chapter 3 here
Warning: Langst, Klance, langugae, mind trip, PTSD, mentions of major character death.
I do not own these characters nor VLD in general (sadly).
Again, I don’t speak Spanish, so please correct me if you find a mistake!
- - -
The first thing that Keith registered when he came to was the lightness of his own body.
He didn’t even try to open his eyes as he sat; under his gloved hands, he felt something flat and cold.
“Keith, are you awake?”
The boy slowly opened his eyelids, and found the Altean princess standing before him,
“Are you with me?”
“Yes” he replied, still gathering his surroundings.
Right, right: get Lance back.
“Good,” Allura said, “we’ve successfully entered the Astral Plane, and even if I cannot see Lance, he must be somewhere close”
As the girl talked, Keith looked around: the stars lit the pitch dark sky above them, and the surface they were standing on reflected everything, just like water.
“Let’s go find him,” Keith begun, “I don’t like the idea of him staying here alone for too long”
“Me neither… Do not worry, we will get Lance back” Allura said, placing a warm hand on the boy’s broad shoulders, as he smiled softly, “Thank you, Princess”.
As the two walked straight forward- not knowing which direction it was- they began to hear a faint sound of laughter.
“This is not Lance,” Allura started, a bit confused.
“No, it’s not… This is…”
They stopped dead on their tracks as one hand was placed on their shoulders.
Keith turned around, white as a sheet, eyes widening, as he noticed that his surroundings had changed: instead of the usual Astral Plane, there was a stunning beach: pale sand, fluorescent turquoise water, gigantic straw beach-umbrellas, and finally, a small bar- structure made of wood- where gigantic speakers were blasting party music. Finally, the sky, maybe the most stunning view of all: it was tinged in salmon-pink and navy blue, as the sun was slowly making its way downside.
"Lance?” Keith said, trembling despite the boiling heat.
“Yes, mi cariño” he answered, looking at his boyfriend as if he had a third eye, “are you okay?"
"What?” Keith asked, incredulous.
Is he really asking me that..?
Lance was looking good: given that he was wearing only a pair of blue swim trunks, an opened white shirt and flip flops, the majority of his skin was bare, visibly healthy, with no scars nor casts on it.
On Lance’s tanned face, a goofy smile replaced his previously concerned look, as he smirked.
“Man, you look upset… And you too, Allura!” he laughed, “do you feel intimidated by THIS body right here?” he asked mockingly, showing his guns in a dramatic pose, still laughing.
They didn’t even where to start from, “Lance, oh my goodness, what is-”
“Hey, what’s going on here?” asked someone who wasn’t in Keith and Allura’s vision field yet, as their face was blurred and hidden by one of the last rays of the sun.
“Vien aquí, Keith and Allura have just arrived!” Lance said cheerfully.
The two looked at each other, baffled, as they trembled slightly, fearing what was coming.
This cannot be happening…
The fourth figure finally came into light, and Keith almost felt like passing out, only being held up by Allura: in front of them, there was a very much alive Veronica, wearing a pink top and a floral sarong; she was smiling and approaching them calmly, holding up a hand on her forehead to block out the light.
“Finally, the party’s just about to start!” she chirped excitedly.
“Hey, hey, hold on! We must wait for the others first” Lance replied.
“Of course! In the meantime, would you like something to drink, guys?”
This is madness!
Allura swallowed the lump in her throat, and spoke for the first time in a while, as Keith wasn’t looking so good at the moment.
“Lance, are you okay!?"
The boy looked at his sister, wide-eyed, and then back at the Princess,
"Yeah, why are you asking me that?"
“On the other hand, Keith, cariño, you look like crap! Are you tired already?”
“He must be!,” Veronica intervened, “come, Keith, sit down; I’ll get you a soda, okay?”.
The boy clenched his fists, regaining his composure as much as he could manage; this was nonsense.
What was this place?
How can Veronica even be here?
She’s is dead! I have seen her, we all did.
His body was wrecked, and his mind was… Keith didn’t even know how to describe it.
“What the fuck are you two talking about!?” he finally snapped, regretting his strong language immediately but not giving that away.
“Keith!” Lance exclaimed, “what the hell was that for!?”
“This is… This place isn’t even real, man! And you… and her..!” he said, pointing at Veronica, “this is insane!”
Allura stood there, looking around, trying to gather more information on the place.
The energy is the same one I felt when I arrived, so I am sure this still is the Astral Plane…
I can feel Keith’s and my own quintessence, and they emanate the same, usual aurea.
Lance’s quintessence is blooming..!
He is creating this place and a fake Veronica, probably based off his own memories.
There MUST be a way to let him understand that this is not real without him going into some kind of shock.
“Hey! Earth to Allura?"
"Ah! I’m sorry, Lance…” she apologized, “I need to speak to Keith for a tic"
"Alright..,” the Cuban boy exhaled, “oh, and if you got a way to call the others and ask them where they are, please do so!” he added, backing away to reach the bar again with his sister.
As the two left, Allura slowly turned to Keith, whose face was hard to read at the moment: he looked angry, concerned and terrified at once, as his eyes shone with tears that couldn’t find a way out.
“Keith, look at me” Allura begun, “pl-”
“He's… He’s going crazy, isn’t he?”
“No! No, Keith, he is not”
“Then..,” he whispered, “why is he doing this?” Keith asked, gesturing to the beach, “why can he not realize that this is all a sick mind trip of his? Why won’t he listen to me?”
“He’s hurting, Keith, but he does not realize that now” Allura explained, “and we can’t just ‘kidnap’ Lance and take him back to the real world yet”
“Why is that..?”
“Do you want your partner to end up in shock? This could leave him catatonic for months, for years, or maybe for the rest of his existence!” Allura burst out, losing her temper for a bit.
“I’m..,” Keith shrugged “sorry”
“No, I am… I shouldn’t have yelled and said those brutalities”
“But you are right, Allura,” the boy admitted, “I just… Don’t know how to handle all of this… Loss, grieving and all"
"I understand,” the Princess said, a look of condescence in her blue eyes, “you can work on that, though”
“Yeah, I should…” he said, smiling timidly, “but now we gotta help Lance”
“Yes, I agree… I have been studying this situation for some time now: Lance is using his own quintessence to create this, and this is slowly taking him further from us”
“So we must act quickly”
“Precisely,” Allura nodded, “we just have to find a flaw in this fake reality, and then guide Lance back to us”
“So,” Keith said, crossing his arms, “the best thing we can do is play along and observe?”
“Yes, I believe so!”
“Alright… Let’s do this!”
As the rescuers went back to the bar on the beach, they heard loud music, and saw Lance trying to make cocktails as he spilled liquor all over himself.
“Ay, apestas, hermano!,” Veronica exclaimed, laughing, “oh, they’re back!”
“Hey, cariño, are you feeling better?” Lance asked, removing his dirty shirt and going to Keith.
“All good… Sorry about before, babe” he replied, smiling forcefully, never taking his eyes off Lance,
I haven’t seen him this happy in weeks…
“It’s okay, Keith,” Veronica said, “it happens! Now, it’s party time!”
“And the others?” Lance asked, “don’t we wait for them?”
“They said they’re late because of… Huh..,” Allura begun, “something about marmalade among the streets..?”
“It’s traffic jam,” Keith told her, “but yeah, that’s the reason… Oh, and they said to start anyway”
“Ow, that’s a pity!” Lance said, “but okay, I won’t go against their will..!” he added, sarcastic.
The young officer burst into laughter, “never miss the chance to party, huh?”
“You know me, sis!” he replied, while giving his sister an uncoordinated high-five.
Allura smiled, still looking around,
Quiznak, this place is flawless! she thought, as she looked at the realism of the waves, the sand, the sky and the objects,
This will be so much harder than we thought…
After almost four hours in that place, Keith started to get tired of this pitiful play: Lance was still dying and didn’t seem to realize it.
But Keith couldn’t just snap, he knew that.
I need to work something out, fast..!
“So, Allura, you were telling me about your family…” Veronica asked, idly sipping a 'sex on the beach’, “what happened to them?”
“It is a very, very long story,” the Altean princess begun, “a story for a different occasion, maybe-”
The chatter was interrupted by the sound of broken glass and a fallen stool,
“Guys,” Keith said, “look at the sun!”
“Yeah,” Veronica breathed out, “it’s a nice sunset, huh?”
Allura stared at Keith too, and then turned her gaze towards the star, realizing what the boy was referring to.
“Keith, cariño, are you okay today?” Lance asked, worried, “You seem so out of it!”
Allura gently patted Keith’s shoulder,
“Lance,” the boy begun calmly, “how long have we been here?”
“Huh, I guess something like three or four vargas, why?"
"The sun was already going down when Allura and I got here… Where have you seen a sunset last this long on Earth?”
Lance shrugged, “you’re being awkward-”
“No, no,” Keith insisted, grabbing Lance’s shoulder firmly but carefully enough to avoid hurting him, “babe, think of what I said, please”
Lance stood there, as Veronica didn’t even seem to change facial expression,
“Okay, sure, it’s weird, but it may hap-”
“It cannot happen, Lance, not on your planet” Allura said, “and as a brilliant pilot and space explorer, I am sure you do know the basics of astronomy”
“She is right, Lance…” Keith nodded, “does that seem realistic to you?” he said, not letting go of his boyfriend.
Lance blinked slowly, as he looked at Keith and at the sunset back and forth, stomach tied in a painful knot,
“…no” he answered, voice barely audible.
“And, Veronica,” Allura called looking at the young officer, “do you remember that conversation we had when we met for the first time ever?"
The two girls, in fact, had spent a fairly long time alone in Veronica’s room at the Garrison, making parallels between Earth and Altea: costumes, food, roles, and all.
The Princess already knew something about Earth, as she had spent some years with the paladins- she swore she would never forget how milkshakes were made; Veronica, on the other hand, didn’t know much of Altea, if not things she’d been told by Captain Holt when he had returned to Earth after his abduction years prior.
The two were alone into that room, and there was no way that Lance could’ve heard them.
"No, I don’t” Veronica simply admitted, never stopping to smile.
Allura, disturbed by that lack of emotion,
she’s not the real one, she’s not the real one, she’s not t-,
turned to Lance once again,
“Do you want to know why she doesn’t remember?”
Lance swallowed, eyes wide and face pale “why?”
“Because she isn’t real” Keith said, calmly, as a tear threatened to fall on his cheek, “none of this is real, Lance…”
“What the fuck are you saying..?” Lance asked, an eyebrow up and one down, smirking and sweating, as an image of Veronica, sprawled on her back, bloodied and dead flashed before him,
not true not true not true
“Lance, this is all in your head. A modified memory that we have infiltrated to come and rescue you-”
Lance grabbed his boyfriend’s collar, and shoved him back, freeing himself from Keith’s grip,
“It doesn’t make any fucking sense!” he screamed,
explosion, blood, car crash, blood, fight the Galra, blood, Veronica dead, blood- STOP
“Don’t you 'Lance’ me!” said boy snapped, “this… This doesn’t make any sense!” he said, face sweaty as teeth clenched, “this IS real”
she’s dead dead dead dead dead dead
"Lance! Look at Veronica,“ the Allura pleaded as calmly as she could, "look, she’s not even reacting to anything”
“You’re a liar!”
she’s dead dead dead, and I’m mad mad mad- QUIT IT!
“Allura..!” Keith pleaded.
The Altean Princess sighed, “sorry, Lance, but I fear there may not be another way for you to understand” she said, as she grabbed a knife that had been used to cut lemons for drinks, “Keith, would you?”
“Yes,” he replied, approaching the Princess,
“No, Allura, put that down! Allura!” Lance screamed, petrified,
ah, just like that piece of metal that was stuck in Veronica’s abdomen- NOT AGAIN
“Fear not, Lance” she simply said, and proceeded to cut his own and Keith’s palms: not a single blood drop came out of their skin, “see?”
The sharpshooter didn’t move, he was utterly terrified: cold shivers ran down his spine, as he slowly stepped back, further from the other people.
“Lance, talk to me,” Keith pleaded, trying to reach out for the boy in the most non-threatening way possible, “I beg you-”
no no no, ¿qué está pasando? No comprendo…
“Lance?” Keith called, as his boyfriend grabbed his own hair, and sank to his knees,
estoy en la playa con mi hermanita…
“Lance, babe, talk to me please..!”
…y todo es bueno…
“Keith, step back!” Allura screamed, alarmed.
For an instant, time seemed to be frozen: Lance slowly raised his shaking head, and anxiously looked at the people before his eyes.
Keith and Allura were concerned, visibly worried for him, as they tried to obtain some kind of reaction from the poor boy.
Veronica, on the other hand…
She seemed… Unreal. Artificial.
Still as a porceain doll, the young officer hadn’t changed her facial expression since the last time she had spoken: that fake smile hadn’t left her face yet, and those cerulean blue eyes seemed unfocused and fogged.
It’s almost like when…
“… she died” Lance said, barely whispering, lips curling up in a pained grin,
“She is dead, right?,” he asked, slowly standing up, knees buckling.
Keith sighed mournfully, “Yes… Lance… I’m so sorry…”
Allura looked away, the sight of a broken Lance too hurtful for her to tollerate.
Keith just stood there, eyes low, and ready to comfort his partner as much as he could in such a bad situation.
‘Bad’ was actually just an euphemism: this was a tragedy.
There was no possible happy ending here, no lesson to learn, nothing to laugh about in the future.
So Keith braced himself, and took a shaky breath: he needed to be there for Lance; he couldn’t let him pick up his dejection.
But the sound of a desperate cry never came.
Instead, a bubbling laughter echoed, and it slowly turned into a maniacal scream, making both Keith and Allura look up in utter shock, only to see Lance contorted as he wrapped his own arms around his torso, tears staining his grinning face,
“Lance..?” Allura begun, “wh-”
“Oh, this is just hilarious!,” the Cuban boy screamed, without stopping to laugh, “no puedo creerlo, I’m so fucking stupid!”
“Lance, no, stop-”
“Hah, ‘stop’? ‘Stop’ what, excactly, huh, Keith?” he asked, sneeringly, “Stop being pathetic? Stop being useless?”, he continued, walking towards Veronica,
“But this is MY place to be, and I rule here!”
“Lance, I beg you, quit it!” Keith screamed, upset as never before, “let us take you back!”
“Back?” Lance murmured, sobering up for an instant, “but I don’t want to go back, Keith”.
At that, all hell broke loose: loud thunders started to tear the sky apart, as the wind wrecked everything it encountered, shredding it into pieces, and a hot- oh, too hot!- liquid fell from the sky; the sea looked like a boiling oil well, as tar stained the once white sand.
The floor shook uncontrollably, knocking them all over,
“Lance, please!” screamed Allura, “stop this now!”
But he didn’t seem to hear her; instead, he walked calmly and grabbed Veronica’s hand, “Hermanita..?”
“Sí, ¿qué pasa?” she replied, smiling and completely unbothered by what was happening, “Lance?”
“Yo… Lo siento mucho por todo…”
“¿De qué estás hablando? ”
“Veronica..,” he said, holding her close, as strong as he could, “Yo…”
“Yo te maté,” Lance weeped, “¡Soy un desastre, un pedazo de mierda! He hecho nada más que cosas malas desde que volví…”
As the boy hugged his sister, he could hear the panicked screams of Keith and Allura… He wanted to help them; they were his family too.
But he coulnd’t let go of Veronica either; if Lance did, he knew he would never be able to see her like this ever again.
“Lance!” Keith yelled, in pain, as he crouched down, holding for dear life onto his partner’s ankle, “I beg you… You have to let her go! I…”
Lance looke down at him, swallowing a lump in his throat,
“I can’t lose you too” they both murmured, making eye contact for the first time in a while.
“Veronica, te quiero tanto,” Lance said, stepping back slowly and returning his gaze to his sister, “no voy a olvidarte nunca, hermanita” he sniffled, smiling softly, as fat, hot tears rolled down his red cheeks.
Just like that, everything froze, and in the blink of an eye, it was all gone.
Lance sank to his knees, staring at his bare hands placed on his lap.
It’s all over now…
“Lance…” Keith called, quietly, as he noticed that they were back in the Astral Plane they all knew, “I’m sorry” he whispered, as he sat next to his boyfriend and hold him tight as he grieved and weeped.
Allura stood a few meters behind them, in order to give the two some well-deserved privacy, as she smiled kindly, tears in her eyes.
They didn’t know for how long they had stayed like that, with Keith caressing Lance’s soft and ruffled hair, as the Cuban boy kept crying. Lance kept apologizing, almost like a mantra now, rocking back and forth as Keith cradled him in his arms. The other boy held him, whispering comfort words, kissing his nape now and then.
It was not going to be okay.
Veronica had died in her brother’s arms; for that, Lance was going to need more help than what the Paladins and his family could give him.
The boy was fragile now, mentally and physically, and not even his persona would be able to hide that.
Lance, the most unselfish, self-sacrificing, loving person that they had ever known was beyond destroyed.
Keith would never forget himself for leaving him alone during that mission; Allura would never forgive herself either for allowing this mission to even start.
The Japanese boy sniffled too, never letting go.
It’s going to be hard.
But we’re back together, safe, and to me, that is all that matters.
- - -
Ooh boy, what a ride… Also, yeah, kEITH CRADLED LANCE IN HIS ARMS AAAAH
Chapter five will be the last one, so be sure to keep an eye on my blog, please!
Like? Comment? Reblog maybe?