It’s been a long time since Pidge had seen these walls. Spotless, sheen, tall, metal walls, illuminated by the faintest of purple lights that were installed in between the conjunction of the floor and the wall.
But oh, how she didn’t miss them.
And the awful slew of memories that came with them.
They didn’t even cuff her, just threw her into this cell like she was a sack of garbage. Not that they had to anyway, Pidge thought begrudgingly. She didn’t put up much of a fight.
It’s been years since she’d last trained.
She’d rounded the cell nearly a dozen times now, re-establishing what she already knew and half-expected. Over the past six years, the Galra sure haven’t changed much, even when the Empire fell. They still had the same lights, same cells, same doors that were virtually impossible to barge through unless you had the key or convenient DNA, and the same stupid, boring, blasted walls that enclosed her at all four sides.
There was nothing that she could do but wait.
And God, did Pidge hate waiting. Because waiting meant thinking, and thinking meant remembering, and that was already making her brain pound relentlessly against her skull. The memories she’d tried forgetting for the sake of her sanity re-surfacing again like an old, unwanted friend.
How had her regular trip to the coffee shop before work suddenly turn into a kidnapping by the most rogue and wanted aliens in the universe?
Right, because she was a Paladin of Voltron.
Key word, was.
The universe hadn’t needed Voltron for six years now, the war had ended and Haggar and her son were dead. The universe had rebuilt and peace reigned supreme across galaxies. Pidge hadn’t picked up her bayard (which was locked securely away in the safe in her closet with the rest of her armor) since the fighting had stopped. She hasn’t talked to her Lion for God knows how long and -- her heart ached -- she hasn’t seen her teammates in years.
They’d all tried to keep in touch after the end of the war, but soon, all of them had drifted apart. Keith had left with the Blade of Marmora after he learned Earth had nothing worth staying for (Pidge tried not to be too hurt by that at the time). Hunk declared piloting ultimately wasn’t for him and took off to culinary school. Lance on the other hand, decided that he wanted to finish piloting school at the Garrison. And Allura also left to help stabilize the peace in other quadrants, Coran, ever the loyal royal advisor, followed her.
At least, that was what she’d last heard of them doing. Now, who knows what they were up to? It’s been six years. Six years since she’d last seen the ring on Allura’s finger, and the lovestruck gaze both she and Lance shared when they gazed upon each other at their wedding, right before she left Earth -- Lance for some reason denying to go with her because he wanted to ‘get his permit in flying’ (which was completely absurd because why would he need a permit, he was a Paladin, one of the best damn pilots in the universe).
The bitterness of that night that Pidge’d long since buried began to encroach upon her and Pidge relentlessly beat it back down.
The only person she’d kept in touch with was Shiro. Shiro became an instructor at the Garrison not too long after the war, and she knew he and Matt and her father still conversed sometimes (when they weren’t too busy with their own burdens). She herself had popped in a few times in their conversations over the phone, and Shiro always asked her how she was doing and how she was liking work.
Pidge had managed to acquire a permit to the labs down in the city and was working there full-time. She liked her work, it kept her on her toes and kept her grounded to reality but sometimes the work was so extensive she’d have to pull all-nighters, but that was alright.
It gave her excuses as to why she wasn’t sleeping anyways.
So she’d tell Shiro it was good, exhausting, but good, and that would typically be the end of their conversation.
The topic of Voltron was never broached once.
And now, today, today of all days when she had a presentation for work to prep for, Voltron, or more specifically, the Galra, was slammed back in her face with all the force of a high-speed train.
A full six years later, when Pidge finally felt reassured that Voltron and anything to do with it, was behind her.
Who was she kidding? The universe was never so generous. She’d learned that a long time ago when she was a Paladin, when she was still the naive, stupid, lovesick girl that she was.
Pidge groaned, letting her head hit the back of the wall with a thunk (that only worsened her headache) and shut her eyes. She took deep breaths, the breathing exercises her therapist had instructed her to take, and tried to quell the shaking in her hands.
Godamnit all to hell.
What did the Galra want with her? Hadn’t Voltron gotten rid of them long ago? She knew there must have been some fragments and pieces left of the Empire after it fell, and that insurrections did take place in the couple of months Allura and Keith had kept in contact, but she thought they were all put down. Demolished and never to rise again. So how-?
The door to her cell slid open with a whoosh.
Pidge didn’t even have time to think before a warm and solid body collided into her, knocking the breath out of her and ramming her head back into the wall so that she saw stars in her eyes.
“Pathetic.” The Galran at the doorway tsked, blaster in hand. “And to think the Paladins of Voltron were famed as the mighty defenders of the universe. Weak. The term ‘Paladin’ seems to have changed over the ten thousand deca-phoebs the Empire has thrived. Long live Empress Honerva. Vrepit sa.”
And the door shut.
There was a discrepancy in his words because alarm bells blared briefly in Pidge’s head, but she didn’t give it a second thought and instead whined, pushing at the weight on top of her weakly and snapped a quiet, “Get off.”
At her request, the weight rolled off of her and Pidge could finally breathe again. Her head was pounding and her vision was spinning and the darkness and the thoughts in her head were not helping, so she didn’t bother to say anymore as she lifted her hands to her temples and shut her eyes, counting her breaths in an effort to calm everything down.
In, one, two, three, four, five. And out, one, two, three, four, five, six.
In, one, two, three-
“...Pidge?” an uncertain, but familiar voice croaked from beside her.
Surprised at the call of her name, Pidge cracked her eyes open.
It was hard to see in the limited light, and everything basically looked purple, but Pidge could recognize those blue eyes anywhere.
Her breath hitched in her throat, her mental counting in her head forgotten as her heart stuttered.
Oh, how her day just kept getting better and better.
Lance scrambled upright from his awkward sprawling on the floor (Pidge, to her utter mortification, couldn’t help but notice how lean his body still was -- was he still working out?) and stared at her, mouth agape.
“Holy- Pidge, is that really you?”
Pidge had no idea what to say. It was like her brain had an off switch and someone had flicked it off because her brain was not working right now. She stared at him blankly, eyes wide and jaw open.
And then Lance said something that totally caught her off guard. “How are you... how are you alive?”
And then Lance was pulling her into the tightest hug she’d ever been apart of, burying his face into her hair as his whole body shuddered and shook.
“Oh D-Dios, Pidge, you’re alive, how are you-? Were you here this whole time, oh Dios, Pidge, Pidge, Pidge, Katie, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry, what-”
“L-Lance...” Pidge managed to say, her voice muffled as her face was squished into his collarbone. Her body was ramrod straight and her limbs were as stiff as lead because holy fuck, what was happening? She hasn’t seen Lance in six years and now when she finally sees him (captured in a Galra ship, no less) he’s holding her and rambling to her and what the fuck was happening?
She finally managed to get her limbs to cooperate with her so she could place her hands firmly on Lance’s chest, pushing away from him so she could look at him. He was gripping onto her like a lifeline, and he was shaking and trembling and when she could finally see his face illuminated in the purple light she could see shininess on his cheeks.
Was Lance... crying?
“Lance, what-?” Pidge asked, absolutely bewildered by his... reaction.
Had he really missed her that much? What-
And then Lance was leaning closer, until his lips suddenly brushed hers.
Pidge jumped back with a yelp, surprised because what the fuck?
Lance pulled away immediately, his brows furrowed in confusion but his eyes holding a sense of desperation and love that it scared Pidge to death.
“What?” he asked.
“Y-you- what, you tried to- Lance, what the fuck?” Pidge exclaimed, cheeks flaming. She fought to clamber off of his lap (embarrassment burned in her chest because how had she let him pull her towards him? Why was his embrace so irresistible?) and his grip finally loosened on her enough so she could get off of him.
He didn’t let go of her hands though, and when Pidge tried to wrench them away, he only held tighter.
“Pidge, I- what are you doing, I-”
“No, what are you doing?!” Pidge cut him off. “Let go of me!”
A flash of hurt flickered across his face, but he complied and let go, and Pidge hugged herself tightly and backed away from him as far as the cell could possibly allow her.
They sat in tense silence for a moment, the only sound in the cell was their labored breaths, and Pidge shut her eyes, hating and reveling in the memory of his lips just barely touching hers. She could still feel the electricity that one touch had done to her, her heart slamming into her chest at the thought.
But no. No, Lance was with Allura, why would he want to kiss her? This didn’t make any sense, and the headache she’d had before now felt like someone was taking a sledgehammer to her skull.
The silence was shattered, when Lance spoke quietly, “What did they do to you, Pidge?” His voice sounded broken, sad, and it made Pidge’s heart ache.
She frowned and shook her head. “They didn’t do anything to me, I just got here. How did you get here?”
“They found me at the safe house on Nantko. Stormed right in and slaughtered everyone. I’m... I’m the only one they took alive.” Lance whispered.
Pidge’s eyes widened. “What- Nantko? Lance, you went to space?”
Lance finally looked up at her, face pulled into a frown. “What do you mean, I went to space? We’ve been in space, Pidge, for eight deca-phoebs.”
Pidge shook her head desperately. “No, no, that’s crazy! The war ended, Lance, we all came home! I was just on Earth this morning!”
It was Lance’s turn for his eyes to widen. “What?”
Pidge continued, “We defeated Haggar six years ago, and freed the Alteans she enslaved under her rule. You, me, Hunk, and Shiro stayed on Earth. Keith, Coran, and Allura went to snuff out all the remaining Galra factions that managed to survive the fall of the Empire.” she intentionally neglected to mention that he’d married Allura the night before they saw her off, the memory too painful to bear. “You mean you didn’t-?”
“That’s not what happened.” Lance said, voice adamant. He leaned forward, his gaze seeming to pierce right into her soul. “Voltron... Voltron’s gone. The Lions are gone. The Castle was stormed two deca-phoebs ago, we were separated and been on the run since then. Shiro... something happened to him and he... he killed Allura and Coran.”
Pidge couldn’t help but gasp at the news, even though her brain was already making counter-arguments to his tale because there was no way. No way. Sure, it’s been years since she’d seen her team, but she all knew they were still alive. She’d just talked to Shiro two weeks ago, and Allura and Coran were in space. There was absolutely no way Lance’s story was true.
But the way Lance was telling his story, how his eyes lifted to the non-existent sky and his hands trembled and his face showed undeniable grief and pain, it had to be true. But it wasn’t.
“-you were captured six phoebs ago.” Lance kept saying, and Pidge’s attention snapped back to him. He visibly swallowed and shut his eyes, sucking in a shuddering breath. “I tried to go back for you but... Matt wouldn’t let me, he said you would’ve wanted me to live, but I couldn’t... I couldn’t think of a world without you, Pidge. I couldn’t, and so when the Galra attacked the safe house last night I let them take me but they already killed all the rebels and oh Dios, Matt-”
“Stop.” Pidge found herself choking. She blinked the hot tears out of her eyes, tears that had generated just through hearing Lance’s story, and shook her head. “Stop.”
Lance shut his mouth. After a tick though, he whispered, “Why won’t you let me kiss you?”
Pidge wrapped her arms around herself and curled in on herself, giving a shudder of her own. “Because-” she tried to keep her voice nice and even, “-because we’re not like... that.”
“What are you talking about?” Lance asked. “Pidge, what-”
“You’re with Allura.” Pidge insisted, biting her lip. Godamnit, the tears were coming again. “You and I never- we never-”
“Allura and I were never together.” Lance said, much more firmly than she expected. Pidge blinked at him. “I love her, and I miss her, but it was you, it was always you, Pidge. In my reality, it was always you.”
“I-” Pidge’s heart stuttered at his words. “Reality? This is an alternate reality?”
Lance blinked. “I- I guess so. You’ve never been one to lie to me, so you’re... version must be true. In your reality.”
“But how did I get here-” Pidge’s brain caught up to her and her brain almost short-circuited. “Wait... are you saying we were together in your reality?”
“We weren’t in yours?” Lance asked back.
Pidge felt like her brain was going to explode. Her hand unconsciously flew to her lips, where Lance had kissed her just minutes before. “Was... was that why you tried to kiss me earlier?”
Lance ducked his head, and it wasn’t hard to see the embarrassment, but also the longing in his features. “I- yeah. I thought- I thought you were my Pidge, you know? I haven’t seen her in so long, I thought...” his voice broke off and Pidge didn’t know what to feel.
“I’m sorry.” Pidge said, at a loss for words.
Lance didn’t say anything, instead hiding his face in his shirt sleeve and taking heaving, calming breaths. He was wearing an undersuit, Pidge noted idly.
“It’s okay.” he whispered in his sleeve.
It felt like a knife was stabbing into her heart to hear his voice sound so defeated like that. Pidge bit her lip, looking away, feeling more than uncomfortable, “If... if it makes you feel any better, I was interested in you-” in love with you, “-back then, in my reality. It’s just... you felt very strongly about Allura so I thought I shouldn’t interfere-”
“Can I kiss you?” Lance interrupted her.
Pidge looked at him. He was staring at her intently, the same desperation in his eyes was there, and the same love too. It made her dizzy to see him look at her like that, like she was his whole world, and it made her heart hurt even more.
“Why? I’m not your... your Pidge.” Pidge said.
Lance took a deep breath, uncurling himself. “I-I know. I just... I never got to say goodbye, you know? Just one kiss, please. I-I know you’re not her, but I can’t... you look and sound so much like her, please, Katie, I-”
“Okay.” Pidge agreed, letting her hands drop to lay on the metal floor.
Lance locked eyes with her, before looking away and hesitating briefly, before he made his way towards her. The closer he got, the more Pidge’s heart pounded that she was afraid he would be able to hear it in the utter silence the cell was in. Soon, she was sandwiched in between the wall and Lance, and he reached out and took her hand so gently that Pidge wanted to cry.
This was wrong.
This was so wrong, she was taking advantage of.. this Lance because her Lance would have never done what this one has done to her in such a few short minutes. The way he looked at her, touched her, even spoke to her, it was like... he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. And she only ever heard him talk and act like that once, and that had been directed at Allura, who soon recuperated his feelings with just as much intensity as he did.
This was wrong, this was so, so wrong.
And yet when he took her chin and his lips brushed against hers again, tentatively, softly, it felt so, so right.
So Pidge closed the gap, wrapping her arms around his neck and giving into the feeling of pleasure and pure happiness that exploded in her chest at the feeling of his lips over hers. Everything in the world spiraled out of existence and even her headache faded as the conflicting feelings of right or wrong vanished and was replaced with the rhythmic sound of her beating heart.