purple claws

Sleeping Beauty (Pt 1)

Lance walked the halls of the castle ship. He was alone— he hated to be alone but the others were asleep and he was deep into the castle. He thought about talking to Blue but that would only make him more tired. Lance had gone many sleepless nights after a recent mission. It was no different from any other mission but for some reason this one kept him away.

Rows of gallra surrounded Lance as he bled from his s ears and the corners of his mouth. His suit cracked and ripped countless times over and no matter how great a shot he was he could never kill these monsters. His hands shook under his bayard and then all he saw was red as purple claws scratched his eyes.

And then he would wake up.

Lance stopped eating, he was too busy in the training room trying to step up his game, become braver and stronger.

Keith thought Lance was trying to copy him. He ignored Lance and sometimes locked him out of the training deck.

This night… this dead of night, Lance began to slow his stride against his will. His head began to spin, the feeling of helium filling from his ears lifting his head almost off his shoulders.

Everything above his chest grew cold— freezing almost and then came the sweat. The rest down weighed him as if gravity increased. He had just passed a pillar letting him put his weight on the wall to hold him up. ‘Just for a second.’ He thought to himself. He noticed his threat was dry, his breathing was loud and far away, his eyes begging themselves to close but the more Lance fought it, the more black spots climbed their way into his vision making everything around them green or orange. “Help…” Lance croaked but he couple barely hear himself. He felt the vibrations in his chest and throat but it seemed like he was under water and far away. “Help…” he called again and not even a second later he dropped to the floor.

At breakfast Lance’s chair was empty which wasn’t a surprise now because he stopped coming to breakfast. “Good morning paladins~” Allura waltzed into the room with Coran not far behind. “Are you excited for today’s activities?” She clasped her hands together with a gigantic smile painted across her face.

“What activities princess?” Shiro looked up from his morning goo.

“I’m glad you asked Shiro!” Allura’s eyes sparkled. “You will be in partners chosen by Coran,” she turned and smiled at the other Altean. “And you will both be trying to get a special item and then come back to the bridge.”

“On earth we call that Capture the Flag.” Pidge chimed with a smirk crawling over her face.

“Oh really?” Allura became intrigued. “Well, I’m not sure if this is in your Earth version too, but at some point in the game, your partner will turn on you and do everything they can to try to stop you.”

“No we don’t play that way.” Keith crossed his arms and leaned back in the chair. At first he wanted to be paired with Shiro when it seemed like a normal game of CtF but now… he didn’t want to fight Shiro— didn’t want to be enemies. Then again, it could boost his moral and help him be a better fighter.

Coran began to pick partners. “Pidge and Shiro. Hunk and Keith. Lance and–” he stopped. “Princess, Lance isn’t here nor does he have a partner.” Coran frowned.

“Oh.” Allura rolled her eyes. “He’s probably somewhere in the castle I’ll go find him. He’ll be a third party and play by himself I guess.” She waved her hand and walked off to the bridge. Coran stood in the same spot still frowning at the teams. He liked Lance, they bonded a little and it was odd to see him not here for a team exercise. Nevertheless he began to explain he rules to the paladins, then proceed to show them their starting point and what their object is.

Lance was still out cold. He was lying in a pool of his own sweat. In his head he saw nothing but blackness. His body was trying to sleep but he knew there was no way his friends would find him if he was this deep into the castle. He screamed but nobody would hear him even if it did come from his mouth.

(TBC)

happypencil  asked:

Ok so I got this idea and I wanted to share it with the best writer I know (sorry if it's bad) So Lance got kidnap by Lotor and brain wash with the magic of Hagar the goal was make Lance think he always belong to the galra empire but when he was past out his team got him back (they notice his absent almost 2 days after he got kidnap) they got him back but when he wake up he was expecting be on "his galra ship" with "his galra teammates" now the team have to get their Lance back (and that's it)

Ooohhhh this is cool!! Okay, it’s go time.
~~~~~
The castle had been abnormally…quiet. There was no laughter, no corny jokes, no flirting attempts…nothing. And at first, the team welcomed it. It was nice to have the peace and quiet for a change, but then it became unsettling. They were sitting around the kitchen table when it struck them. “Hey, has anybody it’s been..quiet around here. Like, too quiet.” Pidge questioned. Shiro hummed in agreement. “There hasn’t been any attacks from Zarkon or the Galra since that one attack. They tried to infiltrate our ship, but never got in. But that was two days ago. We haven’t heard anything since.” Keith leaned back in his chair, propping his feet on the table. “Yeah, I’ve been in the training room for the last couple of days. I got a lot of training done which is shocking because Lance usually interrupts and tries to challenge me. Heh, as if he’ll even beat me in anything.” Pidge suddenly lifted her head up from her arms. “Wait. Guys, have any one of you even seen Lance in the past few days?” Everyone shook there head. Allura chuckled softly. “Well, that would explain the quiet.” Shiro stood up. “No, this is serious. You mean to tell me no one, not a single person, has been in contact with Lance?” He was answered with silence. Keith’s eyes darkened. “Coran, check the camera from two nights ago. Trace any and every move Lance makes.” The team raced to view the cameras, watching for their blue paladin. “There!” Pidge pointed to the screen. Sure enough, there was Lance in his room, washing off his face mask. They sped up the camera until the castle’s alarm went off. Lance jumped from his bed and began to put on his uniform. He was jumping on one foot, trying to get his boot on when he suddenly fell. The team laughed, but it quickly faded when they noticed he wasn’t moving. Keith furrowed his brows. “Why isn’t he getting up? Is he…staring at something?” The team stared at the screen closely. They could see Lance’s eyes were wide with his mouth hanging open as he stared in a dark corner of his room that wasn’t illuminated by the red glare of the alarms. They watched as Lance quickly tried to scramble away from the shadows, but as soon as Lance tried to scream, a clawed purple hand wrapped itself around Lance’s mouth, cutting off his shouts. They watched in horror as Lance kept kicking and punching at the figure that emerged from the shadows. Landing a successful kick, Lance knocked the figure to the ground, knocking the hood away from their face. The team inhaled sharply. “Hagar.” Allura hissed. They watched helplessly as Hagar struck Lance with a yellow lightning from her hands, rendering him unconscious. She then drug his limp body into the shadows, and in a blink of an eye, they were gone. They were all in shock. Keith saw red. “They took him. Right under our fucking noses!!” Shiro clenched his fists. Coran set his jaw. Pidge on Hunk squared their shoulders. Allura sneered dangerously. “Team, it’s time we got our Blue Paladin back.”

(Possibly a part two to this?? Thought??)

Owari no Seraph Headcanons

-Vampires click their top fangs against their bottom ones when they’re nervous. It’s usually super quiet and humans typically can’t hear them, but other vampires can

-They make this sort of rattling hiss when threatened or angry, kinda like a rattlesnake mixed with a cat. If they’re hurt when they’re hissing, they’ll shriek

-Their bottom fangs are spurs that hook into the flesh of their victem, anchoring them in and making moving difficult. Because venom production starts right before they bite, these spurs usually have a thin coating on them that numbs them to the victem, unless the bite was intentionally done without venom, which SERIOUSLY hurts and is usually something done in fighting instead of hunting because a screaming, thrashing human is difficult to drink from even with super strength

-Their claws (we sometimes see Ferid and Krul with their claws out when they’re fighting or angry, you can catch them if you watch close enough) slide out over their ordinary nails and are tough enough to dig into rock without breaking. Some vampires like to paint them in their free time (fucking Ferid with his purple-ass claws is evidence for this headcanon)

-They’re somewhat desensitized to pain. Minor injuries don’t bother them at all, and major injuries are more of a shock thing than anything else. This is because their healing abilities mean they don’t need to be careful with their injuries, as long-term healing isn’t really a thing. Therefore, the pain reflex has been mostly deactivated as feeling pain on a human level would be more of a crux than anything

-They’re mostly visual and sound-based predators, and hunt like big cats (based off their pouncing reflex). This means that they can do that thing where they can hold their head perfectly still even when the rest of their body is moving. And yes, they probably do the butt-wiggling

-Based off their ability to apparently run on the fucking walls and ceilings if they so wished (like in the first opening), their ankles and wrists are probably more flexible than ours and can pivot at angles that would make us scream to maximize their climbing ability (like that one squirrel{?}/lemur {idk I’m not that good at mammals} that can twist its back feet around to climb down trees). They probably also have longer hooked claws on their feet to hang from things so they can grab people preying-mantis style.

-Judging from how most of them seem to have really pale colouring, all of them have a strong adversion to sun (for obvious reasons lmao), the ability to climb on stone/hang from things, and a strong preference for the underground, I’m going to take a gander and say that they’re probably naturally cave dwellers

-They’re naturally solitary predators, and only usually form strong social bonds with people left over from when they are human (even if both are turned, the bond still stays)/the affection between sires and their offspring. This is why they aren’t very emotional; they don’t need it to survive and communicate, like we do. This lone hunter mentality also contributes to the tendancy to think over feeling, and is also why they don’t really care to learn things (because they can usually just figure it out by themselves). Eventually, some vampire went ‘hey, I’m strong by myself, what if instead of competing with other vampires we can team up and pool our reasorces instead of fighting over territory and prey’, and that’s how the kingdoms were formed. Vampires have since learned how to communicate with others and formed their own communication cues, but this is also where the pride and arrogance and splendor came in, because they’re essentially always trying to one-up the other vampires around them, so they eventually just started hoarding shit like dragons to prove themselves to the over vampires (a remnant of their territoriality)

-Their need to consume blood is partially a dietary need, partially magical. The blood provides the nutrients they need to get by, but it’s also a part of the curse that threw them into vampirism: essentially, you cheated death by drinking the life force of other humans (blood), but now that you’re technically supposed to be dead you’re running on borrowed time and *need* to keep stealing the life force of others to lengthen your own time. Because you weren’t supposed to cheat death, if you run out of time (starve/die), you get turned into a demon as punishment. (At least, that’s the basics of it). It takes three days to work the blood completely through the system, (as I headcanon it gets absorbed entirely, since they have only one specific food source), but they’ll still crave or enjoy drinking blood in between neccessary feeding times because it tastes good (like eating your favorite snack: you *can* have it later, but why do so when you can have it *now*) and it revitalizes their lives, giving them a sort of living high

-Vampires have the ability to echolocate if they are sunblinded (as their eyes are the most sensative). They’ll make these sort of throaty, high-frequency clicking noises that allows them to navigate them to a safe place until they are healed again.

-Fledgeling vampires are notoriously bad at learning to control their venom, and their progenitor usually gives them a few tips after they’ve drank from them for the first time because they have a higher resistance to vampire venom than humans. Fledgelings are also really bad at learning how to control their jumps and landings, so some of their first lessons are more focused on helping them learn to walk and jump again with their fancy joints and catlike reflexes than anything cool

-Then the next lessons are how to be self-sufficiant, like how to mend clothes and items and shit because no vampire wants to clean up after another one unless they’re their progenitor or special companion (and most times, not even then)
“When am I gonna learn how to do cool vampire things” “Shut up I’m trying to teach you how to fix your shit now so I don’t have to later”

-Most teaching is done by the progenitor because the most of the other vampires just don’t have the empathy or patience to care for a clumsy newborn who can’t seem to talk without biting themselves

-Sometimes vampires will start dripping venom if they’re anticipating a bite (like salivating) and they have to spit the excess venom out because it tastes bitter. The reason why they drip venom in the first place is to try to coat the rest of their teeth and numb their bite as much as possible so the human doesn’t struggle, but if the biting doesn’t actually happen it just accumulates and then their mouthes taste bad

-They have a rough patch on their tongue that puts pressure on the bite when they’re drinking, helping to increase the blood flow more than just the blood thinner in their venom. They usually press down, gather a mouthful of blood, pull back as they swallow, then press back down again to collect more, which must feel really frickin weird for the bite victem

-Their abilities to hiss, scream, and click makes being multilingual easy, which is why they can communicate with vampires across the world with little problem

Old-time vampire duels were usually fought with claws and dry-biting at necks and shoulders until one of them was killed or forced into submission

-The younger vampires are the most terrifying because they remember less of their humanity, making them more ‘purely’ vampire

Baring their fangs when fighting is an automatic reflex. Merely flashing the fangs is just aggression, whereas gaping the mouth open and baring all four fangs hints that they’re going for the kill

Because of their blood drinking and pouncing-attack style hunting, vampires have a greater range of movement in their necks that allow to look at things from many different angles and keep the movement without strain, like owls

-This is more of an observation than a headcanon, but all of the Michaela trait carriers seem to have a blood type of O, which also appears to be a delicacy in the vampire world

curled up, died, and now it’s Rottenmoodboard

(other stuff i did for this fic)

The Changeling Improv Fiasco

For some reason the play was still As You Like It. It hadn’t turned into The Play yet, and Benedick had great hopes of it remaining so throughout the evening. There had been the wrestling, the banishing of Rosalind, the transformation to Ganymede and Aliena and even the confrontation of Olivier and Orlando and all was still more or less going as planned. True, Keys, who played the role of Charles the wrestler, would have to be replaced with Yoko after tonight, since ‘you will try but one fall’ had turned into ‘you will fight to the death’. Alyssa, who played Rosalind, had done some seriously impressive improv to assure that the new Orlan-NO, as Benedick called him in his mind when he was sure no-one was listening in, only mildly sprained some of Keys’s body parts. It was a calculated risk. All actors knew the dangers of the craft. No-one with black glistening skin and eyes without pupils was going to scare them off. Even if they weren’t a regular.

There were some Regular Visitors that Benedick had almost grown rather fond of. Some only showed up for Waiting for Godot and he’d have to soothe the Estragon of that evening with promises of other nights and other plays. Others came for nothing but Shakespeare. For example, the Other Evellyn sometimes replaced female parts that the original Evellyn was going to play, which was something of a blessing because if you looked past the extra fingers and the occasional flicking of the tongue, she beat the original by a mile when it came to monologue-delivery. Other Evellyn also graciously placed the Evellyn she was replacing in the same props-storage room every time she came to Visit, to avoid Drama. She was quite pleasant, really.

Some of the cast never avoided any drama. In theatre, that group is fairly small. Benedick shook his head. RATHER. Not the other word. Not even close to the other word. No. Rather small. The rining in his ears stopped. He breathed. Close one. What had he been thinking? Right, drama. Some actors here LIVED on drama. Of course there was Hu’tho’lugh, the thing with the purple and the claws and the sash, but when it came to humans, Jaques was a close second. Benedick sat down on the props-table. He mouthed along the lines of Jaques, as played by Jaques. “Invest me in my motley; give me leave to speak my mind, and I will through and through  cleanse the foul body of the infected world, if they will patiently receive my medicine.” Jaques might do with a little less speaking his mind and a lot more cleansing of his own sometime soon. Benedick had given him several whispered warnings that playing the part on which your name was based was a terrible idea. He, for example, would NEVER want to play Benedick. That’s why the name was so suitable. But there was Jaques, on stage, in an already-descending glittering mist, playing himself. Intensifying his identity and his ties to his name. Foolishness of true Shakespearean proportions. Good job Jaques. Very appropriate.

Benedick buried his face in his hands while he listened to the idiot’s final lines. “But who comes here?” A thought occured to Benedick. He hadn’t seen it as a fighting scene, it hadn’t been so in the original script. But anything could happen. Orlando, no, OrlanNO was in control of the lines. “Forbear, and eat no more.” Benedick peeked through his fingers at the stage. Between the curtains, he could see the back of Jaques. Nothing of his posture revealed there was anything wrong, but if OrlanNO had been looking at Benedick the way he was currently looking at Jaques, he wouldn’t have been able to squeak out ‘Why, I have eat none yet’ with such volume. Benedick crept closer to the curtains as the actors on stage started to realise what was wrong with every line spoken. “Nor shalt not, till my hunger is satisfied” was never in the script. The senior Duke was played by The Captain that night, and Benedick had to commend him for how little he stuttered during his lines. In fact, he had almost got to “rude despiser of good manners” before he lapsed into silence. His eyes met Benedick’s, who then glanced at OrlanNO with uncertainty. The changeling looked less and less like the Wilfred that he had been trying to imitate. Benedick somehow doubted that they would find poor Wilfred back in any props cupboard anywhere. White teeth glimmered in the bright stage lights. OrlanNO looked hungry. Famished.

Benedick’s hands clutched the curtain. He took a look at the stage, the audience, the teeth. Then he straightened his back, shoved his bell-cap on his head and thrust himself onto the stage. Touchstone was not in this scene, but the Duke didn’t look like he was going to say another word till next week and the show must go on. He stared at the audience, jingled slightly and muttered a joy-less ‘hey ho nonny nonny’ before doing something truly foolish. He addressed OrlanNO directly. “What would you have? Your gentleness shall force more than your force move us to gentleness.” OrlanNO had stopped bothering with lines. It was an improv fiasco, but what else could a fool do? “I see you almost die for food…” He exchanged looks with Jaques, who croaked “would you have it?” Benedick cling-clanged over to OrlanNO, who was eyeing the first row rather than the kettle-of-stew-prop that they had on stage. An audience member instantly dropped her bag of M&M’s. The sound of rolling candy made OrlanNO growl.

Touchstone took over. Benedick heard Touchstone say “I was bid to come for you.” And with a jump that made all the bells on his suit sound like the world tiniest and most excited cathedral, he landed off the stage, right in front of the audience. “Good ev'n, gentle friend” was also part of his lines, which cobbled themselves together to suggest some audience interaction might be required at this point. Thankfully, the first few rows had got the point rather swiftly. Touchstone’s bell-cap came off and in it, any and all audience snacks were gathered. Touchstone looked at OrlanNO for approval. “So-so.” The voice was almost Wilfred’s again. He sounded almost pleased. “'So so’ is good, very good, very excellent good; and  yet it is not; it is but so so.” Touchstone looked pointedly at the people in the back rows, who started throwing their snacks onstage. This seemed to put OrlanNO back into his good humour. Touchstone climbed the stage and presented the ‘meal’. “Sit down and feed, and welcome to our table.”

The hungry changeling dropped to the floor and grabbed for the food. OrlanNO seemed capable of speech while eating. As the contents of the hat were being devoured, somewhere from the inside of OrlanNO came the lines: “Pardon me, I pray you: I thought that all things had been savage here; and therefore put I on the countenance of stern commandment. But whate'er you are that in this desert inaccessible, under the shade of melancholy boughs, lose and neglect the creeping hours of time. If ever you have look’d on better days, if ever been where bells have knoll’d to church, if ever sat at any good man’s feast, if ever from your eyelids wiped a tear and know what ‘tis to pity and be pitied, let gentleness my strong enforcement be: In the which hope I blush, and hide my sword.” Touchstone decided that Adam could wait for his part of the meal just a little longer. To distract the audience from the sound of loud chewing, he prodded Jaques. “Thou seest we are not all alone unhappy: This wide and universal theatre presents more woeful pageants than the scene wherein we play in.” Jaques nodded, and to his credit, took the centre stage. While an expert demonstration of the word ‘gnawing’ could be witnessed behind him, Jaques started ‘All the world’s a stage…” Touchstone crept back into the curtains. The show went on. 

————————————————————————————————————

LittleWhiteLy: Great thanks to lurkeymclurker for giving me the idea in the first place. 

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ShanceFluffWeek: Ribs

“Is it- do I? Do I look pretty?” Lance flushed nervously, smoothing his hands on the baby blue pleated skirt. He was nervous- no terrified. So terrified of what Shiro would think of him if he saw him dressed this way. He wanted to hide and yet he couldn’t. That wasn’t him. Lance McClain didn’t hide who he was. It just wasn’t who he was or who his mama let him be. He was proud. So proud but now, in the face of the man he loved, he wanted to hide.

What would Shiro even think? See him dressed this way? Baby blue skirt hugging his hips and baby blue and white cropped hoodie hanging off his frame? Would he think him ridiculous? Strange? Weird? A… A freak?

He flinched at the thought of Shiro thinking he was a freak.

How would Shiro feel, knowing that Lance wasn’t just Lance, but Lorelei too?

He held his breath, waiting for Shiro to make a comment.

“Of course you look pretty, gorgeous even” came his easy and earnest reply. Lance’s heart was ready to beat out his chest. Fuck he loved this beautiful accepting man with his entire being. “But-” came is other reply, Lance heart paused. “This isn’t just about your clothing choices is it?” He said gently grabbing Lance’s hands in his. Lance gnawed at his pastel purple lips, anxiety clawing tightly at his chest. Curse Shiro for knowing him so well.

“No-, I ugh. Fuck, no. No its more then that”

“I’d never judge you Lance. We’ve been through thick and thin together. Trust me when I say our four years together won’t be wasted on what you have to say because I love you. And when you love someone you support them no matter what”

Lance could cry- no wait. He was crying. It was ruining his eyeliner and mascara but he didn’t care because Shiro was a fucking sap. A beautiful honest sap that Lance and Lorelei had the honor of being with.

Shiro wiped away his tears as he steeled his nerves. Like ripping off a bandaid he told himself. Quick and easy. But it wasn’t. It wasn’t quick and easy because this was who he- they were. It wasn’t just Lance but Lorelei too, and they couldn’t go on suppressing who they were.

“I um, I’m genderfluid. Its not just Lance in this hot smokin’ body but Lorelei too and I’d be really honored if we could- all three of us- be happy together” There. He said it.

Shiro smiled. A easy honest smile that had their heart thumping wildly and and palms sweating. Gross.

“Hi Lorelei, its nice to meet you, I’m a little sad Lance held us both out from meeting each other for four years but I’m sure I can forgive him if both of you gave me a kiss” he said fondly, rubbing his thumbs of their hand and god, they could cry even more.

How did they snag such a man?

Throwing their arms around Shiro they pressed a loving heartfelt kiss to his lips.

“I love you, I love you So much Takashi Shirogane and one day we’re gonna fucking marry you”

Shiro kissed their forehead and dug a box out his pocket. He presented them with the white velvet box and opened it to reveal a solid white gold band.

“Why wait now that the whole gangs here?”

@shancefluffweek
Only the Stars Remember

Click OP if Read more link won’t show. Feed back very appreciated. Sorry for typos, half asleep.

Click here for the Prologue


Opposing Stones-


The Galra were regal in their own way. Despite their strange purple fur, purple skin, yellow eyes, claws and fangs, they had a sort of composure that spoke power without showing it.

Such was the presence of the Galra Empress in the shuttle. She didn’t wear robes, or a dress, or even a crown. She wore armor. She wore battle gear. And even so, there was no doubt she was royalty.

It was in the way her chin remained raised, her eyes steady on whoever she spoke to. In the way she stood, back straight and a stance that was both defensive and challenging. Demanding respect.

There was a hardness to her features the Altean King and Queen couldn’t quite pinpoint. In the curl of her lip, subtle enough that it wasn’t rude, and the way her ears were pulled back. The clench of her claws and the lack of expression on her face.

“The war has reached a futile point. Neither of our people can continue without completely extinguishing our existences. We must find a way to make peace,” the King said in a firm, but gentle voice. He had a strange lilt to his words, making them almost musical.

“And what do you suggest it to be?” the Empress asked. “Every strive for peace has been rejected, broken. We offered supplies, and you used them against us. We offered land and your people refused to step on it unless it was to hurt my people.” She frowned and her head tilted down only slightly. “Of course, times you offered peace went unwanted as well. Battles broke out instead. One of which resulted in my husband’s death,” she spat, her teeth bared.

“And we empathize with you,” the Queen said curtly, becoming almost defensive as she stepped closer to the King. “We’ve lost many of our own as well. Brothers, sisters, children.” Her voice broke and she took a breath. “We discussed this, and… our son pointed out that each attempt at peace involved a single party. The gifts offered to you were simply to appease you, with no result for us. This may have caused the dissent. And the offers your people provided did the same.”

“Then what do you, or your son, suggest?” she asked in a flat tone.

The King and Queen looked at each other and the latter took a breath before stepping forward to be face to face with the Empress. “An alliance. A union of our people.”

The empress furrowed her eyebrows, her first vulnerable emotion- confusion. “A union?”

“A marriage,” she rephrased. “Preferably between royalty. We have the most influence over our people, the most respect.” She took a breath. “I understand you have a son.”

“Yes. Though he has deep… disdain for your people. I doubt he’d want to marry any of your children.”

The Queen’s jaw clenched, her eyes fluttered momentarily. “Not children. Child. I only have my son left,” she said softly. Her eyes met the Empress’ solid yellow. “I’m afraid the most surprising part of this is not a marriage between Galra and Alteans. It is… the fact they would both be male.”

Keep reading

Only the Stars Remember

Prologue-

The noises were so loud. The crashes, the explosions, the screams of anger and agony. Beams of blue and fuchsia lit up the sky, like fireworks. But this was not a celebration.

This was war.

Keith was shaking, curling into himself, pawing his ears down with small whines. Where was his mother? Where had she gone? His father? He’d been playing near a steaming river, glowing softly with the purple rocks beneath. It had been warmer there than everywhere else. As long as Keith could remember it had been cold on his planet. Never warm like he’d heard elders whisper about as they stared at the rocky terrain. It seemed for a while that the sky could only ever show red, making the planet dreary, and terrifying, for all of Keith time there.

By the river, the sky wasn’t red. It was pink. And with the warm, glowing purple rising from the water, it had given Keith a small comfort. And then the first explosion occurred. Followed by alarms, screams, the heavy pounding of feet and the angry hum of the fighter jets.

Keith had toward a boulder, hoping to hide. But the battle raged on, heedless on children cowering by rivers.

Tears began to stream down his face along with mucus from his nose. He rubbed the back of his hand against his face, covering his fur in tears and snot. He was shaking. He was shaking viciously.

Trembling against the rock, near to wetting himself from fear, another blast shook the ground, and the boulder chipped. The rock crumbled and fell; Keith had barely managed to scamper away before it tumbled in the spot he’d been standing.

His bladder gave way.

Keith waddled into the warm water, and let out a weak mewling roar at the pain that shot up his arm. He looked down and saw the red blood pouring out in tendrils through the water. He let out uninhibited screams- for help, for his parents, for the fighting to stop, for someone to notice him.

That’s when he saw them.

A group of small figures racing past, one smaller figure hesitating at the sound of Keith’s screeches. “Wait!” he heard a voice say. It was a child, like him. The group stopped, and Keith wasn’t sure who they were or where they came from or if they were all children. They varied in heights, but none were quite the size of either adult Galra or adult Alteans. The rest of the group hurried away, but the smaller one stayed, rushing in circles. “Hello? Where are you?”

Keith noticed the glowing blue marks against the darkness. An Altean. He wouldn’t be safe.

“I won’t hurt you!” the child called. Keith couldn’t tell if it was a boy or a girl. “Where are you?” Another streak of color flashed in the sky, more screams, and Keith splashed frantically in the water, afraid to be hurt or found.

When he opened his eyes again, he saw the child racing toward him. He’d been spotted.

The Altean neared him, his figure smaller than Keith thought from a distance. “It’s okay, I won’t….” The child faltered, and Keith managed to see their features. He assumed maybe the child was doing the same.

Where Keith saw a small, dark skinned child with bright blue eyes a shade darker than their marks and white shoulder-length hair, the Altean saw ears pressed into a skull covered in wet purple fur and bright yellow eyes, hands clasped together with small pointy claws and thin fangs barely long enough to protrude over his lower lip.

“You’re….” Keith waited. He expected to hear something like, “Galra,” or “a monster,” or “evil.” He hadn’t expected to hear the child say, “You’re shaking. Are you cold?” Keith remained frozen, staring at the child. It was a girl, he decided. That’s why she was nice. That’s why her lashes were so long around her eyes, and her hair loose. That’s why she reached out slowly with her small hand. “I won’t hurt you. You’re a child. Like me. I know you’re afraid. I am too.” Another explosion. They both froze and looked up.

“You’re Altean,” Keith whimpered. “How do I know you won’t trap me? Or kill me?”

She furrowed her eyebrows and looked around. Then she reached into her long blue robes and shook them out. “I don’t have a weapon. I’m helping my sister find people who aren’t fighting. To find a place to be safe.”

“This is the only place where it’s warm,” he answered softly.

The Altean girl looked around again then nodded. “I have an idea.” She walked over to the boulder Keith had been waiting at a few moments before. She started placing them in a circle around them, stacking them together to make a sort of wall. Keith walked over to help her, his small tail flicking nervously.

He was young, but even he wondered how the two of them could work together to find safety when their elders were the ones murdering each other mercilessly. With what was left of the boulder and the broken rock that they’d used to make a barrier wall, they managed to create a small space to huddle into.

“I don’t know where my mom is,” Keith whispered. “I was with her, and I told her I was going to play. She told me not to go far, but this river is so warm, and I always come here.” He pulled his knees to his chest. “What if she died?” he choked.

The Altean girl couldn’t answer. She just scooted closer, tearing off some excess fabric from her robes and draping it over Keith. “It’ll be over soon,” she said quietly. “How old are you?”

“Six years. You?”

“Six.” Keith looked at her. She looked smaller. “Do those hurt?” She pointed at her own, flat teeth.

Keith looked down, cross-eyed at himself. “Oh. My teeth. No.” She nodded.

It was quiet. Between them at least. The rest of the planet was in the middle of battle. Their shelter shook sometimes, and each time, the children pressed together closer, seeking safety and strength in each other.

“I can’t… I can’t breathe,” she whimpered, burrowing her face in her cloaks. Keith wrapped the fabric around both of them, hugging her. He was still shaking, and he wondered if the Altean could smell the urine from his earlier incident. If she did, she didn’t show it.

He could smell the fear radiating off her. But with it, a sort of strength. Defiance. Like even in the middle of a war, she refused to believe this was what their life would consist of. Even though the war had been happening for thousands of years. And it wasn’t the first time Alteans and Galra break into war. The war would likely last long after they had grown and passed on.

“My mother likes to sing me a song when I’m scared,” Keith whispered. “Do you want me to sing?” She hesitated and nodded, her hair falling over her shoulders. Keith began murmuring softly, his voice warbled and shaky from fear. It was an ancient Galra tongue, and Keith wasn’t sure what much of it meant, but he sang it.

It began to soothe him too. Singing the familiar song made him feel a little more at peace. The Altean’s chubby hand slipped into Keith’s, cupping his hand, their thumbs curled around each other’s. It was a little strange, he thought. His furry, purple, clawed hand wrapped around a brown, hairless one with small nails. And still, it didn’t feel wrong.

There was no innate instinct to attack, to hurt the other. They were just kids, seeking shelter, trying to ignore the sound of death around them. After a few times that Keith had repeated the song, he was too tired to keep singing. Battles were always long. Keith never understood how they ended.

Though the sounds were still unsettling, sometimes making them start, they were no longer jumping in fear at each sound.

Finally, the Altean girl spoke. “If I could, I would end this war. I would make peace between the people. Let everyone go home to families, stop letting children feel scared all the time. It doesn’t make any sense. I mean look at us. We’re together without trying to fight. Why can’t they?”

“Maybe they could, but adults are stupid,” Keith suggested. She laughed and leaned against the boulder. “If anyone ever could, it’d be your people. Alteans are calmer. Galra are violent when they are provoked. I’ve seen it. Even among ourselves.” He thought back to the time when food rations getting jumbled up had led to two Galra males trying to murder each other. “If you can, you should. Tell them you were kind to a Galra. And that it was peaceful.”

“I will. If I ever can, I will.” He smiled and nodded at her, his ears perking up slightly. One flicked nervously as another shudder vibrated through the ground. “We can be the first Altean/Galra friends,” she suggested. “We’ll be the first in history. And when I bring peace, it’ll be for our friendship.”

Keith smiled and tail flicked. “That would be nice,” he whispered. He held his paw up, holding out his thumb and middle finger in a hook. It would’ve been a full circle had he not kept a small space between his claws. “A promise to be the first of many future mixed species friendships.”

She smiled and copied his action, but her fingers shut completely, looping around Keith’s as he closed the gap between his claw tips. They were linked together, a sign of promise, of bonding, of hope. “A promise to bring peace to our people.” He nodded and smiled. “If we’re friends now, you should tell me your name.”

As Keith opened his mouth to answer, the rock around them was blown away. The sound of the explosion registered after Keith had been tossed into the river again, the water searing the new wounds. He lifted himself weakly, looking for his friend. But he couldn’t see her. And he didn’t know her name.

“Are you okay?” he croaked. “Where are you?”

“Help! Help me!” Keith stood and saw two Galra soldiers. One had a laser blaster, the other had his Altean friend by her arm, dragging her behind. “Help!”

“No, no,” he whimpered. “Stop! Stop, that’s my friend!” he shouted, but there was too much happening around them, too many explosions. They couldn’t hear. And they would never listen to a child. Keith surged forward, nearly falling to all fours in order to sprint to them.

Then a blue blast hit his side, and everything went black.

When he woke up, he was in a healing pod. Something hurt enough to make him cry, but he couldn’t figure out what it was. His head was too muddled.

“Keith? Keith!” he heard his mother’s voice and he grasped at empty air for her. “Oh my son,” she sobbed, struggling to open the pod and pull him into her arms. She held him, sobbing in a way Keith had never heard her sob before. “I couldn’t lose you too, I couldn’t lose you too,” she cried.

Too?

“Mama?” Keith whispered, his voice sore.

She looked at him with tears streaming from her yellow eyes, the edges almost a shade of orange from crying so much. “Your father’s gone,” she moaned. “He’s gone, Keith.”

Keith felt his stomach churn, and he collapsed against his mother, unable to fully comprehend her words. They were an impossibility.

Still, with her sobs echoing in his ears, he felt like the war had slapped its reality in his face. He had lost a friend, without any chance to stop it. He had lost his father and he hadn’t even had a chance to say goodbye. He was losing his planet, as Alteans blew it apart and murdered his people. Alteans had murdered his father. Alteans ruined his planet. And the only Altean who was different was gone. Taken. And he was too afraid to ask for her.

Something in him snapped. That hope, the empathy he had felt in his hiding spot, or on days when he would sit to eat rations with his family- it was gone. In its place, there was bitterness, anger, and hatred. Far too much for a six year old.

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