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V. Recovery

 

 

She wasn’t at all sure what to make of the floral crown.


The giant jester’s grin plastered across his face was a normal sight.


The flowers were new.


She was even less amused by the fact that that he stood with the sun to his back, making it difficult for her poor mole-like retinas to see his features at all. Even through the slight crack of her door pulled ajar to answer the knocking beckons, she had to squint against the light that cut a line down her shadowed exposure to the outside world. After a lengthy moment of awkward silence between them, he finally spoke.


“Can I come in?”


Her eyes narrowed for an entirely different reason that time.


She recalled the last time he had barged into her sanctuary. He practically left everything in his wake in shambles. She had to rebuild the Argo model he tipped over almost entirely. Though, he seemed less panicked than he had been the first time he stormed through.


“State your business.”


His jovial expression shifted into curious confusion.


“I have –“


Lance’s reply was cut short when he felt a hand on his shoulder and turned for both of them to find Keith joining their company.


“Hey Pidge.” He greeted.


“Send your adoring fans on their way, did you?” Lance smirked in his direction.


“They were soldiers in the regimen, thank you.” Keith retorted with a fold of his arms. “I can spare at least a moment for them.”


Pidge sighed, the decision made, and she opened the door fully to let them both into her shop. Keith followed her in and Lance was right on his heels. As they wandered into the belly of her lair, Lance actually took the time to look around and was overwhelmed with the number of trinkets, tools, models, drawings, specimens, and, really, just how much of a mess the place was. It was no wonder he had practically fell on his face the first time he visited just getting through the door. Still, he was rather interested in much of the curiosities he wandered by. There was far more to see than when he would visit Hunk’s home.


“Pidge, I came to see if you finished my gladius.”


She winced, “I was kind of afraid you were.”


“Why is that?”


Keith’s head cocked to onside curiously before waving at Hunk, seated at the workbench in the middle of the room. Hunk returned the gesture to the both of them before getting back to tinkering with whatever it was he had in his hands.


“I… haven’t finished it.” Pidge confessed, “I, actually, haven’t even started working on it yet.”


“What?!” Keith’s shoulders slumped, “Why not? I need my sword, Pidge!”


“We-“ Hunk started, only hesitating due to his momentary strain to tighten a turn on something, “We kind of got a little… side-tracked with a project.”


“What project?” Lance moved over to the table to see what Hunk was messing with.


“Well, when you left last time, Pidge and I started talking about how it would be amazing for Shiro to be able to recover the use of his arm.”


Keith’s interest was piqued and he also moved closer to the bench.


“So Hunk and I decided we would try and work something out in order for him to, not only use his arm, but also help it recover better!”


Pidge took the pile of workings in Hunk’s hands and displayed it. To the unlearned eye, it was simply a jumble of leather straps and metal bits mangled together. Both boys were curious as to how that would be anything to help Shiro with his arm.


“It’s only just a prototype. We’re still trying to figure out how it’s going to actually fit together.” Pidge moved to stand beside Hunk and used his arm to help model it. “The basic idea is to have it fit on Shiro’s arm and articulate in the proper points. It’s going to support his arm while giving him the opportunity of movement instead of just leaving it to sit in a sling, immobile.”


“While he's wearing it, he will also be rebuilding his own muscle strength.” Hunk moved his own arm to demonstrate, “The problem we’re facing at the moment, though, is how to engineer a method of allowing his full range of motion while still assisting a weak limb.”


“We thought about using a small system of lines and tiny pulleys, but that only made for a giant tangle waiting to happen.” Pidge sighed.


“It also doesn’t seem to be something practical for Shiro to use if he wanted to swing a sword again. Anything remotely edged would leave his arm entirely useless.”


Pidge’s head lifted in Lance’s direction at the observation. She was honestly pleasantly surprised at the astuteness she assumed was lacking.


“Also valid.”


“Mnh. We just can’t seem to figure an alternative that would provide the strong support as well as take a beating…” Hunk had tapped his chin as he pursed his lips in thought.


Keith was truly upset that he was still going to be without his Marmoran blade, but he couldn’t argue the necessity of their current endeavor. He would be overjoyed to have Shiro fully functioning again. He missed training with his brother in the arena. Hell, he missed just seeing him there.


“But Keith, I promise I will weld your blade.” Pidge offered, truly apologetic for not having it done already.


“When you can, Pidge.” His sword could wait a little while longer if it promised him his brother.


“Hey! What’s that?”


Everyone turned at Lance’s excited question as he made for something large and canvased toward the back of the room.


“No! Don’t touch that!” Pidge bolted after him, “In fact, don’t touch anything!!”


“But what is it? Whoa! It moves!”


“It’s not supposed to go that way!”


Hunk felt slightly for Pidge. But only slightly. He long knew of the starry-eyed curiosity Lance would get overcome with when something interesting caught his attentions. He, too, had experienced the raging wave of exploration and snooping about in his drawers, cupboards, and stores. It was only because Lance had rummaged through everything years ago that he was as docile as he was now when during visits. There in Pidge’s workshop? It would be some time before he would have gone through enough to satisfy his wondrous nature.


“Hunk…” Keith let Pidge sort Lance out herself, “When I asked you for the antidote that night – for Lance – you said ‘again’.” Keith paused. “How often does that happen?”


“Mnh.” Hunk hummed as he looked over the apparatus still on his arm, “Often enough that Lance has his own stash of countermeasures he takes with him when he needs.”


“What?” Keith was displeased with that answer. It was enough to be concerned for his well-being now as a hired protector, but why would there be so many attempts to slip something into his drink?


“Let’s not pretend we don’t know who Lance is.” Hunk looked at Keith matter-of-factly, “Lance is a desirable person. There are enough people – of all sorts – that look to take advantage of him and it’s been countless times he’s had a sip of something intended to persuade him to be more ‘agreeable’ to certain things.”


“…” Keith thought a moment and his memory recalled a soured look on Pericles’ face at the bathhouse a several days before. “That, I can see.”


“I had assumed it was something like that, he had ingested.” Hunk’s demeanor quickly grew much more serious, “But when it turned out to be the venom…”


Hunk sat a moment, brows furrowed tightly as he silently imagined what would have happened if anything else had been amiss that night.


“Keith, you saved his life. He would be dead today if it wasn’t for you.”


“I only brought him the antidote that you made.”


Hunk shook his head. “No. It’s more than that, trust me. He was lucky that you were there – even if he was the idiot that did it to himself. That, in itself, should say something to you.”


Keith offered a slight smile. It was a rough fact to swallow that Lance was a target for such things, but Keith was, quite honestly, glad it was not as lethal as he initially guessed. Still, he would certainly keep sharp eyes on anything that could be tampered with around Lance from there on. No one would be getting their hands on Lance by such means.


“Will you put that back down!” Pidge could be heard in a distant corner of the room still chasing down the intrepid explorer to her realm.


She had an arm full of gizmos and samples, charts and what’s-its, all pulled from Lance’s grubby hands before he could break anything. Unfortunately, she had reached her full carrying capacity. The next thing he picked up was what looked to be a replica of a bird. Lance remembered seeing images of such a bird before, an ibis, if he was right. From Egypt. It was a beautifully detailed replica, about the size of his forearm, with opened wings.


“This is amazing, Pidge!” it was made mostly of several pieces of wood, but there were particular sections that seemed fashioned from thin bits of metal to help keep the integrity of the more delicate parts. “Did you make this yourself?”


He turned the model in his hand and suddenly wondered, with the way it looked, if the wings actually flapped – just like that giant canvased thingy from earlier. He pressed gently, but firm to see if it would give at all.


“Yes, but if you do that it’s going to-!” Pidge was much too late to tell him it was not a ‘working’ model and before she could get the words out, the structural support just beneath the wing bent far enough it broke loose and the stress of the metal sent the small hair-thin piece flying.


Something in Pidge clicked and everything in her hands suddenly fell to the floor as she stared at the small bit that landed on the floor. She slowly reached to lift it and stared at it between her fingers.


“Pidge! Pidge, I’m so sorry!” Lance attempted to hold up the limp wing, looking for something else to keep it in place, frantic to fix his mistake, “Show me how, tell me what to do, I’ll fix it. I promise. I’m so sorry!”


By then, the other two had wandered their way over in curiosity, glancing at the now-busted piece and then to Pidge who still had yet to say anything. Her face difficult to discern one way or another.


“Pidge, please,” Lance pleaded, beginning to honestly worry about his health.


“Sweet blessings of Athena,” she finally said softly before her face lit up with fresh excitement, “Lance, you’re a genius!”


Quickly, she rushed to the work bench, grabbing sketch paper and her bits of charcoal and started to frantically scratch down ideas. Lance, meanwhile, had carefully replaced the model (gimpy winged and all) back on the shelf and joined the other two watching her work in an inspired haze.


“Of course, I’m a genius.” Lance's hands moved to rest on his hips and his chest puffed out proudly. After a moment, he discreetly leaned over to Keith, “Why am I a genius?”


Keith shrugged, “Honestly, after these many years, I’ve learned not to try and make sense of anything she does or says.”

“Probably a wise decision.” Hunk agreed as he and Lance nodded.

 

-

 

“Sorry that didn’t turn out as yielding a visit as you had hoped.”


Keith shrugged as they walked back toward the agora.


“I didn’t get my sword back like I hoped, but I’m actually happier to know that they are working on something to try and help with Shiro’s arm.” Keith sighed heavily, “I’d gladly give up my sword if it would get Shiro’s arm back.”


Lance eyed Keith’s face closely as he said that and he smiled softly.


“You care for him a lot, don’t you?”


“He’s all the family I have. Even if he isn’t blood.”


Lance’s head lifted, “He’s not?”


Keith smiled for a split second, then shook his head.


“All this time, I thought…” Lance considered before saying anything else. “I don’t mean to bring anything up that bothers you.”


By the time they had left Pidge’s place, the day had aged quite a bit and the bustle of the city had died down. The entrance to the agora was more of a dull roar and the fountain was no longer the boisterous meeting place of philosophers and playful children. The late afternoon had sent most of the locals home to their families for home cooked meals. Samuel and his beloved wife, Colleen, refused to let any of the boys to leave their home without enjoying a meal at their table. None refused the offer. Hunk even offered a lending hand in the cooking. That did not bode well for their stomachs as they all ended up eating to excess. As a result, Keith and Lance took their return trip at a very leisurely pace.


“No, it doesn’t bother me.” Keith answered as Lance stopped to take a seat on the low wall of the fountain. “I was young enough that much of my memory is only pieces; hazy flashes. It’s been long enough that I’ve worked passed it.”


Lance frowned, leaning back on his hands. “It must have been difficult for you.”


“It was for a while. But I had some help.” Keith’s arms unconsciously folded over his chest as he shrugged, “I think I miss my sword more than I miss my past.”


Lance hummed thoughtfully at the statement, sighing heavily and still feeling satiated from their afternoon meal. A gentle breeze wound its way through the city walkways and around the agora as he lounged. He felt the soft sprinkle of water on his skin that the breeze carried by from the fountain and Lance smiled to himself.


“I miss the sea.” He mused, picturing it behind closed lids as he continued to feel the spray against him.


“Do you?” Keith asked, standing before the man on the wall and watching him, genuinely interested.


“Yeah.” Lance sat still for a moment more before opening his eyes, though he looked out into the distance, “When I was much younger, there was a villa we would go to every year for a political meeting, or other, my father was a part of. I loved that villa. It had the perfect view of the cape just down the slope– and when the breeze hit just right, you could smell the crisp salt air.”


A warm smile drew across his lips as he remembered, and Keith was entranced by it. He wanted to fall into the reverie that Lance worked to paint of this perfect place he longed for. He wanted to know just what made Lance look so fondly for. Keith took a seat next to him and attempted to follow his gaze, as if the maneuver would help him to see what Lance saw in the clouds.


“That light wind could carry the delicate crash of waves on the soft sandy beaches all the way up to the balcony and it was like you were there standing on the edge of the water.” He sighed, dreamily, “I used to just stand out there for hours listening to the surf and breathing in the aura of tranquility.”

Keith shifted his elbows to rest on his legs as he leaned forward, lost on even finding any notion of what Lance was trying to share. Though, he was happy to hear of it.


“Sounds serene… I’ve never seen it.”


“What?!”


Lance immediately shot up from his lounge and looked at Keith with utter discredit.


“Keith, we live on a peninsula. All of Greece is a stick of land in a pool of water. You have three out of four directions to run and, literally, drown in it!”


“Haven’t been.” Keith simply stated.


“…Get up. We’re leaving.”


“What?”


“Move. Let’s go.”


Lance grabbed Keith by his wrist and yanked him down the street, his sandals loudly plopping his determination against the cobblestone and packed dirt. Keith followed, confusion sketched across his features as they trudged back toward Lance’s villa. Each time Keith tried to ask or say anything to Lance, he was hushed and given the stipulation he was not to talk or speak a word to Lance until they were standing on a beach.


In hardly any time at all, they were with saddled horses and riding hard to the east. Keith was sure that Lance had plenty of free time to hone his ability as a rider. But there was little in Keith’s training routine at the colosseum that had him on the back of an animal. He had little worry, however, as he was keen on working with animals in the arena and had a knack for quick learning. It took a small amount of time for him to keep pace with Lance. Once he was sure he had a handle on his reigns, he rode up alongside his lead and smirked, ultimately his own little glint of pride. Lance’s brow piqued, impressed with the improvement considering how rough Keith started out trying to get the horse to even point in the proper direction. His eyes darkened, however, in a quick moment just before he whipped his reigns and yelled a ‘hah’ or two to get his stallion to break loose.


Keith’s eyes widened in surprise with how fast Lance took off with his horse. It left him galloping through the cloud of dirt that was kicked up. Gradually, a grin pulled at the corners of his mouth and he rose from his saddle and began to giddy-up his own steed. Now that was more like it. It was a game of cat and mouse once Keith caught up to Lance’s tail again. From time to time the lead changed. Horses leapt and ran, taking quick turns, making cut offs and showy shortcuts wherever they could be found. The journey quickly turned into a game between two boys simply out in each other’s company punctuated by laughs and excited yells, wind rushing through their hair, the sun on their backs, and the freedom of open plains and rolling hills laid out before them.


By the time they reached an empty beach, the skies, long saturated in the burning orange and reds of sunset, were slowly becoming overtaken by the deep blue creeping in from the horizon. Lance was first to dismount. His horse wandered off to a nearby hillside in search of rest and a grassy meal. Immediately, he move to Keith’s side, yanking him off his horse by the ankle and then wrist.


“Come on!” he yanked, “Come on, come on, come on!”


“Gods, Lance!” Keith couldn’t stop a chuckle as he practically tumbled off his horse into the soft sands below, “I’m coming!”

Once Keith was finally scrambled onto his feet, Lance let him loose and ran down the soft decline to the soft brushing of the brine below. His arms flew open as he felt that angelic caress of ocean air on his skin and through his hair and he took in a deep, long breath. He thought of his mother and slowly let the air seep out of his lungs. His eyes opened to the calm undulation of waves and the light whisper of them breaking on the sands. He thought of how much he wished she was there with him every day. He held on to just how he missed her that much more standing on the cool sands without her hand in his. My sweet Lance. My ocean of love. A broken laugh escaped him, quiet enough no other could hear.


He turned to Keith, watching him trudge the sand rather inexpertly. Boy, could he watch that walking mess all day.


“Lose your sandals!”


“My- what?”


“Makes it easier!” Lance demanded as he reached to yank off his simple pair.


Keith had to seat himself down at the dry side of the sand and start untying leather straps around his calves. He did so with a grunt and sigh. As he worked, he saw Lance as he slowly walked into the water. His hands stopped entirely when he noticed just how immersed in each step Lance was, eyes closed and steps slow and careful. He was like some ethereal nymph finally coming home to his element, calling to The Mighty Poseidon to welcome him back into his arms. Keith felt a smile on his lips imagining the Magnificent Aphrodite, herself, rising again from the foam at Lance’s ankles where he had stopped to claim her most prized cherub and whisk him back to whatever godly plane he came from.

He finished removing his sandals and let his toes find the wet sand. It was an odd sensation. Like mud, but not. After a few minutes of kicking around and deciding he could get used to such a place, he leaned back on his elbows, the sand dry just behind him, and stretched out his legs, one crossed over the other, feeling the chilled turf against them. The sand was so fine the dry grains were almost like satin ran through his fingers. As he played, picking up another handful and letting it run from the bottom of his fist, he felt Lance drop onto the ground next to him. He seated himself next to Keith’s legs on the edge of dry and wet sand, his body turned to the north as he looked over his shoulder to the sea with a sigh, drawing up his own slender legs to his torso and hugging them.


Keith shifted, propped again on both elbows.


Both sat quiet, simply listening to the sounds of the beach that blanketed them. Keith was sad for the fact that he had never experienced it before. But at the same time, he was glad for it, getting to learn the wonder of it all through Lance’s adoration. The open horizon seemed to go on forever. The spotting of islets and skerries down the way shown just how far forever seemed to go. A few leagues away they could see the gentle drifting of white sails decorated with a bright yellow streaks as a trio of ships slowly skimmed their way across the glassy waters.


“Sorry the view isn’t better.” Lance apologized airily, “We just missed sunset. The colors on the water are just amazing. Now, it just looks like giant blob of nothing, really.”


“View’s just fine from where I am.”


It wasn’t until Lance shot a look of surprise at Keith that he realized that he had spoken aloud. Lance piqued a highly amused brow. His eyes sapphire eyes glowed against the black backdrop of evening. Keith’s cheeks instantly flushed.


“Is that right?” Lance prodded.


Had he meant it? Surely. He just had every intention of keeping the thought to himself. Keith had no idea how to recover from his vocal incontinence. But he suddenly found himself more concerned over the fact that Lance had shifted closer. No, over him. Lance hovered closer to him as he propped himself on a hand on the other side of Keith’s body. Keith swallowed thickly as he felt Lance’s other hand on his chest, felt the warmth of his soft touch on his skin as fingers slipped beneath folds and edges of his chiton.

Keith wanted to speak up. He knew keeping his distance was the best course of action in this particular relationship. So why couldn’t he? Why was he unable to deny Lance? Why couldn’t he bring himself to bar Lance and his whims, his touches… or his lips? It was so easy to see how so many could fall into his spell. Zeus, himself, would fall to ruin under the gaze of this man. Olympus would be lost if not for the bat of an eye. The last thing Keith wanted was to simply be another conquest on Lance’s list. That was better suited to those that lived such a life of luxury and vice.

But was Keith willing to try? If it was Lance, would he allow himself that indulgence?


The answers to his questions where near in coming as he could felt the soft spill of Lance’s breath on his lips as he leaned closer. Slowly, his eyes drifted shut. Maybe he was willing. Before they could find one another in a kiss, both boys suddenly scrambled apart with surprised gasps as a rogue wave drew a new line in the dry sand far beyond where they had lain. Lance managed to avoid much of the water as he quickly stood to his feet. Keith did so less gracefully, scuttling away backward on all fours.


“Zeus, that’s cold!”


Lance laughed as he brushed the sand from his legs.


“Only at first. It’s actually pretty refreshing once you get used to it.” He dusted the rest of the sand from his hands and offered one, “Here. Let me help.”


Keith clasped his hand around Lance’s wrist and Lance grinned. He grabbed Keith’s wrist with both hands and pulled with everything he had. Keith was lifted from his seat and flung into the sea with a resounding splash. Lance couldn’t stop a laugh at the picture of Keith tripping over his own feet and the look of utter surprise when he hit the water.

“You should have seen your face, Keith!” He hooted. “I should have that carved into a bust!”

Silence. Not a ripple of response.


“Keith?”


Lance recalled the fact that Keith had never seen the ocean. Did that mean he didn’t know how to swim? He was immediately struck with concern over drowning his own bodyguard. He rushed into the water searching for signs of where Keith could be.


“Keith!” he cried as he dug fruitlessly into the small waves, “Keith, where are you?!”


Why couldn’t he see better in the dark? He cupped his hands around his mouth and took a breath to call for Keith one last time. Before he could, he felt something snatch his ankles and pull his legs out from under him. Lance fell into the water with his own loud splash.


Lance broke the surface with a gasp and wiped his face dry. He looked over to find a soaked Keith smirking at him with a rather triumphant look in his eyes.


“You rotten son of a-“


Lance was cut short by the water that Keith spat in his face. He paused, gathering his wits before wiping the water away one more time and glowered at that same smirk still etched on his bodyguard’s face. With a giant grin of his own, Lance pounced Keith and shoved him back under the water. They wrestled and dunked one another until they both tired and were waterlogged enough to drag themselves back to the beach. They dropped down into the sand, coughing up bits of water between laughs and chuckles.


“Man, I haven’t had that much fun in years.” Lance sighed deeply, completely exhausted.


Keith chortled, feeling much the same but remained quiet, still catching his breath. Actually, Keith couldn’t remember the last time he had that sort of fun. If he ever did. Most of what he recalled was training in the arena. He supposed that was some form of his own fun. He wouldn’t do it as much if it wasn’t something he enjoyed to an extent, right? But fun like this? Nothing came to mind. Shame really. It was nice. He sighed deeply and looked out to the dark skies above them, watching the twinkle of starlight as he rested, Lance beside him.


“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” he heard Lance ask in a breath.


“Mnh.” Keith answered, “It’s actually interesting – at times – to listen to Samuel and Matthew talk about the skies.”


“Really?” Lance was both skeptical yet curious about listening to the two of them. Much of what he heard at the feast was a lot to do with mathematics and formulae. It wasn’t anything that seemed would keep his attention.


“Yeah, when they start to talk about stars, moons, and celestial bodies,” Keith leaned his head closer as he lifted a hand to point out to the skies, “You can’t help but wonder just how much is really out there- what it is the Gods really have out there all to themselves.”


“Funny…” Keith felt Lance’s head rest against his own as he started to speak, “I always wondered what the world looked like from Apollo’s chariot as he rode across the skies; what it would feel like to be able to touch the stars.”

“Please. Apollo would throw you off the moment you asked to drive.” Keith snorted.

Lance laughed breathily. He couldn't deny the fact that he would absolutely do that. Slowly, still nudged against Keith, Lance's eyes drifted shut. After several minutes, Keith heard Lance's breath even out softly and knew he had drifted into sleep. he allowed his own eyes to close, but simply listened to the breaking waves, take in the sea-laced air, and feel Lance beside him. Maybe this whole body guard thing isn't so terrible.

Before the night grew too much older, Keith decided it was time they started their way back. It would be a much longer ride back, tired as they had made themselves. But the night's rest would be fruitful. He gently nudged Lance, calling him quietly. Lance stirred with a light displeased groan.

“We should head back before it gets too late.” He said as he watched Lance sit up, rubbing an eye.

He took a moment to look around and, remembering where they we're, Lance smiled.

“Yeah…”

 

After a brisk respite, the both of them had seemed to catch a second wind of energy. Enough that, once mounted, they rode hard back toward Volta. It wasn't as fast or playful as their ride out, but they made quite a bit if good time. By the position of the moon, they we're home within the city walls before midnight. The horses were tended to, led to their stables by servants. Lance stretched his arms upward as they climbed the stairs to his villa.

“God's, I still have beach in my sandals.” Keith picked up a foot at the top of the steps and brushed off the side of his foot.

“And you will be finding sand for the next three months.” Lance said, clearly proud to be the cause behind that fact, "And in the strangest of places."

Keith rolled his eyes with a shake of his head. “Can't wait.”

“Thank you, Keith.”

The words pulled at Keith particularly due to the sincerity behind them. Sincerity that he heard from Lance only once before.

“I'm really glad we did this.” Keith could have sworn he saw a red tinge to Lance's cheeks then. He found it endearing to watch Lance reach and rub coyly behind his head, “It… really meant a lot.”

“Me too.” Keith shifted into his normal stance, arms folding over his chest in confidence, “It was nice to see the ocean. We should go again some time.”

Lance's face lit up ever so slightly, swelling as Keith admitted his own enjoyment. Moreso as he suggested another visit. There was a moment that allowed an awkward silence between them and it was enough for Lance to find his normal footing.

“It's still a walk home for you.” His hands rested at his hips as he offered, “You sure you don't want to stay?”

“It’s not all that far.” Keith declined, “I'm sure.”

“What if I'm attacked in the middle of the night?” Lance feigned a gasp.

“First of all, it's the middle of the night now.” Keith retorted with a cynical look. “And secondly, by whom? Ambrose has guards posted all over the grounds,” He motioned to a sentry as he walked by, “I don't need to be here.”

“What if…” Lance tapped his chin thinking of another possibility, “What if they're already inside?”

“You said yourself, the house would know by now.”

Lance pouted.

“What?” Keith eyed him suspiciously and crossed his arms, “Do you want me to check for monsters under your bed?”

“You can check for them in my bed.” He pique a brow nudgingly.

“Goodnight, Lance.” Keith shook his head with a smirk.

“That's it?” Lance waved a hand expectantly, “No goodnight kiss?”

Keith chuckled as he turned and trotted down the steps.

“I'm a bodyguard, Lance. Not your nanny.”

Well, turn about was fair play. Lance couldn't help but smile brightly as he watched Keith start on his way home.