The black wheels of the cart clicked against the polished floor of the store, echoing into the almost silent atmosphere, save for the recycled radio tunes that faintly carried through the vacancy. So far, the only human sounds they heard came from themselves, and an occasional employee that looked way too awake for the middle of the night.
Lance rose onto the balls of his feet, keeping his hands on the back end of the cart to steady himself as he let Shiro push him and the cart down the baked goods aisle. Following close behind was Keith, groggy and stumbling as he drowned in one of Shiro’s old college hoodies.
“Wait! Shiro, stop!” Lance called to his boyfriend. Shiro jerked the cart to a halt, Lance quickly hopped off and crouched down to get a better view of the cans that had just so conveniently decided to not be at eye level. “Which one should I get? This brand?” He held up a can of condensed milk. “Or this one?” He raised another hand and wiggled the other can to show it off.
If Shiro was completely honest with himself, he had no idea. Condensed milk was condensed milk.
“I’m not going to lie. I can’t tell condensed milk from coconut milk.” Shiro confessed.
Lance let out a huff, though Shiro knew he was anything but actually annoyed with him, “Hey, Keith.”
The man in question lifted his head from its resting place on Shiro’s arm. Black bangs fell messily in front of tired eyes as Keith groggily turned, squinting at Lance. He gave his overly awake boyfriend a soft, tired noise as a response. Seriously, how could Lance be so awake at two in the morning?
“Which brand should we get?” Lance asked, showing off the respective cans.
“I don’t know.” Keith replied, his voice as heavy as the hour was late, “Do you care if it’s a name brand?”
Lance knit his eyebrows together as he quickly contemplated the question.
Keith stepped closer to him, then plopped down cross-legged on the floor. He scanned the options in front of him before reaching his hand into the abyss and pulling out a seemingly random can. “I liked it best when you made it with this one. And stop asking Shiro questions about baking. We all know he sucks at this stuff. Can we go home now?”
“If you’re tired, you could’ve stayed home.” Lance pointed out.
“No, you would complain that I didn’t come with you. You’re clingy.” Keith rubbed his eyes drowsily.
“ I’m clingy? You’re the biggest cuddle slut out of all of us. Admit it, you came because you knew you’d be lonely at home by yourself.”
“I just like being around you guys. Is that a crime?” Keith mumbled.
“Yeah. I’m going to have to book you.” Lance pulled out a pair of imaginary handcuffs.
Keith rolled his eyes and slowly lifted his arms up in front of himself. “I’m all yours, Officer.”
“Or I could just book you and your whole schedule.” Lance grabbed Keith’s wrists and tugged him close, pecking his cheek. “Yeah, I like that better. Make you spend a whole week with me.”
“Lance, I live with you.”
“Yeah, but now you can live with me more.”
“What? You want to use those ‘handcuffs’ to keep us together?” Keith weakly put air quotes around the word handcuffs.
“Aww, Keith, I’m hurt. I thought you’d spend time with me willingly.” Lance placed his hand over his heart in mock hurt.
“If you want to spend more time with me, you can carry me.” Keith replied, leaned some of his weight onto his boyfriend.
Lance put Keith’s can of choice in the cart. “You know, I think if you’re that tired, you can sleep in the cart.” Lance turned to face Shiro. “I bet you could push us both!”
“I don’t need to sit in the cart.” Keith protested.
“Hmmm, yeah, but you’re tired. So, I vote you sit in the cart. What do you think Shiro? Keith goes in the cart? Yay, or nay?” Lance asked.
A small laugh came from Shiro, shaking his head at his boyfriends. “I think Keith has made his position pretty clear.”
“Awww,” Lance pouted, “Come on Keith, it’ll be fun.”
“Annnnd once the clock hit twelve this morning, it officially became opposite day, so in the cart you go.” Lance gestured to the metal Shiro was steering.
“There is no such thing as opposite day!” Keith retorted.
“There totally is.” Lance replied.
“Alright, alright.” Shiro interjected, “How about you get in the cart so you can relax while we pick up the last ingredients?”
“I’m not a child.” Keith grumbled, crossing his arms. “I’m not sitting in a cart.”
“Can you just try it? If you don’t like it I’ll help you out, but this way you won’t have to walk.” Shiro suggested.
Keith pushed his forehead into Shiro’s leg tiredly. “Only if you admit that you just want to see me get in the damn cart.”
“Okay, yes, part of me does just want to see you get into the cart.” Shiro admitted, a small smile working its way onto his face.
“I hate you both.” Keith reached up towards Shiro, waiting for the bigger man to help him up onto his feet. Shiro hoisted Keith up, gently guiding the other man to reluctantly find a seat in the cart. Keith brought his knees to his chest and rested his head onto them as he felt the cart begin to move once more.
Lance moved the objects in the cart onto the built-in kiddie seat and hopped back onto the end as Shiro continued to steer them through the store. “Okay, so next we just need some eggs, and then you wanted boxed mac and cheese, right?”
“We need more quick meals in the house.” Shiro replied.
“Sounds like a plan. Take us away, Captain Shirogane!” Lance exclaimed, pointing towards the aisle with the eggs.
“My wish is your command.”
The squeak of the wheels against the floor was the only sound competing with the radio that drowned out the eerie silence of the store. The few ingredients that they had already acquired rattled softly against the metal of the cart as Shiro came to a stop in front of a large selection of eggs. He quickly picked out the trio’s usual brand and made room for it in the kiddie seat of the cart alongside the condensed milk.
“I still think you could have waited until tomorrow to make flan.” Shiro said as he steered the three of them towards the pasta aisle.
“Excuse me? It is tomorrow and I’m gonna make this as soon as we get back home.” Lance protested.
“I bet that you’re going to fall asleep in the car before we even get home.” Shiro replied.
“I’m not Keith. I’m wide awake.” Lance tilted his head to check on the boyfriend in question. “Speaking of Keith being tired, I think he’s out cold.”
“Wouldn’t doubt it.” Shiro brought the cart to a halt.
“But now I feel bad.” Lance looked down at his hands as he spoke.
“And why is that?” Shiro asked.
A frown crawled its way onto Lance’s face. “Because I didn’t take him being tired seriously.”
“If Keith wanted to stay home, he would have. Trust me, he wants to be here. I promise.” Shiro assured.
“Are you sure?” Lance played with the holes in the shopping cart as he spoke.
“Yes. If anything, this just shows how much he loves you.” Shiro steered the cart into the pasta aisle. “He went grocery shopping at two in the morning while he was dead tired just because you wanted ingredients for your flan. If he didn’t want to come, he would’ve told you.”
“If you say so.” Lance replied.
“I know so.” Shiro grabbed a box off the shelf and placed it into the cart as he spoke. “That’s everything, right?”
“Yeah. Let’s get sleeping beauty to bed.” Lance peered over at Keith again, double checking that the boyfriend in question was still under the sandman’s spell.
Shiro began to push the cart once more. “Sounds good.”
Blue eyes scanned the ingredients in the cart as a last minute check to make sure they had everything they needed, stopping only at the box of mac and cheese that Shiro had added to the collection himself.
“Shiro, did you really get the Star Wars mac and cheese?” Lance asked, quirking an eyebrow first at the box, and then at his boyfriend.
“Yes.” Shiro replied, continuing towards the check out area.
“Why?” Lance inquired.
“Because I wanted it.” Shiro answered.
“But, it literally costs more! And Keith’s gonna judge us.” Lance pointed out.
“Okay, but I wanted it.” Shiro responded.
“I swear, your shopping choices are going to be the death of me.” Lance spoke, mimicking Keith’s hypothetical tone.
“You’re the one who took us to the grocery store at two in the morning.” Shiro reminded.
“Alright. You got me.” Lance threw his hands up in defeat.
The vacancy of the store was only amplified by the occasional sounds that emitted from the self-checkout, making any occupants more than aware that a minimal amount of other customers existed alongside them. The whole area was too bright for the hour, easily skewing one’s perception of time as both men scanned the items they had picked out, careful not to wake Keith in the process. It was strange, being in a store with no one else around but the upbeat employee that may or may not actually exist, but if any of them was to be honest, they would not have had it any other way.
Lance scanned each item, handing it over to Shiro to bag, giving Keith a quick glance every few minutes. He inserted his card into the machine, paying for their items before moving on to arranging the bags so each one stayed away from his sleeping boyfriend. Once everything was in place, Shiro got back to pushing the cart, Lance by his side and Keith in front of him. He unlocked the vehicle, leaving his conscious boyfriend to load the car as he assigned himself the job of moving Keith. Slowly, he scooped Keith into his arms and settled him into the backseat. Meeting Lance in the front, he pushed the key into the automobile and activated the engine. The new hum that entered the space between them coupled with the artificial warm air, leaving them to bask in the current scene together. He had just spent the night on a spontaneous grocery store run with not just one amazing boyfriend, but two. And honestly, there was no other way he would have chosen to spend it.