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A new skin (you'll grow into it)

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Before Kolivan walked into the infirmary in the castle of lions, he thought he had been prepared for the situation he had been called to help with. The Altean princess had contacted him, saying that Keith had a mishap involving a druid and raw quintessence. He thought he would have to deal with an unusual druid wound. He was not prepared to find the young blade lying naked and unconscious in a puddle of gore and vomit on top of an examination table. Most of all, however, he was not prepared to see the previously human-looking boy covered head to toe in soft purple fur and sporting a tail. Only his many years of leading a secret organization allowed him to hide his complete bafflement.

“Well? Can you get him to turn back?” Allura questioned impatiently.

“I do not know. This situation is highly unusual. I have heard rumours of galra crossbreeds becoming more like full-blooded galra, but never in such a short time or under such circumstances. I will need to take him back to the base and have our medical staff examine him. Although, you should prepare for the possibility that the change is irreversible.”

“Take him, then. And don’t worry about bringing him back too soon. The original black paladin has reforged his bond with the black lion, so his presence is no longer strictly required when Voltron is needed. Let him take as much time as he needs to recover from whatever the druid did to him. No offence to the Blade of Marmora, but it might cause problems in the coalition if he pilots his lion while looking like that.”

How exactly was that statement anything but offensive to the allied galra was the first question on Kolivan’s mind but he decided to prioritize getting Keith proper medical attention.

Less than a varga later, Kolivan was carrying his unconscious burden through the corridors of the main base. Swathed in a ratty blanket (“It would be wasteful to give him proper clothes now when he’s so filthy. You can dress him once you get him clean”). Keith attracted quite a few shocked and curious stares from other blades, but one look at their leader’s face stopped anyone from trying to ask questions. Once he arrived at the med bay, he was immediately greeted by a worried Ulaz.

“What happened? I got a heads-up from Antok saying you were heading this way with Keith, but he didn’t say...” that’s as far as the medic got before he fully took in the sight before him. He quickly took the patient to one of the beds hidden behind screens and ushered the other out, saying he needed to focus and that Keith needed privacy.

*****

3 varga after being kicked out of the infirmary, the door to Kolivan’s office opened and in walked Ulaz, frowning and massaging his forehead. Kolivan looked at him questioningly as he flopped to a nearby seat with a groan.

“Well?”

“He’s stable. I cleaned him up and gave him a mild sedative since the change is still going on, although at a much slower rate. I can tell you that his condition had been caused by exposure to large amounts of quintessence. As for the prognosis, that would be much easier to determine if we knew anything of his parentage”

“He’s most likely Krolia’s son”

Ulaz looked at him, startled.

“Ok, this is important. How certain are you that Krolia is his mother?”

“Fairly certain. He wields her "lost" blade, the time frame of her mission fits his age and it would explain the omissions in her reports, not to mention the resemblance in looks.”

“Oh, quiznak.”

They both sat in silence for a while, Ulaz brooding and Kolivan puzzled at the medic’s unusually bad mood.

“I do not understand why this revelation changes anything. We had already known that he is a galra hybrid.”

“It changes everything. I will explain, but first, call Antok and Thace here. I want the kit to officially join our pack and they need to hear this too.”

In the few doboshes it took for the rest of their pack to arrive, Ulaz had started to nervously pace around the office. Only once the other two were seated and apprised on the situation by Kolivan did the three turn to the doctor for the expected explanation.

“To fully understand the situation we are facing now, you must first know something about Galran genetics. You probably never heard this before, since this hardly ever occurs nowadays and the empire really doesn’t want this to be widely known since it might threaten the galran ‘blood purity’, but I’m getting ahead of myself there. You see, when it comes to breeding between galra and other species, the resulting offspring will always at first take after the father, with a minimal external resemblance to the mother’s species. As the child grows, the influence of the paternal genes diminishes and they will start to develop according to their maternal heritage instead. The maternal genes usually become entirely dominant by the time the child reaches what would be adolescence in the quicker developing species. After that their developmental milestones, lifespan and internal organs will slowly shift to resemble their mother’s species.”

"Now, most hybrids found within the empire have a galra father, since they are usually a result of rape by soldiers. Male galra can always breed with other species, so the number of resulting pregnancies is quite high. As you have certainly seen, these galra hybrids are extremely varied, often retaining minimal visible galran traits once mature."

"On the contrary, it is very rare to encounter a hybrid offspring of a galra female since such a pregnancy cannot occur by accident. The would-be mother would have to consciously adapt her body to be able to conceive with a member of other species. A hybrid with a galra mother would be born bearing no resemblance to galra, but, at some point in their lives, they would start gaining galran traits, keeping only those paternal traits that would be advantageous over the purely galran ones. Moreover, their development would almost always follow that of a galra kit, since the other species tend to reach puberty much earlier than galra.”

A moment of shocked silence followed the lecture; all pack members comparing the new information to their experience with half-galrans. Kolivan was the first to speak:

“But why did Keith show no signs of transformation before? As far as I understand it, humans reach adolescence as young as 12.”

“Their females do. Males are apparently a bit slower in reaching that stage, but you are right. Keith is a few deca-phoebs past his. As far as I can determine, his lack of transformation was due to the severe lack of nutrients essential to galran kits. The quintessence blast was really a blessing in this case. I had assumed that his appearance was due to being only distantly related to galra. Had this change not occurred, he would begin to sicken in a few deca-phoebs and would eventually die of malnutrition with no one knowing the cause.”

Ulaz levelled an accusatory glare at Kolivan.

“Really ‘Van. You know I require that all hybrids in blade have the information about their parents included in their medical files, why in the world did you not tell me about Krolia? This whole situation could have been largely prevented.”

“Wait, wait, wait.” Antok interrupted, “You said that after adolescence the hybrids age like galra do, but that would make Keith...”

“A very young kit, yes.”

Ulaz collapsed back into his seat with a sigh, all previous indignation at their leader’s omission gone.

“That’s why I called you here. I want him to join our pack. Partly because the quintessence blast caused him to undergo at least two deca-phoebs of changes in only a few vargas and he needs to be monitored, but mostly because out of all blades he’s closest to us and I want him as our kit.”

“No objections here!” chimed in Antok.

“You know that I’ve always wanted to adopt a kit,” said Thace with a smile.

The three looked at Kolivan. Aside from being the leader of the Blade of Marmora, he was also the leader of their pack, so he would have the final say in the situation.

“I have no objections either, but I believe that Keith also needs to be given a choice in the matter. A kit his age would normally just start leaving the nest to explore the pack’s room, but he had been a young adult just yesterday. We need to let him have some independence.”

“Agreed. While he will have gained some kit instincts, his mental maturity level should remain largely unchanged. What we will need to do is to provide a safe environment where he can choose to express his new needs and behaviour without the fear of chastisement or ridicule. He will not act like a normal kit his age at the beginning; he might never act that way. We will have to be gentle with him, but without coming off as patronising.”

With that, Ulaz stood up and walked to the door.

“Since we’ve all agreed to take him in, I’m going back to the infirmary. The sedative will be wearing off soon and I would like to properly examine him once he’s awake since he had somehow avoided his mandatory checkup until now. Kolivan, you should come too. Out of the four of us, the kit respects you the most and if what I think about his current state is right, you would be the best person to explain the situation to him.”

*****

When they arrived, they found Keith already awake, blinking at them in sleepy confusion and chirping softly in greeting. Unfortunately, the haze of sleep soon left him and he panicked at the strange noises he was making and the unfamiliar feeling of his own body. The two tried to give him space, but once Keith started to hyperventilate, Kolivan instinctively drew him into a hug and purred at him. The kit melted against the older blade and relaxed immediately.

Once he was sure that Keith would remain calm, he put the kit back on the bed and sat down next to him. Ulaz was observing the scene with a wide grin on his face.

“Um, just now...what was that?” asked Keith, glancing uncertainly between the two. “And how did you calm me so quickly?”

“That, kit, means you two have imprinted on one another. Kolivan is going to explain the situation to you now while I give you a full examination. Don’t worry, it won’t hurt, I just need to know how galra you are right now.”

*****

In the end, the explanation took much longer than expected, since Keith’s knowledge of galran culture was smaller than either of the adult blades had thought, and they had to explain pack dynamics and galran instincts as well. Finally, with all his questions answered, Keith acquiesced to join the blades’ family under the condition that they let him keep his room. Kolivan left to fetch them a small meal and Keith turned to Ulaz.

“So… I get that to you guys I am basically a baby, but you’re not going to make me do baby stuff like drink milk from the bottle or wear diapers, right?”

“No, Keith. While we might not allow you to go on any missions for some time, we will not start treating you as if you were incapable of taking care of yourself at all. Some things will change because of your instincts, but we realize that you are much more mature than a kit of your age would normally be. We will not force you to do things you are uncomfortable with unless it’s absolutely necessary, and even then, we will explain and discuss them with you beforehand, just like we explained about packs.

I’m afraid that you will be required to drink a synthetic milk formula since that is a major part of young kit's diet for at least the first fifty deca-phoebs of their development, but there is no reason why you couldn’t just drink it from a cup. As for ‘diapers’ I’m afraid you will have to describe that to me, as the word does not translate into anything in galran.”

“Diapers are...I guess you could call them protective garments? Well, when humans are born they have no control over their bodily functions, so babies wear diapers to stop them from getting stuff dirty until they learn to use proper toilets.”

“I see. Galra babies actually have the opposite problem. They need to be stimulated every few hours in order to eliminate. Kits your age are usually mostly independent in this area, though they might still need help occasionally. Even adult galra are really prone to locking up, so don’t be embarrassed if you need help, ok? Speaking of that, I noticed that your lower stomach is a bit distended. Do you need to visit the restroom?”

Keith looked down on his stomach in confusion. Thus far he had been so immersed in the sensation of having a tail, having much sharper senses, being able to move his ears, and his new claws catching on every surface possible, that he didn’t even notice the uncomfortable feeling below his navel. It felt a bit like the pressure of an overfull stomach, but without the queasiness and much lower. It didn’t feel like what he would usually feel when he was desperate for a piss. He ran his fingers over the bulge in fascination. When that had no effect, he tried applying a little pressure, but swiftly regretted it. A sharp pain ran through his abdomen and made him curl up with a hiss. Ulaz was immediately at his side, asking what was wrong and examining him closely.

“My bladder really hurts. It feels like I’m really full, but at the same time, I don’t feel like I need to go at all. It just feels uncomfortable until I press on it and then it hurts.”

At that point, Keith also noticed that the only thing he had been wearing was a blanket draped over his shoulders. He quickly pulled it to cover his front, wondering why he did not feel the usual embarrassment of being seen naked. He was normally very shy.

“Can I get some clothes?”

“Don’t worry about clothes right now, kit. If you can’t even apply pressure on your bladder without feeling pain, then that is much more serious. You need to void as soon as possible and I’m afraid that you will need help at this point. Do you want me or Kolivan?”

“Kolivan! Wait, why do I want Kolivan?”

“As I said earlier, you two imprinted on each other. You will instinctively try to go to him if you need help or protection. Eventually, you will form similar bonds with the rest of the pack too. Do you want me to explain the procedure now?”

“Please.”

“Alright. Normally, in the case of locking up, the first thing to try is to massage the bladder area in a circular or downward motion. You can do this by yourself when you need to. However, in cases where applying pressure is too painful, you can no longer solve the situation yourself. When it gets this bad, you need to come to someone for help. The other person will use a special cloth soaked in lukewarm liquid to wipe at your genital area. This simulates the sensation of the parent grooming a kit to help them relieve themselves and causes an involuntary release. It has to be done by another person because your body would recognise if you were doing it yourself and it would not trigger the reflex.”

“Ok,” Keith whispered, curling up into a small ball.

“There’s no need to be ashamed. This happens even to adult galra. Don’t tell him I told you, but Antok was here for the same problem just last movement.”

“Antok?”

“Yes, he always forgets to take a break while overseeing training and then he ends up needing some help to pee. But really, it happens to all of us sometimes. There are even some galra who never gain the ability to go by themselves and need their pack or mate to help stimulate them their entire lives.”

“So it’s like a galra version of incontinence then?”

“I am not quite sure that the word is translating correctly.”

“Incontinence is when someone can’t hold their bladder or bowels and need to wear diapers even when they are older. Some people are just born with it, but it can also be caused by injuries or sickness.”

“Interesting. It’s a pity there is no human doctor among the paladins. It would be very helpful for me to know more about human medical problems in case you encounter any.”

“But I thought that I’m galra now?”

“No little one, your outside appearance changed drastically and you gained many galran instincts and traits, but you are still at least 50% human. You were much more human before, that’s why the change seems so great, but you will still have many human traits for a long time to come. As far as I can guess, you were about 90% human before this change and once you mature you will be about 90% galra, but the rest of the change will be slow and gradual unless you fall into a vat of quintessence again. Ah, here comes Kolivan!”

While Kolivan set down the food on a nearby table, Ulaz quietly explained the kit’s problem and went to fetch the needed materials. Keith saw the pack leader looking at him and hid his face into the blanket. He heard an amused rumble and the felt the thin mattress of the cot dip beside him and a hand rubbing his back.

“Don’t worry kit. It will be over before you know it and you will feel much better afterwards.”

Keith simply whined in embarrassment and hid until Ulaz came back carrying two basins of water and three pieces of cloth.

“You know what to do ‘Van, so I’ll give you two some privacy now.”

*****

There was a sound of the heavy privacy curtains being drawn and then retreating footsteps. Only once he couldn’t hear Ulaz anymore did Keith peek at Kolivan. The other was gently smiling at him and although he had never seen the serious leader show such a soft expression, it did not seem alien on his face. A hand gently scratched behind his ear and he uncurled a bit, leaning into the contact.

“Let’s get this over with so we can eat and show you our nest.”

Kolivan’s relaxed posture and practised motions made it obvious that this was something he had done before and that calmed Keith down further, so he was quite relaxed while following instructions. First, a section of the bed was elevated to be nearly vertical and the largest cloth was spread before it. I reminded Keith of the puppy pads one of his foster families used to housebreak their chihuahua and Kolivan confirmed that the pad is meant for absorption.

Next, the older blade picked up a towel-like cloth, dipped it into one of the basins, wrung it out, and folded it into a square. Then he hesitated.

“I’m going to start stimulating you now. This might feel strange to you at first. If you need a moment, tell me and I’ll give you a short break.”

With that, he pushed Keith’s legs and tail apart and out of the way and began running the cloth over him, starting just below his navel and finishing each stroke near the root of his tail. The first few strokes brought a feeling of numbness into his crotch and after a few more he felt a sudden lessening of tension in his bladder. A short weak spurt sprayed from his dick, hitting the cloth and dripping down on the mat. It lasted only a tick but Keith could hear himself letting out a desperate mewl at the loss of sensation.

“I know little one, you’ll feel better in just a moment.”

And truly, just two strokes later a weak trickle had started again and this time it didn’t stop. Kolivan continued his ministrations steadily, and Keith continued to pee a slow stream, not even caring that he was sitting in a puddle and peeing against someone’s hand.

Eventually, the stream tapered off, but Kolivan kept going, drawing a few more spurts out. Only once he was completely sure that the kit’s bladder was empty did he fetch the third cloth and used it to wipe Keith’s fur clean of pee. Then he removed the soaked pad off the bed and put Keith back on it.

Keith curled up against the still raised backrest and cuddled his blanket, dozing. He felt as if all his energy and shyness had left him together with his pee. All he wanted now was to go back to sleep, but a hand caressed his cheek and forced him to uncurl a little.

“Not yet kit. You can sleep in a tick, but you need to at least drink your milk before that.”

Keith huffed in annoyance but accepted the tall glass that was pressed against his lips and slowly drank. The liquid was slightly thicker than water and sweet, though he couldn’t describe the actual flavour.

The last thing he felt before falling asleep was being picked up by someone warm.

Chapter Text

Keith came close to awareness several times but did not quite wake up. The feeling of warm softness combined with his exhaustion had kept him from completely surfacing from that hazy almost-asleep sensation. Plus there were the hands. He couldn’t put names to them, but they were rubbing his back and petting his head and scratching behind his ears. Something primal deep inside him told him to trust the hands, and he wasn’t awake enough to defy it.

 

The next time he came close to awareness he was snuggling against something soft. He could tell that there was no one else nearby and that made him a little sad. He missed the nice hands. The soft, however, was almost as nice, and it didn’t seem to belong to anyone. He decided that the soft was going to be his! 

 

Shuffling around, he nuzzled the soft and gathered it, until most of it was bunched up below him and then he relaxed. A sensation of draining filled his lower belly and a warm wetness spread beneath him.

 

Keith jolted up, fully awake. He was peeing in the bed! Trying to clench his muscles did nothing, however, so he decided that the best course of action would be to finish what he started and stay in one spot. After all, one ruined blanket was better than making a mess all over the place.

 

Gathering up the bunched fabric, he kept moving it so that he wouldn’t go too long against one spot and risk it leaking onto other parts of the nest. Though it seemed as if each new dry spot only provoked more urine into coming out. He couldn’t possibly have held that much, could he?

 

After a while, he held a dry place against his crotch and produced nothing more. Taking this to mean that he was finished he wiped himself off on it and looked around to find a place to hide his accident. 

 

The room where the nest was constructed was spacious and open and there seemed to be nowhere he could stuff the large blanket until he could figure out how to wash it. His ears perked suddenly. Footsteps! The sound was coming nearer and he was certain that whoever it was would come into the room. He had no time to hide.

 

Distraught, he grabbed one of the clean sheets, drew it over his head and curled up in a corner, making himself as small as possible. He was sure that he would be kicked out of the nest as soon as the pack found out what he did.

 

*****

 

When Antok returned to the pack’s room to check on their kit, he expected to find him sprawled out in the nest, deeply asleep, just as he had been half a varga before. He was, therefore, quite startled when he found the kit’s spot empty except for a wet ball of a blanket. Looking around, he noticed a small mass trembling in a corner and breathed a sigh of relief. Kolivan would have killed him if the kit had run away and hurt himself.

 

Approaching slowly so as not to startle him, he knelt down and laid a hand on Keith’s back and spoke in the least threatening tone he could manage:

 

“What’s the matter? Do you need me to call Ulaz or Kolivan?”

 

The bundle uncurled slightly and the next moment Antok was holding an armful of distraught kit, speaking almost too quickly to understand.

 

“I’m so sorry! I didn't mean to do it. Don’t kick me out, please!”

 

“Keith, kit, if you are talking about the wet blanket nobody will make you leave because of that.”

 

“Really?”

 

“Yes, really. Now, why don’t you tell me exactly what happened.”

 

*****

 

When Keith finished his short explanation and felt Antok’s chest rumbling, he feared that the other had gotten angry after all, but to his surprise and confusion, Antok laughed.

 

“Oh, kit, we wouldn’t be angry over that. You are practically giving us a compliment.”

 

Keith was even more befuddled now and it must have shown on his face because Antok chuckled before explaining:

 

“When a galra is properly introduced into a new pack, one of the first things we do, regardless of age, is to pick an object in the nest and scent mark it. Adult galra have scent glands on their face, but kits don’t get those until puberty. Second puberty in your case. So they mark their favourite thing by pissing all over it. So really, you doing that just goes to show that you feel accepted and that you trust us. ‘Laz will be especially full of himself since he was the one who picked out that particular blanket for you.”

 

“So this is another galra thing.”

 

“Yes, it’s perfectly normal. Kits five times your age still do it sometimes.”

 

“Five times my age? How long do galra live? I mean, I know Zarkon’s been around for a while, but...”

 

“We don’t live quite that long naturally, but we are pretty long-lived. Most galra die fighting nowadays, so if there ever was a recorded maximum it was probably before the empire. Kolivan is pushing 450 and still going strong though.”

 

While Keith mulled the idea of such a long life over in his head, Antok picked him up and brought him to a low table. There he was instructed to eat his breakfast, which consisted of a tall glass of pinkish liquid (which he recognized as the milk from before) and a plate of what looked like muesli with pieces of meat in it.

 

Antok meanwhile busied himself by messaging his packmates, sending an update to the shared chat.

 

Antok : Keith is awake now. Poor kit marked Ulaz’s blanket while half asleep and scared himself silly. I’m gonna take him to the training room to distract him for a few vargas. If one of you could give the blanket a wash with the scent consolidating detergent before we come back that would be great.

 

A reply showed up a few doboshes later, with Thace volunteering for laundry duty, and Antok turned his attention back to Keith, who had eaten about half the plate of the meat muesli and was pushing the rest around.

 

“Come on, kit, finish your milk, get dressed, and we’ll go to the training halls.”

 

Keith visibly perked up at that news.

 

“I’m allowed to train?”

 

“Of course you are. There will be a few rules though. You will only be allowed to train under supervision and you will take regular breaks when we tell you to. I’ve heard about the training schedule you kept to at the castle and that is not happening here. Now let’s get going.”

Chapter Text

Training with Antok was surprisingly fun. Keith had at first thought that he wouldn’t be allowed to do much, but Antok didn’t go easy on him, he just didn’t allow him to overstrain himself. Keith was used to leaving his training sessions dizzy, sore and exhausted, but when they left the training halls to join the rest of the pack for a private dinner in Kolivan’s office, he was actually feeling great. 

 

Dinner was peaceful. Ulaz had apparently enforced a ‘no serious blade business during shared mealtimes’ rule to make his workaholic packmates take a proper break. The conversation was therefore light and cheerful, with Antok recounting some of the more humorous training mishaps new recruits had had over the years. The anecdotes seemed to be mostly for Keith’s sake, but the rest of the pack didn’t seem bothered by hearing the stories again, and they were funny enough. Although, he would enjoy them much more if it wasn’t for the insistent heaviness in his bladder that he now recognized as needing to pee.

 

“...and then Regris tripped over his own tail and headbutted him in the nads.”

 

Keith chuckled weakly. The others seemed to notice his flagging reactions.

 

“What’s the matter kit? Are you tired?” Thace voiced their shared concern.

 

Keith felt the warmth of a blush suffusing his cheeks, although he knew that it wouldn’t be visible under his fur. He knew that he had to admit his need before he got to the same situation as when he was in the infirmary, but he couldn’t bring himself to say it out loud.

 

“I think I know what the problem is,” Antok saved him from having to explain, “we’ve been training the whole day and he hadn’t excused himself once despite drinking a lot of water.”

 

“Why didn’t you just go, kit?”

 

Keith sighed and turned to look at them. If they were already discussing the embarrassing topic of his bathroom habits, he might as well just explain himself.

 

“I don’t like using those common bathrooms. They are too open and I feel exposed. And they are busy. I don’t like doing that sort of stuff where others can see. Usually, I would wait until it was very late or early when I could be sure that no one will be in there for a longer time.”

 

Antok frowned, “Keith, I’m sorry if the common galran arrangements made you uncomfortable in the past, but you can’t keep holding it just because you are too shy to use the bathroom around the others. You’ll make yourself ill.”

 

“Actually!” interrupted Ulaz, “it would be better if he avoided the bathrooms for a while. I meant to discuss this after dinner, but his immune system is one of the things that had been affected by the change. He will need to be inoculated against all common galran diseases. I’m working on synthesizing all the necessary vaccines, but until that is done, he should avoid any crowded spaces where he might run into a sick blade on a leave. This includes bathrooms, the mess hall, the infirmary, and the common rooms.”

 

“Don’t packs with kits get to requisition their own restrooms?” asked Thace. “From what I understand, it’s not unusual for kits to be too anxious about the public bathrooms to use them. I assumed that Keith had been fine with them before and that he wouldn't mind using them now, but...”

 

“I have already put in a request to install a lavatory in our pack room on the grounds that we have a kit, but it will take at least a movement for that to be done. In the meantime… Keith, would you mind using the absorbent pads? We can set them down in one of the unused alcoves of the pack room so you can have privacy.”

 

Keith reluctantly agreed. He wasn’t looking forward to using the pads, but the promise of privacy had won him over. Ulaz had led him back to the shared room, having already brought a packet of the necessary items earlier. Once they were inside, he walked toward one of the walls and pressed his hand against it. A door, previously almost invisible, slid open and revealed a small empty room.

 

“There are a few of these alcoves connected to each pack room in case a mated pair wants some alone time. This one is unoccupied, so it can become yours if you want.”

 

Turning on the light, Ulaz showed Keith how to access the room, how to lock it from inside and outside, and how to open the waste chute where he could dispose of the used pads. Then he demonstrated how to properly unroll the pads from their sealed state and laid one down for Keith to use. 

 

“Do you think that you can manage on your own or is it bad enough that you need help?”

 

“I don’t know,” Keith confessed, prodding his stomach gently, “It doesn’t hurt yet, but I don’t feel the urge like I did when I was still human. All I feel now is a slight weight. It’s just so different. I can’t guess how much I need to go at all.”

 

Ulaz looked thoughtful.

 

“The feeling of weight sounds like the normal galran sensation of a full bladder. I didn’t expect it to be so different from the way humans felt it. I guess we will have to give you a schedule of toilet breaks until you learn how to interpret the feeling yourself. Since you said that it doesn’t hurt yet, you should try going by yourself first. I’ll be just outside, so if you can’t, come and get me. I will show you how to do a proper bladder massage.”

 

With that Ulaz left him alone. Keith locked the door, just to be sure that no one would barge in to check on him before he’s ready. Then he took off his blade suit and stopped to contemplate his next step. So far, he had pissed twice while in his new galra body. He couldn’t replicate the circumstances of the first time, but he could remember the sensations he felt that morning.

 

Squatting down near the edge of the pad, he forced his body to relax and waited. When nothing came out after a while, he tried straining and pushing his pee out but got nothing again. Frustrated, he tried pushing down hard on his bladder. A hard stream sprayed out for a tick, but then it stopped and he couldn’t get it to start again.

 

Keith resigned himself to asking Ulaz for help. He didn’t bother putting the suit back on and unlocked the door to call the doctor in. Ulaz immediately noticed that the pad was still dry except for one spot too small to be all the liquid in the kit’s bladder. 

 

“All right. We will try the bladder massage now.”

 

Ulaz motioned for Keith to squat over the pad again and knelt behind him. Then he took one of Keith’s hands and guided it to a spot on his lower abdomen.

 

“I’m going to guide you through the motions, but you need to apply the pressure yourself. You need to be firm, but don’t use so much force that it begins to hurt.”

 

Then he proceeded to circle Keith’s bladder area with an open palm, sometimes digging the heel of his hand in the centre and pressing downwards. Keith followed the movement and once he memorized the pattern, he began to apply pressure.

 

At first, it seemed to work as a dribble had started up and even turned into a weak stream for a tick once or twice. Keith whined a bit, frustrated at the slow rate. Even though he didn’t feel the urge to go, the relief he felt was much more intense than what he remembered from his human body. When the dribbles stopped and wouldn’t restart again, Keith felt a mewl tear its way out of his mouth before he could stop it. Ulaz drew him into a tight hug as soon as the cry began and rocked him back and forth, cooing softly. Keith didn’t want to admit it, but the action soothed him greatly. Eventually, Ulaz released him from the embrace.

 

“I’m sorry for doing that without asking, but that sound made me act on instinct. Keith, I need to ask you a question. How old are you exactly?”

 

“I’m 18 in Earth years, but I don’t know how much that is in deca-phoebs. Pidge tried to convert the units, but all I remember is the years are shorter. Why is it important? You knew my general age before.”

 

“No, kit, I did not know. I had guessed, using my knowledge of the black paladin that you are about twenty deca-phoebs old, but I had apparently misjudged. You would be closer to 16 or 17 deca-phoebs. That would put you right on the edge of the stage where you go from requiring stimulation to being independent. That sound you just made, that’s a cry of a young kit asking its parents to help it void.”

 

“Great, so I’ll have someone fondling my privates every time I go to the bathroom,” Keith groaned. “How long until I don’t need help to pee?”

 

“Not too long, kit. The fact that you went a little means you are close already. I’d say no more than a phoeb, two at most. Back to the matter at hand, may I help you or do you want Kolivan again?”

 

Keith thought about it for a while but eventually decided that Ulaz had already seen him in an uncomfortable and awkward situation and this wouldn’t be any worse. Having obtained permission, the doctor left to gather the necessary supplies. While waiting for him to get back, Keith tried to massage his bladder again, hoping that the previous failure was just a fluke, but all he could produce were more of the little mewls.

 

Ulaz was entirely professional about the procedure, which helped a lot in defusing the tense atmosphere in the room. Keith was led to the dryer half of the mat and made to squat again. Ulaz once again knelt behind him, braced him with one hand and with the other he moved the ‘tongue cloth’ between his legs from front to back.

 

The reaction was quicker now. After the first lap, Keith’s tail suddenly straightened out and rose up, forming an almost right angle with his back. In three ticks he began peeing and this time he went until he was completely empty. As Ulaz coaxed the last droplets out though, Keith noticed that something else had begun moving downward as well. Thankfully the doctor had stopped long before it had a chance to get out, but Keith was dismayed nonetheless. He usually avoided going number 2 at the galra bases and held it until he got back to the castle. He wasn’t even sure if galra pooped since all that he could find in their common bathrooms seemed to be a version of a urinal and that was definitely not a question he would be asking anyone. He viciously pushed down the little voice telling him he might not have a choice in the near future.

He would hold it and then find a way to sneak off and do it without anyone knowing. Somehow. He might have mysteriously lost almost all shame when it came to being naked and peeing around his pack (not anywhere else though), but the thought of doing that in front of someone was simply mortifying. 

 

Once he was declared sufficiently clean, he dived back into the nest and cuddled his blanket. It was clean and dry now but still had his scent. Ulaz came out soon after, having disposed of the soiled mat and chuckled at the kit’s antics. He was happy to see Keith act so unrestrainedly his age. He really didn’t want to interrupt, but he needed to discuss one more thing before the kit played himself to sleep.

 

“Keith, can I tell the pack about your current issue?”

 

The movement stilled.

 

“Why are you asking me?”

 

“Because I’m a doctor and you are technically my patient. What happens between us is confidential, but I would prefer if the others knew about your needs. I may not always be available to help since I often get called in for emergency surgery. Besides, everyone in the pack wants to help you. They will not think any less of you for this. Please consider letting at least one other person know.”

 

“You can tell them,” came a hesitant reply from beneath a mound of pillows, “but wait until I’m asleep or something. I get that this is something they need to know, but it’s still embarrassing to hear you talking about that.” 

 

“Alright, now get out of there before you fall asleep, you still need to drink your milk.”

 

*****

 

When the other pack members returned to the nest room, they Found Ulaz petting the sleeping Keith and writing something on his datapad. The paler galra motioned for them to be quiet as they stripped off their uniforms and began getting ready to sleep.

 

“What are you working on?” whispered Thace, as he sat down next to the doctor.

 

“I was contacting the older Altean about the data from their cryopods. I might have worked with the champion during my mission, but my knowledge of human medicine beyond repairing battle wounds is obviously lacking. Knowing Keith’s previous baseline data will give me a much clearer picture of his current health.”

 

“Shouldn't we include the kit in this debate?” asked Kolivan.

 

“No. I need to discuss something with you and he specifically asked not to be included.”

 

Kolivan’s eyebrows rose in incredulity, “He did? Why?”

 

“Apparently such things are considered extremely embarrassing among humans. Anyway, I had miscalculated slightly. Keith is actually younger than I expected. Young enough to still need stimulation.”

 

“That young!?” exclaimed Antok, upon which he was promptly shushed by the other three, but it was too late. 

 

Keith’s eyes opened slightly and he made a series of inquisitive chirps. A hand petting his hair almost pushed him back to sleep, but he was curious to find out why he was woken up. He could hear the responses from the other pack members, sounds as instinctive as his own. Then he remembered what Ulaz wanted to tell them and hid his face in the nearest pillow with a groan. The others were chuckling at him.

 

“Kit, since you are up, you might as well explain why would humans find an act as natural as urinating to be so embarrassing.”

 

Keith groaned again but eventually raised his head.

 

“It’s just...I mean...Well...I guess it’s a sort of cultural thing? I don’t think it’s that way for all humans everywhere, but where I was raised kids are basically thaught that doing it anywhere other than toilet is very bad and not being able to use the toilets past certain age means that you are stupid or something is wrong with you. And it’s actually illegal to do it anywhere in public. You could get arrested for public indecency.”

 

“Arrested?” Ulaz was flabbergasted, “It’s unsanitary for sure, but to warrant such a punishment...”

 

“Um, I don’t think that it being unsanitary is the main problem, it’s more about the person exposing his privates.”

 

“But why would that be an issue? The person wouldn’t be committing a sexual act.”

 

“It’s because...I...I really think it’s just a cultural thing. We learned a bit about it in history? Something about the people who founded our country having a religion where just being naked was considered sinful.”

 

“That seems highly illogical considering that being naked is the most natural state of most beings.”

 

“I guess. It’s weird though. Ever since I’ve turned galra I don’t feel ashamed of being seen naked around you or by you guys helping me with, you know.”

 

“Are you saying that humans find it too shameful to share such a thing even with their own family!?” Antok was horrified.

 

When Keith nodded Antok made a distressed sound and scooped him into a hug, nuzzling him. The others sat quietly in thought until Ulaz spoke:

 

“Keith, I don’t really know about humans, but galra need physical contact to stay healthy. You might have noticed that we don’t exactly wear nightclothes and there is a reason for that. Prolonged skin to skin contact is necessary to release hormones essential to the normal function of our nervous system. Kits especially are susceptible to permanent harm or even death as a result of deficiency. As a hybrid, you might need it less or just as much as a full-blooded galra, but we will not risk finding out through trial and error.”

 

“What does that mean for me?” asked Keith sleepily.

 

“It means,” replied Antok, “that you are getting a daily hug and cuddle.” But at that point, Keith was already dozing. His last thought before he fell asleep was that that might not be bad at all.

Chapter Text

Thace worked on his datapad in the nest. He had been chosen for kit-watching duty today and, as his work did not require his presence anywhere particular, he opted to stay in the pack room and let the kit sleep for a while longer. Ulaz had devised a timetable of bathroom visits. The first one on the schedule was coming up in less than a varga. He would wake the kit a few doboshes before that if he didn’t wake up by himself.

 

He was so immersed in the reports, that he didn’t notice when Keith started shuffling around restlessly and whimpering almost inaudibly. 

 

Keith woke up to a sharp pang of pain in his belly. He was laying down on his stomach while sleeping and the weight of his own body pressing down on his bladder was causing him considerable discomfort. He turned to lay on his side and fussed at the pillows around him to make sure that none were touching his stomach, but the pain did not go away. It merely subsided into a dull ache instead of the faint pressure he was starting to grow used to. Sensing a presence within the nest, he tried to push himself up on one elbow to see who it was, but a spike of agony made him fall back down with a wordless cry.

 

The desperate pained noise startled Thace from his contemplation. In less than a tick, he was by Keith’s side, pulling back the blanket to get a better look at him. He was greeted by the pitiful sight of the kit curling around his stomach protectively with little whimpers of pain and occasional desperate mewls. Thace was torn between helping the kit and getting Ulaz but decided that Keith needed immediate attention and the doctor could be called later.

 

“Kit, can you get up?”

 

A small headshake was all the answer he got. Bending down, he picked him up as carefully as possible and slowly carried him towards the newly claimed alcove, trying not to jostle him.

 

“I’m sorry, Keith. I know you are not as familiar with me as with the others, but this needs to be done now.”

 

“Don’t care. Just make it stop hurting.”

 

Having obtained permission, even a circumstantial one, eased Thace’s nerves. Working swiftly with one hand he spread out an absorbent mat and moistened the stimulation cloth. Then, still holding Keith, he squatted down and adjusted the kit so that he was leaning against his legs and abdomen. He hooked one arm under the kit’s knees, lifting his legs out of the way and set to work.

 

At any other time, Keith would have protested against being held like a toddler who couldn’t be trusted not to pee all over his pants. Now all he wanted was for his bladder to be empty as soon as possible and he didn’t care how he would get to that point. He noticed that Thace’s technique when stimulating him was different. Instead of long linear strokes, he made small circular motions over and around Keith’s penis. It seemed to work just as well as though and in a tick Keith felt the familiar numbness and draining, followed by all-encompassing relief.

 

Thace could tell the moment his ministrations took effect because the kit went nearly limp against him. A tick later he could feel warmth splashing against his hand but he paid it no mind and focused on continuing the massage. The kit’s overstrained bladder barely had the strength to expel the pent up urine which alternated between spurting out weakly and dribbling out to trickle in rivulets over the kit’s bottom. He would need to wash the kit properly afterwards.

 

It took three doboshes before Keith finished peeing and Thace kept rubbing for one more to ensure that everything was out and to diminish the achy feeling in Keith’s bladder.

 

Thace carried him back to the nest, laid him on a towel and sent a quick message to Ulaz before starting to clean the pee out of Keith’s fur. By the time the doctor arrived the kit was clean and deeply asleep. Thace explained what happened and Ulaz rubbed the kit’s belly to find any signs of damage or lingering discomfort. He was reassured when the young blade purred loudly.

 

“There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong. I think his bladder just overfilled while he was asleep. The Voltron paladins sent me the data from his previous scans and it would seem that humans have much smaller bladders in proportion to their bodies than we do. It would seem that his is somewhere between the average for two species now. We will need to add some more bathroom breaks and at least one during the night. Let him nap for a varga and then take him to Antok. Some light exercise will help him relax.”

Chapter Text

As Keith was still banned from crowded common areas he was once again having dinner in Kolivan’s office, this time alone with the leader. The rest of the pack were too busy to eat a full meal and would just grab a quick snack, but they insisted that Keith should eat properly. Before him sat a plate of traditional galra food: some strange meat with orange-green vegetables. It was delicious, but Keith couldn’t bring himself to eat more than a few bites.

 

For the first time in days, it was his stomach and not his bladder that was causing him problems. He knew he needed to poo. The sensation of that was quite similar, though not same, between his previous body and now. The weight in his lower gut had been growing since the previous evening, but like with peeing, it didn’t show any inclination towards coming out unless he was being stimulated. This quintant his bathroom needs had been seen to by Thace and Antok, who focused their stimulation on his crotch area. This, thankfully, didn’t seem to get the other stuff moving. He was more comfortable around the others now, but not that comfortable.

 

He did not want the others to know he had to go. He did not want the others to be able to tell he had gone. At first, he had thought he might be able to just sneak into the side room he was given, do his business, and throw the evidence away without anyone knowing. His new sense of smell had quickly done away with that idea. Every time the door would open a faint scent of urine would wash over the nest room. And the other thing was bound to be even more pungent.

 

The public bathrooms were out of the question even if Ulaz hadn't forbidden them since just passing by one triggered a wave of anxiety and nausea. His old room was a no-go too. It didn’t have the trash disposal chute so he would have to carry the waste down a corridor to get rid of it and that was even worse. He decided to simply hold it for now. Maybe he could make it until the toilet was installed in their room.

 

*****

 

Kolivan was patiently watching the kit eat, trying to figure out what was wrong. It wasn’t the food, that much he was certain. The expression on the kit’s face when he tasted it and the vigour with which he took his next few bites proved that. It wasn’t his bladder either. Antok had taken care of that before leaving Keith here. Yet, the kit seemed to be embarrassed about something, sitting slightly hunched and stubbornly avoiding eye-contact.

 

He was pondering whether he should just ask when he heard a quiet gurgle come from the kit’s direction. Another gurgle came and this time he could pinpoint the source: the kit’s stomach. Keith seemed to realize he had been given away, as he was staring at his abdomen with a mixed look of horror and accusation as if it had betrayed him. It was a rather amusing sight, but Kolivan was worried as well. He now realized that the kit hadn’t passed stool in the three quintants he had been at the base and who knows how much longer before that. Galra didn’t have the same problems with bowel movement as with urination but letting a kit have a buildup was not healthy and Keith had obviously had to go for a while already. 

 

“Kit, why don’t we take a break from dinner, take care of your problem and finish after? It’s obvious that you don’t have much appetite now.”

 

“What problem? There’s no problem. I’m fine.”

 

“Kit, your stomach already gave you away.”

 

Keith merely shook his head.

 

Kolivan sighed, not wanting to force the issue but knowing that it was necessary.

 

“Why don’t you explain why you are so against it and maybe we can work on making you more comfortable? You can’t avoid your bodily functions and this one, in particular, will happen even without your consent if you keep putting it off.”

 

“It’s because this is personal and extremely private, and I don’t want anyone knowing, and I don’t want anyone to smell it.”

 

The barrage of words was almost too fast for Kolivan to catch.

 

“Well, kit, I already know, so let me help you. As for the scent, I can’t do anything to eliminate it completely, but I can take you somewhere where no one will notice that it was you. I will not talk about it with anyone except for Ulaz if he needs to know for medical purposes.”

 

The kit seemed thoughtful for a bit before assenting and letting Kolivan lead him out of the office.

 

*****

 

Keith mulled over Kolivan’s offer and decided that whatever he was proposing would probably be the least painful and humiliating way to deal with the current situation. Following the leader of the blades, they passed to an empty part of the base. Despite being disused, it was still kept clean by the drones, but he could tell that no one had been there for some time.

 

Kolivan seemed to have arrived at their intended destination. He stood in front of a door and waited for Keith to catch up. Then he opened it and they both entered.

 

Keith looked around in curiosity. The room looked a bit like the infirmary, all white and clean and with cots pushed against the walls, but there was no medical equipment and the beds were far too small for adult galra. The strangest thing by far though was the fact that the room didn’t smell like anything. Everything else had at least the faint scent of luxite and the material of the blades’ suit, but here all smells were muted and blended, like a scent equivalent of neutral grey colour.

 

“This is a temporary nursery. All kits we rescue stay here for a short while before they are assigned a pack in one of the safer bases.”

 

“You aren't going to send me away, right?” interrupted Keith.

 

“No, kit, you are a part of our pack and you can take care of yourself enough that this base is no more dangerous to you than any other. I took you here because this room has strong scent inhibitors to prevent the young kits from imprinting before they are sent to their new surrogates.”

 

“Imprinting?” Keith perked up curiously, “Ulaz mentioned that before but what does it mean?”

 

“Each kit picks one adult galra to be their primary caretaker. The memorization of each other’s scent is paramount in the process. At first, this bond is formed with the mother, and a weaker but similar bond is later formed with the father and the rest of the pack. If the mother has another kit or is killed, the bond will break and be re-established with the nearest trusted adult. It creates a powerful connection on an instinctual level that both the kit and the chosen caretaker are compelled by. The kit will seek out the bonded adult first if in distress, only coming to others if the primary bonded is not available and the adult will likewise be physically unable to ignore the kit’s pleas for attention.”

 

“Does that mean I compromised you?” asked Keith, ears drooping in apprehension.

 

“No, kit. I am honoured to have you and I am honoured to have your trust. The fact that you imprinted on me in less than a varga while unconscious shows that on some level you have already considered me as pack even while you were mostly human. It also shows that you were feeling your abandonment very keenly. I’m sorry. If I had known about your true situation, I would have offered you a proper place in our pack much sooner.”

 

“Don’t worry about it. I didn’t know either. Or, I guess I knew, but couldn’t define it. I always felt like I was missing something important, like I was never fully safe, but before you made me a part of the pack, I could never tell what was wrong. I felt like I was constantly searching for something, but I didn’t know what, only that I would recognize it once I found it.”

 

Keith felt a thumb gently wiping under his eyes and realized he was crying. Kolivan drew him into a hug and then picked him up and carried him a short distance. There was a chair behind one of the cots and Kolivan sat down on it with Keith in his lap and let him cry into his chest until he calmed down; not attempting to stop him, just carding his fingers through the kit’s hair.

 

When Keith was done with his bout he relaxed in the older galra’s embrace and would have fallen asleep if not for Kolivan gently shaking his shoulder.

 

“Don’t sleep yet. We came here for a reason, remember? I will take you to the nest afterwards if you are that tired, but first, you need to eliminate.”

 

“I was hoping you’d forget about that.”

 

“No, kit. I would never forget about your needs. You can’t delay it forever. In your current state, you would not be able to go by yourself until you had an accident. That would likely be even more embarrassing not to mention unhealthy. What I don’t understand is how you were able to hold it for this long while being stimulated.”

 

Keith squirmed awkwardly: “I almost went yesterquintant when Ulaz was helping me, but he stopped before it came out and Antok and Thace have a different way of doing the stimulation that didn’t make me want to go.”

 

“Ah. They probably only know the way the stimulation is done on locked-up adults since they never had to take care of any kits.”

 

“Does that mean you did?” asked Keith, privately wondering whether Kolivan had any children.

 

“Yes. In fact, I helped raise Ulaz, Thace and Antok. My parental pack had adopted them as surrogates when I was about 150 and they were 13, 7, and 23 respectively. I was old enough by then to be trusted to watch them for short periods of time and you are trying to delay the inevitable again.”

 

“Alright, I’ll stop asking questions for now as long as you promise me to tell some embarrassing baby stories about the others later.”

 

“That I can do,” laughed Kolivan, “let’s get it over with now.”

 

With that, the pack leader got up and left Keith on the chair while he set up all the necessary items. Once everything was ready Keith came over. Kolivan instructed him to squat in the middle of the pad instead of near the edge as he was used to and started stroking him with the folded cloth. 

 

Keith’s tail immediately shot up behind him, standing ramrod straight. He emptied his bladder quickly, a few trickles that were soaked up by the mat underneath him instantly. Unlike the previous evening with Ulaz, however, his poo started moving after the first stroke too. He could feel it nearing the exit and his tail started twitching up and down following the contractions of the muscles in his pelvic floor.

 

Kolivan was waiting for that, as he stopped his movements for a while to allow the first piece of the mass to pass. Only once his tail stilled again did he resume, settling into a pattern of stimulating and letting Keith empty his bowels. It took a lot longer than when he was being stimulated to pee and his legs were starting to get tired.

 

“Alright kit, I think you are done now.”

 

Hearing that, Keith jumped off the pad and stretched his legs, resolutely not looking at the small mound of the mess he had created. He didn’t look back until he heard the sound of the waste chute closing.

 

*****

 

Kolivan stimulated the kit for a few doboshes and the amount of stool he produced alarmed him a bit. It was very bad for a kit’s health to hold that much. No wonder his stomach had been making noises. He was a few vargas away from releasing involuntarily. Other than the amount though, the results of the movement seemed like a healthy kit stool, so he wouldn’t have to inform Ulaz.

 

When his actions no longer induced the telltale twitches in the kit’s tail, he let him know it was over and watched the kit jump away. The way he seemed hellbent to not acknowledge his waste was slightly adorable, although he would never say that aloud in the kit’s presence. Rolling up the used mat to make sure that the mess stayed in the middle, he disposed of it and the led Keith to one of the cots. There he instructed him to lean on it tail up and legs apart and quickly wiped his fur clean. After that, he drew him into a hug again.

 

“There, that wasn't so bad was it?”

 

“It was humiliating,” huffed Keith, “Could you maybe tell Ulaz to stimulate me the same way Thace and Antok do? I mean, he’s a doctor, so he’s professional enough to make it bearable, but I’d rather if only you did this for me.” Then his eyes widened as he realized what he just asked for, “I mean, only if it doesn’t bother you. You are probably too busy, being the leader and all.”

 

“It’s alright kit, I don’t mind, but it’s true that I might get called to handle an emergency situation.  How about I let Ulaz know about the arrangement and he will only help you if I really can’t be there for you.”

 

“Ok,” Keith’s answer was punctuated with a yawn. Kolivan picked him up and started on their way back to the nest. The kit snuggled closer to him and fought to keep his eyes open.

 

“You can sleep now if you want to.”

 

“I don’t wanna,” a yawn interrupted him, “How come I can’t stay up late anymore?”

 

“Your body is still drained from the abrupt change. It’s only been three quintants, you need to give yourself time. Besides, you probably need more sleep now that you are closer to a galra kit than you did when you were more human.”

 

“That sucks.”

 

“Maybe so, but you should listen to your body and rest when it tells you to.”

 

And so Keith did.