Pidge flipped the fifty-first page of her book and smiled. The guys had been gone for hours, off on a supply run. They had been insistent on letting her stay at the castle so she could decode some encrypted Galra files, even though she had told them it would only take about an hour and she could easily decode them when they got back. But no, the files were too important, and they needed them right away.
Well, just as Pidge had told them, it did only take an hour. Actually, fifty-nine earth minutes if she had done her math correctly.
After she had finished that there was seemingly nothing else to do. Coran and Allura were in a conference call with a chief from a planet interested in joining the resistance and said that Pidge probably wouldn't understand most of it anyway; since it was mostly politics.
So, she had decided to dig through her old school bag, the only thing that had made it with her from Earth, along with its contents, and found a book she had been meaning to read before they had all been whisked away into space.
Surprisingly, Pidge was actually enjoying relaxing, something she hadn't been able to do for quite some time. There was nothing to fix, no planets to save, not even a generally weird mishap, like when the food machine had attacked Hunk and her. Just Pidge, a comfy chair, and a book about the life and works of Isaac Newton.
"AAAAAHHH!" Pidge leaped out her chair, dropping her book in the process. After seeing a familiar and dark Altean face hovering next to her chair, she let out a sigh of relief and picked up her book. "Hi, Allura."
Now, Pidge wouldn't say that she disliked Allura, just that she didn't necessarily think of her as a 'best friend' as she did with Lance and Hunk. The two girls had never really bonded, and Pidge had come to think of Allura as sort of an aunt that wasn't around very much.
Now Allura came around from behind the chair, "So, Pidge, what are you up to?"
Pidge lifted the book slightly to reveal the cover, "A book about Isaac Newton, he's a big science guy back on Earth."
Allura looked around the room, "That's sounds interesting."
The two stood across from each other in silence for a moment.
This feels kind of awkward. Should it feel awkward? Does she feel this awkward? I should say something.
"So, I guess you and Coran are done with your meeting?"
"Yes," Allura said. She glanced back at the doorway, and Pidge noticed Coran standing there. He was staring at the princess with a quirked brow and an impatient look.
Allura huffed and looked back at Pidge, "Coran thinks we need to bond."
"No, no, NO!" A barking shout came from the doorway, "Princess, that is not how you do it!"
The older Altaen marched into the room and stood next to the two girls. "Here let me show you how it's done."
He faced Pidge and clasped his hands together. "Well hello there Pidge, lovely weather we're having," The man said in, what Pidge guessed to be Allura's, voice.
Then he turned to Allura and pretended to adjust a pair of glasses. "Well, yes, if you take into account we're in space and there is no weather."
"Oh Pidge, you're so funny, with your math and numbers. Anyway, would you like to play with the mice with me? They're really quite sweethearts."
"Sure Allura, and isn't Coran the greatest for helping us strengthen our bond?"
"Mm-hm, he sure is."
Coran finished up his performance with a smug look, "There, now does that look so hard?"
"Oh come on," Coran exclaimed, "You're the saviors of the universe and you can't even have a simple conversation?"
Pidge shuffled her feet and absentmindedly flipped through her book. Allura coughed.
Coran folded his arms, "Alright then, do you have any suggestions?"
Pidge weighed her options, Either I say no and have Coran breathing down my neck all day about companionship, or I say something, we do it, and I might actually have a fun time with Allura. I mean, if Lance likes her, she must be nice right? Wait, nevermind, scratch that, Lance likes anything with sentience.
After a few moments, she decided everyone would be better off if she just hung out with Allura for a while, at least until Coran left them alone.
"Well, there is a tradition on my planet called a girls night out, though I guess in this stance it would be more of a girls night in."
Allura considered her with a slight sense of unease, "What exactly happens at a 'Girls Night In'?"
Pidge though for a moment, I had one with mom once, but all I really remember from that is nail polish, popcorn, and movies. Wait, movies! All of those cheesy teen movies mom liked, those always had some form of girls night in them.
"At a girls night in, you, uh, play Truth or Dare, listen to music, eat lots of food, and- oh, play MASH. Yeah definitely play MASH."
"What is MASH?" asked Allura while Coran stood behind her clapping his hands.
Oh, right, Altaens probably don't have MASH. Pidge grinned at the memories of her and Matt playing the game, and Matt teasing her whenever she was left living in a shack. "It's a super fun game, you'll love it. Come on, let's get some paper, or a screen, or whatever Altaens use." She grabbed Allura's hand and dragged her down the hall while Coran clapped furiously.
"Bravo girls, Bravo! Excellent performance!"
"Alright, so you will live in an apartment, have two pet snakes, drive a top of the line ship, and marry a boy named Keith."
Allura gasped and grabbed the screen from Pidge's hands, she picked up a tablet pen and furiously erased the already set up MASH board.
"You did that on purpose!"
The other girl shrugged, "Hey, don't hate the player, hate the game."
"You drew up the game!"
Pidge laughed, "Face it Allura, it's basically destiny. You're gonna marry Keith and have lots of brooding sulky babies with mullets."
The two girls sat in the common room surrounded by all of the blankets they could scrounge up and a few containers of Altean cuisine, which wasn't as bad as Pidge originally thought. She was also having a great time hanging out with Allura. It was really easy for her, and everyone else, to forget that the princess was still a teenager. When she was addressing the team she always acted like Shiro, a captain, an adult, but the more time Pidge spent alone with her, the more she loosened up and started acting like a kid.
"Alright," Pidge said, placing her hands on her knees, "Since you erased the MASH board, what do you want to do now?"
Allura picked up a berry from a container of food and dropped in her mouth before replying, "You talked about a game called Truth or Dare, what is that?"
"Oh, just a game from Earth. You ask me 'Truth or Dare', and I have to pick one. Then you either ask me a question, which I have to answer truthfully, or tell me to do a dare."
The princess nodded, "That makes sense, may I go first?"
"Truth or Dare."
Pidge thought for a moment, she really didn't want to get up from her comfortable blanket nest just to do something embarrassing.
Allura smiled deviously and Pidge felt a pit of dread growing in her stomach.
"Who was your first crush?"
Pidge groaned and covered her head with a blanket, "No, no, no, no, NO! I take it back, dare, DARE!"
Allura cackled, "You had me marry Keith, this is merely retribution."
Pidge pulled the blankets even further over her head and took a deep breath, "Lance."
The laughter from outside the blankets stopped and Pidge slowly peeked her head out. Allura's face was twisted in a concerned frown.
"Oh, Pidge, I'm sorry I embarrassed you."
Pidge shot up from her blankets, her face red, "Wait, no, I don't like him anymore! I had a tiny crush on him my first week at the Garrison, and you can not tell ANYONE"
Allura rested her head in her hand, "But, why Lance, of all people?"
"Honestly? He was the first boy I knew, who wasn't related to me, that was nice to me."
Allura put a hand over her mouth and Pidge heard muffled giggles coming from behind it. She glared, "Why is that so funny?"
Allura gasped for breath as she spoke, "Y- you literally chose Lance because he was your only option!" She fell back onto the floor laughing and clutching her stomach.
Pidge smiled, "Well, when you put it that way, I guess it is a little funny." She laughed a little at her own stupidity. Lance! She had had a CRUSH on LANCE! The same Lance who had put little tentacles in her food goo as a prank. The same Lance who had failed every one of their flight classes because he didn't listen to his team. It was unbelievable!
"Alright, now it's my turn," Pidge said once Allura had calmed down. "Truth or Dare?"
"Wow." Pidge blinked, "That was quick."
Allura smiled wryly, "Well, I didn't want to end up on the same ship as you, having to admit I had a crush on-"
"Yeah, yeah, " Pidge interrupted, "Let me see, I dare you.." She trailed off, thinking for a moment. I could have her propose to Coran. Nah,
that's too harsh. Spin around thirty times then run across the bridge? Too boring. Wait a second, I've got it!
"I dare you to take me on a space-walk."
Allura tilted her head, "Why? You go on plenty of space-walks."
"Uh, yeah, with Shiro. Do you know how hard it is to have fun with that guy around? We'll literally be walking around in SPACE, and all he can say is, 'Pidge, don't go too far. Pidge hurry up. Pidge be careful.' I understand he's worried about me, but sometimes I think he just overreacts. But you'll be much more relaxed, right?" Pidge looked at Allura with her best puppy-dog eyes, which almost always worked on Lance and Hunk.
Allura sighed, "Alright, but we'll do that at the end of the night, no reason to interrupt our game. Speaking of, Truth or Dare?"
Pidge frowned, "Hey, you just want to get to your turn faster!"
Allura smirked, "Don't hate the player, hate the game."
"Really? We all know how well that turned out for you last time."
"Argh, would you stop bringing that up! Yes, I pick Truth."
"Okay," Allura tapped her chin as if in deep thought, "Do you want your old hair back?"
Pidge raised an eyebrow, "Huh, I never really thought about it." Did she want her old hair back? Technically she could grow it out now if she wanted. A small part of her thought about her old life, with her long hair, and her brother, and middle school, and how if she grew her hair back, maybe it would all feel normal again. But then she remembered she was on a flying space-castle with three giant robot lions in the basement and realized her life would never be the same again.
Plus, short hair was so much easier.
"Nah, I think I'll keep it short."
Allura stroked a lock of her own pale-blue hair, "I don't think I could ever cut mine, it reminds me of a simpler time." She gazed off into the distance for a moment, as if wallowing in memories she could never experience again.
"It's my turn now, Truth or Dare?"
"What was it like being a princess?"
Allura looked startled by the question, "What do you mean?"
"What was it like? Did you have servants? Did you attend royal meetings? Were you allowed to have friends outside the castle? Were you allowed outside the castle?"
"Oh," Allura wrinkled her dark brow as if struggling to remember, "No, I didn't have servants, not personally. The palace had workers, though I'm not sure if they count. I was allowed to have friends outside the castle, and I went to school with everyone else, though some of the other children didn't like me- I'm assuming because of my status. I was only allowed outside of the castle for school or with my father's permission, he was very protective of me."
Allura's eyes took on a misty quality and Pidge immediately felt guilty. Maybe I shouldn't have brought up her father or her old life, after all, I don't like it when people mention mine. Suddenly Pidge was hit with a pang of homesickness, for her mother, her father, her brother, she even missed the companionship of the other students at the Garrison, even if she didn't talk to them much. She suddenly felt very thankful that Allura was willing to spend time with her. Sure Lance, Hunk, and Shiro all hung out with her, but they were GUYS. Allura was the only girl on the whole ship, it might be useful to befriend her.
"Hey," said Pidge, "Why don't we take that space-walk now."
The princess smiled and ran a hand over her eyes, "I'll race you to the suit station."
"Ugh, Keith move, you're in my space!"
"There is literally no more room in this ship Lance."
"Yeah, there is, in the back, with the cargo."
"I'm not going to sit back there with a bunch of boxes. Why don't you go?"
"Because I called shotgun."
"Boys quit fighting, we're nearly at the castle. Get ready to unload the cargo." Shiro said, pulling the two away from each other, opening the door, and pushing them into the cargo hold. He turned back to the teen piloting the giant yellow lion, "Thanks again Hunk for offering to fly us."
Hunk grinned, "It was actually Yellow who suggested it; or psychically told me to, or, I don't know. What I'm trying to say is that she wanted to stretch her legs."
"It's alright Hunk, I know it's complicated to explain the bond between a lion and its paladin," Shiro replied, giving Hunk a hearty pat on the shoulder.
Hunk breathed out, "It sure is."
Soon the Castle of Lions came into full view, a shining white and blue beacon of hope for creatures across the galaxy. As the yellow lion
got closer, two small figures suddenly appeared outside the ship.
"Wait who are they?" Shiro asked, a look of concern growing on his face.
Yellow quickly scanned the area and identified the two figures, who were now obviously wearing Altaen space suits. Princess Allura and Pidge Gunderson
"Why are they outside?" Hunk questioned with slight uncertainty. "Did something happen.?"
The two figures were attached to the ship, and each other, by a long silver cord. They spun around in the open space, jumping off of the ship and twirling like ballerinas.
Shiro smiled slightly, "I don't think anything's wrong." Then he grabbed a small walkie-talkie looking object from the front panel and held it up to his mouth.
"Pidge Gunderson, you are in so much trouble."