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Complicated Hearts

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"...Hey, er, guys? I know that you're doing the whole looking into the sunset coolly thing we do. B-But...could someone help me up? Please?"

Keith yelped as he was looking down at the now white haired Shiro looking deadpanned up at the other with an unamused look, as Keith had the decency to look sheepish and the rest laughed a little. Allura was kneeling down and gently picking him up easily in her arms, thanks to her Altean strength. Normally, this would've gotten Lance impressed, but...there was still one factor that still bothered him.

"I-I'm sorry!...I'm so sorry..."

The thing was, Lance wasn't just apologizing to Shiro before.

He was apologizing to the Shiro before him.

His Shiro.

Yes, it was sort of...strange, that Lance had a secret relationship. A relationship with the Black Paladin, himself, Takashi Shirogane (even though that was just a clone of him). Sure, the Cuban male had looked up to him when he started out in the Garrison. But in space together for a while? Lance knew that hero worship turned into fondness and something else. However, the then Blue Paladin didn't do anything at the time, thinking that there was something going on with Keith and Shiro that looked 'more than brotherly' to him, despite the protests from Pidge and the assurance of Hunk that there was nothing going on.

Then, Shiro disappeared again after the first defeat of Zarkon.

And Lance somehow felt hopeless, but he stayed strong...because someone had to. He had to make sure he kept Keith sane, make sure Pidge didn't overwork themselves, to make sure Hunk was calm and Allura not stressed out and Coran to not feel down. Lance had to somehow keep everyone together, even when he himself was falling apart.

And then Shiro came back...and Shiro was once again different.

The now Red Paladin didn't think that he would feel a whiplash of how many sides Lance has seen Shiro, especially the one where he was loudly expressing anger towards him. Sure, Lance knew that at times he got under Shiro's skin with his loud, obnoxious self; but he didn't think he would be warranted into being screamed at for calmly suggesting a few things.

And then...the moment that changed everything.

"Lance...l-let me ask you something,"

Lance tilted his head as he looked back at the unsure Black Paladin for a moment, and raised a brow to signal for Shiro to continue.

"Do you remember on Olkarion, you asked me about..." He took a deep breath, looking down at his feet with troubled eyes, "T-talking to you inside from inside Voltron?"

"Yeah?" Lance breathed out, nodding his head as he stepped closer to Shiro.

The salt 'n pepper haired Japanese pursed his lips, then sighed, "What happened there? I can't remember any of it..."

"Well...we were all in some kind of mystical Voltron mindspace," The brunet started to explain slowly, "And were yelling something, but I couldn't hear you...are you okay?" Lance finally asked as he looked up at his leader with worried eyes.

Shiro sighed once more, as he averted his eyes away, making Lance step closer to him.

"I...I don't know," He then closed his eyes, his voice trembling a little, "My head...I'm just...Haa, I'm feeling so confused...I-It's like..."

"Like what?" Lance tilted his head, wishing to reach out and hold the other's hand...or hold him in general.

Shiro kept his eyes away but soon was looking back at Lance with a foreboding yet mysterious look, "...Like I'm not myself..."

Silence followed after that for just a minute, as Lance's eyes softened. He could understand that. After what Shiro has been through, twice might he add, Lance knew that probably there was a lot going on Shiro's head and the stress of the plans with Lotor and now the rest of some other leader Galrans wanting to take Zarkon's place wanting to destroy them and the coalition was taking it's toll on the Black Paladin.

Feeling braver, Lance reached out to touch Shiro's arm, staring into his eyes, "It's just probably lack of oxygen," He reassured lightly with a soft smile, trying to ease the tension in the air, "You should sit down. We'll get through this,"

Soon the Red Paladin was urging Shiro to sit leaning against the hallway walls of the Castle, and once Shiro was sitting, Lance joined him. They sat in silence, but this time the silence was one of comfort.


"Yes?" Lance piped up and let his blue eyes glance over.

"...I'm really sorry,"

This surprised the Cuban, "What? What for?"

"For everything. For shouting at you, in front of the others...for belitting you when I know you're trying your best to keeping the team steady and calm. I know that you have the team's best interest at heart. It's just...I wish you could trust me a little more," Shiro looked over at him and softened, "I know that some of my actions lately seem...rash, to say the least; and I know you don't trust Lotor. But you have to remember that Lotor is our best lead. It's best that we keep him at bay on our side so that he doesn't try anything funny by himself if we don't keep an eye on him. It's weird thinking, kinda using him like a pawn if he was ruler of the Galra Empire; but when we're at war, we gotta use every asset we can,"

"I know that," Lance sighed as he ran his fingers through his hair, "I just...I want the whole team to be included into the decision making; not just you and Lotor. I get it, you are wanting to be on top of everything but you have to remember that you have us. Allura, Coran, Hunk," Lance tried to ignore his heart skipping a beat, "We just want to help in any way we can to keep the peace and save everyone from the evil Galra. We trust you...but do you trust us?"

Shiro turned his body so that he was facing Lance, and soon was tilting Lance's chin up, making the blue eyed Cuabn stare up at him with wide eyes, "Of course I trust you guys. Especially you, Sharpshooter,"

Lance almost gasped at the nickname, feeling his face flush.

"I just...I don't want anyone else hurt after the whole Keith almost killing himself by crashing Haggar's ship," Shiro explained, and Lance felt himself freeze at the mention of Keith but relaxed after a second, "And I clearly remembered when Keith was still with the Black Lion and wasn't here for you guys and was instead with the Blade, I...I felt helpless before...All I want is to protect you guys. Want to protect my family...wanting to protect you,"

If he thought he wasn't blushing before, he was now. Lance wanted to cover his face with his hands but Shiro prevented him from doing so by catching his gloved hands. Lacing their fingers together, Shiro leaned his head forward, and Lance felt himself closing his eyes.

Lance came back to reality as Hunk was calling out his name.

"Hey Lance, we're about to head back inside the Lions and get going," The yellow Paladin smiled happily and stretched, "Hey, maybe we could find the nearest space mall on the way and get some space road trip food~"

"Sounds like a plan," Lance bounced back with a smile up, knowing how to place his mask up easily without worrying anyone and causing suspicion.

As the two were walking to their lions, there was one person that wasn't fooled.

"Keith, did you want Shiro to ride with you and Krolia in Black or should he ride with me in Blue? Romelle doesn't mind going in either or..." Allura spoke up as she walked behind her returned leader, and the raven haired paladin tilted his head to her.

"I think Shiro can stay with me and Mom. I know you and Romelle are bonding lately,"

Allura pouted a bit, noticing that Keith looked...teasing. It was something she wasn't used to from her usually broody paladin member.

"W-well alright then. But are you alright? We could always rest here for the night if anything and travel in the morning. With what you and Shiro has been through, and most certainly all the rest of us, we've been through quite a lot,"

"Yeah, but I don't want a chance that maybe a scouting Galran ship might catch us off guard. No, we'll wait until we go to a planet that has civilisation and especially not under the Empire's control," Keith explained as he was then leading Allura to Black and hoping inside, "Besides, we might have to get more supplies up either way anyways. So it's best that we keep on moving,"

"Well that does sound like a good idea," Allura nodded and placed Shiro down in the make-shift cot at the side then softened, "But...are you truly alright?"

Keith raised a brow, then softened, "I should be asking you that, Princess. Er, from what I gathered from Pidge and Hunk, you and Lotor were—"

"Yes, w-well, that's all behind me now," Allura cut off with a stern cold look, but softened again, looking apologetic, "Sorry I...I'm not...comfortable talking about that yet. Maybe some other time when I'm ready,"

"Understood," Keith approached her and then placed a hand onto her shoulder, "I'm always willing to listen when you ever want to talk about it or anything else,"

"Leave the math to Pidge,"

Keith winced inwardly at remembering his words to Lance and would wish he would've said the same thing back then too. Maybe if he was a bit more understanding back then, would it have changed things?

Allura smiled weakly and reached out to hug him, squeezing him tight then chuckled almost wetly, "My goodness, you and Lance both have matured so much now,"

"Lance? Mature?" Keith tried to joke as he pulled back from her.

"It's strange but...while you were away, Lance has been amazing," She breathed out, a soft look in her eyes that made Keith slightly suspicious and Allura must've caught because she laughed, "N-not in the way you think. It's just, it scary that he's more and more acting like my father,"

Keith looked confused, and Allura continued with a wistful look.

"Not only is he physically getting better in fighting shape and becoming a great strategist for the team; he's...very caring to everyone's well being. Even being Shiro's right hand man," She then gave a look to Keith, "But then again, he was a better right hand man when you were in charge back then too,"

Keith scratched his non-cut cheek for a moment.

"Anyways," Allura sighed, "Everytime I felt...scared, confused and mostly like I was gonna break down from stress and many frustrations; Lance was just...always there and knowing just what to say. Even when Lotor was around, Lance was always somewhat my support in everything, even when he had some concerns trusting in Lotor...he still trusted me. It was like being with my father all over again,"

"Allura..." The half Galran breathed out and Allura sniffled, shaking her head.

"I should've listened to him,"

Keith shook his head, "It's not your fault,"

"Allura, it wasn't just you who trusted Lotor. We all did," Lance spoke up with soft determined eyes, as he stepped closer to the Princess, "I had more reason than anyone not to trust him, but he did everything right. He didn't just fool you. He fooled us all,"

Tearing up, Allura reached out and hugged Lance tightly and soon the other Paladin wrapped his arms around her gently, comforting her and closing his eyes.

"Let me tell you, as someone who's made a million mistakes...all you can do is get up and try to make it right," Lance whispered, as he stroked her back gently, "You can't doubt yourself now. We need you. The universe needs you."

"...T-thank you, Lance,"

"...Funny," Allura hummed, "Lance somewhat said something like that too,"

Keith looked at her funny but the Altean royal waved her hand, as she was hearing the comms beeping.

"We should get going, the other's are ready to take off,"

Nodding his head, the now Black Paladin turned to his pilot seat as Allura was stepping out to go to Blue. Sighing, Keith was rubbing his temple at the thought of the blue eyed boy and smiled weakly, eyes fond.

'You and I have to definitely talk when we get the chance,' Keith thought with a deep breath out.

"Well, it seems that you have a lot on your mind,"

"Mom?" Keith glanced up and then blinked, "...How long have you been standing there?"

"The whole time," Krolia shrugged and hummed, "You've always talked and thought about this Lance and yet I never got the chance to talk to him properly,"

"Mom..." Keith groaned, remembering how she had seen everything thought and memory of Lance when they were back in those stupid dark star time loop thing.

"I'm just saying. I want to meet the boy that has caught my son's eyes as mate potential," The woman said again bluntly as Keith turned to glare at her, but she rivalled back her own glare, but sighed, "Fine, fine. I guess I can have a chat with him on our next stop," She soon turned to check on Yorak the Space Wolf and Shiro, leaving Keith alone for now.

Trying not to pout, Keith turned back to face the front and turned on the comms, "Alright team, we ready to go?"

"Yeah!" The rest of the Paladins plus Coran and Romelle cheered, and soon they were taking off into the skies.

Keith relaxed himself once they were soaring through the planets and stars, leaning back as he was letting Black take over for now and glanced back to see Shiro resting in one corner, while Krolia and Yorak were resting on the other side. Although he should be piloting his Lion, he could feel Black's aura telling him he can rest for now, since it's been a long day. Leaning back some more, he soon was closing his eyes and feeling himself drift, already dreaming of a certain Paladin with ocean like eyes sparkling with happiness and pride.

Chapter Text

It was about two quintants until they arrived the nearest planet that had a Space Mall, thankfully not the same one with that Varkon the Space Mall Cop. But just to be on the safe side, Keith suggested they park far and hidden away from prying eyes...and probably go in disguises. And of course, Coran was providing the costumes for it. Good news was, it wasn't the same clothing as the ones they had worn before.

Bad was much MUCH worse.

"Can't believe we're wearing these..." Hunk breathed out, looking down at his attire. He honestly looked like he came from a cosplay contest, what with looking like Aang from Avatar but in his size and wearing some gravity defying wig that made out of straws.

"Hey, at least you can move with YOUR costume," Pidge spouted out from her muffled helmet, as she was trying to move her metal covered arms. Honestly, you can call her Tin-Man with how much armor she had on.

"I dunno, I kinda like my attire~" Allura giggled as she twirled around happily, showing off her lovely looking dress. She really did look nice with her baby blue sundress, sandals and wearing a cute sunhat, like she was going on a date or something. And for once, her hair was down and flowing up to her back. Romelle was at her side, wearing mostly a pink jumpsuit with white boots, and had a pink shaded sunglasses over her eyes.

"And it totally suits you, Princess," Lance spoke up, grinning a little and making Pidge and Hunk groan and roll their eyes. The paladin of Red was wearing a blue sleeveless turtleneck that was covered by a brown jacket and tight black pants and combat boots; and added a baseball cap he found in one of his meetings with another planet that had Earth things collected for fun.

Keith had his arms folded as he watched the others from the sidelines, just...wearing his normal black shirt and tight jeans. Basically his normal attire except for his signature jacket; which was surprisingly tight on him.

"It's because you're bigger and grizzlier now, Mullet," Keith remembered Lance saying to him as they changed clothes.

"Aren't you gonna go join them?" A voice spoke up, and Keith turned his head to see Shiro coming down from Black, Yorak at his side guiding him.

The now Black Paladin softened as he remembered that Shiro was still missing an arm, and had to use their Space Wolf to take him around when the others couldn't support him all the time. Currently Shiro was wearing his dad's old vest, showing his bare arm along with one fingerless glove along with his pants and boots. He almost looked like his old self...only just snow white hair and no more prosthetic arm.

"Er, someone has to stay behind and watch the Lions," Keith shrugged, glancing back to see Lance taking off his jacket and tying it around his waist, and proceeded to blush. Damn, Lance has toned up nicely.

"Ahem," Shiro coughed with a raised brow, noticing the other male was...distracted, "You sure? I mean I could stay behind and Yorak could keep me company,"

Keith shook his head and smiled, "Nah, I would've thought you'd be getting cabin fever from all the times you're stuck in the lion and such. I think you deserve to come out and stretch your legs. You haven't been in the Space Mall before with us anyways, and Allura seems pretty excited,"

Shiro stared at him for a moment longer and sighed, "I suppose,"

"Hey," Keith reached over and papped over Shiro's only arm and softened, "Have some fun, and enjoy yourself. This is the moments that we can just...relax and feel normal for once, you know?"

Shiro still looked a little unsure.

Keith wouldn't take that, "Besides, you've...been in that single healing pod for a while. You're awake and kicking. Until Hunk and Pidge figure out a way to make you a new arm, you might as well enjoy this while you can,"

"...You're right," A smile was graced on the other man's lips and nodded, then breathed out, "Guess we should get going,"

"As I said, have a good time. And don't buy weird stuff like Pidge and Lance did,"

"I'm still questioning on HOW and WHY they bought Kaltanecker," Shiro hummed as he stared making his way over to the rest of the group, and Keith watched them.

He observed each and every one of his space family, and had to have a fond smile. Coran was excitingly explaining to the Princess, Romelle and Krolia of his last adventures in the mall and the swap moons, while Hunk and Pidge were chattering away with Shiro about the places they wanted to go to. The only one that seemed out of place, was Lance. Which, struck Keith as odd, considering that the guy was supposed to be the 'loud and proud' kind. In fact, the Cuban seemed to just shuffle closer to Allura and listening to Coran, not even giving his over the top input like he usually does.

Something was up.

Before Keith could walk over, Pidge was announcing that Matt had just contacted her and that he was on the way to the Space Mall already and will be meeting up with them soon. The group was making their way to leave, and Keith was waving them off. His smile faded when he noticed Shiro was trying to walk side by side with Lance, but the brunet ended up laughing nervously and spun behind Shiro to walk beside Romelle and talk to her. And Keith did see Shiro's shoulders slump before engaging into conversation with Allura.

It made Keith think back...when Shiro woke up.

"Keith...y-you saved me,"

A smile graced on the teary eyed boy's lips, as he was reaching over and hugging the one true family he had besides his mother, "We saved each other,"

The doors slid open and in came Lance, Hunk, Pidge, Coran and Romelle coming back from their trip to see the Yelmors.

"Alright! Shiro's looking better," Lance spoke up first, smiling brightly.

Keith blinked and pulled away from the hug, looking concerned, "Where were you guys? We couldn't get a hold of you,"

"Well... we were shrunk by a magic skunk BUT we ended up using that sparkly dust that makes electricity bigger or whatever," He then tapped his chin and winked, giving his cheeky grin, "Used it to un-shrink ourselves~ "

Keith ended up staring at him as if he grew two heads, complete done with Lance's bullshit while Shiro just...stared at him tiredly.

"So, ready to charge up the Lions?"

Suddenly, a small chuckle sounded and everyone looked to Shiro, who was looking...relieved and happy.

"It's good to be back," Shiro chirped out sleepily, leaning against Keith and laughing some more.

Lance looked...frozen. His smile faltered as the rest of the team just went along with Shiro's laugh and the happy vibes continued. Keith just looked at Lance a little more, before turning back to tend to Shiro.

Maybe Keith should've checked on Lance that day, but they had to charge up the Lions quickly and get a move on. Everything just...happened so fast. Perhaps maybe when Lance returned, they should have their conversation again.

Something indeed didn't feel right.

Lance knew that something didn't...feel right.

Maybe it was because he was paired off with Shiro to explore the Space Mall together. Coran had taken Krolia as his partner, wanting to show her the 'swap moons' and Krolia was eager to scare up some salesperson and wraggle them. Whatever THAT meant. Hunk and Pidge wanted to find parts together for Shiro's new mechanical arm and Allura and Romelle wanted to do girly things together.

Which just ended up Lance and Shiro doing...well...nothing at the moment.

"Is there any place you wanted to go?" Shiro piped up after a minute of looking at the strange map of the mall, "I mean, I'm not exactly familiar with it considering..."

Lance felt his heart squeeze. He didn't even need to hear what Shiro was trying to say.

'Only Clone Shiro came to the Space Mall with us...'

Lance silently gulped and laughed, as he was folding his hands behind his back, "W-well um, you hungry? I'm hungry, food is good, I mean haven't had a decent meal in a while right? Even though HunkusuallymakesgoodfoodwithwhateverhefindsOH! Look! Space Mall Food Court!"

And soon he was stomping away, not knowing if Shiro was catching up with him or not.

It wasn't like Lance was trying to outright avoid him...wait, no that wasn't true. Of course he was. He couldn't help it though, how could you face the man that was wearing the same face of the guy that was bumping and grinding with. Well...not only that, Lance thought he...well, he thought at least, that what Lance and Kuron shared was something special. Then again, Lance thought the clone was Shiro at the time.

'I'm just repeating thoughts. Gah, what's WRONG with me!?' Lance thought as he was stepping into the food court and looked around.

"Wow, the place is pretty packed," Shiro's voice sounded beside Lance all of a sudden, making the Cuban make jump almost twenty feet in the air.

"D-dios mios Shiro! Don't sneak up on me like that!"

Shiro's eyes widened as he was suddenly feeling himself sway for a second.


A squeak escaped a figure and said figure turned around, revealing the soft chocolate brown hair and wide shocked ocean blue eyes, having their hand over their heart.

"Dios mios! Shiro, don't sneak up on me like that!"

"Sorry," A chuckle escaped him as Lance was pouting a bit, arms folded.

"What's up, Shiro?"

Shiro bit his lower lip, as he then tilted his head, "Can...can I sleep with you again?"

Lance's cheeks turned fiery red, almost to his ears and spluttered out, "W-what?"

"We...we don't have to do anything like last time. Just...I can't sleep without you lying next to me. My doesn't hurt if you're close," Shiro whimpered a little, letting his serious face and guard down as Lance's eyes softened.

"...Of course, Shiro. You know that I'm happy to help you anyway I can,"

A smile was felt on Shiro's lips as he was walking towards Lance and wrapping his arms around him, pulling him close, "Thank you..."


Shiro blinked his eyes as he was suddenly seeing...lights? The ceiling?

He looked to his side to see that Lance was looking over at him, along with random aliens crowding around them looking worried.

"Holy crow, a-are you okay?!" Lance breathed out as he was cradling Shiro in his arms, ocean blue eyes soft and concerned.

Shiro immediately sat up and scooted away, feeling like he couldn't breathe.


His hurts.

"Hold on Shiro, I-I'm calling Keith—"

"Lance? Shiro?"

"Matt!'s Shi...thing wrong wit..."

Was...was the room spinning?

Shiro was trying to shake his head and blink his eyes, as his vision was starting to blur for a moment. And then, it came to focus when a familiar fair haired male was kneeling in front of him, flashing light onto each of his eyes and then clicking his fingers.

"Shi...?...Can you"

"Er, M-Matt?" Shiro managed to jumble as he soon sighed, and felt his headache being lifted and blinked once more, "What...what happened?"

"Well, according to Lance and the people around here, it seemed you had a dizzy spell," Matt concluded as quietly as he could, and helped his friend to stand and smiled warmly, "Guess you're still not to non Zero-G are you?"


Matt faltered for a second and tilted his head, "Er, yes? What, your brain scrambled or something?"

"Matt!" Lance hissed as the older Holt then covered his mouth, eyes widening.

"W-whoopsie-daisy, that was insensitive of me I—"

Suddenly Shiro was wrapping his arms around Matt and hugged the life outta him and breathed out a tiny sob.

"You're really alive!"

Matt looked confused and looked to Lance for explanation.

"His memories are still a little spotty. know, being revived and all," Lance explained as Matt softened.

He had heard after not getting radio calls from Pidge for a while, and felt himself wracked with guilt. To think that all this time, it was a Clone that Matt had reunited with and not the real Shiro. It sort of made sense WHY he always felt off about Shiro back then when he met up with him again. So what Matt just did was pat Shiro's back gently, whispering words of comfort to his friend and closed his eyes. As that was happening, Lance managed to show the crowd away and give them some privacy.

"I think I should call Keith and report in," Lance spoke up after a minute, and Matt nodded.

"That sounds like a good idea,"

Lance smiled and soon was stepping away to radio Keith, and Matt turned to face Shiro, who was watching them.

"Mind telling me what that was about?"

Shiro sighed and closed his eyes, letting himself sit up properly as Matt scooted away, "You know you don't have to call Keith,"

"Oh but we do. He's like your little bodyguard. Anything happens to you and we're all screwed," Matt joked, winking, "You know how he was like. He even threatened me to take care of you when we went to Kerberos,"

"Right..." Shiro laughed a little and opened his eyes, "Aren't you glad Katie's not like that,"

Matt scoffed, "Oh she is, just ten times worse,"

It was a few second before the two of them started laughing together.

"I'm..I'm glad you're okay Matt. And I'm sorry I didn't rescue you earlier,"

The rebel fighter shook his head, "Hey, what happened, happened. We can't change that. Let's just focus on the now, yeah?"

Shiro nodded but couldn't help but feel a little concern. 'Why...did I have that image in my head though?'

Chapter Text

Keith eventually came to them with the space wolf of his, looking out of breath and scared. Lance and Matt were on either side of Shiro, sitting on a bench close to the entrance of the Space Mall.

"Everything alright? Lance told me everything," The now Black Paladin approached as he was rushing to stand in front of Shiro, looking him over with concern .

"I'm fine Keith, really. I just had a silly case of spacing out and both Lance and Matt are worrywarts," Shiro assured him as he was rolling his eyes, almost pouting like a child.

"From what Lance told me it sounded like you had some sort of triggered flashback or something," Keith glanced at the now Red paladin for a moment, who looked scared, then turned back to Shiro, "Are you sure that you're okay?"

Shiro sighed as he wished he could rub his temple but refrained from doing so. Honestly, he knew that Keith meant well. But it was kinda suffocating that he was coddling him like some sort of infant that couldn't think for themselves.

'Like Adam did,' A voice spoke in his head and Shiro almost jumped for a second at the voice, and the trio before him looked alarmed.

"Shiro?" Lance breathed out as Shiro looked up at him.

'Now that I think on it, Lance sort of reminds me of Adam physical wise~' The voice continued and Shiro squeezed his eyes shut for a second, then breathed through his nose, "I-I'm fine. Really. I just...I guess I was over-excited of being out of the pod, is all,"

Matt stared at him for a moment longer, as Lance and Keith glanced at each other.

"'s okay if you relapse—"

"I said I'm fine!"

Lance jerked back for a second as he stared at Shiro in shock, and Shiro wanted to cover his mouth in shock.

"Easy there Shiro, we're just worried about you," Keith tried to placate the other.

Shiro just looked exasperated and sighed, "Just...if I say I'm okay, I'm okay. I'm...I'm sorry I worry you guys a lot. But I'm fine now,"

They looked hesitant, but decided not to push it any further.

"Well...okay if you say so," Matt said slowly but then yelped as he was suddenly attacked behind, revealing to be Pidge hugging the life outta him.

"MATT~" Pidge squealed as she was gripping onto his back like a sloth on a tree, grinning, "It's so good to see you!"

"Katie~" Matt chuckled as he managed to twist her body around and hug her happily, "I'm so glad you're okay! When I heard that you were having trouble with Lotor or something of the like I left my coalition mission to go and see you and I saw those Galra generals of Lotor going after you I...I'm just glad your safe and you contacted me,"

The shorter Holt child smiled warmly and nuzzled into him, but then blinked, "Wait, the Generals? Matt where were you—"

"Is everyone alright?" Allura spoke up as she was coming towards them with Romelle, a lot of shopping bags in hand, "What's going on?"

"Shiro sort of had a mishap," Keith explained, ignoring the annoyed look Shiro was sporting at the moment.

Allura looked understanding at this, which made Shiro want to shout at someone but refrained from doing so once more. In fact, the thought of shouting made him somewhat think of Lance for some reason and he felt his heart ache. He would never yell at Lance, or anyone for that matter. Sure, he could reprimand someone gently if they cursed or if they did something wrong but screaming in anger...the only time he did that was with Slav.

'Man I hate Slav,' Thankfully this was his own thought.

Speaking of which...why is it he's getting all these weird visions out of nowhere?

"Anyways, we should wait for Coran and Krolia to come back and we should be heading back. We have a long journey ahead of us if we're going back to Earth," Allura spoke up with a cheerful smile.

Matt looked worried for a second, "Wait, you didn't tell me you guys are going back to Earth?"

"Didn't I tell you?" Pidge's nose twitched, frowning, "We have to go back. Dad has the schematics and such to build another Castle of Lions. Once we have that, we can figure out a plan to take the Galra Empire down while we still have the chance since Lotor is gone,"

"You could've just given that sort of plans on Olkarion and had them build it. But..." Matt sighed as he was rubbing his head, and then eyes softened, "Well if you're going back, then I might as well come with you guys,"

"What about the Coalition? And Rolo, Nyma and Beezer?" Lance asked as he tilted his head.

"Well I left Captain Olia in charge. She'll just contact me updates on the rebel fighters of ours when she can. Besides I...I wanna be closer to you and keep an eye out for you," Matt winked to Pidge at the last bit and then breathed out, "Actually, I really should message her now. I...did kinda leave without telling anyone since you were contacting me about Lotor and Allura going into the rift,"

"Speaking of contacting, we should contact Dad as well," Pidge nodded then blinked, "Oh! Gosh I hope he's okay though. The last person that went to Earth after disappearing..."

Everyone winced at remembering and turned to Shiro for this, and the ex-Black Paladin's eye twitched.

"Ah! Sorry sorry I'm late! I kinda had to visit Vrepit Sal and see how his business was doing," Hunk's voice sounded and everyone turned to see him running after them...with a heavy box and plastic bags.

"Er, what are those?" Keith asked slowly, pointing at Hunk's items.

"Oh these? Yeah, Sal was kind enough to give us food supplies for our journey home. Isn't it awesome!?" The large man cheered with a smile as everyone was nodding in excitement of food that wasn't really space goo.

"Now I guess we just have to wait for—"


Everyone snapped up to see that Coran was comically running down the ascending escalator steps frantically as Krolia jumped over him and landed gracefully to the ground. Behind them was some different Space Mall Cop was chasing them in his floating scooter. Everyone looked wide eyed and panicky and soon was rushing to the exit of the mall, Coran and Krolia right behind them.

"YEAH YOU BETTER RUN!" The Space Mall Cop shouted, shaking his fist in the air as he watched them scramble outta there.

"T-that was close..."

Everyone nodded their heads in agreement to Lance and sighed, placing their hands over their hearts or bending over and resting their hands on their knees.

" it always like this?" Romelle asked innocently with a pout, as Hunk chuckled.

"Pretty much,"

"Gosh, you guys like to live dangerously huh?"

Lance winked at her, "Well we live for danger anyways~"

Romelle blinked as everyone groaned except for Coran and Krolia; and of course, Keith was rolling his eyes and murmuring 'classic' under his breath. He heart growling beside him and almost thought it was Yorak for a moment but was surprised when it was Shiro. Shiro's eyes were narrowed, teeth clenched and his only hand was in a fist; knuckles turning white.


The now white haired male blinked as he heard Keith's concerned voice beside him and turned his head, eyes wide.


"Are you okay?"

"...I wish you'd stop asking me that every five minutes, Keith,"

Keith frowned even more, "Well I'm sorry Shiro, I just—"

"We have to go back in!" Coran shouted out all of a sudden and everyone turned to him in surprise.

"Eh? W-why?" Hunk asked as he was looking scared, "Did you not SEE that Mall Cop guy? He was worse than that Varkon dude!"

"Yeah, what did you guys even DO to get him to chase you?" Pidge exclaimed as he watched the older of them look at each other then back at them.

"'s sort of a long story,"

"It's not that long," Krolia interrupted Coran as she looked at everyone deadpanned, pursed lips for a moment, "We were going to one of the Unilu shops to get some supplies when we were spotting something that could probably help us more to power up the lions,"

"Indeed, it's kinda like a Balamran crystal but pocket sized. Plus some energy batteries that could help for other things," Coran chirped with his pointer finger up, and nodded his head, "Although, the Unilu that we were meeting was the same one that I have met before in the other previous swap moon shop and the hospital. So I had a hard time talking with him like before. I didn't want to lose anything important or anything,"

"So I decided to try bargaining with the fellow," Krolia then rolled her eyes, "Apparently the 'way' was trying to make a deal was 'threatening' and offensive. And decided to call that Galran on us,"

"You threatened to scoop his eyes out from his sockets and feed it to the Space Mice," Coran argued as everyone was backing away scared and Keith was grinning.

"You told him that?"

Krolia looked at her son and smirked, "And said I'd break his arms off and slap him with them,"


"Okay as much as we're happy of this violent mother and son bonding is; how about we get back to the matter at hand?" Lance looked back to Coran, "So we need to get back inside and get those power ups. So how should we do it? By now they must've recognized us and would place up wanted posters at every entrance,"

"I have an idea..."

Surprisingly, everyone turned to the blonde Altean that spoke up, who smiled sweetly.

"...Er, okay?" Keith looked unsure but then nodded slowly, "What did you have in mind?"

The Space Mall Cop was doing his usual patrol around his territory, frowning and giving the stink eye to anyone that looked at him funny. It was always hard to be in a job like this, especially far from the action in the Galra Empire.

Suddenly, a screaming was heard as some alien girl with orange skin and red hair was running towards him and grabbing his arm.

"COME QUICK! MY HUSBAND IS IN NEED OF A SPACE HOSPITAL!" The woman sobbed exaggerated as she was pulling at the cop, trying to urge him to follow her while wailing loudly, gaining some attention.

Once they were away, Keith and Lance were peeking out from a potted plant and looked at each other.

"Well, I didn't think Romelle would shift into another alien and distract him," Lance breathed out as the now Black Paladin nodded.

"Alright, let's do this,"

He took Lance's hand and held onto Yorak's fur, and as soon as the wolf was glowing brightly, they vanished into starlights and ended up inside the Unilu's shop. Letting go of his hand, the leader was glancing around to see if the said Unilu owner was around. Thankfully, it seemed that he wasn't.

"Hey check it out," Lance whispered and pointed to some box, "Think this is what your Mom and Coran were looking for?"

Keith peeked over Lance and hummed, "Maybe...hold on, lemme take a picture and confirm it with Mom,"

As Keith was taking the picture, Lance was glancing around more in the shop until he was hearing a grumbling voice coming their way. Yelping, Lance grabbed Keith and pulled him inside some wooden closet thing as Yorak was immediately hiding himself in some sort of large box next to them.

"Hey! W-what are you—!"

"Shhh!" Lance covered Keith's mouth as he looked through the gap of the closet door, trying to see if the Unilu was returning.

Keith glared at Lance for a moment but then blushed as he realized what kind of position they were in. Lance was actually straddled sitting on Keith's lap, chest to chest pressed so closely. But the ex-Blue Paladin shifted in place, and Keith was mostly now staring at Lance's covered neck and Lance's chin was resting over the top of his head. It was a tight fit inside where they were, but still Keith wished that Lance wasn't so dang close, and wondered if Lance could hear his loud beating heart.

"Okay, I think we can move now, the Unilu went back out again," Lance smiled as he uncovered Keith's mouth and looked down at the other and blinked, "Woah, Keith, you okay? Your face is red..."

Keith felt his face grow hotter and spluttered, "Well you're way too clo—"

A bark was heard outside of the closet and suddenly the two Paladins were tumbling out with loud shouts, groaning as they were tangled in each other's limbs. A groan escaped Keith as he was then wiggling a little, then blushed as he remembered that Lance was on top of him.

"Get off!" The grizzled male grunted, pushing the Cuban off and then sitting up when Yorak yipped and licked at Keith's cheek.

"Let's grab the box and go already," Lance was grabbing the box from before and then reaching for Keith while throwing some GAC onto the table, "C'mon, get your wolf to teleport back to the others. I'm pretty sure both Romelle and Hunk can't distract the Space Mall Cop any longer,"

"Wait Lance, that box might not be—"

"Kosmo, takes us back!"

"Wait, his name's not—"

Yorak just yipped happily and soon with a bright light, they vanished again.

"Oh!" Coran jumped when Lance and Keith appeared back with them with the cosmic wolf, and eyes brightened, "You're back quick. Did you get what we needed?"

"Yup~! Right here~!" Lance smiled brightly as he was holding up a box to Coran, and the said Altean took it from the other and opened the box, "Now we can get the Lions up and running faster right?"

Coran frowned and then was digging into a box and held up some sort of wooden alien child's toy, "This isn't what I asked for,"

"Keith, I was texting to you that the box wasn't what we were looking for and tried to describe it to you. Did you not read it?" Krolia chided with a disappointed look and Keith whirled around to Lance and growled.

"I told you that it wasn't the right box!"

Lance huffed, "HEY! We were on a crunch time there!"

"Okay, okay take it easy guys," Matt stood in between them with a chuckle, and then smirked, "You two act like a married couple,"

Both the boys blushed and looked back at Matt.

"WE ARE NOT MARRIED OR A COUPLE!" Lance shouted as Keith huffed and looked away.

"Suuuure you guys aren't," Matt raised a brow, looking amused.

"Should we try again?" Allura asked as she was sitting with Pidge and Shiro on the ground, "Maybe one of us should give it a try this time—"


Hunk, dressed as some old man, was running alongside a disguised Romelle as they were chased by not one, but FIVE MORE Space Mall Cops in floating scooters. The Paladins looked freaked out more and soon Keith and Krolia grabbed Shiro and the Cosmic Wolf and soon vanished in a flash of light.

"WHAT THE—?!" Lance yelped and soon was getting up, and started running while grabbing Allura's wrist to make her follow him.

Matt was picking Pidge up and placing her over his shoulder and followed after them as well while Coran was soon running past them with Hunk and Romelle, as they were chased all the way out of the Space Mall Parking lot.


Chapter Text

Matt sighed as he was sitting next to his sister inside the green lion, looking at his wristwatch and tapping into it.

"Captain Olia, are you there? Come in!...It's Matthew...Matthew Holt reporting in, hello?" Matt groaned once more as he leaned against the side of his sister's pilot chair and listened to her trying to call their dad once more.

"Captain Olia? Do you copy?"

Matt frowned deeply in worry, as he tapped into another frequency and whispered softly.

"...Shiva, are you there?" Sighing tiredly, he was met with silence.

That have been at this for a few vargas now.

"This is Katie Holt, Paladin of the Green Voltron Lion, broadcasting to Earth," Pidge spoke clear, calm and confident on a repeat; having rehearsed this and everything, "Does anyone copy? Over."

It was silent static once more, and Matt's eyes lowered for a moment with worry.

Pidge sighed and tried again, pressing a few buttons in the hologram screen to adjust the frequencies, "I repeat, this is the Paladin of the Green Lion and part of the Voltron Coalition. If you hear me, please respond. Over."

More static.

"Katie..." Matt whispered quietly.

"...Dad, are you there?" Pidge's voice was soft now, her voice wavering for a moment and Matt sat up straight.

He watched as she waited for a dobash and then sighed, moving the holo-screen away from her and bringing her legs up and hugging them close to her chest.

"Oh Katie..." He was then moving to his sister and wrapped his arms around her, hugging her close and nuzzled his nose into her hair, "We'll get through to them. I know we will,"

Katie sniffled and leaned closer to her older brother, both of them worried of the 'what-ifs' about Earth and hoping their parents and the rest of the world was alright.

"Had a good rest, have you?"

Lance looked up from feeding Kaltanecker to see Allura approaching him with Romelle, and then smiled.

"Morning ladies, you're looking radiant this fine day," Lance winked at them with a charming smile, as Allura rolled her eyes in good nature and Romelle looked amused.

"Do you always give flattery to everyone?" The blonde Altean asked and the Blue to Red Paladin chuckled.

"Well, only to the pretty ones~"

"Oh? Then why haven't you said things like that to Keith?" Romelle asked innocently, causing Allura to giggle and Lance to blush.

"K-Keith? Nuh-uh, dudes don't call other dudes pretty!" The Cuban protested and Romelle raised a brow.

"So Keith's not pretty?" She fired back and Lance looked puzzled.

"Er...w-well I mean, I can admit that he's not ugly..."

"Wow, that's a compliment?" A deadpanned voice spoke up and Lance jumped, seeing it was a smirking Keith and a blank faced Shiro.

"A-ah! Well I mean, I, er, um, at least I can admit that you could be good looking, if it wasn't for the damn mullet. I just told you before that you're bigger and grizzler now and well..." Lance spluttered out left and right, face red almost to his ears and looking embarrassed.

Romelle and Allura were smiling knowingly for a moment as Keith just looked confused for a second and not understanding what the other was saying. Shiro, on the other hand, was feeling something odd stirring in his chest, like his heart was being constricted tightly. It wasn't painful but...he didn't like it. A feeling that was familiar but at the same time...he couldn't place his finger on it.

"I should check on what Hunk's doing~" Romelle chirped happily as she skipped over to Hunk, who was staring up at his lion quietly, and was asking him what he was doing and almost scaring the bejeezus outta him.

"Shiro?" Lance managed to turn to the other and saw that Shiro looked spaced out, and softened, wanting to say something but closed his mouth in the last second.

Keith saw this, and had that feeling again. He observed that Lance seemed to retreat himself with the way he was almost carrying his body as if he was scared while Shiro looked like he was conflicted into reaching out to Lance or running away right here right now. It was all confusing.

Keith didn't like it.

Allura, on the other hand, didn't notice.

"Well then, I suppose since we're all up and had breakfast, we should be planning to go, yes?" The princess clapped her hands together with a look of optimism, as the three young men looked at her.

Shiro sighed as he was sitting on one of the random metal boxes that had their things and supplies, tilting his head, "I'm ready to leave this planet anyways,"

"Well, we could rest another day if anything," Keith suggested but shut up as Shiro was glaring at him with a 'really? are we doing this right now?' look, "I-It's not just for your sake, I mean we've been here a few days since the Mall Incident, it doesn't hurt to just keep our energy up for a long journey,"

Lance was standing far off from Shiro as Allura and Keith were standing in front of him when the Holt siblings were coming out their lions, Pidge telling Hunk of the results of the Lion's power levels and was soon walking over to the rest of them.

Shiro softened as he saw the disappointed look from Pidge and the resigned face from Matt, "W-were you able to contact Earth and the Coalition?"

"No luck," The Green Paladin breathed out as she was soon sitting down on the box next to Shiro, "The low power levels are probably affecting our broadcast distance. I'll keep trying as we head for Earth,"

"Same here," Matt smiled softly, "I can also find some pitstops on the way as well. Maybe even some Coalition bases that we could rest up the Lions and get their levels back up,"

Lance folded his arms, and had a hopeful look on his face, laughing quietly, "I-I can't believe we're finally going home,"

Hunk and Romelle were walking over to them, along with Krolia and Coran.

"I'm gonna hug my parents and never let go!" Hunk spoke up and hugging himself with a happy sigh.

Pidge grinned, closing her eyes, "I can't wait to see how Dad integrated Altean and Earth technologies together. I bet he came up with something amazing! And my mom..." She then froze, making Matt look concern for a second as Pidge then gulped, sweatdropping, "Oh, she's gonna be so mad at me for running away,"

"That...sounds about right," Matt winced, "She's a fierce Mama Bear when her kids are in danger and away from her,"

"I hope I'm not grounded," Pidge murmured, looking worried not.

Matt hummed,"Same here. And I'm the eldest and an adult,"

Matt and Pidge looked at each other and shuddered at the thought of their mother punishing them.

Keith tilted his head and looked over to Coran, who was standing next to Allura, "How long do you think it'll take us to get home?" He asked.

"I was just calculating that now," The orange moustached man replied, using his fingers to count, "Without the luxury of a wormhole and with diminished power cores...let me see...carry the one...oh!" He then chirped happily and looked up happily, "It's gonna take us approximately one hundred and fifty thousand Earth years~!"

Everyone gasped out loud, eyes widened in surprise. Allura just looked over at her advisor with her jaws dropped while Romelle actually fell on her knees from the weight of the shock Hunk jumped away for a moment and almost looked frozen from the announcement. Lance looked like his spirit left his body, Shiro looking like this was all ridiculous but amusing while the Holt siblings held each other.

"A-a hundred and fifty thousand years?!" Keith exclaimed out loud as his mother leaned back while making a face of disbelief and Yorak looking at everyone in confusion.

"I don't wanna stay in space for that long, even if it's the coolest thing in my life right now," Matt yelped out, squeezing his sister tighter.

Pidge snapped out of it then scoffed, "Coran, I think your finger counting is a little off. It's gonna be one point five years," She corrected and almost everyone, asides from Coran and the Cosmic Wolf, fell to the ground comically, groaning.

The orange haired man blinked but then chuckled sheepishly, "O-Oh right. I didn't carry the three!"

Everyone sweatdropped but soon turned seriously as Allura spoke up sternly.

"It's going to be a very long and difficult voyage, but it's our only chance to replace the Castle of Lions," She told them, glancing up and staring at each and every one of them.

Shiro was looking down to the ground, a hard look in his eyes that held mixed emotions but a lot of pain, "T-there were times when I thought I'd never see Earth again. To be able to go back..."

Lance felt his heart clench at this, knowing exactly how Shiro felt.

Feeling eyes on him, Shiro looked up to see the Blue now Red paladin staring at him, but Lance felt his face flush in shame and looked away. Shiro's eyes saddened again, and glanced down to the ground again, looking like a kicked puppy.

Deciding that enough was enough, Lance pushed his feelings of homesickness and something else away and spoke out loud, trying to be happy and peppy, "Well what are we waiting for guys?! LET'S HIT THE SPACE ROAD~!"

Krolia hummed and leaned back from her seating, "I suppose we need to figure out who's flying with whom?"

"Obviously I'm flying with Katie~ I'm her big brother after all~" Matt piped up happily as he hugged Pidge into his arms.

"And what about the animals?" Coran added cheerfully.

"What about them?" Pidge looked puzzled at this.

"WELL, the Wolf can't go with Kaltenecker, wolves eat cows!" The old Altean explained as he pouted a bit, "And the cow can't be in the same area as the mice because...aren't cows afraid of mice?"

This caused Lance to laugh for a moment, "No, elephants are afraid of mice,"

"Elephants?" Coran asked with a question mark over his head, as both Allura and Romelle also wanted to know what an elephant was.

"Yeah," Lance nodded as he stretched his arms out and then held his nose, waving the stretched arm out, "They're giant, gray animals with long noses and grab things,"

Allura and Romelle leaned against each other and tried to imagine it, only to imagine at the same time some gigantic alien gray monster that had a long hair for noses.

"Giants? With long, grabbing noses?" Allura's brows furrowed, folding her arms over her chest and then leaned towards Keith and murmured, "Earth seems so strange,"

Keith rolled his eyes and turned to the rest of the team, "The wolf is riding with me. But that means Hunk will have to take the cow,"

"Me? With the Cow?" The Yellow Paladin pointed to himself and shook his head, "Not a good idea,"

"Hunk's right. Keith, you're keeping the cow," Lance said, hands on his hips, "Someone else is gonna have to take the wolf,"

Everyone soon was looking over at Matt and Pidge, as the two blinked and then looked surprised.

"Not me. I am allergic," Pidge lied.

Matt shrugged, "I don't think the thing likes me,"

Allura folded her hands behind her back innocently with a sweet smile, "I'll take the mice~"

"How come you get the smallest passengers?" Keith protested, arms folded.

The princess pouted, and sighed in defeat at Keith's point. Shiro glanced over at Lance for a moment and then couldn't help but smile. He had always been riding with Keith this whole time, why not ride in someone else's lion.

'Plus, I feel like I haven't had one on one time with Lance for a while...I mean I haven't had one on one with anyone else yet but still...' Shiro thought hopefully. He didn't know why Lance in particular, but somehow he just had a feeling that he should have a talk with him one time or another.

"I say we go old school and draw straws," Hunk suggested in good spirits.

"But I'm terrible at drawing!" Allura whined, blushing a little.

"She really is," And soon Coran was going on with a story of Allura's childhood of how she was drawing her grandma and everything.

As that was going on, Matt hummed as he was tapping his chin, thinking for a moment. Well, he has wanted to see what riding with the other lions were like. Maybe he should try it out with Allura in Blue.

"Guys, you're all overthinking this," Lance interrupted and then smirked confidently, "I know exactly where everyone should go~"

"Hunk and mice, ready to go~"

The Yellow lion's eyes glowed brightly, letting out a roar to signal that they were ready, as the mice were resting happily on Hunk's shoulders in the cockpit.

"I'm ready too. But the wolf looks restless. How did I get stuck with it again?"

Allura sighed from her Blue Lion as she looked to the holo-screen where she had stashed the wolf inside the cargo bay, and the creature was staring at her through the camera, sniffing at it innocently with big golden eyes.

"I'd gladly trade you the wolf for—"

"I have a question!"

Keith sighed as he was wanting to bang his head on Black's control panel, as his mother was on one side of him, and Shiro was nervously on the other. And of course, Coran was behind him loudly.

"Why did we let Lance decide all this?" The gorgeous man asked.

"Enough whining!" Lance called from the Red Lion, as Romelle was at his side looking excited, "Romelle and I are going to Earth, who's coming with us~?"

Soon Lance was pressing buttons onto the see-through screen and the Red Lion was coming to life, Romelle excitingly watching with bright violet eyes. Soon all the lions were readying themselves to go, starting their engines and soon were taking off to the skies and hitting into the starry space.

A few vargas passed, and Hunk was enjoying himself as he was letting the mice feed him some space chips he got from the Mall and sipping his water pack.

"Aw, this is so great!" The jolly male chirped through the comms then looked at the mice, "You guys are like the ultimate road trip companions,"

Meanwhile, in the Black Lion, Coran was soon leaning over Keith's head, as Krolia and Shiro looked at each other in confusion.

"Oh! And I get to finally play some of your Earth road games!" The orange man said positively and coughed, "I'll go first. I spy with my little eye...something that start with plexis!"

Shiro chuckled, shaking his head, "Coran, we don't know the Altean alphabet,"

"Well then, this is perfect! I can teach you," The Altean chirped, as he was grinning from ear to ear.

"...?" Krolia just rolled her eyes and looked away as Keith's eyes widened.

"...Oh no..."

"Exus, plexis, ceedus, flee~! Jaydus, nacto, pledum, ree~!"

All three occupants in the Black Lion silently groaned, wishing they were anywhere else but here.

"What does this do? Is this the lasers? Where's the mouth-blade button?"

Lance wanted to scream but held it in as he watched the beautiful Altean woman bouncing up and down in the cockpit and pressing every button she could find, squishing him at the same time as she reached over to the holo screens and controls. He was immediately reminded of his niece and nephew back home, Maya and Miguel.

"It's a jaw-blade. And please don't touch that," Lance whined softly as he felt Romelle's chest against his helmet and tried to focus driving Red but turned to look at her and chided softly, as if he was talking to Maya and Miguel, "Romelle, come on. This is a dangerous war machine,"

Romelle pouted but then gasped, "What if something happens to you? What if you have to go to the bathroom and you break your leg and then we're attacked, and I HAVE TO SAVE THE DAY~!" She squealed, flexing her arm up and looking all heroic.

'Geez, she's cute, but a bit too much,' Lance thought and raised a brow.

"Lance! Check it out!"

Lance looked to the side to see what Hunk was calling him for and blinked when he saw his best friend making a scared face as the mice were near the camera; giving an illusion they were giant and attacking him.

"AHHHHHHH! I'm being attacked by giant mice!" Hunk cried through the comms and Lance almost laughed a little as Romelle looked concern, "STOP! THEY'RE EATING MY FACE!"

"Oh my!" Romelle gasped as Lance now laughed even more, "W-why are you laughing!? Your friend is in danger,"

"Mel, he's not in danger," Lance assured her as he smiled.

A laugh sounded from the holo screen as Hunk was then moving the camera to reveal it was just a picture from his phone and the mice were happily resting on Hunk's shoulders.

"Haha, ahhh, just kidding~" Hunk waved to the screen, "I took these pictures myself. They're mice-selfies~! Aw man I gotta send this one to Allura,"

"No! Bad! Stop biting that!" Allura's voice sounded, frustrated and tired, "Put the Belexiam assembly down right now or so help me—!"

The princess growled from her pilot seat and soon was pressing a button to contact Keith from Black, and glared at the holo-screen.

"Keith! Your wolf is tearing up the cargo hold!"

Keith sighed through their communication hub and tilted his head, "Because he's lonely. Just let him into the cockpit,"

Blue eyes widened, Allura cried out in disgust, "I will absolutely not let that beast into the cockpit!"

"Guys, check out this picture!" Hunk sounded as the screen now changed into a photo of the mice laying on top of each other napping, "The mice look SOOOOO CUUUUUTE~!"

Back at the Red Lion, Lance was having his hands full as he was watching Romelle hyperactively moving around the cockpit like a real sugar high Altean child.

"Oh! this looks shiny!" The blonde cheered, as smoke filled the cockpit.

"W-what did you touch?" Lance called but was interrupted when Romelle slid to the other side of him.

"What if I touch this~?"

"Ugh, guys," Lance called to the comms unhappily, "I think I did a bad job choosing the passengers,"

"Exus, plexis, ceedus, flee~! Jaydus, nacto, pledum, ree~!"

Keith, Krolia and Shiro groaned unhappily, while Lance looked up at the comms in confusion but groaned as well when Romelle decided to join in the singing.

"Joodum, ruu, and leeum too~! That puts us just halfway through~!"

"Someone just kill me..." Lance murmured quietly as the song continued...and Hunk joined in surprisingly while Allura was banging her head on her pilot console.

"There's mai-ox, kay, and jibley-way~! Afus nofus, youkus-play~!"

"Shouldn't we check up on the others?" Matt asked as he was playing Killbot Phantasm I with his sister, tapping the buttons away.

Pidge hummed in concentration, then murmured, "No way, they'd separate us. Just let them be crazy for a while,"

"Beefur, leefur, agus-play~! At the end, flancko and blee~!"

"Who wants to see the mice stacked up on my head?" Hunk's voice cheered in the middle of Coran and Romelle's singing.

"You've got to be kidding me!" Lance shouted in the comms as he was covered in some sort of white foam.

"FROM THE TOP~" Coran cheered and started singing the song over again.

Allura sighed in exasperation, "Wonderful. Now everything is covered in wolf drool!" She complained to the others through the comms, and huffed, "Keith!"

"Oh, yeah," Keith chuckled sheepishly, "He's, ah, super drool-y,"

"Seriously, I'm hearing that they're in serious trouble," Matt murmured as he listened to the comms, while they themselves were on mute to the others.

"Just ignore them Matt. Besides, I'm winning this level," Pidge said distractingly.

"Say cheese~!"


"Just let him up front!"


"There's mai-ox, kay, and jibley-way~! Afus nofus, youkus-play~!"

The older Holt sibling winced, "Someone is gonna snap I just know it..."

"That's it! We're switching passengers!" Keith yelled finally, and Shiro looked a little hopeful.

'Anywhere's better than being stuck with Coran's ungodly singing,' Shiro thought, but soon winced at his own thoughts sounding...a little mean.

"I second that!" Allura spoke up through the comms, relived.

"Agreed!" Lance sounded, and Shiro's heart almost leapt out of his chest.

Why, he didn't know.

"Hey, why haven't we heard from Pidge and Matt yet?" Hunk asked curiously.


Matt sweatdropped as he heard this and soon was turning on the comms and then winced, once the video game noises sounded and Pidge screaming in triumph.

"Er, h-hey guys..." The rebel fighter chuckled.

"...Are you guys playing video games this whole time?!" Allura sounded and Pidge paused this game and raised a brow.


"Let's switch, it's about time we got some bonding moments with other people in other lions," Shiro sounded and Matt raised a brow for a moment then blinked, "Like, maybe I could swap with Romelle and be in Red—"

Oh, Matt wasn't gonna allow that to happen.


Pidge groaned as she was cramped with the space mice and wolf, and then squeaked when the wolf was licking her face.

Meanwhile, Shiro sighed as he was listening to Hunk talking about the many spices he had used for the space goo they had left and the many dishes he introduced to Sal and Romelle was poking at his hair and going 'ohh~! So soft and shiny~!'.

Keith was bonding with his mother, since it was just the two of them now, and Allura had Coran back in her blue lion, hearing him sing once more.

That left Lance...with Matt.

"Why did you call dibs on being in Red with me?" Lance asked curiously, almost suspiciously as Matt smiled innocently.

"I thought maybe we could get to know each other better~"

'And keeping an eye out for you at the same time,' Matt thought to himself and then tilted his head, and was reaching out to mute their comms so they couldn't hear them.

"Lance I feel like you and I should have a talk..."

Lance blinked at the fair haired male and turned to face the front once more, "Oh? What about exactly?"

"...You and Shiro have been pretty off lately,"

The ex-Blue Paladin almost froze at the bluntness that came from the other Holt, and gulped, "W-what? Me and Shiro? Wha-I mean I can understand Shiro, but me? I'm fine, cool as a cucumber,"

"Uh-huh," Matt sighed as he was rubbing his head for a moment, and then hummed, "Well, to be honest, I can sense that there's this tension between you two and I'm pretty worried ya know. Shiro is my best friend and everything and I just wanna know what's going on with him. Not to mention, I'm a little worried about you too,"

Lance was surprised. Maybe it was because he thought Matt wouldn't like him, let alone care enough to worry. Matt would more likely be like that with Pidge, or even Hunk since they've been close lately.

Well, perhaps it was all in his head. After all, Lance didn't like the guy as soon as the smooth mother quiznacker was flirting up a storm with Allura, who was blushing like a school girl and charmed easily by him.

At the time, Lance thought he was just jealous.

But he was more...overprotective.


What to say to the best friend of the said person you were trying to avoid? Although, maybe telling half the truth wouldn't be bad, right? Lance had wanted to confide in someone for a while.

'You did have someone,' A thought crossed his mind as Lance shut his eyes, 'And he ran away from you to the Blade. Or Allura? She went to Lotor. Or what about Hunk and Pidge huh? They ran to each other to get away from you. They don't need you. No one does. Everytime you open your mouth, they leave,'

'Even the fake Shiro didn't stay...'


"I...It's nothing," Lance murmured as he looked away, "I'm fine,"

Matt faltered for a second and was about to say something until he heard a beep from the comms.

"Team, we're going to make a quick stop. Everyone follow me,"

Matt looked surprised when he heard Keith's voice.

"You heard Team Leader," Lance chuckled softly as he was soon following the Black Lion, "Guess we gonna stretch our legs,"

Matt pouted a bit but sighed, deciding to let this go for now.

'Something's up with Lance. Guess I'm gonna find out soon enough,'