Rule 35. Yes, Keith, well-done steaks are an abomination and should not be tolerated. That does not mean you should shove your tongs down their throat.
Another day, another planet liberated with the power of Voltron. The Paladins basked in the adulation of the city the inhabitants had been crammed into to provide manpower for the nearby mine the Galra had been operating - and the vital industrial services needed to serviced the mine. Mechanical equipment, engines, pumping…
Oh, and they were also trying very hard not to pay attention to the fact that said aliens were basically colorful jello sacks with eyes. Laughing would be rude. Not to mention dangerous. The fate of the Galra garrison once Voltron had drawn off the fighters and lone cruiser had been… not pretty.
Things were just getting awkward enough for Keith to want to leave, propriety be damned, when one of the aliens, colored blue, waddled up to him, bearing a large metal box.
"Oh great and bounteous Paladin!" he (she?) declared. "We of the planet-" There was a string of incomprehensible gibberish, and that was through his helmet's built-in translators. "Are forever in your debt! Please, take this gift as a small means of repaying it!"
Keith opened his mouth to refuse, but a glance around showed that the adulation wasn't going to stop anytime soon. And worse, it didn't look like it was going to stop anytime soon. Lance due to ego, Allura, Pidge, and Hunk due to the general adorability of the slime aliens. This would kill a few minutes, at least.
"Thank you," he said, taking the surprisingly heavy box and opening the lid. His eyes widened at the contents. Inside were smoothly-cut slabs of rich, glistening red meat.
For all the work Hunk had put into foraging and adjusting the Castle's food machines to make something other than the food goo, meat wasn't really on the menu. Nobody particularly wanted to have to slaughter an animal, and the food makers stubbornly refused to make meat. They had to eat the food goo to get enough protein, a fact that nobody was happy about.
And now, meat. Good meat, if his eye did not deceive him.
"Hunk!" Keith called out, idly closing up the box. "We need to get this gift to the freezers, ASAP!"
"Aw, c'mon, can't I stay a little longer? These guys are so adorable!"
Sighing dejectedly, Hunk ndisengaged from the crowd and followed Keith up to the castle.
"So…" he drew out. "What's got you all excited?"
A smile spread over Keith's face, one of the more genuine and wide ones Hunk had seen on him. "I've got meat, Hunk. And if I'm not completely off base, good grilling meat, even."
Hunk's eyes widened, and he matched Keith's smile with one of his own.
"Oh boy…" he half-breathed, half-moaned. "Grilled meat…"
No more words were said as they entered the castle.
Some time later, a worn-out Lance, Allura, and Pidge trudged up to and into the Castle of Lions in high spirits.
"Well, that was nice," Pidge remarked as she shucked her helmet. "It's always nice to see what we're actually fighting for."
"Yup," Lance nodded sagely. "And getting some appreciation for our efforts is pretty nice, too."
"Well, as fun as it was, I'm famished," Allura said. "And since Hunk left ahead of us, I'm sure he's got a nice meal cooked up."
Lance and Pidge considered that, and then entered a blissed-out state. Long gone were the days of blandly offensive food goo. Between the Castle's food synthesizers and foraging with Coran of local ecosystems, Hunk was in cook heaven and eager to bring everyone up with him.
This bliss, however, did not prevent them from seeing Coran leaning around the doorframe to the dining room.
"What's he doing?" Lance wondered.
"Coran?" Allura called out.
The Altean flinched, and turned around, beckoning them over. "Keith and Hunk are up to something," he stage-whispered.
That got him a round of befuddled looks; Keith and Hunk? Had those two ever interacted outside of group situations? One by one, Allura, Lance, and Pidge struck out on any memory of such an event.
"They've got this container full of meat-"
"Hang on, I meant to ask this a while back, but why don't we have any meat?" Pidge interrupted. "I mean, food goo does the job protein-wise, but…" She grimaced. "Well, it's food goo. I'd murder Lance for some of my mom's chicken cutlets."
"Oh, don't even get me- hey, why only me?!"
"Why would we eat meat?" Allura jumped in. "It's inefficient and morally repugnant! Not to mention disgusting! That's something the Galra would do!"
Any objections - and from Lance's open and then suddenly closed mouth, he had many - died in the face of that statement.
"Okay, yeah, can't argue with that," he admitted.
"I still want those cutlets…"
A loud clattering sound echoed out from the dining room, and at once everyone was leaning around the doorway, Lance on top of Coran on top of Allura on top of Pidge.
The clattering was some metal contraption Hunk had just dropped on the floor; he and Keith seemed to be discussing it, the latter bent over the thing. Just off to the side, they could see some sort of metal box.
"Electric?!" Keith demanded, in roughly the same tone of someone finding a fly or hair in their soup.
"Yeah, yeah, I know, but nobody uses propane out here, Keith!" Hunk retorted. "Besides, is this any worse than having to freeze the rest of the meat?"
Keith didn't say anything for a moment, and his back was turned so no one could see his expression. But the sigh he eventually let out said everything.
"Fine, electric it is. Let's get this set up outside." He stood, and then called out, "And you're all welcome to join us!"
Startled, two Alteans and two Earthlings all tumbled into a pile on the floor.
The Paladins, minus Hunk but plus Coran, decamped outside, Keith poised over the grill with a pair of tongs. The pointed glares from Coran and Allura just washed right off of him.
"So, any requests?" he asked.
"Oh! Can I get some blue cheese on top of mine?" Lance eagerly asked.
"Hunk?" Keith queried.
"Yeah, I can whip some up. Gonna have to be added after you finish cooking the steak, though."
"That's fine. Pidge?"
"Can I get mine well done?"
Keith watched in childish awe as his father poked at the steak cooking on the grill. Literally childish; this was a young Keith, not even out of elementary school, eyes wide with an innocence absent from his older self and not even the jacket. Just a plain t-shirt and shorts.
The mullet was still there, though.
"Firm, but with a little give," he said. "Yup. These are medium rare."
Keith nodded, in that mindless way children do with a good parent. Then a thought occurred to him. "What if someone wants theirs well done?" he asked.
His father turned towards him, face grave. "We politely but firmly ask them to leave."
Hunk hummed happily to himself. He was walking towards an honest to goodness steak dinner, he'd prepared a full smorgasboard of side dishes on top of Lance's blue cheese topping and some fried garlic chips, and Keith was smiling.
And then he came across the scene on the grass.
"Let me go, Allura!" Keith roared, brandishing tongs at Pidge, who was sprawled out on the ground rubbing her jaw. Lance was kneeling right behind her, looking none too happy with Keith.
"Why? So you can try and shove your tongs down her throat again?!"
"She wanted it well done!"
"And this is why Alteans don't eat meat!" Allura snapped.
"Great…" Hunk sighed.