Keith didn't understand, he didn't understand what was happening or why it was happening, all he knew was that his chest was so strained it felt like there were paws gripping into it so tightly he was suffocating. The pressure was unbearable, the air wasn't coming in and he was trying so desperately to breath but he couldn't. It hurt so much he wanted to scream,scream because of the pain and scream the pain away, but it was completely impossible. The lack of oxygen made his lungs and head ache, with every breath it got worse, he felt like his lungs were burning, like the fragile skin inside of them was being scrapped by steel, it was sharp pain that cut right through him and made everything sting, his head was about to explode. His heart was hectic, it was beating too much, too fast, too strong trying to keep up with his lungs but it didn't work instead it only made his chest hurt even more. It was like the paws that were gripping in his lungs pierced his heart with it's claws. The pain spread through his body leading him into a state of complete agony, it was like someone was cutting right through him with a blade. It hurt so fucking much.
This had happened before, it had happened a couple of times before he dropped the Garrison and serval times in the desert, but it hadn't happened since the whole Voltron 'adventure' had started, and it was terrifying. He thought he would die, it was awful he felt so so so bad, he felt useless, we couldn't help himself at all, he couldn't stop it he was completely powerless. He hated it,he felt so stupid because he couldn't help it at all and he never knew when it would happen and he didn't know why it happened, he didn't even understand what the fuck it was, and how could he not? All he knew was that he was feeling too much too soon, all at the same time, all too instense, he didn't quite get what feelings were these either, and how could he not know that who the fuck didn't know what they were feeling? It made him so angry, and it was so common for him not to understand his own feelings, even when this wasn't happening, even when he was okay he just didn't understand himself when it came to feelings at all mostly, and he hated himself for it. you are such an useless piece of shit.
And the worst part is that his body couldn't wait till he was in his room, where there was no risk of someone walking into the mess he was, the cosmos just couldn't possibly make things a little less shitty, NOOO it had to happen in a hallway, a fucking hall of the castle where anyone could possibly walk on him. What would the others think about him? Not that he gave much importance to what people thought of him, in fact he never did, but he didn't want them to worry, he didn't want to be a burden, he didn't want them to think he was this weak. He was so fucking pathetic. His vision had turned into a blur and he was getting dizzy, it felt like he would fall and crash into the ground, and if that happen all the broken pieces of what was left of him would most likely shatter, he just couldn't imagine getting up ever again, would he even want to get up? Sometimes he wondered was it even worth anything? Getting up? His instinct to avoid the fall was to lean on the wall behind with, with his back supporting all of his weight. He just hoped it would work.
Everything was confusing and a part of his brain seemed to shut down, all he heard was white noise, he hated it so much. The noises always came, usually in nightmares, but sometimes without warning, sometimes in real life. Keith would have thought he was losing his mind.
The Red Paladin was so distressed he didn't even notice the tall tanned boy coming his way until it was too late. When his brain managed to register the other boy being around, his reaction was to cover his face his hands, and try to control his breathing, of course the second part didn't succeed at all.
"Keith? Keith buddy what's up? Are you okay?" Lance voice slowly grew louder, in fact at first Keith couldn't identify the words, but Lance's voice was managing to make it though the noise, slowly Keith was able to understand him, but the more he understood the sounds coming out of his friend mouth the other boy seemed more more worried, and it made Keith feel bad. He wanted to scream at Lance and yell at him to get away, he didn't want Lance to see him like that. Of course the cosmos was mean enough so that, out of all people, it just had to be Lance. Lance who somehow thought decently of Keith but also teased Keith so much the smaller boy was scared, what if Lance actually laughed at him? Part of him knew Lance was too much of a good person to ever do so, but that part was muffled by a lot of noise. However, when he tried to push Lance away no sound came out of his mouth.
"Keith c'mon man look at me" Lance said, the concern was so clear now. The Cuban boy raised his hand to take Keith's out of his face so he could see it , but Keith flinched away at the touch and tried to get away, which overall was a terrible idea because his balance was immediately lost, and for a second he was sure he'd fall, he was so sure that his eyes began to water, he was going to fall and fall apart for once and for good this time. But he never hit the ground.
Lance ridiculously long arm had reached just enough for his hand to caught Keith and push him up and closer so that the smaller boy could stand and that Lance could make sure he wouldn't fall, or almost fall again. Only then Keith could see his face, his eyebrows were furrowed with concern and his lips were slightly parted but tense, his eyes looked sad and soaked in worry. this look, Keith decided, didn't suit Lance at all. I caused this.
But the boy had no idea of how he looked himself, the expression in his face showed nothing but hurt, and his eyes were so deeply sad it broke Lance's heart in two, a few tears rolled down his cheek and his mouth was pressed into a line, he was a mess. It pretty much went downhill from there cause Keith opened his mouth to say something and choked, still couldn't breath, he tried to fight for hair breathing faster and faster but he wasn't controlling it at all, he felt his pulse pounding on his throat, it was so intense even Lance must have heard it, he was trying so hard not to break right there but it was happening anyway, and he couldn't stop it, he didn't know how to stop it.
"Keith!" Lance mid-screamed desperly trying to get his attention "Keith are you listening to me?" he asked, it didn't sound rude or annoyed, it just sounded like Lance was actually making sure Keith could hear him, Keith nodded looking down "Good. Keith please look at me" he did, Lance felt a pang in his chest, the boy looked even more hurt than before, the look on his eyes was now despair, he seemed hurt too but what Lance could see now was pure despair, so much fear so much pain, he could practically hear Keith's eyes scream in terror, scream in pain. The taller boy swallowed and gave Keith the most comforting smile he possibly could.
"O-Ok Keith, now please try to breath as slow as you can, you think you can do that huh?" Keith just looked at him for a second he seemed to ask how. "You are gonna have to inhale then exhale, long paused breaths. It might kind of hurt at the beginning but I promise it will get better okay?" Lance speaked as slow and calmly as he could to make sure Keith would understand exactly what he was saying. Keith seemed to trust him, maybe Keith had always trusted him. "You think you can do that?" Lance asked at last. Keith had never had someone talk to him so carefully so gently, he thought it would mean that others would think he was weak, but it wasn't that, it was good, he actually felt a bit, even if just a (extremely) tiny, bit better, so he nodded.
Maybe the Blue Paladin would save his ass after all.
"Okay do I as I do okay? Now inhale" Lance said, inhaling, his breath was deep and long and when Keith tried to mimick it he felt his lungs burn, but he still did it as deep as he could. " Now, exhale" Lance said exhaling equally as deep and slowly, Keith's exhale was a lot more desperate, but Lance didn't comment on it, he just kept repeating the two actions over and over saying it out loud so that the other would follow, only occasionally stopping to tell Keith he was doing good, and that he was proud of him, giving him small reassurance smiles. After what felt like hours Keith finally breathed like it was natural again. He was still a bit out of breath but nevertheless signed in relief. And that's when he started to cry, it wasn't a loud cry or anything like that, some would say it was even a discrete one, just silent tears rolling down his cheek as he tried to stop them.
" I-I think I should go" he managed to spit out, the tears still unstoppable, it was so low Lance could barely hear it, but he did and that widen his eyes.
"What? No Keith! Are you crazy? You shouldn't be alone in this state! What if something happens? You just had a panic attack and now you are crying, you can't be alone! I am not gonna allow it!" he said and Keith flinched, he didn't wanna be more of a burden then he already was, but Lance then lowered his gaze and softened his voice "If... If you are really tired you can sleep in my room. I'm sorry I just really don't want you to get hurt, or to do something you might regret later. So please sleep in my room? Don't worry I'll take the couch"
The Red Paladin would have argued and disagreed hadn't he been so exhausted, he felt like he had to sleep for the next century to replace his lost energy, his body was starting to shut off and weigh with sleep while his mind felt numb, he didn't have the energy to argue with Lance, Keith just nodded.
Lance offered him an almost sad smile and his hand, he guided him through the castle, even though Keith's room was next to Lance's and there was no way the mullet-wearing boy didn't know the way, Keith allowed himself to be taken by his arm to Lance's room. When they got there, there was this awkward tension between them, Lance gestured the bed and the red paladin sat on it and seemed really dedicated at looking at the floor, it looked like he was analyzing it. The Cuban boy remained standing at the door eyeing him, Keith didn't wanna meet his eyes, that wouldn't be right, but he could feel the other's eyes burning into him, was the blue paladin looking at him with pity? Keith didn't know but he hoped not, the last thing he wanted was pity. He never got to overthink it for other thoughts found it's way into Keith's head.
"L-lance" Keith broke the silence after a few minutes, still looking down, his voice was low and shaking a bit "What if... What if this happens while we are forming Voltron? What if this happens while we are fighting the Galra?" his voice sounded broken, Keith looked broken. And Lance hadn't thought of this possibility yet, he sure hoped it would remain only a possibility.
"I don't know Keith, I don't know." Lance said, Keith never could have thought someone's voice could be so tender, the Blue Paladin walked really slow and then sat beside Keith offering him a sad smile "But I promise I'll help . No matter the circumstances, no matter the causes,no matter the place, no matter anything that could seem like a reason for me not helping, I will. I promise I'd try and help calm you down, if I have to stop and just calm you down, even if there are risks I would." he added and Keith finally looked up confusion filling his eyes, but he did not keep eye contact for long.
"W-why?" he asked, he sounded so fragile, Lance wanted to cradle him.
"Because that's what friends do silly" Lance said, his voice even softer, he reached out to touch Keith's shoulder, the other didn't flinch so Lance patted him. "And I-I think you are an amazing person Keith, I know we argue and fight all the time, but I'm glad we are friends."
Keith has no other response to that other than throwing himself at Lance's arms, holding onto his neck, and that is when the tears and sobs took over him. It was a loud ugly crying, he held into the other boy for dear life, he put his legs on Lances lap and dovetailed his head on the crock of his neck only to cry harder. Keith never had friends before, only Shiro, and Shiro was the most amazing friend ever, but he had been gone for so long. Keith had felt so alone, for so so long, he had felt alone ever since he could remember, even there in Lance's arm he still felt like the loneliest boy in the universe. It was so weird to have friends now, but it was so good, it was like a heavy weight was being pulled out of his shoulders. And even though part of him felt he was undeserving of such friends, even thought part of him was screaming and scrapping him inside out and yelling that he didn't deserve Lance or what the other was doing, even thought part of him was white noise. A bigger part of him just wanted Lance to comfort him, he had been so lonely so desperate, so sad and so hard on himself all this time, he had felt so lost all this time, he needed a break, he needed someone, he did deserve it. White noise was muffled by his ugly crying.
He kind of felt sorry for the Blue Paladin having to deal with all the tears and sobs, he was probably drooling on Lance's shirt and wetting it with tears, but Lance just patted him and made circles on his back. He knew the crying wasn't ending anytime soon, he just hoped Lance didn't mind.
And Lance in fact really didn't mind, he had comforted his siblings, cousins and even aunts multiple times so he was used to the crying, of course he hadn't expected Keith to (ever) cry his heart out like that, especially on his shoulder but he wouldn't judge him, plus his heart was aching from seeing the other boy so hurt. He just wanted to hug him until the other boy felt better, he never thought would so wiggly allow him to do so, not that he was complaining. He kept whispering that it was gonna be okay and when Keith tightened the hug Lance stomach did an upside down he almost couldn't ignore.
Keith thought the tears would never end, he thought the world would never go back to normal, he thought he would never get up after he fell. And it did take long, it took him more than one hour, one hour sobbing in Lance shoulder, but eventually the tears did stop, and he was tired, he had never been so tired, he still didn't let go of Lance, he didn't want to sleep alone, he never wanted to be alone again. The other boy eventually noticed the grip on his neck loosening, but still he didn't move, if Keith wanted to let go of him it was Keith's choice, he would never let of someone who had been so hurt if they didn't want to. Especially Keith. Lance still held him tight, Lance still held onto the silly hope he could protect Keith from all evil.
Keith found the silence in the room reassuring, he liked silence, and this one was a good one, he hoped his silence told Lance what he couldn't, he hoped Lance noticed the gratitude in his silence. He was so so grateful for Lance.
The Red Paladin didn't take long to drift to sleep. Lance hesitantly put the other boy head on the pillow trying not to wake him up, and even though he had said he'd sleep on the couch he found himself too tired to get up. It wouldn't make him a bad person would it? It was not like he would do anything, that would just be disgusting. He could put a pillow in between them maybe? But then he'd be pillow less. Maybe he could... but he wouldn't find what maybe he could do for sleep got the best of him. He dreamt of home and of the stubborn black haired boy he wanted to take home.
When Lance woke up the next morning he wondered why he was nearly falling out of his bed and why the bed seemed extra warm. That's when he remembered. Keith. He turned around to check, the Red Paladin was there, sleeping. He looked peaceful, Lance was glad. He wished Keith would always look this peaceful, he wished for Keith to find peace, to be happy, to be okay.
He couldn't deny how cute the other boy looked while sleeping, Keith always looked perfect, Keith was perfect, at least he was in Lance's eyes he really was, but now this was a whole new level. Sleeping Keith had redefined Lance definition of beauty, his hair was even messier than usual, his lips slightly parted and his facial muscles were relaxed, his face was so beautiful, his eyelashes were so long, his nose was actually perfect, his lips looked so soft plus they practically formed a heart shape, even Keith skin looked good, which was totally unfair. Lance remembered all those girls who had a (actually way too loud) crush on Keith on the Garrison, they'd have a heart attack if they ever saw Keith like this, (Lance himself was nearly having a heart attack being Keith like this) it was even easier to see all of his angelic traces, it was like his face was perfect, every trace was perfect, mathematically perfect, everything was so proportional, they were either very defined (that jawline could cut someone) or soft(like his small nose), his face was perfect but at the same time it was so unique, maybe Keith was an angel, maybe he was even better, well or Lance could have believed it if it wasn't for the other boy short temper, Lance thought with a bit of humor. Keith was so beautiful, he hoped Keith noticed that.
He low-key creepily watched him until he saw the other boy eyelids slightly move, afraid to get caught he moved away so quickly he nearly fell of the bed.
"L-ance?" He heard Keith say after a while, his voice was groggy and hoarse from sleep, Lance found it oddly nice sounding.
"Morning" Lance said, maybe too fast and maybe it made things a bit awkward.
"Morning" Keith said and that was followed by what felt like hours but might possibly have been 10 minutes of the most awkward silence Lance had experienced in quite a long while.
"Sorry I slept on the bed I know I said I'd take the couch, but I fell asleep, sorry." Lance felt like he needed to say it. They were both just laying there, both staring at the ceiling, in the same bed but yet they seemed so distant.
"What? Oh, it's fine, doesn't really matter. Sorry I slept on your bed" Keith said, sitting up and staring at his lap.
"No problem" Lance said looking at anywhere in his room but Keith. "Do you wanna get breakfast?" he asked,sitting up as well.
"Yeah sure" Keith said, Lance let out the breath he had been holding and stood up.
"Hey Lance" Keith said and for the first time since last night incident, he made eye contact with Lance his eyes were worried and a little sad, but nothing like last night (and Lance was glad about it) "Could you please like, not tell the others what happened last night?" He asked looking down right after the words left his mouth, as if embarrassed.
"Uh I don't know" Lance really didn't know, the others deserved to know for some reasons, like what if it happened while they were forming Voltron? But mostly because he knew Keith needed help, he did, he needed support and all the love he could get and sometimes he would need people to understand. And Shiro and Keith were so close, maybe Shiro would be able to help Keith more than Lance ever could, and maybe Shiro would like to know what is happening with his friend.
"Please" Keith said "They don't need to know, it will just worry them I'll be a burden to them they will feel bad for me and I-" Keith took a deep breath before he continued "I don't want their pity. Shiro is gonna be so worried, please don't tell him, please please don't tell anyone, don't tell Shiro"
Lance looked at him, his eyes were pleading, he supposed he could keep it to himself if it didn't get worse or happened again.
"Please" Keith begged, he looked and sounded desperate.
"Ok" he said at last.
"Yeah? Thank you" Keith said, his smile was bright, like a weight had been taken off his shoulders.
"It's nothing Keith" Lance says "But if this gets worse I'll tell them okay? You will need their help if it does" you'll always have mine tho no matter what.
Keith stared down but looked up and gave Lance a weak smile and nodded, he looked a bit upset but not all that sad.
"Let's go get breakfast! I'm starving!" Lance then cheered trying to light up the mood, he got up and put his jacket on.
"Wait Lance I- I need to thank you" Keith said, getting up as well, if Lance didn't know better he'd say he sounded shy. "What you did for me was- it uh it was was very nice, thank you if there is anything I could do to-"
"Don't worry Keith, if you ever need me just call he?"
"Are you sure? I mean I-I don't know what I could do in return please I- I... I don'twanttobeaburdenforyou" Keith choked out his words, Lance hadn't noticed how unease Keith seemed about being helped. He wondered if anyone had ever helped him like this before, possibly Shiro but it was highly unlikely no one else ever had. And then it hit Lance, maybe the reason Keith had so often been so awkward and so many times bad at communicating was because Keith never had friends, well not until then.
"Hey buddy don't worry ok? I did it because, well because it's the right thing to do you know? But also because, well because I really do care about you. You are my friend, that is what friends do, they help each other. I don't want anything in return, I'm fine with your friendship" he said. And to that Keith answered with the most genuine smile, and it made the taller boy heart go crazy. He looks so beautiful smiling
Just as they were about to leave Lance's room Keith spoke again.
"Oh and Lance really thanks I-" he started but Lance cut him off
"Relax Keith my man I told already it's-"
"No" Keith cut him off right back and looked at him right in the eye "Thank you for being my friend, I'm glad you are"
And to that Keith turned around and literally run through the fucking hallways towards the kitchen. And maybe Lance had the most dumb lovestruck smile in his face and a severe blush on his cheeks, but Keith didn't need to know that.