After a rough mission with the Blades, Keith dragged his aching body to his assigned quarters. The halls were dim, faint purple lights ran along the base of the wall, giving little light for the former paladin to see. Or maybe it was the hit he took to the head earlier during the mission that was causing the difficulty to see. Either way, he didn't expect to run a wall when he rounded a corner. The pain in his head flared causing his vision to blur, spots of darkness creeping through what little he could see. Ignoring all sound judgement, the young Blade continued the long, pretty much blind, trek to his room. Telling himself that he would be fine if he just slept for a while, Keith pushed away the thought of doing the mandatory check-up with the on duty medical staff. Ulaz would probably have his head for that.
Forcing one foot in front of the other, tripping over his own feet most of the time, he finally made it to his door. Trying to get the door open without missing the scanner was nearly impossible though. After the fourth attempt, his hand managed to slap on the offending piece of technology, allowing him to enter the dark quarters he called home. Not bothering to turn any lights on, Keith made his way to the pallet set up on the floor in the corner and promptly flopped on top of the thin blankets. 'Only five minutes' he told himself before he was lost to the world.
Kolivan frowned as he peered over the last mission report of the day. It was from a mission that had ended a few hours ago when the Blades had infiltrated a large cruiser, collecting some much needed intel for the Voltron Coalition. But that wasn't the reason why it was garnering so much distaste from the rebel leader. No what the problem was, was that it was the twelfth mission report the newest Blade recruit had filled out in the past four days. That was difficult even for a seasoned member. Even though they were short numbered, it was no excuse for Keith to be running himself ragged. Allowing the data pad to drop onto the desk, Kolivan stood and began to swiftly make his way to the sleeping quarters for the Blade members. He would check there before going to see if Keith was in the training room.
Fully intending to get to the bottom of the mission reports with the former paladin, Kolivan was detoured from his mental rehearsal when he happened to spot a trail of red on the floor. Bending down to get a better look, the metallic scent instantly assaulted the keen nose of the Galra. Only one person at the base bled red blood, Keith. With a much greater sense of urgency than before, Kolivan made his way through the ever entwining passageways of the base, following the signs that would lead him to the injured blade.
Upon reaching the quarters where the trail ended, he knocked a harsh, yet desperate rap on the closed door, the metal pound echoing through along the corridor. When no answer was given he knocked again. Still there was no answer. Ignoring the privacy of a closed door, he placed his hand on the scanner, typing in an emergency keycode when his entrance was denied.
With a hiss the door slid back, revealing a dark room. Finding a dimly lit panel just inside the door, Kolivan turned the lights up, causing him to blink at the sudden change. When his eyes had adjusted to the increase in light, the state of the room made the seasoned warrior take a step back.
The walls were completely bare, and there was only one article hanging on the wall, Keith’s standard everyday outfit of black jeans and his signature red jacket. There were no bookshelves, not even a desk. The only sign of living was the small pallet in the corner of the room. This was unacceptable! That was where the young Blade was, sleeping, or rather passed out on top of a thin blanket, still in his ruined Marmora suit, which was covered in rips and scorch marks. A dark stain on the boy’s thigh started to show itself, looking even darker against the black of the fabric.
Rushing over to he still form, Kolivan’s hand went instantly to his brow, wiping the sweaty hair out of his eyes. Though he was half human, the other part of his physique was Galran and praise to the ancients that they got fevers. Otherwise, Kolivan might have been at a loss for what to do. When no movement was roused from the young Blade, Kolivan looked for the source of the stainl. The injury appeared to be a laser shot wound, the crisp edges having been melted with the skin.
Calling the boy’s name again did not awaken him, but a sound Kolivan never would have thought he would hear again made itself known. It was a kit’s whimper. But that would mean.. Oh quiznack! Keith was a kit. Gathering the youngling in his arms, Kolivan quickly made his way out of the barren room.
A lone Blade patrolling through the hallways was startled when his leader whisked past him with a bundle in his arms. It appeared to be a very small Blade, but the guard didn't know of any operatives that small. And was that whimpering? Was that a kit?! The startled guard could offer no inquiry though, because by the time he reached the corner, his leader was long gone. With a confused look, the guard continued with his patrol; Leader could handle whatever the problem was.
In his haste, Kolivan hadn't seen the patrolling guard. Had he, he would have inquired as to Keith’s pack’s whereabouts. But he hadn’t seen him, so he continued his fast paced trek to the medical ward. Thankfully, Ulaz the head physician, was present, and since he had already cared for the boy before, he was better suited to the task then Kolivan had been. As soon as Kolivan entered the area, Ulaz looked up from a data pad and nearly dropped it as soon as his eyes lighted upon what Kolivan was carrying.
“What happened?!” the physician exclaimed.
“He returned from a mission, and didn’t come in for his mandatory check-up. I found him in his room. His left thigh has a burn on it.” Kolivan finished by placing Keith down on an examination table.
The other blade quickly began to cut away the tattered suit and scan the intent of the young half Galran’s injuries. Seeing as his part in the work was done, Kolivan left, telling Ulaz he was going to alert Keith’s pack. Leaving the med bay, the seasoned officer went to find the housemistress, who would know how to contact Keith’s them.
Though the eldery female Blade couldn’t continue on missions anymore, she was spritely enough to keep living on the Marmoran base. She ensured the operatives returning from missions from all over had rooms to stay in, even the visiting ones. She was difficult to track down though, and when Kolivan finally found her, it had taken him nearly an hour.
“I can find no trace of the young one’s pack.”
Her statement caused apprehension to spike in Kolivan. Keith was a kit and he had no pack. Kolivan left without a word. Grabbing his communicator on the way out the door, he sent a message to his own pack, minus Ulaz, and called a mandatory pack meeting in their quarters. It took him maybe ten minutes to get to the large nesting room that housed all four blades, Thace and Antok were already inside. Ulaz was obviously not present as he was taking care of Keith.
The two Blades, who had been lounging in the nest, stood at attention when Kolivan entered, looking intently at their leader, who never called a meeting unless something was seriously wrong. And something most definitely was.
“It has come to my attention that the newest Blade recruit is a kit and has no pack and I would like for him to join ours.”
Kolivan’s statement caused much outrage to follow. Thace was cursing in every language he knew, Antok merely sunk back into the nest, his mouth working on a response to the news.
“A kit?” the large warrior whispered disbelievingly. “We allowed him to take the trials. I fought him.”
“Keith is a formidable fighter, it is understandable that we did not realize his age sooner. I’m sure it would have remained unnoticed had I not had to carry him whimpering to the med bay after he ditched a mandatory after mission check-up.”
“He’s hurt?!” Thace looked ready to explode. Kolivan was barely able to restrain him from leaving.
“Ulaz is caring for him and I doubt he will need your help. In fact, you will probably just get in the way. And besides, we have other matters to attend to. Keith’s belongings will need to be moved here if we are all in agreement about him joining our pack?”
“Of course the kit can join.” Thace exclaimed. “He should never have been alone to begin with. I will see to it personally that his things are moved here.”
“Unfortunately, it isn't much. Merely his change of clothes, blade, and a thin pallet, he doesn’t even have a nest.”
Antok stood up and went to a large dresser. He began pulling ever extra pillow and blanket out and throwing them into the nest.
“Then I shall ensure that he has the most comfortable nest ever.”
While Thace left to gather Keith’s things, and Antok made room for the kit, Kolivan returned to the medical ward to inform Ulaz of the pack’s additional member. Upon arriving there, the Blade leader was surprised, yet relieved, to see Keith, changed into less ragged clothes, sitting up and talking with Ulaz. The physician greeted Kolivan, but it surprised the kit and he nearly jumped out of his skin. He hastily, and not at all gracefully, lept off the examination table, but mistakenly forgot about his leg injury. Had Ulaz not been standing nearby, waiting for something like this to happen, Keith would have fallen on his face.
“Now what was I just telling you about staying off your feet?” the physician’s anger was not something anyone wanted to face, and Keith was no exception to that.
“Forgive me Ulaz, I forgot.”
The boy’s pained apology was quickly forgiven, if only to get him to sit back down. After ensuring that he was alright, Kolivan broached the subject about the kit’s missing pack.
“I don’t even know what you’re talking about.” The kit sounded so confused.
Ulaz was the one who intervened and explained to Keith what a pack was and why they even had packs. It was good that he did, because Kolivan was still trying to wrap his head around the kit not even know what a pack was. When he was finished explaining, Ulaz looked expectantly at the other Blade member. Nodding at his friend’s unspoken question, Kolivan began to speak to the hurt kit.
“My pack wishes to adopt you. Would you join our pack?”
Keith was sure he hadn’t just heard that come out the leader’s mouth. Kolivan wanted him to join his pack? Ulaz had said he hit his head pretty hard, maybe he was just concussed.
“Would you join our pack? It consists of myself, Ulaz, Thace, and Antok.”
“But why would I need a pack?”
“A pack takes care of each other when one is hurt or sick. They are a family that watches out for the other members. Sharing food and blankets, and there is also the matter of you being a kit.”
Now Keith was sure he was hearing things. A kit? Had Leader lost his mind?
“Yes. A youngling, a kit.”
“I’m not sure what you mean, I’m basically considered an adult on my home planet.”
“But you have Galran heritage and age differently than your human half, therefore, you are a kit, kit.”
Not sure what to make of this new name, Keith thought about the other offer of a pack. It would be nice to see other Blades at times other than during life or death situations. And if it included more bedding, the quarters he had now were quite cold during the late nights, though Keith had assumed that the Blades were just more suited to the cold then he was, they did have fur.
Kolivan opened his mouth, probably expecting Keith to decline the offer, but once he actually heard the words, he promptly closed it again. Nodding to Ulaz, Kolivan picked the kit up, producing a surprised squawk from Keith.
“Leader, I can walk,” the kit vainly tried to assure the older Blade.
“Nonsense kit, you can barely stand up on your own. Besides, this is what a pack does for its members, they take care of each other.”
Since he got no help from Ulaz as the physician followed behind their leader, and he wasn’t given another option, Keith allowed himself to be carried like a child to his new pack’s quarters, where upon arrival, was instantly surrounded by two mother-henning Blades. Who knew they could scold for so long. Ulaz finally warded Thace and Antok away, giving Kolivan the chance to set the kit in the nest of blankets and pillows. Being careful as he shifted his legs into a comfortable position, Keith noticed his everyday clothes were hanging on a hook alongside three other suits of armor.
“I took the liberty of bringing your belongings from that barren room you called your quarters.” Thace told the kit when he noticed him eyeing the outfits.
“Thanks, but you didn’t have to do that.” Keith was slightly embarrassed that not one, but two of the Blades had seen the bare room he had called his home.
A yawn caused from the kit caused the other Blades to quiet down and join Keith in the nest, laying down in a circle around the boy. Snuggling down into the soft blankets, and stealing the body heat from round him, Keith began to fall asleep.
Safe, was his last thought before he was lost to the world. The pack was now his safety. And they would do anything to keep him that way.