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Balance on the Sharp Edge of a Knife

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As a whole Lance was not very fond of vampires. In fact, if he was asked just a few years ago, he would’ve said they were parasitical filth that should be slaughtered with extreme prejudice. Now, however… his views had shifted to something a bit more open-minded. He supposed his change in attitude towards the bloodsuckers might have had something to do with the fact that he was currently, sort of… maybe dating one.

Just maybe.

To be honest, Lance isn’t even sure how it happened. It just...did. He had been kidnapped by hunters two years ago and Keith had been shoved into the same cage as he, Lance in a moment of pity, had curled his wolf body atop the vampire to shield him from the rising sun. They escaped together the following night and had never really drifted apart -- despite Keith being the biggest asshole Lance had ever met.

By all accounts they shouldn’t be able to even stand being in the same room together; werewolves and vampires historically did not get along, after all. But since Keith had practically moved in with him they had rarely got into anything more than playful bickering. Their relationship is not official, Keith apparently did not find it necessary to label them, and Lance was too much of a coward to ever bring it up. It was sort of… an unspoken rule between them. But Keith stayed in his home, cooked him food (despite not being able to eat actual food, he was a fantastic cook), they would watch crappy rom-coms every Saturday night, Keith would play with Lance’s more feral side during every full moon, the sex was fantastic , and Lance had been pleasantly surprised to learn that Keith was a snuggler. So, despite there not being an official label for them, Lance thought of Keith as his boyfriend, at least in his mind.

Dating a vampire sort of sucked though, pun very much intended.

Keith needed to feed at least twice a month, and Lance was more often than not on the menu. Not that he particularly minded , Keith usually fed when Lance was too busy lost in pleasure to even really notice . Despite Lance’s amped up healing factor thanks to his lycanthropy, he would be groggy for a few days after every feeding and dizzy spells and migraines had become a common occurrence for Lance (not that he would ever tell Keith about it).

That wasn’t actually mentioning the fact that they couldn’t do fun coupley things during the day; Lance wasn’t sure exactly what would happen if Keith were to be in direct sunlight and he hadn’t really gotten around to asking. Judging by the swat he would get if he teased Keith about it, he did not sparkle. Which sucked (ha!).

The couple were more often than not on opposite sleeping schedules as well, Lance worked at a magic shop in town with his two best friends Hunk and Pidge during the day, and Keith would disappear for days at a time to go do super secret vampire stuff so the two would go days without catching a glimpse of each other.

It… did not help Lance’s self-esteem at all.

Especially now , Lance thought angrily as he slammed the fridge door shut, a sandwich in his mouth. Something big was going down with his boyfriend’s undead buddies (they called themselves the Blade of Marijuana, or something stupid like that), they needed Keith’s help and as a consequence he had been gone for just over a week now.

Lance hated it when Keith left for long bouts of time. He would come home looking haggard and exhausted, and when Lance had offered his help (he was a powerful supernatural being, contrary to popular belief), Keith had been practically frothing at the mouth in his adamant denial of Lance’s offer. That had been the worst fight they had ever had, Lance believing Keith thought him incompetent, and Keith practically hysterical with the thought of Lance being in danger. It had ended with Lance getting so frustrated that he left the room, slamming the door to his bedroom door, locking the windows and doors and sunk to the floor and cried.

Keith was gone when he woke up the next morning.

Did Keith really think him that weak? Lance wondered bitterly as he settled himself down on a stool to eat his dinner. He was one of the most dangerous creatures in this world, arguably stronger than a vampire (especially on a full moon), and Keith didn’t believe he would be able to handle himself? The very thought made his teeth grind and his eyes change from blue to a glowing amber.

His chest constricted with pain and Lance let out a long slow breath, setting down his food onto the plate and shoving it away from him. He ran a hand through his hair and tried his best to will the hurt away. Yesterday night had been a full moon, he had not spent one alone in the two years that he and Keith were together. His body battered and bruised from his feral side taking out its pain and loneliness onto himself, his hands wrapped tightly in bandages from where he had bitten his own paws in his frustration.

Despite the two of them being in a relationship for almost two years now, Lance knew next to nothing about Keith’s past. It never particularly bothered him until now, however. Afterall, he knew Keith liked it when Lance ran his fingers through his hair, knew that he liked to sit in the shadows and carefully watch the sunrise, knew that Keith would slide across the linoleum whenever he had socks on, he knew a million and one things about his lover and yet he also knew nothing.

It was… frustrating.

He knew Keith had had a lover before him named Shiro. He knew that Shiro had been murdered almost a decade ago. He knew that Keith’s pain was still an open wound, despite Lance’s best efforts to heal him. When the two had met, Keith was heartsick and angry at the world, hellbent on avenging his dead lover.

At first, Keith was almost as hostile to Lance as he was to Keith. It had been Lance who had softened first, surprisingly, and had been determined at trying to make the grumpy bloodsucker happy. He suffered through the vicious barbs and broke down every wall he faced and Lance liked to think that he was helping, at least a little bit.

But at times like this, when the two hadn’t even had a full interaction in weeks, and Keith was off on a dangerous mission whilst Lance waited at home, it brought his ever prevalent insecurities to the surface.

The part of him that is more beast than man wished to walk out of his den and howl for his packmate, a wolf was not meant to be alone and he felt unease at the very prospect of it. Without meaning to, a low whine escaped him. Lance cringed at himself, burying his face into his bandaged hands in embarrassment. He sunk lower into his seat, slumping against the cool granite countertop.

His home was small but homey, pictures and paintings littered the lightly painted walls, shelves stacked high with books hung between pictures, dozens of throw blankets tossed over the large plush couch. Soft light carpet gave way to even lighter linoleum to the entryway of the kitchen, large windows let in so much natural light that Lance rarely had to use a light switch.

Outside the sun had just set, warm light from above him cast the kitchen in a calming glow. His body was lethargic from the full moon the night before and Lance planned on heading to bed after he finished eating, slightly disappointed that it was a Friday and he could not go to work tomorrow to keep his mind busy.

Suddenly something pinged on his radar and his head shot up from the table, eyes focused on the door like an alert guard dog. The crunch of gravel was deliberately loud and a moment of silence fell before an almost hesitant knock sounded on his door. He was at the entryway in a second, wrenching the door open to stare at Keith, who looked exhausted and bedraggled.

“Lance, I’m so‒”

“I’m sorry.”

They both paused before a grin spread across Lance’s face and Keith took a step into their home and wrapped Lance in a tight embrace, kicking the door closed gently behind him. “You okay?” the werewolf whispered, not willing to let go just yet as he basked in his lover’s unique scent.

“Yeah, yeah. I’m okay.” Keith whispered back, burying his face into Lance’s shoulder with a quiet sigh, as if the slightest sudden noise would shatter the moment. “It’s just… I missed you.” the vampire admitted.

“Missed you too,” he said in a tone that didn’t suggest he had spent the last week moping.

With a boldness that was uncharacteristic of him, Lance reached up and grabbed Keith by the collar of his shirt and tugged him closer for a stubborn kiss. Pressing his lips firmly and somewhat childishly against Keith’s, wrapping his arms around the vampire’s neck to keep him in place.

Keith made a sound of amusement, the fondness that shown in his violet eyes made Lance’s heart soar , and brought his arm around to tug Lance flush against him. With skill and finesse that Lance envied, the vampire turned the crude kiss into a slow sensual one that made his toes curl and his bright blue eyes slide shut. His body sagged into Keith’s hold, vaguely thinking that if he were shifted his tail would be wagging.

Lance made a small keening sound in the back of his throat, barely noticing Keith maneuvering them through the house and backing them up to sit down onto the soft couch, not so subtly drawing the werewolf onto his lap. He did not fight it, simply submitted himself to the sensation, a shiver rushing down his spine as Keith’s cool tongue ran along the seam of his lips, teasing him. Keith’s hold on Lance’s side felt more possessive than normal, his claws scraping and catching on the fabric of his shirt.

The werewolf jerked in surprise when his lover’s tongue slyly pushed passed his lips. Long fingers running along the knobs of his spine to grasp his hair tightly, just on the verge of pain. Lance breathed deeply through his nose, leaning forward into Keith’s embrace, returning the kiss fiercely. Carding his fingers through liquid ebony hair, he could not stop the purr that vibrated in his chest, drawing a dazed chuckle from the vampire under him.

Before he knew what was happening, Lance was on his back. A throw pillow lodged uncomfortably under his shoulders but the werewolf was far too distracted to do anything about it because Keith’s moist, cool, lips were pressed against his naked shoulder. “ Keith…

“I missed you,” Keith breathed, Lance made a choking noise in response. The vampire pulled back for a moment to admire the delightful treat that lay prone beneath him. He had rid his werewolf of his shirt without him even noticing, leaving his torso bare for Keith to caress and worship to his heart’s content.

Lance’s body truly was a piece of art, toned muscle rippled and shifted under his beautifully tanned skin, a layer of sweat beginning to glisten on his forehead, strands of bright brown hair streaked with strips of sun-bleached hair stuck to his skin. Keith eyed the elegant curve of his shoulder where his mark rested permanently from where the vampire often fed from his lover, the sight sent a jolt of heat through Keith and he vowed that no one but him would be graced with it. He would not allow it.

The werewolf squirmed restlessly as Keith’s teeth sank into the place where his shoulder met his throat, his fingers running along Lance’s torso, a whisper of a touch lingering on a sensitive nipple. His other hand traveled downwards as he began to feed, shoving his lover's basketball shorts out of the way so that he could palm Lance’s tan thigh. He had to fight back a smirk when the younger man arched into his touch with a whimper, careful not to tug on his skin as he drank drop after drop.

Lance’s blood tasted like how Keith assumed the sun felt. It was addicting, the life essence of his lover set his body aflame and his more monstrous features coming to the surface. He felt as if he could walk into the sunlight without getting burned, that he could fight an entire army and win. He was not sure what it was about Lance’s blood, but it was intoxicating.

Keith’s clawed fingers brush just shy of where Lance desperately wants him, and Lance whines high in his throat, writhes a little, tries to get Keith to do something, anything , but Keith growls and pins his shoulders in a bruising grip. Keith has a thing about making it last. Which certainly has its appeal, but --

“Keith, please, please please please -” His voice is half mumbled and slurred and comes out more embarrassing than sexy but it is currently eleven at night and Lance has had a long day and is actually very tired. Keith unlatches from his neck, licks the wound with slow deliberate strokes before kissing him on the mouth -- ew, the metallic taste of blood -- as if he is trying to consume him whole. Lance makes a high pitched keen and screws up his face, making Keith snort as he mouths at the werewolf's chin with just a whisper of his fangs.

Keith does that too; likes to mess with him, tease him, play with him until Lance finally uses his words. But Lance is in no particular mood to be played with and makes a growling noise that rumbles deep in his chest, snapping his teeth at Keith and trying to shove him off in frustration. Keith merely makes a noise that is not quite a laugh, just a soft eh heh that might as well have been a declaration of love from what it does to Lance’s heart, before pushing up enough to flip Lance over onto his stomach. The werewolf snarls at the manhandling but his protests are quickly halted when Keith bites down on the nape of his neck, effectively making him go limp, face pressed into the cushions. He traverses the length of his back with sharp nails and even sharper teeth, stinging and scraping. The pads of his fingers ghost across his skin like the knobs of his spine and the contours of his muscles are braille, some ancient language that Keith is determined to memorize. He lingers on the raised wrinkled skin of the large burn that stretches across Lance’s entire upper back, placing kisses across the scar that he cannot even feel before moving on.

He squirms and wriggles and arches his body into the touch until Keith finally reaches his ass, runs a hand along the strong muscle of his thigh. He trails his fingers along his crack, circling his opening as if he is still not sure if he wants to give Lance what he wants just yet. Lance is about to reach back and do it himself when Keith finally pushes his index finger all the way to the second knuckle. He makes a strangled sound and rocks his hips, pressing his hard length into the cushions when Keith just sits there and does nothing, just watches him with glowing violet eyes. Lance would be embarrassed if he wasn’t so turned on and begins to beg anew. “Keith, c’mon baby, please, please please, I need it, Keith--

The vampire shushes him, pushing in a second finger, and then a third, reaches above him for the end table, fumbles with the drawer before pulling out the lube and Lance buries his face deeper into the cushions as Keith pulls out to slick himself, quivering and wanting.

Keith pins him down and fucks him, biting down harshly at the nape of his neck to keep him still and pliant as the vampire wrecks him. Lance loves it like this, loves it when he can barely think coherently and being taken . He gets a strange thrill out of being used like this, a fact that Keith had picked up on quickly and had been more than happy to accommodate his preferences to their lovemaking.

Keith keeps them there for a little while after they finish, draping his entire weight over Lance’s back, face tucked into Lance’s neck, just breathing. Lance thinks that this is almost more enjoyable than the sex.

“You’re cleaning up the mess,” Lance mumbles after ten comfortably silent minutes, Keith groans into his skin but otherwise doesn’t complain as he helps Lance up and the two walk to the shower to clean up.


 

They sleep until late morning, Lance would’ve gladly stayed asleep cause waking up is a truly horrible affair and he is not shy to make his discomfort known. He is vaguely thankful that it is Saturday so he does not have to go to work because Lance knows he would not be able to leave the house, Keith took far more blood than he usually did and it left Lance with a throbbing headache and heavy eyelids. He whines softly and buries his face into Keith’s chest, who seems perfectly healthy and fine. Stupid vampires.

The windows of his room are covered in blackout screens, but pale Christmas lights stretch across his walls that give the room a soft glow. Pictures, paintings, and posters are pinned to the walls, along with shelves of books and the surfaces of his drawers covered in odd knickknacks he has picked up over the years, including a ragged old stuffed dog toy lovingly named Oink, slumped on the bedside table. His room has a crowded but homey feel and is his favorite room in his house.

He dozes in and out of sleep for an hour, at one point Keith gets out of bed but is back quickly with a glass of water and a handful of pain pills that the brunette takes without question before going back to sleep. The only reason he even wakes up at all before noon is because he wakes to Keith’s hands pressing on his hips and teeth nibbling on his throat.

Really ?” Lance says incredulously, he isn't objecting , merely amazed and somewhat annoyed that Keith can somehow find the energy to get it up when Lance doesn’t think he will be able to move for another week. He feels the vampire smile against his throat, the fucker, murmuring “You are awake.” into the soft skin behind his ear, like that is supposed to mean something.

Oh yeah, Keith has a thing for morning sex. Lance supposes he has a thing for Keith’s thing but resolutely decides he is not going to help him with that thing because he is tired goddamnit. He hears Keith attempt to suppress a laugh and realizes with a jolt that he may have said that last part aloud.

“Fine with me, babe. Just lay back, I’ll take care of you.” Keith says before nipping at his collarbone with just a hint of his canines and Lance definitely does not squeak at that, cause he is a dangerous and powerful monster of the night. Obviously.

He lets out a content sigh as he rolls over and curls himself overtop Lance, resting both elbows on either side of his head and a thigh pressed between the darker skinned boy’s legs. Keith pauses for a moment to stare at Lance with glowing violet eyes, they are both already naked from the shower they had together hours ago, and Keith does not waste a moment as he bows his head to kiss Lance with a growl, curling a hand to card into his hair. Lance rests his hands across the other’s back, running the pads of his fingers along the pale knobs of the vampire’s spine.

“Ah-- Keith!” Lance hisses out between clenched teeth as the other moves his attention from his lips to his throat, sucked dark bruises into the soft skin, the whisper of razor-sharp fangs sting against his pulse point and Lance arches into the touch despite the soreness of his body.

“You are beautiful, Lance,” Keith says into the skin of his collarbone, gaze flicking up to gaze at him from under long eyelashes.

That is something that Lance never expected; he spent his entire life comparing himself to others and it has left him with a shattered self-esteem, but when Keith looks at him like that...it makes him feel important, like he is somehow worthy of something. Keith makes him feel sexy, which is something Lance never thought he was capable of feeling, and at that moment Lance is unbelievably happy and cannot help the dopey smile from stretching across his face. He is overcome with affection at that moment when Keith pulls back from his throat to look at him with glowing violet eyes, before reaching forward and placing a sweet chaste kiss to the tip of Lance’s nose.

“Y-you too,” Lance manages to stutter out with a sheepish grin, and it was true, he doesn’t think there is anyone quite like Keith in the world and Lance considers himself infinitely lucky for him to be his.

Keith hums before refocusing his attention back on Lance’s skin, resting his weight on one arm so that the other can run up and down his side. He makes a noise like a purr when Keith finally reaches down to grasp his length in hand, blue eyes flashing amber before he can stop himself. His lycanthropy is something he knows many vampires detest, and although Keith has said again and again that he could care less, Lance still tries his best to hide that part of him, just in case. The vampire surges up to kiss him, curling the hand that supports his weight above Lance’s head to hold him steady as he practically devours his mouth.

He arches into Keith’s touch with a high pitched keen as Keith squeezes him just right , his claws digging into his shoulders as he tries to pull his lover impossibly closer. Keith  “K-Keith, c’mon ,” he whines, aching for something more .

“Patience,” Keith breathes into his ear, his grip on Lance’s length tightening for just a moment before he goes back to leisurely stroking him as if he has all the time in the world. Lance hates and loves when Keith is in this type of mood, where he wants to stretch it out for as long as he can, to make Lance desperate and writhing.

“I’ll show you patience !” Lance growls, a hint of a snarl rumbling in his chest. As he grapples Keith’s hips with his thighs and rotates his body, tilting them over until he sits comfortably on Keith’s lap and the vampire is on his back staring up at him with a grin. His hair is wild and his eyes glow with mirth and Lance is so unbelievably happy at that moment it almost hurts.

“I thought you weren’t going to help?” Keith says cheekily.

“Changed my mind,” Lance tells him in a low voice as he reaches for the bottle of lube in the bedside drawer and begins to run a hand across the deep scar on his boyfriend’s shoulder with his free hand. He reaches behind and begins to finger himself open with lube slicked fingers, screwing up his face in concentration and studiously ignoring the flush of embarrassment that stretches across his face. He still is not comfortable pleasuring himself in front of his lover, something about it makes him feel awkward and strange, but he has been trying to step out of his comfort zones and it helps a little that Keith freaking loves it, if the strangled sounds he is making are any indication.  

“Lance, baby, baby .” Keith strained as Lance’s free hand trailed down his body to take his length in hand and stroke him hard and fast to the rhythm of his fingers inside of him. The brunette licked his lips in concentration, adding a second digit and then a third. Below him Keith grips the sheets with clawed hands and bares his teeth with a loud hiss as Lance rotates his wrist just right and his climax hits him fast and unexpected, he makes no noise except a hitch of breath and a long and content exhale.

“Dude…” Lance snickers after a long silent moment, pulling his fingers out and sitting back on his boyfriend’s thighs to grin with fondness down at a flustered him.

“Sorry,” Keith breathes, his chest rising and falling rapidly but there is a sheepish smile on his face and an embarrassed flush to his cheeks.

“Eh, it’s not your fault -- my handjobs are legendary!” Lance grins, pushing his hair back and making it stick up with lube. Gross.

“Sure man, keep telling yourself that,” Keith says but sits up to give him a deep kiss anyway, wrapping an arm around the small of his back and pulls him close, sneaking his other hand between them to jerk Lance off lazily. The werewolf hums against Keith’s lips, letting out a hiss of air. They are not so much as kissing as sharing the same hair, their foreheads pressed together and eyes closed. Lance’s skin shines with sweat and strands of hair stick to his forehead as his stomach pools with rising heat. Vampires can’t sweat but Keith is disheveled and debauched, his long hair a birds nest and his naked skin littered with red welts courtesy of Lance’s claws.

The werewolf comes with an airy “ Keith… ” whistling past his teeth as he slumps against his boyfriend who presses kisses to his throat with a loving smile on his face. The raven-haired boy slowly begins to lean back until they are laying back down on the bed, holding Lance fastidiously in place with his strong arms.

Lance is almost back asleep when Keith whispers, “We should get up; do you want me to make you waffles?”

Waffles… ” Is all Lance says, his voice slurred and happy.

Keith snickers, slapping the brunette’s naked thigh gently, “C’mon. Up up up.”

“Nooooo."


 

“Keith, c’mon , you’re gonna miss it!” Lance shouted from where he was sitting on the couch, soft throw blanket draped over his shoulders. On the large tv across the room, a history documentary began to play.

“Coming, coming, Keith called back, moments later the sound of silverware jangling and cupboards banging followed by the vampire striding into the living room with a bowl of steaming beef stew in one hand and a glass of ice water in the other. Keith had this strange need to feed Lance whenever he could, he suspected it was a silent show of thanks for letting him feed on Lance, but the werewolf never really questioned it, never complaining about food that belonged more in a gourmet restaurant than his shabby kitchen. Keith had practically become his personal dietician since the two began to date, making Lance healthy meals and making him exercise ; Lance suspected it made his blood taste better.

“Has it started yet?” the vampire asked, passing the food to Lance and setting the glass on a coaster on the coffee table in front of the couch before settling next to him.

“Nah, you’re good,” he assured, blowing cool air onto a spoonful of stew before gingerly placing it in his mouth.

“What’s this one about?”

“The Roaring Twenties,” Lance answered around a mouthful of food.

Keith scoffed “Roaring Twenties? More like Boring Twenties, seriously Lance, it wasn’t nearly as cool as they make it sound.”

“I think you are just being a wet blanket .” Lance grinned. This was one of his favorite things to do with Keith, the vampire would never fail to point out flaws in the history shows and it was the easiest way for Lance to get Keith to tell him stories about his life.

Keith groaned, digging the heels of his palms into his eyes. “Literally no one said that!”

Lance snickered into his stew, “Didn’t you have a car then?”

“No, Shiro got a car, I wasn’t interested in learning to--” Keith abruptly cut himself off and became silent. Lance looked at him worriedly, biting his lip and staring back down at his bowl, gut churning.

Lance had never met Shiro, and Keith had never truly talked about him besides slip-ups like now. From what Lance had managed to gather he had been amazing and it hurt him to know he could do nothing to ease Keith’s pain, merely be there and offer silent comfort. Keith was not interested in talking about it and the wound of his previous lover’s death was still open and oozing.

But Keith had become happier since moving in with Lance, he was certain. The bitter tang of sadness had been reduced significantly from his lover’s scent and he smiled more than ever. Lance was not naive to think that he was moving on, but he liked to think that he helped, at least a little.

Without a word the werewolf Stretched across his boyfriend’s lap and watched the tv, Keith squeezed his hand once and that was all the reassurance that he needed. It took a good twenty minutes before Keith finally began to grumble and scoff at inaccuracies and a smile finally stretched across Lance’s face.

There was a sudden, hurried, knock on the door, Lance’s head shot up from Keith’s lap like an alert guard dog as Keith turned his head over the back of the couch to gaze inquisitively towards the entryway. “I’ll get it,” Lance said around a yawn, rolling off the couch and making his way down the hall that led to the front door. Unlocking the door, Lance yanked it open, taking a step back as he craned his neck to take in the intimidating figure that filled the doorframe.

“Kolivan?” he sputtered incredulously. Lance didn’t think he had ever had a full conversation with the vampire, he knows he was one of Keith’s friends’ in ye olden days , and that he held a firm dislike towards werewolves, so Lance had kept his distance. The man looked more haggard than Lance had ever seen him, pale white hair in disarray and out of breath like he had run here. He probably did , Lance thought gravely, after a moment.

“Where is Keith, wolf?” Ah, yes. The oh so original nickname was still in place, he sees.

Keith is next to him in a second, putting a hand on his bony shoulder and gently pushing him towards the side, not so subtly placing himself between Lance and the Blade leader. The first time they had met, Kolivan had shoved a luxite blade into Lance’s shoulder; and although the two were pals , or whatever, Keith seemed to be holding more of a grudge than Lance was. It had been more Lance’s fault than anything, he had been playing a game of Werewolf Hide ‘n Go Seek with Keith, and Kolivan had shown up right as Lance tackled his vampire boyfriend to the ground with dirty paws and, well… yeah.

“Greetings, old friend,” Keith said in that weird formal tone he took whenever he talked with any of his undead buddies.

“Keith,” the taller vamp panted, “we’ve found him. We found Shiro.”

Dead silence.

Keith stops breathing. And Lance? Lance has to bite his lip to stop himself from laughing -- something bitter and hysterical plants itself in his gut like a cold stone and he hates himself for it.

The thing is, though… Keith had no one . Lance had found him, broken and heartsore, and had slowly and painstakingly glued him back together until he was something that resembled okay. Lance had done that. He worked through all of the stinging barbs Keith, in his shattered state, had thrown at him, and climbed over all of his walls and -- and it felt good . To be needed. To be someone’s pillar to lean on. And Lance -- the selfish prick that he was -- didn’t want Keith to leave him.

But, apparently, now his husband, who was supposed to have been dead for the past eight years was somehow alive , and Lance couldn’t breath--

“Keith,” he chokes out after a few more suffocating moments pass and thinks that it is a wonder his voice does not crack. Lance feels like he is on the verge of a panic attack, but so is Keith, and Keith always, always, always , comes first so he fights through his hysteria and says “Keith, say something.”

More silence.

“I…” Keith finally whispers, eyes distant and far away. “I-I need…” he says, as if he needs permission , his shoulders trembling. “I need to go.”

Lance thinks for sure that his heart shatters, it is hard to breathe and he does not know how he manages to choke out a strangled “Yeah.” He takes a deep breath, Keith deserves to be happy, and Lance is not about to ruin that for him. “It’s okay.”

But oh god it isn’t . Lance feels his legs tremble and thinks hysterically that everything was fine two minutes ago, they were about to watch old history documentaries, and Keith was going to rant about how inaccurate they were. Afterwards, they were going to go outside and play in the moonlight and curl up together on the forest floor after they had tired themselves out. It was their Thursday tradition. But in just a moment Keith was leaving and Lance wasn’t sure if he was coming back .

Keith is gone in a flash and it feels like the final nail in the coffin for Lance and he does not know how he is still standing. He is vaguely aware of Kolivan hesitating, the werewolf glances up at the taller man with watery eyes.

“Do not ruin his chance of happiness, wolf,” Kolivan says, his tone is much more gentle than Lance is used to but his words are like silver bullets aimed directly at his heart. “Keith Kogane has suffered enough.” But Lance knows that, and he wasn’t even planning on stopping his lover (ex-lover? He does not know yet). Before Lance can say this Kolivan is gone too. Lance crumbles to the ground, holding a hand to his mouth as he swallows bile and stares at the dark trees where he had last seen Keith and finally lets the tears fall.

Chapter Text

From what Lance can tell, most legends of werewolves have at least a grain of truth in them. He cannot touch pure silver without getting burned, the full moon calls out his more feral side making it a struggle to control his baser desires, and lycanthropy can be transmitted to others through a bite. Though Lance is not a pure werewolf, meaning that he is not a direct descendant of the first Lycan, so he does not have the ability to change others.

The full moon does not turn him into a raging beast, however. It… it’s more like his empathy and self-restraint disappear and his only focus is on instant gratification and what is happening in the now. His attention span becomes that of a goldfish and he is prone to massive changes in mood in the blink of an eye, but most importantly the wolf cares not for the perplexity of being human. The wolf does not feel emotional pain the same as the human does, it is no less real but it is at a simpler level than Lance’s human side’s own complicated feelings.

He is no less aware, and he remembers easily enough; outside of the full moon’s light he can change at will and be fully present. The wolf in him is not necessarily a different entity than the human, just two sides of the same coin that is Lance. That does not mean that he cannot lean towards one or the other, Lance remembers stories that his mother used to tell him of Lycans who were more animal than human, who could not even remember ever being human. It is a terrifying thought. The concentration it takes to balance the two sides of him can be exhausting but it is all Lance has ever known so he knows no different.

But sometimes it is easier to fall into the warm embrace of the wolf and allow himself not to think . It is so much easier being a beast that there were points in Lance’s life where he would go for months without shedding his fur. He hasn’t allowed the wolf this much control outside of full moons in years, not since… well, not in a long time. It is somewhat exhilarating.

The wolf is a thousand and one shades of brown, with darker shoulders and a white throat,  chest, and underbelly with a long, fluffy, red-tinged tail. His eyes are bright blue, a sharp contrast to the dark fur of his face. His legs are long and powerful and his shoulders are thick and strong, lean muscle slides underneath his long shaggy fur. He is a young and prideful wolf, his head and tail high.

He lays on a patch of soft grass, fur warmed by the midday sun. He has been the wolf for all of the night and most of the day and has made no intention of returning to his den any time soon. A bad thing happened at his den, he is no hurry of going back. The wolf is perfectly content to stay where he is at, deep in the heart of his territory, miles and miles away from bitter human dens and loud acrid people machines.

He is impartial towards humans, they are loud and dumb but the wolf does not fear them, nor does he wish to harm them, even if they are annoying. They come into his forest from time to time but always leave after a short while so the wolf does not care, even if he is young and eager to protect his territory he does not feel threatened by humans.

It is bitterbloods he fears.

Bitterbloods are the ones that caused firepackpaindeath.

Keithlove is a bitterblood too. But the wolf likes Keithlove. He is sweet and kind and plays with the wolf on full moons, unafraid of his sharp teeth. The wolf wishes to play with the him, but he is not here right now. Apart of him wants to lift his head and howl for his packmate, but bitterbloods cannot go into sunlight, he knows, but even if they could Keith is far away and has tiny useless ears that are almost as bad as humans!

He knows that his packbutnot is close by, but they live in the loud big human den and would have no hope of hearing him at all. The wolf would be very happy to see Hunk-praise or Pidge-silentsneak, maybe even Allura-softfierce! He likes them very much. They are kind and gave him love and so they are packbutnot . It saddens him that they are so close yet so far, the wolf cannot go into the big human den, humans are easily startled and prone to violence when scared.

The wolf is suddenly very lonely. He wishes that motheralpha was here, she would lick his ears and play with him, and she could go into the sunlight too. But motheralpha is long gone, and that makes his chest do a painful thump thump.

He shakes his head to clear it, not wanting to linger on past hurts any longer.

Instead, he hauls himself up to stand tall, lifting his muzzle to the breeze to find something interesting to entertain him. A gravid coyote is not far from him, napping in the sun with her mate and another canine, the wolf finds coyotes loud and annoying but allows them to live and hunt at the edges of his territory because they remind him of his old family.

There were no fellow lycan packs that the wolf knew of in the area, he had never had to actually defend his home before, except for that time two winters prior when badhurthunter (thankfully not bitterbloods) had shot him with burnsilver and had put him in a cage, of all things!

He growled lowly just at the memory. But it wasn’t all bad, that is where he had met Keithbloodlove, so it was a bittersweet memory.

With a huff he turned his attentions to something more interesting and less annoying, a large herd of deer grazes in the opposite direction of the lazing coyotes, the wolf is not hungry however and although harassing deer can be fun it is also not the distraction he is looking for. With a huff, the wolf decides to begin walking with no true destination in mind.

He jumps a creek and climbs steep rock hills, crossing the path of a lone buck who quickly turns tail and runs from him, the wolf almost gives chase out of boredom but in the end decides not to. The wind blows through his thick fur, cooling him down. He hasn’t quite shed his winter coat yet, the spring months have just begun afterall.

The sun moves steadily across the sky and the wolf is still walking, farther and farther from his den and human civilization. He is jumping over a stream on the edge of his territory when a howl makes him stiffen and his ears perk. It is not a wolf’s howl, a magically enhanced human howl, that much is obvious.

But the important thing is that it is familiar -- Allura-softfierce was calling to him and the wolf’s tail began to wag as he lifted his head and answered the call excitedly. He loped through the woods on fast paws, stopping twice to narrow down the location of his dear friend.

She was in the clearing just beyond his den, her white hair wild and beautiful face worried as Lance burst through the trees to great her. His happy attitude is quickly dampened when Allura shouts at him though, her words are harsh and he hears his full human name, which the wolf has learned is never a good thing.

He quickly lays down with his tail between his legs, Allura may not be a werewolf but she scares him enough to be cowed when she is truly angry. Like now.

Allura-softfierce lowers herself to his level and places a palm on his head and rubs his ears just how he likes it. Humans are very confusing, the wolf thinks. They are hard to read, especially without expressive ears or a tail to key him in on their moods or intentions. But he learns to adapt to them and thinks he has gotten quite good at it over the years, he is proud to say. Allura is angry-worried, and the wolf does not like the anxiety he smells coming off her in waves.

“What happened, Lance?” Allura whispers in her voice soft and strained.

He lets out a truly pitiful whine in response, his ears are pulled back in grief and he scoots closer to his dear friend and the white-haired woman wraps her arms around his neck in a tight embrace that has him melting into her body, despite being much bigger than her. She cards her fingers through his thick ruff and lets him lay half on top of her, the sun his hot against him but he cares little.

“Lance,” Allura says after he has calmed down a little, the wolf lifts his head to look at her with wide blue eyes. Wolves do not cry but the grief he feels is evident in the angle of his ears and the tightness in his face. “Can you change back please?” the witch asks, her fingers never stop scratching his neck soothingly.

Change back? The wolf does not want to, if he changes back he will be even sadder than before. Being wolf is so much easier. So much simpler. But Allura had asked so sincerely and the wolf would do anything for her. He lets out a long whine to show his reluctance but closes his eyes and lets awareness and complex thoughts return to him, the change is a slow process. Especially with his human side buried so deep down. It is difficult for the wolf to dig him back out and even then he has to pull very hard before his fur begins to fade away and his body shrinking and changing. He lays shivering and naked in Allura’s strong grip and the woman quickly scoops him up and carried him back inside his home.


 

Lance smiles at Allura as she places a bowl of ramen in front of him, passing him a fork on her way back to get herself a bowl too. “When you didn’t show up for work I got worried,” Allura says, “You wouldn’t answer your phone so I came to check on you,”

“Sorry,” Lance mumbles, guilt gnawing at his stomach. He stirs his noodles half-heartedly.

“Don’t be, it was a slow day anyway. Pidge said she would close up shop for me.” Lance made a mental note to call the younger girl and thank her for going out of her way to help.

“So, what happened?” Allura asked, sitting across from him. “I have not seen you like that since… well, since I first met you.”

The werewolf wanted to scoff, he was no way near as bad as he was back then. Was he? It was hard to discern when he was the wolf for that long and that fully. But the thought that he was that upset over a break up that he came even close to being as gone as he was then was almost insulting. He didn’t say anything, however. He felt humiliated, bowing his head in shame.

“Lance.” the witch said sternly.

“Keith left , alright?” Lance finally snapped, lifting his head to finally look at her. He let out a frustrated breath, running a hand across his face and leaning back in his chair, defeated.

Allura knew about Keith, of course she did. But Lance had maybe forgotten to mention the fact that he was a vampire. Just maybe. He had a good reason though. Allura hated vampires with even more prejudice than Lance did, and if she knew where one was she would not waste a second hunting them down and killing them without a second thought.

Considering how powerful Allura was, Lance hadn’t wanted to risk it.

“Oh, Lance…” The white-haired witch said, sadness in her voice but not pity. She embraced him tightly, pressing a firm kiss to his temple. He sinks into her hold gratefully. He is not proud of the boy he was when he met the witch, but Allura had just taken in his sad and broken ass and healed him both physically and mentally and the werewolf could not be more grateful. He loved her so much, she was like a sister to him but more. She was his best friend, his rock, his family.

“That bitch didn’t deserve you, love.” Allura said firmly and the brunet laughed brokenly, a sad smile on his face. They stayed there for a few long moments before Allura sniffed the top of his head, “You stink. Go take a shower.”

Lance smiled at her with watery blue eyes but followed her instructions, when he got out the white-haired woman had picked up his room and replaced his dirty sheets with new ones, pulling off the blackout screens on the windows and letting the moonlight in. He almost cried but for a different reason. Allura stayed with him till early into the morning, but she had four dogs at home that needed to be fed and let out and reluctantly left with one final goodbye.

He laid in bed and fell asleep surprisingly easily. The moon singing him to sleep like it did every night.


Lance wakes slowly, he stretches out and inhales deeply through his nose. It takes him a long moment to remember why it is so wrong that he hears Keith’s breathing downstairs and he shoots out of bed in an instant once it finally clicks. He races down the stairs two at a time and skids around the corner and is in the living room in mere seconds. His hair is disheveled and messy and he wears a tight fitted white tank top and dark grey sweatpants, chest heaving as he stares in disbelief at the figure sitting stiffly on his couch. That part of him that is more beast than man cannot help but be ecstatic to see the man again, he can practically feel his phantom tail wagging traitorously.

Keith looks horrible, his skin is paler than usual and his eyes are bloodshot, hair flat and greasy and he is wearing the same clothes that he wore two days ago when he left so suddenly.

“What are you doing?” Lance tries to keep the bitterness out f his voice but he doesn’t think he succeeds. He takes a moment to try and push down the tightness in his throat and the ugly slimy feeling that slithers around grossly in his stomach. But no matter how he tries he cannot make himself anything less than angry and hurt. He can’t make himself happy for Keith. At least not yet. It’ll get easier , he tells himself, with time . And distance . Which Keith seems determined not to give him.

“Shiro is resting,” Keith says blankly, not taking his eyes off the wall, and that just pisses Lance off. “And I needed to -- I can’t , he’s so --”

The vampire trails off and Lance suddenly feels so tired, he doesn’t want Keith to be here. He wants him to leave so that he can nurse his broken heart in peace.

“Sure, whatever.” Lance says a little meanly, “But why are you here ?” he gesticulates vaguely to his home. It’s not like he doesn’t have a huge mansion deep in the mountains somewhere where he keeps all his old-timey crap.

Keith finally looks at him, his eyes are large and shining and he looks so lost that Lance’s anger wavers for a moment. “I’m sorry,” he croaks and the werewolf almost jerks in surprise, Keith is never sorry about anything , the fucker. “I know it’s not fair, I know. But… I just --”

“You just…?” Lance snaps when it is clear that Keith is not going to continue, crossing his arms to act as a barrier between the two of them. He feels vulnerable and exposed right now and it does not help that a good half of him wants to run to Keith and hold him close and never let go because like it or not Keith is pack to Lance. And Lance hasn’t had pack in a long time.

“I don’t want to be alone right now.” Keith finally chokes out, curling his knees up to his chest, and the werewolf’s heart breaks just a little bit more, only this time it’s for the man sitting in front of him and not for himself. Suddenly he feels like an asshole, even if he knows he is entitled to his feelings and that they are very much valid in this situation. He comes to the realization that Keith is between a rock and a hard place and that he does not know what to do, and even though that doesn’t lessen the hurt, it segways into his next reaction.

He sighs, long and slow, his shoulders drooping in something akin to defeat and he forces down his selfishness -- for just a little while.

“Yeah,” he growls but not quite, “okay,” and “whatever you need.”

Keith doesn’t respond to that and now they’re in a torturous silent limbo.


Keith comes and goes like a cat, as he always has. Lance does not know what he does or where he goes while he is at work (probably goes and sees Shiro ) but he hasn’t quite gathered the courage to ask. But he always slinks in sometime during the night and makes Lance breakfast every morning. The food always has a bitter taste to it.

Because Lance is a nosy person at heart he cannot help but ask after a week of this awkward silence passes “Did you tell him about me?”

He had the forethought to think ahead and is ready to leave, his sneakers are on and his green jacket is in his lap as he finishes the last bits of omelet on his plate, so if this conversation goes south he can scurry out the door like the coward he is.

Keith is silent for a moment before whispering “Yes,” all gravely and Lance can just imagine it, Keith hunched in on himself confessing his infidelity to a hurt Shiro (Lance doesn’t know what he looks like but he imagines someone who looks like Lance but better ) who is silent but listening. Keith doesn’t look at Lance, hasn’t really looked at him since this whole thing went down. It hurts.

Lance has never been something someone was ashamed of before.

And that it what hurts more than anything. Lance very existence has become something dishonorable and his relationship with Keith (something Lance had always viewed as pure and amazing) has been gutted and turned into a slimy repulsive thing.

He is grateful he planned ahead because he quickly shrugs on his jacket and flees. He goes to the magic shop but does not work, instead he curls up in a ball in the corner of the shop on four paws and lets his human mind fade dangerously away for the day. Hunk gives him worrying glances but makes him a delicious lunch and Pidge leans against him and reads a magic tomb the whole day, a hand constantly running through his fur soothingly.

He almost doesn’t come back to himself. Doesn’t see a point. Doesn’t want to go home to Keith’s wide purple eyes and poor attempts at consoling.

But he does. He changes back and gives his friends big hugs and promises that he will be okay ( eventually ) and hops into his beat up old truck and drives home. Keith isn’t there, the sun is still out. Lance lays down on the couch and tries not to be too grateful.


A little more than a week later, Lance comes home late, exhausted from a busy day of casting charms and mixing potions -- he had never had a talent for magic but Allura has him do small tasks and even the small amount of power it takes charming a four-leaved clover makes his bones rattle and his stomach dry -- to a pacing Keith. Which is strange to him because Keith is a predator in all senses of the word. He does not waste a single motion, doesn’t fidget like Lance unless it is deliberate. And certainly doesn’t pace.

Whatever, he thinks. Whatever. It is not his place to worry because he and Keith are not together anymore. And it is also not his place to help the vampire through whatever mental breakdown he is having. It’s not . And he is not going to allow himself to feel bad about it, cause Lance is trying to get over him.

That doesn’t change the fact that it is happening in front of him and like it or not Lance still cares (loves) this stupid wreck of an undead person and he didn’t even really notice Lance come in so the werewolf picks up a throw pillow and chucks it at Keith’s head.

It’s actually kind of comical, the way Keith’s entire body stiffens as the pillow hits the side of his head and falls to the floor with a muffled thump. The black haired man slowly turns his head to stare at Lance with annoyance in his violet eyes and he hisses --actually hisses! --at Lance like a wet cat. Lance can’t help but smirk sardonically.

“What.” The vampire snarls.

“No, you what!” Lance fires back, grabbing the other throw pillow and hurling it across the room and this time Keith catches the thing in his hand and holds onto it, Lance can hear the fabric ripping under his claws and almost growls at the man. If Keith rips his couch pillows he is going to Ikea and paying the fifty dollars for new ones.

“What’s wrong, Keith? I can smell your gross angst from here.” Lance asks, crossing his arms. Fear and anxiety both smell disgusting, like the burn of alcohol and the bitterness of overripe fruit. He already releases enough of it in this house and would very much appreciate it if the vampire didn’t stink it up even more. Really he just wants to go to bed but he would feel bad if he just went to sleep and left Keith to stew in his sad emotions. Which Keith did to Lance. No, he still isn’t bitter, shut up.

“These are mine now,” Keith deflects oh so subtly, scooping up the other pillow and holding them like a baby to his chest, glaring at Lance through his fringe. Then he pauses, too amped up to sit down and too self-conscious to start pacing again. Lance does nothing and lets him squirm. Cause he’s a petty asshole.

Finally, Keith snaps and drops the pillows to the floor and runs a hand through his hair. “Shiro wants to meet you,” He blurts, grimacing like he has a bad taste in his mouth.

Lance is silent. He almost just turns around and leaves. Because that isn’t fucking fair, what Keith is asking is so beyond the realm of okay and he wants to scream, and punch, and claw, and bite.

The silence is long and torturous, but Keith just stares at Lance with big purple eyes, biting his lip and wringing his hands. The werewolf studies him with the mind of a predator, Keith is tired, exhausted. He hasn’t fed since last they were together. Which is verging on three weeks now. There are deep bags under his eyes and a tremble in his hands, his hair is wild and unbrushed and his clothes are dirty. He looks like shit.

Lance supposes he would look much the same if his friends weren’t keeping a very close eye on him, making him eat large healthy meals and giving him lots of water and making him do dumb stuff like doing his work outside and Pidge even makes him walk with her through the forest every other day, just to change things up, she says.

“Keith…” Lance finally croaks, his voice sounds wrecked and he swallows the tightness in his throat. “I-I can’t...how can I -- how can you ask that of me?” his voice wobbles and he hates himself a little for it.

The vampire hunches his shoulders but nods, not looking at him. “Okay,” he says, his voice small. “That’s okay,” he says.

Then why does Lance feel like he did something wrong?

Chapter Text

The next morning Lance wakes to a sound that makes him want to curl up and cry, and he can only lay there and listen staring up at the ceiling blankly as his heart tries to rip itself out of his chest. Keith is downstairs making him breakfast which is and of itself not unusual. But Lance feels his eyes water and his throat tighten painfully anyway.

Because Keith is singing.

Lance had heard the vampire sing a grand total of one other time, it had been the winter solstice. A holiday of sorts for most creatures of the night and werewolves were no different. He had set up a bonfire and he and Keith had sat around the pit on tattered camping chairs as they watched the sparks float serenely into the night sky. Lance’s breath a billowing white cloud as he breathed and he was bundled up in multiple layers while Keith was just wearing a slightly heavier jacket than normal, his cold breath not visible in the freezing temperatures. On a whim, Lance had pulled out his guitar and began to strum softly, Keith listening silently but a small smile on his face nonetheless.  He hadn’t expected Keith to know any of the songs, let alone join in on one.

If I could save time in a bottle, the first thing that I’d like to do is to save every day till eternity passes away...just to spend them with you.

The two had sung together, grinning like idiots and Lance had been so happy he had leaned over and kissed Keith quickly. He had expected Keith’s smile to drop or for him to maybe even leave entirely (the vampire was still jumpy about physical affection), but he had just smiled thoughtfully and turned his attention to the crackling flames and said “Did I ever tell you about the time that I was accidentally apart of a train heist in 1908?”

The next morning Keith had returned to his normal cold self. Lance hadn’t heard him sing since.

The thing was though… Lance thought Keith was happy… before, he means. Certainly not bouncing for joy, but at least content. But this? Hearing Keith being so happy and carefree was heartbreaking, and he knew it was selfish, and he knew it was wrong to be so upset about someone being happy, but he couldn’t help it.

He rolled out of bed numbly, haphazardly placing the sheets back and grabbing a throw blanket that was crumpled up at the foot of the bed and hanging it around his shoulders. He made his way down the stairs and into the kitchen, smiling weakly at Keith when he turned and greeted him with a grin. “Morning. How’d you sleep?” the vampire asked lightly, turning his attention back to the crepes he was currently making.

“Fine,” Lance said maybe just a bit defensively, tightening the blanket around his shoulders and sitting down on the middle barstool at the island.

“How’s work?” the vampire called over his shoulder after a long bout of silence.  

Lance stared incredulously for a moment but shrugged, “Work, I guess. Some guy ordered five cases of elixir that have to be made by Monday, and I have to finish up that summoning seal I was telling you about by tomorrow. But besides that nothing much.”

Keith hummed his acknowledgment, his back still to Lance as prodded at something on the skillet. That’s a new thing, Keith asking about work. Before his only reply would’ve been a sympathetic noise in the back of his throat when Lance would complain about overbearing clients and impossible deadlines ( do you know how long it takes to make a barricade seal?? A long fucking time, that's what. This bastard wants one by tomorrow! ). Now he openly asks about Lance’s day and how he is feeling.

It’s bizarre.

But more than that, it is amazing. It is unfairly amazing. Keith slowly but surely becoming happier and happier, even if he is staying at Lance’s house less and less. He does not really know how to be happy for him, and miss him, and deal with the fact that he left Lance at the drop of a hat (and man did that still sting). He feels strangely humiliated by the fact that there is a whole other side to Keith that he did not know, because he thought he knew Keith, but it is becoming blatantly obvious that he doesn’t.

“That’s amazing,” Keith suddenly says, moving the crepes onto a plate and sprinkling powdered sugar and cinnamon on top, just how Lance likes it.

“What’s what?” he says a little dumbly, lifting his head from where he was absently tracing patterns of the granite countertop.

“That’s amazing. That you can create seals, I mean.” the vampire says fondly, sliding the plate across the counter and in front of Lance, tossing him a fork on his way to the fridge to get Lance a cup of milk.

The werewolf feels suddenly sheepish, but the phantom limb that is his tail is wagging uncontrollably at the praise. “It’s nothing,” he tries to brush off.

“No it isn’t, I have seen your seals before, they’re so complex and big and beautiful . And you finish them in such a short amount of time!” Keith is suddenly very adamant about this and Lance is starting to feel awkward so he just smiles and accepts the compliment, taking a bite of his breakfast with a grin.

It is the first time he has truly smiled in a while.


Lance is manning the front desk of Carpe Noctem that evening, the store is cleverly enchanted to look like an unassuming coffee shop to the untrained eye and on top of his usual duties, Lance had to brew coffee for the wayward human that sometimes stumbles their way into the shop. He is alone in the lobby; Pidge isn’t working today and is instead growing flowers or whatever it is that nymphs do, and Hunk is out on a supply run to get some leviathan teeth from a shady dealer a few towns over, and Allura is in her office pouring magic energy into the summoning seal Lance has just finished. The witch is currently swamped with commissions and can’t save any time to help with the more menial tasks around the shop so Lance has taken it upon himself to clear up everything so his friend can go straight home after she is done.

He has just finished doing inventory and is now busying himself with organizing the products on display. Carpe Noctem has a strange homey feel to it, the ceilings are high and the floor space is wide and spacious, if not a bit crammed with magical doodads. In the back corner, there is the small library which consists of half a dozen tall shelves crammed with hundreds of dusty old tomes, spell books, bestiaries, magic theory, and hundreds of other books. A rusted potion vending machine sits in the opposite corner with supernatural ingredients, tonics, and brews ranging from medicinal, poison, and even magic boosting liquids. Then there is the Behind the counter sits magical weapons and cursed objects on display, though you have to have a special permit to purchase those.

The air tastes like a thunderstorm thanks to the overwhelming amount of magical items within (magic smells like lightning), and the dozens of protective runes and seals cleverly decorated on the walls and distant ceiling. Outside the shop, the rain is pouring and the sky is dark with thick swelling clouds, every once in a while lightning flashes and thunder rumbles softly.

Lance hopes the storm is still going strong when he gets off work, he wants to dance in the rain.

He has just finished selling a nice low-class witch a powerful luck charm in the shape of a four-leaved clover (Lance’s own creation, thank you very much) and is sitting at the desk reading a history of mermaid democracy he borrowed from the library when the bell at the door jingles softly. “Welcome to Carpe Noctem, are you looking for anything specific today?” Lance lifts his head with a welcoming smile, bookmarking his place.

“Yes,” a smooth deep voice says, “I am here to pick up a prosthesis, I talked to the owner yesterday,” his words a kind yet strong and Lance kind of wants the guy to read him a book his voice is that beautiful. The man is tall and broad, with a ridiculously good-looking face and black hair with a white forelock. He wears a pair of tight jeans and a grey hoodie, his clothes and hair soaked from the storm outside. What Lance notices next is the gnarly scar that cuts across the bridge of his nose, and the empty space where his right arm should be, he wonders what happened but doesn’t think of asking. Something about his scent is familiar, but the rainwater is making it hard to pinpoint.

“Sure thing!” Lance says with a professional smile, leaning down to pick up a clipboard with a list of names, dates, and items listed. “What’s your name?”

“Takashi Shirogane.”

Lance drops the board and chokes on air, his entire body stiffening as his stomach drops to the floor. He coughs into his hand as he looks back up at the man (at Shiro! Oh god, he’s gonna be sick-) and quickly bends down to pick up the clipboard from the ground, holding it to his chest to act as a barrier between them. When their eyes locked he knows that Shiro knows exactly who he is and Lance flinches away from the vampire’s silver gaze. Those eyes are old and deadly and he has no doubt that this man would have no trouble killing him.

Shiro is studying him, is staring him down and if it were literally anyone else Lance would’ve thought they were checking him out. But this man currently face to face with the guy that has been fucking his husband for the past two years and his face is unreadable and Lance really hopes he doesn’t get punched cause he knows he won’t fight back. It’s not like he does not deserve whatever Shiro may or may not do to him, whatever he is going to say. He had fucked his husband and the vampire has every right to scream and throw a punch and hate him for it.

The werewolf swallows thickly, “Just a moment, I will go speak with the owner.” and runs -- ahem -- walks away. As soon as he rounds the corner and out of Shiro’s sight he books it to Allura’s office and slams the door behind him like there is a hoard of zombies on the other side.

“...you okay?” Allura askes from where she his sitting on the floor in the center of the room, glowing blue crystals float around her, all connected with a twisting soft light, and her glowing hands hovering over Lance’s summoning seal. Which is also glowing a deep violet, the intricate lines warping and swelling from the magic being pumped into it.

He almost tells her -- almost tells her ‘ my ex-boyfriend’s husband is outside and he is really hot and I think he’s gonna kill me,’ but quickly remembers that Allura doesn’t know the little tidbit of information that Keith is actually an undead bloodsucking monster of the night. He also remembers that if Allura knew there was a vampire in her store she would storm out into the lobby, her hands black with dark magic and her eyes glowing white, to turn Shiro into ash.

And Lance may not always be the best person, but he isn’t so terrible as to sick his best friend on someone and have her kill them in cold blood. Sure, he is hurt and angry, but he isn’t freaking homicidal. He isn’t about to pull some psycho boyfriend shit, if I can’t have him no one can. Especially as he imagines Keith, curled up and grieving after just finding the love of his life only to lose him again, eyes dead and empty. Lance shudders at the mere thought. He could never hurt Keith.

“There’s a hot guy out front who needs a prosthetic,” Lance says in one breath, still pressed against the door and panting.

Allura grins wolfishly, “How hot?”

“Like, super hot.” Lance says and he isn’t even lying now.

“Ooh, it’s that Takashi guy,” Allura nods sagely, a mischievous glint in her beautiful blue eyes. “I took his measurements a week ago when you were out with Pidge on one of your walks, even Hunk thought he was cute.” she winks, “His prosthetic is over on the counter,” she gestures with her shoulder unable to move her hands from the seal unless she risks undoing all her work. Magic is similar to water in a lot of ways, and if Allura were to let go of the seal without closing it up all of the power will just flow back out.

“Wha…?” Lance says in confusion, hugging the clipboard to his chest.

“You can place the prosthetic, I’ve already enchanted it with enough magic to last him six weeks,” Allura tells him and Lance knows what she is trying to do, and oh if only she knew she was trying to set her best friend up with the creature she hates most in this world… it’s almost enough to make Lance laugh.

But he doesn’t. Because it isn’t like he can refuse because Lance has placed dozens of magic prosthetics before and it will take him less than five minutes opposed to waiting for Allura to finish with the seal to do it. With a shaking breath, he shuffles across the room, avoiding the glowing crystals and grabs the long wooden box labeled “Takashi” on the lid in hurried sharpie. He worries the side of the box with his thumb before gingerly picking it up, his stomach twisting and his hands shaking.

Allura glances up at him worriedly, “Oh Lance you can do it! It’s just like any other time you’ve done this! If you really are too nervous to do it I can do it after I’m done with this.” she offers, but Lance can see the fatigue in her shoulders and the bags under her eyes. She isn’t showing it but she is exhausted and Lance is loathe to make the woman he owes his life to overwork herself, so he forces a smile and shakes his head. Gathering himself, he squares his shoulders in determination and heads for the door.

“Thank you, Allura, but I can do it.” he quickly exits the room interrupting Allura’s call of “Good luck!” halfway through as he quickly closes the door and makes his way back to the lobby.

He breathes deeply through his nose and tries to calm his nerves but it doesn’t really help because Shiro smells like the metallic tang of blood and swords and the air after it rains. He plasters on the best smile he can, which is mostly just a grimace, and turns the corner and lingers in the open doorway. Shiro is craning his neck to read the mermaid book that he left open on the counter, his back straight and the only thing that is moving are his storm-grey eyes that move across the page.

“Come along, sir,” Lance says, beckons with his hand for the vampire to follow him into one of the privacy rooms in the back of the store. Shiro looks up at him and walks closely behind him, or should he say prowls . The vampire has the presence of a jungle cat and even his breathing sounds dangerous and intimidating.

The werewolf closes the door to the closest privacy rooms with a resounding click, gesturing for the dark haired man to sit down in one of the chairs available. He places the box on the table in front of the man and opens it with a bit more flourish than necessary, Shiro leans forward to peer at his new arm curiously.

“This is our latest model,” Lance says, his voice steadier than he feels, being alone in a small room with Shiro is the last place he wants to be. “It is enchanted to respond to your intent and will act just like your lost limb, many clients have reported not even being able to tell the difference between the prosthesis and their old limbs, except for how they look of course.” He feels as if he will shake apart but he has given this spiel so many times it is easier for the words to come. “Any questions, sir?”

“Any questions I had were answered by Miss Arus during my fitting last week, and please call me Shiro.” the man said politely.

“Then let's get started,” Lance forced a smile, eager to get this done with. “Please take off your shirt,” he said. Shiro hesitated a moment before doing as was asked.

Lance had seen plenty of scars in his life but none even came close to the pain that played out across Shiro’s skin, slashes and bite marks littered his shoulders and torso, rippled skin from burns and flaying on his back and what appeared to be whip strikes curled around his spine in gruesome lines. The werewolf did his best not to stare and didn’t dare ask about them, did his best to ignore them and act as if the scars weren’t even there, he liked to think the thought was appreciated at least.

“Please tell me if you feel any pain or discomfort,” Lance said as he pulled on a pair of gloves and picked up the prosthesis.

“Is it going to hurt?” Shiro wondered.

“Hmm, no. Most clients actually say it feels good, which is why you must tell me if it hurts.” Lance answered and got to work.

Attaching a magical prosthesis was actually much easier than one would think, it took less than a few minutes and simply involved coaxing the patient’s own natural energy to connect with the magic within the arm. Power tended to attract power and so all it took was a gentle nudge on Lance’s part to get the two vastly different energies -- the whirling storm of Shiro’s energy and the steady warmth of the prosthetic -- to connect. Shiro was a model patient and stayed perfectly still while Lance worked, and didn’t fight the werewolf’s gentle magical prodding.

He was done in less than five minutes and quickly backed away with a smile, “All done! Try moving it!”

Shiro for his part looked suspicious, “Like that?”

“Like that,” The brunette answered oddly proud.

The dark haired male hesitated before gingerly moving the fingers of his metal arm, visibly jerking in surprise. He hesitantly lifted the arm, rolling his wrist and wiggling his fingers and a heartbreakingly ecstatic grin stretched across his face and for a moment the anxiety in his stomach was gone and Lance couldn't help his own smile at the other’s obvious joy.

“Hey, Shiro.” Lance said, picking up something from the counter, “catch!” and tossed a pen at the man. Shiro’s metal arm immediately shot out and caught the pen in a firm grip and his silver eyes widened in shock and if Lance saw a little glassiness to them then he wouldn’t tell anyone.

“Okay, I’m gonna have you do some exercises and then you can go.” Lance told the man, knowing that the man had already paid for the arm a week ago, as was custom in Carpe Noctem.

And so he began having Shiro do a handful of tasks such as write a couple of sentences, do a bunch of hand movements, and hold an egg. But the tension quickly builds in Lance’s shoulders and he quietly sits across from the vampire, anxiety rising in his stomach.

He keeps not saying it and the tension in Lance’s shoulders is almost painful as he waits with bated breath for Shiro to finally snap and say I something. But Shiro just sits there patiently, his silver eyes unreadable and Lance fights the urge to fidget in his seat. He wants to run away but knows that even he cannot outrun this vampire. So he swallows audibly, bringing up his shoulders to his ears and doesn’t make eye contact (a stupid instinct from being a werewolf -- don’t challenge, don’t threaten, don’t look in his eyes ) and gathers enough courage to get his voice to work.

“I-I’m not gonna… I’m not gonna do anything to... y-you know, stand in your way.” he finally chokes out, a part of him wants to roll on his back and show his belly in submission, despite how weird that would look, and it’s humiliating just thinking about it. Instead, he gathers himself, pulls back his shoulders and raises his chin and looks Shiro in the eye. “You’re his husband, he loves you so, so much. And I’m -- we weren’t… uh, serious or anything.” He tapers off and his heart constricts at the fact that he isn’t lying. Sure, it was serious for him, but relationships are sort of a two-way thing.

The only emotion Shiro shows is a raised brow, as if to say ‘ Oh, we are talking about this? ’ in what feels to Lance as a patronizing manner and begins to speak. Lance clenches his fists and stiffens as if to brace for a physical blow because it might as well have been.

“That is strange that you say that,” Shiro says, almost absentmindedly, “Keith certainly thought it was serious.” and oh, would that have made Lance’s heart soar in any other situation. “Though, I must admit that it is hard for me to imagine him loving someone that gives up so easily.

“What?” he hisses, but what he really wants to do is snarl fuck you in his face and walk out. How dare he? “I am trying to do the right thing,” the low growl in his chest is audible and the wolf in him wants to bare his fangs, to raise his tail and puff up his fur -- intimidate him somehow. But the human just wants to get this done and over with, wants to go home and pretend none of this ever happened.

“What would you have me do?” he asks, doesn’t care that his voice is sharp and biting. Is too angry to care. “To not let Keith have a choice? To fight him, and you, every step of the way? Do you want me to yell? Scream? Make it harder than it already is for him to leave?” his voice cracks and his throat tightens but Lance refuses to cry.

“Of course not,” Shiro says calmly and Lance growls at him for it. He hates that he is the one who snapped first, that he was the one who raised his voice and got angry first. It must cement Shiro's opinion that he is a raging beast that stole his husband from him. “What I want is for you to not just roll over and do nothing at all. Keith told me you did nothing, that you are doing nothing. It makes me wonder how fickle your love for him is, to let him go at the drop of a hat.”

“Don’t you fucking dare doubt my feelings for Keith.” He snarls, eyes flashing a bright blue. “I am not trying to find an out if that is what you’re thinking. I am trying to do right by him, to let him go to the one he loves and not hold him back!”

“You think he does not love you?” The vampire cocks his head, eyes steely.

“I don’t know what he thinks,” Lance evades not so subtly. “What I do know that he is your husband, and he has been miserable without you.”

Finally there was a reaction from Shiro, his shoulders hunched and there was a fragile lilt to his tone that had the anger from Lance dissipating “I seem to recall that marriage was till death do we part. Keith owes me nothing.”

Oh, Lance thinks. Oh.

“Who’s giving up now?” Lance asks, tries not to be cruel with his tone and yet still be firm.

“I didn’t say that,” Shiro says, defensive yet trying not to be. “He made a life without me, I’m not mad about it, I just want him to do what he wants. I want him to be happy.” The brunete huffs a breath and cards a hand through his hair. Okay. Okay.

“I want that too,” he says softly. “But I don’t think you fully understand how much he wants you though. He is so utterly and completely in love with you it’s kind of gross, I’ve never seen him this happy, Shiro. And you must know that I am holding him back, how can you possibly think he would be better with me? He never moved on from you. He has been grieving for nine years and was only with me because he was so lonely. You know that it’s true.”

A quiet moment passes between them, Shiro stares down at his metal arm and finally speaks, “The night I… came back… Keith told me about you.” Lance jerks in surprise but doesn’t say anything. “He told me you saved him. And not just from those hunters. He said you made him not want to die for the first time, that you gave him kindness and trust and love without asking for anything in return. You gave and gave and didn’t let him push you away.”

And suddenly Shiro is standing and is in front of him, his metal hand cupping his chin in a gentle but firm grip as Lance sort of gapes up at him in confusion. “He told me he loves you, Lance,” Shiro whispers to him and Lance feels like he might cry because Keith had never told him that he loved him. Never. And to hear it, even if it’s not from the man himself is so fucking amazing he almost feels like crying.

“I could never resent him for that. And you-you're trying so hard, aren’t you?” Lance nearly whimpers as Shiro’s flesh hand cards through his hair once and then rests on the nape of his neck. This is so unbelievably confusing but the fear in his stomach is gone and the werewolf finds himself leaning into the cool touch despite himself.

“Keith told me that you’re amazing,” the vampire tells him, “I admit, I was a little skeptical at first but… now I think I can see it. I never have been one to share but... What I’m trying to say is...Lance… if you’re willing to share than… so am I.”

Lance stares up at him wide-eyed, unable to really compute what this gorgeous man is saying with the guy’s soft fingers rubbing circles into the nape of his neck, just above his scruff. Unbelievably, his eyes begin to water and he cannot stop the tears from dripping down his face and he leans forward to rest his forehead against Shiro’s navel as he quietly cries.

"You don’t have to be selfless, Lance.” Shiro says and Lance breaks and wraps his arms around the man who is a complete stranger and cries and cries and cries.

If he hears Shiro cry too he doesn’t mention it.

Chapter Text

Lance sits across from Shiro in a nearby burger joint that is 80s themed with retro hot rod red booths, checkered floor and What's New Pussycat playing quietly from the jukebox in the corner, sipping loudly from his soda. Shiro did not order any food, for obvious reasons, and has his arms folded neatly on the polished table, his grey eyes alight with amusement as the werewolf continues to drink his soda in nervousness.

“You don’t have to be nervous, Lance, I don’t bite.” He said with a flash of teeth, making Lance snort into his drink, a smile pulling at his lips.

He had been a tad hesitant when Shiro had asked if he could buy him dinner after he had finished crying into the guy’s chest, unsure of the ground they now stood on. Not knowing what Shiro expected of him, and far too anxious to ask.

“...so, where is Keith?” Lance had been under the impression that if Keith wasn’t with Shiro, he was with him.

“Dunno,” Shiro said, leaning back in his seat. “He had some business with the Blade, and left late last night.”

“Oh…” Lance said, taking a bite of his burger. “Does he know that you’re here?” his stomach twists in anxiety for some reason, he can’t really pinpoint why.

The man across from him hesitates “Yes…” he finally said.

That hurt for some reason, deep in his chest “So...so you planned this? You - you plotted with Keith to… to what? Corner me at my job and force me to talk to you when I explicitly said I didn’t want to?” He isn’t mad, really. More hurt than anything else, and that is almost worse.

The vampire in front of him looks startled, “Lance, it wasn’t like that.”

“Wasn’t it?” he mutters bitterly, jabbing his fries in ketchup.

“I swear to you that I never meant to make you uncomfortable,” Shiro whispers, “I didn’t even know you worked there until after a commissioned a new arm,” he says, grey eyes beseeching.

Lance doesn’t know what to say to that, so he stays quiet. Munching on his fries and looking out at the rain, he belatedly realizes he is acting like a child and squares his shoulders to look back at Shiro. He sighs loudly, drooping his shoulders and gazing up at Shiro with bright blue eyes.

“Why did you invite me here?” he finally asks, his voice calm and not unkind.

Now Shiro laughs a little nervously, rubbing the back of his neck. “To tell you the truth, I wanted to get to know you. Keith sings you nothing but praise and I wanted to meet the man that has him so smitten.”

Of all the things to describe Keith, smitten was certainly not one of the terms that Lance would use. But he, for some god awful reason, feels his ears start to burn and he tries to distract himself by taking another bite out of his burger. He can see Shiro grinning at him from his peripherals. The asshole.

“I’ve never really met a werewolf before,” Shiro says next, after a silent beat. Somewhere in that statement there is a lie (being a werewolf, Lance’s bullshit sensor is on point), but he doesn’t say anything about it. “You’re not really what I expected.”

What did you expect? A feral beast with a taste for human flesh? Lance thought bitterly, and Shiro seemed to catch on to his train of thought because he quickly adds “You’re so nice, Keith usually went for the bad boy types.” he laughs, “You’re the farthest from bad boy, I think.”

Lance smiles tentatively, the churning in his stomach lessens, “If Keith heard you say that you’d get punched.”

The vampire laughs, “Maybe so, but why do you think I said it? He likes to think he is dark and mysterious but he really isn’t.” his voice is warm and Lance smiles shyly down at his food that is almost completely gone.

“Yeah, he...he is very sweet. If there’s a spider in the house he insists on putting it back outside.” Lance holds his breath, feels like he just jumped off a cliff and is waiting for the impact.

But the world doesn’t shatter, Shiro isn’t angry, quite the opposite in fact, his eyes are alight with joy and he is smiling softly at Lance and suddenly something breaks within him and he just begins to talk. It’s suddenly so easy. He wants to tell Shiro everything, everything that has happened to him and Keith, the good and the bad. And Shiro listens, leaning towards Lance and there is something in his face that the werewolf can’t quite decipher but he is too busy talking about how Keith had once ridden around on Lance’s back during a full moon last winter and Lance, in a fit of mischief, had bucked him off into a deep snow bank.

But that isn’t all, Shiro talks too. He tells Lance about the time he had tried to teach Keith how to drive on some abandoned backroad and they had managed to drive into a tree and Lance is delighted because that explains why Keith hates cars so much. About how Keith had once pole danced in a strip club back in the 70s on a dare (Lance actually knew about that one but didn’t say anything because Shiro was a much better storyteller than Keith).

The werewolf realizes that they have been talking for hours and his thighs are sort of suctioned to the booth seat and the rain has slowed, but what strikes him the most is that his cheeks hurt from smiling so much and his stomach is sore from laughing so hard. He hasn’t had this much fun since before Shiro came back from the dead and the constant weight in his chest has been lifted, at least for the time being.

“You aren’t what I expected,” Lance tells Shiro as he pulls his jacket tighter against himself as the two walk out of the restaurant side by side. And truly he isn’t, Lance expected him to be cruel and nasty because that is the only thing that had made sense to him. How could someone that caused him so much pain and anguish be so kind ? But Shiro isn’t cruel, he is wise and brilliant and fierce... Shiro .  

“You weren’t what I expected either,” Shiro says, looking up at the overcast sky. It is strange to think that just a thin layer of clouds is what is stopping him from turning into a pile of ashes. There is a smile in his voice and he rolls his head to look down at Lance, “Thank you,” he says. “For...everything.”

He isn’t sure exactly what he means but Lance thinks he kind of gets it. He nods his head, waves goodbye to Shiro as he climbs into his beat-up blue ford and heads home, blasting the radio and singing loudly to the music, feeling better than he has in months.


 

It is another three days before Lance sees Keith; the vampire crawls into his home like a skittish stray cat. His hair is wild and untamed, he is covered in a layer of dirt and grime, and his violet eyes are slanted and glowing as he walks silently into the living room. Lance is laying across his recliner, shoulders propped up by a throw pillow on the armrest and his legs crossed, a thick book in his hands. A pair of black rimmed glasses on his face, he only really needs his glasses for reading and rarely wears them in front of others, even Keith. His phone rests on the coffee table, playing music softly as background noise.

The brunet glances at Keith from the corner of his eye and raises a brow as the man just stands there, staring. He says nothing and turns back to his book, not wanting to be the one to talk first. He turns back to his book, but the words do not process and no matter how many times he reads the same sentence over and over he cannot make sense of it. He is too high strung and Keith isn’t helping, with him just looking at him with those strange purple eyes of his. It is very distracting.

Abruptly, Keith apparently comes to a decision what feels like an eternity later, he stalks across the room and snatches Lance’s book straight out of his hand. The lycan growls in protest and reaches for his novel, Keith tosses it gently onto the couch and gently but firmly grips his wrists together.

“What’s wrong?” The vampire demands softly, his eyes hard. Lance growls at him, tugs experimentally on his wrists but Keith does not budge, if anything his grip tightens. He pouts a little, steadfastly ignoring the heat that curls deep in his gut. He is very much aware of how long it has been since the two of them have been together, how long it has been since he has gotten off at all. But he doesn’t dare try anything because he is still very much unsure what Shiro meant exactly by share.

“I talked to Shiro,” Lance blurts, doesn’t give himself time to articulate or back out. The warmth in his stomach is replaced by cold dread as he averts his eyes and waits for the other’s reaction. Keith’s takes a sharp breath in and his grip tightens even more until it is painful, it isn’t a bad hurt though. It’s grounding. It gives himself something to focus on other than the slimy twisting thing in his gut. It is comforting, in a strange way. “He… came to Carpe Noctem the other day, for an arm prosthetic.” Lance says, he keeps his eyes firmly fixed on his hands in Keith’s grip.

The vampire is silent for a moment. “I knew,” he says, “I knew that he- er - commissioned Allura.” he stares at their hands too. His shoulders are up to his ears and he looks more nervous than Lance feels (which is really saying something, because Lance is almost shaking), his eyes are wide with something like fear but not and maybe there is just a little bit of hope there too. “But we haven’t… I haven’t seen him since I left with the Blade a couple days ago. I came straight here.” That surprises Lance for some reason, he would’ve thought that the man would’ve gone to Shiro first, and gone to him as an afterthought.

He hasn’t seen Keith this nervous…ever. Keith had always been this confident and resolute figure, if with one of the biggest tempers Lance had ever seen and a stubborn streak a mile wide. The vampire had barely even blinked when he was shoved into the same cage as a half-feral Lance and had been calm at the aspect of his own death as the sun rose. It’s bizarre. And a deep dark part of his brain thinks its empowering, but he does his best to ignore that.

“What… what happened?” Keith finally choked out.

Lance hums, “Well, after I thought Shiro was going to literally kill me?” and yeah, there’s a little bit of a bite to his words but he can’t help it. The fact that both Keith and Shiro went behind his back to force him into a situation he did not want to be in was still sore and no, he was not over it yet.   “We talked. And Shiro said that we--” he falters, his voice goes quiet and he finally looks up to meet Keith’s eyes. “He said that we… we could… share you. If that would make you happy?” it comes out more as a question than he intends.

He is unsure what Keith’s reaction will be, he has no idea if the man will be mad, upset, elated, or pitying. His heart pounds so hard against his ribs he is sure that it is going to burst free; he is positive Keith can tell because if he can’t hear it (which would be a miracle), his hands are pressed firmly against the werewolf’s pulse point.

He watches silently as the vampire closes his eyes and breathes deeply through his nose. He lifts Lance’s hands and places a firm kiss to his knuckles. The werewolf nearly jerks when the man falls to his knees and presses his lips more firmly against his skin, scrunching up his face and screwing his eyes shut. A salty tang hits Lance’s nose and he can do nothing but stare in shock as Keith’s shoulders begin to shake and tears begin to drip down his cheek.

Keith never cries and Lance is unsure what to do. He does not know if these are happy or sad tears, but something in him suspects that they are neither. He does not speak, doesn’t know what to say. Instead, the Lycan makes a sound in his throat that is almost like a whine but not a growl either. It’s a comforting noise, one his mother used to make when Lance or his siblings were sad. He ignores the stab of longing that goes through his chest when he thinks of his family, and instead focuses on Keith.

He pulls gently on Keith’s hands (which are still holding onto Lance’s wrists so tight it nearly constricts blood flow) and silently corrals the man into his lap. The vampire immediately lets go of his wrists and instead wraps his arms tightly around Lance’s torso, burrowing his face into his shoulder and crying silently. He does not sob, he just lays on top of him and breaths quietly as tears leak down his face and soak Lance’s shirt.

The werewolf fights off the urge to lick the tears from Keith’s cheeks. Licking is not something normal people do; but it is sometimes hard for him to differentiate between acceptable behavior for a human when the wolf in him constantly wants to be close to those he loves. He wants to sleep curled around them, wants to drape himself over them, wants to lick them clean or just to show how much he loves and cares about them. But he is unsure how Keith would react, so in case that reaction would be negative he resist the urge.

They stay like that for a long time, neither of them speak and Lance is content to keep it that way. But with his concern for the vampire slowly waning, the fact that the man’s mouth is so close to the bundle of scars at the side of his throat begins to make his heart pound. He is like Pavlov’s dogs, his stomach swoops pleasantly and he unconsciously presents his neck, not in submission, but in invitation. Of course, Keith immediately notices and pulls back from Lance to stare at him with those strange eyes of his. He looks so tired, his hair is more unruly than usual and dark bags under his eyes contrast unpleasantly with his pale skin.

He licks his lips, “Lance...c-can I…?” his voice is so thick and fragile it almost breaks Lance’s heart. The werewolf says nothing, instead, he tilts his head to the side, further inviting the dark haired man access. Keith runs a hand through Lance’s hair to cup the back of his neck and tugs him closer, he noses along Lance’s jaw a moment before his fangs pierce skin. Lance hardly feels it and goes limp against the raven’s chest as pleasant heat throbs through his body.

It is strange for Keith to feed from him when they are not having sex. Not a bad strange though, just different. Lance wouldn’t say he necessarily enjoys when he gets his blood sucked out, but he does not dislike it either. Sure, it feels warm and safe while Keith is doing it (a fact that had unnerved Lance immensely when he had first allowed the vampire to taste his blood), but afterwards, he is woozy and disconnected from himself. The process itself is actually quite pleasurable and Lance isn’t sure if it is because he is conditioned to associate feeding with sex or because he really is that fucked up but his pants begin to feel tighter.

Keith is ravenous, his claws grow out and grip Lance so tight that he leaves behind angry red welts that spot with small beads of blood. His teeth have sunk deeper than usual and Lance feels blood leak from Keith’s mouth as he consumes like a starved man and stains the collar of his shirt. This is the first time Lance has ever felt unease whilst Keith drinks, he completely trusts Keith, but out of the corner of his eye, he can see the raven’s eyes glowing a deep shade of red that strike a horrible chord within Lance. Behind his eyes he sees fire and death, sees his family dead, sees a dark silhouette in the smoke with red eyes stalking closer and closer.

Nononononofirepackpaindeathnonononono-

He jerks in Keith’s hold, fatigue pulling at his sense, but the man snarls lowly at him and tightens his hold until his claws truly breach skin. This has never happened before, and he wonders distantly how long it has been since the vampire has fed. If he has fed at all since Shiro came back. That was months ago though, surely he would have? The werewolf does not know. Keith had always been very good at knowing the Lycan's limits and had always only taken what he needed. He seems to have completely forgotten that now, and Lance makes a small pitiful noise in the back of his throat.

Fuck !” Keith abruptly pulls back, like he has been drowning. Blood is smeared across his mouth and drips down his chin, his eyes a dark burgundy instead of bright violet. “Fuck, fuck, FUCK! Lance, I am so fucking sorry!” he all but screams, frantically petting Lance’s cheek as he blinks blurrily up at him. The lycan yawns softly as the raven hunches over him, all but cradling his face as he begins to cry all over again. This time though it is much worse. His shoulders shake with loud sobs and his tears cut through the blood that is smeared across Lance’s cheeks from Keith’s fingers.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” Keith chants over and over again, pressing their foreheads together as he continues to stroke Lance face manically. Lance’s thoughts are slow and he can’t quite get his mouth to work, he feels almost drunk as he looks up at Keith. He doesn’t quite understand why Keith is freaking out so bad, but he doesn’t like it when Keith is sad.

“Are you okay?” The vampire whispers, cupping his jaw.

“M’fine,” Lance slurs but that seems to make things worse because Keith just cries harder. In his confusion, Lance makes a high pitched whine. Keith shushes him gently, runs a hand through the brunet’s hair making it stick up with blood.

“Keith…?” The werewolf breathes.

“Yes?” he sounds so broken that Lance whines again, shakily raising an arm to run his fingers along Keith’s pale arm.

“‘M tired… can we go to bed?”

Keith breathes shakily, sniffling as he nods his head, a watery smile pulling at his red lips. “Yeah, Lance. We can go to bed.”

“Will you stay with me?” Lance wonders, hoping the answer is yes. He misses Keith.

“Yeah, I’ll stay with you.” the raven lifts him up easily. They go up the stairs and Lance reaches out to run the pads of his fingers against the wall as they pass, the texture scratches pleasantly against his skin.

They turn into the bathroom and Keith sits Lance down on the toilet seat, pulling off the werewolf’s shirt gently, taking out the first aid kit from under the sink, and wetting a towel. He rubs the blood away gently from his skin and Lance doesn’t complain other than pout that they are not actually going to bed yet. His breath is short and shallow and his skin is pale under the harsh bathroom light, the room spins as Keith patches him up with shaky hands.

“Tired,” Lance tells Keith as he finishes washing out the last bit of blood from his hair.

Keith looks very sad, “I know, just a second okay?” and the pale man quickly washes his face and hands before picking Lance backup and carrying him back to his room. He places Lance on the edge of the bed, takes off his glasses and then kneels off to pull off his pants. Woah there.

“No sex,” Lance tells Keith sagely. He is too tired for sex. He is bemused when the man stiffens and looks up at him like Lance has just squirted him with water.

“We aren’t having sex, Lance!” Keith squawks. Lance knows that they aren’t, Keith is so weird. “I know you don’t like sleeping with pants on, you weirdo,” he says fondly. Oh.

“Pants are for squares,” he says tiredly and Keith is gone but is back quickly with a bottle of water that he has Lance sip before he gently guides him to lay down, pulling covers over him. He presses a firm kiss to Lance’s temple, his scent is drenched in sadness and Lance whines softly at the man.

“I’m sorry,” Keith whispers to him, pushing his damp hair away from his forehead. “I am so fucking sorry, Lance. You don’t deserve any of this.” he says, “All I ever do is hurt you and I am so sorry, but I am too selfish to stop. Lance I...I love you. I love you so much it hurts. I don’t understand how you -- why do you even love me?” he sounds as if he has been gargling nails, his voice gravely and broken.

“Cause I do,” Lance says stubbornly. He wishes he weren’t so fucking tired because Keith just said the L word and Lance is so so happy he could howl to the moon.

The vampire’s smile isn’t a happy one, but he leans down to press another kiss to his hairline and the lycan reaches out and grabs the man’s wrist. “Stay.” He mumbles. Please stay, he thinks.

And Keith hesitates for just a moment before crawling under the covers and holding Lance close to his chest, he does not sleep. Not with just having fed, but he is content to stay awake and watch over his love. He only wishes that Shiro was there with them.

Chapter Text

The next few days pass in what feels like a blink of an eye. He sleeps. Mostly. Keith nudges him awake every couple of hours to gently pick up his head and pour cool water or pleasantly warm soup into his mouth. The only time he gets out of his bed is to stumble awkwardly to the bathroom, having to lean heavily on Keith to make it all the way without his legs giving in. He vehemently refuses the vampire’s offer to be carried and makes him wait outside the bathroom because he will be damned if he needs help taking a shit, like some invalid.

The morning after the incident is the worst, he feels hollow and like some part of him is missing somehow. It’s hard for him to breathe properly, almost like he is trying to breathe through a straw. His skin is so pale he can see the dark blue veins on his arms easily, and his eyes are glazed over and it’s hard for him to focus on any one thing too long.

As far as he knows, Keith has not left. Though, he thinks wryly, the vampire could slip out for a couple hours while he slept and he would be none the wiser. Either way, whenever he manages to heave his eyelids open Keith is always right there with cool touches and soothing words. He looks absolutely miserable. Like his dog just died or something. In his lethargic state, Lance can’t quite figure out why. Whenever he smiles tiredly up at the other man, his shoulders hike up to his ears and he curls into himself. His heart twists painfully at the rejection, and when he whines pitifully the vampire just hunches in further and gnaws on his lip and averts his eyes.

Lance wants to growl at him, but he is too tired to do so.

The next time he wakes he can feel the moon’s presence in the sky. He cannot see it however, Keith had put back up the blackout curtains on his window to block out the sun. It is almost full, just a few more days , he thinks.

The moon sings to him, a lullaby that strengthens his body and allows him to breathe properly for the first time since the incident. He relishes in the sensation silently. The moonsong was indescribably beautiful, it is otherworldly, gentle, and powerful. It feels like home, like cool comfort and a loving embrace. When Lance was no more than a pup and his mother had told him that not everyone could hear the moon sing he had cried and cried. To live a life without hearing her lullaby sounded so sad to him. It still makes his stomach churn just thinking about it.

Keith is not in the room with him, he realizes after a silent moment. He is out in the hallway just outside of his room, pacing back and forth. His footfalls are nearly silent on the floorboards, only a whisper of sound and the slight disturbance of air is all he can sense from the vampire. That and soft muffled voices, he is talking to someone on the phone. Lance hesitates for just a moment before stretching out his sense to eavesdrop on the conversation.

“-iro, he was so… so fucking pale,” Keith is saying, his voice shaking and broken. “If he was human he… I-I would’ve killed him.”

Lance cannot hear Shiro very well, his voice muffled through the phone, but he is just able to make out the other vampire murmur gently “ But he is not human, Keith.” and Lance is inclined to agree. Despite what Keith likes to think, he is not helpless. He is not human, he is lycan. It would take a lot more than blood loss to kill him, and it frustrates him because, in his fatigue, he cannot understand why Keith is so upset. He did not die and is going to be fine, so why worry about it? He thinks Keith is thinking too hard and wants to crawl out there and bite him for it.

But before he can the moon’s song pulls him gently back into sleep like an exasperated mother with an unruly child. He sleeps deep and long and does not dream.

The wet cool scent of morning is present when he next wakes. His room is still dark despite the sun being in the sky, Keith had plugged in the white Christmas lights that are strung across his walls to give the room a soft glow. He blinks blurrily up at the ceiling before lifting his head and finds Keith curled up on Lance’s favorite squishy chair in the corner, reading a book that is propped up on one of Lance’s pillows in his lap. He glances up when he senses Lance moving and quietly sets the book and pillow aside to pad over silently to his bed.

Keith sits down on the edge of the bed and reaches out as if to hold his hand but decides not to. “Hey,” he whispers.

“Hey,” Lance mumbles back with a tired smile on his face.

“How are you feeling?” Keith asks, reaching out to run his cool fingers through Lance’s hair, pushing it out of his face.

“Tired, mostly.” the lycan tells him softly, the atmosphere feels delicate and he is unwilling to break it.

“I…” Keith looks down at his hands in his lap, “I’m so sorry, Lance. I didn’t mean…” His voice breaks a little and his eyes are glassy.

“Hey, hey, no.” The lycan insists, untangling one of his arms from the blankets to reach out and grasp one of Keith’s hands. He wants to say that it is not the vampire’s fault but knows that Keith will insist that it is. “I forgive you,” he says instead, even though he never blamed him in the first place.

Keith bites his lip but says nothing, he looks at Lance with his eery violet eyes that are still slightly reddish with a slight furrow between his brows. His gaze flickers down to their conjoined hands and he rubs small circles against the back of Lance’s hand with his thumb. They stay like that for a long, silent moment.

Then, Keith leans forward gingerly to press his lips softly against Lance’s. The werewolf doesn’t quite know how to respond. He yearns to reciprocate the chaste kiss, but worries for Shiro. Worries that maybe the other vampire will hear about this and become hurt. He feels as if he is almost going behind the other’s back and… god, they really need to figure this out because Lance hates the confusion and worry that constantly churn his gut whenever he is around Keith now.

Either way, he does not pull away from the kiss and leans forward just slightly to let Keith know that he is not rejecting him. The vampire’s lips are cool and soft, as always, and warmth spreads through him at the affectionate kiss. He cannot help but smile against Keith, tries to compose himself but fails miserably. He can feel the vampire smirk against him and a cold hand reaches around to cup the back of his head gently as he presses down a little harder. Lance is the one to pull back first, Keith immediately sits back up straight with an unreadable expression on his face and says nothing.

“M’going back to bed now.” Lance says promptly a moment later, falling deeper into his pillows. He really is very tired.

Keith snorts, a fond grin pulling at his lips as he leans back down to press one last kiss against Lance’s forehead. “Go to sleep, you dork,” he whispers, and Lance does.


 

Lance is back on his feet in a matter of days. It is a good thing too because he is able to go to work the following Monday without arising any suspicion from his friends. Keith insists he takes it easy and makes him eat almost twice as much as he normally does, Lance grumbles under his breath as he forces the last spoonful of his breakfast into his mouth under Keith’s hawk-like gaze but doesn’t complain. He puts up with it because he knows it makes Keith feel a little better. And the food is delicious.

On the bright side of the whole fiasco of Keith almost sucking him dry… the vampire looks a thousand times better. A healthy flush has returned to his cheeks and the dark bags under his eyes have lessened significantly. Lance even managed to wrangle the vampire into the shower and tugged a brush into his hair and got him in a clean change of clothes so he doesn’t look like a dirty homeless person anymore. Maybe a slightly cleaner homeless person. God, the boy needs a haircut.

Lance waddles into Carpe Noctem early in the morning, his stomach stuffed full of pancakes and collapses behind the counter and begins his work before the store officially opens. Pidge eyes him but doesn't say anything. And in between her lifting curses from spoons and creepy paintings she jumps onto the counter and talks with him about random things, she plays at being casual but Lance can see the calculating gleam in her eyes. Hunk takes over for him at the register so he can begin painting runes onto some witch’s black trench coat, he’s the best at runes out of the four of them, even better than Allura.

Pidge saunters in and jumps up onto his working desk and watches him work and speaks to him casually about random subjects. “So Lance,” she says after a moment of silence passes between them after a debate on the pros and cons of using familiars in witchcraft, “How you feeling? You’re looking a little pale there.”

Lance glances up from his work with a raised brow, trying his best for skeptical nonchalance. He was never a very good actor, however. “I’m fine,” he grumbles, voice strained in a way that makes it pitifully obvious (even to himself) that he isn’t telling the truth.

“You’re such a bad liar,” Pidge snickers, the lycan can’t help his own smirk from pulling at his lips.

“But seriously,” the nymph says, “What’s going on? Is it that Keith guy?” there is a hint of bitterness to her words when she mentions Keith. Lance gives her a withering work before pointedly looking back down at his runes and continuing them.

“Are you guys, like, back together?” Pidge pushes, seemingly oblivious or uncaring of Lance’s rising annoyance. “I thought he dumped you.” at the rumbling growl that emits from his chest at that she quickly adds “No offense.”

“None taken,” he grits. His stomach churns uncomfortably and he sort of wants to snap at Pidge to make her leave him alone but resists. She is only looking out for him, he supposes. Doesn’t mean it isn’t bloody annoying.

Lance hates to be reminded about how Keith basically did dump him, that he shattered Lance’s heart and just came back into his life like everything was okay. He tries to keep an open mind about the whole situation but sometimes his insecurities rise too high and he cannot help but think if he should just tell Keith to leave him alone. He isn’t sure if this thing Shiro is proposing will even work .

He knows that relationships like that require complete trust and confidence in your partner and Lance is severely lacking in both of those aspects. He isn’t sure he is emotionally stable enough to even try but a big part of him wants to at least give it a shot. The lycan loves Keith so much and maybe he can learn to love Shiro too? He doesn’t know and is getting sick of never not knowing.

He is always in a state of constant uncertainty and confusion and it is exhausting. He wants to sit down with Keith and figure everything out but is too much of a coward to do so. Lance wishes his mother was her, she would know what to do. Oh, how he misses her.

Pidge shifts in her seat atop the counter, snapping his attention back to her. “I thought you were getting over him, dude,” she says, disappointed. Lance fights the snarl that attempts to rip out of his throat, pushes back against the defensive anger that burns in his chest, and clenches his hand to stop himself from just getting up and leaving the room. He hates the pity that is in her voice, hates that she thinks that it is just so simple to get over him. Hates himself a little too for allowing himself to be so hurt by someone else again.

“It is complicated,” he told her, his voice hard and he can’t help the slight bite to his words.

“I can see that,” Pidge mutters with a raised brow, “Just… just be careful, alright? I hate seeing you like this, man.” her voice is uncharacteristically soft and Lance immediately feels bad for snapping at her. Pidge is only trying to help, he knows. She didn’t think Keith was good for him, which was understandable. The nymph had never met Keith and Lance didn’t really talk about him much in regular conversation, all she knew was that Lance had been completely shattered by him leaving and months after is still lingering on it.

His mental health had deteriorated until he began to have panic attacks again (which he had thought were done and finished besides the random one every now and then). His nightmares were back in full swing and sometimes he swore that he felt the skin of the old scar that stretched across his shoulder blades throb painfully. This whole ordeal had sent his entire mental stability out of whack, and though he did not blame Keith for it he had to admit that the vampire had played some part in it.

“I was born careful,” he finally tells Pidge, glancing up at her with a soft smile on his face and Pidge merely nods her head in acceptance and doesn’t push the issue any farther.


Lance cannot believe he agreed to this.

When he had gotten home the day of his conversation with Pidge, Keith had crawled into his home through the window the moment the sun went down (Lance was certain the boy didn’t know how to use a freaking door ). The vampire was nervous and had hesitantly asked if Lance would like to go to his and Shiro’s fancy dancy victorian mansion deep in the mountains for dinner, or something like that, the following day.

“You are aware the full moon is on Wednesday, right?” Lance asked skeptically with a raised brow.

“You don’t have to, if you don’t want to…” Keith hedged, fiddling with the hem of his sweater.

And, because he’s a chump, Lance ends up agreeing. Albeit a little reluctantly.

The next day Lance gets home from work and finds Keith waiting for him, the vampire doesn’t let him chicken out and gives nothing but gruff reassurance that it’ll be okay as all but drags Lance out of the house and stiffly sits in the passenger side of the Lycan's beat up old truck just as the sun begins to set. Lance snickers into his hand despite his nerves eating at his insides, Keith’s hatred for cars is hilarious, the vampire sits stiffly in the passenger seat like he has been strapped to a death machine, muttering something about the car being a piece of junk. Lance strokes the steering wheel in apology for Keith’s mean words and coos sweet nothings to his car as he starts her up. The truck coughs and wheezes for a moment before roaring to life, the dashboard lights weakly flickering on.

They pull out of Lance’s driveway and Keith mutters direction for Lance to follow. The vampire is swaddled up in a hoodie, a bandana pulled up over the bridge of his nose, and dark sunglasses on his face, a thick blanket around his shoulders to keep the sunlight from hitting his skin. Even then he curls up under the blanket to wait until they get there. Lance feels a pang of sympathy, Keith must be burning up under all those layers.

He bites his lip nervously as his old truck rattles its way up some old road that is practically all waterboard potholes; he cannot even tell where the road ends and the forest begins and Lance truly hopes he doesn’t drive off a cliff or something. The sun is just setting behind the mountains and stars just begin to twinkle into existence with the retreating sunlight. The werewolf’s shoulders are up to his ears as they crest the final hill and an old house comes into view.

It isn’t really what Lance is expecting. Though he had been imagining something almost like Dracula’s castle complete with the obligatory lightning and drawbridge.

The house is obviously old, ivy climbs up the sides and curls around the pillars on the porch making the building blend in with the forest around it. It is two stories high with an off-white exterior and fancy windows that are covered with thick curtains from the inside. The yard is overgrown but Lance spots a large area to the side that has been cleared of weeds and is overturned with dirt, he suspects someone is trying to garden and it makes the nervousness in his stomach lessen for some reason.

With a final sigh and an encouraging squeeze from Keith, he turns off his car and climbs out, scuffing the ground nervously with his worn sneakers. The air is cool and damp, frogs and crickets singing a familiar night song and the moon, nearly full, seems to hurry him along. He slumps after Keith, hands deep in his pockets as he climbs up the rickety stairs of the porch with the vampire a step ahead of him. He doesn’t bother to knock, which Lance finds strangely amusing, considering the old myth that vampires needed to be invited to enter a home and steps inside, holding the door open for Lance.

He steps into an atrium (which says a lot more about the type of home he was in than anything else, Lance supposes) nervously. The atmosphere within is cool but not unwelcoming, sort of how he would imagine visiting Batman’s mansion would feel. Though not nearly as big. The size of the house was definitely large, but not obnoxiously so. From what he could tell from the entryway, the rooms were spacious and open and the walls were covered in paintings and cool looking knick knacks that looked very old.

Lance was sure Shiro was the one who did the decorating because Keith sucked at interior design. He should know. He had the vampire help him remodel his bathrooms and still has nightmares about that experience. So does his poor toilet, he thinks.

He wants to take his shoes off but hesitates when he sees no other visible pairs laying out in the front room, he looks to Keith for guidance who just shrugs and says “Leave them anywhere.”

The lycan glowers at him as he toes off his sneakers and pushes them as neatly as he can against the wall, tucked them against the corner closest to the door. He immediately regrets it though because as he looks down at his feet he realizes he is wearing two different types of socks and he has no idea why this upsets him so much but panic begins to swell and he nearly just puts his shoes back on but Shiro walks into the room with a nervous yet hopeful look on his face.

“Hello, Lance,” the taller vampire says with a smile that nearly makes Lance’s heart melt.

“Hey,” is the Lycan's response and he doesn’t know what to do next. He doesn’t think a hug is appropriate yet and this meeting is supposed to be casual (or that's what Keith said at least) so shaking the other’s hand seems weird too so he just awkwardly waves and sort of really wants to leave.

The atmosphere is now silent and there is at least a small herd of elephants stuffed in there with them with how awkward it is. Lance fidgets in his place and can’t help but think about how bad of an idea this was. What did he think would happen? That this wouldn’t be awkward in the slightest and they would all get along like nothing was wrong? When he thinks about it… he sort of did.

His last meeting with Shiro at the dinner had gone so well and they had parted amicably. It had lulled him into a sort of false sense of hope that this would all be okay. God, he should have refused and just stayed home. It was stupid of them to try this, especially at Shiro and Keith’s house. Who’s idea was that, anyway? They should have gone to a neutral location! This is a disaster, oh god, oh god --

“How are you, Lance?” Shiro’s soft voice breaks him out of his internal panic and he hopes that none of it shows on his face.

“I’m fine,” he chokes, “How’s your arm?”

Shiro smiles, “It’s amazing, I still can’t believe how well it works. Sometimes I forget that… that I even lost it.” And there’s something deeper to his words that Lance doesn’t have the context to understand, but he doesn’t pry.

“Lance helped come up with the design.” Keith chimed in, looking at Lance with fondness.

“I think that’s giving me too much credit,” Lance laughed nervously, scratching the back of his neck, “I was just in the same room as Hunk and Pidge when they finished the first model.”

There had been magical prosthesis before, but once his friends had decided to make their own they completely revolutionized the product. The prosthetics now had complete mobility and sense of touch, something that had been nonexistent in older versions. And even know the werewolf felt a swell of pride that his best friends had done what no one else could, they were amazing.

“Nonsense,” Shiro says, “I’m sure you did a lot more than that!”

“Well… I sort of did come up with the base idea for magic distribution throughout the internal structure,” he mumbled nervously, “And Allura found a way to make sure it had enough power to function.” cause that had been the main problem with the prosthetics, they just needed so much power. But after months of designing Allura had found a solution, as she always does. God, his friends were so fucking cool.

“You’re a mage, right?” Shiro questioned.

“I wouldn’t go as far as to say I’m a mage, exactly.” he swallows, “More of… a guy who knows how to draw some symbols and can make a cup of water freeze.”

The vampire laughed at that but is interrupted from saying anything else by a dinging noise coming from down the hall. He perks up at that as Shiro looks over and quickly hurries down the hall, Keith and Lance trailing behind him. “I made you some dinner, Lance. It should be done soon.” He says as the enter a fancy looking kitchen with granite counter tops and old looking stoves.

“This is swanky,” Lance says, turning to poke at the shiny counters. Keith smiles at him as he jumps onto the counter, swinging his feet back and forth. He feels marginally more comfortable now, not like he is going to puke anymore, but still anxious. He hopes the evening will go well, because if it doesn’t he will probably cry, and Lance hates crying.

Shiro is over by the oven and pulls out something that smells suspiciously like meat and he cannot help it when his mouth begins to water. With it being a day away from the full moon, Lance’s appetite is at an all-time high and the food smells delicious.

“Keith, can you get some towels, please?” Shiro calls as he puts mashed potatoes, steamed carrots, and neatly cut strips of meat onto a porcelain plate. Keith makes an affirmative sound as he leaves the room, Lance practically quivers in his seat atop the counter as the food is presented to him, god it smells good.

He smiles as Shiro hands him a fancy looking fork, but yelps loudly as the fork makes contact with his skin. It burns. His skin sizzles and his inner beast is roused. He reels back so far he falls off the counter and lands on the floor painfully, scrambling back and away from Shiro and the stupid fucking fork.

He’s half shifted, eyes glowing a dangerous blue and teeth and claws elongated as he snarls at Shiro. He is more wolf than human now, scared and hurt as he is. He cradles his burnt hand to his chest, pushing his shoulders back against the wall and as far away as he can get. He thought he could trust Shiro-sweetstrange , he thought that he wouldn’t hurt him, oh god no no no no no --

“What the hell happened ?” Keithlove is here, he looks angry worried.

“I-I don’t…” Shiro-sweetstrange stuttered, his eyes wide and horrified.

Keithlove stalks over and picks up the fork from the ground, “Shit!” he snarled, “It’s silver.” he says to Shiro.

“W-wait, that’s actually a thing?” Shiro exclaims, incredulous.

“Yes, it’s a thing! So is wolfsbane.”

Lance growled at him when he tried to step closer, what little ease he had managed to gather had just disappeared and he was on high alert. This was a mistake. Coming here was a mistake. He should just head home, he --

“Lance,” Shiro whispered, kneeling down in front of him. “I’m so sorry,” Lance merely glowered at him from behind his hair, “Please, I had no idea silver would actually -- actually burn you.” the scarred man choked out.

The wolf is having none of it and curls further into himself with his head low, he cares little for the confusing mixed signals humans give. They tell him one thing but they do another. It makes his heart do a painful thud thud. Wolves do not lie. They do not welcome a stranger into their den and then harm them a moment later.

His eyes flicker over to the burnsilver that is still in Keith’s hand and a low growl is constantly rumbling in his chest and he flashes his fangs. His hand hurts . Silver burns take the longest time to heal, the wolf knows he will be unable to use his hand for weeks to come, even at the simplest of touches. It is as if he had grasped a red-hot iron bar instead of an innocent fork.

He cannot comprehend at the moment that the situation was an accident. He does not care that Shiro had no clue that silver would hurt him, does not care that the man looks like he is about to cry. All he cares about is that he is hurt and Shiro was the cause. His human thinking is gone and all that is left is wolf and he wants to get out; he needs the moon.

The two bitterbloods in front of him stand with their hands out placating, the wolf growls at them as his eyes dart between them and the exit of the kitchen.

“Lance, don’t--”  

But the wolf is already darting out of the room and crashing through the front door and out of the bitterblood den. This was a mistake. He…

He should never have tried to make this work.  

Chapter Text

In the end, Lance did not go far from the house. He had not thought to go for his car and instead bolted for the familiar and relative safety of the forest instead. He had only run for a few minutes before fatigue and nausea had forced him to collapse, twigs and rocks digging painfully into his knees.

He cradled his mangled hand close to his chest with a grimace. Settling himself back against a tree, whimpering softly as he gingerly brought his hand up to his face and unfurled his throbbing fingers. Sweat begins to cool at his temple, his body shaky and disoriented, and he has to actively concentrate on focusing his eyes onto his hand.

It was by far not the worst silverburn he had had in his life -- Lance had been shot with silver bullets before, shackled by his ankle with a manacle made out of the stuff -- but it still hurts . God, it fucking hurts. Throbbing in time with his heart, his hand feels like it is on fire. The wound has a metallic sheen to it, reflecting strangely in the light of the moon. At one angle the burn looks a silvery white, but at another, it reflects a beetle-black. The veins on his hands darken black, branching up his arm. It is revolting to look at and Lance careful relaxes his fingers and lets his hand fall to rest against his chest as he hunches in on himself.

His shiny blue eyes fall to his feet and he cannot help the bitter smile that pulls at his lips, the only thing that covered his feet were his soaked and stained mismatched socks. From there, his eyes travel to his right ankle, where the silver scar he had received during the time he had met Keith recided. The scar was raised and puffy and had the same strange metallic sheen as the fresh wound on his palm and fingers.

As he stares at the scar, a memory flares up of when the hunters who had captured him had tossed a hissing and spitting Keith into his cell. He smiles ruefully at the memory, glancing up at the round moon. It seemed like so long ago.

Lance’s cell had been round, with smooth stone walls and an open ceiling high overhead, allowing the crescent moon’s light reflect eerily off Keith’s eyes. The vampire had glared at him warily, but Lance was too tired and hurt to really care. In his mind, as long as the bitterblood stayed away from him, he did not care what the hell his cellmate did. He had been shifted, chained to the wall farthest from the door so he could not charge the door when the hunters had come in to taunt or prod at him (as he had tried to do before). The chains were pure silver, eroding away at the skin of his ankle slowly but surely, under his fur the black veins had crawled up his hip and Lance had been starting to lose the feeling in the lower half of his body.

The state he had been in was horrible, laying in his own blood, sick, and piss, with barely the strength to stand. Keith had seemed to notice this because after a few tense minutes, the vampire cautiously relaxed against the wall as far from the door he could get without getting too close to Lance. They remained like that the rest of the night, neither moving and neither speaking. Not like Lance could speak in his lycan form though.

Then… the sun had begun to rise. Keith had gazed up at the brightening sky with a sort of sad resignation, closing his eyes and sighing heavily at the face of his inevitable death.

To this day Lance is still unsure why he had done it. But… with what little strength he had left, just as the sun was about to crest the lip of their cell and shine down onto the prone vampire, Lance had hauled himself to his paws and dragged himself to the bitterblood. Keith had hissed at him, eyes flashing dangerously, but Lance had just reached out a trembling paw as he had reached the limits of his leash and pulled the angry creature closer just to promptly collapse atop of him.

Keith had thrown a right bitch fit over it, choking on the stench that clung to his fur, and had squirmed and squawked rather loudly. The vampire had tried to wriggle out from under him at first but seemed to give up and had laid there in misery until direct sunlight did not shine into their cell. Then Lance had merely gathered his strength and limped back to his side of the cell, not bothering to spare a second glance at the messy vampire a moment longer.

The hunters had assumed Keith had been turned to a pile of ashes and were not expecting to be pounced by a seriously pissed off vampire when they had opened the door to probably drag Lance’s thought to be dead body out of the cell. And Lance had not expected Keith to grab a key from one of the hunter’s dead bodies and free him. The vampire urging Lance to get up, grabbing him by his ruff gently and leading the lycan out of the stupid compound and out into freedom.

What had been one of Lance’s worst memories had somehow lead to some of his best.

Keith was emotionally stunted and insensitive, but he was his, goddamnit. And it had been amazing. Keith had been amazing. It had been by no means perfect, not by a long shot. And Lance was willing to see that Keith had not been to blame for all of those imperfections. His insecurities and self-doubt had halted him from ever actually communicating with his probably? ex-boyfriend. In hindsight, if he would’ve just gathered his courage and actually talked to Keith like a fucking adult… many of those intrusive thoughts and insecurities would’ve been laid to rest.

Not like it matters now, he thought bitterly. Tucking his knees close to his chest and resting his chin atop them.

It felt to him that Keith had made his choice, and he had chosen Shiro. This whole situation seemed to be some huge attempt on Keith’s part to try and not hurt Lance. But in reality, it had only dragged out the inevitable and had left Lance hurting far more. He would’ve preferred Keith tell it to him straight; to rip the bandaid off, rather than having him go through this ridiculous and shitty situation.

He supposed it was partly his fault for getting his hopes up. For thinking that a continued relationship with the man he loved could even be possible. He had been stupid and naive, and Lance feels his throat tighten traitorously. He closes his eyes tight and pulls his head back to grimace at the sky and try to hold back his tears.

God, it hurts . Both his stupid fucking hand and his stupid fucking heart. And as Lance struggles to hold in his stupid tears he feels a swell of feverish heat boil in his gut. It takes him a moment to shift his focus from don’t you dare fucking cry to figure out what the feeling is.

He is angry, he realizes. Oh, he is so fucking angry. At Keith. Shiro. Himself. His anger brings up past pains and he is angry at the monster who took his family, at his mom for being fucking stupid and falling right into that… that creature’s trap. He is angry at himself even more for running, for abandoning his family like a coward and--

No.

He cannot allow himself to spiral like this… not right now. He bites his lip in concentration and after taking a few sharp breaths pushes his thumb down against his burns on his palm. He lets out a wordless shout, his arm flares with a sharp pulsing heat and grits his teeth and forces himself to focus on only the pain. Just the pain. After a few long moments, he lets go of his hand with a gasp, going limp against the trunk of the tree as he pants heavily. Sweat cools against his temple and his chest heaves, but the bad memories have retreated some and it’s relieving.

Numbly, he cradles his hand and curls in on himself, a low continuous growl rumbles in his throat. His palm throbs with the beat of his racing heart and Lance hesitantly bows his head to lick the wound with slow careful strokes. A soft night breeze blows through the trees and cools his wet hand soothingly. He cannot help the shame that sinks in his gut.

Behaving any other way than human feels wrong to him. He is ashamed of what he is, purposely holding back his lycan mannerisms to fit a role he has carved out for himself. After spending years of his life a wolf, he tries not to let it out as much as he had when he was a child. Instead, he only shifts on the full moon and as a dangerous and unhealthy way of coping.

Leaning too far to either part of him can and will leave him stuck. He won’t be able to shift from a human to a wolf, or a wolf into a human if he stays too long in either form. It’s a delicate and exhausting balance. But lately, Lance has not found it in him to care.

Sometimes he wishes he were human. None of the shit in his life would’ve happened if he were just… normal.

He hates what he is, Lance realizes without much shock. Being a lycan has brought him nothing but pain and hurt and he suddenly thinks of committing to not letting himself shift tomorrow. To hold back and wait in agony as it feels like his skin is going to burst until the sun finally shines and do it, again and again, each month until the need to shift dies and he can truly pretend to be human.

But then an image of his mother, as a wolf with the same brown fur as him and a gleam in her brown eyes as she dances around a young wide eyes Lance. Cooing and growling at him playfully, so full of life and energy and so proud in her body and what she is… he could never throw away her memory like that. He imagines her sitting next to him, the warmth of her shoulder against his and he can feel her breathe. He wonders what she would say in this situation, probably snort and say “Only you, mijo.” and tell him to follow his heart, whatever that fucking means.

He misses her so much at that moment the breath is knocked out of him.

Lance… wants to go home. And not to his house, alone in the woods, but back home. To Cuba. He wants his family -- his pack. He yearns for the house on the beach, the cool ocean breeze, and the white sand beaches. He misses the constant noise. Of his family just being there and breathing. Apart from him, the wolf side of him wants to get up right now and travel east, to swim into the salty ocean and back to his island. Maybe he had been mistaken, the childish part of him whispers, maybe his family is there, waiting for him. Standing there with big smiles on their faces before running to him and tackling him to the ground and hugging him and never letting go. It’s a beautiful yet cruel fantasy and Lance angrily shoves it away. They’re gone. He knows they're gone. But sometimes it’s hard not to imagine them alive and happy, to imagine what it would be like to be with them one last time.

God, he’s pathetic.

Lance shifts his attention back to the present forcefully. He is not far from Keith and Shiro’s stupid house, thinks that they’ll probably come looking for him and Lance doesn’t want them to. But his legs feel like jelly and just the thought of walking makes him dizzy. He doesn’t want them to come to look for him, but another part of him wants them to come here and grovel at his feet in apology. But he cannot have both so he sits there and is angry about it instead.

Stupid vampires, he thinks with strong vindictiveness.

Speak of the fucking devil , he thinks as a twig is purposefully stepped on and snaps loudly, announcing the presence of one of the stupid vampires.

“Shiro,” Lance grumbles.

.The vampire fidgets awkwardly and Lance takes a strange joy in watching him squirm. His silver eyes scan Lance up and down as he takes a few cautious steps closer, like Lance is a spooked deer. Lance quells the growl in his throat, if only barely.

“Are you okay?” Shiro does not apologize, which Lance is grateful for. An apology would just piss him off.

He hums non committedly, gesticulating his hand vaguely, “Been better,” he admits sarcastically. Shiro bows his head sadly, his gaze lowering to the floor. He looks so much like a kicked puppy that Lance is starting to feel bad.

“What kind of asshole has pure silver spoons?” Lance asks hoarsely after a couple of awkward silent moments. A weak smile pulls at his lips as he glancing at Shiro from the corner of his eye.

The taller man huffs a sad laugh, he takes Lance’s words as an invitation and gingerly shuffles closer, settling down close to Lance but still giving him a wide berth. “Me… apparently,” he answers, looking up at the moon.

Silence again. Lance doesn’t know how to fill it. He wonders where Keith is but doesn’t ask.

“I heard a story once… that werewolves could hear the moon sing.”

“You knew about that but didn’t know about the silver thing?” Lance ribs softly, something bitter twisting in his mouth. Shiro doesn’t say anything to that, looks down at his hands and flexes his metal one. He looks sad, Lance thinks. And old. But not in a physical way, his eyes are ancient and he just looks tired. The werewolf looks away silently, hugging his knees tight.

“Yeah, I can hear her.”

“What?”

“The moon. The stars. The sun. They sing.” Lance says, he pauses “It’s not exactly singing, but I do not know how else to put it. It’s like trying to explain color to someone who is blind. It’s more of a feeling than anything else, I suppose. It feels like cool comfort, like home.” Lance could not think of a way to describe the moon’s song, it just was.

“It sounds beautiful.”

“It is,” he smiles sadly, “I probably wouldn’t be here without it, the moon loves every living thing, but lycans are connected to her like no other and so we are her favorite.”

“Is she a god?” Shiro asks, studying the swollen moon contemplatively. There are gods in the world, or at least beings that inspired religion, creatures that control aspects of the world and even some who are as old as the world itself.

Lance doesn’t know the answer to that, “My mother used to tell us a story,” the werewolf says instead of answering, “Of a daughter of the ocean who was in love with the sun, and she loved him so much she sought out a powerful witch to help her be with him. But the witch was cruel and cursed her to forever chase the sun, unable to reach him.”

“That sounds sad, is there no happy ending?”

The lycan rolled his head to look at Shiro fully, “There are no happy endings,” he told the vampire. “Happiness is fleeting. One day I will grow old and die, and you and Keith will live on. I will be nothing but a memory for you two, a fun divergence from the norm.”

Shiro looked heartbroken at the thought, “Lance --”

“Don’t say that it won’t be like that, because it is naive to think any different,” he mutters, fiddling with blades of grass at his side. “You two are old -- you especially. I am a child in comparison to you.”

Shiro doesn’t say anything for a long time, and they sit in silence. It isn’t exactly awkward and Lance does not feel the need to fill it, so he stays quiet. Gazing at the moon in contemplation. Shiro is staring at him thoughtfully though, and Lance does his best to ignore it. Lets the vampire gather his thoughts.

“I met Keith in 1805…” the elder man finally whispers, his voice soft.  “He was this homeless kid, from an immigrant family. He had just turned eighteen when I met him, he had tried to pickpocket me.” He turned to give Lance a grin, and Lance couldn’t help but snort at the image. “He was a slight of a thing, back then. Absolutely filthy and skinny as a pole. I had grabbed his wrist and told him off, of course. He ripped his hand free, spitting like a cat and I had thought that would be the last I saw of him. But about a week later... I had run into him again, this time he was getting the shit kicked out of him by these three guys.”

Lance rested his cheek on his knees as he watched Shiro continue with his story, “I helped him out and...I don’t know, it was like we clicked. He was just...right. I hadn’t planned on changing him, but… let’s just say that something bad happened and I had no choice.” The tone of his voice made it clear to Lance he did not want to talk about whatever happened for him to change Keith.

Lance knew next to nothing about Keith’s change into a vampire, but if the nightmares the other had were anything to go by it was traumatic. The other would wake screaming and clawing at his skin, spitting at Lance if he tried to touch him.

“He hated me for a while, I think.” Shiro confesses, “He didn’t want to have anything to do with me, would leave for months at a time and come back soaked in blood and smelling of death. I don’t blame him, I took his humanity away from him, made him a monster .” Lance cannot help but scoot closer to Shiro and cautiously place his uninjured hand on the other’s arm in comfort, a low whine escaping his throat.

“I don’t think he has ever truly forgiven me.” Shiro whispers.

Lance hums, “Whether or not that is true... he does love you. So much.”

Shiro laughs, “Any feelings he has for me pale in comparison to the one he holds for you.”

Lance is about to say that Shiro is wrong when he is interrupted.

“Oh my god ,” a new voice groans, and the two look up as Keith stalks out of the shadows with an annoyed gleam in his violet eyes. “I love both of you fucking idiots,” he says, collapsing onto the forest floor in front of them with an unimpressed huff. Lance and Shiro share a sheepish glance.

“You okay Lance?” Keith turns his attention to him, his brow raising.

“I’ll be fine,” Lance whispers, curling his hand protectively to his core.

“Yeah, that’s a no.” The shorter vampire says to Shiro, who snorts in something like amusement. He scoots closer to Lance, holding out his hand expectantly. The Lycan hesitates a second before carefully giving Keith his hand.

“I can’t believe you got taken out by a fork,” Keith ribs as he carefully inspects Lance’s hand, gingerly running the pads of his fingers along the inflamed burns on his fingers and palm. Lance growls at him, but can’t help the small helpless smile from stretching across his face.

Keith frowns at the strange metallic surface of the burn and tuts worryingly over the black veins. “They will go away with time,” Lance murmurs, it doesn’t seem to help. Keith grimaces but says nothing as he reaches into the pocket of his hoodie and pulls out antiseptic pads and bandages and gets to work cleaning the wound, ignoring Lance’s whines at the burn of the wipes. That must’ve been why he took longer to get here, Lance thought absentmindedly as he watched Keith work.

“You two… geez ” Keith smiles ruefully, his hair falling from where it had been tucked behind his ear to fall into his face, obscuring his expression. “You both are a real piece of work, y’know that?”

Shiro laughs, “I’ve heard that a time or two, yeah.” Lance does not know what to say, so he just smiles against his knee and stays quiet.

Keith’s smile quickly fades and he glances at Lance worriedly, the vampire stares at him for a long silent moment. He physically gathers himself before speaking, his voice trembling “L-Lance,” the Lycan warily raises his eyes with a hum. “I-I know that you never… never signed up for this -- any of it.” Keith begins, and Lance does not like where this is going. “I… know that I’ve hurt you, that I continue to hurt you. I don’t even mean to!” he smiles bitterly as he continues “But I just want you to know that I fucking love you so much. You were never a… a distraction for me. I know I never said it but I do mean it! You were so kind and understanding and somehow knew exactly how to talk to me… you saved my life every fucking day I spent with you. Being with you is like standing in sunlight and… and I’m sorry that you’ve had to go through all this shit and if you want to leave --” his voice breaks “-- then I won’t ever try and stop you. You won’t ever have to see me again either.” He is almost done wrapping the bandages snuggly around his palm, snipping the line of cloth with scissors before tucking it expertly into place and is moving to wrap each of his fingers individually.

Then Shiro speaks, “I admit I wasn’t exactly jumping for joy when I came back to Keith in a relationship with another,” Keith bites his lip and curls in on himself and Lance feels equally ashamed for some reason, even if he knows logically that neither of them are to blame. “But if I had to choose anyone for him to fall in love with, it would be you.” His throat tightens, and can’t help the small desperate laugh that escapes his throat. God, he hates talking about his feelings and swears he is breaking out in hives.

“I don’t blame you, either of you.” Lance finally speaks, his chin resting on his knees, staring off somewhere passed Keith’s shoulder. “Not for my hand, or any of this shit. I know that you’re just trying to make this work and everything just keeps going wrong. But I also think that we are all being stupid, you two especially. Do you honestly think this will work?”

“If you don’t want--”

“I’m not saying I don’t want it, I’m asking you if you think this” he gestures at all of them, “ will work?”

Keith finishes bandaging his hand and squirms at the loss of having something to focus on, “I… don’t know.” he whispers. “I don’t know, but… if you’re willing I would like to try.”

“I would be willing to try too,” Shiro admits, smiling at Lance. The lycan does not return it.

“And what if it doesn’t work? You two will still be together and leave me in the dust,” Lance hisses, bitterness welling up in his chest. To him, it feels like Keith and Shiro have a win-win scenario, whilst Lance has the most to lose.

“Lance…” Keith whimpers, eyes big and sad.

“But you know what?” he says a touch manically before either of the stupid vampires can try to get a word in. “Sure. Let’s try... sharing Keith. I will give this a token effort, if in a month time neither of you can prove to me that this is worthwhile I am done.” he growls, feeling oddly powerful as the two vampires share hopeful glances and then look properly frightened by his last sentence.

“Lance, if you truly do not want--”

Lance is sick of them asking if this is okay, cause its really really not. But like it or not Lance is still madly and hopelessly in love with Keith and is willing to try this weird and strange arrangement if it means he can be with the vampire. Cause he’s pathetic. He needs a pack, and Keith is pack. Lance has latched on to him in a way that he is beginning to realize isn’t healthy at all but in the wake of the traumas he endured it feels justified in a way.

And Lance has always been a jump first look second kind of guy and he figures… why the hell not?

Not like he can be hurt anymore than he has.