Honestly, they should have all known it was coming.
With Shiro missing and the Black Lion out of commission, someone would have to figure out a way to reform Voltron and continue the fight against Galra.
Though Lance knew that it would be a far more permanent situation than the others. He knew that Shiro was dead and that there was no returning for the man this time. His meeting with him within Black had confirmed that dreadful fact for him rather painfully.
He wasn’t surprised when Allura suggested each of them take a turn getting into the Black Lion and seeing if she would react to them.
Especially when the threat of Lotor appeared.
Their fights against him when they were unable to form Voltron was disastrous. They were also running on fumes and becoming frustrated and exhausted. The Prince was persistent and would come at them again and again. So they needed to figure out how to form Voltron again as soon as possible.
With that in mind, Lance knew that this was coming and watched as one by one, each Paladin entered into Black.
Pidge went first. He doubted it was her though as she could become obsessed and forget everything around her. She would yell at them for interrupting her experiments and coding binges. She wouldn’t make for the most ideal leader at all.
It was unsurprising when she came out without Black reacting at all.
Hunk went next. Though he was strong and sturdy and always had their backs, he didn’t have what was needed to be a leader. He was too soft and kind and patient. Not to mention he still threw up at the sight of blood and gore rather easily. Also he was just too merciful and sometimes a leader needed to be mean and firm and unmerciful.
He expected it when Hunk walked out of Black with a shrug of his shoulders.
Allura went next. He really thought she had a chance at waking up Black, but at the same time Lance knew she couldn’t. Yes, she was a great leader for the coalition and knew exactly what to say and do to get them all to work together. For Voltron though, a single entity that needed to be in perfect sync, wasn’t something she could do. She couldn’t focus on the single thing to properly lead them, more concerned with the bigger picture and the whole than the individuals.
He sighed as she walked out of Black without a single flicker of lights.
There really wasn’t anything to say when Coran stepped in and then out of the Black lion. The man was great as help but he wasn’t a leader in any shape or form.
Keith. Keith was a real contender that Lance had hoped would be able to step up and lead the team. He had known that Shiro had believed Keith to be able to take his place if something were to ever happen to him and Lance had agreed. The older teen had great instincts and knew what needed to be done to make sure they all worked together almost seamlessly half of the time. Though he was hot tempered and tended to react without thought, which was something that had gotten them into trouble more than once. That didn’t stop him from thinking that the Red paladin could turn into the Black paladin.
Which it was so surprising when the other walked out of Black with a relieved look on his face.
Lance gulped as he looked at Black, his thoughts running to the last month of sneaking in and out of the hanger so he could sit in her and feel like he was close to Shiro. After all, that was where Shiro’s spirit was residing at the moment and all he needed to remain calm and collected.
He had hated being in the feral state after Shiro had died and had wanted to avoid returning to that state. Visiting Black and sitting in her had helped and so he had made it a habit to visit her often.
He didn’t want to tell the others her lights would turn on and a comforting purr would echo within his mind and chest and warmth would surround him. That would surely mean he would be stuck being leader and that wasn’t some thing he wanted.
Though he couldn’t believe that she would choose him to lead the team. It shouldn’t have mattered that he had been Shiro’s mate or that he had known what the man was thinking or feeling while he was leading the team, but he felt that was the reason why he could even be considered for that position.
He skittered back as the others looked towards him and waited for him to take his turn. “Um, well…this isn’t….I can’t…” He stumbled over his words as he frowned and held his hands towards the others, as if to keep them from approaching him.
“Lance, you’re the only one who hasn’t tried yet.” Allura stated as she looked at him with a frown. The same frown she used when he had made a wisecrack in front of possible allies or when he did something that she found incredibly stupid. Apparently not trying to get Black to respond to him was among stupid things.
“Look, I get it, we need someone to pilot Black, but there’s no way that it can be me.” He explained, desperate now. He couldn’t replace Shiro, he just couldn’t. It didn’t matter that the others thought that the man was alive or that he was dead with his spirit living in a giant mechanical magical robot lion.
Jesus Christ, when did his life become the story line for an epic anime series? His wings fluffed up behind him at that thought before tucking tightly against his back once more.
He ignored how the other three set of wings fluffed and then settled against backs as well. The Alteans noticed but kept silent as well. No one wanted to mention how it was a similar reaction to how Shiro would do the same when he was stressed, and the others reacted to that stress.
“Look.” Keith stepped up so that he was facing the Blue Paladin with a serious grim scowl on his face. “No one wants to replace Shiro. No one actually can.” He stated firmly as he sent a glare at Allura as she went to open her mouth, which slammed shut as she took a step back from the look. “I know we can’t, but we need someone to fly Black. Someone to fly her until we can get him back and everything can go back to normal.”
“Nothing can go back to normal.” Lance spat a moment later as his wings flared behind him and his eyes took a hint of a blue glow to them. Everyone took a large step back at that. “Shiro is gone! He’s gone and he’s not coming back and the fact that you think he’s coming back is laughable!” Lance felt like laughing too. None of them knew and the only reason why he hadn’t told them was because it would be made even more real for him.
He didn’t want Shiro being dead to be real.
Now though, the thought that his mate was stuck within the Black Lion, without a body and without a heartbeat, was driving him mad.
His sight was being hazed over with blue as his wings began to thrash behind him wildly. He screeched and squawked wildly as his hands went to grip his hair tightly. He could feel the feral state take over once more and knew that if he didn’t get control, he would be lost in the pain of losing his mate once more.
The team stepped away quickly as the other lost himself in his emotions and all they could do was watch. His eyes glowed blue and the lines of energy ran up and down his wings. The power and gift of the Blue lion showing itself in the emotional state that Lance had taken on once more.
“I thought this was over with.” Allura said as she watched with frustration as her Blue Paladin fought with himself.
Pidge shook her head. “He lost his mate; this can happen at any time he’s too emotional. There’s no avoiding it.”
“Losing a mate is a lot like how it feels losing your entire world.” Hunk added with tears falling down his face. “He lost so much when Shiro disappeared.”
Keith and Coran were silent as they watched Lance. All they could do was watch and wait to see if he would pull out of it.
Which made it all the more surprising when their attention was taken by the Black Lion standing up and giving a soft purr, eyes glowing a gentle yellow was she lowered here head back down to settle down in front of Lance.
It took a moment, but the purring seemed to have an affect on Lance and soon the teen calmed down. He breathed heavily as he reached forward with a hand and Black met him halfway, nuzzling a nose into his hand like a house cat.
The team had known but seeing who Black had chosen was still a bit of a shock.
Keith was the first to step forward with a smile and a nod. “I told you so.”
“Shut it mullet.” Lance could only give a reluctant smile back.
Becoming the Black Paladin wasn’t a big deal, Lance just continued to do what he had done the time Shiro was there. Just more.
He helped Allura with negotiations more. He made sure the team was well in both mental and physical capacities. He checked their supplies with Coran, both food and medical and many others. He also checked with Pidge on calculations and trajectories when fighting against the Galra.
Though those were the main duties he had, there were smaller and just as important ones that he had to keep up with. Ones he had found out about after Shiro had passed and once he had come back to his right mind.
The first was making sure that Hunk ate. Though it was not something he had originally noticed, Lance was forced to admit that the reason why Hunk puked less was because he ate less. Especially when he was stressed.
Which was almost all the time now that they were in space.
The only reason he had noticed was because he had hugged his friend after a battle and noticed how his hands could almost touch the other when he had gotten them around the other’s waist. From there he had made Hunk sit down and eat with him all the time, whether he wanted to or not did not matter. He made the big guy eat and eat everything on his plate.
The next thing he did was drag Pidge to bed. Something he knew that Shiro had done because the older man had griped about the girl working late into the night and early in the morning if the other hadn’t hunted her down. Now it was Lance’s job to hunt the gremlin down and force her to bed. She ate easily enough, all he had to do was set the food near her and she would pick at it until it was all gone. Same with water. He just had to focus on getting her to sleep which was mostly the hardest task he had.
Coran needed to be told to rest now and then, but the advisor was rather well aware of his limits and knew what he was capable of. Lance mostly used him to get Allura to rest and get some sleep, especially seeing as the Altean physical forms were different and so their limits were different. Though he made sure to keep an eye on them when they were obviously pushing it too hard and for too long.
He also had to make sure the Keith no longer ran over him while one missions. The Red Paladin was a hot head and before only Shiro could reign him in, but now Lance needed to do the same. He couldn’t allow him to do anything he wanted. Not to mention the teen had a tendency of almost killing himself in the training room on a daily basis.
Which was where Lance was right then, watching as Keith battled against a Gladiator with a frightening tenacity. He could see the exhaustion lining his face and the tremble in his limbs from being overexerted. He wasn’t sure how much longer Keith would be able to last.
He’s forced to intervene though when a sword clips those dark raven wings just a bit too much. Flashbacks of his own mutilated wings scores his mind and his body moves without his input.
His gun is out and a hole in the Gladiator’s head appears, ending the training sequence.
“Lance! What the hell are yo…” Keith starts but freezes when ice cold sapphire lands on him.
The now Black paladin doesn’t stop his wings from flaring behind him even as Keith’s own fluff up and his hair seems to raise a bit, as if he’s in danger. Which wasn’t completely wrong. The Red paladin was in a type of danger he hardly experienced and knew that he couldn’t avoid this time around. There was no Adam here to distract Shiro long enough for him to escape.
Lance snarled at the other as Keith chirped worriedly. “You. Do. Not.” Lance started as he crowded over the other, wings wrapping around the two as his hands reached over the startled other, grabbing his wings gently at the first joint. “Put. These.” He gave them a squeeze and a shake. “In Danger.” The rumble in his chest spoke of danger if the other disagreed.
Keith swallowed heavily, not moving as he watched some of the blue glow enter into Lance’s eyes. He nodded his head. “Yes.” He got out softly.
Lance gave one more threatening growl before he took a deep breath and stepped back, his wings folding rigidly against his back. “Go shower and get some rest. We have a meeting with the Blades tomorrow that you’re needed for.” He covered his eyes with a hand as he pointed at the exit of the room.
Keith didn’t need to be told twice to escape.
Honestly, Lance should have seen this coming after that meeting with the Blades. They had stared at Keith for what seemed ever and then it had taken the leader of the Blade speaking to the Half Galra to plant the seeds.
It was his birth right, his ancestry, his legacy being handed to him. Lance couldn’t blame the boy wanting to be trained by the Blade. Lance wouldn’t have even minded it either, but then there was that newest problem that they had.
His name was Lotor and he is the prince of the Galra. Zarkon’s son.
They were facing off against an entirely new enemy that they knew nothing about, and it meant trouble for them all. Lance couldn’t afford to allow Keith to wander off to be trained by the organization. He needed them all together, especially as they had just gotten Allura settled into Blue.
He didn’t think they could replace a Red Paladin easily if at all. The Red Lion was too temperamental and having Coran try that once long ago proved it further.
But he couldn’t stop him either. “God Damn it all!” Lance growled as he blasted off another shot towards Lotor’s ship, hoping to distract long enough for the castle to open a portal and get out. “When we need him, he’s off with the Blades.”
“Well, if you had just told him fucking no!” Pidge snarled across the comms. Not like Lance didn’t already know that but still.
“Guys! Now is not the time!” Hunk squawked as he barely dodged a blast from one of the ships. They were literally in the middle of the battle and they couldn’t afford to fight among themselves.
“Hunk’s right. Focus on the fight and we’ll deal with what’s going on with Keith later.” Allura ordered, blowing up a little ship.
“Fine. Regroup and retreat. We can’t fight him like this.” Lance ignored the acknowledging chirps as the shot off another laser, aiming just right and shooting out an engine to Lotor’s ship. “That’ll buy us time, let’s go.”
It was only once they were away and safe that he contacted the Blades. “Hey Kolivan.” He sighed as he looked at the older Galra with exhaustion weighing him down. He hated having to pull Keith away from where he was, from where he was learning about himself and his people. He hated it, he really did, but he needed to do this. “We are soundly having our asses handed to us without Keith here.”
The Blade leader looked over the current Black Kit before nodding. “You are exhausted, you are even missing some feathers.” Which was true but did not need to be pointed out. IT was something that Lance really hated now that he had wings back. “We shall return him within the movement.”
Lance sighed and nodded his head, knowing that was the best he was going to get with the way that their headquarters was. “Fine. I hope he’s training well at least.”
“Very well. He is one of my top pupils here. If you can ever part with him, he would be essential to several missions.” Which was nice to know but also another thing that Lance would have to think about. It would mean losing Keith some more and leaving their team vulnerable without Voltron. “He could several planets with the Blade if he was given the chance.”
Lance leaned against the console as he looked at the older leader. “I understand Kolivan, I really do, but you must understand that we can’t just replace Paladins. Especially someone like Keith.” His mind wandered to the Red lion, that he knew was settled at the Blade’s headquarters waiting for Keith to board her and fly. “The Red Lion is temperamental and highly picky of her partner. You can’t force her to choose someone new and I can’t change the fact that she adores Keith.”
“Then we must figure out a way to allow him to both be a member of the Blades and be a paladin.” The teen flared his wings and fluffed the feathers in irritation. It was like a custody battle and it was getting on his nerves.
“I understand, but until we do, I must request that Keith stay here at the castle. Lotor is proving to be a thorn in our sides and creating more problems. Having Keith here will be advantageous, especially with any skills he’s been able to pick up from you and your own.” Which would bring new skills to the team as a whole. Lance had made sure that Keith had been teaching them what he learned in their training. It would be more advisable to diversify their abilities than to contain them to one area.
“As long as we continue to search for a solution. He is an indispensable resource.”
“Just send him back as soon as possible Kolivan, I will not ask nicely again.” He growled with his wings spreading slightly behind him. “I have had enough of shipping him back and forth like a goddamn intern and I will not put up with it much longer. Keith is needed here! I cannot do with without him! I can’t do it Kolivan! Now send him back or you will be facing more than just those on your base and opposing Galras.”
Kolivan’s eyes narrowed as he took in the Blacl Kit once more, eyes roving over him and taking in the bright blue eyes now glaring at him. “It seems you are still affected by the loss of the previous Black paladin.”
That sent the wings flaring fully out back and the snarl encompassing Lance’s entire features. “HE WAS MY MATE! QUIZNACK! OF COURSE I’M STILL AFFECTED!” He screeched angrily before taking a deep breath and forcibly pulling his wings back, his eyes kept the glow. “Not all of us can act like we are unaffected by the deaths of comrades like you Blades. I was not made to act as if their deaths meant nothing to me and I do not agree with your thought of sacrificing yourselves just because it would be advantageous for that one mission.”
“Our soldiers know the cost of this war and will do anything to end it.” Kolivan explained for what seemed like the millionth time to this kit. He wasn’t sure why he was chosen to be leader when Keith would have been better, not to mention the relationship between the Voltron Paladins and Blade Assassins would be better. The Red Kit understood the sacrifice plays they made and knew it would all lead to a better future.
“Yes, but do you know how much use they could have been made if they had? Ulaz and Thace could’ve helped in so many other ways that just dying like they had. Thace had hacking abilities that could have helped Pidge. Ulaz had combat experience he could have passed on, especially concerning Druids. Antok was kind and gentle and his negotiation abilities were high! If they had survived, they could have continued to help us now!” Lance growled out as he slammed a hand on the controls.
“They died completing their missions and gaining us the valuable advantages that we needed at those times.” He sighed, knowing the kit was right but also knowing that if they hadn’t sacrificed themselves, then they wouldn’t have the information they had needed or won against Zarkon like they had.
“Yeah, sure, but what happens if Keith does the same thing?” He shot back as his eyes began to fade back to their normal human blue. “What happens when he makes that Sacrifice play and then we’re down more than just one soldier? We’re down a Paladin of Voltron, we’re done a friend of the coalition, we’re down the future of what the Galra could be, and we’re down a friend and brother of all.” He made sure he held the older one’s eyes and made sure he knew that Lance was serious with what he was about to say. “We lose him, it won’t just be him we lose. We’ve already lost one of our flock and if we lose another one, the rest of us will follow.”
Kolivan held that gaze, but just barely. He could see exactly what the other meant in that moment and he didn’t like the fact that these kits were all in danger.
In danger of death because he could tell that if Keith were to die, then the current Black Kit wouldn’t be able to keep holding on like he has been. He would die and then the yellow kit would follow and then the green one soon after. There would be no stopping the domino effect that would be caused if he allowed the Red Kit to make that play.
He would have to think of the individual for once, instead of the grand scheme of things. With that in mind, he sighed and nodded his head. “I understand. Keith will be returned as soon as the path opens.”
Lance sighed as he leaned forward and sighed. “Thank you Kolivan. I know this isn’t easy, trust me, I know, but we really must work together now more than ever.”
“Agreed.” And for once, Kolivan fully agreed with the young Kit in front of him.
Having the Red Paladin back was not making anything easier.
If anything, it was going to get more difficult.
“Why do you even need me here!?” Keith shouted as he looked at Lance with such anger and hatred at the moment. “I’ve done nothing to improve the situation.” He growled as his wings flared out in threat, the purple streaks gleaming amongst the black feathers. “If anything, it’s only gotten worse!”
“If you would calm down long enough….” Lance started as he held his hands out towards the Red paladin, hoping to calm him long enough to get some words in.
“Keith isn’t exactly one to be calm.” Pidge drawled as she pushed his glasses back up on her nose. She and Hunk were sat on the couch, watching the show. Allura and Coran were standing at the doorway, waiting to see what would happen. “He’s more hotheaded and ready to leap into a situation instead of thinking.”
“Pidge.” Lance snapped as Keith’s eyes seemed to turn into slits and the hair on his head began to raise like a cat’s. “That isn’t going to help.”
“I don’t honestly think anything short of Shiro returning or shipping him off to the Blades is going to help.” She shot back with a glare towards the Red paladin. “He’s been nothing but short tempered with all of us and snapping at all of us constantly.”
“She’s not wrong man.” Hunk shrugged at the glare sent his way. “He’s been here for two movements and all we’ve done is fight. He’s always going off by himself, including onto that one planet with the weird fog.”
“You guys aren’t helping.” He snarled before turning back towards Keith and meeting his eyes. “He’s hurting just like us and he’s lashing out because that’s the only way he knows how to react.” He watched the wings fold against Keith’s back and his shoulders hunch forward. “Now if he could only understand that he’s not the only one hurting, we’d be right as fucking rain.”
Keith huffed as he glared at the Black Paladin, wondering where the other got off telling him that. He didn’t understand the bond that he had with Shiro and he never would. There was no real way to explain their bond, especially seeing as Shiro was all he had for the longest time. With that in mind he hunched in on himself and looked away from those glaring blue eyes.
Lance sighed when the other looked away from him with a huff and wondered if he should have said anything in the first place. Either way, he was in this now and he needed to finish it in some way. He couldn’t just leave it like this or their team dynamic would falter. “Look, we all had a different bond with Shiro.” He started as he looked at them all. “Some saw him as an ally and a friend. Other’s as a brother and then some as more. He was part of this Flock and he made it so much better when he was here with us.” He swallowed against the lump in his throat and closed his eyes to fight back the tears as they clouded his vision. “I understand we all miss him and that we’re in pain and we’re healing from his loss. We will continue to heal from his loss.”
“He’s not dead.” Keith snarled at the other, feathers fluffed, and teeth bared in a snarl. “He’s alive out there somewhere!”
Lance ignored that, not ready yet to explain why he knew that Shiro was dead. HE wasn’t ready to admit it himself, but he would have to eventually to help the other move on. Just not yet. “What I’m getting at is that we can’t take our pain out on each other. We have to work together to keep moving forward. It doesn’t matter if Shiro is dead or alive out there somewhere; what matters is that we work together to bring the peace he was fighting for.” He sent a pleading look towards Keith at this as he huddled down to look more submissive and unthreatening as possible. “Please Keith, work with us here. You aren’t the only one hurting and you aren’t the only one missing him. I know he meant a lot to you, so continue on what he was fighting for in his stead until he was back.” Tears weren’t to be stopped this time as he thought to himself, ‘Not that he is going to come back.’
Keith looked at the other for a long moment until he sighed and allowed his shoulders to slump. “I’m sorry.” He gave an apologetic chirp as he locked amethyst eyes with sapphire.
Lance gave a sad little chirp in turn as he pulled the other into a tight hug, surprised when arms wrapped around him in turn. “I understand.” Which was all the forgiveness that Keith needed.
“Get away from her!” Lance screeched as he flashed down in front of Pidge, his gun clashing against the fist of the giant half Galra General that followed Lotor. His wings flared behind him as he snarled furiously at the woman.
“Oh, aren’t you a fierce little birdy.” She taunted as she wrapped a clawed hand around his Bayard. “It’ll be fun to pluck those feathers one by one.” She pulled at his weapon, ripping it from his grip as he screeched at her, eyes flitting to glowing blue.
“Fuck you!” Pidge screeched as she jammed her Bayard into the Galra’s gut, shocking her.
“You runt!” She lunged towards the little paladin but missed when a knee slammed into her face. She had forgotten about the much taller paladin in front of her.
“Zethrid!” Acxa shouted as she moved to help her teammate but was stopped when the whip from Allura blocked her. “Narti! Help her!” She shouted at the other just as she ducked underneath another lash of the whip.
“You aren’t going anywhere!” She growled as she ran forward to confront the Galra. She growled though when the blind one leapt towards the two Paladins and companion.
“You are really slippery.” Hunk grunted as Ezor whipped around him nimbly. “Almost like an acrobat at home.”
“And you are really tough.” She giggled out as she dug a finger into a point where most would have fallen but Hunk held firm. “None of those pressure points are working on you, which is strange.”
“All this bulk you see,” Hunk smirked as he wings snapped out and whapped her in the face. “is muscle and protects me from those points easier than any fat could.” Which made it much tougher to drop him.
“Then I should aim for something more vulnerable.” She stated with a sly smirk as she slipped behind him and nailed a pressure point in a wing. She watched with satisfaction as the wing snapped open and seemed to spasm. It ripped a scream from the paladin that was music to her ears. “Yes, that works nicely.”
Keith snarled at the scream from Hunk, but when he turned to look, he was able to give a smirk as the big guy snapped his other wing out and slammed it into the General. She went flying through the air and hit the floor.
He turned back in time to block the sword heading for his face. “Keep your eyes on the real opponent.” Lotor smirked as he pressed against Keith’s Bayard. “You’ll lose your head if you don’t.”
The red paladin snarled as he pushed the other away before swiping his sword at the prince. He ignored how it was dodged and pushed forward with a stab, only to have it parried and pushed away. “I don’t need to pay attention to you to beat you.”
“Oh, the little cub has bite.” Lotor chuckled as he dodges another stab before sending a slash at the other, tilting his head as the Paladin dodged. “You fight much like a Galra does. It is immensely amusing to me.”
Keith couldn’t help but pause as he heard that from another royal Galra, wondering if the other knew what had been said to him. He couldn’t help but chuckle at that a moment later though as he shook his head. “Wow.”
Lotor frowned as eh stood up straight. “What are you laughing at? I would think fighting the Prince of the Galra Empire would inspire fear, not humor.” His eyes narrowed as he watched the other cover his mouth as more laughter fell from his lips.
“I’ve fought Zarkon head on.” Keith finally said as he stood up as well but ready to fall into a fighting stance once more. “He said I fought like a Galra too. You two really are father and son to say something so similar.”
Lotor snarled as he leapt forward, giving no warning as he slammed his sword forward. Keith yelped as he barely blocked the slash, his wings flaring out to give him more balance. “I am nothing like him!” Lotor growled as he leaned forward, breath washing over the Red Paladin’s face in a wave.
The paladin had to hold back a grunt as he wrinkled his nose. “That’s just the thing though.” He stated as he pushed the other back and swept a foot out, catching the prince on a knee and downing him. “You are a lot more alike that you realize.” He moved to slash once more but was stopped by the flat of the Prince’s sword.
“You’ve made a terrible mistake.” Stated the Galra as he twisted his sword as it locked with Keith’s. The human half Galra gasped as the bayard was ripped from his own hold and sent flying away. The next thing he knew he was on his back, staring up at a furious prince. “This is the end of you Red Paladin of Voltron.” He stated as he raised his sword and Keith could do nothing but close his eyes and wait for his end.
Only to slam his hands over his ears as a terrifying screeched echoed all around him and then the sound of metal against metal. “YOU STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM HIM!” A voice roared from over Keith as metal screeching came from above as well. “HE’S MINE!”
The Red Paladin’s eyes snapped open and he was left stunned as he stared at his savior.
Lance had rushed in and had pushed Lotor back as they clashed, the Black paladin now standing over his downed comrade while he continued to push against the prince.
Only it wasn’t with his sniper that he was clashing with in the first place.
It was a long and broad like sword that was hold the Prince’s own back, screeching as they pushed against each other. The black parts of the bayard were glowing a bright purple and as Keith continued to watch, that energy leaked up into Lance’s hands and mixed with the lines of blue, swirling together to make a swirl of color.
Everyone had come to a stop at that and watched as the purple energy continued up into Lance before bleeding into his wings. They watched as the wings soon turned a bright purple before shining with little sparkles of blue.
Then they watched as Lance threw the prince across the room and charged after him. It was amazing to watch the leader of Voltron go toe to toe with the Prince, though it was obvious he was relying on his instincts to do so.
Keith knew this because there was no way the other had known how to fight like that while in his right mind. He had never seen the Black Paladin hold a sword since they met, always preferring a gun of some sort.
Now though, he was watching the lanky teen attack with the sword like he had done it all of his life. He was moving with it as if it was an extension of his body and parrying all of Lotor’s own attacks. He wasn’t going to say he was perfect, as some small cuts on his face and sides could tell him that, but he was much better than he expected.
Especially as he had Lotor flailing to keep up and retaliate. He was able to get his own hits in but it was obvious that he was now off his game and was struggling to keep up with the ferocious attack.
“My generals!” Lotor ended up yelling a moment later as he managed to duck underneath a swing but got a wing full of feathers to the face a second later. Despite the distraction, it gave the Prince just enough room to dodge backwards and away from the feral being. “Retreat!”
With that him and his Generals disappeared as quickly as they had appeared on the planet that had once been designated as an SOS beacon.
Lance screeched once more, wings flared out completely, showing the others the extended length that he had garnered.
The others watched as their leader screeched again as his bayard reverted to the dormant state before he fell to his knees and his head fell to his chest. It was quiet for several seconds as they all stared at the collapsed paladin.
It was Keith who moved first and he ran straight towards the other. “Lance?” He questioned as he fell to his knees, hands hovering around but unsure of what he wanted to do first. Finally he pulled Lance’s helmet off to look at his face better.
He stared at the sweaty face for a long time before settling a hand on his shoulder. “Lance?” he called once more with furrowed brows.
“I’m okay Mullet.” Lance said as he raised his head with a wary smile and tired eyes. “Just catching my breath.”
“That was insane!” Hunk hollered as he appeared next to them with the other two right behind. “What was that!?”
“It looked like something the Blue lion has done before.” Pidge fidgeted as she fought not to mess with glasses that weren’t on her face at the moment. “Except I think it was the Black Lion doing it instead.”
“Is that possible?” Keith’s brow was furrowed as he took in the exhausted form of the leader of Voltron. “Is it even a good thing? He’s exhausted after just the once.” He wiped off some of the sweat falling into Lance’s eyes before moving to stand beneath his arm to help him stand. “We should get him back to the castle.”
“Yes, let’s.” Allura agreed as she moved under the other arm and helped steady him. “We should get him into the Cryopod and checked out. That way we can see if any damage was caused by this latest revelation.”
“Yeah, okay, that’s a good idea.” Hunk led the way with Pidge while the other three trailed behind, Lance’s wings dragging across the ground as they went.
They all stood around Lance’s bed, looking at the now black feathered wings that were speckled with bright blue, almost like stars on a night sky. The teen himself was looking at one spread out wing that now spanned half the room when it used to be much shorter. “Well, this is something.” He drawled as he turned towards the others.
“No kidding.” Pidge agreed as she stepped forward and held a handout towards the wing, glancing at Lance to make sure it was alright. He nodded and she ran her fingers through the feathers gently, displacing some of the dust tucked in between them. “Black really poured her energy into you then.”
“Yeah, from what I could feel at least. It’s a lot more power than what Blue has though and a lot to take in at once.” He explained as he twitched his wing after a moment of her running over them. He pulled it back and tucked it once more. “It’s like a hurricane compared to a rainstorm honestly.”
“But why did she suddenly decide to give it to you now?” Keith questioned as he thought about all the times that Black could have helped Lance. That any of the lions could help out. “Why are you the only one that’s been able to share a Lion’s power when we’ve all been with our lions just as long or longer?”
The others all shared glances as they too thought of this. It was something they were sure they could do as well but it hadn’t happened yet. “I may have an answer.” Coran said as he stepped forward, hand behind his back while the other twirled his mustache.
“What is it Coran?” Allura looked at the advisor, knowing that he knew much more than even she. He had been there when the lions had first been created and so had been there to see a lot of their development with the first Paladins.
The older man had his eyes closed as he thought but opened them when he came to his decision. Determination flood his gaze as he looked at them all. “Since you have all arrived at the castle, there is one thing that I’ve always noticed that Lance has had that none of you have.” He made sure to let them all know that he didn’t blame them for this, but it was something they really couldn’t help. “His nature has been more open and always calming.”
“Well yeah, he’s always been like that.” Hunk spoke up with a tilted head. “He’s always had an easier time speaking to others because he’s curious. He wants to know everything about everyone.”
“Which can get really annoying.” Pidge groused as she pushed her glasses up. “He just pushes until you tell him what he wants to know.”
“Yes, and this has come in handy in the care for ourselves.” Allura pointed out with a smile. “He does push until we give in and give him what he wants.”
“Which means he’s there for you at all times.” Coran brought it back. “He’s always willing to listen and help out in anyway he can. He flows with you all in different ways that suit your personality.”
“It’s not like it’s hard to do.” Lace said as he looked at them. “When they need help, I give it. Doesn’t matter how I feel or what mood they’re in, I do what I can.” He shrugged as they all looked at him.
“Which means he’s more open to the lions themselves.” Coran finished with a proud smile. He had known that Lance could achieve great things, but he had no clue that he could bond with the lions so quickly with little time or effort. It was amazing to see him grow and change with the lions he worked with.
“Are you saying that the more we bond with out lions and the more open we are, we could very well get these abilities as well?” Pidge questioned with a gleam in her eyes.
“It’s possible.” Allura agreed with a thoughtful look. “Afterall, there is much we still do not know about the lions.”
“Then maybe we should go and bond with them then!” Hunk cheered as he moved to leave the room.
“Sounds like a great idea to me.” Pidge and Allura were right behind him.
Coran chuckled with Lance as they watched the three leave the room, leaving just Keith in with them. “Well, I am going to go and do some maintenance on the castle. You never know when something might fail and need replacing after all.” He explained with good cheer. “Make sure to rest up number three. I’ll be in to check on you later.”
With that only Keith and Lance were left in the room. “I have a feeling you have something you want to talk about.” Lance turned to give a soft chirp to the other, patting the side of his bed for the other to sit.
Keith hesitantly did so, clasping his hands together and resting his elbows on his knees. He looked at the floor as his mind raced back to the fight against Lotor. Something Lance had yelled that had startled him greatly.
DON’T TOUCH HIM! HE’S MINE!
“When we were fighting Lotor, do you remember what you yelled near the end?” He questioned as he continued to stare at the floor. He didn’t want to face Lance for this, he was hoping that he didn’t just misunderstand something.
Lance blinked before thinking back during the battle. He had been facing off against Narti when he had seen Keith go down with Lotor over him. A lot of what happened afterwards had blurred from there. But from what he could remember, he had yelled at Lotor about something. “Did I say something that’s bugging you?” He questioned as he looked back at the Mullet facing him. “Hey,” he reached out and tugged on a piece of hair, ‘will you face me please?”
Keith grunted at the tug but sighed as he shifted so that one leg was bent up on the bed while the other was on the floor. His hands crossed over his chest as he looked at the younger teen. “Yeah, you said I was yours.” He mumbled as a blush washed over his cheeks as he looked away.
Lance blinked at that as a sense of familiarity hit him. He didn’t remember per say but he knew that the feeling in his chest was indeed from him saying that. That Keith was his in a way that he was so terribly familiar with.
After all, his brothers and sisters are his. His parents and grandparents are his. Hunk is his. Pidge is his. Allura and Coran are his. Shiro is and will always be his.
Keith was his.
“Well yeah.” Lance finally said as he grabbed the other by the back of his head and pulled him forward until their foreheads were touching and the other was forced to look into his eyes. “You are flock.” Lance stated seriously, watching smugly as that flush spread from his cheeks to his ears and neck. “You are Shiro’s brother in all but blood. You are my brother in all but blood. You are family that I have taken into my flock and into my life.” He paused as he knocked his forehead a bit against the other’s causing a scowl to appear as he smirked. “You are mine.”
Keith gulped as he took that possessive look on the other’s face before nodding his head. “Does that mean you are mine as well?” He questioned quietly as he knocked his own head against Lance’s own.
“Yes. I am your flock. As is Hunk and Pidge and Coran and Allura and Kolivan and everyone in the Blade. They are your flock and you are theirs.” Lance explained as a tint of purple began to take over his eyes. “You have everyone here at your back to help you.” He gave a small smile as his hand on the back of Keith’s head began to thread through the mullet and massage the area. “You mean so much to Shiro and I refuse to allow you to waste what he sacrificed to give you. That means I will continue to push you towards the Flock, no matter what. Even if that means allowing Kolivan to have you from time to time.” Lance grimaced at that and ignored Keith’s playful smirk.
“You know you would work better with him if you just let me deal with him.” Keith offered with a raised brow. Knowing the other hated dealing with the Blade Leader due to their differing perspectives.
Lance huffed as the glow faded from his eyes and he leaned back so there was space between them, but eh left his hand where it was and continued the massage. “I still have to deal with him during coalition meetings. There’s no getting around that.” He admitted with a shrug. “So why not get the practice in to do so anyways.”
“You just want to annoy him.” Keith accused with a chuckle, amused as Lance gave a shit eating grin and nodded. “I thought so.”
They fell silent for a long time, just sitting in a comfortable silence as they contemplated what had just happened. “Is it really okay for me to call you my brother?” Keith finally asked unsurely.
Lance smiled. “If I was to be dying on my knees, I know you’d rescue me. If you were drowning at sea, I would give you my lungs so you could breath. Know that I will always be here for you Keith, and I know you’ll always have my back in return.” His eyes glowed with faith and love and hope and so much more that Keith couldn’t decipher at that time.
He didn’t need to though. He just knew that Lance was telling the truth.
“Don’t think I missed the fact that you ripped the lyrics from Kodaline off.”
That didn’t mean he couldn’t pick on the other though. It would be Lance and Keith, neck and neck, if he didn’t.
Lance breathed deeply as he looked out into the space in front of him. He was at piece at the moment and calm. All of his instincts were in control and none of his emotions were messing with his judgement.
For once, he was at peace.
It had been over a year since Shiro had died and left them all, left Lance struggling for control of himself and his body. It wasn’t easy and it was hard on all of them, but they were persevering through it all and moving forward.
He was even thinking about telling the group about the fact that Shiro was dead and where exactly his spirit was currently residing.
Though he doubted it would be today as he looked at the controls of Black and then back out into space. He knew that he needed to, especially since he was spending so much time just flying Black outside of battle. The team would need to know the reason behind it and understand that it was what was holding him together at the moment.
Not that he thought they would understand entirely. Maybe Allura and Coran, but that was a big if there as well. How could he fully explain that the once upon leader of Voltron was trapped within his Giant flying robotic magical lion? That was something that Lance could hardly believe, and he was in almost constant contact with the man through the lion to begin with.
Lance sighed when he felt the astral hands of Shiro land on his shoulders and urged him to do some practice maneuvers that that they had been doing together before he had died. He smiled as he followed the lead and went through them, performing them perfectly. It was calm and peaceful, and all was right in the world.
Until Black roared and suddenly there was a portal in front of them and they were going through it with the castle following right behind him.
Coming out of the portal to see a Galra pod with a life signature brought a sense of coming doom.
Only when they had opened the pod and found the person inside, did Lance truly know the trouble they had entered into.
He could only think ‘What the fuck!’ when he stared into the eyes of one Shirogane Takashi, the former Black paladin of Voltron and who was supposed to be currently trapped inside of the Black Lion.