A tear ran down his face. They were home. They were finally home. He sniffed a little and made sure to mute his communicator in case anyone decided to make fun of him for crying but a feeling nagged his mind that no one would because a moment later he heard a loud sniffle and a sound that suspiciously sounded like a choked sob and he knew who it was because everyone except the ones flying the Lions was asleep.
He was startled when Keith's voice sounded in a private line asking if he was okay, asking Lance specifically because he knew how much Lance had missed it –missed home, his family– because he had sat with Lance and talked for vargas late into nights when homesickness wouldn't let him sleep and Keith himself would be wound too tight to rest. It was something in the Black Paladin's voice that prompted him to un-mute his communicator and answer.
He tried to form some semblance of composure because damn it all he shouldn't be crying he was finally –finally– home and opened his mouth when he thought wouldn't start crying but his voice came out choked anyways and he shut his mouth quickly and squeezed his eyes closed as more tears slipped from them.
It was quiet for some time before Keith spoke up again –softly. "You're crying"
It wasn't a question because he knew. Because he could hear the constant sniffling and an occasional muffled sob from the others, as well. And Keith knew why. They were home. They were hometheywerehomehomehome. And Lance failed to muffle the next sob that escaped his lips. He hurriedly muted his communicator and pulled his feet up on the seat letting Blue take full pilot control and cried.
He heard a sigh as more of a white noise and then the line cut off and in the back of his mind he knew that it was because Keith wanted to give him some space and time to come to terms with it.
Because it still felt like a dream to be able to see Earth again when they all had been ready to sacrifice their lives in the name of the universe more than once. When they had come so close to accepting their deaths so many times and when they had all resigned and given up the dream of ever going back home again because this was war and you don't get to choose when you get to see your loved ones again, no matter how much you long for it, no matter how much you lose yourself in the memory of them.
So Lance cried, silence blanketing him, only broken by Romelle's soft snores as she slept. The Lions kept a steady pace as they travelled towards Earth at a slow speed because it had been a long distance and even if they kept stopping in between to replenish the energy their Lions needed in the beginning, they wasted less and less time for breaks, in their haste to get home.
Now, though, now Lance regretted it because he was so close and it was taking so much time and he couldn't take it anymore but he let Blue take him home instead and sat back because he was tired –downright exhausted, emotionally and physically– from the war and just wanted to hug him mom and dad, wanted to sit back and relax with Marco, bicker with Veronica and play with his nibblings. Oh Quiznack, he missed them.
He was started yet once again and looked up when Kosmo appeared out of nowhere right next to him and nuzzled at his legs, letting out a soft whine and Lance knew why he was here.
Because even if Pidge and Keith avoided emotional confrontations like the plague itself, it was a testament on how much they had grown as people in the time they had spent in space –from tense bodies and letting others handle the situation to initiating comfort whether it was directed at someone else or in rare moments needed for themselves, but even so at times they'd still be out of their depths and would send their space animal companions to others in their stead. It was appreciated just as much.
Lance let out a sound somewhere between a sob and a chuckle and ran his hand on Cosmo's head –his fur soft to the touch– and then buried his face in his furry creature's neck and wept, body shaking and hands coming round the space wolf, voice carefully quiet. He was grateful for the silent company because he didn't want to be alone and couldn't deal with anyone else.
He stayed that way for a while until he heard Keith announce on the main comm.
And Lance looked up only to stare at various shades of blue and green and white and brown and heard someone actually sob out loud, his mind provided the name Hunk but he couldn't stop staring ahead to give it another thought. His hands tighten around Kosmo –the wolf's head now in Lance's lap-and felt more tears on his cheeks and a grin begin to form on his face.
His heart sang songs of homehomehome and his mom's lullabies and children's poems and he let out a loud chuckle and heard Keith radio in to Earth's frequency to identify them before entering the planet's atmosphere, in case they were unknowingly seen as a threat.
He heard more shuffling over the open line that they all had opened at all times as others begin to wake up and Lance smiled down towards Kosmo who just cocked his head to the side, blinked once then nuzzled his head at Lance's abdomen before disappearing again.
Excitement coursed through him in a sudden jolt and before he could contain it he screamed at Romelle to wake up. He grabbed the throttles on both his side and silently switched controls to manual and sped onwards with everything his Lion could give. A whoop of joy-euphoria-happiness on his tongue.
"We're home, baby!"
Shiro chuckled somewhere in the background and chatter started up again as everyone woke up more. Pidge screamed when she heard her dad's voice answer them back.
"Dad! It's us, Voltron! It's Pidge! We're back! We're back dad!"
"Oh my god. Oh mygodohmygodohmygod, I can't believe it. We're finally back. I feel like I'm dreaming, I'm not dreaming, right? Lance, Pidge, Keith, Shiro this is really happening, yeah? Because if this is a dream I don't wanna wake up from it, ever."
Keith's soft laugh sounded in through the line and Shiro joined and then they were all laughing and when they touched down at the Galaxy Garrison they all but ran out of the cockpit and out of their Lions and towards their home, towards the people they loved gathered out in the open –since they had already radioed in their arrival distance away from their solar system.
His gaze searched his family as he stood in front of his Lion and as soon as he found them he was running towards them. His face a mess from smiling and tears and sweat and he sobbed as he tackled his mother in a hug, melting into her arms and as he felt more arms around him squeeze him and he cried even harder.
Because this was real. This was real and he was hugging his mom and his dad was right behind her hugging him as well, his smile so proud. His sister was hugging him from one side while his brother from his other, his sister-in-law from behind, careful of her kids but still there. He felt tiny hands grab his armored leg and hug him too and oh how much he missed his family.
He broke the family embrace after a while and looked at all their faces. "Mama, Papa, Marco, Roni, you guys, I missed you so much. I thought about you every day." And at the moment, he didn't care that he was giving his siblings fodder to make fun of him later or whatever because he just wanted to enjoy this reunion after years of not being able to see his family.
So he hugged them again but then he pulled back and rubbed his face clean of any evidence of crying –his eyes still red rimmed– and looked around at his friends.
He saw Pidge surrounded by her family. Matt also present, smiling so wide that Lance was afraid his face would split in two.
He saw Hunk crying and engaged in a group hug with his parent and siblings all around him much too like his own.
He saw Keith smiling softly rubbing his hand on his eyes as some guy he didn't recognize, in a Garrison official uniform, hugged Shiro as if his life depended on him, Krolia right there with them.
And he saw Allura, Romelle and Coran standing to the side hesitantly engaged in a conversation with some other Garrison officials, probably introducing themselves.
He looked around and he smiled even bigger as he remembered how much he had missed this. Missed being surrounded by love and happiness and family.
He was finally home.
They were finally home.