Two Shadows Went, Chapter 11
Updated: Apr 13, 2019
The morning after everyone left—Lance was met at his door by Keith.
“Morning,” the wild thing clearly hand’t become articulate in the time he’d been away.
Lance blearily looked around. …what? What time was it? Standing in his pajamas at the door he wasn’t sure—“Who are they?” Lance pointed to the guards—all of them.
Behind Keith was a set of two guards, and stationed at the door were two more.
It was all slowly rolling back to Lance. Shiro was gone. Keith was back—and Lance now had company.
Keith craned to look back a the guards. “No better time than now to introduce you,” He drawled. “May we come in?”
He was being nice—Lance didn’t trust a nice Keith. It was also as Lance finally started to wake up—too damn early for this.
There hadn’t even really been a night before, Lance had spent every moment in conferences or in goodbyes. He didn’t think he even made it back to his apartments till the early hours of morning—and now…
With a nod of his bed head, Lance turned to welcome his guests into his entryway.
Three men stepped through, as Lance retreated to pull on a blue robe from his bedroom. When he returned they all stood militarily stiff in his entry way.
“Shiro has assigned you a personal guard.” Keith stated.
Bloody brilliant. Lance blinked for several seconds before nodding.
“This is the head of your guard, and your new personal shadow,” Keith stepped to the side as he gestured to the man.
At last he was being honest.
The hulking figure took several steps towards Lance, though did not remove his helmet. He wore black, and the symbol of the black paladin was on every piece of his armor, he wore a hood even as well and as he approached, Lance wondered if he was even taller than Shiro.
“Your highness,” The helmet gave his voice a sort of hollow tone to it. He bowed his head as he slid to one knee for just a moment before he lifted out and slid back to stand. “My name is Antok.”
It was a long way up, as Lance craned his neck to the hulking man before him.
“It’s-“ Lance stalled for just a second. “it’s a pleasure.”
Keith was already wandering closer. “He’ll be accompanying you from now on.”
Lance shifted his gaze. Keith wasn’t looking at Lance. He instead was drifting towards one of the couches, already making himself at home.
Right. The huge man before Lance was so big he nearly shadowed Lance.
“The first council meeting has already started.” Keith drawled.
Startled, Lance looks dover. “What?”
He was stand in for Shiro on the council until he got back. Scrambling Lance was already charging back to his room. It was too damn early for this—and Lance was already behind on his duties. Antok was rather quiet as he walked and he took up a position at the door, hands behind his back, waiting patiently. The other black armored man in the room did the same.
Great. He was starting this all out just great.
Lance shifted uncomfortably in his chair. He'd felt — off since that morning. Lance couldn't say he particularly enjoyed ever getting up and out of bed, but that morning… he'd basically had to force himself to get up and start pulling on cloths in order to be ready in time for the regular morning updates meeting.
For which—all the meetings were so god damn boring.
“There was a report of a cruiser possibly launched shortly after the attack.” A general read.
Lance had always wished to be more involved, had always tried his best to make himself seem like he could handle the responsibility.
“Possibly?” A council man spoke up near him.
But now that he was sitting in meetings all day—they were the most awful thing he could think of. They were usually far too long, with men far older than him speaking like they actually knew what they were talking about when the truth was no one really knew what was going on. And they kept looking to Lance like he possibly had answers.
“Well in the chaos there was several unconfirmed reports, sir.” The soldier said.
That’s incredibly unhelpful, Lance nearly said. But instead he just rest his face again his hand as he leaned across the table.
In his sisters and mates absence, Lance's place had been moved directly to his fathers left. And since his father only attended roughly half of the meetings scheduled, that put Lance at the forefront of the room with old stodgy men all staring up at him like he had answers. Lance had no such thing.
There was more chatter and a few more back an forth. One report was that a fleet was coming up on Altea’s southern rear, another that a star cruiser had been seen landing near the capital, another that the goddess herself had been sighted. And on and on. Lance nearly yawned.
God he was incredibly tired.
"We will reconvene in two hours," The high council elder proclaimed as he stood.
Lance welcomed the recess as he was almost immiditietely standing himself.
It had been two weeks, since the forces dispatched into space had left the face of Altea. there was a tremor of nervousness in the room as it was still unconfirmed when they would be returning. The white flagged banner ships were all still at the ready, waiting just outside of Altea's Moons to be called into action if needed.
Lance scrunched his nose as he felt the twinge he'd been feeling all morning. His insides felt like they'd been tied into knots. He resisted the urge to bow over as he made his way to the door.
As expected, two towering Black-clad guards met him at the door, standing at attention as Lance approached.
"I expect you'll be joining the others for lun--" Keith bored monotone stopped just as he stepped up to Lance. His brow creased in a way that narrowed his eyes. "Lance,"
Lance felt like his limbs were failing him and moved sluggishly as he prodded out of the council rooms. "No," He didn't bother to correct Keith this time. "I'm going to my rooms." <i>To lay down for a while.</i>
He felt like he'd gotten out of bed too soon, despite a full nights rest, he felt like he'd been pulled from bed far too soon for the day. All he could think about was returning to bed.
A couple hours of sleep would do him some good, Lance thought.
Though the lack of jabs directed Lance to look up.
Keith was hanging back a few steps, watching Lance with a narrow gaze, his shoulders held meticulously still.
It was an odd stare, Keith's eyes unwavering from Lance as he stood a bit straighter, his mouth pressed hard into his trademark flat line.
"Were you hungry?" Lance inquired, remembering his manners suddenly. He was a Prince. His needs needed to come second.
His black clad guards moved around him, flanking him and ready to escort him back to his rooms.
"Something could be sent up." Lance said. "I'm--" He did't want to admit he wasn't feeling well. "--Just not very hungry." Lance tried.
Keith still hung back, the rather cold expression still on his face.
It was the span of a very long breath before Keith spoke.
Keith's level gaze on Lance didn't falter. "No, that's alright, your highness." he dipped his head.
Unsure how to take his much more stoic companion, Lance gave a nod and turned to the guard next to him. "Have someone sent just before the council reconvenes--"
"I'll come to let you know." Keith jumped in.
Lance peered back.
Keith's face was away from the light, standing with a tall window behind him so Lance could barely make out even less of his shadowed expression than usual.
"Very well," Lance murmured softly.
"Please get His Highness back to his rooms," Keith's head jerked to the tall Black Guard. "<i>safely.</i>"
The guard, Antok, Lance remembered, gave a short nod to Keith.
They obeyed Keith, Lance had discovered over the last fortnight. They obeyed Lance and they obeyed Keith. If its suited them they would sometimes humor Pidge. But they always obeyed Keith. It was a fact that didn't sit well with Lance, unsure if it came down to it—which of the two of their orders took precedence.
"Thank you," Lance said quietly to Keith.
Keith gave no answer, only turned his attention to the guards around Lance and motioned with his hands for them to go on.
The escort had been more than a exasperating at first but as Lance walked down the long empty halls to his rooms he realized it was becoming familiar to hear the metal boots at attention at both sides of him. The guards could be lost, if Lance really tried, but unlike others of the past—they diligently kept looking and though Lance did know how to lose them he had yet to figure out a way to stay lost.
"Your Highness," Antok said as he held the door to Lance's room open.
Lance looked up from his thoughts. "Oh," he couldn't deny he was startled at already being to his rooms. "Thank you," Lance said as he tiredly retreated through the doorway.
Antok closed the door behind him, securing it closed.
Lance paid it no mind as he went straight to the massive postered bed he'd had all to himself lately. He didn't bother removing a single piece of his elaborate garments before he climbed up on the bed. He had enough sense to pull his soft boots off, letting them slump to the floor before he himself fell into the mattress, across the goose feather comforters and all.
Lance wasn't sure what time he woke, but out side — the sun was hanging outside Lance's bedroom window. No doubt the bright shining had been what had woken him, blaring against his eyes and forcing him up.
He pushed himself up on the bed, looking around himself. It seemed – no one had disturbed the room. Not a single person had come for him. Lance growled. Right. Last time he ever trusted Keith with this sort of thing —
Lance stepped off the bed — only to nearly double.
He felt worse than ever. His middle felt cramped and hurt. His head felt woozy and heavy and pounded. The moment his foot touched the floor it was as if his legs protested the action and wanted to give way. The room settled around him off kilter and Lance gulped down a deep breath—as the air around him stetted the room finally stopped careening and he could straighten.
But despite the gnawing feeling of his insides, Lance gave a huff and forced himself to stand all the way.
None of that mattered, Lance bargained with himself. The councils may be boring but with in a moments notice, news of his sister — of his mate could come in. Lance grabbed onto the bed covers using them to pull himself up to search for his shoes. He wasn't going to miss the meetings. All he had to do was sit there for gods sake. If he could just get to the council rooms he'd be fine.
They'd all leer at him for his tardiness but there was little Lance could do about that now.
He'd pulled on his shoes one by one as he went and by the time Lance reached the door he was back to some semblance. His hand pushed down on the door handle first once then — twice.
Lance's head shot up as he adjusted his cloths, confusion evident in the creasing of his brow.
"Why's it locked?" he murmured out loud.
Lance didn't care enough though so he simply flipped the switch and turned the handle once more, stepping out.
There — Lance stoped as he found himself in a darkened, empty hallway completely alone.
That was odd.
He still didn't have time to investigate though. Maybe Keith found him sleeping and decided to give the guards the rest of the day while Lance rested.
Determined, Lance started down the hallway.
It was when he reached the farthest end that Lance found his perpetual shadows. Antok looked up started before alerting his companion.
"Your Highness," The black guard stepped up though his head was tilted as if he was confused.
Lance fixed his collar. His uniform was a bit wrinkled from his sleep but it wasn't enough Lance was concerned, his collar felt tight up against his throat but he pulled at it enough to loosen it up.
"I'm already late," Lance grumbled as he started towards the council halls again, "Come on,"
Antok--and Lance could never remember the other ones name, He rarely spoke and never removed his helmet either--quickly flanked him.
"Are you sure, Your Highness?" Antok implored to him.
Lance tipped his head at the guard. It must be more obvious than Lance thought that he wasn't feeling well.
Clearing his throat, Lance brushed the guard off with a smooth gesture of his hand. "My presence is required." He hoped his tone was enough to make it final.
Antok stepped back to flanking Lance a step or so away. "Of course, Your Highness."
There was nothing else said until they reached the well lit hall leading into the Council room. The tall windows lined one side and at the double door entrance Lance could see Pidge quietly trying to sneak out. Two white and deep blue dressed Kings guards stood at the doors.
Lance opened his mouth to greet the smaller green paladin--
"Uhhhhnn," Lance nearly doubled as the pain in his low abdomen speared through him. He stumbled forward to one of the white pillars, bracing himself.
"Lance!" Pidge yelped and was clambering to him.
The four guards all jumped to action as well Lance's guard instantly less than a foot away and the Kings guards coming forward in deep strides, all with a chorus of, "Your highness!"
Dizziness doused Lance like he'd just stepped through a waterfall, and the world around him was back to careening. But through the stars in his eyes he managed to see Pidge very close to him. Lance's hand went to his stomach, fisting his uniform into his hands and his teeth grit from the clenching pain. His insides felt tense, like they were all pulling shut.
"I'm fine." Lance hissed, though he leaned heavier on the pillar, resting his shoulder against it.
Pidge's sharp eyes looked him over before glancing at the guards around him. "Where has he been?" She inquired to the Kings guard.
Antok stepped up to speak instead. "He's been in his room." Antok looked up to the Kings guard hovering over them.
"I need to be in that council meetings." Lance tried to reaffirm.
Pidge glanced at the Kings guard as well. "Lance what's wrong?"
Lance grit his teeth as he managed to focus on Pidge, "I told you, I'm fine."
"Your Highness," Antok stepped closer.
That’s when Pidge sucked in a full breath, pondering what to do up until the moment —
"Prince," Lance snipped but laughed after. It wasn't like he was all that intimidating slumped again the wall.
"Prince Lance," Pidge corrected with a surprising lack of sarcasm. “How — how is it?"
Lance looked over to her, his brow lowered at the vague question till he saw her tugging at her right sleeve, tugging it upward in a clear gesture for him to catch. Right, the Kings guard were still watching them. And the last thing they needed were rumors among the servants. Today it would be he had an implant and before sunset the story would be Shiro had aborted their unborn child with his bare hands. Or worse — there could be rumors of Lance having affairs. Oh that would not make any of this easier.
Lance blinked a couple of times trying to think. Right, he got it the night Shiro left and that was nearly three weeks ago.
"I should," Lance stumbled over his words. "I should be fine."
Pidge nodded slow. "It must be natural then."
Lance jerked his head up at that. "Excuse me?" He snapped. He pushed himself away from the pillar and back into standing.
"Lance," Pidge’s eyes were on him. She glanced around him again. "You probably should go back to your room."
Lance tilted his head. Who was this little — the pain was back again and Lance nearly didn't catch himself this time on the pillar. Antok jumped forward but seemed to reconsider fast.
There was one more breath before Antok simply stepped behind Lance and with a hand at his back helped him back into standing.
"Okay," Lance managed. But he still hadn't given up. "I swear. I'm fine, I just — once I’m in there I can sit down. I need to know if any news comes in."
The pressing of Pidge's lips was obvious as she stepped forward delicately, "Lance, you smell like honey."
That finally stopped him, and Lance's knees nearly buckled.
Thankfully Pidge looped herself up under his arm and held him up.
Lance's eyes searched the floor. "It can't be," He said in a hushed tone to her.
Pidge looked out towards the guards. His second black clad guard had taken three more steps back it seemed, his eyes a bit wide as he looked at Lance.
"We should get you back to your room," Pidge pleaded.
“If — if you're sure." Lance took one last look at the council room doors. It was his duty to be in there.
Pidge tipped his head at him. "This close I'd swear I was inside of a honey comb."
This time, Lance just nodded."I-" He tried. "What if I just stayed for a little longer."
Pidge signed. "You're being hit hard — “
"What is he doing out here?!" The roar from the distance had Lance shivering--right. It was an Alpha tone.
Lance jerked his head up to look across the hall.
Oh, so much of the evening was making sense suddenly.
Keith stood across from them, his eyes wide with surprise and jaw hanging open just slightly. His feature quickly morphed though as he turned his gaze from Lance to the guards.
"You were ordered to keep him safe, in his room. No one was to get near him!"
Lance’s second Guard took a step back though composed into a straight backed posture quite quickly. "His highness wished to reconvene with the council."
"In his condition?" Keith hissed as he rounded on the guard.
Lance realized for the first time — Keith wasn't all that tall. In fact, Lance might actually be taller than him, and the guard was a good head and shoulders taller. Though—it was eerie, nearly all of the men Shiro had been filtering in through his service were like that. Tall towering men, with wide set shoulders and dark markings.
“He — “
"You should have immediately had Antok escort him back to his rooms." Keith cut the guard off.
The hallway went silent.
"Keith," Lance spoke up. "You should have let me know,"
Keith turned his gaze to Lance.
There was a moment Lance lost his breath — there was fire in him. It consumed Keith's gaze as his eyes alit over Lance's form, shifting from his face to take in all of him.
"I thought you were aware." Keith breathed through gritted teeth. "The scent is a bit hard to miss." His gaze shifted around them. "And its getting worse."
Lance closed his eyes for a breath, pulling in his full strength. "I'll be fine. They're not usually like this. I'm sure it's just a bad first day."
Keith shook his head. Pidge under Lance looked up at him with an expression that Lance could tell she was baffled and the rest of the room all seemed to look awkwardly away.
"Lance," Pidge’s voice held an edge of desperation before she shook her head.
Cocking his head Lance tried to steady himself. Antok behind him placed a hand at his shoulder holding him up more firmly.
"Shiro," Pidge said as if she tried to jog his memory.
Lance's brow creased. "I've handled this before with out him —“
"No," Keith said very firmly. “That's not what she means."
Lance looked back down at Pidge, his gaze questioning.
Pidge pressed her lips together for a moment before explain.g "Lance. You and Shiro — you've got heat sickness."
Lance blinked rapidly. There was no way. He cocked his head. "That can’t — that very rarely happens."
"Yes, it has to be triggered." Pidge went on. "And the two of you — you were life bonded without any sort of courtship — Shiro's never had to prove his claim on you."
It slowly started to click with Lance as he looked around the room. His spare guard wouldn't meet his gaze. The Kings guards were already retreating. Keith — Keith was flushed.
Lance swallowed, he was in heat sickness. And he was no doubt oozing the sent of an Omega — one very dearly wanting to be claimed. It was quite possibly the worst timing imaginable with Shiro a few hundred thousand miles away.
"It's getting stronger," Antok's deep voice startled Lance. It was probably the first time he'd heard the man speak so close to him.
"Right," Pidge nodded. "You're probably spiraling." She said to Lance before she adjusted him over her shoulder again.
"We need to get him back to his room." Keith charged forward to Lance, a mission clear.
Pidge seemed in aggreance as she nodded.
Lance just whimpered as his insides cramped again.
Without hesitation, Antok scooped Lance up.
Pidge fumbled and scrambled, "Hey woah – !" She pivoted, looking like she was ready to draw her rapier on the much bulkier man.
Keith was there though, "He's a Beta." He nodded to Pidge. “Shiro — plans ahead for everything."
Lance was surprised at how easily he just let himself rest back in the massive man’s arms. Most of the guards were long and tall and though broad shoulders and a good frame on them, it was still mostly height. That was not true for Antok. He was a giant of a man, taller than Shiro but also much wider, and Lance just sighed as he rested his cheek on Antok's broad chest. Lance nearly missed the soft pat Antok gave to his shoulder as he followed Keith back down the halls to the Black Paladin Quarters.
Lance was placed back on his feet at the foot of his bed. He thought about holding himself up but in the end he sat at the edge.
"I'll be right out side your door, Your Highness," the quiet deep voice was still startling from Antok's helmeted face.
Lance just nodded as he watched the hulking man straighten before turning to leave the room.
"Find another Beta to take watch with you," Keith said to Antok before he could slip through the door.
There was a nod before the door was quietly shut behind them.
"You'll be in quite a bit of pain, but we can at least make you comfortable," Pidge said as she set to work about the room. She retrieve Lance a set of loose clothing before searching around the room for some extra blankets. "Are you big on nesting?"
Lance nodded slowly. His head felt—hot He was he didn’t feel well. He wanted to lay down.“I—“ He felt so odd speaking about this, with others in the room with him. "Yeah, I like to nest." He turned away.
"You shouldn't be ashamed of this," Keith said. He'd stepped forward from the door. Lance turned a skeptical eye to Keith.
Lance looked up from his place on the bed. "That's a statement someone usually says when it is indeed shameful but you don't want the other person to feel bad." Lance huffed a sigh. "And it's not working."
Kieth took another few steps forward. "Even if we had known when this was coming, the King probably would have still sent Shiro away from you."
Lance nodded. He knew it was probably true as well. The kingdom came first — especially compared to Lance's problems.
There was a moment Lance could see out of the corner of his eyes and his head turned just as Keith took the first step forward.
"I wonder.." Keith's eye brows were knit. "If he would have actually left, if'd he'd known."
Just as Lance sucked in a breath he felt utterly frozen. His eyes were large as they finally took in how close Keith was to him.
Lances eyes flashed as Keith raised his hand, his gaze still locked on Lance. The look in his eye seemed — vacant or maybe wistful. It was a look Lance couldn't place, but as Keith's fingers stretched out and softly touched Lance's skin—
Like magic, Lance nearly let out a whine in relief.
Of course it was heat sickness, affection would stifle it.
"You're beautiful." His callused thumb slid against Lance's jaw line.
Lance's eyes shot wide as he looked to Keith and his mouth dropped slightly ajar, not sure if Lance was preparing to say any thing or not.
"Keith." Pidge straightened where she was, eyes wide as she watched the interaction, there was a warning tone in her voice.
Lance’s eyes darted away from the smaller Paladin and back to Keith. He took a long, slow gliding step closer to Lance putting them very very close to one another.
"I wish I could say Shiro doesn't know what he has —“ Keith's voice was quiet. His hand cupped up under Lance's chin, holding it tipped just a bit, just enough to look at Keith. "But he does. He knows what gift was given to him." Keith's lips pulled up into a sad smile as his thumb slid up, pressing just lightly over Lance's bottom lip and skating against the top.
Lance’s eyes darted across Keith's face, unsure what he should do. He was cornered against the bed. Lance hesitantly reached out to one of the posters of the bed. He wasn't in pain at least, not as Keith touched him. Of course not, he was an Alpha.
"He might actually kill me," Keith said with mirthless laugh. "If I —“ He let his voice trail off. "We've been there for each other for everything — and for you I think he just might —"
Keith was so close to Lance, his hands cupping Lance’s face so carefully. Lance couldn't — he couldn't say he didn't enjoy it. It was drowsily warm against his chilled skin. Lance felt as if the haze around him lifted just a bit.
"You're so amazing." Keith was leaning in.
Of all the ways Lance expected — he never figured Keith's kiss would be gentle.
Lance nearly swooned into it — before he felt entirely sick.
He jerked away, Lance scrambled a crawl back across the bed away, gasping for air, moving as fast as he could to manage over the rumpled mounds of bedding. Keith looked like a deer in the head lights, his hands still reaching out where Lance has pulled away from him.
"Keith!" Pidge snarled as she struck out, her hand latching at Keith's arm and jerking him away.
Startled, Keith fumbled back away a step and wide eyes turned to Pidge.
They exchanged a look Lance couldn't decipher. There was communication there. A code Lance hadn't broken through yet, a relationship of some sort that he hadn't parceled.
Keith gave a nod. "I should go."
Pidge nodded in return, pushing him away. "You should."
Neither of them carried anger in their voices. It was — Lance groaned as the pain started to return. He collapsed back against the bed, sitting at the edge as his hand grasped at the poster, holding himself up.
"Now." Pidge said again. Her voice was laced with the same — worry? Nervousness?
Lance still couldn't place it.
Keith stepped backwards, nodding, though his eyes were drifting back to Lance, they flicked from his face to his hands and back.
Abruptly he turned and strode so fast and hard from the sound his boots gave thudding steps and his head pointed him straight to the door as he yanked it open and slid though, firmly shutting it behind him.
By the next morning, Lance felt sticky. And like a blanket of fog had firmly settled over him. He was constantly cold, shivering under his pile of nested blankets. He felt like his tongue was thick and his mind — dredging. And blurredly waking in his bed Lance knew he was in heat. His body felt heavy as he pushed himself up. When he pressed the control panel in his room to bring a servant, Antok answered. He opened the door hesitantly as he stepped in.
"Your Highness." The startling baritone had Lance shivering. But he reminded himself the man was a Beta.
"My bed will need changed," Lance said quietly, not looking up from the floor. He felt like a mess, having only pulled on a robe over his soiled night shirt and soft pants.
Antok nodded. "I'll make sure it's done right away."
It surprised Lance when Antok took another step forward. "Are you feeling better at all, Your Highness?"
Lance looked up. He hated that Antok never removed his helmet, it disallowed for him to see any sort of expression.
"No." Lance gave a small shake of his head. "Pidge says I won't feel better till-" Lance blushed. "TIll Shiro comes back."
Antok nodded. though it seemed paused as if he wanted to offer Lance something more. "He's been alerted."
Lance nodded. Even so, it was a low chance Shiro would be back any time soon, just the travel time from the Galactic line back to Lance in the Capital City could take days on the massive flag ships.
"Thank you," Lance murmured before he turned. "You're dismissed." He added just to be sure. Some servants tended to linger and with this being one of his first one on ones with Antok he wasn't sure, but Lance knew he wanted to be left alone.
Antok gave a deep bow. "Let me know if there is anything else, your highness."
Lance gave one last nod before Antok turned to leave.
Padding back to their bathroom, Lance turned the knob to start a bath. He stripped quickly feeling disgusting as the slick from that morning still rolled down his thighs. And the pressure of his headache was starting to weigh on him. The ache though out him was nothing he'd ever imagined, Usually he was tired, but he truly thought at that moment he may spend the whole of his heat in bed if he could manage it.
Blurringly Lance hummed at first before he managed to crack an eye. What ever time of day it was it didn't matter he felt —absolutely awful. His skin was so sweaty he felt like he was sticking to everything. He'd pulled on a shirt the night before, hoping to keep some semblance of a civilized individual he knew he was under it all, only to tear it off later.
And then—he could barely turn his head with out feeling the twinge of his swollen primary glands up under his jaw. In the last could of days they had become red and angry and Lance hated it. It made eve the smallest brush of a pillow ache.
He shifted, feeling the — oh that gross feeling of slick still at his thighs and ass. But also as he moved there was —
"Nahhhh," Lance groaned as his insides all clenched and his face twisted in agony.
Pidge's hand felt hot at his shoulder and then carefully at his forehead.
"Lance," She tried again to him. "I have something that will help."
Lance raise his head from his sweat drenched pillow to look at her. Saying he was miserable was an understatement. It had been three days and he'd progressively spent more and more time in bed. He barely moved, he tried to sleep but it was — it all hurt so bad. It's like there was a tight clenching hand struck right through him and every movement Lance made, every time he moved himself that grip just tightened and pain shot out through him, rendering him limp and helpless.
Pidge brushed her hand through his hair. She was a Beta, she was trying to help, but it — it wasn't enough anymore.
Lance blinked at her before he croaked. "What...?"
Her catlike golden eyes sparked in the dark room once Lance gave her his full attention she smiled. "I got a message out." She was quite proud of her self.
Lance swallowed thickly. "You talked to him?" He knew he sounded winded, but Lance didn't bother trying to sound sweet or melodic at that moment.
Pidge shook her head. "Private line."
That caught Lance attention. 'What--" Lance pushed up onto his elbow. "What did he say?"
There was a sly smile. "I need your help to find something. He said it might help you."
Lance nodded, his mind screamed, anything.
"He says there's a cloak he's worn before — its like looks magic apparently?" Pidge scrunched her nose at that. "He didn't say it like that, He said it was a cloak that looked like infinite space."
Lance shot up on the bed. "The cloak he —“ Lance stalled, unsure. "There's one that —“ He shook his head. "He life-bonded to me with it on."
Pidge was scrambling up as well, her eyes alight. "That must be the one."
Lance nodded. "It's the only one I've ever seen like it."
Turning to the wardrobe, Pidge threw the doors open. "Then where would he have put it?"
Lance shook his head, "I know where it is, it's not there, Pidge."
Carefully she closed the doors and turned to him. "Where?"
Crawling away from the edge of the bed, Lance groaned again but carefully he placed one foot on the soft carpet followed by another before he sunk to his knees on the floor.
"Lance!" Pidge jumped forward.
Lance held up his hand though as he bent and peering under the bed, he reached down into the darkness.
"The box is pretty heavy, could you help me?" Lance asked.
Pidge quickly dropped to her knees next to him and did the same, reaching in under the darkness of the bed.
Tugging and pulling together they pulled forth the narrow but long thin box, sliding it out from under the bed to lay along side the bed itself.
The ornate silver latches popped easily under Lance's hands before he carefully opened the box.
"Woah," Pidge let slip as her eyes fell over the long black and gold claymore, laying in a sea of infinite space.
Lance nodded. Carefully he reached in to take the sword. It was heavy. A weapon he knew he could never accurately wield. The golden ornate decors of the hilt and handle swirled like the wind, though with the sharp biting edge of the wind as well, It twisted up and around to cap off the top of the sword.
"It's the Black Paladin's claymore," Lance explained. "He hasn't told me it's name so I couldn't give it to you." He carefully placed the sword on the floor. "I know we've all got one, different weapons. but — they’re mostly held at the Temple. Our Bayards are more effective for the Lions after all."
"How did Shiro get to keep his then?" Pidge's brow creased as her gaze jumped from the sword and back again to Lance.
With a shake of his head, Lance frowned. "I don't know. My father probably had it before Shiro."
Lance was already reaching into the box though and pulled out the massive long cloak, of eons and eons of galaxies all shimmering in brilliant blacks.
Lance smiled as he held it."This was just Shiro's though."
As his fingers touched it, Lance for the first time since his heat had started felt like he could breath. With out a moment more he lifted the cloak to his face and deeply inhaled — it was — Lance's eyes nearly rolled back into their sockets. It was Alpha and Shiro, Lance could nearly hear Shiro's Alpha call in his ears. He could nearly feel him there — it was all him.
When Lance let the cloak drop, pooling over his lap he looked up to Pidge.
She looked hopeful as she asked. "Better?"
Lance smiled, "Yes, this will make it better." He reached forward to pull his smaller friend into a hug. "Thank you."
He felt worse. Fevered and drenched in sweat and the slickness constantly between his legs. Lance didn't even care as Pidge entered the room, sliding through the door and into their entryway. Lance didn't move from his drenched bedsheets, though he was sure just beyond the door was Antok, standing guard.
"Lance," Pidge came through the archway of the bedroom.
For the first time Lance noticed the small tray she carried. It wasn't much, tea and some crackers with cheese and little thin slices of meat.
Lance clutched the cloak clenched between his hand closer, pulling it to his nose. He breathed in, engulfing his senses in — a false sense of ///him./// It helped, like ghosts helped ease the suffering of grief.
It was just a lingering, like Shiro was just out of Lances reach. Like he was standing just beyond a doorway or in the next room. It was a small comfort, but it was all Lance had and he pulled the his shroud of cosmos up closer to his face, covering his mouth and nose, so it was all he could smell, giving himself no other option.
"The servants downstairs said you love lavender and white chocolate tea." Pidge said as she carefully set the tray down on the night stand. "I also brought up some biscuits for it and they insisted on a bit of cheese and meats for protein." She looked up to Lance.
Lance gave a slow nod. pulling the cloak aways from his face. He tried his very best at a grateful smile as se said, "Thank you, Pidge."
He felt awful. His stomach harbored no appetite in sight. But Lance still — he was a prince. And he'd been brought a gracious gift. He was smart enough to see a small penance of friendship so he pushed himself up on his pillows and reached over for the tea. His skin felt chilled and yet he couldn't bear the sheets too rough across his shoulders.
Turning his head, he hissed.
Right. His glands. They were swollen quite painfully and any small movement at his head had the red inflamed primary glands at his jaw line pulsing with pain.
"Here," Pidge seemed to rush forward as she picked up the tea and saucer.
So Lance didn't have to reach over for it she leaned in over the bed to hand it to him.
Lance was too — tired, worn, dizzy, hot, freezing, starving, nauseous, everything to question the action as he reached forward to take the tea.
As he raised it to his lips for a sip, he let the warm liquid slide though him. It was smooth and faintly floral but sweet in a delicate way only white chocolate could be. He did still enjoy this, he decided.
It wasn't till Lance finally lowered the cup back to the saucer that he noticed Pidge as she still stood a bit awkward and fidgety at the side of his bed.
Lance leaned back into the pillows though, letting his head tip back and in a position that didn't hurt his swollen glands at least.
Next to him, he heard the scrap of a chair and looked over just as Pidge slid a chair near the bed and still in a way that suggested Pidge wasn't sure how to go about making friends, she sat down, looking down at her hands.
"I'm afraid I'm not much of a conversationalist at the moment," Lance admitted. He could even point out the breathy quality in his voice. "Pardon me, if I don't quite manage to be corgial."
Pidge didn't look up. "That's okay." She said quiet.
Lance couldn't glean anything from her voice so instead he leaned back forward to take another sip of tea.
"I do appreciate this you know," Lance said suddenly. "You don't have to take care of me. Antok would do it as well if you didn't."
Pidge didn't say anything to that.
“I think he’s really fond of you?” Pidge said after a moment.
“Antok?” Lance asked.
“Ah, well—“ Lance thought about it for a moment. “I’m pretty sure he’s been around since Shiro got here — I just, it’s not till now he’s really become my guard.”
“He’s really good at it,” Pidge’s voice seemed distant.
Lance took another drink of tea. "He might not have gotten the perfect tea though. Your consideration really does mean quite a bit to me."
"I'm sure he would have gotten you what ever you like, your highness." Pidge said in a quiet tone.
Lance set the tea back on the saucer. "Yeah. But that's because I'm a prince," He looked up over at her before giving a half shrug. "I feel like you did it just because I needed it."
"You know," Pitdge started. "I think that's the part you that annoys me."
Lance looked over. "Oh," was all he could think past the fevered haze.
"I don't know how Shiro doesn't mind it all," Pidge kept speaking, she drew her leg up into the chair hugging it close to her. "All of the rules. They're never even spelled out. And yet he's followed every single one of them."
Lance pursed his lips, his head lifting off the pillow as he looked over to his companion. “You'll — you’ll fit in." He assured her. "I promise it gets easier! "
Pidge's cheek rest against her knee. "Does it?" She sounded almost defeated. "I'm here because of Shiro." She admitted a moment later.
Lance couldn't say it was a fact that had been lost on him. He simply nodded to her. He knew. Most of the palace knew.
When Pidge finally looked up, Lance could see as her eyes focused on him.
"I hate your family."
Lance felt like he couldn't breath.
"So much," Pidge's voice cracked and she turned her face into her knee again.
Still, Lance looked back away to his tea. He heard as Pidge sniffed and rubbed her hand over her eyes.
"You're really nice to me," Pidge squeaked out.
Unsure, of how he should keep going he figured that was probably his best route for a crying Pidge.
"Do you want to split a biscuit with me?" Lance asked as he pushed himself to sit up.
Pidge raised her head, her eyes red as she looked at him. "You don't want a biscuit."
Lance looked over at the small plate, He could feel his gag reflex already there just laughing at him. He blandly looked back at Pidge and shook his head. "No, but I want to split one with you."
Pidge gave a small smile before pushing off the chair. "Okay." She said like it made sense.
She stepped up the the small plate and snapped one of the small biscuits in half before she clamored up the side of their tall bed to Lance.
Lance took the biscuit from her as he looked it over.
"Hmmm," Lance answered.
"I'm sorry I was mean to you."
Lance looked up. before managing a smile. "I'm sure you'll go back to being a snarky ass hole once I can leave this room."
"Yeah." Pidge admitted. "But I don't mean all of it."
"I know." Lance said before popping the biscuit in his mouth. He did not want a cookie, but he wanted friendship. And he could suck on a biscuit if it meant that.
Lance heard the door open but he didn't move from where he was, he ached. every part of him felt miserable. His eyes hurt from the light, his insides felt pulled into tight strung knots. He'd already thrown up that morning.
His neck — oh god his neck at either side of his jaw, his primary glands throbbed with every heartbeat. They'd swelled before, for heats, but not like this. It was like wearing a thick choking collar around his neck, he could barely turn his head without a twinge of aching pain sent though him. He knew they were red and enflamed but he just concentrating on not moving. The less he moved the less everything hurt.
Lance had yet to even retrieve cloths. His shower that morning had taken every ounce of energy and after he’d just lay in the middle of his vast bed, curled up with the heavy galaxy dark cloak of his mates pulled around him. It smelled like Shiro just enough to keep Lance from whining continually and yet not enough that Lance pawed against it, nearly swearing he'd have it thread bare by the time his Black Paladin returned.
It was Pidge Lance recognized as she—
Lance blinked as she rushed him at the bed, her fingers going to his shoulders as she gave a smile to him and helped him up to sit up and fully pulled him from his dozing state.
"What?" Lance shook his head, trying to fully wake up
She breathed as her gaze locked with Lance's.
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