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Of Distant Stars

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With a flawless record as a Galra general, Shiro had long been known as ‘The Champion’.  Many sought to gain favor with the alpha, and so it was no surprise when he was presented with a freshly captured omega.  He'd never had use for omegas--he was gone too often to care for one properly and would only feel guilty for abandoning them to be bored and lonely--but he couldn't refuse the gift, not after he saw the delicate beauty.  He hated himself for his instant greed, but he couldn't handle the idea of this omega belonging to any other alpha.  He'd just have to make sure he treated them as well as he could during the times he was home.


He immediately lavished the omega with gifts.


The omega immediately tried to escape.  


Shiro's heart sank.  If the omega was that unhappy, he'd be content to let him leave, but he couldn't afford to be seen as “weak”, and the omega would surely be in danger, unmated and alone.


He caught him easily.


"Aren't you going to kill me?" the furious omega said upon capture, chin raised in defiance.


"No," Shiro said simply.  "I don't hurt the people under my care."


The omega looked confused and suspicious.  "You're the Champion," he said warily.


Shiro shrugged.  It was true that he was ruthless in battle.  He had never been defeated, either in hand to hand combat or while at the helm, and he had survived dozens of assassination attempts.


That didn't make him cruel to his subordinates--or lovers.


"I win my battles," Shiro said, "but I also pick them carefully.  If you don't want to be in my bed, I can't change that, but I'm not going to let you hurt yourself under my watch.  Please don't try to leave again.  If you want to be somewhere other than my ship, I can arrange an escort.  My only stipulation is that you do not spend your heat with anyone."


The omega now looked completely shocked.  He stared at Shiro, mouth open.


"Why?" he finally asked.


"You're beautiful.  I do not need another reason."


The omega frowned, but he seemed reasonably satisfied, and the matter dropped.  He did not try to escape again, and Shiro figured that was the best he could hope for.


Shiro was gone a lot, but during the times he was home he tried to keep the omega company.  He didn't know how much the omega actually enjoyed seeing him.  He remained guarded and suspicious, but he wasn't hostile, and sometimes he was even curious.  To his surprise, Shiro found he loved hearing about his battles.  Violet eyes lit up with interest every time Shiro described a fight, and the alpha found himself telling him more and more, just to win the occasional shy smile.  Eventually, the omega even trusted him enough to quietly confide his name: Keith.


"A collar?" Keith said doubtfully.  


It was a fair question from the omega.  Many Galra did not mark their concubines, so hiding Keith's neck was unnecessary.


"They will treat you better," Shiro explained.  If Keith was going to accompany him, he had to obey.


Shiro tried not to let his delight show.  Keith had requested to come with him on his next conquest, and that meant Shiro had an excuse to decorate him in silks and jewels--it only made sense to show him off in front of the other commanders, after all.  The omega was indifferent to the clothing, just as he was to all Shiro's gifts, but he seemed genuinely happy to be joining Shiro, and that was more than enough to make the alpha's pride sing.  It was no surprise when the officers' eyes wandered more than once over Keith's form.  Shiro felt confident and downright invincible.  It made it all the more crushing when the unthinkable happened: he lost a battle.


Not lost , perhaps, but it was certainly no victory.  Both sides retreated, and the draw turned Shiro's mouth to ash.  


Afterward, he sat in his room, alone and numb.  Each ship, each shot, played through his mind as he tried to piece it together.  How had it happened?  How had he lost?  He was interrupted by Keith slinking into his room and standing hesitantly before him.


Keith had never entered his room on his own before.


The omega looked afraid, like he might bolt at any moment, and he stayed out of range of touch.  Shiro waited for him to speak.


"Do you want to scent me?" Keith asked in a quiet voice.


Shiro's heart clenched.  He opened his arms and Keith crawled into his lap and offered his throat.  Shiro buried his nose in the omega's warm scent and breathed deep. They stayed that way for a long time, and Shiro recounted his frustration, confusion, and anger as Keith stroked his hair.  He would be seen as weak now.  People would question him unless he reestablished himself immediately.  He would need to lead a swift answer of violence and deliver irrefutable victory or face a loss of trust.  It wouldn't have bothered him nearly as much if it weren't for the fact it happened during his first campaign with Keith present.  


He knew some people blamed the omega.


They would call him distracted and compromised, say he was too enamored with his new toy and probably suggest he pick up several more to keep him from being focused solely on pleasing his favorite pet.


(It also stung his pride to lose in front of his omega, but that was a lesser frustration.)


"I don't have to come with you anymore," Keith offered.


Shiro sighed and shook his head.  "If the only time I lose is when you're there, they'll assume they're right."  He took a final, lingering breath at Keith's neck and then patted him and leaned back.  "I'm going to bed now," he said.  He didn't trust himself to ask Keith to spend the night, no matter how chaste his intentions.  The omega smelled too intoxicating.


Keith looked so reluctant to leave that Shiro nearly called him back, especially when the omega gave him a final lingering look at the door.  


"Goodnight, alpha," Keith said softly, and was gone.


Shiro's luck in battles did not improve.  He was only barely scraping by, and he wondered what new strategist the rebels had recruited, and it put him in a near constant state of frustration.  Keith's mood worsened as well, but if it was because of Shiro's own mood or because of the increasingly frequent snide remarks of the officers, the alpha couldn't guess.  The only silver lining he found was in how often Keith came to him at night.


The omega would curl up in his lap, neck bared, and listen to his laments.  It was the best possible comfort.


"You should send me home," Keith whispered after a particularly rough day.  


Shiro sighed and hugged him tighter.  "You're not distracting me, Keith, and you're not bad luck, either."


Keith said nothing, but Shiro could discern sourness in the omega's scent.


"I won't bring you on the next campaign if that's what you want, but I'm not sending you home while we're in unstable territory," Shiro explained.  "It's not safe."


Keith tucked himself under Shiro's head.  "Okay," he said quietly.


They were quiet for a long time, and when Keith got up to leave, his eyes were impossibly sad.  


"You shouldn't let me be at the helm with you," he said, and he left.


The next battle went poorly enough that Shiro had to wonder if Keith was right--was he distracted?  He'd assumed that, if anything, he'd fight better with the omega present: he'd be more invested to win.  It got him thinking.  But no--he couldn't come up with a discernible way his tactics had changed, even as he poured through every piece of data of the past dozen battles.


The enemy had changed.


The enemy was better.


The enemy anticipated him so well it was almost as if-----


He had a rat on board.  It was so obvious in retrospect, but it simply hadn't occurred to him his own men would betray him.  He had always fostered complete loyalty with his troops.  It was clever, too, waiting until there was a reasonable excuse (a new omega on board) before sharing vital information with the rebels.  


Shiro rubbed his face with his hands and checked the time.  It was late, late enough that Keith wouldn't be coming, or if he had come, he wouldn't have stayed.


Shiro made his way back to his room and didn't bother with sleep clothes before crawling under the covers and falling asleep.


He woke up with heat scent in his nose and a knife at his throat.


All Shiro could think was that he deserved this.  He'd treated Keith kindly and pretended that didn't make him his jailer.  He'd never held back from telling Keith anything, spilling secrets even his commanders didn't know, just because the omega hugged him.  It was pathetic.


But, looking up at the wild eyes above him, the only regret he had was that he'd driven the omega to this point.


"If you kill me, you won't make it off the ship alive," he said sadly.


Keith said nothing, breathing heavily.


The scent of heat was thick around them.  Shiro could smell slick and wondered if Keith's body would even allow him to follow through on the threat the knife posed, or if the frenzied need had been the final straw: fury that his body called for an alpha he hated.  Keith was trembling, and Shiro didn't know if it was from hate or the heat or a combination of both, and Shiro could address only one of these needs.


Heedless of the knife, he surged up and kissed him.


Keith was still for a moment before moaning and scrambling to pull away the blankets surrounding the alpha.  His delicate silks tore away under Shiro's hands, ridding him of the clothes the omega never wanted.  Shiro slipped a finger down past his hard cock and into his soft folds. Keith keened and arched his back, pressing down on the finger.  He was soaked, slick freely dripping down his thighs.  Shiro wasted no time in pressing in a second finger and then a third.  Keith took it all.


"Please," Keith gasped.  "Alpha."


Shiro whipped them over, crowding over Keith, and he shoved his cock in without preamble.  He could never make love to his omega, but he could certainly fuck him the way his heat needed.  Keith shouted his pleasure with every thrust. Shiro didn't slow his pace, no matter how many times Keith came.  He yanked him back on his cock and licked his throat, tasting the haze of lust on Keith's skin.  He had suffered for hours before coming to Shiro's room.


Shiro came in him without knotting, keeping the swelling base outside the omega's body.  Keith cried and squirmed helplessly.


"Alpha, alpha," he sobbed.  "Please, I need it."


Shiro grabbed his wrists and in one hand and pinned them above his head.  


"This isn't punishment," he said.  "I'll have to stop if I knot inside you.  Do you not need more first?"


Keith shuddered and moaned but nodded.  He bit Keith's lips before pulling back from the crying omega and rolled him to his side before fucking him again.  


The next time when he came, he sheathed himself fully inside the omega and at last Keith's skin tasted of satisfaction.  He hushed him gently, soothing him by stroking down his side as the omega slowly calmed, his need satiated for the time being.


"Stop it," Keith whispered.


Shiro pulled his hand away.


Keith shook his head and curled in on himself, getting as far away as he was able with the alpha knotted inside him.


"I can't take it anymore," he said in a choked off voice.


"I won't touch you again," Shiro promised.  There had to be toys the omega could use--he knew he had bought them for him, but perhaps Keith had neglected to pack them.


Keith started to cry.  "You know I'm the leak.  Stop being kind to me."


The confirmation made his heart clench, but that request was impossible.  "I lost that battle a long time again," Shiro told him.  Probably since the first time he'd seen him.


He let Keith cry and tried to will his knot down sooner.


"Is that why didn't you fight back?" Keith said bitterly in a tear-stained voice.  "It wasn't the heat?"


"Of course it wasn't the heat.  Keith, I... I wanted you as my own the day we met," Shiro said truthfully.  


"Fuck," Keith whispered.


"I suppose you had something different in mind when you first saw me," Shiro said, his voice now bitter.  He blamed himself for everything.  


"Of course I did.  I thought you were going to rape or kill me."


That was a surprise.  "Weren't you a plant?" Shiro asked.


Keith snorted.  "What kind of plant tries to run away?  Shiro, I was fucking terrified .  I’d been gifted to the Champion!  And then when I realized you really weren't going to hurt me, and you actually trusted me, well... I'm with the rebels.  I had to try to report it.  Only..."  Keith swallowed what might have been a sob.  "Only you're kind and gentle and always trying to make me happy and I can't fucking report you anymore, I just can't.  Now, torture me or kill me or whatever you have to do, just stop .  Please, just stop."


"You were trying to provoke me," Shiro said slowly.  "With the knife.  You were hoping I'd fight back and kill you."


This time, Keith did sob.  "Please.  Shiro, please.  Even if you're not the monster the rebels think you are, you're still with the empire.  Don't you get it?  I’ve got the opportunity of a lifetime so I can't stop trying to support them, but you’re....”  He swallowed hard.  “I can’t do it to you anymore.  You either have to lock me up or kill me.  I can't live like this anymore."


Shiro curled around Keith, tucking him to his chest, and kissed the back of his neck.  "Really?  I only have those two choices?  I can't let you go?"


It was difficult to devise a ruse to smuggle Keith away, but in the end Shiro managed it.  He realized that if he'd put his heart into it earlier, Keith could have been free from the start.  But then, he hadn't known at the time that Keith had somewhere safe to go.  An omega on the run from a Galra general--even if said general wasn't the one hunting him down--would have been prime prey for bounty hunters looking to curate favor.  But, Keith did have somewhere to go, and Shiro had never so much as asked him if he had family.  It left a bitter feeling in his chest that time could not fully dose.  


His battles improved.  Some whispered it was because the omega wasn't distracting Shiro anymore, but more wondered if it was rage from the alpha.  The understanding was that Shiro had sent him back and the transport he was on had been destroyed by the rebels.  And, well, if his troops thought he was grieving Keith's absence, they weren't wrong.


He thought of Keith often.  When he was feeling particularly low, he wondered if Keith had been on any of the enemy ships he had brought down in the latest battles.  He liked to think that just as he hadn't been able to hurt Keith, the omega would turn his own efforts away from the parts of the war Shiro occupied.


On his lowest nights, he wondered if Keith had found a mate yet.


He'd had Keith's things burned, all but the scraps of silk left over from their single night.  Those he kept locked beside his bed, sealed up in a small box in the sad hope of preserving their combined scent a little longer.


Three years went by, and the war waged on, just as it had for a thousand years.  Shiro was stronger now, a better commander with a tighter heart.  He was more likely to be in the front lines, more likely to be on a boarding crew.


That was how he found himself chasing a masked figure down the hall of a besieged cruiser.


They were fast--impressively fast and incredibly agile--and it was only through his own fuel of anger that he was able to catch them.  A swipe of his ignited mechanical hand sent the mask clattering, broken in two.


Keith's face stared back at him, a fresh burn on his cheek.


Shiro staggered back before falling to the ground.  "Keith," he gasped.


Keith was next to him in an instant, hauling back to his feet.  "The ship is rigged with bombs, Shiro.  You need to get to the hangers."


Shiro made no protest as the omega pulled him through the ship.  He realized, distantly, that Keith had been leading him to the hangers all along.  When Keith stopped at a door to punch in a code, Shiro reached out without thinking, ghosting his hand over the wound he'd just left.


Keith's eyes flickered to him before returning to the keypad.  "It's fine, Shiro.  I don't care about it at all."


(Shiro cared.)


The door opened and Keith shoved him through it.  "Go," he commanded.  


The door began to close but Shiro caught it.


"What about you?" he demanded.  "You said there are explosives--I'm not letting you stay here."


"I have to get back to my ride," Keith apologized.  "They might not leave without me."


"Do you have time?" Shiro asked desperately, grabbing Keith's arm.


Keith carefully removed Shiro's hand from his arm, giving it a squeeze before letting go.  "I do.  I swear it."  He made as if to turn away, stopped, and pulled Shiro in for a quick, rough kiss.


"I didn't know you'd be here, or I wouldn't have agreed to this mission."  There was nothing but truth and regret in Keith's eyes.  "I'm sorry.  I didn't mean for you to get caught like this.  You have five doboshes, if you want to give the order for your troops to fall back."


Shiro clutched him desperately, taking another rough kiss before letting go.


"I'll give you time to get clear first," he said.  


Keith nodded acknowledgement, and paused again at the door.  Shiro tried to memorize every detail of him in that moment, burn and all.


It was how he noticed the edge of a collar at Keith's throat--it was the one he gave him.


"I love you," Shiro said hopelessly.


There were tears in the omega's eyes when he fled.



Shiro marveled many times over the next few months at how badly he had misjudged Keith.  The omega was clever and capable both in and out of combat, and Shiro had thought only to protect what he saw as delicate and fragile.  Keith was certainly beautiful and worth protecting, but maybe he hadn't need Shiro's help in the first place.  He had been in charge of the attack, after all.  He had feinted Shiro's troops into boarding a doomed ship and made a massive dent in Shiro's numbers.  


It was only a small comfort to know he hadn't been the intended target.


He did, once, consider trying to give Keith up, to carve out the place in his heart the omega had claimed.  This was his enemy, someone he could never hope to be with in any meaningful way.  There was no happiness for him down this path.


He rejected the thought.  Impossible.


He dreamed of Keith often, but usually it was a nightmare.  He would discover his greatest victory to date had slain the omega, or worse yet he would find himself fighting a masked assassin he knew was Keith but he couldn't stop.  The mask would split, Keith would fall.  Sometimes, there was nothing behind the mask, and those nights were the worst.  He was chasing a ghost, seeking and fighting but without anything to catch.


(But Keith had kept his collar.  Keith had worn his collar.)


If it weren't for the fact that retiring from his post would put his men under the command of the next general (Sendak), he would have seriously considered abandoning his responsibilities altogether.  But, just as Keith couldn't leave the rebels, he couldn't leave his troops.


They were comets, lucky enough to pass near each other, but ultimately pulled apart by distant stars, never to touch.  And even if Shiro didn't get his happy ending, well, at least he'd gotten a love story.


"It's a kr'svok tonight," his second-in-command said as Shiro left the helm.


"Thanks for the warning," Shiro said wryly, "but I've got to attend anyway."


The tradition of kr'svok had started, ironically enough, among monks as means of promoting chastity.  Alphas would meditate near omegas that were either in pre-heat or--if the alpha was especially controlled--in heat.  Neither party was to touch the other (or themselves).  Now, however, kr'svok meant that alphas at a dinner would be given omega consorts to "play" with. The omegas would sit next to the alphas or on their laps and the alphas would get them off with their hands, and the omegas were supposed to stay as quiet as possible.  The alphas would pretend to be indifferent to their partners.  The goal, generally, was to be the alpha who got their omegas so aroused that the other alphas would be driven to give into their lust.  Essentially, the first alpha to fuck their omega lost.  


Naturally, it was a popular event.  


Shiro detested it.


However, this particular evening was being hosted by the crown prince himself, and Shiro couldn't turn down that invitation.  It surprised him to be invited--he was now known for his "aversion" to omegas--and it surprised him that Lotor would host that kind of party.  He suspected the prince was looking to curry favor with particular officers.  


He really wished he'd been left out of it.


He lingered while getting ready, taking more time than necessary to shower and dress.  It was rude of him to arrive late (especially when he fully intended to leave early), but he was in for a miserable evening and preferred to spend as few minutes at the party as possible.  He took longer than he thought, however, because when he arrived, all the omegas had been chosen.  There were far more than needed--most alphas had two or three--and presumably Shiro would be offered one by the host.  Whatever.  It's not like he was planning to pick one.  Or using one.


Lotor spied him, smiled, and raised a goblet, waving him over.  He'd saved him a seat, beside him and across from Sendak.  Lovely.


On his way over, however, his eye was drawn to a particular omega, sitting midway down the table.


It couldn't be.


It had to be.


The omega was wearing a veil over his face, but his eyes were exposed, and they were trained steadily on Shiro's face.  No omega at an event such as this would be bold enough to stare at an alpha--and those eyes were beautiful and unwavering and the color of twilight.


Shiro strode up without hesitating.  He hovered over the omega--who had finally glanced down--and inhaled.  




It was absolutely Keith.


Even without bending over, he knew.  He grabbed the thin chain keeping Keith tethered to the foreign alpha's chair and snapped it.  The alpha snarled in protest.


"This one is claimed, General," they hissed.  "I'm sure our host will offer you one of--"


"He's mine," Shiro growled.


Lotor's bright laughter interrupted the burgeoning fight.


"My dear Morlek, General Shiro so rarely takes an interest in omegas--you must humor him.  Besides, you already have your lap full with pretty things," the prince smiled.  "Do be generous."


Perhaps due to the prince's words (or more likely due to Shiro's looming bulk), Morlek relented and Shiro lead Keith to his chair.  Keith made to settle on the cushion next to him, but Shiro pulled him directly to his lap.  He wasn't letting anyone doubt his claim or interest.


Lotor laughed again.


"I thought that one might catch your eye," the prince smirked, and ice rolled down Shiro's spine.  The words were flippant, but given Shiro's reputation regarding omegas, he had to wonder if Lotor knew who Keith was.  If he did, however, he made no further sign of it, and only winked before turning back to the conversation he'd been in prior to Shiro's abrupt entrance.


Left to his own devices, Shiro was able to finally turn his attention to the omega in his lap.  Keith was stunning in red silks.  His veil was dark under his eyes but turned more and more shear as it went down, becoming all but transparent where it ended, just below his cock.  It was more than obvious that he was wearing only a scrap of silk tucked neatly around his cock, held in place by delicate chains which graced his body in intricate patterns.  Shiro swallowed once before snapping his eyes up to his plate.  He'd already made a scene--he needed to act normal, which in this case meant eating (and somehow ignoring the way Keith was shifting).


The air was heavy with the arousal of omegas.  They were frequently given light aphrodisiacs prior to these banquets to make them more receptive and pliant.  Shiro prayed this was not the case with Keith, and he ducked his nose to smell the omega's soft black hair.  He smelled of himself and faintly of perfume, but nothing beyond that.  Good.  Having made such a show of picking an omega, Shiro would be expected to act on it, and he couldn't stand doing that to Keith with the omega compromised.  


For his part, Keith seemed at ease, quiet and receptive as a good omega should be, content to wait until his alpha decided to acknowledge him.


Shiro fed him a few bites of choice meats and fruits, but otherwise pretended to ignore him.


It was.






Shiro was dying to pull him into another room and ask him a thousand questions.  Had he been caught again?  Was he one of the provided omegas from the host, or had he come with the other alpha?  Was he here for Shiro?


Around the table, omegas had started to whimper as the dinner got underway and more alphas began to toy with them.  Shiro had yet to lay a hand on Keith beyond steadying him when he shifted, and he knew he couldn't put it off much longer.  Was there a way to discreetly ask Keith what was and wasn't allowed?  


Doing his level best to be casual, Shiro placed one hand on Keith's waist and began to stroke with his thumb.  The omega didn't react, so he let his hand go lower and further back, cupping at his ass.  Keith shifted his weight and leaned forward, resting his head on Shiro's shoulder.  Shiro squeezed his ass before reaching lower.  He waited.  


For a few moments Keith did nothing, then he gave the tiniest nod of his head.  


Shiro swallowed hard.  He pulled Keith closer to him so the omega could hide his face more if he wanted, giving him a modicum of privacy.  Then he resumed his work of playing with his ass, kneading and caressing it by turns.  He could feel Keith's hot breath on his neck grow faster, but the omega stayed silent.  He slipped his finger lower, encountering the tiny chain that served to hold Keith's slim undergarments in place.  He silently prayed the whole thing was more comfortable than it looked and tucked his finger under it to rub at the seam of Keith's ass.




At that exact moment, Shiro's neighbor decided to talk to him, and Shiro had to put his discovery on pause.  He decided he had never hated these events more.  He gave the man a few nods and affirmative comments, paying far more attention to the way Keith subtly squirmed.  Maintaining eye contact with his neighbor, Shiro brushed his finger along the outside of Keith's folds.


The omega twitched.  


Shiro stroked Keith's folds, occasionally pulling at them with two fingers or ducking the tip of one finger in.  Keith was breathing heavily but keeping admirably still.  Shiro couldn't help but swell with pride to be the one playing with such a submissive omega--especially when he knew that Keith could half the people at this table if he chose to, but instead stayed still and quiet for Shiro.


Shiro's neighbor had finally realized what was happening, and he interrupted himself to praise the omega.  


"Silent and barely moving!" he said in awe.  "I didn't know you started playing with him!"


Shiro murmured acknowledgement and grabbed his goblet with his free hand.  He had a feeling they were about to be a subject of great interest.  


"I'm doing more than playing," Shiro said casually, pushing a finger all the way in.


Keith stiffened but didn't otherwise react, and Shiro began to massage his walls.  The tiniest sound left his throat but he immediately bit at Shiro's shirt to silence himself.  Shiro shushed Keith lightly while pushing in a second finger.  Keith's body swallowed it beautifully, and Shiro had trouble keeping himself quiet.  The omega smelled fantastic and his walls were silken.  Shiro remembered exactly what they felt like on his cock.  


Shiro took his time with Keith, in part because that was what was expected but also because the omega was just so damn good .  He reeked of arousal and slick but stayed obedient and still.  Shiro wanted to snarl at every alpha for looking, even as he wanted to show Keith off.


"How many fingers?" a nearby alpha asked.


"Just two," Shiro said as casually as possible, taking another sip of wine.  


"Make it three," someone suggested.  


Shiro's urge to fight was rising, but he pushed it down.  Keith was being perfect--he could behave, too.


"You want another?" Shiro asked, voice low and gentle.  He wasn't quiet enough to not be overheard, but he wanted to remind Keith that, ultimately, Shiro was there with him .


Keith turned his head to peak up at him and nodded before burying his face in Shiro's neck.  


"Sweet boy, you've been so good," Shiro cooed.  


Keith let out a sliver of a gasp when Shiro pushed in a third finger, but he stayed perfectly still.  


Half the table was watching now, entranced by the performance.  Omegas were notorious for noise and neediness, but this one had either an iron will or a desperate need to please--and if there was one thing an alpha's pride loved, it was an obedient omega.  


Shiro was entranced as well.  He remembered Keith begging and sobbing during his heat.  If he couldn't smell him now, he'd be certain the omega was unaffected or unhappy.  But no--Keith's scent was heavy with pleasure and want.  Keith liked this.  Shiro could barely contain the urge to slather him with praise and worship his cock and hole his mouth.  He thrust his fingers harder to reward him.


"Come on, sweet thing," Shiro coaxed.  God, but he wanted to cry Keith's name and kiss him senseless.  He'd always fit so perfectly in his arms and he'd missed him so, so much.  The only way he could express his longing was to give him as much pleasure as he could.


He rubbed relentlessly on the spot he knew the omega loved and, with only a minuscule whimper, Keith came on his fingers.


"Perfect, lovely boy," Shiro praised, soothing his back with gentle strokes as he pulled his fingers free.  He looked and saw the little omega cock peeking free of the silk garment, cum dripping white all over his robe.


"You made a mess," Shiro chided softly.  He wiped his fingers through Keith's cum, ostensibly to show the omega but in reality he wanted to see if------and Keith did open his mouth and licked Shiro's fingers clean with a pink tongue.  


"God," Shiro whispered.


"Bravo," the alpha next to him said.  "If I hadn't been able to smell him, I'd have thought you were lying about the whole thing!  What did you do to keep him so quiet?"


"He's a good boy," Shiro shrugged.  He set his goblet down and reached for a slice of fruit.  "I knew it when I saw him."


Lotor chuckled, and Shiro wondered again if the prince knew more than he let on.  Either way, he had a satisfied omega on his lap and he'd never been harder.


"I doubt anyone will top that," Shiro said, giving Keith's head an affectionate pat.  “ I think I'm done."


"Tch.  You're just leaving so you can fuck him in private," someone said.  "Don't think you've won just because you left!"


"This one deserves a nice bath," Shiro countered, scooping Keith into his arms.  "I treat my things nice."


Lotor chuckled again and raised his glass in a lazy salute.  "You two have a good evening," he winked.  "And you don't need to give him back when you're done."


Thank god he wasn't expected to return Keith with a time limit.  Presumably this also meant he wouldn't need to deal with Morlek again, but he had no idea how or why Keith was here.  The important thing was he was free to leave him, and he did.


Carrying a (nearly) naked omega who was coated in sex and contentment was both awkward and gratifying.  Luckily, it was late enough in the evening that the halls were practically empty, and Shiro was able to get Keith back to his room without encountering anyone he needed to speak to (or, more importantly, anyone who might recognize Keith).


Once in his quarters, Shiro gently set Keith down.  "Are you okay?" Shiro asked, a mix of tenderness and rampant worry.  "Do you need something to eat?  To drink?  Let me get you a robe."


Keith watched wide-eyed as the alpha hurried to yank a robe out of his closet and wrap around him. 


"I'm fine, Shiro," Keith insisted as he took off his veil, but he accepted the offered robe with a blush.  It nearly swallowed him, and Shiro's brain managed to spare a thought that he looked very cute like that.


"You weren't captured?"


Keith shook his head.  "No, I'm here on purpose.  I'm here to talk to you."


"And a kr'svok was the best way to do that?" Shiro asked, dumbfounded.


"In my defense, you run a very tight ship these days," Keith said, looking sheepish.  "You've really cracked down on security since I was here."  He paused.  "Also, I thought you liked it when I dressed like that," he said, suddenly shy as he fiddled with the ties on his robe.


And now it was Shiro's turn to blush.  "I do, but I'd rather see you safe and happy," he said softly.


"Ah, well, we actually thought this way might be safest.  It's the only way to hide my face without anyone questioning it.  I'm too small to be a guard, even if they didn't notice I'm an omega," Keith explained.  "Plus, we knew the kr'svok was coming up, and I didn't want to wait any longer."


That last piece of information warmed Shiro's heart more than a little.  "So, you're not with Morlek," Shiro said, wanting to confirm.  "You're one of the omegas Lotor provided."


"Yes.  We were certain you'd recognize me and pick me, but I don't think he expected you to be that late.  I wasn't worried," Keith said.  "Even if I had to...spend time with Morlek, I knew I'd be able to connect with you later.  Besides, Lotor was there.  I think he just wanted to humiliate Morlek, actually, by letting him choose me and then taking me away when you arrived.  I don't think he would have let it go further."


Well, that certainly confirmed Shiro's suspicion that Lotor knew who Keith was, but it raised a full host of other questions.  


"Why Lotor?  Why are you working with him?"


"He's easier to contact than you are, and we knew he'd be receptive," Keith said.


"That really doesn't answer my question," Shiro pointed out.  He noticed the use of the word "we"--so Lotor was working /with/ the rebels?


"There's a lot to explain.  Can we sit down first?"


They got settled on a lounge and Keith laid out the situation: Lotor was planning to take part in the Kral Zera and the rebels would be backing him.  It was premature from Shiro's point of view--Zarkon was sick, not dead--but he understood the need for allies.  The prince was talented enough to win the Kral Zera and he had a reasonable claim to the throne, but he simply didn't have the numbers behind him.  Surprisingly, he had contacted the rebels.


"It's split the rebels," Keith confessed.  "Some want total freedom.  Some recognize him as a good compromise.  He's the only one who cares about treating half-Galra like full citizens and the planets he's responsible for do far better than the others and they do so with significantly less oversight.  Still, even with the rebels that are willing to back him, it's not enough.  That's where you come in.  Lotor wants you to back him for the Kral Zera, when it happens."


"And he's not the one asking me why?" Shiro asked.  He respected Lotor, but he didn't trust him.  He was far too clever, and far, far too ambitious.


"He said it's because you wouldn't trust that the rebels were involved if he was the one who spoke with you.  Also, I think he thought you'd be more... receptive to hearing the proposal from me," Keith said.  During his years with Shiro, he'd learned the alpha's feelings toward the prince, and he seemed apologetic to be the one to bring this to him.  


Shiro sighed and ran his hands through his hair.  Truthfully, Lotor was a good choice.  The generals most likely to vie for position were either too cruel or too foolish to be a good emperor (not that Shiro particularly approved of Zarkon, but Zarkon at least prevented chaos).  


"Interesting that no one expects me to be a candidate," Shiro said.


Keith looked surprised.  "You would hate being emperor," he said.


"That I would," Shiro agreed.  He was good at war--great at it, even--but commanding a fleet was not the same as ruling an empire.  "I'll consider Lotor's proposal," he said.  "He's the only one I can imagine that would even consider a partial peace."


Keith smiled.  


"What?" Shiro asked.  "I didn't say 'yes'."


"I know," Keith said.  "But you listened."


"I take it your rebels didn't think I would?" Shiro said wryly.


Keith shook his head.  "All everyone knows about you is that you're 'The Champion' and that you'll do what it takes to win.  They think that means you like war.  I keep telling them you're more than that."


It came as no surprise to Shiro that his reputation was that strong.  He'd worked hard to cultivate it.  He was not easy prey, and he didn't want his troops to be considered soft targets.  Keith probably was the only one who knew how tired Shiro got of fighting.


Keith cleared his throat and rubbed his hands on his robe.  "So, that's why I'm here officially, but I've been wanting to talk to you, well, since I left."  He took a deep breath.  "I'm sorry.  You put your trust in me, showed me every kindness, and I betrayed you."


"Oh Keith," Shiro said gently, putting his hand on Keith's knee.  


Keith shook his head, not letting himself be stopped.  "I thought I was unhappy here.  I mean, I was , but that wasn't...  I didn't know.  I didn't know until I'd left that I'd gotten used to how you look at me.  I got used to the way you'd tilt your head when you listen and how you cut your fruit wrong" (Shiro made a sound of protest) "and I realized it actually was really nice to have someone want to buy me pretty things and see me wear them.  I always felt so vulnerable without my weapons, but that was only when I wasn't alone with you.  I  always felt safe in your room.  I...I knew I'd miss you, but I didn't understand how much.  I really thought that once I was home, everything would go back to normal."  He chuckled and rubbed at his eyes.  "It wasn't that I didn't appreciate how kind you were to me and that you respected my wish to, um, not bed you, but I didn't appreciate you until you were gone.  And that was when it really hit me just how cruel and wrong I'd been."


Shiro squeezed his knee.  "It's a war," he said softly.  "You don't owe me an apology for being on the opposite side."


"But I do owe you one for being selfish.  I let my guilt turn me into a coward.  I tried to take the easy way out by goading you into killing me.  I wanted you to punish me for hurting you.  And then I jumped you," Keith concluded, blushing hard.  


"I really didn't mind that," Shiro promised.  


Keith laughed a little.  "I guess not."


"I want you to know, though," Keith continued, "that the burn is my fault.  I could have called out to you at any time so you'd know it was me you were fighting, but I knew my comrades were watching the cameras.  I didn't want your reaction to reveal just how compromised I was, how compromised I still am, when it comes to you.  Kind of stupid of me, huh?  It's why I almost didn't kiss you.  But it's a good thing they saw.  I'd been telling them for years that you're not your reputation, and I know they never really believed me.  They thought that I was blinded by your treatment of me, that I had a crush or something.  But then you let me go, and with enough time to get away, even though I was your enemy and not your omega anymore.  That's when they started to take Lotor's ideas seriously."  Keith took another deep breath.  "So, now that you've heard all that, I have a question for you.  Do you still love me?"


Shiro took Keith's hands and squeezed.  "Yeah, baby.  I still do," he said softly.


Keith closed his eyes and leaned against Shiro's chest, and Shiro slid his arms around him, cradling him close.


"Thank god," Keith whispered.  "I love you, too."


Shiro must have blanked out for a moment because the next thing he knew, he had Keith straddling his lap, hands digging into his sides and lips passionately chasing lips.


"God you smell amazing," Keith gasped.  "I shouldn't have hid in your neck back then--your scent was driving me wild.  Fuck, I wanted you so bad.  I wanted you to pull your fingers out and fuck me in front of everyone."


"Keith," Shiro breathed reverently.


"You were so hard.  I wanted you in me so badly.  I still dream about that night.  I dream about how you fucked me until I couldn't breathe.   I wake up so wet and empty and wish my fingers were yours, and I--eep!" 


Keith's enticing monologue ended abruptly as Shiro picked him up and strode over to the bed.  His borrowed robe nearly slipped off him when Shiro tossed him down.  He stood back and eyed Keith over as he removed his own robe, deliberately taking his time.


"Gorgeous," he declared.  "You're gorgeous."


Keith blushed happily and looked Shiro over in turn.  "I didn't get to look at you enough during my heat," he said.  He licked his lips.  "Come over here.  I'm still open."


"Bossy," Shiro chided, but he prowled over Keith immediately as requested.  He indulged in kissing the omega, drinking long and deep from his mouth, but nibbling his way lower. 


"Shi-ro," Keith whined.  He wiggled his hips but Shiro shushed him gently, kissing his hips and thighs as he worked off the silk and chain panties the omega still wore.


Struck by the beautiful sight before him, Shiro ducked down to lap at Keith's lips before licking up his cock.  He could taste slick and remnants of the omega's earlier release, and he was hungry for me. 


"Shiii-ro," Keith whined again, "you can play with me later.  I need you to fuck me.  P-please, I need it, I need you ."


"Yeah?  You need an alpha cock in you?  You need my knot?" Shiro asked as he covered Keith's body. 


Keith reached between his legs and tugged on Shiro's thick cock.  Shiro hissed.  His erection had flagged during their discussion but it had sprung up immediately and was now painfully hard. 


"You need me, too," Keith said, a little smug but with eyes filled with lust. 


"God help me, baby, I do.  I really, really do," Shiro confessed. 


He kissed Keith one last time before lining himself up and letting Keith guide him in.


"Oh yes," Keith moaned.  "Oh that's perfect."


It was every bit as desperate as their first night, but this time it was slow and passionate.  Shiro made sure every thrust was deep and dragging, letting the omega feel every inch. 


"You were so good out there," he praised.  "Couldn't believe how perfect you were.  You were my good boy.  Couldn't believe I got to be the one to take you and show you off."


Keith groaned.  "W-wanted to be good for you.  Wanted to show how I'd submit for you, o-only for you."


Shiro growled and hiked up Keith's knee so he could grind in deeper.  Beautiful, fierce Keith--the most fascinating, powerful, and clever omega imaginable--wanted to submit to him.  He was determined to prove himself worthy of that trust. 


"I love you," he said, growing breathless from pleasure.  "I love you so much.  I missed you, baby, I--ahh--you're so good for me, f-fuck--"


"Please," Keith begged.  "Please, I need your knot.  I w-want to come on it--ahh, Shiro--"


Shiro's knot was growing rapidly, catching on Keith's rim until at last it stayed in his body.  Shiro lasted only a few seconds more, helpless to stave off his release when the omega's body was clenching greedily around him.


"Yes, yes, fuck," Keith chanted.  "Alpha, Shiro-----"


Keith all but sobbed when he came, and he clutched Shiro to his chest before sucking hard on his neck gland.


"Bite me," Shiro gasped.  "You can bite me if you want to."


Keith groaned sucked harder on the gland but ultimately pulled away.  "I c-can't.  I want to, but I can't," he panted.  "I can't mate you and then leave you."  He rested his forehead against Shiro's.  "I want to so badly, you have no idea."


"But not when you still need to go back to the rebels?" Shiro said sadly.  He kissed Keith once before rolling them carefully to their sides so as not to crush his lover.  Keith tucked himself against Shiro.  He felt so right there, curled close and warm.  "It's going to be hell as is.  I don't think I'd be strong enough to leave my mate," he said quietly.


Shiro's heart burned at the words.  He knew Keith was making the right decision--for both of them--but it hurt.  "Will you come back?" he asked. 


Keith's head snapped up.  "Of course I'll come back," he said fiercely, and then he sighed.  "But I do have to at least report in.  I'll probably have to do a lot with them, actually, and they need a go between for them and Lotor.  But..."


"But you'll come back," Shiro concluded. 


Keith smiled and touched Shiro's cheek.  "I have to do that, too," he said softly.


They lay together even after Shiro's knot deflated, and they ignored their messy fluids, content simply to hold each other and exchange soft kisses.   Shiro let his hands wander, exploring and caressing without intent.  It surprised him when Keith pulled away after his fingers brushed over a series of small dips he had noticed on his stomach.


"Ah," Keith said blushing, "yes, those are stretch marks."


Shiro froze.


Keith had...Keith had been pregnant?


"I know I should have told you before we...well.  I guess I was too scared and then too desperate."  He was speaking rapidly, obviously nervous.  "She's two now," he continued, "and her name is Tris."  He bit his lip.  "Is that okay?"


Okay?  It wasn't up to Shiro to dictate what Keith had done while they were apart, even if he had to push down possessive hurt that his omega had been with someone else. 


"Of course," Shiro said, hoping his smile wasn't forced.  "Congratulations.  I'm sure she's beautiful."


"She is," Keith said, smiling.  "She's adorable.  She's got your ears."


If Shiro had been frozen before, he was shattered now.


"My...ears?  My ears?" he asked, dazed.


"Yeah, she's your daughter," Keith said, searching Shiro's face nervously.  "Is that not good?"


Shiro snapped back to himself.  "That's amazing!  I'm a father!  Am I a father?  How did that happen?  Didn't you get the shot?"


They had decided to end Keith's heat early after that disastrous and emotionally charged night.  The shot he received should have prevented or terminated any pregnancies.


"I did.  I guess she's a fighter like her dad," Keith said sheepishly.  "She's definitely yours.  She's really, really cute.  I'm sorry I couldn't bring you a picture.  She's so smart, and she loves to hear about her Papa.  Other people call you the Champion so she'll stop asking to meet you, but I told her about the time you laughed while drinking and shot nunvil out your nose, so she's not scared of you at all," Keith concluded with a smile.


Shiro's mind was whirling.  He had a daughter.  He had a daughter named Tris.


"She calls me 'Papa'?" he said, his face stretched in a grin so wide it hurt.


Keith just laughed in response, a laugh so free and light that Shiro couldn't help joining in.


"We have a pup," he cried, hugging Keith fiercely.  Alpha instincts suddenly kicked into overdrive, and he pulled back and stared, instantly serious.  "Does she have enough food?  Enough clothes?  What does she need?"


Keith just laughed again.  "She doesn't need anything.  She's so spoiled.  Although," he said after pausing a moment, "it'd really mean a lot if you recorded her a message I could take with me...?  No, I didn't mean now !" Keith laughed, tackling Shiro back to the bed.  "Record it sometime before I leave.  She's already spoiled.  It's my turn."


Shiro was reluctant for only half an instant before he melted back into Keith's arms.  


"Whatever you want, starlight," Shiro smiled and kissed him, blissful and overwhelmed in the knowledge that despite their distant stars, their lives had finally met.