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Taking Responsibility

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“I can’t believe you and Keith have been having the same symptoms for over three weeks now.”

Allura gasped at the sight of Shiro’s bulging biceps squeezing the hand towel dry. She didn’t like to think of herself as the type of princess that would just swoon at the sight of muscles but given her condition, Shiro’s powerful but tender movements couldn’t help but make her weak in the knees. She nearly wanted to die when he put the cold towel on her forehead and gave her a tender smile.

“But you have nothing to worry about. Hunk and Pidge are working hard to find a cure for both you and Keith. And I know it’s going to take a lot more than a bad cough to take you down.”

Allura took it back. When Shiro ran his hand through her white hair, she decided death would be a great alternative to suffering like this.

“Get some rest Princess.”

Allura held her breath until she was sure Shiro was down the hallway before she grabbed an antique vase and started vomiting flowers into it.

Any other time she would have been mortified at herself for desecrating a gift that had been passed down the Altean Royal family for generations, envisioning the horrified gasps and disappointed tutting from her ancestors, but right now she just didn’t have the energy to care.

“Princess?” Allura lifted her head to the gentle voice of the man she considered a second father to her. Coran cringed at the sight of purple lilac and white rose petals forming a trail down her mouth and into the vase she had been purging the flowers into. “Are you all right?”

Allura sighed.

“I want to tell you it will be all right Coran, but I’m afraid it’s getting worse.”

‘It’ being the Hanahaki disease. She didn’t know about humans, but it was a fairly common illness with the alteans, galra and other alien species whenever they experienced love for the first time.

Allura didn’t want to believe she was in love with Shiro because they had only known each other for a couple of months, but as time went by she felt her affection for the black paladin only grow stronger.

“Princess, I know you said no the first time I suggested this, but would you perhaps consider going through with the surgery?” Coran sounded like a concerned parent who was trying to be sensitive to their child’s wants and needs, but the words gripped at Allura’s heart like a vice.

“There’s no need for such a procedure.” Allura said in an even voice, betraying the emotions overflowing in her heart. The idea of losing all fondness for Shiro was unbearable. “These feelings will go away with time.”

Coran made a face that suggested that he didn’t agree, but quietly threw the flowers in Allura’s family vase away and poured her a glass of water. He gently handed it to her and said: “Perhaps they don’t need to go away… Maybe Shiro feels the same.”

Allura gave a delicate snort. “Yes, the Shiro who still pines for his ex-fiance would obviously throw away all those feelings for a princess he’s only met for five minutes.”

“That didn’t stop me from falling in love with ya mama and papa.” Coran gave Allura a saucy little wink that nearly made her spit her water at him. When the princess put down her cup to compose herself, Coran took a seat at her bedside and gave her a little cuddle. “Pardon the bad language princess, but when you assume you make an arse of yourself!”

“Excuse me?” Allura tried to pretend to be mad.

“I spent a lot of time pining for your mum and dad, which was precious time I could have spent kissing them!”

“Coran, what is the point of this conversation?” Allura loved Coran with all her heart, but she did not want to hear about how Coran snuggled with her parents. She was already feeling nauseous!

“The point is Princess, if you tell Shiro how you actually feel, you can stop whining and pining. If he doesn’t like you back you can move on and if he does…” Coran winked at Allura as he said this next bit: “You can start kissing.”

“Coran.” Allura groaned into her hands, but she’d be lying if she said she hadn’t thought about kissing Shiro. He had such pretty, kissable lips.

“You protest too much, but if you want to get over the Hanahaki disease, this is what you’ve gotta do.”

Allura returned Coran’s embrace, thinking that while everybody laughed at his silly antics, Coran could sometimes be the wisest of the oddball space family.

“That’s what I was afraid you would say.”

Just as Allura felt some sort of relief from the tension inside her chest, she shook from the seismic sounds of pots crashing, voices screeching and Hunk crying: “WHY ARE YOU TWO LIKE THIS?!”

“Coran?”

“You stay here Princess! I will go investigate what all the hubbub is!” Coran grabbed the water jug he had just used a moment ago and charged down the hallway like he was about to enter into an epic battle. Allura tried not to think too hard about how Coran probably would use the jug as a weapon as the possibility gave her an intense headache.

Being 100 percent certain that the paladins were just having another one of their food fights, Allura pulled the covers up and tried to get some rest before she started throwing up flowers again. This usually happened after she had a nice dream about Shiro.

An hour or two later, after the princess had a well-deserved nap, she was awakened by an awkward looking Shiro standing at her bedroom door. The Black Paladin had pink cheeks and seemed to struggle to look her in the eye.

“Shiro?”

“Sorry to wake you Princess.” Shiro said sheepishly.

Ah. So she wasn’t dreaming.

“So I… have a theory about why you might have been feeling so sick lately.” Allura would have thrown the covers off her bed, rammed Shiro into the wall and ran down the hallway if the Black Paladin hadn’t been smiling as he said those words.

“You do?” Allura asked shyly.

“Yes.” Shiro said, finally looking her in the eye. “Keith has been coughing up red and blue roses. Lance freaked out before Coran explained what they meant and um… Long story short, Keith is now mad that Lance stole his first kiss without asking.”

Allura’s heart felt like it was going to burst out of her chest and beat Coran to a bloody pulp. Why couldn’t Zarkon burst through the ship walls and kidnap her now that Shiro was staring at her like that!

“Princess… May I try something?” Shiro broke eye contact again in a way that made Allura want to smooch his adorable face. “Don’t be mad at Coran, but he said you had been coughing up white roses and purple lilacs.”

Oh she wasn’t mad at Coran, she was furious!

Allura tried to take a long, deep breath.

“Yes. I have the Hanahaki disease.” Her cheeks burned a deep scarlet colour, but Allura pushed through her embarrassment and looked the black paladin in the eye. “And it’s kind of your fault.”

Don’t get Allura wrong. When this was all over, she was going to body slam Coran and give him a lecture about respecting her privacy, but he was right. Keeping her feelings a secret was not only going to play havoc with her health, but hurt her relationship with the Black Paladin.

No matter what happened, she couldn’t let these feelings get in the way of their duty or their friendship.

“Is that so?” Shiro smirked at the princess.

“Yes.” What Allura said next was going to be painful, but she had to do it. “I don’t expect you to take responsibility though. No matter how I feel, you will always be the Black Paladin.”

Allura braced herself for the feeling of white roses and purple lilacs to come bursting from her throat, but everything would be all right. Life was tough but so was she.

Which is why she didn’t expect Shiro to walk across the room and sit on her bed.

“What if I want to take responsibility?” he asked as he looked deeply into her eyes.

Oh be still Allura’s heart.

Suddenly, the princess felt like she had a miraculous recovery. Her lungs felt clear, her throat didn’t feel dry and for the first time in weeks she didn’t want to crawl into her bed and hide from the world.

If this was what a kiss on the cheek from Shiro could do, the thought of their real first kiss made her feel wonderfully dizzy.

But there was one thing in the back of her mind that she couldn’t push out when Shiro pulled away.

“But what about Adam?”

Shiro took her hand and held it tightly.

“He’s always going to be important to me. But you’re important to me too Allura.”

He said her name for the first time, he said her name for the first time, he said her name for the first time

Calm down Allura.  

“You gave me a purpose after I lost everything and have stuck by me through a lot of bad times.” Shiro kissed her hand. “I would like to stick by you through good and bad times, if you will let me.”

Allura grinned.

“Give me a proper kiss and I will.”

Quiznak. Shiro’s lips were as kissable as they looked.

And they were certainly an excellent cure for all of Allura’s ailments.