Updated: Apr 13, 2019
There was no time for council meetings or war talks now as Lance strapped into Blue. Shiro was back into his pitch black armor again, having previously told Lance his Paladin Uniform was still up with Black.
At his right, Pidge was doing the same as the Green Lion stepped up next to the Blue.
Lance tapped his helmet comms communication on as he glanced back. Shiro settled into the only other available chair and had strapped himself in as well, giving a nod to Lance as the last belt clicked in.
"Blue lion ready to launch."
"Affirmative." came Pidge's voice from the other end. "Green lion is ready to go as well."
"Pidge, you head straight to Hunk's forces." Shiro was commanding through his own comms system at his ear. "Lance —“ His voice was quieter as he spoke to Lance in more of a purr.
Lance wished he could see him, but he refused to look back at him.
"Don't try to be stealthy, just get me up to the Black fleet as fast as you can." Shiro went on. "It's a straight shot from here, I've already had the location downloaded."
Lance tapped away at his locations system bringing it up. "I've got it." He said as he plotted the course. "We'll be there within the hour."
"Launching now," Pidge's voice came through again.
"Launching now," Lance parroted as finally all of his own systems blinked online.
The two lions burst forward running at top speed down the hangars as they headed for the blinding light outside.
Lance pushed his controls harder, picking up the momentum needed—
They shot out of the hangars, soaring up through Altea’s atmosphere like rockets, Blue and Green ripping across the sky as they headed straight up.
Lance could feel his skin buzzing.
It had been a long time since he'd gone to space.
Leveling off, Lance nearly jumped as Shiro leaned in next to him, not even knowing when he'd unbuckled and left his seat.
"It'll be a short trip, The Black Guard fleet isn't far out." Shiro said.
Lance nodded, still recovering from Shiro leaning in so close to him and the control panels before him.
He peeked at Shiro in his black armor as he commented though. "I thought you didn't want me up here."
The question clearly didn't surprise the Black Paladin, but he still seemed to consider before he tipped his head at Lance.
"I didn't say that."
"You told me I was foolish for volunteering to come up here..." Lance pressed hesitantly.
Shiro's face showed little emotion.
"What's changed?" Lance asked.
Nothing — was the obvious answer. From the first time to now — nothing had changed.
"I need to get back up there." Shiro tried.
Lance side-eyed him. "The Green lion is small, she's not that small though."
Shiro didn't seem phased as he looked ahead at the approaching massive ships before them.
"My father will find I'm gone more than likely within the hour as well." Lance's voice took on a bit more reverent tone. "He won't be happy."
Shiro considered for a moment longer. "You wanted to be up here. That's what you told me the last time I saw you."
Lance couldn't disagree. He looked down at the console. His mind raced to figure out -- what would Shiro gain by him being in space with him?
"Do you really need Voltron that badly?" Lance suggested.
For the first time, Shiro looked over at Lance, his brow raising as his head tipped to look at him. "I like your company. I think that's enough to bring you along."
Lance shrugged. "You told me It wasn't safe for me." With a shake of his head, Lance shifted his gaze to fully look at Shiro as well. "The situation hasn't changed — in fact it's the opposite now. There's been another attack, I will be less safe —"
"Away from me?" Shiro cut in. His tone made it clear he was not in agreement with Lance.
Lance nearly narrowed his eyes. It all — was too strange.
"Did you come to retrieve me?" Lance asked softly.
Shiro looked down. Marginally, but enough Lance picked up the aversion.
"I don't prefer your pity." Lance spoke again, "I would have rather stayed in that bed, if this was out of pity, out of you feeling bad."
Shiro voice was so — quiet when he spoke again. "You always assume the worst of me."
The sound of Lance swallowing was loud in his own ears. "I didn't this morning. I considered you sincere this morning."
"Then what changed?" Shiro questioned.
Lance gave the slightest slump of his shoulders. "You came back for me — I appreciate that, but letting me return with you is different. Nothing has changed for you."
"I'm worried about you." Shiro said as his eyes flicked up.
"Are you sure?" Lance's voice cracked. "Because sometimes I'm afraid you're using me."
Shiro nearly growled at him as his teeth bore and he barked back. "I'd never — I just promised you, that would never happen from me.”
"You have." Lance knew his voice trembled. "I want to think you haven't, but you have. I've been a force you've manipulated against Iso as well as my sister now several times."
"That's not how this has happened." Shiro hissed.
"Then how have I misconstrued everything?” Lance shook his head.
Shiro straightened. "I don't think of you like your sister does."
Lance glanced up at him, through his paladins helmet at someone he was so unsure of. "Why did you let me go to the temple with you?"
Shiro's eyes shifted for just a second. "I needed in."
The nod Lance gave was short. "So you used me. If it wasn't with me you would have been discovered back on Altea." Lance’s eyes shifted around the cockpit for just a moment before he looked back to Shiro. "Will you tell me what was there?"
Shiro was so still. He didn't seem to be breathing before he shook his head. "No, I can't."
Lance looked away to the approaching black ship. "Pidge would have been more convenient for this one." Lance concluded. "So why am I here?"
It was a second longer than Lance expected before Shiro spoke. "I want to keep you closer to me."
That — was too sincere. Too much like the Shiro Lance wasn't sure existed anymore.
Shiro slid closer, leaning into fit himself in and nuzzle up against Lance's bond mark. "And I don't want to fight with you."
Lance still didn't look at him, crossing his arms. "Because I'm still in heat. You're still attracted to me." Lance grumbled.
Shiro snorted. "That's a fact that never changes, whether you're in heat or not."
Lance still didn't look up. Shiro calling him pretty clouded his head too fast.
"I just want to know why I'm here." Lance said simply. "I want you to tell me honestly for once."
Shiro straightened again. "I want you here."
"Some Alpha hormonal bull shit isn't like you," Lance hissed, though he knew the venom was already draining from him. He couldn't say he didn't want to be there. He couldn't say he didn't want Shiro to want him there. Those were things he both had dreamed of.
"You said you wanted to be here." Shiro said. He stepped closer to Lance still in the pilot seat. "Please take this as the offering I was trying to give you."
Lance let out a sigh, leaning back in the pilot seat as he reached up to unclip his helmet and pull it off.
From the coms a voice could be heard, "Blue Paladin, you have permission to dock."
The massive black flag ship loomed over them, nearly engulfing the entire view from the Blue Lion. Lance tipped his head to look out at the darkness swallowing him up.
"I'd feel better about all of this if you'd just tell me," Lance huffed.
Shiro let out a huffed growl as he approached Lance again. He leaned down and pressed his neck in, rubbing his scent glands against Lance's, smearing his smell over Lance and sending a shivering chill through Lance. Lance considered just looking away but he turned into the scent marking, meeting Shiro as he looked up.
Lance saw the dark gathering storm of Shiro's eyes before Shiro leaned back in again.
The kiss he pressed in was short, but Lance squeezed his eyes shut and his hands grabbed out for Shiro — but all too quickly it was over, Shiro slipped out of Lance’s fingers and he was straightening.
The lion was already being guided into the hangars.
Left in the pilot seat, Lance looked around as Shiro was already walking back to the exit.
"Maybe I shouldn't step out," Lance murmured.
Shiro shifted, his face tipped just enough to catch Lance’s eye over his shoulder.
"My father..." Lance trailed.
There wasn't even a pause as Shiro turned back away. "He already knows by now."
"Status report," Shiro's booming voice over the bridge of the long colossal ship nearly startled Lance as he trailed in after him.
He tried to appear subtle as he looked around the bridge — but it was his first time on the bridge of a battleship. It was massive. and so open, they were surrounded by windows to open space on all sides, except behind Lance. There was probably ten other men in the room, all at stations around the bridge.
"A Galra ship has moved through the barricades." A man in a lieutenant’s uniform said as he stepped up to Shiro with brisk, eager strides, a data pad was in his hand as he looked to Shiro. "Two warnings have been issued, and three cruisers have given pursuit."
Shiro took the data pad immediately and started scrolling through. "Why was the ship not shot down? The sirens only spark on Altea if something has entered the Altean outer orbit."
The soldiers around all looked up at Shiro, Looking directly up at him from their posts and control panels around the bridge.
"They are in Altea’s outer orbit." The lieutenant admitted, his hands went back around to clasp behind him.
Shiro stopped, his head resigning as he looked back across the bridge to the lieutenant. "And they're still there for what reasonings?"
The lieutenant stiffened a bit more. There was an uncomfortable shifting in the room, the men around all seemed to hang suspended as their eyes darted from Shiro and the commanding lieutenant.
Lance’s eyes went to Shiro, drifting a few steps forward from the cover of the shadows in the entryway.
The lieutenant raised his chin, further perfecting his soldierly form.
"Her highness the Princess Allura insisted we issue further warnings and cruisers to only track."
The look on Shiro's face was becoming familiar, aggravation and slowly stewing anger were there.
"And their last known locations?" Shiro asked.
There was a pause this time.
Lance inched forward. If his sisters news had been hard to deliver than what could be worse. He had a fascination he was finding as well with watching Shiro as he was then. The man that was always nearly purring with Lance and smiling was so different as he stood straight backed and stoic.
"They've landed, sir," one soldier from behind Shiro answered.
Shiro turned, his narrow eyes baring down on the man. "On Altea?" The rise of his voice gave a hint of shock.
"No, sir.” The lieutenant jerked a step forward.
Shiro swiveled back.
Lance felt like his feet had grown into the floor, his body heavy lead, impossible to move, as his eyes darted with the conversation.
"They've landed on Mai." The lieutenant admitted.
Lance sucked in a breath.
There were two moons of Altea, Varr and Mai. Neither were exactly the lush and plentiful atmosphere of Altea. But only Varr was inhabitable.
For a moment, there was nothing from Shiro. But Lance could see the way his jaw tightened. It was the same way it had happened before Shiro had bowled into Lance the first time he'd scent marked him. It was a sort of stalwart resolve that Lance had never seen from anyone else.
The Black Paladin surged forward, handing off the data pad as he passed the lieutenant and headed straight for the door where Lance was.
"Alert the other Paladins, Voltron will be going in," Shiro motioned to Lance to follow him. "I'm assuming all fighters are standing by outside of Mai's orbit."
Jumping to, Lance stepped unto Shiro’s side, walking next to him as he led to the hangars again.
"Sir," the lieutenant’s voice held that same quality.
It stopped Shiro as well, looking back over his shoulder, with a lowered brow.
"Sir," the lieutenant nearly sighed."I'm afraid we can't summon all five Paladins — Paladin Iso has already landed on Mai, in pursuit."
There was another pause from Shiro, seeming to process for another moment. He looked surprised. Lance couldn’t look away. If for no other reason — Shiro didn’t look disappointed.
"We should get down there for support." Lance slipped in, looking to Shiro.
There wasn't a reaction for a moment, and Lance wondered if his efforts to get response had failed.
"Are there any coms getting through the atmosphere?" Shiro asked.
That was the problem. Mai was uninhabitable because though it's milky atmosphere that lit up in the night sky. It was unfortunately, an explosively chaotic atmosphere. The oxygen levels were too high for anything with an exhaust system, and its metallic quality scrambled any signals, depending on the coverage. Any sort of storm and a ship could lose all navigation as well as communications.
The small moon was also the linchpin to holding both Altea and Varr in inhabitable orbit.
It was why, with such a volatile linchpin, Altean law prohibited any interference with Mai. Any sort of traffic was purposefully directed a generous distance from the moon.
"The eastern hemisphere of Mai has heavy coverage, it's expected to develop into a storm." A soldier put in.
Shiro did not look enthused, but he still gave a swift nod. Lance’s eyes narrowed on him, his own breath conscious as he watched the thoughtful expression form on his mates face. The Paladins were the only ones that could get onto Mai under storm.
With a clipping turn, Shiro was striding back to the hangers. "The remaining Paladins will go in than."
The lieutenant next him hopped to as Shiro continued to issue orders.
"I want coms checked every thirty minutes, our initial goal is to establish contact with Red. I want this ship steered to Mai's orbit. Put fighters at every angle and nothing besides a Paladin is to emerge from that moon without immediate seizure."
Lance stopped as the others went ahead, looking back through the the milky moon just outside of the ship. For how serene it looked, Lance often forgot that it was also hazardous.
He turned back after a moment to head back into the hangars.
When Lance’s Lion booted up and his control panel lit up, Lance immediately reached forward to slide his hands into the controls.
A video comms opened up to Lance’s right and he glanced over. It was a private line.
Shiro pulled on his helmet, already in his Black Paladin’s armor. The interior of the Black Lion shown violet around him, lighting at the edges of his face. "I don't want to engage any Galra forces."
Lance paused. "I thought that was the point of this."
"No," Shiro shook his head. "We retrieve Iso, we leave."
Lance's gaze narrowed, "and just let the Galra take Altea's closest moon? Shiro that's insane —“
"Mai is not the place for a fight," Shiro insisted. Lance could see there was more, there was a lot more he wanted to say in the way his jaw clenched. But Lance already knew what it was about. His sister had caused this. No doubt Iso had been overly confident in his appeal that he could handle it alone.
"We will draw them out from Mai once we've regrouped, but I don't want anything fired at them."
Lance could agree that was wise, looking over the situation.
"You want Voltron to handle this?" Lance asked.
Shiro blinked a couple of times, his face not quite readable. "I want this to end without repercussion."
Lance huffed. "We might be past that."
Shiro's eyes looked around, distant as he scanned the cockpit. "We can draw them out with Voltron."
Lance sat back, his chin fit over his fisted hand. "I'm not entirely clear how they got there." He admitted. "How did Allura let them this close?"
This time when Shiro looked up, it was clear he was thinking the same. "We retrieve Iso first."
Lance nodded. That's all he needed was to understand where Shiro was coming from. He reached back forward to his controls. "Roger that, I'll search with sonar once we've broken atmosphere."
The up quirk of Shiro's smile was enough to send Lance's heart fluttering, and his eyes lit on Lance. "The Black lion is clear for launch.”
The vid comm cut out, and Lance smiled to himself as he voiced, "Blue Lion is clear to launch.”
Hunk and Pidge met them at the outer orbit and Shiro gave the order to plunge in.
"Pidge, is there anything getting through," Shiro’s voice rang through Lance’s comms as he descended through the milky thick clouds.
It was like soaring through cotton candy. The clouds parted before them but it was nearly like they were cutting through them. Lance looked to his left, Hunk was less than twenty feet from him and Lance had to squint to make him out.
Iso had plowed in through this? Alone? What had he been thinking?
"Wind speeds are nearly at 120 mph at ground level." Pidge came through. "Even if comms could make it through the storm would make the reception shaky at best."
Lance glanced to his right. The massive looming form of the Black Lion was close enough Lance could still make it out as they speared through the clouds.
“Let's try and stick together then." Shiro said. "The last thing we need is for another Paladin to get lost."
Lance smirked. He could hear the sarcasm in Shiro's voice. It was a comforting thought, knowing he could pick up on his mates annoyances and lifts at that point.
"Do you wanna go all the way to the ground?" Hunk cut in.
Lance winced, his connection was already fuzzing up, static crackling across the line as Hunk’s voice faded just a tad.
"We're gonna have to I'm afraid," Pidge's voice came in.
“What?" Hunk sounded a bit panicked. "Why?"
"We can't rely on the tech to find Iso." Shiro said. "So that just leaves us Lance's Sonar."
"And I need something to vibrate off of." Lance finished.
Hunk was already sighing on the other end. "The ground sounds the least safe."
Lance nearly chucked. His friend was right. If there were Galra still alive on the small moon, they would be on the surface.
"Switch on all external lighting," Shiro ordered.
Lance reached up and flicked his on. Amongst the clouds, on either side of Lance, a brilliant gold and purple lit up next to him and beyond through the clouds green illuminated the shape of the divine lion.
There was another audible sigh from Hunk before to Lance's left, yellow lit up throughout the clouds. "That's it, let’s just announce our presence to anyone in the vicinity."
"We're not here to engage," Shiro reminded, though there was a lift of amusement in his voice.
“Right, we're just rolling in like Lighthouses so everyone can know to stay away," Hunk grumbled.
The wind jostled against the Blue Lion, forcing Lance to refocus, though his hands gripped tighter at his controls.
"We're approaching ground level." Pidge informed them. "Be prepared to--" Suddenly it was just fuzz.
"Pull up!" Shiro barked.
But it was too late and Lance veered off as a Galra cruiser streaked past him. In the thin clouds, it was suddenly pure chaos as he heard the fire of a Galra gun before Lance yanked his controls into a hairpin turn.
"Hunk!" Lance hissed as he saw the knife like cruiser headed straight for his friend.
The massive yellow lion spared no effort though as it slammed into the cruiser, jarring it off course and sending it spiraling. Lance jerked his controls back, following its movement till — an explosion lit up through the clouds and Lance slammed the controls down, veering his dear Blue straight down.
The atmosphere lit up suddenly, the explosion setting off in a chain all around them though the air
Lance's lion dove straight to the dirt, sinking in as much as he dare force it as the world around him was jarred and lit brilliantly. He let out a cry as comms cut out in a shrill electronic cry through his ears and he ripped off his helmet.
The explosions around him gave another booming crack around him and Lance was knocked about in the cabin, his ears rung and he was tossed back across his cockpit, thrown as the lion was tossed about.
Lance let out a gasp as he landed back against the back of the cockpit, his mouth dropping open as his back was slammed against the wall and he tumbled to the floor.
Then — it quieted.
It was several long seconds before Lance could pull himself up. He looked around for a second before the beeping alarm for the pilot seat set off.
Beep beep beep!
Lance dragged his eyes to the window. He was on the ground, his lion half dug into the soil in an attempt to stay relatively stable. He'd clearly failed. And he feared what had happened to his companions. Lance had at least time to point his lion down.
Beep beep beep!
A hiss involuntarily forced from Lance's locked teeth as he pushed up from the floor.
Beep beep beep!
With a steading hand on the wall, he managed up to his feet before stumbling forward.
Beep beep beep!
Lance crashed into his pilot’s chair before fumbling around to the switch off the alarm.
Finally quiet, Lance gave a huff and sat back in his chair. The controls were still all lit up before him, so that was good. That meant there was probably very little damage sustained.
He just felt like he'd been sent through a blender.
Lance found his helmet, pulling it on as he switched the comms back on.
It was dead silent.
"Running systems check now on the Blue Lion," Lance said.
There was still nothing.
His hands moved across the controls, switching on the automatic diagnostics check.
"We've reached the ground," Lance went on, "and the explosion seems to have cleared away most of the cloud cover."
It was true, around him, Lance could see a good 100 yards in all directions.