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'