Lance had never understood how humans worked. They were strange and complex. Capable of so many things. Resilient as fuck but also simultaneously as fragile as a rose petal. Similar to how his mother was able to beat breast cancer and how his father learnt to walk again after a car crash only for them both to perish in a house fire.
It was baffling.
Just as baffling as the quirky older man running around the airport holding a cardboard sign that read ‘Welcome to Ireland, Lance.’
Shit. That was him. He was Lance.
With a sigh, the Latino boy hauled himself to his feet and made his way over to the man. Now that he was closer, he could see that the man had blazing ginger hair which was slicked back fashionably. He also had a glorious moustache that was so bushy it was comical.
“Uh—excuse me, sir. Are you looking for a Lance McClain by any chance?” Lance asked, grabbing the man’s sleeve. The man looked to be in his fifties and had shining blue eyes that made Lance inhale sharply. He knew they were a totally different shade, but it reminded him of his mother’s.
“Yes I am! Are you him? I'm Coran Smythe.” The old man beamed, grabbing Lance’s hand and shaking it vigorously. Lance almost wanted to smile but then he remembered the reason he was here in the first place.
“Yeah. I'm Lance.” He replied curtly, withdrawing his hand and stuffing it into his pocket.
“Yes well, we had better get going if we want to get home before dark.” Coran said softly. If he had noticed Lance’s sudden reluctance for a merry little chat, he hadn't said anything.
The two hurried out of the airport and shuffled out into the cool air. Coran led the way through the car park and Lance trailed behind, readjusting his bag strap which had been digging into his shoulder. Soon they reached a quirky little yellow Volkswagen Beetle and began loading up Lance’s things—which admittedly wasn't much. Not long after, they were on the road.
Lance felt like a fish out of water. Like a fresh water fish dropped into a salt water aquarium. As far as the eye could see there were rolling grassy hills—a moor is what Coran had called it. He was also surprised by the lack of civilisation. There were towns, but they were small. Nothing like Los Angeles.
After about an hour and a half, Coran had pulled into a tiny village that bordered a peninsula and looked out at the water. The houses and buildings were colourful and quite picturesque, something that you might find on Pinterest.
“This is it. Home sweet home. Well not quite. The house is a tiny ways out.” He said, glancing at Lance from the corner of his eye. He smiled softly before focusing on the road. Lance simply watched everything go by, taking it in. This would probably be where he lived for the rest of his days anyways.
The buildings became sparse and now the only structures Lance could see were houses that dotted the surrounding hills. A few moments later, Coran slowed to stop in front of a gate, which Lance had hopped out to open and close.
“Here we are! Im sure you’ll like it. Your mother always told me you liked to explore so I'm sure you’ll like it here—this place is pretty big.” Coran said, eyes glazed over with nostalgia as the beetle trundled down the gravel road. Lance didn't say anything and instead wallowed in his grief.
Coran hadn't been wrong though. This place was large and Lance was itching to just run around and check it out. The place looked like a farm with long unkempt grass and groves of trees that were spread out across the property.
The road they were on sloped upwards onto a hill where a large cottage stood. It was made of stone and had a smoking chimney and ivy covered walls. It looked like your typical fairytale house-in-the-woods. Beyond the cottage, the hill dropped off into a sloping and rocky cliff face with a path that lead down to a small sandy cove.
When Coran stopped in front of the house, Lance got out and was immediately bombarded with smell of the salty sea air and the sound of seals barking down in the cove.
“You must be Lance.” A voice observed. Lance turned to look back at the cottage and saw a young woman standing just outside the door. She was tall and slim with dark skin—the colour of fresh soil in the summer sun. Her hair fell in loose, wavy ringlets around her face and upon first look, Lance thought it was white but later realised it was silver.
When his eyes met hers though, he felt the hairs on the back of his neck tingle. Her eyes glinted dangerously and were an almost glowing shade of electric blue. Something about her made Lance want to run all the way back to Los Angeles. But there was nothing left for him there so here he was. In Ireland. With a strange old man and a scary—yet beautiful—woman.
It was at that moment that Lance realised the scary-but-beautiful woman had an eye brow raised and lips set into a scowl.
“Ah, yeah. I'm Lance.” The Latino boy swallowed hard and flinched under the lady’s intense stare.
“Well, I am Allura. I'm glad you've finally come to visit despite the very unideal circumstances.” She said with a sigh.
“Yes well, how about I show you to your room?” Coran chimed, grabbing Lance’s luggage.
Lance followed Coran into the cottage, glancing back to look at Allura once before disappearing into the house. The door opened up into a rather large kitchen, a dining table taking up its centre. Coran led him into a hall and up a set of stairs to the second floor where the rooms were.
“Those two rooms are mine and Allura’s.” He said looking to the doors on the left. “This here is your room.” He said, grinning at Lance before opening the door opposite Allura’s.
“Well, uh thanks.” He mumbled, looking up at the ginger man.
“The living room and the bathroom are downstairs. Dinner is in half an hour.” Coran said softly, patting Lance on the shoulder. And with that, the strange ginger man retreated down the stairs and left Lance to settle in.
Lance closed the door behind him and looked around the room. It was old and but it gave a warm homey vibe. A single bed was placed against the wall opposite the door and looked soft with blankets trimmed with ruffles. At the end of the bed was a trunk and to his right was a wardrobe and a tallboy. On top of the tallboy was a mirror surrounded by some ceramic, rosy cheeked puppy figurines. To his left was a large pane window that overlooked the grey sea and dim afternoon sky.
Lance dropped his bags on the bed and began unpacking his clothes into the tallboy in silence. Now, with his bags empty, he put them away into the wardrobe which already had a few jackets hanging in there.
With a sigh, he moved towards the window and watched the sea toss and turn. He could still here the seals barking down in the cove and it made him fiddle with small silver locket that hung around his neck. He took it off to study it and ran his thumb over the seal engraved onto the locket and smiled sadly.
He remembered the day he got it.
"Happy Birthday, mijo." Lance had awoken to his father smiling down at him gleefully. His mother was there to, kneeling beside the bed, ruffling Lance's chestnut hair. Behind them, Lance could see his siblings grinning from ear-to-ear.
"Mama? Papa?" he'd croaked, voice hoarse from sleep. Lance's mother had smiled and pressed her pale forehead to Lance's own much tanner one.
"It's your birthday, mijo." Lance's father had said. That's right. He was turning sixteen.
After realisation had dawned on Lance's face, his mother chuckled and pulled a small wooden box from her pocket, pressing it into his palm. Lance opened it and inside was a thin silver chain with a small oval locket attached. Engraved on the locket was a seal, sun-bathing on a rock which was surrounded by ocean. It was beautiful.
"Before I left Ireland, my brother gave me this pendant. He said it shall always remind me of home - where seals sang their songs - no matter where I may adventure in the world." She explained, her lilting accent immediately settling over him like a soft silky blanket.
"Mama, there's no way I could except this. It's much to beautiful. I'm afraid I'll lose it." Lance had said. And despite that he still held the locket with protective reverence, not planning on letting it go. His mother simply closed Lance's fingers around the locket with a determined smile.
"Nonsense. This locket is yours. It has served me well, reminding me of Ireland. But now my place is here. This locket will now be your guide, comforting you, until you find your place." She had said. Lance blinked owlishly at her before looking up at his father who nodded. Lance leapt up, embracing both his parents in a hug, which was disturbed a few seconds later by his siblings.
Lance sniffed and wiped his tears away with a start, not having realised he'd started crying.
He rubbed his eyes tiredly and hopped into bed, not caring if he missed dinner. He wasn't all that hungry. Falling asleep hadn't been easy that night, the lack of city noises made him uneasy. It might've been hours—or a few minutes—but he eventually fell into a dreamless slumber.
The next morning he woke to the sound of a harsh knock at the door. He groaned and blinked his eyes open, taking in his surroundings. At first he wasn't sure where he was—then he remembered. He rolled over and tried to fall back to sleep but another knock at the door reminded him why he'd awoken in the first place.
He got to his feet and stumbled to the door, opening it.
“Finally.” Allura grumbled tersely. “It's lunchtime. You need to eat. And we need to get you fitted for a school uniform.”
“Huh?” Lance replied groggily. “Uniforms?”
“Yes. Now come on!” She hissed before turning on her heel and heading down the stairs.
Lance ran a tired hand down the side of his face and went to the tallboy to grab some pants and a shirt. He looked into the mirror and moussed up his hair and frowned at how dry his skin had gotten. Ever since the fire, he hadn't really bothered with his skincare routine. Or his whole appearance really. He’d stopped moisturising and had even let his hair return back to its naturally curly state.
“Lance!” He jumped at the sound of Allura calling him from downstairs.
He scurried down the steps and into the kitchen. Allura rolled her eyes at him and turned her attention to the stovetop where a perfectly round pancake was steaming. He took a seat at the table and looked around the kitchen. It was quaint. The bench was made of wood and was stained a sort of rose colour. There was a large window above the sink that was open, allowing for a salty breeze to blow into the kitchen. Strung from the curtain rod above to window were clumps of herbs, drying out. It looked like something from a kids book.
At that point, Allura had begun to hum and flutter around the bench as she plated up some food. Lance noticed then that she had a mottled grey scarf wrapped around her waist. It looked kinda of furry and Lance was intrigued by it.
Allura placed a plate in front of Lance along with a fork before taking a seat herself. Lance’s stomach growled hungrily and he tentatively took a few bites. His tastebuds sang with pleasure and he tried not to moan out. That was a really good pancake, god damn.
After the two had finished eating, Allura ushered Lance out the door and into the car. They trundled on into town and pulled to a stop in front of a large yellow stone building, trimmed with white. “This is the highschool that you'll be attending.” Allura explained as she hopped out of the car.
Lance got out and peered at the school. The yard was empty with rolling green lawns and some benches for students to sit at. The doors to the schools were bordered by tall columns that gave the building a rather old look.
Allura skipped up the stairs and though the door, Lance hot on her heels. They walked down a hall reached a quiet office where a few older ladies were bumbling around the front desk, giggling and chatting, accents thick.
“Hey, Majorie!” Allura chimed a smile spreading over her features.
One of the older women turned and beamed upon seeing Allura. She was a plump woman with soft wrinkles and silvery, blonde tresses. “Allura! About time you visited. I haven't seen you since you left for college!” She cried, enveloping the silver haired girl in a hug.
“Ah yeah. I had to come back to help dad out. My cousin has come to live with us from the States.” She explained with a sort of nervous chuckle as she gestured to the Latino boy at her side. Majorie turned her gaze to Lance and her smile broadened. She stepped over to him and pat his cheek.
“My, aren't you a handsome one!” She sang. “Oh please tell me that he's coming here for school!” She said to Allura.
Allura nodded and grinned. “Yeah. We came to get him fitted for a uniform.”
Lance flinched as Majorie squealed with delight. “Come on then, pet! What's your name dear?”
“Lance.” He said curtly. Majorie nodded in approval and brought him to what looked to be the nurses office. She excused herself for a few moments before returning with some uniforms, leaving once more to give Lance some privacy.
Lance looked at the uniform with a frown. It wasn't horrible but Lance despaired at the idea of having to wear a uniform. The outfit comprised of some fitting navy blue slacks, white dress shirt, a light yellow, woollen jumper and dark blue blue blazer. It fit well enough so Lance changed back into his regular clothes and exited the room.
Allura bought a few pairs of uniforms before passing them off to Lance and bidding fairwell to Majorie.
Once they were back in the car, Allura carelessly tossed a laminated paper to Lance. “School starts on Monday, here is your schedule.” She grumbled before starting the car up and driving back through town.
They sat in silence and Lance’s skin itched uncomfortably. Allura had been standoffish and a little cold since Lance had arrived and had no idea why. Had he offended her? He wasn't sure.
They pulled onto the road that headed out to their house in the country. At this point, the quiet became awkward and stifling. Lance licked his lips then, turning to Allura who seemed to be glaring at the road.
“Hey. Did I do something to piss you off?” Lance asked hesitantly, wiping his sweaty palms on his pants.
“What?” Allura asked hollowly.
“You know cause you’ve been kind of col—“ Lance was cut off by the car squealing to a stop.
Allura clenched the steering wheel and bit her lip. She glared at the road with rage but also sadness.
“I'm not mad at you.” She croaked. “I'm mad at the world.”
“I'm not sure I understand.” Lance said shrinking back. Allura sniffled and fell back into her seat with a long sigh. She let her eyes close and her hands drop to her lap.
“I don't expect you to.” She said. Even though her eyes were closed and she couldn't see him, Lance nodded and turned to look out the window, shoulders sagging.
Chapter 2: Chapter 2
Hello again friends!
Here is chapter 2. I don't know when I will have chapter 3 out but please be patient with me. I hope you guys enjoy and feel inclined to leave some constructive criticisms or just a random comment. :))
Whoever had invented school needed to go choke on a waffle as far as Lance was concerned.
It was now Monday and Coran had just dropped the Latino teenager off onto the steps of the yellow school. As Lance looked around he noticed students were lazing around on benches in the courtyard chattering amongst themselves. A few were sitting on the steps on their phone while others were leaning against the fence, hunched over in an attempt to hide the cigarettes they were smoking.
“Lance!” The Cuban boy spun on his heel and noticed Coran beaming at him, “have a nice day! I’ll pick you up this afternoon.”
With a wave Coran sped off in his little beetle, leaving Lance alone and vulnerable in a new and hostile enviro–
Lance’s inner, third-person lament was cut off when he heard a low whistle. He turned around and saw a short squirrelly child and a tall, muscular, islander boy.
“You know Coran?” The small short one said. Lance looked towards them and raised a confused brow. He wasn’t able to tell whether or not the person was a girl or a boy as their face was rather androgynous.
“Um yeah. He’s my uncle.” Lance murmured.
“Wow. That’s pretty crazy.” The boy said. He was simultaneously buff and soft and cuddly which caused Lance’s head to spin – but in a good way.
“How’s that crazy? If I may ask.” Lance asked, adjusting his bag strap. He tried not to look so nervous but he wouldn’t be surprised if he looked like a shaky lamb.
“Coran is sort of a hermit. No one really knew he had family, except for his daughter, Allura. Then you show up. You from the States?” The smaller one filled in, pushing their glasses up the bridge of their nose.
“Los Angeles. What about you guys? You don’t exactly have the Irish accent.” Lance replied with a shrug. The boy chuckled and smiled warmly.
“Yeah, Pidge and I are both foreigners. Our parents are marine biologists and they were requested to come here to examine some anomalies in the aquatic ecosystems.” The boy chattered enthusiastically, elbowing the short kid– Pidge –who grumbled.
“Uh.. you’ve lost me.” Lance said, confused.
“Hunk is just saying that our parents were called to Ireland because theirs something strange going on in the ocean.” Pidge explained nonchalantly, “my family is from Italy and Hunk came from the Pacific Islands.”
Lance nodded and bit his lip. Suddenly a loud bell rang out and both Pidge and Hunk groaned. Then Hunk blinked over at Lance, smiling. “What do you have first up?”
Lance shrugged and rummaged through his bag quickly before retrieving the laminated paper Allura had given him earlier. He scanned it and passed it to Hunk who read over it. “Pidge has English with you first up so they can show you to class. And then you should come sit with us at lunch!”
Lance smiled at that before nodding and following Pidge up the school steps. They lead the Latino boy down some halls before pushing open a dark blue door. The door opened up to a classroom where students were all in small little groups, chattering. At the sound of the door closing, their heads peaked up before ducking into their hushed conversations.
Pidge took a seat and Lance followed, sitting at the desk next to them. The teacher hadn’t arrived yet and it gave Lance a chance to look around. The desks were all made of wood and had chips taken out of them. The desk tops were all graffitied. Lance’s desk even had a scorch mark where it looked as though someone had taken a lighter to the poor old table.
Suddenly the door slammed and in came a broad, hulking man. He had small beady eyes and a mane of black hair which was slicked back. The man sneered as he threw his books down onto the teacher’s desk and turned to the class, scanning the students suspiciously.
“Good morning, class.” The man greeted in a gravelly and cold tone. “Mr Roberts... is out of commission right now. Until he is back, I, Mr Sendak will be taking this class.”
The students immediately fell into conversation, muttering about what could have possibly happened to Mr Roberts. Suddenly, Mr Sendak slammed his palm down onto a students desk, lip curling and a growl bubbling up his throat. “I would appreciate it if you all stayed silent, speaking only when spoken to.”
Lance glanced at Pidge with wide eyes. They simply shrugged in reply before pulling out their books, the Cuban boy following not long after.
By the time the bell for lunch rang Lance was starved. Hunk and Pidge had given Lance a tour of the campus, showing him their little hangout which was located at the back of the school grounds. They spent most their time under the shade of an apple tree where the ground dipped to create a sort of hollow sitting space. It was completely invisible to anyone on the school field which happened to be right next to it.
Hunk and Pidge’s hangout also bordered onto a forest which was a little intimidating in Lance’s opinion. They told him that not many people came out this way. Something to do with faeries.
“People here don’t actually believe that faeries exist. Not like they used to. But they avoid doing anything that could possibly piss a faerie off.” Hunk explained.
“Are you guys scared of the faeries?” Lance asked jokingly. The duo just looked at each other and shrugged.
“Not scared, but I wouldn’t dare cross them.” Pidge explained. Lance understood the logic behind that.
“Oh! We should take Lance to Rolo and Nyma’s clubhouse!” Hunk buzzed excitedly, eyes shining warmly. Pidge smirked in agreement. Lance raised an apprehensive brow.
“What do you think Lance? You free this afternoon?” Pidge asked. Lance bit his lip. He didn’t know if he was ready to socialise with others yet but it was better than the suffocating atmosphere at the house– what with Allura not wanting to talk to him and Coran being overwhelmingly hospitable.
Quickly Lance nodded and muttered something about shooting a text to Coran. That’s when Hunk gasped elbowing Pidge and pointing pedantically towards the treeline of the forest.
“Look!” He hissed. Pidge rolled their eyes and squinted in the direction Hunk had pointed. Lance turned and saw someone sprinting from the woods, looking agitated.
“Is that Keith?” Pidge gaped, eyes narrowing as she frowned.
“Keith?” Lance asked.
“Keith is your typical loner. He is always muttering to himself and acting strange. No one really knows anything about him. Some think he’s like homeless.” Hunk explained. Lance nodded and nibbled his lip, the hairs on the back of his neck rising.
“Um Lance.” Pidge blinked owlishly, staring at something over his shoulder. Hunk inhaled sharply and Lance glanced over his shoulder.
A few yards away, on the field, Keith had paused in his paranoid jog and was staring right at Lance with piercing violet eyes.
Lance opened his mouth to say something.
Keith bolted across the field before he could say anything.
Coran seemed delighted by the thought of Lance making friends and had told him to call him when he needed a ride home. So here he was, following two kids he’d just met down the town’s main road.
Pidge and Hunk had insisted that the Cuban boy spend the afternoon with them, exploring the town. Lance wasn’t totally against the idea. If he was going to live out the rest of his days here, he may as well get familiar with the place.
The three teenagers stopped in front of a graffitied door. Beside the door, there was a large window with the words ‘Rolo and Nyma’s clubhouse.’ The window looked in on a rather hip looking fish and chip shop. One mustard coloured wall was lined with booths, the tables appearing to be decoupaged with pop art and grungey rock posters.
Pidge pushed the door in, a bell jingling as they walked in, Lance and Hunk right on there heels. The trio made their way to a booth and plopped down on the cushy leather seats. Lance looked up and realised the wall was covered in vinyl records and posters of famous art works like Starry Night by Van Gogh.
“This place opened up fairly recently.” Hunk said, running his hand through his hair. “It was really popular for a few months but I suppose the hype has died down.”
“Certainly not my scene but they make really good calamari.” Pidge grumbled, pushing their glasses up their nose. Lance chuckled at that, giving a small smile.
“Back again?” A voice teased. Upon looking up, the Latino boy saw a tan, blonde girl standing behind the front counter. She was slim with pale shell-pink lips and sharp warm grey eyes. Certainly Lance’s type. That is if he was back in Los Angeles, having a family day at the beach. The sight of the girl just made Lance feel home sick.
“They won’t be if you keep bugging them like this, Nyma.” Another girl hissed, appearing at Nyma’s side. This girl was much taller than Nyma and had dark skin which was fairly toned, arms corded with muscle that Lance didn’t doubt had the strength to snap him like a twig. Despite her physique though, she had a gentle face with full lips and hair cropped down to her scalp.
Hunk simply melted at the sight of her and Pidge wore a shit-eating grin before elbowing him in the side. Hunk coughed before nervously waving at the girl. “H-hey there Shay.”
“Hello Hunk. Are we getting the usual?” Shay asked, whipping out a notepad and pen. “And what about your friend. What would you like?” She asked, her soft amber eyes turning on to Lance.
“Hunk and I will get the usual. Extra calamari.” Pidge confirmed, still grinning. Shay wrote the order down dutifully on her notepad before looking at the Cuban boy.
“Um..” Lance trailed off and Hunk slid a menu across the table to him. After quickly scanning it, he decided on a grilled cheese sandwich and a glass of water. Shay had quickly took down his order before running it to the kitchen where a man’s loud chortle could be heard.
“Is that you, Pidge?” A sing-song voice asked.
Pidge laughed in the direction of the kitchen and smiled, “You know it, Rolo.”
Shay brought their orders to them about ten minutes later and they began to eat. Hunk and Pidge had just ordered a basket of hot chips, some fresh bread rolls and then a separate plate of calamari which Lance assumed was for Pidge.
“So, I never asked but what brings you to Ireland?” Pidge asked curiously, picking the batter of the squid and tearing it to little pieces, popping each piece in their mouth.
“Its kind of complicated.” Lance started, rubbing the back of his neck nervously. Even though the fire had happened a while ago, he still felt sick talking about his family. “I just had nowhere else to go until Coran found me.”
Pidge looked like they wanted to ask more but they were stopped when Hunk placed a hand on their shoulder. Hunk looked at Lance with a look of understanding, allowing the Latino teen to breathe out a sigh of relief.
The meal continued on with minimal small talk. Hunk bumbled on excitedly about his parents work and how strange and spooky things were occurring in the town. Pidge expanded, saying that last year, an abandoned boat was found floating around the marina. There had been disappearances and seals and other aquatic life was washing up on the beach.
Lance had felt a shiver run down his spine as he chewed on his grilled cheese.
After about an hour Hunk and Pidge exchanged numbers with the Cuban boy, promising to see him the next day before going their separate ways. Lance didn’t call Coran and opted instead to explore the town.
He walked down the street and came to a park which overlooked the beach. Lance waddled over to the playground that was there and sat on a swing set which gave him a good view of the churning grey waters. The sun was beginning to disappear, not that you could see it very well behind the heavy, black clouds.
Lance heaved a sigh and gripped the cold chains which suspended the swing from the frame. He felt his lip tremble and bit his tongue, one of his hands flying to hold onto the seal locket. The backs of Lance’s eyes stung and he hated it. He didn’t want to cry.
Crying didn’t solve anything.
That was Lance’s new motto. Originally, he would cry freely. He would cry when he was overjoyed, like when he was ten and his father had brought home a golden retriever puppy. He would even cry when he was sad, laying his head on his mother’s lap as they watched shitty soaps because another girl or boy had rejected Lance.
He stopped shedding tears so easily after the fire. Because crying himself to sleep or sobbing when he was thrown into yet another foster home hadn’t brought his family back.
The Latino boy sobered very quickly upon hearing a twig snapping. He whipped around and saw a figure emerging from the tree line. In the dimming light, Lance could see pale skin and red rimmed violet eyes.
It was Keith.
He looked wild. His inky black hair was moussed up and sticking out at every angle. His eyes were red and puffy, as if he’d just been crying. A disturbed expression was currently taking up residence on his face.
“You reek.” He breathed. It was quiet but Keith’s voice had made Lance freeze. Something about it was so hollow. The Cuban teen swallowed hard and furrowed his brows.
“No, no. I mean you reek of death.” Keith blurted, eyes wide and eyebrows raised. Lance’s throat closed up and he felt cold.
“What the fuck are you talking about, creep?” Lance hissed defensively, voice as sharp as the edge of meat cleaver. Suddenly Keith look less disturbed and more miffed.
“You know what, never mind.” Keith snapped suddenly, as if shaking off some kind of trance.
Lance simply glared as Keith curled his lip and spun on his heel, returning back to the forest. Lance was dumbfounded after that. What the fuck had just happened?
He was then startled by his phone ringing loudly. He scrambled to unzip his backpack and pull out his phone, not bothering to check the caller ID.
“Where are you!” Allura had all but screamed in his ear when he’d answered. He readjusted his grip on his phone and licked his lips.
“I’m at the park in town.” He responded curtly.
“Stay there. I’m on my way.” She snapped, a door slamming in the background before all Lance could hear was dial tone.
Lance dropped his phone into his pocket and looked around. The sun had disappeared and the only illumination was the orange glow of the streetlights. The night was peaceful as Lance wandered closer to the street so he could hop straight in the car once Allura arrived.
However a cold hand fell on Lance’s shoulder, causing him to groan. Not Keith again. He began to turn around, “Not you again. Look man, I would appreciate it if you would just leave me the f-“
Lance stopped speaking and screamed instead when he came face to face with a shadowy figure which had no face. It was just a slimy, smoking black mess which had two glowing orange orbs for eyes.
“A little seal? On its own? Must be my lucky day.” The shadowy entity warbled, its voice warped, as if it were choking on water.
Suddenly though, the two were interrupted by the squeal of tires as Lance could see Allura turning the corner. And let it be known that Lance had never been more happy to see that old Beatle. Allura pulled up at the curb and threw the door open, screaming for Lance to jump in. And never had the Cuban boy moved faster, throwing the shadow off him and running for the car.
Strong arms wrapped around Lance, lifting him off the ground. Lance grunted and struggled at the unrelenting force. He decided to turn his head and bite down on the shadow’s arm. Immediately his mouth filled with a bitter taste, his tongue blistering.
He must have hurt the creature though because it roared, dropping Lance who ran for the car, jumping in and slamming the door. Allura locked all the doors and floored it out of there. Lance was silent as he stared at the road, breathing heavily.
What the fuck just happened?
Chapter 3: Chapter 3
Hey guys, I'm back! I'm sure you want to get to the latest chapter so I'll try to be quick :) I'm really sorry to make ya'll wait so many months but I have mid-year holidays now and managed to push this out. As you know, I'm doing my last year of high school which in Australia, doesn't end until November so I'm a real busy bee. I thank all of you who have been so patient and are willing to stick around. Now I apologise for any spelling mistakes I was just so excited to get this out to ya'll. If you do spot any just let me know in the comments and I'll fix them when I have time. Enjoy!
The next morning, Lance wasn’t sure if the events from last night had even happened.
Upon waking up Lance’s tongue had felt significantly better. There was no pain and after he meticulously inspected it in the mirror, there were no signs of burns. He could have swore that he’d severely burnt his tongue when he’d bit into whatever the fuck that thing had been.
And just to make things worse, Allura hadn’t even discussed the previous night’s events with him. When he’d gone down for breakfast, she simply glanced at him before handing him a plate of buttered toast and a fried egg. Not even a word about the shadowy beast.
Currently Lance was sitting on the couch in the student common room, staring at a poster of the food pyramid as if he were in a daze. Hunk and Pidge continued to drone on about marine biology while Lance furrowed his brows in thought.
“You look constipated.” Hunk said with a light chuckle. Lance blinked before shrugging.
“Just deep in thought.” Lance murmured.
“Careful, don’t hurt yourself.” Pidge wore a shit eating grin that had Lance rolling his eyes and playfully punching the squirrelly teen in the arm.
“No, I think I just had a really vivid nightmare last night.” Lance admitted reluctantly, nervously looking around the room. Hunk frowned and Pidge raised a brow.
“That sucks,” Hunk said carefully with a slow shrug. “At least it was just a nightmare.”
Lance smiled gratefully at Hunk’s attempt at reassurance but deep down Lance still felt something gnawing at his gut. Pidge playfully punched Lance’s arm to break up the unsettling tension that had materialised.
Before anyone could say anything else though, the bell was ringing, signalling the start of the last class for the day.
Lance broke away from his two friends and made his way to his art class, nibbling his lip as he weaved in between students that were rudely idling in the hall. After making it past swarms of people he finally stopped at a yellow door that had ‘3A’ carved into it. Students were already seated on stools, working on their individual pieces when he entered.
The Cuban boy, not particularly feeling chirpy, decided to sit at the empty table closest to the back of the room. He received a few strange looks before he focused his attention on the teacher who was explaining the class’s task for the day – something about organising a folio.
The class began without a hitch, allowing Lance to quietly draw up some ideas for a folio. That was until someone dropped their things next to him at the table. Lance looked up to see an attractive girl. She had short, stylish black hair black eyes that shone.
“You’re in my seat.” The girl said boredly. Suddenly another girl chimed in, sliding up beside the first girl.
“Now, now Acxa, he’s pretty cute. I vote that we let him stay.” The second girl beamed at Lance reaching out to boom his nose. Like the first girl, she was also attractive. She had bright blue eyes that glittered and a strawberry blonde ponytail.
Acxa looked between the latino teenager and her friend a few times before grumbling and taking a seat across from him. The strawberry blonde plopped down onto a stool and scooted closer to Lance, holding a hand out.
“I’m Ezor, and you?” She asked with a close-eyed smile.
“Lance.” The cuban boy said curtly. Ezor and Axca exchanged a look Lance couldn’t quite determine.
“You're the kid people are talking about.” Axca said with a frown. Lance’s brows furrowed. People were talking about him? Why? What could they possibly be discussing? Suddenly, he felt as though an icy claw was running down his spine and he wrinkled his nose. What if they knew about what happened in LA and why he was here.
“What are they talking about?” Lance asked tentatively.
“Just that they think its strange that Keith is following you around.” Ezor explained. Now Lance was really confused as he quickly scanned the classroom for the grizzled boy.
“Keith has been following me?” Lance hissed in disbelief. Axca seemed to chuckle though Lance did not feel any less unsettled.
“Yeah. He usually steers clear from everyone but recently people have seen him close by whenever you’re at school. When you were by your locker this morning he was standing at the end of the hall.” Axca said lowly, as she went to pull a sketchbook from her knapsack.
“What the actual fu-“ The latino boy was suddenly cut off by the teacher’s accusing voice.
“McClain! I do hope you have your focus for your folio.” She snapped, looking down her nose, over her white, cat eye glasses. Lance spluttered looking at his ideas, his hand instinctively flying to his locket.
He quickly looked down at the small engraving of the seal, sun bathing on a rock before clearing his throat and looking up to the teacher. “I think I’d like to create a folio focused on seals.” Lance smiled uneasily.
“Alright then, get on with it. I want two pages of sketches done tomorrow.” She said with finality before turning on her heel. Once she was gone both Axca and Ezor looked to Lance, wearing identical expressions which Lance couldn’t quite place.
“Anyways, how would you like to come to a party? This friday?” Axca asked cooly. Ezor grinned widely.
“Yeah, you can bring those other two that you hang out with as well!” Ezor said, her tongue swiping her lower lip for a second. Lance blinked owlishly as Axca stared at him with a raised brow and Ezor was basically bouncing in her seat.
“I guess I could ask Pidge and Hunk?” Lance answered though it sounded like a question. Axca and Ezor seemed satisfied with that answer and spent the rest of the class silently doing their work.
Once the bell rang, Lance fast walked out of there not really wanting another confrontation with those girls. Almost as soon as he exited the classroom though, Lance smacked into a hard chest. Dazed, the cuban boy blinked rapidly before coming face to face with Keith.
The loner looked extremely pale and nauseous. Keith’s violet eyes were glazed as though he were high and he quickly mumbled an apology before sprinting down the hall. Lance felt sick but tried to shake the feeling off when his phone buzzed and Pidge’s ID appeared on the screen. Without a second thought, he answered.
“Hello.” He said as he looked down the hall.
“Wow, don’t sound so excited!” Pidge chimed, their voice dripping with sarcasm.
“Sorry.” Lance apologised and Pidge sighed.
“Hunk and I are at the gates and were wondering if you wanted to come to the beach?” They proposed, voice crackling through Lance’s speaker.
“Sure, I’ll meet you guys at the front.”
After the school day ended, Lance found himself sitting on the damp beach watching the waves roll and crash onto the shore. He had a sketchbook on his lap as he spied some seals that were lazily rolling on the shore further down the beach.
“Man! I love the beach.” Hunk breathed as he plopped down next to Lance.
“This is nothing compared to Cuba.” Lance said wistfully. Hunk glanced at him with a soft expression and a warm smile.
“Thought you were from LA?” Hunk chuckled. Lance bit his lip and glanced at Hunk. Talking about his family never seemed to end well but Hunk was so comforting and disarming.
“Well, my dad is from Cuba so we would always vacation there to see his family.” Lance explained reluctantly.
“What about your mother’s side? You never visited them?” Hunk asked curiously. Lance swallowed loudly before he shrugged.
“This is the first time I’ve come to Ireland. My mother talked about her brother - Coran - fondly but she didn’t seem quite attached to Ireland.” Lance said. Hunk nodded in understanding as he watched Pidge who was squatting by a rock pool with a camera.
“My family is always moving. We finally settled back down in Samoa but then my parents were called here to work with the Holt’s. The local conservationists are really concerned about what’s going on in the ocean.” Hunk said.
“What is happening with the ocean?” Lance asked.
“I only know what my moms have told me but, there been a major drop in the seal population. Mangled seal skins wash up and then there was the incident with the abandoned fishing boat.” Hunk explained, his brows furrowed in confusion.
“Wow.” Lance buried his hands in the wet sad, thinking about the seals. He suddenly felt a pang in his chest and he winced.
“Thats not even the weirdest bit.” Pidge said coming up to sit with the two boys. “When they found the boat there were traces of seal blood and some strange substance that looked like oil. My dad says that they haven’t determined what it is yet.”
Lance felt icy pricks on the back of his neck as he thought back to the night before. That shadowy creature that had attacked Lance had felt grimy and oily to the touch. It had also crooned at him, calling him a seal.
The latino boy bit his lip. Theres no way that what happened last night was real. And yet Lance couldn’t shake the feeling. He felt like throwing up.
“Hey man, you good?”Hunk asked, resting a heavy hand on the tan teen’s shoulder. Lance shook his head and pursed his lips.
“I’m sorry, I have to go. Now.”
“Lance? Hey, dude!” Pidge called after him as Lance stalked towards the boardwalk and the main street. He fumbled for his phone, ignoring Pidge and Hunk, dialling Allura’s number. It rang about three times before she picked up.
“Lance? Where are you right now?” She asked in a slightly annoyed tone.
“What happened last night?” Lance demanded, his voice shaking. There were a few beats of silence.
“I’m coming to get you. Where are you?” Allura said coldly. Lance squeezed his phone tightly, to the point where he could hear the case creak.
“I’m at the beach.” The cuban boy said before hanging up.
His phone chirped not a second later as he received a text from an unknown number. He pulled it up before quickly scanning it.
Hey Lance! Its Ezor from art class :3 I was wondering if you were going to come to the party on friday?
He contemplated for a moment. He looked up at Hunk and Pidge who were still on the beach, looking his way in confusion. He swallowed the anxious feeling he had in his gut and shouted to them, “Party? Friday?”
This seem to bewilder them further but they nodded anyways, waving goodbye when Allura pulled up at the curb.
Lance hopped in and hadn’t even buckled up before Allura drove off.
“So.. Are we gonna talk about it?” Lance asked after they had been driving in silence for awhile.
“Talk about what?” Allura tried and failed at playing dumb.
“You can’t be serious.” Lance snapped in disbelief. “You had to have seen that freaking monster last night!”
“I haven’t the slightest idea of what you’re talking about.” Allura said in denial, her brows furrowed in determination.
“So you’re just going to leave me in the dark?” Lance snarled.
“It was just a nightmare!” Allura insisted as she drove through their front gate which had been propped open.
“Then why do you act like you know exactly what I’m referring to?” Lance hissed angrily. Allura slammed on the brakes, glaring at him.
“There are just some things you don’t need to now!” She yelled at the top of her lungs. Lance paused in surprise before jumping from the old Beatle and slamming the door. He stalked to the cottage door, throwing it open and storming inside.
Coran poked his head out from the living room in confusion as Allura came in behind Lance, slamming the door behind her. “From now on, you’ll come straight home from school. Coran or I will drive you to school and then pick you up in the afternoon. And don’t even think about going anywhere on the weekend!”
“Why am I not allowed to go anywhere? Are you trying to protect me from things that you insist aren’t real?” Lance snarled.
“No, you’re just grounded! Now go to your room!” Allura said, her voice cracking. Lance started towards the stairs before turning around to shoot Allura one last glare.
“You know, sometimes I wish Coran hadn’t found me.”
With that, the cuban boy stormed up to his room, closing the door and locking it behind him. He flopped onto his bed with a groan. He had decided on just wallowing until his phone alerted him to another text.
Leaving me on read McClain :(
Lance blinked owlishly before grinning widely.
I’ll be coming to the party this friday. Could you send me the details?
Chapter 4: Chapter 4
Hey guys! Thank you for being patient. I won’t bore you with excuses on why this took so long. I’ve now finished school so I should have time to write more. No guarantees though.
A special thanks to my friend (I won’t give names, they know who they are–thanks my dude) for helping me get this chapter out and helping me with ideas.
“Lance, over here!” The Cuban boy looked up from his feet and noticed his two friends, Hunk and Pidge, waiting underneath the street light.
“Hey!” Lance exclaimed, grinning from ear to ear as he jogged to catch up with them. Hunk smiled softly at him as Pidge pushed their glasses up their nose.
“Finally managed to escape?” Pidge asks with a sly grin. Hunk simply looks at Lance with a curious stare, suggesting that he to would like to know the answer.
For the past couple days, Lance had been on total lockdown. Allura had made sure either her or Coran were there to drop him off pick him up in the mornings and the afternoons. When at home she would force Lance to sit at the table for every meal.
Allura never spoke a word about the shadowy creature and whenever Lance tried to ask Coran about the monster he would shoot the Cuban boy an apologetic look before Allura mysteriously materialised and whisked the boy away to complete some random chore.
By the time Friday had rolled around, Lance was practically white-knuckling his window sill as he climbed out onto the awning of the back door. He scaled down the wall using the ivy covered trellis before dropping to the ground with a heavy thud. Behind him was the cliff and the churning grey ocean. To Lance’s front was the cottage’s back door that looked even more foreboding now that he’d defied Allura and was sneaking out.
After that, he had called a cab and rode into town to meet up with Pidge and Hunk before heading off to Acxa and Ezor’s party.
“Yeah, I don’t think she believes that I would be gutsy enough to jump out the window.” Lance replied coolly, brushing his hair back. Pidge and Hunk both laughed it off, playfully elbowing the Latino teen.
“So where’s the party at?” Hunk asked at last. Lance whipped out his phone scrolling through the texts he had with Ezor.
“Yeah, here it is.” He copy and pasted the address into google maps and pulled it up to show his two friends.
“You know that is in the woods right?” Pidge said drolly, a raised brow. Lance shrugged.
“I don’t know dude. That’s just the address I was given.” Lance argued with a groan. Hunk took Lance’s phone zooming up on the location.
“Oh hey! That’s behind the school at the fisherman’s dock.” Hunk said.
“Fisherman’s dock?” Lance asked, taking the phone back. On the screen, there was indeed a long pier, the end of the pier that was connected to the land had a toilet block and car park. Surrounding that was lush, dense forest. As he zoomed out, Lance noticed the school, the oval backing onto the same patch of forest that encompassed the dock.
“Yeah. It was a well known fishing spot. Now though, with all the weird stuff happening with the seals, it’s been abandoned. Only teenagers go out there now. Its sort of a hook up spot.” Pidge explained.
“It’s easy enough to walk there. Come on!” Hunk exclaimed, turning on his heel and walking in the direction of the school.
After about half an hour, they reached their destination. Fisherman’s dock.
When they arrived, the party was going strong. People were dancing under the orange glow of the campfire that cast long shadows through the trees and the rope lights that had been thrown up into some branches. In the carpark, someone had parked their truck, the back was full of coolers containing drinks. Closer to the docks was a table that had snacks on it.
“Glad you guys could make it!” Ezor shouted over the music, as she appeared in front of the trio suddenly.
“It’s no problem, really.” Lance said politely.
Hunk and Pidge exchanged a look that the Cuban boy couldn’t quite determine. He shrugged it off.
“Hope you all have fun!” She squealed excitedly as a much taller and broader girl came to Ezor’s side, placing her large hand on Ezor’s slender hip.
The girl gazed at Lance intently, causing Lance to shudder before they broke away and melted back into the writhing crowd of dancing party-goers.
“This is Ezor’s party?” Pidge whisper-shouted, grabbing Lance’s shoulder.
“Um, yes?” Lance struggled as Pidge continued to pummel his arm with their tiny fists. “What about it?”
“Ezor is like the Regina George of the school.” Hunk said with a sigh.
“Cliques and popularity aren’t even really a thing, at least not to a Mean Girls extreme.” Lance argued.
“She might not spend her time talking shit but she is, for sure, a total diva.” Pidge said loudly. A few people looked over curiously. “Who knows what she could be planning!”
Lance pursed his lips.
“Well I don’t know. We are already here though, so we may as well enjoy ourselves.” Lance pointed out. Hunk shrugged and looked to Pidge hopefully. Finally the squirrelly teen gave in with a sigh and agreed to stay.
After that, Pidge loosened up as the trio danced enthusiastically.
After awhile Lance broke away from the others. He grabbed a drink from one of the coolers in the back of the truck before heading out towards the end of the dock. He sat down on the edge of the pier, dangling his legs over the dark water. Before him the ocean stretched out before fading into the dark void that was the night.
The cool breeze blew in his direction, drying out the sweat that he’d gathered from dancing. All of a sudden, a hulking shadow fell over him, blocking the light from the party.
Lance looked over his shoulder and opened his mouth to greet Hunk, who he’d be expecting. Except it wasn’t Hunk.
Lance tried to shout out to the partygoers but the shadowy creature grabbed him, violently covering his mouth. “You know, there was a rumour going around that there was a stray seal wondering around...” it hissed, it’s voice scraping like nails on a chalkboard. “Of course I hadn’t believed it...until now.”
Lance struggled against the creatures strong grip, thrashing as his screams for help were muffled. He swung his leg back, kicking what he thinks was the creature’s groin. It was hard to tell when the oily mass lacked a defined shape.
It hissed in anger gripping him tighter however released Lance’s jaw and mouth. “How dare you!”
There were sudden burning pinpricks on the Cuban boy’s sides and he wailed loudly. He thrashed and cried out as the shadowy mass would not let up. He looked to the party and noticed no one had heard his cries.
The Latino teen whimpered as he suddenly felt nauseous and unmotivated. He was scared and beginning to lose strength. What was happening to him?
An abrupt rustling coming from the woods had the creature whipping around to the tree line. The monster’s grip loosened enough for Lance to fall to his knees on the pier. He laid on his side, panting with exhaustion and letting his eyes slide shut.
Footsteps thumped on the pier but Lance couldn’t be bothered to move. The creature stepped over Lance and yelped loudly until a spray of something hot and acidic was splashing on Lance’s face. The hissing faded and the creature sounded as though it had disappeared.
“Hey. Are you ok?” A voice asked warily. Lance peeled his eyes open. Before him was Keith, kneeling down at his side and looking at him with deep pools of violet-gray.
Lance only managed an agonised groan before the other teen was pulling him to his feet. “I’ll take you somewhere safe.” Keith mumbled, and Lance opened his mouth to reply only to be overcome with another wave of weakness, his head lolling onto Keith’s shoulder.
They trekked through the woods away from the party and came to a clearing. In the clearing was a small cabin. The external walls were coated in a layer of moss and the room looked as though someone had climbed up there and made it a garden bed.
Inside was much warmer and smaller. The inside walls were smooth and painted with a cosy warm orange. To his left was a small living room and to the right was a little kitchen with a breakfast bar.
Keith silently guided Lance to what he suspected was the pale teens room and laid him on the bed. Under normal circumstances, the Cuban boy would be chewing Keith’s ear off about being creepy and taking him to his house but he couldn’t muster up the energy to protest. Besides, the raven haired boy had also saved him from another one of those mysterious monsters, so who was he to complain.
“I’ll be back in a moment.” Keith said simply, quickly exiting the room.
Lance wasn’t sure what that had creature had done to him but he had no energy at all. He was exhausted and could barely feel his arms. His sides ached and he felt queasy. He’d probably hurl if he wasn’t so tired.
After a loud couple of clatters, Keith re-emerged in the door way and held a cup of something steaming. He approached the bed and held the cup out expectantly. Lance tried to lift an arm but failed, his arm flopping to the bed uselessly.
The pale teen nibbled his lip before kneeling on the side of the bed, pulling Lance into his lap so he was sitting up. He gently tilted the tan boy’s head upwards and pressed the cup to his lips. Slowly, something warm trickled down Lance’s throat. It spread through him and feeling came back to his limbs. He patted the bed quietly to let Keith know he’d drank the last few drops.
The raven haired boy pulled away and got to his feet. “It’s best you rest for now.”
Lance didn’t object, his eyes fluttering shut, the last thing he saw being Keith standing in the doorway.
At first Lance had no clue where he was. He was in a strange room with blue walls covered with posters of planets and space. There were shelves crammed with books above his head and a one of those old TVs at the foot of the bed. Beside the TV were stacks of VHS tapes of all different movies, including the old Disney classics.
It wasn’t until Lance saw the cup from last night on the bedside table that the tan boy remembered that Keith had rescued him from the oozing black monster and brought him back here.
Lance winced as he sat up and pressed a hand to his left side. It aches a little but he couldn’t see any marks when he lifted his shirt. Getting to his feet, the Latino teen headed for the door. He quietly turned the knob, letting the door swing open before he crept down the hall.
In the hallway he could see the front door and made a direct beeline for it. If he was quiet then maybe he could just sn–
“Ahem.” Someone cleared their throat, Lance freezing by the kitchen.
Slowly the Cuban boy looked to the source of the voice, wearing a grimace. In the kitchen stood a slender woman. She had to be over six feet and had a lithe muscular figure with short choppy hair and a braided rats tail. She was pretty in a I-could-snap-you-like-a-toothpick sort of way.
“Who are you?” She asked, taking a long sip of what Lance suspected was either coffee or tea.
“M-my name is Lance.” He stuttered timidly.
“Why are you here?” She drummed her nails–which were long and manicured to a sharp point–on the breakfast bar, making Lance feel like she was gone claw his eyeballs out.
Lance hesitated, rubbing the back of his neck with a hand. Should he tell her about the monster? She’d probably think he was tripping and send him to the cops. He could just say that Keith brought him here. But what if Keith doesn’t even live here and has left me in a strangers house? Lance thought frantically.
Suddenly the front door swung open and Keith appeared, holding a brown paper bag filled with groceries.
“Oh, you’re awake already?” Keith asks though it seems more like he was thinking out loud as he looks at Lance with a far off expression.
“Keith, would you care to explain?” The lady asked pointedly, raising a brow at the pale teen.
“The Galra attacked him. I let him rest here.” Keith explained simply, moving to put the groceries on the bench. “I’ll take him home now.”
“Uh it’s ok I’ll just call my cousin.” Lance said, laughing nervously. What the fuck was going on? Galra?
He patted all his pockets madly in search of his phone but could not find it for the life of him. Slowly he looked up to the woman and Keith with a nervous grin. He looked at Keith shyly, “Did you take my phone last night?”
“You didn’t have one...” Keith trailed off as he shrugged. “Perhaps you dropped it at the party?”
“Uh yeah probably...” Lance said with a sigh as he remembered the attack.
“Come on, I’ll help you find it.” Keith says. Without waiting for a reply he grasps Lance by the art and heads for the door. The lady is giving Keith a reprimanding look which the raven haired boy pointedly ignores.
Once outside, Lance realises that he must have slept way longer then just a couple hours. The sky was orange and he could no longer see the sun.
He took in his surroundings and noticed the cabin is quite literally in the forest. There’s no road or path insight. Just lots of trees and if Lance looks to his right he can see the ocean through all of the vegetation.
“Is this where you live?” Lance asks.
Keith looks at him and nods. This was probably the first time Lance was able to get a proper look of the boy and he wouldn’t admit it aloud but he was rather handsome.
Keith’s pale skin was taught over, high angelic cheekbones that sat below to gray eyes that were almost lilac. Framing his face were inky locks that reached his sharp jawline. His lips looked plush and smooth, a pale pink colour that had Lance biting his own lip.
They walked through the forest in silence before bursting through the trees and into the clearing where the party had been. The area had been cleaned up, leaving no trace of the party except for the lights which were still hanging from the trees.
Lance paused and breathed quietly as he thought back to the previous night. “No one came when I called.” He had been sure that he was loud enough for them to hear.
“Too many humans were there.” Keith said. Lance looked at him quizzically, lips pursed.
“Humans are affected by the bless. It stops them from seeing or hearing things they don’t want to see. When there’s a lot of them the impact is tripled.” Keith explains. “Sometimes people will see things on their own or in small groups. You don’t seem to have the bless at all though.”
The pale boy shrugs before walking towards the pier. Lance doesn’t know what to say and follows him instead. On the pier, Lance can see his phone. The screen is cracked and he has dozens of missed calls from Hunk, Pidge and Allura.
With a groan, he scrolled through all the worried texts hid friends had sent and then all the furious ones Allura sent.
“I really don’t want to go home now.” He mumbles sadly.
There’s a rustling noise and Keith grabs Lance–who drops his phone in the grass by the shore. Quietly, Keith pulls Lance into the water and they hide under the pier. Heels clack on the wooden dock before it stops right above their heads. Lance tried his best to breathe quietly.
“Finally.” A feminine voice snaps after five long minutes. Someone else walks out onto the dock but Lance thinks they might be wearing sneakers.
“Did you catch him?” The feminine voice asked. It sounded familiar to Lance’s ears and his fists clenched.
“No.” Someone replies in a meek voice. “A halfling stopped me.”
“A halfling? Are you kidding me? Lotor wants that seal as soon as possible.” The lady shrieked angrily.
“He had a Marmoran blade!” The stranger sailed back. Lance heard the noise of the heels taking a step and then a strangled noise.
“That’s irrelevant. I don’t care what it takes. Get that seal. Otherwise Zarkon will be coming for the lot of us.” The woman snaps. Suddenly a loud thud sounds making Lance gasp. Keith covers his mouth and they sink further into the water.
The heeled shadow pauses before sauntering off into the woods. Keith holds Lance in the water until the other stranger has gathered the strength to get up and leave. The sun has started to sink below the horizon, turning the water a blazing orange.
Keith and Lance crawl from the water, and flop onto the grass.
“Who were they?” Lance shudders, the wind icy against his wet clothes.
“Galra.” Keith says, looking at Lance with a strange expression.
“Aren’t those the strange creatures? Like the one that attacked me?” Lance asked loudly, eyes wide.
“Yeah. While the sun is up they hide in plain sight. Their true forms can’t handle bright light.” He explained. Lance feels sick.
The sun has disappeared now. Lance grabs his phone which is flat now.
“You can stay with me again. My mum won’t mind.” Keith said suddenly.
“If your mum is that scary, buff chick then I’m sure she’ll mi–“
“Lance!” A frantic voice exclaimed, causing both Lance and Keith to whip around.
Pidge was running into the clearing, Hunk hot on her heels. Lance stands up and wraps his arms around Pidge as she almost tackles him to the ground.
“Where did you go, man?” Hunk asks, putting a protective hand on Lance’s shoulder. Lance shrugs tiredly and smiles at them weakly.
“I don’t know.” He says simply. Pidge looks annoyed and opens her mouth to scold him but Hunk pulls Lance into a hug.
“We were crazy worried about you. Allura has been looking for you all day.” Hunk said, pulling away to look into Lance’s eyes.
“If I may, what the fuck is Keith doing here?” Pidge asked, causing Lance to break away from Hunk and look to Keith who had raised a brow to the short, squirrelly teen.
“It’s none of your business really.” Keith snaps, looking miffed.
It was then that Lance jerked and began gagging and retching. His arms and legs began to spasm uncontrollably and he felt like many hot needles were piercing his brain. He fell to the ground and shook. He tasted metal in his mouth and was terrified. Everything was fuzzy and all he could tell was that he was scared.
“What’s happening?” Someone cried. It was muffled.
“Don’t touch him. He’s having a seizure.” Someone else snaps. Black dots are appearing in Lance’s vision.
“Lance! Lance!” Another person says, panicked.
Everything is black and it feels like he’s floating. A rush of cold water has him snapping to consciousness. Lance doesn’t even feel in control but he can tell he’s in the ocean and screaming. In the moonlight, he can see Pidge and Hunk on the shore looking horrified.
Lance feels and hears a series of cracks and pops as pain sears up his spine. Keith is standing in the water beside him, pulling his clothes off. Why is Keith taking his clothes? What’s happening?
Lance knows he’s still screaming and wailing. He can feel his skin shrinking and splitting. He can’t breathe. Everything is painful and he feels like he’s on fire. He can see bits of his own flesh and skin floating on the water and Lance is sure that if it were daytime he’d see blood.
After awhile, the pain ebbs. Lance’s vision has blacked out multiple times but now he’s looking at a worried Keith. Keith looks different though. He looks bigger then Lance remembered.
The cool water soothes Lance as he looks to the shore. Pidge and Hunk are standing there gaping, eyes bulging. He tries to ask them what’s wrong but instead he lets out a guttural bark.
What the fuck?
Lance looks down and in the pale moon light he can see his reflection.
He’s no longer a human but a seal.
Chapter 5: Chapter 5
Lance is a seal. A fucking seal.
He tried questioning Keith but whenever he tried to speak he would make barks instead. Lance became more frantic, thrashing in the water, splashing in the water which smelt heavily of iron.
Oh this is bad. Very bad.
Those Galra things were looking for seals. They were going to kill him.
Allura was going to kill him. She already hated him. If she knew he was a freak she’d chop him up into little pieces.
Lance wanted to scream but again he only managed barks.
“Lance, shh, it’s ok.” Keith soothed him with a nervous look in his eye. He kneeled down beside Lance in the water and continued to shush him until he’d been relatively calmed.
I’m a seal, Keith! What the fuck am I going to do? Am I stuck like this? Lance barked. He knew Keith and the others couldn’t understand him but he was scared. He sank lower into the water and let out an anxious groan.
“What is he?” Pidge asked, startled, wading into the water cautiously. “Is Lance ok?”
“I think so.” Keith mumbled, his hand stroking Lance’s short grey and black fur under the water. Lance shuffled away and let out a strange hiss-growling noise. He huffed water spraying from his snout.
Keith simply shrugged. “I think he’s a selkie.”
“You can’t be serious.” Pidge says mildly, raising a disbelieving brow.
“Uh guys, shouldn’t we take him to a hospital or a vet?” Hunk cried out from the shore where he was crouched, legs drawn up to his chest. “I don’t know if you guys were watching but Lance literally had a seizure and his skin peeled off and his eyeballs pop–“
“No!” Pidge and Keith both cut off Hunk’s rambling.
Lance made a gagging motion at the image Hunk’s description had put in his mind.
“We can’t take him anywhere right now. If we take him to a hospital, what will we tell them? And there’s nothing a vet can do.” Keith said, trying to reason with the boy who looked queasy.
Lance was scared. There’s no way he’d be able to show his face ever again! Not that anyone would recognise him anyway. Will he have to live as a seal forever? At once, Lance began to panic again, splashing in the water.
“Lance, would you quit it!” Pidge snapped shielding their eyes from the spray. “If Lance is a selkie, how does he change back? In most lore, it says selkies simply shed their pelts off.”
Hunk made a muffled noise and the three in the water looked over to see the other boy turning green. He swallowed with what looked like great difficulty, “sorry I just keep thinking about–“
He cut himself off this time when he got on his hands and knees to retch.
Pidge shook their head and pinched the bridge of their nose. Keith looked at Lance and shrugged.
“I’m not a selkie so I’m not sure how it works.” Keith said with an eye roll.
“Sorry I’m not the one who suggested that that’s what’s going on here.” Pidge huffed annoyed. “I’m just concerned for Lance.”
Lance barked softly, his stomach clenching at Pidge’s scared look. He hoped they weren’t afraid of him.
“I’m concerned to.” Keith replied softly, eyes downcast.
“I never thought I’d ever see a selkie to be honest.” The raven haired boy added. Curiously Lance glanced at him. He had a knowing shimmer in his soft violet eyes that made Lance’s whiskers twitch in wonder.
“I’m sure no one thought they’d see a selkie...they are a myth.” Pidge said almost mockingly.
“Sure.” Was all Keith managed but his tone had Lance on edge.
“Lance.” Pidge said suddenly, snatching Lance’s attention away from Keith. “Do you think you could turn back?”
He tried to shrug but as a seal it must have looked strange. He let out a short bark trying to tal even though he knew it was useless.
“Just try.” Keith said, his gaze fully focused on Lance. Pidge raised a brow at Keith questioningly.
Lance gave an inward sigh and shut his eyes. At first all he could feel was his warm fur and the sensation of water lapping at him but the feeling soon faded. Now though he felt like he was suspended in midair.
That was until he felt a plummeting sensation and suddenly he was kneeling in cold water, a heavy warmth draped over his shoulders. He peeked up and saw the three other teenagers staring at him, jaws agape.
“Am I normal again? Are my eyeballs back?” Lance cried loudly, his hands snapping upwards to run along his forehead and jaw. Everything felt normal and upon seeing his reflection in the water he had confirmed he was back to his regular form.
“You’re ok!” Hunk shouted in relief, storming into the water and throwing his arms around Lance. Quickly, the tan teenager wrapped his arms around hunk in return. His fingers twisted in Hunks jacket and he was almost scared to let go.
“I take it from the look on your face that turning into a seal is new for you.” Pidge states. Lance nods.
“God I’m such a freak.” The Cuban boy wailed. “There’s no way I can go home now. Allura will be disgusted and disown me!”
“Well you can’t just run away! Her and Coran have been out all day searching for you.” Hunk said.
“He can stay with me for the night.” Keith piped up nonchalantly.
“I really don’t think that’s a good idea.” Pidge hissed, not completely trusting Keith. “We don’t even know you!”
“It makes more sense. My house is the closest and no one will be pestering him about that.” Keith countered, pointing to the skin draped over Lance’s naked body.
“Why do I have to take it with me? Can’t I just leave it here?” Lance asked anxiously, looking to Keith.
“You can try but if selkies are anything like they’re described in the folk lore you won’t be able to leave it here and if you do, you’ll just find yourself returning for it.” Keith explains, straight faced. How is he not flipping right now?
“Lance can’t go with you!” Pidge snaps stubbornly. “I’ve seen how you watch him and follow him at school.”
“Listen here you–“
“Guys it’s fine. I will go with Keith. I’m too exhausted and I don’t know if I could walk all the way back into town.” Lance says tiredly, cutting Keith’s reply off.
“Are you sure, man?” Hunk asked cautiously, casting Keith a wary look.
“Yeah, it’ll be fine.” The tan teen replied.
“What about Allura?” Pidge piped up, their glasses reflecting the moonlight when they adjusted them.
“I’m not dealing with her tonight.” Lance says with a groan, getting to his feet. The cold air catches him off guard and he wraps the seal pelt tighter around him self.
Keith picks up Lance’s ruined clothes from the water. They’re covered in blood and there are flaps of skin stuck to the items. Hunk makes another gagging noise and Lance screws up his face.
“I’m not wearing those ever again.” The Cuban boy says with disgust.
Keith rolls his eyes and begins walking towards the toilet block to drop the soiled clothes in the bin. Pidge, Hunk and Lance follow him out of the water and stand shivering on the grass. All of them were wet and cold, Lance feeling even more miserable. Not only was he a freak but he was also naked and sopping.
“So you’re ok going to Keith’s then?” Pidge asks.
“Yeah, it’s alright.” Lance says, flashing the squirrelly teen a soft smile.
“Alright then. You have to call us ok? Tomorrow.” Pidge says firmly, the way Lance’s older sister would have whenever she dropped Lance off at parties. It makes his stomach turn and he gives them a jerky nod.
Quickly, Hunk and Pidge retreated into the woods.
“Hey.” Keith called. Lance turned and the pale teen walking towards him. He rummaged around in his pocket and produced a silver locket. It was Lance’s seal locket from his mother.
“I put it into my pocket when I was grabbing your clothes. I thought I could save them by taking them off but I guess I didn’t anticipate the blood.” He explained, rubbing the back of his neck shyly.
He offered the locket to Lance and he took it, putting it around his neck. Looking at it now, he wondered if his mother knew that he would be able to turn into a seal. The irony, Lance mused sardonically.
Keith and Lance trudged through the woods once more.
The raven haired boy strode confidently as if he recognised every tree and every scrap of moss. There was also a certain air of calm about him when he was in the woods, Lance noticed. Whenever Lance had seen Keith in town or at school, the boy seemed dazed or agitated. It was strange.
Shortly, they reached the deceivingly small cabin.
Upon entering Lance noticed that it was dark. None of the lights were on though Lance could still see a portion of the kitchen due to the moonlight filtering in through the window.
“Mum.” Keith said. “Would you stop skulking?”
Lance raised a confused brow until a table lamp flickered on, revealing the toned, athletic looking woman from that afternoon, sitting on the couch.
“You have a guest.” Keith’s mum observed, scanning Lance from head to toe. Her eye flickered in surprise, her lips parting. She turned her attention back to Keith. “He’s a selkie.”
“Yes.” Keith said, stepping inside. Lance followed him wrapping the pelt tighter around himself. His cheeks warmed. He was stark naked in front of keith’s mum, and even though she didn’t appear bothered, Lance felt exposed.
Keith shut the door and looked back to his mum. “He’s different though.”
His mum looked as though she was about to say something until Lance jumped in. “You keep saying that I’m a selkie, but I’m not even sure what that means!” The Cuban boy hissed shyly.
“How do you not know what a selkie is? It’s what you are!” Keith’s mum said, getting to her feet. She moved towards him and Lance tried to shrink in on himself. Undeterred, she rested a gentle hand on his, ruffling his hair before tilting his head up for her to inspect. “You smell like blood.”
“He grew his pelt just this afternoon.” Keith explained. Lance was still lost. He had gathered that a selkie was like a were-seal or something but he didn’t understand how he got to be this way. Could he ever be normal again? Why did they know more about what he was then he did?
“Grew?” Keith’s mum asked, eyes widening.
“I’m sorry Miss...” Lance trailed off before Keith’s mum piped up.
“Krolia. Call me Krolia.”
“Right, Krolia. I only found out this evening that I can magically become a seal and since you and your son seem to know so much about what I am so do you think you could tell me? Please?” Lance pleaded. Krolia paused before nodding.
“Of course, take a seat.” She said gesturing to the seats in the living room.
Lance glanced at Krolia’s nice, plush green couch and matching arm chair before glancing down. Krolia seemed to finally realise Lance was nude.
“Keith, dear?” She asked politely. Keith simply nodded and turned away to stalk down the hall. “It’s ok, I’ve had a lot worse on these seats.”
Lance blushed before settling into the armchair, draping the pelt over his crotch. He felt strange looking at it. Even though he had mentioned simply throwing the skin away, he felt attached to it, even if it looked like a dead, floppy animal. It was almost like a safety blanket.
“Lance. That’s your name right?” Krolia asked as she sat down on the couch to his right.
“Yeah.” The tan teenager said shakily, patting the skin. The fur was short but warm splotched a variety of greys, blacks and in the light Lance could see brown.
“I’m not an expert on Selkies but I know the basics. Most of it stuff you can actually google!” She started.
“Selkies are creatures from the sea. They have a seal pelt which they don in the water but when on land they shed their animal skin, taking on their human form. Selkies are generally born with their skins but Keith said you grew yours?” She asked gently. Lance peered up into her questioning gaze and shrugged.
“Yeah. It wasn’t fun. A lot of...well blood.” Lance said.
“I see. Well one thing I know is that selkies are protective of their skins. Your kind are called by the ocean and without your pelts you cannot return. In the older days when humans weren’t as ignorant to the faerie world they would often steal selkie skins in order to hold them captive.” Krolia explained.
“Faerie world?” Lance asked.
“Er yes, faeries are a thing. As a selkie you have not noticed them?” Krolia asked, frowning.
“I didn’t even know I was a selkie let alone that faeries were real.” Lance stressed, fists clenching in the pelt–his pelt.
“Well there are many faeries. Including the Galra.” She said bitterly. The Cuban boy felt a chill run down his spine as he remembered the vicious creatures. They had been attacking him in the past couple days talking about seals and how much they’d like to eat one.
“I’ve seen them before.” Lance said hollowly. “I didn’t understand what they meant when they were calling me a seal.”
“Yes. Along time ago, the galra were feeding on humans, as they do, though one day your kind stood up to them. The selkies that reside in this area have been protecting the humans. That angered the galra.” She said.
“Are you human?” Lance asked hesitantly. Krolia smiled at him.
“No.” With that she got to her feet. “I’m going out now. Keith should make you feel at home.”
With that she left the cabin.
“Er, I found these.” Keith spoke up, appearing from the shadowy hallway. In his hands was a baggy white shirt with the Coca Cola logo stamped across the chest and a pair of plaid gray boxers. The pale teen offered them to Lance before directing him to the bathroom.
After Lance had changed, he felt much better. He still wrapped the pelt around his shoulders. It seemed strange to Lance how naturally he had accepted the skin as part of his person. He felt sick thinking about losing it or putting it down.
The tan teen walked to the living room, where Keith was laid out on the couch, a book on hand.
Lance sat on the floor by Keith, reading a few lines silently over his shoulder. He then glanced at Keith and jumped slightly when he realised the raven haired boy was looking his way. “H-hey.” Lance managed.
“Hi...” Keith said slowly, looking at Lance with his pale lilac-grey irises.
“Um, like thanks for letting me stay here. After what’s happened this afternoon I don’t know if I could face my cousin.” Lance blurted, cheeks warming.
“It’s fine. I’ll sleep out here so you can sleep on my bed.” Keith said, gaze flickering back to his book. Lance nodded but he made no move to get up. He looked around the room, silently observing before turning his attention back to Keith.
“Hey, is it alright if I ask you a question?” Lance asked, slowly as if his tongue were struggling to make the noises he required to communicate.
“You just did.” Keith replied, turning a page, not looking up. Lance rolled his eyes and exhaled heavily through his nose.
“I wanted to know why you were following me and watching me. Did you know I was a selkie?” Lance asked. Keith shut his book, but didn’t bother to look at the Cuban boy.
“It’s complicated. And no, I did not realise you were a selkie. You smelt human until just after your seizure. Then all I could smell was seal.” Keith explained.
“Ok.” Lance was slightly bitter that Keith hadn’t answered the first part of his question but he didn’t feel like prodding the pale teen. He got up then and made his way down the hall to Keith’s room, sitting on the edge of his bed.
Just a week ago, he thought Keith was a bit of a basket case and weird but now he wasn’t sure how to feel. Lance felt more comfortable with the strange boy, he was sure of that. It calmed Lance to know that Keith and Krolia could offer him some semblance of answers to all the things that had been happening. Except now there were all new questions.
How did he become a selkie? When had the faerie world become real? Did his mother know about all of this?
Everything the tan teen had thought he’d known was a lie.
The next morning Lance woke up in Keith’s room for the second time.
Yawning, the Cuban boy stretched and got to his feet. He grabbed his pelt and draped it over his shoulders before walking out towards the living room and kitchen.
Krolia was standing in the kitchen looking happy as she chatted away to a man who was sitting at the breakfast bar. The new guest beamed at Krolia, laughing heartily at whatever she had been saying.
The man had pale olive skin, and warm almond shaped eyes. A large scar ran across his nose but hid hardly affected his looks. His hair was soft and fluffy looking and was the colour of fresh snow. He also had a nice jawline and well-muscled build.
As Lance scanned him up and down, he realised that this man was also missing his right arm.
“Morning, Lance.” Krolia called, spooking Lance into jumping. The man chuckled and the sound was husky.
“Come meet Takashi Shirogane.” She said, waving the tan teen into the kitchen. Lance shyly made his way towards the man, smiling slightly.
“You can just call me Shiro.” The man said, holding his left hand out to Lance. Lance hesitantly took his hand, shaking it.
“Are you human?” Lance asked. It was a strange question to ask normally but with everything that had happened and Lance had learned, he’d been second guessing everything he knew.
“Yes and no.” Shiro said, giving Lance a warm smile. “I’m actually a witch.”
“That’s a thing?” Lance asked, bewildered. Shiro just laughed.
“Lance is um, new to the faerie world.” Krolia explained, handing Lance a glass of what looked to be orange juice.
“Well it sounds like you’re not from here.” Shiro said, referring to the Cuban boy’s non-Irish accent.
“Uh yeah, I’m from the states.” Lance said curtly.
“Not a lot of fair folk there.” Krolia said with an understanding look.
“So Lance are you living with Krolia and Keith?” Shiro asked curiously.
“No. I live with my cousin, Allura and my uncle, Coran.” Lance replied.
“No way!” Shiro said with wide eyes. “Allura is your cousin? Actually now that I look, I can see the similarities.”
Lance frowned. “Are you friends?”
“Yes! She actually helped me learn about Faeries.” Shiro explained.
“Allura knows about faeries?” Lance asked loudly in disbelief. Shiro paused, looking a tad confused.
“Yes...” Shiro trailed off a half frown on his face as he still looked confused.
After that, the door to the cabin swung open and Lance turned to see Keith entering. Lance hadn’t even noticed that the pale teen hadn’t still been sleeping on the couch.
“Hey Shiro.” Keith greeted, a half smile gracing his lips. “I see you’ve met Lance.”
“Yeah, I like this one. You going to make him your boyfriend?” Shiro asked boldly, smirking deviously.
Keith started spluttering and cursing Shiro out while Lance felt heat creeping up his neck. What did he mean by Are you going to make him your boyfriend?! Keith simply punched Shiro in the shoulder as if he were punishing his sibling for saying something he shouldn’t have. Lance’s stomach clenched for a split-second as he remembered his brothers.
“Don’t mind Shiro. He’s fallen on his head one too many times.” Keith said glaring at Shiro after regaining his composure.
“I should get home.” Lance said awkwardly putting down the glass he hadn’t touched. Keith nodded in reply.
“Let me get you some pants and a bag for your pelt.” Keith said, heading towards his room.
Keith came back with a pair of plain jeans and a nice leather knapsack. Krolia gave Keith a look upon seeing the bag but didn’t say anything. Quickly the tan teen folded up the seal skin, putting it into the knapsack and got dressed.
Keith had decided to accompany Lance home and soon the two were outside, walking through the woods. The morning light dappled the grass and Lance could hear the birds chirping sweetly. He also noticed that peaceful look Keith got when he was in the woods.
After they got to town Lance had decided to call a cab. Keith waited with him on a bench.
“Hey, I’m sorry about the thing that Shiro said earlier.” The raven haired boy muttered nervously, fists clenching on his knees.
“Oh that’s fine.” Lance said softly. He looked to Keith and saw just how distraught he seemed. “Really. If it makes you feel better, I like boys to.”
Keith’s gaze snapped up to meet Lance’s.
“Really?” He asked, looking less nervous.
“Yeah. I mean, I like girls to. But, boys are great to.” Lance blurted as he tried to appear nonchalant. Keith simply nodded.
“Would you like my number?” Keith asked suddenly.
“What?” Lance uttered nervously.
“Like if you need help with the galra or have questions about faeries...or if you want to be friends, I guess.” Keith rambled, rubbing his nose. Perhaps it was a tic. Lance slowly smiled.