The low hum of the engines quietly echoed throughout the castle. The lights were out and only the soft blue light emanating from the sides of walls was lit up. It was late and at this point everyone was asleep in their respective rooms. Well, except for Lance.
He had been lying awake for what felt like hours now. To be honest, he couldn’t tell what time it was, especially in space. All he knew was the numbers on the clock telling him that it was well past midnight.
He’d twist and turn in his sheets but it only made him restless. After many unsuccessful attempts to go back to sleep, he decided to venture out into the hallways and he soon found himself sitting next to a window looking out into space.
Everything looked the same outside. The stars dotted the vast empty black space. Some stars were brighter than the rest and he swore he saw one streaking in the distance.
Seeing the stars this close just didn’t made Lance felt the same feeling of excitement he had when he was little. Perhaps its the ongoing war with the Galra empire or maybe his time spent flying Blue and travelling in the castle in space had made Lance to get use to seeing them to the point where it has become a norm to him.
If he was younger, little Lance would be ecstatic. He loved space ever since he was a kid. Every night, he would just stare at the stars in awe before he went to sleep. Every year, he wished to go up there someday in hopes to be closer to them.
And soon, flying was his passion.
He remembered being super happy when he first got his acceptance letter from the Garrison arriving in his mailbox. He remembered arriving at the Garrison and seeing the various size of jets and planes in the hanger. He swore to fly them someday.
He also loved the feeling of adrenaline pumping in his veins whenever he gets to fly in the cruiser, albeit it was a simulation. But he was excited nonetheless. However that adrenaline rush slowly die down little by little when his instructors kept on criticizing him on his flight skills, his grades and they’ll always compared him to another best pilot in his class. It’s like anything he does wasn’t good enough. It only made him feel even more worse when that said best pilot dropped out and the Garrison then chose Lance to replace him.
Of course, after he and his friends found Blue and stumbling into a galactic war, Lance thought he found his purpose. And he was good at it. He was the sharpshooter. He was the paladin of Voltron.
But that doesn’t stop the feeling of doubt crawling back into his head.
He wasn’t as smart as Pidge or Coran. He’s not as good as a mechanic nor a good cook as Hunk. He wasn’t a good leader like Shiro or Allura and he wasn’t as good of a soldier like Keith.
Lance is just there.
He tried to reason himself that Blue chose him to be the pilot so that must be something but that was also thrown into question when Allura was chosen to pilot Blue when Shiro went missing and Keith had to pilot Black. Red needed a new pilot and on that same day, while the castle was under assault by a Galra ship, Red chose Lance on the spot.
He wasn’t sure why but perhaps it was that he accepted Keith as the Black paladin so that must be it.
After what seems to be weeks getting use to Red’s controls, Shiro was found and it’s obvious that he’ll continue to pilot Black and Keith will have to return to Red.
Lance would pilot Blue again but it’s obvious that Allura is a better pilot for Blue than he was. So now they were one paladin too many. He did consider to just stop being a paladin but then Keith went and joined the Blade, making Lance the official Red Paladin. He should feel grateful to be the right-hand of Voltron but all he could think off when Keith left was that he became a replacement again. He wants to earn the title of being the Red Paladin, not handing it to him when there’s no else to fill in the role.
Lance lay his head on the cool window and he watched as the glass slowly begin to fog up from his breaths. Tomorrow they’ll reach a planet that are rebelling against the empire in hopes that they’ll join the coalition. More allies means more chances that this war can be over quicker. And Lance can’t wait for that day to come. He’s getting tired with all the battles they had to face.
After many battles and a close call on one of his teammates, Lance is worried about the safety of his friends. Too many times when a laser blaster nearly shot Hunk or Allura. Too many times when his team nearly got themselves surrounded and only manage to escape by some sheer luck. And too many times when one of them had to recover their wounds in the healing pod.
True, the team managed to shake it off but it never stop sending chills down Lance’s spine whenever it happens. That’s why he’s tired. He’s tired of seeing his friends getting hurt. He’s tired of feeling scared of what will happen to his friends when they’re out there in the field and not knowing where they are. He’s tired of fighting.
Lance’s eyes are beginning to strain from staying awake for too long. He rubs them with the palm of his hand, almost roughly, but he continues to stay awake. He feels exhausted but he couldn’t sleep. And so he stays there, watching the stars, until the halls slowly lit up and the voice of Coran coming through the speakers to wake up the rest and come to the bridge. He sighs and forced himself back onto his feet.
He heads back to his room and prepares for what comes next.