The Strongest Chains in Carceri

Summary: It wasn't the fiend that stood next to him, or the knife it had handed him before the portal had opened. It wasn't that the monster was smiling, or that he felt nervous, or that a person came shambling out of the portal with their eyes and mouth sewn shut, their ears filled with dripping black slime, and covered in scars.

What bothered him was that that person was Pidge, his friend, his little sister, his family. She didn't deserve this. Lance would free her no matter what that meant for him.

This is a first warning that this fic involves self-mutilation, and despite the action being made to save someone else, I am aware that it could still be triggering. Please, if you think reading this will bother you, do NOT read it. Plenty more fic-lets will not involve self-harm.

Warnings: LOTS of angst, self-mutilation (blech), Lance is a self-sacrificial idiot, devilish contracts (literally), canon Allurance, platonic Plance (could be seen as romantic), story largely influenced by Dungeons and Dragons.

So I've started bullying Lance now too, huh?

The author does not condone dealing with devils

She does not condone kidnapping Lance or Pidge to whump them, however much she writes about it.

Both of them deserve so, so much better than this.

Voltron is here to ruin your life. I'm here to destroy it.

Please read the notes at the bottom of the page! I cannot stress this enough!

Timeline: Post season 8, an already depressing season, made into an even more depressing fanfiction.

Disclaimer: Obviously Voltron is not mine. Otherwise you would be drowning in your own tears. Wait…

It had been a year since Allura's death.

The war was over. Finally, after so many years of oppression and bloodshed at the hands of the Galra, the universe was free. Somber planets devoid of activity for millenia were bustling with families, couples, and civilians in general celebrating the victory of Voltron, the Coalition, and the Blades had won for them. Smiles were plastered onto the faces of those who had never experienced true joy before. The persecuted were not only freed physically, but mentally as well.

This had to be what euphoria really was.

And yet Lance, a Paladin of Voltron himself, the one who should have been joyfully celebrating with the most passion, did not feel happy.

The images still flashed in his head. Those eyes, those beautiful blue irises and magenta pupils, appeared in his head every time he closed his own. Every time he tried to fall asleep he woke up to her beautiful face, wettened with tears. She would smile, but it was a broken smile, a smile that ripped his own heart out of his chest and threw it into the river. He had known something was wrong the minute she turned around, and the other Paladins froze up, and his mind was reeling and racing and screaming no please no!

But what he remembered most was no image, no panel of splattered paint slowly dripping from the canvas until it was a disfigured mess. No, it was that feeling, that feeling of disbelief as everything he held dear and hoped to achieve and hid within his heart shattered into a million pieces. His brain suddenly became a muddled mixture of confused, panicked, and horrified thoughts, because absolutely nothing made sense.

No he had thought, waiting as she addressed each Paladin, approached him last, and then turned away with Honerva at her side. Not after everything we've been through. She can't die! She didn't deserve this. We didn't deserve this! We sacrificed every ounce of what we had to save a cruel world, only for her to die? Does the universe have no heart? Why me? Why her? Why us?

After that, something had been stripped away from him. The vital piece that made him the warrior he was went missing. Maybe that was why he had become a humble farmer, spending his every day planting seeds and milking cows. That strength, that fire within him, remained no longer. He lacked the fuel.

He was lost.

Pidge had been the first to notice this. She took time off of her studies and lab experiments to visit him on his farm, to help him with the planting of seeds and the milking of cows. She claimed that her unexpected drop-ins were because she wanted to retain connections with the rest of the Paladins and their daily lives, but Lance knew she wasn't entirely telling the truth. Sure, Pidge had argued in favor of the Paladins staying together after the war, although she didn't check on the others like she did with him. And the concerned look on her face gave it away.

Pidge was worrying about him.

Of all the Paladins, Lance hadn't expected Pidge to end up serving as the compassionate one for him. She had always found him maddening, like a mosquito or a riled-up younger sibling. Every time he'd make a joke she'd roll her eyes, clearly vexed, or punch him, or kick him, or call him a no-good, egotistical idiot. Lance knew that it was just friendly teasing, and that she did actually care, but her insults stung nevertheless.

So every little visit, every time she'd prod at whether he was okay or not, had come as a shock. Not even Hunk, his most kindhearted friend, was acting as solicitous as Pidge was. Shiro, Coran, even Keith could have offered to help him, and none would have surprised him as much as the small Green Paladin.

And hence, a bright friendship flourished from the desolate grounds where nothing grew: Death.

It had been about a half-year since her call-ons had started when Pidge first proposed the astonishing idea of bringing Allura back.

"I think I've found a way," she said beside the dinner table that night, taking no notice of Lance's dumbfounded expression. She took one last sip of water, set it down, and looked at him with the most determined of stares. "I'm not sure if it will work, or even if it's a good idea at all, but I'm going to try, anyway."

She clasped his hands excitedly and leaned over the table, her eyes sparkling. "Think about it, Lance! We could bring Allura back from the dead! Then you wouldn't have to be sad anymore!"

"B-but-How!?" Lanc stuttered. He was sure that Pidge was crazy, that her years of studying the workings of the universe had turned her completely insane. Raising the dead was impossible! And yet… A part of his mind wanted to believe her.

Maybe she's telling the truth, he wondered with the tiniest spark of hope. Allura… Allura could get the ending she deserved. She could see Altea again, and we could visit the waterfall she always talked about together, and smell the juniberry flowers, and walk in the moonlight.

Just like she always wanted.

"I'm going to do it tonight," she said, completely avoiding the question. "By tomorrow she'll be back, and you'll be happy." And then she left on her Lion as fast as she had come.

Neither Pidge nor Allura had returned the next day.

Or the day after that. Lance waited the next movement, then a phoebe, then a deca-phoebe. Every day a little bit of his confidence was dragged out of him, until he had none left. His heart was empty.

Lance searched everywhere. He organized the Coalition to do everything in their power to uncover Pidge's whereabouts. Keith led the Blades into a frenzy as well. They fished around her room, the Green Lion that suddenly was as cold as ice and who's lights never flicked on, her laboratory, the entire universe. Everywhere.

Pidge was gone.

The Paladins held a funeral when they were certain their friend was lost forever. People from all over came to honor the clever little warrior who had done so much for the universe. Everyone was thinking about the wonderful life she had led and the glory she had bestowed upon her family.

Lance was thinking about how much life she'd had left to live.

Pidge was perfect, he had thought, his tear stained face pressed firmly to his pillow. She cared so much for the world she lived in and the people who lived there. She made sure I was okay when no one else did. She was destined for a great future, a path where she would be remembered for eternity and would live a long, happy life. Why, why did she need to disappear? Why me? Why her? Why us?

Like with Allura, Lance couldn't move on. He never talked to any of the other Paladins anymore, as much as they pestered him to meet up. He never appeared for any of the fans begging for autographs that he used to love so much. Heck, even his conversations with his family were short-lived, little snippets of hello and how are you before he returned to his lonely room. The old, arrogant sharpshooter so many had loved was a shadow of who he once was, an empty shell who had lost his soul forever.

To the world, he had gone just as missing as Pidge had.

Then, one night, when Lance was having his usual battle with insomnia and failing terribly, everything changed.

His eyes were just starting to shut when a voice hissed from the shadows. "You are sad, my friend."

Lance jolted upward, his eyes darting toward the door, where a shadowy figure stood. Its eyes were yellow, its skin dark red, and two curved horns poked from its nearly reptilian skull. The beast looked monstrous, and yet its voice had been… Kind.

"Who are you?" Lance asked quietly, blinking as the strange entity walked forward. It was quite a bit larger than he was, and its clawed forearms were burly enough to snap his neck in an instant, yet that was far from what it looked like the being wanted to do. Its eyes were concerned, no spooky appearance could change that.

"I am Ukoran," it said, brandishing its talons. "I am an angel of the Realm of Bright Waters. And I can help you change your future for the better, and find the happiness you lost long ago."

Lance's eyes lit up. Sure, Ukoran looked more like a living nightmare than an angel, but he didn't care. All he could think of was a happy future, where he could smile, and be free, and never lose anyone again.

"Yes!" He exclaimed an instant after the divine being finished its sentence. "Yes! Please! Please do that!"

Ukoran smiled. "Great!" It clapped its hands together contentedly. "I will see you in the West Wing of the Altean Castle tomorrow at midnight. That is where we will make our deal." And then it vanished, leaving Lance struggling to contain his excitement.

/\/\/\

Lance couldn't get back to sleep that night. He couldn't keep himself under enough control to do his daily tasks or even eat breakfast. His excitement was so wild that he was completely oblivious to the curious faces of his family. They didn't say anything at all, only stared quizzically. For why was their son (or brother, depending on who was the person in question) who was so depressed that he barely spoke to them anymore smiling as if he had seen the lights of heaven?

Lance left at 11 PMfor the Castle, making sure that he didn't wake up his family on the way out. Being a former Paladin of Voltron, the guards were in no way hesitant to let him in. Once he reached the private halls of the West Wing, he sat down against the wall, pondering his deal and what it would mean for him.

Maybe Ukoran will let me see my friends again, Lance wondered, tapping his chin dreamily, his eyes sparkling as he visualized the wonders soon to befall him. Surely as an angel it would allow me to do so. Pidge thought she could bring Allura back from the dead… Would it be willing to do the same with both of them? He closed his eyes, imagining Allura's beautiful smiles and Pidge's bone-crushing hugs. Angels are good incarnate. Ukoran would do that for me, right? Bring back my lover and my best friend, or at least let me see them?

At exactly 12 at night, Ukoran materialized out of thin air.

"Paladin!" It cried happily. "I was almost worried you wouldn't come!" Its amber eyes flickered with something Lance couldn't quite catch. Something… Off. Like the entity was hiding something behind its charismatic grin.

"I don't think you've told me your name." It strut forward, its tongue lolling over its sharp fangs. "I should know your name if we are to make our deal." Its eyes darkened. "It'll be important."

"Lance," the Red Paladin answered without the slightest bit of doubt. He shook the spirit's hand.

"Let's get to business, shall we?" Ukoran twirled around, extending its clawed finger out almost playfully. The claw sparkled with energy and formed a scroll of paper, covered in strange lettering Lance could not understand. The writing looked like calligraphy, in a way, except the letters were perverted, covered in strange spikes and splattered in ink that looked oddly like blood.

Ukoran tapped the bottom of the page, where an empty life was drawn in. "Sign here," it spoke, handing Lance a quill made of a long, black feather. He took no time to write his name down. The moment he removed the point from the page his name shimmered in red, before Ukoran began chanting incomprehensible phrases that sounded more… more evil than anything. Lance shivered as the immortal's eyes glowed black and its arms traced lines through the air. The being threw its head back with a cry, before a portal opened up, a portal that led into a world that was devoid of light.

"We just have one thing left to do before our deal becomes final," Ukoran declared joyfully. "It handed Lance a twisted dagger that felt heavy in his palm. The minute he grasped onto it disembodied voices began to whisper in his ear, voices that seemed to scream for help or laugh murderously or whisper words that were not ever meant to be whispered.

Suddenly, Lance realized that it was obviously a very, very bad idea to be here.

He turned to Ukoran, who was approaching the portal with glee. That definitely isn't an angel, he realized. Gosh, how couldI have been so stupid? Some mysterious entity resemblant of a child's nightmare appears in the middle of the night claiming to be an angel, and I suddenly agree to make a deal with it? Am I so desperate that I don't see the warnings, warnings that are as clear as day, right in front of me? He gulped. I wanted happiness, and ended up making a deal with a literal devil to achieve it.

Ukoran reached the portal and grabbed what looked like an enormous (and overly heavy) spiked chain from its depths. The fiend smiled and traced what appeared to be the blood and markings of someone on the chain, someone desperate to escape. With a smile, it yanked on the fetters, and someone came stumbling out with a yelp, someone covered in scars and bruises, and wrapped in heavy chains.

Lance froze.

He recognized that person.

It was… It was Pidge.

No, his brain was a spinning mess of disbelief. No, no, no, Pidge… Gosh, oh gosh, her eyes… They're sewn shut! No, no, please! What happened to her? Can she hear me? He looked to her ears, which were black and clogged with some sort of fiendish ichor. And her mouth, sealed shut in the same way her eyes were. This is wrong! This is so wrong. This is-

"Pidge!" He screamed, bowling into her with an enormous hug. "Pidge! Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! What the heck happened?!" Tears were running down his face without an end in sight. The small girl looked confused, seen as her only sense left was touch. She could not see him, or hear him lament. This was so, so messed up.

"P-Pidge,"he sobbed, his arms latching around her waist and his head pressed into her blood stained sweatshirt. Small, delicate hands touched his face, tracing the curves of his nose, over his ears, down to his chin. He saw the moment she recognised it was him, how her eyebrows raised, and she pulled back, and how she let out the most tragic cry. Suddenly her hands were grabbing onto him. Tears fell from her cheeks and a mewl escaped her lips.

Ukoran stepped forward, completely bewildered. "You-you know the prisoner?" It stammered, blinking.

Lance climbed to his feet. "Please," he begged. "Please, let her go. She-she doesn't deserve this." He grasped Pidge's wrist comfortingly and pushed her behind him in a pathetic attempt to protect her from the monster.

Ukoran scoffed."Oh, she definitely deserves it!" It let out a bark of laughter, grinning at the two Paladins sadistically. "She broke a deal with a devil, the Lord of Darkness even, after she realized we weren't quite what she perceived us to be. Her own fault. Even worse, she offended the Great One in its own courtroom!" It sighed, reclining against the corridor's wall. "Obviously, the only solution was to punish the wrongdoer for her terrible deed."

"But-" Lance started, until he was cut off when the devil placed a claw on his lips.

"Besides," it went on, "She can't be released. You see these?" Before Lance could react, Ukoran appeared behind him and grabbed Pidge. The beast yanked up her sleeve to reveal rows and rows of names lacerated onto her skin. "These are the names of everyone who's made a deal with me, and a few others, in history. We use her to confirm our contracts. If she were to be released, with these names written on no one else, then every deal would be lost!"

Lance didn't wait to think. The words were already in his brain then on his tongue until they left his mouth. He didn't care what they meant for him, only that Pidge didn't deserve this, and he was going to free her.

"Let me take her place!"

The hall was dead with silence.

"W-what?" Ukoran stuttered, recoiling. Even Pidge, despite being unable to hear or see, knew something was amiss. She tugged on Lance's arm shakilly, her fingers caressing his skin.

"You said you would lose all contracts unless the names were written on someone else," Lance said, stumbling upon his own words. Every time he opened his mouth he found the terms difficult to pronounce, although he suffered the battle to keep going. He did not think about the effects of his choice, then he would second-guess his decision, when so much was at stake.

"So-" he swallowed hard, prepared to bind his future in stone forever, "If you wrote the names onto me… and rendered me deaf, mute, and blind… Then she could go free."

Ukoran looked completely puzzled. It pursed its lips, its eyes darting around the Red Paladin, observing his every feature. "I didn't see you as a martyr, friend," it remarked, its lips curving upward in a bloodthirsty grin. "You do understand that this decision on your part will not only cost three of your senses, but also your freedom, your happiness… your soul." It saw the moment when Lance tensed up. "It seems like a fair trade. A loss of your soul so hers can be released. Your suffering for her peace. An eternity with only the loneliness of your thoughts to guide you… for her. There will be no going back. Choose now or you will both agonize the consequences of her failure."

It took Lance not a single moment to decide.

"Free her."

Instantly Ukoran placed a hand on his forehead and began voicing its thaumaturgy. Lance's body glowed with energy, energy that burnt agonizingly. He bit his lip and pressed his eyes closed until the pain finally ceased. He turned up to the fiend, who looked back gleefully.

"This should keep you alive during the process," Ukoran murmured, looking wrongfully content and prepared to torment yet another lost soul. It continued to inspect Lance thoroughly, confused yet delighted all the same.

It handed him the dagger carefully. "I'm shocked, friend. This is truly what you wish for yourself?" Ukoran asked again, flicking its forked tongue.

"Yes," Lance whispered, "And I am not your friend." The devil smiled at him, but said no more.

Ukoran yanked Pidge forward and pointed to the topmost name on her shoulder. "You will write this onto your own skin in the same place," it hissed. Surshaw Ai Haver, Lance read. Whoever they are, I wonder what convinced them to make a deal with evil incarnate.

The dagger touched his shoulder, softly, so it didn't break any skin. Ukoran's talons retained a firm grip on his palm, prepared to guide him through the process when he was unable to reach or see the mark. The blade pressed down, gently at first, until it cut through the skin and began to wet. Lance sucked a sharp breath in, but he didn't stop. He couldn't

He dragged the edge across his skin, directed through the process by an extremely focused Ukoran. He had to bite his lip to keep from whimpering, though a few escaped his mouth when the pain became unbearable. His eyes welled with tears for the pain, for his situation, and for Pidge. She was completely unaware, from where she stood, seeming the slightest bit worried, especially since her friend's touch had mysteriously vanished.

Lance looked down at his shoulder. S, the first letter, was sitting there, lined in red. He was already struggling not to cry, and he had just barely started. How much longer could he last?

He had to fight through it.

For Pidge.

He kept his eyes on her the entire time. He scrutinized every title she bore, her quivering eyelids stitched shut with black string, the bruises that covered her from head to toe, all of it. It was hard to look at her in such a weak state, but doing so reminded him of the person he was fighting for.

Immediately after he removed the weapon, his hand ran to his wound. He gasped at the touch, though held on as his finger bathed in his own blood. The liquid ran down between his fingers and slid to his elbow. It hurt, every bit of it, but it was worth it.

The exact same wound on Pidge's shoulder shimmered, radiating with light, before it disappeared. In its place was clean, smooth skin, dotted with freckles, just like it used to be. Her hand touched the spot disbelievingly, her eyebrows widening, her mouth curving upward in a blessed smile. Lance would have given the world if only he could see that beautiful look on her face every day of his life. It made him forget about his circumstance. Of course, if she had known what was going on, she surely wouldn't have looked so beatific, but he didn't care. It was better that her lack of complete understanding was prolonged as much as possible.

Ukoran gave him a dark glance, and he knew it was time to continue his painful ordeal.

The process lasted for what felt like forever. A few times Lance was in so much pain that he doubled over, gasping for relief that was never to come. Ukoran was deviously patient, though, and waited until he was ready before continuing. When he had finished the last name he dropped the dagger, panting heavily, unable to stop his overflowing tears from raining down.

Lance was absolutely horrified that Pidge had experienced this very same thing.

Speaking of, his highly knowledgeable and quick witted friend could hardly believe what was going on. Her eyes, though closed, shone with a hope like he had never seen before. She was smart enough to tie the pieces together; she was being released, and she knew it.

Lance dreaded the moment when she realized what that meant for him.

"I will take care of the next part," Ukoran murmured, pulling a string from a pouch wound around its sinewy neck. It attached a needle to the end, a very sharp looking and long needle that would make even Zarkon quake in his boots. It grabbed Lance's neck, holding him in place as it moved the point above his lips. The Red Paladin quivered, just before the needle stabbed through his skin.

He let out a cry of pain, trying to recoil though unable to with Ukoran's firm hold. The point wound through his skin gracefully, tying his mouth shut tightly. His tongue began to prod at his chops despairingly, right as the devil tied the sting in a secure knot.

Pidge clasped a hand over her free mouth just as he lost his own.

Next was his ears. The fiend hefted a bucket of black slime over to where he stood and set it down in front of him. It pulled out a brush and dabbed it in the ooze, leaving time for the dark mucus to cling to each individual fiber. Ukoran slathered each of his ears in it, and while it wasn't as physically painful as his prior experiences were, it sure a heck felt like the worst thing in the world.

When both ears were deafened a silence washed over him. Everything was quiet, so unbearably quiet that he couldn't even hear his own breath. It was like every voice, every chorus had been plucked out of the universe entirely, and he was completely and utterly alone.

He watched Pidge leap into the air, her mouth opening wide and bent upward. She was cheering, was his guess. He was certain that she was letting out every word that she hadn't been able to let out for the first time in years (mostly profanities, he mused). She looked happier than he had ever seen her, and that made him happy.

However, after a few moments of her euphoria, she skidded to a halt. The color began to drain from her face, and her fingers twitched as she lost all other motion. Her mouth opened, she was speaking, and even though his ears permitted no sound to pass through he knew what she was saying, or rather, who's name she was calling.

"Lance?"

She froze up like a statue, the relief washing from her face in one fell swoop. She called again, her eyebrows creased with a newfound urgence. She fumbled to the side, her hands grasping for a touch that was no longer there. Poor Pidge tripped over in her blindness, resounding with a crack when her chin hit the floor. In spite of this, she clambered to her feet, and continued her futile attempt to find Lance's familiar hold. Through it all Ukoran said nothing, its eyes bright, as if it were watching the action like a vulture would dead meat.

The fiend pulled out another sewing needle, careful to avoid Pidge and her fruitless search. Lance snapped his eyes shut, shaking when sharp talons grabbed his chin to hold it in place and drew little trails of blood when claws sank too deep into his skin. He knew Ukoran was preparing to seal shut his eyelids, to stab a sewing needle into them like one would a piece of cloth. For someone already terrified of shots at the doctor, this was an absolute nightmare.

He blinked open his eye to see where the needle was, flinching when he saw the fiend carrying it into place. Ukoran admonished him with a sharp his, although he didn't close it yet. He needed to see her one last time.

Ukoran's noise must have caught Pidge's attention, as she turned toward the Red Paladin. Instead of an answer, she was greeted with Lance's sharp cry, right when the needle pierced the eye that was closed.

"Lance!" She must have called his name again. He kept his other eye open to watch her dart toward where she heard him, only for Ukoran to prevent her from halting the procedure with a forcefield. Even while doing that and sewing his eye shut, Ukoran had somehow managed to keep him in place. Finally Lance shut his other eye, and he felt pain.

Time passed so quickly that Lance hardly realized it was done until he dropped to the floor. His hands clasped over his bloodied face, and he knew everything was gone.

But he was happy.

The moment Pidge's eyes flew open everything fell apart.

It had started off as a miracle. Out of the blue, the painful scars that kept her up at night squirming began to disappear. She had always been a girl of science, never one to believe in the childish tales of sorcerers and mystic healing with no explanation. The universe didn't work that way. But right then, all her unbeliefs started to leave. Maybe the cosmos had finally decided to pity her and release her from the literal Tophet.

Even better, Lance was there. She had believed for a moment that he was dead, and was coming to bring her to heaven with him. That was a lovely thought. And even if he was alive, she would still be with her friend, and they could be happy again.

However, as her senses miraculously began to return to her, the overwhelming joy slowly wavered. When her mouth was released she was still unaware of the dark ritual taking place nearby; she still couldn't see or hear, after all. But when she was finally able to hear she started noticing Lance's shrieks and whimpers, every spark of relief turned into unease. Something was happening, something unnatural and wrong.

And then, when her eyes escaped from the dark solitude into a world of color and shapes, she saw him. Lance, curled up on the floor, adorned with every single wound that had once adorned her. In that moment, she realized what he had done to himself. What he had done to himself… to save her.

"No," she breathed. The force field surrounding her released, and then her legs were moving before she even realized it. She crouched down next to him, tears already forming in her eyelids. In less than ten ticks she was a sobbing mess.

"No, no, please!" Her small arms wrapped around Lance in a tight hug, careless for the blood that dripped onto her hair and face. "Please! Why Lance? Why?" She knew he couldn't hear her, but the question rolled from her tongue anyway.

His arms returned the favor and wrapped around her back. He was crying, too, his tears red as they mixed with his blood. He didn't deserve this, she thought, burying her head in the crook of his neck. Lance has suffered so much. He doesn't deserve to spend an eternity tortured with only his own soul as his companion. Why did he have to do this? He could have been happy?

Lance was not supposed to end up suffering in Hell.

"I-I'm going to f-free you," she stammered, whispering into his senseless ears quietly enough so that Ukoran couldn't hear. "Not even the strongest chains in Carceri could keep us apart."

And not even the most evil fiend in the entire multiverse could keep her from achieving her objective.

Lance could no longer tell time.

Maybe his hellish alteration of purgatory had only lasted ticks, and his brain was going numb. Vargas could work, too. Quintants, phoebes, heck, maybe even several deca-phoebes had passed since he sacrificed his soul for Pidge. Thinking about it, that was the most likely option, although he could bever be sure. Time was strange in the eternal abyss of nightmares.

With most of his senses useless, Lance was sure he was going to go insane. He was touch-starved, without a doubt, and lonely as possible. He had almost no idea what was happening around him, except when his chains were yanked on, and moments afterward, biting pain was spreading through his skin. The worst part was that he could never see it coming, both literally and figuratively.

He couldn't survive it. He flinched at touch, shook constantly, broke down at random points in the day (or was it night? He could never be completely sure anymore.). Nothing in all of existence deserved what he was experiencing. Nothing.

On his worst days Lance would remind himself that had he not done what he'd done, Pidge would still be suffering the same misery. Now that idea really made him sick.

Lance was sure he would never be free, and even though he did it for Pidge, and did not regret it for one tick, it did not take away the pain.

But then, one day, he saw.

He didn't know what was happening, except that he was suddenly able to see and hear and sing.

A figure approached, awash in brilliant green radiance. Her small, translucent form was angelic, and every step she took was graceful. She let out her arm for him to take, with eyes as clear and shining as the sun, flecked with tears of joy.

"Come on," Pidge whispered with the most clear and beautiful voice, like bird-song. "Let's go home."

I'll leave the ending up for your own interpretation.

Important note: I just got a Bad Things Happen Bingo card! Unfortunately, that means that I will focus more on that then A Paladin Lost in the Forest. In no way does this mean that I will no longer be writing Pidge whump (what? No way?) but that I will be focusing on other things. I might write an entry every once in a while, but don't expect it any time soon.

Here's my Tumblr so you can request a prompt for bingo! Make sure to read the rules I put on my first BTHB post!

Hope you guys stick with me no matter what I do (or not, you be you) :')