The ride back to the castle was silent. The rest of the team had caught up to Lance soon after he got Keith from the cell and the walk back to the green lion was tense. Keith had not responded to any of their attempts to wake him and if it weren’t for his fluttering pulse and shallow breaths then the team would have thought he was dead. Lance still had Keith in his arms and refused any of the team’s offers to carry Keith for him, even going so far as to snap at Hunk when he tried to offer a second time. Pidge had already radioed the castle telling them to prep the med bay for Keith, so Coran was waiting in Green’s hangar with a stretcher as soon as they arrived.
Coran scanned Keith’s battered body with a portable scanner as they hurriedly wheeled him to the med bay. The scanner’s harsh beeping revealed the damage caused to Keith in captivity. He was severely malnourished, had multiple broken bones, infected cuts, a concussion, some badly healed cuts and breaks, electrical burns, and internal bleeding and trauma to his abdominal region. To make matters worse, Keith was heavily sedated and there were trace elements of poisonous chemicals in his bloodstream. Coran didn’t bother with changing Keith into a pod suit and put him in the pod as soon as they reached the med bay.
The team spent three days camping out in front of Keith’s pod and Allura wormholed the castle to a more isolated star system to give the paladins a break and allow them to stay by Keith’s side. It was almost midnight on the third day when the pod finally opened. The whole team gathered around, and Lance stepped forward to grab Keith as he fell out. The second Lance grabbed Keith, however, Keith stiffened and pushed Lance away, falling against the closed pod in the process. Peering at the team through his bangs, Keith rasped, “Is this real?”
Lance’s tears began to fall as he nodded and whispered, “Yes cariño, you’re home.”
Keith let out a cry and launched himself at Lance, grasping onto him with all his strength as his body shook with sobs. Hunk started sniffling and said, “Aww guys, get over here.” He grabbed them both pulled them into a massive bearhug, and the rest of the team joined in, wrapping around Keith and Lance. Keith relaxed into their embrace and basked in the fact that he was finally home.