Two Shadows Went 2
Updated: Apr 13, 2019
When he could finally manage to get out of bed and dress on his own, Lance had decided to pull on real cloths. The night shirt and soft cotton sleep pants he wore were nice, albeit not exactly princely. Though with the ache dissipating it took a surprising amount of time to simply pull on pants and a shirt. He managed boots but as he rummaged around he couldn't find his circlet anywhere. He decided to forgo it in the end as well as a jacket. He highly doubted he would manage to stumble into anything important anyway.
Making his way out of the bedroom, he finally took a moment to observe his new surroundings. Shiro's quarters were—very black. Charcoal furniture, black accents, black everything. And if not black, then a deep Galaxy purple. The over washing color he realized though was grey. It marked the black to stand out more, but it was what most of the walls and even the bed linens had been made up in.
Lance wasn't so sure how used to it he could get, his own rooms were all whites and creams splashed with his signature brilliant blue.
As he had expected there was a lot of rooms to Shiro's quarters. The entry sitting room was the hub of his quarters, it led directly through double doors to the largest room, the bedroom. It had the vast canopy bed with walk-in closets on either side for them both. Lance being as nosey as he was, looked in Shiro's first. The most concise description of Shiro's wardrobe was: More Black. It was all functional black as well, cloths for training or strict uniforms. Nothing that just was there to be there. In his own closet it looked as if about half of Lance's cloths had been brought over.
The bedroom from there was one more room deep leading to the large bathroom. All of it was polished black metal of course and cool grey marble.
Once back in the sitting room, there was a door on either side. The one on the right led to what looked like Shiro's office that could double as another sitting room, with a massive dark grey wood desk, imperial style it dominated the room. There was also a small group of chairs and a cozy love seat arranged around a fireplace. On the left led to a small parlor. The most striking feature of the room was the piano.
Right. This room must have been designated Lance’s. It wasn't like the others. The grey was gone in here, with mostly white surfaces all around. There was still plenty of black as well. But on a white coffee table sat a beautiful cobalt blue vase, a bouquet of moon flowers resting in it. Soft looking sofas were arranged and book cases lined around a massive window with wispy sheer linen treatments.
Well, at least Shiro had planned on giving Lance some of his own space. Lance could live with that.
Before he left the quarters he looked around the sitting room again. One thing did strike him this time, how little was decorating the quarters. There were no pictures on the wall. It was all very regal. But it was also--minimalist and in way Lance wasn't sure he could appreciate. It was too much bare marble for his tastes.
Before Lance ever made it to his former rooms to see if there was any of his belongings that had been left behind he ran into the one person he never wanted to see—
"Your highness!" Coran's quirky accent never did quite soothe Lance. "Your highness! I'm not so sure you should be out of bed!"
Oh god, if Lance stayed in bed one more minute he'd die of boredom! "I'm perfectly fine, Coran." Lance monotoned.
"No," Coran insisted. "No, I was given the strictest of edicts by the Black Paladin himself," Coran leaned in towards Lance, hand to the side of his mouth as if he were telling a secret, "your newest bond mate," Coran raised his eyebrows in a way Lance never wanted to see again. "That you, my prince, are to remain in your rooms till you have properly regained your strength."
Coran cleared his throat then. "And if I might say, I witnessed you bonding sir and I think it to be sound advice."
And Lance had almost forgotten the part about how literally everybody he had ever known had watched Lance writhe in pain as Shiro had bite his way into Lance's soul and sealed them together.
Lance just held out his arms though, gesturing to himself. "As you can see I have regained my strength!" He hopped from one foot to the other. "Look I can ever managed to walk all by my self." He twirled around already on the path back to his own room. "Relax Coran, I'm just fine."
Coran was already dancing back to Lances side though. "Please, our highness!" He exclaimed before taking Lances arm, "let me at least assist you!"
"Coran, I'm fine!" Lance groaned.
"No-no, I must insist!"
With a huff out of puffed up cheeks and a lowered brow, Lance gave in. "Fine."
Coran gently took one of Lance’s arms.
"I was headed to my bedroom."
"Of course, this way sir," Coran pivoted them and started leading Lance back to the Black Paladin’s quarters.
"Not my new ones!" Lance exclaimed. "///My bedroom."
Coran stopped for a moment. "Your highness, I—“
Lance caught on this time as he saw the advisors face. "I know, Coran." He huffed. "They're not mine any more." He intently tried to stare straight ahead. "I live with Shiro now. I get it. You don't need to break it to me."
"Of course, your highness."
Lance felt a bit too much like he was being humored all of a sudden and with a determined look he gestured off towards his old rooms.
"Come on," he gruffed, "I just wanna go make sure every thing I want was retrieved and sent to Shiro’s—er—the Black Paladin Quarters."
"Absolutely, Your Highness!" Coran already was striding forward, pulling Lance along by his arm. "I will lead the way."
It seemed Lances escapade came at a price. After going through his room with a group of servants at his beck and call, he'd been goaded by Coran into dinner—with his family. Lovely.
Lance couldn't say he minded all that much. He'd had a productive evening. He had all of his books sent over, doubled the wardrobe sent, (adding the more fashionable picks back in, might he add) had the small jewelry armoire sent with all its contents and picked out the trinkets and little things he wanted to keep. By the time he got back, he just might have managed to carve his own little niche into the Black Paladin quarters.
That's when Coran had sprung it on him, asking if Lance felt tired or light headed at all. Lance had quibbed, assuring Coran he was in perfect health!
Which was just marvelous because that meant he could go to dinner with his sister and father and the rest of the Paladins and courtiers! Wasn't that wonderful!
And that's how he managed to find himself trying to sneak into the grand dining room.
As he glanced around at the head table he noticed his fathers absence. It was becoming more common. But what struck him more was the absence of his new bond mate as well.
Allura was already midway through holding her own preemptive court. She laughed at a joke of the baron honorably seated next to her.
Lance gave a sigh of relief as he tried to scurry to his seat.
Only to be stopped by Coran.
"I believe your highness, your new place is up here." He already had Lance’s arm looped through his own as he guided Lance up to the raised head-table.
At the center of the table, the Kings chair sat empty, and to the left sat Allura, now looking at Lance with crystalline eyes. And on the right was the seat belonging to the Black Paladin—Well it had been Red Paladin when Lance’s father still held the title, the point was it was the first ranking Paladin’s seat. Only there were two chairs at the ready.
And Lance was quickly being guided into the second.
"Coran," Lance tried to protest. He even stopped, halting Coran as he tried to explain. "I don't think..."
He hadn't ever really sat at the head table. He was the Second Prince after all, he sat with the rest of the Paladins, next to Hunk at the left table and—
The deep voice, as always, played down Lance’s spine like a Xelaphone.
Lance turned just as Shiro stepped up to him.
"I'm not so sure you should be out of bed." Shiro said thankfully quiet enough only Lance and Coran could hear. It was also accompanied by a look towards Coran, one of clear scolding.
"I," Lance spoke up before the advisor could be accused of any wrong doing. "I feel really well." He said. "I just wanted out of that bedroom for a while. I won’t strain myself. I’ve just been there all day, and all yesterday.”
Shiro's gaze shifted to Lance. It was so terribly unreadable as he seemed to consider Lance. "Alright, I can definitely understand that."
With that, he turned to his seat, brushing past in a soft manner. Lance realized it was in such a way that suggested Shiro expected to be followed.
Dutifully, Lance let Coran pull out the chair next to the Black Paladin and Lance seated himself next to his new mate.
"I have to say," Allura spoke up a seat away, though her calculating gaze flicked from Lance to settle on Shiro. "I'm quite surprised to see you up and about, baby brother."
Lance gave a glare in his sisters direction. "I'm not an invalid." He mumbled.
Allura opened her mouth, expression clear that she was about to contest--
"I've made sure he's doing well." Shiro's vice rumbled next to Lance. There was a new edge to this tone. Something Lance had never heard before. It was dismissal.
Lance blinked. He wasn't sure he'd ever heard anyone talk like that to his sister. People talked to him like that—well more often than Lance liked, but to Allura—no, that was blasphemy.
Farther down the table, Allura’s eyes narrowed as she regarded Shiro, taking a sip from her glass of dark rose liquid.
Lance looked away from her eyes. Hesitant, he started to pick at his meal.
Shiro had relaxed into him by the end of the night, an arm going to loosely and casually rest at his shoulders but he barely looked at him and there was little talking besides from the Baron at the table, still trying to convince Allura of some legislation or another.
At an opportune moment, Lance cleared his throat, “I think I should return to our room now.”
Shiro nodded beside Lance before he turned to him. His hand curled around Lance’s shoulder. “I’ll have Coran escort you back.”
Lance tried to shake his head. “I’m sure that’s not necessary.”
Shiro gave a slow nod, before his eyes alighted and rested on Lance. “It’ll make me feel better.” His tone was soft, but still decisive and he lifted his arm, motioning.
“Your highness,” Corna graciously offered Lance a hand.
He didn’t need it. But with a frown, Lance knew that wasn’t the rules of this game, so he took the offered hand as he stood.
Just as asked, Coran made sure Lance got back to his room.
The canopy over head still wasn’t his, and it was still jarring as he opened his eyes. Nineteen years of waking under a blue sky canopy had been ingrained in him. Shiro’s was so different. It was the same magical quality Lance had noticed on most of his formal wear. The canopy was like staring up at a brilliant eternal night.
But his attention was quickly drawn away. There was speaking in the room around him he realized as he shifted in the sheets.
“This isn’t exactly a prime moment.” It was Shiro’s voice and he was clearly agitated. “I’m sure his highness would prefer to sleep.”
The staunch and dodgy voice that followed made Lance groan. “The whims of his highness fall second nature to that of the Godess.”
He raised a hand, laying it across his face.
Out of the corner of his eye, Lance could see the acolyte take a striding step forward. Unfortunately for him, Lance’s new mate was twice the size of just about every Altean Lance knew.
A metal hand lay across Lances legs, as if to soothe but it just caused Lance to shiver from its cold touch.
Shiro ran with it, gesturing to the door. "My bond-mate is tired.” He hissed. "I don't care if you're the lion Goddess herself, until Lance is feeling better I will have to insist you leave."
A smaller second acolyte stepped up from the door, pointing out. "His highness was in attendance last night for dinner, we only wish a few moments of his time, and I'm sure if he is well enough for court, he is well enough for this."
Lance almost considered moaning in mock pain. The hand at his leg twitched, the metal constricting just slightly enough to squeeze Lance’s ankle through the covers.
"Fine." Shiro gruffed, before to Lance's surprise he sat at the side of the bed. "A few minutes." He darkly snarled under his breath.
The snarl was enough to have Lances nerves back in a tissie but he didn't comment as he finally removed his hand, he tried to push himself up, to find that Shiro was there quickly propping him up against the headboard, while equally glaring at their two robed guests.
The agitation off of Shiro was clear. Lance made a mental note that his mate clearly didn’t like his orders ignored.
The head Acolyte payed Shiro little attention as he snapped his fingers and a servant brought over a chair for him.
"Now your highness," the smaller one approached the bed, he had on impossibly thick glasses. But he gave a wrinkly smile as he approached Lance. "We're here to make sure you understand your new role and that your mate also," he gestured to Shiro giving him another wrinkly smile. "Understands. There is much deemed improper to talk of in everyday life, but is necessary knowledge for a happy life-bonding.”
Lance was froze.
Shiro next to him wore a puzzled expressing as his brow lowered, looking at the acolytes.
They were getting a sex talk. Together. In their bedroom. With Lance still in bed, in fact.
A chair was presented to the elder smaller Acolyte, and though quite frail looking ,he gingerly sat down.
"Now I realize in our society it is much more common to marry among your own second gender." The elder acolyte when on. "There are several reasons for this, but simply because it is easier to connect with someone on the same level as yourself. But as I'm sure the two of you are aware, You two are of the opposing second gender, Shiro as an Alpha and your highness as an Omega."
Lance was watching as it slowly dawned on Shiro exactly where this topic was leading. His brow slowly raised with each word, higher and higher till Lance was pretty sure it might reach his hair line.
The elder paused, looking to them both.
He wanted—an answer, right? Lance cleared his throat. “Yes, we are both aware of our own and of each other’s presentation."
"Oh good." The elder gave another smile. "Then which of you would like to go first?"
Lance blinked. Shiro next to him was still just staring.
"Pardon?" Lance asked.
"I'll take that as a volunteering," the elder enthusiastically gestured and launched in. "Omegas are traditionally the nurture’s. As well, it will be you that bares an heir. They have great responsibility as well as a capacity for caring.”
Well, that wasn't nearly as embarrassing as Lance had thought it would be.
Then the snooty, fat acolyte started to speak. To Shiro, of course. "Your Omega has three sets of glands primarily responsible for comfort and once stimulated cooperation and arousal."
The acolyte stood, taking one step towards the bed—only to be met by the Shiro wall again.
The fat acolyte looked up at Shiro as if he was the one in clear violation. ”If I may demonstrate—“
"No." The finality in Shiro's voice at that moment was both terrifying and the most relieving thing Lance had ever heard. The last thing he would ever want was some pudgy acolyte smudging his grubby fingers over Lance’s sparkly parts.
Undeterred, the acolyte leered at Shiro and went on. “Well, I will simply point them out then."
Knowing there wasn't much way probably around it, Lance opted to just get through it as quickly as possible. He reached out to tug at Shiro's hand just enough to get his attention and give a small nod.
Shiro still didn’t move much, glancing at Lance before he slid a step back to the bed, sitting this time directly between the acolyte and Lance.
"Right," the acolyte huffed. “Now, I am sure you’re aware the primary glands are situated just under the jaw." He gestured to Lance’s bandage. "During your mating, you bit into his left one in fact. But more on that later. These glands are the first you should seek out when trying to calm or persuade your Omega. These glands will zero your Omega’s focus on to you, bringing his awareness solely to his Alpha."
The acolyte gave another sweeping gesture to the back of Lance’s neck. "At the base of an Omega's skull is a set of secondary glands. When stimulated they will calm your Omega, easing any tension or resistance from his muscles." He gave a sweeping gesture downward. "These glands actually branch off and line your Omega’s spine in much smaller glands all the way down. Again they act much the same, inducing a state of contentedness and combating tension."
"And finally there is the glands at the base of the spine, laying at the level of the sacrum." The acolyte didn't gesture this time, only eyed Lance where he sat against the head board.
Shiro's expression didn't budge from malevolent allowing as he glared at the acolyte. And in answer, Lance flattened his back against the headboard a bit more. That—he defiantly didn’t want anyone touching down there.
Lance was a prince. No one was allowed to touch him without his permission. No one had ever even tried if his memory served. To a certain measure, Shiro hadn't even tried.
But if there was one category of people that could feel they still had the right, it would be a man thinking he was the hand-piece of the gods.
That gaze thankfully didn't last long before the acolyte turned, speaking to Shiro again. "Though the primary glands are the most important, these base secondary are possibly the most sensitive. When stimulated, you can encourage your Omega into arousal, and deep stimulation will allow the production of lubricant."
"And an Alpha?" Lance wasn't sure exactly what he was thinking cutting in, but he fluttered his eyes innocently as he pressed. "Please educate me on an Alpha's physiology as well."
The acolyte looked from Lance and back to Shiro. Shiro's expression, if possible ,plunged even more stone cold and his arms crossed. Lance was starting to really love when he did that. Between biceps as big as Lance’s thighs and a chest tight enough Lance might be able to play his abs like drums, it had this sort of puffing effect, making Shiro look even thicker and more muscular than before.
"Most Alpha physiology is much less complex, it wouldn't be very insightful--" the acolyte tone was already dismissive.
"Your Prince asked for an explanation." Shiro growled.
Not surprising the pudgy acolyte didn't step forward, and offer a "demonstration" on Shiro. Instead he looked uncomfortable before he gave a bit more awkward gesture to Shiro's neck.
"An Alpha also, has three sets of glands. His primary's lay just under his jaw line."
"What do they do?" Lance didn't bat an eyelash as he leaned forward elbowing a pillow under his arms as he slumped over it, lazing across the bed.
"They are major production sites of testerone. Your Alpha is no doubt very large and strong because of his healthy primary glands."
That was a wonderful bullshit answer. "Yes, but what happens when I touch them?" Lance emphasized.
The acolyte pursed his lips uncomfortably but answered. "The Alpha will respond—his focus will narrow to that of the closest Omega, or in your case your highness if you are touching him, he will focus on you."
Lance nodded like it was new information before going on. "And the others?"
The acolyte cleared his throat before he spoke. "His secondary will be at the base of his skull. When touched as well, these glands will calm an Alpha, specifically during times of spiked aggression or agitation." He gestured down to Shiro's legs. This time he was speaking much faster. "And the final secondary glands will be on the inside of an Alpha's thighs. They promote arousal, and produce knotting when stimulated."
Oh goodie, so Shiro had sparkly buttons just like Lance!
At this point the elderly acolyte chimed in. "Your highness, we must also inform you about your bond mark."
Lance did actually perk at this. Alpha and Omega physiology was common enough knowledge, but life bond marks-- that was something Lance knew very little about.
"Go on," Lance said.
Next to him, Shiro stiffened. He glanced back at Lance, but didn't comment.
"It is a very specific reason that Shiro had to rupture one of your primary glands." The elder acolyte said carefully. "A fully ruptured gland will grow back, don't worry, but your focus," the elder pointed to Shiro. "Will now forever more be on him. No other Alpha will hold your attention like him again. You may not even feel the effects of others giving you an Alpha Command. And further more the gland once grown back will be more sensitive than before, be prepared, if Shiro touches it after the mark has matured you will become rather enamored with him quite quickly, as well as a possibility of other physical responses."
It was actually a bit comforting, there was no way now he would be subjugated to another Alpha, he'd never feel compelled to do something he didn’t want to from another Alpha. Just Shiro. And although a bit bossy—Shiro seemed as a whole quite benevolent. He could live with that.
"Now corresponding, " the elder pointed his gaze towards Shiro, "his mark will have a similar effect on you."
Shiro for once tipped his head. The glare for the first time leaving as he raised an eyebrow. "His mark will have a physiological reaction from me?"
"Absolutely!" The elder nodded and pointed at Shiro’s puffed up chest. "You're the one that gave it to him. You're the one that broke that gland, and trust me your hormones will never let you forget it. That mark will be unique and attuned to you. You'll be able to pick it out from across a battlefield if need be. And you're possibly more susceptible then he is. Every time you see it you'll have a physiological reaction. You're an Alpha, you claim, you protect. Well you've already claimed him so now you're going to be obsessed with protecting him."
Lance quirked his head up to see if he could catch Shiro's eye. His lips were drawn in a tight line and his expression unreadable. He could have been a statue if Lance didn't know better.
"Now to the topic of an heir." The elder started.
They both stiffened and Shiro was very quickly standing.
"That's enough for today."
Lance finally breathed as Shiro's voice firmly stopped the elder acolyte. He looked away, giving Lance the briefest of glances before he stepped forward, giving a clear cue it was time for them to go.
"We won't need to produce an heir for quite sometime," Shiro stated. "And I'm sure we both get the jest of it." He gestured to the door, again with that finality that always made others do as he asked. "If we have questions we will come to the temple."
It was just an inkling, but Lance very much doubted they would have any questions.
The elder stared at Shiro for just a moment before standing and complying with a small bow good bye. The pudgy acolyte, on the other hand, looked taken back.
When he didn't move after a breath or two, Shiro fixed his stoic gaze on him.
"If you would, your Prince is tired after all." Shiro concluded. "He needs rest."
It ended any further protests and with in a few minutes the acolytes were gone, leaving Shiro and Lance alone again in their quarters.
For just a second, Lance considered not saying anything, but that part of him never won out and he opened his mouth anyway, "I'm sorry if I made you uncomfortable."
Shiro glanced back over his shoulder at Lance as if he hadn't expected the apology. He gave Lance one of those gentle smiles in answer first.
"You didn't. Don't worry about it."
There was silence then, a silence Lance wasn't sure if he should break or not. Shiro was still looking at him. His dark eyes still the same expressionless shade.
Before Lance could think of anything else to say, Shiro took a step forward and pulled the sheet up over Lances shoulder.
"Try to rest some more." Shiro said. "The mark will need it to fully mature."
In the end, Lance figured it was best just to give in and he turned into the covers, trying to get comfortable again.
Shiro didn’t return to their rooms often. Not that it was surprising. Lance could definitely sympathize. It was awkward being in the room with a soul mate you’ve barely even had a conversation with before. Let alone one that every time he tried to get out of bed a servant was pushing him back in.
Everything about Shiro was brisk and purposeful. He moved mostly quietly, keeping Lance asleep for most of the time.
But there was one other rare form—Unless Shiro was magic at making the bed every morning, he had yet to sleep next to Lance.
Lance wasn’t sure if that frightened him more or less than it relieved him.
“Sire,” Coran had tisked the third night in the room.
He’d pulled off the bed sheets. The dark grey bedsheets that would have shown clear evidence.
Lance blushed but didn’t move to explain himself.
Shiro hadn’t pushed him, and Lance hadn’t offered. It was as simple as that.
Everything was ceremony. Lance just didn't realize that fully until he was the one on the receiving end of it all.
His father was there though, which smiling over at the very old King gave Lance a small measure of confidence. His sister was too of course. They were in the sitting room of the Black Paladin quarters. Lance sat on the main couch, with Shiro next to him.
Across from him, on the facing couch was Lance’s sister. King Alfor had been guided to one of the plush armchairs. Coran was at his side still, attuned to his father, and still listening for any further instruction. There were other courtiers in the room. He didn't recognize most. There was a face he could pick out the best and in the back of the room. Hunk looked over the shoulders of most, down to Lance. As always, he smiled encouragingly to Lance.
Lance was provided a mirror for the first time on the coffee table. It was intricately carved with embellished flowers.
"We should get on with it, your highness," an acolyte whispered over the back of the couch to Lance.
With a hesitant nod, he leaned forward. The mirror was on an equally intricate stand, though when Lance reached out and tipped it so he could see his face, it moved easily enough. He positioned it so that the mirror was tipped so that the bandage at his neck was the focus before sitting forward a bit.
It was just like in the throne room again. Lance glanced around the small crowd present. Did they really need to all be here? Lance was just removing a bandage. It wasn't going to be a surprise to anyone what was under it either. Especially since Shiro, Lance had only just a few moments ago found out, had throw all disregard to the rules and had been periodically peeling the bandage away to make sure Lance was healing well. Apparently this was supposed to be the first time the bandage was removed and seen by all. No wonder, Shiro had always waited till he and Lance were isolated.
Trying to focus back on his task, Lance trained his eyes on the image in the mirror. It would be his first time catching a glimpse of the mark. He felt—he tried to breath evenly. There was no reason to be nervous about it after all.
Distantly his first real conversation with Shiro rang in his head though.
What if it wasn't a fully matured mark? What if Lance had to go through that again? Would they do it here? He could feel Shiro's leg where it brushed against his own. Shiro had promised him during the bonding he’d never humiliate Lance like that again. But he’d also made it clear he would make sure the bond was whole. How would Lance know if it was enough? Shiro could just scoop him up into his arms and bare down on him before Lance even had a moment to process.
Would it hurt as bad the second time?
Shiro's voice was tempered as he leaned forward to Lance.
Lance blinked out of his own frantic thoughts. Right. He was still in the room with a couple dozen people all watching him. He looked to Shiro, hoping it would calm his jarring nerves to focus on just one person.
Shiro hesitantly reached forward. "Here let me help," he murmured.
Involuntarily, Lance shifted away. "No. I've got it."
That took Shiro back for a moment, but the micro expression passed quickly as he gave a nod. Instead, he let his hand rest along the back of the couch, relaxing back away from Lance.
Turning back to the mirror, Lance pursed his lips before tipping his head and with long carful fingers he started to peel away the bandage.
He almost jumped out of his skin when he felt something brush down his back. He stopped just for a second before realizing, it was Shiro's hand.
A second time, Shiro smoothed his hand down Lance’s spine, pressing just slightly as he pet down his back.
Lance almost sagged into the touch. Everything about this experience was so entirely new, and this had to be one of the better ones. Unlike before, this had the desired effect. Shiro was activating the glands lining Lances vertebrae and this time it was actually working. Lance almost hummed into the touch as Shiro repeated the action.
With a healthy dose of hormones now settling Lance’s veins, it was easier for him to gingerly pluck the pieces of medical tape away one at a time.
He gave a hiss, as he first tugged at the gauze. It was stuck and pulled at his skin unpleasantly.
Shiro was hunched forward again. "Let me," there was a finality to his voice this time.
Lance perked as he realized. His mate was eager for this. He was hovering around Lance because he wanted to see it.
Lance allowed Shiro, dropping his hands as he tipped his head towards Shiro. He angled it so he could still watch the reveal in the mirror though,
Lance hissed again as Shiro gave a firm tug.
"It's coming," Shiro assured. He was all laser focus as he pried it off with gentle but efficient tugs. One last, fast tug and it was almost entirely free for the first time.
And then, all too quickly, he pulled the bandage away.
The room all let out a general sound of pleased aggreance. Allura across from Lance clasped her hands together as she exclaimed, "oh Lance!" And broke into a smile.
The mark was there. It lined just under Lance’s jaw.
Shiro had been wrong though, it wasn't silver.
It was pearl.
Quite possibly the one person most obsessed with the mark, was Shiro.
After the bandage had been removed, it was of course cause for celebration. Drinks were being served and several plates of food replaced the lone mirror on the coffee table.
At that moment, Lance stood just to the side of the room. He had been meaning to go join his sister on the couch again, a tall glass of something smooth and crystalline white was in his hand.
That was until he'd felt an arm wind around his waist. At the feel of the cold metal, Lance knew immediately who it was, and instead of protesting he allowed Shiro to step closer.
He leaned in, his other hand was at Lance’s face, tipping Lance’s chin.
He was staring at the mark,
Lance blushed, unsure of what to say. It was there. Fully formed and branding Lance forever more as Shiro's.
The comment was murmured so low, Lance barely caught it.
"It fits you." Shiro went on. He released Lance’s chin to ghost a finger over the mark. "I hadn't realized how becoming it would look on you.”
If Lance was blushing before, he was all a terrible flutter now. He had no idea what to say to it and instead just took a sip from his drink.
The action pulled him a bit away from Shiro but not enough that as Lance put the glass down, letting it rest on a small side table near by, he could lean back into Shiro’s touch. It was startling how much he liked it. Lance wasn’t sure he could manage to meet Shiro’s eyes. Not in a million years had he expected this to spark intimacy from this stoic mate.
“It’s different from what I thought.” Shiro said then.
Lance tipped his head to look up at him. “Is it?” Lance brought his hand up to the pearly mark just under his jaw line.
“No,” Shiro's rushed answer was as he quickly brushed Lances hand with his own, bringing it away gently. “In a good way.” He seemed to be rambling. His usual so well thought out comments falling flat. “I just didn’t—I didn’t expect to like it.” His brow was creased, like he was agitated.
Caught in a weird limbo of guilt he wasn’t quite sure he should feel and a sense of camaraderie for the first time. It seemed at least that the bond and all of its consequences were not just affecting Lance in ways he hadn’t expected.
“I get it.” Lance tried to explain him self. He really did after all. He expected Shiro to barely look at him after the life bonding. He had barely even expected to look Shiro’s way.
When Shiro lifted his eyes Lance couldn’t help but smile.
“This is kind of really new for me too.” Lance quipped. “I mean not to brag, but we all knew I was gonna snag a catch,” His breath caught as he bit his lip, looking away. “I just didn’t expect—you.”
Shiro gave a more amused smile at this. The amber liquid in his own drink was untouched still as he reached around and set the drink down on the side table Lance had used as well.
“I’m not sure I ever planned on getting a prince.” Shiro murmured low as he leaned in to set his drink down. It was in that low rumbly voice that played down Lance’s spine so well and spoken so close to him was a nice touch.
Lance’s gaze flicked up to find Shiro was already watching him.
They were so close. Lance could smell the spice of Shiro’s scent. He could feel his breathe. He was so—
Like drifting through a spell, Lance couldn’t help but lean into his mate, tipping his head.
Shiro’s dark grey eyes dusted back down to Lance’s mark. His fingers brushed up over the mark again, caressing it.
Was it really that fascinating to an Alpha? Was this a turn on for him? Lance felt the rush of his own want at that thought. He wanted Shiro to be turned on by him.
The questions crashed through him as Shiro’s fingers slide from Lances skin in a caress. His gaze shifted just slightly and they were looking at each other.
Lance knew this feeling. It was that anticipation of a kiss. It was the rush of feeling like the tension would break any moment and Shiro would dive in and connect them.
Shiro was looking at him like he might. Did Lance want that? They hadn’t shared any intimacy at that point. Lance was honestly relieved about it. He wasn’t sure with all the change in his life if he could deal with a handsy Alpha on top of it all.
Lance tipped his head a bit, swallowing as he opened his mouth, making it clear he was open to it and—
Shiro glanced away. His arm around Lance’s waist loosened but stayed as Shiro’s gaze drifted out around them.
Lance looked away as well. Resigned to the missed moment as he took another sip from his drink.
In the small corner of the room it was like they were alone for just the brief moment and the expression that crossed Shiro’s face suggested that he wasn’t pleased at the prospect of returning to their guests.
With a bit more bravery then he was used to, Lance leaned in closer to Shiro. “They’ll be gone soon.” he assured. “If nothing else, my father will grow tired and once he’s gone most of the courtiers will leave.”
Shiro glanced at him. “How are you so sure?” a smile was quirking though. Not like his usual gentle encouraging smile, a more secretive one, One Lance immediately knew he preferred.
“Well,” Lance launched into it, picking up his drink again. “I know as a matter of fact, most of these people don’t like me, they haven’t even spoke to me. Now that may be different in your case, but mine I know the only reason they’re here is because I’m moderately important to my father.”
“Moderately important?” Shiro seemed to check, still amused.
“Well as lovely and fascinating as I am, I’m still his goofy second child.” Lance explained with a chuckle. “I may have been bumped a bit more on the importance scale since—“ He gestured between the two of them. “Well, the ya know.”
“We life bonded.” Shiro filled in for him, completely unashamed of saying it.
“Yeah, that.” Lance brushed over it. “‘Cause you see now, my opinion has possible sway.” Lance smiled as he gave a wink for extra measure.
Shiro raised his brow at that. It took a second but the meaning seeped in to him. “You mean over me?”
Lance gave a gingerly nod. “Naturally.”
“I may have to contest that.”
“Well in my defense,” Lance gave a sly smile. “You fretted for ten minutes over me taking off a bandaid.” Lance took another drink, finding himself talking much easier with Shiro the more alcohol he consumed. “The removal of which, I might point out, just had you calling me very pretty.” He dropped a look at Shiro again.
Shiro’s gaze was unreadable but he still had the slight smile. “I’ll give that to you, I’d say you’re a minor influential force on me.”
“Minor?” Lance’s hand went to his chest in mock horror. “Darling, I’ve just gotten started.”
A real full blown smile blossomed on Shiro’s face this time. He slid a hand over Lances arm possessively on his way to reaching for his drink again, taking a sip, before he changed the subject.
“But you were still a Paladin before.” Shiro pointed out, setting his drink back down. “I can’t believe you were that ignored.”
“Left leg,” Lance clarified. And he rolled his eyes. “I’m in the royal family it was obvious that I’d be a paladin. I mean all of us are—“ He stopped realizing he’d gabbed his way into more dangerous territory.
When Lance stopped, Shiro glanced up at him. His brow was raised for just a moment. They both knew. Shiro had snatched what had meant to be Allura’s right out from under their noses.
Lance stalled, unsure of how to make the situation dissipate.
Shiro didn't say anything either, He stood a bit straighter though, a bit prouder. Maybe ready to defend his position.
Neither of them said anything though. Which Lance noted was odd. Shiro it seemed was the continual peace maker. It was distressing that he wasn’t saying anything. Or maybe he wanted Lance to say something… Lance wasn’t sure what to say. Caught between his new mate and his sister.
Abruptly, across the room, King Alfor stood. “Well, I will be retiring for the evening.”
Lance blinked, snatching at the opportunity. He slipped from Shiro’s metal arm, brushing his shoulder gently with his hand as he went. “Excuse me, I want to go bid my father good night before he leaves.”
Shiro let him go easily enough. “Of course.” He murmured to Lance respectfully.
Lance gave him one last lingering look before he slid through the crowd to his father.
Thankfully he was met with a characteristic smile and a hug as Lance approached.
As Lance tightened his arms around his father, despite the man’s imposing size Lance felt suddenly—how fragile he was. It was a strange feeling. He’d never thought of his father as anything but a monument of a man.
He was starting to understand so desperately what this all meant, what it was all for and he—he was doing this for his family, was reaffirmed with every pound of blood through Lance’s veins.
It wasn’t until everyone else had left that Lance finally took a moment to himself. In their sitting room was a large mirror, set over a side table Lance paused as he passed to look at his new mark.
It felt like it was almost his new identity.
He wasn’t just Lance anymore. He was the //life bond mate of the Black Paladin. Maybe because it was a title that was formerly his fathers but the gravity of it felt so much more real than just Second Prince or Blue Paladin—Left Leg as he had joked that evening.
He was connected to someone now.
In his soft, loose night shirt, ready to crawl into another empty bed, He tipped his head up to look at the mark.
It was different this time, looking at it all on his own, no chance of another person interrupting him.
It looked different in the low light of the room.
It as pearly in color, as had been thoroughly pointed out. The acolytes had made it clear that it was a very unique presentation, even for a royal family member.
It spread across the place his gland used to be. It looked like a lion had clamped his mouth and tore the gland away, leaving the pearly scar in it's place. Lance knew that wasn’t the case. The glands was still there. He frowned at his reflection as he considered it. The relief that Shiro had shown a clear fondness for it was still settling in him.
He could see Shiro slip in through the door from the mirror reflection, but it still startled Lance when the man looked his way.
Shiro didn't look away either, closing the door behind him, he went straight to Lance standing at the mirror.
Their eyes connected in the reflection as Shiro hovered just at the edges of Lance. He was closer than anyone else would have ever dared, but he wasn't touching Lance.
"Shouldn't you be in bed?" Shiro's voice was smooth, content.
Lance smoothed his hand over the mark one more time, before he stood properly. "I'm not fragile." His nose wrinkled.
Shiro's expression didn't change as he considered Lance still looking at him through the mirror.
"You don’t need to keep treating me like I'm porcelain." Lance went on. "I've completely healed. I was never that incapacitated to begin with."
Shiro moved a fraction closer, his breath now moving over Lance’s neck with every exhale. "I just thought you were tired, Lance."
Lance stiffened at that. It was—usually Shiro didn't address him so—he’d never heard his name before from Shiro's lips like that. The casual ness was something reserved for Lance’s family alone.
With the rush to his face, Lance looked down. "I didn't mean..." Lance trailed off.
"It's alright," Shiro's voice for once grated into a gruffer tone. "I realize, you're getting tired of being treated like you're bed ridden."
How in the world—? Lance let out a sigh as he peeked up at the mirror again, catching a glimpse of Shiro still standing so close to him. He was sure a surprisingly kind person.
"I know it hadn't mostly come from you," Lance explained.
Shiro gave a nod. "But I've contributed." It was a statement, one accompanied with a glance at Lance’s neck. "For which, I apologize. I'll try not to—be as over baring in the future."
Lance creased his brow. It was just so odd. "You actually want this to work, don't you." Lance concluded.
The stoic expression still didn't leave Shiro's face.
After a moments pause, Lance looked away from the mirror. His thoughts were whirling again. Finding sleep would be nearly impossible. But if Shiro wanted to go to bed....
"Are you coming to bed?"
Shiro shook his head. "Not yet."
He turned away from Lance then, his hand brushed past Lance’s back as he continued back to the bedroom.
He continued to speak as he went. "I came to check on you." When he reemerged, he was a pulling a cloak around his shoulders. "And to find something warmer." He fastened it tightly at his shoulder. If possible it made him look even more broad then before. "As you've stated, you're doing just fine, so seems my mission is complete.”
Lance pivoted, leaning back against the narrow table as he looked at his mate. "Are you going out?"
The smile Shiro gave was genuine. "Not for any sort of fun." He stepped forward towards Lance. "I have some errands to run."
"But it's so late," Lance didn't need to glance at the clock to know it was well past regular meeting hours.
"I'll be back soon enough." Shiro spoke as he passed Lance on his way to the door. "Get some sleep,"
Lance huffed. "What did I just say?" He cocked a hand on his tipped hip as he smirked at Shiro.
"Doesn't stop me from worrying." Shiro gave one last smile before he slipped out of the room and slid the door closed behind him.
Lance huffed again, this time his brow dropping grumpily. He turned back to what was quickly becoming just his bed and scrambled to crawl over the covers to get to the head.
He didn't mean to. But he couldn't help it. He was counting.
It probably wasn't one of his classiest acts, but he couldn't help it. According to his calculations, they had been together over two weeks. And here he was lying in their ginormous bed all alone.
It was a very big bed, and despite Shiro's unusually large size, Lance was confident that it would fit the two of them just fine. And he should know! Because his bed before, the one that he had picked out and plastered in bright blue had been a big bed. He was a Prince after all, he was allowed to have a big bed. But this bed—it was way bigger! Lance could tell, cause he'd spent the first few days confided to it and now he was still even laying in it.
He lay on the left side of the bed even, leaving plenty of space on the other side for Shiro to slip in, but he never did.
Lance had thought, maybe he was waiting for him to get his strength back. Well that had happened in the first five days. Okay, well maybe Shiro was just giving him space, plenty of space. He guessed that could account for another few days.
But what was the excuse now?
They'd had the mark ceremony! Lance could still feel Shiro's fingers skirting across his neck. He'd definitely been attracted to Lance, he'd said as much.
So why was Lance still lying in bed all alone?
He glanced at the clock next to the bed, their GINORMOUS bed!
It was now close to an hour since Lance had heard the quiet click of Shiro slipping back through this their door. That was long enough, right?
Lance swallowed. He knew what he wanted to do--
Well, he was never going to get anywhere just thinking about it. He pulled the covers off and slide to the edge of the bed. His bare feet touched down on their hardwood floor soundlessly before Lance stood.
His foot pats on the floor were as quiet as he could make them as he snuck out to the sitting room.
He stopped at the doorway.
He'd managed to find Shiro.
Lance scrunched his nose. He highly doubted such a small couch was comfortable for someone of Shiro's size.
He seemed asleep though. ...in his boots. Lance sneered at that. Shiro was still dressed all the way down to his boots. And tucked under his head was one of those stodgy, stiff cushion roll things. Lance would have to inform Shiro at an opportune time, those things were for decoration. It had to all be so horrible uncomfortable.
And what a waste! With in fifteen steps was half a dozen feather down pillows and the biggest, possibly softest bed Lance had ever sunken into.
Making up his mind, Lance marched back into the bedroom. He pulled one of those down pillows from the bed, testing it for the right amount of—//cushiness.
Then tucking it under his arm, Lance marched back into their sitting room. Circling around the couch, Lance paused, just in case Shiro had woken. After making sure he was still in dreamland, Lance pulled out the pillow—
And hurled it at Shiro's head.
The Black Paladin woke with a whoosh of breath as the pillow, 'booffed!' across his face. Scrambling up, he ripped the pillow away fiercely, his eyes circled the room, his metal hand already out and held oddly, not like he was reaching for a weapon so much as it was one...
"Lance?" Shiro's voice was all gravely from sleep still. He blinked several times in the low light at Lance. “What—?"
Lance set his jaw and pointed at Shiro with an accusatory finger. "You lied to me."
Still trying to catch his breath, Shiro was actually taken back at that. "Huh?" He looked surprisingly still sleepy and groggy.
"You said you'd be back!"
Shiro looked around the room. "I am."
"This," Lance gestured around him. "Is not back to ////me." He pointed to himself.
There was a beat of silence.
"This is our bedroom." Shiro pointed out. He even lifted the pillow for emphasis.
"No." Lance said crossing his arms. He jabbed a finger at the massive bed, "that is our bedroom." Another gesture of his hand. "This is our sitting room. Where we sit, and entertain, and have lovely conversations about the weather and take tea time, and possibly have arguments when one mate lies to the other mate."
"I came back." Shiro very firmly tried to defend himself.
"Noooo!" Lance had none of it. "You came to our sitting room, I was not in our sitting room, I have been in our bedroom. Where you haven't been." Lance glared down at Shiro.
It seemed he was at a loss for words for several seconds. Blinking again, his mind clearly processing before he tried again.
"Right." Shiro started. "I'm sorry."
"And?" Lance pressed.
"And I—“ Shiro watched Lance carefully. He shook his head just slightly, clearly not catching on.
Lance snatched the pillow back up and booffed it back over Shiro's head again. "And you're coming to bed."
Lance tucked the pillow back under his arm before he was at the foot of the couch. He grabbed at one of Shiro's boots and with a lot more effort then he anticipated he’d need, he mangled to drop the boot on the floor a second later. The second black leather boot came off a moment later and Lance was glaring at Shiro the whole way up off the couch.
"Alright, alright" Shiro held up his hands in surrender. "I'm coming to bed." He trudged in through the door way, and once there he did actually start to remove his uniform.
Satisfied, Lance turned around, pulling their bedroom’s rolling door closed. But more over, it was an opportunity to hide the deliciously smug smile gracing his lips.
There was nothing about it that took Lance by surprise.
But there was a lot of small things that he found fascinating information. Shiro had pulled on soft sleep pants, but no shirt. As he'd laid down in bed, he'd bid Lance a gracious, "good night." Lance could practically hear the relief in his voice, as Shiro had relaxed back into the bed, his head on a real pillow.
Lance imagined it was probably a lot like resting back into a cloud, especially if Shiro had been using that tiny love-seat as his bed this whole time.
In a way, Lance could see how it was sweet. Shiro hadn't wanted to invade in his young prince’s space. Then Lance thought about that roll throw pillow Shiro had uncomfortably crammed under his head and concluded Shiro—had been stupid.
It was almost instantaneous that Shiro slipped back into sleep, his breath evening and his chest rising and falling in a rhythm Lance very much wanted to memorize.
He slept on his back.
That was good for Lance who slept on his side, and at this moment was unabashedly ogling over his Black Paladin.
A smile slipped onto his face as Lance cuddled into his pillow, pulling the covers up to his chin. He was maybe six inches from Shiro. It was a comfortable distance though.
Lance huddled just a bit closer, closing the gap between them an inch or two more. He wouldn't be him after all unless he pushed the limits.