Voltron Force and it's characters do not belong to me. I am borrowing them only 'coz I like to play with them.


by Zuzanny

lionette AT mailcity DOT com

Returning to consciousness was a hard and gradual thing that mainly revolved around realising he could hear sounds and feel things. The first noises came as beeping of machines, swooshing air, foot steps on metal floors, and people's voices- although what they actually said was beyond him, it all blurred together. More noises came, things dragged across floors, creaking as people sat in chairs... Sometimes the sounds were louder than others, and sometimes that hurt, and when it hurt the machines would beep louder and more insistent and then would come the running feet and the voices. But soon after that, there would come coolness and warmth all at once and the pain would melt away and then so would he.

Physical sensation, beyond the presence or absence of pain, was something that soon followed awareness of sound. Sometimes there would be all encompassing warm snugness that would grow uncomfortable when left too long. Abruptly be voices buzzing in his ear and cold, with things running all over him. Sometimes cold liquids that made him shiver, but roughness dragged against his skin would take the cold away. Then touching all over, shifting, rolling, feeling like falling only to stop and be covered in warm snugness again. He would try to tell them to stop, but he couldn't find his mouth. But it didn't matter, they would soon go and leave the beeping and swooshing as the only sounds around.

There was one particular voice that would often hover beside him, and give him warmth around the hand. When that voice and the warmth of his hand were gone, he wanted to ask them to stay, but couldn't remember how.

Pain brought unwanted awareness. It cut through the fog encasing his mind, persistent clawing in his head that never really left, and would briefly fade only to return. When it was at it's worse, there would come vibrations from within his own self, and a voice would come with that vibration, and then the feet and the other voices would surround him. With the voices would come the cool-heat in his arm that made the pain fade, but not for long. Never for long. Then everything would start all over again.

The familiar voice was back, and this time the warmth was not around his hand but... running through his hair, caressing his scalp. It felt nice He wanted it to continue forever.

"I wish you could wake up and tell us what happened." The voice said, and it was such a shock to be able to understand the voice that he turned his head towards it and opened his eyes. There was a large brown haired man wearing yellow and black, leaning in close from the chair he was seated in. His strong hand paused in it's caressing and reached across to the other side of him almost blocking his view of the man. "Pidge?" the man yelped, leaning in closer. "Can you hear me little buddy?" The man sounded almost excited. "Are you back?"

It was hard to keep his eyes open though. He felt so tired from just turning his head, and his eyes started drooping closed no matter how hard his struggled to keep them open. He wanted to keep his eyes open because he realised that he recognised this man. Both the man's voice and appearance were familiar and he didn't want to lose that.

"Stay with me little buddy!" the man insisted, giving his shoulder a slight shake. He realised that there was a name floating through his mind that was attached to this man and brought feelings of warmth and happiness. He felt his own face shifting to reflect those feelings.

"Hunk..." he breathed out, watching as Hunk's face lit up with his own happiness.

"I'm here, Pidge." Now the hand wasn't running through his hair any more, Hunk clasped both his large, warm hands around his smaller, much paler one. He tried to squeeze Hunk's hand, but only managed a twitch. "I'm here," Hunk continued. "I won't leave you."

"Don't stop..." he managed to breath out again, eyes losing the battle to stay open. "feels... nice..." He felt like he should be sinking into the mattress.

There were a few moments where Hunk said nothing, then asked, "Want me to keep patting your head? Okay." And he did.

"Mmmmmm..." he managed to vocalise before exhaustion pulled him back under. He didn't hear the approaching feet, or the voices of team mates and medical personnel. He was content with Hunk's fingers running through is hair.

There was another sound now, a light tinkling against glass. It was raining.

Hunk was asleep in the arm chair beside the bed he next time he woke. There weren't so many machines beeping while they did their monitoring as there had been. The room was dimly lit. It was only that he recognised the sound of the snores that emanated from the chair, and the particular feel of the hand clutching his, that he knew it was Hunk.

He squeezed Hunk's hand, not very hard really, but it was enough to make Hunk snort and snap awake. "Hey..." he murmured up at Hunk, who's eyes immediately focussed through the gloom down to him. Hunk leaned close and tightened the grip on his hand.

"Hey, Pidge." he could actually hear the smile in Hunk's voice. "Welcome back. How are you feeling?"

"Tired." He was actually able to speak it now. He rubbed the crust from his burning eyes with his free hand only to stare at the IV cannula piercing his skin there. "Where am I? In a hospital?"

"Yeah," Hunk replied. "Arus Main Central."

"Oh." He blinked a few times, realising that he knew where that was. He felt pleased about that, but- "Why?"

"We hoped you could tell us, actually." Hunk shifted in his chair. "What is the last thing you remember?"

"You." He replied honestly. "Being here."

"And before being here?"

He tried to think about anything before he had woken up here with Hunk sitting beside him. He frowned. "You." he insisted. "Being here. Touching my hair. I like that." He smiled, hoping this would encourage Hunk to continue massaging his scalp. Hunk didn't take the hint though, just frowned.

"What about before that. Can you remember what you were doing out Zee sector?'

"Zee sector?"

"Yeah. You and Daniel were doing maintenance on the remote sensors or something, and something happened."

He stared at Hunk's face and himself frowned. He had no idea who Daniel was let alone anything to do with Zee sector. . "Zee sector." he whispered to himself, eyes going distant as he tried to think of what Zee sector could even be. But it felt like his head had been stuffed with cotton wool, and there was fog that somehow started playing drums inside his skull. The more he tried to think about Zee sector, the louder the drum beats sounded.

"Don't worry about it." Hunk said, then once again started to run those wonderful fingers through his hair.

His eyes shuttered with pleasure. "Don't stop," he purred. "Feels nice. Takes the drums away. I don't like the drums."

"Okay." Hunk whispered. "You just relax, and I'll keep the drums away."

He fell asleep with Hunk's fingers gently massaging, scraping and stroking through his hair. He didn't see the troubled expression on Hunk's face.

Hunk wasn't there the next time he drifted to awareness. This time it was a young man – a teenager- with messy black hair and a grey uniform that was in the seat. The young man was leaning forward over his knees like someone with breathing problems. His eyes were cast down at the floor while he spoke. He looked vaguely familiar, but maybe that was a resemblance to someone else? Someone a bit older, also with messy black hair?

"I'm so sorry, Pidge." The young man sounded like he was on the verge of tears. "It's all my fault. If I hadn't stuffed up you wouldn't be here now. You wouldn't have been... hurt. I'm so sorry. I know you could never forgive me, but I want you to know that I really AM sorry."

A name connected in his mind. "Daniel," he said, delighted over that realisation.

Said Daniel's head shot up revealing tear stained eyes. "Pidge?" he hedged with such hope in that young voice, and scrambled closer to the bed. "Pidge! Pidge! You're awake!" Daniel was virtually yelling in his ear, and he flinched not at all liking the volume. "I really AM sorry!" Daniel continued.

"Okay." He said, not really understanding why Daniel should be sorry for anything except being really loud. His response had Daniel peering at him with a strange expression, so he did his best to summon a bright, reassuring smile.

"Pidge?" Daniel's voice shook with concern.

"Hmmm?" He smiled some more at the young man.

"Do you remember what they did to you?"

He blinked, his smile never faltering. "What do you mean?"

Daniel grimaced, and shuddered like someone had dropped a block of ice down his back. "Out Zee sector."

He frowned. Didn't Hunk ask him something about Zee sector as well? What was so important about it? Where was it anyway? Hunk had said he was in hospital on Arus, and Arus was a planet, right? Right. And so in relation to Arus, there were other planets and moons and stars and suns and asteroids and satellites and and and... Images flashed inside his eyes or all those objects floating in the vast never ending darkness, and more besides. How could he see these things? How could he recognise locations and distances between each object based on this or that constellation? Or by the angle and colour of the sun light hitting the console? Why was he floating amongst the stars? And why could he see himself seated in front of a console? Why was he here on Arus when he should be on Balto?

"So you're from Balto." It was a woman whispering in his ear, her voice spreading though his mind, dripping with poison and promise of horrors. "How wonderful, a BALTON Voltron pilot. Oh what delightful irony." He could feel her crawling though his mind, sifting through his memories and thoughts and he was helpless to stop her. "And just entering the most INTERESTING stage in your life-cycle. My Lord will be SO pleased." He could feel her glee.

His breath caught in his throat, and he tried to struggle out of the hands holding him in place. "No," he gasped out in terror while she laughed and continued to spread through his mind. "No, you CAN'T! Stop it!"

"Pidge?" Daniel's voice made him blink hard, and he was back in the hospital bed. The machines were beeping loudly again, probably to do with his pounding heart. He took in a couple slow breaths through his teeth trying to calm his heart. "Are you alright?"

"No." He whispered, whole body trembling. "I think... I think I have been hacked."

To be continued?