I am finally through with my finals, and am done with school until January! WOO-HOO!

So, this is a piece that I've been working on since...yikes, since August. And it's finally done! It occurs during the last couple of episodes of Voltron season seven, so SPOILERS. LOTS AND LOTS OF SPOILERS.

But I think you guys'll like this one. After all, who doesn't love a nice big dose of Langst?

WARNINGS: Blood, off-screen minor character death, injuries


DISCLAIMER: I do not own Dreamworks Voltron: Legendary Defender. I'm just torturing their characters for kicks and giggles.


Ringing in My Ears (I'm Fine)

"Hello?!" Keith's voice was panicked. "Lance?! Pidge?! Hunk?! Allura! Anyone!"

"I'm here, Keith," Allura called from somewhere.

"Me, too!" Hunk chimed in. He groaned. "Man, how much time did we lose?"

"From my calculations, about an hour," Pidge replied, sounding thoroughly perturbed.

"We need to—" Keith stopped. "Wait, where's Lance? Lance! Where are you?"

No one answered.

"Lance?!" Keith called, sharper this time.

"Lance, buddy, can you hear us?" Hunk shouted.

"Lance!" Pidge barked.

"Lance! Answer us!" Allura added her voice to the chorus.

Their voices echoed down the hallway, and there was no reply.


Keith sounded like he was two seconds away from a full-blown panic attack, and Lance knew that he should answer, but he really just couldn't.

Everything hurt.

He'd known that he was injured after the accident with Veronica, but the adrenaline and fear had helped to mask any pain he'd felt. Then Voltron had been hit with…what even had hit them? And it had felt like he was burning again, like the first time they faced Sendak. Then everything went dark.

He'd woken up a few minutes ago in this cell, unable to think straight past the pain consuming every inch of his body.

He waited a few moments, and when the pain had subsided a little bit, he pulled in a deep breath and forced himself into a sitting position. They didn't have time for him to be injured. He had barely reached his knees when the coughing started.

Deep, wet coughs that started deep down in his chest and set fire to his lungs. The fit went on and on and on and he couldn't breathe until it finally ended. He straightened painfully and pulled his hand away from his mouth. His vision was alarmingly fuzzy, and he braced his hand against the floor, trying not to fall over.

He sucked in a slow, deep breath and winced at the harsh rasping sound it made, not to mention the painful twist in his chest.

Broken ribs.


"Lance?" Hunk's voice was horribly thin and shaky. "Hermano? Is that you?"

Lance pulled in another breath.

"Yeah," he rasped. "I'm—" he doubled over, coughing again. "I'm here," he managed, wiping his mouth.

There was blood on his hand.

Lance swallowed hard and looked away.

"Oh, thank God," Pidge said, voice very small.

"Did we find him?!" Allura cried. Her voice was coming from further away, and Lance realized he must not have been loud enough for her to hear.

"We found him, Princess," Hunk said, relief clear in his voice. "Lance, buddy, I was so worried. Are you alright?"

He slowly dragged himself over to the wall with a hoarse, pained, wheeze of a laugh. "I'm—" Another bout of coughing had him curling into himself to the left of the door. He groaned sharply through gritted teeth and pressed his head against the metal behind him as the fit ended, trying not to scream at the agony burning in his chest.

"Lance!" Keith barked, sounding like this was not the first time he'd called him. "Answer me!"

I must have zoned out again, he realized dimly. "I'm here," he croaked.

"Stay with me," Keith ordered. "I need you with me, Lance. I need you to watch my back."

The marksman shook his head sharply, forcing his pain to the back of his mind. "I'm with you, Keith," he said, and his voice was stronger. "What hit us? I feel like Sendak just blew me up again."

"That's not funny!" Pidge shouted.

"Don't even joke about that, Lance!" Hunk scolded at the exact same time. "That was a horrible day! We do not want to repeat that day!"

"Sorry," Lance grinned. He shifted slightly and groaned as another flare of pain tore through his torso. "Seriously, though, what happened?"

"The Zaiforge cannons happened," Keith replied. "Sendak knew we were coming."

"But how?" Hunk asked.

"Admiral Sanda sold us out," Keith all but snarled, sounding furious.

"Keith," Lance said as firmly as he could—which wasn't very firm, to be honest. "Stop it. She's scared. She's trying to—" he pressed his hand to his mouth to try and muffle his coughing. "She's trying to save her planet the only way she knows how," he continued, trying to ignore the blood he could taste on his teeth. "She's not your enemy. She doesn't know the Galra, and she doesn't know war. Not like we do."

"She betrayed us!" his leader snapped back. "And now, because of her, my right-hand-man has God only knows how many injuries, we're all in holding cells, and the Lions are offline and on the other end of Sendak's personal battle cruiser! How, exactly, is she not my enemy?!"

"He said that if I gave him the Lions, he'd leave Earth peacefully," the Admiral's low voice echoed through the hallway.

Lance closed his eyes as his head began to spin and leaned back against the cool metal. "Sendak doesn't keep his word, Admiral," he said, exhausted and hurting and dizzy. "You should have listened to us."

"I know," she whispered. "I'm so sorry. This is all my fault."

"You know what?" Pidge snapped. "Yeah! It is!"

"We warned you," Keith bit out. "I realize that you were just trying to save everyone, but you just doomed the entire planet. And because of you, one of mine is now severely injured and imprisoned by the one Galra who hates him more than just about anyone else in the universe."

"Me?" Lance felt his brows furrow. His thoughts were spinning as fast as his head. "Why's he hate me 'gin?"

"Oh, that's not good," Hunk muttered. "He's slurring his words. Keith, he needs help."

"I know," Keith said, worry clear in his voice.

"Keeeith," Lance half-whined. "Why does he hate me?"

"Because the last time we fought him, it was your shot to the back that allowed the rest of us to get the upper hand," Pidge replied, her voice unusually gentle. "He was holding me off the ground, and nobody else could get close. Then you just woke up out of a freaking coma and shot him. You saved my life."

"Oh," Lance blinked lethargically. "That's—that's good." He tried to sit up a little straighter, and a little cry of pain escaped him.

"Crap," Pidge hissed. "Okay, we need to get out of here."

"I know!" Keith snapped. "If you have any ideas about that, please feel free to share with the class!"

"The Lions!" Hunk said suddenly. "We called them to us earlier on Earth. What if we did it again? Maybe they could get us out!"

"Whoa, Hunk, slow down a minute," Pidge said.

"Calling them to us and having them free us are two very different things, Hunk," Allura chimed in.

"I know that," Hunk said. "I know that it's a really long shot, and it might not even work, but we have to try, don't we? We have to get Lance out of here."

"There are some medical supplies in the Lions," Pidge said slowly.

Allura hummed. "And I can heal some of the injuries, if they aren't too severe."

"Yeah!" Hunk said. "He just—he really needs help, Keith, and—"

"I know!" there was a harsh clang and a short grunt from Keith, leading Lance to believe he'd punched a wall.

"I know," he said again, much quieter. "You're right, Hunk. We have to try. Paladins, close your eyes. Try to reach your Lions."

Red, Lance called. His head was pounding. Red, I think…I think I need your help.

The Lions all responded beautifully, and they managed to save the Atlas. Lance clung to his bond with his Lion desperately, fighting to keep a clear head and actually be useful in the battle. He couldn't afford to get distracted; if he made a mistake, it could mean the deaths of literally everyone on planet Earth, which was—obviously—not an option.

But he lost control of the connection when there was a massive impact very close to the cells. There was a lot of shouting and banging, and it was all making Lance's head hurt terribly.

He was curled up in a ball on the floor, trying to stop coughing because it hurt, and he couldn't quite remember why it hurt anymore.

Red was afraid, he could feel it, and he was comforting her as much as he could, but it didn't seem to be helping.

Someone was yelling, and there was a lot of blaster fire in the hallway, but he just couldn't make sense of it all.

Suddenly, there was a hand on Lance's shoulder. He pried open his eyes and made out a blurry figure in white and red armor…which, now that he thought about it, seemed strangely familiar.

"Keith?" he muttered.

"Yeah, I'm here," his leader responded, sounding…afraid? Why was Keith afraid? "We're gonna get you some help now, Lance. I just…I need you to stand up, okay?"

"Can't," Lance fought to keep his eyes open. "Tried already. Couldn't do it. I'm sorry…"

"That's okay," Keith said gently. "I'm here now. I've got you."

Somehow, they managed to get Lance to his feet.

It hurt, and walking was awful, but with Keith's help, it was doable.

They stumbled into the hallway, and Allura quickly zipped over and slid under Lance's other arm to help support him.

"Where's…the Admiral?" Lance gasped.

Keith's mouth thinned. "She saved us," he said shortly. "And she paid for it with her life."

"Oh," Lance said softly. His head was spinning again.

Fifteen doboshes later, and Lance was feeling so much better. Allura had dosed him with heavy-duty Altean painkillers, helped him into a brace that integrated with his armor, and wrapped his ribs with Altean healing gel that was already beginning to mend the broken bones. Allura had also used a smidge of quintessence to take care of his punctured lung, the source of the blood he kept coughing up.

She wanted to heal more, but he wouldn't let her.

"We've got one heck of a fight ahead of us," he told her. "We're gonna need all the power we've got. Now come on! We've wasted enough time on me, and Keith, Hunk and Pidge are out there alone! Let's go!"

Oh, it felt good to be back in Red. He wasn't quite at a hundred percent—more like seventy-five percent, if we're being honest—but he could think straight, and he could breathe. So really, Lance was feeling pretty great!

He followed Blue and Allura out of Sendak's ship and patched into the communications line between the Atlas and the Lions.

"Red Lion, reporting in," he said, clear and strong.

"Lance!" Keith sounded relieved. "Good to see you. How are your wounds?"

"I'm fine," Lance assured his leader. "So, what are—"

"Wait, wounds?" Shiro cut in. "What wounds? Lance, are you alright?! What happe—"

"This really isn't the time!" Lance cut in. "The point is, I'm okay, I'll be fine until the fight is over, but we are actually in the middle of a fight, so can we please get back to that?!"

"Right," Shiro muttered, and Lance could just see the embarrassed little grin on his face. "Alright, Paladins. Here's what needs to happen…"



Slowly, Lance blinked his eyes open. Why was Veronica yelling at him already? He didn't want to get out of bed yet….

Memory crashed into his head, and he jerked up with a gasp. The shields! The cannons!

He let out a sharp sound as pain tore through his chest with the movement.

Looks like my temporary fix just ran out.

He gritted his teeth and sat up again, albeit much more carefully, and looked out the viewscreen.

He could feel the blood draining from his face.

The cannons had converged, and the only thing standing between the Zaiforge cannons and the utter annihilation of Earth was the Atlas and its alarmingly flickering particle barrier.

A strangled gasp echoed in Red's cockpit as he fully took in the situation.

His family was on that ship. Keith's family was on that ship. Pidge's family was on that ship. And Hunk's family was on the planet that ship was so desperately trying to protect.

He reached out to Red desperately, and she was waiting for him. Together, they took off towards one of the cannons. They attacked it savagely, tearing it apart with their claws and teeth and lasers and cannons. It finally exploded, and then Blue and Allura were with them. They took out the second cannon in mere moments with their help. Then Pidge and Green and Hunk and Yellow and Keith and Black were all there, and then the Atlas was safe.

Lance didn't pause to bask in the victory. "Shiro! What's your status?"

"We're good!" Coran responded. "But Sendak's ship is in a free-fall! And Shiro's still on it!"

"WHAT?!" the Paladins shouted.

"Ah, sorry, no time to explain!" Coran shouted. "Basically, STOP THAT SHIP!"

"Paladins, on me!" Keith roared, and they fell into formation with ease, streaking across the sky like comets as they went to catch their falling brother.

They managed to slow and direct the ship's crash, and Keith saved Shiro and killed Sendak, and Lance sagged back into his chair with a low groan. His body was reminding him of the beating it had taken today, and that extra blast when the Zaiforge cannon broke through his shield had not been appreciated. He pulled off his helmet and coughed quietly into one hand.

He held it out and inspected it in the light of one of Red's screens, but to his great relief, there was no blood on it.

"Whew," he muttered.

"Lance?" Keith sounded worried. "You alright?"

Lance managed a painful laugh. "I'm fine. The patch job Allura gave me wasn't exactly up to taking on the full brunt of a Zaiforge cannon blast. But I'm okay."

"We need to get you and Shiro to the Atlas," Keith said firmly.

He probably would have said more, but that was about when something else breached Earth's atmosphere.

"Oh, quiznak," Lance groaned. Then he swept Red around in a tight loop and added her bulk to Black's, trying to shield Shiro, Hunk, and Keith from the concussive blast of the thing's harsh landing.

"I'm so sorry, Lance," Keith said grimly as the thing straightened. "But I'm gonna need you to hold out a little longer. Can you make it?"

"I've got your back, Keith," Lance said. He reached out to Red, and she flung her head up and roared. "We're with you."

"Alright. Converge on me! Let's form Voltron!"

Most of the fight with the new creature was just a blur of action and reaction and pain and ouch for Lance. Somewhere along the line, the creature started absorbing the quintessence out of Voltron, and Lance found out that hey, he really did have enough air to scream. On a cheerier note, he and Pidge were both using swords, so that was cool. But it felt like Allura's healing was being sucked out of him, and it hurt, which was significantly less cool.

Voltron was completely drained.

Which was Not Cool™.

It took them a long time to get back to their feet, and then Keith and Lance formed the sword and drove it through the wretched thing and it was a freaking bomb.

"We've got to get it out of here!" Keith shouted. "Disband, and everyone grab hold!"

It took all of Lance's strength and concentration, but he managed to get Red under the thing's shoulder. Together, the Lions took it higher, higher, higher, until it could no longer damage the Earth. It started glowing brighter, brighter, brighter, and Lance sucked in as deep a breath as he could.

"It's been an honor to fly with you," Keith said solemnly, in an eerie echo of his words back on Arus the first time they almost lost to Sendak.

Lance smiled. "You guys are family to me," he rasped weakly. "Love you."

"Love you, too, Lance," Hunk said, tearing up a little. "And all the rest of you guys."

"I love you all very, very much, Paladins," Allura said gently. "I am so proud of all that you've accomplished."

"I love you, too!" Pidge said. "You're all like my brothers—except for Allura, she's my sister—and I love you all a lot, and I—I—"

"You guys are the only family I've ever had," Keith said, voice raw with emotion and completely sincere. "And I love you."

There was really nothing more to be said after that. They sat back and watched the explosion draw nearer, nearer, nearer until it reached them.

Everything went blindingly white.

Then everything went dark.

"The Red one is over here!"

"He's still alive!"

"Get him out of here, now!"

"He needs a hospital!"

"Can you hear us? Hello?!"

Lance slowly cracked open his eyes. There was a slightly floaty feeling in his entire body, which he appreciated, because he knew he would probably be crying if he could feel just how beaten he was.

He stared uncomprehendingly at the white swirls on the ceiling above him, trying to figure out where the heck he was.

Also why his left foot and right arm were totally numb.

He slowly tilted his head, looking around the room (apparently, he was in the hospital. Huh.), and couldn't help his smile, or the warm feelings surging in his chest.

Pidge was curled up at the foot of his bed like a little cat, sprawled over his left leg, her glasses halfway down her nose. Keith was to his right, slumped over his arm from the elbow down. Krolia was sitting at Keith's feet with her head against his knee, one arm up on the bed with her hand wrapped around Lance's bicep. Allura was in a chair behind Keith with her head resting on her folded arms by Lance's right ankle. Coran and Hunk were in chairs back-to-back to Lance's left, leaning against each other and snoring away. Romelle was in a chair in front of Coran, slumped over on the bed beside Lance's left arm. Shiro was in the visitor's armchair, which had been dragged to the bedside next to Pidge, and the other three Holts were all piled on the couch.

A peek out the window told Lance that it was very late—or very early, one of the two.

He sucked in a deep, contented breath.

They were all here, and they were all alive.

Everything else could wait until the sun.

Surrounded by his family, Lance closed his eyes and went back to sleep.

The next time he woke up, he heard them long before he saw them.

"Are his eyes twitching? I think his eyes are twitching."

"Oh my quiznak, Hunk, give him some room!"

"He's unconscious, Pidge. I don't think he really cares about personal space right now."


"Ouch! Pidge, what was that for?!"

"Nobody likes a smart aleck, Keith."

Lance groaned softly.

"Hey, he's waking up!"

"Okay, everybody back up a little bit. Give him some breathing room."


"Oh, shut up, you little gremlin."

Lance forced one eyelid up, and then the other.

Everyone was crowded around his bed, faces full of anxious hope.

"Lance?" Shiro called gently from his right. "Are you with us?"

"'M with you, Shiro," he croaked. He coughed a little bit and tried to sit up. "What—"

"Hey, easy does it," Keith said as he and Hunk carefully lifted Lance to a sitting position while Coran bustled over with a cup of water.

Lance nodded his gratitude and slowly sipped at his water.

"What happened?" he asked once he could speak without coughing.

"We beat the creature!" Hunk said excitedly.

"Yeah, well, considering that the Earth is still in one piece, I kinda gathered that," Lance said with a grin. "I just don't remember anything after the explosion."

"You were all in pretty bad shape," Shiro winced. "But you…"

"You were already injured due to the incident with your sister in the land crawler," Krolia said, blunt as ever. "The trauma of crashing into the Earth like you did was enough to shatter your already-damaged rib bones into splinters. They pierced many of your internal organs, and several were pushed through the skin of your chest."

There was a long moment of complete silence.

"Geez," Pidge muttered. "Don't break it to him gently or anything."

Keith rested his head in his hands with a soft sound of utter defeat.

Lance's eyes got wide. "Oh. That's…bad."

"Yeah," Shiro swallowed hard. "When we got to you, we thought that you were dead. You were in really bad shape, Lance."

"How long have I been out?" The Cuban boy took another drink of water.

"You've been unconscious for five quintents," Allura answered, reached out to gently stroke his forehead. "The rest of us woke after the first day or so, but because of your injuries, you were out for far longer."

"We were really starting to get worried about you," Pidge told him, crawling up beside him and leaning on his shoulder.

"Seriously," Matt grinned, gently patting his other shoulder. "You gave us all quite the scare, dude."

Lance blushed. "Sorry."

"Don't sweat it," Sam beamed at him. "We're just glad you're okay."

There was a brief commotion out in the hallway, and Lance started laughing as his sister's voice came through loud and clear.

"I am a Garrison official. You will let me through this instant."

She didn't wait long enough for the nurse to reply before she was slamming open Lance's door.

Her eyes caught on his and then she was in his arms.

"El idiota," she whispered into his shoulder. "I was watching your helmet recordings earlier. You took on a fighter with your blaster?!"

He shrugged and inhaled deeply, taking in her familiar scent. "Well, what else was I supposed to do? Sit there and welcome death with open arms?"

She smacked him for that, but there was no force behind it. "I'm so glad you're okay," she said shakily, pressing a gentle kiss to his forehead.

She crawled up on the bed beside him, curling up and resting her head on his shoulder.

"Don't you ever do that again," she said, voice shaking.

"Yes, ma'am," Lance said, dropping a kiss on the top of her head. "So, what've I missed?"

"Well, Matt arrived two days ago with Rolo, Nyma, and Beezer," Shiro said.

"And Shay and Rax are here!" Hunk broke in.

"Oh! Oh!" Romelle piped up. "Also a rebel captain named Olia and her squadron."

"Plus Kolivan and the remaining Blades," Keith added.

"And—oh! Oh! Oh! We gotta tell him about the dining hall incident!" Pidge yelled, waving her arms.

"Or we could not!" Allura panicked.

Coran's smile was turning into something evil. "It would be my honor, Number Five."

Allura groaned, and the rest of them burst into laughter.

Lance looked around at his space family, and his heart swelled with love for them all.

They had made it.

After so, so long, they had finally made it home.

They were all here, and they were all home.

So Lance smiled and joined in the laughter as Coran told a truly hilarious tale of the accidental marriage proposal Allura had made to the Taujeerian king.

He could see Earth's blue sky and Earth's green trees outside the window, and his family—

Coran broke off as the door slammed open, Lance's mother, father, and other siblings spilling through, filling the room near to bursting with shouts and greetings and introductions and laughter.

Lance leaned his head against his Mama's, grinning as Keith's laughter shook through him from where their shoulders were pressed together. Pidge kicked his leg when he smirked at her as she geeked out with his nephew over a cartoon, and Shiro's hand was warm on his ankle as he spoke with his Papa. Coran and his uncles were getting along far too well, and Allura had thoroughly enchanted his little niece.

As everyone laughed and talked and cried and hugged, Lance looked around with a teary smile.

They were all a little crazy—okay, a lot crazy—but they were beautiful and wonderful and his.

They were a family, all of them.

And he knew without a shadow of a doubt that they always would be.

And there you go!

It just kinda occured to me as I was watching season seven (again) that there's no way on earth Lance didn't get injured in that wreck. Add that to the point-blank attack from the Zaiforge canon and you have a seriously screwed up boy.

So voila!

Hope you liked it, and let me know what you thought!