Companion fic to Gravitate to Me
Warnings: Disjointed, ponderous, dark, language
WEP owns everything
Halfway to the hangar, Lance stopped. He shouldn't. He knew he shouldn't, but what he knew and what he did seemed to have very little relation to one another lately, and this proved to be no exception. He turned around and didn't stop until he stood outside Keith's door. He knocked lightly, and stepped in.
Keith stood up from his desk, took a few steps toward him and regarded him levelly, taking in the leather jacket, the flight helmet tucked under one arm. "I didn't expect to see you tonight."
Lance realized he had nothing to say to that. Had nothing to say at all, really, but even if he had, the words probably would have been blown away like so much dust by the coolness in Keith's voice and body. So he did what he knew would hurt them both most. He grinned arrogantly. "Hey, come on. You know I wouldn't take off without the chance to give you a good-bye kiss."
Keith's lips tightened in anger, but Lance didn't care. He was angry too. Keith was acting as if they had never discussed this, as if it hadn't been his idea in the first place. Well, to be fair, Lance knew he was giving in to the bizarre, powerful draw he felt in the presence of their enemy, but it was Keith who said it out loud. Keith who said the words and made them real, and cut the moorings that held Lance safely in his arms.
Lance hadn't known what to expect from that bizarre, painful conversation three weeks earlier. It wasn't every day you went up to your lover -- not your bed partner, but your lover in every gods-be- damned kissing and cuddling, fighting and fucking, live in each other's air and die in each other's absence sense of the word -- and told him something like that; told him there was something inside you, something too powerful to ignore, that lusted wholly and completely for your (and his) worst enemy. And Keith had gone dead still, had repeated that part of it in a question: "Too powerful to ignore?"
Lance had just dropped his head.
He couldn't explain it. Couldn't explain the sense of inevitability that surrounded himself and Lotor any more than he could ever explain the feelings he got about people or situations. All he knew was that no matter how much he fought, no matter how much he loved Keith, this desire was drawing him on an unalterable course. Even the almost-certain knowledge that at the end lay only misery and pain for everyone involved didn't give him the strength to pull away.
He tried to tell him. It came out a hackneyed explanation of how the bitter insults Lance had always exchanged with their enemy had somehow turned into a challenging game that had somehow turned into a seduction. How he could see Lotor setting a trap around him but didn't have anywhere to run, and how... and this was the part that erased the stillness from Keith and replaced it with something worse... there was some part of him that didn't know if he entirely wanted to run, even if he could.
The conversation had degenerated from there.
For Lance, it hit its low point when Keith had coldly, clinically, told Lance it could be a tactical advantage if Lance went to Lotor and gave the Doom Prince everything he desired. That same Keith was back, now, called into existence by Lance's flippant tone. "A good-bye kiss? One partner a night no longer enough for you now?"
Lance flinched. Keith never said such hurtful things. And then an unpleasant truth came to him. No, it was Lance who was allowed to be hurtful and cruel, to say whatever thought crossed his mind without considering how the words might be taken. But Keith could see through that, couldn't he? Didn't he understand? Lance felt an irrational panic, the sense of being cast free to float in whatever direction the current pulled, no sails or oars to rescue him. Close to tears, he cried out to his lover. "Why don't you order me to stay!? You could. If you said the words, I wouldn't go."
The hardness left Keith's face, only to be replaced by something infinitely more terrible and heartbreaking as he shook his head. "I can't." he replied softly. "The only one who can keep you here is you."
Lance started laughing, the noise sounding slightly hysterical even to his ears. "You're right. You're always right. Silly me, to hope that this was the one time you could be wrong. Don't worry. I won't fail." Lance spun and left the room at a flat, rapid walk that was only pulses away from being a sprint.
'He left...' Keith could barely accept the fact. He'd been preparing for it for weeks, he knew Lance wouldn't be able to deal with leaving it unresolved, but still, the knowledge that he was gone... Keith's equilibrium had been off ever since Lotor's afternoon visit, the delivery of the invitation, challenge, whatever you chose to call it - - to Lance they would be one and the same. It had taken every ounce of his willpower to keep from killing Lotor on the spot. But that was nothing compared to how hard it had been to not take Lance up on the way out. To not order him to stay, tie him up, whatever it took.
The fact that he had gone... that he CHOSE to go... Keith paused to consider the wound made by Lance grinning at him, talking about good- bye kisses. It was not the severest injury done him in the past weeks. Though it bled, it was nothing compared to the first.
And what the hell had Lance been talking about just before he left? "Silly me, to hope that this was the one time you could be wrong. Don't worry. I won't fail." The one time he was wrong? And fail at what?
Growling in frustration, Keith did something else his self-control normally would never have allowed. He punched the wall, hard. As the pain laced up his arm, he realized. He remembered that snippet of conversation, the last time he had allowed himself the luxury of cruelty, when he'd talked about sending Lance to Lotor. He hadn't meant it. Hadn't been serious. But what else could Lance have been talking about? Not even taking the time to voice the curses thundering through his head, Keith raced for Castle Control.
He tried hailing Red Lion first, and received nothing. He tried again, several times, before it occurred to him that Lance wouldn't have taken his Lion, or rather, that Red wouldn't have taken Lance. He swore. There was no way to know which of the dozens of Arusian craft Lance had appropriated, no way to know his frequency. Barely containing his frustration, Keith started at the top. He would just have to try them all.
Lance dropped the Arusian craft into a shuddering landing. The thing was horribly slow and unresponsive compared to the almost instinctive controls of his Lion, but bringing the Red Lion of Voltron here had been out of the question, and not only because it was so traceable. He was halfway down the plank when he thought he heard the blip of the communicator. He shook his head angrily. No room for wishful thinking. Focus on what's at hand.
What's at hand. He shivered slightly as he regarded the small house before him, knowing Lotor waited within. He was going to do battle; there was no question of that. But on this field, he had no knowledge of the resources of his enemy, and he was hampered and damned by the undeniable feelings of excitement and anticipation that burned his blood.
What the hell is wrong with me? he wondered. But there was no answer for that. Lotor had brought Lance here, and Lance knew there was a part of him, a demon, deep inside, that was glad. A part that relished the sick fascination with Lotor, and didn't mind that this was all just an elaborate snare. Lotor had all the cards. Lance was going to have to perform quite a trick to pull aces from his sleeve without the dealer spotting him.
Steeling himself, he entered the little house. He managed three steps before the sight of Lotor, with energy and anticipation nearly crackling the air around him, stopped him dead in his tracks. A part of his mind panicked. oh gods. I'm not ready for this. I can't do this! Lotor came to him, and Lance vaguely realized this was the first step along the path he had to take this night. Then Lotor touched his hands to the side of Lance's face, leaned forward and kissed him.
Gods! I can't! KEITH! Why couldn't you stop me? He tried to jerk away, but Lotor moved with him, his kiss sparking a fuse that burned deep into Lance's body. It's too late. It's time to play the game.
Lance knew, instinctively, that all he had to do was follow his body's urges. If the demon inside him didn't destroy him, it would be a fistful of aces. He set it free. Burning with sudden, unfettered lust, he pulled Lotor deeper into the kiss. And as he felt the response, the need, in his enemy, the demon knew with sudden triumphant glee that even Lotor didn't stand a chance against this.
For the next three hours, the demon laughed. With tenderness and with force, with lips and tongue and teeth, hands and legs and the heat of sex, the demon kept Lance tucked away while it whispered and moaned and stripped Lotor of power, of control; filled the Prince with so much pleasure that everything else was forced out to make way for the repeating cycle of desire and satiation. It was easy. Lotor, thinking he'd snared a mouse, had caught a lion by the tail, and the lion devoured him.
It wasn't until Lance was outside in the setting sun and caught his reflection in the burnished surface of the ship; caught his hazel eyes that, for a moment, gleamed oddly golden, that the demon fled at its own reflection. Lance was left alone. Cold. He was cold. Shivering. The only heat in him was deep in his stomach, and it burned until he leaned over by the side of the ship and vomited that heat out onto the ground.
Trembling, he boarded the ship and set the course back to Arus. There was a word echoing through his mind, and he knew the truth of that word. Rape. Not in the standard sense, of course. Lotor had been a more-than-willing participant. But he had used sex, used the complexities of it, the layers of emotion and trust and the unavoidable psychological reactions, to steal power from another, to transfer it to himself. The fact that Lotor had intended to do the same to him didn't matter.
And for the first time since his silent plea just inside the door of the little house, HIS name thundered through Lance's mind. Keith. Even if Keith took him back, after what he had just done, how could he ever touch Keith again with hands so fouled? How could he even look him in the eyes? Lance would have cried, but the tears froze before they even filled his eyes.
He lurked in the shadows of the landing bay, waiting for Lance to return, cold because his heart was beating so slowly. He could feel it, a dull thud against his ribs and in the curve of his throat, hollow and too infrequent. A part of him wondered why he wasn't out in Black Lion. If Lance could find Lotor, he could too. But deep down, he knew why. He sensed the inevitability of it all, just as Lance had.
Was that why his heart seemed to be giving up?
When the vast doors opened and the ship set down, he stepped up to meet it. Lance exited the ship, and for a moment Keith thought the other pilot would walk right past him without any acknowledgement, but Lance stopped almost next to him, their shoulders nearly touching, but far enough that Keith couldn't see him without craning his neck. Keith looked straight ahead. It would do.
"I'm sorry." his lover whispered. Then he took a step backward, so Keith could see his face. His eyes, which wouldn't meet Keith's, were haunted, his lips tinged faintly blue. Keith could feel cold air radiating from him, and his face bore an expression he'd never seen there before. "It's not enough, is it?"
The question was asked without hope. That Lance already knew the answer helped Keith to say it. "No. It's not."
"No… it couldn't be enough." Keith's throat tightened at the tone in Lance's voice. He got the eerie impression that Lance was not responding to him, but to his own original question.
Keith raised his fingers to lightly brush against Lance's hand. Lance flinched away, but the touch was what mattered. Keith continued. "Not yet. But someday, it will be."
Lance seemed to crumple slightly. Still unable to look Keith in the eyes, he walked out of the landing bay. Keith released a great shuddering breath and felt his heart leap back into the business of keeping him alive, pounding a staccato rhythm against his chest. It will be. It will be enough. For both of us.
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