Updated: Apr 13, 2019
Lance was being stalked. …and he wasn’t happy about it.
Keith reached so terribly callously and snatched up another scone from across the table. He chewed with his mouth open. His boots were always muddy. His default face was that stubborn unprovoked hatred for the world and everything in it. He had a terrible hair style, for which he seemed to not even worry about! It was always a fucking mess too, no matter what he did or where he was! He had it in this little messy frizzy bun too just the other night at court. Lance was appalled and tried to make it clear he did not know the possibly part wolf boy that kept tracking him freaking down every twenty-seconds!
Even now, Lance thought. He was sitting out on the garden terrace, Lance had requested breakfast out there, not wanting to have to see the gloomy looks of every one that would be in the grand hall.
Shiro had even come, it was all going to be perfect! Lance had been served a delicious bowl of moon blossom buns and lion fruit and some sour dough scones. And the gardens were so lovely and Shiro had been smiling at him. They had had the best nights sleep cuddled together. Lance was still feeling high from the bravery.
He’d come to breakfast, on the terrace, in the gardens, with Shiro, and moon buns—and then Keith had showed up.
Okay minor stumbling block, till Shiro had stood up, telling Lance he should have a good day and kissing him before— he was gone before Lance could even reach for him.
Now he was left alone at breakfast—with the heathen!
“Hey, so I have a question.”
“Why are you here?” Lance beat him to the punch.
Keith gripped the butterknife in his—yup, those looked like fingerless gloves— and pointed it at Lance. “I have already answered that question.”
“I don’t remember that,” Lance shot back, crossing his arms over his chest.
“Well, maybe someone should start taking notes,” Keith rolled his eyes. “Back to my question.”
Lance didn’t look up from his breakfast. Keith’s questions were never a good thing. The last time—Lance still shivered at the creepy feeling of last time. It had in no way made him feel closer to the werewolf sitting across from him.
“So your friend Hunk,”
“That would be Paladin Hunk,” Lance did not say that in a sing song voice! No, not at all. Because rubbing a higher rank into Keith’s face was not fun at all!
Keith actually rolled his eyes this time before blinking he tried again. “Right, Paladin Hunk.”
“Knowing your place in life is important.” Lance said to Keith in a mockingly caring voice.
Keith smirked at that. “Right.” He finally finished buttering his scone. “But about him—like what is he?”
Lance narrowed his gaze. “I’m not sure I follow.” He shrugged. “Hunk is Altean. He’s the Yellow Paladin of Voltron.” That was all pretty obvious things. “He’s kind of a big bundle of love and a cook and—“
“No,” Keith dead panned, “I mean I can’t really smell him. Like I caught a whiff of Alpha on him but like I couldn’t tell if that was his or…” Keith trailed off his brow lowering in confusion.
Lance’s face shot white as he looked around them nervously. “What—“ he shook his head. ”How can you—?”
Keith gave a nonchalant shrug. “You know most people it’s pretty easy to tell. For instance, Shiro walks in the room and you’re hit with Alpha smell so god damn hard you almost black out, or you, you have one of the most honey sweet Omega scents I have ever caught a whiff of. It’s like this minty honey too, it’s really different—“
Lance was scrambling around the table and had his hands on Keith's mouth to stop him before he could think of anything else to do.
A flash expression of anger crossed Keith's face before he was fighting Lance off. “Don’t do that!”
“Then don’t try talking about inappropriate things!” Lance hollered back.
Keith cocked his head and displayed his hands in a gesture of, ‘excuse me.’
Lance glanced around them. A couple of servants were giving the two a side look and a guard was snickering. Making a split decision Lance grabbed Keith’s—really ugly jacket—and pulled him away. Once they were back through the gardens and away from prying eyes and ears, Lance turned to Keith.
“I’m a Prince!”
Keith gave an exasperated huff. “Yes, you’ve made that really freaking clear!”
“No,” Lance pointed at the terrace back there. “I meant that,”
“I just asked you what Hunk was!” Keith said like it was such an easy thing.
Lance shook his head. “No. You just asked me about sex! In front of other people!”
Keith’s mouth dropped open. “I did not in anyway ask if you and Hunk fucked.”
Lance made an aggravated sound before gathering himself back together. “Look, his gender implies his sexuality!”
Keith blinked at that. “I’m sorry, what?”
“Not like,” Lance said. He was having trouble finding the right words. “Its just— it’s not talked about. Not here anyway. Talking about it is in effect pointing out someone’s role in sex—Prince’s can’t talk about sex!” Lance made the last part very clear.
“How the fuck do you guys ever figure anything out then?!” Keith shook his head like it was the most confusing concept in the world.
“You literally just told me I smell like a beehive!” Lance hissed. “It’s pretty easy to put two and two together sometimes.”
Keith was still blinking his way through processing the information. “That sounds horrible.”
Lance crossed his arms. “It’s refined.”
“It sounds confusing.”
“It’s an unseemly topic,” Lance countered. “Besides, why would I need to talk about it?”
“Well—“ Keith paused. “You’re an Omega. Don’t other people need to know about like heats and all that?”
Lance’s mouth dropped open. “Now you’re the one dropping into archaic opinions.”
Keith crossed his arms at that. “It’s a natural occurrence!”
“Oh and so I expect you think I’m some moaning puddle of slick on the floor when it pops up, huh?” Lance shot back. His jaw was set this time as he fisted his hands. “Look, an Omega wants sex when it happens— but it’s not like I’m an uncontrollable animal. I deal with it, like an adult.”
“So you’re on suppressants?” Keith asked as if that answered a question. “That must be why all the Omega’s here are so free to move around.”
“What?” Lance asked incredulous. “Why the hell would I need a suppressant? My hormones are perfectly fine at natural levels.”
“You just said heats are dealt with really easily here!” Keith was the one to sound aggravated this time.
“Yeah,” Lance gave a gesture as if it was not that hard of a concept. “But it’s not like I take extreme measures. It’s an inconvenience for a week or so, but I get through it, knowing all the sex thoughts I’m having are just that, instincts and thoughts, they don’t dictate my behavior.”
Keith blinked. “So what about the Alphas?”
“You mean like when an Alpha goes into rutt?”
“Yes—well no,” Keith thought about it before clarifying. “Well, one question at a time, I mean when you’re in heat, what about all the Alpha’s around you?”
Lance shrugged. “What about them?”
Keith looked appalled. “So you just flaunt your heat around for them?!”
“Why the hell would I flaunt that fact?!” Lance growled back. “It’s disgusting!”
“Oh, trust me to an Alpha, disgusting is not the word to describe it.” Keith crossed his arms again. “How are they expected to deal with that here?”
Lance’s mouth dropped open. “Are you—they’re still people, Keith!” He shook his head. “An Alpha is expected to deal with it like a thinking person with higher cognitive functions. Just because someone is an Alpha doesn’t mean that can jump some Omega in heat like a dog.”
That actually looked like it caught Keith off guard. He looked at Lance so strangely then, eyeing him up and down.
Lance wanted to ask about where Keith had such a notion about how an Omega was treated—but a part of him… he wasn’t sure he wanted to know.
“Where are you from, Keith?” the question just bubbled up.
Keith straightened. “Me and Shiro are from the same place. We’re the same race, Varrin.”
Varrins were Alteans, only inhabitants of the Altean system instead of Altea it self. They were the colonizers. Varr was the moon of Altea and out of the two, the only inhabitable moon.
The way Keith frowned at the question tugged at his deep red eye markings. It was the first time Lance had really looked at them as well. They were strange, such a vivd red he’d never seen besides just being two dots on either side with small slashes underneath. Lance's markings were traditional for the Altean royal family, nearly identical to his sisters and Fathers. And then Shiro's markings--they were two ticked markings a the peak of his cheekbone, like tiny wings, but also like Keith's they were deep in color not the luminescent neons of the royals.
Lance frowned. He’d only been to Varr once, but it wasn’t like what Keith was describing.
“Don’t do anything you’ve described to an Omega here.” Lance blurted again.
Keith blinked at him.
“I mean it, Keith.” Lance said. “It seems—it sounds like where ever you’re from—it has a completely different system than here. Omega’s here—they're not like that.”
Keith’s brow creased. “I’m not suggesting Omegas or Alphas are purely instinctual driven animals. I still seek consent from an Omega before.”
Lance nodded. “I know. But it’s different here. Second gender isn’t important here.”
Keith gave a sigh. “That just sounds like it makes life so much harder.”
Lance couldn’t agree with that. It made his life so much easier really.
“Like really you guys do that to an Alpha? You’d let him be around an Omega in heat and expect him to act like nothing is going on?”
Lance tipped his head. “Why would I expect anything different from them? Wanting something you can’t have isn’t the end of the world.”
“You make it sound like an Alpha following instincts is just petty!” Keith finally snarled.
“Well what would you call it?” Lance said. “It works both ways. When I’m in heat, I would love an Alpha around but i’m not going to do that to someone, that would //make me petty//.”
“You all are seriously repressed.” Keith huffed.
Lance shrugged. “I guess you could look at it that way.” He couldn’t help but point out. “But when an Omega has a heat here we don’t sentence them to a kennel.” He shook his head. “Personal responsibility for your actions isn’t petty.”
“Right,” Keith rolled his eyes. “But talking about any of it is so —unrefined!”
“I’m not saying we’re perfect,” Lance hissed.
“No,” Keith snarled back. “you just implied that you’re better than me.”
With a huff he was stalking off before Lance could do anything.
“Ouuugghhh,” Lance bemoaned. “That’s not what I meant…” Well if he was lucky he wouldn’t have a stalker any more.
“Paladin Shiro, “ One of the older council men. “You are aware, there are certain—traditions to picking a new Paladin of Voltron.”
The council halls were for once in use. The Paladins all sat at the curved table. Lance was normally seated at the very edge of the table, but one look from Shiro let him know he was going to be sitting next to him. Now at Shiro’s direct left Lance wasn’t sure he wanted to be there.
Especially since opposite to them sat the Altean High Council.
At the other end of the table was one empty seat.
Yarl had barely stuck around long enough for a ceremony of release, and now the Council was just sitting around looking at his empty chair.
“I realize,” Shiro’s voice was grating into a growl.
Lance could feel Shiro’s agitation. They’d already been in the room for over an hour talking with the council. After his talk with Keith, Lance couldn’t help but notice the scents in the room at that moment. Shiro’s was the most prominate but he would always be after the bonding, and he was not happy.
“But picking from a handful of candidates seems unwise when we have the option to open it up to the public.”
Iso sat at Shiro’s right and with his arms crossed he gave a huff. “Just because your own choosing was unconventional doesn’t mean we need to undo all this team has worked for.”
“I don’t think being open to try something new is particularly a bad thing.” Hunk spoke from where he sat next to Lance.
Hunks own choosing had been unconventional. The Yellow Lion had literally just shown up at his house, over night after the death of the old yellow paladin.
The only two in the room that had been chosen through conventional methods was Lance and Iso.
There was a thumbing purr of reassurance in Lance’s mind. He frowned deeper. He knew what Blue was trying to say. Even if it had been open to the public she still would have picked him.
But Lance had been in contact with the Blue Lion—gosh since he was just small. Even way before the Blue Paladin was dead, Lance had felt Blue’s presence. Lance’s father had always told Lance he quite possibly had the strongest connection with his lion that he had ever seen.
“The way we have always done things has always bore out to produce a strong and worthy Paladin.” Iso argued back. He was glaring at Hunk.
“Prince Lance,” One of the council men asked. “You’ve been rather withdrawn, what do you think? How should we in Your Highnesses opinion, go about choosing the next Green Paladin?”
Lance’s frown only deepened. That question was framed entirely the wrong way. They were trying to use Lance’s royal ties as a swaying point to their side.
Lance opened his mouth but blinking rapidly, he wasn’t sure what to say.
The traditional way of doing things had clearly worked, especially in Lance’s favor—But Lance’s eyes shifted to Shiro. He wouldn’t have found—if Black hadn’t busted through all of their rules and traditions Lance would have never met Shiro.
Shiro gave Lance a slight nod, as if to say, ‘It’s okay, say what ever you think. It wont hurt me.’
Lance couldn’t do that to his mate though so licking his lips nervously Lance said as he looked away at his hands. “I’m sure there’s some kind of compromise we can reach with this.”
Iso made a sound of dismissal.
But Lance still continued. “I don’t think letting the public have access to the lion is exactly a bad idea. Widening our pool of candidates can never be a bad thing,” he looked to Shiro. “Right?”
Shiro gave another nod, but this time the meaning was much less clear.
“We already have the five candidates ready.” A councilmen spoke. “If the green lion did not pick on its own there is no reason to think the most worthy is outside of our candidates. I assure you we compile a list of the most qualified.”
“Was Shiro on your list for Black?”
Startled, Lance realized it was Hunk that had said that.
“Was I ever on your list?” As always Hunk’s compassionate nature shone through but there was a punch to his words to accompany.
“We’re on the brink of war with the Galra!” Iso hissed. “We can’t leave this matter in the hands of the populous!”
“We would technically be leaving it in the hands of the divine.” Shiro’s brow moved in.
“What would be so wrong with having someone at random chosen?“ Hunk chimed in.
The Paladins of Voltron was for the first time Lance knew composed of at least half natural chosen and that was clearly begging a change. And Lance wasn’t sure how he felt about it. He’d always known the council to basically pick the next Paladins of Voltron, and thus far that had never steered them wrong. But—but the Black Lion had chosen someone unexpected and given Lance Shiro, The Yellow had given Lance his best friend… The new additions had only enhanced their team from Lance’s perspective.
“What if we widened the number of possible candidates?” Lance tried to mediate. He knew the Acolytes would never budge on a ceremonial choosing. This was still Altea after all. Everything was ceremony.
“And who would be vetting these candidates?” One council man asked.
“I would.” Shiro chimed in.
Blinking, Lance looked over at his mate. As if Shiro didn’t have enough to do with the King unable to serve and Altea in a chaotic state.
“I can make sure we bring those you deem worthy but also bring a new perspective to it, look out side the councils normal scope.” Shiro continued.
Hunk next to Lance gave a solid nod, clearly satisfied.
At least one of them was. Iso on Shiro’s right crossed his arms over his chest. His body language spoke enough that he wasn’t in favor. Though Lance could still smell the tinge in the air of an agitated Alpha.
“And how many candidates will we present?” A council man continued to push. “Will five more do? will twenty? It will make no difference if the Paladin chosen is that from the councils pool.”
Shiro’s chin raised just slightly.
Wishing Lance was closer to Shiro, he would have extended his hand out to him if he could have. he knew the narrowing of those eyes. He’d seen it in the arena, he’d seen it when Allura had entered the ring. ..
“We will just have to see then won’t we,” Shiro said. There was an edge of stubbornness in his words Lance hadn’t ever heard from him. “I’ll make it even. I’ll contribute five more candidates to the pool. It’s completely fair that way.”
Shiro was already standing, marking the dismissal of the Paladins and the council men.
“If that will satisfy the council on this matter, I have plenty of other things to get to, and have spent far too long on this matter already.”
Lance winced at Shiro’s words. He quickly stood as well.
But before Lance could even step closer to Shiro, the Black Paladin was off at a swift stride again. Coran was keeping up quickly and handing Shiro the next order of business on the docket as they walked. Shiro stopped for just a moment issuing orders to the captain of the guard. It was something Lance didn’t fully catch, probably setting a watch on the Green Lion in the hangars. Before Shiro even left the room his head was tipped down to look over the data pad in his hands.
Turning, Lance saw Hunk looking at him. His hands were fidgety before him as he stepped closer to Lance.
“Look buddy,” Hunk tried to start. He looked down awkwardly. “About the other day, at the Spring Day festivals…”
Lance lit up as he remembered. “Hunk, No—“ He held up his hands. “It was totally my bad, I overreacted.”
“Well,” Hunk tipped his head. “I’m not gonna say you didn’t, but look man,” He gave Lance his characteristic easy smile. “It was partly my fault too.”
He gave a hesitant gesture to the door. “I never meant to imply anything about Shiro.” he frowned, scratching the back of his head, “Or the princess Allura.”
Lance waved it off. “No-no!” He looked around. The room had cleared and it was just the two of them. “Look, I actually talked to Shiro kind of about it.” he scratched at his neck. “And you’re right I think. There’s some stuff I gotta work out with all this.”
Hunk blinked. “I never meant—“
“I know!” Lance rushed in. “It’s just—“ Lance wasn’t sure how to explain it. “Thank you for pushing me.” He landed on. “You’re right. There are some questions I should be asking and haven’t been, not till you made me look at all this with a different lens.”
Hunk tried to be subtle about it. but the big guy was never really subtle about much as he glanced around the room. This wasn’t the place to have any sort of private conversation. There were too many places to hide. Too many ways for someone to hear.
“If you need me…” Hunk trailed.
Lance shook his head. “I don’t have any answers yet,” He gave a smile though. “But I’m asking because you pushed me.” Lance stepped forward and rest his hand at Hunk’s arm for just a moment.
When Lance turned to leave, Hunk grabbed at his hand. “I’m here you know. Whenever you need anything, I’m here.”
It was typical Hunk. Lance just smiled before letting his friend pull him into a bear hug.
After dinner, Lance still managed to evade a good portion of anyone that might want anything from him. Wandering between the pillars leading back out to the garden Terrace, Lance knew it would be deserted and nothing sounded better then seeing the moon flowers burst open as Varr and Mai showed their faces over head.
Shiro had been absent from dinner, which didn’t surprise Lance. His sister had been there though, talking with the men around her in hushed and serious tones.
Communications between the Altean and the Galra were becoming heated and strenuous. Lance had eaten as quickly as possible before as always employing his best tactic of running from his problems.
Between the vast and towering pillars, Lance could see that Varr was already visible through the clouds. It’s milky white appearance due to it’s thick atmosphere was lovely.
Lance smiled as he stopped , resting a hand on a pillar as he looked at it. A thought occurred to him suddenly. That’s where Keith had said Shiro was from. Lance wondered what it was like. The one time Lance had been to Varr it had been cold. So very cold! He’d spent the entire trip in five layers and a parka.
It was subtle but Lance turned, thinking his mind was playing tricks on someone. He was thinking of Shiro so the wind must be playing tricks on him. But as he concentrated, Lance realized—there was murmuring. He could hear… his mate. Lance knew the feeling, that voice played him like a harp, Turning he drifted to another pillar closer to the Garden Terrace.
“Keith this isn’t the time for you to get all self righteous,” Shiro’s voice held annoyance.
“Look, he was an ass to me this morning!” Keith groaned. “So I didn’t keep tabs on him one day.” He seemed to change his mind. “It would have been stranger after the argument we had if I had persisted.”
“Then try following at a distance,” Shiro growled in return. “You’ve ran reconnaissance before, don’t try to pass off to me that you don’t know how.”
Keith made an aggravated sound. “I don’t know why you’re even having me bother!”
“He’s the Prince of Altea!”
Lance was suddenly frozen where he stood. His heart started to pound in his ears. His hand on the stone pillar felt incredibly distant.
“Ha!” Keith’s laugh was so full of mocking it grated across Lance’s spine horribly unpleasant, early enough to crumble him. “That stuck up little pompous prick, he can't think past his own nose I don't know how you expect—“
The growl from Shiro at that moment was so visceral It stopped Lance’s breath. He physically flinched at the sound his eyes squeezing shut for just a few seconds. His Omega brain even supplied a healthy dose of, ///submit, submit, submit./// But Lance stayed where he was, opening his eyes as he looked back up. He couldn’t see them. They sounded close, just around the pillar on the terrace possibly.
It was several long seconds of silence then.
“Shiro,” Keith’s voice was back to normal levels. “This is getting in very deep.”
“I don’t need you to tell me that.”
“This will end.” Keith went on. “The pieces are already laid out on the board. You can’t expect—”
What ever stopped Keith in that moment, Lance wasn’t sure. He didn’t dare move closer to see. The growl from Shiro—it still echoed in his ears. It had been—it wasn’t a sound he’d ever heard before.
The silence stretched out a few more ticks before Shiro spoke.
“I need you to keep watch over him.” Shiro’s voice was calm as ever. “You’re right, things are heating up fast. There are unknown variables we have to rule out. I need a watch on him.”
Keith gave a huff. But after a tick. “Fine. But I hate it, I just want you to know that.”
Shiro gave his own sigh before a chuckle. “Have you considered trying to be nice to him?”
“He basically told me he was better than me today!” Keith growled back, but it was banter, there was a playfulness to it. “Why would I be nice to a person like that?”
“I’m sure that wasn’t a one-sided development—“ Shiro was playfully accommodating the banter.
Keith interrupted with a huff. “Do you have any idea how much indulgent time he spends?”
“I’m sure to you quite a lot of his behavior seems indulgent.”
“He goes to these gardens everyday!” Keith growled. “And I don’t know what the fuck he even does here!”
Shiro’s voice was a smooth playfulness this time. “I could be wrong, but it’s quite possible he enjoys it here.”
“There's nothing to do here! Except get lost! He just wonders around, and he’s got this look on his face like he’s trying to think but his brain too small to manage it. And do you know how hard to is to keep track of him in these gardens? Their designed impossibly hard to navigate.”
“Keith,” it was a warning tone.
Keith gave another growling huff. “You should know though…”
In the pause, Lance was finding it hard to breathe again.
“The Princess Allura was here with him the other day.” Keith went on, his voice slipping into a tone of all business. “I couldn’t get close enough without being spotted by one of her guards, but whatever they talked about it made them both pretty angry. Lance left at practically a run and his sister—I wouldn’t have wanted to be in her way when she stormed back to the palace.”
There was a pause before Shiro spoke up. “He told me something had happened.” Another short pause probably because Shiro was moving, giving a gesture or a expression. Whatever it was it was lost on Lance’s end.
The absents of seeing body language at that moment hit Lance. He never realized how much he relied on it before.
“If something like it happens again—let it play out. It could bare some information we need out. ”
Lance could almost hear a smug smirk in Keith's words. “I figured that’s the route you’d wanna take.”
Shiro gave another rumbling chuckle.
“You know,” Keith started. “I’m glad you asked me to come.”
Lance’s brow furrowed in confusion.
“I needed someone I trust.” There was a pause. “If there’s anyone in the universe I should be able to trust—it would be you.”
Lance was grateful at that moment his shoes were the soft supple leather ones he forgot to change before heading for the gardens. They were particularly silent and as he backed away he couldn’t pick up any sound from his sliding foot steps.
Keith was speaking again, mumbling something about Shiro going soft. There was a growled reply Lance couldn’t make out.
Because Lance was already escaping.
Once he was a good four pillars away he broke into a run, aiming for the first set of steps down to the gardens he wound around through the hedges and walk ways before he was certain