quick drabble based on this verse (lovingly known as the commander dad verse) with @galransandextras about katie and sendak kick-starting their strenuous father and daughter relationship
Katie felt like she had more pit than gut.
Here she was, standing before Zarkon—the emperor of the known universe—asking favors from someone so ancient that he had probably gazed upon the stars of her galaxy as young celestial bodies. She felt the same regret she had seeing Sendak and Haxus strip and shackle her teammates. Katie still tried to stand tall, throwing away all her second-doubts about her deal with Sendak, and focusing on her payout.
She had already presented Zarkon with her tribute, as Sendak had instructed her (Along with how to bow and salute). Now, she only had to name her reward.
Zarkon rumbled as he spoke, making his words ricochet off the wall and stab into her ears. “And what were you hoping to trade for Voltron, child? Your kind does not know the glory of serving me yet.”
Taking a deep breath, Katie tried to talk in as big of a voice as she could muster, “I.. I was…I want my family t-to be safe. And my team. I just don’t want any of them to be hurt.”
“Ah,” he droned the same way one does when a child was telling a meandering story. It reminded Katie of the same unimpressed sounds her teachers made when she gushed about the scientific world.
To her horror, Katie realized Zarkon was bored. She had given him Voltron. She had given him the bayards and the armor, too. She had even given him the other paladins! Her friends! Yet, she might as well be an ant. Katie gulped on nothing as she reeled over her own insignificance.
She opened her mouth to say something. Whether to beg or bargain was to the snap-decisions of her neurons furiously trying to process all the different things wrecking her brain.
But Zarkon finished his deliberations before any sound could rattle out of Katie’s throat, and he decreed, “I leave your fate to Sendak. I have no obligations to fulfill the requests of a little girl bartering for favors with my lions.”
Sendak, who had bled into the background until now, stepped forward from his place behind Katie. All too easily, he replied, “I will keep the girl. I hope to keep her family, too. They have proven enough scientific prowess to be assets to my own development teams.”
“I will consider your request.” Zarkon said with a flippant flick of his wrist. “The fates of the remaining paladins are still to be decided.”
“But–!” Katie cried, balling her tiny hands into angry fists—as if they might intimidate a god.
“Thank you, Sire,” Sendak crooned smoothly, slamming his organic hand to his chest in salute, while his mechanical hand picked up Katie easily. She blustered plenty from between his fingers, but Sendak walked her out of the throne room without giving it any notice.
Once the grand doors were closed behind her, he dropped her in a heap. Katie scrambled to her feet quickly, looking angry in the face as she seethed, “You used me!”
It wasn’t an accusation. It wasn’t even a condemnation. It was a fact. It was a sad, miserable fact said by a sad, miserable girl.
The rest of her was shaking, but it wasn’t an angry shaking. It was more akin to the shivering you see in the last leaf of a tree trying to hold our during the first winter storm of the season. Her seething didn’t last long, as her voice took on the type of heaviness that comes from having an emotional wad in your throat.
“You used me.” She said again, quieter, this time, as the dust from her ruined schemes finally started to settle. She had been tricked, and she wanted to be angry; however, she was now grappling with everything she had lost in this gamble. “A-and now.. I don’t have anyone.. Except you. Because you own me. You monsters own me and everybody I love. Because you used me. And.. And, now.. none of them have a reason to love me anymore. Because I gave them up. I gave them all up for nothing, and now they’re all gonna hate me forever and ever.”
She wished she knew more words. She wished she knew bigger, fancier words that could describe everything she was feeling right now. It wasn’t enough to say Sendak had used her; it wasn’t enough to say she’s lost everyone who ever loved her. That didn’t explain the betrayal, and the hurt, and the shame that sunk into her heart like fishhooks. She didn’t know what else to say, though, because those words were beyond her—locked away somewhere in the seventh grade vocabulary journal she never got a chance to study.
She bleated, like a goat, before her first sob was wrung from her soul. It came from a deep, deep place within her, and more and more sobs followed. Katie hit the high note of her crying without any crescendo, bursting with horrible sounds from the throat and horrible fluids from the face.
Sendak could try to hush or beat her quiet, but Katie was all but lost to her anguish. He settled a hand atop her head, considering how else to handle her little episode. Without much thinking much beyond her absolute childishness, his hand swept down her head and curled around her cheek. He had to crouch down to so.
In a moment of pure desperation, Katie leaned into the warmth—she leaned into the warmth of the man that had ruined her life. Because she really was a sad, miserable girl, and she had no one else to hold her.
Sendak felt true pity in his heart at the sight. How young was this creature to wail like a lost kit? How underdeveloped was this creature to nuzzle into his hand like it was a litter-mate? It stupefied him to know that the Altean princess had hoped to pit her against the likes of Zarkon. She would’ve already been gored to death, had it not been for his manipulation.
Sendak didn’t think much about how he would’ve been the one to gore her to death, had he not concocted this entire scheme off the assumption of her being related to a slave of his. It was a given. Sendak served Zarkon through word and tooth, and he served best by biting before speaking. Truly, there was mercy in his manipulation. Katie was just underwhelming and useful enough to win it over his teeth.
He relaxed his fingers, curling them so his claws pressed into his palm instead of the girl’s scalp. He brushed through her hair as he did so, disguising his sleight of hand as further affection. Although, he wouldn’t be able to tell you exactly what he was disguising.
Katie responded immediately by squeezing her face into Sendak’s hand. She also hugged his forearm, treating his entire arm like the plush toy you give kits to comfort them during cosmic storms.
Sendak felt some mild disgust, seeing how her snot was smearing into his fur and onto his armor, but he supposed it was marginally more sanitary than the blood and gore that’s soaked through pelt and suit alike.
He sat there, crouched down low for some moments, as she cried and cried. She was no longer sobbing, so Sendak considered her soothed.
Katie’s tears were just as fat as before, though, leading him to realize that she would be beyond words until she had some rest.
It was a strange habit among prisoners—especially those too young to truly comprehend the vastness of the empire that had claimed them.
They would cry and cry until their first sleep. Then, acceptance would slowly wash over them.
Sendak thought about knocking Katie unconscious. It would be easy enough; she was positively miniature in his war-torn hands. She was already pitiful enough, though, and he wondered what a concussion might do to an under-baked human brain.
Feeling indulgent in the wake of his victory (He had guaranteed Galra salvation with only some minced words), Sendak slipped his hand out of Katie’s grasp. He was amused, in a twisted way, by how grief-stricken the girl looked to lose her makeshift plush toy. He suspected she might’ve started sobbing again, had he not used his snotty arm to hoist her up to his chest.
Katie settled there, awkwardly, resting her chin on Sendak’s shoulder after the vertigo wore off.
She was too deep in the pit to care about the wrongness of this all. Her soul was too heavy for her to carry, right now, and she only wanted to be held.
She just stared, numbly, at the walls, as Sendak walked her deeper and deeper into Central Command.