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Lance was tuning his violin when he heard the tell tale thumps of his father’s footsteps. As he heard Alfor come closer, he kept plucking the strings, using his beautiful bow to play a few notes.

 

(Lance wanted to cry when he thought of the ratty chin rest of his old violin. How it was always falling off, and never failed to give him a scrape.

 

He missed that violin dearly.)

 

A knock sounded on his door, two sharp raps. No hesitation.

 

“Come in,” Lance said quietly, not doubt King Alfor’s alien ears could pick it up.

 

The lack of any squeaks or groans from the door hinges unbalanced him for a moment, the sound of a whoosh accompanying footsteps was not a familiar sound to him yet.

 

Fucking Alteans.

 

No wait, just Alfor. Yeah fuck Alfor.

 

“Lance,” Alfor starts, smiling at him from the doorway, “it’s lovely to see you this morning.”

 

He doesn’t say anything, but he does stop plucking, lowering his bow and violin down onto the bed and sat down next to them. The bedsheets didn’t even crinkle, they were soft and full. Nothing close to the texture of cotton or wool.

 

It was silent until Lance got fed up, “How may I help you, your highness.”

 

“Lance how many times must I say this, call me Alfor, you are kin after all.”

 

Blood may be thicker than water, but that doesn’t mean I have to acknowledge it.

 

Alfor didn’t even wait a beat until continuing, “Well, it has come to my attention that today—!”

 

Don’t say it.

 

“—is your birthday.”

 

How the fuck does he know that? The only reason Lance figured it out was because he had a little notebook where he painstakingly did all of the math. It was pure luck he had glanced at the calendar when he was being dragged out of his home—his true home—by Altean guards.

 

That was eleven months, two weeks and four days ago. Hours are harder to track.

 

“And?”

 

“And I thought,” Alfor kept going, like Lance didn’t sound petulant or venomous, “that today you would like to accompany for the Spicolian Movement Mating Hunt, in 46 vargas.”

 

A week.

 

At this Lance looked up, suspicious. Although Lance was still somewhat new to the idea of living as a permanent guest (read: prisoner) with the Alteans—Alfor and his family specifically—Lance was adamant that he received education from both the princess’ tutors themselves as well as tidbits from secret trips to the library that Coran helps him reach.

 

(Of all of the many Alteans he has met, Coran is by far his favourite.)

 

“Why?”

 

The Mating Hunt was a gathering of a multitude of aliens from across the universe who are part of the Voltron Treaty. They all meet in a pre-negotiated location and entered a group of people from each participating planet and essentially choose one mate, usually you chose one but since there was no guarantee of getting who you want, you are allowed to choose a mate in order of preference. 

 

After all the dilly dally and meet and greets, there will be a large dinner in two rooms, each the size of the Hogwarts dining hall. One would be for the aliens directly participating in that actual hunt and another for all the monarch of dignitaries of each of the planets. That night you’re supposed to choose your singular/plural choices. It seemed a little rushed to Lance, but he guesses that there’ll be plenty of time for romance after.

 

You also always had the choice to back out of the hunt completely if you weren’t interested in anyone that showed up, it was unlikely that ever happened though, there’s always a large variety of aliens there. But there was no shame in pulling out, but you had to be a spectator, you aren’t allowed to leave the planet until the hunt is over.

 

The hunt itself is surprisingly simple, for some it’s not even a hunt at all. The participants have free reign in the designated area and they either kill a carcass they think will please their chosen, or to find materials or trinkets that will have the same effect. Not all aliens were big on killing and Lance can respect that this event caters to all types of beings. 

 

Space is big after all.

 

“Because it is your time.?”

 

“Huh?” He looks up at Alfor, the man was still standing there, hands behind his back and posture disgustingly perfect. God Lance hated this guy.

 

“I expect you to choose a mate. You cannot forfeit.”

 

Lance’s eyes widened, protests on his lips were unheeded, and even when Lance stood up and was held back by guards—who were barely wearing any armour might he add?—trying to get the retreating back of his prison warden.

 

“You can’t do that!”

 

Nothing.

 

“You can’t make me! You have no way of enforcing this you turd! You hijo de puta ! You’re just—!”

 

And even after the door had shut (and clicked into ‘Lock Mode’. Why the fuck do their doors even have that? Regarding all the preaching from Alfor about peace above all else , it was sus.) Lance kept bad nothing Alfor in Spanish and the little bit of Olkarian and Galran that some of the tutors and Coran had taught him. Lance knew they themselves were not happy with Alfor’s choice in keeping Lance, otherwise they wouldn’t have taught him words that would make his grandma—God bless her beautiful soul— turning in her grave to give him a high five.

 

(Abuela Martina was an enabler. The one that taught him everything he knew about shit talking really.)

 

~

 

Lance refused to have dinner with Alfor again, it was like routine now. A servant would come, say the same thing, have the same fearful and hesitant face, like they were terrified of Lance, which never failed to confuse him.

 

These Alteans were much stronger than he was physically, and they had magic and troops on their side.

 

Lance would never be rude or cruel to the servants that he meets, so every time he will say to them that Alfor can shove it, he knows that they’ll always tell their royal jackass that: “Lance was tired and wanted to retire early that night.”

 

Yeah if only, he’ll take his dinner from another servant, smile and say thank you, ask if they wanted to join him for company, some say no and others say that they are needed by the king.

 

Lance is crushingly lonely and he cries himself to sleep every night.

 

~

 

When Lance’s marks on his cheeks first appeared, he thought it was a lucid dream of some sort. Like it was just a strange situation from reading Altean magazines and starting at himself in the mirror too much.

 

The more he stared in the mirror though, the less dreary Lance felt, as vestiges of sleep and drowsiness had drifted away from him, it all became a little too real.

 

He can’t blame his mother for panicking and calling the hospital, who contacted the Hub of universal communication with Earth, who in turn must have passed message onto the Altean fleet. And it went all the way up the hierarchical ladder until it eventually fell at Alfor’s doorstep.

 

Weeks later the Altean Castleship, known formally at the Castle of Lions showed up, declaring that Lance was their citizen and therefore they had a right—yes, they literally said ‘right’ —to Lance.

 

It was a nightmare, especially when they came to his house (how did they know where he lived ?) and dragged him away, holding his family, his real family back.

 

Lance had wondered a few times if his parents had lied to him when they said that he was of their flesh and blood. It was weeks of self-loathing and having an identity crisis before Coran said something that snapped him out of it.

 

“Does it really make a difference my boy?”

 

And a few hours of speculation, of examining and analysing and re-analysing, Lance came to a conclusion.

 

“No,” he said, “it doesn’t.”

 

~

 

Call Lance what you will, call him a flirt, a jokester, someone who takes a little longer than usual to be serious. All of these titles have a grain of truth and Lance can admit that.

 

But he is not—he is not a bloody morning person .

 

Even if Lance cannot get off this god forsaken motherfucking ship, there is one thing that Alfor and his people can’t do is make him wake up in their equivalent of morning.

 

It was futile.

 

The last one they’d sent was some poor guy—he must have drawn the short straw—and then he had tried all of the normal things:

 

  • “Time to get up Lance.”
  • Turn on the lights
  • “Lance!”
  • Tug on the blankets a little
  • Whispering in his ear, “Lanssssssse.
  • Shaking
  • Freaking out and checking if he’s breathing
  • Calming down because thank god he’s breathing his heartbeat is strong
  • Freaking out again because he might be in a godDAM COMA
  • Getting a bunch of hardworking medics,  people who have many more patients that need them more than some heavy sleeper, scan him for anything wrong and worry even more when nothing is detected
  • “LANCE!”
  • Slap him
  • Slap him some more
  • Wait in despair
  • A quiet, quiet knock from the door, it’s so quiet that even Hunk’s Altean ears needed complete silence to hear it,  “Romelle? Is he awake yet? I have his breakfast.” And it’s very quiet, Romelle is about to call it in and get Alfor but then

 

 

Then Lance woke up and he was hungry, tired and angry and he was sleeping and now he’s awake and that was goddam fucking disgustly studpidly un-fucKING ACCEPTA-FREAKING- BLE.

 

So Lance has learned that Altean blood tasted like candy floss.

 

Go figure.

 

~

 

Romelle doesn’t really talk to him anymore, which sucks because her jokes were Lance-level stupid and he really liked that.

 

~

 

So yeah they really let Lance wake up and wander into the castle kitchens whenever he wants because no one is touching that with a swinklemon terafil pole.

 

(“What the fuck does that mean?

 

“I think it means, in your measurements, a ten feet pole? Foot, ten foot pole.

 

“Huh, neat.”)

 

And Lance isn’t going to touch the fact that Altean and human sayings were so terrifyingly/awesomely similar.

 

Not with a squarolia (twenty) terafil pole.

 

~

 

Lance knows Alfor has a daughter, her name was Allura and he’s only seen glimpses of her, he knows that she’s pretty, but it was hard to get in a flirty mood when you’ve been kidnapped by an alien race and taken far far fucking far away from your home planet.

 

The first time he met her is when she knocked on his door at the equivalent of early-as-balls .

 

“Princess.”

 

“Lance.”

 

It was awkward, and Lance was no way inclined to invite her in, for all he knew she was part of the reason he’s all the way out here in space. Or maybe not, it could’ve have been just her dad but Lance was pissy so he’s just going to be a little prick right now.

 

“Can I help you?”

 

She was pretty. Really pretty.

 

“Yes, I was wondering…” 

 

She was silent, her two toned (what was up with that? Lance hasn’t seen any other Altean have those kind of eyes) eyes shifting around his doorway, not even looking inside.

 

This polite little bitch.

 

“What is it Princess.”

 

And yeah, maybe Lance could be nicer , and maybe he can hold off on the accusing until she’s actually done something worth sneering over, but Lance. Doesn’t. Fucking. Care .

 

But he’s still going to Hell for feeling satisfied at her flinch, he’s certain of that.

 

“I…I was wondering if youwouldliketogotothegardenswithme?”

 

And uh, Lance is pretty sure his tutors have been skimping out on him, purposely kept him out of the loop or something, because whatever just came from Allura’s mouth was decidedly not English or Altean.

 

So literally no one can blame him when he lets out an ugly, “Hah?”

 

It took a few minutes for Allura to figure out whatever was happeningbehind her eyes and her ever moving eyebrows before she straightens up (she slumps down immediately after but Lance can appreciate the effort) and mumbles what she said again, a little slower this time.

 

“This place has a fucking garden?!

 

~

 

Yes. Yes they did, it was beautiful and nice and green .

 

Lance needed to see some green. Anything other than the teal and blue-grey that Alteans are so fond of.

 

~

 

“This is my favourite flower, the juniberries bloom once every 46 vargas, it’s quite lovely. Their seeds are very light and thin, and travel far distances so it is very easy for them to latch onto anything. Hair, clothes, skin, that’s why it’s not actually native to Altea. Whenever dignitaries came from around the universe, they’d always somehow find dozens of seeds plastered to them.”

 

Lance looked at the three petal beauty cradled in Allura’s fingers, she didn’t pull on the stem but it was a near thing before she thought better of it. She straightened, she was more confident among the plants, like they were feeding her energy. Maybe they were, it’s not like Lance knew.

 

She walked over to another raised flower bed, this one was surrounded by floating orbs of light. It was a rich purple with blue veins, a little like blue cheese but less revolting. It was big, the petals were the width of four of Lance’s fingers and they wound together like a giant rose.

 

Kinda looked like giant purple lettuce really.

 

“And this is the Dhiemarchelsh—!”

 

“Yeah I’m just going to tell you now before you finish, I can’t pronounce that.”

 

“Also known as Dhie.”

 

“That I can say.”

 

“Well as I was saying—!”

 

~

 

Lance had learnt a lot about plants that day, and it was nice.

 

When they were walking back to his room and quietly bantering down the halls, the levity of the situation came crashing down when Allura opened her mouth.

 

“Oh, my father had told me to inform you that the Hunt will be pushed up, it will happen in drin’j vargas.

 

He internally sighed when Allura didn’t give him a number, Alteans had such different sets of measurements it takes everything he has to keep up, but Lance can appreciate that she had at least learned a little when she said ‘46’ in the garden..

 

Oh and he has less time to be single.

 

Fuck Alfor.

 

Lance quickly did the math in his head, drin’j was, if Lance remembered correctly, was roughly five and three quarters, or something very close. And that would be...around eighty hours? Give or take?

 

Lance blanched, how—how could they possibly plan such an elaborate event? One with so many facets of planning and care that it would usually take much, much longer than a simple week to plan—but!

 

Lance slouched, ignoring Allura’s crest fallen form next to him, the lights suddenly seemed a lot more clinical than they had before.

 

He only had less than four days.

 

Sure it’s not like seven days was anything stellar but at least it wasn’t four.

 

“There...There is one more thing.”

 

Lance looks up at Allura, she looks about as dreadful as he feels.

 

( Run.)

 

(But where would he even go?)

 

“Just spill, not much can make this worse anyway.”

 

Don’t jinx yourself you fucking idiot.

 

“Tonight we will be having guests coming from our closest allies. My father wishes that you familiarise yourself among his chosen suitors.”

 

Chosen suitors.

 

This fucktard chose suitors?!

 

Who does that fucking prick think he is?

 

Sure he’s the king of an alien race, but regardless—even if Lance is Altean—Alfor still can’t take him away from his home, his real home and he definitely can’t take away Lance’s choice in being single.

 

Do you know how much better it is to just bang it out and then leave the next morning with a satisfied limp and purple all over your neck?

 

(You’d be more familiar with the term ‘the walk of shame’ but shut up. He’s trying to make a point .)

 

Yeah, that’s called the bliss of being single.

 

“We should probably go to the hangar now, they should be arriving in any tick.”

 

Lance groaned as he was dragged by Allura through the lit hallways. He really didn’t want to deal with this shit show.

 

He pettily didn’t mention how they both somehow got dirt all over themselves from the garden.

 

~

 

When they did get there, Coran and Alfor were already there, waiting and watching the control boards for the incoming call.

 

When Coran caught sight of them he blanched at the sight of them, Allura practically dragging Lance like a cat on a leash (he had the exact same facial expression as the Grumpy Cat, picture that, for a second). Coran’s gasp was loud enough to wake the dead.

 

Lance didn’t really listen to what was being said, all that he paid attention to is the Head Seamstress (or rather the equivalent in Altean) trying to undress him.

 

“Woah dude! Back it up, hands off the merchandise! I can do it myself thank you very much.

 

~

 

So Lance was still grumpy and nothing Alfor did could change his very non-welcoming , very very undiplomatic expression.

 

Lance was about to complain to the almost statuesque alteans next to him when there was a beeping sound from the controls, Alfor looked at the camera and smiled as he pressed the button to open the hangar doors.

 

Lance didn’t get a good look but he saw a lot of purple.

 

When the ship came inside Lance blanched.

 

So, okay hear him out. The hangars in the Castle of Lions was huge. Like, huge . Could probably fit one thousand Lance’s and that would only be the floor space, the walls were very large and really messed with your depth perception since they were rounded. The hangars were great, covered in ice blue and hospital lights, big and beautiful.

 

The ship that came in barely scraped the curved ceiling. He couldn’t hold back a wince when he thought the prongs on the front and side of the huge purple (it looked like a warship to Lance) hunk of metal barely clipped the sides of the room.

 

This was a very humbling experience.

 

Lance was—he was frickin tiny compared to this thing!

 

There was a process of warming the metal of the ship, melting the minimal frost before opening with a hiss of steam.

 

Our came Zarkon and seven other men (Lance assumed they were male, but he’ll ask once he gets the chance) with him. All were varying types of aliens, one of them, strangely with a horrendous mullet, was Altean. Or at least, he looked it, but he seemed to be missing one fire truck red on his right cheek, in its place was a large purple mark or scar. As he looked he noticed a few more alteans with the newcomer’s ranks.

 

Wonder why they weren’t already on the ship.

 

As Lance looked, the inhabitants of the purple ship (it couldn’t be just them, the ship was a way too big) stepped off and greeted Alfor and company.

 

Lance caught the seven of them quickly looking at him, a few actually making eye contact.

 

The one that looked Olkari was probably the shortest of them all, he didn’t look like a full blooded Olkari though, there were a few shots of purple through his hair and skin so Lance can probably safely assume he’s got some Galra blood in there.

 

Lance let his eyes wander over the strangers, noting how all of them seemed to have Galran genetics somewhere in their bloodstreams. It looked like only two of them were full blooded Galra.

 

He looked at them some more and had a realisation.

 

Lance is bisexual, really, he is.

 

But if he had to choose he would probs choose dudes to bone. (More like be boned but semantics ).

 

So he’s kind of in heaven right now.

 

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Lance.”

 

He tuned back in when he saw a very pale purple hand with silver rings along all the joints of their fingers, when Lance looked up at the owner of the hand (he had to crane his neck, flipping aliens) he saw a man with dark hair in a sort of quaffed hairstyle, with buzzed sides and a sharp grin. This guy had yellow eyes, like full yellow and glowing and shit, cheekbones were fine and eyebrows tilted up, he looked like a smug cat that was bathing in the cream.

 

He was fucking sexy.

 

He didn’t say anything, because he knew if he did he’d probably ask if they’d wanna do the horizontal tango but even Lance has class.

 

(Just a tiny bit, but still)

 

So he just stared and waited, “My name is Jamesratik.”

 

“I’m just gonna call you James for short.”

 

Lance can practically smell the shocked looks from Alfor, Coran and Allura.

 

Yeah, Lance still wants to go home. But watching seven (assuming Zarkon himself wasn’t going to compete in the hunt, seeing as he’s married ) very sexy guys fight over Lance?

 

Well, there are worse ways to spend your time.

 

~

 

So Keith––the one with the mullet and one Altean mark–– was the one who was quarter Human, quarter Altean and half Galran. He was more of a bad boy, really pushing the rebellious vibe when he splits from the group sometimes and corners Lance in the hallways. Through his red leather trench coat thingy, Lance could see his abs freaking rippling as he moved. And, here’s a real kicker, the guy had one massive blue and black wolf creature always following him. Who could teleport .

 

Lance was digging it.

 

The guy with the bionic arm, Shiro—Takashi Shirogane, was a human and Galran hybrid. He was taller than James, probably the second tallest out of all of them and had a cool undercut, shots of white and purple peppered his hair. He had a big bionic arm, it wasn’t massive but it was a weird floaty thing. And Lance being Lance thought of the kinkiest thing he could be doing with it.

 

(It was pretty interesting, even for his standards.)

 

James was a full blooded Galran cocky shithead, as Lance has learned. He was pretty nice and cordial to Lance but to the others, he was kind of an asshole, couldn’t really blame since they were kind of all competition. If they didn’t surprise everyone and choose each other or something.

 

Kinkade, the tallest one, was full on Galra, but his eyes were much paler compared to James’ and he had a lot healed scarring around them. Lance didn’t want to question it but that didn’t mean it didn’t pique his curiosity. But other than a possible disability, Kinkade made it up in sheer bulk. He was a true beef cake and even through his thick warrior’s armour, Lance could see that guy was packing . Could probably throw Lance up and down like a toddler.

 

Both Matj’hio––Lance calls him Matt and Heuhnkas––Hunk for short––were both part Olkari and part Galran, Lance isn’t really sure, they seem really mixed the both of them but they looked really good. Hunk had a thick bone structure, and he had surprisingly human dark brown eyes. He was pretty sweet all around, said he brought snacks for him and everyone else. Well, Lance ate all the little potato things that tasted like black forest cake.

 

Matt kind of reminded Lance of a kindergarten teacher, he was very patient and kind, much quieter than the other’s, but when he did speak it was impossible for Lance not to at least snicker. For a shy dude he was such a shit talker.

 

He and Lance got along great.

 

The last one…he was unsure how to react to. It was Lotor, like, Zarkon’s son Lotor. He was tall (like the rest of them, Jesus Christ what are the Galra feeding their children) and was purple all over (surprise surprise) and had both yellow and blue eyes, which: goddamn he was hot . Long white hair and smooth skin, he and Lance talked about beauty products all the time. Wasn’t much of a shit talker since he was, y’know, royalty and all that shit but eh.

 

So, seven gorgeous men, one Lance McClain.

 

Let the games begin.

 

~

 

Alfor is still an asswipe though.