It was 8 o’clock when Lance got Rolo’s text that read, “cum over! party at mi place! spiked punch lol” .
Of course Lance wanted to go, misspellings aside. He’s been trying to get Rolo’s attention since school started and it’s December for God’s sake. All the subtle flirting between them, all the times Lance has dedicated his time to Rolo-- Lance just knew it could all come to fruition at this party.
Well… he thought he knew. He’d been pretty confident.
Except his shift ran until 12:25am. He’d stayed after to help his boss, Allura, make emergency batches of cakes and cookies for a sudden catering order for the next day.
The bakery Lance works at is ridiculously popular, especially this time of year. Lance has been working there going on two years and while he loves everyone there, it’s still a job. It still impedes upon his dating life, apparently.
Walking into the party, everyone is already plastered and Rolo isn’t even anywhere to be found.
“He’s off with Nyma,” someone informs him when he asks, slurring their words and stumbling about. Lance looks around the swaying room of red solo cups, desperately trying to see if it’s true and when he can’t find sight of Rolo, he sighs, his whole body sagging with sudden fatigue.
Not only had the bakery been busy as all Hell (the holiday season as it is), but now he’s missed his window of opportunity with Rolo. What has Nyma got that Lance doesn’t?
Uh… besides how she looks. And acts. And everything about her, God .
He plucks a cup from it’s plastic resting place on the snack table and dips into what he knows will be the most frankly appalling punch he’ll ever taste. He could smell the vodka content from the door, which is perfect , given his situation.
“Dear Vodka, please make me forget I exist,” he pleads and then downs the liquid, relishing the burn of it down his throat. It’ll take more than this weak proof vodka to get him tipsy (margarita nights with his sisters, hello), but he’s got time.
He nods to various people as he parts the red solo sea and wonders, briefly, what he did in his last life. Was he a player? Is that why he’s destined to remain single for the rest of his days? Is he supposed to become a lonely cat hoarder to repent for his many sins against cats from previous lives? He can’t really see himself being mean to cats in any form, but, well.
The music is fairly loud and it’s easy to slip into the crowd and just vibe for a bit. There’s Christmas music flipped into trap remixes intertwined with regular top 100 tunes, which is Lance’s jam. He dances with random people, nursing his cup of whatever the hell they’re calling this, until he’s sweaty and feeling just a tad more like himself. By then, he needs the bathroom, so he slips out of the crowd, laughing at people who are trying (and failing) to twerk upside down.
The bathroom is upstairs and Lance steps inside, shutting the door behind him. The din from downstairs is muffled up here, and the window is open, so it’s cool.
Just as he’s about to unzip, he hears a dogged moan sound from behind the shower curtain. He startles, clutching his chest.
There’s something in the bathtub. Suddenly, Lance is pissed at his past self for watching so many horror movies with creepy shower scenes. He’s certainly too young and beautiful to die like this, right?
He hesitates, but creeps forward, peeking slowly behind the curtain.
Hm. There’s a hot guy in there.
“Yo, dude. You okay?” Lance asks, and the man opens his eyes, squinting at him blearily.
“Wha…?” he slurs, looking more or less like Lance is the most objectionable thing that’s ever been placed in front of him. Par for the course, but it still stings a little.
“Are you okay?” Lance repeats, pushing the curtain open and letting more light stream into the tub.
“‘M obbsvisly fine,” the man says, flinging his hand out like it’s helpful. “‘Min here… takin’ a baff. A nap. ‘M taking a bap.”
“Oh boy,” Lance says. He’s been this shit-faced before. Luckily, he’s always had clear-headed Hunk to wrangle him in when he’s doing dumb shit. Dude is his best friend for life. They’ve seen some shit together. Er, well, Hunk has seen Lance do some shit and Lance has been made to watch every mistake on Hunk’s Snapchat.
Their bond is unbreakable.
“Are you by yourself?” Lance asks, feeling kind of worried. His momma didn’t raise no fool. You see a lonesome drunk person, you make sure they’re okay before parting ways.
The man, who has been distracted by his own clothing, pulling at it like he’s not sure if the material is even real, looks up at him, stricken. His dark eyes shine in what little light is available, frankly amazing eyebrows tilting upwards sadly.
“‘M so alone,” he says, and Lance’s heart breaks. He knows that emotion intimately, especially here at college. Coming from a big family and shrinking his personal contact to two best friends has been hard on him. Hunk and Pidge have their own lives, of course, and Lance is just… used to more? Used to casual touching, comforting, and small, subtle actions that he took for granted at home.
“ Shit .”
“‘M just!! Out here! B’ing so alone all the time!! N people are like, ‘Shiro!!!! Yer so ‘sponsible!!!’ And ‘m obvsfly like, ‘yeah, das me. I do things.’ Y’know?”
“...Sure,” Lance answers, making a face. He does not know, but he can’t let Shiro (?) know this at all costs.
“‘N Keef! I lov’ him. He’s ma bes friend, but he’s got his own shit? Like… he doesn need me to…” Shiro trails off, eyes widening into a thousand-yard stare. His mouth is parted and for a moment, Lance thinks he’s fallen asleep with his eyes open.
“Shiro…?” he asks, hoping he got the name right.
“Yes?” Shiro asks, breaking away from his stare to look up at Lance. His eyes trail up and down his frame clumsily. “You are so… so…--” He cuts himself off to make a very strange hand movement that Lance cannot possibly decipher, as good as he is at Charades.
“You know,” Shiro says, repeating the hand movement. His face contorts into a blue steel expression, and Lance thinks he falls in love a little. “Suuuuuper pretty.”
Lance almost rips the curtain off in surprise, feeling himself flush violently. This man is waaay out of Lance’s league and he’s calling Lance pretty? If Lance didn’t know he was wasted before, he certainly does now.
“That’s the nicest thing anyone’s said to me all day,” Lance forces himself to answer after a moment, and Shiro frowns at him.
“Why? You desrve t’--” Shiro cuts himself off, weakly trying to push himself up. Well, it takes him at least three tries to stand, with Lance’s help, but stand he does, holding on to the shower wall for support.
“You deserve better girl-- you know you deserve betteeerrr… We should be together girlBABYYY. With me and you iss what eVER girl HEY socanwemakethisthingOUUUURS-- YOU SHOULD LET ME LOVE YOU--”
Lance covers Shiro’s mouth with his hand, smothering his caterwauling as effectively as he can. Fortunately for them, the music from downstairs is still blaring. Shiro trails off uncertainly, swaying where he stands.
“Uh… not that your singing isn’t lovely,” Lance begins, trying to remain tactful, “but there are probably people sleeping nearby?” Sue him, it’s the best thing he could come up with on the spot.
“Oh shit, sorry,” Shiro says, putting a finger up to his lips.
“Um… do you live nearby?” Lance asks, and Shiro crinkles his scarred nose, thinking.
“Yaaaaaaaaaaaaeeeees?” He says, though clearly he’s just as unsure as Lance at this point.
“Here, let me see your phone--”
“Yes! Y’ can gif me your numbr!” He fumbles his phone from his back pocket and Lance sighs, thanking whatever God is listening that Shiro’s phone does not have a passcode.
He scrolls through Shiro’s contacts for “Keith” and hits the call button, watching Shiro closely as he listens to it ring. Shiro watches him back, biting his lip as he looks down Lance’s frame again. Jesus Christ, what the Hell did this guy drink?
“Nope, this is Lance-- I’ve got Shiro’s phone. Are you Keith?” he asks.
“Yeah... where’s Shiro?” the guy asks in turn, sounding suspicious. Good. He should sound suspicious, leaving Shiro out here to fend for himself. He’s too hot for this!
“He’s here in front of me--”
“Keeeeef,” Shiro interrupts, swaying dangerously close to Lance’s mouth to speak into the receiver.
“Oookay-- a little space, big guy,” Lance instructs, heart lurching as he pushes Shiro gently away.
“What the fuck did you do to Shiro?” Keith asks angrily, and Lance sighs.
“I didn’t do anything-- I found your friend here in someone else’s bathtub . He was already full on drunk before I got here, buddy, so don’t blame me!”
“Shiro doesn’t do stuff like that,” Keith insists.
“As he’s told me,” Lance answers, rolling his eyes, “yet here we are.”
“Where are you at? I’ll come and get him,” Keith says, the jangle of his keys sounding tinny over the phone.
“You know who Rolo is?”
“Yeah. Give me ten minutes.”
Keith doesn’t even have the decency to say goodbye, just hangs up. Lance mocks him as he locks the phone screen, handing it back to Shiro.
“Thanks,” Lance tells him and Shiro smiles at him.
“You’re welcome,” he answers, and Lance curses his past selves so much. They obviously performed brujería on him so that this life would be miserable. How is it that the hottest guy is flirting with him and the guy probably won’t even remember it?
“You’re very handsome, and I would’ve followed up on your flirting had it been any other situation, but Keith is coming to get you, so how about we try to get outside where he can see us?”
Shiro nods, almost tripping as he steps out of the tub. He hangs an arm over Lance’s shoulders without prompt, settling half of his weight on him. Lance doesn’t consider himself weak, but bless him, he is not fit enough to handle the bulk of this drunk dude.
“Where is margarita night when you need one?” Lance laments to himself as he staggers with Shiro out into the hall. It’s a clown show trying to get him down the stairs and Lance has probably burned his daily calories by the time he gets him out of the front door. Shiro keeps trying to stop to dance and while that would be endearing any other time, Lance has only done so many crunches and his core is trembling with effort. God, he needs to workout. Denise Austin, come through.
He sets Shiro down on the swinging chair, falling onto him momentarily before scrambling up.
Shiro blinks up at him sluggishly, settling his hands on his stomach as the swing moves naturally.
“Don’t fall asleep yet,” Lance says, sitting down beside him at a comfortable distance and poking his arm.
“M’not-- I ar’dy took a nap,” Shiro comments, watching the Christmas lights blink in a no particular pattern at the house across the street. “Sorry, ‘m not usually… I don’ usually drink.”
“Yeah…,” Lance says, cheerfully, “I could tell. It’s okay. You’re probably having a hard time, huh?” He looks over at Shiro, pushing the swing slowly back and forth.
“Yeah,” Shiro says, meeting his eyes with a wry grin. It almost looks self-deprecating.
They remain in silence, listening to the muffled sounds of the party inside and the steady creak of the swinging chair.
“Whatever it is,” Lance begins, the lighting on his face changing from red to green to white, “you know you deserve a break, right?”
Shiro doesn’t say anything, and Lance leaves it at that, sitting up as a red car rolls up to the curb. An angry looking guy that Lance assumes is Keith steps out, opening his passenger door before he makes his way up to them.
“Hey,” Lance says, standing so he can help Shiro back up.
“Keeth,” Shiro says, and Keith shakes his head at him.
“Could’ve at least told me where you were going,” Keith says, and Shiro shrugs. Lance moves, but Keith stops him with a brief, sour look.
“I got it,” Keith mutters, pulling Shiro up with ease. He supports him on his shoulder, and nods briefly to Lance before he turns. Shiro looks back at him as they go, though Lance can hear Keith saying something lowly to him.
Lance watches the car until it turns the corner and sighs to himself as he sits back down on the swinging bench. He pulls his phone out, typing out a quick message.
lancepasito : hunk
help me obi-hunk kenobi
youre my only hope
hunkinpie: what? what’s wrong??
lancepasito : im gay
hunkinpie : what?! no, lance, think of the children!!
lancepasito : im going through a gay crisis rn im incapable of thinking
hunkinpie : so… no different from usual huh?
lancepasito : are u with pidge because that’s mean :(((((
hunkinpie : ……no
lancepasito : im coming back and im gonna open a can of whoop ass on you both
hunkinpie : bring food?
lancepasito : only bc ur the future father of my children
hunkinpie : awww, love you babe
also pidge says you’re a punk bitch and she can’t wait to throw down
lancepasito: she’s so sweet :’)
Lance braves back into the house to find a ride with a designated driver, getting them to drop him off at the grocery store nearest his shared apartment with Pidge and Hunk. It doesn’t take long to fill his basket with ridiculous amounts of comfort food, and to walk home with his haul in the cold.
His teeth are chattering by the time he makes it to the apartment and he kicks the door when he gets there, hands full.
Hunk opens the door, taking some of the bags for Lance, the gentleman, depositing them on the kitchen counter.
“Yesss, I love this stuff,” Hunk says as he digs into the bags. Lance takes off his coat and shoes, shoving them into the closet by the front door.
“SQUARE GO LIKE!” Is the only warning he gets before he’s attacked by a small, angry chihuahua. Oh, wait, it’s just Pidge.
“Hunk! Where’s the spray bottle-- ow!” Lance laughs as he topples over onto the couch, Pidge sitting on his back where he lands.
“I win,” Pidge comments loftily, crossing one leg over the other as she looks at her nails.
“My can of Whoop Ass must’ve been expired,” Lance says, rolling over suddenly. Pidge yelps, and Lance falls on top of her, crushing her into the cushions.
“You’re. so. heavy. Get off! ” Pidge gripes, pushing at him.
“Suddenly, I am overcome with fatigue,” he says, laying a dramatic hand across his forehead.
“Alright, you two,” Hunk says, walking in with his hands on his hips, “what did I tell you?”
“Lance, you’re a beautiful specimen and I want to spend the rest of my life with you?” Lance hazards and Pidge laughs, immediately, the two-faced gremlin.
“Like anyone would say that to you-- oof!” Lance cuts her off with a well-aimed elbow.
“There’s no excuse for your behavior. You know that, right?” Hunk asks, quirking a brow.
“Everytime I see Lance’s face, I’m possessed by some urge to punch it,” Pidge states, getting her legs up under Lance’s back and pushing him onto the floor.
“Ow! My bony ass is present here, Pidge, show some mercy!”
“I’ll be in the kitchen, making the best damn cookies known to man, if you want to join me. You can only join if you keep your hands to yourselves,” Hunk announces. “Didn’t you want to talk about being gay, Lance?”
“I thought you were also into girls?” Pidge asks, pushing her glasses up her nose and crossing her legs.
“I’m into everyone,” Lance answers, standing, “and they’re into me, too.” He wiggles his brows at Pidge.
“I am… disgusted,” Pidge says, and Lance laughs as he follows Hunk into the kitchen. He sits on the stool behind the kitchen island, watching Hunk lay out all his materials.
Hunk’s not lying when he says “the best damn cookies known to man”.
“Alright, lay it on me,” Hunk says, tying his apron (that reads, “I love you from my head to-ma-toes”, which Lance bought for him) around his back.
Pidge pulls up the stool beside Lance, propping her face onto her hand as she watches.
“So, I get a text from Rolo--”
“Really? Rolo? I don’t like that guy,” Hunk interrupts immediately and Lance rolls his eyes.
“Yeah, you keep telling me,” Lance says. “Anyways, I get a text from Rolo asking me to come to his party, except I’m at work. I think, ‘It’s fine, I can just leave my shift and meet him there around 10’, right?”
Hunk hums, cracking an egg into his mixture of butter and sugar.
“Except NOT right, because the bakery is slammed and Allura gets a HUGE catering order for tomorrow morning. I, being the wonderful person that I am, stay behind to help her.”
“You mean Allura batted her eyelashes at you and you threw yourself at her feet?” Pidge asks, tapping at her cell phone.
“I don’t deserve this disrespect in my house, so I’m ignoring you,” Lance says. “So, I stay behind and end up getting to the party past midnight and everyone is drunk, and Rolo isn’t even there .”
“Figures,” Hunk mutters, mixing.
“So, I dance a little bit, drink a little bit, just enjoyin’ myself when I have to go to the bathroom. Dude-- there was a hot guy in the tub!”
“College parties sound so riveting,” Pidge comments.
“They are very riveting,” Lance agrees. “He was so hot, Hunk.”
“Like, how hot?”
“Like-- like-- if Captain America and Li Shang had a beautiful, baby child that grew up into all of my wet dreams combined,” Lance whines, covering his face with his hands.
“Impressive,” Pidge says, pushing her glasses up her nose.
“I wanted to have his children immediately. I wanted to take out a loan and buy a house with him. His eyes .”
“So, what happened?” Hunk asks, rolling the dough.
“He was so, so drunk,” Lance explains, “he actually flirted with me.”
“Yeah, that’s super unrealistic.” Pidge nods. Lance narrows his eyes at her.
“ So ,” he emphasizes, turning to look at Hunk again, “I went through his phone to find one of his contacts to come pick him up.”
“Did you know who they were?”
“Some angry dude named Keith, who, I swear to God, had an actual, real life mullet ,” Lance says, shivering at the thought. Who goes out like that?
Pidge furrows her brows. “Wait-- Keith Kogane? The only person he’d willingly go out to pick up is Shiro --”
“Yes, that was his name!” Lance says, excitedly. “You know him?”
“He’s one of my brother’s friends-- but… he’s definitely not the type to hang out in random people’s bathtubs. He’s always been so… respectful… every time I’ve met him. Matt says he’s the perfect student.”
“I don’t know, he seemed really… sad? I guess is the right word,” Lance says, holding his chin thoughtfully. “Like he needed a break and the only way to get it was to get wasted at a stranger’s house.”
“I know he was in the army before being honorably discharged,” Pidge says, lightly, and Lance frowns.
“Man…,” Lance comments sadly, trailing off before cutting Pidge with a sharp look. “You know my type, Pidge, why didn’t you tell me Shiro existed?”
“You just said your type is everyone! How was I supposed to know?”
“Um, Shiro is someone. Clue number one. Staring you right in the face.” Lance crosses his arms, looking at Pidge expectantly.
Pidge lifts her lip at him, pushing away from the counter.
“Anyways, I’ve got some assignments to finish before I pass out. If you guys want me, I’ll be--”
“In your room, on your computer!” Lance finishes for her.
“I want some of those cookies,” Pidge emphasizes as she leaves the room.
Lance watches her leave before slumping onto the counter. Hunk sets the kitchen timer, shutting the oven and turning to Lance.
“Maybe you’ll see him again? When you least expect it.”
Lance doesn’t say anything.
“The Universe sent Shiro to replace Rolo for sure, dude. Guy is too totally suspicious.”
“Sure, buddy,” Lance soothes.
Shiro falls off of his bed.
In his defense, he was in such a deep sleep that the alarm was completely unexpected. Usually, he’s up before his alarm can even go off. However…
He’s pretty sure he inhaled an entire bar? There can be no other explanation for the size of his headache, the cotton in his mouth, or that fact that his breath smells like a raccoon carcass.
He groans pitifully, pushing himself up on weak limbs. Luckily, he missed the nausea that comes with most hangovers, and he rolls back onto his bed with a grunt.
“Good morning,” Keith says from the doorway, and Shiro mumbles into his pillow exactly what he thinks about this morning. “How you feelin’?”
Shiro turns his head, squinting blearily at Keith.
“Like I lost an arm,” he answers, and Keith rolls his eyes, crossing his arms.
“You remember anything about last night?”
It’s vague, but definitely there. It’s just… dreamlike.
“Keith…,” he laments, “did I flirt with someone?”
“You did,” Keith answers.
“I’m pretty sure I sang to him. Very, very badly.” Shiro squeezes his eyes shut, wondering if it’s too late to become an astronaut just to launch himself into space so he can never embarrass himself again.
“He was probably into it.”
“He didn’t even know who I was , Keith,” Shiro says, trying to suffocate himself in the fabric of his pillow.
“If he didn’t know you last night, he does now,” Keith reminds him, cruelly. “Might as well take the opportunity for what it is.”
“When I die, I need you to water my plants, Keith. They need a strong leader and I know you can keep them alive.”
Keith pads quietly into the room, sitting on Shiro’s bed.
“What happened last night?”
Shiro sucks in a slow breath through his nose, sitting up.
“I let things overwhelm me a bit. It won’t happen again,” Shiro vows, flexing his prosthetic hand. Despite how harmless everything turned out to be, reputation aside, Shiro cannot just lose himself like that. It’s irresponsible and dangerous. He’s dangerous.
“Shiro,” Keith starts, “I’m here for you, you know that, right?”
“I know, Keith.” Shiro says, and he does know. Keith would do anything for him, just like he’d do anything for Keith. But dragging Keith down is the last thing Shiro wants to do. He knows Keith is responsible and reliable when he dials back on him impulsivity-- but this is his burden to bear.
“Okay,” Keith says, then he smirks. “Did you know that stranger called you ‘big guy’?”
Shiro resumes smothering himself in his pillow.
It’s been a week since the party incident and Lance has seen not hair nor hide of Rolo. He’s beginning to think he eloped with Nyma or something and just isn’t coming back. Honestly, though, Rolo hasn’t been the one on his mind.
He hasn’t been able to stop thinking of Shiro since the party-- his somber eyes watching him as they left, the way he’d looked at Lance. It’s just… not a lot of people actually look at Lance like that? And there was something so… different about Shiro, something that Lance was and still is drawn to.
So, it’s a surprise to find out that Hunk is psychic.
Lance has to be dreaming. There Shiro is, like a shining beacon from the Universe (just like Hunk said), standing at the bar, looking increasingly uncomfortable as time goes on. There’s a woman leaning towards him and she is not being subtle.
Lance should go rescue him, right? That’d be the bro thing to do. It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Lance wants to talk to Shiro again. To bask in his presence. To absorb his ambience. That’s creepy, never mind.
But fuck, holy fuck, he’s unprepared . He’s not even wearing his good clubbing clothes-- the ones that make Hunk wolf whistle at him when he walks out. Will Shiro even remember him or will he look over Lance like everyone else in Lance’s pitiful life? What if Shiro only flirted with him because he had liquor goggles on??
Just as he’s about to spiral further into despair, Shiro grimaces before trying to cover it up with a smile, glancing over.
...aaaaaand Shiro is looking right at him.
Lance does the only thing a man caught staring could do. He waves.
Shiro looks at him. And he looks Shiro. And Shiro looks at him.
Lance takes pity on the man (and also his own damn self, cause damn if his whole entire being isn’t telling him to move his ass on over there), and sidles over, slipping between the woman and Shiro. Which is very difficult, because the woman is very , very close.
Lance takes a breath at the proximity, curling a hand up into the short hairs at the nape of Shiro’s neck.
“Hi, babe,” he breathes, and watches Shiro’s adam’s apple bob up and down as he swallows. “Did you get me a drink?”
Lance knows damn well Shiro did not get him a drink and that he is stepping on Flirty Woman’s toes by grabbing her drink and throwing it back, but he just can’t help himself. He hears her outraged gasp and tilts his head back, lowering his eyelids so he can look at Shiro like they’re in the bedroom and not a crowded college bar scene.
“You gonna kiss me?” Lance asks, parting his lips so he looks enticing. He’s putting the ball in Shiro’s court and giving him an opportunity to tell Lance to fuck off if Lance read the signals wrong.
Shiro is sharp as a whip, because his face goes from slightly concealed panic to understanding in a flash. His face changes completely, like he’s played this game before.
“Thought you would never ask,” he all but purrs, and Lance feels his knees wobble underneath him just from the sultry tone of his voice. Oh God, oh man, oh God, oh man.
Then Shiro leans in and Lance transcends time and space.
Well, okay, he gets kissed like everyone should be kissed, but it might as well be transcending time and space.
Shiro is gentle, making a chaste kiss between (kinda) strangers seem romantic as all Hell. He cups Lance’s face, presses his lips not just on Lance’s lips, but the corner of his mouth, his cheek, feathering them down his jaw. Lance holds on for dear life, opening his mouth, their tongues meeting and caressing, slowly, deliberately.
Shiro leans back after a few minutes, his eyes hazy and unfocused before he blinks back into consciousness. Me too, Lance thinks.
“She’s gone,” Shiro says, lowly, and Lance has to think for a moment to remember what the Hell Shiro is talking about.
“I thought you were a dream,” Shiro blurts, before he realizes what he said and covers his own eyes with his hand.
“I thought you were, too,” Lance’s traitorous mouth replies, and he lifts a brow flirtatiously to hammer the nail further into the coffin.
Shiro blinks at him before barking out a sharp laugh, smiling almost apologetically as he grabs his shot glass and throws it back.
“Lance, right? If my hazy memory is serving me correctly?” Shiro extends his hand, and Lance looks down at it uncertainly. He has a prosthetic… Lance didn't even notice before. It’s not a big deal, but some of the puzzle pieces are fitting together between the man he met at the party versus the man he seems to be around Pidge and Matt. He smiles at Shiro, shaking his hand firmly.
“You're Shiro,” he says, letting his hand fall reluctantly.
“I'm also… terribly sorry… for our first meeting,” Shiro says, rubbing the back of his neck. His muscles flex dangerously in the shirt he's wearing, and Lance finds it hard to look away.
“Uhhh,” Lance drags out, reluctantly looking back at Shiro’s face, “psssh, no, dude-- it's fine. We've all been there!”
“I'm not. Uh, usually there,” Shiro admits, seemingly embarrassed.
“Well, I’ve definitely been there! I mean, I’m not like out there all the time like that. Lancey Lance is just down to have a good time! But, like, responsibly. ”
What in the Good Holy Hell just came out of his mouth? Lance hasn’t stopped screaming internally for this entire conversation.
“Thanks, by the way, for calling Keith. That was really kind of you. I’m... sure I would’ve probably stayed in that tub the entire night,” Shiro looks away, flushing slightly. “You saved me a lot of embarrassment. You saved me tonight, too. You didn’t have to.”
Lance has never, in his entire life, genuinely liked somebody so quickly. He flirts with literally as many people as possible, but that’s just him. Genuine, actual like? Lance is terrified of it and here Shiro is, setting fire to all of Lance’s crops.
“You-you’re welcome,” Lance replies, grip tightening on the bar counter. He is so, so fucked.
“You were probably here with someone, right?” Shiro asks, and bless him for assuming that Lance has friends. That’s so sweet.
“Nah, like I said, I just like a having a good time. My friends are studying for exams!” He says, and Shiro nods.
“You’re not?” he asks, and Lance shakes his head.
“It’s either in there or it’s not,” Lance replies, tapping the side of his head. Shiro looks at him like he disapproves, which makes Lance laugh.
“Come on! You came here for a reason, right?” Shiro grimaces, looking at the empty shot glass on the counter.
“Yeah…” he says, seeming far away. That won’t do. Lance touches his hand to draw him back to the present, and Shiro looks down at the contact.
“Wanna dance?” Lance asks, wiggling his brows.
Shiro chuckles slightly, glancing back at his shot glass.
“I’m not too good at dancing,” Shiro admits, biting his lip for a moment. Lance watches the impression turn the skin white, thinking about the feel of them smooth against his own.
“It’s easy. You just sway to the beat,” Lance says, looking up at Shiro through his dark lashes. “I’ll guide you.” Lance shrugs, like it’s the easiest thing in the world and not making his heartbeat ratchet up like he’s been running a marathon.
Shiro licks his lips.
“You know what? Okay,” Shiro relents, shoving his empty shot glass back towards the bartender. “Lead the way.”
Lance grins, grasping Shiro’s hand and leading him between moving bodies to the center of the dance floor. He loves dancing, but dancing with another person? Magical. Especially someone like Shiro, who’s bigger than Lance in almost every respect.
“Okay!” Lance yells, and then turns and backs into Shiro until they’re back to chest. “Put your hand up on my hip, when I dip, you dip, we dip!”
Shiro’s hands slide onto his waist and rest there tentatively.
“Don’t be scared of touching me!” Lance yells, guiding Shiro’s hands down his thighs and back up. It’s extremely intimate, but Lance is aiming for Shiro to loosen up. He doesn’t know what it is about the guy, but he feels like he just-- he wants to help in some way. Whatever way that is. Which is apparently dancing.
The song playing is somewhat of a slower beat, which is simple enough. Lance don’t see nothin’ wrong with a little bump and grind.
He starts by swiveling his chest and hips slowly, leaning his head back against Shiro’s broad shoulder. His hands are still on Shiro’s, holding them in place. It’s easy to start to sway them from side to side, to turn around and smile at Shiro, slipping a thigh between Shiro’s. It’s easy to lose himself in the movements.
The cold night air feels amazing compared to the humid air of the club. Sweat beads everywhere on Lance’s body, and he feels it slip down his skin as he walks with Shiro. They danced for hours, it seems. At first, Shiro had seemed stiff and uncomfortable, but the longer they danced, the more Shiro seemed to loosen up until he was just as into it as Lance was.
“Here we are,” Shiro says, pulling his keys out as he stands next to...
Lance turns to look at Shiro very, very slowly.
Of course Shiro has a motorcycle. Lance wouldn’t be surprised if Shiro revealed he did volunteer work in his free time.
“I can’t believe this,” Lance says, touching the seat of the motorcycle.
“I take it you like motorcycles?” Shiro asks, and Lance nods enthusiastically.
“My uncle used to fix them in the building we had behind the house. He’d let me watch sometimes, test the ride with him. It was amazing,” Lance admits, and Shiro nods, holding out a helmet to him.
“Safety first,” Shiro says, and honest-to-God winks. If only Lance looked that good when he tries to wink.
He slips the helmet on and adjusts it, turning to Shiro expectantly.
“How do I look?”
“Hmm,” Shiro turns him an appraising look, lifting a brow. “Very fashion-forward. I like that you’re not afraid to wear completely clashing colors.”
“I can hear the obvious jab at my choices, but I’m ignoring it because I’m too excited for this. Let’s go!”
Shiro laughs softly, throwing an incredibly toned leg over the side and straddling the motorcycle much like Lance wants to straddle him. It’s cosmically unfair how good Shiro looks as he pats the seat behind him. Lance scrambles to action, slipping behind Shiro and steadfastly ignoring how it feels like they’re meant to fit.
That’s desperate thinking, and Lance won’t stand for it. He gets these crushes and it never ends well for him.
“Hold on tight,” Shiro says before revving the motorcycle to life. Lance lets out a breathless laugh, tightening his hold around Shiro’s waist. The feeling of Shiro’s abs underneath his shirt are impressionable and Lance tries to focus on anything else, pressed up against Shiro as he is.
They take off through the streets and Lance whoops with delight at every sharp turn. Lance has always liked the feeling of flying through the wind, free as a bird, nothing to hold him back.
It feels like that now, with nothing but the roar of an engine and a warm body in front of him to remind him he’s still in orbit.
When they come to a stop, Lance has to catch his breath and force himself to let go of Shiro’s waist. Regrettably.
His body is still vibrating slightly, and his legs feel weak when he stands, but he’s exhilarated.
“That was amazing!” he shouts, and Shiro laughs, taking his helmet back from Lance with a smile. He hangs it on one of his handles and turns back to Lance.
“You were hanging on pretty tightly-- I was worried I might’ve scared you.”
“No way ! I need me one of these babies. She’s perfect,” Lance comments, patting the motorcycle affectionately.
“If you need a moment with her, I can step away,” Shiro says.
“I’m afraid I’d win her over and I just can’t do that to you in good conscience,” Lance teases. He looks down at the concrete of the sidewalk, wishing he could invite Shiro in. He’s not even sure that Shiro would say yes-- or if Lance could handle it if he did.
“Thanks for the ride,” he ends up saying, because he’s a coward. Or maybe he still has some self-preservation instincts left in his noggin.
“Thanks for… well, a nice night. I probably would’ve ended up in a bathtub again, if I’m being honest,” Shiro admits and Lance nods.
“I saw the shot glass and thought dancing would be a good alternative. Some hurts need a good night of binge-drinking, and sometimes all you have to do is distract yourself and let it pass. That’s what my big sister always says, anyway.”
“Are you close with your family?” Shiro asks, shoving his hands in his pockets as he stands there.
Lance makes an affirmative noise, thinking about them. He’s closer to the females in his family, if he’s being honest, although there’s love between everyone in his family. He’s definitely a mama’s boy, though. His sister, too, helped raise him a lot. He can talk to them about anything.
“I have a big family, so they’re always getting up in my business,” Lance says, and Shiro breathes out a laugh, nodding. “I miss them a lot.”
“They don’t live close by?”
“No. I’m staying with two roommates here for college. My family lives in Cuba. My parents insisted that I travel for college, because, and I quote, ‘you’re such a free spirit, Lance, it’s the perfect opportunity to fly a little.’”
“Is that how your mom sounds?” Shiro asks, and Lance laughs.
“It’s exactly how she sounds!”
They both laugh, standing in the quiet as they settle down.
“I guess I should go up,” Lance says, and Shiro nods. “Uh-- maybe I can get your number? You can text me if you’re thinking about making any bad decisions. Not saying I don’t make bad decisions.”
Shiro grins. “I’d like that.”
did you know
that chocolate covered pretzels are the best thing that ever happened to human beings?
shiro: It’s 3am.
lance: chocolate covered pretzels are unaffected by things like time and gravity
shiro: What are you doing awake?
lance: eating chocolate covered pretzels
shiro: ...should’ve guessed that one.
lance: what are you doing awake
shiro : Not eating chocolate covered pretzels.
lance: haha what would you be doing if i was there? :)
shiro : Eating chocolate covered pretzels. ;)
lancefarmstrong: essays are just the devil’s way of turning you to the dark side
ineedashiro: I feel like essays would still be on the dark side. Possibly even more so.
lancefarmstrong: wow, are you a nerd?????
ineedashiro: Why? You into that? ;)
lancefarmstrong: akjflsdkjf stop that
ineedashiro: Don’t tell me you haven’t watched Star Wars.
lancefarmstrong: are you kidding me? i used to have darth maul’s lightsaber. i terrorized every sibling within a five mile radius. eyes were poked. my town banned me from the local movie theater.
ineedashiro: That can’t be real.
lancefarmstrong: what can i say? i have too many midichlorians
ineedashiro: I’m in physical pain.
shiro: Do you ever wonder where you’d be if you hadn’t chosen a certain path?
lance: idk ive always felt like things happen for a reason
lance: sometimes good things happen to us disguising themselves as bad
Lance knows exactly what he’s here at the mall for. He’s been procrastinating so badly at Christmas shopping that he’s sure he’s missed the deadline for free shipping arriving before then. He should’ve done what practical Pidge suggested and started online shopping in October.
Ugh! Why is he so irresponsible? His mother didn’t raise him like this! Okay, well, maybe he’s a little spoiled, but that has nothing to do with anything! Mostly.
Still, he knows exactly what he’s here for and he will be successful in getting it. He’s got his game face on.
The store is crowded as all fuck, and he’s seriously debating faking some sort of emergency just to clear everyone out when he spots it. There! The perfect gift for Allura.
Honestly, she’s been the hardest to shop for. He knows she likes sparkly things, but she has a duality to her. She also has some really worrying interests. Not that there’s anything wrong with having worrying interests, it’s just that he works alone with her sometimes and she has, like, a temper. She’s scary , okay?
He shoves his way through people and dodges shelves and merchandise like an expert. Just as he’s grabbing it, a familiar hand is grabbing it at the same time.
He looks up.
Oh Hell no.
“So! We meet again!” He dramatizes. Shiro blinks at him.
That innocent act isn’t going to distract Lance from the issue at hand. He narrows his eyes at Shiro.
“I’m going to need you to back away from the knife, Shiro,” Lance says. He saw it first. This delicately made knife is meant for Allura!
“It seems we’re at an impasse,” Shiro says, seriously. “Keith needs this knife for Christmas. He’s been talking about it, at length, for months.”
“Then maybe you should have gotten it months ago,” Lance points out, licking his lips nervously.
“I could say the same for you,” Shiro says, and he’s got Lance there. Lance literally just thought of this gift this morning. Shiro doesn’t need to know that, though.
“Allura needs this gift for reasons ,” Lance counters, and Shiro scoffs.
“You just picked something this morning, didn’t you?”
“Yeah, I did, but I can’t give up! I’m desperate!”
“How about this?” Shiro begins, letting go of the sheathed knife and holding his hands up. “You let me have this knife for Keith, and I’ll help you find another gift for this Allura. Even if it takes all day.”
Lance straightens up, thinking it through. On the one hand, he could get this and be done with it. No crowds, no worries. On the other hand, a whole entire day with Shiro. Who he’s been thinking about non-stop. Who sends him the funniest texts. Who Lance is getting to know more and more, day-by-day.
“Alright-- but even if it takes all day! You said it!” Lance says, and Shiro nods curtly. Lance hands him the knife. “I’ll be waiting out in front of the store.”
Lance retreats, heart hammering. A whole entire day with Shiro. He has to procrastinate even further!
It doesn’t take long for Shiro to come out with a bag in his hand and Lance stands from the mall bench, grinning.
“Thanks, Lance-- Keith is really going to love this.”
“Yeah, yeah-- that mullet head better appreciate the lengths I’m going through for his happiness,” Lance gripes.
“Mullet head?” Shiro asks, nose scrunching. Lance steadfastly looks away as they begin walking. He’s cute without even trying.
“Yeah! Who wears their hair like that in this day and age? He looks like he stepped out of a Rambo film!”
“It’s not that bad.” Shiro looks apologetic as he says it, which tells Lance he might think the opposite of what he’s saying.
“Any mullet is a bad mullet,” Lance says. “And the knife thing doesn’t make it any better-- let’s go in here!”
Lance cuts himself off and pulls on Shiro’s arm. They make their way into the candle store, and Lance begins opening candles immediately.
“Eeugh,” Lance says, holding the candle up for Shiro to smell. Shiro takes a tentative sniff and makes a face.
“That’s how Keith smells,” Lance says, and Shiro laughs in exasperation.
“Stop that,” Shiro says as they move along, fingers brushing the labels of certain candles, “Keith’s a good guy. A little rough around the edges, but I’ve known him forever.”
“Smell this one. That's what my friend Hunk smells like,” Lance says.
“Like a sweet bakery. He’s always cooking. I’m pretty sure he’s even better than Allura at baking, but if she finds out I said that, she’ll probably kill me. Or worse, fire me.”
“You work at a bakery?” Shiro asks, opening his own candle. He holds it out for Lance. It smells like sandalwood.
“That smells good-- yeah, I’ve been working there ever since I started college. Allura’s co-manager, Coran, hired me. I don’t think Allura liked me much at first.”
“Why’s that?” Shiro asks, and it sounds like he’s teasing Lance, the asshole.
“ Because … I was a bit of a flirt. I flirted with her, I flirted with the customers. I even accidentally flirted with her dad when he was visiting one day.”
“Did he flirt back?”
“He flirted with me first ,” Lance says, and he maintains that to this day. Allura’s father is a damn fox .
“So it wasn’t an accident?” Shiro asks, smelling a candle with a grin on his face.
“Shut up!” Lance yelps, clutching his candle. The audacity! “It totally was! Anyways, are you roommates with Keith?”
“Changing the subject, but yes. We decided to go to the same college for the same program, since that was the basis for our friendship in the first place. Well, I actually started in the military, something that Keith was never interested in.”
“It didn’t work out?” Lance asks, even though he can put two and two together.
“Turns out you need two arms to be in the military,” Shiro answers, placing his candle back on the shelf. His eyes land on his prosthetic, and remain there. Lance decides not to comment on that.
“What are you going to college for now?” he asks quietly, trying to draw him back into the conversation, and Shiro smiles at him.
“Astronomy and Space Sciences,” Shiro answers, and Lance laughs.
“So you are a nerd! Aha!”
“Call me guilty-- I love space. Looking up at the stars at night and knowing that there’s something out there, that there’s everything out there. It makes me feel… limitless. I probably should feel the opposite, but there’s freedom in something that vast.”
“I get it,” Lance says, “I’m the same way about the ocean. It’s so much bigger than us, with so many unexplored depths. How could you not respect and admire something like that? How could you not want to lose yourself there?”
“Exactly,” Shiro says, an unreadable expression on his face.
“Next store, I think, should have something,” Lance says as they exit.
It does not. Neither do the next few, and this one doesn’t either.
“What is that?” Shiro asks in disgust, and Lance can’t help it, he bursts into laughter.
“I don’t know ,” he breathes, wiggling the object around.
“Lance,” Shiro says in exasperation, grabbing the object from him before almost dropping it. “The texture is awful .”
“I should buy this,” Lance says between giggles, watching Shiro place it back on the shelf. They’ve somehow made their way to a Spencer’s.
“No, you should not,” Shiro advises, pushing Lance away from the temptation.
“Shiro, no, Pidge hates weird textures-- I could put it in her stocking! Shiroooo--”
He’s shoved away from it and into the dirty section. Shiro seems to realize his mistake, but before he can backtrack, Lance pulls him farther in.
“Hey look! A penis extender!” Lance says, loudly, and Shiro’s face flushes as he looks around covertly.
“Lance!” he whispers hotly.
“SCORPION WATERPROOF VIBRATING COCKR--”
“ Lance!” Shiro interrupts him, trying to cover his mouth.
“Come on, baby , we need to spice it up a little in the bedroom,” Lance teases and Shiro covers his face with his hand. Even the tips of his ears are red.
“Okay, okay, sorry, we can go,” Lance relents, and Shiro pulls him out of the section and the store.
“You hungry?” he asks about five minutes later, when his face isn’t so red and he can look Lance in the eye.
“That’s my secret, Cap. I’m always hungry.”
“Dude, can we get married?”
“Only if you have a large dowry,” Shiro answers.
“Oh, I have a large dowry ,” Lance says, lifting his brows several times. Shiro gives him a disappointed glance, and Lance can’t help but titter in response. The man truly puts up with so much.
They head to the food court, chatting in line as they wait for a fresh meal.
“This smells so good,” Lance says as they sit down, setting up their table to dig in. The table is small, meant for two, but Lance’s long legs press against Shiro’s without effort. Shiro doesn’t seem to mind, just digs in with vigor.
“God, I haven’t had a meal this unhealthy in a while,” Shiro says, closing his eyes.
“Crap. Are you a health nut? I might have to take back my marriage proposal,” Lance comments, stuffing a big bite of sesame seed chicken in his mouth to make a point. Shiro watches in a mixture of awe and disgust, wondering how on Earth Lance could possibly fit that much in his mouth at once. He resolutely does not think about anything else in Lance's mouth. At all.
“I do what I can,” Shiro says, tearing his eyes away as Lance swallows. “Exercise in the morning, make somewhat of an effort to eat… as properly as one can when they’re in college.”
“Before I started rooming with Hunk, I was eating crunchy Maruchan Ramen for at least two of my daily meals. Hunk is so picky about eating. He gets offended when I skip meals.”
“Skipping meals is pretty bad for you,” Shiro comments, picking up some lo mein with a set of chopsticks. “I’m not sure if Keith even eats… I should probably ask about that.”
“Keith is an alien, is what you’re saying.”
“Keith is not an alien, Lance.”
“I’m just saying! Nobody goes out looking the way he does unless they’ve been planted on Earth to gather information about us. Has he ever done anything weird that you just can’t explain?” Lance asks, leaning forward.
“...He does speak gibberish in his sleep.”
“It’s his way of communicating. I’m not saying it was aliens, but it was aliens. Plus, he’s in the Space program with you! He’s undercover!”
“This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, but you make it seem so believable,” Shiro admits, wiping his mouth with a napkin.
“It’s a talent.”
lance : thanks for helping me find the perfect gift
shiro : You’re welcome. I had fun.
lance: me too!! now i just have to go back and get that weirdly textured thing for pidge
shiro : Lance.
shiro: Do not.
shiro: If your friends disown you, you can’t live with me. Keith will end up murdering you.
lance: it’s fine, it’s fine
shiro: No, Lance.
lance: it’s fine
shiro: I’m trying to expand my horizons. What’s a good game to buy on Xbox?
lance: get battlefront II so i can realize my darth maul dreams again
shiro: Well, you can’t get banned from Xbox, right?
lance: i wonder……………
lancefarmstrong: do you ever miss ur parents?
ineedashiro: Sometimes, when something happens that I’ve never encountered before.
lancefarmstrong: i miss margarita night and playing card games :( i miss painting my nails
ineedashiro: I’d offer to paint your nails, but i’d probably get the paint anywhere /but/ your nails.
ineedashiro: Keith? I’m having a rough night. Will you be back tonight?
lancefarmstrong: sorry, shiro, this is lance :( are u ok?
ineedashiro: Sorry. Ignore that last text.
lancefarmstrong: dude? not happening??? you spent an entire day helping me find a christmas present for someone you don’t even know?
lancefarmstrong: i know we havent known each other for long, but i want to help
lancefarmstrong: so if u want
lancefarmstrong: u can come over and watch this disney marathon with me and we can stuff our faces with pizza. i also have like 3 bottles of moscato?? pidge is hanging with her brother matt and hunk is out with shay
“Hey,” Lance says when he answers the door. He’s been pacing back and forth since Shiro said he’d come over. Honestly, he knows Shiro has to have some sort of PTSD from his time in the military, both because of his injury and because he’s been trying to forget something with shots and sleeping in other people’s bathtubs.
That’s fine, but Lance… really likes Shiro. A lot. He’s funny, well-mannered, but not afraid to step on toes when he needs to. He listens to Lance, like he thinks what Lance has to say is important.
There’s not really anything about Shiro that Lance doesn’t like, his choice of roommate aside. Sure, he’s a little bit more private than Lance is used to, but Pidge was too, at first. Lance is willing to work on it, because it’s worth it.
Still, he doesn’t want to get this wrong. He doesn’t want to drive Shiro away because he says the wrong thing, or makes the wrong move.
“Hey,” Shiro answers, looking even more exhausted than he did when Lance first met him. “Listen, I’m sorry for texting you that. You shouldn’t have to deal with--”
“Please don’t say that,” Lance interrupts, ushering Shiro inside. “We’ve been through a lot together in the short time we’ve known one another-- I’d like to think that we’re at least friends.”
“ Of course we are, Lance, I just--”
“So,” Lance says, holding Shiro’s forearms in his hands, “if you’re having a hard time, you can give a little bit of it to me. Okay?”
Lance looks at him, trying to convey with his eyes, with his hands, that he wants to help. He really, truly wants Shiro to feel comfortable with him.
Shiro’s eyes meet his, looking back and forth between him like he’s searching for exactly what Lance is trying to show him. His shoulders relax, and he squeezes Lance’s arms in turn.
“Okay? Good! The pizza man already came, the wine is chilled, and I have Disney movies queued on my Xbox. Let’s do this!”
Shiro follows him to the couch, and Lance opens the wine, pours them both a glass and distributes pizza like it’s his fucking job.
“First movie of the night? Tangled! Aw yeah!”
“I don’t think I’ve seen this one,” Shiro comments, sipping his moscato.
Lance gasps, holding his chest in affront.
“Haven’t seen Tangled? Shiro!”
“Well, I haven’t seen a good majority of Disney movies,” Shiro admits, rubbing the back of his neck.
“ Wh-Wuh- WH - Wh – HAVEN’T SEEN DISNEY MOVIES?”
Shiro laughs. “I grew up as an only child. Most of the time, I just read. We weren’t very much into movies or cartoons.”
“Shiro. I accept this mission,” Lance says, gravely. He kicks back a few gulps of wine, sets it down and presses play. “Prepare for this.”
Hours later and they’re both tipsy off wine and crying slightly.
“I can’t believe Disney is so… morbid ,” Shiro says. “They literally start every movie with someone’s parents dying. ” He stares into the illuminated TV screen, looking as if he’s trying to parse the meaning of life.
“Right? It’s so sad. But it’s so good? Which was your favorite?”
“Mulan,” Shiro answers instantaneously.
“Good one,” Lance agrees, sipping the last of the wine from his glass. “I can’t believe you’ve never really seen Disney movies before.”
“I don’t know why I’ve never sat down to watch them before now,” Shiro admits. “I guess I just thought they were too young for me.”
“Disney is eternal, dude,” Lance comments, thinking about how bare and desolate Shiro’s childhood must’ve been. He had no siblings and his parents weren’t even invested in him being a child, obviously. “Anyone can watch a Disney movie. Hey! Star Wars is technically Disney now!”
“You’re right… Huh.”
Lance glances at his phone and grimaces. “God, it’s like, 5am. Let me get you some blankets and a pillow, since you drank wine. You can sleep here.”
“Lance,” Shiro says and Lance turns to him, smiling.
“Thank you,” he says. Lance swallows, nodding.
“I told you,” he says, looking away, “if you’ve got something to give, I’m willing to take it.” He looks up then, meeting Shiro’s eyes.
“I know,” Shiro answers after a while.
lancefarmstrong: doin okay today, big guy?
ineedashiro: Yes. Thanks for everything.
shiro: You haven’t been blowing my phone up today. You okay?
lance: im probs dying??? :(
shiro: I know this is an over exaggeration, but what’s wrong?
shiro: Truly, this is a life or death situation.
lance: u dont believe me but my soul is currently leaving my body as we speak
shiro: Why didn’t you just take Drama, since you’re so good at it?
lance: takashi “the rock” shirogane! i can’t believe ur being so mean!
lancefarmstrong: you’d tell me if i were annoying y rite? i kno i text you a lot
ineedashiro: Where is this coming from?
lancefarmstrong: idk but u would tell me righte?
ineedashiro: You’re not annoying, Lance.
shiro: Want me to come see you at work?
lance: yes, GOD we’re so slow today. how did u kno???
shiro: You sent me 7 snapchats complaining about how bored you are.
lance: wow, ok, so i can’t complain anymore??
shiro: I’ll be there in 10.
lance: i’ll smuggle you a coffee for your troubles
Lance throws himself on the bed, faceplanting into a pillow.
“Ahn un nuh wih mnn,” Lance laments into his pillow. Hunk looks to Pidge sideways, who shrugs back at him. She’s only fluent in Italian and English, not Dumbass.
“Can you repeat that, buddy?” Hunk asks, keeping his voice soothing and soft.
Lance rolls over, throwing an arm over his eyes.
“I’m in love with him,” Lance clarifies, and Hunk purses his lips, nodding.
“Seems reasonable,” he agrees.
“Even I think that’s reasonable. It’s Shiro ,” Pidge says, and Lance groans at the mention of him, like it hurts just to hear his name. He sits up abruptly, pulling a pillow into his lap to hug close.
“The thing is-- like, we always have a really good time? He seems genuinely interested in what I have to say. That doesn’t happen!”
“Well, whoever doesn’t do that is stupid,” Pidge grumps, crossing her arms.
“Aww,” Hunk coos, “but she’s right! You’re a good guy, Lance. People should be so lucky.”
“Tell that to people like Rolo,” Lance says, miserably. He droops over his pillow, looking much like a dying flower.
“Well, you’re never going to know if he feels the same way unless you ask him,” Pidge advises, putting her hand to her head as she thinks. “Oh! You could invite him to Allura’s Christmas Party? As a date!”
“Yeah, that sounds like a good idea,” Hunk says. “Nice going Pidge!”
“Thanks, I try,” she smiles, shrugging a shoulder.
“Yeeeeeaaah, I’m not doing that,” Lance says, and Pidge narrows her eyes.
“But why?” Hunk asks, frowning.
“Yeah, Lance , why?”
“Because he’d say no. Duh.”
“Text him,” Pidge says.
“Psh-- yeah right. Like I’d do that perfectly reasonable thing.” Lance snorts, rolling his eyes.
“You either text him or... or-- Hunk! The cat plushie!!!” Pidge yells, and Hunk dives into action, rolling about and grasping Lance’s favorite childhood cat plushie from the bed, stumbling back into a standing position as he throws it to Pidge. Pidge catches it mid-air, and procures a lighter from one of her many (dangerous) pockets. Lance gasps as she flicks the lighter on.
“You wouldn’t…” Lance says, voice low, eyes wide.
“You know I would,” Pidge says, smirking and raising a sinister brow.
“I can’t just ask him that-- what if he answers? ” Lance reasons, holding his free hand out to placate Pidge. He’s already grabbed his phone from his pocket, grasping it tightly. She shakes her head.
“Text him!” Pidge warns, holding the battered stuffed animal up to her lighter.
“Why are you carrying around a lighter?” Hunk asks.
“Okay, okay! I’m doing it now!” Lance screeches. His fingers tap out a text and sends it, heart hammering out a panicked tune. Pidge gestures the weapon towards the phone as she looks at Hunk.
Lance scoffs, but holds the phone up so Hunk can see. Hunk scans the text with narrowed eyes then nods solemnly, and Pidge nods too, lowering her lighter, but refusing to give Blue back.
“Oh, come on!”
“Not until he’s answered,” Pidge orders, and Lance deflates, staring at his blank screen.
Shiro is folding a pair of pants when his phone dings and he flings himself across the room, dropping to the ground just before he actually hits the bed. He lets out a dignified yelp as he hits the floor, and then scrambles up to grab the phone.
It’s from Lance. Of course it is. Keith is shit at texting and Matt usually calls when he wants to speak. It’s not like Shiro has been waiting for him to text though. That’d be… silly.
lance: hey, there’s a christmas party on the 23rd? u wanna come with?
lance: as a date?
He stands there for a solid minute, panicking.
He swallows, taking a deep breath through his nose and exhaling through his mouth. He needs to remain detached, so that he seems cool, right? Isn’t that how it works? God, he’s so rusty . Where is… someone reasonable… when he needs advice? Literally all of his friends are hopeless at romance.
He looks back down at the text. It’s been 2 minutes since Lance sent it. That’s enough time, right?
His eyes drift to the ceiling as he contemplates it, and then he nods to himself.
shiro : I’d love that, Lance.
“Wow, he didn’t even wait,” Pidge comments, when Lance’s phone buzzes almost immediately. Lance unlocks his screen, eyes scanning over the text.
“He said yes,” Lance says, looking confused and then disgustingly happy.
“Of course he said yes!” Hunk shouts, done with the whole thing, and Pidge rolls her eyes. Her boys are so dramatic.
“Oh God, he said yes ,” Lance despairs, clutching his phone to his chest, and Pidge’s face falls flat. Yep, definitely dramatic.
“Relax, Lance,” she says, “It’s a party, so it’ll be fine. We’ll be there the whole time .”
Lance is staring at his phone, so she looks at Hunk, and shakes her head. No, they won’t be there the whole time. Hunk raises his eyebrows, but catches on quick and smirks, nodding.
“Everything will work out great,” Hunk agrees, in an over the top voice, because he’s hopeless. He even winks at Pidge, with absolutely no discretion. She purses her lips. She brought this on herself, truly.
“As long as you’re both there, I guess,” Lance says, and Hunk nods, making an okay symbol with his hand and looking like an Emperor’s New Groove meme come to life. Pidge shakes her head slowly, wondering why she couldn’t have picked easier friends. Oh yeah, she didn’t pick them-- they dragged her into their friendship screaming .
“Maybe, I don’t know, confess your feelings though?” Pidge says, like it’s the most obvious thing to do. Lance nods, his face unchanging as he takes a minute to think about it.
“That idea terrifies me,” he says, nonchalant, “Hunk, hit me!”
“I agree with Pidge on this, buddy.”
“Nooo,” Lance whines, covering his face with his hands and mumbling into them pathetically.
“What was that?” Hunk asks.
“I can’t just tell him how I feel, do you know how hard it would be to look at him and speak those words? Plus, like, if he rejects me, I’ll probably die.”
“Can you stop being so dramatic ?” Pidge interrupts, looking annoyed, “He totally likes you, too.”
“How can you be so sure?” Lance asks haughtily.
“From everything you’ve told us! Plus, Matt knows Shiro pretty well and even he’s noticed a difference since you started talking! His face lights up when you text, or something.”
“Oh. My God,” Pidge says, rolling her eyes and putting her entire body into it. “Just tell him how you feel.”
“I just, you guys, I really like him,” Lance admits, fidgeting with his jacket. Hunk watches him for a moment before grabbing Lance’s shoulders firmly.
“Buddy, we know you do. And we think he really likes you, too. We wouldn’t say it if we didn’t believe it. Right, Pidge?”
“It’d be a good prank.”
“Alright, alright-- yeah, what he said.”
“Alright?” Hunk asks.
“I’ll think about it,” Lance answers, and that’s all they ask for, really.
Lance is dying. Or will be dying. Lance will at least be dead by the end of the night.
How did Pidge and Hunk convince Lance to ask Shiro to the party as a date? They’ve got a good thing going, right? They don’t need to mess it up by involving Lance’s obvious, convoluted feelings .
Yet, here he is, waiting for Shiro to meet him here at Allura’s. He’d walked here (instead of riding with Pidge and Hunk) to calm his nerves, but if anything, he’s keyed himself up.
He’s overthinking. He knows he is, but he can’t help it. Being atrocious at romance is what Lance does . People don’t like people like Lance. Lance is a good time. Lance is that guy you thought was cute, but not enough to put in the effort.
“Hey,” a voice interrupts his spiral, and he jumps, swiveling around.
Shiro is standing there, looking… honestly breathtaking. He’s wearing a tight-fitting button down shirt and slacks, classy without even trying.
“Didn’t mean to startle you,” Shiro says. “You look beautiful.”
Lance flushes-- caught so off guard.
“You do, too,” he finally answers, straightening up. They share eye contact for a bit, not saying anything, just taking each other in. Lance clears his throat.
“Wanna go in?”
Shiro nods, and Lance tilts his head towards the door, knowing he’ll follow. Inside is almost identical to the first time Shiro and Lance met, and Lance grins at Shiro, who seems to be remembering the same thing.
He leans in, pressing his lips against Lance’s ear as he speaks.
“Remind me not to drink the punch,” he says, and Lance shivers, feeling gooseflesh rise all over his body.
“Only if you dance with me sometime tonight,” Lance counters, snagging a chocolate from the table and popping it into his mouth.
“Is it your mission in life to get me to embarrass myself?”
“You danced just fine at the club,” Lance says, feeling a surge of courage to grab Shiro’s hand and intertwine their fingers. Shiro squeezes his hand back.
“I had also had two shots before we started,” he reminds Lance.
“Bologna! Admit it, Shiro. You can totally dance.”
“I won’t admit anything, I--”
Lance looks up, watching as Allura makes her way over. She looks gorgeous, as usual, walking around like she owns the entire galaxy.
“You don’t clean up too badly,” she teases, then directs her attention to Shiro. “Who is this?”
“Takashi Shirogane,” Shiro answers, holding a hand out to her. They shake firmly, and Allura smiles.
“Is this your date, Lance?” she asks, and Lance bites his lip, glancing at Shiro before nodding.
“ Very nice,” she says, winking. Shiro blinks at her in surprise.
“Is your punch spiked?” Lance asks, and Allura rolls her eyes.
“If it is, it wasn’t my doing. I’m far too classy for spiked punch. This isn’t the 80s.”
“Don’t tell Rolo that.”
“Ugh, don’t talk about him. The only thing he’s been doing since he got here is making out with Nyma under the mistletoe. The point of it is a romantic, chaste kiss. Not an excuse to suck face for hours. Didn’t you have a crush on him?”
“We’re not gonna talk about that.”
“Yes. Especially with your Shiro, here. Very handsome. You treat Lance nicely or I’ll be forced to harm you bodily,” Allura directs at Shiro, smiling vaguely. It’s terrifying. “Oh! There’s Shay! I’m going to speak with her before Hunk commandeers all her attention! Nice meeting you, Shiro.”
“Likewise,” he says, watching her go before turning back to Lance. “Why were you trying to buy her a knife again?”
“A ha ha. Hey! There’s Pidge and Hunk! Come on,” he says, pulling on Shiro’s hand. They push their way through a throng of people, their point of contact remaining to be the only thing Lance can think about.
“Hey guys-- look who it is!” He presents Shiro like Will Smith presenting Jada Pinkett-Smith.
“Katie?” Shiro asks, and Pidge makes jazz hands.
“Yes, tis I,” she admits, putting a hand on her hip, “the frenchiest fry.”
“Pidge is my roommate-- she mentioned you knowing her brother.”
“Yeah, we’ve been friends for a long time-- served together, actually,” Shiro says, looking uncomfortable about the admission. “It’s good to see you Katie-- uh, Pidge.”
“Good to see you, too, though what you see in Lance is bey--”
“Okay, enough from you. This is Hunk!” Lance introduces, and Hunk smiles widely, hugging Shiro instead of taking his extended hand.
“I’ve heard so much about you, dude. Lance talks about you literally non-stop. It’s actually really sweet--”
“MMokay! Let’s walk away from this area-- I hear a nice song playing that I want to dance to.” He pulls Shiro along, face burning. When he faces him, Shiro is looking at him fondly.
“You talk about me all the time?” he asks, and Lance makes a face, frowning.
“Hey-- is this about asking me here as a date? Lance--”
“Not yet!” Lance pleads, cutting Shiro off. “… can we save that for later?”
Shiro furrows his brows, but nods.
“For now just… help me make fun of the crocs Varkon is wearing,” Lance says, and Shiro glances over.
“Hm. You’ve got to admit. Pretty ballsy to wear crocs with a full on tuxedo.”
Lance laughs, letting Shiro shuffle in closer.
He feels like’s on cloud 9, until he doesn’t.
It happens in the span of a breath. One moment they’re dancing closely, smiling and laughing. Then the song cuts to a sound effect and it’s over. Lance sees the moment Shiro’s eyes dilate with fear, the moment he’s transported back to wherever he was in his memories.
“Get down!” his voice booms out, frantic, but commanding-- so loud that it cuts through the music. Someone turns it off in panic, but it doesn’t help. Shiro is lost to them at this moment. Lance watches him crawl the floor, urging people to move.
“Shiro?” he asks, softly, and Shiro looks up at him, stricken.
“What are you doing here? You can’t be here--”
“I’m not! You’re not either! We’re at Allura’s Christmas party, remember?” he asks, holding his hands up placatingly.
“What?” Shiro asks.
“The year is 2017, you’re in the United States. We’re at a party.”
Shiro looks around slowly, more and more of himself coming back the more people’s faces he meets. His face transforms from fear to shame right before Lance’s eyes.
“We’re at… the party. Fuck,” Shiro says, standing shakily. “Fuck.”
“It’s okay--” but Lance is interrupted.
“Yeah right! What’s wrong with you? You pushed Nyma,” Rolo says, and where the fuck did he even come from? “You’re fucked up--”
“There’s nothing wrong with having PTSD,” Lance interrupts, grasping Shiro’s arm. “What the fuck? While Shiro was risking his life for you, you weren’t even doing anything productive with your life. He’s a hero!”
“He can’t even go to a party without freaking out, obviously--”
“For someone in college, you’re not too bright, are you? You know what? You don’t even matter , and if any of you agree with the bullshit he’s spouting, you don’t either!” Lance directs at the crowd watching, feeling close to trembling. Shiro has remained silent, letting Lance clutch his arm dangerously tight.
“Exactly what I think,” Allura interrupts, and Lance swivels to look at her. “If you believe anything Rolo is saying, you don’t deserve to be here. You need to leave.”
“Allura--” Shiro starts, but Allura cuts him off with a sharp look.
“Do I make myself clear?” Allura asks, and everyone turns away from the scene. Rolo scoffs, but Allura cuts her sharp look towards him. “Did you not understand? Leave .”
“Whatever, have fun with your nutcase,” Rolo mutters, and it takes everything in Lance to restrain himself. As he goes out of sight, Lance turns to Shiro, immediately apologetic. He had to have overstepped his boundaries.
“I’m sorry,” Lance apologizes. Shiro has to understand. “I didn’t want to talk over you, but I--”
“Lance, it’s fine-- it’s… Let’s go for a walk? I could use the air.”
“Yeah, whatever you need.”
They’re silent for a while, a quiet drift of snow starting to fall as they walk. Lance can see his breath with every exhale, notices the shivering quality to it. He wants so badly to take Shiro’s hand, to wipe that look from his face. It speaks of shame and heartbreak.
It’s a long time before Shiro speaks. So long, in fact, that they arrive at Lance’s apartment building before he even realizes.
“You don’t… know me,” Shiro says, and Lance’s heart falters.
“I know you suffer from PTSD,” Lance says, and Shiro looks at him sharply. “That there are things I don't know about you, but I want to know about you. I know that you’re really kind and kinda snarky and have the craziest sense of humor. I know that… I know that I like being around you.”
“I know that I’m not that mature and I’m annoying half the time, I know , but I-- don’t you…? I know I’m not the best option out there--”
"Don't you know how beautiful you are?" Shiro interrupts, as if it's not shattering Lance's heart into a million tiny pieces.
"No," he answers quietly, eyes sweeping down so he doesn't have to see the look on Shiro's face. It's quiet for several breaths, and Lance almost startles when he feels fingertips lightly feathering his hand.
"Can I show you?" Shiro asks lowly and Lance looks up in alarm, thick lashes catching snowflakes.
"What?" he asks, and if this is some kind of joke, it's as cruel as they come.
"I want to show you," he says, stepping right into Lance's space, bringing his hands up to frame Lance’s face between his warm palms. He's so much bigger than Lance, from his broad shoulders to his hands to his muscular thighs. It feels too good to be this close.
"If this is-- I'm not-- Shiro," Lance flounders, heart fluttering violence against his ribcage. He grasps at Lance's wrists.
"I want to show you," Shiro repeats and his breath is warm, too, washing over Lance's lips the way it is. He doesn't move as Shiro hovers there on that precipice, doesn't think he could if he tried.
When lips touch his, he makes a wounded noise in the back of his throat. It's been so long since someone has touched him with intent like this , and never has it ever felt like it feels now, like electric twisting through his body.
Shiro inhales sharply through his nostrils at the noise, pulls Lance closer and all but devours him. Lance melts into it, opens his mouth wantonly, and Shiro licks his tongue into the space there. Lance can taste the lingering chocolate from the Christmas dessert table on his lips, and he feels his whole body swoop as if he's at an amusement park, and this is the ride.
He's kissed a few people, made out a little here and there, but kissing Shiro makes him feel like he's going to tremble right out of his skin.
Shiro presses him against the wall of Lance's apartment and holds his jaw firmly, angling this way and that as he kisses him, as if he's cataloging which position makes Lance arch closer, which clever trick with his tongue makes Lance's hands flutter uselessly around him.
He runs his large hands down Lance's sides, rests them on his hips and Lance can't help but let his shaking fingers tangle into the fabric of Shiro's dress shirt. It gives him an anchor.
Shiro's scent is overpowering this close and God he smells so damn good. Lance doesn't know what's happening to him, but he opens his mouth more and sucks on Shiro's tongue.
He gets lost in Shiro for a while, in the sweet shape of his mouth and the slightest of stubble scratching against his bare cheeks. He is utterly unable to quell the beat of his heart when Shiro's pulse is thundering under Lance's long fingers and he's making noises like a starved man into Lance's mouth.
Eventually, he needs to breathe, and he pulls his head back to rest against the wall. He's panting like he's been running, and closes his eyes as he tries to catch his breath.
"You okay?" Shiro asks, rubbing Lance's chest soothingly and Lance opens his eyes, and looks down his nose at him.
"I don't," he pauses, sucking in some air, "think I've ever been kissed like that before."
"A damn shame," Shiro says, gazing at Lance's lips and what a mess he must look, red faced and swollen mouth. "I'm gonna do it again."
"Okay," Lance breathes before lifting to his tiptoes and winding his arms around Shiro's shoulders, going in for more.
"God, Lance," Shiro says into his mouth and Lance full body shudders. They kiss for what feels like hours, but is probably a scant few minutes, lips slick and hot. Shiro trails away from his lips, leaving open mouthed kisses against Lance's sensitive jaw, onto the pale column of his neck, just underneath his earlobe.
"Fuck," Lance sighs, "fuck, fuck."
"I gotta stop," Shiro says, but not before capturing Lance's mouth again, and again.
"Okay... yeah," Lance agrees, pressing a kiss to the corner of Shiro's mouth.
"I've gotta..." Shiro trails off, making another fantastic noise and pressing Lance back up against the wall, his whole front plastered to Lance's.
"Oh fuck," Lance moans, God, okay, Shiro is hard against his hip. He shares a gasp of breath with Shiro.
"Jesus, I gotta stop," Shiro huffs, pushing himself out of Lance's arms. He paces down the street slightly, and then turns little circles, still breathing heavily.
"Shiro," Lance says, watching him pace with glazed eyes.
"You're beautiful," Shiro says suddenly, earnest as anything, stopping at the bottom step. "You are."
"So are you." Lance shrugs, smiling.
"I want to take you on a real date," Shiro says, stepping closer. “No alcohol or bathtubs or scorpion cock rings involved. Unless you’re into that.”
"That'd be great," he agrees. “Uh, not to the cock ring. Though I’m not opposed to cock rings. Why are we talking about cock rings?”
"I don’t know. Okay, Lance." Shiro grins wide and kisses Lance one more time, short and sweet. "I'll text you."
"Looking forward to it."
Shiro licks his lips, nods, and turns, stepping into the night.
“Wait!” Lance says, and Shiro stops. “Are you okay, though?”
“Yeah. I’m going to talk with Matt. I think it’s time I see someone about this.”
Lance watches him go, and Shiro looks back several times before he's out of sight.
"Holy shit." Lance collapses against the wall, and just breathes. Then he's frantically making his way inside, pawing his achingly hard dick through his pants before dialing Hunk.
"Hey, Lance, is everything okay--"
"Hunk," he interrupts, unlocking his door and throwing his keys in the little fish bowl on the table close by.
"Laaaance," he says slowly.
" Hunk ," Lance emphasizes.
"Not that I couldn't do this all day, but are you going to actually talk to me? Are you okay?"
"No! Fuck! Okay! Shiro kissed me."
The line is silent.
“Whoop whoop! Matt owes me fifty bucks!” Pidge crows in the background, and Lance sags against the kitchen counter, grateful his friends are still out, but also stricken they aren’t here to console him.
He doesn’t even need consoling, not really, but fuck if he doesn’t want to consume ten of Hunk’s pies immediately. He doesn’t even know what to feel. He’s never felt like this before. He hasn’t even known Shiro for that long. His mom is going to hurt him in some way, he just knows it. She’s going to bless him out for giving his heart away so easily. His sister is going to make him take tequila shots when she hears about this drama.
God , he needs it.
lance: i got you a christmas gift
shiro: Is it chocolate covered pretzels?
lance: even better
shiro: Please tell me you didn’t get me the thing from Spencers.
Missed Call (shiro)
shiro: We’re not doing this.
shiro: Lance, please.
shiro: Did Lance get me the thing from Spencers?
hunk: aw, dude! wish i could tell you!
shiro: Did Lance get me the thing from Spencers?
“Hey,” Lance greets as Shiro walks into his apartment. Lance tilts his head back, receiving a chaste kiss for his efforts.
“Mmm, hey,” Shiro murmurs, lingering there. He presses another kiss against Lance’s lips before standing, taking off his coat and scarf to hang them beside Lance’s.
“How was it?” Lance asks, and Shiro plops down beside him, leaning his head back, too.
“Interesting. Eye-opening? I’ve got a lot of work to do,” Shiro admits. He’s just gotten back from a group therapy session recommended to him by his therapist.
They went on their first “real date” last week, and it was everything Lance imagined it would be, which means they decided not to go to a fancy sit in restaurant, got some McDonalds and went stargazing the entire night.
Lance twists his body to put his arms around Shiro’s waist, relishing his warmth and presence. They’ve been hanging out as much as they can, getting to know one another even more. It’s been amazing, even when it’s frustrating. They’ve both got their own set of issues, but they’re good at communicating, which is all Lance can ask for.
They still text like crazy, and Shiro’s even taken to hanging out with Pidge and Hunk. Keith invites himself over like a heathen, of course, but Lance guesses he’s not so bad. He’s still probably an alien though.
“Mmm, I love being with you,” Lance says, and Shiro pulls in a breath through his nose, sighing in content.
“I love being with you, too,” he says.
They sit there in comfortable silence, before Lance opens his mouth.
“...you deserve better girl,” he sing-songs, and Shiro pulls him into a headlock. Lance shrieks, trying to get more lyrics out. “YOU SHOULD LET ME LOVE YOU--”