Chapter 1: small
Lance was screwed.
He was screwed upwards, downwards and sideways.
He could always pass it off at the garrison as him just being secretive. As him just not knowing people well enough to go hunting with them.
He had a pack. A team. An alpha.
How long could he really keep the secret now? Would they laugh at him? Or would they just unanimously agree...
It was bad enough he was an omega on this ship full of alphas and betas. But he was also...
He was just...
He sighed inwardly.
Small. He was small okay?
Not to say his human side was small, oh no.
He was fairly tall. Taller than Keith even. An alpha, mind you.
So with that being said, his wolf side should be even bigger than Keith's.
Lankier and not as muscly granted.
He was small.
And quiznak it was getting harder and harder to blow off everyone's questioning gazes when he refused to hunt with his pack.
Or train in wolf form, or sleep curled up around one another.
He just couldn't. He couldn't show them.
He didn't want to be pushed around or mistreated, just because he wasn't a wolf.
He was an adorable fucking fox.
He loved his transformation, don't get him wrong. It fit him well, and it made him feel safe. He may be small, but he was fast, and he could hide himself in any nook or cranny. Places people wouldn't think to look. Places people wouldn't even be able to reach if they did think to look.
And he took full advantage of that little fact.
He would annoy and pester his friends until they asked about it.
"How about instead of annoying me, you do something useful and come train with me and Shiro?" Keith would ask aggressively, yet somehow still tentatively. It was cute, and also mildly scary, and he always felt bad about blowing him off. He knew he was asking for Shiro too. Their alpha, who was worried it was somehow his fault Lance didn't want to reveal himself. But he would always decline anyway, with a smile on his face. "Sorry Keith, lil old Lance has some prior engagements." Keith would always scowl afterwards and grumble as Lance sauntered off to hide somewhere out of sight. Somewhere small. Somewhere safe.
Or those moments when Pidge would get quiet in the middle of their mindless theoretical rambling, and he'd ask her what's wrong, and she'd stare at him, intelligent eyes scanning. "Do you really not trust us?"
And he'd stamper, and stutter out indigently. "What do you mean?! Of course I trust you!" And he'd watch as she'd furrow her brow, and then after a moment, look away, avoiding his eyes. "whatever..." He'd hesitate slightly at her obvious dismissal, before grumbling out something about going to see Hunk. Then he would stand, and wander off to a place where he could comb through his thoughts.
Hunk's reaction was the worst. The best, somehow, but also the worst.
He wouldn't say a word about it. He'd open his mouth, a suggestion of hunting together or cuddling in wolf form at the tip of his tongue, but then his mouth would close, and Lance could tell he was struggling to put it into words, but he wouldn't voice what Hunk was going to ask him, and tell him not to worry like he could normally do with other things that Hunk was to anxious to ask about.
He couldn't with this.
Because as much as he loved his friends...
Wolves intimidated him.
Stronger, bigger, more aggressive.
His family always hid him away while they hunted.
People could be so cruel to defenseless creatures.
He remembers the first and only time a person outside of his family saw him.
He'd snuck out, against his mother's orders.
She was pack alpha, and he knew she meant well, but it had been a month of him locked away without the beach or the forest to play in.
So that night he snuck out to feel the sand on his paws.
And then he'd gotten chased, laughed at, threatened, caught and roughed up.
He was thankful that the boy who had found him was the same boy at his school that he had caught dragging his butt on the carpet.
With a nicely placed threat to 'accidentally' tell people who the smear on the carpet was from, he'd never seen the boy even look his direction at school ever again.
His mother had been so mad when he got home. But her anger melted into worry when she saw his beat up body.
"Don't draw attention to yourself. Don't let them see your weakness" Then she would hold him tight and apologize, even though it wasn't her fault.
He could almost hear her clear as day, feel her embrace. The protective aura his all-alpha family seemed to give off when they were together in public. The way his sisters stuck close to his side and scared off all the cute guys...
He was annoyed at the time, but now he longed for that.
Longed for that safety. The security in knowing your family is there for you.
With the remnants of thoughts clouding his mind, he dozed off.
It would be about the time his pack went off to play and hunt on their newest alien host's planet. He had already preemptively hidden somewhere small and out of the way.
He sighed one last time, longing for the beach. The woods. His pack.
Lance was screwed.
The group meet up went about the same as always.
Coran elected himself to stay on the castleship in case anything happened, and Lance just never showed up.
Every time they announced their nightly pack run, they'd all secretly hoped a certain blue paladin would show... But he never did. And when Shiro and Keith stubbornly went to look for him, he wouldn't be in his room. In fact they wouldn't find him anywhere they looked.
He never joined their group cuddles. Or hunting, or running, or grooming, or training.
He was a lone wolf in their eyes, which didn't make sense.
He was the loud one. The one who hugged Hunk viciously without fear of being smushed by the over excited alpha. The one who wrestled with Pidge while she was still in wolf form, laughing and smiling at her playful puppy antics, without concern for the rough housing, and scratches he'd received. (As long as they weren't on his beautiful face!)
Hell, he would go out of his way to hang out with them, to spend time with them, and generally annoy them in the most loving way possible...
out of all of them, Keith seemed way more the lone wolf type. And yet he still participated. Still showed them his fuzzier side.
It had been months, and the pack was worried that something was wrong.
They asked Hunk about it, but even at the garrison Lance had never shown him anything. Had never confided in him. Had never cuddled or hunted or played with him as a wolf, even though they were best friends.
The thought had made Hunk visibly upset, so they had quickly stepped away from the subject.
But it was a subject they couldn't exactly drop forever.
They were a pack. And if Lance, the pack omega, wasn't comfortable around them, didn't that mean something was wrong?
Keith growled, frustrated by the current circumstances, a puddle of black fur on the ground. His chin lay on the cold castle floor as purple eyes watched the door with such intensity, the salt and pepper patterned wolf beside him feared it may melt.
Shiro nudged his mate, who just huffed, and stood silently, before they headed off to catch up with the three dark silhouettes of their packmates in the woods.
Lance had not shown up, just like every time before.
They both shared a look as they ran, a brief and silent agreement.
They would have a little chat with Lance later.
That was for sure.
Chapter 2: Coran
Coran knows, and he thinks secrets are silly.
Okay guys my works glitched so that there were two versions of the same story so I had to delete one. whoops. 0-0 don't really know what I did but, enjoy.
Coran had known for a while apparently, before he'd come to Lance that fateful day to have the talk that started everything.
He hadn't said anything about Lance's fox form, just came to him one day, and pointed out a different route to his favorite hiding spot where the cameras couldn't see him. "Many people, including myself watch the camera feed from time to time my boy. You should be more careful, if keeping your secret is really that important to you."
Lance had then visibly stiffened, and stared with wide, petrified eyes, waiting for the other shoe to drop. For a threat. Anything really.
But nothing had happened. Coran had just smiled, and said "Our weaknesses can be our greatest strength. Remember this Lance." And then they had kept walking down the hallway, in silence.
Lance had expected a change. Expected Coran to tell his pack, and for them all to start acting differently.
But over the weeks, the silence turned from stressed and anxious, to something more comforting. Coran would keep his secret.
After realizing this, talking with Coran came easily.
When his pack had group activities, he would help Coran around the castle.
He learned lions had packs too, except they were called prides.
He wondered if Coran went off alone so often because he missed his pride.
He did. But he still had Allura. And now, even if the other paladins and himself weren't lions, he had them in his pride too.
He told Coran this whenever he got that far away look in his eyes, and it always brought the smile back to his face.
Coran would tell him the same, but it still didn't feel right to him.
He didn't feel safe with the others. Not completely.
But he couldn't help it.
Even as he snuck out of his hiding spot once the pack had left to hunt, he still felt skittish, and weary of the lingering scents, and echoing corridors as he searched for Coran.
He found him in the common room, sitting on one of the many rounded sofas.
Lance came up behind him, rubbing his cheek against Coran's in greeting.
Coran smiled, his eyes wrinkling in amusement. "Ah! Lance my boy, you missed it! Number five ran straight into a tree chasing a Monieer!"
He asked what the heck a 'Monieer' was, getting a description that made him think of a purple, four eyed, squirrel.
He laughed at the image "Oh geez, she's still such a puppy."
Lance was now smiling softly to himself as he watched a different feed from Hunk's wrist band on a hand held tablet Coran was holding.
They each had one for communication purposes. You couldn't exactly wear a helmet as a wolf. Not comfortably at least.
Lance 'ooohed' and 'ahhhed' as Hunk barreled around corners, chasing a deer looking creature, even going so far as to jump up and cheer when Hunk landed a bite to the deer's back leg.
Coran chuckled to himself at the display, but still smelled something uneasy in Lance's scent when jaws snapped ferociously at the smaller creature on the screen.
"I don't quite see what all the fuss is about Lance. You two seem very close... I'm sure Hunk at the very least wouldn't mind about your situation."
Lance's smile fell instantly, and Coran almost felt bad for interrupting his adopted alien son's happy moment.
Lance rounded the couch and sat beside him. "I know Coran... But have you seen Hunk try to keep a secret from Shiro? He'd buckle under the pressure..."
Coran huffed. "Shiro wouldn't mind much either would he? He seems rather fond of you as you are."
"Hush now. listen up! Your pack loves you and respects you-"
"And I know they wouldn't think any differently about you if they knew-"
"You can't possibly know that for sure-!"
"Oh yes I can-!"
"Can too times space time."
Lance grumbled to himself, trying to avert the attention from his problem, to their usual playful back and fourth. "I thought we agreed no more space time..."
Coran patted his back sympathetically. "Sorry Lance, but you forced my hand!"
"I didn't force quiznak, you're just a sore loser!"
"language! And I'll have you know I am not one of your Earth's so called 'sore losers' I just like rematches, and unfair advantages for other reasons."
Coran smirked at Lances pout. Coran reilized the conversation had just been skillfully changed, and quickly resumed composure before Lance could continue in their mindless showdown.
"But... I am sincere when I say i believe you should tell your team about your differences. Our Differences make us so much stronger than our similarities."
"But... You know how Shiro is... He'd get all... weird. He already doesn't send me on a lot of missions, and i'm pretty sure it's because he sees me as weak. If he knew I wasn't a wolf... That I was some mishap of nature... that I was, was.... small-"
Coran held a hand up to silence him. "My boy, you are most certainly not a mishap of anything! I believe that we were all born the way we are for a reason! Just... Think about us Alteans for example!"
Lance's brow furrowed. "Huh? What about you?"
"Well we change into lions my boy! We've never seen shifters like you before! Wolves! Who'd have thought?"
"But your shifts are huge! You're big ass lions, Coran, Shiro can't see you as weak when you're twice as big as his wolf form! He wouldn't get all protective of you because of your form! And he couldn't..." Lance's thoughts wondered invoulintarily to the feed from the hunt. Snapping jaws and feral growls that would haunt his dreams for months. He couldn't hunt you down and kill you even if he tried. He didn't say it out loud, but he didn't need to. Those thoughts were for him, and him alone.
Coran seemed to dwell on what Lance had said, brow furrowing, and Lance took the opportunity to voice what had been bothering him for weeks now.
"He's been sending me on baby missions Coran! Guarding an already cleared hallway 'just in case' while he and Hunk go on ahead to clear the next room. Him and Keith going on a super dangerous mission while I stay behind to help prisoners to the escape pods that are right next to them, Heck he won't even let me scout ahead! Which is like the purpose of the sniper! He sends Keith! You know how he struggles with strategy! he's just like 'Keith smash!' and then we all end up having to fight even when it could have been avoided!"
He sighs loudly, irritated and frustrated as he flops back on the couch. "He... He doesn't trust me in this pack."
Coran sighs with him, flopping back as well. "Alright I might see where you're coming from..."
"I do. Truly. But... Maybe you just have to prove to Shiro that you're stronger than he thinks!"
Coran sits up, enthusiastically. "Show him that what he's doing is bothering you! Don't take no for an answer!" Coran starts punching and clawing the air dramatically. "Give him the ol' one two! Rough him up! Go for the eyes-!"
"Coran" Lance laughs out. "I'm not 'roughing up' my pack mate. Especially not my alpha. But... you're right. I'll tell him he doesn't have to go all mama bear all the time. We all get enough of that from Hunk."
"I don't know what this 'mother bear' implies, but I'm glad! Though I am still worried about you keeping this whole 'foxy creature' thing secret."
Lance laughed loudly, throwing his arm over his face. "oh god. My space uncle called me a foxy creature!"
When Coran stayed silent for more than ten seconds, Lance lifted his arm, and glanced over at him, surprised by Coran blinking back unshed tears, as he started monologuing about how he 'accepted the title of uncle full heartedly' and would try his hardest to be the best 'space uncle' ever. Lance chuckled a bit at the fact that Coran accepted being his uncle, but did not understand his dirty joke, and simply brought the man into a warm hug, and ensured him that he already had been.
He knew deep inside the advice given to him was sound.
Because someone as important to him as coran had given it to him.
He would take a chance and tell Hunk just to see how it goes.
When the group finishes their playful running and chasing, and hunting, they moved out to head back to the castle.
Pidge, a scrawny caremel colored wolf with white patches, carries her vaguely rabbit-reminiscent catch in her jaws, with a happy spring to her step, while Hunk, the big solid brown wolf, looks dejectedly at the ground as he trudges along. It turns out the deer like creature he had hunted and killed was not for eating.
Hunk had turned back to his human form to excitedly send a visual of his kill for approval from the Coran, using their communication wristband, only for his hopes to be dashed before his eyes. Eating the notoriously tasteless animal would have resulted in "stomach problems of quite the nasty variety" In the ginger's own words.
Lance even had the gall to chuckle in the background, and ask how long it took him to catch the damn thing, which was a sore subject, lance. It would most definitely earn him a merciless tickling when Hunk got his hands on him.
But... he was with Coran?
Hadn't he said that he was busy training...?
Just as Hunk's thoughts wandered to how Lance had time to spend with Coran, but not hunt with his pack, Shiro gave him a sympathetic nudge, and an impression of "There will always be next time champ."
Hunk's ears stopped their drooping, and he let his tongue roll out of his mouth in amusement, at the dadly way Shiro had spoken to him.
He was right. There will always be a next time.
And Lance might even want to come next time, and then they'd hunt some weird toxic animal together!
He hoped so.
Chapter 3: Interruptions
How would he react? He doubted Hunk of all people would really care, but...
Snapping jaws, and growling had awoken him the night before.
Keeping secrets was all he'd ever known.
Sorry this is so late. Life has thoroughly kicked my butt, but i'm almost still alive, so that's good enough. Thank you all for your comments and support, it really helped me get back in the groove of things.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Keith and Shiro, as it would turn out, didn't get to talk to Lance as soon as they had hoped. They arrived back to the castle after the hunt, and just like so many times before, Lance had seemingly disappeared into thin air.
Following his scent was their natural instinct of course, but they knew that plan was flawed. They'd tried to find him this way before, but the castle was already so layered in their pack's combined scents, that it was hard to distinguish any kind of consistency in the age or direction of said scent trails.
This did not stop them from trying however, as they walked side by side down the long castle corridors. They would eventually stumble upon him, they were sure. He was probably in a less traveled area of the ship, so it would be easier to distinguish between him and the others.... they hoped.
Shiro didn't seem to mind too much on the outside, but Keith could tell he was just as frustrated as he was. Just... much much better at hiding it.
No, Keith proudly wore his frustration, grumbling and making faces, as they both peeked into empty rooms, and snuck about the less traveled sections of the castle. Lance was just so evasive. Too evasive! Evasive to the point that it was a problem.
Shiro had said in the beginning it was natural for some omegas to be elusive at first, and that perhaps Lance just needed some time to warm up to them, but even as the months passed, Lance just kept wandering off to who knows where.
It got to the point where one particularly Lance-less day, Keith was convinced Lance must have left the ship somehow. He got dressed, and ready to go look for him, only to see him crawl out of a small closet door in a hallway across from the lion's hangers, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. Keith had given him an earful, running at him, and Lance had run off laughing, seemingly finding amusement in Keith's worry as he was chased down the hall, before disappearing around a corner.
Keith sometimes found himself going back to that closet... but he had never found Lance there again, and over the weeks, the scent got weaker and weaker, until it was indistinguishable from everything else.
He realize he had zoned out when Shiro put his hand on his shoulder.
"Keith?" He asked softly.
Keith shook his head, giving up on the search after glancing at his wrist, and seeing that they had been looking for about half an hour now.
"Maybe we should just... ask him after dinner..." His voice trailed off into a grumble, ashamed to admit defeat.
Shiro rubbed his back supportively. "Good idea" He said, steering Keith back towards their room, with a false positivity.
But Keith saw how Shiro peeked over his shoulder one last time, just as he himself had done.
So much for talking to their omega.
Lance was tense.
More tense than he had ever been.
Even more tense than that time he had asked Johna Speil to the prom, even though he was a freshman.
Or that time his principle called his mom to inform her that her son was not participating in gym class.
No this was worse. He would be breaking his promise to his mother. The promise he made to never tell anyone about his little secret. Ha. Little.
But... The thought of not having to hide from his best friend was relieving. He was almost exited about it! Almost. He continued to pace in front of Hunk's door.
"Okay... Lance McLain, Mr. Smooth talker, just go in and tell him... that you're..."
He sighed, deflating like a balloon at a very sad child's birthday party.
How do you explain something like this?
Lance pondered his life for a moment, before he knocked on Hunk's door in an act of impulsiveness.
Hunk answered the door after a bit, and looked down at him, a bit of grease smudged on his face, and a lot more of it on his apron.
Lance smirked. "Busy grease monkey?"
Hunk looked down at himself, before smiling back "ah, no not really, just tinkering with something me and Pidge found on Sobanar."
Lance laughed "oh cool, so uh, can we talk?"
Hunk's expression faltered, before coming back as something fake and scary.
Lane could smell the anxiousness mixed in with the hopefulness, as Hunk stepped to the side silently and let him in.
It almost didn't feel real.
But it was, Lance had to remind himself, and he had to be careful how he handled the situation.
Hunk was a delicate soul.
Lance poked the strange mechanism on Hunk's desk, to which Hunk gave him a stern "Lance, no."
He pouted, and was instructed to wait on the bed while Hunk cleaned up, taking off his soiled apron, and heading to the bathroom.
Lance tried wiggling his eyebrows to defuse the situation, but Hunk either didn't notice, or finally learned not to encourage him with reactions.
He was betting on the first one.
Only when Hunk closed the door and Lance heard the distinct sound of water running, did he sit on the bed and wonder if he was doing the right thing.
He knew his mother wouldn't think so.
But his mother wasn't here.
And this was Hunk for crying out loud! His mom loved Hunk! Everyone loved Hunk!
Surely she would be the least mad at him knowing.
And Lance would feel so much better if he knew.
Would he though?
Lance's brow furrowed. Would he really feel any better?
At least now, he had all his cards still in his hand. If he showed them... It would all be for nothing wouldn't it?
All those years spent covering his tracks?
But then again, maybe those years had been wasted hiding. Maybe none of it had ever been worth it in the first place.
He didn't know which of those theories he was more depressed to think about.
He didn't think about it very long though, as Hunk quickly made his way out, cleaned up and smelling of hand soap.
His friend sat next to him on the bed, not saying anything, apparently giving him time...
Or just waiting him out.
He turned to his friend, only to find him sitting in anticipation of his next words, staring him right in the eyes.
"Uh... I want to tell you about-"
Hunk sighed in relief. "oh thank god, I couldn't take it anymore!"
Lance's eyes widened, as Hunk smiled lopsidedly at him.
"Well go on! Tell me what's wrong! What's so bad that you had to keep it secret from your best bud?"
Lance's jaw hung open "I-"
He looked at his friend. His best friend. His wide brown eyes, filled with worry, and hope and a bunch of other things Lance didn't care to describe.
He looked at his best friend...
And shifted forms.
It was dinner time, and everyone was at the table.
And by everyone, Keith meant shiro, Pidge, and himself.
Everyone else decided not to show up.
Pidge ate silently while she typed away on a tablet, engrossed in the flickering numbers Keith saw reflected in her glasses.
Shiro scolded her for having tech at the table, but she gestured around them with one exaggerated draping hand motion as if to say "you fool. There is no one here."
It seemed to get the point across, as Shiro huffed, and went back to eating, letting her get away with her insubordination just this once.
Keith was almost envious of Shiro's tolerance for her sass.
But his mind was too occupied for such thoughts.
No, Keith was brooding about the small detail of-
Lance being a dinner skipping quiznack, along with the rest of their betraying team.
How dare he.
How dare he ruin his plan for the second time in a row.
Keith ground his food up with his fork in frustration, before Shiro nudged him and told him to stop bringing judgment to his goo, and eat it instead. They'd think of something else.
Pidge looked up at this, nosiness etched down into the core of her very being, and a bushel of freshly picked 'none of your business' laid out before her.
She swallowed her food, observing them as they silently ate, avoiding her eyes by staring down at their plates.
"So..." She said slowly, setting her tablet down. "What has you two looking so bummed out?"
Shiro looked up at her, eyes piercing. "Pidge..." He said in warning.
"Did you have a fight?"
"Is someone in trouble?"
Before Shiro could respond, Keith mumbled out a quiet but audible "If I get my hands on him, he will be..."
She smirked. "what was that?"
Keith blushed. "Nothing"
"Oh it was definitely something. What did he do this time? Wrap everything in your room with alien saran wrap? Put sand in your sheets?"
Shiro cleared his throat, giving Pidge a stern look.
She rolled her eyes, but nevertheless stopped pestering them and went back to typing.
For the rest of dinner Keith would feel eyes on him, only to be met with Pidge pretending she hadn't been looking when he glanced up at her.
Shiro must have been getting the same treatment, as they both finished eating in record time, getting up quickly to head back to their room.
When they were out of range of their smaller pack member's ears, Keith turned to his mate impatiently.
"Shiro. What do we do now?"
Shiro sighed softly. "I don't know. It's pretty late though. Maybe we should just wait till tomorrow."
Keith groaned at the answer, to which Shiro laughed playfully, and reached to ruffle his hair. "patience yields-"
Keith cut him off with a much louder groan, pushing his hand away, much to Shiro's enjoyment. "Yes Shiro, I know."
"We should get some sleep. Training starts early tomorrow."
Keith still felt full of energy from the hunt, and probably unable to sleep, but he guessed there were certain ways he could remedy that.
He kissed Shiro lovingly on the neck, and Shiro smirked down at him, wrapping an arm around his waist.
With that it was settled.
The Lance problem could wait until tomorrow.
Haha, Hunk's reaction is later sorry guys. I promise i'll update quicker than last time. This one is kind of short, as I am getting back into the flow of things. More soon.