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Cracking The Code

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Lance wasn't sure what was Keith's problem, but Keith had been leaving papers covered in gibberish messages everywhere.

They weren't meant for Lance, obviously, Keith's eyes only, but Lance couldn't help but wonder why Keith was making them. "DSCDM GDKLD MJNVH WDSCJ KMIHZ" said the one that Lance had found a few days ago, and no matter how hard he tried, he had no idea what the message was.

He'd brought some of them to Pidge, who'd tried her hardest to crack them but couldn't, giving Lance a confused smile and shrugging, claiming that it was probably a 5 letter group message that had used a shift alphabet with a keyword, which she was sure only the author of them knew, unless the messages were meant for someone else.

Meaning, in short, if Lance wanted answers, he'd have to approach Keith, who wasn't even his friend, really, just Shiro's friend that hung around a lot.

Well, Lance would be able to talk to Keith later, as the group, Hunk, Pidge, Shiro, Keith, and Lance, would be in the library later for a bit, because they all had free time at the same time.

Lance sighed and looked down at the box of messages that Keith had dropped or left behind, or the few that Lance had taken from Keith himself, when the other man wasn't paying attention.

 

When the time to go hang out in the library came around, Lance stuffed the box in his backpack and headed out, locking his dorm behind him.

He smiled and waved at his friends when he got there, not surprised to see Pidge on her laptop while Hunk watched her code, or draw, whichever she chose to do, and Shiro was studying, and of course, Keith was writing another note on his pad of sticky-notes, unlike the notepad paper he had been using before.

At their table, the only open seat was next to Keith, so Lance reluctantly sat down next to him, glancing over at the post-it note he was currently writing furiously on, scribbling down words by the second and then switching to the next available post-it note. The only one Lance could see clearly said "LYLHR RKBHR GHHOB NDMNL DRRDM BEUSS NWCHQ EYXQO", and when he looked back up Keith was glaring at him, as if daring him to read the rest, so Lance looked away.

 

When everyone started to pack up to go, Lance still hadn't talked to Keith about the papers, and he held one in his hand, hidden in his fist from Keith's sight, the one that he had taken most recently.

Keith was about to walk to the door of the library, as he had picked up his own bag and his notes, stuffing them in his bag, making sure he left none of them behind. "Wait, Keith!" Lance called, instantly regretting it as Keith turned around to meet Lance with another glare.

"What do you want Sanchez?" Keith asked, clearly annoyed and impatient, ready to get back to the dorm he shared with Shiro.

"I wanted to ask you about something," Lance asked, opening his left palm and showing the crumpled piece of paper that proudly displayed its message, written in Keith's handwriting. "DSCDM GDKLD MJNVH WDSCJ KMIHZ"

Keith's eyes widened, and he tried to snatch the paper from Lance, but Lance was quicker than Keith and hid the paper in his front pocket, feeling awkward as Keith's eyes watched him put it away, dangerously close to...well, and then his eyes flicked back up to Lance's, staring intently, as if waiting for a moment of distraction to take the paper and run.

"What did you want to ask?" Keith glanced back in the direction of where the other paper was, adding to Lance's discomfort as the other man clearly didn't know social norms, and if he did, he tended not to follow them.

"I want to know what these mean," Lance slid his backpack off his shoulder and pulled out the small red box that contained dozens of Keith's messages, each written in their specific code. Keith stiffened at the sight of them all, the ones he had previously thought missing due to Shiro, now found in the hands of the one and only Lance Sanchez.

"No."

"Keith,"

"No."

"Keith!" Lance said, annoyed at Keith's adamant refusal to explain what they were and what they meant.

Keith shook his head. "I am not telling you anything about them, Sanchez," Keith turned as if to walk away, but then turned back around and took the red box from Lance's hands, sprinting away with it, Lance letting out a screech behind him, slinging his backpack over his shoulder, and running after Keith.

 

Running across the lawn outside, Keith clutched the small box to his chest, dodging out of the way of other students and praying that Lance wouldn't be able to catch up with him, but upon glancing behind him, he saw that Lance was close to catching him, just within arms reach. "Keith!" Lance yelled as Keith took a sharp left turn, running into a somewhat unfamiliar hallway in the dorms, one he personally had never gone down but he knew it could take him to his dorm.

Keith picked up the pace, trying to get faster to be able to lock himself in his dorm and hide away from Lance, to see what Lance might have done to his notes. Behind him, Lance was close, arms flailing, trying to grab the back of Keith's jacket or his backpack, trying to get the other man because Lance needed answers, he'd invested himself way too much into the mystery of these notes.

A few moments pass and Keith's in his hallway and he spies his door, and he's nearly out of breath from the chase, and somehow Lance is still keeping up with him. Keith ran for the door, grabbing his keys and unlocking the door swiftly, opening it and running in, shutting the door behind him and flipping the lock.

Or, that was what he hoped would happen.

Instead, Lance ran into Keith. And Keith managed to open the dorm room at that exact moment. So, they fell together, Lance falling on Keith who fell on the floor, looking up to see Shiro on his laptop, turning around from the anime he was watching to raise an eyebrow at the mess that just fell in his room, and the notes scattered beneath said mess. "Anyone care to explain why you're both laying on the floor out of breath?"

 

Lance was the one who ended up explaining the situation while helping Keith pick up the notes and put them back in the red box, although Keith couldn't seem to stop looking at Lance, who was doing the exact same thing.. "And then, Keith took the box and ran-" "Which led to him chasing after me, and then knocking me down on the floor and spilling everything because he's clumsy." Keith finished with a sigh, making Lance turn to him and gape.

"It was your fault! If you hadn't left your notes everywhere, I wouldn't be here and you wouldn't be cleaning this up," Lance spouted, glaring at Keith, who only returned the hostility.

Suddenly Shiro was between them, looking the slightest bit annoyed at the antics of Keith and Lance.

"Okay children, let's try this again. Keith, will you tell Lance something? It's clearly killing him to not understand why you have a bunch of notes that have your personal code for them." Shiro said in an authoritative voice, and Lance could see the conflict in Keith's eyes, whether to explain the notes to Lance or to argue with Shiro, who was like a father and clearly had won the argument when Keith sighed and Shiro sat back down at his desk.

"Well, Lance, I have a personal key code for these messages. I'll quickly explain that these work because you pick a word and then rewrite the alphabet after it, allowing you to create an indecipherable code unless you have the key word." Keith said, rereading a few of the notes he hadn't seen in weeks, and Lance's eyes lit up, his signature shit-eating grin showing up on his face.

"So, you use the word dildo?" Lance asked, wiggling his eyebrows at Keith. Keith turned red, and could barely make a sentence from how embarrassed he got.

"Wh-what? No, no you- oh my god," Keith covered his face with his hands as Lance threw his head back and laughed, clearly enjoying making Keith flustered in a different way than usual, because although they weren't quite friends, many times before they'd been in competitions, about basically everything, and pissing each other off was a common pastime. Shiro snickered from where he sat at his desk, turning around to flash Lance a smile.

"Unfortunately Lance, it has to be a word that doesn't have repeating letters, for example, code could be used as a key word." Shiro added, glancing back at the two younger men on the floor but not really thinking much of it.

Keith managed to open his mouth again, his blush somewhat gone. "Well, I'm not telling you what word I use for the code, because it's personal, but these notes are of no importance, so if you could just give me back that one," Keith held his hand out, pointing at Lance's pocket.

Lance looked down and took the note out, admiring Keith's handwriting and wondering what exactly it could mean. He looked back up at Keith's expecting face, and let one syllable ring around the room. "No."

Keith gave out a shaky laugh and looked around the room, everywhere but Lance's face. "What do you mean, no?"

"I think I want to keep this," Lance said giving Keith a face that said 'I'm not kidding' "I want one of the notes."

Keith frowned. "Well you can have this one," Keith held out a note that had something to do with how tired Keith had been at the time of writing it, and Lance seemed to consider it before shaking his head and holding up the note that said 'DSCDM GDKLD MJNVH WDSEJ KMIHZ', displaying it to Keith who winced when thinking of what it meant while Lance was in the room.

"I want this one, this note Keith. Why can't I have it? If I can't have it, tell me what it means," Lance said boldly, taking a step towards Keith.

"No, you can't have that one. Don't be stubborn Lance," Keith snapped, reaching out to grab the note but Lance held it tightly against his chest.

"What are you going to do for it? Fight me?" Lance teased, grinning at Keith who felt like he was going to hit Lance sooner or later.

That idea turned out to be sooner. "I will, actually," Keith said, throwing a punch and hitting Lance right in the nose in Keith's rage, which he regretted about 3 seconds after his fist connected with Lance's face.

"Shit, shit, Lance-" Keith said, his eyes wide as he tried to take Lance's hand away from his nose, to see what damage he might have caused.

Lance kicked Keith in the stomach, causing the other man to let out a groan and fall to the floor, while Lance cursed under his breath as he pulled his left hand away from his face to find it covered in blood, although his nose had thankfully not been broken. "Fuck, fuck, fuck!" Lance said before listing off curses in what Keith could only guess was Spanish, Lance's blow had knocked all his sense back in him and he realized how stupid it had been to even think of punching Lance.

And suddenly, for the second time that afternoon, Shiro was between Keith and Lance. "For fucks sake, how do you both exist like this? Lance, just go to your dorm, I'll talk to you tomorrow and hopefully your nose gets better, take this so you don't bleed down the hallways," Shiro threw one of Keith's shirts at Lance, who took it and glanced back at Keith, who was just getting up off the floor now "And Keith? We need to talk, right now."

 

After Shiro lectured Keith, Keith really didn't want to do anything but sleep for a few days. If only he didn't have class, if only he didn't have to worry about Lance having that paper instead of the dozens of others Keith had that definitely didn't pertain to Lance.

Lance had to know something Keith didn't, because why the hell would Lance want that specific note?

 

Lance stared at the same gibberish- no, the 'coded message' that Keith had written. He wasn't sure why he took that one, but he could say it was because it was one of the only ones he hadn't searched thoroughly, trying to find some hint of English or Spanish in it.

Now that he knew that there was a key word, he could probably be able to crack it in a few days. Or, more likely, a few months.

Chapter Text

 

 

After Keith had attended all his classes, he'd hidden away all his notes, even disposed of some that had even mentioned Lance. He couldn't let Lance crack the code and read everything he's written, he'd have to come up with a new cipher, though it'd take long enough to print it into his memory.

If he did come up with a new cipher, he'd have to lug the key around with him for a few weeks, which would give Lance the chance to find the key for that cipher also.

One of the only good things Keith had about this situation now was that Lance didn't currently have the key, and if Keith managed to get the note away from Lance before then, he'd be able to hide it away and never let the sun, or moon, see it again. Although taking it and destroying it seemed like a good plan, Keith knew for a fact that just trying to get it away from Lance would be a hell of a feat to do, and giving the note a lot of attention would just make Lance more adamant to holding on to it.

 

Meanwhile, Lance was yet again rereading Keith's note. He wasn't much of someone for ciphers and mysteries, or really any kind of stuff like this at all, but the way Keith had seemed desperate and nervous for the note had set Lance's mind on finding out what it meant. He'd tried a few words and gotten nowhere, annoyed at how slow his progress had been made in the near 24 hours since he'd talked to Keith.

Lance leaned back from where he had been hunched over the note and he stretched his arms out, sore from sitting in one position for so long. He let out a soft sigh as his arms cracked, closing his eyes for a moment and he was out, snoring softly.

His phone buzzed softly, on vibrate from class, but he slept through it, through the multiple messages Keith left, the four text messages of Pidge asking him if he wanted to hang out, two snapchats from Hunk.

 

"Hey Lance? It's Keith, let me know when you get this, or call back at least. Bye."

"Hey, sorry to bother you, Keith again, it's been two hours since I called and you haven't responded. Can you call me? Bye."

"Lance? It's Keith. Again. Can you seriously call me, or text me? It's been an hour since I last called, it's 7, are you alright? Please respond."

"Seriously Lance, if you don't answer again, I'm going to your dorm. Please call me back. Bye."

"Lance, I swear to god, I'm coming over there and you better be there, you asshole."

 

Lance didn't wake up from his phone going off, but he definitely woke up disoriented with someone banging on his door. His head hurt and he felt more tired than he had been, and checked the clock, seeing it was about 9:30 pm, so why was someone banging on the door?

That's when he realized he should probably open the door. He pushed his stiff body up with a groan and made his way to the door, opening it while rubbing his eyes. "Wha-?" He looked up at Keith, who looked annoyed more than anything.

Why was Keith here? If anyone could've been at his door, Lance would've picked about anyone over Keith at the moment.

"Hey asshole, finally decided to open the door?" Keith asked, rolling his eyes and walking past Lance into Lance's dorm room, sitting down on his bed.

"How long have you been there?" Lance asked, closing the door and stretching, letting out a yawn.

"Long enough," Keith supplied as he realized that the note he wanted, the one he needed to take from Lance, was right next to him. He slowly stretched his hand out a centimeter at a time likely, looking at Lance, who seemed to have just woken up and crawled out of his grave.

"Oh god, I'm so tired," Lance said as he sat down next to Keith, leaning on the other man with a yawn. Keith shifted uncomfortably, the note now on the other side of Lance, who Keith was hoping would move soon.

"This is totally meant in a non-homo kind of way but you're really warm Keith, and I'm really tired, I hope you didn't have anything you planned on doing tonight." Lance said, wrapping his own arms around Keith's left arm, dropping his head to let it rest on Keith's shoulder and he closed his eyes and fell asleep.

Now that he was stuck in Lance's dorm for what would probably be the night, Keith let out a sigh. This was definitely not how this was supposed to go at all, Keith had just needed to grab the note and leave, not end up Lance's snuggle buddy because Lance was too tired to think straight. If anything, Lance was clearly comfortable, displaying that by the way he smiled contently in his sleep, which also baffled Keith, how could someone seriously fall asleep that fast? Keith was tensed up, stiff, and he clearly didn't know how to react to Lance falling asleep on him.

This was all so confusing, and Lance falling asleep on him was not helping in any way at all.

Keith sighed and tried to relax, attempting to push the other man over a little so that he could lean back against the wall but Lance just groaned and leaned more of his dead weight on Keith. "For fucks sake," Keith tilted his head back so that he was looking at the ceiling, and he tried not to think about how uncomfortable it was to have Lance now nearly into his lap and still wrapped around Keith's arm to prevent the other man from moving.

 

When Lance woke up, the first thing he noticed was that his bed was definitely warmer than usual. Of course, right after that, he realized he was lying mostly on his bed, but also on something else, more like someone else. Lance opened his eyes at that, looking up to see Keith asleep next to, or was he under him? Yeah, he was definitely under Lance.

Lance felt himself turn red, and he tried to untwist himself from Keith, who by now had been practically snuggling with Lance in their sleep. "Damn it," Lance said as Keith only tightened his grip and opened one eye to stare at Lance.

"You made me lay here uncomfortable when you wanted to sleep, it's your turn now asshole." Keith whispered, closing his eyes again and falling asleep.

Lance was probably redder than he felt, his face on fire. The only thing that could've been worse than this was Pidge and Hunk walking in and taking a picture. Unfortunately for Lance, he was trapped, although Keith was definitely warm and comfortable, so he might as well just close his eyes and lay there. I could get used to this, Lance thought before his eyes shot open and his mouth dropped into a small 'o'. Lance suddenly felt way too hot and squirmed against Keith's chest, hoping that Keith would not see Lance completely red. He managed to flip himself so that he was laying on his left side, facing away from Keith, feeling completely mortified at his previous thought. It was so uncalled for, and Lance was pretty sure he'd never be the same around Keith after that, and the impromptu unconscious snuggling.

Thinking about it made it seem worse, and Lance really didn't want to talk about this to anyone. It was bad enough that he was here snuggling with Keith, who was basically his mutual friend, no one needed to know that Lance had liked it, or that Keith was even here at all. And if the sun streaming in the window was anything to tell by, it was at least 8 and he was sure Keith had to have something to do today, but then again, Shiro's recluse roommate was known for being someone who didn't enjoy going out much.

Lance huffed in annoyance, moving back against Keith figuring that if he was going to be here for awhile he'd enjoy it, at least a little bit, and it got cold in his room anyways. Lance had closed his eyes and relaxed, letting out a sigh, and he was ready to fall back asleep. With Keith's arms around him, he felt weirdly secure, but he didn't question it. After all, isn't Keith the unfound dictionary, unable to provide answers to Lance's words until found?

 

Chapter Text

When Keith opened his eyes again, Lance was playing on his phone, a loud game disturbing the raven’s slumber. “Lance,” he let out a groan, and Lance, who by now had untangled himself from Keith, wrinkled his nose in disgust.

 

“Ew, go brush your teeth, Mullet, then we’re gonna talk, ‘kay?” Lance pushed Keith out of his bed, and then fixed the blankets when Keith stood up, his hair wild and untamed.

 

“What? Do you have spare toothbrushes or something?”

“Obviously, what do you think I do if someone stays over? Deal with what smells like an old folks home minus the denture cream and added with a rotting garbage smell? Hell no.”

 

Keith nodded, and pushed away the feelings of jealousy that began to rise when Lance had mentioned that he had spare toothbrushes for “people who stayed over”. What did that entail? Was it one night stands? Friends? Keith knew he didn’t have any right to be jealous over it or upset, since he knew the brunet was a huge flirt, whether a good one or not was debatable.

 

Lance handed him a toothbrush that was still in the package, and pushed him into the small bathroom that every dorm room had.

 


 

 

Lance had made Keith leave the room for two things, one, the boy’s breath really did stink, and two, Keith had left his jacket on Lance’s bed (and he’d never taken off his boots, what a heathen). Once he was sure the raven was in the bathroom and actually brushing his teeth, he started checking for pockets, looking for elusive slips of paper.

 

Unsurprisingly, the antisocial hermit had a pocket on the inside of his jacket. Score, Lance thought to himself, as he reached in and felt a wrinkled paper. Pulling it out, it was clearly old, and after unfolding it (Keith had folded it into a tiny square, so it was annoyingly small and crinkled) spied the answer to everything he’d been looking for.

 

Lance had the key to the cipher. “Good, this is good, very good. Wait. . . there isn’t any water damage or anything? But if it was washed- Keith! Keith when was the last time you washed this jacket?”