I'll protect you with everything I've got - Langst mini fic
Summary: Lance isn’t known for giving up easily so when he looks at his team and thinks he’s the most useless one, it’s no big surprise that he will do everything in his power to change that.
Even if it means he has to sacrifice himself for the greater good.
There are nights when Pidge’s headphones aren’t available for Lance. Sometimes it’s because they are uncharged, other times it’s because someone else is using them. Those are the nights when Lance has to make up for the lack of sound with something, so he usually ends up staring at the ceiling and thinking about his current situation.
Thing is, thinking is good, but thinking too much is dangerous.
It’s in one of those nights that Lance reaches the conclusion that he’s the most useless one in the team and nothing is able to take that idea out of his mind for days after. He sees Shiro talking with Allura about plans and strategies, Pidge and Hunk figuring out more and more about the mysterious alien technology, Keith training and becoming even better than he already is. And then there’s him, doing some unfunny jokes and failing at flirting.
So that’s what makes Lance move from spending those nights staring at ceiling to spending them training with the castle robots. It’s hard at first, to trade his sleeping time for hours in various simulations, but he tells himself his improvement will be worth the effort. His improvement will pay for all the sleepless nights and for the pain of the injuries he collects.
He doesn’t talk to his team about it and convinces himself is because he wants to make a surprise for them and not because he doesn’t want to admit his uselessness. Maybe they were just waiting for him to realize so they could talk about replacing him with someone more qualified. Although space isn’t always the best thing, Lance doesn’t want to be replaced. He doesn’t want to go back and tell his family that he failed at something he was supposedly born to do. It’s better if the team doesn’t know.
But the universe doesn’t like Lance that much and after two weeks,Keith is the first one to find him
It surprises Lance enough to make him let his right side open and of course the robot uses it to its advantage. Lance hits the ground three seconds later, a yelp escaping his lips.
“End training sequence.” He says and can’t help on how defeated his voice sounds. He looks up to see Keith staring at him, a confused look on his face. “Hm, hi Keith”
“You are…training?” Keith asks and Lance flinches at his voice tone. Keith speaks like he doesn’t believe in what he’s seeing.
Like he doesn’t believe Lance is doing something useful.
“Well…yeah"Lance says as his answer. He’s still on the ground, looking at Keith at an awkward angle. Stopping made the ache on his muscles finally surface and Lance wants to use every second he has on the floor to rest a little. “I couldn’t sleep”
“So you came here?” And there’s that voice tone again. Lance doesn’t quite know if hearing Keith talk like that makes him sad or angry.
“Yes.” Lance makes a movement to sit so he can look at Keith properly. His bayard has already deactivated, so he only puts it on his lap as he crosses his legs. “Is there a problem?”
They stare at each other for some seconds and Lance feels his shoulders getting tense. Keith occupies the position of most unpredictable person Lance has ever met and he never fails to honor that title. That said, Lance shouldn’t be so surprised when Keith manages to surprise him again.
After those few seconds of staring, a smile appears on Keith’s face.
“Nah” Keith answers and the smile is still there. “It’s good to know I’m not the only one training a little bit more”
As soon as those words leave Keith’s mouth Lance feels a warm feeling going through his body and he knows it isn’t only because of the exercise he was doing a few moments earlier. Not that Lance is ever gong to admit that hearing those words from Keith made him feel good about himself. That secret was going with him to his grave.
“But don’t train too much” Keith continues and the smirk has left his face to make room for a more serious expression that looks a lot like the ones Shiro pulls when he’s explaining plans. Lance wonders if Keith heard those same words from Shiro some time. “You need your rest too”
“Afraid I’ll be sweeping the floor with your face in the near future?” Lance says but there’s no heat behind his words.
And Keith (Keith!!) chuckles.
“Terrified” The red paladin answers and the smile is back.“But for now” Keith walks to where Lance is sit and extends his hand. It’s a gesture Keith has never used with him and it’s kind of weird but Lance accepts the help anyway. “Let’s see what you are capable of”
Lance smiles at the invitation.
(They end up beating the levels 4 and 5 of the training program and this time Lance isn’t half dead when he tells Keith they make a good team)
For the next two weeks or so, everything is fine. The results of Lance’s extra training start showing and he gets a compliment from Shiro on his good work (Lance was ready to die from happiness) It’s a good feeling, to know he’s a good soldier.
Thing is, training with Keith is good, training against Keith is like asking to have his ass kicked. No matter how hard he tries to get better, Keith still wins. Every single time. And that’s not all. He sees Hunk’s aim getting better, the way he now manages to control his heavy gun like he was born to do it. (Maybe he was. Maybe all of them were born to be paladins. Not Lance, though. He wasn’t born for something that big.) He sees how Pidge can now come up with a plan in a matter of seconds, sees how Shiro uses a confident and firm voice tone to guide them through battle. Lance is good, of course he is. But not good enough. Never good enough.
All the useful things he has to offer can be covered. If he was gone, the team wouldn’t lose much. Long range fighter? They have Hunk to make up for it. Strategist? Pidge. The mood is bad and the team needs to cheer up? Both Shiro and Hunk can help. And then there’s Keith, who is better than Lance in every way possible so there is no need to elaborate things too much. The only things the team would lose for real if he wasn’t there would be his pathetic puns and pick up lines.
It’s only later that he realizes that actually no, those two aren’t the only unique things he has.
Thing is, Lance is tall, thin and has long arms and legs. He’s fast and he’s agile. His reaction time is on point. Sometimes, his body moves faster than his mind.
Lance is the perfect human shield.
The idea hits him like a slap to the face. Is that why Blue chose him? The more he thinks about it, the more sense it makes. He’s there to protect his team. To protect his family.
And that’s what he’s going to do, at all costs.