TW: major character death
Also, this is probably my longest one shot yet coming in at 1,800+ words. So, woo for that? Enjoy?
If they had only known.
Oh god, if they had only known.
Shiro glanced around the training arena, doing a mental head count and coming up short. They were one paladin short.
Hunk was here, standing a little ways away with Pidge, who was helping him with something regarding his armor.
Two down, and he was here.
That was three.
Keith stood brooding, his leadership position something that left him in a sour mood. Shiro was back, he should lead.
That was four Paladins out of five.
One color of the Voltron rainbow was missing. A very blue color.
Not yet wanting to cause lots of stress, Shiro walked over to Keith with a hint of worry in his tone. “Have you seen Lance this morning?”
It must have been on the new black Paladins mind as well, because Keith flinched at Shiro’s question.
The blue paladin had been last present the night before, but he had been acting very strange. A huge contrast to the typical quiet they had been getting for a few weeks.
Lance had been insisting on Hunk making the greatest Earth-like dinner just for once, so they could feast that night.
They did, it was delicious.
Garlic knots came to the party.
Lance was loud and he was joking; he was a hoard of smiles and laughter. It had made everyone suspicious at this sudden mood change but they were so happy to finally see life in Lance that they blew it off.
Except Keith. Except the leader.
He watched his teammate carefully that night, and saw that behind that laughter there was something forced. Behind the smile, there were cracked teeth.
Behind those bright eyes, something looked like it was dead, dull, and gone.
Keith didn’t say anything.
He didn’t say anything when Lance took Allura into the blue lion and for some reason decided to tell her all about how to fly her.
Lance showed her the best techniques, told some of the things Blue did and didn’t prefer, and even gave her some personal tips.
He just wanted to show his lion off, would have been his excuse if anyone asked. But no one asked.
If anyone had asked…
Oh god if they had only known.
Keith shifted in his spot, uncrossing his arms and looked to Shiro. “No, not since last night. He wasn’t at breakfast.”
A cold feeling crept through Shiro, but he nodded and patted Keith’s shoulder. “I’m going to ask the others. Maybe Lance is sick.”
Keith nodded once, before his eyes drifted to land on the door he had been staring at for hours. He waited for his friend to walk through.
“Hunk! Pidge!” Shiro called, jogging over to the green and yellow paladin with a small smile.
“Shiro!” Hunk saluted and turned to face their ex-leader, smiling. Pidge rose a curious eyebrow.
“Have either of you two seen Lance this morning? We are doing something new today and we don’t want to start without him.” Shiro went straight to the point before the worry settled too hard in his gut.
“Lance? No…” Pidge replied, looking up at the black paladin and then around as if she were looking for the missing associate, and only just noticing he wasn’t there.
“I saw Lance on my way to the bathroom sometime early this morning. He looked like he just came from the hangar.”
Hunk started, innocence in his tone, “I asked him what he was doing and he nearly jumped out of his skin. But he smiled and said he had thought Blue sent him a distress wave, but it was a false alarm.”
Shiro and Pidge shared a look, and Pidge was the one to ask. “What time was that?”
Hunk thought momentarily. How long ago had that been? Was Lance back in the hangar now?
“Ugh, I’d probably say…like a few hours ago? It felt like three in the morning.” Hunk shrugged, rubbing the back of his neck.
An odd silence passed through them and no one was sure what to do. Go look for him? He was probably still in bed, or something like that.
Allura’s voice came over the com suddenly, “Paladins, we must start training. Where is Lance? He is not answering coms and he didn’t respond to the alarm system.”
Keith looked up quickly at that, “He wasn’t answering his coms?” His purple-ish eyes went across the room to the others, and apprehension set in.
“We should go look for him.” Pidge concluded, already starting for the door with Hunk at her heels.
“Yeah, Pidge and I will check the hallways, and the hangar.” Hunk informed, the duo off quickly.
“I’ll check his bedroom. Shiro, can you check the kitchen?” Keith asked, but it was more of an order.
“Of course.” And the search was on.
Keith left after Shiro, and made his way for Lances room. It was oddly quiet, no sounds of music or Lance singing or even a shower running. It made him uneasy.
He approached the door, and knocked once. “Lance?” No answer.
The former red paladin was not going to wait around for Lance to respond any longer, so he let the door open for him and he stepped into the dark room.
No signs of anyone being in here could be found, and Keiths brows furrowed. That was odd. Did Lance stay with the blue lion last night?
If so, Pidge and Hunk would be sure to find him, right? Standing in this room, something felt wrong to Keith.
Lance had been acting pretty strangely for the past few weeks. He had gotten quieter, and ha stopped voluntarily includin himself in the others events.
Keith was the only one who noticed.
He watched each time Lance tried to become part of the group, yet dos nothing as each time his voice was silenced.
It got to the point where Lance would just sulk off to his bedroom until dinner, or even breakfast the morning after.
Keith never did anything.
Lance shouldn’t be so weak, he should force himself into the circle and not wait to be allowed in, right?
Keith realized now he should have said something. Had Lance run away? Was he just hiding so someone would finally notice him?
As if on cue, a chorus of shouts erupted in Keiths skull and he was drawn from his reverie.
“—notes in our lions!”
“What? What was that, Hunk?” Keith asked, bolting from Lances room and making his way to the Hangar.
“Lance left these notes in our lions! We didn’t read them all but I think he’s in trouble.” Hunk said, voice nervous.
“He said something about leaving a place he didn’t belong. I’m not sure but I thin—”
Suddenly a harsh gasp wen through all Paladins heads, and a faint ‘No…’ entered their hearing.
“No, L-Lance…” Shiros voice cracked.
And then they were all running. Meeting in the halls they all made a break for the kitchen and their armor boots pounded on the floor of the castle.
When they finally made it to their destination… they couldn’t believe what they were seeing.
Shiro was frozen in an open doorway, staring in at a figure slumped forward near the sink.
And his jacket was tied around his neck and his skin was pale. His head was bowed forward, slightly tilted. He looked small and sad, as if he were sure ending to the fate that was strapped around his neck.
The jacket around his neck was tied tightly around the faucet of the sink, one sleeve tied in a half assed noose that was ill practiced.
“Lance!!!” Pidge screamed, and ran forward only to be yanked back by Shiro who held onto her an went to the ground.
Keith replaced Shiro, and stood frozen in he doorway. This…
Hunk was the one who approached Lance. He came forward very slowly and tilted his friends chin up, to look at him.
There were tear stains on his cheeks.
His tongue was swollen, and his chin wet, lips red rimmed along with his eyes. His cheeks were swollen just a little, the skin at his throat trapped and irritated by the jacket.
Hunk slowly cut it from his friends neck, and no one in that room would forget the way Lance just fell.
To his side, with deep ridges in his neck from the killing device. Hunk felt for a pulse but didn’t need to when his fingers touched Lances neck and he was freezing.
It had only been at most seven hours since Hunk saw his friend, alive and walking. This must have happened only moments after their meet.
A sob came from behind them and when Keith broke out of his daze to look, Pidge was holding slips of folded paper.
She read from one of them, and by then very one was in tears and no one had any idea what to do with Lance. They couldn’t look at him, couldn’t see him like that.
To see someone once so full of life snuffed out by his own choosing, quieter after acing a voice so loud.
It wasn’t fair.
How someone who was loved by others couldn’t love himself and now he was gone and nobody had the chance to say anything, to do anything.
Now, their friend was hanging by his own jacket on the kitchen sink. He had been so desperate to leave the horrid place they had made for him, so he went like…that.
Someone who used to bring so much light to a place in the darkest times, was now left in the darkness to his own demise an nobody was there to stop him.
He was that helpless, that desperate.
So lonely and so sad, to blow out the candle that everyone had been seeing by.
Oh god if they ha only known.
‘If you’re reading this, Keith, you probably know what happened. You’re probably dancing get my dead body right now anyway, ripping this up into confetti. So I’ll keep this short.
I wasn’t happy here. I didn’t feel I belonged with you guys anymore, as you cast me out and made it known I wasn’t wanted around. I wasn’t needed around.
Even Blue didn’t want me around anymore and I think that hurt the most. It really did.
I wish I could have been on better terms with you, but I understand why you hate me. I hated me too.
So I left. Sorry I had to do it in the kitchen like that but there’s not much of anywhere to hang from in this castle so I used the sink. I hope I didn’t break anything.
Isn’t that how that guy killed himself in that movie you liked? You told me it was actually a pretty popular way to go.
You know me, always trying to be one with the crowd. And Keith?
You were a great leader.
I really mean it.
P.S. Make sure Pidge sleeps. And Hunk eats, and that Shiro gets out of his room sometimes. Help Coran out around the castle. And flirt with Allura for me.’
Oh god if they had only known.