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When It's Called For

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Heart stuck in his throat, Lance sprinted in a random direction. Zigzagging to avoid the fire from the Galra sentries. Ducking behind a strange mushroom like plant, Lance caught his breath.

He could still hear Keith’s yells, telling him to get out of there, before the gun had connected with his head.

Inhaling deeply, Lance forced himself to stand again. He’s useless doing nothing .

So much for a simple in-and-out mission.

All it was supposed to be was a recon, collect information and get out. Kolivan was the one to bring up the mission during one of their meetings. It hard been a good idea, up until it went to shit. Subconsciously, Lance patted the compartment in his gauntlet. They had downloaded the info from base using Pidge’s hacking program.

Summoning his bayard, he prepared himself. Peering out of his hiding spot, Lance fired off a series of shots. All hitting true.

Dunking back behind the mushroom, Lance racked his brain for a plan. Just how far from the Galra camp was he?

There was a lull in the sentries’ shots. Lance took down three more sentries, gulping thickly at the sight of the advancing robots.

Steadying his breath, Lance tried to ignore the pounding in his head and the ache in his jaw. Slamming your jaw into something was never fun.

The shots continued to flash by him, hitting other plants like the one he was hiding behind. Damn was he thankful they weren’t sentient. Purple flares keeping a steady pace, just like the tromp of the sentry guards.

Feeling like his heart would beat itself right out of his chest, Lance readied himself for another round of shots.

Before he could move again, there was a roar.

Faint, but it was there.

Reaching out to the feeling there, the Blue Paladin gasped. This time, he felt the roar throughout him.

“I can’t do it alone either,” Lance murmured.

He could hear the roar of the thrusters. Looking upward, the Paladin saw a red blur.

“Red,” he breathed.

Just as said Lion released a volley of laser fire onto the sentries.

In ticks, the group of them were gone. All that was left was the faint smell of burning metal and foliage.

Red lowered her head, opening her jaw. The Blue Paladin stumbled up the platform.

“Hey there, hot stuff,” Lance chuckled warmly. Thanking anything and everything that the Lion was there. Warmth spread through his chest as he got to the cockpit, only for it to go cold at the sight of the empty seat. “Keith?”

There was an angry, impatient whine from Red.

He’s still caught Lance realized. Swallowing thickly, Lance sat heavily in the seat. His breath quickening. What could he do? It’s not like he could do it on his own. Their defenses were tough, getting out before he was captured was hard enough. How could he pull it off? What chance did he have?

A growl interrupted his thoughts. Inhaling sharply, Lance whispered, “How could I forget you, Red? It’s the two of us.”

An agreeing rumble.

Clearing his throat, Lance reached out for the controls. “Can I pilot you? Just long enough to get Keith back?”

Red answered with a roar, the console lighting up.

Letting out a wheezy chuckle, Lance lifted up the Lion. Spinning, Red took off in the direction of the Galra camp. Weaving through the foliage, Lance guided her through.

Yelping as they ticked one of those strange mushrooms.

“Holy crow, you react… fast .”

Red purred smugly.

Gulping, Lance tried to pick up on her reaction time and avoid another hit .

Through another section of the mushroom forest, Lance spotted the camp. Bringing her to a stop behind the plant, they rose high enough to see the camp activity. Lance watched the guards moving around the borders, higher ups entering and exiting the large metal building.

Releasing a deep breath, Lance fought to keep himself steady. Peeling his eyes away from the scene, Lance’s hand went to the dash and opened up a new tab.

Poking in the commands, the tracker system came up.

Lance huffed. “Of fucking course.”

The tracker blinked in the middle of the camp. Another attempt at steadying the shake in his hands, Lance spoke aloud, “Okay, can you make a distraction?”

Agreeing rumble.

“Okay, I’ll sneak in and get Keith.”

Another rumble of agreement.

A deep breath, Lance stood up and summoned his bayard. Turning into his familiar blaster, Lance walked into the cargo part.

“Swoop in low and drop me off, okay flames?”

There wasn’t an answering sound this time. Wasn’t necessary because then they were moving, Lance braced himself as well as possible.

He still screamed for a few ticks when the cargo pit opened up mid flight.

Snapping his mouth shut and muffling the screams, Lance let his bayard go into its regular form before he hit the ground. Wind knocked out of him, Lance pressed himself into the ground and moved his head despite the awkward angle to see what Red was doing.

The Lion was more than good at distractions. All of the fire was focused on her. Narrowing his eyes at him, Lance wondered if it was part of their plan.

If it was, he had to get his ass in gear.

Reforming his bayard, Lance shoved himself onto his feet and sprinted. The sentries didn’t noticed him passing by them, attention all on Red. Even as she lit them up with returning laser fire.

Standing in front of the same door he had used to get in with Keith, Lance groaned melodramatically. He really wishing that he had Galra blood instead of Keith, would make it ten times easier to get in , Lance had to scramble after a sentry.

In.

Out.

Bullseye.

Lips twitching at the thought, Lance quickly sobered up. Taking the sentry he had just shot the head off of, Lance was thankful they were just robots and were too busy with Red. Hefting the sentry up, Lance groaned under its weight. Forcing its hand to lay on the scanner, Lance waited for the door to open.

Dropping the sentry, Lance dodged through the door before it had the chance to close. The Blue Paladin ducked into a corner and pulled up the tracker location.

Peeking out of his hiding place, certain that there was no one, Lance jogged down the halls. Glancing continually to the vague map, Lance kept his eyes peeled, ears open, and footsteps light.

Trying to keep himself from panicking, he compared the sneaking to trying to sneak out without his mami catching him.

A nervous chuckle erupted from his mouth at the image. If only it was that simple anymore.

Coming to a Y in the hallways, Lance looked at the map and tried to gauge which direction to go.

Red? Lance thought, reaching out to Red’s bond with her paladin. Tugging on it lightly, the Lion let him in enough to show him.

Left, straight, left, right, left, straight, straight again, right, left… the control room.

With a gasp, Lance snapped his eyes open. The leftover image of Keith shaking him. Heading left, Lance picked up the pace.

He hadn’t heard what the Galra Commander was saying, but he’d bet anything that it wasn’t good.

Second turn, Lance froze. Two sentries stopped in front of him, blasters coming up.

One.

Two.

Taking them out, Lance hopped over them. There was a strange ringing noise, Lance chalked it up to the close quarters with blasters, it happened sometimes.

Ducking out of sight of the next patrol, Lance dodged the next three patrols. With no one in sight, Lance booked it down the hallway.

Turning right, the paladin could feel the tightening knot in his chest. It wasn’t hard to figure out the mess of anxiety, worry, and fear that formed it, but Lance left the details alone. He had to save Keith, and hopefully stop whatever the Commander was doing. Pushing back the pain in his head.

One more turn.

Lance gulped, stopping just before the turn. Faintly, he could hear the growling voice of Commander What-A-Dick, the tone was boasting. Leaning his head against the cool metal wall, the paladin took a tick to enjoy the soothing feeling against the headache.

“Your Lion has no chance against it,” the Galra said smugly. Something froze in Lance’s chest, poking his head around the corner as he shut down the hologram from his suit. The fuzzy purple face made Lance think giant purple cat , like longhair bred that was an asshole. Lucifer from Cinderella came to mind. Dark fuzzy sideburns and two annoyingly yellow eyes.

In front of the Commander, Keith was forcibly kept on his knees. Head hanging slightly, two guards had their blasters pointed at him. The Red Paladin’s bayard nowhere in sight.

Lance was willing to bet that the Galra’s eyes had expanded with excitement and happiness, like a cat, making him look like an idiot.

Calling the bayard from putting it away since the last time he ran into somebody, Lance inhaled deeply.

Stepping around the corner, aimed the bayard.

In.

Out.

Fire.

The first guard went down with a gasp. Spinning around, the Commander cried out. The Red Paladin straightened up, his head snapping forward.

In.

Out.

Fire.

Down went the second guard, Keith was grabbed by the collar. Commander What-A-Dick stuck his smaller blaster to Keith head.

“Stand down!”

In.

Out.

Fire.

The Commander’s grip tightened before he hissed dropping the blaster..

In.

Out.

Fire.

Using his distraction, Lance hit him between the eyes. Slumping forward, Keith jerked and fell forward with now dead Galra. There was a tromp of metal coming closer.

Releasing his bayard, Lance ran forward. He slid across the floor in attempts to slow down.

“Keith!” Lance yelped, struggling against the large Galra’s weight. Heart rate spiking.

BEEP BEEP BEEP -- Lance’s attention snapped to the sound’s source.

CANON READY.

Gulping, Lance apologized as he stood up, leaving Keith behind for a moment. The shaking was back as Lance stared at the Galran script. Breathing out shakily, Lance aimed the blaster and prayed.

The lights went out on the first hit. Desperately hoping that was enough, Lance used what strength he had to pull the Galra off of his friend.

“Keith,” Lance begged. All the answer was a pained groan. Tapping Keith’s cheek, Lance said, “Come on, man!”

Glazed amethyst eyes met his. “Lance?”

Lance could’ve cried with relief, he was awake, alive. “Yep! That’s me! We gotta get out of here.”

“You came back,” Keith croaked out.

“What? You thought I wouldn’t?” Lance asked, laughing shakily. “I wouldn’t leave you behind.” Keith didn’t respond, just stared at him with wide eyes. Deciding not to dwell on that, Lance asked, “Can you walk?”

“I…” Keith swallowed. “...I don’t… think so.”

“Okay, okay. We can work around it. Can you call Red?”

In answer, Keith closed his eyes and inhaled, his breath shook. Terror clawed at Lance, refusing to give over to the cold feeling, the Cuban tried to focus on Keith. He didn’t miss the slight shake in Keith’s lip.

Before reopening his eyes. Lance was starting to believe the Red Paladin had past out.

“She’s coming,” Keith said. Eyes shone with unshed tears (probably due pain, as if that didn’t worry Lance ten times more), and a soft smile.

Not five ticks after Keith spoke did Lance hear the shaking of the ceiling and felt the whole building as shuddered. As if a great weight had been placed on it and it was coming apart.

Picking up the injured paladin as gently as possible, Lance cracked a joke, “Are we having a bonding moment?”

“Only if you remember.”

“Only if I remember? May I remind you that you are the one hurt, not me this time.”

There was a wet chuckle from Keith… and a happy purr from Red. Said Lion smashed through the roof of the building.

Jumping, inciting a whimper from Keith and small scream from Lance. The still-standing paladin stared at the newly formed hole in the ceiling. Closing his eyes for just a moment, Lance blocked out the pain from the loud noise. Just as Lance started to question how the hell he’d get the two in there, the ramp extended. The ramp forming indents like reverse stairs.

An annoyed growl to urge them to get moving, taking too much time. Red wanted out of there as badly or worse then them.

“I am so glad you have a bunch of weird hidden... things,” Lance declared as he awkwardly held onto the ramp around Keith. A pained noise from said person assured Lance that he was still awake. Red pulled her head out of the hole and leveled it out. Readjusting his hold on Keith, Lance struggled a little to get to his feet.

Moving into the cockpit as quickly as possible.

Ever so gently, Lance laid his self-declared rival onto the passenger seat.

“You still awake, Mullet?”

Keith blinked open his eyes for a second before they slid closed once again. In the back of his mind, Lance felt Red begin to move, piloting herself again. The harsh wheezing breath from Keith was beginning to freak out Lance majorly. 

Standing up, Lance headed to the pilot’s chair. “Hey m’lady, can I pilot again? Increase our go time by… two? Or whatever it is.”

Rumbling with approval, the console lit up again. Lance couldn’t help the sharp grin made its way onto his face, even if his face throbbed.

Lance muttered under his breath, “Let’s get back to the Castle.”

Then he put the pedal to the metal.

 

~~

 

Leaning against the door jam of Keith’s room, Lance looked over the sleeping paladin. The terror of not knowing if he was going to be alright and then the quintant in the cryopod hadn’t helped. Lance was just glad that Keith was finally resting well.

Releasing a soft sigh, Lance reassured himself that Keith was alive and well, soon to be in the position for Lance to tease and pick fights with. Shoving off of the archway, Lance turned away, allowing the door to shut properly.

In the meantime… he had a Lion to talk too.

One last look before the crack left by the door disappeared, alongside the sight of Keith sleeping soundly.

Lance headed off. An anticipating rumble coming through the bond.

Please let me figure what is going on my own, Red, Lance begged through their bond. Don’t tell Keith!

Another rumble rang in his head. It sounded like a ‘ fine, but I don’t like keeping secrets from my cub ’ but that could’ve just been Lance’s translation.