Okay just a little bit more Langst, but let’s imagine that the crew doesn’t get their first clue that something is wrong with Lance by themselves.
Like what if their first sign comes from a bunch of aliens that they saved.
So, what I’m thinking is it starts off where they have just saved a planet from more Galra, you know run of the mill paladin day stuff. And they’re about to go meet the aliens they’ve protected with the whole diplomacy song and dance.
And this race is all about feeling emotions, which affects how they act around each individual paladin.
With Pidge, who is extremely curious about these guys, she is surrounded by a few of them who are actively excited to show off to her and field all of her questions. They can feel her most predominant emotion coming out of the battle was inquisitive.
Hunk, who came out of that battle pretty banged up, was surrounded by aliens who were trying to help and comfort him as he was feeling tired and uncomfortable.
Keith, who came out of the battle still a bit high on adrenaline, was surrounded by a few aliens trying to calm him down, because even though he doesn’t show it they can feel it and it’s giving them an alien equivalent of a whole body headache.
Shiro, who is talking with the one in charge of the race, sees all of this as the alien explains to him about their emotions adaptation, along side extra information from the two Alteans in the castle. Shiro finds these reactions all fairly typical.
Lance however, who would have been thought to be surrounded by a loud and lively group, is found in a group of aliens that don’t really match Shiro’s expectations.
Lance is found looking a little confused but still smiling as he is surrounded by aliens that can’t seem to stop hugging him and whispering softly with him. No one can hear what they’re saying.
Shiro finds this odd but doesn’t ask the alien in charge about it (again this is only their first hint, they have a long way to go) but he does question Lance later as to what the aliens were doing.
Lance tells him he doesn’t know, that the aliens must have just found him really cuddly, and the matter is dropped.
In truth, the reason the aliens flocked to him to give hugs and support was because they felt a deep emotional hurt radiating off of him that they wanted to soothe away as much as they could. But it felt like such a deep rooted emotion that they weren’t able to do much.
Turns out that this species can’t be fooled with masks like most. After all people still can’t really fool their own feelings.