Updated: Apr 12, 2019
In his daze, he almost missed it. He distantly could remembered Pidge telling him to bath and helping him crawl back into bed, making him comfortable in the nest of fresh new pillows and blankets and most importantly the deep black cloak Lance tugged around himself, biting the horrid pressure and pain back just enough he could manage to sleep again.
A warm hand at his waist, trailing up was what brought Lance out of his doze.
He breathed in all at once as he turned, his body jerking towards the contact.
"Lovely," Shiro sat at the edge of the bed, reaching out to Lance. He was still in a black flight suit. His gaze softened over Lance.
Eyes wide, Lance shot forward on the bed, and wrapped his arms around Shiro.
Moving into the embrace, Shiro squeezed Lance to him, pulling him from the covers and across him.
Lance finally sighed and his senses were filled with the spicy scent of his Alpha.
When Shiro finally released Lance, and let him lay back against the piled up pillows, his hands still ran over Lance's skin, adoringly. "It wasn't possible for me to return sooner, " Shiro said in his usual tone. "I'm so sorry, you’ve — you’ve had to suffer."
Lance shook his head. His skin felt hot but as Shiro's hands ran over him — it was like he was smoothing away the persistent fatigue, the clenching pain in his abdomen receding.
"You didn't," Lance looked up. "I didn't make you — I didn't pull you away from something I shouldn't have?" Lance checked.
Shiro's eyes widened just a fraction before he shook his head, "No!" He jumped to explain. "Absolutely not! I—“ He stopped. His jaw jumped as he looked down at the covers. "Pidge secured a private line with me, and told me what had happened." He shook his head. "This is horrible timing for you to go through with this."
Leaning back more into the pillows, Lance lifted his hand to pet across his partner’s hair. "She'd told me you'd talked to her."
Shiro's hand brushed over the cloak. "I'm glad you remembered where to find it."
Lance smiled. "You looked nearly otherworldly in this, it was the first time I'd really seen you beyond in passing. It made quite an impression on me."
Shiro tipped his head at him, looking at him sidelong. "I wanted to be here sooner."
Blinking, Lance tried not to let his own desires cloud his judgement. "You're the Black Paladin first. I understand that."
Shiro pushed up a bit more on the bed, sitting more firmly as he reached down, to remove his boots. He wore an expression, Lance couldn't quite parcel out.
Narrowing his gaze, Lance tried to consider. "Shiro — You told me you didn't leave from anything critical."
"I didn't lie," Shiro said in a seemingly forced neutral tone.
Lance still considered. “Than — the fleet has returned. My sister? Hunk? They're all back?"
Shiro shook his head. "No."
This time, Lance couldn't help his own sly smile. "Then how in the world — ?”
With his boots and socks off, Shiro was already crawling up on the bed, he'd managed a majority of the armor as well, letting each black parcel fall to the floor. He reached for Lance, kissing at his lips fervently.
It wasn't till Lance raised his hand, his palm touching Shiro's chest that Shiro backed up enough to look at him.
"Shiro," Lance pressed, his brow raising.
Shiro took a breath. "I'm... as far as the records state, still in space."
He said it so levelly, so calm, Lance nearly didn't catch all the implications.
"What?" Lance blinked rapidly.
"The Black Paladin is still with in Altea's outer orbit." Shiro stated as if it was fact. "The Black Lion is there, as well as my fleet."
Lance narrowed his gaze, “You — didn't?"
Shiro breathed out carefully. "One star-cruiser jettisoning back to the capital hangers — wasn't really all that noteworthy. There’s been several going back and forth to relay information and things anyway."
He was smiling but at the same time, Lance shook his head. "You should have stayed in space." He was already huffing out his first laugh. "I'm going to survive I'm sure, Shiro." He was already smiling though at Shiro. "I'm fine."
Shiro was already crawling over him, a smile did slightly tick up on his features. "You're not." He breathed, his face inching closer to Lance's. "You're in heat sickness, and I can help." Shiro's smile dropped as his hand brushed at Lance's cheek. "You're burning up. It's has to be getting bad."
Lance let his head rest back on the pillows. "Why is this happening?" He groaned. "I've alway — my heats are easy. I've never had this and the scent – Keith had all the Alpha Guards removed from around me. It's never been like this!" Lance frowned unhappily.
There was a breath before Shiro spoke. "It's — it's the bond." His jaw tightened. "We didn't bond naturally. This was going to happen no matter what we did." Shiro sat back a bit, his eyes weighing heavier on Lance.”I just expected to be here when it did happen, I expected I’d be able to help you and it’d never get this bad.”
Not knowing what else to do, Lance ran his hand over his Alpha's arm, sliding his fingers up over the Galran hand, tracing up to the dark shirt Shiro was wearing.
"How--" Lance frowned. "How do I feel better?" He knew his voice was quiet. But his eyes still slid up to look at Shiro — he was aiming for hopeful, but he knew his gaze flickered with fear.
Shiro was already shaking his head. "It won't ever be like that first time again." He breathed out a growl. "I promised you, I'd never do that to you again."
Lance — with an nod of his head, tried to trust.
"I just have to —“ Shiro leaned in, his hand adjusting and fingers sliding under Lance's neck pulling him up from the pillows.
"I — will never hurt you again," Shiro's voice was so low it vibrated through Lance as he spoke against his throat, his lips carefully trailing upwards.
Lance gave a whimper, his hands coming up though, shaking as he tried to steady himself against Shiro.
"I just need to make you remember," Shiro spoke again, "make the mark remember — that you're safe--"
Lance jolted as Shiro's hot breath was over his mark. He gasped and his fingers clutching at Shiro.
Shiro drooped his mouth over the mark, hitting it in an open mouthed kiss, and Lance — melted as his eyes rolled back and he — let himself fall.
The more Shiro's hands smoothed across Lance's skin the more the fuzz receded from Lance's world. By the time he was pressed up against Shiro he could finally let out a long breath in relief. Blinking several times, so much was finally catching up to him. He’d spent days in that bed, and no telling how long he’d been there even very day. The birds were chirping outside and light filtered in from the curtains at the side of their bed, so it wasn’t exactly early.
"You've been so good waiting for me," Shiro's deep voice nearly vibrated through Lance.
Lance cracked a smile. "I didn't have much of a choice."
It was so pleasantly warm finally. Finally Lance wasn't shivering in a cold sweat. He wasn't clawing at the lingering scent from the cloak around him. Shiro was there and as he propped himself up over Lance he filled his senses.
Shiro was inspecting him it seemed and with a wince of his own, his hand came up to turn Lance's chin first one way, then the other.
Lance gasped at the movement. It was sore on his swollen glands.
"Oohhh," Shiro made a sound, making it clear he knew it hurt. "Those look so sore."
Looking up at him, Lance wasn't sure what else to do but give a tiny nod. They hurt so bad for so long.
"Don't worry," Shiro murmured kissing at Lance's jaw. "We'll get them to go down, you'll be alright."
Lance shuddered at the contact, even so small, his hands at Shiro's arms tightened. He very much wanted that to be true.
"Turn over?" Shiro asked gently at Lance's ear.
Lance gave a nod and twisted around.
Gently Shiro pulled the cloak out from around Lance, setting it at the footstool at the end of the bed.
"Good boy." Shiro commented as he dipped in to kiss Lance's peaking shoulder.
A broad hand was already smoothing up Lance's side and up over—
Lance closed his eyes as he felt Shiro splaying his hand over the base of Lance’s spine, almost instantly, his hips were snapping back though this time. Shiro was already crawling over him. His hot breath was tickling at Lance"s bare shoulders. He pressed in more as Lance keened into the touch.
The metallic thummm of Shiros hand striking out to the headboard brought Lance’s head up. It was nearly a hollow sound. His eyes leveled on the headboard as Shiro pressed his weight in over Lance.
It felt — good, the weight felt amazing actually.
Lance looked back. Still in that flight suit, it couldn’t hide much as Shiro leaned in to Lance.
Biting his lip, and pulling a pillow to prop up on underneath him, Lance was more than pleased to have his Alpha blanket over him.
As Shiro, curled his head in to nuzzle at his neck, that deep booming sound was already shuddering out of him. Lance closed his eyes at it. It had been nearly terrifying before, but this time — it sang through him so delightfully.
"You’re eager," Shiro’s voice was rough and harsh at Lance’s throat.
His hand was sliding down through the slick already running down Lance’s thighs.
Smiling, Lance didn’t open his eyes as he raised an eyebrow. "I’m eager?" He let a small laugh echo from his lips.
He could feel Shiro tighten over him, there was push of his groin forward in against Lance’s ass again.
"So speaks the man that flew hundreds of miles back from space to get to me." Lance purred. It was a sound he didn’t know he could make but it sounded so pleasant.
Shiro’s hand slid through the slick again only this time with intent as he pressed a few more kissed marks into Lance’s throat. When his fingers parted through Lance’s ass and slid up and in—
Lance’s breath hitched and his back arched up into the feeling. He managed as his hips jutted back to sink Shiro’s fingers in a few inches deeper. The wet sound of it so amazing as the feeling of finally being full shot like lightening through Lance’s veins.
Maybe eager was the right word, because Lance didn’t know how to hold still. His toes curled an he pushed up onto his elbows, leaning back to start prying at what ever was left of Shiro’s armor.
That seemed to startle the man over him, and he froze, eyes on Lance.
He’d been clothed before, Lance remembered. Shiro had always been clothed when they were intimate before.
So with a level gaze, Lance pried first one clip, then another free at Shiro’s throat.
Stormy eyes watched him carefully as Lance did his best to crane back and with one arm used to support him and the other curled back, his long fingers worked at each clasp.
Was he still poking at a storm?
Lance wasn’t sure.
The fingers inside of him, though Shiro’s gaze on him didn’t move, curled. Grey eyes narrowed before they slid back out and in again. The action had Lance keening, his hand fisted in Shiro’s shirt as he tried to keep on task.
Crashing into Lance then, the deep chuffed Alpha call was nearly earth quaking as Shiro wrapped his metal hand around Lance’s neck and pressed whole bodily into Lance, slamming them into a kiss.
Yanking his fingers from Lance, with a shivering yelp from the prince, Shiro was yanking his shirt off, clawing at getting the tight fitted uniform over his head.
Lance’s smile widened as he scrambled to turn over, and his fingers met smooth skin for once as he reached up. Shiro was already leaning back over him, naked shoulders hunched over him. His metal hand still yanked at the closure of his pants till Lance was helping too, pushing them away from Shiro’s hips.
"Told ya," Lance gasped and giggled devilishly.
Finally, Shiro parted long enough to pull the last shreds of clothing off.
“I'm not the only eager one," Lance still smiled, his fingers going to Shiro’s face.
Shiro was already falling back to him, his own smile evident as, this time naked, he crawled back over the bed to join Lance. He kissed slower at Lance’s lips than before.
“I've been very patient, I think," Shiro’s voice was deep and gravelly.
"You’re never patient," Lance huffed out a laugh.
Pushing his thighs to part, Shiro was seated on the bed as his hands ran over Lance’s legs.
"I disagree," Shiro hummed. "I waited for you to come to me."
Lance giggled, leaning back on his elbows.
"And patience—" Shiro was leaning in again, his hands gripping Lance’s thighs tightly. “yields focus."
He yanked Lance to him, and with a groan they both felt as Shiro thrust up against Lance’s slick ass.
Lance’s eyes nearly rolled back into his head. That was good. That was very, very good.
His fingers scrambled forward and he pushed up on the bed, he felt like he was sticky again. Like every pore he had was oozing again, but it was different this time. It wasn’t nearly as stifling. Shiro’s heat on him was welcome and Lance arched and bucked into his hot touch.
As Lance’s fingertips brushed down Shiro's torso, he felt that stormy gaze on him again. This time there was no warning as Shiro was pulling Lance forward, gathering him up as for the first time, he slid his mouth over the swollen bond mark.
Lance bit his lip, it was painful—and yet he wanted it. His fingers slid down the slide of Shiro’s abdomen to finally reach between both of their legs.
His face turned in, Lance wanted to experience every bit of Shiro first hand as he nuzzled into Shiro’s neck, and his fingers grasped the swollen cock that seemed to swell even more at his touch and he lifted his hips just as he pushed the tip to his entrance—and Lance’s eyes did roll back this time and his mouth opened in a wordless cry.
So good, sooo soooooo soooo good. Lance felt like he was a mess before he even got a few inches pushed in. It was so snug—oh god, Shiro fit so perfectly.
The hot hand cupping of Lance’s own swollen cock had him yelping out a cry as his head dropped forward to Shiro’s shoulder.
It was hot and messy and Lance loved it.
Shiro lapsed at the bond mark, giving his own deep groan though—it was restrained. It sent little pings through Lance. Once he was confident the connection would hold—Shiro thrust in before Lance could even had his hands skittering back up.
Lance gave his own groan then and Shiro's hand around his slick cock squeezed. He was holding so suffocatingly tight, and Lance mewled, wrapping his arms around Shiro's neck.
They thrust together next and again and again.
The pants across his neck and shoulders felt so close, Lance let his eyes flick closed as his hips moved and he felt like the rock together consumed his whole world. He kissed at the side of Shiro's face, he pawed at his hair. He was getting sweaty too, and Lance’s long fingers started to slip on his skin.
It was so nice though. Lance loved every second. He adored ever messy kiss and every squeeze of his erection as Shiro thrust in harder.
When Lance convulsed and shivered through a contraction it felt natural for the first time and with more powerful hard thrusts into him, Lance nearly keened.
It couldn't be over, he loved the feeling too much. The slick slide into him, filling him was too perfect. Shiro's hair was sweaty as Lance grasped at the back of his head. They were both panting and desperate, trying to hold on to one another as they hurled closer to completion.
Thats when Lance felt it, the catch and the — Shiro face warped as he crashed his mouth over Lance and they—sealed.
They were a mess. Lance lazily lay across the bed, his head back on a pillow Shiro had placed there, as he looked up at the black starry fabric of the canopy overhead.
His limbs had just been thrown out around him.
He felt over sensitive as Shiro leaned down. From where he was seated — still held captive between Lance’s thighs — though he doubted Shiro would complain about it. When his mouth touched down on Lance’s chest, a jolt shot through him.
Shiro must have noticed, because he craned his head up as Lance looked down.
Lance wiggled his hips. He was very much still stuck — left with no choice but to hang off of Shiro’s knot.
Shiro smiled devilishly, and squeezed his hand again, his fingers still clutching tight onto Lance’s ripe erection.
Lances body arched and he curled.
"Cruel," Lance grit out as he fell back to the bed.
The curiosity shone in Shiro’s eyes like he was a cat tipping his head to a mouse before he lazily let his hand stroke at Lance’s still very hard dick.
Lance’s mouth fell open and his back arched. "So, so cruel." He managed.
Shiro was already chuckling. "Not true," he said.
Lance shook his head. "It is," Lance nearly wanted to laugh, but oddly felt like that would be calling forfeit in their little game. "You always draw it out with me."
"I wouldn’t term that as cruel." Shiro kissed again over Lance’s chest, working his was down as his shoulders hunched.
Lance blinked and tried to test his hips again. If he could move again, maybe he could fuck himself till he came.
But Shiro’s hand was already squeezing again, and this time it was intentional as he pinched at the base and Lance was left to hopelessly squirm in the bed.
"I like to draw it out in you," Shiro raised his head.
“I've noticed." Lance huffed. “It's cruel."
Shiro’s smile was nearly that of a cheshire cat. "My darling, you haven’t seen me cruel yet."
Looking down at him, Lance huffed again—
And as Shiro started to move, and shift, Lance scrambled to push up and loop his arms around Shiro’s neck.
The connection wasn’t broken as Shiro gathered Lance up into his arms and stood from the bed. He looked — cocky. Lance scrunched his nose at his mate.
“Let's go get cleaned up," Shiro’s eyes were on nothing but Lance as he pushed off towards the bathroom.
With a lazy, flop of his arms over Shiro’s shoulders, Lance conceded. He was pretty sure Shiro just wanted get him sticky again but there wasn’t much Lance could do about it. At that point he’d probably do what ever Shiro asked as long as he didn't have to go through the sickness again.
Lost in thought and those narrow stormy eyes, Lance was surprised when water splashed over his back.
Shiro was nothing more than smiles and chuckles as Lance leaned away from the shower spray and closer into the partner holding him up. He kissed at Lance’s cheek and then farther down to his neck and then over the mark again.
"You’re also greedy," Lance pointed out, though he was already giving his own sly smile.
Shiro hummed. "I will let you have that one. I am very greedy. I want it all, and I don’t wish to compromise in order to get it."
Taking another step into the shower spray, Lance hummed as the water warmed over his skin. His body sagged over his mate, letting himself rest over his shoulders.
"Let me show you mercy?" Shiro’s voice was quiet for once as he spoke close to Lance, his hand shifting where it held at Lance’s thigh.
Turning to look at him again, Lance realized he wasn’t smiling as he asked. "That doesn’t seem like you."
Shiro still had the easy smile though as he snuck a kiss from Lance’s prone lips again. It was quick before his half lidded eyes, still settled on Lance and trailed over his face. "I want to."
Lance gave his own unsure smile for a short second. "I won’t say no."
"Would you say no to my mercy ever?" Shiro cocked his head. "Even if i told you it came at a price."
Lance blinked. The conversation was turning again. And it seemed — he wasn’t sure Shiro had ever spoken like that with him before. A lot was different this time. He was so full of smiles as he looked at Lance, his eyes were narrow out of relaxation instead of his normal critical gaze.
"Shiro," the name slipped through Lance’s lips before he could help it.
The smile wasn’t fading, but his gaze on Lance only seemed to pin him down. "Just say you want it, and ill never hold it back from you."
"You’ve never been cruel to me," Lance said suddenly. "Not really."
Shiro’s smile broke and it was nearly—it was nearly sad. "You’ve never given me a reason."
"Than why offer me mercy now?" Lance bit back, his own mirth seemed lost in the storm he could see brewing in bottomless grey eyes.
Shiro seemed like — the way he moved his head, there was something he wanted to say, but he wasn’t saying it.
Lance wanted to hear it, so he stayed quiet even as Shiro swallowed and his mouth fell open again, but no words came.
"This is when I can offer it." Shiro’s voice was quiet. "Right now." He swallowed again. "It will be too late within —" his voice caught. “Ive — I have to ask for it now so I can move forward, I can decide what to do."
Blinking Lance gave a slow nod. What did that — what did that mean?
This was different. What they’d just did was different. It was all crashing over Lance as he watched Shiro.
Suddenly then — Lance gasped as his body spasmed, and he felt it, Shiro would slip from him, his knot had deflated enough.
Lance grasped forward as he gasped at the feeling again.
"Tell me," Shiro said, still holding Lance up, fingers fiercely holding at his legs still.
Pressed forehead to forehead, Lance gave another slow nod. "I want it." He whispered.
Shiro was breaking into a smile then again, and their lips crashed as he set Lance on his feet, his cock slipping entirely from him, before Shiro had Lance stepping back.
The stone walls of the shower had a ledge, ringing the room at about waist level and Shiro had Lance hefted back up, to set him to sit just against it.
Lance had to move his hands down to balance as Shiro's hold on him slacked.
"You do terrible things to me," Shiro was chuckling again as he pressed in another kiss to lances lips.
"Good," Lance huffed. "I was nearly starting to think I had no affect at all."
The laugh he received was a deep rumble.
Lance nearly found it hard to breath as Shiro shifted down again and this time settled on his knees.
He ran a hand down his thighs. "My love," Shiro pushed Lance’s thigh up to meet his mouth, and pressed in a sloppy kiss. "You’ve nearly broken an empire."
Lance cracked his own smile finally again. "Is that your way of telling me I’ve distracted you?"
The way Shiro’s eyes shifted as he looked at Lance set lightening through Lance’s veins. "You’ve no idea."
Setting Lance’s thigh over his shoulder, Shiro brought both of their attention back to the center of Lance.
His cock was still a cherry red, the finely shaped tip jutting out towards his stomach.
A couple more kisses leading up Lance’s legs were pressed in, before Shiro was at the junction and Lance could barely breath. Shiro know what he was doing as he huffed out another breath, this time right over Lance’s very sensitive member. His teeth dug into his bottom lip as Lance’s hand managed, trembling to pet forward to Shiro's hair.
This was really happening. Lance wasn't sure how or why but this was really—
"Nuhhhh,” Lance had a hard time holding still, and keeping his balance as Shiro pressed in a soft kiss to the tip. "Oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god,"
"Careful there, pet," Shiro cocked the side of his smile. ”I might like it a bit too much when you call me that."
Lance slapped his hand over his mouth. His fingers clenched at the feel of each word on his dick. It as so good. Lance couldn’t even imagine—
As Shiro’s mouth opened this time over his dick—Lance nearly sagged and oozed out over the shower floor.
Shiro kissed again to the head. "Good boy." He chirped. "You’re being so good for me." His hands smoothed down Lance’s legs again. ‘You’ve been so good for me ever since I got here,"
And the way his eyes flicked up — Lance doubted he was talking about just that night.
"You’ve been perfect for me." Shiro said then.
It was right before he tipped one finger up over Lance’s cock and slid it down from the head, and just at the base — he used it to pull Lance’s cock away from his abdomen and Shiro sunk his mouth over it.
Both of Lance’s hands shot to the stone edge as he tried to keep his hips from bucking up into that—oh god, it felt amazing, Shiro’s mouth was warm and wet and perfect and his tongue moved over — the— the — oh god he pressed his tongue in over the slit — Lance’s mouth dropped open as he tried to stay some semblance of together.
"Yes," Lance gasped and his body snapped forward.
Shiro bobbed his head before pulling off. He shifted up just long enough to dive one hand into Lance’s hair and press a kiss up into his waiting lips.
"You’re close?" Shiro’s voice was back to that thick, gravelly tone.
Lance couldn’t do anything but look at Shiro pleadingly, a weak nod as his fingers grasped at Shiro’s hair. He was so close. He’d been close as Shiro had fucked him. He’d been close after and he was on the fucking god damn edge now!
Shiro looked nearly giddy as he pressed in another kiss before taking Lance completely back into his mouth, sinking down to the root before pulling off again.
It was Lance this time that insistently tugged at Shiro’s face, bringing him in for another sloppy open mouthed kiss.
"I can push you over the edge, babe,” Shiro whispered as he broke the kiss, forehead to forehead, both of them panting again.
"Do it," Lance pleaded.
And with that, Shiro sank again and this time he didn’t pull off—at least not till—
Lance gave a cry as his body arched again and stars exploded over his vision and Shiro’s tongue lapped up the evidence as it spurted from his slit and Lance could barely stop shaking as Shiro took him in again and the warm wet feeling of his mouth was so perfect.
When it was done, Lance rest back against the shower, the spray of the water seemed to melt over him as Shiro still licked and lapped up any leftovers.
Lance blinked against the spray of water as his hand thread through the wet strands of his mates hair.
Was that mercy?
...Lance wasn’t sure it felt like it.
Lance slipped out of the room first. Antok stood, though he didn't seem surprised as Shiro slid out next to him.
"You don't need to come," Shiro said as he secured the cloak around at his shoulders and pulled the hood up. It was much simpler than his normal attire, a deep black with a pin of gold, antiqued just enough to no longer catch the light.
"I want to stay with you as long as you're here," Lance said as he faced Shiro. He nearly stepped back, remembering how tall his partner was at that moment as he had to look up to see his face. He paused, tipping his head to the side. "Unless you think it will draw attention if I'm with you,"
Shiro was already stepping closer and smiling as he leaned down. "I'll leave it up to you."
Lance gave a smirk.
Shiro chuckled. "I doubted you would let me leave you behind."
Lance tipped his head. "Oh well if you insist."
There was amusement but Shiro still gave a huff, "Lets go, if we linger there is definitely a greater possibility of being found."
Lance let his smile linger though as through narrow eyes he looked to Shiro. "It's not all that hard to lose the King's guard,"
The look Shiro gave him was scolding enough but Lance could tell there was just a smidgen of doubt.
Lance still just smiled.
Shiro ended up giving a chuckle as he placed his hands at Lance's hips and pushed him forward down the hall. "Honerva is waiting for us."
"I don't remember you caring all that much about being on time before."
That seemed to take Shiro back for a moment as he straightened to look at Lance.
"Especially when you're the cause," Lance drew out his words.
The smile that slithered on to Shiro's face brought a smile Lances as well, both knowing it was true.
Shiro just flicked his gaze back though, holding up a hand to still Antok behind him. His eyes shifted back to Lance again almost in a sly manner as he spoke. "We'll be alright going alone."
Antok dipped his head in a way of reverence Lance hadn’t seen before as he stepped back to the door.
Lance gave the guard one last look before he pivoted back and strode with Shiro in the direction of the Palace entrance.
"I've never actually been to the temple, out side of my own coronation." Shiro confessed on his way,.
Lance wasn't sure what had lightened his mood, but it was possibly the most he'd ever seen his Alpha smile and Lance's eyes couldn't stray very far as he smiled in return.
"You were chosen on their steps," Lance remarked. "It's beautiful inside, I haven't been for ages."
Shiro chuckled, his steps picking up to reach out to Lance.
Lance simply danced away from him with a chuckle. "You're not very good at this stealthy thing, Sir Guard," Lance reminded.
Scrunching his nose, Shiro looked around as they strode down the open walkways from the Palace to the great white pillars of the Temple of the Lion Goddess.
Lance placed his hands behind his back reverently as he skipped ahead another few steps.
"Some young princes like to play games," Shiro purred as he still strode behind, his gait still easy and relaxed though his gaze followed Lance.
Lance hummed. "I love nothing of the sort."
"Then why do you so often make me chase after you?" Shiro was still smiling, that same uplift of confidence and humor in his voice.
Lance cocked his head to the man. "Maybe I'm making you earn my company. "
"I seem to recall being chosen for that esteemed position," Shiro commented as if he was pointing out something to a jury.
Lance commented off handed. "Well that did help you chances," He tipped his head back to look forward, down the long white-stoned walkway leading up to the Temple.
The laugh he received behind him was so genuine, Lance raised a brow.
But by the time Lance could shoot a look back, Shiro's composed expression was back into an amused smile.
"I take it the Black Lion's recommendation is quite esteemed?' Shiro paused.
Lance gave a long shrug. "She is nice, but not quite as nice to talk to as Blue."
"I rather enjoy her company!" Shiro commented.
"Of course you do, the two of you share the same atmosphere," Lance rolled his eyes. "Those of us on the ground level need to develop skills."
"Such as slipping through my fingers," Shiro finished for him.
Lance couldn't help as his mouth quirked in a smile. "Not just yours," He tsked.
Shiro chuckled again. "And you say you don't like playing games."
Lance turned as he walked, looking back at Shiro. "You're so intent on winning," Lance said leisurely. "If you'd stop and enjoy your life once in a while maybe you'd stop playing games as well."
The shift of Shiro's eyes was one Lance had rarely seen, and true amusement blossoming. "I think I've already won."
Lance scoffed. "My hand was practically given to you." He shifted his big blue eyes. "I didn't know you were the participation trophy kind of guy."
"I would contend it was my expertise before meeting you," Shiro said with a smile. "As you stated, I still stood on those Temple steps the day your father gave back the Black Bayard."
Lance considered. "True enough," He raised a playful hand to his lips to add to the effect. "But I don't see how this refutes my argument of - you're a stick in the mud."
It was the most genuine laugh he had quite possibly ever heard from his Alpha and Lance perked more than ever at the sound, smiling as he saw Shiro's face and expression alight with the action.
"I thought we were speaking of winning games!" Shiro said as his bright grey eyes, for once clear and shining, turned to Lance.
Lance countered with a tip of his head. "Why would I speak of winning games when I so dearly dislike them?"
Shiro still wore a wide grin. "Than the topic of conversations is of your hand?"
"No," Lance said sweeping his hand through the air in a dismissal gesture. "Though true it may have started there, I believe we made a turn to talking of how you derive so little enjoyment out of life, and it disheartens me."
"Does it?" Shiro's brow raised. "Is this how I will earn your hand, my dear prince? Through enjoyment?" His face took on a sort of amused confidence Lance found particularly magnificent. "Because I would point to recent evidence that I can give you that at least."
Lance shared Shiro's smirk but still flashed his eyes to the side.
They were at the foot of the long gradual steps up to the Temple. Lance skipped up a few steps before pivoting. Standing on the steps, he was just taller than Shiro as he smiled down at him.
Shiro simply straightened as he looked to Lance.
"Still a stick in the mud," Lance sing-songed.
Shiro simply smiled. "I'm still winning though,"
Lance rolled his eyes. "You're caught up on that a lot."
"Maybe I've lost a lot," Shiro countered. "I could just like winning a bit of it back."
Lance tipped his head. "You're puzzling me on purpose, I think."
Shiro's mouth lifted into a smile. "I'm taking enjoyment from teasing."
Lance wanted so dearly to maintain a straight face but he cracked and looked away as a laugh broke through. "You're awful." He gasped.
“Oh, I'm not that bad," Shiro's deep voice accompanied a chuckle.
"You twist my words," Lance accused.
Shiro slid up first one step closer to Lance, inching his way back higher. "I've simply learned to play your game well," Shiro chuckled.
Lance frown. "I'm not playing a game."
Shiro still just smiled, taking another step up to match Lance on equal footing. "There's always a game. And I enjoy winning."
"But you don't find enjoyment playing," Lance pressed his own point again.
Shiro took the final step up, and closer to Lance. "Not true," he spoke softer. "It was unexpected, but I do very much enjoy playing with you."
Lance couldn't take his eyes away from the great man over him. The dark cloak he wore may have shrouded his face from anyone else but at that moment, Lance could see through the hood into bright shining eyes, eyes set on him.
"It was unexpected, wasn't it?" Lance murmured.
Shiro smiled. His hand reached up and carefully he brushed his thumb along Lance's cheek. "I'm convinced only a Champion could deserve you."
His words, as was happening more often, seemed foreign but Lance still shook his head. "No." He breathed. "That's not all you are."
Shiro presented his hands, calloused and simple, and with out a single Altean mark. "My accomplishments are all I have."
There was a breath, before Lance focused his gaze on Shiro.
"Had," Lance corrected.
The smile on Shiro's lips was already lifting before with his own sly expression Lance strode past and up the remaining steps to the Temple.
"Still a stick in the mud," Lance called back as he cracked into laughter.
"You still married me," Shiro touted.
As they reached the Temple's great white doors Lance gave a long shrug again. "That is a good point. I did still marry you — despite my hesitance to marry a man that looks like a skunk."
Shiro looked over at him, brow raised.
For a moment, Lance feared he'd strayed too far but then a smile broke again.
Lance considered stilling, letting the comfortable moment still linger with them, but Shiro was drawing the black hood over his head more securely before he stepped forward to the great arching doorways.
The Acolyte at the foray was taken back as Shiro removed the hood and stood in the dim space. The glowing embers of light gave off a blue tint the colored the room in a mystical manner Lance could only guess was intentional.
For once, Lance felt a apart of some horridly wonderful secret as he smugly smiled to the young acolyte.
"My presence was requested by Honerva." Shiro spoke in a hushed but strong tone.
"Of course," the small acolyte squeaked.
Lance tilted his head as he observed the acolyte skitter off. He looked — young. Probably younger than Lance. An apprentice, maybe? Lance knew the Acolytes started quite young.
Across the room though, Shiro was walking forward.
Wordlessly Lance followed, looking around at the smooth walls around him.
They ascended the stairs, Shiro walking a few steps ahead as he led the way up.
Lance wondered how Shiro knew where he was going, but he didn't ask.
At the top of the staircase, two black robed figures strode from the dark halls. They wore masks Lance had never seen on an acolyte before. They stood there without sound.
Shiro looked up, giving Lance the chance to catch up. Lance stood very close, looking up at the shadowy figures. He drifted even closer as the black robes started to step forward. One brought out a hand gesturing towards the hallway as it tipped its head to Shiro.
Lance reached out, his hand grabbing at Shiro's sleeve.
With care, Shiro turned and glanced up at the second figure. The tall robes rustled as their hands came forward, clasping in front of them.
"No one will hurt you here." Shiro murmured to Lance.
Lance could feel the silver accents he'd dressed in dangle as he sharply turned to Shiro.
How do you know?
Shiro cracked a smile, "If they did they'd have to deal with me."
Lance snorted. Though he smiled as well. "Your reputation will tarnish over time with that approach, Black Paladin."
If they were alone, Lance was certain he'd have earned himself a kiss but instead Shiro gave a chuckle. "I don't mind spending capital on you."
If that hadn't already been proven so vividly true, Lance would have giggled but instead he just looked back up to the two shadowy figures still standing at the top of the stairs.
"Come on," Shiro murmured as he stepped up the white polished stairs.
Wary, and watching the figures carefully, Lance stepped up as well. It didn't matter what the black robes had done for their father, their sudden appearance and now prevalent presence didn't sit well with Lance.
"This way, Black Paladin," the one spoke as Shiro reached the top.
A few steps back, the other figure turned to Lance. "Your highness." He dipped his head deeply, bowing at the waist to Lance.
It always took Lance back just a bit as he watched. The respect felt wrongly placed.
"Thank you," Lance found himself murmuring, not sure what else to say.
"If you would, " The figure gestured down the opposite hall than Shiro had gone. "There is something we felt you would enjoy seeing."
Lance tipped his head, not sure how they knew he would be joining Shiro but he still stepped up onto the landing, and nodded to the robbed figure.
With out another word, the figure turned, leading Lance down the hall.
The twists and turns of the hall made Lance question their location, feeling as if he was at the center of the temple before he was led to a set of white double doors. They were massive, big enough to let a lion pass through with ease even. Though as Lance barely brushed his hand over the door they opened, letting in enough space for him to cross in.
Tipping his head, Lance — it felt familiar in a strange way. Investigating, he stepped forward and through the doors.
There was very little sound but as Lance crossed the threshold and was a step away, the doors sprung back closed.
Lance looked back, realizing he was now alone in the room.
His body still half turned, Lance took his time as he looked around the room. It was vast. though the room was circular in nature. There was an enclave of sorts taking up most of the room, raised with lingering steps leading up to it. Directly before it's entrance was a raised cylinder platform only a small single step leading up to it. The only light in the room came from over head where a column of sunlight directly shone down over the small platform.
The door Lance had entered in, he observed, was also only one of five. and in a direct line down from both the massive enclave and raised platform was what had to be the main doors to the room. They were twice the size of the doors Lance had come through, towering over head to nearly the cathedral high ceiling.
The room's architecture arched over head in beautiful carved, clean lines out of white near blueish stone. The only warm colors of the room being the direct sunlight from above.
With carful steps, Lance ventured forward. his eyes squinted in the stark column of light casting the rest of the room in stark shadows.
As he stepped into the light at the foot of the platform, he realized there was a pair of railings on either side with deep blue swirling crystals lit and sparkling from the tops of which.
Narrowing his eyes he stepped up first on the singular step, and second up to the platform. Now bathed in the light, Lance noticed — he didn't feel any warmth from it. Instead a cool feeling rushed through his veins. Lance frowned. His heat hadn't worn off yet it seemed. With out Shiro around he must already feel the loss.
Lance stepped into the middle of the platform, his hands reaching out hesitantly towards the two crystals at either side of him —
He gasped sudden as deep with in the crystal seemed — to light up.
"This temple wasn't built until quite recently."
Lance jerked into pivoting around, dropping his hands. Whatever weird blueish light was gone when he glanced back, making Lance question if it was ever there to begin with.
From the shadows, a dark robed figure moved out. Tall but with slender shoulders.
Lance squinted in the light before he realized. "Honerva."
An articulate, long hand reached up to pull back the woman's hood as she smiled at Lance. Her dark skin was more of a burnt umber than the coppery tone of Lance's, but it matched well with her golden cat-like gaze.
"Your highness," Honerva took another <i>deep</i> bow before looking back at Lance.
"I thought you were meeting with Shiro."
Honerva smiled. "I wanted to talk to you as well, when I heard he brought you."
Lance gave an uneasy nod. "Right." his hands dropped down to his sides.
"Do you know the history of this temple, your highness?"
Swallowing down his hesitance at the prospect of such a boring subject, Lance tried to pull on a smile. "I don't, I'm afraid."
Honerva looked around. "It was built just after you were born, to house the great lions of Voltron."
Puzzled, Lance tipped his head. "But the lions are kept in the hangars of the Palace."
There was a knowing smile on Honerva's face. "That was not always their place."
"Why were they moved?" Lance inquired.
"The lions weren't always as they are now." Honerva explained, a small lift in her voice.
Lance shook his head. "They've always served Altea through their Paladins," on that fact, Lance was well informed.
"It is indeed so," Honerva took another step forward. "Though it is not Altea they serve," she gestured around. "It is in service of the goddess, and her people."
It drew Lances attention to the floor. Carved into the floor were five lines all leading from a pentagon surrounding the platform before the lines shot out to each respective door.
"The lions have a very long history," Honerva said carefully. "For thousands of years, they were not used as they are now, they were not at the whims of a dynasty."
Lance scrunched his nose. "What?" He said almost under his breath.
Honerva looked around a t the doors. "The lions were housed here, because they stood dormant in halls much like these." She held her hand out to the great enclave, its purpose much clearer now. "Every generation a Paladin for each lion was still chosen. Though they would only ever awake in times of great need, as divine intervention from the Goddess herself."
"I've never heard of this." Lance shook his head. "What changed?"
There was a breath, a moment where Honerva's serene look faltered before she gestured to the very platform where Lance stood.
Lance looked down as well.
"There was a way to wake them up that was found. A way that they wouldn't simply prowl back onto their pedestals and go back to sleep, watching like great stone sentries but nothing more."
Honerve looked to the floor, her slender hand gesturing to one of the carved pentagons in the floor. "When you were but a child the Bayards were forged in this room. Tools to make the lions at a Paladins beck and call."
Lance gazed at the carvings before looking to Honerva again.
"By my father?" He inquired. This was — it was all new information to Lance. He'd — for some reason Lance had never doubted the Lions ever present existence as a constant.
Honerva stilled though, her hands clasping before her as she looked out over the room for a moment longer, she looked to Lance then, her eyes suddenly much more — full, her brow kneaded just a bit.
"Yes. It was your father."
Lance stayed still where he was. His life felt like an overwhelming constant of new information pouring over him at all times and this — this one would take some time to full process.
"Were you there?" Suddenly the thought occurred to Lance.
Honerva looked up at Lance, her golden eyes slender as she perceived him before she gave a curt nod. “Yes, your highness, I was indeed present for the forging of the Bayards."
There was something in her manner that was uncomfortable, her lips held tight and her expressions were reined in so tightly they were nearly blank.
"How were they forged?" Lance asked. He finally lingered closer, stepping down from the platform to speak to Honerva on the same level.
Honerva looked for a moment as if she would not answer but then she raised her gaze to Lance. "The lions aren't the only divine intervention on Altea." She narrowed her eyes. "The Goddess blessed a blood line of individuals. They are connected to the lions."
Lance stayed quiet. The Royal Bloodlines. That's why there was never a Royal family with out at least one Paladin member, or their abundant markings scattered across their skin. They were touched by the Goddess herself.
There was still one piece still missing. "What has kept them awake all this time then?"
If everything she said was true, that would mean there had nearly been two generations of Paladins with the forged Bayards.
"They were given a life force," Honerva carefully chose her words this time. "Where they were simply tools before, they were given the means though sacrifice to attain their own semblance of consciousness and to take on the form you are familiar with now."
That made Lance's mind reel. He'd spent nights in Blues cockpit getting to know her. She had a personality, a being all her own. It was distressful to think it wasn't always that way.
From the edge of the room, Lance caught another tall black-robed figure. They were silent as they seem to pop out of nowhere. Seeing Lance's attention grabbed away, Honerva looks back over her shoulder as well.
She turns back to Lance to give another low bow. "Your highness," She said.
Lance nodded at her.
Lifting from the bow, she left Lance with another smile before going to the figure, the two leave the room together.
His interest peaked this time, Lance looked to the raised platform again.
She had said the bayards were forged in that very room.
With a ginger step, Lance was back up on the platform. He hesitated but held his hands out over the crystals again, looking up at the great enclave before him. It was massive, vaulting up clear to the ceiling. The arching doorway in it was big enough to let through one of the lions easily. Though Lance had a suspicion it was meant for a very specific lion.
Behind Lance, there was a soft shuddering, just enough to alert him and he looked over his shoulder.
The main entrance to the room, massive double doors parted, letting through a sliver of light in the blue cast room. Lance smiled when the silhouette coming through was familiar.
"Hullo," Lance said with a smile.
Shiro stopped as the doors, just like with Lance, of their own accord closed behind him. The subtle shift of his eyes up from Lance’s feet to his golden lighted hair was flattering enough for Lance to smile even wider.
"Hello, lovely," Shiro greeted.
Lance gave a giggle, and faced back forward. "I like that pet name. That's a keeper."
Shiro gave his own chuckle. "Have I given you ones you don't enjoy?"
Seeming to ponder, Lance still held his hands out over the crystals. "You know — not really."
The second time Shiro chucked, Lance realized he was much closer, standing just below Lance at the rim of the platform. "I'll be sure to keep trying them out then."
Lance gave a smile. "I'd like that."
Shiro drifted closer, for once shorter than Lanca as he brushed a hand gently at Lance's side. "You really do look — ethereal in this light. It's absolutely beautiful."
With the flattering words back, Lance couldn't help the blush. "Good lighting is always a must."
Shiro didn't answer as he looked over Lance again. "I'm never going to let anything happen to you." His gaze drifted for a moment around the room.
The sudden softening of every muscle though Lance had him nearly swooning over Shiro as both his hands went to Shiro's face, at the level of his chest and he leaned into kiss very softly at Shiro’s lips.
"You are the bravest man I think I've ever met," Lance murmured to him. "If anyone can keep me from it all I'm sure it's you." He said as he smiled.
Shiro gave him a smile in return. "It's a promise than." He raised his brow. "Stay with me forever, keep letting me see you bathed in sunlight, and I will keep you safe."
It felt horribly cheesy but Lance couldn't help from loving it. He made a motion like he was considering before he nodded. "That sounds like a good deal to me."
At some point, Lance had stepped closer to Shiro and Lance felt as both of Shiro's hands slid down his sides, carefully mapping the shape of him as he also moved his hands slow to rest at his hips. Lance nearly closed his eyes. It felt so dearly wonderful.
Shiro shifted his gaze down to the crystals at Lance's finger tips. "What's this?"
"I want to try something." Lance said softly. He held a finger up to his mouth to Shiro indicating he wasn't quite sure if he should be doing what he was doing or not. He pulled away to stand back in the middle of the platform. "It'll take just a moment."
Shiro's nod was a clear indication he didn't mind waiting, so Lance extended his hands back out to over over the crystals. His interest had been peaked after all. He just had to know.
Shiro shifted a bit more behind him, looking at least mildly interested as Lance carefully lowered his hands. As the pads of his fingers alighted down on the crystals they lit up that same bright blue again, responding.
As Lance pressed more of his fingers down suddenly the rim of the platform lit up, alighting Lance in a ring of blue.
Marveling around him, Lance looked back to the crystals to firmly press his palms down on it this time.
Every etching in the room lit up, like soaring lightening through the room all five doors were suddenly lit and before him the symbols over the great enclave shone with such brilliance Lance was convinced it may nearly as bright as a full moon.
Lance smiled as he looked around. It was amazingly magical to see the dark towering room suddenly lit up.
At his waist then, Lance felt a s Shiro's hands came up. His expression was unreadable but Lance guessed Shiro was worried all the commotion would get them found.
He carefully took his hands away and the room was plunged immediately into darkness, the blue light all sucked back to the alter. He wondered about the ritual that forged the bayards, if he was but a child he wouldn't remember it even if he had attended, but Lance wondered at the spectacle of it. If just touching the crystals did this, what would that look like?
"Did you know that would happen?" Shiro asked from behind him. His hands were still warmly framing Lance’s waist.
Lance shook his head. "No." He answered as he peered back over his shoulder. "But I had wondered." He giggled. "Honerva gave me a run down on how the bayards were formed. I had wondered if my father could do it, you would think I could too, right?" He turned though, wiggling around to face Shiro, even letting his arms rest at his shoulders, melting in their bony way down his back.
Shiro didn't seem so pleased, looking around the room. "This room feels eerie."
Lance looked around as well. "I guess." The wonderment from just moments ago had yet to subside but Lance could see from Shiro's perspective how the dark room could feel otherworldly.
"Come on," Shiro beckoned, slipping from Lance’s hold to turn.
As they left the room, the great doors opened for them again with out prompting Lance looked back at the platform one more time.
Lance had sincerely thought they were going to leave, but the moment Shiro was certain they were secluded, Lance was backed into a carved out enclave, decoratively designated for a small side table and a vase. Shiro knocked the vase from its spot with out a care and had Lance lifted up on to the table.
Shiro's mouth hotly attached to Lance's neck, melding up and over the mark fiercely as Lance gasped and his back arched. He was still absurdly sensitive and his glands still swollen. But as always, Shiro’s touch over the mark had him panting and clamoring for a better hold on his mate.
“I'm always gonna keep you safe." The growled statement was gasped into Lance's skin.
Legs coming up to grip at Shiro's waist, Lance cracked his eyes open to look at Shiro. Shiro earnestly pushed Lance back so he was pinned against the wall as he fumbled between them with their clothing.
"We shouldn't," Lance gasped. But he was already half smiling as Shiro finally looked up at him.
With just the faintest of nods from Lance, Shiro was crashing mouths together in a consuming kiss. Lance gave a small squeak, but his hand lifted to Shiro’s face, cupping as white hair tickled over his nose. He always felt so impossibly ravished with Shiro kissing him — and Lance couldn’t get enough of it.
Shiro was shaking his head as he broke the kiss and for a moment Lance thought that they might stop.
At least until Shiro's eyes flicked up to meet Lance's, the intensity of his gaze nearly burning Lance to ash before he spoke. ‘“I'll never give you away. I’ll never treat you like a trophy like that.”
Lance nodded. "I know."
This time more concerned, he raised both his hands to Shiro's face. Somewhere along the way, his carefree and even flirty Paladin had been replaced with a much ore somber and earnest one. Nearly frantic as he held at Lance, Like he was so fiercely trying to keep Lance away from something, keep him close.
"I won't use you." Another promise bled out from Shiro.
Lance shook his head. "My — Shiro." He landed on. "You're the one person here that — seems to sincerely want that."
The truth of it shot through Lance, making his throat constrict at that moment and a wince go through him.
"I've never thought —“ Lance gulped down air. "This bond was never gonna work out, I thought. But now — please don't promise me something you don't mean."
Shiro seemed to look down over Lance, considering his words more carefully this time. "You're always going to be safe with me." He repeated.
Lance nodded. "I can accept that one."
"No." Shiro shook his head. "You don't understand." He looked—
Lance blinked several times at his Paladin. He looked so impossibly weak at that moment.
"I'll never —“ He cleared his throat, seeming to have trouble forming the words. "I can't tell you — but you're just so — I'll never hurt you." His eyes were glazing over fast Lance realized as he watched his paladin.
"Shiro," Lance nearly felt as he started to tremble.
What did that mean? Lance wanted to ask so fiercely but at that moment he knew he couldn’t. He knew he just — there was no way for him to form the words.
Brushing his thumbs over Shiro's cheek, he still looked so desperately at Lance, like Lance maybe had an answer for him.
Lance just shook his head, leaning forward to connect their foreheads. "I promise I won't leave you, I just promised you."
Shiro opened his mouth just as if he might say something — might slip up just once and let Lance in to what ever barrier he always refused to talk around —
The siren was low in starting pitch before escalating to a nigh shrill. Lance knew that sound. It as an alert. It was an alert designed to assemble military forces and tell civilians to get to safety.
They were about to be under attack.
Both Lance's and Shiro's heads jerked up at the sound of it.
"Shiro," Lance turned his eyes to his mate.
Shiro looked back with a careful gaze.
"We have to get you back to space." Lance said as what might happened slowly sank into him.
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