He knew that it would happen one day. So much good luck doesn't last forever. He just didn't think that he would be the one to get caught. Not him, the most skilled and daring of the pilots, the one who always came through in a scrap. Allura maybe, Lotor was forever chasing her anyway, but not him.
It was that recklessness that had cost him this time. He had broken formation, taken matters into his own hands, directly going against everything Keith had commanded him to do, and then he had paid the price. Crash landing on planet Doom. He'd managed to hide his lion in the upper recesses of a volcano and then crawl away a good distance before he'd been discovered. If they had found his lion they weren't saying so, but Lance doubted that they had. No way would Lotor miss a chance to gloat like that.
And now he sat there chained and rather worn, some minor bruises and cuts spotting his body that added up to one large pain. And he was tired. The whole team had been practicing pretty hard lately, and he'd lost a night's sleep on account of Keith...
That thought made him smile despite the grim surroundings. How long had they been lovers now? Lance couldn't remember off hand, but he knew that Keith would know. His captain meticulously treasured all of those little details that escaped Lance's notice.
It was while Lance was day dreaming about his lover that the heavy door to the dungeon cell moaned open. He squinted into the darkness, the large body that was entering taking features as it stepped forward. He could see the wild white hair and the glossy yellow slit eyes. Hm. Only Lotor, he thought with some vapid dread. He should have been afraid, and he knew that, but one gets conditioned to look death in the face. He dropped his head back to his chest and did his best to look impassive as Lotor closed the distance between them.
Lance sat there in the thin dungeon air staring absently at one of Lotor's shadowy boots just waiting for the wicked man to speak. But Lotor was silent for an uncomfortable amount of time. Lance finally made the mistake of looking up, of meeting those catlike yellow eyes. Lotor was staring at him, a gaze that sweltered in hatred...and heat. Lance looked away immediately, unable to face the horribly penetrating stare. But it was too late. Lotor leaned down, slightly to the side, and seized Lance's face in his hand.
Lance gasped out something like a swear word as Lotor kissed him roughly. When Lotor finally pulled away, Lance was left reeling for breath. Once he'd recovered he spat soundly on Lotor's boot and made the worst face he could.
"You bastard! What the hell-"
Lance's outrage was cut short by Lotor's gloved hand smacking his mouth shut. God, did that sting! His whole cheek caught fire and burned like hell. He decided against making another objection for the moment.
"Do you want to know why I did that?" Lotor's voice was not as cheerfully evil as it usually was. It wasn't lively and arrogant, wasn't taunting. It was deadly serious and far too frightening, the words rolling about like sweltering coals on his tongue. Never had Lance heard him like this, even after his soundest trouncing by the team.
Lance didn't reply to Lotor's question, not sure whether he could have even if he wanted to. Lotor took Lance's face in his hands and pressed his thumbs into the hollows of Lance's thin cheeks. "I did it because my complete victory begins now."
A flash of movement and the ripping of clothe left Lance's uniform lacking a shirt. Lance jerked back against the dungeon wall, his shoulder blades grazing the rough rocks that composed it. He glared up at Lotor, stupidity and naiveté flashing about his dark blue eyes.
Lotor seized the opportunity.
"I was hoping to have gotten Keith, but I think that will come soon enough."
"What?" was all Lance could seem to stammer out. Get Keith?
Realization dawned and Lance was soon in the greatest fight of his life. But the struggling was to no avail and a blow to his head sent him spiraling down into darkness.
His vision leapt and swirled. He slowly realized his surroundings, blurs taking solid form and forcing consciousness. He was confused for a moment as he looked up to see gray sky and around to view barren hills.
"Where am I?" Lance finally muttered.
He racked his brain for remembrance, irritated that he was so befuddled. He hated to not be in control.
"I'm on planet Doom." He voiced, the words coming out before the thoughts made sense. How had he gotten outside? Was he not just in the capture of Lotor?
It didn't matter. Lance decided to not even think about anything but getting home, and what ever sport or game Lotor was playing with him, the alien had made one fatal mistake. He'd put Lance within running distance of Red Lion. Assuming it was still there.
"Only one way to find out."
Lance made a bolt in the direction of the volcano.
"Lance!" Hunk shouted, crushing the smaller pilot to him before Lance had even totally descended from the ladder of his lion. "What in the world happened to you?"
"Hey! Watch the ribs!" Lance struggled, a little in pain, to get free. He thumped Hunk on the back and the other released him with an apology.
Pidge elbowed his way closer. "We thought you were captured! Keith is really pissed at you for breaking away."
Lance grinned. "Oh yeah?"
Allura made a confused face. "Lance, what happened to your clothes?"
"Huh?" Lance had hardly noticed the absence of a shirt and the odd disarray of his pants. "Oh that. Lotor ruffed me up some. If I hadn't of been chained down I'd have kicked his ass for sure."
"Lotor?! I thought you weren't captured? How did you get away? What happened?" Three voices clattered. Lance looked around, suddenly irritated, with a question of his own.
"Where is Keith?"
"A more important question would be, 'Where have you been?' "
Lance whirled around to see Keith coming in through the small side door. The captain was visibly relieved, but obviously unhappy. Lance smiled. Seeing Keith was always a welcome sight, even when he had a lecture dangling from the tip of his tongue. The dark haired man stopped just in front of Lance, arms crossed, glancing down his body. He was voiceless for a moment, apparently thinking, his coal eyes settling on Lance's. It was hard to read his expression, but Lance could see the trouble there.
"Let's go upstairs. Tell us about it there."
They sat around in the main room, joined by Coran and Nanny, while Lance relayed what little of the tale he could remember. Only he left out the bizarre kiss and dialogue, saying only that he and Lotor had exchanged words and he got socked for it. It was very easy to believe and partly true.
"You and your big mouth." Hunk laughed.
"You're lucky he didn't cut out your tongue." Pidge chimed in.
"Pidge!" Allura reprimanded.
Keith was clearly not amused. He was watching Lance so intensely it was making the other pilot highly agitated and also annoyed. So Lance decided to wrap up the briefing and retreat to his room. He had some things to think about.
"Then I got in my lion and came back here. Simple as that."
"No one tried to stop you?" Coran asked.
"That's weird. Are you sure that-"
"Princess, I'm very tired." Lance interrupted. He rubbed his head. It had suddenly started to hurt right behind his eyes. "Can't we talk about this tomorrow?"
"Lance, I think we should go ahead while everyone is here..."
Lance stood up from the table, still rubbing his temples, and simply left the chamber, Allura's words trailing off behind him and the protests from Hunk and Pidge flying past. His feet carried him to his room, the path very familiar to them, and he flopped down on the bed. It was still unmade and cluttered but that didn't bother him. His head was thumping. Like a magnified pulse behind his eyes, it beat out a maddening and piercing rhythm. Thump...thump...thump...thump... He didn't even notice the entrance of another. He finally felt the hand on his arm. Lance cracked an eye, somehow not surprised, and groaned. He rolled over to face away from the intruder.
"Ok, Keith. You've been looking at me cross-eyed since I got back. Let's hear it."
Instead of words, Lance felt hands smoothing away the hair plastering to his forehead. It was then he realized he was sweating. Profusely. "Are you alright?"
Lance sat up and looked at Keith, whose countenance was weary but loving. "My head hurts." He confessed.
"Oh. It could be from when he sucker punched me. Maybe he gave me brain damage." Lance grinned, but Keith didn't find the half joke funny. Lance sighed. Keith was never one for witty banter, even with a beautiful set up like that.
"That isn't what I meant."
Keith looked puzzled. He reached out and touched Lance's lips, noting the soft blue bruise. Lance shivered under the touch, recalling the harsh kiss from Lotor. A fleeting thought passed through his mind as he briefly wished that Keith would ever be that primal. But part of the beauty of Keith was the challenge of getting him worked up into a frenzy. It was always enjoyable, and Lance would have had it no other way.
"He kissed me." Lance declared dully, without inflection, as though it was of no merit.
Keith's eyes squinted slightly. "Why?"
Lance shook his head, unnerved by this conversation. And when he was unnerved he became defensive. "I don't know! He said something stupid about you. I don't know what he meant. Lotor always says pointless shit."
"It doesn't make sense that he would just let you go if he didn't have something in mind."
Lance climbed off the bed, leaning out the open window of his room. "Well, maybe I should go back and ask him." he spat, while sucking in fresh air for his aching head. God, his head throbbed.
Keith slipped up behind him, arms carefully encircling Lances' waist and sighed softly. He even surprised himself with his patience sometimes. Lance leaned back, his head resting against Keith's shoulder.
"Sorry. My head feels like a five star drum line."
Keith kissed one wet temple in reply. Lance tilted his head back, allowing Keith to kiss down his neck.
"Nanny probably has some medicine." Keith whispered in the midst of his osculation.
"Hm. So do you."
Keith smiled. Lance could twist around anything. He turned to Keith for a kiss, soft and reassuring, the way Keith gave them. They kissed for a moment, leisurely and fully. But the ache in Lance's head would not yield and he reluctantly pulled away.
"Here, lay down." Keith prompted. He slid off Lance's pants, ignoring the inevitable bawdy comment that solicited.
"And here I thought you wanted me to rest."
Keith shook his head with a smile and went to leave. Lance grabbed his hand.
"Leaving so soon, Chief?" he asked playfully, but his face strained and he all but fell back to the bed.
"Lance, I think-"
Lance threw up a hand. "Just stay here." he gasped.
Keith nodded and removed his boots and shirt. He slid in next to Lance and the two curled up, Lance resting his pulsing head on one of Keith's shoulders. A few moments passed in silence.
"You said Lotor kissed you."
"Yeah, and then I spit on him." Lance's voice was sluggish and worn. The words were garbled.
"Is that...all he did."
Lance sloppily bobbed his head, and Keith could not tell whether it was a shake no or nod yes.
"I'm so tired." Lance breathed. "Keith, my head..." his voice dropped and it came out like an unfinished plea. "Tired..." "Lance?" Keith sat up and hunched over Lance lying still on the bed. He watched him breathing, shallow but regular. "Sleeping." Keith noted, and decided to let him.
It was Keith, however, who was in for a rude awakening.