Keith unintentionally spies on Lance in the training room … (Fifth and Final Part)
… where the Blue Paladin is kicking ass. And Keith’s kind of mesmerized by it. Then he’s more than mesmerized — he’s freaking out because he’s actually kinda sorta into this brutally efficient soldier version of Lance.
Keith lets go of Lance’s hand, but only so he can wrap his arms around the Blue Paladin’s waist, reeling him in until there is no space between them.
Lance’s anxious expression begins to shift — confused wariness takes its place, then he seems to soften into pleased surprise. His arms come up hesitatingly, embracing Keith lightly in return.
Keith knows the other boy is going to say something soon, so Keith speaks quickly, “Is this sign clear enough for you? And if it’s not, can I do something else to make it … clearer?”
This has gone from zero to light-speed, and Keith has no freaking clue what he’s doing, only that he’s tired of fighting himself, and if his impulses are leading him down this road, then he might as well as follow — those same instincts have saved his skin in battle time and time again, so why ignore them?
“What are you …” Lance’s voice cracks. He looks horrified by this for a split second, but he pushes on regardless. “What kind of thing could makes this any more obvious? You’re into me. Oh wow, I just said that out loud and it doesn’t sound real. Keith, seriously, for how long —”
“Literally for the amount of time it took you to beat my time in this sim, plus you stripping off your top armour, and, uh, maybe this is the wrong thing to say?” Keith recalls Lance’s burst of sincerity, the way he spoke about Keith with admiration colouring every word. “I swear it’s not just your looks —”
“Are you worrying about objectifying me?” Lance laughs. “Dude, be as into my looks as you want. Me being all badass and stuff — that works for you? Good, since when you pull off a crazy stunt in your Lion, or on the ground, I kinda want to make out with you immediately after.”
“Since when?” Keith demands. How long has Lance been wanting to kiss him? Why didn’t he say so sooner? Actually, forget that second point — if Lance hadn’t said anything about Keith’s weird sudden hand holding, Keith probably would have pretended nothing was happening and gone on with business as usual.
“Uh, I’m not going to disclose that information. But I did just tell you that I didn’t realize I wanted more than making out until … yesterday.” Lance’s face falls a little, and Keith feels the slice of the blade into his back again. He vaguely remembers the screams of his fellow Paladins, and he tries to pick out Lance’s in particular — a desperate, rasping cry.
But no, not now, it doesn’t matter — he’s healed, and he’s here, in Lance’s arms, and this is a pretty amazing turn of events even if they happened faster than he can comprehend.
He grins a bit, trying for a lighter tone to bring the smile back to Lance’s face. “Your exact words were ‘head over heels’ and doesn’t that … that means you —”
“Hey, remember when you said you wanted to make things clearer for me?” Lance asks, sounding bright again, and somehow he manages to press in even closer — if there had been an infinitesimal amount of air between their bodies, it’s gone now. Their noses are brushing when Lance murmurs, “Wanna maybe do that now?”
There’s a note of challenge in Lance’s tone, and if there’s one thing Keith has never been able to resist in Lance, it’s the way he challenges Keith.
And so he smiles sharply, which Lance probably can’t see since his eyes are directly in front of his, and nods. “Stop me if this isn’t what you mean.”
“Oh, I’m pretty sure it’s —”
And Keith presses his lips to that loudmouth.
His eyes fall shut after Lance’s lids flutter closed. The way Lance breathes out slightly through his nose, and then tilts his head so he can kiss more thoroughly — that breaks something in Keith. Specifically, the something that would have kept him silent about his newly discovered feelings. Keith’s arms tighten around Lance, and he decides to put his very limited kissing skills to the test as he parts his lips.
Lance makes a shocked little noise that Keith feels the vibration of, and then things get hazy.
All Keith knows is that somehow, Lance is against a wall now, his still-armoured legs are wrapped around Keith’s waist, and Keith is gripping his thighs to hold him up, and was this actually happening right now? What was his life even like before this? He hadn’t even known this was a possibility until two minutes ago.
Their mouths have barely parted except to gasp and then go back for more, and really, even though he’d banished the morbid thoughts from his brain (actually, most kinds of thinking were gone, away, on vacation, maybe never to return), he did have a fleeting impression of gratitude for not dying yesterday. Imagine never getting to have this thing that he hadn’t even known he’d wanted?
“Hm, Keith?” Lance breathes out when Keith has pulled away to inhale more deeply. “This is awesome, but, wow, uh, I’m sort of having trouble with reality right now. Could you just … say what you’re thinking so I know you’re not some weird fever dream brought on by hardcore training?”
“Can we train together next time?” Keith says instantly. “Running a few sims with you would be … cool. And we should totally come up with some programs together — we’d be unstoppable, with your sharpshooting skills, and then my melee —”
Lance dives in for another kiss — it’s almost ferocious, sucking the air from Keith’s lungs. When he retreats, Keith is left gaping, and Lance is grinning widely. “Yeah, that’s you all right. Wow, dude, your soldier brain is just never allowed to take a break, huh?”
“I wasn’t thinking anything until you asked me to talk,” Keith complains somewhat petulantly. “And why are we talking again?”
“You’re so right, except, no, wait —” Lance lets Keith interrupt him, but he ends the next round of kissing far too quickly, yanking his face back, nearly smashing his head into the wall. “Keith, I am so gross right now. My pores are screaming for relief, so let’s, ah, go our separate ways for cleaning purposes, and reconvene in the kitchen? Food would be good.”
“Right, you’re right,” Keith agrees hoarsely. He eases Lance’s legs back down to the floor.
They stare at each other for untold moments. It’s Lance who breaks the stalemate, reaching over to shove Keith gently. “Let’s say dinner in an hour. First date?”
He sounds and looks a touch anxious again, but his eyes are bright, his lips are painfully red, and he waggles his eyebrows with no shame whatsoever.
Keith walks over to where Lance had dropped his gloves, vambraces, and chest plate. When he hands them back to the Blue Paladin, who had been shuffling on his feet nervously, he says, “Okay. Sounds good.”
Lance’s relieved smile is making Keith feel more things. He lets that happen and it’s so easy, so ridiculously nice, that he sort of hates himself for being such a repressed jerk earlier, even if it was only briefly.
“Great, yes, okay, I’m … gonna go now. You, you don’t train. It’s only an hour. Take a shower, get my sweat off you … oh wow, that sounds … Crap. Okay, bye now, see you in the kitchen and please forget the last ten seconds, thanks.” Lance scurries off, but he still manages to get one last word in as he hits the door. He whips around and shoots Keith a confident little smirk.
“Remember, you have my permission to be all about my looks on occasion. Such as while you shower?”
And then he’s gone. Keith stands there, and he doesn’t even attempt to reason out what the hell just happened. He doesn’t try to rewind time and pinpoint the exact moment when this all spiraled out of control.
Instead, he nods to himself, licking his lips and feeling a smile, soft and happy, form afterwards. And he decides that just maybe, as he heads to his room, this won’t be a total disaster.
And even if it is, it may be the best disaster Keith’s ever been a part of.
Author’s note: And done — sort of ;) I’m gonna add a small epilogue — but it won’t be here.
I’ll group all the parts together, plus the epilogue, as a one-shot, and post it on my AO3 some time soon, hopefully.
Whether or not you join me there, many thanks to all of you that followed this story! *hugs*