A Blue Prince To Own, Chapter 6 (Part 1)
The next morning passes almost uneventfully, with of course some scolding from my behavior the previous day, all except for Hunk pointing out my faults. He knows how deep it runs now and hopefully, he’ll know even better once I leave my position to Matt. Which, when he pulls me aside with his droopy, ichor colored eyes and lopsided smile, I can’t help but just grind my teeth. He’s a perfect fit for the Blue Paladin, he’s all my good qualities and more, without the parts that nobody wants. A mirror reflection of myself, but better, improved. Goddamn it, does Sam Holt only grow awe inspiring seedlings?
It’s worse even when he begins to tell me how even though it was funny to watch me make Shiro so red, it was wrong of me and I should learn from that, to hold my tongue. I don’t muster up a pretty little, obedient, apologetic response like I did with all the others who believed they could get through to me. Matt isn’t nearly as short as Pidge, but with the universe granting me so little in strength, they had to make a comeback in height so I step closer. He steps backwards and so our game presumes until his back is against the wall and I’m relishing in the couple of inches I have on him. This is the man who flows like poison through my life, infecting all the good parts. How can he stare so innocently up at me, like a deer caught in headlights?
My eyes narrow on their own accord and I trap him there with my hands flat on the wall at each side of his head. I have no clue how but I growl at him and I see his hands tighten into fists at either side of his hips. Whatever, take a hit, Keith freaking Kogane already beat me up last night, don’t think many people can fair against that. “I hate you.” I say simply, smiling just like usual, except less forced. Let’s pry another burden off my chest. “I hate everything about you. You’ve made the people I once wouldn’t hesitate for a second to call my slightly awkward space family doubt my abilities, begin to lose trust in me, and neglect me. Leave me in the dust. Do you understand? You are replacing me. They think you’re the new Blue Paladin.”
“Lance, I didn’t - I never intended to - ”
“Shut up!” I snap and he flinches beneath me. “I wasn’t done talking, Matt. So, I will continue getting my point across, and if you still feel the need to respond, feel free, okay?” He nods shakily and I feel so violent because he’s right here, why shouldn’t I make him hurt like I have, every day, since he arrived? But, I don’t. That isn’t what I’m doing here, in my last moments as an honorable Paladin. “I’m fine with everybody telling me that what I did was wrong. It was wrong. I don’t care, but nevertheless, I know it wasn’t the right thing to do because contrary to popular belief, I’m not fucking stupid. But, I will throw myself into a black hole, wailing my love for country music and pineapple on pizza before I let the one who has turned my life into a sad, sad abyss tell me how to behave. I’m fine with you ruining my life, but I will not take orders from you, pretend to enjoy your company, or ever want to speak civilly with you. It’s making me sick just being this close to you. So, do me the only favor I will ever allow you to do me, and piss. Off.” I end the rant with a slow hiss.
So, that’s supposed to be where the conversation ends, but he’s too much like me to not have adapted the same big, impulsive mouth and now I’m understanding why Pidge was drawn to me while he was still captive. “I thought you were a good guy, Lance. Maybe you still are. But, you’re doing bad things and I know that disrespecting Shiro is just the tip of the ice burg.”
The blood floods from my face. No. He can’t - he doesn’t know right, about the plan? He can’t, the only one who knows is Lotor and I. And. I jerk away from Matt to smash my knuckles into the wall with a frustrated shout. Blue knew, and Matt’s supposed to be her future pilot, so of course Blue told him, she thought he could stop me from ‘making a mistake’, but she’s wrong. Now, I just have to act more carefully than before.
I don’t spare the older Holt shrimp anymore of my time, I don’t have it to waste. I return to Blue’s cockpit and nap for exactly fifteen minutes before she wakes me up and I enter the coordinates in the escape pod, so that it’s ready for my leave.
The ideal time waster until it’s time to go would be to lounge about in Blue, alternating between napping and talking to her, however I know it’ll draw suspicion if I don’t continue my pattern of pointless efforts in socialization with the other member’s of the little team. So, I go about my usual schedule, dragging my feet, feeling unwanted and seeing which doors in the castle open. I stumble upon a large room with infant cribs and foam mats, some semblance of a toy bin, all in pastel colors. It must have been… some sort of nursery. And it’s plucking all of my heart strings.
The castle had some sort of self perseverance setting that automatically went off when Coran and Allura were frozen, so it’s as good as new, like everything else on the ship. No bacteria would settle in and no weird alien mold would begin to grow, because the advanced Altean technology allowed it to be kept safe and hygienic for 10,000 years. I… was the baby of my family. The youngest. The one who didn’t usually have the pressure of setting an example because I was the impressionable baby that everyone just wanted to protect. I did, however, have little cousins that would visit often. They’d come over and the sound of baby’s shaking their rattles and the joyous shrieks of toddler’s would echo off the walls. I always found them so annoying and got jealous when my Aunts and Uncles would pay them more attention.
I was such a brat. I’ve been begging for attention from a young age, even when I already had everyone’s on me at all times. When it was ripped away from me so quickly at the Garrison, where I was hardly average, it felt like a chunk of my soul had been ripped out as well. I tried as hard as I could to become better, but among great minds, I was foolish to think I could ever succeed them. Most talented to my department, however, was Keith. I grew a crush on him immediately, only adding to the self loathe festering inside me. It grew and grew, until I shattered and cried as hard as I ever had right after another failed simulation, right in front of my entire class.
Seeing as how I had tested into the Garrison and was surviving on a scholarship, I couldn’t afford to go to the school’s psychiatrist. But, I could afford to switch roommates, so that I could live with another kid who struggled with mental illness. At the same time I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder that wouldn’t be treated, Hikialani Garett had been diagnosed with anxiety. It was a program that ensured students who couldn’t afford therapy would have someone to relate to and wouldn’t go crazy from being constantly surrounded by neurotypicals who thought they were weird. And so, I met my best friend through me humiliating myself in front of my class. Which, I might’ve been placed in another one (with Hikialani), but everyone still knew. I was the kid who cried when I failed. And I couldn’t really ever change that.
“What’s wrong, buddy?”
“I’m so - L- Lance, you wouldn’t understand, you’re so skinny, and I’m so not and I’m - ”
“Dude, bro, stop talking and stop panicking. Because let’s get one thing straight. Skinny is not better than thick. Do you know how easily I get my ass kicked? And remember, I’m a cryer, so then I bawl about it afterwards. But, dude you, you’re a total hunk! You’re not fat, you, my dude, are thick and your muscles are bigger than my torso. If I wasn’t hopelessly pining after Kogane, I’d smash.”
He sniffles, wipes the tears beginning to form at the edges of his waterline. Then, reddens. “Really? You… don’t think I’m fat?”
“Dude. You’re so hot. The most hunk person I’ve ever met. In fact, new nickname, Hunk.”
He chuckles and everything’s okay. We couldn’t afford therapy. But, we have each other and for now, that’s enough.I miss those times. But, they’re buried now. They don’t even matter. I pretend today is another normal day, go about my annoying the others, stray from Keith and Shiro because that’s what a wimp scared straight would do, and once it has all passed uneventfully, I leave with nothing. I tell Blue I will miss her. She says she’ll alert the other lions of my escape. I tell her that I don’t offer anything anymore. Go ahead. Would they even want me back?
As I’m sitting in the escape pod, getting ready for take off, I sit back and let out a final sigh. I’ve had so many great adventures with them, Shiro, Keith, Pidge, Hunk, Allura, Coran. I’ve had so much fun, been more active than ever, even struggling so hard with my insecurities, even being slowly pushed away. As much as it all hurt, it’s a hurt I’ll inevitably miss because with that hurt came something akin to familiar, with the sadness came the bouts of happiness that meant so much more, being so rare.
The times change, I’ve come to realize. They’re not changing in my favor here. I leave, hoping they’ll change better with my Prince.