Chapter 1: If I hadn't blown the whole thing years ago, I might not be alone
Keith could still feel him. Those 2 am nights when he rolled over and woke up, phantom hands holding him close, echoes of soft words whispered by another.
"I love you." Or "You're beautiful." Or once in a while "You mean the world to me."
All dreams, but it wasn't exactly something he could control.
What Keith was totally capable of controlling, however, was whether or not he ended up at the bar after the show, getting shit faced once again. And yet here he was.
"I'm not driving you home again," Pidge warned from behind the bar.
Keith grunted noncommittally. His motorcycle was in the below-ground parking lot. It'd be fine if he took an Uber.
Hunk, the bass guitarist, had gone home early. It was his anniversary with Shay, leaving Keith cringing at another reminder of what day it was.
Their band was 1986 and a Half, a name they'd come up with on the fly when they finally got picked up for a gig. Keith had lead guitar, Hunk had bass. Pidge jumped in with keyboard on her days off bartending, and Shiro took over when she couldn't. Lance was the lead singer.
Hunk and Shay had officially started dating the same day as Lance and Keith's one-year anniversary. It had been sweet: A double date and then lance had surprised him by serenading him with an original song when they'd tumbled back into their shitty studio apartment at 1 am. Cliché, even a little boring to some, but it was Lance, and to Keith, it was perfect.
They broke up two weeks later. It had started small.
An argument about which gig to take. Keith was in a bad mood. Lance was in a great mood, giggling, and the fight quickly went from lighthearted teasing to something raw. How could it not when you know someone that well?
Old wounds opened, voices rose, and Lance's easygoing smile had dropped slowly, disbelievingly, brows furrowing, voice cracking with anger on insults Keith could still feel stinging. he couldn't even remember half of what he had said, blind anger driving him to hurt Lance in all the worst ways.
It was stupid. Needless. And as soon as Lance had grabbed his keys and stormed out, he knew he'd fucked up. Had it been the comment about how Keith's ex might have been better? Had it been the mocking of how lance complained about his family, who still hadn't let their son come home since he'd introduced a boyfriend instead of a girl? Probably both. Either way, he'd driven off the only person who had ever loved him as more than a sad little orphan.
They had a replacement lead singer now. His name was Steve and his voice was rough and suited many of their songs, but it wasn't the same. Steve could sing well, but Lance could sing and captivate the crowd in a way that no one else could.
Or maybe it was just Keith who was captivated.
Either way, Keith missed him. So much.
Pidge shook him out of his thoughts. "Bar's closed cowboy, time to drag your sorry ass home."
Keith blinked and grabbed his jacket off the stool next to him, a little unbalanced from the drinks.
"Thanks, Pidge." He stumbled his way out the door to order an Uber.
-------One week later--------
"Keith! My man! Don't fall asleep, the party's barely started!"
Keith regarded whoever had disturbed him wearily, taking another drag of the joint he'd been working on.
The drummer from a band who they'd met about a week ago was in front of him, looking too much like an excited puppy for all the facial piercings he had. What was his name? Bob? Rob? Probably Rob. Either way, Keith couldn't be bothered.
The annual party pidge threw for the bands that frequented the black lion bar was always a drag. Everyone got shitfaced, and someone's instrument always ended up damaged when the "Let's play our hits while we're drunk" phase set in. The only redeeming factor was that Jen from their rival band, Nevada Sky, always had good weed on her, and was especially happy to share when drunk.
"Come on man! Steve is gonna chug a handle of grey and he needs his 1986 and a Halfers there with him!"
Ah, the classic band member guilt trip. Keith rose, dropped his roach into Bob/Rob's solo cup and made his way toward the kitchen, ignoring the cries of "Not cool man!" that followed him.
Had the room been this crowded when he'd first sat down to smoke? Keith wasn't sure but his opinion on crowds had always been that he preferred the stage above them, where the extent of his interaction was to play his set and leave.
Upon reaching the kitchen, Keith saw that Steve, their replacement lead, was indeed attempting to chug and an entire bottle of vodka. Nice. The dude was a lightweight, and Keith desperately hoped pidge had a trash can in close proximity.
Speaking of Pidge, the cocktail legend herself was mixing and serving from the opposite side of the counter, cheeks flushed pink off of whatever liver wrecker she'd concocted this time. Keith sidled up to the counter next to hunk, grabbing the bowl of chips and getting to work, catching the last snatch of his conversation with Pidge.
"coming toni- Hey Keith!" Pidge cut herself off and handed him a cup. "You're going to need this," She said, neon light reflecting from the makeshift dancefloor in the dining room and onto her glasses.
"Why?" Keith asked, suspicious. "Just trust me, Keith, you will." Pidge busied herself with getting a new stack of solo cups and Keith took the hint to wander off again. He sipped his cup and flopped back down on the couch next to Jen, who was staring hazily at the ceiling.
The bass from the dance floor was nice and loud now, reverberating through his body and he relaxed as his mind drifted on the weed and alcohol once again.
Keith woke up, not even sure when he had fallen asleep. The party was in full swing, full of people he didn't recognize, and someone had thrown their coat and purse on top of him. Rude. Jen was still next to him, asleep now.
Fumbling, He grabbed his cup and gulped down whatever Pidge had given him earlier. Judging by the burn, he was gonna feel that pretty quick. Oh well. Keith stood and made his way back to the kitchen, noting how empty it was, and poked his head around the corner to the dining room, where the bass was still going strong.
He spotted Hunk's yellow headband right away and made his way unsteadily through the crowd. Bodies pushed in on him from all sides, and he struggled to walk without falling. He'd forgotten how intense Pidge's drinks could be. two of Jen's bandmates waved as he passed. Or was it one? He couldn't decide, but they looked like twins. Did Jen's band have twins?
Turning slightly, he waved, and then stumbled as someone fell backward into him drunkenly. Keith cursed lightly and staggered to keep from falling, stranger's back colliding with his chest. He pushed them off clumsily. The sounds of the room seemed to fade as Keith took in wavy brown hair, a blue and white baseball tee, and those jeans that seemed impossibly worn but yet hugged that ass perfectly. Keith knew who this was. He knew that ass. He felt the blood drain from his face and dropped the arm he'd been holding, stumbling back a step.
"Oops!" It was said with a hiccup-y giggle, as the man turned, and blue eyes struggled to focus in on his face.
Chapter 2: And Anyway, I've Got No Place to Go
Some Lance POV?? Some confrontation?? A very fed-up pidge?? I think yes!
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Lance hadn’t planned to get this wasted, but Pidge didn’t seem to be messing around tonight. He took the (4th? 5th? He wasn’t sure) cup she slid across the counter to him and did his best to say thanks without slurring. She’d mumbled something cryptic about getting wasted for his own good earlier in the night, and he wasn’t going to argue with a tipsy Pidge in bartender mode. That was just asking for trouble.
He almost hadn’t come tonight, not in the mood to see Keith on the off chance the band had dragged him along, and worried since he wasn’t technically a part of the Black Lion’s music lineup anymore. But with some careful convincing from Allura and a promise to let him in on her next crooners of the 40’s and 50’s themed set, he considered it. . There might have been pre-party drinks involved, and that certainly sped up the process of deciding whether to go.
It seemed he’d been worried for nothing though, since although 1986 and a half (A name Lance had suggested, by the way) seemed to be “officially” attending the party, Keith was nowhere to be found. Which as of late, was exactly how Lance liked it.
Throwing an unsteady salute at Pidge, and finishing his drink, Lance set out to find Hunk.
Five drunken conversations and one handstand contest later, Lance was well and truly hammered, and on the dance floor where he’d spotted Hunk.
Several members of Shiro’s part-time A Capella group were with them, along with Allura and Shiro who seemed to be getting along especially well (Read: Making eyes at each other and just toeing the line between regular dancing and dirty dancing). Lance caught the redhead from Nevada Sky giving him an appreciative look for the third time, and decided it was time to make a move, so he slid between Hunk and Shay (Who’d shown up to support Hunk since he was the DD), and strode confidently toward her.
Except he didn’t. The small functional part of Lance’s brain making the plan was quickly thrown out by his alcohol saturated body, and instead, he stepped directly onto Shay’s white leather boots, stumbled, cracked his forehead against the side of Hunks head, and fell backward.
Luckily, he didn’t hit the floor since some stranger was kind enough to hold him up. Chuckling to himself about how cliché this was, Lance turned to thank them, but before he could even try to focus on their face, he felt it. The telltale split second nausea that always comes with too much tequila and not enough water.
By the time Lance was done retching onto the dance floor, the stranger was gone, and so were most of the people who had been dancing. He let Pidge lead him to her guest room and unceremoniously left him with a trash can, since “Some asshole won’t let anyone use the bathroom”.
After a sip of the glass of water and stripping down to boxers, Lance flopped back onto the bed and closed his eyes, making a mental note to apologize to Pidge about her dining room floor later.
Okay, so maybe hiding out in the bathroom was a total wimp move, but Keith was too drunk (and too upset) to care. He had been wrong- he totally wasn’t ready to be in the same room as Lance. Even when he had vomited at his feet, Lance had felt more radiant than Keith had ever been in his sad 23 years of existence. All the guilt and anger he’d smoked away had rushed back, and Keith was now on a mission to stop it again.
Deep down Keith knew he didn’t have a right to be upset to see Lance. He’d pushed lance to leave, not the other way around. Maybe that was why it hurt worse? Self-loathing was always harder than outward anger he guessed. Either way, he’d ignored the multiple knocks on the door and sipped the bottle of vodka he’d snatched on his way there.
Keith had only finished about half of the bottle when the door flew open and he was met with a very angry Pidge.
“I can’t believe you’re the asshole who’s been in the bathroom for the last two hours!” She snarled, striding forward and hauling him off the floor. “Hunk and Shay thought you left, and they’re gone which means you’re crashing here tonight”. Pidge pulled him stumbling down the hall and stopped him in front of the guest room door. She pulled the bottle out of his hand and stomped off, muttering about wasted alcohol and how they could work it out for themselves. Keith wasn’t sure what that second comment meant but he chose to ignore it as he half tripped through the door of the guest room.
After tossing his shirt somewhere over in the corner, he flopped onto the bed and was startled back off of it when his cheek made contact with someone’s foot. He knew pidge only had one guest room, but why the hell was someone else in it?
Fumbling for the light switch, Keith cursed under his breath and turned to shoo the unwelcome bed-occupier out of the room.
However, when the light flicked on, he was met with a familiar sight. Tousled brown hair sticking out in a tiny halo around a drooling face, and a pair of classic heart-print boxers.
How on earth was Keith going to explain this? He was in no condition to leave, dressed only in his jeans, and technically watching his ex-boyfriend sleep (He didn’t think Lance would care that he was having a mini-crisis at the same time. Staring was staring).
The situation rapidly worsened when Lance made a sleepy noise and rolled over blinking and peering in his direction. He could see the exact moment Lance recognized him because his face went from confused to angry all at once.
“You better have a really good explanation for this.” Lance was growling, brow furrowed, though sleepy, and on the attack.
Keith’s brain was currently the equivalent of a soggy sponge. Actually, even a sponge probably could have handled the situation better because the solution Keith’s brain came up with was a song.
It was on one of the many CD albums Lance had always kept in his car, that they had sung obnoxiously on an old road trip, some 90’s stuff that Keith hadn’t even realized he knew the words to. But he remembered that Lance LOVED it, with its upbeat tune and sad words.
The setting sun had come through the windows of Lance’s shitty blue Subaru, and set his entire face alight, as he’d belted out the lyrics in that voice that seemed to flow right out of him. Lance’s singing had been like a living thing with that song. Full of heart and emotion and the love Keith had felt from him in that moment was almost overwhelming. He hadn’t been singing for a crowd. He had been singing for Keith alone, and that was the moment Keith had known he was in love. He was tearing up just thinking about it now.
It was at that moment Keith made up his mind. So maybe he sucked with words. Maybe he really didn’t deserve Lance anyway. But he would have to be crazy to let this opportunity go. It’s not every day you got a second shot with the love of your life, was it? So instead of coming up with his own fumbling words that never seemed to fully convey what he felt, he decided to let the song do the talking.
With a shaky breath and a slight hiccup, Keith began to sing softly.
“Tell me, do you think it’d be alright if I could just crash here tonight.”
Chapter three is already in progress! Writing these more emotional scenes has been slow going but I promise I'm working on it. Anyways, thanks for reading, and always, come yell at me in the comments or on Tumblr, it's always good to have feedback!.