help i've fallen and i can never get up

Voltron: Legendary Defenders- Galra!Altean!Keith AU

So, what if it’s Galra!Keith with a twist… he already knows he’s an alien.  He’s known for his entire life.

Keith’s father, Thace, is secretly a member of the Galra resistance.  His mother is Altean, a descendant from those who managed to escape Zarkon’s destruction of Altea ten thousand years ago.  Keith was born and lived on a secret resistance base for maybe the first five years or so of his life, hidden away on the fringes of the known galaxy.  From a young age, his father teaches him how to fight (as much as you can teach a five year old to fight, anyway) and his mother teaches him how to use his shapeshifting abilities to his advantage– both in battle and in normal life.

At some point, Zarkon discovers the base and orders it destroyed.  Thace gives them enough warning for them to evacuate, except during the escape, Keith and his mother’s ship is  damaged and separated from the rest of the group.  They go spinning off into deep space, presumably lost forever (leading Thace to think that he lost both of them), but in reality they crash-land on Earth.

Keith’s mother, once she pulls herself and Keith out of the wreckage, realizes that the ship is unsalvageable.  They’re trapped on an unfamiliar planet, who knows how far away from civilization– if the planet even has a civilization –and with only each other to depend on.  

And to top it all off, they seem to have landed in a desert in the middle of nowhere.  Wonderful.

After several long and harrowing days trekking through the desert, they stumble across a town.  Once Keith and his mother disguise themselves as humans, they find the homeless population and integrate themselves into there.  Keith’s mother learns everything she can about Earth, Keith has to adjust to losing everything he’s ever known, and consequently the next few years are very hard for both of them.

Soon enough, Keith’s mother figures out how to hack Earth systems (“Rather primitive, compared to ours, but we don’t complain about easy marks, eh?” she says to Keithek– no, Keith, who grins in agreement) and fakes their records so that they can really blend in with the rest of the population.  Her name gets changed to a similar Earth equivalent and Keith gets his changed from Keithek, his birth name, to Keith.  From there, she finds a job, they get an apartment, and things sort of settle down.  Eventually, they save enough money to even just build their own little house far outside city limits, where they can go back to their natural forms and be themselves.  (Yes, this is Keith’s wooden cabin-thing from the first episode.)

Except, then, the accident happens.

There’s a traffic-heavy intersection.  A drunk driver.  Keith is the only one who survives.

A combination of a concussion and trauma from the accident gives Keith minor amnesia.  His memories get… scrambled.  Some things stay, but others don’t.  He knows his name wasn’t always Keith, but he doesn’t know what it used to be.  He knows he isn’t human, but he doesn’t know what species he really is.  He knows he’s an alien, but all the memories he has of space are flashes, impressions, hazy images that fade even further as the years pass.

It doesn’t help that he’s immersed in Earth culture, living amongst humans who treat him as one of them, and there’s nothing left to keep him in touch with his heritage.  Nothing except a dagger, hilt beneath its wrappings inscribed with two symbols that he understands mean family but can’t remember why.  Nothing except a dagger and the tattered fragments of his memories, but even those are slipping away, and that terrifies him.

(I don’t want to forget, he whispers to himself, clinging to the sound of his mother’s voice.  He saves what he can, holds them close to his heart, but sometimes the little things slip through the cracks.

I can’t remember what Dad’s smile looks like, he realizes, and has to try very hard not to cry.)

Keith grows older, moves from foster home to foster home, and never quite manages to fit in.  He joins the Garrison, drawn to space and flight and he’s good at piloting, he knows this, and the first time he gets behind the controls of a ship he has a sudden image of longer hands wrapped around his, a gentle voice guiding him through the sky, and it was Keith’s father who taught him how to fight but it was his mother who taught him how to fly.

But the problem is he’s still too wild to obey the Garrison’s rules, too reckless and disobedient and despite his talent they still force him out.  He ends up wandering after that, but is still drawn back to the desert.  Back to the little cabin his mother built, following a strange pull he can’t explain, and then–

An alien ship crash-lands in a fiery explosion.  Keith goes out to investigate and turns out it’s Shiro, Shiro whom he hasn’t seen in years (they were neighbors, once, even friends, but then Keith left that foster family and they hadn’t crossed paths since), Shiro whom everyone thought was dead somewhere out in space.

Keith rescues him, meets three other teens in the process and somehow he ends up driving them all off a cliff.  But it’s fine, everything works out, and they escape the Garrison successfully.  Even if Keith is dragging along three more people than initially planned.

He doesn’t know why, but he tells him about the strange energy he feels.  About how he was drawn out to the desert, about the lion cave, about all the strange things that he’s found.  Then it turns out that Hunk and Pidge are veritable engineering geniuses, the carvings can light up like neon, and there’s apparently being a giant blue robotic lion sitting hidden in the desert for who knows how long.

(Ten thousand years, he thinks, and isn’t quite sure why he feels so certain about it.)

Flying in the lion is an adventure.  Going through the wormhole, even more so.  The castle, majestic and proud and oddly barren, is breathtaking.

Princess Allura, on the other hand… the first time he sees her, it’s a struggle not to let his knees give out on him.  Because she has pointed ears like his mother’s, eye-markings just a few shades paler than hers were, and perhaps Allura’s hair and skin and eyes are the wrong colors but she’s similar enough that it makes Keith ache.

She is what my mom was, he realizes, when she speaks to them of Altea and her people and what is ancient history for them was just yesterday for her.  My mother… was Altean.  

…I’m half Altean.

But he doesn’t tell her or Coran, in part because he’s afraid and in part because after he gets the Red Lion and sees a Galran he knows what species his father was.  The memories are trickling back, not quite clear and not quite sharp because it’s been over a decade but they’re coming back.  They’re coming back, slowly but surely, yet sometimes Keith wishes that they weren’t.

Because he remembers now.  He remembers that while he might be half Altean he’s half Galran too, but it’s the Galran Empire that they’re fighting and it’s his people who have taken over most of the universe.  It makes him sick that he knows, now, and for the first time in a long time he’s wished that he was human like the others.

(For a moment, Keith thinks he might hate his father.  But– no.  He can’t.  His memories of the man are blurry but warm, tinted with affection and happiness.  He wonders where his father is, if he’s even still alive.)

Keith doesn’t tell the others, of course.  He would never admit it but he’s scared, scared of what they’ll think and what they’ll say.  Terrified, actually, and half-convinced that they all would hate him if they found out.  It was Galrans who destroyed Altea, after all (and isn’t it strange to realize that Altea could have been his planet as well, that it was his father’s people who destroyed his mother’s), it was Galrans who captured and tortured Shiro, it’s Galrans that they’re fighting and Galrans are the enemy.

So, yeah.  Telling them: not an option.

(But that doesn’t stop it from tearing him apart inside.)

Keith buries it.  Buries the doubts and fears and all thoughts of his alien blood deep, deep within the crevices of his mind, and throws himself into being a paladin.  He knows he can’t ignore it forever because it’s festering, eating away like poison like rot, but– he can put it off.  Just a little longer.  He can deal with it on his own, and the others need never, ever find out.

(And then, to make things worse: Zarkon says to him, You fight like a Galra soldier.  Like it’s a compliment.

And Keith, Keith feels angry yet proud, because his mother taught him how to fly but his father taught him how to fight.)