A Step Forward
I DID IT
Like, I couldn’t not do it after that scene, like, no. So, here! Enjoy!
Rated: T; Ship: Katt (either romantic or platonic)
SPOILERS FOR SEASON 4 FINALE; READ AT OWN RISK
The ship touches down and before the door can open completely Matt pushes through, heart still in his mouth, blood rushing in his ears.
He knows he’s okay, he knows he’s been saved (by their enemy, what the actual fuck, when he was right there he should have been the one that helped—) but he can’t emotionally process it; not until he can see with his own two eyes that Keith’s alive and safe and breathing.
He pushes past his friends without apology or excuse, brushes past Pidge and the rest of the paladins (who had cheered after Keith almost died and he shouldn’t blame them he knows he shouldn’t be angry at them they didn’t know but still—) and he’s the first to reach Keith’s side, to arrive by the lone hijacked Galra ship that’s been half destroyed. The door opens and Keith comes out of it on unsteady feet, Blade of Marmora suit as sleek and black as the night, contrasting sharply with his pale skin. His hood is down, so Matt can see his expression without problem—lips bloodless and tightly pressed together, eyebrows drawn in worry.
And the worst thing is, Matt knows the worry isn’t even remotely linked with his own situation.
“Shiro? Where’s Lotor?” Keith says into his communicator.
Of course. Of-fucking-course. Of course the stupid, self-sacrificing idiot would be most concerned with the location of their enemy than the fact that he almost died.
Matt snarls. “Who the fuck cares where Lotor is?” The words are rough and angry, tinted with fear and concern that Matt does not care to hide. Keith startles and looks up, gray-blue eyes widening in surprise as they connect with Matt’s.
“What the fuck were you thinking?” He isn’t quite sure when he got so close to Keith, but both hands are now on his shoulders, shaking him a bit. His eyes roam over his face, cataloging every twitch, every spot of dirt. “Are you okay? You’re not hurt? Fuck, don’t. Don’t you ever do that ever again.”
His hands are no longer on Keith’s shoulders. They are on his arms, on his forehead, running through his hair, down his neck, cupping his cheeks, making sure that he is, in fact, as uninjured as he seems to be.
Keith is like a frozen statue, barely breathing. His eyes are blown so wide and there’s such a lost look in them that Matt’s heart breaks.
“I don’t—I mean—”
“You almost died, Keith. You—” Matt closes his eyes and tilts his head back, trying to keep the tears he can feel prickling at his eyes at bay. There’s no use. They roll down his cheeks when he looks down again, making Keith’s eyes widen even more. Matt tries to smile, but it’s a tremulous, fragile thing that’s more a grimace than anything else. “You tried to sacrifice yourself.” He swallows. “Why?”
Keith snaps his mouth shut, and then there is a moment of silence in which it seems that he’s not going to answer. His eyes are shining, though, fiery and defiant and full of stubbornness.
A tic, two, and then—Keith’s shoulders slump; he averts his eyes. “It was the only way. The team, the blade, the coalition… everyone would have died if the weapon wasn’t destroyed. And…” His eyes find Matt’s again. He straightens his spine, juts out his chin. “I was the only one who could do something about it. So I did.”
Matt closes his eyes and breathes deeply through his nose. He thinks he’s trembling (Because of fear? Powerlessness? Suppressed rage? He isn’t sure.)
The thing is, Keith is so… so convinced that what he did was what was best, that everything would have been fine after he…
“Hey. I’m—I’m fine, aren’t I? It’s fine. You don’t need to worry about me.”
Matt whines—a high-pitched, wounded noise in the back of his throat that he can’t suppress—and crushes the stupid, stupid brave idiot with a heart of gold and too much worth that he won’t see why to his chest in the tightest hug he’s given anyone since his reunion with Pidge. Keith grunts, small and confused, but readily hugs him back, and Matt just tightens his hold on him, hiding his face on the crook of his neck.
Then Keith’s team is there: Shiro and Pidge and Hunk and Lance and Allura and Coran, all of them hugging Keith—and therefore Matt, because Matt was there first—and talking one over the other while crying.
“What he said… Is it true?”
“Keith you didn’t—”
“Why would you even—”
“You can’t do that, mullet, what the fuck—”
“Oh my God, Keith, are you—”
“I’m so sorry I didn’t—”
“—not fine why —”
“—n’t do this without you—”
“—Voltron needs you, we need you—”
“—n’t do that again!”
The arms around him twitch, then squeeze. The fingers on his back tighten around the cloth of his uniform, and then Matt can feel dampness spreading on his shoulder, there where Keith has hidden his own face after the avalanche of words and feelings started.
Keith’s crying. He’s crying with them, clinging to them, and Matt feels that he can breathe easier.
It’s a small step, just a breach of the barrier, a scratch on the surface of the problem, but they’ll get there. He doesn’t know why Keith thinks so poorly of himself, why doesn’t he see his own worth, and he isn’t sure he even wants to know. (He’s afraid of his own reaction.) But one thing is certain: he isn’t going to let that stand.
He runs his hand through Keith’s hair; Keith hiccups and pulls him closer still.
No, he isn’t going to let that stand. He’s going to help, whatever it takes.