lost

For a long time all Hunk could do was lie in the wreckage of his Lion and try to breathe. The world around him was formed entirely out of pain and it took a long, long time for him to move past the hurt of his body and pay attention to his surroundings. The harsh rasping of his labored breaths slowly separated from the white noise of his radio; the pounding of his blood in his ears deviated from the still steady thrum of the engines.

He lay still for a while and listened to his ship and felt comforted.

After a time he became aware of the slowly growing wetness in the vicinity of his crotch. At first he thought he'd pissed himself but, as he lay there breathing, he couldn't smell the harsh tang of ammonia, only blood and smoke and burnt skin.

He tried to move. The pain was almost more than he could handle; his body screamed and so did the ship, his movement shifting the tortured metal. He was pretty sure he didn't passed out, but it was touch and go there for a while, black spots swimming before his eyes, his breathing labored. It took a long time--longer than he would have liked--until he could look down at his legs and the twisted remnants of his chair that trapped them. His right leg was fine; trapped and scraped like the rest of him, but fine otherwise. It was his left leg that caused him to stop and feel afraid.

At first he didn't even recognize the twisted flesh as his own. Didn't recognize the splintered ends of off-white bone that peeked through the wreckage of skin and muscle and blood; didn't recognize the twisting, jumping cords that made what remained of his flesh twitch; didn't recognize the burned and blackened skin.

When he finally processed that this was really him, that it really was his leg, he felt, for the first time, the cold certainty that he was going to die. Even if he managed to stop the bleeding, which was a very big 'if', that leg was useless. It was sure to get infected and there wasn't anything in the Lion's emergency med-kit that would be strong enough to cure the infection. And he couldn't wait for help that would never come; the others were probably dead, killed in that same attack that had detached his Lion from Voltron and sent him spinning away to crash upon this planet. He was all alone and he was slowly dying and a large part of him desperately wanted to just lie back down and close his eyes and drift away.

But Mama Devlin didn't raise quitters and so Hunk pushed all thoughts of death and dying firmly from his mind and concentrated instead on surviving.

The first thing he needed to do was stop the bleeding. It had been pure, blind luck that the jagged piece of metal that had torn up his leg hadn't severed any major arteries at the same time. He was bleeding pints, not buckets, and that was something at any rate.

He thought, for a moment, about tying a tourniquet around his thigh, but quickly dismissed that idea; he couldn't apply enough pressure from his current position and anyway he doubted he could lift his leg up high enough to slide the tourniquet under it.

He was beginning to feel a little light-headed, staring at the blood-soaked remnants of his flight suit, the once orange cloth clinging to what was left of his leg.

His hand touched his gun and he had a sudden, desperate thought. Surely the laser would cauterize the wound. And his leg was useless anyway. Cutting it off...

His mind recoiled from the thought, skittering away like a crescent wrench on a garage floor. But he came back to it, forced himself to think calmly, dispassionately about his chances if he didn't do something soon and that this was, really, the best option. He'd never be able to walk on that leg and once he got his other leg free he'd need to be able to move around, to turn the engines off before something else broke and the whole damned thing exploded, or to get as far away from the wreck as he could, because even if the rest of Voltron was dead, Lotor and Zarkon weren't and they'd probably have a spontaneous orgasm if they found him and his Lion. He needed to be mobile and he needed to stop the bleeding now and he could always rig something up.

Hunk ripped what was left of his pants away; the blood-soaked cloth was heavy and it didn't want to tear, but the wounds went all the way up his thigh and Hunk was a strong guy. He adjusted the intensity of the beam and aimed the gun. Paused. Carefully shifted his cock and balls out of the way and cupped his hand over them.

He fired.

It hurt. Quite a bit, actually.

He screamed as he severed his ruined leg from his body, screamed and wept and still managed to keep his hand steady. When he was done, he turned immediately to the metal that trapped his right leg even though all he wanted to do was lie back and gasp.

He wanted to live more.

He crawled to the consol as soon as he was free, panting and crying and still trying to use the leg that wasn't there. All he could think about was that he needed to shut his Lion off before they found him; though he didn't know who 'they' were or if, in fact, 'they' were real and not just some nightmare fear dredged up from his childhood. The key was stuck and for a moment all of the fear and pain and frustration and grief and despair that Hunk had walled up and stuffed into the corner of his mind he like to think of as the "Deal with this shit later" drawer burst through and he pounded on the consol in animalistic anger, swearing and howling and he was pretty sure that he foamed at the mouth a little too. But the key came out and as the engines powered down, Hunk felt all of his emotions drain away until he was just weary and hurting.

And for the first time since he'd crashed, he looked around at the Lion and thought, Now what?

+++++++

It took him a long time to build the prosthetic. He wasn't a genius, like Pidge, just a jarhead who'd been assigned to this foolhardy mission. But he'd taken some biomechanical courses after he first got the idea for a neural interface and he knew machines. He'd attached it using a bit of metal as a mirror and the pliers from his tool kit, riveting the metal to his flesh and it hurt so goddamn much but it worked. It worked and now he could walk on two legs again.

Cannibalizing Yellow to get all the parts had been hard. Even after all this time he thought that he could make her work, get her back up into the sky. But even if he did, there was nowhere he could go. Not before he was captured or the hull failed or a thousand little things went wrong and he died.

He'd rather live the rest of his life on this godforsaken planet than die or be captured.

+++++++

In time, though, he began to revise his position. He didn't know exactly how long he'd been on this planet, but it'd been long enough for him to rebuild the leg twice, the humid air of this unknown planet eating away at the metal faster than he'd thought possible. And he was tired. He was so tired of being alone, of scavenging for food, of almost dying from the thousands of alien plants and animals, of lying on Yellow's cold metal floor, shaking from a fever, his wounds infected and weeping green pus.

He'd never thought of himself as weak, as a quitter. But he was going to die, slowly and probably painfully, if he stayed here. Being captured would be better than dying alone. Besides, there had to be a way for him to disguise the signal, hide it in the vast noise of space so that only the Alliance would find him.

There had to be.

It took more parts from Yellow but, in time, he built it, an antenna that poked above the thick foliage of the proto-flora and winked and blinked in the sun.

He sent the signal in Morse code. S. O. S. Over and over, on all Alliance frequencies. And then he waited.

And waited.

He waited until he no longer scanned the skies for ships, or felt his heart speed up in desperate hope, until checking to see if anybody had picked up his message became just another thing to do to make the days go by faster. He waited until he wasn't really waiting anymore and he'd given up on all hope that his desperate cry would be heard. Or on almost all hope that his message would be received; some part of him must still have believed in miracles, it seemed, since he left the antenna up and transmitting even after he stopped checking.

He'd forgotten about the antenna when the ship arrived, darkening the sky with its bulk. At first, he could only stand and gape, staring up slack-jawed into the sky from the jungle floor. Then the fear set in and he started off in a shambling, rolling run towards Yellow; he didn't recognize the ship, didn't know if it was pirates seeking a hidden base or Doom or--and here he remembered the antenna--the Alliance. Whoever it was, he'd be prepared; his laser gun still had some juice left, enough for a few quick shots at any rate.

He hid in the cockpit of his Lion, crouched down behind some debris he still hadn't gotten rid of, eyes straining against the gloom. He tried to be calm, to push all of his anxiety and fear and hope and desperation away like he used to be able to. He tried to still his shaking hands, slow his stuttering heart.

The hatch was forced open and dull sunlight spilled into the cockpit. A figure let itself down gracefully, landing on the metal floor with barely a sound. He contemplated shooting first and ascertaining the identity of his visitor later.

"Hunk? Hunk are you here?"

Hunk dropped his gun, ignoring the noise it made as it hit the floor, the startled reaction of the man who'd climbed down into Yellow's cockpit, because this couldn't be real. It couldn't be real because the young man who peered into the gloom and fingered his own laser was dead. Had to be dead.

Hunk licked his lips. It'd been so long since he'd spoken and he hoped he hadn't forgotten the words.

"Hunk?"

"Pidge," he rasped out, standing slowly. This had to be a dream, a fever dream. But he didn't care because Pidge was alive. "Pidge?"

"Oh, God. Hunk!" Pidge stepped out of the light and two strides was wrapping Hunk in a fierce hug. "You're alive. We. I'd almost given up."

Hunk's arms came up slowly, wrapped themselves around Pidge carefully. He's grown, Hunk thought. He's different. And that alone should have convinced him that this was real, but he couldn't believe that, not yet.

"I," he began, but the words left him. What could he say? He was so confused, so disoriented because he'd thought Pidge was dead, thought they were all dead and here they were, alive, and why hadn't they found him sooner? Why hadn't the come for him before this? But he didn't want to ask that question. All he really wanted to do was hold Pidge and believe that this wasn't going to be taken away from him. But any second now, Pidge was sure to feel the metal leg that supported, to recoil from him because Pidge was still human and Hunk. Hunk was something else.

He was crying. This surprised him.

"It's all right," Pidge murmured. "Everything will be okay."