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Let Me Be of Use

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The paladins were seated for breakfast, chattering amongst themselves before they were due for training. If they noticed the silence of the blue, now red paladin, they didn't comment.

He didn't know what to do about it anymore, the growing weight in his chest. About the darkness slowly infecting his mind.

Shiro was back and everything was going to go back to normal... or so they thought. 

As long as they need me... I can find the will to fight my demons rather than become them... I can still be a hero. I can still be useful.

But Lance had meant everything he'd said to Keith about Allura's impressive progress in piloting blue. About his unsure place on the team. And if he felt a treacherous twinge of relief when Shiro was unable to reclaim the black lion....

Well he'd just keep that to himself.

"Lance?"

Lance looked up from his untouched food goo, apparently having been giving it the Stare of Death while lost in thought.

"What's up, Allura?"

"Are you alright? You've been... off lately."

He winced.

"Sorry. I'll try to be better, I just-"

"It's not a reprimand. I'm just worried for you."

Lance offered her a smile, shrugging her worries off.

"Just have a lot on my mind. Don't worry too much about it, princess."

"If you're sure..." she said doubtfully.

"I'm sure."

He stood, dumping his plate and leaving, confused paladins staring after him.

"He didn't eat a bite," said Hunk, who'd been furtively watching his friend while shooting ideas off to Pidge.

Coran frowned, fingers twirling his mustache as he stared at the Lance's empty seat.

Lance was arguably his favorite person on the ship and if he wasn't doing alright...

"I'll go check on him."

They all heard the silent command to finish their goo.

Coran thought Lance might be in his room but found it empty upon arrival. His next stop was the observation deck, but Lance wasn't there either. 

"Quiznack. Where are you, my boy?"

He passed by the training deck, surprised to find it occupied, a lone figure surrounded by gladiators, bayard split into two guns.

"Lance?"

The paladin moved as the gladiators charged, combining a fighting style Coran had never seen- almost like dancing, with his shooting skills.

It was breathtaking.

Has Lance always been so flexible? 

He moved like water, gracefully wild, cool and yet vicious- like a cat playing with its food.

We never see this side of him in training. I'm assuming he doesn't show this side of himself during missions or he'd be less worried about his place here...

He continued to watch Lance's dance, one that was equal parts evasive acrobatics, calculated strikes and deathly accurate shots.

"It's like he's a different person," Coran whispered. 

Having seen enough he decided to enter the training deck.

"End training sequence! Lance, my boy-"

Barely a moment later he was pressed up against the wall, Lance's hand on his throat and the other pointing a blaster at his head, Coran's feet dangling as the boy held him up with surprising strength.

"L-lance," he choked out, noting the vicious look on the Cuban boy's face... and the fact that his pupils were blown wide- blue eyes almost completely black, Lance looking at him but not quite seeing him, distrust clear on his face.

Lance didn't recognize him.