Oh, it has been SO long since I published anything. I am so sorry! My life has been really, really crazy the last few months. For those of you who don't know, my grandmother passed away in April from leukemia. I was her only granddaughter and we were very close. It's been hard. But you guys have been so amazing and so supportive through your reviews and PMs and I feel semi-ready to face the world again!

So this is an old piece that I found in my files the other day. I had honestly totally forgotten about it, but I'm actually really pleased with it. It was originally a one-shot, but I think I'm gonna add at least one more chapter to it. I was really wanting some platonic Shiro and Lance and was having trouble finding any on the site. So I wrote one!

SPOILERS: Season 2 episode 10, "Escape From Beta Traz". This is an AU where Lance is injured during the fight with the warden.

WARNINGS: Lance doesn't like himself, guys. At all. He's very sad and hurt. So basically, lots of insecurities and emotions. (You know, my usual)

DISCLAIMER: I do not own Voltron: Legendary Defender or any of these characters. There are also a couple lines of dialogue that I took straight from the episode that are (obviously) not mine.

The story starts right at the fight with the warden when they're trying to escape.


"See what I was saying about those robot arms?!" Slav shouted.

Shiro groaned and shoved him away before slowly climbing back to his feet and looking for his teammates.

Pidge was off to the side, and Lance…

The Blue Paladin was the sole focus of the warden's attention. The boy dodged fluidly across the floor, evading the massive Galra's attacks and unleashing a hail of laser fire. But the Galra was undeterred.

With a roar, he lifted one of the massive shipping containers and flung it at Lance. Shiro's heart skipped a beat as it crashed into the floor and splintered right where Lance had been standing. But the Blue Paladin's bayard was still firing, and Shiro followed the sound to where Lance was hovering near the ceiling, his face set with determination.

None of them were prepared for the Galra to be able to leap that high.

Shiro let out a wordless shout as one of the warden's organic hands closed around Lance. A strangled gasp escaped the boy's lips as a sickening crack seemed to echo in the hangar. Shiro could feel his face go white.

The Galra crashed back into the ground, and a short scream tore out of Lance.

That wasn't good.

Pidge screamed in fury and attacked, but the small girl wasn't able to do much. Shiro flung himself back into the fight, furious. Lance just dangled in the Galra's hold, head hanging, not moving. Shiro felt cold fear slithering down his spine.

If Lance was hurt, who would pilot Blue to get them out of here?

He immediately hated himself for thinking of the mission above the boy himself. What if Lance really was hurt? They didn't have any way to help him way out here. The Castle was three vargas away, and neither Pidge nor Shiro had any sort of medical training. Ironically enough, it was Lance and Hunk who were the medics of the team if they didn't count Coran.

Shiro forcefully pushed his thoughts aside and attacked again, harder.

Pidge fooled the Galra with a hologram and got up on his shoulder, hauling on his quintessence supply with all of her strength, but she couldn't move it. Shiro shouted a warning as the Galra reached up, but he was too late, and now their enemy had both Pidge and Lance in his grasp.

But not for long, apparently.

The warden threw them at him, and Shiro would never, ever forget the broken little gasp Lance made when he slammed into Shiro's armored chest. The Black Paladin caught him as carefully as he could, considering that he was flying through the air at about forty miles an hour. But then Pidge came sailing after him and crushed Lance between them. The Blue Paladin let out a strangled cry, and Shiro actually swore as the second impact knocked him off his feet, forcing him to drop Lance.

An alarm suddenly blared throughout the hangar as the blast doors started to open, and Shiro's head whipped up. Slav was perched on a console, glaring at the warden with all the force his noodle-like self could summon.

The Paladins, Blue, and quite a bit of the hangar were promptly sucked out into space. Lance let out a muffled shout and curled in on himself as a piece of wreckage ricocheted off his chest.

"Lance—!" Shiro started, even more concerned now. But before he could say anything else, Slav started screaming.

All three of them looked up, even Lance, to see that Slav had been caught by the warden as he attempted to float to freedom.

"No!" Shiro yelled in helpless anger.

"Wait!" Lance barked, voice strong. "I got this."

The boy manifested his bayard and sighted down the barrel. He breathed in and out and then he shot.

The single bolt flew between all of the spiraling wreckage, between Slav's flailing limbs, and slammed into the warden's mechanical arm, shorting out the entire machine.

The Galra roared in anger but chose to save his Yupper instead of his prisoner as Slav was sucked into free skies, running full into Pidge and sending the both of them flying.

"Nice shot, Lance!" Shiro cheered. "That's why we bring our Sharpshooter!"

The boy's face looked horribly young and vulnerable and surprised for just a heartbeat (a heartbeat too long) before he grinned.

"Yup," he said, pitching his voice deep and low.

Shiro quickly jetted over to him. "Are you alright?" he asked, brows furrowing. "I heard a crack when he grabbed you."

"Yeah," Lance shook his head. "He actually cracked my armor. I didn't think that was possible! And yeah, it hurt, but not too bad. I was just pretty disoriented, because he was waving me around like a maraca." The Hispanic teen grinned at him. "I'm good, boss man!"

Shiro sighed in relief. "Thank goodness," he said.

Lance laughed a little before he turned his focus to Blue, waking her up and drawing her to them. Shiro collected Slav and Pidge, and all four of them were soon settled in and on their way home.

By the time the Castle came into view, Pidge and Slav had both fallen asleep in the back of the Lion. Lance called up to the Castle to let them know the mission was a success as Shiro woke the other two. The Blue Paladin landed his Lion with his usual grace, and the others headed down the ramp.

Shiro waited for a minute, but Blue's pilot didn't follow them out. He frowned.


There was no answer.

A twinge of worry in his chest, Shiro jogged back up the ramp to find his wayward Paladin.

Lance's blue eyes were a little vacant, unfocused, as he sat in his chair, staring out of his viewscreen.

"Lance," Shiro called softly, and the boy jerked in surprise. Shiro's smile vanished when Lance's face went white and he doubled over, a hoarse gasp of pain ripped free by the sudden movement. "You said you were fine," he bit out, concern edged with anger as he practically sprinted to Lance's chair, dropping to his knees beside him.

"Sorry," Lance gasped. "Sorry, Shiro. I didn't…I'm sorry."

Shiro's jaw tightened, and he reached up, gently pulling Lance's helmet off. "We'll talk about this later," he said, and immediately regretted his tone as Lance's face paled even farther. "Come on," he said, trying to make his voice softer.

The boy swallowed hard. "I don't think I can stand," he said, almost too quiet for Shiro to hear.

The Black Paladin bit his tongue to keep back the sharp comment he wanted to make. Instead he just nodded shortly and slid one of Lance's arms over his shoulders and lifted the kid out of his seat.

The muffled scream that sounded behind Lance's clenched teeth had Shiro's eyes widening, all of his anger instantly dissipating to be replaced with nothing but concern. "Lance?!"

"Sorry," he choked out. "Sorry, I didn't mean to mess up again, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to, I'm sorry—"

"Lance!" Shiro broke in, alarmed. "Hey, calm down, kiddo. You're okay, I've got you. You didn't mess up anything. You saved us, Lance. It's okay."

Lance glanced up at him, and Shiro's heart sank. His pupils were different sizes, and his blue eyes were full of tears and shame.

"Oh, Lance," he sighed, carefully maneuvering the lanky kid until he was cradling him bridal style. "Hold on, kiddo. I've got you."

"Sorry I'm such a problem," Lance whispered into Shiro's chest.

"You're not a problem, Lance," he said firmly.

"Am," Lance argued tiredly, with all the logic of a tired, hurting five-year-old. "'m not really good at anything. Seventh wheel…I don't belong here, Shiro. 'm not good enough. Never have been."

Shiro's heart shattered into a million pieces. "Lance," he breathed, horrified and sad and shocked.

How could this bright, cheerful, wonderful kid think this about himself?

"It's true," Lance kept going, and Shiro realized with a sick feeling in his stomach that Lance probably would never have told any of them this if he wasn't in so much pain and so concussed he was seeing sound. "'m just the annoying idiot. Everybody thinks it."

"No, we do not—" Shiro started, but Lance kept talking like he hadn't heard him.

"Pidge thinks I'm a shallow moron. Keith thinks I'm a weak idiot who talks too much. Allura thinks I'm a dumb flirt who can't take anything seriously. You think I'm an immature little kid who needs to grow up and stop making so many jokes. Hunk thinks I'm treating this all as just another adventure, and that I don't miss home just as much as he does. Coran thinks I'm…actually, I think Coran really does like me. Huh."

Shiro couldn't speak. Lance's tone was so matter-of-fact, and why did he sound so surprised at the idea that someone could really, genuinely care about him?

"Iverson always thought I was a failure," Lance wasn't done yet, but Shiro wasn't sure he could handle hearing any more of these poisonous lies. "Always told me I only made it to fighter class cause Keith dropped out. He was right. I didn't deserve to be in fighter. Not good enough. Admiral Sanda thought I was an immature, useless waste of space. Professor West had too much faith in me. I let him down. I let my family down. I blew the whole mission today and let you down. It's all I ever do, Shiro. Fail and let everyone down. It's all I'm good for."

Shiro dimly realized he had stopped dead in the middle of the hallway, cradling this precious child to his heart with tears filling his eyes.

Lance really thought this.

Lance honestly believed that he wasn't worth anything.

Shiro felt like a knife had been driven into his heart.

"Oh, buddy," he said, his voice breaking. "When you get out of the cryo-pod, we are having a very long talk about all this."

"Okay," Lance whispered. There was silence for a moment. "I'm tired, Shiro. I wanna go home."

The knife was being twisted.

"I know, buddy," Shiro's voice was all kinds of cracked and broken. "Just go to sleep."

"M'kay." Lance leaned his head trustfully against Shiro's shoulder and was out in a second.

The Black Paladin carried his precious burden to the cryo-pod chamber, carefully removing his armor before getting him set up in a pod. He started the healing process and stared at Lance's face, peaceful now, no hints of pain or self-doubt or shame.

Shiro stumbled backwards until the backs of his legs hit a chair and he fell into it. He leaned forwards, head in his hands, and he thought about a bright, smiling, blue-eyed boy who loved them all too much.

Shiro cried.

Oh, sweet boy. Both of them. Sweet boys.

Okay, people! Right now, I'm not sure if I want to add the rest of the team to this story or leave it as just a Lance and Shiro bonding thing. Would really appreciate your opinions on that. Chapter two is well under way, but I have three jobs, so I'm not sure when I'm going to be able to finish it. I'll Leave the Love chapter nine is also almost completed, and I'm hoping to have that done and published by next Sunday, if I can. I just wanted to get something published today to tide y'all over till that chapter's done.

Please, please, PLEASE review! It really makes my day brighter, and I could use some of that right now.

See you next week, folks!