Keith paced up and down in his room, his fangs brushing against his lips, desperately craving blood. His makeshift supply ran out two days prior and he'd yet to tell anyone on the ship about his unique condition.
It was too late for that now, anyway. Everyone else had bared their secrets; he pretended like his didn't exist.
"Paladins! To the bridge!" Coran called over the loudspeaker, and Keith sighed, rubbing his fangs gently so they'd disappear. Then he slipped out and made his way to the bridge, as commanded.
"We've found a new planet that might have those ingredients Hunk was looking for," Coran announced when they were all gathered, "It's quite unique, though. There's no sun, just a moon."
No sun? Keith glanced at the biorhythms scan, which detected multiple lifeforms, none intelligent enough to hold conversation.
"Oh, sounds really scary," Hunk mumbled, "Are you sure there's not, like, another planet we can find those berries on?"
"This is the closest one!" Coran smiled.
"Don't worry, Hunk. I'll go," Pidge said then. Keith frowned. Of all people, Pidge was volunteering?
"I'll go too," he found himself saying, "It might be dangerous down there."
Pidge opened her mouth as if to protest but Shiro was already nodding.
"Great! Take the Red Lion, she'll be faster if something goes wrong down there," Shiro said, "We'll give you two vargas-?"
"Just two vargas?" Pidge protested, "I want to run a scan, see how the planet works without the sun."
Shiro pinched the bridge of his nose. "Okay, how many is the limit, then?"
"Five vargas?" Keith suggested, knowing that would be enough time for him to sneak away from Pidge and successfully hunt. Maybe even replenish his makeshift blood bank.
"Okay, fine," Shiro sighed, "Five vargas it is."
Keith nodded and abruptly left the bridge, feeling his teeth start to sharpen again. Dammit. He was thirsty; being surrounded by warm-bloodied beings did not help.
If he was completely honest with himself, he was nervous about being alone with Pidge. What if he hurt her? So much could happen with the two of them alone...
But it was Pidge. She was the paladin he cared most about- well, second only to Shiro. He wouldn't hurt her, like he'd never hurt Shiro.
If it had been Lance accompanying him, on the other hand...
Keith shuddered, not willing to let that thought continue, and focused instead on gathering up the old skins he'd used to store blood. Most of them were dry and free of holes, so he could use them again.
All he had to do was get away from Pidge.
It was surprisingly easier than he'd hoped. As soon as Red set down, Pidge immediately took check of their surroundings and said she'd start the search in one direction, and for Keith to take the other. He agreed; she was headed towards the cliffs, but he'd been directed to the forests, where the creatures were likely to be. Keith waited in Red until Pidge had disappeared from sight, then gathered up his empty blood pouches and slunk through the darkness, giving in to his vampiric instincts as he began to hunt.
The creatures were easy to track down, and he drank from two before slaying the others, letting their blood drain into the pouches, rebuilding his blood bank. Thirst satisfied, he pushed aside the carcasses before carefully transferring the pouches of blood back to Red, placing them one-by-one into the freezer he'd fitted.
As he was returning to his lion with the last dozen pouches, a sudden howl split the air, sending a chill down his spine. Keith felt his features shift on instinct, teeth turning to fangs, claws forming, ears elongating for better hearing.
That's impossible. There were no wolf-like beings detected on the planet!
Werewolf? Even the thought made Keith shudder. Werewolves were the natural enemies of vampires, but he'd thought them to be a myth. Up in space, it was the Alteans who rivalled the vampire-like Galra, and he was pretty sure they weren't werewolves.
Sure, he was suspicious of Allura, but not because of her.
Another howl echoed through the trees and Keith stiffened, suddenly remembering his other companion. Pidge!
He drew his knife and broke into a run, tapping into the monstrous side of him to spur him onwards, the trees blurring past him as he ran at a very inhuman speed. He skid to a halt as he spotted Pidge's backpack lying on a rock beside the river, her clothes neatly folded on top.
Did she go for a swim? Keith wondered, staring into the stream, then stopped when he realised he risked seeing naked Pidge. Oh gosh, he was not ready for that.
He respected- and liked- her far too much.
Something warm breathed on his neck and his ears twitched, suddenly picking up the sound of heavy breathing that hadn't been there a second before. A slow, steady heartbeat sounded, but it struck fear into his veins rather than desire.
Slowly, Keith turned, hissing in alarm when he saw what it was.
A giant wolf.
Its fur was golden-brown, though the colour was tricky to make out in the moonlight, and it was easily the height of a large horse. Until it dropped to a low crouch, edging towards him, and Keith backed up, starting to panic as he realised it was a werewolf and it was hunting him...
He was so used to being the hunter. Now, he realised how much he hated being the hunted.
"S-stay back," Keith tried to command, "We don't have to, uh, fight..." His back hit a wall but the wolf kept coming, baring its teeth, blood on the fangs.
Keith knew there was blood on his fangs, too, so he opened his mouth and growled in response.
"Where's Pidge? If you hurt her I'll... I'll...!" He couldn't think of a decent threat, but the wolf paused, tilting its head quizzically.
"Keith?" it rumbled, the voice vaguely familiar.
Keith stared in disbelief as the wolf shrank, morphing into the figure of a small girl, clothed only in her underwear.
"Pidge?" he squeaked, then clamped a clawed hand over his eyes, embarrassed.
There was a rustling of fabric, then he dared a peek, relieved to see her fully clothed.
"You're a galra? A vampire?" she whispered. He froze, mentally cursing as he realised he was still in his vampiric form.
"Uh... You're a werewolf?"
It was Pidge's turn to look awkward then. "Well, I don't shift with every full moon, it just, uh, makes it easier. I haven't shifted in a while. It was too risky on the castle," she said rather sheepishly.
Keith blinked, watching his hands as the purple claws faded back into fingernails.
"You're a werewolf," he whispered, then glanced down at her, unable to hide his stupid new fear, "Do you want to kill me?"
Pidge blanked. "What? No!" she spluttered, "No, of course not! Keith, you're my teammate and my friend. I really care about you. It doesn't matter that you're, uh..."
"Half galra. Or half vampire, whichever way you prefer to say it," he confessed.
To his surprise, she smiled. "Glad I'm not the only inhuman on the team," she said softly.
Keith blinked, still a little puzzled that she was taking it so well- that he was taking it so well- but then again, there'd always been something special about Pidge.
She glanced at her wrist then, frowning. "We're supposed to be back in a varga. How about we find those berries now, hmm?" she suggested. Keith nodded but made no move and she turned around to grin at him, as if sensing his hesitation.
"I'm not going to shift again, don't worry. Now, are you coming, or am I going to whoop your ass at berry-picking?"
Keith crossed his arms. "I'll have you know, I'm the master berry-picker," he joked, feeling rather lighthearted suddenly.
"Ooh, vampires and werewolves, enemies again," Pidge laughed.
Keith grinned. "The competition's on."