Note: Please see Part 1 for Disclaimers and warnings.
When he came to, he was lying alone, in his own bed. 'How did I get here?' he thought, his mind still reeling. 'What happened?' then he remembered, rolled over and threw up on the floor.
"Oh, god..." He heard a shuffling, and realized he was not alone. "Who's there?" he croaked.
"Et's just me, Sven."
"Good..." Lance felt relief wash through him. He was safe with his love.
"How do yew feel?" Sven asked, coming over to the other side of the bed.
Lance rolled over to face him. "Sick." He muttered.
"I'll bet. Keit bashed yew pretty bad."
Lance's eyes opened wide, startled. "You know..."
The other nodded.
"I hate him." Lance hissed bitterly.
"No," Sven interrupted him, "Vhat happened before dat?" Lance sighed. 'I suppose I have to tell him.' "After you...were sent away...I felt-alone. Lost. I thought it was my fault you'd almost died."
"Et vasn't. Yew know dat."
"Yeah, I do now. Anyway, Keith...came to me, at night and...we...um..."
"We'd been-lovers-up until you came back. We never talked about it because I don't think either of us actually believed you'd come back." At this Sven looked a little hurt. "But, you did. And then...today, Keith asked me if we could talk. I said sure...and he got to ask me if he could sleep with me again, just this once."
"Und yew said yes?"
"Yeah, I did. I couldn't help it. He looked so...I don't know...desperate. Lonely."
"He didn't vant to lose yew."
"Yeah...but he...he raped me...he wouldn't listen to me..." Lance felt tears choke his words.
"Shhh..." Sven whispered, drawing his lover into his arms.
"I trusted him...why did he do it? Why?"
"I don't know, luf."
Lance pressed his face into Sven's neck, sobbing quietly. Sven held him, rocking him gently. "Et's alright. Shh..." He was angry. Violently angry. At himself, at Keith and Lance. How could Lance have let this happen? Why didn't he fight back? 'Oh, god. Mei dear, sveet Lance...' he felt tears sting his eyes. How could Keith have done this? Raped and beaten his best friend? Not to mention lover...Quickly Sven pushed those thoughts out of his head.
"Lance? Lance...?" Lance looked up at him and snuffled slightly. "Do yew tink yew ken get up?"
"Vell, come on, et's lunchtime, und I don't tink Nanny vould be pleased if ve veren't dere."
"Okay," Lance wiped his eyes on a corner of his blanket.
"Lance? Are you all right?" Allura asked him as he and Sven were walking. He turned to look.
"Huh? Yeah, I'm okay."
"What happened to your eye..." She reached up to touch his cheek. He flinched slightly. "Not to mention the rest of you."
'Shit. I forgot about that...' "It's nothing...Keith and I just got into an argument, that's all..."
'He's definitely hiding something,' "What about?"
"Nothing...some silly thing...see? I can't even remember what it was." He forced a laugh.
"Must've been serious...you look pretty shaken."
'Dammit...she can't know...she can't...' "Huh...no, I'm okay."
"You look kind of pale..."
"I just haven't been feeling well, that's all."
'He's not going to let anything slip, is he?'
"Oh...okay...well, I hope you feel better." She said and walked on ahead of them.
"Dat vas too easy." Sven whispered to him.
"I know. You think she'll figure it out?"
"Maybe. Yew nefer know. Lance..."
"Ve should tell somevone...ve can't keep dis betveen just de tree of us."
"What?! Sven, are you crazy? They'd kill us..."
"But...maybe if ve tolt somevone, et least. Coran...Coran maybe. He's trustvorthy, eesn't he?"
"Well...yeah, but...look, let's sleep on it, okay?"
"Ja...yew know I'd rather sleep on yew..." Sven whispered craftily. Lance smiled at him.
"I know...me too. C'mon...I believe we were heading to lunch?"
"Vhat if yew see Keith...?"
"Don't worry, I won't hurt him. I'll kill him, sure. But not there."
'As much as I het Keit right now, too, I hope he's just jokink.'
Lance sighed softly, pushing the food around his plate with a fork. He was hungry, and the food looked good... But he just couldn't eat. The very thought of it almost made him sick. He took a drink from his cup, and kept his head low. Sounds seemed dulled to him, Keith laughing, talking. Sven putting in a comment or two. He knew just as well as the other two that they had to keep a straight face about it. If they were caught...well, he just wouldn't think about that.
"Hey, Lance." A voice jerked him out of his reverie.
He heard Pidge's young laugh, "Haha. Keith, try and make sure he's awake before you ask him something!"
Lance smiled sheepishly, still keeping his gaze on his plate. He was terrified to look into his lov--his captain's--eyes. Terrified of what he knew he'd find there. He felt Sven's hand snake over and cover his own beneath the table, and his heartbeat slowed slightly.
"What were you asking me about, cap'?" He asked, forcing down the fear and looking up.
'Why you're so scared of me...' "Oh, nothing. Nothing important, really." 'I just wanted to hear your voice, that's all.'
"Huh." Lance replied, and turned back to his food.
Keith shrugged and went back to his conversation. Lance forced himself not to wince. 'Damn bastard. Laughing away. Oh, god, I wish I could kill him.' He glanced at the knife by his plate. 'It's sharp enough...no. Lance, get a hold of yourself! Remember, you might get rid of him, but you'll lose everything else. Your home here. Your freedom. Sven.' He gripped Sven's hand tighter.
"Lance...yew know ve hef to tell somevone. Ve hef to." Sven hissed to Lance as they were leaving.
Lance sighed. "Yeah...but Sven, what we've been doing...it's illegal, for god's sake!"
"Ve don't hef to tell anyvone vaht ve've been doink. Ve just hef to tell somevone vhat he did." Sven stated firmly, crossing his arms over his chest.
"Do you think they'd really believe us? Do you think they'd really believe that Keith could do..."
"Do what?" A new voice. A stern, elder voice. Coran. Sven gulped, Lance tensed. "Um...well...ah..."
Coran got a vaguely sympathetic look in his eyes. This sounded serious. "Well, come on then. Follow me."
"It seems like something you would not want to talk about in the hall."
'Der got, he's percepteefe.' Sven thought, with a raise of his eyebrows. He glanced at Lance, who caught his gaze. Lance nodded. They followed Coran to his office.
"Now, what is it?" He asked them, still standing tall and regal.
"Et's about Keit."
"Yeah. He...well..." Lance choked out a sob, "He r..." The memories clouded his mind, choking him with tears. He tried to blink them back, but they flowed nonetheless.
Coran grew concerned. "What did he do?" He asked, frowning.
"He...reped Lance." Sven finished.
Lance wiped his eyes on his sleeve and snuffled.
"Is this true?" Coran queried him, alarmed now. He put both his hands on Lance's shoulders and looked him in the face. Lance nodded, a terrible, agonizing sadness in his eyes.
"He did. He did..." Lance repeated softly, barely audible.
"This is most serious. I never would have expected this from any of you. However, as you know, we must include him in this discussion?"
"Yes, we know."
Coran punched a button on his desk. His voice came clear and stern, a voice they knew well.
["Would you come to my office, please?"]
'How does he get through that whole thing repeating the same two words?' Lance wondered absently.
["Now, captain."] Coran's voice seemed slightly more rough.
Lance raised his eyebrows and glanced at Sven. Sven, focused on Coran and the desk, did not catch his look.
A few minutes later, Keith arrived. He glanced around, saw Lance and Sven, and Coran with his usual glower. 'Christ. This had better not be about-'
"I understand," Coran interrupted his thoughts, "that there has been an-altercation--between you and Lance, captain."
'Christ. This isn't going to be good.' "Yes, sir."
"You are saying this is true."
Keith gulped. "Yes sir." He took a deep breath. "It's true."
"Why?!" Lance blurted. As soon as the words were out of his mouth he regretted having said them. Keith stared at him, Coran looked between the three of them, bewildered.
His anger, a tight string in his gut, snapped. "You what?! Dammit, Keith! Didn't you realize what the hell you were doing!?" he yelled, and shoved Keith back against the wall.
"Why should I?! You didn't stop when I asked you, when I begged you to stop! You knocked me out and screwed me! What the hell did I ever do to you?!" Lance gripped his captain by the collar, his only thoughts of violence.
Coran stared at the both of them, then glanced at Sven. Sven glanced back, obviously worried about the direction this is heading. Coran looked at him quizically, his eyes asking a silent question. Sven replied with a deep, even gaze of his blue eyes.
"Lance-Stop it!" Keith finally yelled back, shoving Lance away from him. "Jesus…you idiot! Why do you think I did it? Why else would I hold on to you so tightly, yeah, even knock you out!?" Keith was breathing heavily, tears brimming. "I didn't want to lose you! I love you, Lance! For gods' sakes! I love you!"
"Boys…boys, please." Coran interjected, stepping between them. "Let's try and solve this calmly." Keith and Lance glared at each other, but backed off. "Now, what is this all about? I know it must be much more than just Lance being-assaulted. Please, tell me. I can't help you do anything if I don't know what's going on."
Lance looked at Sven, then Keith. Keith glanced around uneasily. Sven kept each in his own calm, even gaze. Lance had to admit, Sven certainly did well at keeping his cool through all this.
"Well, who wants to start?" Lance inquired, a grimness to his voice that was nearly unheard of.
Keith sighed, and blinked back tears. "I'll go. Hell, I'm the one who started this." He caught an icy glare from Sven. "Here, anyway," Keith admitted. "Well…oh, man…well…ah…okay, to make a long story short, Lance and I have been-" he paused, glancing at Lance, "Together. Since Sven was injured."
"Yes, go on."
Lance came forward now, "However, me and Sven were lovers before we got here."
Coran blinked and stared, bewildered. The young man continued, "So, when Sven got back, I-well, ditched Keith."
"And you two never discussed what you'd do when he got back?" Coran asked, motioning between the two.
"And…then…well, you know."
Coran nodded solemnly. "Well. It is…an amazing story, I must say. However…it is illegal, by your military law, what you are doing. And rape…is illegal by any law."
"Yes, sir. We know." Lance came forward, "That's why we didn't want anyone to know, because we were sure we'd get killed for it."
"Yes, I see. Indeed. Well, as you do know, Arus is part of the Garrison. Therefore…we follow their laws."
"So," Keith said, "you have to report us?"
"Captain, I ought to report you. I'm breaking the law if I don't. However, you have done a grand job of protecting Arus."
"So you'll let us stay?"
"Gentlemen, please, let me finish." There was a muttering of 'yes sirs'. "On the other hand, there are risks involved in letting you stay like-this. What I mean is, would any of you be able to let your-lover die to save an entire city? One person for one thousand?"
"We faced the same risks with Allura, remember?"
"Ah, yes. True enough. But…unfortunately, she was-is royalty. You-are not."
"In short…I don't know what to do."
Lance huffed slightly, "Ah, a first." 'Another first,' he thought, sneaking a covert look at Keith.
"So, vhat do we do unteel den?"
"Well…go on as usual, I suppose."
"But, as you know, it is most likely we will contact the Garrison."
"Yeah. 'Course that's the easy part, the hard part will be explaining it." Coran chuckled softly, "Especially how you kept it secret from everyone for so long."
"And still are," Keith pointed out. "well, not everyone." He smiled sheepishly.
"Huh." Lance snorted coldly. Keith gave him a look that begged forgiveness.
"I said I was sorry,"
"What's done is done, Keith. Qué sera sera."
Keith nodded in resignation.
"Let us get on with this. Keith, while you said you were sorry, and I'm sure you are, that still does not excuse your behavior. You have committed a crime, by both military and civilian law."
"And you must be tried thusly. However…as you can probably figure out, you can't explain your actions unless you admit to your prior actions. All of you."
"And we'll be tried for either one, or even both,"
"So we're damned if we do, and damned if we don't."
"Yes, I'm afraid so."
"Well then, we'd better call Garrison and get it over with, then." Keith said, his tone low.
"Well…" Coran paused, "I have watched your performance for a fair time. I think, perhaps, it would be fair if I were to allow you say-a month. Then contact them."
"Keith, think about it."
"It is, to-to give us at least a little more protection, in case we are again attacked. And as well to allow you time to-say your goodbyes, I suppose. You are good people, good pilots. You deserve at least some chance."
"Thank yew, sair."
Keith just nodded.
"And then the Garrison vultures get to pick us apart." Lance sneered.
"Lance!" Keith growled, whacking him none too lightly.
"Vell, he's vright. En a mannair uf speekink."
"Then again…" Coran mused, a playful glint in his eyes. Lance chuckled. Keith frowned, and Sven gave him an exasperated look. "So one month. One." The captain shook his head. "It's like telling someone they've got three days left to live."
"Keith, that is, essentially, what we're being told. If they don't kill us outright, we'll die in prison."
"Yeah, I guess you're right." 'One month. 31 days to straighten things out, and make peace with those two. And maybe love, if I'm lucky.'
"Now, gentlemen, let us adjourn." Coran put in quietly, and motioned to the door. The chorusing of "yes, sir's" was soft and oddly echoing.
Later, Lance stood on the Castle balcony, watching the sun go down. He sighed. 31 days. He couldn't decide whether it was an eternity or a minute. How it hurt...he'd just gotten his lover back, and now this! He slumped his shoulders in defeat. True, it was saddening, but he thought wistfully of how much more he would enjoy his love's embraces now that they had so little time left.
"Lance...?" came a gentle, tentative voice from behind him.
Lance jumped in surprise, noting that the voice lacked Sven's rich tone and accent. 'Keith...?' he wondered, and turned to face the voice's owner. Keith it was. "Oh, hello." Lance said, fear beginning to creep up his throat.
"Hey, Lancer." Keith replied, with no hint of the possessive anger that had been in voice before. Keith came over to stand by his side and watch the sun with him.
"What are you doing here?" Lance inquired sharply. Beside him, Keith sighed.
"Lance, I'm so sorry. I really am. I had no right to do that to you."
"I trusted you..." Lance's voice was barely above a whisper.
"I know. I'm sorry--I just-I wanted to be with you again, just once. All I could think about was getting you down on my bed, naked and vulnerable. I'm so sorry."
"Oh, why does life have to be this way, Keith?" he said quietly, "I don't want to hurt you-I do love you-but Sven and I are-closer, I guess. Bonded, in some way."
"You love him. I know that, and I want you to be happy. I'll be alright on my own, really." Suddenly he laughed. "After all, I got through the Academy without a girlfriend, right?"
"Well, true-but-you have to find somebody, someday. You seem so-so lonely."
He tensed as he felt Keith grip him by the shoulders, but he was only swung around to face his commander. Lance noticed that for once in a long time, the familiar wave of desire didn't wash over him.
"I can take care of myself, Lance. I'm fine."
"I know that." Lance shrugged him off. "I was just noting what I saw, that's all."
Keith sighed, and turned to go. Lance turned to watch his retreating back, and shook his head. But before Keith was out of earshot, Lance heard him say, without turning,
"I'm sorry." His voice was resonant but cold. Lance shivered, and turned back to the skyline. 'Dammit,' he thought, 'What are we gonna do?'
Lance rested his arms on the railing of the balcony, frowning. 'Oh, god dammit.' he crused to himself, 'How the hell did you get into this? If you hadnn't accepted him in the first place, none of this would've happened. Oh, why? I just wanted someone to lie with me, that's all.' he sighed and shook his head, looking up at the darkening sky. 'Dammit. What is with Keith? He's not like this. Ever. Dammit, something's wrong. Oh, god, I don't want him to get hurt. Even after-after what he did.' Lance sighed, feeling the familiar lump of grief rise in his throat. For the moment, he forced it down. He stood straight, finally, stretching tired muscles. The sky was now the color of dark blue velvet, dotted with little white stars, like the fabric of a wizard's cloak. Lance turned to the door and went back inside to find Sven.
Sven was sitting at his desk, reading files on his computer, as usual. He blinked, lifted his glasses and rubbed his eyes. He disliked having to read on the computer, but it was too much trouble to print the documents. So, generally, he just turned down the brightness knob. He wondered where Lance was, and hoped he was all right. He couldn't help it, he loved the other man dearly. Dearly enough to almost die for him.
He recalled the pain, and the fear that had accompanied his injury. He had been lying flat on his back, his mind fading. He had forced his eyes open, and for a moment forgot the pain and fear as his blue-eyed gaze met his lover's hazel one. He'd also noticed Keith, as well. Both of them were crying, and he knew why. He'd been dying, then. The awful pain and his fading conscious had told him that. The last image he'd seen before he completely blacked out was Lance's face, his lips were moving, telling him he'd be alright. Sven hadn't believed him at the time. And now, here he was, home. Or, at least as home as Arus could be to him. Like the rest of them, he missed Earth and his family. He sighed and returned to his reading, not bothering to notice the lithe form sliding through the door. Suddenly, he felt a pair of arms wrap around his shoulders, and lips caressing his jawline. Lance! He smiled and turned to his love, embracing him back.
"Mmm...now, where were we?" Lance mused softly, nuzzling the other man.
Sven grunted in reply, speech was not important at this point. "Good point," Lance replied, undoing the buttons on Sven's shirt, and, in record time, managing to get them both undressed. Sven guided them to his bed, laying Lance down as gently as he could. Aggressive as he usually was, he didn't want to risk scaring his lover so soon after-he didn't think about it. Lance seemed to have other ideas, so his wandering hands said. Sven gave up and kissed him hungrily. How long had he waited for this? It didn't matter. He ran his mouth down Lance's jawline to his collarbone, determined to make this last as long as possible. Lance whined softly in his throat as Sven's tongue slid over his nipple. He was terribly aware of how much this aroused him-not to mention how much Sven seemed to be enjoying himself. He closed his eyes and laid back, concentrating only on the sensations Sven's tongue induced. He felt the familiar trembling in his gut and he moaned and shivered. A powerful wave of elation struck him, mind, body, and soul, and he cried out, his body tensing for what seemed like an eternity. When he opened his eyes again, Sven was leaning over him, gently nuzzling his neck and shoulders. Lance smiled as Sven kissed him warmly, then lay down beside him. Sven wrapped his lover in a tight embrace, though careful not to hurt him. That was the one thing that always kept him from completely letting go. He didn't want to hurt his love. He had, once, long before now, and he still regretted it. He didn't feel like reminiscing now, so he just buried his head in Lance's shoulder and slept.
Later, Keith was at his own desk, blearily reading and re-reading files. Not files from friends back on Earth, of course. He didn't have any, there. Well, one maybe, but he hadn't heard from him in a long time, and never would. But, still, in the back of his mind Keith hoped. He sighed and glanced at his bed, then frowned. He glanced at his watch. 12:02am.
He hated his life, now. How could he manage to cause everyone he cared about such absolutely misery? He shoved the keyboard away and buried his head in his arms. 'Dammit, Keith, you've really screwed yourself now. Oh, Chirst, why the hell couldn't you have had the guts to die when you had the chance? You had the blade, you had the reason. You could've done it and saved yourself all this grief. You ought to know by now, Keith, anyone you care about is gonna screw you and leave you. Remember Alex?' Keith took a deep, shuddering breath. Oh god, not this, not this.
'That was your fault, you know. You started the argument that made him leave. If you hadn't, he wouldn't have tried to cross the tracks and he'd still be alive! How the hell do you do it, Keith!? Oh, how?'
Keith began to sob uncontrollably. Alex, his first lover. The lover who'd run from him and been cut down by a train. 'Oh, god. Alex didn't deserve that. He didn't deserve to die.' He'd almost killed himself when he'd heard of Alex's death, but he'd been shaking to hard to make the blade cut his wrist. At least, deeply enough to make any difference.
He was lucky his uniform covered most of the scars from his desperate hacking. Alex's death had devastated him, crushed his spirit into a little ball in the very bottom of his heart. For a while people had asked him if he was okay, had been concerned. But slowly they grew to accept him, his silent, guarded self. He hadn't really opened to anyone accept Lance, and now even he was torn from him. He just couldn't take it anymore. He sobbed uncontrollably, berating himself for his actions, until he finally fell asleep.
The next morning Lance awoke to an empty bed. 'Dammit,' he thought wistfully, yawning, 'How come he never stays around long enough for me to do anything to him? Granted, it's easier to be submissive, but it does get boring after a while.' He pulled himself out of a bed and went to take a shower. As he turned the water on and stepped in, he began to think over the events of the past few days. The warm water pounding his skin eased his muscles, making him almost immune to the outside world. Keith, his closest and best friend, had raped him. Had violated the closest trust he'd ever allowed himself to have with anybody, except his mother and Sven. But that wasn't like Keith. Keith only reacted like that when he was-desperate, Lance realized. And--frightened. He stared at the shower wall, taking this in. 'He was scared…' Lance thought, 'Scared of Sven coming back. Scared of losing me. Oh, god.' He shuddered violently, feeling his legs start to give. He grabbed the edge of the shower for support. 'That's why he did it…he was so scared of losing me…he didn't listen because he didn't want to. He couldn't force himself to-to let me go. Oh, dammit.' Lance cursed himself silently. He shut of the water, climbing out and drying off with a towel. As he dressed, he thought some more. 'So, he was just as scared as I was, but in a different way. Oh, man. But-he did-violate me…take me against my will. I can't just let him go for that. Even if he wasn't doing it intentionally. Oh, god, what am I gonna do?' he ran a hand through his hair and leaned up against the wall. Then, heaving himself up, he headed for the dining hall and breakfast.
When he got there, he was surprised to find Keith nowhere in sight. He took his seat next to Sven, whispering to him.
"Hey, Sven, you see Keith?"
"No," Sven replied, looking at him curiously, "I vonder vhere he ees? He's usually heere before any of us."
"He really hasn't been himself lately," Lance mused, in part to himself.
"No." Lance shook his head. "You know, Sven, I was thinking,"
"Oh no," Sven muttered dryly. Lance chuckled and shoved him gently.
"I'm serious." He sobered. "I think I know why Keith did this."
"You remember in some of the sims at the Academy, when the scenario would get totally out of hand, and Keith couldn't get it back? When he lost control of whatever was going on around him?"
"He got scared, right? And, when you came back, I think he felt he was losing control. He was frightened, and that's why he r-raped me. He didn't want to lose control."
"Hmm," Sven thought for a moment, frowning. "Yes," he said at last. "I tink you're vright. I hope he's alvright, you know."
"Yeah," Lance replied softly, pushing his food around on his plate with a fork. "I suppose. Don't worry, I'm sure he's fine. He just needs time to think, that's all. He's fine." 'I hope.' Sven eyed him skeptically for a moment, then shrugged and turned back to his breakfast.
Keith awoke to an awful aching in his chest and head. He wasn't sick, no. But he felt awful. He recalled the night before, and groaned softly. He couldn't do it. He just couldn't do it anymore. Sighing, he rolled over sleepily. Then, his eyes met the glowing red numbers on his alarm clock.
"Christ," he muttered, "I'm late…they'll be wondering where I am." Slowly he heaved himself out of bed, ignoring the pain, forcing it down. He showered quickly and dressed, trying to make himself look as rested as possible. Still, he knew he looked awful. He paused at his dresser, suddenly. 'I can't do this…' his hand wandered almost of it's own accord to the back of the top drawer, pulling out a mid-sized, heavy box. He dumped it's contents on the dresser. A gun, of an old Earth style. He kept it with him partially as a reminder, and partially in case he ever actually needed it. He took it in his hand, fingering the barrel, grip…the trigger. He stood there holding it, staring at it, trembling. Finally he threw it back down angrily, berating himself. 'Don't be an idiot, Keith. You know it won't solve anything.' But still, as he left, a part of him wished he had pulled the trigger.
As he entered the dining hall, Pidge turned around to greet him.
"Heya, Keith. We were wondering about you."
Keith grunted in reply. "Yeah." His voice sounded forlorn and far-off to Lance. Keith took a seat next to Hunk.
"Yeah, Keith," Lance spoke up, "Where were you?" Lance tried to add as much concern as he could to his voice.
"Oh?" Keith looked up as if startled. "Oh. I-had a late night, last night." He smiled apologetically.
'Dammit, he's lying.' "Oh, okay." Lance replied as if he noticed nothing out of place. "Something's wrong," he whispered to Sven. Sven regarded him with gentle blue eyes.
"Should we do anything about it?"
"I don't know. Ve sholt vait und see vhat happens."
"Yeah, I guess you're right." Lance turned back to Keith, who was now chatting with Hunk and Pidge in a semi-lively manner. 'Oh, well. Don't worry, Lance. He's just tired, leave him be for a while and he'll be fine. Just like normal.' He smiled suddenly, 'And that's a good thing?'