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Is it fluff or is it angst?

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All galra have soulmates, it is just a fact of the universe, even long before they took to space.

No one knew when it began, but your fated partner was the one who would bare your scars and share your wounds.

Maybe that is where the galran worship of battle and pride of their battle wounds came from.

For those scars would lead them to their fated.

But that was tens of thousands of years ago and no one can truely know.

Fast forward to the fall of altea and the birth of the first hybrid child or Honerva and Zarkon.

As the first hybrid ever to be born of galran and altean blood, no one knew what to expect.

Both alteans and galrans have soul connections, so it was expected the child would present as one of the two.

Galran scar sharing.

Or altean thought sharing.

When Lotor showed signs of neither, it created a stir amongst the population.

A belief that half breeds are never destined or promised soul mates because they are half breeds.

The stigma followed every half breed to be born after, and many were mistreated or abandoned because of it.

As Lotor got older he saw this.

He grew believing he was destined to be alone, destined to be a unnatural half-breed.

It took time for Lotor to overcome his self worth issues, they never went away completely, but he learned to hide them behind false pride.

He found other half breeds and gave them a place by his side to belong.

Even when it pained him to see each of them develop soul bounds of their own.

Ezor and Zethrid shared scars, proudly displaying them for all to see.

Acxa was born with alien words inscribed on her skin.

Narti shared dreams with someone light-years away.

Lotor would never admit he still scanned his skin for scars that were not his own in the privacy of his room.

Feeling the same emptiness when he only found his own scars blemishing his skin.

That is until Sendak found the red lion.

It was small, something one would normally easily over look, but someone noticed.

Kova had been staring at Lotor, not an unusual occurance.

When Narti was not around kova tended to stare.

What was unusual though, was when kova approached Lotor and smacked his cheek with their paw, repeatedly.

Lotor could not help but sputter, picking kova up to remove them from his proximity, even as kova continued to reach with their paws.

That was when Axca walked in and raised an eyebrow.

Axca was the one to point out the mark on Lotor's cheek, inquiring if Lotor had upset kova into scratching him.

That small nick was the beginning of it all.

The first few years after that the scars remained small, accidents is what Lotor recognized them as.

This was when Lotor realized, he had a soulmate, he didn't get share scars before now because they had not been born yet.

The scars got more worrisome after those first six decaphebes.

His soulmate had to have been little more then a kittling when the first scar appeared.

Now the scars appearing are less accidental and more intentional.

A kit around six to twelve decaphebes is not an unusual age for play fighting to occur, but these scars aren't the kind one would aquire playfighting with another kit.

These were inflicted.

Punishment? Abuse?

Lotor felt enraged on his soulmates behalf, he wanted to find them and inflict pain a thousand fold on the one responsible.

As the decaphebes past and Lotor began to develop small scars on his knuckles, he felt pride.

His soulmate was growing up and fighting back against those who harmed them.

Lotor longed to reach out and assist, fight by their side.

But while under the ever watchful eyes of his father and the witch, he could never reveal something as precious as a soulmate.

Distance would keep them safe.

... Meanwhile...

Keith was born covered in scars, as if some macabre birthmarks.

For the most part as Keith grew he got used to them, his father never acknowledged them beyond a quiet sadness.

He once told Keith that Keith was baring the scars for someone else.

It was only after his father died that Keith realized how unusual they are.

People would openly stare at his skin if he revealed enough to show scars.

They would look at him with pity and make the assumption his father gave him the scars.

No amount of arguing changed their opinion about that.

When he was moved to foster care, he began aquire scars to finally rival the ones he was born with.

The brand on his back covered with belt welts and cuts.

His arms with cigarette burns and welts.

He can to a revelation during his time in care, bruises don't leave scars, but hurt just the same.

Keith absently wonders how many bruises, the one who's scars he bares, had to suffer through.

Why did he only have their scars?

He grew hard in the care of the system, learned to stay out of the way, avoid gathering more scars.

It didn't always work, but as a result he learned to stand his own against the other kids.

His bloodied knuckles are proof of that.

Things don't change until he meets Takashi Shirogane.

Shiro saves Keith from a life with no future, bails him out, gets him into the garrison.

It's a while before Shiro sees Keith's scars.

When he does he doesn't treat Keith any different, doesn't treat him like he is broken or damaged.

He doesn't ask any questions.

Keith begins to see Shiro as a brother, as family.

And then Shiro is gone.

And Keith leaves the garrison.

Keith aquires many new scars during his time in the desert.

Some his own, some not.

In his solitude he wonders about the one who's scars he bares.

He wonders not for the first time if they bare his scars as he wraps a particularly bad wound from a fall while rock climbing.

Shiro returns.

Falls right out of the sky in a ship not of Earth.

Not long after Keith finds himself shooting into space with not only Shiro, but three cadets and a blue lion.

Keith learns of soulmates when an alien princess falls from stasis into Lance's arms.

Apparently she and Lance share their thoughts.

It's a shocking bit of information to all involved, given everything that is happening.

The soulmate thing is forgotten when the galra lock on to their location and they have to find the lions and fight back.

Sometime after the battle Allura takes Lance aside.

Things are strange between those two after that.

Keith wonders how weird it would be to share someone's thoughts, how intrusive it would be.

He doesn't ask.

Shiro finds him after that.

The altean soulmate thing having reminded him of Keith's scars.

It comes as a surprise to Keith when Shiro approached him and said "those scars arent only yours are they?"

Shiro having been captive to the Galra learned alot about galra, including an galran soulmates.

He thought it was nonsense at first, but witnessed it first hand, Allura and Lance's connection had caused Shiro to recall galran soulmates.

Shiro doesn't say he suspects Keith has a galran soulmate, but he does say it is a soulmate thing when Keith confirms his suspicion.

Keith is surprised by this but also not really.

This makes Shiro reconsider galra as a whole and Keith himself.

Keith is destined to a galra, but Shiro knows that it couldn't possibly be a bad person, because Keith deserves good.

That would mean all galra weren't remorseless soldiers following orders blindly.

Shiro keeps this to himself.

That is until Ulaz and in extension, the blade of marmora are discovered.

Keith begins to question everything about himself, after seeing Ulaz's knife.

It is hard to miss the brand that takes up most of his back, distorted as it has become in time, it is still clearly meant to be the empires symbol.

Keith has been trying to make excuses since they came to space, maybe his soulmate was a victim of the empire.

Now Keith can't help but wonder, are they galran?

They go-to the marmora headquarters and Keith takes the trials.

Aquiring a jagged wound across his shoulder, he wonders if his soulmate would disapprove.

As the trial ends and red lashes out at Keith's pain, the blade extends in his hand.

Keith is galra.

In the aftermath Keith locks himself in his room, only do Shiro to visit.

Shiro tells Keith nothing has changed, but Keith still replaying the reactions of the team and Allura, laughs at that.

Shiro doesn't let Keith wallow in this mindset and tells him the team is only surprised and they will go back to the way it was before in time.

Keith breaks down confessing his fears that his soulmate is loyal to the empire.

Shiro tells Keith he already suspected as much and that if they were truely Keith's soulmate they couldn't have been truely evil.

It isn't until the final confrontation that everything starts to settle, Allura even going out of her way to apologise to Keith.

And then Shiro goes missing.

And Keith takes his place as black paladin.

And their new enemy appears, Lotor.

....fast forward....

Lotor had taken his father's life, with the black bayard.

And in doing so aquired the paladins trust.

Lotor had little opportunity to observe the paladins within a holding cell and learn more about them.

But he comes to learn more given his new found freedom.

He learns to be cautious of the black paladin very quickly, his temper I unpredictable and often times aimed at his own allies.

Thw gleam in his eyes I suspicious as well, but Lotor does not hold authority to do much about it as his words would be seen as malicious intent.

He learns the red paladin was once the blue and the princess was not always a paladin.

It is hinted at that whoever the red paladin was, once fought in the role as black paladin.

Lotor suspects they are the one him and his former generals faced countless times before.

He is curious as to where the missing paladin had gone.

The alien coilition hold great distrust and suspicion towards Lotor making it difficult to observe them, they go out of their way to keep quiet around Lotor or avoid him altogether.

The blade on the other hand, makes no move to avoid Lotor.

They make it clear they are observing him just as much as he observes them.

Lotor presents himself with the confidence he has nothing to hide, whether that is true or not.

He has noticed though, one blade stands out from the rest.

He is smaller then an adult pureblood galra, meaning he is either a hybrid or kit.

Lotor likes to believe the second one isn't an option, but from his experience on the empire it is a possibility.

The little one goes out of their way to avoid the Paladins and coilition members as often as possible.

Even going as far as standing in their leaders shadow during meetings and debriefs.

Lotor is curious.

The little blade seems no different.

Lotor catches them often pretending to to be observing him, while their fellow members show no interest in hiding the fact.

It isn't til later that lotor catches the little blade with their mask off.

It is late into the night cycle, a time Lotor usually keeps to his assigned room to avoid accusations.

But sleep is evading the prince and so he decides to risk a trip the the training rooms to blow off extra energy.

The training room isn't empty though.

Within is the little blade, in full blade armour sparing with the altean gladiator.

Lotor watches, telling himself he is simply taking note of the blades level of skill.

They fight three rounds before taking a break to hydrate, taking off their mask to reveal a very alien face.

Very reminiscent of the paladins themselves and it clicks then.

This is the former red and black paladin, the missing paladin.

The paladin blade freezes realizing they are not alone, his eyes find Lotor's and narrow with suspicion.

Lotor decides not to acknowledge the klanmurl in the room.

He compliments the paladin on his form and makes a comment on how he could improve.

The paladin continues to eye him with distrust but accepts the blunt suggestions of improvement bwith consideration.

That first offical meeting is short, but it opens the door to the promise of more in the future.

And so it does.

There is little during the day cycle, they continue on as if they have never spoken.

But during the night cycle they sometimes meet in the training rooms, sometimes to talk, sometimes to spar.

Lotor finds the sparing is the most effective way to gain Keith's trust.

He doesn't know if Keith notices when the sparing devolves into play fighting, he shows no signs of acknowledging it, but he enjoys it none the less.

No one else on the ship appears to be privy of these nightly bonding sessions, or more so they don't mention them.

The green paladin seems to give Keith knowing looks from time to time causing the paladin blade to change color in the face.

Once or twice these looks have been pointed in Lotor's direction, to which he skillfully doesn't react.

The other blades have begun to watch Lotor more so when he and Keith find themselves in the same room, he is unsure if Keith notices.

Strangely, but probably less of a surprise the altean adviser seems aware as well, Lotor is uncertain when the altean even sleeps given how often he sees the man in day and night cycles.

Regardless, their sessions continue.

....point of view change....

Keith notices first.

He doesn't know why he has found himself watching the galran prince so closely, but it is during that time he saw it.

A light scar, on his right cheek that only stands out because of the purple pigment of his skin.

It has to be a coincidence.

Keith has the exact same scar, he doesn't recall if it is one of his own or his soulmates, it isn't even visable anymore of his pale skin.

But he knows it's there.

He finds himself scrutinizing the prince after that, darting his eyes away blushing when the prince raises his brow in amusement.

There is no possible way he can know for certain unless he asks the prince to show his skin.

Keith blushes at the thought.

He definitely can't ask the prince of the galra empire to take of his shirt, nope.

The only other scars Keith could be sure we're visable other then his face would be his hands.

But the prince like Keith seems to have taken to the habit of wearing gloves, much to Keith's frustration.

The only other option is to show his own skin, and Keith immediately decides against that option.

Keith is frustrated.

According to kolivan galra normally wear their scars proudly on display so their soulmates can find them.

And while Keith is used to hiding his, why is Lotor hiding?

Keith growls to himself after Lotor knocks him to the mat again, the prince smirking at him from where he stands.

Keith gets to his feet and disregards his forms completely and rushes the prince.

There is an excited glint in Lotor's eyes like with everytime Keith does this, like he knows something Keith doesn't.

They wrestle and chase each other around the mats until Keith pins Lotor.

There is something about letting loose that settles Keith.

In the garrison Keith would be reprimanded for disregarding standard forms.

Heck even Shiro reminds Keith endlessly not to lose himself "patience yields focus"

Lotor though, doesn't seem disappointed when Keith lets go, he seems to enjoy it just as much as Keith.

Maybe that is why Keith looks to Lotor and hopes to find scars that match his own.

...point of view change...

Keith has a new mission.

Meaning he is leaving the castleship for the blade.

The night before his departure his eyes hold determination as he looks to Lotor and tells him he has something to tell him when he returns.

And so he leaves.

It is not long after the leader of the blade finds him alone in the training deck to tell him, Keith was lost during his mission.

Lotor doesn't know why Kolivan came personally to tell him, but he thanks him none the less.

His chest aches.

Lotor loses himself trying to find alternative quintessence sources to satisfy the empire and stop it's expansion.

Forgoing sleep to spar with the altean gladiator in the training room.

It is one of these nights Kolivan comes to him again.

Lotor doesn't understand why.

Kolivan saw Keith as his son, and he has seen both Keith's and Lotor's scars, not all of them, but enough to know they match.

And so Kolivan has taken it upon himself to support Keith's soulmate in his absence.

Kolivan talks some sense into Lotor, telling him to get ahold of himself.

Kolivan let's it slip that Keith and Lotor are soulmates, and that if anyone could know if Keith had died it would be him.

Because when a soulmate dies, a galra would feel it.

Normally the scars are painless, but in the moment of death a soulmate feels their partners pain intensely, there is no way to mistake it.

....meanwhile....

Keith and Krolia aftee bonding in the abyss with Keith's wolf.

Their to in the abyss has come to an end and they leave the space whale.

Thus they find the altean colony.

A colony Lotor had created for the altean people and the source of the new quintessence.

Keith is shocked to learn romelle's story about the other colony and Lotor's lies.

He feels betrayed.

Keith is furious when he finally returns to the castleship.

They decide to confront Lotor.

Only for that plan to be halted by Shiro going rogue, Lotor is thankfully secured Ina holding cell while Keith confronts Shiro.

Only to learn Shiro is clone and the original Shiro died during the Zarkon confrontation.

Keith returns with the unconscious clone and the black lion.

He has been betrayed not only by Lotor, but by a clone of his own brother.

The paladins had successfully subdued the generals while Keith confronted Shiro.

Allura reveals she has the ability to recover Shiro's soul from the black lion and put it into the clones body.

Shiro is successfully received and settled into the medbay.

Keith secludes himself onto the observation deck, and thats where Kolivan finds him.

Keith put his trust into Lotor and was betrayed.

Kolivan and Keith have a conversation about Lotor and soulmates.

Kolivan tells Keith to talk to Lotor, because soulmates are never a mistake.

Keith decides to wait until after they arrived to the altean colony and talk to the alteans.

Which is Allura's first priority at the moment.

Keith spends his time with Shiro in the medbay, or on the observation deck when he isn't with the paladins or Kolivan or Krolia.

It is completely unplanned when he visits Lotor on night after struggling to sleep.

After Keith asks Lotor why, desperately wanting to know how he could do such a thing.

And Lotor claims he never betrayed the altean colony, that he hasn't visited it in a very long time and whoever is doing that to the alteans isn't him.

Keith doesn't know what to believe.

When they arrive to the colonies and find druids they realize that haggar is responsible, using druid magic to make the alteans believe it is Lotor.

They liberate the colony and decide it's best to move the alteans onto the castle now that haggar knows where to find them.

Lotor is released and Keith apologizes for not believing him.

They take some time to themselves now knowing they are eachothers soulmates.

Both of them revealing their scarred torsos and finally accepting completely they are soulmates.

The war isn't over, Haggar and Sendak are still a threat, there are still loose ends to settle.

But those can be dealt with when they get to them, but for now,

Shiro is back,

The colony is liberated,

The generals are subdued,

Voltron is together.

Next stop is earth.