In the middle of the night, Lance would have given anything for complete and utter silence.
It was something that – throughout his nineteen years of living – he never had.
At home, someone was always awake; whether it be his younger siblings up past their bedtime – hushed giggles and ‘shushing’ whispers when their mamá came to check up on them –, his older sister sneaking out through the window and passing by on the roof to tell him and his brother to cover for her, his brother’s house-shaking snoring coming from the bed against the other wall across the room. Even at the Garrison; the guard patrolling the halls and dorms – night or day – cared little about the ruckus they may or may not cause, students scurrying from room to room not to be caught as they snuck out, Hunk’s snoring in the bed against the other wall across the room.
Now, in a spaceship in the middle of dead space, it was silent. The first few nights after things had calmed down since becoming a Paladin, silence was the only thing Lance heard throughout the night. Hunk – whose room was down the long ordained hall, to the left and then down two short halls – snoring couldn’t even make it down to his room. Shiro and Pidge’s rooms were closer to Hunk’s but further from his own. Keith – whose room was down the hall from his own – was never rarely in his room since discovering the training deck.
And for those first few nights, he didn’t sleep. It was too quiet, too eerie, too abnormal for him to sleep peacefully. Even with music playing in his ears and eye mask in place, he knew there was no noise.
There was always a sound, even if drowned out by music, that helped lull him to sleep.
Once he thought he hated the background noise, but he missed it. Terribly.
Even with his glowing skin and chipper attitude, he could tell the others knew he wasn’t ‘okay’ – even though he completely was! Who needs sleep, really? Sleep is for the weak and Lance Sanchez is anything but weak!
There were only a few hiccups in flying Blue, a few times where his arm twitched and throw her off kilter and crashed against another Lion – usually Keith’s or Pidge’s – or the ground or a mountain or just twirled in the air until another Paladin helped him (okay, there were more than just ‘a few’). On the training deck he wasn’t able to protect Hunk from a stray laser or Shiro from a blunt blade or himself from an actual blade – dammit, Keith – when Coran decided that they should fight against each other while he reset a few systems. The room usually spun when he maneuvered around his teammate, his weapon not feeling like an extension of himself but an extra heavy appendage he wanted to cut off and toss away. Only once Keith’s blade came close to slashing against his armor again did he take his own advice and toss his weapon, tackling down his opponent and launching into a full blown fist fight. Shiro and Hunk had to pull them apart after Keith gave Lance a broken and bloody nose.
His teammates seemed both aggravated and concerned for his well-being when he face-planted into the green goo they usually had at dinner. He left not a second later, waving off any worry and calling it for the night.
But as he crawled into bed that night, he learned that he was willing to become completely weak – even admit to himself that Keith had an impressive left hook – if it meant he finally get to sleep. He was too tired to do the usual; face-planting into his pillow once the door was shut and lights were out did he finally let himself relax. For hours he tried to let sleep take over, moving to positions he hadn’t slept in since he was nine, counting sheep in his head, humming a song his Abuela use to sing to him when she came to visit. Nothing worked. Soon his tiredness turned into frustration, and as he stood to find a way to create some noise—
He heard metal against metal, a few minor explosions and grunts of exertion. He stilled for a second, his tired brain confused as to whether the castle was under attack or if… if what?
He sat back against his bed and waited for the alarms, the running, Shiro’s yelling – something. It never came. As he waited his body moved, laying back against the bed and staring up at the darkness. Even in his exhausted state, he felt like he should investigate, find out where that noise was coming from. The Galra could be here to take the Lions, but there would be more than just what he was hearing. There would be soldiers running down the halls, searching every room for the Paladin’s and the Princess, but there was no such noise…
Just the relaxing clanking of metal, the rumbling of small explosions and the sound of someone.
He fell asleep for eighteen hours and woke up to find that his room was under the training deck. If he hadn’t been damn thankfully for Keith’s late night sessions, shocked and still a bit tired, he would have asking why hasn’t their been noise the past week when Keith had been training, why hadn’t he been told he was living under the training deck and maybe threw in a few snarky comments about Keith needing to train into the late hours of the night to get up to his level.
Instead, he just stared at Keith when he saw him a dinner an hour later – a mixture of shock and wonder and confusion and thankfulness. He’ll even admit, it was a bit creepy how he couldn’t get his eyes off of the Red Paladin. If he hadn’t been so caught up on trying to figure out why, he would have noticed the tips of Keith’s ears glowing red and a small smile hidden behind his hand as he poked and prodded at his dinner.