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Getting involved like this was a bad idea. They worked together. They were fighting for a forgotten alien kingdom in some crazy bid to save the known universe. So much was staked on their success. They needed to stay objective. They needed to stay focused.

But Lance wanted it to happen. He waited for it. He banked on it. All he needed was something to force his hand. He needed something to back him into the corner, something to give him no room for self-doubt. Because this was a lot of things, but it wasn’t easy.

The way he felt about Keith confused him, even terrified him. Those confident, sure steps that propelled Keith just outside his reach left him lost and aching for something but he hardly knew what to do with that void or what it meant long term. He worked better with hard logic, things he could see rather than vague concepts, so he’d lay in bed and count off the facts.

Number one, He admired Keith. He’d admired him for years and all the awful things he said to Keith when they were kids were nothing but poorly placed bids to impress him. Number two, he found Keith attractive. That revelation was a tad more recent, but all Keith had to do was strip off his shirt during a training session and there wasn’t room for ambiguity there. Number three, he felt affection for Keith. That one was hard to pinpoint but what else could that warm sliver of fear in the base of his spine be?

Some horrible, naive voice called in the back of his mind, insisting they were meant for one another.

That was a stupid thought.

This was how Lance distracted himself. With the bright shine of technology and magic carried over from the ruins of Altea, they could forget they were at war, that people were dying each time they failed. Lance didn’t think about those things. He found it easier to dig into himself, think about his own stupid, worthless problems, than worry about the bigger picture and all that bad stuff happening in the background. Because there was absolutely a trail of death behind them and none of them ever spoke of it. None, except for Keith.

Ever since bumping up their lions, he and Keith started a habit of debriefing after missions. He followed Keith to his quarters and they spoke in private. Keith ranted. Lance listened. Each time, Keith crumbled, piece by piece. Lance never set out to tear at his walls, but as they fell all the lines between them were buried and forgotten. The bottom was bound to fall out at some point.

The night it happened, when Keith — for lack of a better phrase — completely lost it, Lance was there. He came to Keith’s door and knocked, like always, because that was the polite thing to do. But just after his hand rattled the door, instead of Keith's voice inviting him inside, Lance heard something crack, followed by a loud thump.

He frowned at the door. “Uh. Keith?”

No answer. Lance chewed his lip as he heard more shuffling, some violent-sounding thumping, and decided the potential safety of his teammate overruled politeness. He placed his hand on the keypad but the moment the door slid open, Keith snapped at him. The jumble of words was a quick and panicked, albeit colorful variation of “Get out!” as Lance took in the state of chaos he unwittingly walked into. Clothes were strewn across the floor and a broken bottle rolled across the ground at his feet. Water dripped down the wall and over the floor where the bottle had been hurled only seconds earlier.

And, well. OK.

Lance's eyes fell on Keith, where he stood almost shell-shocked in front of his bed. His hair was mussed up, pointing in every direction like he’d been pulling at it, and his face was splotched red with his lips pressed into a thin line. He was scowling and furious, daring Lance to say something, anything. Lance's mouth opened to do just that, but then he caught sight of the shine around the rim of Keith’s eyes, the swollen redness and bright tears caught in his lashes. His heart dropped somewhere in the pit of his stomach.

For once in his life, Lance said nothing. He walked past Keith, bent down and picked up the cracked water bottle and tossed it in the trash. He walked into Keith’s bathroom, flipped on the light, and grabbed a towel to soak up the puddle on the ground. He ignored the glare he got in return. Then he set to gathering up the rest of the discarded items — including a cracked tablet Allura will give both of them grief for come morning — all while Keith remained rod stiff in the center of the room, watching Lance as if he’d lost his mind.

With an armful of clothing, Lance's eyes darted around the room, “Where do these, uh...?” He stopped himself, noticing the drawer still hanging open beneath Keith’s bed. “Ah. Nevermind.”

Once he shoved the last of the loose clothing and tucked them away under the bed, Keith’s face finally softened. With the worst of the anger dissolved, he broke Lance’s gaze, embarrassed probably, but no longer knee-deep in a fit of wild rage. Lance decided that was an improvement.

He kept his voice level, not wanting to risk the words coming out all wrong, as they tended to do when he talked to Keith. He thought he’d have to get this right, or die trying. That same old voice in his head told him this was an important moment, some sort of code-red situation. Lance squared his shoulders and looked Keith in the eye. “So. You, uh, want to talk?”

And no. (It was a rhetorical question.) Keith didn’t want to talk, he never did, but it was obvious from the defeated look on his face that he knew he should. Lance frowned at him and waited. Keith just stood there, noble and confident again, but also tired and weary in a way that didn’t suit him. His shoulders looked heavy, as though something weighed him down.

Finally, in a quaking, stubborn voice he sighed and said, “I messed this up. Again.”

Lance chewed his lip, taking a heavy breath, and did nothing to challenge Keith’s admission. Lance already invited himself — by pure dumb luck and slight of hand — past Keith’s defenses the moment he reached out to him amid the clouded ruins of a desolate planet months earlier. Now this was his job, his responsibility for however long Keith left him with his red lion. Lance resolved to never let him down for however long he was needed. Lying to Keith about this sort of thing wouldn't win him any points.

When Keith didn't offer anything else, Lance moved to sit on the edge of Keith’s bed and waited quietly for Keith to do the same. He shoved his hands in his pockets and watched Keith from the corner of his eye as the bed dipped beside him. After he sat down, Keith placed his elbows on his knees, spread just slightly wider than his hips on the edge of the mattress. He sat like that a lot, the posture that gave away his desire to run, to be defensive. Lance would do his best to keep him in place. They were a go.

“Listen,” Lance shifted his weight backward, took his hands from his pockets and put his weight backward back on his palms. He kicked his legs out in front of him while Keith stayed hunched over, opting to run his hands over his face.

Lance didn’t do well with the quiet but he knew Keith needed it sometimes. And Keith wasn’t wrong. That night he’d made a bad choice, one that had ramifications for hundreds of civilians on a planet they’d never see again — casualties, all nameless as always — but sometimes there were no good choices. Lance could only say one thing to assuage him, be it true or not.

Lance said, “I would’ve done the same,” because having Keith’s back was his job. He would be good at something. Again. Didn’t matter if it was true or not, because Lance being there was the truth. He wasn’t gonna leave Keith behind, not now or ever, but especially not if Keith was crying. “I don’t know if it’ll get better,” he continued when Keith failed to react. “But we’ll get better at it. It’ll get easier.”

Keith gave a stiff, choked laugh, and it burned. He kept himself coiled like a tightly wound spring, stressed and folding in on himself. Lance wanted nothing more than to sooth him, fix this. He raised a hand to Keith’s shoulder, let it hover there, and then dropped it again. He wanted to make the connection but he pulled himself back. He wasn’t cornered just yet. There were still options. He tangled the hand in Keith’s bed sheets instead.

After a long and shaky inhale, Keith finally spoke, the words tempered with a dry laugh. “Yeah. Just gotta figure out how to win a war with five people and a magic robot made of lions, right? Sounds real doable Lance.”

Lance sighed. Keith was difficult. “Sure are feeling bitter today aren’t you. Jeez.”

“I’m—” Keith stopped himself, whatever he’d meant to say tucked back down. He pressed his fingers more intently to the crown of his head. “You’re not— Just don’t.”

“Yeah. Sorry,” Lance flicked his gaze away from Keith and toward the opposite wall. He wasn’t doing this right. “You know, we’re with you,” He amended, running his hands nervously over his thighs. “I’m with you. Whatever happens. That’s not gonna change.”

Keith’s eyes fell on him then, the intensity of his stare heavy enough to anchor Lance down to the bed. A rush of warmth washed through his body because he knew Keith was trying to tell him something, just not with words. Keith’s actions always spoke louder anyway. Then he looked away, put his face back in his hands. The message was almost lost.

Lucky for Lance, Keith was easier to read than most people gave him credit for. Keith was a genuine person, an honest person at his core. He was angry about of a lot of things, sure and he channeled anger everywhere he could throw his focus to keep it off his fears. Lance could understand that, at least. They were both young, inexperienced, and afraid to lose what mattered to them. The only difference was Keith’s aggression — what made him so vibrant — was how easily he’d get caught up in himself. Keith lashed out the hardest when he was scared.

That was the moment Lance felt his own back hit the wall. It happened in stages.

First, Lance reacted appropriately. He did what circumstance called for, what his duty called for. He brought his hand to Keith’s shoulder, let it sit on the fabric of his black undershirt, then he ran his hand over the nape of Keith’s neck, damp with sweat. Keith stiffened at first, stunned maybe, then relaxed with a small exhale. They didn’t look at each other. The shift in intimacy was easier that way. So, Lance’s slid his palm between Keith’s shoulder blades and pressed along the ridge of his spine, quietly mapping each ligament as he traced down. Keith would stop him if he were uncomfortable.

And Keith didn’t say anything. Lance hoped the motion was reassuring, urging himself to keep the movements steady up and down Keith’s back. He remembered his mother doing the same when he was upset, all the way at the end of his emotional tether. Maybe it wouldn’t mean much coming from Lance, but he hoped it helped.

Second, he waited for Keith to object, and waited some more. Then he slid his hand to Keith’s opposite shoulder, bringing them close enough their sides pressed together, and massaged the muscle on his arm there to prevent himself from doing something more foolish, like tucking Keith’s hair back into place.

Third, Keith turned his head just slightly and they were close, so much that Keith’s bangs brushed over Lance’s cheekbones.

Then, they were kissing.

Lance stopped breathing. The kiss was fumbling and awkward. Keith’s lips met his with a firm touch but a lack of finesse, like he hadn’t really thought about doing it until it just kinda happened without his permission. Despite initiating, Keith also didn’t seem too sure if he wanted to lead. Lance was too caught off guard to do contribute much at all. The only thing he could think about was that Keith’s lips felt really warm and soft and nothing like he’d imagined them. What was happening?

They parted and Lance withdrew his hold on Keith’s shoulder, fingers trembling. They looked at each other and there was just as much confusion on Keith’s face as Lance felt on his own. Lance was cold suddenly and he shifted his weight, preparing to stand, feeling a well of panic building in the pit of his stomach. This wasn't going to end well.

Just as he moved, Keith grabbed his knee and squeezed. "You should stay."

And Lance locked his gaze on Keith’s hand where it sat on his leg, his brow furrowed. This wasn’t where he thought any of this would go. Not realistically. This probably wasn’t a good idea either, if Lance was right about what was happening here. Which maybe he wasn’t, to be fair. But they were expected to make good choices Keith made it hard. Their emotions were too high. Lance pulled back, shifting away to say “Keith, listen. I’m-”

"No. Stay.” Keith’s voice was strained. He pointedly avoided Lance’s questioning stare and his grip tightened on Lance's knee. Asking was difficult for him. “Just— Stay. Please.”

Lance couldn’t say no. He couldn’t deny Keith. Was it what he wanted, maybe, for Keith to do something and show him he was important. He didn’t know why it meant so much more when Keith did it than anyone else. That unending need to impress Keith flared in his belly each time Keith offered any vague hint of approval. So in a soft acquiescence, he resumed the steady motion of his hand up and down Keith’s back.

“Yeah— Yeah. OK. I’m staying,” He said quietly.

And slowly, Keith relaxed. His fingers rummaged through his bangs before he folded them in front of himself. The line of his back loosened, like a switch just flipped off, but he still refused to look Lance in the eye. They sat like that for a few minutes, waiting for the suggestion to settle.

If he was being honest, Lance didn’t even know what Keith meant when he asked him to stay. Those words could mean a lot of things. He could stay for ten minutes. He could stay for ten hours. The implications of each were infinitely different. All he knew was that Keith’s hand didn’t leave his knee and that was probably relevant. Keith was telling him something important, something without words, the way Keith typically did. Feeling faintly helpless, Lance dropped the hand from Keith’s back and dug his fingers back into the bed sheets.

This absolutely was not easy.

Then, Keith’s hand inched further up his thigh and Lance swallowed at the obvious answer to his unasked question. He froze, but not from shame or distaste... just shock. The room became hot. His stomach started to flutter. This was a bad idea. Something tugged at Lance’s mind, reminding him dangerous things happened when emotional tension was high. For all he knew Keith remained in some level of complete meltdown. Unless throwing around his belongings was a normal routine for him. And honestly, who knew?

He must have tensed because Keith suddenly stopped moving. He tilted his head to stare down at the spot he stilled his hand midway up Lance’s thigh. He flicked his eyes to Lance’s face. “Are you— Do you want me to stop?”

“No. I—” Lance floundered for a few seconds, panic edging into his voice. “Maybe? I don’t know!” He took a steadying breath. He was panicking. He could hear it in his own voice. “No. I do— Trust me, I want to. I just. I don’t want you to, I dunno, change your mind later. I don’t want this- I don't want to be, like, you know, a mistake. For you.”

Keith’s brow pinched. “I know what I’m doing.”

Lance nodded, forcing the rest of his doubts down and away. His voice cracked as he began, “Yeah. Cool. OK. I’m game if you’re game. Let’s—”

Keith cut off his rambling with another kiss. His hand on Lance’s thigh started kneading and he turned his upper body so he could tug at the lapels of Lance’s jacket. This kiss was more desperate, shallow, and better than the last. His fingers slipped beneath Lance’s sleeves and he began tugging, growling in frustration until it dawned on Lance that Keith wanted him to take off the jacket. He was insistent, focused on what he wanted, and it warmed Lance to his bones.

He complied, awkward and shaky, tossing the jacket off to the side as Keith moved his attention to Lance’s neck. Keith kissed him right below his jaw, open mouthed and wet with the press of his tongue. Slivers of red-hot pleasure trickled down his back.

When Keith pulled away, his lips were swollen and red and although his expression kept hold of the restless, defeated quality he’d had all night, his eyes were plenty interested. He pressed a thumb to Lance’s cheek, asking with a voice devoid of self-consciousness, “Can we do this?”

“Yeah...” Lance sucked in a breath. Keith wasn’t thinking about them dying anymore, or messing things up, he was thinking about him. He was forgetting, if just for a minute and that was a good thing, right? So call Lance selfish, brash, or reckless all you want — because he wanted this just as badly, if for less meaningful reasons — but he was going to give Keith what he needed right then too. Surely that counted as support. He spoke, full of all the nervous, fake bravado he could muster, “Of course we can.”

Keith’s mouth quirked up in a soft smile. Lance’s heart sped up at that alone, just as it did the very first time Keith smiled at him, gave him that very un-Keith soft kind of smile with the gentle eyes that made Lance want to hold his hand and other dumb, juvenile-sounding things. Things that felt like they were changing, shifting into something more solid and frightening.

In one swift motion Keith twisted himself off the bed, stepping in front of Lance to yank off his boots as he placed one knee beside Lance’s hip and the other between his legs. Lance awkwardly kicked off his sneakers while Keith rolled on top of him, pushing him onto his back. Then Keith’s fingers raked up and under the hem Lance’s shirt and his belly quivered under the touch. Everything happened fast.

The way Keith kissed him now was frenzied, warm, and rash. Just like Keith himself. Lance began to lose count of their kisses. They spoke the same language here, the clumsiness of their mouths replaced by sureness. Keith was an aggressive kisser. Not that this was a surprising revelation, but Lance hadn’t ever made out with anyone so sure of themselves. He nipped at Lance’s bottom lip until Lance gasped against him, thrusting his tongue past Lance’s teeth, twisting and exploring with confidence.

Any lingering doubt that Keith didn’t really want this fell to the wayside along with Lance’s shirt when Keith yanked it over his head before removing his own. Propping himself up on one elbow, Lance grabbed the back of his neck, fingers slipping through his smooth hair to pull Keith back in, to bring their bodies closer. Blunt nails dragged down over Keith’s shoulders, relishing the way his whole body shivered. With Keith’s now skin bare, Lance felt the goose flesh prick up under his fingertips even though Keith’s skin burned under his touch.

Keith worked his pants off and snapped the button of Lance’s jeans until they were stripped down to their underwear. Lance felt along the juncture of Keith’s hips, fingers idling over the protruding bones there and dipping into his scars. His body responded easily as Keith rubbed small circles over his chest and down and around his back.

They didn’t stop to think about what they were doing, whatever consequences this might have. It only felt right in that moment.

Keith climbed off him, sat up on his knees, and Lance rolled onto his side. Anxious and blind with the sudden need to touch and never stop, Lance tugged at Keith’s boxers until Keith helped to get them pulled midway down his hips.

They paused. Lance bit at his bottom lip looking at Keith’s naked cock. He guessed it was average sized, though nothing to scoff at, a little longer than his own but maybe not as thick. Or maybe it was. That probably didn’t matter, he assured himself. There were folds of skin just under the head — and he knew what a foreskin was thankyouverymuch — but this was the first time he’d seen any sort of dick up close and personal, other than his own. So naturally his curiosity piqued at the differences between them. He found himself fighting the urge to just jump on in and play with it.

That would be rash.

Probably.

Maybe Keith didn’t care.

Lance’s heart thudded in his chest, willing to take an impulsive chance. He leaned forward on one elbow, urged by Keith’s fingers as they combed through his hair. He kissed at the skin of his shaft and then licked a long stripe up from the base to crown. He shifted his even weight further to his side for a better angle and stopped rubbing himself to touch Keith instead, stroking up with his fingers and following with his tongue. He’d never done this before, for anyone. He also had only the most limited first hand experience on the receiving end, but he assumed what he was doing must’a felt pretty good by the way Keith’s breath hitched and his nails scraped along the back of his neck, the way he gave a soft, sexy little ”Oh” the moment Lance touched him.

In that moment, Lance decided he liked Keith’s dick. He liked it a whole lot. Maybe that was weird and maybe he should’a been a little put off by the musky scent of Keith’s crotch and the salty taste, but he liked it. Keith’s dick was fun.

Growing bolder as Keith made more of those little noises, responding to each little experimental thing Lance did — and letting his own curiosity get the better of him — he ran his tongue beneath the foreskin, circling back up to suck on the head repeating the motion a few times. The reaction was immediate. Keith’s hips pitched forward and he let out a sharp gasp, his fingers gripping and pulling at Lance’s hair.

Lance let off his length to smile up at him, lips still brushing along the wet skin. He couldn’t resist, leering around the words, “You like that, baby?”

Keith, predictably, did not approve of the pet name. He huffed, silently chastising Lance with the disapproving line of his eyebrows. A shame. Lance didn’t care so much though, smiling to himself, and he changed tactics to bite softly at Keith’s inner thighs where the legs of his boxers were bunched up.

Then Keith re-adjusted himself, twisting his torso to lean to the side and the angle made it much harder for Lance to blow him, which was... not OK. Lance opened his mouth to protest but Keith squeezed the back of his neck in assurance. Lance watched, a little frustrated, as Keith hooked a hand underneath his knee.

“Lift your leg for me,” he mumbled, and Lance was a little confused, still put out, until Keith’s hand dropped down the backside of his thigh to cup his ass, squeezing and pushing between his cheeks in a way that made Lance’s cock swell. He placed one hand on Lance’s extended knee and cupped Lance’s balls with the other, pushing his fingers further back to press at his asshole through the fabric of his boxers. Lance bit his lip, letting his shoulders drop to the bed. Keith asks, “Can I?”

“You can—” Lance rubbed his hands over his face. This was really happening. “You can do literally anything you want.”

Keith hopped off the bed, stripping his boxers off and Lance followed suit, tossing them somewhere on the floor as Keith crouched down to dig something out from underneath his mattress. He climbed back to his previous position on his knees, poised close to Lance’s head, and a bottle of what Lance guessed was lube.

Lance asked, because he couldn’t help himself, the traitorous part of his brain taking some level of offense. “Bring people back to your room often?”

“Relax Lance,” Keith rolled his eyes, pulling off his gloves before squeezing some some of it into his hand. “I use it on myself.”

“Oh. Yeah. Cool. Gotcha.” Lance busied himself toying with the end of Keith’s pillowcase. The sudden image of Keith doing anything to himself was getting Lance hot all over again.

Keith shifted himself back in that awkward angle, his dry hand nudging Lance’s knee back open and the other wasting no time to press between his legs. Lance took a steadying breath, trying to make himself comfortable on his side.

“So. You can, uh.” Keith looked back down at Lance. “Keep doing what you were doing a minute ago. If you want.”

Oh. Right. That was why Keith had his legs positioned by his face. Lance propped himself back up on one elbow and began working Keith back up to full hardness. The way he had to arch his back to make the position work wasn’t exactly comfortable, but simultaneously worth it as Keith eased a finger inside of him.

He’d done this to himself before, and it was okay, but he never managed to make it feel great. As Keith worked inside him, fingers moving a little faster and rougher than Lance ever attempted on his own, he knew that was about to change. Keith could push deeper than he could, and he seemed to know all the right ways to curve his fingers to hit the right spots. Lance jerked, moaning around Keith’s cock to keep from shouting outright.

Keith did it again, a third time time, and then a fourth, and Lance was on the very edge of orgasm. Keith began thrusting his hips then, fucking into Lance’s mouth and the movement was unexpected enough Lance shoved a hand on Keith’s hip in a vain attempt to hold him still. For a minute, he means to let go — this is a little much — but that was also the moment Keith started to lose it. Lance forced himself to keep breathing through his nose, ignoring the mild panic that he was suffocating as he struggled between conflicting sensations on both ends of his body. Keith’s cock hit the back of his throat and Lance could feel his pre-cum dribbling down his throat.

He’s pushed on his back and maneuvered so Keith’s body was spread above him, knees on either side of his head, and then Keith — two fingers still pressed intently inside Lance — took him into his mouth. Lance saw stars when he came into Keith’s mouth, twisting his face to kiss the inside of Keith’s thigh and smother the embarrassing noise bubbling up from his chest.

Lance wasn’t done. He asked Keith, one step away from begging, to do more. Whatever it was, he only needed more of it. He needed it until he lost count.

Keith re-arranged him on the bed, his own muscles too drained to be much help. Keith lifted his hips and pressed his upper body down on the pillow. Everywhere Keith touched was sensitive, overly tender, but he wanted to stay there. The Keith was pressing against him, the head of his cock pushing in while Keith rubbed soothing circles across his back. Lance groaned in to the pillow, urging Keith on with a string of nonsense words. They tumbled from him and he surely said things he’d regret later. It didn’t matter just then.

Keith held him down with one hand centered between his shoulder blades and the other braced on the wall beside him. He moved slow at first, one firm push until he was fully sated and then another. Lance squirmed beneath him. The movement of his cock wasn’t as careful or deliberate as Keith’s fingers had been, but the aching burn was damn good in its own way. Lance pushed back as much as he could, hips raising against the pressure, to get it angled just right — and Keith let out a shaky groan.

With that he began thrusting, driving hard enough that Lance’s head knocked against the headboard with every shove. Each thrust was sharp, deep and abrupt, and Lance knotted his hands in Keith’s pillow, pushing his face into the fabric to mask his moans.

"Good? Mm.—Lance?” Keith was panting, the sound of his voice rasped and desperate. Lance hadn’t heard him like that before and the sound alone had his cock swelling all over again. When Keith spoke, the words were punctuated with tiny grunts so that lance almost — almost — missed the slip of his tongue. “Lance— Come on, babe. Come on. You OK?”

“‘M good,” Lance said in a hoarse whisper. And shit. Keith actually said that. He called him babe like they were a freaking couple or something. He was hit with the sudden revelation that they could’a been doing this for the last five months at least, and that was such a godamned waste. With a groan, Lance reached down between his own legs to rub at his erection, almost angry he might come again, that Keith might get him off again, and Keith snapped his hips harder, nails digging painfully into his hips. “God. Holy— Very good. I hate you. Keith— Keep it up, keep it up, keep it—

Keith was groaning now, folded over Lance’s body with one arm wrapped around his chest and the other cradling Lance’s head. He knew the moment orgasm washed over Keith, the way his hips snapped and shook out of sync with the careful rhythm he’d created. There was no inhibition left, his nails scraping down Lance’s back as he made a sound so guttural Lance was certain — if he was in his room — Hunk was getting an earful next door.

Lance pumped himself harder, faster, intent bringing himself off before Keith pulled out of him. Keith sank some more weight onto his back, forcing more pressure on Lance’s thighs, but the added burn helped. Keith said something, the sound gravel against his neck — a desperate murmur of come on, come on, come on — and Lance’s balls tightened, breath growing shorter and fingers gripping helplessly at Keith’s pillow until he came over the bed sheets.

The next thing he felt was Keith nudging his shoulder to get him off the wet spot he left in the bed. He looked up to find Keith smiling at him, in a far too self-satisfied way. Lance frowned. “Fuck off.”

Keith snorted, ruffling Lance’s hair. “I’m changing my sheets. Go take a shower, you disgusting moron.”

⁂⁂⁂

That night, they shared a bed.

Once the high wore off, Keith went quiet again and Lance started to worry. He laid beside Keith, a deliberate five inches of space left between them and he stared at the ceiling. Keith was thinking about dying again. Thinking. Worrying. Lance was not sleeping.

Only he’d wanted this for so long, it was hard to regret.

Keith didn’t strike Lance as a cuddler. Then again Keith didn’t seem like a lot of things he actually was. So Lance took a chance. He shifted onto his side, wrapping an arm around Keith’s midsection and pulling him backward so his shoulders was pressed against Lance’s chest. He exhaled, stretching a little just to accommodate their positioning, but didn’t do much else to react. Lance reasoned he’d say something if he were uncomfortable. So they stayed.

The room was quiet again and Lance’s fingertips brushed absently across Keith’s stomach. The way he was curled and relaxed left soft little folds on his belly so Lance poked at them. Softly, he asked Keith if they were okay. He wanted to know, even if he hated the answer. Keith didn't say anything.

He counted the facts off in his head. Number one, he admired Keith. Number two, he wanted Keith. Number three, he loved Keith.

Lance touched Keith's arm, asked again, “Will we be OK?”

Keith made an unhappy noise that signaled he’d been half-asleep and he turned over to frown at Lance. “I don’t know,” He answered honestly. Then he pulled Lance toward him, kissed him - with some real heat behind it - and murmured a more gentle "but you did make this feel better" against his lips.

The words washed the last of Lance’s doubts away. He had Keith’s approval.

And Lance would be good at something.