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Truth or dare

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During the last couple of weeks Pidge had become really tired of Lance and Keith. At first it seemed like they’d be able to get along, but then something made it turn around and now they were fighting more than ever. They didn’t even fight over rational things. Earlier this day Lance had accidentally bumped into Keith walking past him. Surprisingly he apologized but nevertheless the black haired paladin had pushed Lance. Not hard, so he hadn’t lost his balance but it still fired him up and before they knew it they were at it again, shouting at each other like a newly divorced couple.


That moment had been IT for Pidge and they stormed off to Allura to beg her to do something about the situation, or else they would explode.


”The next thing we know they start fighting on a mission, and honestly, someone could get killed.” Allura sighed deeply, both over Pidges exaggeration and the fact that it could be extremely hard to mend the friendship of the two teenage boys at this rate. Impossible even. No matter how the rest of the crew approached the situation, they might just end up making it worse.


”Yes, Pidge. You’re right. We have to come up with a plan. Please tell Hunk, Shiro and Coran to meet me here in twenty dobashes and we’ll work on the problem together.”

 


 

Those were the events that had led up to the situation the two troublesome paladins were in at the moment. Lance had been pouting in his room and Keith had taken out his anger on the training deck, fiercely swinging his sword at the enemies the castle provided him with, when they’d both been called to the control room. When Lance entered the room he saw the other crew members standing in there waiting for him.


Pidge looked annoyed, Hunk looked slightly worried but still a bit eager for what was to come. Shiro had that look he always had when he was thinking about something, maybe standing a bit closer to Allura than needed. Of course Keith had arrived before Lance did, and he stood leaning against the wall, arms crossed and with his fringe over his eyes, looking all dark and mysterious. The look suited him, Lance thought before punching himself in the face mentally. One does not simply admit that the classic bad boy style suits the guy you’ve spent a lot of time fighting with.


Lance took a deep but discreet breath, asked the others what was up and then looked towards Allura who opened her mouth to speak.
 

”We have a new mission. We have to acquire some supplies from the planet we’ll be arriving at soon. Pidge and Coran will be taking the green lion to look for those cables they need to fix the heating system in the second storage room.”


Lance tried to remember when they’d been talking about something being broken, but to be fair he usually dozed off when Coran started talking about such things, since he rarely understood it anyways. He allowed himself to cast a quick glance at Keith, who was frowning. Maybe he couldn’t remember either.


”Me and Shiro will take the black lion to one of their moons. There’s said to be some rare crystals I want to check out there, I’ve heard stories about them all my life and finally I’ll be getting the chance to maybe collect some.” As Allura trailed of her track her eyes started to glow and her expression went from firm to exited until Shiro lightly nudged her arm and she cleared her throat and continued.


”Hunk is going… grocery shopping,” she said, in the absence of better description. Hunk smiled wider and was just about to open his mouth to blabber about what he was going to buy for what occasion for which recipe and what galactic fruit he had his mind set on, but Keith spoke before Hunk had gotten half a word out.


”What about me?” Now it was Lance’s time to frown. It was like he wasn’t even here. Allura paused for a second before she answered.


”You’ll be staying here. Your temper hasn’t really been on your side lately.” Ha, Lance thought. Finally someone was doing something about Keith and his tendency to pick fights whenever they were in the same room and doing something about it. Lance felt his face forming into a big smile.


”Haha, Keith has to babysit the castle while we’re gone,” Lance said, determined to not look at Keith’s reaction. He would just keep his gloating to himself for the time being.


”Actually…” Allura said, interrupting Lance’s trail of happy thoughts. ”You’ll be staying at the castle with him.” Lances smile fell of his face as his gaze was fixed on Alluras serious facial expression.


”The way you’ve been acting towards each other the last couple of weeks is simply unacceptable,” Coran stated.


”And it’s extremely annoying,” Pidge added conclusively. The gears in Lance’s head seemed to be stuck. They were going to leave Keith and him alone on the ship? On the other hand, he thought, they could just stay at either end of the castle and ignore each other until the others came back.


”And your rivalry needs to end right here right now if we are going to be able to help anyone in the future,” Coran continued, pulling something that looked like a deck of cards out of his pocket. ”Therefore we have another assignment for you. While we are gone, our missions might take a day or so, you are going to play a game of truth or dare.”


”What?” Keith and Lance exclaimed at the same time, glaring angrily and suspiciously at each other before turning towards the others again.


”It’s simple really,” Pidge explained. ”We have prepared cards for you, you choose truth or dare and then do what the card says. And since this is supposed to get you to actually get to know each other we have added a feature to force you to play. This feature is directly plugged into the castle, and to keep it short, if you don’t play the game, there will be consequences.” At times Pidge can be scary, especially since there was a pretty good chance they had actually manipulated the castle to their bidding. Lance could tell they were dead serious about this, Pidges face was not forgiving.


”If you skip a question or a dare, the castle will know, if you don’t answer truthfully, the castle will know. I’ve also programmed the castle to keep score. If you surrender the victory simply goes to the other player. Points will be given in regard to the level of truth in your answers and how well you perform your dares. Do not disappoint me.” They fastened their eyes on Lance and then Keith, clearly to emphasize how done they were with them both. Lance felt a sting of guilt when Pidge walked past him and out through the door. He didn’t know Pidge was this pissed. He tried to shake the negative feeling. This was mostly Keiths fault anyway.


”Well that pretty much sums it up,” Coran added and gave the stack of cards to Lance and followed Pidge out through the door. Allura shot a glance towards Shiro, who nodded and walked towards Keith, laying a hand on his shoulder, saying something with such a quiet voice that Lance couldn’t make out what they were talking about. Hunk walked towards him and Lance drew his gaze away from the other boys to shoot a confused and rather hurt expression in Hunks direction.


”Dude, why?!” he exclaimed, arms raised in the air, almost dropping the thick pack of cards.


”I’m sorry, man. I just want everything to go back to normal, for you to be happy again.” Hunk put his arms around Lance and pulled him into a soft hug.


”Are you kidding me? I am happy, just annoyed at Mr. I-Am-So-Cool-And-Nothing-Ever-Gets-To-Me. Nothing will come out of this, Hunk.” Lance’s voice was a bit muffled, pressed against Hunks chest but Hunk could still hear the slight panic in the blue paladins voice. ”Nothing will come out of us sitting up all night, talking about our feelings and stuff. Does he even have feelings?! I doubt it… What would he even have feelings about? He’s just full of himself.”


”Everything will be fine. There’s dinner for you in the kitchen, I made something special for you.” Ending the hug, Hunk gave Lance a last pat on the back and walked out through the door after Allura and Shiro who’d just left. Lance stood still, staring at the many cards in his hands, wondering where these were going to take him. Maybe, just maybe, they would actually bond with each other. Maybe Lance would finally find out what Keith’s problem was with him. What he had done wrong.


”Okay, Keith. Keith?” Lance looked up and realized he was alone.

 


 

In the corridor Pidge had waited for the others to catch up.


”One way or another they’ll break each other,” they said thoughtfully to themselves as they walked towards the hangar. ”P-Pidge what do you mean?” Hunk asked, now more worried than ever.


”Do you really think they would get in a physical fight and actually hurt each other?” Pidge looked up at Hunk with a surprised look on their face. ”What? No! That wasn’t what I meant at all.”

After they’d explained what they meant Hunk let out the breath he’d been holding, and they involved the others in the conversation, all five of them betting on how the outcome would be, every one of them sure they were right. They did all wonder though if this actually was the best idea, it could possibly just make everything worse. Except for Pidge. They were not worried at all.

 


 

Some time later, Lance was laying on the bed in his room, on his side, still staring at the cards he’d put on his bedside table. He didn't know what he should do. Maybe he should read through them all and hide those that seemed out of line. When he thought about it the most simple question could lead to intense awkwardness and the easiest dare could erase the pride he had left. He stuck out his tongue at the stupid cards, rolled over and faced the wall instead, frowning like crazy, feeling the negative feelings like a lump in his throat. He made a big deal about trying to swallow it down but the uneasy feeling stayed somewhere in his chest, pulsating with his anxiety growing.


Then, suddenly, everything happened very fast and all at the same time. Without realizing it Lance had fallen half asleep, to the point when you kinda start dreaming but the moment you open your eyes the dream is gone and the only thing left is an uneasy feeling that you’ve forgotten something important and wonderful. When Lance opened his eyes all he knew that his mind had fantasized about Keith. Okay fantasize might not be the right word for this. Thinking about? Just casually thinking about Keith. Yeah that’s better. But why would his mind casually think about Keith?


Groaning, he rolled over but at the same time the castle made a sudden movement and Lance rolled over the edge over the bed, his shoulder and hip hitting the floor hard. The castle yanked back into it’s original position which made Lance roll back, hitting his forehead against the bed, the pain making his body want to crawl into a safe fetal position, with the result of his knee hitting the bed as well.


”Holy shit,” Lance muttered to himself. This really wasn’t his day. Was the castle mad because they hadn’t started with the stupid game yet? Or were they being attacked? No, in that case the alarms would’ve gone off.


”Shit,” he whispered again and sat up to check that he was still in one piece. He seemed okay but his body would definitely be bruised. He sighed and pulled himself up from the floor, gathered up the cards that had fallen off the table and went to look for the stupid boy he was forced to spend time with. Some part of his mind said ”Yay” at the thought of spending said time with said stupid boy. Lances sane side of his mind did its very best to not be happy about said time with said boy. Stupid.

 


 

To no surprise at all Lance found Keith training. The red paladin didn't notice the brown haired boy coming in so Lance just leaned against a pillar, trying to make himself calm again after being nearly harassed by the castle. Keith switched his sword from his right hand to his left, then back again while he skillfully kept his guard up against the simulation. His hair was flowing with his movements, his figure well trained.


Lance watched him carefully. How is it that some people can exercise and fight and still look handsome? He wished he had such skills as well. He slapped himself mentally. This was not the moment to let the self doubt get to him. And it certainly wasn't the moment to admire Keith. Was he admiring Keith? No that’s not it. Dammit he really had to get to a planet with people that actually were attractive, so his brain could stop being attracted to whoever was closest at the time being. Yeah, that must be it, he was simply starved of aesthetic beauty and Keith was the last resort of the lastest of resorts. It wasn't even attraction. Just… something.


Taking a deep breath, Lance made himself ready to shout out Keith’s name when the castle decided to yank over again. Lance, of course, lost his balance and fell, hitting his already hurting hip against the floor. Keith managed to stand on both feet but the simulated droid hadn’t been affected by the castles mood swings and took the opportunity when Keith was off guard, aiming a kick at his leg, then a hard blow to his side, Keith first falling, then trying to throw himself out of the way of the droid’s blade. The droid took a step towards Keith, putting its foot on his sword and holding the tip of the simulated blade at the red paladins exposed throat.


”You have been defeated,” the droid said. ”Simulation over.” A hole in the floor opened and the droid stepped into it, disappearing to God knows where. Keith relaxed his muscles, still on the floor, catching his breath, staring up at the sealing. Lance stood up and walked over to him.


”Looks like you got your ass kicked,” he said with a grin, looking down at the panting, sweaty Keith, who glared at him. Lance thought about how he were to express that they should start with the idiotic game before the castle got any more ideas. The trick was to be casual about it, he couldn't have Keith think that he actually wanted to ”get to know” him or whatever.


Lance crouched down beside Keith, ready to mock him some more, when the castle jolted again and Lance, for the third time, lost his balance and started to fall in the direction of where Keith was currently lying. To not fall on top of him Lance fell down on his right knee, the one he had already hit earlier today and strained himself to not accidentally put his other knee on Keith's crotch, making it hover in the air before carefully putting it between Keith’s legs instead of on something. He then broke the fall with his hands. His left one was right beside Keith’s head, a bit of black hair trapped between the floor and his fingers, his right thumb brushed slightly over Keith’s ribs before the palm of his hand hit the floor. Keith had automatically put his own hands up when Lance had started falling, both hands now against the taller boy’s chest.


This had all happened in under two seconds and they both just stared at each other in silence for a moment before realizing what position they were in. Lance felt extremely humiliated, panicked and started to ramble random words. Keith was only able to hear something that sounded like ”Sorry… hand… fell… didn’t mean… you hurt? Sorry… I… Sorry… my knee… not on crotch…” Lance tried to untangle himself from Keith with as much grace as possible, still rambling, but stopped for a second when he thought he saw a faint blush on Keith’s cheeks. Keith caught him looking and now it was time for Lance to blush, a fairly noticeable blush in fact, still feeling the warmth of Keith’s hands against his chest.


”Idiot,” Keith muttered as he sat up, not looking at Lance’s face so Lance couldn’t decide how seriously Keith had insulted him.


”It’s not like it was my fault,” Lance muttered back defensively. The castle gave away a creak that definitely told them that it was time to begin the stupid game.


”OKAY FINE,” Lance shouted at the ceiling, hoping the castle wouldn't give away another of its earthquakes, creating any more scenarios. Lance sighed.


”Keith. Truth or dare.” Keith glared at the deck of cards, not feeling comfortable at all. ”Just pick something so we don't fall and break our necks or something.” Keith nodded slowly, clearly still shocked from their involuntary entanglement.


”…Truth.” Lance picked up a yellow card with a question on it.


”What’s your favorite color?” What a stupid question, he thought.


”Well, red. Obviously.”


”Yeah… obviously,” Lance echoed. They sat in silence for a while, neither knowing what to do. Keith cleared his throat.


”Um… I’m gonna go take a shower and then we can um meet up in the lounge and… keep playing?” His voice went up in the end of the sentence, making it sound like a question instead of a suggestion.


”Um… sure,” Lance responded, looking away. They got up in silence, then walking their separate ways, both of their minds occupied with the physical closeness they’d just experienced, wondering what the other one thought about it.

 


 

Lance picked up the cover from his bed, draping it over his head like a cape and went into the closet, closing the door behind him. He sat down on the floor, head resting against the cold wall. The cold darkness made him feel calm, until he remembered exactly what had happened just moments before and how awkward it had gotten. He put his head in his hands, wondering how the hell they could fix this. Could they really pretend like nothing happened?


”Lance,” he said out loud to himself when he felt like he was done moping. ”Pull yourself together. It’s not like something actually happened. Grow up Lance. GROW UP. Lance you moron you are gonna come out of the closet and go face Keith and play the stupid game.” Realizing which words he’d chosen, he started to giggle. Still laughing he pulled himself up and pushed a few clothes hangers to the side, dropping his blanket to the floor dramatically, opened the closet door and stepped out of it, pretending to wave and smile at an invisible audience.


”Yeah,” he said quietly to the empty room, smile dropping of his face. ”Lance Sanchez is not straight. Not even close. He’s actually kinda gay, or whatever. Kinda gay for Kei- nooo!!!” Lance Sanchez might not identify as straight but that doesn't mean he’s gonna cahoot with the enemy! And he certainly wasn’t gonna let an empty room of pretend people believe that he was thinking about cahooting.


Sighing to himself Lance picked up the blanket and carelessly threw it onto his bed. He stared once more at the damn cards before he picked them up. They seemed to taunt him where he held them in his palm. He sighed for what felt like the twelfth time.


It was time to head towards the lounge.

Chapter Text

He gets to the lounge before Keith does, who’s usually the first one to be there, wherever there is. Nervously Lance sat down, not able to keep his hands still, playing with the cards, not caring about the fact that some of the cards dropped to the floor or got bent.

 

   ”Hey.” Keith had entered without Lance noticing, the red paladin with his hands in the pockets of his red jacket, not meeting Lance’s eyes. 

 

  ”Keith… Eh, sit down so we can do this… thing.” Lance’s voice was a bit weak. He hoped Keith didn’t notice it too much. Keith was way too nervous himself to notice anything else. He sat down. 

 

  ”I guess it’s my turn to ask you,” he said, voice not entirely steady. Lance nodded. ”So… truth or dare, Lance.” Lance decided to start off easy.

 

  ”Truth.” 

 

  ”Would you rather eat pizza for a whole month or eat anything but pizza for a month?” Keith’s facial expression went from calm to confused as he read from the yellow card. This was probably one of Coran’s contributions, who’d just recently had learned about this particular food from earth that was apparently loved by all.

   ”Man, pizza is the best, of course I’d eat it every day for a month, who wouldn’t?” Lance leaned back, hands behind his head. If he pretended to be sure of himself maybe he’d believe it himself after a while. Then he suddenly remembered something, flinging his arms up into the air above his head.

 

   ”Hey! I completely forgot. This is a competition!” He looked at Keith and saw that he too had forgotten that they were supposed to get points for answers and actions.

 

   ”Oh yeah, i forgot too,” Keith answered. Silence. More silence.

 

   ”Well I am not gonna lose,” Lance said, leaning forward, putting his forearms on his knees, challenging Keith directly with his body language and a smug smile.

Keith just looked at him for a moment, until Lance saw a twinkle in the red paladin’s eye, Keith accepting the challenge, with a facial expression that said ”Well I’m sure as hell not gonna lose either, so game on!” And then the game was on. It was like the atmosphere changed around them, from awkward and silent to full of anticipation, the incident on the training deck forgotten. Mostly. Maybe. Or not at all.

 

   ”So the castle keeps score, right?” Lance asked.

 

   ”Well that’s what Pidge said, and they really know their technology so I’m not gonna take any chances,” Keith answered him. ”So, eh, your turn to ask.” Lance cast a glance at Keith’s face. Keith was looking down at his hands, but, as if he felt Lances gaze on him, he raised his head and their eyes met for a millisecond before Lance quickly turned his head town.

 

   ”T-truth or dare,” he asked before his face could have the time to blush.

 

   ”Dare,” Keith answered, still looking at Lance, who picked up a green card. Noticing it was upside down and turned it around.

 

   ”I dare you to sing the first song that pops into your mind.” Lance had heard Keith sing, or more correctly humming to himself. That usually happened when Keith thought he was alone, or that no one could hear him. A couple of times the other paladins had heard him over the comm in their helmets while flying with their lions. As far as Lance could tell Keith could sing, or at least hit the right notes. And ultimately that’s what really matters. Or is it feeling that really matters? Actually it didn't matter what really mattered, Lance decided. He was still about to hear Keith really sing.

 

Keith on the other hand looked a bit surprised, he hadn’t expected this, that was for sure. He straightened up a bit and cleared his throat before breathing in but got interrupted by Lance before he could sing the first note.

 

   ”If you are about to sing Defying Gravity I win by default.” Keith stopped in the middle of his breath, forgot to breathe for a little while, the way you often do when someone interrupts you literally in the middle of a breath, then breathed out and frowned at Lance.

 

   ”I was not going to sing Defying Gravity,” he pouted.

 

   ”Sure you weren’t,” Lance said mockingly, his smile widening.

 

   ”Now shut up so I can complete this stupid dare.” Keith looked away, a faint blush on his cheeks again, a bit disturbed over the fact that he had to sing in front of another person, which he had never done. Like ever.

He started to hum some melody that Lance couldn’t make out.

 

   ”Hey, mullet, I can’t hear you.” Keith shot him an irritated look and raised his voice a bit.

 

   ”… I made … mind, …to an end…”

 

   ”Keith I still can’t hear you.” Keith’s blush deepened as he raised his voice additionally.

 

   ”Look at me now, will I ever learn? I don’t know how but I suddenly lose control, uuhdududu in my soul.” Lance couldn’t do much else than smile at this. Keith was embarrassed, singing an ABBA song AND forgetting some of the lyrics. If Lance had been alone he might just have buried his face into a pillow and squealed, this was absolutely adorable.

 

   ”Just one look and I can hear a bell ring, One more look and I forget everything, woo-ooh, Mamma mia, here I go again, my my, how can I resist you.” Keith glanced nervously at Lance, like he was looking for a reaction. Lance tried to give him an encouraging smile without seeming smug or cocky.

 

   ”Mamma mia, does it show again, my my, just how much I’ve missed you. Yeeees I’ve been brokenhearted, blue since the day we parted. Why, why did I ever let you go? Mamma mia, now i really know, my my I could never let you go.” After half of the chorus Keith sped up his singing, as if to making it be over more quickly, blush still deepening on his face.  

 

   ”Now that wasn’t the whole song, Keith.” Lance let a bit of smugness sip through his voice. He couldn’t just tell Keith that he wanted to hear more of his singing, now could he.

 

   ”Whatever,” Keith mumbled, crossing his arms, as to protect himself. ”I’m not singing any more.” The embarrassed blush intensified even more and Keith refused to look in Lance’s direction. ”Truth or dare.”

 

   ”Fine then, dare.” Now Keith reached for one of the green cards. ”I dare you to guess how I like my tea and then make me a cup.” He threw the card in the discard pile and leaned back in thesofa again. Lance put his index finger and thumb against his chin dramatically. 

 

”Hmm, this is a tricky one. So you’re quite mysterious and keep stuff to yourself. You do not seem like the yoga-type.” Keith raised an eyebrow.

”So I bet you drink black tea, brewed to the point where it’s bitter, and to cover up that bitterness you add sugar. The sugar is also there because you believe that you are what you eat and if you put something sweet in your tea you will eventually become cute.” Keith’s eyebrow went even higher, an amused smile somewhere behind his facade.
 

 

  ”So what, you’re telling me that I like my tea bitter and that I’m not cute already?” Lance turned on his charm and said:

 

   ”Well not as cute as me.” He repressed the urge to wink. ”So how far from the truth was I?” Keith almost laughed.

 

   ”Pretty far. I usually drink green tea, or chai, but only if it’s chai latte. And I don’t have sugar in it, I prefer honey. And honestly no one brews their tea so long that it becomes bitter on purpose. And that’s also why I avoid black tea, ’cause it’s always bitter.” That was probably the most Keith had ever shared about himself with Lance.

”And,” Keith added, leaning forward, ”I’m adorable.” Lance snorted but secretly melted a bit inside.

 

   ”Well, Lance, time for you to make me my tea.” The blue paladin got up from the sofa, turned towards the red paladin and bowed rather gracefully.

 

   ”As you wish, my lord.” Lance turned around at the same time as he got up from his bow, to hide the blood rushing to his cheeks. What he didn’t know was that behind him, Keith’s face had gone from a sweet pinkish color to a deep red color that easily matched his red jacket. Keith buried his face in his hands, trying to breath deeply. They had talked before, they had touched each other before, even if it was simple pats on the other’s back and other casual touching that was normal for teammates. But somehow, everything they said to each other now, when they were alone on the ship, it seemed so much more… intimate, somehow. Like they were actually getting closer to each other, getting to know the other paladin better than ever. Keith sighed deeply, imagining the air flowing out of him like blue smoke. When he breathed in he imagined the air being purple again, going into his lungs, the red pigment being sucked out and the blue color stayed inside him until he pushed the air out again.

 




   As Lance stood in the kitchen, water boiling in the kettle, he tried to analyze the situation. He might or might not be flirting with Keith. Okay, fine, yes, he was flirting with Keith. But flirty was his normal state, that’s the only way he could hide his insecurities, by always smiling and acting like he was sure of himself. Flirting was fun. He liked when he made girls giggle over him, or boys frustratedly eye him up and down, deciding if he was a threat or a goal to set on. He liked making people blush. He always liked it when others flirted with him, it made him feel good. Appreciated and desirable. He wanted others to feel what way too. And honestly, Keith might need a bit of flirting. He’s so closed of and… gloomy somehow. 
  

 

Usually Lance was good at sensing if he was crossing a line or making someone uncomfortable, but honestly, with Keith it was just so damn hard! Why was he even flirting with Keith? Was Keith laughing at him in secret? Was he going to tease him for it? Or maybe he just thought Lance was stupid. Stupid, stupid Lance, who’s constantly embarrassing himself in front of literally everyone. Did Keith find him boring? Or did Lance just creep him out? What if Keith didn't like it at all, and was happy with the relationship they already had. Distant and full of rivalry. What if he didn't have the courage to stand up to Lance. Suffering in silence. Lance bent forward, banging his head against the countertop multiple times. He really needed to get this out of his head. But he didn't know how. Dammit. Damn everything. Damn this game. Damn Keith. Damn Lance’s stupid mind that was so stuck on stupid Keith. Just damn everything.
 

 

  Deciding that he would give Keith his tea in the most fancy manner possible he got out one of the nicer cups, white with golden lines crisscrossing across the blank surface, reflecting the light faintly. The handle had tiny shapes of crystals on it. They mostly used plain and simple mugs. Well not today. He looked in the cabinet and grabbed one of the many jars where they kept their tea. He wasn’t the biggest tea drinker, and when he did drink tea he always let Hunk pick out the flavor. Hunk, being his best friend, always analyzed Lance’s mood, where in space they were, what they’d been doing etc. Lance had just laughed it off in the beginning, but soon realized that there actually was some science to it and he always felt better afterwards. Hunk was just brilliant, one of the smartest people Lance had ever met.
  

 

Coran loved tea and had many blends of herbs from far of planets, every one of them said to be good for different things. After opening and smelling like ten different blends Lance took one that looked like it had small flower petals in it. He smelled once more to be sure and then put the filled tea strainer in the cup, poured on water and got out the jar of honey. He wondered if he should get a tray and maybe an apron, but decided that he wouldn’t push it. Better to go a bit more slow and steady, trying to feel the atmosphere, be a bit careful to see what signals Keith were able to pick up and what signals he was sending out. Also, dressing up like a butler or servant might send some very extreme signals.


 



Keith was still sitting on the couch in the lounge when Lance got back, but he had taken his jacket off revealing an awfully boring gray t-shirt under it. Boring, but it fitted Keith perfectly.

 

”Okay, Lance,” he thought to himself. ”Better not stare at Keith’s chest and just give him the tea. Just give him the tea Lance.”

 

   ”There you go,” he said to Keith, looking at his face as he put the hot mug on a coaster on the coffee table after carefully sitting down on the sofa again. The con of looking at Keith’s face is that that part of him is also pretty and a bit breathtaking. Oh dear what has Lance gotten himself into? Was there even any logic to this… interest in Keith at all?

There aren’t many people that live on this ship, and out of those the red paladin might be the most… suiting? Hunk is his best friend and Pidge is only fourteen, and besides, they haven’t expressed any kind of will to have a relationship of any kind. Wouldn’t that be funny, if he had a crush on Pidge instead. They would probably punch him in the face of he told them. The thought made him laugh softly to himself.

 

   ”What are you laughing about? Did you do something to my tea?” Keith glanced suspiciously at the cup on the table, as if simply looking at it could decide if Lance’s put salt in it or something. Lance, on the other hand, woke up from his thoughts.

 

   ”What? Dude, no. I thought what it would be like to tell Pidge I was in love with them,” he said before he had the chance to actually go over the words in his head. He got a look from Keith he couldn’t figure out the meaning of.

 

   ”So you’re… I mean, are you in love with Pidge?”

 

   ”What? No. No! That was not what I meant at all. I just thought what would happen if I was and if I told them. I’d probably get punched in the face.” Keith didn’t look entirely convinced but dropped the subject.

 

   Lance continued his speculation over the people living in the castle. Shiro was undoubtedly attractive, but also a bit too… serious for Lance? He was more like a father, or an older brother. Always looking out for everyone. Yeah that was a crush that was never going to happen. Maybe a small crush on a distance, or more like serious appreciation of Shiro’s good looks. 
  

Lance had had his fair share of romantic feelings towards Allura but everyone knew that was never going to happen either, and if he really thought about it, Allura might not be the right match for him anyways. That only leaves Coran… uh, let’s not even go there. So yeah, Keith was probably the most logical person to fall for on this ship. Lance’s smile stayed on his lips as he felt a bit more calm and rational about his feelings. Keith on the other hand continued to look a bit wary, while he blew on his tea as calmly as possible.

 

   ”It’s your turn to ask,” he mumbled to Lance in between blows.

 

   ”Oh right. Truth or dare?”

 

   ”Hm.. dare.” Lance reached for a green card.

 

   ”I dare you to…” he was interrupted by a sound that signaled that a message had been sent to them. Lance looked at Keith with a surprised look before he went over to the panel beside the door. He tapped the message button on the screen, connecting it to the speakers before playing it. Pidge’s voice filled the room.

 

   ”What’s up, dweebs. I hope you’re playing the game right now. Remember the consequences I promised you. And remember to be honest and to complete the dares fully, or else you won’t get any points.” Their voice was a bit sharper than normal. ”Anyhow, we’re gonna be a while, we’ll know more tomorrow.” They heard someone shouting in the background.

”Oh yeah Hunk says, again, that there’s food for you and that you shouldn’t forget to eat it. Play nicely.” The message ended. Lance had noticed how Pidge’s tone had changed when they’d told them to play nicely. He shrugged and disconnected the speakers before going back to the sofa.

 

   ”Okay, so it’s gonna be just us two playing tonight.” Lance didn’t realize that it sounded like he was implying something until he saw Keith looking away, shocked and embarrassed. 
  

 

   ”Oh no, no that was not what I… I no we’re… you and me… no.” Dammit. He couldn't get out a whole sentence and he also couldn't shut up.

”Eh, mmmh, yeah. No. I would never, you know. I mean we would never… that would be… gross.”

His voice weakened when he saw Keith’s face. If he didn't know better he’d say that Keith was, hurt? Maybe? Or at least a little bit offended. Lance closed his mouth and rubbed the back of his neck, his body language making it obvious that he was definitely mortified. He prayed that one day, he’d be able to just shut up.

 

   ”Yeah… no, of course not,” Keith said after a while, still not looking directly at Lance. Lance took a deep breath and picked up the card he had put down before.

 

   ”Okay, eh, so you chose dare, so I’m gonna…” He cleared his throat.

”I’m gonna read the card now. Keith, I dare you to sleep in the same bed as me tonight.”

 

Lance wanted to open a space window and space fling himself out of said space window into the literal space so that this painful space game would space end. What had he done to deserve this fate? Keith jerked his head up when he heard the dare Lance had just read.

 

   ”Are you joking?” Lance just shook his head and gave the card to Keith, barely touching the edge of the card so there would be less of a chance of accidental touching.

”Okay, so you’re not joking. Well this is unfortunate…”

 

Keith tapped the card against his leg several times.

 

”I mean, if you want to forfeit now we wouldn't have to…”

 

   ”NO!” Lance shouted, making Keith flinch, which was a bit odd considering the fact he had amazing reflexes otherwise and was generally hard to surprise. ”I mean, I will not give up.” Lance stood up from the sofa with a dramatic facial expression.

”I’m gonna win! And if that means we have to share a bed for the night, I. Will. Do. It.”  With his fist in the air, he tried to soothe over their reactions with comic relief. Keith just stared at him, trying to hold his surprised smile back, and thought that this would only be more dramatic if Lance had a flag behind him.

 

   The fact was that Lance had gotten so nervous by the thought of sleeping beside Keith that he had panicked when Keith implied that it was a bad idea. But what if Keith was really uncomfortable with that? And what if he felt pressured to keep going? What if he was just grossed out?

 

Okay, no, time to pull myself together again, Lance’s inner voice said.

 

   ”Keith,” he said aloud, without the dramatic touch and looked down on the red paladin.

”If you wish to forfeit I have total respect for it, but honestly, who would pass up on an opportunity like this?” He smiled his most charming smile, lifting an eyebrow with one hand on his hip, trying to look cool. Keith just rolled his eyes and, was that a chuckle? Could it have been?

 

   ”I’m not gonna give up either.”

 

   ”So… we’re gonna sleep together. Like sleep sleep not… sex sleep.” Lance was making a fool out off himself again. He mentally slapped himself twice in the face while pouring a bucket of water over his head at the same time. Dammit Lance. Just. Learn. To. Shut. Up.

 

   ”Dude, you’re making it weird.” He really was making it weird. He tried to brush it of again.

 

   ”Well not many can control themselves around me.” He looked at his nails as he spoke, like he was just casually dropping the comment. He sat down in the sofa again, gracefully putting one leg over the other, still looking at his nails. Keith scoffed as he picked up his mug of tea again.

 

   ”Whatever, truth or dare.”

 

   ”Dare.”

 

   ”I dare you to do the macarena. To the song. The entire song.” Lance groaned and slumped back against the back of the sofa.

 

   ”Nooo that song is like 200 years long.” Keith gestured with the hand that still held the card towards the empty space in the lounge.

 

   ”The floor is yours, sharpshooter.” Lance sticked out his tongue at him as he walked over to the panel again, not showing on the outside how surprised he was that Keith had actually called him a nickname that wasn’t an insult. And the nickname Lance had made up for himself as well.

 

   He connected the panel to the speakers once again and tapped on the music note symbol.

Pidge had, after a lot of whining from Lance, put in a music feature in the castle, so the quiet afternoons in between fights and adventures wouldn’t be so suffocatingly quiet anymore. Bless Pidge’s soul, and bless them for getting music that wasn’t horrible.

 

  He put a ten second delay on the song so he could make his way to the floor and be ready for the dancing™. He did feel a bit exposed but he was used to being the center of attention, and besides, no one could do the macarena as good as he could. Keith sat with his mug of tea, his blank expression revealing nothing about what the red paladin was thinking. Well to that there’s only one solution.

 

To do the macarena the best way possible, flawlessly and with a hint of sexy.

Chapter Text

   Keith watched as Lance started dancing, body swaying a bit to feel the rhythm. He started of calmly and kept up perfectly with the choreography, but about a minute in it was clear he was

getting bored of it. Instead of stopping or just pulling himself through it he actually got more enthusiastic, making bigger movements and putting more of his hips into it. And those hips

certainly did not lie. They were great hips. Salsa hips, that lived for the music.    And then Lance started singing the lyrics, and he didn’t miss one word, not even the Spanish ones. If he had

Spanish roots, that would explain his dark olive skin. Keith couldn't help it, he laughed at Lances dramatically improvised steps that still somehow made sense in the context. He included the

clapping and turned ninety degrees at the end of the lines. Keith didn't mind. This way he could study Lance from a lot of angles, see how his body moved, especially from behind. Keith felt his

face getting warm when he realized that he was actually checking out Lance’s butt. It could have been worse, Keith told himself. And besides, Lance’s hips really did know how to move, there

was no use in denying it.

 

   Lance ended the dance with a bow, or more exactly many bows to every corner of the room, blowing kisses at imaginary admirers. Keith actually laughed and applauded him, throwing in a

”Bravo” in the middle. Lance walked over to the panel again to shut it off, catching his breath and hoping that his blush would be taken as a reaction to the dancing.

 

   ”So, you know Spanish?” Keith asked when Lance sat down in the sofa again.

 

   ”Yeah, I’m cuban you know.”

 

   ”Oh. Cool… And you know the whole macarena by heart?” Lance winked at him.

 

   "That’s my jam you know. Kinda the song of my family. We always put it on at family parties and such. And I swear, I have like a thousand cousins. Imagine the whole Sanchez family times fifteen all singing and dancing to the macarena, every family having a different style of doing it. It’s crazy.” Lance kinda drifted off in his own thoughts. He just realized how much he missed his family. Well, actually, he realized it every four days or so, which usually led to him sitting in the closet or roaming around the castle in the middle of the night with his blanket over his head, watching the stars and distant, unknown planets through the windows, feeling smaller and more alone than ever.

 

   ”Um… you alright?”

 

    ”Yeah,” Lance looked away, feeling how his whole being wanted to cry to relieve the stress he’d been building up over the last couple of hours. ”Yeah, I’m fine, I just… I get homesick sometimes.”

 

   ”It’s okay,” Keith said with a soft voice. ”I don’t really miss much from earth, but I do miss my parents, you know, since they’re dead and all.” Lance forgot for a moment that he had wet cheeks and turned around to look at Keith.

 

   ”They are? I had no idea, I’m so sorry Keith.” Keith shrugged.

 

   ”It alright, it really is. I don’t want to make you to feel sorry for me or anything, just you know, if you wanna talk about it…” He rubbed the back of his neck, face becoming a bit pink. ”I mean I never had many relatives or anything, non at all really, so I’d love to hear what its like, you know.”

 

   ”Yeah,” Lance answered him with a faint smile. ”I’d love to tell you some time.” He felt bad for Keith, even though Keith didn’t want him to. He tried to imagine how it would be to have dead parents but that just made him ten times more sad than before. Then he realized that Keith must be feeling even worse.

 

   Lance looked up at Keith, who was observing him. For once Lance didn’t look away. Instead he leaned forward and placed his hand on Keith’s shoulder.

 

   ”Keith. I’m sorry. I really am.” Keith froze for a moment, he had expected Lance to drop the subject. People usually hurried to find something new to talk about when Keith’s parents were mentioned.

 

   ”Yeah, Lance. I know. And it’s okay, it really is.” He put his hand over Lance’s to show that the gesture was appreciated. ”But I don’t think we are looking at it the same way. The fact that my parents are dead just means that we don’t exist in the same world anymore and I know that will meet them again. I don’t know when or where, probably in another existence, but we will meet again. Because I love them and they love me and that’s enough to keep us bonded even though we are so very far apart. That’s what they told me my entire life, so there’s no reason to be sad really. I’m just kinda glad that they aren’t worried about me now that I’m in the middle of nowhere in space, you know.”

 

   Lance had no idea of what he was supposed to answer to this. He wanted to do what Hunk would have done. He would have brought out his most cozy side and hugged Keith really tight and told him that he loved him, or something like that. But Lance couldn't really hold Keith and comfort him that way, now could he. He pulled his hand away from Keith and suddenly remembered that he was still crying and quickly brushed the tears away, swallowing his sadness down together with Keith’s and put them in the sadness spot, where the sadness could be until it was time to be sad again.

 

   ”Let’s keep playing, shall we?” He said, still brushing away the saltiness from his cheeks.

 

   ”Let’s keep playing. Truth or dare, Sanchez?”

 

   ”No wait it’s my turn to ask. I just danced for you.” Lance really liked the sound of Keith saying his last name without an insult to precede or follow it.

 

   ”Oh right. Truth then.”

 

   ”No, I have to ask you first.” Keith rolled his eyes.

 

   ”Fine.”

 

   ”Truth or dare?”

 

   ”Truth.”

 

   ”What do you do when you can’t sleep?”

 

   ”I exercise mostly.” Lance lifted one eyebrow, looking at Keith who’s eyes squinted at Lance’s expression. ”What?”

 

   ”You practice every free moment you have, why do you do it in the middle of the night as well?”

 

   ”It makes my body tired. Then I can take a shower and go right to sleep.” Lance shrugged.

 

   ”Whatever floats your boat man.”

 

   ”Okay, my turn. Truth or dare?”

 

   ”Truth.” Keith grinned when he saw what the card said.

 

   ”This oughta be good.” Keith cleared his throat before reading. ”What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever dreamt of? You get 10 extra points if it’s smutty.”

 

   Lance didn’t say anything for a moment.

 

   ”It does not say that.” Keith just answered by handing him the card, and it did indeed say just that. Keith expected that Lance would be embarrassed or something like that, but to his surprise Lance started smiling.

 

   ”Well okay I’ve had my share of weird dreams.” Keith started to wish that he’d picked another card.

 

   ”Okay so last week I dreamt that I was stuck in space, like without my lion or a pod, just me in deep space, and I remember wondering what it would be like getting it on in deep space.”

 

   ”Who even wonders about such a thing?” Keith interrupted.

 

   ”Hey, no judging. If it is a weird smutty dream that’s asked of me that is what you’ll get. Anyhow. After thinking that thought I was back on that planet with the mermaids, you remember we told you about that.”

 

   ”Hunk told me you wore a squid on you head.”

 

   ”NOT the point here. I was back with the mermaids, and one of them wanted me to follow them, so I did. And it was a really beautiful mermaid, with black hair that glittered beautifully. So I followed them into a cave, and when I got into the cave they were waiting for me and all I could think was damn, this mermaid is hot!”

 

   ”Which part of the body was human?” Lance stopped in his tracks for a moment to look at Keith, who had a grin on his face.

 

   ”The top of course!” Keith chuckled. ”Now shut up and listen to my dream. So I got into the cave, and I couldn't see their face. Well I could but I can’t remember who's face it was, but I’m sure it was someone I know, because I kept on thinking, wow, this is so weird I didn’t know this person was an attractive mermaid.” Lance didn’t know why he’d chosen to tell about this particular dream but he always got that tingly feeling in his body when he thought about it. It’d been a really good dream, and Lance wished that it’d come back to him some day.

 

   ”Anyhow, they said something kinda like ’I’ve been waiting to do this for a long time’, pushed me against the cave wall and started kissing me really hard, but not the unpleasant hard, the nice hard.”

 

   Keith did the mistake of picturing this in his head and felt his face going red for the millionth time this night because he wasn’t seeing a random, beautiful mermaid in his head, he saw himself, pushing Lance up against a wall.

 

   ”And you know,” Lance said, leaning back with his hands behind his head. ”I still haven’t figured out who that mermaid was. I just remember the scales, the hands that were so soft but still determined, the black hair that…” Lance went quiet. His eyes widened as he slowly turned his head towards Keith and his mouth fell open. It was Keith. Keith was the mermaid.

 

   ”What?” Keith asked, oblivious as always. ”Did you figure it out?”

 

   ”Uhm, yeah.” Lance’s mouth was dry and he couldn't swallow properly. ”It was…” He took a breath. ”It was Allura.” Keith frowned.

 

   ”I thought you said that their hair was black-”

 

   ”No, I meant white, it was Allura, now let’s move on. Truth or dare, Keith?” Lance was stumbling over his words and Keith was confused and oblivious, as usual.

 

   ”Keith! Truth or dare?” Lance repeated when Keith didn’t answer the first time.

 

   ”Eh, dare.”

 

   ”I dare you to tell each other a secret that few other people know. Wait a minute…” Lance read the card again.

 

   ”What that’s not fair, I have to do that too. Ke-eith it’s not fair! You didn’t have to dance, why do I have to do a dare on your turn?” Lance said, dividing Keith’s name in a singsong kind of way. Keith just put his hand out, still holding the tea in the other.

 

   ”I did not make the rules,” he said, watching as Lance pouted, looking a bit like a child who hadn’t got their way.

 

   ”Fine,” Lance said finally. ”But you have to start. And make it a good one.” Keith thought for a while. The Lance noticed Keith’s cheeks turning red again, and this time there was no doubt about it.

 

   ”Why are you blushing?” Keith instinctively put his free hand against his cheek.

 

   ”I’m not.”

 

   ”Yes you are. Now tell me the secret that makes your face hot.”

 

   ”Uh… um… no I’m not telling you this one. I mean it’s nothing.”

 

   ”Oh, is it bad? It’s bad isn’t it.” Keith opened his mouth, stayed quiet, then closed it again. ”Oh my god, that bad?”

 

   ”No, it’s not bad, come on.” Keith looked nervous but irritated at the same time, his eyes looking for something to land on but not finding it.

 

   ”Well if it isn’t bad you should have no problem telling me.” Keith just kept looking uncomfortable and avoided Lances gaze. Lance pulled up his feet and lunged forward at the same time, now laying on his stomach with his head a couple of decimeters away from where Keith was sitting. Resting his elbows on the cushion and propping his head in his hands he looked up at Keith with his most beautiful and pleading puppy dog eyes.

 

   ”Ke-eeeeith. Just tell me. It’s just us here. I’m a good keeper of secrets you know.” Keith was a bit surprised by the fact that Lance had suddenly come a lot closer. Even Lance saw that.
   Keith was still silent.

 

   ”Okay, since you’re not telling me, and blushing like crazy,” that comment just made Keith blush even harder, ”it must be something bad. I just wonder what. Something embarrassing probably, maybe even humiliating.” The more Lance talked the more Keith seemed to squirm inside, and to be honest, Lance loved it. Not only was Keith kinda cute with a blush on his face, but to see him vulnerable instead of strong and confident was a pleasant change. It gave more depth to the Keith he was getting to know. Made him seem more human, ’cause honestly sometimes it was like he could just turn his feelings off, being all professional and stuff.

 

   ”I’ll just have to guess then.”

 

   ”Lance, please don’t.” It was obvious Keith regretted he had said anything at all.

 

   ”Oh no, Keith my man, you missed your chance.” Keith groaned again, hiding his face in his free hand.

 

   ”It’s a kink isn’t it,” Lance said in a low, almost suggesting voice.

 

   ”What?” Keith’s head shot up, eyes wide.

 

   ”People have all kinds of kinks, it’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

 

   ”I don’t…” Lance put a finger in the direction of Keiths lips, Keith leaned away from him a little as a reaction.

 

   ”Up-up-up, you cannot stop me now. So what kind of stuff is Keithyboy into? Is it a praise-kink? No you get praise all the time, I would have noticed. Maybe you like biting? Or being bitten? Oh my god don’t tell me it’s something like a vampire kink. Oh man that would sure be something. It better not be a blood kink, man, that would be just creepy.”

 

   ”Lance please I don’t have a frigging blood kink, is that even a thing? Disgusting. Lance please stop guessing”

 

   ”It’s a bad boy kink, isn’t it?” He fakes a loud gasp. ”Do you have a bad boy kink on me?!”

 

   ”Lance, what the hell. I don’t have a bad boy kink on you, I don’t have a bad boy kink and if I did you would certainly not make the cut into that category.” Lance sat up again, suddenly serious, not thinking about the fact that Keith just stated that Lance wasn’t a bad boy.

 

   ”It’s a daddy kink, right? I know I’m right this time, that’s why it’s so embarrassing for you.” Keith lost it.

 

   ”NO! IT’S SHIRO!”

 

   ”WHAT DO YOU HAVE A DADDY KINK FOR SHIRO"

 

  ”NO OH MY GOD NO I JUST HAD A CRUSH ON HIM THAT’S ALL.” Lance let his breath out, tilting his head as he watched Keith with his hand running through his black hair, clearly perplexed.

 

   ”So you don’t want to call Shiro daddy?” Lance couldn't help but grin, even though the thought of actually calling someone daddy or being called daddy by someone didn’t appeal to him, but everyone has things that floats their boats.

 

   ”Shit, no, Lance would you please stop. I don’t have a daddy kink. Ugh ew no. Why did you do this to me. No kinks.”

 

   ”Okay, no kinks, moving on. Shiro. Tell me everything.”

 

   ”Um… I don’t know. I hadn’t been close to anyone for a long time and Shiro just came into my life and became my friend and he cared for me. Like for real. I don’t make friends easily and I got sorta attached to him. It was a crush until I realized that I didn't want a romantic relationship with him, it was more like a platonic friend crush, or just admiration of him. I don’t know. It doesn’t really matter now. Anyways, he’s like  eight years older than me, and he likes Allura anyway…” Keith gasped and clasped his hand over his mouth.

 

   ”No way!” Lance said, his smile turning into a grin.

 

   ”You can’t tell anyone. You really can’t, Shiro would be so sad if he found out that I had betrayed his trust like that.”

 

   ”I won’t tell anyone. Like I said, I’m a great secret-keeper.” He put his right hand over his heart and the other one in the air. ”I promise on my lion that I will not tell anyone that Shiro has a crush on Allura.” A spark lit up in his eyes. ”What I will not promise though, is not to tell anyone about Keith’s embarrassing crush on Shiro, and that he may or may not want to call him daddy.” Lance had barely finished his sentence before he was hit really hard in the face with a pillow, the impact actually making him lose his balance, falling on his back against the sofa.

 

   ”Shut up!” When Lance had recovered from being attacked he saw that Keith was actually smiling, even though his face hadn’t really gone back to his normal color yet.

 

   ”Make me,” Lance answered. Simply, but without thinking it through a bit of seductiveness had slipped into his voice, making it a bit lower than normal. Keith just hit him with the pillow again.

 

   ”Mercy! Mercy!” Lance shouted, putting his hands up in front of his face.

 

   ”Now it’s your turn to tell me a secret.”

 

   ”Ugh, fine,” Lance groaned as he sat up again while crossing his legs and putting a pillow in his lap. ”Actually I’ve had a crush on the ship as well.”

 

   ”Yes you are very in love with Pidge you already told me,” Keith said objectively.

 

   ”Am not!” Lance tried to hit Keith with the pillow, but was too slow and missed. ”I had a really big crush on Allura.”

 

   ”Well no shit! That’s not a secret, everyone already knew about it.”

 

   ”But it wasn’t like a flirt-crush, it was a real crush. A crush crush.” Not it was Keith’s turn to lift his eyebrow.

 

   ”A crush crush? What’s the difference?”

 

   ”You know it actually hurt every time she turned me down, or when you all would laugh at me. I had proper feelings for her. It’s in the past now and I’m not bitter over it, but you know I have feelings too.” Keith was silent for a moment.

 

   ”Nope. Still doesn’t count.”

 

   ”Aw, come on.” Lance’s arms was up in the air again. He really used his arms and hands a lot to express himself, Keith thought.

 

   ”Tell me something I don’t know.”

 

   ”Fine. I really miss my family. No, don’t say anything.” He put his hand up when Keith opened his mouth, making him close it again. ”When I say that I miss them I don’t just miss my parents or siblings. I miss home, I miss my bed, I miss school and food that’s 100% made by humans. I miss being yelled at for messing up and eating pizza and the simulator pods I always crashed because that wasn’t life or death. I miss sleeping in and running to class without any breakfast. I miss falling asleep in class and getting detention. I miss studying, Keith, and I hate to study. To know stuff is cool but to study it? Not cool. I miss my mum’s cookies and my dad’s hug’s and helping my sisters with their hair, making all kinds of braids and ponytails. I miss being able to go see if someone in the house was awake when I had nightmares so I didn’t have to sleep alone. I miss calling my mum in the middle of the night when I had nightmares and not at home. I just miss, you know, Earth. I mean space is the coolest shit ever, but I never expected to randomly go into space and maybe never return. My family must be so worried. What if I don’t return, Keith?” For the second time that day, tears were slowly gathering up in Lance’s eyes. Keith didn't know what to do. Should he hug him? Telling him that it’s going to be all right? He just didn't know. Keith wasn't good at this kind of stuff.

 

   ”I’m sorry,” Lance murmured while rubbing his eyes with his right hand. ”I didn’t mean to cry, I really didn’t. Well now that you’ve seen me cry I have nothing to hide and no pride left. And this is the second time I’ve cried today.”

 

   ”Lance,” Keith said quietly.

 

   ”Huh?”

 

   ”Crying doesn't make you weak, you know that right? You don’t seem weak either.” Lance looked away.

 

   ”I know but… it’s not like it’s attractive or anything. It kinda ruins the image of me being cool and strong.”

 

   ”Don’t be stupid, of course it doesn’t ruin anything. And if it’s any consolation, your eyes are really sparkling in this lighting,” Keith said, trying to lighten up the mood. It worked, and Lance cracked a small smile while trying really hard not to blush. Did Keith really just say that his eyes were sparkling?

 

   ”Be careful, Kogaine, you might drown in my sweet, manly tears. Come on, let’s go eat or something."

 


 

 

  ”Truth or dare.”

 

   ”Dare.” They had moved to the dining room, cards now in neat piles in the middle of the table. Hunk had made space lasagna for them, and it was wonderful. The reason why they called it space lasagna was because they honestly didn't know what was really in it. Hunk was really good at finding substitutes for human products though, and as long as something didn't taste or look to funny they tried not to think about what kinds of weird substances they might be eating.

 

   ”I dare you to call me sweetheart until you’re told to call me something else.” Lance smiled while he read the card. Keith did not look amused.

 

   ”Seriously?”

 

   ”Seriously. I actually really like this game.” Lance leaned back in the chair, plate empty, gaze on the young man opposite him.

 

   ”Well I guess I have no choice,” Keith sighed. ”Sweetheart.” Before Lance could stop it a tiny giggle slipped out of his mouth. He didn't even try to cover it up, ignoring the surprised glance Keith was shooting him. Lance rose from the chair, casually picking up his and Keiths’ plates and carrying them to the dishwasher, desperate to hide the stupid smile he had on his face. He would never admit it but being called Sweetheart by Keith was actually really nice. The way his voice formed the word, the combination of sweet and heart within the actual word, describing how sweet Keith probably was on the inside while also describing the fact that in this moment, Lance’s heart was only beating for that sweetness.

   Wow, Lance’s inner voice told him. You’re really in deep man. Do you want me to punch you in the face, just in case?

   Thanks, mind, Lance thought back. That would be really nice. He tried to snap out of it. He wasn’t sure if it had worked.

 

   ”Alright then Lance, I mean, sweetheart. Truth or dare?” The last couple of dares had been a bit over the top so Lance decided to play it safe.

 

   ”Truth.”

 

   ”Alright, What are your favorite things about each other? Dammit it’s another one we both have to do.”

 

   ”And we have to compliment each other?!” It’s not like Lance didn’t have stuff to say about Keith, like how his body moves, on the training deck, in fights or just normal. How cool he was about Lance bursting into tears over something as stupid as being homesick. How he liked the way Keith said his nicknames, how that filled his tummy with butterflies that kept on fluttering no matter how much Lance tried to keep them from flying out of his mouth, accidentally revealing these weird feelings he so desperately tried to hide. Lance had a lot of stuff to say about Keith, but he had to say something that was true, but not weird. You just can’t tell someone that they have a cute face or something like that. It has to be something normal, but genuine. Something you can say to a friend.

 

   ”Well you are a very good pilot…” Lance said quietly.

 

   ”Hey! You’re always jealous of…”

 

   ”Yeah I know! I’m saying this like without the jealousy.” Lance was actually… shy? This was new to Keith. Lance wasn't embarrassed or anything like that, he hadn’t tried to joke around it. Not yet at least. Looking away, flustered, Lance continued.

 

   ”I actually look up to you sometimes you know. When I’m not jealous or competitive I’m just impressed. You can do so many things that I can’t. My feelings and pride always come in the way.”

 

   ”Oh,” was all Keith could say to that.

 

   ”And if you ever repeat it to anyone I will throw you out into space in your sleep and at any mention I will deny that I ever said this to you.” Lance was back at his normal state again, waving a finger in Keith’s face. Lance just couldn’t believe that he admitted this, to KEITH, of all people. Was that a normal thing for someone to say to a friend?

 

   ”Uh, well, thank…”

 

   ”Oooh no-no. Stop talking and move on.” Keith was silent for a moment.

 

   ”You are good with people. I wish I was, but I find it hard to, uh, trust people and connect with them. People have never interested me anyway, but even I feel lonely. You make friends everywhere, you know what they want and what they need, making you the best person anyone could have close to them. You’re happy and always try to brighten things up. I admire that about you.” Lance couldn’t believe his ears. Was this a legit compliment from Keith?

 

   ”You… admire that about me?”

 

   ”Well yes now we’ll never talk about this conversation. Deal?” Keith held out his hand towards Lance.

 

   ”Deal.” Lance took his hand and gave it a firm handshake and tried not to linger on to Keith’s fingers. Just as they let go he glanced up at the red paladin’s face, accidentally met Keiths gaze and quickly looked away. An awkward silence broke out between the two boys, both wondering how they’d get forward from these moments of intense vulnerability.

 

   After a while the silence was nearly painful, and Keith took a deep breath mentally and spoke.

 

   ”Truth or dare, sweetheart?” Lance winced at the word again, he’d completely forgot about it. He had seemingly also forgotten about the fact that it actually was his turn to ask Keith. Both of them wanted to move on from this heart to heart stuff.

 

   ”Uh, dare.”

 

   ”Bake me a cake.”

 

   ”So first I make you tea and then I have to bake a cake for you? How do you know I’m not a terrible baker? I could accidentally poison you you know.” Keith chuckled, and the sound was enough to make Lance feel a warmth in the pit of his stomach. Again.

 

   ”Not even you would be that careless. And you’re bound to have picked something up, being friends with Hunk for so long.” Keith was, of course, right. Hunk had taught Lance quite a lot. Lance always complained but secretly enjoyed it, which Hunk was well aware of. Cooking was also a big thing in Lance’s family, and being in the kitchen, cutting, mixing and laughing always made him feel at home.

 

   ”Damn you, Hunk!” Lance lifted up his arms, and shouted like in a dramatic scene in a movie. Keith just rolled his eyes and followed Lance as he made his way to the kitchen.

Chapter Text

   Lance opened up a cabinet and pulled out one of Hunk’s cookbooks. He started to flip through the pages before realizing that all the recipes only had ingredients from earth and none of Hunk’s usual scribbles in the margin. 

 

   ”No, this isn’t it…” he mumbled and turned around towards the cabinet again to pick out another one. Keith was leaning against the counter, watching Lance closely, with a tiny, tiny smile hiding in the corner of his mouth.

 

   ”What?” Lance asked.

 

   ”Nothing.” Keith answered, smile spreading to the other corner as well. Lance glared at him and grabbed another cookbook, which had visible bits of papers sticking out of it, making it thicker than originally. This was it. He glanced at Keith beside him and quickly looked away when he saw that he was still being observed.

 

   He fumbled a bit when he turned the pages, trying to ignore the red paladin that was obviously watching him. The book was filled with sticky notes and scribbles between the lines. There was almost no page without some words crossed over and corrected by Hunk. When he tried a recipe, he usually did it by the book, reviewed it and changed it. One could usually see the process in the books but now, in this one, the process was like ten times longer and there were a lot more scribbles than usually. Hunk and Pidge had worked together to try and find ingredients in space that corresponded with the ones on earth, and those notes now took up most of the pages and loose papers that were sticked in between them.

 

   Lance was in the cake section of the book when he remembered something else and flipped to the very end of the book where a handful of loose, handwritten pages were stuck to the last page with a paper clip. He picked out the recipe he was looking for and put the book away.

 

  ”Well if i accidentally poison you this time, don’t blame me. Then it’s Hunks and Pidges fault for messing up the recipes.”  

 

”Whatever you say, sweetheart.” Lance could not believe it. Keith was now sitting on top of the counter and he had switched back to his usual bad boy attitude. Or just switched to it. Did he do it on purpose? Okay no. Concentrate, Lance. Not the right time to be thinking about Keith, or bad boys, or Keith and bad boys in the same context.

 

   ”You better not distract me, Keith, I might just pick the wrong ingredient and make you a bomb instead of a cake.” Lance tried his hardest to not seem nervous.

 

   ”And you really think there would be explosives in the kitchen?” Lance just shrugged.  

 

   ”We’re in space! You never know.

 

   Lance casually hummed for himself while looking for the ingredients and kitchen tools, just like Hunk always does, while he tried to ignore Keith in the process. Keith was still seated on top of the counter, silently watching the blue paladin work. He watched as Lance pulled out an apron and tried to make a neat bow as he tied it around behind his back, deciding that it was good enough and continuing his work.

 

   ”Can you stop looking at me?” Lance suddenly asked.

 

   ”Uh- I’m not?” Keith answered, but it sounded more like a question than a statement. Or maybe he was saying that he wasn’t going to stop? Lance frowned and turned his back towards the other boy as he tried to hide his blushing face and lack of concentration. The cake was not the most complicated to make but it was essential that the ingredients were right, especially when they were from space and basically anything could happen.

 

   ”Stop it.” Lance mumbled under his breath as he measured the blueish powder that apparently was supposed to replace eggs. Somehow.

 

   ”How do you even know if I’m looking at you if you have your back turned on me?”

 

   ”I just know.” The knot on Lances apron was slowly untying it self and Lance was just about to put down what he was holding to retie it when he felt the laces tighten around him, feeling a faint breath tickling the back of his neck. He hadn’t noticed when Keith’d jumped of the counter to sneak up on him, but apparently he had and now he was neatly tying a ribbon on his back, making sure the apron wouldn’t unfasten itself again.

 

   ”There you go- sweetheart.” he said really quietly and softly somehow and Lance decided it was best if he didn’t turn around and look at him.

 

   ”Thanks,” Lance answered just as quietly, but more hesitant, wondering what was actually going on, what this tight feeling was in his chest and why his hands were still shaking

 

   ”Alrighty then, truth or dare?” The cake was in the oven and Lance had placed himself on the counter opposite from Keith, waiting for the cake to be ready for consumption. They had been playing for a while and Lance could honestly say that he knew more about Keith than before. Keith’s favorite season was spring because, apparently, he loved flowers. He likes dawn more than dusk, is generally a morning person and wouldn't drink coffee if his life depended on it. Lance had been dared to juggle, leading to a few broken cups, while trying to read the alphabet backwards. Keith hadn’t laughed out loud but was biting his cheeks so his smile wouldn't become too wide. Lance’s favorite books were the Percy Jackson series, which actually made sense to Keith.

 

   ”Dare, as long as I don’t have to move.” Lance smirks and picks up a card.

 

   ”Read me a page out of your diary.”

 

   ”I don’t have one.” Keiths shrugged lightly, arms crossed and face neutral.

 

   ”You what!? Who doesn’t?” Lance was shocked. He would never be able to deal with this whole space thing without writing it down once in a while. To be honest he had always needed to write down all his feelings and thoughts so they would’t fill up his head and explode.

   Keith shrugged again.

   ”I don’t.”

 

   ”Then what do you do with all your thoughts? Talk them out?” Keith was beginning to look a bit uncomfortable.

 

   ”I don’t do anything with them.”

 

   ”You poor boy!” The words left Lances mouth before he could stop himself. His voice was filled with genuine compassion though and he actually looked a bit worried. Keith frowned at that, crossing his arms a little tighter.

 

   ”It’s not a big deal, you know. You deal with stuff by writing I just-” Keith lost his trail.

 

   ”Don’t deal at all?”

 

   ”That’s not what I meant I just don’t deal the same way you do.”

 

   ”Keith, you can’t just bottle it all up? Especially not when we are just seven people who basically live on top of each other. If you snap because of your repressed feelings we’ll all get affected.” Keith looked even more irritated, almost offended, but underneath that he was just confused. Why did Lance pretend to care?

 

   ”It has nothing to do with anyone else.” Keith paused to yawn, his irritation gone from his face for a second and Lance just saw someone who hadn’t trusted anyone in a really long time.

 

   ”Of course it does,” Lance interrupted while Keith was occupied. ”We’re a team, we’re friends. We have to care for each other and we can’t afford anyone having a mental breakdown in the middle of a fight against the galra.” Keith flung his arms up in the air, hitting a cabinet in the process and hissed at the pain.

 

   ”I’m not gonna have a mental breakdown. I don’t know why you feel like you have to talk about this. I’m fine.”

 

   ”Keep telling yourself that.” Lance crossed his arms and looked away, pouting like he always seem to do from time to time. The card he’d read from was crumbled up in is fist. Keith was down from the counter again and began to walk away. A sting of something he couldn’t quite place hit Lance inside his ribcage. He didn’t want Keith to leave.

 

   ”I’m gonna go train.” Lance watched as Keith stepped out of the kitchen, seeing his anger in his every step.

 

   ”Yeah, ’cause that’s the solution to everything.” Lance’s words were very quiet and he doubted Keith had even heard them, especially since he was already half way out of the room. The door closed behind him and Lance was just about to throw something across the room when he heard a low growl coming somewhere from the castles engines, voicing its’ displeasure in the paladins fighting again. Half a second later Keith had walked in through the door again.

 

   ”I’m not leaving without cake.” He looked embarrassed and naturally, his face was a darker shade of pink. Lance smiled to himself, mentally blessing the person that wrote the card about cake and was actually thankful for the thing Pidge had added to the castle system. He let out a shuddering breath and felt how the pain from the sting was soothed a bit. If Keith was really angry he wouldn’t have come back, cake or no cake. Keith leaned against the wall in the other end of the kitchen, casting nervous glances towards Lance and the cake alternately through his fringe, which was in his face again. Lance wondered for a second how Keith would look with his hair tucked behind his ears. Then he ignored that that second ever happened.

 

   As the clock ticked, metaphorically of course, they had no actual clocks here since they were constantly traveling and time is a constructed concept after all, the silence went from tense to awkward to boring. Lance didn’t want to kickstart the fight again so he was silent, but still pouting. Keith’s body language told him that he wasn’t as angry as before, but also didn't want to say anything. This was probably the longest time they’d been in the same room without saying anything to each other, or, you know, fighting, even though it had only been about fifteen minutes.

 

   The ticker on the oven made a ding-sound and Keith straightened himself. Lance pushed himself of the counter and put on the oven mittens and opened the oven. The heatwave washed over him, blessing him with something else than the cold silence. It smelled lovely. There must have been something special with the ingredients ’cause it didn’t only smell lovely, it smelled wonderful. The aroma of the sweet cake felt almost sparkling. Well, that was how Lance would describe it. He almost said it out loud but remembered that they were currently in som sort of a fight and it probably wouldn't put him in the best light if he praised his own baking.

 

   Instead Lance just cut a piece of the cake, grabbing a spoon from a drawer and handed it over to Keith without meeting his gaze and without saying a word. Keith didn't say a word either, just took the spoon and put a piece of the cake in front of his mouth, blew on it so he wouldn't get burned and then put it in his mouth. His reaction was amazing. Lance would later refer to it as Keiths anime-eating-moment. Keiths eyes widened and it was like the taste of it spread through out his body and woke up every part of it, every molecule in every cell.

 

   ”What on earth- I mean, what in space is this?” he said as he put another spoonful in his mouth, silently moaning with pleasure. Lances exterior smile was cocky and confident while his interior smile was extremely wide and happy. Keith had liked his cake!

 

   ”It’s mami Rosa’s special cake. It’s one of the first recipes Hunk translated to space ingredients, and” he added. ”The only thing I can make better than Hunk. He might be a genius but you need that special cuban touch to make it perfect. Of course mama makes it better than me but, yeah.” Lance was rambling. Again. Dammit.

 

   ”It is amazing!” During Lances talking time Keith had consumed half of the piece he’d been given, looking at it like it was a prized possession. Lances cocky smirk grew into a quite pleasant smile.

 

   ”Yeah, it is. I guess this is Lance’s special space cake now…” Keith looked up at Lance with the spoon in his mouth, eyes still wide. Lance almost didn’t dare send him a wink, but decided to risk it and again, he suspected a faint blush on Keith’s cheeks, but couldn’t see clearly due to his hair being in the way.

 

   Then the silence was back and Lance, naturally, went back to pouting. After some time Keith broke the silence with words that sounded somewhere among the lines of ”… cake… want… you?”

 

   ”What?”

 

   ”Uh, I just. Aren’t you gonna have some? Cake I mean?” Keith was genuinely trying to apologize, using the cake as a peace offering.

 

   ”It’s your cake. I made it for you.” Lance didn’t accept the offering.

 

   ”I, Keith, am now giving you, Lance, I mean sweetheart, permission to have a piece of my cake. Now eat.” When Lance didn't move Keith put his own plate down, got a new one and cut Lance a piece. When Lance, half jokingly, ignored the plate in front of him Keith picked up the spoon and proceeded to trying to feed the young man, who was acting like a child, with the cake. This actually worked, maybe because Lance was getting seriously embarrassed and didn't really want to be fed by Keith this way. Not that he wanted it any other way. Of course not.

 

   Lance still locked his eyes in Keith’s and slightly touched the hand holding the spoon to guide it to his mouth. Maybe he imagined it, but it seemed like this, rather tender action, had made an effect on the red paladin.

 

   ”It really is a good cake,” Lance said, smiling as he took the plate and spoon from a speechless Keith.

 


 

 

   ”What time is it even,” Lance speculated when two thirds of the cake were gone and resting inside of the paladins’s tummies.

 

   ”Who knows, really. Does it even matter? Every planet has their different sleep schedules depending on how much they need and how long the nights and days are. And since we’re in space, we don’t have a specific constant star to base our time on.”

 

   ”Have you thought about this a lot?” Keith hesitated.

 

   ”No…?”

 

   ”Liar,” Lance said before yawning really big. ”Should’t we sleep or something?”

 

   ”Yeah, maybe.” None of them made an effort to move, mostly because of the cake dragging them down, like it was more affected by the gravity of the castle. Lance yawned again.

 

   ”Okay. We sleep should. Wait. Sweep should we. No.” Keith didn't know if Lance was messing his sentences up on purpose, but either way, the face he made when he realized something didn't sound right was fairly adorable.

 

   With shared efforts they cleaned the kitchen and Keith carefully put the rest of Lance’s special space cake in the space fridge. They walked towards their rooms in a rather comfortable silence, the cake seemed to have made them forgot about the argument.

 

   ”Wait a minute,” Lance said, stopping dead in his tracks. ”Will we be able to sleep? Or will the castle casually wake us up every half hour to make us play?”

 

   ”I honestly don’t think Pidge would mess with us that much. We do need to sleep.”

 

   ”Yeah, I guess you’re right.” Lance wasn’t entirely convinced.

 

   ”We’ll just have to see then.” Keith stopped suddenly and Lance turned around in confusion.

 

   ”Uhm, this is my room,” Keith said as he put his hands in the pockets of his jeans.

 

   ”Oh, right. I guess I’ll see you in the morning?”

 

   ”You, eh, forgot?”

 

   ”Forgot about what?” Lance asked with a puzzled expression. Then he remembered. ”Oh. Right. The sleeping in the same bed part.” Both boys blushed, but in the dimming lights of the corridor lamps, neither of them noticed.

 

   ”Who’s bed are we gonna sleep in? They should be the same size right?” Keith speculated as Lance thought about how messy his room was.

 

   ”How about we sleep in your bed?” Lance suggested. Keith thought about how relatively clean his room was, but also how vulnerable he’d feel letting Lance in on his personal spaces.

   When Keith didn't answer right away Lance got nervous and words started to flow out of his moth again.

 

   ”Nothing weird, just that I don’t really clean my room that often since I never really hung out there other than to sleep. I’m mostly in Hunk’s room if I’m in anyones room, really, and I sleep there quite often, since I usually pass out on the floor or something and he just puts a blanket over me and lets me sleep. So… where was I going with this… oh, my room is messy and generally not really suited for cuddling, not that I’m assuming that we’re gonna cuddle, since we are just going to sleep beside each other and not actually, you know, touch each other a lot but um. I… Uh-” Keith interrupted the babbling Lance, mainly because he was making a fool of himself again, but also because the thought of them cuddling wasn’t a thought that was allowed in Keith’s head.

 

   ”Man, it’s alright. We’ll sleep in my bed.”

 

   ”Oh. Alright.” Lance let out a breath. ”I’m gonna go and brush my teeth and stuff, and then come back?” It was like Lance had put an involuntary question mark in the end of the sentence so Keith just nodded and turned towards his door. Lance turned around and walked towards his own bedroom on shaky legs.

 

   The second the door closed behind him Keith loosened his tense muscles and fell down on the floor. Or, more correctly, he got from standing to lying down, he didn’t exactly fell to the floor, but it’s hard to describe otherwise.

   Keith was lying on the floor and pressing the palms of his hands against his eyes, breathing the purple air in and letting the blue air out. In. And out. The red was once again sucked out of the purple, going through his lounges and to his brain, his blood, his muscles and bones. The tenseness and anxiety were still trying to holt their grip on his soul but the red air pushed and swirled and chased the negativity out of his body.

   He could do this. Lance was nervous too. Keith could do this. Purple air in. Blue air out. Red air inside.

 

   Lance was once again in the dark safety of the closet, blanket over his head, legs restless and hands shaking. But most of all Lance was confused. Why was he so worried? What was he even worried about? Was he worried about Keith? Really? He didn’t have a reason, he was good with people. It had been stated by Keith himself earlier this night. So why wouldn’t Lance stop shaking?

 

   ”No. Take control of yourself Lance.” For the second time that day, Lance stepped out of the closet to face Keith. Only it might be best if he showered first. Just in case.

 

   With clean hair and clean teeth Lance was ready to go over to Keith’s room. Well not ready, per se, but he was clean and ready to share a bed. Kinda. Lance yawned really big and stretched out his back. He was getting to the point where he was so tired he didn't actually care any more. Whatever happens happens. It’s just for one night and it’s just sleeping in the same bed. And at least he’s clean and good at sharing.

 

   ”Just shake it off, Lance, shake it off.” He started to shake his hands on purpose to distract them from actually shaking, and then proceeded to shake his arms and legs, one at a time until he was just literally jumping around. Shaking out the stress.

 

   ”’Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play and the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate. I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake. Shake it off, shake it off WOHOHOO.” He walked through his door, continuing down the hallway.

   ”We’re gonna share a bed, bed, bed, bed, bed, an’ Keith’s lion is red, red, red, red, red, Shiro makes the head, head, head, head, head,  And I’m an arm, yeah I’m an arm, I-I-I I shake it off, shake it off, I-I I shake it off, shake it off…

 

   Keith could hear Lance coming down the corridor, singing something to himself. Wait, was that… Taylor Swift? It definitely was, but the lyrics were wrong. Keith just shrugged and drew his fingers through his hair. The singing stopped and a soft knock could be heard from the other side of the door.

 

   ”Come in,” Keith said loudly so Lance would hear him.

 

   ”What took you so long-” Keith lost his trail as Lance walked in. The blue paladin was out of his usual clothes, now only wearing a big shirt.

 

   ”Had to pick the perfect outfit,” Lance just answered casually while shrugging.

 

   ”Is that… one of Hunk’s shirts?” Keith asked, tilting his head trying to decide what he thought of it. It was yellow and so big that the hole for the neck revealed one of Lance’s collarbones and a bit of his chest, really. It was short sleeved but she sleeves reached down to Lance’s elbows. Other than that his legs were bare and though they were thin, Keith couldn’t deny that there were some muscles there he usually couldn’t see. Realizing that he was actually checking Lance out Keith quickly turned his gaze away, once again feeling his blood rushing to his cheeks.

 

   Aside from the shirt and, hopefully, underwear, Lance was only wearing his blue lion slippers. He really did love those slippers.

 

   ”Well it’s one of Hunk’s sleeping-shirts. Mine are smaller actually, but since he’s not here he’s not gonna miss it. Makes me feel cozy.” Lance shrugged, fiddling with the hem of the shirt, unconsciously revealing a bit more of his thighs to the ever blushing Keith.

 

   Keith himself was wearing a normal t-shirt and red pajama pants, matching the themed clothing the paladins had acquired here in the castle. Lance felt a bit exposed, standing there with only a shirt covering his body, aside from his pair of boxer-briefs. He looked around the room, still fiddling with the shirt that felt like a tent around him. Keith’s room was, neat? Neat in a tidy way and neat in a… neat way. Like nice. Nice neat. Neat!

 

   ”So do you want to sleep against the wall or should I?” Lance asked. Undoubtedly, he was nervous and restless, but he was also really tired and it would be really nice to just lie down.

 

   ”Um, if it’s okay with you I’d like you to sleep against the wall. I’d feel trapped otherwise.”

 

   ”Alright.” Lance answered him simply, like it was the most normal thing in the world to just share a bed or something. He walked over to the bed, lifted up the blanket and curled up under it after kicking of his slippers.

 

   Keith just watched for a moment before turning of the big lights, only letting the small night light light up the room. He actually didn’t care that he was too old to be sleeping with some lights on, but it made him feel safe and if it meant that he got more sleep, the light would stay on. Before crawling into bed he grabbed the hem of his t-shirt and yanked it off his head. He’d probably die if he tried to sleep in it anyways, he always seemed to tangle himself up in the shirts he slept in.

Then he walked over to the bed and slowly got under the blanket Lance was holding up for him, shyly biting his lip.

Chapter Text

Keith got under the soft sheets and lay down awkwardly beside Lance, making sure he didn’t touch him by accident.

   ”You, eh, you took of your shirt…?” Lance asked carefully.

   ”Can’t sleep with it on. You okay with that?”

   ”Yeah, of course, man, I just wasn't expecting it.”

Silence.

   ”Okay so I talk in my sleep sometimes, but I’m quite still otherwise so I shouldn't be a bother. How ’bout you?” Lance continued and reached up to turn off the light.

   ”I don’t know.”

   The way one says something can change the meaning of the thing you’re saying. Keith said it with a low and slow voice, instead of in a bored tone that indicated that he wasn’t a problem and it didn’t matter.

   ”What do you mean, you don’t know?”

   ”I’ve never slept with anyone before.” Lance knew what Keith meant but couldn’t hold back a giggle.

   ”Excuse me?!”

   ”No! Shut up.” Keith exclaimed. ”The sleep sleep, not the sex sleep. I’ve never shared a bed before.”

Silence.

   ”How come?”

   ”Well, I haven’t had any, like, partners before.”

   ”Well I haven’t either and I’ve probably shared a bed more times than I’ve slept alone. Being in a big family just means that we share beds on vacations or when we’re visiting relatives. I usually go to one of my siblings’ rooms when I have nightmares, and they come to me sometimes. At the Garrison I shared my bed with Hunk sometimes, he’s really cuddly, but here the beds are just too small. I do like sharing with Pidge tho. They’re so small and really warm. Like, they have the warmth of a big, muscly man, but are the size of a large peanut. That just doesn't make sense.”

   ”Uh, no, it doesn’t”

Silence.

   Lance was tense. Really tense. He was pressing himself against the wall, desperately trying to give as much space as possible to Keith and not touch him in the process. Since Keith didn’t move at all, aside from his chest rising when he breathed, Keith must’ve been tense too. Neither of them was gonna get any sleep like this.

   ”Hey Keith?”

   ”Yeah?”

   ”This isn’t gonna work.”

   ”What do you mean?”

Lance turned to his side, facing the red paladin. ”We can’t sleep together if we’re not comfortable with each other… I-I mean sleep sleep.” Keith turned his head to look at Lance.

   ”Lance I know you mean sleep sleep, you don’t have to make that clear every time, y’know.” Keith turned his head back again and looked up at the ceiling.

   ”Yeah, sorry, alright. Anyhow, we won’t get any sleep if we keep on being awkward with each other like this. We just have to suck it up and act like women.”

   ”…why women?” Lance could see a hint of a frown in Keith’s face.

   ”Well, generally girls share beds all the time and do so comfortably. Makes sense,” Lance explained.

   ”Um, alright…” Lance’s logic actually didn't make perfect sense to Keith, but honestly, what difference did it really make?

   ”But, yeah you’re right,” Keith concluded.

Silence. Again.

 

Lance was getting really sleepy and annoyed at the whole situation.

   ”So, Keith, how do you usually sleep?”

   This was unbearable. Who’s idea was this and what horrible things had Keith done to deserve this?

   ”On my back I guess?”

   ”Just spread out as much as you want and I’ll adjust myself to you.” Why did Lance seem so calm? Keith hesitated but tried to spread out his arms and legs in a more comfortable position, but still without touching Lance.

   ”Keith, man, I’m really tired and I just want to sleep, just get over yourself and relax.”

   ”You asked for it, Sanchez.” Keith tried his best to take over the bed and make Lance regret telling him to get comfy. But Lance didn’t say anything. Instead, he just took his right arm, put it around Keith’s waist and pulled him closer. He rested his head beside Keith’s with Keith’s arm under his neck. And as if this wasn't enough he decided to put his leg around Keith as well, bending it at the knee with his foot under his right leg. He felt Lance take a deep breath and then breathe out really slowly. As he breathed out it was like Lance tried to relax his body, the tension leaving with the air and his body became heavier. The only problem was that with the tension out of Lance’s lungs it was easy for it to make it’s way towards Keith’s lungs.

   ”Is this okay?” Lance mumbled. ”Keith, you have to tell me it it’s not, I don’t want to step over some boundaries just because some stupid game the others made up. Just tell me if you’re uneasy, alright?”

   ”I- no, I think this is okay. I don’t know. I think I just have to make my body relax. I- I don’t know how.”

   ”Okay but try to adjust to my body so you feel alright with the positions as well. We are two people in this bed.” Lance’s voice was getting drowsy and for some reason Keith didn’t want him to fall asleep. He was afraid to move and disturb the blue paladin, but it was like it was itching inside his body, a sign of the discomfort he was feeling.

   ”Keith.”

   ”Yeah, yeah I’m on it.”

   Keith was silent for a while before speaking again. ”Actually, could you lift your head?”

   Lance did as he said and lifted his head from Keith’s arm. Keith pulled his arm out and slid down the mattress a bit, feeling how Lance lifted his arm and leg so Keith had the space to move. Then Keith turned around and pressed his back towards Lance, who only hesitated a second before placing his hand around Keith’s waist again, now putting his knee between Keith’s legs instead. Keith drew in a shuddering breath, not used to this kind of intimacy at all, but honestly, he was really tired and didn't have the time to think about it that much. And having someone against his back… It made him feel safe somehow. Like he was protected and no harm could get to him.

   Lance contributed to the new position by pulling Keith even closer, nuzzling his nose in between Keith’s shoulder blades, making Keith draw a sharp breath which made Lance freeze.

   ”Oh, sorry, is this okay?” Keith could feel Lance’s breath against his back and a shiver went down his spine.

   ”Uh, yeah I just wasn’t expecting it. It’s fine. I promise.”

  So Lance continued to shift, a millimetre here and there to make sure that he was one hundred percent cosy before falling asleep. Keith was already drifting off to sleep, only waking up slightly whenever Lance moved. Keith had just started dreaming something bizarre and colourful when Lance spoke.

   ”Hey, Keith.”

   ”What?” He felt Lance's breath against his back, both warm and cold, tickling his bare skin.

   ”We’re in space.”

   ”Yeah, so?”

   ”We are literally defying gravity!”

   Keith paused in his tracks before realising what Lance was referring back to. To his own surprise, he found himself smiling, chuckling even, making his torso shake with the deep sound in his chest. Lance shivered to the sound that was so clear in his ears and in his sleepy state he just wanted to hear more of that sound.

He wanted it close to him, in his ear, near his lips. Even his mind was too tired to punch him for thinking such thoughts about Keith, and right now he didn't care, because the two paladins were falling asleep and Keith was in Lance’s arms.

 


 

 

   When Keith woke up he didn’t know why, he just knew that something was wrong. His sleepy mind couldn’t figure it out until he felt it again. Lances nails were digging into his side, painfully. Keith opened his eyes and after they’d focused in the dim lightning he saw that he was laying on his back with Lance’s head right below his arm. Keith shifted carefully, because he was also laying on Lance’s left arm, so he was wrapped around Keith’s middle, nails digging into his skin, squeezing him really tightly.

   ”Lance?” Lance mumbled something Keith couldn't understand, and then he realized that Lance was crying. He felt the wetness of Lance’s tears against his chest.

   ”Lance?” he tried again. ”Lance, wake up.” He reached for the lamp and turned it on, instantly regretting it as the light hit his eyes painfully. He lifted his head off his pillow and put it over his face to hide it from the light and he felt Lance shifting beside him.

   ”Lance, you alright?” Lance just held Keith tighter, pulling his nails away, carefully replacing them with fingertips. Keith couldn’t think for a second. What was he supposed to do? Lance was in his bed, his arms wrapped around Keith’s naked torso, possibly half asleep and, yes, also crying.

   ”Hey, just give me a sign if you’re awake.”

   ”I’m awake.” Lance’s voice was weak and Keith could hear the tears seeping through. Keith was still for a moment before turning towards Lance, changing his position so his chin was on top of Lance’s head, Keith’s arms now safely around Lance as well.

   ”Did you have a nightmare? You kinda told me you have those.”

   Lance didn’t breathe for a moment, before letting the air out shakily and with that breath, more tears.

   ”I-I couldn’t move and I had to save you all and I had to solve the puzzle but I couldn’t understand it and you needed me and I just couldn't solve the puzzle. I’m so sorry, Keith. I let you down. Because of the puzzle.”

   ”Lance, it was a nightmare. It wasn’t real.”

   ”But it felt so real, and you died. And it was my fault.”

   ”Lance.” Keith then did something he probably would never have done in the daylight and in his right mind. He pushed Lance away softly, only to take his face in both of his hands and forced the tear-stained face to look at him.

   ”Lance. I am fine, you are fine. We’re both fine. You had a dream and now you’re awake and you. Are. Fine.” Lance blinked slowly, surprised by the sudden emotional intimacy.

   ”But what about my family? On earth.”

   ”The best thing you can do for them right now is to stay here, stay with Voltron and save the universe so you can return to your family. Safe. Voltron might the defender of the universe but we have to defend each other as well.”

   Lance blinked slowly again and his foggy gaze told Keith that some part of him was still asleep.

   ”Okay,” Lance said and positioned himself comfortably beside Keith again and Keith reached for the lamp to turn it off. ”Thanks, Hunk.” Not long after that he was asleep again. Keith couldn’t help but feel a sting of pain in his chest. So what if Lance was asleep, he should be able to tell the difference between his best friend and his… whatever Keith was to him. Even if it was in the middle of the night.

   He suddenly felt extremely uncomfortable, literally trapped in the arms of another person. Keith concentrated on his own breathing for a while but when it didn’t work he tried to struggle free from Lance’s grip without waking him. Then he stood beside the bed for a moment, not entirely sure what he was supposed to do. He was tired and wanted to go back to sleep again. Keith wondered if he were to go sleep in Shiro’s bed instead, but he also didn’t want to leave Lance in case he had another nightmare.

   He solved the problem by simply going to get Shiro’s mattress and quilt and put them beside his own bed. When he was done he lied down, and silently watched Lance’s hand which was hanging outside of the bed. He listened to Lance’s steady breathing and tried to mimic it so he could fall back to sleep, but for some reason, he couldn’t. So he simply stared at Lance’s hand, following it’s silhouette in the dim light with his gaze, his eyes lingering on the long, slim fingers. Eventually he drifted off to an uneasy sleep while still wondering why he felt like he wanted to cry. The last clear thought he had before his mind shut off was the words he’d said to Lance; Voltron might the defender of the universe but we have to defend each other as well…

 


 

 

   The first thing Lance thought about when he woke up was the smell. The smell of the soft sheets he was enclosed by. They smelled clean and at the same time sweet. Not sweet like chemicals or perfume, but the sweet smell of another person. The smell was unmistakably masculine though, but the soft kind and not the kind that surrounds and suffocates you. Lance breathed it in and tried to associate it with someone, until he remembered whose bed he was in. But where was that person?

   Lance opened his eyes and looked around him, only to find Keith curled up on the floor in another blanket. Why’d Keith moved out of the bed? Was the competition off? Wait, no. This wasn’t about the stupid competition, Lance realized. He must have made Keith uncomfortable to the point where the reasonable solution was to sleep on his own. Lance felt the guilt inside of him, cuddling in with the disappointment of not actually waking up with Keith’s warmth beside him. This morning really didn’t start well.

   Lance silently watched as Keith slept. For a moment it looked like Keith wasn’t breathing and Lance almost started to panic before the sleeping one shifted in his sleep and Lance could let out his own breath that he’d been holding. Keith’s long hair was spread out over his pillow and Lance wondered, not for the first time, what it would be like to touch it. It was sappy, but Keith really looked peaceful in his sleep, and not sad like he so often did when he was awake. Why had he moved out of the bed? Lance sighed and decided to just get over with it


   ”Keith? Hey, Keith.” He didn’t seem like a heavy sleeper ’cause at the sound of Lance’s voice his eyelids fluttered.

   ”Lance to Keithyboy. Wake up.”

   ”Mmmm what?”

   ”Why are you on the floor?”

   ”Hmm?”

   ”Why, are you, Keith, on the floor?”

   ”S’nice.” Keith just curled in more in his blanket and Lance had to swallow before he continued ’cause, damn did Keith look cute. Lance threw his pillow at the red paladin.

   ”Keith, why are you on the floor and not in the bed with me?” This finally woke Keith up and instead of throwing the pillow back at Lance he just took it in his arms, hugging it like a plushie, glancing up on Lance.

   ”You had a nightmare, I guessed you needed space or something, I don’t know,” he answered before yawning.

   ”Oh,” was Lance’s only answer to that statement. He felt bad for Keith who had to deal with that, but also really embarrassed. Like he had legit reasons for having bad dreams, but he didn’t want to be a bother.

   ”Sorry,” he said and looked at his hands instead of Keith.

   ”What, you don’t remember?” Keith propped himself up on his elbow, eyeing Lance from his position on the floor. Lance’s embarrassment could now be seen on his face.

   ”Um, no, not really. I- I’m sorry I disturbed your sleep.”

   ”Sweetheart, don’t worry about it.”

 

   Once again Lance had forgotten about the pet name Keith was forced to call him. He thought for one moment what it’d be like if Keith sincerely called him that, or something else that was cute and caring. A sigh left Lance’s chest as his sadness caught up with him. The sigh caught Keith’s attention and he got a better look at Lance’s face which was coloured with a fresh shade of red.

   ”The blush suits you,” Keith blurted out before he could stop himself and Lance’s head jolted up at his words, the blush intensifying. Lance saw how Keith’s eyes widened when he realized what he’d just said.

   ”The what now?” Lance smiled.

   ”NOTHING!” Keith shouted and threw himself down with his face in his pillow, giving Lance a clear view of his back. Lance gasps mentally while holding his breath to not gasp externally as well.

   ”Keith. I think I heard what you said…” There’s nothing like teasing Keith first thing in the morning. The red paladin said something that sounded like ”No you didn’t”, his words muffled by the pillow he was hiding his face in. Lance sat up.

   ”Yes, I’m pretty sure that I did. Let me give you a recap. You called me sweetheart, I blushed, and you told me that the blush suited me.” He got out of the bed and kneeled down beside Keith. ”You think I’m cute.” At that, Keith lifted his head and glared in Lance’s direction.

   ”No I don’t. You’re stupid.”

   ”Not as stupid as you. Come on, I want breakfast.”

 


 


   Once again they were both seated at the table with the cards in the middle. Just two young men who think the other one is fairly cute, not able to confess that to each other. Lance hadn’t put any trousers on, to Keith’s annoyance, and although Keith had covered his chest he was wearing a crop top which gave Lance endless chances to study Keith’s pale skin, stretched over hard muscles and visible ribs. Cute hips. Cute lips. Now that Lance had gotten a hint of how it was to cuddle Keith, he wanted more.

   Lance was pretty sure Keith had noticed how Lance had been glancing at him all morning. His gaze had wandered over Keith’s lips more than once, his belly whenever he moved or stretched. Because of these obvious looks that were constantly washed over him, Keith had a permanent blush on his face, cheeks coloured a bright shade of red.

   ”Truth or dare?”

   ”Truth,” Keith answered. They had almost abandoned the cards their teammates had written, decided that they were too boring and simple.

   ”Do you,” Lance paused for a moment. ”Do you, Keith, find me attractive?” Keith’s face turned into a confused frown and he opened his mouth, getting ready to deny any possible attraction between them but Lance interrupted him before he could answer. He put up a finger in the air.

   ”Remember that you have to answer truthfully, Keathyboy. You cannot lie to the castle.” Keith pressed his lips together in response, crossing his arms and turning his face away.

   ”Oh come on, Keith. You’re no fun. I already know I’m the hottest guy around, you know, aside from Shiro of course.”

   ”Yeah, Shiro is way hotter than you,” Keith muttered quietly.

   ”Hey, how dare you!” Lance shouted, dramatically flailing his arms as usual.

   ”You just said it yourself?” Keith added while allowing himself to sneak a look at Lance, hoping he wouldn’t notice. He did.

   Lance thought to himself for a moment before a smirk grew from the corner of his mouth.

   ”Let me rephrase my question.” He put his elbows on the table, resting his chin in his hands. ”What does Shiro have that I don’t?”

   ”Common sense?”

   Lance started to wave his hands around again and actually got Keith’s attention, and the red paladin was finally looking in the blue paladin's direction again.

   ”Last time I checked, common sense wasn’t a criteria for attractiveness,” Lance said.

   ”I don’t know about you but I don’t feel particularly attracted to stupid people. And therefore I’m not attracted to you.” Keith had leant forward over the table with an uncharacteristically cocky grin on his face. Lance blinked in surprise but picked himself up quickly.

   ”Okay, not the point here. L-lets just look past that bit.” Keith shrugged and leant back again with crossed arms, still with the same facial expression.

   ”What does Shiro have that I don’t. A chance with Allura being the exception.”

   ”A graduation diploma?”

   ”Well, that’s because he’s older, oh my lord, Keith. You could at least try?”

   Keith rolled his eyes ever so slightly and put away his stubbornness. If he were to be entirely honest with himself he wasn’t ready for this conversation. He didn’t know if Lance was ready for this conversation. Wait. Wait a minute. What if Lance was just messing with him? Suddenly his insecurities woke up in his body, spreading with his blood and as a result his grin faded from his face.

   Lance could feel that something changed in the atmosphere.

   ”Hey, you okay? I don’t want to pressure you or make you uncomfortable or nothing.” Lance’s worry was genuine and he wondered if he’d crossed a line somewhere. Another thought kept on nagging in the back of his mind. What if Keith didn’t like him? At all. Not even on a platonic level. What if his flirting had made him uncomfortable to the point of conflict? Had he read all the situations wrong?   From there Lance’s thoughts spiralled into hell and he could feel his anxiety rising from that hell and into his mind. Somehow, Keith noticed. It might have been because Lance had gone pale and Keith was beginning to think that the other boy might faint.

   ”Dude, are you okay?”

   ”Huh? Uh, yeah. I’m f-fine.”

   ”No, you’re not.”

Lance slowly got dragged back to reality, leaving the irrational fears behind, his emotions settling on a general worry.

   ”Shiro has a metal arm,” Keith exclaimed awkwardly and a bit too loud.

   ”What?” Lance snapped out of his hell spiral. Keith cleared his throat.

   ”He has a metal arm. You don’t.”

   ”Well, I haven’t been kidnapped by aliens. Yet.”

   ”His arm is cool. Cooler than your normal arms. They look like sticks.” At that, Lance gasped dramatically, and Keith was happy to see that colour had returned to his cheeks.

   ”I do not have stick arms! Look at my muscles.” Lance straightened his back and flexed his arms with a crooked eyebrow and suggestive smirk. The red paladin couldn’t deny that Lance’s arms were indeed pretty muscular, definitely more than they’d been when they first got to the castle. Was he going to admit it to Lance? Hell no. Was he possibly blushing? Probably.

   ”What muscles? I see only sticks.” Lance gasped once more and crossed his arms over his chest, mimicking Keith, and went into pouting mode. Again.

   ”Okay, so I’m not the strongest, but I’m not weak either.”

   ”Whatever,” Keith smirked and rolled his eyes.

   ”Aight, besides from the cyborg, alien arm. What does he have? Should we move to the lounge or something by the way?”

   ”Sure,” Keith nodded. He reached for the cards before he stood up and they moved towards the corridor.

   ”He’s taller than you,” Keith continued when they were out of the kitchen.

   ”So? You’re tiny,” Lance answered, glancing over at Keith, who frowned.

   ”Am not.”

   ”Are too. Anyways, continue.”

   ”He has really impressive abs.”

   ”I have abs!”
   ”Lance. I am listing things Shiro has that you don’t have,” Keith stated, putting an emphasis on the word don’t. ”You can prove yourself later.”

   Lance stopped dead in his tracks, eyes widened at the thought of proving himself to Keith. He knew that Keith certainly didn’t mean anything… like that, but the thought popped into his head and didn’t want to leave.

   And now he wanted to transfer that thought into Keith’s head.

 

   ”So what you’re basically saying is that Shiro is hotter,” Lance said when Keith’d noticed that Lance wasn’t right behind him. ”Stronger and could push you up a wall better than I could?” Keith frowned in confusion at Lance’s words as he replied.

   ”Why would he do that? We never fight and when we do we never get physical.”

   Lance almost told Keith there and then how adorable and clueless he was. Instead he buried his insecurities and dug up his confidence best he could.

   ”No, Keith, honey.” He took a step towards the confused paladin and slowly put his hand on Keith’s shoulder. ”I wasn’t talking about violence.”

   Keith’s expression went from confused to shocked and confused as he was forced to stumble backwards until he hit the wall behind him. Lance moved his hand from Keith’s shoulder to the wall above it, moving his body closer, trapping Keith between him and the wall.

   ”Oh,” Keith simply said. Lance leant even closer and his smirk was very, very suggestive. On the outside, Lance was calm and knew what he was doing, on the inside he was screaming. Everything was going according to plan. He had Keith against a wall and he was probably aware of what Lance had meant with hypothetical pushing against hypothetical walls. Except it wasn’t hypothetical anymore and Lance had no idea how to get out of this situation. It would be very easy to just, lean, in and very lightly brush with his lips against Keith’s and then just continue walking. It would be so easy. But still, Lance didn’t want to take any more initiatives, in case this wasn’t at all what Keith wanted. Oh quiznak, had he fucked up? He’d fucked up.

  This wasn’t a plan! It wasn’t even a hint of a plan. He was stepping over the line and making Keith very, very, VERY uncomfortable and he’d ruined everything and they would never be able to come back from this and they’d never be friends or form Voltron again and they’d lose the war and the whole universe was doomed now just because Lance didn’t think before he acted. Stupid Lance. Stupid, stupid-

   ”I dare you to kiss me,” Keith said.

Chapter Text

   ”I dare you to kiss me.”

 

   ”W-what?” It was Lance’s turn to stare at Keith in shock.

 

   ”I said,” Keith mumbled as he reached out and grabbed the hem of Lance’s night shirt and pulled him closer. ”I dare you to kiss me.”

Keith unconsciously licked his lips as his eyes darted between Lance’s eyes and lips.   ”You sure?”

 

   ”You sure?”

 

   ”I dared you didn’t I?” Keith blushed deeply and made Lance realise that he was probably blushing just as hard. Lance swallowed and leant even closer.

 

   ”So you want me to- to kiss you?”   Keith rolled his eyes and snickered at Lance’s question. ”Duh.”

 

   Keith rolled his eyes and snickered at Lance’s question. ”Duh.”

 

   So Lance kissed him. It was probably the lightest kiss any of them had ever experienced since Lance’s lips barely touched Keith’s. It was enough to get Keith to inhale sharply.

 

   ”What?” Lance asked, still just centimetres away.

 

   ”No, I just. I didn’t think you’d actually do it,” Keith answered in a low voice, eyes half closed and his mind fogged up by the thought of soft Lance-kisses. ”I don’t mind though.”

 

   ”You don’t?” Lance slowly pressed his body closer to Keith’s.

 

   ”No.”

 

   So Lance kissed him again, with more precision, lips actually touching this time. Lance put his hand that wasn’t on Keith’s shoulder on his waist, brushing his thumb over Keith’s hipbone. Keith responded by grabbing more of Lance’s shirt in his hands and pulling him closer, leaning his head back against the wall. Lance smiled against Keith’s mouth.

 

   ”You’re tiny.”

 

   ”Shut up,” Keith murmured and leant even more into the kiss. This had been building up for a long time inside of them, neither of them knowing it.

 

   Lance gladly continued the slow, soft kissing, mind somewhat fuzzy. Suddenly Keith opened his mouth, inviting the blue paladin in and at the same time, Lance could feel fingertips sneaking in under his shirt and softly tapping against his lower spine. Lance had to pull away. He relocated his hands flat against the wall, breaking the kiss with a gasp and rested his forehead against Keith’s shoulder.

 

   ”Too fast?” Keith asked, pulling his hands away from Lance’s lower back, softly resting them against Lance’s shoulder blades instead.

 

   ”Uh, um, yeah.” Lance breathed. He stayed like that, against Keith’s shoulder for a while, before pulling away and shyly looking at Keith again. He opened his mouth to speak, not meeting the red paladin’s gaze.

 

   ”Keith, um-” He swallowed. ”Do you- is this what you want? I mean, I want to, uhm, I want to kiss you. I liked it. And I like being close to you. Like, yesterday, in bed.” Lance dared to meet Keith’s eyes for a second. ”But if you don’t want this it’s okay, like, no- no big deal.” Lance started to take a step back, moving his body away from Keith’s so the red paladin wasn’t pinned between Lance and the wall.

 

   ”I do. I do want this,” Keith answered, but let Lance take his distance. ”Sweetheart,” Keith added after a second or two. Lance couldn't help but smile at the word again.

 

   ”Keith, truth or dare?”

 

   ”Uh, truth?” Keith answered after a moment of confusion.

 

   ”Will I scare you away if I tell you I might have fallen for you? Maybe? A tiny bit?” At the end of the sentence Lance hopefully glanced up at Keith’s face, and he could see that Keith was in a minor shock of some sort. Lance decided to take that as a good sign.

 

   ”Because, you know,” he continued. ”I might have. Fallen for you. Keith.”

Silence.

Lance was getting nervous again.

 

   ”And if that will scare you away, I can get up again. I can un-fall myself for you. From you? I can rise from you? Wait no that sounded way too dirty, not romantic at all, wait a minute.” Lance rested his frowned forehead in his hand, thinking hard of what he actually wanted to express. At Lance’s usual, nervy ramble, Keith felt at home again, knowing that the amount of words he couldn’t express were borrowed by Lance. Lance thinks out loud, while Keith tries to keep it in his head.

 

   ”But maybe that is what you want. The dirty stuff?” Lance threw up his hands in the air to emphasise his question. He took a step away to give his gesticulations space. ”I-I could, um, give you that. If you’re only interested in the, you know, physical stuff or whatever…” Lance’s voice trailed off when he saw Keith’s expression. He was smiling, like he wanted to laugh but was trying not to. Keith who never laughed, and rarely smiled. Lance realised that he might have misjudged Keith. Or just overthought the whole thing.

 

   ”You’re-,” Keith breathed out as he shook his head. ”You’re really cute.” He said it so quietly Lance wasn’t sure he had heard him right at first.

 

  ”What?”

 

   ”I-th-ng-your-ute,” Keith mumbled, looking away. This conversation was really a mess.

 

   ”I’m sorry, Kogane, I can’t hear you,” Lance said a bit louder than normal conversations required. Keith just repeated the same sentence, still not with actually audible words, but Lance’s confidence still grew and he leant towards Keith with his hands on his back.

 

   ”Keithyboy, honey, speak up.”

 

   ”I THINK YOU’RE CUTE OKAY!” Keith shouted right in Lance’s face. Lance knew what he was going to hear but it still took him by surprise, making him blush uncontrollably and he hid his face in his hands.

 

   ”Stop it,” Lance groaned and Keith could hear Lance’s giant smile through his voice.

 

   ”No.”

 

   ”Uuuugh.” Lance bowed down a bit and leant his head against Keith’s shoulder again, or more against his collarbone really and Keith lost his balance and fell back the few centimetres until he hit the wall again. He slowly put his arms around Lance again. Lance buried himself deeper into Keith’s embrace while muttering words none of them could make out.

   Speaking of making out…

 

   ”Hey, Keith?”

 

   ”Mhm?”

 

   ”Should we actually go to the lounge?”

 

   ”Yeah, we probably should.” Slightly embarrassed the two boys separated and started to walk down the corridor again, maybe a bit closer than before. Lance thought for a moment if he should take Keith’s hand or not, but decided not to. Maybe later. And he still wasn’t sure where this would lead. If it would even lead somewhere. Maybe this was a one-time thing, that would be forgotten as soon as the other crew members got back. He really didn't want this to be over. Lance wanted it to lead somewhere.

 


 

 


 ”Truth or dare, sweetheart?”

 

   ”Truth.”

 

   ”No, say dare.”

 

   ”Keith, that’s not how it works, but alright. Dare then.”

 

   ”Give me a massage.”

 

   ”What, like a… full body one?” Lance asked, half serious. Keith rolled his eyes at him and glared.

 

   ”No, I’m just really tense.” Keith turned his back at Lance and pulled his hair away from his back. Lance moved closer and let his hands rest on top of Keith’s shoulders for a moment before he put the pressure on his thumbs and moved them in circles. He got an idea and leant forward to speak directly into Keith’s ear.

 

   ”Do I make you nervous?” Lance’s low voice almost gave Keith goosebumps, and Lance could feel Keith’s back straighten as he mumbled ”No” under his breath.

 

   Lance let his gaze wander from the back of Keith’s neck and down over the fabric of the crop top. Lance almost desperately wanted to draw his finger alongside Keith’s spine, where the vertebrates were visible. Lance wanted to brush against his shoulder blades, his ribs, his collar bones. ”Do I have a fascination with bones?” Lance asked himself. ”I think I do.” Or maybe it just was a fascination of how bones looked from the outside, how the skin where stretched over them and over muscles, how those part of the body actually made up the physical form of a person.

   Lance suddenly noticed red marks against Keith’s skin, half of them covered under the fabric of Keith’s shirt, and before Lance could stop himself he brushed his fingertips over the marks. Keith reacted instantly and clasped his hand over his side, trying to cover them up.

 

   ”What happened here?”

 

   ”It’s nothing.”

 

   ”Keith, this isn’t nothing.” Lance grabs onto Keith’s hips, turning him sideways, not really aware of the fact that the action was more intimate than it was meant and actually made Keith gasp after air. Then Lance tried to tear Keith’s hand away and Keith realised that Lance wasn’t going to give up, so Keith did instead. Lance lifted up Keith’s shirt, studying the pattern of multiple red marks on Keith’s left side, seeing that they looked like tiny cuts, some of them so deep that they’d drawn blood. He looked up on Keith’s face.

 

   ”Keith…” He saw the pain in the red paladin’s eyes. Not physical pain, but the pain that Keith knew that Lance was about to feel. ”Keith, I did this, didn't I…”

 

   ”Lance, it wasn’t your fault. You had a nightmare.”

 

   ”But I hurt you,” Lance whispered. ”Was that why you moved out of the bed?” Keith quickly turned towards Lance again, taking his wrists in a firm grasp.

 

   ”No, I moved because I wanted to give you space, not because you did anything wrong. It is minor scratch, it will be gone by tomorrow and it doesn’t hurt.” That was a lie. It didn’t hurt much, but Keith could feel that his skin was damaged. Lance didn’t look convinced so Keith tugged at his arms and brought him closer so he could stare straight into his eyes. Figuratively, since when you’re that close you can’t actually stare into both of the other person’s eyes with both of your eyes.

 

   ”Lance, I don’t blame you for accidentally hurting my skin. You were really messed up after that dream and I talked you through it and I was just glad that I could help. Now let. It. Go.” Lance still wasn’t convinced.

 

   ”Lance, for fucks sake,” Keith said, feeling the need to use strong words to get the message to Lance. ”We just kissed, I wouldn’t have done that if something was wrong, now would I.” Keith was right. And Lance knew it.

 

   ”I know, I believe you, it’s just, you know. It’s just my brain telling me that I’m weak and annoying and worthless and all that. I know that it isn’t true,” Lance hurried to continue when he saw how Keith was about to argue with him. ”I know that I’m not weak just because I have feelings or nightmares and I know that I am loved and that Blue chose me to be her pilot but I don’t feel it. I tell myself every day that I am worth something but I just can’t feel it inside of me. It’s like something’s blocking it.” Keith just looked at Lance for a moment, before he closed his eyes and rested his forehead against Lance’s. Then he started to talk in a low and soothing voice.

 

   ”You are strong, and brave, and talented. You are social, you know people, you know how to talk, how to interact. You read people, you get what they need and you care, Lance. You care so much. You even cared for me when you hated me-”

 

   ”I never hated you,” Lance interrupted. ”I just didn’t realise in what way I actually liked you.” Keith’s breath was stuck in his throat before he forcefully let it out, swallowed and continued.

 

   ”You are smart, and a good pilot. You are curious and never back away from new experiences. You think everything is exciting. You love your family and you love your friends. And you are beautiful, Lance. You are beautiful because sometimes when you look out a window or are on the observation deck, you look at the stars and the planets like you’re seeing them for the first time, and your eyes sparkle with wonder. And every time you take my breath away. Every time. And Lance, your legs. I just really like your le-”

Keith snapped his mouth shut when he realised where his monologue was heading and after a long moment he opened his eyes when he heard Lance snivel. Lance was crying. Lance opened his mouth and wanted to say something, wanted to express how much it meant to him to hear this, to hear Keith say it. All that came out were more sobs and Lance just smiled. He smiled
through the tears because for the first time in a really long time, he could actually feel something in his heart, that felt like self-acceptance.

 


 

   Lance opened his eyes and tried to grasp the dream he’d just dreamt before he woke up. He gave up after some time. Whatever, he still had the fuzzy feeling from it. He didn't open his eyes and didn’t have to, to know that Keith was still sleeping. Lance’s head was on Keith’s shoulder, his long legs under one of Keith’s. He could feel how the red paladin breathed, the slow pace telling him that he was asleep.

 

   Lance had gotten tired after his minor emotional breakdown, and a nap was just what he needed right now. Honestly, Keith was just exhausted from talking so much. Keith really wasn’t used to using so many words at the same time. He was good with them though. He just chose to keep them for special moments. Lance took a deep breath and breathed in the scent of sweet boy and realised, for like the twelfth time, that they were cuddling, they had kissed earlier today and he was possibly in love with Keith. The realisation resulted in blushing, not so discrete squealing, and burying a nose in another’s ribs.

 

   ”Stop tickling me.” The Keith had awoken.

 

   ”Noooooo,” Lance squealed.

 

   ”What are you doing,” Keith mumbled. Lance giggled and nudged at Keith to tell him to turn himself towards Lance, who was still nuzzling his nose against Keith, who was squirming a little but still didn’t complain. Lance started to actually rub his head against Keith, making the other boy squirm a lot, wheezing and making a sound that sounded something like ”Lance, please stop, you’re killing me.”

Naturally, Lance didn’t stop.

Until he accidentally brushed against Keith’s bare skin. It was kind of inevitable since he was wearing a crop top after all, but neither of them was ready for it. Keith gasped, both because he could breathe again and because he could feel Lance’s own breath against his belly. Lance leant down and kissed the soft, pale skin. Keith held his breath. Lance kissed his belly again, a bit lower down and Keith could feel a hint of how his body wanted to react to these seemingly innocent kisses.

 

   ”Lance,” Keith mumbled under his breath.

 

   ”Mmhm?” Another kiss, even lower down, now below the belly button.

 

   ”Truth or dare?”

 

Lance paused, then smiled. ”Dare.”

 

   ”I dare you to kiss me. Again.” Lance sat up, sighed theatrically and got into a more comfortable position before exclaiming:

 

   ”I guess I have to now that you have dared me.”

 

   So Lance leant down and lightly brushed his lips against Keith’s chin, following his jawbone up towards his ear and back again before placing a light kiss on his lips. Keith’s reaction was instant and his hand was on Lance’s lower back while the other found it’s way to Lance’s cheek. Lance didn’t hesitate as much this time and deepened the kiss, leaning down more. Then he quickly pulled away only to dart out his tongue and trace it alongside Keith’s lower lip. Keith pushed down the groan that wanted to escape him and moved his hand from Lance’s cheek to his chest, lightly pushing him away.

 

   ”Too fast?” Lance smiled.

 

   ”Too fast,” Keith confirmed. Lance smiled even wider, because he had made Keith gasp and pull away because he, Lance, was going too fast. Now they were even. Keith sat up and pulled his fingers through his hair, annoyingly shaking it out of his face and tugged at it like it was in the way.

 

   ”Why don’t you just put it up in a ponytail or something, if it bugs you?” Lance asked.

 

   ”It looks stupid,” Keith frowned and stopped touching his hair.

 

   ”Keith. Truth or dare?”

 

   ”Well if I say dare you’re just gonna make me put my hair up so I’m not gonna do that. Truth.” Lance’s devious smile grew wider.

 

   ”Who’s a better kisser, me or Shiro?” If Keith had held something in his hands he would certainly have dropped it.

 

   ”W-what?” he stuttered, blush deeper than ever. Lance shrugged innocently (read: not innocently at all).

 

   ”Lance, Shiro and I never kissed.”

 

   ”Really?” Lance said with one raised eyebrow.

 

   ”Yes, really. Do people go around kissing people randomly? I mean it’s not like you have snogged Hunk or anything.” Keith’s face was pure confusion.

 

   ”Well…” Lance’s mouth was curved in an embarrassed smile and Keith’s eyes widened when the realization hit him.

 

   ”You have!”

 

   ”Yeah,” Lance shrugged. ”He’s the reason I’m so good at it,” he stated with a flirty smile instead. ”I mean I am a natural, of course, but practice still makes perfect, and if one doesn’t have a romantic or sexual partner at hand, you have to come up with other partners. Like platonic soulmates. Like Hunk.” He shrugged again and watched Keith’s confusion with amusement. If question marks had a specific sound, that was the sound Keith would currently be making.

 

   ”So I just assumed that you and Shiro had been practicing, I mean since he’s the person you’re closest to, really. And you must have. Practiced I mean.”

 

   ”I- No?”

 

   ”Wait, what?” Lance said with a laugh.

 

   ”I’ve never practiced?” More inaudible question marks from Keith. ”Our first kiss was my first kiss.” Now it was Lance’s turn to communicate with question marks. He opened and closed his mouth several times, eyes wide and arms flailing, clearly not able to find the words he wanted to use. Keith chuckled, because speechless Lance was adorable.

 

   ”That was your first kiss? How in the world-” More speechless flailing. ”But Keith,” Lance shouted before lunging forward and taking Keith's face in his hands.

 

   ”Keith, you took my breath away with that kiss. I mean, I could have died due to the lack of oxygen.” Lance was dead serious and he felt Keith’s cheeks go hot against the palms of his hands and Keith had this absolutely lovable expression of surprise and joy. Lance glanced at Keith’s smile and cupped his face more tenderly before leaning forward and kissing Keith’s smiling lips, actually making Keith giggle a bit. After that one, soft kiss he rubbed his nose against Keith’s, eyes closed and smile wide. The suddenly Keith froze.

 

   ”Wait, does this mean that you and Hunk practised… other stuff too?”

 

   ”What? No! No, just kissing. Just kissing. Besides, Hunk isn’t sexually attracted to boys, or anyone really. But no, everything else is saved for you.” Once again Lance had spoken before thinking and he almost pushed Keith away from himself, enlarging the space between them.

 

   ”I mean- I don’t mean. Like we don’t have to like- If you’re not read- wait I’m not ready. Like no pressure from my side like we don’t have to do, stuff, like ever. Unless we want to, but we don't have to. Like now. Or eve-” Lance’s panicked rambling was silenced by Keith’s hand, that was now placed right over Lance’s mouth.

 

   ”Lance. Let’s just continue the game,” Keith told him simply, not aware of the fact that his cheeks were even redder than before. Lance meant to say ”Uh, yes, that’s a good idea,” but it didn’t come out as clearly through Keith’s fingers, which were still pressed against the blue paladin’s mouth, now a bit damp from Lance’s breath. Keith pulled his hand away with a faint ”Ew,” and dried off his palm on Lance’s shirt.

 

 


 


The game continued, like it had for hours. The game that had been supposed to make them get along and now had gotten them to give in to the inner desires of closeness to the other boy. The game that Pidge had constructed to break them.

   Two boys, physically close in a living room in a castle that is a spaceship in space. Two boys mentally close by the flow of feelings that has passed between them. It was, after all, inevitable.


 

 

”Truth or dare, sweetheart?” Keith asked and woke Lance from his daydreams.

 

  ”Dare?”

 

   ”Could you please put some trousers on, your legs are distracting.” Keith stared straight into Lance’s eyes with a calm expression but a hidden smirk in the corner of his mouth. Lance stood up slowly.

 

   ”Oh, so my legs are distracting now, are they?” He started walking around the room, like on a catwalk, one hand on his hip and the other swaying beside him.

 

   ”Lance, oh my god,” Keith sighed. Lance just smiled and stroke a pose, arms behind his head. His sleeping shirt rose up, exposing Lance’s thighs and boxers. Then he looked at Keith and smiled his most seductive smirk.

 

   ”Lance, I swear, I will hit you if you don’t stop.”

 

   ”Please do,” Lance growled, realising a second afterwards that he was unconsciously initiating foreplay, and turned around quickly and ran out of the room to put on some trousers.

Keith was left to concentrate on filling his lungs with red air, struggling with it because Lance was just really,really,really, cute.

Chapter Text

   ”Sooo…” Lance said, dragging the single word out, obviously a tad nervous.

 

   ”Hm?” Keith turned his face towards the blue paladin.

 

   ”Do you wanna be my datemate?”

Keith frowned before answering.

 

   ”Your what?”

 

   ”Datemate! You know, significant other, partner in crime and cuddles?”

Keith’s frown turned into raised eyebrows and an amused smile. But he didn't say anything.

 

   ”Well, will you? Keith? Honey? My man?”

 

   ”Sure,” Keith said after breathing out. ”I’ll be your playmate.”

 

   ”Datemate,” Lance corrected.

 

   ”Whatever,” Keith replied while smiling. Lance gave Keith a light push on the shoulder.

    It had taken a while before Lance came back after Keith had sent him away to put on more clothes, mostly because he couldn’t decide if he should sit in the closet to calm down or not. He decided not to, which only resulted in nervous rambling, as usual. He tried to swallow the words but they kept bubbling out of his mouth. Keith had gone back to his normal state of quietness, happy with being able to observe Lance freely, without having to turn his gaze away or mask it with a glare. Lance himself wasn’t used to having Keith look at him so intensely and was a constant mess of blushing and shyly looking away.

 

   ”Why are you looking at me like that?” Lance asked after some time, mostly because they’d been quiet for a while and it was getting awkward.

 

   ”Like what?” Keith straightened his back, tilted his head to the side and continued to unashamedly observe Lance.

 

   ”Like,” Lance said while he felt Keith’s gaze burn through his clothes. ”Like, you know… that!” He gesticulated towards Keith like it would make things any clearer. Keith just shrugged and smiled even wider against his own wishes.

 

   ”Stop!” Lance groaned and covered his face with his arms. This could only be described as lovesickness.

 

   ”Lance, I am literally not doing anything.”

 

   ”Yeah you are!” Lance peeked up at Keith. ”You are existing and looking at me and we are datemates and I can’t believe this is actually happening. Like. Yesterday we were still rivals.”

    Keith thought about what Lance said for a moment and actually thought about the fact that they were actually dating somehow. They were dating. Keith and Lance were dating. Keith and Lance had somehow developed mutual feelings for each other, at the same time, while in the same place. What are the odds?

   Keith took a risk and while Lance was curled up and distracted he lunged forward and put his arms around the Lance-ball and buried his face in Lance’s shoulder. Lance gasped out of surprise and felt his body temperature rise.

 

   ”This is a whole new side of you, Keith,” he said after he’d caught his breath. ”You are actually quite cuddly, aren’t you?” Keith answered by squeezing Lance tighter.

 

And that was when the speakers sparked to life and Pidge’s voice filled the room.

 

   ”I hope you’re decent because we’re almost back at the castle.”

 

   ”Why wouldn’t we be decent?” Keith mumbled, more to himself than to Lance. Lance thought it was best to not explain Pidge’s innuendo.

 

   ”They didn’t say that they were going to come back today,” Keith said louder, now directing his words at Lance. ”I thought they were going to be gone longer.” Keith jumped when Lance started shouting his following sentences dramatically.

   ”Oh NO! Now I, Lance, the sweetest of sweethearts, have to share my boyfriend with others. However will I survive this.” He pulled his arms up and theatrically threw them around Keith, tucking Keith’s head under his chin. ”Don’t worry, my child. I will protect you.”

 

   ”How can I be your boyfriend and your child?” Keith almost couldn’t pronounce the word boyfriend. It was a foreign word that he never thought he’d ever be able to call anyone.

 

   ”Shuush now,” Lance hushed at him, still holding on to Keith really tight.

 

   ”Lance?”

 

   ”Mmh?” Lance hummed.

 

   ”What will we tell the others?”

   Lance leant back, dragging Keith with him.

 

   ”I don’t know.”

A moment of silence passed.

 

   ”Hey, Keith. You know what would be fun? To pretend like nothing has changed. I’m still a bit pissed about it all. I mean, I’m glad that they forced us to do this, with you know, the outcome. But still pissed.”

 

   ”I like the way you think, sweetheart.”

 


 

 


Pidge was the first one to enter the lounge and the first thing they saw was Lance and Keith, sitting as far from each other as possible in one of the sofas, with various playing cards scattered around them. Both looked annoyed.

 

   ”Pidge!” Lance shouted when he saw them in the doorway. He sprung up from the sofa, accidentally dragging a few cards with him and they ended up on the floor. ”Pidge, do you have ANY idea what we’ve been through?”

   Luckily for Pidge, Shiro had just entered the room and managed to get between them and Lance’s sharp nails.

 

   ”We have been in hell,” Lance snapped whilst trying to free himself from Shiro’s grip.

 

   ”Lance,” Shiro responded calmly. ”Pull yourself together. Just sit down and tell us what you’ve been doing. Don’t rip Pidge’s throat out just yet.”

 


 

 

So now, the seven of them were gathered in the lounge. Lance was pouting, as usual, while Hunk was supportively patting his back. Keith had his arms crossed over his chest (he was still wearing the crop top, which had led to a raised eyebrow from Shiro) and was demonstratively not meeting anyone's eyes.

 

   ”So tell me, what cards did you get?” Pidge spat out at the two boys, not wanting to wait any longer. Did their plan work? Pidge simply had to know. Now. Hunk also wanted to know really badly but didn't push anything for Lance’s sake. Allura was still childishly interested in the game itself and wanted to try it out, as did Coran. Shiro didn’t know wether he should laugh or cry.

 

   ”Does it matter?” Lance muttered under his breath.

Hunk straightened himself while still being close to Lance so he could feel the support through body warmth.

 

   ”Of course it matters, Lance,” Allura said. ”You should know each other better by now and hopefully gotten over this rivalry that shouldn’t even be here in the first place. Who could ever have guessed that two of the paladins of Voltron wouldn’t get along.”

Keith couldn’t help himself and he laughed. If they only knew that they had been kissing on the very sofa they were sitting in at the moment. The sound of Keith’s laugh made the others look at him. He tried to look irritated but probably looked more amused than mad.

 

   ”So you thought that leaving us alone would solve the problem?” Allura, Pidge and Coran nodded. Hunk shrugged and Shiro looked a bit concerned like he regretted not stepping in and stopping the plans before they were set into play.

 

   ”The castle did practically try to kill us you know,” Keith added when nobody answered. Lance nodded and pointed at Keith to emphasize what he said.

 

   ”What do you mean?” Allura asked.

 

   ”Duh, the thing Pidge installed? That forced us to play? I have bruises all over my body to prove it,” Lance said with a frown.

 

   ”What thing?” Pidge said before they remembered what they’d told the boys. ”Oh, right! The thing.” A moment of silence and slight confusion.

 

   ”There was no thing,” Pidge confessed. They didn’t sound regretful at all.

 

   ”Wait, what?!” Lance flew up from the sofa with question marks all over his face. ”Then why did the castle jolt around like it did? Look what it did to me!” And then he actually pulled down his pants to show the big purple bruise on his hip. Keith looked away, desperately hoping that he wasn’t blushing. Spoiler alert, he was.

 

   ”We could have died!” Lance shouted, putting on a thick layer of drama on the situation. Keith rolled his eyes, internally and externally.
   ”Lance, Pidge didn't install anything,” Coran told him. ”She-, sorry, they just said that so you would be compelled to play the game.” Pidge nodded and waived away Coran’s apology. He hadn’t yet grasped the concept of gender identity for humans yet. He knew of other alien species who changed their sex through out different life cycles or times of the year. He had just assumed that Pidge was female even when they went by he/him before coming clean about their gender. Later they realized that she/her didn’t fit them either. Coran did his best and Pidge appreciated it, but he was, after all, a person who had a hard time keeping his thoughts together and organized. Sometimes he couldn’t be blamed.

 

   ”You know, socialize, talk to each other,” Coran continued. ”Notice your similarities, find common ground. That actually reminds me of that one time, long ago when I was still young- I mean, younger, when I was thrown into the conflict of two-”

 

   ”Coran.”

   ”Coran.”

Shiro and Allura had spoken out at the same time, interrupting the man in his potential monologue.

 

   ”Oh, right,” he said, twiddling his moustache. ”What was I saying? Oh yes, there was nothing installed to the castle. You must have imagined it.”

 

   ”I most certainly did not imagine being thrown around and getting seriously hurt!” Lance shouted. He wasn’t really angry though. It was a combination of acted anger and confusion.

 

   ”He didn’t imagine it,” Keith confirmed, still not looking in Lance’s direction.

Pidge’s patience was up anyway.

 

   ”We didn't do anything to the ship. Period. Now tell us what happened in the game.”

Lance admitted defeat and sat down again, closer Hunk this time so the yellow paladin could protectively put his arm around him. Keith noticed this out of the corner of his eye and turned to look. He saw how Lance sneakily shot him a grin, obviously trying to get a reaction, perhaps out of jealousy. Keith himself didn’t feel like he needed to react to that. He knew Lance and Hunk were best friends, while he and Lance were… boyfriends.

 

   ”Pidge, how about you just look up who won so we can get this over with?” Keith said with a sigh, tiredly leaning back his head so he was staring up towards the sealing.

 

   ”You did install the point system, right?” Lance added hesitantly.

 

   ”Nope,” Pidge answered, still without any form of regret in their voice. Lance groaned loudly and slumped against Hunk who just continued patting Lance with the same sunny expression.

 

   ”It’s not like we need to count points anyways,” Keith said. ”I mean, I obviously won.”

 

   ”Nu-uh. The winner is clearly me,” Lance said in return, the glimpse of rivalry sparkling in his eye. Keith chuckled silently. The sound didn’t effect Lance at all (Read: it really did).

 

   ”Sweetheart,” Keith said as he leant forward. ”I won and there is nothing you can do about it.” The blush that grew on Lance’s face didn’t go unnoticed by anyone. Keith looked incredibly pleased with himself and Lance didn't know if he wanted to wipe that smirk away with a kiss or a slap. Okay if he were to be totally honest he would totally go for the kiss. No surprise there, really.

 

   ”Oh, you drew my sweetheart card!” Allura called out just a tick before the silence became incredibly awkward for everyone involved.

 

   ”Did you draw my cake card?” Hunk asked without hesitating. Lance crossed his arms and let out a sigh.

 

   ”I was forced to bake Keith a cake. And make him tea.”

 

   ”The cake was amazing,” Keith said before he could stop himself and the gang was slightly surprised over the fact that Keith seemingly had given that compliment so easily.

 

   ”I made mama Rosa’s special cake,” Lance said quietly, flattered by the praise.

 

   ”Lance’s special space cake, you mean,” Keith corrected with a smile. Lance smiled back at him. Pidge smiled smugly. Hunk smiled out of happiness. They’d made use for the recipe he translated!

 

   ”Keith doesn’t have a diary!” Lance said suddenly as if it just popped into his head. He said it with wide eyes and clearly expected the same reaction from the others as he had had.

 

   ”Lance, people don’t have diaries,” Keith scoffed.

 

   ”Yes, they do!”

 

   ”Lance,” Hunk interrupted. ”I know your diary is very important to you, but not everyone needs to write stuff down to deal with them. You know that. I deal by cooking and Pidge deals by tech-ing.”

 

   ”Tech-ing is not a word,” Pidge added.

 

   ”I have a diary,” Allura said. ”I wrote that card I suppose you’re indirectly referring to. A diary is extremely private and individual, but to get a look into someone's deepest thoughts, even if it is something shallow, can give you a greater perspective of the person in question. That’s why I thought it was a good idea. If it’s important enough to write down, it might be important enough to be shared.”

 

   ”Well said, Princess,” Coran said. ”I as well have a diary. Or maybe it’s more of a journal. Or memoirs. Yes. They’re my memoirs.”

   Allura cut him off before he could get into another monologue.

 

   ”My point is, we really wanted you two to bond over this game. To interact and realize that you actually have similarities and might actually like each other. You are paladins of Voltron, and you have to repay that honour by being honest and respectful to each other. When you all five combine into one, your souls touch each other-”

 

   ”Gross,” Pidge said and got an irritated look from Allura.

 

   ”Your souls touch each other and leaves marks forever. We wanted you to find those marks, to embrace them. To accept that in a way you two belong together. You don’t have to become best friends, you just have to tolerate and appreciate one another. That is all I ask.”

   There was a moment of silence. There were actually many moments of silence, but all at once, so it seemed as only one. While everyone was staring at Allura, Lance took the risk to glance in Keith’s direction. Keith seemingly thought the same thing and their eyes met. Lance bit his cheeks and held back a smile.
Coran snivelled and actually stroke a tear away from under his eye.

 

   ”That was *sniffle* just beautiful, Allura. I couldn’t have said it better myself,” he said and started to look in his pockets for a handkerchief. Shiro received a not-so-nice but discrete elbow in the ribs from Keith and stood up, walked over to Allura and put his hand on her shoulder. Hunk dragged Lance into a big hug with Pidge, who protested but didn’t actually put any effort to into breaking free.

 

   ”Princess, that was very well said,” Lance said when Hunk let them go. ”I think you’re right. We should bond, Keith. Or what do you think?”

 

   ”I think you’re right, Lance- sorry, I mean sweetheart. We should bond, you and I.” Keith straightened himself where he sat, clearly making himself ready to stand up. Lance blushed a teeny tiny bit, again.

 

   ”Should we shake on it?” he said and rose from the sofa, holding out his right hand. Keith was quick to follow. He took Lance’s hand and shook it firmly.

 

   ”Keith, you know what?” Lance said slowly with a dangerous spark in his eye.

 

   ”Um, no?” Keith answered, eyes widening when he felt Lance tugging at his hand, asking for consent with his body language. Lance swallowed and his body tingled nervously at the thought of what was about to happen. This was taking a risk and he loved it and hated it at the same time. Wow, Lance thought to himself. He was in sooooo deep for this boy.

 

   ”I think maybe we should kiss on it,” Lance said.

 

   ”Oh really?” Keith mumbled as he leant forward to meet Lance halfway. Their lips had barely touched when they were both interrupted so suddenly they jumped a little.

 

   ”YES,” Pidge yelled with their arms up in the air. ”I FUCKING CALLED IT!”

 

   ”Pidge! Language!” Shiro gasped, his parental instincts kicking in in the midst of the chock he was feeling. Pidge ignored him.

 

   ”You all owe me now,” they said as they leant back with crossed arms, very pleased with themself.

 

   ”This went a lot faster than I would have thought,” Hunk hummed, not surprised at all over what he’d just witnessed. ”But congratulations!”

   Allura had clasped her hands over her mouth and was now a big poof of joy and giggles, not really able to form real words at the moment. Coran had dropped his found handkerchief. Shiro just sighed and scratched his head.

 

   ”I guess we do owe you, Pidge. You won,” he said and sounded like he couldn’t believe what he was saying.

 

   ”Wait a minute!” Lance shouted loudly which made Keith flinch. Lance realized his mistake and put his arm around Keith’s waist protectively. ”Were you betting on us?”

 

   ”Of course we were!” Pidge said. ”I, correctly, though you were gonna give in to those pathetic feelings of yours as soon as you got each other alone. Allura was hoping you would, but didn’t dare believe it. Hunk was sure of Lance’s feelings, but not Keith’s. Shiro thought we were gonna find Lance in the infirmary. Keith does have a short temper. Coran is just blind.”

 

   ”Hey,” Keith said at the same time as Coran said ”I can see just perfectly fine, thank you”. Allura finally got back the ability to talk.

 

   ”I am just so HAPPY for you guys!” She more or less attacked them with a life threatening hug, holding them tight in her arms.

 

   ”Group hug!” Hunk shouted and joined them. Pidge rolled their eyes but didn’t hesitate to get into the hug. Coran shook his head to clear his mind, pressed his thumb and forefinger against the bridge of his nose for a second, shrugged and enthusiastically joined the family hug.

   Shiro was still standing in the same spot as earlier, mouth half open. The others noticed his absence and Lance’s anxiety was threatening to overtake him before he saw Shiro’s face soften and crack into the biggest smile he’d ever seen on the black paladin’s face.

 

   ”I should have guessed there was something going on between you two.” He stretched out his arms before trying to reach around as many of them as he could, uncomfortably squeezing them all together.

 

   ”Shiro, we didn’t know ourselves until this morning,” Keith mumbled, a bit embarrassed.

 

   ”Shiro is even more oblivious than you guys, who could have guessed?” Hunk said with humour in his voice.

 

   ”And he’s supposed to be the head,” Pidge added, causing the rest of the team to cry with laughter. The hug was getting really hot and cramped, but honestly, none of them minded. With Lance and Keith getting together, a new door had been opened. A door that gave promises of new bonds, stronger bonds, of happiness and new adventures. It wasn't just Lance and Keith who’d gotten closer. The rest had as well.

 

   ”Just use protection, okay?” Shiro said without warning.

 

   ”Shiro!?” Keith shouted as Lance let out a high pitched screech that barely sounded human.

 

   ”That’s it, I’m leaving,” Pidge said and squiggled out of the hug. This broke up the rest of them automatically. The two boys in the middle had both heavy blushes on their faces and were very careful not to touch each other. Shiro’s mention of protection had put images in both the boy’s heads and they were very aware of each other’s and everyone else's presence.

   Coran was proudly watching his group of friends, who were not much more than children, but still something bigger indeed.

 

   ”I love all of you guys so much,” he said with a very warm face. His words made Hunk tear up, which ultimately resulted in another group hug.

 

   ”We love you too, Coran,” Hunk snivelled, tears of happiness streaming down his face.

 


 

 


   ”You really should put your hair in a ponytail sometime,” Lance said into Keith’s hair. ”Keith I dare you to put your hair up in a ponytail tomorrow.”

 

   ”Maybe,” Keith mumbled back, already drifting off to sleep. Once again they were in Keith’s bed, exhausted and very ready to sleep and dream. Lance buried his face deeper into the back of  Keith’s neck, attacking the tender skin with his cold nose. Keith’s shoulders tensed automatically and he handled the situation by turning towards Lance and pressing their lips together. Lance gladly invested himself in the interaction, but Keith was far too sleepy to make anything of it.

 

   ”Calm yourself, human.”

 

   ”Whatever, sweetheart,” Lance said and kissed Keith’s forehead before tucking the red paladin’s head under his chin and closing his eyes. He felt Keith give him a small, smiling kiss on his chest through his night shirt since Keith couldn’t reach Lance’s face. Pidge was right, they’d truly been broken both of them. Their protective shells had been shattered, revealing emotions they’d repressed and ignored for so long. Broken and put back together again. But with their souls a bit closer to each other, ever so slightly touching. At the exact point of touch a bond was formed, a braid of soul-strings, knitted together, never, ever to be broken.

 


 

 

   In the lounge, where the others were still seated, a discussion was going on. They were trying to come to terms with what sentient behaviour the castle possibly had shown when they were away. It was entirely true that Pidge hadn't done a thing to influence the castles reactions and responses to the boy’s interactions. It was simply baffling and way to hard to understand. In the end, they gave up and went their separate ways to go to sleep.

   What they didn't know was that in another corner of the castle, four mice slept peacefully among broken wires and tiny touchpads.

 

 


The end