7 times they noticed. (1/7)
(bc I need to make up for the langst I posted last night so here’s so comfort and a little bit of hurt. This is just Shiro’s, the other ones will be up soon. The only warning is a depiction of a panic attack.)
1. Lance winced as Shiro cut into him with words like he was expertly wielding Keith’s bayard. He would’ve found it funny how dad-like he was being, except: a) probably would cause Shiro to bail him out more, and b) it wasn’t very funny at all.
“Don’t you see how childish you’re being! This isn’t just serious, this is a matter of life or death, and your antics cannot get in the way. At the end of the day, do you want to be responsible for someone’s death?” The question sent a wave of nausea through Lance, and he was almost pulled off his feet by a wave of static that clouded his mind as something inside his chest burst. He grabbed his chest in alarm. His breathing was quickening. His chest was on fire. Oh god. Oh god. He curled inwards. Trying to protect himself.
“…” He tried to speak but no words came out, just harsh breaths as he lent against the wall, staring upwards through tears at Shiro who was frozen in fear.
“…Lance? Oh. Um… fuck.” If Lance was in any state of mind, he would have never let Shiro go for swearing in front of him, but as it was, it made Lance’s breath speed up. Shiro approached him like he would a possible hostile alien, slowly and with his hands outstretched. “Okay, Lance, if you can, put your arms around me and follow my breaths. Is that okay?” His voice was low and non-threatening, and in response Lance nodded slowly. His hands shaking as Shiro sat next to him, putting his hand on Lance’s arm. Shiro started taking audible, slow breaths. Lance winced as this effort made his breathing uneven, alternating from barely controlled slow breaths to shaky shallow ones.
“Thanks.” He choked out. Shiro shook his head.
“Don’t talk, just focus on the breathing.” Lance had enough humour to roll his eyes at him, and melodramatically breathed in and breathed out, causing Shiro to laugh, before his smile melted into a concerned frown. “I’m so sorry Lance.”
“Don’t be. You’re right, of course.” Lance looked down, not willing to meet Shiro’s eyes.
“Just because you were goofing off doesn’t mean I should have said that. It was way out of line. I just –” Shiro trailed off.
“I’m scared too.” Lance responded quietly. “I know. I know that this is a life-or-death thing, but I just can’t think about it. I’m not like you, or Keith, or Allura. I have to distract myself. If I think about for one second someone else dying on my account I just –” Lance’s breath started to quicken again, and Shiro stopped him, beginning the audible intakes and exhales of breath once more. Lance found his voice again. “You’re good at that. Unsurprisingly.”
“Well, thank Coran actually.” Shiro smiled as Lance scoffed. “No really, apparently they’re quite common for Alteans as well as humans. I still get them occasionally, but they were really bad when, you know…” Shiro trailed off before gathering his thoughts once more. “Listen. Are you alright?”
Lance laughed nervously.
“Yeah, of course buddy, don’t worry about it.” He patted Shiro’s arm, got up from the ground and started to walk away when he felt Shiro’s metal arm on his shoulder.
“Really. We all deal with trauma differently, and I’m worried. These coping mechanisms are all fine and good until they start hurting you and other people.” Shiro was staring down at him and Lance shrunk under his worry. Of course Shiro was worried about the others.
“I’m really sorry I’ve been a pain.” He laughed, rubbing the back of his head in a mockery of sheepishness. “I’ve been distracted but don’t worry, to quote our lord Efron, I’ll get my head in the game.” Shiro’s frown did not disappear. “Seriously, dude, don’t worry.” Lance smiled.
“Just, if you need to talk, please do. Whatever problems you have are important, not just for the team’s performance, but for your health as well. Okay? And if you can’t talk to me, talk to Hunk, or Pidge, or even Keith.” Shiro insisted, gesturing emphatically as Lance rolled his eyes. “Please.”
Lance’s face softened, his mask melting away.
“I’m just so scared. What if I never see my family again?” His already tear-filled eyes began brimming once more. “And I’m so scared that I’ll mess up everything, I mean, how the hell can I compare to you guys? Keith’s an amazing combatant, Coran and Allura are the best at strategies, you’re a great leader, Hunk’s an awesome engineer, and Pidge is just a genius!” Shiro stared at Lance as tears spilled down his cheeks.
“I’m so sorry I didn’t notice.” He pulled his hands over his face. “God, and I’m supposed to be the leader.” Shiro straightened up, looking at Lance. “I can’t express how sorry I am. I forget, I suppose, that you’re children. But know we’re all terrified; and know that we couldn’t do it without you. Because your joking does help, Lance, it breaks the mood and reminds us why we’re fighting - for our humanity. You’re important.”
Lance stood in shock. He wiped the tears off his face.
“Gosh Shiro, you’re such an old man!” He started laughing.
Shiro crossed his arms and stared at Lance. His frown didn’t reach his eyes.
“Come on you youngin, we’ve got training to do.” He walked out of the room, shaking his head. Lance smiled. Maybe things were alright, even if he was just saying it to pacify him. Still. It counted.
Read the other parts:
(nb as of 6/4/17: Hunk is up (along with the Shiro and Pidge ones) others will follow! Edited to flow better, thanks to the anon who mentioned it.)
(nb as of 7/4/17: Coran is up!)
(17/4/17: Allura is posted!)
(this is platonic btw please do not tag as shance or anything similar.)