Keith felt like his head was going to be ripped off his neck as it swung to the side thanks to the fist impacting it. Blood and spit flew from his mouth. He groaned as he was pretty sure he heard a snap somewhere in the jaw area, maybe his jaw, maybe just another tooth. He blinked the one eye that wasn't swollen shut. He thought they'd broken the bone around the other eye; it was at least the most painful black eye he'd ever experienced.
"Tell me Blade, where is the rest of your team?" The cold voice was at it again.
Keith wondered if he was ever going to get tired of asking questions or maybe figure out that he was not going to answer them. He tried to work his shoulder again, but his torso was bound so tight to the chair he couldn't get them to move at all. His arms were pulled back behind him, his wrists bound, and then they'd wrapped rope around him from his shoulders to his waist. Thick course rope that was bruising and burning into his skin when he was slammed against it by the repeated blows to his head. They'd even bound his ankles to the chair legs. He wished they'd underestimated him a little more and left him with some ability to move his body. As it was, he could barely tense when he saw the fist coming at his face again.
His head rocked to the side and his vision and hearing greyed out for a few moments. When he came back to his ear was ringing loudly and the buzz of the interrogator barely registered. He felt hands grab his head and then something sharp stabbed into his neck. It burned and spread down his neck and across his chest. He's pretty sure he screamed.
"Can you hear me, now?"
Keith's almost certain the guy didn't expect him to laugh, but he could just picture him with a cell phone asking the question from the stupid old commercial. His dad had found commercials hilarious and used to buy old collections of classic ones or ones from sporting events or whatever. Looking back, he wondered if his dad had ADHD or something because he'd never sit through a whole TV show, but commercials were okay.
"You find this funny?"
"Not really," Keith managed to slur.
"Where is your team?"
Keith sighed, again with the same question, didn't this guy know by now that he wasn't going to answer it. Also, it was a Blade team, they were long gone, it's not like they would risk the mission for him. That wasn't how it worked in the Blade. If he was still with Voltron, he knew they'd be coming for him. They'd be lying in wait or making a plan or just running in recklessly, anything to get back one of theirs. All for one like a bunch of crazy musketeers.
The blows to his head and the repeated questions continued for another twenty dobashes before the needle was back in his neck and the burning reawakened him. He could feel the scream this time. Both of his eyes had swollen shut and his mouth felt wrong, split in places and misshaped, it hurt to scream. His ears were both ringing so loud that he doubted he would ever hear right again. He huffed in a strange way and he could feel salty tears burning tracks against his abused face.
Contrary to what Lance would say, Keith was aware that he had something of a pretty face. And, not that he would ever let Lance know it, but he was proud of the fact too. He doubted he was pretty anymore; in fact, he thought he was likely hideously deformed right now. Multiple broken bones in his face, broken nose, busted cartilage in his ears no doubt making them cauliflower, splits in his cheeks and lips, broken and missing teeth. A face even his mother didn't love. Keith half laughed at his own joke. He wondered if his mother would have loved this face if he found her. Of course, he was going to die here so that really didn't matter.
"Laughing again. You really don't have any sense of self-preservation, do you?" The interrogator growled.
"No." Keith's not even sure why he answered, he hadn't meant to, but he was more than a little confused at this point anyway.
He felt hot breath on his neck, the guy was way too close. He was whispering in his ear.
"I have a surprise for you."
"Speak up! I can't hear!" Keith shouted in the most annoying way he could muster.
A palm slapped against his face, stinging against the already abused surface.
"Don't worry, little Blade, your team is coming for you."
"Liar." Keith spit blood out onto the floor. Even concussed he knew that wasn't true.
"Oh, I didn't say which team." The amusement in the voice was new. "I contacted a different, interested party. They seemed far more willing and concerned." He laughed. "I have a lovely trap set for them and you; well you are the bait."
Keith struggled against the bonds again, but he couldn't move. His arms were numb from the hours strapped to the chair, his chest was torn and burnt in places from rubbing against the heavy rope. He couldn't even feel his legs or feet. He was useless, trapped. He screamed again in frustration.
"Don't worry, little Blade, you've amused me so much that I'll kill you first. I won't make you watch them be tortured and killed. You can die and wait for them on the other side knowing that you failed them and that they will be joining you soon."
Keith felt something smooth and cold and sharp running against his neck, he wondered if this was it. Was he going to die now? But no, the blade was removed, and he was left alone. He couldn't see. He couldn't feel most of his body, what he could feel ached and throbbed. He hung his head down and let the blood and saliva drip from his mouth. He didn't know how long he was there the ringing in his ears was disorienting and his thoughts refused to focus like sand blown up into a storm, swirling and wild, without form.
"There now, little Blade," the hands were on him again, touching his face pulling him to look up. "Smile for the camera."
Keith tried to jerk his head out of the grip and growled.
The interrogator laughed, "See he's alive. There's your proof."
Keith strained to try to hear another voice, figure out what was happening. He could feel the hand still near his face and took a chance, clamping his teeth onto it.
"Ahh!" The interrogator screamed and Keith dug in tighter.
He was hit in the back of the head over and over until he saw stars and his jaw relaxed. But while the interrogator was fighting to get his hand free, whatever communication device he was using was brought close enough that he could hear voices on the other end, familiar voices.
"LET HIM GO!"
"STOP IT! STOP HITTING HIM OR I WILL END YOU!"
It was Voltron, they knew they would come. As his jaw relaxed, he felt his mind relax as well. They were coming. He wasn't going to die in this damn chair.
He didn't know how much time passed before he felt the familiar burning and the needle in his throat. The ache in his head was worse than before, his breathe caught and hitched at the throbs of pain. He felt the blade against his throat again.
"Shhh, no biting little Blade, your friends are coming. As soon as they are here the trap will spring and they will be brought here. I'm going to wait and slit your throat in front of them. I want to see your little princess broken. I want to see the Champion weep."
"You are going to die." Keith really wanted to see that. He still couldn't see though, bound, trapped blind.
The voice laughed. He felt something around his mouth. Something pulled into his mouth and tied around him. Something in his heart broke. Now he didn't even have his voice. He could feel himself trembling. Tears trying to form in his swollen eyes again running across his ruined cheeks.
"Don't worry, little Blade, not much longer."
Keith sat and waited. He felt broken and useless and trapped and so frustrated. If anger alone could break his binds, they would have gone flying off his body. He heard something or rather someone coming.
"You should just let me go you know. This isn't going to work out for you. You are really going to regret this." A babbling voice echoing into the room.
"You should have thought of that before you tried to trick me! I offered a fair trade!"
"A fair trade, seriously, you're kidding right? That was completely a trap and you're just mad you didn't catch all of us in it."
"But we caught you, didn't we?" The voice laughing again.
"Yeah, well, good for you." Lance sounded upset, but somehow not. Keith wondered what he was up to, this felt off.
"Chain him to the wall." The voice ordered.
The noise came into the room and the there was a commotion, rustled sounds of a struggle and yells.
"Keith! Quiznak, what did you do to him? Let me go! I just need to check on him! Ooff!"
Lance's voice was angry and cut off with the sound of the air being forced from his body. Like maybe he'd been hurt. He wanted to call out to him, ask if he was okay, but he couldn't even do that. He couldn't do anything. He heard chain's rattling and more angry sounds from Lance and then footsteps leaving.
"Keith? Hey Keith, it's going to be okay man. They'll come for us. I wish you could tell me if you are okay, I'm mean obviously you're not okay, okay, but I just want you to know that you're going to be okay."
"Oh, Red Paladin, please tell us why he's going to be okay, because he's going to die. I suppose if you believe in an afterlife. Is that it Red, will little Blade get his happily ending?" The voice again. Keith felt the growl rumble out of his throat. "Only I'm not going to kill him yet. I promised to slit his throat in front of the Champion and make the princess watch him bleed out. But what should I do with him and you until them? Hmmm? Ideas? What no more words?"
"Oh words, I got lots of words. I think you should let us go and run while you can. I'm just thinking out loud here." Lance's voice was followed by movement and then grunts of pain.
Keith felt like his skin was crawling and he wanted to rip free. He couldn't do anything, he couldn't see, he had no way to help Lance. He couldn't even see what was happening. The interrogator could kill him right there and leave him and he wouldn't even know.
"Oh, little Blade, crying again. I haven't forgotten about you." Keith felt his head snap back with another blow. His vision spun and he nearly choked on the vomit trying to come up behind the gag. Some of it made it out, but most had to be swallowed back down. Snot joined the blood, tears, and vomit on his face.
"You quiznacking jerk! Leave him alone! You think you're tough hitting someone tied up like that? You're a bully, a coward!"
"Oh, Red, you want me to let you go, fight you in a fair fight?" The voice teased almost laughing.
"Do it." Lance's usual joking voice held a hard edge. "Unless you're too weak to fight someone that can actually hit back."
What the hell was Lance doing? No. He couldn't fight this Galra bare handed. No. Keith struggled against his bonds. This was a bad idea.
"Oh, the little Blade objects, Red. He doesn't think this is a good idea. He wants to fight me maybe, instead?"
The hand is back in his hair again jerking his head back as far as his neck will stretch. "Don't think he could even stand at this point. He's been in this chair so long he pissed himself. Stinks." His head is slammed forward, and he groans against the dizziness and naseau.
"Stop it. Come here. Fight me!" Lance screamed.
"You want to fight me? You want that, Red. Alright then, but I can't promise you'll live long enough to see the end game. How will your poor Lion feel, trapped only rooms away while you die broken on the floor?"
"I think she'll feel just fine when you're the one dead." Lance snarled.
The voice laughed, chains rattled and then something went flying past him landing with a Lance like screech.
"Why did I think you'd fight fair?" Lance groaned from behind him.
"Because you're stupid?"
Keith growled again. When surprisingly, Lance laughed.
"Oh, just that you think I'm the stupid one."
Something happened there was a loud noise and a light so bright that Keith could see it even through his swollen eyes. He felt hands on him again, but they were smaller, lighter, and they were tugging on his ropes. He couldn't hear anything past the ringing, but he imagined Lance would be babbling something reassuring. Reassuring didn't do him any good with the ropes on his torso were cut and blood begin to try to make its way back into his body. He was certain he screamed around the gag. He felt himself being lifted and hefted over Lance's shoulder. The pain of the circulation returning along with the shift and the dizziness of his concussion were enough to send him into darkness.
He woke falling, cold, in the darkness, landing into something warm and solid.
"I got you."
Keith hummed with relief at the sound of Shiro's voice. He felt himself being lifted and carried. He was laid on a table.
"How are you feeling Number four?" Coran's worried voice seeped into him.
How was he feeling? Nothing hurt. He moved his hands and then his feet. His jaw seemed okay. He was hearing okay. He blinked open his eyes. He could see.
"Is he okay?" The fear and uncertainty did not belong in Lance's voice.
"Lance?" Keith tried coughing a little at the dryness in his throat.
"Here, some water?" Pidge appeared with a pouch. He took a sip.
"I'm okay, nothing hurts, everything works." He answered Coran finally. "Lance?" He tried to sit up and find the owner of the voice.
"Right here, Mullet." He appeared from behind him and took his hand.
"Thank you. I was…it was…," and that's as far as he made before he started trembling and tears running down his face.
Lance made a surprised little squeaky sound, but then wrapped him up in his arms.
Keith sobbed and shook. He couldn't forget that feeling of being trapped and broken and so alone. Then Lance had come and saved him, literally carried him to freedom. He felt more hands and soft words surrounding him. He was back. He was safe. His team had him. He would be okay.