Spaces Betweenby Zoe
Voltron and all characters therein property of World Event Productions
Many thanks to Forest and Taryn for beta-ing this.
Lance gazed morosely out the window at the whirling snowflakes, listening to the distant sounds of revelry emanating from the combination Christmas/Solstice party taking place down the hall and wishing for the thousandth time that evening that he was somewhere, anywhere else. It wasn't so much the snow that bothered him - though, true to his element, he absolutely hated the stuff - or the cold, or the noise, or the holidays, or even all the garishly-hued tinsel spread throughout the castle like brilliantly colored mold.
It was all of it.
He'd never understood the need for revelry at this time of year anyway. Oh, he supposed he got it on an intellectual level - he was well aware of the more symbolic elements of a winter solstice, and certainly it had held the gravest amount of importance on his own world. But all the trappings left him - well, cold, despite his general understanding of the reasons behind them. They simply didn't FEEL right to him. The parties, the decorations, the almost pathological cheer that descended over his otherwise reasonable friends at this time of year - none of it felt natural. Winter was a season of death, after all, a time of sacrifice and loss. Especially this year.
The loss of Balto had come as a terrible blow. It still galled him - they should have done more, should have defied Coran sooner. They were just lucky that the Baltonians had been able to evacuate as many people as they had, or the loss of life would have been much, much worse. He couldn't imagine what it must have been like on the surface of that planet before it had been destroyed -
Well, actually, yes he could. That was part of the problem, wasn't it? It was one of the reasons he was hiding in the observatory, huddled on the windowsill staring out at the damned blizzard, instead of hovering in the corner of the rec room watching the others get drunk and act generally foolish. Not that he abstained from the alcohol, either, of course - it distracted him from the utter wrongness of the holiday. There were times when he despaired of ever understanding the way Terrans thought.
He was more than a little surprised that they were even celebrating this year. Granted, he wasn't terribly fond of the solstice celebrations anyway, but with Balto's destruction still fresh in everyone's minds, he still didn't see how they could just throw a party like this, almost as if nothing had happened. Lance knew on some level that he really wasn't being fair to the others - the loss of that planet had shaken the team to its core, and had it not been for Pidge, he had little doubt that the team would have fallen apart in the days immediately following. But Pidge had helped them regroup; the young Baltonian's quiet courage in the face of all he'd lost had part-inspired, part-shamed them into getting their collective act together, his very presence a not-so-subtle reminder of what they were fighting for to begin with.
It was Pidge who had insisted on going through with the party, in fact, though Lance suspected that it was more for the benefit of the rest of the team than for himself. Pidge's argument at the time was that it was far better to spend the holidays cherishing what they still had rather than dwelling on what they'd lost. Like he himself was doing right now, Lance thought with a wry grimace.
He supposed he should make an appearance at this thing, if for no other reason than to keep the others off his back the next day, as Keith in particular tended to frown on what he referred to as Lance's "general unsociability." Besides, if Pidge could put aside his grief for the occasion, then surely HE could. After all, he wasn't the one who'd just had his home planet blown to atoms.
Except that he COULDN'T set his grief aside, and once upon a time it HAD been his home planet being blown to atoms...
He shook his head in disgust. What in all hells was the matter with him tonight?
"There you are! I've been looking all over for you!"
Lance bit back a frustrated groan as Pidge bounded into the room, somehow managing not to spill the mug of... something... he was carrying in the process. Of all the people to come looking for him...!
Pidge seemed not to notice, grinning affably at the older pilot. "Terran cocoa with a touch of Amphrosean Cointreau, compliments of the Princess," he chirped, presenting the mug with a flourish.
Lance raised an eyebrow as he reached for the proffered beverage. "How did she manage to get her hands on Amphrosean Cointreau?"
Pidge merely shrugged. "Same way she got the Terran cocoa, I'd imagine." Lance nodded absently in response as he took an experimental sip. Just right... not that he expected any less from the Princess of Arus. Allura prided herself on having absolutely everything absolutely perfect absolutely all of the time.
"I really don't know how you can drink that stuff," Pidge complained. "I mean, chocolate and ORANGE? Ugh."
Lance shot Pidge a disbelieving look. "What? It tastes perfectly fine," he protested. Honestly, some people had absolutely NO appreciation for these sorts of things...
Pidge rolled his eyes. "You're a mutant, aren't you?"
Lance didn't dignify that with a response, choosing instead to concentrate on savoring his drink. Pidge watched him in silence for a moment, then plopped down on the opposite end of the sill with a heavy sigh. "You know, I really don't know how you stand it," he remarked.
"Stand what?" Lance replied, nonplussed. He wasn't still on about the cocoa, was he?
Pidge gazed steadily at him, gesturing expansively. "Them. The team. All this canned happiness. How do you stand it this time of year?"
For a moment Lance could only stare blankly at Pidge, wondering what had brought this on. Sure, he'd suspected the younger boy wasn't holding up nearly as well as he pretended, but Lance had certainly never expected Pidge to come out and SAY so. And certainly not to him. Hunk, maybe - the two of them were practically inseparable. But him?
Then again, there were some things you just couldn't tell the people to whom you were closest...
Pidge leaned back against the window frame, closing his eyes. "You know, I really thought I could handle it. I thought that if I just pretended everything was normal, then - I don't know, I guess I was hoping everything would magically be normal just because I wanted it to be." He opened his eyes, fixing his gaze on Lance. "But it's not, is it? It's never going to be normal."
Lance bit his lip. He wanted so badly to reassure Pidge that he was wrong, that the pain would fade eventually and he could have the normalcy he craved. But he knew all too well that that would be a lie. And he couldn't lie to Pidge like that. "No," he whispered, "it isn't going to be normal again."
Pidge's lips twisted in a wry grin. "Thanks for the reassurance."
"Don't. I asked, didn't I?" He sighed again, the sound achingly mournful in the stillness of the room. "At least you're honest. That's more than I can say for the others."
Lance drew a shaky breath. "I... I don't think they're deliberately trying to lie to you. It's just..." He paused, choosing his words carefully. "I don't think they know how to deal with it. They can't comprehend what it's like to lose a whole world - loss on that scale is almost too massive to comprehend. Almost an abstract concept." He glanced at Pidge, wondering if he was making any sense at all, but the other pilot merely nodded at him, waiting for him to continue. "But now... now it's staring them right in the face. And they can't deal with it. You know Keith and the others - they need to be able to fix things, solve problems, MAKE THINGS BETTER. They can't accept that some things can't be made better. I'm not making any sense, am I?"
Pidge shook his head. "No, it's okay. I think I see what you're getting at. Go on."
Lance stifled a disbelieving groan. Go ON? HE still didn't see what he was getting at! Sipping numbly from the now oddly tasteless cocoa, he struggled to collect his somewhat scattered thoughts. "You know everybody here cares about you, right?" Pidge nodded again, that wry grin playing over his lips, and Lance wondered if maybe the other pilot wasn't just humoring him at the moment. Gods knew it wouldn't have been the first time. "Well, you know how much it hurts to watch someone suffer, right? Especially someone you really care about. So..."
"So they wind up spouting platitudes, telling me the things they think I want to hear because they think it'll make me feel better," Pidge finished, his expression pensive.
"Something like that." Lance paused, idly watching the crazily dancing snowflakes whirling just outside the window. "I don't think this holiday of theirs helps either. That mandatory cheer and all. You know?"
Pidge grinned outright at that. "Yeah. 'You WILL be happy, or else.' I never got that either."
Lance blinked. "You didn't? Then...?"
"Then why celebrate?" Lance nodded, and Pidge continued, his grin taking on that wry cast again. "Because outwardly it's not that different from the Baltonian New Year celebrations. I mean, obviously the rationale is different, but a lot of the traditions are strikingly similar." The grin faded briefly, replaced by a brief flicker of pain, then returned, this time more impish. "And presents are always a plus, don't you think?"
"I... well, actually no," Lance answered, shaking his head.
Pidge stared. "What do you mean, 'no'? There's always a right time for presents!"
Lance sighed, trying to contain his frustration. WHY did everybody have to tell him that? "No, there isn't. In fact, where I come from, this sort of celebration would have been considered wildly inappropriate. It's not - it wouldn't have been proper to have a party during the Winter Solstice. During winter in general, actually."
"Why not?" Pidge queried. "I'd think you'd want it to be festive. I mean, the passing of the solstice means the passing of the old year and the beginning of the new, doesn't it? So why NOT celebrate at this time of year?"
"Because that's not what it means, not to me," Lance replied simply. The whole conversation was becoming positively surreal, in his view - how had they gotten on this topic, anyway? "I... things were very different where I came from." He drew another breath, took another sip of cocoa. "Winter Solstice signaled the beginning of the Between Times, when the Allmother descended to the Underworld to spend the winter with the God of the Dead. It wasn't a time of celebration at all. And the only gifts given were offerings to the Allmother, so that She'd have the proper provisions for Her journey. We had New Year's celebrations, but they were upon Her return in the springtime."
Pidge frowned. "'Between Times?'"
Lance grimaced. He'd been afraid Pidge would ask about that. "The Between Times were the period between the end of the old year and the beginning of the new, when the living Allmother sojourned in the World of the Dead. I'm not sure I can explain it really well - I don't think there are any proper words for it in the basic Gal/Stan language. The world was - not really dead or alive, just... Between."
"So, kind of like suspended animation, then?"
"No." He sighed again, frustrated. "I really don't know how else to explain it, Pidge..."
"Don't worry about it," Pidge replied. "I think every society has concepts that don't translate; we certainly had our share on Balto." He trailed off again, and Lance bit his lip, wondering what he'd managed to stir up for Pidge THIS time. But the other merely gazed speculatively at him, eyes narrowed in contemplation.
Finally, the younger pilot spoke again. "You used past tense," he observed, his tone almost deliberately casual.
Lance's mouth went dry. Oh, gods... he had, hadn't he?
"Why what?" Lance replied, fighting a sudden suffocating burst of panic. He did NOT want to deal with this tonight, he really didn't.
Pidge seemed not to notice Lance's discomfiture. "Why do you refer to your customs as if they no longer exist?"
"I - I don't know what you - "
"Yes, you do," Pidge interrupted, cutting off his protests. "You know exactly what I mean, and exactly what I'm going through now. Because you've been through it yourself." The younger boy pinned Lance with his gaze. "Haven't you?"
No, he wanted to scream. No, he hadn't. He didn't know what Pidge was talking about. PIDGE didn't know what he was talking about. "...Yes."
Silence reigned for an interminable moment, broken only by the howling of the wind outside, and Lance mentally cursed his stupidity. Why the hells did his mouth insist on acting in direct opposition to his brain at times like this?
He was so caught up in his own misery and self-recriminations that he was startled when Pidge next spoke. "When?"
"I'm not sure," Lance replied numbly. "A while ago." How many years HAD it been, anyway? Seven? Eight? Did it count if it was Between Times? He wasn't sure anymore. "I don't know. It was winter. Between. One moment everything was normal, and the next..." He shuddered involuntarily, trapped for the moment within his own private hell as too-familiar visions of death swam through his mind. If he really listened, he could almost hear the screams... Grimly, he forced himself away from that spiral of thought. "How did you know?" he asked softly.
Pidge shrugged. "You told me. Sort of." He grinned wryly as Lance blinked at him in surprise. "Not in so many words, of course, but I do remember you telling me you knew what it was like to lose your whole world. But I wasn't sure if you were speaking metaphorically or not, and all it said in your records was 'HOMEWORLD UNKNOWN,' with nothing else one way or the other - "
Lance's eyes widened. "You looked in my RECORDS?!" he blurted, aghast.
Pidge actually looked abashed. "You never said anything outright. And I was too scared to ask you directly; I didn't know how you'd react." His gaze turned apprehensive. "You're not mad, are you? I know I shouldn't have done it..."
Lance sighed, leaning back against the window and closing his eyes. Ordinarily, he'd be furious - accessing someone else's records without permission was a severe breach of protocol at best, and Lance tended to guard his privacy zealously - but right now he was too numb. And as Pidge had already noted, he knew all too well the feelings that must have driven the other boy - the constant gnawing pain of loss, the never-ending sense of aloneness, the desperate longing for someone, ANYONE who could possibly make sense of it all and maybe even make the pain go away, if only for a little while...
He blinked, startled by the sound of Pidge's voice. He really wasn't paying attention to anything tonight, was he? "Don't worry about it, Pidge; it's over and done with. Water under the bridge, or whatever it is the Terrans say."
"Maybe," Lance allowed, wishing Pidge would just let it go already. "But I can see why you would have done it."
Pidge's jaw dropped. "You... can?"
"Hey, just because I'm a paranoid headcase doesn't mean I'm entirely without empathy," Lance protested. "Hells, maybe I would have done the same thing, if our positions were reversed."
Pidge snorted disbelievingly. "Oh, you would not have."
"How do you know?"
"Call it a hunch," Pidge replied dryly. Lance rolled his eyes but forbore to reply to that. After all, it wasn't as if Pidge was WRONG...
"Although," Pidge remarked, that pensive expression on his face again, "I can sort of see where you wouldn't want to talk about it."
Lance nodded in agreement. "It's not the sort of thing one normally brings up in casual conversation, no."
If Pidge heard the comment, he gave no sign. "I mean, every so often the others will ask me if I want to talk about it, but there's nothing really to SAY, is there? It's like you said - they don't have a frame of reference for this sort of thing. They can nod and smile and tell me all they want that they understand what I'm going through, but they really don't, do they? And I don't have the words to explain it to them." He trailed off, his gaze wandering toward the observatory door. "I'll never have the words," he sighed. Suddenly he frowned, eyes narrowed as he gazed sharply at Lance. "Do the others know what happened to your homeworld?"
"You mean, did I tell them?" Lance responded. "No. And you're changing the subject."
"Yes," Pidge agreed. "But then, so are you."
Lance couldn't really argue with that. Not that he didn't WANT to, of course...
"So you never told any of them?"
"Not even Keith?"
"I... no," Lance replied, wincing inwardly. Was Pidge bound and determined to hit every one of his sore points tonight or something? "I should, I know," he continued hastily, forestalling Pidge's inevitable protests, "but he worries enough, you know? And I don't want to add to it."
"Yeah, but - "
"Pidge," Lance interrupted, "if it were you, would YOU tell him?"
Pidge spluttered indignantly. "I - no. I mean, yes. I mean - you're changing the subject!"
"Yes," Lance replied reasonably. "But so are you."
Pidge stared at him incredulously for a moment, then subsided, apparently deciding the matter wasn't worth pursuing right at the moment. "You are absolutely incorrigible," he muttered, sagging back against the window.
"That's what they tell me," Lance replied, carefully setting the now mostly-empty mug on the floor. "But I probably will tell him sooner or later. Eventually."
There was silence for a minute or so before Pidge spoke again. "Hey, Lance?"
"Do you ever wish you could go back in time and..."
"Change things? Stop it from happening?"
Lance gazed solemnly at Pidge. "Every second of every day," he whispered, feeling an all-too-familiar prickling behind his eyes. Damn it, he was NOT going to cry...
Pidge was looking decidedly shaky himself. "I... I keep telling myself how lucky I am. I mean, my family's still alive, and - and most everybody managed to evacuate safely. And Allura even made me a citizen of Arus, so it's not like I'm homeless or anything..." The younger boy sniffled, and Lance thought he could see tears glistening in his eyes. "So why am I so miserable? Why can't I just - put everything aside, even for a little while?"
"Because it's NOT something you can just 'put aside,'" Lance snapped, with a vehemence that surprised even him. "Because this isn't a situation that can be resolved by 'accentuating the positive' or what-have-you. Not when everything you've ever known, everything you ever were, has been blown to all hells before your eyes and you couldn't do a blessed thing to stop it! And I'm sorry, but anyone who tells you otherwise is full of shit. You don't shrug something like this off, Pidge. You can thank as many gods as you want that things didn't end up worse, but that's not going to lessen the enormity of what happened, and it sure as hells isn't going to make the pain go away."
Pidge stared at him in shock, and Lance winced in sympathy, wondering if he could have been any less tactful. Like the poor kid needed his misfortune rubbed in his face any more! Just once, Lance thought, he'd like to be able to give someone asked-for advice WITHOUT making things worse... or at least to know when to keep his godsdamned mouth shut.
Pidge was biting his lip, clearly upset, and once again Lance cursed himself for an idiot. "I know it's not going to go away," the younger pilot murmured tentatively, "but... does the pain ever lessen?"
Lance blinked. "You're asking me? The poster child for obsessive vendettas?"
The faintest vestiges of a smirk crossed Pidge's face. "Point."
Lance glowered at him. "You didn't have to agree so readily, you know," he complained. Pidge laughed outright at that, and Lance felt a little better - at least Pidge had retained his sense of humor. Even if it was at Lance's expense. "Seriously, Pidge," he continued, "I'm not sure if the pain actually lessens so much as it hibernates."
Pidge frowned thoughtfully. "Hibernates?"
"Well, kind of," Lance replied. He paused for a moment, wondering how best to explain what he meant. "It's like it's always curled up in the back of your mind, sleeping. But sometimes something will happen that'll wake it up, and then everything comes rushing back. And the trigger could be something really big, like - "
"Like the destruction of another planet?" Pidge offered quietly.
Ouch, Lance thought, wincing. Pidge certainly could call them, couldn't he? "Yeah, I guess," he acknowledged. "But it can be something small, too, like - "
"Like a holiday."
"Like a holiday," Lance agreed softly. "Look, Pidge, I'm sorry; I know I'm not helping at all - "
Pidge held up a hand to stop him. "No, you ARE helping me. It helps to know I'm not going crazy, that I'm not the only one who's lost everything like this." He grimaced. "That came out wrong."
Lance felt a rueful grin playing at the corners of his mouth. "I knew what you meant."
"Sure you did," Pidge returned dryly. But he looked relieved nonetheless.
For a few moments the two sat in companionable silence, punctuated only by the howling wind outside, and Lance idly wondered how much longer the storm was going to last. It seemed as though it'd been snowing forever...
He started guiltily at the sound of Pidge's voice, mentally kicking himself for letting his mind wander so far afield. "What?"
"Do you... dream about it at all?"
Lance let his eyes slide shut, resting his head against the cold glass of the window. "Yes. A bit more this time of year."
He could almost see Pidge's thoughtful nod. "You know, I keep thinking about what it must have been like on the surface," he whispered sadly. "All those ships converging on Balto..."
"... Like demons screaming from the heavens," Lance murmured, opening his eyes to stare unseeingly out the window. "Devouring everything they see..."
He felt a soft touch on his shoulder and flinched, cursing inwardly as he took in Pidge's pained expression. Great. He'd probably just given him even worse nightmares tonight. But Pidge merely smiled sadly at him. "I'm sorry," the younger boy lamented. "I'm stirring up all sorts of memories for you, aren't I?"
"No!" Lance protested. At Pidge's disbelieving look, he relented. "Well... maybe. But winter does that anyway."
Pidge gave him a skeptical look, and Lance sighed. "Look, it wasn't pleasant, but I lived. That's more than I can say for most everybody else."
The younger boy raised an eyebrow. "Accentuate the positive much?" he chided gently.
Lance grinned sheepishly. "Sometimes," he admitted ruefully. "Sorry."
Pidge shrugged delicately. "'Sokay... it's not as if I haven't been doing the same thing for months anyway." He frowned, clearly disturbed about something. "Hey, Lance?"
"Why would there be demons in Heaven?"
"Why would Our Mother be in Hell?" Lance replied simply.
Pidge blinked. "Huh. I hadn't really thought of it that way," he mused. "So do you still... worship Her? Leave offerings and stuff?"
"I used to," Lance sighed, "but it's kind of empty when you're the only one, you know? Besides, they used to give me all kinds of grief at the home, after I was... uh, after. 'No, no - we leave the milk and cookies for Santa INSIDE.'" He made a face, feeling the old bitterness surging back. "Like I cared about their damned Santa anyway - I just wanted my Mother." He bit his lip and flicked his gaze back toward the window, avoiding Pidge's eyes. "But she never came back."
Pidge was silent for a long moment. "You... you're the only one of your people left?" he gasped, horrified.
Lance shrugged uncomfortably. "I don't know... maybe. I know I was the only survivor from my village. There may be others out there... somewhere..." He glanced apprehensively at Pidge. "Do you think we could not talk about that right now?"
Pidge looked aggrieved. "But - "
"Pidge... please," Lance begged. "Some other time, okay? Right now - it was awful and painful and I don't want to give you any more nightmares." Pidge stared blankly at him for a moment, then slowly nodded, and Lance breathed a silent sigh of relief. There were some things he just couldn't bear to talk about with anybody - at least, not yet.
Pidge was quiet for a second or two, and then his expression turned pensive again. "So is that what will happen to us - to my people? Will we lose everything that made us what we are? Our culture, our traditions, our very identities?"
He looked so forlorn, so frightened, and Lance's heart went out to him. "I hope not," he replied softly. "I think the universe would be a much sadder and duller place if that happened." Pidge favored him with a somewhat watery grin, and Lance couldn't resist adding, "Besides, can you imagine what it would be like if the only holidays we had to look forward to involved red-suited men with excess facial hair, and maybe a few Terran bunnies?"
Pidge rolled his eyes. "Oh, now you're just being ridiculous." But he looked a bit less ragged, and Lance started to feel somewhat less shaky, himself.
"Speaking of holidays," remarked Pidge, "the others are probably going to send out a search party if we don't get back to the party."
Lance raised an eyebrow. "'We?'" he queried, gazing askance at his younger teammate.
Pidge snorted. "'We.' Because I am NOT facing the Merry Terran Brigade by myself."
Lance choked. "'Merry Terran Brigade?'" he sputtered disbelievingly.
"Okay, the Merry Terran Brigade plus Allura. Is that better?"
"Oh, I think it's perfect," Lance replied, snickering. "I just didn't expect to hear that sort of thing from you."
Pidge smirked. "Hey, it's not MY holiday," he pointed out as he rose to his feet and sauntered toward the door. Suddenly he turned, gazing measuringly at Lance. "So... what do you want for New Year's?"
Lance blinked in confusion. "Which one?"
Pidge rolled his eyes. "Yours, dummy!"
Lance froze, willing himself to breathe. When was the last time anyone had asked him that? "Pidge..."
"Look, you said it yourself - the universe would be really dull if we only celebrated one set of holidays. And it'd be a shame to let yours die out..."
Lance bit his lip, gazing speechlessly at Pidge as tears pricked at his eyes yet again. Why was he getting this choked up now?
"Lance?" Pidge queried worriedly. "Are you all right?"
"I - " Lance broke off, struggling to regain some semblance of control. He was not going to cry... he was not going to cry... "My New Year's isn't 'til spring, Pidge," he whispered, not really trusting his voice any further at present.
"I KNOW that," Pidge answered. "But I also know how long it takes for shipments to get to Arus. And I figured I'd best ask now, so whatever I get you has a hope of arriving before then." He frowned worriedly. "But if you're not okay with that...?"
"No! I mean - that's fine, Pidge. I just... you caught me by surprise, that's all." Lance grinned shakily at Pidge. "But I think I'll have to get back to you about what I want."
Pidge nodded. "Well, whatever - let me know, okay? And you'd better hurry up and come to this blasted party - I don't want to be the only heathen there."
"All right, all right!" Lance acquiesced, amused in spite of himself. "Just give me a few minutes."
Pidge glared at him warningly. "I mean it, Lance. If you don't show up for this thing in five minutes..."
"How 'bout ten?"
Pidge snorted. "Seven. No more."
"Eight and a half?"
Pidge sighed. "Absolutely incorrigible," he muttered. "Okay, eight. Take it or leave it."
Lance grinned impudently. "Eight works."
"It had better," Pidge growled. "I'd hate to have to set the others loose on you." Lance said nothing in response, merely stuck his tongue out at Pidge, and the younger boy shook his head in mock-sorrow. "Incorrigible," he repeated to no one in particular.
Lance smirked. "Oh, you all love me for it."
"You keep believing that," Pidge shot back. Then his gaze softened. "And Lance...? Thanks. For everything."
Lance's smirk faded, replaced by one of the few genuine smiles he'd indulged in all week. "Anytime," he replied, "And I do mean that. If you ever need to talk... I don't know how much actual help I'll be, but... "
"... I'll know where to find you," Pidge finished, smiling. "Thanks."
"'Welcome," Lance responded. "Oh, and Pidge? Happy New Year."
Pidge's smile widened. "Normally, I'd say the same," he remarked teasingly, "but you're a damned heathen, so I guess I'll have to settle for 'thanks again.'"
Lance rolled his eyes, though the smile never left his face. "You're welcome, I'm sure. Infidel."
"Yeah, yeah," Pidge drawled, as he strolled out of the room. "You have seven minutes. Heathen."
"Eight!" Lance protested. But Pidge was already gone.
With a sigh, Lance reached down and retrieved his mug. He supposed he should get going - Keith would probably be on his case for the rest of the night as it was. And after that conversation with Pidge, he desperately needed a refill. Several, even. He just hoped Allura wasn't waving any mistletoe around - whoever had explained THAT to her should have been summarily shot.
The blizzard had faded as he and Pidge had talked, and Lance wondered uneasily how long it had been. He still couldn't quite believe he'd told Pidge as much as he had; he'd never told anybody half of that stuff. But if it helped Pidge, then he supposed it was time well spent. Even if he did feel like someone had taken a butter churn to his insides.
Though he supposed more cocoa and some 'quality time' with Keith would fix that, at least temporarily.
He snorted. He was getting far too easy to bribe. He really needed to do something about that...
Reluctantly, he clambered to his feet and headed toward the door. It was already fairly late; surely the party wouldn't go on much longer. And even if it did, he could always sneak out again once it got too unbearable. Perhaps he'd even brave the cold and go for a walk. Maybe the Allmother liked cocoa, he thought, casting a final, wistful glance at the gently falling snow.