i tried*

Lance Week: Friends

“What’re you guys doing?”

From the floor of the common area, the other four paladins of Voltron looked up from where they were arranging blankets and pillows. Hunk looked back and forth between the others, waiting for someone to explain, while Pidge carefully stacked pillows on top of each other.  Shrugging, Lance jumped onto the couch while Shiro stated, “We’re making a pillow fort.”

Pressing a hand to his chest, Lance whined, “And you didn’t invite me!  I’m wounded!”

“I’m sure you’ll survive,” Keith said dryly, rolling an extra blanket in a ball before throwing it at Lance.

Letting the blanket fall on his head, Lance leaned forward and nodded to the corner of the fort Hunk was assembling and suggested, “Why don’t you use the lion slippers to support the corners?”

Hunk nodded, a grin on his face as he started to carefully test the idea, while Shiro motioned with his hand for Lance to join them.  Crawling over, Lance threw his blanket over Keith’s head, earning a grumble from the other boy.  The five stayed like that for a while, only leaving to return with more pillows and blankets to strengthen their fort.  It became obvious that the five of them weren’t going to fit, and it was Shiro who made the executive decision of starting a pillow fight.

Halfway through the fight, Lance had teamed up with Keith and was beating Shiro with pillows, while Hunk had lifted Pidge on his shoulders. The green paladin grinned wickedly and screamed, “Charge!” and started throwing pillows at the other three while Hunk provided ammunition.

Pidge and Hunk had just been about to demolish the alliance Keith and Lance had made, when Allura rushed into the room, oven mitts on her hands and a baking pan of purple looking stuff in her grip.  Holding the pan away from herself, the princess explained worriedly, “Hunk, the timer you set went off, but you weren’t there and I didn’t know what to do so I took them out!”

Hunk yelped, dropping Pidge on a pile of pillows and rushed to look at the purple pan in Allura’s hands, earning Lance’s curiosity.  Exchanging a glance with Shiro and Keith, Lance wandered towards Allura and rested his chin on Hunk’s shoulder before asking, “What is that?  It smells kinda like actual food.”

“It is!” Hunk exclaimed, giving Allura a reassuring nod, “I got the mix at the last stop, they’re space brownies!”

Pidge sat up from the mess of pillows while asking, “You didn’t tell us?  Why not? Did you get space peanut butter too?”

Sniffing the baked goods, Lance looked at Shiro and confirmed, “They’re space brownies.  Well, more like purplies, since they aren’t actually brown.”

Hunk beamed at his friend and told Allura to put the pan down somewhere and get a knife, ignoring Lance hovering next to him. Temporarily standing next to Hunk, Lance turned and flopped onto the pillow mountain next to Pidge who poked his shoulder as if prodding to see if he was still alive.  Rolling over, Lance grinned and felt a pillow hit his face and heard a snicker from Keith.

Sitting up, Lance smirked and started to arm himself with the remains of the pillow mountain, only to have Allura offer a piece of purple space brownie to him.  Taking the experimental sweet, Lance shrugged before biting into it, recognizing the taste as a regular brownie.  Groaning in appreciation, Lance saw Keith tentatively poking his snack, causing a laugh to bubble up in his chest and make purple brownie crumbs spray across the room.

Sounds of disgust and laughter filled the room, while Lance covered his mouth and choked on his laughter at his friends’ reactions.

”If you can’t write about other people’s lives, write about your own.”

“What if your life is upsetting?”

“Oh, especially then.”

“They said on the news that Tapa kills babies,” says Taz, over his vegetables. He doesn’t grimace when the food touches his mouth, but he does wash it down with more water than usual. “If they don’t have a credit. Then the baby dies.”

“That’s how they do things in Tapa,” says Kita. “Eat your vegetables.”

“You’re doing a good job of eating them,” I say, a little lamely. “That’s good. The healthier you are, the better you’ll be at lots of things.”

Taz looks pointedly at me. I have not answered the question he didn’t ask. He eats his vegetables.

“I do think the bread is a little dry,” says Liet, ignoring Taz entirely. She starts talking about how one goes about keeping bread from drying out. Taz kicks the legs of his chair, like he wishes he could get up but is too well-mannered to leave in the middle of dinner. “It’s especially important to be careful with your food during war, you know. When I was a girl, we all had to be very careful about what food we ate. I don’t remember if there was rationing, only that we had to be very careful. And everyone was always talking about the war. I do hope they manage to avoid any intentional mass killings this time. Every third blue was killed, you know. Even the children.”

Taz pushes away from the table and yells “I’d like to be excused” when he’s already halfway down the hallway to his room.

Liet continues talking about her childhood as she finishes his vegetables.

”What if you don’t know what to say? I mean, if you say something, it’s supposed to be meaningful or profound or interesting or something.”

”It will be. If you’re honest, it will be.”

“Are they gonna kill Ves?” asks Taz, curled up on his bed and staring at the far wall of his room. It isn’t really his room at all. Ves’s cradle is situated against the other wall, and my sleeping bag is rolled up underneath it. One bedroom in this whole apartment. You don’t make so much, shelving books or cleaning up after other people. “She won’t have a credit. It said they kill babies without credits.”

“Tapai forces aren’t going to reach this far from the border,” I say, calmly. It’s important to appear certain. I sit down on the edge of the bed and put a hand on his shoulder. He ignores me, but doesn’t pull away.

“But if they did get here somehow,” he presses.

“They haven’t promised not to kill infants. Some people near the border are concerned about it. But the areas near the Tapai border are miles and miles away. If the Tapai soldiers were marching for us, we would have advance warning, and I would take you and Ves somewhere safe.”

“That’s what mom said.”

“Then she kept her word. She sent you here, and I’ll do everything I can to keep you safe. Promise.”

“Ves, too?”

“Mhmm. Forever and ever.”

He’s silent for a bit. He kicks at his comforter, balled up at the foot of the bed. “Still think we should build the statues,” he says, and I can’t help laughing. It sounds only a little hysterical.

“How do you keep saying things when you’re pretty sure nobody’s listening?”

“My dear girl, someone is always listening.”