Hello everyone!

I know it's been a very long time, haha. I appreciate your patience with me! I've finally got my stuff together and have clear goals for this year now. I've noticed I do much better when writing for events and such, so I will be using Fragmentation for the WIP Bang! So while it won't be out for awhile, that sets a hard deadline (prob August if they stick to the 2020 timeframe) for the whole fic to be complete, as well as giving it a chance to be claimed by an artist! I know that's a ways away, but thank you to everyone who's stuck around! In the meantime, if any of y'all are interested, I have a fair few fics on ao3 now (under sakarrie)! Most are for different fandoms, but if you're interested, I appreciate any support you give. ;)

This fic is made for CarnelianWing as my 50th reviewer on Fragmentation, as well as a thank you for all their support! I'm so sorry it took me so long to write this story, but it ended up being an extra thousand words, so hopefully that helps make up for it, haha. I did my best to include as many of your ideas and preferences as I could. Hope you enjoy!

Pidge awoke to pounding in her head.

The last few weeks had been their own type of headache, but this pounding was unfortunately a pain she was equally used to—she'd been knocked out.

She barely held back a groan as the memories of earlier today came through. Voltron had been performing another show in an attempt to form new alliances, and Coran had thought it would be good for PR if the paladins were to mingle a bit with the people afterward. Pidge had done her best to avoid most of the crowds, slipping off into a mostly secluded corner, but a couple of "super fans" had found her anyway.

Pidge had tried her best to politely dismiss them, but they'd been persistent that she meet a friend of theirs who'd been looking all over for her. Hoping that would be the end of it, Pidge agreed to meet with the friend for a minute and followed the two aliens. The last thing she remembered was getting a bad feeling about the way they were heading and a sharp pain in her head.

Forcing her eyes open now, it looked like her instincts hadn't warned her fast enough. She was in a lowly lit room, with the only light coming from a small window in the corner. Based on the brightness outside, Pidge guessed that she hadn't been out for more than an hour, but she couldn't hear the crowds anymore, so they must have taken her elsewhere.

Pidge tried to look around further, but restraints held her in place. Glancing down revealed her wrists and ankles all tied down. She started to struggle but couldn't get much momentum into her movements.

"She's awake, Gorin," a voice called from behind her.

The sound of a door opening and footsteps entering made Pidge twitch. The chair was facing the wall, and she hated being unable to see what was going on.

The moment didn't last, though, as the two "fans" from earlier stepped into view. One held a sharp-looking blade in their hand while the other, the taller one, was examining her closely.

"What are you looking at?" Pidge spat, not liking the way he was eying her as if assessing an antique.

The taller one just smiled. "You know what, paladin? You're a hot commodity around here. We were just going to hand you over to a friend of ours, but I'm thinking we might be able to get some extra cash out of you first."

Pidge's stomach rolled as he glanced over to the alien holding the knife.

"Raza, here, is pretty good at getting people to talk," the tall one—Gorin, Pidge presumed—said jovially. "If you can give us some lucrative information, we might even give you the option of who you're sold to. Our current buyer seems to have some beef with you. Said something about you costing him a hefty bounty." He paused, giving Pidge a knowing smile. "A brother, was it?"

The mention of Matt made all thoughts of defiance freeze. What did they know about him? A moment later, though, the initial panic left and her logical side kicked in. They were just bringing him up to get under Pidge's skin. Nothing the alien said actually indicated anything had happened to Matt. But she did know who their client was now, and the idea of being bought and sold by the reptilian bounty hunter made her skin crawl.

Despite that, Pidge tried to hide it with a glare. From the glimmer in Gorin's eye, though, it was clear he knew he'd hit a nerve.

"Ah, yes, now I remember. It was a brother. Must not be too hard to find too, given how few humans are out there. But I've got a sweet spot for family, so I'm not going to do anything as long as you cooperate."

Pidge just held his gaze steadily. As much as the thought of these guys going after her brother terrified her, she knew Matt could take care of himself, and she would not give them anything.

"How do you control the lions?"

Pidge simply pursed her lips in response, refusing to fall into their manipulation. These aliens had no power over her.

Gorin didn't seem perturbed by her lack of response, though, merely motioning to Raza.

The other alien moved without hesitation, and Pidge hissed lightly at the thin cut now across her forearm, but the pain only hardened her resolve.

"How do you form Voltron?"

Pidge didn't even bother looking back at him this time, but she still caught the slight nod before another cut was drawn near her elbow.

"How is a paladin chosen?"

Just as the others, the question was only met with silence and another thin cut further up her arm.

Gorin growled in frustration and Pidge looked back up. Her arm was bleeding a lot now, but the anger on his face was still enjoyable.

At the amusement in her eyes, Gorin snapped at Raza, "Give me that!" Now holding the blade in his hands and glowering down at her, Pidge could see no sign of the easygoing alien he'd first presented himself as. Instead, his face wore a feral smile, though with the way his teeth were bared, it felt more like a snarl.

The knife was held in front of her face, giving her a clear view of her own blood dripping down the tip. Gorin's face was right behind it, and Pidge struggled not to react to his breath puffing against her skin.

She'd handled self-confident kidnappers before and, even with the cuts, knew how to handle them. This alien seemed to have become completely unhinged in the last couple minutes, though, and Pidge couldn't deny that it unnerved her.

Steadying her breaths, Pidge met his wild eyes and made a show of clenching her jaw closed tighter.

A fist flew across her face, and by the light stinging now on her cheek, Pidge could tell it had been the hand with the knife.

"Fine. If that's how you want it, I have no qualms." Gorin said, voice lower and far more controlled than his actions. He didn't take his eyes off her for a second. "Raza, send for our client. And let him know we'd be happy to acquire the bounty this child lost him as well."

Pidge couldn't stop the horror from flooding her face. There was a big difference between someone taunting her with their knowledge of her brother and someone declaring they would track him down and sell him to an old enemy. "No!" she cried as Raza got up and left the room.

The amused grin Gorin wore earlier spread across face again at her reaction, and he lowered the knife a little so he could get right in her face. "That's right. You could have made this easy on both of you, but now your brother is going to suffer even worse than you. There's dangers in killing a paladin, but family is free rein. I'm sure the he'll be getting a nice, slow, torturous—"

Pidge took her moment, shoving her whole body forward. The knife that had been hovering over her arm sliced through rope and skin alike, and her head slammed against Gorin's. She gasped as the pain in both head and arm flooded her but kept moving.

Pidge swung her free hand at his face, eager to return the punch he gave earlier, but the pain just tripled, fingers refusing to clench.

Seeing that Gorin was recovering, she pushed it all away for later, swinging herself up and around so she could slam the chair into him. One of the chair legs snapped, freeing her right foot, but she was still tied down.

Having knocked Gorin away, Pidge had nothing to control her momentum and fell with the chair, back protesting. She groaned as the pulsing pain temporarily stunned her, but she could hear Gorin standing up.

Forcing her eyes open, she moved to unfasten her other ankle, but her fingers still wouldn't respond. Blood was covering her arm now, making it hard to see where the injury was, but she was certain it was from the knife stabbing her wrist when it sliced through the ropes.

Pain lanced through Pidge's arm like lightning when she tried to move her arm, making her squeeze her eyes shut at the feeling. Pain and distress fought for dominance until a chuckle filtered through, and she blinked her way back to awareness once more.

Gorin was stalking toward her, knife in hand and eyes on her unmoving fingers. He had a small cut on his temple, but a manic grin on his face. "Looks like you're out of options, child. And since you've been such an inconvenience, I'm gonna enjoy myself until Raza comes back with—"

The wall exploded behind him, and Gorin went flying into the wall with a loud crack. Pidge braced herself the best she could, but the loud cry of "Pidge!" had her loosening up immediately.

"Hunk?" she called, the word turning into a cough from the dust in the air.

"Hey, yeah, it's me. Pidge, are you o—"

Hunk stepped out of the fog, face paling as he took in the blood covering Pidge's right side. "Oh, god. Pidge, we need to get you to a healing pod."

Pidge didn't protest, trying not to think of the hand still lying unresponsive by her ankle. "Get me free," she said, but her voice wavered slightly. It had been a long day and she was feeling lightheaded.

"Yeah," Hunk said, swallowing thickly before snapping out of it. "Yeah, I can do that."

He crouched over her, releasing her other wrist before switching his attention to the still-bleeding wounds. Pidge grit her teeth, but kept quiet best she could. Hunk didn't need the extra pressure of knowing he was adding to her pain.

"Quiznak," he muttered, finding that he couldn't apply pressure to all of the cuts at once. He glanced up at her, worry shining in his eyes. His breathing quickened, and Pidge could see his gears turning as he measured up the situation. It only took a moment before his panic was shoved back down, and he said, "Okay, we can do this. There's got to be some cloth or something I can wrap this in for until we get back to the ship. You get your ankle untied while I check the other room."

Tears sprung to Pidge's eyes as she realized just what he was asking. She wouldn't be able to get anything untied with her hand out of order. The thought that this might be permanent just made things worse, and she bit her lip as a stray tear fell. A tentative arm pulled her against Hunk's chest, and she couldn't help the sob that broke free.

The hug tightened for a moment before Hunk pulled away and reapplied pressure to her wounds. His eyes were large, clearly alarmed by her reaction, but his voice remained steady. "I'm not leaving you here, okay? I just need to get something to stop the bleeding. Pidge?"

Pidge's body was still shaking, but she hardly noticed through the fuzz in her head. Her thoughts were hard to sort through, but she was able to get out a garbled, "Can't move m'hand."

Saying it out loud made it feel real, and her breaths started speeding up. "Hunk, c'nt feel it or move it or..." her words slurred into heaving breaths as her brain failed to conjure up what she was trying to say.

Hunk must have gotten the message, though, as the horrified look was back in his eyes. "Hey, Pidge! You've got to calm down. You're already pretty low on blood, and we need to keep you conscious, okay? I've got you, just breathe with—"

The words faded into a lull, Pidge no longer able to make out what he was saying above her dizziness. The world was spinning, and she distantly felt herself being lifted into strong arms. The world started jostling around her even faster, and she allowed herself to fade into unconsciousness.

Pidge woke up to the sound of a cryopod opening and the feeling of weightlessness. Hands quickly caught her before she could fall, though, and she looked up to find Coran steadying her.

She smiled tiredly, body still rebooting. "Night shift?" she asked knowingly.

Her voice came out hoarse, but Coran smiled back at her gently. "The rest of them are sleeping in just the other room," he said softly. "Now that your arm is healed and you're awake, though, I can go get them."

He started to let go, but the thought of her injury sent her back into a panic. "Wait," she said, eyes pleading. "Does that mean I regained movement in my hand?"

Coran studied her, smile falling slightly, and Pidge's stomach dropped. "We won't know until you try it."

It wasn't the answer she was looking for, and the idea of confirmation was terrifying. She glanced at the hand resting innocently by her side and wondered if maybe it was better to wait. After all, wasn't the pain of not knowing far less than the permanence she might find?

As if reading her thoughts, Coran placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder. "Putting it off will only make things worse."

Pidge nodded. She knew he was right, but it felt like that Schrodinger's cat philosophy her dad used to love. As long as she didn't check, the cat wasn't dead, right? "Maybe, maybe we can just wait a little bit?"

It felt cowardly, but she just found sad understanding in Coran's eyes. He nodded. "Alright, but the others will be eager to know you're awake..." He trailed off as Pidge felt her breathing speed up. "Number 5, the others won't pressure you into anything you're not ready for. They just want to know you're okay."

But Pidge wasn't sure she was okay. That was the problem. "They're all asleep right now," she reasoned. "There's no reason to wake them right this second."

Coran pursed his lips, clearly disagreeing, but he didn't argue. "We should at least call your brother. Last time he learned you were in a healing pod, he made it abundantly clear that he was to be informed as soon as possible in the case of future incidents."

The thought of Matt sent a jolt through her system. How long had she been in the pod? Had Raza already set after him? The thought of the alien trailing her blade through her brother's arm while he screamed had Pidge hurrying into the comm room.

Coran didn't need her to tell him to set up a call. All the while, Pidge paced, trying to push down the fear of what could be happening. "Quiznak, I can't believe I didn't tell Hunk. They could already have found him by now. He could already be on his way to Zarkon and I was just lying in a—Matt!"

The call was picked up, and relief swept through her like a hurricane. She gripped the console with her good hand for support. As soon as she processed what she was seeing though, the relief was replaced with confusion, followed quickly by a laugh bubbling up in her throat.

Matt smiled back at her, sharing her amusement as he glanced behind him to the unconscious alien. "Yeah, a group of bounty hunters tried to get the drop on me a little bit ago, but it was nothing I couldn't handle. How are you feeling?"

The euphoria of finding Matt okay—not just okay, but having already taken out the threat—kept all thoughts of her own situation away. She should have known her brother could handle it. "I'm fine," she assured, running her hand through her hair at the absurdity of their lives. "It looks like you've met my attacker, though."

Matt's surprise was almost comical, as he did a double take at the alien behind him. Pidge saw the moment if hit, though, and his eyes darkened. "I'll be happy to hand-deliver her to the rebels then."

The threat in his words came through clear, but Pidge knew her brother wouldn't go overboard. Still, Matt had never taken lightly to those who hurt Pidge, and her humor from a moment before turned to something fond. "I'm sure you will."

A voice called offscreen to Matt, and when he turned back to Pidge he looked apologetic.

Pidge waved a hand dismissively, already knowing what he was going to say. "It's fine, Matt. I'm good. Just keep an eye out in case there's more bounty hunters after you, okay?"

He hesitated for a moment before nodding. "You too. Stay safe, Katie."

Pidge disconnected the call and turned to a grinning Coran. She smiled back. "I know, my brother is seriously kickbutt."

Coran simply shook his head. "That's not why I'm smiling." At Pidge's look of confusion, he lifted a finger and pointed at her injured hand.

The same hand she'd used to disconnect the call.

Pidge gasped, watching her fingers twitch at the motion. A grin split across her face and she threw herself at Coran. "I can move it!"

Coran returned the hug, patting her head gently. "Think you can go see the others now?" Pidge pulled away, feeling lighter than she had in years. She nodded, turning toward the room where the paladins would be sleeping.

"And Number 5," Coran called, and Pidge turned around at the sudden softness in his voice. He smiled. "You would still be the intelligent and capable paladin I know, even without your hand." Pidge blushed slightly at being so transparent. The concern had definitely crossed her mind, but seeing the confidence Coran held now just left a warm feeling in her chest. She finally nodded, "Thanks, Coran."

A rustling behind her pulled her attention away, and a relieved cry of "Pidge!" was all the warning she had before Hunk tackled her in a hug. "You're okay!" he cried, eyes wet.

Pidge hugged him back, and before she knew it, four others had joined in. Struggling to keep her head above all the bodies surrounding her, she let out a laugh. "Hey, hey! Shorty needs to breathe here!"

As the group broke up and she saw the joy on her team's faces, she knew she was going to be just fine.

Thanks for reading! Please leave a like and a comment if you have a moment!

-Sakarrie :)