eleven when Allura slipped into the observation deck. She was the first one there, so she hurried back to the corner where she had hidden earlier that day and sat down to wait. Just a few minutes after eleven, Lance, Hunk and Pidge showed up.

"Hi guys!" She said quietly as she stepped into view. She was wearing her pink bikini and carrying a large towel.

"Princess!" Hunk exclaimed, surprised to see her.

"Are you going swimming with us?" Pidge asked hopefully.

She smiled and nodded, then threw Lance a questioning look. The lanky pilot shrugged and shook his head in response.

The Princess was about to say something, but her words were lost when Keith hurried into the room. He quickly glanced around, doing a double take when his eyes fell on Allura.

"Princess?" His tone was one of confusion and uncertainty.

She smiled and asked, "it is alright if I come along, isn't it?"

"Of course," replied the pilot of the Black Lion, wondering how she'd known about their plans in the first place.

"Let's go, before we get caught," Lance said, heading for the door but was stopped when his Captain's hand closed around his upper arm.

Hunk, Pidge and Allura passed by, heading out into the corridor.

"Go ahead, we're right behind you," Keith said. The Princess paused and he explained, "If we go in small groups it's less likely we'll be caught."

She nodded her understanding and disappeared with the others.

The Captain of the Voltron Force turned back to face his second-in-command. "Did you invite her?"

"What do you mean? You don't want her around?" Lance's tone was both accusatory and defensive at the same time.

"You know that's not true." Keith let go of his friend's arm, then ran his hand through his unruly black hair. "Did you tell her we were going swimming?"

"Maybe. I think I may have let it slip. But, she's part of the team too, and it won't hurt anybody, right?"

Keith couldn't argue with her being part of the team. And he'd be damned if he was going to admit it made his temperature rise just to see Allura in that pink bikini - especially to Lance!

He shook his head knowing that this time Lance had won. He looked over at his best friend. "Let's go."

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They all ran into the lake and began to playfully splash at one another. The day's heat still lingered in the air and the water felt wonderful. It was cool and refreshing, yet just warm enough to enjoy. After a short time, Allura got out and went to sit on her towel. She began braiding her long hair. Keith soon followed and sat down on his own towel, next to hers.

"It's a beautiful night, isn't it?" she asked.

He looked over at her lovely face and found he was tempted to reply, ~'Almost as beautiful as you,'~ but instead, he simply agreed with her assessment. He watched as her nimble fingers worked her long hair into a neat braid. When he began to wonder what it would be like to have her fingers in his hair, he dropped his eyes.

Unfortunately this didn't help either, because his eyes fell on her little bikini top, which immediately brought back his memories of the last time they'd been swimming and she'd lost that tiny slip of fabric. He was thankful for the lateness of the day and the darkness it provided when he felt the heat spreading through his cheeks.

They had all teased Allura unmercifully at first, then admitted that none of them had really seen anything. It was almost the truth.

About a week after the incident, he and Lance had been on a late watch together when the whole truth had come out. Keith still didn't know exactly how it had happened, only that somehow his long time buddy had gotten him to admit that he had seen everything then lied about it to save the Princess from the embarrassment.

It was just then that Lance came running up the shore. He grinned knowingly at his Captain and began to waggle his eyebrows. As the look on Keith's face became murderous, the antagonist turned his attention to the Princess. "Why aren't you out there swimming?"

She had just finished braiding her hair so she stood and replied, "I was waiting for you." She turned and smiled at Keith. "Are you coming?"

"I think I'm going to sit here a little longer."

The Princess turned back to Lance who grabbed her hand and said, "C'mon!"

They began to run toward the water. As they neared the edge, she stopped.

"You still owe me that secret."

"You're right, I do." He smiled.

"Well?"

"Okay, here's the thing." Lance began, his smile growing into a grin. "Remember the time we all went swimming and you lost your top?"

She nodded, suddenly feeling very uneasy. He leaned in and whispered in her ear. Allura's mouth fell open and she turned a deep shade red. She swung around to stare at Keith, who watched them from the distance. She swung back around and slugged Lance in the arm. "I don't believe you!"

"It's the truth!" He insisted.

Allura stared at him for a moment. "Keith wouldn't lie to me."

"He did it to spare you the embarrassment." He insisted, his grin growing even wider at the look on her face. Keith would think twice before he put anything in his shampoo bottle again.

"To spare me the embarrassment?" Allura asked, still unbelieving.

"Yep," Lance confirmed. "Of course, if you'd like to give a repeat performance, I know the rest of us wouldn't mind. I've actually been feeling a little jealous that you flashed Keith and not me."

"You... You scoundrel!" The Princess spat out, intending on giving him a piece of her mind, but she suddenly stopped, a grin growing on her lips. "You want a repeat performance, huh?"

The pilot of Red Lion still wore his goofy grin but was starting to think this had NOT been a good idea. He knew his sweet friend could turn down right ornery when she was provoked.

Allura reached out and tried to grab his shorts.

"Oh no, you don't!" Lance yelled as he began to run for the lake. The Princess followed close behind. They both splashed around and fought for a bit, before she hurried out of the lake. Triumphantly carrying a pair of blue swim-shorts.

"How's that for a repeat performance, Lance?" she called out as she waved his shorts in the air.

Keith walked up and stopped beside her. "I sure wouldn't want to get on your bad side."

She turned toward him and smiled brightly.

"What'd he do this time?"

"He told me you lied about what you saw that time I lost my top. Of course, I didn't believe him, he just wanted to embarrass me." She laughed, "But you know first hand just how much of a scoundrel Lance can be."

Keith felt his smile begin to fade but diligently fought to keep it in place. When he was finished with Lance... His own smile grew into a bit of a smirk as he called out, "Hey guys, we'd better head back."

Hunk and Pidge waded out of the lake and headed over to pick up their towels. Lance stayed put.

"C'mon, Princess, give me my shorts. Please?"

"Sorry," she called as she began to follow the others.

When Keith reached the spot where they'd left their things, he made sure to grab Lance's towel as well as his own. He turned back and waved the towel at his best friend. "You better c'mon!"

They all began laughing as they walked back toward the castle.

Everyone except Lance, that is.

END