It starts out innocently enough.
That’s a lie. Nothing Lance ever does has an innocent intent and he knows that. Is that something he wants to admit, though? Only sometimes! Like when he thinks it’ll impress somebody, but definitely not anywhere in the vicinity of any of his family members, because of course they’d tell his mom. And his mom is scary, thank you very much.
No, ok, so he definitely walked in here without any meaningful plans. He had wanted to browse the discount alcohol from New Years and contemplate the value of buying more facial cleanser versus using the ones he already has. Maybe get a birthday card for Hunk. Instead, he’s side-eyeing a dude who is definitely trying to smuggle something into his frankly obnoxious looking jacket. Obnoxious jacket, obnoxious backside. (Like, damn, how many squats can one person do in a day?)
It’s not any of his business, to be honest. Sometimes (attractive? homeless?) people have to do what they have to do. He’s not in any position to judge.
Still, he can’t focus on the words he’s reading on the facial cleanser bottle in his hand, so he gives up with a sigh, his basket digging into the inner part of his elbow. He drifts a bit closer to Potentially Homeless Dude, his curious side getting the best of him. Maybe he can offer to pay for whatever it is he’s trying to steal? His mom had done that for people before. Hell, people had paid for their groceries before, when they were down on their luck.
He peeks as covertly as possible, frowning when he looks at what’s in the aisle in front of Weird Ass Jacket Guy.
Are those… pregnancy tests?
Lance lifts his eyebrows, sticking his lips out as he turns back to pretend to look at something in his own aisle. Poor Unemployed Mullet Man. See? This is what happens to straight people. He doesn’t even have a job, but he might be bringing a baby into the world.
The guy turns towards him, freezing suddenly as he notices Lance blatantly making sympathetic faces at him. Lance fumbles the box he was (fake) looking at, dropping it completely as he makes really awkward eye contact with this man’s… very soulful eyes. Seriously, they look almost dark violet in the lighting. Gosh, he’s pretty. His baby mama is very lucky.
They have a tense moment of staring before everything goes to shit.
“Hey!” One of the convenience store employees yells, narrowing their eyes at Eyebrows So Big And Dark, whose hand is still shoved underneath his jacket. He sure does look like he’s stealing. He sure does.
Dude also has the gall to look surprised and offended on his own behalf, despite the incriminating evidence (of him with a product he hasn’t paid for tucked underneath his clothes).
“I’m calling the police!” Soulless Store Employee announces, pointing at him like this a fucking Sailor Moon episode come to life.
Dreamy Face furrows his brows, face suddenly looking vulnerable. Oh, fuck no. No. Lance, no.
“I… I wasn’t going to—” Dude cuts himself off, looking away with wide eyes.
He drops his basket, suddenly wailing loudly enough that both of them look at him in surprise, jolting. He clutches at his stomach.
“¡Voy a tener un bebé!” He screeches, and drops to his knees. The store employee rushes to him, as well as another employee who heard the yelling. They huddle around him in panic as he cries out in rapid Spanish.
As he gestures to his basket as a distraction, he looks up at Who Wears Their Hair Like That Anymore, Seriously? and widens his eyes pointedly, flicking his head at the exit. The man squints at him before he nods, covertly making his way to the next aisle. Lance keeps wailing until he’s sure the man is gone and then he stands abruptly, wiping his eyes.
“False alarm!” He says, good-naturedly. “I should go, though.”
“Are you sure? We can call someone—”
“No, I’ll be fine.”
He moves slowly until he’s out of sight and then breaks into a run, skidding around the corner and booking it towards his bike. He probably won’t be able to show his face in this convenience store ever again. It’s not like he goes here a lot, anyway, he just wanted to take advantage of the sales.
He yanks his bike up, fumbling to open the lock. Just as he’s about to get on, a hand grabs his jacket and he yelps, thinking it’s a store employee or the cops. He’s going to jail, oh God.
But when he turns, it’s actually Unfairly Hot Thief. He gapes.
“What are you still doing here?” He asks, somewhat irritated. He just threw his good name on the line for this dumb stranger. The least he could do is get the Hell out of Dodge.
“You didn’t have to do that back there,” the man has the audacity to say. Lance scoffs, throwing his leg over his bike.
“Yeah, cause you had it covered. All you did was stutter. Did you even get what you came in for?”
“For your information,” the man starts, “I put the box back on the shelf. I wasn’t trying to steal it. It just… looked like I was.”
Lance squints at him suspiciously.
“Let’s say I believe you. What were you doing with the box under your jacket?”
“I just— my friend, Romelle, thinks she’s pregnant. She’s been doing IVF sessions and— I was supposed to go get a test for her, but I got… I got nervous.”
“That someone would think it was for you?” Lance asks, just to be a pain in the ass. At least it’s not for him. Though what Lance can do with this information, he’s unsure.
“No. That Allura, her partner, would walk in and see me getting a test and then ruin the surprise.” The guy says it so seriously that Lance just nods. “So I hid it.”
“I know it’s stupid,” the guy admits angrily (dude is just perpetually grumpy, Lance is calling it now), then he looks at Lance and furrows his brows. “You didn’t have to do that for me, though. But… thanks.” He smiles a little.
Lance is so startled by how cute it is that he astral projects.
“It’s… no big deal,” he says, embarrassed, soul floating around his body somewhere. He’s pretty good at flirting, if he does say so himself, but when someone genuinely compliments him, he finds himself unable to handle it. He’s not used to people saying nice things about him.
“So… what’s your name?” the guy asks, looking awkward about it.
“Oh, uh, Lance. Lance McClain.” He holds his hand out.
“Keith Kogane,” Keith Kogane replies, taking his hand in a sure grip.
He wouldn’t have pegged Keith as a Keith, but it suits him, somehow.
“Nice to meet you, buddy,” Lance says, getting another small smile from Keith. Lance screams… in his mind.
Lance realizes he’s still holding Keith’s hand and lets go, rubbing the back of his neck.
“Uh, well, I didn’t get what I came here for, and neither did you. Wanna ride?” He points at the back of his bike, where there’s a fender to sit on. Pidge often sits there when they go into town.
Keith looks at the space dubiously, then looks back the convenience store. “I can even be a buffer for your next foray into the world of pregnancy tests. Also, you were totally getting the wrong one back there.”
Keith lifts an eyebrow, but shrugs anyway.
“Okay,” Lance says, smiling. “Hop on!”
Keith takes a seat, sideways, on the bike fender. Lance makes sure his feet are up before he takes off, finding a less bumpy route and sticking to it.
The night is cool, but the wind feels good against his heated skin. Why the heck is he so nervous now? He was definitely the one in control of that situation back there. He started so strong.
The next convenience store isn’t too far away, since the area is a small college town. He makes a few turns and they’re there. He parks his bike, and Keith glances around surreptitiously.
“See your friend?” Lance teases, and Keith scowls at him.
“No,” he admits, gruffly. He straightens his jacket, and walks ahead of Lance, looking up at the signs as he walks in.
Lance rolls his eyes, grabbing his sleeve to pull him towards the pregnancy test aisle. He stops them there, pointing at one of the boxes.
“First Response manual test is the most accurate. Worked every time one of my family members were pregnant, even when one of the kids spilled water on the pee strip,” Lance explains, pulling the bright pink box from the shelf. “It’s even got a cool handle, and it comes with 3 tests!”
“Uh,” Keith says, and Lance lifts an eyebrow at him.
“You were going for a digital, which is the worst kind to go for.”
“I was kind of just grabbing the first thing I saw,” Keith says, and Lance crosses his arms, unimpressed.
“ Yeah, but this stuff matters. Do you even like your friend?”
“Of course I do!” Keith says vehemently, furrowing his eyebrows and mimicking Lance’s stance.
“Then, trust me, this test will be best. Plus, the little positive lines won’t fade over time. Perfect memory preserved, right there, buddy! Boom!”
“How do you know this stuff?”
“Big family, lots o’ ladies,” Lance explains, throwing the test in the basket. “Now I’m going to get some alcohol.” He doesn’t really give Keith a choice about following him, but the dude could just grab a different box and leave. It makes his heart skip when Keith follows anyway.
“Aw yeah, discount Moscato!” he exclaims when they get to the aisle, and he shoves a bottle in the basket, thinks about it, and gets another. It’s on sale, sue him.
“Wine?” Keith asks, smirking at him.
“I’ll have you know that I can do shots all night and not feel a thing, but you give me a few glasses of wine and I’m gone. Those Facebook moms know where it’s at.” Lance passes a discount bag of Christmas chocolates and throws that in his basket, too.
“Are you getting over a breakup?” Keith asks, peering into his basket.
“Nope! I would be going to Walmart if I were getting over a breakup, buddy. Full basket, no holds barred. This is just me treating myself.”
Keith’s eyebrows look awfully judgmental.
“Knock it if you want, but everyone is so stressed all the time and do you know how quickly that gives you wrinkles? Speaking of—” Lance veers off to the right, Keith following silently behind him.
“Facial care!” Lance spreads his arm in the aisle, diving into the smaller packets of face masks. Those are his favorite, because they’re cheap, but effective. “Want one?”
“Uh,” Keith hesitates, taking the face mask that Lance hands to him, looking on the front and back. “I’ve never done a face mask?”
“We all have weaknesses, Keith,” Lance says, putting his hand on his shoulder. “I’ll get it for you, so you don’t have to suffer anymore.”
“You don’t have—”
“It’s fine, it’s fine,” Lance interrupts, taking two face masks and putting them into the basket that’s becoming heavier the longer he’s in the store. “Is Romelle waiting for you?”
Keith’s eyes widen.
“No problem— did you leave your car at the other convenience store?”
“I walked,” Keith admits, and Lance nods.
“I’ll give you another ride, if you want. Need anything else here?”
Keith stares at him for a moment, holds himself tense and uncomfortable before he seems to sag at the shoulders.
“Cool, c’mon!” Lance ushers him to the counter, paying for everything, despite Keith’s objections.
When they’re outside, Keith stops Lance, furrowing his brows at him.
“Why are you being so nice to me?”
Lance shrugs, putting his bags in his little front basket, where his fanny pack is locked. He looks at Keith then, smiling.
“You aren’t nice to people just because?”
“People aren’t nice to people for no reason. What do you want?” Keith asks, crossing his arms. Lance cocks a hip, putting a hand on it.
“I don’t want anything, dude.” He throws a leg over his bike, and watches Keith struggle with that answer. “You comin’?”
After a moment of deliberation, Keith licks his lips and joins him. The ride is easy enough, with Keith leaning close to give him directions. Lance looks over his shoulder at him sometimes, watching his dark hair whipping around back there. He looks annoyed, and Lance can admit, it’s pretty cute how his nose scrunches up until he pushes his hair out of his face.
All too soon, they’re arriving at a small house on the edge of town. Lance pushes his kickstand down, hops off to separate Keith’s things into its own bag. He includes one of the face masks for Romelle, and a bag of chocolate. He holds it out when he’s finished and Keith takes it, hesitantly.
“At least let me give you some money or something,” Keith says, eyes on the sidewalk.
“Nah— it was easier to pay for everything together. Besides, it’s good karma,” Lance says, fully believing it. He doesn’t mess around with the powers that be.
“Do… do you want to come in for a drink before you go?”
“Thanks, but,” Lance says, “Romelle probably doesn’t want the company for something as serious as this.”
“I kinda do,” Keith admits. “I’m not good at this stuff.”
“Really? You don’t seem the type,” Lance teases, and Keith gives him a look. “I’ll tell you what—”
Lance cuts himself off, unzipping his pack from before and writing his number on slip of paper.
“Here’s my number— if you want it. You can tell me if Romelle’s pregnant or not,” Lance offers, and Keith reaches for it, gazing down at the scrawl silently.
“Thanks,” he says, looking up through dark lashes. Lance swings his leg back over his bike, undoing the kick.
“Any time. Hasta la later, Keith!”