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Chapter Text

The team knows, and those closest to them. It was to be a secret until this was all over - Zarkon defeated and the universe saved - lest it be used against them.

Like now.

Pidge’s heart pounds in her chest so hard she fears it may burst out. Her breath is heavy, the only sound she can hear despite the busyness of the command deck.

The Galra commander pages through her journal, the one she vehemently denies as a diary. He stands only a few steps from her, but his lieutenant holds her in place, his hands pinching uncomfortably around her arms, aggravating the blaster wound on her shoulder.

He’s the only thing keeping her from dropping to her knees - thanks to the blade in her stomach.

None of the physical pain compares to the humiliation as her personal life is on display to the enemy.

Worse he’ll see… he’ll see Lance all over the back pages. Pidge is no Keith as far as talent, but it’ll be obvious it’s him. Her heart and soul are poured onto those pages - written or drawn.

The commander laughs. “What irony that there was a time that a Paladin had no idea what Voltron even was!” He snaps the journal shut with a single hand, a cruel smile on his lips. “I think I’ve seen enough. Take her to see the Blue Paladin. See if twisting the knife a bit will make him talk.”

Chapter Text

Lance cups her chin almost reverently, lifting her gaze to his. “I mean every word, Pidge. Your beauty washes over me like a sunset.”

Pidge’s cheeks burn and she tenderly brushes his outstretched arm with her fingers, eyes glistening with happy tears. “I thought - I didn’t think—“

“Shhh,” Lance whispers, his face inching closer to hers. He strokes her bangs back. “Let your genius rest, Pidge. There’s no need to think.”

To think that a romantic gesture from him would be enough to bring Pidge to her knees. It both sets his heart fluttering and… terrifies him with the power he holds over her.

Just friends, she’d insist. The best partner, he keeps saying, for her humor and genius and friendship.

Lance pounds on an invisible wall, fear seized in his heart. “Pidge, stop!” He pounds and kicks again. “That’s not me! Don’t kiss him! It’s a demon! He’s after your soul!”

She can’t hear him. Not when he’s locked away in his own mind.

Chapter Text

The first cut stings. Pidge winces on the second cut, but by the fifth it’s unbearable.

And it doesn’t stop.

“Just - just let her go. Do whatever you want with me just - AGH!”

Lance screams and gasps, lurching as far forward as the chains holding him down allow.

Pidge wants to tell Lance he’s an idiot for trying to save her. Tears fall down her face for both the pain and for their shared fate. They’re too far along. If the myth won’t kill them, surely blood loss will.

Soulmates didn’t exist. Not really.

But she watches them take the final chunk of skin that displays her soulmark, proof that they do exist, the cut deep into her left arm. They may have well carved out her heart. It’s as if she feels their metaphysical bond shatter before her eyes - something she didn’t even know they had.

Lance has stopped screaming, tears on his own face as he looks at her. I’m sorry, he says. Though she can’t feel him, she knows his heart.

“The soulmarks have been removed. Orders Lady Haggar?”

Their captor looms over them, a face void of sympathy.

“Store the quintessence for study. Monitor them. See if they die in one sun’s rotation like the others.”

Chapter Text

Lance screams at the top of his lungs, hands gripping the squirrel's soft brown fur as tightly as he can manage. Sticky residue binds him to the skin of the animal. In his panic to hold on as the squirrel runs, Lance finds a spare moment to mentally thank Sam for being eccentric enough to be both a physicist and an entomologist.

“Hold on, Lance, I’m coming in hot!”

He hears the buzz of her wings before she finishes her warning. Lance lets go, a leap of faith.

Pidge catches him under the arms before even a blade of grass touches his suit. He relishes the sensation of flying, the weightlessness and freedom.

Until Pidge drops him closer to the ground and he rolls forward, head over heels.

“Picnic will have to wait, Tailor,” Pidge says. “The squirrel went into the hole just ahead of you. Scanners show its not connected to a tunnel network, so just go in and get Dad’s chip!”

Lance groans, but runs ahead into the tunnel… smack into an acorn. “Urgh, there’s so many nuts in here.” He grins. “Hey, Pidge --”

“Shut up and get the chip, Lance!”

Pride fills his chest at the fluster in her response. A frazzled Pidge is adorable, and she’d probably forgive him later. “I was just going to say you could plant a whole forest with these. You like plants.”

“Let the squirrel have his winter stores. All we want is the chip.”

Lance rolls his eyes. Chip, chip, chip. Is it that important it can’t hide from bad guys on a small animal?

He arrives towards the back of the tunnel after maneuvering around the acorns. The squirrel digs away, placing the newest acorn in a lowering, the green colored chip still stuck to its leg.

“Okay, come to Lancey-Lance…” He approaches slowly, carefully…

The squirrel turns abruptly and hisses in his face, baring teeth. Barely the size of its food, Lance screams in kind.

His stomach is not looking forward to another ride, but this time he grabs hold of the squirrel within reach of the chip as it rushes out of the hole. Lance lets go and tumbles to the ground with the chip securely wrapped between his arms and chest.

The sun shines behind Pidge as she descends gracefully to his side - like an angel.

“Am I dead?” he whines.

Pidge grins and she kneels by him, and gives him a peck on the cheek. “Not today, Lance. You did good - you might earn your hero stripes yet.”

Lance lets his head fall to the ground and gives her a weary thumbs up, heart rate still too high to care. “Good,” he wheezes, “can we get bigger and finish our picnic now?”

Chapter Text

“I said I was sorry !”

“It’s all right son,” Sam says. “Your sister will take care of it - we’ll get your eyes adjusted when we get home…”

Her family’s conversation blends into the hum of the ship as Pidge stalks her way to the cargo hold. Matt probably mistook the Earthling for a cow for fun .

The Earthling lies in the middle of the bare space, groaning. Pidge echoes him, she’ll have to erase his memory now. He’s not a terrible looking earthling by any means and any less ethical scientist would have been glad to have him for a specimen. Her brow furrows at the weapon to his side, like a blaster but far less efficient. It’ll be something to test later on the long ride home.

She kicks the not-blaster out of the way before binding his ankles with metal cuffs. She holds his single pair of arms - another inefficiency of Earthlings - while her second pair locks another pair of cuffs around his wrists.

His blue irises open, and his expression contorts to confusion, realization, and fear. Without a disguise in place she recognizes her features are… alien to him.

He screams and tries to stand, only to fail.

Pidge huffs and grabs him by the back of his shirt. The sooner she can get him to the lab and wipe his memory the better.

The Earthling sucks in air faster than a terveyo fly. “You - you’re the ones taking the cows, aren't you? Holy crow I didn’t think aliens existed .”

Pidge doesn’t grace him with an answer. Earthlings are cognitive enough to problem solve. Soon. Soon he’ll be back in the field where Matt picked him up by accident…

His hysterics only worsen when he sees the lab.

“You’re experimenting on them. You’re experimenting on me ,” he blabs. “Wait, I’m too young - too good looking! Let me go!”

Pidge tosses him easily onto a table and places sensory nodes to his temples. Just a few more doboshes…

“I-I’ll give you anything you want!” he begs. “I have - I have a peanut butter sandwich!”

Pidge pauses. Her mother has been wanting Earth produce… and peanuts are something they don’t have yet.

“...let me see it,” she tells him.

The Earthling hastily pulls a brown sack out of a side bag. “Just… please don’t take my brain.”

Pidge pulls out the food. It doesn’t smell of anything poisonous, so she takes a bite. For science.

Pidge doesn’t believe in magic, not for her people - that’s an Altean thing - but this taste… is delightful. Her senses are filled with joy she’s never felt before.

They need more of these.

The ship lurches, sending the precious sandwich flying out of her hands. She braces her hands on the table. Why have they launched into hyperdrive with the Earthling still aboard?

“Pidge, to your station! We’ve been spotted by a Galra cruiser!”

Chapter Text

“Oh come ON!”

The Green Lion lit up, sending its energy as a signal across the universe to the Castle - to rescue.

Pidge’s heart became light, thrilled with her latest accomplishment. More than that, it meant she’d see her friends again, her team, who she missed more than she ever expected to admit.

“I knew it would work!” she exclaimed. She had only her trash nebula friends, and they weren’t the best cheer squad, but their markings light up for her in solidarity.

“Now it’s time to go ho– AGH!”

Her back exploded in pain and her thoughts go blank.

~~~

Lance shifted his sniper rifle to a blaster and aimed it at the giant bay doors, opening to reveal five distinct figures. His breath caught in his throat. He couldn’t shoot, not when - not when it was her. The smallest one was held in place by one with a lizard tail. And Lance recognized her.

“Pidge?” he gulped, heart pounding in fear.

Now he understood what Lotor meant when he said he wanted to finish his collection.

Chapter Text

Lance growls as he looks over his class photo. He snaps his scissors. Now that Keith wasn’t in the Garrison anymore it was going to be ten times harder to get that mullet a haircut.

The door rings open and Lance puts away his phone. At least a customer will keep him occupied for a little while on this boring Saturday. He could be home on holiday but no, he’s volunteered to work the salon alone so that the others can have the day off.

(The pay will be nice though.)

He looks up. “Welcome to --”

Words are caught in his throat. He hasn’t seen Katie since … the Kerberos incident. He’s almost certain that’s the cause for her tear stained face and sharp, determined glint in her eyes. Why is she in the salon of all places? Surely the last thing she needs is a haircut?

“Katie,” he starts, pouring out all the sympathy he can manage into his voice. “I’m so sorry about your family.”

She sucks in a breath. “Lance, I can trust you, right?”

Lance bites his lip. He isn’t sure he likes where this is going. So he jokes, “what’s said in the salon, stays in the salon.”

Katie nods and sees herself to Lance’s usual station. “Good, because you’re in this for the long haul. I need you to cut my hair like a boy’s.”

A sharp gasp escapes him. “But I thought you liked your hair long? You never let me do anything other than a trim or layers!”

“I do,” she says. “But less people will ask questions this way when I enroll at the Galaxy Garrison. So make it a popular and unassuming style.”

“Woah. Hold up. Catch me up from square one.”

Katie sighs impatiently. “I don’t think it was pilot error. I think the Garrison is hiding something. Iverson banned me from the grounds, so I’m enrolling under a false identity.”

“Katie, that’s illegal.”

“And I’m going to do it with or without your help.”

Lance gives in, picking up a comb and fingering her thick curls for the last time. “You know I’m a student there too, right?”

“I know,” she says calmly. “I’m your new comm spec. I’ll keeping a close eye on you so you don’t spill the beans.” She pauses, frowning, looking far more vulnerable now. “I need to do this Lance. Please.”

He should say no; that’s what Hunk would say.

He begins snipping. “Whatever I can do to help, Katie.”

She tenses when he begins, but quickly loosens. “Call me Pidge.”

Lance nods. “Nice to meet you, Pidge. Looking forward to an interesting school year.”

(Two years later he’ll finally corner Keith’s mullet with his bayard’s sword form.)

Chapter Text

A poorly constructed scarecrow lands flat at Lance’s feet. The broken speaker plays a definite not-scary-at-all line on repeat, “AHHHAHAHAHA. Beware the witch on the bay!”

A spooky night-noise soundtrack plays before the scarecrow’s head jolts up rigidly and speaks the words again.

Lance snorts and leans right into Pidge’s annoyed face. “OoOOooh,” he says in his most creepy voice. “That was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”

Pidge glowers - she hates his smug grin when its betting against her - so he grins harder. She crosses her arms with a pout. “Matt said this was the best corn maze last year. I’m starting to think he’s the one getting the last laugh…”

Lance brings her into his arms for a tight hug. “The night is still young, Pidge. We’ll get him back later. In the meantime, I think there’s a caramel apple back at the barn with my name on it.”

It brings a genuine smile to her face. “I wouldn’t mind some cider. It’s getting a bit chilly.”

Without another word Lance removes his jacket and places it on her shoulders. She tries to retort, but he cuts her off, “Ah, ah, ah, let me do something gentlemanly.” He boops her nose, which twitches adorably. “Besides, you look good with it on.”

“Thanks, Lance,” she says with a blush. “So, left or right?”

Lance considers the fork in front of them. He’s tall enough to see that right will lead them back to the barn quicker, but left leads them towards the bay. Mischievous thoughts roll through his mind about giving Pidge a cheap scare by splashing through the water. If not, a walk on the moonlit beach is romantic as all get out.

He steers her left and she rolls her eyes while falling into step with him. It’s the perfect cloudless and full moon night, arm around his adorable girlfriend.

Until it isn’t.

A lone figure stands on the beach, eerie with the moon’s reflection off the water in the background.

“Hey!” Lance yells joyfully. “Any good attractions out here?”

Lance blinks and the figure is on top of them. He barely has time to register the ghostly image of the witch of the bay. She hisses, pointed teeth gleaming in front of her black cloak and shrouded eyes.

Lance’s mouth already open when Pidge screams and no voice comes out. Just as suddenly as the witch was upon them, she’s gone.

Pidge is shaking next to him, holding his arm so tightly her nails dig into his skin. “Ha. Haha. I guess they really did have one really good scare,” she jokes nervously. “I guess I screamed first - you win the bet.”

I thought for sure it’d be you, you’re too smart, is what Lance tries to say, but no words come out of his mouth.

Pidge can you hear me?

His voice is gone.

Chapter Text

Pidge sat down with a huff, eyes heavy from lack of sleep. Chip was worse than a child when he got a virus, and she couldn’t leave her mother to deal with that.

She had half a mind to skip this week. Art class really wasn’t necessary, and she was only taking it to prove that if a Paladin of Voltron could have a hobby post war, anyone could. Pidge enjoyed doodling, and although she was no Keith as far as talent was concerned, she had noticed an improvement of skill as the months dragged on.

It made her happy to look at her first drawing of Voltron - before she’d even known what it looked like - and compare it to last week, when she’d drawn the Defender of the Universe with all the tips and tricks she’d learned. It looked like a robot.

(She gave the left arm a cute flower behind where the ear would be had Green been an actual lion - because she felt like it.)


 

So Pidge was tired and complacent and was caught off guard when Lance spoke to her.

“Pidge?” he shrieked. “What are you doing here?”

It took her a tic to recognize the voice, and she almost doesn’t believe it because Lance doesn’t live in Garrison housing, or in Plaht City. But there he was, sitting next to her, wearing a… a bathrobe?

His cheeks are bright red, eyes as wide as saucers. Pidge is fully aware her mouth was gaping.

Lance?” she breathed in disbelief. “I’m in the class. What are you doing here?”

She’s of course happy to see him again, but was having a difficult time getting over why he was here.

Lance gave her a nervous smile. “Uh, maybe we can chat over a late night snack later,” he stopped himself, his face maybe even a deeper red now. “Or a drink. My treat. I’ll have Killbot Phantasm 23 once class is over, too.”

Her brow furrowed, conflicting emotions churned in her stomach at the mention of that specific game - the one she absolutely wanted to play with him once upon a time, before everything went downhill. Why…

The instructor entered the room and clapped for attention. “Good evening, class. We have a special assistant today. Last week we focused on robotics, tonight, we focus on human anatomy. Lance, if you would please.”

Lance gave her a half hearted smile and chuckle, and a mouthed a sorry, before standing and walking to the front of the room.

Pidge dropped her pencil and jaw the same time as Lance dropped his robe.

His blush faded when the class gave him good-natured chuckles. Confidence renewed, he awarded them with some humorous muscle flexing.

He doesn’t look in her direction.

Which was good, because she couldn’t stop staring - even though she really shouldn’t. She blinked rapidly, realizing her eyes were going dry. It does nothing for her hot cheeks and thumping heart and boiling blood down --

“Very good, Lance. Thank you for being a sport,” her instructor said. “If you could lay on your side on the table here…”

He does so, hiding nothing.

She sucked in a deep breath, wide awake now as she took in every last detail of his thoroughly sculpted and naked farmer’s body, on display for the class - for her - to see.

The instructor might have told them to start, everyone else had started around her, but she hadn’t heard. All Pidge could think about was Lance’s first time in a cryo-pod - the first time she’d gotten a taste of this. Suddenly it was if her teenage dreams were coming true in all the wrong ways.

Or right.

She doesn’t know. Her brain felt utterly broken.

Time would tell if this was a blessing or a curse. After all, he’d promised to hang out after class.

...Maybe it was a good thing she’d come to class this week after all.

Chapter Text

Lance laid back contently on his surf board, arms crossed behind his head. Surely this was the life? The temperature was perfect, hot without a ton of humidity. The water was calm, his board bobbing gently on the waves with him just along for the ride. He splashes with his bare feet, simply enjoying the afternoon off from school

The only thing that would make this even better was if Pidge was here, which was why he was out a ways from shore in the first place. Not everyone could boast they had a mermaid for a best friend.

“Lance, look out!”

It was almost as if he could hear her voice already!

The next thing he knew, salty ocean water filled his nostrils and invades his mouth.

Before he could really understand what happened, he was gasping for air above waterline, held up by familiar scaly arms.

“Lance, are you okay? I’m so sorry! Rover!” Pidge yelled, no longer addressing him. “That is not what I meant! You can say goodbye to that squid dinner!”

Though he still felt disorientated, Lance recognized the fin of a shark circling close by. It dips beneath the surface and he realized in a moment of panic, that he really should be on shore right now .

“Sh-shark!” He yelped.

“It’s okay, Lance. Rover’s with me,” Pidge informed him, her tone way too calm for the panic Lance felt right now.

Once his brain wrapped around the idea of his mermaid friend naming a shark like a… a puppy--

“You have a pet shark?” he exclaimed. “Since when ?”

Pidge handed him his surfboard and she let go of him only once he had a secure grip on it.

“Surprise!” she said brightly. “Or, well, it was supposed to be. You always said they were your favorite animal - and you humans have pets. What’s so weird about me having a pet shark?”

Lance grumbled, but forgot all about being upset when wet lips pressed against his cheek. When he turned Pidge was next to him, her arms crossed on the board and her head resting on top looking his way with a fond smile.

“You’re cute when you get upset,” she teased. “Too bad you’re not a child of the sea.”

Warmth rushed to his cheeks and he turned away in embarrassment. “I guess you’ll have to get used to disappointment then,” he said.

Out of the corner of his eye, her face fell.

His shoulders slumped. Perhaps he had to get used to disappointment as well.

Chapter Text

Lance has never declined a client; a feather in his proverbial hat that he’s quite proud of. That, along with his perfect success record, has made him a name in the right circles. He takes out his target and is able to support himself and his family.

But considering that this particular potential client is part of his family, Lance decides that this one time, he can afford to refuse.

“Pidge, no,” he stresses. “I’m not going to do it.”

His wife snaps her head up to glare at him, taking her attention away from the program she runs on her laptop. “Why not?” she asks pointedly. “It’s perfect.”

Lance throws his hands up into the air. “Because what could go wrong, right? Pidge, I am not going to take a hit from you on yourself.

Pidge turns in her chair to face him, pushing the falling glasses further up the bridge of her nose. “Technically Katie Holt. Galra Corp will stop looking for me if they think I’m dead.”

“You are Katie Holt,” Lance states in annoyance. He huffs and stalks to the other end of the living room of their apartment above Hunk’s restaurant.

“I know the risks, Lance,” Pidge tells him softly. “I trust you with my life, you know that.”

Lance growls and turns to face her, fists clenched in anger. Just because she trusts him with her life doesn’t mean he wants it in his hands. She knows exactly what she asks of him; a real bullet, a precise shot that will severely wound her. The mere thought of hurting her like that makes him sick to his stomach.

But her face stops him from saying anything he might regret, her warm brown eyes pleading with him. She’ll be free of prying eyes - free to search for her family. Lance knows she’s already calculated all the odds as well as the pros and cons.

He can’t say no to her.

“Okay,” he says, heart thumping loudly. “If this is the only way.” He nods. “I trust you.”

Chapter Text

Pidge laid back in her chair, arms relaxed behind her head. “Shiro’s got this, Lance. He’s been studying for weeks,” she says pridefully, as she always did.

Because that’s how the personification of pride should say things.

Lance tapped his foot in anticipation. This was the big one; the last written test to become an astronaut and it was testing even his core, joy. He felt more like Hunk’s anxiety at the moment.

(It was a good idea to lock him in the utility closet the night before - as much as they all hated it, Hunk preferred not to watch anyway.)

They watched through Shiro’s eyes as he checks one multiple choice answer after another and reads through his essays. The minutes turn into seconds and then the bell - the test is over. Shiro had time to check over everything twice.

“Yes!” Lance whoops, leaping out of his seat. “Finally! Time to celebrate.”

“Told you he’d finish with ease,” Pidge grins. “He’s totally getting the top score in the class.”

Overcome with joy, because well, it was his job, Lance scoops up Pidge into his arms and spins her around. “We’re going to space! I can’t wait!”

Pidge wraps her arms around his neck like they belong there, and for all Lance cares, they do.

“All your hard work paid off, Lance,” she says, squeezing him tight. Her face snuggles into the crook of his neck and a shiver of delight and comfort shoots up his spine. If he imagines just a bit, it’s almost as if she gives him a tiny kiss on his neck.

Our hard work,” he counters, unable to stop smiling from both the occasion and Pidge’s touch. “If you hadn’t encouraged him to be proud of his accomplishments, I wouldn’t have been able to sustain his love of space.”

“Look at you being all prideful,” Pidge teases as he releases her to the ground. “You could say I’m proud of you,” she says with a wink and a nudge. “Though I’m not ready to switch jobs.”

Lance puts his hands on his hips, a rush of delight in his heart. “Well then, what do you say we celebrate this joyous occasion with the others?”

Pidge wags a finger at him, smiling the whole time, delighted he caught on to her use of their job titles. “Nice one, Lance. Let’s go tell Hunk he can finally look.”

She doesn’t have to hold his hand as they make their way to the common area, but she does; her face red not with prideful rage, but with admiration. Excitement tingles through his arms. They were two sides of the same coin, and right now, that coin was love.

Chapter Text

“Lance,” Pidge starts slowly, her back hitting the door - she’s already wincing at his response, “you’ve got to promise you won’t freak out.”

He glares, leaning down slightly, eyebrows raised in suspicion - and he really has every right to be. “As long as you’ll finally let me go into my own room,” he emphasizes. “You’ve had me working on the pods all day and I’m greasy. I need a facial stat and then I’m going to take a very well deserved beauty nap.”

Pidge gulps, and it feels as if her throat drops into her stomach. She hasn’t felt this guilty since she left her mother to infiltrate the Galaxy Garrison.

“Okay, well, just a warning, it might be a little crowded in there,” she says with what she knows is a totally fake smile.

Lance, blessedly, is more curious than tired. “Crowded?”

Time to fess up. “Yeah, I uh, was working in my room last night and you know the little fluff ball aliens that followed me to the Castle from the trash nebula?”

Lance nods, his smile far more genuine. “Yeah, those little guys are pretty cute.” His face falls, contorting into confusion as he tries to make the connection. “Why are they in my room?”

“You were on that mission with Allura and Shiro, and they wouldn’t stop floating onto my laptop or cuddling with me,” she explains. “I mean, I love cuddling with them, but I really needed to get code down so I could try it out on the Terithian’s tech before we leave tomorrow and you weren’t using your room so I, uh,” she flashes a disarming smile. “I borrowed it.”

He chuckles in good humor. “Is that it? I would’ve said yes even if I was here. But I really want my room back now.”

Pidge takes a deep breath. “Well, that’s the thing…”

“Ah come on, Pidge. How much trouble can two little space fluff balls get?”

Not for the first time, Pidge curses her height and weight as Lance literally slides her out of the way.

When he opens the door, she tries to scramble out of the way, but it is to no avail. Hundreds of tiny being with emotionless blinking eyes and glowing face marks tumble into the hallway.

Pidge breaks free after a few terrifying ticks and finds herself surrounded by a mound of blue, green, pink, and yellow trash nebula aliens.

Lance is covered to the shoulders with them, a green one floats and bounces off his head with a squeak.

He looks like he’s about to cry.

Pidge chuckles lamely. “Congratulations. You’re a dad?”

Chapter Text

Pidge shivers, wrapping her webbed hands around her shoulders; the chill of this stale human bathroom somehow worse than the depths of the ocean.

The wind machine - fan? - rattles, the hollow noise bouncing off the tiled room. Her flipper splashes in the shallow luke-warm water in agitation of being alone. No family is with her, only the company of a strange human she has no choice but to trust her life with. 

Not that her wound is life threatening - now that her side is bandaged it will heal on its own - but had Lance not been surfing in the area, the sharks would have been on her shortly and she is still in no condition to outrun them.

Pidge has only herself to blame, screaming at the mesmerized human to get her to the beach. So she supposes she’s stuck in the human world until she heals - confined to this tiny tub instead of the freedom of the ocean.

Even if he reveals her presence to others - because she’s grown up on stories of cruel humans - it’s still better than being shark food.

The door swings open and Lance enters, his face a blushing mess. He carries bundles of cloth in his arms.

“Okay, so I dug through my closet and there’s some shirts that might fit you,” he says, clearly trying hard not to look in her direction. He fails, but his embarrassment fades to a face of concern. “You’re cold. Hold on.”

He drops most of the clothing on the floor and unfurls a small blanket. He wraps it around her and the first thing Pidge notes, with a start, is how utterly dry it is.

The material scratches at her bare skin but she has no time to care when he lifts her out of the water.

Pidge emits a childish shriek. She reaches out, desperate for some kind of control, Her arms find Lance. “What are you doing?” she demands.

He hisses. “Your claws are sharp,” he says, whining. “Getting you someplace warmer. You can use my bed.”

The two of them turn the corner into a larger room. Lance sets her down on the large box covered in blankets - his bed apparently. It too, is dry; the water on her body providing the only moisture, soaking into the linens. This is ridiculous - she’ll shrivel up without water!

“There,” Lance says, an air of pride about him. “You’re not shaking anymore.”

His sincerity warms her, because he’s right - she isn’t.

And the blankets are oh so comfortable.

“I suppose I can stay out of water for a little while,” she concedes. “Thank you, Lance. You’ve been really nice.” Perhaps it’s a little premature to say so, if she lowers her guard he still may take advantage of her vulnerability.

He sits on the edge of the bed. “Don’t worry, I’m not dumb. I’ll hang out here and when you need to go back in the water I’ll carry you back over. You might as well be comfortable while you recover, yeah?”

He picks up a small black object and presses a button. Pidge jumps as the larger black box on the wall across from her suddenly displays an image of three humans, one with sword.

Lance offers her a red colored device with buttons. He smiles earnestly and like a fool it soothes all her fears about being on land.

“You ever played video games?”

Chapter Text

The coffee is piping hot; the heat warming his frost-touched hands as he wraps them around the styrofoam cup. Lance sighs in contentment. Ever since Detective Goodman’s miraculous return, the coffee pot is always full and fresh at the office. A fact Lance was especially thankful for because it gets cold in Ryme City during the winter and the office heater is broken. 

Again. 

Being from the tropics, Lance can hardly stand it. 

No work is getting done today if all he can do is sit at his desk, shivering despite three layers of coat while drinking coffee. 

A high pitched whine overcomes the sound of his chattering teeth. Before Lance can full turn, Growlie has its paws on his lap, whimpering in worry. 

It melts his heart, literally and figuratively. 

“Aww, I’m so sorry, bud,” he says as he scratches his partner behind the ear. “I’m useless when it’s this cold. But you’re - you—“ 

Lance feels as if he can cry as realization dawns. He scoops the puppy pokemon into his lap and arms. Growlie doesn’t mind and licks his face in delight. Lance moans in contentment. “You’re warm .”

As a fire breathing dog should be. 

Just then, a popping noise fills the office, followed by the heater coming to life. 

The entire precinct breaks out in cheers and applause. 

The savior of the hour and half his heart - because Growlie will always have the other half - enters the room with a flourishing bow. 

“Heat has returned!” Pidge announces, arms outstretched in the air. “Rotom found a faulty connection; looks like we had some hungry rattata; the wires are now metal reinforced.”

A few more whoops and thank yous and the office settles down, detectives and officers getting back to work. 

Lance’s heart flutters like lovestruck schoolboy and he can’t help a silly grin as Pidge walks his way and jumps to sit at the edge of his desk. 

“Well done, Detective ,” he greets, emphasizing her new title. “You really can do everything, can’t you?”

A not quite smug, but very pleased line tugs up the side of her face. “Thanks Lance. I’m no Hunk, but I can fix an electrical issue in a pinch. Now you can get back to your case, huh?” She teases, looking at what he knows is a ridiculous get-up up and down.

He rolls his eyes, letting Growlie jump back down to the floor to check out the pokemon that came through the door. 

“It’s no biggie, Goodman’s kid practically broke up the underground battle ring without meaning to - I’m just stuck with the paperwork.”

Pidge tchs. “Poor Lance, not getting the excitement and glory you were hoping for when you joined?”

He grins, heart pumping as he says, “I’m over that because I found someone better.”

Her usually rosey cheeks turn bright red, feigning a cough before her lips wiggle into a smile. “You’re an insufferable flirt.”

“You’re easy to fluster,” he winks. 

“You’re both the talk of the office.” 

A manila folder lands with a slap on the desk and Lance stands at attention. Pidge mirrors him. 

“Lieutenant - Sir!”

Lieutenant Shirogane rolls his eyes and raises a calming hand. “Lance, Pidge, go ahead and sit down. I’ve got a mission for you both.”

Lance relaxes his shoulders but not his mind. Team-ups weren’t uncommon but it usually meant something big .

“Both of us?” Pidge inquires. 

Shiro grins, and Lance knows this will either be a lot of fun or the worst mission ever. 

“What do the two of you know about Team Galactic?”