Two Shadows Went, Ch. 23
As Lance stepped into the throne room, he stopped. A part of him—he hadn’t believed Kolivan. A part of him hadn’t believed any of it. But looking out—the room was unrecognizable. The clear polished smooth black surfaces made Lance feel as though he were standing at the edge of a lake. The pillar’s around were gone, the room itself had been opened up, the decorative windows replaced with clear simple glass showing the—showing the new empire around them. All barracks and construction and ship yards--the palace was becoming a fortress.
Marveling around him, Lance stepped down from where he stood at the entrance. He—the room, and him... Lance looked down at his pitch black sleeve. Whatever man was designing all of Lance’s clothing—the sharp angles the black and deep purple shades, the details in gold—it had to be the man responsible for the change of direction.
Lance’s eyes drifted forward to the throne.
It had to be the same designer--Lance matched the new empire too closely for any other explanation. It nearly made him want to laugh. Just the thought of Shiro telling a grand architect--design my lover’s cloths. It was ridiculous. At least--for anyone other than a king.
It was a monument. Black and sharp angles protruded. It was—it was a throne to be feared. Llance sucked in breath as Shiro—he stood at the raised dais of the throne, looking at Lance as he entered.
Their conversations the night before replayed in Lance’s head.
He just—he just had to commit to this. His sister could live—Lance just had to—he just had to commit to this path.
Swallowing, Lance pushed himself into a step closer followed by another.
Shiro raised his chin and turned to face Lance as he came closer.
It was then Lance noticed the throne was now accompanied to either side by black chairs, not nearly as tall or massive or terrifying were placed. It wouldn’t be a stretch Lance thought to assume they’d be taking the same positions as the dinner hall. Lance would sit to the left, Keith to the right, and their fearsome king in the middle.
"You came," Shiro’s voice was—gentle.
Lance nodded as he stepped up to his mate, stepping up onto the raised Dias.
"Of course, Your Majesty." Lance lowered his eyes as Shiro took his own step closer.
It surprised him as Shiro cupped Lance’s face, and without hesitation pressed a small kiss to the Altean mark at the tip of Lance’s cheek.
Public affection was something Lance was still trying very hard to get a handle on.
"Come on, this way." Shiro beckoned him and a hand at Lance’s hip guided him back to the throne.
Lance had to gulp down a breath as he ascended the few steps up to the throne. The Galra in the room stared at Lance. He can feel their gazes, it was nearly searing. Eyes low, Lance let Shiro guide him to the seat just at the left of the throne.
Lance looked up to see Thrace, Shiro’s personal advisor was there. He had a data pad in hand, which he was holding out to Lance.
Lance’s outfit that day was embroidered with gold that gleamed even in the dimmest of lights. The sleeves were hooked into his fingers, and as Lance hesitant, and slow, held out his hand, the gold sparked and reflected. Lance sucked in another breath.
"Theseis areis the nobles that have agreed to meet with his Majesty," Thrace stepped closer. His head tipped to Lance. "They agreed once we made it known you would also be here."
He wanted to cry.
Lance looked back to Shiro who still stood close.
Betrayal was something Lance was quite familiar with. But—
Lance’s mouth dropped open. Did he even have it in him to beg again? This was the moment he needed to know—would it pay off?
His options were closing in around him.
"They trust you," Shiro murmured.
Lance swallowed, his eyes on Shiro. He wanted to say he trusted Shiro—but he didn’t...
Was betrayal really the right thing to do?
Lance’s lips pursed. There was no way he could look back then. Every other road led to a confirmed death forto everyone Lance held dear.
"Will you offer me mercy?" The phrase came to Lance’s lips. His gold earrings tinkled as his head turned.
Shiro’s eyes had flicked up. His gaze was steady as he looked to Lance. Through the darkness, Lance could see the shift in his eyes.
"I’ve never intended to be cruel to you." Shiro’s voice was barely above a whisper.
Lance shifted. Lance never thought he’d conspire with a king like that. Lance’s gaze shifted over Shiro’s face and down—the black pearl mark at his neck was just barely visible over his collar.
If Lance couldn’t sway this man—no one could.
"Mercy," Lance repeated, shifting closer. His hand slid between the folds of Shiro’s cloak, and slid in to Shiro’s side. "Please," Lance whispered under his breath. He didn’t look away. "My Kon."
From where his hand was, Lance could feel as Shiro sucked in a breath at the comment.
He leaned in then, and Lance was captured up in his grasp. Pulled in against Shiro, Lance felt his heart beat, slamming through his chest, and his eyes closed as he was engulfed in to the thick storm of his mate.
He felt Shiro’s teeth at his bond mark. Lance’s eyes stared straight ahead. It took him a moment, but Lance breathed out slow and concentrated. His shoulders relaxed first, and then his neck and— he let his gaze still wander as his head easily shifted and his chin lifted for Shiro.
The presentation must have been pleasing, because Lance could see the way Thrace stiffened a step away, Shiro’s hand clambered around Lance’s waist in a possessive statement.
Then it came.
"Exile over death."
The words were barely audible, spoken over Lance’s mark.
It was all he needed though. Lance seized his moment to turn in. Shiro seemed surprised and his head lifted—just enough for Lance to step in. His long gold embroidered fingers pulled at Shiro’s collar, pulling it down so Lance could lean up—and kiss the black bond mark.
The mark of their betrayal. The mark that would never matched Lance’s—But would always mirror it.
Lance could embrace it with this. One promise, one mercy and he could do it.
Big hands framed Lance, sliding over his sides and narrow hips. There was a rumble. It was a growl Lance knew. Deep and nearly purring as Lance breathed in over the mark, his lips closed over it again to kiss.
When Lance pulled away, his breath was steadier. Big hands still framed him, and Shiro, thought straightened seemed consumed with Lance.
Lance breathed. "Have them sent in," he handed the data pad back to Thrace.
They knelt. One by one, Lance had watched as kinsmen after kinsmen, former nobles of the Altean kingdom, went to their knees before Lance’s lover.
There was little hesitation Lance realized, as surrounded by Galra it became clear—there was no way out for any of them. Run, swear fealty or die. Thereose weren’t exactly a lot of options. Lance had stood behind the throne as noble families approached and one by one gone to their knees.
Now as the room was breaking up, Lance was being ushered back into the waiting escort of Antok and half a royal guards platoon. It was nearly gag worthy. Lance had gone from a boy who had refused to have his own guards even trained to constantly accompanied by no less than three towering men in loud, creaking black armor. What a splendid surprise to grow up to.
Lance kept his face neutral as he stepped down from the dais.
"His Majesty has asked you to come to dinner in the great hall," Keith suddenly was stepping up to Lance.
Pausing, it took a moment to fully process.
"What?" Lance knew his expression was morphed a bit into confusion.
He glanced back, his mate already having his attention taken away as Councilman gathered. If Shiro wished something, why had he not just asked himself?
Keith’s face was red and he looked like he badly needed to breath. But he simply blurted again, "your presence has been requested for dinner." He nodded. "In the great hall—with the rest of court."