The nightmares start gradually.
Just slight flashes of discomfort. Winces in the night that slightly disturb Lance’s slumber, but barely register the next morning. A negative feeling. A flash of feeling trapped. They’re small and inconsequential. Whenever anyone asks the next morning how he slept, he replies with “Fine,” because that’s how he remembers it. They are nothing to worry about.
But they get worse.
Where he would normally just roll over and push the thoughts at bay, he is now wide awake in a cold sweat. The images linger in his head and reappear as soon as he shuts his eyes. His body seizes up and he gasps as if he hasn’t taken a breath for several minutes. Distorted faces flash in his memory reminding him of fears he’s tried ignore. He can’t just roll over and go back to sleep anymore and the silence of space only makes his thoughts louder.
Lance doesn’t sleep.
He feels drawn out, like a car that is running on fumes and sheer willpower. His efforts are commendable, but he can’t keep up with the other paladins. Dark circles appear under his eyes and he gets his ass handed to him consistently in the training room. He doesn’t spring back onto his feet, but instead lays face down in the mats, thankful for the few seconds of rest. He thinks he could probably pass out then and there if Keith wasn’t shrieking at him to “Get up already! Man what is wrong with you?!”.
He knows he has a problem when he starts nodding off in Shiro’s pep talks and he has to apologise profusely for it.
“I’m not trying to be rude,” Lance repeats in one of the castle’s hallways when Shiro has pulled him aside.
“I swear, I wanna get better! I’m not trying to….”
“Lance,” And Shiro uses that tone that makes his stomach drop. It sounds just like his older brother, and it floods him with guilt. Shiro looks at him with understanding and concern.
“I know you’re trying, I’m not accusing you of being lazy.” Shiro places a heavy hand on his shoulder.
“Tell me what’s wrong?”
Lance worries his bottom lip. He feels immature and stupid. How can he tell this man, someone he’s admired for years, that he can’t sleep because he’s scared? That’s what five year olds say. He’s been swallowed by robot lions and shot at by aliens, what could possibly scare him anymore?
“Nothing, I’m just…” Lance steps away and rolls his shoulder out of Shiro’s grasp. Hurt flickers on Shiro’s face for just a moment.
“I think being in space for so long is affecting me. My sleep pattern seems to be off. I’ve just gotta get it back on schedule.” Lance stares at his feet. Shiro purses his lips but doesn’t call him out on his obvious lie. He nods and sighs.
“Ok. I hope you get better.” And he sincerely does.
It’s 3am that night when Lance concedes defeat and admits that he is not going to get any sleep. He’s exhausted. His eyes sting and his joints ache, but his heart beats thunderously. Fear has a way of pushing someone to their limits, and if Lance were in a better mindset, he’d almost be impressed. The walls of his dull room, devoid of any childhood trinkets or personal touches, starts to feel claustrophobic. He rolls out of bed and begins to stumble down the hall. He doesn’t really have a destination. He entertains the idea of maybe going to the observation deck. The endless expanse of space did have a way of making him sleepy, but his route changes when he hears rustling coming from the kitchen.
Oh, Hunk. He hums to himself. Hunk is an immeasurable comfort to Lance on this crazy adventure. A shred of home life that keeps him tethered and sane. Lance thinks that he might be able to get some sleep on a couch or something if he knows that Hunk is in the same room. Hunk would do that for him, right? Even if he couldn’t, Lance knows that his friend always comes ready with a hot drink and an understanding smile.
Lance shuffles dopily into the kitchen, ready to be swept up in his friend’s comforting arms, when he freezes at the counter. Lance chokes a little bit at the back of his throat, making the other paladin turn. Keith’s eyes widen.
The two boys gawk at each other. Lance scans up and down Keith’s body and notices he’s still fully dressed. Gloves, boots, everything, while Lance is in a disheveled t-shirt, saggy boxers and one sock. He must look a mess.
“What are you doing up?” Lance asks. He leans on the counter, trying to act casual.
“I never sleep.” Keith shrugs. He takes a sip from his glass.
“Never sleep or can’t sleep?” Lance asks incredulously. Keith sighs.
“Bit of both. I’m used to it.” He finishes his drink and places his glass in the dish cleaner. “If I’m gonna be up, I might as well be productive.” He glances over his shoulder at Lance and his eyes narrow obviously.
“…You look like shit.”
Lance blusters at the insult but his brain is only running on half cylinders so coming up with a comeback is impossible.
“Gee, thanks.” Is all he can manage.
“You’ve been looking pretty terrible for a while now.” Keith moves closer. He’s the least eloquent of all the paladins, but also the most honest. Lance wraps his intentions in jokes and innuendo, dodging moments of intimacy at all costs. They’re complete opposites, which usually has them bristling and crackling against one another, but in moments like this there is a rare truce. An understanding where Lance might voluntarily let Keith help him, and Keith actually has the intelligence to tread lightly.
“I’m too exhausted to rise to your insults now.” Lance flops down onto the counter. “Looks like I’ll have to be the mature one, though that’s hardly surprising.”
Keith rolls his eyes.
“I wasn’t insulting you. I just noticed you’ve not been yourself.” Keith’s voice is uncharacteristically soft. Lance sighs and folds his arms underneath his cheek.
“I haven’t been sleeping.”
“Yeah…. It’s been weeks now. I’m not like you.”
“Clearly,” Keith smirks. Lance groans.
“I mean I actually need sleep to function!”
“I was wondering why you were so much easier to beat then normal.”
“Congratulations, you managed to defeat a walking corpse. You must be so proud.” Lance’s sarcastic comment makes Keith laugh… until he notices Lance’s pallid complexion. His eyes are bloodshot, his skin looks like its broken out, and his lips… which usually look so soft when they’re quirked in a smirk, look chapped and raw. Lance has been worrying on them. He really does look half-dead.
“Why can’t you sleep?”
Lance swears at himself. Keith has a way of drawing information out of him. He always has. He waits for the taunting.
“That sucks.” Is the only reply. Lance sits up in surprise.
“You’re not uh…gonna make fun of me?”
Keith wrinkles his nose.
“Why would I make fun of you. Look at you!” Keith gestures at Lance’s limp form.
“I can’t make fun of this.”
“Because I’m so pathetic?” Lance deadpans.
There’s a pitiful groan and Lance resumes his flopped position. So pathetic even Keith was being nice to him! This was a new low.
“We need to fix this. We can’t form Voltron if you’re in this state.”
“Thank you for voicing all my worries out loud. That’s a huge help for my anxiety right now.”
“I’m serious,” Keith crosses his arms over his chest.
“Has this ever happened before?” He presses. Lance’s voice is muffled by the counter.
“Not this badly.”
“Yeah? But you’ve had nightmares before, right?”
“So then what did you do?” Keith’s voice drops low. He leans on the counter just in front of Lance.
God, don’t make me say it.
“When I was a kid I used to go climb into bed with my parents.” Lance starts.
“Ok well that’s when you were a kid. What do you do now?” Keith exhales. It’s too late in the night to speak in circles. He needs a solution immediately. Patience has never been his strong suit.
“I uh…” Lance sits up and nervously scratches his cheek. He worries his lips some more and Keith almost slaps him for it. He’s done enough damage already.
“It’s stupid…” Lance starts to blush. Keith would think it was cute if this wasn’t such a serious moment.
“No it’s not. If it helps then it’s now stupid. C’mon…”
“I uh…” Lance closes his eyes tightly. Like he’s about to rip off a band aid.
“I go sleep with my brother.” He spits out. It’s so fast that it takes Keith a few seconds to fully understand it. Lance sighs sharply.
“There, you happy? I get so panicky that I can only calm down if I sleep with someone else. It’s stupid and immature… and and I’m a big baby who needs his brother to go to sleep!” He flails his arms dramatically and pouts. Keith chuckles under his breath.
“It’s not that bad.”
“But it’s hard to imagine the tough, macho, Lance whimpering and crawling into bed with his older brother for cuddles.”
“I said shut up!”
Kaith laughs again, but he’s had his fun. He turns his focus once again to solving this problem.
“Look it’s fine. Just sleep next to someone then.” Keith shakes his head like it’s the most obvious solution in the world.
“I’m sure Hunk would let you.”
“Hunk’s too big.” Lance pouts. “He barely fits in his bed himself. If I was in there too neither of us would sleep. We’d have the same problem.”
Keith nods. That is definitely a point.
“Ehhhhhhhhhhhh….” Lance whines. “I feel weird about it. She’s a girl and all. I don’t want to make her uncomfortable.”
Keith has to snort at this. Lance? Actually having boundaries when it comes to girls?
“I thought you hit on anything that identified as female.” He smirks.
“Yeah female adults. Pidge is a child and very off limits. Nooooo thank you.”
Keith ponders for some time. He drums his fingers nervously on the counter top and his nails clack against it. There is one very obvious solution, but Keith pushes it at the back of his mind. He pretends it isn’t there, that it’s not even an option. He dodges and goes to the next possibility.
“NOPE.” Lance cuts in before Keith can even finish.
“I’m sorry I just…” Lance leans his head in his hand. “I don’t think I could handle that humiliation. And I think I’d be so nervous I wouldn’t ever get to sleep.”
“Yeah, I don’t think I could either.” Keith hums.
“Well yeah, of course you couldn’t.” Lance snaps under his breath. There’s a meanness to it that Keith isn’t used to.
“What the hell does that mean?”
“Nothing, nothing. I’m sorry. I’m not thinking straight.” Lance forces a timid smile. “Look I appreciate you trying to help but…”
“Sleep with me.”
And there it is. Keith’s conscience is screaming at him. This is an awful idea. Terrible! He can’t do this. He shouldn’t do this. Because just the thought of lying next to Lance has his mouth filling with saliva and his heart fluttering in his chest. You’re an idiot. An absolute idiot.
“W…what?” Lance’s voice breaks. Keith doesn’t hear it over the thudding of his own pulse.
“You heard me. Just sleep with me. It doesn’t matter if you keep me awake because I barely sleep anyway.”
Lance blinks at him.
Silence still hangs over them.
“Do you honestly hate me that much that you won’t even…?”
“No no that’s not it.” Lance exhales. “I just… are you sure?”
And there’s an uncertainty, a vulnerability in Lance’s expression that makes Keith’s pulse stutter. He collects himself and smiles lazily.
“It’s fine. We’re a team right?” He holds his fist out in front of him. Lance sneers and a shred of his usual self sparkles to life. He bumps Keith’s fist and chuckles.
Keith leads them back to his room. It’s a mirror image of Lance’s, except with a few souvenirs from missions are scattered around the place. Lance isn’t able to place them all. A piece of shrapnel, a rock from some distant planet, a pressed flower that some local had given him, Keith has kept them all and placed them lovingly around his room. Clearly his hoarding in his desert shack had not been just a phase, but Lance cherishes this new fact about Keith. He’s sentimental. Lance never would have guessed.
“You can just…”
“Oh I don’t need to be told.” Lance eagerly crawls into the bed and underneath the thin blankets, curling into a tight ball against the corner when he’s settled. He notices how the sheets smell like Keith. He’s been pinned under him enough times in training to recognize that particular blend of citrus and black pepper musk. It’s a pleasant smell, which only annoys Lance more because of course Keith would even smell good.
Keith kicks off his boots, gloves and socks, but keeps his t-shirt and pants on as he sidles in next to lance.
“Whoa, whoa, aren’t you gonna get changed?” Lance mumbles into the pillow.
“I told you. I barely sleep. If I stay in my clothes then I can just roll out of bed and start working immediately.” Keith reaches by the side of the bed and pulls up his tablet. Allura had given each of the paladins one, in the hopes that they would allow them to communicate and research better. He could always read over battle tactics if Lance needed him to stay in the bed all night.
“You’re crazy, man”, Lance yawns. He can barely keep his eyes open. “Pragmatic…. But crazy.”
“Just go to sleep already.”
Keith flicks through the Altean symbols that appear on his screen.
“Thanks for this..”
“You don’t…” Keith turns to look Lance in the eye, but he’s already asleep. He’s snoring gently into the pillow and his short hair is a fright. Keith smiles gently and sets his tablet down. Timidly, and with shaking fingers, he brushes Lance’s hair away from his eyes. Butterflies soar in his stomach.
“You don’t have to thank me.” He whispers.
“Keith, Keeeeeeiiiiith. Budddyyyyy….”
Keith opens his eyes blearily. He registers the wide smile first, then the tan skin, before he finally sees the brown eyes looking down at him.
“Hey there sleepy head,” Lance smirks.
‘Hey! You ok? Did you have a nightmare?! Do you need me to…”
“Whoa what?!” Lance catches Keith by the shoulders as he suddenly sits up.
“No, no, Hunk made breakfast. I thought you’d like some.”
“Breakfast? What….” Keith rubs the sleep from his eyes. “Why are we… what time is it?”
No. It couldn’t be. Keith hadn’t slept til 7am, let alone 9:30 in years! He hadn’t been bragging when he told Lance that he didn’t sleep. He really didn’t. Insomnia was as much a part of him as his signature haircut. His body had learnt to maximize whatever sleep he got, which was usually only about three good hours a night. He almost always woke up around 6am, hit the training deck, showered, then met Shiro when he finally emerged around eight o’clock.
“Sooooooo~” Lance’s gaze searches Keith as he stares into space. “Breakfast?”
Keith is knocked out of his trance.
“Breakfast?! Yes, yes. Sounds good.” Keith scrambles up. He’s behind schedule. He hasn’t worked out, or showered, or cleaned Red.
“Ok, I’ll tell Hunk to make you a plate. You should go shower.” Lance smiles over from the doorway.
Lance turns to leave.
He freezes. Keith fumbles pulling his boots on.
“Do you uh… feel better?” He sneaks a glance up as Lance beams and pushes up his sleeves.
“Much better. I really owe you. I’ll save you a plate!” He waves over his shoulder as he heads out into the hall.
Damn. Keith presses his hands to his heated cheeks. I could get used to this.
Lance still hasn’t fully recovered, it’ll take another full night’s sleep for that, but his reflexes have greatly improved. Keith still tosses him clear across the room, but it takes at least 10 minutes for that to happen.
They run through drills and Lance is able to follow Pidge’s instructions through the invisible electrical maze swiftly. He only gets electrocuted twice, but he would swear that that’s because she lead him into the walls on purpose. He even manages to be one of the final two standing when the paladins go against the drones. He falls through the floor, and Shiro joins them a few seconds later. He ruffles Lance’s hair and speaks quietly so only the two of them can hear.
“Much better. Glad you’re looking more yourself.”
Lance flushes at the praise and nods.
They eat dinner enthusiastically together. Coran entertains them with stories of Altean creatures that seem impossible, and the way they used to farm them or ride them around the plains. Keith and Shiro listen politely, Allura interjects with her own experiences, while Hunk, Pidge and Lance make sarcastic comments to one another under their breath. It’s barely 10pm, but Lance can already feel exhaustion catching up with him. His eyelids are heavy and he stifles a few too many yawns. Hunk notices.
“Go to bed already.” He elbows him in the side. Lance rubs his sensitive ribs.
“But I wanna know how Coran survived a grumblestork attack.” Lance smirks.
“Just go. I don’t wanna have to carry your skinny ass to your bed because you’ve passed out here.”
“Fine, fine.” Lance sighs and stands. “Even though I’m sure you secretly enjoy carrying me around.” He pushes his chair out and begins to walk back to his room.
“Goodnight everybody! I’m off to get my beauty sleep, though I hardly think I need it.” He laughs at his own joke. Allura scoffs, Pidge groans, but Keith’s expression is surprisingly blank. He locks eyes with Lance in a moment of unvoiced questioning. Lance’s smug expression drops and he nods in Keith’s direction.
He walks into his bedroom and closes the door with an exhale.
“Ok,” He shucks off his jacket. “Let’s try this.”.
2am. It’s 2am when Keith hears the aggressive rapping on his door. He’s cleaning his bayard, but tosses it off the bed and runs over to the door. He yanks it open, half expecting someone to say that the Galra are attacking, but instead he just sees Lance. Shirtless, sweaty, and trembling in the dark hallway.
“I…I’m sorry, I just…”
“Get in here,” Keith whispers. He gently tugs Lance into the room and guides him over to the bed. He wraps a blanket around his shoulders in attempt to stop him shivering. Lance’s eyes are rimmed with red.
“I thought I’d be ok,” He spits. He hasn’t made eye-contact with Keith once, too ashamed of what he’s been reduced to.
“It’s ok. Hey…” Keith sinks next to him on the bed. “I don’t mind. You can come here as much as you need.”
“Augh,” Lance flops over and groans into the pillow. “I hate this.”
“I know, I know.” Keith smirks. He crawls next to Lance and steals back some of his blanket. He lets his hand trail over Lance’s bicep. He tries to make it seem casual, but he checks to see if Lance has stopped shaking. He has, but his skin is still sticky from sweat.
“Just try to get to sleep now. You can feel like a loser in the morning.”
“You’re such a comfort.”
Keith laughs softly. Lance rolls over and places his arms above the blankets. His position mirror Keith’s, with both of them on their back and staring at the ceiling. Keith can feel Lance’s pulse vibrate through the mattress, and the nervous twitching of his toes.
“Are you even tired?”
“Sorry, sorry.” Lance grunts. “I’m just kind of wired right now. It’ll take a while for me to calm down.” Lance glances at Keith next to him. He tries not to notice how fair his skin looks in the dim light, or how his dark hair spills onto the pillow like silk.
“You uh…” He swallows. “You can read if you want. You don’t have to keep me company or anything.”
Keith just shrugs.
“I don’t actually hate you Lance. I want to make sure you’re ok.”
“Pffft, I’m fine. Go back to playing with your sword.” Lance scoffs, but his bravado is weak. Keith scowls and rolls over onto his elbow. He looks down into Lance’s face so he can’t avoid him.
“What are your nightmares about?”
And as Keith predicted, Lance shrinks into himself. He tries to avoid Keith’s gaze, and even attempts to turn onto his side. Keith grabs his shoulder before he can.
“J…just you know. Scary stuff…”
“Clearly”. Keith drawls. “It could make you feel better.”
“You leaving me alone would make me feel better.” Lance pouts.
“I’ll remind you that you are in my bed right now, and I could very easily kick your scrawny ass out in a second.” Keith leans forward threateningly. Lance rises to the taunts.
“Really, Keith? Offer your help then blackmail me with it?”
“You make helping you so damn difficult.” Keith flops back down. They both stare at the ceiling in suffocating silence.
“They’re about my family.”
It’s barely audible, but Lance’s words are unmistakable in the stillness of the room.
“Yeah. Usually about them getting hurt somehow. Like I fail up here…. I can’t protect them. And they all die.”
“Jeez,” Keith closes his eyes. Yeah, he could understand how that would fuck you up. “I’m really sorry.”
“How long has this been happening for?”
“Jesus, Lance.” Keith rolls over with a reprimanding look. “Why didn’t you tell anyone sooner? We could have helped you.”
“How are you supposed to help me?” Lance hisses. He knows Keith means well, but he’s already run through every possibility.
“Unless you can give me a wormhole that pops me back into my family’s kitchen, there’s nothing you can do for me.” He closes his eyes and steals himself.
“They probably think I’m dead.”
“Stop that,” Keith snaps. He needs to get Lance out of this spiral. He settles down next to the taller boy and soothingly rubs his arm. A little thrill goes down his spine when Lance doesn’t pull away.
“Tell me what you miss about them.”
“Ha!” Lance barks. “I don’t want to get sappy on you.”
“C’mon, I’m building a bank of blackmail material here.” Keith smiles and Lance is thankful for it.
“No, no…” Lance rolls over so their faces are just inches from each other. Their hands touch on the pillow.
“Like I miss all the noise that was always there. Whether it was just my parents yelling at my siblings, a tv in the living room, my little sister blaring her terrible music, there was always just a bunch of noise. Space is…”
“Silent.” Keith offers.
“It’s dead! It creeps me out!” There’s a hint of a smile on Lance’s lips. Keith feels relief bloom in his chest. He pushes again.
“What else do you miss?”
“Oh man, so many things. Birthdays are a big thing.”
“But they only happen once a year?”
“Oh ho ho,” Lance shakes his head. “Foolish child. Not in my household. Between me and my four siblings, parents, grandparents, my oldest brother’s kids…”
“You’re an uncle?” Keith starts. It’s weird finding out how little he knows about his fellow teammate. Dozens of mind melds in Voltron, and he never once figured out just how large Lance’s family was. He supposes this explains a lot of Lance’s outgoing behaviours. It’s probably hard to get noticed in such a busy household.
“Yeah, man.” Lance smiles lazily. “Niece and nephew. I’m by far their favorite uncle. My brother, Tony, the one I told you helps me out, he’s always trying to get them to say he’s their favorite.” Lance laughs to himself, remembering something that Keith has no way of relating to.
“But they won’t! They never will! Uncle Lance has trained them too well.”
“You and Tony close then?” Keith likes the easiness in their conversation. The way Lance’s eyes light up and the excitement in his voice is infectious.
“Oh yeah, Tone and I are definitely the closest.” Lance cringes and laughs. “We both got crazy into the Fast and Furious movies…’
“Oh god, they’re terrible…”
“I know! I know!” Lance laughs. “But we just loved them! I didn’t have my license yet, but Tones did, and he’d drive us down to the beach blaring Don Omar songs. We’d take the corners a bit too quickly and it’d make us feel like drift kings.”
Keith giggles at the image. He’s seen the way Lance whoops and hollers when he pilots Blue. It’s all too easy to see the kind of damage he would inflict behind the wheel of a car.
“I miss dumb things like that.” Lance sighs. “Little rituals and traditions like that. Decades worth of inside jokes you know?”
Keith hums. He doesn’t know, but he notices the way Lance and Hunk talk to each other when no one’s around. It’s impossible to understand, because they’re intimate references and jokes. Practically a conversation entirely in code, based on years of shared Garrison experiences.
“God, how do you do it?” Lance’s smile turns sad. “How do deal with the homesickness?”
“Don’t have it.”
“You’ve gotta. Everyone misses their family at least a little bit.”
Keith’s eyes narrow. He looks into Lance’s face, expecting to see a sneer at the cruel joke he’s made, but Keith finds nothing there. Just an earnest and honest smile waiting to hear his answer.
Wait… Keith’s brain clicks.
“You don’t know?”
“Know what?” Lance’s smile still stupidly stretches across his cheeks.
“I…I don’t have a family, Lance.”
“I’m an orphan.”
The dread on Lance’s face is immediate. His eyes widen and his mouth goes slack. He sits up suddenly.
“Keith…I…I didn’t know.” There’s the edge of panic in his voice. How could he have not known?! Lance thinks back to every conversation he’s had with Keith. How had he not known he had NO ONE. He lived in a desert shack for God’s sake! People with parents don’t do that?!
“Stupid,” he spits at himself. And he’s just been talking about his family for the past 10 minutes. Just rubbing Keith’s nose in it.
“I’m so sorry!” He turns towards Keith. “I wouldn’t have…. God I feel like such a…”
“Lance!” Keith sits up and runs his hand up Lance’s arm again. He immediately melts under the touch.
“I wanted you to tell me about your family. Don’t start pitying me now. I don’t need it.” Keith gives his arm another reassuring squeeze.
“Especially from someone who can’t even sleep in their own bed at night.” Keith grins. Lance rolls his eyes.
“I still feel like an ass.”
“Yeah, but what else is new?”
“Hey,” Lance punches him lightly in the shoulder. Keith chuckles and flops back onto the mattress.
“I’m fine. I’m used to not having a family.”
The words are said matter-of-factly, but they still make Lance’s chest tighten. No one should have to say those words. Lance worries his lip.
Then an idea strikes.
“Share mine!” He surges forward, placing his hands on either side of Keith’s head. He looks down on him with a brilliant smile. It’s a position Keith’s fantasized about, and his breath catches in his throat.
“Share mine!” Lance presses again. “Oh man, I will pay you to take my little sister. She is such a pain in the ass.”
“Her name is Lisa and she will love you. They all will, but let Lisa braid your hair just once? Now you’ve got a sidekick for life.” Lance laughs and leans onto his elbow.
“They’ve practically adopted Hunk, so I’m sure they’d adore you. They’d be all ‘Oh so you were top of the class? Wow! And you’re so pretty and muscular! Not at all like my scrawny and awkward son!’”
Keith lifts his head and practically cackles at Lance’s hilarious impression of his mother. He tries to focus on that instead of the fact that Lance just called him pretty and muscular.
“But yeah, when we get back to Earth you’ve totally gotta come back with me.” Lance hums and sinks into the pillow.
“When we get back to Earth?” Keith’s laughter fades.
“You won’t want anything to do with me anymore.”
Lance’s brows crease. Keith’s words make him go cold. Was this how he thought Lance felt?
“Hey…” He reaches out to jostle Keith’s shoulder. “We had a bonding moment remember?”
“You didn’t even remember.” Keith chuckles to disguise the hurt in his voice.
“I’ll remember this.” Lance whispers. He squeezes Keith’s shoulder earnestly. It makes his heart ache. How can Lance say such honest things without blushing?
“W…we should get some sleep.” He stammers and turns away from Lance’s dazzling smile. Lance chuckles.
“Ok, ok. I get it.” He turns on his side, now facing the opposite way to Keith.
“I meant it though.”
There’s silence from Keith’s side, but that doesn’t deter Lance.
“I hope you like surfing. There’s this beach we always go to. You don’t look like much of a swimmer, but I’m sure we can fix that.” He shifts his position so that his feet touch Keith’s ankles.
“You’re probably too skinny…”
“OH MY GOD YOUR FEET ARE FREEZING!” Keith deals him a swift kick underneath the blankets, trying to escape the icy toes. Lance tries his hardest to keep his feet on Keith at all costs.
“Keeeeeeith~ Keeeeeiiiithy baby~”
Once again Keith is woken up and immediately assaulted with Lance’s smile.
“Sorry, I let you sleep in again.”
The mattress sinks with Lance’s weight. A warm mug is thrust into Keith’s hands. “Here, I know how you like it.”
Keith gratefully raises the mug to his lips. The liquid is warm and mild, with just a bit of sweetness. It’s as close to tea as he’s going to get on an alien space craft.
“’time isit?” He slurs.
“Close to 10.”
Keith groans. Again? Why was this happening? He decides a good night’s sleep is grossly overrated. It wastes his time and leaves him slow and groggy the next morning.
“Sorry. I should’ve woken you up earlier.” Lance scratches his neck sheepishly.
“’sfine.” Keith takes another sip of his drink. Lance shouldn’t have to take care of him like this. He should be able to wake up on his own.
“I uh… also brought you this.” Lance places a bowl of warm porridge into his lap. A smiley face has been drawn on top with a spice resembling cinnamon.
“Thought you might like breakfast in bed. I noticed you like to keep to yourself in the morning.”
Keith stares at the bowl in his lap. The obvious care that went into it, as well as the thoughtfulness behind it, warms his insides.
“It’s the least I could do…after last night.” Lance casts his gaze to the ground. His ears burn scarlet.
“WELL! I’ve got a lot to do! Gonna run some drills with Blue, I think the old girl misses me.” Lance quickly shuffles to the door. Keith shakes his head after him.
“I’m glad you didn’t forget.”
Lance softens. He brushes his hair back with his fingers.
“Nah man. Never.” And he beams.
They’re running the drones simulation again. Everyone is out, even Shiro, but Keith and Lance still dance on the floor. Their shields are up and they step around each other in a skilled rhythm.
“Lance, your right!”
“Got it!” Lance whips around and blocks a shot aimed for his leg. Keith goes down on one knee and protects Lance’s stomach from a second laser.
“Your left!” Lance shouts and throws his shield down before a shot grazes Keith’s ear.
Lance offers a hand, and pulls Keith swiftly to his feet in time for both of them to raise their shields and protect the other’s back.
“How long has this been going on?” Allura’s voice crackles in Shiro’s helmet. He watches from the side, having come out from beneath the training floor some time ago.
“Five minutes maybe? I’ve lost track.”
“I’ve never seen them like this. Did you say something to them?”
“Nothing out of the ordinary. I’m as amazed as you.”
“Keith!” Lance dives in front of his partner, narrowly blocking a laser from hitting the back of his shoulder. Lance falls clumsily on the ground. Keith throws his shield on top of him and risks himself getting hit as another shot is fired towards his stomach.
“Ok they’re impostors. They have to be. I say we DNA test them.” Pidge offers.
“You don’t know. They’ve both been trying to make an effort…”
“Lance!” Keith dives on top of Lance, holding his shield behind him. The two fall to the ground, avoiding a barrage of shots that they could have never blocked. They fall onto the ground breathless, staring silently at one another, until their laughter rings out.
“OK THEY ARE BODY SNATCHERS! WHERE IS MY CHILD?!” Hunk exclaims. Pidge nods in agreement. Panting and tangled in each other on the floor, a drone hits Lance in the ankle and they both fall through. They emerge a short time later, helmets off and covered in sweat. Shiro applauds them and elbows Hunk and Pidge to do the same.
“Very impressive boys.” Shiro smiles and saunters forward. “I’d hardly believe it, if I didn’t just watch you with my own two eyes.”
“It’s no big deal really. You act like me being awesome is unusual.” Lance sighs and clicks a finger gun towards Hunk. His friend approaches cautiously. Hunk closely examines his face, prods his ribs and even sticks a finger in his mouth.
“Bro!” Lance steps away.
“I’m just making sure!” Hunk scratches his chin.
“I still say we take a biopsy.” Pidge murmurs. Keith and Lance send identical scowls her way.
“Look, I was in a funk for a while, but now I’ve sorted some things out and feel a lot better. Because I’m no longer struggling with that, my tolerance for Keith has doubled.” Lance holds his hand up in surrender.
“My tolerance has stayed the same. I’m just a professional about it.” Keith rubs his helmet visor idly.
“Excuse me, but I think you’re far more petty than me. We can all agree that I am the mature one.”
“You carried a grudge all the way from the Garrison!”
“You did too!”
“I can’t have a grudge against someone I didn’t even know existed!”
“Ok, there they are.” Shiro groans. They had been so close too.
It’s late and the effort of their training session is catching up with Lance. They’re all seated around a board on the floor, playing some sadistic Altean version of monopoly. Pidge is cleaning up, and Coran has to reprimand Keith several times for not following the rules. Lance leans against Hunk’s shoulder. It’s comfortable and at just the right height for Lance to doze on. He’ll occasionally roll and move his piece when prompted, but he’s pretty much lost track of the game. Hunk feels his shoulder start to become damp with Lance’s drool.
“Okaaaay, I think it’s time for me to carry off this guy to bed.”
The others look up and chuckle at Lance’s sleeping face. Hunk begins to shift his weight, when Keith springs up next to him.
“I can take him.” He offers. Hunk blinks at him in confusion. Pidge guffaws, and Shiro smirks to himself.
“W…what? Keith, it’s fine. I’m used to it.” Hunk explains.
“No I got it.” And before Hunk can protest again, Keith bends down and braces Lance against his side. He tosses one of his arms across the back of his neck, and he holds his middle tightly.
“Mmmm bed?” Lance drunkenly asks. Keith rolls his eyes.
“Yeah, yeah. Going to bed. Now help me out by walking.”
They shuffle out of the room with five pairs of eyes staring after them.
“DNA tests. I’m telling you!” Pidge thrusts her index finger into Shiro’s face.
Lance isn’t particularly heavy, but he is taller than Keith, which makes supporting him slightly more difficult. Thankfully, Lance is starting to wake up more now. Enough that he can walk himself, and enough that he seems to know where he is. They reach the outside of his bedroom door and he makes a small whimper of protest. Keith stops.
“Y…yours? Can I…?”
And with heavy lidded eyes and a breathy voice… how could Keith possibly say no?
It becomes routine. Lance doesn’t even hesitate to waltz into Keith’s room at night. He’s got a small stack of underwear building up in the corner, and Keith barely blinks when he strips down to his briefs and crawls across him on the bed to take up his usual spot next to the wall. Keith’s sleep pattern has not corrected itself, but he’s getting used to the idea of actually sleeping through the night. Because of this though, he’s had to actually listen to Lance’s advice and start sleeping in just his t-shirt and boxers. No more fully clothed nights, ready to spring into action at a moment’s notice.
But along with routine comes a level of closeness that Keith was not prepared for. He frequently wakes up wrapped in Lance’s limbs, a mess of arms around his middle and feet tangled around his ankles. He feels Lance’s breath on the back of his neck, and goose bumps raise along his spine. He cherishes the feeling of Lance’s skin against his, but he knows he shouldn’t get used to it. It doesn’t mean anything.
It doesn’t mean anything, he repeats to himself when he leaves to use the bathroom, and returns to find Lance blindly searching for him. It doesn’t mean anything, he whispers under his breath when his weight hits the mattress and Lance’s arms immediately ensnare him and pull him against his naked chest.
Keith can’t get enough of the feeling. Just because it doesn’t mean anything, doesn’t mean he can’t enjoy the sensation. He starts to chase it in training when they spar together. He probably grapples with Lance more than he should, presses him against the floor longer than is necessary, sits straddling his waist when Lance is spent and makes a time out motion with his hands.
Keith is in the showers after one such session when Shiro approaches him. His hair is damp, but he’s fully dressed. Keith sits just in his boxers with his towel draped over his head. His eyes are closed and he’s in somewhat of a meditative state.
“Hey, good job out there today.”
Shiro’s voice snaps him awake.
“Oh, yeah.” He breathes. “Thanks.”
Shiro sits down next to him.
“I’m really impressed with how far Lance has come. It’s been really good for him to have you showing such an interest in his training.”
“Well he needs it.” Keith jabs. Shiro chuckles.
“You’ve sure been dedicated lately.”
“We’re a team. We’re only as strong as our weakest link. We all need to be on the same page.”
“Mmmm…” Shiro hums. “I suppose.” He stands and rubs the towel on top of Keith’s head. He pulls away with a grunt. Shiro laughs.
“But I’ve never seen you smile like that when you spar with anyone else.” And he leaves.
Just leaves Keith with his red face and stammering mouth.
That night is the first night Keith witnesses one of the infamous nightmares. He’s woken up by the mattress shifting next to him and small breathy noises. He rolls over, half expecting Lance to just be settling back into bed after using the bathroom, when he gets a good look at the boy next to him. Keith is instantly awake. Lance has gritted his teeth and his fingers clutch the sheets so tightly that his knuckles turn white. His hair is slicked to his forehead with sweat, the hairs on his skin are raised, and he trembles violently. Shallow, desperate breaths pass through his nose.
“Lance!” Keith worries. He wraps his arms around him and begins to stroke his hair. Lance’s body is stiff and taut.
“Lance, Lance, shhhhh, wake up,” He whispers louder. He runs his hands over Lance’s arms and sides in a coaxing motion. Lance’s hands loosen their grip on the sheets and his eyes, that were clenched shut, seem to relax and flutter open just a tad. His body goes limp against Keith’s hands.
“Keith?” His voice is wrecked.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m here. It’s ok. You’re safe. Everyone’s safe. It was just a bad dream.” Keith presses their foreheads together and continues to rub circles against Lance’s bony shoulders.
“Oh, Keith,” Half dazed, but desperate and shaking, Lance pushes forward and wraps his arms around Keith’s shoulders. He buries his face in Keith’s neck and presses their bodies together.
“Keith, Keith,” He breathes against Keith’s skin.
“I’m here, I’m here.” Keith’s hands begin to tangle themselves in Lance’s hair and stroke invisible lines up and down his spine. Tears prickle at the corner of his eyes. He has Lance completely wrapped up in his arms. The other boy clings to him and is panting his name, but it’s not in the context he’s always desired. He can’t have this. Not really. Not in the way he wants. Not in the way his body craves.
“Keith… need you….”
“I know. I’ve got you.” And it’s too much. Keith presses his face into the side of Lance’s head, hoping his tears will disappear in the short, brown hair there.
Keith wakes up, and he thinks he might have actually woken up before Lance for once, until he sees the other boy laying beside him with his eyes open and hands tucked behind his head in thought. Keith’s breathing changes and Lance notices.
“Hey,” he gives a sleepy smile.
“Hey,” Keith croaks. “Are you ok? Did you….?”
“I’m fine.” Lance laughs. “Thanks to you.”
Keith’s chest tightens. No. He does not need this first thing in the morning.
“It’s nothing. I told you I would help you.”
“Yeah well,” Lance rolls over and touches Keith’s shoulder. “I was really in a bad way last night. That’s what I’d been dealing with on my own this whole time.”
“Jesus, Lance. I wish you’d told me sooner.”
“It’s fine. You were there for me yesterday. You did everything I needed and more.” Lance tries to laugh away his embarrassment. “I really owe you.”
“Mmmm, breakfast in bed sure sounds nice.” Keith offers. Lance chuckles and the sound warms Keith’s stomach better than hot tea ever could.
“If that’s what you want.”
They lay there for some time, breathing in the smell of citrus and black pepper permanently embedded into Keith’s sheets, though Lance’s side has started to smell more like him. Keith’s noticed the smell of ocean spray lingering even when Lance is no longer around.
“You’ve really helped me. And I think I’m ready to start trying to sleep in my own room again.”
It feels like someone has whipped Keith’s warm blanket off of him. His body freezes and the wind is knocked out of him.
“Yeah,” Lance sighs. “It’s about time I give it another shot. I can’t sleep with you forever now.”
You could though. Oh god, you could. Keith wants to whisper the words into his mouth. His lips look soft again. With his improved sleep pattern he’s stopped chewing on them excessively.
“You… You can always come back. If you need I mean.”
“I know.” Lance beams. “And that’s why I think I’ll be able to do it.”.
Keith hates this. He hates the cold spot next to him on the mattress. He hates how quiet it is without the sound of Lance’s gentle breathing, but most of all, Keith hates that he can’t fucking sleep.
It’s only been the past few weeks that Keith has been able to sleep, but the consecutive nights of eight hours or more rest has completely ruined his rhythm. Not sleeping has been a constant for Keith, but now he feels sluggish and irritated during the day. He’s clumsy when polishing his bayard and he nicks himself. His headaches are brutal, and he snaps at his teammates. His arguments with Lance have increased tenfold, in both frequency and aggression. Even Lance seems shocked at the outbursts, but he doesn’t take it personally. Especially when he sees Keith snap at Shiro. Shiro levels the smaller boy with a harsh glare.
“Remember….who you are talking to.” Shiro growls. Keith seems to remember himself and apologises in a weak and nervous voice.
All of their synergy from the previous week’s drone drill is gone. Keith is the first one out. It’s unheard of. He falls through the floor with a weak groan and doesn’t come back up for several minutes. He just lays on the mat wondering what he did to deserve this.
Allura pushes them to do a Voltron drill and it’s almost unbearable. With the Paladins all linked together, Keith’s negativity is contagious. It floods his team member’s minds and they struggle to keep Voltron in tact.
“Guys… I’ve gotta….” Hunk sounds like he’s going to be sick.
“I hear ya. Voltron disassemble. We can’t do anything like this.” Shiro commands.
They pull apart, and even Allura seems to get that something has gone wrong. That another drill won’t solve this. She looks at the woeful state of her Paladins. No one says anything to Keith, but he can feel everyone’s eyes on him. When their linked, it’s hard to exactly pinpoint which thoughts and feelings belong to who, but he feels like everyone must have worked it out. He’s the only one looking ragged despite the relatively simple exercise.
He needs to fix this.
Midnight. There’s a tentative knock on Lance’s door.
“Hunk, I’m not trying…” But it’s Keith on the other side. His voice immediately drops to a low whisper.
“Oh, Keith? What’s going on?”
Keith scratches his arm nervously.
“C…can I sleep with you?” His cheeks burn. God, how could he be doing this?
Lance blinks at him. Then his face pulls into a smug expression.
“Couldn’t stay away, huh?”
“Ok, ok, come in.” He guides Keith into the room.
“Do you want next to the wall or your usual spot?”
“Usual thanks.” Before Keith can really question what he’s doing, he kicks off his boots and is slipping off his pants. Lance can see the rush and panic in his movements.
“Whoa, slow down. Are you even gonna tell me what’s wrong?” Lance stills Keith’s hands. He holds them by the wrists as he’s about to rip off his shirt.
“I uh…. I can’t sleep.”
“I thought you were used to that?”
“I was, I was, but… for some reason… augh it’s crazy….” Keith rubs his temples.
It feels weird to have their roles switched. Now Keith can fully appreciate just how meek Lance must have felt when coming to him for help.
“When you were with me, I could sleep. And I was. And now I’m used to it, so if you take sleep away… I can’t handle it!” Keith collapses on the edge of the bed.
“Usually I’d just fight through it. Re-set my body clock, you know? But we don’t have time for that. The Galra could attack any day. You felt Voltron today!”
“Oh god, that was you?” Lance takes a seat next to Keith. He nods.
“That was terrible. It felt like somebody had told me that every puppy in the universe had died.”
“Yeah well… that’s the state I’m in right now.”
“Man, you do not handle fatigue well.”
“Thank you. I’d figured that out.”
Lance shakes his head and laughs. He crawls over and slides himself underneath the blankets, before holding a side open for Keith.
“Well, come on then. The sooner you get to sleep the sooner we can fix this.”
Keith smiles. He’s missed this. God has he needed this. He wraps the blanket tight around his shoulders and the smell of ocean spray and aloe vera is intoxicating.
He’s unconscious before Lance can even wish him goodnight.
It feels like coming home after a rough trip abroad. It’s comfortable and familiar, and Keith runs around the next morning with a spring in his step. He’s much lighter on his feet when he spars against Shiro, and he offers to help Allura restore some of the Castle’s less vital functions.
Allura worries about them forming Voltron again, but she knows the paladins can’t let the day before get them down. She has them try the mind link simulator again and they are able to form Voltron with ease. A vibration of optimism hums through them all.
It’s clear to both Keith and Lance that what they have is important. It maintains a balance that cannot be upset. Each one thinks the other will get sick of it and kick them out, but neither of them ever says anything. Their nights are warm and intimate. Their limbs automatically seek each other out, and they stay up late whispering and laughing into their pillows. Lance talks more about the shenanigans he used to commit with his brother, Tony, and how much he misses strawberry and banana smoothies. Keith listens intently. He tries to imagine Lance cutting off his sister’s hair or breeding frogs in his backyard without his parents finding out. Keith tells him how he misses sunsets and campfires.
They are curled up together one lazy morning. Keith is vaguely aware of Lance’s arm around his waist and his other touching his hand on the pillow between them. Lance blinks his eyes awake and groans.
“It can’t be morning already.”
“It is.” Keith sighs. There’s still sleep in his eyes.
“I think we deserve a day off.” Lance croaks. He closes his eyes with a dumb smile and pulls their two bodies closer together. Keith lets out an embarrassing gasp when their stomachs touch.
“The Galra don’t take a day off.”
“Mmm,” Lance’s eyebrows crinkle. He peeks up at Keith through thick lashes.
“If I ask you nicely, will you bring me breakfast in bed?”
“Well I don’t know. What have you done for me lately?” Lance pouts, and Keith hates how it makes him want to rush forward and kiss his frown off of him. Instead he just smirks and laughs airily.
“I have been nothing but nice to you lately.” Lance flexes his fingers and they stroke Keith’s spine.
“You’ve been….” Keith grins. “Tolerable.” He laughs at Lance’s wounded face. He sighs and wiggles closer, wrapping his arm over Lance’s shoulder and pressing their foreheads together.
“Fiiiiiine, tell me what you want.” He concedes.
Lance beams and opens his mouth to answer.
“Hey Lance! Wake up, I need you to help…meeee….”
Hunk bursts through the bedroom door completely uninhibited. His voice crashes into their space and Keith’s naked shoulders suddenly feel cold. His forehead is still pressed into Lance’s and their eyes stare into each other’s, suddenly wide with fear. Their bodies stiffen. Neither breathes. Keith for some reason thinks that if he lies perfectly still, Hunk won’t realise he’s there. Or maybe there’s enough blanket over them that he’ll think he’s Lance? Oh god, the blanket barely covers their hips. Keith is very obviously half naked in Lance’s bed, and Lance’s hands are very obviously splayed against Keith’s pale back and shit fuck shit shit fuck!
“I’ll uh… I can see you two are busy…. Never mind. It can wait.” Hunk’s voice cracks every which way and he practically slams the door as he scuttles out. Keith comes to his senses first.
“FUCK!” He snaps into action. He’s out of the bed and careening into the hallway after Hunk before Lance can even take a breath. Keith’s legs buckle under him, not yet used to supporting his weight after eight hours of lying down. The ship’s air is cold on his mostly naked body, but he doesn’t stop to throw anything on. He darts into the kitchen where Hunk is very busily making himself some hot tea. His cheeks are very red and he pretends not to see Keith when he runs in.
“Oh! H... HelGood morning, Keith.” His hand shakes as he strains the tea into his mug. “Did you sleep well, I mean, did you enjoy, no,…” He takes a loud sip. “Good morning.” He settles on. Keith holds his hands up.
“Look Hunk, what you just saw…. It’s not what it looks like.” Says Keith, the teenage boy with only his boxers on and who was just previously entangled with his equally naked teammate asking him what he wanted for breakfast. WOW did this look bad. Hunk scowls.
“Look, I’m not an idiot.”
“We’re just sleeping together!” Keith implores. Okay that may have come out wrong.
“I can see that.”
“No, no! I mean…” Keith rubs his face in frustration. “I mean there’s nothing between us. We literally just sleep in the same room.” He sighs and leans on the counter. Hunk cocks an amused eyebrow.
“Lance was having all these terrible night terrors, and I had insomnia and we just…?” Keith bites his lips and makes eye contact with Hunk for the first time. “This just works, ok? We both sleep better if someone else is there, so this is what we’ve resorted to.” Keith chews the inside of his cheek. “I know… I know it’s weird. But I really need you to not tell anyone. We’re better as a team when we do this, and I don’t want the others making this uncomfortable.”
Hunk sighs. He nods several times to himself.
“Lance did have some bad bouts of night terrors when he first got into the Garrison.”
“They’re the worst.” And despite the dark subject matter, Keith can only laugh. Because this is ridiculous. This whole situation is absurd. Hunk chuckles as well.
“God, you two…. So nothing’s happening? You don’t kiss each other goodnight?” He teases, but there’s real concern there.
“No, no.” Keith, now feeling more comfortable, speaks quietly. “Nothing could ever happen anyway.”
Hunk takes a long sip of his tea but raises his eyebrows curiously.
“With Lance being straight and all.”
Hunk loses it. He chokes and splutters on his tea, sending a spray of it onto Keith.
“What?!” He half cackles, half shrieks. Pidge toddles into the kitchen in a zombie like state and pours herself some juice behind them.
“L…Lance is straight.” Keith meekly repeats.
“He is not!” Hunk throws his head back and laughs.
“Wha…what?” Keith goes red and he isn’t sure whether it’s from embarrassment or from annoyance.
“Look, if it walks around on two legs and can flirt? Lance will try to get with it.” Hunk refills his mug after spitting so much of his drink out. “He is the king of bisexuals.”
“How do you know that? You can’t be sure.” Keith skeptically crosses his arms over his chest.
“Well I’m pretty sure Lance hitting on me is a pretty good indicator. I think the line was something like ‘You must be the square root of two, because I feel all irrational around you’.” Hunk shakes his head. “Now if I wasn’t straight, man that would have haaaaad me.”
“Lance uh… hit on you?”
Hunk doesn’t miss the once over that Keith gives him. He places his mug on the counter and leans forward into Keith’s space. He prods at his chest threateningly.
“Hey man! I will have you know that I am the Garrison cuddling champion and I could bench press you into next week. Lance would be lucky to have me.” His eyes narrow. Keith steps back in surrender.
“No, no! I just… you are very much a guy.”
“It’s just caught me off guard is all. I still don’t quite believe it.” Keith runs his fingers through his knotted hair.
“Here, check this out.” Hunk smirks and looks over his shoulder.
“Hey, Pidge. Keith here thinks Lance is straight.”
“Ha!” Pidge barks a laugh from where she sits hunched over a bowl of something resembling cereal. She looks up over her spoon at Keith.
“You’re an idiot.” She deadpans and resumes shoveling food into her mouth.
Hunk waves towards her.
Keith just nods. He doesn’t say anything more before he leaves to go shower.
It’s late and a rare night where they are actually given free time to themselves. Lance and Keith are hanging out in Lance’s bedroom, in various states of undress, teeth brushed but not quite ready to call it a night. Lance sits on the bed oiling and reassembling parts of his bayard rifle, and Keith does the same from the chair in the corner. They idly chat about their training, what strange thing they ate for dinner, and other mundane things.
“So Hunk won’t blab to everyone else?” Lance asks. He’s snaps his bayard back to its resting position.
“Not really. He seemed to understand.” Keith shrugs. He scratches at a small bit of dirt on his blade.
“Yeah, I tried to talk to him about it but we were never alone today. I felt like he was making fun of me all throughout our drills.”
“He probably was. It’s not everyday you catch your best friend spooning the guy he’s supposed to hate.” Keith smirks. He snaps his bayard away and begins to pull off his gloves.
“Oh god, the things he must have thought.” A rush of embarrassment floods through Lance once more. He flops his head into his hands.
“My soul honestly left my body when he walked in.”
Keith chuckles at the memory. In hindsight it is pretty funny.
He begins to pull off his pants and shirt. Lance scoots over on the bed to let him climb in, but Keith instead sits back on the chair. The atmosphere in the room shifts. Lance leans forward anxiously.
“Hey, you uh…”
“So you’re bisexual?” Keith blurts out. Eloquent as always. Lance blusters.
“Um yeah? Yes?” He looks taken aback. Where the hell was all this coming from?
“Sorry, sorry… Hunk just mentioned…” Keith rubs the back of his neck. This is none of his business. He shouldn’t pry like this.
But a question still burns at the back of his mind, despite all of his rational thoughts.
Why didn’t he tell me?
“Well yeah.” Lance breathes. He pauses for a beat. “Wait, you didn’t know?”
Keith bites his lip and shakes his head.
“I thought everyone knew!” Lance throws his hands up. “I thought it was obvious.”
“W…well it’s not.” Keith stands for no particular reason, but he’s having a hard time keeping still. “These things aren’t that simple.”
“I think they are.” He leans forward and smiles knowingly. “People are pretty easy to figure out.”
“Are they?” Keith juts out his hip and crosses his arms. “You didn’t even know Pidge was a girl?!”
“Didn’t need to. I already figured out what she was in to.”
“Science.” Lance shrugs like it’s the most obvious thing in the world. Keith throws his arms up in exasperation.
“I know you’re gay.”
There’s a stale silence. Lance drops his gaze, worrying he’s gone too far. Keith stares at him with his mouth slightly agape. He snaps it shut. He sighs and sinks onto the mattress next to him.
“Looks like you are better than me at something.” He smirks. Lance elbows him in the ribs.
“I said it was obvious.” Lance chuckles.
“What gave me away?” Keith leans forward, genuine curiosity behind his grin. Lance’s expression drops. His gaze goes to the floor. He nervously licks his lips.
“I notice how you look at Shiro.” His voice is hushed. Keith’s heart clenches.
“I know you have a thing for him.” Lance laughs, but it’s hollow. “God, who wouldn’t right?”
“Lance,” Keith snaps. Something makes him reach out to grab his friend’s wrist.
“I don’t have a thing for Shiro.” He shakes his head, begging Lance to understand.
“You don’t have to lie to me. I’m actually a pretty excellent wingman if you need…”
And Lance’s mouth snaps shut. This idiot. This absolute idiot. Keith has half a mind to grab his face and furiously kiss that stupid idea away.
“I don’t like Shiro! I don’t!” He throws his hands up. Lance still looks skeptical.
“Look,” Keith sighs. “Shiro is… very dear to me, and yeah he was probably my first crush, but our relationship is strictly friends now.” Keith squeezes Lance’s arm. It’s you, you moron.
“He’s too old for me, and he’s now much more of a mentor and brother than anything else.”
“But if he asked?”
“Oh well, if he’s asking….” Keith shrugs, then throws his head back and laughs when he sees how exasperated Lance looks.
“I’m kidding!” He sighs. He nudges Lance’s thigh with his knee.
“So yeah, I am gay. You got that right. Your method was just all wrong.”
“Hey, if the answer is right, who are you to judge my methods?”
Keith rolls his eyes. He flops back onto the mattress and places his hands behind his head.
“I still don’t believe you’re bi. I’ve only seen you hit on girls.”
“Correction!” Lance holds up an index finger. “You’ve only seen me hit on girl aliens. Coincidentally, all the male aliens we’ve run into have not been my type.”
“Seems implausible.” Keith drawls.
“I’m serious!” Lance laughs. “The Balmerans? The only do-able guy there was Shay’s brother, and he was an asshole. You turn in my best friend? Guess what? You’ve just entered the no-bone zone.”
“Oh my god,” Keith exhales.
“Arusians? They’re oversized guinea pigs. Can’t be having that.”
“You seemed pretty smitten with Nyma… why was Rolo excluded?” Keith wonders out loud.
“Ah well…” Lance flushes. “Rolo had that weird nose thing…. I thought he would hurt to make out with.”
“Oh my god!” Keith flails on the bed. “You are the most ridiculous….!” He sits up suddenly.
“You never made a pass at Shiro? What’s up with that?”
“Shiro is an adult. And my leader. You said so yourself.” Lance pulls back. Why is Keith so fixated on this? There’s an urgency to his questioning.
“Also he is wildly out of my league.” He laughs. Keith nods at that. Lance gasps and punches him in the shoulder.
“Hey! You’re not supposed to agree with me.”
“What can I say? You make good points.”
Keith leans against Lance’s side. He looks up at him with a mischievous grin.
“So Hunk, huh?”
It takes Lance a few seconds to comprehend his meaning.
“Oh god,” Lance pulls away. “He told you about that?”
“Oh yeah.” Keith pulls away. He starts to tuck himself under the blankets.
“I’m almost insulted.” He mumbles to himself, hoping Lance doesn’t catch it.
But Lance does. His eyebrows knit in confusion.
Then his eyes light up. A wide smile stretches across his features.
“Keeeeeeeith? Keeeeithy baby~” He crawls over until he’s looking down into Keith’s face.
“What? I’m tired now.” He snaps.
“Could you actually be….?!” Lance fake gasps incredibly loudly. “Oh my god, Keithy. Sweetie. Baby. Red-paladin of my life….are you actually jeeeeaaaalous?” Lance waggles his eyebrows. Keith makes a noise like a drowning duck. He uses his grappling skills to fling Lance off of him and smash him onto the bed.
“I said time to sleep!”
“OH MY GOD YOU ARE!” Lance howls. Keith pushes his face into the mattress. Maybe if he does it hard enough he’ll smother him.
“I SAID SLEEP!”
He lets go and pointedly rolls over so that he’s got his back towards Lance.
“Hey, Keith…” Lance’s hand reaches out to touch Keith’s arm. Keith slaps it away.
“Hey no, serious talk now. Come on…” Lance’s voice is soothing. Keith likes to think he’s the only one who gets to hear Lance soft and gentle like this. He reluctantly rolls over.
“You uh… you didn’t know that I liked guys before. So if this…” Lance gestures to both of them lying in the bed. “If this makes you uncomfortable. Or if you don’t want to do this anymore, I’ll understand.”
Keith smiles lazily. This boy is going to be the death of him.
“Thank you, Lance.” He reaches up to firmly squeeze Lance’s shoulder. “But I’m fine. Really. I’m still here aren’t I?”
Lance’s eyes crinkle at the sides when he smiles.
Keith hums and rolls over again. He switches off the light and pulls the blanket around his shoulders. The mattress shifts next to him and he feels Lance’s breath against his ear.
“Hey baby, you must be an astronaut, because your ass is out of this world.”
“OH MY GOD!” Keith rounds on him and pins him to the bed. He shoves a pillow over his face, but it does little to drown the sound of Lance’s hysterical laughter.
“I hate you! I hate you! Why are you like this?!”.
Keith is many things. Impulsive, impatient, skeptical, socially inept… he’s been described as all of these things, and to be honest, he doesn’t disagree with them.
But he’s never been called selfish.
But he is. Keith is becoming incredibly selfish.
He’s selfish in how he hoards all of Lance’s touches throughout the night. He sometimes lays there, just watching Lance sleep, committing to memory the way his mouth angles itself when it’s slack and how his eyebrows sometimes crinkle when he’s dreaming.
Keith will sometimes prop himself up on his elbow during the few lucky mornings he wakes up before Lance, and watch his chest rise and fall in an easy rhythm. He reaches out, guiltily, and runs his fingers through his short hair. He brushes the strands out of his face and relishes how Lance seems to lean into his touch.
Keith is selfish.
His chest aches.
Keith’s self indulgence reaches a peak the night Lance has another nightmare. There’s shuffling and a wild foot collides with his shin, startling him awake. Lance is facing away from him, but it’s obvious what is happening. The room is filled with small, distressed noises and Lance’s fingers twitch against the sheets. Keith feels calmer this time. He’s gotten Lance out of this before. He wraps an arm around his warm belly and pulls him against his chest.
“Lance, Lance….” Keith coos and pets his hair.
“You’re okay. Everything’s fine. I’ve got you.”
Lance melts against him. There’s a small gasp of breath indicating that he’s somewhat awake now, and one of his hands holds onto Keith’s as it strokes up and down his stomach in calming motions. Lance laces their fingers together. His heart still thuds so hard in his chest that Keith can feel it in his.
“You’re safe. Your familiy’s safe.” Keith whispers into Lance’s ear.
Then he does it.
It feels natural. A protective instinct. Comforting a friend he tells himself.
He lightly kisses Lance’s temple. Just on the hairline. Keith doesn’t even realise what he’s done until his lips leave Lance’s warm skin. He freezes and waits for him to jerk away.
But Lance doesn’t move. Their fingers are still clasped together against his stomach and his bare back still presses into Keith’s chest.
Keith is selfish.
He goes in again. And again. And again. Lightly kissing around Lance’s hairline and ear, whispering little reassurances at the same time, until he hears Lance’s breathing return to normal. He places one final kiss on the tip of his eyebrow, then relaxes back into the mattress. Keith lets out a shuddery breath and he’s sure Lance can feel it on the nape of his neck.
Shit shit. It’s been so long since they’ve been caught off guard like this. Warm bodies quickly separate and the rush of the cold air on their skin fully wakes them up. Stiff ankles and knees crack as they sprint down the hallway, and fingers shake and claw at armour and helmets.
A Galran fleet. It seemed to just appear out of nowhere, surrounding the castle. Allura relays all this information on the way to their lions. Lance straps in and ejects Blue into space. Keith counts to 10, then does the same.
“Alright team. We’ve done this before. We can do it again.” Shiro’s commanding voice crackles in their ears. There’s a hum of acknowledgement from everyone else.
Lance hardly has a chance to appreciate the beauty of the galaxy they are in before lasers are on him. He maneuvers and dodges easily enough, taking out several ships with his tail beam, but he knows there’s a couple of hundred more coming at them.
Hunk smashes into several, badly damaging them enough that they can no longer shoot, and Pidge weaves in and out with expertise so that the Galra end up shooting their own ships. Even with Keith and Shiro’s expert piloting, they are barely scratching the Galra’s numbers. A few enemy ships ignore the lions completely, and begin to attack the castle instead. Their home, and base, which has much weaker defense.
“Ok, I’m calling it.” Shiro orders. “You guys ready?”
“Let’s do it!” Lance calls enthusiastically.
“Let’s take these guys out!” Hunk bellows.
“God, yes.” Pidge answers, like she’s been waiting this whole time.
“I’m on it.” Keith confirms.
They combine like clockwork. It’s easy and as natural to them as flying now, but there’s still a small thrill knowing that they are now one. They are part of the universe’s greatest weapon against tyranny. Their mental link is strong and the small shout of victory between them is unanimous.
Voltron begins to tear through the ships when Pidge feels it.
“Jeez, Hunk. I know you didn’t eat breakfast but…” Pidge teases.
“That is not me.” Hunk corrects.
Hunger. That’s an interesting way to describe it. The weird feeling thrums through the group strongly enough that Shiro has to mention it.
“Ok look, whatever the hell that is, just ignore it. It’s uncomfortable, but we need to finish this.” Shiro swallows. Voltron careens through the stars and swipes its sword in a large arc. A battalion of ships goes up in flames.
“Ugh, this really sucks. I really hate hacking your brains sometimes.” Pidge winces.
“Stop calling it hacking. I feel violated.” Lance chirps in. He expertly fires an ice attack at an incoming fighter.
“Alright, alright. Let’s just focus on the task at hand. It’s nothing we can’t deal with.” Shiro throws Voltron into a dive towards the very center of the Galran fleet.
“Right!” Everyone nods.
Despite the frustrated scratching at their heads, Voltron manages to take the fleet out. A few ships scuttle away, undoubtedly to report back to Zarkon about what has happened. The team know that they will likely have to wormhole jump again.
They land their lions in the hangars. Many of the paladins sigh with exhaustion. They’ve only been awake for about an hour and they have already dealt with so much.
“Good work team! I’m proud of how we managed today. Make sure to put your suits back in their storage areas neatly.” Shiro states, then signs off his comms. Lance rolls his eyes.
They clap each other on the back when they all meet in the suit storage area. Pidge compliments Lance on his improved agility, and Keith compliments Hunk’s improved confidence. He’s just fastened his boots up when Shiro gently grabs him by the elbow.
“We’ll see you guys at breakfast,” Shiro laughs and waves at the others, as he guides Keith out of the room. Keith waits several beats to make sure that they’re out of ear-shot,
“Ok, what’s up? You’re using your dad voice.” Keith sighs. Shiro scowls.
“I do not have a dad voice. I’m just concerned…”
“There it is.” Keith points out. Shiro groans. This argument of theirs has been going on for a while, but he doesn’t have time for jokes right now.
“Look, Keith…” He steps into a small alcove and tugs the younger boy with him. Keith looks up skeptically.
“Today went fine. It did. But I’m worried that next time your feelings may be stronger, and we won’t be able to stay together.” Shiro looks sympathetically down at his teammate. Keith gapes like a fish.
“My what now?” He shakes his head. “You don’t that that was me.”
“Keeeeith,” Shiro laughs. “I know you. I know how you think. I know that was you.”
“Sorry. It’s what Pidge said. I clearly didn’t have breakfast…”
Shiro sighs and leans forward. There’s a teasing smirk on his face.
“Is that what they’re calling it now?”
“It won’t be a problem again!” Keith snaps to attention. He’s done with this conversation. He doesn’t need Shiro investigating his wants and desires in some broom closet just after he’s risked his life to take down hundreds of enemy space craft. He doesn’t need this.
He gives a sharp nod and marches off. Shiro tries not to chuckle too loudly.
“Ooooooh, Keith’s in trouble.” Lance sings. He recognizes Shiro’s dad voice anywhere. He laughs quietly, wondering if Shiro will finally have a word with him about his need to always dive head first into danger. Or maybe he’ll reprimand him for not following Lance’s lead on one of the attacks today. Either would be good.
“Man I hate it when Shiro pulls me aside. You feel like you’ve disappointed your grandmother or something.” Pidge finishes changing into her civvies. She wipes her glasses and begins to wander off. Hunk is still zipping up his pants. Lance waits patiently for him.
“I’m gonna shower. Save me a plate.” Pidge calls.
“Will do.” Lance answers.
There’s a comfortable silence between him and Hunk. He leans back on the wall and gently closes his eyes, listening as Hunk finishes pulling his boot on.
“Hey, you wanna…”
“What the HELL was that?!” Hunk is in his face. He uses his size to completely crowd Lance against the wall.
“What was me….what?!” Lance balks.
“Your crush on Keith is getting crazy, bro! I’ve never been able to feel it in Voltron before. Control yourself, man!”
Lance remembers. Oh god it had been bad. He slumps forward against Hunk with a loud groan.
“Oh my god, was it really that bad? You could tell it was me?”
“Dude, for a couple of seconds I thought I had a crush on Keith, that’s how strong it was.” Hunk picks Lance’s limp body up and looks into his eyes. Lance completely gives up supporting himself.
“Oh noooooooo,” He wails. “Shit. Really?”
“Oh yeah. And as a straight guy? It was very confusing. Please do not do that to me again.” Hunk smiles, but there’s a genuine warning to his voice. Lance rubs his face.
“Fuuuuuck. Oh god, do you think he felt it? Do you think he knows?”
“Pffft, no. Keith’s an idiot.”
“A beautiful idiot.”
“I can’t!” Lance crumbles to sit cross legged on the floor. “I’m fucked! I’m so fucked!”
“So stop sleeping with him!” Hunk offers. “Stop it! It’s like going to bed with a huge plate of nachos every night! Eventually, you’re gonna take a bite!”
“I can’t! I can’t stop! It’s terrible. Please put on my tombstone ‘Here lies Lance. He had no self control and overdosed on spooning.’” He flails his limbs.
“Well you gotta do something! If I get back into Voltron and start to feel sexually frustrated….?!” Hunk holds up his hands and shakes his head in terror. “I’m done! Me and my leggy-ass self are OUT!”
Lance slumps forward. Hunk had a point. God, what if next time they were doing drills he thought about Keith? How his hair looks falling over his face? How he smiles first thing in the morning when he’s woken up with tea? How his soft, warm hands might feel when wrapped around his…
“OH MY GOD YOU’RE DOING IT RIGHT NOW!” Hunk points dramatically. Lance blushes up to his ears.
“YOU DON’T KNOW!”
“I KNOW WHAT YOUR HORNY FACE LOOKS LIKE! YOU CAN’T FOOL ME, LANCE!”
Lance wails. He hates how transparent he is. He hates how Keith has consumed every part of him.
“You my friend, are a ticking time bomb.” Hunk leans over and prods him in the chest with an index finger.
“Pidge is a child and I will not expose her to your brain.”
“I have a problem.” Lance admits.
“You have a problem.” Hunk sighs.
Each of them knows that they need to say something. Anything. But they push through the tension like a swimmer expertly moves through water. They dodge any nagging feelings and slip easily around each other, pretending that nothing has changed.
At the end of the day they strip off their clothes and climb into bed together as normal. Their routine is still in tact. Calloused fingers reach out to touch tan skin, and toes flirtatiously touch under the blanket. They forget about their friend’s warnings. They forget about Voltron. They breathe easily knowing that the other is still there. Sleep comes effortlessly.
But it’s not a restful one. It’s about 2am when Keith is woken by soft, frightened murmurs and a trembling Lance. The sight of Lance so obviously in pain is still uncomfortable, the way his teeth grit and his eyebrows scrunch together doesn’t suit his youthful face, but it doesn’t cause Keith to panic as much as he used to. He knows what to do now.
He would never admit to it, but he secretly enjoys when Lance gets nightmares. It’s an excuse to hold him close and indulge himself. When Lance is scared, he’s allowed to whisper reassuring things in his ear and press his nose to the nape of his neck. Secure arms wrap around Lance’s stomach, and he is pulled into Keith’s chest. Their bare skin touching still sends a jolt of pleasure up Keith’s spine. His fingertips brush gently between Lance’s pectorals and he barely hesitates to press his lips to his ear.
“Hey, hey, I’ve got you.” Keith closes his eyes. Tries to pretend he’s holding Lance for a different reason. Tries to forget the ravenous sensation in his chest. Lance’s breathing slows. His body leans against Keith’s and he reaches for one of his hands and holds it in his.
“You’re ok.” Keith whispers and presses another kiss to Lance’s hairline. “Won’t let anything happen to you.”
There’s a heavy sigh and Lance squeezes Keith’s hand tighter. Keith takes that as a good sign and smiles into the next kiss he places on Lance’s jawline.
Lance shifts. He rolls over, but is sure to hold Keith’s arm in place so that it still drapes over his waist. Keith pulls back nervously, but Lance catches his shoulder.
“No, no….” His voice is scratchy. He worries his lip. A faint blush appears on his cheekbones.
“Keep going.” He asks. His eyes are glassy and sparkle in the dime light. Keith swallows.
With his pulse thudding in his ears, Keith places a chaste kiss on Lance’s forehead. Lance hums contentedly at the contact. The small noise reassures Keith, and he places another at the juncture of his ear. His temple. His cheekbone. His grip around Lance’s waist tightens, and Lance places his hands against Keith’s chest.
He kisses between his eyebrows. The tip of his nose. The corner of his mouth…
There’s an intake of breath. Keith looks at Lance expectantly, searching for some kind of meaning. Lance reaches out to stroke a thumb against his jawline. His eyes are sincere.
Keith’s jaw goes slack. His fingertips, formerly so sure of themselves on Lance’s hip, begin to shake. His eyes flicker rapidly between Lance’s eyes and his mouth. He’s terrified.
“Hey,” And now it’s Lance speaking in that caressing tone. He applies the smallest amount of pressure to the back of Keith’s neck.
“I told you to go ahead.”
Keith caves to the pressure and he’s ashamed of the noise he makes when his lips touch Lance’s. He can feel Lance smile against him and laugh quietly.
“Me too.” And his hands twist in Keith’s hair. Chaste kisses are abandoned, and they soon turn open mouthed and desperate. Keith leaves nail marks in Lance’s hips from how hard he holds on, like he’s worried he might slip away. He bites at Lance’s bottom lip, and swallows the delicious moan that follows it. Lance’s lips are just as soft as he’s always hoped.
Lance grips onto Keith and pulls him on top of him. Keith gives a little yelp, but he’s soon back to making out with him enthusiastically. Lance can’t get over how great Keith’s hair feels tangled in his fingers. Keith continues to make breathy little noises and it makes his head swim. He has to pull back to catch his breath.
“Is that…?” Keith looks down anxiously with swollen lips. His hair is a mess and falls around him, and there’s a dark blush across his cheeks. His muscular chest heaves from lack of oxygen.
“Fuuuuuck,” Lance whines. This image alone could sate him for the rest of his life. He brushes Keith’s hair back and runs his fingers along his throat.
“God you’re beautiful.”
Keith blinks at him in shock. In all of his wildest fantasies, he never imagined Lance calling him beautiful. It was too sweet, too simple, too much of everything he’s ever wanted.
“Uh…I uh…” Lance’s eyes widen. Keith smirks. There’s the boy he knows.
“Were you not supposed to say that out loud?”
“I guess I had to slip up eventually.” Lance rubs his thumb against Keith’s cheek, who leans into the touch. He takes Lance’s hand and kisses the back of his knuckles.
“So you’ve thought that before then?” He chuckles.
“Since I first saw you.”
The wind is kicked out of Keith’s chest. He’s been dealt a blow he can’t recover from. He stares at the boy pinned below him, who beams up at him.
“I like you, Keith.”
Keith’s stopped breathing. Something stings his eyes. Oh god, no. He can’t cry at this. He can’t let Lance see how those words rip through him like fire. He falls forward and buries his face in the crook of Lance’s neck and kisses the sensitive flesh there. Lance gasps and fists at Keith’s hair. The sensation is almost too much. There’s teeth, and tongue, and sucking. It starts to become painful, but Lance doesn’t pull away. Keith releases the skin with a wet pop.
“Did you leave a mark?” Lance gasps. Keith nods against him.
“So you don’t forget.” He mouths at his ear. Lance makes a questioning sound.
“That I don’t like Shiro, you absolute idiot.” Keith grumbles. Lance laughs and rolls over to face the boy in his arms.
“You sure?” He presses their foreheads together.
“I honestly wanted to punch you.” Keith mumbles. Lance loughs loudly.
“Says the guy who thought I was straight. I’d been sending you signals for weeks.” He rolls his eyes.
“You flirt with everyone else so obviously! Why didn’t I get any cheesy pick-up lines! You know I’m not good with subtlety.” Keith hisses in exasperation. Lance smiles and touches the tips of their noses.
“Mmmm, cuz you deserved better than cheesy pick up lines.” He sighs. Keith rolls his eyes and kisses the corner of his mouth.
“We could’ve been doing this sooner, you know.”
And Lance has to admit that that is a shame. He rolls onto his back and pulls Keith in so he lays on his chest. Keith is happy to oblige.
“I’ll make it up to you.” He promises. Keith presses himself closer. He’s exhausted and his joints feel weak, but his pulse still flutters in his throat.
“I know how you can.”
“Yeah?” Lance smirks. Because of course Keith knows what he wants immediately. Keith hums and throws an arm across his chest.
“Sleep with me every night. Like this.” He sighs. Lance angles his head to kiss the top of his head and breathes in the smell of orange blossoms.
Their chests rise and fall in a steady rhythm. Keith feels sleep start to wrap its tendrils around him, and he listens to Lance’s quiet breathing.
“So you’re my boyfriend now, right?” Lance’s voice cuts through the romantic silence.
“Oh my god, yes.”
“Ok just checking, jeez.”
“Go to sleep.” Keith snaps, but there’s no bite to it. The last thing he remembers is Lance’s lips on the corner of his mouth.
“Ok, Paladins! I understand you had some difficulty yesterday. Please understand that you must be able to function as a single unit in even the most stressful of situations.” Allura’s authoritative voice comes through the comms. Lance lazily flies Blue around, noting where all the other lions are moving.
“Your goal is simple. I’ve set up several targets that will project into this planet’s atmosphere, but they will be moving very quickly. Attack them all before your timer runs out. The number of targets will increase with each level.”
“And we’re doing this all as Voltron?” Hunk confirms.
“Of course. Your mental link is still quite weak. Your strategies shouldn’t be ‘Lance’s idea’ or ‘Pidge’s idea’. You should all have the same thoughts at the same time.”
“I hope you guys like thinking about corn dogs. Because I have a wicked craving…”
“Alright.” Shiro cuts Lance off before he can make any more smart remarks.
“This should be easy. Let’s prove yesterday was a fluke.” His voice is optimistic. It makes the other Paladins more confident.
“Okay! Let’s form Voltron!”
Forming Voltron is amazingly easy now, and Keith welcomes the feeling of being joined to the others. He breathes easy and grips his controls tighty.
“Alright! We’ve got this down!’ Lance whoops loudly. Keith shakes his head and smiles.
“Oh thank Christ, they got together.” Pidge sighs into her mic. There’s a choking sound from Lance.
“What you don’t…!” He starts to protest.
“Oh yeah we do. You dog, you.” Hunk teases. Keith blushes furiously in his seat. Ok never mind. He actually hates this. Never mind the joy of teams and finding somewhere he belongs. Please dump him back in his desert shack. Shiro’s soft laughter echoes in his ear.
“Congrats Keith.” His voice is gentle. Keith wonders if his lion has an eject button.
“I thought we had a goal here.” He tries to remain professional. Form Voltron. Attack targets before the time runs out. It’s simple, and he doesn’t need people rummaging in his head and finding out how hopelessly gone he is for Lance’s smile. How his voice first thing in the morning makes him weak at the knees, and how his hands against his chest make him feel…
“Awww,” Shiro hears everything. Keith yells over Hunk and Pidge laughing hysterically. Lance is mysteriously silent.
“And I thought Lance was the romantic.” Pidge giggles.
“Oh god, you don’t think we’ll know when they’ve had sex will we?” Hunk worries out loud. There’s a smug chuckle from Lance.
“I dunno. Let’s form Voltron tomorrow and you tell me.” Even though Keith can’t see him, he knows exactly what kind of shit eating grin Lance is wearing.
“I’m not having sex with you tonight, Lance.” He drawls.
“Aw babe, come on! Let me dream!”
“Ok, ok, that’s enough.” Shiro orders. “Everyone stop bombarding Lance’s and Keith’s head holes. We’re all very happy for you and wish you the best. But Keith’s right. We’ve got a job to do.”
“Right!” Comes the unanimous reply.
Voltron soars through the air with ease. Keith’s red lion cuts down the targets with it’s sword and they are picking up even more speed. Despite the difficulty of the exercise, it is somehow pleasantly relaxing. Lance takes a moment to switch his comms into private.
“Hey, it’s just us.” His voice comes through to Keith.
“You’ll let me kiss you a lot tonight though, right?” And Keith has to laugh at how worried Lance sounds.
There’s a giddiness from Lance’s end.
“Ok cool. Just checking. Back to the task now.”
“Switching comms back to the team.”
“Shiro please pilot us into a mountain. We are too happy and I can’t stand it.” Pidge groans.
“Request denied.” Shiro laughs.