Coran said the mission would be simple.
Coran said that the Galra hadn’t reached this planet yet.
Coran was wrong.
Of course, Coran wasn’t to blame. The universe is large, the castle’s system updates as they travel, and it’s ten thousand years out of date. Even high-end Altean technology needs an upgrade eventually.
Unfortunately for Lance and Keith, this meant they had to think on their feet.
Their mission was to go to a trade centre, find a specific artifact that a neighbouring planet said was absolutely essential for them to join the Voltron Coalition, and trade some old Altean jewellery for it. Lance had the necklace in his jacket pocket, and Keith was to carry the artifact.
“What is this thing we’re looking for, again?” Lance asked. Keith reached into one of his pouches, pulled out a folded piece of paper, and handed it to Lance. Lance opened it and held it in front of himself.
“It’s upside down,” Keith told him. He frowned.
“What is it?”
“Some kind of embalming tool, I think.”
Lance’s made a disgusted look and Keith smirked. “Lets hope it’s never been used.”
With market stalls to their left and right, the boys really weren’t sure where to look. Some were more obviously not what they were looking for, some looked like they just came out of a 1950’s mobster movie, and some looked exactly like how Lance imagined a black market stall would look. The two suns of the out-of-the-way planet they were on shone brightly in his eyes, and he brought his hand up to shield them as he looked around.
“Wonder why they made us go,” he said offhandedly, catching Keith’s attention from a stand that seemed to be selling only sharp objects. “Pidge and Matt are usually better at recon.”
Keith shrugged. “It’s kind of nice to be out of the castle, though,” he said, and Lance nodded in agreement.
The path ahead narrowed, so Lance let Keith step in front and walked behind him, watching his feet through the tight space and avoiding eye contact with some of the shorter aliens that passed by. Keith stuck his hand out behind him without looking back, a silent question of whether or not Lance was still there. Lance tugged on his sleeve lightly, and held on until they got to a wider clearing.
“You seeing anything yet?” Keith asked. Lance craned his neck over the crowd as best as he could, searching for a market stall with the weird embalming tool on display, but found nothing. Just as he was about to lean back down and tell his teammate this, Keith grabbed his arm and pulled him in across the path and in between two stalls.
Out of breath and dazed, Lance asked what the hell that was for.
“Galra,” Keith whispered, and Lance felt his eyes go wide.
“But Coran said-”
“I know what Coran said, Lance, I was there.”
Keith put his body flush with the stall and Lance copied him, standing to his left. He could feel his heart racing and his face going red, and he tried to breathe as silently as he could.
“What do we do?” He whispered. Keith ignored him and pulled out his knife, holding it in front of him like a mirror so he could get a look at the Galra soldiers.
“They’re about 30 yards out,” He mumbled. “I don’t think they saw us.”
“So, what? We just wait for them to pass and then carry on?” Lance asked. Keith turned his head to look at him.
“We need to alert the team and get out of here.” Keith said quietly.
“Why? We’re already here. I say we just get the tool and go.” Lance leaned closer to Keith’s face.
“We’re not equipped to fight. We don’t have our armour, our weapons, or our lions. And, there’s civilians.”
Lance let out a breath and nodded. He hated when Keith was right.
A few silent moments passed before Keith put his knife up again.
“They’re getting closer.” He mumbled. Lance blinked. Behind them was a massive wall of pink foliage that would be almost impossible to get through without creating a commotion, in front of them was the Galra, and beside them were the stalls. They were, for lack of a better term, fucked.
Lance held his breath. He knew, at this rate, they’d have two options: fight with what they had (which was Keith’s knife and team spirit) and hope they can skirt by with the help of the locals, or submit and become prisoners to the Galra. Neither situation was ideal. Lance looked to Keith, at his eyes and his eye lashes, the curve of his nose and the pink in his lips. He knew it was bad timing, but he really wanted to kiss Keith before whatever happened, happened.
But when Keith turned his body to face him and said, “Kiss me.” With the same amount of emotion one would say, “Hand me that stapler,” it threw Lance completely off guard.
“What?” He shrieked, and Keith slapped a gloved hand over his mouth and shushed him.
“Public Displays of Affection make people uncomfortable.” He said. Lance slowly raised his hand and removed Keith’s from his mouth.
“Yeah, people, not Galra. We don’t even know if that plan’ll work.”
“There’s only one way to find out. And they’re coming up fast.” Keith said, putting his knife away.
Lance was frozen. He wasn’t sure what to say in a situation like this. He opened and closed his mouth a few times, about to say something and giving up before the words could escape. Keith snapped his fingers in front of Lance’s face, bringing him back to reality.
“And you’re sure this’ll work?” He asked. Keith gave him a hard look.
“No, we just said that. Now come on, kiss me.”
Lance took a deep breath and straightened out. He offered a quick, “Ready?” And Keith nodded once before Lance took a half step forward, grabbing both sides of Keith’s face and kissing him.
For a man who prided himself on his jagged edges, Lance realizes, Keith was very soft. His lips, his skin, his touch — everything about him made Lance melt. As often as he’d imagined what kissing Keith would be like, how it would feel to have his hair in between is fingers and his smile against his lips, nothing compared to the real thing. For a moment, Lance forgot he was in a dangerous situation, and just allowed himself to enjoy the kiss, even if it was still and silent.
But then Keith’s hands rose, his left going to Lance’s hip and his right behind his back, and he pulled slightly, guiding Lance and himself back to the wall they’d been against before. When Keith’s back hit the wall, he let out a small grunt, making Lance’s stomach jump. He moved one hand to rest against the wall beside Keith’s head, and the other to card through Keith’s hair.
Unfortunately, breathing needed to happen. Fortunately for Lance, this offered an opportunity to deepen the kiss. He let air out through his nose, and moved his lips with Keith’s as he breathed in, and Keith followed his movements.
Okay, Lance thought, open mouth kissing works.
And as much as he tried, he couldn’t stop himself from really getting into it. His hand playing with Keith’s hair, their bodies flush, and Keith’s lips on his was a lot, and he found himself smiling into the kiss.
Lance was smart, smarter than most people gave him credit for, and he knew when signals weren’t well-received. But here, Keith — who seemed to always be tense and stressed about something or other — seemed relaxed. He even seemed to be enjoying himself, if the vice grip he had on Lance’s jacket was anything to go by.
It was then that Lance heard the Galra soldiers walking by, chatting amongst themselves. He felt himself tense, but in that moment Keith pulled him closer (which Lance thought couldn’t have been possible, and god he hated when Keith was right) and tilted his head slightly to get a better angle and oh, this works too, and he realized the soldiers were passing right by he and Keith. At this point, Lance is no longer leading the kiss, but instead he and Keith are doing what they do best: working as a team.
Lance leads again, tilting Keith’s head up slightly, and Keith obliges. He breaks off the kiss, and for a moment his lips feel cold, but then he’s trailing small kisses from the corner of Keith’s mouth to his jaw, and then following along his jaw line to his neck. He knows he’s pushing the boundaries, that a simple distraction kiss didn’t need to go this far, but the way Keith’s gripping his hair and moving ever so slightly to allow him more access doesn’t make Lance feel as though his advances are unwanted. He knows Keith, and he knows that if Keith wanted this to end he would end it, but he hasn’t.
So Lance keeps placing kisses under Keith’s jaw, and along his throat, and eventually traces back up to the soft part of skin under Keith’s ear. He kisses there more openly, more sloppily, and with more meaning, but when his tongue touches the skin and Keith grunts his name, it’s suddenly all too much.
Lance peels back, letting go of Keith completely and leaving two feet of space between them. He looks at Keith, his friend Keith, and takes in his rosy cheeks and messy hair, and the way his jacket is half off one of his shoulders, and thinks to himself, I did that. And then he feels his own cheeks heat up.
Keith lets out a loud breath, louder than probably intended, and he notices that Keith’s refusing to meet his eye, but he can’t look away.
“We, uh-” Keith starts, but his voice sounds absolutely wrecked, and he clears his throat as he hikes his jacket back up. “We’re probably clear to go.”
Lance nods before clearing his own throat and gesturing to the pathway beside them and the busy market that awaits them.
“Lead the way.”