Keith feels like he shouldn’t be here.
Ever since Voltron dismantled, he’s been swamped with work for the war response program that the Blade had set up. There are always blankets to make, food to ship out, budgets to be balanced. But without fail, whenever Lance calls on him, Keith will drop everything to go see him.
They’ve been in a pretty weird stage in their friendship lately. Keith will admit that he doesn’t miss the mindless bickering they had had as teens, but it’s been replaced with something unusual, something...softer. He can’t describe it, and yet it’s slowly taking over his thoughts, his actions, his very being. Suddenly, immature shoving had given way to clasped hands, and death glares had turned to warm eyes and teasing smirks. And if Keith’s heart leaps at the mere mention of stopping by Earth, then sue him.
Lance had contacted him personally a few weeks ago, asking if he wanted to take a break for a few days and be his plus one for his youngest niece’s upcoming quinceañera. Luckily, they had been just outside of the solar system, so Keith almost pleaded Kolivan to let him take leave. It was all Keith could do not to blush when Krolia mentioned that they needed to stock up on water anyway, winking at her son in a completely obvious “go get ‘em” fashion.
That’s why he’s currently sitting in a plastic folding chair decked out in pink cloth and ribbons, wearing an uncomfortable rented tux, drinking his first beer in two months, and feeling the most out of place he’s ever felt in his life.
Lance had texted him that he was on his way here from the photography session, and to watch for him at the entrance. The venue is huge, a beautiful dance hall right on the edge of Varadero, with the warm setting sun and ever-present ocean breeze streaming through the open windows. Most of the guests have started to settle down now, and Keith is surprised to see that there are so many. The only people whom he knows here so far are Lance’s parents, but there has to be at least a hundred others mingling around excitedly. Some are relatives, but most were welcomed into the McClain family during and after the war, and Keith feels a pang of jealousy at how many people love Lance-and how many people whom Lance loves back.
Keith doesn’t have the time to unpack that thought before the DJ is announcing the grand entrance, throwing on some energetic music to accompany the couples dancing into the hall. He spots Marco and Luís, both visibly holding back their urge to goof off for the sake of the girls on their arms. Veronica waves at Keith as she enters, and she points a thumb behind her and winks. Keith is embarrassed at how she just knows who he’s looking for; is he really that transparent?
Then the DJ starts a drumroll, presenting the quinceañera using her full, very long name that Keith doesn’t completely catch. The house lights dim while pink spotlights focus on the grand door, and the room of more than a hundred people goes dead quiet. Then, at last, the most beautiful person Keith has ever seen in his life struts in, the quinceañera on his arm.
The crowd erupts into cheers, drowning out the theme music, yelling the birthday girl’s name. But Keith only has eyes for Lance, practically glowing in a white tuxedo and sporting a smile so wide it reaches all the way to where Keith sits across the hall. He’s bursting at the seams with confidence as he walks his niece to the dance floor, waving enthusiastically at his loved ones the whole time. But when those brown eyes lock onto Keith’s, they melt like chocolate into something soft and even a little bit relieved, smile turning easy. He waves shyly, lingering on Keith for as long as he can until he has to turn away and waltz.
Keith is gonna need another drink.
It’s almost nine o’clock now, and the party is in full swing. The quinceañera, whose name Keith now knows is Camila, has just cut the cake-which tastes amazing, by the way, after only eating ready-made space food for months on end. He conveniently has a mouth full of vanilla frosting when Lance finally comes over to greet him.
“Keith! I’m really glad you could make it!” He goes in for a hug, and Keith would be lying if he said he didn’t relish in the warm embrace just a bit. He swallows before speaking.
“Me too. I’m happy to finally get a break from Kolivan.” Lance’s laugh rumbles around him and he can feel his back muscles move under his hands and holy fuck did he get more buff since last time? Keith releases the hug, hoping Lance doesn’t catch the flush on his face.
“You know, I never really liked that guy, to be honest. He’s too...” Lance waves his hand around, looking for the right word. “Purple-y.”
Keith snorts. “Purple-y?”
Lance grins, and Keith can’t help but mirror it. “Shut up man, you know what I mean,” he laughs, shoving Keith lightly. He then notices the beer still sitting half-full on the table, slowly getting lukewarm. Lance grabs Keith’s shoulders, making stern eye contact.
“Keith. My buddy. My man. There is an open bar at this party and you got a beer?”
Keith glances at the offending drink and shrugs. “Uh, yeah, I guess?”
Lance shakes his head, eyes closed in a defeated expression. “Nope. Can’t have any of that. Not at THIS quinceañera.” He puts an arm over Keith’s shoulders and starts leading him to the bar. “Come on, we have to do shots.”
They take a seat on the cheap bar stools and Lance lines up two shots of tequila, humming along to the song playing on the speakers. Keith almost gets caught staring when Lance turns to face him again.
“Okay Keith, I’m just gonna assume you’ve never had tequila before because of course you haven’t-”
That earns a pout from Keith.
“-so I’ll just show you how it’s done,” Lance finishes with a smirk.
Keith goes red as Lance pours a bit of salt onto the back of his hand and promptly licks it right off, tongue flattening against his knuckle and doing things to Keith’s brain.
Lance then takes the shot and quickly bites into a lime wedge, face contorting in disgust. But it passes quickly, a smile forming as he shakes it off. “You got that, Keith?”
Keith clears his throat for fear of his voice breaking. “Yeah, I think I have it down.”
Keith goes through the steps Lance showed him, but he almost spits out the tequila as soon as the bitter taste hits his tongue. He swallows with a grimace and finds solace in the lime wedge. Lance is cracking up the whole time.
The gross taste of liquor fades away, leaving behind a warm feeling spreading throughout Keith’s body and making his head a little fuzzy. Lance dramatically wipes away a pretend tear from his laughing fit. “Ah, that’s better. Getting this whole thing ready today was stressful as hell, and Lord knows I needed a drink.”
He suddenly freezes as if he senses something wrong. Keith already has a hand on his dagger when Lance rounds on him with bright eyes and an even brighter smile, catching him completely off guard.
“Keith! Keith I know this song! Let’s go dance!” He’s bouncing up and down like a puppy.
Keith, though already a bit tipsy, firmly declines. “I...I don’t know how to dance,” he admits as he looks out at the sea of seemingly perfect dancers.
“Pssh, come on, I’ll show you. Salsa is easy!” He holds out his hands as an invitation, and Keith can’t say no. He takes them.
Lance leads Keith through the motions, opting to show him rather than tell him due to the loud salsa music blasting on the dance floor. Keith is clumsy at first, looking down at his feet and flushing at Lance’s calloused hands in his, but soon he finds the rhythm. He gains the confidence to keep his head up and even try a turn, feeling free to express himself. All the while, he doesn’t take his eyes off of Lance. Though he had already seen him dance multiple times tonight, those were more staged, more for the traditional aspect of the quince. Lance is moving freely with him now, beaming and moving their joined hands in big circles, and Keith is having the time of his life.
They had just finished another shot, Keith a little more prepared this time around, and they’re heading back to the dance when the mood changes. The DJ drawls something in Spanish that Keith can’t understand, so he looks to Lance for clarification, only to find his face has gone completely red, spreading to the tips of his ears and down his neck. It’s cute, but it’s making Keith a little worried.
“Are you okay, Lance? Do you need a glass of water or something?” Then Keith finally looks where Lance is staring out into the crowd, as sensual, rhythmic music begins to flow into the hall. He notices that the floor is less populated now, mostly occupied by...couples. Oh.
“Lance, we don’t have to-“ but Lance is already turning to Keith and holding out his hand.
And maybe it’s the tequila, maybe it’s the rush of endorphins from dancing, but Keith swears he sees Lance’s eyes darken with a nearly unidentifiable emotion. He had seen Lance’s look of intense determination countless times before, but it had never been directed at him, and it makes his gut swoop low. He obliges.
Keith almost starts repeating the same steps he’d memorized for the earlier music, but then Lance is moving a hand around his back and pulling him closer, close enough to smell the alcohol on his breath as he rasps into Keith’s ear.
“Follow my lead.”
And then, holy shit, he starts to rock his hips from side to side, feet stepping in time with the eight-count rhythm. Keith realizes very quickly that he looks silly not following Lance’s motions, so he tries his best to mirror his partner. They change directions every fourth step, and each time, they’re slowly getting closer as well. Soon, Keith feels Lance’s torso press against his, with just enough room to move properly, and not a centimeter more. Keith can’t get enough of this; the smell of cologne on Lance’s collar, the hypnotizing sway of his hips to the beat, the magenta mood lighting turning his skin deliciously dark, contrasted by the endless turquoise glow of the marks on his cheekbones. It’s intoxicating.
“Hey, mullet,” he feels Lance speak into his ear again, and he has to use all of his willpower not to shiver, despite the teasing nickname. “Can I dip you?”
So Lance places both hands steady at the small of Keith’s back, dipping him low and moving him back up the other side. Keith opens his eyes to see two endless, dark voids staring back at him, hazy with exertion and liquor and want. Keith’s stomach flips again, and experimentally, he makes his hip movements a little more dramatic, closing that bit of distance they had been keeping and creating amazing friction on Lance’s leg between his. Lance almost loses the rhythm then, and Keith triumphs at how he made his knees falter a bit. Their noses are brushing at this point, eyes still locked on to each other, when Lance smirks.
“God, Keith,” Lance laughs breathlessly, “you’re never gonna let me live, are you?” And he finally, finally kisses him.
It’s electric. Lance is leading Keith through this as well, creating their own rhythm. He tastes like tequila and vanilla frosting and Keith can’t resist opening his mouth to taste more of it. Lance makes a small, uncontrolled whine in the back of his throat, and pushes impossibly closer. They make some semblance of an effort to keep up with the song, to blend in with the crowd, but it’s difficult for Keith to focus on anyone but Lance when the guy is running his rough hands up and down his sides.
Keith cannot believe this is fucking happening to him. It feels like a dream, like at any time he’ll wake up back at a Marmora base in some galaxy far from Earth, and he won’t be able to see Lance again for months. But when Lance bites his bottom lip, sending the music crashing back into Keith’s ears and making him aware of the growing problem in both of their pants, it reminds him that this is real. Lance is real, and he wants him. He’s reminded as they sneak away from the party to the cheers of Luís and Veronica. He’s reminded as they rush to get someplace private, stealing kisses all the way. He’s reminded when he wakes up in the McClains’ house the next morning.
And when Keith’s heart swells at the sight of Lance’s family bustling around making breakfast, at the sight of Lance’s soft eyes and a tired smile saved just for him, he has to admit...he’s pretty glad he’s here.