“K-Keith….” came his voice from across the ice. Keith could see from here that he was already shaking and his hair had turned white.
“Lance….” he said, eyes wide. He walked in Lance’s direction, careful not to slip. When he realized how much traction he had, he picked up his pace as Lance slowly shuffled toward him. He reached Lance just before he shook so hard he slipped, Keith catching him in his arms. Keith turned him over and held him close.
“I-I… had t-to… bring S-Shiro home,” Lance said, still shaking.
“I know. It’s alright,” Keith said, trying to keep his voice even. Then he looked up. “Where is Shiro?”
“I… I e-escaped,” Lance said, his breath forming a puff of air in front of Keith.
Keith pulled him closer, protectively but trying to keep him warm. “Escaped? From who?”
Just then, Shiro could be seen running away from the castle. Someone chased behind him on the ice.
“Shiro!” Keith called. “Lance, who’s coming for him?” he asked in a panic.
“H-Help me up,” Lance insisted, struggling in Keith’s grip.
Keith grimaced but agreed and got Lance back to his feet.
Lance looked around to see Shiro fall just feet away from where they stood, Lotor just behind him. “Shiro!” he yelled and started to run from Keith to where Shiro sat on the ground, refusing to use his powers against Lotor.
“Lance!” Keith yelled, and after his momentary disbelief, took off after Lance.
Keith’s breath stopped as he watched what unfolded in slow motion.
Lotor lowered his blade over Shiro’s head. Lance ran on the ice, using the slick surface to slide between them, reaching out below Lotor. As the steel descended, Lance’s hand turned white, the ice creeping its way over his hand, up his arm and over his body. In seconds, Lance was a statue of ice.
“No!” Keith yelled, running as fast as the ice would allow. He approached them but then slowly reached out to Lance’s shoulder. He wasn't just covered in ice; his body was completely changed to ice. He grasped onto Lance’s shoulders, clenching his teeth to hold back a sob.
“What have you done?” Shiro shot at Lotor.
“What have I done? I think the question is what have you done?” he sneered at Shiro. The man in question recoiled under the other’s gaze.
“How dare you?” Keith yelled back. “Lance saved Shiro’s life! And all Shiro ever wanted was to be accepted, and Lance did no matter what! You caused this! You monster!”
Lotor’s expression started to change.
Keith smirked. “That's right, you should be scared! The whole kingdom will know what you did to its prince if I have anything to say-!”
“Keith,” Shiro interrupted firmly.
He turned his head away from Lotor to look back at Shiro and Lance. The wind was knocked out of him.
Slowly, light began to spread over Lance from his toes, up his legs and over his body. It finally reached his head, and he breathed in deeply.
“Lance!” Keith shouted, once again grasping him as the other slumped into his arms. He breathed out, realizing, “An act of true love.”
“What?” Lance said slowly, coming to his senses.
“You saved me,” Shiro said, putting a gentle hand on Lance’s shoulder as he stood. “Thank you….” He turned to face the castle, a look of determination on his face. “I know what I have to do.” Stepping forward and planting a foot on the ice, Shiro reached out, magic coursing around him, melting the ice around them.
As the boat rose up beneath them, Keith steadied Lance by his shoulders, and the two bumped foreheads as it tilted, making them both chuckle, red on their cheeks.
Lance looked up at Keith through his eyelashes. “You came back for me.”
Keith’s voice was low and husky from the emotional strain he'd just been through. “Always.”
Lance’s face broke into a smile as tears brimmed at the edges. He lunged forward and wrapped his arms around Keith. Although taken by surprise, Keith reciprocated the embrace, burying his face In Lance’s shoulder.
“I'm so glad… that you're okay,” Keith said, a little shakily.
Lance pulled back to read Keith’s expression for only a moment. Then Lance’s arms were around Keith’s shoulders and neck as he pressed a kiss to his lips.
Keith made a small noise of surprise before settling into the moment, pulling Lance closer.
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