Lance wakes to soft breaths and a tangle of limbs, the castle a gentle hum as the stars outside make their paths through the darkness around them. And - he’s really not freaking out anymore. Because him and Keith? They’ve been doing this for like...two years. Which might sound bad, but they really just wanted to keep their relationship to themselves for a while - relax in the comfort of each other, discover their secrets, plan sneaky dates just for the thrill of it, and maaaaybe see how many times they could kiss behind their friend’s backs without them noticing.
Which - so far, Keith is winning 671 to 536, and Lance is determined to beat him before they tell their friends. It’s looking kind of dicey though, because while the secrecy and sneaking around is fun in its own way...Lance wants something a little more permanent feeling. He wants Keith to pin up the shitty photobooth pictures they took on ADK-3659, or to hang his new leather jacket in their closet, or take his boots off next to their bed, or spend the morning brushing teeth together. He just - wants.
And god, was Keith ready to give it to him. How many times had he asked? Four? Five? Ten? And each question got a serious answer of “not until I kick your ass in the kissing game, babe.” But the reality was...the reality was that he was scared. And - y’know, sometimes a close call is all you really need to put things into perspective. Because Keith almost didn’t come home last night; was almost sucked into the endless sea of stars by some nameless Galra soldier that had gripped him before they vented the corridor, was almost gone. Forever.
And Lance? Is not okay with that. Not even a little bit, not at all. At this point, he’s starting to realize he doesn’t give a shit what their friends think - they didn’t even notice when he stopped flirting with Allura, and Keith could probably move entire rooms before they realized on their own what was up. So maybe this time was just one too many for him to not take what was offered - everything.
He hasn’t seen his family in years, and he’s not about to let Keith slip through his fingers without indulging in every domestic fantasy his mind can conjure up.
So he doesn’t slip quietly from Keith’s bed. He sinks into the sheets that feel like clouds on his skin and winds an arm around his warm lover, basking in the quiet that the early hour brings. No one has come tromping through yet, anyway. And even when they do - well. He’s made up his mind.
It’s not until he’s being shaken awake by a beautifully rumpled Keith that he even thinks twice about his decision, and at best it’s half assed because hello. “Good morning to you too,” he says as he ignores the urgent words Keith may or may not be sputtering, sliding a hand into long inky hair and silencing him with the push of his lips. He thinks he’s convinced Keith to leave it alone, too, until he feels a hand come up between them and lightly push on his chest.
“Lance. I know,” he sighs here, “I know you don’t want everyone to find out, but I don’t know how I’m supposed to explain you leaving my room half naked in the morning” Keith has a kind of sad look to his eyes, just the barest downturn of his lips, and if Lance didn’t know every possible face he could make he never would’ve caught it.
“Well then, I guess it’s time to get a new room, huh?” Lance says as he leans back onto the mound of pillows, hands resting behind his head. “Maybe something a little bigger? I was thinking the East Hall, it’s a little closer to the hangars and just off the -“
“Woahhhh. Time out, Sharpshooter.” He raises a brow. “New room?”
“Well yeah, Keith. We’ve been together for two years, don’t you think it’s time we got our own place?”
Keith is obviously confused - they left for a mission a little salty with one another, Keith almost died, and now Lance is changing his mind about switching rooms.
And that’s when he can see the metaphorical lightbulb pop on over his boyfriend’s head.
“Lance, you know I don’t want you to move in with me if you’re not ready. A couple scrapes -“
“More than a couple.”
He levels a look at Lance before continuing. “A couple scrapes don’t have to change things. You know I’ll take whatever I can get.” And here his eyes soften, hands coming up to gently cup Lance’s face. “I love you.”
Lance closes his eyes, and turns his face to kiss one of the palms holding him. A heavy, shuddering breath escapes him as a wave of emotions swirl through his body, dragging all of his doubts and fears to a depth so crushing it’s like they never existed at all. There’s only this moment, this feeling.
“I love you too, Red. And yeah,” he opens his eyes to pin Keith with a stare, “I’m not gonna lie. You scared me yesterday, babe. And I know we’ve had close calls but - I don’t know, it felt different. And I realized...I realized that I didn’t want to do this without moving forward. I don’t - Keith, if I lost you, it would destroy me. And I want this. It scares me but...we’ve been through worse, and I think I’ve dragged it out long enough as it is. So - you win. And I think we should move in together.”
Keith just stares. And stares and stares and stares, before he takes mercy on Lance and leans in to capture his lips again; softly, and then with more insistence. They tangle together in the sheets, bodies hard and soft and right, until they’re both spent and trembling in the aftershocks of their morning. Keith leans over him to gently twine their fingers together, pinning him down while his thick black hair frames their faces.
“Are you sure about this, Lance? Because once they know -“ he cuts himself off, lower lip between white teeth. And Lance - well. He knows what insecurity looks like. He’s worn that mask too many times.
“Babe - Samurai, Red, Keith, love of my life -“
“I sure hope I am.”
“- I’m sure. As sure as I’ve ever been about anything in my life. Okay? And of course you’re the love of my life. I wouldn’t be space ranger partners with just anyone, you know. I have standards.”
Keith smiles and ducks his head, a chuckle warming Lance’s neck as his breath dances along skin. “Alright, Blue. You’ve convinced me.”
That afternoon, Lance strolls into the lounge like he owns the place. Pidge and Shiro are on one couch, having an animated conversation about wormholes and their practical applications: as well as the dodgy science of his old favorite sci fi show. Hunk and Coran take up another - and while one regales the other with tales of a ‘wizzleburt colored hemslab’, the other seems...actually, Hunk seems interested. Lance slips out his handheld to make a note about asking him later.
Keith and Allura are sharing the biggest: tablets in their laps, murmuring between themselves as they go over their notes from the most recent romance they decided to read together. Lance has a moment of sweet melancholy - his life could’ve been so different, had Allura taken him seriously.
He’s never been quite this happy something didn’t go his way.
He pushes away those thoughts, slipping into the cushions next to Keith while a hand pulls the tablet from him in one deft motion. “Hey there, Red. Whatcha doin’?”
“Lance,” he says with fond exasperation, “you know exactly what I’m doing. C’mon, give me the tablet back.”
“Ahhhhh bip bip bip - I think we had something to discuss, querido.”
Keith’s eyes go wide. “Wait - you mean now?”
“I was just thinking we could get it all out of the way since everyone’s here. If you’d rather do it solo...” Lance waggles his eyebrows at him, lips pulled into a devilish smirk. “At least invite me to watch.”
Color blooms lightly on Keith’s cheeks, the newness of being open spurring on his (less than great) sense of embarrassment. Allura is looking at them with wide eyes, a small smile pulling her lips up gently at the corners.
“So,” she says, “I suppose congratulations are in order?”
“Well, Princess...”and here Lance has the sense to look a little chagrined, scratching at one side of his neck. “We’ve kind of...been doing this for a while -“
“Define a while, Pretty Boy.” Keith is full on smirking at him now, enjoying the squirming - probably because he’s so focused on Lance he forgets he’s closest to Allura.
“Um...” Lance has officially stopped gloating and has moved right into hello yes they’re going to kill me territory, realizing just how long two quiznacking years is to keep a secret from your best friends. “T-two deca-phoebs?”
“What?! What do you mean two deca-phoebs?!” Allura’s looking quickly between them, like she’s trying to push two incoherent images together - the Lance and Keith that bicker and pick each other up, and the ones that tease softly, and - “Oh quiznack. You really mean it, don’t you? Two deca-phoebs though, why would you -“
At this point everyone has turned to look at them, curious gazes boring into their little trio in the corner of the room. Shiro is looking on with a curling, Cheshire like smile, and Keith is grinning right back - some sort of standoff there, as if one wants to gloat and the other is taking it easily in stride like “yeah, I bagged that a while ago.” Hunk and Pidge are doing their best to mimic a dying fish, mouths opening and closing soundlessly, eyes frozen wide.
Hunk is the first to break out of his stupor, the shock easily winding through his words. “Lance - wh- but you - you like girls! And - and Allura! And - !” He’s back to gaping, the Loverboy Lance persona harshly trying to take a backseat in his mind.
Lance chuckles, then slides his hand easily into Keith’s. “Hunk...when was the last time I flirted with a woman? Or literally anyone that wasn’t Keith? I mean...aliens don’t exactly go by our gender binary so you had to at least suspect something, right?”
“No,” Pidge starts, “we didn’t.” She has that calculating look in her eye, the one that says she’s putting together the puzzle, reforming pieces she thought she knew. “You - Lance, neither one of you even - it’s not like you hinted about it or anything, I don’t - !”
Keith is looking at her, eyes pinching in concern. “Pidge, Hunk. You know we love you. We just wanted...we wanted to be together, by ourselves for a while. It wasn’t about keeping a secret from you -“
“I mean it was a little of that babe.”
“Not the point, Blue.”
“You enjoyed sneaking around just as much as I did.”
“Okay now I know you’re trying to sidetrack me.” Keith rolls his eyes good naturedly at Lance, rubbing smooth circles into his fingertips. “But like I was saying - we wanted to make sure that things between us were - settled, before we told anyone. And then it never seemed the right time and -“
“And I was afraid,” Lance cuts in. “I wasn’t out before we left Earth and it’s been seven years. Hell I flirted with Allura for most of it and then it just seemed - I don’t know, it seemed like you guys had certain expectations when it came to me and who I should be with, and -“
He’s stopped by dark arms wrapping entirely around him and lifting him into the air, Hunk actually attempting to squeeze the life out of him. “I’m so proud of you, Lance!” And oh, he’s crying. Fat tears stream down his face, a smile as bright as a sun lighting up the room around them. Pidge tentatively joins them, a light touch as she buries her face into Keith’s chest.
Allura and Coran have moved to stand side by side, the orange haired main slowly twirling his mustache. The princess has one hand covering her mouth, while her eyes are crinkled in the corners with happiness at seeing two of her new family...making their own path. And as hard as it is to see - to see them growing and changing and moving...it is also a privilege, one she has been denied in the past. So she lightly pats Coran on the shoulder and joins their steadily growing pile, throwing herself bodily into them.
“Oh darlings, I’m so very happy. You two deserve this and - I hope I’m not speaking out of turn, but you did take us all by surprise, so it might take us some getting used to, if that’s all right? You obviously do fine on missions together, it - it just feels rather sudden to all of us, thinking of you two as a separate unit.”
Keith runs a hand over the mass of curls in front of him, gently pushing a lock of hair behind one of her pointed ears. “Of course that’s fine. I mean - we uh, were actually going to move rooms, but it is your castle so if you -“
“Well, my boys,” Coran says, “I can get you situated in a new place off the main doors if you’d like, maybe the West Wing? Or were you thinking the East, because it does have better views but in King Alfor’s heyday we had a minor infestation of yeglborg puligops! Feisty little buggers! If you think you can handle clearing out one of the rooms we can get right to it!”
“You mean they’re still in there?!” Lance yelps, hands waving frantically from underneath Hunk’s arms that still hold tight around him.
“Why heavens no! Were you raised in a Tilgemoor’s yatsprig? We cleared them out, right soon as we got word! It’s been a bit of a storage area since, I’m afraid.”
“Oh,” Lance’s shoulders sag in relief, “Well then heck yeah we’ll help clear one out, Coran my beautiful man! Bring it in!” He waves him over, and Coran practically dances across the room into their small, but full, group hug.
At this point Shiro is the only one left, and before Keith can wonder why he isn’t sprinting towards the veritable pile of affection in the middle of the room, there he is. Slinging an arm around Keith’s shoulders, he leans in close and says “see? I told you everything would work out. Just - you know, like two years ago. I was starting to wonder if you’d just given up seeing as how you stopped flinging yourself onto my bed and moaning about ‘Lance’s eyes, Shiro!’ Or ‘Shiro, he has a sword do you think -‘“
He’s cut off as Keith frantically tries to extricate himself from all the arms wrapped around him, hands wildly swinging towards his brother’s mouth that just won’t stop.
“Shiro! I will- actually kill you I swear to god I’ll do it and -“
“Awwwww babe! You had a crush on me!”
“- not the time, Lance! We’re literally moving in together! I have to murder Shiro now -“
“Ahhhh kiddo, don’t worry about it,” Shiro says as he ruffles his hair. “I’m proud of you, you know. It takes courage to own who you are. Both of you.” He gives Lance a look, and Keith suddenly wishes he had an airlock to throw himself out of.
“Now!” He slaps his hands together for emphasis,“do I need to have a talk with you two, as the adult in charge, about protection? Because I’m sure Coran could -“
That night, Keith and Lance are settled into their new room: one wall is wholly glass, space flying by like an ocean of stars; another solid, but plastered with pictures they were able to take from Lance’s old phone and their handhelds. They’re tangled together, clothes lost to the floor, words exchanged between hot breaths and the shine of a thousand galaxies surrounding them.
“Hey Red,” Lance says, as they finally settle into the bigger bed a time later, “I’m...happy. Just - super happy, y’know? Like we’re where we’re supposed to be.”
“Yeah, I know,” Keith says as he untucks himself from Lance’s side, pale skin practically glowing in the light of space, and leans up to press their lips together. When he pulls back his eyes are soft and sleepy, gentle in their happiness.
“I love you, Starlight. Now get some rest, we have to run that training simulation in the morning. The one with the -“
“Keith don’t you dare say space tentacles or I swear on holy cheese I will -“
“ - space tentacles is that what we’re really calling them? Because I thought they were more like arms. Like one of those creatures from -“
“No! Keith Kogane you stop it right there don’t you dare make me think about that monster simulator again!”
“Well,” Keith laughs lightly against him, “then I guess you’d better shut me up.”
Lance captures his lips in another kiss, effectively ending that conversation. He runs his hands through thick hair until Keith falls asleep, and then joins him in the true relaxation that comes with the comfort of the one you love. And with their family, together but separate in the best of ways, they move forward.
Into whatever waits.