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The lunatic, the lover and the poet.

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“Whatever that thing is, it’s not human. Rosa, let him go!” Lance’s father raged, stood facing his mother defensively. Lance, a scared five-year-old, stood clutching his mother’s arm, eyes wide in fear. His mother turned to him and knelt down. She placed gentle hands on his shaking shoulders.

     “Alejandro, look at me. Can you tell us what you are?” She said softly.

     “Si, mama.” He said. “I’m a fairy.” He whispered. Lance’s father laughed incredulously. “I’m a changeling. Look.” Lance closed his eyes, his nose scrunched up as he focused. When he opened them, they glowed an unnatural blue. His ears were pointed, his skin glowing and a pair of delicate blue wings rested on his back.

     His mother stood up and turned to stare into the woods that they were stood at the edge of. She looked back to her husband. She gave him a pleading glance, and he softened.

     “We’ve been raising a fairy. For how long?” He whispered.

     “Since I was a baby.” Lance counted on his fingers. “Four years!”

     “Where’s our real son, though?” The man said. “Lance, can you bring him back to us? I’m sure you can… stay with us.”

     Lance hesitated. He looked between his parents, and his small face took on a determined look.

    “He’s with the fairies. I will bring him back. I’ll be back soon.” The child said and marched off, deeper into the woods. Rosa watched him go with a fond look on her face. She looked at her husband.

   “Lance is staying with us. I know he doesn’t really… fit in,” It was true; Lance was a pretty child, but his face was too sharp, his features mischievous, and his blue eyes and freckles were a world apart from the McClain brown eyes and clear skin. He acted odd, skittish and impossible to control when he was angry, unlike his sister or his cousins. “But he’s a part of the family, and he has been for a long time now.” She said. Her husband nodded. “Mateo, he’s just a child, and none of this is his fault. We’ll say they’re twins.”

    “My son is a fucking changeling.” Mateo sighed, slumping against a tree. “I blame my father.”  Rosa settled next to him, resting her head on his shoulder.

 

Neither party realised they had fallen asleep, until they heard shouting from the woods. Rosa cried out at the sight of two children stumbling through the woods, arms wrapped around each other. Mateo ran to gather them in his arms, and the four of them moved back into the small cottage where the Cuban family lived.

     “Alejandro, are you okay?” Rosa said, fussing over the two boys as they curled up on the couch. She sighed. “I can’t have two Lances, can I. Mijo,” She turned to her human son, realising with a jolt that she was looking at a stranger, albeit a stranger who looked more like her than the boy she had raised for four years, “You are Marco, okay.”

     The tired-looking boy, who was wearing an odd-looking blue garment, nodded and stared at her blearily. Lance, equally as exhausted, put his chin on Marco’s shoulder.

     “You’re my brother now. I’m sorry you got stolen by fairies but now I’m here to protect you.” The boy said. He grabbed his brother’s hand. “We’re going to be best friends, I can tell.”

     “Lance, what happened out there?” Rosa asked carefully, draping a blanket over her sons.

     “I promised the fairies I would visit them, so they let me stay with you. They said me and Marco should visit together. Isn’t that… cool, mama?” The boy mumbled, slipping off to sleep.

     “Are you my mama, too?” Marco asked, big brown eyes watching Rosa with awe. She laughed a little and nodded, choked up.

     “Forever, mijo.” She said. Marco drifted off, and Rosa kissed them both on the forehead. Veronica slept upstairs, blissfully unaware that she now had two little brothers, and, Rosa thought with a smile, a third on the way.

 

 

***

 

If Lance’s mother had been here, she would have punted him into another century without hesitation. Lance couldn’t find it in him to be bothered about facing the wrath of an angry Cuban woman, though, because he was more worried about the ominous-looking wormhole the blue robot lion he was trapped in was barrelling towards. He hoped that wherever they were, Marco and Puck were having a better time than him.

 

***

 

The hot space princess was a surprise, but Lance wasn’t complaining. Besides, her ears were eerily similar to those of his second family, and that brought him closer to home and the family he missed so horribly.

 

***

 

Defenders of the universe, huh. It had a nice ring to it.

 

***

 

Lance paused a moment, doubling over and heaving in deep breaths. From across the room, Keith watched him, an eyebrow raised, arms folded. Lance winked at him, and pulled himself upright, raising his fists again.

     Lance and Keith had been sparring for ten minutes, and Keith had been thoroughly beating his ass. In order to keep what he was a secret, Lance had been actively avoiding using his magic in any way, shape or form around the team. Right now, however, he was more focused on wiping the smug look off Keith’s face. Lance took a second to centre himself, feeling a sudden queasiness as he reached for nature magic that wasn’t there; everything about the castle was cold and artificial with nothing to draw power from, unlike the forests at home that he had first learnt to spar in.

     Instead, he allowed himself to shift, just slightly, into fae form, praying Keith would be too focused on beating him up to see the glow in his eyes, the slight point to his ears and the silver sheen to his skin. Keith rushed at him, and Lance, far swifter than humanly possible, moved out of the way. Keith threw a punch, and Lance yelped, reaching up instinctively. It was at Keith’s surprised grunt that he noticed he had caught the stronger man’s fist in his hand. Lance grinned in spite of himself as Keith dropped his hand and fell back into a defensive stance.

     He continued to dodge and evade with inhuman grace, until Lance noticed the door to the training room open. As Shiro walked in, Lance let his form drop, feeling a fresh wave of fatigue without his magic to energise him. Keith knocked him over with ease and hovered above him with concern-filled eyes when he saw Lance struggle to stand up.

     “Are you okay, Lance? You suddenly look exhausted.” He said, helping the other boy to his feet. Lance flashed him a smile that didn’t quite reached his eyes. He ran his hand through his hair, disappointed that he had lost so badly.

     “I’m good. I’m going to get a shower, then find Hunk.” He said. He missed the look Keith and Shiro shared as he brushed past Shiro on his way out of the door.

 

After his shower, Lance didn’t go to find Hunk. He went straight to his room, locking the door behind him. Lance didn’t know how long he’s been in space at that point; it became difficult to keep track of days, and Lance could no longer track the cycle of the moon, as he had done religiously on earth. He was sure, though, that it had been months.

     “You know, Marco, I thought I’d be home by now. We were going to visit the Seelie courts in Scotland in the summer, remember? I wonder if you and Puck went anyway. I hope you two aren’t causing mama much grief, and I know that if Ronnie wakes up with fairy locks one more time she’s actually going to shave her hair off. I really miss you. I miss Puck too. And Ronnie and Luis. Mama. Papa…” Lance trailed off, staring blankly at the ceiling. “Keith is Galra. He’s not human. He told the team, and everyone took it well. Eventually, anyway. Should I tell them about me? If Puck were here, I think he’d want me to. I’m tired of hiding.” Lance talked until he fell asleep, imagining his brother could hear him. He woke up with a start at a loud hammering on the door.

     “Lance! Breakfast!” Pidge yelled.

     “Coming, pixie.” Lance grumbled, opening the door. She stuck her tongue out at him in mock offense but walked with him to the dining room anyway.

 

Shiro and Allura were already there, talking between them in hushed, urgent whispers. That wasn’t particularly unusual, though, so Lance took his place at the table unbothered. Hunk walked in a moment later and passed out bowls of food to everybody.

     “Hey, where’s Keith?” he wondered aloud.

     The door slid open and a murderous-looking Keith stalked in. Aside from his scowling face, his most notable feature was the knotted hair on his head. It looked too deliberate to be bed head – strands perfectly twisted in unnatural ways – but it was a matted mess and looked painful.

     Lance knew what it was. Fairy locks, a side effect of being in close proximity to an agitated or particularly mischievous fae. Obviously, Lance’s mood last night had been worse than he had thought, and Keith was suffering the side effects. The rest of the team, including Keith, did not know this.

    “What the fuck.” Pidge said, dropping her spoon. Shiro gave her a look, but she ignored him in favour of staring at Keith’s hair. “How did you manage that?”

     “I don’t know!” Keith said, agitatedly. “I woke up and it was like this!” The poor boy looked as if he was going to either cry or stab something, fists clenching and unclenching. Probably the stabbing, Lance thought, subtly moving his chair away from the red paladin, and away from the table.

     “This looks deliberate.” Allura said, puzzled. “Did someone on the castle do this? Lance?”

Everyone turned to look at Lance. He raised his hands, exasperated.

     “Yeah, because Mr. I Sleep With A Knife wouldn’t have noticed me sneak into his room and sit on his bed knotting his hair? Why would I even do that!” He cried, and their faces changed as they accepted his explanation. Everyone turned back to Keith. “I could help you untangle it, though.” Lance said, softer. Keith lifted his head in surprise. “I have a big sister, and her hair used to touch the floor. Luis always kept his hair long, too. I like playing with hair.” Lance explained.

     To his surprise, Keith strode over and sat himself in front of Lance’s chair. Lance froze in surprise.

     “Don’t make it weird, just… fix it.” Keith muttered, and Lance got to work. He allowed a little of his magic to travel through his hands, weaving it into Keith’s hair. The knots fell away easily, and Lance barely noticed how the rest of the team watched as his fingers nimbly braided and unbraided Keith’s hair. When he was done, Keith’s hair was webbed with delicate plaits, in a way entirely too graceful for the callous man.

     Allura in particular stared at Keith’s hair. She cleared her throat. “Lance, that was rather amazing. Might you braid my hair at some point?” She asked timidly. Lance flashed her an easy smile.

     “Of course, princess.” He said. Keith sat down and began to eat his breakfast, unconsciously reaching behind him to touch his hair in quiet awe.

 

A few Vargas later, Lance found himself alone on the training deck. It as a rare occurrence, as usually either Keith or Shiro could be relied upon to be battling bots, but Lance saw it as a blessing. He locked the training deck doors, praying no one would bother to train for the rest of the day.

     When he was at home, he didn’t train in armour, he trained in leggings and a tunic, so that was what he was wearing. The leggings he had found in the wardrobe of his room. The tunic was old, one of Pucks that he had glamoured into a baseball tee, and had been wearing when they were blast into space, but Lance was thankful for the familiar fabric now he had let the glamour drop. It made him feel stronger.

     Lance clenched his fist, letting his glamour drop and his magic flow, and a staff appeared in his hand. He twirled it a few times experimentally, re-familiarising himself with his weapon of choice. The staff was wooden but reinforced with magic; it could take a mountain troll’s head clean off without snapping. Ivy vines wrapped around the length, the magic oozing off of the plants invigorating Lance and filling him with renewed strength.

     Lance’s wings flapped a couple of times, and he hovered a few inches off of the ground, before settling his bare feet on the floor again.

     “Start training level 5” Lance called, starting where he had left off in group training. Lance took a deep breath and lifted off the ground. Two bots dropped fro the ceiling and rushed at him. He danced out of their way with practiced ease; Lance was used to fighting fae, and they could be faster than anything the training bots could offer. He landed behind the bots, quickly spinning into a sharp kick that sent one of the bots flying. He followed up with a swift swing of his staff, which hit the other bot in the midriff. The bot crashed into a wall, broken in half. Both bots fell through the floor, and Lance fell back into a relaxed but defensive stance as the next level started, two more bots falling from the ceiling.

 

Two hours and seven training levels later, Lance was only two levels behind Shiro and on the same level as Keith. He was exhausted but satisfied. Lance let go of his staff, and it disappeared before it hit the floor. Reluctantly, he reapplied his glamour, sad to abandon his wings; it felt like loosing a limb.

     Lance, red-faced and uncomfortably sweaty, made his way down the hallways towards his room, when he – literally – ran into Keith and Shiro. They were wearing their armour, and it wasn’t difficult to guess where they were headed. Lance was only vaguely aware how weird he must look as Shiro caught his shoulder.

     “What have you been doing?” He asked, frowning.

     “What dos it look like, boss? Beating the shit out of the training bots.” Lance said with a shrug. “Now, if you wouldn’t mind, I’d really like a shower, so…”

     “Lance, if you had really tried to fight those bots without your armour on, they would’ve killed you.” Keith said. Lance, mature adult he was, stuck his tongue out at the other boy. Keith scowled. “What are you wearing? You look like an elf.”

     “That’s because I am, mullet.” Lance grinned.

     “Take this seriously, Lance. Goofing off like this could cost you or your teammates their lives.” Shiro said with a sigh. “Keith, come on.”

     Lance watched them walk off with a frown.

 

When Keith and Shiro reached the training deck, Shiro felt uneasy. He felt almost guilty for being short with Lance, although he couldn’t put his finger on why.

     Near the door, there was a small panel which Shiro approached. Out of what he convinced himself was curiosity, Shiro typed Lance’s name into the screen.

     It flashed up with the training level the man in question had reached – 12 – and an option to watch the footage of his session.

     Shiro could do nothing but stare at the Altean number on the screen. Allura had taught him numbers; he knew with a sinking certainty that Lance had, in fact, reached level 12. Keith joined him in staring at the pad.

    “What are we looking at?” He asked casually, sword slung over his shoulder. Shiro turned to him with wide eyes.

     “Lance’s data.” He said. “Training level 12.”

     “That would mean he’s on the same level as me. That’s impossible, it’s Lance! He was only on level 5 last week, he’s useless!” Keith said. His hands went to grasp his hair in frustration, and he felt the braids underneath his fingers. He dropped his hands guiltily. Shiro gave him a sympathetic glance and clicked on the button to watch the footage. All they saw was a few seconds of Lance, dressed in the odd tunic and leggings, stood in the centre of the training room. Then the footage cut off, and the screen flashed with an error message that neither man understood.

     “But… but it’s Lance! He’d use any opportunity he had to brag if he was really that good, why hasn’t he? Does this mean he’s been holding back in training?” Keith said, his confusion clear on his face.

     “I think.” Shiro said slowly, trying to process, “I think Lance is hiding something from us, and we’ve all severely underestimated him.”

     They trained for a while, but neither of them could find the proper motivation, and within the varga they gave up, and went to find the rest of the team.

 

Lance and Hunk were chatting eagerly, Lance lying in Hunk’s lap, when Shiro entered the lounge. Lance noticed Shiro’s stare linger on him a moment too long, but he thought nothing of it. Shiro settled down and joined the conversation, about whether or not lions existed on Altea, or whether it was a freaky coincidence; Shiro was fully on team Altean Lions, which triggered another debate about whether coloured lions were normal on Altea, which Lance argued with conviction. Before the conversation got any further, Pidge burst in. She was waving a small device eagerly above her head, and squealing.

     “Which one of you did this!” She yelled. “Hunk, you genius!” She dived on to him, shoving Lance out of the way. Hunk stared at her with a gentle confusion.

     “What is it that I’ve apparently done?” He asked. She sat up.

     “You finished my device! It’ll track human heat signatures now! I can find my brother and dad!” Pidge said. Hunk frowned.

     “Pidge, I didn’t fix it.” He said. She sagged.

     “Well, who did then? Coran and Allura said they didn’t know who it was.” She said. She perked up and looked at Shiro, but he shook his head.

     “Yeah, it was me.” Lance said. Pidge gave him an indecipherable look, as if she was picking him apart. Her face flicked through several emotions, before settling on a glare.

     “Sure, you did, Lance. Need I remind you that you break everything you touch?!”

     “Only when people are around.” He murmured. “Anyway, you were thinking about it from the wrong perspective.”

     “And why should I take you seriously?” Pidge said. Lance slumped.

     “I was just trying to help, pixie. It’s easier to help when no one is around.” Lance said. He pushed himself off the couch and wandered off. No one followed him.

 

Lance rubbed his arm self-consciously. He knew he wasn’t always the brightest, and yeah, it was mostly his fae instincts that had led him to be able to put together the device of Pidge’s, but he expected the team to have a little more faith in him. First Keith and Shiro with the training, then Pidge with her tech – Lance was feeling more than a little hurt. Unfortunately, he knew this could spell disaster for the team if he couldn’t get his emotions under control.

     Angering a Seelie triggered a nuisance that would be inescapable until the wrongdoer apologised to the fairy.

     Angering an unseelie… Lance quashed that train of thought. It didn’t matter.

     He needed to improve his mood before his team suffered the backlash. Lance made his way through the castle, searching for the one person he knew could help him, and soon enough he found the ginger-moustached man mopping the ballroom floor. When he saw Lance, Coran grinned and beckoned him over. Lance studied the floor.

     “What’s bothering you, number 3?” He asked, his tone jovial. Lance swallowed.

     “Say I was… different, to what everyone thought of me, and because of that, I could put them in danger?” He asked. Coran’s smile faded into a more sympathetic look, and he placed a hand gently on Lance’s shoulder.

     “Lance, you can trust me with anything.” He said. Lance nodded.

     “I’m going to trust you with this.” He said “You can’t tell the team, though. Or Allura. I’m not ready yet.” He said.

     “Of course, my boy. It’s clearly not my secret to spill.” He smiled.

 

Lance shut his eyes and let his glamour drop.

 

He heard a sharp intake of breath from the Altean man and hesitated a moment before opening his eyes to see Coran’s reaction.

     “Lance, you’re a fairy.” Coran said. Lance heard the smile in his voice and opened his eyes to see Coran beaming at him. Lance visibly relaxed, wings fluttering.

     “Yeah. I am.” He said. “There were fae on Altea?”

     “Well, more like folklore and legends. But I expect that’s the same on Earth, yes?” Coran said. Lance nodded.

     “We’re pretty good at keeping ourselves hidden. When we’re not trapped on an alien spaceship, that is.” Lance sighed as he remembered his predicament. “Actually, that’s why I’m here. Coran, I need you to cheer me up.” Coran raised an eyebrow and Lance elaborated. “I’m not in the best mood right now. The thing is, when I get angry or sad, my magic tends to… leak. Keith’s hair this morning? On earth, we call that fairy locks. It happened because I was sad. If my mood gets worse, people could get hurt, or thigs could get ruined, and I’m not my màthair, I can’t fix these things like she can, I could cause some serious damage. It’s so much easier at home, because people understand, and Marco and Puck would help, and everyone at home knows the folklore-“    

     “So tell me.”

     “What?”

     “Tell me the folklore, so I can help you.” Coran supplied. Lance sniffled but nodded.

     “Usually, the best thing to do is apologise. Even something that doesn’t seem worthy of an apology can offend a fae and normally an apology will be enough. If there’s no apology, then… well, fairies are thieves by nature, and to be honest I’m not an exception. If offerings are left; something I, uh, a fae, would find fascinating, or something of worth to the owner, it’s a pretty good way of making a fairy calm down. I’ve always made an effort to return the things freely given to me as quickly as I can.” Lance sighed. “There was once, at home, when I dated, well, she was a freshwater mermaid. Yeah, it was a weird situation. Anyway, we broke up, and it took two days for me to stop destroying everything I touched. My…” Lance’s voice cracked. “I had a familiar. Pyewacket. She was a Siamese cat, and she and my brother were the only things that could calm me down. Pye couldn’t survive at this distance away from me. She’s probably still at the Garrison. Or maybe she found her way back to my brother before she died. Either way, she’s gone now.” Lance wiped his eyes and felt tears. His vision blurred, and he buried his face in Coran’s shoulder. 

     “My boy, I’m so sorry about your familiar. If she’s anything like you, however, she’s far too stubborn to give up on you so easily. Now, let’s focus on getting your teammates to apologise. Do you know exactly what you want them to apologise for?”

      Lance took a moment to compose himself before replying. “I don’t, not really. It’s not their fault that I’m useless sometimes.” Coran’s face hardened, and he looked at Lance with a grim determination.

     “I’ll talk to them, Lance.” He smiled again. “First though, I must confess I’m curious about what your powers entail.”

     Lance grinned and his eyes flashed. “Let me show you.”

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Coran, when he was truly angry, was a force to be reckoned with. He was also extremely intimidating, to the point that even Shiro cowered under his withering glare. 

     “You are paladins of Voltron.” He was saying, “It is your duty to look after one another. If Lance feels like I am the only one he can talk to, all of you have done something very, very wrong. You have made him feel out of place, inadequate. I could name a time when Lance has saved every single one of your lives without hesitation. You have all failed him.” Coran softened slightly as he looked between them. “Just try to show him that you have faith in him. He needs it. I think you all need it as well.”

     They nodded, guiltily.

     “Coran, do you know how we can make it up to him?” Shiro asked. Coran shook his head.

     “You need to figure that out for yourselves.” He said and walked out. The door slid shut behind him, and the gathered paladins could do nothing but sit, stunned and saddened.

 

 The day went on, quietly, and Allura called them all into the control deck early the next morning. Lance donned his armour, and rushed into the room, making it at the same time as Hunk. He gave his larger friend a playful shove, which the boy returned, but their back and forth was cut short by Allura’s quelling glare.

     “Paladins. We’ve received a distress call from a nearby planet recently occupied by the Galra. They are planning to stage a rebellion and have requested the aid of the Voltron Paladins on the ground. This will be no small feat, but I believe we can handle it.” She pulled up a hologram of the planet.

     “This is the planet in question – Silva. The planet is similar to earth, I believe, with a single sun and regular nights and days. The planet is 97% forest, however, so it will be near impossible to land the lions. You will be on foot.” Allura tapped a few more buttons, and a face appeared on screen.

    “Princess Allura.” The creature looked human, except for its stark white skin, inky black eyes and the black dog-like ears on its head. When it spoke, Lance could see the inside of its mouth was also black. He shuddered involuntarily. “Are these the paladins you spoke of?”

     “Yes, my lady.” Allura said. “Paladins, this is Lady Boorla. The Silva are a diplomatic race, who live in the forest.”

     “Púka!” Lance gasped, in surprise, when he recognised what the strange creature on screen reminded him of. The Lady gave him a strange, thoughtful look, and Allura cast him a glare. The more Lance looked, the more he saw the fae creature he remembered from home. There were clear differences, but the Silva were eerily similar.

     “We plan to attack at twilight in three days. We expect your assistance. Send the paladins to our planet, and we will meet them and lead them to their accommodation.” The Lady finished, and the screen went dark. Allura turned to the paladins.

     “The green lion is the smallest, and the most capable in a forest environment. Pidge, you will be taking everyone planet side.” Allura said. The girl nodded, and everyone left to prepare themselves for the stay. Lance was buzzing. Three days in a forest – he would be able to use nature magic again, to energise himself and, he thought with a jolt, maybe he could summon Puck.

 

They all crammed into the small cockpit of the green lion, Lance sat against the back wall, out of the way of everyone. He was looking at the tattoos that traced their way up his arm, remembering when he and Marco had gotten them done to match. Lance didn’t realise someone had sat down beside him until Keith spoke.

     “Those tattoos are amazing.” He said softly. Lance instinctively tugged his sleeve down but smiled sadly.

     “My twin brother, Marco, and I have matching ones. It reminds us that we’ll always come back to one another.” Lance said.

     “You guys are close, huh.” Keith said. Lance nodded. “Thank you. For, uh, the hair thing the other day. I don’t know how you did that. I spent an hour trying to untangle it.”

     “No problem, dude. I like braiding. It’s kinda a tradition thing in my family.” Lance replied.

The lion jolted suddenly, sending Lance crashing into Keith with a yelp. Pidge yelled an apology, and Lance climbed off the red paladin, cheeks glowing red.

 

They landed on the planet a few minutes later, and Lance clambered out of the lion with a gleeful yelp. He flopped onto the grass of the clearing, revelling in the feeling of once again being connected to nature and the energy around him.

     “Lance is so happy he’s started to glow, apparently.” Pidge snarked, and Lance sat up, quickly suppressing his magic before he fully transformed accidentally.

     “I think it’s just sweat, Pidge.” Hunk laughed, helping his friend to his feet. The five of them stood uneasily at the foot of the green lion, before a group of figures emerged from the trees. Lady Boorla approached them first.

     “Paladins, if you would follow me, we will guide you to your accommodation. Be wary, as there may be Galra sentries nearby. I trust the green lion can disguise itself?” She said. Pidge nodded, and the green lion rippled, and disappeared. The Lady glanced at it, satisfied, and motioned that the paladins follow her.

 

As they made their way through the woods, Lance decided that he would allow himself to be a little more fairy-like than he had previously. Although the planet was not earth, and Lance could feel the difference in the magic, it was similar. Lance pulled his helmet off, shaking his head free.

      The others followed suit; only Shiro kept his helmet on, likely so he could still communicate easily with the castle. Lance’s magic flared up, and he fought down the urge to shape-shift. If anything was going to terrify the team, it would be him turning into an animal. Still, Lance spotted a small bird on a branch, and willed it to join him.

     The bird landed on Lance’s head, and the team looked at it with trepidation.

     “Lance.” Pidge said, activating her Bayard. “There’s a bird on your head.” Before she could move, Lance lifted the bird off of his head. He experimentally stroked it, and it cooed softly. Lance grinned and placed it on his shoulder. The bird nuzzled itself into his neck.  

     “She’s friendly, see!” He said. “I’m going to call you Alma.”

     “Lance, that thing could be dangerous.” Shiro said, taking his helmet off. “Don’t touch it.”

     “Alma won’t hurt me, will you?” He said. The bird chirped, sending him a wave of affection mentally. Lance grinned wider at the connection between him and the bird – his magic was flourishing, and she was a potential familiar. “See!” Shiro shook his head, but let it go.

 

They made it to the camp within the hour, and Lance watched as the team’s faces fell at the sight of the makeshift shelters made of branches. They all settled in, the aliens leaving them to stay the night in a separate cluster of shelters nearby. Shiro started a fire, and the five of them huddled around it.

     ‘This is the most earth-like planet we’ve been to. Kinda reminds me of Olkarion, too.” Pidge observed. The others nodded. Hunk nudged Lance.

     “Marco would love it here, wouldn’t he?” He said. Lance cracked a grin, and the others gave him a questioning glance.

     “Marco’s my twin. We went camping a lot, and we both love forests. Reminds me of home.” Lance turned to Hunk. “It’s funny you remember that.”

     “Dude, you guys are inseparable. I know Marco almost as well as I know you.” Hunk laughed. Lance grinned as well.

     “Matt would hate this. He’s always been like me. Nature is much nicer when it’s outside my window.” Pidge smiled. Lance reached over to punch her gently on the arm.

     “I don’t see you hating nature any more, green paladin.” He said. She blushed and glared at him. Everyone laughed.

 

Lance placed his palms on the ground. He checked to see no one was looking and sent a pulse of magic into the earth. The fire flared suddenly, causing everyone to jump violently, and Alma flapped her wings excitedly. The planet energised him, and Lance felt his full power return in exchange for the magic he had gifted the planet.

   

He waited until everyone had fallen asleep to leave the camp. Lance let his human form completely fall away, his eyes glowing an unearthly blue, his skin swirling with silver, his features enhanced to make him beautiful in a way he wasn’t as a human. His clothes changed as well, into the green and brown silks of the fairies. A flower crown of forget-me-nots and thorny gorse rested low on his brow. The biggest change, however, were the wings that fluttered gently on his back; the wings of a common blue butterfly, so large they trailed on the floor next to his bare feet.

    Lance, Alma perched on his head, regarded the sleeping paladins fondly. He softly made his way out of the clearing and into the forest. When he was sure he was a safe distance away, Lance closed his eyes and changed into a large brown stallion. He raced through the forest for miles, before he reached another clearing; this one deserted. Lance changed back into his fairy form and knelt on the moss. He pressed his hands to the floor, and the earth glowed where he touched.

     “Come in the stillness,
     Come in the night,
     Come to me soon,
     And bring me delight.
     Beckoning, beckoning,
     Left hand and right,
    Come now,
    Come to-night!”

He chanted, at almost a whisper. In the clearing, a ring of toadstools sprouted. Lance repeated the rhyme, this time in Gaelic, his voice laced with desperation, and the toadstools began to glow. Lance was barely aware that he was crying, so desperate for his attempt to work. He fed all of his magic into the spell, exhausting himself, weeping at the thought that he might fail, he might be totally isolated in space.

     “Alejandro?”

     “I’m sure I’ve told you before, friend. It’s just Lance.” He whispered, voice thick. The man in the fairy ring laughed, his laughter reminiscent of the pealing of bells. Lance attempted to stand up, but his knees buckled with exhaustion. The man rushed over to help him stand.

     “You have gotten no less reckless with your magic, friend of mine.” The man said. Lance chuckled weakly. He blinked away the tears that were threatening to spill, his vision cleared, and he took in the man stood before him for the first time. “It takes power beyond that of the average fae to summon me from such a distance.”

     Puck was wearing his usual outfit, a green medieval style tunic and trousers. They were wrapped in vines, and Lance looked at it sceptically. Puck tended to grow plants when he was anxious.

     “What’s got you so agitated?” He said, worried.

     “It has been your welfare that has had me most concerned, Alejandro.” The man replied. Lance’s face fell into a guilty expression.

     “I’ve missed you so much, Robin. I thought I’d never see you again.” He whispered. The two men sat down, and Lance explained the events of the past year to his patiently listening friend. The story was long and complicated, but Puck listened attentively.

     “Do they know of your true nature?” Puck asked, when Lance finished the story. Lance shook his head, drawing his knees closer to his chest.

     “I’ve been too afraid to tell them. This is the first time I’ve let my glamour down in months.” He said sadly.

     “Friend, if your brother were here, he would have run you through with an iron blade. He and I know you are not such a coward.” Puck replied. “The Seelie asked after you; I believe they have sent scouts throughout the galaxies in search of you. You have made yourself well liked. No danger will come to your companions from the fae if they learn of your nature.”

     “Still. People aren’t keen on changelings. And the fae are tricky, particularly my… unseelie friends.” Lance said. Puck turned Lance to look him in the eye.

     “However, I am the trickiest of them. Should your friends shun you, they shall face my wrath, and should they accept you, they shall gain my protection.” He said firmly, green eyes flaring in a protective anger. “I must go. Your family will be most pleased to hear of your safety. Tell your friends, brother of mine. Your magic will only aid them in times of need.”

     Lance gave him one last, firm hug, and the fairy turned one last time. “A gift.” He said, “From the Seelie.” First, a white bag made of silk, in his right palm, “And the Unseelie.” A black silk bag, in his left hand. Lance nodded, and the man disappeared.

 

Lance shifted into a cat for the journey back to his camp. When he arrived there, however, Shiro was awake and propped up against a tree. Lance cursed mentally, still a cat, but before he could move, Shiro spotted him.

     The man jumped, then, as he realised it was a small animal and not a threat, bent down cautiously to examine him.

     “Wow, you really look like an earth cat. That’s weird. I wonder if there are any other animals here that are like earth ones.” He said, talking half to the cat, and half to himself. Lance mewled, amused. Shiro shot him a glare. “Even the wildlife is laughing at me. I’m a mess.” He said. Feeling bad, Lance rubbed his head against Shiro’s flesh arm, making the man laugh.

     After a few minutes of sitting quietly, Lance slipped back into the forest. Just out of sight of the camp, he shifted back into his human form. He snuck back into the camp, hoping to go to bed unnoticed, but Shiro caught him.

     “Lance, what are you doing up?”

     “Fuck.”

     “Lance!”

     “Uh, sorry.” Lance avoided the question. One of the least fun characteristics of being a fairy; he couldn’t lie in response to a direct question. He could, however, omit the truth and twist his words, as Lance had learnt to do from a very young age, being a troublemaker by instinct and having a brother who only encouraged him.

     “You haven’t answered my question.” Shiro said.

     “I was visiting a friend.” Lance said hesitantly.

     “What friend do you have in the middle of an alien planet?!” Shiro asked, exasperated. Lance gestured to Alma, wordlessly, and Shiro sighed. “Just get to bed, Lance.”

 

The next morning, Lance woke up later than the other paladins, to confused and excited voices.

     “Who did this?” He heard Hunk ask. He crawled out of his shelter to see the others all sat around the smouldering remains of the campfire.

     “What’s going on?” He asked, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. Hunk dragged him into the circle of friends.

    “Look!” He said. “Someone’s kept the fire burning, cleaned up our mess from last night, and left us food. It wasn’t any of us.”

     “It wasn’t me either.” Lance shrugged. He knew it was Puck, likely making a final attempt to get Lance to reveal his heritage before he returned to earth. “Maybe it was the fairies!”

     “Yeah because the castle of lions definitely has a house brownie.” Pidge drawled. Lance looked at her with a gleeful surprise.

     “You know fairy folklore?” He said, smiling in spite of himself.

     “Yeah, half of my family is European and really superstitious.” She shrugged. Lance couldn’t hide his happiness but did manage to hold up his glamour as his magic threatened to spill out in excitement. 

 

They ate the food that had been left for them for breakfast, chatting happily. Before long, Lady Boorla returned. “Paladins, today we are meeting to discuss your role in the rebellion. Follow me.”

     She led them to the main camp of the Silva, to a large makeshift hut that hosted the ringleaders of the rebellion. Lance counted ten different species at a glance. The paladins filed in, but Lance was pulled aside by the Lady at the last second.

     “May I have a word with you, Blue Paladin?” She asked. He nodded uncertainly, and she led him into the woods a little way. Just as Lance was beginning to get nervous, though, the Lady broke into a large, genuine smile. “You are fae!”

     “What? I mean, yes, but… how did you know?” Lance asked. She placed her hands on his shoulders.

     “Changeling, every planet with intelligent life knows of the fae. It has been centuries since we hosted any. You have blessed us.” She said. “You called us Púka, when you first saw us. We are, indeed, a race descended from the Púka. Although we have lost the ability to shapeshift and use magic, I am honoured you recognised us.” She said. “I understand the other paladins do not know of your true nature, as you hide your form and you do not use magic around them. However, I must ask whether you would use your magic to assist our fight against the Galra?” Lance took a few deep breaths, taking in the new information. His second family had always taught him that where there was life, there was fae, but he had taken that to mean on Earth, not throughout the universe. He remembered his conversation with Coran, how there had been fairies on Altea, and felt comforted in the fact that his species was nearer than he had assumed.

     “I will assist you, Lady. I would not put my personal troubles above the lives of your people.” He smiled. She grinned wider, more relaxed and informal than Lance had seen her.

     “You are a good man, Lance McClain. I do not believe the darkness inside you defines you.” She said. Lance’s smile faltered but became genuine again as he saw the child-like excitement on her face. “I have never met a changeling before, I apologise for my overeager behaviour.” She said. Lance grinned and waved her off.

     “Let’s go meet the others.” He said.

 

When Lance walked into the meeting, side-by-side with Lady Boorla, the other paladins gave him odd looks, and he knew he would have a hard time explaining it away later. He took his seat in between Keith and Pidge and tried to listen seriously to the aliens talking. From what he could gather, the paladins would be attacking the battleships, which posed the biggest threat with their ion cannons, but would be easy to infiltrate as would be docked. The aliens would be attacking the Galra colonies simultaneously, meaning the sentries would be forced to divide their forces.

     Lance nodded along, not blind to the fact that his friends looked as bored as he did. He drummed his fingers on the table and jolted backwards as he realised he had accidentally sent out a burst of magic. A tall male alien cried out suddenly as the dagger he had been playing with crumbled to dust. Lance ducked his head, guiltily. Controlling his magic had never been a particular strength of his, and he hadn’t meant to send out a malevolent force. The alien relaxed again, and Lance caught the eye of Lady Boorla, who looked to be hiding a smile with a graceful hand. He shrugged, and she hid her laughter with a cough.

 

Later that day, Lance and the paladins returned to the camp, with the intention of getting an early night before the battle tomorrow. Lance sat against a tree, feeding Alma, and singing to her softly, some Celtic song he couldn’t remember the name of. Hunk beckoned him over, and he sat down with the others.

     “What’s up?” He said.

     “This planet is weird.” Pidge sighed. “First, some mysterious person does all the chores, then Hunk finds that weird fairy ring-“

     “Wait, what?” Lance interrupted.

     “Yeah, it’s really cool! The ground was like, glowing, and the toadstools looked just like the ones on Earth! It’s about three miles away from here. I asked some alien about it, and she said nothing like that naturally occurs here. It was really odd.” Hunk provided.

     “Did I tell you about the cat?” Shiro said. Seeing his friend’s faces, he smiled a little. “Yeah, didn’t think so. I was awake last night, and this brown cat just appears. It looked exactly like an earth cat, it freaked me out a bit.”

     “If I didn’t know better, I’d say Lance was right about the fairies.” Keith joked. Lance smiled half-heartedly.

     “You never know.” He said softly. From her perch on his head, Alma chirped indignantly.

 

Chapter Text

The next morning, Lance awoke to Shiro gently shaking him.

     “Get your armour on. We’re going in ten.” He said, then moved to wake the others. Lance pulled on his armour, but instead of his black under suit he wore his tunic. He had promised Lady Boorla he would be using his magic, and Puck’s words settled heavy on his mind.

     Lance had often wondered why his bayard wasn’t in the form of a staff. He knew he fought well with a staff, better than he did with any form of firearms, despite his good aim. When he had asked Blue, though, and later asked Red the same thing, they had responded by explaining that Lance’s staff was always available to him if he wanted it, therefore his bayard didn’t need to take that form.

     Lance took that to mean he would never fight with his staff whilst fighting as a paladin. He was wrong.

     Keith was already awake, to no one’s surprise. He was sat stiffly against a tree, glaring at everyone, and Lance didn’t even bother to approach as he waited for the other paladins to finish getting ready.

     Once they were all wearing their armour, Lady Boorla once again came to guide them to the Galran ships. She led them through the forest with an inhuman grace, until they could hear the sounds of marching sentries through the trees. She turned to them a final time.

     “Paladins, if all goes well, I shall see you soon. If not, however, I must thank you for your selfless willingness to aid us in a time of dire need. I know we couldn’t have done this without you.” She inclined her head slightly. The Lady regarded each of the paladins individually, until her gaze landed on Lance. “I know I can trust you, changeling. I hope this will give you the push you need to fight your fears.”

     “What did she call you?” Pidge muttered at Lady Boorla’s retreating back.  

     Lance narrowed his eyes at the sentries through the trees. “Nothing.” He said. “Let’s go.”

     “We’re going to have to split up.” Shiro began. “Lance, Pidge, Keith, you three need to get on to those ships. Destroy them however you can. Hunk and I will deal with the ion cannons and the sentries.”

     They nodded, and separated out, preparing to fight.

 

The minute Lance could no longer see the rest of the team, he vanished into thin air. Literally. Now invisible, Lance abandoned his armour and summoned his staff. He twirled it thoughtfully as he strode up to the first ship. No living being could see through the glamour, and he allowed himself to feel a little smug as he boarded the ship with no problems.

     It was at this point, however, that Lance knew things were going to get more difficult. To destroy this ship, he was going to use magic; the most unforgiving and destructive magic he could muster. His plan was straightforward; get to the room that housed the Balmeran crystal, destroy said crystal, and hightail it out of there before the ship blew up in his face.

     It would’ve been straightforward if Pidge hadn’t dropped through a vent and landed directly in front of him.

     Lance sighed heavily and let his glamour drop. Pidge screamed, then tilted her head.

     ‘Lance?” She questioned. He sighed again and helped her to her feet. “Why aren’t you wearing your armour? You’re gonna get hurt. How did you appear like that? Can you teleport?”

     “It’s a long story that we don’t have time for right now.” Lance said. He shoved her behind him as he spotted a group of approaching sentries. Lance gripped his staff and rushed the sentries.

     With a rush of fierce protectiveness for his younger teammate, Lance attacked relentlessly, and within a minute he stood amongst a sea of robot parts. He bent over, breathing heavily, and held out his hand to Pidge.

     “That was…”

     “We’ve got to be quick before reinforcements arrive, lets go!” He hissed, grabbing her wrist.

     They ran through the ship, lacing their ways through hallways recklessly, and when they reached the control deck, they froze at the door, face-to-face with a group of Galra.

     “Shit.” Lance said. He hesitated, before leaning back into Pidge. “Get to the computers. Shut off the power, then get off this ship as fast as you can.  I’ll meet you out there.” He whispered.

     “But-“

     “Now, Pidge.” He hissed urgently, and she nodded.

     Lance dropped his glamour for good and heard a sharp gasp from the girl behind him as his wings appeared. The Galra in front of him looked surprised but showed no sign of backing down from a fight.

     Lance fell back into a defensive stance and called on his most destructive magic. His hands turned black, as if they had been dipped in ink, and he smirked.

     “Okay, fellas. Come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough.”

 **

Pidge cowered against a wall, masked from sight by Lance’s wings. Lance had wings now. That was a… development. She made her way towards the control panel, that had been abandoned by the five Galra in the room, trying not to catch the attention of any of them.

     Lucky for her, Lance was more than holding his own, and all five of them were fully distracted. Pidge couldn’t help but think he looked magnificent; he looked as if he was dancing and having fun. She was confident that this version of Lance could simultaneously beat the shit out of Shiro and Keith without breaking a sweat. She wondered how she had missed how talented he was.

     Pidge cursed mentally, realising she had gotten distracted. She rushed to the control panel and started typing frantically. She glanced behind her, just once, to see Lance place one inky hand on the chest of one of the Galra. Eyes wide, she watched the alien splutter, then drop to the floor, a dribble of blood in the corner of its mouth. Lance didn’t seem phased and turned to continue fighting.

     She clicked a final few buttons and watched victoriously as the lights shut off. She turned back to Lance, in time to watch him deck the final remaining Galra. They dropped like a sack of potatoes, and Lance approached Pidge.

     “Get out of here. Now. I’ll meet you outside.” He said. His voice was laced with… something, and Pidge found herself nodding before turning and hightailing it out of the ship.

 **

With Pidge safe, Lance disappeared again, and made his way to the crystal room with no trouble. The door was wide open, thanks to Pidge’s genius, and he sprinted down the hallway to the purple crystal.

     Lance dropped his staff, banishing it, and the blackness on his fingertips began to leak into the air around him, like shadows dancing around his fingertips. He steadied his breathing, knowing full well that this sort of power could easily kill him if he lost control for even a second.

     Lance pressed his palms onto the surface of the crystal, pushing the blackness forwards. Almost immediately, the blackness spread, turning the soft purple dark, and the crystal began to crack. Lance pushed further, before pushing himself away from the crystal as it shattered, and the energy it released overloaded. Lance scrambled to his feet and sprinted, explosions following behind him. It felt as if he was running forever, when he saw the exit.

     He barely had time to vanish into thin air before he was diving out of the ship and flapping his wings and flying, as everything went up in flames behind him.

     Lance saw his team; Pidge and Hunk fighting back-to-back against a wave of sentries, Shiro and his purple arm battling a Galran general. He looked desperately for Keith, seeing him racing out of the second battleship as that also went up in flames.

     He landed a little way into the forest, and promptly collapsed. He used his remaining energy to re-apply his glamour, and knelt on the floor, trying to catch his breath.

     Lance heard a chirp in his ear, and turned his head a fraction to see Alma, settled on a branch, making anxious noises. “You know, girl, the one thing that could really help me? A familiar.” He said. The bird moved from the branch to the earth in front of him. Lance took her in his hands, and closed his eyes, whispering a chant.

     Lance opened his eyes to both him and Alma glowing delicately. He laughed softly, feeling his energy returning as the small bird gifted him her energy and power. His bond to the small bird solidified. When the glow faded, her feathers were no longer brown, but a shade of sky blue. She settled herself on top of his head, as Lance stood up again.

     Staff in hand, familiar in tow, Lance rushed back into battle, determined to finish what he started and keep his promise to the aliens he had met.

 

The clearing was littered with dead sentries, and one unconscious and tied up Galra general. The five paladins huddled together, revelling in the fact that they were all alive, they were all practically uninjured, and they had won.

     They trudged back to camp, all exhausted and in desperate need of a shower. After a quick farewell from the Lady, and a brief argument over what to do with Alma, they were back in Green, all too tired to actually talk to each other. Once back in the control room, however, Shio and Allura turned on the team for a debriefing before they could go to bed.

     “That was a job well done, paladins. However, there were some major issues that need addressing.” Allura began.

     “Lance, what is going on with you? You weren’t wearing your armour, you were fighting with a stick. You could’ve died!”Shiro said. Lance felt his stomach drop.

     “Also, he has wings and he single-handedly blew up a Galra battleship.” Pidge said. Lance scowled at her.

     “We need an explanation.” Allura said harshly. Lance flinched.

 **

Matt enjoyed staying on the castle ship. It was quieter than the rebel bases he flitted between, and his sister was there, which was always a bonus. He could rely on Pidge to keep him mood high. There was another reason Matt enjoyed his stays at the castle of lions, though, a reason that was disappointingly absent when he arrived, away on a three-day mission with the rest of the paladins, except Allura. So, when the day came that the paladins were set to arrive home, of course Matt went to greet them.

     And of course, he walked in at possibly the most awkward time.

     If Matt was scared of anything, it was the glare that Allura of Altea cast him when he walked in on the team yelling at Lance.

     He would’ve waked right back out again, if he hadn’t caught the Cuban boy’s eye and seen the pleading look in it. Damn, Matt was weak for a cute boy.

     “Uh, what the fuck is going on?” He said, shoving his hands in his pockets.

     “Hey, Matt. We’re trying to get Lance to tell us what the hell he’s hiding from us.” Pidge said, waving him over. Lance backed away further, hands raised defensively.

 **

“Okay, okay. Maybe it’s time I was honest with you guys.” He said, picturing Puck’s advice. They all stared at him. “Keith isn’t the only one on the team that’s not… entirely human. The difference is, I’m not human at all.”

     No one spoke.

     “Okay, Lance, what are you getting at? Is this a joke?” Shiro said.

     “No! I just… ugh, this is so hard! Marco was always the one to explain. Look, Hunk, you’ve met my brother. You’ve met my family.” Hunk nodded slowly. “Then I know you’ve noticed that I look nothing like them.”

     “Yeah! I always thought that was weird, especially as Marco looked identical to Veronica and Luis, but nothing like you.” Hunk said.

     “It’s because I’m not technically a McClain.” Lance said. More blank looks. “I’m a fairy.”

 

Dead silence. Everyone looked at him incredulously, Pidge even fighting back a smile.

     “Yeah, you don’t believe me. Okay, another approach.” Lance stood up and brushed himself off. Alma perched on his shoulder, and Lance reached for his magic.

 

His ears pointed, his skin glowed. His eyes lit up, as normal. He felt the comforting weight of his gossamer wings on his back, and his clothes changed into a long green robe, intertwined with golden thread. On his head, instead of Gorse, was a heavy crown of wood, branches grown to fit his head. The residual darker magic from the battle dyed the hems of his clothes black, made his eyes a darker shade of sapphire. When he opened his eyes again, the team had backed away.

     “You’re really hot.” Matt clamped a hand over his mouth, flushing a deep scarlet at the words that had unintentionally slipped out. Lance laughed, feeling his razor-sharp teeth settle into his mouth.

     “Believe me now?” He said. They nodded frantically, and Lance shoved his dark magic back into the box it came from, suppressing it until he looked like a plain Seelie fae.

     “I’m going to need an explanation.” Shiro said. Lance sat down, Alma taking her place on his head again.

 

“It’s a weird story.” Lance said. “And you might think differently of me for it.” They stared at him expectantly. “I’m a changeling. My brother, Marco, was the original Alejandro McClain.”

      “Hold on, so you’re not at all human?” Keith said.

     “Yeah, that’s what I said?” Lance said, hesitantly. Keith scowled at him.

     “Why did this not come up when I was literally having a crisis because I’m only half human? Do you not think that could’ve been a useful thing to mention?” Keith said, voice raising. Lance looked at the floor.

     “Yeah, well, changelings don’t exactly have a good rep. And neither do… you know what, never mind. Just know that I have always, always had other fae there with me, fae much older than me that know what they’re doing, to tell me what the rules are. I don’t know the rules for this situation! For all I know, my màthair could literally kill me for revealing this to you!”

     “So what changed?” Hunk asked softly.

     “I summoned Robin Goodfellow, and asked him for advice.” Lance confessed.

     “Wait, as in Shakespeare’s Robin Goodfellow? As in Puck?” Pidge asked.

     “Yeah. He’s engaged to my brother.”

     “What?!”

     “That’s a story for another day. Anyway, Puck told me I should tell you guys, and when I’m in fae form I’m a lot more powerful and capable than I am in human form – it is what I am naturally, and i’ve been trained in using my magic for combat. I decided I’d rather win this war quicker than hide what I am.”

     “Hold on, Lance. You said your mother could kill you for telling us?” Shiro looked appropriately worried.

     “My biological mother, not my adopted mother. My màthair. She’s... a scary lady. She taught me everything I know. I...” He hesitated. “Rosa McClain is my mother. Morrigan is different. I know she’s family, but I don’t see her that way. Fae are complicated.” He sighed, dragging a hand down his face. “Just ask me what ever questions you have.”

     There was a momentary silence, before eveyone began to talk at once. Lance yelled at them to shut up.

     “One at a time?” He asked. They relented.

     “So do you always look like this? Do you disguise yourself as a human?” Pidge asked, giving him a look that implied she was moments away from disecting him to figure out just how he worked.

     “Technically, yeah. It’s called a glamour. Pretty basic fairy magic, every fae can do a glamour.” To demonstrate, Lance pulled up his glamour, feeling his fairy features vanish. He let it drop again.

     “Cool.” She whispered, eyes wide.

     “Are you the reason Alma changed colour?” Hunk asked. Lance laughed, and the little bird chirped happily.

     “Yep! She’s like Pye!” Hunk frowned.

     “Your cat?” He said.

     “Pye was my familiar. It’s like a… magic sort of bond, between animals and fairies. Now Alma is my familiar. She can boost my magic, give me energy. My familiars are always blue…” Lance trailed off, thinking of the blue lion he had once flown and his blue magic, but his train of thought was interrupted by Allura.

     “What are the limits of your magic? What exactly an you do?” She said. Lance went quiet for a moment.

     “I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m exhausted. I say we shower, eat some food, and sleep. Tomorrow, I’ll show you.”

 **

The next day, the population of the castle of lions had gathered in the training room, to watch Lance’s demonstration. Lance, in human form, regarded them all thoughtfully for a moment.

     Then, he stepped back, and spread his arms wide. “Attack me.”

     “What?”

     “Trust me. Now, try to kill me.” Lance said.

     Keith didn’t hesitate. He rushed forwards with a yell, bayard activating in his hand. He swung it at Lance’s head, and the boy vanished into thin air. Keith froze, sword held out defensively. Suddenly, Lance fell out of the air, landing crouched in front of Keith. He paused a moment, then swung his staff at Keith. The other boy barely managed to deflect the blow, and the two were locked in battle for a few minutes, but it was clear Keith was outmatched. Lance was swift, and fluid; he didn’t stay in place for more than a second. Lance batted keith to the side, and he sprawled on the floor.

     “Attack me.” He said again. This time, Pidge and Hunk rushed out to meet him. Lance laughed, and the laugh echoed, magnified. It sounded eerily like tinkling bells, and Lance vanished again. This time, instead of a boy, when Lance reappeared, it was as a panther. He regarded his two friends, that had frozen in shock, before pouncing. He swatted at Pidge, who threw herself backwards, crashing into Hunk. They both went down, and Lance shifted back into his usual form. He waved his hand, and Pidge and Hunk were tied down with vines.

     “Attack me.” He repeated. This time, Matt stepped forwards. Lance hoped no one noticed the slight flush that rose to his cheeks as Matt prepared to fight him.

     Matt took his time before going on the offensive. They fought with similar weapons, and Lance knew the other man ha been watching how he fought. The thing about fairies, Lance thought, is they were notorious for their unpredictability. He flapped his wings, taking him up slightly into the air, then flew directly at Matt, bowling the man directly off of his feet. They grappled for a moment, both fighting for control, before a part of Lance realised that they were close, that Matt was right in front of him, and he pulled away, trying to ignore his thumping heart. Matt took it gracefully, falling into a roll and landing back on his feet.

     Lance wasn’t usually one to fight dirty. Okay, that was a lie, but he tried to avoid using dirty tactics against his friends if he could avoid it. This, though, was the exception. Lance’s eyes began to glow, far more intensely than usual, and he met Matt’s eyes.

     Matt dropped his arms and took a shaky step forwards. Lance held eye contact with him, knowing that Matt couldn’t look away if he wanted to, and reached forwards to tap the boy on the head. Matt dropped like a sack of potatoes, unconscious.

     When Lance looked up again, everyone was staring at him, eyes wide and apprehensive. The glow of his eyes faded, and he dropped to the floor, wings disappearing. He ran a hand through his hair.

     ‘That, to be honest, is only part of what I can do. Seeing as I don’t want to actually hurt anyone, though, it’s effective.” He said. His voice was quiet. On the floor nearby, Matt rolled over, groaning. The indication that Matt was okay made the whole room visibly relax.

     ‘Honestly, Lance, that was incredible.” Allura said. “It could come in handy in our fight against the Galra.”

     “Yeah, that’s great and all, but Lance, do you mind untying us?” Hunk said. Lance waved a hand lazily and the vines vanished. Pidge and Hunk slid to the floor with a sigh.

     “Dude, you hypnotised my brother.” Pidge said. She paused. “Can you teach me?”

     “I don’t like controlling people like that for long. It feels… invasive. It is harmless, though, and you guys wanted to see what I can do.” Lance replied with a shrug. Inside, though, a small voice was telling him that he was still hiding, still being cowardly. 

 

He knew it was true, but he was prepared to hide if it meant his friends were safe.

      

 

Chapter Text

Lotor had been having a bad day. That is, to say, Voltron had resurfaced, and they had come out the other side of a battle intact. His fleet, on the other hand, had lost two battleships and gained one very grumpy and slightly charred general.

     Said general was stood in front of the prince, staring intently at his feet.

     “What went wrong, general.” Lotor asked, his voice sickeningly sweet.

     “The paladin that wears blue armour but flies the red lion. He was something dark. He just touched Anka, and she died. It was terrifying.” The general said. Lotor narrowed his eyes. This was news to him.

     “Do you have footage of the fight?” He asked sharply. The terrified Galra nodded. “Well, what are you waiting for? Show me!”

     “Right away, my prince. Vrepit sa.” The general said, hurrying to pull up the footage on screen.

     Lotor watched the winged paladin fight with cold, calculating eyes. He knew the folklore but had assumed tales of the fae had died alongside Daibazaal and Altea. This, however, was clearly a fairy. The paladins of Voltron had a magic user in their ranks, and Lotor knew that if he got his hands on the boy, he could harness that magic and bring the universe to its knees.

 

**

 

Lance’s bare feet pressed into the dewy grass as he stood in the centre of the fairy ring. His friends watched from outside as the ring glowed, and his chanting became more intense. They looked worried, but wisely didn’t interfere – after all, Lance had warned them of the dangers of a human messing with magic.

     It had been Allura’s idea, after hearing Lance talk about Puck, she had suggested that Lance summon him again, so that she and his teammates could speak to the fairy. After Lance had agreed, it was only a matter of finding a planet with suitable forest land, and there they were, the team, Matt tagging along to satisfy his curiosity, watching as Lance tried to summon an earth fae.

     A burst of bright light had the paladins momentarily blinded, but they could hear Lance’s triumphant yell, and unfamiliar laughter. The light died, and a man dressed in medieval garb was embracing Lance. Lance buried his face in Puck’s shoulder, revelling in the scent of home. They pulled apart, and Puck examined him closely.

     “My friend, you have fresh scars. You have been unsuccessfully avoiding trouble, I see.” Puck said. Lance ducked his head, and the other man laughed. “Now, introduce me to your companions.”

     Lance beckoned his friends forwards. When he saw Hunk, Puck laughed, and pulled the larger man in for a hug. “Hunk, my old friend! Lance did not tell me he had you looking after him. Why, I would have worried far less, had I known.” He said with a laugh.

     “Robin! Yeah, I fly yellow. Lance didn’t tell me about any of…” Hunk vaguely gestured. “This.”

     The others just looked confused. Lance stepped forwards to explain. “Both Puck and Hunk practically live at my house. They know each other quite well, aside from the obvious… secret.”

     “So, who might be you.” Puck said, watching the team with narrowed eyes.

     “Puck, these are my friends. This is Shiro, our leader. He used to fly the black lion.” Shiro nodded, and Puck narrowed his eyes further. “This is Princess Allura of Altea. She flies the blue lion.” Allura stepped forwards. Puck grinned.

     ‘An Altean! And the princess, no less! It has been thousands of years since I lived on Altea.” He said. Her eyes widened.

     “You lived on Altea?” She whispered. Puck’s smile grew soft.

     “I have lived many places, but I was born on Altea. There are few fae on Earth as old or as well-travelled as me.” He said. “Fairies do not have home planets, as we are the same throughout the galaxies, but I remember your planet fondly.”

     Allura’s eyes were glassy, and she inclined her head. Coran stepped forwards, placing a hand on her shoulder. “We are the last Alteans. To learn there is someone else out there that remembers Altea as it was is a great comfort.” He said. Puck nodded.

     “I understand. Lance, tell me of the others you live with.” He said. Lance pulled his friends forwards.

     “This is Keith, my best friend next to Hunk. He flies the black lion and is half Galra.” He said. Keith looked mildly uncomfortable.

     “If my memory serves me correctly, you attended the Galaxy Garrison alongside Lance and Hunk.” Puck commented thoughtfully. “I am glad to see Lance has gotten over his ill-founded hostility.” He opened his mouth to say more, and Lance dragged him onwards quickly.

     “These are the Holt siblings. Katie Holt, who goes by Pidge. She flies the green lion. And… Matt Holt. He’s a rebel fighter, but he helps out on the castle of lions.” Lance said. Puck definitely noticed his blush, and Lance watched with growing embarrassment as the fairy examined Matt with analytical eyes.

     “This. Is. Awesome.” Pidge said. “And you’re Shakespeare’s Puck? Did you meet him? What was it like?” She asked, wide-eyed. Puck turned to her, bemused.

     “Now is not the time, Miss Holt.” He said. “Lance, your mother is looking for you.”

     Lance paled, and his friends gave hi uneasy looks.

     “Why is that a problem?” Matt asked slowly. Lance fidgeted with the hem of his shirt.

     “It’s not.” He evaded easily. Puck gave him a look, which he ignored. “I just miss her, that’s all.”

     “Lance, fairies can easily traverse the galaxies. Morrigan has ordered that her fairies do as such, and it will not be long before she gets word of Voltron and seeks you out herself.” Puck said, more forcefully. “Now, I assume there’s a reason you summoned me.”

     “Yes.” Allura said. “I asked him to. I must confess, I have questions for you. How much do you know about the Galra?”

     Puck thought for a moment. “Home planet Daibazaal, destroyed alongside Altea. Particularly susceptible to mind control tricks. Ruling race of over half the known universe.” He said.

     “Pretty much, ye- wait, mind control?” Allura started. Puck gave a sweeping bow.

     “My speciality, my lady. Your Lance has rather a talent for it too. In fact, he may be able to teach you a thing or two.” He said. Allura cleared her throat.

     “Anyway. What about the Galran Druids?” She said.

     “They have no right to call themselves druids; their magic isn’t natural, it’s a bastardisation of the art of quintessence manipulation. True druids respect magic, these Galra twist it for their own gain. Lance should be able to destroy them with little effort.” He said, spitting the words.

     “Could magic be used to win us the war?” Allura said, sounding hopeful.

     “It could, if used carefully.” He turned to Lance. “The gifts I gave you last time we met; use them wisely. If your powers fall into the wrong hands, you know the consequences.” He warned.

     “Puck, please be careful.” Lance said. “I know you. Just protect my brother and the rest of the McClain’s, for me. Don’t get yourself executed for my sake.”

     “Of course, dear friend.” Puck bowed low again and vanished in a spray of sparks.

 

They were silent for a few minutes, before anyone found their voice.

     ‘What just happened?” Pidge whispered. “What did he mean?”

     “That was MAGIC. Like, actual, real magic.” Matt said, grinning from ear-to-ear.

     “So, when show you magic, no one is impressed, but when my brother’s boyfriend does it’s cool?” Lance accused, sounding offended. Keith patted him on the back.

     “Suck it up, buddy.” He said. Lance glared at him.

 

--

 

Lotor stormed into the room, not bothering to ask. Other than a raised eyebrow, Haggar didn’t acknowledge him, but he didn’t hesitate.

     “I assume you’ve seen the footage?” Lotor asked. Haggar inclined her head slightly. “So, you know of the power that Voltron has been hiding from us. Power that we could use.”

     That made Haggar look up. “What are you implying, Lotor?” She rasped.

     “Your druids are fallible. Pure, real magic is not. If we harness that power, planets would be unable to put up a fight. We could take down Voltron with ease.” He said. She tilted her head.

     “But how,” Haggar said, cogs in her head turning. “Do we acquire the fairy?”

 

--

 

Lance watched his teammates sleep, sat propped up against a tree. Alma rubbed her head comfortingly against his cheek, but it didn’t do much to settle his restless mind.

     Lance knew he should tell the team who he really was, but he also knew it could do nothing but put them in more danger. He struggled enough with it, and to drag his friends into his internal battle would only add to the extreme stress already on their shoulders. He sagged, thinking of his human mother’s face, her hugs, the things that kept him grounded, reminded him what he had to go back to. Just because Morrigan was looking for him didn’t mean she would find him.

     But Lance knew that was a lie. She was powerful, and there wasn’t a fairy in existence apart from him that wouldn’t do as she said. It was only a matter of time before Lance’s màthair found him, and he was terrified what that would mean for his friends.

     Lance demanded respect, but his màthair demanded total obedience. He loved her, he knew he did, but she was the link to the part of himself that Lance preferred to keep buried. He was worried that telling the team would lead to him being forced to utilise that part of him.

     He swallowed heavily, shifting on the spot. Lance held out his right hand and closed his eyes. When he opened them, a small white bag rested on his palm. Puck had given it to him weeks ago, and it was only now that Lance opened the Seelie’s gift.

     A bracelet fell into his hand, and Lance slipped it onto his wrist. It was white gold, and glowed softly, metal moulded into a Celtic weave. Lance recognised it as the work of dwarves; the craftsmen of the fae. He felt its power course through him, settling his mind. He closed his eyes and allowed the magic of the bracelet to leak into his body.

     “You doing okay?” A voice in his ear whispered. Lance’s eyes flew open, and he jumped violently. Matt chuckled, settling down beside Lance. “You seemed anxious.”

     “Jesus, Matt, warn a guy.” Lance said, struggling to calm his breathing. “I was just… thinking.”

     “What were you thinking about?” Matt asked. Lance shrugged, letting his hands fall onto his lap. Matt met his gaze with an analytical one.

     “Home.” Lance confessed honestly. Matt patted his shoulder.

     “I think about home a lot too.” He gestured to Pidge, asleep, spooning her helmet. “I worry about Pidge, I miss Dad, and I think about how Mom must be feeling. I never would’ve signed up for the Kerberos mission if I knew any of this was going to happen. All I care about now is finding Dad and getting Pidge home safe. The rest of the team, too. I wish I had been there for Shiro.”

      They were both quiet for a moment.

     “You were one of my heroes, Matt.” Lance confessed. “Only a couple years older than me and flying into deep space. I idolised Shiro and you.” Lance left unsaid his long-standing crush on the older man. Matt smiled and nudged him.

     “You’re a cool dude, Lance. I wish I’d realised it sooner. I’ve been missing out.”

     “I mean, I am god’s gift.” Lance joked. They both laughed. “You should get some sleep. We’re going back into space tomorrow.” He said. Matt raised an eyebrow.

     “I could say the same to you. Sleep, Lance.” He said.

      Lance lay down and closed his eyes, but it was hours before he drifted off to sleep.

Chapter Text

Allura fiddled with one of her earrings anxiously. She rocked back and forth on her heels, not noticing when the door opened, and someone walked in the room. She was so wrapped up in her thoughts that she leapt into the air with a scream at someone placing a hand on her shoulder.

     She turned, to see Lance looking altogether too amused at her reaction. She slapped him on the arm, and he grinned. “Princess.”

     “Lance. You startled me.” She said, placing a hand on her chest, trying to calm her racing heart. He raised an eyebrow. “Is everything okay?”

     “I actually wanted to talk to you.” Lance said. He sat down and cocked his head at her. Allura took the hint and sat down opposite him. “Puck mentioned that I might be able to teach you some magic.”

     Allura raised her eyebrows, surprised. “Well, that might be difficult,” She began. Lance cut her off.

     “Puck sees things ordinary fairies could never pick up on. If he says you’ve got the potential, then you must really be magical.” Lance said. He held out a hand. “Do you mind giving me your hand?” He said softly. Allura hesitated, confused, but placed her hand in his.

     “What’s this all… whoa.” Allura cut herself off as a soft pink glow emanated from her hand. She stared at it, eyes wide in wonder. Lance let go of her, but the hand continued to glow. She noticed her other hand glowing too, and moved them in front of her face, fascinated.

     “You’re a druid.” Lance whispered. Allura’s head shot up and she narrowed her eyes at him. He backtracked quickly. “Not- not a Galran druid. They aren’t real druids. You’re a real druid, Allura.”

     She nodded slowly. “But what does that mean?”

     “It means you’re more powerful than we realised. And it means you might be the only one to match Haggar in strength. Here, let me show you.” Lance guided her upright. “You see the pink glow? Make it move. Tell the glow to move…” He walked to the other side of the room. “Next to me.”

     Allura furrowed her brow, trying to force the magic to do what Lance had asked. It wasn’t working.

     “Relax, Allura. It’s already a part of you.” He called. She nodded slowly.

     Allura took a deep breath. She glanced at her hands, the glow surrounding them, and told it what to do. She closed her eyes and pushed.

     “Well done.” A voice said in her ear, and Allura’s eyes flung open. She screamed.

     Lance laughed from beside her. Allura spun around. “I’ve moved! How did I move?” She exclaimed. Lance grinned.

     “You used magic, Princess. You teleported.” He hummed thoughtfully. “I have an idea.”

     Lance let his glamour fall so he could access his wings. Allura watched him fly impressively quickly, up until he came to rest on a wide ledge near the ceiling. “Teleport up here!” He yelled. Allura’s face went white. “I promise I won’t let you fall.” He said, and she nodded stiffly.

     Allura felt for the magic again, remembering the feeling of asking it, not forcing it. She felt a rush of air around her and opened her eyes to find herself held in mid-air by an unfairly amused Lance.

     “Looks like you’ve fallen for me, your highness.” He said with a smirk.

     “We can’t all have wings, Lance.” She sighed. “Besides, you’re not my type.”

     They landed on the floor with a thump. Lance let go of Allura and flopped onto the floor.

     “I would be offended, but you’re not really my type, either.” He lamented. Intrigued, Allura lay down next to him.

     “What is your type, then.” She asked. “Who catches the eye of the great Lance McClain?”

     Lance rolled onto his back and covered his eyes with his arm. Allura could see the love-sick smile on his face. “Brave, strong, great muscles, rebellious, shaggy hair…facial…scars...” Lance paused for a moment as he said the last one, looking mildly baffled.

     Allura could see the blush that covered his face and fought back a laugh. She could think of at least three people on the ship that matched that description. “You’re going to need to be more specific.” She teased. Lance groaned.

     “Pidge would gut me if I ever made a move.” He sighed.

     “Ohhhh.” Allura said, figuring it out. Partially, at least. “It’s okay, if I know anything about Matt it’s that he’ll make the first move.”

     Lance screamed into his hands and Allura patted his chest sympathetically. “This is the third gay crisis I’ve sat through this week.” She said, raising an eyebrow. ‘We really do travel in packs.’

     Lance removed his hands to give her a baffled look. She laughed aloud at that.

     “You’re…?”

     “Yup. And Pidge, Keith, Shiro, Matt. Coran had a husband, once upon a time.” She said with a smile.

     ‘Great. The fate of the universe in the hands of the gays. We’re all doomed.” He said.

    Allura started laughing, and he joined in. They didn’t stop laughing for a long time.

 

--

 

Hunk’s surprisingly gentle touch calmed Lance down but didn’t stop him from wincing violently at his attempts to patch up the injured wing.

     “I’m sorry, Lance. I’ve never had to fix a butterfly wing before.”

     “Not a butterfly, Hunk.”

     “Right, sorry.”

     “You’re an idiot, Lance.” Pidge said, glancing up from her computer for a moment. “You know you wouldn’t have actually been able to beat Allura and Shiro, right? They’re unstoppable.”

     “Yeah, well I thought…” Lance trailed off, scratching his arm self-consciously. He had been thrilled when both Allura and Shiro had offered to train with him, but it had ended up with the three of them battered and bruised, and they’d decided to take it slower the next time.

     “Especially with Allura’s freaky powers.” Hunk said wistfully. Lance scowled at him.

     “Hey, magic isn’tfreaky, it’s a highly respected and beautiful practise!” He said. Hunk laughed at Lance’s face and ruffled his hair good-naturedly.

     “Whatever you say, buddy.”

 

Lance left the med bay by himself, a few hours of mandatory nap-time later. He felt a little like a child, he thought with a grimace. He thought he’d proven to the team that he was tough enough to handle himself, but it turns out that even after finding out everything he’d told them was a lie, his teammates still underestimated him.

     He twisted the bracelet on his wrist, feeling his anxiety ease slightly.

     When the alarms started to blare, Lance would never admit to jumping so high his head hit the ceiling.

     He ran to the main deck, still rubbing his head slightly. He let his arm drop, though, eyes widening, when he saw the woman’s face projected onto the screen.

 

“Alejandro.” The woman said softly. “Try again.” He stared at her but couldn’t determine the emotion on her face. It could be pride, or it could be hatred. Lance wouldn’t be surprised either way. 

     Everything about Morrigan was dark. Her hair, her eyes, the tips of her fingers and the clothes that she wore. Her face was a waxy white, and she reminded him vaguely of a marble statue. She was certainly beautiful enough.

     The twelve-year-old raised his hands again, shaking slightly. He felt the sickeningly addictive rush of power flood through his bones and summoned a physical weapon. The sword was heavy, but he was strong, and he raised it with a shout, before his morality kicked in, and he pictured his brother’s face, and he felt the sword dissolve in his hands.

     He looked up at Morrigan, embarrassed. She held out her hand and helped him up into her arms.

     “Lance, love.” The woman whispered gently. “I know it’s hard. I know.”

     “I’m sorry.” He whispered. She stroked his hair and placed him back on the ground.

     “You’re destined for greatness, Alejandro. You must embrace every part of yourself before you can do that. It is what makes you my son. It is what makes you unseelie.”

     Lance’s face hardened. The chained-up pixie in front of him began to tremble.

 

 

 

Morrigan smiled when she saw him, revealing rows of pointed teeth. Lance saw Pidge visibly shudder. He stepped up to the screen, defiantly. 

     "Mother." He said. "You found me." 

     "I always will, Alejandro." Morrigan said. "Introduce me to your friends?" 

     Lance turned to the other paladins, eyes downcast. 

     "Guys, this is my birth mother." He took a deep breath. "Morgan Le Fay."

     He couldn't look at their faces.

 

Everything happened so fast, and before he knew it, they were home. Lance had asked him mother to let him explain the situation, figuring maybe the fairies could help fight against the Galra. He had two days left on Earth, before the summoning spell wore off and he and the castle of lions were all flung back into deep space. 

     His friends were making the most of it.

 

That night, Lance went to the beach, for the first time in far too long. He was surprised to see someone already sat there, but Matt simply gestured at him to sit down.

 

 Lance couldn’t take his eyes off the man in front of him. Matt’s eyes lit up and he grinned softly, unaware of Lance’s stare. Almost unthinkingly, Lance reached out and nudged his hand against Matt’s. Matt’s fingers caught his hand, and their hands intertwined. Lance looked away, embarrassed, staring intently at the floor.

     “Look.” Matt whispered. “Shooting stars.”

     Lance looked up, only to gasp in amazement at the bright lights that streaked across the sky. There were thousands, and Lance glanced sideways at the other boy, seeing the lights reflected in his eyes and the look of pure wonder on his face.

     “Really puts things in perspective, huh.” Lance whispered. Matt’s eyes flicked to his. He looked back up to the sky again and nodded.

     “What are you wishing for?” Matt asked. Lance took a moment to think. He knew, in his heart, there was only one thing he could possibly wish for, at that moment. He squeezed Matt’s hand, and Matt squeezed back.

     “There’s only one thing I want.” Lance confessed.

     “What’s that?” Matt said, casually. Too casually.

     Lance only hesitated a second, before pressing his lips to the other boy’s. Matt froze, for a second, before kissing back. It was slow, cautious, both men figuring the other out, but it was deep and true. Lance pulled away first, resting his forehead against Matt’s.

     “You.” He whispered.

     Matt was quiet. He placed a hand on Lance’s face, stroking his cheek gently. “That’s funny.” He said softly. “I wished for you, too.”

     The stars continued to fall, and Lance kissed Matt again. Sat on the grass, curled up together, the pair felt, finally, complete. Lance rested his head on the other man’s shoulder quietly.

     “We’re going back out there, right?” Lance whispered. Matt hummed.

     “We have to. We’ll be out there until the war is over.” He replied. Lance felt a tear trace down his cheek.

     “It’s so unfair. We’re not soldiers. We’re barely even adults. Why do we have to be the ones to sacrifice everything? If we die, nothing changes. The universe won’t mourn. I hate this. I know I should feel, I don’t know, honour bound or proud or something but…” Lance met Matt’s eyes. “Why do I only get these… moments, where everything is okay. Why can’t I just live.” His voice wobbled. Matt drew him closer, enveloping him in comforting arms.

     “I know. I know. God, Lance, I understand. But we are strong, even if we don’t feel it. And we have each other. The universe might not mourn, but your friends will. Isn’t that the most important thing?” He said into Lance’s hair. He kissed the Cuban boy softly on the forehead.  Lance let out a small noise, like an aborted sob, and roughly wiped away his tears with the palm of his hand.

     The two watched the meteor shower in silence. For the first time in months, Lance had hope.