Keith looked down in amazement at his and Lance's linked hands. It had been a couple of weeks now, and he was still surprised to remember sometimes that they were actually dating and he hadn't woken up from some dream by now. Lance squeezed his hand and he looked up to see a soft smile directed towards him. He smiled back and tugged Lance forward in line. Hunk and Shay stood in front of them as they waited for their turn to hand in their tickets for "No One Can Hear You Scream," the newest horror film. The online reviews said it was really good, and Keith had been looking forward to seeing it with his boyfriend for weeks. Coran worked at the movie theater and had managed to get them discounted tickets, so it had only seemed fair to invite Hunk and Shay to come along.
Once inside the theater where the movie was playing, Hunk turned to Keith.
"So, where do you want to sit? You're the one with the most experience when it comes to horror movies, so where is the best place in the theater?" Keith raised an eyebrow.
"I always sit a little more towards the back and off to one side, but wait, have I really seen the most horror movies? I don't think I've watched more than ten or eleven total."
Hunk nodded. "I've only seen four or five, personally." Shay nodded in agreement.
"Three for me. I never watched them when I was younger, so the only ones I've seen are the ones Hunk and I saw together." The three looked to Lance, who hadn't said anything yet.
He shrugged. "This is a first for me." Keith looked shocked.
"Really? Not one?"
"I'm just in a weird place age-wise in the family, so I guess it just... never happened. I'm excited though!" He grinned brightly.
Keith smiled and led the little group to his favorite seats in the theater, sitting down and holding Lance's hand as the lights started dimming and the opening titles rolled across the big screen.
It was official, this was the best and scariest movie Keith had ever seen. He was definitely buying this one when it came out on DVD. He turned to ask Lance how he was liking it and froze.
Lance was gripping the armrests with both hands, his knuckles white. His eyes never strayed from the screen, wide and terrified. Keith could see his chest rising and falling much too quickly, and could hear the shallow breaths Lance was taking. Realizing that anything sudden would likely set Lance off and cause a scene that the Cuban would most likely desperately want to avoid, he opted for a quiet hum in the back of his throat. A few seconds later, Lance blinked and looked at him. Keith gently and slowly moved to take Lance's hand. When Lance didn't object, he linked their fingers together and rubbed the back of Lance's hand with his thumb.
Lance let out a slow, shaky breath. Keith leaned over subtly to whisper to Lance.
"Do you want to leave?"
Nothing. Then, a slow, small nod from Lance. Keith stood and moved Lance toward the exit. Hunk looked up at them in confusion, but Keith quickly shook his head and made a placating gesture to their friend. Hunk sat back and returned his attention to the movie, which was nearly over by now. Keith guided Lance outside and over to a bench in the foyer. He sat and patted the couch next to him, but Lance either didn't notice or simply ignored the gesture; he sat directly in Keith's lap, wrapping both arms around his boyfriend's neck and burying his face in Keith's neck.
"Lance?" Keith asked quietly. Luckily the foyer was basically empty so Keith could focus on Lance. When Lance didn't answer him, he simply held him and rubbed his back soothingly. "It's alright, I've got you. Just breathe for me, okay?" After a few minutes, Keith felt Lance's halting breaths even out a bit and some of the tension in Lance's shoulders loosened. He pulled back just enough to kiss Lance's forehead. "Are you going to be okay?" Keith murmured into Lance's hair.
A nod from Lance, but he still didn't say anything. Keith nudged him.
"Babe? Talk to me for a minute?"
Lance sighed and sat up, wiping tears out of his eyes. "It's stupid. Really, really stupid."
Keith shook his head and threaded a hand through Lance's hair gently, cupping his face and wiping at the tear tracks on his cheeks. "I promise it isn't. It clearly matters to you, so that means it matters to me. Let me help you, Lance."
Lance let his gaze fall to the floor. "I... I got scared. I'm so sorry, it's just a movie, I know it isn't real, but... I was still scared. And not the good kind, like why you like these movies, the bad kind that makes you freeze up and feel like you're going to die kind of scared. I knew it was all fake, I knew I was fine, but... it just seemed so real at the time, you know? And I couldn't move and all I could think was I was going to die there and-" Lance choked off the end of his sentence and fell forward into Keith's chest again, whispering "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry" into Keith's shirt over and over again. Keith quickly wrapped his arms around Lance again, feeling the other boy shake, trying to stifle his tears.
"That's not stupid at all, Lance. It's okay, really. You don't need to be sorry, Lance. If anything I should be the one apologizing, I'm the one that suggested we come. I should have noticed sooner that you weren't enjoying it, so I'm sorry." Keith rubbed Lance's back comfortingly, and, as expected, Lance shook his head as soon as Keith finished talking.
"I agreed to come, it isn't your fault either. It's just... I guess horror movies aren't my thing." Lance sighed and wiped at his cheeks again. "I just feel so stupid for not being able to handle it and being so... incapacitated I guess."
Keith smiled gently and stroked Lance's hair. "Not stupid. That's just something that causes a stress reaction for you. Big crowds of strangers do it for me, horror movies do it for you. You always tell me there's nothing to be ashamed of when I get freaked out, and the same is true for you." Lance was silent for a minute, and then he enthusiastically hugged Keith.
"Thank you, Keith. Just... thank you." The two sat in comfortable silence for about ten minutes before the movie got out and they were quickly joined by Hunk and Shay.
Hunk looked Lance over, clearly concerned for his best friend. "Lance, are you okay?" Lance mustered a smile and nodded, still sitting in Keith's lap.
"I'm good, big guy. I... I just.... I got a little freaked out by the movie. Turns out horror movies just really aren't my scene." Keith could see how much Lance was trying to downplay this, and he made a mental note to cuddle Lance extra hard tonight and make sure he really was okay.
Shay looked concerned as well, but she didn't say anything, just smiled at Lance and gave his shoulder a quick squeeze. Hunk cleared his throat in the moments of silence that followed Lance's statement.
"So, do you guys want to go get ice cream? The shop on main street doesn't close for a few more hours."
Keith saw Lance's smile turn more genuine and he was decided. "Sounds like a great idea, Hunk." He nudged Lance off his lap and stood, brushing off his pants. He slipped an arm around Lance's waist and gestured towards the exit. "Lead the way."