Lance was used to being sick. Growing up with all those younger siblings made him a victim of many colds, flus, and stomach bugs. He considered himself a master at illness. Or so he thought. Lance was jerked awake by his alarm that sat on the dresser beside his bed. It sounded as if it were underwater. When Lance raised up to turn it off, he knew immediately that something was wrong. His ears were ringing, echoing in his head and wincing at the noise. He also had this deep ache throughout his entire body, even his bones ached. As Lance shook his head to try to clear the ringing, a wave of nausea hit him. Lance was familiar with vomiting. It always happened in a process. First, his palms and forehead would become clammy. Second, his stomach would cramp as if someone was tying it in a knot. Third, he would get this coppery metal taste in his mouth like he had a mouthful of pennies. And that’s what he felt right now. He swallowed hard, trying to keep the saliva and bile down. He couldn’t be sick. Not today! The team was supposed to be going over new strategies and then train. He promised Keith that he would fight hand-to-hand combat with him so he wouldn’t have to use a droid again. And Lance wasn’t the type to go back on a promise. His mama raised him better than that.
“Lance! Did you hear what I just said? This is the second time you’ve fell asleep! This is important information that you all need to know!”
Lance swallows thickly and nodded at Allura. This was a bad idea. Lance was trying, really, but he was just so exhausted. His eyelids weighted a ton, and he couldn’t keep them up. His hair was stuck to his pale forehead with sweat, but he was still shivering. Shiro sent him a concerned glance, but Lance waved it off. He wouldn’t be seen as weak. He wanted to prove his worth to the team, that he was strong. He wasn’t going to let the team down, so he made himself focus on Allura’s blurring figure as she continued.
When the time for training to come around, Lance was worse. It hurt to move his limbs, too sudden movement made him nauseous, and the was a sharp pain behind his eyes that continuously throbbed, his head feeling like it was going to explode.
“Hey, Lance! Are you ready to train?”
Lance blinked at Keith, trying to process what he had just said.
Lance blinked a few more times before coming to his senses.
“O-Oh! Yeah, let’s do this! Eager to get your butt kicked?”
Keith stared at Lance, noticing something was off, but brushed it off. Lance was always acting weird, so he didn’t think too much about it.
“In your dreams, Lance.”
They made their way to the training room and faces each other, braced into crouched stances. Lance tried to focus, but it was like fog was inside his head, and there were suddenly three other Keiths in front of him. He vaugly hears Keith say something and before he can say ‘what’ Lance is on the ground. His head hit the floor and stars formed behind his eyes.
“Oh my god, Lance?!”
Keith reached down from him, but Lance pushed him away. He tasted pennies. Fumbling to get on his hands and knees, Lance tried to crawl away, but his stomach suddenly twisted, and Lance couldn’t hold back. Retching loudly, tears streamed down his face as he violently brought up lunch and breakfast. Even after his stomach was empty, he continued to retch, tears streaming down his face. He begged for it to stop, he couldn’t breathe. He could hear Keith shouting, but he couldn’t focus, couldn’t hear. When he felt like he was going to pass out, his stomach finally eased. Lance crumpled to the ground and could barely feel the hands that was on his face. Lance closed his eyes tightly, tears still streaming as he took in ragged, greedy breaths, and shivering uncontrollably. Then the hands were gone. Lance didn’t know how long he laid there. It could’ve been hours for all he knew. But then he felt someone pick him up. He heard Shiro’s voice.
“Lance? Are you okay?”
Lance just groaned and squeezed his eyes tighter. “
Come on Keith, let’s take him back to his bed and ask Allura what we should do.”
As Shiro walked, the rocking made Lance sleepy, which he gladly welcomed.
“He should’ve said something to us. What if we were in the middle of a mission or a battle? Lance would pretty much just get in the way!”
Keith whispered. Lance was ashamed that he was so weak, especially in front of Keith and Shiro. Lance just wanted to prove that he belonged as a part of Voltron, that the team can count on him. Lance’s last thought before he let sleep consume him was that the only thing the team could count on him to do was let them down.
They’re in a pause in the endless fight against the Empire and Pidge asks Keith to try out the new training AI she installed in the gym. It’s meant to learn from their techniques, like a real opponent, and maybe finally give Keith a challenge after he started consistently beating Training Level 8. Put all of them down for scared and horny, when that happened, but no one’s gonna say shit because Keith is forever armed. And anyway, what’s important is they’re all there to witness this momentous occasion when Keith beats the shit out of yet another piece of machinery while Pidge holds back tears.
Fifteen minutes in and there’ve been no tears—yet. The AI is well programed and it’s picked up on Keith’s signature move. Namely, throwing himself headfirst at his opponent and rolling through the blow. There’s a reason it’s his signature and now that he can’t use it, Keith’s got this gleam in his eye, something part calculating predator and part manic joy.
Behind them, the door to the gym hisses open. None of them look. Shiro and Allura had been in some kind of miniature conference with a new planet that planned to join the coalition. It’s probably just them coming to check in on the progress with the AI.
Who are they kidding? They still wouldn’t have looked even if they didn’t know who it was behind them. For one key reason:
Keith, blocking a downward swing of the AI’s sword with his own bayard. Sweat stains the back of Keith’s shirt and clings lovingly to the hard line of his jaw. Every muscle of his body is flexed. The light does filthy things with the curve of his biceps. Intensity outlines everything about his expression and it gives a dangerous edge to the grin that tugs up one corner of his mouth. In a single, smooth motion he ducks out of the way of the sword and brings one leg up in a vicious roundhouse that catches the AI right in its nonexistent stomach. Plastene crunches and the AI folds.
They’re ready to congratulate him—Pidge’s eyes are already filling with tears as a Sarah McLachlan song plays in the distance—when the AI gets one last unexpected hit in. It catches Keith across the hips as it goes down. Like it’s trying to drag him down with it. There’s an audible grunt from Keith as the blow lands and he loses his balance.
Rather than try to catch himself Keith deactivates his bayard and rolls clear. Comes to his feet. Reactivates the bayard and readies his stance. Steady indigo eyes focus on the no longer moving AI. “Is it down?” he asks Pidge after several long seconds.
Pidge blows out a long huff that’s not quite a sigh. “Yes.” Everyone pretends the light sheen to her eyes is just the reflection of the gym lights off her glasses. They’re good friends that way.
The next minute and a half is business as usual. Pidge quizzes Keith about reaction times and prods at the AI’s exoskeleton mournfully. Allura congratulates him sincerely on his improvement under the Blade’s guidance and suggests he teach her that last move. Hunk and Lance argue about the appropriate sound effects in recreating the fight. And Shiro gives Keith one heartfelt, brotherly, extremely platonic clap to the shoulder and says, “That was quick thinking, Keith,” while Keith looks up at Shiro with heartfelt, brotherly, extremely platonic adoration.
Finally there’s a pause as Keith pulls up the hem of his shirt to wipe at his sweaty face and they all take a moment to eye his whipcord strong body. It’s always great when he does this because his training pants are slung low on his hips and it’s— It’s fucking something. Only today, in addition to the sweat trailing down his defined stomach muscles and the suggestive trail of hair disappearing into his waistband, there are bruises.
That last post reminds me I hate when there’s some news about like, possibly cloning a mammoth or something and someone says “uh there’s a whole bunch of movies about why this is a BAD IDEA!” like bitch Jurassic Park was not a documentary. There is no guarantee that some Russian scientist cloning a mammoth is going to result in Jurassic Park.