Lance feels the thick hair in his hands, inky even in the low light of his room. The sun hasn’t risen yet, not that it would matter much - the only thing he’s ever seen is white, grey, and black. It makes Keith particularly striking and, if he’s being honest, it’s what drew them together in the first place.
Lance couldn’t keep his eyes off of him.
He’d drummed up a rivalry just to have an excuse to be close, to get up in his space, to call him mullet and pull his proverbial pigtails. But when he got close, he got pulled in.
And now he’s in love.
And if that isn’t a quiznack of a situation. Because he doesn’t know if Keith is his soulmate, doesn’t know if color will bleed into his world if he kisses him. There are supposed to be signs, damn it. He should be seeing things fade through, should catch something different out of the corner of his eye.
But he hasn’t.
And Keith hasn’t mentioned anything to him - which like, okay, he probably wouldn’t, because they weren’t exactly like that, but still! They’ve become best friends, almost inseparable - and Keith would’ve told him if he’d started seeing colors, just like Lance would. And here’s the thing: he’s terrified he hasn’t.
Because this is the big one.
This is the one that’s set him on fire, that makes his head fly out the window and his heart burst into flames; the one that pushes and pushes but also gives as much as he takes, the one that says you can do this and Lance believes him. Keith is everything Lance could have ever asked for, if he’d even known where to start.
He completes Lance in a way he never thought possible - not in that ‘love at first sight’ way, where you’re head over heels the moment you catch eyes. No, this is the ‘oh god oh shit oh jeez this one’ way. Because Keith is nothing but surprises and Lance...is fucking gone.
Every time Keith scrunches his eyes at one of Shiro’s texts, or smiles his secret smile at a mug of hot chocolate, Lance has to weigh the pros and cons of throwing himself out of the nearest window.
Pros: instant death, mercifully quick end, wouldn’t be caught with that dopey ass smile on his face.
Cons: no more Keith
So he keeps chugging along, keeps his feelings tight in his chest, and keeps buying that expensive hot chocolate Keith loves but refuses to spend $30 on a can of it. And they’re fresh out of college so they are most definitely on a budget but like - priorities.
Lance sighs and pulls his hand out of Keith’s hair, careful not to disturb him. I’ll confess one day, he thinks, and then internally slaps himself. Maybe I should just do it today. Right now. Just - kiss him and see.
But he doesn’t lean forward. Doesn’t want to ruin this, doesn’t want to just kiss him out of the blue, doesn’t want to know. Because if this isn’t what true love feels like...it doesn’t go any deeper. This is everything he has to give, and maybe he’d rather live his life in black and white than ever see blues and purples and reds if it meant loving another.
No, this is fine.
There’s a slight grumble as he sits up, and Keith flips over onto Lance’s pillow, snuggling deeper into the covers of his bed. Lance’s hand flies out towards where his phone is plugged in, desperately tugging to get the cord out without moving the bed too much.
There’s a small plunk as the cord falls to the floor but Keith doesn’t stir, so Lance slowly pulls it up, swiping over to the camera app. He frames it just right, the sunlight barely coming through the window enough to throw Keith’s face in stark difference to his hair, the sheets.
Lance snaps a few at different angles and brings it back down, delicately slipping out of bed. He doesn’t look at them, tries to stop himself from turning back towards the bed.
He still takes another one: a view from his door, of the new morning light in his room, of Keith curling up in his rumpled bed.
Lance waits until he has the coffee brewing before he looks at them. He has to cover his mouth with one hand, and can feel the flush traveling over his entire body - hot and all consuming, matching his insides.
God, I love you.
Keith makes it to the kitchen an hour after Lance has calmed down, and if he’d never seen a rumpled, grumpy, morning Keith before he would fall over on the spot. Because his hair is loose around his face, his shirt has crease marks, and his sweats are slung low on his hips; revealing a divine strip of skin and showing off the muscle and jut of his hip bones.
He doesn’t even flinch . Not much, at least.
“Mornin’,” Keith rumbles, and oh god does it go straight through him.
“Morning. You hogged the blankets last night.”
“Did’n do anything like that.” He says, and slings himself into one of the barstool chairs along the counter. “There any coffee?”
“Yeah, and bacon. You better appreciate me, mullet, I’m a regular catch and a half.” Lance doesn’t even hide how fond his voice is. He’s so gone on this grump ass.
“Hmmmm pass it over, will ya? I think my head is gonna cave in.”
Lance nearly breaks his neck looking for the window - across the apartment, I’d have to jump the couch to get there- before slowly turning around and popping a fresh pod into the coffee machine, almost on autopilot.
Keith is silent while he does this, doesn’t even look up from where he’s slumped forward onto the counter, and Lance wonders if he’s fallen asleep. He goes to the cupboard and pulls out a couple aspirin before heaping a pile of bacon onto a small plate from the cabinet, setting it down in front of Keith’s folded arms.
He jerks upward, his eyes wild and slightly red before focusing on Lance, softening slightly. “Yeah?”
Please suplex me into the Earth's core.
Lance smiles at him and wills his blush to fade because quiznack it, Keith can see your ears! Get it together! He doesn’t look at him before picking up the paperback lying next to the toaster, picking up where he left off. It’s something he snagged off of Keith’s bookshelf, and Keith doesn’t let anyone borrow his books.
He wants to pretend it means something.
“Oh,” Keith says, interrupting his internal monologue, thank you very much, “ I was thinking about going to the beach today. Wanna come along?”
“Hmmm,” Lance hums before pulling his phone out, tapping to pull up the weather, “it looks like it might be cooler and mostly cloudy so if we get a move on we might be able to -“
“Cool, cool,” he interrupts, and his eyes are tight. What in quiznack - “ If we get ready we can be there in a couple hours.”
“What’s up, Samurai, you got a hot date or something?” Lance asks, and please don’t say you’d drag me along to a tinder meet up please I’m begging-
Keith huffs a laugh. “Something like that. Anyway, just put on a nice shirt and meet me at the door in ten?”
“Excuse you, all of my shirts are nice. And you need to shower, there’s no way your hungover ass is gonna make it without one. Final point: what the hell does ‘something like that’ mean? If you’re taking me to meet up with some dude I swear to quiznack I’ll-“
“No, no, no. I mean yes! I need a shower,” he says, as if that doesn’t do things to Lance’s brain. “But uh,” Keith rubs the back of his neck, like he does when he’s nervous, “do you trust me?”
Lance narrows his eyes, and even though his brain is busy jumping to every kind of conclusion possible his mouth seems to just move on autopilot. “Of course I do.”
“Good. Okay, so I’m gonna shower and change, we’ll meet out here in…” he looks at Lance’s face, “twenty minutes?”
“Yeah. Sure! No, uh, no problem, Keith.”
He doesn’t desperately think about wet hair and muscles and arms, and has to be dragged out of his room by an impatient Keith while only wearing half a shirt.
It’s cooled down a lot recently, but even so they’re able to hop on the back of Keith’s motorcycle: a beautiful piece of machinery, fire engine grey and lightning fast.
Lance still has full blown fantasies about the first time he saw Keith on this thing.
They make it to the beach, and it’s comfortingly empty. It’s late enough in the season that most kids are in school, adults are at work, and a bunch of vacationing retirees are blissfully far, far away from this sandy stretch of land. Lance loves tourist season, he’s met many good friends that way; but god is there something about a salty breeze on an open beach.
But not just that: Keith is taking the backpack from him, sliding it off his shoulders and putting it on his own, the heat of the motorcycle drifting away fast as they make their way to their spot. And yeah, it’s their spot. Has been since like, three years ago when Lance busted Keith’s nose with a board and then had to buy him ice cream to make up for it.
It iswas still the tiniest bit crooked.
Keith pulls a thick blanket out of the pack, something patterned and woven; before he spreads it out on the ground. Lance is only a little entranced with the move of his shoulders, the flex of his muscles through the jacket. He hurries over to help, easily catching the other side and holding it against the wind.
They both eye each other carefully before flopping the blanket down at the same time, saving it from crumpling or blowing away. Lance glances over out of the corner of his eye to see Keith doing the exact same thing. They’re able to hold it together for a few seconds before they’re doubled over in laughter and hanging off each other.
Lance tries not to stare as he wipes tears from the corner of his eyes, but god. Keith’s hair is windswept and strands are falling out of its long thick braid, his shirt is loose and soft under Lance’s hands, and the scar from his accident is stark against his face, and his eyes are so goddamn beautiful Lance can’t catch his breath.
And oh son of a muffin when did we get this close?
But Lance doesn’t have time to think about that because Keith is cupping his face, and his eyes are going soft, and -
“Y-“ it takes him a second, he has to clear his throat. “Yeah, Keith?”
He takes a deep breath in, like he’s weighing something. “I couldn’t stop thinking about you. When we first met, that is. And - I know I’ve made some mistakes, and I know things haven’t always gone how we wanted them to. And I know this is a huge risk, and you might not want anything to do with me after it. But - I’ve been seeing flashes, and…”
Lance’s eyes are wide, he can’t think over the pounding in his heart, he can’t see past this moment in his life right here. But he has to know. “And?”
Keith cups his cheeks, and leans in until their noses are brushing.
“Can I kiss you, Lance?”
Lance takes it in, burns this black and white memory into his head, brands it on his heart. Doesn’t waste a second thinking about after or what if. There’s only Keith, and the fire in his chest.
As soon as the word leaves his lips Keith’s eyes fall closed and he leans in, the distance dwindling to nothing as they meet for the first time.
It’s hot. And cool, and warm, and soft, and it feels like home and his soul is screaming and he wants this forever and ever and ever. Keith’s lips are so inviting, so delicious, and Lance wants to kiss them for the rest of his life. He straddles Keith’s lap, throwing decorum out the quiznacking door because if he’s going to kiss him, he’s going to do it right. He gets his hands in Keith’s hair and pulls, swallows the moan that leaves his lips.
Lance doesn’t want this to end, doesn’t want to break this moment - but they both need air. He leans back but not far, his forehead still pressed to Keith’s, their air still mingling. He doesn’t open his eyes though. He wants to have this, no matter the outcome.
“Lance? Sweetheart can you open your eyes for me?” Keith asks, the words soft against his skin.
“I - I don’t want to know. I just - Keith, I want to be with you, even if it’s not - even if we’re not-“
“I know, baby. But I’d really like to know what color your eyes are.”
“ What?” Lance asks, and his eyes fly open to look at Keith, and -
Oh, so that’s what violet looks like.
Keith’s eyes are a liquid grey-purple, like someone had pulled galaxies and placed them in his soul. And - Lance doesn’t even remember to turn around, to see his ocean in all its glory he’s so entranced. Soft, pink lips; a flushed face, hair just as black as he thought it’d be.
It’s more than he could’ve ever imagined.
Lance barely notices Keith doing the same thing, cataloguing every freckle, every hair, every shade of his eyes.
“Yeah?” And shit , when did he get so wrecked ?
“Will you go on a date with me?”
Lance laughs delightedly, feeling light and happy and whole.
His lips meeting Keith’s, again and again are all the answer he has to give.