29/12/2012 - 04/01/2013
by Zuzanny
part 15

They were almost ready to jump into the lions with a ninja on board each and rush out to Zee sector when Grand Master Steiner raised his hand and halted their progress.

"Just a moment," He said. "there is one more thing I want to check. Something that has been bothering me." Then he span on the spot and walked back the way they had just come from. The Voltron Force all exchanged glances, having conversations with their eyes. With a roll of his eyes and a shrug at Keith's commanding raised eye brow, Lance turned to follow the ninja master.

"Come one," He tagged both Chip and Hunk while passing them, and they too followed.

Daniel and Larmina were being left behind. Again. "To guard the castle". Again.

"This SUCKS!" Larmina groused, putting her feet up on the console she was seated in front of. Daniel just grunted while he scrolled through some boring report about something that was probably important to the security of Arus or whatever, but Larmina didn't care. "This is so BORING!" She tipped backwards in her chair, stretching her arms over her head. "YOU'RE so boring!" she turned her head to look at the young man who normally would be falling over himself in attempts to gain her attention. But he wasn't even trying. In fact he hadn't for... a while now. Like weeks even. It was weird.

"So Pidge going missing doesn't bother you at all?" He didn't even look away from what ever it was he was concentrating on. "The fact he was taken from within the protection of the castle doesn't..." he did look at her then, with a lazy sort of grin that hooded his eyes. "excite you?"

Larmina bolted upright in her chair.

Daniel's grin increased, showing off teeth. "Does it not SCARE you, even the tiniest bit?"

"We don't know he was taken anywhere." Larmina insisted. "He probably just went for a walk and forgot to say something. He and Hunk DID just have an argument after all."

"Oh?" Daniel drew it out, turning his eyes back to the charts and things before him. That grin was starting to get creepy to tell the truth, but she wasn't going to admit it. "Yeah." She said instead.

"Do you really think the Lions would be called to action to search for Pidge if he had simply... "gone for a walk"? Oh, you are such a naive little thing. It's adorable really, but stupid."

Larmina glared at Daniel, but he was back to ignoring her and staring at the scrolling screen. She actually looked at it, and was able to recognise the scrolling symbols from all the times she had seen Pidge doing his technical-computer-programming -crap with Voltron's system. "What are you doing?!"

Daniel chuckled. "Something devious." He replied, tapping away at the controls.

"Wait," Larmina leaned over his shoulder. "you're hacking into the Voltron mainframe! Since when have you been able to do that? I thought only Vince and Pidge had access!"

"Yeeeeeeesss..." Daniel hissed through his teeth and then stood to face her, his head tilted to the side in a very un-Daniel-like way. "Funny things, your thoughts." He said, slowly stepping closer to her, which made her step back with a bit of confusion, a bit of fear, which was ridiculous really. Daniel ran his tongue over the sharp edges of his teeth, the glint in his eyes started to raise the hair on the back of her neck. "So scattered," He continued. "so easily panicked over the smallest things." He reached out to touch her face, and Larmina distinctly through INFECTED ZOMBIE by the hang of those fingers. He chuckled, then breathed "So NOTHING like Pidge." Larmina flinched. Daniel continued to reach that dead-like hand out towards her and grabbed hold of her uniform to pull her close to whisper in her ear "We're coming to GET you Larmina."

Larmina jerked out of his hold, her heart suddenly pounding with fright. A sudden chill came over her and she sat heavily on the floor as though her knees lost all strength to hold her up. Then it was like the ice had formed over her, keeping her locked like that, unable to move.

And Daniel laughed in a nasty, spiteful way, before returning to his seat and continuing fiddling with the Voltron programing.

"Why are you doing this?" She managed to grind out through chattering teeth.

Daniel flashed her another chilling smile. "Because it's fun!"

The door slid open and Grand Mater Steiner strode in with Hunk, Lance and Chip following behind. "Excuse the intrusion," Steiner said casually before flinging something at Daniel's face. Daniel shrieked, both hands clutching at his forehead, tendrils of smoke curling from between his fingers. He fell to the floor rolling about, shrieking and tugging at his face like he was on fire, which Larmina thought he must have been for such a reaction. Which a shocked blink she found she could move freely again, so jumped to her feet and backed away into the solid strength that was Lance.

"Stop this infernal racket, Demon, and tell us where Pidge is!" Steiner commanded. Instantly Daniel stopped shrieking and started laughing instead, long and crazed and sinister. He peeked through his fingertips up at the Grand Master.

"So you caught me." He chuckled. "Took you long enough."

"What the HELL?" Lance glanced between Steiner and Daniel, who was still on the floor, giggling like an insane person. His eyes widened when he took in the program Daniel had been fiddling with. "Daniel?" Lance struggled to find the right questions to ask, the betrayal was such a shock. Daniel's eyes turned towards him, hands lowering to reveal a strip of paper -with some kind of kanji written in what looked like dried blood- still attached to his forehead.

"I'm afraid Daniel can't come to the phone right now," Daniel said so sweetly it was chilling. "he's busy being consumed by Rage and Fear. Shall I take a message?"

"Release Daniel right now!" Steiner demanded. "And tell us where Pidge is!"

Those eyes rolled back to Steiner. "Now why would I want to do that? You mortals are so amusing, so entertaining. You're fear is delicious, despair so tasty. Why would I want to leave such an ongoing feast?"

Steiner grabbed Daniel by the lapels, lifting him to growl into his face. "Because you are nothing without a host to contain you, and killing a host is not beyond me."

Daniel pouted, his bottom lip sticking out like he was a child. But he didn't look particularly worried. "You're no fun." He complained, then grinned again. "And you're wrong! You are so, completely wrong!" He began his manic laughter again.

"How is he wrong?" Hunk asked.

The laughter instantly stopped and those eyes fell on Hunk with such hatred that all present wanted to take a step backwards. "You." Was growled out.

"Me." Hunk replied, thought for a moment, then shrugged. "Huh. Not exactly the answer I was expecting, but-"

Daniel made a short snorting laugh, and tilted his head to the other side as though considering. Then his mouth spread into a wide grin. "Yeeessss..." Daniel hissed. "It is fitting that The One who would dare attempt to claim my Lord's Beloved should know." He paused. "Once, this 'magic'" he spat the word at Steiner. "was enough to contain us. Once upon a time the mortals thought to enslave us and imprison us. But not now. The Beloved's mind is sweet, gentle, delicious. His knowledge has freed us from your confines."

"If that is so," Steiner sneered. "Why are you compelled to tell us what we ask?"

Daniel tittered. "Nothing COMPELS me. I simply want to see the looks on your faces when you discover what is in HIS room!" he indicated to Hunk again.

"You mean all those flowers?" Hunk asked, unimpressed. "Apart from making the place stink like potpourri-"

"No," Daniel interrupted with such a smug expression that Hunk wanted to lash out at him just to make it stop. "Check again!"

Hunk shoved his door to the side in his haste to get into his room, his fist impacting with the light switch to turn it on. The place was still coated with those stinking yellow flowers, except the bed which had the covers stripped and dumped on the floor. Even from the door way he could see the stains on his sheet, and that was enough to tell him what had happened here. The over turned mug that spilled a chocolate drink across the floor also told tales. Hunk took in a steadying breath, against the pain in his heart, clenching his fists at his sides and turned towards a grinning Daniel who was being dragged along by the ninja Grand Master.

"Ahh... there it is!" Daniel remarked blissfully.

Hunk yanked Daniel from Steiner's hold and shoved him hard against the wall. "Where. Is. Pidge?" Hunk ground out.

"Somewhere being thoroughly fucked."

Hunk shoved him hard against the wall again.

"And he LIKES it." Daniel purred as though his head had not just been smacked hard against a wall. "How does that make you feel? Knowing that my Lord is filling him with such pleasures, and he LIKES it, and you will never, ever, ever get the chance to do the same?"

"SHUT UP!" Hunk shoved Daniel hard against the wall again, this time there was blood splattered against the wall where Daniel's head hit, and Steiner wrestled a laughing Daniel from Hunk's hold.

"Don't listen to him." Steiner raised his voice over the top of Daniel's laughter. "He's just trying to wind you up. You will only end up hurting Daniel, not the beast."

With a pained roar, Hunk threw Daniel to Steiner's feet and stalked away from his room, wiping tears from his eyes. Daniel's eyes rolled back in his head and he went limp. Steiner drew another strip of paper from a hidden gauntlet, holding it ready over Daniel's chest this time, then looked up at Lance and Chip who were just standing there staring in shock.

"Don't be idiots," Steiner snapped at them. "go after him. I can deal with this brat."

Hunk stormed blindly along the halls of the castle, willing his feet to keep going, and not really caring about what direction he was headed. Rage and absolute grief ate at his heart and his gut. He wanted to scream, to smash walls down, to grab Daniel by the neck and squeeze and squeeze and squeeze until his head popped off... It would make a very satisfying noise, he was sure. But it would only kill Daniel, not the fucker in his head saying the shit he was saying. /If only I hadn't pissed Pidge off!/ Hunk thought bitterly. /He would not have been alone, I could have DONE something and he would be safe. But now... now.../ Hunk's breath hitched, his imagination filling in horrible blanks for him.

He had no idea how long he walked for, but eventually Hunk's feet slowed down until he found himself with his head pressed against some random stone corner. He bowed his head against the cold stone, and let the bubbling pain out, sobbing loudly unto his hands. "I'm so sorry!"

"Hunk?" Hunk looked up, and for a moment joy filled him with the sight of Pidge standing in the hall with him... but then he really took in the young man, and realised it was not Pidge, but Chip instead. His heart sank once more. Behind Chip came Lance. "Are you alright?" Chip asked, hesitating in coming closer, but clearly wanting to.

"He's right you know," Hunk said, much to Chip's confusion. "it is my fault Pidge was taken. If I had just let you lot do what you had come to do, Pidge would be..." His voice cracked. "here."

"But he IS here." Chip whispered, stepping past Hunk, removing his shades and staring up into eyes of the waiting Green Lion.

"Wha?" Hunk stared at Chip, wiping his face with his arm and actually looked about himself. The stone walls shone with a rippling blue, like sunlight reflected on water. Above the rock walls stood huge trees, their branches so thick and entwined that they blocked out the sky above. They were in the resting place of The Green Lion, and instead of being in the castle hanger where he had been left along with the rest of the Lions, Green Lion himself also waited. Chip reached up an arm, and the giant robot lowered it's head down as though to get a tiny scratch under his chin.

"Hello, Midonjishi." Chip breathed, smiling dreamily, his green eyes glowing in the rippling light. "Can you help us find Pidge?" A low rumbling came from within the Lion, and the giant body lowered, his mouth opening to permit entrance. Chip turned to incline his head at Hunk and Lance, and then walked inside.

Once inside, Lance leaned over Chip, who was strapping himself into the pilot's seat. "Hang on, the Lion's can't just go where ever the hell we want them to." He insisted. "You need the key!"

Chip grinned up at him and placed the key in question into the slot.

"Where did you get that?!" Lance sounded scandalized, and some what impressed at the same time.

"What can I say?" Chip smirked. "I'm a ninja. Now, I suggest you buckle up."

Lance and Hunk scrambled to do so as Midonjishi turned to run out of his lair and launched into the atmosphere.

"I give you the job of telling Keith." Hunk told Lance.

Lance used some colorful language, and then did so, which was just as well. Keith was himself cursing every second word while describing how the navigational system on all the other lions had been messed up by Daniel's little "visitor", and Vince couldn't seem to figure out how to fix it.

"It's like they can't figure out where the ground is against the sky!" Keith exclaimed. "If Steiner hadn't insisted that Daniel had been possessed when he did this, I would have run the little shit through!"

Hunk nodded his head with understanding, while Lance whistled at that admission.

"How is it that Green isn't affected?" Keith asked. "Do you think it's on purpose?" Both older pilots turned their heads to look back at Chip, who was staring intently out into space in front of him, busily piloting.

"It's possible." Lance replied. "But even so, it seems like Chip and Green know where we're going."

"I hope you're right." Keith sighed. "We'll do what we can on this end. At least we can track your progress with the Ninjas' systems. He's buggered the search engine as well."

"Oh, Pidge is going to be so pissed when he finds out!" Lance said gleefully.

"Yes." Keith said gravely. "Bring him home."

To be continued...