scanned alone

Rest Stop Part 2

“How long until they know?” Lance shifted and sighed. How long until they know?

He was perched up in the team nest, worriedly watching the team pass by underneath him. Keith had ran to, and then back, from training a while ago. Hunk had been carrying gizmos and do-hickeys when he stumbled past hours earlier. The last group he had seen was Shiro, Allura, Coran, and surprisingly, Pidge. He had snatched just what they were talking about as they passed. Pidge would be going down to the next planet they were visiting, alone, to test it with scanners for the mission.

The plan was a basic search, raid, and scavenge mission they did every so often. Search for survivors, Galra rebels, and alliances. Raid for resources and information. Scavenge for materials, culture, and history. Lance liked to call it the SRS plan - the first two parts were the complicated parts, and the last one was usually as boring at the real SRS. This planet wasn’t occupied by natives, or they had been wiped out by the Galra base that had been set up. It was mostly a work camp surrounded by oceans. Islands dotted the planet here and there, small, but big enough you could spend years there before you had walked and seen it all.

Every time they planned an SRS, they had one paladin go down, alone, and scan the entire island with their lion, or by hand on ground level. Because it was confirmed for Galra activity and there were no natives to blend in with, they were sending Pidge in with Green - to do a cloaked scan, then to investigate on foot if it was required. This way, if they were separated, needed medicine, or food for themselves or the aliens they had rescued, they wouldn’t pick the planet’s most painful poison.

Lance sighed again. Funny how many people would want me to pick the poison. An amused huff passed his lips as his eyes looked down at his feet.

The nest was made of blankets, fibers, hay, straw, and a metal basin nailed into the beams. Alteans apparently had designated spots for nests, but the others had pushed to put one where they wanted. Which, had been the center pole in the common room closest to the training room, where dozens of beams filled the open ceiling. Lance had insisted with the others on the impromptu spot, even going as far to mention the main support would be the safest place, based on all the rafters he could climb. Yes, Lance climbed slippery metal poles 40 feet up in the air without wings. All the training of climbing high places to catch up that Lance called a childhood, left him without a fear of heights when he was in command. Some of his favorite memories were diving and jumping off those heights, sometimes into the ocean, sometimes to the ground, sometimes to more rock or another branch. The others got a thrill from flying. He got his from falling.

He had broken his arms quite a few times from that.

The unmistakable sound of flapping wings took his attention, causing Lance to look up at Keith, who was gently landing in the nest in front of him. His wings looked cleaner than normal, softer and neater, and his lips weren’t scowling as darkly as usual. “You missed the group preening session again.” Ah. That explained it.

Lance didn’t say anything, paying more attention to the piece of straw in his hand instead of Keith’s calm face, the little smile on his lips, the concerned glint in his eye. Keith’s skin always looked so clear after grooming, Lance grumbled internally, like he had just stepped out of a hot shower. He fiddled with the straw more, ignoring the sharp pricks the ends gave his fingers. Keith seemed to sigh internally, a little slipping out of his mind and nose, before kneeling down to Lance’s height. “You never come. You know you can if you want to, right?”

Ha. As if he could. (They wouldn’t want him then.)

“Yeah.” He says, tucking a lock of hair behind his ear and shifting to push his back into the nest subconciously. He blinks up at Keith, whose hand is hanging over the bend of knee with his weight. It’s turned down, but ready to be outstreched and taken in Lance’s if he grabs it. He notes the way Keith’s slim fingers seem to cup themselves. He wants to grab it.

He doesn’t.

Keith’s gaze is level and steady, an almost uncharacteristic look from impulsive, crazy Keith. It holds patience, and focus, and makes Lance want to give him a sign, let him know he isn’t staring at a blurry board, he’s looking at the notes taped to it. His wings are held up and arch out, raised to fly while he crouches. Lance’s hands itch to reach out and run his fingers through the burgundy feathers.

He doesn’t. Just waits for Keith to pull back and stand up.

He does, but not without clapping and rubbing his hand on Lance’s shoulder. “Okay then. His wings lower a little to catch an imaginary draft. "I’m going to go talk to Shiro about battle formations. You can come to me if you need it.” Lance lets his smile pull back, knowing inside it was a bright, sadistic, white streak against a midnight canvas. He hopes it’s convincing to Keith. “I will.” He says, then Keith is flying away with another small smile, though this one is a little sadder, a little more resolved.