Inside Out

by JoAnn

Disclaimer: WEPownsVoltron.

Note: kaie inspired me. Forest beta’d. (it was heroic -- Forest does _not_ like Lance/Allura. {bows deeply to Forest}). I think I took an idea from one of the authors at Taryn’s site with unfinished fic’s... {blush} I hope you don’t mind...

I swear, I think I also got Taryn, Zoe, maybe even kaie and Tiki? to look at this fic also, when I got stuck... ^^; Sorry -- I’ve got a bad memory. If I missed someone, please let me know. {blush}

Warning: Allura/Lance background. Keith/Pidge. Seriously AU Pidge. For some reason, characters do strange things in between my head and the keyboard...

And -- Todesengel -- I thought up this before you said anything about an assassin-Pidge. {g}

Angst in the beginning, but... sappy. Very, very sappy.


Inside Out


Life settled into a routine. The Voltron force defeated all of Doom’s efforts to conquer Arus. Allura and Lance both tried for a while to win Keith’s heart. Neither were successful, and both eventually gave up. And married. Each other.

Keith just smirked throughout the ceremony.

Incensed to madness, Lotor threw every last scrap of Doom’s fighters at Arus. He was repelled and driven out of the galaxy -- but there was a cost. Keith.


Outraged, Pidge stares at the Galaxy Garrision officer. “What do you mean? You can’t just abandon him!”

“Pidge, there’s nothing we can do! No matter how much we want to. The war with the Drules is heating up and everyone is needed. With matters resolved in Arus, and two other pilots left who can pilot the Lions, you and Hunk are needed here...”

“I am not going anywhere except to find out what happened to Keith.” Pidge all but growls out.

Hunk, quiet in the background, tightens his jaw, and nods firmly in aggreement.

For a moment, the uniformed officer just looks at the two of them. Then, she sighs. “Right. Truth, _one_ of you can be spared. _If_ the other comes back. We need pilots with experience.”

Seeing the sincerity in her eyes, the two friends confer by gaze.

Hunk, his mouth twisting as if tasting something sour, steps up to the screen. “I’ll go. But if Pidge needs my help...”

Relaxing, the officer nods. “I understand. I’ll expect you in three days.” And the screen blanks out.

Concerned, Allura looks at Pidge. “Should you be doing this on your own?”

Pidge glares up at her. “I’m not a child. Just because you’re expecting your own doesn’t mean you can treat me like one.”

Allura recoils in hurt, turning into Lance’s embrance.

Lance glares back. “Pidge!”

Ashamed, Pidge looks at his feet. “I’m sorry, Princess. It’s just that -- no one else will be able to look, if I don’t. Both you and Lance have to stay here. The Alliance is having so much trouble with the Drules, they can’t spare anyone for the search. Not even just Hunk and I. And of the two of us, Hunk’ll be more useful in the field, with his mechanic abilities. Since we can’t search for Keith together, I’m the better choice to go it alone. I’m good at sneaking around, breaking into computers and locked places.”

Hunk nods, but adds, “The Princess does have a point. You *look* like a kid. There’s no way you’re going to be able to fit in some places...”

Pidge snorts. “Right now, I look like a kid, mostly by choice. I like having people underestimate me. But Keith’s at stake. I can’t afford to pretend anymore. If it makes you feel better, I’ll show you what I mean.” Casually, Pidge takes off his large round spectacles, and changes them for smaller rectangular ones. He pulls off the green headband, and runs his fingers through his hair, relaxing it. Tilting his chin up, Pidge tightens his stance, and straightens his spine. Adopting his best “Keith-face”, he looks cooly at his stunned teammates and smiles, ever so faintly. “Of course, the effect is much more striking in proper clothes and with some hair gel.”

Hunk stares at Pidge. “Your voice is different.”

Pidge’s smile widens. “Attitude, Hunk. If I’m going to act like a kid to disarm someone, every part of that act better be in place. If I’m going to project, ‘small but dangerous’ I’ve got to sound the part also.” His eyes laugh. “Being around the lot of you has helped a great deal.”

Lance looks impressed in spite of himself. “Now, I feel more comfortable with you going off on your own.”

Pidge rocks back on his heels, the smile widening to a smirk. “Good. ‘Cause I’m leaving tomorrow.”


Upon attaining her majority, Allura was crowned Queen of Arus, with Lance as her official Consort. By that time, they had three children together.

Lotor, predictably, managed to find his way back to Arus. Thinking his victory assured, because two of the Lion pilots were in parts unknown, and a third was off fighting another war, he attacked. He had learned enough from prior mistakes to not hold back anything, just in case. It wasn’t enough. In the break, besides increasing the number of royalty on Arus, Lance and Allura had encouraged the development of new fighting ships and had formed a new squadron of pilots. These new pilots weren’t as good as the old Lion force, but they were far more numerous, and more than equal to the task of driving Lotor away once more.

Now assured of their ability to withstand Lotor’s attacks without Alliance aid, the two settled down to raising their children, having more children, and encouraging the growth and development of their defensive forces.

Meanwhile, the Drule war dragged on. Hunk fought, repaired ships, and helped beat the greeness out of new pilots. Periodically, he’d get updates, routed convolutedly, from Pidge on how the search for Keith was progressing. He also got periodic updates from Arus about the state of the royal brood and the latest battles.

Eventually, the war ended. Hunk offered to join in the search. Pidge declined and refused to send Hunk the coords to get to where he was.

Irritated, Hunk ended up at Arus, helping tend the Royal Brood, and passing along the bits of information that Pidge shared with him.

So matters stood, until Hunk finally received the all important communique...



“Hunk, what’re you doing? You just woke up the baby and Allura...”

“Pidge is coming here! With Keith!”


“Lance.... if you wake me up one more time...”

“Love, Pidge’s bringing Keith here...”

“Wait a moment, why here? I’m overjoyed, but I would think Pidge would be sending him to a medical center.”

Hunk bites his lip. “That’s the not so good part. Pidge is bringing him here because Keith’s apparently in a coma. He’s hoping that Arus will somehow bring Keith out of it...”

Silence descends as sadness envelopes them.


“Well. I’m impressed. Even though it’s been years, none of you have really changed...”

“P-p-pidge?” Hunk stares in shock. The person before him is the right height, and is wearing the glasses he last saw Pidge wear. But beyond that, he looks almost completely different. He’s still wearing green, but it’s not the familiar light green with western trimming. This green is dark, almost black, and all smooth lines. Weapons bristle all over the small body. A blaster at either hip, a long vibro-blade at the right hip, a shock stick at the left hip. The hilt of a vibro-knive peeks out from the top of each boot. The familiar face is sharper, thinner, the roundness gone. The hair, rather than the familiar fluff, is slicked back and tight to his head. The eyes, though, are just as big, and brown, looking at him with the familiar laughter in an almost unfamiliar face. As Pidge turns to greet the Queen of Arus, Hunk gasps. “Your hair--!” Seeing Pidge from the side, Hunk can see the long braid of hair that snakes into the armored vest he’s wearing and out the bottom to wrap several times around his waist. From the front, he’d taken the braid to be some sort of odd trim of the vest or belt.

Pidge tightens his mouth. “Yeah. It’s... sort of a ritual when my people go on a search. This particular style is a sign of commitment, and a signal to the others to help the person to the best of their abilities...”

Hunk just shakes his head in amazement. “I didn’t think your hair could grow that long.”

Flushing slightly, Pidge just shrugs, the movement causing the bit of the braid that’s free to twitch. “Like I said... It’s a ritual... Anyway, here’s Keith...”

A biobed moves smoothly down the ramp at Pidge’s gesture.

In it, eyes shut, is a ghost of their commander.

Lance pales. “What happened?”

Pidge just shrugs his shoulder helplessly. “Whatever it was, it wasn’t good.” Eyes flashing, he continues. “I finally found him with some sort of odd, magical slave collar on him, working at a brothel.”

Allura chokes.

“He didn’t recognize me. He barely acknowledged me, even after I bought him. It was as if his body was moving but anything inside was just gone. I managed to get the collar off, and he promptly collapsed. The mage who took the collar told me that the best I could do is kill the body, since the mind was gone. He told me that never seen anyone so far gone who came back to normalty.” Pidge face is still and cold, and he’s reciting all of this as if he was a machine. Allura is weeping softly, as are Hunk and Lance, horror etched on their faces.

“But I’m not going to give up. Not, at least, until I try. I was hoping that maybe, somehow, being here will help him heal...”


Pidge stares helplessly at the quietly breathing body before him. “Keith, what’s wrong? You’re safe here. No one here will let any harm come to you... Black Lion’s waiting for you, we’re all waiting for you... Even Sven’s coming by to visit... All the kids want to talk to you. Why won’t you wake up?”

Mouth clamping shut, Pidge stops a moment to regain his composure. Swallowing hard, he gives up on speaking once again, and sits lightly on the edge of the bed, taking Keith’s still hand in his own. Gripping it tightly for a moment, he begins his nightly ritual of watching for any sign of a reponse from Keith as he lets his hair loose and rebraids it.

Finished, finally, Pidge asks once more, “Keith, why won’t you wake up? Please?”

Another night without a response, and Pidge sadly leaves for his quarters.

Keith’s breaths don’t change.


Sven and Romelle came and went. Their children came and went. Allura and Lance spent what time they could with Keith, but there was not much time, what with the problems of ruling a planet and a brood of kids to raise. Hunk, as well, tried to spend as much time as he could, attempting to coax this shell of Keith back to life.

No one spent more time than Pidge. Automatically, because he was the one to track and bring Keith back, it was left to Pidge to decide when it was time to truly give up.

Months pass, and Pidge grows ever sadder. Though the children still laugh and play, there is an air of sadness that hangs over the castle.


Looking out the window, Pidge can see the sky brightening, slowly, the darkness of night edging slowly into that glorious blue that only comes at the beginning and the end of days. Turning his attention to the quietly breathing body next to him, his face closes with grief. One last attempt. Detatching all the monitors and the tubes, Pidge swiftly gathers Keith up into his arms. I can’t believe you’ve lost so much weight that _I_ can carry you... Moving quietly through the castle, Pidge makes his way into Black Lion. I suppose it’s sort of grisly. But I think you’d want to die in Black. A very small part of Pidge hopes that actually being in contact with his lion will bring Keith out of his coma. Nothing else has worked.


Yawning, Hunk makes his way to sickbay, to start his day by speaking quietly to Keith for a moment or two. The adrenalin rush snaps him completely awake when he takes in the empty bed. Running to the control center, he scans the castle frantically, as he starts to com Pidge. Stopping midmotion, he freezes the view at an image of the Black Lion’s cockpit.


“Keith? You’re here. In Black. It’s safe to come back. Keith?”

Black Lion is still and cold around him, Keith is still and warm beneath him.

Lowing his head in despair, Pidge just settles deeper into Keith’s lap, resting his head on Keith’s chest, listening for his heart to stop and his breathing to still. Tears leak from Pidge’s eyes.


Hunk chokes and feels himself tearing up.

A hand gently touches his shoulder. Looking up, he sees Lance watching over his shoulder, eyes on the screen, crying as well. Allura leans against Lance, and behind them, Coran and Nanny stand, watching solemnly.


Touch. What? Warmth and comfort. Nothing cold, nothing foreign, peace... But tears? Someone calling... Slowly dragging himself out of the warm, beckoning darkness, he reaches out to comfort.


Pidge eyes snap open. Am I dreaming? Not moving, not even daring to stiffen, his eyes focus on the incredible sight of Keith’s arm. Quite clearly, that arm is moving, slowly, wrapping around him, joined by the warmth of Keith’s other arm... Clutching him tighter, Pidge dares to look up. “Keith--?”


Slowly, blinking his eyes, Keith looks down. “Pidge?” He looks very different. Older... “Are you okay?”

“Am _I_ okay? I’m not--” Cutting himself off, Pidge bites back all the questions, not wanting to risk sending Keith spiralling back into his coma. “I’m okay now that you’re finally awake.”

“Finally?” Keith frowns.

Pidge grins, as more tears slide down his cheeks. “Yeah. Finally. You were-- badly hurt, and you’ve been back on Arus for over half a year, without waking up.” Oh, gods. I hope I don’t send him back into that... Why do I have to _babble_?

“Oh.” Shaking his head slightly, Keith looks around, puzzled. I’m in Black, but... Looking down, his eyebrow goes up involuntarily. I’ve never been in Black while in a hospital gown. And not with Pidge on my lap.... Firmly suppressing the thoughts that want to crowd into his head after _that_ thought, Keith shuts his eyes to commune with Black. Smiling, he relaxes further, feeling the thrum of welcome that Black has just for him.

Stiffening slightly, Pidge watches in alarm as Keith’s eyes shut again, but he relaxes as the minute changes in statement show that Keith is still there, not gone somewhere he can’t be reached.


Oh my God. Hunk’s eyes move slowly to meet Lance’s and Allura’s gaze. As one, all of them turn back to the screen, and then back to each other, joy rising in their eyes.

Hunk throws back his head, whooping.

Startled, Coran and Nanny rush forward, even as Lance dances Allura around the room.

“Keith’s _back_!”


Things settled down, much happier than before. Keith played with the children and flew Black every day.

Allura bullied and browbeat Galaxy Garrison until they relented and sent a psych doctor that Keith could trust.

Sven came back for another visit, with Romelle and their brood. They helped Hunk and Lance catch Keith up with everything that had happened.

Pidge avoided talking with Keith. He hovered wherever Keith is, but always stayed back in the shadows, watching.

Everyone, except for the psych doc, carefully avoided asking Keith questions about what exactly happened to him. They tried to make it clear to him that they were here to listen if he wanted to talk.

Keith didn’t take any of them up on it.


Looking at himself in the mirror, Pidge carefully brushes his hair out for the last time. I look ... different with all this hair. It’s going to be strange, not needing to deal with it every day....

Slowly, carefully, Pidge braids his hair up. Putting a tie high up the braid, he picks up the scissors.

“Isn’t that my perrogative?”

“What?” Pidge whips around. How did he--?

Moving out of the doorway, Keith smiles at Pidge. “You were sort of occupied. And I made sure that I wouldn’t be reflected onto your mirror.”

Pidge flushes. No sadness or confusion in that smile... And he can read me easily. The Doc’s right, Keith’s back to normal... Pidge ignores the twinge he feels at this, stuffing it down where he can’t see it. “My search is done. I found you, and brought you back. The braid needs to go.” I don’t know how to act around him...

“You brought me back. You didn’t, quite, bring me home.” Slowly, Keith moves forward, crowding Pidge until he finds himself sitting down on his bed.

“Keith?” Pidge’s eyes widen.

Keith smiles softly, kneeling so that they’re face to face. “Some of what I went through is useful. I know when some one wants me, now.”

“Keith! I wouldn’t--”

“I finally figured that out.” Keith leans forward, and gently kisses Pidge.

For a moment, it’s chaste.

Then, with an incoherent moan, Pidge leans forward, opening his mouth, sinking his hands into the silky hair.

“Yes... _Now_ I’m home...”



Any comments or suggestions for JoAnn should be sent through me with either the story title or JoAnn in the subject line. I'll forward them without peeking. Really I will.^^

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