Disclaimer: I do not own Voltron or any of its characters. If I did, things would've been different.
How Far I'll Go
Lance's earliest memories were of the ocean. It wasn't the ocean in one particular way or another, which suited it perfectly. After all, that was the nature of water, always changing, never the same. The ocean in his memories was snatches of bright skies and even brighter waves, everything a brilliant blue. It was moments of gray skies and choppy waves. It was glimpses of rain meeting the ocean, sometimes gentle and sometimes so rough that they had to retreat from the onslaught.
But the big moment, the defining moment for him, was his earliest and clearest moment of the ocean. He had to have been only about three years old, his tiny hand clasped in his mother's as she helped him walk through the sand where water met land. His older siblings had been running around, waving sparklers in some type of celebration, but his attention had been solely on the ocean before him.
It was a clear night and the ocean had been surprisingly gentle and still. The water reflected the shimmering stars above and it was as if they were one and the same, an endless void filled with stars stretching into infinity.
Lance had tried to go to it, taking wobbling steps to try to touch the stars that seemed just within his grasp. The sight had been so pretty and a siren's song had called him to the stars both above and below.
It was only his mother's firm grip and soft chiding that had prevented him from going into the water, but it was at that moment that Lance knew. Even back then in the way only a child could really know, he knew.
Lance wanted to touch the stars.
As he got older, of course, he learned that it was pretty much impossible. One did not go around touching giant balls of flames that would burn you up pretty much instantly. So Lance had instead settled on traveling among them instead.
It surprised his family at first a bit. After all, they knew that he loved the ocean. His sister remarked on more than one occasion that she was pretty sure he was part mermaid with how much time he spent at the beach and in the water.
And it was true that he was still drawn to the ocean. Lance often found himself wandering to the beach whenever he needed to think, the sound of the waves as comforting as a heartbeat and calming him down. Sometimes, he thought he could be content just with this.
But then he would look out to where the sky met the sea and he'd feel that call once more. A voice urging him to fly in the sky and to the stars beyond the beautiful blue.
The ocean and its waters, ironically, grounded him as his head and heart called him to the skies.
Luckily, his family, though not fully understanding the appeal, still supported him as best they could.
His mother worried about him leaving.
"The Garrison is so far away." She fussed a bit, muttering in Spanish, as she helped him pack. "Are you sure that's where you want to go? There are other programs; ones that don't have you start so soon…"
"It'll be great!" Lance had assured her as he glanced up. "Besides, that's where Shiro is!" Lance had watched the interviews with Takashi Shirogane, one of the Garrison's best and brightest graduates and already an ace pilot despite only being in his twenties. He couldn't help but think that he was sort of amazing.
His mother chuckled at that, ruffling his hair. Lance whined but he secretly loved it, knowing that he wouldn't get this kind of affection anymore once he was gone.
"Hey, do you think I'll get to meet Shiro?" He asked. He knew that Shiro was one of the instructors at the Garrison, but he didn't know what the chances of him actually getting to meet him one on one were like.
His mother smiled. "If you want to, I'm sure you will." There was a knowing glint in her eye as she gazed first at him and then through the window to where they could see a glimmer of the ocean winking at them. Lance wondered if she was seeing something he wasn't.
"Mijo, as long as you put your mind to it, you can do anything."
Lance made sure to stop at the ocean one more time before he left. He walked into the shallows just to feel the waves cresting over his feet. He leaned back, closing his eyes, and took a deep breath of the salty air. For a moment, he and the ocean were one and the same.
And then he opened his eyes and fixed his eyes on the horizon.
This was the first step.
Being at the Garrison was harder than he thought it would be. It was so far from home, and despite calling home every other week, he still felt the absence of everyone in his family like he was missing a vital organ.
And with as much as he missed his family, he missed the ocean just as much.
Lance found he couldn't sleep at night without the noise of the waves and the constant sounds of a house filled to the brim, so he took to wearing headphones and listening to music in order to fall asleep. His roommate Hunk was nice enough not to make a big deal of it and was actually pretty accommodating to the posters and pictures Lance hung up around his bed as well as the numerous beauty supplies taking up their bathroom counter. Lance was certainly grateful for getting paired up with Hunk as he couldn't imagine sharing a room with Keith or, even worse, James.
However, Lance missed the waters of his home and ironically felt as though he was adrift in the middle of the sea without it. The Garrison was in the middle of the desert so there weren't really any bodies of water nearby, not even a pathetic little puddle, that Lance could potentially use to help right himself.
One night, Lance just couldn't take it anymore. He just couldn't sleep, but there was no ocean for him to match his breathing and heartbeat to or…
Well, actually, that might work. There was something else he could use.
Very slowly, Lance got out of his bed. He tread carefully as he pulled on his jacket and softly opened the door. Hunk slept like the dead even as he snored like a fog horn, but Lance still didn't want to take any chances.
Lance slinked through the hallways, knowing that if he got caught it'd be game over. Curfew was past hours ago, but he needed this. Plus there was a bit of a thrill to sneaking around a military base without anyone knowing. He was almost surprised at the lack of obstacles he came across. Now, if he was right, then what he sought would be right around the corner.
Lance smirked slightly as he eased open the door. Shockingly, it wasn't locked, but Lance was glad that it wasn't. In all seriousness though, he never would have thought the Garrison was so relaxed in its security.
Lance made his way up to the roof of the dorm building and settled against the shed up there. He gazed up at the stars above and finally, finally, he felt his heart begin to calm at the sight of the distant twinkling lights.
After all, it may have been a different angle, but this was still the same sky that stretched over his beloved ocean. The same stars that had been calling him as long as he could remember.
Lance didn't know how long he sat there and stargazed. Eventually though he picked himself up and stealthily made his way back to his room. He knew this wouldn't be the last time he snuck out.
Everyone needed a reminder now and then of what made it all worth it.
Blue felt like the ocean.
Every time they went on break, Lance mostly tried to visit home and his familiar shores of Varadero Beach, but still it felt like it had been forever since he had been to the ocean.
Funnily enough given the circumstances, meeting Blue, connecting with her, feeling her power like this was like getting a small sip of sweet water after trudging through the desert for days.
It was invigorating.
The Blue Lion thrummed around him and he felt alive. She was the waves upon which he had surfed and swam in. She was picnics at the beach, running through the surf, hidden tide pools containing treasures, and so much more. She was constantly changing, adapting, he felt it in his blood and knew it was true even though this was his first time meeting her. He could hear a heartbeat in his ears and he wasn't sure if it was his or hers.
But overall, all he could feel was a deep sense of joy, deeper than maybe the ocean itself. She pranced through the air, staying at the helm of the controls that he held in his hands, and all he could hear was the constant beat in his mind as regular as the tide. You found me! You found me! You found me!
In a way, as she took off into the atmosphere and let him take control himself, Lance knew that she was kind of like him. They were both of the water, from the shifting oceans to the glaring glaciers to wispy fog that hung in the air like gauze, but they loved, they belonged in, the sky.
And as they both shot up and up, higher and higher, Lance could feel her excitement mirrored in his own emotions.
He was finally going to reach the stars.
It only struck him just now how vast space was and how far away Earth really was.
"Yeah, but I mean, like, they're really, really far away. Like, say, Earth? It's so far, I can't even see it. The...the blue oceans, the white clouds, green grass... I can't... I can't see any of it."
Lance was finally out in the stars that had called for him ever since he could remember. This was always his dream, his wish. Unfortunately, he was also in a war and he had no clue when he would be able to go home, if ever. He wasn't about to leave everyone in the lurch; clearly he had to do what he could in order to help other people, both his new teammates and the rest of those under Zarkon's tyranny.
But still, who would have thought that as soon as he achieved his dream, in a way, it would immediately be replaced with a longing to go home. To return to the waters from whence he came. To hug his mother at least once more.
Lance couldn't even call her like he did back at the Garrison. And he was a lot farther away than he had ever imagined when he first decided to become a pilot, to reach the stars.
Luckily, he wasn't alone. Lance took some solace in that. He didn't know what he would do if he didn't have the others here.
He was grateful for Coran's solidarity and understanding and Lance even smiled a bit as he stood to follow him back to the party.
Maybe things wouldn't be too bad.
Things were bad. And it was like they steadily got worse and worse as the war went on.
Things changed and Lance adapted as needed. He switched from the Blue Lion to the Red Lion, leaving the last remnant of his home and ocean behind. He did his best to support his friends however he could. He fought and fought and fought as the enemies grew stronger, the manipulations became trickier, the line between good and bad became fainter. He did his best, even when it felt like it wasn't enough.
And it felt like they were only getting further and further away from Earth, from home. If not distance wise, then Lance certainly felt like he was getting further and further away from who he was, who he had been.
He wasn't sure if that was a good thing. He wondered who he'd be by the end.
Despite how they had appeared when he was younger, glowing and pretty and warm, the stars were a surprisingly cold place to be.
They were going back to Earth.
Even though things were at their absolute lowest they could get, Lance could barely contain the zing of happiness that went through him.
They were going home.
The ocean was just as Lance remembered it.
Sure, they had come across other planets that had water and oceans but there was nothing quite like Earth's oceans anywhere else in the universe. Lance could guarantee that.
After hopping out of his Lion, Lance just took a moment for himself. He stripped off his shoes and socks and just stood in the surf for a bit. He closed his eyes and breathed in the salty air, a smile slipping onto his face.
For the first time in a very long time, he felt centered, no longer adrift.
And then Lance turned, tugging his shoes and socks back on, and tread an all too familiar path. He wound his way up and stood in front of his door, old habits forcing him to pat his pockets before he realized he had left his keys for home back at the Garrison before all this began.
"Well, maybe I just have to knock." Lance breathed in once more before lifting his hand up.
From within, he could already hear the sounds of constant chatter, creaks of the floorboards, the patter of feet constantly moving. That was enough to make his heart begin to lift up in his chest.
But it truly didn't soar until the door opened and Lance found himself face to face with the person he had wanted to see the most in the entire universe.
His mother had a smile on her face as usual as she opened the door, but her expression froze as she saw him before her. Her eyes widened as they examined him, as if she couldn't believe what she was seeing. He could understand the sentiment, because he was feeling it himself.
Lance had traveled farther than he could have ever imagined when he first felt the call of the stars. He'd seen sights that most humans couldn't even begin to fathom. But for him, this was the most beautiful place, the best place, the safe harbor for a wandering sailor.
Lance cracked a smile. "Mamá."
She screamed in joy and threw her arms around him, drawing him in and he embraced her back, holding on as tight as he could. She was sobbing out his name and it quickly drew everyone else's attention and he could hear them all stampede for the front door. As they realized what was going on, they joined in the yelling, a familiar clamor of Spanish that drowned out pretty much everything, and the hugging and Lance relished every single moment.
"I'm home." Lance told his mother, but he didn't think anyone could hear him over the racket. It didn't stop the grin growing on his face or the wet heat prickling at his eyes. "Estoy aquí."
In the end, it didn't matter how far Lance went, as long as he could come home in the end.
AN: Happy Birthday, Lance! So this is the main fic I've been working on in celebration of Lance's birthday. When I first started watching Voltron, I really connected a lot between Moana and Lance, in both its music and several of its themes. I think Lance would like both of the main Disney movies that are centered around the ocean, but with this song especially (and it's sort of reprise I Am Moana), I really thought it suited Lance. So this is pretty much a story about Lance, his goals, the ocean, and the stars.
Also, pretty much all of the dialog that happens with Lance and his family is meant to be in Spanish, but I'm not confident enough in my Spanish to write it like that. I thought of at least having the final part in Spanish, but after several hours of trying to find an equivalent to "I'm home", I couldn't find one that was commonly used or sounded right, so I instead combined the "I'm home" with "Estoy aqui" which sounded a lot better to me.
Thanks for reading on this beloved day of Lance's birth!