They’re all sitting around the table eating lunch when lance makes the dumbest pun possible. It has something to do with the food they’re currently eating and lance slips In an innuendo in there too because, of course, Keith, what else would you expect from lance, right? And so Keith gives lance his usual deep scowl and when lance sees it he absolutely loses it, which makes Keith’s frown deepen and his eyes narrow. This in turn makes lance laugh even harder but he still has food in his mouth and during one particular inhale he chokes. Lance’s eyes widen and there’s a ghost of a smile still on his lips for a total of .02 seconds before it transforms into an ‘o’ and he shoots out of his chair in alarm. Hunk looks like he’s about to cry and flinches at the sound of lance’s chair hitting the floor and Pidge says “Lance!” While allura puts a hand to her mouth and begins to get up and move towards Lance, who at this point is hunched over in half and trying in vain to get oxygen in his lungs. But Shiro gets there first and he whacks him hard on the back three times and the goo lodged in Lance’s throat goes flying out of his mouth and he can finally, finally, take in a gulp of air before coughing a few times. Coran is immediately beside him with a cup of an unknown pink liquid, which he holds up under his lips and tells him to drink. Hunk hugs Lance and looks deeply troubled while Pidge glances at the spat out food on the floor in disgust. Shiro has his standard Supportive Dad-Hand On The Shoulder™ stance going on and Allura asks Lance if he’s alright. Meanwhile Keith watches all this happen in silence, rooted in his seat.
Time passes and the table has been cleared, the dishes washed, and the leftover food put away. Everyone spreads out throughout the castle to do their own thing except Keith who hovers near Lance in the sofa room. Technically, it’s Keith’s rest day and so he’s allowed to lounge around with a book near the couch Lance is sprawled out on. Except Lance, because he’s Lance, likes to turn everything into a joke and constantly asks for favors he thinks are justified because of what happened earlier.
“Hey, Keith, can you get me a pillow?”
“But I almost died!”
“No, you didn’t. You were going to be fine.”
Which is followed by Lance making feeble coughing sounds until Keith let’s out a long suffering sigh and gets up to fling a pillow at Lance’s smirking face.
The day goes on like that, with Lance making light of the incident in exchange for light manual labor.
“I can’t go through the training exercises today, Shiro, my throat is still sore because, you know, I almost died.”
“I can’t clean the healing pods, Coran, my lungs still ache and can’t take the stress.”
And Keith doesn’t begrudge him of any of his weird requests because while everyone rolls their eyes and take none of his shit, Keith goes along with it. Even Lance is surprised by his uncharacteristic complacent behavior.
It’s by far not the most dangerous situation Lance has gotten himself into and it troubles Keith the more he thinks about why it bothers him far more than, say, when they faced off Zarkon or Lance got cuffed to a tree. In those instances Keith was able to do something and help him, but this time he wasn’t prepared at all. If Shiro hadn’t done something, he didn’t know what would have happened. Most probably Lance is over exaggerating but Keith isn’t capable of being consoled by logic or reasoning. Truth of the matter is he was worried. His heart didn’t stop racing even after the incident had passed and when he closes his eyes he can still see Lance’s face contorted in terror and the noises he made while chocking. It was horrible and for a fraction of a millisecond he thought Lance was going to die.
Lance catches on because as obnoxious as he has been acting all day, he’s not an idiot. Before dinner he corners Keith in the hall and grabs his hand and places it on his chest, where Keith can feel lance’s healthy, although rapidly beating heartbeat, under his palm. Alive.
Lance’s smiles slightly, his cheeks faintly red, but he looks Keith in the eyes and speaks softly.
“I’m fine, Keith. I’m here.”
And Keith lets out a breath he didn’t even know he was holding and mirrors Lance’s smile, not unlike when they had their bonding moment.