“Blue Lion to Lion Castle, I’m comin’ in!” Lance said over the comm units.
“Hey Lance,” Pidge responded, “You got the supplies we asked for?”
“I did indeedy. And before you ask, yes, I got that weird super strong metal thingy you asked for. Of course, I’m more excited about this food I got.”
“Ooh, what kinda food?” Pidge asked.
“Not really sure, but it smells like cinnamon. I thought Hunk might be able to make them into some kinda dessert.”
“Mmmm,” Pidge said, “Sounds delish. When you board, come up to the control deck, Allura has something she wants to go over with all of us.”
“You got it.”
Lance debated changing out of his uniform before going up, but didn’t want to delay things too much, so he came right up.
He was instantly on guard when he saw the doors to the control room closed. They were never closed, as far as he could remember. Why were they now?
Hesitantly, he opened them, hand on his thigh to retrieve his bayard at a moment’s notice. Inside, the control room was dark. He stepped through, cautious, when suddenly—
Lance jumped and made a noise quite unbecoming a paladin of Voltron. The lights went on and he turned to see the other four paladins and Allura standing behind the door, smiling brightly, and Hunk holding a green something that was shaped in a cake, with candles sticking up out of it.
They laughed at his surprised face. “What—“ Lance said, looking between them all, “What is going ON?”
“It’s a surprise party!” Allura said, “The others told me it’s an Earth tradition for someone’s birthday!”
Lance blinked, as Shiro came up, strapping a cone-shaped birthday hat onto Lance’s head. “Birthday?” he said.
Pidge reached up and fetched the little mechanical ball she had been calling R2 for Rover 2.0 out of the air, holding it like a pet cat. “I’ve been doing some calculations as to how long we’ve been in space, and today is your 18th birthday!”
Lance blinked again in shock. His birthday was in August. They had left Earth in…it was early October, he thought. That was nearly a year… “Wow. I had no idea.”
“I told them about how you love your birthday,” Hunk said, “So, I made you a cake, and we thought we’d do something nice.” Lance looked at the cake. It had 18 candles in it. “Is…something wrong?”
Lance looked up. “No!” he said, “No, of course not. I just.” He cleared his throat, swallowing his emotions. “I just feel guilty that you all don’t get to celebrate your own birthdays.”
Shiro shrugs, “Birthdays were never a big thing for me. Besides, we can celebrate other birthdays later. This is about you!”
Lance smiled at him, trying to hide the fact he was dying inside. “Thanks guys.”
Allura smiled, “Coran wanted to be here, but a power conduit blew out that needed his immediate attention. He’ll be here soon.” Lance nodded.
“Well?” Keith said, “Aren’t you going to make a wish?”
Lance looked at him, “What?”
“A BIRTHDAY wish?” Keith said, “Geez, and you accuse me of not understanding things.”
“Oh, right,” Lance leaned down to blow the candles out, not thinking about any wish.
Suddenly he felt dizzy and started stirring where he stood. He started tipping over until Keith caught him, “Whoa!” Keith said, “You really need to do more training if just blowing out candles makes you winded.”
Lance glared at him. “Well, lets slice into this thing!” He said, hoping he sounded more enthusiastic than he felt. Still, he felt Keith’s eyes on him. Allura handed him a knife and he brought it to the purple goo. “Wait,” he said, “I thought the goo was green.”
“I got some spices to add to the traditional goo,” Hunk said, “It should add a little more variety to our meals.”
That hadn’t been what Lance meant, but he let it slide, as he sliced into the ‘cake.’
“Aha!” Coran said from one side, “I got it, look at this.” He showed an image from what seemed to be a camera of Lance’s face.
“Coran!” Lance blinked, “I thought you had to fix a power conduit.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t miss this!” Coran said, as the others laughed at the photograph, “I am truly fascinated by your human traditions.”
Lance snorted and ate his goo. The others started talking about human traditions, specifically surrounding birthdays and parties, and Lance slowly tuned out. He had thought he went unnoticed until Keith nudged him. “You alright?”
Lance beamed at him, hopefully convincingly, “I’m fine!” he said.
Keith frowned at him. “I know we’re not your family, Lance,” he said, “But, if you need to talk or something…”
Lance swallowed. Keith was really not helping with the weird feelings he’d been having recently. “I’m alright,” he lied, “Just…trying to enjoy the party.”
Keith looked skeptical, but didn’t press the issue. Luckily for Lance he wasn’t forced to suffer—er, enjoy—the party for long as a noise went off around them.
Pidge jumped up to a monitor, “It’s not an alarm,” She reassured them all quickly, “It’s…we’re picking up some kind of alien array.” She brought the image up on the screen.
“Hmm,” Coran said, looking over Pidge’s shoulder, “It looks like one of the old Corfellian communication hubs. They were designed for sending messages across long distances, and—“
They paused, all watching the screen as a Galran ship flew up and boarded the array. Keith tensed up, “Can they see us?”
Shiro shook his head, “That’s a standard cargo vessel, not meant for fighting much. Probably doesn’t have as long a range of sensors as we do.”
“So…what do we do?” Hunk asked, “Should we destroy it?”
Allura sighed. “Pidge, you’re not picking up any life forms on the array, are you? They’re not threatening anyone?”
Pidge clicked a few buttons, “I don’t think so. But that doesn’t mean they’re not up to some evil oppressive empire-y shenanigans.”
“Oh, no doubt they are,” Allura agreed, “But I want to see what those…shenanigans…are for myself. We’ll keep monitoring them from a distance, and when they’re gone we’ll approach the array.”
Lance put the plate of goo down, “Well, so much for my party, thanks guys, but I guess we’ll just have to—“He felt dizzy again and fell forward. This time Pidge was the one to catch him, having more difficulty in keeping him steady…except…hadn’t Pidge be sitting in the chair?
Now that Lance looked again, Hunk was sitting there, and Pidge standing by his side, when he had been sure it had been the other way around. “What the—“ he said to himself.
“Lance?” Pidge said, “Are you feeling alright?”
Lance shook his head, trying to clear it, “I think so…Just a little dizzy spell.”
“Perhaps you should let me check you out on the machines?” Coran said. Lance looked up at him. Was Coran’s mustache…longer? Maybe he had just been using the nunvil…
“Yeah…yeah that sounds like a good idea,” Lance said, massaging his head and allowing himself to be escorted away.
They made it to the pods, and Lance stood in one. He hated being in these things, but at least it wasn’t closed just for reading diagnostics. “Hmm,” Coran said, “Have you been having any other symptoms?”
Lance shrugged, “Just the dizzy spells.”
“Hmmmm,” Coran said again, “Well, it seems to me like its just some leftover from the concussion. I told you to spend more time in the med pods before heading out on a supply mission.”
Lance frowned at him, “Concussion?” He said, “What concussion.”
Coran raised an eyebrow, “From hitting your head in our last Galra battle? You spent an hour in the healing pod, but somehow managed to will your way out of it before being fully healed due to your hatred of the machines. Maybe if you had stayed put you would have been able to finish your mission.”
“What are you TALKING about?” Lance said, “I never had a concussion! And I DID finish my mission, thank you very much.”
“Tell that to Pidge,” Coran said, “She was quite upset you didn’t retrieve those rare metals she asked for.”
Lance scoffed at him, “I did get them. I told her about it. They’re in the engine room. Come on, I’ll show you.”
He jumped up and started running towards the engine room, not waiting to see if Coran was following. When he got to the engine room he came to the piles of supplies he had pulled out of blue before going to the party. There were the spices, and a few other odds and ends—but no metal. “Where is it?” He asked, lifting nearby objects to see if it was hidden underneath something. “I had it, I put it right here! Where did it go?”
Coran was frowning at him, “Lance,” he said, trying to calm him down.
“Maybe Pidge moved it?” He said, “or Hunk? Maybe I left it in Blue’s hangar.”
“Lance!” Coran said more firmly, “We were all in the control room preparing for your party when you got back, remember? I remember clearly that you said you didn’t manage to get them, apologized and tried to make up for it with the spices. We can ask the others, but I’m sure they’ll say the same thing.”
Lance ran a hand through his hair, “That’s not…It’s not possible.”
Coran sighed, “Look, memory loss CAN be a side effect of a concussion. Let me get you back in a pod, and—“
“This isn’t memory LOSS, Coran,” Lance said, “This is…I remember it happening, it was just…it was different.”
Coran sighed. “Lance…if you don’t want to get back in the pod, would you at least get some rest?”
Lance scowled, “Fine. But I’m looking for the metals in the morning.”
True to his word, he scoured the engine room, cargo bays, and Blue’s hangar the next morning, looking for the metal he KNEW he had retrieved. Still, there was no sign. “Lance?”
Lance banged his head at Pidge’s voice behind him, he rubbed it, and he wasn’t sure if the dizzy feeling was from the hit or the supposed concussion Coran said he had. Either way, he rubbed it and looked at Pidge, standing there and watching him, Pidge’s little R2 floating over her shoulder. “It’s alright, you know,” Pidge said, “I forgive you for not finding them. Maybe we’ll be able to get some metals later.”
“I HAD them,” Lance complained, “They were right HERE. I had them.”
He hated the way Pidge looked at him, like she pitied him. “Alright, butddy.” Pidge said, “We’ll find them later, though, okay? Allura wants us on the control deck.”
Lance was starting to believe the metals weren’t on board, but he remembered grabbing them. Could an alien have taken it? Like, alien invaders or something? But then why would it have made everyone else’s memories change except his?
When they reached the control deck, Lance saw the image of the array on the viewscreen. Allura, Hunk, and Shiro watched them all enter, Keith standing to attention when he saw Lance. He was looking at Lance strangely, and Lance wondered what the heck that meant for a moment, before they settled in to let Allura explain things.
“We’re sending over a boarding party,” Allura said, “We need two of you to head over there, and collect any information you possibly can. And any resources as well.”
“An array that old must be fascinating,” Pidge said, “I bet we could use some of their communications equipment to improve our own systems.” Pidge smiled, “I’ll be the first volunteer, I guess.”
“Excellent,” Allura said, “Anyone else?”
Lance raised his hand, “You’re gonna need someone on top of their game to handle themselves in case the Galra left any surprises on board.”
Now, he had set up perfectly, on a SILVER PLATTER, for Keith to respond with, ‘well I guess that leaves you out’ or something of that ilk. But Keith didn’t say anything. Instead he frowned at him, just as all the others were frowning at him. “Lance,” Allura said, “Are you suggesting that you think the Galra interfered with this array?”
Lance blinked “Uhh, of course I am? We all saw the cargo ship land.” They frowned at him, “Oh COME ON! We were at my birthday party and things started beeping and we decided to monitor what the Galran ship was doing. This was YESTERDAY, people.”
Allura and Shiro exchanged a glance, “Birthday party?” Allura said, “What is that?”
Lance clutched his head, “AM I HALLUCINATING HERE?” He yelled at them, “I REMEMBER all of this! Why can’t any of you remember?!”
Pidge jumped up and patted Lance’s arm. “Lance, it’s okay, it’s—“
Lance was feeling dizzy again and looked up. Either everyone had moved in the second he had his eyes closed, which would be rude, or something really weird was going on. Now, suddenly, Keith was on his opposite side, his hair tied up in a ponytail. Pidge had no glasses on, Shiro was wearing his armor and Allura had her hair tied up in a bun. “What’s happening to me…” he muttered, clutching his head.
“It’s okay,” Keith said, “Look, just breath, focus—“
Another dizzy spell, but this time when he opened his eyes, and he wasn’t even in the control room. He was in Blue’s cockpit. Or, he assumed it was Blue’s cockpit. It was a cockpit, and it was Blue. “Lance! What are you doing?” Shiro’s voice came over the comm.
He panicked and looked out, watching a fleet of Galran ships. “I—“ He said, trying to figure out what was happening. He grabbed at the controls, but they looked different from what he remembered.
“Lance,” Hunk called, “Come on, we need Voltron NOW!”
“I can’t!” He shouted back, pulling helplessly at the controls, but they didn’t respond, “I don’t know—the display’s different, or wrong or something. I—I’m stuck out here.”
“SHIRO!” Keith called, and they all looked up just in time to see why. Galran ships had entered range and were firing down upon them. All 5 lions and the castle rumbled as they took hits, desperately trying to dodge if they could. Lance, unable to control his lion at all, curled up in his seat.
“Allura! Get us a wormhole out of here!” Shiro shouted.
Lance felt his lion lurch, but instead of being hit, it felt more like he was being…moved. “I gotcha,” Keith said over the comms.
Lance watched, (unable to control his own lion, which was scary) as a portal came from lion castle. The castle flew into it, quickly followed by the lions, though Lance could feel, if not see, that they were still under heavy fire.
“AAAAAAA” A high pitched scream came over the intercom.
“PIDGE!” Lance watched the black lion sweep up the fallen green, “I got you, I got you just hold on!”
By the time the ship was safe and Lance got to the medical bay, Pidge was already in a med pod. He covered his mouth in shock as he looked at her, covered in burns. “Her…her cockpit overloaded,” Coran said softly, “She’ll need a lot of time in there.”
Shiro turned on Lance, his face lined and hair sticking out like he’d been pulling at it. “What happened out there?”
Lance flinched, “I think…I think it was another memory loss.”
“Memory loss?” Shiro asked, confused, “WHAT memory loss?”
Lance let out a sob. Of course they didn’t remember. He should be getting used to not knowing what was going on, but this was getting ridiculous. “I—I need to go lie down.”
He walked to the door. Keith tried to put a comforting hand on his shoulder, but he shrugged it off.
In his room he stared at the ceiling. His room was different too, the bed bigger and the closet on the opposite side. At this point he was hardly even surprised. What was happening to him? Was it just him? Or was everyone else being affected and he was the only one immune? Was there something wrong with his brain?
He closed his eyes. He’d have Coran check him out again in the morning, see if there was anything wrong with his mind. Maybe he’d been bitten by some kind of alien. It was strange, but he sort of hoped that was the case. At least it would explain things, and maybe they could find alien-bite venom.
There was a knock on the door. He ignored it at first before Keith said, “Lance?” He ignored it again, “Come on, let me in.”
Sighing because he wasn’t sure how long Keith was willing to stand outside his door, he stood up and unlocked the door before going back to lay on his bed. “Why’d you lock the door?” Keith asked.
“Oh, I don’t know,” Lance said, “Maybe because I didn’t want people busting in on me?”
Keith sighed and sat at the edge of the bed. “I’m worried for you.” Lance turned to face the wall, “Come on, talk to me.”
“I don’t know what’s happening to me,” Lance admitted, and he felt tears well up in his eyes, “Its like I know things in my memory are one way, but then I turn around and its all different. I can’t fight the Galra like this. Hell, I can’t even fly my own lion. I nearly got Pidge killed…”
“Hey,” Keith said, putting an arm on Lance’s shoulder, “That wasn’t your fault.”
“It WAS,” Lance said, turning to him, “It—it was my fault. If I had just…if I was normal I could have just formed Voltron. We’ve done it a thousand times why can’t I just—why can’t I just be normal?”
Keith rubbed his arm lightly, “We’ll figure this out. Together. We always do,” and if Lance had been panicking before, it was nothing compared to when Keith leaned to lightly kiss his lips.
Lance squirmed back on his bed, sitting as far from Keith as he possibly could. “Uh,” Keith said, raising an eyebrow at him, “What are you doing?”
“What am I—?” Lance said, his eyes wide, “What are YOU doing?”
“Look, I know I’m not the most sensitive guy,” Keith said, “But I’m at least TRYING to comfort my boyfriend.”
“BOYFRIEND?!” Lance all but shouted.
Keith looked like he had been hit in the face. “You…you don’t remember me?” He said, swallowing, “You don’t remember us? The past SEVERAL months?”
“I remember the past several months,” Lance said, “But we weren’t dating.”
Keith swallows, and Lance could swear he saw his eyes tearing up. “Ah. More of your…right.” He said, shaking slightly.
“H-hey,” Lance said, pushing away the idea that Keith was faking this as some kind of joke. With all that was going on, this…okay this was maybe the weirdest change so far, but it wasn’t unbelievable. “Look, I’m sorry, I think this probably has more to do with...whatever my brain is going through. I didn’t mean to—“
“’Sfine,” Keith said, turning away from Lance, “I know you didn’t mean to.” Still, even unobservant Lance could hear the hurt in his voice. Damn, Lance and Keith had fought over some pretty petty things, and yet over this Keith was giving him a free pass? Lance felt like shit. “I’m, um,” Keith said, “I’m going to go elsewhere…for the night…”
Lance blinked, “You live here?”
Keith winced. Without a word, he got up and left, covering his face, leaving Lance to wonder once again, except this time with more intensity, as to what the hell was happening.
“You FORGOT you were dating Keith?” Hunk said, disbelieving, “Dude, that’s cold.”
“You don’t need to make me feel bad,” Lance said, leaning back on the pod. “I already do. For a lot of things.”
Hunk and Coran finished applying the various monitor things—Lance didn’t pretend to understand—onto his head. “Hey, Hunk?” Lance asked, “How, uh, how long have we been dating?”
Hunk swallowed, “Uh…well, I don’t know ALL the details…but from what I understand you guys really bonded after you almost died exploding in the castle. Then, ya know, you spent some more time together, and, uh—he saved your lion, and you guys kissed—dude you wouldn’t shut up about that for like a week—and he moved in a couple of months ago.”
Lance massaged the bridge of his nose. “I—I see.” He bit his inner lip. He felt so bad for Keith. He had some pretty bad break-ups before, but he’s never had a partner just—forget that they were dating.
“We’ll get to the bottom of this, Lance,” Coran said, “Don’t you worry. Now, you said every time you notice a change, your head feels dizzy, right?” Lance nodded, “Can you remember the first time that happened?”
Lance thought back, “Lets see…I think…yeah, it was the supplies. I was convinced I had brought back these metals Pidge wanted from my supply trip, but then you were saying I didn’t get them, probably because of my concussion, but I didn’t remember GETTING a concussion.”
“Hmm…” Coran said, “Well, I DO remember the concussion, in fact I remember forbidding you from going on the supply run because of it, and we ended up forgoing the run all together. But, think back. Are you sure that was the VERY first time?”
Lance thought, “…No, no there was another change. I got winded blowing out the candles for my birthday cake…and suddenly the cake changed from green to purple…and Coran, Allura said you were fixing a power conduit, but then you were there…”
“HMMM,” Coran said, “Very strange, very strange indeed. Do you remember the route you took on this supposed ‘supply run’? It could help us to look for clues.”
“Yeah,” Lance said, “I could trace it out on the map, if you want.”
Coran nodded, “Alright then. Just let me finish these scans and…huh.” He frowned, examining the data. “Well, this is…fascinating. Hunk, take a look,”
Hunk looked at the monitor, “Okay…what am I looking at?”
Coran stroked his chin, “Do humans know of the cosmic squiggles?”
“You mean string theory?” Hunk said, “Sure, but its been hard to find solid evidence of it.”
“Well, looks like that’s another point for Altea, then,” Coran said, smiling smugly.
“Uh…” Lance said, “I haven’t heard of either of these things. Elaborate please?”
Hunk sighed, “Well, it’s a theory of quantum mechanics. The basis of the idea is everything in the universe is made up of these little vibrating strings.”
“Yes,” Coran said, “and Alteans have the ability to detect these squiggles, er, strings. And yours, Lance, are vibrating at a different frequency than the rest of the universe.”
“What?” Lance said, “What does that even mean?”
Hunk’s eyes opened wide, “Oh, wait, this is starting to make sense!” He turned to Lance, “Another part of string theory is the idea of the multiverse. Essentially, infinite parallel universes, where each is slightly different, and anything that could happen, will happen, in one of them.” He turned back to Coran, somewhat excited, “If somehow…Lance is actually travelling THROUGH the various universes—“
“That would explain why things appear different, yes,” Coran said.
Lance’s head hurt, but he thought he got the gist, “So I’m from a different UNIVERSE? How do I get BACK?”
“Well, first we have to determine what’s causing you to jump,” Coran said, “Can you remember any common elements from each time you feel dizzy? Was there anyone consistently there?”
He sighed, “Well, everyone was at my birthday party…and then…I had hit my head, but I felt dizzy when I was looking for those metals in the cargo bay when Pidge…Pidge! Pidge was there each time.”
Coran and Hunk nodded, “Well then,” Coran said, “Pidge is still recovering from being injured, but maybe we can scan her to see if she was in anyway related to this incident.”
Lance nodded and pushed himself up, before the various wires attached to his head pulled him back.
Once he was released, the three of them made their way to the medical bay, where Shiro, Allura and…Keith, were all gathered, dressed in their uniforms. Lance couldn’t make eye contact with Keith, choosing instead to stare at his shoes. “We’ve figured out what’s wrong with Lance!” Coran announced to them. He then launched into an explanation, as Hunk started hooking up wires to Pidge’s med pod.
Lance risked looking at Keith, who’s attention was fixed on Coran. He looked tired. Lance wondered if he had slept at all. This was a lot to take in for him, but he could only imagine what Keith was going through.
Keith must have felt him staring, because he turned to Lance again for a moment. Lance looked away.
“Well,” Hunk said, “From what I can tell, Pidge here is Our Pidge. Or rather, the Pidge that belongs in this universe. I’m not reading any signs of quantum flux.”
“What about R2?” Shiro said, “He’s always hanging around Pidge, so if PIDGE was present at all the changes--“
“Than R2 would as well!” Hunk said, running off to get the robot. Thankfully, it was hovering decently close to Pidge’s pod. “Alright, Lance, tell me if you notice anything change,” He brought the little droid closer.
On cue, Lance felt dizzy and fell back. Keith rushed forward and held him up. “I’m alright,” he said, blinking his eyes open, “And uh, yeah, there are some notable differences.” He started pointing, “Since when is Keith BLUE Paladin, Allura why are you wearing the Black Paladin uniform, why is Pidge’s hair long, where’s Shiro, and who’s this guy?” He pointed at the man standing there, who looked vaguely like Pidge but taller.
“Seriously, Lance?” The man said, “Matt? Pidge’s brother? You guys rescued me?”
Lance shook his head, indicating he didn’t remember. “Can’t say its THAT surprising,” Keith said, “It was only a matter of time before he forgot one of us completely.”
His voice was bitter, but Keith was still holding onto Lance. Lance swallowed awkwardly, “Are we still…”he pointed between the two of them, unable to get out the word ‘dating.’
“We’re married,” Keith said. Lance’s eyes went to the size of dinner plates, “Geez, I’m kidding, we’re only like 18, we didn’t get married. Though, yes, we are dating. Or…I am. Not really sure about you anymore.”
Lance swallowed awkwardly and picked himself up out of Keith’s arms. “Alrighty then,” Hunk said, passing right over the awkwardness, “I think we should keep R2 away from Lance for the time being, in case he jumps to a universe where we can’t set anything right. Lance, if you wouldn’t mind giving us the specs of your journey, we can find what caused this.
Lance nodded, and went to the map.
A hop, skip, and a wormhole later, and they found a spot in space Hunk called a ‘keyhole.’ Lance didn’t quite get the science behind it, but from what he understood, he had accidentally passed through it in his universe, and gotten tied to it, and everytime R2 sent off a signal, he changed universes. “So you see,” Coran said, “All we have to do is scan for the universe that matches your squiggle frequency, and hopefully, find a way to send you back, close up the keyhole, and everything will,” He snapped his fingers, “snap back into place.”
“Of course, there’s still the issue of HOW to get you there,” Hunk said, “And how we’re going to find the correct universe when there’s literally an infinite number—“
“One problem at a time, Hunk,” Coran said.
Lance sighed and sat down, waiting for them to find the correct scan. He bit his lip, not noticing at first when Keith sat next to him. “Hey.”
Lance blinked at him, unsure of what to say, “Hi.” He managed.
Keith sighed, looking at his hands, “Sorry for...playing that prank, earlier. I’m just. I know this is all difficult for you, but I—I don’t know. It’s weird for me too.”
Lance smirked, “I get it. Believe me, I do.”
Keith bit his lip, still overly focused on his hands, “I just…my Lance means a lot to me. And you…you look and act so much like him. It’s like, I miss him, but I don’t because you’re here and…” He runs a hand through his hair, “It’s really confusing.”
Lance nodded, “You’ll get your Lance back. You know, once this is all over.”
Keith smirked, “It’s just…it’s weird, you know? Thinking that there’s a universe where…where we don’t love each other.”
Lance tensed up, “Wait, hold up a second,” Keith finally looked at him, and Lance nearly melted at the love in his eyes, “Now, I said we weren’t dating, but, um,” He bit his lip, “Well, I haven’t told anyone in my universe this, so you have to keep it to yourself, but…I—I kind of have been crushing on you. Er, my Keith. A lot.”
The corner of Keith’s mouth ticked up just a tad, “Really?”
Lance nodded. Without thinking, he lifted his hand up to lightly cup Keith’s face, “Really,” He said. Keith closed his eyes and leaned into his hand, “And…the way you’re looking at me right now…I wish more than anything that my Keith would look at me like that.”
Keith shuddered slightly. He grabbed Lance’s hand and pulled it away, “We should stop,” he said.
“Why?” Lance asked, “It’s not really cheating if he’s me, is it? Or…I’m him…or something…”
Keith snorted, “Well, you certainly have his logic sense.” Lance laughed at that.
The castle shook, and alarms went off, “Everyone who can, get to your lions!” Allura called over the speakers, “The Balmerans are attacking!”
Keith grabbed his helmet and ran for the blue lion’s hanger. Lance, meanwhile, ran to the control room where Coran and Matt were. “Balmerans?” Lance asked, confused.
“Ever since they overthrew their Galran oppressors, the Balmerans have been a menace to the whole galaxy,” Matt said. “It’s going to be hard defeating them without Voltron. Lance, you’re SURE you can’t pilot the red lion?”
Lance shrugged, “I couldn’t even pilot the blue one in the last universe.”
“We can’t form Voltron without Pidge anyway,” Coran said. “Paladins, are you in position?”
“Launching now,” Allura called through the comms. Lance watched Black, Blue and Yellow lions launch into space against the Balmeran ships.
Lance frowned, seeing them engage in battle. “How long has Allura been black paladin?” He asked.
Coran sighed, “Shiro died after a druid spell separated all of us in a wormhole. He sacrificed himself to save us all.”
Lance flinched, not completely accepting it. He remembered that mission, but Shiro had, with difficulty, come back alive. He had been thinking for a moment, that if they never did find the correct universe, about maybe staying in this one…with a Keith that loved him…but, he wasn’t sure if he could stay somewhere where Shiro was dead. Quiznack, this was complicated.
The castle shook a few more times as Coran directed the castles weapons against the Balmeran ships. Lance didn’t know why he watched one particular shot that the blue lion managed to avoid…but as he did, h realized where it was going. “Coran—CORAN!”
The shot hit the keyhole the castle had been scanning through directly. The spot lit up in a flash of light and before he knew it, another Lion Castle appeared out of nowhere.
“What the—“ Coran said, watching as a THIRD Lion Castle appeared beside that one. “Paladins! Get back to the ship immediately!”
“Which one?” Hunk cried, worried.
“Follow my beacon, hurry!” A fourth, then a fifth castle appeared, and more and more came with each passing second.
By the time the three paladins made it to the control deck, the Balmerans had fled in fear of a stream of Lion Castles coming. “So….”Hunk said, looking at them all, “What, uh, what’s happening?”
“It seems,” Coran said, going over the notes, “The Balmeran’s shot caused a breach in the keyhole, causing Lion Castles from various universes are leaking into ours.
“So…What do we do?” Matt asked, “Before the universe is overcome with infinite Lion Castles, I mean.”
“Well…” Coran said, “If we can find Lance’s original universe’s castle, they may have the lion that Lance was piloting when he contacted the keyhole. If they can send us the lion, then Lance can take it BACK through the keyhole, and…hopefully that should work.”
“Hopefully?” Lance said.
Coran shrugged, “It’s all I’ve got.”
Allura sighed, “Alright then, open a channel to the other ships.” Coran nodded and opened said channel, “This is Princess Allura of Altea, Black Paladin and leader of Voltron.” She cleared her throat, “Or the Princess Altea indigenous to this universe anyway. We’re working on a way to reverse this incident. Currently, we’re broadcasting a Cosmic Squiggle frequency.” Coran nodded and started transmitting, “If your ship matches this frequency, please hail us back immediately.”
It took a few minutes, but finally Matt said, “We’re getting a matching hail,” Matt said. Allura nodded, and he opened the message.
An image of Shiro and Allura appeared on their screen. “Princess,” The Allura on the screen said.
The Allura on the ship nodded back. “Princess.” She swallowed, “According to our Coran, if you send us your blue lion on autopilot, we should be able to reverse this incident.”
Allura on the screen nodded back, “Our Coran said the same thing. We’re sending it to you now.”
Allura smiled. “Thank you.” She hesitated for half a moment before saying, “It’s good to see you again, Shiro.”
Shiro gave just a hint of a frown, but nodded.
The signal cut out and everyone turned to Lance. “Well,” Lance said, “This was a fun universe, thanks for letting me visit, but it looks like my ride home’s on the way. I’m going to have a lot of explaining to do.”
Keith snorted, and the others rolled their eyes. “Well,” Coran interjected, “We are dealing with advanced temporal mechanics here. There’s a good chance you could end up a few days before or after this all began. If I had time, I’d calculate it, but—“
“That’s alright, Coran,” Lance said, “I think I’ll manage.”
Keith smiled and tapped his arm. “Come on, I’ll take you to blue’s hangar, that’s probably where your lion will end up.”
Lance smiled at him, but nodded and followed. It was too late when Lance realized that going down to the hangar meant clutching onto Keith as they made their way through the elevator, zipline, and speeder. “Ridiculously long method of getting to the lions,” Lance said as they got out of Keith’s blue. “I suppose some things are universal constants.” Keith chuckled lightly.
The hangar opened and a second blue lion—Lance’s lion—flew through and landed. “Well then,” Lance said, “I guess this is goodbye.”
“I guess so.” Keith said. He looked awkward for just a moment.
Lance stared at the ground, unsure when you met your alternate universe boyfriend if you were supposed to give a handshake or a hug or what, but Keith took either possibility out of his hands as he grabbed Lance’s collar and pulled him into a kiss.
Lance was surprised at first, but soon melted into it. He wondered if this was what kissing his Keith would be like. He very much wanted to find out… “Lance,” Keith said, separating, “Um…you should, um…” He finally released Lance completely, and Lance was reluctant to let him go, “You should tell your Keith how you feel.”
Lance looked at his feet, “Just because you said yes doesn’t mean he will.”
Keith shrugged, “If he’s anything like me…he will.” Lance nodded. “Safe journey through universe-keyhole thing.”
Lance laughed, “You too. I mean, shit, I always say that at the wrong moment.”
Keith laughed as Lance got into his lion and took off. “Hey Coran,” He said through his comm, “Just out of curiosity, what’s the chance this doesn’t work and I end up exploding or something?”
“I wouldn’t worry about it,” Coran said.
“Don’t worry about it because its unlikely, or don’t worry so I go through the portal no matter the odds?”
“Lance,” Allura called, “Get in the damn portal.”
Lance sighed, “Here goes nothing,” And he closed his eyes and flew through.
Lance felt the lion rumbling around him. Finally, it stopped, and he felt significantly un-exploded.
Hesitantly, he opened his eyes. There was no keyhole, and a significant lack of infinite lion castles. There was, however, ONE Lion Castle, and he seemed to be flying towards it. Quickly, he opened his comm. “Blue Lion to Lion castle. Lion Castle, do you read me?”
“Hey Lance,” Pidge responded, “You got the supplies we asked for?”
Lance sighed, smiling. He looked behind him. Sitting there were a number of supplies laid out, including the metals Pidge requested. “I did indeedy,” He said. “Hey, Pidge, this is going to be a weird question, but how long is your hair? And you still wear glasses, right?”
He could almost hear Pidge’s confused look. “Uhh…short? And yeah, I’m wearing them. Why?”
Lance smiled again, “A bit of a long story. I’ll tell you later. First I’m coming in.”
“Alright,” Pidge said, “When you board, come up to the control deck, Allura has something she wants to go over with all of us.”
Lance’s heart sunk. Right, the surprise party. He had forgotten how this all started. “Will do, Pidge,” He said, and landed his lion.
He made his way to the control room practicing his best ‘happy surprise’ face instead of the horrified surprise Coran had taken a picture of. He was just about ready, when he turned and saw the doors left open. That…wasn’t how it was…
Cautiously he stepped through. The lights were on. There was no one hiding behind the doors. There was no one there at all actually. Or so he thought…
Lance nearly jumped out of his skin at the sound of Keith behind him. “Oh-oh. Hey Keith,” Lance said, swallowing, “Pidge said Allura had something for me.”
“Oh, right,” He said, and handed him a portable monitor. “We spotted some communications array on long range sensors. Allura wanted us all to be familiar with it before we got there. She and Coran are checking out some power conduit problem or something.”
“Oh,” Lance said, blinking at the monitor, “Okay…” He turned back to Keith, “What are you doing here?”
Keith shrugged, “I actually wanted to warn you,” He looked to the door to see if anyone was there listening, “Um, Pidge managed to find out what day it was back on Earth, and um…” He swallowed like he had to deliver bad news, “Apparently it’s your birthday.”
Lance blinked at him. “Oh…” he said. Granted, he knew the news, but he wasn’t expecting to find out this way.
“Hunk wants to throw you a party, apparently you get really into your birthday? But…I know you miss your family, and I know it sucks for you to have been gone this long. So, I wanted to, you know, let you know.”
He was talking and had read him so damn well, and all Lance could think about was the Keith in the last universe…”Thank you,” He said, smiling, “That’s really…really nice of you.”
Keith shrugged, trying to give off a ‘its nothing’ vibe, but Lance could have sworn he saw him blush. “Do you…uh…do you wanna talk about it?”
Lance put his hands in he pockets shrugging his shoulders. “Actually…I was going to head down to the dining hall and get a snack. Would you…maybe want to join me?”
Keith seemed confused and a bit surprised, but he said, “Sure.”