It probably should have been a bigger deal than it actually was.
Like he should have gradually realized, little things that add up to the big moment. Maybe a couple of dramatic love confessions, and at least one show stopping, life changing kiss. Preferably in the rain.
But because nothing in Lance Alejandro Sanchez McClain’s life ever goes as planned, the realization itself is kind of anticlimactic. Especially considering everything they’ve been through.
Keith smiles at him, and that’s it.
It’s right after some little skirmish, Lance had saved Keith’s ass after he did something reckless (again), and Keith turns around and smiles at him. Lance realizes, than, that he’s probably been in love with Keith this whole time.
Mierda, Lance thinks, as he walks into his lion. He can’t stop replaying the moment in his mind. Esto es malo.
So he’s bi. That’s not the problem, Lance thinks as he slides into the cockpit, trying to think through a haze of panic. His family didn’t care when Veronica told them she was bi, so they’re not going to care if he gets the chance to tell them. (He will. He’s on his way home right now.) His teammates aren't going to care. Realistically, it’s not that big of a deal.
No, Keith is the problem here. Keith, and the rasp of his voice, and his stupidly attractive haircut, and the way his eyes look like galaxies when the light hits them just right. Keith, who comes back after six months, taler and grizzled and more distant than ever. Keith is more unattainable than Allura ever was. If Allura is the moon, than Keith is the sun, burning bright billions of miles away.
Lance bangs his head against the dashboard. “Mierda.” he mutters.
“Lance?” Keith’s voice crackles over the comms, and he nearly falls out of his seat. “You ready for take off?”
“Yep! I’m great, never been better.” His voice cracks on the last word.
“Okay then.” Keith says, sounding somewhat doubtful. He stays on the comms for a moment longer, and then Lance hears them click off.
He sighs, putting his face into his hands. “Quiznack.”
They finally make it home, and Lance feels complete again. So much has changed, but this hasn’t. He’s back with his family, and instead of being Lance, the blue paladin, or Lance, the red paladin, or Lance, the extra paladin, he’s just Lance, and he belongs.
Of course, there’s still a war to fight (and win) but he thinks that he can win it now.
Keith is still a problem, though. Yeah, he’s back on Earth, and things are a thousand times better than they were before, but he can’t stop thinking about him.
It’s probably a bad idea to ask your sister for advice on your love life, but he hasn’t been able to ask his sister anything for a year and a half, so sue him for taking the opportunity. He and Veronica are on their way to a Galra base, so his timing isn't great, but then again, nothing regarding his feelings for Keith has ever had good timing.
He decides to bite the bullet. “I’m bi.”
Vero glances over at him, probably a little confused. “Cool.” There’s a moment of silence as Lance tries to work up the nerve to say the next part out loud. “Anyone in particular-”
“And I’m in love with Keith.” he finishes, the words rushing out of him.
Veronica raises an eyebrow. “That’s the one with the mullet, right?”
“It’s not that-” he begins, and then he realizes what he’s saying. He groans. “Oh, no. I’m defending his hair now. I hate his hair!” He bangs his head against the window. “How far gone am I?”
Veronica hums. “Probably about as far gone as he is for you.”
Lance’s head shoots up, and for a second hope fills his chest. Then he sees Vero’s secretive smile in the rearview mirror. He huffs. “That’s not funny.”
“I’m serious!” She says. “It’s why I haven’t made a move on him yet.”
He sputters. “Vero!”
“Because he’s in love with you.” Lance doesn’t say anything. She looks at him again. “Maybe you should do something about it.”
“I should.” Lance says, but he doesn’t really mean it.
During their last planetside briefing, Veronica keeps on shooting significant looks at Lance, then at Keith. He ignores her. Shiro wraps it up, reminding everybody to spend the day with their loved ones. Veronica clears her throat loudly, and it takes all of Lance’s self control not to jump across the table and strangle her.
“Ask him out!” Veronica hisses as they walk out.
Lance checks to make sure that Keith is out of ear shot, before turning on her. “Are you crazy? I can’t just-”
“Why not? He loves you.”
“You love him.” He shrugs. “Easy.”
He sighs. “He’s my leader. And one of my best friends. If I mess this up-”
“Hey.” Vero says, gripping him by the shoulders. “You are not going to mess this up. Repeat after me.”
“Say ‘I am a paladin of Voltron.’”
“I am a paladin of Voltron.” Lance repeats cautiously.
“I have taken down an evil, intergalactic empire.”
“I have taken down an evil, intergalactic empire. “
“And I am going to ask this smoking hot boy on a date.”
Lance stares at her. She glares at him. “I said-”
“And I am going to ask this smoking hot boy on a date, jeez, Vero, cool your jets.”
Veronica grins. “Go get him, tiger.”
Okay. This is happening. He’s climbing up the side of the Black Lion to ask Keith on a date. No big deal. He can handle this.
Keith is watching the sunset, and he looks just as beautiful as he always does. Lance takes a moment to stare, before clearing his throat. Keith turns around, violet eyes wide with surprise.
“You can be a hard guy to find when you want to be.” Lance says, hoping he sounds relatively chill.
Keith’s lips twitch. “Hey, Lance. What’s up?”
“Oh, I, um.” He sits next to Keith, not looking at him, because if he does he’ll be even more tongue tied. “I just wanted to, um.”
“You okay?” Keith asks, looking concerned.
Lance inhales deeply. “Here goes nothing.” he mutters. He turns to Keith. “Do you want to come eat dinner with me and my family?”
Keith blinks awkwardly. “Me?” he says, like there’s somebody else there. Lance nods, unable to say anything else. Keith looks even more confused. “Why?”
“I just-” he shrugs, trying to look casual. “I just think that you’re-” Amazing and gorgeous and pretty much the best thing to ever happen to me “-nice.”
Way to go, Lance.
Keith raises an eyebrow. “Since when do you think that I’m nice?”
“You-you can be nice!” Lance says defensively. “Sometimes. And, like, even when you’re not being nice, somehow I think you’re nice, which is-” he laughs, a touch hysterically. “-so embarrassing, believe me.”
“Wait, wait.” Keith says, a strange expression crossing his face. “Do you-are you saying that you…” He trails off, face flushing.
Lance swallows. “Maybe?”
Keith mouth hangs open in a tiny little ‘o’ shape, and it’s adorable. Who gave Keith the right to be this adorable? It’s unfair.
“So, yeah.” Lance says. “I just thought that we could...hang out or whatever.”
Keith looks at him for a beat before grinning brighter than Lance has ever seen him. “Yeah. Okay.”
Lance gapes like a dead fish, because that was definitely not the answer that he was expecting. “Really?” he says, voice embarrassingly high.
Keith’s smile grows softer. “Really.” He rubs the back of his neck. “I’ve, uh, I’ve actually wanted to, um, ‘hang out’ with you for a while now, so…”
He doesn’t have anything to say to that. He just stares at Keith. The night sky is beginning to bloom behind him, and he looks like he belongs there. “Whoa.” Lance says softly. Keith laughs, and then Lance laughs along with him.
“Yeah.” Keith says. His eyes flick up to meet Lance’s, before he looks back at the sunset, the back of his neck a dark red. He’s still smiling.
Lance’s mouth goes dry. “Do you wanna-” Keith looks up. “Can I kiss you?”
He can see Keith running it over in his mind. There’s this adorable crease in his brow that he gets whenever he’s thinking about something too hard. Lance doesn’t get to look at it for very long, though, because Keith surges forwards and kisses him.
His lips are warm, and the hand cradling around the back of Lance’s neck is callused, but so, so gentle. Lance’s hands find their way to Keith’s hips, and it’s probably the only thing keeping him from dying right there on the spot.
Keith pulls away with a soft gasp, then rests his forehead against Lance’s. His hand is still around the back of Lance’s neck.
“Whoa.” Keith says, sounding just as dazed as Lance feels.
Lance just kisses him again.