Allura had acclimated to being the new Blue Paladin fairly well if she said so herself. It had been… difficult at first, but she had adapted to the role fairly well. Blue and her had gotten along amazingly after their first mission, and besides that random bout of shame that she felt a while ago, nothing else had happened of note.
She easily attributed the shame with Lance being hurt. Of course Blue would still feel things for their other paladin, the bonds couldn’t be broken that easily. They had more than likely felt bad for not being able to protect Lance, even though his tumble had been of his own accord.
The ship had been right there, and they had warned him ahead of time. She shook her head as she walked. He needed to be a bit more attentive in battle. They couldn’t have him getting hurt. He was important to the team, and keeping the universe safe.
With that in mind, she saw nothing of it. It was only natural that a lion would fear for their paladin. She only hoped that someday she would reach that same level of care.
The first step to obtaining that level of trust and love was to bond with Blue more. Meditation had never been her thing, she prefered action to sitting around, not saying she didn’t see the merits of it. She figured that meditating in Blue’s cockpit would help. She could converse with her lion while sorting out the many things that troubled her mind.
She smiled as she walked into the cockpit, letting a greeting fall from her lips as she looked up. She dropped into a battle stance.
“Who are you?” She questioned the person standing next to the pilot’s chair.
Their relaxed posture stiffened, and they slowly turned around. Yellow eyes met blue, and the tension rose in Allura’s body. She couldn’t help but to associate yellow eyes with the Galra, and as much as she had slowly begun to get used to the Blade, it still unnerved her.
“You can see me already?” They asked in lieu of an answer. They looked around the room, as if looking for some sign that said this was a prank. “Even Lance couldn’t see me right away…”
“Of course I can,” Allura snapped, filing the stranger’s words away for later. “Now answer my question or I will be forced to take drastic measures. Who are you, and how did you get inside the Blue Lion?”
They did not look Galra. They didn’t look Galra at all. In fact they looked more human than anything. The only drastic difference being their eyes. Looks could be deceiving though, if Keith could be part galra and still look human, than there was a chance that a another mixed race Galra could as well.
She tried to find solace in the fact that the lions wouldn’t let anyone potentially harmful in, but mistakes had happened before and they could happen again. Zarkon was a perfect example of that. She had to remain cautious, until the stranger’s nature was revealed.
The person looked her over, and Allura tensed her body even more. She would not let them get the upper hand on her. She had been trained in many different fighting forms. She’d be ready.
“I am the Blue Lion.”
She had not been ready for that.
The castle had always been large, and Allura had appreciated it's size in her youth. She could explore something new everyday and never be bored. Now, though, it was just annoying her.
She was excited. Their lions had sentient forms. Materialized forms, Blue had said. She had eagerly talked with Blue about it, about how the forms helped the Lions grow closer to their paladins. How she was not the first paladin to see them, assuming that meant the paladins’ of old.
She couldn’t wait to tell the others, but that meant getting back to the control room, and while going from control room to the hanger was easy via zipline, you couldn’t really go back up a zipline. This led to her practically running down the hallways try to get back.
She turned down a hallway and froze. Lance was sitting down at the end, looking out the window. Allura knew that he often took to looking out the windows, watching the stars in the distance. She had caught him doing so many times, but who he was with was what threw her for a loop.
The person was standing, leaning up against the wall beside Lance. They were also looking out the window. At first she wondered if Lance could see them as well, they weren’t talking or anything. Was it only she that could see them?
“Thanks, Red,” Lance turned to the person.
Blue’s words echoed in her mind, “Even Lance couldn’t see me right away, ” and felt her grin split across her face. Lance could see both Blue and Red, as could Allura. That meant their bonds were close, incredibly close. This was great news!
She did not wish to interrupt any bonding between the two. After all, this could prove vital to their future efforts. It may let Lance tap into the Red Lion’s powers more readily.
One perk of such a big castle, she concluded as she turned and walked away, was that she knew multiple ways to get places.
Allura had planned on informing everyone about the new discovery with a clear cut debriefing. She had thought of what she would say and waited with baited breath for the paladins to arrive. That plan flew out of airlock the moment she saw Lance.
“Lance!” She walked over to him, trying to keep her eageness in check and failing.
“Princess? What’s up?” Lance asked, body slouched with his hands in his pockets.
Allura grabbed his hand in lieu of an answer, tugging him to the front of the group and placing him next to her, much to his confusion.
“Paladins, I have wonderful news! Lance and I have discovered the next stage of bonding with the lions.” She clapped her hands together. Eyes were immediately on her at the prospect of something new to learn.
She did not notice Lance freezing beside her.
“The lions all have materialized forms that we can see,” Allura started, “ that allow bonding with their paladin easier. I just recently interacted with Blue’s form.” She turned to Lance, “But I hear that you’ve been able to see them for awhile now! You were also talking to Red earlier if I’m not mistaken.” The excitement burst through her veins, “Why didn’t you tell us this? We could’ve started specified training sooner!”
“Wait, how can you see the lions?” Pidge piped up, indirectly drawing attention away from the way Lance’s breath had caught, the way it came out a bit faster afterwards, “What’d Lance do that let him see them? What’d you do, Allura?”
Allura thought for a moment. It was a fair question, one she had asked as well. “All I did was walk into Blue, but we suspected that has more to do with me being connected to the lions than my bond. Blue did not comment on what they and Lance did.”
“Buddy, this is so cool!” Hunk grinned, pulling Lance in for a side hug. Lance did not melt into the hug. “Why did you tell us; this seems like something you’d brag about.”
“Oh, you, uh, you know, just figured I’d wait?” Lance didn’t look anyone in the eye.
Shiro stepped forward, placing a hand on Lance’s shoulder. “I’m proud of you Lance, but you should’ve told us sooner. This is important.”
Keith saw the way Lance’s eyes widened in shock at those words. Something was wrong. Keith may be a loner, he may not know how to talk to people, but he knew when things were wrong. Everything about this screamed wrong, and he felt the need to get Lance out of the room, to get him as far away from this conversation as possible.
The castle shook, a roar filling the halls. Keith recognized that roar immediately, recognized that feeling that was telling him to whisk Lance away as Red’s thoughts.
“Something’s wrong with Red,” he turned away from the others, watching as Coran ran over to his controls and pulled up the security feed.
“Red seems to be trying to get out of the hanger,” Coran said with a flick of his wrist.
The feed flew up in front of them, showing an angry Red clawing at the hangar doors, lashing out. They didn’t let loose any canon fire, but their claws were already leaving deep gashes in the walls.
“Keith and Lance are right here though,” Pidge stated. “Neither of you are in danger.”
As soon as her words were out Red settled. They returned back to their spot, sitting down and letting their particle barrier rise up. Everyone looked around the room, the same question in their eyes.
What just happened?
Hunk’s voice broke through the silence, “Uh, guys, where’d Shiro and Lance go?”
“Lance!” Shiro called out at Lance’s retreating form. He had noticed him leaving from the control room as Red began to attack, and it had left Shiro concerned. Red would only attack if something was wrong with Keith or Lance. Keith had been fine, Shiro knew. They had just finished sparring together earlier, before the meeting, and they had a nice chat.
Lance on the other hand had looked uncomfortable the whole time they had been in the control room.
“Lance, wait!” he called out again, and this time the other stopped. He jogged over to him, looking at him in concern. “What’s wrong? Are you alright?”
Lance looked up at Shiro, eyes darting around, taking in his face, his posture. Shiro wanted to shift under his critical gaze, but held fast.
“You really don’t know do you?”
“What? Lance, what do you mean-”
Lance’s body shook, “You don’t, you don’t know. How- that’s- you-” His breaths came out in short puffs, hands coming up to tangle in his hair. “After everything you… You should’ve know about Blue and Black, you, you were there. ”
“I was right,” their eyes met, and Shiro was frozen where he stood. “You’re not him.”
“Lance? Shiro?” Hunk’s voice rang out from down the hall. Lance looked over in the direction, body going still. In a whirl of movement, he was tearing down the hallway, leaving Shiro alone with his exclamation.
Hunk came around the corner, “Shiro? Have you seen Lance?”
Shiro stared at Hunk, trying to sort out his thoughts. After a beat of silence he shook his head slowly, “No, I saw him leave, but I don’t know where he went.” The lie fell effortlessly from his tongue.
Hunk watched him a moment before shrugging, “Probably went to go calm Red down. He’ll be back once he realizes they’re fine.” Hunk turned, walking back the way he came. “Allura still wants to talk about the lions, and I don’t want to keep her waiting so…”
Shiro nodded, silently following. His mind felt numb. Suddenly some of Lance’s words, some of their odd conversations made sense. They had been hints, hints to experiences he didn’t have. He wanted to blame memory loss, but as he looked down at his hand, as he thought about all the fine details, the certain events he couldn’t recall to save his life, he couldn’t help but wonder:
Was Lance right?