during a mission lance gets his vocal cords hurt
either from a magic blast or physical injury
coran concludes that they need to heal naturally for 2-3 weeks before they can do some freaky altean medical thing to them to completely fix them
pidge and allura make some mandatory jokes about lance finally being quiet for a while, which almost don’t hurt lance
turns out, being mute is hard. lance opens his mouth dozens of times a day, wanting to share some story or a joke, and remembers his predicament when no sounds come out
during the first week everyone also have difficulties with remembering it, Shiro demanding verbal confirmation from Lance during training or Hunk asking his opinion on a new dish a few times before becoming irritated at the lack of response
at the end of the second week, no one asks Lance to talk by mistake. just some more comments about the blissful silence without Lance’s chatter.
also at the end of the second week, Lance needs to ask Pidge something. she’s so engrossed in the computer she doesn’t hear him approaching, so Lance has to shake her shoulder
Pidge lashes out for touching her, 'How many times I need to tell you not to touch me? You know I freaking hate skin contact!’
after that Lance tries to draw attention to himself just by things like waving or pointing at something, but… everyone are so engaged in their chatter, no one pays him a mind.
and slowly, gradually, lance realises that no one is actually interested in engaging in talking with him. no one approaches him, no one tries to establish some sort of contact outside of training or battle.
slowly, lance realises that without his voice, without him desperately trying to be noticed… he is just an empty place
another week passes. two. the mark for the operation they set a month ago has passed. no one remembered. lance doesn’t remind them.
he just keeps getting his job done, going into battle after battle, training night after night, and tries not to think about how pointless he has become.