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Not All Injuries Can Be Healed

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Shiro was miserable. Drowning his sorrows in a pint of ice-cream, and shovelling goldfish crackers in his face, solely because their slogan made him have at least a molecule of hope that they’d make him happy again. They didn’t. They may be the snack that smiles back but he didn’t really want to smile. All they were doing was making him need to spend another hour at the gym again. Whatever, he needed the miniscule amount of comfort they offered. He wanted something, and currently the fluffy blanket, garbage tv, and garbage food would have to do. Pidge was doing the same thing like five feet away, and Hunk was watching them both in disbelief.
“How do you two eat so much and not gain a pound?” He asked.
“The gym basically has a bed for me now,” Shiro replied through a mouthful of ice-cream, curling up on the couch.
He’d had yet another shitty date. He’d ruined it by escaping into the washroom to cry for half an hour. He thought he was over it. It’d been three years almost. Another week and it’d be exactly three years since the omega he thought would be his mate for life just disappeared. No signs of any struggle, no indication he was unhappy. The police had promised to keep an eye out but nothing else. He had tried to find a way to look for him, convinced something bad had happened but he just...had to accept that Lance probably just walked out. Found someone new.
Still hurt. It stung like nothing else. He hated it with every ounce of his being and he resented himself for still being hurt over it. He had already been through way too many first dates and not a single second date. He had no clue how to make it work with anyone he met. It felt impossible. But he needed someone. Or at least everyone else said he did. Apparently he was a miserable bastard since Lance left.
Shiro was barely paying attention to the TV, just staring blankly and shovelling half melted ice-cream in his mouth with a sigh. Pidge rolled her eyes at him.
“You really need a boyfriend,” She said, frowning at him. “You look like a kicked puppy.”
“Shut up, you know why I don’t have one.”
“You need to get over him. He’s not coming back, I don’t know why you’d want him to anyways. The bastard left us without a word,”
Pidge had been hurt a lot by Lance’s disappearance too, losing one of her best friends and confidants. They’d been like siblings, and told each other everything, so when Lance left without a word she took it hard. She’d become less sad and more angry over time and Shiro understood why. It was hard when you thought you knew someone but you really didn’t. Shiro wanted to hate Lance, he’d tried, but something kept him from doing so. Kept him from moving on. He still held him in such high regard, which was unfortunate since every date he went on ended in his own personal misery, and a whole lot of tears.
“Don’t say that. He must have had a good reason,” Shiro said softly, looking down. Pidge huffed and turned back to the television. They’d had this conversation several times prior and Shiro was stubborn on his stance. Hunk couldn’t blame him, things had been so great for them before Lance left. They’d been looking at getting officially mated, marks and everything. The poor guy had finally found his pack and his omega and it all gone to shit as soon as things were looking good.
They all refocused on the screen until they heard some knocking on the door. It was faint but followed by a much more noticeable thud outside the door. They frowned and waited for the sound of a key turning in the lock. They figured Keith or Allura was back from work with some heavy groceries but no key turning in the lock followed.
“Keith must have forgotten his keys again,” Hunk sighed, standing and opening the door, freezing in the doorway. Pidge and Shiro exchanged looks, and back to Hunk, springing up.
There was a horrifyingly thin person collapsed on their doorstep. Their skin was slightly tanned but looked almost gray. Red patched areas on their face and shoulders upon closer inspection. Their hair was shoulder length and ratty, tangled and dirty, looking to be a dusty brown with the dirt covering it. They wore a thin, dirty and frankly uncomfortable looking cotton hospital gown-like piece of clothing, They were covered in bruises, and Shiro could see the beginning of an infected area around the middle of his chest where it peeked out from under the frayed collar.
He saw a motorcycle pull up in the driveway, and Keith took off his helmet, getting off as soon as his bike was parked and turned off.
“What the fuck?” Who’s this?” He asked, looking confused and terrified.
Shiro pushed forward, through Hunk and Pidge, squatting down and looking at the unconscious person for a moment before it hit him. The scent. It was muddled, and hidden under layers of sour scents, and strong alpha scents but it was there. Vanilla and something like rain. He knew the scent anywhere.
“It’s...Lance” he said softly, scooping him up, and brushing the hair out of his face awkwardly. It was definitely him. He was scarily light, and Shiro could feel each individual notch in his spine, each rib even through the rough cotton fabric. He could also now see a makeshift splint holding one of his legs in place, and could see the bruises and marks better now.
“Are you sure? It doesn’t look like him,” Pidge said, Hunk and Keith nodding with a frown. They thought he was projecting onto this poor guy.
Shiro handed Lance to Hunk, and rubbed his wrist against his neck, trying to get Lance’s scent onto it, and clean off his scent gland so they could tell. Hunk noticed it first and gasped, staring at his friend, who was completely limp in his arms. Shiro held out his wrist and Pidge smelled it, eyes going wide. Keith stepped up and grabbed his arm, smelling his wrist and frowning.
“I’m sure.” Shiro said firmly, taking him from Hunk again, and crooning softly to Lance despite him being unconscious, trying to comfort the omega.
“We need to get him to a hospital,” Hunk said, looking at them. “I can drive, someone needs to call Allura and get everyone else,” he added. Shiro nodded, already wandering to the car, his eyes fixated on Lance entirely. He saw nothing but Lance, his attention solely on the omega. He’d come back, but from where? Who had done this.
He could vaguely hear the others rushing around, but Shiro didn’t care, just opened the door to the backseat of Hunk’s car, climbing in and closing it behind him, Lance cradled in his arms.

They got to the hospital quickly, Hunk’s panicked driving helping them get there faster. Coran had driven Keith and Matt, and Allura was meeting them at the hospital, already there when they arrived. Pidge had come with Shiro and Hunk.
There was a very large problem however when the hospital staff had to take Lance from Shiro, who growled and held Lance closer in response. They’d had to pry Lance out of his grip, and pull him away to the cafeteria so he could cool down and remember himself. They didn’t blame him, and after Coran explained the situation, since he was the only one composed enough to do so, the nurses and doctors understood. The police were called, and arrived quickly. From there it was a blur of questioning and waiting. Shiro had started pacing around three in the morning, and barely stopped by seven, when they were finally cleared to go see him.
“He’s still unconscious. With that head injury he may be out for a few days, which may be best for him. The concussion is fairly bad and he needs the time to heal,” The doctor on his case had told them. “His leg is broken in several places, and they seem to be a combination of old and new breaks. Some have healed and metastasized, but two are fresh. However this means he likely will have trouble walking for the rest of his life. It’s possible, however he will likely need support or assistance from some external device. He has an infected second degree burn on his chest, which we will treat with IV antibiotics. He’s severely malnourished, and dehydrated. He will have to get his weight back up if he wants a full recovery.”
Shiro was barely listening, eyes fixed on Lance. So many questions went unanswered, but he didn’t even care. His omega was back, and that was enough for him.
Lance was back.

Chapter Text

Lance was unconscious for an entire week, though not without a few scares. Shiro didn’t leave him if he could avoid it, sleeping in the chair beside his bed, keeping a close eye on him so he didn’t miss a thing. He could let that happen, he wouldn’t take his eyes off Lance again. He wasn’t going to take that chance. Not again.
When Lance woke up things got hectic. He fought against everyone who tried to even come near him. Nurses had to hold him down so a doctor could sedate him, and restrain him. Shiro didn’t take that well. He had to be dragged out of the room and calmed down by the pack, and let back in. When he was Lance was groggy and confused, terrified. He cowered away from anybody who tried to come close, eyes fogged and distant. He looked terrible. Bags under his eyes, frail, shivering even under three blankets.
Shiro hated seeing him like this, wishing they had found him sooner, wishing they’d looked a little more. It was clear now that he had been in a lot of trouble. Whether he’d left on his own or not stopped mattering to Shiro, now he just wanted to know what had happened to Lance, who to blame and who he needed to kill to get revenge for Lance. He really, really wanted to get revenge for him. Of course he had questions but that was for later.
The police however, wanted to know now. Problem was Lance didn’t want to answer.
It didn’t help that the police that came were several very large and intimidating alphas that made Shiro’s hair stand on end. He didn’t like them one bit.
“So can you tell us about what happened? Starting with whether you left or were taken?” one of the detectives asked. He was one of the smaller, and less intimidating of the three sent to question Lance. Lance just stared, terrified, frozen as he cowered into the farthest corner of the bed that his restraints would allow him to.
“Sir, you need to answer the question. We need you to tell us so we can get along with the investigation,” The tallest and most terrifying of the bunch said, sighing. They’d been there a while with no results. All Lance did was flinch away, staring at them like they were killing him by just being there.
“Please Mr. McClain, we’ve been here too long already. We need answers please,”
“Leave him be, he’s scared out of his mind,” Shiro said, frowning at them. “He’s been through a lot, can’t the questioning wait?” He asked, standing from beside Lance’s bed, and slipping between him and the detectives protectively.
“No. It can’t. Regardless of that we need to start an investigation. We need to know because there’s a highly dangerous and violent individual or set of individuals running free.” One of the smallest snapped back.
“Detective Lambert you’re out of line. Show some compassion.” The largest barked, Lance trying to cover his head with his arms and failing due to the restraints. He looked miserable.
“Listen, he’s been through enough. Give him time. He’ll answer eventually but not now. Not like this.” Shiro sighed, frowning at them.
“I understand that Mr. Shirogane, but my detective has a point. There’s a highly dangerous individual or group out there and we need his help to find and incarcerate said people.”
“Yeah I get that, but he needs time. This isn’t a discussion.” Shiro replied, stepping forward. “You need to leave before he becomes any more panicked than he already is.”
It took a bit more arguing before they finally left, and let Lance be, grumbling about obstructing justice. Shiro didn’t give a shit. He sat back down and heard a soft noise, turning to Lance, surprise. He was...purring. It was quiet, and stuttered, he was clearly not used to the noise. Purring was something omegas only did when they were either exceptionally pleased or trying to comfort someone, and this was definitely pleased. Lance didn’t look him in the eye, but he did smile a bit. Shiro grinned excitedly, and leaned a bit closer, and when Lance didn’t flinch he felt his chest swell with both pride and an overwhelming amount of happiness. He crooned softly to Lance, placing a hand on his bed.
Lance didn’t shift away. A big step since the entire time he’d been awake he’d been vehemently opposed to anyone touching him, or coming too close. He’d had to be sedated every time the doctors needed to do anything, and the restraints had stayed on for the same reason. They’d tried to take them off but he tried to get out of bed and he nearly hurt himself more than he already was, and had tried to rip out his IV. This was huge, Lance was actually smiling and letting him close.
“Hey,” Shiro said softly. “You feeling any better baby blue?” He asked, sitting on the edge of his chair. A slight nod. He was responding. He was answering. “Do you remember me?” another nod, and this time Lance turned to him. He smiled softly. Shiro nearly cried, tears welling up in his eyes as he fought every urge to pull Lance close and hug him until the world ended. “I missed you...a lot. I’m sorry we didn’t find you sooner, I’m sorry this all happened,” Shiro said, frowning a bit. He felt a ghost of a hand over his own, and looked at it. Lance wasn’t touching him. Not yet, but he was close. It was a lot of progress in such a short amount of time for him. It was incredible.
The progress stalled a bit over the next little bit. Shiro was still there, thankful that his job was allowing him a leave of absence to care for Lance, and glad that the rest of the pack made more than enough money for everyone to live on. The hospital bills would be difficult but when Shiro could work again it’d be fine. Shiro wasn’t really concerned with the finances, and nobody blamed him.
The time finally came to bring Lance home nearly two weeks after he woke up, so his infection could be completely gone and they were sure he was stable enough to go home. Between then Lance had started letting Shiro touch him. Which was handy cause Shiro had to lift him a lot, and they didn’t really want to leave Lance in his old room anymore, the room he’d had before he and Shiro started sleeping in the same bed. He was a little apprehensive of letting Shiro pick him up, but he did it, and realized very quickly that he’d missed it.
They got home and Lance wanted Shiro to stay close, holding onto him tightly. He clung to Shiro like a koala and the alpha was absolutely fine with it. Though they learned very quickly that Lance wasn’t exactly okay. He was making progress but he was still very clearly in a different state of mind.
“Lance please, eat something love,” Shiro said softly, frowning at Lance who’d been staring at his food blankly. Lance shook his head, frowning. He didn’t trust the food. Not after last time. Not after what it did to him last time. He trusted Shiro but not that much.
“It’s your favourite,” Hunk chimed in, offering a bright smile. There was a lot of pain behind it at seeing his best friend wasting away and still refusing to eat. Still he didn’t touch the food. He just shook his head silently.
“At least some water?” Shiro suggested, pushing the glass closer. “A couple sips, you need to drink it,” another head shake. “If you drink some water I won’t make you eat for a bit. You can take your time but you need to drink something,” he sighed, giving in and compromising. Lance finally agreed, drinking about half the glass of water. It was a start. It wasn’t much but it was a start.
The other issue was the apologizing thing. He apologized for everything, literally everything. He apologized to Shiro for disappearing, coming back, needing anything even if it was tiny and Shiro was happy to provide. He apologized any time anyone looked at him, and it was unnerving. This Lance was meek, apologetic, lethargic. The only thing they really saw much of the old Lance in was his stubbornness. Which worked against them more often than not. They didn’t want to force him to do anything, but there was a lot of basic needs that he didn’t want to do. Like eating.
“I wonder...would a haircut and face mask help him a bit?” Allura suggested as they were all huddled on couches, just talking. It was good for Lance to be around them, but he still didn’t want anybody but Shiro touching him. It was a big no, so the others kept their distance as Lance needed, and just let him listen to the conversation. Pidge brightened a bit at the suggestion.
“Maybe, hey Lance you wanna try it?” She asked, grinning at him from her spot cuddled into Keith’s side. Lance actually smile a bit, nodding slowly.
“Wouldn’t you have to touch him for that?” Hunk asked, looking at Lance. “No offence Shiro but I wouldn’t trust you to do anybody’s hair…”
“None taken, it’s a good point.”
“What if I did it and Shiro stayed there with us? He can hold you and I can just cut your hair,” Allura suggested, smiling at Lance, who mulled it over before nodding tentatively. He was a bit apprehensive but open to the idea. He wanted to give it a shot.
So Allura grabbed a pair of scissors, and Shiro carried Lance to the washroom, sitting on the counter with him while Allura looked at his hair for a bit.
“Alright, can I start?” She got a tentative nod in response, and she started cutting his hair, careful to not touch his skin or move too fast for him. She tried to do her best to not startle him, and it worked fairly well. He felt a lot better once his hair was short again. He looked in the mirror and smiled softly at his reflection, his hair a lot closer to what it was before everything happened. He’d only been able to cut his hair once, with a pair of blunt scissors a few months prior when his hair was unbearable for him anymore. He liked it a lot better like this. The face mask helped too. He just leaned against Shiro, looking at the door but otherwise entirely relaxed, smiling softly. He felt more like himself. It was nice. He could look in the mirror and see himself. At least, aside from the fact that he looked like a skeleton. He didn’t like looking that thin, it disturbed him, and his complexion looked so different. His hair was the only thing that looked like the old him.
He missed the old him. He missed who he was before...everything. Lance wanted to go back, to before he had that feeling. That feeling that he should’ve listened to. He really wished he had. He regretted it. But it was too late and now this is what he was.
He thanked her, and gently took hold of her hand. It was the closest to a hug he could handle, and it was short but judging by the soft croon she let out and the bright smile that was on her face she understood his intentions and what he wanted her to know. They went out to the living room once more, Lance cradled in Shiro’s arm. He smiled at everyone happily as they smiled and cheered, telling him that it looked good. He believed them too.
Everything felt right if only for a little.

Chapter Text

Their joy didn’t last. Not for long, Lance had to stay in bed a lot. He couldn’t do much and knowing Lance it frustrated him to no end. He was constantly trying to get up and walk around at night, but Shiro kept stopping him. He’d had to become a much lighter sleeper, so he would wake up when Lance tried to get up on his own.
“Lance you’re gonna break it again. You know your bones are too brittle,” Shiro said, sitting up in bed and frowning at Lance, who’d tried to escape once more. The doctor had warned them that Lance’s bone mass had drastically decreased because his weight had dropped so quickly. A side effect of the starvation. It didn’t help that Lance still didn’t eat much on his own, still distrustful of whatever food they put in front of him for reasons he wouldn’t say. Not that he’d said anything else about what he’d been through. Lance laid back down, frowning.
“I’m just tired of being stuck laying here,” He said softly, frowning.
“I know,” Shiro said softly, laying back down and pressing closer. “But you’re gonna get hurt if you keep doing this, and it’ll be even longer until you can walk around on your own. You have crutches for a reason.” Lance wasn’t great about using them however, and honestly they both preferred Shiro just helping him. It meant Shiro could keep an eye on Lance and make sure he didn’t hurt himself, and Lance felt safer with him then he did alone. He’d started to trust his pack again, and it was a start. He talked more easily with them but at the same time it had been a month. He still hadn’t given the police any information. The only answer he gave was he’d be in danger if he said anything.
Most nights were restless. Lance liked to avoid sleep since most nights he woke up sobbing and panicking, and fighting desperately to breathe again. It was a hard sight and there wasn’t much Shiro could do because he couldn’t touch Lance to try and help, it was abundantly clear after a few nights that touching him didn’t help him. In fact it made it ten times worse. The first time it happened was the worst. Lance didn’t calm down for hours, and spent the whole day hiding under a blanket, clawing at his ankle to remind himself he wasn’t trapped. They’d had to bandage his ankle which made it a lot worse the next time it happened. It was a difficult situation.
The police were no help either. He went a lot, and stayed in questioning for hours. He came out on shaky legs and would cling to Shiro tightly, miserable and terrified. Shiro always protested, asking why he couldn’t go in with him, and the answer stayed the same. Confidentiality. It was unlikely but they couldn’t rule out anybody until Lance said what had happened. They really doubted it but protocol said he couldn’t be in the same room while Lance was questioned since it could influence his answers.
But one day was worse than others, and Shiro was really glad they always scheduled therapy to be right after questioning. Really glad.
Lance had come out, sobbing and struggling to breathe. He didn’t say a word, just clung to Shiro tightly, burying his face in his side and sobbing loudly into his shirt, hyperventilating as he fought to compose himself. Shiro held him close, eyes wide as he looked at Lance confused. He shot glares at the police officers coming out of the room behind him.
“What the hell did you do?” He asked, holding Lance protectively.
“We apologize, we didn’t know this would be the reaction. We tried a new method of questioning. It obviously didn’t work,” On of the officers said.
“No kidding! Christ,” Shiro said. “We’re going,” he added sharply, picking Lance up, and walking out as the omega curled up in his arms, sobbing and trying to catch his breath desperately, whimpering loudly. They spent several minutes in the car before Shiro could actually start driving him to his appointment. By the time they got there Lance was hysterical again, and could hardly breathe. Shiro had to run in and get his therapist to come out because Lance wouldn’t let Shiro touch him.
The therapist spent a good hour out there with Lance, helping him sit on the ground, and trying to ground him. Eventually Lance did calm down, and the therapist had Shiro bring him inside. They’d chased away several crowds as well which hadn’t been helping. She had them both come into her office, and sat behind the desk.
“I think you should look into a support animal as soon as possible. The training is basic, and you can get them easier than a service dog, and he needs one fast,” the beta explained, frowning as she looked at a very exhausted Lance. Shiro nodded and sighed, wrapping an arm around Lance.
“How would that help?” He asked.
“Well first off it would be a constant companion, you may not always be able to be there, but the support animal will. They can go places you can’t, and you may be able to get a service dog for him after a little. Regardless the animal can help calm him and he may let it touch him when he won’t let you and can alert you or someone else when he’s starting to panic.” She explained. “A lot of people find a calm dog is best, but I’ve seen cats, or even lizards. Dogs seem to work best though,”
“Alright. Do we need to do paperwork or training?”
“Basic obedience and a certificate is all you really need, but I’d recommend further training,”
They talked back and forth, and eventually time was up, so Shiro took Lance back to the car, and frowned, sighing. They’d also talked about getting the dog certified as a service animal. They’d decided a dog would be best too. Lance had been fond of them before he disappeared as well.
Shiro decided to just go to a shelter right then, he didn’t want to overwhelm the omega but he figured it’d be best to have one right away. He definitely needed it. She’d suggested a shelter nearby, and when they got there, it was just as loud as they’d expected. But Lance seemed to be doing okay as long as he held onto Shiro, and occasionally closed his eyes to reduce the amount of things overwhelming him.
They passed several small yappy dogs, taking a brief sweep before actually looking extensively. They passed the smaller kennels with no reactions from Lance, and to the bigger ones. He seemed briefly interested in a very happy looking pitbull, but flinched away as the dog jumped up. Too excitable. They passed several more until they saw a very large and very fluffy dog. The dog looked up and almost smiled at them, calm and happy. It looked like a rough collie, one of the really fluffy ones with the long faces. Like Lassie but this one was much darker.
“That’s Guinness. She’s a big girl, but a sweetheart,” The shelter employee explained, smiling. “She’s a mix, got a sweeter temperament than most collies. Berner mix I believe,” he said, gesturing forward. “She won’t hurt you, you can say hi if you’d like,” Lance nodded almost immediately, letting go of Shiro a bit, smiling.
They took Guinness out and played with her for a little. She was gentle and calm, and seemed happy to just stick to Lance like glue, looking up at him and following every movement. Needless to say, they left the shelter with a very large dog and a very happy Lance. It was less their decision and more hers, Guinness following Lance every step he took with or without a leash.
They were told that she had been trained well by her previous owner, but he’d passed a year ago and she was the youngest of his collies. The rest had gone to good homes but she’d been stuck because of how picky she was. She followed them out to the car and go in no problem, curling up around Lance’s feet happily, despite them inviting her to sit in the back. She was determined to stay with Lance. They went into a pet store on the way back to grab bowls, food and some tags and a collar and leash for her. She waited in the car, head out the open window, smiling and barking happily as Lance and Shiro came back. An employee helped them carry the stuff to the car and once they had put it in the trunk they were on their way home.
The rest of the pack was surprised but the sudden addition of a new friend, but were perfectly happy with it regardless. Lance seemed a lot happier already as he cuddled on the couch with Shiro and Guinness, leaning into his alpha and a pile of fluff on his lap. They also learned that the dog did in fact prefer Lance. Hunk and Coran both tried to call her over, or pet her and got no reception. She let them pet her but shifted away after a while, staring at Lance for help. She was a very expressive dog clearly. But it was nice. Lance liked it a lot, there was just an immediate connection between them, and Lance seemed to brighten up even just after getting her.
It had definitely been a good idea.
She settled in easily, and Lance used his crutches more so he could walk her. He was visibly improving within the first few days with her. She slept at the foot of their bed, and when Lance had started shifting around and whining in his sleep she just crawled over, and laid beside him, licking his face until he woke up. He fell asleep easily afterwards, and Shiro, who had watched the whole thing transpire was amazed. They actually got to sleep properly that night. It was incredible.
Lance also got out a lot more. He and Shiro took walks with her. Her leash manners were perfect, and even better she didn’t seem to need one. She walked beside Lance and Shiro happily, occasionally trotting up to another dog to say hi, but always staying close enough she could keep an eye on Lance. Shiro had a feeling she knew exactly what her job was. Or at least it felt like it. Either way it was perfect for them, because they didn’t have to worry too much.
They did learn after a bit that her previous owner was a war veteran with PTSD, which explained a lot about why. They’d learned when taking her to a vet to get her last rounds of shots, and to get flea and tick repellent for her. The vet had known her before with the old owner and told them about it.
“Yeah, he got her for that reason. All his other dogs were purebred but he needed a more friendly dog to help him out. She didn’t get much chance though because he passed soon after all the training was done.” The vet explained, ruffling her ears with a smile. “I’m glad she found a home though,” he added, smiling at them. “He was alone, his family had moved out, mate gone. He didn’t really have a pack, so she isn’t used to a human pack but it seems that she really took a shine to you,” he said to Lance.
She was almost too good to be true, but thank god they had her because things didn’t stay perfect for long after that.

Chapter Text

The downfall came a while afterwards. Another few weeks, almost two months later. Lance’s therapist. Dr. Kaur, had suggested that they both come to a session together and talk through any issues they had. And Shiro honestly had a lot of questions. After three years of hurt suddenly his boyfriend came back, out of nowhere. No warning, battered and broken. He was curious but he’d refrained from asking because he knew Lance wasn’t ready, but maybe he finally was.
They brought Guinness, and waited together in the waiting area, talking quietly about other issues and smiling. Lance was also using his crutches in combination with a large and slightly clunky leg brace. He was getting better and had put on more weight, still underweight but no longer to a dangerous extent. Shiro still made him eat more, he wanted him to put on a bit more but he couldn’t feel Lance’s spine through his shirt anymore. Things were getting better and better. But there were still a lot of questions, on both sides. And a lot of things they’d been scared to talk about.
They were called in and Shiro followed behind Lance and Guinness. Dr. Kaur greeted Lance, and gave Guinness a quick pat on the head, smiling at Shiro and shaking his hand.
“Good to see you again Mr. Shirogane,” She said happily. “Things have been better with Guinness I hear,”
“It’s just Shiro, no need to be formal, and yeah, she’s been a life-saver,” He said with a smile as they all sat down, Lance and Shiro on the couch beside one another and Dr. Kaur in her office chair, sitting cross-legged. It wasn’t overly professional but Lance preferred the casual office and feeling, it helped him open up and feel more comfortable.
“Alright, so I’m really just here to moderate, this for you two to talk out the tough questions and sort out the big issues,” She explained, looking to Lance, who nodded. “We can stop anytime. If you’re not ready to share something you don’t have to. This goes for both of you, there was a lot of hurt on both sides, and I know it’s been hard for you both,” she explained. “Anybody want to start us off?” A long pause, silence as both tried to find the words.
“...did you look for me?” Lance asked, voice nearly silent. Shiro turned to Lance and smiled reassuringly as Guinness sat up from her spot on the floor and placed her head in his lap.
“Of course we did. We all did for a while. We were worried about you, we thought you might’ve been hurt but…” He paused and sighed, frowning as he watched Lance pet Guinness slowly. “There was so little to go off. No evidence of anything, we had to eventually assume you just...left us,” He said softly, voice cracking. “We were destroyed,” he added in a whisper. “Did you?”
“Leave? No. No I wouldn’t have ever left on my own,” Lance replied, sighing. Guinness jumped up into his lap with a whine, laying down.
“Were you happy with us? …...With me?”
“Extremely. I was happier with you than I was with anyone else I’d ever been with. Like I said, I never would have willingly left you or the pack,” Lance said softly.
“So...were you taken?” Shiro asked apprehensively. Lance closed his eyes and took a very shaky and unsure breath, looking down.
“...Yeah, I was,” He finally said after a good minute, his voice cracking. “They took me after that late shift I worked at the nursing home that night. I uh...I had to walk past a street with burnt out bulbs. Something told me not to, but I did anyways. I’m sorry,” He explained softly.
“Lance you have nothing to be sorry for, you didn’t do anything wrong,” Shiro said softly, frowning. “It’s not your fault at all,”
“I know logically but...I just still feel so guilty,” He sighed, blinking as tears started dripping down his face. “I should’ve listened to my gut,”
“I know. I know,” He replied quietly. “You didn’t do anything wrong though,”
“Did you...did you date anyone while I was gone?” Lance asked after a minute, looking up. Tears dripped from his eyes, and he looked so broken. So unlike the man Shiro had met years ago, the bubbly and excitable omega with nothing but love to give, now broken and miserable. His eyes once so bright now dull and gray. Shiro’s heart hurt so much knowing he had to say it, to tell him that he’d tried to move on. He wished he could’ve said no but he couldn’t do that, just lie to Lance and tell him he hadn’t tried to date.
“I did,” Shiro sighed. “I’m sorry. But after the first year and a half I just couldn’t keep going the way I was. I was so lonely and miserable without you, and I needed to try. But it didn’t work. Nothing went past the first date. Most didn’t even last that long,” Shiro explained, looking down.
“No it’s okay, I get it, I would’ve done the same,” Lance replied, reassuring him. “I don’t blame you. Three years is...a long time,” he sighed. “I’m glad you at least tried to. I would’ve been sad if I had stopped you from finding someone,” he explained, smiling a bit. “I want you to be happy, regardless of if that’s with me or someone else,”
Shiro smiled and gently took hold of Lance’s hand, rubbing over the back of it with his thumb.
“I missed you,” he said in a soft whisper.
“I missed you too,”

The rest of the session wasn’t as heavy. They talked about other subjects, about what Lance had questions about, which ranged from why Keith and Pidge were dating and apparently pretty serious, to new technologies and shows he’d missed. They were a lot closer by the end. Which is where things started going south.
“I hope you know I do have to tell the police you admitted something today if they ask me,” Dr. Kaur said softly, sighing. “I have a legal obligation to do so,”
“Yeah. I figured.” he sighed. “I’ll have to tell them what I told you, I know,”
“They will press harder Lance, it’ll get a lot harder to not tell them very quickly,”
“I know.”
And like that their fate had seemingly been sealed. They went home, and for a few days things were fine. Lance and Shiro were as close as ever, and were perfectly happy. Shiro had started working again, and Lance was fine to be home without him now. For a few days.
The police had gotten ahold of the knowledge he’d confided in therapy at least a small bit, and they ramped up their questioning tenfold. He was asked to come in every day, stuck for hours in questioning. He’d just repeat what he’d said in therapy, but that wasn’t enough. Soon they told him Guinness wasn’t allowed at the station either, saying she made the police dogs on duty nervous. Shiro knew it was bullshit. He’d seen Guinness in the station, always as calm as could be, and the police dogs rarely paid attention to her.
They were trying to wear Lance down and it was working. He hadn’t seen Lance as upset as he was when he came out of the station in ages. Not since before Guinness. He was so worn down that he would just curl up in bed for hours with her, crying until there were no tears left. They were destroying him as they worked to build him up again.
But still Lance refused until finally one day the worst happened. Lance came out of questioning room crying and sobbing, fighting against the police officer. Hands behind his back, bound by cuffs as he was forced forwards. Shiro could see visible disgust for the cop currently forcing him forwards, towards the holding cells on the faces of the man’s coworkers. But nobody else said a word.
“Woah woah! What the hell is going on? Why are you arresting him? He did nothing wrong!” Shiro shouted, walking beside them.
“He’s being arrested for several counts of obstruction of justice, and prostitution, now please stand back sir or we will also cuff you,” The officer snapped, shoving Lance closer to a cell. Lance was sobbing and barely able to take another step forward, hyperventilating and screaming for help. Shiro stepped forward to stop them, only to be held back by several hands.
“Let go of him! He hasn’t done anything wrong!” Shiro screamed.
The last he saw of Lance as he was forced back outside, was Lance collapsing onto the ground of the cell, sobbing and cowering as he screamed for help hysterically.
He had to go home with Guinness, ignoring her sad stare that bore into his soul, and her soft whines. He had to go home without Lance, tears burning his eyes. He pulled over to compose himself halfway, and fought the instinct to go back and fight his way in there to get his omega back home safe.
He came home, putting a leash on Guinness and bringing her in. A head peeked out from the kitchen and Hunk frowned at him worriedly as the dog circled around several times, whining and barking at Shiro.
“Where’s Lance?”
“They arrested him.” Shiro said shortly, kicking off his shoes as several people walked over, looking confused and scared.
“Why? He didn’t do anything did he?” Allura asked, stepping forward cautiously.
“Obstruction of justice and prostitution.” Shiro responded, voice breaking. He looked physically deflated. He was exhausted.
They left him alone and that night Guinness comforted him instead as he worried all night about Lance and how he was doing. If he was still panicking or if he was calm now. He just wanted to see his omega.

Chapter Text

Lance spent the night curled up on the hard floor, back pressed against one of the walls as he tried to breathe, feeling like he couldn’t move. He felt like he had an elephant sitting on his chest no matter how he moved, and the weird looks the others stuck in the holding cell with him didn’t help even slightly. Not even remotely. He was miserable. Eyes were on him all night, he felt like an animal in a zoo. Officers, civilians, everyone stopped outside the cold iron bars to stare at him, whisper. Like he wasn’t right there, able to hear every word.
It was deja vu. He felt like he was there all over again, stuck there. He could almost smell the sour and overpowering smell of all the alpha scents mixing until he couldn’t distinguish them anymore. The scent that clung to his skin and drowned out his own scent, until he couldn’t smell a trace of his own smell. The grime and filth from the room was covering his skin again. The dirty mattress and the even dirtier sheets, the thick iron around his ankle that rubbed his skin raw where it was.
He couldn’t do it, he couldn’t. Not again. He wouldn’t. He’d rather die than go back to that place. He refused.
He curled in on himself, choking on his sobs, gasping for breath as tears streamed down his face. He didn’t get a single second of rest, mind drowning in the horrific memories, and the twisted visions he’d been forced to see. He was pulled under, the nightmarish daydream feeling all too real to him.
That’s how Dr. Kaur and Shiro found him. They’d both come to see him, Shiro calling her because he knew this would not be good at all. Lance was being dragged further away from recovery, and the progress they’d made was unravelling.
“You need to let him out,” Dr. Kaur said immediately, wide eyed. She hadn’t anticipated they’d be this ridiculous, and hadn’t expected to see him in such a state of panic. “Immediately. That’s an order, not a suggestion. Shiro get Guinness please,” She said quickly, turning to the officer who’d lead them to the cell.
“Ma’am, I can’t do anything, I don’t have authorization,” The young woman said apologetically.
“Then get me someone who does. My patient is in the middle of a panic attack and likely a flashback,” she replied, glowering at the young officer until she ran off.
“Sir we told you, the dog is not allowed in here!” A loud voice called as Shiro ignored them and walked over with Guinness. The dog immediately saw Lance and started whining and trying to press her face through the bars. “Sir you need to leave immediately,” An officer yelled, walking over.
“He can’t. My patient is having a breakdown, he needs the dog,” Dr. Kaur replied, frowning. Shiro hadn’t seen her this serious since they first started taking Lance to her. Lance was her highest-risk and highest-profile case.
“What is going on?” yet another voice joined the commotion. The large man strode over with purpose and authority, head held high. Dr. Kaur was a small lady, fairly short, but she immediately straightened and held her head up, immediately commanding respect with her posture. It was evident that she was not going to back down.
“You put my patient with PTSD from severe sexual abuse in a holding cell for prostitution is what happened,” She barked, staring at the man. His name tag was small and metal, glinting in the light, and Shiro only barely caught the title on it. The captain. Somehow Shiro also figured that he was going to bed the knee however.
“Ma’am we had no choice. Several men have come forward from our recent lineup of criminals who have solicited a prostitute and identified your client as a sex worker,” He responded with a sigh.
“Did they fail to tell you it was involuntary? That he was kidnapped?” She asked, stepping forward menacingly.
“We have no accounts as such and we cannot make that assessment until he just tells us what happened.” he replied, exasperated. Shiro frowned as he felt Guinness tugging at her leash, telling her to sit quietly. She did so, but kept straining against the leash, shifting her weight anxiously.
“My patient has just been through a traumatic experience, he needs time,”
“We’ve given him time. I told my officers on the case to handle it and just get the story from him,”
“Do you not have a special victims unit? Because your clients have no clue how to handle victims of sexual crimes,”
More pulling, but more insistent now. Guinness was whining and stood, pacing, staring at Lance. She tugged against the leash incessantly whining louder as the arguing got louder. Shiro frowned, looking between him and Lance, when Guinness started barking. She was loud and jumping at the edge of her leash, almost howling. Everyone turned and looked at them, freezing.
“Sir, quiet that do-”
“Hey! I think you guys need to get in here and help him!” One of the younger men in the cell called, frowning and crouching over Lance who was gasping for breath and literally tearing out his hair, blood started to drip down his forehead. One of the cops fumbled for his keys and as soon as the door was open Shiro let go of the leash, Guinness sprinting to Lance, Shiro and Dr. Kaur close behind. Shiro dropped to his knees and started crooning loudly to him over the other noises, gently placing a hand by his wrist, not touching him yet. Guinness licked his face and whined loudly, hopping from foot to foot. Lance looked up at Shiro, eyes getting less cloudy, and Shiro took the cue.
He gently took hold of his wrists and crooned to him, trying to calm him. He pulled his hands away from his head, prompting him to let go of his hair, and smiling softly.
“Hey, hey, I’m right here,” He said softly, pulling Lance into his lap, and cradling him close. He held him gently, leaving him room to wiggle out if he needed to. Guinness rested her head on top of Lance’s chest, and watched him closely. Lance’s breathing calmed and Shiro ran a hand through his hair, getting the excess hair he’d pulled out that hadn’t fallen out and taking it out of his hair. His hair was considerably thinner, and had a few patches missing, but it didn’t look too bad. He rubbed Lance’s back gently, holding him close.
Dr. Kaur nodded and told Shiro to stay with Lance, though she didn’t need to. He wasn’t about to leave his omega any time soon, and honestly he looked very close to biting off the arm of anyone who tried to take him from the alpha. She walked out and glared at the captain.
“My patient is unstable. He can’t stay here. Until the hearing he can’t stay here, he needs to be at home.” She snapped, gesturing at the pair sitting on the floor in the holding cell. The chief sighed and gestured to his office, nodding.
“We’ll talk about it,” He said. He appointed an officer to watch the holding cell, and dismissed everyone else to go back to work.The officer stayed and watched Shiro and Lance, making sure nobody got out of the cell, or hurt the two on the ground though again, it was unneeded. Shiro wasn’t about to let anyone near Lance again. He’d be safe under the alpha’s watch.
They sat there for about an hour, before Dr. Kaur came out again, smiling as she slipped into the holding cell, seeing Shiro holding a now sleeping Lance, totally relaxed and happy. He looked peaceful and happy. It was nice to see him so peaceful and happy.
“You can take him home but unfortunately he does have to go to a court hearing. It’ll be on the seventeenth,” She said.
“I think we can manage that. I’m taking him home, he needs some rest,” Shiro said nodding and sighing softly as he stood. He took Lance to his car, setting him down gently in the back seat and letting Guinness curl up with him. “Thank you,” he said to Dr. Kaur, smiling as he got into his car. She waved at them as they left and sighed to herself, shaking her head. She hadn’t wanted him to have to talk about it this way but he would, he had no choice.
Shiro took Lance inside and immediately everyone swarmed them, talking loudly.
“Quiet down! He didn’t sleep, he needs to rest. I’ll tell you once I put him in bed,” He said firmly, walking up the stairs with Lance cradled in his arms and setting him in bed gently. He tugged a blanket over him and smiled, kissing his forehead.
“Make sure he’s okay,” He said, patting Guiness’ head gently and smiling as she jumped onto the bed and curled up next to Lance. He came back down and again questions were fired at him from every angle and he had to quiet them down.
“He has a court hearing on the seventeenth, we need to sort out how we’re gonna do this, and you guys need to be careful with him. They had him in a holding cell and he had a panic attack, he needs time,” Shiro explained, sighing softly and shrugging. “I don’t know what else we can do,”
“Well when’s the hearing?” Pidge asked.
“The seventeenth and you can’t be there,” Shiro replied. “You too Keith,”
“What? Why not?” Keith asked, looking offended.
“I know you two. You’ll get angry and you’ll get loud and I can’t trust Pidge won’t kill the prosecutor. And I can’t trust you to hold her back,” He said, shaking his head.
“Then Hunk shouldn’t go either!” Pidge protested, pouting.
“I wasn’t planning on going, I know better,” Hunk replied, frowning. “Don’t drag me into this okay?”
“I think it’s actually better if I just went with Coran,” Shiro chimed in. “I have to be there for Lance, and Coran will actually keep his head cool long enough to get through the trial. And keep me from also killing the prosecutor,” He sighed. “Can we just agree to keep things calm around here for Lance? He needs time to calm down, and he doesn’t need a reminder that he has to testify,” They all nodded in agreement.
“Pizza tonight?” Hunk suggested, everyone instantly agreeing.
That night was peaceful, Lance joining them and watching a show with them for a bit before he and Shiro went to bed, Shiro holding him close. The days leading up to their first meeting with the judge were similar, Lance and Shiro taking walks and going to gardens and seeing some nice scenery. They didn’t do much the first hearing, and came back days later to actually start the trial. Which didn’t go nearly as well.
“Mr. McClain you are actively denying the police valuable information! We cannot drop your charges until you tell us what you know!” the prosecutor yelled at Lance, who was on the witness stand. He looked about three seconds from breaking down and it was ugly.
“If you tell us the information we can let you go, give you protection, and make sure you may proceed as you wish,” He said softer. “If not we do have to continue on,” He said with a sigh. “We just want to know what hap-”
“I’ll tell you!” Lance replied, yelling. “Just...stop, I’ll tell you okay?” he said. “Do I have to, out here?” he asked, fidgeting nervously before the judge cut in.
“Absolutely not love,” she said, frowning at the prosecutor. They moved to a private room, with a police officer and Shiro in tow. The officer placed a recorder on the table and turned it on.
“So you don’t have to say it more than once,” he said, smiling sympathetically. Lance nodded and took a deep breath, squeezing Shiro’s hand before starting.
“It happened while I was coming home from work…”

Chapter Text

Lance sighed and locked the door behind him. He’d had to work late again, and had to lock up for his manager again. He was tired of working late, especially since nobody could drive him and that meant walking home at ten in the evening, well after the sun had set and well after the street lights turned on. He walked a few blocks, keys between his fingers. He’d heard too many horror stories of male omegas being taken advantage of at night to not be careful. His mother had drilled it into his head that he was always in danger and always had to be careful or he’d end up chained to a bed in some creep’s basement. It was a lot less likely a male omega would get pregnant, or even have a successful birth so there was a lot of people wanting to take advantage of that fact. He had a lot of anxiety about it, which meant walking in the dark was hell.

He walked along, looking around nervously. For whatever reason he couldn’t shake the feeling like something would go wrong, and soon. He knew he was being ridiculous but it wouldn’t go away, buzzing in the back of his head insistently. It wouldn’t go away no matter what he told himself. And it kept getting louder.

A few blocks away from his neighbourhood he saw that a few street lights were out. He frowned and stared for a moment. Something felt off. He knew they’d been out a few nights now, but he thought he saw the city workers working on the lights on his way to work. He debated whether he should make a detour, but his neighbourhood was a maze. He’d never make it home without getting lost and being out there for at least two hours. It was a block of straight sidewalk, he’d be fine.

He made it halfway before he felt something wrap around his waist, and as he went to scream a cloth covered his mouth and nose, it smelled sickly sweet, and as the cloth pressed into his mouth he could taste the sweetness. It was slightly like alcohol, but either way it made him incredibly nauseous. He tried to let out a yelp, or something to call for help but he felt light headed and his vision had gone black, and before he knew it he was unconscious, slumped over in the large arms that held him still.

He was dragged into the alleyway, and into the truck, a roll of duct tape pulled out of the glove box. The alpha who’d grabbed him used the tape, winding it around his wrists, binding him. He did the same with his ankles, and placed some clean cloth in his mouth, tying it behind his head so he was completely bound and gagged. He hopped into the truck after shoving Lance into the back seat haphazardly and drove off. Hours into the journey Lance awoke, looking around groggily before panicking and starting to scream, the noise muffled by the gag. He started to thrash around, trying to break through the tape with a panicked yelp. The alpha driving growled and pulled over, glaring at Lance.

“Shut the fuck up!” he snapped, growling loudly and watching as Lance froze and whimpered loudly, He kept trying to say something but the gag stopped any words from forming properly. “If you don’t shut up I’ll come back there and make you shut up, now stop your fucking whining,” he growled, the threat clear in his voice. Lance whimpered and turned away, curling up and trying to block out the insane amount of panic he felt. He stared at the back of the car’s seat, wishing he had just taken the detour, praying he would get out, that his pack would find him soon. They had to. He wouldn’t last long if he was right about why they took him.

He absolutely was. They drove several more hours and when they stopped the alpha dragged him out of the car and into a large house. It seemed decent on the outside but inside it was a mess and stunk. It smelled strongly of sweat and omega heat. It was enough to make Lance sick. It was overwhelming and he whined as he was tugged up a flight of stairs immediately. He tried to get a sense of the house, but he was interrupted, being pulled into a room and shoved onto the bed. The duct tape around his legs was cut but before he could even try to fight the alpha, something cold and heavy was snapped onto his ankle. He tried tugging at the restraint but it held fast, clanging loudly. He whined as the alpha pulled off the gag harshly, before leaving, slamming the door behind him. The room was small, and disgusting. There were no sheets on the bed but there were a lot of stains. Some looked just darker than the mattress but others were very obviously blood. It wasn’t very promising.

Lance whined and got up shakily, hopping as far as he could. He could just barely see the street. There was another house across the street, it looked small and cheery, and had a small shed. He decided that he’d try to escape to that house, but he had to do it soon. He knew that after a certain amount of time they’d stop looking. Plus he’d rather not figure out what they planned to do to him.

He listened intently for hours, trying to figure something out. He yelped as the door flung open, revealing a very large and intimidating alpha. His scent was strong, and smelled like tar and cigarette smoke. Lance whined and cowered away from him, staring up apprehensively.

 

He curled up, eyes wide as he shivered against the dirty mattress. Another bloodstain had been added to the collection of them, his throat was raw from screaming, and other things he’d rather not remember. He felt the blood drying between his thighs, or something else. He couldn’t tell what was what, all he knew was it hurt. It hurt a lot.
He tried to bite back tears, decided it was already demeaning enough to be laying naked, and bleeding on the dirtiest mattress he’d ever laid on. He stared at his ripped and torn work clothes, his work uniform ruined and ripped. His pants have blood stains on them as well, and yet the blood hadn’t deterred them. There were several of them. Each more brutal and controlling than the last.

He hadn’t wanted his first knot to feel like hell, he wanted it to be with his mate, with his alpha. But he didn’t get that. Not even close. They had talked about ‘breaking him in’ the whole time, like he was a new pair of shoes. An object.

The only positive was he got names, and figured out the power structure. The alpha that smelled of tar and cigarettes was named Sendak. He was high up but apparently not at the top. If Lance was to guess, Zarkon was the head of all this, and Lance was Sendak’s ‘reward’ for a job well done. It made him feel disgusting. He wanted nothing more than a shower, a scalding hot one. One that would leave his skin red and tender, relax his muscles, fill the room with scented steam.

He missed Shiro. He missed his friends, his pack. It hadn’t even been a full day. But they had to be looking for him. He hadn’t gone into work, he hadn’t come home. They had to have noticed he was gone, and they had to be searching for him.

Right?

 

He spent weeks scoping everything out, looking for every opportunity to get out. Nobody had come for him. His view outside wasn’t much but he would’ve seen police, or one of his friends cars. He had started to lose hope. But he had to make a break for it. Weeks of the same thing, over and over. He had stopped bleeding, but it still hurt. Now they had no reasons to stop. Their words tended to echo. Bumping around his head, ringing in his ears.

They kept asking where his pack was.Why weren’t they coming? What about his boss? Had nobody reported him missing?

They knew plenty about him. He picked up on cue after cue, learning slowly. They didn’t think he’d escape but he was smarter than he seemed. They’d go days without feeding him, making him weak, frail, hoping he’d be too weak to fight. He still did. But he had lost more weight. Enough to loosen the shackle around his ankle, chaining him to the bed. He had learned he could slip it out. The way he could was disgusting and he hated to think about it but it was his only way out. Nobody had to know. He’d just run to the house across the street and get help, never speak of it again.

The radio was also helpful, especially when he heard it from downstairs. Above the yelling of the other omegas that he knew were there with him he could just barely make out the news.

“Today ....he’s been missing a month ...any details, call four oh seven ...nine” he could barely make out the words but then he heard something that restored his hope, with a few words. “Lance McClain ...thirty days ...please contact police,” he had stopped listening after that, grinning to himself.
They were looking for him, they had noticed and they were worried. The police knew he was missing, he would be home free.

He just had to get to the house across the street. Then he could go home, free the others, and just go back to normal. Live happily with Shiro and his pack, forget this ever happened. So he waited until nightfall, and slipped out of the shackle, wincing at the cold feeling on his ankle and how disgusting he felt. He went to the window, seeing there was a small roof a few feet below the window. He tugged on the shirt he’d found in the corner, the scent of tar and cigarettes heavy on it. Sendak had forgotten it last time.

He opened the window, pausing as he stared at the screen separating him from freedom. He looked around and took a breath, praying they wouldn’t be able to hear him. He started to rip the screen slowly, and trying to keep it as quiet as possible. After he ripped it enough he slipped through the screen carefully. He shimmied onto the roof, and crawled to the side of the house, looking over the edge, relieved to see no windows. It was quite a drop but not enough to do more than twist an ankle or something. So he took a breath, and hung over the side.

He dropped to the ground quietly, falling onto his back and looking around. He was safe so far. He stood and waited for his head to stop spinning so rapidly, and started to walk towards the house, legs shaking and head spinning. He stumbled across the road, the pavement and rocks digging into his feet. He made it to the other house and desperately knocked on the door, letting out a loud and high pitched whine of an omega in distress.

The door opened and Lance’s eyes widened in shock and he cowered on the door-step, looking up at the man in front of him, and the alpha behind him who smelled of tar and cigarette smoke.

Chapter Text

Lance did his best to run away, stumbling as he yelped and sprinted away. He didn’t succeed for long, his fatigue and low blood sugar making it exceptionally difficult to get away, especially from a perfectly able bodied and fit alpha. Three of them actually.

He tripped, stumbling and falling forward, unable to catch himself, his hands and knees scraping against the pavement. He went to get back up, scrambling to run again, but a hand wrapped around his ankle and tugged hard, making him fall, his head hitting the pavement, biting his tongue and feeling the sharp pain before tasting the copper. He spit onto the asphalt, while more sets of hands pulled him up, holding him fast as his ears rang loudly.

His vision swam, darkness edging his vision as his head bobbed. He looked around, eyes half-lidded at the alphas holding him. The largest and most ratty looking wasn’t holding him, and looked at him in disgust and disappointment. He turned the look to Sendak, not even a shred of sympathy in the stare. Lance couldn’t hear what the alpha was saying, or what anyone else was saying in response. His senses were overwhelmed, the scents of all four alphas around him mixing into a disgusting and nauseating concoction that made his stomach churn, the ringing in his ears, the swimming of his vision. It was a lot, and his brain was overloading.

But it sure as hell reset when he was lifted, his leg propped on the asphalt at an angle, and Sendak kicked his leg. He felt it snap in two places and a sharp pain shooting through his whole leg, and then he was screaming. The sound cut off when a hand clamped over his mouth. He bit into it, hard. He felt his sharp canines dig into the flesh, and tasted the sharp tang of his blood.

“Son of a bitch!” He screamed, yanking back his hand immediately and glaring at Lance, who was crumbled on the asphalt, panting and looking up, his eyes dark. He looked feral, his fangs bared. Omegas rarely bared them. They were like cat claws, always there but tucked away, visible and useful but tucked back, but his were on full display. Sharp, long, pearly white and intimidating. The others pulled away standing back, away from the honestly terrifying display. The largest, who Lance had gathered was Zarkon, the leader, growled at Lance, baring his own fangs at the omega who was curling into himself and trying to pull himself away. Lance didn’t back down surprisingly, snapping at the alpha viciously.

“For the love of god just stuff something in his mouth and drag him back to the house!” Zarkon snarled at the alphas still staring in shock. Sendak moved first, whipping off his shirt and grabbing Lance, shoving it into his mouth quickly, holding it. The other alphas swooped in and grabbed him, pulling him up harshly. He felt the pull in his shoulders and winced, yelping through the shirt. All he could taste was the thick and heavy cigarette smoke, it made him want to throw up, but he wouldn’t give that to them. They already had so much, he wouldn’t give them that. He was gonna keep that for himself at least.

They dragged him back to the house, being rough and slamming him against walls on the way up the stairs, though he couldn’t tell if it was intentional or not. Zarkon followed behind them, looking down on Lance, nose upturned.

“I want him broken, you understand me? Do whatever you have to. Keep him bound, gagged, whatever. He will start servicing clients and earning his keep. He doesn’t cooperate he doesn’t eat, he doesn’t drink.” He said, a low growl underlining his voice threateningly. The ones holding him agreed, Sendak apologizing for letting Lance try to escape. They threw him into the room, tightening the shackle on his ankle until it hurt, and ripped the shirt off of him. They stood around him as he spit out Sendak’s shirt, growling at them wildly, fangs still bared. One left and came back with a muzzle, like he saw in silence of the lambs. Except this one was much more bare bones. They shoved it onto his head, and it forced his mouth shut, digging into his chin and nose harshly. He could already feel welts forming. He tried to tug it off, open it from the back, but he couldn’t. They laughed as he panicked, trying to scream, yell, talk, anything, but found he couldn’t even open his mouth. He looked at them in fear as one started to unbuckle his belt and step forward.

It was a long night, and he couldn’t sleep at all, even after they left. After that night they brought in strange people. Betas, alphas, the occasional omega even. Male, female, it didn’t matter. They let anyone use him how they liked. As long as they paid for their time, and didn’t kill him they didn’t care. Lance was starting to lose it, break down. He stopped fighting, stopped trying to scream. The few times they took off the muzzle he didn’t try to bite them, didn’t try to talk, just ate. Took the water, and the food quietly. He stopped fighting. He’d learned there was no use. He’d tried to fight, and scratched a client once, and his leg was yet again broken for his trouble. The same, newly healed leg. He had stopped immediately after. They did eventually take off the muzzle, not making him wear it anymore.

Things remained that way for weeks, or months. Lance didn’t know how long it had been. All he knew was sometimes he slept, sometimes he didn’t. But one day he woke with a start, running to the bucket in the corner and gagging, throwing up into it. He heaved into the bucket several times, whimpering and clutching his stomach. One of Zarkon’s men heard and walked in, frowning and tilting his head. It was Brax. The only one of Zarkon’s men who seemed remorseful, and like he didn’t want to be there. Lance had learned he had a family. He occasionally helped him clean up when he could. Brax sniffed and his face dropped, shaking his head.

“Shit,” he muttered, walking over and helping Lance sit against the bed, combing through his hair briefly. “This is bad,” he said, shaking his head. “This was gonna happen eventually but he’s pissed right now, fuck.”

“What?” Lance asked hoarsely, looking up at him.

“You’re pregnant. Your scent is a dead give away,” Brax sighed, running his hands through Lance’s hair gently, trying to calm him a bit. It didn’t help. Lance was immediately panicking. “They specifically target male omegas so you won’t get pregnant,” he said softly. “Shit, they’ll be furious,”

They were. Sendak came in and immediately left, bringing back Zarkon, who smelled it too. He growled loudly, watching Lance scramble back to the end of the chain, cowering. Lance begged them to not hurt him, whining and baring his throat. He made for a pathetic sight, quivering and staring up at them with pleading eyes. He whimpered loudly, trying to get them to be gentle, to not hurt him. They didn’t stand around much longer, lunging for him when Zarkon gestured to him with a snarl.

 

“Handle this, I can’t have a child to deal with,” he snarled, glaring at Lance as the alphas roughly grabbed his arms, holding him up uncomfortably. Brax was holding one of his arms, his grip more gentle than the others. Lance tried to look at him but he crumbled before he could. Boot met stomach, and Lance yelped loudly, trying to curl around his stomach, but unable to because of the way he was being held.

Again and again the kicks came, they took turns. Zarkon just watched, face void of anything other than disgust for Lance, as if it was his fault. For a moment he felt like it was. He felt guilt, and shame. He whimpered softly, before yelping again, the pain increasing with every hit. Brax was told to kick him and Lance looked up, pleadingly. Brax’s eyes were apologetic for a split second, soft and asking for forgiveness. But then it was gone, replaced with a cold stare. They finally stopped when they saw the blood starting to run down his thighs, covering his skin. They unchained his ankle at Zarkon’s orders, dragging him into the closet, shoving him inside of it. It was tiny. He collapsed into it, and they shut the door on him quickly. It was so tiny he couldn’t move, couldn’t shift, and most importantly, couldn’t stand up.

The blood was pouring down his thighs, and he finally broke. Weeks, months of holding back tears, through all the shit they’d put him through. He sobbed, unrestrained, loudly and miserably. The noise was ugly, his face was red, his head pounded. He was choking on his own sobs, tears streaming down his face with no end. It was horrible and hurt, leaving his throat raw and his head in excruciating pain but god was it nice. Finally, he had some sort of relief. His heart ached, crying out for the loss of a child he’d only known he had for less than an hour. For the loss of his life with his pack, for normalcy. It was cathartic.

He stayed in that closet for what felt like years, but Lance was even more clueless as to how much time had passed. No sunlight, rarely any sleep, and his food came inconsistently. Small bits of bread or leftover chunks of meat. All there was, was his mind and the feeling of dried blood caked on his thighs. Constant reminders of what was happening. It was driving him insane. He couldn’t do this again. He stopped wanting freedom, and started wanting to just be out of the tiny closet. Something broke, and he didn’t even care about getting to his pack, seeing Shiro, or any freedom at all in fact. He wanted to be back in the room, wanted to be able to wash himself. The smallest things seemed so monumental to him, and at this point he was willing to do anything. Anything other than sitting there, crammed into the tiny spot, stuck in his own filth, slowly wasting away, hunger eating at his gut. He just wanted it to stop.

Chapter Text

He was finally let out, and not by who he’d expected. It was Brax. He looked filthy, beaten and tired. He roughly tugged Lance out and panted softly, holding Lance close, looking around.

“You don’t have much. Take this, pick a direction and run. Don’t look back. Don’t stop until your scent is long gone,” he panted, gaze darting around rapidly as he pressed something into Lance’s hand. A knife. A large one.

“What?” Lance croaked out, whining.

“I’m getting you out. I’m done, I can’t do this anymore, I can’t live with myself without helping at least someone out. Hopefully more. Go, run quickly, you don’t have much time,” he said, head whipping around as he heard a creak. Lance froze before nodding, pausing to hug Brax and kissed him on the cheek, giving a faint, and scratchy purr that sounded and felt very foreign to him. The alpha smiled and hugged him briefly before pushing him towards the window. “Good luck,” he said softly, watching Lance crawl out of the window. As soon as he was out of view there was a large alpha that worked for Zarkon launched himself at Brax.

As Lance shimmied over the roof and to the ground he heard blood-curdling screams, and the sound of flesh tearing. He paused as he smelled burning flesh, shivers running up his spine. He felt himself tense in reaction, before running off as fast as he could. It wasn’t very fast. He ran quickly, picking the fastest way away from the house, whimpering softly, blinking away tears, the knife clutched to his chest tight.

He didn’t make it far before a clawed hand grabbed his shoulder roughly, pulling him down. He felt something hot swing past as he rolled to the side, looking and seeing a small fireplace shovel, smoke rising off it as it burned the dirt where his head had just been. He snarled and looked up at the alpha, seeing him covered in blood. The alpha moved before Lance could skitter away, stepping on his leg, catching the yet again freshly healed leg. Lance heard a loud snap and yelped in pain, panting softly. The alpha raised the tool again, swinging it down and hitting Lance’s chest, burning through his skin as the omega grit his teeth, trying to be quiet. Lance, against his instincts, pushed up against the tool burning his skin, and lunged at him with the knife, catching his inner elbow and pressing hard before ripping it away, slicing the arm open. Blood immediately started gushing out of the arm as the alpha howled in pain, dropping the shovel. Lance scrambled to get up, grabbing the shovel and hitting him in the crotch and then over the head quickly, watching him buckle and whine in pain.

He panted and watched him, trying to catch his breath, praying that’d be enough. It wasn’t. The alpha grabbed his now broken leg, ripping it out from under him, grabbing a rock, and slamming it on a different area until it cracked. Lance grabbed the knife, rocking up and slashing at the alphas neck, watching as he grew more and more pale from the wound earlier. It took a second, and time seemed to stop as the alpha’s neck slowly started bleeding, before the line was gushing blood. He opened his mouth, and a waterfall of blood poured from his mouth, drowning him in it. Lance’s eyes widened as the alpha fell onto him, bleeding out in seconds from that point. He covered his mouth, scrambling back until his back hit a tree. He let out a scream into his hand, dropping the blood soaked knife from his shaky hand. He whined, tears overflowing and streaming down his face rapidly.

“Oh my god ...oh my god…” he croaked softly, sobbing into his hand, pain momentarily forgotten as he was in shock. His heart was pounding out of his chest, and he whimpered softly. He took several minutes to compose himself, before he shakily grabbed the knife. He cut the alpha’s shirt sleeves off, hands shaking. He used the knife to cut a branch off the tree behind him, cutting it to size, before positioning it. He took a breath, forcing his leg into a vaguely human shape again, and quickly tying the branch to it, trying to make some sort of a splint. It was bad, but it worked. He dropped the knife, getting up carefully. He took one last look at the body before hobbling into the foliage, branches, brush, and thorns scratching his face, leaving small cuts. His feet were being cut up and destroyed, but he still couldn’t feel it over the adrenaline.

The adrenaline rush carried him through the night, and well into the next day as he panicked and worried. He couldn’t let them find him, or he’d never even have hope of escaping again. He needed to go. So he walked for nearly a day straight, finally coming across a small stream. It wasn’t much, but it was water. He stopped, resting and drinking as much as he could before using it to wash off the dried blood covering every bit of him. He watched the water turn red as he washed off the blood, scrubbing hard. He could barely bring himself to wash the blood still staining the inside of his thighs, sobbing silently as he did. He didn’t dare look, just going by feeling, and finally stopping. He decided against washing the burn, not wanting to make it worse. He already had to drink it without knowing what was in it, but he didn’t want to make the burn worse. He waited until all the blood had washed downstream, before taking another long drink.

He stood with much difficulty, and started hobbling along again. He went on like that for days, skin burning in the skin, dirt coating him thoroughly. The thin cotton nightgown stuck to the burn, and his legs shook. He stopped a few times to sleep, not really based on daylight cycles but more on when he couldn’t walk anymore. Animals had stopped running away from him, occasional deer stopping to stare at him, a few bucks stopping to sniff at his now longer and much dirtier hair. One tried to eat a bit but otherwise they left him alone.

By the time he caught sight of any town he felt like he was gonna collapse and just let the forest take him back. Being mulch didn’t sound so bad after all. He wouldn’t have to drag himself through the forest anymore, and wouldn’t have to drink from sketchy rivers, ponds and other odd places he could find. He also ended up munching on some berries he figured out were blackberries with some squirrels and other forest animals. If he hadn’t been running for his life he would’ve enjoyed the very disney princess like moment. But he was in fact running for his life. So he couldn’t.

He did finally find a city, and practically collapsed onto the sidewalk. Nobody looked at him twice, averting gazes and not wanting to get involved, but Lance needed to know where he was. He found a relatively nice looking and smelling omega woman. He asked her where he was and when she replied with the name of the city he lived in before everything he nearly sobbed in relief. He asked directions to the pack house, and thanked her. It was another two hours away. But that was nothing compared to the days he’d spent walking. He trudged forward, ignoring the stares and whispers. Only two people came up to ask if he needed help. He didn’t want to trust them, so he just asked about the fastest route to his home, and took off, waving off offers of help.

He got to the house, knocking weakly on the door, panting hard as exhaustion overcame him. He collapsed on the doorstep, vision going completely black.

Lance finished the story, squeezing Shiro’s hand, his other on Guinness’ head. He took a shaky breath, turning and burying his face in Shiro’s shoulder as he started to sob. The prosecutor, judge and everyone else in the room had their jaws on the floor. The judge grabbed a tissue and dabbed at her eyes.

“Is that all you need officer?” she asked. The man nodded, and everyone took a breath as Shiro tugged Lance close, peppering his face and hair in kisses.

“I rule in favour of the defendant. Case adjourned.” the judge sighed, shaking her head and standing. “Out, give them a few minutes.” she added, ushering everyone out. Shiro scooted back in his chair and lifted Lance into his lap.

“It’s okay, you’re safe. You won’t ever be in danger like that again, I promise,” he said softly as Guinness whined softly. He was finally free from the police now.