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something old, something new

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It doesn’t hit Keith that he’s getting married until a couple minutes before the ceremony starts.

Of course he knew ─it would be hard not to, what with the preparations that had been going on ever since he woke up that morning─but it almost felt like a dream, hazy and soft at the edges as he got everything ready without really registering exactly what he was getting ready for.

It’s not until now, as he catches a glimpse of himself struggling to tie his tie in the mirror, that he stops.

He’s fitted in a white suit, his tie glinting in the light with gold swirls, though he’s starting to seriously consider ditching it entirely given what a mess he’s making of the knot. His hair is carefully braided back, bangs still neatly hanging in front of his face. Allura had burst in earlier and insisted on doing it for him, saying she wouldn’t ‘allow you to look like an overgrown mop dog at your own wedding’, tucking bunches of baby’s breath and red rosebuds into the braid as a finishing touch. Given that it matches the bouquets that  he and Lance had picked out for the wedding, he’s starting to think that the whole thing was planned.

There’s something about catching a glimpse of the whole ensemble that makes it all hit him at once, and he freezes with his fingers still halfway through looping his tie around again.

If he’s being honest, Keith has half a mind to ditch the suit, find Lance and run to the nearest court and elope there instead of getting married in front of a crowd.

Instead, he takes a deep breath and lets his hands fall from the tie. He places them flat against the top of the vanity, trying his best to get rid of the weird tightness in his chest before it overwhelms him.

A few seconds past, and the door behind Keith slowly opens. He straightens himself quickly, tense but still turning to face whoever’s at the door.

“Oh,” he says, relaxing visibly as Krolia steps into the room and heads towards him. “Mom. Hi.”

(Calling Krolia mom took him about a year and a half, took showing up at her apartment one night, red-faced and crying from his and Lance’s first real argument. She had opened the door and he took one look at her before choking on the word, launching himself at her and crying on her shoulder until he fell asleep.)

She seems stunned, if only for a minute, she takes one look at his tie and sighs. She walks over to him, reaching out to unknot the fabric from whatever monstrosity he’d worked it into. She deftly ties it into a neat knot, so quickly that he feels a bit embarrassed, then centers it, tightening it comfortably around his collar. The moment feels like something the both of them have missed out on; maternal, though not in the awkward way they’d tried to force closeness initially.

“It’s hitting you now, huh?” She says after a moment. Keith is still surprised at how easily she can read him, given that they spent the better part of his life separated, but it makes sense, in a way. He looks too much like her, makes it too easy for her to recognize expressions when she’s worn them herself.

“Yeah,” Keith breathes out. “I don’t─I don’t want to ditch, though. I’m just…”

“Nervous?” She finishes for him, arching an eyebrow. He nods.

“Really fuckin’ nervous.” He mumbles.

The corners of Krolia’s mouth twitch into a smile. “So was your father.” She says, eyes soft with nostalgia. “He always told me that he felt like he couldn’t breathe, but when I walked down the aisle every anxiety he had just...melted away.”

Keith takes another deep breath. “I love him so much, Mom, and I don’t─” He stops, looking down at his hands. “I don’t want to mess this up.” He says quietly. Krolia reaches a hand out, cupping his cheek and lifting his face back up to look at her. She smiles softly, understanding.

“You’re not going to mess anything up, Keith.” She says. Keith leans into the touch, reaching one hand up to gently take her wrist and hold onto it. Krolia ducks her head and presses a gentle kiss to the top of his head, careful to avoid messing up Allura’s masterpiece, then pulls back, letting her hand fall.

“I have something for you.” She says, reaching into her pocket. She pulls her hand out a moment later, curled into a tight fist. Her free hand takes Keith’s and gently places the object in his hand. She moves her hand away, leaving the tiny gold ring in the palm of Keith’s hand.

“I heard you needed something old. I think Jacob would have wanted you to have it.”

Keith frowns, looking at the ring, then back at Krolia. “Mom, what is this?”

Krolia smiles, eyes glassy as she puts both of her hands into her pockets. “Before I went back overseas, your father and I gave each other our wedding rings as a promise to come back to one another.”

Keith swallows harshly, hand curling around the golden band. He launches himself at Krolia, wrapping his arms around her middle. Krolia is quick to respond to the hug, holding Keith tight.

“I wish he could be here here,” Keith says, voice breaking. Krolia squeezes a little tighter.

“So do I, baby.” She says quietly, letting Keith bury his face in her shoulder and tucking his head under her chin.

The two stay like that, holding on tight for a few long moments before breaking apart.

“Now c’mon,” Krolia says, smiling. “You have a boy to marry.”

 

 

Lance has been thinking about his wedding since he was a little kid. He’s always been a hopeless romantic, really─always dreamed about it, hazy visions of white clothes and flowers and smiles detached from his spouse’s nonexistent face. A daydream with spaces to be filled in later.

He and Keith have been engaged for a year or so, but it’s been much longer since the faceless daydream has been replaced with Keith’s soft smile and syrup-dark eyes.

It’s still...terrifying, almost, to have everything he’s wanted so close. There’s an underlying fear buzzing through him that he’s somehow going to mess this up, that Keith will take one look at him walking down the aisle and realize what a horrible mistake he’s made. The clock on the wall ticks, reminding him of what’s to come.

Lance lets out a deep, shaky breath, his hand smoothing down the front of his suit. The white and gold stands out against freckled brown skin, matches the white baby’s breath in the bouquet waiting for him on the table. His hair is sticking up a bit despite his aggressive brushing earlier, curling at the ends. It would usually bother him more, but as his gaze surveys the curls, he remembers how Keith always smiles and knits his fingers into Lance’s hair, tells him he’s handsome, and his heart turns gooey with affection in his chest.

“Lance?” Someone asks, pushing the door open. Lance glances up and sees Veronica standing in the doorway through the mirror, meeting her gaze with a shaky smile.

“Hey Vero,” He greets. Veronica steps into the room, shutting the door behind her as she makes her way over to him. The dress she’s wearing is a soft lilac purple, falling to the floor, white heels falling hidden under the hem with each echoing step on the floor.

“You okay? You look like you’re about to have a heart attack and throw up all at the same time.” She comments. Lance snickers, putting his hands in his pocket. His left brushes against the folded paper of his vows, while his right hand curls around the sunflower pin his abuelita gifted to him as his ‘something old’.

“I feel like it.” He agrees. Veronica smiles, gently rubbing Lance’s arm.

“You have nothing to be worried about. You’re in love with him, he’s in love with you, and you’re gonna get married and make everyone cry like you always do.” She says. Lance laughs quietly, taking Veronica’s free hand and squeezing gently.

“Thanks, Vero.” He says, smiling. “I’m just─I don’t know. It feels too good to be true.” Veronica rolls her eyes, smile still playing gently on her features.

“Of course it does, you guys have the most annoyingly perfect relationship.” She retorts, idly rubbing her thumb over his knuckles.

“Yeah, sure,” Lance starts, voice verging slightly hysterical. “But what if he sees me coming down the aisle and realizes he’s made a huge mistake!”

Veronica stares at him, blinking slowly as a strange silence settles over them. She closes her eyes, inhaling sharply, then letting it go as her eyes flutter back open.

“I love you, Leandro, but that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.”

“Veroooo,” Lance whines. “You’re supposed to support me! I’m getting married and having a crisis!”

“An unnecessary crisis!” Veronica shoots back. “Lance, Keith loves you. He looks at you the way Papi looks at Mami when she’s singing and cleaning the kitchen. He’s crazy for you, and I know that he’ll never regret this for as long as you’re both alive and beyond that.”

Lance swallows past the lump that had formed in his throat at his sister’s words. There are tears swelling in his eyes, because he knows it’s true, and he’s overcome with emotion and love.

“Oh, don’t cry,” Veronica says gently. “Save that for the vows.”

Lance laughs, finding a tissue to wipe at his eyes. “I know, I know. I’m doing my best here.”

Veronica hugs him tightly, arms wound around his neck while his wrap around her middle, holding his sister tightly.

“Mami is waiting outside. You ready?” She asks, pulling away and moving her hands to grip Lance’s shoulders. He gives her a small smile, heart pounding in his chest as the clock on the wall ticks.

“I’m marrying the love of my life.” He says, smile spreading wider. “Of course I’m ready.”

 

 

However calm Keith had felt after his talk with Krolia, all that takes a nosedive back into stomach-churning nerves when the preparation for the ceremony starts falling into place.

The guests are being seated, his and Lance’s groomsmen and bridesmaids still inside the tent at the edge of the field, probably lining up in their places together.

Everything is, admittedly, gorgeous─which isn’t such a surprise, given Lance’s reliable taste and how much energy he’d invested in making sure everything looks perfect─flowers that match the bouquets and the sprigs tucked into Keith’s braid wrap around the arch he’s standing under, chairs lined up neatly on either side of the aisle, a white carpet sprawled down the center on the flattest patch to keep everyone’s shoes clean.

As much as Lance loves Varadero beach, they both agreed that at beach wedding was too much mess to be worth it, and ultimately they ended up settling for a field that still had a nice view of the beach. Cuba is pleasantly warm, the ocean breeze sweeping through the field and gently blowing Keith’s bangs.

“How are you feeling, my boy?” Coran says from beside him. Keith jolts a bit, jerking back to reality and turning his gaze to the older man. He hadn’t actually met him until recently, when he and Lance panicked over who would officiate the ceremony and Allura mentioned offhand that her stepdad was ordained.

“Um, a little nervous.” Keith admits, rubbing the back of his neck. Coran offers a small smile.

“Ah, I understand. The moments leading up to it are dreadful─you feel antsy and sick and impatient, but I promise you, as soon as he walks down the aisle, you’ll forget all of your worries.”

Keith smiles hesitantly, Coran’s words soothing his anxiety slightly.

“Thanks, Coran.” He says, offering him a small smile. Coran beams, his eyes crinkling, and gives Keith a firm pat on the back.

The music kicks up almost seconds later, bright and harmonic, and Veronica and Shiro emerge from the tent at the end of the aisle, arms linked. Keith gives Shiro a nervous smile and he and Veronica walk up to the arch and fall into place on either side; Veronica next to where Lance will stand and Shiro next to Keith.

“Feeling alright?” Shiro whispers to him as the other pairs of bridesmaids and groomsmen start to fall into place. Keith nods wordlessly, wiping sweaty palms on his thighs as the reality and the immediacy of it all starts to close in on him

The music slows slightly, Lance’s niece Nadia emerging from the tent and beaming as she tosses flower petals in front of her. Keith smiles back softly when she makes eye contact with him, but then he sees shiny white dress shoes on the carpeting behind her, and his eyes drag up.

Keith’s breath catches in his throat at the sight of Lance.

He knew what he would look like, in theory, but the thought of it and the reality are two completely separate things─Lance glows in the warm summer sunlight, freckled cheeks split in a huge, bright smile. The white suit contrasts perfectly against his skin, gold embellishments on the tie glinting in the light. His arm is linked with his mother’s as she walks him down the aisle, but his eyes are locked on Keith, welling with tears (because of course he’s already emotional).

And Keith’s not afraid.

How could he ever be afraid of spending the rest of his life with Lance Álvarez?