Two Shadows Went, Chapter 31:Epilogue
"Lance," Shiro’s desperate voice rang through his senses.
The rush of breath filling his lungs, had Lance gasping, his fingers curled as he gulped down breath after breath. There was a hiss as the airlocks around him broke and Lance’s eyes scrunched at the light.
Wh—-What? Where was—
The door was already swinging open though and Lance lost any hope of retaining his balance
His stagger forward wasn’t enough to catch him and Lance’s hands clawed out at the chambers walls only to slow his descent to the floor as he sank down.
When his eyes cracked open, Lance blinked up before him...
What—-Lance’s brow furrowed as he looked over the faces staring at him. This couldn’t—who were these people? They looked almost Altean and yet not? Were they Galra?
Would it be better for Lance if they were Galra?
"I—" Lance wasn’t sure what he would say. ‘I am your Kon Karnate?’ ‘I am the mate of your Kon?’ ‘I am an Altean prince?’ Did any of those titles mean anything anymore? His head swam with memories and an explosion--? Lance couldn’t place, what had--happened?
Lance starred up.
One of them stepped forward, before—
A shadow, a so familiar shadow stepped over Lance and hands were at his shoulders, pulling Lance up enough to get his feet under himself.
Lance’s face broke into a smile as he turned, his own hands clutched to the familiar large hands at his shoulders till— Lance stopped. He looked at the hand he caressed with his own.
Antok’s fur had always been a deep purple, a vivid deep purple. And the weathered cracked hands at Lance’s shoulders—had faded in color.
He leaned back as his face shifted up and he looked to the old, grizzled Galra that was stooped over him. FOr once he didn’t wear his helmet. His face had aged, but it was still the same in so many ways. His long mane of hair, once a blacked violet was now grey. His face markings were faded and his deep purple skin was now a lilac hue.
His voice hadn’t changed.
Lance's expression broke as he realized. His mouth dropped open. “Shiro ordered me to be placed in hibernation.” He concluded out loud. "How long?" He reached to run his hand over the long, braided locks, his hand settling at Antok’s face.
It felt—-like safety. It felt like something Lance had so rarely felt as Antok adjusted, letting Lance lean back into him.
"It’s been a very long time, Your Highness." Antok’s voice rumbled.
"Your face..." Lance trailed, his eyes running over the man before him. Antok had been in his prime the last Lance had seen him and now—it was a veteran that stopped before him.
"You’ve changed as well," Antok indicated to the reflections in the cryopod.
Lance shifted, his interest peaked as he turned.
The crisp white tumble of locks he saw in the reflection was nearly matte it was such a bright white. It was a white so pure it didn’t even have a sheen to it. It wasn’t even the prismatic gleaming of his father or sisters' hair—it was just white. Like snow, Lance realized as he turned his head.
It must have been a long time indeed, Lance thought as he turned back. His soft, young face felt out of place to see, especially now with such a startling shade of white over his brow.
"Where is he?" Lance's voice was quiet. “What’s happened?”
It felt like family he realized as he looked back. The warmth from Antok, the heavy comforting hand at his back, the deep way his voice grated over gravel—like he was on the edge of purring or growling was unclear, but it was an edge Lance now knew so well, an edge he counted on from every other man in his life. The Galran tone of voice felt familiar and the slight accent was a comfort.
There was an exhale over his head. "Things—have changed. The universe has changed."
Lance glanced around him, gleaning whatever information he could. They were in space. There were three hibernation pods activated. Lance’s clothes had been washed--he’d been cared for.
“Where are we?” He asked Antok.
The old Galran opened his mouth to answer but before he could--
The long form of Allura stepped forward.
She still wore the clothes she’d been sentenced to death in. Lance’s eyes narrowed. She hadn’t been cared for.
Her face—Lance had never seen her look like that. It was a desperate look. A look of—a desperate need for hope.
With a push up, Lance let his guard guide him up to stand.
"Baby brother," Allura’s hand went to her mouth as her brow furrowed and her eyes—she was breaking. Her frame shook and wet glean of her eyes held Lance enraptured for the smallest moment.
Until his brow lowered.
Was this friend or foe? His feet moved to a wide steady stance.
"You saved us," Allura gasped.
Lance looked around then. The Castle of Lions—was all he could see.
It was another familiar voice, and Lance’s head jerked to the side. There was a difference in Antok’s voice now. Sorrow. Antok held sorrow in his own voice.
“Where are we?” Lance repeated.
As Lance’s gaze cut across to Antok again his question remained unanswered as at Lances sid he noticed--
“Your Highness!” Coran stumbled forward to him, it was only a sliver of a blink before Lance felt the rush behind him and Antok had drawn his black blade. The brilliant vivid neon streak down the sword left tracks in everyone’s vision as it stuck out.
It didn’t even feel out of place. Lance tipped his head to his former manservant.
"Coran," he spoke.
The man’s gaze shifted from the sword pointed at him, to Lance.
The cream of armor in Lance’s ear told him, though his guard had aged—he had not faded.
"I’m afraid Antok has short limits," Lance spoke. "He’s not the generous type when it comes to trust." A memory surfaced then, Pidges still, paled face as she lay lifeless on the cold marble. Antok hadn’t hesitated.
The room quieted.
"Lance." It was his sister's voice.
Lance’s head turned slowly.
"The lions," she asked.
He nearly wanted to crumble.
Still the lions?
After it all and she still brought them up?
“Where are we?” Lance turned away from his sister to Antok.
“We are--” Anotk started.
"The goddess can bring forth a new set of chosen," Allura cut in as she gestured to the people around her. "One of the lions must have woken to a new paladin. They may not be Altean but—"
"I—" Lance's voice rang out in the vast tall room, silencing his sister. "Am not the generous type either." He stared his sister down.
Her eyes—were so fragile at that moment. Tears still streaked down her face and she looked pleading to Lance.
Lance had worn that look. And even as he looked at it, his own expression hardened, his mouth a still line and his eyes narrow. He didn’t have anything else to break.
"The Black Lion?" He inquired over his shoulder.
"She sleeps," Antok’s growl this time rumbled through the room, his sword still drawn though he stepped back, his lumping broad form had in no way deprecated. "Sealed away in the heart of the Castle, she hasn’t stirred since you entered sleep"
He didn’t know if she would wake with him as well.
“Where are we?” Lance articulated each word this time before his gaze drifted up to meet Antok’s.
“We are in the 74th quadrant of the Galran Empire.” Antok frowned. “Our nearest habitable planet is Arus.”
Lance lifted his chin. “Altea is the Galra’s 1st quadrant?”
“Altea…” Antok paused, before his gaze darkened and he shifted his gaze to Allura.
Even Coran looked away at that moment.
“I didn’t know.” Allura for once in her life didn’t lift her chin.
Lance narrowed his own gaze. “Daibazaal?” Lance knew how important the tiny home planet was to Shiro. The man would do anything to protect it.
Antok’s face remained as stone, his narrow gaze on Allura.
“What has become of our home?” Lance pressed his sister.
“I thought--” Allura was picking her words carefully.
“You will tell him,” Antok’s growl throughout the room was visceral. “Or I will do it.”
“I didn’t know what you were doing.” Allura pointed out. “I couldn’t have guessed that you had put the lions back to sleep.” Allura swallowed. “I wanted it all to end.” Her voice took on a desperate tone. “This is always happening! This has always been the cause of so much pain in our family! And I wanted to end it!”
Lance’s hand pressed over Antok’s. His face slack with an expression of shock he waited for more to come, for Allura to admit her wrong to him.
“I am so sorry, my Kon Karnate,” Antok whispered next to him. “I was ordered to get you into a hibernation pod immediately and by the time I could get you secured and up to the bridge--I could not stop your sister.”
Lance looked up to Allura again.
“Altea--” It was Coran that spoke. “Is no longer inhabitable.”
“Allura,” Lance hissed immediately. He had to hear it from her. For once in their god damn lives he had to hear her admit to her own shortcomings.
“I never thought I would harm Altea.” Allura’s chinwas tucked as she spoke. “I just wanted Varr gone.”
Altea needs its moons. It was a mantra Lance had heard ever since he was a child, over and over and over again. WIthout them there were no seasons, there was no tide in the ocean. And with the thought of that--Lance remembered standing at the bay doors, and how Mai had risen through the clouds so close to them, her milky volatile atmosphere a cloud before them.
“Mai.” Lance said it aloud.
“It was only meant to bring down Varr!” Allura shouted out.
“You ignited Mai.” Lance clarified for her.
“I was going to save us--” Allura broke then, as tears streamed down her face. “I never meant--none of that was supposed to happen, and the explosions just kept coming and…” She trailed off.
Antok’s flippant despise was open in his voice. “You blew apart Daibazaal and flung Altea out of orbit--with in a few minutes all atmosphere was destroyed and all life died.”
She had strangled their home. In a struggle for power--she’d slit the throat of every Altean.
Eyes wide, Lance couldn't look at his sister any longer.
“I’m sorry.” Allura whispered.
It was the first time in his entire life, Lance had ever heard his sister apologize to him.
The room was silent for a long moment, Lance choosing to ignore his sister.
"How long have I kept this castle asleep?" Lance asked with a heavy swallow. He looked down. He was dressed in a stiff high collared cloak. It was Galran, though for once in a deep blue. Antok no doubt had looked after Lance meticulously how ever long it had been. The symbol of his Kon was still embroidered across the front. He turned his head to Antok.
"Why have you aged?" Lance shook his head.
Antok looked down to Lance then, his own face softening. "I—When you launched the ship, there was no way I could leave. Shiro’s last orders to me were for me to retain my place as your guard"
Lance frowned. He never—he never meant to trap his beloved friend.
"I have a direct charge to protect you—from all sides. So to stay, I set one of the pods for myself," Antok gestured to the pod next to Lance. "And I woke, every few hundred years, to make sure the castle would still be left unfound, to make sure you were safe, the lions still slept, and that his Majesty was still unaware of your location."
Lance tipped his head. A man so loyal was such very few in a lifetime. "How long have you hid me from my beloved?" Lance asked as if to gage the possible couples quarrel ahead.
Antok inhaled deep, before he exhaled, and he confessed. "Ten thousand years."
“I will right this,” Allura’s voice was hoarse.
Lance looked up from where he still rested on the floor.
“I am the Queen of Altea.” Allura lifted her chin this time. “I will rebuild our home. I’ll make everything different this time.”
Unmoved--Lance didn’t react from where he still sat on the floor. Reaching up, Anotk took the cue and helped Lance up to his feet.
“I’m tired,” Lance murmured to Antok.
“I will see you to your rooms,” Antok assured.
“Lance,” Allura bit out at her brother.
Looking at her, Lance wasn’t sure he knew what to say.
Why did she think any of this would sway him?
“You’ve given us the key,” Allura stole forward. “We have the Black Lion. We can rebuild again--”
The metallic slash as Antok pulled his sword and blocked Allura from advancing any further on Lance stilled the room.
Maybe it was the first moment Allura realized she wasn't the only royalty standing in the room.
“That is my brother,” Allura spoke. “You will step aside.”
Antok’s eyes narrowed but he looked back to Lance.
Standing on his own, Lance didn’t see any reason to pull his guardsman back. He didn’t want Allura any closer to him.
Hands fisting at her sides, Allura went to take another step forward--
Antok pointed to the jagged blade at her heart with a visceral snarl. He held the same resolution Lance had seen before. He’d had no hesitation when he killed Pidge and Lance doubted he’d have any now.
Fear flashed in Allura’s expression as she stalled.
“You are not my queen.” Antok hissed.
If anything proved how desperate his sister still was, clinging to any sort of power she could, her face as Antok had told her she wasn’t his Queen was proof enough. Lance simply did his best to brush his sister off as he turned away.
“The King’s chambers are this way,” Antok directed.
Lance expected nothing different.
“Lance!” Allura screamed after him.
At the massive carved archway of the doors Lance looked back over his shoulders.
“I’ve heard far grander promises than yours,” Lance spoke. “And I’ve trusted in far less for the last time.”
Turning back, the symbol for the Galran empire at his back, Lance let Antok direct him away.
It was so glaringly obvious now—he’d never trusted her.
He couldn’t sleep.
Lance tossed in the enormous bed. It was draped with thin fabric of galaxies and cosmos. How forbidding Lance had thought, just like in the Black Paladins chambers.
A few feet away, Antok’s breathing suggested he was sound asleep on the couch. Lance had requested he stay. He needed someone to count on, to lean on. He’d have a servant's bed moved in once Lance had his own wits about him.
How ironic was it all?
Lance had never expected to wake up. He’d thought he’d blast his sister into exile, sentenced himself to death and it would be over. He’d fall asleep with the lions, or he’d managed to get himself sentenced to death. He had thought he might have even died in the strong warm embrace of his lover if he was lucky.
But now—Lance couldn’t get warm.
The bed felt chilled. It felt empty and cold.
As he blinked, his eyelashes brushed the pillow. It felt—like a long nap. That’s all ten thousand years had felt like. Like a long night's rest of fitful tossing and turning, not real rest, just empty time held suspended. His body shivered again.
He pulled the sheets up closer but it didn’t help.
His eyes fully open he turned again, this time to the edge of the bed.
As Lance pushed up to sitting he heard the Galran growl across the room. It was a comfort, like hearing a familiar hum or whisper.
“Your Highness,” Antok’s voice was thick with sleep, it like any dutiful servant he was already sitting up as well.
Lance didn’t say anything. What did he really have left to ponder, he asked himself. There was little left to be done. His feet stretched out to the floor as he pulled away from the covers.
“Your Highness,” Antok stopped as well, retrieving his helmet, he’d slept in the rest of his armor, sword close at hand.
Lance started to pull off his nightshirt and reached for the finest he still had. His arms fit through the black and gold embroidered cloak. The Galran symbol of a Kon at the chest.
“I need to see him,” Lance simply murmured.
The bridge was lit only with the whirling stars around them as Lance entered.
Coran stood at the bow of the ship at a control panel overlooking the nose. At Lance’s subtle foot falls and the resounding thumps of Antok’s boots, Coran looked up.
He seemed frozen for a moment, like looking at Lance’s snow-white appearance was like seeing a ghost.
“Y-Your Highness,” Coran finally ducked into a bow. He probably wasn’t sure how to address Lance anymore.
“Coran,” Lance gave his own respectful greeting.
There was a long pause and Lance strode forward again, not waiting for Coran to get over his presence.
“Uh, her Highness asked me to check over the ship—“ Coran said.
Lance nodded. “I will only be a few moments.” He stepped up onto the raised platform at the center of the room.
Like a wolf, Antok prowled around the raised circle, eyes on the former Manservant. Antok’s hand was at his sword as his ghostlike hollow eyes of his helmet scanned the room.
Coran made no move to stop them as he stepped back away.
He didn’t need instructions. Lance reached forward and the ship responded with vigor to him.
It was a war machine. Unlike the lions—the ship felt different. It felt—he hated it. If running his hand over a lion was like touching a star—this was like smoothing his hand over a coffin. Lances brow furrowed. He’d make sure that’s what it ended up.
His fingers alighted over the controls that presented to him.
“Ah—y-your Highness!” Coran squawked as he finally seemed to catch on.
Antok was already there though, stepping between Lance and his former manservant.
“I don’t know if this is wise,” Coran tried.
Lance lifted his eyes. “You’re dismissed,.” He waved.
The action seemed to catch Coran off guard. Surprise crossed his face.
Had Lance ever dismissed the man before?
Lance wasn’t sure—but he also couldn’t find it in him to care.
Tapping in the code, Lance knew only he would have, he slid his hand over the controls sending out his call.
The room stayed silent for a long moment, then over them the massive screen opened and the hologram flashed to a deep purple, a connection established.
When the picture finally ushered in, the black armor of the man before Lance was such a stark difference to the opulent white Lance was surrounded in. For a moment Lance wasn’t sure if he’d put the codes in correctly. What sort of monster did he enter into conversation with? As the massive armored figure shifted, his movements stalled for a moment like a machine processing before from base programing. Lance wondered if he was speaking with a mechanic atronok.
But through the black ghoulish helmet, Lance would always recognize that voice. He’d follow it across universes if need be. The bond thumped through him as the voice of thunder washed over him.
“I’ve missed you, my love.”
“Zar Kon!” Before the raised platform, Antok snapped down to one knee, his fist to the ground as well as with bowed head he greeted his Kon.
Lance watched for a moment before lifting his own eyes. It was suddenly hard to breathe. This—it felt so different. Like Lance wanted to greet him as he’d greeted him every morning, tangled in bed and bathed in the early morning sun. But that—was so distant now.
“Your Majesty,” Lance didn’t bow his head as he said it.
“My darling,” the pet name rumbled from the beastly helmet. “So little about you has changed.”
Lance wasn’t sure what to say.
“Though,” the armor was nearly silent as the monster leaned back in his massive black throne. “Your appearance does explain quite a lot.”
Lance shifted, his head tipped as his mouth opened.
The question must have been plain to see, for the next moment a larger clawed gauntlet reached up, and the horned black helmet was pulled up and slipped off, handed off no doubt to a nameless servant.
Lance’s breath caught as finally a face he recognized was revealed. Eyes wide, Lance was lost for words as he looked.
Shiro smiled, his eyes even crinkling with the action, his dark wing eye markings moving with the action. But as he blinked pure white lashes cascaded over dark stormy eyes. His face hadn’t changed, still looking as a man in his prime except the pure white hair. He hadn’t even changed his hair cut, the ethereal white still long over his face and short at the sides.
“I’ve searched the universe nearly twice over for you,” Shiro’s voice was that steady tone Lance remembered. “Antok has done an admirable job keeping you hidden from me.”
Lance tipped his head, still entranced by the man before him. “What does Zar Kon mean?” He jumped straight forward.
Shiro’s brow raised but he seemed to consider before answering. “It's just a title.”
“Tell me,” Lance pressed. “You know if you don’t, I will just ask Antok once I can.”
“Antok,” Shiro sat back. He was snatching at the subject change. “Such a loyal servant.”
“He’s my friend,” Lance said. “He’s possibly the only one I have left.” Lance dipped his head. “And you gave him to me.”
The smile that graced Shiro's face then was sincere. Lance could recognize those.
“It was the least I could do,” his voice was soft. “And the man has served me well. I will never forget that.”
Lance nodded, short and assured. “I will hold you to that.”
It faded then, the look he gave Lance, of tender love and adoration, it faded and he frowned. “I think I finally believe that you mean that.” He looked weary for a moment then. “You really will make me keep to my promises.”
Lance didn’t know what to say again. A part of him—Shiro looked, alone and tired and worn. Is that how Lance had appeared? On his knees, bloody and bowing to a new king, did he look weary like that so long ago?
“Allura told me what happened,” Lance murmured.
“Oh?” Shiro’s expression didn’t match his words, turning hard even after ten millennia. “She’s with you then?”
It was a calculation. Lance had finally gotten the hang of watching for those from his mate. Shiro was looking to kill two birds with one stone.
“She told me it was an accident.” Lance went on.
“I’m sure it was,” Shiro’s voice held no such understanding.
Lance let out a long exhale.
The shift of Shiro’s armor was silent as he leaned forward. “Will you beg for mercy again?” Shiro lifted his brow. “Will you hold her getaway over my head?”
Lance closed his eyes as he dropped his head.
“Will you claim to never forgive me if I don’t stay my hand, yet again for your blood-soaked sister?”
His words were like razor wire over Lance's skin.
And what was Lance’s answer? What could he ever tell Shiro now about how his sister had committed no crime? How was she innocent and good now?
“She apologized to me,” Lance spoke softly. “But I can’t imagine it will ever be enough.” He lifted his eyes.
Shiro’s stalwart expression was in no way moved.
Whatever mercy Lance may have bargained for in the past had evaporated now.
“I’ve missed you,” Shiro let the words roll from his tongue as his expression changed.
The bond, Lance's eyes crammed shut again, as he felt it, like his throat was being closed, like he couldn’t get air it was a suffocating horrible feeling of pain. And as Lance cracked an eye, it was from Shiro. It was how he’d felt for millennia, searching across the universe for a lover he’d chased away. Was this his punishment to Lance at that moment?
“Where are you?” Shiro’s voice was deep and though breathless like he was pushing each word out like it was his last.
There was no way Lance could tell him.
“I’m sorry,” Lance whispered.
“Please,” Shiro swallowed thickly. “Tell me,”
“I can’t,” Lance shook his head.
“You can’t protect her anymore.” Shiro hissed. “I will have you back at my side.”
Lance shook his head. “I have no intention to aid my sister any longer.”
“You’re aiding her now.”
“I can’t defend her.” It was the truth. He’d used every ounce of power he had to keep his sister away from the families’ blood-stained legacy.
“Then let her face trial for her actions.”
“I don’t care about her any longer.” Lance finally screamed.
Shiro stilled on the screen.
Lance felt like he was shaking. “Why would I do anything more for her?” Lance broke into a cry.
Is this how they would conclude? Done apart, was this their new war?
When Lance finally looked up Shiro's expression was frightening. He was smiling, and it was sincere again, only in a way that beamed like a triumph. He must have felt like he’d finally won.
“Where are you?” Shiro asked again.
Lance shook his head. “I can’t tell you.”
“I want my Altean Prince back,” Shiro still smiled.
“I’m not a prince of anything anymore,” Lance bit back.
He smiled again. “You belong with me.”
“I can’t,” Lance didn't deny the statement. It was true, he felt the ache of it throughout his whole body. He felt the tug pulling him to say yes and run back to Shiro’s arms. But that would only destroy how far Lance had come.
“I’ve conquered galaxies upon galaxies to give to you,” Shiro said. “I never lied to you that night, I will lay the stars at your feet.”
Lance cracked again. “I’m sorry,” he shook his head. “But I never thought I would wake and if I did I was convinced it would be only for you to slit my throat.”
Shiro was quiet for a moment. “I wouldn’t be able to,”
His eyes were solely focused on Lance. For once they were a clear steel grey. If Shiro could have climbed through the video link connection at that moment there was no doubt in Lance’s mind he would have.
Lance smiled then, his own smile sad and small. “You were though, I could see it, you were the sort of man that could.”
“Let me find you,” Shiro pleaded again. “I will keep you safe this time and I will show you that there's no way I could hurt you.”
He’d already done everything he could to keep Lance safe the last time.
Lance shook his head. “I’m sorry.”
“Tell me where you are,” Shiro asked again.
He would keep asking, Lance realized. For the rest of Lance’s life, Shiro would keep asking, he would keep searching.
“I won’t leave you in the dark again,” Lance assured. “I promise.” He pulled in breath though, his chest with the emblazoned mark of the Kon raising. “But I can not let you retain the lions.”
“Lance,” Shiro’s voice was that same distant breath again.
“They are the last of my home,” Lance explained. “And neither you nor my sister have proven yourself, worthy stewards, over them.”
“Lance—“ the man was standing, a true monster, his form larger than Lance ever remembered.
“I’m sorry,” Lance shook his head, cutting his mate off.
They weren’t storms, for the first time Lance could ever remember Shiro's eyes weren’t dark swirling storms. They were a clear grey and laser-focused—on Lance.
“I’ll come for you,” he promised. Shiro’s white brow lowered even as he straightened. “I don’t care how many planets I need to conquer to do it, I will find you.”
He’d always promised that.
From the moment he’d bitten into Lance’s neck he’d declared the universe had sealed them together.
“I know,” Lance simply murmured. “I’ll be here.”
“Don’t,” He heard a growl in Shiro's voice for the first time as he stepped forward from the throne. His threat hadn’t worked, his begging hadn't worked, Lance could only guess if he could he would reach through the ether to Lance, grasp-him and pull him back sobbing as he held him bound to him, forever to sit at the foot of his throne.
“I will speak to you again,” Lance assured and this time when he reached forward the panicked look that crossed his lover’s face didn’t stop him.
“Lance,” Shiro screamed as he pushed off from his throne. “You are mine! And I will not spend another millenia apart from you--”
Startled, Lance pulled in-breath as wide-eyed he looked up to his lover. He meant it. He meant every word this time. Lance had turned him into a monster--a monster that kept his promises.
“You are my world--I will have no other, this universe will bleed until I have you back--”
Jumping Lance scrambled to cut the connection, his breath coming in gusts as he waved his hand and severed the video link. The connection closed and the massive hologram overhead dissipated. His heart still raced as he stood there, stooped over the controls as he tried to gather himself.
“I’ve finally earned myself the wrath of a Kon,” Lance huffed in a mirthless laugh a moment later.
Lance heaved out a long breath. He let his eyes drift closed for a second and let his ears stop ringing from the silence.
“A Zar Kon,” Antok corrected.
Lance raised his head, blinking his eyes open to his companion.
“Kon of Kon’s,” Antok spoke soft as he approached. “A Kon that’s legacy has shaped our race. A Kon all other Kon’s will take a knee before. That is what it means when he is called Zar Kon. His Majesty—he’s the only one to be given that title while still alive.”
Lance looked up.
“He has conquered tens of thousands of galaxies, he will be remembered as a god.” Antok nodded to himself.
Lance tipped his head. “If he ever dies.”
It was strange listening —Antok was proud.
“He lives as long as you do, Your Highness.” Antok answered in the same reverence.
Looking down, Lance tried to analyze his own feelings. Was he—? Lance was—he was proud in a distant sort of way. In the same way he felt sad. Like he’d watched his lover ascend to his destiny—but to a destiny he’d always feared.
“Does that make me a god?” Lance questioned aloud, a slight smile on his face, a try at making a joke. What did he have after all?
But when Antok looked down at him, it was with a somber expression. “Your Highness—“ his head tipped, like he was stating obvious information to Lance. “You have the blood of the goddess. He rose to your stature, he did not pull up.”
That—Lance lifted his chin. That made more sense. They would feel they had no right to kill a child of the goddess after all. Not like—not like how Altea had led their children to sacrifice.
Lance looked up with a sharp look. The servant he’d dismissed was still in the room.
Coran had already shown his clear allegiance to Allura.
And Lance didn’t trust his sister.
Lance slammed his hand down over the crystal at his right. Altean script flashed around him and the read out was clear: the Black lion was sealed within the castle. Several camera angles flashed as well and Lance could clearly see his blood soaked handprint, blazing as a seal across the Black Lion’s massive doors. Lance’s eyes narrowed. That is where she would remain if Lance had any choice in the matter.
Not answering, Lance stepped off the platform, next to Antok.
“Lance,” Coran tried as he stepped closer.
“I am the mate to a Kon,” he hissed. “First and always foremost.”
The room was still for a long moment.
And when Coran finally responded, his gaze had changed. “You meant what you said to him.”
Lance’s eyes narrowed. “Every word.”
He stepped away then, giving no final parting.
The ship—was Altean, from bow to stern. And somehow in the interim, Lance became uncomfortable with it. He couldn’t even say his happiest moments were spent Galran, or even his safest. It was just—nothing about it felt familiar now. Altean halls felt like a distant memory, like a childhood home, he had left behind.
Maybe he just—no longer felt Altean. He wasn’t sure.
What did that make him then?
And yet oddly, standing amongst the stars—He felt right. Space was empty and cold and the flares of distant waves of meager light were not often offered.
From behind, Lance could feel as Antok approached.
“I’ll never tell him where I am,” Lance declared suddenly.
“I know,” Antok didn’t stop till he stood next to Lance, at the very bow of the ship. From where they stood it was like standing at the tip of a blade, ready to leap into an unyielding abyss.
“Do you wish to know what we will do now?” Lance asked, head-turning.
Antok looked over. “I am not your sister,” he spoke in a reserved tone.
That—right. Lance breathed out. Accusations and fights were all that was sure to ensue.
“I don’t know if I can let her stay,” Lance wondered aloud. “But I can’t let her have the lions and I can’t give them to Shiro.”
“We will do what we must,” Antok said as if it was that simple, as if there was no question.
Lance looked over. This time he did manage a smile. There was no doubt in Antok, no estimation of Lance, just trust.
“Have you ever had a lover?” Lance asked suddenly.
Antok seemed surprised but answered. “Yes,” he sighed, knowing what Lance was actually asking. “But I have never had a mate.”
“Would you like me to describe it to you?” Lance let the words slide from him. “It’s horrifying.”
Antok didn’t answer, his body only shifting, bright Galran eyes turned to Lance, inquiring.
“It feels wonderful, like the utter awe of holding bottled lightning” Lance went on. “And yet—I feel sick.” His chin dropped, though anywhere he looked was just an empty continuation of stars.
“I left him,” Lance whispered. “It was the one thing I promised him. I told him, I was his, and he—“ Lance’s lips trembled. “I thought--I was sure he had lied to me, and in turn, I turned my own promise into a lie.” He frowned deeper.
“Your Highness,” Antok drifted closer.
“I feel like my chest is a bottomless pit, like it’s a hole I just keep digging deeper and deeper,” Lance knew his voice reflected it. “And it was me that did this.” He trembled with each breath.
Lance opened his eyes. Before him swirled open space. Maybe he should have known. He remembered the first morning he woke in the Black Paladin’s quarter—to endless swirling space.
“I feel like empty darkness,” Lance murmured. “Like a shadow of betrayal and sin stretching over millennia.”
Antok next to him was silent
Lance looked to him.
There was no moment he could go back though, no moment he would change. And now, no home to return to.
Lance swallowed, and straightened.
He didn’t look expectant still, but Antok still watched him.
“The lions are awake,” Lance spoke.
“They are.” Antok resounded.
Lance closed his eyes, breathing in deep. “And he will come.”
“He has promised you as much.”
Lance opened his eyes. “Then we won’t yield this time.”
AN: And in the sequel Lance finds a way to split the Castle of Lions and takes the Black Lion away as a little sealed capsule and finds the Blades or Marmora. Banding with other Galra that feel Shiro’s power has gone too far, seems like a great idea at the time. Allura goes to find new Paladins for the Lions. She does, of course, and shocker they all resemble their previous Paladins. War immediately breaks out as Lance keeps moving the Black Lion to avoid both Allura and Shiro. And it sucks till he finds a lil worm owl thing that says his name is Slav and if Lance gets him out of Galra Control he’ll help Lance hide in a pocket of space. The Blade of Mamora turns out is basically just a religious sect devoted to the Goddess and Lance doesn’t have much control over the fact they all worship him as the last of the Goddess incarnate. Allura and Shiro still looking for Lance constantly butt heads and have tantrums at each other.
But damn it, the new blue and red paladin just can’t stay away and the Blue and Red Lion find Lance and the Blade of Mamora. Allura is quick to catch up, but ohohoh she finds a bunch of warrior Galran monks all proclaiming Lance as their only purpose in life and a tired Lance just stands at basically a throne and is like, “Allura they’re not really nice people so you should probably just leave.” She doesn’t. She finds that Lance has plans to imbed the Black Lion in the heart of a dying star and he plans to leave it there, his blazing bloody palm print his last will and testament to the world. It just so happens his fanatic sect of followers see this move as the greatest worship of the goddess so they’re gonna help him make it happen.
Yah and that prison they infiltrated to get Slav? Wanna guess who was there and managed to get a gander at Lance again? Yup, Keith. He shows up and is all fuckin in for Blades of Mamora! His infatuation just fit so nicely in with the ideology of , “Lance is the Goddess and the Goddess is better than Shiro.”
Back to Lance trying to embed the Black Lion into a star…. Yah….Allura steals the Black Lion after tricking Lance into opening the seal, saying “Oh Lance, I’ve changed my ways I’ll help this time I swear!”
Here’s the thing…. Allura just never understood who to make friends with and how to keep those friends. Because while she’s stolen the Black Lion--she’s basically put Lance in a spot where asking for Shiro’s help would only benefit himself.
So Lance is like, “Why is she like this? Why do I keep falling for it? ….And above all else, why am I mildly excited at the prospect of visiting my megalomaniac husband again?”
So he does go see Shiro. And while his loyal fanatics draw a hard line in the sand on Shiro taking possession of Lance. Man, Lance is realizing having zealots can be beneficial. Lance knows he’s taking a step closer back to Shiro in a dangerous sort of way still.
Not so much of a spoiler, working together gets them having sex again.
Allura takes the Black Lion to a frozen planet where underground the lion starts--sprouting. By the time Lance and Shiro catch up to her and corner her, the Lion has been engulfed in a massive black tree forging out of the ice. Allura is panicking, she can’t take control of the Black lion and the other Paladins can’t either (Cause Paladin musical chairs is stupid.), no new Paladin has been called to arms for Black either…
It’s Lance that knows why.
The Black Lion is at her limit. Without another blood sacrifice she’s returning to sleep, the massive black tree is her new Temple.
Allura can’t accept that and neither, it turns out, can Shiro.