Hey guys! This is my first entry for Whumptober! Teeeeeechnically it was supposed to be under 1000 words, but... eh. That was just to avoid people overworking themselves, so it's fine, right? Yeahhhh

Okay, so this fanfic fought tooth and nail with me to first, not be written, then, to be written, so this has been a painful ride. If I'm gonna be honest, this really hurt to write, so I hope this will impact you guys too. (:

Alrighty, warnings contain spoilers so if you aren't worried about triggers or anything, just scroll down to the horizontal line.

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Warnings: Implied Character Death

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Edit: This story has been rewritten. (The first of many.) (; Thank you to ninjakittyofdoom and Seeking7 for looking this one over. You both gave me so much confidence (as well as great suggestions! (; ) and I really appreciate it!


"You can't honestly be doing this Pidge." The words were harsh, but the underlying concern was evident.

Pidge let out a huff at her brother's words. "Yes, I am. We all are." She glanced away, uncomfortable with seeing the fear her actions were causing. "We have to. "

Matt, however, was having none of it. "Look at me. This is suicide, Pidge. There's no coming back from this!" His words were rushed and panicked, desperate for her to understand.

Pidge had to swallow down the guilt that his words brought to her. If anyone else brought that tone into her typically light-hearted brother's voice, she would have kicked the quiznak out of them. But this time it was her, and she wasn't going to back down either. She couldn't. "You think I don't know that? I'm extremely aware that every time we go on a mission we might not all return. That's how it always is. That's how it is every time you go on a mission too. It's just..." She let out a breath, physically caving in on herself as she wrapped her arms over her chest. "Just a part of the job."

Matt hated the defeat in Pidge's tone. His sister was always too stubborn for her own good, never giving in and never giving up. The fact that she was doing both right now was heartbreaking and he refused to allow it to continue. "Well, it shouldn't be!" he snapped. "You're a 15-year-old girl, Pidge! You should be home worrying about prom and homework and what you want to do with your life. You shouldn't be out in space fighting evil alien races and trying to stop planets from blowing up." Okay, Matt knew that that sounded a little selfish, but it was true, wasn't it? His sister didn't deserve this life. Even without the constant danger and trauma, Pidge had completely missed out on normal childhood activities. It wasn't fair.

Pidge just gave him a scathing look. Voice dripping with sarcasm, she replied, "Oh, sorry, Matt. I'll just be sure to quit my role as paladin so I can go home and think about what dress I want to wear to prom."

Matt ran a hand over his face, frustrated that Pidge wouldn't listen to his reasoning. "You know what I mean! This isn't your responsibility. For once, just let somebody else do it." He couldn't bring himself to care about the pleading tone in his voice.. If that was what it took to keep his sister alive, then screw his pride. "...I can't lose you," he said, his voice breaking on the last word. He stared at her, big eyes hiding none of his emotions, begging her to realise how badly he needed her alive.

Some of the bite left Pidge's voice at seeing her big brother so openly desperate, but the fire remained in her eyes. "Look, I know how hard this is. I know how hard it is to send your sibling off into space without knowing if they're going to return and it sucks, okay? But it's what needs to be done. I let you and Dad go. Now you need to let me go." Pidge squared her shoulders, knowing that she had played a low card, but she held her ground anyway. She had known coming into this conversation that things were going to get messy.

And she was right. The comment was all too effective at taking that broken look off of Matt's face as all of his loose emotions swiftly changed to anger. Matt's face was red and his entire body trembled like it was ready to explode. "That's different, Pidge! You didn't send us off to space thinking that we were going to die. It was just a space exploration project!" He glared back at her and sneered, "And we both know that you didn't accept anything. You just couldn't stop it." Normally these topics wouldn't be touched with a 10-meter stick, but Matt knew he couldn't afford to pull any blows. Too much was riding on this fight.

Pidge threw her arms up in frustration, her voice raising to rival her brother's. "Well, then don't accept it, but you can't stop it either." Her anger faded slightly as she glanced away. "I don't want to do this either, but I have to." Her eyes settled back on Matt's face, once again flaring with determination. "If we don't go, everybody on that planet is going to die. Five lives for the price of billions is nothing! You know, I can't believe how selfish you're being about this." Pidge's voice was laced with disgust, knowing how hard that would hit. In truth, she was relieved Matt cared enough to fight her on this and she knew she'd do the same in his place. But there was a difference. Matt was just part of an organisation. He had a duty to his missions, but whether he accepted those missions was up to him. Pidge, though... Pidge was part of Voltron. Pidge had a responsibility to the entire galaxy, and she couldn't fail them just because her brother thought she shouldn't have to. Even if there was a part of her that agreed.

Matt's gaze darted around the room as if looking for someone else, his expression incredulous. "Selfish? I'm trying to save you! Please, just for once in your life, let me protect you!"

Pidge huffed, fighting back every part of her being to not let her mask fall. She remembered saying the same thing to him once, after all. Forcing venom into her voice, Pidge drove home her weapon. "It's a little late for that, Matt." She snapped, not missing the way Matt flinched back slightly. Pidge was practically saying that he had failed her. That wasn't what she wanted her parting words to her brother to be because they weren't true at all. But right now, she needed to use whatever arsenal she had.

Taking a step forward, Pidge continued. "We're at war, Matt. And I'm a key player. So if this is what my duty calls for, then this is what I'm going to do, okay? I am not going to fail my team. I'm not going to doom an entire planet for you." Her words were spat and somewhere deep down, she hoped Matt knew that she didn't mean any of this. She just needed him to back down and, if she were being honest, this was a cover up of her own fear too. But she knew that there was no way she'd convince him to let her go if he knew that.

Matt glared back at her, then definitely stepped over to the doorway. Putting his arms out to block the exit, he met her eye. "Well I'm not going to let you go." The anger had disappeared and was replaced with pure determination.

Pidge knew her brother's challenge face like the back of her hand, but she had never seen him look this fierce. A part of her wanted to back down. To wrap herself up in her brother and allow the fear and pain to come out. Matt would let her, too. The second she backed down, all of her cruel words would be forgotten, and Matt would reassure her that everything was going to be okay. It didn't matter though, because he couldn't make this better. Him standing in front of the door made little difference. The outcome was still the same. Crossing her arms and hardening herself for what she may have to do, Pidge responded, "You think you can stop me?"

"You think I could live with myself if I didn't try?" His words were clipped, but honesty rang through them.

Pidge let out a shaky breath, struggling to keep her emotions at bay when Matt was being so open. Gosh, this hurt. "Matt-"

He shook his head. "No, Pidge. I'm not gonna let you do this."

Hating that it had come to this, Pidge painfully pulled out her bayard. She fought to keep her hand from quivering. She knew she could take Matt out easily, but had really hoped she could avoid this. But time was ticking and she needed to leave. Lifting her chin, she said, "Yes, you will."

Matt didn't even glance at the weapon, but Pidge could tell he noticed it from how his shoulders squared. He stared straight back at her, and Pidge felt like he was looking into her soul. "You would never hurt me," he said confidently. There was no fear in it, no attempt to convince her of something. It was just a statement, and one that he had no doubt in.

His confidence made it even harder for Pidge to keep herself from shaking. She licked her lips, finding her mouth suddenly dry. "Not more than I need to. But right now, you're not giving me much choice."

Matt didn't break from the stare, his eyes narrowing in dubiety. "What about Dad? What about Mom?" He knew he was running out of power cards, but he didn't know what else to do at this point. If Pidge thought he was going to let her go off and die with only the threat of harm, she was wrong.

Pidge knew what he was trying to do, though, and she refused to play along. Gritting her teeth, she pushed out, "Mom already thinks I'm dead."

"And when she finds out you weren't?"

Pidge held her head higher. "Then she'll be proud that I died a noble death." In truth, her mother would be devastated, and they both knew it. Wanting to get off the subject quickly, she took a step forward. "Now move. I have to go."

Matt just pushed her back through. "I'm not moving."

Pidge swallowed thickly, fixing her resolve. "Then, I'm sorry," she said, voice tight. Pidge activated her bayard by her side and brought it up.

"Pidge..."

Pidge couldn't deny the shaking of her hand now, and she felt her eyes fill with tears. "I'm sorry, Matt," she said, forcing it past the lump in her throat. Could she really do this? Sure, she and Matt had rough-housed before but this... This felt like a betrayal. She carefully set her bayard to stun, ensuring she wouldn't hurt him any more than needed. "I really didn't want our last goodbye to end like this, but I guess I should have known that you wouldn't just let me go." She gave him a sad smile, the first tears leaked from her eye. At the breaking of her mask, Matt relaxed his stance slightly. Taking advantage, Pidge jabbed her brother in the stomach, sending the electricity through her bayard. She closed her eyes at the cry of pain it ripped from him.

Her breaths were heaving now, and all pretenses of strength or anger were gone. This was her last chance for a real goodbye. "You've always been the best older brother I could have asked for." Her voice was high-pitched and trembling and tears were streaming down her face, but she needed to say this.

Matt groaned, trying to stand, but barely managed to push his torso up. He shook his head, denial filling his strained voice. "No..."

Pidge shook her head back. Matt had lost. She bent down and wrapped her arms around him, continuing as if Matt hadn't said anything. "So just... keep being awesome, okay? Take care of Mom and Dad for me."

"Please..."

Matt's voice was getting more desperate, but Pidge knew if she stopped now, she wouldn't be able to finish. Wouldn't be able to leave her brother here, hurt and helpless. "And Bae Bae too." she choked out, still clutching him. "Remember, no more than five treats a day, no matter how much he begs." She pulled back, trying to crack a smile, but her quivering lips ruined the attempt.

"Pidge..."

Pidge pushed herself up, quickly wiping at her face. She tried to keep her voice chipper, ignoring the obvious sobs wracking her body. "And we never know! Maybe this is all unnecessary and I'll be back in just a few vargas." Pidge glanced down at Matt's lanky form, his muscles still twitching from the shock. Her face began to collapse, and she quickly turned to face the door.

Matt's heart stopped, his breathing turning ragged. "Wait!"

Pidge paused, but didn't turn around, not trusting herself. "No, Matt, it's time for me to go, but I'll see you later, okay?"

No, no, no. If Pidge left this room, he would never see her again. He would lose his baby sister.

"Katie!" The yell tore itself from the bottom of Matt's soul, exposed and desperate. Pidge couldn't ignore it, despite knowing it would be easier if she did. She slowly turned around and her wet eyes met Matt's own shimmering ones. "Please." His voice broke and Pidge's heart clenched at the fact she was doing this to him. "You're my baby sister. I'd do anything for you, just please, do this one thing for me." His shoulders heaved as tears fell to the ground, but he refused to look away from Pidge's eyes.

Pidge couldn't deny hearing his last request, even though she knew what it probably was. So she listened in silence as her brother tried to collect himself. It looked physically painful to speak and when he did it was just one anguished plea. "Stay."

Matt stared up at his little sister, begging her with every ounce of his being, looking at her like she was breaking his world.

Pidge's eyes were swollen from crying as she stared back. She had never been able to refuse him when he asked her for something so vulnerably.

She had never seen him more vulnerable than he was now.

Swallowing a sob, she squeezed eyes tight. She couldn't stand to look in those eyes anymore. Not when she couldn't grant him the one thing he needed. "I'm sorry, Matt. I'm sorry." She turned back towards the door, stopping with her hand on the handle. "...I love you."

Before Matt could respond, Pidge had left, leaving her broken brother on the floor, unable to do anything but cry out for her to come back. He hadn't even been able to tell her that he loved her too. She was gone, just like that.

A few vargas later, Matt was able to move again. He wasted no time rushing to the control room. Coran was standing there, his posture more defeated than Matt had ever seen it.

At the sound of his running, Coran turned around. Their eyes met and, after a moment of complete silence, Coran slowly shook his head. Matt's heart fell as his world shattered completely.

He was too late.


Hey!

So, if I did this correctly, I hope you're hurting right now (in the least sadistic way possible). (;

Okie, but I really adore scenes of writing when there's no winning and each character is desperate to get the other to agree with them. Honestly, I want to act out this scene. That being said, it's kinda draining, so while there will probably be more high-stakes fights like this, they'll probably be sporatic (and probably happier endings too).

Anyways, that's all for this fic! The prompt was "Stay.", which was fun to play around with! Don't worry, more Pidge angst will be coming with Fragmentation and future fics!

Edit: After I posted this, I realised I hadn't backed all of the intensity by the description, making it seem melodramatic (even with the insanely high stakes). So, I went in to try to add a little and... ended up basically rewriting it and tripling the story length. Anyway, I personally feel a whole lot better about it now and I'd love if those of you who read it before would give it another shot! My hope is that it will be far more effective now. It's practically a new fic with all the editing I did, haha.

Also, I personally think it's very likely that the team did in fact survive. Same way the finale siked us, it would definitely be a valid interpretation to assume that Coran and Matt only think they died. One day, I may write an optional sequel of a reunion (let me know if that's something you'd be interested in!), but I'm trying to keep my focus on finishing up my other fics first so it'd be awhile. (;

Thank you so much for reading! I'd love to hear your thoughts and feelings if you'd like to review!

Remember, y'all are amazing and loved!

-Sakarrie (: