Her children were arguing again. Why? Why? What was it about siblings that they just... had to bicker, all the time. She saw it enough from Veronica and Lance and had mistakenly asked them why they fought so much.
“It’s a sibling thing,” they had replied in unison. Which, unfortunately, had started another bickering fest.
Krolia sighed and rolled her eyes at her children. Kosmo huffed right beside her, just as tired of the bickering as she was. She wasn’t even sure exactly what they were fighting over this time. Something about taste in significant others? That had seemed to be the latest obsession of theirs. It seemed, though, that this time Keith had teased Shiro about Curtis, which in turn had made Romelle make fun of Keith for his crush on Lance, which in turn had Shiro making a snide comment about Romelle not bucking up to ask Allura out yet. Shiro, of course, was being all haughty that he had asked Curtis out, finally, though Keith had to interject that it was Curtis who had done the asking, he had been there, Shiro, don’t fucking lie—
Wait a second.
Krolia sat up suddenly from her bored slouch. The sudden movement caused her children—wait, no, the kids—to stop their bickering to look at her in various stages of alarm. Kosmo skittered away.
“Mom?” asked... not-Keith.
wait wait wait wait wait
Her first child was one she unfortunately had to abandon to keep him safe. She knew she had been gone for too long—that he was likely an adult after so long—but it still hurt to realize that he had been drawn into the same war she had been trying to end for his sake, the same one that she had left him for.
Honestly, it was a miracle that he forgave her as quickly has he had.
And it was awkward, on that space whale, alone with just the two of them. How was she supposed to bridge that gap? She had missed out on his entire life—never got to see him grow up, never got to help him learn, teach him how to be a good person—nothing. Nothing. She felt awful, of course. She hated her decision every day, missed Keith and his father desperately.
But she had left to protect them. To keep the Empire from finding Earth. From finding them.
Sometimes, she had wondered if she should have stayed on Earth anyway, said fuck it, protected them from Earth. But it was too late; she had made her choice.
Keith had grown up into a good person despite that, though. Eventually she learned that her love had died (that hurt almost as bad as realizing Keith had been forced into war) and that Keith had grown up tossed from foster home to foster home, waiting for someone to love him and make him part of their family.
But Keith had forgiven her. And he indulged in childish whims sometimes that reminded her of how... young he still was. He may have been an adult in human years, but he was still so incredibly young. Too joyful in finding that cosmic wolf, too childish in his belief that the animal would tell them its name, too optimistic that they would find their way back to Voltron. She let him, simply because she liked that flicker of hope and amusement that warmed her chest every time she watched the two sleep curled up against each other.
Her second child came not long after reuniting with Keith again, funnily enough.
Her name was Romelle, and she had just lost her brother and her faith and everything she had believed in. She joined their fight and lost her parents in the wake of it, leaving them behind to fight in a war they were unaware of.
It started simple enough, really.
The ship they had stolen only had one bed. Which was fine, really. They decided that Krolia would sleep for eight vargas while Keith piloted, then Keith and Romelle would sleep for eight vargas as Krolia piloted, then the three would be awake while Romelle piloted. It was a simple, easy schedule.
“It’s just improper,” Romelle said, quite scandalized by the proposition. “You can’t—I can’t—It’s just not done!”
“Why?” deadpanned Keith, looking unamused by the whole thing. Huh. Apparently he had inherited the quirked eyebrow and half-lidded look from her when he was annoyed by something stupid. His arms crossed tight over his chest, shoulders creeping up towards his ears. Krolia sat back, hiding her amused smirk behind indifference. The wolf panted at her feet, moving its head to watch between the two arguing. “It’s not like I’m going to molest you in your sleep or something.”
“I don’t know that!”
“I’m not attracted to you sexually,” Keith replied in his bored, monotone exasperated tone. “I’m asexual. I’m not attracted to anybody sexually. I have more worry about you groping me.”
The girl tackled Keith with a snarl. The two tussled around the small cabin and Krolia let them. Might as well let them get their energy out and let loose some of the tension. The wolf whined at her feet. With a roll of her eyes, she patted its head and said, “Oh, alright. Go get ‘em.”
The wolf leaped into the fray, causing even louder shrieks.
Later that day, once Romelle had finally acquiesced to sleeping in the same bed as Keith, Krolia set the controls to autopilot so she could check on them. It was a habit, after so long on that space whale, to check on Keith and make sure he was still okay. She paused in the doorway and frowned. Keith was curled away from Romelle, the wolf at his feet. Romelle slept between the wall and Keith. However... Her feet were up against the wall, stretched out high above her. One arm was flung over the wolf. Her head was nestled between Keith’s ass and feet. A pillow was over her face with her arm resting against it.
What an odd child...
Krolia padded into the room on silent feet. None of the occupants stirred as she sat on the bed next to Keith. She brushed his hair out of his face, wondering at how young and carefree he looked when he was dead to the world.
She shifted to look at the other child on the bed. Romelle was more than likely a young adult—Altean measurements were strange, so Krolia wasn’t too sure, but... Romelle couldn’t have been older maturity-wise than Keith. Then again, Keith had had to grow up very quickly while he was still young. Romelle...
Romelle had also gone through something so tragic. How she still seemed so optimistic—spunky, yet bright and bubbly—was beyond Krolia’s understanding.
Krolia shifted the pillow so it was off Romelle’s face. No use in her suffocating before they could bring her back to the Princess. Romelle snorted, disturbed, but not enough to fully wake. Gently, Krolia brushed back the thick blonde hair out of her face, away from her neck.
Something sharp twisted in her chest as sleepy purple eyes blinked slowly at her.
“Shh, Romelle,” she whispered, bending down to kiss her forehead. “Go back to sleep.”
“Hmm... ‘kay, mama.” Romelle rolled over, burying her face in Keith’s feet.
Krolia stood and backed away from the trio. She couldn’t... She couldn’t, just then.
But she paused at the door to look back at them.
Despite how self-assured Romelle was, she was still so young. Krolia could be Romelle’s mother, if Romelle needed her to be. What was one more child, anyway?
Her third child came with the first one. Something about how Shiro had looked after Keith, taken him under his wing like an older brother might. Not like a father—he was too young for that. But Keith had this fierce loyalty and protectiveness regarding Shiro, loved him more than he loved anything else in the universe. It was clear to anyone that Keith respected Shiro, loved him like a brother, treated him as such.
Which stood to reason that Krolia ended up adopting him into her life as well.
Which was well and good, since she had learned sometime during one of their downtimes that he had lost his parents before that fateful Kerberos mission. Car accident, he had said quietly, stirring his hot chocolate absently.
And Krolia hadn’t really asked if he was looking for a mother figure, hadn’t even thought about it when Keith had strolled in and flopped over Shiro, much to his protesting. She just... decided she would treat him like she treated Keith. The boy was obviously in need of some motherly love. His life had been so troubled, so hard—
“Oh,” said Romelle quietly, tentatively, scared. “Can I... Can I not call you that?”
“What?” was her eloquent reply as she snapped back to the present.
“You kinda...” Keith waved an arm as if it would explain anything. “You kinda just blanked out for a minute there after Romelle called you mom.”
Romelle fidgeted in front of her, head down. “It’s just—You’ve called me your child before, back when—back when we were fighting that one commander? And he cornered me? And you told him not to touch your daughter before you cut his head off. So I thought—”
Wait wait wait wait wait
She turned to Shiro with a critical gaze. He startled, eyes wide as he held up his hands. “What about you?” she demanded.
“Uh... I think of you as my mom, too,” he admitted quietly, almost ashamed. There was a pink tint to his cheeks. “Ever since I told you my parents died and you started treating me like Keith. I thought...”
Krolia slumped back, stunned. The three watched her with wide, wary eyes. She really had adopted two kids, huh? What was three troublesome children, anyway, she thought with a smile.
“You’re damn right I’m your mom,” she muttered with a grin.
Her children grinned right back.
“I am Krolia,” she proclaimed with a proud lift of her chin to the royalty in front of them. She gestured behind her. “And these are my children: Shiro, who pilots the Atlas, Keith, who pilots the Black Lion, and Romelle, our liaison with the Coalition.”
It always tickled her when she called the three her children and the strangers before them tried to act like they weren’t highly confused at how three very different looking children came from a woman who looked nothing like them.
Sure, Krolia may have only given birth to one of them...
But they were still her children.