Actions

Work Header

(The) Garrison University

Chapter Text

     “Mom… Dad… I’M GOING TO COLLEGE!” Lance said as he held the acceptance letter from his first choice school in his hands, proudly in front of his parents. They immediately got up to hug him, tears welling in their eyes as they smothered their son with affection.

     “Mi niño, my boy, you’re going to college!” his mother said through the tears, words muffled as she hugged his torso. His dad was too emotional to say anything, just holding his boy was indication enough of the immense pride he felt.

     Lance was waitlisted when he first applied to Garrison University, his top choice for his major, aerospace. He and Hunk applied at the same time, and when Hunk got his first, he got worried. Hunk, the adorable, incredible smart man got a full-ride there, room and board and the meal plan included. And he got a waitlisted letter. Being waitlisted wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either. While he did apply to other colleges, state schools, community college, he wanted to go to Garrison, that’s what his entire life has been leading up to. Ever since he was little, he had a vested interest in space and piloting, and the Garrison allowed him to do both, with their state-of-the-art pilot program that is an option to certain majors. And his idol, Shiro, attended there when he was in undergrad, and is currently there for grad school, working on his research. So the Garrison was his top school, and only school really, that mattered to him.

     And now he’s going to bleed cream and orange.

     After his parents stopped hugging him, he immediately grabbed his phone and dialed his best friend. When he picked up, Lance skipped straight to the good part “I GOT IN, HUNK! WE’RE GOING TO COLLEGE TOGETHER! WE’RE GOING TO ROOM TOGETHER!”

     “What?!” There was disbelief in his tone, but overall he was incredibly happy for his friend. “Dude, this is going to be, like, the best four years of our lives! I gotta bake a cake to celebrate! How does carrot cake with cream cheese sound, to honor our new colors?”

     Lance was laughing. There really wasn’t anything Hunk couldn’t do, he’s gifted with machines, explaining the intended mechanical engineering major, and gifted with ingredients, he could make everything out of anything. “Yeah, buddy! That sounds great. Should I come over tomorrow to celebrate? I’ll bring Fallout!”

     “Which one?”

     “New Vegas.”

     “You’re officially invited over. Now, got frame your acceptance letter now, because I know that’s what you’re planning to do. Goodnight, dude. Congrats again!”

     “Night, Hunk.”

     Lance hit the “End Call” button and put his phone to charge. Little did Hunk know, his parent’s already framed and hung up the acceptance letter, wasting no time for the five minutes he was on the phone. It was nestled between his mounted spaceship and his NASA poster because every young cadet needed one. Still full of joy, he rummaged through his closet to find his cream sweatshirt. Even though it was mid-April and the Miami heat was not too kind, he put it on. Looking in the mirror, his pride was seemingly seeping out of his sides, unable to control the grin that started when he opened that letter.

     He turned off of the lights and flopped into bed, staring up at the ceiling dotted with glow-in-the-dark stars and paint; something his older brother did before he moved out; and sighed contentedly. “I’m going to the Garrison,” he whispered proudly to himself, and drifted off into the most blissful sleep he’s had since he started his senior year.

Chapter Text

     He could barely contain his excitement. Lance was practically jumping up and down in the family car when they rolled up to the very modern-looking university. It’s been over 12 hours in the car with non-stop backseat driving and bickering, only remedied with Pinecrest Bakery house croquetas, and he was ready, and nervous, to go to the place he will call home for the next four years.

     The blueprints of the university were imprinted in his memory, looking at the schematics so many times that he could practically recite the square feet of every bathroom. First, they had to check-in at the residence hall he was staying at, getting his keys and setting his stuff up. Hunk should be there by now, his family opting to fly over and ship everything he wanted from home. Lance toyed with the idea of flying over but settled on the drive because it was the tradition for their family to drive to the first day. His older siblings hated it, but since he was farther from home, he treasured every minute of time he got to spend with his parents, including the ever irritating back seat driving.

     The brown-skinned freshman practically sprinted to the dorm building he was staying in, leaving his parents to come at their own pace. It was a huge building, at least eight floors, with at least two huge windows per room. The walls on the outside were a light gray color, with steel and white detailing. The way the sun was hitting the building was creating an awful glare, but Lance stared at it nonetheless. It was beautiful, and his home for the next year, with his best friend. His heart felt like it was going to pop out of his chest.

     “So, are you going to move? Or drool?” said an irritated voice behind him.

     “I was going to move, but now that you said that...” Lance started, and turned to meet whoever dared to ruin this special day for him.”...” It took him a couple of seconds to realize the voice was coming from someone smaller than him. He locked eyes with them and had to stifle the laughter. With the boyish haircut and small stature, the person facing him looked no older than 12. A fetus was trying to pick a fight with him.

     “Did you forget how to speak English, or are you actually that stupid?” They replied, and that got Lance to sober up. This fetus had a mouth on them.

     “I’m sorry, I didn’t know The Garrison started a Pre-K program, do you need me to walk you to the daycare center?”

     “Ha ha, go for my height. Galaga has better comebacks than you do.”

     “Well, at least I can ride all the rides at the fair!”

     “At least I don’t have the linguistics of a five-year-old!”

     “AT LEAST I DON’T LOOK LIKE A FIVE-YEAR-OLD!”

     The pair were at each other’s throats, hurling insult after insult at each other. Others around them watched in disbelief, that the Thursday of freshmen move-in, people were already picking fights. It lasted for another minute or so until a figure stepped up to them and cleared his throat.

     “Oh, now who’s this assho-” Lance stopped mid-sentence, realizing that the president of the University, Dr. Iverson, was now glaring at the both of them. He was walking back to his office when he heard the two arguing  and immediately had to put a stop to it. Since Garrison only accepts 50 freshmen per year, he was quite familiar with the two in front of him. The taller, skinnier boy was Lance, who had people championing for his acceptance, and when someone dropped the university, he got in. The smaller was Pidge, as they wanted to be referred as on their application, the younger brother of Matt, a graduate student at the institution. It’s no surprise the two didn’t hit it off right away, but he didn’t expect Pidge to be making this much of a stir immediately.

     Dr. Iverson glared at Lance, while Pidge was holding in their laughter. “I am Dr. Iverson, Lance.” Lance felt chills down his spine when he heard his name being spoken. “And now, you and Pidge should go and set your rooms up and stop causing trouble. This will be your first and final warning.” With that, he turned and left, knowing that their group will be causing more trouble in the future.

     Pidge was now almost doubled over, having trouble breathing from how hard they were laughing. “You- Just- Called- Iverson- An- Asshole!”

     “Oh my god, I think I just ruined my life. These next couple of years are going to be hell. Oh my god. I’m a dead man.” His entire demeanor just shifted. He couldn’t believe he just pissed off someone, the someone, that is in charge of basically everything. He’s going to die, a slow, painful, torturous death.

     “You’re definitely dead.” The dirty blonde agreed. “But, that was the funniest thing I have ever witnessed, so props to you.” They stuck out their hand. “Name’s Pidge.”

     “Lance.” The taller boy said and shook the other’s hand. “Sorry about all that stuff I said earlier.”

     “Oh, you’re good. My older brother and I tease each other all the time. I’ve heard worse.”

     “You have an older brother too?” Lance’s eyes lit up, he was happy he made a friend while he was moving in.

     “Yeah! He actually goes to the graduate school here, his name is Matt. He should’ve been here a lot earlier, but he’s subject to being late. Very late.”

     “I understand what you mean, my family is never on time. You have to start the event like three hours earlier than wanted, just so people arrive at a decent time. One time, I was late to my twelfth birthday party!”

 

     The two talked as they walked in, mostly about family and how far this university was from their homes. Pidge was from the northeast, so they weren't use to this dry heat that was the norm in Arizona. Lance, being from Miami, actually missed the humidity, and made a mental note to ask for a humidifier. They checked in, and realized they were living on the same floor, diagonal from each other. Pidge got their own room, luckily enough, though if you asked them, you’ll notice that they get a little nervous about the assignment. The pair bid adieu, and Lance used his key to get the door open, feeling as if this is a right of passage to adulthood.

     Surprisingly, his parents were already in the room, setting up his side with his sheets and the like. He hugged and said hello to Hunk’s parents, grinned at Hunk, and went to go finish up his side of the room. They all were chatting, mostly their parents, the freshmen couldn’t really get anything in other than an embarrassed groan when something personal from childhood was told when a knock was heard at the door. They looked at each other, wondering who it could be. Lance shrugged and opened the door. He was always in the mood to talk to new people.

     “Pidge!” He said, kind of surprised. It has only been a handful of hours since they checked in. “Everyone, this is Pidge” he ushered them in, “Pidge this is my mom, my dad, Hunk, my roommate, and his mom and his dad.” Pidge waved to everyone, being kind of overwhelmed with a number of people in the dorm at one time.

     “We have an event to go to, for freshmen, that starts in a bit.” This was their way of branching out, especially since they were here by themselves, discounting their brother.

     “Shoot! We forgot all about it. Mama , papa, ¿quedamos para la cena después el presentacíon con los padres de Hunk? Voy a enviar una text cuando es finito.

     They nodded, as did Hunk’s parents. “ Sí, ahora vas con tus amigos. Have fun, mí amor .” Lance’s parents kissed him on the cheek, and they did the same to Hunk and Pidge. They all said goodbye as they filed out of the room, Lance locking the door behind them.

 

     The trio was talking, Pidge and Hunk hitting it off right away, making their way to the presentation when someone came flying out of nowhere and tackled Pidge.

     “MATT!” was heard, muffled by the older boy crushing the air out of his sibling. “GET OFF OF ME! I’M GOING TO BE LATE!”

     Matt chuckled. “And then you’ll finally be like me! And you’ll learn to finally relax for once, Pidgey.” Lance and Hunk laughed at that, and Matt finally got off of his sibling to introduce himself. “Hi, I’m Matt, Pidge’s older brother. I’m a graduate student here, and the number one procrastinator on campus. I’m assuming you’re both freshmen. I’m supposed to be helping the presentation now, but I’m running late, as you can see. Nice to meet you!”

     While the two looked alike, Matt and Pidge had very different personalities. The two were taken aback by the wordy greeting but shook the man’s hand nonetheless. That’s when Lance put two and two together, realizing who Pidge’s brother really is. The graduate program was even harder to get into, and everyone who gets in has accomplished some great feat in their life, and Matt wasn’t an exception. Lance wasn’t going to go full geek just yet, but he knew that Matt and Shiro designed exploration missions, with the expectation to go through full astronaut training after their time in the university is done, and set forth on some of their explorations.

     “Matt, what are you doing to your poor sibling and their friends?” said a voice behind them, and Lance almost peed his pants. Almost. “You know the presentation starts in five, Coran and Dr. Iverson are expecting us.” His idol, Shiro, was standing right behind him. It took all of his being not to have a heart attack right then and there. “Excuse me.” And he went to pluck a very disgruntled Pidge off of the ground and grabbed Matt by the collar.

     “Thanks, Shiro” Pidge said, wiping the dirt off of them self. “These are my friends, Lance and Hunk.” Hunk waved while Lance started emitting a high pitched squealing sound.

     “ohmYGODOHMYGOD YOU’RE SHIRO YOU’RE LIKE MY IDOL YOU’RE THE REASON WHY I APPLIED HERE.” It was hard for Lance to control himself, so he didn’t. This was such a big moment for him, the person he looks up to his right in front of him, his entire reason of being in this university was right there.

     Shiro laughed at his excitement. “Nice to meet you, Lance.” Lance put his hand on his heart when he heard his name. “And you too, Hunk. I wish I could stay and chat more, but I have to take him to do the presentation that you guys will be seeing in a bit. I’m sure I will see you guys around.” With that, he dragged Matt by the collar, who was waving as he went into the distance.

     “Lance, what the hell was that?” Pidge said, which snapped Lance out of his stupor.

     “I would apologize for losing my cool, something I never do” there were snorts of disbelief, “but Shiro is my idol, the reason why I wanted to come to the Garrison in the first place.” It’s true, Shiro is always plastered all over the Garrison’s website, so by the time Lance learned to use the web, he was looking up to Shiro.

     “I’d ask more, but seeing how my brother was going to make us late, I now have to make sure we’re there on time. C’mon guys, let’s pick up the pace.” With that, the trio went on to the auditorium.

 

     A few days later, after both Hunk’s and Lance’s parents left, the boys were getting ready for a party. Since Pidge knows a lot of the Garrison attendees, they got the invite when Pidge ran into the sophomore when they were exploring the streets around the university. Saturday before school started, and they already got invited to a party! This year was going to end up being fantastic. Lance was practically buzzing with excitement, while Pidge and Hunk couldn’t care less, but Lance was forcing the two to go with him. He had to give some hot babes his number. Especially since Balmara College was so close and they had beautiful girls that are attending said party.

     “Lance, dude, how long are you going to take to pick out an outfit?” Hunk said, playing FE: Heroes on his phone because that was all that was left to do.

     “Yeah, you’ve been switching between the same two shirts for the past half-hour. By the time you’re done, the party would’ve ended.” Pidge was sitting on the chair, arms folded over the back of it, aggravated.

     “Okay, okay. So, blue? Or darker blue?” Lance had to get his first college party down, so he can set an expectation for the ones to come.

     Hunk looked up from his phone. “Darker blue, the regular blue got you rejected with the barista, remember?”

     “ At least I got my venti iced chai latte. Darker blue it is… But does it bring out my eyes?”

     Pidge let out a half grown, half scream. “WE’RE LEAVING NOW FOR CHRIST’S SAKE.” Hunk, glad for the intervention, got up and opened the door. Pidge pushed a very intimidated Lance out the door, and Hunk locked it. It was going to be a long night.

 

     “Man, none of these girls seem interested in me,” Lance said, dejectedly sipping the alcoholic punch. They have been there for about an hour, and Lance had already struck out with three girls. None of them seem interested in the freshman boy, they just wanted to talk about how safe and warm they felt in their sorority.

     “Maybe it’s because you try so hard,” Pidge said, sipping out of a solo cup. They were taking their time, just saying hi and making conversation with those they recognized. They might go and hack the host’s computer for fun. Might. “Hunk is having a blast, he is still talking to the girl that he ran into at the food table.” Hunk had left to survey the food table and met a girl shyly hanging around. Being Hunk, he introduced himself and they hit it off.

     “Yeah! I’m happy for him, don’t get me wrong, but I just want to not strike out tonight, Pidge. It’s our first college party, and I want to make a lasting impression, you know?” Lance took this more seriously than he should, maybe it was the alcohol, maybe it was the fear of not being good enough creeping up on him, but he just wanted to have fun.

     And then he spotted the mullet, turn around doing something on his phone, and couldn’t stop laughing. All thoughts of existential dread left him as he saw a mullet in the good year of 2017. “Pidge, look, oye , he has a mullet.”

     “Who- omg.” The two were snickering at the back of this poor guy’s head. Who even had a mullet anymore?

     “His barber must hate him or something, but a mullet? Pero why. That’s such a poor-” Lance was about to go into it, when this guy turned around. He was beautiful. Lance wanted to fuck him and fight him, and he couldn’t tell which was stronger. “I’m going to talk to him.” He chugged his drink and left Pidge behind, ignoring the protests coming from the smaller one.

     “Excuse me, Mullet?” He started, cursing himself for not thinking of something better.

     “Yes?” The guy said, very irritated that someone was talking to him.

     “Uh, my name is Lance. Nice to, uh, meet you?” Oh god, he lost every ounce of smooth in him.

     “Keith. Do you need anything?” He glared the other down.

     “Your number.” Did he just say that? Somewhere behind him, he heard Pidge choke on their drink.

     “Will it get you to go away?”

     “Yes.”

     “Gimme your phone then.” Lance handed over his phone, in disbelief that that actually worked. He watched as the fingerless gloved hands entered his number into the phone. Oh god, fingerless gloves and a mullet? His face and conversation skills better make up for it. He got his phone back, and slipped it into his back pocket.

     “Thanks, Keith. Should I get you a drink, or?” Okay, a lot less awkward, thank god.

     “No thanks, I’m not interested in mixed drinks. Look, I’m going to go now, so don’t try to follow me or anything. Goodbye, Lance.” With that he walked away.

     “Bye, Keith!” He said a lot more enthusiasm in his voice. Triumphant, he walked back to Pidge, who was dying over the entire situation.

     “Guess four is my lucky number because fourth time’s the charm.” He was grinning ear to ear.

     “Let me see that because I cannot believe that Keith Kogane gave you his number.” Taking the phone from a cocky Lance, who didn’t have a passcode, Pidge searched for the contact, then began to laugh.

     “What’s so funny, huh?”

     “Well, for starters, he didn’t give you his number. He just wrote ‘fuckoff@gmail.com’ in the email section. But, you did get his first name, so that is a start.”

Lance snatched his phone back. “What?” He read the contact information. “I cannot believe that 80s wannabe! He thinks he and his mullet can do that? The next time I see him, he’s toast! Come mierda. ” He half yelled in the general direction that the boy walked off to. The next time Lance sees him, he is definitely getting a verbal beatdown that he will never forget.



Chapter Text

     Lance woke up with the worst headache known to man. He doesn’t remember much of last night, after striking out with everyone he drank a lot more than he should’ve. Everything was a blur and all he knows now is that he wanted a large order of croquetas to fix the hole called “hunger” in his stomach. But, since he was at the Garrison, whatever they were serving for brunch would have to do.

     Lazily, he rolled over to check his phone, seeing that it was on 50% from whenever he got to charge it last night, and that it was still early enough for brunch. He slid out of bed, only to be greeted by a Hunk who was already dressed at ready to go.

     “How long have you been waiting for me?” Lance said, yawning.

     “About an hour. I picked out your clothes, because I am starving, and we gotta go.” There was a sense of urgency in his voice, but that was mostly because food was involved. If there was a chance to eat, Hunk would never miss it. And would kill him if he made him miss it.

     “Alright, alright.” Hunk picked out a black shirt and khaki shorts, with tan slippers. Not the most creative outfit he has, but since he was on a time constraint, he’d take it. After he brushed his teeth, he changed, put on some of his cologne; Hunk groaned; and grabbed whatever he needed, shoving it into his pocket.

     Hunk had the door open, and they left through it, Lance locking the door.

     “Hey, do you know what I was doing last night?” Lance said as he knocked on Pidge’s door.

     His friend shrugged. “I dunno man, I spent all my time talking to Shay, up until Pidge grabbed me and said it was time to go.”

     “Why did-” he was interrupted when a very disgruntled Pidge opened the door. Obviously, Pidge was just sleeping, not happy at all to being woken up by the person who cause them to have such a hectic night.

     “Can I help you?”

     “Pidge. Brunch. C’mon.” Hunk said, whining a bit.

     “Okay, give me five minutes.” Lance and Hunk were about to walk in, having no boundaries whatsoever, when Pidge stopped them. “Alone, please.”

     Shrugging, they went back out as the third started getting ready. “So, Shay huh? Is that the name of the girl you were talking to all night?” Lance raised his eyebrow suggestively, smirking. He was happy for his friend, for once not focused on school or food.

     Hunk’s cheeks were turning red. “Well, yeah. She’s really cool, goes to Balmara College, studying Environmental Science.” He couldn’t help but ramble, the girl he met last night being the only thing that’s been on his mind. They even texted throughout the entire night, Hunk making sure she got back safe before falling asleep. He wasn’t really looking for anything, however, since school was about to start and he really needed to make sure that he didn’t slip up, so he braced himself for the barrage of questions Lance was about to throw at him about this new girl.

     That's when Pidge stepped out and he silently thanked god as they locked their door. “Ready?” They gave a nod in return.

 

     The line to get into the cafeteria was surprisingly short, everyone still probably hungover from last night’s events. They filter in, Hunk excited to try out their brunch menu; he and Lance skipped yesterday morning to sleep in. Lance grabs as many pancakes as they allow him to, and Pidge opts for some nachos, breakfast wasn’t their favorite anyways. Hunk comes back to their table with at least four plates covered in different breakfast and lunch foods, sauces, ranging in colors and sizes. He already has a spoon in his mouth, and his face is covered in pure bliss. Setting the plates down with such accuracy, he side-eyed Pidge for just getting nachos when there was such a beautiful array of foods available to them.

     “Guys. Guys . There is so much friggin food here, I think I’m in heaven. I think I actually died last night and went to heaven.” It looked like Hunk was about to cry from pure, unadulterated joy.

     “I’m only interested in pancakes, gourmand. Besides, anything you’ll make is definitely going to be better.” Lance lazily shoved pancakes into his mouth, knowing he has to eat, but his headache being so awful he just wanted to spend the entire day in the room, in the dark.

     “That’s not the only thing you’re interested in.” Pidge muttered as they sipped their drink, hiding their sly grin.

     “What?” Hunk said between bites.

     There was a devilish glint in Pidge’s eyes now. “You didn’t see lover boy last night?” Hunk shook his head.

     “I don’t need to be reminded about how I struck out last night, Pidge.” The boy was sending daggers to the smaller one, hoping that they’d be quiet.

     “I’m not reminding you, I’m simply telling Hunk, and you just happen to be here.” They shrugged. “Anyway, as I was saying, Lance found himself flirting with the very person who dropped out, allowing him into the program.”

     Lance perked up. “How do you know that?”

     “Because I do.” In reality, Pidge hacked into the admissions database to change a couple of things around and decided to sort through the files. It was easier than it looked, but they kept on changing the interface to try to deter them. It worked, but only after they got the information they wanted but didn’t necessarily need.

     He scoffed. “I didn’t need him anyway. Him and his awful mullet, and disgustingly beautiful face...” He trailed off, getting red in the face. Still very bitter about the rejection, he angrily shoveled more pancakes into his face.

     “Yeah, he gave Lance his first name and an email that said ‘fuck off’, so it obviously went on a good start.” Pidge finished their drink. “But that’s Kogane for you. His profile said he was aloof, but very intelligent and promising, if that could make up for how spontaneous and reckless he is.”

     Hunk was eating all of this up, amused that Lance was so bothered by the boy. At least he wouldn’t be asked about Shay for a while, and he was free to eat his food in peace, this day at least. “It happens to the best of us, dude. But it’s okay, the school year is about to start, and there are plenty more parties and people to meet!”

     “I know, I know. But I didn’t think I’d fail that badly.” Lance groaned.

     “You weren’t exactly popular with the ladies back home.” Hunk pointed out, which caused Pidge to snicker in the background.

     “But this is a new beginning! I can be anything I want to be, although, who would want to be anything but this handsome?” A dazzling grin was shot at both of them, Hunk rolling his eyes while Pidge pretended to vomit.

     “Is humble a word in your vocabulary?” Pidge questioned.

     “I think in the countless years I’ve known him, I’ve never heard him use it, so I’m guessing that’s a no.” Hunk replied, finishing his last plate. “That was exactly what I needed.” His satisfaction evident as he reclined into the chair, smiling.

     Lance glared at the both of them as he picked up his empty plate and glass, and walked over to the dish disposal. Coming back up, hands stick from the syrup, he noticed one of the most beautiful people he has ever laid his eyes on. Her hair was a light silver, her eyes a clear, bright blue, even brighter in contrast with her dark skin. He turned on his swagger, walking up to her with confidence only he’d have.

     “Excuse me, miss?” She turned to face him, his face getting slightly flushed. “I didn’t know they let criminals on campus.”

     She raised her eyebrow. “What do you mean by that?” Her posh accent accentuated her words, and it was hard for him to keep his cool. He had a thing for accents.

     “Your beauty is killer.” He goes to move his hair back, but the remaining syrup on his hand made it awkward, his hair sticking to his hand and giving a fight when he tried to remove it.

     She laughed at his awkwardness as she picked up her books, entertained. “Nice try.” With that she walked away, shaking her head at his over-zealous nature. She’s going to tell Shiro about this because little boy blue had to be the Lance character he mentioned earlier. There is no way the Garrison would let two boys on campus like that, much less one.

     Pidge and Hunk witnessed the entire thing as they went to dispose of their dirty dishes, silently chuckling at their hopeless friend.

     Lance shot them a glare. “Hey! At least I’m putting myself out there! And it wasn’t a flat out rejection, and I got her to laugh!” Both of his friends rolled their eyes at him.

     “You were hitting on Allura, a graduate student who is an undergrad TA. Have fun with that when you see her in class.” Pidge said. They knew Allura through Matt. She is one of the sweetest people they have ever met, and she can hold her own against the majority male population of this school.

     “I have a thing for older women.” He said, flashing another smile. Hunk groaned in the distance. He still can’t believe they're both going to college together, and he’s still with his womanizing, obnoxious flirting ways.

     “You have a thing for anything that’s attractive.” Pidge retorted.

     “I can’t help it if I find beauty in everything!” He got defensive. He was just naturally flirtatious, that was all.

     “You found beauty in a mullet.”

     “Wait- who had a mullet?” Hunk interjected as they were leaving the dining hall.

     “Keith.” Pidge said before Lance could open his mouth.

     “His face was still beautiful, mullets can be cut.” He defended himself.

 

     When they got outside, Lance immediately started to bask in the warmth. The dining hall was unusually cold, and he was grateful for heat without too much humidity. Pidge was starting to sweat, but they didn’t seem too bothered by it. Hunk was on his phone, and Lance got a devilish grin on his face.

     “So, talking to Shay again?” He said, teasingly.

     “Yes, just making sure she’s okay.” Hunk was too distracted to give Lance the reply he wanted.

     “When are you going to bring her home to meet the family?” Lance wrapped an arm around Pidge’s shoulder, bringing them in closer.

     “Uh…” Hunk looked up from his phone, seeing Pidge trapped under Lance’s arm. “As soon as you let go of Pidge, and leave me alone about it. She’s just a friend, dude.” Lance let Pidge go, satisfied with the answer. They continued walking some and were almost back at their dorm when Pidge saw some red in the corner of their eye.

     “Gimme a moment, guys.” They said, and walked off to go meet their friend. Lance and Hunk just shrugged. They didn’t know them too well, but they figured that Pidge just liked solitude more than they did.

     “Hey Keith, long time no see,” Pidge said, reaching out a hand to their friend. They grew up around each other and went through a lot together, but recently Keith went off the radar. Which was part of the reason why Pidge hacked the admissions system in the first place.

     There was a glint of excitement in the guy’s eyes. “Pidge!” He said a small grin on his face as he shook hands with his long-time friend. And was exactly the person he wanted to see. “I have some questions for you about something…” He was pulling something out of the sack on his back.

     “Nice to see you too.” There was hints of sarcasm in their reply. “And normally I’d love too, you know how much I love examining the weird stuff you find, but I’m with a couple of friends.” Pidge pointed to the duo standing around in the background, talking.

     Keith squinted. “Don’t I know the tall one?” It was racking his brain trying to figure out from where.

     “You mean Lance? Yeah, he hit on you at the party we went to last night. You gave him your usual fake email.” They snorted.

     “Wait, you were there?” Keith was confused, not remembering them being there.

     “Yeah, you slipped out before I could say hi, but I figured I’d run into you soon enough since that meant you were in the area.” They shrugged. “Do you mind me giving your number to Lance? He won’t shut up about you.”

     This brought red to the raven haired boy’s face. “Yeah, I don’t mind.” Keith was preoccupied that night, looking for someone, so he wasn’t keen on any distractions. The tall, brown boy was attractive, but he just struck him at the wrong time.

     “Really?” Pidge didn’t expect that answer but really didn’t expect the look on his friend’s face. Keith was awkward, no doubt about that, but he wasn’t really one for dealing with relationships.

     “Yeah. Actually…” Keith fumbled around in his pockets, knowing he had all sorts of junk in there. He pulled out an old receipt and a black pen, and wrote his name and number down, trying to keep his cool in front of the ever scrupulous Pidge.

     Pidge wasn’t believing their eyes, but they were happy. When Keith handed them the piece of paper, they grinned wide. “I’m proud of you, y’know. Maybe he’ll talk you out of your mullet the next time you go to a barber.”

     “What's wrong with my hair?” Keith said, toying with the ends of it. His voice was filled with genuine confusion.

     Laughing, Pidge started to walk away. “Nothing, since it isn’t a deterrent.” They stopped and turned around, asking a question they already knew the answer to. “Are you still bumming with Shiro and Matt?”

     “Yes.” Keith sighed. His living situation was rough, but he was happy his cousin could pull through. “And Allura, since she’s starting to come around more.”

     That insidious grin of Pidge’s returned, now coupled with a glint in their eye. “Really? Anyway, I gotta go back to these two. It was nice talking to you, Keith! And text me whenever you want, I’m always free to examine things with you.”

     Keith stared at the honey blonde as they walked away, not really sure what he was getting himself into. His heart was still pounding from giving Pidge his number, unsure of what was going to happen next.

 

     “Here you go!” Pidge said, giving Lance the old receipt. Lance took it tentatively from Pidge’s hands, and stared at it, examining it.

     “You got me his number?!” Lance said, sort of surprised. He didn’t notice who Pidge was talking to since he was too wrapped up in conversation with Hunk, they were debating on which movie to watch Moana or Anastasia when they got back to their dorm.

     “Yeah! Keith and I go back.” They shrugged. “He’s the one who wanted to write it down to give it to you.”

     “Oh my god. Hunk has never been this good of a wingman!” There was a protesting ‘hey!’ in the background, coming from Hunk who was furiously typing away on his phone.

     “You’re welcome. Now, if you two excuse me, I have some stuff I have to sort through before classes.”

 

     They bid their goodbyes, and Lance and Hunk went to their dorm, Lance flopping down onto his stomach on the bed. In one hand he had his phone, in the other, Keith’s number. His face was flushed as he entered the number in the contact he failed to delete.

     “Do I text him now or later?” He mused aloud.

     “Now.” Hunk replied as he was organizing his desk.

     “What do I say?”

     “Hi is good. Or Hey. Ooorrrr, Hi my name is Lance and I’d love to have mulleted babies with you.” That earned Hunk a pillow to the head, which only got flung back at the boy two fold.

     “You’re no help.”

 

     He stared at his phone for another minute, then decided he was going to text him.

 

     [ME]

          Hey! It’s Lance.

 

     He immediately turned the phone over and buried his face in his striped pillow. It wasn’t long before he got a response.

 

     [MULLET BOY KEITH]

          Hi…

 

     His heart fluttered a bit, although his nickname for him in the phone wasn’t too kind. He wondered what this would lead to, he wasn’t sure of what he wanted, let alone Keith. But Pidge had gotten his number for him, so he couldn’t let that go to waste.

 

     [ME]

          It’s Keith, right? :)

 

     Lance felt dumb adding the emoji, but he thought it would make him look more approachable.

 

     [MULLET BOY KEITH]

          I wrote that on the paper, didn’t I?

 

     Oh god. Conversation was going nowhere fast. This guy was dry to the bone, this was going to take a while for him to warm up. He was thinking of a witty response when he saw the other reply.

 

     [MULLET BOY KEITH]

          I don’t mean to be rude, but I have to do something right now. We can talk later.

 

     He gave himself an out, and Lance started to freak out. He said one thing! Was it so dumb that Keith thinks him stupid? Why does he want to cut conversation so fast?

 

     [MULLET BOY KEITH]

          :)

 

     “SMILEY FACE!” Lance was happy.

 

     [ME]

          ;)

 

     And in his joy, sent a winky face instead. He was typing fast and his hands were shaking, so he didn’t do it on purpose, and didn’t catch his mistake at all. Little did he know that Pidge coerced Keith to send the smiley face just to seem less awkward. More so, now Keith is freaking out over the winky face, texting Pidge in distress.

     Pidge, during all of this, is laughing.

Chapter Text

     “Hey, it’s been like two weeks already, cheer up.” Hunk said to the decompressed blob on the bed that used to be his roommate.

     “Three, actually.” It’s not like he was counting the days or anything. “How can I ‘cheer up’, Hunk?!” Lance buried his face in the pillow, screaming.

     “Because you really didn’t know him well, to begin with?” Hunk started listing things off of his fingers. “Because you have classes to think about, and all you’re doing is watching rom-coms instead? Seriously, when have you ever picked up your calc 2 book? You haven’t even tried to make a pass at Allura in your Intro to Aero seminar class! You aren’t even-”

     Lance put his hand in the air. “Okay, okay, I get it.” He was now facing the wall. “This rejection still stings though. We were texting really well, and then this...this-”

     “ Pendejo? ” Hunk offered. What little Spanish he gleaned from living in Miami after the move was paying off.

     “ Sí, pendejo just drops off the face of the Earth!” His hands were clenching and unclenching as he started to think about how much he actually liked that jerk, Keith.

     “Okay, and people get busy. Pidge did say that he has a tendency to do spontaneous things, maybe he’s in that mode now?” Hunk said.

     “... Maybe.” There was a bit of reluctance in Lance’s voice.

     “Maybe he’s off doing dangerous deeds, like stealing candy from a baby?”

     “I don’t think he’s /that/ evil. He’s more like a robin hood type, maybe stealing candy from a rich baby and giving it to a poor baby?” Lance still had some hope in Keith. Very little, but it was still there.

     “Maybe! Maybe he dresses up in black spandex and is a vigilante that calls himself ‘The Mulleted Crusader’.”

     The thought of Keith in spandex made Lance blush ever-so-slightly. “Maybe…”

     “Okay, now that you’re feeling better, how about we celebrate this Friday night by-”

 

     Hunk was interrupted by a knock on the door. Judging by how fervent it was, he was guessing it was Pidge, who he hasn’t seen outside of class in days. Where do they go?

     The knocking only grew louder as Hunk went to open the door.

     “Alright Pidge, jeez. You’re gonna break down the door, what do you want?” The door opened to reveal a very excited Pidge, shine in their eye and everything. Something’s up.

     “So, to celebrate our month being in school, I have convinced my brother and Shiro to host a little get together at their apartment.” There was no mistaking it, Pidge was grinning like a madman now. There has to be something up their sleeve. It made Hunk a little nervous.

     “I don’t know, Lance has been kinda out of it due to the K-E-I-T-H-” A ‘I can still spell’ interrupted Hunk from the background. “Situation, and I was just gonna order some pizza and play Overwatch with the poor guy.”

     Pidge beckoned Hunk down and began to whisper. “I figured, but he was gone for a reason. Look, the only reason I forced them to have this is so that Keith and Lance can have some face-to-face interaction. Keith doesn’t know Lance is going to be there, but he has been writing and deleting apologies for not letting Lance know. Also, there will most likely be Overwatch and pizza over there, so it’s not too bad.”

     Hunk nodded. Although it probably wasn’t a good idea, maybe getting some sort of apology from Keith could help him move on. “Hey, can I also bring Shay? I think her and Allura would get along.” Pidge nodded, and Hunk gave them a thumbs up. He also wanted to see Shay again, since the party was the last time they saw each other in person.

     Pidge cleared their throat and raised their voice so Lance could hear. “I mean, Allura is going to try to swing by, so…”

     Pidge didn’t even have to finish the sentence, Lance moved so swiftly from the bed to his closet that it showed their scheme worked. “So, what should I wear?” Lance was going back and forth between a plain black t-shirt and a grey t-shirt that had an alien on the front upper left side. “I wanna seem casual, but still dashing. Pidge?”

     Pidge and Hunk both rolled their eyes and then looked at each other. “I vote the grey shirt with the alien.” Hunk voted yes to that one as well.

     “Whelp, it’s unanimous!” He quickly changed shirts, already in dark blue skinny jeans accented with gold stitching.

     “Alright, so Matt is picking us up in like two minutes and will make us do stupid stuff if we do not meet him in the parking lot by then. So.” Gesturing to the door, Pidge walked out, followed by the two others. “Now, before we leave, does everyone have their phone and at least one method of identification on them?”

     Hunk and Lance looked at each other, confused and mildly concerned. “Y...es?” The hope so at least.

     “Okay good, let’s go!”

 

--

 

     Keith was a little nervous. Okay, a lot nervous. Okay, so nervous that he spent a good two hours pacing around Matt and Shiro’s apartment figuring out what to say to Lance. Shiro half-jokingly said he wore down the path he did in the tile, and Matt stuck as many things in his mullet as he could since he knew Keith wasn’t paying attention.

     It was weird, though. Keith never cared about someone like Lance, not to the point to actually feel bad about… What did Matt call it? Ghosting? Ghosting him. Every day he didn’t text him he felt bad, especially since Lance texted him up until a couple of days ago. Not even Shiro or Pidge bothered to text him after 24 hours of his escapades. It was nice, this feeling of whatever the hell it is.

     Pidge said that Keith had a crush, but it was impossible. He has only texted him for like a week after they met and then disappeared for about three. And he only had one true interaction with him, and he was a little drunk and a little too distracting for his tastes. He was only at the party to see if he showed up, someone who should have the answers to- shit was that a knock?

     Keith looked at the door, only to be met with more knocking. Shiro looked at him expectantly.

     “If you’re going to live here for an extended amount of time, you have to do stuff too. Like answering the door. It’s probably Matt, so good luck!” Shiro smiled at the younger man, and inwardly chuckled about the scene that was going to unfold shortly.

     Keith went and unlocked the door, and Matt, plus Pidge, Lance, and Hunk burst through.

     “Allura, my interstellar queen, I have come to-”

     “Save it, she’s not here yet,” Keith said, eyebrow raised in annoyance. So far so good.

 

     Lance was actually dumbfounded when he heard Keith’s voice. Pidge and Hunk shared a look and stepped around the two and went to greet Shiro and introduce him to Shay, passing Matt in the kitchen where he was ordering the pizza. Shay was normally quiet, but she and Shiro seemed to hit it off, much better than her stunned silence in the car with Matt. She was surprised to see a person drive so recklessly safe.

 

     “So, uh, hi,” Keith said, breaking the silence that seemed to have last for a thousand years.

     Lance didn’t know what to do, or to say. He was so angry that he just wanted to jump him, but knew that wouldn’t go over well. Hearing the snickering in the background, he knew Pidge was the one behind this. “Hi? Hi?! Is that all you have to say to me? After a week of talking? After three weeks of ignoring me?” Lance swore he wasn’t going to get this angry, it was only a week of texting, but once he started, he couldn’t stop. “Did I say something? Did I /do/ something? What was it?”

 

     Something about Lance’s anger surprised everyone in the room, even Hunk. It was rare that Lance lost his cool, but over a person? It was something Hunk had only seen once. Shiro started to get up, by Matt was already by him on the couch and held him back. Shiro nervously glanced at Pidge, who gave him a thumbs up. Everything will be fine. Or so he hoped.

 

     “Uh, listen, I’m… Uh, sorry?” With one hand on the back of his head, he held out the other to Lance, hoping he would accept the apology.

     “Sorry doesn’t explain three weeks of silence.” Lance just looked at the hand.

     “Okay…” Keith was unsure of what to do next and looked back at the four people in the living room, who were all listening intently. “Let’s discuss this outside, okay?”

 

     Before Lance could say anything, Keith grabbed him and went out the door, locking it so that the others would be able to take the hint. Before Lance could start again, Keith began to talk.

     “Listen, Lance. I should have texted you. I beat myself up for not texting you. I have things to do that I let take over my life, okay?” He didn’t understand why he was explaining this to him, he barely knows him. Yet, he knows he can trust him. “I have things I need to know and whenever I get an opening, I take it. It takes up all of my time and my attention, and while I know it isn’t an excuse, it’s what happened.”

     “Okay,” Lance replied, arms crossed.

     “It’s okay if you don’t believe me, or don’t want to be my friend, but I like...d talking to you. And I’d like to keep texting you.” Keith held out his hand again and was attempting to smile. He looked a little flushed.

     Lance looked surprised by the honest confession. It didn’t seem like Keith was the type that would outright admit that, but that made it all the more genuine. He sighed and uncrossed his arms. Grabbing Keith’s hand, he pulled him into a hug, which startled the other. “I forgive you, but don’t do that to me again. Or I will find you, and I will kill you.”

     That got a laugh from Keith, who finally hugged Lance back. “Okay, okay, I promise that I will.”

     The two boys let go and smiled at each other. Keith was cute when he smiled, Lance thought as he grinned him down.

     “Is that Keith? Keith Kogane? And is he… Smiling?” A voice with a posh accent said walking towards them. Lance turned to see it was Allura holding three pizzas, and he looked pointedly at her and Keith.

     “Wait, you two know each other?” He sounded more surprised that he wanted to let on.

     “Yeah. He lives with Shiro and Matt, so I got him to get comfortable around me.” Allura winked at Keith, who just grumbled something about how the pizza was going to get cold.

     “Keith’s right, we should get inside,” Lance said and heard scrambling from the inside.

     When Keith opened the door again, the others were still in the living room, but all of them panting. He made sure to give all of them dirty looks, lingering at Shiro, who raised his arms as if to say ‘I couldn’t help it.’ Allura put the pizza down in the kitchen and went to greet everyone else. She introduced herself to Shay, and then the two couldn’t stop talking. It turns out that Allura was an Environmental Science minor when she went through undergrad, and took a lot of the upper-level classes at Balmara College since The Garrison wasn’t up to date with their equipment.

     Hunk smiled at the two getting along. He had a knack for people, so it didn’t surprise him when he saw that Lance and Keith were sitting in the kitchen, talking about whatever.

     “Pidge,” Hunk said, turning to the person sitting to the right of him. “How did you know Keith was interested?”

     “Oh, Keith is usually too into his random drop-off-the-face-of-the-Earth trips to actually text me back after the first day or so. So when I randomly got a text after he disappeared about how to do ‘right by Lance’, his words not mine, I knew it was serious.” Pidge shrugged.

     “Do you think they realize it?” Hunk knew Lance was enamored by the raven-haired boy’s looks but wasn’t realizing the larger scope of it.

     “Not now…” Pidge got a mischievous glint in their eyes. “But they will.”

     Hunk rolled his eyes. “I don’t doubt that. I think we should keep our meddling to a low right now though. They look really into their conversation. Do you want to try and break Overwatch’s mechanics?”

     “We’ve only known each other for a month, but I think you just surpassed Keith as my best friend.” Pidge faked swooned into Hunk’s arms, and they started up the PS4.

 

     Keith and Lance were talking so much that they were truly unaware of their surroundings, not even when Matt came up behind the island they were talking by to survey the pizza.

     “Sorry to interrupt,” he said, clearly not by the grin. “But I’m absolutely starving, and it’s not fair that you guys are both hogging the pizza boxes with your conversation.”

 

     Before Keith could say anything, Lance went and grabbed all three pizza boxes out of Matt’s reach. He went to open the first box, not breaking eye contact with Matt as he put a piece of margherita pizza in his mouth, chewing abysmally slow.  

     Keith started howling with laughter, nearly toppling over the stack of boxes on his and Lance’s laps. There was nothing, /nothing/, that can beat Matt’s face of pure agony right now. Lance had a death grip on all of the boxes, and only until he was done with his slice, noisily sucking his fingers as well, he gave them back to Matt, who was just too shocked to move. Interested in the other flavors, Lance unstacked them. There were margherita, half cheese and half pepperoni, and… Hawaiian. He grimaced.

     And then the worst thing in the world happened.

     Keith picked up a piece of the hawaiian pizza.

     And

     Ate

     It.

     Now both Matt and Lance were shell-shocked.

 

     “It got quiet. Too quiet.” Allura said and got up, the rest of the people following suit. She saw both Matt and Lance quiet, Matt quiet because of Lance, but Lance quiet because of Keith’s pizza choice. Just to mess with him further, Allura got a piece of the Hawaiian pizza, as did Hunk.

     It seemed to snap Lance out of it. “Okay, Hunk I knew, but you too Allura?”

     She had to stifle her laughter at his reaction. She didn’t want pizza chunks flying everywhere due to how hurt he sounded.

     “I’m surrounded by… by… Heathens!” He was eyeing everyone else’s pizza choices. Matt, Pidge, and Shay all opted for the half cheese and half pepperoni option, and Shiro got a slice of margherita as well. He felt safe, until Shiro placed a slice of hawaiian on his napkin as well, shrugging at Lance. Lance’s shoulders dropped in defeat.

     “Even the mightiest of heroes fall.” Hunk said to console him, and grabbed a piece of pepperoni, smiling at Shay as their hands brushed. She was blushing a bit herself, and the always eagle-eyed Allura and Pidge noticed and made note, then nodded at each other.

     “This pizza is really good, thank you Allura!” Shay said.

     “Y’know, Allura makes them!” Matt said excitedly.

     “Really?” Shay replied.

     “Yeah,” Allura looked a bit sheepish. “It’s my job outside of being a TA. I started when I was in undergrad. I didn’t really get it at first, and burnt all of my pizzas.” She sighed.

     “Then Matt and I had to eat them,” Shiro said, and he and Matt started laughing, thinking about their time together in the Garrison.

     Lance had stars in his eyes. Here he was, casually talking to three extremely intelligent people, his only dream being to reach their level one day.

     “Yeah, I think that’s what caused you to go grey,” Matt said, messing with Shiro’s hair.

     “Real funny you two,” Allura said, rolling her eyes. “Let’s not bore the young ones with our tales of old.”

     Keith and Pidge put on two big yawns to help her case. Anything to torment Matt and Shiro.

     “So, do you cook Allura?” Hunk said as the crowd dispersed back into the living room. Shay was taken hostage by Matt and Lance, and when he tried to save her, the glares he got from those two stopped him in his tracks.

     “Yeah, and I try to make up new topping combinations that I subject those two to.” She smiled.

     “Oh, can I sit in on one of those sessions?” Hunk asked.

     “Of course! Do you cook?”

     “Yeah! I like discovering new recipes, and usually, I subject Lance to it.” He and Allura laughed.

     “What drew you to cooking?” She said between bites of the slice of cheese pizza. In all honesty, she was neutral about pineapple on pizza, but it was worth every bite to see Lance’s face.

     “The science behind it. I first started tinkering with the cookware, much to my mom’s liking, and then after I learned everything there, I moved onto the food.” He grinned.

     “You know, Balmara College has a food science program that you can take classes in. I know the Garrison won’t mind, as long as you set it up correctly.” She smiled at him. Also, it gave him more of a chance to see Shay in her neck of the woods, which gives him a little more of a push.

     “Really?” His eyes were bright.

     “Yeah! They were starting it up when I was doing my minor, and I heard they have it done for any incoming freshman who wants to take their classes. I can help you set up that process if you want!” She said.

     Hunk nodded enthusiastically. “Yeah! Thank you so much, Allura!”

     “No problem!” She heard a thud coming from the living room. “Now, I think we should join them, whatever that was, it didn’t sound good.” She sighed.

 

     The both of them got up to see everyone crowded around Legend of Zelda Monopoly. Hunk internally groaned. Lance was so competitive that they had to ban him from playing back home. He looked a Lance, who looked like he just struck gold.

     “We have to play!” Lance said, clutching the box, holding it high.

     “I don’t think that’s a good idea.” Hunk said, reaching to grab the box.

     “Hunk, pleaseeeeeee?” Lance shot him the puppy-dog glance, which made Hunk cross his arms and look away.

     “Fine, but don’t come crying to me when no one talks to you.” Hunk was more than slightly worried.

 

     Everyone else around them looked slightly worried but said nothing since Lance had already set up everything.

     “Alright guys, we have to play in teams since there’s a large amount of us. And then someone has to be the banker.” Lance said, surveying the people, trying to strategize who he should be with.

     Before anyone could pick, Matt and Pidge hurriedly formed the teams, so that Lance had no options. Matt linked arms with Shiro, Pidge went right next to Allura and whispered the plot to her. They were also the bankers, and the glint in their eyes was a little terrifying. Allura ‘accidentally’ bumped Shay into Hunk, making them partners, leaving Keith to play with Lance.

     Lance grabbed Keith by the shoulders and stared him hard in the eye. “Keith. We cannot lose this.”

     Intimidated and slightly impressed with his seriousness, Keith just nodded.

     “Alright guys, let’s play!

 

--

     Lance and Keith were about to win, when Pidge screamed ‘DOWN WITH THE MONARCHY’ and completely ruined their plan. Pidge was even worse with competitiveness when it came to Monopoly, and Matt was breathless and teary-eyed laughing at their little sibling. He taught them well. Allura went along with what Pidge was doing behind the scenes, being the face of the operation, playing everyone, especially Shiro. In another life, she was definitely a princess.

     Lance started screaming bloody murder about how Pidge had to be cheating because they were in charge of the bank as well, but with Hunk and Shay doing a full count of the money, and everything coming out fine, it couldn't be proven. Lance started to get up from the carpeted floor to yell at Pidge, and instinctively Keith grabbed Lance’s waist and grounded him.

     Lance went quiet and red, and before anyone could say anything, Keith let go of him.

     “I think it’s time to go.” Hunk said, noticing Lance’s blush and Shay yawning, falling on his shoulder.

     “I agree,” Pidge said, putting away their phone. “Matt?”

     “I gotcha.” Matt went to the door to grab his keys.

     “I’d offer you guys to stay, but there’s already someone on the couch, and our air mattress is broken.” Shiro glared at Pidge, who whistled like nothing was wrong. How were they suppose to know that the laptop would conduct so much heat it would melt the mattress?

     Allura and Shiro started to clean up the monopoly while Hunk, Shay, Pidge, Lance, and Keith went to the door. Everyone said their goodbyes to Allura, Shiro, and Keith and exited the door, Keith walking out with them.

     Lance began to walk away when Keith grabbed his hand and pulled him back.

     “About what happened in there…” Keith began, not looking at Lance, face getting redder by the moment.

     “Yeah, uh…” Lance didn’t know what to say either. He definitely enjoyed having Keith’s hands on him but didn’t feel like it was appropriate to say that.

     “You were getting annoying, so I wanted to make sure you didn’t go overboard,” Keith said, mentally smacking himself. Yes, of course, say that to the guy you want to see later. Perfect!

     “Annoying?” Lance looked at him, raising an eyebrow.

     “Yes,” Keith said it, and now he had to stand by it.

     “Pidge definitely cheated, I don’t know how, but I know it happened,” Lance said.

     Keith started laughing. “Oh my god, you are such a sore loser.”

     “If I didn’t have a deadbeat for a partner, maybe I would’ve won.” Lance was a little indignant.

     “Okay, I might not be your level at Monopoly, but I wasn’t exactly a deadbeat,” Keith said, a little hurt.

     “Mhm,” Lance said, and then they both heard a honk coming from Matt’s car below.

     “I guess it’s your cue to go,” Keith said lamely.

     “I need my hand to do that.” Lance looked down at both of them essentially holding hands.

     “Oh, uh, yeah.” Keith was about to let go when Lance pulled him into another hug.

     “Even though you were awful, I wouldn’t mind having you as a partner again,” Lance said in his ear, and then bounded away, waving goodbye as he went to Matt’s car.

     Keith stood there, frozen, in front of Shiro’s door. His face was completely red.

 

--

 

     “WE WERE… HOLDING HANDS?!” Keith said as he sunk into the couch, Allura, Shiro, and Matt gathering around him. They were trying to hold in their laughter.

     “Well, generally that’s what happens when you don’t let go of their hand, yes,” Allura said, then clasped her hand over her mouth. The two men then looked at her, and all three of them backed up before Keith could fully process what she said.

     “You were… SPYING ON US?!” When Keith looked up, he saw that none of them were there, and heard the door lock on both Shiro and Matt’s room, laughing coming from behind the closed doors.

 

--

 

     “We held hands!!” Lance gushed as soon as Pidge and Hunk were back in their dorm. They dropped Shay off at Balmara College since it wasn’t too out of the way.

     “Congratulations, you’re now married!” Pidge said, which earned them a pillow to the head. They had just sent the picture of Keith holding Lance to Keith himself, so they were fully chaotic right now.

     “I think it’s time we all got some sleep.” Hunk said and escorted Pidge out of the room, who was still smarting from the pillow.

 

     Locking the door, Hunk turned off the lights and flopped into bed. He was out within a couple of minutes.

     Lance, on the other hand, was on his phone, wondering what to text Keith.

 

     [ME]

          I had a lot of fun tonite!!

 

     He waited nervously. And then a ping.

 

     [DEADBEAT]

          Me too! :)

     [ME]

          Ure now deadbeat in my phone

     [DEADBEAT]

          Are you serious? I wasn’t that bad!

     [ME]

          I beg 2 disagree :p

     [DEADBEAT]

          Put that tongue back or so help me god

     [ME]

          Or what? U gonna put it 2 good use?? ;p

 

     Lance waited a couple of minutes for the reply, but all of today’s excitement-inducing adrenaline escaped him and he was asleep.

 

     Pidge, faintly, could be heard laughing maniacally about Keith freaking out over Lance’s texts.