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barefoot in the dark (you between my arms)

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            Keith notices several things upon waking.

            It’s dark, for starters, indicating the middle of the night, confirmed when he glances at the clock on Lance’s bedside table and finds a bright red 1:42 AM blinking at him. Secondly, Keith is sweating and freaking suffocating. Lance’s bedroom window’s been left wide open, letting in warm, humid summer air. Thirdly, Lance isn’t even in his bed. Sure, Keith may be sweating and kicking the covers off to make himself feel better, but things are best when Lance’s body is pressed against his, solid and comforting and protective.

            He groans and rolls from his side to his back, unsticking his bangs from his forehead, doing his best to fluff out the hair seemingly glued to the back of his neck. Then he waits a moment, and listens for movement down the hall, listens for anything that’ll tell him where Lance has gone off to, because his side of the bed is still warm. Not summer-warm, but warm with the heat of a human. He couldn’t have gone—

            A door squeaking stops Keith’s train of thought. His eyes slowly drift toward the open window, and he tunes out the rest of the house, focusing solely on everything in that direction. He hears it, after some time—the door closing, the patter of rain on the roof and the windowsill.

            Keith swings his legs over the side of the bed and pads across the floor barefoot, and peers out the screen. Neither the flood light nor the back porch light is on, which makes spotting Lance—wearing dark blue shark pajamas, as his boyfriend does—all the more difficult. After some time, Keith’s eyes finally zero in on him: arms splayed, head tipped back, soaking in the moment.

            Literally.

            Keith quietly darts away from the window, makes his way down the hall on silent feet, jogs down the stairs, and doesn’t stop moving until he hits the back door. Here, he has a slightly better view of Lance, of the rain plastering hair to skin, running down Lance’s face and bare arms in small rivers.

            He’s beautiful, and a new ache blooms in Keith’s chest.

            Keith opens the door slowly, wincing as the hinges squeal, despite his attempts to keep them quiet. He stops when Lance tilts his head back down and catches sight of him. He must look like a deer in the headlights—his eyes widen, and his cheeks flush in embarrassment, because he didn’t mean to disturb Lance, he really didn’t.

            He opens his mouth to apologize, to explain as much to Lance, but Lance drops his arms and strides over to him, the softest smile on his face, and everything in Keith’s mind goes blank. Lance doesn’t speak a word, and they’re both okay with that. Instead, he gently takes Keith’s hands and leads him out of the safety of the porch, and into the downpour.

            Lance launches the two of them into a slow dance of some sort, the name of which Keith knows, somewhere in the back of his head, but he’s content with not recalling right now. He’s content with focusing on Lance’s careful touch, content with the way they twirl around the yard to some indistinct tune Lance hums, content with wet grass beneath his feet and his hair falling in his eyes and Lance, oh God he is more than content with Lance.

            It’s a good thing Lance is the one humming, because Keith cannot follow up on one thought for very long without getting distracted by how ethereal Lance looks in the middle of the night in the pouring rain. His eyes practically glow, two bright, azure oceans, and they’re looking at Keith, of all things.

            Keith’s heart twists, hammers, does a million things it probably shouldn’t be doing, because Lance is mesmerizing, an angel too good for this Earth, and he’s Keith’s.

            He’s all Keith’s.

            Keith isn’t sure how long they stare at each other before they slow down, before all they can do is gaze into each others’ eyes, until Keith glances down, just slightly, and leans forward, and then his mouth is on Lance’s, Lance’s is on his. Lance lets go of his hands, only to wrap arms around the small of his back to pull him in closer, and Keith touches the sides of his face.

            Fingers travel up the curve of his jaw, thumbs smooth over his freckled cheeks, and then Keith’s hands travel to the back of Lance’s head and tangle in the wet hair at the back of his neck.

            Lance’s hands explore just as much, rubbing up and down Keith’s back until one of them slides underneath the hem of his shirt, and a thrill runs through Keith, a shudder that shoots up his spine, and he feels the way Lance’s mouth curves into a grin, and then Keith’s grinning back, and then they can’t kiss anymore because they’re too busy smiling—two idiots, smiling at each other in the rain, in the middle of the night.

            “God, I love you,” Lance murmurs, and leans his head down until they’re forehead-to-forehead. He closes his eyes and takes in a shaking breath, and then releases a disbelieving laugh. Keith understands, then, that not all of the water on Lance’s face is rain, and he reaches a hand up, uses the pad of his thumb to wipe the tears away.

            His tears are just like the rain, Keith thinks.

            Warm. Not upset, not angry.

            “I love you too,” Keith whispers to him, and then tilts his chin up, and they’re kissing again. A little softer, a little slower, hands in one spot this time.

            Around them, the rain falls a little harder, drenching them. By the time they break again, Keith’s wet down to his bones, and Lance must feel the same way. Still, they take their time leaving the yard—Keith ends up waiting another few minutes on the porch, simply watching Lance as he stares up at the sky.

            Starless, moonless, and he’s still awestruck.

            Lance rejoins Keith with a trembling smile and collapses into him, arms tight around him as he mumbles tiredly into Keith’s neck how much he loves him. Keith would call them sweet nothings, maybe, but he treasures every single word, tucks each one into his heart, the ache in his chest deepening, because Lance loves him, and he loves Lance, and the promise ring around his finger is a comforting weight to remind him that this is his forever.