The black wheels of the cart clicked against the polished floor of the store, echoing into the empty area and filling the once almost silent atmosphere. So far, the only real sounds they heard came from themselves, an occasional employee that looked way too awake for the middle of the night, and the dull radio music broadcasting across the building.
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, barely awake for their late night adventure as he kept himself hidden in one of Shiro’s old college hoodies.
“Wait! Shiro, stop!” Lance called to his boyfriend. Once the cart came to a halt, Lance quickly hopped off and crouched down to get a better view at the shelves 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 to show a second can of condensed milk.
If Shiro was going to be completely honest, he really had no idea of the difference. Condensed milk was condensed milk.
“I’m going to be honest with you Lance. I couldn’t tell you what makes them different.” Shiro confessed.
Lance let out a huff, though Shiro knew he was anything but actually annoyed with him, “Hey, Keith.”
The man in question removed his head from where he had been pressing it into Shiro’s right arm. Black bangs, messy from the hoodie covering his head, came in front of his eyes as he groggily turned to face 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 want for sleep taking over his voice, “Do you care if it’s name brand?”
Lance knit his eyebrows together as he quickly contemplated the question.
Keith stepped closer to him, then plopped himself down into a cross-legged sitting position in front of the shelf in question. He scanned the options in front of him before reaching his hand into the abyss and pulling out his brand of choice. “I liked it best when you made it with this one. And stop asking Shiro questions about baking. He can’t answer them. Can we go home now?”
“If you were tired, you could’ve stayed home.” Lance pointed out.
“No, you’d complain that I didn’t come with you. You’re clingy.” Keith rubbed his eyes drowsily.
“ I’m clingy? You’re the biggest cuddle bug out of all of us. Admit it, you came, because you knew you’d be lonely waiting for us to come back home.”
“I just like being around you guys. Is that a crime?” Keith mumbled out.
“Yeah. I’m going to have to book you.”
Keith lifted his arms up in front of himself. “I’m all yours, Officer.”
“Or I could just book you and your whole schedule.” Lance took the arms into his hands, pulling him closer slightly before pecking Keith’s cheek. “Yeah, I like that better. Make you spend a whole week with me.”
“Lance, I live with you.”
“Yeah, but now you have to spend all that time in the same room as me.”
“I love you both, and I love when you get along and don’t bicker, but it’s two in the morning, and we all need sleep.” Shiro chimed in.
“Okay, yeah, sorry.” Lance put Keith’s can of choice in the cart. “You know, I think if Keith’s so tired, he can sleep in the cart. I bet you could push us both!”
“I’m not a kid. I don’t need to sit in the cart.”
“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?”
A small laugh came from Shiro, shaking his head at his boyfriends. “Let’s ask for Keith’s opinion. Keith, do you want to sit in the cart?”
“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’s no such thing as opposite day!”
“There totally is.”
“Enough.” 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.
“Yes love, I know. No one is saying you are. But, you’re really tired, and you know that this is just because we know you usually go to bed earlier. Why don’t you try it? If you don’t like it, you can get out.”
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 before reluctantly climbing into the cart. He 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.”
“Sounds like a plan. Take us away, Captain Shirogane!” Lance exclaimed, pointing towards the aisle with the eggs.
“My wish is your command.”
The sound of the wheels against the floor was the only sound in 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 brand of choice and placed it in the kiddie seat of the cart alongside the condensed milk.
“I still have a hard time believing you couldn’t have waited until the morning to buy ingredients for your flan.” Shiro said as he began to steer the three of them towards the pasta aisle.
“Excuse me? 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.” 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.”
“And why’s that?”
“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.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. If anything, this just shows how much he loves you. 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.”
“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.”
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. He mentally checked off every item that he came across, 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.
“Because I wanted it.”
“But, it literally costs more!”
“Okay, but I wanted it.”
“I swear, your shopping choices are going to be the death of me.”
“As if you didn’t take us to a grocery store at two in the morning.”
“Alright. We’re even.”
The quiet of the store was only amplified by the occasional sounds that emitted from the self-checkout, making the whole area seem so small and large all at once. It was strange, being in a store with no one else around but the exhausted 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. With Keith asleep in the cart, Lance scanning each item, and Shiro bagging the purchases, the world seemed to fall right into place.