Waiting for the count like… 0101001001100101011000010111000001100101011100100010000001101000011011110110110001111001001000000110011001110101011000110110101100100001, what is he looking up that its that slow?
(this is the first voltron thing i’ve ever written, pls bear with me. i’ve also had a few requests for klance so here we go)
“So why did I have to punch that guy?” Keith asks once they’re a few blocks away, only shaking out his hand when it’s just the two of them. His knuckles are bruising – he’s used to fighting in Paladin armor, not with his bare hands – but it’s such a small hurt he’s hardly aware of it.
And maybe even if his bones were broken he wouldn’t notice; Lance is watching Keith as they walk, ocean eyes burning under a fiery sunset sky, and all of Keith’s attention always finds its way back to him.
“You didn’t hear what that guy was saying?” His voice is rough and gravelly, has been ever since the war, and sometimes Keith touches the thick scar on Lance’s throat at night, because Keith still has bad dreams and it’s still hard to think about the crowded infirmary, and bright red spilling over sterile white, and Hunk pale-faced and whispering “oh, god, one more inch and he’d already be – ”
“No,” Keith says, because Lance is giving him that ‘Hello, Houston’ look that means he’s drifted away mid-conversion again. “What did he say?”
Lance’s face folds into a scowl, and the last time he scowled like that had been last week, when Shiro let Pidge eat the last spring roll at dinner; the time before that had been about two years ago, an early purple morning on a peaceful planet out of reach to them anymore, where Sendak had almost broken Hunk’s neck trying to strangle him with the energy tether of his cybernetic arm.
(Pidge got away with the spring roll, smug as you please, and Lance only grumbled for as long as it took Shiro to cave in and order him a dessert; Sendak is still on that peaceful planet, under six feet of violet soil, and every time Hunk calls or comes by or pops up on the holoscreen, Keith thinks of that faraway grave and he’s glad.)
“It doesn’t bear repeating,” the former Blue Paladin mutters, rubbing an agitated hand through his short hair. Then he looks at Keith sidelong and says, “Wait, you don’t know what happened and you still punched the guy? Oh my god, Keith.”
His surprise is the kind that will transition into glee soon enough, so Keith shrugs and adopts a sideways smile. After almost five years of actual war, all it takes is a quick word from Lance in that fierce, battle-ready tone all of them will still sometimes slip back into – truly alarming other patrons at arcades and soccer games, because Pidge and Lance and Hunk go hard and Shiro and Keith are indulgent in the worst of ways, happy to just be buoyed along by their enthusiasm – for Keith to move into attack mode like he’s nineteen again and there’s a glowing red bayard in his fist and he’s fighting for millions of lives.
(Instead, he’s a twenty-six year old on the streets of the sunny San Fernando Valley, and the only life he’s responsible for anymore is the life in the hand that he’s still holding, because Lance grabbed him when they took off running at the sound of police sirens, and never let go. All things considered, Keith is happy with the direction his life has gone.)
“Let’s just say the guy had an issue with your hair, and your jeans, and your boyfriend kissing you over the table,” Lance says dryly, calmer as Keith winds their fingers together. “I mean, jeez, what is this, the twenty-first century? Can’t believe I gotta deal with assholes trying to police my personal business in this day and age.”
“So why did I have to punch him?” Keith asks again, curious at this point. Lance has absolutely no qualms when it comes to making his opinions heard loud and clear, and he isn’t a scrawny teenager anymore. But his question gets him a raised eyebrow and a frown, and he realizes there must be something he missed.
“I’m not gonna let you let people talk to you like that,” he says firmly – and Keith has been quieter since the war, since he’s been home on earth, and he doesn’t have any family of his own, so he moved to California with Lance, and he’s content to be here with him and work and see their friends when they visit, and he’s happy, but he still has bad dreams. And sometimes he loses track of where he’s at, or drifts out of a conversation, or gets lost on the way home.
(“You took a hard hit,” Allura said when he came out of the healing pod, a full week after the fall of the Galran Empire, and she should have been celebrating but she – and everyone – was pale and exhausted with worry for him. She and Shiro helped him into a chair, and when a scarred brown hand folded around his pale one, it didn’t let go again for hours. “The chamber heals whatever physical damage it finds, but trauma is something else entirely. We won’t be certain of any lasting neurological damage until we can run some tests…”)
Lance gives their joined arms a tug, because Keith stopped walking at some point, and he’s watching him with something exasperated and fond and devoted in his ocean eyes. He’s waiting, because despite his characteristic restlessness he has never minded waiting for Keith, and Keith takes a few steps that catch him up, but Lance doesn’t move.
“Wanna ditch work and stay home with me?” he asks with a grin that gets him his way far too often, and Keith rolls his eyes.
He asked Lance once if Lance ever missed Blue, and Lance thought about his answer long enough that somehow Keith started to worry. But then Lance glanced up, and his eyes strayed across their small apartment, full of pictures of their friends and precious mementos from other galaxies and clutter they had acquired together over time that made the place a home.
And his eyes had finally settled on Keith, on his face and the fringe falling into his eyes and the crooked scar on his chin, and he said, “You know me better than she ever did.”
“There’s nowhere else I’d rather be,” Keith replies, sarcastically enough that he knows Lance will hear it for the truth.