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Infection

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The pain started three days ago.

It had been just an ache and Lance had assumed he’d slept on it funny. The cots in the Lions weren’t really all that comfortable and he chalked it up to Red hitting a bump during one of his (many) half-alert naps as there wasn’t much else to do during the hours spent flying on autopilot.

It had morphed into something harder, sharper, on day two. He spent a little extra time gingerly brushing and pressed one of the cold packs from the emergency kit to the underside of his jaw, the cold soothing. At this point he was going with it was just a reaction to the diet of freeze-dried food goo (ugh) and the fact he hadn’t had anything to chew on in in almost four days as this sector of space they were going through had not yet had a single inhabitable planet and Allura was pushing them forward as oxygen levels were starting to deplete and they could not afford any delays.

By day three though Lance could not ignore it any longer.

He’d woken up feeling like there was a literal ball of fire that little tiny devils were going at with pickaxes in the back of his mouth and even trying to open his jaw to groan had sent a new wave of agony that almost had him blacking out.

Something was wrong.

He’d felt weak and shaky, head stuffed with cotton and the thin pillow damp with sweat, and it had taken every bit of willpower he had to pry himself from the cot and towards the cockpit.

The clock on the dashboard read it was just past 0400 varga so everyone save for their designated watch and active pilot (the Lions did well enough flying on their own with a lead to follow) was asleep.

Lance couldn't remember who was in charge right now. Keith, maybe? Or was it Allura’s turn?

He reached a trembling hand towards the transmission before he let it fall, guilt churning his stomach. They didn't have time to deal with whatever this was. They were low on oxygen and tempers were at an all time short-straw from both it and the long last few days of travel with no break.

He shouldn’t bother them with this. It was just a toothache.

As he shifted though his jaw flamed again and he moaned, the action making everything hurt more as it worked its way up his throat and tears sprang to his eyes.

Red had been quiet in the back of his mind, needing a charge and rest as much as any of them and keeping only vital systems online, but he felt her flare to life, hot concern and pressure building behind his eyes.

It hurt.

Red seemed to sense it too as he felt her pull back her heat before a more gentle, softer ember touched on his mind. Lance leaned into it, trying to find the comfort that she was offering, but it was too hot. He wanted cold. Soothing ice and gel packs and popsicles and a cool hand to wipe his sweaty bangs back from his forehead.

He instead pressed it against the metal of the console, soaking in the slightly cool metal that quieted the thrumming pulse of agony for just a moment.

He was so wrapped up in trying to quiet the pounding of his head that it took longer than it should have to realize someone was talking to him.

He’d activated the comms.

“--damnit Lance, if you let the cow up into the cockpit again--”

Ah. So Keith was the one on night duty.

He should say something. He’d already hit the button, right? But no. He shouldn’t. There wasn’t anything anyone could do and he was just going to cause undue stress. It was fine. He’d just go back to bed and sleep it off and get a lecture in the morning about letting Kaltenecker up front again.

He reached up to turn off the transmission but even that small movement jostled his head and he moaned.

Keith’s tirade about the cow cut off immediately.

“Lance? Lance are you there? What’s wrong?”

Well, there was no use trying to blame the bovine now and Lance really didn’t feel good.

“Keith,” he croaked out, but it sounded more like a garbled whimper.

Everything hurt.

“What’s wrong? Lance? Lance?”

He tried to speak, he did, but the act of shifting his jaw only brought more tears to his eyes and a strangled sounding sob he tried to contain.

“Lance, damnit, talk to me. Are you hurt?”

Underneath the harsh tone there was a clear worry, a fear, and Lance needed to do something about that. But he couldn’t. All that he seemed capable of doing was whimpering and curling up against the front console as his head ached and everything pulsed and he just wanted his mamá to kiss it and make it all better.

Red butted up against his mind again, harder, fiercer, something of a promise in her unspoken words and then… then he felt her disappear.

The loss was even more painful than his mouth and Lance jolted upright from where he’d slumped down, but that sent the cockpit reeling and he collapsed back against the pilot’s chair.

“Red?” he whispered, a breath more than anything, and at the call he felt her presence slam back into him just as he felt the ship beneath him thrum as dormant engines kicked on with full power.

Red circled his mind, projecting her worry but also a promise of safety, of help. Soon came a whisper, a semblance of a thought. Hold on.

Lance squeezed his eyes shut and gave a weak nod, fire erupting still in his jaw.

“Lance.” Keith was back on the transmission, voice steadier than before but no less worried.

Lance understood immediately then where Red’s essence had disappeared to. He patted a hand on the floorboard in thanks and a rumbling purr answered him.

“We’re heading fullspeed to the Dilgaini system. It’ll be about a varga until we can land. Can… can you make it?”

A varga? He could do that.

Lance nodded before realizing Keith could not see him. Red took care of that though, her sense of an affirmative traveling to the former Red Paladin.

“Just… just hold on.”

He knew now where Red had gotten such a thought from and his lips quirked into a ghost of a smile before it fell as even that action hurt. He tried to answer but air hissed out between his lips and he let his head drop back down against the chair, curling up as suddenly now everything was both too hot and too cold all at once.

His silence was apparently not the answer to whatever Keith was seeking, as it was followed by a low curse and then a high-pitched beep that had him wincing.

Keith had activated the emergency alert.

Other voices were starting to trickle onto the comms now but Lance couldn’t seem to pick out any distinct words as they faded away to a white static as his head pounded and he resisted the urge to grit his teeth and cry from the frustration and pain as that would only make it worse.

Red was there again, her heat welcome now as it flowed over him like a thick blanket, and he curled into it, hands tightening where he’d wrapped them about the base of the chair.

Hold on came the the thought again, followed by a nuzzle that was far too gentle for the normally hard-edged Red Lion, but Lance soaked it up like a sunwarmed rock, her worry and concern a balm despite the circumstances.

And comforted by those and her warmth, Lance held on.

xxx

He must have fallen asleep as he was awoken to the sensation of heavy boots clomping on the floor and sending vibrations rolling beneath him. He groaned at that as they vanished whatever dulled peace he’d found.

Hands were there then, on his shoulder, tilting him to sitting and Lance blearily blinked as Hunk’s worried face swam into view. Hunk’s lips were moving, he realized, and the odd humming sound was speech. He blinked again, trying to focus, even as one of Hunk’s hands descended on his forehead.

Hunk was normally warm but this time he was cold and Lance shivered before leaning into the pleasantly cool touch that calmed some of the heat building inside him.

He pulled back though with a short cry as the hand left his forehead and traversed down his cheek, lighting upon a literal ball of agony. Dark spots danced in Lance’s eyes and he curled up and away as far as he could from the pain.

But Hunk apparently wasn’t done. The hand left his cheek but came to rest on his shoulders and Lance felt himself being tipped backwards. The change in elevation had him gasping but he didn’t even have a chance to catch his breath before another hand was sliding beneath his knees and he was being lifted by strong arms and cradled against a broad armored chest.

The armor was cool still and Lance turned his face against it, both to try and find some relief and dry the tears that he could feel beading at his eyes.

“--ry, I’m so sorry,” Hunk was babbling apologies, growing louder as Lance groaned when Hunk clambered to his feet and the entire world shook. Lance’s cheek clacked against the chestplate and the moan turned into a low sob. “I’ve got you, hermano, it’s okay. You’re going to be okay.”

What was wrong with him? he wanted to ask, but the words were lodged in his throat.

“Hunk,” he tried to whisper instead and it came out more of a gasp.

“Shh, shh,” Hunk soothed, “it’s okay. I’ve got you. Don’t talk, okay?”

Lance managed a small nod at that. Talking hurt anyways. Not talking was a better option even though he wanted answers.

This was clearly more than a toothache, that much he was certain of, but nothing else. At least, he really hoped it was even though he didn’t want it to be. If he was making this much of a fuss over something like that he’d never live it down.

They were moving quickly then, exiting out of the cargo hatch that Hunk had likely come in on and a crisp burst of air against Lance’s exposed skin had him gasping.

He shouldn’t have that much skin exposed, he knew, but it had been so hot and he’d stripped off his outer armor and then apparently at some point had tried to free himself from his undersuit, although he’d only gotten as far as rolling the sleeves up to his elbows.

“Lie him down here, Number Two,” Coran’s accented tones sounded right by his head and Lance blinked open his eyes, not sure when he’d closed them.

He was greeted with a dark green colored sky and matching scenery of scraggly shrubs before Coran’s face, eyebrows pinched, swam into view above him as he was lowered to what felt like one of the mattress cots laid out on a very bumpy piece of ground.

“He definitely has a fever,” Hunk said, kneeling down with him and brushing damp bangs back again. “And his jaw is swollen here,” another set of fingers very lightly ghosted by his chin and Lance pulled back as much as he could, hating the high keen torn from his throat.

“What’s wrong with him?” Keith demanded, although the harsh tone was more of fear than anger. If he could have Lance would have smiled at the clear show of concern. Mullet had grown up a lot in those two years, even though his bedside manner could still use a lot of work.

“Lance, lad, can you open your mouth for me?” Coran asked. “I just want to take a quick looksie.”

Lance tried. He did. But opening his mouth more than an inch made the pain flare with renewed force. There was a bright light against his closed eyelids then and Lance forced them open, Pidge now kneeling beside him as well and the light source her headlamp on her helmet, flicked on angled towards his face.

She looked scared.

Lance had made Pidge scared.

He tried to better obey Coran’s request but his mouth did not want to cooperate. A set of slender hands were then lighting on the sides of his face -- Allura, he identified without having to look -- and her touch was nice and--

He let out a cry as another set more firmly gripped his jaw and pulled it down while another grasped inside the top of his mouth and pulled up, sending white light searing across his vision. He attempted to bite down and based on the short yell -- Keith, oops -- he made contact but the hands did not retreat and only pulled back harder, stretching his mouth wide open.

“Number Five, bring the light a bit closer please,” Coran instructed, barely audible over the pounding in Lance’s head.

More fingers were descending into his mouth and Lance gagged around them, unable to do anything else, before he let out a strangled scream as they touched down on the worst of the lightning and he writhed, feeling someone fling themselves over his torso with an oomph and he only struggled harder.

“--ance, Lance, it’s okay, estás bien, por favor, calm down--” Hunk was pleading, words trickling in over the sounds of absolute agony Lance realized were coming from him. The hands had retreated away from his mouth and he realized he could close his jaw, which he did with an audible snap that only hurt himself more but it was still better than before.

The pressure was lessening across him and there was a set of hands gently carding through his hair while something chilled was being gently pressed against his jaw. He moaned, but this time in relief and turned into it.

All was quiet then save for Hunk’s continued murmurs, growing softer and slower as Lance felt his heart stop trying to beat out of his chest.

This… this was better.

He eventually opened his eyes again, bracing for the bright headlamp, but it was only the semi-bright atmosphere of the planet along with the concerned faces of his space family gathered around. He traced each one, noting that Shiro (who slept nearly all the time) and Romelle (likely on Shiro watch duty as sometimes he stopped breathing as he readjusted to a living body and couldn’t be left alone) were the only ones missing.

“There you are,” Coran said, relief clear. “I’m so sorry, my boy. We did not mean to cause you such distress.”

Lance swallowed and then winced. That apparently hurt too.

“You have an infected tooth,” Matt told him, sympathy clear. “Your bottom right wisdom tooth.”

“A wisdom tooth?” Allura repeated, confusion creasing her features. “Humans have teeth of knowledge?”

Lance would have laughed if it wouldn’t have hurt as Pidge explained how they were actually spare teeth and oftentimes had to be pulled if there was not enough room in the mouth, while Krolia and Coran both agreed such teeth were the opposite of wisdom (“If the teeth are so wise why do they cause such problems?” Krolia had demanded to know) and Coran had shaken his head sadly that the human species suffered still from such poor biology.

Lance’s stomach was twisting though as the conversation about the merits and demerits of extra teeth wound down.

Because when you had a bad tooth he knew the solution was to pull it.

How were they going to pull his tooth?

“Would the cryo-pod we have fix it?” Hunk asked. The pod they had was not the advanced ones of the castle, more of a containment unit than anything, but it was better than nothing and Shiro was no longer occupying it as they’d agreed it was best for his body to try and regulate itself to a normal (or, well, as normal as it could get inside the body of a mechanical Lion) atmosphere rather than the semi-medicated one.

Coran shook his head. “Afraid not, Number Two. This was an infection you said, yes?” Coran turned to Matt, who they had picked up a movement ago to join them on their trip home to Earth.

The rebel nodded his head. “Yeah, positive. Shiro had the same thing his second year at the Garrison.” He shook his head, a rueful smile on his face. “Took him almost collapsing from the fever to admit it wasn’t just a toothache.”

That… sounded very familiar and based on the looks being angled in Lance’s direction he wasn’t the only one. He managed a weak smile and a barely there shrug. What exactly was he supposed to have done about it? Based upon the slumping shoulders about him they realized the same.

“The normal solution is to pull the tooth,” Matt continued. “Shiro had all four yanked since they were all impacted and the docs were worried about it happening again. Better to do it then before space, you know?”

“So we need to remove Lance’s tooth?” Allura clairfied. She hummed. “I was not aware human’s teeth were so loose to allow for such a process.”

“They aren’t,” Keith said, voice grim and Allura inhaled sharply.

“Do any of us even know how to do this?” Hunk asked, wringing his hands and Lance barely refrained from nudging Hunk’s knee to put said hands back into his hair where they  had been steadily combing. Pidge caught his eye though and with a small, tight smile she reached down and picked up where Hunk had left off. Lance let out a soft hum and tried to concentrate on that feeling rather than the ache building again in his jaw and the coiling of his stomach.

Silence greeted Hunk’s question.

“We have to do something,” Matt said, sounding uncomfortable. “An infection like this normally isn’t fatal, but it’ll spread and can infect other teeth and the gumline and on top of that there’s the fever and…” He shook his head. “It’ll only get worse if we leave it in there.”

Lance swallowed thickly. He did not like where this was going.

“It has to go,” Keith said, voice hard. It softened a bit as purple eyes met ocean blue. “You know that, right?”

Lance managed a tiny nod. He knew. He didn’t like it though.

“Maybe Allura can heal it?” Pidge put forth and Lance nearly wilted with relief. Yes. Yes, let Allura heal it. She’d pretty much restarted his heart after the shock, restored Shiro’s soul to his body, this should be a piece of cake.

“I am afraid I cannot,” Allura said, sorrow heavy. “Just like the cryo-pods, quintessence cannot heal an illness, nor can it heal a non-wound like the cause of this infection.” A cool hand brushed against the side of his left cheek. “I am so sorry, Lance.”

He shook his head. Not her fault.

“So what do we do?” Hunk asked, one hand now twining with Lance’s and Lance appreciated the squeeze. “Do we have anesthetic? Tools? A sanitary work environment? Sterile--”

“Hunk, breathe,” Keith ordered and Hunk took in a noisy inhale. He turned to Coran, who would have been the one to grab any type of medical equipment. “What do we have?”

“I have a topical ointment for pain relief as well as the Glornack seeds for after use,” Coran said, tapping his fingers, “bandages, a burn ointment, hydration patches, a few more cooling pouches and the scanner.”

“That’s… that’s it?” Pidge asked, voice small and Lance silently echoed her.

How were they supposed to remove his tooth with those things?

“I’ve… I’ve got a few small implements in my tool kit,” Hunk offered, a green tinge to his face. “I think… I think one could work as a scalpel. And there’s…” he swallowed, “a pick, too.”

“I’ve got a small hammer,” Coran put forth, “and a few other bits and bobs from my repair set as well.”

Lance felt himself pale. Dios. They were going to operate on him with those?

He was going to be sick.

“The Yellow Lion’s cargo bay is relatively empty,” he heard Coran say. “And it offers the brightest lights. We could sanitize it within the varga and--”

Lance tuned them out as talk moved to oxygen levels and recharges and instructions to make a fire to sterilize the tools and focused instead on trying not to let the acid taste creeping up his throat come out.

He trusted his team with anything. He did. And compared to some of the things they had just been through this wasn’t really that scary and he was a Paladin of Voltron and a Paladin wasn’t scared of something like this.

Even if he was going to have his mouth forced open and foreign tools stuck in while they performed a version of field surgery and they had no idea what they were doing and it was going to hurt even more than it already was and it was hurting so much and--

“Lance, man, hey, hey,” and Matt’s hand descended on his shoulder, giving it a squeeze and Lance tried not to give into the new tears cropping up behind closed eyelids because he shouldn’t be this upset, he shouldn’t be this scared, and what Matt and Krolia must be thinking right now of him-- “It’s gonna be all right,” Matt interrupted his spiraling thoughts. “Big brother to big brother I swear it.”

Lance let out a muffled sob that reminded him of how much pain he was still in and shook his head, not sure what he was agreeing or disagreeing to.

“It is not a weakness to be afraid,”  Krolia sounded right next to him and Lance felt his other hand being picked up by a clawed version and lightly squeezed. 

Lance didn’t know why he found that so comforting, but the sentiment coming from both a bad-ass Galra soldier (and mom, he thought with a tiny smile at how happy he was Keith had found her) and a fellow older brother made the worst of the tight feeling in his chest dissipate. They weren’t here to judge and so neither should he.

“There you go,” Krolia murmured. “Rest now.” She whistled and a moment later there was a sort of bang next to him and then a wet tongue slurped across his face. “Yorak will sit with you while we prepare.”

Lance blinked open his eyes around the space-wolf drool, a warm feeling not related to the fever pooling in him.

“I’ll stay too,” Pidge volunteered and Lance found his hand transferred from Krolia’s large one to the smaller but still firm grip. Yorak settled down against his other side and Lance dug his free hand into the thick fur, earning another lick across his face before the large head settled like a comfortable weight across his chest.

Pidge got him another coldpack in that time, holding it to his jaw where the worst of the fire was and her thumb rubbing out small circles against his wrist. Between her ministrations and the space-wolf’s gentle slumbering snores, Lance almost drifted of himself in the absence of the worst pain, but his body refused to relax completely.

It knew what was coming.

And all too soon footsteps were headed their way and Lance heard Hunk murmur gently that he was going to lift him. They were moving then, quickly, across the ground and the thumps turned into metallic echoes as Hunk ascended the ramp into Yellow.

Lance’s stomach clenched. This was it.

He decided the unknown was scarier than the known and forced himself to keep his eyes open as Hunk lowered him onto the cot, pulled out of the cockpit, which was stationed beneath an array of headlamps and the entire area closed off with large tarps making the huge cargohold no bigger than Lance’s previous room aboard the castle.

Coran was there, stripped out of his jacket but still wearing his gloves, and Matt was in a similar state. There was a tray of engineering tools laid out on a set of stacked boxes next to the cot and Lance hurriedly averted his eyes from them as his stomach swam.

“We’re going to go quick as we can, lad,” Coran assured him, reaching out and placing a comforting hand on Lance’s arm. “The Princess is going to assist you in holding your mouth open and Number Four in keeping you steady. Myself and Matt here are going to go about removing your tooth. Numbers Two and Five, if you would wait outside with the lovely Krolia…”

Lance desperately wished Hunk was staying, but he knew there was likely going to be blood and well… Hunk had come a long way in terms of his weak stomach but this was going to be too much.

Hunk gave his hand one last squeeze and Pidge did the same. “We’ll be waiting just outside, hermano,” Hunk promised, voice thick.

A moment later it was just Lance with his apparent surgery team and his stomach was flipping again, not settled at all as Keith placed firm hands on his shoulders from behind to pin him down and Allura, more gently, tipped his chin up.

“We are going to apply some of the topical reliever first,” Coran said, already unscrewing the jar and fingers lightly brushing on the skin of Lance’s lower jaw and cheek. He let out a small breath as the sharp ache faded to a duller one. “It is not technically edible,” he continued, “but it is not harmful either if ingested. Princess, if you would…?”

Lance could feel Allura trying to more fully pull his jaw back and he did his best to assist her, helped along by some of the pain being dulled. Coran’s hands were inside then and he flinched as they bumped against the infected area, but more of the salve was being administered and within a moment nearly all of the pain had faded away.

He knew it wasn’t going to last.

“The tooth is impacted in your gumline,” Matt took up the process. “So we’re going to make a slit,” Lance shivered, “and then go about prying the tooth out. Like Coran said, we’ll do it as fast as we can. Hopefully all in one go, okay?”

Lance dry swallowed, mouth feeling like cotton again.

“We’re going to start now, lad,” Coran said and in Lance’s peripheral he caught the glint of something in the bright lights. That was the signal to close his own eyes tight. “Please, bear with us.”

There was a pregnant pause before Lance felt something cold descend into his mouth. The knife. It wasn’t so bad, he tried to tell himself. It was--

The blade cut into his gum. He jerked back, or tried to, but Keith’s grip was resolute and Allura’s even more so. It wasn’t that bad, he repeated, feeling only a light sting after the initial shock. It wasn’t.

The blade pressed in deeper and all of the topical reliever in the world could not help against it. Blood welled in his mouth and Lance gagged as it dripped onto his tongue. There were more hands there then, some type of cloth being bunched up to catch some of it and he choked around it.

And then agony.

Lance let out a strangled scream as he felt something dig into his mouth, stabbing right into the worst of it and he couldn’t believe he thought that he had been in pain before.

The next few minutes? Hours? became a horrified haze of torment and broken snippets of conversation sounding above the agonized whimpers and cries his body was determined to make.

“--gonna have to break it--”

“--ance, shh, it’s all rig--”

“--need the hammer--”

“--ut here, please--”

“--it’s okay, it’s okay--”

“--needs stitches. Keith?--

“--hold still, damnit--”

Hands rotated, metal gave way to cloth and then back to metal, sharp and dull and piercing and striking, and Lance kept praying he would pass out to no avail. He could feel blood in his palms where he’d clenched his hands so hard he’d made himself bleed but even that couldn’t negate the rest of the pain.

There was the burble of water, cold and stinging then and Lance choked as some of it made its way down his throat before more cloth was there to soak it up, and then…

Then it all stopped.

The hands removed themselves from his head, his neck, his shoulders and Lance lay trembling on the cot, completely unrestrained.

“It’s over, lad,” Coran murmured, and a more gentle hand brushed against his left cheek. “It’s over. I promise. You brave, brave boy.”

It was over? Truly?

Lance tried to shift his jaw from where it felt locked but pain welled up and he whimpered out a sob instead.

“Don’t try that yet,” Matt cautioned, too late. “It’s gonna take some time.”

“Let us move him to somewhere more comfortable,” Allura suggested. Lance couldn’t have protested even if he wanted to as Allura’s hands were suddenly about his shoulders and legs and she lifted him into her arms as though he weighed nothing at all.

Matt whistled next to him. “Damn, Princess, you are strong.”

“He is not heavy at all,” Allura responded and Lance could feel her head tilt. He tried to pry his eyes open but they were so heavy and he settled for bumping his forehead into the crook of Allura’s shoulder, hoping it wasn’t too forward but in too much pain to really care otherwise, breathing in deeply the almost vanilla scent that Allura always carried about her.

Matt let out a chuckle. “Nevermind.”

They were moving again then and Lance shivered as they stepped out of the Yellow Lion, the planet having grown colder since he was last out, and he tried hard not to snuggle more against Allura’s warmth.

How long had that surgery gone for?

He decided he didn’t want to know.

Hurried footsteps pattered over and a breathless, “How is he?” sounded from Hunk, a hand reaching out to settle on Lance’s shoulder. Lance leaned into it gratefully. So warm.

“Tired and still in pain,” Keith answered for him.

“But the tooth is out, the infection cleaned and the wound sealed and Coran attached a fluid pack and glornack seed to help with the fever,” Matt added, Coran muttering about the barbaric human practice of stitching behind him.

“Lance, hermano?” Hunk’s hand rubbed on his arm. “You doing okay?”

Lance couldn’t summon the strength still to open his eyes but gave a tiny hum of acknowledgement. Everything still hurt but when he compared it to the sensation of literally having his tooth broken and yanked out in pieces it didn’t hurt much at all.

They were still walking and Lance realized they were ascending another ramp. Not Red though, as he felt her brush against his mind with a concerned purr but from a bit of a distance. He returned the feeling though and felt his lips try and tug up at her mental nuzzle.

“How is he?”

Lance started as Shiro, tone tired but dripping with concern, sounded. They were in the Black Lion?

That was enough to force tear-crusted eyes open and he blinked in the dimly lit black and purple interior. Shiro was lying  on the larger cot -- two squashed together from the infirmary -- and propped up somewhat on a few pillows. He was still far too pale, made even more washed out by the solid light gray hair, but his eyes were bright and as he met Lance’s confused gaze they softened into a smile.

Allura answered the question as she carefully lowered Lance to the bed on Shiro’s right side where a sleeve was neatly tied up and hiding the scarred flesh and remains of the metal port they had not yet fully been able to remove. Lance found himself tucked up against Shiro’s broad, but relatively comfortable chest, and he couldn’t even protest as Allura shook out a spare blanket and draped it over both of them.

“I will be outside with the others,” Allura said, smoothing it down. “Lance, rest, please. And Shiro--”

She was broken off as with a poof Yorak popped onto the bed, let out a low woof and promptly curled up.

“All good,” Shiro smiled at her. “Go, get fresh air for both of us.”

Allura nodded and pressed her hand to the top of Lance’s head, carding it once through his bangs. He hummed again, exhaustion pulling his eyelids back down in the absence of pain and the sudden warmth of both the blankets and Shiro.

“Rest well,” Allura whispered, and in a flip of hair she was gone.

All was quiet then until Shiro spoke, his words rumbling through his chest.

“I heard what happened,” he said quietly. “You did great, buddy.”

Lance’s lips twitched into a smile that hurt but Shiro’s praise far outweighed it.

“Get some sleep,” Shiro murmured. “We’ll all be here when you wake up.”

And Lance did just that.