He closes his eyes, but he still sees it. He covers his ears, but he still hears it. Someone was screaming; harsh and shrill, before being cut off with a sickening crack. He didn’t have to look to know what had happened, but for some reason he did anyways. And now what he saw haunts him.
“Keith.” A voice growled, and he snapped to attention. “Time to get off your lazy ass and get to work. We’re there.” Keith suppressed a grimace and instead nodded curtly.
Keith was not supposed to be having these thoughts. He should be relishing in his actions, in the fear and destruction he has wreaked on innocents. This was part of being a Galra, is a part of him.
…Or is it?
The commander called everyone to attention and Keith stood up mechanically, taking a deep breath and preparing himself for what was about to come.
Lance was having a bad day. Everything that could go bad had seemed to, with everything from cutting a finger when making dinner to losing his favorite lucky jacket to spending all of the family’s spare money on treatment for his father and younger brother. Still, there was a lot he could be grateful for. They managed to escape one of the main attacks on the larger city they had lived in, and fled to a nearby planet, taking refuge in a small, remote village. Lance grimaced. Those fucking Galra were to blame for all of this. He stood up and began pacing.
How could they do something like this?? Why hadn’t they seen this coming?? Lance’s family lived on the outskirts of the city and was able to leave before the Galra got to them, but so many weren’t so lucky. He sat down again and put his head in his hands. So many people gone, probably dead. People he knew, talked to, saw casually in his everyday life, that he took for granted. They were all gone now. He would probably never see his friends again. Before the lump in Lances throat turned into any full on crying, he heard a door open, and small, soft footsteps approach.
“L-lance?” A quiet voice echoed from the hallway, and Lance relaxed a bit, releasing the unconscious tension in his form.
“Hey there Dana, what’s wrong? Why aren’t you in bed?” He replied, getting up and moving to her side before bending down to meet her eyes. She sniffed, rubbing at the tear tracks still visible on her face. Lance immediately wrapped his little sister in his arms, lifting her up and sitting down in a nearby chair and settling her in his lap. Dana buried her face further into his chest, the sniffles turning into soft cries as she shook in his lap. He stroked her hair, rocking back and forth and whispering comforts to her.
As calm and steady as he seemed on the outside, on the inside Lance was fuming. Who the fuck gave them the right? Who let these piece of shit alien assholes waltz into his life and fuck everything up? His family didn’t deserve it! Hell, nobody deserved this! And where was everybody while this was happening?? Where were their defenses, their warriors? Didn’t the king care that his people were suffering, dying?
Lance was jerked out of his thoughts as Dana lifted her head up slowly, her crying all but stopped.
“Hello there, lovely,” he said smiling fondly, wiping the tears from her face. She gave him a wobbly smile.
“And here I thought I had outgrown crying like this,” she said sheepishly, and Lance chuckled.
“You never grow out of crying, silly,” He replied, and his sister looked at him skeptically.
“Are you sure you’re not just saying that? After all, you are a crybaby.” She replied matter-of-factly. Lance looked at her indignantly.
“Excuse you missy but I am no crybaby. I am your big strong older brother and you should treat me with respect!” He replied, puffing out his chest and raising his chin haughtily. They looked at each other for a few moments before the two siblings erupted into giggles.
Once they stopped laughing, Dana looked at Lance with a serious expression.
“I’m glad you’re here,” she said softly. “Without you, o-or mom, or dad, or-“
“Shh, stop right there. I’m not going anywhere and neither are you. We’re a family, and we stick to-“
Lance froze, ice suddenly flowing in his veins. Dana looked at him with wide, terrified eyes and he put a finger to his lips before mouthing “hide”. She nodded and scrambled away. Lance took a deep breath, readying himself to gather up his family and flee yet again. However, before he could even let out the breath he had taken, the door was kicked in. The sound of heavy boots marked where they were, and Lance looked around frantically for something he could use as a weapon. He darted into the kitchen and grabbed a knife. As he turned, he heard someone getting close. Crouching down, Lance peeked around the island in the kitchen and saw a Galra approaching. Looking down at the knife in his hand, he hesitated. But then, he remembered the screams he tried his best to block out while leaving his hometown. He remembered the terrified faces of his family all around him. His grip on the knife tightened and he sprung up and stabbed the Galra in the back. Adrenaline coursing through his veins, he didn’t give the Galra a second glance before rushing out of the kitchen in the direction of the family’s bedrooms. In doing so, he almost crashed directly into his father, who was rushing in the opposite direction. Lance felt relief wash over him, seeing his father there, but that relief melted away as he saw his father’s expression.
“Where’s Dana?” His voice was a harsh whisper.
“Hiding,” Lance replied. His father nodded, his face grim.
“Lance, I need you to do something for me.”
Lance nodded furiously. “Anything.”
“Get Dana and run. We’ll be right behind you with the rest of the kids, but I need you to go now, while you still can.” Before he could protest, someone in the house started to scream. “I love you, Lance.” He said, kissing the top of the teen’s forehead before running in the direction of the screams. Lance fought with everything he had to stop the tears in his eyes from spilling over.
Hearing steps approach, he quickly scanned the room and moved on to the kitchen. There, he opened every cupboard before finding her in the pantry. Motioning for her to come with him and to stay quiet, they crept out of the kitchen and towards the door. Just as Lance was reaching for the handle of the back door, there was a loud crash followed by wailing somewhere in the house. It took everything he had not to turn around and go help, but. Seeing Dana, her eyes wide with fear and form trembling reminded him of what he was protecting. He had to make sure she was safe. For his father, and the rest of his family.
Just as Lance was opening the door, a voice behind him growled, “Stop”.
Without a second thought he picked up Dana and sprinted away. He heard the Galra behind him shoot, but he didn't bother looking behind him. He ran for a few minutes before hiding behind a building on the outskirts of town. Lance put Dana down, breathing heavily.
“Lance...where's everybody else?”
“They're right behind us, trust me. Dad went to get them out.” Dana looks unconvinced.
“You don't have to lie to me, you know. I'm not a little kid anymore.” Lance sighed, running his hands through his hair.
“I don't know Dana. Right now we have to focus on getting out of here and keeping ourselves safe.”
She nodded. “Alright then, what's next?”
Lance scanned the area around them, and horror rippled through him. The village was completely destroyed. Houses were on fire, windows broken, doors kicked in. As he scanned the area, he caught a glance of something that made his blood run cold.
We are so fucked.
It wasn't that Keith hadn't tried. All his life he struggled to fit in, to be the Galra he was supposed to be, that everyone else was.
Keith tried to enjoy the violence, relish in his power over these innocents, but.
He just couldn't bring himself to feel anything but vague nausea.
Now that's not to say that Keith was a pacifist who hated violence of any kind. He was just unused to such stacked odds; put off by how little contest or effort there was in taking so many lives. He loved the heat of battle, sitting at the pilot seat and taking down his enemies with reckless abandon. At least that was a fairer fight. He could feel the rush of adrenaline as he fought for his life.
But this, it wasn't battle. It was slaughter. And it made Keith sick to watch.
He had tried to stay away from where a majority of the people were, doing his best to avoid most of the slaughter. There were only a few other, scattered Galra around, and Keith was grateful.
As he gazed out into the night, away from the town, he noticed a small figure running away from the village. He frowned, but before he could do anything, there was a shout.
“Take this, fuckers!!” A tall, lanky boy shouted as he jumped from the roof of a nearby house onto the shoulders of a Galra soldier. “Cat got your tongue?” He snickered as his arms wrapped around the neck of the poor soldier. Keith tried to suppress a snicker without success. As the soldier shook off the boy, other Galra came to investigate. Unfortunately, Keith hadn't managed to stop his laughing before the situation caught the attention of their commander.
“Stop.” He ordered, looking at the Galra about to kill the boy. Picking him up by the collar of his shirt, the commander threw him to the ground at Keith’s feet.
“Was something funny, soldier?” He asks pointedly, and Keith shakes his head.
“Why don't you take care of the runt. You've barely wet your blade tonight, after all.” His eyes are cold and unflinching as they bore into Keith's.
Another thing about Keith is that he's always been stubborn. Instead of being cowed by his commander, he set his jaw.
“No.” He replied stonily.
“What was that, soldier? Did you just refuse the order I gave you?” The commanders tone started to warn of danger.
Keith hesitated for a moment, struggling to come up with an excuse. “I recognize this one, sir, I heard him mention something about Voltron. I was sneaking up to kill him, when he mentioned it. And then I lost him.”
The commander frowned. He couldn't leave the Voltron claim uncontested, it must be investigated further. So he (reluctantly) acquiesced.
“Fine. But you get to babysit, since you're so eager to protect the runt.” He turned before Keith could protest.
Things slowly started to calm down after that. Keith appreciated the excuse to sit out, standing awkwardly behind the boy-though now that Keith was closer to him, he guessed that they were around the same age. He had short, dark hair and light brown skin. He was tall and extremely skinny, long limbs sprawled out in the dirt.
The boy suddenly turned around, glaring right at him. “I didn't say shit about Voltron. And I've certainly never seen your ugly mug before either,” he said, curiosity peeking out from under his angry tone.
“You better pretend otherwise, if you wanna make it out of here,” Keith replied.
“What, so I can be tortured and kept prisoner?” He muttered, and Keith's expression turned more stony.
This isn’t right. That is what Keith couldn’t stop thinking, no matter how hard he tried to push the thoughts down. They just echoed louder, clearer, saying,
This isn’t right.
He suppressed a growl, started to pace. Could he do it? Did he dare? Would he merely get the two killed? What would happen if he even could, or did? He hated him, hated all the Galra, and Keith can’t exactly blame him.
But still, that little voice wouldn’t shut up.
This is wrong.
Keith heaved a sigh, starting to plan. He never really could do things the easy way, could he?
It’s strange, how one is able to feel such absolute cold that it suddenly feels hot, burning hot. But here Lance is, frozen, icy panic lacing through his veins and making his chest feel weighed down. As time goes on, that cold spreads throughout his body, reminding him of what has been done to him, and it burns with his anger, with his rage. His hands shake with the force of it, his eyes water as it washes over him again and again and again. When he closes his eyes, all he can see are the faces of his family, the faces that he will probably never see again. A lump starts to rise in his throat, but he refuses to cry. He will not cry in front of the Galra, in front of these...monsters.
Lance clings to the thought of Dana, and how he sent her away and then walked right into the fray, desperate for her at least to escape safely. The thought of her gave him strength.
We will see each other again, I promise. His face is set and his determination to find his sister again steadies him. He will not die here. He will not-
He jumps, as the Galra who saved him leans closer, and Lance gives him a cold, suspicious look.
“Look, I know you hate us, and you have every right to. But I think I can get us out of here. No torture, no imprisonment. But you have to do exactly as I say.” His words are quiet, rushed, and Lance doesn’t process them immediately. Help him? The Galra wanted to help him? There was no way. It had to be a trick.
“Why the fuck do you expect me to believe anything you have to say,” Lance spits back.
Surprisingly, the Galra met his glare with a steady, stubborn gaze of his own. “I saved your ass once, and if you avoid being an idiot, I can do it again.” He still didn’t believe him, though the honest stubbornness in his eyes was a bit confusing. There was no way this was actually real, actually genuine. The Galra sighed. “I don’t need you to believe me, you’ll see soon enough. Just don’t...actively fuck me over. Go along with it.”
“What’s in it for you?” Lance asked.
The Galra hesitated. “This shit, I don’t like it. It’s not right, and I can’t stand by anymore. It doesn’t fix much, but helping you is something I can do, and get out of this bullshit while I do so.” He looked down, a frown dominating his features. “I can’t sit by anymore. I won’t.”
Lance watched him carefully as he spoke, nodding. He could be lying, of course, but why go through all the trouble? “What’s your name, mullet-head?” He asked, smirking.
“Keith,” He replied, scowling at him. “What about you?”
“Hmm, you can unlock that information whenever I’m not trapped against my will on a Galra ship.”
Keith eyed him for a moment, then shrugged. “Fair.”