ok so what about Keith admitting to Lance that he has feelings for someone (maybe they got stranded together and were awaiting rescue and one conversation led to another and Lance started pressing Keith about Allura again, maybe Keith said there’s nothing to worry about, maybe Lance says “good, she’s too good for you anyway” as a lighthearted jab, maybe Keith admits he has feelings for someone else). and since they’re killing time Lance starts teasing Keith about it, like is it one of the alien girls we’ve met? except wait you never really talked to any of the alien girls we meet. it’s not Pidge is it? I mean that’s fine but tbh I don’t think she’d be into you unless you were a robot. and Keith just shakes his head, “it’s not a girl.”
and Lance takes a second to process and he feels a weird thump in his chest. and he says, of course that’s cool too, it doesn’t have to be a girl obviously, just as long as it’s not Hunk, it’s not Hunk right? it’d be understandable if it was, how do you think he got his nickname after all, I’m just saying Hunk’s wellbeing is my responsibility and if you ever broke his heart then I would have to fight you.
and Keith just smiles and shakes his head. “relax it’s not Hunk.”
and they sort of drop it bc the conversation is getting awkward. but the silence kills Lance so he gives it another go. “It’s Coran, isn’t it?” and Keith laughs out loud at that. “I don’t blame you, I mean who can resist the accent.” and Keith is giggling now so Lance feels like his mission is accomplished (not that he had been planning to make it his mission to make Keith laugh, it’s just ever since Shiro disappeared Keith’s been even more morose than usual and Lance hates it when his friends are sad). and then it hits him: Shiro, of course it’s Shiro. and for some reason he feels sad that he figured it out, so he doesn’t say anything to Keith.
and maybe they get rescued and everything’s back to normal on the castle. except Shiro’s still gone and Lance feels like he understands Keith a little better now. like why Keith always pushes them so hard in training because he wants the team to be ready to rescue Shiro when they find him. and whenever someone reminisces about Shiro, Lance risks a glance at Keith and worries because it must be awful to lose someone you care about twice.
and maybe they finally get Shiro back and Lance finds Keith alone in the observatory room looking out at the stars. and Lance is trying to find something to say that’s supportive. “I’m happy for you.” and Keith raises an eyebrow in question so Lance continues, “that Shiro’s back.” and he pauses, because he doesn’t know if he should say it, because his chest feels tight just thinking about it, but he’s a supportive friend and he wants Keith to know that he’s there for him if he ever wants to talk so he says it. “It was Shiro you were talking about, right? That you have feelings for.”
and Keith furrows his brow, avoids Lance’s gaze, and takes a breath. and he says softly, “Shiro… Shiro’s the only family I have. He’s like a brother to me.” and then he looks Lance dead in the eyes and says, “Gross.”
and the tightness in Lance’s chest goes away and he doesn’t know why but he feels relieved. so he laughs, and he laughs. and he claps Keith on the shoulder. and when he settles down he says, “You’re wrong though, Shiro’s not your only family anymore.” and he smiles at Keith as bright as he can, “All of us on this castle, we’re all family now. Like it or not.”
and maybe Keith watches Lance’s expression a little more closely as Lance looks out at the stars, and maybe Lance doesn’t notice the way Keith is looking at him, or the way Keith’s heart jumped in his chest when Lance smiled but maybe that’s okay because it’s not important right now. Shiro’s back and their team– their family is whole again. it can wait.