Disclaimer: I don't own Voltron, that's Dreamworks' job. These characters don't belong to me. The title is from the song "how to save a life"

Matt had been through a lot these past two years

He'd been captured by the Galra, had joined the rebellion, and been forced to fake his own death for the sake of the mission. However, despite all that Matt had always been able to hold on to his optimism, that small child-like part of himself that was always looking towards the future, believing that he could make the world a better place.

Now, hearing the deafening silence of radio static, Matt could feel that part of himself shrivel up and die. "Keith!" He called out to the boy he barely knew but who he admired 一 had admired since Keith's earliest days at the garrison 一 for his perseverance and skill.

There was no answer, Keith had flown his ship into the shield.

The battle continued, ships rushing in to fill the hole Keith had left, but Matt couldn't quite comprehend it. Keith was gone, and now so was the front of Haggar's ship, destroyed by one of the rebels. Matt could hear the cheers as the bomb was deactivated, could hear Shiro congratulating Keith on a job well done.

What job? Keith was gone.

Matt cleared his throat as he heard Shiro call Keith's name again, concern at the forefront.

"Keith…?"

"Shiro…" Matt called out, suddenly feeling the weight of the world on his shoulders. His tone must have held more than he bargained for because the paladins all sucked in a breath, a gasp of shock that made what Matt had to do next all the harder "Keith he's...he's…" Matt couldn't do it, even though he owed it to them, to his sister who'd already suffered so much pain at the hands of uncertainty, to Shiro, who'd always been honest with him even in the hardest of times.

He couldn't tell them Keith was gone.

Suddenly Shiro spoke out, frantic words breaking the silence between them "Matt where is Keith? What happened to him?!" Shiro's voice was shaking as badly as Matt's hands, his voice cracking on Keith's name, spilling panic over to the other paladins. Suddenly questions from the other paladins started to crowd him, overwhelming in their stampede "What happened?" "Is he hurt?" "How is he?"

"What happened?"

What happened? What had happened? How could Matt relate to them the sheer terror of watching Keith put himself on an unalterable course, unable to do anything to stop him. To see the fireball and the shield collapsing and to know that he would never see Keith again.

The questions weren't being directed at him anymore.

Shiro was calling Keith's com, terror increasing with every word as his volume increased. Then Matt heard something that broke through his inner turmoil "We're coming in, be there in two vargas…" It was Lance, cutting over Shiro's still frantic cries for Keith to just "Respond dammit!"

The com cut out and radio silence greeted him once more.

Matt sank to his knees and stared ahead, blankly, absently wondering what he should do now. Suddenly his commander's hand was on his shoulder and he was being tentatively stood up and guided into his own ship to rest.

There was a last pat on the back, and then he was alone.

He sat down, truly alone for the first time since this mess had started, and curled up in the pilot's chair collapsing in on himself like a star about to supernova, finally allowing himself to cry.

He didn't think一he couldn't think一 as the sobbing continued caught up in his own world

The paladins could wait

Everything could wait.