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What We Do for Victory

Chapter Text

Being an Omega on Earth wasn’t easy, but things were getting better, Keith and Lance were proof of that.

They were the first two Omegas to ever enroll into the Garrison. Yes, Keith had dropped out, and Lance had only just made it to fighter class, but Keith had been the best pilot the Garrison had seen since Shiro, and Lance had made it to fighter class, the highest level trainee pilots could get. The point was, things were getting better. Omegas were being allowed into roles that were typically dominated by Beta’s, or by Alpha’s.

Unfortunately, not everywhere in the universe was so progressive.

-

“You want us to do what?!” Lances voice rang out, pitched high with indignation. The Paladins sat with Allura and Coran at a round table. They had been discussing the particulars of their newest mission.

“It is only temporary, until the talks are over,” Allura spoke calmly, like a mother reasoning with a child.

“No,” It was Keith this time, his voice hissing through gritted teeth. Allura settled her steady gaze on him. He sat hunched over in his chair, looking like he was about to throw a fit.

“Do you have a better suggestion?” she asked, knowing he didn’t. Keith glared back at her, eyes filled with indignation. Everyone could see the visible effort he put into not looking away, like a good Omega would.

Lance butted in, “how about any plan that doesn’t involve pretending that Keith and I are fuck toys!”

Allura closed her eyes to collect herself. She’d known that there would be a lot of opposition to this plan, but she had hoped for at least some support from the other Paladins. They had remained very silent throughout the whole meeting, especially Shiro, who had known about the plan beforehand.

“Lance, that is not what I suggested. You will be pretending to be Castle Consorts, Omegas trained and raised to please alphas.”

“Not much difference,” Pidge muttered. Allura gave her a disapproving look. The green Paladin stared at the table, lips pursed in distaste.

“There is nothing wrong with choosing a life led by your sexuality,” Allura said, a little insulted by the Paladins reaction to the position. When she had been young Omega Consorts were highly regarded, and sought after throughout the universe.

“You said they were raised into the position, that’s not choosing,” Keith snapped back, disgusted with the whole concept.
Shiro, at last, spoke, “we’re getting off track. Keith, Lance, I understand why you don’t want to do this. Back home you both worked hard to destroy the idea that Omegas are only useful for sex, but we need you to do this. These people have been able to resist Zarkon for 10,000 years, and they’ve agreed to share their methods with us, to join us against Zarkon, if we can successfully negotiate terms with them on their planet. They have very strict rules for what Omegas can and can’t do. Being a Paladin… breaks those rules,” he looked guilty as he finished his sentence.

“It breaks practically every rule they have,” Allura reinforced, then as consolation she added, “It’s only five days.”

The tension in the room had dissipated slightly after Shiro had spoken. He was the leader of the Paladins for a reason. He had the innate ability to reason and concentrate of on the task at hand, which his alpha status only enhanced.

“Why do we have to come at all?” Lance asked, sounding resigned.

“Yeah, couldn’t we just leave them on the ship?” Hunk chimed in. Allura shook her head.

“They insisted we land the ship on their planet. There’s nowhere else for you to go.”

There was a moment of silence as Lance and Keith considered their options, or their lack of options. Lance broke the silence.

“Isn’t there anything else we could pretend to be?” his voice was small, almost desperate.

“Not unless you’re willing to bond with an alpha.”

Again, silence.

Again, Lance broke it.

“So, what- what do we have to do?” It was confirmation that he would go along with the plan.

“Mainly, look pretty, crack a few jokes, listen to some worse ones,” Coran pitched in, giving Lance a grin, trying to reassure him. Lance gave him back a wavering smile.

“Well we definitely need to find a different option for Keith, he can’t do any of those things,” he tried to joke, partially to make himself feel better.

Keith glared at Lance, but his eyes only promised maiming, not murder.

“If Lance is willing to do it I’ll do it too,” Keith grumbled. Lance looked at him in surprise, and then smiled, properly this time. He had been expected a cutting comeback, this was a nice surprise.

“I’ll do this way better than you,” he teased before adding, “but, uh, there’s nothing wrong with not being a typical Omega, you’ve got your own talents,” it sounded corny. He’d said it because Keith could have been a dick, and he hadn’t been. Lance felt like he should extend an olive branch back even if it was an awkward olive branch.

Keith rolled his eyes.

“Can we move on to what we need to do,” he shifted uncomfortably. Allura pounced on the chance to move on with their plans now that she had their consent, despite how begrudging it was.

“Yes, as I said, we’ll be there for five days. There will be a welcome party the evening on which we land. Talks will start the day after. We are all required attend the initial discussions. After that, if all goes well, Shiro and I will work out the finer details. The rest of you can relax and enjoy the scenery… or hide in the castle if you want.”

The tension dropped again, Allura suspected that the suggestion of hiding had been well liked.

“Right, and how are me and Lance supposed to act?” Keith asked, he wasn’t going let anyone shy away from what they were making him and Lance do.

“Coran will teach you everything you need to know,” Allura turned to her adviser, who stood up from his chair.

“Leave that to me boys!” he proclaimed, slamming his hand against his chest, “I happen to be very proficient in wooing.”

That statement earned some goodhearted sniggers from all of the Paladins. Allura tried not to sigh.

“Why don’t you both go with him now, we don’t have much time for you to perfect your guises. We land tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow?!” Lance and Keith exclaimed together. They glanced at each other before turning back to Allura.

“We can’t become believable consorts in a day,” Lance continued for the both of them.

“As I have been saying throughout this whole meeting, we do not have much choice in this matter. Just do you best.”

“Now then, follow me,” Coran said cheerfully as he stepped away from the table. Lance groaned and Hunk gave his hand a little squeeze. Keith threw Shiro a stranded look, which was returned with sympathetic eyes. They were small gestures of comfort, nice, but not very useful.

“Come on my little protégées,” Coran called over his shoulder as the door leading out opened in front of him. Lance and Keith slid out of their seats and followed him.

Coran led them through the castle and to a room they had never been in before. It was large and colourful. Reams of fabric sat on top chests that lined the room. On the back wall straps dangled from the wall. Lance did not like it in here, and from the look on Keith’s face, neither did he. Coran walked into the centre of the room and spun around to face the two Omegas, who hung back at the entrance.

“Lesson one, avoid all confrontation,” Coran announced, standing tall and proud.

Lance gave Keith a side glance and muttered, “this is going to go very badly.”

“Lesson two, never interrupt your superiors,” Coran spoke a little louder, to make a point to Lance.

“Is lesson three, don’t state the obvious?” Keith mocked. Coran frowned, crossing his arms.

“No, it’s appear pretty at all times.”

“I’ve got that one down already,” Lance gave his hair a flick for emphasis.

“Well you have to be good at something,” Keith teased. Lance spluttered, heat rising up his neck to his cheeks. He tilted his head to the side slightly and cast his eyes down away from Keith.

“Excellent!” Coran bellowed out, “exactly like that Lance.”

Lance jumped, startled.

“Oh, no. Don’t stop. Keith I hope you got a good look at that. That was a perfect example of subtle Omega submission and sexual interest.”

Lance snapped his body language into a neutral position, going redder than he thought he’d ever been. He refused to look at Keith.

“Maybe we should go back to lesson one,” Keith suggested, also refusing to look at Lance.

“Mmm, well alright, always best to start at the beginning,” Coran agreed.

-

The day ended up being the most embarrassing ones of Lance and Keith’s lives. Coran had taught them how to stand and act in front of Alphas. Worse, sometimes he had demonstrated. It had been like watching your middle-aged uncle teach you how to flirt.

Lance was actually glad when the day ended, despite the fact that he knew that in the morning they would be landing on the planet, and be forced to act out everything they had just learned.

Keith and Lance both fell into their beds that night, exhausted, and entirely unprepared for what was to come.

Chapter Text

Lance was jolted awake by someone pulling off his headphones and yelling “Wake up!”

Surprise caused Lance to flail in bed, erratic movements getting him tangled up in the sheets.

“Woa, wh- fu- quiznak Keith! What was that f-!”

Lance froze, indignation and voice disappearing as he took in what Keith was wearing.

“We’re landing in thirty minutes, Coran gave us a wake up announcement TWO HOURS ago,” Keith hovered over Lance, headphones gripped tightly in his right hand, the other one resting on his hip, his bare hip.

The most noticeable thing about his outfit was how little there was of it. Sitting low on his hips, very low, low enough to see the lines of his hip bone delving into groin, was a deep scarlet… he wanted to call it a skirt, but it wasn’t. It was more like someone had wrapped two small, tiny, miniscule, sarongs across either sides of his hips. It barely covered anything.

Keith’s nose flared, taking in Lance’s sweet scent, which likely betrayed his thought about a scantily dressed Keith. Lance had to force his gaze up, away from the revealing fabric before his mind contorted Keith into any positions that would make his scent even sweeter with arousal. As his eyes roamed higher they paused on Keith’s chested. Draped across his shoulders was a square scarf made of a transparent crimson material. It sat over his shoulders and chest, but didn’t actually hide anything. For a moment Lance admired how well toned Keith was. His chest wasn’t broad, but it was covered in clear, hard muscle.

After a moment, or a few moments, of admiring, Lance finally tore his gaze up to Keith’s face, which was full of thunder.

“So, uh, what’s with the fashion statement?” Lance knew it was the wrong thing to say, but he couldn’t resist making an angry Keith angrier.

Keith threw Lances headphones, which were actually Pidge’s, at him and used his now empty hand to point at the end of the bed.

“They’re what the Altean’s consider Omega clothes, and you’ll be wearing it too.”

Lance squeaked, he did not like the sound of that. His eyes followed Keith’s finger. At the bottom of the bed was a pile of blue fabric. Lance’s heart sank.

Keith marched over to the clothes.

“Get up.”

Lance untangled himself from his sheets and slipped out of the bed. Keith was picking up the darker, navy blue parts of the outfit along with a black strap of fabric. Lance looked inquisitively at the pieces of cloth as Keith toyed with them, rubbing them between his fingers, as if nervous. Lance peeked at his face. It looked like there was a small blush over his cheeks.

“Going to teach me how to put it on?” Lance asked. Keith’s blush deepened.

“We don’t really have time for that,” he spoke to the bed instead of Lance.

“Do I get to wear my own clothes then?” Lance asked, hopeful, despite knowing that the answer was probably no. Keith fidgeted and spoke to the bed again.

“No.”

Sensing that he wasn’t going to get any more information Lance probed Keith some more.

“… do I have to go naked?”

“No,” Keith spoke with a little more force this time, “you- I-,” he sighed, “I need to put it on you. I don’t have time to teach you.”

Lance’s mouth dropped open. This was not happening. Of all the people in the world Lance was willing to let dress him Keith was at the very bottom of the list.

“You’re going to dress me?” Lance squawked, trying to get across how horrified he felt about the idea.

“Yes,” Keith looked equal parts angry and embarrassed.

“I’m not a child,” Lance said, whining like one.

Keith snorted, “Could have fooled me.”

That comment started a bubble of annoyance in Lance’s stomach.

“I don’t need someone to dress me!”

“Do you know how to put this on?” Keith asked, tone irritated despite how red his face was.

“Just tie it at the waist, like a sarong.”

“Lance I don’t know what a sarong is but it’s definitely not this,” Keith gestured to his hips, he sounding exasperated.

“If you don’t know what it is how do you know that?” Lance pointed out, puffing out his chest at his superior logic. Keith gave him another irritated look.

“So you’ve seen people walking around dressed like this?” Keith’s face went redder, Lance couldn’t tell if that was from rage, or embarrassment at having to point out what he was wearing.

“No, but-.”

“We don’t have time for this,” he snapped, moving towards Lance.

“I can do this myself!” Lance refused to back down.

“No you can’t!”

“Yes I can!”

“Stop being like this!”

“Like what? A normal human being?!”

“Just strip!” Keith yelled, the last of his patience long gone. Lance stared at him, red from ears to his toes. Keith stared back, equally red.

Lance’s embarrassment quickly turned to anger.

“Fine!”

Without breaking eye contact he ripped off his dressing gown and chucked it onto the bed. Then, still staring, he pulled up his shirt and whipped it over his head in
one quick motion. That landed on the floor. Hooking his fingers into his pajama waistline he flung them down. He wasn’t wearing underwear. He stood there, trousers crumpled around his blue lion slippers, otherwise entirely naked.

“Happy now?”

Keith gulped, the entire time he had held Lances gaze, and refused to look down.

“Ecstatic,” Keith replied, sarcastic, his blush still very prominent.

Lance flung his arms out, “come on them!”

Keith gripped the fabric in his hands harder and stomped up to him, shoving his face up to Lances.

“Turn around,” he growled. For a moment Lance just stared back. Then he dropped his arms and dragged his left foot out of the confines his trousers and slammed it down onto the floor. He did the same with other foot, slamming it down harder, before slowly turning around, keeping eye contact for as long as he could.

Lance could hear Keith take a deep, steadying breath behind him. Hands reached around Lance’s naked hips, pulling a black strap around him. They receded to his back and pulled the strap tight with sharp tug. Lance’s hips jerked back, bumping against Keith, who took a sharp intake of breath.

Lance grunted and Keith stepped away.

Lances back suddenly felt very cold.

A moment later hands were back on him, nudging fabric under the strap. Keith started at the back, knuckles grazing against buttocks. Lance tried to shift away from Keith’s touch.

“Keep still,” Keith muttered, breath tickling the back of Lances neck. Lance didn’t trust himself to speak. Instead he crossed his arms over himself, protectively.

Keith’s hands had reached around him inching towards the front, forcing Keith to move closer and closer to Lance. Eventually they were standing against one another, back touching chest. Keith’s head pressed on top of Lances shoulder. His scent surrounded lance, burning wood and cinnamon. It was annoyingly comforting. Despite Keith being an Omega his touches were going straight to Lances groin. He could feel his dick growing half hard and silently prayed Keith wouldn’t notice.
Unfortunately for Lance, Keith couldn’t quite see what he was doing, which meant his hand were low, low enough to brush against Lance’s semi as he tucked in the front. They both froze. Lance was too embarrassed to say anything. The cinnamon in lances scent grew stronger. After an awkward moment where neither of them moved Keith just shift his hands higher and carried on.

After a few more seconds Keith stepped away.

“There, done,” his voice sounded a little husky. Lance turned around to face him. The skimpy pieces of fabric barely hiding his half hard dick. Keith was staring the last piece of blue material; this one was a transparent sky blue with a violet-blue border.

“There’s- there’s a few ways you can wear this, Coran showed me. You could wear it like mine…”

“Why would I want to look like you?” Lance tried to rile Keith up, anything was better than the awkward atmosphere they had at the moment.

Keith let out a forced laughed and didn’t say anything.

Lance stuck out his hand, “give it here, I know how to tie a scarf.”

Keith didn’t hand it over.

“There’s only a few acceptable ways to put it on,” his voice sounded unsure, but he finally looked at Lance. His expression must have made him change his mind as Keith held out the fabric.

“Thanks,” Lance muttered as he grabbed it before Keith could change his mind.

“The simplest one is wear it like a shawl and tie it together at the front.”

Lance did as he suggested, “Like this?”

“Y-yeah.”

“Okay, great, that’s over with. We’re landing soon right? Are we meant to be somewhere?” Lance asked, trying to change the subject as quickly as possible.

“The main control room, we need to be together. Apparently we have to go through an inspection when we land.”

Lance groaned, an inspection, he knew this was going to be a bad day.

-

Shiro was waiting in the control room with Allura, Pidge, and Hunk. Coran was currently in the castle storeroom packing some light provisions for the day.
He could smell Keith and Lance before they entered the room, a perk of being an Alpha. They both smelled angry, not very strange, and embarrassed, which was strange.

Shiro turned towards the door as it opened. Usually he would scold Lance for being so late, but considering what he was going to have to go through today Shiro decided to let it slide. He smiled as the two Omega’s walked in, hoping to reassure them slightly. His face froze in place when he saw what they were wearing.
“What the quiznak,” Pidge whispered. Shiro couldn’t scold her for her language, if she hadn’t said it he would have.

Lance glowered and announced, “alright, lets address the elephant in the room, yes, me and Keith are dressed like we belong in an alien porno.”

Pidge sniggered, “it’s not the elephant in the room, no one’s ignoring that,” she teased.

“Yeah, why are you wearing,” Hunk waved his hand to indicate the whole of Lance, “that.”

“It is traditional Omega garb, and you two look lovely,” Allura cut in, she looked very pleased, “don’t you think so Shiro?”

Shiro shot her an alarmed look, he felt like a school kid who had just been called out by the teacher. Forcing his face back into what he hoped was an acceptable neutral expression he wracked his brain for something to say that wasn’t creepy, or inappropriate.

“It’s a little… skimpy.”

“And see-through,” Pidge muttered, pulling at Keith’s scarf, he swatted her hand away.

“Yes! I’m sure our hosts will love it,” Allura still seemed pleased.

“Is there anything else we could wear? Like a traditional coat?” Lance asked. Allura looked surprised and thought for a moment.

“There might be, I’ve never seen an Omega wear one. Coran would know. We can ask him when he arrives.”

“Thanks,” Lance muttered, a bitter edge to voice.

*Beep* *Beep*

Everyone turned towards the noise. It came from the castle-ship’s control panel.

“That’s the warning system, we’ll be landing in a few minutes,” Allura explained, “excuse me.”

She went to the control panel. Shiro presumed she was guiding the ship into a safe landing.

He turned back to the others, “we should buckle up.”

Everyone nodded in agreement and went to a chair to strap themselves in, everyone apart from Keith.

“Shiro, can we talk for a sec?”

The ship suddenly started to rattle as they hit the planets outer atmosphere. Shiro braced himself on a nearby chair. Keith, who didn’t have anything to hold onto, fell forwards. Without thinking Shiro let go of the chair and dived forwards to catch Keith. He fell into Shiro’s chest. Shiro steadied the both of them, pulling Keith against him, his human hand gliding over bare flesh. He felt Keith shiver under his touch and tried very hard not to think about what that reaction meant.

“We’ll talk later, for now get yourself strapped in,” he let go of him. Keith backed away as quickly as he could.

“Sure, later,” Keith said, turning to find a chair. From behind Shiro had an excellent view of the curve of his spine leading down to his ass. The lower half of his outfit was pulled tight, leaving little to the imagination.

Another rattle almost sent Shiro sprawling. He practically jumped into the nearest chair and strapped himself in, ready for their landing.

-

After landing they all went to the castle-ship’s main entrance, where they found Coran waiting for them. He was carrying two large shoulder bags, a backpack, and four satchels.

“Got enough there?” Lance teased.

“Oh yes, I think so,” Coran beamed back, “I must say, you and Keith look absolutely lovely.”

Shiro intervened before Coran could make anymore unwittingly disastrous comments.

“Need a hand carrying anything?”

“Shiro, as the leader of the Paladins you can’t go around being a bag boy, that’s my job.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, yes, now go line up, we’ll be opening the doors soon.”

Shiro walked over to Allura, who was standing in the centre of the hallway, in front of the doors. Keith and Lance fell into place on his left, Pidge and Hunk stood on Allura’s right.

“Our sensors are picking up the Dwan outside, it seems we’ve got quite the welcome party, let’s greet them, smiles wide people,” Coran said cheerfully before the doors began to open.

Bright, almost blinding light streamed in. It took Shiro’s eyes a few moments to adjust. When they did he was greeted by a procession of giants, more colourful than a gay pride parade. The Dwan looked surprisingly human. Not as human as the Alteans, but close. They had Allura’s dark skin and Coran’s red hair. Their skin had stripes, a few skin tones darker than the rest of them. Their eyes looked like they belonged on a cat. Every one of them was covered in gold and at least two heads taller than Shiro.

What looked like lords and ladies sat under small fluorescent canopies that littered the land before them. At the forefront of their hosts welcome party was a group of five aliens, in the centre was a man covered in so much gold he looked like he was trying scare away birds. He stepped forward and the others follow him.

He screamed Alpha from the way he stood to his broad shoulders to his heady scent, that made Shiro involuntarily stand taller to make himself look bigger.

“Welcome, honoured guests!” he stretched out his hands, “we are so pleased to have you! I am Dwdwthinth the third of my name, son of Dwdwthinth, the second of his name, and grandson of Dwdwthinth the first of his name, who secured the Dwdwthinth name in the books of history by destroying ten Galra fleets in one day, and
secured my family the title of lords of the Dwdwthinth!”

Shiro tried hard not to smile at the introduction.

“Thank you for agreeing to have us Lord Dwdwthinth, we are honoured to be here,” Allura replied smoothly. Dwdwthinth reached out and grabbed Allura’s hands.
“How wonderful, I’m sure this will be a most profitable stay for the both of us!” he proclaimed loudly, then in a quieter, more serious tone he added, “now please excuse our rudeness but we must insist on an,” he paused and glanced at Keith and Lance, “inspection.”

Allura gave him her best diplomatic smile and replied, “it’s no problem, we understand the need for security.”

“We are pleased you are so understanding,” the man let go of Allura, “of course, we must check your bags,” he gave a small indication towards Coran, and one of the men behind his moved towards the adviser, “and a body check for weapon is required.”

“Of course,” Allura continued to smile at him.

“My attendant here will check you companion, as you are a princess, I would be honoured if you would allow me to conduct your check.”

Allura’s smile didn’t falter, “I do not mind in the slightest, but could I request a female attendant chest our green Paladin,” Dwdwthinth grinned and nodded.
Two attendants went to the right of Allura, where Hunk and Pidge stood. Shiro stood guard, ready to intervene as he watched the three of them get pat down by their hosts. They were surprisingly professional. Once done the female attendant stepped back to Dwdwthinth side and the male moved onto Shiro.

After a few pats and an, “anything to declare?” question they were done. Next was Lances turn.

“Is this really necessary, I mean look at me, where am I going to hide anything?”

The attendant smiled at him and carried on with their job. He patted down Lances arms, chest, hips. Then he reached around and ran his hands over Lances ass, something he hadn’t done to anyone else. Lance squeaked and tried to move away. The attendant let him. Then the man couched down and ghosted his hands up Lances legs, which was pointless as they were bare.

Shiro thought he was done, but before standing up he dipped his finger under the fabric covering Lance’s crotch and lifted it up to have a peek. Lance tore away, hands shooting down to cover himself. The attendant smirked.

Shiro growled, “I think you’re done.” The attendant froze and then straightened themselves up.

“Yes, all clear,” he muttered, moving on Keith, who looked ready to stab someone. He didn’t try to take the same liberties with Keith. The air smelled of anger, the static hint that marked the scent of an angry Alpha mixing with Keith’s burning Omega scent. He barely touched Keith before moving away.

Once the attendant was far away from Lance Shiro suppressed his anger, Keith didn’t.

Both Allura and their host ignored the entire thing.

Dwdwthinth clapped his hands together, “now then, why don’t we show you around?”

The man stepped back and indicated out of the castle of lions towards the alien’s own castle. The parade of people lazing outside started to stand up, servants packing away their belongings. Shiro wondered what the point of them being here was. Has it been a show of numbers? Wealth? Or were they just bored nobles come
to see the alien visitors?

Dwdwthinth led them out onto the landing bay. Shiro was surprised to see that they had landed on a patch of land inside the Dwan’s royal castle walls. That it could comfortably contain the castle of lions inside itself was staggering. The main structure of the alien castle was built a little like a pyramid at its base, although each of the levels was much longer than earth pyramids. They were big enough for one of the lions to stand on. Each level had steps on the outside to get the floors above and below. Around half way up the castle it changed into one long sleek tower made of dark marble. Surrounding the castle were walled areas, which was where the castle of lions was situated.

The Paladins followed their hosts inside the castle. The walls and floors were richly decorated, and almost as colourful as the parade of nobles that had greeted them outside. Dwdwthinth pointed at paintings and statues, explaining their significance and history as he led them up five flights of stairs. Eventually they stopped before a long corridor.

“I thought it best to show you your sleeping chambers first. Princess this is your room,” he indicated the first door, “your attendant is across the hall from you. Sir Black Paladin, you are in the room next to the Princess’. Your Omega’s have a shared room next to yours. The Green and Yellow Paladins have the rooms across the hall. It is my duty to introduce Princess Allura for our King. My attendant would be more than happy to show you around,” Dwdwthinth indicated to his female attendant. Shiro was glad for that, he couldn’t stomach being led around the Alpha that had harassed Lance. Dwdwthinth was probably aware of that.

“After meeting with the King I will be returning to my room. If any of you need me come back here. Don’t forget that there is a welcome party this evening, so you must leave time to get ready,” Allura told them.

“Please follow me,” Dwdwthinth turned to the rest of the Paladins, “excuse us.”

They walked away.

“Is there anywhere you would like to go?” the female attendant asked.

“The gardens!” Lance replied immediately.

“I wouldn’t mind seeing the Kitchen.”

“Do you have a tech room?”

“Yes we do, the kitchen is closest, shall we go there?”

“Sounds good, Keith? Anywhere you want to go?” Shiro asked.

“No, I’m going to stay here,” Keith seemed on edge as he spoke.

“Seriously?” Lance looked disbelieving.

“Yeah, you guys go have fun.”

Everyone shared a few uncertain glances. One by one they all turned to Shiro for confirmation that it was okay.

“Alright, if you need us you know where we going.”

“Yeah,” Keith started, “actually, Shiro, wait,” their guide raised an eyebrow at Keith, who faltered, realising he was being rude to an Alpha, “could you possible lend me a moment of your time?” he spoke with a forced politeness this time, it sounded strange coming from Keith.

“Of course, what’s wrong?”

“It might be preferable to talk inside,” Keith indicated to his room. Shiro turned to the others.

“I’ll catch up with you later.”

“See ya, I want see their gardens,” Lance said, already walking away. The others followed.

Keith walked into his room and Shiro follow, closing the door behind them. The moment the door clicked shut Keith spun to face Shiro.

“Shiro, we have a problem,” Keith blurted out, sounding panicked.

“What is it?”

“I- I didn’t realise until this morning, but my heat is coming. I’m not very regular so I wasn’t expecting it.”

Shiro looked at Keith, horrified. His mind went straight to how Lance had been treated earlier, and how their hosts had ignored it. It could have been a one off, but Shiro doubted it. He didn’t want to find out what kind of liberties their hosts would take with an Omega in heat.

“Why didn’t you say something sooner? Do you have any suppressants left?”

“No, I never bought any with me. Coran was going to try and make some more, but without knowing what’s in the ones we use back on earth it’s a pretty hopeless task. Apparently, Altean’s never thought of them.”

“Do you have any idea when? I can’t smell it on you.”

“In two to three days… probably.”

Shiro ground his teeth in worry.

“We might be able to hide you back on the ship.”

“I hope so, I don’t want to be stuck here, when it hits. I- I don’t feel safe here.”

Shiro moved to Keith, placing a gentle hand as his arm.

“We’ll get through this. We need this alliance, but we don’t need it more than we need you,” he tried to reassure.

Keith thumped his forehead onto Shiro’s shoulder and let out a frustrated sigh. In response Shiro put a hand on Keith’s neck and rubbed his thumb in gentle little circles on that area he knew helped calm Omegas. Keith let him. It wasn’t the sort of thing he’d let anyone do, but Shiro had known him for a long time, and they’d done more in the past.

They stood like that for a while, Shiro thinking, Keith not wanting to move.

*BAM*

There was a banging on the door.

“Keith, Shiro! Let me in!” It was Lance. Keith quickly stepped back, a dushing of pink across his cheeks. Shiro gave one last reassuring smile before he went to the
door.

-

Lance stood outside Keith’s door, thoroughly fed up with the whole planet despite being for less than a single morning. He raised his fist to knock again when Shiro opened the door.

“Lance, what happened?” he asked, he looked concerned.

“Hunk started talking to one of the girls in the kitchen, I got bored so I went to look at, ya know, stuff, when I went back he was gone. Since then I’ve been harassed three times. I don’t want to walk around alone. So could you guys come with me?”

Shiro sighed and shook his head good naturedly, “sure, just give us a sec-,”

“It’s fine, you guys go.”

Behind Shiro Keith stood in the center of the room, arms wrapped around himself.

“You sure?” Shiro asked, he looked worried.

“Yeah, I’m going to stay here.”

“Okay, but if you need anything-,”

“I’ll come to you. I know,” Keith gave Shiro a half smile, “I’ll be fine.”

Lance looked between the two of them, and raised an eyebrow. Neither of them explained, so he let it go.

Shiro stepped out and shut the door behind him.

“So, where are we going?”

“The gardens!” Lance looked exited, “I saw them on the way here.”

“Lead the way.”

Shiro walked in step with Lance as he led them down some corridors and out to one of the many platforms that surrounded the castle.

“There,” Lance breathed. Below them was a vast expanse of greenery. Flowers neither of them could ever name lined neat walkways. There were multiple fountains,
hedges cut into amazing, and sometimes funny, shapes. It was better than Lance had hoped.

They started towards it.

“Ah, honoured guests!” a voice called out. Lance and Shiro turned towards their herald. He waved at them from the platform below.
“Please, join us! Join us!” The man, clearly an alpha from his build and musky scent, looked exited. Behind him was a group of young men. The group, of at least 15, shuffled and nudged each other, a couple pointed at Lance.

Shiro inclined his head towards Lance, “Why not?” he muttered before turning back to the other Alpha. Lance pouted at the back of Shiro’s head as he walked off.
He huffed, but followed Shiro, who was heading towards the small set of stair that lead to the level below. They met the enthusiastic alpha at the base of the steps.

“You may have just saved the day!”

“We’re happy to help in any way we can, but what exactly have we saved?” Shiro asked.

“I was meant to be giving a talk about Omega’s today, but the Omega we were meant to have join us went into heat this morning. I was worried I’d have to give the talk without anything to show them. Would you mind if I borrowed your Omega?”

Lance tried to bury the irk that was growing inside him. It was his presence that helped that Alpha, but the man hadn’t even looked at Lance. Shiro turned to him with a diplomatic smile stuck to his face.

“That’s up to Lance.”

“Oh, his name’s Lance?” the alpha asked. Lance went from being ignored to having all eyes on him. He gulped and cast his eyes down in what he hoped was a submissive action.

“Yes, it is an honour to meet you. Nothing would please me more than to be of assistance to you,” Lance cleared his throat, “what is that I have the pleasure of helping you with?”

The Alpha’s scent took on a sweeter note, he was clearly pleased by Lances response.

“Nothing to be worried about,” he was addressing Shiro again, “it’s entirely educational. Showing Omega pressure points and typical reactions, that kind of thing. In fact, you could be of help as well. If you’re worried about others touching your Omega you could show point out the areas I’m talking about.”

Lances heart felt like it stopped for a moment. Any demonstration involving specifically Omega reaction would clearly delve into sexual subject. If Shiro agreed, he would be pointing out all the area that would turn Lance on if an Alpha touched them. He would be pointing out all the areas Lance had imagined him touching.

“Sure, oh and I’m Shiro,” he replied. Lances heart kick-started itself into overdrive.

“This way, please.”

He led them both to the front of the crowd of Alpha’s. It was a little hard to tell as they were aliens but they looked to be around Lances age.

“Settle down and take a seat!” The group of Alphas slowly quietened down and lowered themselves to the floor, where they sat cross-legged, “as you know I am Instructor Dypkmnan. These are our honoured guests,” he raised his hand to indicate Shiro, “this is Alpha Shiro,” he lowered his hand towards Lance, “and Omega Lance. They will be demonstrating the areas that I will be talking about today.”

There were a few excited mutterings as Lance was introduced. He could smell the distinct tint of Alpha arousal that permeated the air. It gave him a familiar warm feeling in his lower gut that he always found annoying.

“Please step forward,” they both complied with the instructor, “Lance, turn around.”

Lance turned so his bare back was facing everyone. Their hungry eyes felt hot on the back of his neck. He could smell their anticipation mixing with the constantly rising arousal. He tried very hard not to involuntarily arch his back, even though his instincts were whispering at him to do it.

“Let’s get right into it! We’ll start with the neck,” the instructor began, “there are four scent glands situated here. The two main larger ones, one on each side of the neck below the back of the Jawline, and two smaller ones on either side on the spine, at the base of the neck. These sets each elicit slightly different reactions. Alpha Shiro, could you please press down on his main neck glands.”

Shiro raised his hands to hover over Lance’s shoulders as he gave him an inquisitive look, silently asking for permission. Lance gave a tiny nod. Shiro lowered his hands to his shoulders, brushing them up in one swift motion to rest on his neck. Lance went rigid at the sudden movement.

Shiro slid his thumbs up to settle on Lances glands. The touch was light, but it sent a shiver down his spine. Then he pressed. Lance gasped, he couldn’t help it. His whole world suddenly narrowed down to Shiro. How big he was, how his muscles strained against his shirt, how warm his hands felt.

Lance swallowed the saliva pooling in his mouth and tried to concentrate on anything other than Shiro. Which was hard considering how he was the only thing Lance could see. The instructor was still talking behind him.

“-increases the Omega’s scent, and brings their focus onto the nearest Alpha. The other glands are for a different purpose. If you would,” he was addressing Shiro with the last sentence.

Shiro glided his hands back along Lances neck so his middle and index fingers rested on his smaller glands.

“There are two ways to use these glands, a lighter touch.”

Shiro moved his fingers in gentle circles over the glands, Lance whole body relaxed and an involuntary hum of pleasure passed his lips as a warmth spread out through his gut.

“Or a harder one.”

Lance almost lost control of his legs. Standing suddenly took effort, he could feel his legs shaking. He wanted to fall into Shiro, let him take his weight as he stroked him, comforted him.

“-promotes relaxation and compliance. Making it easier to control an Omega. Moving on the spine,” Shiro suddenly stepped closer, sliding his hand down onto Lances shoulder blades. Lance whined in protest at the loss of hands on his neck.

“The spine has many tiny glands the run along it. You can touch these individually.”

Shiro pressed on a small area between Lances shoulder blades. He suddenly felt a little dizzy, no, dizzy wasn’t the right word. Muddled, muddled was a better word. The reason they were here suddenly escaped him, but it didn’t matter. He liked what they were doing.

Another Alpha was talking behind them, saying something Lance didn’t care about, “-use them all at once-.”

Shiro swept his hand down in one swift motion. The world suddenly tilted and Lance, finally, fell forward against Shiro’s chest, grabbing his shirt for purchase, pulling himself against the Alpha. His scent surrounded Lance, musky and warm, Lance could almost taste it. Shiro’s hands moved to his hips, pulling him closer. Lance felt something hard press against his hip. His breath hitched. Shiro was hard, he could feel his length pressing against him through the thin layers of fabric. For a second Lance assumed Shiro would push him away, look flustered, and apologise. Instead he held him firm, bodies pressed together. Lance liked this outcome better.

“-the lower back, around the spine, just above the buttocks-”

A voice behind him said. Lance couldn’t concentrate on it long enough to understand what it was saying. Shiro moved his hands across Lance’s lower back, keeping them pressed together. He pressed in just the right place. Lance bucked his hips back into the touch. He could feel the warm uncoiling sensation in his gut that meant he was nearly ready. Soon he’d have slick pouring out of him and his Alpha- Shiro- could mount him.

“-slick production-.”

“-the inside of the thighs-,”

The other Alpha was still talking, Lance wished he would shut up.

Shiro pushed him away slightly. Lances eyes widened in panic and he whined. Shiro turned him and pulled Lance back against him, cock now pressing against his ass, spreading his cheeks slightly.

“Shhh, it’s okay, I got you,” Lance relaxed and closed his eyes, tilting his head back to expose his neck to Shiro. A pleased rumble reverberated through him from Shiro’s chest.

“Spread them,” he whispered into his ear. Lance grinned and spread his legs open, wide. Shiro’s hands dipped down and gripped his thighs. He brushed his thumbs up, finding another perfect spot, and pressed. Lance moaned, loud and happy. A trickle of slick slid out of him and down his thigh as his cock stood erect.

Lance pressed against Shiro, feeling the bulge of his arousal rub against his backside. He hummed in pleasure, moving himself up and down. Shiro’s hands were on his thighs. He tightened his grip as he felt Lance move. Lance whined in protest but the grip stayed strong.

“Shiro,” he murmured, breathless. Shiro’s grip softened. Lance smiled. On earth an Omega lost the ability to give consent when they were no longer able to identify an Alpha as an individual and only saw them as an Alpha. Lance knew that was what Shiro was concerned about. So long as he kept saying his name Shiro would do whatever he wanted to Lance. Which, at this moment, was exactly what Lance wanted.

Shiro nuzzled Lance’s hair and moved his hands up. Cold metal settled under Lance’s balls. His human hand went to the tip of his erection, rubbing lightly on the head.

“You want this?” he asked, rubbing harder.

“Yes!” Lance gasped, rutted upwards, “Shiro, yes!”

Shiro hummed, pleased, as he trailed a finger down the shaft of Lance’s cock. Lance stilled to let him do what he wanted uninterrupted. Shiro curled his hand around the base of Lance’s shaft and dragged it up slowly.

His metal hand curled around Lance’s balls and squeezed slightly. Lance groaned, wanting more. Pre-cum dribbled out of the tip of Lance’s erection, sliding down to pool around Shiro’s hand. He let it cover his fingers before he dragged his hand back down, and up again, faster this time, his own bulge rutting between Lance’s cheeks as his other hand fondled Lance’s balls.

“Aaaah, yes,” Lance groaned, louder than before. Shiro’s hand sped up, milking moans out of him. Lance was breathing hard, he was close, he could feel it. Shiro gripped his balls tighter and kept the pace of his hand steady. He dipped his head down, nose brushing over Lance’s neck, stopping under his jaw. He licked before settling his mouth over the sensitive area. It sent a rush down Lance’s spine, it was too much stimulation, Lance couldn’t hold on anymore.

“Sh-Shiro,” Lance cried, eyes fluttering open as he came.

As his cock went soft the fog in his mind receded and what he’d just done set in. He stared out in front of him at the crowd of Alpha’s. They all stared back, eyes hungry and attentive, as if expecting more.

“Shiro,” he whispered.

“Hmmm,” Shiro made a noise back, his hand letting go of Lance’s cock. He continued to nibble at Lance’s neck as the hand on his ball glided down between his thighs.

“Can we stop?” the words came out small, barely audible. Shiro stopped moving for a heartbeat and then raised his head whilst moving his hands away.

“Sorry,” he whispered. Lance’s heart clenched, he’d asked Shiro for this, the entire time it had been happening he’d wanted it, but now he wasn’t sure how much had been instinct and how much had been him.

Shiro stepped away from Lance and turned to the instructor, “now that we’ve given the demonstration we’d best move on.”

“I was hoping you could show them the correct usage of glands during sex-,”

“Shiro cut him off, “we can’t.”

“Oh, well thank you for your help,” the instructor looked a little confused. Shiro gave the man a quick nod and guided Lance away without touching him.

They walked away, in silence.

After a moment Shiro spoke “I-,”

“I’m going back to my room,” Lance interrupted. He couldn’t take Shiro apologising. He didn’t blame him; he didn’t know who or what to blame. He was just embarrassed, so, so embarrassed. He wasn’t ready to talk about it and he wasn’t sure he’d ever be ready.

So he ran. He ran away from Shiro and Shiro didn’t follow.

Chapter Text

Keith was in his room, curled up in a chair by the window, when Lance burst in. The Omega was flustered, red and panting.

“What’s the mattered with you?” Keith asked. Lance responded by covering his face and sinking to his knees.

“I am an idiot. A total complete and utter idiot.”

Keith rolled his eyes and unfurled himself from the chair, “What did you do?”

Lance let a sad groan, sinking further towards the ground.

“C’mon Lance, it can’t have been that bad,” Keith got up and move closer to him.

“I can’t ever look at Shiro again,” Lance sounded genuinely distraught.

Keith squatted down in front of Lance, “he’ll forgive you,” he said, trying to sound reassuring.

“It’s not about forgiveness!” Lance burst out with, “he’s the one- well he’s kind of the one- that did it!”

Keith wasn’t sure what to do- or say- to that.

“What? Lance, what the hell happened?” Asking for more information was all he could think of to do.

“I- I can’t say it.”

“Lance!” He scowled at him, how could he help if Lance wouldn’t tell him anything. There was a strange pause as Keith caringly glared at him and Lance cringed in on himself.

“ShirojackedmeoffinfrontoffifteenAlpha’s,” Lance spoke so fast his words were barely comprehensible.

Another pause that lasted a heartbeat. Then two. Then three.

“What. The. Fuck.”

“I know!” Lance yelled, his forehead hitting the floor.

Keith just stared at him, open mouthed.

“We agreed to do some stupid presentation about Omega, y’know, sex points, and I never realised how under I was going and I don’t think Shiro did either and- and- ahhhhhh! What am I going to do?!” Lance half explained, half rambled. Keith couldn’t see his face clearly, just the tips of his red ears, the top of his furrowed brow, but his smell told him more than an expression ever could.

Embarrassment, frustration, fear, and the hint of arousal, both his and Shiro’s.

Keith didn’t know what to say, or how to comfort.

“How far under were you?” It was the only thing he could think to ask.

“I,” Lance took a shaky breath, “I dunno, I knew it was Shiro, and what he was doing, I just kind of… forgot, why, and where we were,” He sounded uncomfortable, unsure. Keith knew the feeling. The main problem with being an Omega was how hard it was to know how much was really you and how much was the Omega in you.

“Do did you want to do those kind of things with Shiro, before he touched you?”

Lance lifted his head off the floor a little, he was redder than Keith’s signature jacket.

“Y-yeah… I mean who doesn’t? He’s Shiro. He looked amazing, he smells perfect, he’s probably got a massive dick, and he definitely has a massive knot.”

Keith snorted, it felt inappropriate considering how Lance was feeling, but he couldn’t stop himself.

“He does!” Lance said, indignantly.

“How do you know that?” Keith teased as he raised an eyebrow.

“If the thing poking me in the back whilst he got me off was any indication, he definitely does,” Lance almost sounded proud as he said that, “and I thought you were meant to be comforting me!”

“I was? Well this is news to me,” Keith mocked. Lance finally pulled his head up off the floor completely to glare at him.

“Shut up mullet-man.”

Keith laughed, and then paused, before turning serious again, “seriously though, do you feel like he took advantage of you?”

Lance chewed his lip, “…no, it was an accident, but I’m just… embarrassed, so, so embarrassed.”

Keith sighed inwardly, Lance had some here for comfort, and that was not his forte. He wished Hunk were here.

Keith edged around Lance to sit next to him on the ground. Lance flopped back from his knees to his arse and stared down at the floor.

“How do I face him?” It sounded like a genuine question. The sour smell of an unhappy Omega spiked and Keith tried his best not to wrinkle his nose.

“Like you do every day, he’s seen worse.”

Lance let out a sad chuckle, “I doubt that.”

Keith swallowed thickly and gathered up his courage. Lance was being open with him, so he would be too. He stared hard at the opposite wall as he opened his mouth to speak.

“He once caught me masturbating to a video of him dancing topless.”

“No,” Lance breathed the word. Keith nodded, not looking at the other Omega. He could feel a blush creeping up his neck, but he carried on.

“Yeah, first year in the Garrison, our dorm rooms were pretty close. He’d borrowed something and had come to return it, I hadn’t locked the door. I know he saw the video… he just put what he’d borrowed on my desk, said ‘sorry’, and left,” Keith glanced over at Lance. The look of joy on his face made him freeze.

“I cannot believe that happened,” he sounded fake scandalised. Keith blushed harder, but there was hint of happiness underneath, at least Lance wasn’t miserable anymore.

“It did… it was a great video,” Keith smiled slightly, fidgeting with his hands.

Lance grinned and scooted closer, “what was on it? What was he doing?”

“He was… he was slightly drunk, which was why he was topless. He can actually dance pretty well you know. There were a lot of hip thrusts,” Lance gasped as Keith said that, “and ass shaking.”

“Please tell me you still have that video!” Lance nearly squealed the words, and Keith had to hold back a laugh.

“No, it’s back on earth.”

That seemed to excite Lance.

“So you didn’t delete it?!”

Keith went a little pink, “no… I used it again.”

Lance let out a shriek of laughter, “Keith!”

Keith grinned at him, and then had an idea.

“Now it’s your turn.”

“My turn?” Lance asked, trying to calm his breathing after laughing so much.

“Yeah, your turn to tell me something embarrassing,” Keith said, elbowing him lightly. His heart beat picked up, he wasn’t used to the whole comforting thing, and he wasn’t completely sure that this was a good idea, or that Lance would go along with this.

Lance paused and then smiled, “okay, okay, have I ever told you about my first crush?”

Keith smiled, full on smiled, and shook his head.

“Well, she was a pretty alpha, smelled like freshly cut grass, and could out lift most of the guys in our school, even the older ones. I’d just finished my first heat, I was like the only presented Omega in my class, and I thought that meant every alpha was into me,” Keith sniggered, it was such a Lance thing to think, “hey, don’t laugh, I was young, and stupid.”

“Not much has changed then,” he teased.

“Oi! Keep your mouth shut if you want to hear the story,” Lance was grinning as he said that, “so I spend weeks leaning over tables opening my legs anytime she walked by. It was so embarrassing, and everyone noticed, teachers even asked me to cut it out,”

“Did she notice?”

“Stop interrupting! And no, she didn’t pay me any attention. Eventually, I thought I needed to take matters into my own hands, like I hadn’t already,” Lance rolled his eyes at himself, “and so I decide, at the start of our next class, to walk up to her and sit in her lap, in front of everyone. She just kind of stares at me confused, and I- I can’t really remember what I say- but it’s something like ‘wanna take a ride?’ and grind, grind, on her,” Keith covered his mouth to try to hold back laughter, but didn’t succeed very well, “and she just looks at me and goes ‘no, now get off me Luke’, fucking Luke! She didn’t even remember my name!”

Keith stopped trying to hold back his laughter anymore. He just laughed and Lance grined at him.

“People would call out ‘hey, Luke’ in the corridor for weeks afterwards,” He added.

“Why-,” Keith wheezed and then has another bout of laughter.

“I thought alpha’s were meant to be all over Omega’s, like in the movies. You know those chick flicks where the Omega suddenly presents and the two hottest alpha’s in school suddenly start fighting over them.”

“Those things are such crap!”

“I know that now,” Lance shoved Keith playfully, “stop laughing, your story was just as embarrassing,” but Lance was smiling as he talked.

They sit there while Keith tried to stop laughing. Lance watched him, smile never leaving his face.

After a while Lance spoke again, “you know what I do wish was real?”

Keith looked at him, breathing still laboured, eyes full of delight.

“What?”

“The looks,” Keith gave Lance a confused expression, so Lance continued, “the way the Alpha’s look at the Omega’s, like they’re the prettiest thing they’ve ever seen. I want that, just once…,” Keith finally calmed down enough to watch Lance, the way he fiddled with hands, the pink tinge to his ears, the shy smile.

“People look at you like that,” Keith said without thinking.

Lance laughed a little self-consciously, “You think?” He asked, turning to Keith, who quickly turned away.

“Yeah, definitely,” he muttered, half smile on his lips.

For a while neither of them say anything. Keith wondered if he should break the silence, but it’s comfortable. Lance seemed kind of happy, and he doesn’t want that to end, which it probably would if he opened his mouth. He has a knack for annoying Lance.

“Thanks…thanks for cheering me up,” Lance’s eyes were soft as he looked at Keith. Keith felt his mouth go dry.

“That’s what friends are for,” he answered, with a little effort. For a second it looked like Lance’s smile wavered.

“Yeah, we're bonding moment buddies,” Lance joked, and Keith was sure he imagined it.

“So, what are you going to say to Shiro?” Keith asked, and Lance went red again.

“I-I don’t know. I have no idea what he thinks about it all,” Lance confessed. Keith studied him, wondering how someone who usually appears so confident about sex could be so embarrassed to have an actual conversation about it.

“I could talk to him for you?” Keith offered. Lance’s head shot up.

“Would you?” He looked surprisingly relieved.

“Yeah, I don’t mind.”

Lance’s face lit up, “Thank you! I’m not sure where he is. You could try his room, or the garden.”

“Wait, now?” Keith asked. He wasn’t sure he wanted to leave the room. He could still feel the beginning wisps of warmth that marked a coming heat. Lance’s face fell a little at his words.

“O-oh, I just- there’s the party later so I though…” Lance stumbled with his words.

Right, the party, Lance must want him to talk to Shiro before he had to see him.

“It’s fine, I’ll go find him,” Keith said as he stood up.

“Really? Thanks!” Lance was smiling at him again. Keith felt annoyed at himself for being so easily swayed by the need to see Lance’s smile.

Keith turned away, towards the door, “I don’t mind,” he did a little bit, but he was going to talk to Shiro anyway.

He opened the door and was met with the sight of Allura, hand raised as if about to knock.

“Perfect timing,” she smiled warmly at him, “I was coming to get you, the king has very kindly given us some gifts. Some of it was things you could wear tonight. It might help the negotiation if we appear appreciative. I thought you could come pick out something you liked.”

Behind Keith, Lance groaned, “More alien outfits?”

“Yes, Lance, more alien outfits,” Allura said, clearly not giving them the option to say no.

“Actually, Princess, can you take Lance to choose first? I need to find Shiro. Have you seen him?” Keith asked. Allura looked at him a little worriedly.

“Yes, I met him on the way back here, he’s currently in his room changing. Is everything alright?”

Lance jumped in before Keith could reply, “yes! Everything is fine, but he needs to talk to him. It’s important, but nothing to worry about.”

Keith had to force himself not to roll his eyes at how bad Lance was at not being suspicious. Allura’s expression changed to her leader face.

“What’s going on?”

Keith shook his head, “Lance is just being an idiot.”

“Hey!” Lance yelled indignantly.

“And what is he being an idiot about?” Allura asked. They were clearly not going to get away without telling her anything. Since Lance clearly didn’t want her to know Keith decided to stretch the truth a bit.

“Lance manged to embarrass himself in front of Shiro. He wants me to ask him about it before he goes to talk to him. Team relationships are important, right?”

Allura looked searching at the both of them. Keith could see that she knew there was more to the story.

“Alright,” she conceded, “but come to my room right after.”

“Thanks, I will,” Keith confirmed as he stepped forward. Allura stepped aside to let him past. He went around her to the room next to his and Lance’s, which was Shiro’s room. In the back of his mind he was surprised that he hadn’t heard Shiro come. He vaguely wondered how soundproof the rooms where.

Keith raised his hand to knock and then stopped as he realised Lance was coming out their room. The last thing he wanted right now was to accidently see Shiro. So Keith waited, standing there awkwardly as Lance and Allura passed him on the way to Allura’s room.

Lance gave him a thumbs up before entering Allura’s room. Keith stifled a sigh.

He knocked on Shiro’s door the moment Allura’s closed. It opened almost instant. Shiro didn’t seem surprised that it was him outside. Keith realised that he must have been able to smell him.

“Hey,” Shiro said, he didn’t look happy, not unhappy to see Keith, just sad, or stressed, or both.

“Can I come in? I wanted to talk.”

Shiro silently stepped aside to let Keith in. He could smell Lance on Shiro as he stepped into the room. It smelled… nice, their scents went well together. For some strange reason that though created a small knot of jealousy in him, but he couldn’t tell who, or what, he was jealous of. Keith tried not to let it show on his face as he turned to face Shiro.

“Everything okay? Is it about your heat? Is it coming on sooner?” Shiro asked, he looked worried. Keith’s jealousy dissipated to be replaced with guilt. Shiro had way too much to worry about at the moment. Keith hadn’t realised how troubled Shiro was feeling. In Alpha’s, anger, arousal, and happiness were emotion’s that radiated off them in their scent, but sadness and uncertainty had very subtle, weak, scents. They were easy to miss.

“No, nothing about that has changed. I came here to talk about Lance.” Shiro’s shoulders slumped the moment Keith mentioned Lance’s name.

“He told you,” Keith nodded and Shiro ran a hand through his hair, “how… how angry is he?”

“He’s not. He’s embarrassed, and confused, but not angry.”

Shiro let out a sigh, like a part of him had been holding its breath ever since Lance had left him. There was silence as Shiro let his back hit the door. He slumped against it and stared off into the distance. Keith wasn’t sure what to do, Shiro was rarely like this.

“I messed up,” Shiro said eventually, “I should have been thinking more about Lance. I’m the leader, it’s my job to look after everyone. I just… I thought he was in control of himself and he was so,” Shiro swallowed thickly, his Adam’s apple bobbing in this throat, he didn’t finish the sentence.

“Lance thinks he screwed up too,” Keith started, but paused when Shiro gave him a disbelieving look, “he does. He gets that it was an accident. You weren’t trying to take advantage of him, were you?”

Shiro suddenly looked horrified, “No! God, Keith, no, of course not.”

“Then you don’t need to beat yourself up about this.”

Shiro shook his head, “Keith, sometimes you can do something wrong without meaning to. Sometimes what the other person feels is more important than your intentions.”

Annoyance edged its way into Keith’s consciousness, “I know that. That’s all the more reason for you to stop blaming yourself, Lance doesn’t, why should you?” Shiro didn’t reply so Keith carried on, “seriously, talk to him.”

Shiro chewed his lip and asked, “does he want to talk?”

“Yes, he embarrassed, but he does want to talk. I promise.”

“Okay,” Shiro said, nodding his head, “talking is the best way to deal with this… but I don’t want to force him into anything he’s not ready for.”

Keith sighed, “sometimes your too considerate.” Shiro gave him a half-smile that Keith could help but reciprocate, “I’ll go tell him you feel guilty about the whole thing and drag his ass back here to talk to you.”

Shiro chuckled, “thank you.”

“Just don’t make me do this again, the whole comforting Omega thing isn’t my forte. Get Hunk next time.” Shiro’s face seemed to freeze, and he looked at Keith searchingly.

“You’re better at this than you think,” he said softly. Keith didn’t hold back from rolling his eyes.

“I’ve never been good at the Omega stuff, you’re the only one who ever seems to think differently,” the sentence came out sounding more bitter than he had intended.

“Keith, the only thing your bad at is choosing haircuts,” Shiro said, with a serious look on his face.

Keith’s mouth dropped open as he squawked in protest, “not you too! There’s nothing wrong with my hair!”

Shiro’s face developed into a grin, and his scent developed the warm scent that always reminded Keith of chocolate, “I’m serious.”

“There is nothing wrong with my hair.”

Shiro laughed, “What I meant was that you can do anything if you put your mind to it.”

Keith huffed and crossed his arms, “you sound like a doting parent.”

“Thank you,” Shiro looked genuinely happy.

“That wasn’t a compliment,” Keith muttered, but he could feel himself unwind as the chocolate hints of Shiro’s scent filled his senses. Shiro smiled back cheekily.

“I’m taking it as one.”

Keith scowled but there wasn’t any real emotion behind it. Shiro looked happier, less stressed than he was before.

“The Princess wanted me, something about dressing up again.”

“You too? She gave me some fancy outfit to wear,” Shiro suddenly frowned, “it doesn’t have a top.”

Keith let out a bark of laughter, Lance was going to love that. In response Shiro went a faint shade of pink, and the chocolate colour to his smell disappeared.

“It’s not that bad…I don’t think. I mean I look a bit stupid, with all the scars, but it’s not that bad,” Shiro said looking a somewhere between flustered and embarrassed. Keith snapped his mouth shut, drawing it into a tight line as he realised that Shiro had misinterpreted his laugh. He thought that Keith was laughing at the thought on him shirtless. If it had been any other Alpha Keith would have been scared, or at least nervous, Alpha pride wasn’t something to be taken lightly, but it was Shiro. So, in its place Keith felt a stab of guilt, but what his thoughts went to first, and what turned the stab into a wave, was the reason Shiro thought he looked bad topless.

“I didn’t mean that-,”

Shiro held up his hand and cut Keith off, “don’t worry about it. I get it.”

“No! I mean that wasn’t why I laughed.”

Shiro lowered his hand and studied Keith for a moment. He seemed to have some kind of realisation because he then gave Keith an understanding smile.

“You don’t need to feel bad. I’m not insulted.”

Keith groaned in frustration, “Shiro, how are you such a good leader when you’re so oblivious?” Shiro looked quizzical, but Keith carried on talking before he could ask anything, “I was laughing because,” Keith paused, should he tell Shiro? Lance would be mortified if he did, “because Lance is going to love the fact that you’re topless. He’ll spend the entire night secretly ogling you.” Lance could deal with being embarrassed, Shiro’s perception of his body image was more important to Keith. He couldn’t stand it when Shiro was self-deprecating in any way, and he couldn’t stand when it was about something that had happened to him during his imprisonment by the Galra.

Surprisingly to Keith, Shiro didn’t look embarrassed by his declaring about Lance. Instead, he looked unsure, as if trying to get his head around Keith’s statement.

“I, uh, you think… you think Lance…” Shiro shifted his weight around as he spoke, looking unsure of what to do with himself.

“Lance is attracted to you,” Keith answered plainly. This time Shiro had the expected reaction as his whole face went red. Shiro visibly tried to maintain a leader-ly, professional, attitude, but he couldn’t make eye contact with Keith.

“I see, thank you for informing me,” Shiro said, his voice badly controlled to sound neutral.

“He’s not the only one.”

Shiro’s eye’s shot up, instantly making contact with Keith’s. They stared at each other for a second. Keith’s heart thumped in his chest, this was the closest he’d come to purposely flirting since Shiro had escaped the Galra. He wasn’t sure what his relationship with Shiro really was, and he wanted to know. He was still slightly scared of the answer and Shiro’s silence worried him even more. As the moment stretched out he lost his nerve and dropped his eyes, whilst leaning his head to the side slightly.

Shiro suddenly took a sharp intake of breath, but still didn’t say anything.

“I should go see Allura, she’s probably nearly finished with Lance,” Keith muttered.

“That’s a good idea,” Shiro’s voice sounded a slightly strained. The floor creaked as he moved out Keith’s path to the door. Keith considered not leaving. He sniffed the air to try to get an idea of Shiro’s mood. His answer was surprisingly muted, his scent had no obviously recognisable peaks, like Shiro was supressing his emotions.

“I should get changed as well,” Shiro added. Keith realised that he had been dismissed twice, and his Omega side was angrily telling him to leave before he incurred the Alpha’s wrath. His more sensible side laughed at that, at his worst Shiro would get exasperated with him, but not angry. He wasn’t that kind of Alpha, people followed him because they respected him, not because they feared his wrath. Which was, unfortunately, how a lot of Alpha’s commanded obedience. Still, the Omega part of his mind never listened to reason, and would sometimes try to force him into obedience through fear.

Shiro cleared his throat, which set Keith’s body into motion. His Omega instincts couldn’t take a third dismissal. He went straight for the door.

“See you at the party,” he said, not turning back as he bolted out the door, swinging it shut behind him.

The hallway was empty and silent. Keith stopped and took it in. Silence, a second without stress, that’s what he needed, but, no, he was still stressed. The whole day had been nothing but stress. The skimpy outfits, having to dress Lance, realising his heat was going to start during this mission, being the go between with Lance and Shiro… why was everything so needlessly complicated? Keith thumped his head against the door behind him and closed his eyes. He would go see Allura soon. Right now, he wanted a minute alone.

He kept his eyes closed when he heard one of the nearby doors open. He kept his eyes closed when he heard footsteps approaching him. He kept his eyes closed when a familiar scent surrounded him, smelling like the ocean and freshly baked donuts. He opened his eyes when he felt breath tickle against his face.

“How’d it go?” Lance asked, standing too close for Keith’s liking, but he had nowhere to retreat to. Lance was bright, shinny, but Keith couldn’t be bothered to properly look at what he was wearing, he was tired, mentally tired.

“Talk to him,” Keith said, he felt drained, his moment alone had barely been a moment.

“That’s not very informative,” Lance shifted from one foot to the other as he spoke, jewellery tinkling lightly as he moved. Keith slide sideways, away from Lance, and towards Allura’s door.

“He’s stressed, he’s worried about you, and he blames himself,” he placed a hand on the doorknob to Allura’s room, “oh, and I might have told him that you’re very attracted to him.”

Lance yelled, “what?!” As Keith opened the door to Allura’s room. Allura spun towards the door at hearing Lance’s cry. Keith shut the door behind him, ignoring, and cutting Lance off.

“Anything we need to talk about?” She asked.

“No, no more talking, please. I just want to get ready and get this party over with.”

Allura nodded in understanding and held up some jewellery.

“Let’s get ready then.”

Chapter Text

Lance stared open-mouthed as the Keith swung the door to Allura’s room shut behind him, leaving him alone and bewildered in the hallway.

There was no way, he wouldn’t have, couldn’t have, told Shiro that Lance was attracted to him. Really, really, really attracted to him… that dick!

Lance made a groaning noise and ruffled his hair in frustration, making the excessive amounts of jewellery he was wearing tinkle. He looked down at him himself.

‘I look like a damn Christmas tree,’ he thought with a sigh. He looked up and scanned the corridor, wondering what to do now. He tinkled again, that was going to get in her nerves really quickly.

He could talk to Shiro, like Keith had suggested… but the Alpha was probably getting ready for the party, now would be a bad time. Plus, Keith was a dick, so what was the point in listening to him. Yeah, he’d talk to Shiro later. Right now, he’d do something else. He just wasn’t sure what that ‘something else’ would be.

He looked around again, tinkling again, and suppressed an annoyed noise. He could go exploring, but experience had taught him how bad an idea that was. He could go back to him room and wait, alone. He didn’t like that option either. Maybe Hunk or Pidge were back?

Lance turned to the rooms across the hallway from Shiro’s room and, Keith’s and Lance’s shared room. The closer one was Pidge’s. A few mocking eyerolls and some blunt advice could help.

Lance knocked. No answer. He waited, knocked again, still no answer. Alright, so blunt advice was off the table. Down to earth, but sometimes a littler overly cautious advice would work too. Besides, Hunk had always been his man, the guy he went to for everything. A small part of him felt guilty that he’d gone to Keith before Hunk, it wasn’t something he could ever imagine himself doing, but he’d already done it, so it couldn’t be changed. In his defense, he hadn’t known where Hunk was, so he couldn’t have gone to him for advice. He just hoped Hunk was in his room now.

He was in luck, Hunk answered after the first knock.

“Hey, man, what’s u-,” Hunk let out a snort of laughter, “are you trying to blind someone? What are you wearing?”
Lance tugged at one of the many pieces of jewellery around his neck as he spoke, “I know, I look ridiculous. Allura said it was traditional for unmated Omega’s here… at least I’m less naked,” he forced a grin with the last statement.

Hunk snorted and shook his head.

“That’s only because every inch on you in covered in something shiny,” he leaned back slightly to get a better look at Lance, “did she glue gems to your legs or something?”

Lance stuck out his leg and shook it slightly, “nah, there’s tiny chains linking them together.”

Hunk looked slight impressed.

“Anyway,” Lance continued, “can I come in? I need some advice.”

“Yeah, ‘course,” Hunk stepped away from the door and towards the bed as he spoke, “what happened? I hope you don’t mind me getting ready while we talk. We’re kind of short on time before this party thing.”

Lance walked in the room after Hunk and closed the door behind him.

“It’s fine, I just, uh, some stuff with Shiro happened, and I got some not so great advice from Keith, so I thought you might be able to help.”

“What was Keith’s advice?” Hunk asked as he pulled his shirt off, not even slightly insulted that Lance had gone to Keith first.

“Talk to him,” Lance muttered, wanting to gloss over it.

“Sounds like good advice to me,” Hunk had a knowing smile on his face as he dropped his trousers. Lance pursed his lips, trying very hard not to pout.

“It’s not,” Lance said in a slightly high voice, Hunk still had that knowing smile on his face, so Lance tried to explain why Keith was wrong, “look, some… sexual stuff happened outside with Shiro, and it went a bit far. I mostly knew what was going on, but Shiro didn’t realise how far I’d slipped into my instincts, and I don’t know how to face him.”

Hunk gave him a worried look, “you okay? Did anything happen that… that you didn’t want to?”

Lance waved a hand, “don’t worry. I’m not really feeling up to explaining all the details again. It’s more where we were, rather than what we did.”

“Not wanting to do something in a certain place still counts as not wanting to do it,” Hunk said looking concerned.

“It was an accident, okay? It’s complicated,” Lance tried to explain, he really didn’t want to go into the details again. Hunk still didn’t look happy, but he seemed to let it go, for now.

“So, what do you think I should do?” Lance added. Hunk made a thinking noise as he slowly pulled a dress-like piece of fabric over his head, it closely resembled a Chiton. Lance waited, surprised by how un-surprised Hunk was by his explanation.

“Well, my advice?” He said as he tied a belt around his waist, “talk to him.”

Lance scowled at him as Hunk smiled back, sympathetically.

“You don’t seem very surprised by all this,” Lance said. Hunk looked like he was supressing a smile.

“You’ve been complaining about how attractive Shiro is ever since we rescued him on earth, and I may not be an Alpha, or an Omega, but I still have a nose, and trust me, you smell like a very aroused Shiro.”

Lance bit his lip and tried to ignore the part of himself that felt proud of that.

“I still can’t believe you’re giving me then same advice as Keith. Keith!” Lance said, trying to sound indignant.

“It’s good advice,” Hunk said, and Lance opened his mouth to protest, but Hunk cut him off by continuing to talk, “you just don’t want to admit that it is because you don’t want to do it,” Hunk pulled some bangles onto his wrists, “which is why I’m going to make you do it.”

“What?” Lance squeaked. Hunk turned to face him fully, now fully changed for their welcome party.

“I’m going to make you talk to him. Right. Now.”

Lance briefly considered running for the door, but he knew that wouldn’t work. Hunk was a big guy, but surprisingly fast, and Lance couldn’t deal with trying to avoid two of his teammates tonight.

Hunk went to the door and made a hand motion for Lance to follow, which he did begrudgingly.

They stepped out into the corridor and Lance was hit with a scent he’d been trying very hard to avoid. Shiro. He was standing outside, along with Keith and Allura, and he was shirtless. Lance made a strangles noise in the back of his throat and tried to back into Hunk’s room. He was stopped by Hunk’s hand gripping his bicep and pulling him forwards.

Allura greeted them first, “ready? Excellent. You both look lovely. We’re just waiting for Pidge and Coran now.”

As Allura spoke, Shiro glanced over towards Hunk and Lance, catching Lance’s eye as he did so. He gave him a quick, strained smile, before hastily looking away. Keith’s eyes were wandering between the two of them throughout this exchange, he made a small sighing noise when Shiro turned away. Lance decided to glare at Keith instead of looking at Shiro.

“Paladins? Are you listening? Have any of you seen Pidge or Coran?” Allura asked, cutting through their silent exchanges.

“Sorry, Princess, no I haven’t seen them. Has anyone tried their rooms?” Shiro answered hastily.

“Coran is not in his room. I haven’t tried Pidges yet,” Allura admitted.

“Pidge isn’t in their room,” Lance supplied.

“I haven’t seen them,” Keith added.

Shiro turned to Hunk, “I think you were the last to see them. Any idea where they are?”

“I think they went to some tech room. I don’t know where it is, I stayed in the kitchen,” he answered, and Allura frowned at his response.

“They might still be there. We could ask an attendant to show us where it is. Still, it is unlike Coran to be so lax on a diplomatic mission.”

“Actually,” Keith jumped in, “anyone else notice how empty this corridor is. No guards, no servants, just us.”

It was a change of subject but it made everyone paused. They had all noticed to varying degrees.

“It’s bustling with people downstairs,” Hunk said, breaking the silence. Lance nodded in agreement, if you went just a floor below the castle was filled with servants and guards.

“Which makes it even stranger that no one is up here. No guards to keep an eye on us, no servants to attend to, well, anything,” Keith continued his argument.

Shiro agreed, “Keith has a point.” An air of discomfort passed between the Paladins. Only Allura didn’t look perturbed. Lance couldn’t tell if that was due to her perfect poker face or if it was something else. It wouldn’t be the first time she’d known something and not told them.

“Our first priority is finding Coran and Pidge,” Allura stated in her mission voice. Shiro immediate straightened out his posture.

“Right, we’ll have to go down to the lower floors to find someone to tell us where the tech room is. Keith, Princess, you stay here, in case they’re on their way back,” Shiro paused, as if a thought had occurred to him, “actually, wait in Coran’s room. The rooms are all sound proof, and considering… certain events, it’s best not to wait in the corridor, even if you’re not alone.”

No one asked Shiro to elaborate on what ‘certain events’ meant. Lance was certain he already knew, and it made his ears burn pink. Something that Allura seemed to notice, but also didn’t comment on.

“Okay, how do we get into his room?” Keith asked.

“The doors don’t have locks,” Shiro replied, “at least mine doesn’t. I presume the others don’t.”

Lance froze at that statement; he could see Keith’s posture go equally rigid. He hadn’t thought to check whether the doors had locks, he had assumed that they would. Sound proof rooms with no locks in a place where the Alpha’s seemed to have no regard for an Omega’s opinions, that spelled disaster. There was a churning sickness in his stomach, he suddenly felt uncomfortable, very uncomfortable.

Hunk was closest to Coran’s door, he tried it, and it opened. Inside was pristine and untouched, it looked like Coran really hadn’t been back yet.

“We’ll wait in there,” Allura said.

“Wait, maybe I should wait in Pidges room, they could come back separately,” Keith said. Both Allura and Shiro frowned at that. Lance could smell the scent of disapproving Alpha in the air. It made him want to bow his head in apology, he was sure it was having the same effect on Keith, but he never seemed to make any signs submission, despite his secondary gender.

“It’s better not to be alone,” Shiro said, what he really meant was ‘it’s not safe to be alone’.

“I’ll be fine, Allura will be next door.”

“In case you forgot, the rooms are sound proof, Mullet-head,” Lance said, trying to cover up how worried the thought of Keith being alone made him.

“I didn’t forget,” Keith shot back, “we can leave the doors open a little bit.”

Allura and Shiro exchanged worried looks before Allura nodded her head.

“Alright,” Shiro conceded, “stay safe.”

Keith smiled at him, “I will.” Shiro smiled back, it was a tender smile, and for some reason it created a pang of emotion in Lance. He tried to bury the feeling by looking away and concentrating on Pidge and Coran.

“Paladins,” Shiro called, and Lance’s head snapped up at the sound of his Alpha calling him… his Alpha leader, not his Alpha, Alpha. He needed to keep that distinction in his mind, “let’s go. Hunk, lead the way.”

Hunk nodded and set off, leading the others towards the lower floors, leaving Allura, and Keith behind.
-
Keith watched them leave. He hoped they would find Pidge and Coran quickly, and intact. There was something about this place that didn’t sit well with him, and he hoped that was just because of the cultural differences. He also hoped that Lance would talk to Shiro, if something was wrong the last thing they needed was a rift between members of their ranks.

Allura turned to him while he was thinking, “we could wait out in the corridor if that would make you feel safer.”

“Thank you, but no,” Keith replied. The thought of staying out here in this empty corridor unnerved him. If the scent of his oncoming heat suddenly picked up they could be swarmed by Alpha’s, if he were inside one of the rooms he could at least shut the door to cut off the scent.

“We should get inside,” Keith added, as he turned towards Pidges room.

He couldn’t see Allura’s expression, but her voice sounded strained when she spoke, “if you need anything don’t hesitate to come to me.”

“Thanks,” he said softly, hoping he hadn’t insulted her Alpha pride by choosing to be alone instead of outside with her.

Pidge’s room didn’t have a lock, just like Coran’s. The room was also equally pristine. Keith chose to sit in one of the chairs by the window, it mimicked where he had been sitting in his and Lance’s room. The room’s where fairly similar, although this one was decorated in mostly green, and the bed was slightly smaller.

He sat there, with the room door cracked open slightly, for a surprisingly long time. No one walked past, there were no footsteps, no distant chatter. It felt wrong, but maybe this was their custom, to give their guests plenty of privacy.

Eventually, Keith picked up the sound of footsteps, light and fast. Someone small was running. His first thought was Pidge, and as the door was pulled open and a small face with glasses appeared his suspicion was confirmed.

“Keith,” Pidge panted, looking surprised. Pidge hadn’t presented yet so her sense of smell was dull compared to the rest of the Paladins, it wasn’t unsurprising that she hadn’t known Keith would be there by his smell.

“Hey, where have you been? Everyone is looking for you and Coran,” Keith replied, standing up from the chair.

“Oh, uh, well, the tech room was really good?” Pidge said, making her reply sound more like a question than an answer. Keith narrowed his eyes.

“Where’s Coran?” he asked.

Pidge’s face broke into a cheeky grin, “he found a lady friend.”

Keith was a bit taken aback, “what?”

“Turns out Coran is very popular here. He hit it off with one of the technician and they went off to do some ‘discussing’,” Pidge waggled her eyebrows, “I left when I got bored of waiting for him to come back.”

“We’re in the middle of a mission!” Keith protested.

“Oh, come on, let the 10,000-year-old man have his fun,” Pidge continued to grin at him.

Allura appeared in the doorway behind Pidge. She must have heard them talking.

“Pidge, where have you been? We are incredibly late for our welcome party,” she scolded. Pidge jumped and turned around.

“Sorry! Things happened,” Pidge greeted with a lacklustre explanation. Allura did not look impressed. Keith felt bad for Pidge, Coran was really the one to blame for this, so he intervened.

“She was waiting for Coran. Apparently, he went off to have sex with some technician.”

“Keith!” Pidge yelled, going red and looking scandalised. Keith wasn’t sure why.

Allura cleared her throat before speaking, “I am aware of what happened with Coran, he will be meeting us at the party. Now Pidge, we need to get you ready. I have some clothes in my room.”

After finishing her sentence, she turned and walked away towards her room, clearly expecting Pidge to follow. The young Paladin gave Keith a shrug before going after Allura. Keith stayed in Pidge’s room, he was trying to figure something out. The door had been open, he hadn’t heard anyone come past, so how did Allura know that Coran would be meeting them at the party? They didn’t have their communicators with them, and if Allura and Coran had secretly bought some with them Allura would have used them to find out where Coran was earlier. Had he missed someone coming past? It didn’t seem likely… but he couldn’t think of another explanation.

Keith sank back into the chair, thinking.
-

Lance leaned against the wall outside the castles ballroom, Hunk was leaning next to him. Inside they could hear chatter, but the closed doors muffled the sound too much to make out words. What the doors didn’t muffle was the smell. It stank of Alpha. Lance was used to being stuck in placed filled with Alpha’s, every inch of the Garrison had smelled like Alpha 24/7, but this was different, and Lance knew why. It was because he didn’t trust these Alpha’s. An Omega’s emotions towards an Alpha could change the way they perceived their scent. It was most noticeable after a bad break up between and Alpha and an Omega. The Alpha’s scent, which was previously irritable to the Omega would start to become revolting. The phenomenon was so well known it had a saying to go with it ‘if you love someone enough even garbage will smell like roses’.

Lance sneaked a look at Shiro, he couldn’t imagine Shiro ever smell disgusting, or wrong. The Alpha was facing away from them, talking to Coran, who they had found randomly in one of the corridors. He’d told them that Pidge would arrive with Allura and Keith later. Now they were waiting for them.

“Ready to talk to Shiro?” Hunk asked. Lance tensed, and then forced himself to relax.

“Yeah,” he gave Hunk a fake smile. Hunk patted him on the shoulder.

“Good, because now seems like a good time. Looks like Shiro and Coran have finished talking,” Hunk said as he slipped his hand from Lance’s shoulder to between his shoulder blades and pushed him forwards. Panic bubbled inside him as he tried to resist. He failed, and ended up stumbling forward, nearly falling flat on his face. He was kept upright by a pair of hands grabbing his shoulders and steading him.

“Careful there, you okay?” a familiar deep voice asked. Shiro. Lance looked up, smile flitting from nervous to shy. He gulped, taking in Shiro’s scent, it made him feel warm, safe. Everything a good Alpha should make an Omega feel. For a moment, the nerves were washed away.

Then Shiro spoke again, “I think we need to talk.” That bought the nerves back full force, his heart started acting like a trapped butterfly.

“O-Okay,” Lance took a steadying breath, and plastered a fake grin across his face, “so, what’s up?”

“About what happened earlier, outside… I’m sorry. I should have been using my head more, thinking more about whether you actually wanted me to do that. I just thought that you,” Shiro looked away, turning a light pink, “that you were, kind of, into me?” He glanced up to see Lance’s reaction.

“I’m not!” Lance shrieked, going bright red. Lance felt mortified. Keith had told Shiro how he felt about him. He was going to wring the mullets neck next time he saw him.

Shiro seemed to freeze in place for a moment, and then all the colour vanished from his face, leaving him looking white and shocked.

“Oh, oh God, I’m so- I’m so sorry! I’m so, so, sorry, Lance. I thought- you liked- were getting into it, that you like it-I-I,” he stumbled over his words as he tried to get out a full apology. Lance had never seen Shiro like this, he was staring at his own hands like he hated them.

Behind him Lance could see Coran looking inquiringly at them.

“It’s fine,” Lance said to Shiro, almost whispering.

“It’s not. I keep hurting people. I don’t mean to. I don’t want to, but I…” Shiro trailed off, his eye’s going a little hazy, breathing becoming erratic. Lance stalled, unsure of what to do or say. He turned back to Hunk for help, who looked equally worried.

“Hey! We’re here!” A voice, instantly recognisable as Pidge, called out. Shiro jumped slightly, haze clearing from his eyes. For a moment looked confused, but then he spotted Pidge, and he smiled.

“My apologies that we took so long. I didn’t realise how hard dressing Pidge would be,” Allura said as she, Keith, and Pidge approached. Pidge made a disgusted face in answer.

“It wouldn’t have been so hard if these people had any taste in clothes.” She was wearing a dress covered, covered, in frills, and it glittered with every shift of lighting. She looked like an angry baby bird.

“Pidge! They’re our hosts,” Allura scolded, not denying her statement.

“Everything okay here?” Keith asked, staring at Shiro.

“Yeah, everything’s fine, right Hunk?” Lance answered.

Hunk didn’t reply straight away, but eventually he said, “yes.”

It clearly didn’t convince Keith, who kept staring at Shiro.

“We just talked about, y’know,” Shiro said with a weak smile.

“Oh, okay, good,” Keith answered, but he still seemed unsure.

“Anything we all need to talk about?” Coran asked, and everyone looked at Shiro, who, in turn, looked at Lance.

“No, it’s not that important,” Lance answered. There was no way he was having a group chat about Shiro getting him off in front of a group of strangers.

“If that’s settled then I think we should head inside. We are extremely late to our welcome ball,” Allura said, clapping her hands together.

As if on cue, a male attendant appeared near Allura, head bowed.

“Please excuse me, if you are ready, I would be happy to show you in and give introductions.”

His sudden appearance made Pidge yelp in surprise.

Allura replied, “yes, thank you,” but even she looked startled by the attendant’s sudden appearance. The servant went to the door, and everyone followed him. They stood on a group with Allura and Shiro at the head, standing closer to the doors.

The attendant stood up straight and cleared his throat. In response, the massive white doors creaked open inwards. There was a rush of air, and an ornate ballroom, with floating crystals, brightly coloured tapestries, and even brighter guests revealed itself to them. The chatter that they had been able to hear from the other side of the door was petering out as the other invitees turned to greet the guests of honour.

“Presenting, Princess Allure of House Altea, and her Paladins Takashi Shirogane, Hunk Garrett, and Pidge Gunderson. Accompanying them are Lord Coran of House Altea along with the Omegas Lance, and Keith.”

There was some polite clapping. The Paladins stared owlishly whilst Coran and Allura put on diplomatic smiles and walked forward, looking completely at home. The Paladins trailed forwards with them.

An elderly Alpha in long flowing robes stood out from the crowd. Lance guessed he was the King from the ornate crown adorned upon his head. On either side of him were female Alpha’s dressed sparingly. Allura went straight to the King, and the others followed. Keith and Lance stayed to the back of their group, as Coran had taught them in their training sessions, Omega’s always came last.

“Your Majesty,” Allura said, bowing low, and, again, everyone copied, “it is an hour to have such a party held in our honour. Please forgive our lateness. Some of us got distracted by the delights of your planet.”

The old man laughed, but it came out as more of a wheeze, “I am most please to hear that. I have heard that some of you have been very inquisitive,” his sparkling eyes landed on Pidge as he said that, “now I think it is time for some official introductions.”

“This is Takashi Shirogane, the black Paladin of Voltron,” Allura introduced, raising a hand to indicate Shiro as she spoke. Shiro bowed again. As he rose up the Kings wrinkled hand grabbed his chin, moving with surprising speed for his age. Shiro stopped mid-rise.

“How very pretty,” the King seemed to muse before letting go, and turning to Hunk, “and this is?”

Shiro straightened himself up and tried not to look surprised or confused.

“This is Hunk Garrett, the Paladin of the yellow Lion,” Allura explained. The King nodded, barely glancing at Hunk as he bowed before turning to Pidge.

“This one?” he asked.

“Pidge Gunderson, the green Lion’s Paladin,” said Allura.

The King raised an eyebrow before speaking, “unpresented and a Paladin?”

There was shuffling and murmuring around them as Pidge bowed. It didn’t sound happy.

Shiro was the one to reply, “yes, Princess Allura tells me that our species present at an unusually late age,” he had a smile plastered onto face.

“Ah, I see, how very interesting. Something we can discuss later, no?” The King said, flashing a smile at Shiro that looked strangely like a leer, before turning to Coran, “I am acquainted with your advisor,” he gave the man an acknowledging nod, “and these two beauties are?”

“This is Lance,” Allura said as Lance bowed, despite really not wanting to, “and Keith,” who gave a curt bow, “they are Omega’s training upon our ship.”

The King made another wheezing laugh, “Really? That all?”

Allura, for the first time, looked startled.

“Yes, of course,” she said as she regained her composure.

“Yes…of course,” the King repeated, eyes sparking again. There was a pause filled with unsaid words.

One of the women next to the King leaned down to the elderly Alpha’s ear and whispered into it just loud enough for the Paladin to hear, “why don’t we let our guests go enjoy the party we’ve thrown for them?”

“Yes, go, go, have fun,” the waved them away as he spoke, “Takashi, I would love to have a chat with you,” he added.

“It would be my pleasure,” Shiro replied. The others slipped away. Allura was instantly cornered by some other important looking people, and Coran made a b-line for one woman who gave him a little wave. Lance wondering if that was the person who Coran had reportedly hit it off with.

“Soooo, buffet table?” Hunk suggested. With a lack of anything better to do Lance nodded and followed his best friend to the tables by the wall that were covered with assortments of strange food. As they left Lance turned back, expecting Keith and Pidge to be following them. He was surprised to see that they weren’t. Pidge had disappeared again and Keith was hovering near Keith, staring intently at him as he spoke to the King.

“Maybe we should go get Keith,” Lance muttered as they reached the tables. Hunk picked up a plate and glanced back, following Lance’s line of sight.

“I bought he’ll leave, we could just keep an eye on him?” Hunk suggested, turning back to the table to pile food onto his plate. Something, some instinct, squirmed inside Lance, like it knew something bad that he didn’t, but considering what his instincts had made him do today he decided to ignore it.

“Sound like a good idea,” Lance replied, not taking his eyes off Keith. Hunk stuck the leg of some kind of animal under his nose.

“Here, food will make you feel better.”

Lance took his eyes off Keith for a second and tried not to wrinkle his nose, Hunk was trying to help. He shook his head; he didn’t feel like eating.

“I’m alright thanks,” Lance started, but then there was a loud yell. He looked back up to see Keith in a fighting stance, with blood on one of his fists, and one of their alien hosts holding their nose. Lance started forward, but Hunk stopped him.

“Stay here, I’ll go,” Hunk said, “these guys don’t listen to Omega’s, they might get violent if you stick up for Keith,” he added when Lance was about to protest.

Lance reluctantly agreed with a nod, and Hunk shot off towards the commotion. He watched Shiro get there first. He couldn’t hear what they were saying, but Shiro looked angry, and Keith was pointing at the alien Alpha and talking a lot. The alien Alpha was puffing out his chest and squaring up to Shiro. It looked like an Alpha fight was about to break out, and none of their hosts seemed inclined to stop it. They needed Hunk, and fast.

“Who do you think will win?” Someone to his left asked. Lance, not realising that they were addressing him, didn’t answer, “my moneys on your guy.” Lance looked up at that. A silver haired, slightly older Alpha, was standing close enough to be nearly brushing him with his skin and looking down at him.

“Shiro, obviously,” Lance said. The Alpha smiled, all teeth.

“Yes, my son’s not much of a fighter. Getting some sense knocking into him by a smaller Alpha might help him,” the Alpha mused.

“Your…son?” Lance asked, surprised. The Alpha leaned in closer, making his arm brush against Lance’s.

“Hmm, yes, my fourth one, all Alpha’s,” he flashed Lance a toothy smile, “I’ve got three daughters as well, all Alpha’s. I’m very…virile.”

Lance had never heard anyone use the word virile in a real conversation. It was creepy. He tried to move away, create some distance between them, but the Alpha slipped a hand around him and placed it on his waist. Suddenly, Lance felt trapped.

“Have you ever had children?” the Alpha asked, it sounded conversational, and if he hadn’t made that previous comment it would have been, instead it seemed intrusive.

“No, I haven’t,” Lance said with a fake smile, “I should really go see-,” he was cut off as the Alpha pulled him closer and splayed out his hand, resting part on it on his ass.

“Your Alpha hasn’t been able to give you children? Must be a disappointment. I can fix that for you,” he gave Lance’s ass a squeeze as he spoke. Lance squeaked, and squirmed, so taken aback he didn’t know what to say.

“Mnquth, perhaps you should go rein in your son. He’s reflecting quite badly upon your family,” someone said as they stepped in front of them. The Alpha, Mnquth, looked up, no longer smiling. He looked like he was about to argue with whoever had interrupted them until he laid eyes upon the person who had spoken. Lance didn’t recognise them, but clear his harasser did.

“My apologies, I will go correct his behaviour,” he said, instantly letting go of Lance.

The new Alpha smile, it seemed warm and friendly, “excellent idea.”

The other Alpha ducked his head and quickly moved away to deal with his son.

The new Alpha grinned at him, wide, warm, and friendly. He was big, bigger than Shiro by at least three heads. His taut chest muscles barely hidden by strips of transparent white fabric. Lance tried his best not to be too overtly appreciative of that fact.

“Th- thanks,” Lance stuttered out.

“No problem, no one deserves that kind of treatment,” the grin slipped from his face, for a moment he looked angry, then the grin was back, “I’m Gwthtdytlth, nice to meet you.”

The giant stuck out his hand. It was in that instant that Lance realised Mr Muscle had been standing further away than any other alpha he’d met since landing on this planet. Lance grabbed his hand and returned the Alphas grin. He finally felt at ease.

“Lance, it’s a pleasure to meet you, and I think that’s the first time today I’ve said that and meant it.” The alpha laughed heartily, Lance loved the sound.

“Lance? Like the weapon? Your parents had excellent taste in names.”

“I hope that wasn’t sarcastic,” Lance pouted and raised an eyebrow. The Alpha snorted.

“If we get to know each other you’ll learn that I am rather bad at sarcasm, so no. I meant no insult.”

Lance smiled again, he couldn’t help himself.

“I certainly hope we do, but first I need to be able to call you something. I’m not sure I can pronounce your name,” it was the Alpha’s turn to raise an eyebrow and Lance felt himself flush a little, “I mean- if it’s important to you I’ll do my best to learn, but uh-,” he floundered at finishing his sentence, feeling like an idiot. He should have asked to be taught how to say it instead of trying to force some kind of nickname on him.

The alpha chuckled and Lances heart calmed down.

“You can call me anything you like.”

Lance perked up at that, the chance at antics and teasing deliciously close.

“Anything? Like alien dude? Or… or Mr Muscle?”

“Anything,” Alpha-man said, smile growing wider.

Lance gulped and blushed again. He pushed down the desire to come up with something outrageous, this was a diplomatic mission, and wracked his brain for something… better.

“Ummm…how- how about Red?”

“The hair?” he asked, gesturing towards his head.

Lance chuckled nervously, “yeah.”

“Red is great.”

“Are you praising yourself or my naming ability?”

Red laughed harder than he had since they’d met, and he laughed a lot. When he’d finished, his grin turned wicked and he leaned in towards Lance.

“Both,” he murmured, before drawing back to his original position. Lance felt like his entire body had gone red.

“Ahem.”

Behind Lance someone, very loudly, cleared their throat. Red’s eyes shifted from Lance to whoever needed to see a throat doctor.

“Yes?” the Alpha asked. Begrudgingly Lance turned to face the intruder to their conversation.
Keith stood there, looking pissed off.

“I need to borrow Lance,” he ground out. Red ignored the clear hostility coming from Keith and continued to smile.

“Of course. There are others who are expecting to speak to me. I will take my leave,” he gave them both a polite nod before turning and leaving. Lance watched him go.

“Red?” Keith mocked, still scowling. Lance huffed and turned back to Keith.

“My brain froze. It not great, but it’s not like you could come up with better.”

“Anything’s better than that,” Keith muttered. Lance supressed a growl.

“Keith, I’m not in the mood for this.”

“In the mood for what?” Keith asked, sounding accusing.

“For you!” Lance snapped back. Part of Lance worried that he’d actually offended Keith, most of him didn’t. He’d ruined the only good part of his day, and told Shiro that he liked him, he wasn’t feeling up to another fight.

“What happened to your fight?” Lance asked, trying hard to change the subject.

“Hunk sent me away, he said I was making things worse,” Keith almost looked like he was pouting as he spoke.

“I’m going to find Hunk,” he muttered. Keith didn’t reply.

Lance slipped away, looking for the arguing Alpha’s. He spotted them, they’d moved off to the side, further away from prying eyes. That didn’t stop everyone from watching them. Lance moved towards them.

He never made it.

“Well hey there,” Someone, clearly an Alpha, said from behind Lance. Before he could turn around a hand landed on his stomach. Lance went stiff and pulled forward away from the Alpha, who yanked him back. Lance thumped against the Alpha’s chest. His eyes darted around frantically to see if he could catch the eye of someone, Keith, Shiro, anyone. A hand settled on his lower back. Lance opened his mouth to shout, and the hand swept up. Instead of calling for help, he let out a small moan.

His brain seemed to slow down, almost halt. He tried to think, there was something he was going to do, something important, but the thoughts wouldn’t come to him. What did come to him was that there was an Alpha behind him. A big one if the way he pressed against him was any indication. That was good. The Alpha had his hands on him, which was even better. One of the hands, the one on his back, move to his lower neck, and made circling motions. Lance relaxed into the touch, he liked that.

“Good boy,” the Alpha whispered, “come on, come with me.”

Lance followed, pleased with himself. He was making the Alpha happy, which would make Shiro happy.

Lance suddenly stopped. Shiro. Where was Shiro? He was Voltron’s Alpha, he should be here, Lance should be pleasing h-.

The hand pressed on his neck again.

“Come on, just a little further.”

Only a little further, that was okay, he could find Shiro later. Right now, he needed to follow the Alpha.

Chapter Text

Shiro smiled, laughed, and made small talk. The perfect image of a placated Alpha. On the outside. Inside he was... was… there were so many emotions he wasn’t sure what he was.

Part of him was seething, still angry at the Alpha that Keith had punched, and angry at Keith for punching him, and angry at himself for getting so angry, which had almost starting a fight. Luckily that fiasco had ended quickly when the offending Alpha’s father had turned up, berated the boy, and apologised, before dragging him off.

Another part of Shiro was embarrassed, flustered, and feeling a little out of place, all because of one thing. Every Alpha he’s met was very overtly flirting with him. Since Keith had been shown to be very much, completely, without question, absolutely, off-limits, by the fact that Keith had punched an Alpha that had groped him, and Shiro had proceeded to both defend Keith’s actions, and nearly start a fight with said Alpha, everyone had turned their attention to Shiro. It wasn’t like Shiro was unused to sexual advanced, it was just that he wasn’t used to this kind of flirting, or for it from Alpha’s bigger than him. Back on earth he’d generally been the biggest Alpha in the room, which meant Omega’s, Beta’s, and the occasional smaller Alpha would make suggestive comments, move in suggestive ways, and generally try to entice him to make a move on them, to claim them like the ‘Big, Strong Alpha’ should. Now he was the smallest Alpha in the room, which, in terms of flirting, translated to the ‘Big, Strong Alpha’s’ grabbing, groping, and being generally handsy, everywhere. His ass was definitely their favourite spot, but his neck, arms, back, and chest, were all a close second.

His other emotions, like the guilt over Lance, and his reasons for getting so angry over Keith, he didn’t want to go anywhere near them. Instead he focused on how he was going to get away from the latest groper.

The Alpha, a woman much taller than Shiro, had one hand on his bicep, and another trailing the lines of his abs. He was currently trying to subtly pull away from her as Hunk did his best to distract the woman. Shiro felt both grateful and sorry for Hunk. He’d come over to try and calm down the fight between him and the Alpha that had groped Keith. He hadn’t had much luck, but he’d had the sense to send Keith away under the pretext of finding Lance.

His lack of success in helping Shiro seemed to come from the fact that the Alpha’s on this planet had very little interest in Beta’s. Such little interest that he hadn’t gotten more than a one word reply from anyone.

“You’re very well built for such a small Alpha,” the woman purred, pulling him closer again, so that his head nearly pressed into her breasts.
“Really? What are your small Alpha’s like?” Hunk asked, also moving in closer in an attempt not to be physically blocked out. The woman glanced at him, annoyed.

“Like I just said, scrawnier,” she practically hissed, before turning her attention back to Shiro.

Shiro could help but think ‘well done Hunk, that’s the longest answer you’ve gotten so far’.

“Could you give us an example? I’d like to see what one looks like,” Shiro said, latching onto a conversation topic that seemed to annoy her. She smiled at him and leaned down.

“Why, yes, I have one in my harem. We could go see him if you’d like,” the woman purred, and ran her hand up his bicep. Her statement threw Shiro for a second, he’d never heard of an Alpha being part of a harem, at least, not in human history. He quickly recovered his composure and tried not to let the momentary lapse show.

“Thank you, but I’m here on a diplomatic mission, it would be unprofessional,” he answered with a strained smile. The woman seemed to find that funny.

“You don’t need to worry about being unprofessional for a Paladin. I’ve heard the stories of the last lot; they did a lot of galivanting. I’m sure your advisor Coran can attest to that,” she said, bemused, and still not letting go.

Hunk interjected, again, “I’d love to hear those stories. Why don’t we go ask him?”

The woman didn’t say anything, but Shiro latched onto the idea.

“Yes! Let’s go find him. Now,” Shiro pulled away as he spoke. This time she let him go.

Away from her Shiro could get a better look at the ballroom. It was teeming with people, most of whom were either snatching glances at them, or outright staring, which confused Shiro. He thought that they would have been staring at Lance, or Keith… Where were Lance and Keith?

Another sweep of the area showed him that Coran was on the far side of the room amongst a crowd that seemed to be listening to him very intently. Allura was close by, talking to what looked like a very rich, old Alpha. Pidge was nowhere. Lance was nowhere. Keith was nowhere. The three people who got themselves into the most danger, and the ones he least wanted to disappear, had disappeared.

“Where are?” Shiro started, as he turned to look at Hunk. They locked eye’s, silently realising they were both wondering the same thing, and both just was worried.

“Coran is over there,” the female groper mistakenly answered.

“We need to find them,” Hunk said, taking his turn to ignore the woman. Shiro nodded and turned the lady Alpha.

“Thank you, but excuse us, we need to find our fellow Paladins,” he told her as he did his best to give her a winning smile. It seemed to work as she flushed a little.

“Oh, I’m sure they’re fine,” she began.

“Yes, but we need to find them,” Shiro said firmly, trying to cut her off politely.

“Very nice to meet you. Goodbye,” Hunk added, already walking away. Shiro quickly followed him. Thankfully, the woman didn’t follow.

A few steps away, and hopefully out of hearing distance of a whisper, Shiro spoke to Hunk, “any idea where they are?” Hunk shook his head, and Shiro quickly devised a plan, “we need to split up to search, I’ll take the right side of the hall you take the left. We’ll meet up at the end, where the doors to the balcony are. If anything happens don’t be afraid to raise a commotion.”

Hunk nodded again. His face was white, lips pulled tight. He was clearly very worried. Shiro presumed it was Lance that was filling his thoughts. If something had happened to Keith or Pidge they would have created an uproar, Keith already had, once. Lance was more likely to try and sort it out diplomatically, which was usually a positive, but in a place like this…they just needed to find him, and there was still the possibility that something had happened to the other two.

They separated, Hunk slipped off into the crowd, and Shiro tried to do the same, but was almost immediately blocked by another Alpha trying to talk to him. He smiled politely, told them that he couldn’t chat, and tried to move around them, but was stopped by another Alpha, also trying to talk to him. He said the same thing to this Alpha, and stepped past them. Barely two steps away and he was accosted by another Alpha. He suppressed a groan as he realised this search was going to take a long time.

-

Hunk was having better luck. His beta status made him almost invisible to their Alpha hosts. He slipped between people with ease, and they barely spared him a glance. It wasn’t just the Alpha’s, which made up ninety percent of the room, that ignored him. The Beta’s did too, and he wondered if their Omega’s would do the same, but in that regard he couldn’t be sure, since there didn’t seem to be any Omega’s here. In fact, he hadn’t seen any Omega’s since their arrival. Hunk’s personal theory was that they had a shortage of Omega’s and that’s why they were so obsessed with Lance and Keith. There were plenty of other explanations, and he didn’t have much of a basis for his theory, but he was sticking to it until something else came along to contradicted it.

It was easy to pick up the unmistakeable scent of an Omega, and follow it to its source. At first he thought it might be Lance, but his hopes were dashed before he even saw the Omega. The scent had all the wrong peaks and hints to it. Lance’s scent had a childish giddiness to it, like a kid at the beach, yes, everything about his scent reminded Hunk of the sea from how it hit your senses with a fresh clarity of clean air, to the salty undertones, and the donutty sweetness it got when he was happy.

This scent was completely different, it was heady, full of static, and smoke, like something about to explode.

It was Keith.

Hunk had never met two Omega’s with such different scents before. Sometimes it was jarring, especially when they were standing next to each other.

This was one of those moments. Smelling an Omega, his mind said Lance, but his nose told him Keith.

Hunk found the Omega backed against a wall and surrounded by Alpha’s. None of which seemed even slightly off put of the fact that Keith was growling at them. Hunk watched as one of the Alpha’s said something, and the others laughed, while the first Alpha reached for Keith.

Keith responded by smacking the hand away, which prompted more laughing. Keith wasn’t even smiling.

Before Hunk could intervene, or say anything, Keith looked up and spotted him. Relief flashed in his eyes.

“Hunk!” He called out, moving off the wall. Some of the Alpha’s turned in Hunk’s direction, but one of them took the opportunity to slip a hand onto Keith’s hip. Keith instantly jerked away from the touch and glared at the offending Alpha.

Hunk moved forwards whilst they were distracted by Keith’s reaction. He pushed on of the Alpha’s aside, too annoy to feel sincerely sorry for being rude, and grabbed Keith by the wrist. Keith’s head snapped up and he looked like he was about to pull away, but stopped when he realised it was Hunk.

“Keith,” Hunk said, breathless, “Shiro’s been looking for you. We should go,” he said it more for the Alpha’s than for Keith. They respected other Alpha’s, in theory anyway, so hearing that the person they thought was Keith’s Alpha was looking for should make them back off. Should being the operative word.

Hunk gave Keith a gentle tug and he followed him away from the wall. There were a few glances between the surrounding Alpha’s, but no one said anything, or stopped them.

“Thanks,” Keith muttered, not bothering to wait until they were out of earshot.

Hunk smiled to himself, “no problem, but seriously, Shiro is looking for you, and Lance. Seen him?”

Hunk could sense Keith shifting uncomfortably in his grip. That was a bad sign. Hunk stopped, and turned to look at Keith with a raised eyebrow.

“I went to go get him, but he was being Lance, and told me to fuck off,” Keith said, sounding a little defensive.

“And you just left him?” Hunk asked, incredulously. Keith pulled him arm out of Hunks grip, and crossed it over his chest.

“What else was I meant to do?”

Hunk groaned, “at least keep an eye on him!”

“He doesn’t need a babysitter,” Keith protested, but he still looked guilty.

Hunk dropped his voice to a whisper, “it’s not safe to be alone here, for either of you.”

Keith furrowed his brow, “I know that, I just- let’s find Lance.” Hunk nodded in agreement and didn’t push the issue.

-

Pidge had slipped out of the party the first chance she had gotten. In truth, she hadn’t been planning to turn up, but Keith had been waiting for her in her room, and then Allura had turned up, forcing her to attend. So, her plan to hide and hope they attended without her failed. Which meant she needed a new plan.

Admittedly, it hadn’t been one of her finest plans, but she’d learned from it. This time she’s show her face, and then sneak off again. That way her friends wouldn’t get too worried, and go looking for her.

Which was why she was currently tiptoeing through one of the corridors surrounding the main ballroom that their welcome party was being held in. The corridor was by no means empty. There were alcoves, cut deep into the wall, from which very distinct noises could be heard. Noises that made Pidge blush and avert her eyes as much as she could.

Which is why she almost missed him.

She would have walked right past them without a second though if there hadn’t suddenly been a strange, yet familiar smell. Pidges sense of smell was the weakest out of all the Paladins, but she was still able to recognise the individual scents of those closest to her. Lately she had been getting better and better at it. Sometimes, just for a moment, the whole world would open up to her, and she would be able to smell everything in complete clarity. She’d know where everyone was in the castle, what was being cooked for dinner, who was taking a shower, who was training, and how they were feeling. Being hit with all that information would sometimes make her feel sick, or dizzy. It meant she was near presenting.

She hadn’t told the others. She knew that it was important, and that she needed to tell someone before it happened, but she didn’t feel comfortable talking to any of the boys about it, and she didn’t feel like she knew Allura enough to talk to her about it. So, currently no one knew.

This time, when the scents hit her, it was stronger than ever before. The stench of Alpha assaulted her senses, it was so strong she could barely smell anything else. It made her stagger, and stop. She had to take a few steading breaths. In through the nose, out through the mouth, and again, in through the-she recognised that scent.

Pidge turned her head towards the scent. Some part of her mind was telling her no, that she wouldn’t like what she saw, but Pidge had yet to learn what her instincts felt like, so she ignored it.

Before she finished turning her head her senses zeroed in a certain set of sounds. Someone, an Alpha the voice telling her not to look told her, was moaning. There was another, softer, muffled, sound of moaning, an Omega the little voice said. Which set her stomach churning, because she only knew of two Omega’s at this party.

It took her longer than it should have to turn her head, because part of her really didn’t want to.

She exactly what she expected, and it made her feel sick.

Lance was in one of the alcoves. On the ground, kneeling in front of an Alpha. Mouth open, and sliding up and down around the Alpha’s cock.

They were facing sideways, so she could see everything.

The Alpha had one hand pressing on the back of Lance’s neck, and the other clenched around his hair, pulling him down onto his cock.

Lance’s eyes were glassy, unfocused, and he was making soft moaning noises around the dick in his mouth. His hands were buried between his thighs, underneath his clothes. One hand was moving up and down what Pidge presumed was his own dick, whilst the other reach lower, working at something further back.

“Lance!” She shrieked, making the Alpha jump in surprise. The movement pulled the Alpha’s cock out of Lance’s mouth. Lance’s mouth had been on the tip when Pidge had screamed. A line of drool slipped down his’s chin, but Lance didn’t move. He hadn’t reacted at all to Pidge, as if he wasn’t aware she was there.

“You scared me there. Run along kiddo, this isn’t for your eyes,” the Alpha said as he turned his attention back to Lance, and guided the tip of his dick to Lance’s mouth. He nudged it against Lance’s lips, and they parted for him.

For a moment Pidge was frozen, speechless. Then she screamed again.

“No! Get off him before I cut you dick off!” She yelled as loud as she could. In her peripheral vision, she could she a lot of heads turning, and poking out of alcoves to see what was going on.

The Alpha looked bewildered. As if he had no idea why she was yelling, but he did let go of Lance, who swayed backwards slightly, but still didn’t move.

Someone stepped up behind Pidge and placed a hand on her shoulder.

“Sweetheart, what’s wrong?” they asked. Pidge didn’t turn around, instead she pointed a finger at the Alpha with his dick out.

“He’s forcing himself on Lance,” she hissed, venom in every word. The Alpha’s hands shot up, as if to defend himself.

“This is a misunderstanding! I’m not forcing myself on him. Look, he’s not resisting!” The offending Alpha yelled as he waved a hand in Lance’s direction, who, true to the man’s word, was making no signs of struggling, or trying to leave. In fact, he wasn’t doing anything at all, just staring blankly at the Alpha in front on him, mouth hanging open.

Pidge tried to move forward, to get to Lance, but the hand on her should gripped her tight, holding her in place.

“Sweetheart, this isn’t the place for you. I know these things can seem strange or scary, but your friend is fine,” the Alpha behind her said, trying to sound reasonable, and sympathetic. For a moment, the shock made her feel like she couldn’t breathe. They were defending the man assaulting Lance, treating her like a child who didn’t understand. She fully understood. Lance had no idea what was going on, and she wasn’t going to let anyone take advantage of him whilst he was like that.

She yanked herself out of the Alpha’s grip with as much force as she could muster and stomped towards Lance.

“Sweetheart-,” the Alpha began.

“Get up!” Pidge yelled in her most authoritative voice, praying that Lance would comply, despite her not being an Alpha. For half a heartbeat, he didn’t respond, but then he looked at her, and it almost seemed like he recognised her, or at least recognised that he knew her, and he got up.

“Hey-,” the Alpha sitting down started.

“Shut it! I don’t want to hear any of your excuses!” Pidge snapped, cutting him off. The Alpha looked startled, and then surprise turned to anger.

“You don’t speak to me like that, you little brat,” he barked out, rising out of his seat to loom over her. Pidge stared back, refusing to back down.

“You took advantage of Lance, you deserve to be spoken to like that,” she hissed back, hands balling into fists, ready for a fight.

“Hey, calm down, both of you. Sweetheart, I think you need to leave,” the other Alpha said. The Alpha standing over her didn’t move, but gave a quick glance out of the alcove. He took a small step back afterwards, clearly not liking what he saw. Too many witnesses, Pidge presumed. Taking her chance, Pidge grabbed Lance’s arm and stalked forwards, pulling him with her.

“I am leaving, and Lance is coming with me,” she said, glaring at any Alpha who’d look at her, daring them to say no.

Lance’s assaulter must have tried to stop them, or say something, because she heard someone behind her say “leave it,” as they walked away.

They walked in the opposite direction to the ballroom. She was going to take Lance somewhere safe. Somewhere the Alpha’s couldn’t get to him.

Chapter Text

Lance was warm. He was half dozing, eye’s closed, a floating feeling surrounding him. He’d felt like that for a while, and it’s so nice, so comforting. There’s a fluffiness surrounding him, probably blankets, and the occasional hand on his face or shoulder. It’s reassuring. It’s platonic.

He wanted to stay like this, but he could feel himself falling back into reality. The more he tried to cling to the floating feeling the faster he fell. Which was why he’d stopped trying. He’ll just float for as long as the world will let him. Which isn’t long enough.

The first proper signs of reality are the noises. They were always there, but now he can understand what they are, what they mean.

There was a soft tinkling sound. Bells? Metal? He wasn’t sure about that one, but he understood the others. Music. An instrument being played, sometimes soothing songs, sometimes random notes. Occasionally it stopped and went back a bit, playing the last part over again. It took a while, but the realisation set in that this wasn’t someone performing, they’re practicing.

Then there were the voices. They’re all quiet, hushed, like they’re trying not to wake someone. There was a lot of them, and they came and went, apart from one, one he recognised, but can’t place. They’re one of the ones who touch him, and he liked that.

The next time they did it, moving their hand to brush against his face, he moved into the touch.

“Lance,” they whisper. Yes, that’s him. He smiled a little bit, and let out a satisfied noise to show that he was listening.

The hand disappeared, and he nearly made a noise of complaint, but then there was a weight at his side, and the fingers were replaced with something that tickled his nose. Hair, he realised. Someone was leaning against him.

He breathed in deep. Now that they were so close the person’s scent was strong, and he recognised it. The name was just beyond his reach, on the ground, just past the floating feeling. He didn’t want to land in reality, but there’s an anxiety, a worry, to the scent that he couldn’t ignore.

So, he opened his eyes, forcing himself to land. Reality is full of low, soft lighting, and pink, reds, and oranges.
Lance snorts, trying to remove the hair tickling his nose. It’s light brown, the owners head pressed against his cheek. He can’t see their face, but there’s an outline of glasses poking out around the eyes.

“Pidge,” he muttered, and the head flew away from his face, turning to look at him with wide eyes. Yup, that’s Pidge.

“Lance, do you-do you remember what happened?” she asked. He looked at her, and breathed deeply. She’s more worried than ever. He closed his eyes, trying to think. What happened to worry her like this?

“I remember…yelling at Keith, and…looking for Hunk, and then,” he half opened his eyes. Pidge is looking at him, her eyes shining, and there are others, further back, that he doesn’t recognise. Their scents match Lance’s, they aren’t the kind that he last remembers, they aren’t “Alpha’s.”

Pidge sucked in a breath, “do you remember what,” her voice wobbled slightly, “what he did?”

“Yeah,” Lance replied. He didn’t want to elaborate. He didn’t want to think about it, about any of it. It was all hazy, a kind of memory, like a dream that wasn’t going to disappear. Only one part stood out in full clarity, the feeling of it. It’s weight against his tongue, the taste of it. How it felt when it hit the back of his throat. He wasn’t ever going to forgot that.

Lance closed his eyes again, hoping to go back to that floating world. It didn’t come. Instead, Pidge moved back, leaning against him, head resting on his cheek, and that was nearly as good. He wasn’t alone, Pidge was here. Pidge had saved him.

“Thanks for…” he started in a small voice, not wanting to finish, but he still needed to say something.

“That’s what teammates are for. We’ve all got your back,” Pidge replied, and suddenly Lance felt like crying.

“Don’t tell Keith we’re having a bonding moment. He’ll have a fit,” Lance’s voice wobbled as he spoke. Pidge leaned further into Lance.

“Then we definitely need to tell him, just to see his face,” she said in a small voice. Lance let out a small laugh, but it sounded strangely like a sob, and once he started he couldn’t stop, the laughter just kept coming. His vision went blurry, and his cheeks felt wet. If anyone had asked him he wouldn’t have been able to tell them why.

-

Shiro hadn’t been able to find Lance, or Pidge.

He was getting frantic now, gone past the point of polite dismissal. They had searched the entire hall. Hunk had found Keith, safe, disgruntled, but safe. That had been a relief, until he’d found out that the last time Keith had seen Lance he’d gone looking for Hunk. Who he clearly hadn’t found.

At this point they’d searched the hall four times. Been out on the balcony, looked through the surrounding hallways, and found no sign of either of the Paladins.

Halfway through searching the hall a third time, Hunk had recruited Coran, who had, in turn, recruited some of their hosts to help look.

Shiro was in one of the hallways around the ballroom when one of Coran’s friends came running up to him.

“Sir Black Paladin!” She called. He recognised her instantly as she had been on Coran’s arm when Hunk had bought them over, telling him that they were going to help in the search.

It took him a moment to remember her name, “yes? Uh, Gyryd. Did you find them?”

“I-,” she started, then stopped, patting down her frizzy red hair and composing herself, “I think I have news. Not of where they are at the moment, but… of what may have happened.”

Shiro’s stomach dropped, “What happened?”

She liked her lips nervously, and stepped closer, “It is not good news,” she spoke in a hushed voice, “someone told me of a commotion that happened earlier. He is certain one of them was an Omega.”

“Lance,” Shiro breathed out his name, fear gripping at his chest.

The alien nodded and continued, “most likely. Apparently, he was, I am sorry to have to tell you this, he was servicing an Alpha,” Shiro opened his mouth, surely he’d heard that wrong, there was no way… oh god, oh god, “someone took quarrel with this, and escorted the Omega away from the Alpha. No one seems to know where.”

“Someone? Who? Where?” Shiro couldn’t form full sentences, his mind kept going to back Lance being forced to-

No.

No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.

That couldn’t have happened.

“No one seems to know who took him. All I have learned is that they are small, and female. They were unsure of the second gender.”

A small bubble of hope squeezed into his chest. Pidge. Could it have been Pidge?

“Did they give you a description?”

“Hmm, they also said brown hair, and a fluffy dress,” she said half to herself, thinking hard. Shiro’s heart picked up.

“That sounds like Pidge,” he said, a little bit of hope in his voice. The woman looked confused and then realisation settled onto her face.

“One of your companion?” she asked. Shiro nodded, now thinking. Where would Pidge take Lance?

“Our rooms, we haven’t checked there yet,” Shiro said, eyes brightening with hope, but Gyryd’s face turned grim.

“Coran thought that they might have returned to their rooms, we have checked, they are empty. I am sorry,” she said, looking genuinely sad.

Shiro let out a breath, trying hard not to swear.

“Then where?” He muttered to himself.

“Most likely, they are hiding in some corner of the castle,” there was a pause, “I do not wish to be presumptuous, but perhaps now would be a good time to make the search more official. I’m sure His Highness would be happy to lend you his guards in the search.”

Shiro looked surprised, he hadn’t been expecting that suggestion. He had certainly thought of it, but since Coran had not suggested it he had assumed it was a bad idea.

He thought back to his meeting with the King. He had seemed friendly, at least to Shiro.

“I will need to speak to the Princess first, about telling your King,” Shiro mused. It felt like a bit of a leap telling him, especially if Lance was safe with Pidge, but perhaps the woman was right. They would need more people if they were going to search the entire castle.

“Oh! No, no. I did not mean His Majesty, I meant His Highness, the prince. His Majesty is a wise and great man, but… he can be… stubborn when it comes to lending others help. His son, on the other hand, is a little more open to others,” she explained, looking rather embarrassed.

“I see. I’m sorry,” Shiro replied, equally embarassed. He hadn’t realised that the King had a son. That was something he should really know.

“No need to be sorry. He wasn’t with the King when you were introduced, you couldn’t possibly know what he is like. If you would wait here, I am happy to go get him,” Gyryd said, smiling.

“Ah, thank you,” Shiro replied, returning her smile. That broadened her smile, and seemed to get rid of her remaining embarrassment.

She stepped back, speaking, “excuse me,” before giving him a small bow and turning to quickly walking away.

Shiro waited for her in the hallway. He ended up leaning against one of the pristine white walls as he waited. Whilst there Keith suddenly appeared. He rounded one of the corners and spotted Shiro.

“Shiro!” He called, instantly jogging over. Shiro pushed himself up off the wall when he heard his name.

“Keith? Find anything?” He asked, and Keith’s face fell. He dropped eye contact, an unhappy look crossing his face.

“No, not yet. I-He’ll be fine, right?” Keith asked, raising his head to look at Shiro. There was an uncertainty in his eyes. If they’d met a few minutes earlier Shiro would have instantly reassured him, regardless of how worried he really felt. Now he couldn’t, not after what Gyryd had told him.

“I think he’s safe now, but,” Shiro said, and Keith gave him questioning look full of worry, “Gyryd said that he may be been forced to do something… sexual with an Alpha,” he had to force the words out.

Keith’s face turned dark, fury and horror flitting across it, fighting for dominance.

“What?” he growled, “who?”

“We don’t know. It more hearsay for now,” Shiro answered, realising that with Keith’s reaction he was going to have to be the sensible one, and hold him back if any of it turned out to be, and he didn’t really want to hold him back.

“I will hunt down the fucker-,”

“First we need to find Lance,” Shiro interrupted, and Keith let out an angry growl, but it was more a concede than a challenge, “he might be with Pidge.”

“That he is,” someone called out. Keith turned around to look in the same direction as Shiro, where the voice had originated from.

One of their hosts, the largest he’d seen so far, was walking towards them. The alien had long bright red hair, and, like Shiro, was entirely shirtless.

The man spoke again, “Lady Gyryd informed me that you are looking for Lance,” he said, then he turned to Keith and added with a half-smile, “we meet again.”

For a moment, both of the Paladins looked confused, but then realisation dawned on Shiro, and he stepped back into a bow.

“Your highness, it is an honour to meet you,” Shiro spoke politely, and Keith instantly got the message, dropped into a bow of his own, “You know where Lance is?” He added, surprised by the man’s familiar tone when referring to Lance. The Alpha chuckled, and waved a hand dismissivly.

“No need to be so formal, we aren’t in the ballroom, and yes, I do. Your green Paladin took him to a restricted area. I was informed as soon as they entered. The residents of that area are my responsibility as the crown prince,” the Prince answered, and a look of surprise crossed Keith’s face, before turning back to an angry neutral.

Shiro straightened out of his bow, and Keith copied immediately after.

“What exactly is this restricted area?” Shiro asked.

“Well, restricted to you, but not those others,” he said cryptically, whilst giving Keith a pointed look.

“Where is he?” Keith interjected.

“The rdl wrchddyg,” he answered as if that should mean something to them.

Shiro could see annoyance creeping into Keith’s face.

“And that is?” Keith asked, failing at sounding collected. The prince raised an eyebrow.

“The protected area,” there was a pause after he spoke as the alien realised they had no idea what he was talking about, “the area where Omega’s live.”

“Oh.” The areas of Keith’s face softened.

“I presume Alpha’s aren’t allow,” Shiro said, half asking.

“Not without special permission. Which I am happy to give, but perhaps it would be better to give him some time away from Alpha’s,” the prince said, a soft smile on his face.

Shiro took a shaky breath, “I-yes, maybe you’re right.”

Keith spun to look at Shiro. He looked strangely angry.

“No. He’ll want to see you,” he said with such conviction Shiro nearly agreed with him.

Instead he said, “Keith, you can’t know that.”

Keith moved forward, intensity still full force as he said, “I know, but if I were him, I’d want to see you.”

Shiro couldn’t help but smile at that.

“Lance doesn’t know me like you do,” Keith looked like he was going to argue, “go talk to him, if he wants to see me, come get me. Let him make the choice,” Shiro tried to word it as gently as possible, and Keith seemed to accept it.

“Okay,” Keith said, but he clearly didn’t like it.

“I’ll show you where he is. It’s a bit of a walk. Lord Takashi, you might as well come with us to the entrance, in case Lance does need you,” the prince said, and Shiro nodded.

“That’s a good idea. Please lead the way,” he replied.

-

Keith stayed close to Shiro as they followed the prince down near empty corridors. There was the occasional servant, or guard, but they all kept their heads down and didn’t question anything as they passed.

Keith watched all of them, he was on edge. He didn’t trust this prince. He just happened to know where Lance was and hadn’t bothered to tell anyone? He could be leading them into a trap.

Keith glanced at Shiro before turning his eyes back to the prince. Clearly Shiro wasn’t worried about the possibility of being betrayed. That, or he was better at hiding his suspicions than Keith. Keith suspected the former, he was always being told he was paranoid.

The décor of the hallways started to change. Keith wasn’t quite sure how to describe it, but it looked…rosier.

He switched his mind back to the prince, now wasn’t the time to get distracted by decorations.

Keith noticed that Shiro was looking at him. He sped up his steps a little to walk at pace with the Alpha.

“We’ll find out who hurt Lance,” Shiro whispered to him. His voice was low, but Keith was sure the prince could still hear them. So, he didn’t bother with the same tact.

“And when we do I’ll cut off his dick and shove it down his throat. See how the fucker likes it.”

There was a chuckle from up ahead. Keith glared at the back of the prince’s head, this wasn’t funny, he fully planned on carrying out his threat.

“Why are you bringing this up?” Keith asked, and then bit his lip. That came out harsher than he’d intended.

“You look worried. You smell scared,” Shiro replied, voice gone back to being low. Keith stiffened slightly, he wasn’t scared.

“I’m fine. Concentrate on Lance,” again, it came out sounding too harsh. Luckily Shiro didn’t seem to mind. The Alpha reached a hand across, placing it on Keith’s opposite shoulder. Keith let him, and Shiro swept a thumb over the glands at the base of his neck. He could feel the tension being forced out of his body, and let out a soft, almost frustrated sigh.

This was why Lance needed Shiro. Keith couldn’t do this for Lance, couldn’t relax him with a touch, make him feel protected with just his scent. Those were Alpha abilities.

Sometimes he wished that he’d been born an Alpha. Then he could hunt down the monster that had taken advantage of Lance, cut his head off, and give it to Lance, maybe as a courting gift, and no one would care. Okay, they might care a bit, but they’d be nowhere near as horrified.

Shiro’s hand moved away too soon, and Keith had to bite down a whine. The warmth of his touch, and its effect on his body lingered, keeping the tension out of Keith’s muscles.

They walked for a bit more, this time in silence, and Keith’s thoughts turned away from the prince and towards Lance.

He shouldn’t have left him alone. Lance snapped at him all the time, he should have snapped back and followed him. Keith wasn’t sure why, this one time, he’d felt so offended. He’d already been irritated because of that Alpha that had gotten handsy with him, but he’d been getting along with Lance, at least, getting along better than usual. Then Lance had snapped at him out of nowhere, and for some reason that had hurt.

Now because of his stupid emotions Lance was hurt far more than Keith, far more than Keith could even begin to imagine.

“Here,” the prince said as he stopped. They were in front of a set of ornate double doors. There was an intricate pattern of long stemmed flowers with multiple little petal heads carved into it. The caring took up the entire door, so not an inch of it wasn’t in some way shaped like a flower.

There was no one outside the doors. Keith frowned, again a distinct lack of guards.

The prince walked up to the doors, and Keith noticed that there was no door handle. Instead the Alpha placed a hand against the wood and a green light shot up the flower stems, turning to red, white, and blue as it reached the petals. It caught Keith’s breath. The carving suddenly looked like the flowers had come to life, and then they began to move. The flowers untangled themselves from one another and shifted aside, creating an archway in the centre of the double doors.

The prince stepped back gestured to Keith.

“This is the entrance, you can go in,” he said, but Keith didn’t move, “don’t worry, you won’t be trapped in there, you can open the door anytime by placing your hand on it.”

Keith looked to Shiro, uncertain.

His leader nodded at him, “Lance is in there.”

Keith’s eyes went wide. Shiro was an Alpha, so it wasn’t surprising that he could smell Lance better than Keith.

“How is he?” Keith asked, but he already had the answer. Shiro wasn’t smiling, he looked pained, and that meant Lance was the same.

“I’ll come get you once Lance says it’s okay,” Keith told him. He could see Shiro’s muscles tighten, like he was holding himself back. Keith realised that everyone of Shiro’s instincts would be screaming at him to go to Lance. To hold him and comfort him. Part of Keith wished that he’d listen to those instincts, but he understood that Shiro was holding back for Lance’s sake.

So, he walked through the archway-door alone. Beyond it was a short corridor barely lasting four steps before ascending into a stairway. The cold marble of the floor gave way to soft carpet, and the sound of voices and music drifted down to him.

The scent stood out the most. Pure Omega, sweet in every way he could think of. He’d never smelled anything like it. Sure, he’d been in rooms with lots of Omega’s before, there’d always been other scents, Beta, and Alpha’s in the mix, never pure Omega. It was, it was lovely. Relaxing, safe, and in some ways intoxicating, begging him not to leave. He had no idea how Shiro had been able to smell Lance amongst everyone else, Keith could barely smell himself.

The further up he went the stronger it got, and when he reached the apex of the stairs it was overpowering, filling his head, muddling him in ways he thought only Alpha’s could. It wasn’t sexual, or scary though. It was just relaxing to the point he didn’t want to think, and right now that made this seem like a good place for Lance.

The was a woman at the top of the stairs, she looked like she’d been waiting for him, and was entirely naked.

“Welcome,” she purred, stepping closer to Keith, who was trying very hard not to look down.

“Hi, I’m looking for my friend-,”

“Pidge and Lance?” She asked, tilting her head to the side. Keith’s heart started pounding in anticipation.

“Yeah, where are they?” He asked, eyes searching to room. It was round, and large, filled with soft, warm lighting, and painted pink and gold. The only other person in the room was a male Omega who sat at a desk situated in the rooms centre. Keith couldn’t see his lower half, but he appeared to be naked as well.

“Further in,” the woman said, and Keith looked back to her in time to see her indicate her head towards of the many archways that littered the walls.

Keith went to it immediately, and the woman following closely behind him.

“Be kind,” she murmured as he reached the arch. Keith’s heart clenched at that.

The archway led to a corridor, with no sign of Lance, so he walked down it towards the only exit it showed, which was at the opposing end. He could hear music coming from this room, the light plucking of strings playing a relaxing tune.

This room was smaller than the first, and filled with pillows and rugs. There were also more Omega. One playing an instrument, another sitting close by, listening, but more importantly, sitting on the other side of the room where two people wrapped up in blankets. Pidge, and Lance.

Lance had his eyes closed, breathing gently and slowly, clearly asleep, but the scent off distress, of sadness, that had all the hallmarks of Lance still lingered in the air.

Pidge was next to him, leaning into him. Her eyes were half lidded, and it looked like she’d been crying as well.

“Pidge?” He called softly. He eyes widened slowly.

“Keith? How? Why are you here?” She asked, confused in a subdues way, like she was too tired to fully show her emotions.

“We couldn’t find Lance, and we heard-Shiro heard that someone took advantage-,” Keith said, not sure how to word it, as he stepped closer to them. He didn’t need to finish as Pidge starting nodding.

“Yeah, some asshole shoved his cock down Lance’s throat,” she suddenly stopped and glanced at Lance to see if he was awake. He steady breaths continued and his eyes didn’t open.

Keith felt an anger ball in the pit of his stomach. Frustration rose as he couldn’t give it an outlet, not here.

“I’ll kill him,” he growled, fists clenching together.

“We both will,” Pidge whispered, “but we can’t leave Lance, he needs us.”

Keith crouched down next to them, taking a good look at Lance. Around his eyes was red, he’d clearly been crying, and even though he was asleep he didn’t look peaceful.

“Shiro is outside, he wasn’t sure if Lance would want to see an Alpha after what happened.”

Silence was his response before Pidge said, “I don’t know. Maybe wait till he wakes up.”

“Yeah,” he whispered back. They both watched Lance for a while before Keith felt the need to ask a question.

“How did you find this place?”

Pidge took her time answering, voice quite when she finally did speak.

“When we were exploring I saw an Omega, and I followed him. He was the only one I’d seen and I thought it was strange. He noticed me and let me into here. I got to talk to one of the Alpha’s, I don’t know his name, or who he was. Big guy, smiled a lot-,”

“Long dark red hair?”

“Yeah, you met him?”

“I think so, pretty sure he’s the crown prince.”

Pidge let a half laugh, it sounded exhausted, “that would make sense. He told me a lot of stuff we didn’t know. If he was telling the truth, and if Allura doesn’t know any of it, these negotiation talks aren’t going to go well.”

“Why didn’t you tell Allura?” Keith asked, feeling even more frustrated than before.

“He didn’t give me many specifics, I wanted more information first. One of the Omega’s said they would tell me more if I got them something to read. Yeah weird request,” Pidge added at the look on Keith’s face, “apparently reading isn’t an accepted Omega pastime here, but gossip is. So, they know all about what I want to know. I was going to steal on of the books in my room and give it to them. That’s when I got cornered by you and Allura.”

“You still don’t know much then?”

“Oh, I know a lot know,” she gave him a sly smile, “went back and got a book whilst you guys were at the party. He told me everything I wanted to know.”

“If it’s important we need to tell Allura,” he huffed. Pidge’s smile disappeared and she looked at Lance.

“I’m not leaving him.”

Keith agreed with that. Their mission was important, and if this information after the mission then Allura needed to know, but they couldn’t leave Lance, not now, not in some unknown alien territory, and he didn’t feel comfortable taking him back outside where the Alpha’s were.

“…yeah, later.”

Lance stirred, and Keith held his breath, but the other Omega’s eyes didn’t open.

“It might be awhile, he looks exhausted,” Pidge muttered. Keith internally agreed.

Pidge held out an arm, beckoning him closer. He shuffled forwards, and she pointed to Lance’s other side. Keith stared, unsure of what she meant. She beckoned again, but he still didn’t get it, so instead he decided to settle down next to Lance. He pulled a blanket up off the ground and wrapped it around himself and Lance. Then he leaned into him, and tried to relax against him.

Pidge rolled her eyes at him.

Chapter Text

Lance woke up slowly. He felt heavy, there were weights against him. Unlike the last time he’s woken up there was no floating feeling. Reality was laid out plainly as soon as he opened his eyes. He wanted to go back to sleep, to burry himself somewhere where he couldn’t think about anything.

There was some comfort though. The weights on either side of him were people, his friends. Pidge was against his right, small body tucked under him, head propping up his chin. Keith was on his other side, and Lance didn’t know when he’d arrived, but he was leaning against him with another blanket wrapped around the both of them.

They both felt him stir, and turned towards him. It felt a little intimidating to be under both of their gazes.

“How are you feeling?” Keith spoke first, and it was weird that he was being considerate. A lump caught in Lance’s throat, as the only reason Keith would be nice to him now was if he knew, and Lance really didn’t want him to know.

“Fine,” he said, trying to smile. He obviously failed miserably, if Keith’s face was anything to go by.

“You don’t have to pretend,” Pidge said from his other side.

Lance bit his lip, and then said in a smaller voice, “I’m fine, really.”

Pidge and Keith exchanged a look. That made Lance’s cheeks burn. He didn’t want to talk about this, he wasn’t ready. He wasn’t ready for people to know, but they did know. He’d been weak. He’d let himself be used. He’d always prided himself in being a strong Omega who chose their own partner. Sure, he’d never done more than kissing, but it had been his own choice when it had happened, and he knew other people respected that about him. He was going to lose that now. He could see it in their faces. He didn’t want their pity, he wanted their respect.

“Do you want to talk to someone else about it?” Pidge asked. Lance shook his head, and pointedly looked away.

“What about Hunk?” Keith asked. Lance didn’t want to talk about it to anyone, but a hug would be nice, and Hunk gave the best hugs, “or Shiro.”

“No,” Lance said automatically. Pidge and Keith both looked surprised at the force with which he said it.

“Okay,” Pidge started.

“I mean, not Shiro. He-don’t tell him about this, please,” Lance pleaded, and there was another look between the other two Paladins. He hated those looks.

“He already knows,” Keith told him.

Lance’s mouth dropped open, “what?” He squeaked out.

Keith shifted a little uncomfortably, “he found out before I did. He’s waiting outside if you want to see him.”

Lance’s mouth went dry. He didn’t want Shiro to know. What would he think? Would he-would he understand the alpha’s side of it? Blame Lance for it? Lance flirted with everyone, and Shiro had never approved of that.

“I-where’s Hunk?” Lance asked. Pidge looked to Keith for an answer.

“I can go get him, if you want,” Keith offered. Lance needed Hunk. He really, really needed a good hug.

“Thanks,” Lance said.

Keith pulled himself away from Lance. His side felt cold where Keith had been. Lance wrapped the blanket further around himself.

Pidge leaned back into him as Keith walked away. Thankfully she didn’t try to push talking again.

-

Keith was seething. He’d never seen Lance look like that, so unsure, so small. Whoever did this was going to pay.

He knew the way out, and went straight for the exit. He hadn’t thought of how he was going to tell Shiro that Lance didn’t want to see him, and when the door opened to reveal him still standing where he’d left him Keith paused.

Shiro must have read Keith’s face because he said, “it’s okay, I didn’t think he’d want to see me.”

“He’d just not ready,” Keith said back. Shiro looked understanding, but Keith knew him well enough to see the hint of sadness underneath.

“He wants Hunk,” Keith said, and hoped that wouldn’t upset Shiro. The alpha’s face didn’t change.

“Alright, I’ll go get him. Tell Lance it won’t be long.”

“Wait, I’ll go with you,” Keith said, and Shiro raised an eyebrow at him.

“We were arguing before all this happened, and I don’t think he was all that happy to see me,” Keith muttered. He looked away, feeling sheepish. There was a moment of silence, and then Keith felt an arm around his should. He looked up to see Shiro pulling him in against him. Shiro’s hand squeezed his shoulder as he looked down at him.

“Let’s go find Hunk then,” Shiro said. Keith blinked, startled, and then relaxed. The alpha’s scent surrounded him, making Keith feel warm. In a normal situation, this was unusual, but right now Shiro was an alpha who couldn’t comfort a hurt omega. His instincts would be yelling at him to comfort everything in sight, and he’d be craving physical contact. Physical contact that Keith often craved from Shiro.

Keith had failed at making Lance feel better, but he could do better with Shiro. So, he looped both his arms around Shiro’s waist and turned into him. Giving him a quick tight hug. Then he let go and stepped away.

“Thanks,” he mumbled, face going pink. Shiro looked surprised, arm hovering in the air, before he let it drop, and a smile spread across his face.

Keith started to walk away before Shiro could make any proud ‘my little Keith is growing up and comforting people’ comments.

Shiro quickly caught up to him, and thankfully didn’t make any of those comments.

Just to be safe Keith started a conversation, “any idea where Hunk is?”

“Around the main hall. I should be able to scent him out when we get there,” Shiro replied, a smile in his voice. Keith nodded and sped up. He could feel that his face was still pink.

In the end, they didn’t have to scent him out. They saw him, along with Coran and his lady friend, as soon they turned the corner leading to the main hall.

Coran was the first to spot them and speak, “there they are!”

Gyryd, and Hunk turned towards them. A look of both relief and concern spread across Hunk’s face.

“What happened? You two went missing as well, and we still can’t find Pidge or Lance!” Hunk asked.

“We found them. Pidge is fine. Lance is,” Shiro paused.

“Physically fine,” Keith supplied. Hunks face fell into a look of concern.

“What happened?”

Keith noticed Shiro glance at Gyryd, who shook her head.

“An alpha manipulated Lance, forced him to,” Shiro paused again.

“Suck the guys dick,” Keith finished for him. A look of horror spread across Hunk’s face.

“Is he-how,” Hunk tried to ask. He looked like he wanted to be sick.

“He’s safe. He’s with Pidge, he wanted to see you,” Shiro said, his voice taking on a reassuring tone. Hunk nodded, and visibly swallowed.

“We’ll show you where he is,” Shiro offered.

“We should tell Allura as well,” Keith added, stopping Shiro and Hunk in their tracks.

“Right, Coran, could you?” Shiro asked.

“Of course,” the older man agreed.

“Actually, there’s some stuff I need to tell her as well,” Keith said. Shiro raised an eyebrow at him, but Keith kept his face resolute, so Shiro conceded.

“Okay, just make sure to stick with Coran,” Shiro told him. Keith nodded in agreement, and the other two turned to leave, talking about Lance as they went.

When Shiro and Hunk had left, Keith turned to Coran and Gyryd.

“The Princess is still in the ballroom, entertaining the guest. I’m sure she’s anxiously awaiting an update,” Coran said, but Keith turned to speak to Gyryd.

“The person who assaulted Lance, who are they?”

Coran frowned, “Keith, I understand that proper punishment is in order, but this need to be handled officially.”

“You honestly think this guy is going to get punished officially?” Keith asked incredulously, “Who is he?”

Gyryd glanced between Coran and Keith, looking unsure.

“This is a delicate diplomatic situation,” Coran started, and Keith growled, “I’m not saying we let this guy go. We’ll make sure he gets what he deserves, but randomly attacking him isn’t the answer.”

“Forget the diplomatic situation, this mission is fucked anyway!” Keith shouted. Coran looked around wildly to see if anyone had heard. There were people in the corridor, but no one turned to look at them.

“What do you mean by that?” He whispered.

“Allura needs to talk to Pidge, and I need to find this guy,” Keith snapped back. Keith could see the gears in Coran’s head turning.

“Alright, but first everything gets explained to Allura,” Coran conceded.

“And then we find this guy.”

“And then we find this guy,” Coran confirmed. Keith could work with that. A glance to Gyryd showed that she felt nervous. Keith was sure that she knew more than she was letting on, but the real question was how much she’d told Coran.

Keith would need to talk to Coran later, alone.

With a motion of his head Coran started to walk towards the ballroom, and Keith followed. There were more people in the corridors now, which meant more staring, inappropriate looks, and ‘accidental’ touching.

Keith stuck close to Coran, and glared at everyone he could. He was pretty sure he’d snap if anyone managed to grab something.

Thankfully, Allura was close to the door, so they didn’t have to wade through any crowds to get to her.

“Princess, sorry to interrupt,” Coran called out to her. She turned to them, and for a moment looked relieved, then her face went back to a diplomatic smile.

“Coran, there you are. I’ve just been telling everyone how lovely this party is. Everyone’s been so wrapped up in it we’ve barely been able to see each other,” Allura said. Coran beamed and laughed. To anyone who didn’t know him it would have sounded genuine.

“Yes! A lot of fun. A little too much fun for the younger ones. Shiro took Hunk, Pidge, and Lance to bed. Keith’s getting pretty tuckered out too, so I thought it might be best to call it a night. Got a lot to do tomorrow,” Coran replied.

“Yes, I think your right,” Allura said before turning back to the people she’d been talking to, “I’ll head to bed as well. It has been lovely meeting you. I hope we can talk again tomorrow.”

Allura gave them a polite goodbye, and they responded with their own before parting ways. She led the group out into the corridors again. Once outside she fell back slightly, and let Keith lead the way instead. Keith walked as fast as he possible could, only slowing down when there was no one else about.

Despite the fact that they were clearly going the wrong way to reach their assigned bedrooms Allura didn’t question anything.

“Allura, Lance-,” Keith started.

“I know, Coran has been keeping me informed,” she said, voice soft, “has anything happened? Why did we need to leave?”

“Pidge found some stuff out, she wanted to tell you, but we couldn’t leave Lance alone,” Keith replied, and was thankful when they didn’t ask why Pidge hadn’t come to get Allura instead of Keith.

“How is Lance fairing?” Coran asked when there was a beat of silence.

Keith didn’t know how to answers that so he said, “not well.”

The silence became uncomfortable after that, but Keith couldn’t bring himself to break it. He couldn’t change what had happened, and he couldn’t make it up to Lance, but he could do everything in his power to make those responsible pay…even though he was partially responsible.

The final part of the walk felt like it took forever, and not just because Keith got them lost a couple of times, and Gyryd had to get them back on the right path.

When they finally did get to the entrance of the Omega area, or whatever it was, Shiro was waiting outside. He was alone this time, the prince had disappeared.

“Princess, Coran,” Shiro said, sounding surprised. He placed a hand on Keith’s shoulder as he spoke.

“Morning Shiro,” Coran said. It was past midnight now Keith realised.

“Keith told us Pidge has something she needs to tell us,” Allura told him. Shiro glance from Keith to Allura to the door. He looked apprehensive.

“Hunk went in a while ago. Pidge is still in there. I don’t think-Lance didn’t want to see me, and I’m not sure if it’s because I’m-y’know,” Shiro tried to explain, but it didn’t quite click with Keith.

Allura realised what he meant, “an Alpha?”

“Oh,” Keith muttered. Allura was an Alpha as well. If Lance wasn’t ready to see Shiro, he wouldn’t be ready to see Allura.

“I’ll go get her,” Keith offered, and the hand on his shoulder squeezed in thanks. Part of him didn’t want to go back in. Part of his wished Coran would offer to go instead, but the Beta didn’t, clearly thinking that Keith was the better option.

So, he went back inside. Going up the step a little more slowly this time. No one was there to greet him at the top, and although the scent was just as overpowering, the music had stopped.

He crept back into the room Lance had been in, he was still there wrapped up in blankets with Pidge by his side. Now Hunk was there too, he had his arm slung around him, pulling Lance in close. They were talking softly, and Lance was smiling.

Lance was smiling.

Somehow, it felt like a weight had been lifted off Keith’s chest. Lance was happy, and it made Keith want to cry.

He didn’t move, just watched them, not really listening to what they were saying.

Hunk was the one who noticed him.

“Hey, Keith,” he called out quietly. Lance looked up, and the smile didn’t drop. Keith was on the verge of tears.

“Hey, sorry for-for earlier,” Lance said. Keith sucked in a strangled breath.

“What?” Keith said, before realising how high his voice was, and schooling it back down, “no, you don’t need to be sorry.”

“Thanks, I am anyway, but thanks,” Lance replied.

“So come join us,” Hunk added, holding out his free arm.

“Oh, uh. Allura’s outside. Wanted to talk to Pidge.”

Pidge shifted away from Lance, and started to get up, “Right, I need to talk to her. Keith, take my place.”

Keith stiffened, and then forced himself to relax. He’d been next to Lance earlier, he could do it again, if that’s what Lance wanted. There was no objection of him, Keith took that as acceptance.

Keith settled down next to Lance as Pidge left the room.

“I’ll be back in a bit,” she called over her shoulder.

Keith didn’t lean into Lance the same way Pidge had. Now that Lance was awake it didn’t seem right. He didn’t yet have that kind of relationship with the blue Paladin.

Instead he sat facing him, so that they could talk better.

Keith opened his mouth, about to tell Lance that Shiro still wanted to see him, when Hunk spoke.

“Lance was telling me about your embarrassing moments,” Keith looked confused so Hunk went on, “the video, of Shiro.”

Keith went bright red and stared at Lance, eye wide. Lance looked back smugly.

This was revenge.

Keith knew he deserved it, but that didn’t stop him from being embarrassed.

“Did that really happen? Talk about bad timing,” Hunk said, laughing.

“Yeah, it did,” Keith said in a small voice, sure that he was pink from ear to ear.

“I gotta ask, did anything ever happen between you two?” Hunk asked. Keith gave him an unsure look. Lance turned to look at Hunk questioningly as well.

“What do you mean?” Keith asked.

“You two have history. Did you ever-?”

Lance turned to Keith, eye’s excited, but there was still something subdued in them. Keith realised what Hunk was doing. He was distracting Lance, trying to make him feel better by showing him that nothing had changed between any of them.

Keith could play along. He’d never told anyone about this, but if Lance needed this…

“Once. I’m not sure Shiro remembers.”

Both Lance and Hunks eyebrow went through their hairline.

“Shiro didn’t drink often, but when he did he’d get absolutely smashed. Sometime after the video thing he came to my room drunk. Really drunk,” Lance scooted closer as Keith talked, “I let him in,” Hunk frowned at him, letting a drunk Alpha into your room was a bad idea, even Keith knew that, “and I tried to get him to sleep on my bed. He just kept talking nonsense. Then something must have reminded him of the video, ‘coz he asked me if I was into him,” Lance gasped slightly, “I was fed up with him, and wasn’t in the mood for dancing around things, so I said yes.”

“What did he say?” Lance asked, interrupting. Keith held back an irritated look.

“He grinned at me, and asked if I wanted to suck his dick,” Keith said, going from pink to red, “and I said yes.”

Keith suddenly paused, realising that this might be taking a turn into a bad topic for Lance. Hunk seemed to have the same idea.

Lance was smiling, but when he saw them both looking him and not talking he stopped. He seemed to withdraw back into himself.

“I’m fine,” Lance muttered, he sounded a little angry.

“Sorry, I-uh, I did, in case you wanted to know,” Keith said. The interested look didn’t return to Lance’s eyes.

Instead Lance asked something that Keith wasn’t expecting, “do you remember what it felt like?”

“What?” Keith asked, but Lance just looked at him, eyes strangely intense, “kind of, I mean, I know what it feels like to suck a dick, but not Shiro’s specifically.”

Lance didn’t look excited by the revelation that Keith had sucked more dicks than Shiro’s, and that was worrying.

“So sucking anther dick made you forget what the previous one was like?” Lance asked. Keith couldn’t help but think how oddly that question was worded. A glance at Hunk showed that he was worried too.

“I guess?” Keith replied. There was a pause.

“Is Shiro still outside?” Lance asked.

Keith replied, “yeah.”

“But he’s talking with Allura, and Pidge right now,” Hunk butted in with. He gave Keith an alarmed look that made Keith play along.

“Might be best to talk to him later,” Keith added.

“Okay,” Lance conceded, settling back into Hunk.

Keith looked around, searching for a new topic, “so, how long do you think we stay here?”

“As long as we want. That’s what they said to me when I got here,” Hunk replied.

“Oh, that’s good.”

“…”

“…”

“What do you think of Coran’s admirer?” Hunk asked.

“She’s nice. Well informed,” Keith frowned, “not sure if I trust her yet.”

“Same, but she seems really into Coran.”

“Really? I didn’t get the same vibe.”

“Didn’t you see where she grabbed him?”

“Grabbed him?”

“She had her hands all over his butt when I was there.”

“No, she didn’t do anything like that.”

Lance didn’t join in with their conversation, and neither of them forced him to join.

-

Lance closed his eyes, and listened to them talk. The conversation ebbed and flowed. They talked about everything they could think of, and Lance didn’t join in. He kept his eyes closed, and let them think he was asleep.

They talked for a long time, a very long time. Long silences appeared between the conversations, and after a while the talk stopped completely. Pidge never came back, and no one else came in.

Eventually he felt Hunk go slack, and Lance cracked one eye open to look at Keith. He was lying down on the blankets, chest rising and falling steadily.

Lance opened his eyes fully. Moving slowly, he untangled himself from Hunk. For a moment, it seemed like he might wake as he shifted slightly, but he then he settled back, and continued dreaming.

Lance moved quietly, making his way to the end of the room. The entire area was silent now. No music, or talking, like there had been earlier.

He crept down the hall towards the entrance. There wasn’t anyone at the desk, or by the stairs. He snuck out completely unnoticed.

Lance knew this was a stupid idea, but he felt like he needed to do it. Anything to wash away the memory.

At the bottom of the stairs the door was closed. Lance took a breath and told himself that if Shiro wasn’t there he’d go back to Hunk and Keith.

He pressed his hand against the door, and the carved flowers came to life, letting him through. Outside, leaning against the opposite wall was Shiro.

The Alpha looked up instantly, smelling Lance.

“Lance,” he breath.

Lance smiled back, “hey, Shiro.”

Chapter Text

Shiro’s smile was warm, but Lance could smell the concern. It was strangely calming to his baser instincts.

“Hey,” the alpha spoke first, his voice soft, and a little groggy, “can’t sleep?”

Lance realised that he no idea what time it was, there hadn’t been any windows in the omega sanctuary.

“Slept a little too much,” he answered, stepping closer.

“Wish I knew the feeling,” Shiro joked, making an obviously forced laugh. Lance smiled nervously, pausing. They looked at each other, both contemplating what the other was thinking. Now that he was here Lance’s conviction was wavering, there were so many things that could go wrong, but at the same time he still wanted to try. It wasn’t like Shiro’s opinion of him could get much lower, he reasoned. So, he stepped closer again, trying his best to make it look sultry. The complete lack of emotional change from Shiro gave him the feeling his attempt hadn’t worked.

“Since we both can’t sleep, why don’t we keep each other company?” Lance suggested, trying to flutter his eyelashes. Shiro’s face broke into a genuine smile, and then faltered, as if unsure about his happiness.

“Yeah, yeah that sounds good,” Shiro answered, his whole posture opening up. Lance’s heart went into overdrive. Had that worked? Had Shiro gotten the message?

He moved in closer, not quite ready to initiate things, or sure how. Hopefully Shiro would take the first step.

There was an odd silence.

“Uh, you and Keith seem to be getting along better,” Shiro eventually said. Okay, not how Lance would have started things, but Shiro was the more experienced one here.

“We kind of bonded… over you.”

Shiro suddenly grinned, and replied, “really, how?”

The conversation was getting off track, Lance needed to set it right, “He said he once sucked your dick.”

Shiro’s grin vanished, and his posture closed up.

“Oh.”

That wasn’t the intended reaction.

With a lick of his lips Lance added, “I’m not judging, I kind of wanted to try it too.”

There was a moment of frozen time, and then Shiro’s whole face changed and his body tensed up. He looked like he’d just seen his grandmother moon him.

Realisation dawned on Lance. He had fucked this up. He had really fucked this up.

“I-I-I,” he stammered.

Shiro’s mouth snapped shut, and Lance could see him entering leader mode. Lance didn’t want this. He didn’t want a lecture, he didn’t want to Shiro to think he was easy, a whore, or, fuck, what if he thought Lance had wanted to suck that alpha’s dick?

“Lance,” Shiro started.

“You should have seen your face!” Lance almost shouted, voice teetering on hysterical.

“What?” Shiro asked, suddenly frowning.

“Did you really think I was being serious? C’mon, look at us, there’s no way you’d say yes.” Shiro’s frown deepened as Lance spoke. “I’m a gangly excuse for an Omega, and you’re-you’re. Have you ever looked at your arms? Or your chest? Or-,”

“Lance,” Shiro cut in, “you’re beautiful.”

Lance stalled, mouth left hanging open, and Shiro took that moment to press on.

“I know sometimes it’s hard to look at yourself and see the good things, but it’s how I see you. You care more than anyone I know. You’re always looking out for Pidge, and Hunk, and all of us. And you work harder than anyone else here, harder than Keith, heck, harder than I ever worked. I admire that about you, I really do.”

‘Right,’ Lance thought bitterly, ‘when the ugly girl tells you she’s ugly you tell her what a wonderful personality she has.’

“And you’re a goofball, yeah,” Shiro continued, making Lance cringe, “and sometimes it’s exasperating, but it’s also something I love about you.”

The corner of Lance’s mouth twitched at that, and he let out a shy laugh, “tone it down big guy, I’m not some damsel you’re trying to woo.”

Shiro snorted, “if I were trying to ‘woo’ you, I’d tell you how pretty you are. How I love the colour of your eyes, and the way they light up when you smile, and that confident smirk,” Shiro chuckled, “it makes me want to smile.”

Lance opened his mouth to let out some witty remark, but only managed a strangled croak. Shiro looked almost bashful in return, but a small smile never let his face.

“I know telling you not to put yourself down is useless, we all do it. I do it every time I look in the mirror, but next time maybe you could think about how right here in this moment I think you’re strong, and beautiful.”

Lance couldn’t find words. He just let himself go redder, and redder whilst vigorously nodding his head.

“Good,” Shiro murmured, features soft, before clearing his throat, and adding, “still want company after my embarrassing outburst?”

“It wasn’t embarrassing, it was… nice.” Nice. Lance felt like an idiot, was that all he could come up with? After everything Shiro had said, the best he could do was ‘nice’.

“Thanks,” he said before leaning back against the wall, and patting the free space next to him.

Lance glanced between the empty area and Shiro, nerves making him unsure. Shiro smiled at him and inclined his head towards the wall.

Slowly, Lance slipped into the space, settling himself next to Shiro at what he hoped was a normal distance, but he wasn’t sure. He couldn’t remember how close he’d stood to Shiro the day before, and today the distance felt like chasm, one that he needed.

Shiro started up the conversation again, “what’s it like in there?”

-

Keith dozed, snuggled against Hunks warm body, his own unusually hot, but he needed this, this contact, craved it. He nosed in gently and breathed in, taking in Hunk’s grounding scent. It was earthy, and caring, almost covering up how wrong something was, but Keith’s sleep addle brain couldn’t quite process what that wrong thing was. Despite how much he wanted to just lay there and soak in Hunk’s warmth something in the back of his mind knew that he needed to find out what was wrong.

Unhappily, he forced himself awake to deal with whatever was wrong. The realisation hit him the moment he lifted his head up off Hunk.

Lance was gone. Panic set in quickly.

He sprang to his feet, and yelled out, “Lance!”

The sudden movement, and noise, woke Hunk, who flailed, tangled up in blankets.

“Lance? What happened? Lance?” He asked, hand reaching out for where Lance should have been. After a second Hunk went statue still, and then turned his head to Keith, hand still hanging where Lance should have been.

“I don’t know,” Keith answered the silent question through gritted teeth.

“It was meant to be safe here.”

There was another silence filled with pale fear that Keith had to fill.

“We don’t know if he was taken, maybe, maybe he’s, I don’t know, gone to the toilet?”

Keith knew it was a weak explanation, but Hunk needed something.

“Y-yeah,” Hunk answered in a near whisper. With shaky hands, he pulled the blankets off himself, and rose to his feet.

“Should we search or stay?” The beta asked as they both stood there filled with restlessness and fear.

Keith took a deep breath through clenched teeth. He needed to take control, they needed a plan. What would Shiro do? Shiro.

“You stay here, in case he comes back. I’ll search… and I’ll get Shiro to search outside as well. We’ll fine him,” Keith said, adding the last part more for himself than Hunk. He’d lost Lance twice now, he couldn’t keep failing his team like this.

Hunk looked a little calmer now that they had a plan.

“Okay, okay, and if he comes back? What do I do then?”

“Stay. We’ve been splitting up way too much. We need to group up.” Keith said, and Hunk nodded.

Keith turned towards to the exit, and added, “we’ll find him,” before he left.

He moved swiftly, feet hitting the ground with enough force to be a run, but he contained himself. At least, he did until he was out of sight, and earshot, of Hunk, then he let his instincts take over.

He bolted from the now eerily silent rooms and corridors of the omega sanctuary to the areas entrance. He needed to find Lance. He needed help. He needed Shiro.

The entrance opened aggravatingly slowly. The pretty display of the door now just a useless distraction.

His annoyance almost blinded him to what, or rather who, was standing outside the door.

“Lance,” he breathed out in relief, then his voice turned to a growl of frustration, “Lance!”

The other Omega visibly jumped at the sound of his voice, eyes going wide. He looked almost guilty.

Shiro spoke first, “Keith, what’s wrong?”

Keith ground his teeth, contemplating yelling, but knew he had no right. Not after how he’d allowed Lance to be hurt.

Instead he looked at Lance, looked him straight in the eyes, and hissed, “we thought you’d been taken.”

A flash of realisation, and then guilt passed across Lance’s face. He broke the eye contact to stare at the floor.

“Sorry.”

Keith was angry, no, he was furious, but more than that, he was scared. He’d been scared that Lance would be hurt again, and he was scared of how badly he was hurt now. He tried to let go of the anger, but couldn’t, he’d never been very good at that, so instead he buried it. Smothered it under how scared he was, and how much he wanted Lance to be okay.

“It’s fine, we-we were just worried,” Keith said, trying to keep his voice even as Lance fidgeted and stared at the ground. Guilt clear in his posture.

“He’s okay,” Shiro said, when Lance didn’t reply.

Keith swallowed a snappy comment, and nodded, “I should tell Hunk, he’s inside, waiting in case you’d just wandered off.”

Lance’s head snapped up at the sound of Hunk’s name.

“I didn’t mean to-,” he started, before swallowing and trying again, “I was going to come back before you woke up.”

Keith bit his lip, chewed it, and contemplated. He wanted to know why Lance had even left in the first place, but something in Lance’s pleading eyes, and the set of Shiro’s jaw was telling him no, don’t ask right now.

He set his bottom lip free, “I’m just glad you’re safe,” there was an embarrassed pause, “we need should go tell Hunk you’re okay.”

Lance smiled, half formed, and a little shy, but still a smile.

“Thanks.”

In response, Keith frowned, and crossed his arms, but there was a warmth in his eyes.

His response made Shiro chuckle, and the older paladin smiled more openly than Lance.

“You two should go. Calm down our stressed-out friend.”

“Yeah,” Keith muttered, as he turned to go whilst Lance took a few steps to follow him, “oh, and,” Keith suddenly stopped, and Lance nearly walked into him, “you should get some sleep too. We still have the first of the negotiations this morning.”

“You sure?” Shiro asked Keith, but he was looking at Lance.

“There’s nothing for you to do out here. Getting some rest so you’re ready for tomorrow to the best way to help,” Keith reasoned. They both knew he was right, but Shiro still looked disappointed, alpha instincts likely playing havoc with his reasoning.

“We need these negotiations to go well… I just wish we didn’t,” he said as he ran a hand through his black and white hair.

There was a moment a silence.

“Shiro, as much as I hate agreeing with him, Keith is right. Go get some sleep,” Lance told Shiro. The Alpha looks at him for a moment, before sighing and nodding.

“I’ll see you in a few hours. It’s not long till morning anyway, but I guess taking a kip will help,” Shiro said, and after they bid each other goodnight. Shiro waited, and watched the two Omega’s leave first.

They went back inside the overly ornate doors, which automatically closed behind them, enveloping them in soft red light, and sweet omega scent. The walk back to Hunk was quiet, neither said a word.

The beta was waiting for them, standing in the centre of the room, pacing in circles, with a worried look clear across his face. He saw Keith first, and his worry deepened, but then Lance stepped out into the room.

“Lance!” He yelled as he jumped forwards, grabbing the omega in a bearhug, and lifting him up off the ground.

“Hey, big guy,” Lance chuckled.

“Are you okay? What happened? Where do you go?” Hunk asked, not letting Lance go.

“I just…went to talk to Shiro,” the omega murmured into Hunk’s shoulder. The tension eased out if Hunk’s body, and he pulled back slightly so he could look at Lance’s face, a questioning look plastered across his own. Lance didn’t look up from the beta’s shoulder.

A sympathetic look crossed Hunk’s face before he said in an exasperated voice, “tell us next time, I don’t like waking up alone.”

Lance gave him a half smile, “you had Keith.”

“Exactly!”

“Oi!” Keith grumbled, as the other two grinned at him, “…can we just get some sleep?”

“Sure, sure. We know how you get without your beauty-sleep,” Hunk teased.

Keith made an annoyed noise and muttered, “that’s Lance,” but the other two ignored him as they settled down to sleep again. They moved into the same positions as before, blankets wrapped tightly around them.

“You’ll be there I wake up, right?” Hunk asked, before closing his eyes.

“Yeah,” Lance whispered.

-

“You’re certain about all this Pidge?” Allura asked, facing the young Paladin, inside her appointed chambers.

Pidge nodded, “yeah, I’m sure.”

Allura paused, contemplating the information.

“Then why invite us here?” She asked aloud.

Pidge shifted from foot to foot and asked what had clearly been on her mind a while, “could some of them be working with the Galra?”

“It is possible… they can’t be without some Galra influences after ten thousand years, but… our intelligence told us that they were still fighting, and somehow winning.”

“Your intelligence is ten thousand years old as well,” Pidge reminded her.

Allura opened her mouth as if to say something, then closed it, smiled and instead said, “yes you’re right, we must be cautious.”

Pidge frowned at her, “I want to go with pissed. I’m not going to forgive what happened to Lance.”

Allura’s features hardened, “we’re not, but these are the kind of people we can demand things from.”

“Then what do we do?” Pidge snapped, annoyance rising, her hands balling into fists, but Allura carried on with her calm demeanour.

“We find sympathisers, weaknesses, and the right moment to strike.” There was a wicked spark in her eyes that Pidge liked.

“The princess is right, as Keith always says, patience yields focus,” Coran said, speaking for the first time from his place by the door.

Pidge rolled her eye, she didn’t need any advice from Keith, but she also couldn’t argue with their logic.

“So, we find this guy, find people who hate him, find his weaknesses, and then crush him,” She said. Allura nodded, which someone seemed more like a command than a confirmation.

“When the moment is right,” Coran added.

“We take this one step at a time, and the first step is one only you can do. I won’t ask Lance to do it, but we need to know who this man is. You have to find him, Pidge.” Allura looked at her with an intensity that matched her scent, strong, and demanding. In a way, it was reassuring.

“I’ll find him,” Pidge said, standing up taller as if that would help her meet Allura’s expectations.

“Good,” Allura began, but stopped, turning her head towards the door, and sniffing the air. After a moment, someone knocked on it.

Pidge stared warily at the door, but when she glanced to Allura the princess was smiling.

“It’s Shiro,” she said, and Pidge relaxed, realising that the Alpha must be able to smell him.

Before Shiro had the chance to knock again, Coran open the door. Shiro stood in the doorway, face surprised, and hand raised.

“Uh, hey,” he said, sounding surprised, before quickly schooling himself into a relaxed expression.

“Come in my boy, we were just scheming,” Coran said cheerily. Shiro smiled and stepped inside.

“Finally given up on posturing about in the hallway being the big alpha bodyguard?” Pidge mocked.

“Actually, I got told to get some sleep, which I think was Keith’s nice way of saying ‘stop posturing about in the hallway,” Shiro replied, and Pidge grinned back.

“He has a point though, getting some rest before the meeting tomorrow is a good idea,” Allura added.

“True,” he said with a small sigh, “any scheme’s I need to know about?”

“Not yet,” Allura said, a mischievous twinkle in her eye that made Pidge and Shiro smile.

With a scratch to the back of his head Shiro said, “I’ll head off in sec, I came here for Pidge,” he sounded almost apologetic.

“Me?”

“Yeah, you okay?” Shiro asked, to which he got a confused look.

“Fine, why?”

Shiro took a deep breath, “Lance isn’t okay, we all know that, he went through something horrific, and you had to see that. That would be hard for anyone, and Lance might not be ready to say this yet, but thank you. You were really strong, you saved Lance, and I’m proud of you.”

He finished by holding out his arms towards Pidge. She had turned a dark shade of pink, and there was an embarrassed smile on her face. For a second she hesitated, but then launched herself into Shiro’s arms.

His scent was soft, and warm, making her feel safe as he pulled her in close. She buried her face in his chest, and held on tight.

Suddenly, emotions that she hadn’t realised she was burying welled up. Her vision blurred, and she squeezed her eyes shut to clear them, letting a few tears spill from her eyes.

Shiro held her tighter, and lifted a hand to gently brush through her hair. Slowly, Pidge lifted her head up to look at him. Track marks were all that was left of her tears, and a small smile played smile peeked up at him.

“You’re so brave,” Shiro whispered. Pidge sniffed, and then laughed. It so was small, and quiet that he barely heard it. She squeezed him again, before letting ago, and taking a step back.

“Thanks,” she mumbled, wiping her left eye with her sleeve.

“Any time,” Shiro replied, as Coran moved into Pidges sight, holding out a hanky for her. She took it, and used it to wipe her other eye.

As she made another sniffing noise, Allura placed a hand on her shoulder.

“If you ever need to talk, we’re here for you,” she said. Pidge turned her head to look at the older woman.

“Thanks,” she said, again, voice more chocked up this time. The others waited to see if Pidge would need another hug, or if she was feeling better. After a few moments, and a bit of eye scrubbing, Pidge took a deep breath.

“I’m okay,” she said, sounding it.

“You don’t have to be,” Shiro assured, still worried.

“I am, I really am,” She replied, smiling up at him.

“Would you like to get back to scheming?” Allura asked. Pidge chuckled lightly, and nodded.

“Alright, I’ll leave you then. I promised Keith I’d get some sleep,” Shiro said, stepping back so Allura could move in closer.

“See you in the morning,” Allura said as a goodbye.

“Or technically in a few hours,” Pidge added. Shiro waved, and then turned to leave for the comfort of his own bed.

-

In the morning Shiro was glad for one thing, he could wear his Paladin armour. No more having to walk around shirtless, scars on display. He didn’t want to see them, and no one else needed too. There was only so much awkward staring, and questions one could take.

He did his usual morning routine, sit ups, push ups, bicycle crunches, lunges, and planking. It might not have been the best idea to work up a sweat before a diplomatic meeting, but Shiro needed it. There was something familiar, grounding, about his morning routine that cleared his head like nothing else could. It was something from earth, something he’d managed to keep through his captivity with the Galra, and he refused to give it up.

Yes, it would make him smell a little stronger, but considering how strong every other alpha here smelled, he didn’t think they would notice.

After a quick look in the mirror to make sure he was presentable Shiro walked out of his room, into the hallway.

Allura, Coran, and Pidge were already there, waiting. Shiro glanced around, looking for the others.

“They’re not here,” Allura informed him, an edge to her voice.

“Should I go get them?” He asked. To which Allura shook her head.

“We’ve been discussing it. No, it’s best to leave them,” She replied, not looking happy. He could smell her unease, souring her scent with hints of saltiness.

“We assume Lance isn’t ready for this, and at this point going to get them would make us all late,” Coran added. Shiro’s shoulders sagged at the thought of Lance.

“Or they just overslept,” Pidge said, see his unhappiness. Shiro smiled at her, it was a sweet attempt at reassurance, and he tried to pretend it had worked, but he was always bad at fooling Pidge.

“Either way, we’ll have to make something up to explain their absence,” Coran said, which made everyone think of the real reason they weren’t there.

Allura sighed and tried to steer their minds away from the truth, “and we need to get going.”

“Anyone know where we’re meant to go?” Shiro asked, playing along.

“The princess and I do, my boy,” Coran told him, “follow me,” and they did, “It’s in the old part of the building. Which existed back when King Alfor last visited.”

Shiro half listened as Coran rambled on about changes in architecture, and fashion. How arches were no longer the ‘in’ thing, and how there was far too much red everywhere. He paid more attention to the placement and armour of the guards. As well as the layout of the castle, and where the likely exits were. From what he could tell, there were a lot of exits, and not a lot of guards.

This didn’t change even as they came closer to the meeting room, where their negotiation would take place. Shiro could tell that they were getting closer by the increase in what looked like government officials.

Above the heads of the locals running about for work, Shiro spotted a familiar face, and he realised that they’d reached their destination before Coran announced it.

“Nearly there, just down this hall. I think I see the Prince waiting for us.”

The mentioned Prince turned, as he’d heard Coran, and grinned at them, raised a hand to wave at them. Next to stood a very grumpy looking official.

“Ah! Paladins, Princess Allura, good morning. You have come at just the right moment. Please allow me to introduce our minister for foreign affairs, Lord Myn,” the Prince said, sweeping a hand towards the man standing next to him.

“What. The. Fuck.” Pidge said in her loudest whisper. She sounded furious.