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Home at the Horizon

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Part 1: The Story Thus Far

Chapter 1: The Rise of Voltron

Lance’s grumbling was louder than the soft whoosh of the door as it opened. The boy’s feet dragged as he slouched into the room, allowing gravity to pull him down into his bed. He landed with a soft flump and bounced for a moment.

“Stupid Hunk and his stupid vomit stinking the simulator up. Stupid Pidge and his stupid big smart mouth and his stupid obsession getting us reamed.”

Lance continued to bemoan his rotten luck as he slowly peeled off the hideous orange uniform. (man it just wasn’t his color) This Galaxy Garrison business was no joke.

His already lethargic movements slowed further as he thought back to the simulator, lips pursing in annoyance. It wasn’t his fault that Hunk was so ridiculously easy to tease. Or that Pidge rose so quickly to everything shot his way. (did he have a little man complex or something, geez.)

If Lance had been trying at all he – Lance paused completely in his movements. Looking down at his socked feet, fingers tightening over his green jacket, which he’d plucked from over his desk chair. His deep blue eyes flicked up to his reflection in the mirror that hung on the wall right next to the door. His brows were drawn together and slanted downwards. His shoulders tight and hunched.

“I could have passed that test easy peasy.” He stated firmly to himself, not quite believing his own words.

Decisively Lance jammed his arms into the sleeves of the well worn green jacket and fell back into his chair. While he spun it in place the boy idly wondered what Pidge’s whole problem even was with the Kerberos mission. The shorter boy was hard to read like all the time. Until that mission was brought up. That hadn’t been the first time Lance had needed to step between his petite teammate and a commanding officer.

Lance knew he recognized the name too. He just couldn’t quite recall from where. It niggled irritatingly at his brain. It had been a botched job to the far off moon of course, everyone in the garrison knew that. Since it was constantly brought up as an example to the cadets about why their studies and simulator practice was so important. But Lance knew he was forgetting something important about it. Something that he’d cared about at the time it had happened. He stopped the spinning of his chair for a moment. Oh yeah…. Shiro. His literal idol had been the pilot for that. Besides Hunk joining and asking Lance to come with him the Pilot and Commander of the Kerberos endeavor, Shiro, had been the entire reason for Lance’s interest in joining the Galaxy Garrison to begin with.

But why was Pidge so up in arms about the entire thing? Somberly Lance pulled his cell out, fingers dancing over the orange display, curious if there were any other details that he was missing.

Before he’d finished typing a happy jingle broke through the still air of the room. Lance’s body jumped and he almost dropped his phone. Lance didn’t have time or the thought to check who was calling as his grip changed clumsily to answer.

A warm and familiar voice rang over the line. “Bueno’s noches mi Carino!”

Lance had to hold his breath for a moment to keep a sigh from escaping. He allowed it out slowly and quietly before responding. “Bueno’s noches Abuela.” He stated forcing a cheerful tone into his voice. His eyes flicked over to the digital clock atop his desk, thinking that the nightly call from his family had come a bit early. But his brows shot up in surprise. Lance hadn’t been aware how much time had passed. Silently this time the boy cursed his luck. Though he wasn’t yet hungry he’d already missed dinner.

And as awful as he knew it was Lance kind of wished that he’d not answered. After the day he’d had there wasn’t enough energy left in him to match how excitable his family got when talking to him. (or you know, ever)

As his grandmother’s voice washed over him the beauty of the Spanish language rolled out across the line musically. This at least was so relaxing that the isolated moment he’d had passed just as quickly as it had come. He could never purposefully ignore a call from his abuela. (His mom and dad were a different story.)

It was like this almost every night. And for the Hispanic boy it was what had replaced the lively family dinners he missed so much. His dear grandma was simply rambling on about her day. About how the mariposa were blooming beautifully in her garden, or that all of her friends at bingo were asking how her handsome grandson was doing in that ‘space program’ (a topic which never got old apparently)

After her speaking for however long she wished too (an endeavor that could sometimes take hours out of his night if someone didn’t pull her away from the phone) Lance’s siblings would fight over who got to talk to him next. Their excitement clear. Even though the sound of them bickering grated on his nerves just as much over the line as it did in person (regardless of how much he missed them) Lance felt his chest grow tight knowing what would probably come after. Despite himself he hoped that the arguing of his little brother and sister could last just a little bit longer.

Lance silently hoped that his parents would be at work still. They were both busy in their professional lives. For his mother, who held long tiring hours at the hospital, it was fairly normal to miss each other for these nightly calls. But it wasn’t his mom that Lance was worried about. Sure her probing questions about his studies put him on edge. Not quite in the same way any talk with his dad did though.

Lance pushed himself forward in the chair, no longer leaning precariously back as he listened. Now the boy waited with breath held as over the line muffled sounds signaled that the phone was changing hands once more on their end.

“*Alright there cadet?*” His father’s Spanish always sounded harder than his abuela’s. But then again everything about the man was like that. If it had been anyone else asking this it might have been joking. Lance knew better however. He’d really been hoping that the older man would still be out on his patrols. But as with everything else had proven today Lance’s luck was not holding out tonight.

“*What uh…. What’d’ya mean?*” Lance tried to keep his tone even, held at his usual level of teasing brevity. An attempt he almost succeeded at, though he was sure that the gulp was painfully audible over the call.

“*You know well enough what I’m talking about. Don’t play games.*” As if realizing who he was talking too his dad huffed out an obvious sigh, the only real sign of his frustration that Lance had. “But since’ you’re not man enough to tell me about your mistakes today then I’ll just get this out there for you to understand.” Oh no. Dad had switched to English. That was a sure sign that nothing good was about to happen. The Cuban man only switched to this language to keep his grandparents from hearing how /bad/ he was about to get it. (otherwise his dear Abuela would step in to tell her son a thing or two about patience with children…. And Lance, along with all of his siblings, had hidden behind her many a time to escape their dad’s wrath) Lance squeezed his eyes shut as his father began to absolutely ream him for that day’s performance in the simulator.

The Cuban boy did not know how his dad always seemed to know these sort of in depth details of Lance’s progress in the Garrison, since the man wouldn’t give up his source (and as he put it time and time again ‘if you would take this more seriously and put in actual effort you wouldn’t have to worry about this sort of thing son’) Lance just assumed that, as a police officer, his dad had connections.

He really wished the old man didn’t. For this exact reason.

Atop his thigh where Lance’s free hand rested fingers curled into a tight fist. As always when his dad lectured Lance just assumed he would have to ride this out.

Again he was wrong to hold any hope for lady luck to give him a break today. Officer McClain’s voice didn’t halt in the berating criticism, and the final note he ended on shot straight through Lance to the heart of his insecurities.

“Perhaps you were not the right material for this space program. You didn’t get in on a scholarship like your friend Hunk. You should stop wasting everyone’s time, and our hard earned money. Just come home mijo.”

Lance felt like the floor had dropped out from under him. Go…. Home? Leave the Garrison…. And Hunk… and Pidge.

He didn’t hear if his dad was still talking or not. He didn’t really care. His hand slipped down into his lap and his body slouched back. Lance tipped his head and stared at the ceiling. The boy wasn’t sure how long he stayed like that. Thoughts swirling around in his mind like vultures.

Should he go home? It was true that he wasn’t a natural genius like Hunk and Pidge seemed to be. He’d had to study his butt off to be accepted! And even then his marks had barely skimmed the prerequisites in science and math. There was nothing here that he really excelled at. He’d only really come because Hunk had made the Garrison sound so cool! And at the time Shiro had just made fighter pilot for a super important mission! Youngest guy to ever make it to that level…. That fast. Lance had tried hard to get in…. and now was all of that effort going to go to waste?

But…. It wasn’t like Lance wanted to leave. Sure he missed his family, his home, Abuela’s cooking, his mother’s stories. Hell even his little sibling’s bickering and his older sister’s teasing. But Lance could already do more than he’d thought possible of himself. And yeah the boy wasn’t having the easiest time here (a hard thing to admit, even silently and only to himself) All of the commanding officer’s seemed to perpetually have sticks stuck up in em, and all the other groups of cadets held such pretentious, pompous stuck up nerds.

And if Lance left it would put his team in an awkward position of having to find a new fighter pilot. By either promoting one of the handful of cargo pilots or making Hunk and Pidge wait…. Lance didn’t want either of those things and the mere thought twisted his gut with guilt. He couldn’t do that to them.

So…. Maybe he’d leave at the end of the semester? But even that possibility gave him a tight feeling in his chest.

Lance wished he had something to do to rid himself of all the nervous energy that now filled him. He just wasn’t good at this sort of thing. His thoughts began spiraling uselessly in his head.

If he was home right now Lance might have pulled out his old guitar and plucked out a familiar tune. Or snuck out of his bedroom window to run down to the beach. Feeling the warm salt water could always refresh him after a night time dip. And if that wasn’t enough the rush of a wave would be.

But Lance wasn’t home. And he didn’t want to go home. At least not like this.

So the boy was unsure what he should do.

He wouldn’t be able to focus enough to work on his homework, or study at all (though he had a test in the morning)

Lance realized that he’d stood, and was pacing back and forth before his bed.

With a dramatic sigh Lance fell over into his bed, wondering if he could maybe just sleep this stress away.

Yeah right, he was already antsy. There wasn’t a white noise soothing enough, nor a sleeping mask that could cut out both light AND anxiety. Tonight would probably be another sleepless one. Every negative thing that had been said to him that day swirled like a storm in his mind. Lance knew that even if his insomnia lifted what sort of nightmares would await him.

Lance growled and jumped up again, heading for the door.

He had to move. To do something. Though he was still unsure about what he was going to do, that predicament didn’t last very long. As he stepped out of his room his feet had already turned towards Hunk’s dorm.

A mischievous glint entered his azure gaze and his lips twisted up into his telltale lopsided grin…. The sort of expression that promised trouble.

Commander Iverson had said that Hunk, Pidge and him had to work on their team bonding hadn’t he? And there was no better way to break down walls between people than to break some rules with them.