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Whatever Follows

Chapter Text

          Keith tied the bandana over his face. Right, he thought as he looked through his binoculars. Shiro is in there.

  The shorter tenement building across the street melted in amongst the rest of the battered city. It was hard to believe how many secrets the Garrison hide within its walls.

   Keith stood up and grabbed his glider out of his satchel. Carefully he unfolded it into a staff before putting his binoculars away. Then he retrieved a small flimsy box with a large dull green button and latched the satchel shut.

   Pausing for a moment, he took in a deep breath and his surroundings. The chaos of a peaceful city drone all about. The bright summer night had an odd hint of citrus in the air.

   Keith broke into a sprint and pressed the green button. At the last moment, he leapt over the edge of the building.  He raised his glider above his head. The box fell to the ground as the first of several explosions across the street became evident.

   His stomach dropped as the wind whipped past him. Desperately he pressed at the button on his staff.

   It felt like an eternity before whooshed open. He made it to the other rooftop quickly afterward.

  Without stopping Keith landed, folded the glider up, and put it into his satchel. He made his way to the access door, pausing only to grab his flip-flops out of the door frame before making his way in.

   Mayhem swirled and echoed throughout the stone stairwell.

   Swiftly Keith fought his way down to the third floor. By some small miracle, Keith made his way inside.

   Under the flaring lights, Keith watched the room numbers fly as he hurried by. He was almost there. He had to be.

   And then he was.

   "Focus," grumbled Keith as he drew his arm back. He flung his arm and the air around it forwards, knocking down the door. Spotting the unlucky medical staff before they had a chance to react. Keith quickly knocked them both out before looking at the gurney.

   "Shiro," cried Keith as hurried over. He made swift work of the restraints around his friend's arms and legs.

   A white tuft rested in his usual ebony hair. A jagged scar adorns his nose and bruises lay all about. One of his arms had been replaced with a prosthetic.

   It was amazing how much someone could change within a year.

   "Shiro, I didn't know if you can hear me," Keith nudged under Shiro's remaining arm and began to lift him. "But I'm going to rescue you."

   "I knew it!" squawked a somewhat familiar man from the doorway.

   Keith dropped Shiro on to the gurney. He put himself in between Shiro and the doorway. He didn't have time to reach for his knife. He didn't have time to bend. He didn't-

   "I KNEW I recognize that hair!" hollered the blue-eyed man. His eyes were the only feature of his that Keith was able to make out. A grey surgical mask hid most of his face. A bright orange backpack stood out against his otherwise plain scrubs.

   "Uhm," said Keith as he lowered what little guard he had slightly. "Who are you?"

   Fumbling with his mask for a moment the fellow pulled it off and proudly said, "I'm-"

   "LANCE!" Two people dressed in two similar outfits appeared.

   "We've got to go," said the larger one with an orange headband peaking out. "They're g-"

   "Shiro?" Yelled the smallest of the trio. All three swarmed the room before Keith could stop them. Lance moved to the other side of Shiro and began to lift him.

   "Step aside," said Lance. "I'm going to rescue Shiro."

   Keith didn't know quite what to make of the situation, but they wanted to save Shiro. Well, he could use the help. Keith and Lance picked Shiro up.

   "I'm sorry," said Keith as they entered the hallway, "do I know you?"

   "Of course you do!" Lance leaned in forwards and shot Keith a dirty look. "I'm Lance. We went to the academy together."

   "Oh," said Keith. That would explain why he looked somewhat familiar. The hallway was eerily quiet for a moment. "Were you in the engineering program?"

   "No! I'm a pilot. The same program as YOU" exclaimed Lance. "We were rivals!"

   The smaller one snorted as they opened the door to the stone stairwell.

   "Shut up, Pidge," said Lance as he ignored Pidge when they rolled their eyes. "Keith and Lance- neck and neck! Everybody was wondering who was going to come out on top. Who was going to be number-"

   "Oh, you're that cargo pilot," interrupted Keith as they began their way down the stairwell. There was stomping coming from the floor above them.

   "Not anymore! Since you flunked out I became a fighter pilot," said Lance. “Now, people are starting to wonder who’s the better pilot. And I think I’ve proven it's-."

   "Given my records, I'm pretty sure it would be me."

   "Uh, hey guys," said the larger fellow.

   "I'm catching up!"

   "That hardly makes us rivals," grumbled Keith. They were passing the second floor now.

   "Hey guys," whined the larger guy again.

   "Sure it does," goated Lance "That's part of the reason you dropped out, isn't it? You just couldn't stand the heat?"

   Keith laughed. The stomping was definitely getting closer. "As if! I didn't even remember you!"

   "Oh please! Pidge, Hunk back me up here!"

   Guards burst through the doors below and above them.

   "We've got company," said Hunk as he slammed his hands upon of the stone stairs and pulled upwards. A block of stone rippled upwards and slammed towards the door.

    Pidge slid down what little banister there was. Within a second she landed and planted her feet. Flames whirled passed her head as she dodged underneath. With quick and jagged hand movements, she pulled at the water hidden in her bottle and whipped it towards the assailants' ankles.

  Simultaneously, Lance pulled a boomerang out of his pocket at threw it towards the guards' heads.

   All three hit their marks. The guards downstairs were taken care of and the ones upstairs were blocked for the moment.

   Lance snatched the boomerang from mid-air and yelled, "What's the plan, Mullet?"

   "My truck is the red one is right outside," said Keith as he fished his keys out of his jacket pocket. He gingerly handed Shiro to Hunk. "Hop into the bed of it with Shiro and keep him safe. I'll take care of the rest."

   Keith ran to the truck and within minutes the others joined him. Smoke began to fill the air as Keith tried to start the truck.

   It didn't work.

    Guards began to exit the building as the others finished piling in. Keith turned the key again. Only clicking greeted him.

   "Come on!" whispered Keith. He pulled the key out and jerked the wheel hard towards the left.

   In his rearview mirror, he caught a couple of guards started to get into formation. Pieces of earth started to float upwards. He put the key in.

   Lance threw another boomerang as Hunk pushed his hands against the metal within the truck bed.

   "Please work, please work," rambled Hunk as he slid his hands upwards.

   Metal shoot up from the sides of the truck. They curved over the back. Small boulders began to pelt the impromptu shield.

   "Come on!" Yelled the passengers as they began to pound them against the back of the driver's cabin. Keith tried to start it again.

   With a roar, it started. A panicked chorus of "DRIVE, DRIVE, DRIVE!!" joined in as well.

   Keith smirked and quickly backed out. The tires squealed as he hastily switched gears and spilled on to the city streets.

   A few cars gave chase but luckily Keith knew the city like the back of his hand. He swerved and dodged throughout the night until they lost the last one.

   Seizing the opportunity, Keith affectionately patted his dashboard and before hollering back that the coast was clear.

   He glanced back when Hunk bent the metal back to its place. They all looked exhausted. Shiro was still out but was being held in place by Lance and Pidge. Lance caught his eyes for a moment before he looked back ahead.

    Well, thought Keith as he looked back ahead. That could have gone worse.