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it's cliche but you like me anyways

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“Lance? Iced… ‘as bitter as my soul’ latte, two shots of espresso, extra whipped cream?”

“That’s me!” The aforementioned Lance jumped up from his seat at a small table and walked up to the barista’s counter. “Can you thank the guy with the mullet for me? It’s hard to come by ‘bitter as my soul’ nowadays, and he always does it perfectly,” Lance winked. The mullet man’s co-worker, Shiro, chuckled as he handed Lance the drink. Lance leaned over the counter and twirled his head around until he found Keith. “Thanks for the drink, Keith!” I got a haircut, y’know, Keith thought begrudgingly.

“Uh, y-yeah, no problem,” He muttered, the back of his neck growing red. He slapped his hand on the back of it, struggling to cover up his embarrassment, and Lance laughed. Of course, Keith assumed he was laughing at him, so his blush only grew worse, much to his dismay.

“Well, you’ve already thanked him,” Shiro smiled.

“You’re the man, Shiro! Say ‘hi’ to Matt for me, ‘kay?”

“Sure thing, man. Have a great day, and good luck on your paper!”

“I’ll need it!” Lance bemoaned as he dramatically lifted his hand to his forehead and walked out of Cuppa Love.

“... Is he gone?” The ‘guy with the mullet’ asked his co-worker. Shiro nodded, and Keith turned to face the actual humans in front of him.

“You know, you’re gonna have to tell him someday. Or, just--and this is just an idea I’m throwing out here--”

“Ask him out?”

“Exactly!” Shiro raised his finger in an “aha” motion, and Keith rolled his eyes, cleaning the steam wand on the espresso machine.

“That’s never gonna happen, and you know that better than anyone, Shiro,”

“But you never know ‘til you try!” Shiro continued to follow Keith around his workstation when Keith turned to him suddenly.

“Does he even like guys? Did you think of that?” Keith blew a bang out of his face as he went back to filling a shot glass full of espresso. Shiro raised an eyebrow at him, even though Keith refused to look him in the eye.

“... You really want me to answer that?”

“Shut up!”

“C’mon, Keith! You’ve been pining after this guy for, oh, what, two years now?”

“That’s really not important right now, Shiro,” Keith growled, and Shiro went back to the bakery and threw a batch of cookies in the oven.

“Please, just consider it, Keith. Instead of wondering and fantasizing about this date--which I know you do because you mumble about it when you think no one’s listening--” Keith’s cheeks set ablaze, and Shiro gave him a kind smile. “Just go on a date with him, alright?”

When Shiro turned back to the oven, Keith very slightly nodded his head.

But, he would never admit that.


A frantic knocking--no, banging--on the door woke Keith up, and he groaned as he walked across the room from his couch. (He has a bed, but he’s been studying for a huge exam. So, naturally, he doesn’t get the proper amount of rest and crams, eventually dozing off on the couch.) The lack of sleep took away his awareness of the person being a, well, murderer, so he haphazardly turned the knob and slammed his door open.

“Ugh, what do you want?” Keith said with sleepiness and irritation in his voice, not even awake enough to realize that the love of his life was at his door in the middle of the night.

“I, uh, got caught in the rain,” Keith recognized the voice, usually booming with confidence and promises of chivalry. His eyes widened, and he almost pulled at the ponytail his hair was in. (It looked sorta decent, and his hair got in his eyes while studying, okay!?)

“Lance!?”

“Keith! Buddy! I’ve been knockin’ on doors, hoping that one incredibly nice and caring person would invite me to stay the night, but to no avail--” Keith stopped the speech and held his hand up.

“I’ll give you the couch,” Keith yawned. “Wait, shit, I mean, uh…” He said very intelligibly.

“I should probably dry off first,” Lance cracked a smile, and Keith stared at his lips a little longer than he anticipated. Keith shook his head to snap out of his, eh, daydreams. Except it was night, so he supposed he was just dreaming.

Still-very-awake dreaming.

“O-oh, right, I’ll get you. A towel. Yeah,” Keith invited Lance in, telling him the automatic greeting, “Take your shoes off and leave your socks nearby.”

“Yeah, no problem,” Lance replied, slipping off his almost astronaut-like boots and white socks, soaked to the threads that kept the socks together. He walked over the couch and nearly sat in the chair until he realized he was still, indeed, soaking wet.

Lance opted for a dining chair in Keith’s tiny kitchen and fiddled with his thumbs as he waited to Keith to return from… A closet of some sort? Lance really didn’t know what to expect being at Keith’s apartment.

“Here you go,” Keith handed Lance a beige towel, and Lance immediately ran his hair through it.

“Ahhh, thank you,” Keith walked over to a little box sitting on his kitchen counter and looked back at Lance nervously.

“Uh, want something to drink?”

“Espresso?” Lance requested hopefully, and Keith stared at him.

“Haha, no. I was thinking more like tea?” Keith held up a packet of chamomile tea.

“Oh, yeah. Tea would be good. Yeah. Tea,” Keith glanced over at Lance, who was still drying himself off. His wet hair seemed glued to his forehead, but it was kind of endearing to Keith. Lance’s usual gray T-shirt looked almost black, and his jacket did not fare any better. Keith gulped, and Lance turned to find Keith frozen and staring at him.

“Uh… Keith?”

“Yeah! Yeah, the tea,” He mumbled, shaking his head once again and grabbing a blue mug from the cabinet. “Wait, what mug do you want? Blue, right? That’s your favorite color,”

“How do you know my favorite color?”

“...”

“Oh my gosh! You know my favorite color!” Lance squealed, and Keith rolled his eyes.

“Yes, you’ve come to Cuppa Love for a while. I get to know the regulars,” Keith lied, and Lance raised his eyebrows at him.

“Whatever you say,” He said, unconvinced, and Keith felt his neck burn as he filled the mug up with water and stuck it in the microwave.

“Wait, what!?”

“What?”

“You’re using a microwave to make tea?”

“Yeah? Doesn’t everybody?”

“Most people have something called a kettle, Keith.”

“Yeah? Well, I don’t,” Keith grumbled, exhausted from being woken up in the middle of the night.

“You should invest in one, especially if you’re going to be making tea for regulars who bust down your door in the middle of the night,” Lance gave Keith a cheesy smile that was all teeth and stuff out of the movies, and Keith’s heartbeat stuttered a bit.

It didn't stutter. That's cliche as hell. “I… Yeah, I’ll think about it.”

The microwave beeped, and Keith practically glided across the kitchen to the hot mug. He put his hand around the handle of the mug and winced, but he carried it out of the microwave and put the tea packet in immediately, stirring it around the mug.

“Want any honey or anything in your tea?”

“Yeah, I usually do two spoonfuls,” Lance called out from his seat. “Thanks, Keith!”

“Yeah, no problem,” Keith replied, impatiently squeezing the honey onto a spoon and stirring it in Lance’s mug. This time, when the mug was cool enough to carry, Keith carefully handed the tea to Lance. He took a sip, and pure bliss spread across Lance’s face.

“Ahhhh, that’s perfect,” Lance sighed, and Keith beamed. “I wouldn’t expect any less from you.”

“Well, uh, thanks,” Keith shoved his hands in the pockets of his sweatpants, standing awkwardly next to the kitchen counter. Lance took another sip and sighed with more sadness than before. “So, mind tellin’ me why you’re here at two in the morning, completely soaked?” Lance laughed.

“That is quite a story, but I don’t feel like telling it,”

“Well,” Keith crossed his arms across his stomach. “Do you have any other stories, then? I hardly know you, after all,” Keith could have smacked himself. He knew Lance Mcclain all too well.

“Plenty!" Lance stayed silent, saying something along the lines of, “Hmph.” Keith looked at him expectantly.

“... So? The stories?”

“Right!” Lance said too quickly, and he cleared his throat, tracing his finger around the rim of the blue mug. Keith glanced at his new guest.

“You don’t have to talk if you don’t want to. I just, y’know, thought it would be nice to know you better.”

“But why?” Lance asked, and Keith scratched the back of his neck.

“It’s, uh, I don’t know. You’re staying here, and I,” Keith ran a hand through his hair, frustrated.

“Yeah?”

“I want to know your deal.” Keith finally finished, and Lance looked at the boy in front of him and sighed heavily.

“I got locked out of my place. I love my roommates--”

“Pidge and Hunk, right?” Lance narrowed his eyes at his host who seemed to know everything about him.

“Yeah, how did you know?”

“You’ve mentioned them a few times when you come by,” Keith’s face heated up, but he prayed that Lance wouldn’t be able to tell from the faint light in his apartment.

“You know your customers so well, Keith!” Lance grinned, and Keith shook his head.

“Just the regulars. It’s different. So, about your roommates,” Keith tried to return Lance to his original topic.

“Right! So, Hunk and Pidge--great guys. Well, one guy and one nonbinary--but they’re super rad. However,” Lance paused to take a sip of his amazing tea. “They’re the kind of roommates who lock the other out during a long project. So, sometimes, I’m forced to find a new place to crash for the night. That’s, uh, why I’m here. So late.”

“So you’ve said.”

“Now, you know my tale. What about yours, mullet?”

“Haha, haven’t heard that one before,” Keith said sarcastically, and Lance raised his eyebrows at him. Keith threw up his hands and stepped closer to Lance. “What do you mean by ‘tale?’ I don’t have one, okay? I’m Keith. I work at Cuppa Love. I study English for basically no reason--maybe I’ll write a Goddamn book. Who knows and who cares? I live on my own, and I like guys--” Keith slapped his hand to his mouth and wished the silence would swallow him whole. “Shit. Please, forget I said anything--”

Lance saw the panic in Keith’s eyes as his gaze flickered from his position in front of Lance to the door.

“It’s fine, man, seriously.” But Keith was already making his way to his bedroom.

“I’ll just go to bed, I swear,” He murmured, keeping his head down and praying that he would sink into the ground.

“Keith,” Lance reached out and grasped Keith’s hand. “Keith, look at me.” He did just that, and he found himself taken aback with the earnest look in Lance’s eyes. “It’s okay. I’m bi.” Keith could feel his ears warming up.

“O-oh,” Keith didn’t dare move away from Lance’s hand on top of his. “That’s cool. Yeah. I didn’t know.”

“Yeah. So, you don’t have to worry about me, okay? I’m not going to shun you or anything.” Keith’s eyes widened, and Lance could tell he hit a place full of hurt. “I-I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you confess your life story. It’s not easy. Hell, I couldn’t say anything when you asked me to. So, don’t feel bad, okay?” Lance slowly let go of Keith’s hand, and Keith’s heart squeezed a little more.

Part of him wished he wouldn’t let go. Shut up, Keith. That’s cliche, and you know it. Keith cleared his throat and kept his head lowered.

“It’s late. We both need sleep. Let’s, uh, let’s head to bed. Yeah.”

“Where should I go for tonight?” Keith glanced at his somewhat neat bed and deemed it acceptable for company, no matter how... Enchanting.

God, I'm screwed.

You can take my room for the night. I can take the couch,” Keith’s guest would not accept that.

“It’s one night. I’ll take the couch.”

“No, really--”

“Couches are comfy for me anyways--”

“Lance, you need sleep--”

“Keith.” Lance interrupted him, and the other boy shut his mouth. “You have an early shift. Get some sleep, please.”

Keith almost asked him how Lance knew that, but he just nodded.

“I still want you to take the bed.” Keith whispered. Lance laughed, and at almost three in the morning, it should have been irritating. There was a lilting, charming quality to it that was so Lance that Keith couldn’t stay mad.

“If you insist.” Lance climbed into the other boy’s sheets and adjusted himself to the new bed. As his head hit the pillow, he yawned.

“Good night, Keith.”

“Good night, Lance,” Keith reached for the door’s handle then stopped. “Do you like the door open or closed?”

“Closed is fine,” Lance said, and he angled his head so he could see Keith walk away. “Good night, Keith.”

“Night, Lance.” He said finally. Keith closed the door, and he leaned against it when he knew that Lance wouldn’t be able to see him. He cradled his head in his hands and remembered the soft laugh and oh-so-perfect smile.

Keith groaned, his imagination drifting into a set of oceanic eyes and a sopping wet jacket that was probably hanging up on the rail of Keith’s shower.

I don’t think this is what Shiro had in mind. Keith chuckled with a hollow quality to it.

I can't stand being this cliche.

Chapter Text

“So, let me get this straight,” Hunk started, and Lance snorted. Pidge rolled their eyes before they let Lance even open his mouth.

“Lance, you make the same joke every single time Hunk says that. Hunk says--very innocently--‘so, let me get this straight,’ and you say, ‘ell-em-ay-oh.’ By the way, who says ‘lmao’ out loud, you living shitpost? Anyways, you say, ‘ell-em-ay-oh, there’s nothing straight about me,’ and I have to sit through the same insufferable and old joke that you just keep digging up! Get some new material, Lance!”

Lance stared at his best friend with a mixture of awe and sadness and felt his cheeks regain more color than before.

“...Anyways,” Hunk cut through the surprisingly tense air. “You’re living with Keith now? Just randomly. You’re not paying rent or anything like that. Does he even have a computer, Lance? You have to be able to do your homework while you’re away--”

“I have my laptop, Hunk! Ye of little faith,” Lance tsked, and Hunk and Pidge simultaneously raised their eyebrows at Lance. “I have it! Quit being such a mom, Hunk.”

“Excuse me? I’m the one who has practically raised you all these years in college with all the food I’ve made for you!”

“Look, you guys are the ones that kicked me out! I had to find a place to crash, and it happened to be Keith’s apartment, okay!?” Lance sounded out of breath when he finished speaking, and it was then when he realized exactly how loud he had been talking.

Or yelling. He glanced around the shop, hoping that no one paid him any attention.

Pidge sighed heavily.

“We’re sorry we kicked you out, Lance, but we’re worried about you.”

“Why are you so worried? I have a roommate, don’t I? One that we see every day without fail?”

“He’s a barista. That’s all we know, Lance. Let us be concerned,” Hunk argued. Lance crossed his arms over his chest and pouted.

“Guys, I’ll be fiiiine. Keith is a cool guy! He made me tea, which personally I haven’t had since I left home. He gave me a place to sleep. That, in my head, qualifies as a good roommate, especially after you two and your antics.” Lance narrowed his eyes at his former roommates.

“Hey! What’s that supposed to mean?” Pidge squawked.

“You kept me up for five hours to help you finish your thesis on the importance of advancing technology!”

“I needed you to survey students throughout the building!”

“It was two a.m. on a Friday night! I needed sleep!”

“HEY!” Hunk yelled, and Lance and Pidge immediately stopped their bickering. “Pidge, I know this is hard for you to hear, but Lance needs a place to stay, and that place happens to be with the ‘cute barista.’”

“When have I--?”

“Several times now, Lance.” Pidge deadpanned. Lance shut his mouth and let Hunk continue.

“So, let’s agree on this: Lance stays with Keith for the mean time, okay? He’s right; we keep him up for hours with our work. He needs to be well-rested in time for his classes.”

“He won’t be well-rested when he--oof!” Pidge rubbed their stomach, and Lance gave him a cheeky grin.

"Thank you, Hunk. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get to my philosophy class. May I borrow a pen, Hunk?” Hunk took the pen from behind his ear and handed it to Lance. He then took a napkin from the little dispenser at their table and scribbled down an address while trying to not rip the napkin. This task proved more difficult than necessary. “If you ever have an emergency, call me or visit me. Even if you get a teeny-bit lonely.” Lance winked and waved to his (now) former roommates.

“Bye,” Pidge waved weakly while Hunk examined the slightly messy handwriting. While Lance walked out, one of the cashiers ran out the door.

“Hey!” The cashier shouted, and Lance turned around, recognizing the undercut and white strip of hair.

“Oh! Shiro!” Shiro stopped his pursuit.

“Lance?” Shiro scratched the back of his head. “I overheard a conversation about someone staying with Keith, but I didn’t think you… Nevermind,” Shiro shook his head. Lance sent him a weak smile.

“Okay? Well, I’ve got to go. Can we talk later?”

“But this is important--”

“So is psychology, my friend! See ya!” Lance waved and rushed outside, only to be met with a downpour. Exhausted, Lance scowled at the drops pelting down on his head and sighed, walking briskly to Room 225.

Just when Lance was about to call in sick for his next class, a knight clad in a cropped red jacket, black fingerless gloves, and a motorcycle came to his rescue.

“Get on!”

“Keith!?”

“Yeah! Get on! We still have five minutes to get there on time!”

“Wait-wait-wait--you’re in the same class as me!?” Keith grunted, annoyed.

“We’re gonna be late if you keep asking questions!” He said with growing urgency.

“Fine!” Lance threw up his hands and climbed on the back of the motorcycle.

“You’re gonna have to hold on! I might speed up a bit!”

“What do you--AAAAAAAAAAA!” Lance screamed, circling his arms around Keith as Keith revved the engine and sped down the road. Keith smiled to himself, thankful that Lance could barely see his face. Lance burrowed his head in Keith’s back and kept his eyes closed.

“ARE WE THERE YET!?” Lance demanded, and Keith laughed against the raging wind and rain.

After the thrilling ride, Lance panted heavily as he continued his journey on foot with Keith.

“I, pant, can’t, pant, go on,” Lance heaved, and Keith shook his head.

“Being late isn’t an option for me, and I’m not leaving you behind,” He took Lance’s hand and rushed to the building.

“Keiiiiiith!” Lance shouted and laughed, happily dragged by his… Friend? Roommate? He had to be something, right?

Who even is this guy?