Chapter 1: Olmypics - Day One: The Arrival
*mumbling in the background*
*quietly* “... and enjoy your stay, sir.”
*cheerful voice* “Thank you!”
*wheels on the floor*
A young, handsome man with tanned skin came into focus, his bright blue eyes sparkling and a wide smile taking over his face. “Guys, I made it. I’m finally in Seoul!”
Lance whipped his head around and saw Pidge waving at him from the other side of the hotel’s restaurant. His eyes widened a little and his heart made a small jump in excitement. Quickly he scooped one more spoonful of sauce onto his overfilled plate before scurrying off towards the younger girl, barely managing to keep all his food on his plate.
“Pidge, Hunk!” he almost yelled, somehow managing to put down his plate without spilling anything before wrapping Pidge into a bone-crushing hug and then jumping into Hunk’s arms. The other laughed and caught his best friend easily, tightening his arms around him in a welcoming hug. “Hey man,” he said, putting Lance down onto his own two feet again after a while of clinging. “Looking good.”
Lance smirked and snapped his fingers coyly, winking at the taller male and making finger guns. You know, all that good stuff. “Bitch, you know it. Effortlessly beautiful is my second name.”
Pidge snorted loudly, the sound rather unbecoming but she couldn't care less. She was already seated again and back to eating her food, arranged neatly because she was one of those people who had to eat everything in a certain kind of order. “I bet my new gaming laptop that half your suitcase is filled with beauty products.”
The Cuban squawked and gasped in an offended manner, putting a hand onto his chest like the comment had physically hurt him. “I only took the essentials this time!” he insisted. He had a lot of essentials, admittedly, but still. “South Korea is like heaven for skin care and beauty stuff. I had to leave some room and take all of that good stuff back with me! WHo knows when I’ll get a chance to do that again.”
His friends both snickered, more than used to his antics and his love for skincare. Some people might think of it as a rather superficial trait but honestly, what was bad about liking to take care of yourself?
They settled around the fancy table, all decked out with a white tablecloth and way too many glasses tableware. Lance choose to ignore the wooden chopsticks and instead grabbed the nearest fork. He couldn’t care less what it was for, whether for soup or bread, pasta or pizza. Who had even invented different versions of cutlery for different things? That was incredibly unnecessary and simply a waste.
“So,” Pidge piped up again, grinning smugly. “Where did you leave Coran?”
This time it was Lance’s turn to snort, barely managing to swallow the piece of chicken he was currently chewing on. “Leave him ?” he asked after swallowing. “ He left me at the fucking airport in Havana! He said he had to take care of some business and would follow a day later. I had to come to fucking South Korea all on my own. No one speaks English, much less Spanish!”
“Yes, because we’re in South Korea so everyone speaks Korean. Besides, most people at the airport and around here speak English,” Hunk deadpanned and Lance huffed sulkily. “Fine,” he grumbled. “But still, the flight was 23 hours, I had to stop in freaking Paris but I was stuck at the airport and couldn’t leave and the people there really don’t like speaking English. I swear that one lady was glaring at me like I had personally offended her.”
“You probably did if you tried to flirt with her,” Pidge muttered.
“All I did was say ‘Bonjour mademoiselle’,” Lance whined.
“Pidge, you wound me!”
“Okay guys,” Lance opened and closed the door of his hotel room, not looking at the camera as he made sure it was locked and shoved the small round magnetic key into the pocket of his hoodie. He had attached a small plush dolphin keychain to it for the duration of his stay so he wouldn’t lose it. He flashed a grin towards the camera before focusing onto his path again in an attempt to hunt down the closest elevator.
“So, I’m hella jet-lagged and tired but my phone...” he held it up towards the camera, the screen showing a clock and his lockscreen that was a pic of the private beach that his family owned at the back of their house. Even if it weren’t private it would still be theirs because they lived quite secluded and no one ever came around except for their neighbors, friends and some locals once in a while. “...says it’s 8am so I guess I have to get going. I had breakfast already which was… very different from what I’m used to but that’s okay. We can make do.”
The elevator dinged and he stepped inside, pressing the button for the ground floor, quite thankful that he was the only one present at the moment. He flipped the camera to the full-length mirror wall and wiggled his perfectly groomed eyebrows at his reflection with a grin on his face. He ran his free hand through his brown hair that was curling slightly since he hadn’t bothered with straightening or blow drying it this morning. His outfit consisted of an oversized, bright orange hoodie, black leggins and his trusty comfort-air-max that he always took with him because they were damn comfortable.
There were heathens like Pidge who wore Converse all year around no matter what and he just couldn’t understand how her feet were still alive.
“I wanted to check out the area later and since Coran is probably going to arrive in the evening or tomorrow morning at the latest this is the only day without him chasing me around so we’ll have to make the best out of it.” That was the plan for today and Lance nodded to himself before smiling again. “I’ll see you guys again once something interesting happens”
The doors slid open again and Lance stepped out into the fancy lobby to set out to explore, taking his camera with him but having turned it off. He’d turn it back on once he found something worth sharing but he didn’t want to get in trouble for filming people without their permission.
It was kind of an issue at these official events and he really didn’t want to screw it up before it had really started.
After about an hour he had a pretty good overview over the layout of the hotel and had snuck a glance at pretty much everything. There was a pretty cool gym which he’d probably end up using tomorrow at the latest and there was a spa as well with a pool he couldn’t wait to try out later.
At the back of the hotel there was a really nice terrasse that would surely be great during the summer but not so much in February. Even with a bunch of blankets.
Lance wasn’t one who enjoyed sitting around in the cold.
He had tried to flirt with the receptionist a little but the young woman hadn’t really appreciated his efforts. Nevertheless she had answered his questions in quite acceptable English - Lance wasn’t one to judge but her accent had been pretty obvious - and had called him a shuttle that would bring him to the rink.
Once he was there he kinda felt a little small in comparison to the giant arena that could seat roughly 12,000 people. While it wasn’t the first time he’d step foot in such a building it was still… extraordinary. It always managed to steal his breath away no matter how used he should be to this procedure.
A shiver ran down Lance’s spine and that wasn’t just because it was rather chilly outside.
As a boy from Cuba, a small little island most people didn’t know or even think twice about, to be standing here in South Korea as an athlete for the Winter Olympics was downright overwhelming. He’s had a lot of competitions, internationally as well but these were his first Olympics and… he was terrified to be honest.
He didn’t let his moments of fear show very often. He joked around, was loud, had fun. That’s who he was. He tried not to worry about things too much but he couldn’t help but worry now as he stood there, alone in a foreign country with a bunch of other talented and skilled athletes who wouldn’t hesitate to snatch even the smallest accomplishment from him if it meant victory.
Lance shook his head. No, he shouldn't think like that. They were athletes, not soldiers battling out a war. Not everyone was out to get one anther.
It was a competition, yes, the biggest in the world, but he wouldn’t let that stop him from having fun.
“Are you just staring or are you gonna go in?”
Lance almost jumped out of his skin and whirled around to face a tall lady with long, silver hair. Her skin was a bit darker and cooler than his own, not as sun-kissed, but her gaze was all the more warm if a bit amused. A slight accent rang in her voice, something Lance would probably recognize anywhere since it sounded way too formal and somewhat royal to his ears.
“Allura!” he called cheerfully, not even thinking before he bundled over to her to wrap his long arms around her. She laughed and hugged him back without qualms. “Hey there,” she said and smiled at him, pushing a stray piece of hair behind her ear that the wind had pushed out of place. “You wanna come inside with me? It’s way too cold out here.”
“Girl, you don’t even have to ask,” Lance sang and dashed for the big double doors, holding them open for Allura who patted his head as she passed him. “Such a gentleman.”
“Just for the most beautiful ones,” he shot back with a charming smile and she scoffed, rolling her eyes fondly.
They had always gotten along, right from the start. Lance might have annoyed her a little bit with his flirty comments but after understanding that it was just Lance’s way of communicating with pretty much anyone they had become great friends.
Allura was his senior, had helped him a lot with her tips and reviews of his programs and Lance would always cherish her opinion.
“Where’s Romelle?” he asked curiously as he fell into step beside her, spotting her pink duffle bag that she had slung across her shoulder, a series of sparkly rhinestones embedding the side in elegant swirls.
“Still recovering from the flight, you know how she gets,” the British girl sighed. “She turns all snappy.”
Lance grimaced in sympathy. Romelle was an awesome coach and really fun to be around but she could also get incredibly cranky since she had a terrible case of motion sickness so everyone tried their best to avoid her after her immediate arrival.
“You got here yesterday?” Lance asked as they walked through the maze of hallways and doors, his eyes searching the walls and floor, flitting over labeled doors and fancy screens but it was a bit too much to take in all at once. He knew he could spend hours just walking around and taking everything in but that might be something to do on another day.
Allura hummed in confirmation. “Yeah, early in the morning. I heard you got here in the evening? My uncle’s not with you?”
A huff escaped Lance, his lips pursing into a pout. “No, said he’d catch up later. Left me to fly 23 hours from Havana to Seoul all by myself. I was bored to death.”
Allura gave him another sympathetic smile - “Sounds like him.” - as she pushed open yet another door, a cool chill creeping under Lance’s hoodie but not enough to make him want to zip up his jacket just yet. His breath froze in his lungs for a moment but it quickly settled down again as he realized this was not the rink but rather just the practise rink in the basement of the arena. He released his breath in a huff and calmed his skipping heart.
Maybe he’d go see the real rink later but for now he’d probably stick to Allura. The older girl was amazing off but also on the ice. She possessed an amount of grace Lance had yet to see in any other skater from the ladies category and he didn’t have any qualms about admitting that Allura would be very formidable competition if they were in the same category. He probably wouldn’t stand a chance against her.
It was no surprise many people had their eyes on her, watching her every move and trying to prepare in order to beat her. She more often than not landed a spot on the winners’ podium and Lance was pretty sure she’d be up there for these Olympics as well. It was her second time and he was only a little envious that she didn’t seem to be as nervous as he was but maybe she was just better at covering it up.
He liked to think he was pretty good at it as well since most people didn’t notice when he was scared or insecure about something if he didn’t outright say it.
“You’re vlogging again?” Allura asked as she sat down on a bench close to the rink and pulled her skates from her bag to put them on, glancing at the camera peeking out of the pocket of Lance’s hoodie.
“Oh, yeah, kinda was earlier,” he replied sheepishly. “I don’t think I’ll have much time later on so I kinda wanna do it now. Might be the only chance I get before I’m too nervous to think about anything else except skating.” It could happen and had happened before. He wouldn’t be surprised if skating were to be the only thing on his mind for the coming weeks. “I can record you if you want? Then you can take a look at it later if you want to.”
“That would be amazing actually,” the girl said cheerfully. “And you could give me some pointers.”
“Psh,” Lance snorted. “Girl, you don’t need no pointers. I bet your program is perfect. I saw you land all that jumps perfectly last time.”
Allura smiled at the compliment, tightening her laces with practised ease. “Thanks but I still want those pointers. The more insight the better. You know I value your opinion, Lance.”
It was enough to make him give in. “Okay, okay, fine. The amazing Lancey Lance will find one or two flaws in your program.”
She patted his shoulder in thanks once she stood up, standing around the same height as him with her skates on.
“Oh, it seems we have company,” she said as they reached the boards and handed Lance her sparkly pink guards before stepping onto the ice. The Cuban boy looked up and around the rink, his eyes falling onto two guys who stood on the other side.
The one on the ice was wearing the typical skater outfit; black leggins and a dark grey t-shirt, black gloves and… his skates were black as well. Okay… Lance was hooked. He loved black skates and this guy… wait… was that a mullet pulled up into a small ponytail?
Fuck, that was kinda cool.
Well, not the mullet part, just the ponytail.
And damn, those hips were small and those legs… look at those shoulders…
But yeah, black skates. Total awesomeness. Black skates were the shit. Lance loved black skates. He-
Lance snapped out of his staring, looking back at Allura who had raised one amused eyebrow. “Can I trust you to record me and not him?” she teased as she pulled her long, slightly wavy hair into a ponytail, tying it off with a light blue scrunchie.
The boy opened and closed his mouth a few times before he spluttered out a response. “W-what? Yeah, of course. I mean… yeah! Sure!”
Allura snickered and Lance swore his cheeks felt kinda hot.
He glanced back at mullet-emo-boy and furrowed his brows. The guy on the other side of the boards was talking to him, quiet enough that it didn’t reach them, and Lance figured he might be emo-boy’s coach. He had a small tuft of white hair at the centre of his forehead which looked somewhat like a fashion statement and Lance was intrigued.
The guy was built considerably broader than emo-boy, sporting a strong and muscular chest and nicely toned biceps that his tight shirt and vest really didn’t hide. He seemed oddly familiar but somehow Lance couldn’t really put his finger on it. Sadly he was incredibly bad with matching names to faces so it was most certainly hopeless for him to figure out where he might have seen this guy before if it hadn’t been very recent.
He swore he had seen him before but the distance made it a little hard to make out defining facial features and… Lance was simply horrible with names.
Shit, when had Allura gotten onto the ice? Was she already warmed up? How long had he been staring???
The boy put the guards he was still holding aside and scrambled to get his camera out of his pocket, making sure not to pull out his key as well. He picked out a spot somewhat in the centre and turned on his camera, planting his elbows onto the boards so he’d keep everything steady.
“Ready to go, princess. Let us witness your magic,” he called and she rolled her eyes at him but couldn’t hide the smile sneaking onto her face. She did some simple warm ups, gliding over the ice effortlessly which made Lance smile softly as he followed her movements with his camera. He’d send the recordings to her later if she wanted or they’d go over them together. It was always really helpful to actually see what you looked like out on the ice so having someone filming you was always a good idea.
At one point she started her routine and Lance paid close attention to all details, trying to find anything where she was lacking but even during this practise run where she didn’t put all she got into the performance it was difficult to find any flaws.
“Well?” she asked as she skated over to him afterwards - only a little breathless but smiling nevertheless - and he stopped the recording for now.
“Amazing, obviously,” he said truthfully as he handed her a water bottle that she accepted gratefully. He was never shy about giving out compliments. “Honestly, there isn’t much I could see-”
“Lance, please,” she said, looking at him with a stern look and Lance nibbled on his bottom lip for a moment. He had the tendency of not saying what he was thinking when someone asked for pointers, especially Allura because she was way out of his league and somehow that made him feel like he shouldn’t spot any mistakes. She always saw through him though so he shouldn’t be surprised.
“Your salchow,” he said. “It was good, obviously, but your last turn wasn’t complete. I think it was lacking a bit in momentum so maybe if you figure that out it won’t be a problem… and for a few foot sequences where you were getting a little hasty. It’d look better to go a little slower with the steps but apart from that,” he shrugged his shoulders and grinned. “You’ve got this in the bag.”
She laughed and shook her head. “If it only was that easy, Lance, but thank you, I’ll keep your tips in mind.”
He shrugged his shoulders and smiled. “Wanna give it another try?” he asked, waving his camera from side to side and she nodded, skating back out onto the rink and getting into position.
Lance followed her every move, completely focused onto the small screen of his camera and keeping Allura in the centre. It would have been perfect if not for a sudden flash of black covering the entire screen for a second and a gust of wind brushing against Lance’s cold cheeks. He jumped but would deny any sort of squeak-similar sound leaving his mouth - totally happened - and looked up at the quickly retreating form of that emo-boy from before and -
That dude was smirking at him.
“Sorry,” emo-boy called but didn’t look sorry at all.
Lance glared back at him, puffing out his cheeks and swallowing down any insults that had formed inside of his head and had promptly vanished upon seeing that guy’s face.
He was really fucking cute, okay?
Emo-boy was cute and Lance was not flustered - he totally was.
“Keith!” white-hair-guy called and oh, that guy’s name was Keith.
Lance did not know what to do with that piece of information. He hadn’t heard that name before which wasn’t exactly uncommon. He might have gone to quite some international competitions before but he really didn’t know everyone , no matter how much of a social butterfly he was.
“Keep your shoulders back! You’re slouching like an old man!”
“So like you?” emo-boy, Keith, shot back with a grin and white-hair-guy glared daggers at him.
Lance blinked a few times, only allerted of Allura’s presence as he heard her blades scratching against the ice during a turn and he quickly focused his camera back onto her. She wouldn’t get distracted by anything - not like Lance who had the tendency to stare at cute boys with mullets.
“Hey, Pidge, do you know some guy named Keith?”
Pidge looked up at Lance during dinner, her gaze somewhat blank and deadpan. They were sitting together again, Allura having excused herself just a short while ago to go tend to her grouchy coach and fiance. “Lance, there are approximately 10 million or more people named Keith so yes, I might have run into a guy named Keith at some point in my short yet quite fulfilled life but I do not know any of them on a very personal level, I’m sorry to disappoint.”
Lance rolled his eyes at the same time Hunk choked on a piece of stray meat in his windpipe. “Do you happen to know if there is a guy named Keith in the men’s figure skating competition?” he tried again and this time Pidge seemed to be satisfied. “Why yes, I do actually. There is one.”
“And?” Lance prompted as she didn’t add anything else.
“Aaand,” Pidge clowned him, smirking like the devil.
“Pidge you little gremlin that crawled out of the deepest depths of Satan’s shoe closet, can you fucking please tell me all the juicy gossip you got about Keith?” Lance hissed with a fake smile, Hunk chugging down his entire glass of water in one go in an attempt to sooth his poor throat.
“Wow, Lance, you making a move on my lil darling sister?” A guy with pretty long hair in a ponytail asked, dropping down onto an unoccupied chair at their table and picking up a chicken wing immediately. No one could deny that he was related to Pidge since they looked unnervingly similar ever since Pidge had chopped off her hair a year ago. ‘It’s a phase,’ her brother had said. ‘No, it’s not,’ Pidge had denied.
“I will steal you ski sticks and murder you with them,” Pidge growled at her brother Matt - Matthiew - who just laughed and patted her head like she was nothing more than a small puppy barking up at him. “So,” he asked around a mouthful of chicken wing, clapping Hunk’s back in a somewhat comforting manner, the half Samoan/half Canadian wheezing out a strangled thanks, “we were talking about some guy named Keith?”
“Mhm, Lance here is crushing on his competition.”
“I am not!” Lance squeaked. “I just wanna know all his dirty secrets because he fucking smirked at me during practise. Can you imagine that, piglet? Smirked. At me!”
“Unimaginable,” Pidge gasped sarcastically and Lance grabbed her shoulders, shaking her a little albeit enough to make her readjust her glasses as they slipped down her nose. “Tell me everything you know,” he demanded and the girl sighed, grabbing her tablet and typing away.
“No hacking into any personal accounts,” Hunk reminded her, still sounding a little winded - “Dude, you okay?” Matt asked and Hunk smiled at him reassuringly - while Pidge murmured something under her breath.
“So, Keith, huh,” she said after a few moments of silence, Lance just nodding his head dumbly, not having any other information to add to that. “Keith Kogane, competing in the men’s solo - Oh wow would you look at that! You’re competing there too, Lance. What a coincident!” Pidge chirped, feigning surprise.
“I will murder you in your sleep,” the Cuban hissed.
Pidge just snorted and turned back to her tablet. “Hm… he’s starting for Japan but is actually Korean with Japanese citizenship… interesting. His name is Keith Kogane, 21 - wow Lance, look at that, he’s a year older than you!”
“Shut up,” Lance moaned and buried his face in his hands. Why had he even asked? Oh, right, because Pidge knew everything and was the best source to seek out for information. All the teasing was just a bad side-effect of her powers. Everything came at a price. That’s how this cruel world worked.
“I thought you wanted all the juicy gossip?”
The girl hummed. “So… these are his first Olympics - just like you! He hasn’t been in international competitions for very long but it seems he’s pretty darn good. His scores are all solid and up there… His coach is Takashi Shirogane. I think I’ve heard that name before.”
“Oh yeah,” Matt said, having wolfed down three chicken wings already and starting on the fourth one. Hunk looked mildly concerned. “Sounds vaguely familiar.”
“He…” Lance furrowed his eyebrows, wondering how he hadn’t realized this before as it finally sunk in who this guy was but it might have been because emo-boy had been too distracting… and the fact that he was so bad with names. “He was a really promising skater a few years ago, was supposed to go to the Olympics and all that but he was involved in some accident and lost one of his arms so… that was the end of his career. I don’t think I have heard anything from in in the last three or so years.”
“As a skater,” Hunk chimed in, pointing his chopsticks at his friend and Lance nodded. “Seems he decided to give coaching a shot.”
“I wonder where he found this Keith guy,” Pidge murmured, looking at her screen intently like it would suddenly start talking to her.
Lance wouldn’t be surprised if it did.
“Doesn’t matter, he and his stupid mullet will go down,” Lance hissed, glaring at the white table cloth in front of him. No one smirked at him like that, made him all flustered, and got away with it, no matter how sexy they were. He would stand for no such thing. He was the one who threw people for a loop, okay? He would not have this taken away from him!
“Why do you call it a mullet? Didn’t you say he had his hair up?” Hunk asked, pointing his chopsticks at his friend yet again, more accousing this time.
“I can vouch for him, it’s a mullet,” Pidge clarified, apparently looking at pics of Keith. Was he supposed to look this hot in those? “And I am proud to declare that he is very much Lance’s type.”
“What the fuck is that supposed to mean?!” said male screeched, sounding very much offended. Mullet-emo-boy? His type?
Well… he might be…
No! No no no no no!
“You know,” the girl readjusted her glasses once more, making them flash almost evilly. “Kinda emo, mysterious, sexy, a figure skater, male… he seems to fit the description.”
“That’s all you got from this? I have always suspected that you are at least 60% gay.”
Lance opened and closed his mouth a few times but couldn’t argue with her observation so he went back to glaring at the table cloth. Screw Pidge.
“So, lemme get this straight,” Hunk said, finally having recovered from his near-death-choking-incident. Matt snorted at ‘straight’. “This Keith Kogane guy is a newby in this whole competition thingy but he managed to get a pass for the Olympics so he’s obviously good and this Takashi is an ex skater and now his coach?”
Pidge hummed in confirmation.
“And Keith smirked at Lance during practise?”
“He fucking did,” the Cuban hissed like it was a crime and unimaginable that anyone would ever dare to do something like that.
Matt was still chewing on his chicken wings - the eighth one maybe? - and was following the conversation with great interest. “So now Lance is crushing?” he then concluded and a unidentifiable sound escaped said boy. “I am NOT!”
“It’s the stage of denial,” Pidge sighed almost sadly and her brother hummed in understanding, nodding his head.
“Where is my gossip?!” Lance then called, desperately trying to steer the conversation away from his - nonexistent - crush on emo-boy.
Pidge was typing away on her tablet, scanning the screen at record speed and reading faster than it should he humanly possible. Lance was convinced she had hacked her own brain and improved it somehow. There was no way any human could be as good with tech and data as she was. If she hadn’t hacked her own brain aliens had done it for her and had turned her into a robot. There was no other explanation. “Well, he seems to be a pretty clean guy as far as I can see… Not really any scandals or anything, no tragic backstory, no dating history, just a whole bunch of Japanese experts gushing over his skating. Lance, this guy has my seal of approval.”
Lance groaned, completely ignoring Pidge’s last sentence. “Dios, he has a mullet and he’s boring. This can’t get any worse.”
“Oh, isn’t that him?” Hunk asked and pointed across the room. Everyone turned their heads around and spotted the moving figure rather quickly. He wouldn’t really stand out if it weren’t for his disheveled hair and rather brisk moving pace. His asian features made him blend in rather well.
Matt hummed. “Yeah, I’d say he’s Lance’s type. 100% gay-crush material. Perfect for him.”
The Cuban groaned again.
Yep, it could still get worse.
Chapter 2: Olympics - Day Two: Emos and Marshmallows
I completely forgot to update this aduwhdui
But now it's here, the second chapter. Please enjoy~
“What’s up guys~” Lance flashed a peace sign towards the camera and winked. “It’s… officially day two because I don’t count the first evening. Coran arrived in the middle of the night so we’ve pushed practise back a few hours. I’ve got some time to kill so I’m heading down to the pool. I’d take you with me but people here are really freaked out whenever they spot a camera so I’mma gonna leave you here and be back in a sec.”
The next time Lance turned on his camera his hair was styled and his skin was still glowing from the moisturizer he had just applied. “So, swimming was good. It’s 11 now, I’m showered and dressed so I’m going to head to the rink with Coran for some practise. If no one else is around, which probably won’t be the case, I can probably film for a while but I hope you guys can understand that my focus is on skating and not so much on vlogging. I’m mean, I’m at the fucking Olympics!”
He’d have to censor that but he didn’t care.
He was walking through the familiar hallways once again and exited the hotel, hopping into the shuttle where his coach was already waiting for him. His almost orange moustache was pristine as ever and Lance wondered if he had taken any styling products with him.
Could you use a flat iron on a mustache? Coran sure made it look like it.
“Coran, say hi,” he chirped and turned the camera towards his coach who looked up from his tablet in surprise. After a second he smiled at the camera and waved, already used to his student’s habit of shoving a camera into his face. “Hello, Lance’s fans.”
“They’re not my fans, they’re my viewers,” Lance snorted behind the camera but Coran just laughed and turned back to his tablet so his student grumbled and focused the video back onto himself.
“Pidge might drop by during practise to take a look at my jumps but she’s been busy with Matt and his stuff so I don’t know if she’ll manage. Hunk has practise later this afternoon around 4, right Coran?” he turned to his coach who hummed.
“That’s what he said.”
“Yeah, so everyone is busy with their stuff. Being professional and all that shit… like real adults. So, see you later~” He flashed another grin towards the camera before he turned it off, the car coming to a stop and he jumped out. He followed Coran into the arena, recognizing some hallways from yesterday’s visit with Allura, and shoved his camera into his duffle bag as they ran into a small group of people coming from the practise rink. They were probably a skating pair with their coaches and they nodded at each other politely, their jackets all having the canadian flag on their back.
Lance still wasn’t used to the attitude some skaters had even after such a long time of doing this sport already. Some were incredibly snobby and downright mean. The amount of comments he had gotten about his heritage was downright ridiculous but that’s just how it was. He didn’t like the feeling of people talking behind his back but he had learned to ignore it. If the athletes themselves weren’t talking it was the press or the audience. Someone was always talking no matter what and the Cuban had learned not to listen to all those little voices.
It wasn’t worth it to worry about those things. Focus on yourself and you’ll succeed, something his mom always told him before he left for a competition.
He wished she and the rest of his family would be able to accompany him more often but sadly their jobs couldn’t just be put aside and the plane tickets were way too expensive. They might be somewhat well-off for Cuban standards but that didn’t mean they could afford a week long trip for nine people.
They also refused to use Lance’s price money for anything they needed if it wasn’t absolutely urgent. It was his money and they wanted him to use it on his sport, his coach, his equipment and things he wanted to do. Sometimes he wanted to spend money on his family and did so sneakily but for the most part he kept the money somewhere safe and didn’t touch it unless he really needed something. Who knows when he might need a big sum of money for something. New skates always managed to make a dent in his bank account after all.
His sisters, Veronica and Rachel, had promised to come cheer on him at some point once the Olympics had actually started which was still about a week away. They would support him for both his short and his free program.
That was if he managed to get to the free program.
He didn’t want to think about that.
The possibility of not making it to the next round aka the free skate was just… he didn’t even want to think about it. It made him nervous and anxious and that was something he really didn’t need.
He’d obviously be devastated if he didn’t make it but… he would have to deal with it somehow.
There were a few other people on the ice but thankfully it wasn’t too crowded. Too many people always made it difficult to practise properly. You could run into each other, get hurt, be in the way of someone else and… it was just a general mess so not too many people was always good.
Way better than a crowded rink.
Once he was all warmed up and stretched Lance got onto the ice as well and sighed at the familiar feeling of gliding effortlessly. He would never get enough of it no matter what. It had become a second home to him somehow along the way. Maybe it had been right from the start and he hadn’t noticed it at first.
Most people wouldn’t say they felt at home on ice but for him it had come naturally to a certain extent. Obviously you couldn’t become a pro over night and without hard work but he was convinced that there needed to be a certain degree of passion. He spent a lot of time on the ice after all. If it were something he hated he would have never gotten this far.
“Lance!” a light voice with a thick Russian accent called after a minute of aimless skating and he looked up, spotting Nyma and Rolo. He smiled and skated over, turning around them in a circle. “Hey you two,” he called cheerfully, accepting one of Nyma’s infamous hugs and a kiss to each cheek. “How do you feel about your program? Is it all good?” he asked and the two smiled.
“Very good actually,” Rolo said and wrapped an arm around his partner’s waist, resting his chin on her shoulder. Nyma was among the taller female skaters for the pair competition but Rolo didn’t seem to have any problem with her height. “Though the size of the official arena is a little intimidating but I think we’re getting used to it again. We’ve been to a lot of big arenas but this always feels different somehow.”
“Ah yeah,” Lance sighed. “I feel like a dwarf every time I see it. This whole Olympic vibe everywhere really makes it feel even more intimidating..”
Nyma snickered behind her hand. “Once you get used to it you don’t wanna go back thought. It really has it’s own charm.”
They would know, these were their third Olympics and Lance fully believed her. This was only the practise rink because there was currently a hockey team on the official one but it still made him nervous with all those official banners and the journalists lurking around. He wasn’t used to people being this interested in everything he did. He had given a few interviews in the past but he was mostly active on social media since his location wasn’t the best one for a figure skater and his country’s interest in the sport wasn’t really all that big.
His following on YouTube though was growing steadily and he had seen a high increase of new followers ever since he had landed a spot for the Olympics. People who weren’t heavily invested into Figure Skating were also staring to notice him and he couldn’t deny being excited about it. Obviously the attention also brought some bad apples along but that was always the case no matter what you did. He ignored the few angry haters he got and instead focused on all the love and support he received from his old as well as new followers.
Coran had told him this morning that a few journalists wanted to speak to him in the evening and he was already feeling a little nervous about those encounters.
On his own accounts online he was himself, broadcasting his loud and cheerful personality without a worry in the world but those interviews… He was afraid people would see him as a joke. He wasn’t a serious, brooding adult… On top of that he was bi - or gay, as some people who didn’t get what bi meant always said. A bi/gay figure skater from Cuba was the perfect victim to rip apart and make fun of.
Coran had told him that South Korean was still on the more traditional side and while that didn’t really bother him he couldn’t help but wonder what they were saying about him. They were hosting the Olympics after all. What was everyone saying about him? The Olympics were international, they were a big deal and everyone watched them to some extent. This was the first time his skating would be broadcasted to the general public and not just to an interested and invested audience and it was… a little terrifying.
His coach had told him to stay away from articles and all that since they were a distraction. Lance got distracted rather easily and while he broadcasted a carefree attitude he cared way too much deep down. His sass and humor was part of his personality, yes, but it was also used to cover up his insecurities. Sometimes the line was rather thin and difficult to spot.
“Lance! No dawdling!” Coran called and the Cuban sighed. “Sorry guys, gotta go back to business.”
“Hey, don’t worry about it,” Nyma said with one of her cute smiles. “You’ll do fine. People love your performances, the judges won’t be able to resist.”
Lance laughed, grateful for the small cheer up from his friend. “Thanks, Nyma, I’ll do my best to seduce everyone with my graceful moves.” He twirled around for emphasize and bowed as she clapped.
“Just like that,” she called and gave him a thumbs up.
They waved goodbye and wished him good luck for his practise before he skated over to his coach to listen to what he wanted him to work on until he could practise his full routine with the music playing a little while later.
The two complete run-throughs he had gotten had both been pretty good so an hour later Lance was taking a short break, stretching his feet lazily and sipping on some water while Coran chatted up one of he coaches for the USA team. His coach had always been rather social and loved chatting up other people with stories and anecdotes. Sadly he sometimes didn’t realize the other party’s disinterest.
The Spanish coach he was talking to seemed like she was one of those people who begged him to stop talking innerly. Lance knew from experience that it was hopeless. You had to outright tell Coran to stop or he would go on and on and on.
He snickered quietly as he saw the woman’s expression turning sour as his coach started with the next story and shook his head. He looked up as he heard people approaching from behind him and voices carrying over to where he sat on a bench.
“My footwork is fine, Shiro,” a somewhat annoyed voice huffed and Lance almost choked on his water as he saw who it was.
Mr. Keith Kogane himself was strolling past him, dropping his black and red duffle back onto an empty bench and sitting down to switch his shoes for a pair of skates.
He was in this whole black get-up again. A black training jacket and black pants that fitted way too nicely. His hair was tied up and Lance wondered if he ever wore it down and if it would look just as sexy as it did when it was pulled up.
No, forget the last part.
He shook his head, taking a few more sips from his water.
Control your gay, Lance McClain.
There are a bunch of handsome dudes, don’t choose the one that smirked at you on the first day. That’s way to cliche even for you.
“Yeah and you didn’t almost mess up one of your turns yesterday,” the other guy, his coach - Shiro - said with a huff, putting his hands on his hips and crooking one eyebrow in a challenging look. The white tuft of hair made him look like an anime character and just now Lance noticed a thin scar over the bridge of his nose. He was convinced non of those two attributes had been there a few years ago.
He figured than one of the guy’s arms must be a prosthetic but he couldn’t tell through his thick sweater and gloves. Not that it was his business anyway so he stopped thinking about it. The poor guy was surely pestered more than often enough about his accident and the consequences, he didn’t need Lance staring at him as well.
“One turn out of a hundred. It can happen,” Keith said gruffly, tugging on his laces and Lance almost winced as the harsh handling. He was surprised they didn’t tear in half. Did this guy always have to tug on his laces like that? What was his problem?
“It shouldn’t happen,” Shiro chided although not unkindly. He simply sounded like it was discussion they have had way too often already and Lance could relate. Every skater had that one thing they were prone to messing up.
Lance was prone to getting into his jumps too fast because he got eager or nervous and would end up off balance, especially for his quads. Seemed Keith could get a little sloppy with his footwork. He couldn’t relate but… yeah, he understood where he was coming from. Getting nagged at for messing up once if you did it perfectly the other ten times could get pretty annoying.
“Fine then, I’ll pay more attention,” emo-boy murmured and tied his laces into a knot, looking up from his skates and Lance swore his heart stopped for a moment as they gazes met. They just stared at each other for a few seconds.
Lance wondered if all Koreans were inherently handsome.
No, that couldn’t be it.
No, stop staring Lance, get a grip.
Stop your gay from showing!
“Got a problem?” the Korean asked in a challenging tone and Lance would have choked on his water had he still been drinking but he had unconsciously lowered his bottle a while ago during his staring session.
It was hard to do two things at once, okay?
The comment irked him for whatever reason and he found himself unable to hold off a glare.
Fuck his stupid mullet and his handsome face.
“Yeah, with your mullet,” he shot back - always great at comebacks - and revelled in the way the other’s features morphed into one of confusion and surprise before he started glaring as well. Shiro next to him snorted and looked like he was trying to hide a laugh. “Didn’t know you skated, camera man,” Keith almost growled, eyes flitting down to Lance’s pristine white skates he used for this practise - they had light blue laces because he was cool like that.
So he did remember Lance being at the rink yesterday.
“Well, mullet-man, I did not know vampires were allowed to take part in this competition either but you never stop learning I guess.” Lance smirked for good measure. “Don’t lay it on too thick with all the black, you’re really going for the emo-vibes. Watch out or people will start throwing garlic at you.”
He knew he was being provocative but something about this Keith guy just rubbed him the wrong way. It was like his presence alone was enough for Lance to feel challenged. He didn’t understand why but he didn’t argue with his instincts. He was a gut-man. Whatever his gut told him to do he did and this time it told him to - he’s hot, he’s hot, he’s hot, dios mio he’s hot - … to not give in.
One of Keith’s eyes twitched, ignoring how Shiro almost curled up in at attempt to silence his laughter. “At least I don’t look like fucking marshmallow,” he hissed, eyeing Lance’s clothes with disdain.
He was wearing a pastel pink hoodie and gloves of the same color which was cute - okay? - and they looked great with his skin tone. “You’re just jealous you’re not as cute as me,” Lance shrugged and set his water bottle aside. No one was as cute as he was. Shiro barely managed to hide his laugh with a snort.
“Besides, you’re way too pale for this color anyway, stick to your emo shirts.” He stood up and walked a few steps towards the rink before he turned around and pointed an accusing finger at Keith with a sudden rush of confidence. “Hold on tight, Kogane, cos I’m gonna kick you to the moon with my program!”
Keith blinked a few times, probably dumbfounded by the sudden proclamation but he apparently wasn’t one to back down either. Two hot-headed idiots having a conversation. That never ended well. “Oh the challenge is on, McClain,” he hissed and Lance waved his hand in dismissal, stalking off towards the ice and hearing Shiro finally laughing - ‘Oh my god he said you’re an emo!’ - as Keith barked out a ‘Shut up, Shiro!’.
Lance only realized a few minutes later that Keith had known his name, promptly messing up a jump and planting his poor ass onto the ice in a rather ungraceful manner only to have fucking Keith Kogane skate past him and cackle like the evil hyena he was.
“Damn, I really missed out on something then,” Pidge said while she munched on a sandwich. “Such a shame I wasn’t there. I’ll come around next time to see you bickering with Kogane. That must be quite a show.”
Lance groaned. “Please don’t. I don’t need a little gremlin laughing at me as well.”
“Why’d you even start bickering?” Hunk asked curiously as he sat down on the bed with a tray - a tray - of food for their movie night and his friend huffed. “He was asking for it, man. Looking all emo and swaggy.”
“You did not just say swaggy.”
“I did, piglet.”
“Oh my god.”
“He said I looked like a marshmallow,” Lance then added and Pidge halted her popcorn-inhaling to snort. “Come on, Lance, we all know you took that as a compliment.”
“True.” He couldn’t deny it. “I know I’m cute as fuck, his emo ass was shaking in those stupid leggins.” He glared at the wall and… No, he was not imagining Keith Kogane’s ass. No. No, no, no, no, no.
Even if it would surely be a nice ass to imagine.
Hunk and Pidge looked at each other knowingly. “Sure,” the Canadian said in amusement. “He must be so scared of the snarky marshmallow that insulted him today. You really showed him who’s the boss.”
“I feel like you are not taking my concerns seriously,” Lance grumbled which Pidge took as her cue to pat his thigh in mock-comfort. “Of course we’re taking your gay-pining seriously… I mean your concerns. Completely serious.”
Lance narrow his eyes at her and she just smiled innocently. He huffed, figuring he wouldn’t get anything else from his friends besides teasing comments. “Hunk, come here, I need a teddy bear for cuddles,” he muttered and crawled into his friend’s lap, getting comfortable and snuggling up to him.
Hunk smiled and was more than happy to wind his arm around his friend, using the other to eat while Pidge got the movie started and settled next to them.
Lance did his best not to think about Keith Kogane while they watched the movie.
He was only partially successful.
Blame those leggins for that.
Chapter 3: Olympics - Day Three: Interviews and the Gym
I just wanted to say that I tried to do as much research as possible but I could not figure out if there are actually ice rinks in Cuba, especially not in the city mentioned. If someone knows something about this feel free to tell me but for the sake of the story I decided to do it like this.
Also; I know Lance is usually from Varadero in most fics but it's pretty much only tourist attractions there so I put him in close proximity but not in the middle of all those hotels.
“So, Lance, you’re from Cuba, right?”
Lance tried his best not to hear any ill intent in that question but he couldn’t help but think of it that way. Why did people always bring up his home county? Shouldn’t they know? He might not wear his official jersey or jacket 24/7 but still.
He smiled in a what he hoped was a friendly manner before he nodded his head. “Indeed, I am.”
“English is not your first language then?”
He faltered slightly, looking at the British reporter for a moment before he answered. “I do actually consider Spanish to be my mother tongue but I’ve always spoken English as well at home so I guess it’s kind of a tie between the two.” He wanted to say more but he didn’t want to give the guy anything he could use against him. Reporters tended to do that and he hated how they would just put words into his mouth. Even with his limited experience he was already wary and careful.
“I see, we’ll you’re very good so props to you,” the man said and Lance just smiled, thinking ‘what a dick’. He had grown up in a bilingual household. His dad was fluent in English, so was his mother and therefore all their children had grown up with both Spanish and English. He didn’t know why people had so much trouble just accepting that he could speak English without a thick Spanish accent or that he considered himself fluent in English.
It seemed almost as if people just couldn’t believe others outside of English-speaking countries could speak English on their level as well.
“How do you feel about being at the Olympics? Have you ever been at such an event before?” the journalist asked and okay, these questions were more comfortable. “Nothing of such a scale, no, but I think the Olympics are within a league of their own. You can’t really compare them to anything else but I have been to many international competitions before.”
The reporter nodded along, staring at Lance which made his fingers twitch nervously but he tried to hide it behind a smile. “I usually practise half of the year in the States because Cuba just doesn’t offer that much for competitive figure skating so I have been to quite some bigger events because of that. The Olympics though are a dream come true and I still can’t believe I made the cut.”
The reporter looked at him with what seemed to be intended as a smile but it was more of a somewhat pitying look before he moved on to the next question. “Then you don’t skate for the other half of the year?”
Of course that would be all he got from that.
“Oh no, I’m lucky that there is an ice rink in Cárdenas. I know the owners and we have been very good friends for years. They are only open for specific time periods though so that’s why I can’t go there all year round.”
Lance really was extremely lucky. It was a small rink and the location wasn’t the best but still. He only had half an hour drive to the rink and his parents had gotten him a pretty beat up old car for his sixteenth birthday. Every since then he had gone to the rink on his own pretty much every day when they were open.
He was lucky Coran had found him when he had still been twelve or he would have never gotten to where he is now. If it weren’t for the time spent in America he wouldn’t have improved this much so he was forever grateful.
At home many people couldn’t understand his obsession with the ice. Even his own parents hadn’t really understood but they had supported him nonetheless. His siblings as well. He could still remember them taking turns to get him to the ice rink to get some of the burden off of their parent’s shoulders for years. They had all supported his dreams to skate and it meant the world to him.
The interview continued with some more more or less uncomfortable questions until the reporter finally nodded and thanked him for his time, wishing him good luck for the competition.
“Coran,” Lance whined and threw himself at his coach who had to chuckle at the dramatic act. Lance and dramatic went hand in hand after all. “I don’t like interviewers. He was rude and creepy.”
The older man chuckled and patted his back as they left the small conference room at the hotel. “There there, it’s over now, isn’t it?”
Lance pouted and grumbled something under his breath. Interviews like this weren’t really something he was good at. Not like Allura who somehow managed to wrap everyone around her finger. Maybe he should take lessons from her.
“Remember to go to bed early,” Coran said and squeezed his students shoulder before they parted ways and Lance smiled. “Of course, I’m gonna hit the hay once I get the chance.”
It wasn’t like Lance to worry this much but he just couldn’t help it.
He was at the Olympics.
He, an insignificant boy from Cuba had made it all the way here.
It was like a dream.
He had skyped with his family back home a while ago, the time difference making it rather difficult but they had managed somehow. Lance had shed a few tears at seeing his whole family together, huddled in front of the webcam in order to talk to him.
They had all cooed and tried to cheer him up when he had cried a little but he was just so happy to see them. He was halfway across the world in a foreign country at a competition that was more known that his entire home country and just… it was overwhelming.
His mom had chided him in Spanish, tell him to stand up straight and be proud of himself and his heritage and had earned a teary laugh from her youngest son. ‘I am, mom,’ he had reassured, ‘It’s just what everyone else makes out of it what bothers me.’.
They had talked for over an hour before saying their goodbyes for now. They were watching his vlogs and his social media updates of course and he also sent pics or small videos to their family group chat but it wasn’t the same as having them here with him.
After ending the call he had tried to go to sleep like he had promised Coran since it was pretty late already but he just couldn’t. He had stared up at the ceiling, stared out of the window and… had felt incredibly lonely. All the tossing and turning hadn’t helped him feel any more sleepy in the least and it mind wouldn’t stop racing.
It was awesome to meet all these people again he didn’t get to see often like Nyma and Rolo. He was also really happy about meeting his friends like Hunk, Pidge, Matt, Allura and Romelle. They had been friends for years although all of them living in different countries really didn’t help with meeting up or anything of the sorts. Pidge and Matt lived in Italy, Hunk was in Canada, Allura and Romelle in England and Lance in Cuba. They were all over the place and while their bi-monthly skype group calls were awesome it was still different to see them all together in person.
But even with all of them here and Lance feeling incredibly lucky and happy about this opportunity he still felt lonely and a little bit scared this late at night when it was just him and his thoughts bouncing back and forth inside of his head.
It was common for him to face this around the third day, his down phase so to speak. The rush of traveling was over and reality settled in. He should be used to it by now but it still always managed to throw him off no matter how much he expected it or how much he tried to fight it.
Blame growing up in a family of seven, later ten, for this intense feeling of loneliness whenever his family wasn’t around. He managed in America because he was used to it there and he had some friends over there as well but these trips for competitions still got to him.
Which is why it probably shouldn’t be a surprise that Lance had given up on trying to sleep after three or four hours of just staring at his rather uninteresting ceiling and had instead wandered around the hotel for a while. At first he had planned to go down to the pool but remembered that the spa closed at 10, including the pool, so he crossed that option off of his list.
He would have loved to float in the water, get some of the homey feeling maybe but sadly it wasn’t an option at the moment.
In the end he settled for the gym which might have been a weird spot if it hadn’t been for the giant glass wall which overlooked the valley of hotels and accomodations for everyone. It also showed the mountains in the distance and without much light from the outside, as it was almost three am, Lance had a perfect view of the cloudless sky and it’s countless constellations of stars.
Even as a child he had been a fan of the night sky, often staying out until the early morning hours to watch. He’d lie on his back in the sand, just staring up ahead for hours on end until someone yelled at him to get inside already. Cuba was never really cold so it was no problem to spend the night outside and he had always loved the times his dad had taken him and his sibling for hiking and camping trips but sleeping in an actual bed was obviously more comfortable than cold sand.
It might be a different country but the sky was the same which managed to calm down Lance more than any sort of pat on the back or hug could manage right now. It was a silent sort of comfort, something had some people might not understand but to Lance looking at the stars just helped him tune out all unwanted thoughts.
So he continued to sit there in silence, two yoga matts padding the ground underneath him, his feet covered in the fuzzy socks his mom had made him, wearing grey sweatpants and an old white T-shirt that he always slept in. It was pretty warm in the gym considering the late hour but that just worked to his advantage.
The dark wooden floor made the whole room look more luxurious than a gym should ever be able to look, not to mention the giant mirror wall to his left which only made the room appear even bigger.
No one was up at this hour so the lights were off and everything was quiet. He probably had a bit more than two hours before the first people would get up. He didn’t expect his alone time to be interrupted anytime soon so you could imagine how startled his was when he heard the sliding doors or the gym opening with a faint ‘swoosh’ at some point.
He turned around in surprise, suddenly feeling wide awake and stared at the dark figure stepping into the room. They seemed to spot him as well as they moved forward and the light from the window finally revealed their appearance.
“Huh,” an all too familiar voice said, although quieter than what Lance had expected. “Seems I’m not the only one up.”
Lance didn’t really know what to say to his sudden company in the otherwise vacant gym, just staring at Keith Kogane like he was trying to solve a riddle.
“The questions is, why are you up?” he then asked, surprised to find no heat behind his own words. Maybe he was simply too tired to bicker right now.
Keith shifted his weight from one foot onto the other and shrugged his shoulders, letting his gaze trail over the view out of the window. He was wearing black shorts and a grey tank top. A white hotel towel was around his shoulders and he was carrying a water bottle by the neck.
“I could ask you the same question.”
“Are you… you’re not planning on working out, right?” Lance asked, connecting the dots and thinking he was about to go crazy as the other just shrugged his shoulders again. “That was the plan.”
“It’s like… three am.”
Keith looked at him intently and wow… how did Lance not notice that his eyes were grey and not brown before? They looked really… interesting.
He had almost thought pretty…
“Working out calms me down,” the Korean said easily and Lance wondered for a moment why they were talking as if they hadn’t bickered with each other and had declared their rivalry not even 24 hours ago at the rink. Then he finally got what the other had said and couldn’t help but snort.
“Working out and calming down should not be put together in one sentence like… ever,” he said, not believing that someone actually thought they belonged together.
“A noodle like you wouldn’t understand.”
“Hey!” Lance called and turned more towards Keith who… was that dude seriously smiling all smugly? Damnit Kogane!
“I’ll have you know that this ‘noodle’ is very capable of lifting a significant amount of weight you… you fucking paper swan,” Lance hissed and okay, his insults weren’t the best at three in the morning which Keith seemed to agree on if the amused snort was anything to go by.
“Okay,” he just replied which made Lance even more furious.
Though he decided to let it be and just turned back around to his window and continued staring out - and he was not sulking! Some of the lost calmness came back to him but that’s just because the night sky always calmed him down. Maybe he should have wanted to go back to his own room now that there was someone else disturbing his silence but he really didn’t feel like moving. He couldn’t help but feel more awake now with another person in the gym though he had to admit that Keith moved rather quietly. It seemed he wasn’t interested in any of the bigger equipement since Lance didn’t hear anything loud so he wondered what exactly the other was doing.
Blame his stubbornness for not turning around for the next twenty minutes or so before he snuck another glance over his shoulder, hoping to be stealthy.
He had always been the master of stealth.
But yeah, Keith was still there and he was doing push ups.
Could push ups look nice? Because he sure made them look freaking nice and effortless.
Lance would have liked to throw another comment his way but somehow couldn’t find the needed strength to do so. Maybe he was growing tired, maybe he just didn’t feel like insults right now so he turned back to the window and rested his chin on his arms that were wrapped around his knees. He could sit like this for hours even if his neck was killing him. He’d just tune it out for now and complain the next day/later that day.
He didn’t know how long he sat there, almost frozen and just staring out of the window before his mouth moved without him really meaning to.
“So… why are you up?” Lance didn’t know why he had suddenly asked again and for a moment he hoped the other simply hadn’t heard his quiet question. After a few seconds of silence he figured Keith hadn’t heard him but froze as the other actually spoke up a moment later.
“I’m… nervous I guess… anxious maybe. I don’t know… I’ve never been at such a competition and I feel… out of place I guess. Kinda uncomfortable.”
This… was rather unexpected but it was like someone had listened to Lance’s inner thoughts and had spoken them out loud. He couldn’t help but let small smile that sneak onto his face at the thought of not being alone with such plaguing worries. “Welcome to the club,” he mumbled softly, sighing into his arms.
Why he was sympathizing with Keith out of all people? He had no idea but it felt nice to know that it was just him being overly worried but that someone else experience the same thing.
Strange how that little piece of knowledge managed to calm him down more than even looking at the sky for hours.
It was quiet for another moment before he heard movement and finally saw Keith stepping around the bench press behind Lance and stopping next to him. He seemed to contemplate for a beat before he pointed at the leftover space on the matts. “Can I?” he asked and Lance stared for a while.
This was… such an unexpected turn of events but… not unwelcome. Not really.
For whatever reason he couldn’t figure out.
Shouldn’t they continue to bicker and argue?
Maybe they should but it was early… or late, Lance was tired and… he didn’t really want to argue with anyone right now. Not even with Keith who had smirked at him.
Some company might even be good for him.
For both of them perhaps.
He hummed softly, not seeing a point in being difficult. He honestly didn’t want to be at the moment so he didn’t bother pretending. “Sure,” he said and moved a bit to offer the other more space. It wasn’t much but somehow he wanted to show that he really was fine with someone else joining him on his matts.
Keith settled down with a huff, sitting with his feet apart and his elbows resting on his knees lazily. Heat was radiating off his skin and he was a little flushed and sweaty but frankly Lance didn’t really mind. He didn’t know why, he should find it strange to be sitting next to a post workout, sweaty Keith Kogane in a gym in South Korean at 4:11 in the morning but… he didn’t
This was… this was fine.
For whatever reason his tired brain just couldn’t figure out but Lance kinda trusted his brain and his gut so… this was fine.
They sat in comfortable silence for a while, Keith’s breaths settling down again within a few minutes, wiping some sweat off his forehead with towel that was still - or again - around his shoulders.
“So… you’re from Cuba?”
Lance closed his eyes, smiling and taking a deep breath. “Is that the only conversation starter y’all have? ‘Hey Lance, you’re from Cuba?’ What if one day I just say ‘No, my dude, I’m actually from Atlantis but Cuba is more believable so I go with that. I’m actually a mermaid, just so that you’re aware’.”
It was silent for a moment and Lance wondered if he had just ruined whatever they have had here. “Didn’t know mermaids were interested in figure skating,” Keith then mused and Lance looked at him for a long moment before he sighed, uncurling from his position and stretching out his long legs, his feet as well for good measure. One of his ankles popped as he stretched it and the sound was way too loud in the silent gym.
“Yes, I am from Cuba,” he sighed, wiggling his toes to loosen them up, hoping nothing else would pop and thankfully nothing did.
Keith hummed, still looking out of the window. “I’m sure it wasn’t easy to get into the Olympics,” he then said. “Congrats.”
Lance stared at him for a long moment. “Are you… being nice to me? Or are you mocking me?”
The other frowned but still didn’t look at him, the expression morphing back to a blank one soon enough before he spoke up again. “Well, believe it or not but I’m very much capable of normal human interactions. I was trying to be nice, you were the one who insulted me first.”
“You smirked at me,” the Cuban hissed and- There! There it was again!
“That I did. Couldn’t resist, you were so focused on filming.” That stupid fucker didn’t even deny it. Lance scoffed and crossed his arms - and legs for good measure - and averted his gaze.
“By the way, is your ass okay? That was a pretty nasty fall earlier.”
“My ass if fine , thank you very much,” the Cuban hissed.
“Good to know.”
“You…” Lance didn’t know what to say and just shook his head.
They sat in silence for a while longer and it should be uncomfortable, weird, awkward. It really should but… it wasn’t. For whatever reason Keith’s presence was….calming. Lance didn’t know what sort of black magic this was and he probably didn’t want to know but… he was calm. As much as he didn’t like admitting it, he couldn’t deny it.
He had expected Keith to be a hot-head and he probably was .
Just not a four in the morning where he was… calm.
Lance didn’t know what exactly was different or how they had ended up like this but chose to ignore all wandering thoughts.
“You think you’re gonna go sleep before breakfast?” he asked suddenly, surprising even himself but instead of talking his way out of it he just waited for Keith’s response. The sky was starting to lighten up a tiny little bit. Not noticeable for the untrained eye but Lance spotted the subtle shift.
The other sighed quietly, picking at the laces of his - black - gym shoes. What a surprise.
“No, don’t think so. I get these weird jittery vibes. I’d vibrate straight out of my bed if I were to lie down now. I’ll probably just pull an all-nighter. You?” Keith glanced up from his shoe laces and yup, his eyes were a really, really nice shade of grey, dark and mysterious.
What the fuck Lance?!
“I don’t know about that vibrating part,” he muttered, turning his head slightly so he wouldn’t stare into Keith’s grey eyes for longer than considered normal by the official bro-code. He didn’t want to make him uncomfortable like some dudes got when he stared at them. “But… I get it, just…” he fiddled with his fingers for a while and then waved his hand like that would explain it, still not looking at the other. “I think too much I guess. It’s too loud and I can’t really calm down. Feels strange to be here.” He looked at his feet and tapped them against each other softly. “Feels both exciting and kinda overwhelming. Like…” He rubbed his feet together and shifted his socks back and forth. Why was he even talking about this? He usually doesn’t talk about these things, much less with strangers! Especially not with someone he was supposed to bicker with aka Keith Kogane.
“Weird sums it up pretty well actually,” Keith mused, pushing his somewhat sweaty bangs back, not commenting further on Lance’s jumbled mess of an explanation.
His hair was in that cute lil pony tail again…
“Shiro is probably more excited than I am. I mean, I am excited but…” he twirled his laces around his finger, deep in thought for a moment like he tried to pinpoint what emotion exactly he was feeling, lips pursed into a thin line.
Lance knew the feeling.
“Also kind of worried.”
“Same,” Lance sighed, leaning back against the bench press which really wasn’t the most comfortable thing in the world but it would have to do for now.
The clock on the wall said it was almost five by now - 4:53 - and he could see some light flickering on in the hotels around them. Figure skaters were prone to getting up early for whatever reason. Some other athletes probably had similar habits.
Said boy perked up upon hearing his name out of Keith’s mouth, not having expected that. Was his heart supposed to react like this? To jump a little and make him feel a sudden rush of… something?
“You wanna go to the rink?”
One of Lance’s eyebrows shot up out of habit. He has always had a thing for raised and wiggly eyebrows much to people’s annoyance. They were just jealous that Lance could move them around freely. “The rink?” he asked and watched the other shrug his shoulders, still twirling his laces around his finger. “I could go for a round on the ice… just… to clear my head I guess,” is all he offered as an explanation and Lance considered the proposition for a while, not knowing what to say.
He hadn’t really thought about going to the rink, mainly because he’d be alone there as well and he didn’t feel like being alone in a giant stadium. It was intimidating enough during the day with a bunch of people running around but… he wouldn’t be alone now, would he?
“The rink opens at five.”
Lance glanced at the other who was looking at his shoes rather determinately.
Was… was Keith trying to convince him?
That was… cute.
He couldn’t help but smile softly.
Well, you never needed much to convince Lance McClain to go out onto the ice.
“Okay,” he said and stood up with a groan, stretching and hearing his spine pop a few times which should have really made him cringe but he had gotten way too used to it. He didn’t even have to put the yoga mats away since Keith was already doing that and picking up his water bottle as he came back.
“Gimme ten minutes and I’ll meet you down in the lobby,” Lance said as he walked towards the exit, turning around to throw a glare at Keith. “If you stand me up I’ll skin you with my skates, Kogane. Do not test me. You’d have to sleep with one eye open.”
Keith snorted. “Noted. Ten minutes, I’ll be waiting.”
Lance eyed him sternly for one more moment before leaving and hurrying back towards his room. His bag was always packed and ready to go so he just threw on a pair of leggins, washed his face, put on moisturizer and exchanged his sleeping shirt to a clean, training one and threw on his orange hoodie from the first day before making his way to the lobby with a new sort of excitement running through his body.
Chapter 4: Olympics: Day Four - At the Rink
... I'm very late. Sorry, I had exams and stuff but I think I might upload another chapter this week to make up for it
True to his words Keith was already down in the lobby ten minutes later, duffle bag thrown over his shoulder casually. He had changed into a pair of long sweats and a proper training jacket. He was playing around on his phone and as Lance stepped up to him he noticed that they were pretty much the same size. He might be a tiny, tiny bit taller but Keith’s fluffed up hair canceled out any height advantage he might have had so you couldn’t really tell who was actually taller or shorter.
“Already asked for a car,” the Korean said once he noticed the other, flipping his phone shut and-
“You have a fucking FLIP PHONE?” Lance couldn’t stop himself and even the guy at the reception looked over to the two of them weirdly because of his sudden outburst.
Keith also looked at him somewhat confused. “It’s a phone,” he then said as if that would explain anything and Lance gaped at him. “Holy shit! I never thought I’d ever meet one of your species,” he said in amazement. “Oh my god, how are you still alive???”
“It’s… a phone,” Keith repeated as if he thought Lance hadn’t heard him the first time. His eyebrows did that kinda cute frown thingy and he angled his head slightly to the side, probably unintentionally because it was cute as fuck .
It was too early in the morning for this!
“How do you live?? My phone is my life! How does that thing even work?!” Lance could not believe this. Not only was Keith an emo, he also used a flip phone. If he followed conspiracy blogs as well Lance would launch himself into the stratosphere.
Olympics be damned.
The other shrugged. “Never needed any other phone. This works.” He held up his flip phone for emphasis. He even had a small charm on it.
God, this was golden!
“Oh dios mio, a flip phone… a flip phone,” Lance mumbled to himself and Keith rolled his eyes, leaving him behind as he walked towards the doors. Only then the Cuban finally snapped out of it and followed him into the cool air of the early morning.
The guy at the reception shook his head as they left.
A car was waiting for them and they climbed inside, Lance still snickering to himself and all the way to the rink.
“Can you even send messages with that?”
“I bet the battery lasts for three weeks.”
“Which is convenient.”
“Oh my god, do you even get wifi with that thing?”
“Don’t need it but yes.”
“Keith, do you live under a rock?!”
“Not that I’d know but maybe.”
“I can’t believe this… You’re a mess.”
Keith just rolled his eyes at him.
They walked along the vacant hallways of the stadium, only meeting a few staff members that were already running around. No one spared them more than a quick glance which was very welcome.
Lance was about to follow the hallway and go down to the practise rink as Keith called his name and pointed in a different direction. Curious, his followed the other and his breath was punched out of his lungs as they stepped out into the area.
The official rink was lying illuminated but vacant in front of them.
“It’s free for us until seven,” Keith said and dropped his bag. “The German hockey team has practise on here after that but until then we can use it.”
“Did you memorize the schedule or something?” Lance asked, wanting to sound teasing but he sounded more in awe. His eyes still hadn’t taken everything in and his heart jumped around excitedly.
He’d finally get to step foot onto the official Olympic ice rink.
Without thinking he dropped his bright blue bag and pulled out his camera. Keith noticed and raised a questioning eyebrow at him.
“What?” Lance asked, pouting unconsciously.
“Why’re you filming?” Keith asked, already lacing up his skates and - god did he always have to tug so roughly?
“For my vlog,” Lance said easily, waving around his camera. “My YouTube channel. I wanna film this. I wanted to film yesterday but there were too many people around so I couldn’t. It’s empty now and this is the official rink so I gotta document this.”
“Your…” Keith trailed off, looking at him strangely. “YouTube channel?”
Lance looked at him intently, his expression borderlining on pity. “Keith… you know what YouTube is, right?”
It was beyond satisfying to see the other spluttering in surprise. “I- Of course I know what YouTube is!” he called, sounding incredibly offended and Lance shrugged his shoulders with a grin, reveling in the reaction. “I don’t know dude, you have a flip phone and you apparently live under a rock so don’t blame me for wondering.”
He sat down to put on his skates, the white ones again, and heard Keith grumbling some curses under his breath in a language Lance was pretty sure must be either Korean or Japanese. He wasn’t very good at distinguishing Asian languages but he was pretty sure it wouldn’t be Cantonese or Mandarin since Keith was Korean/Japanese.
They warmed up lazily and Lance grabbed his camera again, turning towards Keith who was shrugging off his jacket in favor of a tight black undershirt.
Lance swallowed heavily.
“You have a problem with me filming?” he asked genuinely and Keith glanced up at him before staring at the camera intently as if to decipher whether or not he liked it. He shrugged his shoulders after a moment of debating. “Don’t really care. Dunno what your fans would think about you mingling with the competition though.”
“You’re not competition,” Lance said and Keith raised an eyebrow.
He had nice eyebrows.
“No?” he asked before he started smirking again. “Because you know I’m way better than you?”
Lance snorted. “No, because I already know my program is gonna launch your ass into outer space.”
With that he turned on his camera stepped towards the ice. “Lo and behold!” he almost screeched, pushing himself forward and gliding over the ice effortlessly.
Dios, he was already in love with this rink. “I’m finally on the official rink you guys!” he called happily and grinned at the camera before turning on the spot to capture every aspect and every last corner of the arena on tape.
This was a very important moment and it needed to be documented for future generations of McClains and the rest of the world.
“Also, It’s like 5:20 and I have not gotten a minute of sleep this night,” he turned the camera towards him again and smiled. “But I’m beautiful so it doesn’t matter.”
A loud snort caught him off guard and he whipped his head around, spotting Keith who was skating lazily, his hands in the pockets of his sweatpants and his shoulders hunched forward. Every coach would scream at him for that but Lance couldn’t deny having done the same thing quite a few times before.
More like all the time when Coran wasn’t looking.
The other was doing some very simple footwork, just crossing over his feet and skating in small circles at a slow pace.
“You got something to say, Kogane?” Lance snapped, Keith not even looking up at him. “Nope, continue with your inspirational words.”
“Unbelievable this guy,” the Cuban huffed and turned back to his camera, staring to skate as well. It was probably what calmed him down the most out of all things. Of course the ice could be a source of stress and it often was but… not like this. Not a five in the morning, all alone without coach or curious eyes, without other people, without judges or an audience. It was just them and a few staff members there and Lance could do whatever he wanted. No one was there to criticize him or to judge him.
Well, except for Keith but his presence didn’t really bother him.
For whatever reason he still couldn’t figure out.
“Like I said,” he continued. “Yesterday I couldn’t film because there were too many people but for now we got this rink to ourselves.” He saw Keith passing through the frame behind him, still skating like a slouch but this time backwards.
“Pidge also didn’t manage to drop by yesterday so she promised me to analyze my jumps today. If that gremlin talks her way out of it again I’m gonna shove her into my skate bag and y’all know what happens in there.”
He babled some more to his viewers, all while skating around the rink slowly.
“It’s Keith’s fault that I’m at the rink at five in the morning anyway,” he then said at some point, loud enough for Keith to hear.
“The fuck did I do?” an offended voice came from halfway across the ice and Lance couldn't help but snicker in delight before he schooled his expression and turned to the other with a blank stare, focusing his camera onto him. “You made me come here.”
“I asked you,” Keith said with a frown, eyes switching between the camera and Lance behind it..
“Yeah because you’re secretly scheming to spy on my skills,” Lance said off-handedly.
“I don’t need to do that in order to beat you.”
“Excuse me?!” Lance screeched but the other just smirked at him and skated past him. “May the best one, aka m e, win!”
“That little…” The Cuban was fuming but no, he would not fall for Keith’s stupid provocations. He was better than that!
He sent the camera a pointed look before smiling and waving goodbye for now because he wanted to get some actual practise as well.
They both practised their own stuff, Lance soon realizing that Keith’s skating was very different from his own. You’d expect… or rather, Lance had expected a kind of rough style, fierce moves and sharp turns but he was a little thrown off as he figured it was the exact opposite.
People had often told Lance he looked like he was dancing on the ice, not following a practised routine. Usually people talked about elegance and grace but for Lance they used the words exciting, fun, refreshing.
He didn’t think much about classical dancing, flowy movements or grace when he was on the ice. It just didn’t suit him. His goal was it to have fun, to entertain the crowd.
Dancing was part of him, just as much as his Latino heritage was, and he loved to express himself through that. His whole family had a thing for dancing so it really wasn’t much of a surprise Lance had taken a liking to it as well. If he couldn’t skate he would dance or sing. It brought people together no matter what and he wanted to express that on the ice as well. He didn’t just want to skate a routine and be done, he wanted people to enjoy themselves and enjoy the performance he delivered.
Most people didn’t think of figure skating as a sport which would be exciting to watch for the general public, maybe mesmerizing, but he wanted to put on a show.
He had been thrilled to learn they could finally use music with lyrics for competitions and had not hesitated to do so for his short programm.
He didn’t know how the performance would be received, he just knew that he loved it and that it was him . The routine was to 100% him and he wanted it to be that way.
People had criticized him for not being the most technical. His jumps weren’t the most stable although his footwork was phenomenal. What he lacked in technique he made up for with his stamina, his presence and his fearlessness of being bold.
In contrast to that Keith seemed to be one of the calmest figure skaters Lance had ever seen. He was the personification of fluid movements, his jumps look effortless and he seemed to be lost in his own world. Not like Lance who sought out the connection to the crowd.
He couldn’t deny being a little jealous as Keith landed a quad perfectly.
Lance struggled with his quads.
He could do them when he was in perfect condition, otherwise he probably wouldn’t have gotten to the Olympics, but he liked to avoid them when it wasn’t necessary. More often than not he’d get a deduction for his landing and they made him a little nervous so Coran often came up with routines that did not include quads at all or the bare minimum. In exchange they were all the more exhausting to make up for missing quads but Lance was more than durable so he didn’t really have a problem with that.
Some more skaters had trickled in around six and the two skaters stayed until roughly half past six when Lance stomach was starting to devour itself. He found Keith who was just finishing up on a routine and looked up at him once he spotted the Cuban.
“I’m hungry,” Lance said and Keith continued to stare.
“The usual solution for that is eating,” he then said and Lance rolled his eyes. “Yeah, you coming?” he turned around but looked over his shoulder at the other who needed a moment. Maybe he considered not going with Lance but then he seemed to decide and followed the Cuban off the ice.
They took off their skates and did some cool down stretches which Keith seemed to think off more as a bother. The whole time he had a sour expression on his face. One could think he was plotting the downfall of humanity and not just stretching after practise.
Of course Keith would be the type of skater who hated stretching.
Lance just snorted after a annoyed grunt from Keith and shook his head. Stretching was life, he thought as he brought up his leg next to his head, straight as a pole - ha, the irony - and smirked at Keith who had just gotten up from stretching the back of his knees. The other’s eyes widened for a split second before he scowled like Lance had personally offended him.
“That’s just inhuman.”
An offended screech escaped Lance as he took down his leg again. “My legs are a work of art, you absolute heathen!” He stepped forward and poked Keith’s chest but the latter just snorted and grabbed his bag, swinging it over his shoulder. “They’re just like your arms; lanky noodles.”
“I take great offense to that, you emo spinach.”
“Spinach is nice.”
“What kind of alien species are you?! Don’t tell me you like pineapple on your pizza.”
“Do you pour milk before your cereal?”
Keith looked at him blankly and was silent for another moment. “… I-”
“THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE!” Lance screeched and grabbed his bag, storming off and continuing to rant. “How on earth is this possible? A flip phone, emo shirts, likes spinach, eats pineapple on pizza! Pours MILK FIRST! Are you even human?!”
“Are you always this dramatic?”
“Hon, I’m a drama queen and I own that title with my whole dramatic being!”
“Hunk… am I seeing things?”
“If you are, Pidge, then I’m seeing the same things.”
“Is… is that Lance with…”
“Keith? Yeah, I believe so.”
Lance groaned loudly and slammed face-first into a couch.
“Oh no,” Pidge sighed. “This is so sad, Hunk, play despacito.”
“No!” Lance wailed. “Get that song away from me! I don’t wanna hear it!”
“Deeeeespaacito!” Matt screeched from across the room and Lance screeched right back.
“Okay, okay, despacito aside, why is Lance face-planting the couch?” Allura asked, Romelle currently braiding her way too long hair.
“Because that’s life, sis,” Lance said just as Pidge piped up with a ‘Cause he’s in love~’.
“Am not,” the Cuban whined immediately and kicked his long legs. Hunk threw a potato chip at him and he nibbled on it sadly after getting his hands on it.
His friends were so mean.
Why was he friends with them?
Pidge snorted and pushed up her glasses, a habit that only seemed to grow worse with each passing day. The more she did it the more evil she got. She with her small raccoon hands. “Yeah and I’m the queen of England.”
Hunk laughed at that and she eyed him with disdain as he shoved a handful of peanuts into his mouth and made sure to put some more distance between her and those offending pieces of supposed nourishment.
“I saw you this morning with him. You can’t hide nothing from me.” She poked Lance’s unprotected side with one of her small, pointy fingers - raccoon hands - and Lance squirmed in his spot but was too lazy to actually move away properly. He tried to swat at her hand but she was faster than him and pulled it out of reach.
“We were both at the rink,” he simply mumbled, hoping it would be enough of an explanation but of course it wasn’t.
“Uhu,” Hunk said and raised his eyebrows funnily. “And you came back together. Without your coaches. Very suspicious.”
“Wait,” Romelle said, looking up from the complicated braid in front of her with furrowed eyebrows. “Who exactly are we talking about?”
“No one,” Lance hurried to say.
Pidge was such a little shit.
Lance went back to trying to suffocate himself with a pillow.
“Keith?” Allura asked. “Like… the Japanese Keith? Keith Kogane? Is that his name?” She turned to her fiance who had to think for a moment before her eyes widened.
“THAT Keith?!” Romelle asked in disbelief and turned to look at Lance funnily. “Really now? That guy?”
The Cuban decided not to grace her with an answer. He wanted to scream into his pillow.
“Keith Kogane steals the hearts of all women across the globe with an outstanding performance!” Matt called, waving his phone around where he was reading the headlines of articles related to the Olympics. “I guess Lance is part of that group now too.”
“I really don’t know why I’m friends with y’all,” Lance grumbled into his pillow. He had decided not to mention the gym-incident for now and that Keith and him being at the rink together was not a coincident at all.
He probably wouldn’t survive all the teasing.
“Also; Matt, what about that one girl from the Swedish curling team? I heard she thinks you’re pretty cool,” he said and looked up just to see Matt turn into a rather brilliant shade of red.
“What?” Pidge shrieked. “Who?”
“Who?” Hunk echoed, eyes wide.
“Tell us everything you know,” Allura prompted and leaned forward.
Lance just grinned knowingly and winked at a rather flustered Matt. The guy was just as much of a bi-mess as he was. “She’s single.”
Chapter 5: Olympics: Day Five - The Pool
So... I don't really have anything to say about why this is so late ^^'
I'm sorry, I'll try to be more consistent
“What is it like being a bi man at the Olympics?”
Lance took a second to process that question, pondering for a while and trying to ignore the reporter’s curious stare.
How should he answer this?
This was such a simple yet difficult question that really only needed a short answer but expected a big one. He knew he’d get asked questions like this, he was openly bi after all but… to actually be asked and knowing it’s gonna end up on the internet and in papers was still something else.
There weren’t many, if any, openly bi athletes so… he was the only representation bi people had. He couldn’t speak for the whole community though. He was just him, not every bi person out there.
People probably didn’t think this far but such a question put so much pressure on him. It was kind of like telling him he had to represent every bi person out there authentically which just wasn’t possible.
“Well,” he said, trying to fish for a few more seconds of thinking time. “I can obviously only speak from my own experience but for me it’s just… normal. I’m sure some people don’t know but even those who do know don’t act any different around me which is great. That’s the way it should be. But I do have to say that the media focuses on this a lot more than anyone else.”
He was… kind proud of his answer.
The journalist nodded, her hair styled in a modern bob and her glasses making her look like a smart business woman. “Do you consider this focus a bad thing?”
Lance hummed thoughtfully. “Not necessarily. It’s great that people show… interest I guess? As long as it’s genuine. I don’t want it to steal the spotlight from the actual reason why I’m here though, which is skating. I think this can easily be overshadowed when I’m not introduced as a figure skater but as a bi guy from Cuba. It depends on the intent but generally I’m glad that I get the chance to represent bi people on such a global level and bring some awareness along with it.”
“I’m sure there are a lot of people who see you as a role model,” the woman said and Lance laughed. “I just hope I’m not a bad one.”
“Most certainly not,” she smiled at him. “You’re at the Olympics after all. That speaks for you dedication and effort you put into reaching your goals.”
“Thank you,” he said with a genuine smile, the honest compliment making him feel all warm around his heart. She hadn’t just said he had talent but had explicitly stated that he had put effort into getting better. Something many people didn’t consider to be much of a difference but it him it meant a lot.
Just saying someone had talent took away credit from their efforts.
“So then, tell me about your program. Why exactly did you chose those as your short and free programs?”
Ah, those were the questions he had been waiting for. “You see, I’m not the most technical figure skater, even I must admit that, so my style of skating is very different from many other skaters’ here. My programs kind of mirror the way I think of skating, the way I enjoy it which is more… maybe raw is the wrong word but I think of it that way. They’re routines of course, so you’re not able to just do whatever but I still like to keep a sense of freedom out on the ice. I want it to feel like a dance, not just choreography.”
“They call you an entertainer out on the ice. Do you see yourself as such?”
“I guess I kinda do,” Lance admitted with a laugh. “I love getting a reaction from the crowd. I seek out a connection with my audience so ‘entertainer’ is probably the best way to describe me.”
“Does this very different approach ever cause any problems for you? Since skating has such a strict point system and is usually not considered the most innovative sport.”
Lance honestly had to admit that this was probably the best interview yet. He liked the way she picked up on what he said, asked direct questions and follow up questions. It felt like she was actually listening to him and not just reading the questions from her notepad.
“There are a few critics who don’t think my style is what figure skaters on such a level should deliver but I don’t dwell on their opinions. It is my style and it has gotten me a spot here so I know it’s good but yes, sometimes there is judgement. If my coach hadn’t always backed me and my decisions up I might have ended up changing everything just to fit in. Thankfully he’s a great person and helped me figure things out the way I wanted them to and I’m very happy with how I skate.”
“It truly shows. I got the chance to see you for a few short minutes during practise this afternoon and you and your coach seem to be a very good team.”
“We’ve been working together for many years now and had time to get to know each other. We’ve grown together a lot and I’m really glad Coran continues to put so much effort into me.”
“Is there a goal you have set for yourself for these Olympics?” the reporter asked after nodding her head once more.
“To have fun, firstly and foremost, to enjoy this experience and for now to make the cut for the free program. I’ll think positively so I’m confident I’ll make it. Then when we’re speaking of the ideal outcome… to get a spot on the winners’ podium of course.” Lance smiled brilliantly and the woman chuckled.
“I’m convinced you have very good chances or reaching your goal, Lance.”
He smiled at her. “I hope so.”
“I wish you all the best for your competitions. It was lovely to get to speak with you.”
“Likewise and thank you,” he said honestly for once, shaking hands with her before she and her team left. He skipped out of the room with a happy smile on his face, leaving Coran behind after telling him he’d go for a swim in the spa.
Ten minutes later he was in his swimming trunks and jumped into the - thankfully - vacant pool.
He had always loved the water and after an exhausting day there was nothing better than just floating for a while without a worry in the world. Of course it wasn’t the same as swimming in the ocean or surfing at the beach behind their house with his siblings but it would have to make do for now.
Pidge had dropped by for his afternoon practise and had given him some very helpful pointers, some for his quads as well though he still didn’t like them very much no matter how much her analysis made it easier to understand what he was doing wrong and what he needed to change. It was one thing to know it and another to actually be able to change the way you did things.
Hunk was still at the rink with his hockey team and Matt and Pidge were probably practising shooting. Pidge was pretty much her brother’s second coach, his first being their father. They always went everywhere as a family which made Lance feel a little jealous sometimes since he was usually alone.
Well, except for Coran of course but Coran was more of a goofy uncle than a parent or a sibling.
Lance loved him but he still looked forward to skyping with his family later and seeing his sisters in a few days.
He sighed loudly, the sound coming from deep within his chest and making him feel a little bit more liberated than just a moment ago. All of that heavy thinking could make him feel a little trapped which he didn’t like at all.
“Contemplating the meaning of life?” a somewhat distorted voice asked all of the sudden and Lance frowned. He moved his hands underwater so he could right himself and look at whoever was disturbing his personal dissolving-in-the-water-and-relaxed-thinking-time.
“Are you kidding me?” he muttered to himself and rolled his eyes. “Seriously dude?” he asked. “Are you following me?”
Keith snorted. “That thought is quite unappealing. I’d rather have the pool to myself as well but we can’t always get what we want, McClain.”
“You can always leave, Kogane, door’s that way.”
Keith chose to ignore him and made his way over to the hot tub, throwing his towel on an empty lounger before setting in the hot water with a pretty content huff.
Lance couldn’t help but smile because yeah, he knew that feeling. He shook his head and turned around onto his back again, ears underwater to block out most unwanted noises and looking at the ceiling as he drifted, eyes following the flowy reflections of the water. He swam in lazy circles with the bare minimum of movement and his thoughts wandered back to his home.
He missed sunbathing in the sand, tanning his already tan skin and just soaking in the heat of the unforgiving and harsh rays of the sun above.
South Korea was rather cold, not icy but still chilly with snow all around and… it just wasn’t Lance’s kind of climate. Of course, sure, he was at the rink around 40% of his time but he wasn't there for the cold. He was there for the ice and ice wasn’t snow or grey skies.
The cold was different at the rink, it was part of the deal but this weather here was just… not his thing.
He also missed his mom ranting in a mix of Spanish and English. His whole family was a language mess and he had struggled for so, so long to sticking to just one language when he went somewhere or spoke to other people the first time he had left home. The struggles of being bilingual.
He remembered the reporter who had complimented him on his English and scoffed.
Yeah, because of course the Latino dude was expected to speak broken English so only imagine what a surprise it was that Lance was actually fluent. Unimaginable! To think he grew up with two languages in his household and not just one!
Americans’ were so narrow-minded. They expect everyone to speak English but most of them barely excelled at their own language.
Lance snickered to himself.
Yeah, he was being mean but he hated that guy and sadly most American interviewer’s hadn’t been any better until now.
Maybe he should just start answering in Spanish to those stupid questions.
He snickered again, feeling almost evil.
Oh, what a mastermind he was.
It would be so funny to see those articles.
‘Latino figure skater forgets his English’
‘Americans confused with sudden Spanish counterattacks’
Lance was probably cackling quietly to himself.
“What the fuck are you doing?”
He lifted his head, having heard the distorted words through the water around his ears somehow and looked up at a very confused-looking Keith who stared at him with furrowed eyebrows.
“Plotting world domination,” Lance said without missing a beat.
“Since you were laughing to yourself like a witch I’d actually believe you if it weren’t for the fact that you’d never be able to plan something like that.”
“Are you calling me stupid?!”
“That’s what you said, noodle-arms.”
Lance huffed in disbelief and shook his head but then he got an idea. “Actually, mullet-man…” He started swimming over to the hot tub gracefully. His niece and nephew were 100% convinced their youngest uncle was actually a mermaid and Lance was not about to burst their little fantasy-bubble. He leaned his arms onto the narrow edge that divided the pool from the hot tub and kicked his legs behind him lazily.
Oh, how he wished he could see more of that chest…
“Do you ever get this sudden desire to just kick some stupid reporters to the rings of Saturn?”
Keith raised an eyebrow at the sudden question but the corner of his mouth twitched in something akin to amusement. “More often than I’d like to admit so yeah, it’s a rather common occurrence.”
Lance hummed, nodding his head. “Good to know I’m not alone. Maybe if we kick together they’ll actually understand some common sense.”
“They’re mostly a lost cause, trust me.”
“That’s just sad,” Lance sighed, leaning his cheek against his hand.
Keith watched him intently for some moments and the Cuban let him, not really bothered by the staring. He was beautiful, okay? It was only natural that people wanted to look at him.
He could feel Pidge rolling her eyes at him.
Suck it, Pidgeon
“Did someone say something stupid?” Keith asked suddenly, sounding more genuine that a moment ago and it kinda reminded Lance of when they had sat in the gym together.
He sighed again. “This one guy just… he said I was sooo good at English. Figured the stupid Latino wouldn’t know how to speak even if that stupid Latino grew up in an bilingual household which is actually a quite well-known fact. Also, who asks about my English for an interview at the Olympics? They’re all already asking about me being Cuban, then me speaking English then me being bi… Who is gonna ask about my skating? That’s kinda what I’m here for but in most interviews I get the feeling they’re just out to slander me for being a bisexual Latino.”
Lance couldn’t help but pout angrily, only now realizing how much he was actually frustrated about the whole ordeal. The interview today with the nice lady had kinda opened his eyes a little more to what a professional and good interview was actually like. Of course she had also asked some standard questions but those hadn’t been the focus and he didn’t mind being asked about those things but he minded being asked only about those things only and not his actual accomplishments.
He also didn’t know why he was ranting to Keith out of all people but maybe because Keith was in a similar situation as him. Not being a native English speaker, being a male figure skater and all that.
Though he didn’t expect him to agree to his little rant so easily.
Keith hummed lowly. “That’s how most reporters are. They pick something unique about someone and just… rip it to pieces. The actual athletic part usually gets ignored which is why I hate interviews.”
“Do they also have something on you?” Lance asked curiously because he hadn’t heard much and Pidge had said his image was pretty neat.
“Just me being Korean but skating for Japan. Especially for these Olympics people just cannot wrap their heads around that. I’m Korean, yeah, but also Japanese. I don’t know why that’s so difficult to get since I grew up in Japan but… somehow it’s a huge deal.”
Lance nodded his head in understanding. “Probably mostly because the Olympics are in Korea this year but it still shouldn’t be such a shocker when you grew up in Japan and have Japanese citizenship.”
Keith shrugged his shoulders. “It’s what they have on me. I haven’t given them anything else and I’d like to keep it that way. They’re already always asking about Shiro which is kind of annoying. I don’t need anything else they can ask me about.” He crossed his arms in front of his chest and gazed at the steaming water in front of him.
The Cuban dipped his fingers into it and swirled them around, watching the water ripple just slightly from the movement. “Humans are noisy creatures. He was a legend on the ice so I guess everyone is dying to know more about what happened.”
“It’s none of their business and if they want to know they should ask him, not me. It’s like I’m supposed to talk about him behind his back because they know he doesn’t want to talk about it and that’s just fucked up.”
Lance hummed softly and submerged his hand into the water, spreading out his fingers. He stayed silent for a while, trying to imagine what it would feel like to only be asked about someone else and he could understand that it would be annoying after only a short while. Especially when you were expected to spill some secrets. He didn’t get what that was all about anyway.
Of course Shiro was a legend and people were curious but why did they have to pester Keith? A figure skater who was here for his own accomplishments and not as a spokesperson for his coach.
“Is he a good coach?”
Keith looked up at the other and thought for a moment. “I’d say he is… maybe a little impatient at times and strict but he’s doing his best. I don’t really have anyone to compare though.”
At that Lance looked up at him, stopping his playing around with the water. “You don’t… he’s your first coach? You didn’t have anyone before that?”
The other frowned slightly and shook his head. “No.”
“You started skating a few years ago?!”
Keith snorted, his lips quirking up into a small smile. “No, I’ve been skating since I was a little kid. I just never went to competitions and rarely took actual official lessons. I mostly did stuff on my own. After Shiro’s accident he was… looking for an outlet I guess. I had never considered doing anything with my skating but he kicked my ass and whipped me into shape and… now here we are.”
“Here we are,” Lance echoed. He had to admit that he was a bit amazed that Keith had never considered competitions before. His skating was simply perfect for that but of course not everyone who had the skill had to make something big out of it.
He’d have to clap Shiro’s back the next time he saw him, without Keith noticing, and thank him for kicking Keith’s ass because his skating deserved to be seen by the world. He had no qualms about admitting that.
“What about you?”
Lance was shaken out of his thoughts by Keith’s voice, the other looking at him expectantly. “What’s your story?”
Lance laughed softly and pulled his hand out of the hot water. “It has several corners and twists to be honest. As you can imagine Cuba isn’t really big on winter sports.”
Keith hummed. “Figured as much.”
“Right, so I actually didn’t start out with ice skating. My parents got me rollerblades for my… fourth of fifth birthday and I was hooked .” Even to this day Lance could still remember the amount of excitement he had felt on that day. “Our driveway is pretty long and mostly smooth so I spent hours just skating around and doing crazy shit. My mom actually tried to make me stop by taking my rollerblades after I almost broke my arm and had to be taken to the hospital but I made such a fuss that she gave them back once I was okay again.”
“Sounds like you,” Keith said with a teasing smile. “But also; Rollerblading? Really? I’ve never done that…”
“What can I say, I knew what I wanted from a young age,” Lance shrugged his shoulders and grinned. “You should try it, it’s fun. Both rollerblading and rollerskating.”
Keith shrugged his shoulders unsurely. “Maybe at some point.”
Lance just smiled and continued with his story. “I think it took me another few years of rollerblading before I finally found out what ice skating was. I mean, I knew that there was ice and snow somewhere in the world but I didn’t know that people danced on it and I just… my mind exploded and I begged my parents to let me try it.”
He could still remember how he had stared at the TV with giant eyes, watching a young women is pretty dresses twirling over a shiny, white ground, jumping and looking just so, so incredibly graceful. Little Lance was been mind-blown and had constantly asked to watch more figure skating videos and his parents to please, please, please let him try it out as well.
“Luckily we have a rink not too far away from us. It’s one of the very few in Cuba so they took me there after weeks of begging and I just knew that that’s what I wanted to do. I loved rollerblading but that was just a whole nother level.”
The first time out on the ice had been magical. His siblings had all come along to try it out as well since no one had done it before and they thought it was cool but Lance had fallen in love immediately. He hadn’t wanted to leave and had actually sobbed uncontrollably during the whole drive back.
“They had some beginner classes but nothing fancy because most people just don’t do stuff like that so I mostly practised with my rollerblades and begged my family to drive me to the rink so I could sharpen my skills. I was addicted to YouTube and actually uploaded some of my own clips.”
Oh, little Lance had been so proud whenever someone filmed him. His family had always encouraged him to follow his passion even if it was a little difficult for them to support but they had tried their very best.
“Coran, my coach, actually found me through YouTube when I was twelve and offered to coach me. He has connections and could get me into a school in America. I don’t know how I got so lucky but I took the offer, obviously, and now here we are.”
“Here we are,” Keith echoed this time, smiling softly after hearing the story. “A lot of lucky coincidences.”
“Oh for sure,” Lance agreed with a nod. “I don’t know what else I’d be doing if it weren’t skating to be honest. Maybe I’d just sell ice cream in Cuba to white tourists all day long or be a belly-dancer in Dubai.”
The Korean snorted loudly and Lance grinned. “Hey, I’d be an awesome belly dancer! I’d get all the sugar daddies to buy me fancy cars.”
Keith choked a little on his laugh. “That’s an image I didn’t want in my head!”
“Feel blessed by it,” Lance chirped and pushed away from the hot tub, swimming over to the other side of the pool and getting out of the water. He grabbed his towel and draped it around his shoulders like a fashionable cape. “Don’t get all pruney, Kogane, that’s bad for vampires!”
“Haha,” Keith called sarcastically and Lance laughed as he left, feeling a lot lighter then when he had come in.
“See ya later~”
Chapter 6: Olympics: Day Seven (1) - Stress Make Up with Q&A Time
Double update (part1)~ Because I though why not? I split Day 7 into two chapters because it would have been way too much for just one
And yes, there is no Day 6
We're getting some YouTuber!Lance in this chapter so enjoy~
“Hola, your local Latino and all time favorite dancer on the ice is back with more awesome content!” Lance called cheerfully and would probably edit some stupid effects into the video later. He grinned into the camera for a moment before picking up his phone.
“So, I’m in my hotel room in Pyeongchang for, you know, the Olympics ‘n all that jazz.” He flicked his hair back, completely ignoring that it was way too short to flick it anywhere. He more than deserved to be proud of his accomplishments and to brag about them. “And I thought ‘Hey, you guys might have some questions’ since I’ve gotten a looot more subscribers during the last few weeks. To all the new ones: Hiii~” he called sweetly and waved with what he knew was a charming smile on his face. “I’m glad you decided to join our cult, please stay here as long as you can and feed me your love and attention because I need that to live.”
Something on the table toppled over and he reached for it to straightened it up again absentmindedly.
“Today is… uhh…” He looked at his phone and frowned. “Is this Korean time or Cuban time?” he asked no one in particular and looked around for a watch but didn’t find any so he googled the time quickly. “Oh… aha, it’s Korean time. Wow, Lance, you’re so smart to set your time for the land you’re currently in.” He locked his phone again but continued to hold it in his hand.
“I still have a few days before I’m up for the short program and I’m starting to get really nervous so I asked myself ‘What is something you can do to be less nervous?’ and honestly… there isn’t really all that much. You only start actually being less nervous once that thing is over but okay, we can still do some things.”
Wow, here he was teaching the youth of today some very useful knowledge. He should write poems. He’d be the next Shakespeare.
And he truly was nervous but making a video was a good distraction.
“For me I like to go to the beach and sun bathe but… that isn’t really an option here. I’m also not really in the mood for swimming right now and Coran said I’d get in trouble for going to the rink again today so our options are limited. What does a healthy young man do when he’s nervous? Right, he makes a spa day and talks to a camera.”
He nodded to himself.
“That’s what we’re gonna do. I’d call it a Get Ready With Me but it’s actually just a I’m Nervous So I’m Practising My MakeUp video. I’ll just… do my thing and answer some questions from you guys. Hopefully it won’t be too much of a mess.”
A clip of some messy moments that would most certainly appear would probably be played now as a transition. He fully trusted himself to mess up more than once in the process of getting make up onto his face.
Lance was awesome like that.
“Alright ladies, gents and all the other lovely people,” he clapped his hands and looked down at the table. “As you probably can’t see I have my whole uh… collection displayed in front of me and we’re gonna do some Stress-MakeUp which means I’ll just try to practise the makeup I want for my short program but it’s gonna escalate and I’m gonna look like a peacock in mating season but that’s what we’re all here for anyway so let’s get started.”
Lance tended to be dramatic when he was stressed or nervous - even more so than usual - and that tended to translate to his makeup.
He wiggled his fingers and looked at his products. “Where to start?”
Something caught his eye. “Ah, yeah, okay so this,” he picked up a bottle and fished a cotton pad out of a small bag. “Is uh… I dunno but I use it to remove like… the oil from my face? You know? Looking like your skin is wet is that new trend but you don’t wanna be an unfried, soggy potato chip so get that oil off your damn face.”
True to his words he did just that and picked up his phone to scroll through the replies to his latest tweet which was basically ‘Ask me some questions and maybe I’ll answer them ;)’. Still there were a lot of replies and he picked something that he liked, taking a screenshot of the comment to edit it into the video later. Now he only needed to remember to do that to all of the other questions he would pick.
That could turn out to be a problem.
“Someone asked ‘Are you nervous about the Olympics?”
Lance paused for a second and then raised his eyes to look at the camera like the ‘The Office’ meme. “Honey, if anyone is not nervous about the whole globe watching them then I don’t know what’s wrong with them so yes, I am nervous.”
He scrolled some more. “‘Do you get along with the other skaters?” He put aside the cotton pad and patted his face down with his hands. “Well, I’m a delight to be around so they all better fall in love with me.” He winked at the camera for good measure. “No, but seriously, most people are really nice and easy to get along with. Obviously not everyone can speak flawless English but you get kinda good at miming after a day or so. It’s pretty cool actually but obviously there are also some pricks around.”
The Cuban shrugged his shoulders and rummaged through his cosmetic products. “Nothing you can do about that. That’s just how it is and I don’t bother with those people. You can’t be friends with everyone.”
He found what he was looking for. “So we’re gonna start with some primer first. Just squirt it all over your face and you’ll be good.”
Lance couldn’t help but grin and snicker to himself before he cleared his throat and acted serious again. “Yeah, get this juicy goodness on your face…”
Another giggle escaped him and he cleared his throat more forcefully this time. “There are children present,” he said to himself before looking at the camera and smiling sweetly. “You’ll understand someday.”
Good he was such a bad role model. He prayed that no parents were watching… and that his parents weren’t watching either.
Geez, that would be so embarrassing. He could already hear his mother screeching at him, a shirll ‘LANCITO!’ echoing in his mind and he shook his head to shoo the angry voice of his mother away. She was terrifying when she was angry.
“Okay, foundation. Get that on your face, preferably in a shade that matches your skin tone… I’m looking at you, twelve year old Lance. Your sisters’ tone is not the same as yours.”
Veronica had tried so hard not to burst into tears of laughter upon seeing her little brother trying to get her foundation onto his face. It had been a mess and if Lance hadn’t been as cute as he had been back then - even more so now - she probably would have yelled at him for spilling some of her stuff but instead she had just snickered quietly and told him she’d show him how to do it properly.
The shade had been completely wrong but she had somehow made it work so it hadn’t looked completely ridiculous. He had run to show his dad and had promptly gotten foundation all over his shirt.
“Nice and even,” he sang quietly as his beauty blender - not a official one but a knock off because come on - patted the foundation into his skin. “Mhm, ‘How much did your skates costs?’... Oh boy.”
And oh boy it was.
“Buying skates is like… the most exciting but also the most terrifying thing. It’s like you’re about to take a new child home. I know the trend is to ask YouTubers or other people stuff like this but if you want to buy skates go to a professional because they know best.”
He looked at the camera for a moment to show that he was serious about this, his beauty blender still beating foundation into his neck. No foundation lines shall be seen!
“For me I started with like… 50$ skates or something. Really cheap ones because my parents didn’t know how long I’d actually stay with it and because there weren’t many options in Cuba. They might have even bought them online…” He paused for a moment to think. “Probably, I’m not really sure but the longer I skated the more expensive my skates got.”
Obviously because no one should get the most expensive one when they were just starting out.
“The first really good ones were the ones I bought after I worked at the rink for half a year when I was sixteen and those were around… 1,000$ if I’m not mistaken. I don’t use them anymore because my feet have gotten larger but I still keep them because I’m a sentimental child and cannot part with things like that.” He sniffed and wiped an imaginary tear away. They held so many memories, he just couldn’t get rid of them.
He still remembered when he had picked them up and had actually started to cry.
“My current ones… well, I have several ones.”
The foundation part was done so he put his beauty blender down and looked for a specific bottle. “Where… where the quiznak is my concealer?” he muttered to himself and rummaged through his bags and products with furrowed eyebrows. “One sec.”
Approximately two minutes later he returned with a small bottle and sat down again with a huff.
“Okay, put concealer under your eyes to hide those nasty dark circles, I go for like… a shade or two lighter than my foundation because we’re not a flat object but a gorgeous human being that radiates positivity. Cover that annoying stuff up. We don’t wanna look like an angry raccoon.” He paused for a second. “Except you identify as one. In that case; go wild I guess?”
He applied some small dots under his eyes and blended them in. “I currently have three pairs of skates that I use. I have my old ones that I use when I’m lazy and wanna be comfy. I think they were also around 1,000$. I’ve had them for a while so I’m not really sure anymore. Then I have a fancy white pair I mostly use during practise but also when I need white skates for competitions. They were a bit more expensive. 1,7 I think. And obviously my black ones.” He smiled at the camera before he went back to blending. He loved his black babies. “They were… 2,400$. Custom shit and all that stuff. My bank account was sobbing, so was I, but those black blades-”
He snapped his fingers for emphasize. “Girl, those black blades were calling ma name. Couldn’t leave those behind.” He wagged his finger from side to side and pursed his lips once he was finished with blending.
“No no, couldn’t do it, had to buy them. Crying bank account be damned. But really, you only need those kind of skates when we’re talking about national and international competitions so… either save up and cry for eternity or don’t worry about it. It also helps to scream when you see your bank account. Take it from the professional.”
The concealer bottle was put away again just like the beauty blender and Lance clapped his hands. “What’s next.” His eyes fell onto a black, round case. “Aha! Baking!”
He snatched it from the table and pulled out one of his many brushes. “I have no idea what this is brush is for so I just use it for baking. Don’t judge me.” He sent the camera a serious look.
“For so long I had no idea what the heck baking was but let me tell you…” he paused for a dramatic effect and leaned forward. “It changed my life.”
Perhaps he was being dramatic but come on, dramatic was Lance’s middle name.
“Basically you just slap on some powder, look like an absolute idiot for some minutes, wipe it away, choke to death and then you makeup is gonna be purrfect for the rest of eternity. No more sweaty cake on your face.”
He peered into the case after he had unscrewed the lid and dipped his brush into the white powder. “Don’t bother with that excess because there is never enough powder for baking. Just get it on there and don’t bother with it looking pretty.”
After doing exactly that he did look like an idiot but he didn’t care. Own that shit! “Also; inhaling like 50% of it is part of the process, don’t worry about it. Some people use a puff for that or their beauty blender but I just use this brush because I’m a creature of habit and I’m lazy so there’s that.”
He found another interesting question after a moment of scrolling. “‘Are you and Allura helping each other with your routines?’ Oh, actually yeah, we do. She’s out of my league, obviously, but she still asks me to point out her mistakes when we practise together. There barely are any so it’s more like nitpicking.” He shrugged his shoulders and put some more powder onto his chin. Sweaty chins are not nice. Cakey foundation even less.
“She did stay for my practise this afternoon and Pidge also dropped by to do her weird alien math shuff. I still don’t like my quads but at least I know my other jumps are doing okay.”
Stupidly he tapped the brush against the rim of the case out of habit and a cloud of translucent dust rose up. “Oh man,” he choked. “Thanks for the dramatic effect.” He waved his hands around in an attempt to shoo the dust away and closed the case. He’d take care of the brush later and set it aside for now.
“Now that we’re looking like an absolute idiot it’s time for the eyes! Yay! I have the uh… the quiznak is this?” He squinted at the palette and closed the lid again to search for the name. “NYX Swear By It palette. Honestly, it doesn’t matter what you use. I only use this because it has all the colors that I need in one place and again, I’m a creature of habit.”
He grabbed his eyeshadow brushes and selected the fluffiest one he had. “So we’re gonna start like all random beauty bloggers and first of all… ah, wait, I forgot primer…” He paused, his arm half-way across his desk to read for the small tube. “Do we even need primer? Like really need it?” Lance asked no one in particular and crooked his head in wonder. “I dunno… I’m just gonna use it because I feel fancy today.”
So he slapped some on and let that dry for a second.
“Another one I like: ‘What do you think of K-beauty?’. Since I’m smart I know that the K stands for Korean so...shabam. But um… to be honest I haven’t really been anywhere yet so… I can’t say anything for now. I do plan to go shopping at some point though and I could make a video about all that if you want so, lemme know.” He pointed downwards and knew his viewers would interpret it as ‘write a comment about it’ once the video was up on YouTube.
“Alright, take your eyeshadow and select a neutral, kinda light-ish shade which will be your base color. I’m going for a kinda maroon look so I’ll just go with this light beige/pinkish shade over here.”
He leaned forward to have a better look at the mirror and raised his eyebrows slightly. “I plucked my eyebrows already so ravel in their perfection. Also, for everyone who is wondering; these brushes are from Lily England. They’re really pretty and I really like the rose gold vibes.”
First the left right eye, then the left. Always in that order.
“Once you got this down we’re going a few shades darker and-”
There was a knock on the door and Lance looked up at it with a raised eyebrow before glancing at the camera. “Excuse me,” he said out of habit although no one was actually waiting for him.
Maybe he should be embarrassed or at least more aware of the fact that he had white powder all over his face and only half-finished makeup on but he couldn’t care less.
He opened the door, ready to send away whoever dared to interrupted him but he annoyance melted into giddiness as he saw who it was.
“Hunk!” he called cheerfully and his best friend only needed a second to adjust, smiling one of his sweet smiles. Hunk was such a teddy bear! “You busy?” he asked and pointed at Lance’s face, the Cuban just laughing and waving his hand dismissively. “Nah, stress-makeup.”
If Hunk hadn’t known him for so long he might have found this whole situation rather weird but he just shrugged and squeezed past Lance into the room, a big bag of hot cheetos in his hand. He went straight for the bed and plopped down before he saw the camera and blinked at it curiously. “You filming?”
Lance hummed and sat down at his desk again. “I’m answering questions.”
“More like, ranting about whatever and answering maybe three questions.”
“Hey!” Lancy cried in an offended manner, turning around to glare at his grinning friend. “I have answered more than three questions already. Take that!”
“You can’t remember.”
“It doesn’t matter!”
Hunk laughed loudly and threw his head back. “Okay, okay, do your thing,” he said with a wave of his hand. “Just came by to chill anyway.” He kicked off his slippers and got comfortable on the bed to scroll through his timeline leisurely while Lance huffed and turned back to his video.
Hunk might not seem like it but he too was pretty nervous. The two of them often stuck together so they wouldn’t be alone with their nerves.
“Anyway, let’s continue from where we were before I was so rudely interrupted,” Lance said pointedly and Hunk only replied with an amused snort. “We’re gonna chose a deeper shade and I’ll go for something more purplish like this one in the middle here.” The fluffy tip of his brush tapped against the shade he meant before he applied it. “I’ll put this in the outer corner of the lid and up into the crease, this part here, and kinda avoid the inner corner because that’s supposed to be the brightest spot later. This end’s dark and this one’s light. You gotta blend it right and… bam”
He nodded his head at his own explanation. He was a genius.
“I do both eyes at the same time but if you’re talented enough to do them separately please feel free to do so. I end up with two different eyes so I just kinda… don’t.”
“I remember that one time where your make up was all lopsided.”
“Your commentary is not appreciated, Hunk.”
Hunk just threw a cheeto at Lance which bounced off his shoulder and fell onto the floor. The Cuban dove after it and shoved it into his mouth.
His friend did not seem to approve if his judgemental gaze was anything to go by.
“Three second rule or whatever weird shit people come up with,” Lance said in his defense before turning back to the camera. “You can just leave it at that but I kinda wanna be dramatic so I’ll take this purple tone, mix it with the red one next to it and put it in this corner and only a little bit into the crease because I live for contrast and gradients.”
“Didn’t you live for enchiladas yesterday evening?”
“Hunk, that was yesterday. Today is a new day, I’m a whole new person!”
“Of course, my fault.”
“It’s okay, you can learn.”
It was silent for some moments while Lance applied his eyeshadow with utmost precision.
“What are your outfits for your programs?” Hunk asked and his friend paused for a second before he turned around to him to ask where this sudden question had come from. He didn’t get to it though because he already saw that the other had found his tweet and was scrolling through the replies.
“I won’t tell just yet,” Lance said with a smile directed at the camera before finishing up his second eye. “Just know that I’ll be the sexiest one.”
“Hunk, you gotta be sexy when you have a body like this. Otherwise it would be just wasted potential.”
“‘If you could choose between living in America or anywhere in the world and living in Cuba where would want to live?’” Hunk asked, completely ignoring his friend’s words.
“Cuba, obviously. There is just no other place like Cuba and… I already miss my family when I’m just going on trips or when I’m in America so I don’t think I’d survive somewhere else for very long.”
Lance tapped the excess off of his brush and put it aside. “Because we’re all dramatic people we cannot live without sparkles. Figure skaters love their sparkle so I’m taking this glittery shade here and put it in the corner of my eyes and the centre of my lid as a… sparkly effect.”
A few moments later and the eyeshadow was perfect.
“Now for the dreaded part… the eyeliner.” He paused for some dramatic effect and Hunk made a weird noise behind him which he ignored like a true professional.
Lance’s sister Rachel had taught him everything he knew about eyeliner and he always felt blessed because of her knowledge that she had passed down to him.
“Just do what you usually do. I go for a small wing because I don’t want it to be too over the top.”
“You’re such a modest person,” Hunk sighed which Lance also ignored because he was busy with his eyeliner that obviously turned out great like always.
Courtesy of hours of practise.
And because he was just that good.
He smiled at himself in the mirror and nodded his head once he was satisfied with his look and screwed the lid of the small bottle back on so he could put it away. His eyes always looked so naked without some black so he more often than not ended up doing at least a little something to his upper lash line. Especially when he was planning on wearing false lashes because without eyeliner they could look a bit weird.
“Usually I would go for just normal mascara but this is makeup for a performance and not everyday makeup, for me at least. We have to put a bit more effort into this and it would look unbalanced if I got this really strong color for eyeshadow and like… no lashes,” Lance explained as he rummaged through a little pouch until he finally found the right pair of lashes. “I go kinda for a natural look but… you can only be somewhat natural so…” he shrugged his shoulders and opened the small package, stopping his somewhat clumsy explanation mid sentence.
“When I was younger I was always scared my lashes would fly off during a performance so I use the strongest lash glue I could find which is this one.” He showed it to the camera. “Works perfect for me. You gotta let it dry for like half a minute though before putting them on.”
“That would be cool. ‘Cuban figure skater loses lashes during routine’,” Hunk said with a snicker and shoved some more cheetos into his mouth.
“That’s not funny.” Lance pouted at his best friend. “Imagine if only one flew off!”
Hunk snorted into the bag of cheetos and couldn’t stop snickering.
With lashes finally in place Lance grabbed a big fluffy brush and flicked away the white power. “The cake is ready so get that power off. No rubbing though or you’ll ruin your foundation and we don’t want that.”
Hunk made an excited noise. “Oh, I found another good one! ‘How do you select your music?’ I wanna know this too. Do you just chose which one your can twerk to the best?”
Lance rolled his eyes. “As much fun as twerking is it doesn’t really work on the ice. You just look like a train stuck in the snow so no, no twerking.”
He had tried it a few times and trust him when he said it wasn’t worth it. Twerking just wasn’t meant to be done with skates on.
“Coran sometimes finds good pieces but I usually just dig around and ask Spotify for advice. It needs to be one I kinda feel connected to and one I can hear over and over again without getting annoyed. You’ll hear the music for your routine a lot so you have to really like it in order not to go crazy. I’m also not really the classical music kind of guy so… yeah, I need to dig a little deeper for my music.”
Hunk hummed in understanding. “I’m just glad we don’t have to coordinate our moves to music during hockey.”
“That would be a disaster. You have zero dance talent in your body, dude.”
“It’s the truth but I’m still offended.”
“As your best friend it’s my duty to remind you.”
“Thank you, the gesture is not appreciated.”
Lance smiled to himself and picked up another palette. “Because we kinda got rid of all shapes we have to bring them back. I use this brush here for contouring. My niece and nephew got it for me and it’s so cute,” he sighed dreamily. It was rose gold as well but instead of a normal handle it was a mermaid tail, all detailed with tiny scales and a beautiful tail fin. “It’s so cute!” he whined again for emphasis.
“It is really cute,” Hunk agreed and Lance turned to him for a moment, waving the brush around. “Right?”
He sighed again and looked back at the camera to get to work, explaining what he was doing as he did it. He really wasn’t the best at contouring but he had learned a few tricks along the way which he was more than happy to share with his viewers.
“I don’t really use blush for performances except for rare occasions because then I just look like I have a cold when I skate which is really not the look I’m going for. Instead I just go for a tiny bit of bronzer on my forehead and temples like so…” He applied the product with a few practised motions of another brush, “and then I set everything with some powder. To kinda protect everything? I dunno if this is correct but that’s how I do it and it also evens out everything a bit more.”
Ten seconds later he was was done with that step.
“Now just for the finishing touches some highlights~” He wiggled in his chair. “This is my favorite part!”
He opened the metallic case and showed the camera the shimmering powder. “I live for this, just look at that!” Moving it back and forth made the product shimmer and he loved every second of it. “Get some of that on your cheekbones and on your nose because we’re all cute and have glowing noses. I know some people do cupids bow and chin but I don’t really like the look of that so I personally avoid those areas.”
Some more brush strokes and-
“Voila! We’re looking awesome!” Lance winked at the camera. “What do you think, Hunk?”
He turned around to his friend who looked up from his phone and took in his work, nodding his head in approval after some moments. “It looks really good,” he admitted with a smile and Lance clapped his hands happily.
“So that’s the finished look! Hunk, you got one more good question for me?”
His friend hummed and scrolled through the replies some more. “Oh, here. ‘Any tips for people who are just starting out with skating?’. That’s a good one.”
“You’re also skating, what’s your tip?” Lance asked and Hunk thought about the question for a moment. “Well, what I do is kinda different but I’d say… Don’t be afraid.”
“Yeah.” Lance nodded his head. “That’s what I would say as well. Don’t be afraid to fall. Sometimes it’s gonna hurt, sure, but if you’re afraid you won’t get very far.”
“You will fall a lot,” Hunk said. “You just gotta get up and try again.”
“That’s the spirit,” Lance cheered. “So,” he turned to the camera. “Don’t be afraid of falling, guys. When you’re starting out you will fall a lot but that’s part of the learning process. Falling doesn’t meant that you’re bad, just that you haven’t quite figured it out yet. I fall all the time as well. Don’t let it discourage you.”
“Very inspiring words,” Hunk mused and munched on another cheeto.
“Yes, and with those inspiring words I’ll say goodbye to all you lovely people. I hope I answered at least some of the questions you guys had but I’ll think do more of these in the future when I’m not as distracted. I’ll see you again soon. Bye bye~” He and Hunk waved before he turned off the camera.
Lance organized his stuff so the desk wasn’t completely cluttered and hummed to himself. He should probably clean his brushes but he really didn’t want to at the moment so... he probably would end up not doing it but oh well.
People usually didn’t believe him when he told them that makeup was relaxing for him to do. If he was stressed out about something he often took some time to do his makeup.
It was even better when someone was around while he did it which is why he was pretty happy about Hunk’s presence. It was obviously always appreciated but right now knowing that his best friend was there as well soothed his mind a lot, even when they didn’t talk.
Just being there and giving each other some silent support was more than enough for both of them. That’s what best friends were for after all.
Chapter 7: Olympics: Day Seven (2) - Roller Skating
Double update (part 2)
I don't know if it was mentioned before already but it's revealed what every one else does here
Also; the sleepy thing Lance does is actually something I do as well. Not to that extent but it's kinda similar
“Hey Lance,” Hunk said from behind him and the other hummed in question. “Pidge just texted in the groupchat and said she found a roller skating rink a city over that has a dance party tonight.”
“WHAT?!” Lance shrieked immediately and whipped his head around to his friend. “Really?”
Hunk laughed and nodded. “Yeah. She said we should get ready then we can leave in twenty.”
“Oh my god, this is the best day of my life!” Lance yelped and sprang up from his chair to race to his closet. “What am I gonna wear?! Ah, I already have my makeup on, it needs to match! Hunk!”
The other sighed and rolled down from the bed to get up and join his friend in front of his closet. He looked over the other’s shoulder at the display of clothes, neatly organized and separated sides for his workout gear, costumes and training equipment and one side for pajamas and his everyday clothes.
He reached over Lance’s shoulder and lifted some of his tops to look at them properly before he found one he liked and pulled it out only to push it into his friend’s hands. Without saying anything he moved on to the bottoms and his eyes immediately settled on a certain pair of pants. He grinned and pulled them out, Lance’s eyes widening in realization before he smirked.
“Hunk, you’re a dangerous man,” he said suggestively.
“What can I say,” Hunk said and shrugged his broad shoulders. “That’s what best friends are for.”
Lance laughed and started pushing him towards the door. “Well, thanks, big man. Now go get ready. You gotta look good to be seen with me.”
“Of course,” the other just chuckled and stepped out into the hallway. “See you down in the lobby.”
Lance gave a lazy salute before he closed the door and smirked to himself as he took another look at the clothes. The hoodie was a dark maroon red, a perfect match for his eyeshadow and the word Melanin was stitched onto it with white yarn. But what made it even better was the fact that it was cropped. Lance loved cropped tops and of course that included hoodies. They made him look all the more cute… or sexy.
Today he was going for sexy. Sexy all the way with those high-waisted black pants. They had a sheen to them that made them look like leather pants and they fit nice and tight which made his ass look out of this world.
He really loved Hunk for dressing him up this way.
Best friend ever!
Twenty minutes later Lance was dressed, his hair styled and his eye makeup a little more dramatic than before. The others trickled in, Allura whistling as she saw Lance who just made finger guns at her.
Pidge was wearing her typical hoodie and jeans, Matt was in a similar outfit, just a bit more form-fitting than his sister’s which really wasn’t all that difficult to achieve. Allura had a sparkly top on with a skirt and tights while Romelle was in a light pink blouse and a pair of light-washed jeans. Hunk had opted for some jeans and a hoodie as well. They were about to go as Lance spotted a very familiar tuft of white hair and an idea popped up in his head.
“Wait a sec,” he told his friends, shoving his jacket into Hunk’s arms before he quickly skipped away.
Said male turned around in a slightly startled manner, eyes falling onto Lance and widening in surprise. He blinked a few times and probably tried not to let his eyes wander. Lance just smirked and ravelled in the attention for a moment.
He knew he looked good so he didn’t mind some stares.
“Do you know what Keith is up to right now?” he asked and Shiro needed another moment to comprehend the question. “Keith?” he asked before something akin to realization flashed in his eyes and his expression changed to something Lance couldn’t quite decipher.
“Probably just lazing around in his room. Are you going out? You look good.”
Lance laughed and rubbed the back of his neck, not used to people actually telling him this. They usually avoided commenting on his appearance if they weren’t his friends who did compliment him pretty often but it was still different when someone you didn’t know very well said something nice. Especially when it was a cool dude like Shiro. “Thank you and yeah, we’re going to a roller skating party a city over. I wanted to ask mullet-man if he wanted to come with. It’s a good distraction for a while.”
Shiro hummed. “You should ask him. His room is on the sixth floor, 617. Kick his ass if he says no.”
The Cuban snickered. “Will do, boss. You wanna come too? Just hanging out and having fun? The whole crew’s coming.”
The coach was surprised for a moment and looked at the group of people waiting in the lobby. He considered for a while and Lance waited patiently. “I… yeah, that might actually be a good idea if you don’t mind,” he said, softer than before and with a small smile. Lance assured him that no one would mind and that they would be glad to have him which seemed to settle Shiro’s decision. “You’re leaving soon?”
“As soon as I get emo-boy out of his lair.”
Shiro laughed. “Okay, I’ll just grab some things and join you in a minute.”
“Great!” Lance said cheerfully. Younger him would have probably fanboyed and screamed before fainting if he had known he’d speak to Takashi Shirogane at some point. His idol had even complimented his appearance!
“I’ll go grab Keith. Be right back!” he called over his shoulder to the rest. “Two more people are gonna join!” he added before he scurried for the elevators and rode up to the sixth floor.
Keith’s room was the second one to the right and he knocked without qualms.
It took a while, Lance was impatient - mind you - so it might have been just a few moments but it seemed like an eternity before the door finally clicked open and Keith, the one and only, appeared.
“Wha…” he trailed off, taking in Lance’s appearance for way longer than Shiro had done. His eyes were comically wide and his mouth was slightly opened as his eyes wandered up and down several times.
The Cuban just snickered in delight and let the other oogle for a while before addressing what he was actually here for. “Come on, Mr. Vampire. We’re going out!”
“W-what?!” Keith spluttered after a second of silence. There was too much going on for his brain to comprehend right now.
“Chop, chop, sweetheart. Put on somethin’ good, get your ass in some nice pants and swing your booty downstairs. We’re going roller skating!” Lance clapped his hands before waving them around in a urging motion.
“Roller…” Keith was unable to process what was happening and Lance was going way too fast for his poor overwhelmed brain.
“Is there a broken record in there?” Lance asked and poked the other’s forehead. “Clothes… what you’re wearing is okay. Just grab some shoes, hurry up, the others are waiting!”
Keith continued to stare for another few moments. “Wait… are you serious?”
Lance clicked his tongue. “Dead serious. Shiro is joining too.”
The Korean blinked a few more times. “Seriously,” he huffed and rubbed his forehead as if this whole ordeal was already giving him a headache. Lance had that effect on some people so he understood. Didn’t mean he stop though.
“Come on, hurry up,” he urged again and Keith huffed, thinking a few more seconds to weigh his options before his resolve seemed to crumble. “Okay, okay, yeah… just a moment.”
The Cuban grinned in victory.
Keith left the door open and went further into his room which… wasn’t as neat as Lance’s but it also wasn’t terrible. There were some clothes thrown around and the desk was kinda cluttered but the bed was surprisingly made. Keith was wearing a dark grey T-shirt and black pants which was a totally acceptable outfit but it was made even better as he grabbed a red and black flannel from his closet.
Lance tried not to grin too hard.
Of course Keith would be a flannel guy.
“Do I need anything for roller skating?” he asked as he sat down to tie his shoelaces, again tugging roughly like he always did with his skates. What had all those poor shoes ever done to him to deserve this kind of treatment? They were innocent and only doing their job. They deserved some more respect.
“Hm… no, not really,” Lance mused, leaning against the door frame and watching the other grabbing a few things, shoving them into the pockets of his pants before trhowing the flannel on. “Just yourself and good spirit.”
Keith snorted and grabbed his jacket from the back of the armchair before joining Lance and pulling the door shut behind him. “I can’t believe that I’m doing this,” he sighed as he followed the Cuban towards the elevators.
“Live in the moment, dude,” was all the advice he got from Lance. “You gotta enjoy life sometimes.”
They joined the rest of the crew in the lobby, Shiro already there.
“Okay, the big man is Hunk, goalie for the Canadian hockey team, this British lady here is Allura, figure skater, and her coach and fiance Romelle, the gremlin over there is Pidge, don’t mind her, - ”Hey!” - and her brother Matt, Italian Biathlon athlete. Guys, that’s Keith.”
It took a second for Keith to respond. “Just Keith?” he asked with a raised eyebrow, probably salty about his own introduction.
“Yeah,” Lance said and waved his hand dismissively as he took his jacket from Hunk’s arms. “And that’s Shiro but everyone knows him anyway.”
Shiro smiled sweetly and oh… was Matt looking a little flustered?
Lance would have to keep an eye on that.
“Guys, our taxi is here,” Pidge announced, looking at her phone. Her screen was set way too bright and reflected in her glasses. How she hadn’t gone blind because of that level of brightness yet was beyond everyone.
“Let’s go then!” Romelle called cheerfully and grabbed her fiance’s hand to pull her out of the doors of the hotel. Everyone followed them and filed into the taxi, arranging themselves somehow and … who had allowed Hunk to sit in the middle?!
Pidge was trying her best to tell the driver where they wanted to go but it was an elderly man and her Korean wasn’t exactly… anything actually. She might be a genius but languages that weren’t related to programming were beyond her. If it weren’t for that hobby and the fact that she was pretty much always online she might have never mastered the English language either.
“Where we’re going?” Keith asked after a minute of watching her struggle and leaned forward to see her screen. She showed him the address on her phone and he hummed before turning to the driver and saying something in what everyone assumed to be Korean.
They exchanged a few lines before everything seemed to be settled and they drove off.
Lance was eyeing Keith with great interest which the other noticed after only a little while. “What?” he asked with a raised eyebrow.
“You speak Korean,” Lance said and Keith looked at him funnily like he had just said spaghetti grew on trees. “Yeah? I am Korean?”
“But you grew up in Japan.”
“Well, yeah but I still know some Korean. Nothing fancy, just enough to get by.” Keith shrugged his shoulders and didn’t say anything more regarding the matter.
Lance hummed and eyed him for some more seconds.
Keith could speak three languages.
That was… kinda… cool… attractive…
“Lance, your language kink is showing,” Pidge said offhandedly, typing away on her phone.
“WHAT?!” the Cuban shrieked, shaken out of his thoughts immediately. “WHAT?!” And again because his brain could not come up with a better response to that sudden yet deadly attack.
Romelle barked out a laugh behind him and he turned around to glare at her.
“Dude, she totally got you,” Hunk said and Lance gasped in the utmost offended manner he could manage. “Hunk! You’re supposed to be on my side here. And I do not have a language kink!”
“No kink shaming in this car will be tolerated so go wild,” Pidge said and Lance tried to reach her to do something - he hadn’t thought of what exactly just yet - but Hunk was just too board and pushed him back into his seat. “Behave,” he said like he was scolding a child.
“She started it!”
No one listened and Lance tried to ignore how Keith was snickering to himself cutely.
He was just snickering.
And it was kinda cute.
Forty minutes and a lot of excited chatting later they arrived at the right building and needed to climb a few floors before they found the entrance to the rink.
Music was already blasting loudly and Lance was more than just a little excited. Coran had told him to not be unnecessarily reckless before the Olympics so he hadn’t skated. Therefore it had been a while since the last time he had put on his own roller blades or skates. He enjoyed it out on the streets more than indoors but he would take what he could get.
Keith handled the Korean again and ten minutes later everyone had put on colorful pairs of roller skates and… was more of less graceful in them.
Hunk was doing… okay. For a guy as big as him he was surprisingly good but maybe that was because he was also good at ice skating. Hockey was a rough sport so maybe he was used to needing to adjust quickly. Romelle got by with Allura’s help and Matt clung to his sister like she was his lifeline. Shiro looked pretty comfortable in contrast to Keith who apparently couldn’t figure out how the hell those shoes worked.
“What the fuck,” he hissed in annoyance and Lance tried hard not to snicker but just couldn’t stop himself as he saw the other scowl.
“It’s easier on the floor over there. Just walk on your toes, like this,” he explained and tipped his feet forward so he was standing on the two front wheels, supported by the toe stop, strutting around to demonstrate. “It’s easier that way.”
Keith looked at how he did it and tried it himself but wobbled dangerously so Lance swooped in and grabbed his arm to keep him from face-planting or toppling over. “Here, I’ll just pull you,” he said and pulled the other along before Keith could protest, scowling at Shiro who looked at them like a proud dad when they passed him.
“Now just step in,” Lance instructed and made sure Keith made it onto the polished floor savely before he followed him and grabbed his wrist again to pull him along with the flow of the rest of the people who were already skating. He did it before he could think about it, so used to grabbing people’s hand to help them when they were skating, that he hadn’t realized it was Keith . It was too late now though so he just blabbled to cover it up, not really wanting to let go. “I can’t believe you have such bad balance. Where is your posture? Shoulders back, chin up. This is just like ice skating,” Lance chirped, his tone a little teasing. He just couldn’t help himself. He had to use every chance he got.
Keith wobbled some more. Perhaps he would have bickered back if he wasn’t try so hard to adjust. “I miss my toe pick,” he grumbled and Lance snorted. “You got this toe stop instead. Don’t try any jumps but it should help a little.”
It took a few rounds before Keith was steady enough that Lance could let him go. He really didn’t want to but he assumed he should so he pulled his hand back and turned around to look at Keith while skating backwards. “Okay, stand up straight. You’re not a hockey player.”
“You’re starting to sound like Shiro,” Keith muttered but did as told, falling back into his skating posture. Lance smiled somewhat proudly since it already looked way better. “Awesome, loverboy, you’re good to go,” he called before quickly skating away and trying to will the flush on his cheeks away.
Had he seriously just called Keith loverboy?
Lance, you’re such a mess!
He wanted to wail and cover his face with his hands but resisted the urge.
The group of friends had been at the rink for a while, getting used to how the skates worked and just enjoying themselves. Shiro and Matt were skating next to each other and talking while Allura and Romelle were holding hands and making heart eyes at each other.
Pidge, Hunk and Keith were just skating lazily when the current song came to an end.
“AH PIDGE! OUR WEDDING SONG!” Lance, who wasn’t very far from them, hollered as he heard the first few notes of the next song through the speakers.
“NO!” came the screech from Pidge but Lance completely ignored her as he made his way over to her effortlessly and started chasing her around, making it look easy while Pidge flailed to get away. She tried using others to stop Lance from advancing but he had no trouble dodging them and started singing. “ Half past twelve. Watchin' the late show. In my flat all alone. How I hate to spend the evening on my own. ”
“Get away from me!” Pidge cried and tried to escape the figure skater who just followed her through the crowd like an annoying shadow, dodging people without breaking a sweat and looking completely smug, occasionally winking at people if he got too close to them in an attempt to get past them.
Apparently the Koreans weren't used to such a flirty attitude, especially not from a foreigner so the girls mostly gasped and the guys looked kinda flustered as well.
Lance was a sight to behold in his getup after all.
“Wait,” Keith said after he had followed the spectacle for a while. “Is this from Mamma Mia?”
Hunk was beside him and laughed loudly. “Yeah, Lance is obsessed with the movie and wouldn’t stop singing the songs for over a year. Pidge hates them.”
“His Mamma Mia phase was bad,” Allura agreed with a heavy sigh at the memory as she and her fiance fell into step beside them. “If he was bad at singing we could complain but sadly he’s really good.”
“At least he’s not trying to convince Coran to let him skate to Dancing Queen anymore,” Romelle snickered. “Damn, those were a wild few months. I’m still asking myself how Coran survived those.”
Pidge raced past them, Lance belting out ‘ Gimme, gimme, gimme a man after midnight!’ behind her and yeah, even from that very short few notes Keith could be sure that Lance was more than decent at singing.
He suddenly couldn’t get the picture of Lance dancing to Dancing Queen out of his head and snorted. Somehow it suited Lance. If anyone could pull it off it would be him. He had the natural flair and charismas to make it look good instead of ridiculous.
The Cuban had caught up to Pidge and started dancing with her, twirling her around and spinning in between people. He was probably mostly dragging her along but he was strong and secure enough to make it look easy and actually good even with such an unwilling partner which made Keith wonder if he was used to dancing with one. Perhaps not on ice but he could imagine that Lance was good at dancing maybe traditional Latin dances.
Pidge looked like she wanted to claw her partner’s face off but he didn’t care at all. People were staring at them but Lance wasn’t bothered in the least. Either he was more than used to it or he didn’t mind people staring.
Keith guessed it was a bit of both and he admired Lance for being able to be himself this unapologetically even in such a setting. He didn’t know if he’d be able to do that… probably not.
But it made people smile and dance a bit as well instead of just swaying back and forth while they skated in circles.
Sadly the song come to an end and Pidge was quick to escape from her unwanted dancing partner who still bowed to her retreating back. She hid behind Hunk and sneered in Lance’s direction who just grinned at her before picking up skating again.
Keith couldn’t help but watch him for the next few songs as well. Lance was so confident in his skills but also such a free spirit. He made other people smile and radiated positive energy towards anyone who was close by. He actually managed to convince some girls to dance with him for a while, all just with pretty smiles and being a gentleman since there was an obvious language barrier. He would just offer his hand to them, send a sweet smile their way before whisking them away to skate.
One or two of the girls actually knew how to skate pretty well and they made a really good pair without even sharing words to communicate. They simply fell into step and complemented each other’s moves before they parted again, the girls giggling with their friends and Lance continuing on his way.
He was flirty but there was no ill-intent behind it and it seemed everyone could see this.
Keith was… a little jealous. He also wanted to dance like that.
By now he was pretty steady on the skates and probably better than two thirds of the people at the rink but… he wasn’t someone like Lance who would just dance like that. He did dance, he loved dancing, but he didn’t know if he’d be able to dance like that. To make people admire him and be as carefree as Lance was.
He was kinda lost in his brooding so he didn’t notice the song changing at first but then some people started cheering which made him perk up.
He knew that song.
“Mullet-man!” Lance called and rushed over to him with a giddy expression, grabbing his arm and tugging him away from the outer edge. “It’s the national anthem!”
Keith needed a second but then he laughed. “What?” he asked but couldn’t help the amusement rushing through his body.
Forever Young by BlackPink was hardly the national anthem.
“Come on, go, go, go. This is important!” Lance called and let go of his arm just as the choros began and to Keith’s shock he started dancing the original dance with scary arrucacy. Lance was tall and his cropped hoodie showed off his waist which he seemed to, maybe unconsciously, use to his advantage. His moves were fluid and precise but he still added some of his own flair to the whole dance.
The Korean gaped at him in shock while Lance looked at him in disappointment but didn’t cease his dancing. “Mullet-man,” he whined. “This is your song! Come on, move that booty!”
Keith could not believe this. “How the fuck to you even know this song?!” he asked, still watching Lance dance. The other was mindful of his skates and included them into the dance somehow but otherwise he stayed true to the original dance while he skated slowly with Keith next to him.
“Dude, Kpop is like… the latest shit. Everyone knows Kpop! Besides, it’s good. Now come on, don’t tell me you don’t know this!”
Keith sadly couldn’t deny the accusation. While he didn’t listen to that much Kpop he knew a lot of dances. They were fun and a nice distraction… some of them were even a pretty good work out.
The chorus came up again and to Keith’s horror he fell into step besides Lance who laughed loudly and danced with even more fire behind his moves. Together they danced through the choros, their moves scarily accurate and precise. They were pretty much synchronized throughout the whole thing.
No one felt like giving in an stopping first so they continued until the song changed slightly for the rapping part and they started skating more while dancing. Lance really knew how to use every inch of his body for dancing. He had a natural flow to his movements that must come from years of dancing experience.
Keith was a little sharper with his movements that spoke of more power and strength.
They pushed each other to do more daring moves and at the end of it they were both a little out of breath.
Some people cheered and wolf-whistled at them and normally Keith would have wanted to crawl into a hole but a laughing Lance flung himself at him, wrapping an arm around his shoulders and pulling him into his side. His enthusiasm transferred onto Keith who honestly felt pretty good after this. He usually wasn’t one who liked this kind of attention but Lance turned it into such a nice and fuc experience that he didn’t mind.
“Keith, my man. This was not the first time you danced to that song!” Lance observed sharply with a smirk and Keith huffed. There was no use denying it, Lance could spot practised moves when he saw them.
“They’re good for warming up,” he said and shrugged his shoulders in an attempt to seem nonchalant.
Lance just hummed and grinned at him knowingly. “Of course.”
They stuck around one another after that and if Lance was urged him to dance some more was being a little touchy… well, it didn’t bother any of them.
Lance huffed out a small breath. Whatever was under him wasn’t the most comfortable thing so he just curled more into himself mentally, not really wanting to get out of his floating state. He kinda understood that he had been sleeping but he wasn’t willing to wake up just yet so he didn’t react.
“What?” a groggy voice mumbled next to him and if his brain hadn’t been this mushy he probably would have realized that it was Keith’s immediately but now it took him several moments to recognize who this kinda raspy voice belonged to.
“We’re back at the hotel. You two fell asleep,” the quiet voice from before said - Shiro.
“Oh…” Keith just mumbled softly and there was rustling next to Lance. It sounded like the other was stretching since he heard some joints popping, followed by a tired groan.
“What time is it?”
“Two, you should get to bed. Everyone else already went in,” Shiro said. “We’re gonna move practise back a bit but I’m still gonna wake you up early.”
Keith huffed but seemed to be used to this already. The life of a figure skater. “Yeah, yeah,” he just grumbled and climbed out of the car.
“Lance?” Shiro asked after a moment, having realized that the Cuban had yet to make any attempt to really move. Lance didn’t want to get up, sleeping was difficult to him away from the ocean and whenever he was under pressure so when he had managed to fall asleep he’d do pretty much everything to stay that way. That included refusing to wake up if he didn’t want to.
“Ah, it’s okay,” another voice said. Hunk - sweet, sweet, kind-hearted Hunk who always managed to warm Lance’s heart. If he hadn’t still been trying to sleep he would have smiled and cooed but if he moved now he’d wake himself up and he didn’t want that. “Once he’s actually asleep he stays that way.”
There was more shuffling and Lance felt a presence looming over him. “You good to go, buddy?” Hunk asked with a smile in his voice and all Lance managed was deep, drawn-out breath. Everything else would have woken him up even further.
He could hear Hunk chuckling softly before his seatbelt was being undone and someone shifted him carefully. He let his best friend do whatever, handling him like a precious ragdoll.
His sleepy brain wasn’t capable of worrying about hitting his head on the door or anything but Hunk wouldn’t be that careless anyway. He could feel the moment he was being picked up bridal style and lifted out of his seat into the open.
Someone closed the door of the taxi which drove off a moment later. The noise was loud but not loud enough to rouse him.
Maybe Lance should feel self-conscious about the fact that he seemed dead to the world and was cradled in his friend’s arms whose physique more than dwarfed him. The moments of silence should have been uncomfortable but Lance was determined to stay asleep.
He didn’t know whatever this weird phase in between was. He could hear everything, he was pretty aware of his body most of the time but moving was a little difficult. If he moved he’d wake himself up… or more like startle awake.
It was strange. He knew he was kind of asleep but he’d still startle if he ‘woke up’.
His friends knew about this stage of sleeping since he was prone to doing it whenever he was away from home and needed every minute of rest. The first time they had been worried because Lance had refused to wake up until he had heard them say they were calling an ambulance.
He had dragged himself out of his own sleep which was never nice and had explained what was going on.
Pidge had been fascinated, asking question after question.
They had learned to spot the signs and had tried to get some sort of reaction out of him to make sure there was no need to worry. After some trial and error they had found out that Lance would huff out a breath if he felt like answering an important question but he wouldn’t do it very often.
It was also amazing how he wouldn’t wake up when he knew other people were about to touch him but if he was dreaming in that state and started sleep-talking he’d startle awake immediately.
“Wow… he sure is a deep sleeper,” Keith mumbled and Hunk snickered.
“He’s… not really sleeping.”
Lance was trying, okay?
“He’s pretending so you’ll carry him?”
Lance wanted to be offended but couldn’t deny that he might actually do that. He had loved doing that as a kid so someone would carry him into his bed.
Hunk laughed quietly at Keith’s question. “No, no, it’s not like that. He is asleep… kind of but I’m pretty sure he’s doing that weird thing where his brain is awake but his body stays asleep. He has trouble sleeping when he’s away from home so he does this weird thing where he doesn’t really wake up and tries to stay asleep. I’m 99% convinced he’s listening right now, he’s just not reacting.”
Oh how Lance wished that he could say something right now but he really wanted to stay asleep and if he woke up now he’d most certainly not fall asleep again.
“That’s…” Shiro sounded a little confused which was only understandable. They had started moving again and were probably entering the hotel right now. “That’s both amazing and a little terrifying.”
It was only amazing. Duh. Not terrifying.
Lance could feel Hunk shrugging. “It’s kinda weird sometimes when you think he’s sleeping but the next morning he knows exactly what people talked about. He doesn’t do it on purpose, he just really can’t sleep that well.”
“That’s kinda cool,” Keith mumbled and Lance would have liked to snort.
They stopped and a few moments later the elevator doors swished open. One of Lance’s feet bumped into the wall or something and he flinched, furrowing his eyebrows and his body tensing as he tried to figure out what to do. “Ah, sorry, sorry,” Hunk mumbled softly. “Just the wall, go back to sleep. It’s okay.”
And Lance went slack in his arms again. If a person he trusted said ‘go back to sleep’ who was he to deny them? His sleepy brain was more than satisfied with that.
“You okay with getting him into bed?” Shiro asked and Hunk hummed. “Not the first time I’m on ‘Getting Lance to bed’ duty, no problem,” he said which seemed to reassure Shiro who hummed in understanding.
“Alright then, good night you three.”
It seemed he stepped out of the elevator which then went up another floor or two. “Night Hunk,” Keith said softly a few moments later so they were probably on the sixth floor.
“Night Keith, I’m glad you joined us today. I hope you had fun.” Hunk, the sweetheart among sweethearts. His Canadian heritage was showing once again.
“I did, thank you for taking me…” Keith paused for a moment and then he- “... Night, Lance.”
He was gone before Lance could really process the words because the elevator moved again. Hunk was silent for all of three seconds. “I know you want to sleep so I won’t say anything but just know that I will not forget. We will talk about this,” he said and even if the Cuban was kind of sleeping he could still hear the smirk and teasing tone in his friend’s voice but Lance chose to just ignore those words in order to remain asleep.
“Also, you will hate yourself for sleeping with make up on tomorrow.”
Yes, Lance really wanted to scream when he woke up the next morning and saw make up smeared across his pillow and his precious face. He scrubbed it all off furiously and washed his face religiously.
If he got a spot because he that he would kick his own ass into outer space.
Once that was all taken care of he had the mind to think back to yesterday, going through all the more… intimate moments he had spent with Keith. They had almost held hands at several points and Lance was unable to deny that his heart kinda fluttered when he thought back to it.
The feeling and the image of Keith’s smile stayed with him even as Hunk gave him a knowing look during breakfast.
Chapter 8: Olympics: Day Eight - Mission Shatt
I kinda had upload-anxiety again but I decided to say 'screw it' because I want to upload on time
Hope you'll like it~
“Lance, my boy, again please. From the top.”
Lance sighed but Coran just looked at him expectantly so he pushed back from the boards and skated towards an empty spot where he could practise his program. By now he was doing this in his dreams as well, he found himself doing it when he went for a swim, when he was taking a shower, randomly when he was sitting in the car. Whenever his mind had a little time to wander to be honest.
Coran still made him run through it again and again while he was actually on the ice but Lance was getting a little tired and hoped this would be the last time he would have to do it for today.
It was getting late but practise was still in full swing. The first day of the competition was in just a few days and everyone could feel the tension and anticipation in the air rising.
Lance’s sisters would get here the day after tomorrow in the later afternoon and he was really looking forward to some physical support from his family. He had cried during yesterday’s Skype session again and his whole family had looked like they wanted nothing more than to jump through the screen and shower him with cuddles.
But for now all he could do was concentrate and practise. It wouldn’t help him improve his program when he was distracted so for the sake of practise he shove those thoughts to the back of his head and got in position, counting in his head before he started his program once more from the top.
“Alright, I think that’s enough for today,” Coran said almost an hour later and Lance slumped over the padded boards with a grunt. “Finally,” he huffed.
Coran just chuckled and patted his head. “I’ll head back to the hotel but if you want to stay some longer you can do that. Just don’t overdo it, kay?”
The Cuban hummed. “Yeah, I know… can you give me my headphones?”
“Of course.” Coran went to fetch the requested item from Lance’s bag and handed it to him. It looked a bit like a futuristic mind-controlling device but only because it was a structure that went around one’s head and the the actual earphones didn’t go into your ear.
They were fancy things Lance had gotten from his family a year ago for his birthday. It could be dangerous to use headphones on the ice but they were great for practise so many used them anyway. Lance’s enabled him to still hear what was going on around him while he skated which was a huge advantage and made him feel a lot safer.
“Thanks Coran, see you later,” Lance called as he put them on and his coach waved at him with a smile before he left the rink.
Lance was wearing black leggins like pretty much always with a black shirt and gloves. Since he was kinda cooling down now he threw on his soft grey sweater which was knit quite loosely and wouldn’t make him overheat while still keeping him warm enough.
Some skaters were preparing to leave which was nice since that meant more space for the rest of them.
Lance was kinda starting to feel hungry as well and was craving dinner but he could wait a bit longer. He just wanted some cool down time on the ice and what better way to do that than dance a little? To his own music obviously, not his program music.
He was trying to avoid that since he had heard it way too often during the last few weeks and months but especially days.
Instead he settled for something else, a classic. ‘It’s Raining Men’ started playing and he smiled, putting his MP3 player away and starting to skate. It wasn’t anything big, he was mostly humming the lyrics and dancing a little, doing some small jumps here and there. It was more to have fun and get rid of the nerves that would surely keep him awake at night.
That and he just wanted to be silly for a while.
He clapped his hands with the beat and a figure skater next to him startled a little so he just smiled apologetically at her before continuing on his way.
There were several parts in the song that were just perfect for spins so he practised his Biellmann spin a few times. Since he was one of the few guys who could actually do it nicely he was pretty proud of it. His flexibility was quite good so his spins looked very much awesome in his own humble opinion.
The next song started and he couldn’t help but bark out a laugh as he realized which one it was. ‘Talk Dirty’ by Jason Derulo really wasn’t what most people skated to but he didn’t care as he fell into step and just did whatever.
Usually skating wasn’t supposed to be… sexy but he wasn’t really skating right now, he was dancing so he didn’t care.
Some skaters looked at him a little strangely when he skated past them and did some random body rolls.
Everyone was so boring.
Use your sexy bodies, y’all!
The music switched again to some electro swing and Lance was just minding his own business on the sidelines, keeping out of everyone’s way and skating lazily with a little skip to his moves when suddenly someone crashed into him and he went down in a blur of long limbs and a somewhat strangled yelp.
He was no stranger to falling on the ice but damn, that hurt!
He needed a few moments to orientate himself since his ears were kind of ringing and his eyes were doing their best at uncrossing themselves but needed rather long to do that. All he could see was white - the ice - how his brain supplied after a while, way slower than usual. It felt like someone had punched him in the gut, his chest aching and his lungs unable of working and it took him almost too long to take some slow, rattling breaths so he wouldn’t suffocate. He was lying on his side which - ouch! - wasn’t the most comfortable thing so he rolled onto his back with a grunt and squinted at the harsh lights from above.
The ringing was slowly going down and he realized that his music had stopped. Either because of the impact or because he had lost his headset, he wasn’t really sure right now. He just hoped it wasn’t broken.
Usually Lance bounced right back after falling or stumbling but this had knocked the breath right out of his lungs and he needed a while to get hi body back under control. His breaths were still rattling in his lungs so he remained put for now, trying to stop the pounding ache and the feeling of dizziness.
The sound of hasty skates stopping close by reached his ears and something blocked the strong lights from above.
Lance need a moment to realize that it was a person and another to realize that Keith was staring down at him worriedly. “H-hey,” the Cuban wheezed and tried a cheeky smile which probably hadn’t worked very well if Keith’s frown was anything to go by. Then again, he frowned most of the time so it wasn’t too much of a surprise.
“You okay?” the other asked as he knealt down next to him and a cough escaped Lance as he tried to take a deeper breath. “Estoy bien, no te preocupes (I’m fine, don’t worry),” Lance mumbled mostly to himself before he cleared his throat. “I… yeah… fine.”
Keith looked at him critically as if he was trying to decide whether or not to believe him but at least helped him sit up once Lance made an attempt to do so. His eyes were flitting all over him as if he was trying to assess the damage. They stayed especially long on his head and the side he had landed on but Lance was pretty sure there wasn’t much to see.
Lance did spot his headset and picked it up from the floor. It looked okay but he couldn’t be sure that it hadn’t been damaged at all. He’d have to check later.
“Shit, I’m so sorry,” another voice said and Lance finally saw the guy who had almost run him over. He was part of the American team, dressed in his official jersey and all that with dark hair and a worried expression on his face. “I should have paid more attention. Are you okay?”
“Yeah, no problem man, I was probably in the way,” Lance said with a small laugh even though his ribs kinda hurt when he did that so he stopped rather abruptly. “You good?”
“I think you took the brunt of the hit so yeah, I’m fine,” the other skater said, still sounding apologetic and guilty. He too looked the Cuban over to make sure he was okay. At least he was serious about his apology. Not everyone was like that.
“Okay, okay, good, that’s all that matters,” Lance said and made to get up, kinda appreciating Keith grabbing his arm and hauling him to his feet. His frown was still present.
The American dude also got up and seemed to be fine, just as he had said. “Again, I’m really sorry, I’ll pay more attention next time,” he said before clapping Lance’s shoulder. “Hope you’re good, man.”
The Cuban just sent him a reassuring smile. “Yeah, no worries.”
The other nodded before skating off again.
Lance sighed and turned to Keith who was downright glaring at him. “What?” he asked somewhat offended. Why was he getting glared at? He hadn’t done anything wrong!
Keith just stared for some more before grabbing his wrist and pulling him towards the exit and then off the ice.
“Keith!” Lance protested. “My skates!” he whined because his guards were on the other side of the rink. Keith couldn’t care less though and made him sit down on a bench, standing in front of him all puffed up and tall with his arms crossed and his eyebrows drawn together like a mother about to scold her rebellious kid.
“Are you hurt?” he asked like he was making a threat and Lance blinked a few times in surprise at the sudden question.
“I… uh… no?” he more asked than said, raising a single eyebrow in question.
“Are you sure?” Keith prompted, leaning in as if to make sure the other had understood him correctly. “Nothing hurts? Nothing broken? No cuts? Didn’t bite your tongue?”
“Was I supposed to?” Lance asked teasingly but as Keith’s scowl intensified he backpaddled. “Okay, okay, geez, I’m fine. I’ve fallen before, you know? This isn’t the first time.”
“That wasn’t a normal fall, that guy smacked right into you.”
“Well, I’m attractive, what can I say? I just pull people in.”
Keith gave him a deadpan look, clearly no amused.
“Lance, are you okay?” Shiro asked, appearing behind Keith like a worried soccer mom and Lance couldn’t help but snort at the sudden mental image of Shiro driving a mini van full of screaming kids, passing out lunch boxes and cheering on the sidelines. He suited the role strangely well.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Got a lil winded for a minute but I’m okay,” he admitted honestly though Keith still didn’t seem to be convinced.
“Okay, that’s good but you should probably stop for today. You were already practising even before we got here,” Shiro said and his student nodded his head in silent agreement. Whether that was because of the fact that Lance had been here before them or because he agreed that Lance should head back to the hotel was unknown.
Though there wasn’t really any room to argue with two people who clearly didn’t seem keen about letting him skate some more. Coran would screech if he heard what had happened and that Lance had continued skating for even longer afterwards so he gave in with a heavy sigh, shoulders slumping slightly in defeat. “Fine,” he grumbled. “Just gotta grab my guards and my bag.”
He made to stand up but Keith was already back on the ice, skating across swiftly and picking up Lance’s rainbow guards without hesitation. They really weren’t hard to miss after all. He came back with them and put on his own red guards before handing the colorful ones to Lance.
Shiro looked at his student for a long moment. “You’re done for today?” he then asked and the two of them had a silent conversation with just their eyes that felt weirdly heated so Lance just pretended not to ‘listen’ and cleaned the ice off his blades before putting his guards on. It was always in everyone’s best interest not to get wrapped up in stuff between a coach and their student.
It seemed the conversation was over as Shiro sighed heavily. “Okay, okay… alright. You’re done but practise tomorrow starts half an hour earlier.”
Keith grumbled under his breath and rolled his eyes but didn’t argue with his coach which seemed to amuse Shiro quite a lot if the somewhat suppressed smile and funny look in his eyes was anything to go by.
“And do your stretches,” him reminded. “I’ll go get your bag.” With that he was gone and Lance and Keith were left alone.
The Cuban stared at Keith for a while before the other turned his head and their eyes met. Quickly he glanced away though he didn’t really know why he didn’t want to be caught staring. He usually didn’t have a problem with it and he shouldn’t have a problem with it now because it was just Keith… but maybe he had a problem with it because it was Keith…
No, that couldn’t be it.
“Come on,” Keith sighed after a few moments. “Stretching.”
“Your favorite activity if your horribly stiff layback is anything to go by,” Lance teased, unable to stop himself from taking the opportunity and Keith huffed in response. “My layback is just fine.”
“Have you seen mine?” Lance asked with a teasing smirk and he had expected Keith to fire right back at him, not for him to consider his words and then nod in agreement. “True.”
Lance was honestly a little stunned, not having expected this kind of honesty from Keith. They were always squabbling so having him admit defeat was pretty unexpected. “Wait,” he shook his head to clear his mind, bending forward to touch his toes with his legs outstretched on the bench, now only wearing his socks since he had taken off his skates. He’d have to asked Shiro to find his bag as well. “You think my layback is better than yours?”
Keith just paused for a while as if considering his next words carefully but then shrugged. “I mean… yeah. Can’t really argue with that. I think yours if one of the best here.”
Lance… was speechless.
Not many people could ever achieve this and Keith had just…. gone and done it.
He had made Lance speechless!
“But your quads are awful.”
Way to ruin it.
“Hey!” Lance squeaked in protest, voice cracking slightly but he tried to hide the hitch by simply continuing like nothing had happened. “Stupid quads aren’t everything.”
“No,” Keith sighed. “But they’ll help you get gold.”
“Help you get silver you mean, because I’m gonna get gold.”
“In your dreams.”
“Just admit your scared of my amazing layback spins!”
“Oh I’m shaking in my skates.”
“I’ll have you know that-”
Lance halted in his sentence.
“That…. that is not a valid argument!” he called somewhat appalled
Keith just smirked at him. “You’re a noodle.”
“Shut up, you emo-spinach!”
“No! I’m not having this discussion again you freaking pineapple-pizza alien!” the Cuban screeched outraged.
“Kids, please don’t fight,” Shiro sighed tiredly, dropping Keith’s and Lance’s bags next to them. “Makes you have wrinkles.”
Lance gasped in horror. “Keith, stop making me have wrinkles!” He slapped the other’s shoulder for good measure which Keith took without blinking an eye.
“Just gotta soak in hot water and you’ll turn all noodly again, no problem,” he said with a shrug but his stupid grin was back in place and it drove Lance up the wall.
“I fucking hate you, ardilla voladora (flying squirrel).”
Keith paused for a moment as if to assess whether he had simply not understood that expression or if it was a different language and glanced at Shiro once he figured it was the latter. “Was that an insult?” he asked and Shiro snorted. “I don’t speak Spanish,” he reminded his student who then turned to look at Lance who was grinning wolfishly, wholly pleased with himself.
“Coming from you I’ll take it as one,” Keith then muttered.
“I’m offended,” Lance said but couldn’t stop himself from grinning. Calling Keith a flying squirrel wasn’t technically an insult but he got a kick out of it.
“Should have left you on the ice,” Keith grumbled and shoved his feet into his shoes carelessly before grabbing his bag and strolling towards the exit of the arena.
Lance had no time to be personally offended by the way Keith’s shoes already looked beaten up beyond repair and that the back was squished into a pathetic heap under his heels so he put on his own shoes hurriedly and raced after Keith to continue their pointless squabble.
Shiro just sighed tiredly and shook his head at them as he followed the two athletes out of the arena.
“And you’re really okay?” Allura asked during dinner, looking both concerned and a little angry that Lance had been in a crash with another skater but the latter just smiled at her reassuringly. “Yeah, don’t worry princess. That thing helped me off the ice.” He pointed at Keith who had - somehow without anyone really noticing or minding - migrated to their table as well… maybe because Lance had just roped him into coming along without even Keith really noticing what was going on.
He had that effect on people.
That and Keith’s teammates were busy amongst themselves so he had never really sat together with them anyway. He had the whole ‘lone wolf’ thing going on. Not on purpose, according to him, but he just didn’t want to bother with most of the people here. He got along with his teammates but… they apparently weren’t people he wanted to be around at all times.
It kinda made Lance feel a little special.
“That thing,” Keith echoed. “I should have really left you there. Let you turn into a popsicle.”
“I’m way too hot to turn into a popsicle.”
“Believe whatever makes you feel better about yourself.”
“You just couldn’t resist my undeniable charm.”
“More like; you were in the way and I was gracious enough to clean up for the other people.”
“You and gracious are two things that just do not fit together.”
“Oh my god,” Pidge moaned. “Can you two stop please? Take your lesbian granny chit chat somewhere else.”
Both Lance and Keith snapped their heads around to look at her, ready to protest but they didn’t really know what to say so they remained silent.
“Hm, good point, Pidge,” Matt said, pointing his fork at the two figure skaters. “They do actually give off those vibes.”
“Oh would you look at that,” Lance said overly loud, sensing an opening to steer the conversation in another direction. “I see Shiro over there.”
A comical expression flashed across Matt’s face and he whipped his head around to follow Lance’s line of sight. “What? Where? Is he coming here?”
Pidge gaped at her brother in disbelieve, Allura raised an eyebrow and Keith choked on his next bite of rice. “What?” he asked after swallowing with some difficulties, his voice a little higher than usual. “You’re into my-”
“Coach? Of hell damn yeah he is,” Lance said with a wolfish grin and Matt turned around to look at him like a deer caught in the headlights, opening and closing his mouth a few times. “I… that… that’s not true!” he then stammered but Lance just laughed. “Dude, I know that Gay-Gaze, could spot it from a mile away so don’t even bother pretending.”
Keith still looked shocked while Pidge looked appalled that she hadn’t been informed about this earlier. “I cannot believe you,” she then called and slapped her brother’s shoulder. “The first sexy guy with a metal arm and broad shoulders you come across immediately sweeps you off your feet? I thought you were better at controlling your gay!”
Matt looked down at his plate in embarrassment like a scolded child. Pidge scoffed like a disappointed mother.
“Sexy guy,” Keith repeated slowly, looking like he had just witnessed something he would have rather not been part of. He scrunched up his nose in distaste. “Shiro is anything but sexy,” he then said much to everyone’s horror.
“Excuse you,” Lance said in an offended manner. “Shiro is very much sexy.”
Keith snorted. “He wears neon green socks with ducks on them.”
“Still sexy.” Lance was persistent because no one could deny that Shiro was sexy. Even Allura agreed and Allura was a lesbian… an engaged lesbian.
Keith looked at the other skater for a long moment before a lazy smile crawled onto his face. This knowing look couldn’t mean anything good so Lance prepared himself for the worst mentally.
“He doesn’t break his KitKat in half before eating it.”
“WHAT?!” Lance shrieked and put a hand on his chest above his heart like it was aching because of that revelation. “I’m sorry, Matt, you’ll have to find someone else,” he sighed and Matt looked like he wanted to protest but snapped his mouth shut again.
Arguing with Lance about something like this would be pointless anyway.
“Who doesn’t break his KitKat in half?” Lance asked, sounding almost desperate. “That’s just barbaric!”
“Did I miss something?” Hunk asked, having just arrived at the table and holding a plate full of food.
“We’re discussing whether or not Shiro not breaking his KitKat in half makes him unsexy,” Allura explained. “Personally I’m not sure. It’s quite a big deal but I can’t argue with him being sexy.”
Romelle nodded her head in agreement. Another lesbian who was on the Shiro-team.
Keith snorted into his rice.
Hunk hummed and sat down. “Not breaking a KitKat is like… I don’t know, eating a pizza backwards.”
“The mental image alone is already hurting me,” Lance whined, unable to resist shuddering at the thought.
“How about taking a bite out of a tangerine?” Pidge asked before pointing to her brother without looking. “That’s what this weirdo does.”
“Hey, pulling it apart into these small pieces just takes too long,” Matt complained and shrugged his shoulders. “It’s the same anyways. It’s not like your stomach digests it any differently if you pull it apart before.”
“Allura ate a hot dog sideways once,” Romell said and everyone gaped at Allura, even Keith who didn’t seem to be shocked about most strange eating habits. She looked a little flustered at all the shocked looks and rubbed the back of her neck. “It was in a dire situation.”
“You just wanted to see if it worked better that way without ketchup getting everywhere,” her fiance dead-panned. “It doesn’t, just as I told you. Also, my brother eats his cereal with orange juice and ice cubes.”
“That… how does someone even get the idea to try that?” Keith asked bewildered at the same time as Matt said “I have to try that.”
“Okay, okay,” Pidge said and raised her hands as if to calm the situation before it could get out of hand. “We all know people with weird eating habits, great, wonderful. Can we get back to the point where we established that apparently my brother has the hots for a man who doesn’t break his KitKat in half?”
“That does not diminish his sexiness,” Matt grumbled.
“Aha!” Lance yelled and pointed an accusing finger at him. “So you admit to thinking Shiro is sexy!”
Matt looked like a deer caught in the headlights before glancing away and shifting in his seat. “Well… yeah… maybe…”
Keith buried his face in his hands and muttered something in Japanese while Lance smirked in victory. “Knew it,” he said smugly. “Keith, we gotta establish Mission Shatt.”
Hunk almost spit out his burrito. “Mission what ?”
“Shatt,” Lance said happily. “You know, Shiro and Matt; Shatt.”
“That sounds wrong on so many levels,” Keith muttered into his hands before lowering them. “And why am I getting dragged into this?” He sounded almost whiney but the Cuban didn’t care in the least.
“Because you know Shiro the best, he’s your coach. Don’t complain now, we have to help out the poor gays. Oh, by the way,” he leaned in a little closer but still spoke loud enough for everyone at the table to hear. “You know if Shiro swings this way or that way?”
Keith raised an eyebrow. “Are you indirectly asking me if Shiro’s straight?”
Lance nodded and Keith huffed. “Shiro is as straight as an overcooked spaghetti.” He was silent for a moment. “And he’s single,” he then added.
“And ready to mingle?” Lance asked curiously like the little shit he was, wiggling his eyebrows.
Keith turned to look at Matt for a long moment, the other flushing to the tips of his ears. He opened and closed his mouth a few times as if to say something but nothing came out - again. Everyone else just followed what was happening attentively, curious about to what conclusion Keith would come.
“Pretty certain he would be very interested.”
The table ohoed.
Matt almost face-planted his pizza.
Lance cackled in delight.
Chapter 9: Olympics: Day Nine - Hot Chocolate
I really like this chapter~
Some personal time for our boys
When Lance came into the dining hall in the evening after an exhausting practise, a long stay at the pool and a hot shower he let his gaze wander around to see if he spotted anyone he could sit with.
He wasn’t particularly hungry but he could go for some soup. Something hot and easy to stomach. Soup was good, soup was his friend. He’d settle for noodles as well but soup was better.
When he didn’t spot anyone he sighed but figured everyone else was probably busy. He’d just scroll through Twitter and Pinterest while he ate his soup. Maybe he should update his Twitter again…
Maybe later, he was just really tired right now and wanted some peace and quiet. He was still hurting a little bit from his fall yesterday but thankfully it wasn’t anything he couldn't deal with. It would probably be gone by the time the competition came around.
Since it wasn’t official dinner time just yet there wasn’t all that much to eat right now, still a big variety but not as much as usual. Thankfully Lance did find some soup but it looked spicy and he really wasn’t in the mood for spicy.
He sighed heavily, considering his other options. Cake, fruit, rice, tea, coffee, hot chocolate… He could go for a hot chocolate. It was hot and kind of like soup, right? With a bit of imagination.
Well, not really but that didn’t matter.
It wasn’t like he was actually hungry just yet, he simply wanted to spoil his taste buds a little and have something hot. It was that thing you did when you were kinda bored so you ate something. That’s what he was currently doing.
He managed to get some hot milk into a cup and picked up one of the packaged wooden spoons with a block of actual chocolate at the bottom. This would be interesting. He just hoped it would taste good. If not he’d be seriously disappointed.
“Are you actually consuming the craft of the devil?”
Lance turned his head to find Keith standing next to him, scowling at his cup of soon to be hot chocolate.“What?” he asked confused. “Chocolate?” How could anyone not like chocolate?
“Milk,” Keith clarified, saying the word like it was his greatest enemy and Lance raised a curious eyebrow. “You don’t like milk?”
“I’m lactose intolerant.”
Lance blinked a few times. “You ate pizza with cheese yesterday?”
“I have pills but that doesn’t mean I can straight up drink that stuff. Besides, who the fuck would eat pizza without cheese?”
Lance looked at him for a long moment - at least something they agreed on - before trying not to grin so it turned into an amused smile. “I see.”
Keith scowled at him now. “That’s nothing to smile about.”
Lance didn’t even try to hide his amused snort and turned back to his cup. “Of course not. Milk is evil, straight from hell. Out to slaughter all of us innocent humans. The cows are coming, I swear they’re taking over. Watch you back, Keith. Next thing you know a cow is gonna jump you. They’re everywhere”
Keith stared at him with the utmost unimpressed expression ever. “You know what, enjoy your milk. I hope it strangles you in your sleep,” he grumbled like the grump he was.
“You’re so violent,” Lance complained, picking up his cup and following the other to the hot water dispenser. He watched Keith grabbing a cup and filling it up before taking a bag of tea and dumping it inside. Why in that order and not the other way around which would be way easier? Lance had no idea. Must be another one of those strange eating/drinking habits he didn’t understand. “And so British.”
“I’m a lot of things,” Keith muttered mostly to himself, taking his cup and turning towards the exit. He walked all of three steps before looking back at Lance again. “You coming?”
The other perked up in surprise but had no reason to decline. It wasn’t like sitting in the dining room all alone would be a great time. Twitter and Pinterest weren’t that entertaining. At least not as entertaining as spending time with Keith. Way better than the dining room or his own hotel room so he nodded his head with a smile and followed the other.
They went towards the elevator that arrived rather quickly since there weren’t many people at the hotel currently. Keith pressed a floor number Lance had never been on so he crooked his head in question. It was neither of their floors but instead the top one.
“Where are we going?” he asked curiously when the motion alone didn’t prompt a response from Keith.
“Somewhere nice… you’ll see,” was all he said and it didn’t seem like Lance would be able to get anything else out of him. Contrary to usual he accepted this and decided to wait and see for himself.
A few moments later the elevator doors opened and Keith lead them through the hallways, taking a few turns because hotels were confusing like that.
Lance was about to ask again when they rounded a corner and he was rendered entirely speechless. In front of them was a huge glass wall like the one down in the gym. There was a small terrace outside, complete with chairs and tables but obviously no one was there. It was freakishly cold after all. No one would be stupid enough to sit there for longer than a minute even if the view was incredibly nice.
Thankfully they wouldn’t have to sit outside since the hallway had broadened, turning into a comfortable sitting area with several armchairs around small tables. It looked very, very comfortable and no one else was there. Lance wasn’t sure if most people even knew about this spot. He certainly hadn’t known and was only a little envious that Keith had apparently been aware of this perfectly hidden away corner of the hotel this entire time.
“This is awesome,” he said and followed the other towards a table with two comfortable looking armchairs. “How did you even find this?”
Keith placed his cup down and slumped back into one of the armchairs like an old man. “Just wandered around and ended up here. Don’t think many people know so it’s usually empty.”
“That’s so cool,” Lance swooned and sank back into the cushions of the other chair. A content sigh escaped him and he stirred his hot chocolate slowly. There wasn’t that much left on the spoon so he licked the remaining chocolate a few times before dunking it back into the hot milk and stirring to speed up the melting process.
Keith hummed in agreement and closed his eyes to relax. His tea probably still needed some time before he could drink it so he didn’t bother with that right now.
Lance was happy just sipping on his hot chocolate in silence, staring out the window and tracing the shape of the distant mountains with his eyes.
Even when they didn’t talk it was way better than being anywhere else alone. Just knowing that someone else was there was enough to make Lance feel better. Having another presence around was always incredibly calming to him.
He had been getting more and more nervous the last few days. A constant restlessness had settled in his chest which made him feel like he was under a steady increase of adrenaline. He was sure it wasn’t the case and it was just his imagination but it was still uncomfortable.
No matter what he tried the nervousness always came back. It was at its worst when he was all alone - his thoughts like to wander at that time - but obviously he couldn’t be around people constantly. Clinging to Hunk or watching Pidge analyze her brother’s shooting skills on her laptop managed to distract him. Fooling around with Allura, Nyma and other skaters during practise was also fun but nothing quite took his mind off of the looming competition.
Coran had just patted his shoulder, told him it was normal and yes, Lance knew it was normal to be nervous. It wasn’t even the first time he was nervous but it was the first time that it dragged out this long.
It drove him crazy.
He was sure his sisters could get him to relax at least a little bit when they got here tomorrow. Until then it was nice to have Keith around. Even with such a fierce and grumpy personality he still had a somewhat… calming effect on Lance. A rather welcome side-effect of spending time with him.
It was also nice to know that he wasn’t alone with his worries. Keith shared pretty much all of them and Allura did too, of course, but she had Romelle who she always turned to. Not just because she was her coach but because they were engaged and obviously incredibly close. It just what they did and Lance… Lance was a tiny bit jealous that she had someone so close to her who could help her relax.
He had Coran, sure, the older man did feel like family but… it was still different. He was obviously older and while Lance shared a lot of things with him he didn’t share everything with him. Having someone you knew would understand since they were in the exact same situation was simply a relief and Keith happened to be that person.
Not only was he in the same situation but he was a nice person to be around. Some people might find his occasional gruffness and sarcastic comments off-putting but Lance didn’t think so. He didn’t have to be careful with what he said around Keith. He could say whatever the hell he wanted, the two of them could bicker and tease one another but there were no hard feelings behind those words.
It was funny how they had known each other for only such a short amount of time and yet it felt like they had been close friends for years.
Being around him just made Lance’s stress levels calm down considerably.
A glance at Keith told him that the other must think the same since he looked equally at ease. Almost like he was about to fall asleep and Lance couldn’t help smiling, trying to hide it by taking another sip from his hot drink.
They stayed in complete silence for a while, several minutes at least and by now Lance was convinced Keith wasn’t really awake. As cute and as soft as he looked when he was dozing off, Lance still reached out with his foot and nudged his side. “Hey soldier, your tea,” he reminded gently, like he was talking to his niece of nephew when they were about to fall asleep during a movie they had wanted to watch. Keith blinked his eyes open, clearly not having been aware of the time passing.
He straightened up in his seat and rubbed his face, brushing a hand through his hair with a sigh. He bent forward and grabbed his tea before sinking back into the cushions and sipping slowly, legs now pulled up as well as if to avoid the floor.
“You were nodding off,” Lance said softly over the rim of his cup, a hint of teasing in his voice.
Keith just grumbled into his own cup. “Was not.”
“M’ just tired,” Keith said quietly and Lance couldn’t help smiling in a fond manner. “I know, me too.”
The other ran a hand through his hair again, freely since it was currently not up in a ponytail. It must be one of those things he did unconsciously. “I know it’s stupid and I’ll regret thinking like this later on but… I think I’m gonna be kinda glad when it’s over. Like… not over but…”
“You want the stress gone,” Lance concluded and Keith sighed heavily. “Yes.”
“Same.” Lance took another long sip from his hot chocolate, letting the drink warm him up from the inside out. Warmth always helped him to battle stress, nerves and overall tenseness. Hence why he loved sunbathing so much.
Keith thrummed his fingers against his cup, seeming to think about what he wanted to say for a while. “It’s like… Shiro’s just saying ‘You gotta relax, you’ll be fine’ but… he can say that easily.”
“Right,” Lance agreed with a hum, having heard the exact some words from pretty much everyone around him. He was guilty of saying them too, it’s what everyone said but it was literally the least helpful advice ever.
“I have so much trouble sleeping,” Keith mumbled. His voice sounded downright exhausted and Lance looked over at him. Somewhat concerned, somewhat understanding.
“What did you say at the gym?” he wondered out loud, trying to remember their conversation from a few days ago. “You get the jitters?”
The corner of Keith’s mouth quirked up into a smile at the remark. Maybe he hadn’t expected Lance to remember and maybe it was unusual to remember a random detail from a conversation they had had at four in the morning. Lance didn’t even know why he still knew about this.
Maybe because it was Keith.
Maybe he was simply a good listener.
He couldn’t really decide for one of those options. He wanted it to be the latter but he had the feeling it was more because of the former.
“Yeah,” Keith said after a long sip of tea. “It’s weird. I’m hella tense and then… my whole body just shakes for like five seconds and then I relax again but it always comes back when I try to sleep and I swear I tried Yoga and everything but nothing works.”
Lance bit his lip worriedly. “But it’s not like… linked to anything, right? You’re fine?”
Keith smiled softly as if he thought the concern was rather sweet. “I did ask some doctors about it but it’s nothing serious. I just have pent up energy and that’s how my body gets rid of it. I try to battle it with working out and all that. Only shows up when I’m really nervous anyway. It sucks but it’s no reason for concern.”
“Damn right, it sucks if it prevents you from sleeping.”
“Well,” Keith sighed. “Nothing we can do. I think everyone has some kind of stuff like this to deal with. I know that Shiro could never concentrate on anything before a competition. You’d try to talk to him and his head would be off in space or wherever. It was awful. His coach would try to tell him something but he couldn’t listen at all.”
Lance hummed, nodding his head before he noticed something. He mulled the other’s words over in his head. Shiro hadn’t been in the competition field for… a long time now and Keith had said he had only started after Shiro’s accident so… had they known each other longer? And if yes then how had that come about?
It also sounded like Keith had been there with Shiro for his competitions so… they must have been really close even back then?
He was curious, maybe it had shown on his face because Keith looked at him like he had noticed Lance’s thoughts had gone somewhere. “Hm?” he asked, prompting the Cuban to spill.
“How come you knew Shiro then?” he asked before he could stop himself. He knew Keith didn’t like it when people asked too many questions about his coach, understandably so, so Lance had never really thought about bringing him up during normal conversation, at least not anything related to skating. Now though he couldn’t help but wonder.
Hopefully Keith didn’t take it the wrong way.
The other took a moment to think about the question, gazing out the window at the mountains in the distance. He almost looked like a cartoon character with his loungewear, consisting of sweatpants and a hoodie, and sat in an armchair with a cup of tea in his hands. The only missing pieces were a book and a fireplace, perhaps a Christmas tree in the background.
Lance tried hard not to snort at the mental image forming inside of his head, momentarily distracted.
“He’s my brother.”
“What?” Lance asked, all mental images gone in an instant. “Shiro… he… you… he’s your…”
“Brother, yes,” Keith confirmed, sipping on his tea again. Lance could only gape at him.
“That… I didn’t know that,” he said rather lamely and Keith smiled softly. “I know, no one really does.”
Lance was still trying to wrap his head around this. “Stop me when I’m asking to much but… Shirogane and Kogane… how’d that… come about?” Maybe he shouldn’t ask but now he was hooked. Keith had given him the first hint and now there were many doors that could be opened. Lance had never been able to resist opening every single door presented to him.
Maybe that’s why he was bi.
“It’s okay,” Keith said. “Just… people don’t know this and I’d like to keep it that way.” He sent Lance a look and the Cuban understood immediately. He nodded his head. “Of course, yeah, I won’t say anything.”
Keith nodded his head and took a deep breath like he was preparing for a big confession.
Perhaps he was.
Ah, well that explained a few things.
Keith looked at his cup when he continued. “Our parents adopted me from a Korean orphanage when I was… five. Grew up with them ever since. Shiro was actually the one who got me into skating. He always wanted to take part in those giant competitions and everything. I just did it because it was fun and liked hanging out with him. When he got into that accident he was… it was bad, really bad.”
Lance could only imagine what Shiro must have gone through. To have your dream, that you worked so hard to accomplish, ripped away from you in an instant with no chance of ever getting it back. It must have been devastating.
“It took him months to get out of that hole,” Keith said quietly, probably remembering the time vividly. “Then at some point he came to me… and suggested being my coach and I just… at first it felt like a rebound, you know?” He glanced at Lance who could only nod his head. This was the first time Keith had opened up like that and he was more than willing to listen to him.
“I was a bit angry and I accused him of him making me do it just because he couldn’t which… might have been pretty hurtful in hindsight. It was a rough time, I’m not good with those kind of things.” Keith sighed heavily. “We argued a lot and were going back and forth for weeks and then at some point I… guess I just had this revelation of ‘I’ve got nothing to lose’ and… I kinda just wanted to see him happy again. So I told him I’d do it and…”
“And here we are,” Lance mumbled. Keith nodded his head with a hum. “Here we are. Never thought I’d actually enjoy it or that I’d actually get here to be honest. I didn’t know if I should actually come at first because I felt guilty. This had been Shiro’s dream and he couldn’t do it and now here was me, getting the opportunity and… it simply didn’t feel right. Once Shiro noticed he beat my ass and told me ‘I’m so fucking proud of you, you piece of shit. If you don’t do this I’ll revoke all your little brother privileges’.”
Lance could somehow imagine Shiro saying that and snickered. “So you did it,” he concluded smugly.
“So I did it,” Keith agreed with a nod. “Couldn’t lose my little brother privileges.”
“Of course not.”
“Would have been awful.”
Keith looked at him in a calculating way as if to make sure the other wasn’t only making fun of him. “Do you even know little brother privileges?”
Lance snorted into his hot chocolate - or at least what was left of it - almost choking on his spit. “Dude, I’m the youngest of five. I’m the ultimate little brother out there.”
“Holy fuck.” Keith looked like he had seen a ghost. “Five?!”
“Dude, yes. It’s the best shit ever.”
“I’d go crazy.”
“I’m also an uncle. The best uncle out there, mind you. We all live together.”
“Holy fuck,” Keith repeated. It sounded like he had just witnessed a dive into the seventh dimension of the universe and wasn’t quite sure what to make out of it. “That is… a lot of people.”
“Ten to be exact.” Lance couldn’t help himself. He knew that big families like his weren’t exactly common but he wouldn’t change it for the world. He was actually kind of proud of his family and was surprised it had taken Keith this long to hear from them. He usually never held back from telling people everything about them at the smallest opportunity. “So yeah, I get the little brother stuff.”
Little Lance had known damn well how to use his charm on everyone. He had always been told what a cute kid he was and boy did he know how to wrap people around his little, chubby fingers.
“But I’m glad Shiro made you come here.” He meant it. If Keith hadn’t come here they would have never gotten to know each other. He didn’t really want to think about that possibility. Logically he knew he couldn’t miss what he didn’t know but… he was simply glad they had met each other. “That way I can beat you.”
“You mean you can try,” Keith argued. “But… yeah, that’s how I know Shiro. If people knew they’d just… they would never get off my case, you know? It was easier to just… not say it. We have different names, no one suspects a thing. We went to different schools so no one really knows. Why open Pandora’s box when you can just stay silent and avoid a lot of shit?”
“True.” Lance himself knew it was easier to stay silent about many things. He understood why many people weren’t completely open and that was totally fine. They had every right to keep their privacy and to refrain from revealing every little detail about themselves.
When he had come out the most random people had made a huge deal out of it, people he had never heard from before, critics and just… whoever was out there and felt like they were important enough to announce their unwanted opinion to the public in order to gain attention.
It had been a rather jarring phase of his life and career. He didn’t wish it onto anyone else if they didn’t feel like they were ready. He knew a lot of people who were ‘not-straight’ but didn’t come out for that exact reason. They obviously didn’t have to, it didn’t change anything about them and it wasn’t a piece of information they had to share with the world if they didn’t feel comfortable doing so.
It was bad enough that telling family and friends could be a huge deal, you didn’t need the entire world and the press breathing down your neck as well.
Thankfully Lance’s family was very open-minded. He had always been very affectionate with everyone. Since he did so much on the internet and was also exposed to the American culture it hadn’t taken him long to understand that there were different kinds of sexualities and attractions.
Cuba wasn’t very open about these things so it obviously wasn’t talked about very often. Despite being scared and nervous he had decided to tell his parents he liked boys the next time he had been back home from America. It had been what he had figured out after ‘long research’. He really liked guys and figured it was either that or liking girls and he… at that point there had been a lot of cute boys around him so he had figured he was gay.
A few months later he had concluded that he like guys and girls. It had been a very confusing phase for young Lance but he had figured it out somehow.
His mom had just patted his head with a smile on her face when he had asked if it was okay to like boys and girls. ‘You have a lot of love to give, Lancito,’ she had said. ‘That’s a very good thing, never let anyone tell you it’s wrong.’
And that had been that.
His siblings hadn’t been bothered at all. It was actually kinda fun when they were out at a beach or in the city and his brothers would ask about girls while a second later his sisters asked about guys. It was fun and Lance was extremely comfortable with who he was, only getting more and more confident as time passed.
He had thought long and hard about coming out publicly.
It wasn’t an easy decision. It should be but sadly it wasn’t.
His family and Coran had both told him to do whatever he felt more comfortable doing. There was no shame in either of those and it was up to him to decide what he wanted to share with the public. He didn’t have any obligation to reveal anything about himself.
So Lance had thought about it, had read a lot online and had come to the conclusion that he felt comfortable and confident enough to be open. He knew there were so many queer teens who were terrified of coming out and felt like they were completely alone in the world. Some had been brave but had lost their family and friends because of that.
He didn’t want anyone to feel alone, to feel like there was no one else like them. He had the platform where he could proclaim himself which is one of the reasons why he had started YouTube in the first place.
Coming out publicly has been… a wild ride. He had thought long and hard about what to do and he had decided to wait until the 23rd of September, International Celebrate Bi Day, which might have been pretty cheesy but oh well. It kinda suited him.
He had prepared a normal vlog, going about his day as usual, taking his camera with him and just… doing what he did every day. Then at the end of the vlog he had sat down for a small chat.
‘Happy Bi-Day everyone. I thought about how to do this and decided to just announce it on this day because I’m cool like that. I actually don’t want to make a big deal out of it and the biggest reason why I’m even telling everyone here that I’m bi is because I don’t want anyone to feel alone or like it’s something they should hide. Being bi doesn’t make me a different person. I think boys and girls are both hot so if you can’t deal with that kindly fuck off to somewhere else.’ He had smiled at the camera sweetly.
‘So yeah, I’m a figure skater and I’m bi and I’m proud of it. You should be proud of yourself too because you’re awesome and deserve all the respect and love it the world. Peace out, everybody. Love you all!’
Afterwards there had been a long time of his follower numbers going up and down daily. People found him because of his coming out video, people talked about him on Twitter, he got tons of DMs from people who had been able to get some strength from his video and that was what really made him happy and almost brought tears to his eyes several times.
Some of the DMs had been incredibly personal, people sharing their stories and feelings with him or even asking him for advice a few times.
The whole thing had calmed down a lot since then but he was still always associated with ‘bi’ which he didn’t mind. It was mostly a good thing and the few bad people could be ignored.
He could understand very well why Keith didn’t want or didn’t feel the need to tell anyone that he was adopted or that he and Shiro were brothers. It didn’t change anything and it was no one’s business.
Lance suddenly realized something and couldn’t help laughing.
Keith turned to him with a confused expression.
“We,” Lance gasped, “we discussed whether your brother is sexy or not during dinner!”
Keith made a funny face. “Yeah, that was a thing. I still don’t think Shiro is sexy. He’s so noisy.”
“But have you seen his shoulders?!”
“Uh… yeah they are kinda attached to him.”
“How can you not see that he is a fine ass man?”
Keith thought about the question for a few seconds before shaking his head. “Nope, can’t see it. All I’m seeing is Shiro as an awkward teenager, going through his emo phase, listening to Metallica and headbanging like an idiot.”
Lance shrieked with laughter and almost fell down from his arm chair. Thank fuck his cup of hot chocolate was already empty or it would have been a mess. “His emo phase?!”
“Yeah,” Keith couldn’t help snorting as well. “I think I didn’t see his eyes for like… seven months but after that he was suddenly really good with eyeliner so… that’s something that happened.”
Lance couldn’t help but laugh at the mental image. He didn’t doubt Shiro would look great with winged eyeliner. Somehow that man could pull everything off. “You never stop learning,” he mused once he had calmed down a little.
Keith chuckled and nodded his head.
They remained seated for quite a while longer, even watching the sunset which wasn’t as spectacular as the sunset in Cuba could be but Lance wasn’t about to complain.
It was getting close to dinner time and Lance started feeling hungry for real this time. The only problem was that he didn’t want to get up.
“You’re so lazy,” Keith teased as he got up and stepped over Lance’s long legs that were stretched out in front of him, their owner slouched in his armchair like a sloth.
“I just know how to have a good time,” Lance grumbled back, unable to come up with a better reply. He was feeling really tired right now and would probably hop right into bed after dinner. Like an old person but he didn’t care.
“Right,” Keith snorted. “Come one, I heard someone say they’re gonna make curry for us today.”
Lance huffed out a breath. “Curry, huh? You like curry?”
“Of course your Asian ass would like curry.”
“Yes, my Asian ass likes curry and also cute boys so come on, chop chop.”
Lance sighed heavily. Curry and boys, typical for-
He sat up straight in his armchair, gripping the cushions and with wide eyes.
“You heard me,” was all Keith called back, already making his way down the hall.
Lance was frozen in his seat for all of five seconds before he jumped up, almost forgetting to grab his mug and sprinting after Keith. He caught up to him just as the elevator arrived and was about to say something but his brain was empty so he snapped his mouth shut and just stole some glances at the other skater.
His mind was whirling and it was not just because the elevator was moving down.
He… has had his suspicions of course but… like…
Had Keith just flat out told him he’s gay?!
Or at least no opposed to dating a guy?
Lance’s brain was fried.
Maybe that’s why he didn’t notice the look on Keith’s face that clearly said ‘Fuck, did I actually just say that? You’re so fucking lame’.
There was some awkward silence between the two that didn’t go unnoticed during dinner but no one said anything, they just sent each other looks and raised eyebrows.
Lance managed to keep himself contained until he was in his room and then screamed into his pillow.
Chapter 10: Olympics: Day Ten - The Day Before The Competition
I'll try to update this more frequently now because I have already written some stuff for a sequel and I want to upload that as well. Obviously I can only do that once this is finished so yeah, hopefully Upload-Anxiety will leave me alone...
“You lil rascal!”
“Come here, stupid!”
“Idiots!” Lance screeched but was grinning widely despite of his words.
Rachel just laughed loudly and wrapped her arms around her younger brother and spun him around. She was a little taller than him so she had no problem doing that. Veronica joined their group hug as well and draped herself over her two siblings. All of them were smiling widely and remained like that for a while before Rachel pulled back and grabbed her brother’s shoulders to keep him at arm’s length in order to take a good look at him. “Mi hermano,” she cooed and Lance’s grin widened even more at her affectionate tone. “Look at you, an olympic athlete, hm?”
“We’re so proud of you,” Veronica called and hugged the youngest again, ruffling his hair affectionately. “We’re bringing lots of hugs from the rest as well,” she declared and Lance laughed as his sisters both hugged him yet again.
“I really missed you,” he admitted, voice a little shaky as a sudden wave of emotions rolled over him and his throat clotted up a little. His nose was starting to feel runny so he sniffled and Rachel leaned back to coo at him again. “Aww, Lancy, don’t cry,” she said sweetly but that was actually what pushed Lance over the edge and some tears spilled over.
“Ah, oh no,” Veronica gushed, moving to wipe at his eyes with her sleeve and Lance couldn’t help but laugh at his sister’s antics. “It’s fine,” he said with another sniffle. “M’ just really glad you’re here.”
“Wouldn’t dream of missing my brother kick some ass out on the ice,” Rachel cheered. “Gotta bring some Cuban support into this house!”
“You’ll overshadow everyone else.”
“Damn right we will!”
Lance laughed, some stray tears that Veronica’s sleeve hadn’t caught still running down his cheeks. He wiped them away because now was not the time for crying. “Are you gonna deck everyone around you out with rainbow flags?”
“I think we wouldn’t have gotten through customs if we had tried to smuggle 200 rainbow flags into another country,” Rachel said with a huff before grinning widely. “But we did bring a few.”
“Dedication,” Lance said in an amused manner. “I’m proud of you.”
“Thanks.” His older sister threw one arm around his shoulders and pulled him into her side. “But enough talking. Show us around, we’re incredibly curious about all that’s going on here. I wanna know every little detail.”
“That could take a while,” Lance snickered. “And you’re better off asking Pidge about all the details. I just know the gym, the spa and the arena. Well and my hotel room obviously but I haven’t really had time to do anything else. Coran drags me to the rink at least once a day for several hours and there’s interviews and I’m just panicking for the remainder of the day so… not much time to explore.”
“Don’t panic,” Veronica said softly, knowing how the younger could get lost in his own head when he was nervous. “You’ll do great, you’re an amazing skater and you’re supposed to enjoy this, not drive yourself up the wall.”
“Easier said than done,” her brother sighed. “It’s… a lot of pressure,” he admitted quietly.
Rachel hummed and squeezed his shoulder. “I can imagine but still, try to enjoy it.”
“I feel better now that you’re here.”
“Awww!” the two women cooed and Lance rolled his eyes but his smile never left his face. They finally entered the hotel, the girls dragging their suitcases behind them and looking around like they had never been inside of a hotel before. There were people walking back and forth and it was obvious that it wasn’t just a random hotel but still, their curiousness was quite funny to Lance who didn’t even notice the big pictures and displays of famous athletes anymore.
He was trying to herd them to the elevator so they could go up to his room first and then the dining room for an early dinner before they would head to the rink. After that they two girls would head to their own hotel for the night where they had already checked in online.
He turned around and saw Keith who was racing over to him with a somewhat panicked look on his face. “Wha-” he tried to ask but was yanked into the elevator that had just arrived, his two sisters stepping in after them and Keith slammed his hand onto the button that would close the door just as a furious “KEITH!” rang through the lobby.
Angry-Shiro sounded just as scary as Mama McClain and that was more than enough reason to be scared.
Lance raised an eyebrow at Keith who was now occupying the elevator together with them. “What was that all about?” he asked and couldn’t help but snicker as Keith tried to catch his breath. The other sent him a glare before he huffed and crossed his arms, glaring at the elevator wall like it had personally offended him. “There is this interviewer who wants to talk to me but I’m really not in the mood.”
“So you bolted?” Lance asked with a laugh. “Seriously?”
“She gets all handsy,” Keith almost whined, finally looking at the other and gesturing wildly. “I swear she was feeling me up the last time, it was damn creepy!”
“Mhm… you sure it wasn’t just your imagination?”
“Trust me, I know when someone is trying to grope my ass.”
Lance snorted. “What ass?”
“Right, a flat board and noodle like you wouldn’t know what an actual ass is,” Keith said offhandedly and Lance gasped. “Me and my fine Latino Ass are offended! How dare you?!”
Keith smirked. “I bet it’s flat from how many times you fallen on it.”
Lance shrieked and hit his shoulder several times for good measure. “I’m gonna beat your flat ass, Kogane!”
“Try me, McClain!”
“Oh, you bet I will!”
Rachel and Veronica looked at each other with raised eyebrows while the two squared each other up.
The elevator door dinged as they arrived on Lance’s floor and Keith grabbed his wrist again to yank him down the hallway. They stopped in front of Lance’s room and Keith looked at him expectantly. When Lance didn’t unlock the door immediately he huffed and rolled his eyes. “Hurry up before Shiro hunts me down,” he complained. “There are only so many places where I could be.”
“You’re gonna hide in my room?” Lance asked in amusement, finally digging out the electronic key with the dolphin attached to it.
“Trust me, I would hide somewhere else but my options are limited.”
“Right,” Lance sing-songed and unlocked the door. Keith slipped inside immediately and Lance just shrugged as he noticed his sisters’ curious stares before they entered as well.
“Hey mullet-man, you’re going to the rink later?” he asked as he dropped his key onto the desk with all his makeup and electronics on it.
“Shiro is gonna look there as well but when I’m on the ice he’s hopefully not going to bother me so yeah, probably. Gotta get rid of some nerves,” Keith murmured, looking out the window as if he feared Shiro would climb up the wall like a futuristic Spiderman. Lance wondered if his prosthetic arm would enable him to actually do that. He sure looked like he could pull off a hot Spiderman.
Keith turned around once he deemed the area safe and his eyebrows shot up underneath his long bangs as he noticed the two girls in the room. How he hadn’t noticed them following them was a mystery.
His eye flitted back and forth between them as if to access something before they fell onto Lance and his expression turned calculating for a few seconds. “Your sisters?” he then asked with a crooked head.
No, Lance! Bad Lance!
But it was kinda cute. Lance could always appreciate cute gays- GUYS!
“How’d you know?” he asked, trying not to let his thoughts affect his tone and Keith scoffed. “Even you wouldn’t bring random people into your hotel room-”
“You’re here though.”
Keith ignored him. “And you… have the same… vibes I guess.”
“Vibes,” Lance echoed somewhat confused but shrugged it off. He knew he looked a bit similar to his siblings even when he didn’t exactly see it. “Anyway, that’s Rachel, that’s Veronica. Girls, that is an alien that likes pineapple on pizza and pours milk before cereal. He’s skating for Japan. Also; he has a mullet so I have scientific evidence he’s either from the past or indeed an alien.”
Keith scowled at the introduction and scoffed. He bowed casually, a habit he, Shiro and many other Asians shared. “Hi, I’m Keith. I’m not from the past and I’m not an alien but your brother is convinced I am so I let him believe whatever his imagination comes up with,” he said.
Lance made an offended snort sound. “You’re hiding in my room. I can just kick you out and let Shiro find you.”
Keith looked at him and they had a stare off for almost a minute before Rachel and Veronica finally recovered from witnessing whatever was going between those two.
“Aww, Lancey has made a new friend,” Veronica cooed and Lance scowled at her. He opened his mouth to protest but his sister had already jumped at the chance to get her hands on Keith, taking him by the shoulders and spinning him around. “You’re also a figure skater? From Japan? Oh, that is so cool! Everything is so international at these competitions, I love it! You also speak Japanese?”
“Vec, he’s from Japan,” Rachel reminded her younger sister and Veronica laughed. “Ah, yes, stupid question. But it’s so nice to meet you! I would love to say we’ll cheer for you but we’re the only Cubans here so Cubans gotta stick together.”
She smiled sweetly at Keith who blinked a few times while he processed everything. “Uh…” he coughed once. “Um… yeah… I mean, obviously you’re gonna cheer for your brother,” he said and scratched the back of his head. “I mean, Japan is right around the corner so I think there are more people from Japan here than Cuba.”
Veronica nodded her head with a sad hum. “True, true. It’s like Cuba has only now found out that winter Olympics actually exist,” she sighed sadly. “I mean, most of the population has probably never seen snow so… I guess it’s not that much of a surprise.”
Japan had sent quite a few skaters so obviously there were quite a lot of Japanese fans as well. It was just a short flight after all and many wanted to take advantage of the opportunity of having the Winter Olympics this close to them.
Lance wasn’t sure if anyone from Cuba had actually flown in for the Olympics but he highly doubted it. Cuba really wasn’t the richest nation so getting plane tickets for South Korea would be extremely expensive, plus a hotel and tickets for the events… he couldn’t imagine many people being able to afford spending such a huge chunk of money just like that.
It did make him a little sad that most people were here to represent their country and all that while he was just… being Lance from Cuba but it didn’t really feel like he was representing Cuba in a competition.
Maybe it was just him but he couldn’t help feeling a little out of place when five to ten athletes from the same country walked around together in their official jerseys. He had one as well but he never really wore it around. It wasn’t exactly the cutest article of clothing and everyone knew that if something wasn’t cute or sexy Lance was sure as hell not going to put it on.
“Here,” Rachel suddenly said, standing in front of him and holding out a letter. Lance glanced up at her before taking the letter carefully ‘Lancito’ written on it in neat, cursive writing. “Mama had to write it like five times because she cried all over the paper,” Rachel said with a fond smile and her brother chuckled softly, letting his fingers trail over the rough paper. His habit of weeping easily had to come from somewhere.
It had become a tradition that Lance’s mom would write him a letter before important competitions. If that wasn’t possible they would talk or text somehow - they usually did anyway with Lance’s family cheering for him in the background - but those handwritten letters simply held so much more meaning.
Lance kept each and every one of them in a small treasure chest back at home. Sometimes when he was feeling sentimental he’d read through them and would remember every event vividly like he was back in that exact moment.
His mom has always had a way with words and she had never been shy about praising her children and their accomplishments just as she hadn’t been shy about scolding them.
Those letters conveyed her feelings better than any text ever could and it always managed to ground Lance before a performance. He’d read it while listening to calming music, without paying attention to all the other skaters who took to the ice but instead concentration on himself.
It was weirdly therapeutic and had developed into his pre-competition routine that most skaters had in some way, shape or form.
Some had to listen to a certain type of music, others had to eat something special or wear a certain piece of jewelry or clothing. For Lance it was reading his mom’s letter so he could focus on himself and his feelings, not the looming performance, not the pressure of the competition or the other skaters and their scores. It was just him and his mom’s written words.
He put the letter away in a safe spot and glance at Keith who was still talking to Veronica. He wondered what Keith always did before a performance and a mental image of him listening to techno music while meditating appeared in his head which almost made him snicker out loud.
“Do you want to grab some food before we go to the arena?” Lance asked and Veronica seemed to be all for that. She grabbed Keith’s wrist and pulled him out of the room with her two siblings following them.
Keith had to direct her towards the dining hall since she had no idea where she was going. Keith was about to excuse himself to let them eat in peace but Rachel just clapped his back and pushed him down into a chair. Lance sent him a look that said ‘don’t try to fight it’ which the other seemed to understand and followed his advice.
Lance liked his boys smart.
Wait… no, forget about that.
They ate although the two skaters made sure not to overdo it since they were still going to the rink and puking on the ice really, really wasn’t enjoyable. Much less cleaning up that kind of mess.
Rachel and Veronica told their brother what he had missed back home which included Luis managing to acquire a flat tire somehow and having to be driven to the nearest repair shop by an elderly lady and her barely functioning car.
Seriously, if people drove what was driven in Cuba as a car anywhere else in the world they would probably be pulled off the road immediately. Some of those cars shouldn’t be driving anywhere anymore but people used what they had access to and could afford which surely wasn’t the newest, fancy car that would be advertised on TV.
Lance was incredibly lucky to have his own car. It wasn’t the best or most modern one out there but it was still going strong and that was all he could ask for.
His mom had also cried pretty hard at the airport since she couldn’t go with her daughters to cheer on her son. Anton and Sonia, Luis’s children, had also wanted to come but bringing the kids would have been incredibly stressful though Lance would have loved to show his niece and nephew around. He was the coolest uncle out of the two they had and he was damn proud of it.
It might be because he was the youngest and probably the most childish and because he always had cool stories to tell. That and the kids’ strong belief that he was actually a mermaid which was just way too precious.
Once everyone was sated Keith sneaked back to his own room to get his skate bag just like Lance and they met up in the lobby again. The four of them drove to the arena and Lance swore his sisters were both a little overwhelmed when they saw the actual stadium for the first time.
“This is… awesome,” Veronica barely managed to say. “This is where you’re skating?” she asked in amazement and Lance nodded with a smile. “Yeah, it’s… pretty big.”
“Pretty big,” his sister scoffed. “Lance, this is huge, dios mio.”
“Well, it is an Olympic arena after all.”
“We’re so proud of you!” Rachel called yet again and ruffled her brother’s hair who tried hard not to look too embarrassed as they walked through the hallways and his two sisters gawked at everything.
“Oh my god, more skaters,” Veronica whispered excitedly as they passed a few people. “Look, they’re from China!” she grabbed her sisters arm who just chuckled. “Yeah… and some from Russia too.”
The group stopped as a small Japanese girl rushed over to them. She started speaking in Japanese in a hurried manner but Lance only caught ‘Shiro’ at some point - at least he thought he did - and Keith grimaced before giving his answer.
The girl looked at him with a raised eyebrow and seemed to ask him something which Keith shrugged off with a nonchalant reply.
She said a few more sentences, the last one rather sternly, before patting his shoulder and turning around to go back to her coach who was waiting for her.
Lance had followed the interaction attentively and realized it was the first time he had seen Keith talking to his teammates. He seemed to enjoy his lone-wolf-role quite a lot most of the time so it was easy to forget there were a bunch of other skaters from his country as well.
The Cuban wondered if he was close to them despite his rather closed-off personality. Surely they saw each other quite a lot at competitions and maybe even for practise.
“What was that all about?” he asked once the girl was out of earshot, not wanting to risk her hearing him being this noisy. You could never know how much English someone actually understood so it was wise to be a little cautious when talking about other people.
“She said Shiro asked if anyone had seen me in the group chat so she wanted to know what was going on,” Keith sighed and dropped his bag on a bench before sitting down and toeing off his sneakers.
“You told her about the touchy lady?” Lance asked with a grin, following the other’s example and taking out his white skates.
“I just said I didn’t want to give that interview,” Keith grumbled. “She doesn’t have to know that I don’t appreciate my ass being groped again.”
Lance snorted loudly. “You’re nonexistent ass.”
“Whatever,” the other huffed, lacing up his black boots with a kind of speed that came with millions of repetitions.
“Hey Lance, we’ll be over here, yeah?” Rachel called and pointed towards a spot at the boards. Her brother nodded with a hum and waved before turning back to his own shoes.
“They’re… really nice,” Keith said after a beat of silence and Lance chuckled softly at his genuine tone. “Yeah, I know.” He glanced over to his sisters who were already gossiping about the other skaters at the rink in Spanish. “I’m really glad they’re here. I don’t know if I would have managed to actually go out on the ice without anyone from my family here.”
He had always been someone who felt very connected to his family. The decision to train in America for six months every year had not been an easy one and there had been many, many moments where he had been close to taking the next airplane back to Cuba.
Coran had helped somewhat since he was such a sweet person. Lance liked him a lot and loved being around him but it was a different feeling from friends and family. He hadn’t known anyone in America which had been really, really scary.
The sheer amount of figure skaters training to become world champions had also thrown him for another loop. Suddenly he had felt incredibly inadequate. Just the small country boy from Cuba who hadn’t partaken in any real competition just yet.
He knew he had a lot of talent. Of course he knew because people told him again and again, especially Coran had liked to point it out almost daily. Other people had also told Lance that he was a very talented and skilled skater but still… those people in America had trained every day for years already. They were miles and miles ahead and Lance would always remember those nights where he had just cried and cried and cried, thinking of his family back at home and clutching his plushie that his older brothers had given him to his chest in an attempt to find some comfort. Something his mom would usually provide but her warm hugs had been beyond reach at that time.
Keith hummed softly. “I’m still not sure I’ll actually manage to skate properly,” he mused as he stood up and made sure his skates were laced up properly.
“Would be a shame if you don’t. I want to beat you to gold fair and square,” Lance said and had to grin as he saw the smile crawling up the other’s face.
“Fair and square,” he echoed quietly. “Give it your best shot then.”
With that he stepped onto the ice and Lance snickered to himself quietly before he followed him.
To say Lance was freaked out when he got ready for bed that evening would be an understatement.
His costume was laid out already together with all the makeup and skincare products he would need tomorrow. His flat iron was there as well just like his favorite hoodie, his good luck socks and his favorite pair of gloves.
His alarm clock was set to the correct time, his phone had several alarms as well and a sheet with a schedule was laid out on his bedside table. The room was cleaned up, his skate bag was all packed and way too many things were put in there earlier since Lance got nervous when he wasn't prepared for every possibility. He had snacks in there, water bottles, a scarf and a beanie, extra pairs of socks and gloves, some medication just in case although there were a ton of paramedics on site. His skates were in there obviously just like his charged MP3 player and two sets of noise canceling earphones just in case one broke.
He also had a portable battery, a shitton of tissues, his favorite plushie and of course his mom's sacred letter that he would read about half an hour before his program was due.
Although he had taken care of all these things he was still nervous beyond belief, scared he had forgotten something or that something broke. Heck, at this point he was scared of his skates just falling apart during his performance.
Screw fake eyelashes flying off!
He sighed heavily and rubbed his face before he fell into his bed face-first and groaned into his pillow.
“Okay,” he mumbled and tried to banish all thoughts from his mind so he could sleep in peace, turning the light off with a hint of finality, “lights out.”
Chapter 11: Olympics - Day Eleven: The Short Program
You might have noticed that I set the chapter amount to 17. I'm not completely sure if it'll be that or maybe 18 but it'll be around that amount. So there is still a bit to come, I hope you look forward to it.
For Lance's short program, it's a short program from Adam Rippon to 'Let Me Think About It'. The one he performed at the 2018 Olympics as well. Here is a good example
Now, I'm just saying it again; I have no experience with figure skating and I'm pretty sure the scores I gave are not realistic among a few other things but please disregard this for the sake of the story T.T
“Oh my god, are you okay?” Hunk asked, sounding genuinely concerned and Lance almost started crying. “No!” he whimpered like a hurt puppy and his best friend immediately went to hug him.
“Jeez,” he mumbled as he felt how much Lance was shaking. “It’s gonna be okay. This is your big day, you worked so hard for this.”
“Don’t make it worse,” Lance wailed and tightened his hold around Hunk. The other was the best person to hug. He had such a comforting presence and he was incredibly cuddly but right now Lance wanted to bury a hole and just hide in there. He felt like he was about to throw up at any moment and his stomach was cramping horribly. His mind was racing and he couldn’t concentrate on anything.
“Okay, okay,” Hunk murmured like he was trying to sooth a frightened animal, rubbing his friend’s back comfortingly. “How about we get into the dining hall and… try to eat something?”
Lance made another whale-like noise at the thought of that and made zero attempts to move so Hunk took it upon himself to get him to the dining room. It was mostly dragging on his part but he didn’t mind.
The Cuban was almost unable to sit down, he looked ready to bolt out of the room at any moment, like he was going to race to the bathroom to throw up and he barely reacted to anyone who wished him a good morning. They were all worried about him because usually Lance was loud and bright even this early in the morning but they didn’t really know what to do. They had never seen him nervous like this.
Hunk tried to get him to eat something before Coran came around and gave him a lecture about not eating but it was like Lance was not even listening and his mind was floating somewhere in another dimension. His hands were on the table and shaking like crazy and at some point he almost knocked his glass over, startled because of that and almost jumped out of his seat.
“Okay, that’s enough,” Pidge huffed and pulled her over-ear bluetooth headphones from around her neck and put them on Lance who startled yet again and was about to ask what she was doing but the words died on his tongue and his whole body stilled as he seemed to listen to whatever he was hearing. He blinked a few times before he started relaxing and the jittering stopped slightly.
Pidge smiled to herself and took out a still unsolved rubik’s cube from her bag which she put in front of Lance, pushing it in his direction with an encouraging nudge. The latter crooked his head and considered for a long moment before he took it into his hands tentatively and slowly started moving the parts around to solve it. Most people wouldn’t believe it but Lance loved riddles and puzzles. He was smart in a… logical and calculating way, something he didn’t like flaunting so barely anyone ever noticed but if you gave him anything like a sudoku, a rubik’s cube, a game with riddles or anything he could solve he’d to 99% concentrate on that and do it.
Everyone stared at the suddenly rather calm figure skater who was focused on his cube.
“That… was a really good idea,” Allura said in amazement.
Pidge chuckled smugly and sat down on her chair again. “This works for Matt so I figured it would work for Lance as well.”
The biathlon athlete looked at her in surprise. “Am I really that bad sometimes?” he asked somewhat shocked and sent another glance towards Lance as if that would help him remember if he had ever exhibited the same characteristics before a race but he really couldn’t recall anything similar ever happening to him. Perhaps because he had been too much into the zone to realize.
“Not physically, no,” Pidge said. “But you start over-analyzing everything so it helps to keep your brain occupied.” She flicked his forehead and he rubbed the sore spot with a pout. He couldn't argue with her observation.
“I just hope he stays calm,” Hunk said, sounding concerned and looking at his best friend worriedly. “I know Coran has good pep talks but I don’t think he could talk him out of a panic attack.” It calmed him slightly that Lance couldn’t hear them talking about him like this. He would get even more stressed when he found out people were worried about him since he absolutely despised being a source of worry for anyone.
Since he was the youngest he had gotten a lot of attention from his sibling and parents back at home but at a certain age he had understood that sometimes he was… in the way, that he had to be watched and people had to stop what they were doing because he demanded their attention. Lance was someone who couldn’t stand something like that so he had always tried to help, to stay out of the way, to busy himself and not cause unnecessary trouble.
Climbing trees or almost getting lost and coming back with dozens of scratches had still happened because he was a curious kid and loved exploring but he had never tried to be in the way on purpose. It was a trait he still had and sometimes his friends had to remind him that it was okay to ask for help and depend on others.
“Coaches develop unknown talents when their skaters need them,” Romelle said and shared a look with her fiance that seemed to include a whole conversation. “But you’re right. A panicky Lance is rather difficult to calm down.”
Everyone looked at the Cuban who was lost in his own world. He had stopped shaking and was even eating something much to everyone’s relief. Hunk had placed to plate on front of him a while ago and it seemed Lance now ate unknowingly. It didn't matter why, point was that he was eating at least something before his competition.
His sisters would get here in about half an hour and maybe they could calm him down some more. This was the first time even Allura saw him this nervous for a competition but she understood his thought process. She was sure everyone understood it although Matt’s discipline was different and Hunk had a whole team to rely on as well.
They, as figure skaters, had only a few minutes to decide whether or not they could score enough points and there was no time to catch up or gather yourself again after a major throwback. No time to regroup or to rely on others to help you out.
It was terrifying.
You were alone and only a few minutes would decide over the future.
Everyone looked up at Keith who had approached their table. His hair looked pretty disheveled, not yet in his signature ponytail but rather unruly and curling around his neck. Perhaps he hadn't had the mind to tame it this morning and had just rolled straight out of bed. He too looked a little nervous but he seemed to be someone who was able to hide it better than Lance was. He was also already dressed in sweatpants and his official Team Japan jacket that he hadn’t ever worn until now except for official events where Shiro had forced him.
His eyes switched to a still focused Lance who was almost finished with his cube and Keith crooked his head just slightly as he saw the headphones covering his ears but was probably able to put one and one together himself.
“Keith, how are you feeling?” Hunk asked and Keith gave him a wry smile. That alone spoke volumes. “Like him gonna puke my guts out on the ice but otherwise fine.” Hunk grimaced and sent him a sympathetic smile. “I really hope it won’t come to that,” he said and Keith hummed in agreement. “We’ll all be at the arena later so we’ll cheer for you as well.”
A genuine smile appeared on the skater’s face this time. “Thanks.”
“Yeah man,” Pidge cheered. “I’m really looking forward to seeing your quads in person. They must be hella nice because Lance wouldn’t shut up about how annoying they are ever since he first saw you land one.”
If Lance had been able to hear that he would have started screeching and denying something like that every happening but he was focused and listening to music so he remained silent which was a somewhat scary experience.
“Well,” Keith shrugged his shoulders and shoved his hands into the pockets of his white jersey. The color looked rather unusual on him. “I do count on them to rack up my points so they better be good.”
“I’m sure it’ll be fine,” Allura said with a smile, always the voice of reason. “You two have practised a lot after all.”
‘Together’ remained unsaid but the friends looked at each other with knowing gazes that Keith didn’t quite know how to interpret. He tried to make something out of it but decided to let it go after a few moments. Maybe he was better off not knowing.
“Is he responsive or is he gonna combust the second he stops that,” he asked and pointed at Lance who was finishing up the last few pieces. Everything was in place and he turned the cube slowly to look at all sides to make sure he hadn’t made any mistakes.
Obviously there were none.
“Yeah,” Pidge said and pulled out her phone. “Just a sec.”
She clicked on something on the screen after a moment of fiddling and Lance jumped in his seat with a rather loud yelp, the rubik’s cube flying from his hands and he did try to catch it out of habit but he couldn’t get his hands to respond the way they should in time so it toppled onto the table and knocked over the salt. Thankfully it was almost empty. He ripped off his headphones and everyone could hear the Star Wars opening blasting from them.
“Pidge!” Lance screeched but the little gremlin was just grinning at him. “You have a visitor,” she informed him and the Cuban frowned. “What?”
Keith cleared his throat and Lance whipped his head around to him, eyes widening for a split second before they fell onto his white jersey and one of his eyebrows shot up.
“You actually have one of those? Thought you would have burned it because it goes against your aesthetic,” he teased and Keith rolled his eyes. “You’re gonna have to wear yours as well.”
Lance scrunched up his nose at that.
“And yeah I don’t like it but Shiro would chop my head off if I refused to wear it and I’d like to skate with my head attached to my body so… here we are.”
Lance hummed. “Looks strange on you.”
Keith just took a deep breath and decided to ignore that comment. “When is your turn?”
It seemed like Lance was suddenly reminded of the looming competition and was silent for a while. “Pretty far back,” he then said. “26, so one of the last. You?”
“14,” Keith mumbled. “I’ll be glad once it’s over.”
“Amigo, I’ll come annoy you with my nervous breakdown then,” Lance sighed. “Lucky you.”
Keith just looked at him for a while before he patted his shoulder. “I’ll see you at the arena.”
Lance hummed and with that Keith left their table, the others all wishing him good luck.
“I’m gonna die,” Lance moaned and put his head onto the table in defeat.
“Lance, my boy, you shouldn’t be here right now,” Coran said, sounding a little worried as Lance suddenly appeared next to him.
“I know,” Lance whined, trying not to look at the skater out on the ice. “I just… have you seen Keith? From Japan? He’s up next,” he said and Coran looked at him a little strangely before he seemed to either remember or realize something. His smile was slightly hidden behind his mustache but he still seemed amused.
“Yeah, he’s getting read over there,” he pointed down towards the right where Lance soon spotted Shiro’s signature white forelock. “Thanks,” he said, “I’ll be back in a sec and I won’t look, promise!”
Coran had this rule that Lance wasn’t allowed to watch the other skaters’ program because he would start stressing out even more then and he really didn’t want to feel that kind of pressure, especially when he was one of the last to skate.
Shiro had Keith by his shoulders and talked to him in what seemed to be Japanese. The skater was looking down and listening intently over the music, nodding his head every now and then. Shiro patted his shoulders and seemed to be done with the motivational-speech part so Lance made his presence known.
“Keith!” he called and said skater looked up, his eyes widening comically as he spotted Lance. “Lance?” He glanced at his coach who just waved his hand in a gesture that could be interpreted as ‘go on’ so Keith quickly rushed over to Lance. “What are you doing here?” he asked, eyebrows furrowed.
His hair was done neatly but still in his signature messy ponytail. Some longer strands had fallen down and were framing his face and Lance just couldn’t stop himself from thinking he looked incredibly handsome.
“I…” The loud music almost covered his words so he cleared his throat and tried again. “I just wanted to wish you good luck,” he said, louder this time, with a grin, suddenly feeling all giddy.
Keith blinked a few times, apparently taken aback. “You…” He seemed to change his mind. “Thank you,” he said and smiled down at the floor, apparently a little embarrassed about the sudden genuine words.
“Come here,” Lance said with a laugh and pulled the other into a hug. Keith was wearing his skates so he was a little taller than him at the moment. The other tensed up slightly but returned the hug after a second of hesitation.
There were some screeches and squeals close to them but Lance wrote it off as people cheering for the athlete currently out on the ice. “You’re gonna do great,” he said, quieter this time because he was right next to Keith’s ear and didn’t need to holler. “Go out there and show them some awesome quads!” He patted the other’s back and leaned back to see Keith grinning at him.
“Will do, Mr. Noodle.”
“I am offended!” Lance called but just couldn’t stop grinning.
The music came to a stop and people around them cheered loudly. Plushies were thrown onto the ice and Keith took a deep breath. “Okay, I-”
“Need to go,” the Cuban finished for him, nodding his head and squeezing the other’s shoulders. “I know. Sorry I can’t watch but I know you’ll be awesome. Good luck, mullet man, blow them away,” he said and gently pushed Keith towards Shiro.
“I’ll see you later,” Keith said and it sounded a lot like a promise so Lance nodded and watched Shiro guide Keith onto the ice and giving him the last pointers for his performance while the ice was being cleaned up.
“Lance, get out of here. Chop chop!” Coran called from behind Lance who startled. He wasn’t supposed to hear anyone’s scores so Coran quickly shooed him out of the main arena into the back where Lance put in his earphones again so he wouldn’t try to eavesdrop.
The wait was horrible. It felt like hours before Lance started warming up properly. Skaters were coming and going, coaches were bustling around and everything was just a giant mess. Albeit an organized one but still a mess.
Lance was stretching because that was a calming activity and because he needed to live up to his Cooked-Spaghetti flexibility that he always showcased.
Upon arrival there had actually been fans who had cheered for him . He had been blown away by that, getting all excited and happy as he saw them waving at him and calling his name. Some had small Cuban flags or even bi flags that they waved around and Lance had almost jumped into Coran’s arms because he needed to showcase his affection and thankfulness towards them but sadly couldn’t hug all of them individually.
The clock drew closer to his time and he was getting more and more nervous. He went to search for his bag and opened the side pocket to take out the letter his mother had written for him.
The paper was the one his mother had bought quite a while ago and would only use for the most important things like rare letter to his relatives or the letters she wrote for Lance and even such a small gesture always managed to warm his heart.
His sister had said that his mother had needed several tries before she had been able to complete the letter without bursting into tears. Mama McClain could be just as emotional as Lance, especially over things regarding her children and their accomplishments.
Lance unfolded the letter carefully and had to smile as he spotted his mother’s delicate yet confident handwriting. She had always managed to write fast but keep her letters neat and clean. Some of them had beautiful swirls and curves to them that came to her naturally but it looked like a carefully crafted font from the internet. The fact that she was able to write in a perfectly straight line for paragraphs on end was another one of her amazing skills.
His father, in contrast, had a scratchy chicken scrawl that no one but himself could really identify. His signature was so short everyone wondered how all the letters of his name fit into it and it seemed even he himself didn’t really know.
The first line already warmed Lance’s heart.
It was like his mother was speaking to him directly like she did every so often when she would sit him down in the living room while everyone else was busy, pull him into his side and just talk to him.
About how happy they were to have him, how proud they were of him, how much they loved him.
His father would join when he wasn’t busy and even words as simple as that always meant the world to Lance. He was incredibly grateful to his parents and cherished them above anything else.
He knew his parents had those talks with all their children, no matter how young or old they were by now and during the last few years they had done it for their grandchildren as well. Anton and Sonia still didn’t know that not all families were like theirs so for them it was normal but Lance knew what they had was special.
Many families lived in constant fights and arguments, others ignored each other. Some hated their family, some didn’t care. Every dynamic was different but for him family was incredibly important and he always missed them greatly whenever he had to leave.
I still remember when you skated for the first time with your rollerblades. It feels like it was an eternity ago and yet only yesterday. I remember watching your practise and laugh to your heart’s content. I felt so blessed that something so small could bring such joy to you and every day I’m thankful that you never gave up, no matter how many times you fell and scraped your knees.
When we first took you to the rink and I saw you on the ice I just knew this was where you belonged. I was filled with joy and pride at seeing you but also with worry. We wouldn’t be able to support you the way I wanted to or the way you deserved.
We did everything we could to give as much as possible but I could feel that it was not enough and I made my heart feel heavy.
Lance’s did too at reading her words. He knew his parents had tried everything they could and he had been more than thankful and happy about their efforts. They had given him the chance to practise and hone his abilities despite having to sacrifice their time and money for him.
Living in Cuba hadn’t made it very easy but somehow they had managed and it was more than enough for him, more than he could have ever asked for.
But the smile on your face whenever you were on the ice gave me hope that one day you would receive the recognition you deserved.
When Coran approached us about coaching you I was ecstatic. Finally you would be able to fully embrace your love for the ice and grow. Of course I was also incredibly heartbroken that my youngest son would leave for such long periods of time but I could feel that it would be alright. I just knew I had to let you go even when I wanted to scoop you up in my arms and protect you from all evil in the world, to keep you at home where I could watch over you.
In the end it was the right decision to let you go and Coran took such good care of you.
I remember your first competition, how nervous and scared you were and how much it saddened me that I couldn’t be there for you.
I decided to write you these letters so you would know that Mama is always with you, no matter how far away you are. Whether in America or half across the globe in foreign countries, whether you’re nervous or not, Mama is always with you.
Lance had completely forgotten about the competition going on around him, he was in his own world and absorbed into his mother’s words. How she managed to make him feel like she was right there next to him only through written words was a mystery he would never understand but he appreciated it, appreciated the comfort he got from her letters.
Watching you skate together with people from all over the world makes me so proud and happy. I knew when I saw you skate for the first time as a child that your passion and love for the ice would turn you into a wonderful skater.
Now, years later I am going to see my son skate at the Olympics.
I cannot put into words how proud I am of you, how proud we all are.
My love, my son, we’re all cheering for you and no matter the result, the score or anything else I know you will be great and I want you to cherish every moment of it.
You worked so hard for this, you deserve to have the world watch you do what you love most and I am honored that I can call you my son.
We are with you every step of the way and we will always have your back.
Now, take a deep breath, my love.
Everything will be just fine.
I love you, mi cochoro. We all do.
Mama is always with you, never forget that.
Lance had to swallow the lump in his throat and take a few moments so he wouldn’t cry all over the paper. His entire chest was incredibly warm, the letter having managed to take his mind off all things for a while. He could feel reality settling in again and worries creeping up on him but he took his mother’s words to heart and took a deep breath.
Everything would be fine.
His family was proud of him, no matter what happened during the competition. This wasn’t a win or lose situation. This was a dream come true for him and he was going to enjoy every single second of it no matter the result.
When Coran came to collect him he tried to shake off the nerves, leave them behind in the backroom but sadly that didn’t work as well as he had wished.
The skater before him had just started his program but Lance was focused on Coran who was going through his program with him one last time. He told him where to be careful, what to look out for, encouraged him to be bold and be himself. Those words meant the most to Lance because if he could do one thing out on the ice it was being himself. That’s what he was best at.
Time seemed to fly by and suddenly people were cheering and the performance was over. Suddenly Lance was standing on the ice, Coran on the other side of the boards and telling him he would do great. Lance just nodded and took a deep breath, about to turn around when he heard his name and glanced up. He saw Keith in the back, looking a little disheveled but he was grinning and showing two thumbs up which made the Cuban smile.
“Go get them,” Keith called and Lance couldn’t help laughing.
Coran patted his shoulder one last time before his student turned around and raised his arms to wave at the audience who cheered for him.
“Next up,” the female commentator said in English. “Lance McClain, skating for Cuba.” The same was repeated in Korean and oh my god, dios mio! Lance was about to fucking skate at the Olympics!
His mind drew blank for a moment and the cheers turned into a white noise in the background. His black skates were gliding over the ice effortlessly. He had it all to himself, everyone was watching. His friends and his sisters in the audience, his family back at home, Keith, Coran, the judges, the whole world.
Everyone’s eyes were on him.
He was the star for the next few minutes and he would make the best out of it.
After another round of skating he arrived at his spot and took position.
This was it.
This was it.
He closed his eyes for a second and took a deep breath. When he opened them again he was focused and slapped on him flirty smile that was part of the whole package.
The music started and Lance felt electricity rushing up his spine, adrenaline pumping through his body and suddenly his head was clear, clearer than it had been the last few days and his body fell into step effortlessly.
He turned around and skated towards the centre.
He skated across the ice, feeling like he was flying and not even noticing the cold air nipping at his body. This routine was drilled into him, he could do it in his sleep.
The first jump was coming up and he felt his heart stop for a moment, his breath halting but his body continued functioning. He spun in the air, landed, and again.
His heart was soaring as cheers reached his ears.
He had landed that perfectly.
He could only imagine how smug he looked right now, feeling like he was the baddest bitch in the world and letting the crowd know just how confident he was. This was his program - this was him- and he would show the whole world just who he was.
He stopped in front of the judges, let them have some of his sass before continuing. The crowd hollered and cheered at the display and that just made the fire inside of Lance grow even wilder. The small flame had turned into a giant bonfire.
His spins were perfect and beautiful like always, he flirted with the crowd and bit his lip sexily which caused a wave of screams from everyone. He was a sight to behold with perfect makeup and tan skin. His costume was fitted black pants and a maroon shirt with half-sleeves, completely made out of mesh with some leather pants. Glittering rhinestones were lining the edges and he knew he looked damn hot in it.
He was the hottest shit out there!
Fucking damnit, he was killing it!
Another spin, executed perfectly.
Corran was surely sedding proud tears and cheering for him like the awesome uncle he was.
The music built up to a drop and Lance went wild. So did the crowd and screamed and cheered for him. He wasn’t just skating, he was dancing and his Latino ass was almost taking the spotlight form him.
The music calmed down again and he graced everyone with his gorgeous layback spin. He knew he was a fast spinner and he loved to use that to his advantage. He changed positions a few times and then suddenly the music stopped and he was looking up at the ceiling, having moved on to his ending position without noticing.
It was over.
He did it.
The cheers almost overwhelmed him and he barely managed to right himself without toppling over.
Just now he noticed how out of breath he was and how fast his heart was beating in his chest. His lungs felt too small, his chest too constricting and he just couldn’t wrap his head around what had happened.
He had run through his program perfectly, not a single mistake!
He buried his face in his hands for a second to get his bearings - two deep breaths - before he got up and waved at the cheering crowd. The smile on his face was probably blinding and he could only imagine how much his friends and family must be cheering right now. He almost teared up at the thought of them watching him but pushed all that down to instead ravel in the cheers and attention for a little while longer. This was for him, this was his spotlight he had worked so hard for and he’d enjoy every single second of it.
Plushies were thrown onto the ice and Lance really wanted to pick them all up and show his appreciation but his mind was still whirling so he’d have to take a look at them later. He couldn’t resist a small dog plushie though and decided to pick it up and carry it with him.
He waved and skated another few rounds, thanking his audience, before he approached the boards and spotted Coran who looked about ready to tackle him.
“My boy!” he called and spread his arms for Lance to jump into which the Cuban did with a laugh. “I’m so proud of you,” his coach said. “You were amazing! I’m so proud! You did such a fantastic job out there.”
Lance just couldn’t stop smiling and almost forgot to put on his rainbow guards before he was rushed to the Kiss and Cry. Only now he realized that he had just survived his Short Program and just… It was all so overwhelming. All cameras were on him, the big screens showed replays or his jumps and spins as the judges debated his score.
Lance balled his hands into fists and chanted ‘please, please, please’ in his head as he waited, Coran having on arm around his shoulders and squeezing reassuringly. Watching himself jumping and spinning on the ice made his heart skip and his stomach flip flop.
“And now the score for Lance McClain,” the female announcer said happily after what felt like an eternity to him, the Korean announcer repeating it as well.
Lance probably forgot how to breathe. It felt like someone was crushing his chest and nothing else mattered. He stared at the screen with wide eyes and a mantra of ‘please, please, please’ repeating in his head like a broken record.
“His short program score.”
Lance was going to pass out.
He screamed and flapped his hands around, bouncing in his seat before he threw himself at Coran and squeezed the living daylights out of his poor coach who was probably just as excited as him.
That was his personal best!
He had never managed a score like that before! He turned back to the front to take another look at the screen to be sure he had really heard right and yes, there it was.
“Mama, papa, te amo, dios mio, santa mierda!” he babled in Spanish and grabbed his chest because it felt like his poor heart was about to explode. He sniffled and wiped at his eyes as he could feel them getting teary and laughed. “Holy shit,” he said quietly and just couldn’t wrap his head around that score.
“Lance McClain is currently in second place.”
Lance screamed again and almost yelled ‘FUCK!’ out loud but could stop himself last second.
He hadn’t even noticed!
He got another good look at the scoreboard yes, there he was - in second place! - and he realized that Keith was just one spot below him. He couldn’t comprehend all of this at once and was almost glad as Coran guided him away from the Kiss and Cry.
Suddenly there were reporters and cameras and flashes going off and he was apparently being asked a question.
“Lance McClain, how does it feel to beat your personal best at the Olympics?” someone asked and Lance just smiled stupidly. “Awesome!”
“Were you expecting a score like that?”
“Did you plan on scoring this high in the Short Program?”
Questions were being asked from all sides. “I… no, this is a pretty big surprise for me too.”
God, he was so out of breath!
“How do you plan on beating your competition in the Free Program?”
“Are you aiming for gold?”
“Will you be adding quads to your program?”
Lance was feeling very overwhelmed. His entire world was still spinning and he was unable to comprehend anything that had just happened. Thankfully his coach had his back.
“I’m sorry, but he won’t be answering any more questions at the moment,” Coran said happily and steered him away from the noisy reporters. Lance’s head was swimming and he was stumbling behind his coach, following him towards the back where his bag was. Everything happened in a blur and after taking off his skates and somewhat shakily going through Coran’s cool-down routine they went to the section that was reserved for athletes and their coaches to watch the two remaining skaters.
Lance was still in second place and his heart soared as he saw his name on the scoreboard.
He barely had time to react before a body slammed into him and he stumbled back, instinctively wrapping his arms around the body’s waist.
“You fucktard!” Keith yelled and punched his shoulder with a loud laugh.
“KEITH!” Shiro yelped and looked like he was fearing a headline appearing tomorrow. ‘Japanese skater tackles competition and calls him a fucktard’ would be a rather unique title but Keith was grinning from one ear to the other just like Lance.
“I think that was the sickest performance I have seen all day,” Keith said and Lance couldn’t help himself and laughed loudly.
“Dude, did you just call my program sick?”
“Dude, yes I did.”
“Oh my god,” Shiro moaned and buried his face in his hands. Coran patted his shoulder comfortingly.
“But that was awesome,” Keith said as he took a small step back and sounded genuinely excited, almost bouncing up and down in his spot. “Like… your spins were so fucking good and you landed those jumps perfectly.”
“I know,” Lance said with the same amount of excitement and together they almost squealed like school girls and other people were probably looking at them strangely but they couldn’t care less.
“I think some of the staff were a little overwhelmed with your flirting though,” Keith teased and Lance snapped his fingers. “Girl, you gotta use all this to impress.” He gestured to himself and Keith rolled his eyes at his antics.
“So tell me then,” the Cuban then said and leaned in. “Why you all the way down there, huh?” he teased and Keith scoffed. “Excuse me, I’m just one point behind you.”
“Mhm, still one point.”
“Shut up,” Keith whacked his shoulder but he wasn’t offended at all, he was still smiling and he couldn’t be angry with Lance anyway. “I messed up one of my quads pretty badly.”
“You fell?” Lance asked, all teasing gone from his voice in an instant, replaced by seriousness and a hint of concern.
Keith sighed. “Kinda. Just really messed up the landing and I was down for a moment.”
“You okay?” Lance asked, tugging on the other’s sleeve like a kid, eyes worried and lips pursed into a small pout.
Keith couldn’t help but smile as he saw his face and nodded. “Yeah, didn’t hurt myself and I still got third place which is really good. I was second till you pushed me down.”
“Yeah, well, I’m just awesome like that,” Lance said smugly. “But seriously, I really wanna see your program now. You must have been pretty awesome yourself.”
“Hell yeah I was.”
Rachel and Veronica barreled into him and knocked the breath straight out of his lungs.
“You were amazing!” Rachel called and kissed both of her brother’s cheeks.
“We’re so proud of you!” Veronica joined in, all three McClains getting tangled up in a group hug.
“I’m in second place,” Lance said, still not believing it and his two sisters cheered and ruffled his hair.
“You deserve it, you did such a good job. I swear the people were going wild,” Veronica said. She couldn’t put into words just how proud she was of her little brother. He had been amazing, his performance had been flawless and he more than deserved the second place after the Short Program.
Lance just laughed and raveled in all the attention he got from everyone, not even really bothering to watch the other performances.
He was still in second place, Keith in third, when the competition ended.
Chapter 12: Olympics: Day Twelve (1) - The Free Program
A little late because I wanted to add Keith's skate as well. I haven't checked that part yet and added a few more things so there might be some typos.
Also; keep in mind that I'm not a skating expert and I know the points I gave might be unrealistic but please ignore that for the sake of the story.
“I thought you would be even more nervous on the second day” Hunk said and eyed his best friend curiously while Lance managed a small smile in an attempt to reassure him. They were in the hallway, walking towards the dining room for breakfast and yeah, Lance was feeling better than he was yesterday, he’d probably be able to eat as well but he wouldn’t say he was feeling all that fresh.
“Trust me I'm hella nervous but I think yesterday wore me out too much for me to physically freak out right now. Mentally I am but physically-freakout-time is currently not available,” he said with a sigh and Hunk snorted loudly. “I don’t know if that’s actually better. You're not gonna faint once you get to the rink, right?”
Lance squawked in an offended manner and put a hand onto his chest. “If I were to faint I would do it in the most extra way after my brilliant performance,” he snarked and his friend laughed loudly, having to agree. Lance was extra like that and would never miss a chance to get the spotlight out on the ice. It was what he lived and strived for after all. Though fainting and having to be dragged off the ice surely wouldn’t look all that graceful so he didn’t plan on doing that anytime soon.
Hunk put an arm around the Cuban's shoulder and squeezed once as a symbol of silent support. Lance appreciated it because yeah, he might be a bit more level-headed than yesterday but he hadn't lied; he really was extremely nervous and his mind was a mess. The day yesterday had tired him out quite a bit with all that excitement and emotional moments but he knew he could pull through. This wasn’t the first time he was going through this process after all, the stakes were just higher.
Today was the day that would decide about the entire outcome. Everything could change with the free program, people could take his place, he could potentially end up at the bottom of the list. Sure, that wasn't all this was about but having scored the second place yesterday had made him even more competitive than the day before. He wanted to keep his place, to defend it with everything he had and for that he needed to land a spotless performance.
He didn't have any quads so the free program would be even more challenging but he was willing to give it his all. It was all he had, his passion and his drive to capture the crowd and deliver an amazing show.
Keith had dropped by his room yesterday in the evening and they had talked for almost two hours while hanging out on Lance's bed. It had calmed both of their nerves somewhat to just talk about nothing in particular. They were both in the same boat and it help to rant to someone who was going through the exact same thing.
It also helped that the Cuban simply felt incredibly… warm whenever Keith was around. It was a little strange maybe but he couldn’t stop feeling giddy whenever he saw him.
They had gone from an initially kinda rough start, to teasing, to somewhat surprisingly deep heart-felt talks about their struggles and somehow to hanging out together in the span of not even two weeks.
Perhaps whatever they had was developing a little exponentially but Lance did not have it in him to care. It felt nice, whatever they had. He wasn’t exactly sure but he did know that he liked it and he was pretty sure Keith did too.
He didn’t seem to be that kind of person who would bother with someone he didn’t like. He sought Lance out, asked him to hang out, spent time with him, they talked a lot even if most of it ended in teasing at some point.
It was nice. The Korean's presence was… it was welcome. Lance felt incredibly comfortable with him around and their bickering was simply joking around. It may have started a little tiny bit hostile because of some background rivalry but they had quickly left that behind. They liked tobnicker, that’s just how they were around each other but it was never to hurt the other’s feelings.
Somehow it worked for them and Lance liked that a lot.
“Hey Hunk,” Lance said softly and his friend hummed, turning to look at him. The Cuban needed a moment to really figure out what he wanted to say because he wasn't so sure himself.
He had thought about it but he had never said it out loud. It had sounded a lot easier in his head.
“I… “ he trailed off, wondering if he should really say it if that could possibly ruin something. He didn't want to jinx it but then again he did want to say it. It made it… more real that way. “I… I think… that I really like Keith,” he managed to say and stopped in his path, staring at the floor like he was waiting for some sort of answer from the universe.
Hunk looked at his friend for a long moment, thinking about what he had just said. “You think?” he asked softly, knowing better than to tease right now. You didn't do that when someone spoke about their feelings. It was hurtful and disrespectful and the Cuban especially had trouble to be honest about his feelings. He was good at being expressive and coaxing others into talking to him but he himself rarely did that. He probably didn't like to be seen as vulnerable so Hunk knew better than not to cherish the other's honesty.
Lance rubbed his arm unsurely, still staring at the floor. “I guess I know… I mean, at least I think I do? I… I mean I really do like him…” Lance sounded like he was confusing himself which made Hunk chuckle.
“You know it's fine that you like Keith.”
Lance stared at the floor like he wasn't completely confined so Hunk made sure he knew.
“I mean, I'm know you two get along pretty well and maybe you should try to make more out of it when you feel that it could work,” Hunk suggested. “Besides, Keith does seem to like having you around as well.”
That brought a small smile to his friend’s face and Lance sighed almost dreamily, putting his hands onto his cheeks. “He's so cool Hunk,” he whined and the Canadian laughed, patting the other's shoulder.
“I know, buddy. He's super cool.”
Lance whined. “I should be concentrating on my free programm but I can't stop thinking about how cute he looks in sweatpants!”
Hunk really tried but he couldn't stop himself from snorting. “Buddy, how about you ace your free programm and after that you have all the time in the world to thirst over Keith in sweatpants.”
“He looks so good, Hunk. Why is that allowed?” Lance hissed quietly. “That should be illegal!”
“What should be illegal?”
Lance whipped his head around and to his horror Keith was directly behind them, walking lazily with his hands in the pockets of his sweatpants and coming to a stop in front of the two friends. He looked at them expectantly, one eyebrow quirked and dios mío, Lance was so screwed.
He tried acting completely natural but his face flushed and it didn't get any better when Hunk smirked at him like the little shit he was. Of course he kept silent so Lance had to explain
Worst best friend ever. Purchase is not recommended.
“J… just uh… non-sparkly costumes?” he more asked than said and Keith's eyebrows traveled even higher. He stared at Lance for a while but decided to drop it though he was pretty sure that it wasn't what the two friends had just talked about.
“I would skate in sweatpants if I could,” Keith muttered before walking past them, not seeing how Lance blew a fuse and Hunk almost died in an attempt to stop himself from laughing at his poor friend.
“Hey Lance?” Keith called and turned around again to walk backwards, the Cuban jumping almost a foot into the air.
“Yes?!” he squeaked with wide eyes and the corner of Keith's mouth tugged up into a smile. “What do you think about my sweatpants?”
Lance made a sound similar to that of a whale and Keith laughed before sauntering away with a teasing ‘see ya later~’.
“Oh my god,” Hunk wheezed and Lance turned around to crawl into his friend's jacket. “I'm gonna shoot myself to Mars,” he whined pitifully and the Canadian patted his back comforting. “Not before your free program but after that you're free to do so.”
“Hey, you okay?”
“Shut up, Keith, my soul is transcending to the other side.”
“Which side? The gay one?”
That made Lance blink one eye open and stare at Keith who had crouched down next to him. They just stared at each other for a while and Lance tried not to stare too hard at the other’s chest. His nicely-fitted black blouse had a V-neckline to die for but Lance could only allow that to happen after his free programm so swooning over handsome guys had to wait a little while. He adjusted his gaze to look at the other’s face and an annoying ‘wow, his eyes are really pretty’ floated through Lance’s head before he got a grip again.
“That’s… probably where it’s going, yeah,” he then said with a small cough, wiggling his feet a little to distract himself from the hot dude next to him. He too was already in his costume. Fitted black pants that made his ass look amazing and a light shirt with flowy sleeves. Coran had insisted it should be green and Lance only condition had been to make it a pretty green and to add sparkles all over. “Care to join?” he asked and Keith considered for a moment before he shrugged. “Why not.”
He laid down next to Lance on one of the training matts, huffing once he was settled and mirroring the Lance’s posture which consisted of lying completely straight with his hands clasped above his stomach.
“You always do this before you skate?” Keith asked quietly after some moments of silence. “Channeling your gay?”
Lance had to smile and hummed. “I guess I do when I’m nervous. Sometimes I think my straight side is the serious, logical one and my gay side is just… going wild. Helps to overcompensate that when you’re nervous.”
“I don’t think you have to be, your program is great,” Keith said honestly. “I saw your practising it several times and… I think it really suits you. I don’t think anyone else has a program like that.”
Lance felt something warm unfolding in his chest and smiled almost bashfully. “Thank you,” he mumbled softly. He was really proud of his free skate program. Coran had come up with the idea and he had loved it right off the bat. “Yours is also amazing. I think I cried the first time I saw it.”
“Dude, don’t lie,” Keith huffed but sounded amused.
“No, seriously,” Lance protested, turning to the other who looked away in a flustered manner which made him smile. “I will admit that I cry easily but it’s still really beautiful.”
Keith just grumbled something that kinda sounded like a thanks.
People came and went, Lance saw Coran from the corner of his eye but his coach was already used to his weird habits so he didn’t disturb him until it was time to get ready. Shiro, however, was obviously not used to this kind of preparing so he approached them at some point. Cautiously like he wasn’t exactly sure what to make out of the two skaters.
“Are you two having an existential crisis together?” he asked in a somewhat concerned way and Lance craned his neck to see him properly, albeit upside down, before he grinned. “We are channeling our gay,” he said like it was completely normal.
Shiro blinked at him owlishly, looking at Keith who still had his eyes closed and looked like he was sleeping. “I feel like Keith might be channeling too much of his gay,” he then said which made Lance laugh and Keith furrow his eyebrows. So he wasn’t sleeping after all.
“There is so such thing as too much gay,” he said and his coach snorted. “Should we have made your costume in the colors of the rainbow then?”
“There is such a thing as too much gay,” Keith said without missing a beat. “And that would be an example of it.”
“Aww, but you’d look good as a sparkly rainbow,” Lance teased and shrieked as Keith rolled over and pinched his side mercilessly. He rolled away and stood up from the matt to go hide behind Shiro. Damn, this dude had shoulders!
“Come here, you little shit,” Keith hissed and Lance squeaked as the other tried to catch him. They used Shiro as a shield and started racing around him which the poor guy was not amused about. He muttered something in Japanese before grabbing both skaters by their scruff and pulling them apart like rowdy children.
“Okay, enough of this you two,” he said sternly. He didn’t want them to get hurt this close to their performance.
“Sheesh, Shiro, can you please stop being a hot dad,” Lance said. “My poor bisexual heart cannot take this.”
Poor Shiro spluttered, letting go of the two skaters and Keith choked on his breath at the ‘hot dad’ comment while Lance just looked at them innocently.
“Lance,” Shiro sighed but he knew it was hopeless. Lance was a flirt, he flirted with everyone and didn’t shy away from telling people he thought they were hot… expect maybe when he had an actual crush on them. Then he was incredibly shy about these things which is why he had never told Keith that his chest was to die for, his eyes were beautiful and his ass was amazing.
The Cuban just grinned sweetly. “Don’t chu worry, Shiro, hot dads are hot but not my type.”
“Then who is?” Keith asked immediately, maybe a bit too quickly but Lance was busy floundering, not having expected that question.
Both Keith and Shiro were looking at him curiously and Lance blew a fuse for the second time that day. “ Qué vida de mierda (fuck my life) . Gotta blast! ” Without thinking he turned around and fled the scene to get to Coran.
“I have no idea what he just said but I like how he sounds when he speaks Spanish,” Keith said and Shiro snorted. “Careful, your gay is showing.”
“Shut up,” the younger grumbled while pushing past Shiro who just snickered.
Lance was shaking out his hands and trying hard to get rid of the jitters. He hated this feeling right before he had to step out onto the ice. The nerves were always unbearable and the adrenaline in his body couldn’t be used properly just yet so instead it made him all the more nervous.
He knew that once the music started his body would remember the routine, it would fall into the practised steps without much effort but the time until then was always dreadful. It was like having to pee but not being allowed to do so.
“Deep breaths,” Coran said, not sounding concerned at all. Somehow this man managed to always stay cheerful and happy. Lance didn’t know how and coming from him that meant something. It was good though because having someone who was clearly not nervous kind of reassured him.
Sometimes it could be a little frustrating but he had learned that Coran was like this because he trusted him and was confident that Lance would do just fine. Even if he didn’t he didn’t falter in the slightest.
Mishaps could always happen but not today. Today was an important day. Probably the most important day for Lance.
He stole another glance at the scoreboard and his heart ached as he saw himself quite low. Logically he of course knew that it was because most people had their points for the free program already and they would obviously have more than him who had only skated the short program. Still, it was sad to see himself drop lower and lower after every skater that competed.
The scores that had been announced until now… they had been pretty high. Coran had tried his best to keep him from taking a look at them but in the end Lance had managed somehow and… he wouldn’t say he was discouraged but he was certainly… worried.
He was confident that his program was awesome and would earn him enough points but there were still those who skated after him. Keith for one was a big competitor though… he wasn’t that worried about Keith taking his place. Somehow that wouldn’t be as bad but there was still an Japanese skater and a Chinese skater after him. The Chinese man had been in fourth place while the Japanese had been number one so… lots of things could still change once they got their points.
“Lance,” Coran scolded and the Cuban was pulled out of his thoughts, turning to look at his coach. The mustache was obviously in absolutely pristine condition. “Stop overthinking, blow your nose, take off your jacket and get ready.”
The skater who had taken to the ice before him was about to step off the ice again, finished with his program already. He had a big smile on his face and was obviously please with his performance. Lance couldn’t say whether it was justified or not because he had been spacing out the whole time but the crowd was still cheering so he guessed it was.
The kids and teenagers were cleaning up the ice while the judges discussed the skater’s score.
Lance wouldn’t say he was freaking out but… he kind of was. His hands were shaking when he took off his jacket.
“Jeez, calm down,” a voice drawled behind him and Lance whipped around to look at Keith who stood behind him with his arms crossed in front of his chest. His gaze wandered over him and settled on the Keith’s shoulders which were way more tense than usual. So he wasn’t the only one who was nervous.
“Pff, I am the definition of calm,” Lance boasted, totally bluffing and Keith obviously knew. “Right,” he said. “Just… concentrate, you’ll be fine. Knock those fuckers off the winner’s podium.”
“Keith!” Shiro hissed in warning but the skater didn’t mind him.
Lance couldn’t help but smile. “You too.”
“Lance, come on,” Coran urged, holding open the door and the Cuban took one last and very deep breath before he slapped on his charming smile and stepped onto the ice, Coran calling some last encouraging words at his student. The crowd cheered for him and he waved, feeling touched as he spotted some Cuban flags and even a few bi flags amongst the crowd. It always helped to boost his self-esteem to see his own fans amongst so many people.
“Up next, Lance McClain, skating for Cuba,” the announcer said in pristine English and people cheered again while the Korean announcer repeated the words, butchering his name a little but Lance didn’t mind at all, he himself would butcher a bunch of names since there were so many that were foreign to him.
He was still nervous and his heart was pounding in his chest but now he could finally use it. He could use this rush of energy and adrenaline for an amazing performance.
After skating a few rounds he arrived at the centre of the rink and shook out his hands and feet one last time, arranging himself properly and closing his eyes for a second before holding still and focusing.
This was it. Stay calm, stay focused. Deep breaths. You got this.
The music started and without thinking his arms lifted up in a slow motion.
Obviously, him staying true to himself, his music was not something that every skater used. Coran has had a heavy influence in arranging this program and him being from Ireland had surely played the biggest part.
Lance’s Irish Dance was a program that made every other program seem boring. He danced across the ice with passion to music that no one else used. A Cuban dancing to Irish music was not the norm, most certainly not, but that was all what Lance was about.
For the first third of his program the music was rather calm and for once he showed off that yes, he too could skate in a calm and fluid way. It showed a different side of himself since it wasn’t what he usually did but it was perfect for the build-up and let him stay focused.
The free program was a lot longer than the short program so he had to make sure he didn’t go all out right from the beginning or he would slack off in the second half and lose many important points. Starting with a calm part was a good idea and helped him get into the flow. And for once he could use his long limbs in a rather elegant way.
He jumped his double axel easily and continued skating effortlessly. Sure, a double axel wasn’t the most difficult jump but he was proud over being able to jump it in a way that made it seem like it didn’t take even an inch of effort. It did, obviously, since all jumps ate up energy but still.
His triple axel was beautiful, followed by another jump and if he hadn’t been so focused he would have yelled in excitement because everything, every move and every motion was fluid and perfect.
He completed his series of spins and the music started changing which made his heart rate pick up speed. He made sure to look at the crowd that was already applauding him here and there which picked up as soon as he started dancing.
This is what he had been waiting to do, to go all out and show what he was made of. This was where he could shine the brightest.
After just a few beats the crowd started clapping in the rhythm of the music and Lance’s heart was soaring.
This was it!
He danced across the ice and the cheers reached him as he picked up speed. He was sure everyone could see the smile on his face but he couldn’t care less. This was what he was born to do, to capture the crowd in such an exciting way.
The next jumps were right on beat and the audience cheered as he landed both of them.
He skated along the board and people gasped and cheered as he did a split jump. Ha! Lance was flexible enough to do them and make them look easy which was most certainly not the case at all.
Everything fell into place just perfectly, he could feel the excitement running through him and he put everything he had in his performance. All of his jumps worked out just fine, he was right on beat the entire time and the audience loved it. He had managed to capture them at the beginning and they were not letting go. They followed his every move, his entire performance like they just couldn’t look away. All that mattered now was Lance on the ice.
It seemed like they were all cheering for him and it was an amazing feeling.
He entered his last set of spins, going from position to position and he wasn’t sure if his blood was just rushing in his ears of it the crowd really was that loud. Right on point he stopped in his ending position and saw the people already standing and cheering like he had just delivered the performance of the century.
He was completely out of breath but he couldn’t help the excited yell escaping him. He danced around in his spot and was probably grinning from ear to ear like an idiot but he didn’t care because he knew his performance had been amazing.
Plushies were thrown onto the ice while he skated around and waved at everyone, trying to calm down at least a little bit but it didn’t work in the least. His heart was almost bursting out of his ribcage and his lungs burned but it was such a good feeling.
A light blue llama plush caught his attention and he picked it up to brush the ice from it, determined to keep one of them this time while he would donate the rest of them. He didn’t get as many as some other skaters but he obviously couldn’t keep them all or bring them back with him so he made sure they would bring joy to someone else.
Everything was still blurry as Coran welcomed him with a strong hug once he was at the boards and helped his students put the guards on his skates.
“You were amazing, my boy,” Coran almost sniffed, looking like he was about to cry and Lance laughed, squeezing his shoulder. “Aww, Coran, don’t cry, old man.”
His coach cuckled and steered him over to the Kiss and Cry. “I’ll let that slide just because you did such a good job. They were already standing before you were even finished. It’s really not often that you see something like that.”
Lance could feel his whole body thrumming after hearing this. A standing ovation wasn’t exactly usual at skating competitions. To imagine that he had gotten one before he finished and that at the Olympics was just… it was too much for him to comprehend. He couldn’t get his thoughts sorted out but he was just so, so happy.
He squeezed the llama in his hands and smiled at the camera once he realized he was on screen. He looked a bit sweaty and his nose was flushed but he was radiating happiness and couldn’t stop smiling even if he tried which he didn’t bother doing. He had done an amazing job, he was allowed to show how happy and proud he was.
The screen showed some of his jumps in slow motion while the judges still discussed his score and damn, those jumps had been flawless.
“And now for the score of Lance McClain.”
Dios mio, already? Lance grabbed Coran’s hands and squeezed them while he held his breath.
“His free program score is 198.37.”
A screech escaped Lance and he probably almost broke Coran’s hands in half but he didn’t care because that, that was such a good score! Holy shit!
“Lance McClain is currently in first place.”
Lance.exe has stopped working.
“Lance, you’re in first place!” Coran yelled as if Lance hadn’t heard it himself and shook his student by his shoulders. The Cuban could only gape at the screen, unable to believe that his name was the first on the scoreboard.
What? When? How?
It was as if the realization suddenly hit him and he covered his mouth in shock, turning to Coran with wide eyes.
“I’m in first place!?” he screamed and his coach nodded his head enthusiastically, clapping Lance’s shoulders. “I’m the proudest coach on the planet right now,” he sniffed and hugged his student.
Lance was still unable to believe it even as he wobbled away from the kiss and cry, clutching the plushie in his arms like it was a lifeline. Some of the security personnel offered him a spot to sit and watch the rest of the competition and he all but flopped down in the comfy chair, still gaping at the scoreboard while the next skater was announced.
He whipped his head around at Keith’s voice and spotted him somewhere along the boards. Before he could even think Lance was already up and rushing over to Keith and they somehow ended up hugging like their life depended on it but none of the two cared. Keith just laughed and patted his back. “That was amazing, you were amazing.”
Lance could only babble gibberish into the other’s shoulder so he chose not to say too much.
Keith leaned back and grinned at him. “You did kick them off the scoreboard.”
Lance laughed and nodded his head, stealing another glance at it because he still couldn’t believe it. “Yeah, I guess I did. Now you just gotta kick off the rest.”
“I plan on doing so.” Keith said confidently.
Shiro glance over to them once he realized that Keith was distracted but after seeing Lance with him he didn’t say anything. Maybe he just smiled a little and shook his head before watching the current skater who was nearing the end of his program by now.
“Now I get to see your program live and in action,” Lance said giddily and the other huffed. “You’ve seen it dozens of times during practise.”
“Yeah but it’s not the same, I wanna see it now so you better made it awesome, emo boy.”
“I never deliver anything less than amazing.”
“We’ll see about that,” Lance teased with a smile. They stared at each other for a few long moments, not caring for anyone around them. It was just the two of them, alone, until Shiro out a hand on Keith’s shoulder.
“You gotta get ready,” he said softly, as if not to disturb the two but they were obviously still pulled out of their little moment. Keith sighed and nodded, taking off his jacket slowly and putting it away. Lance watched him, not knowing what to do with the longing feeling in his chest. He kinda wanted to lean in a kiss Keith to wish him good luck and while it hurt to stop himself from doing so he managed somehow.
“Good luck, mullet, show them an awesome performance. Remember that I’m watching.”
Keith glanced at Lance and then smirked in that really sexy way that made Lance’s heart stutter a few times. “Of course, I’ll make it special just for you so pay attention.”
Lance gave a mock salute with two fingers before forcing himself to go back to Coran while the female voice announced “Keith Kogane, skating for Japan” over the speakers. The audience cheered and Keith waved at them but he didn’t do it like Lance who always went all out and sometimes did silly things. He just waved like he was thanking them politely, skated a round or two lazily before arriving at his spot and taking position.
Lance jumped slightly and turned to Coran who held out a jacket for him.
“Oh… oh, thank you,” the skater stuttered and quickly put it on, only now realizing how cold it actually was and missing Coran’s knowing smile.
It was difficult to wind down after such an performance. Lance allowed himself another look at the scoreboard and couldn’t help grinning as he saw that he was still in first place. Everything seemed surreal, like someone had stuffed him into a different reality but he didn’t care. Even if that were to be the case he wouldn’t mind. Instead he settled for simply enjoying the moment, eyes focused onto Keith as the music started.
He had said it before and he would say it again; Keith was such a calm skater. He was graceful and fluid. In some aspects he was the complete opposite of Lance. It wasn’t what most people expected when they saw Keith. They’d expect a fierce performance, not melodic music and an emotional display of a graceful dance. Lance himself had been surprised the first few times, especially since Keith also had the tendency to skate like a sloth on vacation whenever no one was looking.
The first quad was coming up, a quad loop, and Lance was already on the edge of his seat. He held his breath, eyes glued to Keith who spun through the air and landed effortlessly. Lance could breathe again and allowed himself to hiss a small ‘yes!’ in victory.
The second jump was success as well and the set of spins was beautifully executed. Lance glanced down to where Shiro was standing and saw him with his hands clasped in front of his face, eyes following his brother on the ice seemingly without blinking. It had been Shiro’s dream to skate here and now he was watching his younger brother do it in his stead. Lance knew that Shiro was proud and not even an inch jealous. If anything, he was grateful for the opportunity to even be here and support Keith.
Listening to the music and seeing Keith skate made Lance’s heart swell with pride as well. Keith just managed to capture emotion so, so incredibly well and made everyone hold their breath while he was on the ice. Lance delivered entertainment and a performance, Keith delivered a mesmerizing, graceful dance.
The crowd cheered as he landed another quad and a triple toe like it was nothing. Lance knew how much he had stressed over this combination clapped his hands in excitement. Even the last quad was a success. Lance released a sigh of relief that Keith had managed to land all of them perfectly today.
He continued to jump around on the ice like it was child’s play and Lance honestly questioned just where he was taking all that strength from. He had seen him do it before but he still couldn’t believe it. Keith made it look so incredibly easy. Everyone cheered for him throughout his last set of spins and even Lance couldn’t stop. He stood up with a cheerful yell as soon as the music faded, jumping up and down which looked a little clumsy with his skates still on.
Keith allowed himself a moment of victory because he knew it had been a flawless performance before looking at the audience and bowing in all directions. Plushies were thrown onto the ice along with some roses and Lance wished he had one as well to throw. Keith truly deserved all the flowers in the world.
Everyone was still cheering when Keith made his way off the ice and Shiro looked like he was ready to vibrate out of his own skin, not hesitating to his his brother and pretty much lift him off the ice. To everyone else it simply looked like a joyful coach being proud of his student but Lance knew there was so, so much more behind this. Years of practise and grief and slowly finding back into the world. Keith for once didn’t pull a face, he simply smiled and hugged his brother back.
Lance wasn’t sure but it looked like Shiro was actually crying and - yeah, he was. The big screen showed the two as soon as they arrived at the Kiss and Cry for Keith’s score. A rewind of Keith’s jumps was played in slow motion while the jury discussed the final result. Lance honestly wanted to bolt down there and hug Keith but managed to restrain himself. He was still standing and maybe blocking someone vision but he couldn’t care less.
“And now for the score of Keith Kogane.”
Keith and Shiro stopped talking in hushed voices, focusing onto the screen with big eyes. It looked like they were actually holding hands and Lance really wanted to hold one of Keith’s hands as well. Instead he simply held his own and held his breath.
“The score for his free program is 203.74.”
The audience burst into cheers and Shiro shook a stunned Keith by his shoulder with the most thrilled expression every.
“Keith Kogane is currently in first place.”
Lance didn’t care and cheered loudly. Maybe he shouldn’t have because this meant he was now in second place but he couldn’t find it in him to be upset. Keith had been amazing, he more than deserved first place.
It was torture to wait for the two of them to get to where Lance was. He was buzzing with excitement and jumped onto Keith as soon as he was within reach. “I knew it!” he yelled while the next skater was announced in the background. Keith just spluttered under the sudden assault, still sweaty from his performance. His nose was a little red and his eyes teary. Maybe from the cold, maybe because of his score. No matter what he looked adorable and Lance really, really wanted to kiss him. He didn’t though and instead settled on hugging the living daylights out of him. Maybe he had actually lifted Keith off the ground but he didn’t care.
Keith hugged him back with just as much force, his brain still scattered and trying hard to grasp what had just happened.
“That was amazing!” Lance sniffed, suddenly overcome with emotion and Keith looked at him with big eyes once he was release. “S-... you… Don’t cry!” he yelped and slapped Lance’s shoulder.
“I’m not!” Lance argued back and wiped his eyes. “I told you your program makes me cry! Take responsibility!”
Keith looked at him like he couldn’t believe Lance had actually just said and that and was in fact crying. Or at least on a good way there.
“Do you… maybe want to sit down?” Shiro asked. He also looked a little disheveled.
Keith grabbed Lance’s wrist and pulled him over to a seat where they plopped down together. It was a tight fit but they managed. Lance managed to get a hold of himself and wiped his cheeks clean of the few tears that had actually escaped his eyes. How lame.
“Heh.” He couldn’t help but chuckle, Keith looking at him in question. “You did kick more people off the scoreboard.”
Keith needed a second before smiling as well. “Yeah… yeah, I guess I did.”
“You and your stupid quads. They were fucking amazing.”
“Well, I feel fucking amazing.”
There was no way they could hold a proper conversation like this so they simply remained the way they were. Squeezing against each other and kind of watching the last performance. The skater was amazing as well and the crowd cheered for him just as much but Lance didn’t actually register what was going on. He was high on adrenaline, all he could feel was the thrum of his hear and the heat radiating off Keith next to him.
It all felt unreal. Even more so when the last skater stepped off the ice and his score was announced.
Lance and Keith stared at the screen but didn’t feel an inch of sadness as they were both pushed down a spot. Lance was now in third place with a final score of 304.35, Keith in second place with 307.97 and the first place had a score of 314.35.
Honestly, Lance couldn’t believe he had actually managed to be in such a position. He had always talked about winning gold or a medal but had never expected it to actually come true. There were so many skaters with amazing quads and skills that he didn’t have but now here he was.
Keith also seemed to be a little shocked about his result. What none of them seemed to grasp was the fact that this was it. This was final. This was the final result, nothing would change.
They had won silver and bronze at the Olympics.
And if they were holding hands it was no one’s business.
Chapter 13: Olympics: Day Twelve (2) - The Award Ceremony
All pictures were taken, they had received their medals, had shaken hands with some dude that Lance had no idea who he actually was, had congratulated each other, waved at the crowd.
It was all done.
This… this was it.
Lance looked down at his medal.
He had won the bronze medal at the Olympic games.
He still couldn’t believe it even with the medal in his hands. It felt like a dream, like he would wake up in about five seconds. Maybe back at the hotel or maybe even back at home. Maybe this had all been a dream but… it felt too real to be a dream. His brain just couldn’t comprehend that he, Lance McClain - a Cuban boy from a rather rural area - had won a medal at the Olympic games. This had been his childhood dream and he had never thought it would actually come true.
They had stepped down from the winner’s podium, all three of them adorned with a medal and a small version of this year’s mascot. People were still clapping for them, they were waving and basking in the moment. Lance didn’t want to leave. He wanted to remain in this moment forever so he stayed put as long as he possibly could, smiling as brightly as the sun. This was the best day of his life.
“Hey Lance.” Keith was suddenly next to him, dressed in his official jersey with the silver medal around his neck that reflected the strong overhead light. “Congrats.”
“Likewise,” Lance said with a bright smile. “You’re looking good in silver.”
He wasn’t jealous. He truly, truly wasn’t. Keith deserved silver, his performance had been outstanding and Lance honestly felt more proud of him than bummed out about the fact that they had switched places after the short program. He was content with his medal, more than happy and it was more than he could have ever wished for. Feeling down because of something like this isn’t what he wanted, especially not since it was Keith.
He knew how much the other had worked for this. They both had and he acknowledged that Keith’s performance had been better than his own. If anything, Lance was simply proud about being able to stand on the winner’s podium at all with Keith. It was an honored and would be cherishing every little moment of it for the rest of his life.
Keith stepped a little closer to him and let his fingers run over the shiny bronze medal resting on Lance’s chest. A small smile was playing on his lips before he glanced up at Lance and everything around them seemed to fall silent.
They could only see each other. Blue and dark grey eyes entrancing the other and for a moment it felt like they were alone, like everything else didn’t matter, like no one was there to watch them.
It happened without them meaning to but their gazes both flickered down to the other’s lips and…
Lance couldn’t be sure who had initiated it, if there had been one to initiate it or if they had just both leaned in but what he did know was that kissing Keith Kogane was probably just as breathtaking as winning bronze at the Olympics. Lance’s ears were ringing and it kind of felt like his world was spinning a little faster than usual but… fuck, did that feel right. Like he should have done this way, way earlier. His heart agreed when the skipping and jumping in his chest was anything to go by.
“I’ve been meaning to do that for so damn long,” Keith huffed and Lance grinned stupidly, a giddy feeling taking over his entire body. His cheeks almost hurt with how much he was smiling. “Same. Should have done that way earlier, 12/10, would do again.”
Keith rolled his eyes but pulled him back in by the front of his jersey and connected their lips to another kiss.This time they heard the crowd roaring and they remembered that they weren’t alone but in fact standing on the ice with a giant audience and a bunch of cameras trained on them to let the whole world witness their kiss.
“Shiro is gonna kill me,” Keith mumbled against Lance’s lips without leaning back. “Told me not to do anything stupid.”
“You’re not doing something stupid,” Lance said back, bumping their noses. “You’re doing me.” Lance was very proud of himself even when Keith leaned back to look at him with a deadpan expression. “Lance, you are awful.”
“Oh but apparently you are really into it.”
“Is it too early to regret this?”
“Fuck you, dating me is a delight. I’ll have you know.”
The corner of Keith’s mouth tugged up into a smile. “Is it now? I haven’t even asked for a date yet.”
“Then I’ll ask,” Lance said and put their foreheads together. He really, really liked being this close to Keith. “Keith Kogane, can I interest you in a fancy dinner at the hotel?”
“You mean the buffet for everyone?”
“Details,” Lance huffed but couldn’t help smiling. Even if was the same as every other day, he was sure it would feel like a complete new experience. “Well?” he asked. “Interested?”
“Very much,” Keith said with a grin. “But only if you wear something nice.”
“My only suit is in Cuba and I’ve probably grown out of it a few years ago but we’ll manage. I’ll try extra hard to look good for you.” He looped his arms around Keith’s waist and pulled him a little closer. He couldn’t care less about all the people and cameras. They could take however many pictures and videos they wanted because only he was close enough to Keith to count his lashes and feel his breath on his skin.
“Don’t bother,” Keith said and Lance was about to start another argument but the other’s next words shut him up real quick. “You always look good anyway.”
Lance mouth remained somewhat open in shock, his heart skipping and stuttering in his chest and he suddenly felt way too hot which shouldn’t be possible with the low temperature the rink was kept at. Keith seemed to notice his reaction and laughed at him but even then Lance was still too flustered to argue back. He could feel his cheeks heating up though.
“Are you always gonna turn red when I compliment you?” Keith asked and laughed even harder when Lance’s flush seemed to only get deeper. His tan skin made it a little difficult to spot but since he was this close he noticed the redness on his cheeks and ears without problem. Some people might think it was because of the cold but he knew better. “That’s cute.”
Lance was gonna die. “F-fuck you,” he hissed and glared but nothing could stop the other form being incredibly amused.
Keith pecked his lips again and the glare on the Lance’s face vanished into a fond look and cute little smile immediately. “They’re gonna be at our throats as soon as we get off the ice,” he said and Keith grumbled in that adorable grumpy way.
“Hate dealing with reporters. They’re gonna ask stupid questions.”
“I’ve already gone through the whole outing phase, I’m experienced.” Lance didn’t wish it upon anyone, it could be hella stressful but if anyone tried to bother Keith he would be more than willing to ninja-kick that asshole to Neptune’s almost invisible rings.
Keith sighed and took a small step back. Lance already missed him so he reached out to link their hands together which Keith didn’t seem to mind at all. If anything, the small smile on his face reassured Lance that this was more than alright.
It was time for them to get off the ice so they skated a few rounds together to soak in the remains of their accomplishments, the applause and the attention. They waved at everyone with one hand each before they finally arrived at the boards and put their guards on before stepping off the ice. Lance was sure he’d kinda miss it and maybe he should feel sadder now that the official part was actually over for them but he had an entire new thing that demanded most of his attention.
He was more than fine with that.
Shiro had his arms crossed in front of his chest and looked at them with a piercing gaze. Lance was once again reminded of how much that resembled his mama’s fierce gaze and he shuddered involuntarily. If Shiro wanted to come for his head there wasn’t really much Lance could do except maybe trying to defend himself with his skates or doing the splits and hoping Shiro would fly over his head. Though it seemed there was no reason to worry because a second later Shiro’s mask cracked and he started grinning like stupid.
“Finally,” he said with a laugh and patted both of them on the shoulder. “Took you two long enough. I wish lots of fun with the journalists.”
“Shiro,” Keith almost whined and his brother snickered almost evilly. “I can try to hold them off somewhat but I can’t really do much if you come out at the Olympics, kiss on the ice and get together with the bronze medalist all in the span of a minute. Sorry, my powers aren’t that great. You did that to yourself.”
“Lance!” a female voice almost screamed and Lance looked up to see his sisters waving at him and giving him a thumbs with stupid grins on their faces. They throw something at him, one of the items hit him in the chest, the other in the face. He grunted, catching them before they could fall to the floor and almost cackled as he saw what it was. He sent his sisters a silly grin.
“What’s that?” Keith asked but his question turned out to be self-explanatory as Lance unfolded the items. They were two flags. One rainbow-colored and the other pink, purple and blue.
“Might as well go all out,” Lance said with a laugh and wrapped the rainbow flag around a very unamused Keith. Shiro was laughing his ass off behind him.
“You look good, cariño .”
Keith frowned unamused which wasn’t exactly threatening because of his rainbow-colored cape. Not that Lance ever thought Keith’s glares were actually threatening. He might be able to kill people with just his eyes but Lance thought it was cute. “Is that an insult?”
Lance laughed. “No, I’m hurt you’d think I’d compliment and insult my boyfriend in the same sentence.”
That felt so good to say even if a little foreign. Perhaps Lance had been too hasty with it but Keith took it in stride and didn’t even flinch.
“Then what’s it mean?”
“Hm… like honey? Sweety?”
Keith looked at him intently for a while but Lance was just smiling sweetly at him so he gave in with a huff. “Fine,” he grumbled. “I wanna get out of my skates, preferably take a bath or something and then… sleep. I’ve had enough human interaction for today.”
“You can’t just go to sleep!” Lance called. “We have to celebrate!”
“I’d rather not.”
“Dude, I was planning to slow dance with you for five hours.”
“Do that with Hunk.”
“Mi amor, my dude-”
Lance was cut off by dozens of shouts that almost burst his ear drums. He resisted squeezing his eyes shut as he was assaulted by a wave of bright flashes but never once did he think about letting go of Keith’s hand. He hadn’t lied, he knew how it was to come out so he squeezed the other’s hand reassuringly to show that he was right behind him.
“Just one question!”
“Are you two announcing your relationship?”
“Keith, are you gay?”
“How long have you been together?”
“How did you meet?”
“How will this affect your performance?”
Lance really didn’t understand some of those questions - maybe because they were in Japanese - and he honestly didn’t know where to start. There was too much happening at one.
“Yes, I’m gay. Yes, we’re together and no, we will not give any interviews for now,” Keith said with a steady voice.
“Chop chop, my boys,” Coran appeared behind them and steered them towards the back by their shoulders. Lance wondered if he had been there this entire time. Probably, he had simply been occupied by more uh… pressing matters.
“We won’t be answering any more questions for now,” Shiro said with a practised smile behind them before he followed them as well. The reporters were still going wild and there would probably be millions of headlines in just a few minutes but they couldn’t care less. Lance was happy and nothing could bring his mood down.
“Oh and Lance, this is for you. Good luck, my boy,” Coran said and handed his student his phone.
“Huh?” Lance looked down at the caller ID and paled. “Dios mio,” he stammered. “Keith, if I don’t survive this just know that I love you,” he said without thinking about it and Keith’s mouth fell open in shock, staring at his newly acquired boyfriend with big eyes. Lance realized what he had just said and blinked a few times before giving the other a sweet smile.
“Here goes nothing,” he said and accepted the call, knowing better than to hold his phone to his ear.
“LANCITO ALEJANDRO MCCLAIN!” a furious voice screeched at him and he winced, holding his phone further away from him. His mother started screaming at him in Spanish, demanding to know why he was suddenly kissing cute boys, why she had not been informed about this and especially why she had to find out her son had a boyfriend together with the rest of the world on live television. Anyone who wasn’t able to understand Spanish was probably fearing for their life.
That was Mama McClain, everyone. A tiny ball of fierce energy that everyone was terrified off. She was indeed a force to be reckoned with.
She ranted for a good two minutes before she finally calmed down enough to let her son breathe again.
“Lo silento, mama. Hadn’t planned on doing that,” Lance admitted meekly once he found an opening to speak. It was better not to interrupt his mother when she was like that. Interrupt a ranting Carmen and she’d whoop your ass into tomorrow.
“I swear to god, I’m going to beat your ass for surprising your poor mother like that when you get home,” his mama threatened before she sighed. She’d never actually do it but the threat was still terrifying. “Baby, mi cachorro, I’m so proud of you. You looked so good up there, my handsome little boy.”
“Mama,” Lanche said embarrassed, very much aware that the others were still listening.
“No, no, no, I have to say this. We’re all so, so proud of you. We love you so much and I really can’t wait until you get back home. We miss you a lot.”
“I miss you too, mama,” Lance mumbled quietly.
No crying right now!
“Are you bringing your boyfriend when you get back? I want to meet that boy!”
Oh sweet moons of Saturn. Lance tried to say something before it was too late but he wasn’t fast enough.
“He won silver, yes? Ah, what a talented boy! And so handsome! Lance, you have such good taste. You have this from you mama, yes? What’s his name? Is he coming with you? He’s from Japan? Lance, you don’t speak Japanese! We don’t speak Japanese! What we’re gonna do? Is he gonna be okay? Should we pick you up at the airport? Yes, yes, we should. Lance what does your boyfriend eat? Does he like-”
“MAMA,” Lance interrupted his mother hurried. “Mama, hold on, jeez.” He sent Keith an apologetic look and almost squealed as he realized just how flustered he actually looked. Lance bit his lip to keep his UWUs in check and turned back to his phone.
“His name is Keith, mama, and he can’t come to Cuba with me. We all have press conferences after the Olympics. You know that.” He hadn’t meant to sound that… upset about it but it had just slipped out. “And he speaks English. You don’t have to learn Japanese.”
“Ah, Keith, yes?”
“And what does he like to eat?”
“Mama, can we talk about my boyfriend’s favorite dish later please?” Lance whined. “I… I’ll call you when I’m back at the hotel, okay? I’m kinda still in the middle of something here.”
“Is Keith gonna be there with you?”
“You’re gonna scare him off!”
“We just have some questions!” his brother Marco yelled in the background and Lance rolled his eyes but couldn’t help feeling happy that his family wanted to get to know Keith. Intimidate him probably, in Marco’s case, but whatever.
“I’m not gonna throw him into a tank of sharks, you guys,” Lance said. “I’ll call you later, love you.”
“We love you too,” his mama called. “If you don’t call I’m flying over to South Korea, you know I would.”
“Don’t make me, Lancito.”
“Alright, alright, I’ll call, don’t worry,” Lance promised and needed another minute of his mama praising him in Spanish and saying goodbye for now before he could finally hang up. He took a deep breath and released it slowly before turning around to Keith and noticing that Coran and Shiro had left.
Keith looked beyond flustered and a little overwhelmed so Lance gave him a sheepish smile. “Sorry, my mama… can be a bit much,” he admitted and rubbed the back of his neck. “She’s just always really involved in everyone’s business.”
Keith needed a moment before he nodded his head dumbly. “I… uh… yeah…”
“Don’t worry about it,” Lance reassured him and looped and arm around his lover’s shoulders, the flags still acting like capes for them. “They’re noisy but you really don’t have to get to know them immediately. They can be a bit much and a bit… overwhelming so… we’ll just wait a while.”
Keith nodded again and looked like he wanted to say something but needed a moment so Lance waited patiently for him to sort out his thoughts and words. “They um… they don’t have a problem with… this… us… right?” he asked carefully. “I don’t really… I don’t really know if… I didn’t even…”
Oh, he was so sweet. Lance smiled reassuringly. “Don’t worry about this. They don’t have any problems at all, I promise. My niece and nephew are probably gonna love you right off the batt.”
“Niece? Nephew?” Keith asked.
“My brother Luis’ kids,” Lance explained. “They’re four, twins. Sometimes they are little shits and sometimes they are angels but they love meeting cool people.”
Keith mind processed for a while. “You think I’m cool?” the then asked with a small grin and Lance rolled his eyes. Looks like Keith was slowly recovering from the shock. “Yeah, the absolute coolest emo-spinach I have ever met.”
“Well, you’re still just a noodle so someone has to make up for that.”
“Can I return you and ask for another version of you?”
“Sorry, I’m limited edition.”
Lance snorted. “I cannot believe you just said that.”
“Lance, I swear to god!” Allura almost screamed and Lance winced. “Please don’t.”
The British figure skater was at loss for words so she just slapped his shoulder and did the same to Keith who yelped and jumped behind his lover like a startled cat. He hasn’t come into contact with this side of Allura before.
“What the fuck were you two thinking?!” she continued to yell but she was grinning brightly like the rest of their friends behind her.
“You really went for it, didn’t you?” Pidge asked like the little shit she was. “You’re currently trending on Twitter by the way.” She waved her phone back and forth. Lance quite liked the thought of them trending on Twitter to be honest.
“I don’t know, guys,” Lance sighed almost dreamily. “It was just… the right moment, right?” he asked and turned around to Keith. They just stared at each other for way too long to be considered normal and only heard Pidge muttering ‘oh my god, this is disgusting’ in the background.
“Aww, my dude, you’re so cute!” Lance squealed and squished Keith’s cheeks once he couldn’t take it anymore. The older was clearly not amused about any cheek-squishing in front of everyone and was quick to remove Lance’s hands from his face, grab them with his own and twirl him around like they were dancing so he was facing the others again. He didn’t let go of his hands so now they stood in a sort of back hug with Lance’s arms crossed.
Keith draped himself over his boyfriend’s back, not letting go of his hands. “Might not have been the best point in time but it never is and it’s not like we have all the time in the world so…” he shrugged. His eyes flickered to the younger who had gone oddly silent. His eyes were wide and his cheeks a little flushed.
“That… uh…” Lance didn’t manage to get out more, still too shocked about Keith’s sudden move and the way they stood now… and that they were holding hands again.... and that Keith was so close to him. He liked this very much and could get used to this very quickly.
“Man, you gotta stop being like this, Lance is gonna combust at some point,” Hunk said with a laugh and his friend was too flustered to argue with him.
“Anyway!” Lance squeaked. “Keith and I have a date, thank you very much so… bye losers!” He wiggled out of his lover’s hold and grabbed his wrist to drag him along.
“You were serious about that?” Keith asked with a laugh but followed willingly, their friends just grinning stupidly and waving at their retreating forms.
“Of course I was,” Lance said, almost offended that Keith would think he’d make jokes about them going on dates. “I really do want to take you out on a proper date but I have no idea where to go except for the dining hall maybe,” he admitted with a sheepish smile. He’d love to take Keith to cool restaurants and cafes and the movies and maybe an amusement park or just… anywhere to be honest. It hurt his poor romantic heart that he couldn’t take him out properly right now, he really hadn’t prepared for that.
Keith seemed to realize that Lance was indeed completely serious about this and thought for a moment while they stood in front of the elevator and waited for the doors to open. “How about I take care of that part and we meet down in the lobby of the hotel in twenty minutes so I can take a quick shower because I don’t wanna go out like this.” He gesture to himself and Lance had to admit that he would have no problem taking out a slightly sweaty and disheveled Keith but okay, he could understand where he was coming from. He kinda wanted to take a shower as well and probably take off his makeup that was surely starting to look cakey.
His heart jumped in excitement at the prospect of Keith deciding where to go so he didn’t need to think for long before he gave his answer. “Okay, but can you give me thirty please?” he asked with puppy eyes. “I still gotta call my mama and she will jump through the phone if I take too long.”
The corner of Keith’s mouth quirked up into a small smile and he nodded his head. “Sure, take your time.” They stepped into the elevator just as a young woman stepped out. She had to do a double take but when she realized who they were she grinned and gave them two thumbs up which made Lance laugh and thank her. She waved at them before quickly walking towards the entrance.
“You know her?” Keith asked curiously and his lover shrugged. “No idea, maybe a figure skater but she seemed to know who we are. I’d actually be surprised if anyone here doesn’t know by now.”
“Don’t remind me, I bet people will forever bring up that clip of us for the next few years,” Keith grumbled.
“But I’m sure we looked cute,” Lance said, sounding not exactly upset about the possibility of seeing Keith and him kissing in third person. Now that he thought about it, he had to look up that clip as soon as possible… in an obviously non-creepy way of course. Just some healthy snooping on Twitter.
“You can also just text me when you’re ready, how about that?” Keith asked and yeah, that was probably the best idea.
“I don’t have your number,” Lance said slowly, only realizing this now much to his own horror.
Keith also blinked a few times in a perplexed manner. “Wait, really? We started dating before exchanging numbers?” he asked, sounding utterly confused.
“Keith, what is happening? Is this for real? We didn’t exchange numbers?” Lance asked, wanting to sound shocked but he couldn’t help laughing. “Jeez, this is hilarious!” He fished around for his phone in his pocket and handed it to Keith. “There, put your number in. I can’t believe we’re doing this after kissing… are we doing this backwards?”
Keith snorted and took the other’s phone, staring for a few seconds. “This is in Spanish,” he then declared so Lance quickly pressed the right buttons for him so he only had to type in his number. “Leave the name, I already have an idea,” he said and Keith glanced at him suspiciously. “You’re not going to put it as ‘alien’ or ‘emo’, are you?” he asked.
“As nice as that sounds I have another idea,” Lance said cheekily. “I promise it’s nothing bad.”
Keith decided not to ask any further and just sighed, handing the phone back once he was done. “Alright, just text me,” he said just as the elevator doors opened on his floor. He was about to leave but Lance pulled him back for a quick kiss before pushing him out of the elevator. The surprised look on his boyfriend’s face was just too cute but sadly the doors closed shortly after and he only had the memory of it.
Lance would be lying if he said he didn’t suddenly feel a little weak in the knees. All of this, and really all of this, felt like one giant dream just too good to be true. He couldn’t wait to get ready and meet Keith down in the lobby just to make that he was, in fact, not dreaming and actually dating Keith Kogane.
He even took a second to scream into his pillow once he was in the safety of his own room.
When he brought up his phone again he smiled at the new contact page and set the name as cariño before calling his mama. In his head he was already debating which outfit he should wear for their first official date.
He couldn’t wait.
Chapter 14: Olympics - Day Fifteen: Shopping
The Spanish is probably horrible and I'm very sorry
I'm also not for the cliche "shopping with the girlfriend is always horrible and the poor boyfriend gets dragged along and nagged at the entire time"
Keith next to him jumped in his seat and Lance laughed loudly while Keith turned to glare at him.
“Hola a todos. Me llamo Lance McClain y esta noche seré el presentador de este programa. Hoy vamos a aprender español.” (Hello everyone. My name is Lance McClain and I’ll be your host for today’s program. We’re learning Spanish today.)
Keith looked at him strangely, giving the camera an uncertain stare.
“No, es broma. Keith no entiende Español. Es lindo.” (No, just kidding. Keith doesn’t understand Spanish. He’s cute.)
Lance smiled at Keith who still looked very confused. “What did you say?” he asked and Lance kissed his cheek instead of answering.
“So,” he continued, this time in English. “Today we’re going shopping!” Allura, Romelle and Matt behind him cheered loudly. “The whole gang’s here. Say hola, everyone.” He turned the camera to film the other people in the car who all smiled and waved. Pidge’s gaze remained glued to her phone but she nodded her head. Typical. His viewers would be able to see all his friends squished together in the car and also how his legs were draped over Keith’s lap.
“As you all know,” Lance said when the camera was focused back onto him, showing how he was half leaning against the window, “I must acquire some Korean skin care so I grabbed my humanoid Korean translator,” he poked Keith’s side who made a squeak of protest in return, “to help me out because I do not speak a nick of Korean. We’re gonna hunt down some stuff and get couple outfits-”
“We will not,” Keith said with finality in his voice but Lance ignored him.
“And we’ll be so damn cute. I mean, look out us!” He contorted a little as he pulled Keith into his side and squished their faces together. Keith’s scowl intensified and he dug his fingers into Lance’s side who shrieked and jumped back. Keith snorted while his lover pouted at him.
“So our couple outfits are gonna be pink and glittery.”
“I will fucking throw you out of this car if you don’t shut up.”
“Make me,” Lance said with a smirk. He and Keith had a stare off for all of ten seconds before Romelle intervened. She leaned forward with an expression fluctuating between annoyance and amusement. They had all quickly realized that whenever Keith and Lance bickered it could turn into a heated make out session within seconds. “Okay, guys, keep the sexual tension in your pants. There are literal children present.”
“I resent every telling any of you my age,” Pidge hissed, the tapping of her small raccoon fingers on her phone intensifying as if to work out her fury. Those tiny hands were evil.
“Shiro’s a kid too,” Keith said off-handedly, his brother squawking at him from the back row. He had obviously not expected to be pulled into the line of fire and was not amused.
“I am not-”
“What?” several people asked before Shiro could protest properly. Keith just smirked while his brother glared at him. Some people might have backed down under Shiro’s stern ‘I am an adult and your actions will have consequences’ look but Keith wasn’t fazed. He had more than enough blackmail material to get out of almost any situation. The emo phase was a dark past Shiro couldn’t risk resurfacing. “His birthday is February 29th so he’s currently seven years old.”
Shiro groaned and buried his face into his hands while everyone else gaped at him in utter shock.
“Wait, what? Seriously?” Allura asked and Shiro nodded pitifully after a moment of trying to astral project to which the girl then laughed.
“I’m not the youngest!” Pidge roared, finally looking up from her phone. She looked like she would have jumped up and danced if she hadn’t been confined by a seatbelt. “Suck it, losers!” She flipped them all off.
“He’s a minor!” Matt shrieked horrified gesturing to Shiro who looked just about done with the world.
“I am not!” he called back.
Lance cackled in his seat, his camera threatening to fall out of his grasp which caused a quite shaky imagine. He’d have to apologize to all viewers who would get motion sickness from this later. He managed to calm down and stabilized the camera again as he wiped a tear from the corner of his eye. “Ah, Shiro is a minor,” he repeated with a giggle.
Shiro did not look impressed. Keith looked very pleased with the chaos he had caused. Matt still looked horrified.
“Anyway, we’re going shopping and I’ll try to film a little bit, see you guys later~”
“Why do I have to film?”
“Because I need to show my gorgeous face.” Lance batted his eyelashes at Keith behind the camera. His boyfriend stared back in a rather unimpressed manner before turning around and walking away without another word.
“Keith!” Lance shrieked and hurried to catch up with the other. He really didn’t want to get lost in a country where barely anyone spoke English or Spanish. He had no idea where the fuck they were and he really needed his lovely boyfriend to find his way around. There were so many people, he was overwhelmed by just seeing them all bustling around. This corner of the city seemed to be very busy, even more so because of the Olympics and Lance was not about to face all this on his own.
“I think I’m just gonna take your viewers out for barbecue.” Keith continued walking, filming some billboards that displayed a Kpop group’s new album as well as some cell phone commercials.
“The betrayal!” Lance cried behind him, making a few heads turn in his direction.
“Do y’all like barbeque?” Keith asked, turning the camera around so he could stare at it. Behind him the viewers would be able to see Lance looking both offended and amused, hands on his hips and eyebrows quirked.
“Cariño, how about we go eat barbeque after you helped me acquire some stuff?” Now that sounded very tempting.
Keith thought about the proposition for a while before he turned to face Lance again, camera pointed at him. “Alright, deal.”
“Great!” Lance clapped his hands happily. “So, we’re… somewhere for shopping and I’m just gonna drag ma bebe into like every store that looks fancy. First one is over there!” He reached for Keith’s wrist and pulled him along. No one needed to know that Keith tilted the camera a little bit just to film the contrast of their skin colors. He had never told this to anyone but he thought Lance’s skin was the utmost perfect shade to ever exist. It was a wonderful blend of dark but brilliant, rich and warm, smooth like fresh caramel. He would have loved to just continue filming their hands but figured it might be weird - he kinda didn’t think about the fact that Lance would see what exactly he had filmed once he edited the video - and instead focused the camera onto the store they were approaching.
It was a storefront in white and pink that reminded Keith of a barbie doll house. Not that he had much experience in that department but he had seen some cringy commercials and glittery, way too advanced dollhouses being displayed in overpriced shops before. He would have never even thought about entering a place like that but it seemed this was Lance’s kind of world. There were mostly girls inside from what he could see, except for some boyfriend loitering around - which wasn’t really surprising. Although men apparently also cared more for skincare and all those things over here than they did in the west.
Keith wasn’t very involved in this scene so he couldn’t say much about it. The most he did was splashing his face with cold water in the morning or to wake himself up when he was too tired to function properly. He doubted it counted as proper skincare.
“Etude House?” he read as they entered. Even on the inside it looked like a doll house. Perhaps a live-sized one for adults but still a doll house. Most displays were white and the products were all lined up neatly. Some were actually shaped like candy and most of the packaging was leaning more towards the cutesy side with soft pastel colors and rounded designs.
Lance looked beyond thrilled and immediately threw himself into shopping mode. He dragged Keith along who was half busy filming and half busy not bumping into too many people. He watched with fascination as Lance tried different lipsticks and eyeshadows on the back of his hand that soon turned into a swatch palette and reached up to beyond his wrist.
“Can’t you just look at it for the color?” he asked after a while of curious staring. “Why do you test it?”
“I need to see how it looks on my skin,” Lance explained and Keith was honestly glad he wasn’t being nagged at about asking. He had feared Lance would get annoyed about his boyfriend asking questions but it seemed it be quite the opposite. Apparently Lance was happy that he was asking questions because that meant he could explain and talk about something he enjoyed and also that Keith cared enough to actually ask.
“See?” Lance held up a something, it looked like a creamy lip product, showing the color to Keith and then swatching it on his hand. He held the two next to each other. “It looks more brownish here but when I put it on my skin it’s this weird yellow color.”
“Oooh.” Keith compared the colors and while he wasn’t the best at spotting such a subtle difference he could still see it when it was pointed out to him. “Yeah, okay, makes sense I guess.”
Lance smiled at him and continued with his browsing.
“What do you think looks better?” he asked after a while, showing his boyfriend two different colors on his wrist. One was more on the pink side and one a bit more reddish.
“Is that lipstick?” Keith asked and Lance took another look at the small tubes in his hand. “No, lip tint, I think. Can you read that?” he showed Keith the tube who frowned at it and needed a while to decipher the words. “Uh… yeah I think tint or stain or whatever.”
“It’s kinda like lipstick,” Lance explained, showing him the colors again. “Not at obvious but something along those lines.”
Keith considered both options for a while. He wasn’t an expert, he had no experience obviously so he went with his gut feeling and the pointed at the more reddish one, hoping it was a good decision. “That one.”
“Okidoki,” Lance sang and dropped it into the small basket he had grabbed from the front. Keith felt weirdly honored that his opinion had been requested and had actually been taken into consideration. Maybe shopping with Lance for make up stuff wasn’t that bad. He had imagined he would be dragged around and nagged at all day for asking something or giving the wrong input but whatever horror stories he had heard from guys who had been shopping with their girlfriends did not apply to Lance. Maybe because he was a guy, maybe because he was simply awesome like that.
Lance bought several things and for a fleeting moment Keith actually thought they were done but then he was being dragged across the street into the next store. He only sighed and went with it because listening to Lance explaining things and seeing him getting excited about something was nice.
After a while he also figured out the filming thing. Sometimes putting the camera away and sometimes filming Lance without him noticing. He got some pretty cute shots of Lance walking through the streets and looking at the many stores in awe as well as him getting excited about cute things.
Keith’s opinion about shades and colors was requested several more times and Lance even used the back of his lover’s hand to compare how the colors looked with their different skin tones. Seeing their hands next to each other with colorful streaks all over them and the difference between Keith’s lighter skin and Lance’s tan one was… it made Keith feel some type of way that he just couldn’t put into words.
Lance had several small bags dangling from his arm at some point but still insisted on wanting to shop for clothes. They went through a few stores and if Keith let himself be talked into getting a couple thing then… okay, yeah, he couldn’t deny it. He had been talked into it by Lance but it wasn’t too bad. It was not the typical cliche stuff but a piece of jewelry instead.
“You don’t even have to wear it,” Lance said. “It’s just nice knowing that we both have it.”
It was a simple, delicate necklace with a feather pendant. Not even a heart shaped one or any of that stereotypical stuff. Keith was pretty pleased with their choice.
“It doesn’t even look like one, no one knows. It’s our secret,” Lance said and Keith laughed softly. “Okay, our secret,” he agreed and Lance smiled.
Lance also begged him for some selfies. He wanted to have some pictures of the two of them together for… later. He didn’t say for when they had to leave because none of them wanted to think about that time yet. Keith didn’t even have to be convinced and agreed for once.
The pics were pretty cute, their cheeks smushed together because Lance had pulled Keith incredibly close. Colorful store signs and billboards were in the background while their smiles stole most of the spotlight. Lance also took a pic of their intertwined hands ‘for Twitter because I wanna make everyone jealous that I get to hold you hand’ apparently.
Keith didn’t really mind it. He wasn’t one for social media, he didn’t even have any accounts of his own, but he knew that Lance was into it so he just let him do his thing.
Lance, in turn, let him choose where they should eat and as promised Keith picked a barbeque place. Watching his boyfriend try to decipher the menu was hilarious and even Lance’s adorable pout couldn’t make him stop laughing.
“I have no idea what any of this means,” Lance whined. “I don’t even know what’s drinks and what’s food!”
Keith snorted, trying hard to stop snickering. “Okay, okay, let me choose, yeah? I promise I’ll pick some good stuff. Anything you don’t like or can’t have?”
Lance puffed out his cheeks which was incredibly hard not to swoon over. “Just nothing with nuts if you don’t want me to choke. Otherwise, go wild I guess.”
Keith managed to only chuckle softly and nodded his head. “Okay, no nuts.” And he just couldn’t stop himself. “Kinda ironic.”
Lance slapped him with his menu and Keith couldn’t help laughing again.