Allura's POV
by Forest

Frowning in worry, I hurry after Cheddar. I wonder who's crying? And so hard that Cheddar was worried... Rounding the corner, my eyes fly wide open, taking in the rocking figure of my Captain. Oh, _goddess_. _Lance and Sven_ must be the ones in the rec room.

It's hard to believe that this shaking, huddled figure is really Keith. He's always so strong, so confident and, much to my dismay, untouchable. But right now, curled in protectively on himself, rocking slightly, he is anything but. Lips compressed, I carefully reach out and enfold him in my arms. I can't believe Lance would do this to Keith. Keith loves him so very much. It shows in everything he does — and Lance just takes it as his due! I know Lance loved Sven, but he hasn't been back for even a full day yet. And, he's so … different.

I know one thing, if Keith ever looked at me, even for a moment, the way he looks at Lance, I would never take it for granted. I could live my life on such a moment. But the one I'm in is far more urgent. Not quite knowing what to say to this Keith who huddles miserably in my arms, I say the truth, only hoping the bitterness doesn't come through. "I'm here for you, Keith." No mention of who is NOT here.

He turns slightly in my arms, opening his eyes and looking at me… oh, goddess, with a naked need pouring from those eyes that have haunted my dreams, eyes that are now red-rimmed and shining with tears. "I don't want to be alone."

I take a deep breath, feeling determination strengthen my resolve. Filling my voice with a quiet intensity, willing him to understand the depth of my sincerity, I respond. "You're not alone." Lance may take him for granted, may betray him with an old lover, but as long as I am there, Keith will never be alone. I'll gladly give him my heart, if he'll only take it. And I know of only one way to show him — by offering something else. I lean forward, and kiss him.

For a moment, his lips are still and unresponsive, and I wonder if I've made a mistake. It feels so strange, pouring my heart into this kiss only to be met with… nothing. Like the practice kisses I performed on my own arm as a child. But I can not give up so easily, and I am rewarded as suddenly, he comes to life under me, kissing me back, hands roaming down my back and pulling me even closer.

I am surprised by the sudden ardor for a moment, until I recognize it for what it is. I feel the painful sting of tears building behind my eyelids, but I refuse to cry. I shiver at the sensation of his tongue against my lips, slipping between them and into my mouth. His lips are thickened, clumsy and swollen with grief, and his mouth carries the bitter, stale taste of tears.

He pulls away, and I have to fight a near-panic, have to stop myself from forcing his mouth back to mine. But even as his neck arches back and a sob hitches past his throat, his hands grow more demanding, one clutching me tighter, the other starting to loosen the bodice of my gown. I quiver with the sudden thrill that sends through me, and allow my own hands to run over his body for the first time. How long I've wanted to do this...

And then his lips are back on mine, and somehow he shifts us so he is leaning over me. I peek at him, though I know you're supposed to kiss with your eyes closed. His are. They are squeezed shut tightly, as if they may never open again, and his lovely, thick eyebrows are drawn together, making harsh lines on his face. I do not peek again. Instead, trembling but determined, I slide my hand underneath his shirt, the nerve endings in my fingers tingling at the contact with his bare skin as I run my hand up his marbled stomach to his chest.

My inexpert caresses strike some right place though, because he suddenly inhales sharply, and odd little noises rise involuntarily from him. And his kisses change. No longer do his lips feel clumsy. I am allowed one tiny moment for understanding -- his actions had been driven by grief, but now there is desire there too -- and then such comprehension is swept beyond me. It is as if his body burst into flame against mine, there is such sudden heat, overwhelming me, forcing my breath to begin coming in panting gasps. His mouth is hot and wet and demanding, a lake of fire that will drown me.

I feel something that is half fear, half blind exhilaration. It strikes me as funny, suddenly (though I do not have the presence of mind to laugh), that I came to comfort him, to help him, to give him a shoulder to cry on and a body to hold. Because I am none of those things anymore. The sheer force of the passion he turns on me has swept me aside until I am nothing. I am a tiny satellite in his space.

I've been into space. Space has none of this heat, does not leave damp trails of pleasure across my skin, and does not have any of this inexorable velvet darkness. But space is the only thing I've ever experienced that is this vast, so vast that I am lost in it, each soft sound he makes sinking me in another infinite level. Goddess, how does Lance do it? How does he hold onto himself in the face of this?

I am only vaguely aware that both of my hands are under his shirt now, moving feverishly against his skin, and sounds are coming from my throat, and words, but I don't know what they are; it doesn't matter. His lips are savage against my neck... and suddenly he goes still. Entirely, deathly, frighteningly still. The velvet infinity I was drowning in drops away and I can do no more than whimper through still-panting breaths in loss and confusion. His lips still touch my throat, the only part of him that moves as he says, quite clearly, "Lance."

My eyes fly open to see Lance standing pale in the doorway of the cubicle. Keith's back is to him, I don't know how he knew he was there, for I heard nothing. The world has quite suddenly stopped, and I am terrified of what will happen when I take my next breath and it starts moving again.

Praise Forest (and possibly nag for more fics)

JoAnn's Conclusion which is hosted on Taryn's site

Forest's Fics