Lance didn't like training. Not because he was lazy, not because he thought it was boring or monotonous. Not because he didn't want to improve or he thought he was already good or anything.
No. Lance loved training. He loved how he could let out pent up energy. He loved the adrenaline rush. He loved knowing that he was getting, or at least trying, to get better. He loved competing with Keith on different aspects. He loved the unity he felt with the team when they did the mind-meld thing.
He hated training for another, more private reason. He just couldn't get through it without hurting himself. His binder was goddamn annoying. He knew he shouldn't really wear it to train or fight for that matter. For the latter he never even wore it, mainly because their paladin armour already flattened out his chest, but during training they wore normal clothes and he wasn't exactly out to the team. Hunk knew, obviously, they were friends since before he even came out, and they'd been roommates at the garrison, but that was it. So, binder during training it was.
Normally he had to tap out midway through because he was either hyperventilating or his ribs were bruising and it hurt. Shiro always looked so disappointed at that, and Lance hated lying to him, but what if they didn't accept him, or they kicked him out, shunned him, they had accepted pidge quite easily, but pidge was pidge and lance was, well Lance.
That was were he was now, in the training room, shooting some drones on the simulation. Right now they were looking at everyone individually, seeing each person's individual weaknesses so that they could work on them. Though Lance already knew his weakness. He had really low stamina, mainly because of the binder thing. If he could just show them how good he was without his binder they could work on other, more important, matters. Until he came out though, he would be working on stamina.
At the moment Lance was dancing around the training room floor, shooting down bots and drones effortlessly, he was still in the early levels, where things weren't nearly as fast paced, so he wasn't hurting too much.
Out of the corner of his eyes he saw Shiro looking at him, following him with his eyes. He saw Hunk worrying at his bottom lip making sure he wasn't tiring himself out, Pidge analyzing his every move, like she usually did. Allura was looking at him blankly, no clear expression on her face, she was most likely analyzing him like Pidge, though you could never really tell when it came to the princess.
And Keith, Keith wasn't letting up, he was lazer-focused on him solely. It was unnerving but somehow it made him work harder, the fact that keith, the effortlessly great keith; masculine, strong and handsome, he was great at fighting and he trained so much. In that moment he was looking at Lance so focused, it was incredible, euphoric even. Lance doubled his efforts and continued shooting down the drones at an even faster pace, getting past levels easily.
Around the twentieth level he was growing tired, he was still shooting down bots, always shooting their chests, heads or stomachs, those were the focal points that would insta-kill an enemy, a morbid, but effective, technique. His movement was slowly turning sluggish, he could barely breathe and his ribs ached. He needed to take off his binder right now, but he'd reached level thirty before, and he was determined to do it again.
He could see Shiro's brows crease in confusion, he looked like he was trying to figure out why Lance was tiring so rapidly. Hunk looked like he was about to stop him, he was chewing a hole through his bottom lip he was so worried. Pidge was looking between his chest and mouth, trying to see why his chest wasn't expanding as much as it should. Allura’s brows were also creased, though she was more confused than anything and Keith, Keith seemed so absolutely conflicted, he was looking at Lance, seeing his pants and heavy breathing but also admiring his still somehow graceful movements.
Lance was on level 27 and he was panting heavily but the air was barely reaching his lungs, his ribs were killing him and he could barely function, but he was determined to reach level thirty. It was when he was sluggishly dodging one of the drones and he'd taken a deep breath to steady himself when he felt it. The lack of air, the drowning feeling, that ache in his ribs, he tried to take a deeper breath but he couldn't, the air wasn't reaching his lungs, he tried steadying his breaths but couldn't, he wasn't getting any air and oh god, no air, can't breathe can't breathe can-
The drones had taken advantage of his distraction and hit his side, right on his ribs, right where he was most likely bruising in that moment.
The combination of the lack of air and the excruciating pain in his ribs were too much and he fell to the ground clutching his sides.
“Sequence stop!” Someone had shouted, someone else was shouting aswell but Lance couldn't hear them over his own breathing, can't breathe, hurts so much can't, can't-
“LANCE!” Hunk, that was hunk, he could take it off take off the torture device that was cutting off his airways. Big, soft hands were holding his shoulders and kind eyes were looking into his own. “Lance, look at me breathe” Lance shook his head jerkily.
“C-can't b-breathe o-o-off” Lance had his hands grasping his jacket trying to reach his binder to rip it off breathe. Anything.
“Lance, are you sure? They're right here” he was looking at Lance trying to decipher if he actually wanted them to see.
“D-don't ca-care! O-off!” lance couldn't breathe, he couldn't. Soft hands were taking off his jacket and then his arms were being lifted as his shirt was coming off too. He heard quiet gasps from around him but he didn't care. He still couldn't breathe, he needed the binder off too.
“Hunk, please off, off” Hunk's hands were grasping the bottom of his binder and it was being slid off of him. His bruised ribs and small chest was revealed but nothing was really visible as Hunk quickly put his jacket over his shoulders and wrapped it around him. Lance took a shuddering breath. Finally, he could breathe. He leaned into Hunk’s arms that were gently wrapping around his shoulders and continued to breathe deeply.
“Better?” Lance looked up, nodding sheepishly.
“Y-yeah…” Lance’'s bubble was suddenly burst as Keith knelt down next to him, placing a comforting hand onto his shoulder.
“Hey, you okay?” Lance whipped his head around to look at him, he gasped, stumbling back, looking around him he realized everybody knew now oh god, what if they didn't accept him and oh my god what if they kicked him out of voltron-
“Lance, it's okay, we won't hate you, or shun you or anything, yeah?” Lance realized he'd said that all out loud. He looked around again and saw the kind looks in the rest of the team's eyes. The acceptance in Shiro’s, the understanding in Pidge’s , the pride in Allura’s, the kindness in Hunk’'s and the affection in Keith's. He knew, he was safe here, everyone accepted him, everyone supported him and they all cared for him.
“Yeah” He smiled at Keith, and Keith smiled back, small and shy. He turned to the rest of the team one last time. They were going to be okay, all of them were going to be fine.