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my fire was fate with you

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Her beauty was instantly recognizable. The familiarity of her Altean looks were a comfort, yes, but there was something else . There was something about Romelle that simply captivated Allura.

At first, she passed it off as it having been 10,000 years since she was face to face with another full-blooded Altean that wasn’t Coran. After all, 10,000 years is a long time, and then of course, there was the fact that Allura had spent every waking moment since meeting the Paladins believing that she and Coran were the only remaining Alteans left.

She had been just fine with letting herself believe that, too. She had accepted it long ago, as well. It hadn’t bothered her nearly as much any more, letting herself move forward, letting herself fall into Lotor’s waiting arms that seemed to so sincerely want to be with Allura.

And then there had been that part of her that desperately wanted to be with Lotor, as well. Maybe it was because he knew everything to say, made her feel as important and useful as her father had been. Maybe it was the fact she knew he was Altean - or at least partially. Knew her legacy could be carried with him, their royal blood mingling and creating a new legacy of their own.

Maybe Allura had been so blinded by Lotor’s promises of peace and a future together - he certainly did have a silver tongue on him.

But perhaps that was the reason Keith’s return, his declaration that Lotor was lying to them, had caught her so off guard when she and the Prince had returned from the quintessence field.

She hadn’t wanted to believe Keith at first - Lotor had seemed so earnest about his intentions from the very beginning, so Keith must have had it wrong, surely - but then she spoke.

Romelle’s presence became a new light in a rapidly darkening time. A beam of hope, that her people weren’t annihilated as she had believed - but that same ray of light caused the realization of Lotor’s betrayal to hurt so much more.

With Lotor’s betrayal brought to light, it opened up new paths in this reality for her - she could seek the truth from Lotor, about everything he’s done up to this point, his true intentions, if his feelings for her were true, if she had just been a tool in his plan all along. Or she could banish him from her ship permanently, fight him until only she stood, a way to ensure she could bring peace to the universe.

No, that option was far too Galra, and if she lost? The universe would be doomed.

But Romelle… she, Keith, and Krolia knew the location of all the other Alteans - Alteans that Lotor saved thousands of years ago.

The knowledge that Lotor was the savior of the Altean race didn’t particularly sit well with her. Granted, he had saved the Altean race, but at the same time, he had been draining their quintessence, their very life force, from them for just as long. And for what? She still wasn’t sure.

But she knew she had to protect this new light that had entered her life from Lotor, from the Galra, until she could reach the rest of her people. And even after she reached the rest of her people, reiterated Lotor’s lies to them, she would protect this new light in her life.

There was just something about Romelle that Allura had been captivated by. There was nothing outwardly extraordinary about her. She was pretty, that went truly without saying. Most Alteans had some kind of ethereal beauty about them, but Romelle .

Romelle was special. Really, she was, and Allura couldn’t place a finger on it. Romelle’s eyes, a lovely shade of lilac, were striking against her paler skin. The signature markings beneath her eyes matched Coran’s, though they were clearly unrelated past the fact they were Altean. Her hair, a pretty shade of blonde that reminded Allura of the sands of a beachy planet she had visited as a child, twisted back by braids and fell into twin tails and really--

Allura wanted to tug the braids out, and see just how long Romelle’s hair fell. Was it as long as her own? Longer, even? Was it as soft as it seemed?

Goodness-- she was starting to think like Lance, wasn’t she? Normally she wasn’t the type to simply admire from afar - but then again, she hadn’t exactly seen anyone she wanted to be with aside from Lotor until now, and well… Lotor was permanently out of the picture, no matter how he tried to force his way back in.

Of course, all admiring had to be put to the side, as addressing Lotor’s betrayal came first, and destroying the gate to unlimited quintessence. That was the first priority, and though that was completed, there was still the fight to come. The fight that caused her to nearly lose herself in the process, and lose Lotor all in one shot, despite his earlier pleas of “We were meant to be together.” .

Were they?

Allura doubted it.

And then, of course, on top of losing Lotor, and the quintessence, the Castle of Lions, her very home, the only home she’s known since waking up from stasis… was gone. Sacrificed for the better of the universe.

But her light was still here. Her new light. Romelle.

Keith’s confession that Shiro, the real Shiro, was stuck in the Black Lion, gave Allura a new job, a brief new meaning - to bring the real Shiro back and return his conscious to the body of the clone they’ve been living with, working with, for years. At the very least, they could have their original Shiro back.

Not all would be lost, not this time.

She hadn’t expected the man’s hair to transform into a shade of white identical to hers - frankly, it looked strange on him, though perhaps it was just her attempting to adjust to the fact she had once more restored life to a Paladin, though on a much larger scale than simply restoring quintessence.

My, she really had been doing a lot involving quintessence lately, of her own and others, and the freeform quintessence of the universe.

Restoring life to Shiro though, as much as she tried to pretend it didn’t, exhausted her to the point where a light touch to her back almost caused her to collapse. A quick glance over her shoulder told her all she needed to know - that Romelle, despite never having been chosen to go to the “colony” - was more in tune with quintessence than she appeared. It was Romelle’s reassuring touch on her back that brought another smile to her lips.

Her attention was brought back to the Paladins when Pidge spoke - confessing that Coran had given Sam Holt the plans to rebuild the Castle of Lions from scratch.

“We’re going home.” Keith’s voice reached her ears, and the word home caused her to realize that, though the Castle was a home to the Paladins, they hadn’t truly seen home since they arrived.

“I think we all need a rest, first,” Romelle spoke, her voice close to Allura as she continued to help the Princess keep her balance. “It wouldn’t hurt, would it? You all deserve a break, before we hurry off to parts unknown.”

“Romelle is right. Shiro’s out cold and Allura just put his freaking soul back into his body. Man, just thinking about it is exhausting, I dunno how you do it, Princess.” Lance’s voice was a welcome sound - though she knew of his feelings, she wasn’t quite ready to address them yet.

Not when she couldn’t even address her own, yet. Not to mention, there was something… tangible between her Red and Blue Paladins. Black and Red? She still wasn’t sure how to refer to them, or herself. Of course, there was no better opportunity than now to speak to Lance, to clear everything up, and perhaps get some insight into how she should act.

Still, she smiled, “It isn’t easy, I admit, but it’s easier now with the knowledge from Oriande than it would be without. But a break would be most welcome.”

“Then, it’s decided. We’ll take a break here, and when we have the energy, we’ll set off for Earth.” Coran chimed in, his voice still lacking his usual chipper edge, likely from the loss of the Castle. “I did remember to bring Monsters and Mana before we jumped ship, anyone up for a round?”

“I’m in.” Hunk and Pidge immediately replied, moving to gather around Coran.

“Perhaps later, Coran. Actually, I’d like to speak to Lance in private for a moment, if you don’t mind.” Allura turned to Lance, and seeing his surprise, smiled again. “Do you mind? You don’t have to if you wouldn’t like to--”

“No! I mean, no, totally, I don’t mind at all.” Allura watched as Lance gave Keith and Shiro another look before standing up, moving towards Allura and following as she stepped away from Romelle and towards the Blue Lion. The Blue Lion was a comfort to both of them, and would be a better place to talk than only steps away from the group.

Sitting atop one of Blue’s paws with the help of her jetpack, Allura patted the spot next to her for Lance to sit with her. She didn’t look at him, not right away, when he sat beside her.

“Chulatt and Chuchule told me about your feelings.” She began, swinging her feet lightly. “After they told me you bathed them, that is. Lance, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize how true your feelings for me were, and I’ve… brushed them off this entire time, and took it as a joke.”

“Those traitors,” Allura could hear Lance mumble under his breath before he sighed. “Yeah. I love you, Allura, I really do. I’ve never really felt this way about a girl before, and it’s scary. I’m a nobody besides a Voltron Paladin, and you deserve someone way better. That’s… I was kind of hoping everything would work out for you and Lotor, actually. If it did, I’d be able to move on, because you were happy and he treated you well.”

“...I have to confess, I did fall in love with Lotor.” Her voice was soft, her eyes locked onto her hands laced in front of her, pressing her lips together when she heard Lance’s sharp inhale. “Or perhaps I had fallen in love with the idea of Lotor. He’s half Altean, or he was, and the idea of that was… intoxicating .”

“And now?” Lance’s voice wasn’t more than a whisper. He was afraid, Allura could tell, of what she was about to say next.

“Now… I’m not sure about anything. I know my people are alive, and once we’ve rebuilt the Castle, we can return to them and free them from the prison they’ve been kept in.”

“You know what I meant, Allura. You can say it, you know. I already know the answer.”

“...I’m afraid I don’t love you in the way you love me, Lance. I do love you, but you’re family to me. You’re the only family I have, now, besides Coran. I feel just awful that I can’t return your feelings the way you’d like me to.”

“You don’t need to feel bad, Princess. I’m to blame, too. I didn’t tell you how I felt, I just flirted around with you and didn’t act seriously about it. Of course you wouldn’t have realized.” Lance chuckled a little, and Allura realized that Lance would be perfectly fine. This conversation was something he had replayed many times in his head, and had already known the answer to, and had accepted. He had just needed to hear it.

“I don’t want to say perhaps if I had known before Lotor had entered the picture, and Romelle--”

“Whoa whoa, Romelle ?” She turned to Lance in surprise, leaning back a little when she found him nearly nose to nose with her. “You’re crushing on Romelle ?”

“Crush...ing?” She repeated slowly, straightening her back as Lance backed away. “That’s an Earth term, isn’t?”

“Oh, right, you still don’t get Earth slang all that much. Basically, you like Romelle. Like, romantically. You want to kiss her and hold her hand and all that junk.” Lance flippantly waved his hand around as his spoke, crossing one leg over the other.

“Oh. I suppose when you put it like that… I’m not exactly sure. I was actually hoping you could help me with that. You’re knowledgeable about this subject, so perhaps you could give me some insight as to my emotions.”

“Princess, with all due respect, I can’t tell you how you feel about Romelle. Only you can do that. So, I guess, start with what’s got her on your mind. Why and how long you’ve thought about her, that kinda junk. We’ll talk about it and figure it out.”

“Thank you, Lance.” Allura smiled softly at the other, before turning her gaze to the blonde Altean that was cautiously playing Monsters and Mana with the others, Keith included. “I suppose I started noticing her the moment Keith and Krolia brought her aboard. Or, I suppose, when I returned with Lotor. She was the last person I expected to see, or perhaps the last species I expected. All I could think was she’s Altean . My people were alive, and she was living, breathing proof in front of me.

“When we were told that Lotor had been lying to us, I could feel myself slipping. I had let myself play right into his hands, when I had been so careful to remain on my guard. I wasn’t bound to lose myself like Honerva did, but I could feel my world shattering - my hard work had all been part of his plan to betray us, and I was so upset with myself that I felt like.. Like I couldn’t actually do anything properly anymore. My alchemic skills were going to be used for evil, and I let it happen.

“But Romelle… she was a light in those dark thoughts. That not all was lost, my people were alive, even if it was Lotor who had saved them. Romelle was there, exposed Lotor for the traitor he was before he could betray us on his own. Knowing she was there, it kept my hope alive that I would see my people alive and well again, and I knew I had to protect her.

“Once I saw her as a light, I noticed all the little things about her. Her eye color, her hair, her markings. The frustration she felt at not being able to fight back, the way her eyebrows pulled together and the way she pouted. How despite being Altean, she seems so fragile from living a sheltered life. The scent of juniberries that came from her hair, how soft it looks and the curiosity of how long it actually is. Goodness, and now I’m rambling about all the thing you can already see about her.”

Lance laughed. A true, genuine laugh that caused him to hold his stomach and for Allura to huff with a pout. “And what do you find so funny about this, Lance?”

“Oh man, Allura. I’m sorry, it’s just… jeez, you’re falling for Romelle insanely quick. You’ve got it pretty bad. I’d say you love her way more than you ever loved Lotor, and you’ve known her for way less time. Maybe Lotor was wrong, and you and Romelle were meant to be together. I’ve seen the way she’s looked at you lately.”

“How she’s looked at me? What do you mean by that?”

“Ever since you tossed Lotor around like a ragdoll, Romelle has looked at you as if you’re the one who put the stars in the sky. You gotta remember, she grew up only knowing about Lotor as the savior, and nothing of King Alfor and the original Altea. You’re the embodiment of what it means to be an Altean warrior, and I think she likes that. You’re smart, and insanely pretty. You’re strong, and you can restore life to entire planets , Allura. You gave the sincline ships the ability to jump into the quintessence field at will, and even teleported Voltron there of your own will. You’re just as good as your father when it comes to alchemy at this point, and you’ve got access to more technology and knowledge than he did and can become even better than him at it. There’s nothing to not like about you, and I’m pretty sure Romelle likes you, too.”

The pair of them looked towards the other group, chuckling in unison as Keith threw his hands up in frustration at rolling a low number with the D20, and Romelle bopping him on the head, seemingly scolding him for something.

“It would be wonderful if she did… do you think I should attempt to court her? Or is it too soon? Perhaps it would be overwhelming for her--”

“I think you should follow your heart on this one, Princess. We’re in a moment of peace. Take advantage of it. Sendak is still out there, and still wants to destroy us and take over the Galra empire. Our battle isn’t over, not yet.”

“You’re right. Perhaps I will follow my heart, and court Romelle. But, now it’s your turn, Lance. Though we’ve discussed your feelings for me, don’t think I haven’t noticed the attention you’ve been giving Keith lately.”

Lance sputtered, cheeks turning a pretty shade of pink at the comment. “I-I-I have no idea what you could possibly mean. Me? Keith? No way, nah, no way--”

“Lance. Have you been torn between myself and Keith this entire time?” Allura’s voice held amusement, making Lance huff softly. So it was true, he had been torn between affections the entire time. “Come, talk about it with me. It’s only fair, and perhaps I can offer you some insight as well.”

“Ugh, fine . So, I’ve like, lowkey had a crush on Keith for years now. Like literal years. I used to totally hate his guts but only because he was mister perfect scores even if he did have a bad rep at the Garrison. But he was cool. He had the best scores for piloting and I wanted to be like him, and work with him. But then he got kicked out and he disappeared.

“Of course you know about the whole reappearing and the Blue Lion discovery thing, blah blah. Well I thought my crush on him was like totally gone around that time. But it wasn’t, I guess, because I started to get feelings for him again when Nyma and Rolo took Blue from me. And it just never went away, even after he took over the Black Lion.

“And then we had that talk in his room, about how I thought maybe Shiro would take the Black Lion back and how Keith would take Red back and it might have been better if I sat out as a Paladin. He made me feel better about everything, and I just felt my crush on him get bigger.

“But then he left for the Blade of Marmora and I just felt… empty. But it was fine, because then I could focus on killing off my crush on him, focus on my job as a Paladin, and all would be good. But every day he didn’t check in with Kolivan I found myself worrying about him. Was he safe? Was he hurt? Was his training going well? Junk like that. He’s always done reckless things and I was worried he wouldn’t come back to us.

“And like, I’m glad he’s back. I’m glad the Blade has been good to him, and he’s found his mom and adopted some weird space wolf. But those two years he was off with Krolia, and we didn’t know where he was… I worried about him every day. We had no way to contact him, no way to know if he was alive. And it killed me inside, so I directed everything I had at everything else.

“So now he’s back and I can’t stop thinking about him. Thinking about how he’s taller now, taller than me, and that scar he has now. He still hasn’t told us how he got it, hasn’t told us anything about what happened when he was on the other side of that wormhole. But I want to know, but I also just want to hug the guy and never let go.”

“I don’t think I’m the only one who, what was the phrase you used?” Allura hummed for a moment. “Right, has it bad , for someone. But Lance, surely you’ve realized by now?”

“Realized what?”

It was Allura’s turn to laugh this time, shaking her head, “Realized that Keith looks at you a lot of the time the way you say Romelle looks at me. As if you put the stars in the sky, I believe you said? I believe Keith has been in love with you for as long as you’ve been in love with him.”

“Man, you think so? Have we all just been dumb-dumbs this entire time?”

“Well, we certainly are a day late and a fertonium short on the realization that what we’ve wanted has been directly in front of us, if that’s what you mean.”

[][][]

As it turned out, when Allura and Lance returned to the group, Romelle had taken to playing a cleric in Monsters and Mana whereas Keith had chosen, oddly enough, a sorcerer. When Lance had asked about it, Keith had shrugged, saying he already knows how to use a sword, so why choose a sword-wielding class?

When asked about the bop on the head from Romelle, Keith sulked. Apparently he had attempted a sleeping spell on the enemy, but due to the low roll, he put both Hunk and Pidge to sleep instead, and Romelle had to waste her own mana to rouse them.

Lance didn’t pretend to understand. He didn’t understand real Altean magic still, nevermind fantasy magic.

That was when Allura took a seat next to Romelle, interested in joining the game finally, her holographic archer appearing on the board in the trees once more. Giving in, Lance plopped down next to Keith, his own ninja-assassin appearing on the board.

“What even are you?” Keith asked, leaning in to look at the little statue of Lance’s character, causing Lance to scoff.

“Uh, duh . I’m a super cool ninja-assassin that lurks silently in the shadows before attacking my prey.” Rolling his eyes, Lance huffed. “Admit it, it’s super cool and you’re jealous you didn’t think of it first.”

“Your character is a cat boy.”

And ?” He scoffed again, reaching out to poke Keith’s statue. “It’s a game, you can be anything. What are you anyway?”

“Some kind of… dragon-human… thing? I don’t know, alright?” It was Keith’s turn to huff, and from behind the group where she watched over Shiro’s unconscious form, Krolia laughed softly.

“Well, I can say you’re both more creative than Shiro. He kept choosing to be a paladin when we played last! Can’t say he’s a very good fictional paladin, though.” Coran mused, bringing a hand up to his chin. “He did get eaten by Platt as soon as he entered the game, after all.”

Pidge snorted at that, leaning back on her hands. “I wonder if the real Shiro would choose something different than a paladin. We’ll have to ask him when he wakes up.”

“I’m betting he’ll choose paladin again.” Hunk mused, tongue poking out briefly as he rolled the D20, pushing his fist in the air as he rolled an 18. “Oh yeah, that’s what I’m talking about!”

Lance groaned, “Ugh, Hunk, why do you always get the good rolls?!”

[][][]

Lance ended up confessing to Keith later that night. A shot of nunvill, courtesy of Coran, and Lance had worked up the courage to confess. Sure, the nunvill still tasted like hotdog water and feet, but it also made Lance feel a little dizzy in the way he was sure alcohol would, liquid courage and all that.

It was after the third campaign of Monsters and Mana for the night, a few hours after Shiro had woken up. Sure, not the best timing, after all, Shiro, the real Shiro, was finally back, but this? It was something he had to do, and do before they returned to Earth and became distracted all over again.

He had dragged Keith away from the group, grumbling the whole time about Keith’s growth, and gaining confused looks from the rest of the group, aside from Allura and seemingly Shiro and Krolia. It was only semi-private, though, with the two of them talking in front of the Red Lion, and Lance’s fidgeting was more than obvious to everyone.

What wasn’t private was the way Keith brough his hand up to stifle a laugh before taking Lance’s chin in his hand, leaning down to catch the other’s lips with his own, and Lance’s embarrassed squeal was loud enough for everyone to hear.

Pidge had been the first to comment when they returned, and it was just a simple, “Finally. Took you idiots long enough.”

Keith chuckled, “Yeah, I guess so. Better late than never, right?”

[][][]

Allura was more subtle with her attempts with Romelle. Or, at least, she planned to be. It was certainly difficult, with making preparations to set a course for Earth, and though she would have preferred they already arrive, there was a slight snag in that plan.

Shiro’s body was still far too weak to withstand the jump through systems without getting violently ill. To rejoin the mind to the body wasn’t easy on it’s own, and was particularly rough on the rejoined. It would still be a few days before they could reload the lions and make the jump.

But, that suited Allura just fine. Between discussing plans with Keith, Pidge, and Coran, Allura made it a point to learn more about Romelle. Maybe it was coincidence that every time Allura sat with Romelle, Lance would come by and snag Keith away, something about making up for lost time and their own stubborn personalities.

And this? Well, it happened to be one of those moments, Allura taking a seat next to Romelle as Lance hooked his arm through Keith’s, dragging him off towards the Red Lion, and she could vaguely hear something about taking a ride to a nearby moon together.

“Allura,” Said Altean was a little surprised at Romelle initiating a conversation this time. “Might I ask you a question?”

“Of course, Romelle.” She replied, placing a hand over the other’s. Subtle, see? “What is it?”

Romelle glanced at the way Allura’s hand rested on her own, though she didn’t bother to pull her hand away. “I was hoping… would you be willing to tell me more about Altea? Growing up, we weren’t told very much about it and… I’d like to know more.”

“Oh!” The request was a little surprising, though not unwelcome. “I’d love to tell you all about Altea. I so wish I could simply show you, but I suppose my stories will just have to make do. Altea… I miss it quite dearly. It’s beauty was incomparable to any other planet I’ve seen, with juniberries as far as the eye could see when in the fields, and technology was the very foundation of our cities.”

Allura continued to tell Romelle her stories about Altea, her favorite secret caves that were used for meditation for quintessence-sensitive Alteans for them to learn how to command the very quintessence they felt around them. Stories about her father’s alchemy, and how the Castle of Lions was built.

If she rambled on, Romelle didn’t point it out, nor did she seem to mind. If anything, with every new story Allura told, Romelle inched just a bit closer to the Princess, enraptured by the stories of a long-destroyed planet.

“What a wonderful place. I wish I had been able to see it for myself.” Romelle murmured, and Allura found herself lacing her fingers with the other’s, almost hesitantly, her brow pulling together just slightly, possibly in disappointment.

“I wish you could have seen it as well. Once the Castle is rebuilt… I’ll show you all I can of Altea.” If she remembered right, Coran, with the help of Pidge, had managed to save some of the important data from the Castle before it sealed the rift - mostly memories that had been stored in the mainframe, though there were scattered pieces of Altean history and visuals saved as well.

“...Oh,” Romelle smiled up at Allura, and if she looked closely, Allura could see the tinge of pink on Romelle’s cheeks. “I think I’d like that. I’d like that a lot, actually. I’m looking forward to it.”

[][][]

Two quintants was all it took for Shiro’s body and mind to have recovered enough from rejoining for the group to set off to Earth. There was a brief debate as to who would fly in which lion at this point - Keith suggested Shiro join him and Krolia in the Black Lion, which caused a protest from Lance, though more out of worry than anything.

Worry that Shiro would go rogue again, though thankfully, Shiro only chuckled weakly at that. He could see where Lance’s worry was coming from, but thankfully, since Allura restored his real mind to his body, he felt no traces of Galran energy in his body - he was just tired .

Which meant it was agreed that Shiro would be in the Black Lion with Keith and Krolia. Lance wanted to bring Keith’s new pet into the Red Lion with him, having gotten attached to the creature, but with the way it looked at Kaltenecker, that option was out. And seeing as Kaltenecker was technically Lance’s, she had to stay with Lance in his lion.

That was when Lance suggested Coran ride with Pidge - as if the original arrangement of Paladins and passengers wasn’t already working - to talk about how they would approach Sam Holt about rebuilding the Castle. That was easily agreed on, so the communication lines weren’t completely tied up between the two discussing blueprints - which left Allura and Romelle together.

Which, really, if Allura thought about it carefully enough, this was Lance’s plan all along.

“The lions are all packed up except for us. Olia should be here in a few doboshes with Matt. He insisted on coming back with us to help rebuild the Castle, and really, the more hands we have the better.” Pidge stated, closing the communication link with Olia and Matt as she turned back to the group.

“Matt will be helpful in rebuilding the Castle,” Shiro mentioned, his remaining hand resting on his hip. If the missing arm bothered him at all, he didn’t show it. “He’s always been good with building things like that, though on a much smaller scale. I’m glad he’s coming back with us.”

“Me too,” Pidge replied, giving a small laugh. “I’m sure Coran will get him hooked on Monsters and Mana, too.”

“More rounds of the nerd game,” Lance scoffed, and Allura could see the way he stood behind Keith, chin hooked over his shoulder for no real particular reason other than to stand with Keith and be close to him. It was sweet, in her opinion. “Aren’t there any other games we can play?”

“Lance, out of all of us, I’m pretty sure you’re the most invested in this “nerd game”.” Keith pointed out, eyebrow lifting in amusement, chuckling at Lance’s huff of annoyance. Even when their feelings had come to light, they wouldn’t change one bit, and in a way, that was a relief to Allura.

“Feh! No one asked you, Keith.” No, they certainly wouldn’t change one bit. But if they could make it work, then surely… she could make it work with Romelle?

Before Lance and Keith could really begin to bicker, Olia’s ship was descending on the moon, Allura moving to Romelle’s side as Pidge began to race towards the ship.

Two days with Romelle, or at least spending the better part of two days with Romelle, was more than enough to convince Allura that her feelings for the other Altean were more than just superficial. That had been a concern of hers - that she had only liked Romelle because she was Altean, not because of who she was as an individual.

But getting to know Romelle truly did solidify her feelings. Enough so that she was confident enough to reach out to Romelle and link her left pinky with Romelle’s right, an action that didn’t go missed by Lance, who smirked at her from where he continued to lean against Keith.

Plus, Romelle didn’t pull her finger away from Allura - instead, she tightened it around the Princess’s, further linking them.

Romelle smiled up at her, and in that moment, Allura found herself breathless. Through the time Romelle had been with the Paladins, even in her relaxed state, she had always had her guard up, untrusting of a group of strangers.

This was the first time Allura had seen Romelle without an inkling of suspicion directed at her or any of the Paladins. Her guard was nearly entirely down, her smile soft and welcoming, and maybe Allura was caught a little off guard when Romelle’s hand slipped completely into her own.

“Romelle--?”

“Shh. I’d rather speak in privacy. Once we set off for Earth.” Romelle gestured in the direction of Keith, Lance, Shiro, and Krolia, the latter of the two who were already stepping into the jaw of the Black Lion. Allura watched the two Paladins for a moment, Lance’s embarrassment over something Keith said, she was sure, Keith chuckling before leaning in and pressing his lips to Lance’s cheek, before stepping into the lion as Lance stalked off to the Red Lion.

Allura took this as her cue to lead Romelle into the Blue Lion, allowing the other Altean to step in before her, chuckling softly at the purring she heard from her connection to the mechanical beast, pushing the lion’s approval to the back of her mind for now.

“What is it you wanted to speak about?” Allura questioned, voice soft, as she took her seat, turning to look at Romelle over her shoulder. To her surprise, Romelle was already behind her, leaning down to press her lips to the corner of Allura’s.

“Forgive me for being so forward, Princess.” she murmured, pulling back with a dusting of pink on her cheeks. “I’ve had the desire to do that for quite some time now, though I wasn’t sure if… you quite felt the same.”

“Oh.” Allura replied dumbly, before chuckling softly, seeing Romelle’s flush deepen from what she assumed was embarrassment. “That came out wrong. Your feelings… It took me a bit to realize it myself, honestly, and I’m ashamed to admit I had to ask Lance for help in realizing how I felt. But I do return them entirely. I think I have since I first met you.”

“Without even knowing me?” Romelle laughed softly, moving to sit beside Allura’s seat, smiling up at the Princess as she let her chin rest against the arm of the seat.

Allura couldn’t help but laugh softly herself, “Though we may have only just met not too long ago, there’s a part of me that feels as though I’ve known you for a lifetime. Perhaps that’s why it was so easy for me to fall for you.”

“Well,” Romelle hummed, looking forward as Allura took to the skies behind Lance and Keith, before looking back at Allura. “I can’t help but agree. Your stories of Altea made me feel like I had been there, like it had been my home as well. You had felt so familiar when we met, and then… it felt as if it… we … were meant for each other. Does that make any sense?”

Allura laughed softly once more, nodding in response. “It does, to me at least. Should I take that as an acceptance to my courting?”

“You’re so formal, dear. But yes, it’s an acceptance, and more.” Romelle’s eyes closed as she let herself relax further against the chair. “I look forward to our future together.”

[][][]

(When they arrived on Earth, Lance was already out of his lion and giving Allura and Romelle, leaving the Blue Lion hand in hand, a knowing smile before heading over to the Black Lion.)

(Allura found that in this case, she didn’t mind Lance’s know-it-all moments. He had been right, after all. Romelle looked at Allura as if she had placed the stars in the skies, but that suited her just fine. After all, Allura looked at Romelle as if she were the sun itself.)

(And that suited the both of them perfectly.)