Two Shadows Went 3
Updated: Apr 12, 2019
The morning was sunny and bright and so effortlessly beautiful, the elk under Lance was a beautiful crisp white and pranced as it carried him down the gravel trail. He was in the Paladins precession. His elk adorned was in brilliant blues. Next to him on a more bulky chestnut Elk was Hunk.
They were seated after green and red, and far behind at the front of the precession, on a tall, thickly muscled black elk, Shiro sat straight backed and regally, leading the spring day precession from the temples and down through the meadows where the real fun would take place.
Already Lance had sat through the grueling ritual at the temple waiting for this moment. Up ahead his father and Sister and the whole host of courtiers would already be in mid celebration. And with the arrival of the Paladins—the games would finally begin! Every thing from foot races to sword matches would take place and Lance was so excited he stood up in his stirrups to see if he could see the picnic tents yet.
"Dude," Hunk next to him huffed. "We are like, still a mile away."
Lance smirked. “Well, maybe I have super duper good vision!"
He didn't, he couldn't see a thing up ahead. He still stretched in his saddle again just to prove his stubbornness.
"Right, or you're just ogling Shiro again." Hunk sighed.
Lance gasped. "I do not openly ogle Shiro!" In their bedroom on the other hand... But well that was Lance’s now Goddess given right!
Hunk smiled at that and cleanly combated. "Yeah, you do!"
Lance gave a grand gesture as he swept his gaze pointedly forward. "Oh Hunk, my dear unfortunate unmated friend! You just don't understand what it's like to have a perfect mate!"
Hunk snorted rather audibly. “Yeah, keep the grossness down a touch, won't ya!"
"I am trying to lecture you," Lance was already starting to laugh though.
Hunk was still smiling away as he adjusted in his saddle. “Yeah, I'm still not convinced.”
"I'm in mated bliss!" Lance persisted.
"Yesterday you also came to me complaining that Shiro doesn't even talk to you all that much. And that he wears his boots around your bedroom all the time. ”
Lance did have to concede to that. "We're still in the get to know you stage." He paused. “And what sort of heathen has their boots on inside your bedroom! He’s gonna get it all dirty!”
The elk they rode, like everything, were purely ceremonial. It was what the Paladins of old had rode into battle on! Though by now, that was literally THOUSANDS of years ago. Lance still leaned forward and scratched behind his white elk’s ear. It was the softest, sweetest thing! He almost considered asking Shiro if he could bring his home...
"Lance," Hunk said, though this time his voice was a lot more hushed. They had fallen a bit behind and were mostly all alone at that point. Their elks walking at a slower pace than the others. It was the first time in a very long time Lance had just been with his best friend. "I'm sure you're aware of this, but I don't think there should be a ' still getting to know them' stage for a life-bond mate."
Lance didn't look away from his elk. He wasn't exactly surprised. Hunk was always the voice of sanity, the wise best friend with the usually cautious, but apt advice.
“Life bond mates—should be a slow decision.” Hunk said in an equally sure and yet unsure tone. “You know not like an, ‘oh I just met him a few days ago’ kind of thing. It’s something you should decide together to go through with, and have thought about—like a lot!”
Lance didn’t say anything. Hunk wouldn’t understand. He was plucked from his family and friends and a small city he’d grown up in when Yellow chose him. He hadn’t lived the life Lance had behind the palace gates.
“Hey, are we going to talk about it now?" Hunk pressed. He leaned in on his saddle a bit closer to Lance.
Lance finally looked up to see his friend looking at him very intently. The small yellow Altean markings under Hunks eyes were drooped even as he looked at Lance with concern.
"You know I couldn't have said no," Lance dropped his voice another few notches. He pulled on a smile too though as he launched back into bragging. "Besides, you've seen Shiro, it's not like I was getting a horrible bargain."
Hunks expression didn’t waver. “What happened—you can see it wasn’t right, can’t you?” He pursed his lips. “Life-bonds aren’t supposed to be out in the open like that. It’s supposed to you know—happen while your intimate. You screamed, Lance! That is not what a life-bonding is supposed to be like at all!”
Lance tried not to falter in his expression. “We’ve always done things like this. I know you wouldn’t understand but it has to be done like this. It has to be clear there’s a connection.”
“That is what a mark is for!” Hunk huffed. He shook his head sadly the next second. “There’s no reason you had to go through that much pain. It’s supposed to be a bond formed slowly over time that’s just cemented with the final bonding.”
No, that’s not what had happened to Lance. It was fast, and burned hot. Like Lightening searing through him, Lance shivered as he remembered.
Hunk sighed. "You never even really talked to him before now. Yeah, he was a captain in the royal star forces, but you never met him. He was chosen to be the Black Paladin less than a week before your bonding was announced!”
Yeah. Lance had mentioned that in his own defense as well. He gave a shrug. "He's kind of a quiet guy anyway."
This time a sneer was met from Hunk. "I'm not so sure quiet is a good fit for you." He shook his head now more vehemently. "This stinks, Lance. He’s—he's so serious all the time! That's not you."
Lance looked away.
Hunks voiced tipped to a whisper, just barely audible. "And he's a freaking Alpha! You've never been attracted to Alpha's! You were chasing Omega skirts since you were twelve!"
This time Lance couldn't mange a smile as he looked up at his friend. The reins in his hands were held a bit tighter.
"What do you want me to say?" Lance asked, his own voice still hushed.
Hunk seemed a bit taken back by that and he gave a deep frown.
"You know why I did it." Lance murmured.
"Because Allura told you to." Hunk filled in. "Yeah, the whole palace knows about that. They all talk about it you know. Red up there,” Hunk tipped his chin to Iso the red paladin up ahead of them, “actually had the balls to say you wouldn't go through with it."
Lance just looked down at the reins in his hands. He wasn't popular in the castle. He was very well aware of the fact. He wasn't charismatic or beautiful. He wasn’t regal or always pristine. His hair was the dark deep brown of his mothers, not the shimmering starlit silver of the rest of his families. He goofed things up too much and he managed to cause trouble too much.
It just stung a little more coming from his best friend.
"You know, I had to." Lance mumbled.
Hunk was frowning so deep his lip was trembling. “She gave you away, Lance!"
Peeking up, Lance knew he was frowning too. "She's my sister."
"And she bargained you," Hunk hissed. "For a few measly brownie points to consolidate her claim."
"It had to be done."
"Did it?" Hunk asked, this time looking Lance straight in the eye.
Lance pulled on the reins of his elk, slowing her down. Hunk had done the same. Up ahead the party was already reaching the grand picnic tents. Their elks both meandered their way in a turtle slow pace through the trees.
"Yes," Lance said firmly. "It did." He spared a glance ahead.
Shiro had kicked his elk into a run, instead of slowing her like Hunk and Lance. He was galloping into the camp, and was met with cheers and exclamations as he pulled the animal to a skidded halt. He was smiling as he dismounted. There were already people waiting for him.
"Allura has to be on the throne." Lance affirmed.
"Who said she won't be?" Hunk had his hands up in the air in an exasperated shrug. "Who fucking thinks that she isn't going to end up Queen? She is the proclaimed heir! She has the blood line! There isn’t any reason