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Not a good idea

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Pidge rarely had bad ideas. She wasn’t being modest, she just didn’t usually have them. Sure, there was the occasional “it’s a great idea to try to stay awake for more than 48 hours” idea but most of them were okay.

This was not a good idea.

They were on an ice planet. Ice planet. Like, everything was white and full of snow, and the aliens that lived there were like a mix of polar bears and humans. The planet was covered in water. Only 10% of it was actually land, so the town of the ungarii was isolated and a bit overpopulated. The only other patch of ground in the planet was currently supporting the lions, so they had to walk to the village by foot. They wouldn’t have minded, except for the fact that they had to walk through ice. The ungarii had assured them that the ice was thick, and the chances of falling into the icy water beneath were slim.

As they walked towards the village, having received a distress signal saying that there had been sightings of galra soldiers for the last few weeks, they passed along some caves. That’s when she heard something whimper inside one of the caves. She stopped dead on her tracks, looking at the entrance of the cave. If she looked closely, she could see blood on the entrance. She shuddered.
Everyone stopped when they realized their youngest teammate had been left behind.

“Pidge? What’s wrong?” Lance asked.

Pidge pointed to the entrance cave “I heard something, or someone, I think they’re in pain” they looked at each other. Shiro sighed

“Let’s go check it out”

Worst. Idea. Ever.

The cave was pretty big, with enormous stalactites on the ceiling, and large ice rocks at the sides.
And at the end of the cave, they could see solid, rocky ground, which would explain how the ice hadn’t cracked from the weight of the caves. And a few feet from the patch of solid rock, two galra soldiers, one of them on the floor, with a big hash in his stomach. He wasn’t moving. The other one was smaller, and he had a gun in his hands, pointing at the paladins with trembling hands. Immediately, everyone raised their shields, their bayards appearing at their hands. This seemed to scare the galra, who started firing a them them.
They all jumped aside to dodge the blasts, their shields up. The ice beneath their feet cracked and Shiro, feeling panic rise up in his chest, shouted

“Stop! You’re gonna kill us all!”

“Victory or death!” The soldier shouted back, and he continued firing at them.

But at some point, he seemed to realize how this was going to end, because he started shooting at the floor, at the ceiling and walls, trying to bring the whole place down.
Ice started falling from the ceiling, and the floor beneath the galra cracked. He and the corpse fell into the black, freezing water.
Everyone stayed still, waiting for the chunks of ice to stop falling from the ceiling. Once it stopped, Lance broke the silence, trying to disperse the tension that filled the air.

“Well, that was dramatic-“ he didn’t have time to even finish before Pidge shouted

“Lance, look out!”

It was so fast that no one had time to react.

A block of ice, the size of a basketball, fell from the ceiling, above Lance’s head. Pidge, being the closest to him, jumped toward him, pushing him out of the way. The boulder hit her, and there was a crack. For a moment, she could only hear deafening, high pitched static, like the one you get when you swim to far down and the pressure makes your ears pop. Then, the ice beneath her feet cracked, and she fell into the icy water. Millions of needles pricked her skin, and her helmet, damaged from the ice block, filled with water. She gasped in both pain and surprise, which was her fatal mistake. She choked on the freezing water, swallowing instinctively, and she lost consciousness.

...

Lance stood for a second in shock, looking at the hole in the ice. The others had tried to move, but the ice cracked dangerously so they stayed still. Without thinking, Lance took a tentative step forward. Nothing happened. So he did the reasonable thing. He jumped.

The water was freezing, even he could feel that under the armour. He searched for the green paladin, and found a hand sinking into the darkness.
He used his thrusters to reach her and grabbed her limp hand. He then pulled, grabbed her by the waist, and pulled her towards the surface. He decided not to think about how limp she was in his hold. He surfaced, turning on his thrusters so they flew towards the only solid ground in the place.
If he’d been cold in the water, outside of it he was freezing. His entire body shook as he shivered violently. But that’s a good sign, a little voice said inside his head.
He didn’t really care. He was cold, wet, and Pidge wasn’t moving. She looked really small in his arms. The glass in her helmet had shattered, but miraculously, she hadn’t been cut.
Without him noticing, the team had gathered around them. Shiro was shouting something, but the words weren’t being registered by his brain. Everything was fuzzy and he was sleepy. A nap sounded great. He wasn’t even aware he’s eyes had closed until someone shook him, hard. He looked up, annoyed by the shaking. Couldn’t they see he was trying to rest? He had just saved Pidge’s life, he had earned a nap.
Wait.
Where was Pidge? She wasn’t in his arms anymore, and that worried him. He struggled against the person holding him. He had to get to Pidge.
He struggled some more, until Shiro’s voice finally came through

“Lance!”

Shiro felt as if his heart had crawled it’s way up to his throat. Lance had jumped in after Pidge, and those few seconds of deafening silence had almost drove him mad.

Then, Lance resurfaced, and using his thrusters, he flew to the end of the cave, where he sat, with an unmoving Pidge in his arms.
The rest of them flew to meet the young paladins, worry making Shiro’s heart pound harder than it had in a while.

“Lance! Lance, are you alright?” His voice was louder than he’d like, but he honestly couldn’t help it.

The cuban boy didn’t seem to hear him, he was looking at the girl in his arms.
As he saw Lance’s eyes roll to the back of his head, he made a grab for the the small girl, who would have slipped from the now limp arms that had rescued her onto the floor if not for him. He rested her gently on the ground, took her helmet off, and held his fingers underneath her nose.

“She’s not breathing” he told his other teammates.

Keith, who was holding Lance in his arms had gone as white as a sheet and Hunk looked like he was going to be sick. So Shiro started applying CPR on the small girl, trying to get her lungs to respond.

“Come on, Pidge” he said through gritted teeth, silently counting the compressions.

When he reached thirty, he stopped and pressed his lips against hers. Two rescue breaths, and then 30 other compressions. He was about to do another round of mouth to mouth, when she coughed harshly, spitting out water.

He immediately helped sit up so she cough up all the water she had swallowed. Once she was finished, she slumped against his chest, taking big, heaving breaths.
Once she got her breathing under control, her eyes slipped closed. Shiro immediately shook her, trying to get her eyes to open. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Keith doing the same to Lance.

“Pidge, wake up. You can’t fall asleep” she groaned in response. He winced when he saw the big purple bruise on the side of her head.

“Katherine Holt” he said, his voice even and strong. Her eyes instantly opened, looking confused.

“Katie” he said, his voice softer now “look over there” he pointed towards the entrance of the cave, where the sunlight made the snow glow.

She obeyed, squinting a bit at the harsh light.

“Now look at me” she did. Her pupils dilated evenly, and he sighed in relief.

She didn’t have a concussion; or at least, not a serious one.

“I’m cold” she whimpered, obviously out of it “I wanna go home” and for the first time in a very long time, she sounded like the child she was.

“I know” he pushed her against his chest, trying to get some warmth into the shivering body, but the armour they were both wearing blocked it.

He looked at the rest of his teammates, who were trying to get Lance to calm down. He was struggling against Keith’s holt, muttering something about Pidge.

“Lance!” He barked, trying to grab his attention.

And surprisingly, it worked. Lance stopped struggling, meeting his eyes.

“She’s fine. Pidge is fine, but we have to get you both back to the lions”

Lance relaxed and leaned into Keith, mumbling “I need a minute” before closing his eyes. He was still shaking from head to foot.

Shiro turned back his attention to the girl in his arms. Pidge had her eyes open, but they were out of focus.

“Katie” he called again. She looked at him “we’re gonna get you warmed up in no time, alright?” Pidge nodded.

So he stood up, the girl still in his arms, and adjustedWORD?.??...?, her head resting on his shoulder.

He looked at the rest of the team and said

“Hunk, You grab Lance; Keith, get to the lions first, get Allura, and get into the black lion, we’ll fit better there. Get everything ready. Grab from the other lions whatever you need: clothes, food, blankets…” the two boys nodded.

Hunk grabbed Lance by the waist and slung him over his shoulder. Lance muttered something, but no one understood it.

...

“Allura!”

Said girl appeared from the back room, looking startled. She was looking better; her hair was untied, so it fell from her shoulders in a fluffy white waterfall, and the bags underneath her eyes were gone. Cosmo stood beside her, and he seemed to sense something was wrong, because he whimpered.

“You feeling alright again?” He asked, panting

“I- yes. What’s wr-“

“Good, I need your help. I need you to get clothes from everybody’s lions, I’ll get the blankets. Meet me at the black lion”

“Alright, but what’s-“

“I’ll tell you later, we need to hurry”

...

Shiro and Hunk half ran, half flew all the way back to the lions. The finally got there, and, panting, they hurried up the steps that led into the black lion.

The cockpit was empty, but in the middle of the back room lay a enormous pile of blankets, comforters and pillows. He found Keith and Allura standing to a side.
Keith had already changed and was wearing his usual black T-shirt along with a pair of grey baggy pants.

Allura stepped forward to grab Pidge and Shiro let her. Without a word, she carried her to a small area which was blocked from view by several boxes of Keith’s stuff. Said boy waited next to the boxes in case he was needed.

Satisfied that their youngest team member was being cared for, he turned his attention on his second youngest team member.
Between Hunk and him they got Lance changed into dry clothes, and turned on the heating inside the lion. After a few minutes, Lance was able to stand (somewhat shakily) and talk. Satisfied, Shiro walked away to change into casual clothes. As he changed, he saw Hunk walk away from Lance to do the same. When he finished, he looked at the boy, noticing his slumped frame in one of the benches.

“Lance? Come here for a second” Lance walked slowly towards him, a blanket draped over his shoulders and shivering slightly. Shiro wasn’t sure if it was from the cold or something else

“Are you ok?”

Lance nodded, but he wouldn’t look into his eyes. Shiro could see tears there. That did it. As Lance turned around to walk away, Shiro grabbed his arm and hugged him tightly. A somewhat surprised intake of breath from the younger paladin, and then Shiro felt his arms around his back, grabbing fistfuls of his shirt.
The 17 year old was trembling now, probably trying not to sob.

The hug was so… brotherly, something Lance hadn’t had in a long time.
He came from a large family, full of kisses from older sisters and hugs from older brothers.
He missed it. Boy, did he miss it.
Getting at hug from Shiro was like being embraced by a mixture of a father and older brother.
Shiro’s chin was resting on the top of his head, and flesh hand was rubbing small circles on his back.

“I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry” Lance’s voice shook. After a minute, once Lance had stopped trembling, they stepped back, but Shiro kept his hand on the back of Lance’s neck.

“Lance Charles McClain, you listen to me” he looked into those sad, blue eyes.

“You saved Pidge’s life. You were the one that acted, not us. You have nothing to apologize for” Lance nodded, and Shiro squeezed his shoulder.

Just then Keith entered the room. He was holding Pidge in his arms, carrying her like a small child. Her head rested in his shoulder, her eyes open, but unfocused. Her hair was still damp, and she was wearing one of Shiro’s shirts as a nightgown. She was shivering violently.

Keith sat her down on the makeshift bed that consisted of pillows and blankets all piled on one another.
The rest of the team moved forward, worried about the small girl. Shiro crouched in front of her, and she looked at him, eyes slightly unfocused.

“Katie, are you feeling okay?” he asked, his voice soft as to not worsen the headache she most likely had

“Ma head hurts” she mumbled

“I can imagine. Do you feel nauseous?” she shook her head.

She can move her head and neck, Shiro thought, that’s good sign. He was getting way too nervous about this.
She’ll be fine, he told himself, get your act together, Takashi.

“I need to see your head. Can I?”

The girl simply turned her head to one side, letting him see the wound.
He winced in sympathy when he saw the swelled and bruised area.

“It’s not too bad” he told her, forcing himself to keep his voice steady.

“Keith, can you get me the first aid kit?” Keith nodded, and moments later, he appeared at his side with the kit. He thanked him and opened the box, finding some bandages and a weird, kind of smelly altean salve that they’ve found helped with bruises and swelling.

So he applied the salve and wrapped some bandages around her head, as to help minimize the swelling.

“Done. But I don’t like how pale you are, you should get some rest; that goes for you too, Lance. And you are NOT meeting the ungarii tomorrow”

At that, Pidge seemed to focus entirely on him.

“But-“ Lance didn’t let her finished as he grabbed her from behind and picked her up, only to lay her down again on the middle of the ‘bed’

“Nu-uh, Pidgeon”

As soon as he let her go, without a word, Lance laid down beside her, covering her small, shivering body with blankets. By the pink tint her entire face had gained, Shiro guessed she was too flustered to say anything. Then he crawled under the blankets and wrapped his arms around her.

“Lance” she mumbled, not looking into his eyes. He smiled at her, their faces a few inches apart. He grinned at her.

“Hey, Pidgeon”

“Not m’ name” she mumbled. Despite the situation, Lance had a crazy urge to laugh.

He laid his head on top of hers, breathing in her scent. She was fine.
The thought filled him with warmth.
But they were both cold, even underneath the blankets and they were both still shivering. The solution to this problem came in the form of Hunk and Keith.
The latter laid down at Pidge’s other side, and wrapped his arms around her back, pushing her against his chest. Pidge made a sound of contentment. Keith’s arms lay on top of Lance’s (who was still hugging Pidge, and there for, had his head tucked underneath Keith’s chin) and rubbed his hands up and down the younger boy’s freezing arms to create friction.

“Thanks” mumbled Lance, already half asleep.

Hunk laid down next to Lance, and he sighed at the extra warmth. And top it all off, Cosmo laid down on their feet, a big, fuzzy, heating blanket.

Shiro and Allura looked at the pile of paladins with fondness.

“I think it’s time we call it a day” Shiro said.

And without further word, he laid down next to Keith, his hand instinctively going to rest on the boys head, running his fingers through his hair. Allura watched, with a mix of amusement and fascination, as Keith’s body completely untensed.
She had never noticed before how tense he always was, until she saw how he melted at Shiro’s touch. A small smile stretched across her face as she laid down next to Shiro, not really touching him, but close enough for him to notice her presence.

And one by one, the paladins fell asleep; the first the smallest of them all, sandwiched between her surrogate brothers, and the last the altean, thinking of the family she had lost, and the one she had gained.

...

Morning came faster than any of them would have liked. The first one to wake up was Lance.
His head was being cushioned by Hunks arm, and his legs were tangled with Pidge’s, who was being pressed against Keith’s chest. By the small smile on her face, he deduced she didn’t mind.
He was happy to see that color had returned to the small face, even if she was a tad paler than usual.
He observed the rest of the team. Shiro had his back pressed against Keith’s. He couldn’t be sure, but was Shiro… cuddling Allura? A twinge of jealousy made his way across Lance chest, and he stopped looking.
For a few minutes, he contented himself with watching the peaceful faces of his friends, until Pidge started to stir. Her amber eyes opened and she smiled at him.

“Hey”

“Hey”

“You okay?” Lance scoffed

“I’m the one that should be asking you that. You’re the one that almost drowned” her smiled banished

“Yeah, that was not fun”

“You are okay, right?” She rolled her eyes. Her head hurt, the bruise pulsing with pain, but she wasn’t going to tell him that.

“I’m fine, Lance” she tried to roll over to look at him better, but Keith frowned in his sleep and held her tighter. Lance laughed softly.

“A bit protective, isn’t he?”

“Him? He’s not the one that attacked our kidnappers because they threatened to torture me”

He was saved from answering when Keith mumbled

“Stop talking”

“Mullet’s awake” Lance said happily.

“Shut up”

“You shut up”

“It’s too early in the morning for this guys” a deadpan voice spoke

“Morning, Hunk”

“Morning, Pidge… Woah! Pidge! Are you okay?” She rolled her eyes again

“I’m fine, seriously. You guys worry too much”

“You didn’t see yourself yesterday, Pidge” Hunk said sternly

“You were so pale...” Lance said, all trace of playfulness gone from his voice.

Keith’s arms tightened for a second around her. She realized she was still pressed to his chest. She curled up and squeezed his arm.

“I’m sorry” Lance almost laughed

“Why are you apologizing?”

“For worrying you”

“Wasn’t your fault” Keith said. She bit her lip

“If I hadn’t-“

“No” Lance said fiercely “if I can’t blame myself, you can’t neither”

After a few minutes of silence, Pidge’s eyelids started drooping. Noticing this, Lance spoke

“Go to sleep, Pidgeon. We’ll be here when you wake up”

Pidge didn’t even complain about the nickname, she was asleep again in less than a minute.

When her was sure that Pidge was indeed asleep, Keith spoke.

“Lance, did you know you talk in your sleep?” His voice was barely containing his amusement.

“Really?” Lance raised an eyebrow suspiciously.

“How long have you been in love with Allura?” There was a hint of malice in his voice, but also curiosity. Lance went completely red as Hunk looked at him incredulously.

“I uh...”

“You’re in love with Allura?! It’s not secret that you’re into her but-”

“Shhhhh” he looked at the sleeping form of the altean, relieved to find she was still asleep.

“I don’t-“ he swallowed “It doesn’t matter anyway. She’s a princess, and I’m just a boy from Cuba”

“And a paladin of voltron” Keith reminded him

“And the team’s sharpshooter” Hunk said

“And my second in command” Keith said, not unkindly.

“It’s not going to happen” Lance said, looking at the ceiling.

“Not with that attitude, it’s not” Hunk snorted

“Ask her out. Maybe she’ll surprise you” Keith suggested. There was a moment of silence

“Maybe I will” Lance’s voice sounded hopeful now.

After this, they all dozed off again for about an hour. Rousing only when Pidge stirred.

The three older brothers boys looked at her, as she rubbed her eyes, not unlike a small child.
They were all pleasantly sleepy, and the words that came out of their mouths were slurred as they cuddled against each other.

...

Shiro woke up listening to the other paladins talk, half annoyed, and half amused. Then, he realized that in his arms (oh you know what I mean) lay Allura. His arm surrounded her waist, and her head rested against his chest. She stirred.

“Your paladins are awake” she mumbled

“Before training, they’re your paladins” he mumbled back, not to bothering to open his eyes.

“Shiro’s awake” Keith mumbled

“Shiro!” Pidge and Lance exclaimed in delight. Shiro groaned and Allura giggled.

“Rude” Lance said

“Traitor” Shiro said, as he grabbed Allura even more firmly by the waist, and turned over, so that Allura lay next to Keith. She laughed.

“They’ve been bothering me for the past hour” Keith mumbled, his eyes closed “your turn”

“Who knew Mullet took so long to actually wake up?”

“Shut up, Lance. I’m just comfortable”

Shiro chuckled. He looked at Pidge, stretched out an arm and ran his hand through her hair, careful not to touch the wound

“You okay? How’s your head?” Pidge smiled and subtly leaned into the touch.

“I’m fine”

Shiro looked at her for a moment and then, satisfied, he retracted the hand, and it automatically started running his fingers through Keith’s hair. Said boy hummed in approval.

“I’m betting five bucks that if Shiro keeps doing that, Mullet will actually purr” Lance said.

“I’m not taking that bet” Hunk said and Pidge laughed.

“What is a buck?” Allura asked

“He means dollars” Shiro explained “the American currency back on earth” Allura nodded.

They fell silent, just enjoying each other’s presence.

“We should get up” Shiro said. Everyone groaned, even the princess.

“Let’s just… get up at the same time. That’ll make it easier” Lance moaned in response to the suggestion.

“Alright everybody” Shiro said “one two… three!”

No one moved.

“Well, see? Now I’m disappointed in all of us” Shiro said dryly. Everyone burst into laughter.

“Guys it’s not funny” Pidge said, but her voice told otherwise “dad is disappointed in all of us”

“Space dad” Lance sniggered. Everyone continued laughing. Except Shiro, whose cheeks had turned a faint pink.

“He called himself Space uncle once” Keith mumbled, his eyes still closed.

There was silence for a moment. Then Shiro sighed in resignation

“You watched the vlog, didn’t you?”

“Yep” He said, not even trying to sound ashamed. Everyone laughed

“I think Space dad suits you better” Lance said

“Yeah” Pidge agreed “Coran is the Space uncle” everyone made a sound of agreement

“And then what am I?” Allura asked, her voice laced with amusement. Pidge and Lance thought about it for a second

“The first thing that came to mind is Space Mom, but it doesn’t exactly fit” Pidge said

“I think she’s more of the Space older cousin” Lance said” You know that one older cousin who’s really bossy but you love her anyway because she’s just really nice? That one”

Allura smiled sweetly at him, obviously pleased by the description “thank you, Lance” said boy looked away as he felt his face heat up.

Pidge noticed this, and her good humor was gone. She didn’t know why, because it had been obvious to her for a while that Lance had a crush on Allura.
But seeing Allura respond sweetly to his compliments? Totally new thing. There was something growing in her chest, but she refused to believe it was what she suspected.

She quickly said “I think Shiro’s right, we have to get to the village to get to Coran and Romelle”

Before anyone could protest she stood up, but regretted it instantly. A pounding headache exploded in the place the block of ice had hit her. A shout of both surprise and pain escaped from her mouth as she grabbed her head.
She could feel by the dip of the bed that someone had stood up, but she couldn’t focus on who, exactly.
Her vision turned black for a second, and she swayed dangerously on the spot. She heard how Cosmo let out a low bark and licked her hand, but the sound only sent another spike of pain through the side of her head. Then, strong arms wrapped around her and she leaned against someone’s chest.

“Pidge?” She looked up. Shiro was the one holding her up, and there was a concerned look on his face that she didn’t like one bit

“Sorry” she mumbled “got a bit dizzy”

“Yeah, I’ll bet” he said, helping her sit down “You’re as white as a sheet”

She only hummed as a response. The headache didn’t let her concentrate.

“Let me check on that head” he removed the bandages and hummed in approval.

“The swelling isn’t a bad as last night, but I still want you to rest for the rest of the day, it’s not safe to walk around with a head wound”

“But I wanted to see the ungarii village”

“I don’t care about that”

“But it’s important” she protested. She felt like a child who was being scolded by an adult “you heard what Coran said, it’s important that all of us are present. They won’t join the coalition if we don’t all go”

“I know what Coran said” his voice was stern now, Pidge knew she was playing with fire. She didn’t care.

“But then-“

“Unless you find a way of you to rest while simultaneously meeting the ungarii, you are not going. I’m serious about this, Katie” he added when he saw Pidge’s face. Her expression changed to shock and a bit hurt when she heard her real name. Shiro knew that was her weak spot.

“We should get Coran and Romelle so someone can stay with her” Shiro said, not looking at Pidge.

Cosmo seemed to understand, because a tick later he was gone in a puff of blue stars. Ticks later, he reappeared, now accompanied by Coran and Romelle, both looking dazed.

“That wolf really has to stop doing that” Romelle said, pinching her eyes. Then he looked at the paladins, who were all sitting up in a pile of blankets and pillows, with the smallest of them leaning against Pointy Chin. The one with the white hair was examining a nasty bruise on the Small one’s head. (She still hadn’t learned all their names, alright?)

Coran immediately knelt down to examine the wound. Pidge hissed in pain and scrunched up her eyes when he touched it. Lance winced in sympathy and grabbed her hand, squeezing it. She squeezed back.

...

Shiro obviously looked troubled about the whole thing. Pidge knew it was important that the whole team were present. The ungarians were furry, big creatures, who thought packs (families) where the most important thing in the world.
They had seemed upset when Coran had told them that Allura wasn’t going to meet them. For them, leaving someone of your own pack behind was almost evil.
They wouldn’t be happy to know that they had left yet another teammate behind.

Lance looked at his teammates, all of them visibly upset, and then he looked down at their youngest team member.
Pidge was leaning against him, his arm around her. She looked troubled and for a moment, but then she pinched her eyes in obvious pain.

“Coran” he broke the silence, and everyone looked at him “Pidge can’t do anything that’ll tire her, right?”

“Correct, number 3” the older man agreed

“What if I carry her?”

A silence followed this question

“I’m not being carried for an entire day, Lance” Pidge said in a deadpan voice “Because contrary to popular belief, I’m not a kid”

“I’ll give her a piggyback ride” he explained, ignoring the girl’s protest “that way she won’t have to walk but we’ll be able to take her with us”

“And when you get tired?” Shiro asked “she’s light, but we’ll be in the village for at least a day”

“We’ll take turns” Keith piped in. Shiro thought about it for a second. Then he nodded

“Alright”

After that, Pidge begrudgingly agreed.

They got ready to depart. Allura helped Pidge into warmer clothes since it would just be uncomfortable to wear armour.

When they were ready, Pidge climbed on a chair and perched herself on Lance’s back.

“You comfortable?” He asked. She was glad he couldn’t see her blushing face. She nodded.

...

They walked towards the village, and as they passed the caves where Pidge had fallen the day before, Pidge felt Lance’s arms tighten underneath her legs. She squeezed his shoulder.

“Thanks for doing this” she whispered into his ear

“Anytime, Kit Kat” she snorted at the nickname

“You are sooo lucky I’m not at full strength right now”

“You adore me and you know it” she felt her heartbeat quickening as she whispered

“That I do”

They continued on in silence. Pidge could feel the rest of the team’s eyes on her, looking for any signs of pain or discomfort.

...

The day passed on without any incidents, which was deeply appreciated by the paladins.
Pidge spent the day perched on her teammates backs, her headache coming and going and the ungarii were delighted to see “such a strong bond between the members of a pack” as the chief put it.

She fell asleep a few times, which was to be expected, but it was still embarrassing to find herself almost drooling on Keith’s or Hunk’s shoulder.

The next time she woke up, she was being carried by Shiro. She was perched on his hip, with her arms around his neck like an actual toddler. She found that she didn’t mind at all. The sun was setting down, and she could see the Lions 50 feet away; she was pleasantly sleepy and warm, and didn’t have the strength to try to walk the rest of the way.

So she simply lay her head on Shiro’s shoulder again and sighed, completely at ease for once.

The next time she opened her eyes, she was lying down between Keith and Shiro. Keith was hugging her from one side, his head resting above hers.
Shiro had his head resting on top of Keith’s, his nose was buried on the latter’s black hair; and was hugging the two of them with his arm. She could feel Lance’s arm, which was slung across Keith’s back, so she guessed the rest of them were there too.
They hadn’t done this in a long time. The first time had been the last, actually.
It happened before Shiro disappeared, Keith had been injured and they had feared for his life for a few hours. When he got out of the healing pod, three days later, he had fallen straight into Shiro’s arms, and the oldest had refused to let go, thus the sleepover/cuddle pile in the lunge.

Now, surrounded by her brothers and sister, she felt at peace, and nothing, not even the thought of the long journey home they had yet to complete, could erase the love she felt for her teammates.

Her family.