Sorry that this took so long for me to write. More explanation at the bottom. And also, this is kinda dialogue-heavy and I feel like it sucks, but that might just because I know what's coming, haha. Anyways, just a heads up. Long chapter to make up for how long I've been gone. Songs for this chapter are "Little Bird" by the Weepies, "The Wolf" by Phildel, and "Carnivore" by Starset.

Sometimes it's hard to tell the truth from a lie
Nobody knows what's in the hold of your mind
We are all buildings and people inside
Never know who'll walk through the door
Is it someone that you've met before?

Chandler, Arizona [1]
Friday, July 28.
21:47 Military Time
9:47 PM Standard Time
McClain-Sanchez Household

Carla McClain-Sanchez sat in her living room, her husband beside her. Her son, who was hers, even if she had not carried him, was gone. Now, his birthday was coming to pass. There was no party, there was no cake, or Luciana back from college to binge on crappy fast food.

Xander McClain-Sanchez - or rather, Xio Almanty - rested his hand on the shoulder of his wife for so many years. "Let's go for a walk," he offered.

Carla smiled. It saddened her that here was her husband, doing the same things and offering the same encouragements that she had often given to Lance. "Alright." So she let her husband gently pull her to the door and the gardens and the small neighborhood that rested here in the little desert state. And as the door closed behind her and warm air engulfed her, Carla thought that maybe she heard her little boy singing in the streets again.

No, the singing was undeniably there, and as she halted in the middle of the asphalt road, she gasped and raised a hand to her heart.

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ɭคภςเ๏ кђгเร ร'คɭՇє, קгเภςє ՇՇђє ɭՇєคภ кเภﻮ๔๏๓, ђคร ﻮ๏ภє ๓เรรเภﻮ.

Շђгєє ๔คץร คŦՇєг ђเร ς๏๓เภﻮ ๏Ŧ คﻮє, Շђє ɭՇєคภ קгเภςє - ɭՇє๔ ฬเՇђ ๏ภɭץ Շкเภﻮ Շђє ςг๏ฬภ เŦ ђเร єɭєг รเรՇєг, ɭɭгєรץคє ร'คɭՇє, ๔เєร ๏Ŧ ยภןยรՇ ςคยรєร ๏г קгє๓คՇгєɭץ - єՇ ๓เรรเภﻮ เภ ค ﻮคɭгคภ гคเ๔ คﻮคเภรՇ Շђє кเภﻮ ๏Ŧ Շђє ɭՇєкเภﻮ๔๏๓. Շђє ɭє קคɭค๔เภ, אเ๏ภเש คɭ๓คภՇץ ฬคร คɭร๏ гєק๏гՇє๔ ๓เรรเภﻮ. Շ เร ๒єɭєשєՇђՇ ๒๏Շђ єгє кɭɭє๔ เภ Շђє гคเ๔. ๓๏гє ฬเɭɭ є ק๏รՇє๔ ฬђєՇђє ภ๏๒ɭє קคгՇץ ๓คкєร เՇ קย๒ɭς.

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Lancio Kharis s'Altea, prince to the Altean Kingdom, has gone missing.

Three days after his coming of age, the Altean prince - slated with only taking the crown if his elder sister, Allura Esyae s'Altea, dies of unjust causes or prematurely - went missing in a Galran raid against the king of the Altea Kingdom. The blue paladin, Xioniv Almanty was also reported missing. It is believed that both were killed in the raid. More will be posted when the Noble party makes it public.

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When Lance first set foot on Earth in so long, the sudden gravity change had startled him. He laughed and pushed himself off the dusty ground. Blue was back in the cave Lance had first found her in, hiding. Now, he stood in front of the Galaxy Garrison and watched as sirens and alarms went off, as cars and Garrison officers raced towards him. He was not scared; he was prepared for this.

It took them five minutes to be within half a mile. It another three before a semicircle of cars and motorbikes surrounded him. It took one minute before two recognizable figures stood before him.

Corporal David Harving had been a student teacher and recently graduated Second Class Private when Lance first enrolled in the Garrison. For some reason, he had hated the Cuban from the moment they met. The other familiar face belonged to Commander Iverson himself - glaring eyes, frown lines, and all. Lance almost laughed, his scowl familiar and almost humorous after all the that had passed.

"Who are you?' he asked. This time, Lance did laugh, aware that yes, he was wearing an entirely covering space suit that Mia had given him and that yes, he supposed he must have looked different now. Commander Iverson spoke again, "I said, state who you are." More forceful this time; Lance didn't laugh.

However he did smile as he reached up and easily tugged off the helmet, aware of his shorter hair[2] and the blue arches that curved across his cheekbones and temples, and rested above his brows [3] certainly gave him a different appearance, but not caring.

"I'm surprised you don't remember, Commander." Lance would admit to taking some pleasure in the half-awed, half-angry look on Iverson's face. "After all, I'm sure I wasn't your favorite. But seems like you were wrong; I turned out a perfectly fine pilot."

He wasn't expecting the gun shoved at his face. "What are you? Lance McClain disappeared and was presumed dead two years ago."

Lance's eyes widened. "Woah, what?" he breathed out. "It's been two years? I've been gone for two years ?" He hadn't been expecting that. He shook his head, he should have known. "Whatever, that's not why I'm here. I need to talk to y-"

Lance was abruptly cut off by the sound of a hammer being cocked. That wasn't good. Paying more attention, Lance realized that both Iverson and Harving - as well as another soldier Lance didn't know - had guns pointed at him. He was kinda disappointed that Earth didn't have laser guns like the Glara yet.

"Wow, okay," he muttered, not so under his breath. "Wasn't expecting that. Guess I forgot that Earth isn't as friendly as some other people out there." He squinted at a female soldier that seemed vaguely recognizable. "Or as hot." No one seemed to receive it well.

"Who are you ?" Iverson growled out. "I won't ask again." Wow, threatening. But it was the next thing that hit Lance hard, the stuttering realization somewhat unwelcome. He watched as several - at least 6 - people swung to point their guns at him. Really, a Beretta M9 [4] had nothing on the Galran laser guns. The familiar slight tug at his gut as quintessence swirled underneath his skin. It was a gut reaction, leftover from a different world.

A twitch of his fingers, and Lance heard the distinct sound of a gun jamming. There was a look of slight horror on Iverson's face as Lance grinned wickedly. Pushing his shoulders back and bolstering his wild smile, he spoke, "I told you, I'm Lance. And if you don't want to believe me, fine. I'm sure Shiro would have something to say, but whatever. He doesn't know where I went, probably. I still need to go." By this point, Lance wasn't even paying attention - too busy checking his watch, trying to resync it back to Earth Time. "I'm gonna go; I'll leave you be soon." He turned and started walking back towards where Blue was calling him from. It was the same gentle pull at the back of his mind as it had been - apparently - two years ago, when the five first stumbled through the desert and into this grand destiny that still shocked Lance sometimes. "Oh," he turned his head back slightly and called over his shoulder, "And trust me: there's more than just you humans out there. Not all of them are that nice. And be warned; the ones who will destroy you will come. Soon."

And with that he wandered back through sandstone cliffs and ridges, wincing only slightly at how he had said " you humans ". Well, it wasn't like he could deny it much longer anyway. Best to accept reality as it was. Come on, Blue. I think it's time I take my favorite lady to meet my mother , he thought out as he slid into the cave. The two burst into the sky once again in a matter of moments.

Lance hummed gently as he guided Blue down towards a dark neighborhood; he idly thought that he should thank Pidge for somehow managing to upload Green's invisibility to the other Lions. They quickly landed and Lance rested his head on her indigo forelimb. "I'll be back soon."

With that, he turned and began to wander through the familiar streets, not even noticing when he began to sing under his breath, nor realizing that it was rather late, indicated by the starry and sunless sky. Despite his almost aimless ways, he did indeed have a destination in mind; so as such, he couldn't be bothered when Mrs. Lòpez called out a frantic "Is that you Lance?

"There's nowhere left to hide, in no one to confide, the truth burns deep inside, and will never die ," he sung softly, remembering his mother, his Carla, and the beautiful songs she sung when no one could sleep, even songs that were never meant to be lullabies became ones in her sweet voice.

He turned the corner, arms crossed because of a lack of pockets to shove his hands in, meandering for only a moment more when he halted, a slow, genuine smile spreading across his face at the sight of the very two people he happened to be heading towards. He watched as they caught sight of him, as his mother raised one hand to her heart and the other to her mouth. He simply took it all in. his uncle had not changed, not once in all 10,000 or so years that he had lived; he still had those forever laughing eyes, that warm smile. Lance briefly wondered what happened to his cerulean crescents, before figuring that whatever it was didn't matter. His mother, though she was much the same and time had been kind to her, had still changed - as humans often did. The barely visible strands of silver were there nonetheless (though they did not age her, but make her hair seem to shimmer in the lamplight), laugh lines crinkled her face with joy, and her smile seemed just a little more frail. Though, perhaps that was from losing her son for so long , Lance thought with a wince. Any other observations were cut off as he found himself clutched in Carla's grip.

"Mi hijo, oh, mi hijo. Te extrañé, te extrañé tanto ," she cried into his ear, but he didn't mind much. Not when his shoulder was growing wet from her tears.

"I know, mamá , I know," he soothed as he ran a calming hand along her shoulder, but he gently pushed her back. An uncharacteristic frown fell onto his face. "But we have a lot to talk about. Soon. Now, really."

And just like that, the moment was over, now somber. His parents (well, mother and uncle) were quick to nod and rush him home. When he entered the house, it was so much the same: the curtains were still a rose gold that was really more orange, the carpet still brown, the living room walls still painted lavender, and the scent of cinnamon and vanilla lingered in the air. The only thing that had really changed was now the photo of Lance from the Garrison and the flag that rested unfurled on the wall.[5] " Your son fought honorably ," they would have said, " please accept this flag as a gift from the President of the United States. " It hurt Lance more than he was willing to admit. He settled into the red armchair, slightly uncomfortable with the all too familiar motion and the new knowledge that seemed to try and combat the feeling of coming home. All of it just lent a wrongness to the situation. He sighed.

"Lance?" his mother asked, picking up on the tense air of the room. Carla and Xavier - Xio - settled into the couch across from him. "What's wrong? Where have you been?"

Lance thought about how to answer the questions. Glancing at his watch, he bit back a curse. Going by the calculations of how long it would take them to find the next few clues, they would have just found the one that would lead them to the bhikkhuni. He had maybe two days at the least, three at the most, until his friends caught up with him here on Earth. He figured he could spend a day here catching his family up, asking questions, and explaining what was to come. Then he would have to leave, meeting his friends halfway there.

"I'll tell you a story," Lance finally said to the people who had raised him (the second time) after a long pause.

"Lance?" He could hear the worry in Carla's voice.

"It starts like this: a boy in piloting school is told that the only reason he's not a cargo pilot is because the best pilot in his class flunked out. So one night, he decides to sneak out off campus, and drags a friend along. On the roof, the two boys find their partner, who insists that they're getting alien messages. But there's one word that keeps popping up: Voltron." Lance ignored both Xio's and Carla's small gasps of realization.

"The three of them watch as some kind of ship crashes to Earth. But here's the kicker! It's not from Earth. The third hacks the Garrison security cameras and finds that Takashi Shirogane - who's been missing for at least a year - is practically being held hostage by the Garrison, who keeps saying that he's crazy because he's talking about, surprise, aliens. Oh, and there's that word again, Voltron.

"So the first boy decides that they should rescue them, but it looks like someone is about to beat them to it. Both supposed rescuers get there at the same time, and lo and behold, the mysterious interrupter is none other than Keith Kogane, the flunkie pilot himself.

"The five of them all make it out alive and manage not to be caught. But something strange is in the desert, and they end up in a cave. But wait - there's more! Because in the cave is a giant fucking blue lion and that first boy pilots it into fucking space and through a fucking wormhole and to a castle ." Carla winced at Lance's vulgarity, but didn't say anything; her hands were too busy being clutched to her chest in silent horror and awe. Xio was starting to realize where the story was going. "Where they find a sleeping alien princess who decides, 'screw it, I need you guys to fly these Lions and help me defeat this evil alien race called the Galra'. So they do; they became Voltron and tried to save the universe. But let me tell you, Zarkon isn't easy to defeat."

A heavy silence filled the room. Lance felt tired and drained, and he just wanted this whole thing to be over. Wanted to collapse at the dinner table in the Castle of Lions, Keith by his side and laugh when Shiro responded to Pidge jokingly calling him dad. He just wanted some peace. But it seemed that the universe wasn't going to give him that yet. If ever.

Eventually, it was Xio who cut the silence, the moment before having felt exceptionally long, but really one lasted a minute or two at most. He said, "Zarkon is still alive? How? After all this time… it's been 10,000 years - at least. So…?" He sounded resigned, but worried, maybe even slightly fearful. Then again, learning that the man who almost killed you thousands of years ago is still alive would do that to you, Lance supposed.

"I… we don't know. But when 'Lura woke up, he was kicking and fighting. Almost got us a few times, too."

Even though Lance had tipped his head back and was staring at the ceiling, he could tell his uncle was wearing a relieved smile. "So," he said, sounding a little happy, "Allura's still kicking? Figures. She always was a fighter, that one."

Lance laughed with him, "Yeah, that she is." He glanced over and sat up as Carla stood.

She smiled down as him and said, "Well, I can heat up some leftover ropa vieja, you must be hungry. Oh, don't look at me like that, cielo ." She laughed at Lance's startled expression. "Xio explained all of this to me years ago - the whole alien thing. I am his wife after all." And with that, she whisked out of the room and into the kitchen, only to return moments later with a plate of food. She handed the heavenly-smelling and steaming dish to the teen and returned to her seat once again.

"So, tell me where we go from here," she said.

"Right," Lance said and took a deep breath, "I have 'til this time tomorrow, but then I got to go again. The war with Zarkon… well, it's still a war and we're still fighting it. But I needed this too, for closure's sake. Anyway, tomorrow night, Blue and I will head off and I'll find the other Paladins, try to explain what's going on. I've been solo for at least a month, Earth time, but I've also been planting the seeds and making connections. I've got some pretty good ones, too.

"And then, I guess we try to win a war. I just have to hope that it doesn't get here first."

Xio nodded, lacing his fingers together and leaning forward. "Want me to help with any strategies? And it's nice to hear you've got Blue with you. You always were each others favorites."

"Yeah," Lance nodded, before smiling up at his family (because they were undeniably that). "But tonight, I'd just like to enjoy being back here."

"Of course." They smiled at him as well. And that was that. A universe-wide revolution would start at the third dawn to come, but for the night, it was only them that existed.

Lotor tapped his fingers, waiting. He had once again found himself in exile. Not that that was unusual, he had been in an almost constant exile since he was 12. He supposed, to others, it made sense as a half-Galra was certainly unfit to rule. He curled a lip up in an almost sneer at the thought. And really, the hybrid part of him showed through: his skin just a little paler purple than it should be, his eyes, his ears, his hair.

But that was a completely different conversation, and here the problem was that he was waiting. For, possibly, far too long. And that particular train of thought sent him back to an encounter that must have been several quintants ago. The boy (he assumed) had looked, oddly, slightly Altean. It could possible there was some in him, though highly unlikely.

It was not his stature nor his heritage that intrigued Lotor. No, that belonged to a deal made deep in the night. He was not sure why he had rescued the male; perhaps the quintessence had been calling to him, he would think later. It had taken him less than an hour, and - surprisingly - the two where having a rather stimulating conversation. Lotor would admit to no one that the other was one of the first intelligent conversation partners he had had in a long time - in a phoeb[6], at least.

"So ," the boy had said. " You don't really agree with Zarkon, do you? " The question had caught the prince just slightly off-guard (only barely, any more would be unacceptable), but it wasn't wrong in assumptions. So he had arched a brow and tilted his head just a fraction to the left. The other had grinned, his answer found. " Then let's make a wager. I - well, my team and I, really - will be in an asteroid belt not far from here in a few quintants, ten probably. Can't say much now, but we'll be there. We've got plans to take him down; don't see why we couldn't use your help. " He had smiled widely - wildly - and stood, leaving right then and there. Disappeared over hills.

And really, who was Lotor to disagree. After all, he did not especially agree with his father. So, he would wait, for the blue-clad "Lance", sitting here in this asteroid belt. He would see where the quintessence took him, where the beautiful boy who stirred memories of Altea took him. Ultimately, he too was a slave to the quintessence's whims.

Keith Kogane considered himself several things, but when it came to Lance he was exactly four things: confused, a mess, definitely head-over-heels in love, and frankly, a little terrified. He had had maybe five days, tops, with his boyfriend before said boyfriend disappeared. And, if he were to be honest, this "treasure hunt" of Lance's was tearing apart his nerves.

He was both heavily annoyed that Lance would do something so stupid , but also incredibly worried about the blue-eyed boy's safety because he was doing something so stupid and could get himself hurt. And then he was confused. One of those crystals had lead them to the Blade of Marmora, a rebel group fighting Zarkon, and Keith had eventually come to terms with the fact that he was part-Galra. But what confused him was the words he occasionally heard Allura or Coran tossing around. Not that they were hard to understand, but rather that what they meant was starting to confuse him. Notably, the possibility that Lance was Allura's long-lost, presumed-dead, brother. Which would make him Altean. All in all, the whole situation was making his head hurt.

He looked at the stars they zoomed past. They had just left the bhikkhuni - which seemed to be the Altean equivalent of a Galran druid - and they were about to watch the crystal. Returning his gaze to the rest of his friends, and the crystal in Pidge's hand, he settled back into his seat, heart beating rapidly. Pidge gripped the crystal for a moment before they started up the video.

The hazy screen appeared in the room and Lance's face filled the screen. His smile shined out at them, and the blue smudges were taking on a definite shape now. " Hey guys ," he shifted and ran a hand through his hair. As Keith watched the motion, his eyes widened when he realized Lance had cut his hair. " God, I just - I miss you guys so much. I guess I can finally tell you where I've been headed this time. It's - well, it's Earth. " He gave a little, awkward laugh. " I know, I know what you're thinking, but here me out. I have these plans - and it's all falling into place and - oh, I can't really tell you yet, hmm. But just trust me here. I know what I'm doing. It's almost funny, you know. Oh, but just you wait. It's going to be fantastic. "

He sat up again and Keith could tell the video was quickly reaching its end. " There's an asteroid belt no far from where you guys should be. I'll be there soon, so wait for me there ," Lance said with that smile again. The one that melted Keith's heart every single time he saw it. Lance waved and the image cut out.

Allura changed their route to head towards that asteroid belt, and the Paladins split up again. Without Lance, the atmosphere had become somber and somewhat tense. They all just wanted Lance back. The sooner, the better. Damn it , Keith thought before whispering under his breath, "I'm coming for you, Lance."

First off, the reason that this is so late is because I lost a lot of inspiration. I hit a rough patch of writer's block and sadly it took me months to get over it. Once I did though, I can tell you I wrote a majority of this chapter in two or three days that I could get my hands on a computer. Lotor is starting to become more important, Lance is back on Earth, and the plot thickens. I really hope you guys like this chapter, which I made longer than normal (though I wanted this to be at least another 500 to 1000 words longer, I hope just over 4,000 is okay). And now, here's what the notes mean:

[1] I noticed I put down Cuba many times earlier, but I felt that Arizona made more sense, so assume that at some point they moved there. I also headcanon Arizona to be where the Galaxy Garrison is, which is why there isn't a time/place stamp there.

[2] Shorter hair is based and inspired by this, just remove the spaces ( i . pinimg 736x/ c7/ e7/ c8/ c7e7c8e14be2df0fc6e6399fdedbb71c-new-haircuts-hair-cut . jpg).

[3] I have this headcanon that those colorful patches are somewhat personalized for everyone. Even though we see all Alteans with the same marks, it's just an idea I like, haha.

[4] Common and typical military /

[5] It would probably look like this, just remove the spaces( www . united-states-flag media/ catalog/ category/ air-force . jpg)

[6] Time expressions are as such:

Phoeb = about a month

Quintant = about a day

I think those are all the time expressions I used. If not, let me know and I'll fix that.

Anyways, that's the chapter. I hope you enjoyed it and I'm really sorry about the super long wait. Also, the lyrics in the chapter are as follows: at the beginning, the lyrics were from "Little Bird" by the Weepies and later when Lance is singing, the lyrics used are from "Sing For Absolution" by Muse.