Chapter 1: Day 1. Coffee Shop
Lance marched down the street in grim determination. He was currently running on 3 hours of sleep, hadn’t eaten in what felt like ages, and he had just finished an essay on the old faerie courts for his English mythology class at 11:56 pm when it was due at 11:59 pm. Why yes, the turn in link does close and will not accept late work, no I cannot make an exception for you, no it does not matter that you were out with pneumonia when I assigned it, its been 2 weeks since then and it was your responsibility and you better get working if you don’t want to fail and- uuuhhhhhhhg!
Lance took a moment to recollect his thoughts then continue on his path. He felt like a pile of crap and he didn’t need to be getting re stressed over something over and done with. He can revisit and be properly better about that particular can of worms after a good nights sleep. Lance just hoped his teacher didn’t mind that his report somehow turned into a character analysis on how the spirit of the ring from yu-gi-oh can be read as a member of the fey. The whole affair was time consuming and mind numbing and he was still achy from his illness and his skin was too dry and his hair was a greasy mess and his eye bags had bags and honestly he needed a reward, deserved it even. And and and…. What was he doing again?
…. Oh right! Reward! Lance was headed to his favorite coffee shop. He deserved his lemon bar crème frapuccino. Maybe coffee wasn’t the best thing to have right now but he earned this damn it. And possibly a muffin. A muffin would be great now. He was still achy from being sick and his skin was too dry and his hair was- oh the shop. Almost missed it, when did that happen? God, Lance needed some sleep. And his drink. And a muffin.
As Lance reached for the door handle he looked up and had to hold back a loud groan. Freaking Keith was at the counter today. Lance could see him through the glass packing items away and Shiro mopping floors and flipping chairs onto tables. Both were already out of their uniform aprons and wait, was The Lions Den closing? What time was it anyways? 1:30? Almost 2? In the morning? Damn it was late. And why was the street light so loud? He really should send a letter to the city about that humming. He had thought about before but always forgot. Hunk never seemed to hear it but Pidge mentioned it once and he talked about it with that girl in his math class. The one with the glasses and the under cut. Always wore that dumb brown hoodie. Totally do not recognize it as a hero of blood hoodie. Sarah! That’s her name. Maybe they should all get to together to do something about the humming. But that’s a problem for later. Lance should go home and get some sleep. And a drink. And some foo- oh hi Shiro.
Right next to Lance the door was being held open. When did that happen? As Lance looked at the other, he realized he was being spoken to. He should probably pay attention to that.
“Sorry, what’d you say?”
Shiro sighed deeply, “I asked if you needed something.”
Did he need something? Roll it back. There was…. Talk to Sarah. No. Talk to Pidge. No. Stop the dumb humming street light. No. Well, yes, but not that. Get some sleep. “Oh!” Lance clapped his hands in mild celebration, “I need a lemon crème drink.”
Lance and Shiro stared at each other for a moment.
“And a muffin.”
“Cause I earned nice things.”
By now Lance noticed that not only was Shiro just staring at him but so was Keith with his dumb mullet in an equally dumb pony tail stupidly pretty face and Lance had to look like a total mess. His body was achy from when he was sick, and his skin was all dry and flaky, and the eye bags were so bad, and his poor hair was greasy, and he probably looked like a crazy person. Thank god he was wearing normal clothes and not his pajamas. There was still staring, except more like Staring™, and this was a mistake. Shiro looks like he’s about to talk and he’s gonna tell Lance that he’s hashtag creepy and not to come back and because he got sick he hasn’t been back in a while even though he been here whenever he could and he already missed making death jokes that made other people uncomfortable with Shiro and talking Hispanic things with Adam even though he was Cuban and Adam was Mexican it was still nice and he even missed bickering with Keith cause he was dumb and stubborn and hot headed and kinda just plain hot, okay maybe more than plain but whatever, he was also smart and kinda funny and Coran and Allura and oh god this is so bad fix it fix it fixitfixitfixit-
“Would you like to-”
“BUT it looks like you guys are closing so I’m just gonna go home and get the sleep I also need so k thanks bye.”
Lance quickly turned and started down the path back to his dorm. Why was he so stupid? It was late as hell and just because he was, up didn’t mean anyone else wanted to be. Not even he wanted to be. Tiredness is not an excuse to be rude. And the street lights were still way too annoying. And loud. He should’ve just- A yank on his arm made his fall apart like poorly sewn patchwork.
“Lance. Would you like to come inside?”
Shiro was sporting oddly fatherly look he sometimes got, mostly when Keith accidentally offended a customer by being socially unaware. Happens less often than it used to now though and also Lance should answer the question. Yes, that would be smart.
“Yes. I would like that.”
Was that a weird way to say that? Maybe he shou- oh he’s being led inside cool cool. More Staring. Did he say that out loud?
“You kinda did.” Jesus! Was Keith always that loud? Also when did the counter get there?
“So was there something you wanted?” Keith watched Lance as he contemplated his response because he did want something but it would be weird to ask someone why they have purple eyes. Probably rude too even if the question was followed with a statement about how pretty they are. Lance always thought that. He used to think that Keith had to be wearing contacts but that was disproved ages ago. Wait, not now, question was asked. “I’m assuming the usual.”
Op too late but also correct. Yes, good, back on track. “Yes! That is what I came for. Oh! And one of those um.. things with the top and wrapper and the.. breadiness? Hold on I can do this, I know the word. Uuuuhhhhhhh.” Clearly the descriptors and motions were not helping and co-worker/sort of brothers kept sharing glances which totally wasn’t distracting. Just gotta restitch the patchwork. Needed sleep and drink and, Lance clapped again, “A muffin! Cause I honestly can’t remember when I last ate. Knew I would get it.”
The others shared another look, stop that, then Shiro started to lead him away again. “We’ll get that started that, you sit down.”
“Wait I have to pay.”
“Already done.” Lance turned to Keith in confusion.
“What? I don’t remember doing that.”
The register drawer slammed shut. “Nope, its already dealt with. Guess you’re just… confused?”
Lance mulled that over. It sounded about right. He knew he wasn’t in the best place at the moment and the stitches kept falling apart. He was also achy from being sick and his skin was dry and his eyes were bad and his hair was bad and confusion sounded about right. “Alright. Thank you so much.” When Lance turned back around, Shiro had already cleared a table and reset the chairs.
“Is it cool if I sit? I mean you really did look like you guys were shutting everything down and I know that people hate when customers come in at the last second. Kinda like when I worked at Lush those few weeks before the smell became just waaaay too much and I had to quit and entitled jerks would come in and-”
“Lance. I promise it’s fine. We weren’t closed quite yet and honestly you look like you need to seat.”
Okay, there needed to be way less interrupting around here. Still, Lance appreciated the gesture and a seat would be nice. So he moved to the table and sat like a good cupcake. Because he was a good cupcake. Don’t listen to anyone who says otherwise. Especially Keith who was taking a seat right across from Lance. Weird.
The 2 watched one another for a moment. Keith reached up to scratch at the back of his neck. “So… How have you been? You showed up whenever you could to bug us, then I heard you got sick and now you seem kind of… out of it? Are you okay?”
Oh. Huh. Lance hadn’t really been expecting that. He had known that Keith could be nice when he wanted to be. That under that anti-social shell, he was a genuinely caring and fiercely loyal person. He may not have the best tact (though neither did Lance), or impulse control (again a trait shared with Lance but he was a little better from practice and meds), and some anger issues, but he really did try. Though the Cuban had seen it a few times and the 2 had been becoming friends recently, that care had never really been directed at Lance himself before. He took a pause to recollect the patchwork.
“Yeah, no. I’m fine, I guess. Well honestly...” he took another pause, “I’m not doing too great. I had cold that I ignored and if it weren’t for Hunk’s over cautiousness I would’ve kept ignoring even after it got worse. Then I found out I had walking pneumonia which is bad but not as bad as normal pneumonia so that’s good I guess. Then when I got better I had to catch up on all my missed class work while doing all my current stuff and I literally just finished an essay I didn’t even know I had until like 3 days ago. Now I’m mostly caught up and I haven’t really slept in a few days, ‘cause I’ve been so busy and I think I’ve been forgetting my adhd meds so my brain’s kinda a mess right now and I’m still achy from being sick and my skin is all dry and the dark circles are horrendous and my hair is all greasy and- Jebuz Cripes!” He jumped at the sudden start of a blender behind him. The gasp that came with it started another coughing fit. Damn and it had been so good today. He honestly thought he was done with those. Ouch pain chest hurts crap why.
When Lance looked up, Keith had moved from his chair to rub Lance’s back. He was a bit too rough in his panic but it was still nice. Shiro could be distantly heard apologizing. “I’m cool. I’m cool. Just some left over fluid stuff in my lungs, it’s all good.” Lance Cleared his throat and leaned back, trying to take deep breaths. Why did this have to happen now? Stupid lung stuff. Lance finally looked back at Keith. “Sorry ‘bout that.”
Keith continued to rub Lance’s back, though much more calmly now, which was actually really aaaaand we will not follow that train of thought right now.
“If you were still this bad, why did you come out, you idiot? You should asleep or something.”
Lance instantly straightened up, “What? No! I’ve been stuck inside for flippin’ ages! It’s been just class and my dorm for days, and before that, I couldn’t even go to class. I’m tired of sitting again my room all day. And maybe I missed you!”, the hand on his back stilled. Oh wait no, “Like all of you...”
“And the coffee.”
“But you don’t even drink the coffee here.”
“My drink has coffee in it, in which, hey Shiro, how’s that going?”
Lance turned to break the staring contest he inadvertently started to look at Shiro, who appeared to be trying to hold in his laughter. Jerk. “Coming right up. Just give a minute to get a muffin from the back.” The he just up and left. Traitor. Absolute back-stabber.
“Give me your phone.” Lance swung back to Keith and at some point he had stopped touching his back. This was in no way disappointing.
“Just give me the phone, Lance. Unlocked.” He numbly unlocked his phone and placed it in Keith’s waiting palm. The other immediately started fiddling with it. “Since you are apparently incapable of taking care of yourself, I’m giving you my number. Call me tomorrow when you’ve actually slept. And if you need to get out of the house, maybe don’t wonder out while sleep deprived, alright? Just text me and I’ll get to you when I can.” Keith smiled awkwardly as he handed back the phone.
Lance always had an affectionate family. Hugs freely given. Proud head pats in abundance. And kisses. Kisses on the forehead, or cheeks, or hand were passed out like candy. Which is why Lance completely blames his family for his poor decision to yank Keith into a tight embrace and shout “Aw you do care!” plant a kiss right under the stunned boy’s eye. When Lance fully registered what he did, he immediately opened his arms. Wow, okay. Where did that come from? Probably all those thoughts he pushed away for later. Considering he’d been doing it since the first time the coffeehouse worker had judge him for his drink order. Rude yet so hot. Damn tired brain. He was achy and looked terrible and he did not need his impulsiveness right now.
“So um.. Sorry about that. Still a little out of it you know. I kinda need to sleep. And eat. And drink something.”
“Which I have 2 of those things right here!”
Both boys jumped as Shiro placed a blueberry muffin and a lemon crème frappaccino on the table. The larger man seemed pleasantly amused with the scene in front of him. Though when Lance glanced at his favorite hothead, he couldn’t help but feel his heart sink. Keith wouldn’t even look at him. God, why was he such and idiot? This whole was a mistake. He should’ve just gone home.
“Thanks. This was really great of both of you. My head even feels clearer. Still a little fuzzy but better than before so thank you.” He started to gather up the food and step away from the table, stealing glances at Keith periodically. Still wouldn’t turn to him. Great, cool, wonderful. Really. “I think I should start walking back before it gets even later though. Sorry for keeping you.”
“Wait, do you want a ride? Adam’s here to pick me up and I’m Keith is fine to finish closing, right Keith?” The shorter man nodded his head and wondered back towards the counter.
“You wouldn’t mind? Because that would be awesome. I said I was cool walking but, like, the streets are reeeeally creepy this late at night.” Lance followed Shiro towards the exit. As they walked out Lance turned back to say good night when he caught sight of Keith’s red face and small smile. When Keith noticed him looking, he practically threw himself under the counter. Lance let out a bright laugh. “Bye Keith! See you later!”
A hand appeared above the counter. “..bye.”
Lance continued out the door and climbed into the back of the car Shiro was standing next to. “Hey Adam. Long time no see.”
“Glad to see you’re still alive.”
“That makes one of us.” Lance and Shiro shared a high five as Adam groaned and started to drive away.
“Why are you 2 like this? It is too early for suicidal idealization. Cease, desist.”
Lance took a big bite of his muffin and watched the scenery pass by. He vaguely heard Adam and Shiro whispering in the front but he was just trying to enjoy his lemon crème at last.
“Hey what’s up? Usually he’d have at least something to say about my big words. Is he still sick?”
“Nah, just a little out of it. And Keith gave him his number~”
The car slammed to a halt and muffin went all over Lance’s lap. It’s a miracle he didn’t lose the drink.
“Keith asked you out! Fucking finally! Now maybe he’ll stop with all the pining.”
Chapter 2: Day 2- Galtean
This is absolutely late. I spent so much time trying to get this one even written and even deleted the whole thing to rewrite it. I am tired, it is 12:37 in the morning. Take this. do with it what you will.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The Galra had 2 quintants left on Altea. Just 2 of their 1 phoeb stay and Lance already wanted them gone. The furry ones left hair everywhere, they were all too serious, and they kept giving funny looks to the accommodations the Altaen royal family tried to set up for them. So, maybe they gained a tyrannical ruler who kicked off all the interplanetary embassies on Daibazaal, made all the Galra that were spread out come home and abandoned those one who weren’t ready, cast the planet into self-imposed isolation, and turned hostile with the intention of conquering new planets for a few dozen deca-phoebs. They came to re-broker peace and they were kind of failing at it.
Some part of Lance acknowledged that it might not be all of their faults. It’s been a few generations and they were a pretty utilitarian race even before. They were likely out of practice making peace and other planets had started to grow somewhat distrusting of them. The main reason the Galra were allowed to come to Altea was because King-father Alfor remembered a time when they were allies and wanted to give them a chance.
It was a nice thought that Lance supported initially, and one that hadn’t turned out too bad. After a pheob most of the air had been cleared of the accidentally inconsiderate things that had been done and it had been a learning process for everyone. Most of the Galra Lance had ended up speaking to were alright as well. A few of the solders were awkward and well meaning. Kovalin was strict but was coming from a good place, a nice guy who was used to leading a rebellion but less so the intricacies of politics. Krolia was also strict but more in a motherly way. It made Lance miss his own mother. No Lance’s problem did not lie with all the Galra, just one specifically. One Keith Kogane. A guard sent the with the delegation. He was absolutely the worst one.
Lance had been back in the castle for quintant after visiting family, and tired from the trip, he immediately went to sleep for way too long. He completely missed the arrival of the galra and was surprised literally ran right into a broad chest. And by surprised he meant he screamed which made Keith mad, which made Lance mad, after which they both stormed off. From there, every time they met, it was always a fight.
Lance had started their second meet trying to apologize, explain his actions a little. Keith would hear none of it. He assumed what Lance was going to say, all of it offensive and wrong, and refused to actually listen.
The third started off with a fight as Keith had walked in on Lance complaining to Hunk about Keith’s ears.
The forth, Lance heard Keith telling Krolia that the prince had to be a disrespectful slacker since he was confirmed to be in the castle yet refused to come to any meetings. As someone who knew the family very well, Lance thought this slander could not stand.
After that, Lance lost track all the run ins and fights and what they were about. The worst part, in Lance’s opinion, is that Keith himself wasn’t even that bad. Over the course of the arguments Lance learned a lot about his self proclaimed rival. He was taken from his parents as a young one to train and be a solder of a war no one wanted. He was top of his class and resented for it. As tall as he is, he is apparently short for a Galra, which is for some reason enduring. He hates when Lance makes himself the taller one. All the Alteans Lance spoke to about Keith agreed he was attractive, a sentiment reluctantly shared. The few times a fight did not automatically start and the both of them talked were actually quite nice and Lance found Keith to be a very honest person. An honest person who frequently stuck his foot in his mouth started a whole new fight.
But that had been spread over 3 movements. Currently, Altea was celebrating the success of a new peace treaty combined with making a glorious goodbye to the Galra and maybe Lance was wrong in thinking that they should already be gone. Maybe he was looking wrong in thinking one was the worst. Maybe he was looking for a specific galeran ex-solder to convince to stay with the newly reestablished embassy. But course those were all maybes.
Lance just happened to stumble upon Keith on a balcony looking more morose than usual.
“Why the long face? Girl reject you for a dance? Don’t worry, that happens to me all the time.”
Keith jumped at the sound of the altean’s voice. His hand moved instinctively to where he’d normally keep his weapon before realizing that he was in no danger and his formal clothes did not allow for a sword. It took him a moment to find the words to respond, “No. I just don’t do well with… crowds.”
Lance watch the other shift around for a moment before fully joining him. “I kind of get what you mean. I mean, I love the attention sometimes but it can get to be too much. A couple of the others might need a break too. They look like a bunch of lost yalmor pups.”
The last comment at least got a chuckle from the usually stoic man. He must have had some of the juniberry juice already. “Yeah, sounds about right. I had to leave when the royal adviser tried to give me nunvil after telling me about his run in with a swathian meerakeet.”
Lance let out a loud laugh. “Coran has some wild stories to tell. Always leave you tragically disgusted yet morbidly intrigued.” Lance swirled around his own glass of nunvil. He could see why most outside of Altea didn’t like it, it was an acquired taste.
“You know,” Lance turned to Keith who was watching him closely, “for someone who works with the tailor, you never seem to be there.”
Lance barely resisted rolling his eyes. “Is this about me being a spy again because I’m not. I help the tailor but it’s mostly just talking to people to distract them from twitching too much, re-pinning hems, marking down adjustments. The tailor has his own apprentice to help him with most of the work. I just wonder around to keep up with the latest news and there was a lot of stuff I missed. You know, I’m the one who told Queen Allura that the thing she kept trying to do with Polen-Bol was offensive since no one else was apparently going to. You’re welcome for that by the way.”
“That was you?” Lance would’ve been offended himself if that had not been followed by Keith stepping closer, “I guess I do owe you a thank you.” Keith grabbed his hand. “Thank you for being such a gossip.” Keith for once had a teasing smile on his face and he definitely had too much juniberry juice.
Lance tried to ignore the burning in his cheeks as he sputtered, “Wha- I- I am not a gossip! Everything I talk about is very important!”
“Oh like that time you were mocking my hair and ears with that Balmeran?”
“Uh that was before I knew you and his name is Hunk and he is my best friend.”
“Right, because you could do no wrong.”
“Oh my uuuhhggg- I can’t wait for you to leave.”
“Quiznack me yourself, coward.”
Both stopped and stared at each other for a moment. Heat crept back up Lance’s face and his gaze dropped to their still joined hands. Maybe he had drunk too much nunvil himself. “I didn’t- I mean, that wasn’t- I- that… sorry.”
“I suppose I wouldn’t say no, if you really wanted to.”
Lance’s head jumped back up so quickly he heard something crack. Keith looked so nervous yet refused to take his eyes off Lance. Well if they have already come this far, “I certainly wouldn’t be opposed.”
Neither one moved an inch for a tick. “Would you like to go to my room?” Keith glanced at the glass doors leading to the exit.
“I would be happy to. Lead the way.” Hand in hand they practically ran through the ballroom on their way to the guest quarters, not noticing the double take Coran shot the rushing pair on their way out.
Lance woke up slowly with a pleasant ache settling through him. As he took in the room with sunlight instead of the night before darkness, his gaze wondered to his bed mate who already seemed to be awake and watching him. “Good morning.”
Keith stayed silent and Lance would have been worried if it weren’t for the clawed hand moved up to soothingly rub at the tender skin near one of the bite marks on his shoulder or the gentle look those violet and gold eyes. “Morning.”
The Altean nuzzled the fluffy purple chest under him. “So what’s the plan for your last day here?”
Those big hands continued to caress his skin. “I’m not actually leaving tomorrow, I get to stay here, at least for a while longer.”
Lance grew confused, “I didn’t you were one of the guards chosen to stay with Krolia’s son.”
The hands suddenly stilled. “Well I’m rea-” a loud knock interrupted what he confessing.
Krolia’s voice flowed through the door. “Keith are you in there? The prince is actually missing this time and not just wondering around and supposedly you were the last one seen with him.”
Lance stiffed in Keith’s arms as the other sat up. “What? I haven’t seen the prince.”
“Well, I’m gonna come in if that’s okay with you because something is up.”
“Wait, mom, don’t.”
Lance looked up at Keith in shock, “Krolia’s your mom?”
Another voice came from outside, “That’s it, I’m going in.” A dobosh later and the door opened to let Coran and Krolia into the room as the two sharing the bed scrambled to remain at least somewhat decent. “Prince Lance, what are you doing?”
“Keith, what did you do?”
“You’re the quiznaking prince!!!”
i didn't think of anything for the mermaid one so i'm just gonna skip it and just start on the hogwarts one. that'll probably be late too since i am a master at procrastination. i'm gonna go to sleep now. All the alien words I got from here https://rookiek13-tumblr-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/rookiek13.tumblr.com/post/158653308964/the-fans-guide-to-the-altean-language/amp?amp_js_v=a2&_gsa=1&usqp=mq331AQCCAE%3D#referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&_tf=From%20%251%24s&share=http%3A%2F%2Frookiek13.tumblr.com%2Fpost%2F158653308964%2Fthe-fans-guide-to-the-altean-language