Keith stood at the center of the astronomy room, thousands of light speckles surrounding him, holding him captured in their own world. He looked around slowly, taking in the magic of infinity.
Those hours were the best. The hours after all classes had ended and the other students were long gone. After the hallways and rooms had fallen silent and vast and after even the cleaning staff had moved through the rooms.
Because then, Keith was able to use the star sky projector of his astronomy course. Their professor didn't use it often, claiming it took away too much space and didn't provide another purpose than being used for aesthetic means.
Still, Keith loved bringing whole universes into one single room.
He didn't use it without the consent of a professor, of course.
With a few clicks on the computer, Keith stood in the milky way, surrounded by well- known stars and clusters. He'd never be able to actually name all of them, but he knew many them and his curiosity still wasn't sated. Plus, this was probably the closest he could get to his dreams, the stars.
A dull thud made him flinch out of his awe and with one quick tap on the screen, the galaxies surrounding him disappeared. He scrambled to put it away and turn around to watch the door which opened slowly, revealing his physics professor, Mr. Coran, which looked at him, curious.
“Oh, Keith, you're still here?” he asked, surprised. Of course he knew Keith sometimes did his homework in university instead of at his dorm, or tried to learn some more constellations. Still, he probably hadn't expected to find him here that late.
“Yes, I was packing up already, though” he answered, not telling the whole truth, and began packing up his notes and pens. Then, another click on the computer powered it down, and he shrugged on his jacket. He rushed towards the door and said goodbye to his professor in passing. He himself already seemed to be invested in his own experiment and just nodded absent-minded.
After leaving the science building of their university, Keith began the walk back to his place. The sun already touched the horizon, announcing the start of Keith's favorite time of the day. The beginning of dusk and the first stars glimmering in an orange or violet sky.
He loved it.
After a walk not longer than fifteen minutes he reached the building, which he lived in, alone in a single room apartment, unlike many of his fellow students. Most of them either lived with their parents, if they lived close, and some with roommates.
Keith never actually wanted a roommate, and he had been lucky to find the small, banged up room pretty close to university itself.
He opened up the chipped door, dropping his bag and jacket as soon as he was inside. The room was cooled due to no one being in it the whole day and his dishes stacked up in the sink. Which didn't smell good.
Keith groaned, he absolutely didn't want to spend any time on them, but any longer and they would start being alive or something. He sighed, nudging some of his dirty clothes in a corner and began to work on the pile of dishes.
After a few minutes he was actually done, and his room looked a bit more presentable. He yawned, he was pretty sure he'd go to bed a bit earlier than usual, the few all- nighters he had done the past few weeks haven't done him good.
After finishing up in the bathroom, a quick shower and an equally quick brush of his teeth, he flopped down on his old bed, staring up at his ceiling. He had put a big poster of the solar system on there and he loved to see it before he fell asleep.
Keith knew, his obsession with stars and galaxies, the universe itself wasn't entirely normal, but he couldn't help it. At some time he had just fallen in love with it.
With another yawn, he finally fell asleep.
“The test was good, in general. Of course we have our A's but also some people I'd like to talk to after class” Mr. Coran handed out their last test in nuclear physics.
Keith wasn't worried. He knew he was one of the A students, and physics were very easy to him, unlike the few language courses they had to take.
Mr. Coran handed his test out to him, smiling.
“Well done Keith, still, I'd like you to come to my bureau after your classes” he told Keith and continued handing out the rest of the works.
Confused, Keith stared on his paper. A perfect score. Why did his professor want to talk to him?
Still confused and actually even a bit nervous, Keith put it away and waited for the end of this class, which wasn't far away now.
Laughter and banter captured his attention back to the present. The people in the back now had also gotten back their papers and judging by their reactions, it hadn't gone well, and now they tried to make fun of themselves, to play it down.
Keith didn't really understand them, but well. He was odd anyways.
The guys still made jokes about their bad grades, and Keith finally spotted him.
Popular and good- looking. Girl's heartthrob. He made jokes all the times, was loud and confident and flirted with girls all day, which, surprisingly, worked pretty well.
And Keith knew, it would work on him as well, should Lance ever flirt with him. And he was not happy to admit that.
After a few seconds Keith finally became aware of his creepy staring and lowered his gaze back on his table, trying to ignore his pounding heartbeat. Which was caused by Lances blinding smile.
He was way out of his league. Keith was just a nerd, pale and boring, while Lance seemed to radiate light, just like the sun.
He sighed. Well, he wasn't the most clever student here anyways, so they probably wouldn't even fit together. Why was he here anyways if he was so bad at physics? He could also just do his master somewhere else?
Keith decided to not think about it anymore but to prepare for the talk with Mr. Coran later on.
The day was over quicker than Keith had anticipated and now he stood in front of Mr. Corans bureau, in between other students. Some were dragged to tutoring lessons, others were asking their teachers about tests and grades, and some poor souls apparently were close to failing their classes, judging from their panicking faces and their desperate tries to convince their teachers to give them that one extra credit point.
Keith placed himself in front of Mr. Corans bureau, out of the way of the other students.
He wasn't alone there, though.
Lance apparently had to talk to their teacher as well, a frown on his face, hands fiddling with the strap of his bag.
He didn't seem to notice Keith standing close to him, even though Keith threw glances at him every few seconds. He was used to being overlooked, so it didn't really disappoint him. Keith sighed, already done with the day.
“Ah, you both are already here, very good!” Mr. Coran greeted them cheerfully, ignoring the chaos and hectic bustling of the other students around them.
“So, Lance, you remember how I told you some tutoring would be good for you?” he asked the brown haired boy next to Keith, who immediately stiffened. Keith had a bad feeling about this-
“And due to you two being in the same classes, I am sure Keith will be able to help you!” he finished proudly, clapping him on the shoulder, and Keith was seriously considering running away and burying himself.
He didn't come that far, Mr. Coran interrupted his train of thoughts.
“You both don't have afternoon classes, so I suggest you starting today. The next test in three weeks will be about astrophysics. I know you are well- versed in that topic, Keith.” he smiled, but Keith knew it wasn't a request and he found himself only able to nod.
With another smile, which was clearly telling them to do, as he said, he left them standing on the hallway, disappearing in his bureau.
Scary man, Keith shivered.
Hesitating slightly, Keith glanced over to Lance, who seemed as baffled has him.
“What exactly was that just now?” he asked after a few moments of silence.
Ah not overlooked, in that case.
“Let's get it over with” Lance said with finality, as he turned around to finally look at Keith properly. He sighed, he really didn't know what to expect if it came to Lance. He just knew he was a major flirt and apparently really bad at physics.
He already was so so done with the day.
“We should settle in the library, its pretty calm in there and we'll be able to concentrate” he finally suggested, knowing Lance wouldn't really contribute to useful plans. The boy in question finally nodded, even though he didn't really seem motivated.
After a few more minutes they arrived at the library, which luckily was pretty deserted at that time of the day. Keith took a deep breath, taking in the scent of old books and papers. He loved being in there. It calmed him down and kind of felt homely.
Lance didn't waste any time to walk towards one of the tables placed between the shelves, flopping down in one of the chairs, watching Keith expectantly, but wary at the same time.
“So, what's your plan, mullet boy?” he asked.
Keith bristled. What even-
He huffed and sat down next to Lance, briskly shoving his books on the table.
“First of all, we need to know how bad you actually are.” he answered, clipped. Lance rolled his eyes and got his bag, rummaging around a bit. Shortly after, the test they had gotten back landed in front of Keith who closed his eyes in desperation. That grade wasn't just bad. It was awful.
“So I guess we're starting from zero.” he mumbled with a exasperated sigh. How was that boy able to smile all day, he didn't know, this kind of grades would cause him stomach aches and panic attacks.
But well, Lance was different.
He sighed, and they finally got to work.
“We have three weeks left to teach you physics. I can't show you how to get motivated though, you have to learn that by yourself” Keith sighed after another attempt to get Lance to stay focused on their work, which led to them giving up for the day. Lance was already packing up his stuff.
Two hours, they had managed. Two hours. He wasn't that bad though, he got the things pretty quickly, but his focus needed a lot of work.
“Yeah yeah, we could meet again tomorrow to ease your worries” he answered, dismissing and turning to Keith after he had put on his rucksack. He yawned and drove his hand through his hair, causing it to stick out in all directions.
Keith suddenly had the desire to make them stick out even more. Which hadn't been there before. Not that strong at least.
“Fine by me, I don't have any other plans” Keith shrugged, pushing the strange thoughts aside. They both walked to the doors, the sunlight filtering through the windows in an orange tinted light, due to the sun already setting. Time had gone by in a blink.
“How about you come to my place? This way we can also do some research on my laptop and listen to music while working.” he half asked, half decided and Keith tried to suppress the sudden pounding of his heart.
“Sure, give me your address and ill be there at two.” he agreed nonchalantly, their goal was to help Lance to get better at physics, after all, there was nothing wrong with them meeting up at one of their places.
“How about you come to me directly after school so we can get it over with?” he suggested and Keith nodded. Maybe he was right. Getting it over with.
Shortly after, their ways parted and Keith was finally on his way home, finally left to himself and his thoughts, which were pushing around in his brain for hours.
He was tutoring Lance.
Every girl and some boys would gladly trade places with him, to get a chance at talking to the star of their university. Keith shook his head. Lance wasn't that great, he was only good at dropping pick up lines and looking good. Which he didn't. Look good, that's it.
With a soft groan he rubbed his temples. The next three weeks were going to be an adventure for sure. He really didn't know how that would work out for him, but well, he had no choice in that matter.
“Okay, first of all, I need a coffee.” Lance declared. “else, I won't be able to concentrate”.
Keith rolled his eyes but reluctantly agreed. He followed a beaming Lance in a packed Starbucks, in which he joined the queue, still beaming.
Keith didn't like coffee. It was too bitter for his tastes, and he didn't really know a lot about the different sorts of coffee which were out there. He huffed and tried to find something in their menu, which sounded appealing to him.
Lance seemed to feel how unsure he was and asked him about his choice.
“I'm not sure yet, I just know I don't want coffee” he admitted and Lance smirked.
“Too bitter?” he asked.
Keith blushed slightly.
“Maybe” he threw back. He didn't know anyone who thought of coffee being too bitter, so he kind of felt awkward when it came to this topic.
“Just take a caramel hot chocolate, they are really tasty.” Lance suggested with a small smile and Keith stared at him, surprised. Lance was actually able to give advice?
He decided to trust his word.
Minutes went by, and they slowly inched forward in the queue. After what felt like an infinity, they finally placed their orders. While they waited for them to get ready, a group of giggling and chattering girls entered the shop, Lances grin immediately brightening as he checked them out. Keith knew what was coming.
“Hey girls, aren't you pure sugar-”
Keith tuned out the rest of the sentence. He really didn't need one of Lances lame pick up lines right now, but judging on how the girls giggled, it had worked.
The barista freed Keith of his misery, and he snatched his hot chocolate, finally escaping the stuffed shop. Back outside, he took a deep breath and sipped on his drink, which, surprisingly, turned out to be very tasty. Huh. Lance knew his stuff.
“Man, dude, those chicks were super cute, I'm sure there would've been one for you as well!” Lance joined him, his own drink in his hand as well as a small piece of paper with some phone numbers scrawled on it. Keith snorted. Girls weren't really his type.
“Is it good?” he asked, sensing the topic wasn't really for Keith, and he nodded, taking another sip.
Lance smiled, happily, and Keith had to admit, it suited him. It looked different than his usual grin. It was cute. Kind of.
After a short walk of a few minutes, we reached his apartment complex. It seemed bigger than Keith's building and seemed to be newer than his as well. They had to go up some stairs, his apartment was on the third floor.
“Okay, my roommate is over at his project partner's, so we have the flat to ourselves” he announced and Keith nodded, following him in the spacious flat. It was bright, and the complete opposite of Keith's place, but there was also a bit of a mess in some corners.
“Don't mind the stuff over here” he dismissed the small mountain of dishes which were waiting to be done on the kitchen counter, while they walked past them. Keith chuckled, so he wasn't the only one procrastinating on chores.
“And that's my room there” Lance opened another door, dramatically waving his hands. His room was just as bright as the rest of the flat he had seen so far. It was just the right amount of tidy and organized chaos, to make Keith feel at ease. A desk was placed in front of the huge window, right next to it a big bed.
Keith looked through the room, glancing at the pictures hung at the wall, the trophies of sport events and the bookshelves with a lot of historic novels. So he kind of was a history nerd, huh. Keith was ready to move on, but he caught a glimpse of something unexpected.
A star map book.
His eyes widened and with a little gasp, he walked to the shelf, wanting to get a closer look at the big book. He always had wanted to own one of those, but they weren't exactly cheap and he hadn't gotten around to buy one.
Fascinated, he began skimming through the book, already immersing himself in the galaxies, and a soft laugh made him snap out of it again. Lance.
Keith blushed and put it back in its place on the shelf and cleared his throat. Way to go, not to seem like a total nerd.
“Hey, if you want to, you can borrow it. I don't really need it anyways, and you seem to like it,” he suggested, rubbing the back of his neck and Keith brightened. He was serious? Hesitantly, he threw another glance at the book, he'd really like to take a closer look.
“Just take it with you later, you can give it back to me sometime after class or something” Lance shrugged, sitting down on the bed to pull out his notes and books.
Keith smiled. He'd decide spontaneously.
The next two hours passed quickly, and to Keith's surprise, it went really well. They had moved on to astrophysics by now, and he slowly got the feeling, it all wasn't that bad.
Lance cheered softly, as he got another equation right and flopped down on the bed.
“Wow, it's really not that bad,” he mumbled, rolling around so he could watch Keith who was seated on the desk's chair.
“Yeah, once you get a hang of it, it's not hard,” he agreed, smiling softly.
“But still- you are telling me, a neutron star is ten times denser than the sun, even though it's only a few kilometers in diameter?” he asked, disbelieving and Keith nodded with a small chuckle.
“Wow, okay, I think I'm slowly getting why you are so obsessed with that stuff.” Lance admitted, watching Keith.
“I mean- there are so many things left to discover, so many planets.” he mused, eyes taking on a fascinated glint and Keith nodded again.
“Yeah, that's one of the reasons why I like space and everything,” he agreed, idly reading through the star maps Lance had borrowed him. He hadn't really taken the book home, they had met up pretty often during the last three weeks, so every time Keith had been over at Lances place, he had taken a look at the book.
The test was scheduled for tomorrow, and Keith was pretty sure Lance would do just fine.
After that, they'd be the jock and the nerd again. Strangers.
It probably was better this way.
Keith sighed softly, putting his hair up in a ponytail as it kept falling in his eyes. He needed a new haircut.
He looked up as he felt Lances stare on him and flushed slightly.
“What?” he asked, cheeks reddening.
“Uh- nothing!” Lance scrambled to sit up and get his book, he had pushed off the bed before, rubbing his neck. He quickly immersed himself in the book again.
Either the light was playing with him, or Lance was blushing. Keith wasn't sure.
He couldn't hide the small smile slipping on his lips. Lance had turned out to not be the typical dense jock. He was surprisingly tactful when it came to sensitive topics, he could talk about a lot of deep things and he cared a lot about people.
In general, it was very easy to talk to him, it felt like they knew each other for years and Keith was pretty sure he was falling for him. Or already had fallen.
Lance was driving him pretty crazy, and he didn't really mind it. He'd enjoy their time together, the last few hours they had.
“Do you think this will be asked tomorrow?” Lance questioned, causing Keith to come back to the present. He sighed and pushed his thoughts to the back of his head, focusing on the more important things like astrophysics.
Even though he'd love to think of other galaxies right now.
“Some of you probably will never come to be friends with physics.” Mr. Coran sighed, disappointment evident in his features. He placed the stack of tests on the desk and looked at the class. Keith chewed on his lip, hopefully Lance wasn't one of those people.
He waited for his test to land in front of him and flicked a quick glance on the expected grade. He wasn't really worried about himself. Quickly, he turned around to search for Lance, who was already beaming at him, holding up a sparkling B.
It wasn't a perfect grade, but so so much better than the previous one. Keith grinned. They made a good team!
“Thanks, Keith” he smiled, his eyes and grin softening to something, Keith had seen a few times over the last few days. Something which made his stomach flip and his heartbeat quicken.
Something fluttering and fragile.
Keith blushed and turned back, cold dread settling in his stomach as he remembered, now Lance wouldn't need him anymore, his grades were good enough to pass the semester. It all would end again.
“Hey, I wanted to show you something before- yeah,” Keith told Lance after their last class, while the other students around them gathered their stuff and left to go home.
“Oh, sure, I've been meaning to tell you something as well so-” he stopped talking with a blush, rubbing his neck nervously. Which wasn't usual for Lance. Huh.
Keith made him follow all the way to their astronomy room, which was deserted at that time of the day.
He left Lance in the middle of the room, while he set up the computer and projector. He closed the blinds as well and took a deep breath. He never had shown this to anyone else. This had been his safe place all the time, now he let Lance see it.
With one single press of a button, they were surrounded by space. Galaxies, planets and stars swirled around them, dipping the room in the colors of the universe. Keith's heartbeat quickened at the familiar sight, but also at the sight of Lance standing in the middle of it all, taking it in with huge eyes full of wonder.
He was beautiful in the middle of this all.
What made Keith suck in a breath, was the way how the stars reflected in Lances blue eyes.
Eyes which found his own.
“Keith, this is- incredible,” he whispered, still in unconstrained awe, voice breaking.
Keith swallowed. Lance would be the death of him.
Slowly, said boy began walking towards Keith, never turning his gaze away from him. Keith couldn't move, he was rooted to the place, but there wasn't any other place he'd rather be right now, he wanted to know what was going to happen next.
By now, he stood in front of Keith. They stood in the middle of their own universe, which was their own and only right at that moment.
Lances hand rose, fingers softly touching Keith's cheek, the warmth of them causing goosebumps to rise on Keith's skin. He was sure, his heart was going to jump out of his chest anytime soon.
“Hey, are you called sun? Because you're the brightest star in my universe” Lance whispered, and Keith snorted, unable to contain it, while simultaneously blushing up to his ears.
“Oh my god- Lance- that one was just-” he giggled, tears gathering in his eyes, while Lance nervously rubbed the back of his neck.
“Well- uh- I'm not really good at anything else except pick up lines so I thought, maybe-” he rambled but Keith interrupted him with a soft peck on his cheek, still smiling.
Lance's slightly panicked gaze changed to a fond one and his hands found Keith's cheeks again, cupping them softly. Keith felt the slight tremor in his fingers, shaking ever so slightly of nervousness.
Then, Lances lips were on his own.
A supernova exploded around them. A new star rose.
Keith's arms wound around Lances shoulders, bringing them closer to each other so their bodies touched. He angled his head and suddenly everything was perfect. They were kissing.
After what felt like hours and seconds at the same time, Lance slowly pulled back to take a breath. He stared at Keith, eyes wide with wonder and lips red, swollen from their kiss.
Keith knew, he didn't really look any different right now.
Breathlessly, Lance laughed and took Keith's still slightly shaky hand to place it on his chest. There, he could feel his racing heart and Keith's smile widened. He really wasn't the only one with a wildly beating heart right now.
He couldn't wait to experience this again and again.
It was just like he had discovered a new galaxy.