It had been an average mission. Until it wasn't. Get in, get the information needed, compromise the ship if you could, and leave before they even know you're there. Or, as Keith was fond of putting it, get in, get shit done, plant a few surprises, and get the fuck out before shit blows up.
He had gotten in, he had gotten the info from the databases, and he had been on his way out when an alarm started ringing shrilly a few hallways down. He had slammed into Lance moments later, sending both of them to the floor.
"Lance? What are you doing here?" Keith hissed.
Lance stared at him. "What do you mean, what am I doing here? What are you doing here?" he countered. Keith remained silent, gazing around them, dark eyes alert and blade ready. "First time I actually get to see you in seven movements, and you can't even talk to me?"
"The blade sent me, we've been trying to get prisoner logs from this ship for months. My question still stands."
"Well, unfortunately for your mission or whatever it is, Pidge accidentally set off an alarm trying to disable it, so if you want to live, I think we should probably run," Lance suggested. Still cocky as ever. "As for me, I'm here because we received a distress call. Looks like that was a ruse, though, huh?"
He turned to smirk at Keith, but Keith stared over his shoulder in horror. "Lance watch out!" he cried, but it was too late. They were surrounded in a matter of ticks, and heavily outmatched to boot. One of the Galra grabbed Keith from behind, snatching away his Marmora blade and twisting his arms behind his back.
The one who had snagged Lance just before he could impale him had shifted his grip and was now holding Lance up in front of him by the back of his armor, staring at him curiously.
"This one is human. What of the Marmora traitor? He appears to be human as well, but he smells like a Galra," the one holding Lance snarled.
Keith's captor's glared at him. "I do believe we've caught ourselves the Paladin half breed," he hissed triumphantly. "Haggar will pay handsomely for this one."
They considered for a moment, and then the third Galra, who had remained silent for most of the interaction, finally spoke. "Kill the human, he's of no use to us."
"Of course, sir." A bang, and a spray of warm blood splattered against Keith's cheek. He screamed, flinching away and reaching for his friend in a haze of panic and fury.
The Glare holding him released his grip suddenly, and he fell to the floor, dragging himself towards Lance, who had struggled to his hands and knees, head down as he coughed.
"The human is done for. Leave the half breed, we'll retrieve him la-" The sword protruding from his chest cut him off, and the remaining Galra stared in shock at Keith, how had somehow gotten to his feet and retrieved his sword from where one of the guards had carelessly tossed it.
A tick and a half later, the ground and Keith's Blade uniform were both drenched in blood, and he allowed his knife to deactivate in a brief blast of light, slipping from his fingers to clatter against the floor. Lance was swaying on his feet just a few feet away, and Keith dove for him.
"Lance!" he cried, stumbling forward to catch his friend as he collapsed. One of the guards started to stir, reaching for the glowing communicator at his hip. Dispatching him with a single one handed flick of his sword, Keith sank to the floor, Lance cradled gently in his arms.
"Quedarse vivo. Te amo," Lance whispered.
"What does that mean?" Keith asked, just as softly. Desperately, if he was being honest, anything to take his mind off the fact that Lance was bleeding out, dying in his arms.
Lance gave him a tiny smile. "Stay alive, I love you," he translated, his voice going rough at the end, nearly inaudible. He sucked in a shuddering breath. "Stay alive. I love you."
"Lance." The tiny sob that escaped him was lost in the chaotic fury of the escalating battle around them. "Lance, wake up. Lance, please, please look at me, Lance! LANCE, PLEASE! LANCE!"
He hadn't even noticed he had turned the comms on until Kolivan spoke in his ear, voice uncharacteristically frantic. "Keith? Is something wrong, kit?"
He didn't respond, instead staring down at the body in his arms, dead weight in his lap, limp and motionless. So unlike the Lance he knew, bright and laughing and making terrible puns that always seemed to make everyone laugh anyways. Lance was the goofball, the jokester, the flirt, the pretty boy, the Blue Paladin, the heart of the team. And he was Keith's entire world.
"No. No no no. No no no nononono."
"Lance," he breathed. "Dad?"
"Kit? We're all here, what's wrong?" Ulaz's voice blared in his ears, making him hunch his shoulders with a wince of pain, letting out a pained whine. Ulaz's volume immediately dropped. "Kit? Where are you? I'm coming to get you."
"Lance. 'M with Lance."
"I'm on my way, kit. Stay where you are."
When the guard rounded the corner and immediately aimed his gun at Keith, he didn't flinch. Instead, he curled tighter around Lance and closed his eyes at the touch of the cool metal against the back of his head.
There was a bang, a flash of blinding white light, and he knew nothing more.