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For the Paladins who have everything.

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Lance peered through his rifles scope watching the battle rage below from his prone vantage point inside of an air vent he had posted up in before the Druids had entered their sanctum within Haggars cruiser. Keith was holding his own quite well against a Druid, and with the one he took out on the abandoned Blade of Marmora base, he was the most experienced of them all.  

“Keith. Druid coming six o’ clock high.” Lance spotted the one creeping into view from the shadows and Keith, blindly, turned and hurled his Marmora blade at the advancing Druid, striking it down. Quickly drawing his bayard and striking the other down with ease.  

“Good call, Lance.” Keith replied quickly before turning his attention on the Druid that had backed Hunk and Allura into a corner. The thought of sending a round across the battlefield into the back of the creature came across his mind but then he saw Pidge and Shiro, separate from the rest. Shiro was doing his best keeping Pidge safe while she gathered whatever intel she could on Haggars new experiments, but it was two druids versus the one Shiro and a preoccupied Pidge. 

“Shiro, go for the one with the bad leg.” Lance called out. 

“There isn’t one with a bad le--” he was cut off when a thunderous crack overshadowed the sounds of the battle and the beam of light ripped through one of the Druid’s legs, sending it into a howling rage. Off balance and lacking focus it lunged for Shiro clumsily, Shiro took advantage of the wounded creature and brought his floating mechanical hand back and with all the force he could muster, he slammed his fist into the Druids head, making it do a full one-eighty. The body crumpled to the ground lifelessly and Shiro snapped a two-fingered salute to Lance. 

After the rest retreated off to lick their wounds or chant their spells, whatever Druids did to recuperate after a butt-spanking like none other. Lance joined the team down on the main platform and he let his gaze drift over to Pidge who was wearing her ‘I’m working’ face that Lance found immensely adorable. He knew it well from the countless times he stayed with her on those long nights when she wanted company while she worked away creating new programs or tech to integrate with the lions.  

“Anything of note, Pidge?” Keith wandered over to peek at the terminal she was accessing.  

“Honestly... not really. I mean, there is a lot stored here. Too much to go through right now, so I’m uploading what I can to the Atlas for further analysis.” 

“Yeah, let’s try to hurry up here Pidge... I’m not getting a good feeling about this place.” Lance’s eyes flitted over every dark corner, every door, every window that they could be watched from. He didn’t like it, that feeling, that dark, tingling sensation at the base of his neck that made the hairs stand on end and a chill go down his spine.  

“Lance I'm doing the best I can over here.” Pidge growled through gritted teeth.  

“I know Pidge, just--- not getting a good vibe over here. Not like the ‘we’re on a Galra ship’ kinda vibe but the ‘somethings watching us’ kinda vibe.” 

She looked over to him and he must have been wearing the concern on his face for all to see because her annoyed expression softened slightly in understanding.  

“It won’t be a complete transfer, but it should be most of it.” Pidge shut off the terminal and swiped away the holographic interface above her forearm. “Let’s not risk it.” she nodded to him almost imperceptibly but he saw it, and that’s all that mattered. He knew he’d be facing the inevitable ‘dont need you protecting me’ talk from her later but right now he didn’t care. He shouldered his rifle, sweeping the halls with Keith ahead of the group.  

“Looks like you’re trusting your instincts more.” Keith said in his usual dry, all-business tone before softening. “Don’t worry, whatever you were feeling back there. I felt it too.”  

“Thanks, Keith.”  

“Now come on, this place gives me the ‘bad vibes’.” he chuckled with a wink. 

“Guys, is Keith okay? He just made a joke...” 

“I make jokes!”  

The rest of the team responded in non-committal grumbled and groans.  

“Worst. Team. Ever.”  

The chatter faded away as the feeling returned, pricking at the edges of Lance’s awareness, testing him. Toying with him. He snapped around and saw it. A haze. Standing perfectly still, to the untrained eye, it would appear as a distortion in the visor or possibly heat from a vent. It towered over the team and Lance’s blood ran cold. A familiar pull, fiery and primal surged through his body and he sighted on the spectre behind the group and fired a single shot at the beast. On impact his worst fear was realized. He was right. The cloaking faded and fizzled away and the cloaked figure loomed over Shiro and Allura, but it’s gaze was locked to Pidge.  

“Lance what the Quiznak?!” Allura yelped as the blaster bolt had gone between Shiro and herself. 

“COVER!” Lance shouted as he dove for Pidge, the last thing he felt was his body colliding with hers and the searing pain that ripped through his body as a blinding purple blast washed his vision out completely.  

 

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“Get them to the infirmary, now!” Keith shouted as Hunk carried an unresponsive Lance over his shoulders. He looked over to Shiro who was running alongside Hunk with Pidge, unresponsive as well. Keith was clearing the way, barreling through engineers, pilots, random techs and officers on his way to the infirmary. How could he have been so blind? He knew Lance was on edge ever since the fighting stopped, he had even felt the same damn feeling that Lance had. But he did nothing. It all had happened so fast, Lance turning around with fear in his eyes, but not for himself. He saw where Lance’s gaze landed. Pidge. Who was distracted with all the data she had recovered. Lance fired his sniper down the hall, exposing the cloaked Druid and then Lance dove for Pidge, right before they were both enveloped in a bright purple energy blast. Keith shook the memory from his mind as he pushed through the infirmary doors, pointing at the doctors on staff. 

“Help them now.” 

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Lance was walking down the hall of the garrison when he saw her standing there, talking with Shiro after his successful return from Kerberos. The girl with the light brown hair and the green ribbon. She was a cadet, but he’d only seen her around recently. The thought to go speak to her was entertained but when he remembered the sheer presence that was Takashi Shirogane, well, he reconsidered. He passed them with his head ducked and brisk pace set. Some other time. He told himself.  

“Lance!” Hunk’s voice sounded off from down the hall and Lance perked up, spotting the orange headband through and over the crowd of cadets, engineers and communication officers. He squeezed through the mass of people and finally made his way to Hunk.  

“What’s up, Hunk?” 

“Dude, you passed Keith on the scoreboard.”  

“No. Way.”  

Lance bolted for the board to check for himself and sure enough. First place: Lance M. He stared at the score for longer than he cared to admit before Hunk finally caught up with him and gave him a congratulatory pat on the back. He’d been working and waiting for this day for a long time, Keith was notorious for being the best and most naturally skilled in the pilot's chair. He felt a surge of pride in his accomplishment.  

“So, you’re the pilot that’s been giving Keith a run for his money?” he heard a strong confident voice sound off behind him. Lance tensed up and slowly turned around to face the one and only Shiro. His arms were crossed and he wore a pleased expression on his face. Shiro! Actual, honest to goodness Takashi Shirogane. Don’t pass out. Don’t pass out.  

“I-I’m Lance.” He choked out.  

Shiro chuckled, lowering his arms and extending a hand for Lance to shake, which he did clumsily, getting another small laugh from Shiro.  

“Keep up the good work, Lance.” Shiro offered him a kind smile and walked down the hall towards Samuel Holt. Chief scientist at the Garrison and one of the most famous ones to live, ever. They chatted it up as they continued down the hall and Lance was shaken from his daze by Hunk tapping him on the shoulder.  

“Huh, what?” 

“You’re Lance McClain?” Lance turned to face the new voice and there she was. The girl from earlier. He glanced down at her name badge. Katie H. Her amber eyes shining with excitement, no doubt from getting into the program. Lance remembered how he took days to come down off the high of being accepted.  

“I am? I am! Yes.” he squeaked out and he could feel his cheeks heat up in embarrassment as he fumbled with his words.  

“I’m Katie Holt, your communications officer.” She extended a hand which Lance took gingerly and gave it the weakest handshake of his life. She glanced down in confusion and pulled her hand back promptly.  

“Katie Holt. Like... Samuel Holt and Matthew Holt?” He gaped at her and she simply nodded. “You a genius too?” he asked with a quirked eyebrow.  

“I’m good with computers and tech, if that counts?”  

“Smarter than me, that’s for sure.” he chuckled and nudged Hunk in the arm. “This is Hunk, my engineer. He’s fantastic with a wrench and some elbow grease, also marvelous chef.” 

“Hey! Don’t go spilling every secret!” Hunk hushed him but he only got a laugh from Lance in return. 

“Trust me. God tier.” Lance whispered in a not-so-discreetly manner that left Hunk with a playfully irritated expression. “So what’s on the list first? Training? Team bonding--- I've got this phenomenal spot in the town nearby. Small little arcade, they’ve got all the great games.”  

“Sounds fun!” she beamed and her honey colored eyes seemed to sparkle with joy and Lance was certain his heart was about to burst from her sheer adorableness. I’m so screwed!  

“How about we get some training done in a bit too, meet at the simulator in an hour?” Hunk asked and Katie nodded enthusiastically before walking off—no skipping --- down the hall. Lance followed her with his eyes, watching her light brown hair bob with the motion before she completely disappeared down the corridor. He still stared until he felt a nudge in his side from Hunk.  

“Lance?”  

“Huh-- what?”  

“Dude, did you not hear a word I said?” 

“Not really, no.”  

“You’re in deep, oh man.” Hunk clasped his hands together and made a squealing noise that Lance had only ever heard little girls make when they got a new puppy.  

“I am not!”   

“Totally are.” Hunk laughed and led him to the mess hall for lunch.