Prologue: Sealed Away in the Sanctum
The flow of time is always cruel. Its speed seems different for each person, but no one can change it.
Time was of the essence. Time was nothing. Everything. Meaningless. Precious. It was pressing on, surely, but he couldn’t feel its effects anymore. Here, he was beyond such things.
There were no gods or goddesses here. Not in this desolate plane of existence. Lance was beyond their reach now, and his only savour was himself.
His world was nothing. Totally bleak darkness, unflinching, lingering at the edges of his light.
The light he’d been sustaining for longer than he knew. For less time than he realized. In truth, he had no idea how long it’d been. A day? Year? Decade? How long has it been since he trapped himself in this place, with but a single purpose? All he knew was that he had to be patient, and keep holding on. For however long it took.
He could feel it. Him. Clawing at the frayed edges of his power, his sanity. Relentless and full of hate, hostility, calamity, trying to snuff out the light holding him back. The onslaught was constant, incessantly draining his energy.
But Lance just breathed in a slow, calming breath and thought of purple eyes hidden between strands of long black hair.
Of rough, leather-bound hands, quick to touch his shoulder and soothe him.
The quick flash of white teeth he’d get when he flashed him a smirk.
The strong set of his shoulders that held the weight of the world. How blue his tunic looked against pale skin. His kindness, his determination, his valour.
The thought of his knight, of the man he’d fallen in love with, was the only thing keeping him going. There was nothing else to live for. Not even for himself. No. He had to live for Keith. He deserved that much. He deserved the world, and Lance was trying to give it to him.
Or, at least trying to make sure there was a world for him to wake up in.
No matter how long it took, Lance would keep fighting. Keep the darkness at bay, and keep them both trapped in the bleak clutches of this place.
All so Keith would have a chance.
Time passed, only recognizable to Lance by the amount of times he was pulled from thought to push his light further out, keep the Calamity at bay. He knew it passed because as time went on, the beast got stronger, and it took more and more effort, more thought towards his loved ones to keep him at bay.
His thoughts constantly went to his friends. Hunk. Allura. Shiro. Pidge. His fleeting memories were all he had left of them now. They deserved so much more than they got, and he desperately wished he had more time with them. To love and appreciate them, and simply be in their presence one last time. To hear Hunk’s rambunctious laugh. To feel Allura’s warm hugs. To witness Shiro’s quiet determination. To receive Pidge’s sincere love.
But he couldn’t. All he had now were his thoughts, thoughts that helped him keep the Calamity at bay.
Despite everything, keep him at bay he did. He had to.
In his lowest moments, he thought of Keith. No matter how much time passed, his dear knight never faded from his mind’s eye. Every time his eyes slipped closed, to rest or meditate or whatever he did here, Keith was always the first thing he saw. Caring for his horses, training, giggling with Keely, swinging Pidge around, looking at him with that small smile that made his insides flutter--
Something was happening. Lance’s eyes snapped open, looking around frantically for the source of this feeling, but nothing was amiss. His light was still shining bright around him, and even the Calamity seemed to be taking a bit of a break from harassing him.
The flutter in his chest strengthened, and out of the corner of his eye, he spotted a small light in the darkness. Tiny, but it wasn’t his light. It was something else.
He squinted, trying to see into the center of the light, see what was causing it. But it was too small, and too far away to see properly. But still, there was something out there.
Suddenly, he realized it wasn’t his chest that was fluttering; it was his heart. Renewed energy flowed through his veins, and he perked up, looking out towards the light with exuberance and hope.
“Keith,” he whispered. As if in response to his voice, the light pulsed and flickered, glowing a little bigger and brighter than it had moments before. A startled laugh escaped him, and for the first time in forever, his lips spread into a grin. “Keith!”
The Calamity took notice, and with renewed vigour, he attacked the edges of the light barrier, frantically searching for any cracks. But Lance held firm, feeling more optimistic and joyous than he had his entire time here.
Because Keith was finally waking up.
“Open your eyes.”