Updated: Apr 12, 2019
When Lance pressed his hand over the training rooms lock pad the door whooshed open. Keith was startled as he scrambled to stand, facing Lance.
Lance had donned a simple silver circlet along with the free moving triang cloths.
“Your Highness,” Keith spoke as he came closer, it was at nearly a jog.
Till Lance looked up at him — and Keith slowed, edging just around Lance’s personal space.
“Shiro has a lot of confidence in you,” Lance said simply. He knew his voice wasn’t yet—he wasn’t relaxed around Keith. His jaw jutted just a bit and his eyes narrowed. He needed this man was a mantra in his head.
Keith gave a grave nod.
“Is it well placed?” Lance asked.
He’d kissed Lance—and Shiro hadn’t torn his fingernails off because of it. No he’d used Keith, he’d twisted the kiss and pulled it around to hold it like a knife to Lance’s throat. Lance needed to figure out all he could from this man.
Keith gave another nod.
The room was still for several more long seconds. Before Lance gave his own nod, and jump started forward.
“Lance,” Keith tried as Lance passed him.
Headed straight to the armors rack Lance pulled a short sword down before retrieving a second.
As Lance turned he hurled the sword tip to face off Keith.. Agile, Keith jumped away, his feet sliding apart as he prepared to face Lance, his brow creased.
“I’m not good at a lot of things.” Lance admitted as he looked over the second sword in his hand. “I’ve been trained to fight. When I was young i had lessons everyday—but then I presented. And I grew complacent.” Lance sucked in breath. “I can shoot, and it’s brought my family a lot of honor.“ Lance made a face as he grasped the handle of the short sword.
“But I don’t know remember how to adequately use this,” Lance admitted. “All my weaponry was made for me. It’s long and thin—but it can’t—“ He looked back down at the sword.
Keith’s adjusting his feet echoed in the room before he took a step forward. He raised his hand, eyes on Lance as he placed his fingers over the flat of the blade held out to him, tracing the blade as he took another step closer.
Lance winced. He should have been able to hold his expression in control but as Keith glided closer, he winced.
Mid-step, Keith halted. His fascinating magenta eyes didn’t waver on Lance.
It was almost enough for Lance to believe everything Keith had sworn to him. But his own eyes narrowed. Almost. But not enough.
“Your Highness, I’m sure your proficient in the most advantageous—“
“I’m not resourceful,” Lance cut in. He was growing tired of being humored. “I cant just pick up a sword. I can’t just take someone on —“ He grit his teeth. “Not even when it’s mattered…”
Keith stood for a moment longer.
"Do you remember the guards you caught assaulting me?" Lance asked.
Keith was silent before giving a nod.
"I needed aid." Lance concluded.
“You had those guards away from me, in less than a second.” Lance continued. “They practically dragged me down that hallway before you got there.” There was a sneer in his voice, a disgust for his own actions.
Keith gave a slow nod.
“Here,” He came forward. “You’re grasping it like it’s fork—it’s not.” He showed how he grasped his own sword. “Your hold needs to be strong on it, not nimble—it’ll get knocked from your hands otherwise.”
It was tentative, but Keith reached forward then, adjusting Lance’s grip, with light hands. His fingers were rough, just like Lance had remembered them.
And Lance’s stomach dropped. He wasn’t sure he could go through with his own plan at that moment.
Lance looked up as Keith finished, his hands falling away, it was a light touch, like he was afraid he’d crack Lance.
“Thank you,” Lance said, so very grateful he was understood. He could make that emotion come to his face. He’d used that mask in court many a time. It was time he started pulling those masks out, started looking through his own repertoire and seeing what he could use.
Keith gave a nod.
And just for a glimmer—for half a moment, Lance had him. His mouth lifted and his eyes brightened.
Maybe Keith actually believed all of those things he’d said to Lance. Maybe it was a truthful confession of loyalty and adoration…
“First thing is foundation…” Keith started, hands gesturing down at his feet.
Lance smiled as he did his best to mimic, and pulled out his attentive mask.
His father distrusted the Acolytes. Lance observed the way for the first time completely unguarded he wore a look of pure disgust at the red-robed men that attended to him.
Lance blinked and gave a nod as an acolyte passed him. The few still standing around his father's bed were still speaking in hushed tones, still no doubt informing Lance's father of any further rules for Allura’s ascension.
When Alfor’s eyes finally graced Lance standing at the folds of curtains, leading to the blocked off bedroom, he gave an abrupt wave of his hand. It looked more like he was rejecting some rather foul food from the look in his face, but without comment the red robed men left, filing past Lance on their way towards the door.
Once they had all left, Lance stepped forward to his father's bed, the evening candles already lit around them, though the moon had yet to rise outside the vast windows.
"That circlet," Alfor’s gaze was back on the silver circlet at Lance's forehead.
Lance stood a bit straighter. "It’s one of my favorite."
He came forward, not bothering with a chair this time as he sat down at the edge of the king’s massive bed. "You placed it upon my head,” Lance said cheerfully. "When I was younger, I was coordinated with this circlet." Lance tried to snicker and smile though as he pointed out. "Though it fits quite better now."
"It was crafted for your mother."
Lance"s mouth snapped shut.
"She wore it for such—" Alfor’s face seemed to fall. "It was such a short amount of time."
He’d never been told that.
"I’m sorry," Lance looked away. "I never realized it was such a reminder of her."
His father was silent again for a moment more.
“I—“ he stopped .
Lance looked up through his lashes, his eyes cloudy. This this was so unlike the strong, cheerful man Lance had once known.
"I regret the moment those acolytes handed me that circlet." This father admitted. His voice was strained, pulled thin as he spoke, like each word was a hurtle.
Lance frowned. "I'm sorry, you never got more time with her."
Alfor seemed to break then, his voice very small. "I didn’t have a choice."
“I—" Lance wasn’t sure what to say.
"She cared for you more than anyone else." Alfor said solemnly.
Lance nodded. "I would have liked to have remembered her."
“She was amazing.” Alford eyes slid to the window. “I’ve always missed her so terribly.”
Lance swallowed as he looked to the dusk outside the window.
As his eyes were turned away, Alfor reached for him, old fingers dug into Lance’s arm.
Eyes snapping back to his father, Lance’s mouth dropped open as he reached for his father's hands.
“Don't ever — don’t go to the temple. Don’t ever let them lead you to the temple.”
Lances head cocked.
“I can’t—“ Alford voice broke. “I don’t think, for what I’ve done, I can’t be sure I’ll ever be able to see her again.”
“Father,” Lances breath woodshed from him as his father's grip tightened at his arm.
“I failed her,”
For the first time in Lance’s entire life he saw as his father's eyes swelled with tears, though none spilled over.
“And I placed that burden on your head,”
The age in his father's face was so impossibly apparent at that moment.
“I don’t have time to right this,”
“Father” Lance whispered desperately then.
“Don’t let them lead you to the temple.” His father repeated, his head shaking.
Lance shook his own head. What was —? Lance opened his mouth, licking his lips as he tried to process.
“I don’t understand —“
Lance’s head jerked to where the curtains parted for an entry.
Ghostly and slender, Honerva stood in the doorway. At her sides were two tall deep blue armored King’s Guards.
From next to Lance Alfor drops his hood on Lance.
“Pardon us, Your Highness,” Honerva gave a bow to Lance. “But you father is due for his nightly medication.”
Lance’s mind still felt like he’d just stepped off a whirling top. So stumbling and still finding his balance, Lance gave a nod. “Right.” He stood. “Of course,”
Lance stepped closer to his father even as he stood, leaning into press a kiss to his father's head.
“My dear Lance,” his father murmured, his hands at Lance’s hands. “You’ll return?”
Lance nodded emphatically. “I will always return for my family,” he said trying to sound as chipper as he could.
Alfor’s gaze on him was of little comfort though as Lance pulled back away. “You are my sweetest child .”
Lance gave a breathy smile, “compared to tigress Allura I’m not all sure that’s saying much!” He chuckled.
That managed to lift his father into a smile.
“I’ll return in the morning,” Lance reassured.
His father gave a nod before Lance turned from the bed and made his way past the black-robed woman and her small entourage of guards.
When Lance returned to their room — It was dark. Light sprung from the office at Lance’s right. Lance thought about parting the doors just a bit more to venture in — but instead looked away to the bedroom.
Removing the circlet felt like such a relief before he pulled the trinkets and gems and things away from his uniform.
It was the sound of shuffling that brought Lance’s attention.
Shiro had opened the office door to step out. Just a step enough the light still reflected off him as he looked to Lance.
“Lance...?” Shiro’s voice was inquiring as he looked to Lance across the room.
Lance turned. He removed the earrings he was finishing with, slipping them off to his vanity before he fully turned to look at Shiro.
“You’re back from your fathers.” It was a conclusion as Shiro’s face smoothed with the words.
Lance gave a nod.
Lance knew he seemed —out of sorts but he couldn’t help it
He was hoping Shiro wouldn’t notice it, but as the man tipped his head to Lance, it was clear he hadn’t fooled anyone.
Lance shook his head. “No. About the same.”
Shiro gave a small nod. “ah,” Though his gaze on Lance was still inquiring.
“I remind him of my mother.” Lance offered.
Shiro seemed to still.
Lance went on with a sigh. ”I feel incredibly guilty for it.” His eyes drifted off. “Allura's mother was a very advantageous match. I don’t believe they bore any ill will there, but it never seemed to have much feeling either. But my mother—he swears he loved her. They were mated even. And now he misses her.”
“Lance,” Shiro stepped forward, flicking the living room light on as he went with the wave of his hand over the sensor at the wall.
The room flooded with warm crisp light then.
“He shouldn’t make you feel that way,”
Lance’s head jerked. Just as Shiro came forward, Keith emerged from the office as well. Dressed in black and red, slim-fitted and though adorned, more simple armor than most.
The surprise — Lance had in no way expected there to be another person in their rooms at that moment.
Shiro didn’t even glance back at Keith before he was before Lance.
“He’s dying,” Lance breathed as he looked past Shiro to Keith.
The boy stood just inside of the living room in the long light caste from the office.
“And he misses her,” Lance explained again, this time with emphasis.
Keith’s expression twinged in an unpleasant sort of way.
Shior stepped into their bedroom before Lance, his expression as well seemed tight though— Lance narrowed his gaze. It was reined in on a short leash it looked like.
“I’m sure he does,” Shiro’s voice was—
It wasn’t concerned. In fact, it was more like he was trying not to say the words through gritted teeth.
Lance glanced back to Keith. His own expression looked tight and controlled.
Lance held very still. It was a challenge not to narrow his own eyes, to try and read between every line and every gesture.
“He still shouldn’t make that your fault.” Keith said with his same growl.
Lance side-eyed the mess of a red Paladin. Even they wouldn’t be that stupid to criticize a dying king.
“He’s right.” Shiro’s gaze flashed up to Lance. “His reason…” Shiro’s voice broke off.
Considering how to best keep the conversation from turning a direction Lance wasn’t comfortable so he sidestepped. “I’m sure he doesn’t mean to.” Lance shook his head. “I don’t believe he’s ever meant to hurt me.”
Shiro’s eyes narrowed again on Lance.
Keith, near them, crossed his arms, but didn’t say anything.
Lance’s gaze jumped from the two, before he turned back to his vanity, removing the few rings he wore. The sound of them dropping into the small silver dish was the only in the room for several seconds.
“Keith,” Shiro’s voice was deep, gravely even as he stepped again up closer to Lance.
Lance’s eyes almost on instinct slipped closed as Shiro’s hand smoothed at the top of his spine. It was nearly agonizing in the way he slowly drew it down, dragging his palm over each vertebrae. His breath nearly dropped out of him as Shiro's hand fell away. But Lance’s system had already been flooded with the thick hormone endused feeling of calm.
Good. Lance could work with calm. A shot of calm would do nothing but help him in this.
Lance looked up to find Keith shockingly close to him. He effortlessly lifted Lances hand up, pressing a kiss to the Lance’s fingers.
“I trust I’ll see you for another lesson tomorrow.” A smile lifted Keith’s lips.
He was looking forward to it. Lance could keep him waiting. He had a hook lodged in him—but he could also wait, he could reel him in slow if he wanted it to feel like a surprise.
Lance managed his own smile. “Of course.”
Keith gave him his own full smile before he released Lance’s hand and turned back towards the door.
“Black paladin,” Keith wore an entirely genuine smile this time as he clasped at Shiro’s hand.
The man gave his own cocky smile to Keith before a playful punch on the shoulder. “Be on time for once tomorrow.”
Keith waved a hand, “got it, sir.” He said sarcastically before he was striding back through their living room to the door.
Lance watched as the door finally clicked shut and they were left alone.
“I thought you’d be gone longer,” Shiro said. “I’m sorry, Keith—“
Lance waited, his head tipping back to his Paladin. He wanted to hear how Shiro would finish the statement.
“He just feels familiar.” Shiro’s voice was low, eyes a bit unfocused, like lost in memory. Before he spoke again, his head snapped up. “It’s comfortable for me to have him around.”
Lance nodded. He could understand that at least. It still — Lance faced his vanity as he reached down to slip his boots off of his feet.
He was met with—a hand, so carefully balancing Lance.
It startled Lance, and shakily, Lance managed to slip his shoe off. “Thank you,” he murmured.
The kindness caught him off guard as he adjusted and shifted.
Shiro gave a deep hum as he grasped Lance’s hand.
There was no stopping the blush as Shiro lifted Lance’s hand to his mouth and pressed a kiss. It was—tender, lingering.
And Lance felt the flutter in him as he finally lifted his eyes to watch.
He pulled away a moment later. “I need to hang this cape up.” He takes as he started to his wardrobe. “It will wrinkle.”
He just earned a chuckled hum before Lance was released.
It wasn’t till he heard a heaved sigh that Lance realized Shiro had trailed into their sitting room behind him. Lance pulled the wardrobe closed as he looked through to the room. He just—he\is chest filled as he watched his mate through the doorway.
From Calcutta;action to—Lance knew what he wanted so dearly. He just didn’t dare utter it, even to himself.
For the possibly the first time ever, Lance got to watch as Shiro let himself drop, and flopped back into their couch. It was almost comical to see the way the regal folds of fabric and polished adorned armor all wrinkled and crumpled across the couch cushions as Shiro leaned his head back with a long exhaled huff.
Lance stepped forward now with bare feet across their plush white carpet.
“I am so exhausted.” Shiro confessed as Lance approached the back of the couch.
He looked it. Tired wrinkles across his forehead, dark skin around his eyes, and even in the way he smiled like it wasn’t quite full entirely.
This—was the Shiro Lance couldn’t help himself from adoring.
Carefully, Lance reached forward to dust his hand through the white floof of hair, combing his fingers through it and pulling it away from Shiro’s face.
“Never stop,” Shiro murmured as his eyes slipped closed.
It wasn’t till Lance was pulling his fingers back again through Shiro’s hair, dusting back to scratch his fingers back over Shiro’s scalp that Lance had a better idea.
Grasping the flowing folds and spans of fabric from his own formal attire, Lance stepped out and around the couch.
Shiro opened his eyes, clear he was about to protest before Lance was lifting one foot, and Shiro’s head was up, watching as Lance crawled into his lap. Facing him, with what Lance hoped was a sneaky smile he seated himself carefully and steadily in Shiro’s lap.
It felt nice. Lance felt his breath heave just a bit, but it felt nice.
Shiro’s mouth was still open as he watched Lance but Shiro made no comment as Lance got comfortable.
“Is this okay?” Lance checked as he sat back, straddling Shiro’s knees.
Light grey eyes flashed up like lightning to Lance’s face before Shiro gave a hasty nod. “Great.” He managed.
Lance gave a chuckle. It was honestly—it felt exhilarating. Is this what mates were supposed to feel like?
Shiro was much more awake as he raised his own hands, smoothing both palms over Lance’s thighs at either side of his own hips.
Biting his lip, Lance leaned back, his hands placed back over Shiro’s knees.
“Think you can hold me up?” Lance inquired with a shift of his head.
Shiro gave another one of those smiles, a bit sly and playful and all Lance’s before he answered. “I’m sure I can.”
Lance gave his own cheeky smile before he shifted his hips forward—and rolled his hips down and ground his groin over Shiro’s.
The thrill that seemed to light through Shiro was entirely worth it and he was hit instantly as it was clear his entire attention was consumed on Lance.
Lance closed his own eyes at the action. A buzz alighted through him. It was blissful.
“Again,” Shiro growled.
Lance was more than happy to accommodate as he rolled hips back forward, resting more of his weight back on Shiro’s spread knees so Lance could lift his hips higher as he rolled them again.
It was warm friction that settled in Lance as he ground again, it spread through his body easily, sliding in through his veins like syrup. He bit his lip again this time as he ground again and his mind numbed with the warmth. His enjoyment shuddered out of him in a broken breath.
“Let me,” Shiro spoke as he leaned forward, his hands gliding up to Lance’s sides, fingers catching in the soft fabric hanging over Lance in thin veils.
Lance could only answer with another shuddered breath as his mouth dropped open as Shiro's hands shifted and directed his hips back down. This time, Shirt pushed his own hips up and they ground back together.
“Yessss,” Lance pushed from his lips.
It was like drinking fine wine, it flooded through him, in a pleasant subtle way that had Lance flying.
Shiro’s strong hands slowed Lance, making each grind down slow and agonizing and Lance let out his own groan as finally Shiro pushed up against him and they dragged against each other.
“Again,” Lance demanded as his eyes cracked open.
Shiro was very close to him. His breath was warm too over Lance’s lips.
“Anything, Your Highness,” Shiro huffed out breath with each word.
And he bumped his hips up harder that time, grinding himself in against Lance to the point Lance was very aware that his own heat of arousal wasn’t alone.
Lance’s head fell back as he frantically jutted his hips forward over the bulge.
Shiro’s hands extend, griping up and grasping back under Lance’s rib cage, holding him up and inl pace before he bucked his groin up in against Lance.
Each thrust was amazing and cruel in the friction as it sloshed through Lance, he felt caught, like he was poured full with every pleasured slow and deliberate thrusts and like it was never enough.
“Faster,” Lance demanded through breath.
Shiro smiled at him. Before shaking his head,