It wasn’t unusual for Lance to wake up harshly from haunting dreams, to sit up on his bed with his breath caught in his throat and his thoughts reeling. It wasn’t unusual, he thought, one hand on his throat to feel it constrict and another hand clutching the sheets underneath him.
It wasn’t unusual to find himself on Keith’s bed, either.
Lance looked to the side, eyesight still blurry from sleep, to watch the outline of Keith’s frame. It had become a tradition by now, to hang out on Keith’s bedroom, to talk and laugh softly in between words.
To gaze each other with flushing skin.
Keith stirred beside him, fingers twitching over the sheets as he swallowed. Lance followed the movement with his eyes, feeling the torturous urge to curl up there and trace the column of Keith’s neck with his fingertips.
He tore his gaze away, exhaling harshly at the sudden memories of rough hands against his shoulder, against the fine skin of his wrist. It’s not like that, he reminded himself, hands pressing against his eyes as his lungs constricted.
It did nothing to erase the tingling that Keith had left on his skin. Did nothing to erase the image of Keith’s eyes sweeping over his face, taking him in before allowing him into his own bed.
Keep it together, Lance, keep it together.
But his words didn’t work on himself. Not like they did on Keith. He breathed in deeply, pressing harder against his eyes in a weak attempt to soothe the aching in his chest, the pulsing in his head. It was painful to know that his words were powerful enough to easily reach Keith, to make him succumb sweetly until he was willing to listen, and to know at the same time that he was powerless.
He couldn’t reach to Keith like his words did, couldn’t touch him like his words were allowed to.
Lance curled in on himself, wrapping his arms around his legs as he tried to ignore Keith’s very presence, warm from sleep and vulnerable, and the cadence of his breathing. He closed his eyes tightly, letting colours play behind his eyelids, letting his thoughts dissolve into nothing.
You could go back to your room, the last of them murmured inside his head before disappearing. Lance groaned— loud and disrupting— and tightened his hold on his legs, feeling the icy stroke of the world outside Keith’s bed like an afterthought.
He could go, avoid all the temptations that made his breath shorten and his gaze linger for too long, but he felt warmer with Keith. Safer. He belonged right beside him, filling the cracks in his armour and keeping him from crumbling.
Even if he was the one crumbling on his leader’s sheets.
A touch against his lower back startled him into a gasp, harsh and quick, and so loud he felt his ears tinting red. He turned around, flames igniting inside his belly when his eyes caught Keith’s sleepy ones. His fingers were holding onto Lance's shirt, tugging slightly to get his attention.
Like a kid, Lance thought, affection running like fire inside his veins.
“What’s wrong?” Keith mumbled, body moving like waves, enrapturing in the way it tried to get closer to Lance.
His hair was a mess, and he looked so invitingly soft that the only thing Lance wanted to do was crawl over to him and live in the space between his ribs. His body reacted before he could stop it and he found himself wrapping his hand around Keith’s arm, fingers tightening there just as Keith pulled harder at his shirt.
“I fell asleep in your bed,” Lance whispered roughly, looking away from Keith’s face only to get caught in the curve of his hips. He coughed. “Again. Sorry.”
“Don’t apologize,” Keith whispered back, eyes fluttering close as a small smile pulled at the edge of his lips. “Just come back here.”
Lance’s heart knocked against his ribcage, a hard, painful beat that seemed to shatter the bones holding him together. He melted against Keith’s touch, let his torso lean backwards as Keith’s fingers stroked up the line of his spine, lighting up his nerves one by one.
“Keith…” Lance breathed out because he shouldn’t cave in.
He shouldn’t focus on the way the muscles beneath Keith’s belly tightened, shouldn’t focus on the fluid movements, on the flow that brought Keith closer to him, but it was impossible not to let his whole body burn underneath Keith’s attention. Even more so when Keith was leaning against Lance’s back, pressing his cheeks against Lance’s shoulder as his hands settled over the outside of his thighs.
“You’re thinking again,” Keith’s voice was soft beside his ear, a rumble that messed the hair there with its hot breath.
Lance swallowed a gasp, swallowed all the fire that was resting against his tongue; all the pretty words that could taint them both, the ones that could destroy everything they had built to be beside each other like this.
The words burned Lance’s throat on their way down.
“I’m not,” he murmured, almost petulantly, head tilting towards Keith’s warmth to feel him.
He was, and Keith knew how lies sounded on Lance’s mouth, the way they spilled rapidly from his lips as if it burned. After trial and error— many, so many errors— Keith knew better than to push, knew better than to cage Lance and suffocate him with expectations.
So instead of talking, Keith pushed his lips against the fabric of Lance’s shirt, breathing him in as his hands travelled over his thighs to graze Lance’s fingers. He dared to trace the curve of Lance’s neck with the point of his nose, and was rewarded with a small gasp, with the heave of Lance’s chest.
“You haven’t been sleeping,” Keith murmured, and Lance closed his eyes to suffocate the shudder that clawed at his lower back. He held onto Keith’s hands with trembling fingers, missing the shaky breath Keith muffled against his skin. “Come on, Lance.”
And that was all it took, a sweet push in the right direction and Lance was melting against Keith’s torso, pressing against the tight line of his frame as he let Keith maneuver them back onto the bed.
He was acutely aware of Keith’s body pressed tightly against his back, of the arm wrapped around his chest and the breath that coated the back of his neck. Their fingers were intertwined below his throat, and he felt Keith reach for his pulse point, pressing them even closer together.
His mouth opened once, twice, three times, but no words would come out, just heavy breaths that he desperately tried to swallow. Keith was twitching against him, holding him tighter and nuzzling against the collar of his shirt and Lance had never wanted to let himself go so deliriously, to feel something so deeply inside his core.
It was with the first brush of tentative lips against his skin that Lance’s mind became a wreckage, dizziness taking over him as the world around them evaporated into nothing, leaving Lance pressing desperately against the sheets to ground himself.
Keith’s breath was hot against the back of his neck, lips scorching and tender as they opened over his skin, maddening slow. Keith’s fingers tightened around his own when he tensed, a soft gesture that had Lance immediately relaxing with a small sigh. He became malleable in Keith’s hands, weak to the low sounds that dropped from his mouth and onto his skin as he covered Lance’s neck with open-mouthed kisses.
“Keith,” Lance breathed out harshly, nails digging sweetly into the skin of Keith’s arm.
He exposed his neck, dazed and so, so in love he felt his heart clog his throat when Keith’s mouth brushed against his pulse point, just beside where their fingers were resting. He kept it slow, weakening— feeling Lance’s hummingbird pulse until he had him biting on his lip, trying to keep the gasps from spilling out.
“Fuck,” Keith groaned, pressing his nose just beneath Lance’s ear to breathe him in, to follow the line of his jaw with his reddened lips. “ Lance.”
His mere name sent pure thunder scratching down Lance’s back, and he whimpered, trembling with the force of it. Keith sounded hungry, desperate, and Lance wanted to give him everything. Anything.
Keith untangled their fingers easily, catching Lance’s chin and tilting it to drop kisses all over his cheekbones, going down, down, down until he was breathing heavily against the edge of his lips. They mouthed Keith’s name, and Keith wanted to catch them, to taste the tender vulnerability in there.
But he wanted to watch Lance, too, wanted to see in his eyes the effects of what he was doing to him. Keith’s heart thudded painfully against his chest, begging for that shade of blue, for the quickened ardour that came with it, and he caved in, nudging at Lance’s nose with his until Lance’s lovely eyes fluttered open.
They were bright with tears, hazy with confusion and Keith gasped, right into the bow of Lance’s mouth, when Lance’s fingers wrapped around his wrist, feeling for his heartbeat.
“Keith,” Lance gasped, feeling so overwhelmingly loved he let go of himself, allowing a trail of tears to roll down his skin and onto the pillows.
Keith followed them avidly, fingers caressing Lance’s jawline before moving to wipe them out, to let his skin soak in the wetness. Lance couldn’t remember anything that wasn’t the warmth curling inside his veins, beating into his chest as he leaned against the contact. Keith’s eyes were on him, beautiful and alight, so he closed his own and tilted his head back, enough to caress their lips together.
Everything stilled, just for a second, and Lance felt himself floating, dizzy with tenderness before Keith grounded him with his lips, with a slipping, searing kiss that stole the breath from underneath his tongue.
Lance had imagined so many scenarios, so many kisses inside his head, and still he wasn’t prepared for the hot, wet drag of Keith’s lips against his, for the feeling of Keith’s fingers pressing against the beginning of his jaw. He whimpered, heat dropping into the pit of his stomach as Keith groaned in response, low and rough, and so lovely his lungs ached for air.
He ignored it, content with the soft pressure of Keith’s hands moving down the column of his neck to curl on his hair, to pull slightly just to make his toes curl. Lance frowned, eyes closed tightly as his hands moved over Keith’s arms, wanting, needing him closer. He arched off the bed, moving and pulling and twisting until he had his back against the bed, Keith secured in between his legs.
And Keith, marvellous, talented, gorgeous Keith, was still kissing him, refusing to let go of his mouth until it was reddened, ravished and loved. He was drowning Lance, overwhelming him, but Lance didn’t know how to let go, how to stop from only feeling Keith, Keith, Keith—
Lance gasped, breathing in harshly and breaking away from the kiss when a painful pull sparked inside of his chest. He tried to breathe, suddenly too aware of how much oxygen was needed, and Keith pulled away, hands dipping underneath Lance’s neck to tilt his head up. It helped his aching lungs, and it definitely helped his throbbing heart when Keith started kissing his upper lip and moving up to pepper kisses over the line of his nose.
“Okay?” he asked, soft and delicate into Lance’s temple when his breath had become normal again.
Lance felt the haziness clearing, felt his thoughts returning numbly to him, slowly but surely. He didn’t want reality to kick in, only wanted the irresistible drag of Keith’s mouth against his lower lip again, so he surged forward, catching Keith’s lips and trapping him in between his legs with a soft moan. Just a little more, just a little more—
A little more became Keith deepening their kisses over and over again, dipping inside Lance’s mouth to discover the playfulness of his tongue, the lovely shape of his teeth. A little more became Keith using his fingers to drag Lance’s lip down, to kiss it until Lance was moaning weakly against him, rasping out his name. A little more became one of Lance’s legs following the outline of Keith’s calf as the other wrapped around his hip, body sleep-soft as his breath evened in between kisses.
A little more, and Keith was carding his fingers through Lance’s hair, feeling him fall asleep against his tender lips, sharing breaths with tightened hands over rumpled clothes.