Actions

Work Header

Voltron whumptober2019

Chapter Text

His hands wouldn’t stop shaking. His breaths rattled in his chest, as if he couldn’t get enough air in. He hesitated, looking at his shaking hand. 

It was just a nightmare. He could get over it without Shiro’s help. 

But maybe just a peek? Just to make sure Shiro was alright. 

But he forgot that the doors opened fully, even if you didn’t want to. 

He stood frozen at the doorway, watching as Shiro shifted and woke up. 

“Keith?”

This was it. He had messed up. He had woken him up and now he was going to get punished. He couldn’t move, couldn’t speak, couldn’t breathe. 

He flinched when a hand landed on his shoulder. 

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you up. I’m really sorry please” 

He didn’t even know what he was saying anymore, his breath rattled in his chest, he couldn’t hear what the person was saying, he was pushing them away and backing up against the wall. Immediately he regretted it. His foster dad had never liked when he struggled, it had always made it worse. 

And suddenly he was on the floor, on his knees, expecting the blow that was inevitable at this point. 

He felt like he was drowning, his hands wouldn’t stop shaking, why wouldn’t his hands stop shaking??

And then someone grabbed his hands, gentle but firm, and held them against their chest. 

Words finally filtered into his brain 

“-deep breaths for me, buddy. C'mon you can do it. In… and out”

He tried to do as he was told but the breaths came out shakily and a whine of distress rose up to his throat. 

He never did anything right, he couldn’t even breathe correctly and he was going to get punished any second now-

“It’s okay. No one is going to hurt you here, Keith. You’re safe. You’re in the castle of lions, remember?”

For a horrible moment, he didn’t. Then memories started appearing.

Shiro. Lance. Hunk. Pidge. Allura. Coran. 

Voltron. 

“Let’s try breathing again, okay bud?”

Keith nodded jerkily, and through eyes blurred with tears he could finally see Shiro, kneeling in front of him, holding his shaking hands in his own. 

His breath came out shakily, but it didn’t get caught in his throat when he inhaled. 

“You’re doing great, kiddo. I’m so proud of you”

The words made some of the ice in his chest melt and he inhaled again. 

 

Ten minutes of this and he was breathing properly again. His hands we’re still shaking.

“Better?” 

He nodded as Shiro sat next to him. His hands felt cold the second Shiro let go of them. 

“You wanna talk about it?”

“I uh- had a nightmare, and for a moment I” he swallowed “I thought I was in that house again”

Shiro didn’t ask in what house. He didn’t need to.

“I just- I wanted to check if you were alright”

Keith started feeling like he was drowning again. Then Shiro put his arm around his shoulders, and he didn’t feel like he was drowning anymore.

“We’re okay, kiddo. We’re safe” 

The words brought tears to his eyes. God he was so tired.

He leaned tiredly into Shiro’s side and the black paladin pressed a kiss to his temple.

His hands finally stopped shaking.

Chapter Text

“Shiro we have to hurry” Keith looked around anxiously, bayard at the ready 

“Pidge needs 3 more minutes” Shiro’s voice sounded strained, betraying how anxious he was to leave this place as well. 

They were guarding the entrance to the comms room of the galra base as Pidge downloaded the data from the galran computer. 

“One more minute” Pidge promised “I’m almost there”

Keith exhaled. Seemed like everything was going to be alright.

 

Then the bomb exploded.

 

Later they would be told that the bomb was set to go off when a download reached 93%, and only two people in the base had known how to override it. Of course Pidge hadn’t known. 

 

Keith blinked, and suddenly everything was going on slow motion. 

He heard the quick blips that the bomb gave before it detonated. He barely had time to think before instinct took over, and he was lunging at Shiro. 

The bomb went off, and he was thrown into the air again before he had even landed on top of Shiro. He hit a wall, debris raining on him, his side flared with pain, and he could only hear static. Painfully loud static. 

He was on the floor now, black spots dancing in and out of his vision, looking at a black and white blur that was getting closer. 

And then someone grabbed his arm, yanking him into a seating position. He tried to get away, but the person wouldn’t give up. 

“-eith!” 

He knew that voice… but why did it sound like it was coming from underwater?

“-go now” 

Go? Where? 

And then he remembered. The mission. The bomb. Pidge. Lance. Hunk. Shit.

He pushed himself of the ground and he was immediately dragged into the room where the bomb had exploded. Dimly he could hear an alarm, but that sounded as if it was coming from underwater too. And what was that ringing sound?

“Grab Hunk. I’ll get Pidge and Lance. We need to leave before the sentries come... Keith?”

But dance spots were covering his vision again, the room was spinning. God he felt terrible. If the room kept spinning like this he was going to puke, and he didn’t want to do that with his helmet on. What would happen if-

Slap!

His vision refocused when his head whipped to a side, his cheek burning.

“Grab. Hunk.”

Hunk. They needed to leave, the sentries were on their way.

He made his way to the bigger body on the floor and he tried not to notice the bloody hair, or the fact that the helmet had gotten knocked out of Hunk’s head by the blast. 

His legs shook and threatened to let him fall as he picked a groaning Hunk onto his back like the scariest and bloodiest piggyback ride ever. 

He looked towards Shiro, who was holding Pidge with his flesh arm, the girl propped up on his hip with her arms around his neck and her head on his shoulder. 

Lance was slung over his metal shoulder, completely limp on his hold.

“Let’s go”

 

Keith honestly did not know how they got to the lions. His legs shook every step of the way and his shoulder was burning from a yet unknown injury.

Maybe it had to do with the fact that the lions came to them.

Yeah, that must be it. Because there’s no way they would have survived otherwise. He preferred not to think about it.

Red wasn’t even gentle about it. There was a roar, the hall trembled and then she ripped the wall like it was paper, throwing it away with her teeth. And a second later he was sitting on the pilot’s chair, Hunk sitting on the floor propped up against the wall.

His ears were still ringing. 

 

They arrived at the castle not long after, and Keith immediately stumbled out of his lion, feeling like he was going to puke if he didn’t touch solid ground immediately. Coran was already there and without a word climbed into the lion, shape shifting his size so he could carry Hunk better. The black lion was here too and he saw Allura carrying Pidge while Shiro carried Lance on his shoulder, the blue paladin still out cold.

Shiro turned his head and looked at him, saying something Keith didn’t catch. He walked towards him. He flinched when a hand landed on his shoulder, the memory of the slap still fresh and Shiro backed away, which in Keith’s confused state hurt more than the slap itself. And then Shiro grabbed his hand gently and tugged him towards the door where Allura and Coran were calling them 

“-okay?” Shiro asked him, but Keith didn’t understand. Did he want to know if he was okay? Had Shiro asked him something else?

Shiro looked at him for a moment before he shouted something at Coran that sounded suspiciously like “four pods!”

Did he need a pod? Maybe. His head hurt. And his side. And… everything really.

They arrived at the infirmary as Keith pondered this. 

There were five pods at the ready. Oh yeah, he was going into a pod. 

Shiro seemed to be protesting about something, but Coran’s tone made it clear who was winning the argument. 

Shiro went over to one of the closets and handed him a white suit. He started at it for a few moments. 

Shiro grabbed his hand again and guided him to the curtains that served as changing rooms. 

Then he left, and Keith started fumbling with the the armour, trying to get it off. 

He didn’t know how long it took him to get the armour off, but as he stumbled to get his left boot off, he groaned in frustration. His head hurt. His shoulder hurt. He was scared, tired and hurt. It wasn’t fair. 

Immediately, Shiro appeared, looking frantic, but quickly relaxed when he saw Keith was okay (well, as okay as he could be given the circumstances).

Keith blushed when Shiro sent him an easy smile and started helping him get his black under armour off. He was in the white suit in a minute. 

When he got out from behind the curtain he saw Lance and Pidge already in the pods and Hunk was on his way too. 

And then, seeing his team safe and on the mend, his body decided that it had had enough. 

His knees buckled, and he would have fallen face first into the floor if not for Shiro who seemed to had been expecting it and scooped him up in a swift movement. He was placed in a pod, but before Shiro could back away, he grabbed his arm. Keith’s tongue felt heavy for some reason, but it didn’t really matter, because Shiro seemed to understand.

He wanted to say it back, but he couldn’t speak, and the pod was already closing. 

The last thing he saw was Shiro’s face crumple and his eyes roll to the back of his head before he fell into an unwanted (but very much needed) sleep. 

Chapter Text

Keith woke up in his couch.

What the fuck was he doing in his couch?

It wasn’t even the shack’s old couch were he had slept for a year. It was his house’s couch. 

His father’s house. 

Home.

He tried to recall what he had been doing the day before, but he couldn’t remember. 

He could hear someone bustling around in the kitchen, and a sweet aroma filled the living room. Pancakes? 

He got up and stumbled to the kitchen. Why was his body so heavy? It didn’t matter, he had to check-

And there he was. 

His dad stood behind the counter, his back to him, a stack of pancakes next to the frying pan.

He turned around and smiled at him 

“‘Morning kiddo” 

His father looked exactly the same as he had when he had last seen him. His black hair tinted with a few gray streaks, his eyes grey and crinkled from smiling too much.

“Dad?” His father grinned at him 

“The one and only. What do you want with your pancakes, syrup or jam?”

“What’s going on? Where am I? How am I here?”

His dad frowned, walking over to him. His hand landed on his shoulder 

“You hit your head yesterday, remember? Maybe it was more serious than I thought. Your mom will be here soon, we should go to the doctor when she comes back”

“My… mom?”

This was wrong.

All wrong. He was supposed to be doing something. He was supposed to be with Shiro… he couldn’t remember

“Where’s Shiro?”

His dad tilted his head to one side and a pang of hurt hit Keith like a wrecking ball. 

It was all so familiar. The hand on his shoulder, the way his father’s eyes shone when he smiled, the lazy mornings with pancakes… God he had missed it all so much.

“Takashi Shirogane? In the Garrison I suppose. Why?”

“I was supposed to be with him”

His dad frowned again “you haven’t seen Takashi in three weeks. You’ve been staying here for the summer holidays. Don’t you remember?”

 

Keith backed away until his back hit the wall. 

Something was wrong. He couldn’t think straight. 

Shiro. Shiro was important somehow. Ugh, everything was too loud, his father was calling for him and there was something else, a voice, coming from somewhere, but it sounded as if it was coming from underwater. 

Keith !”

And know he was on his knees, and his father was in front of him, gripping his shoulders. And then Keith launched forward and hugged his father close, gripping at his old worn vest.

“Keith, what’s wrong?” There was a hand running through his hair and he shivered. Why was he so cold all the sudden?

“Don’t let go of me” he said, not looking up from where his face was buried in his dad’s shoulder. His dad held him, rocking backwards and forwards, like he used to do when he was a kid. 

“I’m not leaving you, Keith. I’ll never leave you” 

His grip tightened, and something inside him was screaming at him to hold his father close, that he was going to disappear if he didn’t, that something bad was going to happen.

 

And then he woke up.

 

He felt disoriented, dizzy, even though his eyes weren’t opened the room was spinning, tilting to one side as shivers ran down his feverish body. 

“Come on buddy, wake up. It’s just a dream” 

That voice. He knew that voice. 

Shiro?

But his father had said Shiro was at the Garrison. What would Shiro be doing in his home?

And more importantly, where was his father?

“Shiro?”

Shiro pulled away to look at his face, which honestly annoyed Keith. His eyes hurt from the too bright lights and the movement made his head spin even faster.

“Keith? You awake, bud?”

“‘Course I am. Where am I? Where’s my dad? He- he was here a minute ago”

And then Shiro’s face fell. A heavy feeling settled in Keith’s gut.

“Keith, you’re in the castle of lions. You’re sick. Your dad…” he sighed “Keith, your dad died when you were eight years old. Remember?”

It all came crashing down. 

The fire. The foster homes. Shiro. The Garrison. Kerberos. The blue lion. Lance. Pidge. Hunk. Coran. Allura. 

His father. 

It hit him as hard as it had that night, the first one he had spent in a group home.

His father wasn’t coming back. 

And to his horror, tears welled up in his eyes. A sob escaped his chest, and then he was crying as hard as that first night.

But there was a difference. Shiro was here. He didn’t really know if that was better or worse. 

Shiro gathered him up in his arms, hugging him close as he broke down.

He didn’t seem to care that tears and snot were getting on his clothes -his father’s vest, now that he thought about it. More tears welled up in his eyes- and Keith decided not to care neither for the moment. 

 

His dad was gone. 

 

They stayed that way for a few minutes, Shiro’s hand running through his hair as he whispered words into Keith’s ear, even though Keith didn’t really process what he was hearing. 

He got the intention though. Shiro cared about him. He wasn’t alone. 

He wasn’t eight anymore, hugging a pillow that was not his own as he tried not to sob too loudly. 

He had a team that cared for him. He had a family. 

 

It took him a week to get back on his feet. The team kept him company, which meant more to him than the others ever believed. He later remembered that he had gotten sick because of the intoxicated air on a planet they had visited that was venomous to galra. 

The hurt from the loss of his father didn’t really disappear. 

It never did. But as time wore on, he replaced the painful memories with new ones. New ones about his found family and about his mother. 

The old hurt never left, but the new love covered up.

And that was fine with him.



Chapter Text

Pidge was tiny. 

She was. It was just a fact. Lance was lanky, Shiro was buff and Pidge was tiny. 

But the thing was Keith never truly realized just how small she was until he was hugging her close to his chest, his whole body wrapped around her as flames erupted everywhere around them. 

The thing was, Keith wasn’t scared. Nope. He was downright annoyed.

 

This was supposed to be the easiest mission ever. 

Get into the abandoned galran base, figure out what had chased the galra away from this sector, and leave. 

A two person job. Pidge was supposed to hack into the servers and download the security cameras’ feed while Keith watched her back. Simple.

 

But then the ambush happened. 

 

It was so stupid. The base had been conquered by pirates weeks ago, and when they found out voltron was planning to visit, they placed boobytraps everywhere, the traps being either tiny explosives, toxic gas or shockers (Keith had stepped on one, but the armour had thankfully stopped most of the electric current). Then they hid and waited. 

It was a trap. And they had fallen right into it. 

 

He scolded himself for not foreseeing it as he closed the door, still hearing the pirates shouting and jeering from the other side pounding at the door. 

They had tried to contact the other the moment they realized their mistake, but something was blocking the signal.

Panting with his hands on his knees, he looked at Pidge, who was already working on the computer

“Now what?”

“I’m going to try to override every boobytrap from here, so that the gas ones all go off simultaneously”

After a few seconds she groaned in frustration 

“What?”

“Every single trap has an access code, a 20 digit password , I would need to hack every trap, one at a time, in order to set them off” a bang from the door cut her off “and we don’t have that kind of time”

Keith thought for a second

“What if you overload the system entirely?”

She frowned “that would make the traps explode. We would basically be turning the entire base into a bomb”

“Which takes care of our pirate problem. We’ll call our lions, have them wait for us and once you overload the system, we’ll get out”

Pidge frowned as she tapped at her forearm, making a 3D map of the base appear.

“We’re currently here” she pointed to a room at the east wing “the nearest exit is through here, two corridors ahead. We could, in theory, crawl through the vents, get out in this corridor and run to the hanger” she grinned at him “this could actually work”

She turned to the computer “I’ll make a timer. We have 10 ticks to get to the hanger”

“What about the video feeds we came for?”

“The pirates deleted it all, this was pointless”

“Great” he took a deep breath “okay let’s go”

Pidge set the timer, and they ran to the vent on the wall. The moment Keith started crawling, he heard the door that led to the room slammed open. Confused shouts followed by a few animalistic grunts were heard, and the aliens ran out of the room. 

Keith felt offended that they had been fooled by these idiots. 

 

Everything seemed to be going according to plan. 

Until it all came crashing down. 

“One dobos left!” Pidge told him as they sneaked through the second corridor. Keith sighed in relief as the hangar door appeared as they rounded the corner. But then from the corner of his eye his saw movement, and one of the pirates raised their gun. He was pointing at Pidge. He heard the sound of a blaster charging.

Keith didn’t have time to think. He lunged and tackled the girl to the ground, pushing the girl against his chest. 

For a moment, he didn’t feel anything, and he felt relief pour down his body. Pidge reacted faster than him and sat up, pointed her bayard at the pirate and a second later, the criminal was on the ground, unconscious (or dead) from the electric current of Pidge’s grappling hook 

She looked at the timer “33 ticks”

Keith sat up and immediately grunted, biting back a scream. He looked at his side and immediately wished he hadn’t. 

The blast from the gun had melted the thick undersuit and blood was steadily dripping to the floor. The few seconds he had been laying on the floor, a steady pool of blood had already former around him. 

Pidge must have noticed too, because she went pale 

“Oh shit”

But nevertheless, Keith stood up, swaying on the spot. Pidge immediately pulled his arm around her shoulders, supporting his weight. 

“Ten ticks”

“We’re not gonna make it”

She didn’t respond. They stumbled their way towards the hangar door, already opened. 20 feet… 10 feet…

The timer beeped. Keith looked behind them at the wall of fire and blast of hot air that was coming their way. 

He grabbed Pidge and hugged her close, as he had done barely a minute ago.

Please he wasn’t sure who he was praying at let Pidge be okay

The heat seared his skin, and his injury was agony. He couldn’t breathe, he was suffocating, his was wound screaming in pain, his arms still tight around Pidge. 

When he opened his eyes again, he was laying down on his side, surrounded by fire, and he thought of his father, about how he was going to die the same way he had.

And then Pidge was there, struggling in his arms.

“We have to go!” She shouted. He stared at her. She looked scared but determinate as she struggled to get him to sit up. 

He struggled to stand up and she ended up half dragging him to where the green lion was waiting, her golden eyes glinting as she opened her mouth.

 

Then he passed out. 

 

He came to when a hand shook his shoulder. 

“C’mon bud, wake up” he groaned

“S’ro?”

“That’s right buddy. I’m gonna pick you up now, okay?”

Keith didn’t really feel like walking, so he nodded. Strong arms surrounded his back and the back of his knees and then he was being scooped up. 

His side burned, and he buried his face in his brother’s shoulder to stifle the whine that rose from his throat.

“I know bud. Don’t fall asleep yet, okay?”

Too late. 

He didn’t exactly fall asleep. He was in and out, seeing his surroundings in flashes. 

They were on a hallway, and he was being carried by Shiro. His eyes closed 

They entered the infirmary, and sound exploded, making him flinch and hide his face in his brother’s shoulder. He noticed Shiro wasn’t wearing his armour, but he was. Why? He couldn’t remember. His eyes closed on their own before he could figure it out. 

He was sitting down on one of the cots, his head resting on Shiro’s shoulder as he helped Hunk manhandle him into one of the white suits. He didn’t even have the energy to be embarrassed. He let them maneuver him until some time later he was being scooped up in someone’s (probably Shiro’s) arms again and he was carried to the pods. His eyes rolled to the back of his head before he was placed into the cryopod.



He woke up, fully this time, when he started falling from the pod. 

He scrambled to catch himself, but it wasn’t necessary because a pair of strong arms held him up, taking his weight as his sleep-added legs fully woke up. 

“Hmmnnnggg” 

The person holding him chuckled, and the sound vibrates on Shiro’s chest, pressed to his ear. It felt nice.

“You alright, Keith?”

“I hate pods”

“He’s fine then” another voice called, sounding happy but relieved.

Keith finally managed to stand on his own two feet, but Shiro stayed beside him with an arm around his waist to support him. 

“What happened?”

“You were on a mission, remember?”

“No I-“ 

And then it all came back. 

The mission. The ambush. The timer. The fire. 

Pidge .

He suddenly stood up completely straight, his eyes searching frantically for something. Or someone 

“Pidge” he said, looking up at Shiro “where’s Pidge?”

Shiro frowned “she’s in her room, bud. We sent her to sleep off the mision”

He had to check she was okey. He had to.

He made a run for it and was close to the door when and arm wrapped around his waist and pulled him back.

“You’re gonna make yourself pass out, man”

When had Hunk arrived?

“I have to-“

“I know” he said, and Keith had a feeling he did understand 

“Just… take it easy, alright? You lost a lot of blood” he sounded kind of queasy when he said this, and Keith immediately felt guilty for worrying them. So he nodded, admitting he did feel tired, and let hunk walk him to the corridor.

They didn’t have to walk very far though.

Pidge came running from around the corner, and just sped up when he saw Hunk and Keith. 

She barreled into Keith, but he was ready for it, and he wrapped his arms around her. 

She was clinging to his neck, her legs wrapped around her waist. The added weight, made his knees buckle, and he landed on his knees, still refusing to let go. She stepped away first and Keith let her, but his hands stayed on her shoulders. He scanned her for injuries and found that she was okay, even though her eyes shone with tears.

“Never do that again” she sniffled, rubbing her right eye “You scared me half to death, you asshole”

He felt the ball of guilt tighten in his chest again 

“Sorry”

“It’s fine” she sniffled again “But next time you try shielding me from a gun or an explosion, I’m kicking you where it hurts”

He huffed out a laugh “no promises”

“HE WHAT?!”

Shiro sounded mad, worried and alarme all at the same time. Keith's eyes widened 

“You didn’t tell them?”

“Consider it revenge for getting hurt at my expense” she smiled at him.

“Thank you” she muttered a moment later “you saved my life”

“You saved mine” they smiled at each other. 

“Alright” Hunk sounded close to tears as he hauled Keith to his feet “Let’s get some food into you before Shiro kills you” 

Keith smiled as Hunk’s arm surrounded his shoulder and he was pulled close into his side. Pidge grabbed his hand and squeezed it. He squeezed back.

Chapter Text

“I’m telling you Shiro! It’s a shortcut!”

The ten year boy pulled on his hand, leading them into the alleyway.

Shiro raised an eyebrow 

“How do you even know about this ‘shortcut’?”

Keith let go of his hand when it was obvious that Shiro wasn’t going to budge, and huffed while rolling his eyes. He pointed towards the narrow path between two houses to their right 

“that leads to the school’s back door, and this one” he pointed to the alleyway he wanted to go through “goes to the town’s center. Now come on!”

He started walking rapidly, entering the alleyway

“Wait up!”

Shiro walked behind him as Keith happily lead the way.

Then they guy jumped from behind the dumpster. 

In different circumstances, Shiro would have been impressed by Keith’s reflexes. 

He was jumping away from the guy, his lips curling in a snarl, body tense as if ready to fight in less than two seconds. 

He ran forward, but stopped when he saw the guy point a gun at Keith. 

“You take one more step, the brat gets it” 

The man sounded southern, the voice muffled by the bandana he was wearing around his mouth. He swayed very gently on the spot, as if he were drunk or high.

Keith had gone pale, frozen in one place as he alternated from looking at the gun to looking at Shiro. 

The guy grabbed Keith by the shoulder roughly, and dragged him to the wall, pinning him there, making him stand on his tiptoes as he gripped his shoulder.

Keith didn’t make a sound, but his eyes spoke volumes as he wiggled.

“Tell the kid to stop or I’ll paint the wall with his brains”

“Keith!” he barked. Keith froze “don’t move”

“The bag” the man snarled at Shiro “ Now.” 

Shiro swallowed thickly. He had important documents in his bag, documents about Kerberos

“We can make a deal” he told the man “I have money on my bag. I’ll reach down and grab it. Just let the kid go” 

The man laughed “nice try. The bag” 

He pointed at Shiro with the gun “I’m not asking again”

Shiro couldn’t breathe. He was so close . Just three meters away from Keith, but he couldn’t do anything. 

Then Keith, to Shiro’s horror, bit the hand pinning him to the wall, hard. Hard enough to draw blood. 

The man cursed and let him go, but the victory was short lived, since the man turned to Keith and slapped him hard enough to knock him down 

“Little bastard” he spit.

The moment the thug had let Keith go, Shiro sprung forward. He was too late to avoid the slap that made Keith fall to the ground, but as the man said the insult, he grabbed his shoulder and made him turn around.

Without waiting for the thug to react, he pulled his arm back and punched him across the jaw as hard as he could. 

The thug spun once before falling on the ground. 

Shiro stood there, breathing hard through his mouth as he looked for the gun the thug had dropped. 

There. 

He scooped it up from the floor, discharged it, letting the unused bullets fall to the ground, and threw it as far as he could. 

He then nudged the unconscious man with his foot, but he didn’t stir. 

His hand throbbed, but he didn’t care. 

All he cared about, was the little boy sitting on the floor, hunched over with his arms covering his head. He was shaking like a leaf. 

“Hey” 

No response

“Keith? Buddy?”

When he didn’t respond, he placed a gentle hand on his shoulder. Keith flinched, but didn’t back away. 

“C’mon bud, I want to see you”

Keith slowly lifted his head, still trembling. His eyes were red but dry, and his cheek was red, but otherwise seemed okay. Physically, at least

“Oh kiddo” his voice didn’t break, which he was thankful for, but he felt a lump form in his throat. 

Keith raised his arms slightly, but quickly put them down, embarrassed. 

Shiro didn’t waste time and scooped the child up, hugging him close.

Keith in return wrapped his legs around his waist, his arms almost constricting around his neck as he buried his head on his shoulder. 

They were both shaking now. 

With one arm Shiro rubbed circles on Keith’s back while the other one supported him underneath his legs.

A few moments later, Shiro realized he should’ve probably call the police.

So he did. It took him longer than expected to dial the number, since his hands were shaking too, but he managed. 

The call didn’t last long, and the policewoman promised him they would be there shortly.

Next, he called Adam 

“Takashi?”

Shiro’s entire body sagged with relief

“Hey”

“Everything okay?” Adam said as Shiro asked

“Can you come pick us up?”

“We got mugged” before Adam could get a word in, he said “but we’re fine. The police are on their way”

“Is Keith okay?”

He hesitated, feeling the way Keith was still trembling in his hold, doing his baby koala impersonation 

“He’ll be fine. He’s in shock, I think”

“I’m coming” 

Shiro sighed in relief “thank you”

“Takashi?”

“Yes?”

“How are you ?”

He smiled, trying not to feel like a liar when he said 

“I’m okay, Adam. I’ll see you soon”

“Alright… love you”

“Love you too”

He hung up and pocketed his phone. He sighed again, rubbing Keith’s back absentmindedly.

“Keith?”

He tried to push Keith away to see his face, but Keith’s arms tightened around his neck.

“They’re coming” Keith muttered.

Before Shiro could as who was coming, a police car appeared around the corner.

The thug was stirring, but before he was even fully conscious, one of the two policemen had cuffed his wrists. 

The other one approached Shiro. 

“Sir, I’m going to need you to tell me exactly what happened”

The part of Keith’s face that hadn’t been pressing into his shoulder retreated the moment the man had started talking, as if scared by the new voice. 

The policeman noticed and frowned 

“Are you both alright?”

“We’re fine officer. I think he’s in shock”

The policeman nodded, his eyes softer as he observed the child in Shiro’s arms.

“Is he your brother?” 

Shiro hesitated.

“Yeah”

“I recommend getting him home and taking it easy for the rest of the day. Make him feel safe”

Shiro smiled at the man 

“Will do, officer”

 

While the officers manhandled the man into the police cruiser, Adam arrived. 

His boyfriend’s whole body sagged with relief when he saw the two of them, and Shiro smiled tiredly at him. 

“Hey” 

Adam kissed his lips and then his forehead, needing to stand on his tiptoes in order to do so. 

“You guys alright?”

Shiro looked at Keith’s mop of black hair and then at Adam in quiet desperation. 

Adam looked at Keith.

“Hey, Keith” Adam’s hand landed on Keith’s hair, petting it softly “can I see you?”

Keith moved his head to one side, looking at Adam with big indigo eyes.

“Hey” Keith whispered, his voice smaller than Shiro had ever heard it. Adam smiled softly 

“Hey kiddo” the gentle tone made both Shiro and Keith relax slightly, which made Adam smirk at Shiro for a second before his eyes fell on Keith again.

“We’re going home, alright? We’ll watch one of those star thing movies you like so much, and we’ll make popcorn”

“Star Trek?” Keith’s voice was slightly hopeful now 

“That’s the one”

Keith smiled shyly at Adam, which made the man melt slightly.

And then Keith was struggling to be let down, and Shiro let him, even though it made his chest feel cold. 

Keith stumbled for a moment before finding his footing. He quickly grabbed Adam’s hand, falling into step with the couple. Shiro couldn’t help but notice Keith had positioned himself as far as possible from him. In fact, he didn’t even look at Shiro, even ducking his head when he caught his eye accidentally. 

 

They drove home in silence, the radio playing a soft tune. 

When Adam parked, the couple stepped out of the car. Keith didn’t move from his seat in the back.

“Give me a minute with him” Shiro said. Adam nodded and walked over to the front door. 

Shiro opened the door that led to the back of the car. 

Keith didn’t look up from his lap, where his hands were clenched tight. 

“Keith” 

He didn’t look up, hunching over even more. Shiro had a feeling why he was acting this way

“Keith, buddy. I wasn’t angry with you. I never was”

There was a moment of silence.

“You yelled” Bingo. It was half an accusation, half a explanation. His voice was hoarse and small “Figured it was my fault”

“Of course it wasn’t your fault bud” he dared to pass an arm around the boy’s shoulders. He was relieved when Keith leaned into his side. 

“I was the one who led you into that alley” He sounded close to tears and he sniffed miserably. 

“Come here”

Keith didn’t need to be told twice. He crawled into Shiro’s lap, and Shiro wrapped his arms around him, feeling his T-shirt becoming damp where Keith’s face was pressed into it.

“It wasn’t your fault, bud”

He promised, rocking back and forward slightly while Keith sobbed quietly

“I’ll never be mad for something like this, alright?”

Keith nodded into his chest. 

“But” Keith tensed slightly again “you have to promise me, Keith, that you will never do that again. You were lucky that the man didn’t hurt you badly. Please, just let me handle these kind of things”

His heart had never hammered so fast as when Keith had bit the man. It could have gone so wrong.

Shiro knew he was going to see that scene in his nightmares.

Keith looked up, looking confused 

“But you had important stuff in that bag. I couldn’t let him get it”

Shiro grabbed Keith’s shoulders so that he was staring right into his eyes.

“Keith, listen very carefully at what I’m going to tell you. You are more important than any document or file . Understand? They’re things , you’re a person. There’s no comparison”

Keith’s flushed face stared at Shiro. He nodded, before resting his head against Shiro’s chest again, letting out a tired little sigh as he did.

Shiro smiled 

“You tired bud?”

Keith hummed “a little”

“Alright c’mon, Adam’s waiting for us”

He got out of the car, Keith still in his arms and walked towards the building’s entrance. 

“I can walk, Shiro”

Oh yeah, Keith was back to normal.

“Nah. I like carrying you around”

“Let go!”

Shiro flipped him on his shoulder, holding him upside down.

“Nooooo! Shirooooo”

Keith’s shirt lifted due to gravity being a thing and left Keith’s bony chest exposed.

Shiro was weak to the temptation. 

A moment later Keith’s shrieks filled the air, laughing at Shiro’s tickling.

“Stop!” 

He continued the treatment until they reached their flat.

Adam stood in the living room, as small smile playing on his lips.

“Adam!” Keith shouted, still being attacked by Shiro’s fingers. He stretched out his arms “help me!”

He was being cradled in Shiro’s arms, wriggling as he tried to get away from the merciless tickling. 

Adam walked up to the pair and plucked Keith from Shiro’s arm, letting the boy down. Keith ran and hid behind Adam’s legs.

“Let the kid have a break Shiro” he drawled “he’s had a tough morning”

“Yeah” Keith agreed with all the seriousness he could, which wasn’t much since he was still smiling and giggling from the post-tickling sensation. 

Shiro hung his head dramatically.

But before Adam could walk away, he grabbed him around the waist and slung him over his shoulder 

“Takashi Shirogane!” 

Keith was laughing, right until Shiro scooped him up too and slung him over his other shoulder. 

Protests filled the room along with Shiro’s booming laugh. 

He stumbled over the couch and flopped down, effectively trapping his hostages underneath him 

“You’re squishing me!” Keith protested, hitting Shiro’s shoulder with his free arm.

“Takashi…” 

Shiro pouted “I just want to cuddle with my favorite people”

“How about we do that by watching a movie?”

“Star Trek!”

“The king has spoken”

 

So five minutes later, they were sitting on the couch, Keith cuddling into Shiro’s side, his eyes on the tv, while he ate popcorn from the bowl on Shiro’s lap.

On Shiro’s other side Adam sat with his head resting on Shiro’s shoulder. 

Shiro turned his head and kissed his fiancé’s temple.

“You okay?” Adam asked 

Shiro smiled, grabbing Adam’s hand.

“Yeah”

And he meant it this time 

 

 

“You guys are so gross”

 

Chapter Text

Lance woke up when he heard a bang in his living room. 

Even though it had been 10 years since the war had ended, he was alert the second he opened his eyes. 

He looked for the gun he hid underneath his night stand without turning the lights on.

He then made his way stealthily to his bedroom door, waiting to hear any other sounds.

A thump and a stifled groan of pain. Someone cursed in what he thought was galran. 

He rolled his eyes and walked to the living room, gun loose on his hand.

“You really have to stop doing this, Mullet, it’s the fifth time this month”

Keith, who stood kneeling on his floor, smiled up at him, his grin bloody. Kosmo stood next to him, panting

“What happened this time?” Lance asked, going to the cupboard to grab the medical kit “Another murder attempt? Where did you get cut this time? You know, you should probably tell cosmo to stop bringing you here every time something like this happens”

“Yeah… although this time… I asked Cosmo to take me here”

Lance hummed, finally having found the kit. Cosmo whined impatiently

“Why is that?”

“Lance… look at me”

Lance turned around and really looked at Keith. 

With a pained smile, Keith removed his hand from his side. Blood was pouring down from what was very probably stab wound in his side.

“Holy shit”

Lance hurried to his side.

“For fucks sake, Keith. Next time don’t wait so long to tell me you have a fucking hole on your side”

Keith huffed out a laugh, and then grunted when it pulled on his injury. 

Cosmo, probably satisfied that Keith was finally being taken care of, disappeared in a explosion of blue sparks.

“Where’s he going? We need to get you to the hospital”

But before Keith could respond, Cosmo appeared again, this time with a person who seemed to have been suspended in midair, because he fell to the floor with yelp.

A few curses later, Shiro stood up, looking around wildly, his pajamas rumpled and his hair messy

“Hey Shiro” Lance greeted, holding a gauze to Keith’s side as the man in question hissed and shot a glare at the Cuban.

“Don’t look at me like that, I need to stop the bleeding”

“What the hell happened?”

Shiro knelt next to his brother, cupping the back of his head. Keith leaned into the contact, closing his eyes for a second 

“Refugees either love me or hate me” he muttered, grunting when Lance pressed harder with the gauze “this one just really hated me and caught me by surprise”

“We should get you to the hospital”

“No”

“You’re bleeding all over my carpet, dude. You’re going to the hospital”

Keith hung his head in defeat.

Shiro scoffed and ruffled his hair before standing up.

“Hey Lance, do you have a phone? I need to call Curtis”

“Yeah it’s in my room”

But before Shiro could move, Lance’s eyes widened 

“You know what? I’ll go get it myself, you stay with Keith”

Shiro shrugged and knelt again, pressing a clean gauze to the wound. Lance disappeared behind the door.

Shiro took the gauze and studied the stab wound.

“It’s not that serious” he said after a few seconds of examining it “it definitely needs stitches though”

He looked at Keith “does it hurt?”

Keith only sucked in a breath and nodded. Shiro’s robot arm came to rest on Keith’s nape, rubbing it.

“Hey” Keith looked up “wanna laugh at Lance? ” Keith smiled weakly and nodded

“Hey Lance?!”

Lance walked out of the bedroom, phone in hand 

“Yeah?”

“How’s Pidge doing?”

“Fine, why?”

“How long have you been together?”

“What?!” 

Keith cracked up, even though it pulled at his injury. Lance had sounded so much like he was seventeen, he couldn’t resist it.

“Why would she- I- we didn’t-“ he gave up, his face red. He pointed at Shiro accusitably 

“How did you know?” 

Shiro smirked and pointed to the sofa. Pidge’s jacket lay there, discarded as if Pidge had thrown it.

Lance’s cheeks were flushed as he gave Shiro his phone dejectibely

“I don’t need to tell you what happens if you hurt our girl” Shiro said, looking for Curtis number on Lance’s contacts.

Lance snorted

“She’ll kick my ass”

“Smart boy”

Shiro brought the phone to his ear

“Curtis?”

The loud curses that erupted form the phone made Shiro wince and pull the phone away from his ear for a second.

“Curtis I- listen to me, love-“ he laughed “will you stop screaming for a second. I’m with Lance and Keith. Keith’s hurt, we’re taking him to the hospital” a moment of silence 

“He’ll be fine, I’ll go home when Keith stops bleeding out. Yes. fine. I love you too. Bye”

He hung up, a dopey smile on his face 

“You guys are so sweet it’s sickening”

“I’m not the one who made a Spanish love song for Pidge and-“

“How the fuck do you even know about that”

“Hunk likes to gossip”

“I’m gonna kill that-“

“I’m getting seriously dizzy now”

“Right. Sorry, Keith. Let’s go”

Cosmo barked, and then they all blacked out for a second, before opening their eyes and seeing the Garrison hospital instead of Lance’s living room.

The nurse that was passing by yelped, before calling a doctor to the scene. 

Shiro helped Keith stand up, and the younger man leaned on him as the nurse guided them to an empty room.

Keith passed out the moment he was in the bed.

 

 

“You really have to stop scaring us like this, Keith”

Pidge stood in the doorway, her arms crossed as she leaned on the wall.

Lance and Shiro grinned at the girl, while Keith groaned in the hospital bed, his pillow muffling the sound.

“Please don’t. Those two already lectured me. Twice”

Pidge hummed in thought 

“I’ll think about it”

Pidge walked over and was immediately hugged by Shiro. It was always amusing to see such a big guy hug the stuffing out of Pidge, who even after the growth spurt she had experienced when she was seventeen, was still petite.

After shiro let her go, Pidge crawled onto the bed and hugged Keith gently, kissing his cheek

“We’ve missed you, samurai”

Keith beamed at her.

She settled herself on the edge of Keith’s bed and grinned at Lance 

“Hey Lance” her voice was different when she spoke to him, it became more teasing, and maybe even flirtatious 

Lance smiled, his eyes shining.

Keith decided to put a stop to it.

“So how long have you guys been together?”

Pidges smile disappeared, looking at Keith. 

“I-“ her face was reddening. She spun to look at Lance 

“You told them?!”

Lance looked really panicked now. Keith and Shiro shared a mischievous smile.

“It wasn’t me! It was Hunk!”

“You told Hunk?!”

“He’s our best friend!”

“He can’t keep a secret! You know that!”

“Maybe I should come back later”

The couple whirled around, looking at Hunk, who was standing by the door.

“You told Shiro about us?!”

Hunk’s cheeks turned pink.

“He pressured me!”

“That’s not true! I just asked if you knew how Pidge and lance were doing and you screamed ‘lance and Pidge are dating’!”

They stopped arguing when they heard laughter. Keith was clutching his side as he doubled over, laughing hard

“Glad to see we amuse you” Pidge said, although she was grinning. 

“Told you he would fall for you, kiddo” Keith said, still grinning 

Pidge blushed again “Shut up”

“Huh?” Lance looked confused now

“Pidge had a crush on you for the longest time”

“You’re exaggerating” Pidge huffed

“He’s not” Shiro deadpanned 

“You knew too?”

“I think we all knew before you did, Pidge” Shiro said, smiling at the girl

“I cannot believe you guys”

“How did not know about this?” Lance protested. Pidge smiled sweetly at him 

“Because you’re oblivious”

“Thanks a lot, love”

Keith laughed again.

“By the way” Hunk said “Coran says hello, he wanted to come but there was this big meeting thing he couldn’t miss. He told me to tell you” he turned to Keith “that you’re getting a lecture from him very soon about letting yourself be stabbed”

“Great” Keith said, tone flat and heavy with sarcasms “looking forward to it” he then frowned 

“Why are you here, anyway?”

Hunk looked offended 

“I heard about what happened and I couldn’t not come. We’re family, man”

Keith lay back in his bed, staring at ceiling with a dopey little smile on his face, listening to his family arguing about silly little things. 

Getting stabbed had been so worth it.

 

Chapter Text

Lance felt numb. Well no, scratch that, he felt numb everywhere except for his arms. 

His arms were on fire. 

His muscles were screaming with pain, he couldn’t feel his hands, and his wrists were scraped bloody where the shackles were biting into his skin.

It was almost a relief that he felt numb, because he was pretty sure those galra soldiers had beating him up pretty well.

He had a cut on his eyebrow that was steadily dripping blood down the side of his face. 

He was pretty sure his ankle was twisted, and bruises and cuts colored his whole body. 

And he may have a concussion, but he wasn’t sure. 

 

The door slammed open, and pain erupted in his skull as if he was being kicked repeatedly. Again. 

The light and sound that came from the door, made his vision black out and his ears to ring. On yeah. Definitely a concussion.

“Lance?”

He knew that voice. Shiro.

He could have sobbed with relief. Instead, he groaned. Finally, he was going home. 

 

The team opened the door and the sight that received them made their blood run cold as they stared in horror.

Lance, without his armour, bloodied and bruised, was hanging suspended by his arms, his toes barely touching the ground.

The shackles were firmly wrapped around his wrists, which were bleeding, making a trail of crimson run down the boy’s arms.

“Oh fuck” said Keith. Shiro didn’t have the energy to correct him. Oh fuck indeed. 

“Lance?” Shiro tried not show the fear in his voice 

“Is he conscious?” Pidge’s voice sounded small and high, sounding more like the child she was than normally.

Lance responded with a groan. 

That kicked Shiro into focus.

“Hunk, guard the door. Make sure no one gets through it. Keith and Pidge, come with me”

The chains were tied on either side of the walls, and Shiro told Keith and Pidge to untie them

“Okay guys, slowly, bring him down, easy does it”

Lance’s feet touched the ground, but his legs wouldn’t hold him up and his knees buckled. 

Shiro surrounded him with his arms, propping him up. 

“We need to keep his arms up, he looks like he’s been suspended for a while”

“Why?” Pidge, ever curious asked 

“You know when you fall asleep on your arm and you feel pins and needles when you wake up?”

“Yeah”

“Multiply the pain by 50”

“Oh”

 

It was a slow process, getting Lance to lower his arms. 

Keith and Pidge each grabbed one, and slowly massaged the, gently, mindful of the bloody wrists. 

Lance gritted his teeth, trying not to make a sound. His muscles were cramped and stiff from the forced position, add that to the obstruction of blood flow, he was probably a sight to behold.

“Guys, we gotta move!” Hunk called from the doorway, his gun at the ready “we’ve been spotted”

Shiro cursed in something that was definitely not english. He looked at Lance.

The Cuban found that his tongue felt heavy on his own mouth, plus he was pretty sure his jaw was bruised, if not cracked, so speaking wasn’t really an option right now. 

So he looked Shiro in the eye, totally serious for once, and nodded. 

With a pained expression, Shiro told the other two to lower Lance’s arms completely. 

 

The pain from before had been nothing compare to what he felt now. He couldn’t even move his fingers, his whole body tense like the string of a guitar as what seemed like fire coursed through his veins. 

He choked back a scream as his muscles spasmed, and just buried his face in Shiro’s shoulder, trying to muffle whatever sound might come out of his mouth. 

Shiro just placed a hand on his head and held him, waiting for the initial wave of pain to wear off.

 

When the burning had gone from pure hell to simple insufferable, Lance exhaled, letting his body go limp. 

A moment later, he was being gathered in Shiro’s arms, too weak to even attempt (and most probably fail) to walk on his own. 

He dimly heard Shiro telling the others to collect his armour, which lay in a messy pile in one corner of the room.

He choked back a broken sob. 

He was going home. 

Now that he was moving, he could feel with horrible accuracy every single bruise and cut, wincing every time Shiro jostled him, which was pretty much always, since he was running. 

He could dimly hear the unmistakable sounds of a battle around him, but the concussion made it difficult to understand what exactly was going on, since one second he heard the sounds as if he was underwater and the next it felt like someone was screaming bloody murder in his ear. 

He didn’t dare open his eyes, too tired to even try, but nonetheless he grabbed onto Shiro as hard as he could, which wasn’t much, given he could barely feel his arms.

They still hurt, but at least he could feel his fingers, even though they were tingling. He wasn’t sure if that was a good sign. 

 

Something was happening. 

The shouts and blasts were louder than before, making the pain in his head spike. 

Shiro was shouting something, and then he was manhandling Lance into a firefighters carry. He wanted to warn Shiro he was going to throw up if he kept moving him around, but his mouth wouldn’t move. 

The he was being transferred into someone else’s arms, and he desperately tried to hold on to Shiro, but the man gently pried his fingers on, softly saying something that sounded reassuring, but he didn’t understand it. 

The new person was carrying him in a firefighter carry, running as if his life depended on it. 

It probably did. 

The person was thin but strong, his shoulder all pointed ends. 

Keith then.

The sounds disappeared and lance sighed in relief. 

His consciousness was slipping away, bit by bit, he could feel it. 

Keith stopped running, but Lance barely registered it. 

He was being lowered into the floor, sitting propped up against a wall.

“Lance” 

Lance tried to look up, he really did, but his head felt too heavy for his neck.

The Keith prodded at particularly sore spot on the side of his head, probably from a kick from the guard. 

His head snapped up, and he glared at Keith.

But his teammate just looked relieved at seeing him awake. 

“The lions are coming” Keith told him, though he figured this out more by reading his lips than by listening to him. 

“Can you stay awake?”

Nope. 

He tried to shake his head, but the little energy he had left was quickly disappearing, and black spots were dancing in his vision again. 

“Lance!”

His head dropped, but Keith held it up with a careful hand underneath his jaw. 

His indigo eyes were wide with worry and his cheeks were flushed in a way Lance found adorable.

He wanted to say you’re so cute, but his body was shutting down quickly. 

Keith scooped him up again and started running once more. 

And then he heard the roar of a lion, and a presence in the back of his head. 

We’re coming, my paladin.

He smiled and closed his eyes, feeling the way Keith’s hair tickled his jaw. 

And then he knew no more. 



Chapter Text

Keith really regretted coming here. 

They were currently being surrounded by guards. Big, bear-like guards with spears that crackled with electricity. They had left their bayards and helmets behind, as per request of the king of the ukarians, who assured them that they wouldn’t need them in the castle, which had the best security in the quadrant. Best security to make sure they didn’t scape. 

“Shiro” he muttered through gritted teeth. They stood in a protective circle, all of them tense and ready to fight if necessary. Keith’s whole body was still, ready to jump at any second. 

“What do you want from us?” Shiro asked the king, who looked content sitting in his throne, looking a bit bored but somewhat amused.

“The usual” he said, waving a hand in the air in a lazy manner “the Galra want the lions and the paladins for questioning, bla bla bla, I honestly didn’t listen to the details; but” his eyes gleamed with hunger and malice as he turned his eyes to Pidge “they said I could have one of you for my own entertainment” Pidge growled at him, but Keith could see she had gone pale. The paladins, as one, moved in front of Pidge, both Shiro and Keith, who were closer to the girl, moved their arm as if to block Pidge from harm. 

“You wouldn’t dare” Shiro snarled, looking angrier than Keith had seen him in a while. 

The king raised an eyebrow “no? You underestimate me, paladin. I’m no fool, I know you are powerful, that’s why I have something for you” 

Keith’s nerves tingled and the back of his hairs stood up. Too late he realized that hand gesture hadn’t been a dismissal, it had been a signal. His eyes darted to the guards, and he saw five of them with weird sticks. Tranquilizers. And one of them was already pointing at Shiro. 

Time seemed to slow as the guard placed one of the ends of the stick in his mouth and inhaled, pointing at Shiro’s neck. 

He acted without thinking, as usual. He pushed Shiro out of the way and felt a dull sting in his neck. Immediately, his vision blackened and he heard static. He could hear Shiro shouting his name but it was as if it came from underwater. He realized he was on the ground, looking at the ceiling. There seemed to be a fight occurring around him, but his thoughts were mushing up together and it wasn’t long before he was surrounded by cool darkness. And then he knew no more.

 

...

 

Shiro woke up gradually, which he recognized as he had been sedated. The thought triggered a few unpleasant memories, but he pushed them aside as he remembered his team had been with him when he’d gone down. He could see in his mind’s eye Haggar, her cruel smile and bright eyes on him as fire coursed through his body. 

He gritted his teeth. No . My team needs me.

He opened his eyes. 

It was too dark to see clearly, the only source of light a ray of sun that came in through a gap in the door. 

The cell was small and damp, the floor cool against his cheek. His team was sprawled around him, all of them unconscious, although Hunk seemed to be stirring. Automatically, he head counted, and his body went cold when he realized Pidge was gone. 

He tried to stand up, but his body still tingled from the after effects of the tranquilizers. He took a deep breath and sat up, rubbing his hands together to get the feeling back to his flesh hand. 

Once he could move properly, he crawled over to Hunk, who was groaning. 

“Hey” he shook his arm. Hunk frowned, his eyes still closed “Hunk” no response “Pidge is gone”

Hunk’s eyes flew open. He tried to sit up, but lay down again, looking a bit green.

“Give me a minute” he mumbled, closing his eyes. Shiro patted his arm. He went to check on Lance next and found him still unconscious. He patted his cheek a few times, calling his name and he finally stirred. Hunk was by his side by the time Lance sat up, rubbing his face.

“God that sucked” he moaned.

Shiro couldn’t help but agree. He moved over to Keith next, and thought it would be better to just call his name, he might lash out if touched. 

“Keith” he called, frowning when the boy didn’t even twitch. Slowly, he ran a hand through his hair, trying to get a response from him. Nothing. 

In the semi darkness, he studied Keith’s form. 

He was pale, breathing through his mouth. He placed two of his fingers in the side of his neck and found his pulse weak and slow. 

Worry started to creep into his chest. 

“Keith’s not waking up” he told the other two, who were having a conversation in hushed tones. He didn’t look away from Keith, but he sensed the two paladins move to crouch beside him, looking at their fallen teammate. 

“Vitals?” Hunk asked 

“Faint and slow pulse, difficulty breathing and bluish lips ” he checked behind Keith’s eyelids. His eyes were rolled to the back of his head. 

“I’d say it’s an overdose of whatever tranquilizer they gave us” Hunk said

“But then why didn’t it affect us?” Lance wondered

“Maybe it didn’t mix well with his galran DNA?”

“The galra wouldn’t let the ukarians have a weapon that could harm them. They’re allies, remember?”

“Keith pushed me out of the way” he recalled “That dart was meant for me” The two boys fell silent. Shiro hadn’t taken his eyes off Keith’s pale complexion. 

“They wanted to make sure I wouldn’t wake up” 

Hunk snorted “well that was pretty stupid of them, since we know I can carry you if necessary”

“Yeah, but I have a weapon they can’t take away from me”

His hand lit up, making the cell glow with purple light. 

Lance sighed “you know, it would be really nice if people would stop double crossing us any chance they get”

“That would be nice, yes” Shiro nodded. Then he looked at his teammates “any plans?”

Lance shrugged “we get out, find Pidge and call their lions to us”

Shiro sighed. He knew time was of the essence, Keith needed medical attention and who knows where Pidge was, but going out without a plan? That was just plain stupid.

He made his decision.

“Hunk” he turned to the boy in question “you think you can carry Keith?” 

Hunk rolled his eyes and picked up Keith, slugging him over his shoulder “that’s mildly offensive, Shiro”

Shiro smiled before sobering. 

“I’ll go first, take down any guards we find, Hunk you go in the middle. Lance, cover his back” the boys nodded and Shiro took a breath. 

He punched the steel door with his galran hand.



It wasn’t too hard to find Pidge. 

They just had to follow the unconscious bodies of the guards. Shiro looked back and saw his teammates grinning

“Classic Pidge” Lance shook his head, grinning. They followed the trail of bodies and found the small girl hacking one of the automatic doors,one of those electric spears on the floor besides her. When she heard their footsteps she tensed and turned, picked up the spear and fell into a battle stance. Her expression went from fierce to shock to delight in less than a second.

“I was heading to the control room to bail you guys out”

“How did you even-?” Shiro started but Pidge beat him to it

“The king didn’t even get to close the door” she scoffed “they didn’t even tie me. Idiots”

Pidge looked at the two figures behind him and frowned 

“What’s wrong with Keith?” 

“Overdosed” 

And as if on cue, Keith started stirring, groaning softly. Hunk knelt down and propped Keith up on the wall. Shiro knelt next to Hunk and placed a hand on Keith’s shoulder 

“Keith? Can you hear us?” Keith made a sound at the back of his throat and muttered 

“‘Tashi?” Surprised by the nickname, Shiro looked at the rest of his teammates, who were all looking at him. He turned back to his friend. 

“Yeah, it’s me, buddy. You okay?”

“Feel sick” his words were slurred and he seemed to have trouble breathing correctly. Shiro looked at Pidge and Lance

“Pidge, see if you can hack into the control room. Lance, keep on the lookout”

Both paladins nodded and went to work. Shiro turned back to Keith

His lips were almost purple and there was a bluish tint to his skin. He mumbled something, but his speech was so slurred he couldn’t make out the words. Suddenly, Keith turned his head and vomited on the floor, making Lance and Pidge turn around and winced at the sight.

“Well” Pidge said “let’s hope a guard slips on it”

That almost made Shiro smile.

A few moments later, the door opened and Pidge whooped quietly 

“Let’s go”

Shiro looked at Hunk, who looked slightly sick himself

“Pidge” the girl turned “spear”

She threw it to him wordlessly and he handed it to Hunk. 

“Cover us. I’ll take Keith” 

Hunk, looking grateful, nodded.

Shiro knelt and picked up Keith in a bridal carry, mindful of his upset stomach. The boy moaned and muttered something. 

“I’m here buddy” he muttered, for only Keith to hear “we’re gonna get you home” 

 

The trip back wasn’t pleasant. 

They had to kill a few guards, which was never a pleasant experience, and Keith’s condition got worse as time passed. 

They finally got to the lions, well, the lions actually came to them, the red lion destroying anything in her path, knowing her paladin was injured. 

Shiro rode in the red lion, black trailing behind and covering them. 

Hunk and Lance stayed behind, covering the others.

“We’ve got this bossman” Lance had told Shiro. It hadn’t eased the knot in his stomach that had formed just by thinking of leaving them behind 

“Get Keith into a pod” Hunk had said.

And he did. 

By the time they got Keith into a healing pod he was barely breathing, and so was Shiro. His whole body shook with relief when Coran announced that Keith was stable. He sat against the pod, taking deep, shaky breaths, and closed his eyes. He didn’t know how much time passed, but when he opened his eyes again, Pidge was sitting next to him. Her armor was gone, replaced by her usual baggy shorts and T-shirt. 

“Hey” he greeted. He cleared his throat. Why was his voice so raspy?

“Hi” Pidge leaned into his side “How are you doing?” 

“How are you doing?” 

Pidge raised an eyebrow 

“I’m fine, Pidge” 

“Sure you are”

“Answer my question”

Pidge sighed, leaning even more on Shiro

“Adrenaline is wearing off and everything is starting to ache. Happy?”

“Not particularly, no”

He placed an arm around her shoulders 

“You scared me”

“I know” she trembled slightly from what he hoped was an adrenaline crash underneath his arm 

“The others back yet?” He asked. She was about to answer when the doors to the infirmary opened. Lance was leaning against Hunk, both their helmets gone. Their armours looked a bit worse for wear, and Lance was favouring his right leg, but they seemed okay otherwise. 

“How’s Keith?” Lance asked immediately, trying to stand on his own. 

Shiro got up and walked rapidly towards them. 

He didn’t know why he did it. Maybe it was the adrenaline wearing off, maybe it was the stress he had been feeling since he woke up in the cell right until now, seeing his team safe. 

Whatever the case, he hugged them both tightly, feeling dizzy with relief as both of the boys in his arms hugged him back. He felt pressure on his back and wiry arms wrapped around his torso.

They pulled apart, Hunk grabbing Lance around the waist as he tried to stand on his own. The boy rolled his eyes. Pidge eyed Lance’s leg with worry 

“What happened to you?” 

Lance shrugged. His smile was tinted with pain “got hit in the leg and fell”

“His ankle is probably broken” Hunk said. Lance glared at him 

“Sprained” Hunk let go of him, making Lance gasp and blink back tears of pain when his foot touched the ground. Hunk grabbed his arm and placed it around his shoulders again, smiling smugly at his friend. 

“Shut up” Lance said, teeth gritted. Shiro crossed his arms 

“Healing pod. Now” 

“But-“

“You either go willingly, or I’ll have Hunk carry you”

Lance scoffed but complied. As he changed to the white suit behind a curtain by the hospital-like beds, Shiro asked Hunk “where’s Coran?” 

“He’s fixing Yellow’s paw. We took a hit while we were escaping” 

Before Shiro could respond, lance asked 

“How is Keith?” 

“He’s stable” answered Shiro “he’ll get out of the pods tomorrow morning or so” 

“You’re gonna spend the night here, aren’t you?” Hunk said. It wasn’t really a question. Shiro nodded

“Okay, I guess it’s a sleepover” Pidge said from where she was perched on top of the pod Lance was going to use. 

“You guys don’t have to“ Shiro immediately objected.

Lance stuck his head out of the courts in and looked at Pidge “how did you even-?” Pidge winked at him. He looked lost for a moment, before he decided it wasn’t worth it and looked at Shiro.

“Of course we’re gonna wait for Mullet. Do you really think we would be able to sleep in our own rooms?”

Shiro huffed but didn’t respond.

“I’ll get out in the middle of the night anyway. Might as well sleep here afterwards”

 

So it was decided. 

Once Lance had gotten into the pod, the rest of the team showered and put on their nightclothes. 

Hunk cooked dinner while Pidge and Shiro grabbed comforters, pillows and blankets from everyone’s rooms and placed them in the infirmary, near the pods. 

They ate with Coran and Allura in the dining room, but the atmosphere was dark and brooding. 

Allura mentioned they would have to debrief soon. Pidge noticed how Shiro’s breath hitched as the cool mask he was wearing cracked.

“Tomorrow” she said loudly.

“Sorry?” Allura frowned 

“Tomorrow we’ll debrief, once the whole team is present and we’ve gotten the sleep we need. Right now, we’re gonna finish eating and then we’re going to bed” he stared down Allura who had a knowing look in her eyes 

“Of course” she said “that was stupid of me, sorry”

Hunk smiled behind his glass of water and she didn’t miss how Shiro’s shoulders sagged slightly. Coran, bless him, started telling Hunk that Yellow was fine, and asked Pidge about her latest experiment. Looking at him from the corner of her eye, she saw how Shiro gradually grew more tired. Coran must have noticed too, because he clapped his hands and said

“Alright paladins, I think you deserve a good night’s sleep. Off you go”

Before Shiro could protest, Pidge stood up and grabbed his hand, guiding him towards the door.

“Let’s go, Shiro” 

Hunk placed a hand on their leader’s shoulder as the three of them walked tiredly towards the infirmary.

The three of them laid down on the nest of blankets and pillows, Shiro in between the other two, Pidge curled up in his side, holding one of his arms and Hunk in the other, one arm around his chest.

It didn’t take long for sleep to come for the three of them. 



It was three a.m when the alarm beeped and Shiro jolted awake. He got up, mindful not to wake the sleeping paladins beside him, and waited for Lance’s pod to open. 

When it did, and a dazed blue paladin got out, he catched him and held him up as the younger boy blinked at his surroundings.

He stood up on his own, but still grabbed at Shiro’s arm.

“The others?” Shiro pointed his head behind him. Lance relaxed as he watched his friends sleeping soundly. 

“Wanna join them?” Shiro asked with a smile. Lance nodded. 

With Shiro’s help, he walked over to the nest and laid down next to Pidge who hummed in approval at the new warmth and pulled the boy closer. He smiled and carded his fingers through her hair as she laid her head on his chest. 

Shiro laid in his previous position and Hunk grabbed his arm as Pidge snuggled into his other side. 

Sleep came incredibly easy for him that night. 



Morning came faster than any of them would have liked. 

Shiro woke up surrounded by his teammates. Hunk had his arm around his chest, while Pidge was snuggled at his side, her head resting on Lance’s outstretched arm, while the Cuban boy had his legs tangled with his. He dozed for a while, enjoying the feeling of his teammates around him, safe and content. 

Pidge started to wake up as he ran his fingers through her locks absentmindedly, smiling when she hummed in approval. 

She opened her eyes slightly and smiled sleepily at him 

“Hey” she whispered

“Good morning” she close her eyes, more relaxed than he’d seen her in a while.

“Hey” she looked at him “thank you for yesterday. Don’t think I didn’t notice how you got me out of there”

Her cheeks went pink “I barely did anything” 

He kissed the top of her head, surprising her, and held her close, dislodging her from her place next to Lance. She blushed even harder and hid her face in his side. 

“You did. So thank you”

“You’re welcome” she mumbled. He smiled and let her go. 

A few seconds later, Hunk yawned and stretched 

“Morning” he mumbled 

The other two mumbled their good mornings.

“Lance okay?” He yawned again

“‘M fine” Lance mumbled back “sleepy” he added after a few seconds, cuddling into Pidge’s back.

After a few minutes of silence, Shiro said “we should get up” everyone groaned. He didn’t want to neither, honestly, but he knew Keith was going to get out of the pod soon and they were all probably hungry. This point was proven by Lance’s stomach, that growled loud enough for all of them to hear. He blushed and admitted “maybe getting up wouldn’t be a bad thing” 

So, Hunk and Pidge went to the kitchen to look for some breakfast. With them came Allura and Coran, the latter coming to check on Keith’s pod. 

“I think one more varga ” he told them. 

Shiro was restless.

He was mad at Keith for taking the hit for him, but at the same time, guilt and worry ate through him. 

He looked at Keith, frowning. 

Something was wrong. 

“Coran? Is everything okay?”

“Sometimes the healing process can cause involuntary brain wave reactions”

Shiro turned around to look at Coran, who was examining something in the tablet that monitored Keith’s vitals.

“He seems to be dreaming” Coran explained 

“Is that normal?” Coran shrugged 

“Sometimes”

Shiro looked at Keith again.

“He’s having a nightmare”

“Are you sure?” Hunk asked. Shiro gave him a look

“Yep, you’re sure” 

Shiro turned to Coran. 

“Can we let him out?”

The man was silent for a few moments

“Yes. The drug is 97% off his system”

“But it’s not dangerous anymore”

“No. A day of bed rest would do the trick”

“Then let him out” 

Coran seemed to hesitate, but then complied.

The doors opened, and the boy inside gasped, opening his eyes but quickly closing them at the harsh light from the infirmary. He collapsed forward and Shiro caught him, like he did every single time he got out of the pod. Keith trembled in his arms, clutching at his nightshirt as if afraid he would disappear. 

Shiro winced as he held him close and lowered them both to the ground. Keith had a very specific way of waking up from a nightmare. If you just shook him awake, he would lash out, like Shiro. He needed to wake up gradually, and falling from a pod was not what one would consider gradually. 

“Hey” he whispered into his ear. His voice shook slightly “we’re okay. Everyone’s fine” he took a shaky breath “That was pretty scary, huh?” He wasn’t sure himself if he meant the dream or the last 24 hours.

He felt tears prickle this eyes as he said in a harsh whisper “ God , Keith don’t scare me like that”

And now he was embracing Keith as tightly as Keith was hugging him, both of them shaking. 

Pidge was the first one who joined the hug, pressing herself into both Keith and Shiro. Shiro was surprised to feel tears dampen his shoulder where Pidge’s face was pressed into. He snuck his arm around her too, kissing the top of her head again, and then for good measure, kissing Keith’s temple too.

Lance and Hunk joined then, and no words were needed.

Chapter Text

Keith stumbled his way to the corridor leading to the infirmary, gripping his side to avoid dripping blood all over the floor. The last thing he wanted to do was leave a trail and worry his already overprotective teammates. And boyfriend.

Boyfriend. 

It still felt weird just thinking about it. 

He and Lance had started their relationship just a week ago, and honestly, it scared Keith a little bit. Lance didn’t seem to mind taking things slow, even though it was clear he wouldn’t mind going a little faster. That was one of the reasons he liked Lance so much, he was always patient with him.

“Hey there, Mullet” 

Speak of the devil and he would appear. The nicknames hadn’t changed, Keith thought with amusement, only they were occasionally accompanied by ‘baby’ or ‘babe’.

Keith cursed internally when the cut stung as he gripped it tighter. 

“What takes you to the infirmary?” Lance fell into step beside him

“Nothing” he said, a little too quickly. 

Lance studied him quickly before his eyes fell on the hand clasping at his side, the fingers tinged with red.

Lance’s face fell.

“Please don’t tell me that’s blood”

“It’s… not?”

Lance gave him a deadpanned look

“You’re impossible” and then he sighed, making Keith feel guilty, as if he had disappointed Lance. 

Damn feelings. 

“Come on” his boyfriend grabbed his unoccupied hand and lead him to the inside of the infirmary.

 

Keith sat down in one of the medical beds without a word as Lance rummaged through a cupboard, trying to find the first aid kit. 

“What happened this time?” Keith considered lying for a second, but he knew lance would probably see right through him. He was annoyingly good at that.

“I tried a higher level of the gladiator. It didn’t hold back”

Lance hummed as he returned. 

“Is it serious?”

“I don’t think so”

Lance kneeled in front of him and told Keith to take off his shirt.

Keith obeyed, letting Lance touch the injury, wincing and trying not to squirm. It had stopped bleeding, but it still stung.

“It’ll need stitches… but I don’t think it’s pod worthy”

They continued in silence, Lance cleaning and disinfecting the cut.

“Painkiller?”

Keith shook his head. He knew full well what the “painkiller” did. It never failed to leave him nauseous, drowsy and disconnected from the world, all at the same time. 

“Okay then” he rubbed his hands and grabbed the needle and thread.

“Hold still, alright?”

Keith nodded.

What followed were ten minutes of pain and frustration for both Lance and Keith. 

“Jesus Keith, Don’t move ” 

Keith kept flinching and moving away, which made Lance’s job quite difficult. 

“Sorry” 

Lance sighed and dropped the needle

“You know, this would be a lot easier if you’d just take a painkiller. You would barely feel a thing”

Keith shook his head fervently 

“Why not?”

He wasn’t quite sure why he didn’t want to tell Lance. 

He hated the stuff, but the others didn’t seem to mind it. He had a hunch why it affected them differently, but didn’t want to voice it. 

It would be yet one more prove of the fact that he wasn’t like them, that he was different. 

He hadn’t realized he had spaced out until Lance called him.

“Babe?”

He shook out of his trance and looked at Lance

“Sorry” He automatically responded.

“Why don’t you like the painkillers?”

“They-“ he hesitated “they don’t work for me. I mean they do, but they- they leave me drowsy and nauseous” he wouldn’t meet Lance’s eyes.

Why was this so hard?

Understanding flooded Lance’s face, followed by guilt.

“We’re idiots. Of course they would work different for you. Okay, hold on, just let me…”

He trailed off, walking away from Keith and typing something in one of the computers. 

He kept muttering to himself things only he could understand as the machine next to the computer hummed. 

He walked back to Keith’s side, smiling. 

“It’ll take a few minutes, but I think I did it right”

“What’d you do?”

“Well, Coran explained it to me while we were doing a check up on the different logs. That over there is the machine which gives us all of the medicine we use. I just had to insert the painkiller formula and tweak it a little so it would work both for humans and galra, simple”

Keith stared incredulously at his boyfriend

“And you did the calculations by yourself?”

“I’m good with numbers” 

Keith scoffed 

“That’s not being good with numbers, Lance, that’s being fucking amazing”

Lance blushed but didn’t say anything, a thankful, and maybe a little hopeful smile lighting up his features. A few moments later he frowned 

“Why didn’t you tell us?”

Keith went right back to staring at his boots. 

Lance stayed silent, waiting.

“I don’t know. I just didn’t want to be different, I guess”

“You guess?”

Keith stayed silent. Lance grabbed his hand and squeezed it.

“You are different, Keith. Half of you is another species. But you know what?”

Keith met his gaze 

“We don’t care. I don’t care. You’re still human, and we love you for being you. You’re our half space cat”

Keith snorted at that and squeezed Lance’s hand back. At the gesture Lance beamed.

The computer beeped, making Keith jump and then curse when it pulled at his cut. 

Lance walked away, opening the box-like machine next to the computer and grabbing a pill that lay in the center of it.

“Alright, this should work”

“And if it doesn’t?” Keith asked, ever cautious. Lance shrugged.

“You’ll feel the pain, and maybe a little bit sleepy”

Keith shrugged and dry swallowed the pill that was offered to him 

“I trust you”

It was worth it to see Lance’s blushing. 

It took a minute, but he could feel the pain lessening, turning into a dull ache, and then nothing. 

“The pain is gone”

Lance’s eyes shined with satisfaction as he grabbed the needle again.

 

It went much more smoothly this time, Lance stitching the skin together with ease. They were done in 20 minutes. 

“Alright. That should do it” 

As Lance stood up and went to retrieve the kit, Keith grabbed his hand, preventing him from walking away. 

“Hey, Lance”

Lance looked at him “Yeah?”

Keith leaned forward and kissed him briefly, his heart beating fast. 

“Thank you. For everything”

Lance smiled at him, a soft smile that made something in Keith squirm in delight. He realized that was the first time he, Keith, had kissed Lance. It wasn’t a horrible thought. 

Lance leaned forward and kissed his cheek. 

“You’re very welcome, baby”

Lance retrieved the kit and put it back in place.

He then took off his hoodie and gave to Keith. 

“C’mon, Shiro will freak out if he sees that cut”

Keith put it on, and promptly decided that Lance wasn’t getting this back for quite some time. 

“Thanks”

He grabbed his hand again, and they left the infirmary, Keith feeling much lighter than he had come in. He wasn’t sure if it was the drug, Lance, or the fact that he wasn’t bleeding anymore. 

Did it really matter?

Chapter Text

Kolivan stood in the comms room of the ship, tense, as he always was, while he waited for the team of blades to make contact. 

He wished they wouldn’t, because it meant someone was in trouble, and he despised leaving any of his blades behind.

A few minutes later, the reason for his dread became a reality.

“Sir” the Blade that was sitting in front of the computers turned to him “a comm is trying to establish a connection. It seems to be Keith’s”

“Let him through”

The comm opened, but no one spoke.

“Keith? Status report. Did you get the intel?”

A moment passed

“Huh? Oh hey, Kolivan” 

His voice was clear, but there was something clearly wrong. 

“Did you get the intel” Kolivan repeated.

“Oh yeah… but I think there’s something wrong. You see, I’m sitting in a pool of blood”

“Is it… your blood?”

“I think so”

“Well, where is it coming from?”

“The stab wound?”

You were stabbed?!”

A grunt.

“Oh yeah, definitely”

Kolivan might have- well, not laughed , maybe smiled- at the slightly comical conversation, but he was too worried to even think about it. 

“Sir, the blades need to get here in 6 doboshes, we won’t be able to wait longer”

Kolivan nodded in understanding.

“Keith, can you get to the meeting place on time?”

He expected Keith to say no, and he could already see the paladins’ faces when he told them that Keith had not made it back.

“Yeah… I think so”

Kolivan’s eyes widened in shock

“What?”

Keith grunted in response, and in his mind’s eye he could see Keith, struggling to stand up, surrounded by blood, and promptly falling down again.

But it didn’t happen.

Through the comms, it sounded as if Keith was running, panting 

“I’m on my way”

Kolivan stood, stunned, as the other blades opened the comms too, reporting that they were on they’re way.

The other blades ran in 4 doboshes left, giving the galra controlling the comms the chips that contained the intel. 

“2 doboshes left” 

Kolivan’s heart sank. Keith wasn’t going to make it. 

“I’m coming” came in Keith’s exhausted voice.

One dobosh.

30 ticks.

10 ticks.

The doors started closing, and the saw a figure, not exactly running towards them, more like stumbling rapidly.

The other blades stood tense around him, waiting for the smallest blade.

 

He made it. 

With a tick to spare, Keith slipped through the doors as they closed, and a few of his comrades sagged in relief. Kolivan didn’t have the luxury to look relieved. He was their commander, he couldn’t show emotional attachment.

Keith’s mask disappeared. He met Kolivan’s eyes and gave him a bloody grin. He walked past him, using him for a moment as support, leaving a bloody handprint. 

He staggered to the officer who stood by the comms, leaving a trail of blood on the floor, and handed him the chips.

Once he’d done that, he turned, looking at them all. 

His side was bleeding heavily.

“Right…” he swayed on the spot “I’m gonna need a trip to the infirm-“

He collapsed forwards, but Kolivan had been ready for it. 

He caught him and lowered him gently to the floor, pressing his hands on the gaping hole on his right side. 

“Call headquarters!” He barked to no one in particular “make sure they have a medical team ready”

Regris, a young blade that, if he remembered correctly, had become a good friend of Keith’s, crouched beside him, a towel in his hands that was more effective at stopping the bleeding than his hands. 

It was soaked within ticks. 

 

Two days later, Kolivan was informed that Keith had finally woken up, and that we would be ready to go out into the field within a movement, two, if Kolivan had anything to say about it. And he did.

 

He walked to the infirmary, finding Keith propped up in one of the beds, pale, but otherwise alright.

Keith gave him a faint smile, too tired to do more than that. 

“Thank you for saving my life, sir” Kolivan scoffed, choosing to remain standing a few steps away from the bed. He knew Keith didn’t like it when people towered over him.

“Don’t be ridiculous, you saved yourself”

Keith shrugged.

“About that… there’s something I wanted to ask you”

“Yes, sir?”

“Just how did you manage to come back? You were hurt badly, but yet you managed to run back”

Keith shrugged, as if it were unimportant 

“Adrenaline was still going strong, but I could feel it wearing off when I was almost to the ship”

“What is this adrenaline you speak of?”

Keith’s eyes widened 

“You guys don’t have that? But I’ve seen galra get hurt and still fight”

“Galra are strong species, it is difficult to injure us fatally”

“Huh” Keith didn’t speak more for a few moments, seeming to be lost in thought.

“Adrenaline” he finally said “is a… drug you might say, that our brains release when we’re in danger, that helps us to fight even when we’re hurt. We’re a bit more fragile than galra, you could say”

Kolivan’s eyes widened, but schooled his face into a more neutral expression when it made Keith smile in amusement. 

“Humans are… strange creatures” he sighed, running a hand through his face. 

The more he learned about humans, the more bizarre they seemed. 

“I have to get going” Keith nodded 

Kolivan mentally hesitated, before he reached out and patted the smallest blade’s head, which seemed to amuse Keith.

“Rest, little blade”

Keith, for once in his life, obeyed. 

 

Chapter Text

Keith was a ticking time bomb.

That’s what he felt like at least. They had laid Shiro down on the old worn couch of his shack, where he had been living for the past year.

The other three cadets were talking in awed whispers, and he heard words like his name, Shiro’s, the Garrison, and something called ‘voltron’.

As the adrenaline wore off, as his heart stopped beating so fast, he could feel the wave of incoming emotions, like one would feel a tsunami coming. 

Shiro was back. He wasn’t dead. 

Shiro was back.

He couldn’t take it. He wasn’t going to break in front of them.

He wouldn’t allow it.

“OUT!” He roared at the teens, pointing at the door. 

The tall one -Lance, he remembered- raised an eyebrow at him

“Excuse me?”

He pushed the three of them towards the door, and they went, more out of shock than anything.

“What are we supposed to do here?” Lance asked, his voice shrill.

“I don’t know” he ran a hand through his hair, feeling the tears behind his eyes “scout the perimeter, make sure no one followed us. Just- give me 15 minutes”

Lance was about to protest when the smallest one -he reminded him of someone- grabbed his arm to stop him. He looked at Keith, his honey colored eyes calculating 

“We’ll give you 20” 

Then he turned and walked away, dragging Lance along with him. The big one hesitated before following. 

Keith sighed and closed the door, swallowing to try to get rid of the lump of his throat. 

Shiro was back. He was alive.

He all but ran to the man on the couch. 

He fell to his knees besides him, studying him for a few seconds.

 

He had an undercut, and his bangs were white for some reason. He had grown more muscular, maybe grown an inch. 

But the thing that caught his eye was the arm. 

Black and smooth, probably made out of metal. Alien for sure. 

He had barely touched it, had only laid a finger on it, when Shiro opened his eyes wide. Keith blinked, and suddenly his arm was in a death grip, and he was staring into cold grey eyes. 

He stood, petrified, as Shiro looked at him. He didn’t recognize him. 

And then, as if someone had whispered the answer into Shiro’s ear, his eyes widened, and the pressure in his arm disappear. 

“Keith?” 

The pressure behind his eyes grew, but he refused to give in. 

“Whe-where am I? What happened?”

Keith was afraid to speak, but Shiro deserved some answers. 

“You’re in my shack, not far from the Garrison. You fell from the sky in some sort of spaceship. Don’t you remember?”

Shiro sat up fully, grabbing his head with both hands 

“I-“ his eyes widened. He looked at Keith, and something in the look he was giving him scared Keith.

“It’s been a year and a half” he continued, his voice cracking at the end. Dammit.

Now the words were tumbling out of his mouth, with no way to stop them.

“They told us you were dead. I didn’t want to believe it but-“ he choked on his breath.

He didn’t dare touch Shiro, but he wanted to, desperately. When was the last time he had been hugged? Touched kindly by a human being?

Something in Shiro’s eyes changed, as if he could feel Keith’s heartache.

He grabbed his arm again, gently this time, and pulled Keith in, holding him gently, telling him without words that he could push away if he wanted to. 

Keith didn’t. Instead, he hugged Shiro with all of his strength. 

A sob escaped his chest, and it was a like a the bomb inside his chest had exploded. 

He let the tears fall, sobs racketing his body as he trembled in Shiro’s arms. 

He buried his face on his shoulder, soaking up the feeling of Shiro being right there. 

Shiro didn’t say anything, just rocked them back and forward as he let Keith cry his heart out on him. He was shaking too, burying his face on the younger boy’s black hair. 

“I missed you so much” 

Shiro’s voice was hoarse, and the tears that fell were silent, unlike Keith’s, who wasn’t holding back, couldn’t hold back anymore, not after almost two years of solitude and grief.

“I never believed them” Keith sobbed almost desperately, his words muffled by Shiro’s prison clothes “not once”

“I wouldn’t have hold it against you if you had” Shiro’s laugh was small and lacking any sort of amusement “it felt like I had died and gone to hell”

Never again. Keith thought angrily. You’ll never get away from me again. 

After a few moments, Keith thought about letting go, since he was on his knees, his body arched in order to get to Shiro, and his joints were starting to complain. 

But the thing was, he really didn’t want to. 

20 minutes, the smallest boy(?) had said? 

He wasn’t going to waste a second then.

Chapter Text

Mrs. McClain first saw Lance’s scars when her family decided to enjoy an afternoon in their house’s swimming pool. 

Sylvio and Nadia kept pushing Lance towards the pool

“C’mon uncle Lance! It’s been forever since you’ve played with us”

He laughed, letting the children drag him towards the pool.

“I play with you guys every day” he said. The two children ignored him. 

Lance sighed dramatically but took his shirt off nonetheless, wearing nothing but his swimming shorts. 

All conversation stopped as his siblings and parents stared at him with poorly concealed sadness. 

He looked down. 

Oh.

None of them had ever seen Lance’s scars, the painful reminder of where he had been, what he had done. 

He blushed, rubbing the back of his neck self consciously as the silence stretched on. 

Sylvio and Nadia looked around, confused. 

And then the tension broke when Rachel shouted 

“Looking good Lance!” 

Marco followed

“Damn, little brother, what did they feed you up there?”

Lance blushed even harder as Veronica whistled.

The scars weren’t the only thing that had changed. His shoulders were broader, his muscles more defined. 

“Shut up” he grumbled

“Uncle Laaaaaance”

“I’m going, I’m going”

He scooped up the two kids effortlessly, jumping into the pool with them on his arms. 

His nephew and niece squealed with laughter as they tried to get away from their uncle. 

The rest watched, a little sadly, as they scanned the scars that littered Lance’s back and chest.

 

Lance spent half an hour with the children until he passed babysitting duty to Luis, and went to check on his mom. 

He hadn’t missed the tears that had sprung to her eyes when she’d seen. 

“Hey mamá” he said softly, kissing her forehead. 

She smiled at him, but the smiled disappeared as she traced a white line that went from Lance’s clavicle to the middle of his chest. He grabbed her hand, preventing her from tracing any other of the lines that whispered a story about pain.

“I’m fine, mamá” 

She nodded, taking a deep breath. 

She grabbed his cheeks and kissed his forehead. 

“I’m so proud of you, mijo” 

Lance smiled sadly “I know”

The lay down in the beach chairs, Mrs. McClain grabbing his son’s hand and rubbing his knuckles with her thumb. 

Yes, he would be just fine. 



Pidge had missed her mom so much these past two years. 

She had missed their movie nights, her laughter, her hugs…

But the thing was, she had somehow forgotten just how stubborn her mother was, just like her.

“I’m not doing it!”

“It won’t kill you to wear a dress, Katie” her mother snapped impatiently “you used to wear them all the time”

“Okay, first of all, it’s been three years since I wore a dress because I enjoyed it, second, it’s not wearing dresses I don’t enjoy, it’s this particular dress”

The dress they were arguing about was laying innocently on Pidge’s bed. It was a pretty green cocktail dress, with no sleeves and with the back exposed. 

That was the problem. 

“Well I don’t get it” Colleen said, crossing her arms “I think it’s cute”

Pidge laughed, but there was no humor in her voice 

“It is cute mom, I really like it. But I can’t wear it” 

“Well why not?”

Pidge scoffed. Colleen swore he had seen frustrated tears on her daughter's eyes before she turned around and took of her shirt. 

Colleen immediately cursed herself. Of course. 

The upper side of Pidge’s back was covered in scars. 

She had always had freckles on her arms and torso, but now these were covered by white lines, some thin, some looking like burns. They weren’t pretty, that was for sure, but they could be worse. So much worse. Thank god God for those cryopods Katie had told her about. 

I should have realized, she thought, scolding herself.

“Oh sweetie” she whispered.

Pidge put on her shirt again, looking embarrassed but her eyes were dry. 

“I’m not ashamed” she said quickly “I just-“ 

“It’s been a hard few years, huh?”

Katie finally looked up, looking shocked for a moment. Then, biting her lip, she nodded. 

Colleen grabbed her by the shoulder and pulled her close, kissing her head. Katie held on just as tightly.

After a minute, Colleen pulled away.

“Okay then, you can wear the tux if you prefer it, but ” she looked at her daughter in the eyes “you should now, Katie, you don’t have to hide them. Those scars are proof of what you’ve done for the universe, and you should be proud”

Pidge nodded, staying silent for a few moments, pondering.

“I think… I’ll wear the tux for Shiro’s wedding” she smiled weakly at her mom. She smiled 

“That’s fine, sweetheart”

She beamed.



Krolia swallowed thickly when she first saw Keith’s scars. 

The worst ones where long and wide, particularly the one on his right shoulder and one across his back. 

The ones that scared her the most were the ones that looked old, too old to come from his adventures as a paladin or a blade. 

That night, as they both sat against the wall of their cave, Keith dropped his head onto her shoulder, exhausted by that day’s training. 

Krolia felt him go limp bit by bit, until she was sure she had fallen asleep. 

She kissed his forehead, thinking about the flash of the future they had seen that day, and the scar that the future Keith had had on his cheek. 

She rubbed her thumb over that spot softly, promising herself that she would do all she could to prepare him for the fight that was inevitable to come. 



Shiro loved Curtis. 

He realized this one day, as the man laughed at something Lance had said, his cheeks flushed as he looked at Shiro, still smiling.

It made him happy.

It made him feel guilty.

He knew it wasn’t logical, Adam would want him to move on, to live a happy life, but it still felt like he was betraying his late love. 

He supposed the reason he had been attracted to Curtis in the first place was because he was new. 

He hadn’t known Shiro before Kerberos, so he could be sure that he loved Shiro for the man he was now, not the Garrison’s perfect boy.

The first time Curtis had seen the scars that covered his entire body, speaking of horrors he couldn’t even remember, he hadn’t said anything. He also hadn’t looked at Shiro with pity, or sadness, and Shiro loved him for it. 

Instead, he had kissed the scar on Shiro’s nose, and the proceeded to kiss ever other scar on his body. 

They had both turned late for work that day.  

Chapter Text

The earthquake trapped them inside the abandoned galran warehouse. Hunk, Keith and Lance were thrown to the ground, bits and pieces of ceiling falling and hitting their raised shields. 

Shiro and Pidge weren’t so lucky. 

There were at the other, more unstable part of the warehouse when the earthquake hit basically the entire ceiling fell right above them. By some miracle, Shiro, mostly unhurt, managed to dig himself out rather quickly. But his satisfaction was quickly dampened when he saw the giant pillar that separated him from Pidge’s last known location.

He barely remembered a shout of pain and a grunt when the ceiling had caved in, but he hadn’t registered until now. 

“Pidge?” Silence. His heart sank.

He got up and ran to the place he had last seen the girl, climbing the huge pillar. From the top of the structure, he could see the entire room. He took his helmet off, since it was covered in dust. No sign of her.

“Pidge?!” He couldn’t keep the worry off his voice 

“C’mon Katie, talk to me”

“Ughhhmmm” the sound had come from his right. 

He jumped to the floor and started digging where he thought the sound had come from. 

A hand. He kept digging. 

He found her head and chest. Her visor was broken, and there was a bleeding cut above her eyebrow. A large block of metal was pinning her from the waist down. 

Despite everything, she grinned weakly at him 

“Hey” relief washed away most of the tension in his shoulders as he grinned back

“Hey yourself” she wrinkled her nose

“‘Feel weird” she closed her eyes “m’ head hurts”

“Let’s get that helmet off” 

He managed to lift her head and get it off. He was relieved to see that there wasn’t any blood, but she was ghostly pale and her left pupil was bigger than her right. So definitely concussed then. 

“Can you feel your legs?”

After a second, she nodded and winced “they hurt”

After a few minutes where Shiro was debiting how to proceed she closed her eyes

“Good night”

“You can’t fall asleep”

She opened her eyes and glared “but I’m tired. And you’re always telling me to go to sleep”

Leave it to Pidge to find a semi-logical argument even when concussed.

“I know but you have a head wound”

“Don’t care. Night”

“Pidge” when she didn’t respond, his voice hardened “open your eyes” he winced internally. That came out a bit louder than he meant. It worked though, even if she did look scared. Shiro took a deep breath.

“I’m going to lift the debris off your legs, okay? As soon as you can, I need you to crawl away”

She shook her head “it hurts”

He brushed her bangs from her eyes

“I know. But we’re going to get you home, and then straight into a cryopod”

“You can’t do anything straight”

Ignoring the comment, he grabbed his helmet and opened the comms

“Guys? Is everyone okay?”

“Shiro!” Keith sounded so relieved Shiro guessed they had been calling him for a while now 

“We’re all fine” Hunk sounded tired, but otherwise okay.

“The bad news is we lost connection to the castle when the ceiling fell. The good news is that we’ve found an exit”

“Good, because we’re gonna need an extraction” the comms exploded with voices

“Are you okay?”

“Where’s Pidge?”

“We’re on our way, Shiro”

“It’s Pidge” he looked at the girl in question, who was now saying something under her breath, too slurred to make sense “she has a head injury and I think one of her legs is broken, if not both”

“Stay there Shiro” Keith sounded like he was running “We’ll get the lions and bring them to your location”

“Copy that”

He left the helmet on the floor and kneeled next to Pidge 

“Ready?”

She blinked owlishly at him

“For what?”

“Your legs are pinned down. Do you remember the plan?”

She thought for a second before her face lit up with realization 

“That’s right! Okay I’m ready”

He put his hands underneath the debris and prepared himself to pull.

“Alright kiddo, on three. One… two… three!”

Heart hammering on his chest, he began to lift the metal. He grunted, it was heavier than he had anticipated. He could actually hear the mechanisms in his arm working double time to support the weight.

The metal groaned and started to shift, and Pidge groaned with it.

“C’mon Pidge” he grunted, urging the girl to move 

Pidge started whimpering, trying to crawl backwards. 

The moment she was out, Shiro let the debris go and it fell with a clang. He stood where he was for a moment, panting. 

“Sh’ro” 

That got him moving. He ran to her side, falling to his knees as he registered the yet to fall tears and the heavy panting while her gloved hand clutched at her ribs.

“Hurts” she had her eyes shut and his own trailed to her left ankle, which was twisted in an awkward angle. He tore his eyes away from it

“Ribs?”

“Bruised, I think. I dunno. I think I’m gonna throw up”

Just then the parts of the ceiling that my some miracle hadn’t fallen yet shook, along with the floor. Shiro mentally scolded himself for not expecting an aftershock. He shielded the small girl’s body with his own, but only pebbles and small rocks fell on him. 

“I’m gonna get you out of here, alright? I’m going to pick you up now”

Pidge shook her head violently, but Shiro scooped her up in his arms.

She bit on her hand to try to muffle the scream that left her throat, but it still made shiro wince.

“I’m so sorry, Katie. Just stay with me for a little longer, Alright?” 

She didn’t respond. She just continued crying, shaking as she waited for the pain in her ribs and ankle to stop.

He picked up his helmet, and after getting most of the dust off his visor, put it on.

“Guys?” 

“We’re here” Keith immediately responded. 

“I have Pidge. Probably broken ribs and a broken ankle. Where’s the exit?”

As if on cue, there was an explosion at their right. Pidge whimpered at the sound, and Shiro hated that the only thing he could do was place a comforting hand on her head.

“Did you hear that?” Lance asked 

“Please tell me that was you guys” Shiro pleaded 

“Yep. I think one more of those blasts and the wall will break. You guys get ready to get out as soon as it’s down.”

“Roger that” 

 

They were out in less than two minutes. 

The green lion roared, and all of the paladins felt a wave of relief pour over them. Pidge smiled against Shiro’s shoulder. 

The three boys ran to their side, looking worried as they studied their teammates conditions.

“You should have told us you were bleeding too” Keith crossed his arms. 

Shiro’s eyes widened, he touched the side of his head and felt something sticky and warm on his glove. 

“I honestly didn’t realize” he said truthfully. Keith glared at him, but didn’t respond.

“Let’s just get Pidge home” Hunk said. Shiro nodded

They agreed that Shiro and Pidge would ride on the red lion, since she was the fastest, while black and green would follow them.

Shiro lay Pidge down on the emergency bed on Red’s back room. 

She squirmed, trying to get a bit more comfortable, but quickly stopped when her ribs protested. 

Shiro grabbed one of the emergency water bottles and a rag. He wet the rag and whipped the side of Pidge’s faces that was covered in blood. She smiled weakly

“You know the pods clean the blood” it wasn’t a question. 

“I know. But you were freaking me out” 

She huffed out a laugh, wincing immediately after. 

“Lance’s right” she muttered, her words coming out slurred again, “you’re such a dad”

Shiro rolled his eyes fondly 

“I need to take the chest plate off”

She gave him the stink eye, which made him want to laugh, but he tried to keep a straight face.

Three of her ribs were fractured, and four were bruised was what he could tell by touching them. 

He grabbed his helmet and called Keith. 

“Is there something wrong?” Keith asked quickly. 

“Can Red fly to the castle without you? I need you here”

A strange presence on his mind and a phantom pain on his cheek, as if something had slapped him (a tail by the feel of it), told him what he needed to know.

“She’s offended that you think she can’t”

“I know” he rubbing rubbing his cheek. He could’ve sworn he heard a roar-like laugh. 

“I’m coming” 

Keith appeared three seconds later, walking over to Pidge. 

He muttered something shiro didn’t catch, and Pidge mumbled something back that made Keith smirk and ruffle her hair. 

“I’m going to need you to hold her down as I reset her ankle”

The smile slid off Keith’s face. Instead, a steely determination replaced it, and he nodded. 

Before the started, Keith grabbed a clean rag and told Pidge to bite it. Looking confused, Pidge obeyed. 

Shiro took a deep breath and started trying to take off her boot. 

 

It was a slow process, in which Pidge kept whimpering and twitching involuntarily, the sounds that left her throat muffled by the rag. 

Keith stood beside her, one hand grabbing her hand and squeezing, the other holding her good leg to prevent her from kicking involuntarily.  

Once the boot was out, Keith dropped her hand and put an arm over her shoulders and chest.

Shiro’s hands were tingling as he grabbed the foot gingerly. 

He looked at Keith, and they younger boy nodded. Pidge looked like she was about to doze off. 

Shiro took a deep breath.

The ankle snapped.

Pidge screamed into the rag.

The green lion roared in their heads.



Getting her to the to the cryopod was a piece of cake after that. 

The four paladins stood still for a moment, watching Pidge’s frozen expression. 

And then the tension broke when Keith grabbed Shiro by the arm and lead him to one of the medical beds.

“Keith…” 

But the boy was hearing none of it. 

He pushed Shiro until he sat down and glared at him when he opened his mouth. 

He then started cleaning the bleeding cut on the side of his head. 

It wasn’t bleeding that badly, he tried to tell them, but Lance and Hunk seemed to agree with Keith, because Hunk had a hand on his shoulder to prevent him from moving. 

When Keith finished, no one moved. 

Shiro could feel himself crashing, could feel his hands trembling as he looked at them. 

They were tinted with red.

Keith sighed, sat next to Shiro, and pressed the side of his head against his un injured one.

Hunk, who sat on his right, squeezed his shoulder, and Lance, who had noticed how he was looking at his trembling hands, held them in his own. 

Slowly, the adrenaline faded, and tiredness seeped in. 

He took a deep breath, and let himself enjoy this moment of peace.

His team was safe.

That’s all he needed for now.