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far longer than forever (i'll hold you in my arms)

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Allura smiles fondly at the texts Lance had sent her minutes earlier. It’s a text full of emojis, capital letters, exclamations, and professions of love. No doubt about it, he is still reeling in shock about the fact that they were now engaged.

 

She remembers it all so clearly and it makes her heart flutter the more she thinks about it.

 

Last night, while tracing the dips and muscles of his body in the moonlight, she had asked him to marry her. To him, it might have seemed like a spur of the moment decision but she knew, deep down, that he was the one for her. He was the one who could make her laugh, who somehow lowered every single wall she had around herself and snuck his way in, and was the someone who she could feel safe and calm with. There was a moment a few months earlier when they were out and about just doing grocery shopping, she remembered looking at him with a smile while he was laughing about a joke she made. And when she looked at it, she remembered thinking Stars, I want to stare at his smile forever and never ever let it go.

 

And at that point she knew that he was the one for her. There was no doubt about it.

 

And so in the dark of night, tangled in sheets together, she asked him, muttering it while leaning her forehead to his. At first, Lance was in shock about it, asking her to repeat it again, staring at her with wide eyes. After she repeated it, Lance started peppering her face with kisses, running his lips all over her face and muttering, “Yes. A thousand times yes. In every galaxy, in every universe. Yes .”

 

After she types in a quick reply to him, she leans her head back against the frame of their bed, thinking about his response from the night before.

 

In every galaxy, in every universe.

 

Allura wonders if she and Lance get to have a happy ending in every universe as she plays with a necklace that’s strung around her neck. She’s not a quantum physicist but she does realize that there are vast universes other than hers, occurring at the same moment and existing within the same plane. They’re apparently not similar but she wonders if she ever had met him in another universe or even had fallen in love with him. That would be painful , she thinks, never meeting Lance. He brings so much joy and happiness into her life that she doesn’t know what she would do without him. And apparently she does the same for him (or as he says). “Allura, mi carina, you make me want to be a better person,” he had told her once after expressing doubts about her job.

 

Her eyelids close and the idea of not being in each other’s lives in another universe still lingers in her mind, creating a dull ache within her heart despite the happiness she feels as she drifts off into sleep.

 


 

When she opens her eyes again, she’s falling.

 

Air is whooshing past her. She doesn’t know when or where she is but she does wonder, Is this what Alice felt like going down the rabbit hole? Allura tries to grasp at something to stop her fall but only comes back empty with air.

 

Then she lands hard in what she thinks is flowers, crushing some underneath the weight of her body. She groans, surprised she didn’t break any bones with a fall that hard. Or even die for that matter. Where am I? she thinks, glancing around at the environment she’s in.

 

It’s nothing like she’s ever seen before, lush, vibrant greens covering the mountainside and small cottages lining the valley. The flowers she has landed on looks like no flower she’s ever seen; the petals remind her faintly of lilies but the smell is nothing like a lily. It’s sweet and somehow reminds her of home. In the distance, she can spot a huge, towering statue and surrounding it is the same flowers that she’s sitting on. It’s a woman, she thinks faintly, and oddly enough there is something familiar about her that she can’t quite put her finger on. She looks happy enough, she supposes but the cold, gray rock makes her seem lonely in a way.

 

She can hear something rustle from behind her and at the sound, she’s afraid to turn around to see what or who it is. Despite the beauty of this place, she’s afraid to find out what its inhabitants are like.

 

“Allura?”

 

That voice….she knows it by heart now. It’s smooth and calming and just hearing his voice makes her feel like she’s home. He is her home.

 

“Lance!” she gets up suddenly despite the wave of nausea she feels and turns around to see none other than her fiancé. He’s holding a rake and drops it once he sees her face. Allura breaks out into a smile of relief and walks towards him and he’s walking towards her with shock on his face; the sight of him on this weird planet makes her so happy and relieved and-

 

He’s not her Lance. She realizes this when they’re arm length apart, ready to throw their arms around each other in shock, relief, and happiness. He’s much older than she’s ever seen Lance, his hair longer and there’s a weariness in his eyes that seems so foreign to her. In addition to him being older, he has these weird glowing blue markings located right at the top of his cheekbones that are glowing.

 

And it seems like he realizes that she’s not the Allura that he knew either.

 

She must be in another world or an alternate universe. Or maybe she’s dreaming.

 

“You’re not- You’re,” she starts to say, but the nausea comes back again and along with it is a terrible pain in her head. Groaning, she brings her hand to her forehead in pain and she can slightly see that Lance is moving closer towards her, with alarm in his eyes. “Lance,” she whispers out before she blacks out.

 


 

She opens her to find herself in an unfamiliar room, underneath dark blue sheets. The room isn’t messy, but the desk in the room is. There’s various items scattered on the desk, from clothes to photographs and some of the flowers she landed on. Getting up from the bed, she walks her way over to the desk, curious of the contents on the table. Allura thinks that if she can see what’s on the desk, she can figure out whose room she is. After putting the clothes into a hamper that’s next to the desk, it’s very clear whose room she’s in.

 

It’s Lance’s.

 

Not her Lance though. It belongs to the Lance of this world.

 

On his desk, there are a few photographs on there in frames with people she recognizes. There’s one with him and Lance’s huge family that includes his very intelligent sister Veronica and his super adorable nieces and nephews. It brings a smile to see them; they were always so kind to her whenever Lance brought her over, feeding her with rich foods and pulling her into intriguing conversations that seemed to last for hours. It makes her wonder how they’re doing in this universe. Are they happy? She hopes they are. The more she stares at the picture, she notices that in this picture Lance looks like a teenager. He looks so happy and carefree and light, a stark contrast than how he looks now in this world.

 

The next picture includes people she’s so familiar with. On the left, there’s Pidge, her best friend, wearing rectangular glasses and hair longer than she’s used to seeing on her. And then there’s Hunk, Lance’s best friend and the best cook in the entire world. Behind Hunk is her Uncle Coran, which is odd considering that in her world, Uncle Coran had only met her friends once. He looks comfortable with all of them, looking notoriously silly. Peering closely, Allura realizes that his ears are pointy and that he has identical looking marks on his cheekbones as well, except they are a different shade of blue. Right next to Uncle Coran is Shiro, her boss and close friend, with hair stark white and glasses resting comfortably on his nose-bridge. It looks a lot different, she has to admit, seeing him wear glasses. And right beside him is Keith, who is Lance’s other best friend and Shiro’s younger brother. He’s sporting a scar that runs up the right side of his cheek as well as a ponytail. She supposes that if Keith still decided to grow out his hair (right now, he was in, what Lance called, “the mullet stage”), this is what he would look like. Seeing them makes her wonder if they’re the same in this world, if they share all of the same interests and dislikes.

 

Finally, there’s Lance again, looking exactly how she saw him earlier, more sad and weary, and light scars adorning his skin. She didn’t notice that before. And right below his eyes are those same blue marks again. If she has to be honest, all of her friends and Uncle Coran are sporting the same sad, weary looks on their face while looking older.

 

And…..is that a statue of her in the background? Her eyes widen in surprise at the sight. Why would there be a statue of her?

 

Allura moves on to the next and final picture on Lance’s desk, which turns out to be a picture of her and Lance. They look really happy, she notes. She’s holding onto his arm and he has his head resting on hers. Within the picture, there are faint, glowing lights surrounding them and it looks really romantic. She hopes that this version of her enjoyed it.

 

Suddenly, she’s hit with memories from her first date with Lance. At first, she was very hesitant to go on a date with him, mainly because of his reputation as the resident flirt in the dorms. But however, on their actual date, after an hour or so of awkwardness and caution, he proved to be a true gentleman and rather kind, which was something that drew her in. He took her to the park at night and they goofed around on the playground, swinging on swings (with him pushing her), and they ended the night admiring the stars and its reflection on the lake. It was quite a beautiful night and she found that she enjoyed herself and wanted to be around Lance more. Thinking about him makes her miss him.

 

The door creaks open, jostling her out of her memories, and it turns out to be none other than Lance. Seeing him come in makes Allura feel slightly ashamed for intruding on his privacy and looking at his stuff.

 

“Oh, you’re awake,” he says relieved as he leans against the doorframe. “That’s good.”

 

She doesn’t respond at first, too overwhelmed by everything. Finally she asks the most pressing question in her mind. “Where am I?”

 

“You’re on New Altea in my house,” he answers her and by the way his eyes are looking at her, it seems like he’s choosing his words carefully. Lance is cautious in the way he’s approaching her, she realizes. It sort of reminds her of when they went on their date, his cautiousness at approaching her or even being close to her despite his flirtiness. He didn’t want to upset her back then and it seems like this version of Lance is trying to do the same.

 

“New Altea?” Her brain processes the information he’s told her but she can’t seem to recall any place called New Altea in the news or maps.

 

“It’s a place for the Alteans to live after the Galra destroyed their original planet. It’s run by a council now, with Coran in charge.” Lance says it so casually, as if it’s normal. But it isn’t normal, at least not to her.

 

“Wait what? What are Alteans and what is the Galra? Nothing you’re saying is making any sense!” she exclaims slightly exasperated with this Lance.

 

He looks at her as if he was expecting her to react that way. “Let’s go out to the kitchen,” Lance tells her patiently. “You might want to sit down.”

 

And so he takes her out to the kitchen, sitting her down at the table. He gives her a hot cup of hot chocolate, which surprises her mainly because it’s her favorite drink, while he gets his own cup of coffee.

 

“So….” He starts once he’s seated, “A long time ago, there was a king named Alfor who ruled the planet of Altea….” From there, he tells her about the paladins of old and how together they helped defeat the evil of the universe until one of their own, who was the leader of the Galra, turned on them to save his wife and attempted to harness the powerful, yet destructive Quintessence using the weapons that brought them together, which was Voltron. In order to make sure that the Galran king didn’t have access to it, Alfor hid the lions away on various planets in the universe. Ten thousands years later, new paladins were chosen and were put into the fight against the Galra, with the help of King Alfor’s daughter and his advisor. She notices that when he talks about this, he almost seems fond of it, even wistful. Then she discovers that he was one of these paladins, chosen alongside Pidge, Keith, Hunk, Shiro, and later her. When he gets closer to the end of his story, his voice becomes watery as if this was part of the story he didn’t like. And then, she learns why.

 

She ended up sacrificing herself to save all of the realities.

 

Hearing Lance say that makes her tense up. She died? No, that’s not possible. That shouldn’t have happened. Shouldn’t that evil witch been enough?

 

She voices her thoughts aloud but Lance answers with the shake of his head. “Apparently it wasn’t.” Somehow she can tell that Lance thought the same thing, except it seems like he still asks that question.

 

Allura nods her head, numb from head to toe. Another question pops into her head, one concerning the pictures she saw in his room. “That picture…the one of you and me-“ she stops herself. Allura wasn’t in the picture with Lance. It was this world’s Allura. “Her, what happened between you two?”

 

He gives a watery chuckle then. “Well we dated for a little bit, even though there was a war going on. It was short-lived though but I knew from the beginning that I was in love with her. I had been in love with her for a really long time before dating her. And then she- she kissed me, said she was in love with me too, and then she gave me these….” he points to the marks on his cheeks as he trails off. “Then she was gone.”

 

Even if he doesn’t express it outright, Allura knows that he’s in pain still. Losing someone you loved that much would hurt. It could be a year or even two years but losing that person you’re in love with doesn’t make it any easier. What gets her more than her dying in this world is that Lance is alone. Somehow, the thought of leaving him alone pains her and it feels like her insides are being ripped apart. It doesn’t matter that she’s not his Allura; she just never wants to leave Lance, in any universe, alone and sad like this.

 

Then she realizes, she’s not his Allura.

 

She’s not the one he shared tender, fond kisses with or the one he cuddled with in the dark of night. She’s not the one who he confided with about his insecurities or the one who shared experiences with him. But she does look a whole lot like his Allura, minus the magical powers and the alien genetics, and just seeing her sitting in his kitchen must hurt. He can’t run his hands through her hair or hold her close because she isn’t the one he’s in love with.

 

And she knows this because he’s not her Lance despite how similar he looks to him. Allura wants to run her hands through his hair, to hold him close to make him feel better, and to whisper sweet nothings to make him forget. But she can’t.

 

A knock at the door startles both of them and Lance gives her an apologetic smile. “It’s probably just my parents checking up on me.”

 

He gets up from his seat and Allura watches his retreating form. Opening the door, she can hear him say “Pidge, what a surprise!”

 

Pidge. Her best friend, her college roommate. Oh stars, she’s here?

 

“Lance you would not believe this! I was visiting Coran and Keith ended up being here too and then the three of us were doing some clean-up in the Altean archives and we found something that we think you should know about,” Pidge tells him excitedly, moving past him and into his home, made evident by her footsteps. “There’s an Altean legend about a boy and princess who fell in love but they got separated. Well more like the princess disappeared, but her memories were scattered into different planets and took the shape of different items that were precious to her. Then the boy went with his friends to look for those memories and once he gathered those memories, he placed them together inside the beloved thing that she treasured most and then she was revived again.”

 

Internally Allura is freaking out. If this Pidge was affected by this world Allura’s death, she’ll probably be freaked out about seeing her here too like Lance. And then, knowing Pidge, she’ll go on an endless barrage of questions and then will try to find answers to those questions she asked.

 

He looks at her with worry when he makes his way over to the kitchen, making it just in time before Pidge gets there. Allura’s eyes widen as he starts doing weird hand motions towards her that are frantic and frenzied. She makes an ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about’ motion and Lance’s face falls.

 

“Did you even hear what I said Serrano?” Pidge asks him, her voice growing closer and closer and Allura scans the room, trying to find a place to hide. There’s no place to hide except the table but Pidge would still spot her.

 

“I did,” Lance answers, crossing his arms. He’s standing in front of her, trying to cover her from Pidge’s view. “I just don’t understand why you’re telling me this.”

 

Pidge enters the kitchen now and Allura’s eyes widen like a deer caught in the headlights, despite being behind Lance. “I’m telling you this because it might be a way to bring Allura back.”  She must’ve seen a part of her face (since she’s really not that much shorter than Lance) because she hears a huge gasp and a bunch of papers dropping.

 

“No,” she hears Pidge mutter. “It can’t be. Lance, is that who I’m thinking of?”

 

From in front of her, Lance sighs and then steps aside, revealing her to Pidge. Pidge’s eye are watering at the sight of her. “Allura?”

 

“Hi Pidge,” she greets meekly, giving a small wave to her.

 

However, Lance adds on, “This isn’t our Allura though.”

 

Pidge is silent. Her silence is a way for Allura to really get a good look at her. She’s still about the same height and looks exactly the same as the photo Lance has in his room. “How’d you get here?” she asks her, eyeing her analytically.

 

“I-I don’t know. One moment I was in my room and then I was falling.”

 

“Falling?”

 

“I was falling out of the sky,” Allura explains. “And then I landed on those flowers.”

 

“You mean the juniberry flowers,” Lance tells her, motioning towards the vase filled with the vibrant pink flowers. “They’re native to Altea but we’ve found ways to make it grow on other planets.”

 

“So you don’t know how you got here?” Pidge asks. Allura just shakes her head. “Hmm,” Pidge mutters, pulling out a tablet from her bag. “Interesting.”

 

Pidge’s reacting just as Allura thought she would. She’s burying herself in ideas and work just so she doesn’t have go through the emotions that she’s enduring at the moment. It’s not healthy for her, Allura thinks. If she’s seeing Pidge properly, it looks like Pidge is about to cry. It’s okay to cry Pidge , she wants to say. I know I’m not your Allura and I’m sorry I’m not.

 

Pidge gives a sniffle, wiping her eyes before talking again. “Lance, maybe this Allura is a sign.”

 

“A sign of what?” Lance asks, sounding tired. She casts a look at him and now she can fully notice that there are bags underneath his eyes. Has he been losing sleep?

 

“Maybe it’s a sign that we should get Allura back,” Pidge suggests. “I mean her appearing here can’t be a coincidence.”

 

He gives sigh, running his hand through his hair. “What if Allura doesn’t want to come back? What if she’s okay being dead? It isn’t fair to her if she doesn’t want to come back. You’re tampering with the rules of life and death.” Lance slightly flinches at the word dead and Allura realizes that he’s still not okay with his Allura being gone forever. With that in mind, Allura wonders, how long has it been since they lost her?

 

“Well, in the Altean story, the boy had dreams of the princess reaching out to him, telling him that she wanted to come home. All he needed to do to successfully bring her home was to get her memories and put it within her weapon. Think about this Lance,” Pidge tells him, walking up to him. “We can bring Allura home to the people she loves and cares about. I know you miss her everyday. Wouldn’t you do anything to bring her back?”  

 

Lance’s eyes widen at this, whether it’s in shock or surprise, but he then walks away, leaving just her and Pidge alone in the kitchen. Something about Pidge’s idea has set him off, she realizes, and he’s clamming up about it. She wants to follow him, tell him to talk to her, and somehow convince him that everything will be alright. But she can’t because it would be too foreign to both of them. If anything, she’s sort of a stranger to him since they’ve lived different lives.

 

“Where do you come from?” Pidge asks her, putting her stuff down on the table and sitting down on the chair that Lance left vacant. She’s still staring at her like she’s something foreign and under Pidge’s scrutinizing gaze, it makes her feel uncomfortable. She’s not used to being stared at like this, especially not from Pidge.

 

“Why is that so important to you?” she asks back, taking a tentative seat away from her.

 

“Because it’s interesting that a day before the anniversary of the date that Allura sacrificed herself, you show up. And from a different universe too,” Pidge bluntly states. “And…I’m curious as to how you live your life and what happened in your universe.”

 

Underneath her words, she can tell Pidge is very curious about learning about her other self, the Pidge from her world, even if she doesn’t say it outright.

 

“Well, for starters, there was never a war between the Galras and humans. There hasn’t been a war since World War II. I work as a nurse. The hours are horrendous but it helps to know that I’m making a difference in people’s lives,” Allura tells her, playing with her necklace. “I live in New York, where the most excitement happens obviously. Went to college in New York too and that’s how I met you. Not you you, but the you in my world. We were college roommates and we’ve been best friends since.” When she mentions her name, Pidge becomes more intrigued.

 

“You’re studying to be a computer engineer and you stay up way too late. You also love finding if the paranormal is real or not, scrolling through the forums on your free time. And you build robots too.”

 

She contemplates the information given to her and then she asks, “What have I looked into, paranormal wise?”

 

“Well you and Keith are looking into the Yeti,” she responds, thinking to two days ago when she and Lance saw the two of them for lunch. Keith and her kept arguing about whether the Yeti was real or not (Keith was for it being real while Pidge was not). Lance was betting that it would that it would take them another ten years before the two of them would admit they felt anything for each other. She wonders now, if this version of Pidge feels something for the quiet, emotional man.

 

Pidge is shaking her head at this. “Oh god no. Keith goes on for days about why the Yeti is real. There’s no actual concrete evidence to support it!” Even though Pidge is slightly frustrated, her frustration makes her smile. It almost for a second makes her believe that this is her Pidge.

 

Lance emerges again, his eyes red. He was crying, she thinks as she stares at his face. But there’s a newfound energy to him, from the way he walks to how he looks “Pidge, what do we have to do?” Lance asks her, voice determined.

 

“Let’s go talk to Coran and Keith,” Pidge tells him. She brings out what looks a like a communicator and punches in a bunch of things. “They can probably look more into it while we go there. And you might as well bring Allura along. Can’t hurt can it?”

 


 

As they travel, it’s really quiet. Lance is lost in his thoughts as he stares out of the window and she thinks Pidge is somehow trying to figure out the reason for her appearance. Allura isn’t used to this type of silence from the both of them. Normally when they’re together, they crack a bunch of jokes. Maybe, they’ve changed a lot due to the war, she thinks.

 

They finally pull up in front of a elaborate and tall building and Allura can only marvel about how much work was pulled into it. It slightly reminds her of skyscrapers in New York but this building is the only one in the area and it’s much shorter too. Once they enter, it’s nothing like she thought it would be, with futuristic styles and some other styles that she can’t even describe. They go into an elevator that soon descends into one of the biggest spaces she’s ever seen, with huge, towering bookcases that seem to extend out for miles. Allura’s eyes widen at the sight from behind the elevator window. This is like Pidge’s dream, being surrounded by vast amounts of knowledge from every corner of the galaxy.

 

“How?” she mutters, gasping at it in surprise.

 

“Well once Altea was restored, Coran and I decided that we should catalog every book that’s ever been published and keep it in one place. So this library is bigger than the library of Congress!” Pidge says proudly. “And it’s still a work in progress too!”

 

“How’d you even have the time to go through everything?”

 

“Well, it wasn’t just her,” Lance tells her, arms crossed. “She had a bunch of people helping her, me, Shiro, Keith, Hunk, the mice. It was tedious but at least in the end this is will help others.” When Allura glances back at him, he’s looking proudly at Pidge. She gives a small smile, knowing that Lance thinks of Pidge as his little sister and is proud of everything that she does.

 

The doors ding as they approach the floor. Once the doors open, she sees Keith and Coran hunched over various books underneath dim lighting.

 

“Pidge! Lance!” Coran shouts excitedly, getting up from his seat and walking over to them. Keith is glaring at the man, obviously a little annoyed that he disrupted his reading. However, he gets up as well.

 

“What are you guys doing here?” Coran asks them, putting his hands on his hips.

 

“We wanted to know more about the legend you guys found earlier,” Lance explained. “Like there has to be more to it.”

 

“Of course! Keith and I have been reading more into it after Pidge commed us and we’ve found a dozen things since then about the legend. Which is actually very surprising. Oh yes, who is this?” Coran asks, peering at her. She’s wearing a huge hoodie that Lance leant to her, with the hood securely around her head (Lance had fussed over her, saying, “We have to hide you. We can’t let anyone see you” while tossing a huge, blue hoodie at her. She slipped it on of course but immediately she was hit by the scent of Lance and her eyes started to water).

 

“This…..” Pidge starts, her voice unsure about what to tell Coran and Keith. She glances over to see what Lance is doing and he’s shifting awkwardly on his feet.

 

Giving a little sigh, she shrugs the hoodie off. “Hello Coran, Keith,” she says plainly, giving a small smile. Both of their eyes widen like saucers at the sight of her.

 

“Allura?” Coran asks, his voice wavering. “How?” His eyes are brimming with tears as if she’s a sight that’s too good to be true.  

 

“That’s what I asked. But it’s not our Allura,” Pidge explains. “Apparently this Allura is from a world where the war never happened.”

 

“You’re from another universe?” Keith asks her with his eyebrow raised.

 

“Yes. It’s a lot different than this one,” she responds, taking him in. Like the photo, Keith’s hair is longer and in a ponytail but this time he’s wearing a lot of black with a red jacket over it. He seems…..a lot more content with himself and more open, in contrast to the Keith she knows, who has a nasty habit of locking himself up when things get rough.

 

He nods and like Pidge earlier, he’s looking at her and trying to get an assessment of her.

 

“So, you’re not Allura,” Coran states, his disappointment evident. She shakes her head.

 

“But I think,” Pidge begins to suggest. “That this Allura is a sign that maybe the Altean legend is true.”

 

“Hmm,” Keith says, making his way back over to the books. His eyes scroll through the text in a thick book on the top. “Maybe. There’s a section here that mentions the memories needed but there’s nothing about bringing about alternate versions of the person.”

 

“Wait lemme see,” Pidge says, making her way over to him.

 

Lance, Coran, and her stand back and just watch. Coran is eyeing her and Allura desperately just wants him to say something, anything. It’s nerve-wracking to see a version of her uncle like this, critical and silent. The only time she ever saw him like this was when his dear friend had died and it almost took him four months to get him back to his cheerful self.

 

“You look so much like her,” Coran finally says, a tear leaking out of his eye. “Even your mannerisms are the same.”

 

Allura stares back at him, unsure of what to say to the older man. She wants to comfort him but she doesn’t know how to, especially without setting him off. Luckily for her, Lance does the comforting. He puts a hand on his shoulder and shares a look with him, a look that reminds her of people who share a common loss.

“OHOHOHOH Kogane you skipped a whole thing!” Pidge shouts out in glee, diverting her attention away from Lance and Coran.

 

“No I did not!” Keith argues back.

 

“Did so. There’s a whole entire part about signs. See!” she points down to a part of the text in the book and Keith squints to look at it. “The sign can be a multitude of things, from things to people to pets. You know there’s even one recollection of the yalmor being a sign.”

 

“Yalmor?” Coran asks, moving over to go look over it with them. “You mean my favorite animal?” His voice is still lacking the cheerful tone he usually sports but Allura assumes it’s still a step up from him being sad. She never really did like it when he was sad. However, Allura raises her eyebrow at this. What’s a yalmor? She thinks but doesn’t say aloud.

 

Pidge nor Keith answer him, still looking over the book. Lance is standing next to her, still silent. “Guys, maybe it’s not so important about what the sign is,” he voices out. “Like anything could be a sign right? And we may just not know it. Besides, maybe we should start looking for these memories you’ve mentioned.”

 

She looks at him with her eyebrow raised. How come Lance has decided to go along with it? Wasn’t he sort of against it earlier? No , after he came back there was something in his eyes. Determination , she thinks. He must know something that he’s not sharing with the rest of them.

 

“You’re right,” Pidge says. “What’s more important here is getting her memories.”

 

“But how are you even going to get her memories?” she interjects, knowing that despite hearing everything they’re talking about, she’s still very much an outsider to these close knit group of friends. “How would you even know what her memories are?”

 

“She has a point,” Keith says, which surprises her.

 

“Well in here,” Coran says, reading off from the book. “It says that the memories that were scattered around were on different planets. One included a wand from another universe, catching the hair of a weird cat the princess favored, a headpiece…..”

 

“So you’re saying that it’s things that were important to her?” Lance asks him skeptically.

 

“Not necessarily,” Pidge answers for Coran. She’s pointing to something within the book she and Keith were looking at. “In here, it says something about her leaving a mark on a certain planet. Sort of like an energy or power. So maybe we need to find things that Allura restored or liked.”

 

“But how would we know though?”

 

“Maybe his marks?” Allura suggests, even though it could be wrong. “Maybe your Allura left you a way to find those memories. To bring her back when she’s done saving all alternate realities.”

 

Lance’s eyes widen in surprise as he takes in her suggestion. She doesn’t know if he’s shocked that she made a comment about this or if he’s shocked because her idea is outright ridiculous. One thing for sure about this Lance is that he’s harder to read. Sometimes she can understand what he’s thinking and other times she can’t. It bothers her.

 

“Yeah it could be that!” Pidge exclaims, growing excited. “Lance’s Altean marks can identify if it’s a memory of Allura’s! It’ll probably light up. But we probably won’t need his marks to find every single memory.”

 

“But how are we going to know where to find these memories?” Keith brings up, crossing his arms. “We can’t just go up to every single thing in the universe because there are too many things out there.”

 

“There has to be some clues of some sort….” Allura muses. Her eyes land on the books in front of Coran and Pidge. What about the story? There has to be some things in the story. “Is there anything that they mention in the story? Like clues for the boy to find to know where the memories were.”

 

“Yes.” Coran flips back a few pages and his eyes land on what Allura assumes is the story. “Apparently the boy needed to find ‘something that sways in the wind, an object for which an exchange is made, a flower that blooms in adversity, the hair of an animal that represents hope, and the love of pure souls’. And keep in mind, there items have to be connected to Allura somehow.”

 

“Love of pure souls?” Keith asks aloud, voicing what was pretty much on everyone’s minds. “Where would we find something like that?” It sounds like it has to come from a person, she thinks. But who could it be?

 

“We can figure that out later,” Pidge hushes him. “I think I know the ‘object for which an exchange is made’. It’s the crystal of the Balmera.”

 

“I know the ‘flower that blooms in adversity’,” Lance adds on. “I think it’s pretty clear which one that is.”

 

“The hair of an animal that represents hope,” Coran muses, stroking his mustache. “I have think about that one.”

 

“We should probably call Shiro and Hunk to get here,” Keith says, bringing out something that looks identical to a phone. Honestly Allura can’t even be sure that those things even exist in this universe. “We could use all the help we can get to figure out these clues.”

 

Pidge, Coran, and Lance nod their heads. “It’ll be like a reunion,” Lance says with a smile. “Except, it’ll be an earlier reunion though than usual.”

 

“I’m sure they’ll be fine about it,” Keith shrugs. “Shiro was complaining about work last week anyways so it’ll be great.”

 

“Hunk’s been meaning to visit too,” Pidge tells them. Right as Keith is going to walk into the elevator, Pidge’s eyes light up and Allura knows that she’s come up with an idea. “What if we take the lions to go get them?”

 

“The lions? Pidge, I don’t know if that’s a good idea,” Keith frowns. “How the heck would we get them there? We only have three pilots.”

 

“Not quite,” Lance says, putting his elbow on his friend’s shoulder. “We have Allura.”

 

“Me?” Allura points to herself confused. Lance expects her to pilot a lion? The ones he explained to her can only bond to specific people? “You have got to be joking with me.”

 

Turns out he’s not.

 

He hands her a set of armor that’s in the shade of pink (“We had an extra set lying around,” he claims as he places it in her arms) and then takes her towards the hangar where the lions are. On the way there, Lance explains to her that the lions haven’t been used for two years and have been just “chilling out”. When they finally reach the lions, with Keith, Pidge, and Coran in tow, her mouth ends up dropping at how massive they are. The lions let out a huge roar due to the presence of them and she ends up squeaking in surprise, ducking behind Lance.

 

Lance gives out a little chuckle at her timidness. “They won’t bite,” he promises her.

 

“They might,” Keith injects, giving her a deadpan look.

 

“Don’t scare her,” Pidge tells him, pushing him.

 

“I’m not!”

 

“You are!”

 

“How much are we “betting” on these two?” she hears Coran whisper to Lance. “Also did I say “betting” correctly? I know that’s your Earth term for it but there’s a much better word for it in Altean-”

 

“Yeah Coran you said it correctly. It’s currently gone up to 80 units. It will probably go up once Shiro and Hunk hear about it,” Lance says with a snicker. “Man Hunk will be mad that it’s going up so high.”

 

Lance then takes her to the lion she’ll be piloting and fondly introduces her to Blue, as he calls the Blue Lion. “You’re rather fond of her,” she states aloud once he’s done with his introduction.

 

“Mhmm,” he says, glancing back up at the huge lion with a wistful smile on his face. “She used to be my lion before Red took me. Then she went to Allura. Not you,” Lance stutters. “Our-”

 

“I get it Lance,” she says gently, putting a hand on his shoulder. “Don’t worry.” Right as she makes contact with him, she notices his marks are starting to glow. She internally frowns at this. What could be making his marks glow?

 

“Your marks,” she says. They’re glowing brighter now, almost matching the color of his eyes.

 

“My marks,” he repeats, as if he’s realizing that his marks are glowing too.

 

Then she realizes what could be setting them off.

 

There are mice on his shoulders.

 

Her eyes widen at this and she wants to burst out and coo over these small animals. They were her favorite animals growing up. “The mice,” is all she manages to get out without making a huge fuss over them. Could their fur be one of the things they need?

 

“What?” he looks at her confused, not understanding what she meant but then he glances down to his shoulders. “The mice…..Their fur! Oh hi guys! You guys want to come along?” The four of them nod simultaneously. “You can ride with me.”

 

“You can talk to them?” Allura asks incredulous.

 

“Yeah, I didn't use to. It was only until after Allura gave me these I could.”

 

“So you have magical powers?”

 

Lance laughs then and there’s crinkles are the corners of his eyes as he laughs. She smiles fondly at him, all too reminded of her own Lance laughing like that. “Yeah,” he says after his laughter dies down. “I guess you can say something like that.”

 

She stares back up at the Blue Lion, wondering how the heck was she supposed to bond with this thing. Did she need to meditate? Did she have to offer it something? Apparently Lance could sense her nervousness; he places a hand on her shoulder as he speaks to her. “Don’t worry. You need to just be yourself.”

 

“What makes you so sure that Blue would like me?” she asks him, glancing at him.

 

“You’re Allura. Doesn’t matter if you’re from another universe. You’re still the same person, deep down.” His belief in her makes her insides warm and her cheeks to heat up. Even if she isn’t his Allura, it’s nice to know he still believes in her regardless of which universe she’s from.

 

Then the lion roars, shocking her once more, and then its massive jaws open up for her. Allura gasps, immediately feeling something from the lion. It’s sentient . How is that even possible?

 

The lion roars in her mind, giving her the answer.

 

King Alfor created us, it responds. But we are bound to those we deem worthy and although you may be of a different universe child, I still see you.

 

Allura nods her head, understanding the words of the Blue Lion. “I’ll leave you two to get to know each other. We’ll be leaving really soon but Keith will give you the signal,” Lance tells her, giving her a smile and putting on his helmet.

 

Right as Lance is walking away, she impulsively calls out to him. “Lance!”

 

“Yes?” he asks her turning around.

 

“Earlier….” she starts, biting her lip nervously. “You weren’t onboard with Pidge’s plan. What made you change your mind?” Allura feels like she’s not the one who should be asking him this. It feels like she’s slightly intruding on his privacy.

 

Lance just stares back at her and for a moment, it seems like words are going to fall off of his lips but instead he shakes his head as Pidge yells out, “We’re not going to be waiting all day for you guys!”

 

He starts heading towards the Red Lion and Allura looks on sadly as he walks away. There’s something definitely going on in that brain of his and she’s willing to find out what it is.

 


 

 

Flying the Blue Lion wasn’t as hard as she thought it would be. The Blue Lion and Lance guide her through everything she needs to know, telling her which levers to pull or which buttons to push. Honestly, she’s grateful for their help. Piloting the Blue Lion is thrilling, making her insides soar higher as they soar in space. This wasn’t even something she was expecting to like.

 

Somehow, without a pilot, the Yellow Lion follows behind them as if it knows where their destination is. Remember , she has to tell herself, it’s a sentient being.

 

They soar past the stars and each star seems to twinkle brightly before fading out of view. The more they’re out here in the lions, flying through space, it hits her.

 

She’s in space.

 

Who would’ve thought that she would be flying a gigantic lion through space? But she knows that two people who would’ve loved to be out here would be Keith, as his ultimate dream was eventually explore space, and Lance, who grew up dreaming about seeing the stars.

 

Soon, they arrive on Earth and Earth is a lot different than how she’s used to it being. There aren’t as many buildings around but it seems like destruction is still present. There’s rubble almost everywhere, scattered in bits and pieces on the floor and parts hanging off of metallic wires ready to fall off. Another difference about this Earth is that there’s aliens on it. There’s aliens with multiple arms and legs, some with big black eyes, and some with tiny eyes. There’s also one who reminds her of a penguin but its legs look nothing like it.

 

They soon land at what she learns is the Galaxy Garrison, the hub for space exploration and technology development, and right outside waiting for them is Hunk and Shiro. Like expected, the two of them gap at her presence. Shiro’s expression is more subdued but Hunk looks like he’s ready to full on sob.

 

“Allura!” he yells, once the shock fades away and he runs over to her, pulling her into a tight hug that lifts her off the ground. Allura loves hugs from Hunk but this, this moment isn’t really for her. She pats him on the back awkwardly and soon he lets her down.

 

“Hunk, it’s not-” Lance begins to say but then Hunk and Shiro are quick to catch on.

 

“You don’t have the Altean marks,” Shiro bluntly states. “So, I’m assuming you’re from a different universe right?”

 

“A different universe?” Hunk gaps. “How?”

 

“I have no clue,” Allura says shrugging. “I have no clue what brought me here or how to even get back home.” The moment home leaves her lips, she’s left with a longing for familiar arms to wrap around her and to whisper sayings in Spanish in her ear. It’s not like she hasn’t forgotten what home is to her; she just doesn’t want to think about it because she knows she will somehow tear up from missing everyone and everything so much. She doesn’t want these versions of her friends to judge her more than they already have.

 

Shiro comes up to her, putting a comforting hand on her shoulder. “We’ll make sure you get home safely.” Allura smiles at the man, grateful for his kindness. Shiro always had a calming effect on her and even in a different universe, he’s still calming. The only difference about this Shiro is that he has a robotic arm that’s not even connected to his arm socket.

 

“So what brings you guys here?” Hunk asks, putting his hands in his pockets. “You didn’t tell us you were taking the lions out.”

 

“We thought we needed a little help,” Keith starts. “Turns out there’s a way to bring Allura home.” Coran tells the story to them, weaving dramatic bits and pieces in there by over-exaggerating a few things, which Allura finds hilarious and engaging. By the time Coran is done with his story, it leaves Allura wanting to hear more from the man.

 

“So, you guys are gathering things to get Allura back?” Hunk asks.

 

“Yeah, apparently these items hold her memories,” Pidge tells him. “Each individual object holds some sort of connection to Allura and we’re supposed to bring it all together and put into into her greatest treasure.”

 

“Do you know where these things are supposed to be?” Shiro asks, crossing his arms. Out of everyone, he seems to be the most skeptical. Lance, Pidge, Keith, Hunk, and Coran seem to jumping into it and Allura thinks maybe it is because of that, Shiro decides he has to be the most level-headed. She realizes, Shiro has always been this way, always thinking logically or thinking things through before actually doing it. In a way, he’s looking out for everyone.  

 

“We know that we have to go to the Balmera to get the crystal. And we have to get the junniberry flower from New Altea but that should be easy. And we have the mice’s fur already,” Lance tells him and on his shoulder, the mice are nodding enthusiastically.

 

“We just don’t know the other two, the one that sways in the wind and the love one,” Pidge tells him. “I have to admit I’m pretty stumped on the love one.” Allura has an idea about what it could be but she doesn’t want to get their hopes up. They’re all so optimistic about it going successfully and she doesn’t want to lead them down a dead end.

 

“Sways in the wind?” Hunk muses. “What can sway in the wind? It could be anything.”

 

“Wait,” Keith says. He turns to Lance, “Didn’t you take Allura to that park near your house?”

 

“Yeah,” Lance answers. Then his eyes grow wide with realization as he understands what Keith means. “The tree! She brought it back to life! Keith you’re a genius!” The picture…...that must’ve been where Lance and Allura had their first date, she thinks. They looked so happy together there.

 

“So, you have most of the items then?” Shiro asks.

 

“I think so. The only thing is we need the Balmeran crystal. The only problem is trying to do the exchange,” Pidge answers.

 

“I think…..I think I have to do it,” Lance tells them, his eyes growing serious. Allura frowns at him. What would even happen to him? Would he die? And why does he has to be the one to do it? Can’t there be anyone else?

 

“Why does it have to be you?” she asks, trying to keep her voice from raising. “Why can’t it be anyone else?”

 

“I’m the only one who has Altean magic, I think. I’m the only one who can do the exchange.”

 

“Altean magic? What does Altean magic have to do with all of this?”

 

“The power inside of Lance is what is used to fuel the exchange. He gives power to the Balmera and then the Balmera gives us the crystal,” Coran explains to her. “It’s not a lengthy process, which is nice.”

 

“How do you even know he has Altean magic? And how do you know he won’t get hurt after all of this?” she argues, thinking of Lance’s safety. She’s afraid he’ll get hurt and…..she still cares for him, even if he’s not hers. Allura thinks of it as watching out for him in this universe’s Allura’s stead and she’s very sure she doesn’t want her Lance to be hurt.

 

“I don’t know,” Lance says with the shake of his head. “I guess….it’s just a feeling I have.”

 

“And we don’t know if it’ll hurt him or not,” Coran adds on. “But if he’s willing to take the risk-”

 

“I am Coran. Anything to get Allura back.” His voice is determined, more than ever, and there’s a fire burning within his eyes and Allura becomes slightly afraid. Not of him, but for him. This could be dangerous for him and she’s not sure if she’s ready to watch him get hurt. But somehow, she knows that arguing with him would be fruitless so she ends up saying nothing when he starts to assign groups to get the various items.

 


 

She, Coran, and Lance end up being one group and take the two lions to the planet of Balmera. Shiro and Hunk are tasked with getting the leaf from the tree Allura revived while Keith and Pidge decide to get the juniberry flowers while researching more about the story, like how the boy put everything inside the princess’ favorite weapon. (And none of them still have solved what the weapon could be.)

 

On the way there to the Balmera, Coran explains everything about it to her, going over its extensive history to how the exchange process works. And it’s honestly a lot of things he’s saying and it flies over her head, especially with all the foreign words he’s using. But even as he talks, she knows that he’s keeping his distance despite his willingness to explain everything to her. They land and just like she was told, it’s a moving planet.

 

She stares at it wonder, taking it in. Ever since she landed in this world, she’s never really stopped to think about how amazing and how crazy it all is. There’s so much to do out here, from the sights to the food to the people. It really broadens one’s horizons and just makes her realize how small her world is back home. Just how small Earth is. There’s no aliens or other planets to explore. Heck, they’re still in the process of discovering the atmosphere of Mercury. Lance would kill to see this all , she thinks. Or be in Blue. God, he would have a blast being in Blue. The lion roars in her head, agreeing that her Lance would enjoy it.

 

They soon land on the planet and Allura is surprised. From space, all she saw was dark, barren lands that were brown and dark-yellow in color. But here on the moving planet, there are crystals blooming everywhere, ranging in different sizes and colors when the light shines properly on them.

 

It’s beautiful.

 

Lance has his helmet off and Allura figures that she should probably take her helmet off too. However, Coran shakes his head, motioning for her to keep it on. He probably doesn’t want more people or aliens to know that an alternate universe version of the Altean princess had appeared, which is something she can understand. Aliens are approaching them with kind smiles lacing their features and she knows that she can feel safe around them.

 

“Coran, Lance,” the female in the front greets them, bringing them in for hugs. “It’s lovely to see you again. When was the last time you visited the Balmera again? Hunk’s been here a lot but I haven’t seen you guys in a very long time.”

 

“Ah,” Coran plays with his mustache. “It had to be deca-phoebs ago when we last visited.”

“It’s good to see you Shay,” Lance tells her with a genuine smile and Allura notices that his marks have started to light up. It must be because of the crystals , she realizes.

 

“Who’s this you brought along?” Shay turns to her, a smile still on her face.

 

“This is….Fala!” Lance says, swinging an arm around her. She’s surprised by his sudden contact but he’s still focused on Shay. “She’s a friend of Veronica’s and she’s been chosen by the Blue Lion to help us out with stuff!” His voice is nervous, she notes, noticing the way that he’s plastering on that fake smile and how his voice seems to be going higher.

 

“Oh I see!” Shay says with a grin. “Well it’s nice to meet you Fala.”

 

“Nice to meet you too Shay.” Wait….is Hunk’s girlfriend an alien in this universe? Apparently she is. The thought makes her blink several times.

 

After explaining to her what they need, Shay quickly takes them to a small crystal where other Balmerans are sitting and this, Allura realizes, must be their ceremony. The crystal is small surprisingly and could possibly fit in the palm of her hand. “Are you sure you can do this?” she asks worridley, turning to him.

 

Lance nods his head. “I can. I know I can.”

 

And then the ritual begins and Allura can’t describe how beautiful it is or how much energy seems to be around them all. Coran had walked Lance through it before, telling him exactly what he needed to do but right now, in this very moment, Lance’s body seems to be working on it’s own. His hand is on the crystal and from there, his whole body lights up with a blue glow surrounding him. The Balmerans are also doing their part, by putting their hands on the floor and letting their own powers sink into the earth. Everything is glowing while this happens and Allura just stares on with Coran, watching the scene unfold.

 

It seems that no matter which universe she’ll land in, Lance will still be beautiful to her. His eyes are all aglow with the magic coursing through his veins and his marks are shining brightly as well. It’s weird, the more she thinks about it, that in this universe he is practically glowing the way she sees her Lance.

 

The ritual ends with the crystal coming out of the surface and into the palm of Lance’s hand. The glow surrounding him fades and he then collapses, falling to the floor with a thud. Her eyes widen and she rushes over to him, with Coran quickly behind her.

 

“Lance!” both of them say, hovering over him. He looks slightly pale and his eyelids are closed shut. If anything, he looks exhausted to Allura with the sweat running down his forehead.

 

“Oh no,” she hears Coran mutter. “It must’ve taken too much energy out of him. It was his first time doing it too.”

 

“Lance?” Allura asks, getting down to her knees and shaking him gently on the shoulder. He’s unresponsive but he’s breathing, which is a good thing. But despite that, Allura is internally panicking over Lance’s unresponsiveness. The nurse side of her is trying to stay rational and calm but the emotional side seems to be winning, making her more anxious by the minute. She hates seeing Lance like this and it makes her feel nauseous. “Lance!”

 

“Allura?” he whispers with his eyes still closed. Allura is about to respond but then she realizes, he’s not calling out for her. He’s calling out for his Allura. “Allura, don’t leave me.”

 

Allura brushes back his hair out of his forehead, wondering what he could be dreaming about. What could the Allura in his dreams be saying to him?

 

“Allura,” he whispers again and a tear runs down his cheek.

 

Is he dreaming about the last time he saw her? She can’t help but wonder. Or is she actually reaching out to him like the princess in the Altean legend? She desperately wants to know so she can somehow maybe take away the pain he’s feeling.

 

“Lance,” she says softly. “Please wake up.”

 

And his eyes open then, his eyes glowing as he does so. Lance jolts up suddenly, looking frantically around and breathing shallowly. “Woah,” she says to him, placing a hand on his chest. “Deep breaths, in through the nose, out through the mouth.”

 

He follows her instructions and soon enough, his breathing evens out. “Where are we?” he asks, looking at her and Coran.

 

“We’re on the Balmera planet,” Coran tells him gently, placing a hand on his shoulder. “And you, my boy, just got yourself a Balmeran crystal.”

 

“I did?” Lance looks down to his palm and right there, is the crystal they needed. His eyes widen in surprise. “I...How?”

 

“You did everything on your own. I’m proud of you Lance,” Coran tells him sincerely.

 

After they make sure Lance is alright, they head back towards the lions with the crystal safely tucked in Coran’s pocket. They’re due to meet up with Keith, Pidge, Hunk, and Shiro on New Altea and so they blast off in the lions. Coran’s with her in the Blue Lion and somehow, he’s passed out in the Blue Lion’s hangar. Allura thinks it must be the craziness of the day that’s caused his fatigue.

 

So that leaves Allura and Lance alone over the comms for the duration of their journey. He’s not talking to her, which is something that normally doesn’t bother her, but since she has so many questions for him, it does.

 

“Lance,” she speaks and soon enough his image pops up on the console.

 

“What’s up Allura?”

 

“Can I ask you something?”

 

“Sure. Just don’t ask me how to do play Killbot Phantasm. I don’t know how to play it without dying,” he tells her with a little grin on his face. He’s trying to lighten the mood after what happened on the Balmera. He doesn’t want me to worry , she thinks. Typical Lance.

 

She crooks her head in confusion, playing along with it. “Killbot Phantom? What is that?”

 

“Killbot Phantasm,” he tells her but then shakes his head a minute later. “Never mind. What did you want to know?”

 

He’s staring at her now and with him staring at her, it makes her feel like she’s intruding on his privacy once more. And it’s worse since she looks like the girl he’s in love with. “Are you sure?” she ends up asking, just to clarify if he’s alright with her asking. “I don’t….I don’t want to intrude on your feelings.”

 

Lance is silent for a few moments, looking at the one of the mice on his shoulder that’s sleepily lazing on him. “Yeah. Ask away.”

 

“Were you dreaming about Allura earlier on the Balmera?”

 

He doesn’t respond at first, a wave of doubt flashing over his face. “I was,” Lance finally says. “How’d you know?”

 

“You whispered her name out,” Allura tells him, recalling how somehow a wave of relief crossed over his face when he spoke her name. She didn’t realize it at first as she stared at him. “Then you begged her not to leave you.”

 

Lance is quiet once more and over the screen, it’s even harder to tell what he’s thinking about. “Can I be honest with you?”

 

Her eyebrows scrunch up slightly at his request but she nods all the same. “Ever since Allura left, I’ve been seeing her every night in my dreams. Some days we just talk, other days we kiss, and then some days I just hold her in my arms. Then when I would wake up, it would all end and, and everytime I still could feel her as if I was still holding her in my arms and it almost felt like she was here with me. It wasn’t until recently that at the end of my dreams, she’d be telling me she’d send me a sign and that she was almost done.”

 

“Done fixing the realities,” she breathes out and Lance nods.

 

“I didn’t realize that she meant that. I just thought it was my grieving mind telling me that I needed to move on,” Lance says with the shake of his head. “Then you showed up and then Pidge came in with that Altean legend and-”

 

“And it seemed too good to be true right?” she finishes for him. “That your dreams were actually her talking to you.”

 

He nods his head. “It was shocking at first and then once Pidge said that thing about the Altean legend, somehow I ended up where Allura was in a dream, or vision, I don’t know, when I went to my room to think. And then-then she told me that she was ready to come home.”

 

Allura says nothing, letting the information sink in. So the legend was true. It wasn’t just a myth or something impossible. It existed in the form of this Lance’s and Allura’s story. Immediately, she knows that she has to make sure the two of them are reunited. Lance has been longing for Allura just as long as Allura has longing for him...wherever she was. And both of them deserved to have happiness in their life, especially after the war. She feels like Allura

 

With a determined tone, she tells him, “Then we’ll make sure she comes home.”

 


 

They land on New Altea a few hours later (or is it doboshes? Or is it a day? Allura is getting really confused with their time measurement even if Coran did try to explain it to her and it doesn’t help that they’re in space.) and they’re greeted by all the others on the terrace of the Altean library. Pidge and Keith had gotten a juniberry flower while Shiro and Hunk had gotten a leaf from the tree. All four of them had figured out that they had to put the memories inside the Blue Lion, Allura’s greatest and most loved treasure. (“She loved Blue a lot,” Hunk told them all after revealing their discovery. “Allura would spend an hour or two with her.”) Once they set out all the memories, the mice scurry down Lance’s shoulder and onto the table, taking off fur off of each other and placing their fur next to the other memories.

 

The only thing they’re missing is the love of pure souls.

 

“We have no clue what it is,” Pidge says once they’ve gathered the items. “Keith and I spent like hours researching what it could be but there’s nothing.”

 

“Every single book just mentions ‘love of pure souls’,” Keith adds on. “It’s annoying that they don’t give anything else.”

 

“Could it be Lance’s marks?” Hunk asks. “I mean it was out of love from Allura, I think. Or maybe she was just choosing him to-”

 

“Hunk, I think we get it,” Shiro tells him.

 

“But it’s not from ‘souls’,” she brings up, thinking about how it didn’t sit right with her. “If giving Lance Altean marks was love then where does another soul come in? Allura is just one soul.”

 

Lance nods his head, agreeing with her. “Then what can it be?” Coran asks. “If we don’t have it, then we can’t bring Allura home.”

 

She has a feeling that maybe this last memory has something to do with her. Why would she even be here in the first place? She knows nothing about what happened in this world and everything confuses her. There must be a reason for why she’s here besides her being the sign that Allura was done fixing the realities. It can’t be just a coincidence that she fell here. Lance is standing next to her, talking with the others about the possibilities when she notices something about Lance.

 

His marks….they’re glowing.

 

Now to think about it, every single time they were standing close together his marks were glowing.

 

Could it be? Is she the ‘love of pure souls’? But at the same time, she’s just one soul, not multiple. So she couldn’t be.

Unless….

 

Her necklace.

 

It was given to her by Lance on Valentine’s Day two years ago and she has treasured it ever since, using it as a source of comfort in difficult times or a reminder of the things waiting for her when she gets home. The necklace itself is pretty simple, just a heart shaped charm on a chain. On it though, is the stars on the one side, a reminder of their first kiss under the stars, and on the other is an engraving of their initials.

 

It’s a little weird though, her necklace possibly being the last memory of Allura’s (if it was a memory). There’s no connection between her and this world’s Allura. But maybe….maybe her necklace was a representation of a love that could transcend universes…...or how no matter which universe she or Lance were in, she would always do anything for him as he would do for her. These thoughts could completely be wrong or a far-off guess but somehow, deep down, she knows that her necklace is the last memory that’s needed. Allura can’t really explain how she knows, but it just feels like it’s right.

 

“I know what it is,” Allura says, capturing the attention of everyone. All eyes turn to look her and she feels a surge of confidence. “It’s my necklace.”

 

“Your necklace?” Pidge asks with a raised eyebrow. “How can it be your necklace?”

 

“Lance - my Lance - gave it to me. I believe that it represents the love from one soul to another. But me,” she tells Lance, taking off her necklace. She takes his hand and places the necklace in his palm. Allura notices that his marks seem to glow brighter now and she continues on, “I know you’re not mine and I’m not yours but this is my love for you. In every galaxy, in every universe.

 

She says the last few words thinking of how her Lance had said it to her, with his arms around her tightly and kissing her endlessly.

 

Lance stares at her, with shock expressed on his face. “Allura….” he starts but she shakes her head stopping him.

 

“For everything you did for me, in this universe, in other universes like mine…..please let me do this for you.” Allura places her fingers around his own and pushes them down, securing the necklace within his hands. He’s still staring at her by the time she looks back up at him and Allura can only describe his look as awe or maybe, even love. It makes her heart flutter a little bit.

 

“Thank you.”

 


 

They all quickly put the memories into the piloting chair of the Blue Lion after Allura gave Lance her necklace. It’s a pretty easy task considering how quickly all of them were able to do it.

 

But then…

 

“Okay, what do we do now?” Hunk asks them, arms on his hips. They’re all standing on the terrace now, all of them a little impatient. “Is something supposed to happen? Is Allura supposed to appear now?”

 

Pidge shrugs. “I have no clue. The book didn’t say anything about what happened next.”

 

“We all just wait,” Shiro says. His voice is fatherly like, authoritative, and once he speaks, everyone immediately looks to him. “We did all that we needed to do. We just need to wait it out.”

 

“But where?” she asks. “Do we just stay here?”

 

“Sleepover at Lance’s house!” Hunk cheers and Pidge quickly joins him.

 

“Yes!!!!!! We can catch up on everything that we’ve missed out on!” she exclaims.

 

“That’s only if Lance is willing to have us over,” Keith scolds the both of them. “You don’t just invite yourself over to someone’s place uninvited.”

 

“Keith,” she says, looping her arm through his arm, which elicits a surprised look and a blush from him. “We’re adults. Plus, we need to catch up before all of us go our own ways again. The day after tomorrow, we’re all going to back to work. And then we won’t see each other for awhile again.”

 

“Not until Christmas,” Lance adds on. “And that’s…..that’s awhile ‘till then. Either way, you’re still welcome to come over. We’re family now.”

 

Allura doesn’t say anything, just watching the scene unfold in front of her. Once again, she feels like she’s intruding, a stranger looking in on intimate moments between a family. In her world, all of them are family, but in this world, they’re a different type of family, bound together from shared experiences of a war they partook in. And just being here makes her crave being in the presence of her family, the one that watches movies together on Netflix late at night and the one that does karaoke every Sunday evening.

 

“And you too Allura,” Lance says, breaking her out of her thoughts. He’s smiling his brilliant smile at her and it makes her feel more at ease. “You’re part of our family too, even if you’re from another universe.”

 

“Really?” she asks surprised. “I feel like I’m imposing…”

 

“Nah,” Hunk comes up to her, throwing an arm around her. “You’re Allura! Even if you might have a lot of differences, you still have a lot of similarities-”

 

“You’re kind, selfless, and willing to do anything to make others happy,” Coran finishes for him. She’s surprised that the man decided to speak up but his words make her tear up a bit. “And that is someone we would want in our family. And so, we should make a celebration out of it!”

 

He’s smiling at her, the way a father would look at her child, and it makes a tear slip out. Everyone is nodding their heads and Allura smiles at all of them, her heart feeling full from their acceptance. “Alright, now sleepover at Lance’s house!” Hunk cheers and the others cheer as well. They make their way out of the Altean library and towards Lance’s house (the mice just ride on Hunk’s shoulders), piling in a hover and all of them struggle to fit in it. Once they’re at Lance’s house, everyone pulls out their pyjamas from bags they left around Lance’s house (except her and Keith, who did not have any, so Shiro chucks a red shirt of his own at him while Lance handed her a set of his own clothes, which was obviously much bigger on her) and they soon settle into the living room with huge, warm blankets, talking about their lives and laughing about their experiences. It’s comfortable, Allura thinks, watching them all talk about their lives and making jokes with them. She even puts her head on Coran’s shoulder, which makes the man smile at her before giving her a pat on the back. When he does this, she finds it oh so familiar and very calming.

 

Then when it comes to her to share, she talks about her world, what they are like and what they’re doing. Hunk is running a restaurant with his girlfriend running as manager. Keith is working to be an astronaut while Shiro is a high-ranking doctor at the hospital she works out, married to Adam, who is conveniently working with NASA. (She doesn’t miss the way that Shiro tenses or how his eyes begin to water and somehow she can tell that maybe their story didn’t run the same way here as it did in her universe.) She tells them all of how Coran raised her in her world, telling them about fond Sunday mornings when he would come in singing in her room to wake her up. (As she speaks, Coran has a proud look on his face, and when she notices it, she feels all so much prouder of him being the father figure in her life) And Lance is a teacher, which is something that surprises everyone, except Lance, who then sheepishly admits that he was considering being a teacher if the farmer thing didn’t work out. Hunk then proceeds to ask about Keith and Pidge’s relationship with mirth in his eyes. She reveals how they are in her world, constantly being around each other but constantly denying how they feel towards each other; everyone snickers while their faces turn a bright red and they shuffle away from each other on their spots on the couch.

 

Eventually they all succumb to the throws of sleep, with Coran passing out first and the rest of them follow one by one. But Allura is the only one awake, her eyes staring at the nude colored hues of the ceiling and listening to the snores from Shiro and Coran and the soft breathing from the rest of her new-found (but not really new-found) family.

 

As much as she likes it here, she wonders how the heck she’s going to get back to her world. Allura never mentioned her concerns about how she was supposed to get home, mainly due to how all of them were concerned with bringing their Allura home. To her, it felt more important than raising her own issues, which she herself was trying to not so desperately worry about. Now in the dark of night, the issue is at the forefront of her mind. Is there a portal she can use? Or maybe she has to fall through the sky again but at the same time, she’d probably kill herself if she did it like that.

 

She closes her eyes, feeling the hot pricks of tears behind her eyelids. If she never goes home, she’ll never see her family again, even though there are similarities in this world. It just wouldn’t be the same. She’ll never get fatherly advice or jokes from Coran or warm hugs and good cooking from Hunk. She’ll never see Keith and Pidge dancing around their feelings for each other and she won’t be able to constantly tease Pidge for never doing anything about it. She won’t be able to talk to Pidge about the most random things even though one of them wouldn’t understand it. She won’t get to work with Shiro and vent to him about her life while drinking the terrible cups of coffee they had in the hospital.

 

And she wouldn’t be able to be with Lance. She wouldn’t get to hear him make jokes about the silliest of things. She’d never get to ramble about how awful her work day was to him and he would never take her in his arms and whisper to her how everything would be alright. She would never feel the touch of his lips upon her own and never hold him close to her. She wouldn’t get to whisper ‘I love you’ to him in Spanish and would never get to see the way his eyes lit up when she said it again.

 

Getting up from her makeshift bed besides Shiro, she gets up and goes out the door for some fresh air, thinking that maybe it’ll do her some good. The stars are out, she notices, and each star seems to twinkle brightly in the night sky. The sky is illuminated with a multitude of colors, ranging from dark blue to a dreamy light blue. It’s beautiful, looking almost like a galaxy.

 

As much as she wanted to clear her head and get some fresh air, her thoughts stray back to how much she misses everyone, especially Lance, from her world. I never really got to say goodbye to them , she thinks. I just told them I would see them later. But see you later’s don’t really count as goodbyes.

 

She hears the creak of the door and she turns around to see none other than Lance coming out. “Couldn’t sleep?” he asks her.

 

“No,” Allura admits, staring back at the stars.

 

“What’s keeping you up?” Lance gently nudges her on the shoulder with a smile on his lips. “C’mon you can tell old Lance what’s on your mind.”

 

She rolls her eyes in fondness of him. But she still speaks, “I was thinking about home.”

 

Lance’s smile fades from his face. “That’s right…..we never really found you a way to get home.”

 

“It’s alright,” she waves him off, staring back at the stars. “It wasn’t important at the time anyways.” It really wasn’t. Who could manage to send her back in the midst of all the craziness they just went through? They were all doing something.

 

“Allura, your problems are still as important. Everyone cares about you. I promise you, tomorrow, we’ll all look into a way to bring you back home.”

 

She turns to look at him. “Really?”

 

“Scout’s honor. Besides, I want to see you happy too Allura,” he tells her, putting a hand on her shoulder. She unconsciously puts her hand on top of his, grasping it lightly, and gives him a smile.

 

“Thank you Lance.”

 

“You’re welcome.”

 

A feeling passes through her and it’s something that she can’t describe. It’s warm and hopeful, but it’s a voice that she has become more familiar to her. Come to me , it says and Allura knows, it’s the Blue Lion talking. Her presence had been with her the whole time but yet it’s the first time she’s ever tried to talk to her.

 

Then both of them hear lions roaring in the distance and immediately Lance breathes out, “The lions.” His marks are glowing and in the dark, they seem to be the brightest thing on Altea. The door behind them opens once more and out comes Shiro, Keith, Pidge, and Hunk, all of them with eyes wide and heavy breaths.

 

“We have to go the lions,” Keith says with urgency in his voice and all of them nod.

 

They start heading towards the hover they used earlier and Pidge grabs her arm, dragging her along with them. Keith’s rushing to get there from behind the wheel, going at speeds over 70 miles per hour and Allura can’t help but wonder what’s going on with the lions. Like the rest of them, she heard the lions’ declaration of leaving soon and that they needed to be there to watch them depart. But why would they tell them they’re leaving?

 

She asks Pidge that and she just shrugs. “I’m not sure,” she answers, her hair whipping wildy in front of her face. “With the lions, sometimes we were never sure what they meant when they said certain things. But this, this seems urgent.”

 

Allura looks over at Lance to gauge his reaction but he’s quiet, which is odd. But to him, there seems to be a glow of joy? Of sadness? She can’t tell.

 

They finally reach the New Altean library, quickly jumping into the elevator and rushing out to the top of the building. The lions are already far from them as they reach the top, painting various of colors of purple, blue, red, green and yellow in the multi-colored night sky. She sees that the Blue Lion is leading them into a nebula of stars and even though the sight is beautiful, she wonders where the Blue Lion could be taking them. Her heart lurches a little at the thought of the lions never returning and the fact that she would never see Blue again, despite the fact she had only piloted her for a short while.

 

Somehow, she feels that all the others feel the same way, noticing the beauty of it all but they’re questioning what the lions are doing. The only person who isn’t questioning it is Lance, who has a small smile on his face. The marks seem to be shining even brighter than before and Allura wonders, could it be that the lions are going to get their Allura?

 

She gets confirmation when words leave Lance’s lips. A tear runs down his face as he smiles at the sight.

 

“Allura…..they’re going to get her.”

 


 

They were all ecstatic when Lance revealed that the lions were going to get Allura with Hunk and Pidge showing the most enthusiasm over it. Shiro and Keith gave smiles, but it was clear they were happy as well. They had sat there for a while awaiting the lions’ return but as time passed, their tiredness soon gave in. Everyone is now asleep, leaning on each other and huddling to keep warm since the air is cool out, making goosebumps rise up on their on their skin. Allura and Lance are the only ones awake, staring up at the canopy of stars as they wait for the lions to return and sitting on the edge of the building. He’s hopeful Allura notices and there’s an energy to him that seems like it hasn’t been present since the day his Allura left.

 

It’s like he’s really happy.

 

“You ready?” Allura asks him, nudging him on the shoulder. Their feet are dangling over the building and Allura’s surprised she’s not afraid of how high they’re up. Maybe it’s because everyone else is in good spirits, she supposes.

 

Lance gives out a laugh, one that reminds her of when he’s nervous and happy at the same time. “I have no idea,” he tells her. “There’s too many things going through my head. But I think it’ll be fine when I see her again. I’ve….I’ve just missed her so much.”

 

“It’s like getting back a part of you that you didn’t know you were missing?” she asks with gentle smile. Allura knows the feeling all too well, recalling the earlier stages of her relationship with Lance. She and Lance had this massive fight and he had decided to leave. It was the worst time of her life, having to come home to a place where there was no Lance and it made her realize that Lance brought out the better parts of her. When they ended up apologizing to each other, it was easier to breathe knowing that she and Lance were going to be okay.

 

“Exactly,” Lance responds with the nod of his head.

 

They share a smile before looking back at the stars once more. The stars seem to shine brighter, each one twinkling its own brilliance underneath the silver moon. Allura wonders if she can spot the same constellations that she would normally see on Earth here on New Altea. For a brief moment, it seems like the stars line up in order to form a constellation that she recognizes but when she blinks, it seems to all go away.

 

“You know,” Lance says, distracting her from looking at the stars. She turns to look at him and he continues, “You never really did talk about me. The version of me in your universe.”

 

Allura raises her eyebrow at him. “What do you mean by that? I did talk about you.”

 

He shakes his head. “I know that you said he was a teacher and he gave you a necklace. You never talked about your relationship with him.”

 

Oh. It didn’t even come to the forefront of her mind that this Lance would be curious as to what relationship she shared with another version of himself. She honestly didn’t want to bring it up, mainly because she was afraid it would remind him too much of what he missed out on with his Allura.

 

She blinks at him, thoughts running through her mind on how to tell him. Instead she just goes for the simplest version, “I’m in love with him.”

 

This moment shared with this universe’s Lance seems so intimate and all she wants to do is to tuck her head in the crook of his neck and just stay there but she can’t. This Lance painfully reminds her of her own Lance.

“What do you love about him?” he asks her, curiosity laced in his voice.

 

“There’s really too much that I love him that it’s hard to describe in words. Well, he makes me laugh with the silliest of things. He has hair that curls up on the edges and makes me just want to play with it for ages. And that smile of his…..it just pulls you in,” she recalls fondly, a smile lacing her lips. “But one thing I do love about him is his kindness. He has this ability to sense when you’re feeling down or if you’re doubting or if you’re scared. Lance does his best to make you feel better, even if he doesn’t know you. He goes out and beyond to cheer you up.”

 

When she’s done speaking, this universe’s Lance looks a her a little surprised, as if she wasn’t going to say that much about her Lance. “Wow,” he finally says after a beat. “You really love him.”

 

“I do,” Allura nods, her fingers instinctively going up to grasp the necklace that isn’t there on her neck. She supposes now, it’s become a habit for her to do that. “I love him so much that I asked him to marry me.”

 

“You proposed?” Lance tries his best to hide the shock in his voice but he fails utterly. She can recognize that from the way his face is flushing.

 

It only makes her smile even bigger. “Yes and he said yes. So as of now we’re engaged.”

 

“Congrats,” he says with a smile after his shock fades away. “Sorry, I just thought, that maybe I- no he would be the one to propose. Knowing me, I would have a plan that’s elaborate and really romantic.”

 

“He did,” Allura responds with a chuckle. “But he wasn’t planning to ask until a little bit later, at this restaurant that we love in New York. I just…..well it slipped out.”

 

“Slipped out?”

 

“After certain activities,” she emphasizes, looking away from him in embarrassment. In the corner of her eye, she can see him blushing while he nods his head.

 

“Allura, I’m really happy for you,” Lance tells her, his voice sincere after both of their embarrassment has disappeared. His eyes are shining when he looks at her. “I really am.”

 

“I want you to be happy too, Lance,” she admits, putting a friendly hand over his.

 

“I will be,” he promises.

 

Then a warmth engulfs her body and she suddenly feels a presence in her mind. The lions. They’re back.

 

The others wake and Allura knows that they feel it too. They’re all scrambling to their feet and once they’re up, they stand at the edge, waiting for the lions to come back. Blue is once again in the lead and with the warmth that she feels from Blue, she knows that within her massive jaws, their Allura is inside.

 

The lions get closer and closer and then they land in front of them, a thud echoing throughout New Altea as they make contact with the ground. Besides her, she can feel Lance tense up and the others eagerly anticipating for the Blue Lion’s jaw to open.

 

This moment is not hers to share with them, she realizes, at least not in the front.

 

So as the lion opens its jaws, Allura silently takes a step back, deciding to watch the happy reunion from behind.

 

She watches as a woman who looks exactly identical to herself, except for glowing marks that look similar to Lance’s except in pink, reveal herself to them. Her eyes flutter open as the lion’s jaw opens fully and her gaze lands on the person in front of her.

 

“Lance,” she breathes out and slowly tears start to descend down her face.

 

“Allura,” Lance replies with a watery smile and she flings herself at him, clutching him like he’s her lifeline. They’re both crying, holding each other tightly as they fall on their knees. Her face is tucked in the crook of Lance’s neck, hiding the tears that Allura knows that are falling down her face.

 

“Allura!” Hunk says, making his way over to the pair and hugs them both with equal fervor. Slowly, the remaining three, Shiro, Keith, and Pidge, join as well, and before Allura knows it, everyone’s crying.

 

It’s a family reunited.

 

And it’s beautiful.

 

Allura feels glad that she got to help with bringing them all back together, this world’s version of her and Lance especially. They deserve to be happy. She wants them to be happy.

 

But she once again feels a stinging pain for not being the ones she loved, as much as she loved getting to know this universe’s version of her friends and her fiance and being within this universe. More than anything, watching all them hug and cry makes her want to go home.

 

As she watches on, somehow this universe’s Allura makes eye contact with her, and it’s only then when Allura realizes that her doppelganger (is this Allura really her doppelganger if they share a lot of the same traits and have the same personality?) notices that there’s someone else with the group, watching from afar.

 

Right then, she feels something cool appear in her hand and she looks down to see it’s her necklace. The one she ended up giving to Lance. She gasps in wonder, wondering how the heck it even got there. The last time she had seen the necklace was when it was in Lance’s hands and being taken into the cockpit of the lion, thinking that she would never see it again.

 

A force pulls her to look back up at Allura and she’s smiling as she holds onto Lance and as the others hold onto her.

 

Thank you , she can see her mouth and then, the world in front of her turns white.

 


 

Allura wakes up slowly to see the pale, cream ceiling of her apartment looking back down at her. She blinks once and twice, before realizing, she’s home.

 

Home.

 

That word seems too good to be true.

 

She sits up and something falls to the floor with a small thud, metal meeting wooden floors. Frowning, she moves to inspect what it is and she sees that it’s her necklace lying there. Allura’s eyes widen at the sight.

 

Was the universe she in just a dream? Because with her necklace lying on the floor, it makes it seem like it wasn’t. Allura shuts her eyes after she picks up her necklace, trying to remember what happened. One moment, she was on top of a library building in New Altea and watching a beautiful reunion between herself and that world’s Lance and then she popped back into her world.

How did she get here though?

 

“Allura, mi amor!” she hears Lance’s voice call from the front door. “I’m back!”

 

She freezes at the sound of Lance’s voice. Her Lance. The one she’s madly in love with. The one who’s going to marry her. She tears up slightly, because she’s so happy to be back, to be back with him. She doesn’t have to get up from her spot on the bed because he shows up at the door to their bedroom, hair slightly disheveled with his tie loosened and hanging limply around his neck.

 

He leans against the doorframe, a tired but loving smile on his face. “How was your day off?”

 

Allura gets off the bed, moving her way over to him, and she hugs him tightly before pulling him in for a kiss. As his lips are against her own, it feels so right and it sparks something inside of Allura, making her pull him closer to her. He’s holding her tightly as their lips move against one another and she starts to play with the hairs that are curling at the nape of his neck.

 

She’s missed this so much.

 

She’s missed having him in her arms.

 

She’s missed everything about Lance even though she met an alternate universe version of him.

 

They break apart and they’re both breathing heavily. Lance wears a goofy, lovestruck grin, as he stares at her with hooded eyes. “What’s up? Not saying that it wasn’t a good kiss or anything, it was amazing-”

 

She kisses him again, silencing him. “I missed you,” she admits as she tucks her head into the crook of his neck. “So much.”

 

He holds her close, enveloping his arms around her. “I missed you too. Why don’t we talk about how your day went over food? I got stuff from that restaurant you love so much.”

 

She grins as she looks up at him. Her heart’s racing wildly, even though she has said these words so many times throughout the years. “I love you so much.”

 

“I love you too,” he says as their noses touch and rub softly against each other. “Now, come on, let’s go eat before the food gets cold.”

 

Lance takes her by the hand, leading her to the table where the food’s steaming already. “You know, I had the weirdest thing happen to me,” she starts to tell him, her mind already replaying the memories she wants to tell him.

 

“Tell me about it,” he tells her softly as he kisses her on the cheek.

 

And even though he may or may not believe her in the end, she just hopes that in that other universe, that version of her and Lance are happy together.