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where the sunshine feels like home

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. . .

If home feels like anything, Keith thinks, then it must feel like this.

It’s the sunlight’s golden glow trailing kisses down his spine. It’s the sea breeze’s gentle fingers combing through the thick of his hair. It’s the bed of white sand caressing the bottoms of his feet, pearlescent and velvety-smooth.

And it’s the swell of an entire sunrise in his chest when he spots a tall figure bounding down the beach at full speed.  

He’s older now. It’s something that Keith sometimes forgets in moments like this, when his pulse races, and there’s youthful vulnerability alight in his cheeks and restless eyes, and he feels very much like that lonely, wayward boy who literally sieged an entire galaxy to find himself here, with the lapping waves and a brimming heart. His skin pebbles beneath the fabric of his Marmoran suit, every inch of him trembling with bone-deep want — a want that has always been there, just below the surface, but never fully recognized until a pair of blue eyes broke over him like a rising tide. He’s dizzy with it, this want. He’s mad with it.        

Lance is older, too. He’s all bronze skin, and broad shoulders, and windblown hair that he keeps a little longer now. His jeans are rolled up to his ankles, and the front of his shirt is left unbuttoned, flapping open as he runs to reveal a constellation of scars, darkened with age, and etched proudly into his warrior’s chest.

“Keith!”

He digs his heels deeper into the sand. It’s all Keith can do to keep from flopping face-first into the lukewarm surf because that voice — that voice — has never sounded clearer, stronger, or more hopelessly in love.

And then Lance is throwing himself into Keith’s waiting arms, pushing them backwards a few inches so that they stumble for balance, but it doesn’t matter. Because Keith can’t quite decide whether he’s standing or falling, anyway, lost somewhere in the firmness of Lance’s body plastered against him.

God,” whispers Lance, breath sweet and warm against Keith’s neck. “Give a guy some warning, Kogane.”

Keith chuckles, rumbling in the back of his throat, and gathers up desperate fistfuls of Lance’s shirt. “Missed you, too,” he whispers back.

And this… this, Keith thinks, feels like home, too.


 

 

 

“Let’s get married.”

Keith is barely even half-awake when he hears the soft murmur ghosting across their pillowcase, so he grunts absent-mindedly, rubs at his eyes, and then opens them to find the bleary outline of Lance’s face just mere inches away from his own.

He yawns. “We’re not really dressed for the occasion.”

“Who cares. I can still marry you in pajamas. Hell, I’d marry you bare-ass naked in the middle of a Thayserixian electromagnetic storm if I had to. I wanna marry you so bad, Keith, it physically hurts. Every second we’re not bound in holy matrimony is literal torture. So just put me out of my misery, babe —”

“Hey,” says Keith, gentle. The grogginess fades from his vision in time to see Lance’s eyes dart to every point on Keith’s face, going glossy with emotion. “Where’s all this coming from?”

Lance squirms beneath Keith’s attentive gaze. “Just… been thinking about it while you were away.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah.”

“I thought,” Keith begins slowly, “that we agreed to wait. Until things are less hectic. Until things are more —”

“ — Settled. Yeah, I know,” Lance licks over his lips, pouty and nibbled red with unease. “But… it’s been months, and things are still just as hectic as they were when you first started the relief efforts with The Blade. You’re just gonna keep leaving, and coming back, and then leaving again. That’s our life now, y’know? So we gotta start accepting that and just — make a decision, and roll with it.

Keith can often see when Lance is spiraling; when the thoughts are loud and buzzing inside his skull. A barrage more unforgiving than it normally is. He can see the way Lance grips the bedsheets with white knuckles, and the way he breathes with shallow undulations of his chest. And so Keith presses a hand against the sharp angle of his jaw, drags a thumb along the downward slope of his lower lip, and brings Lance back to reality — the reality where Keith adores him, and cherishes him.  

“Marrying you won’t make any difference, Lance. I’m still gonna love you, and fight for you, and think about you every second of every day when I’m gone.” One corner of his mouth lifts up toward the apple of his cheek, lopsided and endeared. “You know that, right?”

“‘Course I do,” Lance says at once. “But — just — don’t you wanna fly off into the universe and tell all your Galra buddies about how you can’t wait to get back to Earth so you can see your hot human husband?”

The other side of Keith’s mouth starts to curl now, too. “I already bug them enough with how much I talk about my hot human boyfriend.”

“Husband sounds better!”

“You’re over-thinking this, love.”

Something long, lean, and decidedly muscular suddenly hooks itself around Keith’s waist, and before he can even think to react, Lance is using his leg to roll himself on top of his boyfriend, settling on his hips, with elbows propped on either side of his startled face.

“I’m not above begging, Keith,” he warns him pointedly. “Kind of a big blow to the ‘ol self-esteem, having to beg my boyfriend of eight years to marry me, but… a guy’s gotta do what a guy’s gotta —”

“You’re not gonna let this go, are you?”

“I want it,” Lance breathes, thoughtful. “I want the whole thing with you. The rings, the wedding, the vows that I’ve probably already sworn to you a long time ago, but I wanna do it again — officially this time. I want the whole world — the whole universe — to know how perfect we are together, even when we’re apart. I want… all of it.”

Keith blinks, as if doing so will somehow capture this moment like a photograph, so that he might look back on it later when he’s homesick and miles upon miles away from where he left his heart. Here, with Lance, tangled up in his arms, and a heart-pounding love. A love that used to frighten him to his core, long before he even understood what it was.

Lance bows his head, lips moving fast against Keith’s mouth as he whispers, like a lovestruck mantra, “Say yes, say yes, say yes…”

And then Keith is flipping them over, grinning like a fool when Lance gives an adorable yelp of surprise, and stares down at that wide gaze, steady and unwavering. Because it doesn’t frighten him anymore, this love. It moves him, and floors him, and keeps him anchored to the place where he knows, with great certainty, he belongs.

“If that’s what it takes,” he says, drowning in those eyes of blue, “for me to keep coming home to you.”