War changed things. Lance knew that.

Looking through history books, reading accounts of people who had fought and even died because of war, it should have been clear to most people that war changed things. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worst.

Lance wondered how much he had changed. He already knew his friends were changing.

Hunk and Pidge were getting more and more wrapped up in figuring out the tech. Pidge still used her free time to track down her family, but Hunk was now only fully devoting himself to cooking and baking when he was anxious, instead spending more time working on new technology to help with their missions.

And Keith…

Well, Keith hadn't changed too much, but losing Shiro had made everything worse for him.

Heck, losing Shiro had accelerated everything when it came to changes in the team.

Then again, Lance could really only name one way he had changed as he stared down at the red bayard.

A Paladin's bayard was meant to reflect the personality and skills of its wielder. Looking at his friends' bayards, he could literally see the manifestation of their changes even if they hadn't seemed to notice. Despite using the black bayard, Keith's sword with its funky handle was pretty much exactly the same, showing that he was the same Keith they all knew despite his newfound spot as leader. On the other hand, Pidge's grappling hook was sharper and spikier, deadlier, for her close combat maneuvers. Hunk's cannon was sleeker and more compact, making it easier to handle. They were both becoming more and more engrossed in this war.

Though it was interesting that all three of them, and Allura's bayard as well now that she used one, still had the basic bayard as a handle on their weapon.

Lance didn't anymore.

Lance summoned his blaster. Created through the red bayard, it was more compact and angular, its payload just slightly smaller but more intense than what he was used to. Still, it was essentially the same weapon he was used to except there was no sign of the bayard handle. In its place was a regular trigger that he now rested his finger beside.

Lance seriously didn't know what that was supposed to indicate about himself.

Lance took a steadying breath and started up the training sequence. With how dangerous things had become since Lotor had emerged, he needed to be at the top of his game and adjust to the changes in his role. He didn't necessarily like training, unlike Keith, but he would do it if needed.

His thoughts didn't stray from his training as he shot drone after drone after drone. He was glad that at least his shooting skills were as top notch as usual. If anything, his already impeccable aim was just getting better, especially now that he was training extra. It shouldn't have mattered so much to him that the gun was red instead of blue.

Lance sighed after the level finished and he looked at his bayard again. It was just as good as his old gun, so he couldn't really complain, but…

"Man, it'd be a lot easier to watch everyone's backs if I had an actual sniper rifle." He muttered to himself contemplatively. He kept talking to himself, just to help organize his thoughts. "It'd give me a better view of the battlefield, and I could assess everyone's needs better. Plus, I could take out high-end targets without us necessarily having to fight all the way to them." He studied his bayard for a second. "I mean, this is good for fighting on the ground and long distance, and in a pinch, I can make some extremely long distance shots, but still I…"

Lance stopped as his blaster glowed. His eyes blinked and then widened as he watched the gun lengthen in his hands, saw the scope adjust a bit, felt the weight distribution change. As the glow faded, he held in his hands an actual sniper rifle that he had just been imagining.

And Lance knew that they were in the middle of a war and all, but somehow seeing his bayard change into an entirely new form made him feel giddy excitement rushing through his veins.

He quickly raised the rifle and looked down its sight, and he marveled at how he could pick out minute details on the opposite wall. It was stunning, the quality of the view as excellent as most Altean tech! Lance called out to the computer to form a target there and tested how the actual shot felt as he lined up and fired, easily hitting the center.

As he brought it back down, he gazed at his bayard in amazement. This was just so…


Lance concentrated and to his relief, the bayard switched back to its blaster form. For a few minutes he practiced just switching between the two. It took a bit of thought now, but he knew that with more practice, he'd soon get the hang of it and be able to fluidly switch between the forms in combat.

Lance left it in its rifle form and he couldn't keep the grin off his face.

"Well, who's the cool, ninja sharpshooter now?"

AN: So it always kind of bothered me that they never really made a big deal out of Lance's bayard becoming a sniper rifle. Sure, looking at scenes in the later part of season 3, you can see that Pidge and Hunk's bayards have changed a bit, but they're pretty much the same. Lance was the first (and still the only) Paladin to unlock a new weapon for his bayard to turn into. And it wasn't even celebrated, he just turned up in an episode with a sniper rifle which just proves how much of a cool ninja sharpshooter he is despite what the others say. He can switch between three forms now and they actually made a big deal out of the whole sword thing, so then it kind of bothered me even more. Plus, looking at the weapon designs, Lance is the only one whose bayard weapon forms show no signs of the basic handle shape which I find fascinating. It just shows how flexible and adaptable Lance is and how he's grown into the role of Paladin overall.

And actually, I have so many problems with Keith's bayard sword. So many. The handle is gonna make him break his wrist and he has yet to do any dual wielding swords despite having two. What a waste.