Five years is a long time to spend with someone. Five years ago Keith hadn’t even thought their relationship would last five days. He’d wanted it to of course, or else he wouldn't have said yes to dating Lance, but things between them had always been so tense and volatile. They were two opposing forces, like fire and water, constantly colliding and aggravating each other. It lead to frequent arguments and inane competitions which rarely made sense to anyone but them, and honestly even they often forgot what it was the were competing over. They danced around each other like a pair of tropical birds, feathers puffed out on full display trying to be intimidating, trying to show off that they were better while taunting the other.
Granted it was usually Lance that started things, with his chest puffed out and feathers bristling but Keith, Keith who had gone through his entire life until then ignoring such provocation with (what he considered) dignified disinterest, found himself on a hair trigger when it came to Lance.
Through their constant fighting and bickering, their constant drive to prove themselves they learned a deep and private respect for each other. From that respect a powerful friendship/rivalry was born turning them into an unstoppable force. The constant bickering and on upping each other became more than just a petty feud, it became a desire to prove themselves to the other that had nothing to do with proving who was 'better', it was a desire for acknowledgement. It drove them to constantly improve and better themselves and while the taunting and goading may have somehow made them a good team it didn't seem the best basis for a relationship.
Keith had been dubious about their relationship at firs despite his feelings, despite how often Lance assure him of his. Keith had been ready for them to fail back then, but Lance had proved him wrong plenty of times before and he proved Keith wrong once again.
It hadn't been easy of course. At first nothing really changed, Lance had still caused most of their fights, despite his efforts to be nicer, and Keith would always respond in kind unable to back down when it came to Lance. So the bickering had continued but with an underlying fondness to it all that they'd made no effort to hide.
Lance would smile at Keith more rather than glare, his tone losing its harsh edge and becoming more teasing. The anger that had bubbled beneath Keith's skin whenever Lance so much as opened his mouth turned into butterflies in his stomach, the bite in his response faded.
The insults they threw at each other eventually started to sound more like odd, affectionate pet names as they entered a new dance, a careful dance that tested each other’s limits and what they were willing to put up with.
They'd still competed with each other, continued to prove themselves to the other but it held a deeper, heavier meaning. They celebrated each other's victories with sincerity, treating them as if they were their own. They gave the other a push when needed, supporting and believing in each other with unflinching faith. Together there was nothing they couldn't do.
The insults and playful jibes had become their way of flirting, comfortable and familiar. From there it had developed into cringe-worthy displays of affection that even Shiro, who was fairly patient and accepting, found hard to watch.
And there had been fights, real fights where Lance's insecurities had gotten the better of him and his words became mean and cruel, or when Keith's anger bubble uncontrollably hot and wild burning everything he loved. Those fights had been worse than the ones before they started dating because now they had so much more to lose. But they got through it, Lance's bull headed stubbornness refusing to let, refusing to give up on them. It may have been Lance who'd started most of their fight, but it was usually Lance who save them.
Slowly, as they truly learned about each other, learned who they really were the fights petered out, stopping within the space of maybe a year, maybe a little less. The remains of their fights became a solid foundation beneath their feet, a solid foundation they build the sturdy walls of their relationship on, they'd come through all the fights, all the bickering together and were stronger for it.
The walls surrounded them now, unshakable, protecting what was most precious to them.
They have grown so much, matured together and Keith knows they still have plenty of room to grow, plenty more experiences to live through, together. Their whole life stretches out in front of them with infinite, exciting possibilities. It's a future Keith wants to face together with Lance.
One thing Keith still isn't very good at after five years, despite Lance's teasing and efforts to 'teach' him, is romance. Keith has the physical stuff down pat, displays of affection like kissing, touching, meaningful looks he can do without any hesitation, without shying away. He can say words like 'I love you' with abandon, even enjoys things like pet names no matter how silly they get. He loves Lance, it is a feeling that spills out of him, his heart not big enough to contain the full extent of his feelings. It drives him to kiss Lance, grab him and press up close to him whenever it gets too much at sometimes odd, and inappropriate times. Keith is still fire, but he burns for Lance now.
Keith is not at all shy about showing his affection with his body, it's the cheesy romantic gestures like buying flowers of planning a candle lit dinner, cheesy things that Lance loves so much, that he struggles with. He tries, he really does, because he knows how much Lance loves it but Keith simply doesn't understand it. He's not sure he ever will.
Flowers die and yet, Lance insists, that fake flowers just aren't romantic at all. The types of places that do candle lit dinners cost so much they could afford to eat out at a normal restaurant every night for a week instead. Keith can't help but question what the point is in such silly, frivolous things when just being together is enough. But he tries, he tries to copy the things Lance does for him, adjusting them to the situation but Keith always ends up over thinking things, and it's all just so horrible cliché and cheese he can't help feel a little embarrassed.
Keith would rather show his love in physical ways, Lance shows his love in such a wide variety of dizzying ways, physical, material, and immaterial Keith often finds it difficult to keep track and make sense of it all. Lance simply finds Keith's confusion endearing, he doesn't seem to mind that he is the one usually showering Keith with romantic gestures and gifts. The few times Keith has tried is enough to let them know that sort of thing is better left to Lance.
When it comes to celebrations like anniversaries, Christmas, birthdays and valentines day it is usually Lance to plans most of it, Lance who buys the flowers, Lance who keeps trying to think of even more extravagant, over the top ways to celebrate their love. It's left to Keith to reign him in, to make sure he doesn't go overboard and while Keith tries to help where he can it is a fact, that Keith will freely admit to, that Lance does most of the work.
Keith is usually on the receiving end of the flowers, chocolates and whatever else makes for a romantic gift. He feels guilty, even though Lance seems to enjoy showering Keith with such gifts as much as he would receiving them himself. He makes no secret of the fact that he doesn't want to leave everything to Lance, that it isn't fair that Lance gives so much. He wants to do these things for Lance, wants to shower him in gifts and flowers too if that will make him happy. Keith just needs practice that's all, he's not good at it yet but he will learn. For Lance.
So when Keith had insisted on planning their fifth date alone on the premise that it really was his turn, that it was Lane's turn to be spoiled, it had been easy to hide his true intentions. Keith says he's going to make it up to Lance, it is only by virtue of Lance's trusting nature that he didn't suspect any more than that.
For this, arguably the biggest most romantic gesture he will ever make in his entire life Keith has pulled out all the stops. He's gotten good at ignoring the reasonable voice in his head that questions the point behind romantic gestures, he's studied as many romantic movies and books as he can for ideas. He's consulted with their friends and the people who know Lance best to make sure everything is perfect. Now after almost a year of planning and careful preparation Keith feels he's done a good job. His friends, friends who steered him in the right direction and shot down some of his most ridiculous ideas, have a lot to do with it.
It's been a long year starting from the revelation Keith had on the day of their fourth anniversary, the realisation that he never, ever wants this to end. A revelation that lead him to do all of this because this isn't just going to be another anniversary, it isn't just an occasion to celebrate another year together. It's so much more.
He's been through a lot in the lead up to today, months of agonizing over every detail, over thinking things constantly wondering what could go wrong, almost losing his nerve on several occasions but he's hear now. He's ready. Or as ready as he will ever be.
Keith slips his hand into his pock running his fingers over the velvet covered box that sit heavily there for the umpteenth time that night. He's had more than one nightmare about the box going missing. He has to make sure it's still there.
“Are you sure everything's ready? You haven’t forgotten anything? Do you need any help?” Keith paces around the kitchen he knows he's rambling, knows he's making a nuisance of himself and getting in Hunk and Coran's way. He's a danger to himself as he paces so Hunk takes it upon himself to gently steer Keith away from the hot stove and sharp knives to a safer corner of the kitchen.
“Yes I'm sure everything is going according to plan you have nothing to worry about.” Hunk said confidently, Coran chimes in with a hum of agreement.
“Now you just need to go collect your date. You know how much of a drama queen Lance will be if your late. Now go go, shoo.” Hunk waves his hands at Keith.
“And you know how long he takes to get ready,” Keith grumbles under his breath. Hunk heard, he laughs.
“And you know, despite that, it’s better you’re the one waiting for him.” Hunk says firmly clapping his large hands on Keith’s shoulders with a reassuring squeeze.
“You bring up a valid point.” Keith sighs. He knows Hunk is right, if he's late Lance would only be sulky and dramatic for the rest of the night which would make things difficult.
He still can't quite bring himself to move.
“Keith it’s gonna be fine trust me,” Hunk says earnestly giving Keith’s shoulders a firmer squeeze before letting go.
“But...what if he says no?” Keith asks in a small, frightened voice his nerves betraying him. It's the same question he's asked himself many times before, a question that has buzzed in his head through every stage of the planning. In the days leading up to their anniversary it has been repeating itself again and again louder and louder until it was all he could hear. 'What if he says no?'
“Look I’ve known Lance for a really long time and I’ve been with you guys through this whole thing. The guy’s crazy for you, he won’t say no.” Hunk’s words are strong and confident. Keith wishes he could believe them as much as Hunk clearly does.
He knows Lance loves him of course he does, Lance continues to show him, in so many different ways, every single day just how much he loves him that Keith can never doubt Lance's feelings for him. But this is different, this is something that will change their relationship completely. He isn't sure if Lance wants that.
“Don’t make me chase you out of here man we've still got a lot to do if you want this ready in time and you're kinda in the way,” Hunk warns waving a wooden spoon threateningly.
Keith snaps to attention eyeing the spoon warily knowing that Hunk isn't afraid to carry out his threats.
“Keith everything will work out fine,” Coran adds, giving Keith an encouraging smile. They both believe in him and Lance so much, they all do.
Keith sighs, knows he's stalling for time, distracting himself from the inevitable. He trusts his friends, the people who are going to help him through tonight, he knows they'll all do well. They are prepared. Now all he needs to do it put his faith in Lance. He can't let all those month of planning go to waste because he's too afraid to walk out the front door.
“Ok Keith focus,” Keith tells himself sternly taking a deep breath to steady himself inhaling a lungful of the gentle smell of the roses he holds in his arms. He may have gone a little overboard getting two dozen, Pidge had tried to warn him, but knowing Lance's penchant for over the top gestures like this Keith is reasonably sure it will go down well. Reasonably.
But maybe two dozen was a little much?
Keith bites his lip adjusting his grip on the large bouquet cradled in his arms. He's stalling again, over thinking things. He has to be confident, focused or else he will never get through tonight. Lance loves romantic gestures. He will love the roses he tells himself.
However knocking on the door of Lance's family home is a daunting task even without the weight of all he has planned tonight hanging over his head. It had been Keith's idea to spend their fifth anniversary on Varadero, to celebrate it there. He knows how much Lance loves his home and it is the first step in Keith's plan to surround Lance with everything he loves and cherishes, to make tonight as special as possible.
A visit to Varadero inevitably means a visit to Lance's family home, which Keith had also prepared for (or at least he thought he had). Lance would spent the day with his family, getting ready there while Keith would stay at the beach shack they'd rented for their trip. That was the plan.
Lance didn't understand why they both couldn't stay at his parents place, he holds a certain disdain for the hotels that crowded his home town and dislikes staying at any of them but Keith, with a meaningful look, had persuaded him they needed at least one night alone. Keith also needed a private kitchen where Hunk and Coran could work their culinary magic. The beach hut he's rented s an absolute necessity.
Lance had also questioned why they couldn't get ready together, Keith had been surprisingly insistent that he spend the day with his family, without him. Lance had seemed confused, and would have asked more probing questions had Keith not had the perfect excuse ready. Keith wanted tonight to be special, he wanted to pick Lance up from home as if it were their very first date which was something they hadn't really been able to do back when they first started dating. It seemed like a silly suggestion but Lance's eyes had practically sparkled. It was worth every moment of embarrassment Keith felt at how terribly cliché the whole thing was.
“Keith, I knew you had a romantic side buried deep deep deep deep down inside you!” Keith had only been mildly offended at the amount of 'deeps' Lance had used, more relieved at the affirmation Lance's words gave, that he was on the right track. It had taken him five years but maybe he was finally starting to get this 'romantic gestures' thing after all.
So Keith knew that this moment was coming and yet the door loomed ominously in front of him as if this really is the first time he's picking Lance up for a date. Truthfully he's never quite prepared for Lance's family, not that he dislikes them, on the contrary he loves them and the relationship they have with Lance. He even catches himself being a little envious of it at times. But Lance's family overwhelm him. The sheer amount of people is enough to make his head spin a close knit mess of various relations, some not even blood, Keith is still learning their names.
Learning everyone's names wasn't the only problem, not the real problem anyway. There are so many people, some very old fashioned and set in their ways, ways that didn't exactly agree when Lance bought a boy home. The first time Lance had introduced Keith to them things hadn't exactly gone well and while Lance's immediate family accepts them, had accepted them almost immediately it had been a little more difficult with the larger, outer circle of relations.
Things are better now, easier, but still Keith can't suppress the flutter of anxiety that rises in his chest when he visits. The guilt he feels to know that while many have now come around it is still a divisive topic, causing some rifts in the family, eats at Keith whenever he visits. The guilt is quieter, easier to calm when Lance is with him but in this moment he's alone. He knows it's not his fault, Lance and his parents have assured of him as much plenty of times, but he can't help blame himself for the pain it's caused.
The door is so intimidating. But this is just Lance's parents, his siblings, they've embraced Keith and woven him seamlessly into their home. So why can't he just knock on the door?
“Oh look its Keith! What a surprise to see you here,” a dry sarcastic voice snaps Keith out of his thoughts. He hadn't even noticed the door open, two identical, grinning faces looking up at him mischievously. They are Lance's youngest siblings, now he's in trouble..
“What are you doing lurking outside our door with a big bouquet of roses? Someone might think you’re up to something,” a sly, knowing grin stretches deceptively innocent features. Keith scowls.
“Is Lance ready?”
“What not going to even asked us how we’re doing?”
“And you don’t even have a gift for us.”
“And we thought you were going to be our new brother….”
“Shh!” Keith hissed loudly and not so subtly his eyes widening to comic proportions which had been the desired effect. The two youngster howl with laughter.
“Lance is still in the bathroom relax.”
“But seriously why so many flowers?” Lance’s sister asks her eyes widening with interest as she leans closer.
“Are you sure Lance even likes roses? I’m pretty sure he said something about them earlier.” The young boy feigns concern, sounding thoughtful. When the expected retort doesn't follow he kicks his sister in the shin.
“Ouch!” She snaps pulling her attention away from the roses to kick her brother back before turning back to Keith.
“Yeah he might have said something about it,” she hums thoughtful as if trying to remember.
Keith long ago had learned to be wary of them, they are a terrible double act. Demon one and two, as Lance calls them. Being close to each other in age, and growing up together as the youngest in the family they'd become quite the pair of trouble makers. Their favourite hobby is tormenting Keith, and Lance, and anyone else really so Keith knows he shouldn't take anything they say seriously, but those words latch onto his earlier doubt dramatically inflating it. Does Lance really hate roses? Lance has given him roses plenty of times but maybe he wouldn't like receiving them? His grip on the fat bouquet tightens. Has he gotten it so wrong already?
“Oi you two aren’t giving Keith grief already are you?”
The two jump guilty slowly looking over their shoulders with identical rueful expressions.
“We’re just making conversation that’s all.”
“Yeah we’re not up to anything.”
“Uh-huh,” Lance dead panned not believing them for a moment, but scolding his siblings can wait he had more important things to do.
“Hey babe,” he moves to Keith’s side greeting him with a kiss. The two youngsters squeal making twin sounds of disgust as they did whenever they were forced to witness any display of affection.
Smirking against Keith's lips Lance lets the kiss linger a little longer before pulling back, laughing. Even Keith has to suppress a chuckle.
“Now if you two don't behave I'm going to kiss you and give you Keith’s cooties.” Lance threatens pursing his lips in an exaggerated kissy face. The two children scream again and run further into the house ducking into the living room giggling all the way. They disappear for only a moment before their faces appear again, hovering in the doorway watching Lance and Keith.
“Right now that we’re alone are those for me?” Lance asks brightly looking like an excited child himself as he grins at the bouquet in Keith’s arms.
Keith nods holding out the flowers to Lance who takes them with a gleeful squeal.
“Keith I knew you had it in you!” Lance says proudly as he buries his face into the cloud of petals. Keith’s heart soars at the sight.
“Well I had a good teacher.”
Lance laughs a snorting, bashful laugh his cheeks taking on a similar colour to the roses. He takes a deep breath, inhaling the scent of a flowers letting out a content sigh a moment later.
“Thank you,” he says softly before lifting his head from the cloud of flowers. He smiles a soft, loving smile at Keith one Keith mirrors with ease. It's a gentle moment that they allow themselves to enjoy as they get lost in each others eyes. For a moment Keith can almost believe this really was their first date, that they were young and awkward all over again. He can see it in the way Lance looks at him, his gaze almost shy and hesitant, Lance is just as nervous as he was although probably for different reasons.
The spell has to be broken at some point and Lance, who feels he has plenty to be nervous about what with not know what Keith has planned, is the one to break it.
“Oi you demons come here,” Lance calls turning his attention to them summoning his siblings over with a sharp movement of his head. They both pull faces at him.
“You’re not going to kiss us are you?”
“Or kiss Keith again?”
“No I’m not just get your butts over here.”
Lance carefully tugs two roses from the bouquet glancing at Keith for a moment to make sure he doesn't mind. Keith nods, of course he doesn't
“I just want you to put these in a vase for me and leave them in my room.” He says handing the bouquet to his sister the two single roses still in his hand.
“And in return I’ll give you a rose each,” he grins handing a rose to his sister first, who takes it with a gleeful squeal that rivals Lance's, holding the other one out to his brother.
“I don’t want a stupid rose!” The boy yelps his face flushing in embarrassment as he takes a quick step away from the flower as if it might bite him.
“Oh really? Well I guess your sister gets two then” Lance shrugs. He turns to give the second flower away but it's snatched from his hand before he can move any further.
“Ok fine,” the boy huffs as if taking the flower is a great inconvenience. He's unable to hide his pleased smile. Keith is starting to learn the everyone like receiving flowers.
“Good. Now make sure to take good care of those flowers if I come back and even one petal has fallen I’m carrying out that cootie threat,” They squeal again and run off truly leaving the pair alone now.
“Right since you wouldn’t tell me anything about this date and what I should wear kinda had to guess. How do I look?” Arms held out at his sides Lance does a quick twirl showing off what he wears finishing with a pose and a wink.
“Perfect,” Keith nods approvingly stepping towards Lance to kiss him again. Lance is more than happy to respond.
“Ready to go?” He asks against Lance’s lips. He feels the other nod.
“Yeah, let’s go.” Their hands move together, a move that neither of them initiates as if some other force draws them together. Their fingers twine, curling around each other’s before either of them really notice. For them it’s a gesture so familiar and comfortable they barely even think about it.
The night has only just begun and if Keith’s grip on Lance’s hand is a little tighter than usual Lance either doesn't notice or doesn't comment. Keith is grateful, they're off to a good start.
Leaving Lance's home they go for a walk along the beach front past the pizza shack, vibrant bars and shops Lance loves so much. It's the sound and smell of home, something Lance misses painfully when he's away from it. The walk along the front has become a tradition for them, something they have to do at least once when they visit.
Having arrived only that morning they haven't had a chance to take their traditional stroll yet, which had all been a part of Keith's plan. It is stage two of Keith's and the official start to their date, a relaxing way to ease them into the evening.
Hearing Lance take a deep breath beside him and the satisfied sigh that follows Keith feels his nervousness abate a little.
“I'm so glad this place never changes,” Lance sighs in the same fond, nostalgic way he always does. He squeezes Keith's hand pulling him closer as they walk.
“Now as much as I love this place please don't tell me we're having pizza for our anniversary dinner. It's not really romantic,” Lance teases ducking his head close to Keith's ear, his hot breath tickling Keith's neck making him giggle. He knows Lance was doing it on purpose, aiming for the spot where Keith is most ticklish.
“No we're just taking the scenic route,” he answers, playfully trying to swat Lance away.
“Ok then I forgive you...for now,” Lance says cautiously. He's still a little wary about what Keith has planned. He's never been in the dark so much on something like this.
“Trust me you're going to love it!” Keith says confidently, trying to assure himself as much as Lance.
Their first stop is a peaceful moonlit beach in a small, hidden area tucked away from the more touristy spots. The remote location and time of night promises them plenty of privacy. There's no one else there, no signs of life. Even the buzz of the night life is far away, distant enough to be easily ignored.
A blanket lies on the sand a short distant away placed far enough up the beach to be away from the gentle lapping of the high tide. A circle of tea lights in little glass holders surrounds it guiding their way like a beacon. As they get closer they both notice the candles are set out in the shape of a heart. That had not been Keith's idea, he wonder's who's responsible and feels the familiar tingle of embarrassment at Lance's gentle gasp.
“Keith what is this?” The question is soft, incredulous and for a moment Keith isn't sure if its a good thing or not. Again he worries he might have gotten things wrong. He shifts nervously, squeezes Lance's hand his gaze flickering off to the side.
“I thought….we could do a bit of star gazing before dinner,” Keith explains gesturing to the telescope standing on the blanket, tucked in the point of the heart. There's a tray beside it, two colourful cocktails standing on it waiting for them.
Lance chuckles softly, pulling Keith closer he kisses his cheek.
“It's cute,” Lance whispers softly giving Keith's hand, that's squeezing his own with a death grip, a gentle squeeze. Keith relaxes, his grip loosening he silently thanks whoever's idea the heart was. Lance loves it.
They step into the middle of the heart, settling themselves comfortably on the blanket. Keith lets go of Lance's hand and Lance can finally feel his fingers again. He doesn't comment on it though he can sense Keith's nervousness and he can tell his boyfriend it really trying.
Keith grabs the two glasses' passing one to Lance before holding up his own.
“A toast to us,” he says softly.
“To us,” Lance echoes clinking their glasses together.
A comfortable silence falls as they sip their drinks neither of them in a hurry. Lance looks around taking in the spread of the picnic blanket, candles and telescope the itchy feeling that he's missing something, the Keith was trying to convey something nagging at his mind.
The gentle sound of the ocean, the barely there breeze makes him lethargic, his mind sluggish and slow that he finds it hard to think. But this is nice, it feels so peaceful, so relaxing. It's only when Lance tilts his head back, looks up at the clear star filled sky that things fall into place.
“Oh my god I'm such an idiot!” He yells smacking his hand against his forehead.
“You're trying to recreate our first date aren't you?” The sound of Keith chocking on his drink beside him is all the confirmation he needs.
“I though….it might be nice,” Keith squeaks.
There hadn't been any candles on their first date, or a beach or a telescope so Lance feels he can be forgiven for not understanding right away. But there had been the just the two of them, and the stars.
Their first date hadn't been so much of a first date, more a 'we just confessed our feelings to each other and now we should probably talk about it' but Lance had proudly proclaimed it their first date, a date that would become their anniversary. They'd sat together beneath the stars, side by side but too afraid to touch and just talked. They'd talked for so long that eventually they'd lied down, looked up at the starts and continued to talk. They'd had a lot to talk about.
Lance laughs his hand gliding across the blanket so he can lace his fingers with Keith's.
“I was too afraid to hold your hand then you know,” he mused softly lost in the memory of that night.
“Despite everything we talked about, I was still too afraid to actually touch you. Just sitting by you talking about our feeling like that was giving me a mild heart attack. The fact that you liked me too...” he trailed off pulling Keith's hand closer towards his mouth.
“But now I can hold your hand whenever I want, how cool is that!” He grinned pressing a kiss to Keith's fingers that makes him tingle.
“Hmmm,” Keith hums softly in agreement his fingers curling around Lance's as he's pulled closer.
“I love you,” Lance says easily pressing his forehead against Keith's.
“I love you too,” Keith replies just as easily. The kiss tastes strongly of the alcohol they're drinking.
They finish their drinks quickly and once the glasses are set off safely to one side Lance hooks his arm around Keith's shoulders, pulling him down with him onto the blanket with a mischievous laugh. Keith squawks indignantly but lets himself be pulled down, tucked against Lance's side.
“Aren't you going to use the telescope?” Keith complained but he makes no effort to get up or move away.
“Nah, I have a good enough view right here,” Lance said firmly, shushing Keith with a kiss to the corner of his mouth. They shift, adjusting from the initial awkward position they'd fallen in into something more comfortable. Lance is on his back, his arm wrapped around Keith's shoulders. Keith lies at a slight angle, his head pillowed on Lance's shoulder.
They gaze up at the stars, pointing out familiar constellations and lose themselves further in memories of the past, all the things they've been through to bring them here and the stars that connect them. The stars had been there with them on their very first date and even before then binding them together. It has been a while since they'd stopped and just looked up at the stars.
The trip down memory lane is nice, even as the talk about the bad memories as well as the good. It's reassuring and it helps steady Keith, firms his resolve. He is sure about this, more sure than he's been about anything in his entire life. He wants this. Wants to spend the rest of his life with Lance. As they lie there looking up at the stars he grows more sure that Lance wants the same thing, he has to believe it.
They could have easily spent the whole night lying there bodies curled together, the stars shining down on them like old friends but there is still plenty left to do. A fain tinkling of a bell cuts over Keith's thoughts, a gentle inconspicuous sound that melds with the wind and the waves. Lance doesn't even hear it but Keith has been waiting for it.
It's almost time. He feels his heart race, his nerves returning but a thrum of determination hums through him refusing to be shaken.
Keith shifts away from Lance, tries to sit up but a tug at his shoulders pulls him back down.
“Nooo where are you going?” Lance whines childishly, pulling Keith closer refusing to let him go.
“Dinner's ready, aren't you hungry?” Keith chuckles. He not complaining though, at least not yet. He's rather enjoying the way Lance snuggles him, dips his head so he can nuzzle Keith's neck.
“I'd rather just eat you up,” Lance purrs his teeth barely scraping Keith's throat but it's enough to elicit a little moan.
“Lance!” He tries not to let the strain show in his voice, tries to be firm. Tries not to give into Lance. They need to get moving! He feels the ‘hmph’ Lance utters against his neck, feel Lance release his grip and quickly twists out of his hold and jumps to his feet before Lance can change his mind.
Keith looks down at Lance and scowls. Lance it still lying flat out on the blanket his eyes closed.
“Lance,” Keith calls again. Lance doesn’t move. Keith nudges Lance with his foot digging his toe into the others side. That elicits a small ‘omf’ from Lance but still he does not open his eyes.
So Keith bends down, grabs Lance’s hand and yanks hard trying to drag him to his feet. Lance lets his body go lax, flops like a rag doll in Keith’s hold and makes no effort to stand. Keith lets him fall.
“Lance I will leave you here and eat all the food myself.” The threat does nothing to get Lance moving but he does, finally, speak.
“I’ve been placed under a spell and only a kiss from my true love can wake me. Oh if only my true love were here to kiss my waiting lips right now,” he says dramatically throwing his arms up into the air for emphasis before letting them fall down at his sides again.
“I’m pretty sure sleeping beauty didn’t talk in her sleep,” Keith crosses his arms over his chest.
“Hey you don’t know that,” Lance cracks one eye open, “or is there something you’re not telling me?”
Keith forgets sometimes how frustrating Lance can be. He only being silly, making things light hearted and fun as he always does. Lance can't possibly know how on edge Keith is, that he has a plan and a schedule to keep and right now Lance is ruining it. But if a kiss is all he wants though Keith can give him that much.
“You are such an idiot,” he sighs, defeated. He kneels beside Lance who grins victoriously and closes his eye again.
Keith leans over Lance, presses a soft, chaste kiss against his lips intending for that to be it but Lance’s hand curls against the back of his head, his long fingers tangling in Keith’s hair pulling Keith helplessly into a deeper kiss.
It’s a slow, gentle kiss nothing too heated but even so it burns Keith. He leans back slightly and Lance rises with him his other hand cupping the side of Keith’s face. Lance’s eyes are still closed so Keith closes his own too, his hand curling around Lance’s back, resting against his shoulder blades to support him pulling the brunette up into a sitting position as they kiss.
The kiss lingers and Keith almost forgets why he was in a hurry in the first place but then Lance pulls away, tugging Keith’s bottom lip between his teeth before he lets go.
“Hey,” he whispers his eyes open now, pupils wide. He looks at Keith as if he’s seeing him for the first time after a long absence, looks at him with such open affection Keith can’t help but mirror.
“Hey,” Keith presses their foreheads together, smiles, “think you can get up now princess?”
Lance’s expression shift, his face scrunching up as he tries not to laugh letting out an undignified snort instead.
“Oh joyous day the curse has been broken and I’ve found my true love! Let us go feast in celebration!” Lance cheers jumping to his feet dragging Keith with him.
“You’re such an idiot,” Keith laughs shaking his head.
“Yes but you love me.”
“I do, for some reason.”
Lance laughs, wrapping his arm around Keith’s waist pulling him close.
“So where next?”
“That's a surprise,” Keith answers grinning cryptically. He leads them out of the heart of candles not missing the concerned look Lance casts over his shoulder.
“Don't worry someone will come tidy them up in a minute,” Keith promise.
“Hmm you have every step of tonight all planned out don’t you?” Lance grins approvingly letting himself be lead across the beach by Keith who's chest puffs out proudly.
Their next stop isn’t far, just a short walk across the beach they’re already on but as they draw closer Keith pulls them to a stop, moves to stand in front of Lance and turns to face him.
“Close your eyes,” he orders holding his hands out to Lance to indicate he will lead him the rest of the way.
“But you only just woke me up,” Lance teases as he takes Keith’s hands. His eyes are still open.
“It’s a surprise,” Keith explains taking a step closer to Lance so he can press a kiss against his nose making Lance go cross eyed for a moment.
“Now close your eyes.” And Lance does.
Their progress is slower now with Keith walking backwards having to be extra careful so they don’t trip. He also has to keep an eye on Lance to make sure he’s not peeking but Lance is behaving himself. His eyes remain firmly closed.
Despite the slow progress they soon reach the hidden little nook Keith had been heading for. It’s a secret little recess partially surrounded by a low natural wall of rock and lush green foliage that guarantees seclusion. It’s not exactly a secret place and Lance, who knows every beach in the area from childhood, probably knows exactly where they are but he doesn’t know what awaits them there. Even Keith hasn’t seen the finished product, although he had helped with the initial set up earlier in the day Pidge and Allura had eventually chased him away when his nervousness caused one too many mistakes. He catches a glimpse of it now from the corner of his eye but quickly looks away. He wants Lance to be the first to see it in all its glory.
“Ok open your eyes.” He lets go of Lance’s hands, takes a small step to the side, and waits.
Lance opens his eyes slowly and Keith watches. Watches as Lance’s eyes widen in surprise, watches as he smiles in delight. He looks so beautiful and so bright that Keith almost wants to ask him right there and then, but no he has a plan. Dinner first.
“Keith,” Lance breathes softly mesmerised at the sight before him. Keith takes that as his cue to take a look as well. His own gasp gets caught in his throat it looks perfect, exactly as he imagined it. No, it looks better. Pidge, Allura, Shiro and Matt have outdone themselves and he’s not sure he’ll ever be able to thank them enough.
A simple garden gazebo sits on the sand, a lattice like structure made of light weight steel not that either of them can really tell what the thing is made out of due to the dense display of vines and flowers laced artistically through the whole structure. The flowers are an astonishing variety of shapes and size all in red or blue, some a mixture of the two. They are all, of course, fake allowing for a little more artistic license and although Lance had said fake flowers weren't romantic Keith hopes he can understand that setting this up with real flowers would have been impossible.
The vines twine their way all through the structure, all the way up the walls wrapping around the roof. Bolts of sheer red and blue fabric has been draped over the roof as well, curling with the vines muting the sky above. The curling vines and sheer fabric extends to the windows as well creating a softly swaying curtain of green, red and blue. Vines twisted with flowers also hang down across the door way making it impossible to see inside.
Laced through the whole thing, coiled around the vines, flowers and fabric is a mass of softly twinkling fairy lights.
“Did you do all this?” Lance finally finds his voice, though it’s only just above a whisper. He takes a steps closer but still seems too hypnotised to step through the archway.
“Yes…..well no,” Keith admits moving to Lance’s side.
“It was kinda my idea but the others helped...a lot. Shiro, Pidge, Matt and Allura….they did most of the work,” even Keith feels hypnotised by it. He feels Lance’s fingers curl around his own loosely.
“So this is where we’re having dinner? It looks lovely,” he says incredulously as he squeeze Keith's hand. Keith's confidence grows.
“…..right dinner,” Keith snaps himself out of his trance tugs on Lance’s hand and leads him through the archway of the gazebo brushing aside the green curtain of vines with his free hand.
Inside feels like a magical, secret garden the glow of the fairy lights more pronounced as the flowers and vines block out most of the light from outside. There's flowers on the inside walls too, just as many on the outside. The canopy of leafy green vines, fabric and fairy lights glows above them, the yellow lights shine on Lance's skin making him glow gold and Keith tries not to stare, tries not to get lost.
It's their own private, little floral paradise. No one will be able to see them inside here and the rest of the world has been gently blocked out. They are completely alone.
Lance is still entranced by it all, his attention focused on the flowers as he runs his fingers over the soft, fabric petals of a near by bloom. He doesn't say anything about them being fake, his smile so enchanted that Keith feels he's passed. Lance likes it.
Dragging his gaze away from Lance Keith turns his attention to the table set up in the middle of the space. It is set for two, plates covered with silver domes already in place. A floral centrepiece sits in the middle of the table surrounded by candles. To one side, near the edge of the table it a bucket filled with ice and a bottle of, what Coran assures him is very good wine. A small serving trolley is set off to one side, several other dishes sit on it, with silver domes over each one, waiting.
Lance turns away from the flowers, pulls Keith towards him wrapping his arms around the other man. The twinkling lights catch his blue eyes making them look brighter, deeper. Keith breath catches in his throat.
“This is beautiful Keith. Thank you,” Lance says softly, so sincerely. Keith can see his eyes shimmer, his lower lip trembling in a tell-tale way but Keith knows they are happy tears that threaten to fall. He smiles catching Lance’s trembling lip in a quick kiss, steadying him.
“I’m glad you like it,” he whispers against Lance’s lips, giving him another kiss before stepping back.
“Now come on, let’s eat before it gets cold.” Keith steps out of Lance's arms, moves over to the table and pulls the chair out for him an action that makes Lance chuckle. Lance dutifully sits down though, holding back his laughter this time as Keith tries to push the chair back towards the table and finds it impossible with the force of the sand working against him.
With a little shuffling, and some not so subtle help from Lance he manages to push Lance's chair back into position. Keith moves to the other side of the table taking his own seat before he lifts the silver domes off the plates. It is a menu full of Lance's favourite things prepared by Hunk and Coran, adjusted as they saw fit. The meal on their plates looks like something from a five star restaurant with a portion size to satisfy Keith and Lance's appetite.
It looks delicious.
They eat happily the bottle of wine getting steadily emptier between them as their conversation turns to more mundane and every day topics. It's easy and smooth as always as they jump from topic to topic moving from the starters, to the main and then dessert with alarming speed. Alarming for Keith at least.
The dessert is finished, even Keith can't drag it out any longer. There's only a glass of wine each left and the conversation is starting to peter out. It's not an unusual silence, not entirely uncomfortable but for Keith it's the signal for something he's been anticipating all night. It's time.
He brushes his hand over his hip, feeling for the square lump in his pocket. It's still there.
Keith feels frozen, his fingers curling around the shape of the lump then stopping. He can't quite move, can't find the courage to dip his hand into his pocket and take out the box. It's time, it's time, he has to move.
He still doesn’t move. He watches Lance instead. Lance has lapsing into a thoughtful silence as he sips the last of his wine and absorbs in the atmosphere around them. The fairy lights continue to glow, looking like fireflies hidden amongst the flower petals. The canopy above them, draped with the fabric and vines and the lights twined around it looks like a surreal night sky. Lance tilts his head back to admire it trying to see if e can make out a constellation in the fairy lights, or maybe he can make one up himself. He is completely oblivious to Keith's inner turmoil.
It's a good thing, had he noticed something was wrong and asked Keith about it Keith is certain he would have bottled it and backed out. He needs to do this while he has the chance.
Keith slips his hand into his pocket his fingers closing around the box properly. It feels hot and heavy in his palm and he almost withdraws his hand as if it burns. Stubbornly he grips onto the box tighter, squeezes until the edges dig into his palm painfully forcing him to focus.
“Lance,” Keith says softly calling the other’s attention to him.
“Hmm?” Lance’s gaze drops back to Keith the light catching his eyes putting stars in them. Keith feels his throat tighten and finds it hard to speak.
“There’s something I need to say to you and I need you to be quiet until I’ve said it ok?” His tone is stern, outlined with clear agitation that makes Lance quirk an eye brow at him.
Keith needs Lance to be quiet for this, knows that if Lance interrupts him half way through he’ll never get the words out. He keeps his gaze on Lance firm and steady. Sensing how serious Keith is Lance nods without saying a word.
Step one complete. Keith takes a deep breath holding it for a moment before letting it out slowly. Good he can do this.
Rising from his seat Keith walks around the table towards Lance, crouches down on the sand beside him getting into the proper position. He would have much rather just ask Lance while they were both sat at the table it would have been easier and quicker but everyone had insisted getting down on one knee is a requirement, and Keith is sure Lance would want it this way too.
Lance is watching him carefully but he doesn’t seem to have caught on to what Keith is about to do even with him crouched down on one knee beside him. He’s quiet, keeping his promise not to say anything even though Keith can tells he' itching to ask what's going on. He looks perplexed, which is cute, Keith loves how oblivious Lance can be it makes this a lot easier.
Keith takes another deep breath, closes his eyes for a moment before he pulls the ring box out of his pocket opening it with a snap as he lifts it towards Lance.
“Lance, will you marry me?” The words came out a little quicker then he’d intended but they are clear and sincere.
Lance stares for a moment his expression not changing. Then comes the gasp, the wide eyes surprise, a range of emotion that flicker across his face, changing so quickly from one to the next that Keith might have found it funny if not for the severity of the situation.
“Keith what…” Lance gasps. Keith’s heart skips a beat. It’s not the instantaneous reply he had been hoping for. Lance sounds surprised, which is to be expected, but Keith isn’t sure if it’s a good surprise or a bad surprise.
Then he hears a sob and Keith is sure his heart has stopped. Lance is crying making no effort to hold back the tears as he usually would. This does not look good.
“Keith how could you do this?” Lance sobs his voice hitching through his tears.
Down on one knee looking up at his sobbing boyfriend with small ring box held out like an offering Keith begins to wonder if he’s made a terrible mistake.
“Lance….” Keith voice is strained he hates seeing Lance cry likes this, suddenly wishes he could rewind time and take it all back so everything can be normal again. So Lance would stop looking at him like that. It’s an expression he’s never seen on the others face before, one he can’t read.
He drops the ring, it doesn’t matter, and grabs Lance’s hands instead holding them gently.
“Lance. Lance it’s ok. It’s ok if you want to say no, we can just stay like this,” he says his thumb rubbing the back of Lance’s hand soothingly. It hurts to say, but it hurts even more to see Lance still crying.
“What no! Of course I want to marry you!” Lance says with such ferocity it freezes Keith, and now he feels like he’s falling.
“It’s just…” he sobs again, “I’ve been trying to work up the courage to ask you for over a year now and then you just….come out and ask me like that.” He pulls a hand free, waving it around for emphasis.
“I can’t believe you. You plan all this, and I didn’t even have a clue. I was supposed to ask you first you jerk,” Lance sobs again covering his face with his hand his shoulders slumping.
Keith still isn’t quite sure he believes what he’s hearing, still feels like he’s falling but it’s a slower fall now hope blooming in his chest.
“Lance, sweetheart,” Keith calls softly his hands moving to Lance’s arms rubbing them in what he hopes is a comforting way. Lance is still sniffling into his hand.
“Look at me?” Keith pleads, his voice gentle and coaxing. Lance sniffs again but peeks at Keith between his fingers. He still doesn’t lower his hand so Keith slowly, gently grabs Lance’s wrist and pulls his hand away. Lance offers no resistance.
Keith can see his face again, eyes red and nose running Lance is an ugly crier but to Keith he has never looked more beautiful. Keith loves him so much. He draws Lance’s hand towards him, kisses his fingers, rubs his thumb against Lance’s palm doing all he can to soothe him.
“So….that was a yes right?” Keith says finally. He has to check, has to be sure.
“Of course it is!” Lance looks like he’s about to cry again but he drops his body, bending forward his head landing on Keith’s shoulder. Keith feels his heart thud back to life finally. He feels Lance’s tears wet his shoulder and understands what they mean now. Lance is happy, unbelievably happy, a feeling that Keith shares. He had been surprised, perhaps a little frustrated that Keith beat him too it but he’s happy, he said yes. Keith wraps his arms around his shoulders and holds him close. It’s an awkward hug but neither of them make any effort to move.
Lance eventually lifts his head, smiling a wobbly smile at Keith that makes his heart melt.
“God you are such an idiot,” Keith snaps, his words holding no bite as his hands move to cup Lance’s cheek, pulling him close again so he can kiss away what remains of the tears. Lance sobs again, sniffs but he’s stopped crying so openly now and he’s smiling again.
“So can I put the ring on your finger now?” Keith asked impatiently once he’s sure Lance has calmed down.
“Yeah, give me your stupid ring,” Lance grins, teasing, rubbing his nose with his sleeve.
“Don’t call my ring stupid I spent a lot of time picking this out for you,” Keith complains but he knows Lance is only kidding. He picks the box up from the sand, carefully takes the ring out brushing away any grains of sand that might be stuck to it. He holds his hand out to Lance, who happily rest his own on Keith’s. They both hold their breath in anticipation as Keith tugs Lance’s hand just a little closer, slips the ring on his finger. Keith let’s out a sigh of relief when it fits but Lance is still speechless.
Lance slowly pulls his hand back, the lights catching the platinum band and blue stone making it glitter. The ring fits perfect, wrapped comfortable around his finger as if it belongs there. It’s a thick band with a line of blue and white stones looped through the middle.
“It’s pretty…” he sighs softly tilting his hand left and right watching as the light catches the jewels sending a ripple through the middle of the band. It looks like an ocean wave.
Keith can feel the tension drain from him as Lance admires the ring, and he admires Lance. His strength leaves him, he doesn’t have it in him to stand, move back to his chair so he sits down heavily on the sand instead.
“You picked this?” Lance asks his gaze still focused on the ring.
“I can’t believe they match…” Lance sounds almost wistful a fond, content smile on his lips.
“Match?” Keith looks up at Lance, not quite sure what he means. Lance, his attention drawn away from the ring blinks down at Keith looking equally confused for a moment before his mouth opens in a small ‘O’ of realisation.
“Oh right I haven’t given you your ring yet!”
Keith feels dizzy.
“Well when I said I was meant to ask you first I uh...well you see I've been meaning to ask you since our 4th anniversary.” Lance admits sheepishly.
“Oh. Ok.” It’s not a very eloquent answer and for a moment Keith realises how shocked Lance must have felt when he asked him to marry him. It’s unexpected, makes his head spin, makes it hard to think. He still doesn’t even have the strength to stand so he holds out his hand instead expecting Lance to just put the ring on his finger and be done with it. He should know that things are never that easy with Lance.
“Oh no you don’t. Nope I have a speech I’ve been working on for over a year now and you’re going to hear it. Actually I can’t believe you didn’t have a speech. Just asking me straight out like that instead, but we’ll come back to that later.” Lance stands brushing off imaginary dust from his trousers.
“Come on, up,” he orders. Grabbing Keith’s outstretched hand he drags the other man to his feel, catching him by the arm as Keith sways.
“Right ok you just stay right there.” Lance says as he carefully arranges Keith, guiding him by his shoulders until he’s standing in just the right position. He waits a moment, making sure Keith has caught his balance before he lets go and takes a step back.
Lance coughs, clearing his throat, brushes down imaginary creases in his clothes and fidgets. He runs his fingers over his hair, tries to smooth it down and finally seems ready. Reaching into his pocket Lance pulls out a small black velvet box. A box that looks old and worn, a box that is being held shut by an elastic band.
“Lance?” Keith can’t help but look a little dubious at the state of the box. Lance flushes in embarrassment his nerves firing up.
“Look I’ve had this thing for over a year. I carried it around everywhere with me, I took it out to look at it at least once a day,” he explains as he pulls off the elastic band pulling apart the two halves of the box.
“And last Christmas I may have been trying to work up the courage to asking you, again, and I may have opened and closed this box like a hundred times before I may have opened it with a little too much force and snapped the lid off,” Lance’s face was flushed even redder now, “I took that as a bad sign and figured I’d better wait.”
Keith tries not to laugh he really does but he can’t suppress a little snort. Lance scowls at him the ring held between his thumb and forefinger.
“Anyway it’s time to show you how a proposal should be done,” he says confidently as he gets down on one knee in front of Keith, grabbing a hold of Keith’s hand with his free one.
“Keith Mullet Kogane,” he begins only to be interrupted.
“Lance’s that's not my name.”
“Shush people who didn’t give heartfelt speeches don't get a say. Now where was I? Oh right Keith Mullet Kogane,” his grip on Keith’s hand tightens, his gaze shifting up to fix on Keith. He looks serious now, his gaze sincere and gentle. The force of it stops Keith from attempting to complain a second time.
“These past five years with you have been the most wonderful and the happiest of my life. You've been by my side through so much, stayed with me even when frankly I will even admit I didn't deserve it. You've taught me so much, taught me how to be a better person, how to properly love myself and someone else,” Lance's smile grows even softer, so fond. His thumb rubs Keith's hand, the sincerity of his words are making Keith dizzy.
“You are the one who gave me confidence in myself, made my believe I could do anything and thanks to you I’ve achieved my dreams. No I've done more than I ever dreamed I could. You give me the push I need when I'm holding back and you're always there to stop me from going too far. You are so much more than I deserve. You are so brave, so kind, so loving and so forgiving.” He pauses for a moment, his lips trembling again but Lance manages to hold back his tears this time.
“You were my goal, my rival. Everything I wanted to be but now I just want to be someone worthy of you. I can’t imagine my life without you by my side.”
Keith is rendered speechless by all the things Lance says, the love that overflows in his words. Lance’s words aren’t the most eloquent or poetic but he’s picked them carefully every one designed to show Keith just how he feels. Keith wants to shake his head, deny it all. He isn’t all that. Lance is a wonderful person all on his own, without Keith. Keith doesn’t feel like he’s done that much at all but Lance’s gaze is so firm, so sincere he can’t say a word.
“Keith Kogane will you marry me?”
Keith feels chocked, he can’t speak. He can only nod and give a small sound of affirmation a hot feeling growing behind his eye threatening to make him cry.
The nod is enough for Lance who smiles a big, bright smile that could outshine the sun. It dazzles Keith. Lance slips the ring Keith’s finger his hand trembling.
Before Keith has a chance to study the ring Lance lets out a whoop of joy his excited bubbling forth like a geyser. He shots to his feet grabbing Keith beneath his armpits hoisting him up and spinning around with him. Keith yelps, he doesn’t scream, in surprise grabbing onto Lance’s shoulders for support.
Lance laughs boisterous and loud, spins them a little faster and somehow manages not to smack into the table. Keith is getting dizzy but he laughs too their laughter melding together filling the space around them.
After a few more turns Lance stops spinning, wobbling unsteadily on his feet as he catches his balance. Somehow he manages to keep them both upright even with Keith’s weight in his arms. He lowers Keith only enough so that Keith can wrap his arms around his neck, press their foreheads together.
Keith is still giggling breathlessly and the world is still spinning even though they’re standing still. He feels so dizzy he squeezes Lance tightly, kicks his legs up and wraps them around Lance’s waist in an effort to steady himself.
“Got you,” Keith murmurs dropping his head lower making their noses bump together.
“Nu-uh I got you,” Lance grins his grip shifting to Keith's back and thighs to better support his weight, his head titling forward closer to Keith. Keith takes the hint.
They bump noses again first in their hurry, making them both laugh. Keith raises his hand, the hand with the ring, presses it against Lance’s cheek. He pauses for just a moment as Lance nuzzles his hand sure the other can probably feel the ring against his cheek. Keith wonders how it feels. He lets the thought linger for just a moment before he gently guides Lance's head to a better angle.
They kiss, their first kiss as an engaged couple. Keith controls the kiss his fingers sliding into the short, soft strands of Lance’s hair. He grips tightly, pulling Lance’s head to a better angle, a deeper kiss. Lance lets him, happy to go along with Keith’s guidance. Their lips meld together, moving against each other the same as always. The feeling of their tongues in each other mouths, pushing against the other felt no different and yet it all feels fresh and new.
It feels like every kiss they’ve ever shared and so much more. It starts off slow, like a sweet good morning kiss, a welcome home kiss. It gets a little hotter, heavier like a lingering kiss good night, a silent plea for more. It grows deeper, more needy a desperate kiss as if they haven’t seen each other for a while. The passion builds and the kiss becomes playful. Lance squeezes Keith’s ass drawing a little squeak from the other man that makes Lance smile mischievously against his lips. Keith pulls his hair in retaliation. And now they’re nipping at each other’s lips, drawing back for breath for a moment before diving in again. The kiss grows sloppier as their passion peaks teeth and noses bumping together in their hurry to just kiss, just be as close as possible.
It’s a kiss that leaves them breathless and dizzy. Lance has to put Keith down, his arms turned to jelly Keith can feel him trembling. His own logs aren’t fairing much better but he stands and they lean on each other for support, hold each other up. Keith’s arms are wrapped around Lance’s neck again, Lance’s arms around Keith’s waist. They fall down back to earth holding onto each other.
“Yeah.” Keith hums in agreement dropping his head to Lance’s shoulder.
Lance chuckles swaying slightly, pulling Keith with him. Keith hardly notices too busy looking over Lance’s shoulder at the ring on his own finger. It’s platinum as well, or maybe white gold Keith isn’t really sure. Like Lance’s ring it has a ring of jewels going around the middle of it in varying shades of red. He tilts his hand, watches as the lights make the jewels catch fire. It matches Lance’s ring perfectly as if they’d picked out the rings together. One ring with a band or water, the other with a band of fire. It fits them to a T.
‘’Keith?” Lance’s voice whispers against his ear soft yet slightly demanding.
“I’m just looking at the ring.”
“Oh. Do you like it?”
“Yeah...they really are similar.”
“Guess that just means we were meant to be,” Lance chuckles again nuzzling against Keith's neck.
“But will you please stop looking at the ring and pay attention to your fiancé instead.”
Keith lifts his head his eyes wide as he meets Lance’s. Fiancé. It’s the first time either of them has said the word out loud. Lance looks equally taken aback but is quick to recover as he ducks his head to press their foreheads together.
“Fiancé. You’re my fiancé now. I'm going to marry you!” He said the word with such joy and such wonder it makes Keith's heart ache.
“Fiancé,” Keith echoes feeling the same giddy happiness.
“It has a nice ring to it, right,” Lance grins slyly he can't help himself. Keith groans.
“Lance!” Before Keith has a chance to chastise Lance and demand the ring back for that awful pun Lance is laughing again dragging Keith in a waltz around the table.
“Dance with me,” he says ignoring Keith’s pained scowl.
“There’s no music,” Keith tries to protest but Lance continues to move to a beat only he can hear.
“There’s always music, you just need to listen,” Lance whispers as he draw Keith closer still swaying. Keith sighs but goes along with Lance anyway, there's no point in fighting it.
He closes his eyes, rests his head against Lance's chest and just lets the other lead him around, matching his movements to Lance as best he can. He listens.
The first sounds he notices in the almost silence is the gentle rush of the ocean, the waters constant movement. Then he hears the breeze so gentle it barely makes the fabric curtains sway but it's there, he can hear it whisper through the intricate criss cross of flowers woven through the 'walls' around them, speaking to the sea. He can hear their footsteps and the way the sand shifts as they move, the rustle of their clothes as the dance. He can hear every breath that passes between them and with Lance's chest pressed against his own he can feel the other’s heart beat, practically hear it through his body.
Keith opens his eyes watches the fabric and vines sway, notices that Lance's body moves in time with it. He realised that this was what Lance meant when there was always music. Romantic bastard.
They dance for a while time meaning little to them, they may well have dance all night had a chill not ran up Keith's back making him shiver.
“Cold?” Lance asks his breath hot against Keith’s cheek.
“No,” came the quick, automatic response followed by another shiver as Keith now notices just how cold it really is.
“Ok maybe a little.” He feels the chuckle echo in Lance's chest, Lance's arms snaking around him hugging him closer in an effort to warm him up. It is getting late, the air growing colder. It's probably time for them to leave.
“Let’s go back then,” Lance purrs the promise in his voice making Keith shiver for a different reason.
It takes another few moments for them to finally step out of their floral paradise, Keith has to reassure Lance again that they aren't going to just leave everything here, that the others will come and clean it all up right away. He owes them a lot, he knows, he admits to Lance as much as they leave.
“You gave our friends the right to call in any favours they want all for me?” Lance grins, he sounds touched.
“Don't think they're not going to get you for this too, this is your fault,” Keith bites back in a warning tone. He knows, while they will be happy for them, their friends aren't going to let them off lightly for all the trouble.
“Well I guess that's what happens when you get married. You have to share your debts, take on your partners as if they're your own!” Lance says dramatically accepting his fate.
“We're not married yet.” Keith feels flustered, just when he thinks he's calmed down his heart is fluttering in his chest again.
“Not yet, but the sentiment stands. We're in this together….even more now.”
They're holding hands again, Lance is holding Keith's hand with his ring hand, their fingers lace together so Keith can feel the band pressing against him, the jewels on the ring scratching against his skin ever so slightly.
The leave the little nook, make their way back intending to head right for the private each hut they've hired.
Neither of them are prepared for what awaits them across the beach. A crowd has gathered holding up a long, clearly hand painted banner that reads congratulations.
Their friends being there isn't so much of a surprises to Keith, they had helped orchestrate the whole thing and he knew they were hanging around to handle clean up, but a lot of Lance's extended family is there too almost obscuring their friends from view by sheer numbers.
As soon as the group catches sight of them they cheer, a loud uncoordinated cry of ‘congratulations’ filling the beach.
Both men freeze in their tracks.
“...everyone knew?” Lance breathes his grip on Keith’s hand tightening for a moment, his hand trembling. Lance was nervous.
“Yeah….I needed all the help I could get.” Keith admits in a small voice feeling the nerves himself but he has to be brave. For Lance. He gives Lance's hand an encouraging squeeze before dragging him over to the waiting group.
Everyone is smiling which was encouraging but Keith understands where Lance’s anxiety is coming from, he feels it too. There were people who hadn’t been too happy with their relationship at first people who now stand there smiling and cheering for them and there are some who aren't there at all, some who still don't accept them.
Lance's mother is the first to approach them tired of waiting. She rushes forward drawing the two taller men into her, and arm around each of their shoulders. She's smiling and almost crying, her lower lip trembling. It's clear where Lance gets his emotional side from, she cries just like he does.
“My baby, my sweet baby, I’m so proud. Quick let me see let me see let me see,” she speaks hurriedly as she draws back flapping her hands in an encouraging movement demanding to be shown the ring right now.
She gasps softly speaking again in rapid Spanish that Keith finds hard to follow. He's been learning, has been for a while and likes to think he's gotten pretty good at the language but she's just so excited he can barely make out a word.
Judging by Lance’s smile it's all good though. After admiring the ring her hands move to his head, pulling him forward so she can smack a kiss on both cheeks before turning her attention to Keith.
“I’m so happy for both of you, thank you,” she speaks softly, slower now her hand cupping Keith’s cheek drawing him close placing a gentle kiss on his cheek too.
“Mama,” Lance chides his face flushed, his lower lip trembling on the verge of tars again. Keith is pretty red too. She laughs and kisses them both again.
“Actually we have something else to show you,” Keith says shooting Lance a quick glance realising that she probably doesn't know about the other ring. No one does. Recognition shines in Lance's eyes, he nods looking excited. She looks at the both curiously so Keith cautiously raises his hand, holding it out to her to show off his own ring.
She gasps again, muttering something under her breath that neither of them catch. She doesn't say any more gentle fingers wrapping around Keith's hand instead drawing it closer. Over her stunned silence they give a quick explanation of what happened.
“Wait a minute. You've been planning to ask this boy to marry you for over a year and you never told me?!” She rounds on her son, hands moving to her hips. There is no real anger in her words even as she grabs him by the ear and tugs, continues to tell him off for keeping secrets in such a light hearted way it makes them both laugh.
She smiles fondly, kissing them both again before dragging them over to the waiting group. They are enveloped in an instant. Keith feels the firm smack of Shiro’s hand against his shoulder, Pidge elbowing him playfully in the gut, Matt grinning at them beside her. Hunk got a hold of Lance wrestling him into a head lock, ruffling his hair. He looked close to tears too. Allura and Coran held back, more reserved they allowed Lance's excited family to rush ahead of them. But even from the centre of the circle of excited faces both Keith and Lance can feel the warm smiles the pair shine their way.
Lance's family are a force to be reckoned with though as they get between the pair and their friends pushing them back towards Allura and Coran. No one complains everyone is just too happy, too excited. There are so many people around them, grabbing at their hands to look at the rings and they have to retell the story at least five more times. Lance's two youngest siblings are buzzing about them, grabbing onto the two but they are kept mostly under control by the buzz of family around them. Everyone is warm, friendly and accepting. Lance has stopped shaking, he no longer looks worried.
The excited babble of family eventually thins letting Allura, Coran and the rest of their friends to get close again.
“I can't believe you put Keith through all this when you could have just ask him ages ago,” Pidge laughs. Clutching her stomach bent double in mirth as they tell their story yet again.
“You should have seen how wound up Keith was getting about this whole thing,” she wheezes sinking down onto the sand still laughing.
“Katie,” Matt tries to chide her, his tone meant to be stern but he's having trouble smothering his own laughter.
“I can't believe Lance managed to keep it a secret for so long, even from me!” Hunk added sounding both impressed and slightly offended.
“Sorry buddy. I love you but you can't keep a secret for shit you know this,” Lance defends himself.
“I managed to keep this a secret from you!” Hunk shoots back.
“I...actually how did you manage that?” It's Lance's turn to look impressed.
“We were all on Hunk duty,” Pidge chimes in, jumping back to her feet.
“Oh….yeah hey now that you mention it one of you was always with Hunk and giving him these funny looks.” It all makes sense now. They all laugh.
“You two certainly are made for each other,” Allura smiles her hand pressed over her mouth to suppress her laughter sharing a meaningful look with the group. They've all been witness to what led up to this, how worked up Keith got, the occasional moments of panic and the madness it bought. To know it could have all been avoided if Lance had only plucked up the courage a year ago was rather amusing.
“Yes indeed you two do often seem to be on the same wavelength,” Coran agreed twisting his moustache.
“Even the rings match, so it all worked out in the end,” Shiro's calm, proud voice cuts over the teasing his tone easing away the laughter. Everyone is now giving them sincere, relived smiles.
They give their congratulations again, exchange a little small talk but it's clear everyone is getting tired and restless. Particularly Lance and Keith who are still so overwhelmed with everything.
“It's been a long nigh, I think we should let these two leave now. They probably want some alone time to celebrate, right?” Shiro smirks shooting Keith a knowing grin that makes him blush.
“Shiro!” Keith splutters causing the others to laugh again. Lance is averting his gaze pretending he hasn't noticed, hasn't heard a thing. He's trying to hide his own laughter.
“Lance why d you two want to celebrate alone?”
“Why is everyone laughing?”
“Why is Keith so red?”
Both of Lance's youngest siblings have appeared without any of the group noticing, one of them grabbing Keith's hand the other latching onto Lance. Everyone looks suddenly very awkward and avoid looking at the two youngsters. Shiro has the decency to look embarrassed.
Before anyone can try to come up with a believable and age appropriate excuse Lance gets an evil glint in his eye. He appreciates anything that makes Keith blush but he has to stand by his fiancé, plus he thinks its definitely someone else's turn to be tormented by the kids.
“Oh it's nothing really but Shiro will explain it to you,” Lance says passing his sisters hand over to Shiro. The girl goes willingly, bouncing over to Shiro and latching onto his arm, looking up at him expectantly.
“Yes Shiro will explain everything to you. We have to go now,” Keith, sensing what Lance has planned passed the boys hand, who goes just as willingly, over to Shiro.
The two youngsters are both looking up at Shiro now with innocent expectation. Shiro looks very uncomfortable his mouth opening and shutting as he tries to think of something appropriate to say. They are old enough to know that grown ups need to be alone' sometimes and that that entails things, the details of which they don't need to know. Lance knows they are not as innocent as they pretend to be, but they're Shiro's problem now. Hunk seems to be the only one willing to help him out, the others are too busy trying to hide their laughter.
“Take care everyone. You two play nice,” Lance says cheerfully giving his siblings a quick wave before grabbing Keith's hand and making their escape. The sincere congratulations of their friends and his family is nice but Lance really, really wants to be alone with Keith now. Keith feels the same.
When they arrive at the beach shack Lance pulls Keith to him as son as the door shuts, kisses him with demanding force. It obvious what they're about to do, what they both want to do but Keith pushes him away.
“Just...just wait one minute,” he gasps a pained expression on his face because he doesn't want to stop kissing Lance but his plans don't quite end with the proposal. There is one thing left and it would be a shame to let his efforts go to waste.
“Keith...” Lance whines, tries to pull him close again but Keith ducks out of his hold.
“I promise it won't take long,” Keith says hurriedly before he dashes into the nearby bedroom slamming the door behind him.
The rose petals have already been tossed across the floor and the bed, he had enough sense to do that early on, all that's left is to light the scented candles he's set aside and turn the lights off. The room is ready for them.
“Lance.” Keith opens the door just a crack, slips out letting it close behind him so Lance can't see inside just yet.
Lance is pouting, Keith can tell.
“Come on,” he beckons Lance closer, tries not to laugh as Lance puts on an even more exaggerated pout.
“Maybe I don't want to any more,” he huffs, crossing his arms over his chest.
“Oh really?” Keith is standing in front of him now, his hands resting on Lance's waist drawing the other man towards him.
“Are you sure about that?” He whispers in Lance's ear. His teeth graze against Lance's neck as he presses a kiss to it. He can feel the shiver that travels through Lance's body.
“You never play fair,” Lance growls but he doesn't sound angry. His hand grabs Keith's chin pulling Keith's head to one side, kisses him. Keith doesn't stop him this time.
Keith takes a step back, pulling Lance with him as he leads them towards the bedroom. They don't break the kiss, Lance's arms wrap around him, his hands sliding under Keith's shirt, impatient. Keith hands stay on Lance's hips, still leading the way but his steps grow more hurried he just wants to get into the bedroom now.
Keith's back finally hits the door. He reaches behind him, throws the door open and finally wraps his arms around Lance, presses his body up against the others. Lance can deal with the rest on his own.
Lance catches sight of the interior, the kiss pausing for a moment though his lips are still pressed against Keith's. He smiles but doesn't comment on the decorations, he has far more important things to do. He gathers Keith up into his arms, collapses onto the bed with him in an uncoordinated tangle of limbs.
Their hands are all over each other, kiss hungry and needy. Clothes are dealt with quickly, practically ripped off each other in their hurry. Once the clothes are gone and there's nothing left between them they slow down, hands and mouths exploring the familiar lines and curves of each other's bodies. They take their time now every touch feeling different somehow.
The feeling of the rings is a solid and constant presence with them. The metal cool at first, almost feeling like ice against their heated skin, soon absorbs the heat of their bodies warming with them. They can both feel the ring in the others touch, any contact made with the ring hand feels somehow harder and more real.
Keith finds Lance responds surprisingly easily to the feeling of him dragging his hand down Lance's torso with the hand that wears the ring. The press of the band he can feel in his lovers touch feels like a brand against Lance's skin and he wants more, moans for it.
Lance's hand tangles in Keith's hair, the ring catching on errant strands, brushing against his ear, bumping against Keith's prominent collar bone as Lance drags his hand down Keith's neck and across his shoulder. Keith can feel it too.
Keith catches Lance's hand, pressing the palm against his mouth kissing Lance's hand and then the ring. Lance's free hand snags Keith's other hand, lacing their fingers together gently and Lance can feel the press of the ring Keith wears between his fingers.
Neither of them have ever been much for jewellery before, never really worn it before but now, with the rings the only thing they wear it makes them feel more exposed and vulnerable in front of the other.
It's not a bad feeling but there's almost a shyness to the way they make love now, slow and attentive. They worship each others bodies and the sounds they make wish such awe as if everything is new. They explore this new feeling all through the night.
“Keith?” Lance’s sleepy whisper fills the darkness of the room wrapping around Keith dragging him for the blissful dreams he was about to fall into. He gives a small, horse groan to show he's listening tucking his head firmly under Lance's chin. He just wants to sleep.
“Which one of us should wear white? Because I think I look good in white but you look good in white too and we cant both wear white.” Lance sounds tired too, his voice raspy from all they've done.
“I'm not wearing a dress,” Keith grumbled into the crook of Lance's neck, scowling. Surely wedding plans can wait till the morning?
“I’m not talking bout a dress, but I think you would totally rock a wedding dress fyi,” Lance is interrupted by his own yawn. He grumbles, his chin nuzzling the top of Keith's head.
“We can both wear suits but one of us should wear white.” Lance seems adamant about this already. His hand rubs small circles against Keith's back and Keith can feel the bump of the ring against his spin, it makes him shiver, press closer.
“What if I wear red instead?” Keith asks almost stubbornly, his words slurred with fatigue.
“Keith this is serious!’
Keith lifts his head aiming a kiss at Lance’s lips that catches his chin instead. Close enough.
“Go to sleep. We can talk about this tomorrow. I’ll even spend all day looking at wedding magazines with you if you want.”
Silence follows. Keith closed his eyes again curling up into the curve of Lance’s body.
“Good night fiancé.” Lance whispers. Keith gives no reply. He can feel Lance pout at that, feel it in the way Lance tenses and then curls up tighter around him.
“Keith?” ‘say it' his voice pleads.
“Good night my darling fiancé,” Keith answers slipping his hand under Lance’s head, curling his fingers around the back of his neck letting his ring press against Lance’s skin.
The moonlight is the only thing that faintly lights the room. The candles have long since burnt out but the light of the moon outlines their sleeping forms, catches the jewels in the rings making Keith's glow like dying embers and Lance's shimmer like a calm sea. Water and fire, two complete opposites lie there curled up together, completely at home.