If you’d ask Keith what the word ‘home’ had meant to him months ago, he would have given you his signature blank stare. He had had a shelter, a place to sleep–the bare necessities to be considered a ‘home’, but lacking the warmth and comfort. There was really nothing to describe, nothing that meant anything.
Until he met Lance.
Home became the feeling of being held in his lean arms, wet face pressed into his chest and hidden away from the world for just a moment. Home was breathing in his scent, a sort of cologne he insisted on always wearing, and the natural smell of sweat from training and mission work.
Home was his dark honey hair, just long enough for Keith’s hand to ruffle and smile softly at how it would stick up much to Lance’s pretend whining. Initiating contact was still new to him, and doting the tiniest of affection set his heart afire at how it was received. Appreciated. Reciprocated. Keith found that he liked it, little by little, and there was something so nice about it, a newfound warmth spreading all the way to his toes. He smiled more, laughed more.
Home was Lance’s voice. Once, it had done nothing but piss Keith off, the blue paladin having spouted nonstop bullshit about their supposed ‘rivalry’ and snark. Now, he knew the kinder, truer side that he had been hiding behind his cocky persona. Lance spoke softly, kindly, always concerned for him and their fellow teammates. He worried more than all of them combined, and missed his own home. His smiles were sweet, and made Keith’s heart skip beats when witnessed as if for the first time, every time. Each one meant something, from a silly goofy grin of catching the red paladin off-guard (rarely), to brimming with an emotion that Keith was recognizing as love.
Lance loved him.
He would tell him so, albeit in a soft voice with chestnut cheeks blushing and ocean eyes sparkling true. When they were close together, bathing in the other’s warmth and presence, or too far for comfort in the heat of battle. Always in a hushed voice, would Keith repeat it. Quietly, at first, then stronger with each whisper of Lance’s to say it again in amazed wonder, as if in a dream he couldn’t believe was real.
He was always so cold, but he would counter that Keith was simply just too warm. Yet whenever they touched, it was like a harmony. An awkward jumble of notes under an inexperienced conductor, but growing more accustomed with time. Slow, gentle hands would explore one another, fingertips brushing over the history of old scars and minor cuts. Bruises and scrapes from training under Shiro, a bump from when they had accidentally knocked heads one morning. A mark that too much eagerness had accidentally created.
Home was exploring every inch that was Lance, and finding that to be so.
Keith’s favorite were his lips. They were soft, and he unused to such gentleness pressed against his cheek with a hand carded in his dark locks. Sometimes just quick a peck when the blue paladin had the jump on him, or simply because he could now. Sometimes slow and drawn out, one kiss leading to another that found their way to his own lips.
Though he would never admit it aloud, Keith’s heart always ached and craved for more. Often would his dark eyes close after each kiss, savoring the unsaid affection behind them all. Those moments when Lance would playfully tease him after having made him blush were rare, as the red paladin would silence him with a kiss of his own. It turned out there was a way to quiet him, and never ever would Keith say it was cute.
It was…not cute. Not cute in any way. Not in how Lance’s deep blue eyes would widen in surprise, the sudden kiss unexpected from his boyfriend that always followed his lead, unsure of how to proceed. Not in how his voice would squeak and crack, words nothing but stuttering gibberish from the one that seemed confidently full of them. Certainly not in how his skin color would flash straight to scarlet, and how his hands would fly immediately over his lips as if to preserve it.
Lance was cute. He wasn’t. Shut up, Keith.
Home was finally sharing a room after little debate. Home was knowing neither would have to sleep alone, something Keith had been accustomed to, and now hated when separated and vulnerable to night terrors. Home was having his fingers interwined with Lance’s, having his entire body protectively curled around him, and sometimes the other way around. Neither minded. Home was that safe, secure feeling in knowing that everything would be okay. It was sleepy whispers of assurances that the other was there, of arms drawing the other closer, murmuring inaudible things before a light kiss to messy hair. It was mumbled ‘good mornings’, of smiles lighting the start of a new day.
It was Keith waking up first, and observing the drooling young man tangled up in his sheets, somehow looking peaceful despite the chaos. It was realizing that this.
This was home.
It was understanding that this was what Lance had meant by homesick, of understanding the pain he endured and hid behind a smile and awful joke. To have something similar to this, and to lose it–to not know if they’d ever be seen again, Keith doesn’t know how he manages.
What Lance doesn’t say, is how he does manage. Of a new home he’s found in raven-colored hair and dark violet eyes, a solid rock to keep him grounded and focused. A half-sided rivalry that had transformed into something so much more. Something wonderful.