Keith laid in bed, wide awake, and staring at the ceiling. He was interrupted from his thoughts when Yorak rolled over onto his chest.
When did he become a dad?
Keith, Nova, and Ezor were scouting the abandoned city in Kahar. No one had known that the city had even been evacuated and abandoned until Kolivan’s scans showed so.
“You really think-” A cry interrupted Ezor and Nova’s argument over whether or not Kolivan and
Krolia were a thing-Keith chose not to participate in that discussion. “That sounded like a kit…”
The three went to check it out, only to find an empty room. Another cry, and it led them downstairs. “It’s coming from below.”
A sleeping Galran woman lay next to a crying kit. “Hey, lady!” Ezor tried, even going over to poke her, until she gasped softly.
“What do we do with the kit?”
Keith turned to Nova and Ezor, not having a clue as to what to do with the kit.
Keith turned his head, looking at the picture of Nova and the ring on the chain next to it. He sighed before slowly sitting up, as to not wake up the sleeping toddler.
I wish you could’ve been here to see how far he’s come…
Keith sat up, situating Yorak back onto a pillow and under a blanket. He made his way to the kitchen, scratching the back of his neck.
Shiro was there, pouring coffee into a mug. “Good morning.” He held the mug out for Keith to take. “G’morning.” Keith began drinking the very much hot coffee, and Shiro still couldn’t get over that. “There’s sugar and creamer, you- nevermind.”
Shiro poured another cup for himself. “I still can’t believe you didn’t tell me that I'm an uncle.”
“I don’t know if I’d say- Good morning, buddy!” Shiro raised an eyebrow at Keith’s sudden change of tone. The way he went from cranky and sleepy to cheerful dad mode, it was delightful.
“G’morning, appa.” Yorak rubbed his eyes, wearing an oversized -it was Keith’s- shirt.
Shiro gave Keith a knowing smile as Yorak made his way to the bathroom.
“Appa?” Keith glared. “Shut up.”
Shiro laughed. “Does that make me Oji?”
“Appa! I need help!”
Keith rolled his eyes at Shiro’s smirk, and went to help Yorak.
When Keith and Yorak came back from the bathroom, they heard Shiro from the other room.
"Hey! You're here early. Hear from Hunk yet?"
"He should be getting here in a couple hours."
Keith was suddenly very aware that he was only wearing boxers and a tee, and that Yorak had essentially the same thing on, so he ushered the small boy back to the guest bedroom to get dressed.
"Okay bud, what are our options..."
Shiro had said something about going shopping to get them more clothes, but as of now they had limited options. So, Keith stuck with what he wore last he was there, and dressed Yorak in something Curtis' nephew had left behind.
"Back, appa, back." Keith sighed before squatting in front of the bed, his back facing Yorak, who climbed on. Together, they made their way to the living room.
"Yeah, I- Keith?! You're already here?! Shiro! You didn't say he was already here!" Lance punched Shiro in the shoulder, catching the older off guard.
"Oh! Sorry Shiro, I meant to hit Keith"
"Hey Lance." Keith smiled softly. It was nice to see him again. "Who, uh, who's the little guy?"
Shiro sipped his coffee, followed by slightly awkward silence between all four of them. Eventually, Shiro spoke up. “Yorak, this is Lance. Lance, this is Yorak.”
Lance's eyes widened a bit. "Oh. Is he...is he-"
"Adopted, but yes. He's mine." Keith realized what Lance was asking, finally. Is he yours and Nova's
There was once again, and awkward silence, but this time it was interrupted by Shiro's phone. "Oh, hey, Curtis is done at the dentist, better go pick him up. Lance, why don't you go shopping with Keith and Yorak?"
Keith sent his brother a small glare. He totally planned it.
"So...When did you and Nova adopt?" Lance was pushing the cart as Yorak sat in the front, playing with the stuffed hippo he picked out. "We, uh... we didn't really adopt him together. Kind of had a big fight about it, actually. Nova didn't think we were ready," yet he thought they were ready for marriage "but I couldn't just leave him."
They did have a big fight. By the time they were ready to talk about it again, Nova had... Lahn intervened.
"Looks like he came around though, right? I mean why else would he be here?"
Keith flinched, Lance noticed. "Touchy subject?"
"Yeah. You could say that. Lance, there's something I need to tell you guys...Shiro already knows but I asked him not to tell you guys." Keith walked alongside the cart, fingers skimming along.
Lance, putting a red paladin onesie in, looked up.
"I can't say it here, obviously," Keith nodded towards Yorak. "But...it's kind of just us now."
"I mean, he basically said he's a single dad! Pidge, he's the hot single dad! I dunno why he and Nova broke up, something about how they weren't ready for a kid. But!" Lance pulled at his hair. It wasn't fair!
Keith was already attractive, and then throw in the 'dad' thing...
Pidge sighed, pausing her typing. "Okay first of all, I'm about to make you put a dollar in the Keith Jar. Second, we're gonna hear all about it at dinner. Third, I have a class to teach that I need to prepare for, so I'm going to have to ask you to refrain from calling him a 'hot single dad' before I make it two dollars, you amorphous blob of pining."
Lance rolled his eyes. Pidge made the Keith Jar threat all the time, and he knew she was joking. Mostly. He'd already lost fifteen dollars to that damned jar.
"Ugh! I just-it's not fair!"
First, Keith confesses to having feelings for him, but Lance basically rejects him.
Next, he pines after Allura while Keith meets someone with the blades.
Then, he finally gets to be with Allura, and Keith is reunited with Nova.
Then, Allura...dies. And Keith is there for him.
And then, he realizes he totally still has repressed feelings for Keith, thanks Veronica, and meanwhile Keith is adopting kids with Nova.
But then, Keith and Nova separate, Keith brings Yorak to earth, but it's still too soon to make a move or even say anything. Plus there's a child involved now.
It wasn't fair...
Hunk was preparing dessert with Yorak sitting on the counter watching him. "Appa says good cook."
Hunk smiled at him brightly. "Your appa is right. I can make you anything you want. I- Oh, hey Lance! Come to help us make dessert?"
Lance shook his head, leaning against the counter next to Yorak, who immediately nuzzled into him, making Lance remember that afternoon. "Appa says good friend."
Well, buddy, I wish me and your appa could be more than just good friends.
Really though, how does one recover from being friend zoned by your crush's kid?
"Just watching." Lance placed a hand in Yorak's white hair, playing with the small curls. It was only a matter of time before the toddler was asleep, still leaning against Lance's side.
"You still like him, don't you?"
They might not talk as much recently due to Hunk's busy schedule, but he could still read him like an open book that had been read and reread about twenty times.
Lance sighed. "Yeah...Surprised you haven't heard it from Pidge yet. As of today, there's, like, twenty-five dollars in the jar." Little gremlin raised the price.
Hunk smiled, patting him on the shoulder. "Well...we can talk more later tonight if you want. Let's go see what Keith wanted to tell us."
"I'm coming back to earth."
At everyone's, Shiro included, shocked expression, Keith continued.
"I don't know how long for, but I'm back."
Hunk was the first to manage to get words out, because even though Keith was coming home, there still wasn't a good vibe in the air. "Is Nova moving here too?"
Keith looked over to where Yorak lay asleep on the pallet across from the table. "Nova's...gone."
Pidge leaned back in her seat, answering for Lance since she knew his mind was probably thinking up every possibility. "I'm so-we're all sorry to hear that. But...if you don't mind my asking, why did you guys split up?"
"We didn't-" Keith sighed. "Nova is gone."
"Hey man..." Lance came to stand beside Keith on the balcony. The stars were shining bright, and it brought back memories.
"Hey Lance..." Keith sat down next to him in the grass. Lance had been laying down, mapping the constellations and trying to not think of what had happened that week. Allura...the lions.
"You star gazing?"
Lance didn't answer, opting to remain silent as to keep from crying.
"I know you're hurting...I just wanted to say that you're not alone. We're all right there with you. I'm right here with you."
"How long ago?"
If Keith was telling them he's back, there was no telling how long he'd been hurting. No matter how far he's come, Keith still had problems with coming to others for emotional help or support.
"Couple months..." Keith still didn't meet his gaze.
"We're all here for you. I'm here for you."
Keith didn't respond, but Lance could see the small smile on the other's face.
"Looking for ursa major?"
ONE YEAR LATER
Yorak ran, giggling.
He was suddenly picked up and started screaming with laughter and happiness.
Lance blew another raspberry. "Appa! Save me!" Yorak continued to giggle, and Keith sat on the bed laughing.