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I know your love has come home to me

Chapter Text

This was bad. Keith could barely keep himself in his seat as he was slammed and spun around inside the wormhole. They should have know it woudn't be so easy to get away. Judging from the others curses and screams over his mic he knew they were fairing no better than he was. Everything was spinning out of control, like a kaleidoscope when you tilt it to see all the different colors. Yes, Keith definitely felt like a kaleidoscope right now. Being turned over and over so he could be bent and shattered in a array of ways.

Tapping into what he could of his scrambled video feed he was able to see Hunk and Pidge being thrown just out of the wormhole beside him. Their yells were cut off as soon as they exited, leaving only static in their wake. He could only hope that they were ok as another violent shake reverberated through Red. All that was left now was the castle, Shiro, Lance and himself. Turning his attention to the former two Keith watched as everything turned to slow motion.

He watched as Shiro and himself were thrown out of the wormhole on the same side as Hunk and Pidge. At least they might be emerge together. But he couldn't help but watch in slight panic as Lance was spit out on the completely other side of the wormhole. He would be alone in who knows what part of space.

Keith last thoughts as he hurtled towards a watery, green planet were of the castle, his other paladins and most of all Lance.

"Please be ok." Was the last thing he thought before everything went black.


He could sort of feel something warm and slick dripping down his arm before splattering on the ground. Furrowing his eyebrows while groaning Lance peeked opened his eyes. From what he could make out he was still strapped into his seat but something was wrong. He couldn't feel Blue at all and taking a slow look around he realized that the only light source in the whole ship was coming from a small crystal Allura had given them to use as flashlight of sorts.

If he was still strapped into his seat then how did he get hurt? Looking to the left of him he gasped in horror at what he saw. The whole left side of the cockpit had been crushed. Pieces of sharp melted jutted out inches away from his arm and wires sparked as they hung down.

The crash must have been much worse than he thought then. Minding his left arm and the pain that blossomed in it he slowly began to unbuckle himself with his right hand. As soon as he managed to unbuckle himself he went crashing into the console system in front. Feet slipping in the slick pool of blood as he scrambled to gain purchase of something. It took everything in him not to scream out in pain as his left arm gushed more blood from a unseen wound.

Cradling it to his chest he tottered his way to where he knew he kept the med kit. Snatching it off the hook where it sat he hobbled his way to the soft light the crystal was giving off. By this time his eyes had adjusted and he could almost make out the mess his arm was along with the rest of the cockpit. Supplies had tumbled out of there places, rolling around the floor and making his journey even harder.

Step by step he made his way to the crystal. Its soft light like a ray of hope as he trudged along. If he could just get to it he could sit down and see just how bad his arm was. From the white hot pain and amount of blood leaking out of it he was sure it was serious by this point. He was struggling to remember just how much blood a human could lose.

" Is it 30 or 40 percent?" He thought grimly as he trudged on.

Finally after what seemed like eternity he made it to the light and lowered himself to the ground. Now came the hard part. Lance wasn't a usually squeamish person but it was a whole different ball game when it was your own blood and wound. Breathing out he risked a peek at his arm and almost wished he hadn't.

There was a long, deep, bloody, pulpy gash that started just below his elbow and ended at the start of the back of his hand. Blood was still oozing out of the wound, running down his arm and painting the floor. Little bits of skin still clung to the wound, stretched tight across the wide gash. His arm was definitely going to need stitches at this point.

Gingerly popping open the kit he was so ever grateful that Hunk had the hindsight to pack each of theirs with items to help in emergency situations like this. He still remembers scoffing at Hunk when he insisted that they each have a complete and full stocked med kit. At the time he thought it was silly and none of them would ever get hurt enough to use it. When he saw Hunk again he would have to praise the guy for his insistence of the issue.

Taking a closer look he realized luckily the skin that remained wouldn't be in the way of the stitches. He didn't know what he would do if he had to start hacking away at any jagged flesh, probably vomit at this rate. He managed to let out a small chuckle as he thought of Hunk being there. There was no way the big guy could handle something like this and Lance hoped he would never have to.

Turning back to the wound Lance knew his first step of action would be to clean it. Who knows what kind if junk was stuck in under all the blood and shredded skin. Sucking up the courage Lance unscrewed the rubbing alcohol and poured some unto his wound. Biting back the whimper that bubbled in his throat he began to softly clean the wound.

In the back of his mind he was thankful that Hunk had made him pay attention in health class when the time came to learn how to do sutures. Taking the tweezers that were nestled in the kit he began to pick out any small pieces of metal that surrounded the wound, whimpering when he had to dig a few stubborn ones out. He was luckily that the shards were all not to small to see and not to big to cut even deeper. He counted 13 shiny pieces by the time he had got them all out. Cleaning it once more Lance began to ready his mind for the pain that was sure to come.

Sure he knew how to stich a wound but this was a whole different ball game. He had never actually had to on anyone not to mention himself. But this was no time to chicken out. If he could do this it was just something else he could brag to Keith about. And so taking a deep breath Lance began to push the needle through.

"FFFFucking shit." he couldn't help but curse as he continue to thread the needle through. This was definitely one of the many things he did that hurt the worst. But he had to get this wound taken care of. He couldn't do anything if he let his arm stay like this while he lost so much blood. He shuddered at the thought of infection setting in because he couldn't go through with the simple action of stitching himself up. Gritting his teeth he continued forward cursing every so often and sniffling up the tears that threatened to fall.

Finally at the end he hurried and tied it off, grateful that little endeavor was over. Cleaning it one last time he began to careful like wrap a roll of gauze around his arm. It was official, Hunk was going to get the biggest hug of his life for packing all the rolls of gauze that everyone thought was excessive. At this rate Lance should have enough to change his bandages often and provide optimal healing.

Arm snuggly wrapped he stumbled to his feet and he made his way over to Blue's control panel. He already feared the worst as Blue had not made any indication that they were ok but he had to see for himself. Tapping on all the buttons did nothing as Lance realized they were down for good. Closing his eyes he tried mentally calling out to Blue but he couldn't even feel them at all. This was way worst than he thought. Maybe if he took a look outside he could see how bad the damage was along with just where the hell they were.

Making his way towards the entrance he sighed in relief that the doors were open. He did not want to imagine himself prying them open with his arm in the state it was. Trudging forward Lance realized the state of his suit. His chest plate was all but gone leaving the black mesh of his under suit exposed. That explained the little white pieces of debris he vaguely remembered seeing around the room. The whole left side covering his arm was of course gone and he was lucky the his leg was ok. The armor on his right arm was cracked in several paces and his right knee plate was split in half. He didn't even know where his helmet was by this point. Probably thrown somewhere in the cockpit and even if he went back to find it real quick he doubted it worked.

After what seemed like miles but in reality only about 20 feet Lance reached the entrance to Blue's mouth. It was also open in this case and Lance had to shield his eyes as bright light poured in.

Taking a steadying breath he stumbled the rest of the way out. However nothing could have stopped Lance from letting out a pitiful laugh at the sight that greeted him. They were surrounded by miles and miles of dense, green, tropical vines and trees. No matter which way he turned all he could see was green. It was so densely packed Lance was sure he wouldn't be able to get far if he tried to find help on foot. Faintly he could hear the sound of the no doubt many animals that inhabited the jungle floor. He definitely wasn't making a trip down there, especially with the shape he was in. Fortunate for them it looked like they had crashed into one of the taller trees that was covered in vines, completely ensnaring Blue. Turning his attention to Blue, the helpless feeling washed over him again.

They were laying helplessly on their side, vines wrapped around almost every surface. The left side of the head and part of the shoulder was caved in leaving mess of twisted metal. Their eyes were completely dull and held no sign of the glowing yellow. There was no way Lance could free Blue and fix them by himself. Even if he knew as much anbout engineering as Hunk or Pidge he didn't have the materials to even begin. He also doubted he would find any help before being devoured by whatever lived in the jungles below. Besides this planet may be uninhabited by any intelligent life or even worse, Galra occupied.

But Lance refused to give up as he made his way inside and straight to the control panel. Letting out a grunt as he leaned down he popped the panel open that housed the mechanics to send distress calls. The inside wasn't looking much better as several pieces were crushed and wires disconnected. But if he could just fix this he might be able to send a distress signal to the rest of the group. He should have the right tools laying around for it and if anything he was pretty good and improvising. He could only hope that the rest of the team got it and were ok themselves.

"It cant get much worse than this, can it Blue?" He sighed into the empty space.

Chapter Text

It had been 2 months. 2 long months without any word or sighting of one paladin. They searched everywhere and there hadn’t even been a scrape of evidence of where he was. No distress calls had come in, no alien species rushing to get help. In 2 months they had no idea if Lance was even alive.

In the events after they were all separated Pidge and Hunk were lucky to crash only a few miles apart on the same planet. In retrospect Keith shouldn’t have been surprised considering that they were spit out of the wormhole at the same time. It was lucky a instance as even a one second difference could have them shooting off to different planets. After the crash they were able to get to each other in relative ease and send out a distress signal using Hunk's lion. As far as injuries went Hunk had suffered a broken leg and cracked radius but he would live. Pidge hadn’t faired any better as she came out with a concussion and broken wrist.

They had been found 2 weeks later on a desert planet, huddled under the shade the lions provided. By that time they had stripped off all there armor and were struggling to stay cool together. Allura considered it a miracle that they hadn’t overheated in that amount of time although Pidge did support a nasty sunburn. It had been a good thing that they were found when they were as they were almost out of water. And with no other water for miles and being a uninhabited planet they would have been in trouble. There was no trouble on getting Hunk's lion on board but Pidge's had to be manually moved as it was quite damaged and could barely walk.

Shiro had it easier as he crashed on a planet inhabited by a alien race that hated the Galra. The aliens were quite the interesting looking little race. You barely tell the difference between the males and females, a fact Shiro learned the hard way. Each alien stood about only 3 feet tall with stubby little limbs. Their mouths were actually long snouts like a possum and their heads were adorned with little horns. Each varied in color, different arrays of bright blues, greens and reds. Shiro had to say that out all the aliens he had seen he liked the way they looked the most. They were also the ones to find him and patch up his bruised ribs. Being a legendary paladin they were honored to have him and constantly fed him not so bad foods. It only took 4 days for him to be found as his lion was still in pretty good shape, it was a understatement to say all of them were sad to see him go.

Keith on the other hand had a rough time. He had crashed on a planet completely submerged in water, undrinkable water at that. As far as the eye could see there wasn’t any sort of land to be found and he was pretty sure he didn’t see any when he was hurtling towards said planet. Thank his lucky stars though that his lion could still float even though it couldn’t fly. He did not want to end up sinking especially with the giant, dark shadows that circled him. He didn’t know what was in the water but whatever it was it was most likely carnivorous. Especially since one of the fish he tried to catch was snatched up in the jaws of something very big with hundreds of razor sharp teeth. He was quite fine sitting atop of his lion while they floated there waiting for a rescue. Besides aside from a head wound that bled like a stuck pig he was pretty much fine. He even managed to catch a few interesting looking fish while he waited to be found.

He was the last to be rescued, 3 days after Hunk and Pidge actually. It turned out that the planet they were on was only 3 away from him. It was funny the way the galaxy worked. He didn’t dwell to much on it though considering he was happy to just be alive and found.

Allura and Coran had done a marvelous job of finding them all as fast at they could. When they were spit out of the wormhole it took everything they had to regain control of the ship. Unlike the lions they could not afford to crash into any sort of planet. After regaining control of the ship and establishing just where the hell they were, their first course of action was to locate the paladins. Fortunately the sensors still kind of worked allowing them to find each paladin. Keith could swear Coran had a few white hairs mixed in with his red hair.

Out of all their lions Pidge's had suffered the most damage but it wasn’t anything that couldn’t be fixed in a hurry. She wasn’t a genius for nothing after all. Hunk had to spend the longest in a healing pod out of the 4 but he was only in there for a couple of days. The rest of them didn’t think he could spend any longer in there anyway considering the state of things. They would all be ok in the long run but there was just one big problem left.

"No matter what we try we just cant get any reading on Lance or the blue lion." Allura forlornly explained.

It had been 1 and half weeks since they were all rescued. A month since they had all been split up and thrown out the wormhole. Even though Hunk and Pidge had crashed on a desert planet with the barest amounts of water and Keith on a planet completely engulfed in water they had all found a way to call for help. The fact that they hadn’t received any sort of distress signal from the paladin or his lion only meant one of a couple of things.

1.) His lion had taken heavy damages and he couldn’t get in touch with them. 2.) He was out looking for them instead and hadn’t bothered to contact them. 3.) He had been captured by the Galra or some alien race. 4.) He was dead.

They had all refused to acknowledge the 4th option and prayed it wasn’t the 3rd. If it was the 1st they would just have to keep looking and if it was the 2nd which they all hoped for then he better get in contact soon. Lance was usually pretty good at looking out for himself but a month was a long time to be alone. Not to mention he wasn’t the best at mechanics like Pidge or Hunk. His specialties lied in piloting and if his lion was damaged there wasn’t any guarantee he could fix it.

"Are you guys sure you haven’t received some sort of signal from Lance?" Shiro questioned.

"In all honesty we don’t believe so. However lot of the controls and censors were damaged on the ship when we were spit out. Everything is a scrambled mess and needs to be sorted as well as reorganized." Coran answered.

"So your telling us that Lance could have sent something but we don’t even know because you guys haven’t gotten around to fixing the ships system?!" Pidge all but snapped. She was getting more and more worried about Lance seeing as he was out there alone.

Everyone knew Lance thrived on companionship. It was rare to find him not beside one of the paladins or Coran. Plus it was no secret that his family was huge and loud. There was no telling what being alone was doing to him.

Sighing Allura shook her head. " Pidge its not that simple. There's millions of controls and data to sort through. It took years for my people to make the processor what it is today. But I don’t think we have received anything from Lance. If anything he would send a distress signal and we have no problem receiving those."

Pidge visibly relaxed at the statement but she was still worried. Lance was their friend and the thought of him being out there by himself for so long tore her up. She knew Lance wasn’t fond of being alone as his family was loud and huge. She just hoped that Blue was enough comfort for him.

"If you let me i can help fix the system. We might be able to find Lance better if everything was working correctly." Pidge offered. She wouldn’t just sit by and wait for a sign that Lance was ok.

Stepping forward hastily Hunk yelled, " I'll help to! Anything if we can find Lance faster." He too shared Pidge's concern and wanted his best friend back already.

Seeing the two step forward Keith wanted to help to. He was worried about Lance just as much as they were even if they didn’t always get along. But he wasn’t any good with programming like the other two. He wasn’t dumb by any means but he just couldn’t compare to the genius of those two when it came to programming and such.

As if sensing his thoughts Shiro spoke up. " Keith and I can make our way around the planets and ask if anyone has seen or heard of Lance. Maybe someone out there may have at least heard about him and can point us in the right direction."

Was Keith ever grateful that Shiro was the leader and knew what to do. He could still help in his own way. Nodding in his head in agreement Keith watched as Allura's face lit up. It would take a huge burden off her and Coran while also providing a few sets of extra eyes. Surely with all them looking for Lance they were bound to find him soon.


The days seemed to trickle by at this point. Every morning was met with the same thing. Shiro would ask if there had been any word on Lance and either Allura or Coran would shake their head. No matter what planet Keith and Shiro traveled to no one had heard or seen any trace of the blue paladin. It was always the same answer from them all.

"No we haven’t but if we do we'll be sure to let you know."

Keith was beginning to become annoyed.

Hunk and Pidge worked tirelessly along with Allura and Coran to fix the system but they were hardly yielding results. Just when they thought they were close the system either shorted out again or was flooded with thousands of files to sort through. As much as the group wanted to skip through all the crap they knew that putting something in the wrong place just might lead to a bigger problem later on. Frustrating as it was neither Allura or Coran even knew what half the files that popped up were. Being asleep for 10,000 years didn’t help the matter. It just slowed them down when they had to figure out what any unknown files were and what to do with them.

To make matters worse Galra was of course still on the move. Just because they were having a hard time didn’t mean Galra was. They hit harder than ever before, chasing after them and sending even more difficult creations to defeat. Without Lance they couldn’t form Voltron and that left a huge gape in their fighting abilities. Most missions found at least one of them in a healing pod.

It was becoming a arduous task to keep their hope as the days seemed to blend together. Every day was another day spent fighting the Galra. Every hour was another hour spent without news of Lance. Every minute was another minute spent on each of them trying to find him. Every second was another second spent on each of them secretly trying to find a way to cope with it.

When Hunk wasn’t helping with the system he cooked. He cooked and cooked until they either ran out of ingredients or he couldn’t think of anything else to make. While everyone was grateful there was always something to eat now, they held their tongues on how the food tasted. Everything Hunk made now tasted bland. Like ashes their mouths they all struggled to eat the food that had once been so delicious. But nobody had the heart to tell him, besides they were all sure he knew already. Without Lance any passion or love he had in the hobby was gone. He wasn’t there to enthusiastically complement Hunk's latest dish and that was hard. Sometimes Hunk would secretly think to himself what was the point anymore.

Pidge was coping with jt in the unhealthiest way. All her time was devoted to sorting thorough and fixing the system. It was almost a routine by now for her to show up in the morning, grab some food and return to the control room. There were some nights that Shiro had to drag her away from whatever she was working on in that moment so she could get some proper sleep. And the nights he didn’t get to her she either passed out there or stayed up the whole night. The only time that she completely removed herself from her task was when they were called out. But even then you could tell she was eager to get back to the system. Her fighting became sloppy as her mind drifted but no matter what Shiro said it wouldn’t change. Everyone could tell it was eating her up that it was taking so long to fix everything but there was nothing they could say or do except offer their support where they could. Some days she secretly thought to herself that she would never finish the system at this rate.

Shiro unsurprisingly had the easiest time coping with it. His hands were currently full with looking after the rest of them. That wasn’t to say he didn’t care. Keith would catch him pouring over coordinates where they thought Lance could be, becoming frustrated when it turned out to be a dead end. But he had to keep a level head no matter what. Lance was strong he knew. He was determined too find the boy the felt so responsible for no matter what. But he also had to juggle his other responsibilities. He was the oldest and the leader and as a result he was still managing to keep the team together if only just. However he secretly thought to himself that he didn’t know how much longer he could keep the team together.

Keith was coping but his way was just as unhealthy as Pidge's and even at times worse. There was a limit to just how many planets they could come across and there would be times where they wouldn’t come across any sort of lifeform or planet for days. Those are the days that Keith coped the only way he could, he trained. Hours were spent honing his swordsmanship or strengthening his bond with his lion. He trained and trained until his body would bee ready to quit on him and even then he continued on. He was so high up in the gladiator sequences that he often lost track of which one he was on. He had never been in better shape in his life but in the end did it even mean anything? For all the strength he had it hadn’t helped where it counted.

It had been 2 months since Lance was separated from them. 2 months with nothing to show in search results. Keith could barely count the number of times on his fingers that he had smashed something out of frustration. He had a temper but it was never this bad. Nothing was spared in his wake. Plates, cups, Gladiators, the bathroom mirror, his room, everything was destroyed at some point in a fit of rage. It reflected in Red as well. The lion roared louder than ever in battle, reflecting his masters own inner turmoil. Shiro had long since given up trying to tell him something. It was clear at this point that Keith would not listen. But could anyone blame Keith's anger? They could visit a thousand planets, ask a thousand locals and they would always turn up empty handed.

It shouldn’t be this hard. Lance was out there somewhere just waiting to be found. Space couldn’t be that big. Except it was, and no matter how much Keith wished it, it would never change. Just a week ago they had stumbled upon a cluster of planets even Allura didn’t know about. Each planet held something new that either tried to kill them or didn’t help at all. And as much as Allura and/or Coran stressed the importance of spreading diplomacy throughout the universe Keith just didn’t give a shit. If it wasn’t something that was going to help find Lance in the end then who cared?

There were days that Keith wished from the bottom of his heart that he could go back in time. Maybe if he could he could have somehow stopped all of this from happening. Maybe he could have been spit out with Lance and helped him. But no matter how much he wished it nothing was going to change what happened. Thinking back what was the last thing he even said to Lance? Knowing him it was by all chances something petty.

So they continued on. They had to find him no matter what. Without him nothing was the same. Voltron couldn’t be formed and lets face it, the ship seemed so much more lonely without him. They had to finishing fixing the system sometime. Eventually someone out there would tell them that they knew where Lance was. But as time seemed to continue on, mocking them only as time could, the chances were starting to become grimmer and grimmer.

And for a moment Keith treacherously thought to himself, was Lance even alive anymore?

Chapter Text

How do you find something that has been lost for so long? Do you start by going back to the places you thought you saw it last? Maybe you ask around to see if anyone had seen it? Or do you just give up and perhaps try to find a replacement?

Whatever the answer may be, finding something you have lost in space was near impossible. Going back to the last place you remember seeing it didn’t help if you didn’t even know where that was. Asking around seemed to be just a useless as no one had seen or heard of their treasure. Finding a replacement was completely off the table for now unless you wanted to receive a punch in the face from Pidge, just like Keith had actually.

Lance had been lost for 4 months now. That was 4 months without any sign or word of him. No one had seen the blue paladin or his lion in that span of time. A great many people didn’t even know he was lost to began with. That much time alone could do things to a person, things none of the others wanted to even think about.

After all this time Pidge and the others were almost done fixing the system by now. But at this point did it even matter? Sure it would be nice to have it working again but so far it hadn’t pointed to any traces of Lance. It was a sore topic for all of them and often had Keith and Pidge fighting over it.

At this point Keith thought it was a waste of time and that their time should be devoted to something else. Something else like finding a replacement for Lance. Pidge on the other hand sorely disagreed. She was adamant in her refusal to abandon fixing the system so they might even stand a chance of finding Lance. The system was almost done and she would be damned if she dropped all her hard work and just maybe lose Lance in the process.

The days were often filled with screaming matches between the red and green paladin. Keith thought she was being stupid and irrational for keeping up with the project while on the other hand Pidge thought he was a monster for abandoning Lance so easily. Out of all of them, even Hunk, Pidge's hope still shone bright like a Halo. It hurt Keith to even look at her as she screamed that she would find Lance, hope and determination just oozing out of her.

Keith knew he might seem cruel and callous but he was just trying to be realistic. It was all he knew and at this point he had began to believe that Lance wasn’t coming back. But it wasn’t that he didn’t care anymore. It still ate him up inside that they had lost him in the blink of a eye. What was the point of being a protector of the universe if he couldn’t even save his comrade?

It was his realistic sense that had him functioning the best out of everyone in all honesty. By this point they had all withdrawn in some way and he could only witness it. Watch as they became shadows of their former selves.

Hunk had almost completely retreated into himself. Gone were the smiles and hugs that he once gave so free of charge out. In their place sat his frowned face, deep lines carving their way across his skin. He almost never cooked anymore as a matter of fact. The hobby he once loved had turned into a bitter reminder of the missing Lance. Now when he even tried to make something it always turned out burned or still half frozen. Instead his days were filled with staring at the system as Pidge worked. Only moving when she asked for his help. He still wanted to hope but by this time it was just a small flame inside of him, maybe the size of a small torch.

Pidge continued to work on the system of course. Day and night she slaved away trying to fix it and sort through the mess that remained. Her once beautiful skin was tinged a slight gray and purple bruises had almost permanently settled below her eyes. She had to wear band aids around her fingers by this point as they became dry and bled every so often. No one could remember the last time she went back to her room to sleep, instead just passing out where she sat. But out of all of them her hope was the brightest. It was like a bonfire, ever burning as she continued to work and work.

Allura and Coran did their best to help Pidge wherever they could but it was getting tense even for them. But most of all between Allura and Pidge surprisingly. Allura still wanted to find Lance but she also thought diplomacy and making contact with other alien races was more pressing at the moment. Pidge of course disagreed. They spoke the barest amount to each other at this point when they did it was only when they had to. Her weariness showed to as her eyes were no longer vibrant and full of life. Instead they were muted and almost cold. Allura's hope by this point was about the size of a hot coal. Still hot but cooling down until all that was left was a black hunk of rock.

Coran was having quite the difficult time getting through the days as well. Lance had saved his life and had become a dear friend of his over the course of time. He missed the boy and tried to help Pidge as much as he could with the system. But he could only help so much and his down time was filled with constant cleaning of the healing pods. When asked he would say it reminded him of the boy but everyone knew he did it in hopes that they would be ready when Lance came back. His hope was still a warm campfire inside him but the kindle was piece by piece starting to disappear.

Shiro wasn’t doing so hot either even though he was usually the most level headed of them all. He could barely keep the team together as it was. It didn’t help much that Pidge and Keith's shouting matches took everything in him to stop. It was almost like a little kid at this point, using glue and duck tape to keep the thing they loved the most from breaking apart. When Shiro didn’t have to be the leader anymore he often spent his time with his lion. Bonding and trying to find answers from it. These days Shiro felt so much older than he really was and it showed. Lines had begun to form under his eyes and he hardly ever smiled anymore. His hope was only the size of a candle flame, still burning but ready to go out at the slightest breeze.

Keith did what he did best in these situations. He trained and fought until his muscles burned and sweat dripped like rain. He could now beat several Gladiators by himself without even breaking a sweat. He piloted Red like never before, flying so fast you could almost lose sight of him. He still went out with Shiro to see if anyone had seen or heard of Lance but he no longer expected the answer to be yes. Beside screaming at each other Pidge and he no longer spoke and Hunk who had taken sides with Pidge only spoke to him out of his pure kindness. He knew they thought the was heartless for not trying anymore but there wasn’t anything he could do. They all had to move on at some point. There was no flame or fire that resembled Keith’s hope by this point. It was long burned out.


The funny thing about the universe was just as you thought it had enough of you it threw you for a loop hole once again. It could take everything from you and in the end still throw more at you. Some people were built to take all of it and some snapped like a twig in the wake of it all. Keith liked to think he was the former but at this point who knew. One thing he thought he knew though was that the universe was done with him. Sadly he was horribly wrong and it would be a quite a while before the universe had its fill of him.

The day had started off much like it had for the past 4 months. Keith rose early as usual, his training not allowing him to sleep in even if he wanted to. Changing into his day clothes he shuffled his way to the kitchen. He figured he would get something to satisfy the hunger low in his gut and give him energy for the rest of the day. He planned to increase the number of gladiators he fought at once today after all.

The route he normally took had him passing the control room and as a result if anything was going on he would know before hand. But then again these days everyone was so lost in themselves there wasn’t anything that sparked instant attention. However it seemed today would mark the change of all the days to come.

Approaching the room, instead of the quiet tapping of Pidge on her keyboard there were voices instead.

"Are you sure Pidge?" Shiro demanded.

" For the last time yes! Just hang on a sec." She haughtily replied.

Peeking in the room Keith could see everyone was there gathered around Pidge. Allura and Shiro were looking to each other, doubtful of something. While Coran and Hunk were on the edge bouncing around, impatient and eager for something.

"Well hold on, lets wake Keith for this as well." Shiro said as he turned on his heel, no doubt to come get him.

"No need, I’m already here." He replied as he entered the room.

All heads turned to him while Shiro spoke up.

"Oh good. You need to come over here, we think Pidge finally managed to fix the system." Even though his voice was calm Keith could tell Shiro was apprehensive.

This wasn’t what Keith was expecting at all. He was so sure Pidge would give up before actually fixing it completely. But here they were, all of them waiting for Keith to come over to join them. As much as he was curious to see if she did a part of him didn’t want to know. He did not want to be disappointed especially when it had such a huge impact on if his hope would return or not. He didn’t think he could handle having his hope die out again. But it seemed he had no choice in the matter as Allura called out.

"Keith don’t you want to see?"

Stealing himself he walked the join the others as Pidge returned to her screen. If she did fix it he owed her a big apology that’s for sure.

" Ok so with this I’m 99 percent sure I fixed the stupid thing. All that is left is to completely start it up again. After that everything should run smoothly." She informed them.

This was it. If everything went as planned they could do a lot more with the ship. A lot of functions that hadn’t worked in awhile would finally be useable again. They could process information so much easier now. And it may have went unsaid but everyone was thinking the same thing; they may be able to find Lance finally.

Taking a deep breath Pidge hovered her finger over her screen. "Here we go." She mumbled before pressing her finger to the screen.

Watching the main screen everyone was amazed to see everything coming back up without trouble. No extra files were popping up, no alerts that the system was going to crash again. Stats and readings began to return on the screen and everyone held their breath as it finished itself again. But as always not everything was quite so easy. A file popped up all of a sudden just as the system finished booting up.

Groaning out loud Pidge squinted at the screen. "Just where the hell did you come from?" she seethed.

" Well at least it didn’t affect the system at all. Hold on guys, just let me see what it is and then I can see where it goes." Pidge grunted as she typed away at her keyboard.

They all watched quietly as she accessed the file and pulled it up. All of a sudden she paused in her typing. They all looked to her, confused as to why she stopped. Written across her face was pure confusion as she tilted her head to the side. They were all starting to become uneasy as they watched her stare at the screen with a frown across her face.

"Pidge, what’s wrong?" Allura hesitantly asked.

Looking up at them Pidge furrowed a brow. " Well the general info says its a video message. I didn’t even know we got those through this system."

Now it was Allura and Coran's turn to look baffled. "We usually don’t actually. There suppose to come through like the distress signals." Coran spoke up.

Exchanging uneasy glances they all turned their attention back to Pidge. " Well whatever it is lets just play it and see what it is." Shiro suggested.

All nodding their heads in agreement they turned their attention to the main screen. Something just wasn’t right about this Keith felt. It was like his gut was trying to tell him that this wasn’t just a ordinary video message. But before he could reflect on it more Pidge began to play the video.

As it began to play the feed displayed the image what looked like the cockpit of a ship. Everyone was bewildered just where this video was from. The cockpit was a absolute mess. Pieces of metal were thrown everywhere and wires sparked off the walls. There was a faint light source coming from somewhere off to the right that illuminated the barest amounts of the trashed area. Just as Keith was about to ask Pidge if she could find out where the message came from something caught his eye.

Just almost visible in the corner of the screen was a helmet. A white helmet with what was a unmistaken blue top.

"Is that-?" But before Keith could form the rest of his sentence the sound of something slamming shut followed by loud clattering and panting breath filled the silence. And then the unimaginable happened, Lance's face all of a sudden filled the screen.

Hunk couldn’t help the exclamation of, "Lance!"

They all held there breath as he adjusted something behind the screen before he finally spoke up.

"Yes! I finally got it to work guys! You have no idea how hard it was to fix anything in blue. I couldn’t fix the distress signal thingy so i had to settle for this." He excitingly told them.

Seeing Lance for the first time in months was almost a novel thing and from what Keith could see he was having a bad time. His hair was limp and stuck to his forehead while his eyes no longer held the mischievous spark they normally held. He had bags under his eyes and his tan skin looked almost sickly. His attention was suddenly caught though as they all heard something banging in the background. And Keith saw something he never thought he would see on Lance's face ever.

Fear.

Hastily turning back to the camera Lance began to address them. "Listen guys I don’t have much time but I need help asap! I don’t know how they did it but the Galra managed to find me on this God forsaken planet. I barricaded the entrance but it isn’t going to hold for long. Blue wont start up no matter what, guys I’m trapped. My coordinates should be included with the message. Please hurry, I don’t want to be taken by these guys." Just as Lance whimpered the rest out there was a loud bang followed by crashing. No doubt Lance's barricade being knocked down.

Turning towards the direction of the door Lance quickly hit send and the screen went black.

No one said anything for a beat. All lost in their thoughts of what they had just seen. Finally Shiro broke the silence.

"Pidge, just when was that video message dated?" he shakily asked.

Everything was silent for a moment except for the sound of Pidge's fingers tapping away.

" T-three months ago."

All too fast it became to much for Hunk who sat down and began to sob. All this time they had been searching for Lance and he had already sent a distress message to them. By this time who knew what had happened to him. And he had trusted them to come help him.

Being the first to compose herself Allura made her way to where Pidge was frozen over her screen and peered at it.

Pulling back Allura all but whispered with wide eyes, " These coordinates, there practically halfway across the galaxy. How did he end up being spit out over there?"

Seeming to reawaken from his stupor Shiro turned to her. " It doesn’t matter, all that matters now is we have to find out where they took Lance."

This seemed to pull the rest of them out from whatever plain they had retreated to as Hunk sniffed up the last of his tears and Pidge jumped to her feet. Keith nodded his head in agreement when Shiro looked to him as well. Now they finally knew approximately where Lance was and could go after him. They were going to save Lance no matter what and Keith was going to apologize for ever entertaining the idea that he was dead.

"Just wait a little longer Lance, we're coming for you." He thought.

But unbeknown to any of them was that almost half way across the galaxy, in a heavily guarded Galra ship, inside a tiny dark cell sat a broken boy who had long given up hope.

Chapter Text

The first punch landed square across the Galra officers face. Spit and small amounts of blood flew out of the officers mouth as their head whipped back. A second blow was delivered, cracking against their cheekbone like a whip.

"This is the only chance I’m going to give you to tell me where you took the blue lion and its Paladin." Keith growled as he yanked the officer back up.

Ever since they found out where Lance last was they had been rapidly making there way across the galaxy to him. The engines had been on maximum power for the last few days as they pushed to arrive soon. Realistically they knew he might not even be around there as Galra cruisers constantly moved hence how they were in the situation they were in now.

Every time they happened to come across a Galra ship they would stop and completely take over the ship. Yes it was dangerous but they had to know where Lance was. Besides what better way to find out then interrogating the Galra officers aboard each ship. However no matter how smart there plan was they were having little to no luck gaining any information. Most of the officers didn’t even know they had Lance. It was obvious it was something being kept under wraps from even most of the Galra command.

With all the empty leads the team was beginning to become frustrated. Pidge had spent hours hacking into Galra command channels but with zero luck on finding anything relating to Lance. Allura and Coran were still trying to see if maybe they could pick up a trace of the blue lion but if Lance said was true then it was futile. Meanwhile Shiro, Keith and Hunk had stopped by several planets and asked locals if they knew of any big Galra command ships in the area. They usually received a yes as a answer but the ships they were pointed to were either only cargo ships or the officers were so far down the totem pole they knew jack shit.

At this rate Keith was ready to just fly is lion to Zarcon's headquarters and ask the bastard himself. Lance had already been in captivity for 3 months, he didn’t need to spend a second longer in it now. But for once it seemed that luck was on their side as one of the locals on a planet informed them that a high command ship was currently orbiting a nearby moon receiving repairs.

This was there chance to just maybe receive something more concrete than " I don’t know." They were going to take this opportunity no matter what.

Which led to where they were now. Taking over the ship hadn’t been easy at all and Hunk had a concussion to prove it. But they had managed to overwhelm the enemy forces, especially when Keith had blasted a hole in the ship that had sucked out most of the droids that stood in there way.

On board the ship there was 2 officers of high ranking, higher than all the officers they had come across so far. For sure one of them had to know something. But it seemed neither was willing to talk as Keith’s first punch had proven.

" I don’t know! They haven’t told us anything about the Blue lion." The first officer exclaimed, blood oozing down the split lip Keith had given him.

" Your lying." Keith growled as he reared back to deliver the third punch. However he was stopped by Shiro's heavy hand on his shoulder.

" Keith stop! He might not really know."

Letting out a grunt of disgust Keith shoved the officer aside and stepped back, letting Shiro take control now. Joining the rest off to the side he watched as Shiro step up to both officers.

"Look this can be a whole lot easier than you two are making it. All we want to know is where you guys took our friend."

Both officers said nothing to this as Keith observed them quietly. The one he had just punched look desperate, almost pleading that they believed them. Perhaps he was telling the truth and didnt know. Turning his attention the other Keith watched his features in silence as Shiro let them stew in their minds.

Out of the two of them he hadn’t said a single word yet. He had sat there and had said nothing even when Keith threw the first punch at his co-commander. Narrowing his eyes Keith observed as his eyes shifted down and to the right, his breathing began to increase little by little as his shoulder softly heaved. His face was turned slightly away from Shiro, his eyes staring off to the side. Something was definitely up and then the bastard opened his mouth.

" We do not know where the Blue lion or the paladin is." Typical sentence formation for a liar.

" Enough!!!" Keith roared as he stride forward, activating his Bayard as he did so.

Pushing the protesting Shiro out of the way he roughly grabbed the officer and pointed his sword straight at his throat.

" I don’t give a shit what you say, I know for a fact that you are lying. Now tell me where he is before i slit your throat."

" Keith stop! This isn’t the way." Shiro called as he began to head his way.

But he wasn’t listening by this point. He watched as the officer's eyes widened and flick between Shiro and him. Swallowing he continued to look at them with a panicked expression. Growling Keith pressed the tip of his blade until blood started to run down and stain the purple fur that covered his throat.

"Tell me." He demanded.

Realizing he had no choice unless he was itching to die he started to frantically speak.

"Ok, ok! He's on a main command vessel 3 days from here. Its a heavily guarded ship and the commander goes by the name Irant. But that’s all I know."

As soon as he was given the information he wanted Keith backed away from the trembling man. Deactivating his Bayard he didn’t bother acknowledging the almost horrified looks the others were giving him. They had found out what they needed to know thanks to his methods and as far as he was concerned that was all that mattered.

" Do you know the exact coordinates where the ship is stationed at?" Allura steped forward and asked the terrified man.

Snapping out of his trembling he hesitantly answered, " Y-yes they are-"

Keith didn’t bother staying to hear the rest as he exited the room. Allura would get them and pilot the ship to wherever it was. The rest of them could figure out what they were going to do with the two prisoners. Probably strand them on same planet where they left the rest of the crew stranded. In all honesty he didn’t care as long as they got going soon.

Making his way to the viewport Keith plopped himself down facing the great expansion outside. He wanted to watch them leave and start heading in Lance's direction. He knew they wouldn’t reach him in a couple of days but there was just something about watching them head his way that made it feel like they were almost there. He was so lost in thought on the matter that he didn’t realize someone had joined him.

Startling when someone cleared their throat Keith whipped his head around to see Shiro sitting beside him.

" I hope you don’t mind if I sit here with you." He gently said.

Shaking his head softly Keith turned his head back to face the window. He knew Shiro was most likely here to talk about what had happened just now. He would indulge him this time as in all honesty he didn’t care. As long as they got going to save Lance he was fine with Shiro asking him anything.

" So what was that back there?"

He knew what Shiro was referring to but he chose not to answer. He had his reasons and Shiro should know him well enough by now to know them. But as all things were with Shiro he always demanded answers.

" Keith, its ok. I just want to talk about it."

Huffing in frustration Keith answered, " I know its ok. In fact I don’t see anything wrong with what i did. We know where Lance is after all now."

"Keith, you were threatening to kill him."

Finally seeing just where Shiro wanted to go with this he turned to face him.

" I wasn’t threatening to kill him. I WAS going to kill him. The only thing that stopped me was he finally gave me the answers I wanted."

As he said this Keith watched Shiro's eyes turn sad as he regarded him. He respected Shiro but right now even his opinion didn’t matter. And it was with that thought that Keith continued on.

" In fact if he had continued to lie to me I would have killed him." By this point Keith was done. He just didn’t care anymore. All that mattered was that they get Lance back now.

" But why go so far as to get blood on your hands? We could have gotten the answers another way besides you trying to kill him." Shiro exclaimed, clearly not seeing just why Keith was thinking the way he was.

" Shiro, I gave up on him. While everyone still had just even a little hope I thought he was dead. Its going to be awhile until I forgive myself for it and at this rate I’m not really considered with morals. I will throw it all out the nearest airlock if it means we can save him."

At Keith's confession Shiro went deathly silent. Clearly shocked on how the other viewed there situation. But at this rate he knew nothing he could say would change Keith’s opinion on the matter. He just hoped it wouldn’t get to the point where Keith would murder anyone. All he could do now was offer one last piece of comfort.

"Keith, I promise we will get him back."


The next couple of days were filled with preparations for the no doubt hard battle ahead of them. From obvious previous experience they knew how heavily guarded a Galra main command ship could be. Especially with something as precious as the blue lion and its paladin on it. But they were ready this time and no one was going to get separated inside a wormhole again.

One thing that no one expected though was when Allura informed all of them that she would be joining the team and going in to save Lance. At first they all refused but she was not having any of it.

" I doubted Lance and the fact that he was still out there. I know I cant go back and change what i felt at that time but it stills bothers me that I thought something so awful. I will be going on this rescue mission personally!" She exclaimed.

After that there was no room for argument. It was then decided that Coran would stay on the ship and provide backup/a escape route for all off them. Pidge and Hunk would take out all the outside defenses while waiting to see what hanger the blue lion was being held in to save it. Shiro, Keith and Allura would infiltrate the ship and free Lance.

Finally not long after there planning was finished did they arrive at where the ship was located. They had all agreed that the element of surprise would be the best course of action. After all they all doubted that the Galra would just sit there and let them take Lance once they showed up. And so that’s how they went about it, coming out of the wormhole guns blazing.

Coran fired several shots from the ship as the hurtled forward, giving just enough of a distraction that Hunk and Pidge could shoot out and start their assault. The first to go was the ion cannon of the ship as Hunk smashed into it several times. Pidge shot around taking care of the smaller ships that started to swarm out of one of the hangars. Weaving in and out of the destruction Shiro made his way to one of the nearby open hangars while Keith followed close behind with Allura.

Swooping in Shiro began to take care of the last remaining ships and guards while Keith let Allura off at the control panel. Joining Shiro they both blasted away and swooped all the remaining ships and droids out just in time for Allura to close the hangar doors. The last thing they needed were any ships flying back in to stop them.

Landing their lions the two paladins quickly joined Allura who was currently using a hack droid Pidge had given to her to access the system.

"Got anything?" Shiro asked as soon as they reached her.

"Ugh nothing. I need to get to a control panel that’s inside the ship."

Nodding their heads in unison they proceeded too make their way inside the ship. They weren’t at all surprised when several droids came swarming down the dark hall towards them. Activating his Bayard Keith charged forward with a yell, swinging his sword out and beheading several of them in one swoop. Shiro followed close behind as he dealt deadly blows to several of them causing them to collapse.

They continued making there way down the hall, cutting down any one who stood in there way as Allura checked for a control panel. Just as they were starting to become worried that there wasn’t any Allura stopped dead in her tracks.

" Look there’s one." She whispered as they peered into a room guarded by two Galra soldiers.

Nodding his head in acknowledgement Shiro crept quietly into the room. Lucky for them the Guards had their backs to the door as they messed around with something on the panel. Taking a deep breath Shiro reached out with both hands and slammed there heads into the control panel, hard. The one who was slammed with Shiro's prosthetic went down easily but they other required a punch by Keith to knock him out fully.

As soon as the guards were out of the way Allura approached the control panel. Plugging in the droid she began to search on the whereabouts of Lance and his lion. Doing a quick sweep of the hangar footage Allura made a excited noise as she spotted Blue.

"There it is! Pidge, Hunk how is it going out there?" She spoke into her earpiece.

They all listened silently for a moment before Hunk responded. " They sure are putting up one hell of a fight out here. Have you guys located Lance or his lion yet?"

"We managed to locate his lion yes. Its in a heavily guarded hangar near the front of the ship. However one shot from the castles cannon should take care of most the rabble."

It was now it was Pidge's turn to respond with a "Roger that. We'll take care of it, just focus on finding Lance now."

" All right, be careful you two." Allura answered as she typed away at the control panel.

Keith and Shiro couldn’t help but watch anxiously as she searched for any sign of where Lance was. They needed to find him soon before to many guards headed there way and overwhelmed them. But for some reason it was taking awhile to find said Paladin. Just as they were starting to fear that he wasn’t aboard this ship anymore Allura let out a triumphed cry.

"Found him! He's located in cell 113, that’s several hallways away."

"Good now lets get going before to many guards arrive." Shiro said as he and Keith begun making their way to the door.

However Allura hadn’t budged from her spot and was instead staring at the screen in confusion.

" Allura what are you doing? Lets go."

Snapping out of her staring she turned to them. " I know but for some reason it says that there are 92 files attached to his prisoner file. Why would there be that many files attached?"

" I don’t know but right now we don’t have time to look at them. Just take them with us on Pidge's droid." Shiro suggested as they edged closer to the door.

Nodding her head in agreement she quickly transferred all the files and extracted the droid. Heading down the halls they encountered cluster after cluster of guards. It seemed they were smart enough to head towards Lance's cell to stop them. As they slashed, punched and kicked there way through the mess they all heard Hunk call out to them over their mics.

"We managed to get Blue and its in the ship now. It was in pretty bad shape guys, I’m surprised Lance was able to even fix the video system. Have you guys managed to find him yet?"

"Yes, were almost to him now." Allura panted into the mic as she threw one guard down the hall into several others like a bowling ball.

" Ok, we'll continue to provide back up out here but hurry guys." Pidge barked as they ran down the hallway.

By now they were almost there, about two hallways away from Lance's cell. As they ran they encountered on Galra officer who demanded they stop. He didn’t last long though as Shiro immediately knocked him out. However Keith stopped long enough to consider him.

"Keith, what are you doing? Lets go!" Shiro demanded as they looked at him with confusion. They only became more confused as Keith slung the guard over his shoulder.

Seeing their baffled expression he explained, " We're going to need his handprint to get into the cell."

Both smiling at his observation they continued on. Finally arriving at the door to Lance's cell, all out of breath but eager to finally free their friend. Dumping the solider unto the ground they all took a second to compose themselves. This was it, they finally had found him. Exchanging a quick glance and nod together they prepared themselves as Keith pressed the guard's hand to the key pad and the door began to slide open.

But any happiness they all had at finally seeing their friend dissipated as the door slide open fully. Because no matter what nothing had prepared them for the sight that beheld their eyes. It was a sight that forever would haunt Keith as he shakily called out.

"L-Lance?"

Chapter Text

There had been a time when the paladins had all gathered together and spoke about things that concerned them. A variety of concerns had come up such as when they would be able to go home and what if they failed. But out of all the concerns one had lingered the most. What would happen if they killed someone? In reality they all knew it was going to happen one day but it still bothered them. It was then that Shiro proposed that they would never kill anyone just because they could, that only in self defense was it right. They had all agreed in that moment, hearts light and relieved.

Now Keith was ready to forsake that ideology. He was going to kill every last Galra he came across. None of them deserved to live and he would take great pleasure in ending their miserable lives. He would paint every ship with their blood and even then he didn’t know if it would be enough. Nobody would be able to stop him for they had done the unthinkable to their dear friend.

As the cell door opened they were immediately assaulted by the most putrid smell. Sweat and blood mixed with the smell of urine and feces creating a nauseating mixture. The stench permeated the air as the all choked back a gag. Underneath it all you could smell a slight trace of infection as well. Keith could tell it took everything for Allura no to vomit at the smell, her face turning ash gray as she bit her lip. It was smell that would most likely stay in their senses for awhile.

There were no lights in the tiny cell, nothing to illuminate the full horror of it. But from what they could see in the limited light flooding in from the door there was blood smeared and splattered across the floor. Bright red spots almost glistening in the light. Some had foot prints tracked through them, boots and bare feet prints making patterns through the once sticky substance. Some pools even had hand prints smeared into them, they didn’t have to ask who's they were. Underneath the fresh red spots they could see dark stains. Days old blood that had dried and set into the floor. Scraps of old moldy food littered the floor as well as water cups filled with filthy water. There was also traces of vomit in some areas.

And finally curled up against the far wall, trying his best to appear small and shield himself from view, was Lance. Rage sped through his blood as Keith took in the site of the paladin. He was clothed in what looked like the rags of his black under suit. And by rags he meant that they were shredded and just about covered his pelvis and torso. There were no traces of his armor left, most likely thrown away. All the once unblemished exposed skin was covered in burns and cuts, some even deep enough to be lacerations. Dark almost black bruises marred once beautiful skin, blooming almost everywhere. He was caked in dirt as well as blood both fresh and old. From the smell of him it was clear that he hadn’t had a bath ever since he was taken. Looking closer Keith could see that all of Lance's finger and toe nails had been ripped off.

Lance may have been one of the tallest ones but he was skinny. He didn’t have as much muscle mass as Shiro or fat as Hunk. Hell even Keith had more muscle than he did. It wasn’t for a lack of trying though, Lance just was built to be lean and long. So he couldn’t afford to lose weight and that was just what had happened. His stomach was sunken in exposing his sharp hipbones and Keith could almost count his ribs as the skin stretched across them. His legs and arms were all but twigs as they curled around him. Even Pidge could snap him in half by now.

Worst of all was his face though and the expression he wore on it. There was no question about it, fear was splashed across his eyes. Gone were the once vibrant blue eyes of his and instead sat dull, hollow eyes that flicked fearfully between the three of them. His skin was tinged a sickly slight gray and his cheek bones protruded out from his hollow cheeks. His lips were split and beyond chapped at this point. Hair plastered to his forehead and Keith swore he could see traces of blood in it.

Keith would never forgive the Galra for as long as he lived.

Shiro was the first to hesitantly step forward as he softly called out, "Lance we're here for you."

The response they received was not one they had expected at all. Instead of him being happy or cracking a joke of what took the so long he was backing up farther into the wall. Curling into a ball Lance frantically began to beg, "Please no, stay away from me! I don’t want to go back to that room."

Flabbergasted Keith began to approach the sobbing boy. " Lance it's ok. We're going to get you out of here."

But he didn’t fair much better in response as Lance scrambled into a corner. Trembling with fear as he cowered away from them. "No please, not again!"

He was hysterical by this point as he sobbed and clutched his head. Did he not recognize him? And if so, why?

" Back off you two, let me try." Allura commanded as she pushed past both of them.

Deciding to take her lead on this they both retreated to the door of the cell as Allura carefully approached Lance. They watched as Lance didn’t notice her approaching. Took caught up in rocking back and forth while sobbing. It took everything in Allura not to shout out when she stepped in what was a fresh pool of blood and vomit. She was never the best in gorey situations like this.

Calling out in a soft and soothing tone Allura continued to approach him. "Lance its me, Princess Allura. Don’t you recognize me?"

At this Lance lifted his head and regarded Allura with tears shining in his eyes. "Allura is that you?"

Squatting down in front of him Allura gently took his shaking hands in her own warm ones. " Yes Lance it's me. I’m here to take you back."

For a moment Lance said nothing. He didn’t even react as he sat there and stared at her. But just as Allura was starting to get worried Lance threw his arms around her and buried himself in her chest, sobbing. " Its really you! I couldn’t believe it at first but its really you!"

Shushing him in a soft manner, she wrapped a soft cloak she had brought with her around him. " Its going to be ok now Lance. But we need to get you out of here. Can you walk?"

He shakily shook his head no as he clung to Allura. With he state he was in it wasn’t a surprise. And even if he could walk they doubted it was far/or if he could walk through all these halls without breaking down. Nodding her head in understanding Allura carefully extracted herself from his embrace. Trying her best to reassure him when he started to whimper.

"Alright Lance we're going to get you out of here but I need you to climb on my back so i can carry you out of here." She whispered to him.

It took a moment for Lance to quite comprehend what she was telling him but not long after he had crawled unto her back, face and body wrapped in the cloak. Standing Allura began to carry him out piggy back style. Being as gentle as she could when Lance whined in pain. Turning to the other two they all shared a forlorn expression. Yes they had found Lance but not in a condition they ever expected. But there wasn’t time to dwell on the matter. They needed to get him out of here and fast so they could treat his wounds.

Shiro and Keith led they way as the headed back to the hangar. By this time guards had begun to swarm the hallways, blocking the path they needed to take. Already pissed way beyond this point Keith wasted no time in cutting down several battalions by himself. His sword hacking and burying itself in soldier after soldier. This was what his training was for after all. He would protect the rest of them and get them out. He would protect Lance this time. Shiro stayed close to Allura and Lance, providing back up while protecting the now defenseless two. As much as he wanted to join the fray with Keith he couldn’t leave Allura defenseless with Lance on her back. So he just settled for taking care of the very few who got past Keith.

As they ran back Lance was deadly silent. The only indication that he was even there was his shallow breaths puffing out above Allura's shoulder or the occasional hiss of pain as one of his wounds throbbed. They had completely covered him so he would not see anything that was happening around them and start panicking. He already flinched when he heard the sounds of the droids blasts. There was need to expose him to anything that might trigger him.

Finally reaching the hangar they were all relieved to see it was still empty. Stopping to open the door Allura and Keith made haste as they headed to his lion while Shiro blasted ships that had tried to get in now in his lion. Ready to go Keith followed close behind Shiro as the exited the hangar. He was careful to avoid any blasts, who knew how Lance would react if they took a hit. Said paladin was still wrapped up and now being cradled in Allura's lap. However his eyes were now uncovered and darting around frantically. He was still disoriented as they flew through blasts towards the castle. Keith knew it didn’t help that they were in a different setting and he was near him.

Retracting one of her arms from around Lance Allura rapidly spoke into her mic. " Coran we are clear of the ship. I want you to charge the cannon to its absolute limit and destroy that ship."

Keith was surprised by Allura's command. She usually just made sure that the ships were damaged enough to no longer be operational. And it seemed he wasn’t the only one who was shocked at her reaction.

"B-But Princess are you sure?" Coran stammered into the mic.

" Yes Coran do it." It seemed Keith wasn’t the only one who wanted revenge.

As they flew closer Keith watched the cannon charge and release a bright blue beam. It struck the ship hard, splitting it in half as it began to explode. Pieces of debris careened through space as the ship was obliterated. Any one on board either killed by the blast or sucked into the empty void that was space. Watching Lance out of the corner of his eye he witnessed him watching the explosion with a look of pure relief on his face. Keith couldn’t blame him.

Landing and getting Lance out of his lion was a little tricky. He still couldn’t walk so Allura carried him, bridal style this time as he curled into her chest. He didn’t even look at Keith as he walked beside them and out into the hangar. Before they came out fully though Allura covered his eyes with the cloak. His reactions were still very unstable at this point. As soon as they exited Pidge and Hunk ran up to them but stopped short as soon as they could see Lance's wounds. Tears began to make their way down Hunk's face while Pidge looked on with horror. This was so much worse than any of them had predicted.

Coran soon appeared as well, along with Shiro who had gone to get him. He to was shocked and torn to see the state Lance was in.

" Coran is the healing pod in sector b operational?" Allura asked.

" W-well yes princess it is but we haven’t used that one since before we went to sleep." Coran answered, confusion evident.

" Good because he is going to need it. Everyone i need you to see how you can help Pidge with Lance's lion. Meanwhile I will take care of him and the healing pod." Not waiting to hear their responses Allura left, Lance still cradled protectively in her arms.

" But why cant we go with her?" Hunk demanded as he watched the doors shut behind her.

Laying a comforting hand on his friends shoulder Shiro answered, " There's a reason but for now we'll have to wait for Allura to come back."

They stayed silent as they regarded the now closed doors. This isn’t at all what had any of them expected but they would have to deal. Soon they all turned their attention to blue and sighed at all the work to be done to the damaged lion. It was quite damaged and it seemed none of the Galra had bothered to tinker with it. At least they would have something to distract themselves until Allura returned.


 

A little over a hour later Allura returned. She still wore her battle suit but it was know covered in blood and filth. No doubt from carrying Lance. But strange enough her arms were covered in water as well as trace amounts of soap.

" Everyone you can come with me now." She announced and left the room once again.

They all followed as she took a route none of them had ever been down before. Wherever they were going it must have had to do with the healing pod in sector b. And hopefully they could discuss the situation they were in now.

As they arrived in a large, dark room they all gasped at what they saw. In the middle of the room sat a huge egg shaped pod, three times the size of the regular healing pods they used. It glowed yellow light from the liquid that bubbled every so often inside. Tubes and wires ran around the room and disappeared into unknown holes. And finally smack dab in the middle of the pod, submerged and floating the liquid, curled up and asleep was Lance.

There was a patch of solid yellow glass covering the spot where his neither regions were but besides that the rest of him was exposed. Pidge, Hunk and Coran all gasped as they took in the full extent of his wounds. Completely uncovered Keith could see more that he hadn’t been able to earlier. All the dirt and caked on blood had been washed off now, exposing the true extent of his wounds. That also explained why Allura had suds on her, she must have given him a bath before submerging him in the pod.

" Allura, what is this?" Shiro asked.

" This is a healing pod my father designed not long before we were attacked. It is used to heal life threating injuries as well as any signs off starvation. I haven’t used it before because it takes up a lot of power and can be hard to fix if it breaks. But Lance is obviously in desperate need of it. While i had the liquid fill and the pod set i bathed him and was able to see the state of his wounds. A regular healing pod would not have helped him in this case." She explained as she put a hand on the pod.

No one said anything as they thought about what she said. It was clear enough from his wounds that yes he did need this, badly.

" How long will it take to heal him?" Hunk nervously inquired.

"That all depends. From my estimate I would say about 2 weeks. Starvation is a hard thing to overcome even with a healing pod of this caliber." Coran answered this time.

" What I want to know is why didn’t you want us to be around Lance when you guys first arrived?" Pidge demanded.

To this Shiro, Keith and Allura all exchanged glances. In hesitation Allura began to speak. " When we recovered Lance he wasn’t the same. He didn’t recognize Shiro or Keith and instead was terrified of them. The only one he remembered was me which is why I thought it was best for myself and only myself to get him into the healing pod."

"But you didn't even give the rest of us a chance to see if he remembered!" Pidge protested back.

" That’s because I have a theory on why he didn’t recognize Shiro and Keith. The Galra guards are for the most part made up of men and when we were aboard the ship we encountered no women. My theory is that his t-tortures were all men. And seeing as Hunk and Coran are very much male while he thought you were also male till recently I feared he would react violently to seeing you."

As soon as the rest heard this their faces transformed into ones of pure sadness. The Lance they all knew and loved being afraid of them? It was something they had never even considered.

" Well all we can do for now is wait for Lance to recover. Blue still needs to be fixed and we should aim to have it done by the time he awakens." Shiro suggested.

At such a suggestion the group lightened up. Fixing Blue would be sure to lift Lance's spirits. They could get through this, they just had to.

As they turned to exit the room Keith turned to face the pod. " Get well soon Lance." he mumured as he followed the rest of the team out.

Chapter Text

When will all these tears stop flowing? Over the past 2 weeks it seemed they were drowning in each others tears. Hunk hadn’t stopped crying since Lance had been put into the pod. He had cried so much the food he made tasted like salty tears and Keith was surprised he hadn’t collapsed from dehydration. Coran was no better as whenever he would go to check on Lance and his vitals he bawled. Big, ugly tears drenching his face and staining his mustache.

Allura cried every now and then but not as frequent as the former two. Most times when something reminded her of Lance or when she was working on his new suit. When the others had volunteered to help with that she was adamant in her refusal. Shiro suspected it gave her some kind of comfort as he later explained to the rest. Pidge on the other hand cried in private. No one had yet to see her cry but they knew she did as every morning her eyes would be bloodshot and puffy. She had probably cried herself to sleep every night since Lance had returned. But she didn’t let it effect her work as she led them in fixing the blue lion.

Shiro and Keith on the other hand cried the least out of all of them. It wasn’t that they were insensitive or not upset by what was happening but they grieved in their own ways. Shiro had cried a few times as of far and they were all when he had been the one to volunteer to clean the inside of Lance's cockpit. The inside that had traces of blood and pieces of Lance's chest armor in it which was what made it such a unbearable task. But through his tears Shiro lovingly scrubbed and cleaned until it shined once again. He wanted it spotless for when Lance returned after all. Keith on the other hand had not shed a single tear since everything had went down that day. He had always had a hard time crying even in situations like this. Thankfully the other didn’t ask as they all knew he was just as upset as the rest of them. Besides someone had to be strong in all of this.

So instead he chose to show how he was affected in a different way. Day and night he watched over Lance's pod, making sure everything was ok with him and that he hadn’t woken up early. He only got up to leave to get food or take a shower and other body needs. He even brought a blanket with him to sleep there. No one commented on any of this and were all grateful that he was keeping an eye on Lance. Besides they could all tell he had been full of angst about it when he was helping fix the lion before and Coran would run off to check on Lance.

As the days passed he watched in fascination as Lance's wounds began to heal and he began to put weight back on. It was sort of interesting in Keith's mind to watch as the cuts closed and the bruises began to fade. His bones began to disappear under new layers of muscle and fat while his skin returned to the once healthy shade it was once upon a time. However one thing bothered him. Across all of Lance's fingers and toes were perfect horizontal scars. They all started above the knuckles and looked older but Keith knew he didn’t have any of those when he had disappeared. Perhaps he could ask him where he got them if Lance didn’t mind when he woke up. At that thought he hoped it wouldn’t be long before Lance would be able to come out.


 

Days and hours ticked by and they waited with patience for Lance to recover, Allura called them all into the main control room.

"The reason I have gathered you all here at this time is because when we located the cell Lance was in I came across some 92 files attached to his main one. I didnt have a chance to see what they contained and being as such I didnt think it was fair not to let you guys know as well." Allura informed them as she went about to pulling up the first one.

Keith kind of remembered Allura telling them about the files before they had gone to rescue Lance. He had completely forgotten about her taking them with her and it seems from her lateness in telling them so had she. It wasn’t a big deal as they would be able to see what they were no matter what anyway.

No one said anything and she took it as it ok accessing the first one. However none of them had expected a picture of Lance strapped to a chair to filled the screen, armor stripped away till all that was left was his black under suit. But before any of them could say anything else a door slammed in the background and a Galra officer wearing bright red, pristine armor entered the picture. Long silver hair framed his sharp face, he looked tall and lethal even for a Galra.

" Good evening blue paladin or should i call you by your official name, Lance?" The officer politely asked.

Raising a unimpressed eyebrow Lance shot back, " Only my friends get to call me that thanks."

" Oh I see. But Lance is quite less of a mouth full to say. I think ill just stick to that for now. Do you know why your here Lance?"

" Obviously because your going to take me and my lion to that slimy bastard Zarcon!" Lance practically spit the last part. Everyone couldn’t help but feel a tinge of pride that he wasn’t showing any fear to this cocky asshole.

" Bzzt Bzzt! I’m afraid that’s actually wrong!" Sing sang the officer, face split in a teasing smile.

Lance's face immediately fell at this. It seemed he wasn’t the only ones confused as they continued to watch the video. But then again it also explained why he had been on the ship for so long instead of Zarcon's hands. The red lion had also not been in Zarcon’s hand when the retrieved it now that they thought about it.

" You see, Lord Zarcon is quite busy right now hunting down the rest of your little friends and doesn’t have time for you or your lion. So instead he left you to little old me, a great honor as far as I’m concerned. In fact he doesn’t care what happens to you as long as we keep your lion. I could actually kill you right now and he wouldn’t even care, but don’t worry I wont just yet."

By now they all knew where this was going. It was a well known fact that Zarcon could care less about the paladins as long as he had the lions. They had all seen the state Lance was in when he arrived. And this officer was by far the most weirdest they had seen. The question is just what all did they do to Lance and just who was this guy?

"So seeing as Zarcon doesn’t exactly need you and you have caused my colleagues and myself so much trouble I have some guards right now who would just love to express this. I on the other hand have some matters to attend to but ill be sure to visit you tomorrow." The officer rose from his seat and as he said this two guards entered the room.

The first guard wasted no time in approaching Lance and punching him straight across the face. They all watched in horror as the guards took turns delivering blows to Lance while he grunted in pain. Blood flung from his mouth and trickled down from his nose by the third punch. As this was going on the officer who still had no quite left yet turned to call over his shoulder, "Oh yes Lance I forgot to introduce myself, I am commander Irant. I’m sure we're going to be the best of friends."

Not long after this the video finished and Keith yelled in anger, " I should have gone and killed the commander when we first got there! He better have not survived the explosion some how or i swear-"

"Uh actually I don’t think you have to worry to much about that." Pidge hesitantly cut in.

Soon all eyes were turned to her as Shiro asked, " What do you mean Pidge?"

" Well you see when I saw the state the blue lion was in I kind of just snapped. I flew up to where I could see the command window and well I kind of shot several beams straight into it sooooo yea..." She didnt have to say the rest as they all knew what she was trying to say.

But Keith didnt like her hesitation, " Do you regret it?"

Snapping her head around to face him she glared hard. " No."

Neither said anything for a beat before nodding there heads in understanding. It wasn’t the first time either of them had killed some one before.

There attention was regained though as Allura began to play the 2nd video. But as soon as she did they all wished she hadn’t.

They watched as the sound of a door being opened echoed in the room and Lance being dragged in. They dragged him to the chair that still sat in it same position before throwing him in it and strapping him down. As they did the commander they now knew as Irant entered the room followed by a droid rolling a giant tub filled with water.

" Good morning Lance! How did my new friend sleep last night?" he cheerfully asked.

Lifting up his head everyone gasped as they took in Lance's features. His right eye was black and swollen shut while a big, black and blue bruise covered his left cheek. His lower lip was split and swollen while his nose was surely broken. They were sure more bruises covered the rest of his body as well.

" Not bad but I must say the room service here is atrocious." He sneered back. Oh good old Lance and his sarcasm but this time they all feared it wouldnt help him in this case.

Chuckling Irant rolled the tub the rest of the way until it was positioned in front of Lance. " Well I suppose ill have to see that is improved. Tell me Lance, do you know what this is?"

"Uh wate-" Lance didnt get the chance to finish the rest of his sentence as his head was unceremoniously shoved into the tub of water.

Irant held him underneath for a moment as Lance struggled in his grasp. Keith wished so badly that he could resurrect the bastard and kill him again as said man whistled happily while holding Lance. After a few long drawn out seconds he pulled back as Lance gasped for air.

" Correct! The answer is water!" He happily cheered before dunking his head once again.

" Guys I cant watch this!" Hunk all of a sudden wailed as he fled the room. Shiro was the first to go after him as the rest stayed to watch the video.

The video ended with Lance being drug away, sopping wet and gasping for air. Irant happily promising to come visit him again tomorrow in the background.

Shiro returned just as the video was ending and asked the question they were all thinking. " Allura why are we watching these?"

Turning to them with one of the most heartbroken looks she answered, "Before my planet was destroyed my father and I encountered many people who had been tortured by the Galra. In order to better understand what they went through and help them we would listen to there stories or watch videos like these. I want to know what Lance went through so I can help him and I completely understand if this is to hard for you guys."

At first none of them knew what to say but then Shiro spoke up. " I don’t know how long I can watch all of this but I to want to help him. Even for the year I was captured I never was in the shape he was in when we found him. Whatever they all did to him its going to take some real support to help him get over it."

" Ill stay to but I don’t know for how long." Pidge chimed in. As much as it pained her to watch her friend being hurt she wanted to understand what he had gone through.

" Lance is my friend and it would give me a insight how to make his time in the healing pod as comfortable as I can." was all Coran had to say on the subject.

Keith didnt express his opinion on the matter of staying, he already intended to stay for all the videos no matter what. He felt he at least owed it to Lance who he had given up so easily on. Instead he asked Shiro, "What about Hunk?"

Looking down sadly Shiro replied, "He refuses to watch anymore. Its to painful for him and he said he would rather continue to work on Lance's lion."

None of them said anything to this, all understanding where Hunk came from on the matter. Besides Lance's lion was almost done so it wouldn’t be to much for Hunk to finish the rest himself.

Seeing that the rest of them were ready Allura started the next video.

Lance was once again dragged in and strapped to the chair. Irant was busy with humming some off key tune while strapping flat little pads to Lance's arms and chest. A strange black box about the size of a brief case hummed from the table it sat on near them. From what they could see the box only had one dial on it, which was currently turned all the way to the right. They all knew what it was before Irant even needed to start it yet.

" So Lance tell me something, since your lion is blue and your suit has blue on it does that mean your favorite color is blue?" Irant asked.

" I guess but what do you care?" Lance huffed.

" Well did you know that even though electricity has no color it appears blue? The blue is caused by reactions and such but I don’t really feel like explain it"

" So? What does that have anything to do with anything?"

Irant didnt even bother to respond as he poured a bucket of water straight over Lance's head. Sputtering Lance barked, " what was that for?"

Smiling instead of saying anything he leaned over and began to crank up the dial. As soon as he did the machine hummed to life and Lance let out a piercing scream. His body began to shake as jolt after jolt of electricity flowed through him. His screams continued as he was shocked over and over. After some time Irant turned the dial down once again.

" As much as I want to continue this I don’t think you’ll be able to take anymore. We'll play more tomorrow."

The next couple of weeks worth of videos alternated between Lance being beaten, dunked and electrocuted. But that wasn’t all that happened. They watched as Irant began to tear at Lance's mind to. Loud, blaring sirens we're played occasionally while he was tortured but it had no effect on Irant as he wore earplugs through it all. He also began to ask and tell Lance things. Sentences that consisted of " Are you sure you sent a distress call to your friends?" and " Apparently no one has seen your friends as of late."

He was slowly starting to gaslight Lance. Gas lighting, as the explained to Allura and Coran, was a form of psychological abuse in which a victim is manipulated into doubting their own memory, perception, and sanity. In this case Irant was challenging Lance's memory and perception. He wanted him to doubt that he ever sent a distress call out. And Keith feared that he would push other things as news of there return would be sure to reach him.

As they approached night time Allura stopped playing the videos at approximately a months worth of them. " I think that’s enough for now guys." She all but whispered as she made her way to her chambers. The rest of them couldn’t help but agree as they went there separate ways. Keith of course went straight to his usual place in front of Lance's pod. He was still healing but for the most part all his injuries were gone. All that remained were a few very deep lacerations, his finger and toenails were halfway there to being regrown and he was almost back to the weight he was when they last saw him.

It had been a week and a half since he was put into the pod and it seemed Coran's estimate of him coming out in 2 weeks would hold true. However the one thing a healing pod couldn’t do was heal the mind. There was no telling what state Lance's was until he came out. Even then it would be up to them to try and help Lance regain whatever pieces of himself he had lost over his captivity.

Putting his hand against the warm glass Keith watched as bubbles formed and rose to the surface around Lance's face. He was glad at least Coran was making the healing pod as comfortable as he could even if Lance wouldn’t remember his time in it. He looked so at peace right now but who knows how long that would even last.

Turning away and going to sit in his usual spot Keith thought, " I will protect you."

 

 

Chapter Text

"Good morning Lance! How did my favorite prisoner sleep last night?"

" Not at all thanks to you." Lance hissed back. It seemed Irant had started to sleep deprive him as well now.

The set up in this video was different from all the previous ones as of far. Instead of being strapped to a chair like usual he was standing. His arms were placed above him bound to a rope that was hanging from the ceiling. He was shirtless as well with his back facing the camera.

" You know as much as I know I have a wonderful body you have to pay to see it. Or be a hot babe and in this case you are not." Lance snarked back over is shoulder. They would have been relieved to see that he was still fighting back but they knew something was off about him. Even though his sarcasm was ever still there his voice had a different tone. He sounded weary and almost monotone. Lance was starting to break.

" Oh ill be sure to keep that in mind." Irant chuckled as he pulled out simple black whip.

Looking over his shoulder Lance eyes widened when he saw what he held. The muscles in his arms began to coil in anticipation for what was to come. It seemed Irant had gotten tired of using the same torture methods and was bringing in new ones.

" Oh this one is my favorite! It looks like a normal whip at first glance but if I press this button on the handle..." as he spoke he did just that and the whip began to glow a soft orange. " It heats it up! So not only will I be whipping you but also burning you." He happily informed Lance.

Lance said nothing to this as he continued to face forward. He would not give him the satisfaction of seeing him scared. He knew this was going to be beyond painful but he could endure. He had to, after all his friends were on their way right now...right?

"Tell me Lance, have you ever been whipped before?"

He didnt answer and that suited Irant just fine as he raised his arm back and the first crack of the whip came down hard on his back. Lance cried out in pain as the whip tore through his flesh and burned as it went. The heat was almost unbearable as it burned the torn flesh. Before he could even recover from the first one a second one tore a long line across his lower back. Rocking forward with the pain he buried his face in one of his arms while he cried out. Strike after strike rained down on his back as he sobbed brokenly into his arm. He wasn’t going to last much longer at this rate and it was with that thought that he blacked out.

The next video wasn’t much better as it was the one where Lance lost his finger nails and toenails. They all watched in horror as one by one each of them were ripped out with a pair of pliers. Keith gritted his teeth in anger as Lance cried even after all his nails were ripped out. It was no secret that Lance was a bit of a metrosexual when it came to his looks. Keith had even watched once in mild amusement as Lance spent a good hour on filing his nails to perfection and making sure they shined. And now they were all gone, sure they were almost regrown in the pod by now but that wasn’t the point.

This video after this one was quite different than the rest of them. Lance hung from the ceiling by his arms, shoulders clearly struggling to support even his meager weight. Entering the room Irant carried with him no torture device, no new contraption to cause Lance misery. Instead he took a seat in a chair next to where Lance hung.

" I figured after yesterdays little activity I would be gracious and give you a little break. Being so I thought it would be relaxing if I read to you for a little while." Pulling out a stack of papers Irant leaned back in his chair, looking to Lance as if he was waiting for something.

" Well do you want me to read to you?"

"Not really." Lance finally mumbled out.

" Ok so this first one is a report from a small cargo ship almost half way across the galaxy." Typical of Irant. He didnt care if Lance wanted to hear it or not.

" We have spotted the lions and their command base. It seems they are one lion short but it hasn’t had a effect on their battle strategy. One of the cargo ships has been lost to them."

Hearing this Lance slowly turned his head to face Irant. His eyes wide and unbelieving at the words he was hearing. Smirking at his reaction Irant continued with the next report.

" Paladins and their lions spotted. They have liberated a nearby planet and are currently making peace with the natives. Pulling back for now, even with one short they are still a force to reckon with."

And so it continued like this. Irant read through all the reports that held information about where the paladins were and what they were doing. In every one of them it was mentioned how they didn’t have Lance but seemed to be doing fine without him. Keith and the others even recognized some of the events they were talking about.

Finally finished with reading the reports he turned to Lance.

" So Lance are you still convinced your friends are coming for you?"

" They are! I know they will they just haven’t located me yet." Lance yelled back frantically. He refused to believe that his friends had abandoned him so easily.

"Well from what I just read it sounds like they aren’t even searching for you. Shouldn’t someone who’s searching for something not have the time to be liberating planets and making peace. I certaintly wouldn’t as a matter of fact. Now that I think about it, it sounds like there doing just fine without you. " Irant calmly stated, in secret loving the look of absolute torment Lance's face was taking on.

" N-no your wrong." Lance shakily tried to protest. They were his friends, there just had to be a realistic explanation of why they hadn’t found him yet.

" Face it Lance they don’t need you. In fact they could probably care less about what happens to you. I mean surely there would have been reports of them asking about you. As far as their concerned they are better off without you."

And it was with that everything shattered. Like a dish falling unto the floor and shattering into tiny little pieces, Lance was broken. Tears streamed down his face as he stared blankly down at the ground. For as strong as Lance was even he could only take so much himself. Seeming pleased with the results Irant smiled and stood up.

Stepping forward he put a hand on his shoulder while reassuring Lance, " Oh but don’t worry Lance you still have me. Just you and myself well that is until I get bored and finally kill you. But don’t fret that wont be till much, much later."

And with that he turned and left. The last thing they saw was Lance still hanging from the ceiling, helpless and sobbing as he did. Then the video ended.

They were all pulled out of their thoughts though at the sound of soft sobbing. Turning Keith was shocked to see Pidge had removed her glasses and was doing her best to wipe away the tears the poured down her petite face. But before anyone could ask why she was crying she spoke up.

" How could he say that to Lance? Can you imagine just how betrayed and heartbroken he must have felt in that moment? I should have fixed the system sooner, we should have worked harder to find him." She howled as the tears just kept coming.

Stepping forward Coran placed a gentle hand on her shoulder. " I think Pidge and myself have had enough. It would be best for you three to continue on without us." He softly said as he lead the still crying Pidge out.

Now it was just the three of them. The ones who had originally found Lance in the first place, now it seemed so fitting that they would be the lasts one to stay.

" Allura just how many videos are left?" Shiro wearily asked.

"A little under a months worth. The last one says it was recorded the day before we rescued Lance."

" Well we might as well continue to watch the rest." Keith said. There was no point in stopping now and he was determined to see this through.

Nodding her head in understanding Allura began to play the next one.

In this video Lance was once again strapped to his chair but something was horribly different this time. His eyes were hollow and unfocused as he seemed to stare at nothing. They were blood shot and puffy from no doubt crying. It was clear that this was the beginning of him giving up.

Once again Irant entered the room but this time a droid rolled in a glass container about the size of a keg. It was filled with a bright yellow fluid that seemed oddly familiar and then it clicked.

" Is that-?" Keith asked at the same time Allura said, " What are they doing with quintessence?"

But it seemed they didnt have to wait for a answer for long as the cart was parked right beside Lance.

" So Lance I’m sure you have no idea what this is so ill enlighten you. This substance is quintessence a marvelous substance that allows you do amazing things such as regeneration. However its not easy to obtain so this is all I can spear for the little experiment I have in mind." Irant gushed as he pulled out a wicked looking paring knife.

" What exactly are you going to do to me?" Lance wearily asked.

" Well i have never tried quintessence on human regeneration so I thought we could do a small experiment. And being so why don’t we start small." As soon as Irant had said this he seized Lance's hand and cut his pinky off in one fell swoop.

For a second Lance didnt react as he watched his finger dangle in front of his face by Irant. However as soon as he finally realized just what had happened he began screaming and crying. Irant just smiled as he placed his finger on a tray.

" I think ill just cut off all your fingers first then I will try my little quintessence experiment." Irant informed him as he wasted no time removing 3 more fingers.

They all watched in horror as Lance's fingers were removed one by one and placed on the tray. He continued to scream and sob as blood ran from his fingers and unto the floor. Soon all 10 fingers of his were sitting on the tray and Lance had stopped screaming and was now a crying mess.

" Well now shall we try reattaching your fingers?" Irant hummed in glee as he prepared the quintessence.

They all watched in awe and disbelief as Irant realigned Lance's pinky finger and dropped a few drops of quintessence unto it. Almost immediately the bone and tissue began to reconnect, the flesh knit together over the wound but a feint scar remained. That explained why he had scars on his fingers. But with the density of his scars it had to been done multiple times at least.

As much as they all wanted to investigate further the quintessence Lance was of the most importance. The video soon ended but before Allura could play the next one Shiro interrupted them

" Guys I cant do this anymore. I know I should stay and be strong for Lance since I’m the leader but I just cant anymore. It just takes me back to my time and I cant watch a friend go through things I similarly went through."

Keith couldn’t blame Shiro for what he felt. He was having a hard time watching what Lance was going through as well. But he also knew Shiro sometimes suffered from PTSD and this wasn’t helping him. He needed to fill his time with happy things and not watching someone he cared for being tortured.

" It's alright Shiro. Allura and I will be fine by ourselves. You should go see if maybe Hunk needs help on blue." Keith suggested.

Shooting him a ever grateful look Shiro nodded his head and exited the room. Turning towards Allura they shared a long look, full of understanding and mutual comfort.

" Are you ready to finish this?" she softly asked.

" Yeah lets get this over with already." he replied.

Wasting no time they began to watch the remaining videos. In each one Lance was tortured a variety of ways. He was beaten, dunked, whipped, electrocuted, burned, and his fingers and toes were cut off multiple times. Keith didnt think he would ever be able to get the sound of Lance screaming out of his head for as long as he lived. But they continued to watch their friend suffer until tears ran down Allura's face and Keith's hand hurt from clenching them to tight.

Before they knew it thought they had arrived at the last video. But by this time Keith wished they hadn’t. As they watched Lance was once again strapped to a chair but he yowled and fought not to be. He begged and pleaded but his words went unheard and soon he was strapped in.

Irant once again entered the room but this time he carried a peculiar rod with him with a design carved out at the bottom.

"Lance today I have something special in mind. You have been such a good prisoner, giving me all these lovely screams and tears of yours." He cooed.

Lance said nothing by now and just whimpered every so often. His wounds wept and his body shook. He looked just like he did when they found him so what did he do to him? It must have been something or in a place Keith couldn’t see. Looking to Allura he was surprised to see a look of pain across her face as she watched the screen, as if she knew what was going to happen. Judging from this it must be something Keith could not have seen when they first rescued him.

" Today I am going to brand you. You see I am not quite tired of you yet and I thought it would be fitting to mark you as a piece of Galra property to cement the idea." Irant hummed full of cheer.

Keith watched in horror as the rod in Irant's hand began to heat up until the design on the bottom glowed dark orange. The design he now could see was in the shape of the Galra emblem with their writing surrounding it. The design was about the size of a baseball but even that would still show. Moving towards Lance who was now struggling to get away while chanting over and over, "Please no!" he heaved the brand up and pulled on Lance's trashed garments to reveal his slim hip.

" This might hurt just a little." Irant teased and with that pressed the brand straight into Lance's flesh. His screams were absolutely horrible as he cried out in pain. Big fat tears streamed down his face that had twisted in agony. His hands were gripped so tight unto the chair that Keith was surprised his delicate bones hadn’t broken at the force he was putting through them.

Pulling back the brand it revealed the ugly sight of the Galra symbol burned into Lance's flesh. Admiring his handy work Irant whistled in appreciation before patting Lance's head.

"Its beautiful Lance!" He crooned.

Lance didnt say anything as he had stopped crying and instead blankly stared forward. Any will he had left in him had snapped at that very moment, just a day before they were to come for him. It just wasn’t fair. The video soon ended after this and Allura turned to him.

" That’s it of course. We all know what happened after that."

" But what about now? How are we going to even hope to take care of Lance after seeing just what all he went through?" Keith exclaimed in frustration.

" We will do the best that we can Keith. For now we both need to rest after everything we just saw. Lance is scheduled to come out of the pod tomorrow and we need to be ready for when he awakens." Allura explained.

The reality that Lance was ready to come out and they might finally be able to properly reunite was almost to much for Keith. A nights rest seemed like a wonderful idea. Nodding his head in understanding Keith said no more as he left the control room.

But this time he didnt head for Lance's pod. Instead he went straight to his room and collapsed unto his bed. He knew he didnt have it in him to sit there and face Lance for a whole night. Especially with the knowledge that if maybe they would have tried harder, if maybe he had tried harder they could have saved Lance. His dreams were filled with fitful images of Lance sitting in his cell, alone and afraid that night.

The next day found all of the paladins gathered around in one of the med bays as they waited for Coran and Allura to finish with Lance. It was all a delicate process as they had to drain the fluid while retrieving Lance out of the pod. Next they had to clear his lungs of any fluid that may have gotten trapped. After this they checked to see if everything healed right and his vitals were good. Then it was just clean up after that.

Keith couldn’t stop pacing as they waited for Lance to appear. He had never been so anxious in his life before. This situation was such a unknown area for him and he wanted so badly for Lance to remember him. To remember that he would never hurt him and was his friend.

Luckily it seemed like the wait was finally over as Allura entered the med bay followed by Coran pushing a table with Lance laying on top of it. He looked so much better and actually looked like he did before they had all gotten separated. Earlier Allura had informed them that for the most part his body would return to normal but some of the deeper wounds would leave behind scarring. Keith was pretty sure Lance had quite a bit too under the soft t shirt and jeans he now wore.

" He should be waking any moment now." Allura happily informed them.

All of them except Allura watched with anticipation from a safe distance. They still didnt know what the mental state of Lance would be when he woke up and they didnt want to cause him to freak out. Everyone watched in awe as Lance's eyes began to twitch and the most amazing thing happened. His eyes began to open.

 

 

Chapter Text

"Lance?" a warm voice whispered.

Grunting Lance squeezed his eye shut. He was so warm and content. He wasn't ready to open his eyes just yet. Maybe if he just kept his eyes closed he could get away with sleeping a little longer.

" Lance are you awake?" The soft voice called, a hint of teasing knowing tinting it.

Damn. So much for that plan.

Figuring he couldn’t pretend any longer he opened his eyes. But he was surprised at what he saw when he did. Instead of the dark ceiling of his cell, above him sat a great oak tree. Its branches swayed in tadem in the wind, casting shadows over him and creating twinkles of light through the greenery. He could feel soft grass under him and could smell the scent of daisies. Birds sang and laughter rang out not to far from where he lay, children’s laughter at that. It almost reminded him of home.

" So you are awake?" The voice asked. But something wasn’t quite right. The voice sounded so familiar like he had heard it before.

Turning his head in the direction of the voice he was surprised to see Keith sitting next to him, his right knee propped up as he rested his head on it regarding Lance with a slight teasing expression. Of course it was Keith but for some reason he hadn’t recognized his voice. Gone was the usual aggressive tone and it was now replaced with a warm, almost gentle one. However that wasn't the only weird thing about the dream. Keith wasn’t wearing his signature jacket and black shirt like always. Instead he was wearing a simple white and red Henley t shirt and pair of dark wash jeans. Gone were his usual boots and instead had been replaced by a simple pair of red vans. But instead of looking uncomfortable in his new clothes he looked quite at home as he continued to look at Lance.

Taking a quick look at himself in curiosity Lance was amazed to see he was wearing something different as well. Instead of his usual jeans and sneakers he wore a pair of loose tan cargo pants and his shoes were no where in sight. His feet were weird enough bare where they rested. His upper body was clad in a simple forest green v neck and he didnt see his signature jacket anywhere. But his attention was diverted as he heard the sound of children's laughter once again.

Looking up Lance realized Keith and he were sitting atop a hill facing a golden meadow filled with daises. The laughter he could hear was coming from several little Altean children with dark skin and even darker black hair. There blue eyes shinning with glee as they ran through the soft grass. They were currently running around a young human girl who laughed and chased them around. Looking closer Lance realized the girl was Pidge!

Her hair had grown back as it hung down to her waist and shined in the sun light. She no longer wore shorts and a jacket but instead a soft looking white dress adorned with the print of little blue flowers. She laughed as the children chased after her and tried to catch her. Her bare feet dancing around as the children chased after her. Her eyes shined bright and her smile was radiant as she laughed. Along with her was a boy who looked to be the exact replica of her except for being taller and a older man who had both of their eyes. Lance realized all of a sudden it was her father and brother. So she had found them after all.

Continuing his observations Lance was happy to see Hunk passing a few sandwiches to Shiro and Allura where they sat. It looked as if he had lost a bit of weight but he was still big old huggable Hunk. His shorts had been traded out for a pair of new cargo shorts and he wore a simple plaid button up shirt. His big eyes peacefully watched the scene in front of them, his mouth stretching into a lazy grin every now and then. Lance had never seen him so at peace before.

Coran was busy running around trying to gather up the children but with no avail. He was at least having fun though as he was evaded several times by the crafty kids. He no longer wore the same pants and tunic but now wore more traditional Altean gowns that shined and reflected all matters of blues and greens. His temples had begun to take on some white and wrinkles had began to settle in his face but he looked pretty good noone the less.

Shiro and Allura were a completely different thing all together. Gone was Shiro's prosthetic Galra arm and instead it was replaced by a simple black one. He wore a simple pair of black pants and a blue button up shirt. His undercut had grown out a bit while his bangs had been cut short. His eyes were a lot more gentle than Lance remembered and the frown lines had all but vanished. He no longer looked as tense as he always had. Allura wore a new gown that just about brushed the ground. It was a beautiful array of blues, whites and pinks that complemented her eyes and long hair that hung free down her shoulders. She was beautiful as always but she had a different glow to her this time. Her cheeks seemed fuller and more rosy than usual. But the weirdest thing as of far was her swollen belly that Shiro was currently rubbing with love.

" Like what you see?" Keith gently asked.

Turning to face him Lance was lost for words, "This, all this, its a dream isn’t it?" He asked.

Turning his eyes back unto the scene in front of him Keith hummed, " Hmmm well not necessarily. Right now yes you are technically dreaming but this is also a part of one of many futures."

" Wow so your telling me that all this can be in the future? That Allura and Shiro are going to get married and have a bunch of little babies, geez that’s just weird." Lance marveled.

Chuckling at Lance's reaction Keith nodded his head. " Yeah pretty much."

" Speaking of weird things why are you and I hanging out under a tree together alone?" Lance asked, eyes narrowed.

At first Keith chose not to answer as he regarded Lance. Staring back Lance was almost entranced by the look in Keith's eye. They were so soft and gentle that Lance was starting to blush. There was a name for what he was seeing in Keith's eye he just couldn’t put his finger on it. But before he could dwell further on it or God forbid ask Keith decided to speak.

" It doesn’t matter now." he hummed.

Perplexed by Keith's meaning Lance questioned, " What do you mean?"

Looking at Lance's hand out of the corner of his eye Keith didnt answer at first. Confused at why he was looking at his hand Lance looked as well and found something was off. It was like a glitch going off in a computer as his brain flashed images of deep scars that ran across his fingers. Scars that currently were not there.

" This future is already gone. You can not get it back and it will never be like this." Keith sadly murmured.

All of a sudden crushed at the prospect Lance looked forlorn at his friends. His friends who were happy and without a care right now. He so wanted a future for them like this but how could he if it was already gone.

Sensing Lance's turmoil Keith spoke up, " But that doesn’t mean they aren’t happy futures for us out there. Just because this one doesn’t come true doesn’t mean we will never be happy."

Whipping around too face him once again Lance exclaimed, "Are you serious?"

"Yes of course. You just have to do two things."

"And what are those?" Lance asked. Excited for the prospect of having such a calm and peaceful future one day.

Finally turning back and facing Lance Keith began to slowly lean in. At first Lance blushed as Keith got closer and closer while at one point he almost squeaked from embarrassment. But before he could Keith stopped about a couple of inches away from his face.

" Be strong and wake up."

But he didnt want to wake up, for he knew that once he did, this happy dream would shatter like tiny fragments of broken glass.


 

Keith watched in quiet joy as Lance started to open his eyes. His eyebrows first scrunching in displeasure before they relaxed. The blue of his iris peaking out as his eyes slowly opened. They were all on edge, holding their breath as Lance blinked sluggishly up at the ceiling. Eyes squinting a few times at the bright light that flooded the room per usual. Taking this as a good sign so far Allura gingerly approached his bed side.

"Lance? how are you feeling?" She delicately asked.

Hearing her voice Lance's eyes swiveled over to where she stood and regarded her with a almost shell shocked look on his face. He looked at her as if he almost didnt believe she was there. His eyes traced her features over and over as if she would all of a sudden vanish into thin air.

" Lance its ok. Its me, I'm here." She reassured him as she place a gentle hand on his shoulder.

That seemed to finally jolt Lance out of his stupor as Lance started to struggle to sit up. Rushing the rest of the way forward Allura helped him rise from his position until he was sitting all the way up and facing her. Stepping back once she was sure he wasn’t going to topple over she patiently waited for him to gain his bearings.

Rubbing at his eyes Lance blearily looked up at her again. His eyes shined with disbelief and the edges were crinkled in what was starting to become a smile. Keith was so relieved that for the most part the sparkle had returned to Lance's deep blue eyes.

" You really are here." he said in glee.

Smiling through the tears that had began to well up Allura nodded her head. Smiling a huge grin of his own Lance did his best not tear up himself. All of a sudden it was to much and Allura wrapped her arms protectively around Lance.

" Yes Lance I’m here, I’m here." She whispered into his ear as they clung to each other.

Burying his face into her shoulder Lance sniffed loud and nodded his head. His grip on the back of her dress was beginning too leave wrinkles, something she would be sure to complain about later. But for now who cared?

Pulling away and wiping her tears Allura spoke up, " I'm so happy to see you Lance but I'm not the only one who has wanted to see you." After she said this she stepped back and gestured to the rest of them waiting some ways behind her.

And here came the most terrifying moment so far. Would Lance recognize them or would he start to panic at the sight of them. Keith didnt think he could take it if Lance started to freak out on them and judging from the others faces they couldn’t either. Time seemed to drag by as they stared at Lance with worry while he stared back with little to no expression. And just as Keith was about to explode from tension something amazing happened.

Lance's mouth morphed into a ear splitting grin as tears ran free down his face. His eyes and nose scrunched up as he tried to sniffle the tears up. His ears began to turn red when his nose started to run but all throughout he just kept smiling.

" Long time no see right guys?" he said thorough his tears.

All at once it was to much as Hunk and Pidge began to cry as they ran to Lance. Coran started to sob into his handkerchief about how happy he was as he too made his way to Lance. Shiro didnt full out cry like the other two but Keith could have sworn a stray tear slipped down his cheek as he went to join the rest.

Keith however remained where he stood as he watched Pidge and Hunk almost squeeze the life out of the laughing Lance. Hunk still had big tears rolling down his face as he gushed on how happy he was that Lance was back. Pidge was grossly wiping her snot on her sleeve as she every so often interrupted Hunk with words on how she knew she would see him again. Coran got a hug in but he wasn’t much better in the strangling department as he bawled openly about how he had missed the young boy. Allura finally had to peel him off and Shiro stepped up to give Lance a pat on the back and a rough ruffle on his head. He warmly explained how he was so glad to have him back. At first Keith was content to watch but that soon became not aa option.

Everyone went silent and parted a way to Lance as they looked at him. Lance too stared at him with curiosity. Seeing what the other wanted and that he wasn’t going to get away with it Keith made his way to Lance's bed side. When he arrived they just continued to stare at each other, brown meeting blue in curiosity. Seeing as Lance wasnt going to say anything first Keith decided to speak up.

" So how are you feeling?" He awkwardly asked. Sure it was in most cases not the best thing he could have said but at least it was a start.

Now Keith had expected a variety of snarky comebacks such as " just peachy Mullet head." Or something of the like. Maybe a eye roll at least. What he had not expected was Lance to practically launch himself at him. Hands scrambling to wrap Keith in a desperate hug. His right hand found itself in the back Keith's hair while the other fisted his jacket in the other.

Lance was lucky Keith had quick reflexes because if not they both would have ended up sprawled across the ground. But instead he stood there holding Lance while the other leaned precariously of the side off the bed to hug him. This was new territory for Keith. He wasn’t the hugger type but everyone else had hugged Lance. Hell even Shiro had snuck in a quick hug right before Keith had walked over. What was he even suppose to do?

But it seemed he got his answer as Lance sobbed into his shoulder, " Just hug me you mullet bastard."

Oh there was the Lance he knew. Smiling at Lance's request Keith obliged and begun to wrap his arms around Lance. His left arm came up to support Lance's head that was buried against his shoulder. His other arm came to wrap snug around Lance's waist, making sure to hug him just as tight as Lance was hugging him. Dimly he could feel hot tears soaking and seeping through his jacket. But in this moment it didnt matter. They finally had their friend back.

 

Chapter Text

TEN

They were all so delicate with Lance it was almost funny to watch as they floundered over him. After Keith had extracted himself from the hug Lance decided it was time to stand. Stretching his leg out he slowly began to stand up. He almost had a heart attack while everyone lunged forward with there arms outstretched.

" Lance I don’t think you should be standing so soon!" Allura explained in a hurry.

"Yea I don’t think you should be standing at all!" Hunk frantically exclaimed.

Keith couldn’t help but silently agree with the both of them. Stepping out a healing pod after a couple of days was disorienting and it always had one of them tripping over their feet. But submerged in a pod for 2 weeks was a all together different matter. Lance legs would in most cases feel like jelly and there would be no doubt that he would end up a heap on the ground. But as in all things Lance was stubborn.

Waving them all off with a eye roll Lance reassured them, " Guys ill be fine."

No he most definitely wasn’t going to be fine! He needed to let the strength in his legs come back and than still maybe it was best if he barely walked anymore for awhile. Keith was not going to have Lance tripping his way out a airlock even if he had to strap him to a bed. Sadly it seemed Lance was not tuned into Keith's brain waves because if he was he certainty wouldn’t have done what he just did.

Bracing his hands unto the sides of the bed Lance breathed in before hoisting himself up. Everyone watched dumbstruck as he stood and stretched his limbs out with a groan. His limbs made a few soft popping noises as he rolled and stretched them.

Turning to them Lance flashed a cocky grin. " So now that that’s out of the way, what’s next?"

NINE

If anyone had been watching them all right now they would have laughed as the rest of the team stumbling over each other as they almost had to run to keep up with Lance. Who was currently striding down to the hangar with purpose. As soon as Lance had gotten up he had wanted to go see how Blue was. No doubt he was worried for his lion after not seeing it for months.

Ignoring the calls of his team mates Lance strolled right into the hangar and straight to his lion. Managing to catch up with him they all panted behind him, who knew Lance could move like that even after getting out of a healing pod. Being the first one to regain her voice Pidge spoke up.

" When we found Blue they were still in the shape they had been when you crashed but over the past 2 weeks we were all able to fix them right up. I even added in a few modifications that you may find useful."

At first Lance didnt say anything as he made his way to his lion. His path took him straight to Blue's face that rested currently on the floor. Sensing their paladins presence for the first time in months their eyes lit up and soft rumbling sound echoed throughout the hangar. Smiling gently Lance rested one of his palms against their muzzle while his forehead joined not to far after. The rumbling everyone soon learned was actually blue purring.

" Its great to see you too buddy." Lance whispered as he lovingly stroked the metal.

This continued for several minutes before Lance stepped back. Turning to face them all Lance smiled.

" Thank you all for restoring blue. I was worried with the damage they received they couldn’t be fixed." he expressed.

Snorting at what he said Pidge snarkly answered, " Oh come on Lance just who do you think your talking to?"

At first Lance seemed taken aback but he soon began to laugh. Bright peels of laughter twinkled from his mouth at what Pidge said. Until now Keith never realized how he had missed Lance's dorky laugh.

EIGHT

At this rate Keith was going to have a aneurism. No matter what Lance just wouldn’t sit down and rest like he should have. He understood the need for Lance going to see his lion after being separated for so long but now he was racing towards the kitchen.

" Lance where are you going?" Hunk called as they all struggled to keep up with his determined strides.

" I’m starving so to the kitchen." He called back over his shoulder.

And Keith knows now he shouldn’t be surprised. Besides Hunk, Lance was the second most likely to think with his stomach. But he supposed he should give him a break since he technically hadn’t ate anything while he was in the pod not to mention the shitty food he was fed while in captivity ,which was next to none half the time. Just the thought of how little he was given to eat made Keith's heart ache.

Not wasting any time Lance strolled straight into the kitchen and plopped himself down in one of the seats. The rest of them arrived soon after all out of breath and surprised that Lance was able to set such a brisk pace even though he just gotten out of the pod not to long ago.

" Hunk can you pretty please make me one of your delicious meals?" Lance cooed as Hunk did his best to catch his breath.

Hearing his request the rest just sighed in relief. Maybe now he would finally sit down for awhile. Sensing the rest of their thoughts Hunk was happy to oblige him.

" Yeah sure Lance. Just give me a minute and ill having something whipped right up for you."

Lance just hummed in confirmation as he calmly sat there. The rest of them watched him in unease for a moment before they decided that he would be just fine.

SEVEN.

" Well i think for now its safe to believe he is fine. Nothing seems to be wrong and we cant all just hover around him all day." Allura whispered to the others.

"I agree. I think we should just have one of us watch over him for now. He might become to suffocated if we all watch over him." Shiro commented.

Almost immediately they all turned towards Keith. Each with a different degree of expectations on their face. For a moment Keith wasn't quite sure why they were all looking at him but then it.

" Wait why me?" Keith hissed. Seeing as Lance and he didnt see eye to eye all the time shouldn’t he be the worst choice for this?

" Keith you are good at reading people. Out of all of us you might catch anything that is wrong with Lance before we can." Shiro reasoned.

Looking past the four of them Keith fixed his eyes on Lance who was still currently sitting in the same spot since he had first sat down. Maybe this wouldn’t be too difficult seeing as Lance looked quite peaceful at the moment. Surely he could handle watching over Lance.

Sighing in resignation Keith nodded his head. If it was for the sake of Lance maybe he didnt mind so much. Smiling at his answer the rest went on their merry ways to mess with whatever they wanted to. Leaving just Hunk, Lance and Keith in the kitchen. It seemed as Hunk knew what had happened as he shot a reassuring smile at him.

Firm and resolved to see this through Keith took a seat beside Lance. The later merely opened one lazy eye before letting it fall shut again. He wasn’t sleeping it seemed but just resting his eyes as he continued to hum a unfamiliar tune. Content himself with the silence Keith said nothing either and just let it be.

Around 10 minutes later Hunk finished making whatever he had decided to make for Lance and neatly deposited it unto the table in front of him. Keith would admit any day that whenever Hunk made something it always smelled and looked good no matter what he made it from. Lance of course shared his sentiments as he dug into the bowl with a quick " thank you" thrown at Hunk in between bites.

Chuckling at Lance's enthusiasm he turned to Keith, " Well I have some dishes to clean up so I'll leave the rest to you."

Keith watched him go with a bit of apprehension. Now that he thought about it shouldn’t Hunk be the one who watched Lance. He knew him so much better than Keith did and at any rate he was his best friend for Christ sakes. For sure he and Lance weren’t fighting right now but who was to say they wouldn’t start to argue later on. And that was something Lance didnt need right now. He would have to keep himself in check.

SIX

Pausing in his eating Lance turned to him. " So how long was I out for?" he hesitantly asked.

Taken aback at first Keith just stared at Lance. He didnt think at this rate Lance would ask anything of the matter but it seemed he to was curious of his state. Keith could tell he was nervous about the answer as he looked every where but him at the moment. His fist was clenched tight around his fork making the scars on his fingers stand out even more. What Keith wouldn’t give to see that those scars never made their home on Lance's skin in the first place.

Going back to Lance's question Keith decided to answer with honesty" Not long, 2 weeks."

Visibly relaxing at his words Lance nodded his head. " I see."

Watching Lance for any sign that he was bothered Keith was relieved to see that he was quite relaxed. Happy even as he munched on the dish Hunk had so lovingly made him. He had to be delicate with the situation at hand. He didnt think he could handle a hysterical Lance all by himself.

Now he actually wanted to ask Lance about everything that had gone on but this wasn’t the right time. He and all the others had after all agreed not to ask Lance anything right away. He needed to first get comfortable with being back before they started launching questions at him. And even then they just couldn’t brazenly ask him anything. Everything needed to be very gentle.

FIVE

Noticing Keith staring at him Lance raised a eyebrow. Usually when Keith looked at him for long periods of time it classified more as a glare than anything. But the look on Keith's face was more contemplative than scowl this time. Lance decided to speak up about this.

" Um did you want some?" He asked as he offered his messy bowl to Keith.

Realizing he had been caught Keith quickly shook his head. " Oh no I’m good thanks."

" Suit yourself." Lance shrugged as he continued to stuff his face.

For a moment neither of them said anything. Lance was too busy with his food and Keith locked in his own thoughts. But this suited Keith just fine. He was not one for many words even at the most normal of times. This silence suited him just fine and he was content.

However it seemed Lance was not. " So seeing as like training is your life,how’s that going?"

Now it was Keith’s turn to raise his eyebrows at Lance's question. Usually the other didnt care about what Keith was doing no less his training. Maybe the silence really was bothering him.

" Not bad, i can now take on 10 gladiators at sequence 25 by myself." He nonchalantly answered.

It was silent for a beat before Lance exclaimed, " What?! How?!"

Apparently it was such a wild concept to him that the couldn’t believe it. He began to wave his arms around as he interrogated Keith on how he had progressed that far. But it seemed he was being just a little too dramatic as his wrist came down on the edge of his bowl causing it to go sailing through the air.

FOUR

Keith watched in slow motion as the bowl flew through the air and landed straight over Lance's head. Dumping its contents down his head and entire body. So much for the cleaning Allura and Coran had given him when he had come out of the pod. Not to mention there went the rest of Lance's precious food from Hunk.

Neither one of them said anything for a beat as the food slid down Lance's neck and continued to stain his already soaked shirt. As much as Keith found it amusing the way Lance currently looked he didnt dare laugh. The last thing he needed was Lance becoming angry and stomping away from him.

" Well this is embarrassing." Lance murmured as he tried not to move to much. Ugh was that food sliding down his underwear he felt?

Sighing Keith shook his head before standing. Pushing his chair in and picking up Lance's bowl and fork he placed them unto the counter before turning to face Lance. Extending his hand to him Keith huffed.

" Well come on lets get you to a shower or something."

Blushing Lance took Keith's hand and let himself be pulled up off the chair. Letting go as soon as he was sure Lance was ok Keith began to make his way to the shower rooms.

THREE

Lance quietly trailed behind Keith as they walked down the quiet hallways. Keith supposed he should feel lucky that it had just been food that had landed and coated Lance this time. But what if something like this happened again and it wasn’t food but something more deadly. No he was overthinking this. Lance wasn’t a baby, he would be fine.

Glancing over his shoulder to check this fact he was pleased to see Lance peacefully following him. The only sign of discomfort being the fact that he was of course currently covered in food. But besides that little detail he seemed happy as he looked around at everything. His eyes seemed to trace every detail of the ship as he walked. No doubt he missed this place.

" Have there been any changes to the ship?" Lance all of a sudden asked.

Looking over his shoulder Keith was startled to see a panicked expression across Lance's face. Suddenly the memory of Irant gas lighting Lance resurfaced. Lance was scared they really had spent more time on other things instead of trying to find him. Keith didnt know how to tell him that yes the entire system had been redone. So in this case he decided to tweak the truth just a little.

"Well Pidge did tweak the system but only a little. Other than that everything is pretty much the same."

Seeming happy with his answer Lance just nodded his head and continued to follow him to the bathrooms.

TWO

Arriving at one of the shower rooms Keith let Lance enter first. As he entered Lance looked around with a slight smile on his face. Seeing as he had been unconscious still when Coran and Allura bathed him he technically hadn’t showered himself in a little over 3 months. Out of all of them Lance was the most conscious of his personal hygiene and as a result took the most showers. Keith hated to think how it must have killed him to be caked in all that dirt and blood while smelling the way he did.

Remembering this fact Hunk had stocked the bathroom with loads of Lance's favorite shampoos, conditioners and body washes. He had even invested a little more on a few bubble bath products seeing as Lance was the only one who even used the tub that sat in a secluded area in the corner.

And it seemed Lance had noticed as his face lit up at all the bottles. Leaning down to get a better look he carefully began to look through all the different kinds. As far as Keith was concerned any would have done but this was Lance he was dealing with. This was obviously going to be a very long shower that had Keith waiting outside forever. But as much as he wanted to get a book or something he didnt feel comfortable with leaving Lance for even a second.

ONE

Leaning against the wall Keith waited patiently as Lance chose out all his products. Seeming satisfied with what he had gotten Lance went over to the nearest shower stall and set down his items. Pressing a few buttons Lance got the shower running as he turned to Keith. Well it seemed he at least remembered how to turn on the shower oddly enough.

Taking it as his queue to wait outside Keith gestured to a cabinet behind Lance.

" Allura moved all the towels to inside that cabinet. There's also a few robes in there as well that you can use. Just leave your clothes on the bench and Coran should be by latter to take care of them."

Happily smiling at Keith's explanation Lance answered, " Ok."

Satisfied with Lance's answer Keith turned and went to go wait outside. Yes he was suppose to watch Lance but that didnt mean he couldn’t give the guy some privacy at least. As soon as Keith left Lance set to removing his clothes while humming some oddly familiar tune he couldn’t quite recall where he had heard.

ZERO

They all were so stupid to think everything would be ok. That after waking up Lance would some how be fully functional even after everything he went through. No one, not even the ever chipper Lance could bounce right back after something like that. So it shouldn’t have been that big of a surprise as everything came crashing down.

Keith jolted out of his position on the wall as a ear splitting scream came from inside the bathroom and bounced down the hallway. Immediately turning and barreling through the opening door Keith was bombarded by Lance's loud screams. Standing in front of the mirror in only his boxers was Lance. He was standing curled in on himself as he held his head in between his hands. Scream after scream peeled from his throat as tears poured down his face.

For a moment Keith wasn’t sure what to do. A minute ago Lance was fine and now he was screaming and wailing at the top of his lungs. Just what the hell had set him off? But before Keith needed to look for the source his reflection caught his eye.

His reflection in the mirror, the one Lance was standing half naked in front of. The mirror that had reflected Lance's body right back at him. Now it all made sense. Even with the help from the healing pod a lot of the deeper scars remained behind. Scars that were reminders for Lance about all he had went through. This was bad.

Stepping forward Keith tried to call out to Lance. " Lance it's alright! Your not there anymore. Your safe now."

But it didnt help at all as Lance continued to scream in hysteria. At this rate Keith felt his eardrums were going to bust. He had to do something fast before Lance screamed his throat raw.

Racing forward Keith did his best to pry Lance's hands away from his head and shake some sense into him while pleading, "Lance listen to me!"

It was the worst thing he could do as for a moment Lance stopped screaming. But almost as soon as he did his head shot up and his eyes fixed on Keith. They were filled with so much hate that it took Keith aback and he gasped. The next thing he knew Lance had launched himself at him and was pinning him down while he strangled him.

As they collided with the ground Keith's head made a sickening crack. Everything seemed to spin around them including Lance who was snarling down at him. Struggling against Lance Keith tried to push him away while he struggled for air. But Lance was having none of it as he bared his weight down on him and began to yell, " Your not taking me back to the place!"

" L-lance its m-me." Keith struggled to say as Lance tightened his grip.

Pushing against Lance's face Keith tried to push him away but howled in pain as Lance bit down on his hand, hard. At this rate Lance was too far gone and Keith was going to die. The last thought he had before everything went black was, " I’m sorry I couldn’t protect you Lance."

Chapter Text

" I hope you never regret me."

Keith rembered reading this in a book once long ago. A line one character said to another in a fit of emotions or a desperate moment. Keith never understood how people could feel such emotions. All he knew was rage and determination. He would never be able to feel something so deep like that nor would he be the recipient of it.

Yet here he was. Looking around Keith realized he was in what looked like Salar De Uyuni. He had never been to such a place in person but he had always wanted to go. To see how the earth met the sky in a almost seamless blend. He wanted to watch the clouds roll by as they were reflected from the ground like a never ending mirror. It was a mystery on how his mind had conjured something he had never see in person almost perfect. But it seemed he could not dwell further on the fact as a soft voice called out to him.

" Keith."

Spinning around he was confronted with the sight of Lance. A Lance who looked the same as he did when they first recovered him. Wounds still covered his body and the weight he once had was all gone. He stood in front a Keith shaking like a leaf and barely standing on his feet.

" Lance what are you doing? We need to get you to a healing pod!"

In the back of his mind Keith knew this was a dream but he couldn’t help the instinct that was calling out to him. He couldn’t stand to see Lance like this in this situation. It just reminded him of everything that went wrong. However before he could either wake up or do something in his dream Lance spoke once again.

" I hope you never regret me Keith."

Freezing where he stood Keith eyes widened at what he just heard. That same line he had read all that time ago. Something he never thought he would ever have to hear as long as he lived. Why would he ever regret Lance?

"I- I don’t understand." Keith said.

Smiling with sadness Lance said nothing to this and instead looked down at the clear ground before them. Glancing down himself Keith could almost make out two figures locked in some sort of panic. But he had no way of knowing just what was going on or who they were as everything began to fade around them. Looking around in panic as everything started to crumble and disappear Keith quickly whipped his head around to Lance.

" Lance what did you mean?" He shouted in desperation as Lance too began to fade.

Still there was no answer as the landscape disappeared below Keith's feet and he was sent spiraling through the darkness.



" Keith are you alright? Can you hear me?" a far off voice called out in distress.

For some odd reason he felt like he was draped in something warm and solid. Heat spread across his chest and back holding him up. Opening his eyes Keith realized that he had just stumbled out of a healing pod and into Shiro's waiting arms. The rest of the team hovered around them with worried gazes, that is all except for one.

" Easy buddy." Shiro murmured as he gently lowered Keith to sit on the steps.

Grateful for the seat he looked around at the others. They all looked down at him with worry from where he sat. Eyes tracing over his features, trying their best to find something. Realizing they were looking to see if any wounds remained the memories of what happened resurfaced all of a sudden.

Lance screaming, his hands wrapped tight around his throat. The air leaving his lungs as he struggled to get Lance off and everything going black in the end. All of a sudden he realized just what was being reflected in his dream. That was why dream Lance had hoped he would not regret him.

From where he was now it was clear that he had survived Lance's attack but at a cost. It must have been pretty bad for him to have been sitting in a healing pod. But sitting there with the others wasn’t going to answer any of his thoughts and it seemed he wasn’t the only one who thought so.

" Do you feel alright?" Allura asked.

" I believe so. What happened?" He figured it was a good as place as any to start.

He didnt miss the uncertain gaze they exchanged as Shiro began to explain.

" Well you see Hunk and I had gone to do one last check on Blue. We thought it would be a good idea to make sure everything was perfect. On the way to the hangar we heard the screams."

So that explained who had at least found them in the end. But what happened in before and after this. At least he didnt have to wait for the answer Shiro continued.

" When we got there we saw Lance strangling you and you just about blacking out. He didnt even recognize us either as we tried to get him off you. I actually had to knock him out it was so bad."

Looking at Hunk he could tell it wasn’t a pleasant memory to remember. Seeing his best friend acting like a maniac was the last thing Hunk ever wanted to see in his life. But Keith was grateful they had at least came before it was to late. As much as he hated to think about it, it was clear that Lance would have killed him.

" We had to put you in a healing pod for your throat mostly. It was quite swollen and purple from the stress put on it, You were fortunate Shiro and Hunk had gotten there when they did or he would have crushed your windpipe." Coran informed him, business as usual but not without a heavy tinge of worry.

As much as Keith was glad to receive all this information they still hadn’t said anything about Lance. He needed to know what all had happened since Shiro apparently knocked him out. He obviously wasn’t there with them so something must have happened after. As all things in life though one only must ask.

" And Lance?"

For a moment no one said anything as they all looked at the ground. Different expressions of guilt and sadness written across all their faces. So something did happen Keith surmised. Luckily Shiro was the first to regain himself like usual as he spoke up.

" Lance came to only a few moments after we put you into the healing pod. At first he didnt remember what had happened but after he took a look at you it all came back."

" So where is he now?" Keith asked.

Sighing softly Shiro answered, " In all honesty we don’t know. Right after he saw you he said he was sorry and ran off. I imagine the guilt of what he did was to much and he has holed himself up somewhere."

Now that he knew Keith couldn’t say he blamed him for running off. If the shoe hand been on the other foot Keith was pretty sure he would have done the same thing. As much as his natural instincts wanted to be mad at Lance for what he had done he just couldn’t. The other hadn’t meant to of course and Keith had know not everything would be just peachy. In truth he blamed himself for what had happened. He could have handled the situation better and none of this might not have taken place.

" Well I need to find him." he informed them as he began to heft himself off the ground.

" Uh yeah your crazy if you think that’s a good idea." Pidge huffed as she helped him stand.

" She's right Keith. Lance is unstable right now and there is no telling what he will do." Shiro agreed.

Even though he knew they were right it still angered him the way they spoke about Lance. Like he was some wild animal that could maul him at any time. Yes Lance was unstable right now but he wasn’t a savage or mental for that matter. Keith refused to believe that Lance couldn’t come back from something like this. He would not regret him.

But Keith wasn’t stupid either. He knew that if he tried to fight the rest of them on this matter of opinion he would lose. They were all worried for him and as a result would most likely not let him step foot any where near Lance. The best thing to do know was fake it.

" I understand guys. Its probably best if I just keep my distance for a little while." He conceded.

They all seemed to relax at his words. Good,they believed him and that was just what he wanted. It was already late into the day as it was and he was sure everyone was tired. All he needed to do was bide his time and wait for them all to go to sleep. No matter what they weren’t stopping him from seeing Lance.


 

That night after everyone had gone to sleep Keith quietly dressed and left his room. Thanking his training he silently made his way down that halls, passing everyone's rooms with ease as he did. Out of all the paladins he was by far the most quiet and quick on his feet. There was little to no chance that they would hear his footsteps as he made his way through the hallways of the ship.

Continuing on his way Keith's path took him to the place he felt Lance was sure to be. There was something almost saddening about walking the castle at night. Normally during the day it was loud with chatter and laughs. But at night it was dark and silent, not even a whisper to be heard. Then again it had been like that during the day as well when Lance was missing.

After weaving down several hallways Keith finally arrived at his destination, the hangar. He observed with curiosity the way the lions were all curled protectively around Blue. They didnt acknowledge him as he walked in but he could sense that he was being watched very close. If his hunch was right they all were most likely protecting Blue and its paladin that lay inside.

Approaching gingerly Keith picked his away around the lions until he stopped right in front of Blue's mouth. He stared into it's soft glowing yellow eyes for a moment, as if trying to convey that he wasn’t here to harm Lance. Knowing that wouldn’t be good enough Keith reached his hand out and gently laid it on Blue.

" Blue I know Lance is in there and your trying to protect him but please open up I need to see him. I promise I’m not here to hurt him, I just want to talk." He whispered into the deadly quiet that surrounded them.

At first nothing happened as he waited. It seemed Blue wasn’t eager to have the Red paladin inside them bothering their beloved paladin. Keith in all honesty couldn’t blame them for not trusting him. But just before he was about to give up and leave something amazing happened. Blue cracked open their mouth just enough for him to crawl inside.

" Thank you." Was all Keith said before he began to crawl inside his mouth.

It was just enough space for him to crawl inside. He suspected Blue did it as not to alarm Lance. The last thing Keith needed was to go chasing after Lance in the dead of the night.

Deciding that his best course of action would be to continue on as quiet as possible Keith scooted the rest of the way in. Lucky for him Blue had decided to go easy on him and let him in through their mouth. They very well could have popped open one of its hatches in the back which would have been hard to get into not to mention far from the cockpit.

But before Keith could continued on he heard a peculiar sound. Stopping to listen for a moment he sighed as he realized what it was. Over time he had come to loathe the sound and wished not to hear it for quite some time. After all he had spent 4 months listening to the sound come from every one of his teammates at some point in time. He was so surrounded by it he felt like he was going to drown in it at any moment.

Finally reaching the cockpit he took a deep breath before entering it with hesitation. Looking around in the dark Keith could see Lance curled up in the pilot seat. Even though it was dark Keith could still make out the sight of Lance's shoulder hitching with each sob. The cockpit echoed with the sound of hiccups and Lance's broken sobs. Oh yes it was a sound Keith was all too familiar with.

Stepping forward Keith softly called out, " Lance?"

Swiveling in his chair Lance's wide eyes met Keith's calm ones. From what he could tell Keith surmised Lance had been crying for hours at least. His eyes were red and puffy while tear tracks stained his skin under the fresh ones that rolled down his face. His mouth hung open and if it wasn’t for the current predicament they were in Keith would have teased him for it.

" K-Keith what are you doing here?" Lance stammered out.

" I figured you were hold up here blaming yourself so I came to put a stop to it." He bluntly answered.

For a moment Lance said nothing as he looked at Keith with confusion. But it seemed he wasn’t quite gone with guilt as he regained himself.

" Keith you need to get away from me!" He exclaimed as he tried to squish himself further into the chair.

Keith knew this wasn’t going to be easy. Lance was the type to dwell on things and keep all the guilt no matter what. Their long standing "rivalry" was a testament to this as Lance had still not let go of it. In truth Keith felt no animosity for him but the other clearly had it somewhere in his mind that he did. So yes this was not going to be a easy task.

" No I’m not leaving until you stop blaming yourself." Keith stated as he rooted himself to the ground.

He had failed at having hope in Lance. He had failed at protecting him when it counted the most. He had failed at looking after him when he was entrusted with such a important job. He had failed at supporting him the correct way and had gotten them into the situation they were in now. He would not fail him again.

" No Keith! I'm a monster! I hurt you, you should have seen your throat. I could have killed you." Lance yelled frantically.

" But you didnt."

" Only because Shiro stopped me! You don’t understand Keith i feel a filth in my bones right now. I cant stop feeling the way my hands tightened around your throat." Lance sobbed out as he wrung his hands.

It was obvious he starting to go crazy with this. As much as Keith felt almost helpless in this situation he couldn’t leave it as it was. He would not let Lance spiral into himself and never return. He was going to help Lance get through this even if it meant another trip to the healing pod. Though he hoped they could avoid that.

" Lance you are so strong, I know you can get through this. I will be with you every step of the way I promise." Keith reassured him.

At Keith's words Lance's panic began to ease up. Instead of looking like a cornered animal he now looked confused and weary. Keith was slowly getting him to let down his defenses and let him in. Just a tiny push more and Lance would open up to him.

" Let me help you Lance. You are not alone anymore."

With that the dam broke. Lance fell to his knees and began to sob brokenly once again into his hands. Still being as slow and not threatening as possible Keith got down on his knees and shuffled over to Lance. Instead of immediately grabbing his hands like before Keith let his hands hover near Lance's. At this rate he was just letting him feel the warmth that radiated off his hands. When it seemed that Lance wasn’t going to freak out Keith let just the tip of his fingers rest against Lance's hands. Little by little was the key to this as he let Lance process what was going on. After several moments he was now able to tenderly slip his hands around Lance's. For a moment the other stiffened up but he relaxed as Keith made no further move.

Finally getting Lance to the point he needed to be at Keith gradually pulled him to his feet. He wasn’t in the mood to crawl back out of Blue's mouth with Lance not to mention try and get him past all the others rooms. But he also for sure wasn’t going to sleep on the cold, hard floor of Blue's cockpit. Eyeing the pilot seat for a moment he decided "fuck it" and began to gingerly pull Lance to it with him.

Seating himself first Keith did his best to get comfy while Lance gave him a perplexed look. It was clear he wasn’t getting just what Keith was intending so he would just have to show him. Finding a comfortable position at last Keith pulled the sputtering Lance down into his lap and immediately wrapped his arms around him.

"K-Keith what are you-" Lance sputtered as he wiggled in his arms.

" Shhh there's not need to be scared anymore Lance. You're going be alright." He replied as he patted his back.

For a moment there was only silence but then Keith heard the sound that just seemed to haunt him. He could feel warm tears began to seep through his shirt as Lance clung on for dear life. Hesitantly Lance's right hand came up and rested gently on Keith's throat. The tips of his fingers were warm as they rested there, shaky every now and then with Lance's sobs.

" I'm so sorry," and " Please forgive me," was all Keith heard for awhile as he held the other all through it.

" Lance its ok, I forgive you. Just sleep now." He repeatedly told the other boy as he cried.

They continued this for awhile until Lance finally cried himself to sleep. Hearing his breath even out Keith sighed in relief. This attempt and keeping Lance calm had worked so much better. Of course it wouldn’t work every time so he would have to think of some other methods. But for now he was just as exhausted and with one last glance at the boy below him Keith slipped into sleep.

 

Chapter Text

Bang! Splat!

Another nauseating crunch as Lance slammed the guards head into the floor. Blood was everywhere, running down his hands and painting the floor with splashes of its color. Some had even splattered unto his face but he hardly noticed. Pieces of skin and tissue littered the area around the head. Chunks that were just barely visible underneath the ever consuming red that seemed to follow Lance everywhere.

Panting hard Lance slammed the guards head into the ground one last time for good measure. They were by now of course long dead but for some reason he just couldn’t stop. Other bodies laid around him from where they had met their end by blaster fire. His blaster shorting out was the only reason he had resorted to this method of fighting back. But by this point it had all been for vain. He could hear more guards heading his way. There was no way he could fight all of them at once.

" My oh my Lance! Just look at this mess you've made!" a cheerful voice called out.

Jerking his head up Lance narrowed his eyes in confusion as Irant stood in front of him.

" What are you doing here?" He asked.

" I don’t know Lance, why don’t you ask yourself that? It is your dream after all."

Ah that’s right this was a dream. More like a flashback actually minus the Irant part. He was captured right after this,he remembered.

" So Lance tell me, did it feel good smashing his brains out?" Irant leered.

Glaring back he answered, " I did what I had to."

" Oh yes I am sure. Did you know it is believed once a creature kills for the first time it soon becomes an addiction?"

Great now even his conscious was trying to get the best of him. " Nice try but I don’t think self defense counts." He sneered.

Smiling at Lance's response Irant replied, " Oh really because that's not what it looks like to me."

For a moment Lance was dumbstruck as he looked up at Irant. How other way would one describe the situation he was in now? Of course it was self defense! He didnt go killing people just because he could.

" What are you talking about?" He harshly questioned.

But instead of choosing to answer Irant just cast his eyes down to the mess underneath Lance. His eyes tracing over it with such glee it made Lance want to puke. But that still didnt answer his question on just what he was referring to. Just what was so interesting about the dead guard below him.

But as he looked down his eyes widened at the sight before him. Gone was the purple fur and dead yellow eyes. Instead below him sat a head of black hair, dark blue almost grey eyes staring blankly up at him. Blood matted the hair surrounding the once lively face.

" N-no." Lance cried as he caught sight of his bloody hands.

Irant just laughed in glee as Lance stared at what he had done. No doubt enjoying the look of absolute torture that Lance's eyes reflected.

"T-this isn’t real." Lance sobbed as he scrubbed at his hands.

" But Lance haven’t you tried to kill him once already? Of course this is going to happen eventually! It's in your blood! You cant escape this. You wont escape yourself."

Irant began to happily whistle that obnoxious tune of his as Lance sobbed. To his horror as he sobbed all the bodies around him began to morph into the rest of the team. Blood was everywhere and their dead eyes all stared full of emptiness at him. He had done this to the people he loved.


 

Jolting out of sleep Lance bit his lip hard to keep in the scream that bubbled in his throat. Why now? Why did this dream have to haunt him right after what had happened with Keith?

At the reminder of said boy Lance realized he was still in Keith's lap. He could feel Keith's arms wrapped around his waist and his chest rising and falling from where he clung to it. Gathering his courage Lance hesitantly looked up at him. He was immediately relieved to see that Keith was still sound asleep as he held Lance. He didnt know what he would do if the other was awake at this moment.

Taking a moment Lance carefully studied the other boy. Now that Keith's eyes were closed he got a good look at the faint bags underneath them. No doubt from lack of sleep and stress. As much as he was sad that he gave those to Keith he was at least grateful he was sleeping now. Looking further Lance could see his lips were slightly chapped and wished in secret he had some chap stick for that. Another thing that bothered him was that even underneath his clothes Keith felt more muscular.

Being used to wrestling with him in training Lance could say he had a good feel for how muscular the other boy was. But now his arms felt bigger where they sat snug around his waist. Chest more firm from where Lance's hand rested against them. Thighs stiff and firm under Lance's own. This just wasn’t fair Lance pouted.

But he didnt dwell further in his pouting as Keith shifted beneath him. Lance immediately stiffened up as the other shifted around a bit before relaxing back into the chair. Breathing out a sigh Lance was grateful the other hadn’t woken up yet. That dream still haunted him and he didnt think he could deal with an awake Keith just yet.

Now the question was just how was he going to slip away without waking up the mullet head? As much as they had been around each other in the past Lance had no idea Keith's sleeping habits. He didnt know if the other was a light or heavy sleeper not to mention what might happen if he woke up. However then again he just couldn’t sit here forever and debate this.

First course of action then was to remove Keith's arms from around his waist. taking a deep breath and sucking in Lance slowly began to shimmy out of his arms as he slid down his lap. His feet made contact with the ground first but he had to stop as Keith let out a grunt. Lance held his breath as he awkwardly held his position half on the ground half slid down Keith's lap. When it seemed like Keith had returned to deep sleep Lance continued the rest of the way. By this point he was sitting on the floor and the only thing that remained was Keith's arms now wrapped around his upper chest.

If he just slid down further to lay on the ground he could slide out of Keith's arms with ease. Blue was probably having a amusing time watching him slide unto the floor like a slug. But no matter how funny he looked it seemed like it was working as he was almost free and Keith still dozed above him. Sucking in one last time Lance slid the rest of the way out and unto the ground.

Sighing in relief he turned around to look at Keith. The other was still sleeping in the chair with his arms now resting in his lap. For now it was better that way as Lance stood up. As much as he was grateful for what Keith did for him and said to him yesterday he just couldn’t handle being around the other right now. He could almost feel Keith's throat under his hands just being around him.

Shooting one last sad smile at Keith Lance made his way out of Blue. He didnt know where to go at this point. The kitchen and training room would be busy later and they would most likely look for him in his room as well. But it seemed he didnt have to think to hard on the matter as his legs began to lead him down a unfamiliar path. He didnt stop walking until he reached a dark room with what looked like a giant clear egg inside of it.

Curiously approaching it Lance laid a hand on the smooth surface. All of a sudden feelings of being submerged and the sounds of muffled voices filled his head. Stepping back Lance eyed the tank for a moment. Then all of a sudden it clicked. This was the healing pod they had him in before. For a moment Lance just looked at it but then sat down with his back resting against it. Here was one of the last places they would go looking for him. For now he needed to be alone and he would come out when he was ready.


 

Something wasn’t right. Keith's eyebrows scrunched up in confusion at the now absent warmth on his front. Reaching out with his arms he realized they were now empty. Jolting awake Keith looked around in a panic. Lance was gone! Just when had he slipped away from him?

Bolting out of the seat Keith quickly made his way out a Blue. He was supposed to keep a eye on Lance and now the other boy was gone. There was no telling what sort of trouble he could be getting himself into now. But sadly it seemed that the odds just were not in his favor today.

" Keith!" He heard Shiro call out.

Halting in his mad march out the hangar Keith turned to face him. Instantly he regretted not ignoring him and just kept walking. Shiro's face was set in a hard mask as he regarded the other. It seemed perhaps Keith wasn’t as sneaky as he thought last night.

"Keith, Allura and I need to talk to you." Shiro's voice left no room for discussion as he swept out of the room. It seemed that there was no choice for him but to follow.

As much as he wanted to run off and find Lance he suspected that Shiro would have his head if he did. Especially considering he disobeyed them yesterday. If that what this was even about but if he had to guess it was. He just hoped they would be quick about this so he could go after Lance.

Keith continued to follow Shiro until they arrived in the empty dining room except for Allura, who was currently seated at the table. If Keith was asked what time it was he would guess it was a little after breakfast. That would make sense why Pidge, Coran and Hunk weren’t there but also why Allura and Shiro were already ready for the day.

Moving to take a seat next to Allura Shiro gestured to a seat across from them. " Keith take a seat."

Not wanting to upset either of them just yet Keith reluctantly did as he was told and plunked himself down in his chair.

" Keith I'm sure we don’t have to tell you why we called you here." Allura sighed as she leaned forward on her elbows. From her eyes Keith could tell she was upset but he didnt care. This was not his priority at the moment. so instead of answering he just stared stubbornly at the table ,arms crossed and mouth shut tight.

Shiro let out a frustrating huff at Keith’s defiance. " Keith I thought you understood what we were telling you yesterday. But it seems not as lord and behold I go to see you this morning and you are no where to be found. I wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt but then I catch you coming out of Blue. Keith you deliberately disobeyed us and went off to see Lance."

" I don’t recall you guys ever ordering me to stay away from him." Keith couldn’t help but let a little bit of sarcasm drip into his voice.

" Well we thought we wouldn’t have to spell it out for you Keith!" Allura accused. Keith could tell his attitude was starting to get to her as her eyebrows scrunched up in frustration.

" You know I don’t know why you guys are making such a big deal out of this." Keith sassily remarked. He knew he was being stubborn but he didnt think he did anything wrong in this case. Besides he was starting to become irritated with the amount of time he was sitting here.

" Because you don’t know what he is capable of at this moment Keith." Shiro tried to reason.

But Keith was not having any of it. " Well neither do you." he snapped back.

" Actually yes we do. Your trip to the healing pod proved that he is dangerous and will hurt you." Allura said.

That was it. Keith couldn’t sit there any longer and here them scold him for being with his friend. His friend that had been through the worst and was just struggling to find himself. He would not let anyone take Lance away from him anymore.

Standing up abruptly while sending his chair crashing to the floor, Keith began to yell at the two of them.

" How dare you! Stop treating Lance like he is some monster who is going to go savage and kill me! He was tortured and gas lighted for fuck sakes! Of course he is struggling with himself right now. I am not going to just leave him alone. And you know what? Even if he does hurt me again at least I can say I was there for him. I am not afraid, unlike some people."

Keith took a small satisfaction in the way Allura and Shiro flinched at his last words. Good, let them reflect on their behavior. On how they talked about Lance. As far as he was concerned this conversation was over and he had someone to find. Unbeknown to all of them though was the figure who quietly slipped away from listening. Their hands clenched tight at Keith's words, scars standing out against their tan skin.


 

It turns out that Keith didnt have to look far for Lance. He found the other calmly standing in front of one of the view ports, arms crossed in front of him.

" Lance are you ok?" Keith softly called out.

For a moment he didnt say anything as he continued to look out the viewport. He continued to keep his back to Keith, silent and unmoving.

"Lan-"

" I’m so tired Keith." Lance cut him off.

For a moment Keith didnt know what to say. He just stood there as he processed what Lance had just said. He was expecting maybe some kind of joke or something. But then again who was he kidding? That Lance was having trouble coming out now.

" What do you mean?" He asked instead.

"All of this takes every part of myself. Day by day. Little by little."

" And what do you mean by all of this?" It hurt Keith to hear the dejected tone of Lance's voice. This wasn’t right! Lance was not supposed to sound like this...ever. But yet here he was and Keith was afraid of what he would say next.

" I mean this life, these memories, my duty, everyone around me, " Lance let out a sigh before continuing on. " You."

Everything seemed to come to a screeching halt around Keith. Had he just heard him right? And if he did just what the hell did that mean?

" Lance just what do you mean your tired of me?" Keith asked in frustration.

" I mean I am perfectly capable of holding my own hand Keith! I appreciate you looking out for me and all but I don’t need it. I would actually love it if you and the others would just let me be." Lance bit out.

By this point Keith was beyond confused. He thought after last night everything was ok. That Lance wanted his help and was ok with him sticking close. All the signs and verbal queues had been there and now he was telling him to get lost? It just didnt make sense at all. And it was with this thought that Keith voiced this.

" Lance I think your confused right now. You need someone to be there for you. Besides it isn’t good for you to fight this alone." Keith tried to reason.

At first Lance said nothing to this. He just continued to keep his back to Keith, not giving any indication that he was even listening. If there was anything Keith hated most in this world it was talking to someone’s back. Right now he at least deserved the common curtesy of Lance facing him in this conversation.

" Lance at least look at me!" He demanded.

But as soon as he asked Keith regretted it. Maybe it would have been better if he swallowed his pride and continued to talk to Lance's back. Anything for him not to see the look on Lance's face right now.

Turning to face Keith Lance's face was set in a devastatingly cold stare. The blue of his eyes were almost like winter itself as they bored into Keith's own. His eyes were narrowed and lines formed between his eyebrows. His eyebrow’s were scrunched in displeasure while his mouth was a tight line by now. If Keith could use only one word to describe the way Lance was looking at him now he would have to use the word... disgusted.

It shook Keith to his core to see such a look cast at him. Lance was disgusted, with him out of all people. He had no idea what he did to deserve this. He was only trying to be there for Lance. As it seemed things couldn’t get any worse Lance opened his mouth.

" Don’t worry Keith. I'm pretty sure my 3 months alone were enough for me to get use to relying on myself. Or have you forgotten?"

And Lance just had to go and hit where it hurt the most. Keith tried his best to tell himself that Lance couldn’t help it. That this was just Lance taking his frustration and fear out on him. But no matter how long he stood there and tried to gain control of his emotions he just couldn’t calm the hurt that raged inside.

But before Keith could regain himself the castle siren began to go off and Allura began speaking over the intercom.

" We have several Galra ships approaching fast. Battle stations everybody!"

For a moment Keith and Lance just looked at each other. Neither making any motion to move. Keith still couldn’t believe what Lance had said to him and as a result stayed rooted to the spot. Lance just stared hard at Keith, clearly not knowing what to say by this point as the sirens blared around them.

Finally Lance spoke up. " I think that's your queue to leave Keith." he coldly suggested. Of course by everyone going to battle stations that excluded Lance at the moment. Allura and Shiro didnt want to send him out to fight just yet and with good reason too.

Glaring hard Keith clenched his jaw in anger. " So this is how its going to be Lance?" He growled before spinning on his heel and exiting the room.

Lance didnt even bother to watch him go as he turned back to the viewport. But that suited Keith just fine as he stormed out of the room. But what he didnt know is that if he just turned to look back at least once he would have seen Lance's true intentions. As he stood facing the viewport Lance's grip tightened on his arms as they began to shake along with his shoulders. He struggled to remain standing as he curled in on himself. Biting his lips he stifled the whimpers that threatened to leak out as tears streamed down his face.

No matter how much it hurt, this was for the best. He would not let those dreams come true no matter the cost to his heart.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

As the rest of the paladins made their way to their lions Lance made his way to the control room. As much as he wanted to distance himself from the others he still wanted to make sure they were ok. Since he wasn’t there with them they couldn’t form Voltron. Not to mention they were one lion short and that was a big blow to their fighting strategy. They were probably struggling to fight this way.

Arriving at the control room Lance stood back and let Coran and Allura have their space to work. He didnt know how to work any of the mechanics in the room and didnt think he would be much help anyway. Besides he was there to just watch. Noticing him Coran shot a quick greeting at him while Allura smiled down at him. Lance did his best to return the smile even though he knew what she thought of him right now. In reality he knew she was just being cautious but it still hurt none the less.

There wasn’t much time to dwell on that matter though as the Galra ships drew closer. For a moment Lance wanted to run and hide as memories flashed in his brain. But he stood his ground and clenched his fists from where they rested folded in his arms. If he was going to rely on himself like he told Keith, now was as good as anytime to prove it.

Lance continued to watch as the rest of the paladins shot out and towards the ships. Lance prayed that they would be alright without him. He wished he was out there with them at the moment but he had to agree with Allura and Shiro on this one. He didnt think he could handle going out there and fighting just yet. The last thing he wanted right now was to get in the way or worse hurt one of his teammates.

But it seemed there would not be a need for him to enter the battle field. Lance watched as Shiro gave orders for a formation he had never even heard of. However from watching it was obvious that the others knew just what exactly he was talking about. The new formation had Keith zooming ahead of the rest of them while Pidge and Hunk started to twirl quickly around each other. As Keith flew ahead he fired shots into the ships at a rapid pace. Flying too quick for the cannons to keep up.

At first Lance didnt see the point of this as it was causing little damage to the ships. But turning his attention back to Hunk and Pidge as they spun faster and faster around each other, he realized Keith was only meant to distract to them. He watched as Hunk and Pidge burrowed through several ships almost like a huge drill. They left huge holes in the ship as they continued on, Keith supporting them with cover fire of his own.

Now it was Shiro's turn as he swooped in a fired several powerful shots straight into the holes of the ship. The effect was immediate as the ships began to collapse from within. Several combusted and took out neighboring ships in the process. Lance watched with wide eyes at the once 10 ships they faced were reduced to drifting pieces of metal.

" Looks like another perfect run!" Hunk cheered happily into his mic.

This wasn’t the first time they had done this strategy Lance realized. And by the looks of it they had done it quite often for it to be "another perfect run".

" Yeah but next time lets do formation 0. That one is my favorite." Pidge chimed in.

Yet another formation that Lance hadn’t heard of. Just how many new formations did they have that he had to now learn? Was he even factored into any of those? How was it that they had come so far without him there? Was he even needed anymore?

" I told you they weren’t searching for you." a silky voice whispered into his ear. Lance's head shot up from where he was looking down as soon as he heard this. His eyes widened as he took in the sight of Irant standing in front of him. In his subconscious he knew this wasn’t real but the rest of his brain didnt care. He continued to watch in fear as Irant circled around him.

"Poor little Lance. Its obvious that your friends don’t need you. I mean look how easily they destroyed those ships without you. Didnt you have trouble just destroying even one when you were still part of the team?" Irant mocked.

"S-so what." Lance squeaked out.

It was only natural they had improved over time after all. They had no choice did they? But then again where had they found the time to learn such a formation and more. Weren’t their hands full with finding him at the time?

" Doesn’t seem that way to me. In fact I believe they only came for you because they just happened to come across you. These little formations were made without you and were intended to be used without you. If they did want you back they wouldn’t have spent so much time on these little tricks of theirs now would they? Your just a piece of destroyed trash they felt the need to pick up."

"Your wrong. They care about me." Lance whimpered. He refused to let himself fall to this.

Sneering at Lance's words Irant leaned in until he was inches away from Lance's face.

" Oh Lance, you are broken beyond repair and no one cares, they don’t even notice."

Something deep inside Lance cracked at this. He could almost hear it splinter and quake deep down. As much as he wanted to keep believing wasn’t this the truth.? Maybe Irant was right the whole time.

" Heading back now."

Lance was snapped out of his thoughts at Shiro's words. They were finished and heading back now? He couldn’t remain here then. Surely the first place they would come when arriving would be the control room. He needed to get out of here before they did. There was no telling what he would do if he saw any of them right now.

Lance didnt even have to excuse himself as Allura and Coran were too busy sending out praises to the rest of the team. Shouldn’t they be keeping a close eye on him considering he had only woken up yesterday. Shows how much they cared Lance thought with bitterness.

Heading out of the room Lance made his way back to the room with the strange healing pod. As he slipped inside he could faintly hear laughter echoing down the hallway. He wondered if they laughed like this all the time without him. Sure they all acted worried about him at first but once they saw he was just managing to function they spit him out like a used piece of gum. He was so tired of it all. He certainly had some things to think on right now.


 

Arriving back at the castle found all the paladins making their way to the control room. Pidge and Hunk were eager to see Lance as they hadn’t gotten the chance to see him all day. Keith on the other hand was not at all. Their fight had only happened a little under an hour ago. The words still left fresh wounds and he didnt know if he could be in the same room as him at the moment. However it seemed that it wouldn’t be a problem as Lance was no where to be found.

"Where's Lance?" Hunk asked.

" I don’t know. He slipped out sometime after you guys announced you were coming back. He's probably just tired from all the excitement." Coran reassured them.

" Oh ok."

Hunk and Pidge both seemed disappointed by the idea but what could they do? Coran was probably right in this case but they still wished they could have at least said hi. Shiro just nodded his head in understanding. It was understandable for Lance to be off his game at a time like this. Keith on the other hand didnt even bother to say anything. Lance was the one who said he would be fine by himself anyway.

Noticing his indifference on the matter Shiro and Allura hesitantly approached him.

" Keith we know we said some insensitive things but all we want is what is best for the both of you." Shiro explained.

" You know what? Its ok guys I completely agree with you." Keith answered as he removed his helmet.

Shiro and Allura had no answer to this as they looked at each other with concern. They couldn’t believe that Keith was so easily giving into them after the fuss he kicked up before. Something must have happened to change his mind with such little effort. Something terrible at that. But before they could ask Keith spoke up.

" If you'll excuse me guys I think I am going to go train for awhile." Without even waiting for a response Keith exited the room. He was still furious from the fight earlier and the brief battle they went through did nothing to curb that. He needed to take his anger out on something that could take it and wouldn’t piss him off even more. It seemed like now was as good as any of time to increase the difficulty on the gladiators.


 

Hours had passed and Lance had not moved from where he sat in the room. He was sure by this point everyone was asleep or at least in their room. Dinner had long since passed but he didnt even feel one ounce of hunger. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that no one had even bothered to look for him when dinner came about. A part of Lance had hoped in desperation that he would either hear them calling for him or that he would be found. But as time passed no one called and no one came. Food became the last thing on his mind then.

Sitting in that room by himself gave Lance a lot of time to think on things. Festering thoughts that had him scratching at his scars and tears racing down his face. His hands were raw and bloodied by this time. Must have been all the chewing he had done on them. It was a bad habit he hadn’t resorted to since he was just a little boy. He remembered his parents scolding him whenever they caught him gnawing on his hands. He didnt know why he did at that time but now he knew why. It was almost comforting to watch the blood run down his hands and feel his skin break under his teeth. In these moments he was in control, no one else.

Lance had thought about his family for a long time while he sat there. He loved his family and wished to see them again. For the longest time it was his ultimate goal. Just the thought of getting home to him filled him with such hope and determination. It was what pushed him through a lot of difficult times. But now? Now he couldn’t feel anything. He had no desire to return home and show his family what a broken, pathetic thing he was. It would only make his mother cry and father shake his head in disappointment. He would not shame them like that. He would never ever let them see just how low he had fallen.

Soon after this his thoughts shifted to his friends and team. Hunk was the first one he focused on. They had known each other for such a long time. Hunk might as well be a brother to him at this point. But now would Hunk feel the same? Surely he didnt want someone like Lance as his brother. When they were still at the academy they often joked about how they would be the uncles in each others future family’s. Lance insisted at the time that they would always stay close and no matter what he would be Hunk's best man whenever he did get married some day. But right now Lance doubted that would ever happen. Hunk wouldn’t want someone like him at his wedding, it would only bring bad luck. Not to mention his children. No, no one wanted a uncle who’s mind was in shambles.

Next his mind shifted to Pidge. When he had first met Pidge he had no idea what to think of her, or he at the time actually. But now he could say he loved her like a little sister. He was in constant awe of her brilliance and loved to have battles of snarky words with her. She never ceased to amaze and entertain him in the best way possible. There had been a time when he had promised himself he would help her find her brother and father no matter what. He wanted her to be back with her family and happy like he was. But now there was no need. He was a fool to ever think she would want his help. That he could offer anything helpful in finding her brother and father. She was so brilliant and resourceful as it was. She didnt need someone like Lance who took a whole month just to fix a video message system.

After Pidge came Shiro. As long as Lance could remember he had always admired Shiro. One of the best pilots the academy ever produced and Lance's hero. Never once in his life had he dreamed that he would personally get to work with the guy. In the past everyday was filled with him struggling to impress and live up to his role models standards. Perhaps that was why he didnt get along with Keith who seemed to always meet said standards. But now there was no point was there? He had failed every standard the day he crashed not to even mention the day he was captured. Clearly the other paladins didnt have a problem piloting their lions enough not to crash the way Lance did. Shiro was stressed as it was with everything else. The last thing he needed was a unstable, shitty pilot like Lance. No matter what he did he would never live up to his expectations.

Now his thoughts shifted to Allura and Coran. Even though he hadn’t know them for long he had already incorporated them into his family. Sure he regularly use to flirt with Allura but now he saw her as more of a older sister. Besides she was to beautiful for someone like him, a dweeb who had never even been kissed or had a first date. He was of course fond of Coran. The man was beyond hilarious and fun. It seemed everything he touched turned to sunlight and Lance was drawn to it. But they were way beyond his league in terms off friends. They were so dignified and mature he could never hope to measure up. He needed to get away from them before he corrupted Allura's beauty and darkened Coran's light. He was the boy who the Galra had corrupted after all, just like the memories of Allura's father that had been destroyed. No doubt he would follow soon after.

And last came Keith. No matter how Lance acted he had never hated the other. Instead he admired him. Admired him to the point where it hurt and Lance dealt with it the only way he could. He lashed out with petty comments and pathetic attempts to prove his worth. And just when he thought he was close he had been taken away and Keith grew to be unreachable. Now Keith was stronger, a better pilot, a better fighter and it seemed the pride of the team. And here was Lance, covered in scars and too skinny, never mind his piloting skills were rusty since he couldn’t even pilot Blue right now. They had to save his ass after all even. Keith probably thought it was hilarious how Lance once thought he could catch up. Now there was no hope, he wasn’t even running the same race any more.

But what hurt even more was the way Keith felt about him. In truth at first Lance thought he was concerned for him, that he actually cared. But now Lance saw what it actually was about. As soon as Lance showed any sign of worsening Keith had turned tail and ran. He hadn’t even tried to get through to Lance. But then again it was Lance's own fault. He had made sure to push Keith away. It seemed though a small part of him had hoped Keith would come back. The past hours alone had squashed that hope now. Nobody was coming for him.

And that was everyone Lance needed to think about. He had never known his world was so small and his friends so few. Usually people couldn’t go farther because there were to many people they had to sort through. To many people who could anchor them. But excluding his family (who Lance doubted even believed he was still alive at this point) he only had 6. That was such a pathetic number Lance almost wanted to laugh. He had once thought as long as he had them he could do this. That he would be ok. Never had he made a back up plan for when he didnt have them any longer.

Sniffling up his tears the best he could Lance wiped his bloody hands on his jeans. Now that he thought about it he didnt even know where his regular clothes he always wore were. But then again that didnt mater now. Standing on shaky feat Lance struggled to remember the layout of the castle. If he remembered right there was one just a couple of hall ways down. Taking a deep breath Lance made his way out of the room and down the hallways. Mind set on his destination.

" I just hope the airlock doesn’t set off to many alarms." He thought as he made his way down the hallway.

Chapter Text

White.

A blinding shade that engulfed the space around Keith. Groaning he tried to shut his eye but the light just seeped through his eyelids. Looks like there was no point in ignoring this anymore. Sitting up with a groan Keith realized he was laying on what he guessed was the floor. Everything around him was white, and it seemed endless with no walls in sight. Wait a second, not everything was white as he caught something bright red out of the corner of his eyes.

Turning to face the object Keith was surprised to see it was a red lion. His lion of course. Just as Keith was getting tired of having symbolic dreams life just had to throw another one at him. But this time it seemed this one was the most important. Red had visited him in his dreams before but rarely.

" Red what are you doing here?" he asked.

The lion made no indication of a response as it turned and started heading away. For a moment he thought maybe Red was just checking up on him like after the wormhole incident. But it seemed he was wrong as Red stopped and looked over their shoulder at him. Eyes boring into his own with a sort of silent demand.

It seemed like Red wanted Keith to follow him even though he was heading into nothing. But Red was often tyrannical and today was probably one of those instances. Sighing in resignation Keith stood and began to follow his lion into the white oblivion.

However as time went by it felt they had been walking forever as the white was endless. Was Red just trying to punish him for something by having him walk forever. Red was so unpredictable at times and sometimes they liked to make Keith do pointless things. He supposed he deserved it half the time but this time he had no idea what was even going on. All he knew was that he was tired and wanted a answer.

" Red where are we going?!" Keith exclaimed as he halted in his steps. He would not travel any farther until he had a answer.

Red just turned and fix him with a unblinking stare. Its eyes focused with intent on him. For a moment Keith was about to lose his temper but then he realized Red wasn’t actually looking at him. Instead it looked as if they were looking at something past his shoulder.

Furrowing his brow Keith turned to look back and his eyes widened as they did. Instead of the blank space that had just been there when they walked through, there was a giant blue door. Walking to it Keith could see the crest of the blue lion etched unto the doors. Just what the hell was something like this doing in Keith's dream?

He started out of his thoughts though when he felt something butting softly at his hand. Looking down he could see it was Red trying to nudge his hand towards the door. So they wanted him to open the door then?

" I don’t know what your trying to do Red but I'm not interested." Keith huffed as he crossed his arms. The last thing he needed was to have Lance in his dreams now as well.

Unhappy with his answer Red growled and butted against his leg this time. They were determined to get Keith through that stupid door. Something Keith found annoying and was having none of though.

" No Red!" He yelled in frustration.

Sadly that seemed that was the wrong answer. Growling Red stepped back, their teeth bared and sharp. Before Keith could even react though Red had launched himself at him. Claws out and mouth open in a feral growl. Maybe he should have opened that stupid door anyway, Keith thought as he felt Red's fangs sink into his throat.


 

Jolting awake Keith breathed hard while clutching at his throat. He hated when Red did that. Most of the time they didnt, usually only when they wanted him to wake up. In truth it had saved him a few times in the past when he was sleeping and danger was approaching. But as he sat there no sirens went off, nothing to indicate they were under attack. So just why did Red wake him? Knowing Red Keith knew it wasn’t for nothing. Red always had a reason to wake him like that and until Keith found that reason they wouldn’t let him get back to sleep.

Sighing in defeat he threw his blanket off and slipped out of bed. He didnt bother putting any shoes on as he exited his room. It didnt matter if his feet were cold as he only planned to take a quick walk around the castle to see if anything was wrong. If not he was going back to sleep and giving Red a piece of his mind if they didnt let him.

However as he continued to walk something started to drawl him down one of the secluded hallways. He didnt know why but his body was just telling him to go that way. But that didnt make any sense as he had no business down this hallway not to mention no one ever came this way. But just as he considered turning back he heard something. Straining his ears Keith realized it was the sound of a faint siren and a countdown.

There was no time to think as Keith sprinted down the hallway. His bare feet slapped against the floor as he raced to the sound. Puffing out breaths Keith struggled to remember just where he had heard that countdown before. Something was tickling just at the corners of his brain. It was the same countdown he knew but at a different place. And then that’s when it hit him.

The castle going haywire, the gladiator, Lance's cry’s for help, the sound of the airlock as it counted down till the door opened. Pushing his legs harder Keith ran as fast as he could. Now he knew why Red was trying to wake him. Why a door with Blue's symbol was on it. They were trying to warn him that Lance was in trouble and he didnt want to listen.

By this point Keith was struggling for breath as he heard the countdown inch closer zero. From what it sounded like the airlock was just right around the corner. Skidding and almost crashing into the wall Keith whipped around the corner and froze at what he saw.

Lance was standing inside the airlock, back to Keith and arms spread wide as if he was welcoming the doors opening.

" 3, 2 "

Keith startled at his gawking as he heard the countdown. Throwing himself at the panel he quickly shut the airlock off just as it reached zero and the door started to open. Luckily they closed right as he hit the button and Lance only stumbled forward a little. Barely waiting for the doors to open Keith stormed inside and yanked Lance right out of there.

" Keith what are you doing here?!" Lance managed to squeak out.

Yanking Lance around to face him Keith held him up by his collar and got directly in his face.

" I should be the one asking you that question Lance. Just what the hell were you trying to do?" Keith yelled.

As he did Lance's face twisted from panicked to angry. Yanking himself out of Keith's grasp he backed up a little and glared at Keith.

" I don’t know Keith, what did it look like I was doing?" Lance sarcastically asked.

Keith wished it was all just a huge misunderstanding. That Lance had sleepwalked into that airlock or something ridiculous. But of course in their lives it was never going to be that easy. Lance was doing just what Keith knew deep down that he was trying to do. Lance had been trying to kill himself.

" Why Lance?" Keith asked, shaken by where they had fallen.

" Your seriously asking me why?" Lance laughed. But it wasnt a happy one of course. Instead it was a pained laugh, one that Keith hated hearing coming out of Lance's mouth.

For a moment neither one of them said a word. Keith just couldn’t find the words to speak at this very moment and Lance just stared at him in appraisal. As if he was waiting for Keith to give him a answer to his rhetorical question. After what seemed like forever Lance spoke up.

" Well let me tell you why Keith. No one even wants me around in the first place so what’s the point?!"

Ok now Keith was confused. How could Lance even think that? Of course there was a point to all of this. Lance was their friend and they needed him. The last 4 months were absolute agony without him around. But for some reason Lance couldn’t see that. It was obvious they needed to work on their communication.

" Lance where are on earth did you get that idea?" Keith asked in disbelief.

Was Keith really that oblivious! It was so plain and clear that he wasn’t needed. They took out 10 Galra ships without him! What could he offer them that they didnt already have. As it was all he was offering now was a free pass to feel pity for something. That something being of course him.

" Are you blind Keith!? Everyone is treating me like I'm some kind of wild animal. Nobody even bothered to come look for me these past coupl of hours when i was hiding. Your all so busy laughing and talking about your formations but what about me?! Why do I have to feel like I'm not good enough?" Lance wailed. Big fat tears had begun to make their way down his face again as he did so. By this point even he never knew he could cry this much.

Keith on the other hand was dumbstruck. So this was what Lance was really feeling? He knew it was bad but not this bad. Who knew that everyone’s desire to give him space and time was only isolating him more. But if this was the case why did Lance say he didnt need Keith.

" Lance I was there for you! But you pushed me away." he accused.

And now it seemed he had Lance in a corner as the other began to grab unto his hair while his eyes darted around. " I know but I had to! I had to protect you. Out of everyone else my body is telling me that you are the most dangerous. That i need to get rid of you before you hurt me. I know you never would but I cant help it!" Lance sobbed as his knees buckled and he fell to the floor.

For a moment neither of them said anything as Lance sobbed from where he was on the floor and Keith just stared dumbstruck. God he had never wanted to punch himself so badly in the face before. He should have known Lance was trying to push him away so he could protect him. It was so like Lance to do something so selfless. It must have broke him even more to se Keith walk away so easily. Just when would he stop hurting him more than he already was? But everything else Lance said was all wrong. They all needed him so badly and loved him. They just did a very shitty job of taking care of him and showing it. This was it. Keith was going to get it right this time and if not he would gladly send himself out an airlock.

Taking a deep breath Keith crouched in front of the still crying Lance. Sliding his hands in his Keith ever so gentle moved them from where they covered Lance's face. But it seemed he didnt want Keith to see him like this as he ducked his head away from him. No matter which way Keith turned his head Lance turned away just enough to hide his face. Sighing Keith decided to press his forehead into Lance's temple and speak.

" Lance why don’t you come with me? We have much to talk about." He whispered.

At first Lance didnt say anything as he tried to curl in on himself. But Keith was having none of it as he pulled Lance closer.

" Please Lance, let me take care of you. Your hands need to be bandaged as well." He said. Yes he noticed the state of Lance's hands. He could see the bite marks that littered his hands under all the dried blood. It had to have been a nervous habit that had started up again Keith surmised. He would have to work with Lance on it but for now he first needed to clean and bandage them.

" Keith just leave me here. I don’t want to be the bad thing in your life." Lance whimpered.

At this Keith couldn’t help but let out a small chuckle. If only Lance knew.

" Trust me Lance, you are far from the worse thing that’s ever happened to me." Keith teased.

And this seemed to seal the deal as Lance's eyes widened before he surrendered. He let himself slump forward before wrapping his arms around Keith's neck. Face buried into Keith's neck he let out a muffled, " I hope you know what your getting into."

Keith just chuckled before briefly hugging the other back. As much as he wanted to let Lance take his time and soak in this moment he needed to take care of his hands. Not to mention it was late at night and it was cold out in the hallways.

" Lance I need you to stand up."

However it seemed Lance was not having any of it as he didnt even so much as twitch. Well this complicated matters didnt it. Sighing Keith warned him, " Alright you give me no choice."

The next thing Lance knew the world was spinning as he was hoisted up into Keith's arms. It took a moment for Lance to realize Keith was carrying him bridal style but when he did he blushed crimson. Tightening his hold around Keith's neck Lance buried his head farther into the juncture of his shoulder and neck. He couldn’t bare to look at Keith right now from embarrassment and it seemed that suited the other just fine as he said nothing.

As Keith began to walk back to his room Lance reflected on what was happening. He shouldn’t be letting Keith get this close to him. Last thing he ever wanted in this world was to hurt Keith and right now they were pushing that boundary. He didnt know if he could keep himself in check. If he hurt Keith again surely there would be nothing left of him. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.

But as Keith whispered against his head, " Almost there, its ok," something in Lance changed. Keith was willing to try this even though he knew the risks. He wanted to help Lance after all. Could he be selfish for once and keep this?

Arriving at his room Keith entered and softly deposited Lance unto the bed. Lance watched Keith retrieve a small med kit as well as a wet cloth before rejoining him. Kneeling in front of Lance Keith popped open the kit and pulled out a fresh roll of gauze.

" Let me see your hands." Keith said softly.

Lance's hands were shaking but he extended them anyway. As he watched Keith take them in his own and exam them he felt a wave of embarrassment. Now Keith knew of one of his ugly habits. But then again it didnt seem like it bothered him as he cleaned and bandaged them.

" Good as new." Keith reassured Lance when he hand finished. Letting Lance have his hands back Keith stood and put away his supplies. Lance merely watched him in curiosity before Keith joined him.

" Scoot over." Keith murmured as he crawled past Lance. Once he was on the side closest to the window Keith laid down and looked at Lance with expectation. Taking it as his queue to lay down himself Lance hesitantly did so. This was a little embarrassing for him but luckily beyond facing each other they were just laying there. Relaxing little by little Lance let his eyes drift past Keith’s shoulder and to the view outside. Wow the stars were beautiful... wait a second.

" Is that something else new you guys got while I was gone?" Lance wailed, tears already forming in his eyes.

Confused at first Keith looked over his shoulder but then he realized what Lance was looking at. Dammit he forgot about the new windows they had installed right next to their beds. By this time Lance was already starting to cry. Turning back to face him quickly, Keith started to gently shush him.

" Shhh Lance its ok. Yes we did get those when you were gone but it was Hunk and Pidge's idea to get them for you. They both know how much time you spend staring out the viewports and being so they wanted something similar for you in your own room. We had them done earlier for when you returned and after we did yours all of us decided we might as well put them in everyone’s rooms."

That seemed to calm Lance down for a moment as he sniffed up his tears.

" Really, for me?" He asked, eyes shining with hope.

Smiling Keith nodded his head. " Yes Lance for you. We were all waiting for the day we could see you again and in the mean time we made changes to the ship that we thought you might like. And all the formations you mentioned do have you factored in. We never once forgot about you Lance."

Lance couldn’t help but let out a relieved and happy grin at this. They hadn’t forgotten him. In fact they had all been waiting for him.

" But what about you guys being weary of me?" he asked.

Now Keith couldn’t deny that. It was true that they were weary of him. But maybe it was for the best if Keith did tell him the truth. And so he did.

" Lance I know we all haven’t handled this situation in the best way. We've unintentionally isolated you and that is inexcusable. But I promise on my life that I will ber here for you. The others as well. You have people who care for you Lance."

And this seemed to make Lance cry again but this time tears of joy. Smiling Keith intertwined one of his hands with Lance's own. Every so often squeezing gently to reassure him.

" Stop making me cry you ass." Lance hiccupped in between small sobs.

Keith just laughed and was soon followed by Lance. Everything may not be perfect and they still had a long way to go but at least now they had made some progress. Keith could now say they were ready to take the next step in this long journey.

 

 

Chapter Text

" If there was any way I could have prevented any of this, I would have."

Keith watched as Hunk cried while the rest hung their heads and stared at the table in front of them. Coran it seemed, was not far behind in the crying area as his eyes began to water. While Allura and Pidge stared down in disbelief. Eyes focused and mouths parted in soundless gasps. Shiro on the other hand was gritting his teeth and doing his best not to smash his fist through the table in frustration.

As much as it pained Keith to tell them all what had transpired with Lance yesterday he just had to. They needed to know what was going on as well as discuss with what comes next. Keeping them in the dark would do no good and Keith doubted Lance would willing bring it up himself. He had a hard time enough as it was talking with Keith about such matters.

Speaking of Lance Keith was eager to get back to him. Out of habit Keith had risen early as usual and he couldn’t help but smile at what he saw. Curled up like a child next to him was Lance. His hair was a crazy mess where his head was squished against the pillow. His hands were still loosely holding onto one of Keith's own. It seemed he had slept peaceful through the night as his skin looked healthier and the bags around his eyes had faded.

However no matter how much Keith wanted to stay and make sure Lance would be ok, he needed to see the others first. Luckily at this time Shiro and Allura would be awake. Pidge might be as well it just depended what she was doing the night before. Hunk and Coran would need to be woken up but those two were pretty easy to rouse.

Careful in extracting his hand from Lance's Keith had to stifle a chuckle as the other unconsciously pouted at the loss. At least he didnt wake up. Grateful for his stealth Keith managed to crawl over the other without jostling or disturbing him. He wanted Lance to continue sleeping peacefully for now and it would be easier for him to have his conversation with the others.

Changing his clothes as quiet as he could he took one last peek at Lance. The other was still sound asleep which was good. But as he looked at Lance something in Keith's heart stirred. He just managed to catch himself from reaching out and stroking Lance's cheek. That for certain wasn’t what Keith was expecting. Shaking his head Keith turned and headed for the door instead. All the while praying that Lance didnt wake up before he returned.

Coming back to the present Keith waited as patient as he could while the others composed themselves. Waking up and getting them to the dinning hall for this conversation was the easiest part. The hard part of this all was finding the right words to tell them what happened. But he had persevered and told them everything up until the point where he had brought Lance to his room.

When it seemed everyone had regained their composure Keith spoke up.

" Now that you guys know what’s going on, we need to discuss how were going change this."

" He's right guys. Lance needs us to do better!" Hunk agreed. Lance was his best friend and he didnt even notice what the other was feeling. He should have known that what they were doing would make Lance feel alone and unwanted. Some friend he was to not have thought of any of this.

"What do you suggest Keith?” Allura asked. Out of all of them Keith obviously had the most experience dealing with Lance in the state he was in. He also handled his emotions in a different manner than the rest of them. That wasn’t to say he didnt feel anything but with a background like his he dealt with things in different ways. Perhaps out of all of them he would have the best idea to comfort Lance.

For a moment Keith said nothing as the others looked to him for answers. A part of him wanted to shout out them that this wasn’t fair. That he shouldn’t have to shoulder this alone and they should come up with their own ideas. At the same time though he knew they couldn’t help it.

Hunk was Lance's best friend but that didnt mean his methods would be the best. And while Hunk could be the toughest out of all of them at times he was still a gentle soul. Keith did not think he could take the brunt of Lance's pain and agony. Pidge was to young for something like that as well. Yes while she was a genius and made of tougher material, she didnt need this extra burden. Keith wanted her to at least have something left of her innocence. Helping Lance through his episodes and taking in all of his heartbreaking words would only corrode that small shred of innocence she had left.

As much as Keith looked up to Shiro deep down he knew he was not a good option for this either. Shiro could barely handle himself some days and the last thing he needed was to have a episode when Lance was having one. It was such a basic concept too since negative did repel negative. Allura and Coran were not fit for the job either. They had already been through war and loss that Keith feared instead of helping Lance they would make it worse. That they would use their experiences as a guide which in all honestly wasn’t helpful. With Lance they weren’t dealing with the loss of a planet or a loved one but the loss of ones self. Being as Allura and Coran were older and mature they handled their emotions in different ways and it was obvious they did not have sever amount of inner demons as Lance did.

And so the job fell to Keith. Unlike Hunk he could bare the tidal wave of Lance's emotions and not break. He didnt have any innocence left like Pidge and he and Lance were the same age. Besides out of all of them Keith secretly knew he had killed the most. He was definitely made of darker stuff than Pidge. He could help Lance without relapsing like Shiro, of that he was certain. There would be no danger of him losing himself along with Lance. And unlike Allura and Coran he knew what those inner demons and hate could do to you. He had no family to hold his emotions back so he could feel what Lance did. He could absorb Lance's pain without throwing his own back at the other.

Underneath all of this though something else stirred and spoke up. Something dark and hollow that was looking for something to latch on to. However he didnt need to analyze it to know what it was. Deep within him he held a possessive, selfishness for Lance. He wanted to be the one who Lance relied on for this and he wanted Lance's emotions to himself. And while this scared him he didnt have the time to fix it since Lance came first. But that suited him just fine as he decided to let these feelings bubble to the surface.

" I will be the one to shoulder his pain and keep a eye on him. I suggest the rest of you do your best to include him and talk to him." Keith declared.

Everyone was deadly silent as they stared at Keith in disbelief. To be honest Keith wasn’t surprised by their reactions. Once they regained themselves there would be a argument but he was ready. He had his mind made up on the matter and he would not let any of them get in his way on the issue.

" Keith you cant be serious! This is to much even for you." Allura exclaimed.

" I have to agree Keith, Lance is all of our responsibilities." Coran added.

" Yeah and he's our friend to! You cant just keep him all to yourself." Pidge shouted as well. Leave it to her to see a little into him.

But Keith wasn’t going to let them argue for this. " So are you telling me you guys can take Lance crying and hurting himself? That you can put aside your own feelings and let him let everything out on you? Can you sacrifice everything and be willing to end up in a healing pod like myself? Out of all of us my lion woke me to find Lance even though the others could have done the same for you guys."

There was denying the fact that everyone was shocked at his words. They had not anticipated hearing such words coming out of Keith's mouth. Usually he was reserved and quiet about his wishes and demands but it seemed not this time. And while it hurt to hear Keith say those things they all knew deep down it was true. None of them could handle this situation like Keith and the fact the typically aloof Red made sure Keith was the one to save Lance said something.

" I- I agree with Keith guys. I don’t think I could take Lance crying but I can include him and talk to him of course." Hunk shakily said.

The others except for Shiro turned to look at Hunk in bafflement. Out of everyone there they thought he would put up the biggest fight on this. He was practically Lance's brother and cared a lot for him. But yet here he was so easily giving in to Keith's demand. Hunk may have been the most gentle of them but he could argue back when he wanted to. Was now not one of those moments where he should?

Taking in the others expressions Hunk let out a sigh and rubbed the back of his neck.

" I know what your thinking guys but as Keith was saying we need to take in account what’s best for Lance. We already messed up when we all tried to look after him and then again when we gave him space. I think it would be for the best if we met in the middle of all of that and had Keith look after the heavy stuff while we give Lance the simpler things. That way he wont fill overwhelmed nor un loved. You guys haven’t know Lance as long as I have but he doesn’t like to be fussed over when he’s hurting by a lot of people."

" But.." Pidge started but Allura laid a hand unto her shoulder.

" I suppose when you put it that way it makes the most sense." Allura hummed and she squeezed Pidge's shoulder with reassurance.

Pidge huffed but none the less relaxed. While she hated to admit it Hunk did have a point. It just sucked that they couldn’t get this right for once. But there was no time to dwell on it as Allura once again spoke up.

" Very well Keith. You shall be the one to look after Lance for the most part. However you are not to bully him in any way nor keep him from us unless he explicitly says so. Do not mess this up Keith, am I understood?" Allura asked, her eyes just a sharp as her voice as she regarded Keith.

" I understand." Was all Keith had to say on the matter and seeing as how the others had nothing else to say either, he began to take his leave.

As he exited his room and started back to his own he was stopped by someone calling out for him.

" Keith wait."

Turning Keith was surprised to see Shiro standing in the hallway. All during the meeting just now he had not said much on the matter. In fact he was oddly silent the whole time.

" What is it Shiro?"

At first Shiro didnt say anything and instead just looked at Keith. It looked as if he was struggling to find the right words. Quite odd indeed for someone like Shiro. However just as Keith was about to ask again Shiro spoke up.

" Keith, just what are your feelings for Lance?"

Ok that was not at all what Keith was expecting him to ask. While he was surprised he couldn’t say he hadn’t thought of it himself. He already knew the darker extent of what he felt for Lance but where exactly did those fall in the retrospect things. And what about the rest of his feelings? Keith may be made of darker things and thoughts than the rest of the gang but he did still have light in him. He still felt things that the others felt.

" I don’t know right now Shiro." Was all Keith could say before he turned on his heel and left Shiro standing where he was. While he didnt want to leave Shiro with something like that how could he answer when he didnt even know the answer himself?

Sighing Keith shook his head as he continued to hurry down the hall way. He could figure out what he was feeling once he got back to Lance. Speaking of Lance he hoped the other wasn’t awake yet. Their meeting hadn’t been to long with everyone agreeing in the end but it still took him time to tell them everything. He didnt want Lance waking up alone at this rate.

At last reaching his door Keith opened only to startle at what greeted him. Standing directly in front of the door was Lance. His hair was practically a bird nest while the the rest of his body shuddered at the cold air that came from the hallway. Sometime in the middle of the night Lance had gotten hot and taken of his pants. Now he stood in front of Keith in his boxers and shirt, trembling and eyes wide as he took him in. But before Keith could say anything Lance stepped in his personal space while clutching unto Keith’s jacket.

" Where did you go? I woke up and you weren’t anywhere to be found. I was worried something had happened! That you had maybe...left." Lance had started off loud and frantic but ended softly. His eyes sad and lip trembling.

Realizing that the reason Lance had been at the door when Keith arrived was because he was going out to find him, Keith quickly took Lance's hands in his own.

" Hey its ok," He soothed. " I'm sorry but I had to talk to the others real quick and I didnt want to wake you when I left. I’m sorry I thought I would get back before you woke up."

Relaxing at Keith's words Lance nodded his head in understanding. At least Keith had gotten back there before Lance went out to find him, in his boxers no less from what Keith could tell.

" Its alright I was just... wait a second." Lance begun but trailed of as he squinted up at Keith.

" What’s wrong?" Keith asked, all of a sudden feeling nervous under Lance's gaze.

" Did you...?"

Now thoroughly confused Keith raised a eyebrow at Lance's question.

" Did I what Lance?"

" Are you taller than me?!" Lance screeched as he looked at Keith with horror. Ah there was the Lance they all knew and loved.

At first taken aback by what Lance had just asked Keith said nothing. With everything that had happened in the past couple of days Keith hadn’t got the chance to dwell on something so small. But now that he looked he realized that yes, yes he was taller than Lance now.

Finding the whole situation ridiculous Keith couldn’t help but burst into laughter. He had missed this Lance and now he finally had a piece of him back. If they just kept at this maybe a day would come when he would have it all back.

As Keith continued to laugh Lance pouted/glared at him. It was no secret that Lance use to hold his height over Keith. It sucked being the second shortest of all the paladins but now it seemed that wasn’t case. He had finally outgrown Lance and now that he thought about it he was the same height as Shiro now. Amazing what 4 months could do he mused.

Seeing that Lance was still pouting Keith did his best to quell his laughs. And now was the part where it became awkward. They both stood there in mutual silence as Lance fidgeted and Keith shifted on his feet. Now he realized the flaw in his plan. Even though Keith wanted to look after him he had no clue what to do when things were going good. Yes he was prepared to handle the nitty gritty stuff but what about the mundane things. Where did he go from here?

It seemed luck and Lance were on his side as the other cleared his throat. " As much as I would love to keep standing here and all, I haven’t had a bath awhile so...yea."

" Oh yea of course. Um we can grab some of your clothes from your room before heading to the showers if you want." Keith offered lamely.

But in the end it didnt matter as Lance's face lit up at his proposal. Of course he would want to see his room and all after so long. And if it made him happy than Keith was happy.

Turning his back to Keith Lance slipped back on his pants and turned to face him. Without a word Keith turned and let Lance lead the way back to his room. As they walked Lance hummed in content while Keith just silently observed him from behind. For some odd reason he felt funny. Not the ill kind of funny but something different. It felt like he was sitting on a roller coaster that was approaching the top. When you feel that scream building in your throat and the blood feels as if its rushing through your veins. And then you stop at the top of the hill, waiting. Just suspended there waiting for the drop to come. But surely the he would remain suspended there? However as they walked Lance turned and shot a smile over at Keith. A smile so pure warm that had his eyes glowing and cheeks rosy.

And so the roller coaster went speeding down and down.

Chapter Text

Perhaps he was just going crazy. Not anything extreme that would be classified under the "bat shit crazy" section. Just normal everyday crazy. In the end though was there even a difference in the two? Surely yes there was but at this moment Keith did not feel that, at all.

After they had made a short stop at Lance's room they had managed to gather up some clothes for the other to wear. Lance was beyond ecstatic to have his normal attire clutched tight to his chest. The smile on his face almost made Keith want to lean and... no that wasn’t a good idea. After there short detour they had ended up in the shower room except for this time Keith had made sure Lance would not be facing the mirror at any time.

But back to Keith's original thought that he was going crazy. Oh yes he was sure it was some early on set of the crazies that had Keith not being able to tear his eyes away from Lance. Not matter what the logical side of him was screaming he just couldn’t take his eyes away from the other as he gingerly stripped his shirt off. He could feel his heart pounding inside his ears by this point and even though it wasn’t hot in the room his palms were sweating. He had no idea why he was reacting like this to Lance. So by default it must just be his mind.

However it seemed he wouldn’t have to dwell further on his problem as Lance's back caught his eye. Even though Lance had been shirtless in front of him before had hadn’t gotten to take a good look at the scars. But now that Lance was calm and not facing his direction right now, he could look at the scars that littered his back.

Line after jagged line crossed Lance's back in a almost semblance of a pattern. Some were deeper than others and darker where they marred his once perfect skin. Even though the healing pod had healed some of the wounds without scarring, a lot of Lance's deeper wounds scarred over in the end. Not to mention some of his wounds were already half way healing when they found him and thus well on there way to scarring.

While yes they all had scars of some kind by now Lance was sure to have the most out of all of them. Some may fade over time but Keith knew for a fact that many of them were too deep and would remain for the rest of his life. Especially that brand on Lance's hip. With the way Lance was standing now Keith could just barely see it peeking out on Lance's lower hip. However thanks to the healing pod it was no longer the red, raw mess it was before. Now instead it was a light pink that stood out against Lance's dark skin.

No matter what Lance would now always be reminded of what happened that day. Of the pain he felt and the loneliness that plague him throughout. If he could, Keith would willing give everything he had not to have had this ever happen, including trading places with Lance himself. But now it was to late and they would have to work through this.

"Keith?"

Startled out of his thoughts he looked up to the sight of Lance in his boxers now with his back still to him. " Umm I'm going to take off the rest in the stall."

At loss for words for the moment Keith just dumbly answered, " Uh yea ok, you do that."

Lance said nothing to his lame response and instead just decided to step into the stall. Sighing in embarrassment Keith plunked himself down on one of the benches in the room. It seemed as of now him being crazy was the best explanation on how he was feeling and acting at the moment. He needed to get a grip in this case before he did something weird.

But no matter how hard he tried he just couldn’t stop thinking. Contrary to what everyone surely throughout on the ship, he did have experience with girls. He knew what it felt like to hold someone in your arms and what arms felt like wrapped around him. What lips felt like pressed against different places and what sweet words could drip from them. He knew what lust felt like.

But this was different. Never had Keith felt his heart beat this way. Every time he looked at Lance he could feel the world zoom onto him. However it wasn’t only Lance's smile or eyes that drew Keith to him. Even being the broken thing he was he made Keith feel warmth and life. He never knew that was missing until Lance had come back into their lives and he felt a breath of life once again. He remembers almost feeling like this before they lost Lance, like he was right on the cusp of it. And God did it hurt when it was snatched away in that forsaken wormhole. Keith would be damned if he let another chunk of himself be ripped out even if he didnt know the name for these feelings yet.

Hearing the shower squeak off Keith schooled his features into indifference while he waited for Lance to dry off. Now that Lance had taken a shower next would be food on the list. Lucky for them Hunk was more than willing to make food for Lance. In fact there was probably some already made since it seemed Pidge's stomach was a black hole these days.

As Keith thought about food options for Lance the other stepped out of the shower stall and into the room. Turning to the other Keith's eyes widened at what he saw. Standing there as casual as anyone could be was Lance, clad in nothing but a towel around his waist and water dripping everywhere. Why must he be tested like this, Keith thought.

However it seemed Lance had no idea what he was doing to the other boy at this moment. Instead he just meandered over to the fresh stack of clothing and picked out his boxers. With his back to Keith Lance slipped them on under his towel and for once Keith cursed the fact that gravity wasn’t working. How could Lance be so oblivious to what he was doing to Keith? Shouldn’t he be mister smooth or something?

Now with his boxers on Lance removed the towel from around his waist and proceeded to dry his hair.

" So like after this can we get some food?" Lance called out as he toweled his hair.

Struggling to keep himself in check Keith hummed in response.

" Ok good cause I’m starving. I wonder if Hunk will make me some of that fancy goop of his. What does he even put in it?" Lance rambled as he slipped his jeans on.

Growling under his breath in frustration Keith bit out, " I don’t know Lance." How could Lance be driving him this crazy just by standing there half naked?

" Well of course you don’t know. I mean the mans a genius when it comes to cooking. Well also technically engineering as well..."

That was it. Keith couldn’t take it anymore. How could Lance just stand there the way he was now and ramble to Keith like that. Did he have any idea what he was doing to him. Or perhaps he did? Maybe Keith should just go for it and see how aware of the situation Lance was. See just how aware he was of Keith.

Stepping forward in the midst of Lance's chatter Keith proceed to make his way into his personal space. Lance began to sputter as Keith backed him up into the sink. He only stopped when Lance's hips met the sink and he was forced to lean back as Keith towered over him. Now was good as any time to thank the crazy growth spurt he had gone through in the last 4 months.

Keith wouldn’t lie it was interesting to see the way Lance's blue eyes seemed to sparkle as they widened up at him. Now that was more the reaction he was looking for. What would happen if he pushed more. Reaching out Keith let his hand just barely rest on Lance's hip, the one without the brand. The effect was almost instant as Lance's face became bright red.

" Don’t test me Lance." Keith softly warned, his fingers pressing lightly into his flesh.

Eyes wide and searching Lance looked up at Keith. " W-what do you mean?" He managed to squeak out as Keith stared him down.

So he wasn’t aware of what he was doing. That was even more frustrating than if he was intentionally doing it. Even though Keith had never been with a guy before he had no problems with it. He could acknowledge when a guy was attractive and desirable. He just hadn’t met anyone who made him think that way. Until now that was.

But before he could act further on the matter he heard someone clear their throat. Both him and Lance turned to face the voice and were surprised to see Hunk awkwardly standing there.

" Uh I hate to interrupt whatever is going on but uh i Just thought you guys might want to know i prepared some food for you guys. " he said.

Snapping out of whatever daze he was in Lance pushed at Keith who obliged him by moving back.

" Nothings going on Hunk! Why on earth would you think that?" Lance half laughed half shrieked out. Leave it to him to make things so awkward.

" Right." Hunk drawled as his eyes drifted to Keith.

Shrugging his shoulders at Hunk's gaze Keith turned to face Lance.

"Hurry up and put a shirt on so we can go eat." Keith called out.

" Alright, alright" Lance whined as he slung his shirt over his head and followed them out the door.


 

In all his few years on earth Lance had never experienced love. Hell he had never had ones of his crushes returned so even love was a huge step. Never been with anyone, never been kissed, never even been on a date. As sad as it was Lance even in secret doubted anyone had ever had a crush on him. And yeah he acted like a huge flirt but he was just stumbling through the things he had seen in the movies, things that obviously didnt even work.

So with all of that in mind it shouldn’t have been such a surprise that he was currently trying not to go into shock. Whatever Keith had been trying to pull back there was by no means good for his heart. Seriously who did the guy think he was making Lance feel the way he did? It felt like his heart was going to explode and that his blood was racing through his veins. He was not built for these kinds of things.

And really, what was that? One moment Lance was happily chattering away to Keith and the next he was being crowded into the sink by him. His hip felt like it was on fire from where Keith had placed his fingertips. Before the wormhole incident the only time Keith and he got that close was when they were butting heads over something. But up until that point they hadn’t been arguing about a single thing. Well at least Lance believed so.

Turing his attention to the source of the problem, Lance quietly observed Keith as he talked with Shiro at the table. That was another thing that was bothering Lance as well. As much as he was so delighted everyone was happy and talking to him it felt weird. Like something had shifted and the rest had a change of mindset. Had Keith told them about what was going on with Lance? And if so how come there was no disappointed stares or disapproving looks?

But this wasn’t the time to dwell on that issue. For now Pidge and Hunk were practically sticking to him as they chattered away and Coran was trying his best to make Lance eat a ton. He tried his best to acknowledge the others but right now he just couldn’t stop looking at Keith. Just what was that in the bathroom?

As he looked at Keith for answers though Lance couldn’t help but lets his eyes wander to other things. Now that he looked closer he could see that Keith hair was actually a few inches shorter. It was of course still a mullet by his standards. Next was his body. And no not like that. It was just that Lance knew for a fact he was not that toned and muscled 4 months ago. His arms actually filled out his jacket and Lance swore his shirt stretched a little tighter over his shoulders and stomach. It just wasn’t fair.

He needed to stop though. This wasn’t helping him work out what he was feeling in the bathroom...at all. Turing his gaze back to his food Lance let his mind wander back to the scene. Now that he focused he could feel the warmth that radiated off of Keith as he stood close. The way his breath had fanned over his face from where he loomed over Lance. His fingers and their warmth from where they grazed against his hip. And the look in Keith’s eyes. No matter how hard he focused he just couldn’t describe the way he looked at him. All he remembered was they way his eyes almost glowed as his pupils expanded, the dark gray going almost molten.

Lance had felt a lot of emotions around girls in his life but none of them had ever made him feel this way. They had never made him think so hard or question just what was going on. How could simple action make him feel so many things. How could it make him feel like he was losing his mind?

" -nce. Lance." a voice called.

Snapping out of his thoughts Lance realized everyone was looking at him and Hunk had been the one calling him. " You ok buddy?" he asked.

" Yeah sorry I was just thinking about uh, well um... Blue!" Lance hastily made up.

" What about them Lance?" Coran questioned.

Great now Lance had to make something else up. " Well you see I just thought i out to go and see them today." He answered. Never was he so grateful for his ability to make things up on the fly, although it was true he did want to go see them.

" After you finish eating we can go see them." Keith stated as he continued eating.

Looking to him and the others Lance watched in surprise as everyone else merely just nodded their heads in agreement and went back to eating. So they really did have some sort of conversation with Keith. He didnt have time to dwell further on it though. If he didnt start eating the others were sure to become suspicious.

Shoveling the rest of Hunk's oh so delicious food into his mouth Lance did his best to remain casual. It wouldn’t be the end of the world if the others knew what was bothering him but he didnt want to share that information just yet. But he needed to get his act together if he wanted to keep this a secret. After all secrets never stayed silent on this ship for long.

Once he was finished Lance scooted back from the table and followed Keith out the door. As they went he could feel everyone’s eyes on them and peeking over his shoulder Lance caught a glimpse of Allura shooting Shiro a worried look. Yes they had all defiantly had some sort of conversation that explained why Keith was gone that morning.

As Lance followed Keith down to the hangar he soon forgot his suspicions and was filled with excitement at seeing his lion again. He didnt like to brag but out of all the paladins his connection to his lion had been the strongest. They were always together and Blue understood him better than most. But because of everything that had happened as of late he feared that relationship was stunted. 4 months without being able to even feel each other was absolute torture. They had so much to catch up on but the last time Lance had been with them he had been so overcome with emotions to even talk at all with them.

Arriving in the hangar Lance didnt waste any time as he bounded straight for Blue. All but throwing himself unto their face he did his best to wrap his arms around their nose.

" Oh Blue I’ve missed you." He sighed into the metal.

Keith watched in amusement as Blue's eyes glowed and a purr echoed throughout the hangar. The other must have been so worried about Lance for the past couple of days. Good thing he had decided to take Lance here no matter what. Feeling a presence behind him Keith turned around to face Red who had their head resting behind him, quietly observing him.

Without even needing to communicate with red he could tell that they were pleased with him. And as much as Keith wanted to be angry at Red for the way he woke him up he just couldn’t. He was being pig headed and needed to be roused from his sleep like that, especially if it was for Lance.

Speaking of Lance for some reason he could feel a high degree of fondness coming from Red and directed at him. Wait no it wasn’t quite Lance they were directing it at. Focusing on the energy he realized it was directed at Blue. So Keith wasn’t the only one feeling things now was he?

Chuckling under his breath Keith affectionately patted his lion.

 

Chapter Text

It certaintly was something you had to get used to. In all his life Keith had never had someone be around him as much as Lance was. He wasn’t exactly bothered by the situation it was just strange. They spent every waking moment together it seemed like. They even waited for the other to go the bathroom or take a shower. And while Keith was still getting use to the odd sensation of having someone with him 24/7, Lance was happy as a clam.

Coming from a big family he was so use to the constant people at his side. He claimed there was little to no privacy at his house hold and you got use to being surrounded by all the people. Those 4 months of isolation killed Lance as well. He needed to have people to talk to and to listen to his constant chattering.

Lance spoke about everything under the sun. From his skin routines to the food he missed on earth he would talks Keith's ear off about it all. But the thing was that Keith actually did not mind one bit. In any normal situation he would get annoyed if it was anyone else but being the fact that it was Lance he couldn’t find it in him to get annoyed. If talking to Keith until he was blue in the face brought back that radiant smile than so be it. Keith would absorb everything Lance spoke about like a sponge.

However with Lance not being shy about talking so much he was shy about one thing. That one thing being their current sleeping arrangements. Out of the two of them Keith thought he would be the one who was not comfortable with it but it seemed like that was not the case. Whenever it was time for bed it always took Keith about 5-10 minutes to get Lance to give in and lay down. The other always had a million excuses on why he couldn’t settle down but each time Keith shot him down with things like, " Lance I don’t bite," or " Yes Lance for the 5th time you already brushed your teeth". So far it was a uphill battle but Keith was slowly winning in regards to the time it took for Lance to give in and lay down.

But once it came to having him lay down that was a whole other story. Seeing how much Lance enjoyed looking out the windows before he went to sleep Keith had switched sides of the bed with him. Now Lance laid next to the window and Keith on the side of the bed that faced the outside. And while it was good for Lance to be able to look at the stars now he also had to deal with being trapped on the bed by Keith.

He didnt react violently or scared at the position they were in now but he wasn’t the most comfortable in it. Often he would stiffen up and lay as still as a board whenever Keith slid into the sheets next to him. It was at that time that all conversation ceased as well. As if he was afraid that him saying anything would set of some sort of bomb between the two of them. Keith wanted to roll his eyes at his silliness but he refrained in consideration of Lance's feelings.

Fortunate for him though it seemed he had found a way to calm Lance in these situations. It was almost funny that such a simple gesture would make Lance relax but then again to each his own. It was actually something Keith had seen someone do to their dog once and he thought to hell with it even though Lance was most definitely not a dog. What he did to calm down Lance was while he laid there stiff as a board on his back was Keith would turn to face him, reach over and rest his hand on his belly.

That was it! No words were said and every night Keith would do so. The first time he did so Lance stiffened up even more and stayed like that for several minutes. Just as Keith was thinking about taking his hand back and apologizing Lance relaxed and actually hummed in content. Not long after that he fell into deep sleep and only woke once morning came, or what was considered morning time in space. After only a few days though Lance had taken to resting his hand on top of Keith's. Neither of them said anything and that suited them just fine.

Sadly though it wasn’t enough some days to hold back the nightmares that plagued Lance. Keith remembers the first night that Lance had his first nightmare. One moment he was sleeping in peace and the next he was woken up to this ear splitting scream. Bolting up right in bed he looked down to see Lance thrashing in the sheets, back arching up as he pounded his head back into the mattress. As fast as he could Keith jumped into action and picked up Lance in his arms to keep him from banging his head against anything else.

Now with nothing else to whack himself against Lance took to digging his finger nails into Keith's back and neck while he continued to scream and sob. Keith flinched as he felt blood well up from where Lance was scratching him but he held on tighter as he rocked Lance back and forth.

" Its ok Lance. I’m here. Your ok." He whispered into the others temple over and over.

After a few minutes Lance finally relaxed and slumped into his arms. Now only soft sobs came from him as he held on to Keith. As they sat there the door swooshed open to reveal a out of breath team. Hunk and Pidge were the first ones to rush over to the bed. Both clearly worried about Lance.

" Keith what happened? Why was Lance screaming?" Shiro whispered from where he stood in the door way with Allura and Coran.

" It was a nightmare." Keith answered and he loosened his hold on Lance so Hunk and Pidge could see that he was ok.

All of a sudden Allura gasped. " Keith your bleeding!"

Ah he had almost forgotten the scratches Lance had given him. Scratches that now had blood running down his back and soaking through his night shirt. Knowing he had to take care of these Keith let go of the now half awake but still stunned Lance who whimpered.

" Its ok Lance. Hunk can you hold him for me?" Keith asked as he let Hunk slide up behind Lance.

" Yeah I got him." Hunk answered as he let Lance burrow into his arms. Pidge sat down next to them and started to run her hands through his hair in a almost mother like way. Standing up Keith took down his medical kit and took off his shirt. Sitting on the ground Keith offered his back to Coran.

" Can you help me out Coran?"

" Of course!" The other told him as he took a seat behind the him and began to clean the scratches on his back.

" Oh poor Lance! What should we do?" Allura forlornly asked as she gazed at Lance with sad eyes.

" In all honesty we can do nothing but help him through the nightmares that come." Shiro answered. Out of all of them he knew best that the nightmares never truly went away and that there was nothing you could do but tough your way through them.

" Well lucky for you the scratches are not deep. There only bleeding a lot" Coran informed him as he finished cleaning and rubbing medicine into them.

" Thank you Coran." Keith said as he stood and headed back to the bed. Moving from where she sat Pidge allowed Keith to sit down next to Hunk who was still cradling Lance in his arms. Feeling Keith settle down Lance immediately crawled out of Hunk's arms and wrapped his own skinny ones around Keith. It would almost be endearing if not for the situation they were in now. The rest watched in surprised curiosity as Lance clung tight to Keith who in turn wrapped his arms around the other.

" I'm glad he feels safe with you." Pidge spoke up as Hunk stood up next to her.

Keith said nothing to this but he did smile softly at her words. The nightmares would not go away but he would at least be here to help Lance through them.

" Alright everyone let us let them get back to sleep." Allura clapped as she started to shoo them out of the room.

" Actually Hunk, Pidge would it be ok if I occasionally called on you two to help out with his nightmares. He feels safe around you two as well."

Smiling at his request they both nodded their heads before exiting the room, the door swooshing shut behind them. Sighing in exhaustion Keith let himself fall back on to the mattress, Lance still wrapped up in his arms. Shifting until they were both comfortable Keith let his eyes fall shut as he tried to get back to sleep. As he felt sleep creeping up on him he heard Lance mumble quietly into his chest, " I'm sorry Keith and thank you". Tightening his hold Keith said nothing as he drifted into sleep.

Lance didnt have nightmares every night but the nights he did Keith would hold him through it. And on the nights where Keith couldn’t get Lance to calm down by himself or the pain of his fingers nails and teeth digging into his skin became to much he would call Hunk and Pidge. Hunk would gather Lance into his arms while Keith got cleaned up and tell him all sorts of stories. And when Hunk ran out of stories or Lance still wasn’t calming down Pidge would have him rest his head on her lap while she sang to him. Hunk and Keith were both surprised the first time she sang to Lance but neither of them dared to say anything. Especially since her singing was quite good and Lance seemed to relax almost in a instant when she did. And when he had finally calmed down and fallen back to sleep Hunk and Pidge would go back to their rooms while Keith rested as well. The nightmares were never discussed but not for lack of trying. The one time Keith had tried to bring it up Lance completely ignored it and brought up all sorts of other junk. It seemed he still wasn’t ready to talk about it.

Even though Keith was looking after Lance things still needed to be done though. Old habits die hard and it was that thought that had Keith going back to training and dragging Lance with him. But he knew better than to train in combat in front of him for now. Shiro had warned him before hand that if he did he risked setting off traumatic memories that Lance held. So Keith did the next best thing he could. He ran circles around the training room and lifted weights when he could. Luckily Lance was happy to join him, stating that he had to keep his "rock hard abs". Keith would snort and talk about something else. Yes Lance knew his stomach barely had any muscle to speak of but he didnt need to be reminded of that. He was working his butt off with Keith to regain the once toned muscle he had the best he could and the last thing he needed to be told was how scrawny he still was.

As the weeks passed Keith was grateful no Galra ships had sprung up and attacked them. He dreaded leaving Lance on the ship with only Allura and Coran who would be too busy to watch him during a attack. Then again perhaps Lance would be ok by himself during a attack. However he had no way of knowing that as the other never talked about what he was feeling. Now Keith didnt want to rush him but he was starting to get worried. There would be days where Lance would not speak for long periods of time and his eyes had this far off look. It usually took Keith a good few minutes to get Lance's attention in those cases. It didnt help either that every time he asked if Lance was ok or wanted to talk about it, he brushed him off with a obvious fake smile. Perhaps Keith needed to go back and see what he could bring up with the other that would have him talking. Maybe he needed to go back and completely understand what Lance went through.

Lucky for him the time at hand was finally here as Hunk had suggested Lance help him make this new goo recipe in the kitchen. Keith was not the best at cooking and decided that Lance would more than be in capable hands with Hunk. He could slip away for a awhile and check what he wanted to.

" I'm going to the control room for awhile. Lance just call me when you are done." Keith said as he slipped out of the room.

" Ok have fun!" Lance happily called after him. At least out of the two of them he was having fun right now. Keith on the other hand dreaded what he had to do now.

Making his way into the control room Keith was glad to see it was empty. Usually it was at this time as Allura and Coran were busy with their own projects but you never knew sometimes. Walking to one of the ports Keith snuck out of his pocket the small bot Pidge had given to Allura the day they saved Lance. The same one that held all the videos of Lance and he had taken when Allura wasn’t looking. Plugging it in he watched as the screen came up and the first video began.

Deep down he knew it was wrong to watch these especially since Lance was only a few hallways away. But he thought maybe just maybe if he did he could understand what Lance was feeling at the moment. He wanted Lance top open up to him about what he was thinking and what he wanted. He didnt need to watch all the videos but just the ones that had different content. Then maybe he could finally be there fully for Lance like he needed to be.

Re watching the videos again made Keith even angrier than before. How could someone do this to a person? Especially someone so full of life and laughter like Lance. He cursed himself again for not pushing harder to find Lance, for giving up on him like he was some lost object.

But as he watched the videos he now could see other emotions that played out under the stronger ones that Lance held. Ones such as guilt, shame and self hate. Guilt when Irant mentioned ships that had been destroyed. Shame when he spoke of who well the paladins were doing without him. Self hate when Irant would have Lance dragged back to his cell.

Keith had a feeling why he felt those emotions but he wanted Lance to explain himself. He wanted to hear the words from his own mouth. If anyone could take on Lance's feelings it was him. He would do this even if it cost him. He would protect him.

The Galra didnt stand a chance against him any longer. Any mercy or pity he held towards him was long gone. Any soldier that he came across he would cut down. He would do it for Lance. At one time he would have held back, would have let them keep their miserable lives but no longer. He could feel it stirring in his stomach. The need to eliminate all who hurt Lance.

Maybe then Lance's nightmare would go away. Maybe he would finally be able to heal from everything. Maybe he could finally look in the mirror and stop picking at his scars.

Over the course of the days Keith had caught Lance picking at his scars. Itching the ones across his back and chest until they turned red from irritation. Of course Keith didnt allow him to scratch at them but even he couldn’t stop him when the other was in the shower or sleeping. And when he wasn’t picking at them Keith would catch him running his fingers over the scars on the other hand. His eyes empty and far off as he ran his thumb over them over and over. He didnt look in the mirror at all either nor did he even attempt to. But Keith did not think it was from his fear of being triggered. Instead he suspected Lance was disgusted with the way he looked. Once unblemished and gorgeous skin marred by pale pink jagged lines. If they stood out now they definitely would also when they turned white against his brown skin.

Turning his attention back to the videos Keith realized he was at the last one. Granted he had skipped past a lot of the ones where Irant tortured him the same way he was surprised to see he was at the last one already. But this was also the one he wanted to view the most. Keith had seen almost all of Lance's scars except of the brand. No matter what Lance either wore his pants high enough on his hips to where Keith couldn’t see it or he turned his back to him while changing so he still couldn’t see it. The only time he had gotten even a glimpse of it was when Lance had taken his first shower there again. It was obvious it bothered the other and Keith wanted to talk to him about it. Let him know that the mark did not define him.

As Keith watched the video he missed the sound of the door swooshing open behind him and Lance calling out " Keith you should really tr-". The next thing he knew he heard something shatter on the ground as he stopped the video and whirled around. But it was to late as Lance had already seen it all.

Standing there with his arms now empty of the bowl he once held, that now lay in pieces on the ground. His mouth was open as he stared at Keith with horror in his eyes. Neither one of them said anything for a moment before Keith's heart seized up at what happened next.

Lance's eyes filled with tears as a look of absolute horror and betrayal crossed his face. And then he opened his mouth.

"How could you?"

 

 

Chapter Text

What Keith wouldn’t do to go back in time and change the course of the current events taking place. Perhaps he would have made sure the door was locked. Or taken the bot somewhere else to view the videos. Maybe he shouldn’t have watched the videos at all.

Whatever would have worked it was too late now as Keith watched tears stream down Lance's face. Now he had done it. Lance wasn’t suppose to be crying because of something he did. He swore he would never hurt Lance but wasn’t that exactly what he was doing now. He needed to make this right before Lance pushed him away again.

But before Keith could even utter a word Lance turned and took off out the room. For a moment Keith stood there dumbstruck before his brain kicked back in and he raced out the door after Lance. Narrowly avoiding the shards of the bowl on the ground. He would have to come clean up the goo later but first came Lance. He sprinted to catch up with the other who was currently turning the corner down one of the more secluded hall ways. His heart wrenching sobs echoing down the hallway as he went.

" Lance wait!" Keith called as he ran after him.

Of course the other did not stop as he continued running. After what he had done though Keith couldn’t blame him. Skidding around the corner Keith pushed his legs to go faster as he began to catch up with Lance. Lengthening his strides Keith was able to over take Lance and grab him by the wrist.

" I said wait dammit." Keith growled as he yanked Lance to a stop.

However nothing could have prepared him for what happened next. Whipping around to face Keith Lance pulled his arm back and slapped him right across the face. The sound of Lance's hand hitting his cheek echoed like a whip down the hallway. Stunned Keith backed up a few steps but still held on tight to Lance's wrist. Lance however remained where he was, arm still raised and eyes now full of anger as well as tears.

" How could you Keith?!" He yelled.

This seemed to break Keith out of his stupor as he huffed, " How could I what Lance?"

" How could you view those videos? You had no right to!" Lance sobbed in frustration.

" Lance I was trying to understand what your going through." Keith tried to explain.

" Oh so you think watching videos of me suffering, videos that I wished had been destroyed, is going to help you understand me?" Lance spit back.

Now Keith's temper was starting to rise as well. Why couldn’t Lance understand what he was trying to do? He watched those videos for him. Never in his life did he want to re watch them either. Why couldn’t he understand that he wanted to be there for him? And he couldn’t be there for him if he didnt say anything.

" Well how the hell am I suppose to know what you are feeling if you wont tell me?" Keith yelled in frustration.

For a moment Lance look taken aback but he regained himself as his eyes reflected hurt in them once again.

" Do you even understand it takes every part of myself to even relive the memories that swarm my head? Why would I want to talk about something so painful? Are you wanting to watch me tear apart?" Lance cried.

" Oh so your just going to bottle it all up? Why cant you see what its doing to you?" Keith demanded.

" I know what its doing to me Keith! I lived with these feelings for 4 months by myself! Did it even occur to you that maybe I'm trying to work them out myself?" Lance hissed.

Why couldn’t Keith see what he was doing to him. He may not ask to know what Lance was thinking but Lance could tell he wanted to know. The looks he gave him said it all. The way his eyes traced over him as if he would break. Lance may be damaged but he wasn’t blind. And those looks killed Lance every time because he knew he wasn’t ready to speak of about any of it yet.

" Well in case you haven’t noticed your not doing the best of jobs." Keith yelled back. Why was Lance fighting him on this?

" Wow Yeah that really makes me want to tell you everything Keith. Why are you so obsessed with this?"

" Because your my responsibility! I promised the others I would take responsibility for you!"

As soon as he said this Keith wished he could take it back. Or at least worded it a different way as he watched Lance's face take on one of pure sorrow. His blue eyes welling up with tears as he looked at the other. Eyebrows and mouth open in disbelief.

" Your responsibility? Is that why the others have been looking at you whenever I'm having trouble. Is this what you guys talked about that one morning? That I had to be somebody’s responsibility like some animal that needed to be looked after?" Lance asked, betrayal and hurt bleeding into his voice.

Keith had to fix this. Fix this before he lost Lance again. " No Lance that’s not what I meant."

" Then what did you mean Keith? Please tell me." Lance pleaded his eyes sparkling with unshed tears and the barest amount of hope.

Keith needed to answer him but the thing was he didnt know how to answer. He was so focused on Lance's problems that he hadn’t stopped at analyze what his feelings were. Why he felt this way about everything that was going on. But he needed to answer Lance. If he didnt surely that would be the end of this. Allura wouldn’t allow him another try. But how could he explain something when he didnt even know himself. There was a answer to this he just couldn’t find the words for it. Without any other option he decided to go with what he thought he felt.

" Your my friend Lance, of course I would look after you."

For a moment Lance didnt even react. All he did was stand there staring up at Keith with a dazed look on his face. Eyes distant and long gone of the spark it once had. Keith watched in worry for a moment before Lance began to finally react. But it wasn’t the reaction Keith was hoping for nor expected. He watched as tears slipped down Lance's face and his eyes lost that glimmer of hope. It seemed that wasn’t the right answer to all of this.

" Your friend? So everything before was just..." Lance did not finish though as his lips began to tremble.

So everything he felt was himself getting his hopes up. The warmth he felt radiating from Keith did not expand further than friendship. The looks he gave Lance were nothing more than a watchful eye. All the emotion he felt with the other were one sided and he was considered a responsibility. Just when Lance thought that maybe just maybe he would finally know what love felt like. God he felt so stupid.

With this revelation Lance wanted nothing more than to be by himself. He didnt want to be anywhere near Keith at the moment. In fact his wrist felt like it was on fire from where Keith was gripping it. He needed to get away, now. Luckily for him it seemed the universe was on his side as sirens began to blare and Allura's voice filled the ship.

" Everyone we have received a distress call from a near by planet. They are under attack by the Galra and request our help. Get to your lions and down to the surface."

Neither of them moved for a second. Keith staring at Lance, trying to figure out what he was thinking and Lance staring at the ground.

" Thats your signal that you need to go." Lance finally offered.

From his tone Keith knew this was final though. He had messed up and Lance was hurt. He needed to fix this but he had to get to his lion and besides he didnt think Lance would even listen to him at this rate. Letting go of Lance's wrist Keith turned and made his way to his lion. All the while cursing himself for yet another mistake he had made.


With Keith now gone Lance begun to make his way to the control room. As much as he wanted to be alone right now he didnt want to abandon his team. Maybe he could be of some use in the control room.

Reaching the room he was surprised by Coran nearly barreling him over. Stopping in the nick of time Coran put his hands on Lance's shoulders.

"Oh Lance my boy! I was just going to find you. We could use your help with something."

At first Lance couldn’t believe his ears. They actually needed his help with something? He thought for sure in all his time on the ship that they would never ask him for help in the control room. But looking at Coran's expecting face and Allura's smile he knew it was for real.

" I would love to help." Said with delight.

Leading Lance by his shoulder, he and Coran made their way to a small elevated platform that had a screen on it. Peering down Lance was surprised to see a picture of the paladins along with what looked like a x-ray of their bodies. A small beeping sound came from each paladins section along with different stats that read different things.

" What is this?" Lance asked.

" That is a new system we created. We have fitted everyone with a bracelet that monitors their vitals as well as other body functions. If anyone is injured the body diagram will tell us where they are hurt and the extent of the injury." Allura explained.

Humming in thought Lance turned his attention back to the screen. As he looked at everyone’s states he couldn’t help but feel relieved about a better way to see how everyone was doing. Lord knows they all liked to play off injuries all the time. Letting his eyes trace over everyone’s stats something caught his eye at the end of the line. There on the far right of the screen in its own column was Lance's own profile. Of course nothing was being monitored at the moment but still he was on there!

" Is this-?!" Lance excitedly asked, head shooting up in the process. What he saw next almost brought tears to his eyes though. Standing in front of him was Coran holding out a little white and blue bracelet.

" Yes Lance of course we made one for you to." Allura said gently.

Taking the bracelet carefully in his own hands Lance snapped it unto his wrists and watched in amazement as all his stats lit up on the screen. Even though he still couldn’t go out and fight they had made him one as well. God he was going to cry.

" Alright Allura were in site of the planet." Shiro all of a sudden interrupted over the mic.

Turning her attention to the screen Allura responded, " Excellent. Shiro, Hunk I want you guys to stay and keep anymore ships from landing as well as get rid of the current ones. Being as your the quickest Keith I need you to make your way to the surface and save the villagers from the soldiers. Pidge provide him back up as well as clear a place for us to land. Last I heard the distress signal said they had many injured.

" Roger." They all responded as they all flew off to accomplish their tasks.

" Umm what should I do?" Lance hesitantly asked.

" I need you to monitor everyone stats Lance. Its important that not only do we make sure they don’t get injured but also their mental states."

Smiling and nodding his head in understanding Lance turned to monitor everyone on the screen. So far so good as everyones heartbeats were going a little fast but that was what was to be expected right now. Letting his eyes drift to the screen as well Lance watched as Shiro and Hunk weaved their way around several ships while firing shot after shot. As they did so they managed to drawl enough attention a way to clear a path for Keith and Pidge.

Wasting no time at all Pidge and Keith shot to the surface. Pushing farther ahead Keith blasted away several of the smaller Galra transport ships that were trying to land around the village. However as he did so Lance noticed something ding on Keith section. Looking closer Lance read the new stats out loud to Allura.

" Keith's blood pressure is rising as well as detected high amounts of adrenaline and cor- coristal? How do you say that?"

" Cortisol Lance." Coran sighed.

"None the less keep a eye on him Lance." Allura added.

Frowning Lance nodded his head. In truth he didnt want to have to look after Keith but he understood the importance of it all.

" I'm out on the surface now." Ah speak of the devil.

Lance watched as Keith quickly emerged from his lion. Bayard already activated and ready for action in his hand.

"Keith I need you to get to the villagers as fast as you can. They cant hold out for much longer!" Allura ordered.

Not wasting time in responding Keith began to run towards the smoking village. Pidge flying ahead above and taking care of any other ships that were trying to get close. Hunk and Shiro were doing a marvelous job as of so far in keeping getting rid of the larger Galra ships that hovered near the planet. Now it was all up to Keith to get to the villagers and help them.

" Allura I cleared the area, you can land now." Pidge chirped over the microphone.

" Very well. Coran prepare the ship for landing, Lance keep monitoring everyone’s stats." Allura commanded.

Lance didnt have to be told twice though as he was already focused on one paladins vitals in particular. Pidge and Shiro's vitals were calm and steady and while Hunk's stress levels were higher he was doing remarkably well. However Keith's blood pressure was continuing to rise as well as his adrenaline. Glancing up at the screen Lance could see he was at the edge of the village. But something was wrong, he wasn’t saying anything to any of them as he raced ahead. Keith may be quiet but he was never this silent.

" The villagers are just ahead Keith." Allura informed him but she sounded uneasy. Maybe she was had noticed something was wrong as well.

But before any of them could say anything everything seemed to slow down. They watched as Keith made it to the villagers only to find them injured and Galra soldiers dragging them unto the ships one by one. As Keith watched something in him shifted, it was as if he was watching Lance being dragged away. As if he was watching Lance being smacked across the face. He would not let them hurt or take Lance. His blood began to boil.

A shrill beeping suddenly caught Lance's attention as they were alerted that Keith's blood pressure had risen too far. Realizing what was happening Lance's head shot up as he looked at the screen in panic.

" NO KEITH STOP!" Lance yelled frantically as Keith charged forward with a yell.

Lance watched in horror as Keith drove his sword through one of the soldiers chest. Only to yank it out, letting the lifeless soldier fall to the ground and blood run down his sword. Not wasting anytime he charged the next soldier.

" Lance I’ll protect you." Keith thought as he sliced another soldier down the middle.

Lance flinched as Keith's thoughts echoed throughout his head. His bond being as strong as it was with Blue meant he could still be in tune with the others. And if the bond was strong enough with the others he could hear what they were thinking as well. He could feel the rage that was pulsing through Keith right now. His strong desire to cut down the everyone in his way.

Watching Keith cut through another soldier while ignoring Allura and Shiro’s calls to stand down, feeling the satisfaction that came with it, Lance clutched his head in desperation.

"Why can I feel this?" he asked desperately.

"I'll protect him." Keith thought again, making Lance whimper.

Yelling he was quick to slice straight through the middle of a soldier while turning and beheading the next.

"Stop it Keith!" Lance yelled in desperation.

But he wasn’t listening as another soldier fell.

" Please stop it, that’s enough Keith. KEITH!" Lance cried.

"I'll protect you." bounced around in Lance's head as his pleas were not heard.

"Keith enough, too far." Lance begged as he fell to his knees.

However Keith still did not hear him as he faced off against the last few soldiers. His heartbeat was beating erratically and none of them had to look at his vitals to see the high amounts of adrenaline that was pumping through his veins.

" I"ll protect him." Once again entered Lance's mind.

" Stop it!" Lance groaned as he covered his ears tight.

It was then that Shiro landed in between the soldiers and Keith.

"Stand down Keith!" Shiro boomed over the microphone.

Now none of them actually knew if Keith was actually heeding Shiro's words but he lowered his sword anyway. They all suspected though that the only reason he stopped was because of Shiro's lion blocking his path. The look of absolute hate on his face as the remaining soldiers flew away seemed to back up that point.

But even if Shiro had stopped him the damage was already done. The lifeless bodies of Galra soldiers littered the ground, their blood staining it a ugly red. Keith was also covered in their blood, his hair matted with it in some places and the white of his armor splashed crimson. Lance would never be able to unseen all that had happened.

 

Chapter Text

Once upon a time Lance had dreamed of traveling the galaxy. He dreamed of saving princess's from evil space pirates and discovering new worlds. He dreamed of being a hero that everyone looked up to and his parents were proud of. However never had he expected any of this in his wildest dreams. But then again how could a child ever have guessed the things he would go through? How could his innocent, starry eyed child self ever have known that his desire to travel to the great beyond would cause him so much pain? Now in the present, shaking on his knees, Lance wished he could go back and never have dreamed.

"Allura, Keith and I are heading back on board. Pidge and Hunk are rounding up the villagers for the healing pods." Shiro's voice softly echoed on the mic. He sounded so weary and old in that very moment. But who could blame him after what he had seen.

"U-understood, we will start prepping the healing pods." Allura managed to answer. Clearly still shaken up about what had transpired as well.

However Lance it seemed was having no trouble regaining himself as his head echoed with Shiro's words. "Keith and I are heading back on board." looped almost endless in his head. For a moment Lance didnt move a inch as he stared down at his shaking hands. Hands that he could swear had blood on them but when he blinked it was gone. This had to stop.

Getting to his feet Lance ignored Allura and Coran's curious calls as he ran out of the room. His mind set on one destination only as he ran. What exactly he would say when he got there, he had no idea. But he couldn’t leave it like this anymore. He had to find a way to put a stop to this somehow.

Arriving in the hangar Lance stopped dead in his tracks at what he saw. Keith and Shiro were now out of there lions and it seemed having a serious discussion about something. No surprise there as Keith was still covered in blood. What did surprise Lance though was what the conversation was about.

" The Galra are becoming bolder in their attacks it seems. We need to make sure other villages don’t fall prey like this one." Keith said as he wiped blood off his cheek, only smearing it in the process though.

"Keith while that may be true we need to talk about you." Shiro tried to say.

" I know, my technique was a little sloppy out their but I've almost perfected it. I think it was because the way I positioned myself. I could try a different strike next time." Keith wasn’t getting it. How could he not see what was wrong with this?

Gritting his teeth Lance spoke up. " Why is fighting and killing the only thing that goes through that head of yours?"

Startled at his sudden appearance Keith and Shiro turned to face him. Keith's face was a mask of shock as he looked at Lance.

"Lance what are you talking about? We have to fight to protect you and everyone else that needs us." Keith said, confusion written across his face.

" Keith I'm not blind I saw everything. I know you enjoyed the fighting." Lance accused as he could barely look at Keith, the blood almost to much for him.

Gasps echoed in the hangar and Lance realized Coran and Allura as well as Hunk and Pidge who had just boarded the ship, had joined them. But he ignored that, he wasn’t done yet after all.

" I really don’t want you to protect me if this is what it does to you. I don’t want to be the reason you become a monster. I'm tired of suffering. I'm so sick of all of this. I'm sick being stuck out here in space. I wish I had never left Earth." Lance agonized.

"Lance!" Keith tried to beseech him. His expression becoming frustrated and panicked at Lance's words. This isn’t what was suppose to be happening.

But it was too late as Lance stumbled back from him, eyes full of tears as he pleaded, "Please anyone send me back. Please someone send me back to my home!"

In that moment it seemed that Lance's prayers were answered as a soft blue light enveloped him and he vanished.


 

For moment no one said anything as they looked at the space Lance once occupied. But as they stood there they realized that what had happened was real. That Lance was gone. Hunk was the first to break the silence as he scrambled to where Lance had been standing, frantically calling out his name in the process.

Reaching the spot where he had stood and letting it sink in that indeed he was gone Hunk fixed Keith with a accusatory glare. "What did you do?!" He roared in anger.

Keith was taken aback as he stared speechless at where Lance once stood. How could Lance vanish into thin air like that?

"Answer me!" Hunk yelled as he started charging towards Keith.

"Hunk hold on!" Shiro said as he grabbed hold of the other.

"Where did he go?" Pidge quaked as she too stared in disbelief. Her eyes glistening with tears at the prospect that Lance was gone now.

"Please everyone we need to remain calm. I'm sure there is a reasonable explanation to where Lance went." Allura tried to reassure them but she looked as baffled as they did.

"Yeah well then what’s your explanation?" Hunk demanded, eyes blazing with anger and frustration.

"I don’t-" She began only to be cut off by Pidge.

" Reasonable explanation?! He vanished into thin air! How is that reasonable?" Pidge retorted, clearly becoming frazzled in the process.

This was getting out of hand fast. Of course Allura didnt think it was reasonable either but she couldn’t very well tell them she had no idea what to do. Someone had to be the level headed one here and it couldn’t just be Shiro as he had his hands full with Hunk and Keith. But non the less she needed to find a way to get everyone to calm down as they all stared at her with looks of anger, confusion and panic. Luck it seemed was on her side though as Coran spoke up.

"Princess we need to get the villagers to the pods first. Many of them are severely injured." Coran spoke up.

This seemed to break everyone out of their stupor as they realized that yes the villagers still needed their help. Composing herself the best she could Allura began to give directions.

" Hunk, Coran I need you two to start getting the villagers to the healing pods. Shiro and Pidge you two are going to help me figure out what happened to Lance. We will figure this out guys." She directed.

Now with a purpose everyone set off towards their goals. Everyone except for Keith who was not given something to do yet and was still staring blankly ahead.

"Keith." Allura gently said.

This seemed to jolt the other out of his stupor as he looked at her with a almost lost look. "Why don’t you go take a shower first and then see what you can do to help Hunk and Coran." Allura suggested with a soft tone.

Nodding his head Keith said nothing as he turned and made his way out of the hangar. Allura's worried gaze following him out the doors as he went.


 

"Lance wake up! Your going to be late for breakfast." A voice called.

Opening his eyes in confusion Lance slowly sat up and looked around. What he saw though was not what he was expecting. Instead of the view of Keith's room that he was getting use to he was confronted with the site of what looked like his room at the garrison. Everything looked the same from the worn desk to the cold hard floor.

"Finally up huh?" The voice asked again. Turning to face it Lance realized it was some guy he knew from the garrison, Oliver he thinks his name was. Oliver was standing in front of him in the uniform they always had to wear, hand resting on his hip and eyebrow raised.

"What are you doing here? What am I doing here? Where's Hunk?!" Lance was starting to panic. The last thing he remembered was wishing he could go back home and now he was here? None of this made sense!

"Uh did you hit your head dude? They transferred me to this room after Hunk disappeared months ago."

Lance couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Hunk was gone? But how could that be...unless.

"What about Pidge?!" He desperately asked.

" He disappeared along with Hunk. You sure you are ok?" Oliver asked, confusion and unease written all across his face.

Realizing what this all meant Lance slumped back into his bed. How could this be?

" Well I'm going on ahead. See you later in class." Oliver shrugged as he left the room.

Staring up at the ceiling a million things went through Lance's head. This certainly was real but how? How could he have returned to earth with so little effort. It didnt seem possible that one minute he was in the middle of the hangar and the next in his room back at the garrison. And if so how did any of that explain how he wasn’t considered missing. For sure Oliver would have freaked out if he all of a sudden saw Lance who should have been missing like Hunk and Pidge.

"This doesn’t make sense." Lance sighed into the empty room.


 

Meanwhile aboard the castle Keith was having trouble wrapping his mind around it all. How could Lance vanish without a trace like that? Was he really sent back home and if so how? There were a lot of things that were possible in space but that didnt seem like one of them.

Keith continued to make his way to the showers as he thought of all the possibilities. Only stopping when he entered and got a look at himself in the mirror. He was covered in head to toe with blood and bits of flesh. His hair wet and glistening with it. All to sudden Lance's words begun to echo in his head. He did look like a monster.

Snarling Keith pulled his fist back and smashed it into the mirror, He watched as it shattered and cracked in several places. The one reflection of him becoming many smaller versions. All still reflecting the blood and carnage he brought in his wake. Sighing in defeat Keith began to chunk his armor off. He couldn’t stand the feeling of all this blood on him anymore.

Once he was completely stripped down he stepped into the shower. Cranking the water up and watching in a daze as it turned red and ran down the drain. As he watched he shuddered in horror as a few pieces of unmistakable purple flesh and fur flowed down the drain as well. Did he really go that crazy?

"I don’t want to be the reason you become a monster." Resounded through his head once again. Clenching his fist in anger Keith slammed it against the tile, ignoring the shooting pain that followed. Damn him for making Lance say those words.

Once all the blood had washed down the drain and he was clean, Keith shut the shower off. Stepping out and toweling himself off he was surprised to see Shiro sitting on the bench. And from the looks of it he had been waiting for Keith. Sighing Keith pulled on his underwear and pants before taking a seat next to Shiro. Moving to dry his hair next he turned towards the other, waiting for him to start the conversation.

" Keith I'm sure you know what I want to talk about." Shiro calmly said.

Saying nothing to this Keith continued to dry his hair. Movements slow as if by going any faster he would startle Shiro. Perhaps it was just him trying to prevent the inevitable of this conversation. Either way he would not be the first to start talking about this. He would rather hear what Shiro had to say first on the matter.

It seemed they were on the same page though as Shiro began to speak.

" Keith what happened out there?"

And here they go. Shrugging Keith cast his gaze down at his hands. " I don’t know. All I know is when I saw how they were treating the villagers I was reminded of Lance. After that all I could think about was protecting him."

For a moment Shiro said nothing. Keith didnt dare look up to see what he was thinking. He didnt think he could take someone else thinking he was becoming a monster as well. But he didnt have to wallow in silence for long as Shiro sighed.

" Keith your desire to protect him is so strong and while its a good thing in most cases I fear that you are starting to make yourself worse as well."

This got Keith to look up as he looked at Shiro with confusion. "Myself?" He asked.

Nodding his head in confirmation Shiro continued. "Yes yourself. Take it from someone who knows what its like to look after someone with everything they have. I constantly was trying to protect Pidge's older brother Matt and in the process there were times where I lost sight of myself. Where I too found myself covered in blood and standing over so many corpses. It took me a long time to realize that I was causing Matt pain as well in the process."

Keith didnt say anything for a moment as he instead thought about what Shiro had said. He trusted Shiro of course to know what he was talking about and know what he was feeling. Being such a fact it was hard for him to stomach that since there situations were so similar that he too was hurting the one he was trying to protect. The memories of Lance horrified expression still flashed in his mind every few minutes.

"What should I do?" He asked.

Smiling at the fact that Keith was actually asking for help once Shiro answered, " When we get Lance back, sit down and talk to him. Tell him what you are feeling and why you did the things you did. Let him know that you want to make this work. And also that you guys don’t have to do this alone Keith. We all can support each other, its what families do."

Keith couldn’t help but smile at Shiro's words. Leave it to him to make a almost hopeless situation have so many situations. Shiro was right, he needed to tell Lance what he felt and actually let the others help him with this situation. He was finally ready to put the snarling thing inside him to rest after so many months of it rampaging.

" Keith, Shiro we think we might have a clue on Lance." Coran all of a sudden popped in, making the two of them jump slightly.

"Excellent. Come on Keith." Shiro said as he stood and made his way out of the room.

Throwing his shirt on Keith followed him out of the room. While he was excited to hear news of Lance so soon he was still worried. If he really was on earth there was no telling how far away they were and even if they did go to get him he might not agree to come back. In fact from what happened Keith strongly doubted he would listen at all.

However arriving in the control room was not what he was expecting. Instead of Allura and the rest looking sure or having a definite answer the others were looking to Allura who looked quite confused. Her eyebrows were scrunched in concentration as she looked at the systems main computer.

" So what did you guys find?" Shiro asked as they entered the room.

" Well its quite strange we tried to track Lance through his bracelet but all we are getting are high readings of Levcagnaite." Coran informed them.

None of the paladins said anything for a moment as they looked at him with confusion. Of course none of them knew what that was.

"Uh what’s that? “Hunk asked.

"Levcagnaite is a rare mineral. There use to be many of them long ago but I haven’t seen a single piece in ages. I have no idea why Lance would show such high amounts of it unless...hold on..." Allura trailed off before she turned sharply to the village chief that Keith realized was standing by her side.

The villagers of this planet were short part cat, part wolf, part human things. It was a odd combination as their ears were cat like but they had the almost long drawn out muzzles of wolves. Their bodies resembled humans except for being covered in fur and the very sharp nails on their feet and hands. It also seemed the older they got the more they shrunk as the young tribe members were tall while the older ones were short and hunched forward slightly.

"Village leader is there by any chance you guys have a large deposit of Levcagnaite on this planet?" Allura asked, a hint of panic entering her voice as she did so.

" Well yes but you don’t think that..." The village leader started to speak but soon trailed off. A look of panic entering his expression as well.

"I hope not but I need to know where it is so I can confirm it." Now Keith and the rest were lost. What the hell was this Levcagnaite and what did it have to do with Lance?

"Certainly. If you head up the path straight up the mountain you will reach a grove and its just beyond that." The village leader said as he gestured out the viewport to the said mountain. It was a good thing he indicated which one as the world they had landed on was covered in forests and mountains. The village itself sitting below one such mountain.

"Alright thank you. Everyone we need to depart immediately." Allura commanded as she wasted not time in walking out of the room. The rest of them scrambled to follow her as she exited the ship and charged her way straight up the path.

As they jogged to catch up with her no one said anything for awhile. Each trying to figure out what was going on. However as they approached the grove Shiro was the one to break the silence.

"Allura what is this Levcagnaite and what does it have to do with Lance?"

At first she didnt answer as she pushed her way through the grove. But knowing Allura she wouldn’t leave them hanging for long.

"As I said Levcagnaite is a mineral that was rare even before we went to sleep. Most of it was destroyed because of the incredible ability it possesses."

"And what is this ability?" Pidge asked with unease.

"The Levcagnaite is a lot like the Balmera except for its not quite as alive as the latter. However it can listen to the wishes of people and if their wish is strong enough make those a reality. And while that in itself is a tempting thing and the Levcagnaite means no harm by it, the way they grant wishes is by no means safe or ideal."

Keith could feel his dread growing in his heart as she spoke. Responded to wishes, Lance wishing. This was bad he could feel it. It only got worse when Allura broke through the grove and stopped dead in her tracks.

"Its as I feared." She gasped.

Walking into the grove to see Keith immediately wished he hadn’t. Because sitting smack dab in the small space was a huge clear blue crystal. It had to be as big as a house and as hard as a diamond. And incased inside, eyes closed peacefully was Lance.

This was all his fault.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

How long is too long to wait until one loses themself. Till any comprehension of who you are and what you are made of becomes blurred. Old age wasn’t the only thing that caused you to forget yourself. No sometimes it could be the most painful instances that had you scrambling to remember who you are. Or the most confusing to cause you to pause and squint your eyes to remember. And sometimes it was even a combination of the two. Sometimes it was the confusion and pain that was the final nail in the coffin.

At the rate he was going now Lance was going to lose himself. He couldn’t figure out how any of this was happening. How in the world had he been transported to earth with so little effort. It shouldn’t have been so easy or even possible for that matter! And not only that but for some reason it was almost like he never left. No one seemed surprise he was there and he was expected to know material he obviously hadn’t been there to cover. It didnt make sense especially since Hunk and Pidge were missing and he was not.

He knew for a fact it wasn’t a dream as he had tried pinching and even slapping himself a couple of times. The scars on his fingers proved that point even further as well. But it didnt make sense! If he was here on earth the whole time then how did Pidge and Hunk disappear? After all Blue was the one they found first and the reason they were able to get off earth. And even if they somehow got to Allura and Coran, how did they form Voltron?

Unless...Lance dreaded to think of it but perhaps they had someone else piloting Blue. Had his wish changed destiny? It would explain why Lance was here and they were not. The thought of someone else piloting Blue almost made him sick right there. He believed he was the best pilot for them and even if he wasn’t,would a new pilot treat Blue with the love he did? Or would they think of them as a machine?

However once he got past the sickening idea of someone else being behind the controls of Blue and thought about it, maybe it was for the best. It had been going on 5 months since he had last piloted Blue. That was such a long time in terms of piloting anything. Did he even remember how all their controls worked by this point? And even if he did Blue didnt need someone who was still considered mentally unstable piloting them. No, Blue deserved someone who could utilize them to the fullest without freaking out on them. And right now that was for sure not him.


 

"Allura what is this?" Shiro asked, shaken as they all looked at the crystal with horror.

Sighing Allura didnt answer at first. Instead she approached the crystal and began knocking on it in certain places. Pausing in between to press her ear to the substance and listen. To say Keith was beyond confused was a understatement but he let Allura be. After all she seemed to be the only one who knew what this stuff was.

Seeming satisfied with her knocking she turned to the others and began to explain.

"As I said before Levcagnaite is a sort of living being that grants strong wishes. The way it does so is by this." She said as she gestured to the crystal.

" But Lance's wish was to go home, how is this granting it?" Pidge asked as she examined the crystal for herself.

" Well this is where they get dangerous. Of course no one in the universe has the power to grant wishes in a instant. Right now the Levcagnaite is the only thing close to granting your wildest wishes. This being the case it grants your wish the best it can. By showing you what your life would be like if it did grant it."

" So its only showing you a illusion?" Hunk asked as he ran his hand over the surface.

"Precisely! Say I had a very strong desire to see Altea. Of course now I cant but the crystal with do its best to fulfill that wish. First it transports you the short distance to itself where it absorbs you and puts you into a deep sleep. While your asleep it shows you what you wish for. In my example it would show me my home."

"But for sure Lance knows its not real?" Shiro said, a hint of desperation to his voice.

" He may have his suspicions but the Levcagnaite will do its best to make sure it feels real. It has the ability to look into your memories and thoughts and through that it pieces together the universe in where your wish comes true. I believe right now it has constructed whatever home Lance wishes to return to as well and is doing its best to make Lance think he did return to his home."

" So how do we destroy this thing." Keith growled as he eyed it.

Turning to Keith sharply Allura held out a hand to ward him off. " Keith do not hurt it! Like I said the Levcagnaite are not doing it to harm. They are doing what they were meant to do."

Standing down Keith huffed in frustration. Great so this thing thought it was helping.

Seeing that Keith was once again calm Allura relaxed. " Besides nothing known to any species could break one of these things. The stronger the wish the thicker the crystal and right now you could fire everything we had at this one and it wouldn’t even leave a mark."

" How are we suppose to get Lance out then?" Coran asked as he looked at the crystal with panic.

Sighing Allura fixed the rest of them with a sad smile.

" The thing that makes the Levcagnaite dangerous is that its meant to keep the wisher alive for as long as the wisher is stuck in there."

For a moment no one said anything as the digested what Allura had said. Not one for unanswered questions though Shiro spoke up.

"So that means Lance is trapped in there until he wishes to come out?"

Shaking her head no Allura explained further, " Its not that easy. Lance has no idea he is stuck in there. He simply can not wish that he wasn’t. The only way for him to get out is for him to wish the opposite of his wish. Only then will it cancel out the Levcagnaite's powers and it will let him go."

" So in other words he needs to wish he was back here with us?" Pidge asked, a forlorn note entering her voice.

Allura said nothing to this as she stared at her feet. But she didnt need to. They all knew what Pidge said was true.

" Is there some way we can help?" Keith all of a sudden asked as he fixed Allura with a determined look.

Surprised at Keith's question Allura's headshot up as she gazed at him with intent.

" Well there have been instances where people have managed to get through to the person inside enough to get them to turn their wish around. But that’s only when the wishers wish is already wavering. If Lance is content where he is his wish might never waver."

Hunk couldn’t quite suppress a whimper at her words. Lance stuck in there forever? That was not a happy thought.

"How do we know when his wish is wavering?" Shiro spoke up as well. He wouldn’t simply accept this so easily either.

But it seemed that even his grit would not be enough. Looking at Shiro and Keith with heartbroken eyes Allura all but whispered, " You don’t. The only thing you can do is keep talking to him and hope that he will hear you."

This was bad.


 

As of now Lance's brain was toast. He had been through 7 hours of school, covering things he had no idea about and he still had a hour to go. Oh yeah did he forget to mention his last class of focused around topology. When the fuck was he ever going to use topology anyway?

None the less here he was, suffering through the last hour of his classes. Of course 10 minutes into the class he had zoned out. His mind taking him to very different places than a bleak garrison classroom. He let his mind wander to the others, to if they were doing ok and how they were reacting to him being gone. But then again if he had never gone missing then they would not be missing him.

Knowing that thinking about them would only hurt he turned his thoughts to other things. Like what was he suppose to do now? He supposed he could go back to his original plan. His plan of becoming a pilot and exploring the universe. But how could he go back to that when he already knew what was waiting out there in the great beyond. That the only things he would explore would be pain and the feeling of losing yourself over and over.

He wanted to go back to see his family but that wasn’t a option. His parents had worked themselves to the bone trying to gather enough money so he could go to this school. He had watch them pour blood,sweat and tears into making his dream become a reality. How could he quit now and let all their hard work go to waste? He didnt know what to do.

"-ance. Lance!"

Startling out of his thoughts Lance realized the instructor was calling him.

"Yes?!" Lance all but squeaked out, flustered beyond belief.

Sighing his instructor turned back to the board while everyone else laughed. " Try and pay attention please. I swear your as bad as that Keith boy." They grumbled as they continued to explain the current problem.

Saying nothing to this Lance furrowed his brow. Out of all the people he knew Keith was the last one he wanted to think about right now. He was the exact reason Lance was so confused and here right now. While sure he was happy to be out of there this was beyond weird. Probably Keith's fault as well.

And yes while it wasn’t fair to blame Keith for something he might have not done, Lance felt like it. Everything could be totally right in the universe right now and he would still blame Keith in some way. He was so angry with Keith right now that he could practically spit fire. He had never asked him to kill people in order to protect him. How dare he make him feel like he was commanding Keith to do so!

Anger rising even higher at the memory of it Lance began to chew on his hand. But as he did he was all of a sudden filled with the memory of Keith gently taking his hands in his own. Taking the utmost care to clean and bandage them while the tenderness never left his eyes.

Pulling his hand away from his mouth Lance laid his head down on the desk instead. Even though he could spit fire at this point why did his heart hurt? Why did the thoughts of Keith make him feel like he was aching? Wasn’t he suppose to be happy where he was now?


 

Sitting in front of Lance's incased body was such a weird feeling. Especially now that he was trying to talk to him. Each of them had taken turns talking to Lance with some hope that at any minute he would come popping out. But so far there had been no such luck as Lance remained un responsive and the crystal as thick as ever. Now it was Keith's turn though as he sat in front of it and tried to come up with what to say.

In hindsight this was his fault. He was the one who had pushed until Lance had finally snapped. And this was what, the 4th time he had messed up? He should have made good on his promise by now and thrown himself out that airlock. It was by pure miracle Lance hadn’t thrown him out one himself. He would have if someone kept hurting him like he was hurting Lance.

But the time for throwing oneself out airlocks had passed. He needed to somehow get through to Lance and make him want to return.

Taking a deep breath Keith began, " While I'm sure the last person you want to hear from is me Lance, I need to talk to you. I need you to know that I never meant for any of this to happen. I just wanted to protect you."

Keith watched for any sign of movement but of course there was none. It would take more than that to get through to Lance.

"Lance I- I really need to tell you some things. Please come back." He tried but still no response.

God why was he so bad at this? He could out maneuver whole Galra fleets, could best almost every soldier he met in combat, he could come up with tactics to take down an entire ship by himself and yet in the end did any of it even matter now? No it didnt because for all his prowess in battle he couldn’t even come up with the right words to help Lance. He had spent so long locking up his feelings and never expressing what he truly felt. Besides anger that was. It was one of the few emotions he expressed that he had no trouble letting out. But wasn’t that the exact thing that led them to this situation. That and his incompetence in the matter of knowing how to help others.

Looking up at Lance's figure again Keith sighed. This would be hard but he couldn’t give up yet. He was the one who caused this and so he would be the one to pull Lance out. Focusing Keith started to think about what he felt and how to put it into words.


 

It had been a long day but Lance was finally done. Staggering into his room he plopped down on his bed, sighing out in exhaustion.

" You doing ok buddy?" Oliver asked from where he was gathering clothes for his shower.

Looking up Lance began to answer but stopped at what he saw on his desk.

"Yea I'm fi- Oliver what is that?"

Confused at first Oliver looked over to his shoulder to where Lance's gaze was intensely focused. For on Lance's desk was a very familiar looking red jacket. No it couldn’t be.

" Oh that? Yeah that guy Keith left it behind when he left. They were going to throw it away but for some reason you wanted it. I'm surprised you don’t remember that, I mean you were practically yelling for them to let you have it. You sure you're alright buddy?"

For a moment Lance didnt say anything. This couldn’t be. Keith hardly ever wore that jacket when he was at the garrison so how could he want it if he didnt even know it existed. This shouldn’t be possible. Seeing Oliver staring at him with concern though he quickly answered his question.

" Y-yeah I'm fine! I forgot about that for a minute." He shakily laughed. Hoping that it would be enough to reassure the other.

Lucky for him it seemed so as he shrugged his shoulders and started to head out the door. A quick, "Alright, well I'm off to the showers," thrown over his shoulder.

Nodding his head Lance watched the other close the door with relief. Turning his gaze back to the jacket Lance got to his feet and with hesitation made his way over to the jacket. Stopping when he got to his desk he shakily picked it up and held it up to examine. Yep it definitely was Keith's jacket alright. Yet another thing that didnt make sense in his life anymore.

Bringing it closer to himself Lance realized it still smelled like him. The smell of grass fields and something almost close to a campfire all of a sudden flooding his senses. As he held the jacket his mind was invaded with the feeling of a distant purring. Lance realized it was Red calling him. Why on earth was Red calling for him?

Flinching Lance couldn’t help but whisper in despair, "Why? Please don’t call for me. I don’t want to go back to that again, I don’t wanna go back."

As he said this he was filled with the image of Keith turning around. His face a mask of sorrow as he looked at Lance. Blearily Lance realized tears were running down his face as he clutched the jacket tight to himself.

"Keith." He softly whimpered.


 

"Keith are you doing ok?"

Looking over his shoulder from where he still sat Keith was surprised to see Shiro standing there. Unsure of what to say Keith turned back to where he was still watching Lance. Still mindful though as Shiro approached him and sat down beside him.

"You cant think of anything to say, can you?" Shiro asked.

Bristling slightly at his words Keith shook his head. "No that’s not it ." he tried to deny.

" Keith you know that’s a lie."

Keith said nothing to this as he stared ahead of him. Shiro always saw through him so easily.

" I know you better than anyone. I know how you are and I know that your struggling with this." Shiro explained as he watched Keith closely.

Keith still said nothing as he stared at Lance miserably. If only he could be as honest as Shiro maybe he could do something.

Taking pity on Keith Shiro smiled softly while gently offering, " You love Lance don’t you?"

And there it was. But if Keith was being honest he didnt know exactly how to react in that exact moment. All he could was sag at Shiro's words as he looked and Lance. His eyes full of sorrow and confusion.

"Knowing you, you haven’t figured out how you feel for him Keith have you? To be honest I've known for quite sometime of your feelings."

Feeling Shiro's words hit home Keith sighed. " Was it that obvious?"

Shiro smiled at this and instead continued on with the point he was trying to make.

"You know what I always admired about Lance?"

Looking to Shiro ,Keith shook his head. Smiling wider Shiro answered, " That he feels so much. So what you feel will reach him Keith. I know he feels the same."

Surprised at Shiro's words Keith turned his attention back to Lance. So that’s how it was huh? Looking at Lance Keith couldn’t help but let his eyes fill with determination and hope.


 

Throwing on his plain clothes Lance started to head down to the hangar. If he was right on the timing he could get one of the land cruisers and get out with no trouble at all. Walking as quietly as he could Lance stopped dead in his tracks when someone harshly whispered, "Wait".

Turning around Lance was surprised to see Oliver standing there. By the looks of it he had followed Lance and decided to stop him right before he reached the hangar.

" Lance why are you leaving?" He asked in desperation.

Sighing Lance shook his head. " Oliver your a good guy and all but you wouldn’t understand. I'm sorry but I need to see him. I'm sorry that your going to lose another friend but I need to see him. I hope that you'll forgive me."

Clearly confused Oliver took a step back but made no move to expose Lance. Taking that as a sign Lance continued into the hangar. Faintly he could hear Oliver murmur a quiet "good luck Lance."

*Stealing a land cruiser and getting out was easy enough. Now the hard part was finding the cave once again. But as he sped across the desert Lance could feel Red's purrs echoing in his head. Leading him in the right direction.

On the other side of the spectrum Keith was trying his best to get through to Lance. He had given up on words but that didnt mean he couldn’t use his feelings. Channeling all he had with the help of Red Keith was doing his best to focus on his feelings. How he felt when he watched Lance sleep, the feeling of warmth that spread through him when Lance smiled. That soft hum in his head when Lance spoke.

"Lance I want to see you again." He thought as hard as he could.

Reaching the cave Lance stumbled off the cruiser and straight into it. Making his way to where Blue should be he almost sobbed when he found they were not there. So he was stuck. No, he wasn’t going to give in that easily.

"Dammit focus Lance." He muttered as he placed his hands on the markings on the cave wall.

"Keith look!" Shiro called from where he still sat in the clearing with him.

Opening his eyes Keith was surprised to see that the crystal was glowing blue. Eyes widening he realized he could feel Blue's energy as well. Helping him call out to Lance and twining with Red's.

" Keith keep going!" Shiro urged.

Sucking in a breath Keith stood up and stumbled forward till his hands were placed on the crystal. Clenching his eyes shut he focused everything he had. Letting his mind fill with Lance.

On the other side Lance was starting to drip sweat as he focused as hard as he could. He needed to see him again. He needed to feel the way Keith's warmth seeped into him when he laid his hand on his stomach. Needed to see the rare smiles he got from him and hear his voice. He needed to tell him what he felt.

Jolting, Lance was surprised when he felt Blue and Red's energy fill him. Cracking one eye open he was surprised to see the markings on the wall glowing red and blue. Slowly mixing into a warm purple. He was so close he could feel it. Shutting his eyes as tight as he could and gritting his teeth he let his mind be filled with nothing but Keith.

Meanwhile Shiro was in awe of what he was seeing. Unbeknown to Keith who still had his eyes shut tight and his face screwed up in effort, was that the crystal was glowing a beautiful purple. Not only that but Lance was reacting! Shiro had watched dumbstruck as Lance's face too clenched in determination and his hand had come up to press against where Keith's was. He could also feel Blue and Red's energy swirling and twining around the two. As he felt it he realized they were resonating. "Come on a little more." He thought desperately as the crystal started to hum.

"Keith!" Lance thought in desperation at the same time Keith thought, "Lance!"

Then the crystal cracked and shattered. Lance's hands immediately twining with Keith's own as he fell forward. Their eyes were both wide open and staring at each other with awe. Falling back on his butt Keith was able to hold unto Lance as the other fell into his lap.

For a moment no one said anything as Lance pulled back to look at Keith. His face only a mere few inches from Keith's own.
Surprise and awe as well as something else reflecting in both of their eyes.

" Keith its really you." Lance laughed, his eyes filled with so much happiness.

"Its ok Lance I'm here, your safe. Lance I'll never let you-" Keith said as he looked at the other.

Not letting him finish Lance threw his arms around the others neck. A joyous sounding " Keith!" falling from his lips.
Taken aback all Keith could do was wrap his arms around the other. Both of them clinging tight to the other. It was in that moment however that everyone came crashing through the grove, alerted by the sound of the crystal breaking.

"What happened?" Allura asked Shiro, out of breath and frazzled looking.

Not taking his eyes off Lance and Keith he merely smiled. "Their feelings reached each other."

Looking from Shiro to the other two, everyone’s face was a mask of confusion but they didnt say anything. All too focused on the fact that Lance was now free and it had apparently been Keith's doing. Allura was the first to react though as she smiled at the sight of the two still wrapped around each other.

" Finally." She breathed.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

" I haven’t told anyone this before but I'm going to tell you now."

Lance couldn’t help but shudder as Keith's lips ghosted across his ear as he whispered. They were still wrapped around each other on the forest floor. Lance's arms still around Keith's neck and Keith's arms snug around his waist. It was the most warm and comfortable Lance had been in a very long time. He hummed in content and for Keith to go on.

"That’s the first time I've ever been bitch slapped." He breathed into Lance's neck.

Unable to help himself Lance burst out laughing. His arms tightening around Keith's neck who in turn gripped Lance's waist a little harder.

"Good you deserved it you ass!" Lance laughed, his fingers unconsciously coming up to play with Keith's hair.

But before Keith could reply someone cleared their throat. Pulling back from each other and looking they realized they had forgotten that the whole team was still standing there. Blushing Lance let his arms slide down to rest on Keith's chest, not yet willing to pull them away.

" Are you guys ok?" Allura asked, her eyes dancing with mirth as she looked at the two of them.

Looking to each other again Lance couldn’t help but get lost in Keith's eyes. The way his pupils seemed to expand as he looked at him and the crinkles that were forming in the corners. He was close enough to Keith where he could see that he had bits of dark blue in his eyes, speckles reflecting in the light as he watched Lance.

Smiling at each other Keith started to say, "Yeah I think we're go-"

"Thank goodness your ok Blue paladin!" the village leader all of a sudden cheered, crashing through the overgrowth and towards Lance as he did.

Eyes widening with confusion Lance gripped unto Keith a little tighter. It seemed the other noticed his unease as well as his arms tightened around his waist once again.

"Ummm who is this?" Lance asked as his eyes darted around to each of the paladins before settling on the intruder once more.

Seeing his unease Allura stepped forward and gestured to the village leader. "Lance this is the village leader. He and his people have been awaiting your awakening with eager."

"Oh that’s nice, I guess. Why?" As much as Lance had always dreamed of having people flock to him and eager for his revival, now that he finally had it he wasn’t sure what to think. If he was being honest he rather talk to Keith right now instead. But of course that wasn’t a option as the village leader bounded over and leaned into his personal space.

"Well for the festival of Blue of course."

"The what now?" Lance asked as he raised a eyebrow.

Stepping forward once again Allura began to explain.

"Actually Lance a few generations back one of the blue paladins was from this planet. She was a fierce warrior who defended this planet from a great siege along with the Blue lion. In remembance of her and what they did they have been holding a festival in her and Blue's honor for years. And now with you and Blue here they get the opportunity to expresses praises once again."

"Oh well that’s nice! How can i be of help?" Lance inquired. As much as he wanted to ignore everyone in favor of discussing things with Keith he figured it would be polite of him to ask if they needed his assistance. This was after all a festival that was suppose to be thrown in Blue's honor. Plus the village leader was looking at him with what seemed like a expectant look.

He was not prepared however to be clasped around the wrist and dragged off, "Marvelous come with me," flowing out of he village leaders mouth as he dragged the sputtering Lance away.

Sitting there on the ground dumbstruck with his arms hovering where Lance use to be, Keith watched as he was dragged away through the grove. Everyone it seemed was equally in shock as they heard Lance's sputtering and the village leaders happy chatter disappear down the path. So they guessed they were expected to stay for the festival.

"So uh what are we suppose to do?" Pidge broke the silence.

"I suppose we see if the villagers need any help." Shiro shrugged as they all started to make their way down the mountain. Keith following behind the rest and in secret mourning the loss of Lance's warmth. Oh well, he would have to catch him after the festival.


 

Meanwhile Lance was not having the easiest time. He had been dragged down the mountain and straight into the village. He was however happy to see that their reconstruction was going well and not too many homes seemed damaged. It was a little weird though when they started to spot him and began to offer cheers while they looked at him with awe. Technically the others should be getting the praise since there the ones that saved them. Keith in particular since he stopped them from being taken even if his methods were not the best.

Speaking of Keith's methods Lance frowned as he was being dragged along. Of course he was planning on speaking to Keith about what happened. He even planned on speaking to him of others things as well. The only thing was he had no idea how to go about bringing up such a sensitive topic. However before he could dwell further on any thoughts of the matter he was unceremoniously shoved into one of the village houses.

Stumbling in with a yelp Lance realized it was not a house but more like a city hall. The building was a mix between a hut and old Japanese house style. The floors were a thin grained woods while the doors were thin as paper and slid open. The ceilings were made of wood as well and were lower than a typical house. But that wasn’t what caught his eye though.

What caught his attention was the three older women standing in front of him. One stood near a small tub that sat outside in what looked like the yard of the building. Another sat near a collection of small shell containers and the last was standing next to a piece of clothing that sat on display. All their faces were spread into wide smiles as they looked at Lance. At first he had no idea why they were staring at him like that but once they started to approach him, hands out reached he all of a sudden understood.

"Oh no no no no!" He tried to frantically exclaim but it was to late and he was pulled in, a girlish scream leaving him in the process.


 

Hearing a faint scream from where he was helping lift up a beam, Keith paused. Knowing it was Lance he hastily handed over the beam and started to make his way in the direction it came from. However he only got a few feet before Allura's voice stopped him.

" Keith it's alright. It's just Lance being dramatic." She told him from where she sat helping grind up spices and herbs for the feast to be had that night.

Looking to her with unease Keith couldn’t help but ask, "Are you sure?"

Smiling at his concern Allura nodded her head. "Yes trust me Keith. I know what there doing so believe me he is quite alright."

Deciding to trust her Keith sighed and went back to helping. So far the construction of the village was going on without a hitch and they were working on things for the festival tonight. It turned out that they had been preparing for the festival all week but were interrupted when the Galra had decided to attack them and try and take them in for slavery. But it didnt seem to dampen their spirits in the least because as soon as the injured ones were out of the healing pods they had set out straight to work.

Keith watched as Hunk helped the villagers prepare the food along with Allura who was still grinding spices and herbs. Shiro was in the process of hanging lanterns and setting up the area for the bonfire. Coran and Pidge were busy trying to set up the castle broadcast system with Lance's iPod. They were doing so as the villagers had discovered all their musical instruments had been destroyed except a few of their drums. But of course that wouldn’t pass for music and while it seemed to be a huge problem for the festival Hunk had suggested a creative alternative.

"Why don’t we hook up Lance's iPod to the broadcast system and play the music on there."

It was actually a brilliant plan and thanks to Hunk who insisted Lance wouldn’t mind, they had let the villagers pick the songs they liked and planned to broadcast them that night. Now it was a matter of Pidge and Coran getting the castle to play the music right and without blasting everyones ear drums out in the process. So far everything was going on without a hitch and all they had to do was finish by the evening. Then Keith could see Lance.

As evening rolled around and all the preparations were complete Keith found himself anticipating Lance's arrival. Ever since he had vanished a few hours ago no one had seen any trace of him. And with the start of the festival approaching Keith was growing concerned that something had happened.

But before he could ask the village leader came out and signaled for everyone to be quiet. Keith and the rest of the team watched as he stood next to the huge pile of sticks and kindle for the bonfire. Another villager who was decorated in paints and flowing garbs like the rest of the villagers, approached him with a torch in his hands. Handing it to him they watched as the village leader climbed a podium until it had him at eye level with the pile. Casting his arms up he paused for a moment before casting the torch down into the pile which in a instant lit on fire. A "Let the festival began!" booming from his lips.

As the fire blazed everyone began to cheer and wander off to their own devices. Some immediately went try the delicious food Hunk had help make while others stood and talked while admiring the decorations. Others had formed a circle around the fire and were doing different kind of dances to the songs that played over the system. Keith had to snort at some of the songs they had chosen that Lance had but he didnt say anything.

His main focus right now was on Lance. Even though the festival had already started and everything he had yet to seen any trace of him. He knew there was no need to be worried but he couldn’t help it. Though he was trying his best to temper his anxiousness and give the villagers the benefit of the doubt. Lance was probably doing fine and besides he was trying to work on not being so possessive after all.

However it was taking him quite awhile.

" Allura are you sure Lance is ok?" He couldn’t help but ask her from where she was talking to Shiro.

Looking at him with a gentle expression she was about to answer before something caught her eye over his shoulder. Keith watched as her lips stretched into a wide grin and her eyes crinkled up in happiness.

" I don’t know Keith why don’t you see for yourself?" she said, amused by something.

Confused at first Keith furrowed his brow but turned around none the less at her urging. What he saw however was not at all what he was expecting.

Standing about 10 feet or so from him was Lance. But gone was the jeans and t shirt he once wore and now he stood there in what could only be described as a dress. The bottom portion of it was long and a dark blue with what could only be the blue paladins symbol sewed on the bottom in white. Continuing up was a short mid skirt piece that wrapped around the bottom portion. That piece was red with blue trimming on the sides and a blue bow to tie it around Lance's waist. The top was a sleeveless almost tank top sort of thing but Keith could see where they had pulled it back and tightened it to fit Lance's chest or lack therefor of. It was the same color of the last skirt with a red trimming below the collar of it. Lance's arms were wrapped up in a red sleeve with blue gloves which he wore. The top was of the arm braces had a almost brown grass like lining. His upper arms were exposed though and Keith could almost see a few of Lance's scars. And finally was Lance's face that had been decorated with patterns in red, blues and golds. His eyes rimmed below in gold, making the blue pop while his lips definitely had lipstick on them. Beautiful was the perfect word to describe Lance in that very moment.

However it seemed Lance did not share that sentiment as he was blushing bright red and doing his best not to make eye contact with he rest of the team who had all gathered and were admiring him. His fingers twitched and Keith watched as he pulled at his skirt. He was nervous Keith could tell, he just hoped Lance would be ok under all the positive attention he was getting. Attention which odd enough he didnt seem use to.

Popping up beside Lance all of a sudden the village leader took a moment to admire him.

" Oh you look beautiful, almost a exact replica of Deva." Taking Deva to be the once blue paladin Lance smiled at the village leaders words. After being scrubbed clean, rubbed with all sorts of oils and lotion, having them wrestle him into the outfit and put makeup on his face he better have looked nice. At first he had wanted to refuse but when he saw how much it meant to the villagers he had decided what was one time in a dress and makeup going to hurt?

He however was not ready for when the village leader clapped his hands together with excitment and announced, "All right time for the traditional Blue and Red paladin dance."

Whipping his head around in confusion he stared at Keith who too looked confused. No one said anything about dancing.

But it seemed Allura knew what the village leader was talking about as she tried to intervene. "Umm well you see there not exactly familiar with your custom here."

"Oh I see! Well in years before we had all the couples dance to in honor of the blue and red paladins union. But now that we have both they can start the dance for us!"

"Uh what union are you talking about?" Pidge asked.

Clearing her throat in a almost embarrassed way Allura began to explain, " Well you see the blue paladin Deva and the red paladin Alter were ummm well to be blunt they were lovers."

Lance wanted to scream as his face was no doubt crimson by this point. So not only had the blue and red paladins once been in love but he was expected to celebrate it by dancing with Keith. This was not happening.

"But Keith and Lance aren’t lovers." Hunk weakly suggested, trying to help Lance out who looked as if he was going to combust.

"Oh well you could have fooled me! They certainly look at each other like their lovers." The village leader informed them all. Talk about having no tact.

However it seemed Lance wasn’t the only one who could jump in a whole right now as Keith's face was red as well. Seeing Keith's reaction being much the same Lance couldn’t help the warm feeling that flooded his chest. Of course it was ruined again when the village leader spoke up again.

" Never the less lets get dancing you two!" This was not happening.

Squeaking out a weak protest Lance tried his best not to trip over his dress as he was dragged towards Keith. He certainly was not expecting to be thrown forward as well. Nearly tripping Lance was relieved to find instead of hitting the ground he landed against something solid and warm. However the relief quickly turned to embarrassment when he pulled back and realized Keith had been the one to catch him. They both stood there for a moment looking sheepish before a all to familiar tune started.

"Are you guys broadcasting my iPod and is that Florence's "Dog days are over"?" He laughed.

Relaxing at Lance's laugh Keith nodded his head. "Yeah apparently they really like the drums and her voice."

Snorting Lance shook his head and actually started to sway a little to the music. He however did not know that would start it all as the villagers took it as a sign of encouragement and pulled Lance and Keith apart to have them start dancing. For a moment Lance and Keith looked at each other with panic. Neither one of them knew how to dance and not to mention it was suppose to be a couples dance. But seeing the villagers laughing and trying to show them how to dance they both decided what was their pride worth if not for some fun.

Watching closely they were able to pick up on the villagers movements. Much of the dancing consisted of different directions of stomping feet movement and twirls. The girls had more twirls incorporated into their dance and since Lance was considered on their side he found himself twirling, jumping and spinning around with them. His bare feet hitting the ground hard when he jumped and his dress swooshing around making the girls laugh in delight.

On Keith and the other males side they had a lot of stomping and foot motions that had them pushing forward to try and get close to the girls. Of course they never got too close as they were all in one big circle and were slowly gravitating to their partners. It was suppose to be a fast paced but drawn out romantic dance.

And it was. Keith couldn’t help but feel so much warmth and happiness as he watched Lance twirl around in his dress, his laugh loud and happy as his eyes never left Keith's. It was a moment like this that Keith wished wuld last forever. He wished that he could watch Lance dance in perfect beat with the music as he jumped and spun around forever. His smile bright and eyes twinkling whenever he made perfect eye contact with Keith. He was so beautiful it almost hurt.

But as the song drew closer and closer to the end and got faster and faster Keith found he was looking forward to the end. To where they will have rotated through all the way and this game of cat and mouse could be over. Now that he thought about it this song and dance was almost perfect for him and Lance. For so long they had been dancing around each other and running away that now was the time. They were ready for this and it seemed they both knew it.

The final movements had Lance and all the girls jumping and twirling towards the males while they stomped and jumped themselves. Keith watched dizzily as Lance got closer and closer and then it was time. As the final notes were hitting Keith reached his arm out on queue and snatched Lance around the waist right as Lance spun into his arms. Their faces inches away from each other as the song ended and they panted for air.

Around them everyone irrupted into cheers. Dance partners laughing and talking about the dance while the other villagers cheered for Keith and Lance. The whole team the loudest out of everyone as they hooted and cheered. But Lance and Keith did not hear any of this. Too lost in each others eyes as they looked at each other and the emotions that swirled around them.

Finally they had arrived.

 

Chapter Text

"Your looking at him like he put the stars in the sky again."

Keith turned from where he was openly staring at the smiling Lance, fixing Shiro with a sheepish look.

"Sorry cant help it."

Shiro said nothing to this as he regarded Keith but then he smiled. "Of course you cant."

And it was true. After they had finished their dance Lance had been pulled away by other villagers who wanted to dance and even the other paladins who wanted to have some fun as well. Turns out there was dances dedicated to all the paladins but none of them by far were as intense or heart racing as Keith and Lance's dance. And yes while it wasn’t a competition Keith couldn’t help but puff up at the thought that their dance had made Lance laugh the loudest, smile the brightest and that was what they all needed right now.

However much to Keith's exasperation a few moments ago they had all learned the festival was set to run long into the late hours of the night. While Keith was having fun that wasn’t exactly what he was wanting to hear. Right now what he wanted was to pull Lance away and actually talk to him. But he couldn’t very well do that when this festival was suppose to last for so many hours, now could he?

Huffing Keith turned his attention back to Lance who had started yet another dance but this time with Pidge and Hunk. Don’t get him wrong Keith was happy that Lance was having fun but they still needed to talk. He wasn’t delusional to the point where he believed one dance would make every thing better. No they had hurt each other and he had done some horrible things. If this was going to become what Keith hoped it would then they needed to do some serious talking.

And it seemed Keith was not the only one who thought so. After his dance with Pidge and Hunk, Lance had been pulled away by the village leader again! Even though he was doing his best now to listen to whatever chatter the village leader was telling him, Lance kept sneaking glances at Keith. His eyes full of worry and brow pinched. He knew as well as Keith that this needed to be fixed. But as long as they were here they wouldn’t be able to have any private time to chat.

Fortunate for them though it seemed they weren’t the only ones who were watching them. Resting a reassuring hand on Keith's shoulder Shiro stepped forward and made his way to Lance's side. A confident stride in his step that Keith envied a little.

"I'm sorry to interrupt but its been a long day for Lance. Coming out of a crystal only hours ago took a lot of effort and it would be nice if Lance could go and rest now." Shiro told the village leader, his face set in a charming smile that had a few of the village girls swooning.

Blinking up at Shiro the village leader didnt say anything but after a moment of silence it seemed like it finally clicked what he was trying to say.

"Oh of course! My apologies Blue paladin, I'm sure as your friend has stated your tired and would like to rest now."

Doing his best not to rudely sigh out in relief Lance nodded. "Yeah actually it would be nice if I could change my clothes and get some rest."

"I understand completely! Girls would you kindly help him out of the dress and into his own clothes." he said as he gestured to the women who had dressed Lance the first time.

Nodding their heads in understanding they begun to lead Lance back to the main house. But that was not before Lance shot one last longing look over his shoulder at Keith. If it was not for Shiro returning to his side Keith would have marched over there and dragged Lance to the ship. Changing clothes and all be damned.

"Your welcome."

Snapping out of his thoughts Keith realized what Shiro had said. If it wasn’t for him Lance most likely would have been dragged into yet another dance or the like. Turning to the other Keith couldn’t help but bow his head a little.

"Thanks for that."

At first Shiro didnt say anything as he smiled. Clearly amused by Keith and Lance's antics. But after several moments his face became serious and he turned to address Keith.

"While it is important that you talk to Lance, I want you to understand something Keith."

Straightening up at Shiro's all of a sudden serious tone Keith nodded his head. He knew better than to mess with Shiro when his voice took on the hard edge it had on now. Plus it was time he listened to a voice a reason instead of his heart all the time. And while yes his heart had good intentions, it didnt always lead him down the right path. This whole incident was proof of that no doubt. The only question was though what did Shiro want to tell him?

"Keith this conversation between the two of you is going to be very fragile and emotionally draining. You two do need to talk but what I want you to understand is that Lance is not the same is how he use to be. A serious conversation in the past never affected him and he was always able to bounce back afterwards. However now that things are different I don’t want you two to push his boundaries. Go slow and be clear about everything, ok?"

While a part of him wanted to scoff at that Shiro was telling him all this he knew that he needed it. Shiro knew what he was talking about and besides he only wanted what was best for the both of them. He would take it slow and make sure Lance knew everything he knew. He wouldn’t allow either of them to run away from this any longer.

" Got it." Keith answered, his voice strong with confidence and conviction.

Nodding his head at Keith' answer Shiro looked over the other shoulder. His eyes turning soft again as he informed Keith, "Good because its time."

Turning around Keith watched as Lance slowly approached him. The once beautiful dress he wore was now replaced with a t-shirt and jeans. Bare feet now snug in a pair of sneaker and the makeup washed off his face. While Keith was kind of sad to see the dress and makeup go he did have to admit this version of Lance made him more comfortable. Perhaps it was because this was the closest they would ever get to the Lance before the wormhole.

"Uh so I guess I'm ready to go back to the ship." Lance offered as he nervously rubbed the back of his head.

Keith could almost laugh at how adorable Lance could be. Even when he was unsure about himself there was something about him that made Keith want to squeeze him tight. However this wasn’t the place for that and they still had matters to discuss.

"I'll go back with you." Keith answered. Even though he and Shiro were pretty sure Lance already knew that it didnt hurt to tell him. Last thing Keith needed was for Lance to think Keith was fine leaving things the way they were now. But as they had suspected Lance's eyes twinkled with amusement as he nodded his head. He had suspected as much that Keith was of course tagging along.

"Well go on you two. The rest of us will be back after the festival ends." Shiro assured them as he started to shoo them to the ship. Leave it to the resident space dad to look after everything. Nodding his head in understanding Keith turned and put a delicate hand on Lance's waist, in secret loving the way Lance's face flushed at the gesture.

Putting only the barest amounts of pressure Keith began to lead them to the castle. His hand a steady wait on Lance's back as the other continued on. Looking out of the corner of his eye Keith took back everything he thought about Lance looking the loveliest in the dress. Right now Lance looked beyond lovely as he let Keith lead him into the castle and down the hallways. His head was tilted down as he looked at the ground. His cheeks were flushed a beautiful shade of red and his eyes sparkled in soft happiness. His eyes were half lidded as his eyelashes cast shadows across his soft cheeks. A sweet smile tugging at his lips as he walked. He looked so beautiful to Keith in this very moment he almost couldn’t stand it.

Reaching Keith's room at last Keith removed his hand long enough to open the door before once more guiding Lance inside. As the door shut behind the two of them they stood there, almost in a helpless matter. Lance staring at the ground with apprehension while Keith stared at him. Knowing this wasn’t getting either of them any where at this point Keith sighed before toeing off his boots. If they were going to have this conversation it would be better for them to be comfortable at least.

Padding over to the cubby that held his clothes Keith pulled out two pairs of sleep clothes. Walking over to Lance he was gentle in handing them over to him.

"Go ahead and get changed then we'll talk." He offered before he turned his back and begun to change himself.

Hearing the rustling of fabric Keith took it as a good sign that Lance was doing as he suggested. Turning around after he was finished Keith was pleased to see Lance had done the same and now was sitting on his bed. But from the looks of it the other still wasn’t quite comfortable as his fist were balled up and resting on his thighs, back straight and lip being chewed on between his teeth.

Being careful in his approach Keith softly sat down on the bed beside Lance. Careful not to jostle the other or sit too close. Keith standing must have been one of the problems because as soon as he sat Lance relaxed his back and uncurled his fists a tad bit.

"So where do we began?" He breathed out, eyes already starting to lose their spark.

Not wanting that to happen Keith took Lance's hand in his own. Bringing it up he cradled it to his chest while leaning into the others space.

"How about with a I am sorry." Keith suggested. Watching as Lance's face took on one of confusion.

"What do you mean?"

Chuckling a little Keith answered, " I mean sorry for everything that has happened. I am sorry that my selfishness and possessiveness as hurt you so badly. I'm sorry that even though I said I would protect you, it turns out that I was only making matters worse."

Lance looked surprised at Keith's words. As if he couldn’t believe that Keith owed him a apology. Of course he did though. After everything he had done he should be on his knees right now begging for forgiveness. But then again Lance would probably have a fluster attack if he did. So he settled for this as he begun to explain himself.

"Lance I'm sorry about my possessiveness. As you suspected the others and I had agreed that I would be the sole one to look after you. At the time I didnt think they were capable to watch you. And I am ashamed to admit this but a big part of me wanted to keep you to myself. I wanted to be the one who you went to and the only one who you relied on. In that way I have isolated you and I'm sorry."

As Keith finished he watched Lance's expression. At first the other didnt say anything as he stared at the ground. Eyebrows and lips turned down in a frown as he focused. Any minute Keith was ready for Lance to slap him again or yell at him. And in all honesty who could blame him? If it was Keith he would have been pissed.

After what seemed like a eternity Lance finally spoke up. " I know I should be angry at you for that but I cant find it in me to be. While I am a little upset that you guys made such a important decision without me, I can recognize that I was not in the state of mind to be left alone."

Keith wanted to breath a sigh of relief at Lance's words. Even if he didnt feel like he quite deserved the others forgiveness he couldn’t help but be happy that he had received it. Lance had every right to stay angry with him but here he had gone and done the mature thing a forgiven him. He didnt know if he would ever deserve this.

"As for the possessive thing... well I guess it could be worse." Keith almost didnt hear Lance mumble. Looking at him in surprise Keith's heart raced at the sight of pink that dusted Lance's cheeks. His eyes downcast and lower lip jutting out in semblance of a pout. He looked so adorable.

Deciding to give Lance a break though, Keith continued on with the next topic he wanted to discuss.

"I am also sorry for trying to pry into your feelings and watching those videos. Your right, I had no right to view those and it was stupid for watching them. I was so desperate for you to open up to me that I thought watching them would let me understand you. I realize now that what you went through isn’t something I can so easily understand. And while I do want you to open up to me about it I know that its not my choice. I now know that you still need your own time for this." And now Keith was the one blushing. Admitting to him his intentions was a lot more embarrassing and shameful then he thought it would be.

This time though Lance's facial features did visibly change. His brow furrowed and a scowl entered across his face. Eyes taking on a hard edge as he clenched his jaw. Now for sure he would yell at Keith. But he was prepared for it and would gladly take it. Anything to fix this.

However nothing came again as Lance let out a bone deep sigh. The tension leaving his body in that moment and his eyes regaining the softness they had held before. Turning to face Keith Lance opened his mouth to speak once more.

" Keith while I'm still a tad bit angry that you watched those videos I can see why you did. I know it must have been scary not knowing what I feel but you have to understand something." By this time Keith eyes were locked with Lance's as he pleaded with him.

" I need you to understand that I didnt want you to watch those videos because I didnt want you to see me at my lowest. To see how far I had fallen and how much I was hurting."

"Lance that’s not tr-" Keith tried to say but was silenced by Lance tugging on a lock of his hair.

"Let me finish. For me Keith those were the lowest moments of my life. I have never hated myself as much as I did in those moments. Never felt that need to claw my own skin off and rip my self apart. It was painful and lonely, so much so that I had given up hope of ever getting out. The last thing I wanted was for you to see me in those moments. To see what I had become and what still bothers me right now."

By this point Lance was close to crying Keith could tell. His eyes were wet and voice shaken. His hand trembled within Keith's grasp as he struggle to regain control of himself. Keith only gripped tighter in response. All this time Lance felt like this and he never knew. He felt like such an ass.

"Anything else?" Lance tried to tease. His eyes tired but they still held a little of that signature brightness of his.

If anything there was one last thing Keith wanted to address. Taking a deep breath he decided to get it over with.

"Lance I am so sorry for what I did yesterday. I'm sorry that you had to see all of that and that I made you feel what I felt. I've always struggled with my anger and you know that. And I know this is a excuse but when I saw the way they were treating the villagers I was all of a sudden reminded of you. I snapped and I did some very horrible things."

As he finished he didnt dare look at Lance. He didnt want to see the disappointment or disgust that would for sure be in his eyes. He however was not prepared for the gentle hand on his jaw and his face being turned in Lance's direction. Meeting Lance's eye he was surprised to see a look of soft vulnerability on his face.

" While I cant say what you did was ok because yeah it wasn’t, I can say that I forgive you. Listen Keith, I am happy you would do so much for me but I don’t want you to lose yourself because of me. Nothing would hurt me more than seeing you become something you aren’t for my sake." The last part came out as a shuddering breath, Lance trying his best to hold on to his emotions. Feeling his heart ache in sympathy Keith leaned forward and pressed his forehead against Lance's own. Hoping that this would be of some small reassurance for Lance in the meantime,

Now having regained a bit of his composure Lance went on. "With that out of the way I think I am ready to talk about my feelings."

Surprised at Lance's words Keith's eyebrows shot up. He had not been expecting that.

"Lance are you sure? You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to. I don’t want you to feel like your being forced." He tried to reassure the other. The last thing he wanted was for Lance to feel like he had to discuss his feelings with Keith. It was obviously a touchy subject and like Shiro said, forcing this was not what they needed to be doing.

However it seemed Lance was ready. Breathing out Lance turned to face Keith once again. Eyes pained but determined and he tried to put a smile on his face.

"Yeah Keith I'm sure. I might need you to support me here and there." Not saying anything to this Keith merely nodded his head. Anything for him at this point.

Satisfied with his answer Lance let out one last shaky sigh. "Right, ok."

" The first thing that comes to mind when I think back to everything is pain. So much pain I was practically drowning in it. There would be days where even outside of all the torture I would scream my throat raw. They never treated my wounds either. Everyday after they had finished they would throw me back into my cell and leave me until the next day. At first it wasn’t that bad. The wounds I got would stop bleeding fairly soon after that and I would just sit there. In the beginning I tried to come up with ways to escape but none actually worked obviously. But I kept hoping and biding my time."

Taking a minute to pause Keith watched closely as Lance took a moment to compose himself. Breath coming out shaky and expression looking so weary. It hurt to watch Lance recall and talk about everything that had happened. But this was his choice and Keith would listen. Squeezing Lance's hand in a comforting gesture he waited patiently for him to continue.

Shooting Keith a soft smile at the comfort he was trying to offer Lance went on.

"And then after about a week they started to shorten the amount of food I was given. Everyday when I received my food I knew they had made the portion smaller. Even with me avoiding the space goo out here I have never felt such a hunger. There were times when I felt like my stomach was tearing itself apart. I would cry it hurt so bad. The water they gave me was contaminated. I was constantly vomiting until I had nothing left. I remember when I felt my ribs for the first time."

As Lance said this tears begun to slip down his face and drip unto the floor. Trying his best to stop them Lance looked up at the ceiling and blinked as fast as he could. Eyes full of sorrow and lip pulled between his teeth as he tried to compose himself. Not being able to take it himself Keith leaned his head into Lance's. Nuzzling his head with his own as he scooted closer to the other.

This seemed to help if only a little as Lance swallowed before speaking again. "After that is when the wounds got worse. They wouldn’t close up any more and I remember trying my best to stop the bleeding. Keith there was blood everywhere to the point where I would slip in it constantly. I'd wake up and their would be blood all over me and I couldn’t do anything. I knew the first moment I had gotten a infection. It burned so badly and I could smell it. I think I screamed for hours after that. And in all honesty I didnt think it could get any worse after he started c-cutting off my f-fingers." The last part had Lance choking up as Keith clenched his eyes shut at the memory. The worse part was that he knew what was coming next.

"But then he b-branded me. He made sure I would never be able to forget everything. He made me another piece of their property. I can still smell my flesh burning at times. And you want to know what the worse part of it all is? Everyday I ask myself what I did to deserve this and I still cant find a reason why I didnt!" Now Lance was openly sobbing as he clutched unto Keith's shirt. His sobs were broken and loud as tears cascaded down his face. He was practically wailing at this point and it broke Keith's heart.

Pulling Lance into his arms Keith held him close. Letting the other claw at him in a desperate attempt to get closer. His hot tears soaking Keith's shirt as he heaved sob after sob. Shushing Lance the best he could Keith rubbed gentle circles on his back. Kissing his hair as he did so. Lance should never have to feel like this.

"Lance listen to me. I can think of a million reasons that you did not deserve any of this for one second."

Still sobbing Lance wailed into his chest. "Liar!"

Keith's heart felt like it clenched at this. They had brought Lance so low that he couldn’t even think of any reason he was so worthy of happiness. That everything that had happened he did not deserve. But if this was the case then Keith would have to tell him the reasons himself.

"I'm not lying Lance, trust me. There are so many reasons like how you are so pure. None of us could have lasted as long as you had Lance or kept a part of ourselves. Or your smiles and laughs. When you were gone the ship was so colorless and quiet. No one laughed or smiled the whole time you were gone Lance. Or how beautiful you are. Lance you make my heart hurt sometimes because of how beautiful you can be."

Pulling back enough to look at Keith, tears and snot running down his face, Lance whimpered out a high pitched, "Really?"

Deciding in that moment that actions were better then words Keith decided to show him. Leaning in slowly Keith let his lips press against Lance's eyelids. Just a soft press that had Lance shuttering out a breath. "Your eyes are gorgeous." He whispered as he continued on and laid a gentle kiss below Lance's eyes. "Please don’t cry." Another kiss was laid on Lance's cheek. This one warm and lingering as Keith whispered, " Your skin is so soft." Choking back tears Lance looked at Keith, eyes full of awe and longing. Resting his forehead against Lance's Keith allowed the two of them to breath deeply. Their breath coming out as soft whooshes and fanning each other. Looking into Lance's eyes Keith couldn’t help but fall all over as they glittered with unshed tears. "Beautiful boy," he mumbled out last.

Not wasting any more time Keith leaned the rest of the way in a pressed a soft kiss to Lance's lips. When their lips met Keith couldn’t help the shudder that went through him as Lance whimpered. Even though he had been biting on his lips for awhile now they were so soft and Keith could feel himself getting lost in them.

Taking a deep breath Keith moved as slow as he could while deepening the kiss. Moving his mouth against the other he greedily gulped down the sigh that escaped Lance's lips. Vaguely he was aware of one of Lance's hands resting on his chest while the other barely touched his hair.

It was clear that was Lance was unexperienced in kissing as he floundered when Keith's tongue slowly swiped across his bottom lip. A surprised noise leaving his lips as he opened his mouth. Not wasting any time Keith licked into his mouth, in secret finding it adorable when Lance tried to mimic the twist he had done with his tongue but failing. He also wasn’t doing a good job of not drooling but Keith couldn’t find it in him to care. Finally all this was his.

Pulling back Keith gently pushed Lance back until he flopped back on the bed. A surprised sound leaving his mouth as he stared up in a daze at the ceiling. Carefully approaching the other Keith leaned over Lance and let his hands push up Lance's shirt. Squawking in protest Lance stammered out, "K-Keith don’t you think this is going to fast. I-I'm haven’t done anything like this before."

Secretly pleased at what Lance had said Keith gently shushed him with a kiss to his lips. "It's ok Lance. I'm not going to go any further than this."

Confused at first Lance raised his head to look at the other but sucked in a quick breath at what he saw. Keith was hovering over the mark on Lance's hips. His fingers tracing idle circles around it as his eyes roamed over it. Just as Lance was about to beg Keith not to look at it the other met his eyes. Something burned within them as he looked at Lance.

"This does not define you. " Was all he said as before he leaned down a placed a almost reverent kiss on the mark.

Lance couldn’t help the tears the flowed after. Only Keith could take something so ugly, something Lance hated so much and turn it into something he could live with. Whimpering Lance pulled at Keith until he was resting besides him. Burrowing into the other arms Lance clung as tight as he could, loving the way Keith rubbed circles on his back.

"We can talk about this in the morning. For now sleep." And so Lance did. That night he dreamed of lips pressed against his own and gentle hands rubbing circles on his back.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Waking up was never Lance's thing. He could if the situation desperately called for it of course but if it was a normal situation then he had no interest. Although even if that was the case he was surprisingly a light sleeper. But it wasn’t so much noise that woke him easily but instead touch. A light brush was sometimes all it took to rouse him from his slumber. The only one who knew this fact was Hunk...well at least until now.

Stirring from his sleep he could feel fingers tracing down his spine. Tapping each of the knobs as if counting them. At first Lance was terrified but then he quickly remembered where he was and whose arms were wrapped around him. Opening his eyes his first sight was the black fabric of Keith's sleep shirt. The typical sight for him in the morning now that he thought about it.

" Sorry I didnt mean to wake you." Keith murmured.

Looking up from where he was pressed against the others chest Lance's eyes softened at what he saw. Keith's hair was a mess where it was smushed against the pillow, black locks curling here and there in random order. Even though he was awake his eyes were droopy with sleep and Lance watched as he blinked almost like a kitten at him. His voice was probably the worst for his heart though as it was still deep with sleep and husky sounding.

" Jeez Keith don’t you know I need my beauty sleep?" He couldn’t help but tease the other.

And it was well worth it as he watched his eyes light up with energy. A small chuckle escaping his throat as he pulled Lance to him closer all of a sudden.

" You gotta stop doing that" Keith said. Eyes glowing with mischief.

" Doing what?" Lance asked, confusion written across his face.

" Saying things that make me want to kiss you."

Oh my God he was not ready for that. Just when the hell had Keith turned so smooth? Feeling his blush creeping up to the edge of his ears he quickly stuffed his face in Keith's neck. Groaning in embarrassment when Keith laughed at his reaction.

"Oh come on Lance, let me see your face" He laughed as he tried to gently pry Lance away from his chest.

"No I look ridiculous!" He groaned back. No way was Keith seeing his face in the state it was in.

" Why are you embarrassed?"

How was this jerk still laughing? Lance fumed. Pouting even further he defiantly buried himself deeper.

"Oh Lance don’t be like that." Keith teased as he managed to push Lance back far enough to look at him.

It took all of him not to start laughing at Lance's expression though. His cheeks were puffed out like a fish with his bottom lip sticking out. His eyes narrowed where he was trying his best to scowl at Keith.

"There, happy no-" Lance didnt get the chance to finish his sentence as Keith's lips descended unto his own.

"mmph!" He squeaked out as Keith pushed him deeper into the bed.

Rising up on one elbow Keith separated himself from Lance long enough to settle half on top of him before diving back in. His right hand coming up to cradle Lance's face while his other arm propped himself up. He kissed Lance slow and soft while the other let out little breathy moans and whimpers. Keith couldn’t help but think it was adorable as his tongue swiped across Lance's bottom lip.

Gasping at the feeling Lance was not prepared for the feeling of Keith's tongue twining with his own. Oh sweet Jesus no one ever told him that kissing would be like this. It was almost becoming to much as Keith sucked on his tongue and hummed into his mouth. Desperate to find some way to ground himself Lance's hands scrambled to find purchase on Keith. His hands coming up to cling on tight to Keith's shirt.

Feeling the way Lance was gripping and sensing that this was moving to fast for the other Keith pulled back. Taking a deep breath he rested his forehead against the panting Lance. In secret loving the bright blush on his face and the trail of drool leaking out of his mouth as he panted for air.

"Sorry for moving so fast." Keith breathed out as he nosed at Lance's cheek.

Shaking his head and nuzzling back he answered, " Its ok. Just not use to it is all."

And if that didnt send shudders down Keith's spine he didnt know what did. He knew for sure that Lance was inexperienced in a lot of this. But he wondered just how much of all of this was a new adventure for Lance. Everyone knew Lance was a huge flirt but in the long run that didnt mean anything. Keith was the exact opposite and he had experience with girls so he couldn’t quite take Lance's nature as proof of anything. Not being able to contain his curiosity any longer he decided it was best to charge ahead and ask.

" So I was your first kiss. What else?". Screw tact they had been through far to much to even bother with it anymore.

Keith couldn’t help but watch in mild amusement as Lance's eyes flew open and his mouth parted in shock. He figured his reaction would be something of the sort. Lance however was not at the point of being totally tactless and would have appreciated at least a little at that moment.

But then again watching the way Keith's eyes focused on him and only him made him want to spill every little secret of his. Even his secret about the time he had tried to masturbate in Blue and they had kicked him out. But yeah no not what Keith asked and he would probably die if the other ever found that out. Well they had already swapped spit might as well be honest.

" Well umm since I haven’t even kissed anyone before this, I obviously haven’t done anything beyond as well. In truth I haven’t gone on a date before. I don’t think anyone has ever actually liked me either now that I think about it." He didnt mean to sound so pitiful at the end but he ended up anyway. However on the bright side he could at least say he had his first kiss, multiple kisses now actually.

However now that he had revealed this aspect of himself it was only fair that the favor be returned.

" What about you Keith?"

Lost in the heart racing thoughts that he was Lance's first in and going to first in a lot of things Keith almost missed his question. Coming back to the moment he couldn’t help but feel reluctant to reveal the truth. While Lance was the first Keith held feelings for and would eventually go on a date with hopefully, he was by far not the first he had kissed nor slept with. And as much as Keith tried not to regret the things he had done in his past he regretted those instances now.

Sighing Keith closed his eyes for a second as he snuggled closer to Lance. He knew he had to answer the other and he hoped Lance wouldn’t take it hard. The last thing he wanted was for Lance to feel repulsed or hate him.

" To be honest Lance I have been with girls before. I- I have messed around a lot in the past but none of those times never meant anything. They were all just distractions from my problems and what happened to Shiro. "

And now it was out. In truth he had never told anyone nor admitted to himself why he slept around in his past. He of course knew why but actually saying it out loud was a whole new thing. It made it all the more real and now he wasn’t the only one who knew his dirty coping habit.

Looking at Lance though he was surprised to see not a look of disgust or anger but one of understanding and gentleness instead. Reaching up Lance pressed his thumb against the frown settling between Keith's eyebrows. Smoothing it out with so much tenderness it almost made Keith's heart ache.

" Don’t you have anything to say?" Keith finally blurted unable to take the suspense any longer.

Surprised at Keith's outburst Lance pulled his hand back. Looking at Keith he was silent for a moment as he regarded the other. His own eyebrows drawn into a frown as if he was trying to come up with just what to say. After what seemed like forever and Keith was ready to self destruct he opened his mouth.

" While I can see why you think I would be upset or something I'm actually not. How can I judge what you did in the past when I had no idea what you were going through?" Lance said, hand coming to up to rest on Keith's chest almost as if trying to reassure him even more.

What did he ever do in this universe to deserve someone like Lance Keith marveled. Smiling in relief and happiness he ducked down and pressed a sweet kiss to Lance's cheek. In secret relishing on the way Lance unconsciously leaned into it. Out of all the people in the galaxy he had fallen in love with Lance. He couldn’t help but send out a silent thank you to whoever was listening out there.

" Umm I do have a question though Keith."

Pulling away from where he was nosing against Lance neck Keith raised a eyebrow. Signaling the other to go on with whatever he wanted to ask.

" So with all this k-kissing and stuff what does that make us?" Keith didnt miss the nervous pitch that mingled with Lance's voice. He didnt blame Lance for being nervous though as he hadn’t exactly explained how he felt before kissing Lance yesterday.

Smiling Keith leaned forward and rested his forehead against Lance's as he breathed out, "Whatever you want us to be."

Lance was silent for a moment before he spoke up.

" I was hoping for something like..." He trailed off eyes darting around in nervousness.

" Hoping for what?" Keith encouraged him to go on. Kissing at the corner of his mouth for some extra reassurance.

Reassurance that seemed to do the trick as Lance managed to get out, " Boyfriends would be nice."

Mouth stretching into a wide grin Keith pressed another kiss to Lance lips. " I would love that."

Smiling his own sunny grin Lance nuzzled up into Keith. His hair tickling Keith's face from where he pressed against the other. Winding his arms around Lance Keith hauled him closer and held him as tight as he could. Loving the way Lance giggled into his ear. It was a moment he would be perfectly content to remain in. But it was not to last as a loud rumbling sound interrupted them.

Pulling back Keith watched as Lance's eyes went comically wide and his face flushed a pretty shade of pink.

"Uh yeah I may have forgotten to mention I'm starving to death here." Lance sheepishly said.

Shaking his head with a fond smile on his face Keith pulled away from Lance. Offering a hand to the other he pulled him up.

" Well why don’t we fix that." He teased as they exited the room.


 

When they arrived in the dining hall Lance was happy to see the rest of the team there. Hunk had just started to serve to food while Coran was doing his best to rouse Pidge from her slumber at the table. Allura and Shiro were talking but both beamed as they saw them enter. Shiro's eyes twinkling with something deeper as he observed how close Lance walking next to Keith.

Taking their normal seats Lance tried to act as casual as possible. It wasn’t as if he didnt want the others to know of his and Keith's new relationship he just didnt want to talk about it at this very moment. It seemed he wasn’t the only one either as Keith said nothing and proceed to start on his breakfast.

For awhile everyone was content in their own little conversations. Hunk and Pidge talking about another new project while Shiro, Coran and Allura spoke of new planets to check on. Keith and Lance were the only ones who were silent and the former being content to listen to the others.

However Lance's mind was working away as he sat there and ate. He had been thinking for awhile and perhaps thought it was time to voice his thoughts. It couldn’t hurt after all and with his conversation with Keith yesterday he was ready. Clearing his throat Lance was able to get the attention of everyone at the table.

"So guys I've been doing some thinking and I think I'm ready to start combat training and going out in Blue again."

He wasn’t the least bit surprised by all the shocked looks he received. He didnt have to wait for someone to speak up though as Shiro went right ahead.

" Lance are you sure? While that’s great that you feel ready we don’t want to rush you?"

Allura nodded her head in agreement as she looked at Lance with tenderness. She respected his resolve but she to did not wish to push him. They all know what happened the last time Lance was pushed to far by something.

Desperate for them to believe and have the confidence to trust him Lance racked his brain for the right words. But he wasn’t alone in this it seemed as Keith spoke up.

" I think we should all trust Lance on this. Besides this is a good opportunity to start training him on the new maneuvers and combat formations."

Oh Lance could just kiss him right now but he didnt want to make a scene. This seemed to give the other a peace of mind as Shiro sat back in his chair and nodded his head. Allura expressing her agreement as well as excitement to the idea. As she talked and planned Lance could help but throw a grateful smile towards Keith who returned it.

Right now Lance was the happiest he had been in a long time. He and Keith had finally taken the next step into their journey with each other. The team was starting to stop treating him like he was made out of glass. And he could finally get back out there and help out. But sadly like in all things the other shoe had to drop. And it was dropping very soon without any of them knowing.

 

 

Chapter Text

"Take a deep breath."

"TAKE A DEEP BREATH?! It feels like my insides EXPLODED!"

Even though Keith had always known Lance was the hugest drama queen he forgot how far he could go sometimes. They had started training about a hour ago and Lance was doing surprisingly well even for being quite rusty. They had all decided it would be best if Lance trained individually with each of them first before trying to start team training again. That way he would not be overwhelmed and he could also learn new techniques the other paladins had learned as well as combinations with each said paladin. Naturally in all of this Keith was set to go first as he and Lance had faced off against gladiator after gladiator.

They had been doing not bad for awhile even if Keith was the one who had to shoulder most of the work. But he didnt mind one bit as Lance was clearly trying his best and was actually taking instruction very well. He was also able to keep up with Keith's fast pace for the most part which was a surprise. It seemed all that running they had done before this had paid of. They had been advancing up the gladiator ranks quickly to. Well that was until they reached level 8 where 5 gladiators with wicked looking poleamrs were introduced into the mix.

This wasn’t anything new or quite challenging to Keith but for Lance this was a whole new ball game. He hadn’t made it this far with the rest of them before he got captured so it was no surprise that he was caught off guard. Keith tried his best to protect Lance and instruct him on how to deal with said gladiators but they had to crumble somewhere sooner or latter.

That somewhere being when Lance missed his shot and received a brutal blow to the stomach by one of the gladiators. The blow sent Lance bouncing and sprawling across the floor gun skidding on the opposite side.

"End training sequence!" Keith quickly called out as he ran towards Lance.

Stopping by the fallen boy Keith managed to move back just in time as Lance emptied out the contents from his stomach all over the floor. Ugly gagging and retching noises filled the space as Lance struggled to breathe.Reaching out Keith rubbed gentle circles down his back as he tried to get Lance to breath. Which of course lead them to their current spot in time.

" Lance I know it hurts but first you need to breathe. Work on that first while I take a look."

Confused but accepting Lance tried his best to calm his breathing. Letting the oxygen fill his lungs then letting it flow out. As he did this he was aware of Keith scooting him away from the pool of vomit and unto his back. Making a view gentle reassuring noises Keith hiked up Lance's shirt exposing his stomach.

Lance couldn’t help but let out a quiet shriek, one which Keith quickly silenced with a look. Running his hands up his torso He let his fingers brush gently over Lance's stomach. A part of him taking pleasure in the way Lance's stomach shuddered under him but he quickly smothered it. He needed to be checking on Lance right now, not thinking of how much he wanted to lean down and kiss him.

Being as gentle as he could he checked Lance's ribs and stomach while being conscious of Lance's eyes on him. Seems he wasn’t the only one who was feeling something. Done with his inspection and seeing that everything was quite alright Keith pulled Lance's shirt down and smoothed out the wrinkles in a almost loving manner.

" Nothing broken or cracked. The worst you'll get from this will be a bruise."

Before Lance could respond though Allura's voice came over the intercom.

" Is everything alright down there?" Her worried voice called down to them.

" Yeah he's alright. We're going to take a break now though." Keith called back ignoring Lance's small noise of protest.

" Very well. Hit the showers and rest. Don’t worry about the vomit Coran will handle it."

Knowing that Allura could see it Keith merely nodded his head in response while he helped Lance to his feet. In secret they both felt bad for having to have Coran clean up Lance's vomit. But the man was tough and was in most cases the least bothered by body fluids than the rest of them.

Being mindful of the still in pain Lance Keith led them to his room first. Since Lance had been sleeping there ever since the beginning they had transferred his clothes to Keith's room as well. Leaving Lance outside for a moment Keith entered his room and got a change of fresh clothes for the both of them. Emerging he couldn’t help but smile in sympathy as Lance looked at his jacket with longing. While Lance had plenty of spare shirts and pants he only had that one signature jacket. A jacket that Shiro had to throw away as it was covered in blood and had pieces of glass stuck in it from the crash.

" Come on lets get you to a shower." Keith murmured as he pulled Lance along.

Not saying anything in return Lance let himself be pulled along by the other. God he missed his jacket. It may have not seemed like much but his parents had given it to him before he left for the garrison. It was one of the only things he had from them with him and that hurt. It seemed Keith understood though as his hand tightened around Lance's.

Arriving at the shower rooms Keith set their things down on the bench and preceded to start the water up. Lance busied himself with getting towels out and ready for them. Finished messing with the showers Keith turned towards Lance, a expectant look on his face.

" Are you gonna start stripping or what?" Keith asked.

Leave it to Keith to be so blunt. Blushing Lance looked everywhere but Keith as he answered, "Look who’s talking."

Shrugging Keith wasted no time in yanking his shirt over his head. He did have to hold in a chuckle though at the array of bird like squawks that poured out of Lance's mouth. His reactions never got old.

" Well then?" Keith teased.

However as Keith watched Lance he could see the other was struggling with this. His hands were twisted in his shirt and he shifted from foot to foot. Even being where they were in their relationship now Lance still didnt want to show his body. He still thought his scars were hideous and that he needed to hide them from Keith.

Sighing he stepped forward and ran his hands down Lance's sides until he cupped his hands in his own.

" Show me." Keith whispered into his hair.

Shuddering under him Lance let out a shaky, " Why?"

" Because I want to show you that its another part of you that I will accept."

Stepping away Keith let his eyes roam over Lance's blushing face. He watched as Lance looked up at him with a tinge of uncertainty but also trust. For a moment neither of them moved but then Lance nodded his head and Keith moved forward to slip his hands underneath Lance's shirt. Pushing up he helped Lance pull his shirt up over his head. Letting it fall to the floor Keith took a small step back and let his eyes trace over Lance's abdomen.

The first thing his eyes were drawn to was the brand on Lance's hip. The one that was a painful reminder for the both of them. For Lance of his captivity and for Keith it was a reminder of his inability to protect something he loved. However he would stay true to his words and not let something like that define Lance or him for that matter. Moving on he took in all the white scars that ran across Lance's body. Some were thick where Irant had gone extra hard that day on Lance and some were thin when he got a break. The scars had no rhyme or reason as they zig zagged across his body.

Seeing the way Lance trembled under Keith's gaze he quickly stepped forward. Being as gentle and slow as he could Keith brought his hands up to rest on Lance's hips. One hand resting right on the brand while the other on a few deep, jagged scars. Letting his thumbs brush comforting circles on Lance's skin Keith leaned his head down and pressed his forehead against Lance's.

"Your lovely Lance." Keith breathed out in a almost reverent way.

Breath hitching Lance couldn’t help but lean in closer to Keith. His chest brushing against Keith's as they breathed together.

" Your killing me Keith." Lance whined.

Chuckling at Lance's statement Keith decided this was enough for now and that if they stood there any longer they risked using up all the hot water. Pecking Lance on the cheek Keith stepped back and turned his back to Lance.

" You go ahead and get in your shower first."

Lance didnt say anything as Keith could hear his clothes rustling and his bare feet padding across the floor. It wasn’t until Keith heard Lance call out, "Ok I'm in Keith. My backs turned so you can go ahead."

Turning around Keith did in fact see that Lance's back was turned away from him from where he stood in the shower stall. Not wasting any more time Keith stripped and threw his clothes in the hamper along with Lance's. Stepping into his own shower stall Keith sighed as the warm water ran over his stiff muscles. It seemed Lance was feeling it too as he let out a deep sigh right after Keith.

For awhile there was nothing but silence as they both began to wash off their sweaty bodies. Keith was letting his mind wander when he heard Lance clear his throat. Pausing in scrubbing his hair Keith listened to see if Lance would go on. He didnt have to wait long though as Lance begun to speak.

" Hey Keith?"

"Hmm?" Keith hummed in response as he scrubbed behind his ears.

" Do you think I'll ever be able able to fight again?"

Raising his eyebrow at Lance's nervous question Keith decided to tread carefully with this.

" I don’t see why not." He answered.

It seemed his approach was the correct one as Lance begun to spill what he felt.

" After today I don’t think so. You were supporting most of the weight and I botched that last shot horribly as we both saw. I don’t want to be a burden to the team. I don’t know what to do Keith." Lance all but whimpered the last part.

Glaring at the tile in front of him Keith took a moment to find the right words. He wasn’t angry at Lance by no means in that moment. More like the universe if he was being honest. He hated for Lance to feel like this for reasons that were out of his control.

Taking a deep breath Keith deemed he was ready to give his opinion on the matter.

" Lance you haven’t touched your bayard in 3 months. A little over that actually if you count the time you’ve been back. No one expects you to be making these killer shots as soon as you start back up. And while yes we have had to adjust to you not being there we will be fine for awhile longer. The most important thing to us is that you get back onto your feet at your own pace, not ours."

Lance said nothing to all of this but Keith could feel the tension bleed out from the space around them. Lance may not feel the same way at first but Keith would make sure over time that he understood that he could do nothing that would make him a burden to all of them. Shutting off his shower and stepping out to dry himself off Keith continued with his point.

"Besides the only reason I'm able to support both of us is because all the training I did over the time you were gone. Time I wasted on training rather than finding you Lance."

Hearing the regretful and sorry tone to Keith's voice Lance frowned down at his feet. His eyes watching how all the suds that had washed off his body went swirling down the drain. He could hear Keith getting dressed as he thought.

" I don’t... Keith that’s not your fault. You found me in the end which in my opinion is all that matters." Risking a glance at Keith Lance was relieved to see the other was fully dressed and had his back to him as he dried his hair. Shutting off his own shower Lance stepped out and begun to dry himself off.

Now dry Lance pulled on his boxers before freezing at what Keith said next.

" Sometimes I wish we could have switched places."

Snapping to look at Keith Lance started to exclaim, " Keith don’t-" but froze.

Keith was all of a sudden standing in his space. His eyes full of so much sorrow as he loosely held on to Lance's wrist. Dropping the towel that he had been holding Lance threw his arms around Keith's neck. Standing on his tippy toes (jeez that was so unfair) Lance did his best to nuzzle his face against Keith. Letting words full of sorrow and comfort pour out of his mouth as he did.

"Keith please don’t ever feel like that. What happened happened and I would never want you to go through the same thing I did. That would kill me more than anything I have been through so far."

Wrapping his arms around Lance at his words Keith pulled him close till they were practically crushed together. Picking up Lance just a little Keith let the other stand on his shoes so he wouldn’t have to stretch on his toes. Pressing a few kisses to Lance's neck Keith muttered, " I'm sorry. I just wish that I could have done something to prevent all of this."

Pulling away from Keith far enough to lock eyes with him Lance shook his head.

" As much as I wish that not of that had happened either we cant change it now. However if you stay with me I think I can make it through all of this" As Lance finished he decided to be bold for once and leaned in to press a sweet kiss on Keith's lips.

Pulling away Lance grinned the cheesiest smile he could while letting his eyes trail down Keith and back up.

" Besides I have to ask you a important question."

"Oh and what’s that?" Keith teased back. He could already feel Lance's playful streak coming on and was curious where he would go from there.

"Are those space pants? Because your ass is out of this world." Lance cackled.

" Oh my god that has got to be the lamest pick up line in existence." Keith declared as he held the laughing Lance.

"Don’t worry that was plan A." Lance snickered as he wiped a stray tear away from his eye.

" Oh so what’s plan B?" Keith decided to humor him.

" Hmm oh I was thinking something like kidnapping you so we can go cuddle and sleep." Lance hummed as he leaned into Keith.

Smiling and shaking his head Keith stepped back and let Lance unto the ground.

" Well considering its my room I'm technically the one doing the kidnapping. So get dressed so I can." Keith snarked playfully.

Gasping in mock offense Lance wasted no time in throwing his shirt and pants on. Turning to Keith Lance put his hands on his waist and puffed out his chest, his head turned up in a playful snobby manner as he addressed Keith in a posh English accent.

" Alright I am ready peasant. Take me to my chambers."

Laughing and rolling his eyes Keith stepped forward. Dropping his pose Lance looked at him in confusion as Keith got close. All of a sudden his world tilted as Keith leaned down and scooped him up in his arms. Letting out a squawk of surprise Lance hastily wrapped his arms around Keith's neck.

" Sure thing Princess." Keith joked as he preceded to carry Lance bridal style out of the room.

"Who you calling Princess?" Lance huffed but none the less clung tight to Keith. In secret he was enjoying how Keith was caring him. But the other didnt have to know that.

Reaching Keith's room Keith set Lance on the bed before kicking off his boots. Following his example Lance yanked his own shoes off before setting them down on the floor. Scooting back he made room for Keith as he lied down on the bed. Discarding the jacket that Lance teased him for wearing before bed (what it got cold in the hallways) Keith climbed in after Lance.

Feeling in a teasing mood Lance scooted back until his back was pressed against the window and he was far away from Keith. Looking at the other with a twinkle in his eye he watched as Keith raised a eyebrow. Smiling as innocently as he could Lance pretended to get comfy in his current spot.

Rolling his eyes at Lance's playfulness Keith reached out and dragged Lance back to him. A "Oh no your the one who asked for this," leaving his lips.

Laughing Lance let himself be pulled into Keith's chest where he burrowed his head. Sighing he let himself relax in the others arms as he listened to Keith's heart beat. A steady and strong rhythm that made Lance feel such peace. As they lay there Lance let his mind drift to how lucky he was. How fortunate he was that he could be like this with Keith. That someone cared about him this deeply. He dimly realized before he drifted off that he would do anything to keep Keith safe. Even if it meant the cost of himself. After all that was all about he could do with his current strength as it was.

Letting his eyes shut with that last thought Lance let himself drift off into sleep.


 

THE LOVELY FANART OF CHAPTER 5!

Chapter Text

"Don’t mind me I'll be in the corner, having another internal crisis." Lance proclaimed from where they were all seated in the lounge area.

Sighing Keith reached his arm out and snagged Lance by the waist. Wasting no time he plopped Lance back down in his seat and did his best to ignore the pout that was being shot his way. He knew Lance was getting frustrated but they had to work through this. The future as a team counted on it after all.

The source of Lance's frustration at the moment was non other than the fact that they had been going over new formations with Lance for hours by now. It wasn’t his fault by no means that it was taking so long more like the fact that some were very complicated and needed extra explaining. And to his credit Lance was doing his best to keep up and pay attention but even Keith had to admit it was a lot to take in.

" Lance I know your getting frustrated but it will all be worth it in the end." Shiro tried to reassure the other.

Huffing Lance nodded his head in understanding. He knew that in the long run they needed to do this but at this point he felt like his brain was frying. Some of the formations he understood with no problem but there were some that had his head spinning. In secret he feared he would never be able to get any of them down.

" Alright so as we were saying, you would be positioned here Lance." Allura pointed to the map and once again begun explaining one of the new formations.

Lance hated this one to be honest. It was too complicated and it had him performing all these tight turns. Turns that weren’t always easy to do in Blue. While he knew he could handle it in the end he did think Keith or Pidge's lion would be more suited for the job. However when he voiced this earlier he was informed that they had already tried and failed miserably. And while it felt good to know that he was needed for these formations it was also a lot of stress. He didnt want to be the weak link after all.

Lucky for him though he had the most supportive b-boyfriend on his side. God he still stumbled over even thinking that word. Never in his life had he ever thought that he would get himself any sort of boyfriend or girlfriend. Now that he thought about it he truly hadn’t been interested in someone other than Keith. Sure he flirted with Allura and Nyma but if those instances had ever been he reciprocated didn't know what he would have done. Probably ran and hid when he thought about it.

And yet here he was with someone he actually liked no loved actually. Not that he would be telling Keith that anytime soon. He wanted their relationship to grow before he popped the l word on him. But going back to his previous train of thought he was ever grateful to have Keith by his side. All through this meeting Keith had done nothing but help him understand what was going on. He especially loved the part when Keith had personally explained a formation that was focused around Keith's and Lance's teamwork. And if he caught the teasing looks in the others eyes he pretended he didnt notice.

" So do you understand everything now Lance?" Allura asked.

Realizing he hadn’t been paying attention and as a result missed everything Lance mentally cursed himself. Great now they would have to explain everything to him again. He would also have to tell them that no he didnt understand because he had been to busy thinking about Keith. Yeah no not a good idea. At the same time he couldn’t exactly tell them a lie and cause problems in the future. With his luck they might use the formation in the next battle and then his lie would be exposed. Despairing inside Lance decided to do the right thing and fess up.

Taking a deep breath he was almost about to admit the truth when the alarms sounded over head. Everyone bolted up from where they sat and begun to move when Allura barked for them to get to their lions. At first Lance was unsure if that included him as well but after receiving a pat on the back from Shiro he got his answer.

Racing to get changed Lance couldn’t help but let a stray tear of happiness roll down his face when he held his new suit and armor. In private Keith had told him how Allura had stayed up almost every day and night to make him his new suit and armor. And looking closely Lance could see that from the way that each stich was hand sewn and the suit fit him perfect. Deciding that he would have to give her a hug and huge thanks later Lance donned the rest of his armor and headed to his zip line.

Being inside his lion again in his armor almost felt like a dream. Sure he had sat in the cockpit before this but it was a whole other thing when he was suited up and ready to go. As Lance shakily reached out and started up Blue again he couldn’t help but shudder at the rush of warm reassurances that Blue sent his way. They had been waiting for this moment as much as Lance had been. For sure now he would make it worth it.

Launching out of the hangar did have Lance panicking a little as the first thing he saw was all the ships flying around trying to get to the castle. Letting his eyes roam over everything he could see Keith and Pidge weaving around and getting rid of some of the smaller ships while Shiro and Hunk stayed close to the castle while the particle barrier was coming up.

Not wanting to be the only one who wasn’t doing anything Lance rushed out and joined Pidge and Keith. Adrenaline coursing through his veins as he and Blue took out a few fighter ships by themselves. Breathing deep he reminded himself that he needed to stay calm and slow down his excitement. Adrenaline only made you tire out quicker and that wasn’t something he needed right now. But he would be lying if he didnt admit that soaring through the air and swooping around ships didnt feel good. It felt amazing to pilot Blue again and judging by the purring in his head he wasn’t the only one who thought the same.

To his delighted surprise though it seemed that he wasn’t too rusty when it came to piloting Blue. He hadn’t got to pilot them since he last crashed but from the looks of it his muscles knew what to do. Grinning Lance weaved his way around several fighter ships and was able to get rid of them in a flash. Blue shooting beam after beam out of their mouth while freezing the other half. Out of the corner of his eye he could see Red and Keith flanking him and taking out as many ships as they could as well.

It had been a long time since he felt this accomplished. With that thought he happily listened as Shiro's voice filled the mics.

" Alright guys since everythings going pretty good lets try formation Omega."

Oh shit. Lance's eyes widened as Shiro announced the formation. It was the one they had been going over before this. The one that they had all explained to him a numerous number of times. The one that he still had no idea how to execute. But with everyone’s calls of affirmative Lance had no time to voice this.

Helplessly he watched as the others all got into their places and begun the attack pattern. Trying his best to remember where he was suppose to go Lance decide to fly close to Keith. If anything at least he definitely knew what he was doing as he sped around the ships. However only after he had started trailing after Keith did Lance realize his grave error. Keith's route of attack had him going through the thickest parts of the battle. Being as quick as they were Red was easily able weave and speed through it all without taking any hits. Blue on the other hand was not as fast as Red and Lance being lost did not help by any means. He gritted his teeth as they were jostled over and over again as they took shot after shot.

"Lance what are you doing?" Lance could hear Shiro call over the mic, voice worried and frustrated.

Not being able to answer Lance tried to fight his way out of the fray but he couldn’t quite get out. There was to many ships and it seemed they knew he was the weakest as they all started to converge on him.

"Lance get out of there!" Allura shouted over her mic.

But no matter what he did he couldn’t. He was firing as many shots as he could but for every ship he destroyed it seemed like another took its place. Any sec now and he was going to be overwhelmed. All of a sudden memories begun to speed across his mind. Memories of feeling helpless as he struggled to fight off Galra droids before being overcome and dragged away. The feeling of utter helplessness as he couldn’t stop them from dragging him to that room everyday. Nothing but utter despair and helplessness flooded Lance's brain as he let go of his controls and floated there helplessly. He didnt even register Blue trying to get through to him or the shots that came from Red as they cleared a path for him to escape. To make it worse he was so lost that he didnt even notice the sound of a ion cannon being charged up or the fact that it was right behind him.

" LANCE PLEASE MOVE!" Keith all of a sudden screamed over the microphone.

This seemed to snap him out of it as Lance turned and was faced with the bright light of the ion cannon. It was to late he was going to be hit at this rate. However he was not prepared for what happened next. Lance watched as a blur of red came streaking up to him and knocked him several feet away. As he spun out of the way Lance realized it was Keith right at the moment the cannon fired and struck Red dead on.

"KEITH!!!!" Lance let out a blood curdling scream as he watched Keith and Red float there lifelessly.

This was all his fault.


 

It was a miracle they all even managed to function after that as Allura instructed for Lance to get Red back to the castle while the others covered them. Snagging Red up in their jaws Blue raced back to the castle all the while Lance did his best to keep calm. He needed to get Keith back no matter what.

Arriving back in the castle Blue set Red down before touching down themselves. As Lance threw himself out of his lion he saw that Coran had already entered Red and was carrying Keith on his back. As Lance raced over he gasped at the blood that was running down Keith's face and neck.

"What happened?" Lance panicked as he took Keith from Coran.

" It seems as if Keith's straps were getting weak and the force of the blast snapped them. He must have slammed his head into the control panel." Coran explained as they ran to the healing pods.

When they arrived Coran didnt bother having Lance change Keith as he instructed the other to put him in the pod. Stripping the others armor away at least Lance set the other in the pod as gentle as he could. Standing back he let Coran activate the pod and soon enough Lance could hear the pod hum to life as it set to work.

"He’ll be ok right Coran?" Lance asked as he tried not to sob.

" While I cant say that the wound isn’t bad we got him to the healing pod in record time. He should have no trouble healing." Coran reassured him as he laid a comforting hand on his shoulder.

But before Lance could say anything else on the matter they were both startled at the raised voices outside. They grew closer until the door to the infirmary swooshed open and a angry Shiro came storming in. A worried Allura and Hunk trailing after with Pidge trying to tug at his arm.

"Shiro you need to calm down." She tried to plead but he ignored her as he threw his helmet off.

It crashed to the ground loudly and Lance couldn’t help but wince at the sound. His attention was diverted however as Shiro practically got up in his face.

" What the hell was that out there Lance?" he roared.

Terrified Lance took a step back. " I-I" He tried to get out but his words were failing him at this moment.

" I thought you said you were ready for this!" Shiro accused as he looked at Lance with so much anger.

"I am- I didnt understand the formation we were using." Lance confessed as he faced the brunt of Shiro's anger.

But now it seemed he wasn’t the only one who was angry as Allura stepped forward fuming. "Lance I explained that formation numerous times to you! How could you have not gotten it yet?" She questioned, frustration and anger tinting her voice.

Shrinking back Lance tried to find the words to explain but it seemed he didnt have to in the end as Shiro spit out, " I know why. Your too concerned with figuring out whatever this is with Keith that you have fallen behind where it really counts. Your to busy trying to stick close to him which is what got us in this mess in the first place."

Shiro’s' words practically pierced Lance's heart. Is that what he and from the look on her face, Allura really thought? However it seemed not everyone thought this as Coran tried to come to his defense.

"Now that isn’t fair Sh-" He tried to say but was swiftly cut off by Shiro.

" If this is going to be as big of a distraction and problem as you have proven it to be, I will separate you two...permanently." Shiro's voice was full of venom as he spoke and to Lance's horror it seemed Allura was on his side as her eyes took on a hard edge.

For a moment no one said anything and Lance realized Shiro was waiting for him to say something. At first he didnt know what to say but as he listened to the humming of the healing pod he was reminded why they were even in this situation to began with. Swallowing back his tears and the lump in his throat Lance was able to find his voice.

" I understand. If you don’t mind now I think it's best if I leave." He mumbled.

" Yes that would be for the best." Allura spoke up this time as her voice took on a cold tone.

Remaining as calm as he could Lance walked out of the room and let the door shut behind him. His calm only lasted that long though as he lost it and sprinted down the hallways. Hot tears tracked down his face as he sobbed brokenly. He had finally found someone who he cared for and in turn cared for him and he had gone and got them hurt. Now he even faced the threat of separation from Keith. No he was now sure that Shiro would go ahead now and still separate them.

Not knowing where else to go Lance ran to Blue. Thankfully he didnt have to say anything as Blue let her mouth open and he stumbled inside. Lance threw off his armor as he went and did his best not to start hyperventilating as he choked on his tears. Making it to his seat he collapsed unto it and sobbed. Both for the mistake he had made and the love he had for sure lost now.


 

Back in the healing pod room Pidge turned to Shiro with a look of absolute horror on her face.

"How could you say that to him?" She hissed as she glared at him. Pidge may have been the youngest and smallest but she was not afraid to speak her mind. And at the moment she couldn’t care less if Shiro was her senior or not. He had hurt her friend and now she was pissed.

When he said nothing Pidge turned her attention to Allura next and lashed out at her. "And you, how could you stand there and support him on this?"

" We did what we thought was best Pidge." Allura tried to explain.

" What you thought was for the best?! The only reason Lance has even made the recovery he has is because of Keith! Your practically taking away the core of his support system!" She screeched, tiny body shaking in anger.

" Lance will adapt and be fine. Its for the best." Shiro answered and from his tone it was obvious he would no longer debate this.

Disgust apparent Pidge sneered and threw her hands up before storming out. Hunk following right after without even glancing at Shiro or Allura.

" Keith should be alright by tonight. For now I believe it would be best if everyone cooled down away from each other." Coran said. However they didnt miss the hard look he gave them or the small shake of disbelief he showed before he too left the room.

Turning back to Keith's pod Shiro and Allura settled down to wait and perhaps discuss the turn of events. However unbeknown to any of them was that even though Keith was hurt he wasn’t fully out. To even his surprise his mind was still conscious and able to process everything around him. Meaning that even though he couldn’t react Keith could still hear everything that was going on around him. And right now his blood was boiling.

 

Chapter Text

Back so soon guys! Warning note this Is gonna be a long authors notes so sorry and being as such I separated from the actual next chapter which is next chapter. So I had originally not planned to post this chapter for a couple of more days at least but here I am! In truth I had to because of a discussion that happened in the comments (on Ao3 for my ff.net readers) and that I didn’t want to let sit for to long. I will get to that after my thanks you notes.


Thank you to Strawberry_milk_forever, DeanWinchester, heart_of_glass, Masterliful, APieceofSkye, KarmaDash_is_ReyloTrash, thisurlisamazingandyouknowit, and Fantasyluver27 for your kind reviews! DeanWinchester and thisurlisamazingandyouknowit your guys comments made me laugh! I am very happy with the sweet reviews I got for this chapter.
Ok so addressing the conversation that took place between Masterliful and APieceofSkye. First off I would like to say thank you to for being so mature in your conversation! When I went back and took a look at your guys comments today I was almost afraid to read them for fear of it being a ugly argument. I was however very pleased and happy to see that it was not at all and both parties were very respectful. I am so blessed to have such fans and I appreciate it.


Now on to the topic at hand. So I don’t want to have to re tell everything so if anyone else is curious I highly suggest you go and reads the comments for the previous chapter. In regards to Shiro being OOC I actually thought the same thing when I wrote this chapter. I even was going to delete all of it but then I thought and came up with the following conclusions. As most of us can agree we see that Shiro is biased of both Pidge and Keith. But we shall focus on Keith for this. As APieceofSkye (who I must say did a very good job of saying a lot of what I thought) put it Keith is raised on a pedestal by Shiro. And really who could blame him? There practically brothers and out of all of them he knows Keith the best (as well as Pidge thanks to her family). Bringing in the brothers part I made Shiro explode the way he did because Keith was hurt and right now Shiro doesn’t have the connection to all of them that he does in season 2. Everyone needs to remember this is set right after season 1 so of course none of seasons 2 events have started. Being as such if he loses Keith it would destroy him. And yes you could make the argument that Shiro’s a leader and is tough. But here’s the thing when your sibling (related by blood or not) is in grave danger you lose your sense of reason. I don’t care how good of a leader you are you will crack. And Shiro I hate to break it isn’t the best leader. Yes he’s better than all the others but he still has flaws as well as PTSD. PTSD which isn’t something you can just turn off and be ok. It can rear its ugly head at emotional times which this is one of them. And yes we can also make the argument he didn’t get this angry at the Blade trials scene in season 2. However this Is my point about that…It was Keith’s choice. He chose to face it and get his ass kicked while In this scene he didnt choose to get shot by a Ion cannon. So of course Shiro would be angry because he’s family was endangered by something that could have been prevented.


Next part to bring up is as APieceofSkye put it Shiro doesn’t know that Keith is alright. All he knows is that he took a hit from a ion cannon that knocked him out immediately and is bleeding severely. Then of course we have the fact that they went over the formation for yes a good few hours with Lance and he was the reason it happened. To him Lance froze up because he didn’t know what he was doing and only got in that situation because he was following Keith. He or the others have no idea that Lance had episode and that’s why he froze. Since Keith has been the one dealing with Lance’s episodes they all are not sure what the extent of his mental capabilities are. And before you make the argument that Shiro has PTSD so he should know that’s not how it works. As we can recall Shiro was fine flying around after he was rescued and didn’t show sign of heavy relapse during his flights. PTSD is not the same for everyone so it wouldn’t cross Shiro’s mind that Lance is having a episode. Thus he doesn’t understand what Lance feels or how his mind is working because as me and APieceofSkye agree he doesn’t really talk to him. Now this is also Keith’s fault as we have seen in previous chapters since he kept Lance to himself but that will be something the whole team address in the next chapter. (Seriously guys I write these chapters ahead of time give me some credit and let me be mysterious dammit.)


The next point was brought up that we don’t really see Shiro get mad except with Slav. While yes that is true it wasn’t as tense of situation. No one was in danger and everything was going according to plan (at first of course). However you know what scene made me think that you know what I bet Shiro can get really pissed if he was pushed. In “Collection and extraction” when Allura isn’t firing the gun right he scolds her. He acts exasperated with her and is even a little sassy. He knows she’s been asleep for 10,000 years and she never said she could fire a Galra gun. So take that into account when you have a injured Keith, Lance who doesn’t get the formation after it was explained numerous times, and him to be honest not in control. I can easily see him getting frustrated ad even exploding.


Another point was that he didn’t inquire straight about Keith. My reason for that is first as any rule of thumb in many peoples brains you need to deal with the threat or problem to ones health before tackling that. And to Shiro Keith wouldn’t have even gotten hurt if Lance hadn’t been involved. You also have the fact that Lance is standing right in the way of Keith’s pod. Its like when a bear catches a human who was just passing by her cub and explodes. You may not mean any harm or even know what your doing but that wont stop her because they see that as a threat. While Shiro may not see Lance as a threat he does see him as a problem.
Now for brushing off Pidge. Yes I know he never does in Canon but there’s a reason I did this here. Who else could get through to Shiro then Pidge and Keith. Obviously Keith’s out so who would be next… Pidge. I had him brush off Pidge because it would show how irrational his thinking is. In Shiro’s mind he is doing nothing wrong so he doesn’t see the need to listen to Pidge warning him.


APieceofSkye made a excellent point that I would like to bring up next. And I quote “On the part with trying to separate lance and Keith I don't think its completely out of the blue. We've read the story from their perspective, but when looking at Shiro's it makes sense. Keith completely lost himself in training when lance was gone, and when he came back he lost himself in lance. This isn't the first time lance has hurt Keith in this story either, when he went into that fit he practically strangled him. And Shiro was very concerned with Keith when Keith pretty much murdered those galra. Shiro has seen spiral down because of lance, and gotten hurt twice because of him as well. He only sees these negatives unlike us who see all the fluffy bits. We both agree he puts Keith on a pedestal and if all he sees is lance pulling him away from that then it'd be natural for him to try and cut him away.”


This is exactly how I feel and wanted to portray this! A thing to remember guys is Shiro doesn’t know about Lance and Keith yet. Yes he knows they harbor feelings for each other but he doesn’t know that their dating or they have even kissed. As far as he is concerned they are to caught up in this romance and trying to figure out what they want. He doesn’t know they have already established what they want with each other and is why he thought that Lance is trying to figure out his feelings when in reality Lance already knows he loves Keith. Also Shiro didn’t see Lance following Keith in battle because he trusts Keith. He sees it as Lance just wants to selfishly be close to the other and it to absorbed in his love for the other. And you want to know what he’s using for a bases. Nyma and that time with Lance. He only has that one time to go off of how Lance deals with his emotions and so of course he thinks Lance is only thinking with his heart and well for lack of a better term lower half. He also has bore witness to how close they always are and that they never separate. Put these two together and that’s why he tells Lance that he’s fallen behind. In simple terms he thinks Lance is too caught up in romance.


In conclusion is it a little weird to see Shiro like that? Yes. Is it impossible? No. To me Shiro is some one who could just as easily explode as the others when something he cares deeply about is threatened. Also a bigger point I want to bring up. I MADE HIM THIS WAY FOR A REASON! I’m not angry just a little frustrated. As I have explained before I write my chapters ahead of time. I know what’s going to happen next, you guys do not. Being as such I set up Shiro’s explosion for a discussion with the team that will come in the next chapter. As far they haven’t really discussed Lance, how they function now and Lance and Keith haven’t talked about their relationship. This will all be discussed later and will be a big development part. Please guys wait and see what happens! If I never address something then yes please be concerned but I wasn’t even given a chance before this! I promise I will always explain my reasoning’s for things.


And as one last and final note. This piece of fiction is free. I can stop writing it whenever I want and I could actually delete it right now if I wanted to. Being as such don’t tell a fanfic author how you feel they should write the characters or that they have failed in a spot. #1 it isn’t helpful. #2 you can read any book, watch any movie and people will always analyze characters differently and see parts of them that you may not. It doesn’t mean that they are wrong it just means they don’t share your view. #3 To me OCC is way more extreme. If I wrote Shiro as a womanizer who stayed drunk all the time then yeah that’s OOC. But something like this that can be debated with evidence and such isn’t really in the spectrum of OOC in my opinion. Trust me Ive seen worse. And I know you weren’t trying to be mean or anything at all! In fact I am grateful that you read my stories but you also need to be considerate on how you talk to me. Telling me I failed at portraying a character is the last way to do it.
With this I hope everyone is clear and that you enjoy the next chapter!

 

 

 

Chapter Text

It was not until late into the night that Coran informed everyone Keith was ready to come out of the pod. Well everyone except for Lance as Blue had not opened her mouth for him or Pidge and Hunk. They knew Lance was in there but it seemed Blue was having none of anyone hurting him anymore as they growled when they got close. To their surprise it seemed they weren’t the only one either who was unhappy with the situation as Red curled protectively around Blue. Pidge took it as a good sign though as Keith often shared the same mind set with Red.

Now all standing in the control room all together was awkward to say the least. Pidge had given Allura and Shiro the nastiest look she could when she entered the room and stood as far away from them as she could. Unlike in any other situation Hunk did not even great them when he entered but instead stirred Pidge to the far side so she would be less tempted to start something. Coran trying to be the mature one was cordial to everyone but they all could tell he didnt like the situation or agree with it at all. After all it was no secret he was fond of Lance.

As they waited and time ticked by no one said anything. All to absorbed in what they would say to Keith. Calm be damned Pidge would make her opinion on the situation very clear in order to get Keith to choose their side. Shiro and Allura were hoping the more logical and still hard part of Keith would see their side of this and choose it. However as those 3 thought how they were going to sway him Hunk had different thoughts.

Now Hunk may have not been as brilliant as Pidge or had as much instinct as Shiro but he was by no means stupid or slow. Unlike the rest of them he had been observing Keith and Lance for the past couple of weeks and he had done so completely unnoticed. He saw the way Keith looked at Lance, like he was the stars in the sky. In between dances he had observed the way Keith had tracked Lance's every move. As if he would disappear again and leave him all alone. He watched the way Keith handled Lance with a sort of tenderness only a true lover could. Hunk knew for a fact whose side Keith would take and whose he would refuse to listen to. Now it was basically only a matter of time until that happened.

Finally the pod was ready and with a beep it opened up and Keith came tumbling forward. Shiro unsurprising was the one to catch him and Pidge couldn’t help but let out a angry growl. Great now Shiro would have the upper hand this debate. However none of them were prepared for the moment when Keith regained his surroundings and pushed Shiro away with enough force to make the other stumble back.

Straightening himself up Keith fixed him with a glare that made everyone in the room flinch back. Add in the dried blood on his neck and face and the fact that he was as tall as Shiro and you had a pretty intimidating sight. For a moment no one said anything but then Shiro took a couple of steps forward with his arms raised in what was meant to be a placating gesture.

" Keith what’s wrong buddy?" He wearily asked.

No one missed the way Keith's eyes lit up as his glare seemed to harden. Baring his teeth Keith spit out a venomous, " How dare you!"

Ok so that was not what anyone had been expecting. Just what was he talking about? Last time any of them had checked Keith hadn’t been angry at Shiro before he had gotten hurt. Unless...

"Keith what are you talking about?" Allura questioned.

If Hunk and Pidge weren’t intimidated they were now. Putting a protective arm in front of Pidge Hunk and her watched as Keith's face took on a almost animalistic fury. His pupils were starting to dilate and Pidge could swear she could hear the sounds of his joints cracking as he tensed up. Like Studio Ghibli character hair rising angry. This was a whole other level of pissed that none of them had ever seen before.

"Did you think just because I was unconscious that I wouldn’t hear everything you guys said? That I wouldn’t hear the way you treated Lance?" He hissed.

If Pidge wasn’t as nervous as she was now she would have taken satisfaction in the way Allura and Shiro both paled. While yes this shouldn’t be a competition especially with what they were dealing with Pidge thought it was safe to say that her argument had won. Hunk and Coran on the other hand were just grateful Keith hadn’t turned his fury on them.

" Keith I know your upset but you need to think about this rationally." Allura tried to reason with him.

This only served to make Keith even more furious as he growled. " Screw you and your rational thinking. I will be damned if I let you separate us."

He had finally found someone who he could love with everything he had and maybe have that loved returned in kind someday. He knew for a fact that there was no guarantee that either of them would live long full lives. They could die tomorrow for all he knew and he was not going to let separation be the last thing they experienced then. Lance was everything to him right now and he would not let anything take him away.

"Keith I know you care for him but this is a distraction for the both of you. A deadly distraction that put you in a healing pod. You might not be so lucky next time." Shiro did his best to explain.

"You don’t know that!" Keith roared making everyone shrink back again. For a moment they all could have sworn that they heard Red's roar echoing in his voice.

" You guys don’t even know if that was the reason for Lance messing and freezing up."

" Your right we don’t know but in the long run Keith this cant be good for the two of you. The Galra and even others like to target such things." Allura countered.

" And what’s the difference now? Even if Lance and I stayed separated they would still be merciless with us. Lance's captivity proved that much." Just thinking about Lance at that time did nothing to make Keith's rage subside. If anything it only added more kindle to the fire.

" Keith please we are trying to do this for your own good." Shiro pleaded.

For a moment Keith did not say anything. He just stood there with his head turned down and body stiff. At first Pidge feared Shiro had gotten to Keith with is pleading. After all they all knew how close they were and that they considered each other brothers. However she did not have to wait long as Keith took several steps forward and got into Shiro and Allura space.

" Listen and listen well each and every one of you. I don’t care what your opinion of our relationship is. I will not let any of you separate us and that is final." Keith said with a eerily calm voice. His eyes still burning but now he looked just done and ready to snap if any of them tried to challenge him.

No one did though and Keith wasted no time in shoving past both Allura and Shiro. Regaining themselves Pidge and Hunk jogged to follow his long strides out the door. As they let the door shut behind them they were amazed to see Keith already half way down the hall. Calling out to him they both had to run to catch up as he ignored them.

"Keith where are you going buddy?" Hunk panted.

"To find Lance." He answered, short and to the point.

"He's in his lion but Keith- wait slow down." Pidge said.

Finally stopping Keith turned to face them with a eyebrow raised. He seemed calm but they both could see the challenge that lingered in his expression. He thought they were here to challenge what he said only moments ago which of course they weren’t.

"Don’t you think it would be wise to change and wash up before you see him. At this rate your gonna freak him out." Pidge suggested as she eyed the dry blood caked on his face and neck.

Visibly relaxing once he realized they followed him for a different purpose Keith remembered the dried blood on him and the fact that he was still in his armor. Letting out a smile at the fact they were looking out for him and Lance Keith nodded his head and continued his way down the hall. And thankfully now he knew where to head straight to after his shower.


 

After he has taken a shower and threw on some clothes Keith made his way to the hangar. Surprising enough he didnt run into any other member of the team and a part of Keith suspected it was due to Pidge. She probably made sure no one was getting in his way and he was appreciative of the fact.

Striding down the hallway and into the hangar Keith was surprised though at the sight he saw. Towards the back of it and away from the other lions laid Blue and Red. The latter was curled protectively around the side of Blue with there head resting on the other. He had almost forgotten he wasn’t the only one who was protective. Smiling at the display Keith made his way over, not missing the way Red and Blue's eyes lit up as he got closed.

It seemed he had long gained Blue's trust though as he didnt have to ask before they were opening their mouth for him. Making his way inside Keith took in the site of Lance's armor strewn around. For every couple of feet he made his way down the hallway there was another piece thrown to the side. Lance must have been quite shaken up if he hadn’t even taken the time to strip of his armor and place it in one place. He did raise a eyebrow though at the sight of Lance's under suit discarded right out side the cockpit doors. He just hoped Lance was at least wearing his underwear.

Taking a deep breath Keith stepped forward and the doors swooshed open. His eyes immediately fell on Lance who had flinched when he heard the doors open. He was curled around himself in the pilot seat and a small part of Keith breathed a sigh of relief to see that at least Lance was wearing underwear. A small part of him that he quickly shushed.

Taking careful steps forward he didnt stop till he was kneeling in front of Lance. Taking in the sight of the others trembling body Keith felt his heart ache. He did not blame Lance one bit for what happened and he needed the other to know that.

"Lance its ok. I'm here." He called out.

Head snapping up Keith was torn to see the tears that glistened in Lance eyes, a red rim around them and the dried tear tracts down his face. "Oh Lance." He sighed.

Sniffling Lance reached out and let his hands gently cradle the side of Keith's head. His fingers skimming where he had been hurt. Leaning into his hand Keith watched as Lance's eyes took on so much sadness.

"I'm so sorry." He mumbled.

He however didnt let his hand linger for long as he hastily pulled it back. Confused for a moment Keith raised a eyebrow as if to ask what the other was doing. He did not have to wait long for a explanation though as words began to spill from Lance's mouth.

" You shouldn’t be here! Shiro doesn’t want us to-"

"I know what Shiro said." Keith cut him off.

Now it was Lance's turn to look confused as he titled his head. "What?"

" Lance while I was in the pod I heard everything that went on."

"Then you should know to stay away Keith! Shiro and Allura said so." Lance said with a hint of desperation to his voice.

" Why would I listen to what they have to say? In fact I told them that no matter what you and I are not separating." Keith replied.

" But- but Keith they are right on this. At this rate all your going to do is get hurt with me." Lance tried to reason but Keith was quick enough to catch the look of hurt and tears that sparkled in his eyes.

" Why would you think that way Lance?" Keith asked as he reached out and cradled the others hands in his own.

"Because its true! You got hurt because of me and next time it could be even worse."

"Lance there is something I want you to understand. Even if we went along and let them separate us that still wouldn’t change the way I feel about you. And it wouldn’t stop me from being there for you even in battle. The truth is we don’t know when something like this could happen even if we are separated. I want to spend all the time I have left in this life with you."

Oh and here came the tears Keith registered as Lance tried to hold them back. In the back of his mind it amazed him how much Lance could cry. It wasn’t a bad thing of course just interesting to him. Though he wouldn’t dare share that thought from fear of hurting Lance. Instead he would do what he always did in these situations and try his best to comfort Lance.

" I-I feel the same way but I don’t want you to get hurt. You mean so much to me and I don’t want to you to suffer for me. But at the same time the thought of losing you kills me! And I know its because-" Lance began to hiccup the last part. Struggling to take in air as he sobbed.

Reaching out Keith rubbed warm circles on his back and he tried to calm Lance down. Encouraging him to breathe and go on with a, "Because what Lance?"

For a moment it seemed like the other was not going to say anything. But then it all came bursting out like the waters behind a flood gate.

" Because I love you! I love you so much with this piece of shit, fucked up heart of mine!" Lance sobbed.

And if that didnt knock the air out of Keith then he didnt know what would. Lance loved him. The other had admitted, and in a way that did bother Keith, that he loved him. He was over the roof with that revelation. Realistically he knew Lance had to hold some semblance of feelings for him but he wasnt sure when love would come if ever. It did bother him though how Lance still felt like he was messed up. He was going to correct that right now.

Leaning forward Keith nuzzled his head into Lance's while bringing his hands up to wipe the tears away. Gentle shushing noises spilling from his lips as Lance whimpered.

" Oh Lance. You have no idea how much I return those feelings. I love you so much that it hurts when you talk about yourself that way." Keith murmured as he pressed soft kisses to the others eyelids.

This had the effect Keith wanted it to as Lance stopped crying and looked at him with so much awe. "What do you mean?" Lance asked.

"What I mean is someone who could love even after everything you’ve been through is the farthest from messed up. You know Lance I’ve never felt any more human or loved than I do with you. Please don’t ever think bad about yourself, it breaks my heart." As Keith spoke he was startled to fill a stray tear slip down his cheek. He hadn’t shed even a single tear in many years now that he thought about it. Figure it would be Lance who would bring out even this part of himself.

It seemed Lance was just as surprised as him though as the other launched himself into Keith's chest. Catching him Keith held him close as Lance buried his head in the others neck.

"You love me. I love you." He kept repeating over and over as Keith held him. Smiling Keith pressed a kiss to the others head.

"Yeah I do."


 

After much coaxing Keith was able to convince Lance to go back to Keith's room with him. Being as late as it was he did however not make Lance put his suit back on. Besides it was almost cute to watch the other pad back to the room in nothing but his boxers.

Once he had entered the room Lance had wasted no time in climbing under the covers as Keith watched with a fond smile. Changing into his own set of sleep clothes Keith went to follow after but paused at what Lance did next. Shifting unto his back Lance spread his legs and reached his arms out to Keith. His face almost pleading as he did so.

Not wanting to keep the other waiting Keith settled in between Lance's legs and lowered himself until his chest was resting against Lance's. "Aren’t I heavy?" Keith asked.

Smiling Lance shook his head. "A little but right now I need this."

Letting out a soft smile of his own Keith let his full weight rest on Lance while he let out a sigh at the feeling. He knew that they most likely wouldn’t stay in this position all night but he had to admit it was quite comfortable. Besides it seemed Lance was still feeling vunerable and who was he to deny him. Then there was also the matter of fact that they still had some things to discuss.

" If your up to talk about it then can I ask you something?" Keith asked.

Lance only hummed in response from where he was playing with Keith's hair.

" What happened out there?"

This had Lance hesitating for a moment but it didnt last for long as he resumed what he was doing. Raising his head up Keith watched him as Lance seemed to be thinking of the right words for this. After a few minutes though it appeared he had found them as he opened his mouth and begun to speak.

"To be honest I still didnt get the formation. I tried to tell everyone of course but the alarms went off before I could. During the battle I figured it would be best to stick close to you since you knew what you were doing but we both saw how well that worked out." Lance said with bitterness at the end.

Keith meanwhile figured it had to be something like that but he didnt say anything in response and instead let Lance continue on.

" After that I tried to get out of course but I froze up and- well be both know what happened after that."

Closing his eyes Keith remembered the moment when Lance had stopped firing and Blue had stopped moving. That instance had scared him to the point where he thought his heart had stopped. Everything after that was a blur as he had raced to save Lance. However he still had one question.

"Why did you freeze up Lance?"

Watching closely he could see the other looked ashamed and his heart clenched at the sight. Whatever the reason was he was sure it wasn’t anything for Lance to be ashamed over. But he couldn’t know until the other told him of course.

" In that moment I couldn’t help but think about when i was captured. Flashes of memories started popping up and I-. I felt so helpless and scared." Lance finished. Shame burning on his cheeks as he turned his head away from Keith.

That explained so much now that he thought about it. If he could he would beat himself up for not sensing Lance's distress earlier. But right now there was no time for his self guilt. His main priority was making sure Lance didnt feel that way.

Turning Lance face back towards him Keith pressed a sweet kiss to his lips for gently explaining," Lance that’s not your fault. We all struggle with these things and to be honest we should have put you in a stimulator before throwing you into battle. That was our mistake and I'm so sorry. But don’t think its your own fault no matter what."

Seeing that Lance was still having doubts Keith placed another kiss on his lips. He knew that it would take more than that for Lance to believe in himself again but for now it was a start.

" What about Shiro and Allura?" Lance asked with hesitation.

Sighing in frustration Keith prssed his forehead to Lance's chest before speaking. "I know nothing excuse the way Shiro acted towards you but to his credit its partically my fault. I havent told him what we are to each other and he's always been protective of me. He dosent hate you or anything I promise."

"I know but I want to work things out with them." Lance said.

" We will deal with that tomorrow. For now lets go to sleep." Keith answered as he snuggled into Lance chest.

Smiling Lance held him tight and let his eyes drift closed. They still had a little ways to go but they would be fine. They could get through this together. However unknown to either of them as that they still had one more hurdle to tackle. On that came in the shape of a giant Galra warship that was steadily catching up on their tale.

 

Chapter Text

She had no idea why she was doing this. Ok she did but why did she have to be the voice of reason? Pidge was never one to play the age card but she was 14 dammit. She didnt want anything to do with the adult angst of Shiro and Allura right now. However she wanted the talk they were all sure to have later be easy so someone had to play the peacemaker. In her opinion Hunk would be better for this but the other had insisted it be her since there was still tension between her and the other two.

Sighing Pidge made her way to the lounge room where she knew Shiro and Allura were. Mind working and cranking out ideas of how she was going to do this. She at least hoped that Keith had got to Lance and the other was ok. Contrary to the way she might have behaved at times she considered Lance to be like a brother to her. In many ways he actually reminded her of Matt at times. Being the case it was hard for her to watch people hurt him. And while she knew Shiro and Allura cared for him the way they acted had still rubbed her the wrong way. But no matter they needed to fix this.

Peeking into the lounge she could see Shiro and Allura sitting next to each other in silence. Each deep in thought as they sat there. No doubt thinking of what to do now that Keith was mad at them as well. In a way Pidge did feel kind of bad for them. She knew they did want what was best for all of them but sometimes even they strayed. But then again that’s why she was there, to get them back on their feet and hopefully by the end of all of this come together as a team and family again.

Clearing her throat in a soft way Pidge entered the room when the two looked up at her. She almost sighed at the weary look Shiro was giving her but she decided in the end not to. She couldn’t exactly blame Shiro for the look he was giving her. She was know after all to be a little shit at times. But even she knew that this was not the time to be one.

"Can I sit with you guys?" She asked.

Gazes softening both Allura and Shiro nodded their heads in confirmation. They knew Pidge wasn’t there to rub salt in their wounds and had a reason for coming to them. They needed to be mature adults and listen to whatever she wanted to say.

"You know Keith doesn’t hate you guys right?" Pidge decided to start with as she took a seat across from the two.

Shiro couldn’t help but chuckle at her words. Blunt and to the point as usual for Pidge. "Yeah we know Pidge" he said.

Nodding her head in understanding she let herself sink back into her seat. Mind switching gears for the next part of the conversation.

" I don’t think Lance froze up for the reason we think he did." She carefully admitted as she watched Allura and Shiro's expressions.

Raising a eyebrow Allura seemed to be thinking about what she said. " What do you mean?" she asked.

Letting out a sign Pidge took a moment to figure out how to word it. She was a engineer/scientist dammit not a public speaker.

" While I cant say that Lance wasn’t lost on the formation I don’t think he froze because of that. Lance isn’t the type to give up so easily even when he doesn’t know what to do. I believe it was something else."

After Pidge had explained herself they all took a moment to mull over her words. As much as it pained the other two to admit they hadn’t thought of this. Allura blamed it on the fact that she let the leader in her get to her and her frustration over Lance not getting the formation that they had explained over such a great length of time. Shiro on the other hand blamed it on the fact that he never had any conversations with Lance or at least any meaningful ones.

That thought alone filled him with so much shame. He was suppose to be the leader and yet when he thought about it he didnt know anything about Lance or even Hunk. All he knew about Lance was that he had a big family and that wasn’t helpful in this situation. He had forgotten how to connect with people and talk to them like he had done for Keith in what seemed like forever ago. And now they were suffering for it.

"What should we do?" Allura broke the silence by quietly asking.

Shrugging her shoulders Pidge answered, " In all honesty right now nothing. I'm sure Keith will want all of us to talk tomorrow but for right now I cant exactly speak for Lance, so nothing."

Seeing her point in this Shiro and Allura both nodded their heads. She was right in the fact that nobody could speak for Lance right now. A fact that Shiro realized he had forgotten during his early out burst.

" Are you still set on separating them?" Pidge asked out of the blue with a air of nonchalance. But Shiro saw past it and knew that she was still angry with his decree earlier.

Sighing Shiro shook his head. "No I'm not. I was hasty in my judgement and I wasn’t thinking on what they wanted."

Pidge said nothing to this but neither Shiro or Allura missed the way she relaxed at his words. It was no secret that she wanted Keith and Lance to stick together and for their relationship to blossom into something. All though unbeknown to all of them that had already happened.

As it seemed the conversation between the three them was over Allura stood. "I think it would be for the best for us all to head to bed. I am sure tomorrow is going to be a taxing day and we are all going to need the mental strength to get through it."

Silently agreeing Pidge and Shiro both stood themselves and made their way to their bedrooms. All 3 of them trying to get their minds ready for the emotional conversation that was sure to happen tomorrow.


 

"Keith...Keith wake up."

Grunting Keith tried to get away from the voice that was whispering in his ear. He was still tired and had no desire to wake up yet. Burrowing farther into what he thought was the warm blankets below him Keith all but smashed his head down into them. His arms tightening around the surprisingly hard pillows and blankets.

A grunt sounded above him and soon a soft touch brushed through his hair.

"Just when I thought you couldn’t get any heavier." The voice teased.

Now that got Keith's attention and roused him from the sleep he was about to enter. Brow furrowing Keith began to regain consciousness and realized that what he was hugging was not a mound of blankets or pillows. Instead it was a lean chest covered in scars and moving up and down with gentle breaths.

Head shooting up Keith's eyes softened at the surprised look Lance was giving him. It seemed that contrary to what he would believed happened the two of them hadn't shifted all night. Lance was still on his back with his legs spread. Keith was of course still on top and from the looks of it squishing Lance into the mattress.

"Sorry Lance!" Keith said as he begun to raise himself up on his elbows.

"Oh no your not going anywhere!" Lance sang as he swung his leg up so his heel rested on the small of Keith's back. Pressing he was able to force the surprised Keith back down unto his chest where they both grunted from the impact.

"Jeez Lance you sure I'm not heavy?" Keith asked as he propped his chin on the others chest.

Smiling down at the other Lance bit his lip and shook his head. Reaching towards Keith Lance let his hands rest on the others face. At the eyebrow Keith raised he murmured a sweet, "Hold still."

Deciding to indulge the other Keith did just that as Lance's finger spread out and begun to trace his features. First his brow where Lance let his thumb smooth out Keith's frown lines as Keith let his face relax. From there it was down to Keith's eyes where Lance let his thumbs brush under them for a short moment. At this Keith couldn’t help but close his eyes and lean into the touch. It didnt last long however as Lance's fingers briefly traced the shape of his nose and let his hands trail to his cheekbones. It was here that Keith sighed in content as Lance fingers gently caressehis face.

Ignoring the chuckle it garnered Keith decided to speak up. "Your being oddly sentimental today."

However he received no answer as Lance continued to trace his features. Opening his eyes to see what was wrong Keith's brow instantly furrowed as he took in the sorrowful look painted across Lance's face.

"What’s wrong?" He wasted no time in asking.

Sighing Lance dipped his head down as he focused on running his fingers along Keith's jaw line. In secret marveling at how he could feel the barest hints of stubble. Who would have thought that Keith could grow facial hair he mused. However Keith would not let his question be ignored as he continued to stare at Lance.

"I suppose you could say I'm savoring what might be our last moments like this." Lance finally supplied with hesitation.

All of a sudden becoming agitated at Lance's words Keith leaned up and placed a passionate kiss on Lance's lips. Squeaking into the kiss Lance soon relaxed though as Keith deepened the kiss. His hands still cupping Keith's face as the other tightened his arms around him. They kissed until Lance ran out of breath and Keith pulled away.

"Listen to me Lance." Keith commanded as he placed his forehead against the other.

Attention now caught Lance focused on Keith's words as he stared into the others eyes.

" I wont let them separate us. We will talk to them today and everything will be ok. Trust me Lance I promise." He ended the last part with a pleading whisper.

Nodding his head in understanding Lance pressed a sweet kiss to the others cheek. Smiling Keith nuzzled Lance back and breathed in deeply. Settling back into position the two of them were silent for a moment before Keith decided to open his mouth and ruin the moment.

" Your morning breath is gross."

Taken aback Lance begun to pull at Keith's hair in offense while the other laughed. "Well excuse me for not being able to brush my teeth last night." Lance cried as he pouted at Keith's words.

Still chuckling Keith nosed at Lance's cheek when the other turned his head away in protest. "Oh come on Lance. I wouldn’t tease you if I didnt love you."

Smiling at Keith's words Lance decided to be lenient this time and turned his attention back to Keith. "I don’t know why I put up with you." He said.

Smirking at Lance's words Keith let himself get close until his lips were only about a inch away from the others. Watching closely he relished in the way Lance's eyes drifted down to his lips and his face begun to turn a lovely shade of pink.

"Hmm I think I have a pretty good idea why." Keith murmured as he begun to close the gap.

However to lost in their own little world they both missed the sound of footsteps approaching or the door swooshing open.

" Keith the others and I were hoping to have a talk with you and Lance and-Oh my." Coran's voice filled the room.

Breaking apart they both turned their heads to face the door where Coran stood with his mouth hanging open. For a moment no one said anything. Coran to busy trying to process what he was seeing, Lance mortified into silence as he was only in his boxers and Keith was still on top of him. Keith on the other hand was struggling with how not to freak Coran out anymore and explain the situation.

However seeing as much as he had in his lifetime Coran was the first to regain himself.

" We will all be waiting in the dinning hall whenever you two are ready." Was all he said as he turned on his heel and left the room, the door swooshing shut behind him.

"Oh my god." Lance managed to squeak out as he buried his face in his hands.

Doing his best to comfort the other Keith sat up and rubbed a gentle hand over the other's shoulder.

"Hey it was bound to happen sometime and besides Coran supports us."

"Yeah but doesn’t mean I was ready for him to see us like that." Lance moaned.

" I know but there is good news."

"And what would that be?"

"Everyone wants to talk which is what we need."

Finally taking his hands away from his face Lance met Keith's comforting gaze with his own weary one. " We can do it Lance." was all Keith said as he stood and begun to change his clothes.

Sighing Lance followed Keith's example and begun to pull on his own clothes. " I hope your right."


 

Walking to the dinning hall was a quiet affair as the two of them were stuck in their own thoughts. Minds turning to what they might say when they arrived. They both knew they had to address things but where to even begin? At least they had each other for this they both mused to themselves as they finally reached the dining hall.

Taking a deep breath Keith was first to enter the room with Lance trailing behind him. As soon as they entered their eyes fell on everyone seated around the table. If it wasn’t for the confident strides Keith took towards the table Lance would have turned around and walked right the fuck out of there. But he would be brave for both their sakes.

Taking a seat next to in between Keith and Pidge Lance looked around the table with hesitation. Catching Pidge's eyes he returned the comforting smile she shot him. Hunk also gave him a soft smile and much to his embarrassment Coran looked between him and Keith before grinning himself. At least from the looks of it he hadn’t told the others yet.

"I think we should begin with a apology."

Snapping out of his thoughts Lance realized Shiro had been the one to say this and he was directing it at Lance.

"Huh?" was all he could stutter out.

Everyone chuckled a little at his reaction but then all soon quieted down as Shiro bowed his head down and began to speak.

"I'm so sorry Lance. I've had time to reflect on my behavior and by doing so I see that I was wrong. I shouldn’t have exploded like that and I'm sorry."

"I as well Lance. I let my emotions as your leader get in the way instead of being understanding as a friend should be." Allura spoke up as well.

Clearly not used to being apologized to Lance began to blush and wave their apologies away frantically. "Guys its ok! I'm not offended or anything. I know I messed up bad at the time and probably deserved it."

At his words everyone’s heads whipped to face him with different looks of horror and outrage written across them. All of a sudden the table burst into collective expressions that Lance was wrong and not to ever think that way again. Coran it seemed was the only one who remained calm as he held up a hand up to silence everyone.

"Everyone please one at a time before you overwhelm the boy" he said.

Realizing that they were indeed overwhelming Lance everyone calmed themselves and sat back in their chairs. Keith did however waste no time in letting his hands intertwine with Lance's under the table. Squeezing in a comforting manner that Lance appreciated.

"Regardless of what happened out there Lance you did not deserve the way we treated you. I was to overprotective of Keith and forgot your feelings were just as important. After taking time to think about it I realized that Keith is a big boy and he will do what he wants in terms of protecting others. And that Is what we all should do as a team; protect each other.”

Everyone made sounds of agreement and this time it was Allura to speak up next.

"I hope you don’t mind talking about it Lance but what did happen out there? Why did you freeze up and why didnt you tell us that you were lost on the formation?"

At this everyone’s curious gazed turned to him and Lance swallowed nervously. But as he sat there Keith begun to rub gentle circles into his hand with his thumb and Lance began to relax. He could do this he knew he could.

Taking a deep breath Lance begun to explain, starting with what happened with the formation. " I was going to tell you guys I swear. Right before the alarms went off actually but I didnt get the chance to obviously. And after that everything happened so fast and I didnt want to disappoint you guys. I thought by sticking to Keith who clearly knew what he was doing I would be fine but as we all saw it didnt work out that way."

And now Allura and Shiro both felt like huge assholes. Shiro in particular as he was the one who accused Lance of being to love struck for Keith to properly pay attention. He would have never guessed it was because the other trusted Keith in the formation to get them through it. Yeah nice going for judging to fast Shiro.

"As for when I froze up... well its a little embarrassing admitting this but I got scared. I felt hopeless and so scared like when I was c-captured. Memories just started popping up and I-" Lance didnt have it in him to say anymore as he fell silent.

But it seemed he didnt have say anymore as everyone’s faces transformed into ones of sorrow. Hunk was struggling to hold back tears and Pidge even let a stray one slip down her face surprisingly. Coran merely closed his eyes as he tried to contain is sorrow at Lance's words. However on the other end Allura and Shiro felt absolutely horrible. They had both neglected to think of that and realize that yes Lance suffered from PTSD as well. Something he to suffered from and should have seen the signs for. But then again how could he when he didnt even talk to Lance all that often? That thought alone had Shiro almost crying himself.

"Oh Lance I'm so sorry." Allura said, voice full of sorrow.

"Its- alright. I don’t blame anybody in fact I- this experience has taught me I still have a ways to go."

"And we will be with you through it all."

Looking up in surprise Lance was filled with so much joy to see the confident and protective looks of the team as they gazed at Lance. Shiro being the one who spoke, shot a soft smile at Lance. They would be ok he would make sure of it. Never again would he forget himself or snap at Lance like that again. He would be the leader he was meant to be and nurture his team.

"Umm as much as I am happy that we are all getting along again and stuff Lance and I have something to confess." Keith all of a sudden announced.

All heads turned to him including Lance who had a mask of pure confusion on his face. What did they have to tell them again? Wait...no he wasn’t serious. But watching Keith Lance could see that indeed the other was about to tell the team what he thought he was. Were they even ready for that?! But before Lance could say anything Keith took a deep breath and spoke.

" Lance and I are dating"

For a moment no one said anything as they all stared at them in shocked silence. Well everyone except for Coran as the other of course already knew. Just as Lance was starting to become uncomfortable with everyone’s gawking everyone irrupted.

"What?!?!?!?!"

Chapter Text

"Hey Keith, do you think I'm cute when I'm angry?"

 

Turning to look at Lance as they walked Keith raised an eyebrow. Where was this coming from? He supposed when he thought about it yes, he thought Lance was quite adorable when angry. He liked watching the way Lance's eyes seem to burn and the way his lower lip would jut out like he was pouting. Yeah, he could say with confidence that he believed Lance was cute.

 

"Uh yeah, why do you ask?

 

He realized to late that he probably should have changed the subject some how the moment Lance turned to him with one of the fakest smiles he had seen.

 

" Good because I'm about to be GORGEOUS!" Oh lordy here they go.

 

"So, I take it that means your angry?" Keith gently prodded.

 

"Nooo, I would be cute if I was angry. Now instead I'm gorgeous so by extension I am furious!" Lance fumed as he stomped to the training deck with Keith trailing behind.

 

Sighing Keith raised his head and prayed to whoever was listening to grant him the strength to have some patience. He should have known Lance would be furious with him. He couldn’t help it though, he wanted the others to know. They were a team after all so it was good for them and besides what did it matter now? They were still together so what was Lance so bothered about?

 

"I don’t see why your so bothered by them knowing." Keith huffed as he continued to follow the other.

 

Stopping in his tracks Lance swung around to face him. Eyes blazing with frustration and his lip starting to protrude in that oh so cute pout as he glared at Keith. Why did he have to be so cute Keith despaired? All Keith wanted to do in that moment was lean down and take that plump lip in between his teeth and… no focus Keith no need to piss him off even more.

 

"You know good and well why I'm mad at you Keith." Lance said.

 

"No I don’t actually. If I did I wouldn’t be asking you."

 

Lance went silent at this as he turned his head away from the other and started to sulk. As much as it pained Keith to see him sulking like that he was being honest in the regards that he didn’t know why Lance was angry. He hadn't exactly given any indication why he had dragged Keith out of the dining hall with him. Of course, he knew it had to do with his revealing of their relationship but that didn’t tell him what aspect of it he was frustrated with. Maybe it was best if he tested the waters with what he hoped it wasn’t about.

 

"Did you not want them to know because your ashamed of us?" He softly asked.

 

Keith watched in fascination as Lance's head shot up with his eyes burning even brighter now. Under all the anger Keith could see traces of disbelief and shit was that hurt?! Please have not let him fucked this up.

 

"That’s not it!" Lance denied with a tinge of panic in his voice. It seemed he was afraid that was what Keith was feeling.

 

As much as Keith wanted to step forward and comfort the other he didn’t let himself do so. He needed to get to the bottom of this and not let it fester. Normally Lance would let whatever angered him roll off his shoulders but this wasn’t like normal. No Lance was more insecure and vulnerable than in the past. Letting whatever was bothering him sit would do neither of them any good.

 

" Or is it because you’re having second thoughts?" Now Keith seriously doubted it was that but he had to make sure. Lance wasn’t the only one who was insecure and still trying to find his way in this after all.

 

However, this seemed to set off Lance even more as the other shook his head furiously. "No that's not it. I just-"

 

"Then what? Why are you mad Lance?" Keith pressed. Hopefully with this Lance would tell him as he didn’t enjoy pressing so hard on the other.

 

" I'm mad because you didn’t even warn me before you told them!" Lance all of a sudden blurted out as he truly begun to pout like a child.

 

For a minute neither of them said anything as Lance looked at Keith with embarrassment and Keith at Lance with shock. Because… he hadn't let Lance know he was telling the others? Well that for certain wasn’t what he was expecting.

 

All of a sudden it was too much for the other as Keith burst out laughing. Laughter peeled out of his throat as Lance sputtered at him. He was expecting something so much more serious than this. Oh, what had he done to ever deserve someone like Lance in his life? Nothing now that he thought about it instead he credited it to luck.

 

 "I-is that all?" Keith wheezed out as he finally managed to stop laughing.

 

"You wouldn’t be laughing if you were in my shoes! On top of not even knowing that you were going to say anything I had to deal with everyone's reactions. Which by the way was super embarrassing!" Lance squawked.

 

Smiling Keith did have to agree with Lance about how embarrassing the others reactions were only moments ago. But then again it was to be expected since he pretty much dropped a bomb on all of them. A part of him wished he had gotten a camera and recorded them all beforehand. Would have made perfect blackmail material in his opinion.

 

Pidge and Hunk's reactions were interesting none to say the least. As soon as Keith had said that they were dating Hunk had irrupted into joyful tears. It was like out of a cartoon as tears sprung from his eyes and seemed to shoot out like a fountain. "I'm so happy for you guys," and "I told you Lance," peeling from his mouth as he cried. Pidge was beyond dumbstruck as she looked at them both. Her mouth hanging open to the point where Keith was tempted to close it with her glasses sliding down her nose adding to the effect. It wasn't everyday someone managed to render Pidge speechless.

 

Shiro and Allura's  reactions were even funnier in Keith's opinion. Allura's eyes had been wide as she looked between the two. Keith could swear for the moment that she seemed to be trying to figure out something in her mind as she regarded the two of them. Shiro on the other hand had sat back in his chair and looked up at the ceiling as if it would answer all the questions in the universe.  No doubt questioning how he had missed them getting together in the first place.

 

Allura was the first to break the silence though, " I suppose this explains a lot. I mean I knew you two had feelings for each other but I wasn’t aware either of you had completely acted on them" she admitted.

 

"True, I'm just happy they are together" Coran hummed as he pulled at his moustache relaxed as could be.

 

Of course, Pidge caught on to his behavior and raised a accusing finger, "Hold on, why are you not surprised?" She demanded to know.

 

"Oh, that's because I caught them canoodling when I went to go get them" Coran answered in a nonchalant way.

 

This of course resulted in another uproar but this time including Lance as he shrieked at Coran for opening his big fat mouth. And while a part of Keith knew he should be embarrassed by everyone knowing how close Lance and he were he couldn’t find it in himself to care. Then again after everything they had been through he was grateful they had made it to the point where they could be caught together. He wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

But of course it wasn’t going to end there. As everyone calmed down Lance spoke up with hesitation. "So, you guys are ok with it?" He asked.

 

Raising an eyebrow Pidge scoffed, " I would be more upset if you guys didn’t get together."

 

"Dude you know I've supported you from day one on this." Hunk chimed in as Lance blushed and Keith raised a curious eyebrow.

 

"Well seeing as I knew you guys liked each other and all I'm pleased with this." Shiro smiled as he regarded them.

 

Coran didn’t say anything but from the look on his face they both knew he was more than happy with them. Now that only left Allura.

 

As all heads turned to her Allura looked more amused than anything. Her eyes dancing as she looked between the two of them with a soft smile.

 

"I don’t see why you would think I have a problem with it. After all I'm the one who told you guys that the past red and blue paladin had such a relationship."

 

This had Lance and Keith both breathing a sigh of relief. So it was ok, they could be with each other without having to deal with the others not approving of them. Of course, though like in all things it couldn’t just end there.

 

Clearing his throat Shiro spoke up this time, " So now that that’s out of the way do I have to have the talk with you two?"

 

As soon as those words left his mouth all chaos irrupted. Pidge started howling with laughter while Hunk's face became crimson. Lance was no better as he looked at Shiro in shock with his tomato red face. Coran and Allura were confused to say the least and Keith? Well Keith didn’t have the heart to tell Shiro that he was well past needing to have that conversation.

 

All of a sudden though Keith found himself being tugged out of his seat by a beyond embarrassed Lance. A "Thanks but no thanks I think we’re just going to go train" frantically thrown over his shoulder as he practically dragged Keith out of the room. Leading to where they were now in this point and time.

 

Laughter finally subsiding Keith bit his lip as he traced over Lance's still pouting face. Ah how lucky he was he mused. Deciding to act on that thought Keith wasted no time in crowding Lance into the nearest wall. The other sputtering in confusion as Keith caged him with his body.

 

Only a few inches away from the others face Keith began to whisper, "You know I'm glad they know."

 

"W-why do you say that?" Lance asked. Keith couldn’t help but be entranced by the way Lance's face turned a lovely shade of pink, his lips trembling while his eyes shyly darted to Keith's every so often.

 

Still not happy with the space between them Keith snaked an arm around Lance's waist and pulled him until their chests were pressed together. The soft hitch in Lance's breath as he did so made Keith almost shudder. They were close to the point that they could feel each other’s breath across their lips. All Keith had to do was lean an inch forward and they would be kissing.

 

"Because I get to be like this with you whenever I want." Keith murmured before closing the last bit of distance.

 

Shivers definitely went down Keith's spine this time as Lance sighed into the kiss. His hands coming up to cradle Keith's face as Keith pushed for more. In his past Keith had never given it much thought but if he had to describe the kind of kisser he was he would say selfish. Kissing Lance made him push and push till he got his way and right now he was doing just that. Nipping his lip Keith wasted no time in pushing his tongue in as Lance gasped. Devouring the soft whimpers that wanted to escape from Lance's mouth. As he continued to ravish Lance's mouth he lifted his hand and tilted Lance's chin so he could go deeper, earning a high whimper in Lance's throat from the other. His other hand slid from Lance's waist and instead grabbed at Lance's thigh till he was almost hitching it around his own hips. From the sounds coming from Lance he knew this was almost getting to become too much but Keith was not in the mood to stop. He wanted so much more and he could feel his blood starting to rush through his body.

 

However, it wasn’t to last as there was the sound of someone clearing their throat quite loudly a couple of feet from them. Breaking apart they were both horrified and surprised to see Shiro standing their with a almost amused look on his face.

 

" As much as I know what it’s like to want to act on raging hormones, you guys sure you don’t need that talk now?" He asked with a raised eyebrow and mirth twinkling in his eyes.

 

Keith never got the chance to say anything back though as a sharp pain burst across the top of his head sending him crouching down on the floor and holding his head in pain. Looking up in confusion he realized the blow and pain had come from a karate chop Lance had delivered to his head! The other still standing over him with his hand outstretched and a scowl across his face.

 

" Do that in the hallways again and it won’t just be your head." Lance fumed as he stomped away.

 

If it wasn’t for amused as he was himself Keith would have growled at the way Shiro started laughing. "Yeah you deserved that." Shiro laughed as he helped Keith stand.

 

Smiling with a shrug Keith answered, "Yeah but it was worth it".

 

Shiro only smiled and shook his head in response. Who would have thought that Lance would be the one who didn’t like PDA while Keith was the one who started it. He was always learning something new about his teammates it seemed. Then again, he supposed it was a refreshing aspect among all the fighting and training they did on a regular basis.

 

Speaking of fighting Shiro took a quick peak out of the corner of his eye to see Keith still standing beside him looking in the direction Lance ran off to. He was relaxed and a lazy smile played across his lips as he stood there. Now would be as good as time as any Shiro decided.

 

"I- I hope you know how happy I am for you Keith." Shiro said.

 

Looking to Shiro Keith raised a quizzical brow before asking, "What do you mean?"

 

"I mean it’s nice that you've finally found someone that you can truly care about. And don’t think I don’t have a clue about what kind of experience you gained when I was gone." Shiro decided to add on at the end which had Keith turning the barest amounts of pink.

 

"Nothing gets past you does it?" Keith sighed out as he crossed his arms in resignation.

 

"Well considering I did miss the fact that you and Lance started dating I wouldn't say nothing." Shiro chuckled and even earned a smile from Keith.

 

"My point is Keith that I am happy for you and I will support you two however I can. Things won’t end up happening like yesterday again." Shiro said with an air of seriousness again.

 

At first Keith was taken aback by Shiro's words but that shock soon melted into joy as he smiled once again. Out of all the people he had encountered Shiro's opinion had almost always mattered to him. And while he would have survived if Shiro didn’t agree with their relationship it was nice to know they had someone willing to fight for them.

 

Taking Keith's silence as a good sign Shiro continued on with a bit of hesitation. "So, are we good now?" He asked.

 

Looking at the other with amusement Keith playfully bumped shoulders with Shiro, "Yeah were good" he answered as they both exchanged relieved smiles.

 


 

 

Meanwhile Lance had chosen to take a detour to the kitchens in hopes of calming himself. He loved Keith he really did but it annoyed him to no end how the other could make him feel so weak in the knees. All he did was kiss him and Lance was swooning like a maiden. If this what kissing Keith was like Lance was nervous as to how intense the s-… well the rest of it would be.

 

They had already established that Keith had experience with girls during his garrison days. How he had time for that back then Lance had no idea or even wanted to know. In fact he was telling the truth though when he said it didn’t bother him though. Whatever Keith did in his past was his business and Lance had no room to judge him in his own opinion. Plus, a part of him couldn’t help but think it was a good thing as Lance for sure had no idea what he was doing himself.

 

As Lance thought about it though he couldn’t help but feel curious. He knew how  it worked or course. Browsing through porn had exposed him to a lot of things including how sex worked between men as well. Of course, he knew that porn wasn’t exactly realistic and there was some preparation involved in it. Some experiments he had done with himself had him knowing that well if Keith and him ever got to that stage he would want Keith to top. He was beyond curious to see what it felt like to have Keith above him. Staring down at him with his hands trailing down, spreading his legs so he could… NO NO NO this was not the time nor place to be thinking about these things!

 

Throat all of a sudden parched and deciding a cold glass of space water would do good to calm his thoughts Lance hurried to grab a glass. Reaching out Lance wrapped his fingers right around a glass but as he did so he heard a cry.

 

"Help us!"

 

The sound of a glass shattering on the ground echoed in the kitchen as Lance clutched at his head. Searing pain washed through his head as images and voices filtered into his mind. Images of a watery landscape, brightly colored tails speeding across his vision, a glowing garden of sorts.

 

" Here all are safe and warm."

 

"No don’t listen, help us please!"

 

As soon as the voices and visions had come they were gone leaving Lance confused. Just what in the world was all of that? It seemed though that he wasn’t the only one who had experienced it though as he could feel Blue reaching out to him.

 

Through their connection, Blue sent him images of a aqua green planet almost incased in ice. The image of the castle passing it along with Blue flying toward it.

 

If there was anything Lance had learned out here it was to trust Blue. Even if they were telling him to leave immediately and without saying anything. Something about there being no time and that Lance could do it.

 

Sending back a feeling of agreement Lance hefted himself up from where he leaned against the counter. Making his way to his lion where he knew for a fact his armor was and where he would go see just what this planet needed his help so desperately for.

 

Chapter Text

"Remember Lance the worst thing we can do is nothing."

 

Lance's mother always said wise things to him but out of all of them this stuck with him the most. It had come after he had watched kids pick on another child and did nothing. He remembered being too scared to say anything himself and letting the other child suffer. He felt horrible after for letting it happen but nothing compared to the look of slight disappointment his mother gave him when he told her. Of course she knew he didn’t mean to not do anything but she still shared her opinion on the matter. An opinion that stuck with Lance and shaped him into the person he was now.

 

Walking to the hangar he had only one thing on his mind. He needed to get to blue, change and head out to the icy planet he had seen in his head. Something wasn’t right there and people needed his help. It was a little odd that they hadn't received a distress beacon but that didn’t mean anything. They may not have the technology for it or something was preventing them from calling out for help. Whatever was the case was he needed to get down there and find out.

 

As he walked though he heard the sound of someone calling out to him.

 

"There you are Lance!" Keith called as he had stopped the other down the hallway.

 

Stopping in his tracks Lance turned and looked to where he could see Keith and Shiro. His team mates and people who cared about him. People who he cared about in return. And people he was about to leave without even saying a word to. He had got so caught up in his head that he had forgotten that informing them would probably be a good idea. Nice going Lance.

 

On the other end Keith grew uneasy as they got closer to Lance. Something was off he could tell. Lance looked so full of pain and unease as he watched the two of them get closer and closer. His fists clenched tight by his sides and shoulders taut with what appeared to be dread. His lips were pressed together in a thin line and his eyes looked so weary and almost sad. This wasn’t a look Keith liked on Lance one bit.

 

Quickly closing the distance between the two of them Keith reached out and took one of Lance's hands in his own. Uncurling his fingers Keith let his thumb stroke over Lance's knuckles in a soothing manner.

 

"Lance what's wrong?"

 

For a moment he wasn’t sure what to say. How was he supposed to tell someone who loved him that he was about to leave the ship without telling him? That he didn’t even think about Keith or anyone else for that matter when he made his decision. How could he tell him any of that?

 

Feeling a light pressure on his hand though Lance realized Keith was squeezing his hand in reassurance. Looking at the other Lance had to hold back a whimper at the concern and comfort in the others gaze. Keith wasn’t a fool. He knew something was bothering Lance and that he needed some reassurance. That he needed Keith to be there for him.

 

Feelings now calm Lance turned to Shiro who was hovering close just as concerned. " Everyone needs to gather in the control room now. I need to tell you guys something." Lance said. Seeing the serious air that surrounded Lance Shiro nodded his head in understanding.

 

"Alright you two head there now, Allura and Coran should be there running some tests last time I checked. I'm going to go get Pidge and Hunk from Green's hangar." Shiro said before he took off in a jog in the direction of Green's hangar.

 

Lance watched him go for a moment before his attention was once again turned to Keith. The other seemed calm for the most part but Lance could tell he was concerned for him. He could see it in the way Keith's eyes would flick to him every so often and his lips twitched as if to say something, Noticing that Lance had caught him in the act Keith offered a soft smile before they continued on there way. His hand wrapped around Lance's like an anchor. With Keith with him he could do this.

 

Upon reaching the control room Lance was surprised to see everyone already there and ready for whatever conversation they were to have. How in the world had they all gotten there so fast? Retracing their steps in his head Lance realized that Keith had taken him the long way, and by long way they way that took double the time to get to the control room. But why? A large part of him believed that it was to allow Lance to calm down and think ahead if he needed it. His theory was confirmed though when he looked to the other and found him trying to act as innocent as possible. Honestly when was he going to stop doing things that made Lance fall more and more for him?

 

However turning his attention back to the others Lance could see that they were ready for him to explain his reason for their gathering. And here was the moment when his idea either sank or swam. Its not as if he believed Allura would ignore a plea for help. No it was the fact that he was afraid that she wouldn’t let him go because not only his condition but also the fact that he was the only one that had gotten a strange way of someone calling for help. For all he knew the rest may not believe him or think it’s a trap. He supposed the first thing in order was to see if what he and Blue saw was even possible.

 

Looking to Allura with an almost shy gaze Lance asked, " Allura I was wondering, is it possible for our lions to hear someone calling out in distress and respond?"

 

Blinking in surprise Allura cocked her head to the side and while her fingers came up to hold her chin as she thought about it. "Well yes it technically is but in order for that to happen your lion needs to be near a source of their element. In your case Blue needs to be near a rather large source of water or ice in order to pick up on distress. Why do you ask?"

 

"Well I think Blue picked up on some kind of one." Lance answered as he bit his lip nervously. He was relieved that it was possible at least but that still didn’t mean what he saw or heard was even real. For all he knew he could be going crazy or the PTSD was starting to get a little to extreme.

 

"Only one way to find out I suppose. Coran can you do a scan for any near by planets that fit the criteria?" Allura asked but she did take the moment to step beside Lance and put a reassuring hand on his shoulder. She had an idea on what directions his thoughts were taking and wanted him to know that it was ok regardless of what they found or did not find.

 

For a moment everything was silent as Coran took the time to scan for any nearby planets. A part of Lance hoped that he was wrong about all of this. A distress signal meant help and help meant that the team would have to go out. They had only gotten done with their previous battle as of recently and Lance didn’t want to thrust them into something else. But on the other hand he hoped he was right as people could be in desperate need of their help and it would also mean he wasn’t imagining the whole thing.

 

Before he could think on it any further though the silence was broken with the sound of a beep and Coran's thoughtful hum.

 

"It appears that there is a planet nearby know as Tutraynides that fits the criteria. Pulling it up on the image relay now." Coran informed them as he typed away at the keyboard.

 

All of a sudden before them appeared the image of an aqua colored planet. The surface of it covered for the most part with thick glaciers of ice. If it wasn’t for the awe that Lance felt at actually being right he would have laughed. So he wasn’t crazy after all it seemed. Well that for certain was a relief but that also meant they now had other problems to deal with.

 

"It’s the planet I saw." Lance breathed.

 

"Are you sure Lance?" Allura asked.

 

"Positive." Was all he could reply though as he let his eyes trace over the image. Even the image of said planet made him feel like something was pulling him to it. He didn’t know if it was the fact that he knew something was there or that it was something deeper. Whatever the case may be though he knew he needed to get to that planet no matter what.

 

"Princess what do you suggest we do?" Shiro asked as they all stood ready for her command, all except for Lance who spoke up before Allura could.

 

"Allura I need to get to that planet. Whoever is down there is calling for me and I cant just sit idly by."

 

He would be lying if he said that he didn’t miss the looks of unease that the others cast in his direction as he stared at Allura with determination. He knew that sending him was not the best idea considering what had happened of recent. It wasn't a good idea and Lance could see that in the way Allura hesitated that she agreed. But he had to go no matter what.

 

Seeing the determination that was lit in Lance's eyes Allura sighed and gave in. "Very well you'll be in charge of this mission then."

 

And ok Lance would definitely be lying if he said the cries of protest the others let out didn’t hurt. He knew they didn’t mean anything bad by it but jeez be a little more sensitive.

 

"With all do respect Allura I don’t think that’s a good idea, at least not yet. Lance still needs time to adjust and sending him alone would be reckless." Shiro protested but quickly shut up at the unimpressed eyebrow Allura raised at him, in fact they all did.

 

"And who said I was sending him alone? Of course he is going to be accompanied regardless of him needing adjusting or not." Allura replied in a slightly irritated tone. The others said nothing to this though and Lance couldn’t help but feel grateful that she was making a point that his mental state had nothing to do with it.

 

"I'll go with him then." Keith quickly spoke up.

 

Lance would have been ecstatic that he would be joining him if it wasn’t for the immediate rejection Allura gave him. "No I'm afraid neither you or Shiro will be accompanying Lance on this mission." she informed them all.

 

"Why not?!" Keith shot back as he looked at Allura in disbelief. He wasn't the only one though as Shiro looked almost betrayed at the idea.

 

Sighing in frustration Allura rubbed her forehead as she begun to explain, "Think about it. Lance is the blue paladin who is the guardian of water. He is perfect for this mission. Shiro and you on the other hand are guardians of the sky and fire. Do you have any idea how hard it would be for your lions to move around on a planet made of water? If anyone is going to go with Lance it has to be Pidge or Hunk who are the guardians of the forest and land and by extension would fair far better than either of you."

 

And it was in times like these that Keith cursed how opposite Lance and him were. Even a child knew that water and fire did not mix and he would only be asking for it if he tried to pilot Red in the water for who knows how long. He had no choice but to stay behind this time and that thought terrified him.

 

"I don't see why we cant bring the whole ship down there." Pidge chimed in as she adjusted her glasses.

 

However that seemed like it would not work either as Coran shook his head. " While I see your logic in this we don’t know how cold that water is or what's in it. If we bring the ship down there we risk temperature damage as well as the possibility of not being able to maneuver well under there."

 

For a moment no one said anything as they digested the information. So not only was it not an option to bring the ship down but out of all of them only Hunk and Pidge could go with Lance. The situation was beyond ideal by now and they all secretly dreaded sending Lance down there. They didn't even know what was down there or what kind of distress mission this was. Not to mention they didn’t know if Lance could handle something like this. But of course saying no was not an option as someone down there could use their help and Lance would for sure not take no for an answer.

 

Finally though Hunk was the first to break the silence. " Well you know I got your back anytime Lance. I'll go."

 

Happy that Hunk agreed to go Lance threw his arm around the other in a warm hug which was returned in full as usual. The good feeling however came crashing down though when Pidge opened her mouth.

 

"As much as I would love to go with you Lance I can't." She hesitantly answered.

 

Soon all heads snapped to look at her and Pidge couldn’t help but wince at the glare Keith sent her. She knew her assistance would be valuable but she couldn't. At least not with the way she was now.

 

"Pidge I'm sure there is a good reason?" Shiro started gently, trying to be the good leader as well as keep the peace if Keith's expression was anything to go by.

 

Sighing Pidge decided that she might as well answer as after all she considered them family now and she had confidence that they wouldn’t judge her for something like this.

 

"I'm sorry I never told you guys this but the truth is I can't swim. But it's not like I'm afraid of water or anything I just don't think it’s a good idea if I go with you. Who knows what could happen and I don't want to slow you guys down." She said with guilt.

 

However her guilt quickly dissolved as Lance rushed forward and wrapped his arms around her tiny frame. Nuzzling into her hair Lance hummed a soft reassurance before hugging her even tighter.

 

" Thank you for telling us Pidge. I understand and I wouldn't want to make you uncomfortable or put you in jeopardy for my sake."

 

Smiling a soft smile at Lance's words Pidge hugged back briefly before prodding at the other with her fingers. "Ok as nice as this is we have more important matters to attend to." She said.

 

Letting go Lance and the rest turned their attention to Allura. Ultimately she was the leader in this and it was her call where they should go with this. Taking in Lance and Hunk's determined expressions Allura nodded her head.

 

" Seeing as we can't ignore a call for help Lance and Hunk will be traveling to the planet. The rest of us will monitor your comms and vitals. If anything should arise we will be ready." She informed them all.

 

Agreeing in unison Shiro and Pidge headed to their seats in the control chamber while Hunk went to start putting on his armor. Lance going to suit up himself but with Keith following him this time out the door.

 

Using her better judgment Allura let the two be for now. This was a private moment for the two and she knew for a fact that Keith did not like the situation one bit. He would need reassurance and the only one who could give that right now was Lance. It seemed the rest agreed as well as they all ignored Keith following Lance out the door.

 


 

 

"I'm sorry I can’t go with you." Keith murmured as he helped Lance strap on his arm gauntlets. After they had arrived at Blue Keith had helped Lance gather his armor from the inside of Blue and bring it outside so he would have more room to change.

 

Shrugging his shoulders Lance smiled as he watched Keith almost lovingly strap his left gauntlet on. "Don’t worry about it Keith it's not your fault. Who knows there might be a day that you have to save some people from a fiery volcano and I can’t follow."

 

Snorting Keith finished with Lance's gauntlets and moved to grab his chest plate while Lance finished with his leg armor. "Yeah let's hope not." Keith answered as he grabbed the chest plate.

 

Turning back Keith helped the other slip the armor over his chest and latch it into place. Once it was securely in place Keith let his hand linger right over where he knew Lance's heart was. The other stood completely still as he watched whatever was going on in Keith's mind play out.

 

Time seemed to stretch by as they both stood there in silence. Neither of them daring to move or break the silence for fear that if they did the reality of what was coming would break them. For all they knew they could be sending Lance and Hunk to their deaths and there would be nothing they could do to help. Keith would be helpless to help the one he loved and that was not a thought he wanted to linger on.

 

He was snapped out of his thoughts though when Lance's hand wrapped around his own. Looking at Lance Keith couldn’t help but feel relaxed as he looked into the soft blue eyes that stared back at him. Eyes that could hold a storm in them at times now a calm sea that Keith could drift on for eternity.

 

"I'll come back I promise." Lance whispered into the space between the two of them, any louder and he was afraid the moment they were caught up in would shatter.

 

Smiling at Lance words Keith moved forward to bump his head against the other. His forehead resting against Lance's as he breathed in a deep breath. Mimicking the other Lance did the same, there breaths falling into unison as they stood there in silence.

 

Sadly the moment was broken though as Allura's voice came over the intercom, gentle but commanding none the less.

 

"Lance, Hunk is waiting. It's time to go."

 

Not bothering to respond Lance broke away from Keith. His eyes still ever calm as he smiled at the other and turned to where Blue was waiting with their mouth open. " I promise Keith." was all Lance said as he entered Blue and took off out of the hangar as soon as they was started up.

 

In that moment Keith decided that he would believe Lance. If anyone could do it Lance could. Everything was going to be ok. It had to be.

Chapter Text

"Well, there's only one planet with Varadero beach…" Lance remembered telling Hunk when they discussed how long this whole gig would last.

 

At the time Lance hadn't been exaggerating when he spoke of how he missed the beautiful beach. Its white sand that glittered in the sun and that he had to remind his nieces and nephews to wear shoes while walking on less they desired burned feet. The crystal blue water that you could see so clearly through and was perfect for hunting for seashells and sand dollars in. The way the sun would feel on his warm skin and how the water lapped at his legs. Lance truly loved the beach and the ocean, to the point where there were times he never wanted to leave actually.

 

To bad that feeling had long disappeared now as Lance eyed the icy expansion below them. Not doubt under it was miles upon miles of watery unknown. Water that was sure to be dark and cold. Not at all like the warm, clear water of his Varadero. Expansions of darkness that housed who knew what. Creatures with gaping mouths that threatened to swallow him and shred him apart with their thousands of sharp teeth.

 

As they got closer he couldn’t help but question if this was a good idea. They had no idea what they were looking for. For all they knew what they could be looking for could be miles below the surface. Through the darkest depths where light is only a rumor. He didn’t even know if the lions as well as Hunk and him could take the pressure. He knew that anything over 130 feet would be risking it even with all their fancy gear. Having his lungs collapse from the pressure was not exactly the way he wanted to go either thank you very much.

 

"Eyes sharp boys your almost to the surface." Coran's voice broke through Lance's borderline panicked thoughts.

 

Sure enough Lance could see the thick icy expansion below them. A part of him wondered how thick that ice was and perhaps they should have brought Keith along to at least melt the ice for them. Ice on ice from Blue wasn’t exactly going to help after all.

 

"So how are we suppose to get through all that ice?" Hunk asked as they got closer and closer to the surface.

 

"It might be a little jarring but use your boosters to bash through the ice Hunk. Our readings indicate that it is perfectly possible and Blue can follow after you when your done." Allura informed them.

 

Sending back a quick affirmative Lance watched as Hunk prepared to blast his way through the ice. At least the yellow lion was well equipped and big enough to deal with the aftershock of the hit. A lion like Pidge or Keith's would probably have a little bit of a harder time of pushing through that ice.

 

Taking a deep breath Hunk readied himself as they got closer and closer. To early and he might not push through the ice all the way, to late and he might end up shooting through the water and who knows where. As they descended Hunk watched his reading close as the distance continued to shorten, almost like sky diving he waited for the perfect distance to activate the boosters.

 

Trailing a ways behind Lance watched as that moment hit and with a grunt Hunk activated the boosters. It was almost funny to hear the way Hunk shrieked the slightest as his lion shot forward. Racing through the air and straight to the icy expansion below them while no doubt blaring warnings at him as they did.

 

But lucky for the both of them Hunk was a master at judging the timing of things, no doubt from all that cooking he did, and busted through the ice with little resistance. His lion coming to a halt as it waited underwater for Lance to come through the hole he had made.

 

Entering cautiously Lance was relieved to see there was at least no big scary monsters waiting to crush them between there jaws. In fact from the looks of it there wasn’t much marine life to began with. Only a few small fishes swimming around here and there from the looks of it. Certainly not what you would expect from a planet made up completely of water. Then again it was awfully dark the farther they drifted down so who knew what was lurking in the waters.

 

However as if reading his mind, which they probably did lets be honest, Blue's eyes lit up like lights on a car. Shining bright and illuminating the path every which way they decided to turn their head. From the lights Lance could see that the bottom wasn’t too far away from there current position floating down. He could also see tall rock formations in all directions that reached towards the surface. Plenty of ways something could hide from them so he would have to be on his guard.

 

"How's it…oing fizzz down there?" Shiro's voice abruptly crackled over there coms.

 

Frowning at the interference they were receiving Lane spoke back slowly so Shiro could hear exactly what he was saying. "Everything's fine so far but your breaking up a bit."

 

"fizzz right…look…see fizzzz anything." Shiro's voice barely came through on the com.

 

Well wasn’t that just freaking fantastic Lance mused to himself. They really should have guessed that the deeper Lance and Hunk went the more interference they received. At this rate it looked like they were going to have little to no connection seeing as they weren't even at the bottom yet. If anything Lance just hoped that Keith wouldn’t freak out when they stopped reporting back.

 

After several minutes Lance and Hunk finally managed to reach the bottom. Lions floating down and landing softly as they scanned their surroundings. Now that they were here it was only a matter of finding out what was going on and who needed their help. A task easier said then done since they had no idea what they were even looking for.

 

Deciding that it was for the best if they reported back first Lance begun to speak into his com, "Ok guys we're at the bottom now. Any suggestions?"

 

However he was met with nothing but silence and the crackling fuzz of interference as they sat their and listened. Sighing he leaned back in his seat as he took in what this meant. He wasn’t surprised that it came down to this as they should have known better but it still didn’t suck any less. As far as he knew they were basically on there own now.

 

"Sooo… I take it this means were screwed." Hunk nervously asked as they sat there.

 

"Well I mean as far as communication goes but that doesn't mean-"Lance started but cut off as something darted in view at the edge of his vision.

 

Turning his head he was stunned to see what could only be described as a mermaid floating directly in front of him. He watched in utter awe as her huge dark eyes took him and Blue in while she glided through the water with her yellow and red tail. In all the time he had spent on this crazy adventure the last thing he expected to see was a mermaid.

 

"Maybe not Hunk," Was all Lance could say as the mermaid stopped swimming and face them directly, a warm smile plastered across her face the whole time.

 


 

 

Meanwhile on the ship things were not going so well. In fact things were starting to collapse into a borderline panic. The last thing any of them had heard from Lance and Hunk was that they had reached the bottom and even that had been up for debate as they could barely make out what Lance was even saying.

 

After that though they hadn't been able to get anything else to them it seemed as every time they tried all they were met with was static. This was beyond bad as they had no idea what this could mean for the two boys quite a distance below freezing black water. For all they knew they could be in trouble and there was no way for them to help them.

 

"I thought your technology was suppose to be tone of the best?!" Keith snapped as he turned on Allura and Coran.

 

Evidently this was the wrong thing to say to Allura as she bristled and shot back, "It is but even it cant compare to the natural forces of pounds of pressure from water!"

 

Seeing her point but still not happy with the results Keith turned his attention back to the view of the planet before them. "So what are we supposed to do now?"

 

"First I suggest we all calm down. Panicking isn't going to do any good for us or them." Shiro spoke up as he put a calming hand on Keith's shoulder.

 

Realizing that he was right Keith took a deep breath as he did his best to calm himself down. Even with how good things were going between Lance and him he still hadn't quite learned to control his temper. He had hoped Lance's influence was making it all better but it seemed he still had a ways to go. One thing was for sure though, being away from Lance was not helping any. A fact that he needed to reflect on as he turned his attention back to the view of the planet before them.

 


 

 

If it wasn’t for the fact that he had been through so much shit Lance would have launched himself out of Blue at the sight of a real mermaid swimming only feet away from him. Growing up near a beach for most of his life had come with many things and of course one of those things was tales of mermaids. Of course that meant both scary and wondrous stories of them. The scary ones Lance tended to avoid in favor of the more happy and glamorous tales of them.

 

Tales of beautiful half fish half women saving drowning surfers and boaters. Love stories where a man fell for a mermaid or even the other way around sometimes. Story time being filled with the description of brightly colored scales, long flowing hair that shined in the water and vast cities that gleamed and held thousands of mermaids. Those were the stories Lance loved as a child and would entertain fantasies about for hours upon end.

 

However life was a cruel thing and Lance knew that not all tales were pretty or nice. There were frightening tales of mermaids dragging people to the depths where they either let them drowned or feasted on their bodies. Stories of deadly songs that intoxicated all that heard it with their greatest desires causing them to jump into the open arms of death. More dark stories that Lance avoided during story time that were filled with half women half monsters that stalked you in the darkest waters. Scales splattered with blood and bits of flesh, hair that concealed dark bottomless eyes and depths that concealed these horrendous creatures that were waiting for the next idiot to try his chance at a fairy tale.

 

And as much as Lance wanted to follow the rainbows and sunshine's of mermaid lore he knew even the prettiest things could still bite. Life loved to play tricks on the unsuspecting and as of now it had been especially cruel to Lance. Being as such as much as he wanted to swim out and play out a good many of his childhood fantasies the now battered and weary part of him knew that life wasn’t a fairy tale. He would be cautious and expect the worst from something even as beautiful as this.

 

"Lance what do we do?" Hunk asked with unease as he looked at the mermaid who stared back at the both of them.

 

But before he could reply the mermaid spoke up. "Please do not be alarmed I am Florona." Her silky voice called out to them as she smiled a sweet smile.

 

Lance knew from Hunk's little sigh that he had relaxed and most likely found her smile cute but Lance wasn’t buying it. They had come down here because of the distress signal and no amount of cute girls smiling was going to stop him from checking this out. Plus Keith's smile was cuter anyway.

 

"Sorry to bother you but were here because we received a distress signal, has anything happened?"

Lance's asked as he watched her closely for any sign of deception.

 

However she merely looked confused as she tilted her head to the side and regarded them curiously. "I'm afraid I do not have any answers to your problem. I was sent by the almighty Queen Luxia, keeper of our land, to investigate and welcome anyone who happened to be down here."

 

This immediately caused the hairs on the back of Lance's neck to rise as he narrowed his eyes at Florona. "Wait. How did your Queen know we were here?"

 

"Queen Luxia knows all," was all Florona said as she smiled that slightly creepy smile of hers. OK yeah this wasn’t getting weird at all.

 

However before Lance could build up anymore suspicion Hunk also chimed in, "Not to mention the fact that I blasted a big whole in that ice."

 

Giggling at Hunk's words Florona agreed, "Yes there is that to."

 

A part of Lance wanted to shrug it off as her trying to be all mysterious and cool. After all he as well as many other aliens he met were guilty of such a thing. But a part of him couldn’t let go of the unease that had settled in his stomach. Something was definitely off and he couldn’t let his guard down until he knew what it was.

 

"Though now that I see it was nothing alarming that came through the ice I am sure Queen Luxia would love to meet the both of you and perhaps help you find the origins of the distress signal. If you would follow me," Florona said as she began to swim away.

 

For a moment neither of them moved as they watched her swim away. They knew next to nothing about this girl or where she came from as the same could be said about them. But yet here she was inviting them back to her home and to meet the Queen. They had met a good number of friendly aliens but even this was a little too friendly.

 

"I know what your thinking Lance but maybe it's for the best if we follow her. Right now we are literally swimming in the dark and have no idea where to even start. A little help would be nice for a change," Hunk suggested.

 

Knowing that Hunk was right and that yeah a helping hand would be nice for once Lance sighed in resignation. As long as they kept their lions close they should be fine. Besides he had no desire to spend who knows how long here looking for the mysterious distress signal he received earlier.

 

With that in mind Lance steered Blue through the water as he followed the sight of Florona's yellow and red tail gliding through the water. For a moment Lance questioned how far away this place was as they passed caves and pillar like rock formations. However he didn’t have to wait for long as she stopped at the edge of an expansion and Lance's breath was taken away from him.

 

Below them was an enchanting little forest that glowed pink and green in the water. Around it Lance could see almost flat looking structures that held orange, and light green glows. Beyond the forest was a structure that Lance thought might be perhaps the palace. It looked huge and had quite the interesting architect that Lance hadn't been exactly imagining for a mermaid city. But what did he know about mermaid cities anyway?

 

"Welcome to my village. Here, all are safe and warm," Florona cheerfully chimed as she swam up to them. However as she said those words something in Lance stood on end. Where had he heard those words before?

 

"If you would follow me I can show you to where you may set your space vessels safely." Florona extended her hand to where she must want them to go as she begun to swim away.

 

Following closely behind her the two of them set their lions down in a open area before exiting. Lance was relieved to see Blue as well as Hunk's lion put up there barriers as soon as they exited. Taking a moment to take everything in a part of Lance couldn’t help but rejoice in the fact that he was in the water and technically swimming again. Sure it wasn’t the way he may have wanted but he was in water and that was enough to ease some of his tension. As if sensing the small wave of peace that came over Lance Hunk shot him a supportive smile.

 

Their attention was turned to Florona once again though as she waved them over to the palace door where a woman surrounded by several guards awaited them. As they swam closer Lance took in the appearance of the woman and judged from her looks as they way she held herself that this had to be the Queen Luxia he had heard of.

 

Coming to float in front of her Lance and Hunk watched in awe as she smiled at the two of them a begun to speak. "Space travelers I am Queen Luxia. I welcome you to our village as honored guests."

 

However as much as Lance wanted to pay attention to her his attention shifted to the glowing forest behind them. His eyes traced the way it pulsed with life and a part of him watched it with slight unease. He was so caught up that he almost missed the bubble being placed around his head to supply air. A fact he was grateful for as his helmet was getting a little stuffy. He also faintly heard Hunk explain the reason that they were down there and Queen Luxia response to help. But as they talked he still couldn’t shake whatever unease had come over him.

 

Deciding that it was for the best he spoke up, "What is that?"

 

Turning her attention to what Lance was referring to Queen Luxia seemed to perk up as she saw what he was looking at. "That is the giver of life to our people, the Baku Garden."

 

So it had a name it seemed as the Queen begun to explain what it was. However Lance froze as the words "Here, all are safe and warm," left her mouth. There were those words again! Lance knew he had heard them before but just where in the hell he had he couldn’t remember.

 

But before he could dwell on it they were ushered to follow the Queen. "Come let us discuss this matter of a distress signal over dinner."

 

Following her they both soon found themselves sitting a long table while food was placed generously before them. Lance would be lying if he didn’t say that the sight of all those different types of food made him drool. The last thing he had anything beyond goo was the Blue Paladin festival and as a result his stomach grumbled loudly at the sight of all the dishes laid before them.

 

As they begun to dig in Lance addressed the Queen who sat there patiently watching them. "So about this distress signal we received…"

 

"Please, lets discuss this after the dance." She cut him off as she focused her attention on the 9 armed octopus thing that had started this weird dance for them.

 

Swallowing back his impatience Lance decided to try and focus on the dance. However as he watched something became off. Stretching out its arms and turning on its side the creature began to slowly spin in a circle. All of a sudden things started to tilt and the now there were twice as many arms. Lance could hear Hunk murmuring how amazing this dance was as he tried to get his bearings. Queen Luxia was also saying something and even though Lance couldn’t make it out he felt his body start to relax.

 

Fighting whatever it was that came over him Lance was relieved to see Hunk shake himself somewhat out of it while asking if they were not just discussing something. However his hopes were swiftly stomped on as the Queen slid up to Hunk and put a reassuring hand on his shoulder.

 

"You were just telling me how much you like it here, how much you wanted to stay forever," her mellow voice drifted over the two of them. Lance could only watch in dismay as Hunk once again relaxed. However nothing prepared him for the words that left Hunk's mouth next.

 

"Oh, that’s right. Here, all are safe and warm."

 

At this Lance's blood ran cold. All of a sudden the origin of those words came back to him. When he first got the visions he remembered the words echoing in his head along with the plea not to listen to them. He had tried so hard to be cautious but they had fell right into her trap.

 

"Lance, I think we should stay here forever." Hunk said as his eyes became glassy.

 

Lance could only watch in panic as Hunk began to fall asleep, his own vision beginning to grow dark at the edges. No he couldn’t fall asleep!

 

Seeing that he was fighting it the queen turned her attention on him next. "Yes Lance why don’t you stay forever? " She asked.

 

For a moment he almost gave in, almost let her convince him to let go. But he knew he couldn’t give in. He didn’t want to stay here. He needed to finish this mission so he could get back to Keith. He promised dammit and he would keep his word. However it seemed he would not be winning his battle as his eyes began to shut.

 

The last thing he saw was the Queen smiling smugly down at him as he desperately thought "Keith."

 


 

 

By this time it was well into the night and everyone aboard the ship had retired for the night. All except for one that was.

 

Sitting in the control room Keith watched the planet below them as they slowly orbited it. Watched for any sign of a blue or yellow dot racing towards them. It had been hours since they lost contact with the two and they had no idea what the situation was. They had tried to establish contact for hours now but still had not had an inch of success. Exhausted and frustrated Allura suggested they all call it a night for now and try and tackle the problem in the morning. No good in them pushing themselves to find a solution and being unprepared for a fight or something of the sort.

 

However as much as Keith knew Allura was right he couldn’t find it in himself to go to sleep just yet. He was to worried about his two friends and besides the sheets smelled like Lance which did not help the situation at all. So here he sat watching and waiting for some sign that they were ok.

 

It seemed though that he wasn’t the only one who was worried as someone gently cleared their throat behind him. Turning he was surprised to see non other than Coran standing behind him. Out of all the people the least expected Coran to show up. In truth he had expected Shiro or at least Allura. However when he thought about it Coran was a little more preferable in this case.

 

"May I sit with you?" He asked.

 

Nodding his head Keith watched as Coran plopped himself down next to him. Turning his attention back to the view before him Keith said nothing as Coran got comfortable next to him. For a moment neither of them said anything as they sat in silence.

 

But this was Coran and anyone who knew him knew it wouldn’t last long. "You're worried about him."

 

It wasn’t a question but Keith answered anyway, "Of course."

 

Coran regarded him with a smile before continuing. " Lance is made of some of the toughest stuff I've seen. He'll be fine."

 

For a moment Keith didn’t say anything in response as he picked at his nails. A bad habit he did when he was thinking to deeply about something. However as he sat there the silence began to bore down on him. It was stifling and he could feel himself itching to say something. Finally it became to much so he did.

 

" You know, I hate being vulnerable and I swore I never would be. But then I met Lance and well….you see how we've become." He didn’t know why he was admitting all of this especially to Coran of all people. Then again maybe because it was Coran that he felt like he could say all of this. After all Coran was like the crazy yet wise and cool uncle to the whole team. If anybody was to know this he didn’t mind that it was Coran.

 

Chuckling Coran couldn’t help but agree with Keith's statement. Oh he knew all to well how they had become with each other. However he kept that to himself as Keith continued.

 

"In all honesty it wasn’t until this moment that I realized just how much he affected me. How vulnerable I have become to him." Keith finished softly as he gazed at the planet below him.

 

It was in that moment that Coran felt for the boy. He was obviously shaken up with the fact that they had no idea the state of Lance. The only person Keith got with this other than Lance was Shiro but Coran knew that was an entirely different form of affection and heartache. As of right now Lance was Keith's heart and this was killing him.

 

Coran leaned back on his hands as he sighed out, "Ah to be young and in love."

 

He didn’t miss the way Keith turned to him with a curious gaze on his face. For a moment he didn’t say anything but just regarded Coran. At first Coran thought he wouldn't say anything but he was proven wrong when Keith opened his mouth.

 

"I take it you've been in love?"

 

Scoffing Coran answered, "Why of course I have. I know what it is like to love someone- and lose them as it turns out."

 

Stiffening at Coran's words Keith's eyes filled with remorse as he looked at the other. "Coran I'm so sorry. Here I am moping around about Lance and everything while you-"

 

However Keith didn’t get to finish his sentence as Coran held up a hand to silence him. Shooting a kind smile at Keith he reached over and begun to ruffle his hair. Surprised Keith sputtered while Coran laughed.

 

" Thank you my boy but its quite all right. All I'm trying to say is that I've been in your shoes before. If you ever need to talk about it I'm always here."

 

Surprised but touched by the others words Keith couldn’t help the smile that spread across his face. Here he was thinking that he was alone in all of this and here was someone who knew exactly what it was like. Who knew what it felt like to feel so hopeless and full of worry for the one that made his heart beat like crazy.

 

Huffing out a laugh Keith relaxed as he and Coran sat comfortably in silence. Heart now lighter than it had been in awhile and full of hope.

 


 

 

Slowly everything started to come into focus as Lance groaned. Why did his head fill so fuzzy? Listening Lance could hear voices but when he opened his eyes everything was dark except for a small portion. From what he could tell he was blindfolded and he could hear voices around him.

 

"Wait where am I? What is this?" Lance exclaimed as he felt the binds around his wrists now.

 

He didn’t have to wait long for an answer though as whatever was blocking his eyesight was ripped from his face with a yelp. Looking around he was taken aback to see three mermaid, jellyfish looking things staring at him.

 

Suddenly on edge Lance backed up as he growled out, "Who the quiznak are you guys?"

 

"Please calm down you were mind swished and we rescued you," one of the mermaids said as they hovered uncertainly next to him.

 

As Lance listened to her words it began to come back to him. The weird dance, the Queen's words, feeling like he was warm and safe while he fought for control. Rage began to course through him as he thought of her trickery and betrayal. Oh that bitch was gonna get it. But as he thought about it something else hit him.

 

"By any chance did you guys send some sort of distress signal?"

 

He watched as they all took on looks of surprise. No one said anything at first but then the one who spoke up first replied. "Well not exactly. You see we were all sitting here thinking of our next move when we felt a presence. It seemed friendly so we tried to speak to it but so far we haven't had an answer."

 

Even though he was in a shitty situation as of now Lance couldn’t help the smile that spread across his face. Sure it wasn’t the way he had hoped but he had found the source of the distress signal. Finally something was going right.

 

To caught up in his happiness he almost missed them introducing themselves and launching into a long tirade about the Queen. Stuff about magnetic stares and mind control sonars that sounded not quite what he would think is going on.

 

Interrupting as gently as he could he said, "Um I hate to break up your explanations but I believe I heard your calls for distress."

 

At first no one said anything as the three of them looked at Lance with blank expressions. Lance in turn watched them nervously for any sign of what was going to happen next. Nothing prepared him though to have all three of them in his face and the one he remembered as Plaxum asking in an excited voice, "So you’re here to save us?!"

 

Shrinking back Lance answered with hesitation, "Well to be honest I originally came to check out the distress signal with no idea what I was getting in to."

 

However as soon as those words left his mouth he felt bad as the three of them instantly deflated. In truth he probably could have worded it a different way or at least finished his sentence. He said he hadn't come here to save them specifically but that didn’t mean he wouldn't save them.

 

"I may not have come for you guys specifically but that doesn't mean I wont help you," Lance supplied as he watched their faces slowly transform into looks of pure joy.

 

"So how are you going to free us?" Plaxum asked excitedly as they all looked at him expectantly.

 

"Ugh well considering you guys know more about the Queen then I do I was hoping you would have a plan," Lance admitted.

 

To his relief they didn’t seem disappointed by his answer as they backed off and each seemed to think about the situation. He wanted to help these people especially since they had told him of the situation as of far. Not to mention they still had Hunk and he wasn’t about to leave him under their control.

 

After a little while of them swimming around and discussing among themselves they all swam to him with a bit of apprehension, Plaxum cradling something pink and squishy in her arms as they approached.

 

"So I take it you guys came up with a plan?" Lance asked hopefully.

 

"Well its risky but it’s the best plan we have at the moment," said Plaxum.

 

"A plan is better than no plan so lay it on me," Lance said as he tried to sound cheerful. In truth he was far from it as he dreaded whatever supposedly risky plan they had concocted.

 

"The plan is for you to pretend your still under the Queen's mind control. First you will enter the palace and grab her with your mere cat. From there we will cause a distraction and free the people," explained the one Lance knew as Blumfump.

 

If it wasn’t for the optimistic side of himself Lance would have cried at how horrible their plan was. He was sure the Queen knew by now that he wasn’t under her control and as a result alerted the guards. And say she didn’t for one he didn’t even know where she was in the palace and there was no guarantee that the three of them could take all those guards outside themselves anyway. He was suddenly grateful for the leadership of Shiro and Allura because now he knew just how shitty it was to have basically no plan.

 

But as he watched their hopeful faces look to him for guidance he couldn’t find it in himself to be honest. Looks like he would be making this plan work even if it was god awful.

 

"However in order to make sure you don’t fall under her control again we need you to wear this. It should block the control waves," Plaxum said as she thrust the pink things Lance now realized as a jellyfish at him.

 

"Uh you sure about that?" Lance questioned as he looked at the pink blob with unease. Last thing he wanted was to stick this thing on his head and have it melt his brains or something.

 

"Positive," was the only answer he received though before the jellyfish was unceremoniously plunked on his head.

 

The first thing Lance felt was a sharp sting as he yelped in pain. Oh maker did it burn like something fierce. And oh lordy was that his face swelling that he felt?! After a short couple of seconds in absolute hell the burning subsided and Lance realized that yes his face was swollen. Well at least he didn’t have to worry about Keith being down here to see this.

 

"If your ready we can get this mission underway," Plaxum supplied as she winced at his face. Way to help a guys confidence lady.

 

Taking a deep breath Lance agreed and with that they set off to free the people and rescue Hunk.

 


 

 

Did he mention how shitty this plan was? No? Well he was now cause this plan was the absolute worse. Turns out his assumption was right in the matter that the Queen had informed the guards of his now mind free state. So really it was no surprise when the guards didn’t even let him get close to Blue. Instead they had him caught in what appeared to be a net made out of seaweed and currently in route to see the Queen.

 

As they swam with Lance in tow though had had the opportunity to access his situation. He still had that little yellow fish they gave him to break the mind control. The Queen also didn’t know that the other were making moves of their own. He could work with this some how he knew it. All he needed to do was get a jump on the Queen.

 

But sadly he was out of time to scheme as he was deposited roughly on the floor and in front of the Queen. Her smug smile making Lance wish he had shot her the moment he met her.

 

"I had a feeling you'd come for your vessel. Servant, take Lance to the Baku garden," She purred as the doors to Lance's right creaked open.

 

Looking to see just who the lucky person was Lance was surprised to see Hunk come through the door. His face blank as a stone as he floated over to them. Lance didn’t even have to ask to know the other was under her mind control and he would be of no help. The only thing Lance could do would be to try and get the drop on Hunk and spray him with the yellow fish.

 

Giving the appearance that he had given in Lance let Hunk pull him roughly to his feet as he begun to escort him out of the room. Just as they were a good distance away from the others Lance whipped out the fish and turned to get a spray in at Hunk's face. However he underestimated how fast Hunk's reflex's could be as the fish was knocked out of his hands and sent shooting across the room.

 

Cursing Lance managed to dodge Hunk as the other lunged at him. Swimming as fast as he could Lance desperately tried to reach the fish but missed as the two other guards came for him as well. Dodging them by just a hair Lance let out a triumphant yell as he managed to grab the fish.

 

However it was not to last as Hunk smacked straight into him and effectively sent them flying. Twisting out of Hunk's grip Lance reached out to snatch the once again floating fish. But just as he managed to secure his hands around it he yelped at the feeling of Hunk's hands closing around his ankle. With one mighty swing Hunk sent him sailing across the room.

 

As Lance scrambled to gain control and grab something he was brutally slammed into by Hunk. With a sickening crack he met the wall behind him as Hunk bared down on him. As the air left his lungs images and memories begun to flash across Lance's eyes.

 

Being slammed to the ground by droids as he fought them off in Blue. His back harshly meeting the back of that chair everyday. Air forcefully rushing from his lungs as he was beat within an inch of his life. Through all of this Lance could see the fish floating to the bottom as he tried to reach for it. However he didn’t have time to as Hunk grabbed him and once again slammed him into the wall.

 

For a moment Lance saw nothing but red. His mind screaming at him to protect himself. To break them before they broke him. Fight or die it seemed to scream as his blood pounded in his ears. But before he could act he took one look at Hunk's face and stopped.

 

This was his best friend. The one who supported him in the Garrison and missions. The one who did his best to cook things Lance liked and cried when Lance was returned to him. One of the few people who would love him no matter what. And he was someone Lance refused to hurt.

 

Gritting his teeth Lance knew he couldn’t get through to him so he did the only thing he could. Planting his foot on Hunk's stomach and sending a quick apology he pushed while using his boosters. This sent Hunk into the other guards as he went racing after the fish.

 

But right as he was about to reach it he felt Hunk crash into him once again and this time smashing him into the floor. Gritting his teeth Lance took the impact as they went rolling through the water. Never once taking his eyes off that stupid fish Lance propelled himself after it as soon as he was righted. Sadly he was once again stopped as Hunk grabbed the jellyfish that was attached to Lance's head and pulled. Desperate and sore by this point Lance was having none of it as he stretched his leg out to catch the fish.

 

"Thank God I'm flexible," was the last thing he thought as he spun and sent the fish flying directly at Hunk's face.

 

As the spray dissipated Lance was relieved to see Hunk's eyes become clear as the other looked around in confusion.

 

"Wow where am I? What's going on?" Hunk asked as he looked around in a panic.

 

Ignoring the aches and pains in his body Lance swam forward and seized the other by the shoulders. "The Queen put you under her mind control and pretty much is ruining everything. We need to get to our lions and fast."

 

"Oh ok." Hunk said as he followed Lance's lead with out question. Something that Lance was eternally grateful for as he did not want to tell Hunk he had been trying to kill him. That was not a distraction they needed right now after all.

 

But before they could get to there lions they were surrounded on all sides by guards. Great this was just what Lance needed after a bruising fight with Hunk. There was no way they could fight them all off and Lance had dropped the fish after using it on Hunk.

 

But before everything could fall deeper into shit the guards were all of a sudden swarmed with yellow fishes spraying as Plaxum and her friends entered the battle. Wasting no time Lance hurried into Blue while he ushered Hunk to do the same. Opening Blue's mouth he let Plaxum swim in as he took off.

 

"So what's the plan?" Hunk asked.

 

"Grab the Queen first," was all Lance answered though as he shot toward where he could see the Queen and her guards. Flying through the water he watched as Plaxum released two fishes that created a smoke screen and allowed her to snatch up the Queen.

 

As they flew away however Lance could hear the Queen and Plaxum arguing. "Please the Baku is the one behind this!" The Queen pleaded as Plaxum ignored her.

 

"What do you mean?" Lance asked.

 

"The last thing I remember is that thing falling from space. I went to investigate it, I thought it was a plant!"

 

"Wait we've been eating that thing! Which by the way is delicious and not to mention safe and warm," Hunk chimed in.

 

However at Hunk's words Lance froze. It all made sense now. The unease he felt when he looked at it as well as they way it looked way more alive than a plant ever should. How the people seemed to worship it as they always talked about it.

 

"It was never the Queen but the plant!" Lance spoke up in awe as everything seemed to fit together.

 

"But why?" Plaxum asked.

 

"Because its been harvesting us. We are its food source!" the Queen explained much to all of their horror.

 

"Oh my god she's right, look out the window." Hunk yelled as Lance whipped his head around to see.

 

Lance's stomach dropped as he watched what was once a plant uncurl to show a giant orange worm with a gaping mouth. The whole time the source of the problem was right under their noses. These people didn’t even know that this thing had been eating them for who knows how long. Just the thought alone made Lance sick.

 

Letting Plaxum and the Queen out of his mouth Lance turned his attention to the monster before them. All his troubles were because of one giant fucking worm. Oh this thing was going down and he would make sure of it.

 

Wasting no time Lance shot forward as he shot round after round at the creature. To his credit Hunk tried to keep up but they both knew Hunk's lion was better suited for the land than water. Focusing Lance aimed a little ahead of the creature and was pleased to see his theory held true as the blast caught the monster. However his triumph was short lived as it smashed the ice away and begun to chase after him.

 

Weaving around Lance was able to squeeze through a small opening and gain some space. But it was futile as the creature managed to smash it ways through and wrap around him. For one fleeting second he felt fear before he spotted Hunk sending a rock crashing down on the creatures tail.

 

Freeing himself Lance did his best to shake off his fear as he squared off with the now free creature. It's as if he was back on that god forsaken planet again. Droids pouring into Blue as Lance tried to fend them off with his Bayard. The feeling of absolute hopelessness washing over him as his Bayard over heated and the droids just kept coming. He couldn’t die, not like this. He promised Keith he would come back to him.

 

All of a sudden a message popped up beside Lance. Looking down at it Lance was surprised to see what looked like a new weapon Blue was trying to form. Determined to get through this Lance grinded his teeth and with a yell thrust his controls forward.

 

As he did a roar echoed from Blue as two giant prongs formed on its back. Blue waves began to emit from it as Lance watched in utter amazement. Rocks began to fall and crush the creature while it writhed in agony. Getting a hold of himself Lance flew Blue out of there as fast as he could while urging Hunk to do the same.

 

"Dude you just dropped a sonic boom on him." Hunk cheered as they flew to where everyone was waiting.

 

Laughing Lance landed and exited to see the Queen and everyone alright and free from the monsters mind control.

 

"Thank you so much! If it wasn’t for you answering these three's distress call I'm afraid we would have been under that things mind control for who knows how long," the Queen gushed as she smiled at them.

 

Shrugging Lance accepted the thanks while telling her not to worry about it. He was however shocked at the words that left Plaxum's mouth next. "Why don’t you stay?"

 

Turning to look at Hunk for a second Lance couldn’t help the sorry smile that spread across his face.

"This place really is lovely but I'm afraid I have someone waiting for me."

 

"It's his boyfriend," Hunk chimed in as soon as Lance finished speaking which earned a squawk from the other.

 

"I see. Well I wish you the two the best than," Queen Luxia smiled as her guards pushed what appeared to be a giant clam to her side.

 

"Uh what is that?" Hunk asked as he looked at it with unease.

 

"This is an energy beacon. I believe it is time we begun to reach out to interstellar travelers again," she informed them as she looked at it with hope.

 

"Well if you ever need us or Voltron again you let us know ok," Lance said as he begun to board his lion.

 

"We will and thank you for everything," She replied as Plaxum and her friends cheered goodbye.

 

Slowly piloting Blue to the surface Lance watched in awe as the beacon was activated. Its bright light shooting through the water and no doubt into space. Briefly Lance wondered if the others could see it.

Only one way to find out he supposed as he eagerly made his way to the surface and to a certain waiting someone.

 


 

If it wasn’t for Shiro's hand tightly holding on to his arm Keith would be in the hangar right now and flying out to find Lance. It had been a whole day without a word from the other and he was beyond worried. For all he knew the other could be dying down there while he sat up here and did nothing.

 

"Let me go." Keith growled as he bared his teeth at Shiro.

 

Either unimpressed or to stubborn Shiro shook his head. "No, your not going down there until we figure out a plan."

 

"Screw that! Lance and Hunk could be in danger while we sit around and do nothing." Keith snapped as he tried to yank his arm out of Shiro's grasp but the other held on tightly.

 

"Yes and that is why we need a plan," Allura patiently tried to explain.

 

For the past 10 minutes the three of them had been arguing while Coran and Pidge tried to figure this out. Allura and Shiro were more in favor of forming a plan but Keith wanted the complete opposite. In his opinion he should just launch Red down there and speed through that water, guardian of fire be damned.

 

However before he or anyone else's temper could rise anymore Pidge shouted, "Look!"

 

Spinning around Keith's stomach dropped as a bright yellow light erupted from the planet and shot towards the sky. For a moment he feared the worse until Coran's voice interrupted his panicked thoughts.

 

"I have a visual on something heading to the castle. Pulling it up now."

 

As the video feed came up Keith couldn’t help the huge sigh of relief he let out as he could see Lance and Hunk's lions flying towards them. Allura beamed at the sight while Shiro let go of Keith while patting his back in a comforting manner. Pidge whooped in excitement while Coran cast a glance at Keith.

 

Catching his eye Keith was amused to see they glittered with an unspoken "told you so". Laughing Keith shook his head as he turned his attention back to the screen. He sure Keith mused. And it looked like Lance kept his promise as well. He came back to him, to where he belonged and that was all Keith could ask for.

Chapter Text

"I'm not finding any coordinates in here. Are you sure this wasn’t a dream?"

 

"I am positive. Someone helped me escape," Shiro responded to Pidge's question.

 

They had all gathered in the Green lions hanger at the urging of Shiro that morning. If it wasn’t for his insistence Lance would have actually been quite content to remain wrapped up in Keith's arms that morning.

 

After Lance and Hunk had returned from the mermaid planet they regaled the whole experience to the others. Well the whole thing except for the part where Hunk nearly tried to kill Lance. As far as Lance was concerned neither Hunk nor the rest of the team needed to know what had happened. It was bad enough they were already concerned with the fact that the two of them fought off a giant underwater space worm by themselves.

 

Needless to say after he and Hunk had told all the exciting details of their story Keith had wasted no time in dragging Lance off. As soon as he had the other alone Keith had pulled him into bed where he had curled around him and not let go since. But Lance didn’t mind. He knew Keith had been worried about him and Lance had missed this since they had been sleeping in the same bed ever since he came back. No words had been exchanged between them that night as Keith held him close. And to be honest Lance was happy with that. Silence was a nice thing to have in that moment as they fell asleep together.

 

That morning was no different as Lance awoke  find himself still asleep in Keith's arms. The only difference was he was on his back now and Keith had one arm slung over his chest and the other by his head with his fingers barely curled in the tips of Lance's hair. For a moment Lance just laid there and watched Keith sleep. The little puffs of air that Lance could feel faintly on his cheek as he watched the other twitch ever so slightly.

 

It seemed though that either Keith felt him looking at him or just decided to wake up at that moment as his face scrunched up before he peeled his eyes open. As soon as he laid eyes on Lance a soft, sleepy smile spread across his face.

 

"Go back to sleep," was all Keith managed to mumble out as he snuggled closer to Lance.

 

Lance wanted to protest that he wasn’t tired any longer but stopped when he felt Keith's lips softly press against his neck. Just a light peck before the other squashed his face there. Holding back a giggle Lance let himself relax as he began to let himself be dragged under again.

 

That was of course until Allura's voice echoed through out the castle informing everyone to make their way to the green lions hanger.

 

Lance would have laughed at how loud Keith groaned if it wasn’t for him feeling the same. But there wasn’t much of a choice that they had in this. That was unless they wanted either Shiro or Allura to come drag their asses out of bed which would be beyond embarrassing.

 

And so that was how they found themselves in the green lions hangar with the others. But now that he knew it was because Shiro had found something that could help Lance was happy that he had dragged himself from the confides of the bed. Even with the fact that Keith was by far the warmest human being he had ever met and by extension Lance's own personal space heater.

 

"And he was Galra?" Allura demanded to know.

 

Shiro confirmed that yes he indeed was and that was what got Lance on edge. He wanted to be respectful of Shiro's trust of the man but he couldn’t help the part of him that wanted to run and hide. He hadn't interacted with any Galra in person since his capture and the thought of meeting one perhaps soon was a little daunting. But this was Shiro who had been through just as much as him and still wanted to trust this guy. Maybe it wouldn’t hurt to investigate this till the end.

 

"Considering your father trusted Zarkon enough to make him the Black paladin I think we can take a chance on this," Shiro argued further with Allura but whatever she said next was not heard by Lance as he whipped his head around to stare at the rest of them.

 

"Wait, what?" he asked as he looked at the rest of them in shock.

 

Something deep inside Lance festered for a moment as he watched the others faces take on looks of guilt as the looked away. Even Keith wasn’t willing to meet his eye as he looked at the ground with his jaw clenched tight. The only one who was willing to meet his eye was Allura as she looked at him with a hint of nervousness.

 

"Lance we weren't trying to keep this from you believe me. Its just with everything that has been happening we haven't gotten the chance to tell you," she explained gently.

 

"The truth is Lance that in the beginning Zarkon was the original Black paladin. Right now he still as Shiro's bayard as well."

 

But instead of feeling angry or sad Lance just

felt slightly overwhelmed. Nothing terrible or anything but enough to have him scratching his head in thought. "I missed a lot didn't I?" he commented to no one in particular.

 

Not bothering to say anymore Allura set a comforting hand on his shoulder before her as well as everyone else's attention was turned to Pidge as she informed them she had found something.

 

Pulling up the coordinates they all took a minute to observe the system in front of them. Whoever this guy Ulaz was that helped Shiro he would be here. And it seemed they wouldn’t have to wait what was next as Shiro announced they were heading there as soon as possible.

 

Lance was however surprised when Keith spoke up in doubt of this. Out of everyone there he had thought Keith would be the most supportive of whatever Shiro wanted. But then again in a way he was as he expressed slight grief over the things they had done to Shiro. Allura on the other hand thought this was a terrible idea and had no trouble voicing. But in the end it was settled and they would be going to meet this mysterious Ulaz.

 


 

 

Chasing a mysterious man through the castle was not Lance's idea of fun. Especially considering he was the first to find him and now stood only feet away from the man. Only moments ago he was sitting peacefully in his chair and now here he was facing off against Mr. mysterious who also happened to have a wicked looking sword on his back.

 

He tried to sound confident when he informed the others that he had found him but even he didn’t know if he convinced anyone. It didn’t help any when Shiro requested that he keep eyes on him as the rest made their way to him. Yeah no pressure or anything.

 

It was only thanks to the nerves he had somehow strengthened during his visit to the mermaids that he didn’t yelp when the man started running straight for him. Taking a deep breath he fired shot after shot as the man got closer and closer. He did let out a soft yelp though when the man finally reached him and did an insane flip past him. Ok that just wasn’t fair.

 

Calming himself once more Lance continued firing until he lost sight of the man. Cursing he began to run after him as he heard Coran announce that he was heading to Pidge. She was tough she could handle him!

 

And it turned out that no she couldn’t as he rounded the corner in time to watch Pidge being dragged away by the man. But no matter how fast he ran Lance just couldn’t keep up as Pidge was practically sailing across the floor. Just how in the hell was this guy running so fast while dragging Pidge behind him?  He didn't have to wait long for Hunk to join him but by the time he did he had lost site of Pidge as they rounded a corner.

 

Feeling fear course through him Lance pushed his legs harder. For all he knew this mysterious intruder could be dragging Pidge to an airlock right about now. His stomach dropped even further though as he heard Coran commenting on Keith who was now apparently fighting with the man. And as much as Keith had progressed in his fighting Lance doubted even he would be a match for this man.

 

Nothing could have prepared him for the moment he rounded the corner and came face to face with Keith's back as he came flying towards them. Lance only had enough time to feel grateful that the other was ok before Keith landed on him…hard. All the air was pushed out of his lungs as Keith slammed into him knocking all of them to the ground. As he lay there Lance could have sworn the ceiling was spinning.

 

As he managed to sit up though he felt fear course through him as he took in the sight of Shiro and the man facing off. Even with a blade in his face Shiro wasn’t backing down and Lance had to admire him for that. He probably would be having a mental break down at that moment if it was him.

 

But to his and everyone's surprise the man lowered his blade while stepping back. If it wasn’t for the fact that they still didn’t know who this man was Lance would have breathed a sigh of relief. Well at least Shiro was safe for now. However nothing prepared him for the moment the man removed his hood and mask.

 

If it wasn't for how serious the moment was Lance would have vomited right there. As it was he had to cover his mouth as he felt bile rise to his throat. Lucky for him everyone was to focused on what was happening with Shiro and the man as Lance was only keeping his breakfast down through sheer determination.

 

The man before them was without a doubt a Galra. From the tips of his ears right down to his toes there was no mistaking what this man was. He hadn’t been around another Galra since his rescue and it was an entirely different thing watching the others fight them or fighting drones. No this was solider capable of killing all of them in a matter of seconds. Someone who was capable of dragging Lance back to where he was not to long ago. Lance couldn't go back there for if he did it would surely be the end of him this time.

 

He was snapped out of it though with the arrival of Allura who wasted no time in having the mysterious man pinned against the wall. Rage swept over her features as she regarded the man and for a second Lance thought she would end him herself. At least that was until Shiro spoke up.

 

"Stop! Its him! This is the Galra who set me free."

 

Ok that wasn’t what Lance was expecting. Here was this man who could probably kill them all with a pen who also happened to be the man who saved Shiro. Ulaz or whatever his name was. Glad to know he was on their side at least.

 


 

 

If it wasn’t for the dignity that Allura did her best to retain Lance was sure she would be foaming at the mouth right now. Ignoring Shiro's protests on the matter Allura had Ulaz in cuffs and seated in one of the lounge rooms before the others could so much as blink. It had been awhile since had had seen her this angry and trust him it wasn’t a pretty site.

 

"If I wanted to kill you you'd be dead already."

 

And comments like that weren't helping the poor guys case one bit. Of course Lance could see the point he was trying to make but that still didn’t ease anyone's tension by any bit. It most certainly wasn’t  helping Lance any as he eyed those wicked claws Ulaz supported. Oh he was all to familiar with how sharp Galra claws could be. After all one of Irant's favorite past time was digging his claws into the fresh cuts he made on Lance. Just loved to jam them in and twist as much as he could…yeah those were the days Lance screamed the loudest.

 

Lance's attention was caught however when Ulaz turned to face him. For a moment he didn’t say anything as he just let his eyes bore into Lance's. The whole thing was beyond creepy especially since Galra didn’t have pupils. Nothing but yellow as he stared at Lance. Right about the time Lance was starting to become way more than uncomfortable he spoke up.

 

"Who was it?"

 

The current argument between Shiro and Allura stopped as all eyes turned to face Lance. However Lance had no idea what the guy was even referring to as he raised an eyebrow.

 

"Excuse me?"

 

"Your captor. The one who tortured you?"

 

As soon as the words left Ulaz mouth everyone froze. How the hell had he even known that? Lance's blood ran cold as he could only stand there and stare at Ulaz in disbelief. None of his scars were showing so it wasn’t as if he could have found out that way. And from Shiro's flashback he had gone into hiding way before Lance was ever captured.

 

But yet here he was asking Lance who had tortured him. He could feel a cold sweat breaking out as he struggled to reel in his emotions. His breath was coming out in short pants as his fingers twitched in preparation to began trembling. It was like the room was getting smaller as everything zeroed in on Ulaz and him. Ulaz who was still watching him with that penetrating gaze as Lance started to feel his stomach sour.

 

But before he could paint the floor in green goo and bile an all to familiar back blocked his view of the man. Snapping out of it Lance realized that Keith had come to stand in front of him and in the process stop Ulaz from watching him with that piercing gaze of his.

 

"That's none of your business." Keith growled as he raised his chin in an unspoken challenge. A challenge he and all the rest knew he wouldn’t win if it really came down to it but Lance still appreciated the protection he was trying to offer.

 

Non the less it got Ulaz to stop staring as he turned his attention away. "Forgive me that was rude. Being around many Galra captives has made it disgustingly easy for me to identify someone who has been through it."

 

Lance had no idea what came over him but for a minute he wanted to spill everything to this man. He wasn’t sure if it was because of the way his voice softened when he spoke of his experience with people like Lance or the fact that he had saved Shiro. Maybe it was the way Shiro looked at the man like he was a long lost friend that had finally returned. Either way Lance found himself opening his mouth and let the words spill out like a bleeding wound.

 

"Irant. His name was Irant."

 

He could feel everyone's eyes on him as he said those words but Lance didn’t take the time to look as he focused his attention on Ulaz. He didn’t even know if the other knew who that was but he asked so perhaps he might.

 

"Ah I see. Well I presume with you here all well that he was taken care of. That is a good thing, that man was evil," Ulaz said as he regarded Lance who was still slightly hiding behind Keith.

 

"Yeah you don’t have to tell me that," Lance mused.

 

"People like him, people like Zarkon are the reason we are trying to win this war. The reason the Blade of Mamora would welcome you all into the fight. Now that you know more than ever what they are capable of we need you all in this fight," Ulaz informed them as he turned his attention to Allura.

 

Even with his sense of logic Lance was still unsure if it would be enough to win Allura over. Her and Shiro had only been arguing if they should trust him on the secret base past the xanthorium cluster. Of course Lance wanted to support Shiro on this but even he was unsure if this was for the best. But in the end the ultimate decision was up to Allura. And that was something that Lance had a hard time seeing her agreeing to.

 


 

 

In hindsight maybe he should have gone with them. Sitting there waiting for Keith and the others to come back was definitely not Lance's cup of tea now that he thought about it. But when the others had requested to go with Shiro and Ulaz he found himself shrinking back at the prospect of extended contact with the other.

 

But it seemed that he wasn’t the only one who knew he was uncomfortable with the situation. As the others began to board Red in preparation to depart Keith stopped Lance in the hangar. Lance raised a questioning eyebrow but Keith said nothing as he faced him and took his hands into his own.

"You don't have to go," Keith murmured in the space between them.

 

Slightly taken aback by his statement Lance tried to find the right words to reply. "I am well aware of the fact but you know its kind of my job. I'll be fine!"

 

The soft sigh Keith let out at Lance's words told him that the other did not believe him in the slightest. Hey a guy could try at least right?

 

"Stay. For me?" And here came the puppy eyes that Lance could never resist from Keith.

 

Huffing Lance pouted by none the less agreed to Keith's request. "Fine but I'm not saving you when things go to hell."

 

Chuckling Keith shook his head fondly while slowly leaning in, eyes trained on Lance's mouth. Seeing his intentions Lance began to shut his eyes while leaning in himself. They were only inches away when the sound of a throat clearing broke them both apart.

 

Glancing over Keith's shoulder while the other turns to look had Lance blushing crimson at what he sees. Shiro is trying to contain his laughter from where he stands in Red's boarding platform. By his side is Ulaz who is examining them with curiosity. However it gets worse when he actually opens his mouth.

 

"I was not aware humans entered in relationships with members of their own sex."

 

And that’s where Shiro lost it as he laughed into his hand. No doubt crimson by this point Lance hid his face in his hands as Keith sputtered. Yep this was embarrassing. But as all good things it had to end sometime as Keith boarded Red and they were off.

 

Back to present time and Lance was regretting not going with them sooner. He was bored out of his mind waiting around the control room with Coran and Allura for any news. Usually he would bother Coran but the other was busy discussing some matters with Allura and he had no desire to interrupt them. So here he was reduced to waiting patiently in his seat for who knows how long for the others to return.

 

However as he sat there he couldn’t help but let his mind wander to Keith and the feeling of his lips on his. It had occurred to him that he hadn't kissed Keith since he went off to the mermaid planet. That was a awful long time for someone like himself who thrived on physical contact. A long time for him to go without feeling the natural warmth that radiated off Keith and the heady look his eyes took on when he kissed Lance.

 

Great and now Lance was thinking about it. Thinking about the feeling of Keith's hands sliding up his legs and pressing into his inner thighs. The feather light kisses that would be trailed up his stomach until he reached his chest. Deft hands coming up to push his legs back and…

 

Lance never got to finish that thought as the castle alarm system began to go off. Well looks like he would have to save his fantasies for another time.

 


 

 

Turns out those xanthorium clusters packed a harder punch than Lance thought. Being jostled around as much as they were was by far not the nicest feeling that was for sure. He could now proudly say he had gotten sore while sitting in a chair. Oh the wonders of fighting an intergalactic war.

 

It was clear the loss of Ulaz had effected Shiro but he wasn’t the one Lance was worried about. No Shiro could manage himself. Instead it was Keith who had him worried. Ever since they had returned from the battle the other had seemed distracted and almost lost. However when asked he had brushed it off as nothing.

 

Keith would tell him if something was wrong right? Lance couldn’t help but frown at the question as he snuggled into said sleeping persons arms. Pressing his ear to the others chest Lance took solace in the sound of his heartbeat as he tried to calm his emotions. He would have to just trust the fact that Keith would tell him if anything was wrong. After all Keith trusted him as well…right?

 

Chapter Text

Exhaustion was a funny thing when Lance thought about it. A word that was a step above tired. Almost like the final boss of a battle if you will. His mother use to say she was exhausted when she was dealing with his sister's rebellious phase coupled with dealing with Lance's rowdy self. As a child he thought it was silly of her to use such a big word. Why not just use tired instead? It wasn't until years later that Lance learned exhaustion was on a whole other spectrum than tired.

 

Right about now Lance could definitely say he knew how his mother felt. They had been up for hours fighting, planning and all sorts of junk without a wink of sleep. Not to mention he was pretty sure he suffered a few bruises in that last fight. His eyes felt like they were going to dry up and fall out of their sockets. Every other sentence he tried to say ended in a yawn while he could feel his shoulder sagging under the weight of his fatigue. He hadn't felt this drained since he had been captured and even then it was a little bit easier to ignore with all the pain he was going through at the same time.

 

However he did notice one thing different about the way this exhaustion was taking its toll on him. One word…irritation. He supposed since he was already so full of trauma when he was captured that he didn’t have any room for the emotion but now that he was back with familiar people and with no way to get away from them for an extended period of time his irritation levels were at an all time high. And worst of all it seemed that all of it was mostly directed at Keith.

 

In the beginning it hadn't started off as irritation with the other but instead worry. After their encounter with Ulaz something seemed different. Keith was more distracted, distant even as Lance would catch him staring off into space more often that not. However whenever he asked Keith only shrugged it off and said he was fine. Surely whatever was bothering Keith couldn’t be bad enough not to share it with Lance.

 

But no matter how many times Lance tried to bring up the subject nothing came of it. He had even taken to trying to catch Keith in any sort of manner that would reveal what was wrong. Sadly though he never succeeded and only received looks from Keith in return. Slowly the worry in Lance began to fester and wilt. But it wasn’t until Lance caught Keith asking about the Blue lion that Lance noticed it. Something in him raised its hackles at that and for the first time in a long while Lance felt himself scowling in irritation at the other.

 

From there the pressure began to sizzle as it was the little things Keith did that irritated Lance. Combine that with his exhaustion as well and you did not have a happy camper. However it seemed Lance wasn’t the only one feeling it as Keith begun to snap at him like the old days. Words short and almost biting as he avoided Lance's questions. Oh it was official he was getting on Lance's nerves. And that little stunt he pulled with the drones and fighter ships did not help his case in the slightest.

 

As soon as Shiro announced a break he was all to glad to get out of Keith's presence. But as he stomped down the hallways with a huff Lance realized he had no idea what to do. Even as exhausted as he was he wasn’t keen on sleeping at that moment. For one it was still technically early and then there was the fact he was pretty much permanently staying in Keith's room. Yeah he wasn’t in the mood to be reminded of the other while sleeping in their shared bed and there was also the risk that Keith had decided to take a nap.

 

Perhaps he should go and see if Coran wanted help. After all the man was in what was simplest terms sick. And yeah while it was kind of gross Lance felt bad for the dude. Especially considering he was constantly cleaning up all their messes without a single complaint.

 

Making his way down to the main turbine Lance was happy to see Coran bustling around while humming to himself when he arrived. Even with the giant puddles on the floor Lance was content to be around the other man. He was the calm in the storm Lance could use right about now.

 

"Need any help?" Lance called to him.

 

Turning around Coran let out a bright smile as he spotted Lance carefully making his way over to him. "Ah Lance! I'm surprised, I thought for sure you would be with Keith right about now."

 

At the mention of the other Lance's mood instantly begun to sour. The one person he was not in the mood to talk about and Coran had already mentioned him. He supposed he should expect no less since they were dating and pretty much attached at the hip but that didn’t mean it sucked any less.

 

Picking up on Lance's mood Coran couldn’t help but tease, "Lovers spat I take it?"

 

His assumption was confirmed when Lance scowled at him while avoiding yet another puddle. This earned a chuckle in response as Coran shook his head in amusement. Reminded him of his teenage years to much not to.

 

"Care to share?" Coran asked as he examined some of the cracked lens stones.

 

If it was anyone else Lance would have brushed it off and kept his feelings to his self. But this was Coran and the man was one of the most understanding people Lance had met in a long time. He always listened and gave great advise as far as Lance was concerned. It was even to his understanding that he had been the one to calm Keith down when he had been gone on his last mission. All the facts combined had Lance leaning against one of the consoles and opening up to the man in a heartbeat.

 

" Do you ever get annoyed with someone for no reason?" Lance asked as he tried to appear casual about the whole situation.

 

Turning to raise an eyebrow at him Coran took a moment to think over the matter. " Well yes and no. I have but at the same time there is usually one thing that sets the rest off."

 

Oh Lance knew what that "one thing" was in his and Keith's relationship. He couldn’t shake the feeling that Keith was hiding something from him. With everything that had happened recently other people might confuse it with exhaustion but Lance knew him better than that. There was something on Keith's mind and he wasn’t telling Lance about it.

 

" I feel like he's hiding something from me," Lance finally admitted.

 

" I see," Coran hummed, " Have you asked him about it?"

 

Frowning at his shoes Lance answered, " I have but he keeps brushing me off. He claims everything's ok but I don’t know Coran."

 

Setting down the lens he was in the process of removing Coran walked/ slid his way to Lance who tried not to cringe at all the sweat he was leaking. It was even harder to hold back the sigh of relief when Coran decided against putting his hand on his shoulder.

 

"Listen I know this must be hard for you but sometimes the best thing is to trust in the ones you love. Difficult paths often lead to many wonderful things. I am sure Keith had his reasons and who knows it may be nothing."

 

Lance didn’t say anything as he thought about Coran's words. So far Keith hadn't done anything to make him doubt his trust in him. But he had been telling Lance whenever something bothered him so why now? Coran was probably right though in the fact that it was nothing but that still didn’t make him feel better for some reason.

 

" I guess your right," he finally conceded.

 

"Glad I could help. Now as much as the assistance would be nice I'm sure you don’t want to waste your off time helping me. There's a pool on the upper decks you should check it out," Coran said while he did his best not to slip on his way back to one of the consoles.

 

Ok Lance felt for Coran and all but the prospect of swimming without having to worry about being chased by brain washed mermaids was all to appealing. Especially considering he hadn't felt the water on his skin due to his suit. If he was lucky even he would have the whole pool to himself. Pidge couldn’t swim so she was out while baking helped clear Hunk's head so there was no doubt where he would be. Allura said she was going to try and rest and lets face it Shiro was a workaholic so the last thing Lance saw him doing was going for a dip. The only one he had to worry about was Keith and even then, come on Keith swimming? Lance would bet a months supply of face masks that Keith and water mixed as well as a cat and a bath.

 

Excusing himself Lance decided to check out this so called pool and if he was lucky maybe he could spend  a few hours avoiding Keith in it. As he neared his room Lance was careful not to make to much noise in case Keith was indeed taking a nap. The last thing he wanted was to explain to the other where he was going in the swim trunks Allura had once provided them all.

 

Quiet as a mouse he slipped into his room and begun to rummage through his storage containers. Rummaging till he was at the bottom Lance beamed as he pulled free a pair of light blue trunks with white markings on the sides. But as he was pulling off his shirt he stopped.

 

He hadn't gone shirtless around the rest of the team since the mirror incident with Keith. That meant it had been quite some time since they had seen his scars or that he had showed them off. And while he could ignore them that didn’t mean everyone else could. What if they were bothered by them? He didn’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable. Maybe this wasn’t a good idea after all.

 

But before he could work himself into a self doubting spiral Coran's words came back to him. "Trust in the ones you love" he had said. Of course he didn’t love the rest of the team like he did Keith but he loved them almost akin to family. He also trusted them which held true to even this moment. It was that trust that had him shedding is clothes and pulling on the trunks. They wouldn’t be grossed out or anything like that he knew them better than that. Plus he doubted he would even see any of them on his way to the elevator anyway.

 

Even as exhausted as he was he couldn’t help the small amount of excitement that coursed through him when he boarded the elevator. In a few moments he would have the pool all to himself. He could already feel the water on his skin as he thought about what kind of laps he should swim. Or maybe he should practice diving if the pool was deep enough.

 

Sadly though all happy plans of his flew out the window as a hand prevented the elevator doors from closing. Raising his tired head up to look Lance's heat sank as he took in the sight of Keith standing in front of him in nothing but a pair of red swim trunks. Oh no this was not happening!

 

"What the heck do you think you're doing?"

 

Realistically he knew what he was doing but a part of Lance was hoping that maybe he was just hot or something. Anything other than going to the pool that Lance had been oh so hoping to have all to himself.

 

Of course his hopes were crushed though when Keith squinted up at him and answered, "Allura said there's a pool. I'm gonna go check it out."

 

Oh why did the universe seem to hate him? Lance could only watch in defeat as Keith boarded the elevator with him. Couldn’t he read the mood dammit and figure out Lance wanted to be alone?

 

"What do you think you're doing?" Keith grumbled as he stood beside the other.

 

Try as he might Lance couldn’t help the sigh that escaped his lips as he answered, "same thing."

 

For a moment everything was silent as the doors closed and the elevator begun to ascend. Lance kept his eyes forward and to himself but that didn’t mean he couldn’t feel Keith side eyeing him. If it wasn't for the patience he trying with desperation to hold on to he would have snapped at Keith to stop staring. All he wanted was to be alone right now but Keith was failing to read the mood.

 

"Look, you stay on one side of the pool and I'll stay on the other, and we'll be far, far away from each other."

 

Ok so it seemed like Keith could read the mood after all and from that mocking tone of his Lance could tell he didn’t care. Typical Keith always bull dozing his way through everything even Lance's wishes. He didn’t say anything back though and merely rolled his eyes. Fine if Keith wanted to be that way then he would be damned sure to stay clear of him. As long as he could get away from him in the next 5 minutes he would be ok.

 

And it was in that very moment that the elevator decided to jerk to a halt as they were plunged into darkness. Life was cruel.

 


 

 

"Sooo…what do you think of Lance and Keith?"

 

Turning from where he was putting his next batch in the oven Hunk raised a eyebrow at Pidge. He had never pegged her for someone interested in their friends relationships. In fact Hunk knew for a fact she did her best to avoid any encounters where she might catch them swapping spit as Shiro had that one time.

 

"I have a few opinions on the matter, why?" Hunk asked as he eyed her with suspicion.

 

Pidge tried to appear nonchalant as she shrugged her shoulders, " Just curious is all."

 

Hunk could clearly seen through her but he didn’t push. Pidge didn’t like to be cornered with her feelings and if she ever was she would shut down and refuse to say anything else on the matter. He had no desire to put her in that position and besides he was curious on how she felt about the matter herself.

 

" Well if you want my honest opinion I think there good for each other. A little gross sometimes but who isn't when their in a relationship? Anyway Lance has a lot of things he struggles with and so does Keith. But together I think they balance it out which is a good thing."

 

Pidge hummed in reply as she pretended to look interested in the ingredients Hunk was using. Believing that was the end of the conversation Hunk turned to check on his first batch but stopped at Pidge's next words.

 

"I want to believe everything will be ok between the two of them but I get worried. I feel like something big is going to happen soon and its going to effect their relationship."

 

Turning back around to regard her Hunk could see she was concerned about this for real. Her eyebrows were drawn together as she stared down at the ground with a frown on her face. If Pidge was worried than maybe something was going to happen. However Hunk couldn’t imagine what would be big enough to tear those two apart.

 

"To be honest Pidge I hate to think what would be so big that would cause a serious problem between those two," Hunk admitted as he shuddered at the thought.

 

"Me to Hunk. Me to."

 


 

 

This. Was. Ridiculous.

 

Like for real what was this suppose to be, "Emperors New groove" or something? If anyone had told him at any time that he would be climbing up a elevator shaft back to back with Keith he would have laughed hysterically. But no here he was trying his best to put one foot in front of the other as he pushed back against Keith. Good thing neither of them were claustrophobic because they had been at this for what seemed like forever.

 

"Dammit Lance it's right, then left for the fifth time." Keith growled as they slid down a little.

 

Oh how he wanted to smack him across the head. It felt like they were back in days where every other word that came out of their mouths was a jab at the other. In all honesty Lance thought they had moved past that but it seemed like he was wrong. Funny what exhaustion and the fact that your boyfriend may be hiding something could do to you.

 

"Just because you have one doesn't mean you need to act like one," Lance grumbled.

 

"I heard that!"

 

You were suppose to!"

 

Groaning in frustration Lance let his head slump forward as he stared at the wall. This wasn’t how he wanted to spend his break time at all. He should have stayed and helped Coran now that he thought about it. By the time they make it out of here it will probably be to late to even swim anyway.

 

As they stuck there though Lance couldn’t help but think of the feeling of Keith's back resting against his own. Smooth, warm skin pressing against his own scarred back had Lance fidgeting the slightest. And the way Keith's arms were intertwined through his own had Lance hyper focused on how close they were. Now that he thought about it if they weren't arguing they could have just stayed in Keith's room and make out for who knows how long. But no here they were stuck in a elevator and bickering.

 

He didn’t even realize he let out a pitiful whimper until Keith opened his mouth. "Would you stop whining?" he sighed as he leaned his head back.

 

But before Lance could fire back a response Keith all of a sudden exclaimed, "Look!"

 

Glancing over his shoulder he could have sobbed at the sight of the emergency hatch that was only a couple of feet above them. If they could just get to that they were home free.

 

From there it was almost a funny sight to see how fast they climbed. Lance couldn’t tell if was from excitement or desperation, all that mattered was that they were almost there. The moment Keith's foot made contact with the grate was the moment Lance felt relief wash over him. "Finally" he thought as Keith entered the vent.

 

That was until they were spit out and thrown to the hard floor. Keith was lucky to land on his butt, Lance on the other hand though not so much. He winced as his wrist took the brunt of the fall along with his face next. Groaning he looked up only to have his hopes crushed even further as of course the pool was upside down. Why couldn’t he have something nice for once dammit?

 

However he didn’t get a chance to dwell any further on it as his face was quickly cradled in a pair of calloused, warm hands. Leaning in Keith's eyes roamed over his face as his fingers pressed along Lance's jaw.

 

"You're not hurt are you?" he asked as he turned Lance's face which way and that.

 

Snapping out of it and realizing what was happening Lance yanked his head from Keith's hands as he scooted back from the other. Wrong move it seemed though as Keith seemed to not like that one bit.

 

"What's your problem?" Keith growled.

 

"My problem? What's your problem mullet head?" OK not the best comeback but hey Lance was not the most alert right now ok.

 

"Oh so we're back to childish insults now? Why have you had such a shitty attitude towards me lately?" Keith asked, clearly frustrated.

 

"Oh don’t act like you don’t know!" Lance challenged as he crossed his arms defensively.

 

" No I don’t know Lance! Whatever the hell I did that is bothering you I have no clue about because you keep bottling up all your fucking emotions!"

 

This got Lance's hackles raising as he glared at the other. "Well sorry I'm worried about you and cant stand the fact that you may be hurting and not even telling me. But I guess its ok for you to keep secrets but accuse me of bottling everything up," Lance fumed as he clenched his fists. He swore he was this close to smacking Keith.

 

However instead of more arguing or yelling Lance was shocked to see all the tension drain out of Keith as he looked at Lance with confusion. His head was tilted slightly to the side as he regarded Lance with a quizzical brow.

 

"Is this what this is about? You think I'm hiding something from you?"

 

"Well yeah aren’t you?" Even as the words left Lance's mouth he could feel the heat falling way and becoming painted with confusion of his own.

 

"No not that I know of," Keith answered as he continued to frown.

 

Ok now this was embarrassing. Yeah should have listened to Coran on this one. "Oh I thought- well I thought with how you were acting since that whole thing with Ulaz that something must be bothering you," Lance admitted as he uncrossed his arms and instead fiddled with his fingers sheepishly.

 

"Ah sorry about that. I've had a lot on my mind and didn't realize I was getting distant. I'm sorry," Keith said as he rubbed the back of his neck, embarrassed at how it had escalated so far.

 

"Oh its ok. I shouldn't have jumped to conclusions."

 

For a moment things were awkward as they both sat their in silence, neither of them looking at each other. But someone had to break the silence and in this case it was Keith as he was still concerned about the fall they had just took.

 

"You sure you're ok?" he asked as he scooted closer to Lance.

 

Turning his gaze back to the other Lance blushed as he looked everywhere but Keith. "Yeah I'm good. Disappointed about the pool but other than that I'll be fine."

 

"Yeah shame about that," Keith agreed as he looked at the upside down pool.

 

However Lance was no longer paying attention to that monstrosity. No instead his gaze was now focused on Keith's lips as he spoke. What he couldn’t help it. With all the crap that had been happening they hadn't kissed since he went to save the mermaids and all that. That was a long time in Lance's opinion who at the same time also craved physical contact.

 

"What should we do now?"

 

It was only but sheer luck that he had been able to look away before Keith turned and caught him. He was so caught up he almost missed the question he had asked him to. In all honesty though he didn’t know what to say though. On one hand he could suggest a nice long nap since they both needed it but the more hormonal side of Lance was practically begging him ask for a kiss. But as he sat there and thought about it he decided fuck it. If Keith could be bold so could he.

 

"Um well we haven't you know…kissed in a long time so maybe-" Lance trailed off as he could feel Keith staring at him. Geez how did he make this seem so easy? All he wanted was a kiss man and he could barely even ask for it.

 

Lucky for him though Keith was many things but he wasn't cruel. Chuckling Keith reached out and begun to pull Lance unto his lap as he replied, "Yeah well why don’t we change that."

 

And oh lordy Lance felt like a Katy Perry song at that very moment. The way Keith's fingers carded through his hair before cradling his face made Lance shudder as if cold. That was nothing compared to the blush that spread across his face though when he realized Keith had maneuvered him to where he was straddling his lap. Knees on either side of him Lance stuck his hands out to steady himself on Keith's shoulders while the other let his hands come to rest on his hips.

 

Without his gloves Lance could feel every callous on his hands as Keith let his hands rest softly on his bony hips. A fact that had Lance trembling and Keith smiling up at him. "I thought you wanted to kiss me?" Keith teased as he gazed up at him.

 

Growing even hotter Lance managed to squeak back, "I never said that!"

 

"Ah come on! I want to be kissed by you first for once," Keith pouted as he did his best puppy eyes on Lance. Puppy eyes he knew Lance couldn't resist.

 

Silently cursing that and the fact that Keith had a point Lance took a deep breath. Seeing how nervous the other was Keith decided to take pity and shut his eyes in a show of support. A action that Lance was quite grateful for as it made the act way less embarrassing. Ok now was his time to shine as he began to shut his eyes while leaning down.

 

The first contact of his lips on Keith's had him sighing and melting a little bit. He didn’t think he could ever get tired of this for as long as he lived. However he was snapped out of it when he realized Keith wasn’t moving his lips. In fact they were perfectly still as was the rest of him. It took him a moment but Lance realized not only did Keith want him to be the one to initiate the kiss but to take the lead as well. Of course he was such a huge tease.

 

Mustering up what he could of his courage and lets face it lack of experience Lance slowly begun to move his lips against the other. All he had to go off of was the way Keith kissed him and that was not easy in itself. But it seemed he wasn't doing a bad job as Keith was responding even if it was soft and slow.

 

Determined to get to react to him like he made Lance in the past he begun to nibble on Keith's lips. Letting his tongue swipe at the bottom of Keith's lip before he sucked it between his teeth. As he kissed him though he didn’t realize that Keith's hands were starting to tighten on his hips. It wasn’t until Lance was starting to give up and he bit Keith's lower lip in a last ditch effort did Keith really snap though.

 

The effect was almost immediate as Keith pushed back against Lance hungrily. Swallowing the shocked gasp the other let out Keith ran his hands down Lance's hips until they were resting on his thighs. Without breaking the lip lock that they were in Keith pulled Lance even closer as he gripped his thighs tightly. Moaning at the feeling Lance couldn’t get his arms wrapped around Keith's neck and his hands in his hair fast enough.

 

It was official none of the girls Keith had messed around with in the past ever made him feel like this. Feel like he was on fire and the only thing that could put it out was Lance's lips and touch. He could get drunk on this he just knew it.

 

Separating only long enough to take in the rosy faced Lance, Keith set his eyes on his neck next. Leaning in Keith begun to mouth at his pulse point while Lance gasped at the feeling. Fingers tightening in Keith's hair Lance unconsciously turned his head for better access. This only served to stir Keith up more as he begun to suck as Lance let out a whimper.

 

Satisfied with the mark that was starting to bloom Keith continued on to where he would leave a mark on the juncture of between Lance's neck and shoulder as well as his collar bone. Lance meanwhile was starting to become a boneless mess as he looked down at Keith with hazy eyes. Little did he know though was that Keith wasn’t done yet.

 

Leaning forward Keith let his tongue swipe over one of Lance's nipples while the other yelped in surprise. Smirking Keith didn’t waste any time as he pulled the soft bud between his teeth and begun to suck. The effect was instantaneous as Lance arched into him and let out a moan.

 

"Ah- Keith-mph," Lance bit his lip to somewhat silence his moans but this only spurred Keith on more as one hand came up to pinch the other while his other hand teased at the hem of Lance's trunks. At this rate Lance was only moments from popping a full blown boner.

 

But as all good things it had to come to a end as the ship was hit and begun to shake. Both retched apart in time for the water to swallow them and spit them both out again. Yeah life hated Lance that was for sure.

 


 

 

Aside from the part where he was hanging upside down and fried Lance was doing pretty good. They had finally managed to make a successful jump far away enough that it would take Zarkon at least a little while to find them. Perhaps now he could get some proper sleep.

 

He was surprised though when the rest had revealed that this had been going on for quite awhile. For a minute he was afraid he was the cause but after they all had explained that no it had been happening since the wormhole incident he was relieved. Of course it still sucked that they were in this situation but he didn’t know what he would have done if it was his fault.

 

But even though they were in this crappy situation he had faith that they would get through it. If he had learned anything it was to trust in his friends and Keith. They would be fine, they had to be.

 

As for the matter of that heated make out session in pool room, well that was something they would have to discuss later. With all they had been through it wasn’t a conversation that couldn’t wait. As it stood both were way to tired to even continue where they left off. And to be honest Lance would probably have to take some time to think if this pace was right or not. But that was a thought for when he wasn’t dead tired.

 

But one thing did bother him, it was the comment Keith made to the rest of them after they had all changed and met up again. He believed he was the reason Zarkon was tracking them so easily. A thought had he most definitely not shared with Lance. But then again Lance couldn’t really fault him as he technically wasn’t hiding it from any of them. In fact they weren't even sure Keith's theory was true. Well whatever the case may be they would figure it out.

 

For now the most important thing was sleep, after all they were heading to Taujeer tomorrow to kick some Galra butt. And it was with that thought that Lance finally was able to get some sleep. However if he had known what was truly bothering Keith he would have never let it go. He would have confronted him instead of believing what the other said. And maybe if he wasn’t so tired he could have felt Keith awaken with nightmare and leave. If only he had done those things then maybe he wouldn’t have awoken to an empty bed and felt his heart start to bleed.

 

Chapter Text

Sitting in the dark of his room. His knife in his hand as purple markings glowed back at him. An alarm buzzing, shattering the calm as it went. Red's eyes glowing purple with the echoes of growls around them. The marching of familiar suits of gray. Betrayal staring back at him as Lance's backed away further into his cell. The weight of armor pressing down on him as he tried to run. A voice erupts while a familiar pair of glowing purple eyes stare back at him.

 

"I can find you anywhere."

 

Bolting up in bed Keith could feel the air rush from his lungs as he struggled to breathe. The sound of his gasping and painting filled the otherwise silent room. No not completely quiet. Turning to look down Keith's face softened when he took in the still sleeping Lance beside him. Curled on his side away from Keith as his breathing came out slow and even. Heavy bags still sat under his eyes while a small puddle of drool had formed under his cheek. A testament to how tired the other was.

 

Being as quiet as he possibly could he turned to retrieve his knife from where he had took to wedging it between the mattress and wall. Ever since Lance had started staying with him he had taken it upon himself to move it from under his pillow to there. Less questions that he had no answers to that way.

 

Gazing down at it he couldn’t help the sense of unease that washed over him. The markings on it resembled the ones on Ulaz's blade perfectly. A ceremonial blade that was exclusive to The Blades of Mamora, a group of Galra defectors. He had it all his life while the Blade of Mamora had been around for centuries apparently. No memory of his mother while little of his father. The implications were to great to the point it made Keith sick to think about.

 

But that’s wasn’t what had him concerned at the moment. No it was the words Zarkon spoke in his dream. What if Zarkon really was tracking him through the knife? What if it was him the whole time? There had to be a way to confirm this and if the others wouldn’t help then he would have to go it alone.

 

Pulling on his boots as quick as possible he stood before he began to gather his things. He had no idea how long this would take and he needed to be ready in case this was a long run thing. As soon as he was finished packing his belongings he turned to where Lance was still peacefully sleeping on the bed. Completely unaware of Keith's intentions. It pained him to think of it but Keith knew that if he asked Lance would go with him without hesitation. All he would have to do would be to reach over, shake the other awake and explain the whole situation in which Lance wouldn’t even hesitate to accompany him. But he couldn’t do that. He couldn’t ask Lance to run away with him in order to confirm some theory. A theory that might possibly be true and put Lance in a very dangerous situation. That was something Keith refused to take a chance on.

 

Sighing in resignation at the situation Keith quietly approached the bed. Being careful as he leaned over not to disturb Lance he took in the sight of the other sleeping. Even when he had left the bed Lance hadn't reacted in the slightest. Instead he continued to sleep with content, a grand show to how tired the other was.

 

Taking a moment he let his thumb brush over the deep bags under Lance's eyes. Even with drool leaking out of his mouth Lance was still very attractive. Or maybe it was Keith either way he didn’t care. Leaning down he pressed a soft tender kiss to the others cheek. Pulling back he felt his heart clench the slightest as Lance continued to sleep on. Blissfully unaware that Keith was about to leave for who knows how long.

 

Taking one last mournful look at the sleeping boy Keith took his leave and begun to make his way to where he kept his paladin armor. He was quick as he pulled on his suit and armor but also tried to make as little noise as possible. There was not telling if anyone else was awake at this time and the last thing he needed was for someone to catch him.

 

Once he arrived at the hangar where the pods were located he took a moment to calm himself. So he was really going to do this? A part of him screamed that this was a horrible plan and that he was risking everything with it but he pushed it down. He needed to know and if it was him he didn’t want to be putting the team at risk anymore.

 

But before he could get to the pod the sound of the door hissing open behind him had him bolting to take cover behind its boosters. Crouching down low he was surprised to see Allura enter the room, in full armor herself no less. Watching her closely he raised an eyebrow as she approached the pod and begun to climb inside. Well he couldn’t just let her fly off now could he?

 

Revealing himself he couldn’t help but feel a little amused as she fell into his arms in shock then jumped straight out before he could even blink. Definitely not one of those stereotypical Princesses'. However his amusement quickly turned to sheepishness as she begun to interrogate him. Which was to be expected since it was pretty obvious that he was up to no good.

 

"I have to know if Zarkon is tracking me," he finally admitted.

 

Raising an eyebrow Allura crossed her arms as she studied him for a moment. " So you were just going to fly off without telling anyone, without telling Lance?"

 

Bristling at her words Keith turned on her, "Oh like your not doing the same?"

 

At least she had sense to look a little guilty as her expression softened. "Yes but I'm not in a relationship with someone who deeply cares about me."

 

And there she went sucker punching him in the gut. Of course he didn’t want to not tell Lance but he also didn’t want to bring him into this. He had no desire to put him in danger by bringing him along nor did he want the rest of the team to blame Lance for not telling them. No he couldn’t tell him, it was for his own good.

 

" Allura I can't involve him in this. It's to dangerous and I don’t want to put him in that position."

 

For a moment Allura said nothing as she regarded him with an unreadable expression. At first Keith was afraid that she would try to stop him which if she did he was prepared to do his best convincing her otherwise. But the words that left her mouth next were not at all what he expected.

 

"Well if you are going to do this then I'm coming with you," she announced.

 

Ok yeah that wasn’t what he was expecting at all.

 


 

 

Something was off. To much space, not enough heat. Why couldn’t he feel that familiar weight that always surrounded him? Slowly coming to consciousness Lance frowned at the lack of warmth that he usually felt. Keith was practically a heater so why did he feel so cold? Sitting in up in confusion Lance looked over to where Keith would be sleeping only to have his heart sink at the empty bed beside him.

 

Reaching out to feel the unoccupied space he was puzzled to find it cold. It was almost as if no one had slept here for hours. Frowning he pulled himself out of bed and begun to pull on his clothes. No need to start panicking, Keith probably went to go train or woke up hungry. It wasn’t the first time after all but as Lance exited the room a small part reminded him that Keith always told him before leaving.

 

Padding to the training room he entered with a grin on his face only to have it fall at the sight of no one in there. Taking a deep breath to calm himself he decided to try the kitchen next. However when he arrived there was no one there but Hunk.

 

"Hey Hunk has Keith by any chance come through here? I can't find him anywhere," he asked.

 

Turning from where he was washing plates Hunk shook his head. "Sorry but I don't think so. Have you checked the changing room?"

 

Of course the changing room! Lance wouldn’t be surprised if he was down there checking on his armor after yesterdays battle. It was no secret Keith liked to keep his armor nice especially in case of an upcoming battle. Sometimes he would head to his private changing room that each paladin got just to clean the stupid thing. Something about not wanting it to get dusty even though that was not possible with all the action they were constantly seeing.

 

Thanking Hunk and taking his leave Lance begun to head down there. However he was disappointed when he took in the empty room. If he wasn’t here, then just where in the world where was he? The only place he could think was either with Red or Shiro. Turning to head back up and perhaps ask Shiro Lance froze in place when he took in the stand where Keith's armor usually sat.

 

It was empty even though Lance knew Keith always put his armor there. Feeling his heart start to sink in dread Lance sprinted all the way back to Keith's room. Maybe he had come down and moved it to his room to shine it or something. Yeah he had probably just missed Keith when he went to talk to Hunk. However when he reached his room it was empty. No sign of Keith or his armor anywhere. In fact as Lance yanked open Keith's storage unit to check he found it to be empty.

 

Now there was no stopping the panic that rushed over him at the implications. This wasn’t good at all. Wasting not time he raced to the control room where Shiro had asked them all the meet that morning, he almost slammed into the door as it slowly opened for him. Bursting in he took in the sight of everyone's surprised faces as they all looked at him in concern as well. However he didn’t even pause long enough to answer Shiro's question of if he was ok before he was right in front of the other.

 

"Shiro, Keith is gone! I can't find him anywhere, we have to find him. Please tell me you've seen him!" He babbled.

 

Putting a calming hand on his shoulder Shiro attempted to calm him down. "Lance calm down, its ok were going to figure this out. First are you sure he's gone?"

 

Nodding his head frantically Lance answered, 'Yes, his armor is gone and so is his belongings."

 

"Come to think of it I haven't seen Allura either," Pidge added as she scanned the room as if she would all of a sudden pop up.

 

But maybe it wasn’t the smartest thing to say as it made Lance panic even more. So not only was Keith gone but Allura? This situation was getting worse and worse.

 

"It appears one of the pods launched in the middle of the night," Coran suddenly spoke up.

 

Relief washed over Lance as he was directed to sit in his seat by Shiro before the rest of them took their seats. It wasn't exactly the news Lance wanted but at least it was a start. But that did explain why the bed was cold that morning. Keith must have snuck out in the middle of the night while Lance slept on without a care in the world. If only he hadn't been so dead to the world as he was he might have been able to stop Keith.

 

However there was another small fact that was bothering Lance. Not only had Keith left but also Allura? Now he by no way thought that it was some midnight tryst or anything. Keith wasn't the type to pull something like that and besides if he wanted to be with Allura he would have pursued her in the first place instead of Lance. Allura on the other hand seemed not at all interested in a romance with any of them at the moment. Not to mention Lance could see her being filled with righteous anger at the prospect of a cheating Keith. But even with all of that established that still didn’t explain what they were doing together.

 

"Contact that pod," Shiro interrupted his thoughts. Well at least one of them knew what to do.

 

However the ensuing conversation did nothing to reassure Lance. In fact it only led something deep within him to fester and twist. Insecurities rearing back their ugly heads as Allura did most of the talking. He supposed what she was saying made sense but the fact remained that they both left in the middle of the night without saying a word to any of them.

 

"If Zarkon does find us, I can pilot us safety."

 

Lance perked up at the sound of Keith's voice as the other continued to speak. He was wondering why he hadn't chimed in anything when Allura had done her explaining. But now that Lance could hear his voice perhaps he could demand an explanation. Demand to know why he couldn’t trust him with this. But before he could even utter a word they were hit by something as everything rocked.

 

Allura's questioning of what was happening was cut off as they flew to now what was Taujeer. The whole while Lance could feel the dread in his stomach growing bigger and bigger.

 


 

 

Doing his best to reel in his emotions Keith forced himself to remain calm as the communications with the rest of the team cut out. Everything would be ok it was probably nothing. A rough patch in space or something of the nature. Besides if they really were the ones Zarkon was using as a tracker than it was safer if they stayed away for now.

 

"Forgive me Keith if I am being to nosy but I must know," Allura interrupted the silence, shifting in her seat, "how are you going to explain all of this to Lance?"

 

Well that for certain was not what he was expecting. Out of everyone else on the team Allura seemed less inclined to investigate his love life. She hadn't even asked about most things like the others did. Which Keith didn’t mind at all since it could be a little overwhelming at times.

 

Taking the time to think over it Keith chose his words carefully as he spoke, " Well I suppose I'll tell him what I told you in the hangar if he asks. That I didn't want him to have to also bear the responsibility of this nor did I want to endanger him. But Lance is smarter than that, I'm sure he knows already."

 

"I can see where you are coming from on this. I fear that involving Lance might have not been this best choice when considering the possibilities. I'm sure if you have to explain yourself to him he will agree as well. After all we need to know if it is one of use, we face such a dire threat from the Galra that anything else isn't an option."

 

While Keith agreed with her the last part had him frowning. While yes that was true it couldn't hold weight for every Galra out there. Voicing this he wasn’t surprised as they begun to debate the topic. Allura firm in her belief that no Galra was good and Keith having the smallest sliver of hope that some out there were.

 

"I'm surprised that you out of all people would believe in this. Even after everything they have done to Shiro, to Lance. Do you really think that a race of people willing to do things like that has good in it? And if there is, they have had 10,000 years to take down Zarkon. I would never count on them for help."

 

Keith said nothing to this as he thought of the viewpoint she was coming from. If she was right perhaps it was for the best if didn’t say anything to Lance on the whole part of his theory.

 


 

Lance was trying to stay focused he really was but his mind kept drifting back to Allura and Keith. On what they were doing now and if they were safe. What if something had happened after they lost contact with them? He couldn’t stand the thought of them getting captured by Zarkon while they worked on helping the Taujeerians.

 

Another part of Lance begun to think of the implications of Keith not even saying a word to him about this. Why out of all the people had he chose Allura to be his partner in crime on this. Realistically he knew it was because she to thought she was being tracked but still he could have told Lance something. Hell he could have least left a note dammit instead of letting Lance wake up cold and confused.

 

Scowling at the memory he froze another crack over with a little more force than necessary. He and Keith would for sure have to have a talk about this once this was all over.

 


 

What if they couldn’t go back? Sitting there for the hours that they had been already Keith had the time to think of that possibility. If they were the ones Zarkon was tracking them through then that meant they would be a danger to the rest of the team. There was no telling how he was doing it and it would take who knows how long to find a way to stop it.

 

If it was him he didn’t think he would go back. He couldn’t put them at risk like that. Especially Lance. No he would rather spend the rest of his life running then endanger him. He promised he would keep him safe and that was what he would do. Besides if his knife was where he thought it was from then it may not be the best option to return.

 

~

OK now he was pissed. The quiznacking ship was sliding closer and closer to the acid with Hunk as the only thing keeping it from going any faster. Their jaw blades weren't the best thing to take down entire Galra ships in a quick manner. That stupid ion cannon kept ripping apart the seams he and Pidge had worked so hard on. Oh and Keith and Allura still weren't here even though Coran had called for them.

 

Growling in frustration he blasted yet another rock away from Hunk and the Ark. If they lost all these innocent people to Keith and Allura's stupid decision he was going to kill someone. They should have consulted with the rest of the team. Planned this one a day they weren't planning on heading to a planet with potential Galra threats that turned out to be all to real. Fuck, Keith should have trusted him!

 

The only saving grace they had right now was the fact that Hunk had unlocked one of his lions new abilities. If it wasn't for that there was no way the ark was going to make it. But this only opened up a whole new can of worms as he glanced up at the ship from where he was helping with pushing the ark back. His heart sunk as he took in the sight of the ion cannon preparing to fire on them. They had already fixed the damn thing and here they were down here defenseless.

 

That was until he spotted an all to familiar Red form streaking toward them. Oh good, looks like he would alive to rip Keith a new one.

 


 

 

To be honest he had no idea how they even formed Voltron with how irritated he was with Keith. He had pushed most of it down in order for it to happen but for a moment he was afraid that even that wouldn’t be enough. But against all odds they had done it even if Lance could sense the bond was a bit uneasy. And it seemed like he wasn’t the only one as everyone was silent on the way back to the hangars.

 

Shit even with their apologies and the revelation that it was the Black lion who Zarkon was using to track them, Lance was still angry. So far Keith had apologized to the team, not him specifically. Weren't you suppose to make sure you significant other was ok before anything else? Or did he think that Lance was cool with it? Cause if so he had another thing coming.

 

Being as such during the whole space pirates conversation he made sure to stand as far away from Keith as possible. Any closer and he feared he would smack the other upside the head. No until Keith said something to him first Lance was not going to indulge him in anything. Why should he have to be the first one to approach Keith when the other had been the one to run off without even a word?

 

It may have been cruel but Lance couldn’t deny the vindictive side of him purred in pleasure when he took in the disappointed face Keith shot him when he called shotgun. From the looks of it he wanted to sit with Lance in the pod while they made their journey to the trading hub. Well no way in hell was Lance in the mood for that as he jumped into the seat. No he was all to happy keeping to himself at the moment thank you very much.

 

If anything his mood was improved though when realized instead of some shady pirate hub they were basically at the equivalent of a mall. Maybe while he was here he could find something sparkly for Allura that he had teased at. After all it wasn’t her he was made at, well at least not anymore.

 

Chunking his disguise in the trash he begun to head off on his own but stopped at the hand that wrapped around his wrist. Turning around he wasn’t surprised to see Keith attached to said hand. Was he ready to finally began explaining himself? Because if so Lance was all ears. But the words that left Keith's mouth next were not at all what Lance wanted to hear at the very moment.

 

" Hey I was thinking, maybe just you and I could look together?" Keith asked with an almost hopeful look on his face.

 

For a split second Lance almost gave in and said yes. Almost let himself be pulled in by Keith's warm smile and what could only be described as a date. Oh the prospect of actually going on a date with Keith was all to enticing. Yes he knew they were suppose to be looking for the lenses but that didn’t mean they couldn’t have fun. Walk around and window shop, try stuff on just for the hell of it, be each others company because that was what couples were suppose to do.

 

But couples were also suppose to trust each other and it was with that thought that Lance gingerly pulled his wrist free. "Sorry but Pidge and I agreed to look together."

 

Raising a disbelieving eyebrow Keith looked between the two of them, clearly not convinced. Ok Lance could see why as it would be weird for Pidge and him to spend quality time together. But Hunk had already wandered away and plus Pidge did make good company. She was also brilliant so she had to have picked up on the vibe Lance was trying to send her. Looking to her Lance prayed that she played along and didn’t deny the claim.

 

To his relief though it seemed she was willing to play along surprisingly. "Yeah sorry Keith but I claimed him first so maybe another time," She said as she pushed her glasses up.

 

He would for certain have to thank Pidge later for catching on and deciding to play along. She could have easily denied it as there wasn’t anything in it for her. But yet her she was taking his side which he could not be any more grateful for. However when he turned to Keith once again he couldn't help the slight guilt that shot through him. The other was looking at him with what could only be described as frustration and remorse.

 

"I see," was all he had to say in reply as he half walked half stormed off. Well at least he wasn’t completely angry Lance reasoned as he sighed.

 

Casting a glance at Lance Pidge began to walk in the opposite direction, calling over her shoulder, " You coming or what Lance?"

 

Perking up at her words Lance jogged to catch up and fell into step beside her. They walked in silence for a few moments as they each tried to look for the lenses. But neither of them were motivated and so ended up walking around browsing. But Lance was content with this. They may not be talking but Pidge's presence was comforting.

 

But the silence did not last as Pidge spoke up, " I still haven't gotten my thank you for earlier."

 

Casting a glance at her Lance could see she was somewhat serious as she continued to walk, an almost bored expression on her face.

 

"Oh uh sorry. Thanks though for catching on to that."

 

Turning her head to look at him Pidge cast him an almost worried look. "Lance don't you think you should have maybe given him a chance just now?"

 

Frowning Lance shrugged his shoulders as he tried to appear nonchalant about the current issue. To be honest he didn’t want to talk about it at the moment and besides he didn’t want to saddle Pidge with his emotional relationship baggage. Catching on to his mood Pidge sighed before turning her attention forward again.

 

"Look Lance I'm not saying that you don't have the right to be angry but maybe-" The rest of what she was going to say was cut off though as she stopped dead in her tracks. Confused Lance stopped to and turned to look at Pidge who was staring wide eyed at something. Concerned he glanced around but didn’t see anything alarming.

 

"Pidge whats wr-" He didn’t get the chance to finish he sentence though as he was all of a sudden pulled along by a squealing Pidge.

 

" It’s the Mercury Gameflux Two! Lance we have to have it!"

 

Being yanked to a stop Lance looked up in confusion at what could only be described as some shop that looked like it was stuck in what was the 80s on earth. Raising an eyebrow Lance turned to look at Pidge who was currently gushing over the console that was clutched in her small hands. Well nice to see that she was still into things like gaming.

 

He was however not prepared for the next words that left her mouth, "How much is this?" she asked the shop keeper.

 

Ok when he mentioned window shopping earlier he meant to look and not buy. But here they were with Pidge seeming to be serious in buying this console. How the hell were they going to buy something when they didn’t have any money? Coran had some he knew but Lance doubted the other would fork it over for something like that.

 

It seemed though that this was a hurdle Pidge was going to conquer no matter what as she seized Lance's arm and started to drag him away again. "We're going to go find some money!" she proclaimed as she dragged Lance through the mall.

 

If it wasn't for images of his niece's and nephews doing the same thing flashing before him Lance would have protested. Sometimes Lance forgot that she was only 14 and still much a child. She still got excited for things like this and who was Lance to deny her? Smiling Lance let her drag him along as he prepared himself for what was going to be a long hunt for cash. But for Pidge, anything.

 


 

 

Grumbling to himself Keith continued to stomp off. He knew Lance would want an explanation and he was prepared to give it. In fact he was hoping to get him alone to explain everything to him and maybe have a nice date. But no he didn’t even give him as a chance as he used Pidge as an excuse to get away from him. And what was with that little gremlin helping Lance in the first place? She was to clever not to know Keith's plan so why did she intervene?

 

Huffing in irritation he begun to walk faster as he looked for anything to distract him. Anything that would take his mind off Lance. As much as he wanted to go find the other he knew this wasn’t the best place to discuss anything. He knew his limits with Lance and in their current state he would only end up making Lance upset who in turn would make him upset. No it was best to give him space and hope that whatever Pidge must have been planning worked.

 

Lucky for him though he didn’t have to look far for a distraction. Stopping in his tracks Keith eyed the stand where he could see some alien doing tricks with a knife while trying to sell the product. From what Keith could see he was quite skilled with the knife and seemed to have a good knowledge about the blade itself.

 

While it may not be ideal maybe he would know something about the knife. This was another problem he needed to tackle. If he did this it may answer some of his questions. Questions that could effect the whole team and his relationship with Lance.

 


 

 

OK this might not be the way he had planned to gather money but he couldn't deny the fact that it was effective. It seemed throwing coins in a fountain was a universal wide thing as yet another coin landed in the water. Leaning down Lance was quick to snatch it up. By this time his pockets were sagging down from all the coins in his pocket. Didn’t have they have a coinstar or something here?

 

"So normally I wouldn’t be doing this but lets talk about you and Keith's problem," Pidge all of a sudden said as she searched for more coins.

 

Surprised but regaining his cool Lance shrugged his shoulders in frustration. "What's there to talk about?"

 

"Lance come one. You're not kidding anyone, spill."

 

Sighing Lance resolved himself to the fact that this wasn’t up for debate. OK he could have been less obvious but he wasn’t looking to talk about it. But then again maybe this would be good for him.

 

"I'm angry that he didn't even bother to tell me anything. I trust him with everything and yet he can't trust me with something like this," Lance admitted as he pulled out another coin.

 

"While that may be true to some degree Keith didn’t exactly tell anyone else. Not even Shiro who’s like family to him."

 

A part of Lance wanted to bristle at her words but he stopped himself and thought about it from a logical point of view. He could see her point but still he was Keith's boyfriend dammit.

 

" Yeah but we're dating. That has to count for something," Lance shot back.

 

Pidge hummed in reply as she waded farther into the fountain. At first Lance thought that would be the end of it but she once again spoke up. "Lance you may not like what I'm about to say next but the truth is I can relate to Keith on this on some level."

 

Yeah Lance did not like that one bit. It was more out of one those angry I don’t want to hear it moods than him being mad at Pidge though. Like when someone has a valid point but you just want them to agree with you for once. But of course Pidge wasn’t the type of person to do that. Besides maybe she did have some words of wisdom for him.

 

Seeing that Lance was reluctantly listening she continued to speak, "Coming from a different perspective if it was my brother I wouldn't tell him either. But not because I don't trust him because lets face it I trust him more than anyone."

 

"Its more for the fact that I wouldn't want to put him in that situation. He's my brother and I know for a fact he would try to help but I would be afraid he would get hurt. Not only that but even if I knew he would stay behind him I wouldn’t want him to lie for me. It wouldn’t be fair to him in my opinion," Pidge explained as she took a moment to watch the expressions that flashed across Lance's face.

 

First came thoughtfulness as he thought of what she had said. Then came a tinge of slight guilt as Lance bit his lip but it was replaced in a flash but stubbornness. However Pidge wasn’t surprised, Lance was in that mood where he still wanted to be a little mad and it would take a little more from her to change that. But that was ok, she didn’t mind plus they still were short some money.

 

"Yeah but I trusted him with the mermaid situation. I was so close to just leaving and taking care of it but I stopped and told him because I trusted him and his opinion," Lance huffed in frustration as he snatched yet another coin from the floor.

 

Taken aback Pidge blinked in surprise. She had no idea Lance had intended to leave without saying anything himself. In his case she could see how he might have thought it was the right thing but she was happy that he had decided not to. Who knows what might have happened if he would have tried to go it alone.

 

"I can see why that may bother you Lance but have you thought that maybe you and Keith may show your trust in different ways?" she tentatively asked.

 

Scowling Lance shot her a quick glance before continuing his search, " And what is that suppose to mean?"

 

"What I mean is that maybe Keith trusts your feelings in him and that you would understand," she informed him.

 

This got Lance bristling in anger this time as he rounded on her, "That’s stupid! Why would he even think that way?" Lance challenged as he glared at her.

 

Raising an eyebrow Pidge held her hands up in a calming gesture before speaking. " Lance everyone acts stupid when they are in love, but in my opinion that’s one of the things that makes it real."

 

This seemed to take Lance aback as he looked at her in an almost lost fashion. Like a little kid being told something was impossible when they thought it was possible the whole time.

 

"But-I-" Lance started but Pidge gently cut him off before he could think of anymore excuses.

 

"Word of advice Lance, you shouldn’t let something like this divide the two of you and turn into an argument. Instead you should discuss it because in the end this should be about what is right and not who was right."

 

And with that it seemed like all the built up tension in Lance began to drain out as he sagged down. A shy thoughtful look on his face as he regarded the water below him. Who knew Pidge could be this wise? Everything she said seemed to make sense when Lance thought about it. There was a better way to go about this and he for certain wasn’t.

 

"Thanks Pidge, you've given me a lot to think about," Lance shyly admitted as he fiddled with his fingers.

 

Smiling Pidge shrugged her shoulders before replying, "Anytime. So how much money do we have?"

 


 

 

Ok so running away from a mall cop on a cow was not exactly the way Lance had thought their little journey would end but it could have been worse. Coran had gotten the lenses which they so desperately needed. Hunk had got to actually cook something for once and had people love it which was always a plus in Lance's book. And not only had Pidge and he acquired enough money to buy the gaming console but they had gotten a free cow! Like how bad ass was that?

 

The only part that sucked was when Pidge pulled out the console and they both realized they had no idea how to hook the thing up. Its not like they had a spare earth TV lying about. But with all the effort they went through to buy the stupid thing there was no way in hell they were going to give in so easily. However as they sat there and talked of how they were going to get this thing hooked up, something evolving the castle display system and some crossed circuits, Keith approached them.

 

"Lance I need to talk to you," he said as he looked between Pidge and him.

 

There was no question what he wanted to talk about but now that the time had come Lance wasn’t sure if he was ready. His talk with Pidge had given him a lot to think about. Was he even ready to talk about this? Glancing to Pidge though he was given his answer when she spoke up.

 

"Go on Lance, we can always figure out how to get this thing hooked up another day," she reassured him as she begun to pack away the console.

 

Well it seemed like the situation was out of his hands as Lance stood up from his seat on the ground. Following Keith out of the room Lance cast once last look at Pidge over his shoulder who in turn shot him a reassuring smile as well as thumbs up. Well if she believed everything was going to be ok Lance supposed he shouldn't be so worried.

 

Following Keith Lance realized the other was leading him to his room. Stopping in front of the door Lance watched in hesitation as Keith entered and pulled off his boots and jacket before sitting on the bed. Looking up at him Keith raised an eyebrow as if to ask if he was coming or not.

 

Taking a deep breath Lance stepped into the room and tried not to flinch when the door shut behind them. Now they were officially alone with a quite a lot hanging in the air that they needed to discuss. Taking his time Lance toed off his shoes before setting them next to Keith's at the foot of the bed. Almost in a shy manner he made his way to Keith's side before sitting down next to the other.

 

Neither of them said anything for a moment as they both sat there and stared ahead. Both unsure of where to began or who should start. However being as he had caused all of this Keith knew it was best for him to take responsibility and speak up first.

 

"Lance I want to start off by saying I'm sorry. I didn't want to leave you in the dark like that but at the same time I didn’t want to involve you. It would have killed me to put you in danger if I was the one Zarkon was tracking. I also didn’t tell you because I didn’t want you to have to lie for me. I was afraid that if you did the others would blame you and I wouldn’t want that."

 

As Keith spoke Lance's eyes widened with every word. Pidge really had predicted Keith's feelings, in fact it was almost scary how accurate she had been. Everything Keith said Lance could now see the reason behind thanks to Pidge's insight. He would have to thank her with something special later for giving him the ability to listen to Keith and see his reason.

 

As Keith finished speaking Lance didn’t say anything at first. Instead taking the time to try put his feelings into words as Keith watched him anxiously. After a few moments of thinking about it Lance decided that saying what he was feeling was for the best. Keith needed to know what he was feeling and thinking to deeply about it was helping.

 

"To tell you the truth Keith after talking with Pidge I see your reasons behind it all but I still cant deny I'm a little hurt. You have no idea how scared I was when I woke up and I couldn’t find you anymore. I was terrified something had happened to you," as Lance expressed his fears he felt a warm pressure on his hand. Looking down Lance felt himself warm at the sight of Keith's hand wrapped around his own. A solid anchor to his whirlwind of emotions.

 

Swallowing the lump in his throat Lance pushed on, " And I know I shouldn’t be but I was so jealous of Allura to. I was jealous of the fact that she got to be with you and help you while I was left in the dark. And before you say anything I know that It wasn’t but choice exactly but it still doesn't make me any less jealous."

 

It took a lot for Keith to keep his calm façade at Lance's admission that he was jealous of Allura. He for certain didn’t expect that but when Lance explained the reasons behind it Keith felt like an asshole. Not only had he scared Lance but also made him feel like Allura had the upper hand as far as helping Keith. They would never be the case as far as Keith was concerned.

 

Leaning into the other Keith expressed his remorse, "Lance I'm so sorry. I wanted to take you with me so badly, almost to the point where I seriously considered waking you up. But above all else you safety is the most important to me. I wanted to keep you safe no matter what."

 

Sniffling Lance couldn’t help the warm feeling that spread through him at Keith's words. Just the fact that Keith had wanted to take him with him spoke volumes to the other. He wasn’t forgotten in fact he was loved to the point where Keith wanted to protect him from even himself. And if that didn’t make a part of Lance feel giddy than he didn’t know what did.

 

" I know I might now have a right to ask this of you now but do you think you can forgive me?" Keith asked with no small amount of nervousness. From where he was holding his hand Lance could feel the other trembling the slightest as he bit his lip.

 

Pidge was right. Love made them stupid but if it meant being able to be with the other like this Lance didn’t mind if they were the biggest idiots in the world. Smiling shyly at the other Lance leaned into Keith, a soft smile on his face as he did so.

 

"Yeah I can," he said as he closed his eyes in content.

 

Hearing Keith let out a sigh of relief Lance couldn’t help the smile that stretched across his face. It soon turned into giggle though when Keith pressed a soft kiss right below his eyes

 

"Sometimes I don’t think I deserve you," Keith admitted as he nuzzled Lance's head.

 

Pressing back Lance disagreed, "Nah, you and me? I couldn’t think of anyone else who would match either of us better."

 

Smiling Keith said nothing to this as they sat there. Enjoying each others company and for the moment completely at peace For now everything would be ok and that was all Lance could ask for.

Chapter Text

It was almost as if he could see his skin turning purple before him. His nails extending into claws from where he had them running through Lance's hair. Biting his lip to silence the screams of anger that threatened to bubble in his throat Keith kept his eyes fixed on the view out his window. Eyes tracing the cosmos that painted the infinite space almost as if for the viewers pleasure.

 

He hadn't slept in hours and a part of him could feel the need creeping up on him. But he pushed it down with sheer stubbornness as he lay there. After he and Lance's talk they had both settled down to rest for what would be a long next day. But as he laid back while Lance cuddled up to his chest he found he couldn’t sleep. No it was more like he wouldn't let himself.

 

For the first time in a long while he dreaded what he would see if he closed his eyes. But as it turned out even awake he was being haunted by fears that were coming to the surface one by one. With everything that had happened as of late he could no longer ignore the evidence that was starting to stack up against him. Evidence that he was something the team battled everyday and that had hurt Lance almost beyond repair.

 

Speaking of Lance the other had been sleeping peacefully since they had first laid down. As of now he was curled up on his side with his head pillowed on Keith's chest. One of his hands resting there as well where it gripped the fabric lightly. The sight made Keith feel guilty as it was no doubt a subconscious move from Lance to make sure Keith didn’t disappear in the middle of the night like last time.

 

If it was anything else Keith wouldn’t hesitate to express his concerns, but this? No he didn’t dare tell Lance anything. He couldn't handle the look of pure horror that would be on his face if Keith told him what he thought he was. How could he even tell the other that he was the very thing Lance still had nightmares about? The answer was simple, he couldn't.

 

Glancing at the clock Keith sighed as he realized it was almost time for everyone to meet on the bridge. Sitting up as much as he could he softly begun to shake Lance awake.

 

"Lance, its time to get up."

 

Keith couldn’t help the soft smile that spread across his face though when Lance whined and tried to burrow under the sheets. Reaching out he let his fingers softly graze over the back of Lance's neck. This elicited a jolt of surprise from the other but he relaxed not soon after.

 

"The longer you stay in bed the less time you have to get ready," Keith reminded him as he stood and begun to dress.

 

Groaning Lance popped his head out before the rest of him slithered out. Gathering his clothes he begun to change himself but stopped as he regarded Keith. Squinting he leaned forward till he was in Keith's personal bubble. Raising an eyebrow Keith watched as his eyes roamed over his face.

 

"Did you get any sleep?" Lance asked.

 

Ah so that was what this was about. Keith said nothing at first as he interrupted Lance's staring by pulling on his shirt. Looking up once he was done he could see that Lance wasn't going to let this go so easily as he stood there waiting for an answer.

 

"Yeah I did. I'm just restless right now," he replied with a shrug of his shoulders.

 

Seemingly convinced Lance went about changing and washing up. Joining him in the bathroom Keith was quick to brush his teeth in case Lance had time to think of anymore questions. He didn’t want to lie to the other but his desire not to worry Lance out weighed that. For now it wasn’t a big deal.

 

As they both finished up and begun to make their way to the bridge Keith could feel something start to build and fester inside him. Was it anticipation? No that was to light for what he was feeling. Excitement? Dread was more like it. If Keith had to put a name to it, it felt like budding irritation. He didn't know why but in that moment he could feel the tendrils of impatience and anger start to wrap around him. That was never a good combination.

 

Arriving Keith missed the concerned look Lance shot him as he went and plunked himself in his seat. Eyes unseeing as he stared down at his hands. His mind slowly turning as he thought about what they find at the base. If the Blade of Mamora really was there would they be able to answer his questions? Would they even want to? Or perhaps the most important question, did he even really want to know?

 

His thoughts were interrupt though when Hunk began to gush about food again. Pidge not making it any better as she blabbed on about all that stupid science shit. Hell even Lance joined in as he complained about the lack of breakfast.

 

Gritting his teeth Keith spoke up, " Guys, this is a serious mission. We need to focus."

 

Oh if it wasn't for the feeling's he had for Lance he would have snapped at the other at the moment. He knew Lance only meant to tease him but when he parroted Keith's words back at him in a mocking manner it had his hackles raising. For now he would ignore it though.

 

Well at least he thought he would. But Hunk once again explaining things in food terms and Lance piping out that he wanted lunch had Keith snapping. At the moment though he didn’t care as at least the rest of them shut up. He did however miss the way Lance's eyebrows drew together as he regarded Keith.

 

It didn't stop there though. No matter what none of them were taking this seriously at all. Now that they saw what they were up against they all suddenly started to have doubts. Like this was just some vacation trip they were taking and found out the place was awful or something. Not like how they should have been treating it as a something they needed to do in order to have a fighting chance in this fight.

 

"What are you talking about? We have to go in! This is the whole reason we came out here! There is no other option!" Keith yelled as he glared at the rest of them.

 

He was so frustrated that he missed the way Lance flinched ever so slightly at his tone. The others cast him worried glances at his outburst. Keith was a hothead that was for sure but not for good reason usually. He didn't get unreasonably angry like this and Lance was starting to get worried.

 

"Keith it's ok, calm down," Lance said as he held up his hands in a peacemaking manner.

 

His worry only increased though when Keith said nothing to him. Instead his eyes narrowed for a moment before he turned away. Whatever was eating away at Keith wasn’t good. At this rate Lance was afraid he was going to blow up and it would be at the worst time possible.

 

However in all things it seemed the universe was set on screwing them over as they were instructed that two may enter. Looking at Keith Lance realized with dread that he was itching to go. He may have not expressed it or shown it in an obvious manner but Lance knew better than that. He had spent countless hours with him, of course he would pick up on the little things.

 

The way his fingers twitched by his side as he tried to act casual. His weight shifting forward as to lean more towards Shiro who was the one would pick who go. His jaw that clenched in anticipation. He wanted to go more than any of them. Into what might as well be a den of lions. They had no idea what was waiting for them there. He would be trapped on some rock for at least the two days it would take for the path to open again. And that was something Lance could not allow.

 

"So any thoughts on who's gonna join you on this little mission?" Lance asked as he tried to act as casual as possible. He didn’t miss the way Keith's eyes slid to him in an almost angry manner. If he could convince Shiro to take anyone else besides Keith than he would gladly take the others anger.

 

"I'm thinking things might get a little hot, so you're gonna want someone who can stay cool," Lance suggested. Ok it was a low blow but after Keith's little outburst just now it should be obvious that he was the last one to stay cool. In Lance's personal opinion the best option would be either Pidge or him. Coran actually would make an awesome choice but he was needed on the ship so Lance couldn’t count on him. At this rate he could care less though who Shiro chose as long as it wasn't Keith.

 

All of Lance's hopes were shattered though when Shiro failed to pick up on his signs and picked Keith anyway. Lance respected Shiro he really did but in that moment he felt nothing but outrage at the other. In Lance's opinion there was no logical reason for him to choose Keith. He might as well come right out and say he was choosing Keith as his favorite. Don’t get Lance wrong he could care less if Shiro picked him in that moment. No it was the fact that he was choosing Keith out of favoritism and as a result leading him straight to danger. Danger Keith was in no mental shape to handle right now.

 

"Keith's a hothead! He's probably going to shoot first and ask questions later! And they're not gonna be able to answer his questions because they'll be dead!" Lance argued as he inched closer and closer to Shiro. He noticed the look of exasperation Keith shot him but at the moment he didn’t care. Shiro was putting the person he loved in danger for no reason and Lance would not stand for it.

 

Well at least what he thought was no reason until Shiro moved him back and explained his reason. Still that did nothing to ease Lance's unease with the issue. Keith was obviously bothered by something and Lance feared sending him there would do more harm then good. That this might be something they cant resolve so easily by talking it out.

 

It was out of his hands though as nothing else was done and Coran begun to explain the details. Lance could only watch and listen in helplessness as the rest of them discussed their plan of action. How could they let Keith go like that? Did they not see that he wasn't a good option for this?

 

Apparently not as Keith and Shiro left to strap on their armor and Lance was left feeling almost lost. He wasn't even given the chance to propose any other options. They had all agreed to send Keith without even thinking about it. As far as he was concerned he had failed at protecting the one he loved.

 

So caught up in his thoughts he almost missed the small hand touching his arm. Turning his head he was surprised to see Pidge on the other end as she looked at him in concern. "Lance I know your frustrated but shouldn't you go and see him before he leaves? I'm sure it would help the both of you."

 

When he thought about it Lance realized she was right. As far as he knew Keith was about to leave thinking Lance was probably jealous of him or something. He should be supportive and calming not a ball of frustration that he was now. Besides if he went now he might be able to calm whatever was stirring inside Keith.

 

Saying a quick thank you Lance was quick to take the elevator down to Red's hangar. Not even waiting for the doors to open all the way Lance rushed out right in time to see Shiro heading up the ramp with Keith not far behind. Calling out he was relieved to see them both pause as Keith turned to look at him.

 

Jogging over Lance met Keith half way after the other had walked back. Stopping in front of the other Lance realized he wasn’t exactly sure what to say as he fiddled with the hem of his shirt. Keith on the other hand stood there regarding Lance with impatience.

 

"What? Come to tell me how much of a hothead I am or something?" Keith asked with no small amount of bitterness.

 

It was with that, that Lance felt his cheeks flush with slight shame. He hadn’t been exactly fair with Keith but to be honest it was true. And from the way Keith seemed to soften at the look on Lance's face he knew it to.

 

"Look Keith I just- I'm worried about you and I don't want you to forget that you can tell me if something is wrong. I'm scared that somethings wrong and you may not be telling me. And maybe I'm being irrational or rambling but-mmph!" Lance never got the opportunity to finish his ramble as Keith's lips collided with his own.

 

It didn't last long but in the few seconds it did Lance realized it wasn’t a kiss they had ever shared before. No this one was full of teeth and almost biting. Desperate and hard, almost as if they were still arguing. He could only look at Keith with wide eyes as the other pulled back.

 

"It will be ok Lance, I promise," he said.

 

But before Lance could say anything in return they both heard the distinct sound of a throat clearing. Looking up Lance could see Shiro there waiting with a fond but still business like face as he motioned Keith to come on. Shooting Lance a soft smile of reassurance Keith jogged back and followed Shiro up the ramp.

 

Lance could only watch as Red powered up and shot out of the hangar. He was still worried but Keith had promised everything would be alright. He trusted him and would maintain the hope that everything was ok. Keith would come back and if he didn’t, well Lance would tear that whole base apart himself alliance be damned.

 

Meanwhile as they flew Keith tried to calm himself. He had come so close to spilling it all to Lance in that moment. Telling him his theory that he was now 90 % sure was true. So close to expressing his fears and doubts for their future as well as his own. So close to telling him that he feared he had the blood of a race that had caused them all so much pain running through him.

 

"Keith, is everything ok?" Shiro broke the silence with.

 

Clenching his jaw he answered with a quick, "I'm fine." Hoping that Shiro would leave it as that as Keith continued to fly towards the base. He should have known better though.

 

"You kind of blew up at everyone back there. Lance includeded who mind you only wants what's best for you."

 

Like Keith didn’t know that. He knew Lance was concerned for him but he couldn't risk it. If he told Lance what he was feeling he risked the chance of panicking the other. Why create waves if he didn’t even know for certain what he was or what his knife meant?

 

"You'll have to control your emotions if you're going to lead this group someday," Shiro added. This had Keith's eyes widening in shock as he shot a glance at the other. They were really talking about this now?

 

"Lead the group? Yeah right Shiro," Keith chuckled.

 

"Keith we've spoke about this before. After Lance went missing I told you if anything ever happened to me as well that I wanted you to lead Voltron."

 

"But that was when we could all barely function without Lance and the Blue lion. I thought you were having a hard time coping or something. Why would you make me the leader?" Keith asked in slight exasperation. That time had been a bad time for all of them and they had all said or thought stuff they didn’t mean. When Shiro had first spoke to Keith about the issue he didn’t bother to take him seriously or want to for a matter of fact. At the time he hadn't even wanted to think about losing anyone else.

 

"Because I know what your capable of, if you can learn some self-discipline. The others would follow you and you would have Lance to support you. I know you could do it Keith," Shiro replied.

 

A small childish part of Keith wanted to slam his fist down on the console and scream that it was unfair. He didn't want to even think of anything happening to Shiro nor did he want to discuss it. He could barely even make out his feelings on the current matter and he was suppose to think about leading the team at the same time? If it wasn't for the fact that he was trying to keep his emotions in check he would have told Shiro off for thrusting this on him without even really considering what he wanted. But he couldn't do that so for now he settled for trying to end the conversation.

 

"Why are we even talking about this? Nothing is going to happen to you," he huffed as he turned his attention back to piloting Red.

 

He had hoped that would nip that right in the bud but this was Shiro and he didn't stop until he got his point across. So Keith really should have seen it coming when he brought up that time with Allura. This made something deep within Keith twist as he gritted his teeth. Lance's hurt still a fresh wound in his side that Shiro decided to pick at with the comment. But the he didn’t know and as a result Keith was barely able to reel in his emotions.

 

"I'm sorry. I've just had a lot on my mind," he admitted. Which was technically true even though he wasn't telling Shiro what exactly was on his mind.

 

"I know. We all have," Shiro responded. Well at least he was trying to understand.

 

Keith couldn't help but feel relieved though when one of the black holes began to suck them in. Ok yes it was a horrible situation but he could handle it. Anything to get Shiro to stop talking at least for the moment.

 


 

 

He knew this wouldn’t be easy but even he had to say this was a bit much. So far he had been kicked around and punched way more times than he could count. That first member he faced had really done and number to his shoulder and at this point he saw no end in sight to all of them. But then again wasn’t this what he asked for? The chance to finally attain the knowledge he sought?

 

Stumbling into the next room Keith couldn't help the weary sigh that came out of him at the sight of 7 more members to face. He didn’t know how much longer he could do this for. He may be good with a sword or knife in this case but these guys were professionals. Who knows how long each of them had been fighting for.

 

But he couldn’t back down now. He needed to know what this all meant. Sending a quick but mournful thought of apology to Lance he charged forward with a yell. Knowledge or death and he knew which one he couldn’t accept no matter what.

 

No he had a plan this time. If it worked that could mean an end to all the fighting. He could get his answers and be done with this. All he needed to do was time it just right and he would be home free.

 

Charging forward he chunked his knife as hard as he could. He was by no means a marksman like Lance or Hunk but he had no choice. This had to work otherwise he was screwed. As his knife spun through the air he felt triumph race through him at the sight of it sticking in the metal plating. First part done now he just had to make it there and down the hole.

 

Feeling pain shoot through his shoulder at the moment was worth it though as he was thrown to the floor and across the room. Skidding across with a grunt he angled his body towards the hole, hand outstretched to grab his knife. Snatching it in his hands he couldn't help the smirk of triumph as he went racing down. At least he got through that part as he grunted in pain as he tumbled and smacked his way down tunnel. Landing on the metal plate with a thud he had to suppress the scream of pain that bubble in his throat. By this point he was amazed he hadn't completely dislocated his shoulder.

 

Feeling the elevator come to stop he managed to shakily get to his feet. Holding his bad arm he stepped out to find to his relief a empty room.

 

"Guess I really wasn't suppose to go through that door," he mused as he groaned in pain.

 

Everything was beginning to spin as he continued to walk forward. His vision becoming black around the edges as he pushed his weary legs forward. But before long it became to much as he swayed and collapsed. Laying there Keith had never felt so weak. Those fights had taken so much out of him on top of the sleepless night he had. He would be glad when this was finally over.

 

He however was not prepared for when Shiro came into view. "Shiro?" he questioned as a hand was offered to him.

 

Not even hesitating he let the other pull him up as he kept a firm hand on his knife. He was exhausted but it seemed his body couldn’t help the itch that came with a fight. Yeah that wasn't happening any time soon.

 

"Kolivan told me you lasted longer than anyone ever has in those battles. You don't have to keep this up," Shiro informed him.

 

This had Keith on edge as he squinted at the other in confusion. "What are you talking about?"

 

"Just give them the knife and lets get out of here. The others are waiting especially Lance," He said.

 

Frowning Keith replied, " I can't give it to them, Shiro." Surely he out of everyone knew that.

 

"What is it with you and that thing?" Now Shiro was starting to get aggressive to Keith's surprise. However he would not yield as he gripped the knife tighter.

 

"It's the only connection I have to my past. It's my chance to learn who I really am," he replied. Why couldn't Shiro understand that?

 

This seemed to not be the answer Shiro wanted though as he became defensive, "You know exactly who you are, a Paladin of Voltron. We're all the family you need. Or do we, does Lance not matter at all?"

 

Keith couldn’t help but flinch at the others name. How could Shiro think that? Of course Lance mattered, they all mattered to him. But he couldn't let this go, not now not when he was so close.

 

"Shiro your like a brother to me and you know nothing could ever replace Lance… but I have to do this!" he tried to reason as he looked at Shiro with desperation.

 

"No you don't. So, just give them the knife."

 

"I can't do that." He may respect Shiro but he couldn't listen to him on this.

 

"Just give up the knife, Keith! You're only thinking about yourself, as usual!" Ok that stung but he wouldn’t yield. He needed to know! Needed to find out who he was. Needed to know if he was what Lance and the rest feared.

 

"I've made my choice Shiro," Keith admitted as he looked away.

 

"Fine if that’s the way its going to be than maybe he can talk some sense into you!" Shiro huffed as he waved a hand over Keith's shoulder. Confused Keith turned to look and felt his heart drop when he spotted Lance standing behind him. The other was wearing his paladin armor and looking at Keith with a sad smile.

 

"Lance what are you doing here? How did you get here?" Keith questioned as he looked at the other in disbelief.

 

"The others and I were worried about you so we came to find out what was going on. Wasn't easy getting over here let me tell you, but I'm happy I got here in time," he replied as he stepped closer to Keith.

 

"Lance I don't understand…" Keith weakly began.

 

"It's alright Keith. Just come back, come back to me," Lance said as he took Keith's free hand in his own.

 

Still in the observation room Shiro turned to Kolivan with barely concealed horror on his face. "Stop this! Having him see me is one thing but this is just to cruel!"

 

"I told you before his suit is creating a mindscape based on his greatest desires and fears. I can not control what he sees. Although the fact that he has a lover and sees him will be interesting to see if he continues," Kolivan said with no trace of sympathy in his voice. Shiro on the other hand could only watch in helplessness as the scene before him played out.

 

"Lance I will. I promise when this is all over but I have to do this," Keith assured the other as he tried to pull away and continue on.

 

But Lance wouldn't let him as he held on tighter. "No you don't Keith. You know I would accept you no matter what you found out," Lance said.

 

"Lance I can't. I've come so far I need to know. For you and myself," Keith tried to reason.

 

"But you promised everything would be ok Keith. Why are you trying to find things out that are only going to hurt everyone else?" By this time Lance was looking at him with no small amount of distress.

 

"I know and I still promise Lance. But I need to do this. I couldn't go on for long  knowing that I may be everything you fear," it pained Keith to say it but he needed Lance to know.

 

This got Kolivan titling his head in thought as he examined the image of the boy called Lance. Turning to Shiro he asked what he pretty much already guessed, "I take it he has suffered by the hands of the Galra before."

 

Turning to fix Kolivan with a scowl Shiro answered, " Haven't we all?"

 

But before Kolivan could say anything in response they were both startled by Lance's outburst.

 

"Why do you want to know so bad?! Do you really want to hurt me that badly?! Make me relive everything I went through?!"

 

Keith could only watch in horror as Lance yelled at him with tears streaming down his face. His heart clenched at the sight as he was left reaching out as Lance begun to back away from him.

 

"Wait Lance that’s not-"

 

"No I don’t want to hear it!" Lance cried as he begun to run away from Keith.

 

"Lance wait!" Keith called after him as begun to run after him. But before he could grab him everything was enveloped by a bright light. Looking around Keith was confused to see the sight of his shack. However nothing prepared him for a familiar voice calling out to him.

 

"Dad?"

 


 

 

It had been hours since Lance had slept. He didn’t dare shut his eyes even once as they waited for Shiro and Keith to return. During the time they waited he had tried to keep his cool and be optimistic about the situation. Keith said everything would be ok and he trusted the other.

 

That was at least until Red started to attack the base. In the back of his mind he could feel Blue whining at the prospect that Red was essentially going into battle alone. He definitely shared Blue's sentiments as he could only sit there and wait for the path to open again. Keith was in danger and all he could do was sit there.

 

Meanwhile Keith was coming to as Shiro ran to his side. As he was being helped up he could only look around in confusion as Kolivan and his followers entered the room. They were beyond angry for some reason and why was everything falling apart around them?

 

"Call off your beast!" Kolivan ordered as more rocks fell around them.

 

Shiro was having none of that though as he begun to argue with them. Keith had no idea what was going on except for the fact that the base was falling apart around them as Red attacked. Why had they even attacked in the first place? And what was this about him failing to awaken the blade? Keith could only watch in confusion as Shiro activated his hand and prepared to defend them. Everything was falling apart and for all he knew it was his fault.

 

"Wait! Just take the knife!" he demanded as he thrust it out in his hand. To his relief everything around them stopped as Shiro and the rest looked at him.

 

" It doesn't matter where I come from. I know who I am. We all need to work together to defeat Zarkon. If that means I give up the knife, fine. Take it." However before any of them could step forward to claim the blade Keith was surprised to see Blue light begun to shine from it and completely envelop him.

Before him was now a sword like the rest of them carried. A sword that could only mean one thing.

 

"The only way this is possible is if Galra blood runs through your veins." So his hunch really was right.

 


 

 

They were only seconds away from blasting down the path to save Shiro and Keith. Lance could feel the fear building within himself as he regarded Allura. Surely she knew what she was doing and everything would be ok. If anything happened to Keith he had no idea what he would do.

 

However as the path opened a visual of Red popped up along with Shiro's voice coming through on the com. "Princess, we're coming back, and we're bringing someone you should meet."

 

The relief that swept through Lance was a welcome feeling as he slumped back in his seat. They were all right despite all the bad feelings Lance had about this. Later he would for sure have to apologize to Keith for doubting him.

 

"Everyone is heading down to meet you right now boys. Give me a moment and I'll be down there after I power down the castles boosters," Coran informed them through the com.

 

Sitting there Keith waited for a moment as he thought of what this meant. The whole team would be there to see them. Lance would be among them.

 

Leaning forward Keith spoke into the com this time, " Coran are you still there? Has everyone already left?" He asked as he ignored the confused look Shiro gave.

 

"Yes and yes my boy. But I am just about to finish up so I'll be down there as soon as possible," Coran's cheerful voice responded back.

 

"Coran listen I'll explain everything to you later but I need you to hurry and go get Lance. Take him back to the bridge and keep him there until I get there."

 

For a moment Coran was silent and Keith feared the man had already left. However he was relieved when he heard the man responded to him with hesitation, "Keith I don't unde-"

 

"Please Coran, for me?" Keith interrupted him as he bit his lip. He needed this to happen or he risked everything.

 

"Alright I'll head down there as fast as I can," Coran informed him.

 

Sighing Keith sank back into his seat and begun to pilot Red back to their hangar with ease. Good the first hurtle was conquered but now came the next one.

 

"Keith, what are you doing?" Shiro asked.

 

"Shiro, please I'll explain everything in the hangar," was all Keith said as he continued to pilot Red.

 

Landing and stepping out Keith was relieved to see Coran had kept his word as Lance and he were both absent. The rest of them looked confused and uneasy with the situation but didn’t say anything as they introduced Kolivan.

 

As Kolivan took the moment to explain the situation Keith thought to himself on what he would say. He needed to tell everyone and have them all on the same page about what happened. Especially since he had requested Lance not be present.

 

When Kolivan had finished Keith was happy when him excused himself for the moment and stood quite out of the way as he contacted the rest of the members. At least he had the decency to give them some privacy for Keith's big reveal.

 

Turning to face the lot of them Keith readied himself to spill everything but stopped when Pidge crossed her arms and regarded him with a suspicious look. " I take it you’re the reason Coran all of a sudden needed Lance to help him with the ships systems."

 

Nothing ever got passed Pidge did it? Nodding his head Keith took a deep breath as they all looked at him in curious anticipation. As far as Keith was concerned this was his family and he feared what they would think of him now.

 

" While we there were they guys I found out something about myself. Something that has been bothering me for a long time and I have had a hunch about," looking up Keith could see Allura's eyes begun to widen as she started to pick up on his meaning.

 

"The truth Is guys, I think my mother was a Galra. Making me well half Galra at least," Keith admitted as he watched the others with unease.

 

If it wasn’t for how serious the moment was Keith would have laughed at Hunk's reaction. His jaw might as well have been on the floor as he stared at Keith. Eyes wide as he seemed to stop breathing in shock. Pidge on the other had uncrossed her arms slightly and looked over her glasses at him in shock. Her mouth parted slightly as her glasses begun to slide down her nose. Allura's reaction was by far the worst though as shock splashed across her face but was quickly wiped away to reveal what could only be described as betrayal. Keith wasn't the least bit surprised though.

 

"Um buddy I'm glad you told us but don’t you think you should be telling Lance this as well?" Hunk was finally able to get out.

 

Shaking his head Keith responded, "No I can't and neither can any of you."

 

"Keith this is not a good idea! You need to tell him!" Shiro exclaimed at his demand.

 

And while Keith knew Shiro was right he wouldn't listen, not this time. "No I won't, not now. I won't risk losing him because of this. I don’t want him to fear me."

 

"Oh so you think lying to him is the better option?" Allura huffed as she crossed her arms.

 

"If it keeps from hurting him, yes."

 

"Keith, this cant be healthy for either of you. You saw what my secret did and that was nothing compared to this. I fear if you don’t tell him it will only make matters worse," Pidge tried to reason with him.

 

" I will tell him one day but not now. He's only just recovering and I cant saddle him with this revelation. If lying to him means he doesn't have to know that I come from one of the things he fears most than so be it. All I ask is that you don’t say anything to him. I'll take all the responsibility and pain in return," he practically pleaded.

 

No one said anything at first as they all regarded him with conflicted looks. On one hand they all saw where he was coming from. But lying to Lance? Or was it even considered lying since he had no idea and wasn’t exactly going to ask. But it seemed they wouldn't have to despair for long as Allura spoke up.

 

"Fine but the fallout is on you. You don’t get to blame this on any of us," she replied as she glared at him.

 

It was by all accounts harsh and the others looked at her with disappointment. But as far as Keith was concerned it was good enough for him. Nodding his head in understanding Keith moved past all of them and begun to make his way to the bridge. Missing the looks of worry the other three paladins exchanged at his choice.

 


 

 

On the bridge Lance huffed as he helped Coran check yet another piece of equipment. He wanted to be down there greeting Keith not stuck up here helping the man. Of course no offense to Coran but he wasn’t exactly the one who just went on a dangerous mission nor was he the one Lance was dating.

 

However just as Lance was considering sneaking away he heard the doors open. Turning around he couldn’t help himself as his mouth broke into a wide grin as he ran up to Keith. All but throwing himself at the other he wrapped his arms around his neck. A little sigh coming out of his mouth as he felt Keith's arms wrap around his waist.

 

"I'm glad your back," Lance sighed in content as they stood there.

 

Sadly he was entirely oblivious to Keith's horror at the moment. Because as they stood there Keith couldn’t help but almost recoil as he looked at their reflection in the glass. His hands were purple and claws extended out where they rested on Lance's waist. To fluffy purple ears extended from his skull and poked out of his hair that was more blackish purple than anything. The worst of all though was the yellow orbs that stared back at him and his purple skin. Clenching his eyes shut to dispel the image Keith hugged Lance tighter.

 

"Me to Lance," was all he croaked out as he struggled to hold back tears.

 

 

Chapter Text

After this was all over Lance was going to have to drag Keith away for a long vacation. A vacation that consisted of somewhere with a beach, amazing food and just the two of them. Don't get him wrong he loved hanging out with the rest of the team but for once he wanted Keith all to himself with little to no distractions. Besides there was a few more explicit things Lance wanted to try with the other. Things the rest of the team did not need to know about.

As it stood now they were going to separate for as long as it took to complete their missions. Hunk with Keith while Shiro and Pidge came with him on a separate mission. A combination he couldn’t help but be disappointed with. But when he had tried to ask to be switched with Hunk he was shot down in a heartbeat. He had hoping that maybe he would finally get some kind of alone time with Keith but apparently not. It had been a week since they had meet the Blade of Mamora and they had been planning ever since then. They had finally come to the point where they were ready to start. But that still didn’t mean Lance didn’t want to go on a mission alone with Keith.

For now he supposed he would have to settle with letting his fingers intertwine in an almost holding hand gesture while they went over the plans again. If it wasn’t for that fact they had the leader of the Blade of Mamora with them and one of his men Lance would have given in and held Keith's hand. But as it was Lance didn’t want to draw to much attention to the both of them nor did he want to embarrass Keith. Besides the way Kolivan had regarded their joined fingers had made Lance a little more than creeped out. What did a guy have to do to hold his boyfriends hand in peace?

To be honest even though the were Galra and all, Lance didn’t feel as uneasy around them as he thought. Well he actually did but it was more from the fact that they had mad fighting skills and wore those creepy masks. But he fact that they were Galra hadn't really crossed Lance's mind. For some reason he didn’t feel the fear that he had felt with Ulaz.

He had theorized to himself that it might have been because at the time he didn’t know who Ulaz was or who he worked for. All he knew was that the other was Galra and could have killed them all in an instant. His fear at the time had been of the unknown and the way he connected it back to Ulaz. At the time Ulaz might as well have been one of his tortures for as little as he knew of the man and his distrust. How wrong he had been though.

He supposed that was what had contributed to his being ok with Kolivan and the rest of the Blades. Nothing had happened to Keith or Shiro (as far as he knew) and they were actually working well with the rest of them. And while Lance knew he had a long way to go part of him couldn’t help but feel hopeful that his mental state had improved quite a bit. He for sure knew that he would have never been able to even sit in the same room as other Galra, good guys or not when he first came back.

"I suppose we should start then," Shiro suggested after they had each been debriefed on what was next in the plan. There went the last of Lance's hand holding time.

It seemed however that Keith picked up on his disappointment as he let Lance hold his hand all the way down to the Yellow lions hangar. He was all to happy with this as he held Keith's hand tight, even swinging it the slightest as they walked. Keith said nothing to this but shot a small smile at Lance to let him know it was ok. This made him more than happy but as they walked Lance couldn’t help but miss the looks of concern the rest of the team shot him and Keith. Did they think he wouldn't be ok without Keith or something? Either way Lance had no idea what their looks were supposed to mean so he decided to ignore it. After all it seemed to be the thing Keith was doing as he didn't comment on it even once.

The goodbyes were of course as dramatic as they could get with Pidge and Hunk's crying. Lance fondly rolled his eyes and declined Hunk's tearful look for a handshake. Keith and Shiro exchanged a quick hug and a few words while this was going on. Trading places it was Shiro's turn to say goodbye to Hunk while Lance headed over to Keith.

Not even missing a beat he let himself fall forward into Keith's arms as the other extended them for a hug. Sighing he wrapped his arms around Keith's shoulder while the other let his rest around Lance's waist.

"You do intend to kiss me before you leave?" Lance breathed as he nuzzled against Keith.

Letting out a snort Keith gave him a slight squeeze in return. "The problem is, I don’t think I'll be able to stop if I do," he breathed.

As Lance pulled back from him Keith was almost blown away by the way his eyes sparkled with so much mischief and adoration. Looking up at him from under his eyelashes Lance raised a challenging eyebrow.

"Try me," he whispered into the space between them.

And Keith wanted to, he wanted to so bad he could almost taste it. He wanted to kiss Lance to the point where the other forgot his own name. To engrave the promise of his return in those lips and that not even the stars could tear them apart. He wanted Lance to know he would forever be the only one for Keith, no one would ever hold his heart like Lance.

But he couldn't. All he could see if he did was the horrified expression on Lance's face once he found out what Keith was. Everything shattering as Lance would feel betrayal and disgust. The universe delighting in taking yet another thing away from him. Letting him know that the stars moved for no one.

And so he didn't. Smiling instead Keith let his thumb brush at the tender flesh just below Lance's eye. Taking on a shiver of delight and awe at the way Lance leaned into his touch. His eyes half lidded and wanting but waiting for whatever Keith was willing to give him.

Holding back all the wants of his that wanted to spill forward he instead leaned forward and let his lips brush tenderly over the soft skin under Lance's eye. His lips feeling the way Lance's eyes fluttered at the feeling and eyelashes brushed him. His thumb brushing over his cheekbone in an adoring manner.

Pulling back he had to hold back the laugh that bubbled in his throat at the pouting Lance was doing. He really knew how to tug at Keith's heart strings didn’t he.

"I'm definitely going to make you kiss me for hours when you get back," was all he said as he crossed his arms. Keith did laugh at this however as he shook his head with fondness.

But before he could reply something caught his attention Keith realized it was Allura looking at him. Turning to look though he couldn’t help but feel the stab of pain that went through him as she turned away. Distrust written clear across her face as she ignored him. Well he supposed he should have known better.

However unknown to him was that Lance had caught the look between the two of them and was currently quite confused. Last time he had checked Keith and Allura had been getting along well. Why the sudden change? But before he could even ask Keith was declaring it was time to go as he headed up the ramp with Hunk following behind.

As Lance watched Hunk's lion start up the though of the look between Keith and Allura faded from his mind. Right now he had other things to worry about and whatever was going on between Keith and Allura, Lance was sure Keith would tell him if it was anything serious. For now Lance would pray for Keith and Hunk's safe return as he geared up for his mission himself.


 

Keith liked Hunk he really did. And considering he and Lance were quite close he was quite use to hearing stories about him or having him around in general. The guy was hard not to like and you had to be evil not to. But right now? Oh right now Keith was having trouble keeping his exasperation at bay with the other.

"For the last time Hunk stop calling me an alien," Keith sighed.

"Sorry I'm just trying to wrap my head around all this."

They had been discussing the manner of Keith being Galra for the past couple of minutes and frankly Keith was getting tired of it. It wasn't even a discussion, no more like Hunk prattling on about him being Galra while Keith had to listen.

"Okay, look, it's bad enough that Allura hates me now and I'm Lance's nightmares come to life. Can you just lay off?" he huffed.

"Dude Allura doesn’t hate you…ok maybe she does but all she needs is time to get use to the fact that your Galra. Everything will work out in the end," Hunk informed them as they continued to steadily make their way to their destination.

Keith said nothing to this though. That may be the case but who knew how long it would take Allura to trust him again. For now it was best if he kept his distance and did as he was told. No need to make matters worse.

"And well with regards to Lance," oh here they go again, " are you sure you don’t want to tell him?"

Keith almost felt bad at the yelp Hunk let out when he whipped his head around to face him. Key word in there being almost. Hunk was a great guy and all but even he was starting to test his patience. He thought his silence had been enough to let Hunk know he didn’t want to talk about anything that had to do with him being Galra. However it was apparent that either Hunk didn't pick up on that or he was determined to have this conversation anyway.

"Yes I'm sure. Neither me or anyone else is going to tell him anything right now," Keith growled as he crossed his arms in defense.

"Yeah but Keith this can't be good for either of you. Being in a relationship means you're there for each other in the bad and good times. And right now your not even giving Lance that chance," Hunk tried to reason as he eyed Keith with nervousness.

"You don’t think I know that?" Keith snapped back as Hunk shrunk in his seat a little.

" What am I suppose to do though? Tell Lance that I'm everything he fears and hates? If Allura hates me for something that happened 10,000 years ago that I had no control over, how do you think Lance will feel? No as far as I'm concerned he's better off not knowing," Keith fumed as he clenched his jaw.

"Keith you can't honestly think Lance would hate you for something you cant control?" Hunk gently asked.

But Keith wasn’t hearing any more of it. He didn’t want to listen so in the end he wouldn't. "Let's just watch the video Coran uploaded and stay on task," was all he said in return as he ignored the concerned look Hunk shot him. He knew what he was doing. He was protecting Lance from the truth and that was all that mattered right now.


 

Lance wasn't going to lie running through the halls of maximum secret prison with Shiro was beyond epic. For awhile Lance forgot why he had been jealous of Shiro and Keith's relationship. But now doing this with Shiro made him remember. The dude was a badass in almost everything he did. From now on he may have to consider trying to go on more missions with Shiro as well. Like who chops a droid in half with a swing of his hand? Shiro apparently.

Well that was at least until they got to a cross roads and had to split up. But Lance was a big boy he could handle this. At least that was what he told himself after barely managing to scan some scary dude's face.

But everything was going to be ok. He might actually be the hero today. He had found Slav and would be leading him to Blue like the dashing hero he was. And sure Shiro claimed he had Slav to but they would see when they got back wouldn’t they.

Besides wanting to actually be the right one for once Lance thought this guy was pretty cool. Sure all he did was say yep but he knew the way out which was a plus in Lance's book. Not to mention he tore apart that droid earlier which was beyond awesome. Hell he had even agreed to Lance's nickname for the Blade of Mamora members. This guy was just getting better and better.

Better in fact that Lance found himself talking about the team. About Pidge's amazing hacker skills and Shiro's leadership. He was all to happy to talk about Hunk and his engineering capabilities as well as his food. The dude was his best friend so of course he had to show off. But when it came to Keith he for sure did not hold back.

" And Keith is always doing things like flying into asteroid fields and black holes and cool junk like that. Not to mention he's super strong and knows how to handle a sword. Oh and did I mention that he's my boyfriend? Have no idea how I managed to score with him but somehow I did," he rambled as Slav continued to agree with him.

"And I thought I was the teams sharpshooter, but I guess no one else thought that." stopping in his tracks he realized just what he was saying. When he thought about it when was the last time had had shot something with his bayard and actually hit his target? The last time he remembered using his bayard was against Ulaz and he had failed to hit the man even once. And even then what about before that? When was the last time had had even shot something?

In his absence everyone had developed all these cool things and tricks while he was stuck in some cell rotting away. They had learned new battle formations, new ways to fight without Voltron. They had each grown in areas where they were unsure or had little practice in. Shiro was making more confident calls and knew what plan would work and would not work faster. Pidge was a better hacker then ever. She was the one who put the entire castles system back together after all. Hunk had grown in his confidence and was no longer as timid as he once was. And Keith? Oh Keith had improved his fighting style drastically and was piloting red better than ever.

But what about him? He hadn't properly shot his bayard in months now. His hand to hand combat was way behind everyone's even Hunk who never much liked to fight. He still hadn't memorized all their formations and his flying was sub par compared to the rest of them. What was once his thing he realized he could no longer even do. He might as well be the 7th wheel of their little team. What a miserable wheel to be.


 

Ok being thrown around by a giant, pissed off dude had Lance taking back the whole thing about this being epic. This just sucked actually. And when he said being thrown he meant literally as the dude chunked him and Pidge across the room and straight at Shiro.

Things only got worse though when they were all sucked out and Slav was grabbed by the warden. Everything they had worked so hard for was about to all be for nothing. If he had never taken that stupid pet of his maybe he wouldn’t have noticed they were in the prison at all. If only he had known then they wouldn’t be about to lose Slav now.

"NO!" a part of him screamed in retaliation. He wouldn’t let it end like this. He may not be nearly as talented as the rest of them but he wasn't useless. He would catch up and prove himself. It would take time but his journey started now.

Taking aim he fired a single shot. Everything seemed to move in slow motion as Slav wiggled in the air to get free. The Warden's hand grasped tight around him. The shot would hit he just knew it.

There was no describing the feeling that coursed through him as Lance watch the shot pierce the wardens armor and Slav being released. The doors closing behind him as he went spinning towards Pidge.

"Nice Lance! That's why we bring our sharpshooter," Shiro praised. And if that wasn’t a boost to his already very low self esteem at the moment than Lance didn't know what was.

He may still be way behind the rest of them but he would catch up. This was his first step after all. He could do this he knew it. Oh he couldn’t wait to tell Keith when he saw him again.


 

Something was definitely going on between Allura and Keith and whatever it was it wasn’t good. If it wasn’t for how confused he was at the moment and the fact they just fought that thing for the second time he would have called her out on it. All he asked was simple question and her answer had been curt and short. Like he didn’t have the right to ask or something. At first he had thought she might have just been in a bad mood but when he asked a question she responded with utmost cheer. Just what the hell happened between the two of them?

It only got worse though when instead of thanking both Keith and Hunk she only thanked the latter. Lance stood their patiently waiting for her to give Keith the thanks he deserved but nothing came. As soon as Lance realized she wasn't going to say anything else something in him begun to darken. But before he could put a name to it Hunk spoke up.

"You know, Keith was there too," he informed her with a not so impressed look on his face.

But even as Hunk said this instead of her acknowledging it things got even worse. She didn’t even say anything as she glared venomously at Keith. Lance could only watch with mounting anger as she regarded Keith with nothing but contempt and the other just stood there and took it. Finally after she had stared him down for what seemed like forever she turned away without even a single word while Keith did nothing. Oh fuck no, no one treated the one he loved like shit.

"What the quiznak is your problem?" Lance spoke up as he took a step towards her. Beside him the rest of the team looked at him with mixed expressions of shock and panic.

"Excuse me?" Allura asked, clearly offended as if she had the right.

"You heard me! Keith risks his life like all the rest of us and you're not even going to thank him?" Lance could feel the rage building up in him as he stared Allura down. Ignoring Pidge's hand on his arm trying to calm him.

"You have no right to speak to me like that," Allura hissed as she glared daggers at Lance.

But they didn’t have any effect on him. He didn’t care who you were. Nobody got to treat other people like shit for no reason at all. Especially if that person was doing there best to help and contribute.

" And you have no right to treat him like that! Look I don’t know why you're so angry but I wont let you talk to him like that," Lance spit back as he yanked his arm out of Pidge's grasp and took more steps forward at Allura. Ignoring the rest of the teams pleas to calm down as he glared at her. However before she could respond a bored voice interrupted all of them.

"My I didn’t know the Galra boy would cause so many problems in my initial percentages," Slav said as he regarded them all with curiosity.

Everyone fell silent as the words registered. Eyes full of panic darting between Keith and Lance as neither of them said anything. But after a moment Lance was the one to break the silence as he looked at Slav in confusion.

"What are you talking about?" he asked.

" Your red paladin is Galra, no? I am not surprised that it would cause tension between him and your leader considering everything that happened to Altea," Slav informed him but as the words left his mouth and he took in everyone else expressions he realized what exactly the situation was.

"Wait, you had no idea did you?" he asked with no small amount of pity in his voice.

At this point everything seemed to come to a halt as Lance took in everything. Keith… was Galra? Turning to look at the other he was faced with a look of guilt plastered across Keith's face.

"How long have you known?" Taking in the looks of the others Lance added, "How long have you all known?"

For a moment no one said anything as Lance all looked at them. He could feel something inside him start to curl into itself and wilt. Why weren't any of them looking at him?

Finally it was Keith who broke the silence as he spoke without even looking at Lance, " Since we got back from the Blade of Mamora headquarters."

Lance didn’t even know he had left the room until the door shut behind him. Tears ran down his face as he walked as fast as he could away. All this time they knew. All this time he had been in the dark and Keith hadn't even tried to say anything.

Back in the control room nobody said anything as they all stood their in guilty silence. None of this was suppose to happen. Lance was never suppose to find out like this. Not when he was only trying to defend Keith. Gritting his teeth in anger Keith turned to face Allura who was staring at the closed doors in horror.

"You know, while it sucked knowing you couldn’t stand me I could live with it. I was fine with it as long as we kept our relationship professional and I thought you could handle that as well. But it appears I was wrong I guess," and with that Keith turned and was making his way out the door after Lance. He didn’t once look back as the doors shut behind him.

Catching up to Lance was easy enough since the other was walking himself but as Keith got closer his heart clenched when he realized that Lance was crying. Biting his lip Keith kept walking until there was only feet separating them.

"Lance?" he called out.

The other whirled around and Keith couldn’t help the way his insides bled at the tears streaming down Lance's face. His face was starting to blotch with the sheer amount he was crying and his shirt was becoming wet with the tears.

"Why didn’t you tell me?" he sobbed.

"Lance I- I wanted to but I couldn't," Keith replied as he tried to approach the other.

Lance was having none of that though as he took a few steps back from him," But why? You told the rest of them. Why couldn't you tell me?"

"Lance I know your upset but please-" Keith started with desperation but was cut off by Lance.

"Was it because I wasn’t good enough? Did you not trust me?" he asked as more sobs wracked his body.

All Keith wanted to do was hold Lance in his arms at the moment but he wouldn’t let him. "No Lance that’s not-"

"I trusted you so why did you lie to me? You said everything would be ok and you lied? Why?" Lance choked out as the tears just kept coming.

At this point Keith didn’t know what to say. Lance had never cried this much especially at something he had done. What was he suppose to do? He couldn't tell him everything he just couldn’t. But it seemed that was not up to him.

"Say something!" Lance screamed as he continued his heart wrenching sobs.

Breaking under Lance's pressure Keith let it all pour out, "I didn't say anything because I was afraid! I was afraid that you would abandon me once you found out what I was. That you would hate me just like Allura. I couldn't stand the thought of causing you more pain!" Keith yelled in desperation.

For a moment neither of them said anything as Keith huffed and Lance stared at him blankly, tears still running down his face. After a few seconds though Lance broke the silence as Keith shivered at how eerily calm his voice was.

"Is that what you really think of me? Is that what my feelings amount up to? You not being able to trust me with something like this even though you know how much I love you?" Lance asked. And oh god is face, the tears were still coming but Lance was looking at him with so much hurt and betrayal that Keith thought he would burst into tears himself. And as he stood there he realized he had nothing to say and it seemed Lance realized it to.

"I see," was all Lance said in reply as he turned and left Keith there. Left him to think of how he had just driven away the one person who would have loved him no matter what. A person who made him smile more than anything and gave him so many emotions he thought he would never feel. A person who heart he had just broken along with his own with his stupidity.

 

Chapter Text

On Earth Lance use to think he could sympathize with all those hit singers who sang about getting their hearts ripped out. That they were on to something of cosmic level when they sang about finding someone like you and the ones that got away. He would sit in his small room with the glow in the dark stickers peeling off the ceiling for hours and cry at the loss these people felt. On how beautiful and poetic their words of sorrow were. To bad no one ever sang a song about being trapped in space with the person you love who it turns out doesn't trust your feelings enough to tell you what they are going through.

 

Having your heartbroken wasn’t something romantic or beautiful. It wasn’t crystal tears falling down unblemished cheeks or pastel broken hearts painted here and there. No it was more like snot and buckets of salty tears flowing down a blotched red face. Fingers tearing into strands of hair as lanky limps curled in on themselves. A body doing its best to adjust to a long unused mattress. Some days were better than others. Days were he could go about his business and pretend he wasn’t bleeding out from the inside. But then there were those days when all of a sudden he could feel the ghost of lips on his neck and nails pressing into his hips. There was nothing pretty about sobs stifled into a musty pillow and bloody crescents marring tan skin in order to help hold back emotions that threatened to explode like a bomb. He wished someone would have told him back then that it was foolish to romanticize pain. That the songs and poems he thought he could relate to would never be able to cover the feelings he felt now.

 

Perhaps it wouldn’t have ended up this way if Shiro was still there. After all the older man had offered to be there for the both of them should they ever need it. He was the oldest out of the five paladins and their leader so surely he would know how to fix the Grand Canyon size gap that was between Lance and Keith at the moment. Maybe he would have been there to help Keith with his emotions instead of him beating the drones senseless until Coran had to finally shut the program off himself. Perhaps he would have been there to lend a shoulder for Lance to cry on instead of him getting Blue's controls covered in snot and tears when the emotions became to much.

 

But he wasn’t there. No Shiro had disappeared to who knows where and the team was in more or less shambles. It was different losing Lance than it had been losing Shiro. Yes while he was a paladin he wasn’t the leader. In his opinion he wasn’t nearly as important to the cause as Shiro. And if things were as bad as Keith said when he was gone then he hated to think about what they would descend into with Shiro gone.

 

As it was they had been searching for weeks now with no results. Shiro had all but been spirited away to who knows where. The Black lion wasn't helpful in the least bit either as they had not moved from where they were collapsed. From what they knew Black had the ability to teleport but beyond that they had no idea how it worked or what happened. For all they knew Shiro could be halfway across the universe or even worse in the hands of the Galra as Lance had been. Whatever the case was the bitter truth was that Shiro was gone and they were slowly descending into chaos.

 

In times like this you would look to those you loved for support and help. People you could count onto hold you through the tough times and be there for each other. Before all of this that person would have been Keith for Lance. Even for all his emotional awkwardness at times Keith knew how to comfort Lance. He knew that gentle fingers cradling skin and tender words pressed to temples usually had Lance calming down. While on the other end of the spectrum Lance knew how to calm Keith down. That gentle smiles and a head pressed into his with a nuzzling push had Keith letting the tension bleed out. They both knew what the other needed but in times like this when it was needed most no comfort was given.

 

After their explosive argument they had barely spoken a word to each other unless it pertained to the mission on hand. That night as they had gotten ready for the battle against Zarkon that would take place the next day, Lance found himself sitting on his bed for the first time in many months. He had of course been in his room since he returned but not once had he laid much less even sat on his bed. It was this fact that had him wrinkling his nose at the slight musty smell his pillow and sheets gave off.

 

He hadn’t said a word to Keith about him no longer sleeping in the same room and it seemed the other was more than content to remain silent on the matter as well. Keith wasn't even in the room when Lance gathered some of the belongings he had transferred into Keith's room and instead moved them back to his own. He knew he must have noticed as he heard Keith entering his room before dinner. But he never commented on it and Lance found a small part of himself twingeing with pain. Did he not even care?

 

From there things only got worse as Lance no longer slept in Keith's room and the nightmares begun to return. Memories of bruises aching and cuts stinging. Blood everywhere as he slipped in it and vomit coating the floor as he heaved his insides up. A voice taunting him and having Lance screaming into his pillow with words of how he wasn't even worth Keith's love at this point. He didn’t even know what was a good nights rest anymore. And from the look on Keith's face every morning neither did he.

 

Before all this Lance would have killed to go on a mission alone with Keith. To have him all to himself and let all his affection pour out until he was left dry. But now? Now Lance prayed every time they had to go on one that he wouldn’t be paired up with Keith. However it seemed Allura was feeling merciful as she never did have them paired up.

 

Speaking of Allura it seemed she and Keith had made up. The thick tension that was once between them was barely even there anymore and they seemed to get along quite well actually. Lance was of course happy that now everyone on the team accepted the fact that Keith was part Galra. That he wouldn’t be the outcast and hated by the team. However he couldn’t help the twinge of hurt and jealously that ran through him at the fact that the very person Lance had stuck up for Keith against was on better terms with him than Lance at the moment.

 

He supposed it was half his fault for not making the effort to patch things up with Keith. But then again why should he have to be the one to cave? As far as he was concerned he had been more than open with Keith. He had told Keith things the others had no idea he thought or felt. Secrets whispered against soft lips in the middle of the night. And what did he get in return?

 

Instead of trusting Lance as he had trusted Keith the other had told everyone his secret barring Lance of course. He had hid it with every intention of not ever telling him it seemed. It still hurt Lance to think that Keith would ever think he would hate him or abandon him just because he was born a certain race. Like he could actually help it or something.

 

So no he did not intend to say a single word to Keith on the matter. As far as he was concerned if the other wanted to make up with him he would have to come to him first. Lance wouldn’t be the first one not this time. But with everything that had happened with Shiro and knowing Keith's relationship with him, Lance doubted that would be anytime soon. At this point he didn’t even know if they were broken up or not.

 

"How long till the drop zone?" Kolivan's voice rang out, interrupting Lance's thoughts.

 

"30 ticks, you ready?" Lance called back as he zoomed about.

 

Now was not the time to be distracted as he and Blue avoided several blasts. He had precious cargo in the form of several Blade of Mamora operatives including Kolivan after all. He would be lying if he said he wasn’t relieved to go on this mission with just Hunk. He didn’t think he could handle dealing with Keith and whatever weird thing he had going on with the Blade of Mamora right now.

 

Speaking of the Blade of Mamora everyone was more than surprised when he had volunteered to let them ride in Blue. Out of all of them they would think Lance would want to have the least amount to do with them. A thought that had him rolling his eyes. He may have trauma but he knew the Blade of Mamora had no intentions of hurting him. In fact a part of him rather liked them. Sure they were quite and a bit harsh but he could tell they did all want what as best for the universe. Not to mention Lance found Kolivan kind of amusing with his blunt sense of humor and his brutal honesty. In some way he even reminded Lance of Keith, a thought that had the former sighing in sadness.

 

Now was not the time for that though. He and Hunk still had quiet a few fighters swarming after them and the drop zone was no longer an option. Huffing in annoyance he banked hard to the side and hovered closer to the ground. As it was if they stopped they risked taking shots and also putting the members in danger. Pursing his lips in thought he waved off Hunk's concern over missing the drop zone. They needed another plan and fast.

 

"Kolivan, any ideas?" he called back but was met with surprise when the other demanded Blue's hatch be opened. Well a plan was better than no plan he supposed. He wondered if all Galra were inherently in simple terms almost reckless. If so that would sure explain why Keith was the way he was.

 

Opening the hatch Lance watched in awe as they zoomed towards the ground without even flinching. Although he did have to hold back a laugh when they hit the ground and started running. The freaking Naruto run, seriously?

 

Well Lance supposed as long as it worked it didn’t matter. And considering the massive damage they were doing to the droids below, well he could overlook their unique style of running. Knowing that Kolivan and the rest could more than take care of themselves Lance turned his attention back to the battle at hand.

 

With Shiro gone now more than ever was the best time for Lance to learn those formations. With no Voltron battles became tougher and situations more dire. There wasn’t time to think on the what ifs and the fine tuning of things. No this was war and they had to play to win.

 

On the nights where he wasn’t wallowing in his own tears he spent hours pouring over formations. Head bent over diagrams and crude drawling's of formations illuminated only by the passing stars in the middle of the night. A good portion of his time was spent sitting behind the controls of Blue and imagining the moves in his head. Hands pushing and pulling at Blue's controls as he let his minds eye imagine the path he needed to take.

 

Out of all of them he was the most behind on his formations and needed to catch up. With Shiro gone they couldn’t afford any set backs. Couldn’t afford any mess ups or unsure paladins stumbling through battle. And that was just what he had been doing.

 

He had barely gotten the hang of flying Blue much less the team again when Shiro was ripped away from them. Now without a leader and one paladin who was still getting back into the groove of things they were a royal mess. If it wasn’t for the fact that Keith and him had both come to the mutual idea of not speaking to each other Lance was sure he would have yelled at him in frustration by now. More than one time he had botched something up and was having a hard time figuring out what to do when fighting with the group. Did he go with formation A which had him on the safe defense or formation B which had him aggressively charging forward? He could never make up his mind and half the time he did he was wrong and somebody got shot. It had gotten to the point where he was usually sent on missions with just Hunk as of course Keith and him were not getting along and Pidge didn’t have quite as much patience.

 

But even though it hurt to know he wasn’t good enough to work with the test of the team he did admit that he worked well with Hunk. Hunk was patient and actually helped out when Lance forgot what to do. Voice somewhat nervous but still supportive as he directed Lance in formations that were new. A true friend if you asked Lance.

 

It got better though as the days began to creep by. Was he losing sleep? Yes, but he had caught up on a lot of the formations that were crucial to battle. He even got to perform that spiral trick with Hunk once which was exhilarating. He could catch up, he had to. And right now he had a chance to prove it with Kolivan calling for help.

 

 


 

 

Ok so it probably wasn’t the best idea for Lance to have flirted with those girls but in the heat of the moment he just didn’t care. If only for those few minutes he was happy to bask in the attention they gave him. To have them coo over him and crowd around him. Small, soft hands gently holding on to him as he let his own hands wonder over petite waists and smooth shoulders. It almost was enough to drive away the phantom feeling of strong, calloused hands on his waist and chapped lips pressing soft kisses onto his shoulders. Key word being almost.

 

He did take an almost vindictive pleasure though in the way Keith's eyes narrowed when he caught site of the photos Lance had taken as he showed them to Pidge. Good perhaps he would start to show how this fight of theirs was affecting him for once instead of bottling up everything. However the agitated side of him began to cool as the issue of Voltron was brought up.

 

Like dumping a cold bucket of water over all of them Keith was quick to bring up the issue they had all been putting of in some vain hope it was all a bad dream. Of course none of them had forgotten the lack of the head of their little family. It was something that they all thought of and tried to work out in the latest of hours when they were alone. But this was different than when Lance had disappeared. This time they had no lion to try and track Shiro down through nor did they even have any idea of how Shiro even vanished. Teleportation wasn’t exactly a known concept the lot of them.

 

However before any of them could come up with reassuring words for Keith that they had not forgotten Shiro, Allura decided now would be an excellent time to drop another bomb shell on them. The words "new pilot for the black lion" bounced between them all like one of those pinball machines Lance use to spend hours on. Racking up high score after high score if only to impress his growing number of nieces and nephews.

 

But this wasn’t something as simple as watching a small ball bounce off colorful point markers. No this was suggesting an idea none of them wanted to think about. How could they even began to entertain the idea of replacing such a valuable member. Having someone try to fill the shoes of someone like Shiro was no small order. And yes while Shiro still had many flaws as well, he did his best to be a good leader. How could any of them even hope to know where to start?

 

And while each of them did not quite agree with Allura's point Lance couldn’t lie that Keith's next words stung a bit. " Shiro is the one person who never gave up on me. I won't give up on him," ouch ok that hit him like a punch in the gut.

 

However as much as Lance wanted to let his hurt from Keith's words be known a large part of him knew that Keith had some part of it right. There was quite a large chunk of Keith's life that Lance was not a part of nor had any idea of. It was that Keith obviously had no desire to share and there were times that Lance wondered if Keith even remembered everything from before the garrison. He certainly didn’t act like it at times.

 

Taking this into account and even though it hurt Lance could see why Keith thought that. He knew that Shiro was precious to Keith and that they have some kind of history together. A history that Lance nor the rest of the team was any part of. Shiro had been with Keith through some of his toughest time and it was with that fact that Lance was able to hold his tongue. Now was not the time to involve his personal feelings. Still though he couldn’t help the slight twinge in his heart when Keith stormed out of the room without another word. However he would not be going after him. Something was telling him that Keith needed to be left alone right now and besides they would see him at the dinner/meeting that was to be held soon anyway.

 


 

You know that saying "memories are made while gathered around the table"? Yeah well Lance didn’t think that person had quite this kind of memory in mind before they spouted that. So far the talks hadn't been going to bad even with the slightly depressing way Kolivan had started it. Even though he could tell that the leaders sitting across from him were still unsure he could at least see the cogs in their minds working. Hope and awe shining in their eyes as Allura presented her ideas. The only unfortunate part to this all so far was the fact that Lance was seated next to Keith. At least they were reasonably spaced out and not pressed together.

 

To bad it was not to last though. The irritation and anger that rolled off Keith in waves reminded Lance of that time when Keith slaughtered all those Galra. It sat heavy over him like a cloud and Lance could almost taste it. Taste the bitterness and crackle of fury that broiled under Keith's skin. It may not be as bad as in the past but Lance knew it was still a threat to the talks right now.

 

Gingerly reaching out Lance was careful in placing what he hoped was a placating hand on Keith's elbow. To bad it seemed to do nothing except irritate Keith even more as he not so gently yanked his elbow away and cast Lance a venomous look in return. Great this appeared to be heading down hill and quickly at that.

 

As the dinner continued though he didn’t back down in his efforts to get Keith to relax. A gentle nudge here and a light caresses on his side there with hope that Keith would start to cool down. However those did not work nor anything else. All it did was earn Lance quite the death stares and even a heel digging into his foot. Damn he had forgotten their paladin boots had a slight heel to them.

 

It all continued to escalate though until it seemed Keith could no longer hold his temper. If it wasn’t for the fact that he was in the process of rubbing his sore foot Lance mused that maybe he would have been able to stop Keith. Actually who was he kidding? The bruise that was surely forming on his foot proved that even he couldn’t sway Keith's emotions any longer.

 

Still even with the reality of the situation he couldn’t just watch Keith storm out of the room and do nothing about it. Seeing the bemused expressions that faced him across the table and Allura's own one of fear that all their hard work had just been tossed down the drain Lance was quick to act.

 

"Please excuse him he's been going through a lot," Lance offered to the leaders with an apologetic smile. Cheering in his mind when they relaxed and some even nodded their heads in understanding.

 

Pushing aside his instinct to bolt after Keith himself he slowly rose from his seat before turning to face Allura. "I'll go talk to him," he said as he smiled a reassuring smile at her. Weary but trusting Allura nodded her head before addressing the others again. Turning to leave he begun to make his way out of the room as calmly as he could, unaware of the pair of yellow eyes that followed him out the door as he went.

 

As soon as he heard the doors hiss shut behind him though all allusions of calm dissipated as Lance hurried after Keith. Face set in a determined scowl as he sped up. If he thought for one second that he was going to be able to throw a tantrum and get away with it he had another thing coming. Rounding the corner Lance narrowed his eyes as he spotted Keith slowly making his way down the hallway. He caused such a big fuss and now he had the audacity to be calm? Oh no not while Lance saw to it.

 

Calling out the others name he was relieved when Keith decided to actually stop instead of ignoring him. However that relief soon turned to apprehension as Keith turned to face him with one of the biggest scowls he had ever seen. Oh boy here they go.

 

"Is there something I can help you with?" Keith asked, curt and straight to the point.

 

Pausing for only the briefest of moments Lance did his best to hide the unease he felt. Keith's tone already did not bode well for where this conversation was going to go. It was more than clear that it would not be a peaceful talk like Lance wished for. No this would surely be a taxing and emotional one. One that may put even further strain on their relationship. But he couldn’t leave the other like this either. No it was time to face whatever this was.

 

"Keith come on don't be like that," he tried to reason as he took a step closer to Keith.

 

That of course seemed to not help the situation any as Keith only narrowed his eyes at him in response. Frown drawling his eyebrows together as his lips curled up in a sneer.

 

"Mind your own business Lance," Keith growled back as he turned to leave.

 

Lance was having none of that though as he stepped forward once again. "Uh last time I checked you're little tantrum effects the whole team making it not only mine but everyone else business," he shot back, fists clenched in frustration.

 

However Keith said nothing to this as he made to leave. It seemed he was more than content to ignore Lance and the problem at hand. Which of course was something the other could not allow.

 

"Keith I know your upset about Shiro but you can't keep running away from all of this," he tried to reason, hoping a more gentle tone would bring Keith around.

 

It seemed not though as Keith spit back, "Oh what would you know Lance? You have no idea what I'm going through!"

 

Taken aback Lance visibly took a step back at Keith's biting words but managed to recover quickly. He wouldn’t drop this that easily. " I might if you actually told me or any of us for that matter! How are we suppose to help you if you never say anything?" it was hard to keep the frustration from bleeding into his tone but somehow he managed if only by a little.

 

"Why am I the problem here? As far as I'm concerned I'm not the one trying to replace Shiro so easily," Keith accused as his voice started to raise.

 

Lance couldn’t help but shake his head in disbelief. Keith wasn't seeing the big picture here. " That’s not it and you know it!"

 

"Oh please, last time I checked I was the only one out there looking for him," Keith scoffed. His face a mask of bitter amusement.

 

This only had Lance growling in frustration as he responded, " Keith we can’t just ignore everything else around us either. It can't be like it was when I was gone, the team can't take something like that again."

 

If Lance was any angrier he might have missed the flash of sorrow that crossed Keith's face at the mention of those 4 long months. Sure it was a low blow but Lance needed him to see the point here. To see that obsessing over this like they did for Lance would only destroy the team even more.

 

However any ground he thought he might have gained with Keith quickly vanished as the other became defensive. " It wont be like with you Lance trust me. This time I actually wont give up halfway," he sneered.

 

Lance would be lying if he said that wasn’t a blow to his heart. He swore he could feel it breaking even more with those cruel, biting words. Deep down he knew Keith didn’t mean them. That he was enraged and distressed, looking for anything to lash out at. Like the fire he was guardian of Keith burned bright with whatever emotion he felt at the moment. Let his feelings consume him and roar to life with a passion. And right now that emotion was bitterness and contempt. And while Lance knew this it didn’t stop him from fighting back with his own tidal wave of emotions.

 

" Uh huh, like that worked out so well for you the first time you tried to find him," he jeered.

 

It seemed Keith did not like this oh no he didn’t like it one bit as he slowly turned back to face Lance fully, jaw clenched and eyes contracting in anger. Desire to get away long forgotten as he advanced towards Lance who did his best to square up and stand his ground. Stopping only a few feet away from the other Keith used his recent growth spurt to glare down at Lance. This only had Lance glaring harder at the mere fact that Keith was trying to intimidate him into submission.

 

"You're not going to cow me into backing down Keith. I'm not intimidated by you," Lance warned as he met Keith's glare head on. Wishing to himself that with his words Keith would back off.

 

However this had the opposite effect Lance wanted as Keith crowded him and flashed him what could only be described as a predatory smirk. "Oh I think you are Lance. After all as I seem to recall you're the one who fled back to your room without even a word," Keith taunted, his eyes glinting with an almost mocking edge.

 

Scowling at Keith for trying to make him out as a coward Lance continued to stand his ground. Keith may be taller than him now and a force to be reckoned with when he was angry but Lance wasn’t a push over either. Though his heart did clench at the fact that Keith was willing to land such a unfair blow by bringing their relationship into this. Was he really ok with stepping all over his feelings like this?

 

"Alright then, if that makes me a coward then what does that make you? Considering you were the one who was afraid to tell me your part Galra and all that," Two could play at this game.

 

Any pleasure that Lance got from Keith's shock was taken away though when the other let out a borderline predatory growl. He could only watch as Keith bared his teeth and all but pushed his face closer to him. Eyes flashing with more than mere anger at this point.

 

"See this is exactly why I didn't want to tell you anything," he growled.

 

This however was the last string for Lance as he couldn’t keep it quite together at Keith's words. " Oh so its ok for you to keep things from me because you don’t want to hear it, because you're afraid?! And then on the other hand you insist that I be honest with you with everything I feel! How is that fair Keith?!" Lance exclaimed.

 

This took Keith aback for the moment but he recovered fast. " How was I suppose to tell you Lance? Hey I come from a race of people who also happened to be the same as the one who tortured you. How could I put something like that on you?"

 

"The same way I told you everything I went through Keith! My love for you is unconditional no matter what your background is. I trusted you to be honest with me as I have to you," Lance said as he watched Keith scowl in frustration.

 

"That’s easy for you to say. I've never done this before Lance!" Keith yelled in anger as his temper continued to build. Lance's comment on his love for him being drowned out by all his other emotions.

 

"And you think I have? I told you that you were the first person I ever dated! But unlike you I'm trying Keith. You told me you loved me but how can you say that when you don’t even respect me enough to tell me the truth? What would Shiro say?"

 

Ok yes it was a bad move to bring Shiro in to this especially since he was part of what they were arguing about but Lance couldn’t help it. He never wanted to argue about their relationship. No now was not the time for that but he couldn’t stop himself when Keith brought it up. His hurt was still to raw and he was never the best at holding his tongue. It seemed though that he wasn’t the only one though.

 

"SHUT UP!!! JUST SHUT UP!!!" Keith roared as he grabbed Lance by the arms and shook him almost as if he was a rag doll. Wide eyed Lance clamped his mouth shut as he looked at Keith in utter shock. The other panting and wearing a similar expression as he looked at Lance. By now their faces were mere inches away from each other as they stared into each others eyes in stunned silence.

 

It soon transformed into something else though as they begun to calm down. Loosening his grip on Lance's arms Keith let his eyes drift down to his lips as his eyes became hooded. Breath still coming out in pants as everything zeroed in on Lance. The other wasn’t doing much better either as his eyes too drifted to Keith's lips. God how long had it been since they had kissed each other? But before either of them could act on their rampant emotions Keith managed to regain himself and pulled back.

 

"I'm sorry I cant do this, not now," was all he offered as he turned and sped away. Leaving Lance to stand there in a mix of sadness and surprise.

 

Even after Keith turned the corner at the end of the hall he still did not move from his spot. No all he could do was stand there as he tried not to cry. By this point everything was a mess. Shiro was gone and he and Keith's relationship might as well be void at this point. For once in his life why couldn’t he have what he wanted. He was always fighting to be acknowledged and earn his place and when he thought he had finally found his place while working everything out it had all been yanked out from under him. Life truly loved to be cruel to him as he sniffed and tried to hold back the tears that threatened to spill over.

 

So caught up in his emotions he was though that he missed the sound of soft footfalls approaching him. It wasn’t until a large hand came to rest gently on his shoulder that he realized he wasn’t alone any longer. Wiping his eyes he turned only to be met with confusion when he came face to face with Kolivan. Ok not who he was suspecting to show up.

 

" Forgive me if I startled you paladin," he said as he removed his hand from his shoulder.

 

Sniffling Lance shook his head as he turned fully to face the other. "Nah its ok. Can I help you with something?"

 

"Ah… I normally do not meddle in such affairs but I felt that I needed to have a word with the Red paladin myself. However it seems that would not be for the best," Kolivan hedged as he regarded the path Keith had disappeared down.

 

Wincing at the implication of Kolivan's words Lance rubbed the back of his head in a almost sheepish manner, " Heard all that did you?"

 

"Yes I'm afraid. I did not mean to eavesdrop though young paladin," Kolivan informed him as he turned to face him once again.

 

Not being able to help the smile that spread across his face at Kolivan's polite honesty Lance shook his head. "It's alright since we were the ones arguing in the middle of the hallway. Sorry you had to see all of that though…oh and by the way you can just call me Lance! I mean we call you by your name so its only fair."

 

"Its quite alright…Lance," Lance couldn’t help the broad smile that spread across his face as Kolivan used his name. In truth he actually thought the dude was pretty cool and was more than happy to grow closer as comrades with the older man. Though even with a happy moment such as this it did little to sooth the ache left by Keith.

 

Not sure of what else to say Lance went back to staring at the ground, eyes burning with un shed tears of sadness and frustration at the situation. If it wasn’t for Kolivan standing before him he was sure he would have started crying at any moment. As it was he was barely keeping it together.

 

However nothing prepared him for the gentle hand that came to rest on his head. Looking up in question Lance could only look at Kolivan in confusion as the other gingerly patted his head. Even though he wasn’t smiling there was something soft in his expression as he regarded Lance.

 

"It is not weak to cry believe me. In fact at times it is how the heart speaks when the lips will not," Kolivan said in a soft tone as he continued to pat Lance's head in a almost awkward manner.

 

Oh and if that didn’t get the tears flowing Lance didn’t know what would. Doing his best to wipe away his cascade of tears he let out a watery laugh as he regarded Kolivan. "I had no idea any of you Marmorites could be so poetic."

 

Tilting his head at the nickname Lance had taken to calling them Kolivan shrugged in response. "If you wish to call it that however I am only stating facts,"

 

"Mmhmm sure," Lance teased as he sniffled up the last of his tears.

 

For a moment neither one of them said anything but Kolivan was quick to break the silence as he watched Lance look forlornly in the direction Keith had vanished to. "He will grow out of it one day I assure you. Galra tend to be quite aggressive in their youth."

 

"To be honest I think that's Keith just being Keith," Lance snorted.

 

" While that may be true he reminds me of many of our younger recruits. Brash and quick to anger. He will have to grow out of it sooner or later."

 

Lance merely hummed in response as he thought on Kolivan's words. When he thought about it, it did make sense. Keith tended to be quite aggressive even for a human. There was also the growl that came out of him earlier that had Lance flinching. Perhaps it was the Galra side of him that pushed him to be more inclined to irritation and fits of rage. Then again who knew with Keith since he seemed not to ever tell anyone anything.

 

"At this rate I don't know what to do," Lance sighed. Maybe he wasn’t the right person to talk with Keith about any of this. It was clear that their relationship was part of his emotional turmoil and it wasn’t something Lance was sure they could overcome this time. Not with someone as important as Shiro missing at the moment.

 

"It may not be ideal but I believe you may have to be the bigger person in this Lance. It is clear he needs support and your opinion does sway heavily with him even though he does not show it."

 

Turning to face Kolivan once again Lance raised a questioning eyebrow at this. Were he and Kolivan even talking about the same person because from what he had seen Keith did not seem to inclined to listen to him.

 

Seeing Lance's doubt Kolivan decided to elaborate, "At our headquarters you were constantly on his mind. His desire to protect and please you was quite obvious I must admit."

 

This had Lance blushing as Keith's feelings were laid bare before him. Considering the other didn’t talk about what happened that day Lance had no idea. To hear that even Kolivan who was a stranger at the time could identify Keith's feelings for him had Lance's temper rapidly cooling. Of course things wouldn’t be fixed with something like that but still it did help Lance regain his calm and perhaps move past this if only a little.

 

Smiling at Kolivan's words of reassurance Lance couldn’t help but ask, " Not to be ungrateful or anything but why are you being so nice to me?"

 

For a moment Kolivan said nothing to this as he seemed to be thinking. Head tilted a fraction to the left as he thought. Lance had to hold back a giggle as it almost reminded him of a cat. The fluffy parts that stuck out on the sides of Kolivan's head didn’t help any either.

 

"I am returning the favor from earlier at the village," Ah that made sense. But to Lance it was only natural as the Blade of Mamora had helped a great deal against the Galra soldiers. They deserved as much praise as Voltron did any day in Lance's opinion.

 

"That is not the only reason though," Kolivan admitted soon after though.

 

Curious Lance said nothing as he waited patiently for the other to go on. Taking his silence as the go ahead Kolivan did just that.

 

" At times you remind me of one of our operatives Thace. He too was quite caring and did his best to look after others."

 

It took a moment for Lance to place the name but after a moment he realized it was the man who saved them from the Galra before the wormhole and also the one who made their fight against Zarkon possible. A man who had nobly sacrificed himself for the bigger picture even though he probably had dreams and aspirations himself . To be told he reminded Kolivan of such a great man had Lance standing a little taller with pride. That was quite a lot to live up to.

 

"That’s nice of you," he finally settled on saying as he fiddled with his fingers in a bashful manner.

 

"It will get better. Strife and darkness do not last forever," Kolivan said, hand coming to pat Lance on the head in reassurance once more.

 

Smiling at this Lance leaned into the touch while saying nothing more. He prayed Kolivan was right and that he could live up to the high expectation now placed upon him.

 


 

 

Lance wanted to stay mad at Keith he really did. Wanted to let his anger burn like a raging fire for days. Let it consume him and burn away all other emotions he felt for the other. But he couldn’t do that. No he needed to calm himself. Like a raging sea he would calm the waters of his emotions. Let the waters settle so everything would become clear and even the biggest disturbance would not change anything. He needed to be the bigger person.

 

It wasn't only that though. No, it stemmed farther than wanting to be the bigger person in this. No matter how much Keith angered him or hurt him he did not think he would ever stop caring for the other. Oh and by God did he love him. He craved him from the most heated form to the purest of forms. Long since he had stopped being able to tell the difference between his heart and Keith. Were they even separate entities to him by now? He was the one thing he would choose over and over again. In a heartbeat without question. It was no longer a question in his mind, he know knew he would never love like this again.

 

Being as such it hurt to watch Keith try to shoulder all this alone. His posture tense as he stood facing the Black lion. They had all found him that morning after the dinner. Lost in thought as he regarded the unresponsive lion before them. He had not said a word to any of them since they had all entered and the same could be said the other way as well. After all where did they even began?

 

It was almost funny the way they all looked to Lance. Of course in their minds he would be the best for the job even though he and Keith were currently not speaking to each other. However Lance wasn’t even paying attention to the rest of them. No he was focused solely on one person and had already decided what to do himself.

 

Taking a deep breath he approached the other before stopping at his side. Close by still mindful to keep some distance between them. He could never hope to know all that Shiro meant to Keith which made it difficult for him to settle on some kind of words of comfort. And he thought confessing his feelings was hard.

 

But it appeared he wasn’t alone in this. Pidge and Hunk had plenty to contribute as they spoke of what Shiro meant to them. The awe and love they felt for the older man radiating out as they spoke of him. And while Keith didn’t seem quite happy with Lance's advice the other could see he at least acknowledged it. His eyes softening as he regarded Lance in thought.

 

And the moment mentions of reforming Voltron left Keith's mouth he felt himself renewed with hope. It may not be quite what any of them wanted but it was a start. They could work with this and grow. Things would not be like when he was gone, they couldn’t be. And while he wanted nothing more to work out every sore spot in his and Keith's relationship, now was not the time. No, for now he needed to be there for Keith and frankly their relationship would need to be pushed aside for the time being. This didn’t mean his love would weaken or vanish by any means. Instead he would focus on growing in this aspect of their team and lives. Even if all he wanted right now was to be held in Keith's arms he would push it aside. Anything to make sure they all made it through this. Someone had to be the anchor after all and even if he was the most beat up, ugly looking one in the harbor he was more than happy to fulfill that job. Anything for them.

 

Chapter Text

"See this is exactly why I didn't want to tell you anything."

 

"Face it Lance they don’t need you. In fact they could probably care less about what happens to you. I mean surely there would have been reports of them asking about you. As far as their concerned they are better off without you."

 

"It wont be like with you Lance trust me. This time I actually wont give up halfway,"

 

"Oh Lance, you are broken beyond repair and no one cares, they don’t even notice."

 

Whispers in the dark as Lance stood there. There was nothing but pitch black around him as he stood motionless. Nothing to indicate where he was or what was happening. Only the constant whispers of familiar voices to keep him company. However instead of feeling panicked he felt calm. No not calm, that wasn’t the right word for it. The longer he stood there will dull eyes did he feel more…dead. Yes that was the right word for it. Not even the purple clawed hand coming up to wrap around his throat from behind fazed him. No, it was a hand he was all to familiar with.

 

"Did you think you had seen the last of me?" that all to familiar voice curled around his ear.

 

The sad thing was that yes, for those few bliss filled weeks with Keith he did.

 

"Lance?"

 

Opening his eyes he was aware of the tears running down the sides of his face and unto his pillow. Weird he didn’t remember crying in his dream. Sitting up slowly he was a little shocked to see Allura standing in the door way. He had heard her call him but he wasn’t sure if it was her at first. It seemed it was though as she quietly entered his room and took a seat on the bed beside him.

 

"Lance its time for the meeting," she reminded him gently. Head titled in consideration as she watched him with her hands resting in her lap.

 

"Sorry I didn’t mean to oversleep," he answered as he wiped away his tears the best he could.

 

Something didn’t feel right as he sat there. Normally he would be embarrassed to cry in front of anyone but as he sat their he found he felt nothing. No heat of shame bleeding into his cheeks nor any desire to turn away and hide. It was almost as if all the care he once had was gone as he sat there. Tears still running down his face and he stared at nothing. Why did he feel like this?

 

Startling at the feeling of warm hands cupping his cheeks his eyes turned towards Allura who had one of the most sympathetic smiles on her face. Her thumbs coming up to rub away softly at the tears cascading from his eyes. Warmth if only a little began to seep back into him. Starting from his cheeks down to his toes he could feel a soft pulse spreading.

 

"Do you want to talk about it?" Allura whispered almost as if in fear that any louder and she would spook Lance.

 

Shaking his head Lance let his eyes close for the moment as he let Allura cradle his face. He could feel the warmth pulsing and fighting off the odd feeling he had inside. Valiantly keeping away the things Lance could feel but had no name for at the moment.

 

So caught up was he in that moment that he missed the sound of the door whooshing open or throat being cleared. Pulling apart from each other Allura turned to look at their newest edition to the room while Lance merely lifted his eyes. Standing in the door was non other than Keith with one of the most blank expressions Lance had ever seen on his face.

 

Lance realized how the situation must have looked. His eyes closed while he leaned into Allura's touch who in turn cradled Lance's face with such care. But instead of feeling dread at the for sure misunderstanding or even trying to explain what was happening something else festered inside him. He wanted Keith to react. To scream and rage like he knew he could. Anger contorting his beautiful features as he rained down accusations on them. Possessiveness taking over as he would let it be known that no one took away Lance from him. He wanted Keith to be jealous, to be raging with the envy Lance was all to familiar with.

 

But none of this happened. No instead he adjusted his hold on his helmet under his arm while pointing over his shoulder with his other hand. "Everyone's waiting in the Black lions hangar." And that was all he said on the matter as he turned and begun to make his way down there himself.

 

Allura seemed not affected by the events that had taken place one bit as she stood. Lance on the other hand was not doing well. In fact it was almost as if something was threatening to claw its way out of his chest as he clutched the front of his shirt. Insides churning as if something was tearing at them.

 

"Lance? Lance are you ok?"

 

Snapping out of it he looked up to see Allura looking at him with concern splashed across her face. Eyebrows pulled together and mouth down-turned as she watched Lance. Seeing the worry he was causing her and wishing to do anything but talk about it he was quick to stand.

 

"Yeah I'm fine just some heart burn from the food last night," he laughed as he pulled on his shoes.

 

As he did so he missed the unconvinced look of worry Allura fixed him with. Her mouth opening to say something, anything to get Lance out of the strange mood that he was in. But for the life of her she couldn’t think of anything. Her mind running in circles as she chased after ideas. How did you comfort someone when you didn’t know exactly what was wrong. Yes, she knew he was upset about Keith and his relationship at the moment but for some reason she felt at the moment it was more than that. Like she could almost see something building within him.

 

But she never got a chance to pin point what it was exactly as Lance turned to her with a soft smile. "I'll meet you down there after I go pull on my armor," he said as he begun to walk out.

 

Left with no choice but to nod and follow she watched him go, unease sitting in her heart as she did. But as much as she wanted to address whatever was eating at Lance at the moment they had other important matters at hand. Today was the day they would see if the Black lion would choose anyone of them as a replacement paladin. Maker knows they needed this right now. However as she watched Lance go she picked up on a soft tune he was whistling. Cocking her head to the side she tried to get a better listen as she racked her brain where she had heard that tune before. A tune she had caught Lance whistling to in the past. However no matter how hard she tried she couldn’t remember where she had heard it. She supposed it wasn’t important as the tune faded as Lance walked down the hall.

 


 

 

Meeting in Blacks landing area was a quiet and almost tense affair. Everyone suited up in their paladin armor as they stared at the hulking mass of machinery. They all knew the Black lion was the biggest lion out of all of them but never had it seemed so imposing. Even collapsed as it was it still gave off that regal presence as it laid there. Commanding respect even though at the moment it was little more than a fallen king.

 

Last night it had come to all their attentions that Shiro had proclaimed Keith the next leader and Black paladin. Something he had done in front of no one not to mention the fact that he had not bothered to consult anyone on the matter either. No instead they all had to deal with the fact that Shiro had decided such an important manner without asking anyone else their opinion on the subject. It was this fact that had Lance narrowing his eyes ever so slightly as he regarded Keith. And the other had the audacity to not want it.

 

His frustration only grew with Keith though as they each went one by one. Allura convinced but not upset that she was not the one meant to pilot the Black lion. Pidge wasn’t even tall enough to reach the controls so Lance wasn’t surprised that she wasn’t it either. That left Hunk, Keith and him. One who wouldn’t mind having it, one who didn’t want it and the last who was undecided.

 

As Hunk took another turn he thought on the idea. If he was chosen did he even want to lead the team? To take up the role Shiro seemed to fit so perfectly and try and fill it. He would be responsible for all of them not to mention the many people out there who needed their help. They would look to him for leadership but could he give it?

 

"Lance its your turn," snapping out of it he realized everyone was looking at him. Expressions curious as to why he was no doubt lost in his head. Well at least Hunk and Pidge had curious looks. Allura only seemed worried while Keith's expression was unreadable. Shoving his helmet on as an almost barrier against Keith and Allura's looks he made his way to Black's open mouth. Feet feeling like they were dragging as he walked up their ramp and in.

 

Once he reached the cockpit he couldn’t help but pause and stare down sadly at Shiro's chair. Well he supposed it was technically the pilot seat he didn’t think he could refer to it like that. No not yet while the wounds were still fresh. To him this would always be Shiro's rightful place and he was encroaching on it.

 

Gingerly taking a seat he didn’t bother putting his hands on the controls. No instead he let his hands twine together in his lap as he stared down at his feet. Well at least he could reach the floor and everything he mused. As he sat there he thought on his current predicament. Did he really want to be the Black paladin or was it more of him not wanting Keith to be it.

 

Contrary to what the other paladins likely thought it wasn’t out of complete spite that he didn’t want Keith to be the leader. Yes his anger at the other did factor in but it was only a part. This was a big responsibility and he could see why Keith didn’t want it. He was use to doing things at his own pace and if he was chosen to be the Black paladin than that would be sacrificed. He would have to advance the team and not himself. Work with them and have the confidence to stand by himself. The courage to make decision none of them liked thinking about and the compassion to listen to them. There was also the matter that he was part Galra and Zarkon who was the original Black paladin was also Galra. Yeah that was probably a big factor in it all as well as Lance knew Keith didn’t want to replace Shiro yet. That if he did they might as well pronounce Shiro dead.

 

But as he sat there and thought, did he even have the qualifications to do this? Was he confident enough to lead them all into battles when he wasn’t even confident half the time in himself. Did he have the courage to choose the right decision at the moment. Could he shoulder the expectations of them all and be responsible for the consequences. And even if he did find it in himself to do all of this what about his body?

 

As if on queue his fingers on his right hand begun to ache. Winching he did his best to rub soothingly at them with his other hand. Feeling the scars that lay under his thin suit. Even with that magical stuff Irant used he was sure there was some nerve damage. Internal damage that had been made after having his fingers cut off again and again. And this wasn’t the only part on him that acted. No he never expressed it much but there would be times where his body ached. Nights where he prayed Keith would not wake as his arms twitched with phantom pains and his legs shook. Even with the miracles that advanced healing pod had on him he still felt tendrils of pain creeping up on him. Daily reminders that he would never be rid of the scars that littered his body and the pain would be a constant companion.

 

Out of all of them he was the last one that needed to be the Black paladin. No all he would bring would be strife and he doubted very much so that his body could even take such a toll. He ran a greater chance of collapsing more than anything. This was not greatness he was meant for.

 

"As far as their concerned they are better off without you."

 

Startling at the voice Lance whipped his head around only not to see anything. That wasn’t right. He knew he heard that voice clear as day. Gulping Lance tried to relax but froze at the voice that spoke right against his ear.

 

" You know when jesters no longer serve their purpose we Galra kill them. I wonder if your beloved will take up that practice?" No not again. He couldn’t take hearing that voice again.

 

As much as Lance knew Keith would never do something like that he couldn’t help the sob that escaped his throat as his hand flew to Black's controls. Squeezing his eyes shut he ignored the tears that washed down his face as he poured everything into trying to get through to Black. Knuckles going white as his grip tightened.

 

"We rise by lifting others. I suppose you could look at that in a positive light but in my opinion you would qualify as nothing more than a stepping stone. Something to be grinned and smashed into the ground so others may rise to glory," Irant continued to mock, voice drifting all around him.

 

The tears were coming faster now as he sobbed. Refusing to let go of Blacks controls he was down to pleading now. "Please I need to do this! I can't sit by and have Keith bare this burden. What good am I if I do?" he sobbed.

 

"Oh Lance, I believe you know the answer to that already."

 

There was no use anymore. He wasn’t meant to be the Black paladin that much was clear. Letting his hand slide of the controls he yanked his helmet off before tossing it to the ground. Even with Irant's voice no longer ringing in his head he couldn’t help the sobs that wracked his body as he clutched his hands to his face. For all the love he felt for Keith at that moment it sat like a cold stone in his heart. Even in this he couldn’t support Keith.

 

He must have sat in there for half a varga before he calmed down and was sure his face was back to normal. He had forgotten he was sort of an ugly crier and it was obvious whenever he did. The fact that he spent who knows how long on crying alone was definitely not something the team need to know. Not to mention the reason why for his emotional breakdown at the moment.

 

Sniffling he stood and gathered his helmet from where he had tossed it unto the ground. Not bothering to even put it back on he made his way outside where he could see the others anxiously waiting. Guilt tore threw him though when he laid eyes on Keith. A look of dread set deep as they all knew what Lance's failure meant for Keith. Unless the Black lion decided it didn’t want him either than it was clear he was to be its paladin. So much for him not wanting it and all.

 

Still though even with everything considered the sting of when Keith stepped out of the newly awakened Black was ever present. That was a big fat rejection for the lot of them if Lance had ever seen one. Not only was he not good enough to even pilot the Black lion he wasn’t good enough to shoulder the burden for Keith. It was clear from the others miserable face that this was the last thing he wanted.

 

Though he wasn’t prepared for Keith to flat out reject the idea either. He watched in bafflement as Keith and Allura argued over the matter. Tempers running high on both sides as Allura accused Keith of being selfish and Keith yelling that he couldn't replace Shiro.

 

Ah so he finally said it. Of course Lance new the whole time what Keith's main problem with the whole thing was. But now for him to come and start to voice his feelings? Now they were making progress. And even with all the anger and frustration he felt for the other there was still so much love there. For every fault Keith possessed for every thing he pissed Lance off about, there were thousands of other things he could name in place that he loved about the other. There was still times where he was unsure if he had been given up on but Lance knew for sure he would never give up on Keith. Even if everything fell apart around them he would always be there for him.

 

Stepping forward while the others backed away he took Keith's hand into his own. Holding unto him gently it took him a moment to find the words as he stared at their linked hands. Conscious of Keith's gaze focused solely on him. Gaze intense but still tinged with a level of tenderness and curiosity. Taking a deep breath he gathered what he was going to say. To organize his emotions that he wanted, no needed to express to the other.

 

"Keith none of us could ever replace Shiro. And I know its frightening but the Black lion has chosen you to lead us. We-I trust you and their decision."

 

Oh and there it was. For a brief moment swore he saw Keith's walls collapse as he looked at him with such raw emotion. Fear and regret washing over his face before his mask of bravery swallowed it all. The fear Lance could understand but the regret? Thinking back to his words Lance wondered if it was regret that even in all of this he still trusted Keith but the other hadn't done the same. If so maybe there relationship wasn’t to damaged after all.

 

But there was not time do dwell on it as Keith brought up their next problem, "So whos going to fly the Red lion?"

 


 

 

First that fucking voice was back. Than apparently he wasn’t good enough to even be considered to lead Voltron and fly the Black lion. Now Blue wasn’t letting him and the others had already taken off. Oh and let him add to the list that Zarkon has a son now and the rest were being attacked as he stood there.

 

Groaning in frustration he approached Blue's barrier. Hands coming up to press lightly on it only to have his agitation go up further when there was no sign of it giving. Just what the hell was going on?

 

"Oh come on Blue its me! Lancey Lance your beloved paladin. Oh come on!" He groaned as he slammed his fist into the barrier. Little good that did though but give him a throbbing hand.

 

"I…don’t understand. Why wont you let me in?" He asked as he looked up as their imposing form. Still nothing though as they remained unresponsive.

 

Thinking about it Lance thought maybe they were being jealous. He knew the lions weren't fond of their paladins getting to chummy with the others but still surely Blue knew it was for a good purpose. It wasn't as if he liked Black better than them or something. If that was what this was about than some reassurance should do the trick.

 

"Blue I'm sorry if you thought I wanted to pilot Black more than you. I just- it was something I needed to do for Keith and for-for myself.," he admitted. Eyes looking up at Blue with hope that they would understand but still no reply.

 

Gritting his teeth he pressed his forehead against Blue's barrier. His eyes beginning to well up with tears as he struggled to reign in his emotions. "Please Blue they need me. I need to be of some use, please," the tears were rolling down his face freely now as he struggled to regain himself.

 

He was so caught up in his emotions that he missed the hand coming to rest gently on his shoulder. "Lance what's going on?" Allura asked in a soft but still urgent tone.

 

"I- I don’t know. Blue is shutting me out. I cant get them to listen to me. Allura I hate to say this but maybe…maybe I'm not meant to do this anymore. There's something in me that I cant fix and maybe the lions sense it. This may be them trying to tell me I'm not meant to be a paladin anymore," He didn’t mean for all of it to spill out but now it was to late. Being the mysterious entities that they were Lance would not be surprised if they sensed the sticky darkness that was starting to encase his heart again. Maybe they heard the voice in his head that had tormented him for so long.

 

"Lance that’s not true! The lions-" Allura started to argue but she never got a chance to finish as a loud roar erupted around them.

 

"What the hell was that?" He asked as he whipped his head up to look at Blue, hopeful that they had decided to let Lance in. Still nothing though as they remained unresponsive.

 

"Lance it’s the Red lion. Its calling for you!" Allura exclaimed as she begun to push him in the direction of their hangar.

 

"Wow, wow hold on! There's no way it wants me to fly them especially with Keith and I fighting and all that," he argued as he dug his heels into the ground.

 

Huffing Allura was quick to turn him around and press reassuring hand unto his shoulder. "Lance the lions may be bonded to you paladins but they have emotions and thoughts of their own. What Keith is feeling now may not be at all what Red is," she explained.

 

"That still doesn't answer why Red would want me as a pilot instead of you."

 

"Lance my father built Voltron but the knew Zarkon would was a better leader in battle, so he became Voltron's right hand. When you accepted Keith as the new leader of Voltron and even went as far as to place your trust in him once again, it proved that you valued a strong team over your own need for glory. That you value advancing the team over yourself. Just like my father."

 

Ah yet another name he had to live up to now. First he was compared to Thace and now Allura's father. It was a honor of course but underneath it all he could feel a sense of pressure begun to well up. The expectations to be great like them threatening to overwhelm him. But he couldn’t let it. No not now at least. For now he would need to push it back to private times spent in his room. Not when he was expected to go into battle and support his family.

 

"I wont let him down," he answered as he slipped out of her grip and begun to race towards Red's hangar.

 

Arriving in Red's hangar he had to marvel that even thought they were smaller than Blue they were still quite imposing in their own right. Though his faced glowed with fascination when Red begun to power up at his arrival and a steady purr was heard throughout the hangar. Well it was nice to know that at least Red wasn’t mad at him as well like Keith.

 

Approaching with care he couldn’t help the squeal of surprise when Red thrust their face right in front of him, mouth falling open to let him in. Wanting to hurry but still cautious of this new development Lance was careful as he made his way into Red's cockpit. Taking a seat in the pilot chair he had to pout a little at the fact that he didn’t have to adjust the seat any. Curse Keith and his growth spurt.

 

But there was no time to dwell on the matter as he could hear the others struggling out there. Taking a deep breath he let his hands come to rest on Red's controls. Startling a bit at the automatic warmth that they radiated. In fact now that he thought about the whole cockpit was emanating a soft warmth. If it wasn’t for how serious the situation was outside right now Lance would be more than happy to sleep in here.

 

"Ok Red I'm ready," he breathed as he clutched unto the controls.

 

The resounding rush of heat and excitement that coursed through made his head sway as Red roared to life. A loving purr coming to wrap around him as he begun to move the controls. So much adoration and interest radiating into him that he had a hard time making sense of it all. Was this… how Red felt about him?

 

Reading his mind a soft purr of confirmation was sent back at the heat evened out and became more of a soft glow. Well that was quite interesting. Keith never spoke on what Red thought of him and now Lance wished he had asked earlier. To have someone this excited to be with him, it was comforting.

 

Grinning Lance wasted no time in yanking Red controls back and zooming out of the hangar. Heart beating like crazy as Red encouraged him to go faster. Their excitement contagious as he zoomed towards the battle field. Now he could see why Keith was so reckless and quick to action when he flew Red. It was almost intoxicating how Red pushed his senses to their limit as they urged him to fly them however they wanted. For once in his life he felt like he was in control for once.

 

Little did he know though that unlike Blue, Reds emotions were a little more intense. They were quick and when they hit it was almost a like a sucker punch to the gut as far as the intensity went. Lance wouldn’t have to wait long to find this out though as he could feel rage building in him as he watched the Black lion take a hit from Lotor's ships cannon.

 

With a growl Lance pushed forward. Eyes expanding as if he was the one who was on a hunt. Hands gripping the controls as tight as he could as he shot laser after laser at the drones. It was a miracle he wasn’t foaming at the mouth with rage and pure instinct as Red pushed them forward. Faster, faster, even faster they seemed to scream as Lance twisted and turned around the small fighter drones. God he had never felt this alive flying before.

 

"Lance be careful with Red! Don’t let their emotions consume you," Keith warned as he watched Red tear through the battle field. He knew how they were, if you didn’t keep a short leash on Red they would take every opportunity to push you to go their speed. And as good of a rush as it felt to give into the primal urges they gushed it would lead to a mistake here and there eventually. Like Lance just narrowly missing colliding with Lotor's ship.

 

But he did have to admit watching Lance fly Red around with such excitement and joy made his own blood quicken. The obnoxiously possessive side of him preening at the idea that his mate was even more connected to him know. That with this he was even more his than anything else. Realizing where his train of thought was going Keith quickly shook his head. Growling in frustration with this recent development. He didn’t want to admit it but it was clear ever since he underwent those trials the Galra side of him was starting to make itself known. The fact that he referred to Lance as his mate just now was proof of that.

 

Now was not the time to deal with his heritage problems though. Even with the help of Lance they were still a mess and now Lotor was attacking the castle. There was no way they could protect the castle and take on Lotor at the same time. It also didn’t help that his teammates frustrations with him were beginning to show.

 

"Oh for the love of- Keith you are the leader now. What should we do?" Pidge barked.

 

And there was the other half of his problem right now. He knew he needed to lead them and figure out a plan but so far he was failing. He wasn’t use to Black's controls yet and faced with a new enemy he didn’t know what was for the best. In truth they didn’t even need Voltron for this. There were multitudes of formations they could use that would take care of the job. But no matter how hard he tried to remember them his mind only drew a blank. Never mind Black's routes he wasn’t sure he could even remember Red's in the heat of battle right now. Everything was a huge mess right now and they might as well be making fools of themselves. So much for being Shiro's successor.

 

"Its to soon to give up paladins!" Allura's voice commanded over the mic.

 

Turning they were all amazed to see Blue flying towards them with non other than Allura as its pilot. How many weeks had it been since they had all of their lions together like this? It was a beacon of hope as they all realized they were starting to get somewhere. For once not everything was a big mess. It only got better though when Lotor's ship begun to retreat.

 

Cheers and sighs of relief filled the air as they all celebrated their slim victory. That was all except for one paladin. Even with the soothing purr's of reassurance from Red Lance could still feel something ugly twisting in his gut. Not only was he not good enough to fly Blue now but apparently they had chosen Allura over him. After everything they had been through together? After he had worked so hard to protect them when they were captured. All the times he cried alone in the middle of that God forsaken jungle without even their calming energy to comfort him. And the absolute relief he felt when he saw that Blue had been fixed and was running again. For it all to mean nothing now? That hurt more than he could ever imagine.

 

"Lance? Lance!" snapping out of it he became aware of Pidge calling out to him as they begun to head back to the ship.

 

"You ok?" she asked as she floated nearby him and Red.

 

"Yeah sorry just had some stuff on my mind," he answered as he tried to dispel the negative thoughts that were trying to resurface. Now was not the time nor the place to be having such thoughts.

 

"If you say so. Come on, everyone's heading back to the castle."

 

Following Pidge back he tried his best to squash everything he was feeling at the moment. He should feel happy for Allura not bitter that Blue had chosen a new pilot. With her flying a lion now they were back to having all five of them out there and they could form Voltron again. It was better for the team this way.

 

Landing Red in their hangar had an almost odd feeling to. For one they landed in a more… well a more refined manner than Blue Lance supposed he should call it. Now that wasn’t saying Blue was clumsy or anything but there was always an air of excitement around them. Here with Red it was more of a simmer as if they wanted to be the mature one. If it wasn’t for his less than stellar mood he would have laughed at the way Red seemed to preen under the attention he was giving to them. Nice to know at least they liked him even with Keith and his fight right now.

 

Exiting Red and making his way to Blue's hangar he was aware of that sticky darkness welling up inside of him. Aware of the feeling that he needed to claw his own skin off to dispel the feeling. Never had he felt so out of place in his own body. Everything was wrong and he had no idea how to fix it.

 

It wasn’t until he was standing directly in front of Blue that the feelings only intensified. Looking up at their imposing form he felt almost hollow. Like any emotions he had left had been drained in his flying with Red. Was he suppose to feel upset by the loss of Blue or accept it with a smile. Why was this so hard to deal with?

 

"They miss you just as much Lance," turning to face the voice he was surprised to see Allura standing there in her own pink paladin armor.

 

"Pink, huh?" he couldn’t help but tease. She looked good in anything didn’t she?

 

Smiling at Lance's teasing words Allura approached him, " On Altea we wear this color to honor our fallen warriors."

 

"I see. Did you wear it often when I was gone?" he had no idea why he blurted out those words but it was to late to take them back now.

 

Seeming to be taken aback Allura reached out and let her hand rest on Lance's shoulder. A soft supportive gesture as she smiled a almost bitter sweet smile at him. "Those days were so miserable I don’t even remember what I was wearing half the time."

 

Desperate to change the subject now Lance realized there was one thing he needed to do to solidify Allura's new status as Blue paladin. Manifesting his bayard he took a moment to feel the weight in his hand one last time before handing it over to her.

 

"Here, I believe this is yours now."

 

Seeing the significance in the gesture Allura's face lit up in a soft happy glow as she took the bayard from Lance. "Thank you Lance. I suppose now you must get your new one from Keith now."

 

"Ah yeah, I have no idea how that’s going to play out," he chuckled but Allura did not miss the unease that tinted his tone. Oh if Keith continued to hurt Lance like this he would be hearing a few choice words from her that was for sure.

 

For now she would have to settle with trying to lift up Lance's mood the best she could, "Things will get better Lance."

 

But before she could hear a reply from Lance they were interrupted by Coran, "Princess the Black lion is leaving the castle!"

 

Ah things could never be simple for once could they?

 

Chapter Text

Red was…interesting to say the least. Flying them was an adventure all in its own with Lance struggling to figure out how exactly to fly Red. They were responding to him which helped but still the speed was something he still needed to get used to. But besides their flying that wasn’t the only thing interesting about Red. No it was more of their personality and thoughts that had Lance raising an eyebrow or chuckling every now and then. Keith must not have a sense of humor cause in Lance's opinion Red was hilarious. If they could speak Lance was sure they would be cussing up a storm whenever they were fired at. Their mind buzzing with cock sure gusto as they flew but it wasn’t like Red didn’t have the bite to back it up either. Oh no, they enjoyed tearing into the Galra fighters and Lance would be lying if he said he didn’t feel a tiny amount of sadism bleed into him from Red. Yeah somebody really didn’t like the Galra.

 

However even with Red's haughty attitude or their need to put everything in its place they were not unkind. No, quite the opposite actually. Unlike Blue's soothing coolness for his emotions Red was a soft warm blanket wrapped around him while he sat next to the fire place. He would have thought with Red's fiery disposition that they would not have any desire to comfort and coddle their paladin. That it would be all "stop crying and grow a pair". He could have not been any farther from the truth though.

 

If anything Red enjoyed surrounding him in their warmth while feeding back jokes and happy emotions of their own. Lance was actually surprised when instead of receiving calm amusement from one of his pick up lines like with he did with Blue, Red sent back what could only be the equivalent of shit eating grins and loud chortles. They enjoyed his pick up lines and sense of humor which of course Lance could appreciate. Lance could feel affection and fondness from Red whenever they sat together. At first he thought perhaps it would Keith's influence but with their recent fight and the whole incident with Lotor he was surprised when he felt Red's agitation with the other. Their frustration leaving an almost bitter taste in his mouth. But who could blame them?

 

It was by a miracle they got out of that confrontation with Lotor unscathed. That Allura had managed to unlock Blue's sonar ray and get them out of there. Never mind that Keith didn't exactly show his leadership though, there was also now the personal issue of how he felt about Allura being able to bond with Blue so quickly. He wasn’t bitter towards her at all for it but there was no denying the spark of jealousy he felt at the fact that she had done something that had taken him many months to unlock. Like how come Blue seemed to be so much receptive to her in those moments than they ever did for him? And then they missed him? How could that even be when they were the one to reject him first?

 

"You cant even get the equivalent of a giant cat to want you, aren’t you pathetic."

 

And then there was that. Irant's taunting voice echoing in his head. Bringing him down further and further with each mocking word. Combine that with the nightmares (which leads to a lack of sleep), the depression and anxiety that enjoyed sneaking up on him, oh and don’t forget his shredded self esteem which all came together to form the ball of misery he currently was. And as much as he tried to forget it, to get over it as he should he found he couldn’t no matter what he did. His mind wouldn't let him rest until he felt every tie to his sanity snap. He was breaking from the inside and he didn’t know what to do or who to tell. Keith and him weren't talking except when it was necessary for the team. Pidge was busy trying to find her family while Hunk was always trying to either help Coran or Pidge. Allura on the other hand was in the midst of trying to get the hang of this new paladin gig. There was also the fact that they were all still struggling with the lose of Shiro. There was no way he could go to any of them and saddle them with more problems. At least not at the moment but he did know he would eventually have to tell someone. It wasn't healthy otherwise. To be honest he had not felt this alone since those 4 long hell filled months.

 

But before he could travel down that road anymore a sudden aggressive but warm love embraced him. Adoration and care coursing through him as Red held back their anger at the way Lance was made to feel. Even though he wasn't their true paladin and they had only been together a few a days, it seemed they were quite fond of him.

 

Smiling Lance opened his eye from where he was concentrating on bonding with Red and let himself take in the site of their soft glowing controls. A comfort in the now long dark hangar. Ever since the incident with Lotor he had taken it upon himself to spend quality time bonding with Red. Just sitting in the cockpit and learning everything he could about the other while in turn letting them do the same. He needed to catch up now more than ever considering they had all new formations that he was still trying to learn while he was with Blue. If he was going to live up to Allura's and Kolivan's comparisons than this was one of the key steps even if it cost him some sleep and his beauty routine.

 

Lucky for him though the others had no idea he did this. How could they when he waited till every last one of them was asleep (even the night owl Pidge) before he ventured down to Red and commenced their bonding time. And while the castle may be dark and creepy at night he kind of liked it this way. He didn’t have to answers anyone's else's questions and Red was more than generous in letting him sit in them in his pajamas as well as bring food when he was hungry. It had gotten to the point where he had fallen asleep in the other and had awoken to find that they had put up their particle barrier as well as used a function he didn’t even know existed to keep the cock pit a cozy warm temperature. Hell the pilot chair had even been moved to recline by them while he slept in it. Red may be temperamental with Keith but to Lance they were just one big softy.

 

With all of this of course Lance had come back that night. Sitting in the pilot seat in his pajamas while he let Red's soothing heat surround him. If it wasn’t for his desire to not take the chance in offending Red he would compare the way they let their heat surround him to that of a lovers embrace. Perhaps it was only him missing Keith but there were times that it felt like someone was holding him. Warm arms around his back as he sobbed his heart out over the controls at times. Red may not know all his thoughts but Lance could say for sure they knew what he felt. Knew when he needed to feel something other than the cold air sticking to his skin.

 

Tonight was no different. It had been a few hours since he sat down and the whole time Red had encased him with their warmth. Fighting off the worst of the cold and his emotions to the best of their abilities. Lance appreciated it with all his heart and always made sure to thank the other before heading out. Today he would do the same as well like always as he begun to stretch before standing. To bad though that tonight wouldn’t be like every other night for him.

 

Making his way out of Red's open mouth he turned and gave the other a soft smile, "Thanks again Red, I'll see you tomorrow." His smile growing even bigger when Red sent back a happy agreement.

 

Padding down the hallways and back to his room he took his time in getting there. No need to rush back to his cold, empty bed. Passing Keith's room was torture enough as it was. Lance would have to say that so far that was the only thing that sucked about being the new Red paladin. Whenever he piloted Blue his route back took him to his rooms first. But now even though his and Keith's rooms were next to each other Red's path took him past Keith's room now. Funny what the small distance between the two lions hangars could do.

 

As he walked his mind turned to Keith and the recent development between the two of them. Even with all his anger it appeared Keith still did let his words have effect on him. It seemed Kolivan was right when he said that his opinion did weigh heavy with Keith. Nice to know that underneath all that rage and frustration Keith still cared somewhat of what Lance thought of him. Lord knows Lance still cared in turn for Keith's views on him.

 

Even more surprising than Keith listening to him though was that the other had admitted his fault in it all. Now it wasn’t like Lance thought the other to prideful to do so but he did know that Keith had a hard time connecting with them all. It was an obvious fact in the beginning and he thought that the other had grown out of it. It appeared not though and it would explain how he reacted to his new leadership as well as why it took him so long to listen to even him. No one wanted to admit they were wrong especially to people they were still unsure of at times.

 

Eyes widening Lance slowed his in walk until he was just standing their in the middle of the hallway. Keith had trust issues. If it wasn’t for the time of night Lance would have laughed in hysteria. God when he stopped and thought about it, it all made sense. Even after all this time Keith still had his walls up. They both had so many issues it was a wonder they had made it work until now without speaking about any of it. How in the hell had they not realized this about each other?

 

Lance wanted to cry at the sheer frustration of it all. But with his new fond epiphany he forced the tears back and begun to march his way down to Keith's room. No more messing around, no more barely civil conversations between the two of them. Kolivan was right, he needed to be the bigger person in this even if that meant calling bullshit on Keith. They couldn’t avoid this any longer. At this rate his sanity depended on it.

 

However upon reaching the others room he stopped at the sound of a loud thump from within. Cocking his head to the side he listened as he more thumps and what sounded like grunts came from within. Raising a eyebrow in curiosity he pressed his ear to the door as he listened for more sounds. At first there was nothing but a few grunts but as he continued to listen he heard the start of something. Blocking everything out he listened until he realized they were words that he was hearing.

 

"Please…no."

 

Now concerned for the other Lance stepped back and pressed his hand to the scanner. Counting his lucky stars when the door unlocked and swished open for him. So it seemed Keith hadn't gotten around to no longer having the door open to Lance's hand as well.

 

Entering the room quietly Lance eyes roamed the barely lit room from the open door before letting them settle on the thrashing Keith. Taking a moment to let his brain process the scene Lance realized that the other was simply having a nightmare. It wasn’t uncommon for Keith but it had been awhile since his last. A fact that had Lance approaching his bed with concern.

 

Reaching Keith's side he watched helplessly as he panted and thrashed in his sheets. A mumble of unintelligible words leaving his mouth as he twisted and turned. In situations like this Lance would hold the other until he calmed down but seeing where they were right now in their fight he did not know if that would be wise. Last thing he wanted to do was have to deal with a pissed off Keith in the aftermath. However it seemed the decision was out of his hands when the next set of words left Keith's mouth.

 

"No…don't, don't take him away. Shiro!"

 

Heart clenching at the site of Keith calling out for the man who he looked up to Lance didn’t hesitate to reach out and let his hand settle on Keith's shoulder. Being as gentle as he could he tried to shake the other awake as he whispered words of comfort.

 

"Keith wake up. Its ok, its not real. We'll get Shiro back I promised."

 

However nothing seemed to work as Keith's nightmare intensified and Lance was starting to really worry. He couldn't just sit there and let Keith suffer through something like this. But no matter what he did the other wasn’t even stirring. To lost in his fear eaten mind as Lance could only watch helplessly. Thinking perhaps the other simply could not hear him he leaned closer. Mouth opening to once again try and wake Keith. He never got the chance though.

 

No it all happened so fast. With how dark the room was even with the dim hallway lights and with his focus on Keith's face and words Lance missed the others hands clenching in the sheets. He missed the sound of fabric tearing from nails starting to grow and extended as he tried to make sense of what Keith was saying. And as he leaned closer he missed the way Keith's eyes scrunched and his lips twisted into a ugly snarl as he lunged forward. Hand coming up so fast Lance only had time to rear back in surprise as sharps nails zeroed in on his face.

 

Blood hitting the floor and dripping unto the sheets. Wide confused eyes darting everywhere as Keith's pants filled the room. His fingers a bloody mess from where his hand sat in his lap. Feet pounding further down the hallway as doors swished open. And Lance on the floor, clutching a bloody hand to the right side of his face as he screamed and screamed and screamed.

Chapter Text

Excruciating pain shooting through his nerves as he struggled to breathe. Red and darkness filling his right eye. All light being snuffed out in unstoppable sludge. Ear piercing screams making his ears ring. Was that him screaming? It hurts so bad. Stinging and throbbing tormenting him. A warm hand on his shoulder, Hunk's worried face coming into view. A plea to let him see leaving his lips. His hand leaving his face, coated and oh so sticky with blood. Horror splashing across Hunk's face. Why couldn't he see anything to the right of him? He took his hand away this shouldn’t be right. Oh God, he couldn’t see, he couldn’t see, he couldn’t see!

 

"What have you done?!" Pidge's voice screaming to the right of him. Blazing with anger and the beginnings of hysteria.

 

"I- I didn't-" a voice tinged with disbelief and horror, on the cusp of panicking. Keith should never sound like that.

 

Stabbing pain shooting through his right side again, his hand flying up to clutch feebly at the bloody wound. Whimpers sputtering from trembling lips as Pidge's yelling climbed higher and higher. Hunk's hands on him, shaking and shaking. A loud panting filling the air with stutters of words trying their best to be known. Keith.

 

"Keith, its ok. I'm ok." more pain and whimpers clawing their way out as words struggled to be known. Keith's horrified expression as he shook in bed. Hunk's commanding voice telling Pidge to calm down and got wake Coran. An arm around his shoulder and under his waist. His remaining vision going dark at the edges. Wide purple eyes watching him as he could see the guilt welling up.

 

"Not- your fault- Keith," whispered words from struggling lips. Everything going dark as he drifted.

 


 

 

"Your freckles are starting to show."

 

Furrowing his brow Lance twitched as the words reached his ears. Freckles? He only got those during the summer when the sun was constantly out. How on earth were his freckles showing up here in space?

 

Opening his eyes in confusion his breath hitched at the sight he took in. Sitting up beside him bathed in sunlight that was seeping through sheer curtains was non other than Keith. His hair a magnificent mess as Lance took notice of the lack of shirt the other was wearing. His eyes light and amused as he gazed down at Lance.

 

Taking in their surroundings he could see that they were in some room of sorts. A bedroom but whose it was he had no idea. There were a few things he could recognize in the room like Keith's jacket and photos taped to the wall. Before he could take anymore in though he was distracted by the gentle hand running through his hair. Turning back he laid eyes on the smiling Keith once again. His eyes warm with affection as he looked down at him. Oh he wanted this moment to last forever. To get lost in Keith's eyes and forget about everything else around him. But he couldn’t, not when non of this was real.

 

"This is a dream isn't it?"

 

It was as if a flip had switched. As soon as the words had left his mouth the sun disappeared. Instead the room was filled with gray as he could hear a storm raging outside. The walls begun to shake as Keith curled in on himself and away from him. Sitting up Lance inched closer to Keith before resting a hand on the others arm.

 

" I wish you hadn't asked that," Keith whimpered.

 

Ignoring the way the room begun to groan and shake even more, he let his hand rub a soothing trail up and down Keith's arm. Feeling the same but knowing that he couldn't get lost in this dream. Not when the real Keith was most likely suffering in the waking world.

 

"I know, reality has never been kind to us has it?" he admitted softly, now aware of the warm wet feeling on this side of his face as well as the red that had begin to drip down and pool in the sheets. At least in his dreams the pain was not there.

 

Uncurling from himself Keith turned to face him with the utmost heartbroken look splashed across his face. His hand resting limply on the sheets were they could both see his nails extended and covered in blood.

 

"We're tearing each other apart aren't we?" Keith asked as he looked at Lance with so much grief.

 

At his admission the room seemed to rock even harder as everything was falling and collapsing around them. The winds howling outside as loud thunderous booms sounded. There wasn't much time left.

 

Smiling sadly Lance took Keith's bloody hand in his own and raised it until it was cradling the mess that was the right side of his face. For a moment neither of them said anything as they regarded each other. Bitterness and sadness painted across both of their faces as everything continued to collapse around them.

 

"I'm with you for better or worse," he admitted as he watched Keith's breath hitch and tears gather in his eyes.

 

"It will be for the worse, I know it," Keith admitted.

 

"Maybe so, but I knew that the moment I fell in love with you," as the words left his lips he was aware of the tears cascading down his own face. Keith not far behind as the damn holding back his own tear broke. Neither of them said anything as everything around them grew louder and louder as they cried together. The room tearing apart till it was just them sitting on the bed. Time was up.

 

"Lance I-"

 

The hiss of the pod opening as he stumbled out and into lean but strong arms. A delicate sweet smell enveloping him as concerned voices flooded in around him. A commanding voice ordering them to step aside as he was lead to a bed. The same bed he had awoken on when he first returned.

 

"Lance are you ok?" Snapping out of it everything came back into focus as he realized it was Allura who had caught him and was helping him unto the bed. The others hovering nearby as she examined him more closely. He could hear the mice chittering off somewhere to his right but he couldn’t see them. Weird why couldn’t he see anything to his right?

 

All of a sudden the events that put him in the pod began to come rushing back as his hand flew up to claw at his right eye. But instead of meeting flesh he was confused when his fingers slid across smooth cloth. Before he could make sense of it though his hand was yanked away from his face and instead cradled in Allura's hand.

 

"Lance its ok. Its only a bandage," she reassured him.

 

Relaxing at her words he let her examine him more closely as her hands came up and pressed and prodded around his face. Her forehead wrinkled in concentration as Coran silently came up beside her and begun to scan the right side of his face with a small device. Checking over his shoulder with Pidge who stood not far behind with her laptop open. Her and Hunk studying whatever was popping up on the screen intently. No one said anything while they did this and Lance was starting to get worried.

 

"Guys talk to me here you're freaking me out," he admitted while he shifted nervously in his seat.

 

Standing back and regarding him with an unreadable expression Allura seemed to choose her words carefully, " How much do you remember Lance?"

 

Ah so that was what this was about. "It’s a bit hazy in areas but pretty much everything," he admits as he watches the others expression morph into ones of sadness and frustration. No doubt wishing he didn’t remember in fear that he was now traumatized.

 

"I suppose that saves us having to explain anything than," Allura said while she looked at him in uncertainty. Eyes sharp as she scanned for what Lance surmised as trauma or panic from him. But as he sat there he felt neither. In fact he felt calm while he observed of all of them with his limited eyesight. Perhaps it was the dream that had helped or maybe for once he just wanted control somewhere in his life.

 

"Well the good news is that we managed to get you in the healing pod before the damage became permanent. The most you may have is a thin scar here and there. The bad news though is that your right eye is going to require a bit more healing," Coran's voice interrupted the tense silence. He didn’t know how he did it but Lance was internally grateful that the man could sound so cheerful even in a situation like this. Someone had to be their ray of sunshine after all.

 

"You will have to keep that bandage on your eye though for some time. It's infused with medicine to help the healing process," Allura informed him as well.

 

Ah his eye. In the haze of everything he had almost forgotten about it. Of course he was still aware that he couldn’t see but there was virtually no pain. Whatever was in the medicine must have been quite numbing as well because at this point he couldn’t even tell if his eye was open or shut beneath the bandage. And while it was a little frightening with the prospect of him not being able to see he couldn’t say he was alarmed. It wasn’t as if they told him he would never see again so he supposed that contributed to his all around calm. However if he was being perfectly honest his mind was straying to only one thing now.

 

"Where is Keith?" he asked as he looked at them all. Not missing the clench in Pidge's jaw or the placating hand placed on her shoulder by Hunk. That's right he did remember Pidge yelling at him in all the panic. Not the best thing to do in that situation but he could see why she did. How it must have looked to her to find him on the floor while he screamed and bled and Keith the culprit of it all.

 

"Lance I understand you may be concerned about Keith but it is for the best if you have some space between each other for the time. Accident or not now is not the time to test each others emotions," Allura said, tone gentle but with no room for argument. However that didn’t stop Lance.

 

"I get what your saying Allura but for all we know he could be beating himself up about this and I mean it in a literal sense as we all known Keith can be dramatic. I don’t want him to think its his fault," he argued as he cast his best pleading eyes on her. Eyes that had no effect it seemed as her face remained as solid as stone. But that didn’t mean someone wasn’t sympathetic to him.

 

"While I see your point my boy the Princess is right on this one. It's not permanent but some space will do you two good right now. Besides Keith is being monitored as we speak so there is no need for concern on his part. We will be informed if he tries something trust me," Coran informed him as he gave his shoulder a warm squeeze. Ever the calming presence that man was. And as Lance took notice of the mice hanging around he saw that Plachu and Chuchule were missing from the bunch. Well that explained who was doing the monitoring.

 

Still though, the prospect of being separated once again had his gut clenching. How many times had they been threatened with the prospect and narrowly got away from it? There was no guarantee they would be so lucky this time. And there was also the matter that he had finally gotten somewhere on this stalemate with Keith. He couldn’t afford any long periods now or for all he knew Keith may never open up to him again, revelation or not.

 

"But I-" he tired to argue weakly. As much as he wanted to not be separated from the other he didn't have solid argument at the moment. At least not one that would not reveal Keith and his private business.

 

But before he could stutter out some lame excuse Allura was kneeling before him with her hands coming up to cover his. Eyes soft and thoughtful as she regarded their joined hands. "Lance, Shiro and I once agreed that no matter what we would not separate you two. And I will hold to that promise to the best of my abilities. But right now Keith is still not ready and you have only just come out of the healing pod. Please give it some time and I promise you I will let you two speak alone."

 

Looking into Allura's eyes he relaxed once he saw there was no hint of a lie anywhere. She was telling the truth and only wanted what was best for Keith and him. Sometimes it was hard of him to remember that they weren't alone in this. That there were others looking out for them and wanted them to be happy together. It was something he would have to remember in the future.

 

"Plus if you are up to it there is someone here who would like to speak to you," she added as everyone's attention was turned to the doors that slid open.

 

Peeking around Allura he was surprised to see non other than Kolivan standing there in all his grumpy glory. However something was different this time. Under all the grumpiness that seemed to sit on Kolivan's face all the time Lance swore he could see a tinge of worry. Yeah the longer he looked he could see it in the way the others ears were slightly more down turned and his forehead seemed to be pinched. Dang when did he get good at reading Galra?

 

"Lance, I heard what happened are you ok?" he said as he begun to cross the room to his side. Lance meanwhile having to hold back his laugh at the weirded out and almost alarmed looks on the other paladins faces. No doubt concerned and curious as to why Kolivan called Lance by his first name and the others just "paladins".

 

"Kolivan what are you doing here?!" he asked in surprised when Kolivan reached his side with that worried look of his. His eyes fixed on the bandage that sat on Lance's face.

 

"I came as soon as I heard what had happened. Princess Allura was the one to inform me of what details she could."

 

For a moment no one said anything. The rest of the team silent as they watched Kolivan interaction with Lance with caution. No doubt worried on about his obvious Galra features having a bad effect on Lance. Though Lance was not prepared for them all to almost flip out when Kolivan raised a hand slowly and begun to guide it towards Lance. He swore Allura was in the process of summoning her bayard as she barked at Kolivan, "I advise you not to-"

 

However the rest of what she was going to say was cut off when Kolivan's hand came to rest on Lance's head where it ruffled the others hair in the most gentle manner. Lance meanwhile as calm as could be as he even leaned into the touch. They really needed to give him more credit. He may have trauma of the Galra but that didn’t mean he was scared of every single one of them. He knew who meant to hurt him and who didn’t. He wasn’t scared of Kolivan just as he wasn’t scared of Keith.

 

"Ok this is weird, when did you two become friends?" Hunk asked, gesturing between the two of them in confusion.

 

Removing his hand from the pouting Lance he turned to face Hunk, " Lance and I have come to understand each other to some degree over the time I have known all of you."

 

"Yeah Kolivan's like the cool space Uncle. No offense Coran," Lance offered as Coran only raised a confused eyebrow.

 

"I see… have you any answers to the Keith's recent behavior?" Allura changed the subject.

 

Going to stand on Lance's left side he nodded his head as he proceeded to address them all. "Yes I believe I do. I have already discussed the matter with the Red Paladin and he now knows what is going on as well."

 

At the mention of Keith, Lance perked up but remained silent. His full attention on Kolivan but instead of the other going on he turned to face Lance.

 

"While I am confident I know what is wrong with Keith it would help if I knew the whole story," he admitted.

 

Realizing that the others still didn’t know exactly what had happened and were awaiting his account he couldn’t help but rub his neck in a self conscious manner. "Ah that. To be honest everything is sort of a blur. It happened so fast that all I can remember is Keith having a nightmare and when I tried to wake him next thing I knew he had accidentally caught me with his hand. I hadn't even seen the claws until it was to late."

 

No one said anything to this as they all looked at Lance with mournful looks. The fact that the nightmares they all had could cause something like this was down right frightening. It wasn’t neither Keith or Lance's fault and yet there they were dealing with the after effects. Yeah defenders of the universe seemed so fun at times.

 

"I see. The Red paladin had a similar accounting but it is not my place to reveal what he said."

 

"While I am aware that nightmares can turn dangerous it still doesn't' quite add up as to how Keith was able to transform parts of his body like that. I have encountered half Galra before but none that are Keith's type," Allura said.

 

Now that Lance thought about it the idea had never occurred to him. Of course there were other half Galra people out there like Keith. And while it wasn’t ground breaking or anything it did give him some food for thought. With the Galra's 10,000 year long rule, how many of the people they had come across had some portion of Galra genes in them? Quite eye opening in his opinion.

 

"The thing you have to understand about Galra genes are that they are considered quite aggressive. They lay dormant inside a person until they either reach puberty or in Keith's case that awaken later in life. Since from what I understand Keith had little memory of his Galra heritage and being so his genes have laid dormant. With the trials he was able to awaken his past as well as I surmise his genes as well," Kolivan explained as they all listened in rapt attention.

 

"While that makes sense how can Keith be showing Galra sides of him? From my experience I have met people who have been half Galra and have not shown many signs of it. At least not what we have seen from Keith right now," Allura asked as she tilted her head in thought.

 

"As I said before Galra genes are quite aggressive. In cases of puberty they awaken and begun to try and change the body on a more molecular structure. Some have powerful enough genes to overcome it and no changes occur. But from everything Keith has told me and what I have observed it would appear human DNA is weaker to Galra's."

 

Ignoring Hunk's whisper to Pidge how it was like a werewolf transformation (and her punishing whack she delivered afterward) Lance thought on how with Kolivan's words it was all starting to make sense. Keith's sudden aggression that had started to appear even before the trials. The noises that would sound in his throat when he was yelling or emotional. That blind rage he flew in to when he fought sometimes. The dominance he tried to shove unto Lance in their fight. And the claws that had lashed out at him. In Lance's opinion the trials weren't the start of it all but more like the final nail in the coffin. No ever since Keith started to keep secrets and doubt who he was, was when it had all started. For so long he had be going through this and showing signs that something was off in him. But none of them had noticed and that thought alone made Lance feel more guilty than ever.

 

"Does that mean he'll become full Galra eventually?" Pidge asked this time. Her eyes darting to Lance before focusing on Kolivan once more. Out of all of them she least cared about such things as to her she knew little stuff like that didn’t change who you are. But when Lance was involved and with everything he went through it was a whole different story. How could she support Keith when his transformation might threaten Lance's mental health?

 

However much to everyone's relief Kolivan was quick to dispel her worries. "No it would take something more than simple genes to change him completely. All this means is that there will be periods when his emotions are heightened that you may see the Galra parts of him pop out. I advise that until he gets a hold of his temper better that you all stay at least a few feet away from him in those instances. We don't want an incident like this repeating."

 

No one said anything to this but instead merely nodded their heads in understanding. Keith was already hot blooded to began with and now with his other half working things may be a little tense for the next few days. But they were a team, no a family and they could get through this.

 

"Is there anything we can do to help?" Oh good old Hunk who no matter what always looked out for everyone.

 

"At this moment no. He needs space and continued monitoring for the time being. After that I would suggest that you treat him like normal. Don’t push it least he become emotional. If he gets angry try and calm him but if its something not threatening to the team let him go and cool down. He may experience more changes but try not to be alarmed by anything that may pop up," Almost like a textbook Kolivan informed them what would be the best course of action when dealing with Keith. And while Lance still did not blame Keith he wished that he had known some of this as he could have avoided this whole situation. Live and learn he supposed.

 

"Now if there are no other questions I wish to speak to Lance alone if I may?" Surprised by Kolivan's request the others all shot concerned looks at Lance who in turn waved them off.

 

"I'll be fine guys. Go get some sleep or something," he encouraged as he waved them away. Reluctant but trusting they all made their way towards the door and out. Allura sending one last concerned gaze over her shoulder before the door shut behind her.

 

Lance didn’t have time to dwell in it though as Kolivan addressed him once again. "I am truly sorry for what has happened to you."

 

Turning his lone eye on him Lance raised an eyebrow. Well that for certain wasn’t what he was expecting. "Nah its alright. While in hindsight maybe I could have paid attention a little better I don’t think it was either of our faults. Just an accident that happened out of the blue."

 

"That…is quite the mature way to look at it," Kolivan admitted.

 

Shrugging Lance let his eyes grow distant as he thought on his current predicament. Even with his right eye temporarily out of commission and a scar he may or may not have, he still could say with confidence that he loved Keith. And it was his trust in Kolivan that had him admitting this out loud.

 

"You know, I think I'm at the point that it would take something really bad to make me stop loving him."

 

Showing one of his rare smiles Kolivan extended his hand where it ruffled Lance's hair once again. "That boy is truly lucky to have someone like you in his life."

 

Lance said nothing to this as he beamed up at Kolivan. Yes the situation was still absolute shit but at least he knew where he stood. He wanted this to work with Keith. All he needed now was to see if the other felt the same.

 

However as they parted ways outside the med bay, instead of heading to his room he was stopped by a soft hand on his shoulder. Turning around he was surprised to see non other than Allura standing behind him. Already dressed in her night clothes with her hair spilling down in waves behind her as he regarded Lance with a soft smile.

 

"I was hoping to catch you before you went back to your room," she said.

 

"Well its looks like you did," he laughed, "What's up?"

 

"This may sound odd Lance but I was hoping to invite you to, and forgive me if I am referring to the wrong thing, but a sleepover," ok and there was Lance's jaw on the floor. Never in his wildest dreams had he ever thought the would hear "invite you to" and "sleepover" come out of Allura's mouth in the same sentence. And least of all to him. But here she was standing before him completely serious judging by her hopeful eyes. Ok not the weirdest thing he's done and he was curious. Besides he didn’t think he could sleep in his room that was right next to Keith's at the moment.

 

"Uh yeah sure, just let me get my clothes," he said but was once again stopped by Allura.

 

"That wont be necessary. You can borrow clothes of mine," and before he knew it he was being dragged away towards Allura's room.

 

Upon reaching her room a bundle of fabric was shoved into his hands before he himself was shoved into what he could see was Allura's bathroom. Now standing there in his plain clothes and a bundle of clothes that still smelled like Allura, he had a hard time suppressing his laughter. The whole situation was simply odd and he had an even harder time once he unraveled the ball of fabric and saw what Allura had given him to wear.

 

Slipping on the outfit and getting cleaned up the best he could with the bandage over his eye he stepped out of the bathroom. Allura was who sitting on her bed reading looked up at the sound of the door swishing open and beamed at him. "Well I must admit you do look good in that," she laughed.

 

The fabric she was referring to was non other than one of her nightgowns. It was a soft blue one that fell a little higher on Lance since he was a few inches taller than her. The top hung a little loose though since he did in fact lack breasts to fill it. And while he wanted to feel subconscious the softness and breathable fabric did not let him. Maybe if he asked Allura would let him keep it.

 

"Sooo what now?" he asked as he still stood near the bathroom. While he considered Allura a friend that didn’t mean they had bonded that much. There was still quite a bit that they didn’t know about each other.

 

"While I said this was a sleepover I'm afraid I'm not quite sure what to do. I thought we might just talk and relax," she admitted before patting the spot on the bed next to her.

 

Knowing that there would never be anything romantic between the two of them he had no problem approaching the bed and plopping down on it. Turning on his side he faced Allura who had also laid down on her side as well.

 

Neither he or Allura said anything at first. Instead looking at each other in awkward silence. Eyes wandering and mouths opening and closing as they went to say something but each thought better of it. This went on for several minutes before the silliness of the situation became to much. It started with light giggles that came from each of them until they were full blown laughing. Loud laughs peeling out of their mouths while tears begun to run down their faces. Oh the whole situation was so ridiculous.

 

"Ah forgive me Lance. I had brought you here with the attention of making sure you were alright and so far I have been a terrible host," Allura confessed once she had calmed down enough to speak.

 

"Eh you're good," Lance shrugged once he had gotten over his laughing as well.

 

However as they lay there he could feel the mood starting to sober. Glancing towards Allura he could see her watching him with a forlorn look. A smile plastered across her face but not as bright as it should be. Her eyes betraying it all as she gazed at him.

 

"Lance tell me the truth, are you ok? For everything that has happened you seem awfully calm."

 

He should have known he couldn’t fool all of them. Even if he had fooled himself for awhile there would always be someone to see through your bullshit. It just so happened that Allura would be the one seeing through Lance's tough exterior and his nonchalant attitude.

 

"No…I don’t know. Allura I miss him, God I miss him so much," he admitted, voice heavy with emotion.

 

Nodding her head he was surprised when she reached out and dragged him towards her. Her arms coming up the cradle him close as his head was pressed to the top of her chest. Her hair falling in waves around them as she curled around him in a protective manner. One hand cradling his face in such a sweet manner that it brought tears to his eyes.

 

"Allura what are-?"

 

"Shh Lance, its ok. You can let it all out now. You don’t have to be tough or brave anymore. You are not alone in this, let yourself rely on others for once," she urged in a loving tone. Her fingers running through the parts of his hair that she could reach from where she cradled his face.

 

Oh if that didn’t get his walls breaking down he didn’t know what did. Letting his arms come up he clung to Allura as he begun to cry. Ugly tears streaming down his face as he sobbed into her chest. All the while she hummed and cooed words of encouragement. Tone gentle and sweet as she too knew what it felt like to feel alone.

 

"Allura I miss him so much! I've wanted to fix this whole mess between us for the longest time and finally when I decided to this happens. Its not fair!" He wailed as he clung even tighter to her.

 

And really how he had stayed clam with the prospect that his eye had almost been permanently damaged he had no idea. Even if it was an accident it wasn’t like Keith had only scratched him. This was something that could have been a whole lot worse for the both of them. Something that he knew would only increase the distance between them regardless if he was ok or not. At this rate he didn’t even known if they could bounce back from this.

 

Running a soothing hand up and down his back she nodded her head in understanding. "I know Lance I know. Things will get better I promise. For now the rest of team and I are here for you, yeah? So cry all you want."

 

Oh and did he dry. He cried at the fear and pain he felt when his eye and face had been torn at. He cried at the absolute guilt on Keith's face and how he must be wallowing in it right now. He cried when he thought of how it would be a miracle if they ever went back to what the had. If he would ever feel Keith's love again. He cried at how unfair this how situation was. He cried and cried at the despair that had taken over his life at the moment. In the back of his mind sorry for ruining it but knowing Allura wasn’t the type to get hung up on that sort of thing.

 

"Lance you are my friend and I am going to take care of you. Never feel like you have to be strong when it hurts. It’s a lesson we all need to learn," she soothed as she continued to hold him in such a loving manner. Never in her life had she thought she could be so gentle with another person yet here she was. Comforting a boy she had come to think of as a brother and who needed a shoulder to cry on. And that was something she could offer.

 

Lance on the other hand had not felt this warm in a long time. As he lay there he could hear Allura's steady heartbeat under her rising chest which begun to calm him down. Her fingers rubbing soothing circles on him like his mother use to. Deep down he knew he could never equate Allura to his mother. He didn’t think Allura would appreciate that anyway. But right now? Right now he would let himself get lost in the feeling. Let himself curl up like a child and cling to the warmth provided by someone who cared. Even if he and Keith were in a bad place right now he wasn’t alone. And it was with that thought that he drifted into the best sleep he had in ages. Cradled in the warmth of someone that would protect him to the best of their abilities. He could finally rest.

 

Chapter Text

He could feel the sharp sting. Long points that dug into his skin over and over. Thick and sharp enough to do lethal damage. If he pushed harder the skin would surely break. Spilling warm rivulets of blood down his hand and unto the floor. Bright and staining his fingertips for him to remember. Remember how they caught on beautiful tan skin. Ripping and tearing until blood gushed out and screams pierced his ears. Remember how he hurt the one person he loved the most.

 

"Dwelling on it will not make it better."

 

Dragging his eyes away from the nails that were currently long and sharp, Keith looked to Kolivan who sat beside him. His legs crossed in his lap with his hands resting together in the middle. Body relaxed as he peeled one eye open to study Keith from the side.

 

It had been 5 days since the horrible accident between Lance and him. In that time he had not heard or seen a single trace of the other. But that was to be expected when he was being confined to his room for the time being. Everyone wanting to give him time and hopefully calm himself in some manner. Lord knows he had torn his room apart when he realized what he had done to Lance.

 

He had never in his wildest dreams believed that his Galra genes would lead to this. Sure he could feel certain…urges pop up every now and then but nothing like this. After Lance had been whisked away to the pods and Pidge had finished screaming at him, he stumbled to the bathroom in a haze. Needing to get Lance's blood of his hand before he clawed his own eyes out. However one look in the mirror had him shattering it in horror and rage. But even with it being cracked into hundreds of pieces he could still see what a monster he looked like. His nails long and sharp while fangs peeked out between his lips. His eyes tinted a light yellow as they stared back at him in sorrowful rage. Now he knew for sure he was everything Lance feared.

 

It took a trashed room and Kolivan's unexpected entrance to finally calm Keith down in some way. The latter informing him Lance was in the pod and receiving treatment. The fact that it was serious enough that Lance even needed a healing pod almost set him into another fit of rage if not for Kolivan's sturdy hand on his shoulder as he asked what happened. From there he had spilled everything he could remember as well as anything that had to do with the Galra side of him that he could identify. Desperately hoping that in the midst of all this Kolivan would help him in some way. His hope was answered when Kolivan informed him that he would be back later after he checked on Lance.

 

Fast forward 5 days and here he was suppose to be mediating with the older man. Both sitting on the floor with their backs against the wall. It was suppose to help him calm down and focus on the things he wanted to control but today it wasn’t working. Not matter how many times he closed his eyes he couldn’t get rid of the image of Lance screaming on the floor out of his mind. And that was starting to effect his body as well as his claws had come out not soon after.

 

Taking deep breath he did his best to relax, twitching when he felt the claws receded. Man he wasn't sure he would ever get use to that feeling. But he needed to get better at this regardless of the weird feeling. Anything if he could learn to control himself so a situation like this would never repeat itself.

 

"Lance does not blame you for what happened so stop moping," Kolivan bluntly said as he settled back into place.

 

Scowling Keith huffed at the others comment. He appreciated the help Kolivan was giving him in learning to control the Galra side of him but that didn’t mean he liked everything the other man said. Dude was as blunt as a butter knife and seemed to only like Lance. How the two had grown close Keith had no idea but all he knew was that Kolivan was the key to him getting any better. And if that meant he had to put up with the others salty ass comments well so be it. But then again being the type of person he was meant that he usually had his own sass to add to the conversation.

 

"Still doesn’t mean I'm not a monster for doing it," he shot back.

 

Sighing at Keith's words Kolivan abandoned his meditation pose and turned to face Keith. An unimpressed frown on his face as he looked at the other.

 

"Tell me Keith do you feel compassion?" Kolivan asked with no small hint of exasperation.

 

Taken aback by the others question Keith raised an eyebrow but answered anyway. "Well yeah."

 

"And how about love? Are you devoid of that?"

 

"Of course not!" Keith snapped as a light pink dusted his face. Of course he felt love. Love for his team mates, love for the lions, and above all love for Lance.

 

Satisfied with Keith's answers Kolivan nodded his head before letting his face soften, " You may consider yourself a monster but I believe the true monsters are those who are devoid of compassion and love. Those who would sacrifice everything for their own gain. You Keith are not a monster, at least not in my eyes."

 

Surprised by Kolivan's admission and the fact that he had actually called him by his first name, he could only stare at the other in silence. Mouth slightly hanging open as he tried to come up with the right words to say. At the moment though he was sure he looked like a idiot more than anything though as his lips opened and closed multiple times. At least Kolivan saved him the embarrassment of saying something else dumb as he once again spoke up.

 

"If it is what you want I would not be opposed to training you in the way of the Blades. Not only will it help you in your stealth and hand to hand combat but it will be a chance for you to learn to control yourself."

 

Not answering right away he took a moment to think about what that meant for him and the team. It wouldn't be something they all liked but if it helped him learn new things why not? He could use this as an opportunity to further the team and himself. An opportunity to learn to control himself so that one day he could actually be close to Lance again. Touch him without fear that he would rip him to shreds at any moment.

 

"I'll take you up on that offer," he settled on as he extended his hand towards Kolivan.

 

For a moment the other stared at his hand in sight confusion before catching on a reaching forward to return the gesture. "Welcome aboard."

 


 

 

Throughout the day Lance could feel his irritation start to climb. 5 days later and he still wasn't allowed to go near Keith. Of course he had been told on the progress the other was making by Kolivan but that still wasn’t good enough. He needed to see the other before he went crazy with worry. And while it was nice to be pampered by Allura and the others they weren't Keith. And while part of it may be his fault they didn’t know every little aspect of what was going on with him or what he felt. Not like Keith did. Right now all he wanted was to see the other and for once not feel like he was going to claw his own eye out himself.

 

"I want to see him."

 

Sighing Allura turned from where she was checking a few diagnostics of the ship. Everyone else turning to look as well as Lance held steady under all their gazes. Face set in a firm frown as he crossed his arms in a defensive manner.

 

"I know Lance but we are not sure if Keith is ready yet. For all we know he still may need more time," Allura tried to reason. She wanted Lance to see Keith just as much as he did but she didn’t want to rush this. Maker knows that didn’t help last time.

 

Huffing he slumped down into his seat. Knowing Allura had a point but it still didn’t stop the pout that appeared on his face. He wasn’t eager to rush Keith or anything like that but he couldn’t deny that he wanted to see the other. Even when they were fighting they still saw each other. But like this? Like this they hadn't seen each other in 5 days and that made him nervous.

 

However as he turned his attention elsewhere in order to distract himself he realized that in spite of everything that had happened he was no longer angry with Keith. No when he thought about it his anger had dissipated that night he had gone to talk with Keith. Instead of anger he now felt understanding of why Keith did what he did. With Keith's own personal trust issues and with how they saw just what being half Galra could do it was no wonder the other hid it away from Lance. Love and desperation concealed by poor excuses and both of their own inabilities to stop and hear each other out. He thought that after the crystal incident that they understood each other but it appears that he was wrong. They still had quite a ways to go.

 

"By the way, when are you going to take that bandage off?" Pidge asked from where she had returned back to a little project she was working on.

 

Realizing that she was talking to him Lance let his fingers trace over the cloth that sat over his eye. Yesterday Coran had done another scan and informed him that he was allowed to take the bandage off as his eye was done healing. However instead of ripping the damn thing off like his fingers itched to do he let it remain where it was.

 

"Actually I wanted Keith to do it," Lance admitted albeit a tad sheepish. Seeing concerned and confused looks cast his way once again he decided to elaborate.

 

"I want Keith to do it so he can see that I am perfectly fine. That I'm not faking it or anything," As the words left his mouth understanding flashed across everyone's faces. It was a good plan if not for the fact that they had no idea when he would be allowed to see Keith. It was a miracle in itself that they hadn't had form Voltron in these past 5 days. But before any of them could voice this to Lance the doors to the bridge slid open as Kolivan strolled through.

 

In a flash Lance was up and out of his seat bounding over to Kolivan with a look of clear anticipation. "Kolivan! How's Keith?"

 

Kolivan did not answer right away as he let Lance skid to a halt in front of him before softly patting him on the head. "Keith is well. We managed to work out an agreement that I believe will help everyone in the long run," he said as he locked eyes with Allura. A brief moment of understanding flashing in her eyes as she nodded her head.

 

However this was not enough to appease Lance as he pressed forward, "Can I see him now?"

 

"Lance what did we just talk about?" Allura chided as she shook her head in masked amusement. That boy never knew when to give up did he?

 

But instead of the rejection they were all expecting to come from Kolivan's lips the other paused before agreeing, " I believe it would fine if you visited him now."

 

Among Lance's cheers the others all cast concerned looks to each other before turning to Kolivan once more. Hunk being the once to voice his concerns this time. " Are you sure that's safe? I mean don’t get me wrong I don’t think Keith's going to hurt Lance or anything I just don’t want to pressure him into anything you know?"

 

Oh if it wasn’t for the abundance of love he felt for Hunk, Lance would have scowled at him. He knew Hunk had a point but all he wanted right now was to see Keith. 5 days after such a serious incident was to long and he was worried at what it would do to their relationship in the long run.

 

"While I share your sentiment I believe Keith is ready. Nothing good will come of a prolonged separation anyway," Kolivan said.

 

As the words left Kolivan's mouth Lance couldn’t help the wide grin that spread across his face. Finally he could see and talk to Keith,. He could work this all out and get everything fixed the way it should be. No more anger, no more guilt, no more sadness. Finally he could be with Keith again.

 

But instead of taking off like everyone suspected he would Lance turned and fixed Allura with a patient but still anxious look. He may want this badly but he still respected the others opinion on this especially Allura at the moment who had declared the separation in the first place. And after everything she had done for him the night after, how could he disregard her opinion on the matter?

 

Sensing his thoughts Allura's face morphed into a tender smile, resigned but happy that Lance was finally getting to do what he wanted. "Well go on then," she urged.

 

And that was all he needed before he was out of the room tearing down the hallway to Keith's room. Smile big and eyes shining with hope as he booked it down the hallways. His chance to make everything right was here and he was not going to mess it up.

 

With Keith's room in sight he slowed to a walk before stopping completely in front of the others door. Nervous butterflies fluttering in his stomach as he took deep breaths. This was the moment he was waiting for and the nerves were already getting a hold of him. Taking a few extra moments he calmed himself the best he could before raising a hand to knock on Keith's doors.

 

"Come in," he heard Keith say from inside. Taking one last deep breath he steeled himself before walking through the doors as they swooshed open.

 

Lance had to hold back his gasp of shock as he laid eyes on the room around him. The once pristine walls were marked with long scratches. Overlapping and digging deep into the walls. Kolivan had told them Keith had trashed his room the night of the accident but he wasn’t expecting this. He hated to think what the room looked like before he cleaned most of it.

 

Turning his gaze from the sad sight of the walls he locked eyes with a stunned Keith sitting cross-legged on obviously new sheets. No doubt the original ones lying in the trash somewhere. Well at least he hadn't ruined the mattress as well.

 

For a moment neither said anything as the door clicked shut behind him. They barely dared to breath as they looked at each other. Tension and awkwardness bleeding into the air around them. It wasn’t until Keith's face took on a sorrowful look as his eyes fixed on the bandage on his face that the tension in the air snapped.

 

"Oh God I'm so sorry Lance," he choked out as he turned his face away.

 

He didn't remember his feet moving until he was sitting on the bed next to Keith and reaching out. Suppressing a whine when Keith flinched at the contact his hand made with his shoulder. No shake it off, he couldn't give up, not now. In an almost pleading manor he pressed at Keith until the other gave in and turned to face him once again.

 

"Hey, hey look at me," Lance urged as he leaned into Keith's space.

 

He could tell it was a struggle for Keith to even meet his eye as he flinched at the sight of the bandage. Eye's fixed on it as he trembled in abject horror.

 

"Is it- is it gone?" he struggled to ask.

 

It took a moment for Lance to realize what Keith was referring to. Figuring out that the other meant his eye he was surprised to find that Keith didn’t know that he was fine. Did Kolivan not tell him that everything would be ok? Or maybe it was more that Keith didn’t want to know at the time. Too overcome with grief, rage and fear to even hear what he had done to Lance.

 

"Why don’t you see for yourself?" he found himself whispering into the space between them as he picked up Keith's hand and placed it over the bandages. So soft and gentle as if afraid of startling the other.

 

Watching him closely Lance could see the hesitation in Keith's eyes as the other gulped. Hand trembling from where it cradled Lance's face. Staying as still as possible Lance hoped his calm nature would encourage Keith to take the lead. That everything was ok and Keith had nothing to fear. After several quite tense filled moments Keith seemed to catch on to what Lance was trying to covey as trembling fingers felt around the bandage for the clasps that held it on. Finding them Keith took a deep breath before he started to unclasp them one by one. Fingers shaking still but face determined as he worked.

 

As soon as all the clasps were unhooked Keith begun to slowly tug the bandage away from Lance's face. Teeth biting into his lip as he held his breath in worry. As soon as the bandage was clear of his face Lance let his eye fall open. Brightness flooding his vision as it took a moment for everything to adjust.

 

Sucking in a breath Keith let his eyes roam over Lance's eye and the area surrounding it. Looking for any hint of damage as Lance let him fuss. In truth he was surprised that his eye didn't seem any different. He would have thought having his eye almost gouged out and healed would have cause problems but it appeared not. His eye was the exact same as before the accident. However even with all of this Keith still whined at the small scar running under Lance's eye.

 

It wasn't a big scar by any means. Just a faint jagged line barely a half inch long and slightly raised against the skin. Whatever Coran had put in the bandage it had increased the healing process dramatically. The scar was little more than a thin silver line much like the rest of Lance's scar's were starting to look like.

 

At the thought of all of Lance's other scars Keith cringed. He knew Lance hated them and took some form of comfort that his face hadn't sustained any scarring in his captivity. Something about Irant liking his pretty face to much to damage it. But now even that was ruined. No matter how small the scar was Keith had been the one to put it there and ruined everything.

 

It all became to much as Keith slumped forward, his face hidden from Lance's gaze. Tears started to gather in the corner of his eyes as he choked. His shoulders trembling with the abundance of regret and sorrow he tried to keep away. Above him Lance was almost panicking as he asked what was wrong.

 

"God I'm so sorry Lance. I've fucked everything up! I ruined everything between us," he croaked as tears started to run down his face. Nails digging into his palms as he fought through emotion after emotion.

 

What he was not prepared for was the warm hands that coaxed him to look up. Scar riddled fingers brushing away tears. Blue pleading eyes looking back at him with an abundance of love and tenderness.

 

"Keith no you didn't. We both made mistakes, did and said stuff that we shouldn’t have. But that doesn't mean we ruined it," Lance reasoned as he held Keith close.

 

There was a lot of things Lance wished they had done differently. Instances where he would have approached the situation differently or had more patience. But ruined it? No, no matter what had been done he would never consider relationship between them ruined.

 

"How could you say that after everything I've done to you? Lance I - I could have damaged your eye for good," Keith argued as he pulled himself away from Lance's tender grasp.

 

Desperate for the space between them not to increase Lance reached for Keith's shirt instead. Twining his fingers in the fabric while keeping him as close as he could.

 

"That wasn't your fault Keith! I don’t blame you for something you can’t help."

 

"You should! Lance I did the one thing I swore to never do. I just keep hurting you and hurting you. How could you forgive me after all of this?" Keith shouted as more frustrated tears ran down his face.

 

Stunned Lance sat there in silence, wide eyed while tears started to gather in his own eyes. This was such a mess it wasn’t even funny. They had each spent so much time trying to deal with their problems on their own that they didn’t even know how to function around each other any longer. Instead they hurt each other and pushed until they were in the situation they were in now. More than anything he wished he could go back and get Keith to talk about all this before they had gotten to this point. Before the doubt and anger had taken hold and twisted everything into what it was now.

 

"I forgive you Keith because I love you. I knew that you had things in your past that prevented you from fully trusting any of us. Things that caused you to push even me away and I can forgive you for that Keith. I'm the one who is sorry for not realizing that after your mother how it could be hard to trust anyone. To trust me not to abandon you," Lance tearfully admitted.

 

Now it was Keith's turn to sit in stunned silence. His face a mask of shock and vulnerability as he sat there and digested Lance's words. He understood? Keith remembered telling Lance about how his mother had left him but he didn’t think the other would put two and two together. Hell even he didn’t quite know how to feel or why he felt the way he did at times.

 

But he couldn't let himself give in to this. No matter how much he loved Lance or the other forgave him for everything, he didn’t deserve this. Deserve to be with Lance after everything he had done. Not when he still struggled with his Galra side even now.

 

"Lance I cant. I break everything I touch," he tried to reason. Because wasn't that the truth? How many fights had he gotten into at the garrison resulting in either broken equipment or broken cadets. He had broken trust and relationships like Allura and even Pidge at one time. And now he had even broken the one thing he swore to protect. Everything he touched was destroyed and he couldn’t do this anymore.

 

However all the negative thoughts in his head silenced as soon as warm lips pressed to his forehead. A tremble going through them as Lance kissed him in the most tender way, All he could do was sit there like an idiot as Lance did what he wanted. After several seconds he pulled back and fixed Keith with the most adoring look he had ever seen.

 

"And yet you haven't broken me," Lance whispered as more tears started to fall.

 

It was as if a dam had broke on his feelings. Love and hope rushing forward in a powerful tide that washed away what it could of his darker feelings. Letting out a whimper he was quick to cradle Lance's face. His thumbs brushing away Lance's ears the best he could. Leaning in as he did so to capture trembling lips with his own.

 

It was by far the softest kiss they had exchanged. Full of longing and adoration as there lips pressed together. Not moving or turning it into anything deeper. Only pressed together as they exchanged every little feeling they felt.

 

Pulling back Keith rested his forehead against Lance's who in turn sighed in content. A beautiful blush panting his cheeks as he leaned into Keith. God he loved this boy. Loved him with everything he had. And that was why he couldn't let himself have this, not yet at least.

 

"Lance I love you but things can't be the same as they were between us, at least not yet. But I promise I'm going to work on controlling myself. Training my Galra side as well as working on my emotions. It won't be forever I promise," he pledged.

 

Lance wanted to argue with everything he had but he knew his was important to Keith. That everything that had happened between them would not be solved so easily. And Keith wasn’t the only one who still had work to do. Even know he could feel that familiar voice tickling at the back of his mind. That black sludge threatening to consume him at any moment.

 

"Just promise me you won't hide away from me. That you'll try and tell me even if you think I wont understand," Lance pleaded as he nuzzled back against Keith.

 

"I promise," he said and he meant it.

Chapter Text

He wasn’t sure what was worse. Not being romantic with Keith because of a fight or because they were in a mutual agreement that some space would be good for each other. While everything was a mess of emotions during the fight at least Lance knew where they stood in their relationship. But a voluntary separation where both of them were getting along? He wasn't exactly sure what to think of that.

 

It had been a week since their agreement to give each other space (he refused to call it a breakup) and so far things were odd. Not bad or good just odd. Maybe if he had dated someone in the past besides Keith this wouldn’t be so strange. This "hey we still are both madly in love with each other but lets not be together" thing they had going on. It was weird having to restrain himself from going to kiss Keith when the other gave him soft smiles and kind words. His fingers itching to touch the other as he forced himself to calm down. At least he wasn't the only one though who was having a hard time. There had been a few times Keith's hands had wandered to close but retreated not soon after when he remembered himself. Even if this was the others idea it was comforting to know he was still wanted.

 

And don’t get Lance wrong he saw Keith's point in it all. Knew the other truly was doing this for the both of them. Knew that Keith only wanted this to work and did not want to hurt him anymore. But that didn’t mean it all didn’t suck any less. No matter how many times he tired to remind himself of all of this it still didn’t stop the insecurities from bubbling it up. From every little fear coming back to pick at him while that taunting voice picked at him even more.

 

"Oh my sweet little boy, has it not occurred to you that perhaps your dear Keith is growing tired of all the problems you cause?"

 

Gritting his teeth he tried to shake that irritating voice out of his head. Fighting in a crowded room with Lotor's generals was the worst time to have those thoughts. Especially considering he barely managed to shoot the knife down that was heading towards Keith's head.

 

"I mean think about it. Instead of harnessing his Galra power he's having to control it for you. Hold back his basic instincts just to protect your fragile self."

 

No he wouldn't believe that. Keith himself said that he needed to control it. That he didn’t want to let that part of himself run wild. But as much as he tried to tell himself this, there was the other part of him that observed how Keith's Galra awakening was changing him. He was faster, stronger and while his temper was still horrid he was sharp as a tack. It was clear that the little parts that Keith let bleed through were benefiting him. Dimly Lance realized that it explained Keith's recent growth spurt and high gladiator levels. Perhaps it had started sooner than they all thought. Either way it was clear that Keith's Galra side had clear benefits. Benefits Lance was afraid Keith enjoyed and could use but held back on for him.

 

"Just imagine having to hold back your true nature. To deny yourself of you basic instincts all for one person. I mean really, is anyone worth all that?"

 

If he was a little to aggressive with his last shot the others didn’t notice. This was getting ridiculous. Here they had Lotor's generals bouncing around like they were in a circus, that damn voice wouldn't leave him alone and they now had to figure out how to stop that new ship as well as retrieve the teludav. This was a was just one big mess in Lance's opinion. A mess that had them arguing on what to do next.

 

As soon as they had left the place Coran had informed them of the comet ship firing at him. The particle barrier not being able to take much more from the powerful cannon's on the ship. Talk about extra pressure while forming Voltron. But that wasn’t what had them arguing at the moment. No it was whether they should go after Lotor or stop the cargo ship.

 

"Keith we need to stop the cargo ship," Allura argued as they continued to battle the comet ship.

 

"That ship is made from the same comet as Voltron, we can't just let Lotor have it!" Keith growled as he took another hefty swing at the ship.

 

Out of the corner of his eye Lance could see the cargo ship slowly making its way out of the planets atmosphere. Teludav strapped to it and heading who knows where. This wasn't good. At this rate they weren't going to defeat the ship in time and the teludav was going to be taken away.

 

"That may be so Keith but we can't let the Galra have the opportunity to create wormholes. Can you imagine the devastation of them being able to show up anywhere at anytime?" Allura tried to reason as they continued to zoom after the ship.

 

"Yeah sorry Keith I'm with Allura on this one. The idea of Lotor and the rest popping by whenever they like is not appealing," Hunk said.

 

"But if we take down the comet we can get to Lotor," Keith countered as the dodged yet another blast from the ship.

 

"Keith's right if we end this with the comet and Lotor than it wont matter about the teludav. For all we know something made of the same material as Voltron is more dangerous. The teludav is a what if but this ship is definitely a reality," Pidge ground out as the shield took another hit.

 

As of now they were being doing everything in their power to bloke the rays from the comet. The cargo ship gaining speed as it flew past. Now they had no choice but to choose. Stay and take their chances against the comet or go after the teludav and destroy it. Everyone had given their opinion and the team was split. The only person who hadn't said anything was Lance and that was not a fact that went unnoticed.

 

"Lance on my command we're going to charge forward and slash the comet in half," Keith barked as his face popped up on Lance's visual comm. Eyes boring into his own with an unspoken message.

 

You agree with me right?

 

Did he? They knew Lotor was dangerous, cunning a well. The last time they had faced him the only thing that had saved them was Allura being able to activate Blue's sonic ray. Sure they had prevailed without any serious damage but that didn’t mean they would be so lucky again. And what about the teludav? If Hunk's theory was right Lotor would be able to make wormholes just like they could and follow them through to anywhere. Not only that but they could expand their empire faster. Get to planets that they had not reached yet. Planets like Earth who would not stand a very good chance of defending themselves. There was lot Lance would do for Keith, but agree with him on this? No not this, he couldn’t.

 

"Keith we need to destroy the Teludav. There will be a next time for Lotor but for the teludav? There wont be a next time for that if we let them get away with it," he reasoned.

 

He stood by his opinion and could feel Allura and Hunk reaching out to him in support. Even Pidge was offering feelings of comfort to him having to be the one to make the tie breaking decision. But Keith? There was not feelings coming from Keith as the words left his mouth. Their bond was cold as Keith glared at him through the feed, eyes screaming traitor. Not bothering to say anything Keith cut the feed and for a moment Lance feared that he had done it. That now Keith would ignore the majority opinion out of spite and anger. However relief flooded through him when Keith called out to Hunk to prepare his bayard so they could shoot down the cargo ship. It may not be what Keith wanted but it was what needed to be done. Though it did not stop the dread that coursed through Lance and what would happen after this. Keith had wanted him to agree with him and he hadn't. He already knew there would be a fight after this and all he could do was prepare himself for it as they turned to face the cargo ship and stop it for good.

 

When it was all said done they decided to land in the hangar. Pidge and Keith wanting to go after the comet but acknowledging that they needed to plan before they did so. There were way to many odd things that had happened and questions that needed answering. It was just a pity that instead of a civil discussion happening a fight was what greeted Lance as he exited Red.

 

Stopping on the ramp he could only watch in weariness as Pidge and Allura argued off to the side. Hunk trying to be the mediator as their tempers clashed. Why they had decided to gather in Red's hangar was beyond him but that wasn't his biggest concern. No his biggest concern was Keith who stood awaiting him at the bottom of the ramp. Arms crossed and features twisted into a impatient frown as he looked at him. So much for a peaceful meeting.

 

As soon as he reached the bottom of the ramp Keith was on him. Demanding and impatient as he crowded Lance for answers. Eyes flashing dangerously and Lance swore he could see him puffing up like a cat.

 

"You're suppose to be my right hand when it comes to Voltron. Why didn’t you back me up on this?" Keith demanded as he bored down on Lance.

 

Taken aback it took a moment for Lance to come up with the right reply. Did Keith seriously think that he would take his side because of their relationship. He loved Keith with all his heart but he wasn't about to start making rash decision because of it. Of everyone he thought Keith would understand that.

 

Not being one to back down he stood his ground and stood tall. He may still be shorter than Keith but he wasn't going to let the others stupid growth spurt be used against him. He would catch up someday dammit.

 

"Just because I am you right hand doesn't mean I have to agree with everything you say or want Keith. In this case I thought it was best for us to save the fight for another day and stop something we actually had a chance at," he replied.

 

Letting out a frustrated growl Keith threw his hands up, barely missing knocking Lance in the face they were so close. " You don't know if there will be another day. For all we know the next time we even get close to fighting Lotor is when he's conquered the entire known universe!"

 

By this time the other had stopped their bickering and were watching Keith and Lance with worry. While it was still considered a minor argument they were all afraid it would spiral into something bigger. Lord knows they had barely gotten over their last major fight.

 

"And you don't know that we would have won! Say we did do as you wanted Keith and went after the comet and Lotor. There was no guarantee we could beat him as we are now. Then we would have lost the teludav and risked a fight with Lotor," Lance fumed as he tried to push his point across to Keith.

 

And while the Keith could see why Lance didn’t agree with him that more primal part of him wouldn't back down. He could feel it fighting for control and pushing to be let out. To put Lance in his place and show him that he was wrong and Keith was right. Little did he know it was also starting to show as the others eyes widened when his nails begun to extend and rip through the fabric of his under suit. His fangs coming out and eyes taking on a slight yellow hue as he stared Lance down.

 

But before Keith could say anymore Hunk interrupted, "Keith I think you need to calm down,"

 

"What?" Keith growled as he turned on Hunk only to stop in horror.

 

He could see where his nails had extended and feel the prick on his lip from where his teeth dug in. Without even realizing it, he was turning. Letting his Galra features out when he thought he had been controlling it. And not only was the rest of the team there to see it but he was letting his aggression take hold against Lance. Hadn't he promised Lance he would work on it?

 

Clicking his mouth shut to prevent himself from saying anything else he turned on his heel and walked out as fast as he could. Ignoring everyone's calls for him to wait and come back. Everyone except Lance who could only watch Keith go with understanding and sadness. Out of all them he new Keith would not to hear anything right now. No doubt beating himself up for what had happened.

 

All he could do was hang back for the moment and let Keith talk to Kolivan. He Keith had been making regular video calls to the other and would no doubt be calling him at the moment to discuss what had happened. For now he would let Kolivan handle it and there would be time later for him to reassure Keith that everything was ok. One step at a time they would grow, they had to.

 


 

 

Alas though two weeks after the comet incident and Keith felt that he had barely made any improvements. He was still getting angry and freaking out the others with his features changing out of the blue. He was trying he really was but he couldn't help the emotions that flared inside of him. And while talking to Kolivan helped it still wasn't enough.

 

"It would be easier for me to help you if I understood what was making you so angry all the time," Kolivan said as he watched Keith pace back and forth.

 

This was there 5th video call in a week and Kolivan was starting to become concerned. The Galra genes in Keith were not strong enough to be constantly popping up like this. Unless of course he was letting his temper get the best of him which of course was exactly what he was doing. At this rate he feared that another incident like the one with Lance and his eye were due to happen at any moment.

 

"Everything! Lotor, Shiro missing, me having to lead this damn team, my relationship with Lance. Everything is pissing me off!" Keith snarled as he continued to pace.

 

Kolivan had to hold back the sigh that threatened to spill forward at Keith's admission. While the leader and solider in him wanted to tell Keith to get over it, to suck it all up and push forward he knew that it wasn’t the way to handle this. He had to remind himself that they were all still children and that out of all of the paladins, besides Shiro, Keith was barely the oldest at the mere age of 18. None of them should be shouldering the burdens they were at such young ages.

 

"Keith, calm yourself. Your anger is not helping you in anyway as you should well know by now," Kolivan urged in a stern tone. Unlike Lance who also liked to video call Kolivan and talk, Keith needed a stern command guiding him. He didn’t so well with soft encouragements unless it was coming from Lance.

 

Stopping his relentless pacing he did his best to take deep breathes. Relaxing his body as he tried to recall the sound of Lance's heartbeat that he had heard over the many nights they were together up until now. Strong and steady it was and Keith let himself sync with the memory of it.

 

"Sorry it's just hard not to crack under everything sometimes," Keith admitted.

 

"I know it can be difficult at times but you must not let your temper rule you Keith. Anger and hate only lead to foolishness."

 

Now it was Keith's turn to sigh. Kolivan was right as usual but it still sucked to hear it. He thought he had made some progress but he guessed not. If anything he had jumped back a few steps with how he kept letting his temper flare the way he did. Yesterday he had even left some gouges in the table when Pidge had gotten a little to snarky with him for his tastes. The only thing bringing him back to the right state of mind was the way her face had paled. Whether from fear or something else he hadn't stuck around after to find out.

 

"Kolivan I'm afraid I'm going to explode one of these days. That I'll hurt one of them like I did Lance and it wont be because I was having a nightmare," Keith said as he looked down at his hands, almost afraid that his claws would come out again in that moment.

 

For a moment Kolivan said nothing as he regarded Keith and contemplated the situation. If it wasn't for the fact that Voltron needed Keith he would have suggested the other come and join the Blades of awhile. To train not only his mind but his body in there way and also to control his Galra side. It wouldn't be forever of course but it would do Keith some good in his opinion. As it was now he had to many things stressing him out and while Kolivan hated to admit it Lance was at the center of it all. He liked the boy he truly did but even he couldn't deny that Lance had triggered it all on accident and not only was it hurting Keith but himself as well. If anything in his opinion some separation of the distance kind would do them some good right now.

 

"Have you thought of asking the others for help? I am sure the others would be more than happy to help you if you only asked."

 

Shaking his head Keith answered, "No I don't want to burden them more than they already are. Pidge has her hands full trying to find Shiro and her brother. Hunk is already trying to help Allura and Coran so I wouldn’t want to add yet another thing to his list."

 

When Keith finished speaking Kolivan waited for a moment to see if the other would bring it up. If he would mention Lance in all of this. But it appeared he was trying his best not to make eye contact with him. No doubt hoping he would not ask after the now Red paladin. To bad Kolivan was never one to shy away from the unspoken.

 

"And Lance?"

 

Huffing out Keith fixed Kolivan with a slightly exasperate look, " You know as well as I do that I would never drag him into my problems. Lance already has enough on his plate as it is so trust me when I say he doesn't need my temper tantrums as well."

 

He knew there was more to it than that, that Keith and Lance's relationship was all but hanging on by a thread at this point but he didn’t dare voice this. It was clear from what he heard from both of them separately that they were trying to get this to work. He only feared that they would end up not solving anything before it was to late. That it would all explode in their faces and they might jeopardize everything as a result.

 

"I can work this out I just need time," Keith said, interrupting Kolivan's train of thought.

 

And while Kolivan verbally agreed he did not have the heart to tell Keith that time was not on his side. Sooner or latter the would have to choice whether he kept holding on to whatever he had left with Lance and risk never growing or put his feelings aside and learn to control himself the right way. Whatever the choice may be there would no doubt be hearts broken and Kolivan dreaded the time when it came.

 


 

It was official, Lance was at his wits end. He was getting better, this wasn't getting better. When was the last time he actually had a decent amount of rest? A week or what is a month now? Everything seemed to bleed together these days. Mission to mission, argument to argument, insecurity to insecurity crawling in his brain. He never realized how alone he was until he had those nights where he couldn't sleep. Nights where he everything seemed to close in around him as every little random thought entered his brain. Picking away and building into a frenzy until a moment where they ceased abruptly and he was struck with how quiet it was in his room. How alone he was with only the hum of the ship to keep him company.

 

Part of him wanted to crawl into one of the others rooms. To collapse on the bed and sob his worries away to whoever listened. But he couldn’t do that. Hunk and Pidge had enough to deal with and he wouldn't feel comfortable pushing this unto them. And with Keith? Well there were plenty of nights were he almost knocked on the other door but yanked himself away at the last minute. They had agreement after all and he didn’t want to cause any more problems but pushing the mater with Keith.

 

The nature of their relationship was actually quite odd and he wasn't the only one who noticed. Pidge's eyebrow raises and Hunk's frowns spoke for themselves whenever they looked at him and Keith. But whenever they tried to ask he would brush it off gently. There was no point in involving more people when it was somewhat of a personal matter.

 

His insomnia wasn't the only thing plaguing him as well though. No he was surprised he hadn't dropped from exhaustion already considering the little sleep he got was plagued with nightmares. Memories of his torture as well as cruel biting words digging into him had him biting his pillow in order to suppress screams and sobs. God forbid he wake up Keith and be forced to talk about everything.

 

And while he knew it wasn't good to bottle everything up he found himself clutching on to his thin veil of mental stability. He couldn't even count the number of time he had faked being ok for the sake of the others. Joking and messing around while he tore himself apart from the inside with all the negative emotions he held on to. He was bleeding out from the inside and not one of them had figured it out yet. At least he was doing something right for once.

 

He wasn't the only one suffering though. Keith was losing his temper on a almost daily basis now. And while it use to be from important matters it had soon morphed into even the smallest thing setting him off. Only a couple of days ago he had the lovely privilege of watching him hurl his entire chair across the dining hall when he found out that they had lost Lotor's trail. Suffice to say everyone stayed clear of him that day.

 

Kolivan was trying to help but letting Keith video call him whenever needed but it was clear that it was doing nothing. Keith was getting overwhelmed and as a result letting his temper loose whenever he saw fit. Lance wanted to comfort him but where did he even began?

 

Every time he tried to say something it would only make Keith angrier as the other did not want to listen. He insisted he didn’t want to bring Lance into this and that he wanted to get better on his own like he had promised but it was obvious it wasn't working. What Lance wouldn't give in order to have Keith just talk to him and let him help. To let this whole silly thing go and let them grow together again. Surely they couldn’t mess up anymore than they already had? In his honest opinion this situation couldn't get any worse.

 

And than they found Shiro.

Chapter Text

Shiro was back and for the first time in many days Lance felt like he could breathe again. The anchor and guidance they desperately needed had come back to them and not a moment too soon. It was as if all the tension bled out as they all laid eyes on Shiro for the first time in weeks. Tears and hugs were plenty in abundance that day and for a time Lance forgot the voices in his head and the troubles he faced with Keith.

 

Though he did have to wonder on the state of Shiro's hair. They all knew for a fact Shiro kept his hair short so it was strange to see that his hair had grown so much in the span of only a month. In all the time they had been out here Pidge hadn't cut her hair once and it hadn't grown nearly as quick as Shiro's had. Maybe his just grew freakishly fast? Either way it wasn't a big deal as they were more than happy to have him back, long hair and all.

 

Though it was a little hard for Lance to shake off the tinge of jealousy that sparked within himself when he watched Shiro and Keith interact. He may have joked about Shiro being everyone's space dad, but he had to remind himself that he still didn’t know everything about his and Keith's past.  While he wanted to believe that nothing ever went on between the two of them he couldn’t be sure. He couldn't exactly ask either with the tension that still sat heavy between Keith and him. All he knew for sure was that the tender hug and look Keith shared with Shiro upon his return did the exact opposite in reassuring Lance that is insecurities were for nothing.

 

As it was now they were all gathered around Shiro who was being filled on the things he had missed over the past month. From their first encounter with Lotor to the incident with the teludav. Through it all Shiro listened and commented here and there where he saw fit. Though it did not escape Lance's notice how his gaze hovered over the new scar under his eye for a little to long. A knowing look in his eyes that Lance managed to catch before he turned away. It seems that Keith had filled him in on the more personal stuff as well.

 

"While it sounds like you guys had some trouble I'm happy to see that you stuck with the mission. We all know how dangerous it can be to lose ourselves in other things," Shiro offered as he smiled at them.

 

Though Lance had long since toned down his fan boy thoughts when it came to Shiro, he couldn't help the bolt of pride that went through him at the words. Yes, it was hard to keep it under control as they all knew and agreed but they had managed to keep it together until he returned. Having him see and acknowledge that was more than rewarding and had the others beaming as well.

 

However what Lance was not prepared for was the next words that left Shiro's mouth, "Though I must say  I'm surprised you all chose to go with the teludav instead of the comet."

 

This gave everyone a moment of pause as they considered what Shiro had just said. As far as Lance was concerned he had thought for sure that Shiro would have taken the side that chose the teludav. Not that he was looking for Shiro to take sides but it wasn't like him to take risks or even comment on something that could not be changed now nor was he even a part of in the first place.

 

"What do you mean?" Allura asked as she tilted her head in confusion.

 

Aware that he might be stirring something up Shiro raised his hands in a calming gesture while shrugging, "I'm merely thinking from both sides. While I can see the importance of the teladuv I also believe perhaps you all were a little hasty in letting the comet slip by so easily."

 

"See that’s what I thought!" Keith exclaimed as Shiro and him exchanged a understanding smile that to Lance resembled something almost like a inside joke smile. Ok yeah he could definitely feel the jealousy churning in his gut.

 

"Yes, but surely you see why we chose the path we did?" Allura reasoned while the others looked on in apprehension. Perhaps they hadn't chosen the right course to take after all?

 

"Oh of course. But I can't help thinking maybe if it had been planned better you could have gone for both. Using the sword and the canon you might have been able to take down the comet and then chased after the teladuv especially considering it was just on a cargo ship. But that's just my opinion on the matter, " Shiro answered as he beamed at the rest of them.

 

Relaxing at his words the others returned the smile and started on the topic of what they were to do next. Everyone except for Lance that was. Hanging back a little he took his time in observing Keith and Shiro. More specifically the way Keith started to relax and crowd close to Shiro, almost as if in a unified fashion.

 

In technical terms Shiro had evened out the vote for that day. The vote being Hunk, Allura and Lance with targeting the cargo ship and Pidge, Shiro and Keith wanting to have gone after the comet. But they all knew Shiro's opinion counted for more than just one vote. As it was deep down Lance knew that if Shiro had still been with them they would have gone after the comet.

 

However he couldn’t help but feel strange about Shiro's choice. The other was never one for making rash choices especially when it came to the safety of the team. He had a hard time believing that Shiro would want to risk it by taking on Lotor over the vulnerable teladuv. But then again Shiro tended to favor Keith's decision over the rest on a lot of things. Maybe this was just one of those times and there was nothing to worry about. Yeah that had to be it. He was letting his insecurities and paranoia get to him. All that mattered was that Shiro was back and everything would be ok.

 


 

 

Keith was many things but he sure as hell wasn't blind. Having Shiro back was something to rejoice about. A event that had them all smiling and for once letting their worries fade if only for the night. However amidst the smiles and laughs it wasn’t hard for him to see not everyone was quite so carefree.

 

No, it was clear as day to him that underneath all his bright smiles that Lance was worried of something. If it wasn't for all the time he spent with the other he may have not picked up on it at all. But right now there was no denying that he was thinking of something. His eyes had a slight glaze to them and the creases he only got when he was worried had appeared under his eyes. Just what was he worried about?

 

" So what happens now?" Pidge suddenly asked interrupting Keith's thoughts.

 

Seeing the looks of confusion on everyone else's faces she elaborated, " I mean with the lions and all that. Are we going back to the original pilots or…?"

 

Ah there it was. He might have not been facing him, but Keith did manage to catch Lance flinching at the mention of the lion’s. In fact everyone seemed to be thinking about their now new predicament. Never had it crossed any of their minds that with Shiro now back they would have to do yet another lion shuffle.

 

Considering he never wanted to lead Keith was more than happy to hand over Black back to Shiro and go back to Red. Lord knows he missed the other even if he would never admit it out loud. But where did that leave Lance and Allura? In order for him to go back to Red he would have to take them from Lance. That would leave the other having to take Blue back from Allura. But he knew the other didn’t want to do that and it would be unfair of any of them to deny Allura a lion. But then again, they were the original pilots chosen so it would only make sense for everything to return to the way it was. Yeah this was a mess and Keith could see why Lance was worried.

 

"And that is a bridge we can all cross once we get to it. For now, I think it is important that everyone takes the day for themselves. We have been going non stop for quite some time and besides there is much to catch up on, " Coran suggested as he gave everyone warm smiles. Ever the observant one he was while dealing with it the best way he could.

 

A round of agreements were made but as everyone begun to file out Keith was surprised to see Shiro call out to Lance before following him out. Perhaps this was him trying to help with the situation between him and Lance. After all he had informed Shiro of the events that had gone on while he was gone. From his sudden transformations to the accident he had with Lance. Shiro was like a brother to him and if there was anyone he trusted with all this turmoil it was him. Shiro would know what to do, he always did.

 

Meanwhile Shiro had joined Lance in his journey down the hallway and to Red's hangar. He had thought now was a better time than ever to visit Red and go over some of their formations. But also he secretly wanted to say goodbye to the other just in case this was the last time he got to pilot the lion. What he did not expect though was for Shiro to join him on his walk. Surely he would have stayed to talk with Keith or plan their next move?

 

"How are you doing Lance?" Shiro breached the silence as they continued to walk.

 

A little taken aback by Shiro's questions Lance took his time in answering, " Good I guess? I mean things haven't been exactly easy but I think we've managed for the most part."

 

In truth Lance did not believe a single word that just came out of his mouth. He was not doing good. In fact the polar opposite with his shitty mental health and shitty relationship with Keith. Nothing in there could be considered good. And the part about them managing? Yeah that was a big fat lie. Unless of course you counted arguing and broken furniture courtesy of Keith managing, then yeah they were doing great.

 

Knowing full well Lance was lying about the whole team managing everything Shiro decided to let that slide with a chuckle. While he did want to address that, it wasn’t the reason he had sought the other out in the first place.

 

" Keith told me what happened," was all he had to say as understanding crossed Lance's face. So this was where Shiro wanted to go with all of this.

 

" I thought maybe you needed someone to talk to about it?"

 

Stopping in his tracks Lance turned to face Shiro with a unreadable expression. While he wasn’t necessarily bitter about it he could not recall a time where Shiro had offered to speak privately about his worries. Again, not bitter as it was just the way things were but still he couldn’t help feeling a little hesitant to start spilling everything to the other. Shiro was his friend and leader but to be honest he would choose Kolivan over Shiro when it came to talking about his feelings. In fact, he had chosen Kolivan as he video called the other on a daily basis and expressed his worries and fears. For all his gruffness the other was kind and understood which is more than he could ever ask for. But with Shiro? He wasn't sure if he could tell him everything.

 

"And we will be with you through it all,"  all of a sudden echoed in Lance's head as he stared at Shiro. Eye's widening slightly at the memory Lance almost felt ashamed that he had forgotten it. Shiro had promised that he and the rest of the team would be there to help him through this. And while he still was hesitant on telling everyone else that didn’t mean he couldn’t tell the other man. Considering all the secrets he kept about Keith, what was a few more from Lance?

 

"To be honest Shiro I don’t even know if what we're doing right now is the right way to go about this," he admitted with the assumption that Shiro knew every little detail from Keith.

 

And it seems he was right as Shiro asked, "You mean your breakup?"

 

Lance couldn’t help his flinch at Shiro's blunt words. Ok not what he would have called it but technically yeah, they had broken up. He liked to think of it as a mutual separation but then again who was he kidding? It was a breakup in every true meaning of the word and he was just desperately not wanting to admit it.

 

Taking Lance's silence as an answer Shiro pressed on. Offering a comforting hand on his shoulder he did his best to speak in a soothing voice, " I know this must be painful but right now Lance I think this is what's best for the both of you."

 

"What?" Lance asked in shock. Yeah that wasn’t what he was expecting from the other.

 

"It probably isn't what you want to hear Lance, but I think sometime apart from each other will do you good. It will give you each time to think and decide what is best for you."

 

While it was true that Lance did not want to listen, he couldn’t deny that Shiro had a point. While the separation was eating away at the both of them right now he knows how it would work out later. Surely, they will come out stronger than before when this is all over?

 

"Believe me Lance this is all going to work out," Shiro said with a gentle smile.

 

Nodding his head understanding Lance decided that he would trust Shiro on this. The other only wanted what was best for him and Keith. He knew what he was talking about as well and would be there to offer support as well like he promised. Everything would be alright. After all Shiro was back and he had said so.

Chapter Text

Eyes roamed the scratched-up walls, looking for any sign of further damage. Tallying up each scratch in quick succession and finding that none had been added to the original number. Moving on the pair of eyes assessed the mattress and unto the sparse furniture that occupied the small room. All were clean and damage free as the last time they had been seen. Not a single ounce of extra damage since that last time. Something had changed.

 

"I see you haven’t destroyed anything since our last call," Kolivan said as he faced the sole occupant of the room.

 

Rubbing his neck in a sheepish manner, Keith couldn’t help the blush that slipped unto his cheeks, " Yeah it’s been difficult, but I've managed to keep it under control here. Though the training room has seen better days."

 

"I see. So, you've learned to control your emotions?"

 

"Not exactly…" Keith admitted as he fidgeted in his seat under Kolivan's intense stare. A stare that only intensified at his confession.

 

"What do you mean?" Kolivan asked with narrowed eyes.

 

"I mean I've been working on the control part still but I've been training with Shiro and through that I've been able to kind of…. Well kind of let it all out," Keith replied as he looked everywhere but at Kolivan. Man, he had forgotten how intimidating it could be talking to him at times. How did Lance do it on a friendly regular basis?

 

"Keith, you can't just train these emotions away! It takes a strong mental will as well as maturity to keep them in check. You letting them run rampant as you please is not going to help you!" Kolivan scolded.

 

"I know but for the first time in weeks I don’t feel like breaking anything! Having to rely only on my mind to control it isn't exactly easy. Besides this way I can let out some steam while getting better at my combat," Keith tried to reason.

 

Though he knew he still needed to work on controlling himself in a relaxed situation he couldn’t deny that being able to train and let some of it bleed out felt good. In the past it would have never worked out as the drones did get predictable at times and he wasn't going to be satisfied with a few destroyed drones. It wasn't until he was approached by Shiro on the matter that he considered trying it again.

 

At first, he had been reluctant especially considering he would be going up against a real person. But after being reassured numerous times by the other and knowing full well that Shiro could hold his own quite well, he decided perhaps a little wouldn’t hurt. However, he could have never predicted how good it felt to let go even the slightest bit like that.

 

He knew Galra were significantly stronger and faster than average, but he had no idea it was this good. Starting out with testing his speed he was surprised to find that he could easily take Shiro by surprise. What would have been 10 steps normally in closing in for a strike now only took 5. His sword mere inches away from the other face before Shiro regained himself and dodged out of the way.

 

Next was his strength. When they both tired of weapons training, hand to hand combat always came next. Now Keith wasn't a weak guy by any means. His growth spurt had allowed him more muscle on top of the one he had before. However, he still wasn't quite as strong as Shiro… at least until he let go a little. The first time he picked up Shiro and body slammed him to the ground was exhilarating. None of the other paladins could do that except Hunk and Allura. But now? Now he might even be able to take on Allura in terms of raw strength.

 

The enhanced eyesight, hearing and smell were a little harder to get use to though. Considering they had both been training for a while and covered in sweat, it wasn't exactly the most pleasant thing Keith could have smelled. The hearing was also a little much. Granted it probably was helpful in other areas, Keith was a little freaked out about hearing Shiro's heartbeat when they were a good few feet apart.

 

When they had first started doing this Keith was unsure if it would make any difference or make it even worse. He was pleasantly surprised though when he had found himself not becoming so angry at the smallest of things. He wasn't exploding like before nor was he having to leave the room just to contain himself. He could take his team mates disagreements with a stride now instead of lashing out in frustration. And best of all he hadn't fought with Lance in the week since he had started training using his Galra side.

 

"Keith, you know this is just temporary? Sooner rather than later the rush and novelty of it all is going to wear off and you will be in a worse place than where you started," Kolivan warned.

 

And of course, Kolivan would bring up the shitty aspect to it all. He knew the other was right but still it was frustrating to hear as such. For once he had felt like not ripping off someone's head and now his parade had to be rained on. Why couldn't Kolivan just let him have this one thing?

 

Seeing Keith's frustration Kolivan sighed before explaining himself, "Keith I'm only telling you this because I don’t want you to lose control when you least suspect it. If it wasn't for the fact that you are a key member of Voltron as well as surrounded by people who care about you, I would let you do as you please. But seeing as you and I both have a desire to protect those around us, I must be the bearer of tough news and what you are doing will only work for so long. You know this, don’t you?"

 

"I know I just don’t know what to do. Nothing is working," Keith admitted miserably as he curled in on himself like a small child. As much as it pained him to admit Kolivan was probably right. The other man had gone through this before and had plenty of experience with other Galra. Besides if he didn't want to help him and lead him down the right path Kolivan would never both in the first place. Still though it did little to ease the ache that spread through Keith at the news that this wasn't what Kolivan suggested either. He didn’t want to go back to before. If he did he knew he wouldn't be able to handle it and chances are the team wouldn’t be able to either.

 

Softening at the stressed boy who sat in front of him Kolivan tried to be as gentle as someone like him could with his next suggestion, " The offer still stands Keith. You can still join us, and I will train you to control yourself the proper way."

 

At one-time Keith would have jumped at the offer, in fact he had not too long before this. A chance for him to not only learn more about himself but help in other ways he couldn’t here. He could learn to be the type of person he wanted to be and maybe, just maybe he could face Lance without any fear of hurting the other.

 

But he couldn’t do that, at least not now. The team still needed him, and he found himself not quite ready to let go. Call it sentiment or even fear but he wasn't ready yet. How could he leave now when they had only gotten Shiro back a week ago? And what about Lance? Could he really leave him now? When everything was such a mess and everyday he yearned to respond to the hope he would occasionally catch in Lance's eyes when their gazes met. Could he leave the boy he loved?

 

The answer was no, he couldn’t.

 

"I'm sorry Kolivan but I can’t commit to something like that at least not anything permanent. But maybe if you let me I can start coming with you on missions every now and then?"

 

Disappointed but not surprised Kolivan could only sign in resignation. He couldn’t exactly force the boy to leave and come to them. And even if he somehow did, it wouldn’t do any good anyway. All he can do is guide him the best he can and hope that the other started to learn. However, the fact that he wanted to at least start some form of training was good. This way he could prepare and teach him if only a little at a time.

 

"That can be arranged but just be careful Keith. If everyone could see the regret that comes the concept itself wouldn’t exist."

 


 

 

"So, what's our strategy?"

 

"Our what?"

 

"Oh god we're all going to die."

 

Ignoring Pidge, Keith and Hunk's squabbling Lance did his best in continuing to hold back the fighters that threatened to overtake the small moon beneath them. Red zipping around and laying shot after shot as he focused on the controls. For all his and Red's bonding he still couldn’t quite pilot them up to standards nor even Keith's level. Out of all of them he could afford to get distracted the least right now.

 

They had been doing their best over the past couple of days in tracking Lotor but they had long since lost his trail. It wasn't until they received a distress signal from a small moon under Galra attack that they finally gave up the hunt for him.

 

It was pleasant change in Lance's opinion. Well maybe not the people being attacked aspect of it but more of the doing something that mattered for once. Because let’s face it they hadn't been doing anything except pursing Lotor to the point of borderline obsession while ignoring the rest of the universe at the same time. That was something defenders of the universe did not do and it irked Lance that they had taken up the practice for a little. Oh well it was in the past now and they were doing something helpful for once. However, there was just one problem.

 

The problem being centered around once such mullet boy who had taken up a new interest. Lance did not know where or when it had been established but over the past 2 weeks he had been disappearing to help Kolivan on special missions. From what he had been told at first Allura had been widely against it but with convincing from Kolivan, Keith and even Shiro she had relented. Something about it helping Keith learn to control himself better as well as acquire new traits and skills he needed.

 

Lance was happy for the other, he truly was. This was what Keith wanted and it was something that would do him some good. He could learn new things about his heritage that he could never learn by himself as well as other assets that were important to him. Kolivan would also take diligent care of Keith, he had promised as much in his last video call to Lance. But even with all this there was something off about it that bothered Lance.

 

Out of everyone Shiro had been ok with it the most. For sure Lance had thought Shiro would raise a stink about it considering they were supposed to be a team and Keith was the leader now. However, he was the one encouraging Keith to go the most and supporting him when it came to the Blade coming first at times. Keith did not seem to mind either. Lance didn’t know what had gone on between them before but all he knew now was that he wasn't sure if liked what was going on.

 

There was also the minor matter of Keith starting to become lax with his leadership. Over the past couple of weeks, they had gotten into a few skirmishes and have found Keith to not be there during a good majority of them. "Off with the blade" Shiro informed them as the battled to win with only 4 lions. Yeah that was never fun.

 

He always apologized when he returned but it still didn’t change the fact that they got their asses almost kicked several times without him being there. Everyone’s tempers growing short with his ever-present absence and Lance growing more worried on the other end. Was this really the way they should be handling this? It was helping Keith but at what cost to the team? And even then, perhaps the cost was worth it if it meant Keith being able to control himself better.

 

Whatever the case might be it all lead up to their current predicament. After receiving the distress signal from the small moon, they had rushed over only to find that they were one paladin short. Not even bothering to ask since they all knew where he already was, they pushed on. You would think for a small moon that didn’t look like much there would be a small resistance. Apparently not though as they struggle to gain the upper hand in the fight. Barrage after barrage of ships coming in and making it seem like they hadn't even put a dent in this.

 

"Rare minerals on the moon" Coran had said. Well that would explain the sudden fleet they seemed to be facing now. Thankfully it was then that Keith decided to join them, however that still didn’t mean they were out of hot water yet.

 

"I'm open to suggestions!" Keith growled as he and Black shredded another row of fighters.

 

"We need Voltron but there's just too many of them to form safely," Allura gritted out while she narrowly avoided a blast from an ion cannon.

 

She was right, Voltron was needed right now but as it was they stood no chance of forming it. With the way things were going right now it would only lead to someone being injured or worse. They needed to get rid of some of the bigger battle ships before they even attempted to form Voltron. But with no end in sight Lance had no idea how much longer they could last.

 

"Keith remember your training," Shiro interrupted while they continued to avoid fire.

 

"I am!" Keith replied with no small amount a frustration. Lance had to agree, why was Shiro bringing that up now when Keith wasn't losing his temper. He was frustrated yes but not to the point where he was losing control.

 

"No Keith I mean remember how you felt and performed during our training together"

 

"Shiro I don’t think that’s such a good idea," Keith answered back after a pause, his voice nervous and hesitant. What were they talking about?

 

"It will be fine Keith. As of right now you guys don’t stand a chance and you need all the help you can get," Shiro reasoned while Lance's eyes widened in understanding. He didn’t mean what Lance thought he did?!

 

For a moment Keith gave no reply as the battle continued to rage around them. His coms deadly silent and his bond with all of them cold. Surely he wouldn’t? He wasn't ready yet and who knows how it would affect the rest of them. For all they knew it could turn into a disaster and they would be in an even worse place than before.

 

"Keith, I don’t think-" Lance tried but before he could get the rest out he was interrupted by Keith.

 

"Alright. Brace yourselves guys I don’t how the lions or we all will react to this," Keith announced and before any of them could argue everything seemed to shatter around them.

 

Everything seemed brighter, clearer, a vivid sharp lens as they all looked out. It was like putting on glasses or contacts for the first time when you couldn’t see shit before. Next was the hearing. Every little creek and groan of their lions seemed so much louder. The cannon fire around them booming as they all flinched the slightest at it.

 

While he couldn’t very well test it at the moment Lance could almost feel the strength and speed that was coursing through Keith at the moment. The raw power he felt buried beneath everything else sent a shiver through his body. Keith wasn’t even full Galra and yet he had so many of their benefits.

 

"Ok I am dying to study-" Pidge began clearly in awe of what she was feeling but she cut off in a choked cry of pain.

 

Lance was about to ask her what was wrong but then he felt it to. Hot, molten pain shooting through his veins as he to yelped in pain. It felt like a thousand needles being pushed in all at once. His veins on fire as he was ripped in half over and over.

 

Burn, rip, repeat, Burn, Rip, Repeat, BURN, RIP, REPEAT!!!

 

He was being torn to shreds.

 

Sucking it up the best he could he tried to call out the others but all he received back was cries and grunts of pain. Their agony washing over him again and again as they all lost