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Moth and Flame

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“And as usual, here’s my card.” Lance says, holding out the card between two fingers and using his free hand to make half-assed gestures. Doesn’t matter too much. Keith’s eyes are locked on his face, reading his lips. When he takes the card, Lance’s smile widens a little, head tilting to the side, eyes half lidded. Now with both hands free, he’s able to sign a little more freely. <”Feel free to text me if you need anything.”>

He finishes it off with a wink, earning himself a pretty little smile that quirks at the edges of Keith’s lips. Just the tiniest bits of color rises to his cheeks, and Lance is sure he wouldn’t have noticed if he hadn’t been admiring the guy’s face.

Keith glances down at the card, small smile still in place as he slips it into his wallet. Lance isn’t even sure how many of those cards he’s given him at this point.

That’s a lie

He knows exactly how many.

Seven.

He’s managed to slip Keith seven of his business cards throughout the months that he’s been coming here, and he’s still never texted. Never breached that gap. Never made an effort to reach him outside of the safe walls of the tattoo parlor. Most people usually don’t. It’s just a formality. But Lance can’t help but hope every time he watches Keith slip that blue and silver card into his wallet.

He raises a flat hand to his face, moving it away from his mouth in a simple gesture as he speaks, <“Thank you”>

He’s too fucking cute. This shit should be illegal. Nine-one-one? Yes, hello. We’ve got an attempted murder here. The murder weapon? That adorable little smirk and those eyes like the night sky, complete with little glinting stars.

Lance grins, crossing his arms and putting his elbows on the desk, leaning forward, head cocked to the side. “Anytime,” He says when he’s sure Keith is watching.

Keith glances around, eyes flitting around the shop, pausing momentarily on where Allura’s working on some woman’s back piece and the open doors to Pidge’s piercing lair, before his eyes return to him. “I guess I should, uh... get going?” He says it almost like a question. Like he’s uncertain. Like he’s waiting. For what, Lance isn’t sure.

He’s been tatted, patched up, paid, and given the whole aftercare spiel before Lance has gone through his customary goodbye. But he still hesitates, hands shoved deep into his pockets and shoulders raised just a little, just enough to indicate he’s not as relaxed as he wants to seem.

He’s seen Keith a lot over the past eight months. He’s his best return customer, and he’s apparently bff’s with Pidge, so he comes by to just hang around more often than not. In those months, Lance has gotten to see his fair share of different sides of Keith. Mopey Keith, stoic Keith, angry Keith, tired Keith, happy Keith, sassy Keith. Each one has it’s own charms, has made it’s own mark on Lance’s poor, weak heart.

So far, as each side of Keith has slowly been revealed, not a single one has failed to make his insides flutter and his pulse race and his palms go all sweaty like he’s a fucking teenager again.

And apparently nervous, awkward Keith is no exception.

Lance decides to throw him a bone. He sits a little straighter, so his hands can be seen clearly. As soon as there’s movement, Keith’s wandering eyes snap back to him. <“Have fun at that concert next week.”>

He sees something flicker in Keith’s eyes, a strange spark that seems to light his expression before it falls. It’s gone quickly, face carefully placed back into his usual stoic mask, making Lance question whether or not he saw it at all. He gives a very particular small smile, the one that Lance has come to recognize as his smile of acknowledgement, the kind he gives when he has nothing substantial to say, nothing worth signing for.

But he still doesn’t leave, so Lance pushes onward. <“Sounds like it’s gonna be fun. I fucking love Metallica. Grew up on that kinda stuff. Dad was obsessed with it.”>

He’s fishing. He knows he is. It’s a shot in the dark. A searching hand, reaching out into the abyss, hope fueling him, a small spark in the sea of doubt, leaving him wondering but what if.

Before they really got started, in the small talk that usually flits between them as Lance gets his station set up, before he actually puts needle to skin, Keith had been telling him, quite animatedly, about the concert he has tickets to next week. When Lance had asked if he was going with anyone, he had only gotten a vague uncertain answer in response.

There was just something about it that made his heart flutter with hope.

But then the conversation had dropped, and they lapsed into silence as Lance set to work. It’s not exactly easy to sign to someone when both hands are busy. So, as usual, they passed their session in comfortable, companionable silence.

And now Keith is hesitating.

<“Yeah,”> He sighs with a simple nod of his fist. Then his hands hesitate, starting up and stopping before really deciding on any definitive signs. His face scrunches up, lip curling, nose wrinkling, brows pinching. He looks like he’s tasted something sour, mixed with a bit of frustration. His hands drop with a sigh, a clear sign that he’s starting over. His eyes flicker away, then return, a small wry smile on his lips as he signs simply. <“Should be fun.”>

Lance tries not to dwell on the drop in his chest as Keith waves goodbye and takes several steps backwards before spinning on his heel and striding out the door. Lance watches through the window as he walks toward his bike. It’s a pretty thing. All black and silver metal with cherry red highlights, leather seats, and a deep purr that sends heat roaring through him as Keith straddles it and cranks the engine.

“God I wish that were me.” He mumbles to himself, leaning forward on the desk and propping his chin on his open palm.

He continues to watch as Keith slips on his helmet and backs the bike out of the parking spot, trying to etch the image of those thighs into his mind. Would it be weird if he took out his phone and snuck a picture? That’d be pretty weird... right?

Probably.

“First of all, gross. Please refrain from making comments like that in the work place.” Allura says, snapping him out of his thoughts. He lifts his head, glancing over to where she’s set up at her station. She hasn’t even looked up from where she’s tattooing a phoenix on her client’s back. The woman snickers. “Second of all, if you’re going to drool, try not to do it on the paperwork.”

Lance’s eyes narrow, but he glances down at the paper spread out across the desk below him. “I wasn’t drooling...” He grumbles, subtly running the back of his hand over his mouth anyway, just in case. Nope. No drool. Nice.

Allura hasn’t looked up, but he hears her soft snort of amusement. She leans back, tilting her head as she wipes away ink and blood while she admires her progress. Then she leans back down and the familiar hum of the needle starts back up again. “You should just ask him out already.”

He leans back in his seat, crossing his arms over his chest and he spins to face her direction. He raises an eyebrow. His left one. The only one he can quirk individually and thus the one he decided to pierce through twice for devilish emphasis. “And what makes you think I want to ask him out at all?”

She pauses in her work, straightening as she does a surprisingly good impression of him, “Here’s my number, text me if you need anything.” The woman she’s tattooing chuckles.

Lance frowns. “I say that to everyone! You say that to everyone.”

“Yeah, but not like that.”

A small, sly smile creeps across his lips. “Oh, like how you say it to Shiro?”

She bristles, finally looking up to glare at him over her shoulder. Her hand with the paper towels lifts so she can point at him. It’s probably supposed to be threatening, but the effect is ruined slightly by the color heating up her cheeks and the tightness around her frown that tells of her embarrassment. “You shut your mouth.”

Lance’s grin widens. “Did he ever actually text you?”

She looks away, busying herself and letting nearly a whole minute of silence pass before she finally answers. “Yes, but that’s beside the point. We’re talking about you being too cowardly to ask out Keith.”

“It’s... not that simple.”

“Why not? You’ve never had an issue flirting with anyone before.”

Lance rolls his eyes, looking down as he uses his foot to swivel the chair. He idly taps his tongue piercing against the roof of his mouth. “Keith is... different.”

GAY.” Pidge’s voice comes from the piercing room.

“Stay out of this, Pidge!” Lance yells back. It’s completely unnecessary. The shop isn’t that big and the double doors to the piercing parlor are wide open. He can’t see her from the front desk, but they can hear each other loud and clear.

“Make me!”

“Come get some, short stack!”

“I’m not afraid to go for the knees!”

“That’s because it’s all you can reach!”

Allura sighs, and he hears her mumble a soft, “See what I have to deal with?” To her client before speaking up. “Seriously, Lance, what’s the problem?”

He spins the chair, tilting his head back to stare at the ceiling. “Isn’t that a little... I don’t know. Unprofessional? You hate it when I flirt with customers. Last year you made me sign an agreement that said you could give me push-ups every time I do it.”

She nods, voice nostalgic and fond. “Yes, I do, and yes, I did. And it corrected your behavior eventually, didn’t it?”

“I guess...”

“And normally, yes, I would be against it, but with the way that boy looks at you, I’d say go for it. Though if you did it in the shop, I can’t say I wouldn’t give you push-ups anyway, simply out of principal.”

“How is that fai— wait—“ His mouth snaps shut, and he blinks. His brows furrow. “How does he look at me?”

“Like you shit rainbows and sweat glitter.” Pidge says as she emerges, head bowed over the phone in her hand. She crosses the room to the front desk and hops up to sit on the edge of it. She doesn’t really look up from her phone, but her presence in the room is enough to indicate that she now wants to be part of the conversation. “I’m with Allura. Just ask him out already. Like actually ask him out. None of this pussyfooting around.”

Allura’s lip curls. “That’s a gross word.”

Pidge just shrugs. The silence stretches long enough for her to get curious, and she turns to glance at him, one eyebrow quirking when she sees him glaring at her. “What?”

He regards her warily. “What’s your angle?”

Her face falls into what can only be described as exasperated confusion. It’s one he’s become quite familiar with. “What are you talking about?”

“There are only two reasons I can see for you to be encouraging me.” He leans back, propping his feet up on the desk, one arm crossed over chest while the other holds up a finger. “Either you want to watch me crash and burn for your own sick amusement.” He puts up a second finger. “Or it’s because you know something.” He eyes her thoughtfully for a moment, before his eyes narrow and he points a finger at her. “What do you know?” He asks, voice low and suspicious.

She leans away by just a fraction, holding up both her hands defensively. “Sorry, dude. Bro code. My lips are sealed.”

“A-HA! So you do know something!”

She rolls her eyes and swats his feet off the desk. “Go clean up your station.”

“But—“

“Lance,” Allura says in that voice that has him immediately straightening. She wordlessly points to his station. He huffs, knowing there’s no point in arguing.

As he stands, he points a threatening finger at Pidge. “I’m not done with you.”

She just smirks, slipping off the desk and into the chair he vacated. He flicks at the piercings in her ear. Four hoops in her cartilage, all close enough to overlay each other, black, silver, white, and purple. They clink together when he flicks them, and she absently swats him away.

He sings to himself as he cleans up his station. Today’s radio station choice is classic rock, all the old shit that he grew up on and holds a special place in his heart. He can hear Allura singing under her breath as she works, and sometimes he even catches Pidge mouthing along with the words.

By the time Hunk arrives, brandishing a bag of sandwiches, he’s managed to finish cleaning up and sets his tattoo chair completely flat so he can lie on it, face down, arm flopping over the edge.

“Who’s hungry?” Hunk announces with the chime of the bell above the door.

“Hunk, you’re a fucking angel.” He hears Pidge say. There’s the rustling of the bag, the ripping of paper, the sounds Pidge lets out as she takes the first bite. “Oh my god, what is this? It’s amazing.”

“Today’s special. Coran’s creation, this time.”

“Tell him I want to have his food babies.”

“Aww, I thought you were going to have my food babies.”

“You can both have a cook off to win rights to my food baby womb.”

“I want to be a judge.” Allura calls out. “Thanks for the sandwiches, by the way.”

“No problem. Coran made your favorite. Said he put in extra cheese.”

“Bless him, honestly.”

“Lance, buddy, you hungry?”

Instead of a comprehensible answer, Lance lets out a long, low groan, rolling his face back and forth on the fake leather beneath him.

“What’s wrong with him this time?”

“Keith came in today.” Pidge answers around a mouthful of food.

“Ah, gotcha.”

Lance groans again, more piteously this time, kicking his feet just a little.

“We were trying to convince him to just ask him out already.” Pidge explains.

“And how’d that go?”

Lance finally lifts his head, propping himself up on his elbows as he glares at Pidge. “They were trying to convince me to make a fool of myself!”

Pidge rolls her eyes. “Oh my god.” Her voice is all exasperation with maybe the tiniest hint of love. It’s probably there. Somewhere.

“Besides,” He says, swinging his feet over the edge of the chair and sitting up. “It’s too late to do anything now.” He meant for that to come out as more nonchalant than anything, maybe with an indifferent shoulder shrug. But instead his shoulders slump and he can feel the pout forming on his lips.

Pidge shrugs. “I could give you his number.”

Hunk reaches into the bag and pulls out a sandwich, checking the label before peeling away the wrapper. “Or you could find him at the concert next week.”

And just like that, everything in the shop freezes. He sees it in the way Pidge has stopped mid-bite, tension in her shoulders, eyes wide. He sees it in the way Allura has frozen, back stiff, needle hovering over her client. He sees it in the way Hunk has stopped with his sandwich half raised to his mouth, eyes wide as they flicker between everyone in the room. It’s eerily quiet with just soft guitar rifts playing over the radio. No one speaks. Even the needle is silent.

A car honks outside.

The client’s phone buzzes twice.

Somewhere in the back, the sink drips in the incessant leak that they haven’t gotten fixed.

And then everything moves at once. Allura spins around, loose hair flying wild. Pidge chokes on her sandwich. Lance leaps to his feet, knees bent and arms held out to the sides.

“Hunk!” He shouts, and there’s an echo from the others.

“I didn’t mean— shit— just forget—“

“Hunk!” Lance repeats, stepping forward, pointing. “What did you just say?”

“Nope. Nu-uh. No, no, no. Forget I said anything.”

“What concert?”

“Nope—“

What concert?.”

Hunk knows him. Reads him like a book. Knows exactly what’s about to happen. He moves slowly, lowering his sandwich to the table while maintaining eye contact, like he’s trying to go unseen, trying not to spook him. The second the food is safe, all bets are off.

Lance darts for him, and Hunk yelps, scurrying around the desk. The shop isn’t big by any means, but Lance still chases Hunk around it. The big guy moves with surprising dexterity, darting around chairs and the desk, even using Pidge as a shield.

Lance catches up to him though. Wrestles him to the floor and pins him as best he can. It’s not too hard. Hunk stops putting up a fight once he goes down.

“What. Concert?” He repeats.

“Lance, can we just pretend I didn’t say anything?” He pleads, using his big ol’ doe eyes and everything. Ugh. Cheap shot.

“Huuuuunk.” He shoots back with a whine of his own.

“Oh for fuck’s sake— Lance,” Pidge says, and he sits up, turning to look at her. She’s scowling, but he can tell she’s not really angry. Disgruntled maybe. “We got tickets to the Metallica concert for your birthday.”

“It was supposed to be a surprise.” Allura adds, giving Hunk a very pointed look, raising one unamused brow, rose gold of her eyebrow piercing glinting in the overhead lights.

He winces, looking sheepish. “Sorry, guys...”

“Seriously?” Lance breaths, lightness filling his chest, a buzz in his veins, a flare in his gut. He’s going to see Metallica live? He’s going to see them with his friends? He’s going to see them with his friends at a concert that Keith is also going to be at? He’s going to get to hang out with Keith at a concert and outside of work?

Allura sighs. “Yes, seriously. Now get off Hunk—“

Whatever she’s about to say is drowned out as he leaps to his feet, throwing his hands into the air as he lets out a loud whoop. He dances around the shop and pretends not to notice when he sees Pidge recording him.

 


 

Keith doesn’t mean to slam the door shut, but he knows the second he pushes that it’s going to. He can feel the vibrations through the floor. As he trudges into the living room of their apartment, he can see Shiro look up out of the corner of his eye. Probably to glare at him.

Keith doesn’t look at him. Can’t be reprimanded if he doesn’t look at him to see his hands move.

Instead, he tosses the to-go bag on the coffee table and puts his knee up on the arm of the couch, letting momentum carry him forward to fall on his chest on the couch. He buries his face in the cushions, smelling of old fabric, febreeze, and cat. One hand flops over the edge of the couch, and he feels a nose poke at it. Without looking up, he scratches at Nugget’s head, slipping his fingers beneath her chin and cheek as she purrs.

It’s only a moment later that he feels the couch dip as Shiro sits next to him. A tap on his shoulder. He groans, loudly, but rolls onto his side, leaning against the back of the couch, to glare at his brother.

< How’d it go? > He signs.

Keith rolls his head back, groaning again as he flops an arm over his face. Shiro nudges his leg a moment later, and Keith peeks out from under his arm as his brother signs. There’s a worried pinch to his brows and a purse to his lips. < I hope it’s not too bad. It’s permanent now whether you like it or— >

Keith cuts him off by waving a hand at him. He then half-assedly gestures to the bandage on his forearm before putting a thumb to his chest, fingers splayed wide as he moves his hand away and rolls his eyes for good measure. < The tattoo is fine >

The worry in his face evaporates completely, mouth forming a small oh. He then raises his eyebrows in obvious question, points to himself then his eyes before gesturing to the bandage. < Can I see it? >

Keith sighs, but obliges by sitting up, half-heartedly shoving Shiro to the side and swinging his feet down to the floor. He removes the bandages carefully, exposing his forearm and eyeing the new ink for the first time since the parlor.

Shiro takes his arm gingerly, turning it this way and that to get a good look at it. He lets out a long whistle. He can’t exactly hear it, but he knows his brother’s whistle of appreciation face well enough. With one hand, he lazily signs, < Looks good. He’s very talented. >

Keith agrees with a simple nod, ducking his head a little in an attempt to hide the small smile he can feel forming on his lips. Lance is incredibly talented. Behind all that boisterous bravado is the actual talent and skill to back it up. Keith’s body is a testament to that. He has several tattoos that are all a tribute to Lance’s skill as an artist.

Tattoos had always been part of the plan. He’d always known he’d get several in his life time. He just... didn’t expect he’d get this many in just under the span of a year. His wallet is hurting, but he’s happy.

And he blames Lance for both of those things.

Lance, with his stupid pretty smile and his stupid pretty face. Lance, and his innate ability to make Keith feel comfortable and at ease and normal. It’s something he usually only experiences around family and close friends. And now Lance.

When Pidge had first gotten a job as the piercer at Altea, she had convinced him to finally get his first tat. He’d been putting it off for years. It’s not that communicating with people is impossible. He speaks fine, more out of muscle memory than anything. And after spending years without his hearing, he’s grown used to having to communicate by reading lips or patiently waiting for people to write down what they want to say.

It’s not easy, and it’s not fun, but it’s manageable. It’s his life now.

But that doesn’t mean he was exactly looking forward to trying to hash out the details of a tattoo via scribbled sentences and half-assed gestures. That’s where Pidge came in. She told him that her coworkers were nice and patient and understanding, and that she’d be there to help translate for him. He finally gave in, and he’s glad he did.

When he had arrived, Allura had been at the front desk. Pidge had introduced them, and they’d shaken hands, and she went on to explain Keith’s predicament, signing as she spoke to keep him in the conversation. They hadn’t gotten far before Lance had sidled up into the group, putting a hand on Allura’s shoulder, telling her that he had this, and giving them all a winning smile.

The whole heart-skipping-a-beat thing was soured by the way his cockiness grated on Keith’s nerves.

Pidge had told him to stop his bad flirting, to which he surprised them all by not only saying but signing, <“Excuse you, my flirting is top notch.”> They had all gaped at him, mouths hanging open in stunned silence as he turned to Keith, giving him an amused wink. <“How’re you doing, handsome?”>

Allura had handed the job over to Lance after that, and Pidge had hesitantly stepped aside, wary suspicion written across her features. And, surprisingly, everything had gone smoothly. After the initial surprise had worn off, Lance had easily slipped back into professionalism, his cocky charm still there, coating him like a second skin, but taking a backseat as he talked tattoos. They talked about what Keith wanted and where, talked about the details, discussed different options. Lance listened to his thoughts, offering his own ideas and giving Keith his professional opinion.

He followed along with Keith’s hand gestures easily, signing his own with a lazy ease that came from years of practice. He pulled Keith in, putting him at ease without him really realizing it, made him laugh to the point where Pidge gave him an odd, knowing look from across the room.

As Lance set up his station, they continued their small talk. He told Lance how he and Pidge had known each other for years, having met through their brothers. He told him that he started to lose his hearing over ten years ago and had been completely deaf since he was seventeen. He learned that Lance’s little sister had been born deaf, and that his whole family had learned ASL as a result. Learned that his family spoke English, Spanish, and ASL fluently and intermittently at home.

From that day onward, Keith had found himself coming back time and time again, whether it was for his own tattoos or to hang out with Pidge.

Shiro finally lets his arm go, using both hands to sign, < I wasn’t sure what to expect, but this is better than anything I imagined. >

< Yeah, he did great. > Keith looks down at the ink, tilting his arm to catch the light. He hadn’t known what to expect either when he told Lance he wanted some kind of artistic interpretation of his mom’s old knife tattooed on his forearm, but Lance had really outdone himself. Mostly black with purple shades to highlight it, the ink stands out beautifully against his pale skin.

He clenches his fist before relaxing it, watching the muscles and tendons dance beneath his skin, beneath the ink, beneath yet another mark Lance had left on his body, negative space completing the design.

He thinks about Lance’s hands on him, those long, lithe fingers, skilled and precise and incredibly gentle. Thinks about how Lance’s head bobs as he works, lips moving to whatever song is playing on the radio. He has no idea what Lance’s voice is like, but he likes to think he’s a good singer. He knows visual queues well enough to pick up on the ease and confidence with which he sings along.

Keith likes to watch him. There’s not much else to do. They don’t talk much while Lance is working. He’ll ask occasional questions, but it’s hard when his hands are full and busy. Keith doesn’t mind. It’s a comfortable silence. He always tries to distract himself with his phone, switching between apps mindlessly, but his eyes always wander back to Lance, sweep over his face, take in the sharp features and smooth skin, those gorgeously blue eyes, the upturned nose, the way his smooth lips form words that he can’t hear.

Lance has caught him staring a couple times, but doesn’t say anything about it. Just gives him a small smile and maybe a wink before going back to his work, ghost of that smile in place as he continues to sing along to the radio, practically preening under the confirmation that Keith is watching him.

Keith is pretty sure having heart attacks isn’t normal when getting tattoos, but he’s pretty sure he hasn’t been able to get one without having several.

Movement catches his eye. He looks up to see Shiro holding his hands up, letting them drop forward with palms up. The question is clear on his face. < So...? >

Keith raises an eyebrow, waiting for clarification.

Shiro rolls his eyes. < Did you ask him to the concert? >

Keith’s arms drop as he flops back against the couch, letting his head loll back with a groan. He makes it extra loud for added effect, feeling his vocal chords vibrate.

Shiro’s smile is sympathetic and understanding, but it’s not enough to hide his amusement. What an ass. < Ah, so that’s what that was about. > Keith flips him off. Shiro chuckles. Keith can see it, despite his efforts to hide it. < It’s not too late, you know. >

Keith makes a few quick gestures before crossing his arms over his chest, shoulder’s hunching as he scowls. And he’s totally scowling. Not pouting. Nope. < It is! >

< You already bought the tickets. > Shiro points out.

Keith sighs. < I know... > A few seconds pass before he glances at Shiro out of the corner of his eyes. < Want to go to with me? >

Shiro laughs again, this time making no move to hide it. He shakes his head, lying a hand on Keith’s shoulder and squeezing reassuringly. < Good to know I’m just your second choice. > He signs, a teasing light in his eyes.

Keith huffs, looking away and sinking a little lower on the couch. He chickened out. He knows he did. He fucked up. He had been ready. Spent hours before his appointment pumping himself up. Feeding himself confidence boosters and threats in the mirror. Built up the armor around him. Ready for battle. Shield and sword.

Then when faced with Lance’s easy smile and liquid eyes, his defenses crumbled. Tore his armor apart. Ripped his shield away and left him exposed. Raw. Vulnerable. Yeah, it sucks that he never got to ask what he wanted to. Yeah, it sucks that he missed his chance. But at the time, all he could think about was how rejection would have hurt even worse.

He could have just pulled it off as friends. Could have, but he didn’t. He doesn’t want to be just friends. He wants Lance. All of Lance. Wants to beat him at video games. Wants to hold his hand. Wants to steal his food. Wants to cuddle him on the couch while it rains outside. Wants him in his bed, hot and needy and out of breath. He wants it all.

Too bad he’s too chicken shit to take the first step.

Shiro pushes himself to his feet, and Keith glances up out of reflex. When he catches Shiro’s eye, the man smiles. < Don’t feel too bad. You never know what might happen. You could be surprised. >

Keith’s eyes narrow, lips pursing. His hand motions are short, slow, and precise, demanding. < What do you know? >

Shiro’s smile turns sheepish as he backs away. < Nothing. >

< Shiro! > He roughly makes his brother’s name sign, but the man has already turned around, striding toward the door. Keith leaps to his feet, prepared to charge after him. <“Shiro!”> He says, voice low in warning.

He swipes his keys off the table and turns around to face him. < Gotta go run some errands, later, bro! >

He’s out the door before Keith can stop him. His phone buzzes with a text a moment later.

Shiro (ICE)
> You can’t hear me, but I want you to know I’m laughing all the way out to the parking lot

Keith
> You’re a fucking dick
> What the hell was that supposed to mean?
> What do you know?

Shiro (ICE)
> Love you too
> And guess you’ll just have to wait and see

 


 

The stadium is huge, and they’ve got tickets in the nose bleeds. All the way in the top section, row U, just five from the furthest up. He doesn’t mind though. He can understand pinching a penny for the cheaper seats, and at least from up here he can see everything. Sure, the dudes on stage would be small, but that’s what the big video screens behind them are for.

“Lance, what’re you doing?” Hunk asks, coming up next to him and putting his hands on the railing.

Lance shrugs. “Just watching all the little punklings run for cover.”

“Not all of them are punklings. Some of them are old enough to be our dads.”

“True enough. But punks of all ages run from the sun.”

They’re up on the fourth floor of the outdoor stadium, and he’s found a perch against the railing, leaning forward with his forearms resting on it. From up here, he can observe people on the three floors below. And boy is there a wide array of people. There are kids in their teens, young adults their age, ranging all the way up to dudes and ladies who reminded him of his parents.

A lot of them are dressed in black, and while he can appreciate the aesthetic of it all, he also understands that it’s the middle of July, and it’s hot as fuck. Still, gotta admire the dedication to The Look. Though he finds it amusing to see all the little clusters of black-clad punklings clinging to the shadows.

He can’t make fun of them, though. After all, they’re doing the same thing. Turns out Pidge accidentally nabbed them tickets on the side of the stadium that faces the setting sun. The hot, July, setting sun. So yeah, they’re camping out below stands until the concert starts.

Hunk seems to be thinking along the same lines.

“Dude, we’re running from the sun.”

Lance snorts, waving him off. “I’m not running from the sun. I’m just appreciating the atmosphere.”

Hunk makes a show of looking around, eyebrows raised high. “You mean the atmosphere of crowded spaces that smell of smoke, weed, and overpriced beer?”

“Exactly. It’s the concert experience.”

“Where’d the others disappear to?”

He shrugs, eyes still idly people watching the crowds below. He tries to be nonchalant about it, but truth be told, every glimpse he gets of shaggy black hair has his heart skipping into overdrive before plummeting into his stomach in disappointment. “Said they were gonna go check out the merch tables on this level. Dunno if they’ll find much, but they’re probably less crowded than the ones below.”

“You didn’t want to go?”

“Nah, I’ll be able to find the merch online for cheaper in a few months.”

Hunk nods thoughtfully. “Good point.”

A companionable silence falls between them. Classic rock echoes through the stadium, played through the speakers as they set up for the first band. Fractions of conversations drift by. A man shouts about selling beer. Below, he sees someone with black hair, medium build, black shirt, pale skin. Lance straightens just a fraction, but then they turn— nope. Not him. His shoulder’s droop once again.

“You’re looking for him, aren’t you?” Hunk says, amusement in his voice.

Lance sniffs indignantly. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Oh, hey, is that Keith?”

Where?” Lance snaps, straightening and slapping his hands on the railing, eyes frantically searching the walkways below. But Hunk’s sudden burst of laughter interrupts him. He turns to glare at his best friend. “You,” He says, punching his arm. “Are an asshole.”

His laughter dies down, one hand to his chest while the other wipes a tear from his eyes. His smile is bright, and Lance can’t find it in him to be too mad. “I’m sorry, dude, but that was priceless.”

“Why you gotta mess with my heart like this, Hunk?”

“Sorry, buddy,” He says, still chuckling as he pats his back. “Won’t happen again.” He looks up then, lifting a hand in a short wave. “There’s Allura and Pidge.”

He turns then, crossing his arms over his chest as he leans his hip against the railing. He raises an eyebrow as the two walk up to them. “No merch?”

Allura shakes her head, making her thick braid bounce. She’s dressed to the aesthetic, but also with consideration to the sun, and she’s chosen one of her fancier septum rings. Black beauty in black, looking like she could gut him and he’d pay her to do so. “Just scoping it out.”

Pidge flops over the railing next to Lance, crossing her arms over the top and resting her chin on it as she observes the city skyline. “Gonna wait and buy some online.”

Lance nods and holds out a fist. “Smart.”

“Thanks,” Pidge bumps it, then straightens, eye catching on something below. “Hey, isn’t that Keith?”

Lance rolls his eyes. “Ha, ha, very funny—“

“No really, it’s Keith and Shiro.”

Lance whirls around, putting his hands on the railing to steady himself. His eyes snap to Pidge’s finger, gaze following where she points until— There he is. Lance would know that mop of hair anywhere. Looking at him now, he’s not sure how the fuck he ever mistook anyone else for Keith. Wishful thinking, maybe? But when it comes down to it, no one compares. No one comes close.

He’s down at the bottom floor. Far, far below. He and Shiro look so small, details lost to the distance between them, but Lance finds his heart racing anyway.

Keith. Keith is here. Keith is there. Right there. He just saw the guy last week, but this is different. That was at work. This is here. A casual outing. A concert. No barriers of professionalism and jobs getting between them.

His mouth opens before he really gets a chance to think about it, enthusiasm pushing him ahead of himself. He leans out over the railing, about to wave— when his mouth snaps shut, Keith’s name still fresh on his tongue. His jaw clamps shut so quickly that his teeth clack together.

Fuck.

What the fuck is he doing?

“You were about to call out to him, weren’t you?” Pidge says, and when he turns to glare at them, he finds their lips upturned into a cheshire grin, chin resting on their crossed forearms, sunlight glinting off their nose ring.

He points at her, hoping his scowl covers up the heat rising up his neck. “You. Shut up.”

Pidge’s grin widens.

He turns back to the floors below, eyes snapping to the spot where Keith and Shiro are standing. They haven’t moved, but that can change quickly. He can’t call out to Keith, but he doubts any amount of flailing from this height will catch their attention. Especially when they’re not looking up. He could get Pidge to text Keith, or Allura to text Shiro—

Shiro!” Lance shouts, leaning over the railing as he waves a hand in big, sweeping motions. A foot lifts up behind him, and he hears Hunk gasping his name before he grabs the back of his shirt. Good guy Hunk. Keeping him from busting his face in front of hundreds. With the added support behind him to keep him steady, he cups both hands around his mouth. “Shiro! Up here! Look! Up!”

It works. The man’s head tilts back, confusion coloring his features until his gaze settles on Lance and recognition hits him. He smiles, nudging Keith with his elbow and pointing up. The moment Keith’s eyes meet his and that pouty little mouth curls into a breath taking grin, Lance’s heart down right skips a beat.

And... well, that’s pretty fucking gay, but right now, he really doesn’t care.

His waving calms now that he has their attention, but cheeks ache with his smile. He can hear his friends snickering, and god, this is so embarrassing. But he can’t stop. Doesn’t want to stop. Not when Keith is looking at him like that.

Keith holds his gaze as his hands move, and it takes Lance a moment to realize he’s signing. < What’re you doing here? >

He makes his signing with wider gestures, trying to make sure he can be seen from so far away and at the odd angle. < They surprised me with tickets for my birthday! >

< It’s your birthday? >

< Not yet. End of the month. >

He starts to sign something else, but he’s jostled as a group passed by him. He turns to stare, and Lance chuckles, knowing exactly what kind of pouting scowl he’s no doubt wearing.

When he turns his head back to look at him again, Lance wastes no time signing, < Meet me halfway? > He points to the stairs, and Keith turns to look before looking back up at him and nodding.

There’s only a moment of silence before they’re both running, taking off to the stairs. He can hear his friends shout behind him, but their words are lost as he rushes through the crowd, weaving through people as his heart pounds. He tears down the stairs, going as fast as he can without busting his face, jumping the last few steps before each turn around and holding the rail to whip him around to the next flight.

He loses track of how far down he gets before he nearly barrels into Keith.

They freeze, Keith a couple steps below him, and for a moment they just stare. Chests heaving, smiles ghosting their lips, crinkling their eyes, hands on the railing to keep them steady. Lance’s heart beats a heavy and rapid staccato against his rib cage, blood racing through his ears.

Keith is right here, right in front of him. Beautiful and grinning those rare, full out smiles that never fail to make his heart melt and his knees weak. He was so excited for this moment, was hoping for it, praying for it, and now that it’s here... he has no idea what to say.

The moment stretches. People pass by them. And finally Keith breaks the eye contact, looks him up and down and makes a show of it. Takes in the shorts he picked specifically because they make his ass look great. The old Metallica shirt that he once found in a thrift store and ripped the sleeves off to make a muscle tank. The snapback perched on his head.

He eyes it for a moment, humming softly to himself before his gaze drops to Lance’s. He smiles, a small quirk of his lips, no longer big and bright but no less genuine. The silver of his lip ring cuts through the center of his bottom lip, catching the light and looking oh so tempting. There’s appreciation in his gaze, a sly softness that has heat prickling the back of his neck even as shivers wrack down his spine.

He tips his head to the side. “You look like a douche.”

Lance snorts, rolling his eyes before gesturing to Keith with his free hand, waving him up and down. Takes in his red chucks, the black cargo shorts, the Avenged Sevenfold shirt that’s been cut into a crop top and had the neckline torn out of it, letting it expose more of his shoulders. His hair is pulled back into a high, messy ponytail, making his pale, slender neck stand out, a black choker decorating it.

Lance wants to sink his teeth into his shoulder, leave marks on that neck, run his nails along his exposed lower back—

<“And you look like my middle school emo crush.”>

Keith’s lips quirk a little more as he signs in response. < Was she cute? > He uses the sign for girl instead of going for the typical gender neutral and vague pronoun. It’s such an odd and specific enough choice that stands out.

< Yeah, > Lance signs back, a sly grin smile on his lips. He deliberately signs the word for boy. < HE was. > He winks, and delights in the color that rises to Keith’s cheeks, the flash of something in his eyes.

But the moment between them, the small little bubble where only they exist and time has stopped, shatters as Shiro comes up the stairs, stopping on the landing several steps below them. Lance sees him first, and when Keith notices him looking, he turns.

Shiro gives them both A Look. It’s tired, an attempt at frustration, but he’s far too amused to full commit to either. <“Can you guys at least stop blocking the stairs?”>

They exchange small smiles as they trudge down the steps to meet Shiro on the landing, standing off to the side and out of the way of the foot traffic.

Lance leans his hip against the concrete, turned to face them both. <“So where are your seats? We’re way up at the top.”> He asks, hoping against hope that they’re also up in the nose bleeds.

Keith looks sheepish, glancing behind him at Shiro before turning back to Lance, gaze on his feet before looking up through his lashes. <“We actually have floor tickets.”>

Lance’s mouth drops open, gawking as his gaze flickers back and forth between them. Keith has turned bashful, but Shiro just looks amused, arms crossed over his chest as he watches them both. <“Floor tickets?!”>

Those fuckers are expensive. Like several hundred dollars a pop. He doesn’t know much about Keith’s financial situation, but he didn’t think the guy had enough to just be dropping Benjamins left and right.

Keith rubs his arm and shrugs, but it’s Shiro who steps forward and explains. <“It’s louder at the floor. Keith can feel the vibrations from the music easier. So it’s worth it.”>

Lance feels his lips form a small O of surprise as it dawns on him. Oh. Oh. He hadn’t... really thought about how Keith would be able to enjoy the concert. But... that makes sense. His little sister likes a lot of music with heavy bass. Likes to listen to it loud enough to feel it.

Wow. Now he feels like a douche.

He cracks a smile, signing a simple. <“Makes sense.”> While trying to cover up the fact that his stomach is twisting with disappointment.

An awkward silence falls between them. Lance isn’t sure what to say, and is trying to fight the bitter taste on his tongue. He tries to look casual. Lets his eyes roam over the people climbing the stairs. He sees Keith glance at him out of the corner of his eyes, sees him turn to Shiro before signing something. He turns in time to catch it.

< Trade tickets with Lance. >

Shiro blinks, eyebrows rising high before furrowing, lips forming a small pout as his shoulders slump. < But they’re floor tickets... >

Keith glares at him, lips pursed into a thin line. He stands straight, shoulders squared, like he’s trying to size him up or intimidate him. Fat chance of that. Keith might have a decent build to him, but Shiro is ripped. Still, Shiro pouts and wilts under his brother’s gaze.

A fluttering of hope stirs in his chest, butterflies in his stomach. He stands up a little straighter, turning just a little more to face them. Eyes wide. Shiro doesn’t fully bend until he glances over Keith’s shoulder and catches sight of Lance’s puppy dog eyes. The pouty lip. He puts a hand to his chest, signing a subtle < Please > behind Keith’s back.

Shiro sighs, defeat in his posture. <“Fine.”> He digs into his pocket, pulling out his folded ticket and holding it out to Lance.

When Keith turns to look at him, he catches the small smirk of victory, the excited glint in his navy eyes, and holy fuck is Lance weak for this boy.

He digs out his own ticket and trades it off with Shiro’s. <“Thanks, Shiro. Seriously.”>

He waves him off, but can’t hide his disappointment. <“It’s fine. I expected this might happen.”>

Lance slides forward, wrapping a conspiratorial arm around his shoulders and leaning in close. He speaks lowly, sly smile on his lips, signing as best he can with one hand. <“But now you get to spend the concert with Allura.”>

And Lance has seen a lot of happy dogs in his days. Few things could surpass the pure, unbridled excitement and soft innocence of an excited puppy. But boy did the look on Shiro’s face come close.

 


 

Keith doesn’t know much about Volbeat. He looked them up when he found out they were the opener, learned they’re a heavy metal band from Denmark and that they have a growing popularity in Europe and the US. He didn’t hear them before he lost his hearing though, so he’s pretty indifferent about their music now.

Still, he’s excited for this concert. He’s been excited about it for months. Even more so now that he has Lance at his side, which is something that he’s imagined time and time again, but now he’s here. It’s a reality. And nothing in his imagination could have prepared him for how fucking radiant this fucking boy is, dark skin gleaming in the sun, bright smile beating the glare.

In the early evening sun, still bright in the height of summer, he can see all the subtle freckles that dot his nose and cheeks. His hands are on his hips, chin lifted as his gaze sweeps across the concert floor, takes in the crowds, the stage, the equipment.

Keith takes the time to simply take him in. Appreciate the strong line of his jaw, the sharpness of his cheekbones, the curve of his nose, the lazy smile resting on his lips.

Then he turns, and suddenly Keith is pinned by those blue, blue eyes, caught by the way his smile shifts seamlessly into a sly smirk—

He’s fucked. He’s so fucked.

God, he wishes he was fucked.

He feels dazed, and he knows it has nothing to do with the heat or the sun, but he’s sure as hell gonna blame it on that anyway. He completely blanks and doesn’t comprehend what Lance says next. His eyes are on his face, but his mouth moves without any understanding on Keith’s part, and he only catches the tail end of what he signs.

He blinks, shakes his head briefly, then cocks his head to the side with a pinch to his brow and a purse of his lips, making a simple gesture with one hand. < Sorry, what? >

Lance rolls his eyes, reaching out and grabbing for Keith’s wrist. He starts, a small jump that he really hopes Lance doesn’t notice, but the small smirk tells him otherwise. Keith watches, heart kicking into overtime, as Lance lifts his arm, long, deft fingers grazing his skin, firm but gentle. His smirk softens into something more thoughtful as he looks over Keith’s new tattoo. Keith let’s him turn his arm this way and that, goosebumps rising on his arms as Lance almost absently caresses the skin near the ink.

<“It’s healing nicely.”> He signs with one hand, other hand still holding Keith’s arm almost reverently. He straightens then, eyes still on his arm as he nods. His cocky smirk is back. <“I really outdid myself this time.”>

Keith feels a small smile tug at the corner of his lips, but says nothing. He agrees. Completely. But Lance’s ego doesn’t need his confirmation.

<“You have really nice skin.”> He says, looking thoughtful.

Keith stares.

Lance stiffens a moment later, eyes flickering up to Keith’s as his face goes blank. They stare at each other for a moment. Two. People pass by them. ACDC echoes around the stadium from the preshow radio station. The corners of Lance’s lips twitch. <“That... sounded really creepy, didn’t it?”>

Keith can’t help the wide grin that stretches his lips. He nods.

Lance looks like he groans, running a hand down his face before quickly signing, < Okay, all creepiness aside, I meant— You DO have nice skin— It looks nice? That’s still creepy. It takes ink really well. Tattoos look nice on you. What I mean is— >

Keith is laughing, it bubbles out of him without his consent. Lance’s hands get more and more frantic as he tries to explain, but Keith isn’t watching anymore. He bends over, one arm wrapped around his stomach as the other hand braces himself on his knee.

He’s too cute. Too fucking cute. Flustered Lance isn’t something he gets to see a lot, and holy fuck, will it be the death of him.

When he straightens, wiping the edges of his eye, he’s still grinning. His cheeks hurt with it, can feel it crinkling his eyes. Lance’s lips are pursed into a small pout, nose wrinkled and red faced. He looks flustered, but there’s something else there. A strange light in his eyes when he looks at Keith. A twitch in his cheeks.

< Thanks. > Keith finally manages to say, and he’s a little surprised he means it. It was a strange compliment, but an honest one.

Lance is giving him a strange look, one that’s soft and thoughtful but rimmed with the brittle edges of uncertainty. He lifts his hands, but freezes before he can sign anything. He whips around, and Keith is confused for only a moment before he follows Lance’s gaze to the stage. The first band is already there. When did that happen?

Lance turns back around, grin lighting his features as he reaches for Keith again, grabbing hold of his wrist and dragging him forward, further into the crowd, weaving a path through people until they’re in the thick of it. The crowd itself is sizable, but only a fraction of what he knows will be there tonight for the main show.

The band starts up with little preamble, music suddenly blaring through the speakers, rumbling through the ground beneath his feet, much louder than the radio earlier. He feels it vibrate in his chest, feels it hum in his veins. He hums a soft note to himself, eyes drifting between the band members, subtly nodding his head to the beat he feels.

Visually, the band isn’t too bad. They’re obviously feeling it, getting into their own music, owning the stage and the catwalk. From what he can tell, their music is fairly quick paced, upbeat, if what he can feel and the nods from the rest of the crowd are anything to go by.

It’s not until his fingers twitch, automatically moving to tap out the rhythm on his thighs, that he realizes that Lance is still holding onto his wrist. He glances down at it. His grip is loose, but definitely firm enough that it’s clear he’s not letting go. Heat blooms in his chest, rushing outward as he shifts his hand, slipping his wrist through Lance’s hand and settling his own there in its place. Finger’s automatically close around each other, and his heart gives this little flip, making him feel light headed.

Or maybe it’s the heat?

He doesn’t know. Doesn’t care.

When he risks a glance up, sheepish and shy as he looks through his lashes, Lance isn’t looking at him, but there’s the smallest of smiles reflecting in his eyes, lifting his cheeks. His lips, however, are moving.

Keith tugs on his hand to get his attention, and when Lance looks, he signs with his free one. < You know this band? >

Lance shrugs, half turning toward Keith as he responds. < Yeah, kinda stumbled across them on accident. They’ve got a really unique sound. Especially with the singer. You can really hear the Elvis and Johnny Cash influences. >

Keith’s lips quirk into a wry smile. < Sounds interesting >

Lance’s eyes dance, crinkling at the edges. < It is. Makes you want to move. >

Suddenly Lance is tugging at his hand, stepping back and pulling Keith to him. He stumbles, eyes widening in his surprise. Lance catches him against his chest, still holding his hand while the other wraps around him, free hand splayed wide on his exposed lower back. Keith shivers at the touch.

He looks up, breath catching at their nearness. Lance smiles, and it sucks the air out of his lungs, leaves him weak at the knees and leaning further into his hold. Good lord, he needs a drink. Or twenty.

“Dance with me,” Lance says, not bothering to remove his hands and relying solely on Keith’s ability to read lips. He catches it, and it probably has a lot to do with the fact that he’s using lip reading as an excuse to stare at his mouth. His pretty little mouth, lips that he wants to bite and bruise, lips that would look great stretched around his—

His eyes snap back up to Lance’s, and he sets his features into a scowl, hoping that’s enough of a reply. He doesn’t really want to remove his hands from Lance, either.

Lance, however, doesn’t take his scowl seriously, or perhaps he simply doesn’t care, because a moment later, he’s pulling Keith around. They don’t really have room to dance, nor is this really music one can conventionally dance to. At least Keith doesn’t think it is. Still, that doesn’t stop Lance from trying.

It’s honestly a lot of random body movements, a lot of flailing and head bobbing. Lance spins him around, throws him out and pulls him back in, is dramatic enough in the movements that he has Keith laughing. Keith finds himself easing into it, letting the unfamiliar beat of the songs reverberate through him, throws out his arms and kicks his legs in time, bobs his head in a full body motion that has Lance laughing along with him. People give them space, and a few join in. Not quite a mosh pit, but close.

Lance mouths along with the words, but whether he’s actually singing or not, Keith isn’t sure. Hell, he could be making it up completely and Keith would be none the wiser. Either way, Lance serenades him, holding eye contact so Keith knows the performance is just for him, making his expressions and lips far more exaggerated than necessary to make up for the fact that Keith can’t actually hear it.

It’s... surprisingly endearing.

Keith doesn’t know much about Volbeat, but he supposes they’re not so bad.

 


 

By the time Volbeat leaves the stage an hour later, Lance has given up dancing, which Keith is grateful for. It’s still far too hot for that.

He doesn’t, however, move away. Despite the heat, he stands close, one arm wrapped loosely around his back, hand resting on his hip. It seems like a casual enough gesture, but Keith notices the care with which he doesn’t quite touch his exposed waist. His thumb, however, makes slow, delicate circles around his bare hip bone, and Keith is ashamed at how much that simple touch affects him.

With no better way to stand, Keith’s arm made it’s way around Lance’s waist several songs ago. People shoving through the crowd nudged them closer, a bump to his side causing him to stumble closer to Lance’s side. Lance’s arm had tightened around him, and Keith simply hadn’t moved away.

When Volbeat makes their way off stage, he’s been standing with his head on Lance’s shoulder, hands drumming a pattern onto his thigh and Lance’s hip for the past three songs.

The crowd starts to shift, everyone turning to their companions or deciding to wander, seeking food or drinks or anywhere out of the sun. Keith watches them, feels everyone become restless around them, no longer held captive by music. He watches it with a rising sense of dread.

He doesn’t want to move. He’s comfortable here. He’s hot and sweating, and Lance’s proximity isn’t exactly helping, but he doesn’t mind. He finds himself holding his breath, willing the moment to stretch, stretch, last— but then Lance is shifting, hand slipping from one hip, sliding across his exposed lower back to rest on the other as he takes a step away, turning to face him.

Keith has to lift his head, is forced to remove his own arm from around him. He gazes up at Lance, trying to project casual curiosity and not the disappointment he feels.

But Lance is smiling, sweat gleaming at his temples and eyes rivaling the sky, making Keith’s insides all fluttering and nauseous, so... maybe it isn’t all so bad.

< You thirsty? > He signs with one hand, leaving the other casually on Keith’s hip. He specifically uses the sign for alcohol.

Keith raises an eyebrow, the rest of his face blank as he signs, < The beer here is really shitty and really expensive. >

Lance shrugs, easy grin not deterred in the slightest. < I’m buying. >

His eyes widened at that, eyebrows shooting toward his hairline. His lips parted for a moment before he pursed them, signing quickly. < Did you notice the whole expensive part? >

Another shrug. A wider grin. His hand slid up from Keith’s hip, achingly slow. Slow enough to give Keith time to pull away, to stop him. Slow enough that he feels every agonizing inch, the heat and smoothness of his long fingers as they creep up to his skin, over the swell of his hip, finger splayed wide, feeling everything. His hand doesn’t go far, stops right on the curve of his waist, but it feels like an eternity passes.

Keith can’t look away from his eyes, even as he feels his lips part and heat fill his chest, blooming from the simple touch at his side and spreading outward.

Keith focuses on Lance’s moving hand to keep from falling apart. < Live music? Overpriced drinks? If we have dinner, this might be considered a date. >

Keith feels a sly smirk curving his lips, encouraged and fed by Lance’s cocky grin, driven by the challenge that sparked in his eyes, empowered by the sudden desire to see that grin falter, to play his game and win.

Putting one hand on Lance’s hip, the other lying flat on his chest, he leans in close, feeling how Lance stiffens, head pulling back just a fraction in his surprise, eyes wide. In what he hopes is a husky whisper, he says, “You buy drinks, and I’ll buy dinner.”

He leans back, admiring the way his mask cracks, the way he gapes and the cute little flush on his cheeks, before throwing back his head and laughing.

He curls his fingers into the front of Lance’s tank, taking a step backwards and pulling Lance after him. “Let’s go, Casanova. You promised me some shitty beer, and the lines are long as fuck.”

 


 

They get so wrapped up in conversation, standing close, smell of cheap beer mingling between them, heads bowed together as they attempt to sign with sweating plastic cups in their hands, that they don’t notice the next band taking the stage.

When the radio cuts out, Lance lifts his head, noting the rush of people moving forward. Then the first chords come blaring through the speakers, and he turns to Keith to tell him it’s starting, but Keith already knows.

He chugs the rest of his beer, eyes wide and bright and fucking sparkling as he crushes the plastic cup. He cocks a smirk at Lance, pointedly eyeing his half full cup before lifting his gaze, challenge sparking in those dark depths. That look goes straight through him. Shot through the heart. Insides splattering the pavement behind him. Breath knocked from his lungs. Weak at the knees.

He’s convinced the only thing that keeps him standing is the spark of fire that ignites in his chest, the need to rise to the bait, accept the challenge. It’s so stupid. It’s not even a real challenge. He’s just indicating that Lance should finish his beer. But it’s set up in such a way that Lance can’t refuse. Can’t just roll his eyes and take his time. Feels himself lifting his cup to his lips with an answering smirk and chugging the lukewarm cheap beer.

He fears that if Keith looks at him like that, there’s not a single thing he wouldn’t do. Keith is dangerous. He has too much power over him. Just a look and a smirk and Lance will willingly bend over backwards to please him.

He’s falling. He knows he is. But he sure as fuck doesn’t want help back up. If this means he gets more of Keith, more of those calloused hands, more glimpses of that smile, gets to taste those soft, plump lips, gets to find out what that cute little piercing feels like against his mouth, then yeah, Lance is gonna nose dive right the fuck into that void. Sayonara, world, he’s gone.

He’s barely managed to pull the empty cup from his lips before Keith is grabbing his wrist, dragging him forward. He stumbles after him, laughing at his eagerness even as the sound is drowned out.

They pass by a trashcan to toss their cups before Keith drags Lance through the crowd. He’s merciless. Shoving his way through people without much grace, leaving Lance to mutter apologizes in his wake. He only stops when they’re decently submerged, close enough to the stage that the crowd is too thick to possibly push any further.

There’s not much hesitation as his hand slips down from Lance’s wrist to his hand, squeezing his fingers. It almost seems like an after thought, and as Lance turns to look at it, he doesn’t think Keith has even realized he’s doing it. His head is tilted back, eyes wide as they lock on the stage, flickering between the band members, taking everything in. His lips are parted just slightly, giving him this open look of wondrous awe and unbridled excitement.

The sun glints off his lip piercing, drawing Lance’s eye, and he wonders, not for the first time, what that would feel like if he kissed him.

The music is loud on the floor, so close to the stage and beneath the speakers. He can feel it shaking through his core, and he takes a moment to imagine what it would be like to only experience the music that way. How different it would be. He can’t help but feel like it would lose a lot of impact, but perhaps that’s just because he’s never known anything different.

His eyes trail back to Keith again. He doesn’t seem to mind. In fact, he looks more excited than Lance has ever seen him. Eyes locked onto the stage, body rocking with the driving beat, head bobbing and sending loose hairs flying. He’s a lot less stiff now than he was during Volbeat, and he has a feeling it has to do with the fact that he actually knows this band.

The most surprisingly thing, however, is how Keith’s lips are moving. Lance can’t tell if he’s actually singing, but if he is, his voice is easily drowned out. A shame, really. But from what he can tell, it looks like he’s pretty spot on with the words.

He gives a light tug on Keith’s hand, just enough that Keith turns to look at him, lips stopping their movement as Lance signs. < Do you actually know all the words? > He makes his face as open and honestly curious as he can, trying not to sound condescending.

He either succeeds or Keith just knows him well enough to know that isn’t the case because he smiles, small and sheepish, shoulders rising a little and chin tilted downward. < I listened to them a lot in middle school and high school, before I lost my hearing. I remember most of their older songs well enough to match up words with the beat. >

Lance finds himself grinning, chuckling softly to himself. < You were a little edge lord, weren’t you? >

Keith rolls his eyes, but there’s a small smile on his lips as he shoves Lance’s arm. He rocks away, laughing, and is surprised when Keith tugs him back, releasing his hand only to wrap an arm around his waist. He has no shame as his hand slips beneath the hem of his tank, soft leather of his gloves on his skin and strong fingers wrapping firmly around his hip bone.

He tenses, but only out of surprise and in an attempt to suppress a shudder. When he glances at Keith, he’s already turned back to the stage. The pink staining his sharp cheekbones ruins his otherwise pristine image of nonchalance.

Lance knows his fair share of Avenged Sevenfold’s music, and he appreciates hearing them live, but he can’t for the life of him keep his eyes off of Keith. Lance fades into the background as he gets so enraptured by the concert, swept away with the vibrations that rumble through him, eyes soaking in everything, and Lance... he’s okay with it. Okay with watching from the sidelines.

He gets to watch Keith openly and without remorse, no worry that he’ll be caught because honestly Keith is too far gone to notice. Excited Keith isn’t something he’s ever seen. Not to this level. Not this bright and enthusiastic creature beside him, body moving with the shifting tides of the music, black hair flying, dark eyes wide and bright, smile stretching his lips between words and verses. His pale skin glistens with sweat, broken only by the ink that Lance has personally put into his skin. His features, usually angled and hard, sharp and dangerous, are softened in his enthusiasm.

He’s beautiful. He’s ethereal. He takes Lance’s goddamn breath away. He didn’t think angels would dress in cut up band shirts and black cargo shorts, with metal in their ears and ink marring their bodies, but here he is. Here’s Keith. Proving him wrong.

Keith is so deep in the pull of the performance that Lance has next to none of his attention, despite hogging all of Lance’s. But that’s okay. It means he can watch, observe, commit to memory.

And the whole time, Keith doesn’t once remove his arm from around Lance’s waist.

Yeah. That helps, too.

The song changes, and Keith stills, waiting for the next one. It starts slow, soft, a trail and trickle of a few notes. Keith’s head tilts to the side, nose crinkling as his brow pinches. His eyes are on the stage, but Lance isn’t sure he can really feel the soft notes being played. It’s clear he’s trying to figure it out. The puzzle is clear on his face.

And it’s one of the cutest fucking things he’s ever seen.

Then the music starts up quickly, guitar and drums quick and hard, leaning heavily on the drums to drive forward, and Keith perks right the fuck up. He straightens grinning, head bobbing automatically, lips moving, free hand patting his thigh like an afterthought.

Lance finds himself nodding along. He knows this one, lips curling into a small smile as he sings along. Keith doesn’t seem to notice, too enraptured on his own. As the chorus starts up, however, Lance slips out of his grip, sliding up behind him. He starts as Lance’s arms wrap around his middle, back going ramrod straight.

”You should have knooown,” He sings, enjoying the melodic qualities of the chorus. ”The priiice of evil.” He leans forward, hovering over Keith’s shoulder. The torn out neck of his t-shirt leaves enough of his shoulder exposed to give him a taste and leave him craving more. It gives him a peak of the galaxy he’s inked there, looking like it’s gleaming from a tear in his skin. He decides to take a chance, push his luck, and get that taste. ”And it hurt to knooow that you belong here, yeah,” He dips his head, letting his lips caress the juncture of his shoulder and neck as he sings. He knows Keith can’t hear him, but he’s gonna make sure he can feel him.

”Oooooo,” Everyone is singing at this point, audience voices cushioning that coming through the amps. Lance drags his lips up the side of Keith’s neck, feeling a pleased warmth bubble in his gut as Keith leans his head to the side. Holding him close, he can feel the way his breath hitches.

The singer stops, letting the audience finish the line, music halting as the crowd chants, ”Your fucking nightmaaare!”

Most people shout it, voices mingling into something chaotic and loud. Lance whispers it, mouth moving against Keith’s ear, feeling the metal of his piercings cool against his lips.

He finishes it by taking his lobe into his mouth, teeth lightly biting, teasing, gently tugging before letting go.

He’s so glad Keith’s midriff is exposed because he can feel the goosebumps where his hands rest on his stomach.

He leans back a little, pleased when Keith relaxes into him. He likes how they fit like this. How comfortable and natural Keith feels in his arms, back pressed to his chest. He’s not sure he believes in soulmates or anything like that, but he’d be lying if he said Keith didn’t feel like a puzzle piece snapping into place in his arms.

Keith tilts his head back, small smirk in place, shy around the edges. Lance’s gaze reluctantly flickers away from his face as he signs. < I didn’t know you knew their songs. > He looks amused.

Lance shrugs, feeling the drag of it against Keith’s shoulders. < I know a few. >

Keith turns back forward, but he doesn’t move away, so Lance takes that as his cue to get comfortable. And he does. They spend a couple songs like that, bodies rocking together, in sync in ways that Lance hadn’t even really realized was possible, especially with the erratic way people move to this type of music. Keith leans against him, not even subtly.

After a few cautionary movements to test boundaries without any repercussions, Lance lets his hands wander. Fingers exploring Keith’s stomach, his sides, rising up to the curve of his ribs before dipping low to trace where his shorts hang low on his hips, feel the defined abs that are seriously not fair and idly play with the light trail of hair beneath his belly button.

Keith’s body reacts to him, muscles twitching and hips rolling, but he doesn’t move away. If anything, his reactions are encouraging, and Lance knows he doesn’t have the will power to stop on his own. Mostly Keith just enjoys the concert, hands tapping out the drum rhythms, alternating between his thighs and Lance’s hands, and basking under Lance’s attention.

And the few times Lance runs his nose along the curve of his neck, letting his lips trail along creamy skin as he mouths the words along his shoulders, tastes the tattoo he personally put there… yeah, Keith doesn’t seem to mind that either, if the tilt of his head and the arch of his back are anything to go by.

They don’t get to stay like that nearly as long as Lance would like to. It’s not long before the lead singer, Lance doesn’t even know his name, is addressing the audience. He riles the crowd up, but Lance doesn’t pay much attention. He’s far too busy slowly tracing the hem of Keith’s shorts with a single nail and feeling the way his muscles roll beneath his touch.

Then the guy on stage is pointing to spots in the audience, telling them to open up, create some havoc. Mosh pits, most likely. One is close by, opening up as people push away to form a circle. Keith might not know what the guy on stage is saying, but he straightens at the sight of the pit forming, pulling a little away from him.

Lance gives him a questioning look, and Keith just returns it with a sly smirk and an excited crinkle to his eyes that makes Lance’s heart clench.

The song starts up, people leak into the pit, and Keith drags Lance over to it. He doesn’t go in. He has some self respect, thank you very much. He’s not exactly a fan of being shoved around by a bunch of pumped up sweaty dudes. Keith, on the other hand, has no problem with it.

He dives into the pit, clashing with bodies like it’s his job, his own body tight and riled up with adrenaline. The music blares from the amps, vibrating across the stadium and echoing beyond. Lance feels it in his chest, feels it hum up his legs. The music is deafening. Driving.

He watches, a lazy, amused grin on his face as Keith fights in the pit. It’s an interesting phenomenon. They all rotate counter clockwise, clashing in the middle, being pushed out from the sides. Shoving. Colliding. Half of he dudes in there don’t have shirts one. It’s all bare flesh, shoving shoulders, and flailing limbs. Half the time they make eye contact before they hit, ramming each other on purpose. He watches as Keith tucks his shoulder, knocking several people off balance in their surprise.

He laughs at the pride on Keith’s face, the spark of something primal, something that craved the fight, something that reveled in it, lived in it. Unlike most, who flailed through the pit with little care, Keith’s movements were calculated, fluid, oddly graceful. He danced through the mosh pit, craving and seeking the fight, hit and retreat, prepare for the next.

Bodies jump and swing on either side of Lance, pushing him away from the pit’s edges. He loses sight of Keith as the song reaches it’s height and more join the pit. He thinks he catches a glimpse of dark hair between bodies, but he’s not certain.

When the song comes to an end, it sweeps seamlessly into the next, and Lance glances up at the stage for just a moment. When he looks back, Keith is pushing his way through the crowd, elbowing his way past the barrier of people at the edge of the pit.

Keith comes to a stop in front of him, and Lance is startled to see a thin trickle of blood seeping from his nose to his top lip. He doesn’t seem to notice, eyes wide and crackling with something Lance can’t quite identify but makes his insides squirm all the same. He’s grinning from ear to ear, like a proud little puppy who just fetched him a stick and not a fucking bloody nose.

Smirking, he taps the space under his nose. His smile dims for a moment, brows furrowing before shooting upward in understanding. His tongue peeks out then, pink tip swiping at his upper lip before he sniffs, using his arm to wipe away the rest of the blood. And...

Yeah. Yeah, that really shouldn’t have been as hot as it was.

Hot and endearing? Was that even possible? Well, Keith is here as living proof, so it must be.

< Took an elbow to the face. > He explains.

Lance chuckles, and doesn’t quite realize that he’s reaching out until his fingers are already making contact. Keith jolts a little, but doesn’t pull back, simply staring up at him with unreadably dark eyes, lips relaxing and parting in that way he does whenever he’s surprised. Lance smiles, feeling warm fondness bubble up his gut, filling his chest, guiding his hand as his fingers caress over Keith’s jaw, up to cup his cheek, fingertips finding their way into his hair.

“Did you get him back?” He asks aloud because they’re too close for him to really sign, and he doesn’t want to move away.

Keith seems to get the gist of what he’s saying though, and he nods, a small smirk twitching at the edge of his lips, eyes flashing with a satisfaction that has a spark of something dark and molten running through Lance’s core.

His other hand reaches out, resting on Keith’s side before running along his skin, coming to rest at his lower back. He can’t see it right now, can’t feel it, but knows there’s a tattoo there. One of his designs. One that he put there. Permanently etched into Keith’s skin. One of his marks. Right below his palm.

His thumb moves across Keith’s cheekbone, moving down as he retracts his hand just a little, letting the digit lightly skim across his lips, idling on the metal of his piercing. God, he wants to know what that feels like. Wants to know what Keith feels like. What he tastes like—

Then Keith is pushing forward, going up on his toes as one of his arms wraps around Lance’s back, pulling them flush together. Lance’s thumb slips out of the way just in time for their lips to crash together— foreheads knocking and noses bumping.

They pull apart, frozen as they stared at each other, mortification written across Keith’s features. His cheeks are stained with red, eyes wide.

Lance tosses his head back and laughs. It bubbles out of him, light and giddy, leaving no room for embarrassment. Keith tried to kiss him. It sucked and barely counted as a kiss at all, but the fact remained that Keith tried to kiss him.

When he looks back down, Keith’s smile is small and sheepish, gazing up at him through his lashes. How quickly he could go from predatory presence and bedroom eyes to vulnerable and soft. It simply isn’t fair. Not at all. Lance’s heart is weak.

He leans forward, pushing their foreheads together, cupping his cheek again. “Let’s try that again...” He says, knows Keith can’t hear him, knows he probably can’t read his lips this close, but hoping the sentiment is clear enough as he leans in, closes the distance. Keith tilts his head, meeting him halfway, eyes fluttering shut.

His lips are full and soft, with just a little resistance where the ring encircles his bottom lip. The hand behind him clenches, fingers fisting into the back of his tank. The other hand finds it’s way into his hair, threading through the strands at the back of his neck.

Lance pulls him in close, slotting their bodies together, tilting his head to better capture his lips. Again. And again. And again. Pull and release. Ebb and flow. A kiss, after kiss, after kiss. Until they blended together and couldn’t be distinguished.

He tastes of salt and cheap beer and Keith.

Lance is dizzy with it, breath heavy pants through his nose. His chest is light and his gut is on fire, molted and melting at his core. His head is spinning, the pounding of his heart nearly drowning out the music blaring from the amps. He feels it more than he hears it. Feels it ricocheting through him, vibrating between them, feels it along side his pounding pulse.

He can barely breathe, but he doesn’t care because holy shit. Holy shit. Holy fuck. Jesus fucking Christ. Forget about falling. He’s drowning. Drowning hard and fast. Do not call Nine-one-one. Do not resuscitate.

But he doesn’t fully grasp the sensation of drowning until they pull back for air and he finds himself trapped by a pair of navy eyes, pupils blown wide and swirling with emotions that have the earth crumbling away beneath him.

Then Keith smiles, slow and sincere, shy and hopeful, with those reddened, sinful, temping lips, and the fissure beneath his feet is blown wide open.

 


 

An “individual” pizza is just a small square cut into four smaller squares. Their options are just cheese and pepperoni. It tastes like it wasn’t cooked all the way and there’s way too much cheese on it. Not to mention they cost twelve bucks each.

He can get the same pizza, three times the size, at the same pizza place, for five dollars.

Not to mention the beer is overpriced, weak, and tastes like piss.

But he’s starving, and in the moment, it’s the best goddamn pizza and beer combo he’s ever had.

Though it could also have something to do with the fact that Lance is sitting crosslegged on the ground next to him, and he’s pressed up against the guy’s side as they eat.

Yeah. That might have something to do with it.

Lance’s body jerks slightly as he snorts, nose crinkling and lips quirking. Keith watching it out of the corner of his eye, but then he’s holding his phone up for Keith to see and he looks down. There’s a cat mere there, and he huff a short laugh. Lance glances sideways at him, smile still in place and a look in his eyes that’s far too fond before turning back to his phone to continue his scrolling.

It’s mostly been silent between them, but it’s comfortable. There’s a longer break between Avenged and Metallica, but Keith doesn’t mind. Gives him more time to simply hang out with Lance like this. They claimed a small space on the floor to themselves, off to the side and in the shade of the setting sun. Despite the people who shift and crowd around them, Keith can’t help but feel like they’re entirely alone. Their own little bubble of peace.

He finishes his pizza and wipes his hands on his shorts before pushing the box away. Cradling the plastic cup in his hands, he pulls his knees up and leans further into Lance’s side, letting his head drop onto the other’s shoulder. Lance doesn’t do much. Just subtly shifts more into him. Nudges a leg closer so Keith can lean his legs over it. Tilts his head down to rest on top of Keith’s.

A nasty little swarm of butterflies flutter around in Keith’s gut, climbing up his chest and threatening to choke him.

Lance finished his pizza a while ago, which Keith bought for him, per their date agreement. He really fucking hopes that means this is a date. A date that he wanted to begin with but chickened out at the last moment. Lance holds his half empty beer on one knee, the other lazily scrolling whatever app he’s on.

Keith watches for a while, but there’s only so many cat memes he can take before boredom takes over. He finds his eyes drawn downward, tracing the curves of the waves tattooed on the arm he’s leaning against. He’s always wished he could trace those lines, feel the way they curved and flowed around his forearm.

And then it occurs to him that maybe... now he can?

He shifts his beer into one hand, lifting his other hand to Lance’s arm, and does exactly what he’d been wanting to do. Lance’s skin is so, so smooth, warm and inviting. The blues and whites blend into his arm, standing out just enough to look beautiful but faded enough to look aged and natural against his bronze skin.

He traces up and down his forearm, following the rolls and tides. Finding all the small, subtle outlines of various water creatures that Allura has hid in there. He moves up his arm, tracing around the moon just above the crook of his elbow, to the scales along his bicep.

He’s lost in the color of it, in the feel of his arm, in the warmth of him against his side. It takes him a while for him to notice that Lance has stopped scrolling. When he does, Keith ducks his head a little more, letting his bangs fall over his face, feeling the heat rise to his cheeks. Lance doesn’t seem to mind. In fact, he turns his arm a little, letting Keith trace all angles and sides of his tattoo sleeve. Right down to the word familia tattooed in elegant script on his inner wrist.

They sit like that for long enough that Lance’s phone screen goes dark, and when it lights back up again, it draws both of their attention.

It’s a snapchat from Pidge.

Lance opens it up, and Keith perches his chin on his shoulder to watch. When the picture opens up, it takes him a moment to figure out what they’re looking at. It’s the stadium floor from somewhere high above, zoomed in a little but mostly all the people were indistinguishable. There’s a red circle around two tiny dots sitting close together, as well as the caption stop being cuddly and gay, ur in public, have some shame.

Keith snorts, and Lance turns his head just slightly to send him a little grin. Then he’s opening up the camera to respond, switching it to the front camera, and holding it up so they’re both on the screen.

Keith is immediately assaulted with the image of the two of them sitting close, him leaning so far into Lance he might as well be on his lap, chin perched on his shoulder. It’s— It’s really fucking cute. But it’s also really fucking gay.

Lance doesn’t mind. He opens up the filters and flicks through them, settling on one of the flower crowns. He sees Keith’s scowl on the screen before he turns that grin on him. Keith reluctantly leans away a fraction to give him room to sign. < What? Don’t want to be a punk princess? >

He rolls his eyes and settles his chin back on Lance’s shoulder, looking back to the phone. With his free hand, Lance flips off the camera, using the finger to pull down an eyelid as he sticks his tongue out. It reveals his tongue piercing, the little blue bead, and Keith— he really wants to know what that feels like. In his mouth. On his neck. His collarbones. His chest. His stomach. His hipbones. His—

He lifts his hand to flip off the camera as well, and sticks out his tongue with a curl of his lip. Lance adjusts the phone to get the best angle, but before he takes the picture, an idea drifts into his mind, taking root.

He’s not sure what possess him to do it. Maybe the heat has made him delirious. Maybe it’s the cheap ass piss beer. Maybe it’s the fact that Lance hasn’t been opposed to his advances yes so far.

Maybe it’s the word date that’s been thrown around casually and jokingly but with that underlying understanding that they’re both serious.

Right before Lance takes the picture, Keith lifts his head. Still flipping off the camera, he presses his lips to the paw print tattoo on the side of Lance’s neck.

When he pulls away, Lance isn’t looking at him, but his head is bowed, lips pursed but with a smile threatening to break through, and an adorable blush darkening beneath his freckles. Keith smirks, looking down to his phone. The picture came out... really great actually. Kudos to Lance for holding poise for long enough to take it.

As he watches, Lance adds the caption: can’t take the heat, then get tf out of the sun.

Keith props his chin back on Lance’s shoulder, humming softly before saying, “Send that to me.” Lance tilts his head to look at him, eyebrows raised in question, two little piercings glinting in the sun. Keith looks back down, hiding his face as he shrugs. “It’s cute. I wanna keep it.”

Lance offers him his phone, and Keith takes it, typing in his snapchat name and adding himself on Lance’s phone before sending the picture to himself and Pidge.

He’s about to hand the phone back when another idea hits him. He closes snapchat and opens up Lance’s contacts before adding himself in there, too.

He hands the phone back with his new contact information open. Lance is still for several moments. Keith refuses to look up at him, but he’s certain that if he does, he’d find him smiling.

That thought alone is enough to have Keith smiling his own, small smile, keeping it secret with a shield of hair as he goes back to tracing Lance’s tattoos.

 


 

Prior to the show, Keith didn’t really have any strong feelings about Metallica. He knew of their music, had listened to some before he lost his hearing, and some of it after. He liked them well enough, but if you had asked him prior to the concert what band he was most excited about, it would have been Avenged.

What he’s not expecting is to be blown away by their stage presence.

Night falls by the time they take the stage. The stadium lights go out, leaving them in a blanket of soft darkness, and Lance drags him into the crowd. It’s nearly tripled in size since Volbeat, but Lance doesn’t push too deep, content to merely hang at the edges.

The screens towering over the stage light up, being clearly visible for the first time now that the glare of the sun is no longer there. A scene plays, old in quality but easily recognizable from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Lance pulls out his phone to record it, and Keith glances around, noticing that... pretty much everyone else is doing the same.

The stadium is dark, the horizon cast in a muted red glow to the west, the shadows of the floor and the bleachers lit up with the bright white glow of phone screens, twinkling like stars.

It’s oddly beautiful.

The screen goes off as the clip ends, and he turns back to the stage in the brief seconds of tense silence before the music drops.

It’s loud. Louder than the other two bands, he’s pretty sure. He likes it. Can feel it. Shakes through his core, rumbles in his chest, sends fire through his veins.

The screens light up again, flickering between images of distorted faces and brief images of the band members on stage. Above the stage two balloons start to inflate, distorted images decorating the sides. Lights flash. He can feel the audience cheering around him, can feel their energy.

Lance is practically vibrating at his side, and when he turns to look, he suddenly loses all interest in the stage.

The lights flash across his bronze skin, highlighting and shadowing the angles and curves in turn. His eyes are wide and bright, staring with rapt attention and framed by lashes that are far too long to be fair. The curve of his smile is intoxicating, even more so now that he knows what those lips feel like, what he tastes like. His neck is long and tempting, flowing down to the curve of his shoulder. Keith stares at the tendons, watches his adams apple bob as he sings along. He wants to sink his teeth into his collar bones.

Where a hand holds up his phone, still recording, part of his side is revealed through the absurdly long arm holes of his muscle tank. He stares at the darker patch on his side, knows it’s a thick trail of forget-me-nots that travel down his side, over his hip to disappear beneath his pants. Lance showed it to him once, when he was showing off all his tattoos at the shop. Keith wants to know how far those flowers trail, wants to run his tongue along them, trace them, make it an experience that Lance can’t forget.

He’s so busy staring that he doesn’t realize the song is over until Lance is putting his phone away. He glances sideways and catches Keith’s eye, smile widening a notch and sending something sizzling down Keith’s spine.

But then there’s fire on stage, and Keith’s attention is snapped back. A lot of fire. Fire swirling and whirling on the screens, overlaying the video feed of the performers on stage. Wheels of fire. Fire dancing across the stage. Fire occasionally blasting from around the stage.

Keith’s mouth falls open, awed. As Lance sidles up behind him, arms wrapping once more around his waist, he can feel the boy laughing. He leans back into him, immediately melting into his embrace, resting his hands on Lance’s arms. Lance’s own hands aren’t hesitant this time. They move across Keith’s exposed midriff, playing lightly along his skin. He leans his head against Keith’s, and Keith can feel the ruffle of his hair from Lance’s breath as he sings.

The flames from the stage are hot whenever the flare out, but it’s nothing compared to the heat coiling in his gut.

The next few songs pass in a blur. The music vibrates through him, rattling his core, fingers twitching with the drums. Lance sways behind him, head nodding over his shoulder. His hands constantly move, over his stomach, up and down his sides, rising up his ribs before dipping back down, dancing teasingly from hip to hip and making him shudder out shaky breaths. Sometimes his hands roam to his hips and thighs, forcing him to sway with him to the music.

The whole time Lance is singing. To every song. Keith can feel it. Can feel the small, more subtle vibrations of his chest behind him. Can feel it in the huffs of air that breeze across his skin. Can feel it when Lance dips his head to ghost his lips over Keith’s neck, his ear, his shoulder, mouth forming words that Keith doesn’t know.

He nods his head along, lets the music sway his body, leans his weight back against the solid form of Lance’s chest. Jesus fuck, he feels so good behind him, all hard edges and soft hands. There are several mosh pits opened up near them, but for once, Keith feels no real desire to join them. Not when he’s pressed to Lance like this.

Keith has never really had any strong feeling about Metallica, but at this point, he’s certain that he won’t be able to listen to them without the memory of Lance’s hands ghosting along his body.

Halfway through the set, they find themselves toward the back of the floor, where a fair number of people have retreated to sit down rather than continue to stand near the stage. He sits with his legs spread and Lance nestled between them, leaning back against his chest and slouched enough that his head can rest on Keith’s shoulder. Keith’s knees rise on either side of him, holding him in, while Lance’s stretch out in front of them.

kiss the boy

Keith’s cheek rests on Lance’s head. His hair is so goddamn soft, it’s ridiculous. And he even manages to smell nice after a day in the sun, which is just plain witchcraft. Keith enjoys the feel of it against his face as he nods to the music. Lance’s snapback was removed once Keith determined it was getting in the way, and is currently perched atop his own head for safe keeping.

He usually doesn’t like wearing hats like this, but it’s Lance’s hat, so... yeah. He’ll deal.

His arms are around Lance’s waist, and his hands idly play along with the drums against Lance’s exposed stomach where his tank has ridden up. He’s not too familiar with Metallica’s music, but he’s been playing the drums long enough to pick up on patterns and make up his own when he gets lost.

He’s been drumming for years. It’s been his outlet for years. And he sure as fuck wasn’t going to let losing his hearing take that away from him. He practiced. He learned. The precision of muscle memory is drilled into his body, and he keeps it there. He can feel the beat when he plays, knows how things feel to make them loud and soft. Likes to lose himself in his drum set when he can.

Lance doesn’t mind being his temporary drum kit. In fact, if anything, when Keith told him what he’s been doing, Lance just looked at him with surprised awe. He looked impressed, which only made Keith’s chest flutter and fill with surprising shyness.

Lance just turns him into a fucking mess, in so many different ways.

Between songs, and when there’s not a heavy enough drum beat, Keith lets his hands explore Lance much like Lance has done with him. He finds his favorite thing to do is play with the two studs on either of his hips. They’re piercings he doesn’t see a lot, and he’s quickly realizing he likes them. A lot. He wonders what it would be like to run his tongue over them, to hold Lance’s hips so he can’t squirm, make him shudder and gasp as Keith teased closer and closer.

Overall, Keith is really enjoying Metallica. He can feel their music shaking through the air and vibrating the ground beneath him, and they fully utilize the resources available to make their show visually appealing. Different lighting effects for each song, different things on the screens, sometimes fire displays, sometimes fireworks. Between that and Lance, Keith is never lacking for something to look at.

Lance continues to sing, seemingly knowing all the words to every damn song. Keith doesn’t mind. The way he can feel Lance’s voice rumble in his chest is oddly soothing and incredibly cozy. Not to mention what he’s doing with his hands.

Ever since they sat down in this position, with Keith behind him and his hands now free, Lance has been signing. Whatever he sings, whenever they’re lyrics, his hands are moving. They stumble occasionally as he can’t find words as quickly as they come, but for the most part, he’s actually a pretty damn good interpreter. His ASL voice is relaxed, with a fluidity to it that speaks of years of confidence and without the rigid atmosphere of those who learned in a classroom.

The oddest part is Lance doesn’t seem to really realize he’s doing it. It’s almost an after thought, the pull of a dance with his hands that he barely thinks about. When Keith had asked him about it between songs, Lance had just shrugged, giving him a sheepish smile and saying that he usually signs songs for his sister when they’re listening to music, so he thought he’d do that so Keith could look at the lyrics whenever he wanted to.

It’s... incredibly endearing and ridiculously considerate and kind. He’s far too fucking cute for Keith’s poor heart to take.

When Lance asked if Keith wanted him to continue, he just buried his face in Lance’s neck to hide the happy fucking grin he knew was on his face, and squeezed him tight. He had felt Lance’s laughter, and he’s come to the conclusion that it’s one of the best feelings in the world.

When eleven o’clock nears, Keith starts to feel nauseous. Nerves fight the butterflies in his stomach, his skin alternating between hot and cold. He doesn’t want to leave, doesn’t want this night to end. He’s only gotten a taste of Lance, and he craves more like a man dying of thirst.

He doesn’t know if Lance is picking up on his nerves or if he’s feeling some of his own, but he can feel him getting restless in his arms. He shifts, glancing up at Keith occasionally. He’s stopped signing, instead taking to running his hands over Keith’s arms, squeezing his fingers.

As the band starts up their first encore, Keith leans forward and presses his lips to Lance’s ear. With his heart hammering against his ribs, blood ringing in his ears, and breath coming in shallow huffs, he manages to whisper, “Come home with me?” He can feel how ragged and hoarse his voice sounds.

Lance shudders against him, hands tightening around his forearms. Pressed so close, Keith can feel him swallow hard. Then he nods. Quickly and eagerly, before signing a quick, < Okay >.

Relief and excitement hit him hard, flaring up and burning through his veins, melting away his anxieties and leaving his nerves alight. He still can’t take a deep breath, but it’s for much different reasons as something warm and fluttering seizes his chest. He’s dizzy with it.

He chuckles softly, feels Lance shudder against him. He tilts his head back onto Keith’s shoulder, back arching in a way that’s so fucking beautiful. Keith obliges him by lowering his lips to the exposed length of his neck, kissing languidly before sinking his teeth in.

He thought feeling Lance’s laughter was the best feeling in the world, but he’s quickly realizes that Lance’s moans are a really fucking close second.

 


 

The third encore can be heard echoing out of the stadium, muted and distant as they stumble through the crowd pouring into the streets. Keith tugs him along at an unrelenting pace, weaving through people and darting around cars. Lance isn’t sure if he’s in a hurry to get home or just to beat the traffic, but he’s okay with either.

As they finally break away from the thickest parts of the crowd, Lance tugs Keith back, forcing him to slow down and smiling as he’s fixed with a pout. He wiggles out of his grip and wraps his arm around Keith’s waist instead, hand firmly fixed on his hip as he pulls him close. Keith stumbles into him, and he catches sight of a small smile as his arm snakes around Lance’s waist in kind.

Unable to keep the grin off his face, he pulls out his phone, shuffling through his notifications to find Hunk’s number. He hits the call button as Keith directs them into a parking lot.

“Hey, where are you?” Hunks voice picks up on the second ring. There are voices in the background, and he sounds vaguely out of breath. The music isn’t too loud, which probably means they’ve already left the stadium. “We tried messaging you. We’re headed to the car. You remember where we parked, right?”

“Tell him if he takes too long sucking face and we get stuck in traffic, I’m castrating him!” Pidge’s voice cuts through the background noise, slightly distorted but loud enough to hear. There’s the sounds of crackling, muffled rustling.

“Pidge— stop— don’t climb me, I’m not a tree— Thanks, Allura.” He can hear Pidge’s muffled protests fading away. “Jesus— okay, uh, you still there, dude?”

Lance chuckles. “Yeah, I’m still here.”

Keith pulls away from him then, and Lance realizes they’ve stopped in front of a familiar bike. He freezes, lips parting as his jaw goes slack. His mouth feels dry, voice shriveling to nothing as he gazes at the beauty beneath the streetlight.

Oh, and the bike, too.

Keith turns to look at him, raising an eyebrow for a moment before a small smirk slowly curves his lips. He steps close to him again, hands slipping up his chest, arms wrapping around his neck. If looks could kill, Lance would be fucking dead.

Actually, scratch that. He’s pretty sure he’s stopped breathing.

“—ance? Buddy?” Oh right. He’s on the phone with Hunk.

“Y-yeah, I’m here. What’s up?” He said, clearing his throat and trying to keep his voice steady. Doesn’t help it from cracking, and he thanks any god listening that Keith is deaf.

Doesn’t seem to matter though. The look on his face must be enough because Keith’s smirk widens, the look in his eyes darkening.

“I said Shiro is asking if Keith is with you?” Hunk says, sounding vaguely concerned. It’s hard to tell when his brain is short circuiting as Keith leans forward and lightly nips at his collarbone.

“Uh, y-yeah, why do you ask?” He says, trying to keep his breathing even, but hearing the hiccup in his voice as Keith bites down hard at the juncture of his neck before releasing him, sucking at the spot and licking it lightly.

Jesus fuck, this boy’s mouth will be the death of him.

“Shiro’s with us. He’s been trying to get ahold of Keith, but he’s not answering his texts.”

Fuck. Shiro. He’d forgotten about Shiro. Did they ride together? Shit. Fuck— good god, Keith’s fingers run through his hair, body pressing tight against his front, lips at his ear, breath coming in soft pants—

“Oh— phone must be dead or something.” He says. He has no idea if Keith’s phone is actually dead, but he’s not about to push him away just to talk to him. “Did they— does he need a ride?” He bites back a moan, free arm snaking around Keith’s waist as he tilts his head to the side to give him more room.

He’s going to have so many hickies tomorrow with how much of a biter Keith is, and he doesn’t give a fuck.

“Nah, they drove separately, but he’s parked near us. Apparently he’s going home with Allura.” He adds in a loud whisper, and Lance can hear snickers in the background. “He just wanted to make sure Keith was alright.”

“Yeah, yup, he’s good. We’re good. Everything’s good.”

“So where are you? We’re at the car.”

“Yeah, about that. I’m— jesus— I’m going home with Keith—“

“Goddammit!”

“Buddy?” Lance stills, and Keith feels it, pulling back to give him a curious look.

“Oh! Sorry, it’s just now I owe Pidge ten bucks.”

“Ha! I called it!” He hears Pidge’s voice in the background.

Hunk sighs. “Yeah, yeah, how about I buy you a McDonalds twenty piece on the way home and we call it even.”

“Fine, but I’m getting a McFlurry.”

“You guys made bets on us?” He asks, and Keith’s eyebrows go up at that, gaze darting from his lips to his eyes as an amused smile blossoms. His forehead drops to Lance’s shoulder and muffles his laugh in his neck.

“Sorry, buddy, but you would’ve done the same thing.”

His hand slides up and down Keith’s back. He can’t help the smile on his face. “You’re right. Just means you’re assholes like me.”

“Don’t forget to use protection!” He hears Pidge yell.

“And Allura approved lubricants!” Allura shouts, snickering with Pidge.

“Tell Keith to drive at a reasonable speed!” Shiro’s voice.

Lance groans loudly, rolling his head back. Keith chuckles again, pulling away from him and moving toward his bike. He pops open the seat compartment and pulls out a jacket, slipping it on and zipping it up. As much as Lance hates to see that bare midriff go, he can’t deny how good Keith looks in leather.

Hunk chuckles. “Alright, but all joking aside, be safe, okay?”

“Yeah,” Lance says, voice soft as he smiles at Keith. “I will, buddy. Don’t worry.”

“Now go tap that boy’s ass.”

“I’m gonna eat it like dessert.”

“Okay, wow, gross. I did not need that visual. Thanks.”

Lance laughs as he hangs up, shoving his phone back in his pocket before stepping up to the bike. Keith turns and hands him a hoodie. It’s a little small, but it’s worn and soft and smells like Keith. He tosses Lance’s snapback into the compartment and pulls out two helmets, passing one to Lance.

Then he steps over the bike and sits down, straddling it as it roars to life. And Lance just... stands back and takes it in for a moment.

< This is Red. > Keith signs when he sees Lance staring. There’s a proud little smile on his face that’s far too adorable.

< It’s mostly black. > He points out, grinning as Keith’s smile falls into a little pout.

< There are red accents. >

Lance laughs, stepping forward and over the bike to settle behind him. It’s strange and exhilarating. All the times that he’s imagined and dreamed of riding on this bike behind him and now he is.

He leans forward, plastering himself over Keith’s back and wrapping his arms around his waist, slipping beneath the jacket to rest across his bare stomach. He feels Keith’s shoulder shake with a silent chuckle as he kicks back the stand. The only warning he gets is the rev of the engine before Keith is taking off.

He holds on tight, light hearted scream escaping him as Keith weaves through the traffic, speeding up when they hit the bigger, emptier roads. His screams dissolve into whoops of laughter, and he relaxes a little. Whenever he relaxes too much, however, Keith speeds up with a slight jerk, making him clutch at him tighter.

What an ass.

He’s gonna tap that ass.

Holy fuck, he’s going to tap that ass.

 


 

Keith has always known that Lance is addicting.

He’s known from the moment they met. From the moment he left that shop with his first tattoo and a lightness in his chest that followed him all the way home, igniting again every time he looked at his new ink, every time he touched it and imagined Lance’s slender, skillful hands, the little pinch in his brow as he concentrated.

He’s known from the moment he found himself stepping foot in that shop time and time again, either for new tattoos or simply see him under the guise of visiting Pidge.

He’s known for months as he’s dreamed of bronze skin, eyes like the ocean, and a smile to rival the sun itself.

He’s known from the moment he saw those elegant hands move, speaking to him with an ease and fluidity that he’s not used to getting from anyone that he hasn’t known for years.

He’s known from the moment those hands touched him, calculating, precise, yet gentle and caring, carving art into his flesh without a second of hesitation or uncertainty, calm as the eye of a storm in his element.

He’s known from the moment those blue eyes catch his, from the moment that cocky smile flipped his stomach upside down, sending him into a state of vertigo as wasps and butterflies fought in his chest.

He’s always known that Lance is addicting, but he never really understood the depth of it until he truly got a taste.

Once he did, he knew he was beyond saving.

They stumble through the door to his apartment, lips locked and hands groping. It had taken him far too long to even get the damn thing open, keys fumbling in his trembling hands as Lance plastered himself to Keith’s back, lips on his exposed neck, tongue tracing the symbol he had tattooed there, hands dipping past the waistband of his shorts, just enough to be teasing, just enough to make him shudder and bite his lip, all the while his hips made slow circular motions behind him, rutting into him in a show of desperation to contradict his otherwise slow movements.

Once the door was open, they had nearly fallen through, and Keith dragged Lance all the way in before slamming the thing shut. Locking them away. Private. Alone. Finally

Finally.

He pushes him up against the wall right there, barely three feet into his apartment, tossing his keys vaguely in the direction of the side table. He knows the second that the keys leave his hands that he’s going to miss. He doesn’t care. He’s too busy drowning. In his taste, in the feel of him, in the scent of him.

He grabs for the zipper to the hoodie Lance is wearing. As cute as it is seeing him in his clothes, it needs to be gone. Now. He zips it down, struggling to make it detach, pushing against the fabric with shaking hands until Lance gets the hint and helps him shrug it off. Keith’s jacket comes off in much the same fashion, impatient hands, desperate shoves. Their hands are back on each other before it even hits the ground.

The process of kicking off shoes is a lot less graceful, and he has no idea where they land as they’re tossed aside.

His bites at Lance’s bottom lip, waiting for the predictable gasp, the slight opening, before pushing his tongue inside. Tasting more. Tasting deeper. Licks hard and deep, doesn’t care if he’s being pushing, doesn’t care if it’s sloppy and uncoordinated. Wants more. Needs more.

Lance doesn’t seem to mind. His back arches, sucking in breaths and breathing out heavily through his nose. His hands find their way into Keith’s hair, ripping out his ponytail to bury deep. He gets a firm grip, clenches his fists to give that soft but sharp tug. It has Keith tilting his head back just a fraction, moan vibrating deep in his throat. Lance surges forward, claiming his mouth, just as savage and sloppy as Keith had been.

Just as desperate. Just as needy.

Keith’s hips cant forward into Lance’s, swallowing the vibrations of his moan, reveling in the sharp intake of breath.

Something about Lance’s lips, his hands, makes Keith’s brain short circuit, all proper functions fizzling out. Makes his body run on autopilot. Fills his mind with fog, drowning and lost in sensations. Creates a disconnect between body and mind. Leaves him reeling, out of body, yet able to still feel everything. Crave everything.

He can’t bring himself to mind. Can’t bring himself to stop. He likes it. Loves it. Wants more. More. More.

He’s drowning, and he doesn’t want to come up for air. His lungs burn, no amount of desperate gasps able to fill them, but he can’t stop. Not when Lance’s tongue is in his mouth and his hands are sliding down his back, fingers curling around his ass, squeezing, pulling him tighter against him.

Keith’s back arches, mouth dropping open as a guttural, “Fuck,” escapes his lips. He may be deaf now, but turns out old habits are hard to break. Especially when pushed beyond reason as he is. Turns out, cursing is one of those things.

There’s simply something primal about muttering curses, words that slip out in the heat of the moment, revealing tension just as much as a gasp or a moan. He’s willing to bet Lance is mouthy. Probably babbles, all incoherent and voice cracking. He... really fucking wishes he could hear that.

He doesn’t have time to dwell on it, however, because Lance’s teeth are at his collarbone and it drives away any thoughts besides oh fuck— holy shit— jesus— yes, more, like that, oh god, oh god, oh god—

The world whirls and his back hits the wall. Lance is still there, pressed against him, mouth at his neck, hands sliding up his sides, beneath his shirt, up his ribs, down his chest, long fingers splayed to feel as much as he can, down his stomach, hooking into the waistband of his shorts.

And then Lance is gone, leaving him breathless and reeling. He blinks, seeing nothing but the wall across the hall. It takes him a moment for his senses to come back to him, to feel the hands on his hips.

Lips, soft and tantalizing, press to his stomach, and he gasps, back arching. His gazes snaps downward, catching sight of Lance on his knees in front of him, lips sliding teasingly across his exposed stomach, making his muscles clench and coil.

Then he looks up, and Keith is gone, spiraling through the ceiling and into the atmosphere as Lance gazes up at him, eyes dark and lidded, lips pulled back into a coy smile, letting Keith knows he knows exactly what he’s doing to him, and that he’s goddamn proud of it.

Holding eye contact, he moves to one of Keith’s hip bones, sticking his tongue out slowly, revealing that blue bead that’s always teased and haunted him, and drags his tongue slowly, oh so slowly, from hip bone to hip bone, making sure Keith can feel the metal pressed to his skin.

Keith’s breath stutters out, holding it until Lance is done before leaving him in a rush. “Jesus...” He breathes in the exhale, hands quivering and uncertain. He presses them to the wall behind him, grounding, steadying.

Lance’s smile is deadly. The perfect mix between a cock sure grin and a predatory smirk. Makes heat rush through his veins, a live wire that leaves sparks crackling along his skin.

The fingers of one hand curl into his waistband, hovering there, implying but not pushing. He holds eye contact with Keith, brows raised in question as he signs with his free hand, < Can I? > The vague gesture is more than enough for Keith to know exactly what he’s asking.

He just nods, licking his bottom lip, mouth suddenly dry.

Lance just smiles, as reassuring as it is eager. It’s cute. And no one— repeat: no one— has the fucking right to look that goddamn cute while on his knees, popping the button to Keith’s shorts and unzipping them, pushing them down to his ankles.

He looks up, grins like he just received a goddamn present, and palms Keith’s semi through his boxers.

Keith’s head whips back so fast it cracks against the wall. He squeezes his eyes shut, hissing as pain radiates from his head and pleasure rushes through the rest of him.

Lance’s hand stills, and he looks down in time to see the look of worry. Keith gives him a small, shaky smile. When he doesn’t move right away, he lifts a hand from the wall, tentatively running his fingers through Lance’s hair, nails lightly scratching at his scalp, cupping his cheek. Lance hums, he feels it, and leans into the touch, eyes fluttering closed for a moment.

When they open, that spark of determination is back, and Keith knows he’s fucked.

Lance leans forward and has no shame as he mouths him through the thin material of his boxers. He breathes in sharply through his nose, stiffening, fingers curling slightly into his hair. He presses his tongue flat to him, letting Keith feel that fucking stud against his length.

He’s wondered for ages about how that might feel on him, and now he’s going to find out.

Holy fuck, he’s about to find out.

Either Lance recognizes his eagerness or he’s driven by his own impatience, but it’s not long before he’s pulling away, grabbing Keith’s boxers and pulling them down, achingly slow, revealing him inch by inch, staring at him with rapt attention and wide eyed awe, like he’s something to be marveled at, like he’s something worth being gentle with.

Keith has never really been shy. Not about his body at least. But here he is, holding his breath as his half hard cock stand at attention in front of the man he’s been dreaming about for almost an entire fucking year, heat rushing up his neck and settling onto his cheeks the longer Lance just kneels there and.... stares at it.

Like that’s all he’s doing.

Just staring.

The smirk is gone. The eagerness dissipated. Just blank faced and staring. Keith clenches his fist against the wall, willing himself to be still, to wait, but feeling more and more restless. He stares at the top of Lance’s head, apprehension rolling through his gut, rising up his chest in a thick sludge, threatening to choke him.

Then Lance cocks his head to the side, hand sliding up Keith’s thigh, slow but not teasing, more curious. Without any hesitation, he slides his hand over, fingers wrapping around the base of his cock, causing his breath to hitch. But then he just... holds it, staring again.

When he looks up, it catches Keith off guard. He jumps, suddenly caught by those curious eyes. He doesn’t look upset, so that’s at least something. He raises an eyebrow, eyes flickering down before rising again.

His hand shifts, fingers slowly rising up his shaft, thumb sliding up the underside, pressing lightly to where the metal goes beneath his skin— Oh. Oh.

Lance didn’t know about that, did he?

Well... he does now.

Keith’s eyes flicker to his free hand as he signs, < When? >

Keith looks back to him, smile small and sheepish. < A little over two years ago. >

“Fuck,” He seems Lance’s lips form the word as he ducks his head down again, twisting his wrist just a little to get a better look at the barbell that goes horizontally through his skin beneath the head. < Looks good. I like it. > He signs, glancing up again.

And just like that, the heat is back. Lance is looking at him through half lidded eyes, pupils blown so wide his eyes look black, wet and reddened lips curved into the most devious of smiles. He makes a show of licking those lips, little blue bead peeking out. He’s close enough that Keith can feel every exhale caress his heated skin.

< I want to taste it. >

Keith is pretty sure he makes some sort of choked sound, because that’s what it sure as hell feels like, but he doesn’t have much time to react beyond that before Lance leans forward and runs the flat of his tongue along his length, from base to tip, and holy fuck— He can feel the small, hard, unyielding bead trail all the way up, surrounded by the slick wetness of his tongue.

Lance paused, bringing that devilish tongue back into his mouth to grin up at Keith, looking for all the world like the cat that got the cream. Keith leans his head back, forcing his grip to loosen in Lance’s hair, letting his eyes fall closed with a shuddering breath. Lance has barely touched him, and he’s already a mess.

Yet he can’t bring himself to feel ashamed. Let Lance see what he does to him. Let him see how little he has to do to make Keith fall apart. Let him see how much Keith wants him. How weak Keith is to him. It’ll go straight to his ego, but Keith isn’t entirely sure that’s a bad thing.

He barely gets any time to center himself, to calm his raging heartbeat, before Lance is suddenly swallowing him down.

His eyes fly open, entire body tensing as Lance’s lips close around him, going much further down than he anticipated. It has his toes curling, entire body tensing, fingers tightening in his hair once again. His mouth falls open, a strangled sound escaping, and boy is he glad he’s deaf so he can’t hear that.

Lance goes down fast, but comes up slow, lips tight and the wet heat of his mouth setting Keith’s blood on fire. He’s quickly lost to sensations. Lance bobs his head, one hand working what his mouth can’t reach while his free hand gropes at his thigh, running up and down, around to his ass, up to his hip, unable to be still. His tongue is positively sinful as it dances in his mouth, fully utilizing its dexterity and how the fuck is he so good at this.

Keith heart hammers against his chest, one hand pressed to his mouth to hold back the sounds that are slipping out. He can feel how loud they are and knows how embarrassing they must be. His other hand stays buried in Lance’s hair, not to move him, but as an anchor. His legs are weak, and if it weren’t for the wall, he’d have fallen the moment Lance touched him.

Pathetic.

Weak.

But dear lord, does it feel good.

He’s over sensitized, lost in it, simultaneously drowning and floating off to space, and he doesn’t notice how close he is until that familiar tight heat starts up low in his gut, building hard and strong.

He gasps, back arching off the wall and hand tugging a little harder at Lance’s hair. “Lance— wait—!”

He stops instantly, popping off of him in a way that’s so visual obscene, spit slicking his lips and his chin, hair a mess. He looks filthy, and it does nothing to help Keith’s mental state. He looks up at him, cautious curiosity in those dark blue eyes.

Keith takes a deep breath, trying to steady himself, ground himself, find his voice. He can feel it shaking, but it’s no doubt steadier than his hands at the moment. “If you keep— I’m gonna— I’m close.”

The slow curl of his smile should be illegal. He signs a quick, < Okay, > making it look like a short salute before leaning back in.

He swirls his tongue around the head, making his time to gently tease his piercing against Keith’s, and that should not be as hot as it is, but it has Keith quivering.

Then he gets back to work, slides him into his mouth and takes him deep, moaning around him in a way that has to be wanton and loud and jesus fuck does he feel it. He feels an answering vibration in his own throat. Then Lance drags back, sucking hard, tongue swirling.

Keith has a moment of panic, dangerously close to the edge, but he’d already warned Lance, if he’s in this position, he knows the dangers. So Keith lets go, squeezes his eyes shut as his gut clenches, sees stars as his mouth drops open, throat tight, choking back sound as he spills into Lance’s mouth.

He thinks he loses time. Blacks out for a moment. Lives for several seconds, minutes, hours among the dark abyss and the stars behind his eyelids. Barely feels the wall at his back despite it being the only thing that’s holding him up. It’s all he can do to simply breathe.

He doesn’t come back down to earth until he feels a hand on his hip, another running warm fingers along his jaw, his cheek, brushing hair away from his forehead. He opens his eyes to find that beautiful face in front of him, blue eyes soft and molten and fond. That smile so subtle, so gentle, barely there yet brighter than the sun. It makes his chest squeeze, jacks his hear trate back up again.

Oh god, Lance is going to be the death of him.

< Good? >

Keith nods. < Very. >

Lance chuckles. His laughing face is beautiful and sweet and soft. The way he shakes slightly, the way his cheeks rise and crinkle his eyes, the way his smile goes just a little lopsided.

< What now? > He asks before settling his hand on Keith’s hips, taking a step closer, pressing his forehead to Keith’s, still smiling, still sweet, still so obnoxiously proud of himself.

Keith wants to shake that. Keith wants to shatter the mountain on which he stands. Wants to rip it out from beneath him and watch him fall. Wants to see that confidence crumble in ecstasy. Wants to see the face he makes when he moans his name. Wants to shatter him and build him back up again.

He reaches forward, curling a fist into the front of his shirt, tips his chin so their lips are just a breath apart, gazes at him through half lidded eyes and says in a voice he can feel is husky, “Now I’m gonna ride you until you can’t think straight, and I’m gonna find out what your pretty little face looks like when you’re screaming my name.”

Lance leans back far enough that his wide eyes could focus on Keith’s face, pretty lips, red and swollen, parted slightly in surprise, Adam’s apple bobbing as he swallows heavily. He licks his lips, Keith’s eyes drawn to the movement, before giving a short, quick nod. < Yes, please. >

Keith smirks, feeling himself gaining confidence as Lance’s stuttered. He pushes Lance hard, having him stumble back a few steps before following after him, leaning into him to claim his lips once again. He can taste himself on Lance’s tongue, but he can’t bring himself to care.

They stumble through Keith’s apartment, steps uncertain and on shaking legs. He tries to guide them as best he can with his eyes closed, lips locked, and Lance’s tongue in his mouth. Their hands are everywhere, unable to find a place to simply rest. He tugs at Lance’s shirt, all at once extremely annoyed that it’s there at all.

He grabs at it, pulling, until Lance takes the hint and attempt to struggle out of it. It requires them to pull apart for a moment, and the second it’s over his mouth, Keith is back at his lips, biting and licking his way past them. Lance gets stuck for a moment with his arms in the tank, halfway pulled over his head. As soon as it’s cast to the floor, his hands are on Keith’s, pulling the shirt over his head with much more ease.

Then there’s bare skin, warm and smooth, lined and lean. His hands explore the expanse of Lance’s chest, fingers dipping into the definition, mapping it out. He pulls back briefly, taking a moment to simply drink in the sight of his bronze flesh, the tattoo sleeve on one arm, riding up his shoulder. The mass of blue forget-me-nots falling down his opposite side. The sparkling silver beads of his hip piercings that stand out in stark relief against the skin beneath them.

And then he’s leaning forward, dipping his head to run his tongue over that chest, tasting the salt of his skin, hands on his hips, wrapping around his waist to dip past his shorts, grabbing his ass in a grip tight enough to have him arching back, hips bucking forward.

Bedroom. Right. Bedroom. They need to get there. That’s where all his shit is. And the bed. He’d be willing to take Lance anywhere at this point, but some part of him, the side that’s still struggling to keep from drowning, wants to have their first time in a proper bed. Lance deserves that. Deserves to be taken in a place that’s soft and warm and comfortable.

And if that means Keith gets the pleasure of bringing him to orgasm while he’s splayed out over his sheets?

Yeah, he’s okay with that, too.

He pushes, they stumble, hit walls, trip over discarded shoes and whatever the hell else Keith has left on the floor.

Then he takes a step backwards, pulling at Lance, who loses his balance and pushes into him. Several rapid steps backwards, his knees hit the side of the couch, and they both tumble over onto it. Keith lands on his back, legs still half caught on the armrest. Lance lands on top of him, knocking the wind out of him and head hitting his jaw.

They both groan, and Lance rolls to the side, falling off the edge of the couch to land on the floor.

They take a moment to simply breathe. Keith lays a hand over his chest, the other flopping off the edge of the couch as he stares at the ceiling. He doesn’t move until he feels warm fingers slowly intertwine with his own.

He turns then, propping himself up on an elbow and gazing over the edge of the couch to where Lance lies on the floor. His lips are pursed into a cute little pout, brows firmly pinched together, but it’s clear that he’s trying not to smile.

< Who put the couch there? >

< This is the living room, dumb ass. >

< You really shouldn’t leave couches out in the middle of everything, Keith. It’s dangerous. >

Keith rolls his eyes, then promptly rolls himself off the couch. He makes sure to catch himself so he doesn’t land too heavily on Lance, but it’s still hard enough to have the air leave him in a rush. Keith settles on top of him, can’t bring himself to feel awkward despite being naked while Lance is not, crosses his hands over his chest and rests his chin atop them, smirks at him from his perch, lounges on him like he’s been doing it all his life, gazes at that pretty face, takes it all in.

He doesn’t think he’ll ever get tired of looking at Lance.

Lance’s grin finally breaks through, slow and lazy. He signs awkwardly with Keith lying on his chest, but he manages well enough for him to understand. < Hey there, beautiful. Come here often? > He completes it with a waggle of his eyebrows.

Keith rolls his eyes, rolling his hips down in a slow dirty grind. It’s too soon for him to be hard again, but he can feel Lance through his shorts, and... yeah, that’s enough to send tingling desire coiling down his spine.

Lance arches off the floor, beautiful as his mouth parts for a gasp before he’s falling back flat. He gives Keith a sly smile, eyes dark with contained hunger. < Gonna fuck me in the living room? Dirty boy. >

“No,” Keith says, sitting up as he does, slow and languid, dragging and uncoiling his body as he does, just for the show. Lance watches, licks his lips, hands settling on Keith’s hips, rubbing down and up his thighs. He drags his hands down Lance’s chest, fingers splayed wide, stops at his stomach, arches his back, and rolls his hips.

Lance’s nails dig into his legs, entire body convulsing and tensing. Keith waits for him to recover enough to look at him before smirking, tilting his head to the side, letting his hair fall around him.

“I’m going to fuck you in my bed.”

Lance looks breathless, but he still manages to pull himself together long enough to smirk. < Kinky. >

Keith rolls his eyes, climbing off him and offering a hand to pull him up. Keeping his hand, Keith turns and pulls him toward his bedroom, fully aware that Lance is no doubt hanging back to stare at his ass. And if he swings his hips a little more to put on a show? No one has to know.

When they enter his bedroom, Lance stops, and Keith leaves him to walk across the room and turn on his bedside light. It’s dimmer that way, less bright and assaulting to their eyes and the mood, cozier, more relaxed.

Maybe a little more romantic, but he refuses to think of it that way. It’s just more comfortable, alright?

He turns back to Lance, finding him standing exactly where he was left, just inside the door, eyes wide and innocent as his gaze travels around his room, eyes flickering from one thing to the next. His mouth opens, and his expression is so soft and awed that Keith finds himself looking away, face heating up. What’s it like seeing his room for the first time? His own private space. What did Lance think of it?

It’s like a step past barriers, right into the heart of who he is, and he finds himself really fucking hoping that Lance likes his room.

Needing something to do while Lance takes everything in, he walks over to the dresser, digging around in the top drawer until he finds the box of condoms and bottle of lube he has stashed there. It’s been ages since he’s needed them for anything besides his own occasional enjoyment. Shiro had tossed the condoms at him as a joke not too long ago, and, well, he decided there was no harm in keeping them.

Thank fuck for that decision.

When he glances over his shoulder, Lance has moved, taken a couple steps over to his desk, eyes roaming over the organized chaos before picking up to the cork board he has hanging over it, all sorts of scraps and pieces of paper pinned haphazardly.

He looks... genuinely intrigued, and Keith’s heart can’t fucking take it.

He steps over to his bed, quietly crawling onto it, items still clutched in his hands. He settles against the plethora of pillows crowding his headboard. He has a tendency to nest when he sleeps. Always has. Shiro thinks it’s hilarious. Lance probably will, too. Keith wouldn’t mind as long as he still joined him, and— yeah, that’s a pleasant thought. Nestled into a pillow nest with Lance.

God, is that really turning him on? What a loser.

He sets the condom aside, peels off his gloves and tosses them to the nightstand, and pops the cap on the bottle as quietly as he can. He glances up, but Lance hasn’t seemed to notice. He’s move past his desk to the bookshelf, curiously looking over all the books precariously clustered there, poking at all his knick knacks. Keith watches him, glancing down as he slowly squeezes some lube out, rubbing his fingers together to warm and coat them.

When he’s satisfied, he leans back, sliding a little further down the bed, spreading his legs, sliding his hands between his legs, giving himself a few slow, sure strokes while his fingers slip further.

It’s almost an absent minded procedure at this point. Something that he’s done enough times that he doesn’t really have to think about it. Something his body knows how to handle and what to do. Leaves his mind free to wander. As his fingers press lightly around his entrance, circling and teasing, his eyes roam over Lance’s bare back. Strong, broad shoulders tapering to lean hips, lean definition, small but shapely ass, long slender legs— fuck.

His back arches, biting back a soft gasp as he pushes a finger inside himself. It’s a familiar burn, uncomfortable at first, intrusive, but with the inklings of promises, foreshadowing something better if he just pushes on. And so he does. He works himself mechanically, stretching himself in a way that’s not necessarily for pleasure but to prepare.

The entire time, his eyes eat up Lance’s form, the ink on his dark skin, the way it all glows in the soft lighting. Imagining that body above him, beneath him, those arms around him, remembering that mouth on him, imagining those long legs splayed wide, wrapped around his hips, maybe propped up on his shoulder—

Lance bends a little bit to look at a lower shelf, pushing his hips back, and Keith bites back a groan, feeling the way his teeth clank against the metal ring around his lip. He slips in a second finger and breathes in sharply, letting it out in a long hiss.

That, finally, catches Lance’s attention.

He glances over his shoulder, face innocently open and curious, still so strangely awed and fond and intrigued.

When he sees Keith, however, he freezes, entire body going stiff, eyes widening comically wide, mouth falling open in surprise before snapping shut with an audible click. Keith’s hungry eyes watch the way his throat bobs when he swallows.

He straightens slowly, as if moving quickly might startle him, and moves toward the bed with mechanical motions, clearly running on autopilot while his eyes roam over Keith, up and down, taking him in then starting all over. He stares, open and unabashed, and the heat in his eyes is back, the half lidded hunger.

And the whole time, Keith doesn’t stop. Watches Lance watching him. Works himself slowly, two fingers in his ass and a hand on his cock, mouth hanging open, letting himself breath and gasp with soft little moans, licks his lips and shivers when Lance’s eyes are instantly there, staring intently at the movement.

Lance stops at the foot of the bed, towers over him, body calm and relaxed but straightened, powerful, like he’s somehow dominating the situation by doing nothing at all. Nothing but watching. He looks Keith up and down again, eyes dragging and hungry. Keith can practically feel that gaze rake down his body.

When he lifts his hands to sign, the movement is slow, fluid, slow but holding back a strange underlying strength. Keith has been deaf for years. He’s been learning ASL from the moment they realized there was no stopping the slow decline of his hearing. He’s signed with more people than he can count.

And never in his life, has he seen anyone sign in a way that could be considered sensual, never in a way that was teasing, flirty, seductive. He’s never seen hands move, forming words, in a way that he would equate to a low, husky voice.

Yet here Lance is, doing just that.

And it has heat surging down his body and his hand tightening on his cock.

< Getting started without me? >

His hands are a little busy, so his licks his lips and hopes his voice doesn’t shake too much. “You looked busy.”

< I’d rather be busy helping you. >

“Next time.” He says with a short gasp as he crooks his fingers, arching his back off the bed.

He watches Lance’s face, sees the words sink in, sees him realize that no, Keith doesn’t mean for this to be a one time deal, sees the slow curve of his smirk that has his toes curling into the sheets.

< I’m holding you to that. >

Keith focuses for a moment on stretching himself, feeling the pleasurable burn, gives himself a few rhythmic strokes. He’s already back to half mast. He’s never really had great recovery time, but he guesses that’s just another side effect of Lance.

Lance palms himself through his shorts, absently, face focused and blank and eyes dark. Keith smiles, a small smirk that’s brimming with pride, enjoying the sight of Lance getting hard for him, touching himself like he can’t help it merely because he’s watching him.

“Enjoying the show?”

Lance snorts. He sees it in the cute little jerk of his head, the roll of his eyes. He signs with one hand, keeping the other firmly where it is. < Very. Enjoying putting on the show? >

Keith grins, eyes closing briefly as he slips in a third finger and arches again, letting out a soft little moan that he hopes will get the point across. When he opens his eyes again, Lance is chewing at his bottom lip. “Very.”

< You look like you’ve had practice. >

“I have.”

< I bet you’re good at that. >

He grins, chuckling. “I am.” He tilts his head to the side, slowing his movements as he drags his eyes down Lance’s body, making sure he knows it before dragging his eyes back up. “I can show you sometime.”

A flash of something in those blue eyes, a heavy bob of his throat as he swallows, a tremble in his hands. < I’d like that. >

He leans forward, putting a knee to the bed, and Keith shakes his head. “No,” Lance freezes, eyes wide and posture suddenly cautious, but Keith smiles, teasing and sly as he lifts his chin. “Strip first.” He demands. Lance blinks, then chuckles, shoulders shaking with it as he stands back up. He unbuttons his shorts and hooks his thumbs into the waistband before Keith adds, “Slowly.”

Lance glances up at him, head silting to the side, mouth curling as he says, slow enough for Keith to read his lips. “Pushy.”

But he does as he’s told. Slipping his shorts and boxers down over the curve of his hips with agonizing slowness, revealing that golden flesh inch by delicious inch. Smooth thighs, long and lean like the rest of him, dark curls, a thick cock springing free with an amusing little bounce, already hard and ready. The flowers on his side trail in thick bunches down to mid thigh, some sort of quote inked there in a cursive script.

When it all drops to his feet, he steps out of them and then just stands there, entire body on display, drinking in the sight of Keith drinking in him. His mouth feels dry. Jesus, this boy is beautiful. Beautiful and kind and smart and hilarious and getting on his knees, crawling across his sheets with a slow, predatory drag, shoulder blades dipping and rising, a fluidly in his limbs like water, a hunger in his eyes.

Keith’s movements still, back subconsciously arching as Lance hovers over him, lips parting in open invitation, in a plea.

Lance smirks, so small and subtle, but oh so powerful. < Like what you see? >

“Yes,” Keith breathes, letting go of his cock to wrap his hand around Lance’s neck, burying his fingers in his hair to pull him down and crush their lips together. Lance goes willingly, eagerly licking into his mouth, tilting their heads to better fit together.

Keith pulls his fingers out, feeling oddly empty and vulnerable at their loss. He hastily wipes his fingers on the sheets. Whatever. He’ll do laundry tomorrow.

He takes a moment to simply enjoy kissing him, to revel in that sinful mouth, to let Lance run his hand up and down his chest, side, hip, pull his thigh up over his hip. Keith runs his hands over him, feels all that lean definition, feels the warm skin, drags his nails down that broad back, digs his fingers into that perk little ass, smirks against Lance’s lips when he bucks against him.

Lance bites at his bottom lip, catches his piercing and tugs lightly, grinning down at him teasingly, sinfully.

Keith makes a sound deep in his throat and hooks his leg tighter around him, flipping them and swallowing down the vibrations of Lance’s surprised yelp. He settles in pretty quickly though, hands finding Keith’s thighs as he perches on his hips, mouth greedy and eager against Keith’s as he blindly gropes for the condom.

When he finds it, he pulls away, smirking as Lance chases after him for a short distance. He sits back, tearing the wrapper with his teeth as he reaches down to give Lance a few slow, experimental strokes. He jerks, fingers tightening on his thighs, and when Keith glances up at him, his face looks strained in the best way.

He smirks, letting his eyes trail back down, devouring in the sight of him, appreciating it with eyes and hands. Lance, admittedly, has a very pretty dick. Good size. Good girth. All smooth brown skin, hard and heavy in his hand. Keith really doesn’t know why he’s surprised. Lance is pretty everywhere.

He moves mechanically, movements precise and certain but with an underlying impatience as he slips the condom on, coating him with a layer of lube before tossing the bottle aside. He doesn’t pause until he’s hovering over him on his knees, one hand behind him to guide Lance to his entrance and the other splayed out on his stomach to brace himself.

Lance’s hands are on his hips, and he can feel the slight shake to them as Keith presses them together, feels the tension of him so close, but doesn’t push further quite yet. His chest heaves in shallow breaths, looking for all the world like he’s trying to hold his breath.

He holds Lance’s eyes, lets himself drown in that half lidded gaze, framed by long, dark lashes, cheeks flushed, lips wet and red and parted. He lets himself hover just on the brink, lets the moment stretch. let’s the anticipation grow, thick and heavy, feels Lance quiver beneath him, feels it in his hands and hips, in the twitch of his cock. Watches him lick his lips, watches his chest shudder.

Lance. All bronze skin and chocolate hair. Metal glinting in his ears and at his hips. Ink coloring his skin in more places than one. Splayed out hot and flushed on his bedspread. He’s a work of art. A masterpiece. Beautiful.

He lowers himself slowly, feeling the stretch, feeling the fill of him, gasping at it but pushing onward, taking him all, wanting it all. His eyes fix on Lance’s face, watching that beautiful face writhe and crack, shatter and reform. Brows pinching, mouth gasping, back arching, arms tensing.

Keith takes him all in, bottoms out and simply sits there, falls forward with his head bowed as he tries to remember how to breath. So full. It’s overwhelming. But so good. So, so good. And it’s Lance. Lance’s hands sliding down his thighs, up to his hips, comforting and patient and kind, despite the quiver in his grip and the way his stomach muscles are clenching.

When Keith lifts his gaze, Lance is smiling at him. Small and barely there, almost like he’s not even aware he’s doing it. The look in his eyes dark and dazed and soft and fond. “You okay?” He says, refusing to move his hands away from Keith to ask but clearly waiting for him to be paying attention before speaking.

Keith gives him a small reassuring smile, something coy and eager unraveling in him as he puts his hands to Lance’s chest, bracing himself with fingers splayed wide as he slowly rises up, up, up, feeling the gasp in his chest and gasping in tandem, reveling in the slow drag.

He pauses at the top, just the tip still inside him, locks eyes with Lance, and lowers himself quickly and with purpose.

Lance tenses beneath him, whole body coiling and arching, head thrown back to the pillows, mouth open. Keith gasps, letting his head fall as he rises again, slowly, oh so slow, feeling the delicious drag, the length of him, how thick he was, the stretch, then throwing himself down again and reveling in the way Lance’s body reacted, in the pressure inside him, the fullness of it.

He sets the pace, trying to take his time but quickly losing his patience, losing his mind, letting it drift far away, hovering above them, floating off to the stars as his body took Lance’s, driving forward, seeking pleasure, loving the build.

He rides him hard and fast, unable to go fast enough, pounding Lance into the mattress hard enough to feel the bounce of his mattress, feel the vibration as his headboard hit the wall. He throws his head back, leaning back for a better angle, resting his hands on Lance’s thighs, changing up the pace with a delicious roll of his hips, feeing Lance buck up into him, meeting him a sloppy thrust for thrust.

The air rushes through his lungs in short pants, and he feels like he can’t get enough. He can’t close his mouth, feeling the sounds tearing from his throat against his will, unable to stifle himself but not really wanting to. He hopes Lance enjoys it. Hopes Lance likes the sight of him riding him fast and hard, hopes he loves the moans, hoarse and rough, cracking his voice as he fucks him. Lance—

He wants to see Lance. Wants to see the same things from him.

His eyes crack open, staring at his ceiling, so familiar yet entirely different. He’s not going to be able to look up in his own goddamn room without thinking about this moment.

It takes an enormous amount of effort, but he slowly lowers his head, eyes seeking Lance’s face. His head is tilted back, mouth open, lips and jaw working. Eyes squeezed shut, brows pinched and relaxing with each thrust, tongue peeking out between words.

It’s clear he’s talking. Keith knew he had to be a babbler. More than ever, he wishes he could hear. Wishes he could know what his voice sounds like and what it sounds like when it’s cracked and broken. His lips movements are far too erratic to read, far too subtle and unfamiliar.

His brows furrow, frustration trickling through everything else. Frustration of not being able to understand mingling and clashing with pure appreciation for how Lance looks in this moment.

He slows his pace, leaning forward again and putting one hand on Lance’s chest to steady himself as he reaches out. Lance’s eyes open as his knuckles brush against his jaw, both of their hips slowing and stuttering to a stop as Keith cups his cheek, thumb brushing against wet and swollen lips. He stares at them, like they might somehow help him understand.

“I wish I could hear you.” He says, voice soft enough that he can barely feel it, and he’s not even sure Lance can hear him.

He doesn’t react right away, and Keith gently presses his thumb to his lips. Beautiful. Red. Swollen. He did that. He’s left plenty of marks on him, actually. Bruising the sensitive skin of his neck and shoulders, collarbones and neck. HIs own little marks. They’d fade, of course, but maybe... hopefully... he’d be able to leave more.

Then Lance’s hand is at his wrist, leaving his thigh cold in its absence. He runs his fingers along the back of Keith’s hand, long digits dipping between his own. He drags Keith’s hand down, away from his face, over his jaw, down his neck— He settles his hand on his throat, palm pressed to the front, fingers wrapping around, close beneath his chin.

Keith stares at him, brows pinched in confusion, but then Lance smiles, that lopsided tilt to his lips soft and look in his eyes tender. “Then feel me.”

It takes him a moment for those words to sink in, for his mind to catch up and really read what he’s saying. He blinks, still confused—

Lance bucks his hips, pushing up into him. He gasps and bounces, but— He feels Lance’s groan, feels it vibrate beneath his palm. His eyes flicker to his face, lips falling open in sudden understanding. Lance’s smile widens, panting lightly and licking his lips as his hips cant shallowly upward, eyes dancing, sparkling, dark and dangerous, coy and sly, kind and warm and fond.

Keith rolls his hips, nice and slow and deep, loving the feel of Lance’s body convulsing beneath him, the feel of him hissing in a breath.

He sets the pace again, hard and brutal, fast and quick, driving forward, feeling the build, the coil of heat in his gut, the tingle of his skin as fire flares through his veins. Lance’s hands are back on his hips, gripping him like a lifeline, picking up some of the slack when Keith gets tired, helping him lift and fall, rolling his hips in shattered time, meeting him thrust for thrust.

Keith keeps one hand on his chest, as much for balance as to feel his rapid heartbeat, raging against his ribcage, the ragged rise and fall of every breath. His other hand stays on Lance’s throat, not squeezing, not constricting, simply feeling. feeling every moan, every uttered curse. It’s intoxicating. Everything about Lance. Intoxicating. Addicting. Drowning him even as he lifts him higher, higher.

“Lance—“ The name drops from his lips like a plea, a gasp, a moan. “Lance, I— I—“ He doesn’t know what he’s trying to say. He’s close. He needs more. Faster. More. Yes. Please. Can’t think. Can’t speak. Lance gets the memo anyway.

He shifts under him, shifts his hips, digs his feet in a bit, and thrusts up, hitting just right to make him see stars. A sound vibrates in his throat, long and loud. “Yes— more— Lance— fuck— please— Lance—“

He hits that spot, over and over, Keith can’t breathe, can’t think. A hand slips from his hip, slides around to wrap around him. Lance pumps him fast and hard, the flick of his wrist in perfect time with his hips. Keith stops trying to dictate the pace, letting Lance take control as their movements become erratic.

He wants to close his eyes, wants to let go, but holds off. Lifts his head to look at Lance. Catches his eye. Sees the way his lips form Keith’s name. Sees him repeat it, over and over, Keith, Keith, Keith. Sees how his lips form it. Feels how his voice vibrates as it’s ripped from his throat—

And then he’s spilling over Lance’s hand with a strangled cry, Lance’s answering cry rumbling beneath his hand as his thrusts become erratic, shaking, slow.

He collapses on top of him. Unable to do anything besides breathe, hand still crushed between them, feeling both of their heartbeats fluttering. He presses soft, messy kisses to Lance’s neck before burying himself in, closing his eyes, and letting himself bask in the gentle fall of his high.

He feels a kiss to his temple. Feels Lance pull out of him slowly, both of them wincing. Feels Lance’s hands on his back, rubbing up and down his spine, tracing it, rubbing soothing circles everywhere he can reach.

He doesn’t know how long it takes for them to calm down, doesn’t know how much time they spend after that simply lying there and enjoying the moment, the soft touches, exchanging kisses that are sweet and touches that are shy.

Keith is the first to move. He doesn’t want to, but he really needs to go to the bathroom after that. Slips away with a fleeting kiss to Lance’s lips as he hurries to the bathroom. Cleans up and takes care of things before coming back and asking Lance if he wants a shower. Stand in the warm spray, letting it relax his aching body as Lance washes him, soapy hands exploring him, massaging his scalp with gentle nails as he washes his hair. Keith hums, leaning into his touch.

They end up ordering food from the only place that’s still open, cuddle on the couch beneath a blanket and devour their food like savages, sipping on cheap beer Keith had in his fridge while watching the discovery channel. Nugget comes slinking out of Shiro’s room where she’s been hiding, and promptly makes Lance’s lap her new home. He coos over her, laying on praises and making fun of Keith’s ability to name animals.

< We found her behind a McDonald’s, and I fed her chicken nuggets. >

< You should have called her McFurry. >

< That’s stupid. >

< And naming her after food isn’t? >

< …. I almost called her Kit-Kat. >

< Oh my god— >

< Or cupcake. >

< Keith! >

By the time they crawl into Keith’s bed, he’s exhausted, aching, but incredibly happy, the soft warm embers of contentment burning in his chest, tingling throughout his limbs. He wraps around Lance, curls him from behind and intertwines their legs, one arm under his head and the other over his waist. Exchanges sweet and lazy kisses until they both get tired and Lance rolls back over, pushes and snuggles back into him.

Lance ends up being better than any of the other pillows in his pillow nest.

 


 

“How you holding up, buddy?” Lance asks, dragging the tattoo gun across his best friend’s back.

It vibrates in his hand, familiar and comforting, and he moves it like an extension of his arm, slow, steady, precise, unwavering. The buzz of the machines fills the small shop, different pitches from his and Allura’s guns, creating a rumbling white noise beneath the radio and beneath the conversation, wrapping them all up, holding them tight. It’s cozy. All of these people he considers family, all in a place he considers a home.

Hunk gives him a thumbs up. “Feeling good.”

Lance cocks an eyebrow. “Really?”

He pauses, glancing up in time to see Hunk wince. “Well... it was pretty bad, but my back went numb like, twenty minutes ago, so I’m good.”

He chuckles, pulling the gun back and wiping away excess blood and ink, leaning away to admire his work. Hunk twists to glance over his shoulder, like he somehow might be able to see it.

“How’s it going back there?”

Lance hums, nodding to himself as he goes back in for a few more touch ups. “Good. Just about done with this section. I can probably move to the other side if you wanna keep going, or we can work on it again another time.”

“Nah, it’s cool. Go ahead and finish up.” He pulls out his phone, scrolling through it. “I’m meeting Shay for lunch soon anyway.”

OOoooOOoo,” Lance coos from behind him, laughing when Hunk stiffens.

“Lance.”

“A daaate.”

“It’s not like that!”

“Mhmm...”

“Shes just a friend—“

“Yup.”

“—Who I admire very much.”

“And is very pretty, too.”

He sighs, slumping a little in his defeat. “Very,” He says, sounding wistful. It’s cute.

Lance chuckles, patting his shoulder. “You guys are hopeless. Just ask her out already. Like actually ask her out. As in define it as a date.”

He huffs. “It’s not that easy! What if she says no?”

“What if she says yes?”

“I—“

“Come on, buddy. At this rate, you’ll be dancing around each other loner than me and Keith did.”

He snorts. “I’m not sure anyone can be that oblivious to mutual attraction.”

“Okay, first of all, rude.” He says, but he’s holding back a laugh, wide smile stretching his lips as he glances around Hunk to the next station over, where Keith is perched on one of the tattooing chairs.

It’s laid out flat, and he sits in the middle of it, cross legged, back bent forward, drumsticks in his hand as he idly beat them in various patterns on the smooth, fake leather. The sound is dull and rhythmic and blends seamlessly into the white noise around the shop. It’s become apart of their usual atmosphere over the past few months.

kiss the boy

Buzzing guns, music from the radio, Lance’s soft singing, Allura’s rich alto voice harmonizing with his, casual conversation, laughter, beeping from Pidge’s 3DS, vibrating of phones, the dull beats of Keith’s drumsticks, and the occasional chime of the bell above the door.

Keith’s eyes are closed, head bobbing and swaying, hair dancing around his face. He’s lost in his own little world, in the music in his mind, in the feeling of the beat he lays into the chair, the melody only he can hear. He used to be awkward and stiff when hanging around the shop. Self conscious of things like this. Didn’t want to stand out.

Now he’s comfortable just being himself, doing what he wants to do, trusting his friends to see him doing what he loves and knowing they don’t mind that he’s just making himself at home and adding to the ambient sound.

Lance’s heart melts a little bit.

No, scratch that.

His heart melts instantly and completely.

He’s adorable and cute and blends in perfectly to the backdrop of Altea Tattoos. Makes Lance all warm and fuzzy.

He’s not sure how long he stares, but it’s long enough for Hunk to know exactly what he’s doing, long enough for him to realize he’s just been sitting there with this ridiculously goofy smile on his face. Hunk clears his throat loudly, small knowing smirk playing on his lips as he gazes as Lance over his shoulder.

Lance’s eyes snap to him, toning his grin down just a notch. “And second of all, you should just go for it, dude. I’ve seen the way she looks at you, and if she turns you down, I’ll eat my own arm.”

“Please don’t vore yourself.”

“Please vore yourself.” Pidge chimes in.

“Please don’t discuss vore in my establishment.” Allura cuts in from across the room, causing them both to snicker.

Lance pats his back, setting the tattoo gun aside. “All done here, buddy. Lemme just clean you up.” He pushes himself to his feet, stretching his arms high above his head to pop his back before tossing the paper towel in his hand and grabbing a new one. “How’re you doing over there, Coran?” He calls, wetting the towel and wiping down Hunk’s back.

A loud groan answers him, trailing off into a whine. On the other side of where Keith is perched is Allura’s station. The chair is laid flat, and Coran lays on his stomach, face buried in his crossed arms.

“He’s doing great.” Allura says, smiling as she lifts the gun from the back of his calf and pats his leg.

“I can’t believe you guys closed the shop to get tattoos together.” Lance snickers, tossing the paper towel away.

Hunk shrugs. “Coran was gonna close up anyway, and since I had time, I figured I’d get more work done if you were free.”

“My best customer.”

He snorts. “No, I think that’s Keith.”

“Yeah,” He says, hearing the fondness creeping in his voice. Keith makes him so gross and sappy. “He is.”

“I, personally, can’t believe he shaved his legs for this.” Allura mutters, loud enough for them all to hear.

Coran lifts his head and scoffs at that. “Well what was I supposed to do? Have you shave me?”

She shrugs, smile on her lips. “Most people do, yes.”

He looks scandalized, mouth hanging open, mustache bobbing, eyes wide and wrinkles deepening. Allura hides her smile behind a hand, biting back a laugh. He finally scoffs again, lifting his chin and looking away. “Well, I would never do such a thing. I was being considerate.”

“But did you have to shave like... your entire leg?” Hunk asks. “You could have just shaved the spot where you wanted your tattoo.”

“And have a ridiculous bold spot? I think not!”

“Or you could have just shaved one leg.” Pidge puts in from where she’s sitting at the front desk, feet propped up, leaning back in the chair, 3DS in her hands.

“Even more preposterous!” He sniffs, then bends the leg that Allura isn’t currently tattooing to point his toes toward the ceiling. “Besides, I think they look good. I have killer calves, so why hide them?”

“That’s the spirit!” Lance says with a laugh, putting the pads to Hunk’s back and taping them in place. “All done buddy.” He says, pulling off his gloves and tossing them. “You know the drill. Leave that on for about an hour, then let it breathe for the rest of the day. Still got that Aquaphor from last time?”

“Yup.”

“Nice, use it—“

“For the first couple of days, I remember.”

“Cool.”

Hunk pulls his shirt back on and turns to face him. They clasp hands, pulling each other in for a hug and patting each other’s shoulders. “Thanks, dude.”

“Anytime, bro. Pidge will ring you up.”

“I’ll what now?” Pidge says, lifting their gaze and giving them both a flat look.

He rolls his eyes. “You heard me. Pull some weight around here.”

“I will stab you with a needle.”

“You already have. Several times. You’re very good at it.”

“Thank you.”

As Hunk steps up to the front desk, Lance wanders over to the chair where his boyfriend sits, still blissfully unaware of anything else happening, at ease simply letting conversation move around him without needing to pay attention. Lance just watches him for a moment, taking in the way his nose crinkles just a little, the way his mouth moves in small movement, muttering words or sounds.

Cute.

Fucking adorable.

Not fair.

He reaches out, brushing his knuckles up the line of his strong jaw. He startles, eyes snapping open and glancing at him out of the corner of his eyes, relaxing when he sees it’s just Lance. His drumming doesn’t stop. Lance’s hand moves up, fingers pushing into that thick mane of his, brushing it back from his face. Keith leans into the touch, lips quirking into a small, lopsided smirk as Lance leans in and presses a kiss to his temple, his cheek, his nose.

He tilts his head back, knowing exactly what Lance wants, and their lips meet. The kiss is long and languid, chaste on the surface but lingering, reveling in the feeling and the warmth. It’s so soft, so tender, full of far too many emotions to name. Lance’s chest tightens, warmth pulsing in his veins as butterflies flutter in his stomach, mind going fuzzy with the extent of it.

Slowly, Keith’s drumming comes to a stop, sticks falling loose and forgotten in his grip.

Months. It’s been months. Nearly six months. And it’s still like this. At this rate, he doesn’t think kissing will ever change, and he’s okay with that.

“No making out in the work place!” Pidge snaps, and Lance lifts his head, turning to glare at her. Keith blinks, eyes looking dazed and lidded until they sharpen with clarity as he follows his gaze to Pidge. Once she has his attention, she repeats what she said. < No making out in the work place. >

Keith flips her off, reaches up to wrap a hand around the back of his neck, and pulls Lance back down for another kiss. This one is nothing like it’s predecessor. It’s hot and heavy, sloppy and wet. Keith wastes no time shoving his tongue into his mouth, and even if it’s all for show, all simply an act of rebellion to gross out Pidge, Lance can’t help the little whine that sounds in the back of his throat.

When Keith pulls back, there’s a satisfied look on his face, dark eyes glinting dangerously as he uses the back of his gloves to wipe the spit from that proud smirk. Lance blinks at him for a moment, trying to come back down to Earth.

Pidge makes loud gagging sounds, complete with full body motions for Keith’s benefit.

Lance just smiles softly, running his fingers through Keith’s hair and pushing it back to press a kiss to his forehead before stepping back. <“Sorry, Pidge, the customer is always right.”>

He grins, turning on his heel to go back and clean up his station. Pidge rolls her eyes, spinning the tablet around for Hunk to swipe his card and pay. <“He’s not a customer right now.”>

Lance shrugs. <“He might as well be with how often he comes back.”>

Pidge smirks, leaning back in her chair as she makes eye contact with Keith. <“He only kept coming back because he’s thirsty as fuck.”>

With a scowl, Keith throws a drumstick at her. She screeches and throws up her arms and legs in defense, even as the stick goes wide and clatters to the ground.

Lance laughs. <“Okay, but rude! My work is extraordinary, and Keith obviously wanted the best.”>

< His ass is nice, too. >

< Thanks, babe. >

Keith just grins, back straight, looking far too proud of himself.

By the time Lance cleans up his station, Keith is waiting for him by the front door, talking with Hunk. Hunk’s ASL has come a long way recently. He started to learn it back when they first met, but since they started dating, Keith’s been around a lot more. He’s picking it up quickly, both him and Allura. Coran, as it turns out, is already fluent, which ends up being both surprising and not at all.

Lance slides up next to Keith, slipping an arm around his waist. He doesn’t look away from where Hunk is enthusiastically explaining his newest creation, but his smile widens just a fraction, and he leans into Lance’s side.

They all walk out together before exchanging fist bumps and goodbyes with Hunk before he heads toward his car across the street.

< So where to for lunch, babe? >

Keith slips away from his side, taking his hand and walking backwards into the parking lot. His free hand goes to his face, pulling away quickly and splaying out his thumb and forefinger, a smirk on his lips. < Surprise. >

Lance grins. < Oooo, kinky. >

Keith rolls his eyes, turning around to hide his widening smirk as he pulls him toward his bike.

Lance follows after him, knows deep down that he’ll always follow after him. Drawn to those dark eyes and the spark of fire within them. Drawn to those pouty lips, accented with metal and always drawn into a smirk, a pout, a smile, a frown. Drawn to those expressive brows and the way his nose crinkles. Drawn to his warmth, his kindness, the soft edges of him hidden behind the jagged pieces.

Because when it comes right down to it, Lance is drawn to him. Irrevocably and inexplicably. Unconditionally and unapologetically. His delicate little spitfire. Warm like the morning sun and dangerous as a raging wild fire.

Lance is drawn to him. Like a moth to a flame.