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a knight in dented armor

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.:tender:.

            “You are so beautiful.”

            The words are a whisper from a few inches above Keith’s face; Lance smiles down at him, eyes half-lidded, and his words send a flush racing across Keith’s cheeks. He can’t duck his head away, with Lance straddling his hips, their clasped hands pinned next to either side of Keith’s head, and Lance knows it. He leans down, close enough that their noses lightly touch, and studies Keith’s eyes. In the dim lighting of the room, his indigo irises almost seem to glow. Keith studies him back, and finds Lance’s eyes reflect in much the same manner.

            “Hey there,” Lance teases, grinning lopsidedly down at Keith.

            “Hey, Starboy,” Keith whispers back to him, and the smile on Lance’s face morphs into a surprised curve, his eyebrows knitting together, a blush of his own spreading across his face.

            “Oh,” Lance says.

            After a year and a half together, Keith still isn’t tired of making Lance flustered, of seeing his boyfriend taken aback by even a simple romantic gesture. Lance has always been the romantic one—he walked into this relationship expecting to pull most of the stunts in the romance department. Discovering that Keith isn’t as romantically inept as he initially thought was a shock, and sometimes still comes across as such.

            “You—you can’t do that to me!” Lance protests, once he regains a little composure, and unclasps one of Keith’s hands to cover his face.

            “All I did was call you by your nickname,” Keith replies innocently, reaching up to grasp Lance’s wrist, tugging his hand away from his face. “Was that wrong? Do you want something more generic? Dear? Darling? Sweetheart?

            Each word sends a fresh burn across Lance’s skin. He narrows his eyes at Keith, but can’t help the smile that comes along, too.

            “You know full well what you’re doing!” he intends to squawk, but it comes out closer to a squeak than anything.

            “I have no idea what I’m doing, I’d like an explanation,” Keith says, and Lance huffs.

            “You mean you don’t know what you’re doing when you do this?

            Lance leans down closer to Keith, close enough that Keith can feel his warm breath on his face. Lance bats his eyes for dramatic effect as he stares at Keith and murmurs, “Hey, Starboy.

            Lance expects Keith to try and hide his face, as he did, but instead, Keith’s smile grows wider. He seizes his opportunity and cranes his neck, until his lips touch Lance’s. Lance follows Keith when his head flops back down against his pillow, collapsing his weight against him, unclasping their hands so he can cradle Keith’s face.

            Keith grunts with Lance’s weight on top of him, unsupported, and Lance laughs against his mouth.

            “Heavy fucker,” Keith mutters, wrapping his arms around the small of Lance’s back, and Lance laughs harder.

            “And look at you, you haven’t been crushed yet,” Lance says. “Just proves how strong you are.”

            And then he dives back in for another kiss.

            Keith pulls his arms tighter about Lance, drawing him as close as he can. The window they left open to let in fresh air now brings in a chill, goosebumps rising on Keith’s skin as the oversized sleeves of Lance’s jacket slide down. His face, though, is still hot—Lance has broken up their kiss, again, and now peppers Keith’s skin with smaller kisses. His eyelids. His nose. His cheeks. He even pushes Keith’s bangs out of the way to squeeze in a few on his forehead.

            “I love you,” Lance breathes against him, face inching down toward his neck.

            Keith opens his mouth, and what comes out is a shriek as something scratches at his bedroom door. Lance, too, yells, and throws himself off of Keith, startled. He overshoots, and ends up throwing himself off of the bed, yelping as he hits the floor instead of Keith’s comforter. Keith, meanwhile, slips a hand under his pillow, fingers locking around the hilt of a knife as his door, apparently not closed all the way, swings open.

            “Stay down,” Keith says to Lance, deftly jumping down from the foot of his bed to the floor, only to come face to face with…Black.

            “Um,” Lance says, “I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to point knives at cats.”

            Keith blinks at the cat, and the cat blinks right back before running the rest of the way into the room and darting to Lance, who coos at the cat like he’s speaking to a toddler.

            “Who’s a good kitty? Who’s a good kitty?

            Seconds later, Shiro is stopping in the doorway, looking between Lance on the ground, cuddling Black, and Keith, crouched on the floor before him, turning over his knife in his hands as he glares at his cousin.

            “Your cat’s a fucking cockblock,” Keith says.

            Shiro steals another glance at Lance and Black—Lance has now taken to lying on his back, lifting Black high above his head and making airplane noises.

            “I noticed,” Shiro finally says, returning his gaze to Keith. “Sorry about that. She finally figured out you were home.”

            “And you didn’t bother to inform her that I was busy?” Keith asks, rising to full height with a shake of his head. “Unbelievable. I’ve been betrayed.”

            “Wait a minute,” Shiro says, and tilts his head as he studies Keith, noting the way Lance’s jacket slips off of one of Keith’s shoulders, the disheveled look to his hair, the mussed bedsheets. “Were you two…?”

            Keith whips around, eyes wide. “Shiro, what the fuck?! No!”

            Lance sits up at that one, still holding Black in his hands. “Excuse me, what kind of boyfriend do you take me for?”

            Shiro puts his hands up defensively. “I—look, it just—you know what, never mind, I’m just gonna take the cat and go. You two just keep…doing whatever you were doing.”

            Shiro makes the painstakingly awkward walk to Lance, and Lance hands over Black. Black purrs happily as Shiro brings her close to his chest, while Keith crosses his arms and glares.

            “You know exactly what you did, heathen!” he shouts after the cat, as Shiro exits, shutting the door behind him.

            Lance breaks out laughing.

            “I can’t believe—you pulled a knife—on Shiro’s freaking cat.

            Keith throws his hands up. “I thought someone broke into the house!”

            He crosses his arms again and sits on the edge of his bed, while Lance climbs on from the other side. He crawls across the comforter until he’s behind Keith, and sets a leg on either side of him, propping his chin on his shoulder, wrapping his arms around his waist.

            “And I’m glad to know your first instinct was to protect me,” Lance says. “Prince Lanceylance thinks that was very brave of his knight in dented armor.”

            He nuzzles his face into Keith’s neck, earning a sigh from Keith as he leans his head on top of Lance’s.

            “Of course it was,” Keith mutters. “It always will be.”

            “Good to know,” Lance mumbles into Keith’s skin. “I’ll always protect you, too. Even from Black.”

            “The demon cat from hell,” Keith says, and Lance pulls back. Keith turns to the side, meeting Lance’s judgmental gaze.

            “Listen, if you would just let her get close—”

            “She’s a demon, Lance, I’m sure of it!”

            “There’s a difference between being a demon and a little shit,” Lance says, undoing the arms around Keith’s waist. He reaches back for the hood of his jacket, and pulls it over Keith’s head in one swift motion, eliciting an indignant cry from his boyfriend. “As a fellow little shit, I should know.”

            He launches to the other side of the bed as Keith rips the hood off of his head.

            “Come here!” Keith shouts.

            “Nope!”

            Lance leaps down from the bed and goes into a crouch on the floor, quirking one eyebrow, daring Keith to make another move. Keith takes a different approach and grabs his pillow from his bed, brandishing it at Lance. Lance looks around, and takes up Keith’s physics textbook from where it’s been sitting on the floor near his desk, untouched since school started a few months ago.

            “Hey, wait—that’s a textbook, I’ve only got a pillow!” Keith says. “Level the playing field!”

            Lance rolls his eyes and obliges, turning toward the desk to see if there’s another unused book for Keith to use, and that’s when Keith strikes, jumping down from the bed, landing inches from Lance. He drops the pillow and takes the textbook out of Lance’s hands, flinging it on the bed. Lance backs up while Keith moves forward, until his back hits the wall, and there’s nowhere left for him to go.

            “Surrender, McClain,” Keith says, pinning Lance to the wall by his shoulders.

            Lance smiles down at him with the best flirty look he can muster.

            “Hey cutie, come here often?” he asks, tilting his head.

            Keith stares for a moment before he reddens yet again. His hands curl into fists, clutching the fabric of Lance’s shirt as he brings his head down against Lance’s chest.

            “I can’t believe you.”

            Lance laughs, pulling Keith by the waist until they’re flush against each other. “I’m just so charming.”

            Keith raises his head with narrowed eyes. “You’re the absolute worst.

            Lance still smiles anyway. “I know.”

            He leans down, capturing Keith in a kiss, and Keith returns it with fervor, using his grip on Lance’s shirt to pull Lance down toward him. At some point, Lance’s hands slide away from Keith’s back, lightly tapping the sides of his thighs. Keith understands, and once he’s sure Lance is ready, he jumps—Lance catches him easily, bracing his hands beneath Keith’s thighs, while Keith brings an arm around Lance’s neck, other hand still steady on his shoulder.

            The entire time, their lips don’t part, and they still don’t part for a while, until Lance caves first, breaking for air. He rests his forehead against Keith’s, Keith smiling in the limited space between them.

            “Hey, Lance?” he murmurs.

            “Yeah?”

            “I love you, too.”