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Stay, Don't be Busy

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Lance finishes his class at noon. He’s been teaching fighter pilot courses at the Garrison since the war ended, and while he loves it, he’s happy when his lunch break finally arrives. More so today than usual, since after his students have all filed out to the hallway and mumbled their tired goodbyes, there’s still someone leaning against the doorframe. There are enough stripes on his uniform to tell Lance he’s not a student. Not that he’d need the help anyway; he knows who’s standing there, even when he’s only seen him in his peripheral. His legs cross at his ankles, his elbow bends and presses against the door to hold it open, and his fist knots so he can hold it against his cheek in an exaggerated show of false nonchalance. The genuine and smooth lines at the ends of his smile show he’s not as indifferent as his body language would suggest, though.

“Hey,” he says, and Lance realizes he’s missed Keith’s voice than he’d previously thought. Hearing it now is like the first bite of a food you haven’t had in months, the one that brings all the flavors and cravings back so fast you get a chest ache. Lance had known Keith would be back from his Blade mission today, but part of him had thought the man wouldn’t come to visit. They’re not dating, as much as Lance wishes they are, so there was never any obligation for Keith to stop by. 

Every ounce of blood in his veins had been coursing with the hopes that Keith would come visit him anyway. 

And here he is. 

Keith’s got his Garrison uniform on, the one with the red sleeves and gold stripes, and Lance’s eyes snag on the way the colors broaden his shoulders. Or maybe it’s the way he’s standing, tall and confident, with that smug, little smile on his lips. But he looks so genuinely happy to see Lance, and that ties the whole image together. It’s something Lance will stare up at his ceiling thinking about until the next time Keith comes home. The next time Keith gives him something he can’t sleep over. Keith licks his lips, and the taunting image scrawled through Lance’s mind shifts. A shudder passes through Lance’s spine. He knows exactly what triggered it.

He nods at Keith, hands fumbling for the papers on his desk as a source of distraction. Quietly, he clears his throat, “Hey, Keith.” And there’s a smile in his voice, warm and fizzing, as he flashes a smitten look at his shuffling hands. Too stubborn, too apprehensive to let Keith know how profoundly giddy he is, but too pleased to keep a smile away. The pages click twice against the desk as he straightens them. Calculated. Nervous. “Didn’t think I’d see you during my lunch break today.” Lance flickers his eyes up and away from his work, and Keith’s grin in response is irrepressible. As if Lance just looking at him is enough to satisfy everything he’d ever wanted. Doesn’t he know how much Lance looks at him? It isn’t that special. But the way Keith smiles at him definitely is, and Lance feels his stomach roll in gratification, so he hides himself in his work again. His ears are hot.

Keith strolls in from the entrance and the door clicks back into place behind him. “Where else would I go?” He sounds so sincere. Lance smiles, the bunches of his cheeks burning from how wholly he feels the emotion behind his grin. His body sways, only slightly, with a drunken buzz of delight, and he presses a hand to his desk to keep himself steady. The papers he’d stacked so neatly only a second ago wrinkle under his hold, retaining the creases because of the sweat on his palms. God, was he always this blatantly skittish around Keith? The flush of his cheeks is so irredeemably nervous. He hears Keith flop onto the swivel chair behind him. His heart pools and bubbles in his stomach when Keith laughs at the way the seat skids back and squeaks. “You’re my favorite person to spend time with, Lance.” 

“Is that so?” Lance wheezes as he asks that, playing it off by laughing in short spurts after the fact. He turns around slowly, squatting on his desk where his papers aren’t. “Never would have guessed.” And he means it. Him? Keith’s favorite? He bites back the urge to sigh at the weight such an assurance takes off his shoulders. Pleasure burns at his nape; he lifts his hands there, as though to swat it back down. 

As he slides himself farther up his desk, so the crooks of his knees hook on the edge, he watches Keith make up for the distance. Hands close around the desk, one on either side of Lance’s thighs. “Absolutely.” Lance loses his voice at the certainty in Keith’s tone. The glint in Keith’s eyes turns wicked as he stands up and leans closer, shrinking the distance between them to something so small, Lance knows he’s not imagining Keith’s body heat swarming his own. “I heard something interesting from Pidge and Hunk when I came in this morning,” he says, bringing his hands closer to Lance’s legs, an inch away from touching. Lance dizzies at the thought, wonders what his hands feel like when they linger for more than a fleeting touch. 

“What did you hear?” Lance has to restart the sentence a few times, emotions too thick in his throat to allow words passage. Keith smiles something tender at the jolts in Lance’s voice. One of his hands releases the desk and instead, it drifts to Lance’s cheek. Though he puts infinite effort into an attempt, Lance can’t seem to keep his eyes open. He can’t see it when Keith swoops in to smother their lips together, but he feels it so perfectly, so completely, he swears the image is right there, on the backs of his eyelids. Surely on his ceiling tonight, too, as he’ll be kept up again. One of Lance’s hands grips to ground himself on the desk, while the other reaches for the hand Keith kept beside his thigh.

When Keith straightens his spine and thus places distance between them once more, it becomes painfully clear the sort of thing he’d heard. “Pidge said she was tired of watching you ‘stare at’ and ‘pine’ over me. Hunk begged me to make the first move.” Twitching his nose, he pauses, and the hand along Lance’s cheeks trails downward to his neck. Keith looks concerned. “How long?” It’s fragile, the way his face seems to fold in the middle, where his eyebrows wrench together, as though trying to meet. A welt of sadness taints Lance’s throat.

“Do you mean how long I was going to wait to kiss you? Or how long I’ve already been waiting?” Lance’s fingers begin to slip away from where they’re nestled over Keith’s, but they’re stopped when Keith desperately draws them back, pinning the hand under his own. Shyly, Lance admits, “Either way, the answer is pretty close to forever.” A sour note wrenches from Keith’s throat.

Pressing closer, touch hot enough on Lance’s neck to scar, Keith weakly ponders, “Why?” 

“I’ve been busy, and you’ve been busy, out with the Blades—”

“You’re not busy right now,” Keith says, tone sharp with urgency, but countenance a heartstopping mild. His eyes are scalding, a swirling grey like thick, stifling smoke, and Lance is suffocating in them, how they lock onto him. Stern, gentle, intoxicating. Those eyes dip to Lance’s mouth. A tongue darts over Keith’s lips when he brings his eyes upward again. “I’m not busy with the blades, either. What’s stopping you now?” Lance feels Keith’s hand on his neck crawl around to his scalp. He lets it happen, leans into the cup of gentle touches. 

Lance whimpers, “But you will be busy. When you leave again in a few days.” After hearing that, Keith tugs Lance closer by his hair, so he can kiss him again. Longer, deeper, and this time, Lance kisses back. He doesn’t care that the discussion has been paused, doesn’t mind postponing it, if it means he gets to taste more of Keith’s lips, circling and pushing along his own. Keith’s leaving, he tells himself. It isn’t a good idea to indulge in something that’s doomed to crash and burn, he reminds himself. But, ultimately, he admits that it feels too right to ignore. Lance curls into Keith, so indescribably satisfied he feels he might fall down onto his desk. His back shudders at the thought, like it’s about to give out under the affectionate assault, as though to confirm such a thing would be fitting. He wraps his arms around Keith’s neck to hold himself together.

The hold Keith has on Lance’s scalp falls away. He’s at the bottom of Lance’s shirt, now, and searing fingers swipe a patch of skin on the small of Lance’s back. It makes Lance arch closer. Keith eagerly takes the invitation, sliding his whole hand up under Lance’s shirt, just to cradle his shoulder blades. All his actions, all his motions whisper, caress, sing, I’ve waited too long, over soft skin. The drag of his tongue along the roof of Lance’s mouth says the same. So do the scribbled circles that loop around to Lance’s stomach, because Lance finally leans his spine down against his desk. He’s taking Keith’s cheeks, his addictive lips, with him. Keith swirls the nails of that one hand over Lance’s middle, and his other hand hastily moves from the edge of the desk to the space beside Lance’s head, where his fingers curl into the wood. 

Meanwhile, Lance grapples Keith’s cheeks like he’ll fall right into oblivion without Keith and his lips holding him in the present. His fingers wind through, and undo, Keith’s ponytail, so the hair tie clicks against the classroom floor. He doesn’t spare a thought in its direction; he’s waited too long to have Keith pushing, prodding, brushing teeth against his lips. Waited too long to kiss and be kissed by someone he feels so strongly for. To kiss and be kissed by Keith. When Lance whines, low and pleading in his throat, Keith lifts from Lance like he’s out of breath. Like he’s been drowning in something, and Lance feels the same. He can’t pry his eyes open, his lungs heave, and he feels Keith’s pulse from where he’s holding him by his cheeks, telling him Keith’s as antsy, as excited, as he is.

As Lance’s eyes squint open, he sees Keith’s cheeks are flushed. And Keith looks self conscious. Worried. He pulls his lips apart, huffs a few airless breaths, and then he suggests, “What if I don’t leave again? What if I stay here, not busy, with you?” He thumbs Lance’s bottom lip, he watches himself do it, as if he’s about to dive back in. If he went for it, Lance would let him. Lance would let him do anything. There’s no one he trusts more. In fact, he indulges the selfish look in Keith’s eyes, lifting his torso up to Keith’s so they can kiss again. Keith sighs against him, and Lance can feel the relief as his tense shoulders relax. 

They kiss until Lance is too overwhelmed by the heat behind it to breathe, and he pats Keith’s cheek. Instantly, Keith unlatches from Lance. They lock eyes for a moment, before Keith tickles his nose against Lance’s jawline experimentally. When Lance opens the spot to him, humming, Keith pecks a couple kisses down his neck. Fingers clutching into fists, Lance knots them together at the wrists, behind Keith’s head. His mind is fuzzy, his words slur as he quietly questions what Keith had proposed. “You’d do that for me?”

Keith chuckles against his pulse. Every exposed patch of Lance’s skin smolders, every one of his brain cells is stolen to play the sound and the feeling on repeat. God. God. He could keep Keith there forever, ask him to say every little thought he has there, and Lance still wouldn’t tire of it. He’s certain. It feels too good. Too perfect. So much so, he almost wants to ask Keith to stop, before he’s too drunk to teach later. Worst of all is how he knows, if he were to ask Keith to keep kissing and whispering along his neck, the man wouldn’t hesitate to do it. He’d probably smile and rumble with laughter and—

“Would I? Oh, Lance,” he breathes, then he’s leaving a kiss that’s longer than the rest, one that lingers after he’s pulled away again. “As if there’s anything I wouldn’t do for you.”

“Then stay,” Lance says hastily. Now that Keith’s suggested it, Lance can’t get the thought out of his head. How badly he wants Keith to stay with him. To kiss him every day, to laugh with him, to visit him during his lunch breaks. His heart revs up at the thought, his eyes swell with tears. Lance begs, “Please stay. Go on a date with me, keep kissing me, do whatever you want. Just please do it here, on Earth. Stay.” His breath is shaking. Now he’s crying. “Please, Keith. Stay with me.”

One last time, Keith kisses him on his mouth. Sweet and brief. Lance’s whole body shivers.

“For you, Lance…” Their eyes meet again, and Lance notices Keith is crying, too. “Anything.”