Keith smiled as he looked around the room. The paladins—plus Allura, Matt, Adam, and Romelle—were all hanging out in the lounge on the castleship. Allura and Romelle were visiting Earth for a couple of days before they were needed back on Balmera.
As evening hit, Allura brought out some alien alcohol and they all had fun trying out the various liquors—aside from Pidge, who claimed to want to stay sober and film their drunken antics as blackmail. As the evening progressed, they all got a bit looser. They were smiling and laughing more, kicking back and relaxing, really enjoying the brief reprieve from paladin work.
Lance, it seemed, was having the most fun. He boasted that he could handle his liquor very well, thank you. He was more animated when telling stories, his hand gestures got wilder with each glass he consumed.
Which was precisely how Keith ended up wearing his glass of nunvill instead of drinking it. While Lance was recounting a harrowing tale of how he single handedly took down 27 Galra rebels (“There were, like, four rebels, Lance.” “Hunk, my buddy, my pal, my main man! There were 27, okay, just trust me!”), he swept his arm back and promptly knocked the glass Keith was holding into him, the contents soaking into Keith’s shirt.
“Oh, crap, sorry, Keith!” Lance said in between giggles.
The others joined in laughing while Keith set his empty glass on the table and looked down at his drenched shirt. Hunk piped up as he watched Keith pinch the material between his thumb and index finger and peel it away from his skin.
“Hey, I actually have an extra sweatshirt in my bag. Why don’t you go to the bathroom and take that off and I’ll bring it to you?”
“Thanks, Hunk.” Keith smiled gratefully at Hunk before leaving the lounge.
Keith sighed as he pulled his sopping wet t-shirt over his head and threw it on the ground. It landed with a wet slap on the tiled bathroom floor as he waited. He was thankful that his pants were saved and remained dry. Hunk knocked on the door before entering, holding a bundle of yellow fabric in his hand.
“This will probably be super huge on you, but it’s better than a wet shirt!” Hunk said with a sheepish smile.
Keith took the sweatshirt with a grateful smile and put it on. He was relieved to be out of the sticky shirt.
“Wow, this is really warm.” Keith remarked as he pulled the sleeves up to free his hands.
Hunk laughed as they walked back to the lounge together. “Yeah, Lance says the same thing! He’s always stealing my sweaters.”
Keith pictured Lance’s slim body drowning in an oversized sweater and felt a blush rise to his face at the endearing image. Hunk raised an eyebrow in his direction and Keith looked away quickly.
“I don’t blame him. It’s really soft and warm. I might start stealing your sweaters, too.” Keith teased and Hunk laughed goodnaturedly.
When they returned to the lounge, Keith raised an eyebrow when he noticed someone was missing.
“Where’s Lance?” He asked the others.
“He went to get something to clean up the spill on the floor.” Adam said. His head was leaned on Shiro’s shoulder while Shiro was playing with the ring on Adam’s left hand. They both had lovesick smiles on their faces and Keith felt a soft smile stretch across his own face as he watched them.
“He was giggling and swaying on his feet more. I think the alcohol is finally hitting him.” Shiro added on.
There was a gasp and everyone looked up as Lance entered the lounge with a roll of paper towels.
“I’ll have y’know that I’m completely an’ utterly fine!” Lance’s words were slurring slightly as he made his way towards the small puddle on the floor. He knelt down to wipe the spill before continuing. “I’m practically still sober actually!” As he went to stand up again, he wobbled and fell flat on his ass with a yelp.
Everyone burst out into laughter as Lance struggled to get up. Lance’s own giggle fit was preventing him from being able to stand up, so Keith took pity on him and helped him up onto the couch. Keith froze as Lance’s head somehow ended up in his lap as they maneuvered into a comfortable position.
“Thaaanks, Hunk! You’re, like, the only one I can trust!” Lance closed his eyes and snuggled his face into Keith’s stomach. Keith frantically looked up and blanched as he saw the rest of the team smirking and wiggling their eyebrows at him.
Hunk, the traitor, piped up before Keith could tell Lance who he was actually snuggling. “No problem, buddy! I’m always happy to help!”
“An’ cuddle!” Lance slurred as he pressed even closer to Keith and Keith felt the blush spread down his neck.
“And cuddle.” Hunk replied. Keith looked at Hunk helplessly, but Hunk shrugged and sat back. Keith thought that the smile on Hunk’s face was more devious than anyone would assume the usually kind paladin was capable of.
Lance sighed happily and continued babbling. “Your hugs’re the best, man! I seriously feel so safe. Hey, you’re wearing my favourite sweater, aren’t you? Maaan, it’s so soft.”
“I’m glad you think so.” Hunk replied.
“Hey, Hunk? Can you run your fingers through my hair like you usually do when we cuddle?”
Matt broke out into laughter while Shiro, Adam, Allura, and Romelle snickered quietly. Pidge had started filming from where she sat across from them with an evil grin on her face. She mouthed the word “blackmail” when Keith glared at her.
Hunk looked Keith dead in the eye with a mischievous smirk. “Sure thing, buddy.”
Keith felt his jaw drop. He looked to the others and felt even more betrayed when they all started to make “go ahead” gestures with their hands. Keith looked down at Lance and took a deep breath.
He tentatively placed his right hand on the mop of brown hair and paused. Lance let out a soft hum and Keith felt his face heat and his heart rate pick up again. He pushed his fingers deeper into Lance’s hair and marvelled at how soft it was. Lance let out a louder hum and sighed contentedly. Keith could see a soft smile curling on Lance’s lips and knew he was done for. Cuddling on the couch with your drunk crush would do that to a person.
Lance mumbled something unintelligible and Keith blushed further as he felt the vibrations of Lance’s voice on his stomach through the sweatshirt.
“What was that, buddy?” Keith could hear the laughter in Hunk’s voice so he refused to look up. “I couldn’t hear you.”
Lance pulled his face back a few inches but kept his eyes closed as he repeated what he had apparently said. “Marry me, Hunk.”
The others chuckled while Hunk responded. “Sorry, man. You know I have Shay.” Hunk’s cheeks pinkened slightly when he talked about his girlfriend.
Keith continued to caress Lance’s hair as Lance let out another sigh. “Yeah, I know. She’s a lucky gal.” Lance frowned. “Gal? I ‘unno why I said that. I sounded like a grandpa. No, wait!” He giggled. “I sounded like Shiro! Oh man, he’s always saying old-timey stuff like that!” Lance giggled again, the others joining in. Keith noticed Shiro pretending to pout while Adam poked his cheek and laughed. “Man, Shiro is great! He has a cool robo arm, a badass nose scar, an’ he can probably totally kick my butt with one hand tied behind his back!”
Everyone laughed. Keith froze when Lance adjusted his position so he was lying on his back with his head still in Keith’s lap. He continued talking once he was comfortable again, his eyes remained closed. Keith noticed Lance’s voice was becoming softer as he became sleepier. He resumed running his hand through Lance’s hair.
“Y’know who else could kick my butt?” Lance asked.
“Whose that, buddy?” Hunk replied.
“Keith.” Lance said with a soft sigh. Keith’s eyes widened and his hand froze in Lance’s hair. The others were all holding their breath with eager faces as Lance continued. “Keith could kick my butt an’ I would probably thank him.”
The team broke out into laughter while Keith felt his face heat up in both flattery and confusion. Matt wasn’t even sitting on the couch anymore, having toppled off of it with how hard he was laughing. Shiro was wiping tears out of his eyes while Adam let out the occasional snort with his laughter.
Lance groaned and covered his eyes with his arm. “It’s so unfair, Hunk! Have you seen him when he trains? He can use both hands!”
“Lance, so can you! You’re ambidextrous, too.” Hunk said lightly.
Lance scoffed. “I mean, yeah, but I can’t wield two swords at the same time! Like, sure, I’m a sharpshooter an’ all that, but he’s like some crazy talented... dual-wielding... samurai.”
Keith swore he was beginning to feel lightheaded with all the blood rushing to his face. The team kept up a constant stream of giggles as Lance talked and Hunk urged him on.
“Samurai?” Hunk asked with a laugh.
Lance ignored him while he continued his sleepy rant. “That’s probably why his arms are so buff. Have you seen his arms, Hunk?” He didn’t wait for a reply. “Beefy. Absolute works of art. Ten out of ten, would love to be cradled in them again, bonding moment aside.”
Keith’s jaw dropped and the others howled with laughter. Matt slipped Pidge a stack of bills while Adam laughingly told Shiro to pay up when they got home.
“Y’know what’s better than his arms, though?” Keith closed his mouth reluctantly as he focused closely on Lance’s next words. “His eyes.”
Keith felt his heart stutter in his chest.
“Keith’s eyes are so pretty. Like, you’d think it may be 'cause of their purple... greyish... whomst the eff even has this eye colour, seriously, but... no. I’m convinced that with every eye colour, they’d just be...” Lance trailed off with a happy sigh.
“Sharpshooter and Samurai has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?” Hunk said with a large grin on his face.
Lance’s face morphed into the sappiest smile and Keith felt like his soul was going to ascend into the heavens. “Yeah,” Lance sighed. “It does have a nice ring to it.”
Lance let out a large yawn, and drifted off to sleep with a smile still on his face. Keith held his breath as Hunk made his way towards them and poked Lance’s cheek to see if he was asleep for good.
Hunk chuckled and looked at Keith with a sheepish smile. “He’s out cold now. Sorry, buddy, looks like you might be stuck here for the night.”
Pidge snorted and stood up to stretch her arms above her head. The others followed suit as they all got ready to head back to their respective homes.
“I’m sure Keith’s not too put out by that idea. The amount of gay that I recorded tonight is astounding!” She smirked at Keith. “I’m sure he’s dying to cradle Lance in his arms again!”
The others laughed while Keith blushed and narrowed his eyes.
“I can’t believe he lied to me about that! You got that part on video, though, right?” Keith asked Pidge. She nodded and Keith smirked down at Lance’s sleeping face. “Good. Now I have proof if he ever tries to deny it again.”
Pidge snorted again and rubbed her eyes. Matt leaned an elbow on her head as he joined in her laughter. “Wow, you two really are made for each other!” He shuffled Pidge over to the door when he saw her eyes droop closed. “Well, this has been fun! Have a good night, everyone!” The siblings waved before the doors closed behind them.
Allura walked towards Keith with her arms outstretched. “Would you like some help transferring Lance to a spare room? I can imagine that the couch is not as comfortable as a bed.”
Keith hesitated before shaking his head. “It’s okay. I don’t wanna move him and risk waking him up for no reason.” He could feel a slight blush on his face as Lance snuggled closer. “It’s only for one night, so I’ll just stay here with him.”
Allura smiled as Romelle walked over with a blanket to drape over Lance and Keith. Keith smiled gratefully.
“Okay, well, you know where to find us if you need us, yeah?” Romelle smiled when Keith nodded. “Have a good night, you two. Come on, ‘Llura, let’s get to bed!” She grabbed Allura’s hand and walked them out of the lounge and presumably to their room.
Shiro and Adam took turns ruffling Keith’s hair while Keith half-heartedly swatted at them.
“Try to get some sleep instead of staring at your boyfriend’s face all night, yeah?” Adam teased as Keith blushed violently. He backed away quickly before Keith could punch him in the gut.
“He’s not my boyfriend!” Keith hissed.
“Yeah, not yet!” Adam teased again.
“Here’s an idea,” Shiro butted in before Keith could attempt further bodily harm on his husband. “Why don’t you stop beating around the bush and ask him out when you’re both awake and sober?”
Keith blushed and kept his gaze away from Shiro’s before answering. “Yeah, yeah, that’s the plan.” He paused and glanced down at Lance’s sleeping face again. “Now that I know how he feels about me.”
Hunk chuckled softly. “Keith, buddy, you were the only one who didn’t catch on to how Lance feels about you. Both of you, really! You were both oblivious to it! It was seriously driving us all crazy!” Shiro and Adam nodded and laughed with Hunk. “I’m just glad it all got sorted out now.” Hunk sighed and looked at Lance with a fond smile. “Take care of him, yeah? He may seem bold and confident, but he has insecurities, too. You only got to see a small fraction of it tonight, but his expression when he talks about you is really sweet. He’s absolutely crazy about you, man, and he cares about you a whole lot.”
Keith felt his throat close up with emotion and worked to swallow it down so he could speak. “I don’t know how he thinks I’m amazing when I think he’s so much more.” He looked up into Hunk’s eyes with a determined expression. “I’ll make sure he knows just how amazing he is. He can’t go singing other people’s praises without acknowledging his own. I’ll tell him everyday if I have to.”
Hunk smiled brightly. “I trust you will, man. I’m looking forward to two of my best friends getting their heads on straight and finally starting to date!”
Adam snorted. “Well, I dunno if either of them have their head on straight, if you know what I-”
“Okay!” Shiro cut Adam off, wrapping an arm around his waist and pulling him towards the door. “I think it’s time for us to head home now. Goodnight!”
“Yeah, I should head out now, too! Goodnight, Keith!” Hunk gathered the rest of his things and followed after Shiro and Adam, dimming the lights before leaving. The door closed behind them and the silence was a stark contrast to the lively atmosphere of the past few hours.
Keith shuffled around carefully until he was lying down next to Lance. The couch was thankfully big enough that they were able to lie down comfortably without fear of falling off and without their legs hanging off the end.
In the dim light, Keith traced the smattering of freckles across Lance’s nose with his eyes. His heart was still pounding slightly as his brain replayed the events of the night over in his head. Keith felt himself blush again as he specifically remembered the soft expression on Lance’s face as he talked about his eyes.
Keith groaned quietly and rested his forehead softly against Lance’s. “You and I have a lot to talk about when you wake up.” He whispered. He pulled the blanket up higher around the both of them and tentatively wrapped an arm around Lance’s waist to keep him close. He remembered the bonding moment again and frowned slightly. “Before I ask you out, though, I’m gonna ask you a very important question. You know you have it coming, so don’t complain. You’ve brought this upon yourself.”
He tucked Lance’s face under his chin and sighed, his breath ruffling Lance’s hair a little. Keith closed his eyes and smiled as he felt himself drift off to sleep. “Night, Sharpshooter.”
“Wh- Keith?! What are you-? Why are we-?”
“Morning, Lance! Do you have some time to talk about the bonding moment?”