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Third wh(F)eels

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You know that feeling when you realize you’re quiznaking head over heels for someone? Lance hasn’t been so sure a word “quiznaking” existed, but you get the idea. Sweaty palms, dry mouth, goosebumps and ears burning such a bright red, Lance could bet they’re glowing in the dark.
He’s been lucky because that ‘someone’ reciprocated his feelings. No idea, why (he’s awesome, of course, but Hunk was ten – no, hundred – times awesomer). Yep, Lance’s making up words again, but no real words could describe Hunk anyway. Like, no chance.

They have known each other since forever. For real, it struck Lance recently that now they have been friends for more years that they had been strangers, living in different countries, different parts of the world. As of today, Lance had no idea how it would be to get up in the morning without the knowledge that Hunk existed. That he simply was somewhere. That he loved Lance.

How could someone so warm, so cool, so kind, so well-meaning, love him? So much for being a panic-monger, it’d been Hunk, who’d reached out to hold his hand, it’d been Hunk, who’d cried on him, when he’d been injured, it’d been Hunk, who’d kissed him, when he’d fallen out of the pod clumsily. Hunk’s lips were soft and wet and salty, and he wept and wept into the kiss.

Lance’s been lucky. Not many people could experience a glimpse of something he’s feeling throughout their whole lifetime. Only a few truly loved. Even fewer got loved back. And still… it wasn’t enough.

He’s been lucky twice. Which, the irony, was also very-very unlucky.

At first, it’s just too easy to ignore. For actions and touches and words to pass as plain friendly. You never notice such things – or you pretend you don’t until you believe it yourself. Nonetheless, at some point, you become painfully aware.

“I kid you not, I can feel like my brain cells are screaming in agony”, Pidge complained with her mouth full with popcorn (to be honest, it looked nothing like popcorn, but it’s not the looks, but what’s inside, that counts).

She took a long contemplative sip of her soda from a plastic cup, and Lance could practically feel the waves of skepticism, which she was emitting.

“Your Rozenda is just idiotic”.
“Excuse me, Rozenda is a strong independent woman, trying to survive with a dysfunctional and abusive family”, Lance smirked, grabbing some popcorn for himself.
“You have to be brain-dead to take it seriously”, she leaned back, nibbling the straw.
“Okay, so it means we’re marathoning the show and soon you’ll have to take back all your misguided insensitive words about her”.
“I’d rather do something more useful with my time. Like completing some test runs with Green. Or sleeping. Or cleaning the kitchen. Or even helping Coran to fix his pirate costume. Or staring into the void, thinking about some argument five years ago and figuring out better comebacks…”
“But instead you’re sitting here and watching ‘The Sun, the Moon, the Passion’ with me. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say someone wants to spend some quality time with Lancey Lance”, well, now he was straight up giving her a shit-eating grin.
“Minus the quality”, yet she made no attempt to move her legs from his lap.

How did they end up in this position in the first place? An empty castle was not much fun during their free days. After all, you could only sleep and train so much (although Keith might disagree). Hunk was spending his leisure time experimenting in the kitchen; Pidge was learning languages and doing god knows what on her laptop. When Shiro and Keith were not on a mission, they were sparring, when they were not sparring, they were having meetings with Allura, when they weren’t on meeting with Allura, they were stirring some quiznak with the Blade of Marmora – either nobody took pity and told those poor bastards they can have some rest, or they’re not familiar with the definition of “days off”. While Hunk’s the sweetest person ever, you really don’t want to be in the kitchen with him at the same time. Lance learned his lesson the hard way, so he resorted to nagging Pidge. The solution was to sit at the distance that she couldn’t smack him so easily, as she would be too lazy to actually get up. After some time you start getting closer and closer, providing her with instruments or a cup of coffee, or some other treat, and if it’s a good day she might even let you touch her stuff and ask her what was that she’s been working on. They crossed that line back at garrison and sometimes Lance wasn’t even sure that she’s aware of his presence. Sure, when he was having a rant about his day, she’d always reply or hum at appropriate times, but there was a high chance she’s just muttering stuff to herself.

Once she casually tossed a little box at him, and he’s been so surprised he almost dropped it. The receiver (and yes, it turned out to be a receiver) was programmed to catch specific transmissions, enabling him to stream galactic TV-shows. Basically, Pidge just fixed him a space-Netflix. It couldn’t reach Earth, but trash-TV across the universe was almost just as good. After checking the settings, she was going to leave but perched down on the back of a sofa, in her words just to “check out what kind of wacky quiznak he’s watching”. Soon she ended up curled at his side, loudly berating Rozenda, with her eyes glued to the wall, on which the picture was being projected.

When Pidge plunked her feet on his lap, he had to pull off her boots, because they’d see no end to Coran’s nagging, if he found out she had their shoes on the sofa. Thanks to certain someone with an ugly mullet and anger issues, who just could never sit properly, they were forced to listen to some long-ass exhausting lectures every other day.
Her feet were large for a girl, all marred and covered in plasters. There was a little hole in one of her socks and a lot of seaming. She was mending her socks – Lance chuckled gingerly. Pidge then turned her face to him, questioning and slightly annoyed, why he would just laugh without explaining the joke, and what, did he dare laughing at her? Unexpectedly, Lance went full-on attack and lunged at her. Pidge shrieked and tried to push him away, but soon she broke out into a hysterical laughter.

“You’re not the only one to keep a track of our weaknesses”, Lance tried to sound menacing, but it was hard to accomplish while tickling someone into oblivion.

Holding Pidge in one place was hard, she kept squirming, and Lance couldn’t tell anymore if that was voluntarily or not. Tomorrow he’d be covered in bruises from her pointy elbows and knees.

Rationally speaking, Lance should have known.

Her eyes were shut, and her washy eyelashes were like little spider legs, stuck with tears from laughter. Her glasses somewhere on the floor, forgotten. This close he could see the faded freckles on her cheeks, and her collarbone, and her bare belly, as the t-shirt had ridden up while they were messing around. Her naked skin was hot – scalding – and then she opened her eyes and looked at him from the bottom up. Without a second thought, or in fact, without even the first one, Lance lowered himself down and pressed his lips to hers.

He expected a kick, an electrical shock, a muffled scream or a curse, or Green breaking through the wall and swallowing him at a gulp. He expected Pidge to push him away and slap him like he truly deserved.

Instead, she kissed him right back.

And it was a kick and an electric shock in itself. It was clumsy and they were in an uncomfortable position, and they couldn’t breathe anymore, and they giggled into each other’s mouths.

Her lips were chapped and scored and oh so different to Hunk’s…

Hunk.

His stomach dropped, and he suddenly felt nauseous. Probably shouldn’t have eaten so much popcorn. Probably shouldn’t have kissed someone other than his partner. Probably shouldn’t have loved it. Shouldn’t have loved her.

Lance flinched and tumbled down on the floor, and Pidge immediately sat up straight.

She tucked a fuzzy flock of her hair behind her ear, the tip of which was of such cute pink, and his heart was sinking and sinking and sinking so deep. “You okay?”
“No”, he replied, defeated. “I’m not okay”.

She patiently waited for him to continue.

“It was a mistake”.
“Right”, she sighed and hugged herself. “Yeah, whichever way you look at it”.
“Wanna know the worst part?”
“Bring it on”.

He glanced at the white ceiling and then back at her, smiling weakly. “I can’t make myself regret it”.

With a rueful exhale she stretched her arm for a comforting pat on a shoulder, but he rose and pressed his face into her small calloused palm.

“Can’t help it. I really like you”.
“I like you too”, she said quietly, cupping his face with her hand.
“It may be bigger than that, to be honest. It’s definitely bigger”.

He was trembling and he was cracking up, and Pidge shifted to sit next to him.

“I love Hunk. I love him”.
“I know”, she replied calmly.
“And I love you”.

She nodded again. “I know”.

Like a muttonhead he was, Lance reached out for her hand when it drew back. He could not voice his question; he could not be so selfish, could he? Still, the question was burning inside him. What about you? What about you?

What about you, Pidge?

Her eyes were of tender gold.

“And I love you both”.

They have found Hunk in the hangar. Keys and screws and instruments were laid out in front of him in an order of purpose and size. With his wide back to them, he was humming and polishing a medium-sized bolt with a cloth. For the whole time, they stood there – Pidge timed it to ten doboshes – he was polishing that same bolt as if he didn’t notice them. Humming the same melody.

Pidge nudged him and stepped back. Uh-huh, thanks for the support. Lance went around the table to face Hunk, who was deliberately paying all his attention to the bolt in his hands. Bid, sturdy and yet so delicate hands.

“Please”.

The moment Hunk raised his head, it all became clear to Lance. Hunk knew. Perhaps, he’d seen it. Or heard it. Or the Yellow Lion granted his paladin psychic powers. Not important, how.
What was important, Hunk knew and his eyes were red and swollen, and empty.

Apparently, the Green Lion could give out psychic powers too, or Pidge was just that good (he wouldn’t be surprised). Most likely, Hunk’s expression was mirrored on Lance’s face, because Pidge let out a soft sob and exited in a rush, leaving them alone.

There was so much to say, to explain, to apologize for – Lance was rambling, trying to squeeze all the ocean of affection into gawkish words. Please, please, please –

“Please, stop”, Hunk put down the bolt and the cloth. “Lance, I’m not sure I want to listen and be understanding at the moment. I’m not even sure we’re having this conversation to make me feel better, and not just you”.

No. No, no, no, no.

“I am so tired now”, he rubbed the bridge of his nose. “Let’s just take a break, ok?”

Nope. Not happening. You know how it goes: first, they take a break, then Hunk realizes how much better he is without Lance, and then the break lasts for weeks and months – forever.

A gentle touch brought Lance back to reality. Like a warm and wet lion snout, bumping into the small of his back, lightly urging him to go. At times like this, Lance wished that Blue could wrap herself around him to hide him from the world, and he could drown in her magnificent form and her warmth.

She would have let him cry into her soft and thick fur.

He climbed into the dark cabin, and the very same moment her worry and endearment surrounded him.

“Hey, my lovely lady”, his voice cracked a bit, “I messed up pretty badly today”.

Chapter Text

How many people would claim to know the feeling of being absolutely quiznaked and practically the worst person in the universe? Excluding Zarkon and Haggar, because they were, in fact, the worst and even with all the mess she’s responsible for, she hasn’t quite reached their level. Yet.

Pidge didn’t manage to find a plausible solution to the problem on hand and she was pissed. What pissed her even more, was Green’s attitude. One would expect their lion to be supportive, but above all Green was just profoundly amused. Pidge wished she could too find something funny about the whole situation. The bags under her eyes were getting bigger, and the wrinkle between her eyebrows promised to become permanent.

That’s why she thanked her past self who had put her palm print into the security system and enabled her present self to enter rooms when sluggers did not react to her knocking. Not that she was necessarily knocking first.
This room was a bit more spacious, probably due to the fact that it was mostly empty. Her own was cramped with million things she was working on at the same time. The glorified chaos. Clearly, she could not afford cleaning it up regularly. The moment something went to the bin, it turned out to be critical and then the work had to stop for an indefinite period of time until she found that something again.

“Where’s Shiro?”

Keith cast a glance at her and then went back to toying with his galra knife. He was lying on his back, with dangling boots facing the door.

“Talking with Lance”.
“Well, Lance’s time is up. He’s not the only one, who needs to talk to Shiro.”
“Whatever, check out the training compartment. They’ve been out for a long time,” he lazily dropped the hand with the knife.

Pidge turned on her heels to exit the room, but then somehow walked back and flopped at Keith’s side. He met her with a raised eyebrow and tensed a little at sudden close proximity, but did not vocally object to the intrusion in his personal space. For about two doboshes they just sat in the silence, comforted by Shiro’s impalpable presence. His bed was neatly made up, though the cover was already wrinkled from their movements. It had Shiro’s scent, and Pidge even slowed down on biting her thumbnail, gathering her thoughts.

“Nothing adds up,” she confided eventually. “I know we have to talk everything out like civilized people, but there must be some miscommunication. And now everyone pretends that everything is fine when nothing is fine. Have you noticed? We only say we’re fine when something certainly bothers us, but we don’t want to talk it. Or we’re being passive-aggressive. What if it affects the lions and we won’t be able to form Voltron? I mean I feel pretty crappy, but I still don’t want the whole universe to meet its doom. Also, I somewhat miss them, now it’s awkward and nobody will confess but we’re avoiding each other. Screw passive-aggressive, I really need to throw something at the wall. Or preferably, at them”.
“Wait, hold on a sec. Just not in Shiro’s room”.

Suddenly, the hem of her shirt became extremely interesting. There was an old dry stain from food goo and another from machine oil. Under her nails were the black crescents of dirt. The sleeves were still covered in grass smears and blossom dust. She’s been sneezing her head off for weeks after the trip to the Olkari planet.

“Why don’t you start at the beginning?” Keith was still attempting to decode her incoherent flood of words.
“Long story short, me and Lance sorta kissed”.
“Sorta?”
“Meaning explicitly.”
“What about Hu–“

Pidge pulled her own cheeks with a groan. All her confidence vaporized with the tirade she forced off her chest. Keith got the gesture and didn’t push, for which she was grateful.

“That sucks,” he concluded.
“Your contribution is ineffable”.

All she got in reply was a shrug. Fair enough, Pidge decided, to begin with, it was not like Keith was in any place to give an advice on the matter. She put her glasses on the forehead and rubbed her tired eyes.

The mattress bent down, as Keith moved, and a strand of her hair got caught between his bony fingers. “Your hair’s long”.
“Yours still longer,” noticed Pidge, doffing his hand.
“By choice,” after getting up from the bed, he started stretching and hid his knife. “As I get it, Shiro’s not coming back anytime soon, might as well cut it for you, if you want”.
“So let me get it straight. You decided to play hairdresser out of boredom?”

Keith was already on his way out, and she rushed to catch up with him. Damn her short legs, and this guy had a propeller up his ass.

Surprisingly, it was not bad. Her wild bangs were still sticking out like someone’s built a nest in there, but they were all of the same lengths. Feeling more like herself, she went hunting. Tiptoeing, she sneaked in the kitchen, watching her prey crouched at the oven. There was a distant lion barking in her head, suspiciously reminiscent of laughter, but she ignored it. Here Pidge thought of herself being socially awkward, but those two paladumbs needed a hand. Or a kick. A hand kick? Basically, a punch.

Like a deer, which caught a scent of the predator, Hunk straightened up, and if he were the animal, he’d be sniffing the air and his ears would be twitching. He shifted his weight from one foot to another, but all there was, the cozy smell of pastry and the gurgle of the boiling sauce.

That was when Pidge slid into a chair and greeted him. To her gloating delight, Hunk jumped and squeaked, nearly dropping the saucepan.

“Pidge, I just had a mini heart attack! I was afraid you’re a poltergeist or something!”
“At least now you can’t make up some important business that demands your immediate attention out of the blue. So we can, you know, talk”.

He chewed on his lips and returned to the hob.

“Do you hate me?” some nice icebreaker you got there, girl.
“Of course, I don’t hate you,” Hunk sounded like he was truly offended by the suggestion.
“Do you hate Lance?”
“Pidge, you should know better than that. I’d never been able to hate him.”

He added some brown stuff into the sauce and stirred it frantically. Then he got a spoonful and shoved it into her mouth. “Try it. I need somebody’s opinion. Is it too salty? Geez, I think I’ve made it too salty. Your face is red. Oh my god, oh my god, is it too spicy? Or just tastes that bad? You can spit it out if it’s disgusting! It’s a new recipe, and I’m trying to organize space spices. This one should have tasted like cinnamon, but I don’t know anymore. I don’t know anything”.
“Hot”.

He just gawked at her.

“It’s too hot! You want to kill me?”

Her tongue was one huge blister, Hunk’s lips formed a small ‘o’ full of dread, but he moved to the sink quite quickly and gracefully for his stature. He put the glass on the table and pushed it shyly towards her. A glass of water as a peace offering.

“By the way, it tastes good. Perhaps, worth trying to serve it at room temperature, rather than sizzling, but can tell, it’s good”. Another peace offering.

Hunk smiled nervously and turned the heat down.

It was like coming home. Pidge didn’t miss Earth per se, not really. Obviously, mother was back there, but other than her, there was no one and nothing waiting for her. Her dad and Matt were somewhere here, in space, closer than ever after the start of the Kerberos mission. Her childhood friends probably long forgot about her, while at the Garrison she had no friends. Excluding Hunk and Lance. However, they were here, with her. During this time of non-spoken tension, it became evident just how much their lives were intertwined. Pidge couldn’t shake that distressing feeling of emptiness. There was Keith, Shiro, there were mice, Allura and Coran – and yet there was nothing. She was looking into space through the illuminator, and she was looking inside herself, but she found no more stars, no more planets. Only the void. It was strange being yourself and feeling like someone else at the same time. As if you are a stranger to your body.

One would ask oneself if that was the bottom of losing friends, how did it feel to lose a lover?

There were two of them. And then there was Pidge.

She needed them both desperately, but the reality was that she had the right for neither.

Hunk wiped his hands on pants and sat next to her, cautiously checking tips of her hair, still damp.

“Now you look less like a Dickens’ kid,” he snickered and his hand wavered, a thumb brushing her jaw.

Her face went aflame, and that triggered the blush slowly creeping up Hunk’s neck. He recoiled, apologizing profusely. Absent-mindedly she nodded and touched that place, where she could still feel his digit.

“Pidge!” never someone pronounced her name in such a pained manner.

She could read it in his eyes: ‘what is happening? What are we doing? Whatarewedoingwhatarewedoing – have we gone mad?’

“It’ll burn” no louder than a whisper.
“What?” Hunk was staring, but it was a mystery what he was seeing.

Her hands were tiny compared to his. She was tiny compared to him. She felt like a bullet that was shot into the pool. It barreled through the air and then there’s a wall of water and the abundance of water slowed the bullet down, and it went down slowly. Agonizingly slow. It was not even water – thick honey. Oil.

“Your food. Your food will burn”.

A tick – and it’s gone. Hunk hurried to the oven, and Pidge was able to breathe again.

Quiznak, she was sweaty. She needed a shower. A bath. To drown and never face that stupid illogical world again.

“Reconcile with that miserable ass-hat. Just talk to him. Please,” before Hunk could reply or even process what she was saying, Pidge deserted the kitchen and ran straight to the hangar.

To hell with the shower. Snatching some gadgets and maps on her way, Pidge reached out to Green, who was already quivering with excitement, ready to explore. Leaving a short message for Shiro, stating the time she’s coming back and information on the location she’s going to, she wedged into the seat and turned on the system.

“Okay, girl, fresh air to clear the head,” she muttered.

The windshield winked at her with a playful green splash.

Sooner or later Hunk will talk with Lance. He couldn’t avoid him forever. Pidge's just succeeded to corner him, and after Shiro knocking some sense into that useless helmet hanger, Lance would do the same. They would make up and make out and they would be back together. She loved them both dearly, so she was happy for them.

Lips were itchy, her stomach growled, she sniffled once, twice…

Pidge held out a whimper and tried to wipe her nose, giving out a big and jerky hiccup. Curled up, she gripped her knees and couched, choking on tears. A sob managed to get through, and thus, she was not able to keep herself together anymore.

The lights dimmed, covering her with a lulling green.

Chapter Text

Hunk was well acquainted with the diminishing feeling of creeping anxiety. For quiznak’s sake, he’s been following Lance during his adventurous (read: unnecessary and absolutely asking for trouble) escapades, which peaked at them being launched into deep space and becoming legendary warriors, defenders of the universe. Might sound appealing to some, but all Hunk was getting, was constant imminence of sacrifices, injuries, perish and never-being-able-to-come-home.

Yellow was equally uncomfortable with letting his paladin sneak around, apart from the fact that Hunk was not exactly a sneaking type. He was supposed to act as a distraction, while Pidge was doing her magic and overriding the security system. To run and not to engage in an open confrontation – that he could do.

Galra pants turned out trickier than they thought, and as Hunk was trying to catch his breath, flattening himself against the wall, his comms broke out with a deafening yell, and then indefinite fighting noises. A heavy flow of countless “Pidge” in six different voices and a wash of Green’s distressed reaching for her paladin, which splashed out of their individual bond and covered all of them.

“Pidge? Reply! Pidge?”
“We’re coming to help! Just wait up, gonna be there in a tick!”
“Pidge?”
“Pidge!”

“Katie!”

Hunk rushed in a direction he was hoping he remembered correctly. It would be alright, could not be any other way. Pidge was tough, she held her own against all of them, let alone some brainless sentries and soldiers… Highly trained soldiers. Ready to kill soldiers. Not helping. So not helping.

He stormed into the control room, eyes quickly scanning the space and fixating on the slender figure with a luminous green blade. Her helmet lied discarded in the corner, the visor broken. Pidge danced around her opponents, ducking and undercutting their ankles, using their size against them, forcing them to fall. One of them got too close – and instantly rocketed away, pinging the huge screen and sending a fall of shards everywhere. Pidge turned around to check the source of help and beamed at him in recognition. The fire of a petite explosion, and the shards, smears of dirt and gore on the white of the armor, scratches, and bruises on her face, filling with violets and blues and reds, uncombed hair, clotted with dried blood, and a blackey – and that content wide smile. She was a fury. She was a freaking Valkyrie. Something clenched and furled inside him. Butterflies? If so, they had to be no smaller than Thysania Agrippina.

She was beautiful like this – and distracted by him just for a moment, she lost the momentum and a hot laser beam pierced her shoulder, reducing her to another scream. Was that the laser that blinded him or the lights went off, or his helmet stopped working? Suddenly everything went red and distorted, Hunk fired, blasting off the head of that jerk, fired over and over, ceasing anyone who dared to come closer. Sentries climbed on top of their fallen cronies, and the cannon could not shoot fast enough to take off all of them. When they made it out of range, Hunk squeezed his cannon and charged in, using it as a club, wrecking through them. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw that the doors eventually swang shut, cutting off the wave of the enemies.

Hunk smashed the rest of them with the gunstock and shoved them with his elbows. One tried to surprise attack him, but Hunk just grabbed his collar and tossed him aside. Some surrounded him, springing on him altogether, pinning him against the floor. Flashes and glint of metal, some weight on his chest, constricting his breathing – Hunk threw himself forward, head-butting the sentry in front of him, and bent his arms to shake the others off.

He struggled to stand up but was met with resistance. Before he could fight back, his vision refocused again, revealing Pidge, who dropped on her knees next to him.

“Hey, it’s okay, you did good,” she croaked, somehow managing to sound soothing. “Let’s just wait until someone picks us up from here”.

That was when the pain came in.

It was overwhelming and sharp and – everywhere. Rolling to the side, Hunk shuddered and gaged a couple of times before eventually vomiting. The sick were mostly watery and bloody, and he wiped his mouth, but could still feel his skin sticky. Pidge moved his head gracelessly, taking off his helmet and resting him on her lap. She cradled her injured arm, disturbed by motion while trying to get connected.

“Guys, we’re up and kicking, but won’t be able to retreat on our own,” Pidge demanded. “Shiro?”

It was Keith, who answered.

“We’ll get you.” He did not come across with enough confidence. More like he was in quite the same miserable situation at the moment. They tried to interpret the cacophony of clanks, and crashes, and grunts in the background, but it was impossible to make out how it was going. Not that they had any objective reasons to distrust Keith.
“You better hurry,” Pidge put the helmet down and sighed.

Her fingers brushed through his hair, and Hunk closed his eyes in docile, concentrating on her caress rather than the twinge. She smelled of smoke and sweat, her breathing was labored and loud, she was coarse in her care. To be honest, Hunk wouldn’t want her any other way.

“I’ve never been angry with you two.” He needed to remind her of that. “Actually, I can understand”.

She huffed, but Hunk explained: “It’s easy to love Lance.”

He raised his hand and tried to smooth the crease between her eyebrows.

“It’s also easy to love you”.

It wasn’t like he expected a reply or some kind of acknowledgment, yet he was still startled when Pidge slapped his hand off her, leaving a maroon smudge across her face.

“Shut up,” she hissed at him. “Quit this load of quiznak, you’re not gonna die. And you’ll be embarrassed tomorrow, after a good sleep in a pod”.

“Pidge,” he insisted, “it’s not embarrassing to have feelings. It’s not going to be embarrassing tomorrow. It’s human. Or Altean. Even Galran. You know where I’m getting with this. You’re my two best friends, does it get any better than this? I’m glad”.

Frankly, he lied. He was very much embarrassed, but not in an ashamed way, more like dizzy. Jesus Christ and Neil Armstrong, he was indeed a human after all, and a human teenager no less. It wasn’t like he’s just confessed to his crush, after being beaten up to a pulp and puking right in front of her. Plus, after he saw her making out with another guy. Who happened to be his crush as well. He groaned inwardly. Just perfect. It seemed like even Rozenda had it easier.

He heard a sniff and gathered his courage to glance up. Her eyes, glassy with tears, seemed even bigger than usually. Those were tears of stubbornness, though; Pidge pursed her lips and gave him a dirty look. If it weren’t for the injuries, she’d surely kick him.

They heard sentries and soldiers behind the doors, getting ready to bust in.

Hunk didn’t notice how her bayard returned to her palm, but he caught the way her knuckles went white from the vigor with which she gripped on the handle. She tried to hurry Keith up, but this time there was no response.

“The comms are probably broken since you were knocked to the ground.”
“Uh-huh”.

He must have passed out for some time because next thing he knew was an ocean of blue and Lance’s voice.

“Don’t you worry, the hero always appears just in time,” he chuckled faintly, helping him up. “She’s just swept you off your feet, hasn’t she? That girl got the moves”.

He put Hunk’s arm around him to share the weight, while Hunk shifted back and forth into unconsciousness. Pidge confirmed that she could walk on her own and could cover them, and they started moving. It was long and exhausting and shaky, and Hunk threw up again, but mostly he just tried to plod along, operating on autopilot. Once they were outside, he felt soft nuzzling of his lion, and he tried to placate him: “’ere I am, boy, amalright, gotta be back soon”. It was easier with Yellow, by unknown means he numbed the pain away, keeping Hunk from fainting once more.

When they entered the hangar, though, the surroundings did not stop spinning for some reason. He was whirling in the kaleidoscope of the cab roof, the bright lights, worried faces, Lance, Pidge, Coran, Keith and Shiro, propping each other, likewise worn and battered and covered in char and blood. Then two strong arms caught him before he fell and broke his nose, and a fresh scent of some unknown flowers reached him through the fog. Allura carried him somewhere, advancing hastily, but gently, and Hunk did not feel the bumps and turns as if he was floating in the air.

The first thing he saw when he woke up was two faces pressed against the window of the healing pod.

Although he’s spent about two days practically sleeping, he found himself exhausted, drained of any energy. Without him, meals had reverted to Coran’s exquisite variety of space-goo dishes, and it tasted even worse than Hunk remembered. While he was stuffing himself with that sorry excuse of a lunch, Pidge and Lance followed him and sat across the table. Pidge slurped her soda (and she knew it was bad for her teeth, but still consumed it in ungodly amounts, especially when trying to pull an all-nighter).

Hunk realized that she possibly did, in fact, refrained from sleeping until now, waiting for him. Perhaps, same as Lance, who ditched his beauty sleep and sat next to Pidge, unconsciously stroking her forearm, either in an attempt to calm her or himself. Maybe, just because he liked doing that.

The thought made him giddy and warm, a lump in his throat and his heart too big for his chest.

Pidge fidgeted and then rose in her place.

“I guess I should leave you two for tête-à-tête,” it was slightly mocking and very bitter, and she avoided meeting their eyes.

However, Lance’s hold on her forearm only tightened. He looked at her, pleading. “Please, stay”.

“I think too that you should stay.” Hunk lightly pushed away the bowl and placed his elbows on the table, clasping his hands. “I’ve told you already, I’m not taking my words back”.

Suddenly she got defensive, wrestling out of Lance’s grasp.

“I’m not the only one who thinks this’s a weird situation, right? Am I to choose? How can I? What are the odds? You said you love me? Then love me! What am I to do? I love both of you and I don’t want to lose either of you, but it doesn’t work like that, right? I’m not good with this. Relationships, talking… If you want to go back to be together just like before that thing happened, then do that”.

“We don’t.”

She blinked, trying to connect the answer to the question.

“Don’t what?”
“We don’t want to go back together just like before that thing happened.”

“Then what do you want?”

“To be together,” Hunk said softly, gesturing to both of them, “as in together-together.”

It’s like stepping on the thin ice. Like telling the most intimate secret.

Which it was, apparently.

“Let’s talk,” Lance suggested quietly, “let’s make it work”.

Then Pidge took off her glasses and let out the biggest giggle in the entire universe.

“But first, Hunk, you want to go wash your face”.
“Oh my god, what’s with my face?”
“It may be not the best time to mention that, Pidgeotto,” Lance rolled his eyes in disapproval.
“No, sorry, but I can’t look at him like this”.
“You’re totally ruining the moment”.
“What did you do to my face?”

The two demons were laughing mercilessly, while he was scrubbing off his newly-acquired Coran-like handlebar moustache and a lightning bolt-shaped ‘scar’ on his forehead, graciously drawn with a space version of the permanent ink.

“You know what, I think I hate you.”
“Pardon, you’ve already said you love us, no take backs,” Lance laughed and despite all the grudges, Hunk joined him, linking their hands.

He missed this. He missed him.

Lance left a light kiss on his damp temple and proceeded to run after Pidge, trying to catch her for a bear hug. With a cry of agony, she set off, avoiding him at all costs. Hunk watched them for a minute or two, carefully assessing himself. No dissociation, no jealousy, no discomfort.

He was lucky.

Hunk trotted towards the two idiots and took them in his arms, lifting them in the air. Like upon command, Lance stretched out his arms and arched his back, warbling the Titanic tune. Pidge grumbled and poked him mildly in the ribs, eventually surrendering and snorting to Lance’s off-key singing.

They were lucky.