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Every Word is a Lie

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Boarding school was usually a place to discover more about yourself, grow up without the constant eye of an adult, be an idiot.

But of course, that wasn't the case for Kaitlynn Holt, AKA Pidge Gunderson. Her father and brother worked at Garrison Academy, only to have disappeared alongside another teacher, Takashi Shirogane. They were on one of the school's camping trips, when they were nowhere to be found the next morning. Most would say they were killed by bears, but if you asked their daughter, there was more to the story.

For starters, they were geniuses. They wouldn't just get killed by a bear, they would of closed the tent, and would have known how to not to anger the beast.

Secondly, bodies were never found. Bears do not eat bones, and there's no way to explain what happened. That, leads Katie to believe they're alive.

So, being the young computer genius she was, broke into the Garrison's teacher center and hacked into Headmaster Iverson's computer. What she found was shocking, but she was only able to download a small percentage before she was caught by Iverson himself. From then on, she was banned and threatened to be arrested for treason.

But of course, that didn't stop her. Katie decided nothing could stand in the way of her finding her family. Her mother had been checked into a mental health hospital after attempting suicide, which did set Katie back by a few weeks. Though, once all was well, she cut her hair. Took Matt's old glasses, and hacked into the Garrison's enrollment.

And that, was when Pidge Gunderson was born. Katie, the fourteen year old girl, no longer existed. In her place, was a seventeen year old tech savvy boy. Days later, with no surprise she received her acceptance letter. She packed up everything she'd need, and set off to the bus stop.

After waiting for minutes, the bus pulled up. She walked up the short flight of stairs and down the aisle to the back of the bus. Though, instead of a single seat in the back corner, there was a long one that went from both sides of the back. She sat down silently next to the window, and put her suitcase under the seat.

"Oh.. uhm.. hey." A girl said as she sat down next to her. She had long blonde hair pulled back in two pigtails, the loose bangs pulled back into a braided crown around the back of her head. Katie— Pidge awkwardly smiles and pushes herself farther into the wall.

"Sorry," she apologizes. Nobody would ever talk to her unless she was in their way, that was how things seemingly worked around her.

"No! You were fine where you were, I'm just going to the Garrison, and I'm just.. worried. First time away from home, y'know? My brother got in a car crash, and nobody's doing too well 'round home, so they're sending me away so I can have a better life. But, well— oh Alfor, I'm rambling. My point is, I'm just kinda looking for someone to talk to." She goes on. Pidge recognizes 'Alfor' as the king of said religion, Altean. It was an older religion, and people of it were humble and kind. Pidge immediately resented thinking that this girl only wanted to push her aside.

"It's fine, I'm Pidge, by the way." She introduces. The alias felt foreign on her tongue, even though Matt had called her it multiple times after failing to pronounce her middle name when she was younger.

"I'm Romelle." The girl smiles. Romelle leaned back against her seat and exhaled deeply. "So.. are you nervous about the school year?" She asks, trying to spark up a conversation between them. The bus paused as more people came on. It appeared they were two best friends, one holding three suitcases, the other holding none.

"Oh! Eh, yeah.. I guess you could say that." She replies, latching her hand onto her backpack, and taking out her laptop to work. She sighed, she wasn't here to make friends, and she felt terrible about that, but she could open up, or become a weak target. She couldn't get others involved, in fear that bad things would happen to them, if they discovered her secret.

"Ah.." Romelle replies, looking at Pidge's computer. "So, what are you doing?" She asks curiously. Pidge jumped and fixed the glasses, but they still remained crooked on her pale and freckled face.

"I'm just coding and programming." She replies, and that did it. Romelle had no seeming interest in technology the same way Pidge did. Romelle wasn't completely ignoring her, though. She was too sweet. Periodically she would check in to ask if Pidge needed any help with anything, and every time Pidge would reply 'no'.

The busride was endless, it was only seven hours long, but it felt more like days. Pidge accomplished building a database where she could download any files she'd manage to receive from the Garrison's own database. It was protected by multiple firewalls and viruses programmed to destroy any systems that attempted to break through.

But, all things must come to an end. Just as Pidge finished installing the last firewall, it was her and Romelle's stop. She put away her laptop, and picked up her suitcase. Slinging her backpack over her shoulder, she walked off of the bus. Moments later Romelle walked next to her.

"Do you happen to know what we're supposed to do?" She asks, and Pidge checks her watch,

"We head to the academic center and check in, we'll get info about our dorms and schedules and then go move in." She explains expressionlessly. Romelle nods and tags along with Pidge to the academic center. Upon entering it wasn't so bad, but within minutes the building was crowded. Luckily, Pidge was next in line.

"Next." A bored woman sighed. She had her hair in a short mullet, dyed purple with a strand of pink. She was in a black tank top, with a name tag that said 'Krolia'.

"Gunderson." Pidge stated, and she traced her finger over a list. She hands Pidge a paper with her dorm info and schedule, and gestures towards a station with laundry bags. Pidge picks up her bag and heads off. She looks over her paper, and sighs.

Gunderson, Pidge

Gender: Male

Dorm: Terras

She walks to the direction of Terras. That was the dorm her brother had lived in during his four years at Garrison Academy. The door was propped open for people to move into. She walked down the hallway until she spotted her name on a door, strangely, she was in a triple. She opened the door to find the two boys from the bus. They had taken over the bunk bed, which was fine by her.

"Hey!" Said the tall one, hanging upside down from the top bunk. After his friend shunned him and told him that it was dangerous, he turned to her s well.

"Hey, man. I'm Hunk, and this is Lance," he warmly introduces. Pidge looks at them both and turns her back to them. Putting her suitcase on the floor, she removes her clothing and puts them into her dresser. She carelessly tossed her bedsheets onto the bed, and gently rested her laptop onto the desk.

"Aren't you going to tell us your name?" Lance asks, jumping off the ladder, causing Hunk to gasp and verify he was okay. Pidge looked at them as she was putting her books onto the shelf part of her desk.

"I'm Pidge." She replies, taking the last book from her bag and sitting down on her bed to read it. Leaning against the wall, she felt weight on her bed. Lance sat down on it. She pulled down her book and looked him in the eye.

"Can you not?" She asks, and he quickly scurried over to his bed, muttering a quick 'sorry'

Hunk asses the situation and sits down in the center of the floor. Pidge puts down her book to look at him.

"What?" She asks, and he sits up, along with Lance. She looks at them puzzledly, and they share a glance. "What?" She repeated.

"Why don't we go down town, get some food, and flirt with some babes!" Lance suggests. Pidge rubs her temples, and places a bookmark into her book.

"I don't have time, I have much more important things to do." She states, crossing her arms. Lance groans loudly, and Hunk looks crestfallen.

"But the school year hasn't even started!" He whines, and Hunk nods in agreement.

"I need to get settled, I also need to finish up double modulating some programs." She replies, and Lance sighs.

"Loosen up, Pidge. Sounds like you're boring…" he grunts, and Pidge throws her book at him. He screeched, and she laughed with Hunk.

"Lance, he doesn't want to come. C'mon, let's just go together." Hunk suggested. Defeated, Lance got up and dropped the book onto the floor. He and Hunk exited the room, and Pidge let out a sigh. She got down and picked up her book, shelving it carefully with her others. She grabbed a flash drive, and left the room. Next stop: Iverson's office

"I just can't believe he can be so rude!" Lance complains to Hunk, and his friend only shook his head.

"We're all freshman, Lance. He could just be homesick." Hunk reasoned, and Lance nodded. Hunk opened the door to the pizzaria for Lance, and let the door close behind them as they entered.

"Yeah, but it's only been like an hour, I just feel like he's just not a nice guy…" Lance sighs as he and Hunk take a seat.

"Look man, that's a possibility, but we can't be so sure yet. Maybe Pidge is just an introvert?" He suggests. A blonde girl at the table next to them looks up.

"Pidge? I sat with him on the bus. He doesn't really talk much, but he seems nice, though I have a hunch he may have been bullied.. I said hi and he moved over like he was scared I'd hurt him." She says, before returning to her conversation with a tanned girl with platinum hair.

"Well, that changes perspective." Hunk tells Lance, and the lanky teen nods. Minutes later they've ordered their pizza, and the two girls left.

"Like, I just don't want to be rooming with some jerk." Lance adds, sipping his soda. Hunk looked at him and sighed. A cart wheeled up to their table and the pizza was placed on an elevated tray in the center. The waiter left, and the two boys began taking slices of the pizza.

"I'm sure he'll open up eventually." Hunk states, and begins sipping his own sods as well. "I'm sure be hasn't like, pulled a felony at all." He adds after a few sips of his drink.

"Yeah, I guess you're right."

Hunk couldn't have been more wrong. Now, Pidge wasn't robbing anyone or murdering anyone. She had good reason, she was going to find and rescue her family. When she found them, she was positive charges would be dropped against her, and pressed onto the Garrison for lying about disappearing people.

"And lefty loosey.." she whispers to herself as she unscrews the grate into the air vent. Gently, she rests it against the wall. Climbing in, she puts it back without screwing it in. Softly crawling through the vents, she exited them into Headmaster Iverson's office. Softly walking towards the windows facing the hallway, she closes the blinds and walks over to the computer. She typed in his password, but was flashed with 'Incorrect Password'

"Quiznak, he changed his password." She mutters under her breath. She hears the lock click and she dives under the desk, and pulled herself into a sideways box, enclosing herself into the tight space.

"Hold on, I just need to send out an email. I'll call you back later," Iverson said, and Pidge held her breath. Please, don't let her get caught on her first day, not even. "MrB0$$m@n" he says, and Pidge felt her lips curl into a smile. She had the password. After a few minutes, the computer shut off and Iverson left his office, turning off the lights and locking the door behind him.

Pidge climbed out of the box and out from under the desk. She turns on the computer and types in the password. The screen saver pops up and she smiles to herself. She plugs in the flash drive, and looks through the files. She dropped things that looked promising that she could look at into the drive, and ejects it. Shutting out of all the tabs and computer, she climbs back into the vent, screwing it shut. She ran back to her dorm and plugged the flash drive into her laptop. Files began popping up, and she dropped them into the database she had built earlier.

She had sorted through most of the files, dividing them by useless, promising, and important. As of now, the only file in 'Important' was her dad's check-in from the night he disappeared. Nothing was wrong with it, it was normal. He wasn't nervous, just talking about the organisms. She pulled her headphones out of her ears and groans.

"There's gotta be something else…" she mutters to herself before she gets an idea. She drops the video into an editing software. She drowns down her father's voice, and ups the background. There was interference, but there shouldn't have been. She downloaded the interference and listened closely. Faintly, between the static she heard a faint sequence of beeps. Pulling them up more, she translates them into morse code.

'Help, the Garrison is lying. They're abducting the smartest in order to build a super weapon strong enough to destroy humanity. If anybody finds this message, we need help. We're making our last stand.'

Chapter Text

It was late when Hunk and Lance had returned from their Pizza and Babes, as Lance had proclaimed they’d call it.

“Hey Pidge, what work did you get done?” Lance asks almost tauntingly. The small girl practically jumps out of her skin once she realized she was no longer alone.

“Oh-uh I got work done.” She stuttered, unsure on what to say exactly. She couldn’t just come right out and say ‘Oh, I just broke into Headmaster Iverson’s office and illegally downloaded some intel to prove my dad and brother are still alive. Oh, did you know the Garrison is plotting on destroying humanity?’ Because of course, that would be simply too blunt and completely uncalled for.

“What kind of work?” Lance presses, and Pidge internally panics.

“Uh, just double modulating systems, downloading and building databases for protecting tests and homework..” She rambles, hoping to throw him off. It surprisingly worked, and he wasn’t up in her face anymore.

“Why don’t we wash up for bed, guys?” Hunk suggests. Lance nods and they both go down to the bathroom. Pidge finishes up re-reading the code for the ninety-eighth time and sighs. She truly was getting somewhere. She shuts her laptop and leaves it on her pillow. She grabs her toothbrush, toothpaste, and a t-shirt that was way too big for her, and made her way down to the bathrooms.

“Hey, Pidge.” Hunk greets as she enters. She doesn’t acknowledge him, and simply does what she needed to. She went into a changing stall and got changed into her pajamas.

She didn’t even hear them say bye to her as Hunk helped Lance with his facial mask and products.

“And then it was like, Pow! Pow!” Came Lance’s voice as Hunk opened the door. Lance was making finger guns, and as Hunk closed the door, he also shook his head.

“It’s more like, pkchao pkchao.” Hunk adds, and Lance sighs.

“What is that.?” Pidge asks, working on her laptop barely even looking up. Hunk and Lance stopped and climbed into their bunks.

“I can’t wait for breakfast, tomorrow.” Hunk moans, and Lance chuckles.

“Yeah, you really can’t, man.” He smiles. The two boys talk until around eleven, where they become too tired to speak. Hunk shifts his side to be facing the open area of the room. Pidge was wide awake, typing away on her laptop, but she didn’t think anybody else was awake, so she took liberty in whispering to herself.

“And if I double modulate this piece of code, it should configure, causing this virus to spread.. aha! Unhackable.” She smiles to herself, and Hunk smiles in the dark. Pidge really did take working seriously. Hunk closed his eyes and allowed himself to drift asleep to the soft clicks of Pidge’s keyboard…

“Matt would be so proud..” she yawns, leaned back against the wall. Papers and charts littered her bed, an empty energy drink can on her desk. Her laptop sat open on her crossed legs, casting a faint glow into her face, reflecting off of her glasses.

She was tired… but she… had to.. get.. this done…. gah, she could finish in the morning.

——————————————————

A blaring alarm clock later, everybody was awake. Well Pidge and Hunk were, Lance had fallen back asleep. Pidge left to go use the restroom, leaving Hunk with Lance duty.

“C'mon, man.. get up! You’ll be late for breakfast!” Hunk whines, and minutes later Lance had gotten up. The two friends had gotten changed, yet Pidge still hadn’t returned. Lance decided to snoop around slightly. ‘I just want to see what he’s working on!’ Was his reasoning.

Lance help up one of the charts and stared at it with confusion. It had what appeared to be static, a long series of squiggly lines, but in the middle of it all were variations of a line, short, long, in all sorts of patterns. Lance had put the paper back when Pidge’s phone rang. Hunk and Lance looked at each other as they read the name of the caller.

“So his mom is calling..” Lance muttered aloud. Pidge re entered the room and picked up the phone, and answered.

“Hey, is everything okay?” She says into the phone. Hunk couldn’t hear anything, but Lance had ears like a dog.

“I’m afraid your mother has been refusing to eat at all. She had a heart failure at around 6 this morning, I’m so sorry for your loss…” the woman at the other end replies with sincerity.

“O-oh. I’m glad she isn’t suffering anymore. Thanks for telling me.” She whispered, and hung up.

“What was that about?” Hunk asked, noticing how upset Pidge looked.

“Uh, we just had to put down my dog, Gunther.” She replies, and Hunk extends his arms for a hug. She looks at him, puzzledly

“What are you doing?” She asks, and he simply laughs.

“Giving you a hug!” He replies, and Pidge found herself tightly embraced by her roommate, who she noted was like a giant teddy bear compared to her small frame

“Why would you hug me…?” She asks after the embrace had ended. Hunk looked into her eyes and smiled.

“Because you’re my friend, and you needed it.” He states kindly, Pidge’s lip curved into a strange smile, and she put her phone into her back pocket.

“T-thanks.. and let’s get breakfast.” She replies, and exits the room, followed by Lance and Hunk.

The three of them had arrived at the dining hall and got into line to pick what they wanted from the buffet. Pidge stood silently in line, and awaited her turn to collect her meal. She was handed a plate, and stepped forward. She scooped a small amount of eggs with a little bacon, plus one small muffin. She filled a glass of milk and walked over to sit at a table that wasn’t very crowded.

“Mind if I sit here?” A voice cuts in. She turns to see a pale boy with jet black hair, styled into a mullet. He had violet and wore a red hoodie and denim jeans.

“Sure.” She replied without emotion. He sat down and picked at his eggs, taking small bites just as Pidge did. They didn’t talk, which was nice. He seemed pretty antisocial, which meant Pidge didn’t have to deal with constant rambling.

“Oh.. I’m Keith” he yawns, leaning forward, resting his head in his hand, elbow on table.

“Pidge.” She replied, taking another bite of her eggs, when she decided she was full. She dropped her plate off at the dishes belt, and sat back down. Keith had put in earbuds, and Pidge could hear Black Parade blasting out of them. Bags hung under his eyes, mirroring Pidge’s own.

Pidge took out her phone and opened instagram, looking through her alerts she found multiple insults, telling her she was unimportant, happy she has moved away, and things like that. She hit ‘Add Account’ and filled it out as Pidge Gunderson. New person, fresh start.

Within seconds Lance had managed to find her profile and follow her. She rolled her eyes and sighed. She put her phone in her pocket and got up to leave the dining hall. She hoped she sat with Keith more often, she didn’t have to even socialize and it was amazing.

“Pidgeon!” Lance yelled, running to catch up with her. Hunk wasn’t too far behind, and she looked at them both.

“..can I help you?” She asks, her hand extending for her wallet before she stopped herself.

“Just wondering if you wanted to go to the movies..? HellFest just came out, and me and Hunk are going.” He rambles.

“Sure,” Pidge shrugs, hiding her excitement. She needed to maintain a cool and calm image, she would not get picked up on and taken under watchful eye, no, she couldn’t let that happen.

“Wait, really?” Lance asked soon after, and Pidge became confused.

“You want me to go.. right?” She verifies. Lance nods furiously and she walks off towards the library.

“Wow. He’s coming out of his shell.” Hunk remarked, and Lance snorted. He wrapped his neck and they march off to the dorm like the idiots they were.

“Maybe He isn’t so bad.” Lance sighs as he opens the door to their dorm, letting Hunk in first. Closing the door behind him, they take a seat on Hunk’s bed.

“Well, I know you heard what actually happened this morning, and that Pidge was lying about it.. what happened?” Hunk asked and Lance verified Pidge wasn’t at the door in that moment.

“His mom died.” Lance sighed, and Hunk’s face fell.

“Awh, that must be pretty hard on him. Why don’t we go out and get him a cake?” He suggested. Lance nodded to the idea, and stood up.

“It would also be a good way to maybe get to know him better!” Lance adds in, and Hunk nodded. They left the room and signed off of campus in the common room. Walking down the streets, they arrived in town.

“Does he have any allergies….?” Lance finally cuts into the silence. Hunk froze and slowly turned around.

“Yeah maybe this isn’t such a great idea..” he chuckled, and the two friends began walking back to the Garrison’s campus. Re entering their dorm, Lance collapsed onto Hunk’s bed, and groaning loudly.

“Classes are starting tomorrow, and ehhhh…” he grunts, pulling one of Hunk’s pillows into his face. “Kill me” he whines, and Hunk chuckles. Taking back his pillow, he collapses alongside Lance.

“Why didn’t he cry?” Hunk sighed, staring at the wooden planks of the top bunk. Lance turned his head towards his best friend.

“Hm?” He asked, clearly exhausted from the walk to and back from town. Hunk sighed, and turned his head towards Lance.

“His mom died, man. And he didn’t cry,” Hunk clarified, and Lance thought for a few minutes.

“I’m.. not sure” Lance finally replied, returning to his s position, staring at the ceiling where Hunk had placed stars that would faintly glow after exposure to light.

And of course, that was the moment Pidge had entered the room. Of course, she also had no idea what was going on while she burst in, so she didn’t bat an eye at Lance and Hunk’s frozen and tired faces. Dropping her laptop onto her bed, she layed down and took off her glasses, resting them on her desk.

“So, when is the movie?” She asks, and Lance ponders for a moment, before jolting up.

“In like an hour! Let’s go, go go!” He shouts, Pidge and Hunk struggling to get up. Pidge grabs her glasses and picks up a hoodie. She tossed it on and slipped on her black converse. Hunk slips on his army boots, and Lance gets his sneakers on.

“How far away is the theater?” Pidge asks, pocketing her phone and pushing hair that slid out of its place behind her ear.

“Bout’s half an hour away.” Hunk answers, and she opens the door. Lance pushes Hunk, and grabs Pidge’s arm at the last second. The two of them get dragged down the hallway, and onto a public bus. Lance tells the busdriver their location, and they all walk to the back of the bus, once again one elongated seat. Pidge sighs and takes the window seat, gazing out as the bus moved along the roads.

“I’m so excited!” Lance squeals, and Hunk pats his back. Pidge shifts her attention to her two roommates, and watches the scene play out

“I’m honestly nervous, I mean, like, people die! I know it’s fake, but I still always feel bad…” Hunk explained, and Pidge subconsciously nodded along. Hunk was right, innocent people died… like her mom. No, she’d have to stop thinking that way if she wanted to find her father and brother.

“I think it may be a good break for me to loosen up.” Pidge states truthfully. She really had made progress, understanding the reason they disappeared. She simply needed to find where they were, and if it was a super weapon of sorts, it would emit signals that would screw with her radioactive wave scanners. She just needed a place with a strong signal to begin her scans.

“You’ve been working non stop and school hasn’t even started! You need to chill out, man!” Lance replies, and Pidge sighs. He had a good reason, but she had an even better one. This was something she couldn’t possibly just “Chill out” with. It was a life and death matter, people’s lives were at stake. And she wouldn’t be able to live with herself if people died because she became lazy.

“I.. guess.” she replies, not really meaning it. If he was bothered by it, she’d just work when she’s most awake, night time.

Their conversation and thoughts were cut off as the bus stopped to let them out for the movie. Lance had sprinted off the bus, but Hunk and Pidge had just walked off like normal people. They had met up with Lance at the entrance and entered the building. The trio had gotten in line to buy their tickets, and waited.

“Hello, I’m Veronica. How may I help you?” the woman behind the counter greeted with a strained smile.

“Three tickets to Hellfest, please.” Hunk asked politely, handing her a fifty dollar bill. She placed it into the cash register, taking out three tickets and handing them to Hunk. Lance stepped out from behind Hunk, and Veronica groaned.

“Please tell me you’re not here to get free food, Lance.” She groaned, and Lance shook his head.

“No, I’m here with my friends to watch a movie.” He smirked, and she gawked. Looking him in the eyes, and snorted.

“You? Friends? Ha!” She laughed, shooing them to the food line so she could deal with the next people in line.

“Yep, well that’s my sister.” Lance shrugged, ordering a soda and some popcorn. Everyone had ordered a soda and some popcorn as well, and they walked off to the theater that Hellfest was showing in. They picked seats in the middle, and sat down for the movie. Previews played, and the movie began.

“Dude, this isn’t funny anymore.” The girl on screen muttered. Seconds later she was murdered, and Hunk had jumped in his seat.

“Aw, liked her.” He whispered to Lance, who chuckled. The movie ended about half an hour later, and the trio began picking up their trash, tossing it out as they exited the theater. They got onto the bus, and road back home. Pidge stared out the window, while Lance and Hunk discussed the movie.

“Pidge, it’s our stop.” Hunk nudged. Pidge jumped and nodded, scurrying out after her two roommates. They entered the dorm, and Pidge collected her supplies to take a shower. Hunk went to go get snacks.

Lance had been straightening up his bed when Pidge’s phone rang, he was alone in the room, and didn’t know if he should check who it was. Though, she had a phone that announced the name out loud, so it would say who it was eventually.

“Call from, Max.” It read. Lance was curious now, who was Max. Hesitantly, he picked up the phone, Pidge wouldn’t get too mad at him for reading her messages, right?

“Hello?” He asked into the phone.

“Hey, Katie. Did you kill yourself, yet?” The voice from the other end asked. Freaked out, Lance hung up. Katie? Who was Katie? Did the guys have the wrong number? No, he was in Pidge’s contacts…

Wait, was Pidge a girl?

Lance dropped the phone back onto Pidge’s desk, and sat down on his desk chair, staring at the wall.

“Maybe he has a twin named Katie..?” He mutters to himself, catching a glimpse of a picture sticking out of a book. Walking over to the book, he picks it up and takes out the photo. It was of two similar looking kids, one looking like Pidge, the other was a girl with long hair. Their arms were wrapped around each other, and they were smiling. He put the picture back, and puts the book back on his shelf.

“Hey, man.” Hunk greets, coming into the room with an armful of potato chip bags, and dumping them on his bed.

“Hey!” Lance smiles, forgetting about the Katie incident. Pidge just had a twin named Katie, Max had pranked Pidge, simple as that

“Hungry?” Hunk asks, extending his hand, holding a potato chip bag to Lance. Lance accepts the bag and opens it, dumping some chips into his mouth, crunching.

“Hey,” Pidge says, entering the room. She was in green pajamas, and looked exhausted. Her hair was dripping wet. She climbed into her bed and pulled her laptop close to her. Lance threw away his empty chip bag and climbed into his bed, Hunk soon following suit. Clicking of computer keys echoed throughout the room, accompanied by Hunk’s loud snores.

“Hey, Pidge?” Lance asks, turning his body to face the small kid working at one am. She paused her typing.

“Hm?” she asks, continuing her typing on her laptop. Lance seriously wondered what she was working on, to keep her up so late before the school year even started.

“Do you have any siblings..?” he asked, and she paused her typing once again. She couldn’t say she had an older brother, that’d be suspicious.

“Uhm.. I have a twin named Katie.” she lied, hoping Lance would buy it. Well, he’d fallen for her disguise and past lies, so there was nothing giving away. It was just a little white lie so she could survive, finding her family.

“Cool. I have two sisters, and two brothers. You met Veronica earlier at the theater, Rachel is going to Leon Academy this year. Marco graduated, and Luis is just in seventh grade.” Lance whispers, clicking continuing through the following silence.

“You should sleep.” Pidge informs Lance blankly, dimming her screen slightly. Lance sighs and sits up slightly.

“You should too, it’s almost two am.” Lance replies, and Pidge mumbles something about a database before shutting her laptop, moving it to her desk.

“Yeah, we do have classes tomorrow. Good night.” she mutters, pulling her sheets up to her shoulders and closing her eyes, inhaling slowly in a calming pattern. Lance fell asleep, and Pidge soon after.

---

Blinding rays of sunlight hit Romelle’s face as she slowly blinked open her eyes. Sitting up, she slipped on her pink slippers and stood, walking over to her roommate, Allura’s, bed. Slowly nudging her, Allura turned and groaned.

“Just five more dobashes…” she mumbles, and Romelle snickers. Nudging Allura again, the tanned girl sat up, rubbing her sky blue eyes. “Morning already?” She yawns, stretching out her arms. Getting out of bed, Allura’s waves fell elegantly over her shoulders.

“Get up, you lazy lump! It’s our first day of classes!” Romelle squeaks, and Allura giggles.

“Alright, alright, I’m getting up!” She laughs, patting the large terrarium that her four mice lived in.

“I’m going to get changed.” Romelle announced, and Allura nodded as she herself approached her dresser to pull out a sky blue sundress. She pulled it over her shoulders and sat down to fix up her makeup.

Romelle had put on a pink and white plaid skirt with a white cropped T-shirt. Her hair pulled back in two pigtails. Once Allura was ready, the two girls pulled on their shoes and headed to the dining hall.

“Morning, Pidge!” Romelle smiles cheerfully as she stood next to said person in the line for the buffet. Pidge turns and awkwardly waves.

“Morning, Romelle.” She says tiredly, bags clearly hanging under her eyes. Allura came up behind Romelle and smiled warmly.

“Good morning! You must be Pidge!” She smiles, extending a hand for Pidge to shake. “I’m Allura.” She introduces as the three girls were handed plates. Stepping forward in line, they scooped up bits of egg and bacon, and collected glasses of water, milk, or juice.

“So where do you sit?” Romelle asks kindly and Pidge simply shrugs.

“I usually sit with Keith, we just eat and listen to Panic! At the Disco.” She explained, and walked towards Keith, his earbuds already in his ear as he nodded along to the beat she recognized as High Hopes.

“Well, we’ll see you later!” Romelle says as she and Allura take a seat at one of the larger tables with Lance and Hunk.

“I’m Romelle, this is Allura.” The blonde introduces to the two boys sitting across from them.

“Name’s Lance.” The tanned boy winks, and Allura groans loudly.

“I’m Hunk.” The other boy shyly smiles, and Romelle returns the gesture.

“So, are you two roommates?” Romelle asks, and they nod.

“Well, Pidge is also our roommate. We got the triple this year.” Hunk explains thoroughly. Romelle nods, and takes a large bite of her eggs.

“What do you have first?” Lance asked the group, who all peered down at their phones to look at their schedules.

“I have art first.” Romelle announces, and Allura sighs with frustration.

“I do as well! I’m terrible at drawing! Once I tried to draw my NanNan, but it looked like a flan-bil-diplor!” She whines, referencing one of the mythological creatures of the Altean religion.

“There, there.” Romelle says calmly, patting Allura’s back as she slumped into the table. “I’m sure we won’t be starting any projects today.” She added, which did make Allura feel slightly better.

“I have coding.” Hunk shrugs, shutting off his phone and putting it into his pocket.

“Dance.” Lance responds, and smirks with passion. He had been dancing since elementary school, and he didn’t care that he would be judged for it.

“How exciting!” Romelle squeals, clasping her hands together, excited for what the day would bring.

—-

Pidge and Keith ate in silence, both listening to their own depressing music, losing themselves in thought.

Half an hour had passed, and Pidge took her dishes to the belt and sat back down, taking out her computer. She had coding first, which was exciting. She was probably not going to learn anything, but it would be nice to sharpen her skills a bit more.

Slinging her bag over her shoulder, Pidge tucked her laptop under her arm and exited the dining hall on her way to the computer lab, which was in the library.

Halfway there, Hunk jogged up next to her clearly out of breath from his run. Catching his breath, he slowed his pace to not get too far ahead of Pidge.

“What— class?” He asked, still catching his breath.

“Coding.” She replied, adjusting her grip on her laptop. She straightened her back and pushed through the library door.

“Me too!” He smiles, finally breathing at a normal speed.

“Cool.” She replies, opening the door for the computer lab and taking a seat.

—-

“Keith Kogane?” The dance teacher called, looking up from her list and scanning the room.

“Here.” Mumbled a low voice, uninterested in being in the large room full of people. He only expected like five other dancers, not twenty.

“Ina Leifsdottir?” The teacher asked once more, and a pale hand shot up signalling that she was present.

“Lance McClain?” She asked, setting the clipboard down. Looking around the room once more.

“Here and ready to dance!” Lance announced with spirit, causing a few of the fellow dancers to groan.

“Okay! File up and stretch out. I’m your teacher, Miss Luxia.” She announced. Miss Luxia has long blue and yellow hair pulled back in loops, she had sky blue eyes and wore black leggings with a tank top.

As the beginning of the year, the class had been split up into two groups of ten for a dance-off, a fun way to show Miss Luxia their skills. Within each group, every member was given a number between one and ten, to determine their opponent.

“Three!” Miss Luxia called, and Lance stepped forward, as well as Keith. Lance began with ballet, gracefully leaping and diving, balanced on his toes. Keith took a different approach. It was like a mix between gymnastics, dance, and fighting. He’d dodge to sides, roll and backflip up, and he landed in a crouched position. Lance!s jaw dropped, and he shook his head.

“Woah!” One of the girls on Keith’s team, Nadia, gasped. “He’s better than Lance!” She adds, and said person clenches his fists in anger.

“Team Red gets a point.” Luxia announces, refereeing that Keith’s dancing had won. Lance worked so hard, to be beaten by a short emo mullet!

—-

Romelle and Allura had arrived at the art center and had taken a seat at a table. A woman with dyed blue and blonde hair pulled back in two pigtails sat up from her desk.

“Hey! I’m Miss Nagua, but just call me Plaxum.” She introduces with a kind smile. Allura’s face brightened, perhaps art wouldn’t be as horrid as she imagined.

“Hello, Plaxum!” Romelle smiles, waving gently towards the art teacher. Plaxum giggled and walked towards the front of the room, airplaying something from her tablet.

“Today we’re just going to draw how we see ourselves, and some background information.” She announces, and Allura sighs, she just needed a stick figure, right?

—-

In no time, it was lunch, and Lance had grudgingly made his way to sit down next to Hunk, and surprisingly Pidge was at the table as well. Romelle and Allura entered the building soon after. The five of them had no classes together in the morning, only afternoons.

“What’s wrong, man?” Hunk asked, putting down his halfway eaten burger to look at Lance.

“This emo kid beat me in dance!” He whines, smacking his head onto the table. Allura sighed and shook her head,

“Who?” Pidge asked, nibbling on a peanut-butter cookie. Her glasses were on the table on top of her laptop, and her amber eyes looked exhausted.

“Keith!” Lance whined. “Keith beat me at a dance off! He beat me! Lance dance revolution!” He adds to his statement, leaning on his elbow, taking a bite out of an apple.

“Keith Kogane?” Pidge asked, finishing her cookie and wiping her hands with a napkin.

“Yeah!” Lance confirmed, and she looked over at a corner where Keith sat alone, listening to earbuds,

“He can dance?” She gawked, putting on her glasses to look closer. “No way!” She adds, turning back to the table. She got up to put her plate away and sat back down, waiting for lunch to be over. The group had realized they all had Space Exploration & Religion together after lunch, which excited Pidge and Hunk, at least about the space exploration part.

“I believe we may cover Altean and Galran! Two of the most overlooked religions!” Romelle squeals, and Allura laughs.

“We should get going to the academic center.” Pidge said, looking up from her watch. She pulled her hoodie over her black t-shirt and tossed her bag over her shoulder, picking her laptop up and tucking it under her arm.

“Yeah, c'mon guys.” Hunk smiled, gathering his bag as well as he stood next to Pidge. The remaining three teens dealt with their plates and headed out the door. They walked into the academic center, following the room numbers until they entered the class.

Keith looked up from his phone as the five people entered the room. The tables had name tags, and Lance was furious that he was sitting next to his ‘Nemesis’. Romelle and Allura were together, Hunk was with a girl named Shay, who arrived minutes after the others, and seemed very sweet. As the professor entered the classroom and took a seat at his desk, a boy with long white hair and violet eyes entered and took his seat next to Pidge.

“Ah, greetings! I’m Coran!” the professor smiled, twirling his mustache. He picked up a clipboard and looked over it. “Time for a role call! Lotor Auriande?” He asked, and the boy next to Pidge blew a strand of hair away from his face.

“Here.” He mumbles in a british accent, looking like he’d rather be dead than in the class.

“Shay Balmeran?” He called next, and the girl next to Hunk shyly raised her hand, silently whispering ‘here’.

“Hunk Garrett?”

“Here.”

“Pidge Gunderson?” Coran asked next, and Pidge adjusted her glasses and turned her focus to Coran.

“Here.” She answered, placing her laptop in front of her, instead of leaving it on the floor.

“Who names their child ‘Pidge?’” Lotor rudely asks, and Pidge tried so hard not to kill him. Taking in a deep breath she looked at him.

“Says the kid named Lotor.” She retorts, and he mumbled something out of anger. Though, it was a language she did not understand, it was obviously a insult. She returned her focus the lesson.

“Religions are something that we need to learn more about, for example, the Altean religion was formed after a comet hit a small town in Britain. The citizens believed that it was sent from gods of another planet, and came to worship their new king, Alfor.” He explained, and Romelle and Allura shared glances.

“Coran, Allura and I are of said religion,” Romelle smiles, and Coran returns the gesture.

“As am I.” He sighs, twirling his moustache. Pidge sighs and begins sprawling out notes about the religion.

“Studious, I see.” Lotor whispered in her ear, and she jumped. She glared at him and continued her notes.

“A similar religion is Galran. The religion warships an emperor named Zarkon, but it has dark roots. Most of the ‘warshipping’ was forced upon others to serve their emperor, even when it seems meaningless. The religion would only stop at victory or death.” He explained, and Pidge scribbled it down quickly, careful not to miss any information.

Coran had explained more of the two religions, and the bell had rang signaling it was time to head to the next class. Pidge gathered her stuff and scurried out the door, peeking at her schedule. Strangely, the school only had four classes a day, each being an hour and twenty five minutes long. Her last class of the day was P.E, which she still wasn’t happy about.

And of course, they were playing dodgeball. Pidge swore she’d hack into the system to get her out of gym, she needed to be alive to find her family.

—-

It’s fair to say that Pidge was ready to die by the end of P.E. She grabbed her bag and walked back to the dorm, accepting the cool air against her warm skin.

The building of Terra came into view, and Pidge sighed with relief. She opened the door, and walked down the left hallway to reach her room. She opened the door, to find Lance and Hunk had yet to return. She shrugged, and tossed her bag onto the floor and collected clothing to wear after a shower.

She walked into the bathroom, and entered an available shower. She finished, and dried off. Taking the bath matt that hung on the wall, she stepped onto it and got changed. She re entered her room in a NASA shirt and grey cargo shorts, her hair a mess, sticking out in ways that defied gravity.

She had sat down to work on her research when Lance burst through the door, startling Pidge.

“What..?” She asked, annoyed at Lance’s entrance. He gasped for breath, his hands on his knees. “Just get to the point.” She adds coldly.

“Romelle— she’s in the— hospital—“

Chapter Text

“She’s what!?” Pidge screeches, shutting her laptop and tossing it onto her pillow, leaping to her feet. “This isn’t funny, Lance!” She adds in, fear in her eyes. Had Iverson figured her out? Was this her fault—?

“Allura said she looked like she caught a cold after swimming, and then she just passed out!” Lance explains. “The ambulance just left, Coran’s going to give us a ride to the hospital. He really likes Allura and Romelle.” He adds. Pidge nods, and follows Lance to the front of the dorm where Coran’s car was parked. Hunk, and Allura were already inside.

“Are you ready?” Coran asked, igniting the engine. Pidge and Lance climbed into the back of the car. Pidge tapped her lap impatiently as they pulled out of the lot.

“Does anybody know anything else..?” Hunk asked with worry evident in his voice. Allura sighed and tapped her finger on her lap repeatedly.

“No, I’m afraid..” She responded as their surroundings shifted to Arus City. Coran pulled into the parking lot of Olkarion Hospital, and the teens filled out. They rushed into the building, and Allura reached the front desk first, her face creased from worry. “Romelle Colonia, is- is she okay?” she asked the receptionist. The lady smiled as she typed the name into her computer.

“Yes, she’s fine. In fact you can head into visit her, if you’d like.” She continues smiling as she stands up to take the group to the hospital room. Romelle sat propped up in a bed, dressed in a hospital gown She was attached to some IVs, and other instruments.

“Hey..” The girl weakly smiles, and Allura runs up to the bedside and hugged Romelle. Romelle squeaks and lightly laughs.

“You shouldn’t be doing that, Allura.” Romelle weakly smiled as she gestured towards the medical equipment. “You don’t want to accidentally kill me!” She laughs, lightly punching Allura’s shoulder.

Pidge, Lance, and Hunk remained closer to the door, and Coran was seated in a chair, smiling at Allura and Romelle’s interactions.

The doctor entered the room with a clipboard and stood next to Romelle’s bed. He looked around the room at the guests and deeply exhaled.

“You can tell them.” Romelle smiles, looking away from Allura to face the doctor

“About five years ago Ms. Colonia was diagnosed with Leukemia. Leukemia is a form of cancer that targets blood, hindering the body’s ability to fight infection. Ms. Colonia caught a cold, and her body failed to fight it, that is why she passed out.” The doctor explains. The glint in Allura’s eyes faded as she sighed.

“And doesn’t Leukemia kill the patient within around five years since diagnosis?” She asks wearily. The doctor bit his lip and solemnly nodded. Romelle wasn’t going to live much longer, was she?

“Guys, I’ll be fine. Let’s live in the moment, not the future.” Romelle smiles brightly, and the feeling spread around the room, eradicating the solemn atmosphere.

“She’s right.” Pidge mumbles, adjusting her glasses. She walked up to Romelle and Allura. “Romelle will be out of the hospital later today or tomorrow, it was just a cold and she’s fine. Let’s head back to school before we miss dinner.” She adds, resting her hand on Allura’s shoulder.

“You’re right. Romelle, I’ll see you tomorrow.” Allura exhales, standing up and walking towards the door. The group followed, and they headed to Coran’s car. The engine was once again ignited, and they were off.

About forty five minutes later, they had arrived back on campus. Lance, Pidge, and Hunk were dropped off at Terra and Coran took Allura to Arus.

The trio entered their room and collected whatever they needed for nightly activities. All three of them had swimming, which Lance was joyous about.

“Bye.” Pidge mumbles as she exits the room with her bag slung over her shoulder. She gently shuts the door and heads down the hallway. She checked her watch before opening the front door, a gust of cool September wind bristling into her face, sending a few hairs askew.

She stepped onto the paved sidewalk, a pattern of taps as she calmly walked across the sidewalks of the luscious campus until she had arrived at the dining hall. Pushing the doors open, she stepped into the mostly cleared out buffet line. Soon, she was handed a plate and ushered forward.

Pidge had selected a small caesar salad, alongside a fruit cup and a glass of water. Instead of sitting with Lance, Hunk, and Allura, she went to sit with Keith. Gently setting her plate and cups down, she took a seat and began mindlessly nibbling, staring off into the blank beige walls of the large room.

“Pidge! Come join us!” Allura’s welcoming voice entered Pidge’s senses. The small girl put down her fork alongside the barely touched food to face the platinum haired girl. Allura’s grin was obviously forced, a sign that she had truly not believed Romelle would be okay.

“Uh, I guess it wouldn’t hurt…” Pidge mumbles, picking up her plate, and Allura grabbed the cups for her. Pidge slung her bag over her shoulder, and trudged towards the table where Lance and Hunk sat, deep in a conversation. Allura daintily returned back to her seat, as Pidge pulls out the chair next to Allura and plopped down.

“Are you worried about her?” Allura asked, her face creased with worry for her dear friend. Amongst the buzzed chatter of the surrounding students, Pidge had barely even heard her.

“Allura, she’ll be okay.” Pidge soothes, pushing her plate away. She wasn’t hungry, plus she did have swimming directly after lunch. Allura exhaled, and rested her chin in the palm of her sunkissed hand.

“I suppose you’re correct..” She whispers, staring off into the vast horizon that lay past the large windows near the south end of the Dining Hall. Birds soared through the blue streaked skies, fluffy clouds rolling across the sun, emitting different colors and shades of blue, as well as pink.

“I always am.” Pidge jokes, attempting to lift the heavy burden that surrounded the group of friends. Wait, friends? No.. this was already falling apart. She’s put everyone in danger of being expelled or arrested. She needed to slowly and gradually back away, returning to her corner of isolation.

“Yes, I suppose that is also somewhat correct.” Allura smirked deviously, and Pidge clasped her hand over her heart as if she’d been shot through it. Allura giggled lightly, showing that she was improving her her upset state.

“Agh, nightly activities are starting soon, I must head off to the tennis courts, they’re all the way across campus..” The tanned girl mumbled, dropping her dishes off at the conveyor belt and picking up her sports bag. Pidge watched as she exited the dining hall, and she too dropped off her plate. She walked into the bathroom and changed into a silky swim shirt, along with shorts.

“You ready, man?” Lance asks from outside the door. Pidge shoves all of her clothing back into her backpack and lazily tosses it over her left shoulder, feeling it flop into her back. Pidge exited the bathroom, and nodded.

“Yeah, let’s go.” She mumbles briskly, speed walking out of the building, and walking across the street to the athletics center where the pool was located. She gently placed her bag on a bench in a seemingly forgotten area of the locker room, and met up with Lance and Hunk, who just simply took off their shirts, because they had put on their swim trunks prior to dinner.

“Pool is just through that door.” Lance informs her, and she groans with annoyance. She kicked Lance in the kneecaps and smirked as he buckled over with the shock of her hit.
“Don’t baby me, Lance. I know more than you.” She mumbles, which was completely true. She knew the Garrison was planning on killing most of Earth, or enslaving it. Which ever one it was, Pidge didn’t understand why. She didn’t even think she wanted to.

Hunk chuckles for a few seconds before verifying Lance was okay, and not going to pass out or anything. Pidge entered the pool room and was hit with the strong scent of chlorine, which disappointed her. They should at least get a saltwater pool. If you mixed chlorine with the wrong chemicals, they can kiss their school goodbye.

“Jeez, is he okay?!” Lance hisses at Hunk, who simply shrugs. Lance groans and drags a stunned Hunk into the pool room. It was the first day, and they were informed they had a free swim.

“Where’s Pidge?” Hunk asks, scanning the water. Lance recognized Nadia and Ina from dance class, and they were with two boys. One of the boys had brown hair, with a lock of it pulled over his left eye. His skin was relatively pale, and he had brown eyes. The other boy had chestnut brown skin with an emotionless expression upon his face. His dark brown hair sat in wet dreadlocks as Nadia giggled over something that nobody else found funny.

“I don’t see him.” Lance shrugs, dipping a toe into the pool water. It was warm, but not too warm. It was the temperature of a sunny spring day, it felt like sunshine was embracing you gently, but was engulfed in a warm, gentle, breeze. Lance smiled as the sensation reminded him of Varadero Beach back in Cuba. He removed his toe and climbed up a diving board, stretching before he decided to leap in.

Hunk didn’t jump in, he simply slowly entered through the staircase. A group of girls were huddled in one area of the pool, probably gossiping.

“I heard that Romelle girl is in the hospital because she’s pregnant!” one girl said snarkily. Her hair was pulled into four ponytails, but loosely hung to give it a more natural look. She had violet eyes and very pale skin, light pink lipstick on her lips.

“But we’re freshman…?” Another girl replies, shaking her hair. It was cut in a pixie cut, and dyed magenta. She had olive skin and brown eyes. She wore large hoop earrings, and crossed her arms.

“Luki, Nyma, It can’t be true, Romelle is too sweet to do that.” A girl who Hunk recognized as the one and only Shay mumbled with sincerity. “Trust me.” she added, pleaing with her eyes. The other two girls, Luki and Nyma rolled their eyes before they began a new conversation. Hunk waded away from them and reached Lance, who was flirting with Nadia.

“Lance, stop.” Hunk facepalmed, latching onto the Cuban’s arm as he dragged him away from the group. Nadia appeared confused, and Hunk apologized for Lance’s actions.
“Aww, Hunk!” Lance whined, pushing water into the Hawaiian’s face. Hunk deviously smirked as he picked up some of the water with his large hands.

“Oh, you’re on!” he laughs, tossing it at Lance. The two began a water fight, and Pidge observed from a seat on the shore of the pool. She sat down, covering herself with her towel. It was becoming freezing, and if there was one thing the world should know about the Holt’s, it’s that they absolutely resent the cold.

The cold was unforgiving, and murderous. Great NanNan always told her grandchildren stories about how one winter they’d been caught in a terrible blizzard, and barely escaped with their lives. The story was most likely the reason for the resentment, but nobody really knew for certain.

And of course, that was when Hunk and Lance had spotted her. Lance eagerly waved towards her, as Hunk shoved him off his feet. Pidge giggled lightly as Lance emerged from the water, shaking the pool water out of his hair as if he were a dog.

“No thanks!” she called over the echo of the room, and she could tell Lance was whining. She put on a straight face and shook her head. Lance slumped, and continued his war with Hunk.

“Tweet!” the lifeguard called, signalling it was time to get out of the water. The teens trudged out of the pool, dripping wet. They collected their towels and dried off. Pidge entered the locker room to collect her bag. She picked it up from where she left it, and exited the athletic center.

She took in the evening breeze and wrapped her dry towel around her tighter, goosebumps running down her pale and freckled arms. She shivered once more, and pushed open the door to the dorm.

“Greetings!” One of the boys in the dorm, Slav, she think it was, greeted. She waved and trudged down the left hallway, opening the door to her room. She gently closed it, and walked over to her bed. She quickly slipped on her comfy green pajamas, relishing as the warm fabrics met her cold skin. She exhaled with relief as Hunk and Lance burst in, surprising her.

“Hey, Pidge. Lance and I are just gonna wash up and go to bed, mkay?” Hunk mumbles, exhaustion evident in his eyes. Pidge nodded and collected her supplies for washing up as well.

Pidge, Lance, and Hunk had all gotten ready and had climbed into their beds. Pidge collected her laptop and phone. A ding went off as she received a text. She opened it, and it was a photo of Romelle and Allura.

‘Romelle’s back!’ was what the text said, and Pidge understood it to have been Allura as the sender.

“Romelle’s back.” she announced as she went to check herr other messages. There were a few taunts from Max and his friends. Pidge hesitantly opened them and sighed with slight annoyance as rude messages came up on screen.

She deleted them, and shut off her phone. She gently lifted the metal lid of her laptop, allowing the luminescent screen to illuminate the room before she dimmed it. She began re looking through the files with her headphones, running a program that would uncover any similar codes to the one prior.

“Hey Pidge?” Lance drowsily asks as Pidge removed her headphones to give her ears a break from the weight the headphones had added.

“Hm?’ She replies in a similar tone, getting up to collect an energy drink from one of her drawers.

“Could you sleep? Your keyboard is keeping me awake..” he mumbles, turning around pulling his sheets gently closer to his chest. “Please?” he adds for good measure.

With a defeated sigh, Pidge put the drink back in her drawer and shut her laptop, putting it onto her desk. She pulled the sheets over her, and curled up against her pillow. Lance smiles as he shuts his eyes, allowing the soft lulling melody of sleep pull him under.

---

Matt smiled at her as she embraced him tightly, avoiding pulling anything necessary off of his backpack. It was the end of the year senior camping trip, and Matt being the weeb he was, became psyched about the trip, making sure he was prepared for anything. And oh boy, Katie meant everything.

“What’s the fireworks for?” she had asked him, and he smiled brightly, gazing towards the sky as if he were some superhero.

“Just in case I need to do something illegal.” he finally shrugged, and Katie snorted out a laugh, and Matt had joined in. “What? I must be prepared!” He had reasoned, stifling his laughter

“Or you literally want an excuse to buy whatever you want.” She had added, giving him one last hug goodbye as he and dad entered the bus that would take them off the the campsite. Katie was twelve, why should she suspect things would go wrong?

A few days later there was a knock on the front door. It all happened so quickly that Katie didn’t really remember what happened.

And that was the night she broke. She punched her mirror, it shattered cutting her knuckles open. She had other intentions that night, but couldn’t bring herself to leave her mother.

Though her mother felt differently. Two days later Colleen collapsed, because she’d been starving herself. It all went down quickly; Colleen was taken to the hospital, and Katie was left alone with pain and memories.

Was she even loved?

---

Pidge jolted awake, tears in her eyes. Her chest rapidly moved up and down as she choked on her sobs. She commanded herself to breathe, but it wasn’t working. Her brain was betraying her. She screamed, not realizing that she took in air as she did so. She hugged her knees and leaned against her wall, her eyes widening in pure fear. Of what?

What was she scared of? She was going to die now, her breaths were short and choppy, and she continued to choke on sobs, tears rolling freely down her pale cheeks.

“Pidge?” Lance mumbled with exhaustion, rolling over as rays of moonlight hit the small figure. His eyes widened and he scrambled down the ladder, and sat down next to Pidge. He rubbed circles into her back, yet her breaths remained ragged. “Hey, Pidge, can you tell me who that is?” he asked, gesturing towards a sleeping Hunk. the large man had slept through her screams and sobs, and she took in a deep breath.

“H-Hunk.” she whispered. Her breaths evened out and Lance sighed with relief, swarming the small girl with a tight hug.

“You okay? You had a panic attack..” Lance asked, and Pidge wiped away her tears, pushing Lance away from her.

“I’m fine, go back to sleep. It was just a nightmare.” she lied. Lance exhaled and returned to his bed. He pulls the covers up to the crook of his neck and listens as Pidge does the same.

“Night.” he whispers gently, shutting his eyes once again. Sleep pulled over him as he heard a gentle voice.

“Goodnight, Lance.”

---
The day had passed quickly with nothing eventful. Coran was joyous about Romelle’s healthy return, yet shocked she only needed one night to recover, given her condition. Shaking it off as luck, the day continued. Though, after dinner there was a bonfire.

“Pidgey!” Lance whined, roasting a marshmallow. Though, he paid no attention to the snack as he whined for the girl to sit with them.

Pidge insisted she stay near the torches that drove away mosquitos, due to the fact she hated getting bitten by the vial creatures, as she’s claimed

Since Lance had paid no attention, his marshmallow soon caught on fire, yet still remained unaware of the flaming stick in his grasp. It wasn’t until Nadia had pointed it out as if it were no big deal that Lance had freaked out. The flame had spread up the wooden stick, and the end with the marshmallow had already collapsed into the fire pit.

With a shriek, Lance had dropped the stick, setting the surrounding grass on fire. Keith had grabbed a seltzer can and doused the fire out, yet the students were still frozen at the face the grass was just on fire, thanks to Mr. McLame.

While the fire incident was over, the students began where they dropped off, serving barbeque, hamburgers, and other snacks that you’d have at a bonfire. Over the screams and roars of the partying kids, nobody noticed Slav Traz disappear.

Things were getting a whole lot worse, and it would only be a matter of time before more kids began disappearing thanks the the Garrison’s master plan.

“Okay kids, party over!” Iverson yelled with annoyance over the loud partying, and everything stopped. The teens packed up whatever they brought and trudged back to the dorm.

It was probably the most tranquil the Terra dorm had been as of now until the dorm councillors called a meeting. Everyone gathered into the common room, sitting down in the sofas and chairs, looking at the councillors with curiosity for the reason behind the meeting.

“One of our students has gone missing.” Ryner said with authority. The elder woman looked over the room at the student’s confused faces, as they themselves looked around the room trying to figure out who was missing.

“Yoohoo.” Sven mumbled in his strong Australian accent. He leaned against a wall, his arms crossed.

“It was Sven’s roommate, Slav..” Ryner added with dismay, yet nobody in the dorm batted an eye. Sure, it really was terrible, and probably the most terrifying thing they’d every experience, but nobody could argue with the fact Slav was a perfectionist, and annoyed everybody with his constant complaining.

“Oh no.” James mumbled with fake sarcasm, and his roommate, Ryan silently nodded along. The two boys left the common room and went for their room. The other kids in Terra followed along, until Pidge, Hunk, and Lance were the only students left in the room. Ryner smiled and looked at them.

“I trust that you will notify me with any information you may gather.” she nodded with honesty, heading down the right wing to her apartment at the end of the hall.

“That’s scary..” Hunk said, biting his nails. Lance cracked his neck and sat up from the sofa, Pidge and Hunk soon following. They walk to their room and get ready for bed. Nobody speaks a word that night. They climb into bed and sleep.

“Goodnight.”

—-

Before anybody knew it, the first week of school was over and everyone was exhausted. Pidge found a coffee shop nearby campus, and decided to spend most of Saturday curled up in the corner of the shop with coffee and her laptop.

Lance had roamed around with Hunk, exploring the extending campus.

Romelle and Allura went shopping a lot, and did a lot of ‘Girls Night Out’.

Pidge managed to get into the Garrison’s database by hacking through their website. She kept uncovering different layers until she uncovered a second website. It had lists of students, alongside their scores and IQs.

“What the—“ she mumbles as she scrolls through the list. Some names were red, which confused her. That was until she read over the names in red.

Matthew Holt
19yrs
IQ-273

Samuel Holt
57yrs
IQ-289

Slav Traz
15yrs
IQ-196

And that was when she stopped reading the names. The Garrison was taking these people, and she had to stop them. And she hates herself for thinking this; but she needed help. She couldn’t do this alone.

She opened her phone and turned on her VPN. She opened and sent a text.

Pidgeon> Guys, I have something really important I need to tell you. Meet me at Starbucks.

Lance> k? Me & hunk will b there in a few mins.

Princess> Of course!

Keith> Uh, am I supposed to be in this?

Pidgeon> Yeah, just hurry up.

She shut off her phone entirely and shut her computer, to save the battery until the others arrived. Romelle and Allura arrived first, followed by Keith, and then Lance and Hunk. The four teenagers sat around Pidge.

“What?” Keith asked, annoyed that he was asked to come out in public.

“The Garrison has been lying to all of us. Remember last year when the camping trip failed and Takashi, Sam, and Matt disappeared?” She asked, her eyes serious so nobody dared ask a question.

“Yeah.” Romelle replies, her blonde hair spilling over her back as she leaned forward. “Why?” She adds.

“Because they didn’t disappear. The Garrison is kidnapping people with high IQs in order to build some weapon.” She adds, pushing her glasses further up her nose.

“Hold on, we don’t know that for certain—“ Hunk reasons, holding his hands out in a balancing gesture. Pidge shook her head.

“No. I know.” She sighed, opening her laptop and showing them her screen. Allura’s eyes widened, as well as Lance, and Hunk. Keith leaned in.

“What about Shiro?” He asked, looking over the list. “He was taken. Why isn’t he on it.”

“I… I think he was taken because he was with Sam and Matt… as far as I know, all of the disappearances happened near the woods. The camping trips, the bonfires, graduation…” she lists, counting off her fingers. “All of those took place on the dates of disappearance. And all of them are next to, or in Daibazaal Forest.”

“And that means..?” Lance asked, looking around the room. “Are you sure this isn’t a prank, actually?” He adds. Pidge scoffs.

“I know my dad and brother. They wouldn’t just get killed by a bear.” She retorts.

“Sam and Matt Holt are your family?!” Hunk gapes, looking at her again. “I can’t believe I didn’t see it!”

“Katie?” Keith asked.

“Yeah?” She replied

Chapter Text

“You’re a girl!?” Lance screeches, catching Pidge off guard. She adjusts her glasses, and shuts her laptop.

“Yes. I pretended to be a boy to get Iverson off my trail. Though, it seems he may not of even wanted to arrest me…” she admits, and the circle around her solemnly nods.

“So… Iverson wants to kill us all?” Hunk asks wearily, and Pidge replies with a slow nod.

“Perhaps we could sneak out and explore Daibazaal? If that’s where they’re taking everyone.” Romelle suggests. Pidge smirks, and nods.

“Then we should split into teams of two.” Keith cuts in, and the rest of thr group agrees.

Keith split them into groups of two, Lance and Hunk, Pidge and Keith, and Romelle and Allura. Everyone was satisfied with their grouping, and they all ordered a coffee before exiting Starbucks. They began their walk back to campus.

“What time should we leave our dorms?” Allura asks, and Pidge thinks it over. She closes her eyes, which signals she is thinking, and stopped walking.

“One am, if it’s not too much of a hassle.” She answers, continuing to walk. Thr group follows behind her closely. Within minutes of comfortable silence, they had arrived back at campus. They split into their different dorms, and got together bags for their exploration.

Lance, Romelle, Allura, Keith, Hunk, Pidgeon

Lance> We need like, a group name!

Keith> Lance, no.

Lance> It could be like, ‘Voltron’

Allura> I second Voltron!

Romelle> And we could be the paladins!

Pidgeon> Sounds good.

Hunk> Are we sure about this? I mean, we could sneak into the kitchen instead and get a nice midnight snack.

“Hunk!” Pidge yells, looking away from her phone. Hunk jumped from his bed and rubbed his head.

“Sorry!” He mumbles with sincerity,

Romelle> Ooh! And we can do codenames!

Lance> I’ll be Sharpshooter, Allura can be Princess, Romelle could be Sass, Pidge will be Gremlin, Hunk is the Cinnamon Roll, and Keith is Knife!

Keith> I’m good with stabbing you with my knife.

Pidge> I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Lance is right. Ee have no other ideas for code names…

Romelle> This is so thrilling!

|Lance has changed the name to ‘Team Voltron!’|

Pidge shut off her phone and put it on her desk, smiling widely. She had friends, not only that, but they were helping her beat Iverson and find her family.

“Okay, it’s time for dinner!” Hunk announces, and everyone gets their shoes on. They dash out the door and accross the foliaged campus, crunching on red and orange Autumn leaves. They arrived at the dinning hall, and pushed the door open, cool metal meeting warmed palms.

“Pidge! Lance! Hunk!” Romelle squeals from the back of the line. They meet up with her, catching their breath.

“Hey, Romelle.” Hunk smiles sweetly, and Romelle returns the kind smile. They were ushered forward in the line, and grabbed plates. Going forward once again, they collected that night’s italian assortment of food, ranging from pizzas to spaghetti.

“Keith!” Allura calls from the table once most of the group had sat down. The raven haired boy looked up from his phone, and Allura patted the seat next to her. “Come join us!” She smiles. The boy picks up his plate and makes his way towards the table, sitting down in the last seat available.

“Does everyone have flashlights?” Pidge asked, and the rest of the group nodded. She took a bite of her spaghetti, and placed her fork down suddenly. “I made an app we can use privately. It’s like a walkie talkie.” She explains. Pasta slid off of Hunk’s fork as his jaw dropped.

“You made an app in two hours? How!” He demands, and Pidge adjusts her glasses, the cool metal adjusting itself upon her freckles.
“Honestly, I made the base when I was ten. I just adjusted the code slightly.” She shrugs, and Hunk nods along. “I made it for me and my brother, so we could talk whenever.” She explained a bit more thoroughly.

“How are we going to get it?” Allura asks with confusion. Pidge takes out her phone and presses several buttons.

“Easy; I’ll text it to you.” She answers. Suddenly, each of the Paladins received a text message. They opened up the link and quickly downloaded the app onto their phones. The team finished up their Italian dinner, and set off for their dorms. Pidge opened a Skype chat to keep everyone awake.

“I’m.. nervous for what we may find.” Allura admits, hugging a pink and white pillow closer to her chest. There was shuffling in the background, until Romelle appeared on screen. Her hair was pulled into a messy bun, the front bangs she used to form her hair crown hung over her shoulders limply.

“I am as well, but imagine the good we’d be doing.” Romelle points out optimistically, and Allura smiles widely.

“Guys, just one more hour. Let’s meet where the bonfire was.” Pidge cuts in, and Lance mumbled something about the burned grass before shrugging.

“Sure, why not.” he whispers, and Keith gives an affirmative mumble from his end. The three dorms that the group had spread across, were Terra, Arus, and Marmora.

Marmora was towards the west end of campus, in between two models of stars and black matter students named the ‘Black holes’ and the dorm was centered in a circle of white flowers.

Arus was in a fairly grassy area, and was just a walk away from where the bonfire was. It was nestled cozily with surrounding trees and plants, smooth pavement sidewalks, and windows with flower beds.

Terra was what you'd expect in a college dorm. It was large, with two floors. Two hallways stretched on either side of the common room, each with stairwells to the next level of rooms. The dorm was fairly full, and was one of the coziest buildings on campus.

“I’m going to start packing my bag.” Keith announces, standing up and dropping random items into a black backpack. Pidge swore she saw Keith drop a knife carelessly into the front pocket. He dropped a flashlight, and his phone as well.

“We have proteins bars, flashlights, a portable hot glue gun, and a jar of glitter, as well as our phones.” Romelle lists, rummaging through the bag they had packed.

“Why glitter..?” Keith asks with confusion, zipping up his bag and slinging it over his shoulder. He was wearing a black shirt with black sweatpants, alongside matching sneakers. A dark beanie rested on his head, covering his Raven hair. The group had decided to wear dark colors in order to blend in better.

“Because if it blows in your eyes, it stings. Trust me.” Romelle replies with sass, dropping a portable fan into their bag. Team Altea, (Romelle and Allura) had a messenger bag, and both had black leggings. Their tops were more fancy, but nobody cared.

As Hunk and Lance debated upon a group name, Romelle pulled her hair into a tighter bun, looping her bangs into it in a Katara style. Allura’s hair was also pulled back, though in a ponytail.

Team Conspiracy, Altea, and Meme were ready. Hunk wasn’t exactly mad about their name, though wasn’t too proud about it either.

Pidge had ended the Skype call, as Hunk gently lifted their window. Pidge came out first, followed by Lance. Hunk was struggling to get out.

“Guys, I can’t get through!” Hunk whispers quickly. Pidge gestures to the front door, and he nods, quietly exiting the building a minute later. They dashed carefully across campus, meeting with Allura, Romelle, and Keith.

“Everyone get into your groups.” Pidge instructs, approaching Keith silently. He had slid two pairs of socks over his shoes, enabling him more stealth in the darkness, which was very smart, she had to admit.

“Let’s go.”

---

It was dark out. Wind lashed through Allura’s hair, it floating out, catching the breeze. Moonlight illuminated her tan face, her eyes shining silver with glints.

“There seems to be nothing out here for miles…” Romelle moans, leaning against a near tree for support. Allura sighs and looks around.

“There’s gotta be something..” The tanned girl mumbles, removing a protein bar from her satchel and nibbling gently on it. Allura broke off a piece and handed it to Romelle, who accepted and scarfed it down hungrily.
“Perhaps we should check in with the others?” Romelle suggests, and Allura nods. The blonde opens her phone and launches Pidge’s app. There were three things she could select. Team Conspiracy, Meme Team, or Voltron. Romelle taps on Voltron, and it crackles before Pidge talks.

“Knife and I have nothing. Over.” Pidge mumbles, and Romelle shares a short glance with Allura before pressing the talk button.

“Neither do Princess and I. Over.” She admits, and Allura reaches for the phone, the dot for Lance and Hunk remained red, until it suddenly flashed to green.

“Well, Cinn and I did!” Lance yells, clearly running. Romelle logs off of the app, and opens a tracing app to find Lance and Hunk. They were close to the girls, just a little ways north. Breaking into a run, Allura and Romelle met up with the two boys, panting with exhaustion.

“What did you find?” Pidge asks, out of breath as she jogs up behind them, Keith shortly after. Lance caught his breath and leaned against a large rock.

“A base. Large base. Guard dogs.” he answered, taking in a few more breaths. Allura took out a protein bar and smiled.

“Dogs like peanut butter, correct?” she asks gleefully, and Pidge nods vigorously. Romelle took out a few more and unwrapped them, dropping the wrappers back into the bag.

“Show us the way, Lance.” She smirks, and Lance gives a hand gesture, signalling for the others to follow him. This time, they avoided running. They’d step on too many twigs and get unwanted attention. The base was large, metal walls sinking into a deep crevice, an unfinished object in the center. Caves outlined with door frames appeared to be hallways, possible cells. Romelle spots the guard dogs and ripped a piece of the protein bar off and tossed it.

“Go fetch.” she whispers deviously, tossing more pieces. The dogs’ ears perked up at the thudding noise. They sniffed, and the four animals trotted over to investigate. In their confusion, they began fighting each other in order to receive the snack. Romelle and Allura share a high five as they approach the wall.

“I need to find an outer control panel so I can shut off the power, we can’t get caught on any security footage.” Pidge demands, and Hunk nods, looking over the architecture of the base.

“There.” he points towards a bulged rectangle, only noticeable with the shadows of the purple lights, partnered up with the glint of the moon. Pidge dashes towards the panel, twisting her fingernails in the screws until they came loose. She removed the panel, and smiled as she saw all the wires. She extended her hand, and Keith gave her his knife.
“That should do it.” she mutters, closing the panel back up and handing Keith back his knife. The eerie purple that glinted against their faces shut off, and Keith stabs his knife into the wall multiple times until it doesn’t budge. The rest of the group looks at him confused, until he climbs on top of the box, stepping on his knife, and leaping up, catching hold of the top of the wall. He pulls himself up, and extends his hand for the next person.

Soon, Lance was the last one on the ground. He climbed onto the box, and pulled with all his might on the knife, removing it from the wall. He hands it to Keith, and the people on top pull him up.

The wall was similar to the great wall of China, a path circling around the large crevice. People worked inside of it, either lugging plates of metal, wires, and other technological devices. Others hammered at the contraption in the center.

“There’s Slav!” Hunk points out the short boy, his short dyed blue hair sprawled messily with his black hoodie replaced by black and purple rags.

“This place looks horrifying…” Romelle observes, her eyes darting around. People trudged and frowned, unhappy to be there. Of course, nobody could blame them.

“How long of they been taking people…?” Pidge hesitates to ask, and Allur shakes her head with disappointment.

“I don’t even want to know.” She admits, her hair catching the wind once more. Glints of sunlight peer through the misty clouds, and Pidge checks her phone.

“It’s five, we should head back.” she announces, and the group begins climbing down the wall, and gently passing through the field, the dogs still distracted by the peanut butter snack Romelle had given them.

“Goodnight guys, thanks for helping.” Pidge smiles with melancholy as the group had arrived at the bonfire pit. They split their different ways, and walked back to their dorms, in a peaceful silence.

Bugs chirped, and birds sang for the new morning. It was the song of nature, and you could even hear the small twinkling of streams and brooks if you listened closely.

“I.. I’m not feeling so good.” Romelle admitted as they entered the room through the open window. She clenched her stomach and sat down on her bed, breathing in deeply and slowly exhaling.

“Please, rest.” Allura smiles, hiding her worry. Romelle nodded and layed down, curled into a ball. She was sick to her stomach. It wasn’t her leukemia, no, it was what the Garrison was doing.

“I.. I can’t believe this is happening.” she sighs, rolling in her bed. Her bun had collapsed, and her blonde hair was now sprawled across her baby blue pillow. She held a stuffed rabbit close to her chest, and clenched her eyes shut.

“I agree…” came Allura’s response, who had climbed into her bed. Thankfully, it was the weekend and the girls could sleep in slightly later.

---

“Hngh…” Pidge mumbles as she lazily rolls out of her bed. Checking her clock, she noted it was around eleven am. She took out an energy drink, chugging the sweet liquid in a matter of seconds. She tossed it into the trash can, hearing it clink with the other cans.

“Lance, Hunk get up.” She mumbles as she collects articles of clothing to toss on. They had put Pidge’s bed as high as possible, hanging a blanket to cover the front, giving Pidge space to change or anything else. She ducks under the blanket and changes into her jeans and hoodie, sliding on converse.

“Hm?” Hunk had finally mumbled drowsily. Pidge picked up her phone and began blasting a Panic! At the Disco song. Lance jolted awake, banging his head on the ceiling in the process. Pidge snickered, and Hunk slid out from under his covers, pushing his feet into yellow fuzzy slippers.

“There’s thirty minutes left of Sunday Brunch.” Hunk announces, looking up from his watch. Lance exhaustedly climbed down the ladder, and slipped on his slippers as well. Pidge left the room so they could get changed, and they came back out with jeans and tshirts, paired with sneakers.

“Come on.” Pidge ushers, dragging them along the lush campus until they reached the dining hall. She opened the door, and the two boys walked in. They collected their food, Allura and Romelle still at the table.

“Ah, good morning.” Allura smiles tiredly. Romelle blinks a few times, and waves to the trio. Lotor approaches the table and sits next to Allura before Pidge could.

“What is it, Lotor?” Allura asked with an annoyed expression set upon her face. Lotor grabbed her hand gently, and kissed it. He smiled and looked up at a shocked Allura. She pulled her hand away, and slapped him.

“Don’t mess with her, she doesn’t like idiots.” Pidge teases, and Lotor grunts. He gets up and speedwalks to a different table, sitting down with four other girls.

“What a Yelmor!” Allura hisses, beginning to angrily eating her food. She stabs the waffle with force, it scratches the plate. She doesn’t seem to care, because she continues to stab it.

“He could definitely learn about personal space.” Pidge mumbles sassily, taking a bite of her italian breakfast sausage.

“Yeah! What was that about?” Lance whines, sitting down and glaring at Lotor. His group consisted of four girls, Pidge noted the girl with tanned skin and dyed rainbow hair was Ezor Kyomi, yet didn’t recognize the other three girls.

“He’s definitely a jerk, he’s with Ezor.” Pidge remarks aloud, and Allura pushes away her plate, resting her elbows on the table.

“Really? Ezor seemed sweet..” Hunk admits, finishing the last bite of his pancake. Pidge shook her head, and chugged her coffee.

“She’s hell in high heels.” Pidge shrugs, getting up to get more of the deliciously bitter and awakening drink. It was as she got up that Keith arrived, his face extremely pale supporting dark bags beneath his eyes. He held a cup of milk, and as soon as he sat down, he chugged it.

“Let it kill me.” He mumbles in a monotone voice. Hunk pats his back gently, and takes in a deep breath.

“Hush, you won’t drown.” Hunk soothes gently, and Keith’s gaze remained pale and frozen, he didn’t seem to move.

“He’s lactose intolerant.” Pidge informs, sitting down with her cup of coffee. Hunk freezes and pushes his water towards the pale boy.

“Don’t actually die, man.”

“No promises.”

---

The group had decided to go out once more, and see if they could get farther into the base. But, when they had arrived the purple lights were a deep crimson red. The wall was dented, and there were no people in the ditch. Worried, the group had moved around the forest.

“They probably just went to sleep and the red was a night-light.” Hunk reasoned, fidgeting with his large hands. Beads of sweat rolled down the boy’s face.

“Like hell that’s true” Pidge gunts, hitting her flashlight as it flickered. “Ugh dumb batteries.” she mumbles, giving it one last hit. It went dark.

There was a rustling in the surrounding forest, and Lance had grabbed onto Hunk, scared. Hunk had clutched Lance for dear life, until they heard a thud.

The flashlight turned back on, and Takashi Shirogane laid unconscious in front of the group. Keith rushed to the man’s side, checking his pulse. From there, he and Lance picked him up and carried him back to Keith’s room, where he rested peacefully on Keith’s bed.

“Good thing you have a single room.” Hunk shrugs optimistically, and Keith glared at him, blinking slowly.

“You can thank my old roommate’s complaint for that.” He shrugs, turning his attention back to the man knocked out on his bed.

“W-well what were they complaining about..?” Hunk asks with slight uncertainty, gazing around the room for anything that may drive somebody in the opposite direction.

“My knife collection.” Keith shrugs, sounding like it was no big deal whatsoever. Hunk noticeably paled, and dragged Lance out of the room, soon followed by the last three who needed to go back to their dorm.

“Night, ladies.” Lance winked, as he walked backwards with PIdge and Hunk. He turned around as they exited Keith’s dorm, and walking back to Terra.

“Well, that was eventful..” Hunk mutters, lightening the heavy burden that they had just found a man that had been missing for almost two years.

“Yeah..” Pidge whispers, silently opening the door to Terra. She slipped inside, and ducked close to the wall, moving agily towards the door to their room. Hunk and Lance followed.

Soon, everyone was asleep.

---

The next morning nobody mentioned a word about last night’s encounter. They simply discussed simple things about school as they ate their food. Pidge had a free block first, while everyone else had other classes.

“I’m going to the library.” Pidge announced, getting up. She slung her bag carelessly over her shoulder and silently trudged out of the building, crossing the street and entering the homey library.

She put her bag down next to a table and took out a book, silently reading. She was lost in the world of magic and friendship, entranced by characters and words. She slowly slipped away from reality.

Except, it was sadly more than just a description. Ezor was also in the library, and she had ‘accidentally’ tripped. Pidge excused the incident as unimportant, and took a sip of water from her cup. Black dots blurred her vision, and her book fell to the table with a thud.

She felt strong arms grip her shoulder, and felt her feet lift off the ground. She remembered feeling strange, until there was nothing else to observe.

---

Pidge was late to class, which was completely out of character. Allura checked her watch, and noted that it was ten minutes past ten. Pidge was extremely late, and had still yet to show.

“Maybe she got stuck in a book?” Hunk had suggested, which actually was something that was highly likely, but Pidge also had an excellent sense of time. She would have noticed she was late by now.

Coran had started class anyway, marking Pidge off as absent. The group, including Shay, grew worried with every minute that passed. And of course, Lotor could have cared less. He spread his supplies over the table, not caring that his table mate had yet to show.

Nobody really paid any attention that class, and instead of heading to lunch, everyone went to the library. Romelle pushed the Kaltenecker reading room open, to find Pidge’s open backpack leaning against the table.

A face up Harry Potter book occupied the open seat, yet Pidge was nowhere in sight. A cup of water spilled, water rolling over the gray table top.

Hunk was nervous at the fact Pidge’s laptop was missing, and her phone remained on the table. There was an alert notifying her class was starting, yet it went off an hour and a half ago. The seat was cold, so Pidge hadn’t been there for a while.

“She’s just.. Gone.” Keith muttered, observing the room again. All of her belongings, minus her laptop were in place, which meant Pidge had to be near, right?

 

“Guys, what are Pidge’s grades so far?” Romelle suddenly asked. Hunk opened her phone, knowing her passcode from accidentally seeing her punch it in.

“All hundreds and ninety eights.” Hunk stated, scrolling through her progress report. “Why?” he adds with curiosity.

“Aren’t they taking the smartest?” she responded.

---

Pidge grunted, clenching her fist. She slowly pushed herself up to find herself in a square room. Low purple lights illuminating the small space.

“Glad to see your awake!” Ezor chimes from a corner, stepping out so Pidge could view her better. She smirked deviously.

“What do you want…?” She groans drowsily, leaning against the wall for support. She shakily stood up.

“Nothing much.. Just to torture you” Ezor smiled, an eerie grin settling upon her face. Pidge froze, and dug her nails into her palm. Ezor lunged at her, and Pidge felt Ezor’s hands holding her throat. PIdge gasped, thrashing for air.

“Now, I know you took Shiro. Where is he?” she asks, dropping Pidge to the ground. The little girl looks up at Ezor’s powerful frame and sputters, shaking her head.

“Hard to get, hm? So you wouldn’t mind if I.. killed your brother?” She taunts, and Pidge’s eyes widen.

“No-- please don’t” she pleaded. Ezor smirked and checked out her nails, adjusting her pose ever so slightly

“Then you’ll go back to the Garrison and be my spy, and if you fail? Wish your brother goodbye. Ezor shrugs, picking Pidge up by her neck. “Or he’ll end up like your father and mother.”

“What-- what did you do to him?!” she demands, flailing her arms in an attempt to hit Ezor. she fails, and Ezor tightens her grip once more, cutting off Pidge’s air as a simple threat.

“Have fun.” she chimes, and everything goes black.

Chapter Text

“Pidge?!” Lance screams, wandering the campus next to Hunk, who was scanning and assessing the area. They approached the bonfire pit and she was curled up next to a chair, laptop open on the arm of the wooden seat.

“Wake up..” Hunk smiles gently, nudging her awake. She groans and looks up, her hair messily askew. The memories of earlier quickly making their way present to her mind. She shivers as a cold gust of wind hit her.

“Mm?” She asks with exhaustion, sitting up. She wraps her arms over her shoulders. “Must’ve fallen asleep..” she lies, standing up. She picks up her laptop, the cold metal surprising her unsuspecting hands.

“Ugh.. you’ll be late to dinner, I’m telling the others.” Lance mumbles. Pidge sighs and trudged after Lance, and Hunk gave Pidge her backpack. Pidge accepted, and slid her laptop into the main pocket as they entered the dining hall. She wasn’t hungry, so she just went to the table.

“Pidge! Thank Alfor!” Romelle cries, dropping her fork and leaping to her feet, surprised, PIdge awkwardly laughed as Romelle released the embrace. She sat down, and leaned forward, resting her head down on the metal table. Pidge allowed the cold metal to cool her clammy forehead.

“Where were you?” Allura asks, sipping a cup of tea. The soft honey lavender scent trailed into Pidge’s sense of smell.

“I went outside and I fell asleep.” She lied once more. Keith raised and eyebrow, and Lance and Hunk sat back down, and she took her chance. “So, anyone feel ready for the Morse Code quiz in Linguistics?” She adds in, hoping that someone had studied.

“Yep! I’m pro in Morse! Try me!” Hunk boasts, eating a large bite of his lunch. He chewed and swallowed, expectantly looking at Pidge. She lifted her finger, and began tapping slowly.

“Pretend-I’m-talking-about-food.-Ezor-Zethrid-Acxa-Narti-and-Lotor-are-in-on-the-scheme.-They-took-me-and-think-I’m-spying-for-them-now.” She taps, and Hunk nods along.

“But, I still think sausages are better.” He frowned, continuing the lie. Pidge noted Ezor’s eyebrow raise, but lower at Hunk’s response. Pidge exhaled with relief, as Keith nodded, understanding her statement.

“Why food? Why not knives instead?” Keith mumbled blankly, and Lance glared at him.

“Because none of us are Sociopaths! Jesus!” He yelled angrily stabbing his mashed potatoes, eating them with annoyance a clear expression on his tanned face.

Suddenly, it was the end of the day, and the group found themselves going to Keith’s dorm in order to check in on Shiro. He stood by the window, gazing at the horizon with an emotionless expression on his face. When the group entered, he turned and smiled warmly.

“Hey, Keith.” He greeted, and the raven haired boy simply nodded in response, sitting on his bed. Pidge sat at the desk, opening up her laptop, hissing as she realized they had deleted her database.

“Okay, so what happened?” Keith glared, and Pidge filled them in.

Ezor smacked her rainbow-dyed hair against the wall of her dorm, Zethrid punching her pillow.

“This is turning to shit! Lotor’s a damn idiot!” She whined, pulling at her high ponytail, sweat beading down her tanned skin. Zethrid gave her pillow a final punch, and then tossed it at the wall.

“I just really want to bomb the base.” Zethrid shrugged, stopping the pillow punching and looking at her girlfriend.

“I can’t believe Lotor made me do that to Katie, just for some damn footage against her family! The man’s sick,” she rants, punching her face into the mattress and screaming. “It’s so.. unfair!”

“Well, Lotor is an ass.” Acxa sighed, flipping the page of her book. She scanned the page, and with a deflated look, closed it.

“Duh, he is.” Ezor hisses with venom in her voice.

“Things have got to be better… eventually,” Acxa mumbled.

“Can I punch him if it doesn’t? I just really want to punch him.”

“Zethrid!”

. . .

It had taken a while, but within weeks everything had returned to normal. The group was wary of Lotor, keeping an eye out for him throughout campus. Whenever someone would disappear, the group was mad that they didn’t fight back.

“People could be dying!” Pidge paced, walking back and forth in their designated meeting spot; Keith’s room.

“Then we go out tonight and free as many people as possible.” Romelle said with determination in her accented voice. “I could die any day now, I’m not going down a coward.” she added.

“Romelle, none of us are going down cowards. We will all stand up against them.” Allura assured to the blonde, grabbing her hand and holding it tightly. “I won’t let that happen.” she whispered under her breath.

“Then it’s settled. We do a rescue mission tonight, free as many prisoners as possible.” Keith cut in, allowing several heads to whip his way.

“Okay. Lunch is ending soon, so we have two more classes to go.” Hunk observed, looking up from his phone. “We all have SER next, so let’s head to the academic center,” He continues, putting away his things.

They left Marmora, and arrived at the academic center. Entering the classroom, they sat down and patiently waited for the class to begin.

. . .

Romelle felt herself grow tired, more tired than she really should be. She rested her head in her hand, and tried her best to pay attention to the lesson as sleep edged her vision.

“Romelle?” Allura asked, turning her concentration to the blonde girl. Romelle weakly smiled in reply, giving up and allowing the black to consume her vision. “Romelle, wake up..” Allura whispered into her ear.

The thing was, Romelle heard everything. It was simply that her brain wouldn’t allow her eyes to open, she was unable to talk or move.

As if it were a wave, something crashed over her and she was finally able to move again. She snapped her head up, slightly dizzy from the rapid movement.

“Sorry.” she whispered, and Allura only smiled, allowing Romelle to rest on her shoulder, her violet eyes glazed with exhaustion.

Once the class had ended, they had one more elective and then it was break until dinner. Romelle made her way to the art center alongside Allura, at a rather slow pace.

“Is everything alright?” Allura asked, concern making itself obvious on her defined features. “I just.. You’re very dear to me.” she sighed, looking the other way. In a spare second, Romelle grabbed Allura’s hand and stopped moving.

“Allura… I’m dying.” She whispered, and Allura’s eyes widened. “I-I don’t know how much longer I have, but.. I want to spend them with you. So.. will you be my girlfriend? I don’t want you to say yes out of pity, please..” Romelle rambled, but was hushed by Allura dusting her cheek with tanned fingers.

“Of course I will.” She smiled, and Romelle broke into tears. Allura hugged her tightly, and allowed herself to let tears fall. As they continued their way towards the art center

. . .

Dinner had arrived sooner than expected, nobody speaking a word. Romelle poked at her plate, not hungry enough to take a bite.

The meal passed, and the group found themselves in Keith’s room, dressed in black clothing. They tossed bags over their shoulders, supplies to make it into the base split evenly amongst them.

“We should enter the woods at different points, so it’s harder to track us.” Keith observed, drawing lines on a piece of paper. He added a circle, and pointed to it. “This is the base. Team Romura will go the western route through here..” He added, gesturing to a curved line.

“Man, you really suck at drawing.” Lance observed, and was punched in the stomach by Pidge.

“Shut up and deal with it.” She hissed.

. . .

“Team Romura is at base. Over.” Allura whispered into her phone, awaiting response.

“Hance is in position.” Came the next reply.

“Kidge has arrived,” came Pidge’s hushed voice. Romelle took the peanut butter protein bars out of her bag and tossed them, waiting for the guard dogs to chase after them. She dashed forward to the panel, Allura behind her. Keith had already gotten there and was helping Pidge over the wall as she collected their group’s knife.

Romelle and Allura followed suit, meeting up with the other four members of their team. Keith removed rope from his bag and tied it around his waist.
“Lance, you’re coming with me,” he mumbled, tying the other end around Lance. “Walk to that side of the pillar and slowly climb down the wall. Stay standing on the ground as everyone else climbs down. Got it?” he instruction, and the Cuban firmly nodded.

The two slowly scaled down the wall, inching closer to the bottom of the pit. Keith reached the bottom, but was jerked forward by Lance losing his grip.

“Sorry.” he whispered, finally reaching the bottom. The two prepared themselves, and then called people down, two at a time.

“There are multiple hallways, each group go down one while the power is out. Use a knife to wedge the doors open.” Pidge instructed, dashing down a random hallway, Keith following in suit.

With every door they unlocked, there was still no members of her family left to find. She silently prayed that Matt would be here, but alas, he wasn’t.

By the time they had regrouped, Matt was nowhere to be found. Pidge hid her disappointment, and they led the prisoners to safety.

“What should we call you? How can we help?” A prisoner asked.

“We’re Voltron. You can help by preventing more kidnappings.” Keith smiled as he turned, ready to dash back to Marmora.

Allura and Romelle went back to Palacio, Allura verifying Romelle was feeling alright before tucking her into bed.

“I’m fine!” She giggled as Allura pecked her forehead. Romelle smiled and surprised Allura by lurching forward to give the girl a hug. That night they fell asleep in an embrace, ignoring the certain fate of the future.

. . .

Nobody was prepared for that morning. Especially Allura.

At least she was peaceful.

Chapter Text

Allura solemnly placed a pink juniberry flower in her long white hair, gazing longingly into the mirror staring back at her. Suitcases littered the room as she contemplated whether she should pack up Romelle's belongings for the girl's family, or be selfish and keep it as something to hold dearly to.

Turning her gaze around, she sat daintily on the bottom bunk of their formerly shared room, taking out her phone. Her lock screen was a photo of the two girls holding each other close, smiling as they nibbled on ice cream.

"Hey, Allura?" One of the girls, Luca, asked as she knocked on the door. Allura's head turned to see Romelle's childhood friend, residing in the dorm Sincline, standing in the door frame.

"..yes" she answered, turning towards the red head. Luca entered and sat next to Allura, resting a hand on her shoulder.

"Everyone from our town will miss her, she won't go down without memory," Luca smiled, and Allura weakly returned the action.

"I'm aware, it's just.. she was very dear to me." She sighed, standing up. She dusted off her light pink sundress, pink resembling a way of honoring the dead in Altean culture. "I best not be crying before the funeral, I have words to share. Thank you, Luca." Allura finally said, her voice catching at funeral.

"You're welcome, Allura." Luca smiled, exiting her room. Allura watched as the tall girl left the building, and she picked up one of Romelle's heart hair clip. With a smile growing on her face, she pinned it into her bun, and began packing up Romelle's things, with a small part of her with her at all times.

"Hey," Lance came in, as she zipped the pink suitcase closed. Allura stood, and turned to the cuban boy.

"Hello, Lance." She sighed, taking a seat on the bed, allowing Lance to sit next to her. He obliges, and she sighs.

"What are we ever going to do?" She asks, gazing out the window straight ahead of her. The sun painted the blue sky. It was a peaceful day, just as Romelle would have liked it. Internally screaming, she stood. "Scratch that, we mustn't be late." She shakes her head, heels clicking on the ground as she left the room, Lance following from behind.

As she left the building, Coran's car pulled up, his eyes red from obvious tears. In the back, Hunk, Pidge, and Keith sat, each with solemn looks settled into their faces.

"Hey, Allura." Pidge mumbled, still at an unease. Allura remembered that even if Pidge wouldn't admit it, Romelle was her first friend at the Garrison. She bit her lip, and sat down next to the short girl as Lance clambered into the third row.

"Who else wants to cry?" Hunk whispered from the back, on the verge of tears himself. "She was my cooking buddy— agh! I'm crying!" He narrated, breaking down into tears. Allura turned away, and held Pidge's hand, Pidge returning an affirmative squeeze.

"We're here." Coran announced with a sad tinge to his voice. Allura gulped as she exited the car, stepping out into the cool autumn air. Leaves blew in the wind, playing with her long curls. Pidge stepped out second, which is when Allura noticed she wore a pink shirt alongside a white skirt, hair extensions making her short hair appear longer.

The second the group entered, Allura knew this was an Altean Funeral, which added a slight bit of joy to her heart. Upon entering, they were stopped to be given the marks of the chosen. Small crescent shapes were drawing on their cheek bones, each in the color of Romelle's, blue.

Juniberry flowers surrounded the hall leading towards the room where the service was to be held. Calm music played, as if it were a sunny day in a warm summer. Pink colors were pulled out everywhere. The Alteans were known for their celebrations of life, not days of solemn death.

"Oh! I miss her so much!" Hunk cries, sitting down on a pink cushioned bench. Keith hugged him, and everyone in the group gave a slightly concerned glance towards him.

"Keith? Emotions? This must be a work of the Galra!" Lance whispered so only the group could hear. Keith kicked Lance in the shins, and ended his embrace.

"I'm allowed to care about my boyfriend, you quiznak." He hissed, and Pidge sneered, taking out her phone to record the situation.

"Oh yeah! Why don't you shut your quiznak!" Lance spat back. Allura and Coran froze, and silently took a step back.

"Hehe—" Pidge snickered, ending the recording. "Blackmail material is always a bonus." She shrugged, putting her phone in her bag.

A tall girl with short brown hair and glasses entered. After she was given her marks, she approached Lance.

"Veronica—" He began. But was cut off by the girl shushing him, placing a finger to his lips. Her eyes narrowed and a brow raised as she removed her finger.

"Mom sent me to make sure you don't screw this up, I'm the expert on cultures, so here I am." She shrugged. She turned towards the group. "Name's Veronica, aka the better McClain." She smiled, as Lance gasped.

"Why doesn't mom trust me?" He gawked, placing a hand over his heart. "I am wounded!"

"Should I get the medical kit?" Coran suggested, unaware of the joke. Veronica snickered and shook her head,

"Nope, he'll be fine." She shrugged. Pidge smiled and turned to Lance, amber eyes glowing with mischief.

"Naw, let him die—" she insults. Veronica turns around to face Lance, a hand extended behind her back to give Pidge a high-five.

"Yes, that works too. Much less flamboyance, no?" Keith joined in, and Lance groaned loudly,

"Stop plotting my murder! The service is about to begin." He whines, pushing away from the group and entering the room. Blue lights surrounded the room, creating a warm and cozy feeling. Pink banners and furniture lined the room. Everyone was handed juniberry flower crowns upon entering.

Allura took a seat in the front, Pidge sitting next to her. A man with blue hair pulled into a ponytail stood up to an elevated bit of ground, covered by pink drapery.

"I am Tavo. Fellow citizen of 'The Colony'. Friend of Romelle. Romelle was a wonderful young girl, striving for the ability to help those she loved, even when it was out of hr reach. Today, instead of solemnly shaking our heads and blaming this loss on ourselves, we will honor her passing by celebrating, lifting her joyously to Altea." He smiles. "She will be remembered through joy and friendship, not tears and dismay."

Everyone in the room stood as they approached a coffin, each removing a Juniberry from their crown.

"Please, whisper words of encouragement to Romelle into your flower and place it coffin." Tavo smiles, whispering something softly into his flower.

"Keep being curious." Allura whispered softly, pausing for a moment. "I love you." She smiles, approaching the coffin, and placing the pink flower softly into the casket. She walks to the side of the room, looking up to the glass ceiling, the clouds forming a circle above.

"Be yourself, always. Never lie about who you are, you're unique. You're you." Pidge softly talked into her flower, placing it gently next to Allura's and standing next to her, mirroring her gaze towards the sky.

"Don't kill yourself." Keith muttered, dropping the flower and joining the group of people gazing towards the sky.

Once everyone had lined up, Allura stepped forward, resting her hands on two pillars. The lights turned off, the light from the sky causing all the markings to glow, the pillars glowing brilliantly.

"King Alfor, please welcome Romelle Colonia to Altea." She announced to the sky, as the lights switched back on. Two girls shut the coffin, and the funeral ended.

"Alteans believed that Juniberry flowers created life, so they use them in ceremonies to lift the spirit of the passed one to Altea." Allura smiled as they were outside, gazing towards the sky. Veronica stood next to her, blue eyes glinting.

"Let's have dinner, shall we? I'll pay." She smiles. "How does Vrepit Sal's sound?"

"It sounds perfect." Allura concluded, and they got into separate cars. Arriving at the restaurant, the group entered and sat at a table, ordering their food.

"It was just so... sudden." Allura admitted, and Lance rested a hand on her shoulder.

“Let’s just be happy, after all, it’s the Altean way,” Hunk smiled, and Veronica shrugged. She cut a piece of her meat and shoved it into her mouth.

“Once, when we kids, I mixed water and dirt and told Lance it was chocolate milk!” Veronica snorted, and Lance dropped his fork, signaling for Veronica to stop.

“What happened?” Pidge asked, hoping for more blackmail material. Veronica smirk and ignored Lance’s signal.

“He drank it, like an idiot! But then he told on me. Pop Pop gave him Ice Cream, and I got none!” She whined, taking a sip from her drink.

“Once, when I was little, Matt walked into my school and ran for student council. They gave him detention, even though he didn’t go there! I miss that dork..” she giggles at the memory, taking another bite of her food.

“I was two when I got my first knife,” Keith shrugged, and Hunk face palmed. He placed down his fork, and took Keith’s hand.

“That’s not legal.”

. . .

“Night, Allura.” Merla smiled, closing the door across the hall. Allura returned the gaze, and shut her own door. She returned to her dresser, and took down her ponytail. Resting the hair clip in a blue box, she shut it. Picking up her brush, she softly brushed it through her hair.

She changed into her night dress, laying down on Romelle’s bed. Closing her eyes, she allowed herself to drift off to the sweet scent of Juniberries...

“Hello, Allura.” Romelle’s voice rang in her ears. The girl turned to find Romelle, blue markings glowing brilliantly on her cheeks, ears pointed.

“Romelle—“ Allura called, tears prickling at her eyes. “Please, are you okay?” She whispered, holding onto Romelle’s hands.

“I’m fine, I miss you, though...” the blonde sighed, wiping a tear away from Allura’s face. “That night.. I found something. Open the locket.” Romelle instructed.

“What? Romelle— what did you find!” Allura gasped, holding onto her hands tighter. “Don’t leave me, please! What must I do? What must I find? She begged, and Romelle’s face turned solemn.

“My time with you is almost up, I love you.” She smiled as she slowly turned to light and floated away.

“Romelle? Romelle! No!” Allura screamed, jolting awake. Panting, she gazed at her clock. It was late, and the girl found herself ripping the sheets off of herself, scrambling towards Romelle’s jewelry box.

“Agh, what’s the passcode!” She hisses. She tries Family, Bandor, Altea. Sweat broke out on her face as she tried one last time. Allura. The lock clicked open.

Removing the circular locket, she opened it, a piece of paper fluttered out to the ground. Picking it up, her eyes widened.

Log 402, Prisoner Matthew Holt moved to holding cell inside robeast. He will pilot mech on launch, against will.