The Years After...
Voltron: The Legendary Defender
He is older and slightly thinner, but his arms and his legs have grown strong and his love for anything sweet has not changed. His mother welcomes him home with tears in her eyes, too many questions that increase as she touches his face with shaking fingers and sees eons reflected in his eyes. He smiles at her, places a kiss to her forehead and sinks to the ground. His hand caresses the Earth, like one would a loving dog, a companion, a friend.
“Hey old girl,” he says, and his mother wonders who he talks to and why he curled his fingers to scratch the grass. He stays there for a moment before his family ushers him inside for a meal and a thousand stories that make the stars shine brighter after that.
She holds treaties in her hands, blueprints in her pockets. The gleam of curiosity and innovation has become razor sharp and electric, much like the bayard she keeps on her hip. She ties back her hair and tilts the glasses up her nose before staring down the board of directors with the air of a general, a monarch, a queen.
“I had a great teacher,” she says, smirking wide when people ask her how she was able to lead and stare people down without fear or timidity. But before she took her smarts from the closed spaces of her room and into the arenas of the world, she had returned with a brother, who’s hair burned white but his eyes were focused, at her side and the memento of a loving father.
All her mother saw was how her gaze no longer harbored a dark secret and a vicious anger. She had grown, tall and strong.
“Katie, my Katie.” Her mother says, enveloping her in a tight hug that surprises the older woman. “Welcome home.”
“It’s Pidge,” she says and the smile she gives is radiant. “My name is Pidge now, mom.”
His smile still has that wry curl, that boyish twinge that had made his sisters roll their eyes and his brothers snort beneath their hands many times before. But his father recognizes a strength in him, a humility that had never been there before. He is not sure he has seen that though, not when the family rushes forward to bring their missing son into their arms.
His sisters cry, his brother’s hide tears of relief and all their father sees is how Lance laughs and hugs so tight it must bruise. They speak and his Spanish is rusty, but he has learned other languages from his time away, languages that are so foreign, so alien, all doubt is erased.
They bring him home and sit him down and he stares and looks around the walls and runs his hands against the stucco. He takes a deep breath and sits at his place and it was as if the years had not gone and they had never lost their son.
A week later, a storm hits their town. Wind, and lightning, and rain. They find Lance outside, face extended and arms outstretched as the rain soaks him to the bone. He falls to his knees and weeps for the first time. It is the strongest his father has ever seen him.
He stops to breathe the air of their planet. The sunset on his back, the wind on his face. He slides down and sits with his legs crossed, feeling as old and aged as the earth beneath him. The air is sweeter than he remembered and he pulls more through his mouth and exhales in a slow sigh.
“The sky is blue here.”
He glances up and feels a hand slip between his left hand and squeezes. Shiro smiles before he can stop himself and when he turns, he sees tears in the Princess’s eyes and he can’t help but follow.
“This can be your home too.”
She gathers a bloom in her hand and smiles. “What flower is this?”
“It’s called a peony.”
She brings it to her nose and inhales and feels her heart expand for this new place.
“Earth has been home,” she says and presses her forehead against his. “It has been for a long time.” They sit for a while, breathing in the air. He suddenly pushes to his feet and extends his hand toward her.
She beams and scrambles to her feet, laughing even though he is older and she is queen.
His footsteps match the quick pace of Coran’s, step by step, strength for strength. The cross the castle’s stronghold until they reach the edge of the hull, and for the first time in ages, he sees that beautiful blue marble that was Earth.
“Well, it’s not as glorious as Altea,” Coran says offhandedly and Keith rolls his eyes. “But it’ll do.”
“It hasn’t changed a bit,” Keith says with a warm smile.
“Of course it’s changed,” Shiro’s voice surprises him. “That’s how you know it’s Earth.” Keith turns around and his eyes widen when he sees his long time friend and commander dressed in his paladin armor and graced with a long blue cloak at the shoulders. He looks taller, stronger, and with a happiness that is contagious enough to tug a grin through Keith’s lips.
“Your highness,” Keith says and takes a deep bow alongside Coran. Shiro blinks in surprise before looking down at his appearance.
“Jeez, is it obvious?”
“Horrendously so,” Keith says, rising and shaking his head. “Still, not bad. For a former Galra toy.”
“Low blow, dude,” Shiro laughs and takes the steps to stand by the Red Lion’s paladin. “Saying goodbye?”
Keith mulls the words over, “Are we coming back?”
“It goes without saying.”
“Then no,” Keith turns to give Shiro a knowing grin. “I’m not saying goodbye.”
“Has anyone seen Lance?” Allura calls, tugging her hair up into a ponytail. “We need to be taking off now. There’s a star system that needs cleaning up and we can’t leave without him.”
“The system says his pod arrived fifteen minutes ago, Princess,” Pidge announces from her chair, shifting to place her knees on the seat and hanging her arms off the back. “I can always go and kick him for you.”
“Appreciated, but no,” Allura says and sighs. “As much as I’d like to return to my honeymoon, this is still urgent.”
The doors slide open with a hiss and the two turn to see the rest of the team file in, laughing about something or other.
“There you are!” Allura huffs, turning a cross expression over Lances’ unsuspecting gaze.
“What?” He asks, innocent and pointing at himself like a child.
Allura is not phased by his sheepish smile, frowning and tapping her foot impatiently. “We needed to have left an hour ago, and only now you just show up!”
“He was saying goodbye to his family,” Shiro said for him, eyes twinkling with amusement as he crossed the space to place a kiss to Allura’s lips. “Cut him a break this time.”
She returns his loving gaze with a syrupy grin and smiles. “Oh, alright, but only this time.”
“Ugh, could we please get through this trip without you two mooning over each other?” Lance groans, walking past them to take his seat. Hunk snickers before he also finds his place. Keith rolls his eyes and follows suit.
“Are you sure you want to say that after I just saved your ass from being scolded?” Shiro deadpans just as Allura raises a brow at Lance.
“I say you keep letting him get scolded,” Keith comments. “He needs to learn.”
“Shut it, Keith.”
“If years of dealing with his family and Allura haven’t changed him nothing will,” Hunk adds with a wide grin.
“I second that.” Pidge pipes in.
“Oh, real nice guys, glad to know nothing has changed!”
As the team squabbles and banters back and forth, Coran watches with warm eyes. He stands back, gazing at the picture of this family; of Shiro and Allura rolling their eyes and calling commands, of Lance and Keith exchanging angry snaps, of Hunk and Pidge chiming in every so often, Coran couldn’t help but feel like this was an image he would never tire of.
Allura turns to say something to Shiro, who now stands at her side dutifully and with complete devotion, and laughs.
The universe is safe now, Alfor. Coran thinks. After all she’s endured, he was more than happy to know that at the very least, she’s found the family they’ve needed more than ever. And it only took ten thousand years to achieve it.
“Coran?” she turns to see him and gazes at him inquisitively. “Everything alright?”
“Absolutely Princess,” Coran exclaims and ambles along, standing at the helm as the first mate, the first friend. “I hope you’ve made your farewells properly, Paladins of Voltron, because we’re off!”
“Time to save the universe?” Shiro asks as he leans down to pluck a kiss from her lips before heading towards his station. She gazes at their faces and sees determination and resolution in all of their smiles.
“Time to save the universe,” Allura announces and presses her palms over the controls at her sides.
Coran looks up and gazes over the horizon, sees the blue planet and the sun in the distance. There can be no force better than this to do it.