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Thoughts Are Louder in Silence

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Lance gasped as the spell hit his body, pain filling every nerve.

"Lance!" Keith shouted his name, sprawled out on the floor where Lance had pushed him.

He fell to one knee, feeling weak. God, the pain was unbearable. He coughed, his throat dry and his head pounding. He tried to cry out, but sound refused to leave his throat.

"You're stronger that I thought, Paladin." Haggar stood in front of him, staring down at him. "That spell was meant to kill the red paladin, but you managed to interfere in time. However, it seems you've lost something just as important as a life." She raised her hands, about to deliver the killing blow.

She looked over and teleported just as Shiro's hand sliced through the aid, where she'd been seconds earlier. She snarled as she reappeared a few feet away, just to have to dodge Keith as well.

Lands silently groaned, curling into a ball from the pain. His vision was fading in and out, and his ears were ringing.

"Lance! Can you hear me?!" Shiro propped him up, trying to get a response. Lance just stared at him blankly before squeezing his eyes shut in pain. "Crap... Pidge, it's time to go!" He yelled at her through the comns.

"What?! But I'm only about half way finished!" Pidge protested, frowning as she continued typing.

"We have to! Lance is down! Haggar got to him!" Keith slashed at a drone, watching Haggar as she grinned before suddenly teleporting again. She wasn't seen again.

"Lance is hurt? How badly?" Hunk's worried voice came through as he shot at a few drones that were trying to get to Pidge.

"I'm not sure. Haggar hit him with something though, so he's probably not doing too good."

Lance weakly grabbed at Shiro's hand in response, as if hearing their conversation. He gripped it tightly before his head fell backwards, unconscious.

"Quiznak! Is he alright?!" Keith looked over his shoulder at the two, narrowly avoiding a hit to his leg.

"He just fell unconscious. Pidge, we have to go! Now!" Shiro's leader voice kicked in, commanding.

"Ugh... Fine." Pidge reluctantly unhooked her suit from the Galran console she'd hacked, grumbling in annoyance. She fried it to delete any trace she may have left behind before sprinting past Hunk, taking out a Galra as she left. "Come on!"

Hunk ran after her, changing his Bayard back to its neutral form so he could run easier. "Wait up!"

Keith slashed at several more Galra that had entered the hangar, grunting as he got hit. "Thank God we only brought one lion!"

"Yeah. Speaking of which, I'm gonna move Lance into Pidge's lion." Shiro held Lance bridle style, dodging blows and successfully making it inside. "Katie, Hunk! How close are you?!"

"We're right outside! Keith, can you help clear a path?!" Pidge readied her Bayard, taking a deep breath.

"Working on it!" Keith began slashing a pathway from the door to the Green lion, seeing Pidge and Hunk come in and help take out the stragglers.

"Pidge, did you get most of the information you needed?" Keith led the way back into the Green Lion, Shiro positioning Lance in a way that would hopefully make him the most comfortable.

"Not even close." Pidge huffed, sparing a glance at Lance and feeling a little less annoyed when she how bad he looked. He was extremely pale for his skin tone, and was panting as he twisted in a feverish sleep. "But I think I might have enough to have gotten at least a little bit of something useful out of it."

"That's good." Shiro winced as Green shook from all the fire she was taking. "Katie, you better get us out of here."

"On it, Shiro." Pidge plopped herself down into the pilot's seat, activating Green and managing to fly out of the hangar, activating her cloaking.

"Allura, Coran, we're ready to go!" Shiro held Lance in place, concerned for her state. "We're gonna need a healing pod! Lance is injured!"

"Copy that, number one." Coran responded, a wormhole opening.

Pidge piloted the Green Lion through, grunting as they took one last hit from the Galra.

-----

Lance swayed on his feet, trying to stay upright as he fell out of the healing pod, steadying himself. His teammates' all too familiar backs greeted him, all gathered around Pidge as she told them about something she probably discovered.

He opened his mouth and tried to speak, but nothing came out. Frowning, he tried again, a small squeak escaping as no other sound came out. He broke out into a small coughing fit, having strained his throat a bit too much in his attempts to speak.

Everyone turned to him, his coughing having caught their attention. Their eyes widened with relief.

"Lance!" Hunk charged him and crushed him in a bear hug, hearing him wheeze at the pressure on his chest.

Shiro clapped a hand on his shoulder, allowing a small smile to find its way onto his face. "Good to have you back."

Lance opened his mouth to reply, to say it was good to be back. He just succeeded in wheezing again before silence came from his mouth once again.

"Lance?" Pidge poked his arm, raising an eyebrow.

More silence, a panicked look on Lance's face as he opened and closed his mouth in desperate attempts to speak. He managed to squirm out of Hunk's arm in his small frenzy.

"Lance, calm down. You're okay, buddy. Well figure this out." Hunk spoke soothing words to him, pulling him back into an embrace, a comforting one.

"Well, shit." Pidge swore, watching the exchange.

"Pidge, language." Shiro turned to face Coran. "Do you know what's wrong with him?"

"I'm not completely sure yet, but it probably has something to do with him getting hit by that Druid's magic. Number three, step over here for a tick."

Lance obeyed and scuttled over, allowing Coran to stick some things on him to check his vitals, followed by him scanning.

"There's a large amount of magic in him, which means that the Druid cast a spell on him instead of just hurting him."

"In other words, Haggar made him mute." Keith frowned, looking at how crestfallen Lance was.

"I'd say so." Coran typed on the scanner, frowning as he twirled the ends of his moustache. "Hmm..."

"What's 'hmm'? That doesn't sound good." Hunk stared at Coran expectantly, worried.

"The magic in him is unlike any we've ever had to deal with. In other words, we don't know what we're dealing with, nor how to treat or remove it."

"So you're saying he's stuck like this either until it wears off, we find out how to fix it, or Haggar decides to remove the spell?"

"Unfortunately, that seems to be the case."

Lance felt like he was on the verge of tears, but he put on a brave face and grinned. He could just think of this as a game of charades.

A very long, lonely, and painful game of charades, that is.