The sound of laser fire was the last thing Pidge expected to hear.
She was walking through the corridors of the castle on the way from the bathroom when she heard them, rhythmic and slightly faint. From where she was Pidge deduced that they were coming from the training room.
Everyone should be asleep right now, including her if it wasn’t for her weak bladder, so this mystery of this mysterious shooter, small and inconsequential as it was, was enough to shake the rest of the sleep that still clinged to her; changing the weak and wobbly steps she took so far into a full sprint towards the training room.
When the doors opened, Pidge was met by someone she really didn’t expect to see training at this hour: Lance, in full paladin gear, firing his rifle at a buch of stationary and moving targets.
Pidge stood at the entrance for a moment just looking at him. She could understand Keith or Allura, even Hunk. But what was Lance doing?
“Lance!” she shouted as she ran down the steps to meet him at the makeshift shooting range.
Hearing her voice, Lance aimed his gun down and turned towards her, trying his best to not let out any smirks or smiles at seeing Pidge’s little nightgown flowing here and there as she ran towards him.
She’s adorable. Like, really adorable. Yeah…
“Hey, Pidge!” he greeted raising his free hand once she reached him. “So what brings you here?” he asked, flashing a smile.
“I should be the one asking that! What do you think you’re doing shooting targets at this hour!” Her outburst was sudden and loud, very loud; enough to make Lance take two steps backwards as he stared at her fiery eyes.
“Wow, calm down there, Pidge. Did I wake you up or something? If so, I’m really sorry…”
“Don’t try to sidetrack this, mister! What are you doing here?”
“Training. Isn’t it obvious?” he answered in a not so firm tone while trying to give a convincing smile.
Seeing his eyes dart back and forth, Pidge let out a deep sigh. Anger would not do it seemed.
“Lance, we’ve known each other for a while and one thing I know about you is that you’d never exchange your beauty sleep for anything, especially training. Please, what’s going on?”
Pidge’s tone was firm, but not one ounce of anger was there, only worry. And when her eyes meet his, Lance once carefree expression dropped into a more solemn one as if a immense shadow had suddenly taken hold of his soul.
“Pidge let’s sit down.”
She obliged and right there in front of the shooting range they sat side by side. Silence hung in the air as Pidge stared up at Lance’s face, hardened in seriousness, and Lance stared forward, not at the targets like one might assume, but beyond them, far, far beyond them.
Lance was the first to break the silence, his voice low and soft, almost devoid of feeling.
“I… used to have dream. Of becoming a fighter pilot and going to space. Fighting tyranny. Becoming a hero. Getting the girl. You know, the usual.” Lance let out a chuckle that quickly disappeared as he turned to look at Pidge. “But after all this, Voltron, Shiro, Allura, Keith, the Galra; I… I can’t see my dream anymore.”
His face was plain, his eyes dull and lifeless.
Pidge slightly raised her arms, the urge to hug him almost overcoming her but all she could do was speak.
“Lance, is this about that seventh wheel thing? You shouldn't think like that.”
“Shiro was our leader, Keith is an amazing pilot and he was chosen by Shiro to be the new leader, Allura kicks all kinds of ass, Coran basically keeps the entire castle afloat, and you and Hunk are the smartest people I’ve ever met. What do I have Pidge? Other than bad pick-up lines, what do I have?”
“What are you talking about? You’re our sharpshooter, you said it yourself. I mean, Hunk pretty much has a cannon and even he can’t do the amount of damage you can. Lance, how many times have you saved us? How many times have you provided cover for me or Keith or Shiro? How many time have you taken out another shooter that was firing at us? You say we don’t appreciate you but we do, we truly do.”
Lance stood up. “Just watch,” that’s all he said; then he pointed his rifle at the farthest target, three-thousand meters give or take.
His body was perfectly straight and firm, only one hand held his rifle, the other he kept behind his back. He was still like a statue, even his breath did not move his body.
An instant was all it took, three shots were fired and three chunks of the target were blown away: one on the right and one the left side of the chest where the lungs of a human would be and one that perfectly destroyed the head.
When Lance turned back he saw Pidge with mouth agape and wide eyes. “Geez, Lance! That was amazing! See what I’m talking about?”
The enthusiasm on her voice made a smile creep on his face, but that quickly disappeared from his mind.
“This isn’t about the shooter thing, in a way,” Lance said. “It’s just… I feel so worthless.”
That word. ‘Worthless’. That single word cut deep into Pidge, seeing him like this, saying something like this. Lance’s face twisted in some sort of invisible agony, and she could feel her eyes slowly fill with tears.
“My dream is gone, Pidge. It’s gone because I realized that I’m not a hero like I wanted to be. I’m a stupid, loudmouth idiot that tries his best to not let everybody else know that. I look at you guys, how huge you all are and… I feel so tiny. How I’m suppose to stand alongside you? Just because I’m a good shot?
“That’s the problem, Pidge.” He sighed “I’m only good at shooting things. I’m not a ‘good’ person. Only a good shot.
“And that scares me.
“What if I’m only a loaded gun?” Lance glanced his rifle carefully, full of thought and dread “What if that’s all I am meant to b-”
Lance’s musings were stopped by a hand swiftly hitting him on the head. He turned to look to where that hand had come from and his eyes widened at the tears that ran in stream down Pidge’s face.
“Pidge?” he asked in a confused whisper.
“You’re right about something, you really are a stupid idiot! You’re not a good person? Numbnuts, do you know how much you do to us, to me ?!”
Her face was red and the tears continued on, little by little she stepped closer to Lance; who, in turn, was motionless and voiceless.
“With your silly flirting, dumb faces and horrendous luck! You’re the heart of the team, we can keep fighting because of you. Without you around Keith would probably be a shut-in and even more mopy. Coran and Allura really enjoy how you talk about earth, she even told she doesn’t mind all your stupid flirting because it actually takes her mind out of more stressful things. And me and Hunk… Hunk adores you Lance, he would be devastated without you. And it’s the same for me.”
They were barely apart, their eyes looking at one another. The tears stopped on Pidge, only to be picked up by Lance.
“You, more than anyone, makes my life good. Before I met you I was even more obsessed in finding out the truth about Kerberos but after we met you’re always there to get my mind of it even if momentarily. Even when I gave you the cold shoulder you never stopped trying to befriend me or just make me laugh. Even if you didn’t know or I didn’t act like it, when I was down or stressed you’re always there to make me feel better. Even now, after everything that happened with Voltro and Shiro’s disappearance, you still always makes me happy, Lance.”
She stood on the tip of her feet, he bent his head down.
“I love you.”
A very wet kiss is shared, doubt and sadness is washed away. Only warmth now.
Once they separated, they stared at the simple, sweet smile and bright eyes in each other’s face for a moment.
“Come on, it’s late, let’s go to bed,” Pidge said, beginning to walk away.
“Is that an invitation?” Lance retorted with a sly smile.
Pidge’s response was to only turn her head and stare , as she was too far to do anything physical to him.
“Joking,” Lance said before following.
They kept themselves silent through the walk out of the training room. Only exchanging glances through smiles and blushes every now and then.
It was only when they were in the outside in the corridor that Lance spoke.
“You know, I remembered something.”
“Back when I was a little kid, before I wanted to go to space, I remember me and my family watched some old movies. Those movies were the first time I looked at something with wonder, you know what I mean? I would sit there and just stare at the tv just like I still do whenever I look outside. It wasn’t exactly a dream like with Shiro and the whole space hero thing, it was more like something that I wanted to live up to, even if just a little.”
“What was that?” Pidge asked, her eyes fixed on the glow that seemed to emanate from his.
“Ever heard of a guy called ‘John Wayne’?