Keith looks up from his sketchbook, smiling slightly as he catches the glimpse of dark skinned boy in front of him. His heart flutters and pounds, as if it's flying. Then, he takes a deep breath, preparing himself, letting his heart fall and sink right back down.
“So, Lance, can I just, say something,” he starts, trying his hardest not to let his voice slip up and stutter.
“Sorry, nope, you just did.” Lance only peeks up from his book very slightly, but he lets out a small chuckle when he sees Keith's face, eyebrows knit together and a small frown on his face.
“This is serious Lance.”
Lance looks up now, gaze fully focused on Keith's face, on his squinted indigo eyes. He adjusts himself to sit up, and move only slightly closer to Keith.
“What's up Keith?”
And hell, this is the most stupid thing Keith could be doing right now. What was he even trying to accomplish? His gaze shifts to the shark printed sheets, because he couldn't look at Lance right now. He couldn't look at the dark freckles that were scattered on his face, or his stupidly big lips, or his electric blue eyes, because what the fuck was he even doing?
“I know this is random, and kinda pointless, but you need to know and I just can't stop thinking about it,” Keith says, and he flinches when he hears his voice crack. What an absolutely amazing start that was.
“Hey, look at me. Are you okay?”
No. No, he wasn't, this wasn't, he couldn't do this. He forces his eyes shut, gripping to covers and taking a deep breath.
He couldn't, but he had to.
“I just really want to say something.”
Need to. He didn't want to, not one bit. But if he said that, Lance wouldn't even let him get anything out.
“And I don't expect anything to happen because of it, but I need to say it anyways.”
At least that much was the truth.
“Go ahead, buddy, what's up? Is something bothering you?” Lance's eyebrows draw together, and he squeezes Keith's shoulder, attempting to move him, to make him face him. Keith refuses to budge though, his face staying pointed below them, his eyes now open once again.
“I like you.”
That was a fat ass lie.
Keith didn't like him.
Keith loved him.
But that was as close as he could get without undoubtedly scaring off Lance.
“Fuck. I've liked you for so long, and I know you might not want to do anything about it,”
Because he'd said himself, multiple times, that he didn't like Keith.
“You don't have to date me, or feel bad if you don't like me back,”
Lance had already gone through that enough. He was too fucking sympathetic for it to be healthy. He really should have considered how Lance would feel, but God he felt like he'd been suffocating.
“And if you're annoyed by me now or think I'm being clingy, I can leave you alone,”
Lance had felt that way about Nyma when she liked him, and Keith knew he could be really… Well, clingy, sometimes. He knew that all too well. Idiot.
“But I just needed to tell you because…”
By this time Keith had looked up, but he suddenly wishes he hadn't. Because that look Lance is giving him, one eyebrow quirked up, his mouth in a small frown, is enough to make him feel like crying. Because no matter what front he put up, there was still this childish hope that maybe, when he looked up, he'd find Lance beaming and be pulled into a kiss. But that's not what's happening, and Keith feels his heart tighten and tears prick at his eyes.
But there's no turning back now, he's already started this mess.
“Because, fuck, Lance, I think I'm falling in love with you.”
But who the fuck is he kidding, he'd already fallen. And it hurt, so much.
Keith feels the tears running down his cheeks and yeah, he had expected to cry. Because this was all too much. Too much love, and want, and fear for it to be anything good. It felt amazing, and terribly sickening all at once. He lets out another broken sob and pulls his knees up to his face, burying his head.
It's silent for a while. Lance's eyes fix on Keith's, and he feels himself let go. Relax. And he cries so much more, because he said it, he had actually, finally said it, and Lance still hadn't said anything for what felt like hours.
After an eternity, Keith is pulled out of his thoughts.
Though not quite how he'd expected.
And out of nowhere, there are suddenly arms wrapping around him, and a much more literal weight against his chest.
“Thank fucking God.”
He stiffens for a moment, unsure of how to react because, oh God, Lance is hugging him. The boy he loves is hugging him.
“Because I think I'm falling for you too, you fucking idiot.”
Lance tucks his hair back. He relaxes, feeling Lance take a deep, shaky breath against him before moving away all too soon.
“You and your stupid mullet." He flicks a piece of hair that's fallen in Keith's face. "I've wanted nothing more than to be able to hold you and kiss you or just confess, if nothing else, but I was just so damn scared.” Lance takes in a breath, and his eyes are blown wide, tears creeping up into them.
"Scared that you'd hate me, or find me annoying. Or that I'd make things awkward, or ruin our friendship. And I couldn't do that, Keith," his voice cracks, and he runs his hands through Keith's hair. His own tears start to surface, but he keeps talking, his rambling seemingly endless.
As if Keith wasn't scared, now a sobbing mess on Lance's bed as he showed the most vulnerable parts of himself.
“I still am, God, shit, I'm terrified, Keith. I'm scared that it won't work out well. That we'll- that I'll mess it up and lose you. That if this doesn't work out you'll start to hate me, or that you'll stop lo- that you'll stop liking me and I can't do it Keith.” Lance clutches at Keith's shirt. He holds him as close as he physically can, grabbing at his back and pushing their chests together, his chin slumped on Keith's shoulder.
Keith closes his eyes and pulls in a breath, then two, three, four. He wills himself to stop crying, taking a few minutes to process what was said. And what's he supposed to do about it? Because yeah, Lance said he likes him, but he also looks so god damn terrified about it. He looks so broken and unsure about even just a theoretical relationship with him.
He takes one more breath and decides what he's going to do.
He plants a small kiss on Lance's hair, moves Lance's arms from around his back, and stands up, ready to bolt. He's going to be strong. He's going to be brave, so that Lance wouldn't have to, because he's had to do that enough.
“It's okay, we don't have to do this.”
That didn't stop him from wanting it more than anything as he started backing out of the room.
“Lance, if you can't do this, just say so. We can stay friends, because if you don't want to, I-”
But his words are lost as Lance's arms wrap desperately around him once again, and lips meet his, hesitant and unsure, but lighting a fire in his chest nonetheless. They leave just as quickly, his shaky fingers lingering, tracing his jaw. And Keith almost melts when he stares up at Lance's shocking blue eyes, his faint sense of bravery long gone. A small tension lingers in the room, and everything is riding on what Lance is about to say.
Because maybe he just wanted to properly say goodbye to that love they never got to have.
Or maybe, just maybe, he's giving it a warm welcome into his life.
“I want to.”
And the way he says it, his voice low and breathless, makes Keith's pulse stutter. And it changes the entire mood of the room, all of the tension replaced with something so much heavier. So much more desperate.
And so they move back in, just as painfully slow, just as carefully, as if they were each a sculpture made of glass. And all too suddenly, they fall together as their cares escape them, with so much pent up love finally bubbling to the surface as Keith wraps his arms around Lance's back and locks him there, and their lips find each other once again.
Keith feels his heart jump and flip with the change of pace, and feels Lance's heart pound against his chest. Keith turns his head into the kiss, and lets out a small breath as he feels Lance tug his lip. He pushes Lance back onto the bed, rolling them over to their sides, running his hands through his hair and forcing them as close together as he possibly can.
He's euphoric, and he can't help the pleased sounds he makes as he pulls Lance in, and slips his tongue into his mouth. He holds him as close as he can, and kisses him. And it's better than he could ever imagine, and no way in hell is he letting himself forget this feeling if it's the only time he can experience it.
They pull apart, breathless, still shocked at the realisation of what just happened.
And Lance is so happy, he can't help but laugh.
He clutches Keith as he lets himself go in a fit of giggles, and Keith can't help but do the same. Keith pulls him closer, holding onto him like his life depends on it.
They eventually stop laughing, lying next to each other, staring into the other's eyes. Dopey grins lie on each of their faces, but neither cares to change that.
"You look pretty like this," Lance mumbles in his ear. His voice is wispy and fills Keith with a sense of calming. It sends them both into another fit of giggles.
"You too." Keith kisses the spot under Lance's ear, watching as his face lights up.
"Hey," Lance whispers, pulling Keith's face into his, making their noses touch.
"What?" Keith feels his pulse race, heart scared of the possibilities of what could be said. Was Lance regretting it? Did he change his mind about a relationship?
"Wipe that worry off your face, dork. I'm not gonna reject you now."
"Sorry," Keith says, breathless. He takes a few moments to collect himself, trying to will away any intruding negative thoughts. "What's up?"
Lance mumbles something he can't quite make out, and his brows furrow. "What was that?"
"I love you." Lance smiles, eyes closed.
Keith feels himself starting to cry once again, his hand going up to cup Keith's face.
"I love you too." They lay there, not daring to break the moment, until Lance prompts them to sit up. He keeps Keith's face close to his, smiling. He leans in for a short kiss, arms wrapped around Keith's shoulders, both of them smiling into it.
"I want cookies."
"Oh my God!" Keith laughs, trying to push Lance away. Eventually he succeeds, and rolls out of Lance's grasp onto the bed
"What, noo, babe, come back," Lance mumbles, crawling over and sitting next to him.
"You killed it, you completely ruined the mood," Keith chuckles, rolling his eyes. "I cannot believe I like you."
"Love," Lance corrects, and Keith rolls on his back and closes his eyes, a content smile resting on his face as he pats his hands on his chest.
"Yeah, love." Keith looks back up to him with half lidded eyes, and Lance swears his heart leaves his chest.
"Alright," Keith groans sitting up. "Time to get cookies then."
Lance's eyes light up as he cheers, standing up and skipping out of the room, Keith trailing behind, and grabbing his hand as they walk to the kitchen.