Metal heart, human soul
Yup, here we go again, but can you blame me?
We start this au off with little preteen Hunk who loves robotics and is a genius with it; but doesn’t have any friends. Like at all. So what does he decide to do? Well, he dives right into anything electronic; old televisions, microwaves, computers, anything with mricochips and wiring he broke down to its very basics and put back together to work even better than it did before.
Somewhere along the way, he started building his own robots to help out and just to see if he could actually get an idea to work. His mother and father knew that he had a talent with engineering and robotics, so they would do their best to get him whatever he needed to help fuel his creativity and whatever they couldn’t pay for, Hunk would somehow find it at either the dump or the impound in decommissioned and expected to be destroyed cars.
And then, around the beginning of high school, Hunk started his most adventurous and probably mad-scientist-y project; project F.R.I.E.N.D. At first it was all very basic robotics and a small handful of responses and commands. But Hunk didn’t just stop there. He continued to make new designs, new prototypes, expanding on controls and commands and responses and the more he upgraded and perfected project F.R.I.E.N.D, the more invested he became in making the best robot he could, a robot that could actually emit human emotions and desires. Of course, he always made sure to put in back ups and shut down codes in case his creations ever ‘turned on humanity’ (he watched way too many horror movies with his dad about robots turning on their creators to ever even chance it.)
Somehow he almost accomplished it, creating an android that was both helpful in everyday tasks as well as able to register its human companions’ feeling and taking appropriate actions to help them if needed. It was because of this prototype that the garrison offered him a full scholarship to their school, which Hunk excitedly accepted. Being able to go to one of the best and most electronically excelling schools in the world was a dream come true! But he still wanted to be able to complete his project. To create a real friend.
And he somehow did it. Hunk is still not sure how exactly he did it, but he did it. He made the most life like android ever. Both in physical appearance and in programming, it acted like a real person. Someone who was loud and proud of themselves as well as Hunk. He decided to give this android an actual name, something that he can call him and for others to call him by; Lance. Hunk knew that if he told the Garrison about Lance, they would take him away and open him up and deconstruct him to see how Hunk got him to work, and Hunk didn’t want that. He finally had the friend hat he always wanted, he didn’t want to give him up. So, thanks to some well made placed delicate pieces of animatronic master pieces that replicate human organs and uploading Lance’s motherboard and memory chip with everything that he would have to know to get into the garrison, and some extra stuff to give him more of a personality, Hunk was somehow able to get Lance accepted into the garrison as well. Although that doesn’t mean that he wasn’t freaking out every step of the way, worrying about the what if’s and such, but Lance was always there to help calm him down and remind him how amazing his work is, and that no one would be able to tell anything was wrong.
And that’s how Lance came to be and joined he garrison, and soon enough, Pidge joined their team and Lance was moved up to fighter pilot when some kid name Kogane got kicked out.
Every night, Hunk would do whatever maintenance and upgrading he thought of for Lance while Lance would ask about Hunk’s childhood, wanting to know everything he can about his best friend and his creator. What Hunk didn’t know was that while Hunk slept and Lance was charging; Lance would go through anything and everything he thought would help him protect Hunk better, even in slim to practically impossible cases, Lance wanted to be able to protect Hunk and whatever friends they come across as best as he could. He uploaded fighting styles and shooting parameters onto his data base, he even upgraded his own eye sight so that he could farther and clearer when needed so that he could scope out any potential aggressors. He even uploaded ways to disarming different types of bombs. Lance knows that he was going to extremes, and he didn’t want to hurt anybody, but he didn’t want anyone to hurt Hunk and Pidge either. He was programmed to be a friend and a person. But also to protect what he cared about.
And then voltron happens, and everything is happening so fast and it’s all pretty crazy but they somehow end up in space fighting in a war they didn’t even know existed. And to say that Lance didn’t take a bit of a beating during then is a lie; hun lspent hours making sure that nothing was damaged and fixing whatever problems he came about.
He started to upgrade Lance so that he wouldn’t take as much damage, using the Altean technology at his disposal to help reinforce Lance’s outer shell (aka, his skin) as well as the more important parts that would need extra protection so that he wouldn’t malfunction.
And it turns out that all of the extra programming Lance has been adding to himself actually pays off; he’s a wicked shot and can even go head to head with Shiro for a while. That of course is when Hunk figures out that Lance has been adding all of these programs and upgrades by himself. Hunk is of course scared that Lance has been acting off of corrupted software and doesn’t know what to do. Later that day, Lance goes to him and explains that he was learning all of those things to help be able to protect Hunk and their friends better; but understands if Hunk wants to shut him down and agrees to let him do so. Of course Hunk doesn’t want to do that, and he’s scared that if he messes with Lance’s main hard drive and his memory core, it could not only destroy his best friend but also put voltron at risk. Hunk decides to leave his friend be, but keeps an extra eye on him as well as do more routine diagnostics on Lance to make sure that no corrosion or corruption happens.
Now let’s fast forward a little bit, to the arusian party and everyone is enjoying themselves and Lance watches from the sidelines as Hunk talks animatedly to Keith and they both seem to be enjoying themselves. And Lance can’t help but actually feel sadness; he’s not jealous of Keith or the friendship that Hunk has started to created with him, he’s more than happy that Hunk is starting to find solid friendships with their teammates. he’s sad because someday, Hunk won’t need him anymore. He’ll either become an outdated version and Hunk will have created something even better than him or he’ll just be left behind to collect rust as Hunk moves on in his life with real humans who can give him the things that Lance can’t. If he could, Lance is pretty sure he would have started to cry. Instead, he removes himself from the party to find a more private setting.
Not realizing that Coran follows after him to make sure that he’s alright.
They start talking about earth, and Lance talks about the rain and the grass and the ocean. Things that he never really got to experience in person, but things that Hunk programmed him to visualize during his ‘sleeping’ mode. Things that Lance could say was the closest things to dreams for him.
And then the explosion happens and Lance protects Coran automatically, taking the brunt of it all. And it was a harsh explosion, not only cracking the armor but destroying and twisting much of Lance’s outer casing and much of the wiring and interfacing that was situated in his back, even disaligning his spine into broken pieces barely staying inside and much more damage to the rest of him. When the team comes upon the explosion and Lance, Shiro goes to him and picks him up somewhat, the groans of Lance’s damaged body scaring them even more.
Hunk is almost too scared for his friend to even explain, but he somehow rambles out a quick explanation out what Lance really is and he knows that he and Lance have a lot more to explain later, but right now Lance needs to be fixed.and soon. But without power to the castle, Hunk can’t even hope to get started on working on him. So he and Coran go to the Balmera to get the crystal while Shiro and Pidge stays and makes sure that Lance doesn’t get worse as well as protecting the castle.
It’s definitely a tense and hectic day or so; Sendak taking control of the castle and Pidge having to go up against him and his lackey by herself while Shiro and Lance are out of commission and Keith and Allura are locked out of the castle, but they defeat Sendak and regain control of the castle with a surprising shot from Lance who should have been literally out of commission with the amount of damage he retained, and yet he somehow powered himself up enough to make that saving shot.
Once the castle is hooked up to the new crystal Hunk, with the help of Coran and Pidge (who mostly just watch in awe and hand whatever tools Hunk needs) they get Lance back as good as new, still acting like himself much to Hunk’s relief.
They of course explain in more detail to the team about how Lance actually came to be and answering any and all questions (most of them by Pidge) they have about Lance.
And it’s hella awkward. For a while. Keith and Shiro aren’t sure anymore how to talk to him or act around him, not to mention there are some trust issues when it comes to missions and letting Lance make a call. Pidge sees him as some sort of…thing to be examined and poked and prodded to find whatever answers she wants. Coran and Allura aren’t exactly sure what to do to try and fix the rift that’s been forged between the team and Lance, mostly because they aren’t sure how to relate to him anymore. The only person that still treats him like an actual person is Hunk, who does his best to defend Lance whenever his choices and actions are called into question.
It’s hard, and it hurts. It doesnt just hurt Hunk because his best friend, his first real friend is being treated just like Hunk thought he would be by the Garrison; but it also hurts Lance. It hurts that every decision and move he makes that isn’t considered ‘normal’ for an android is called into question by everyone. It makes him question himself and his past decisions. He starts to think that maybe there is something wrong in his coding, or that he is going off track of his directives.
And when he goes to Hunk and asks him to do a total wipe of his system so that he can be rebooted as a clean slate, Hunk has enough of it. He takes Lance by the hand and calls he others for a team meeting.
And he doesn’t hold back.
He goes off on all of them, screaming and crying about how their recent behavior to Lance is not only unfair, but inhuman. He made Lance as human as possible; to feel emotions just like humans and to make decisions for himself. Yes, he uses his lightning fast processors to calculate percentages of survival and chances and whatnot, but that doesn’t stop him from making decisions that have less than 5% chance of succeeding because he thinks that it just might work. He tells them how even though he isn’t made of flesh and blood, doesn’t mean that they should see him as some kind of object to explore all they want because he isn’t just some machine! He continues to explain just how incredibly important Lance is not just to him, but to all of them, and that he isn’t just some robot; he’s just as human as he rest of them and deserves both their respect and their trust!
But the end of Hunk’s speech, Lance is hiccuping into his shoulder and hugging him as much as he can, the others not far behind apologizing to both of them.
It’s still a bit awkward at times whenever the team actually forgets lance isn’t fully human, and most of the time Pidge likes to join Hunk and Lance during his routine maintenance, but they respect him and his choices, and treat him like he deserves. And if Hunk even think that one of the team has forgotten that, he has the courage now to face it head on and remind them of the fact that while Lance isn’t human by body, he is human in soul.