At times like this, Keith seriously wonders how he actually ends up in situations that he very clearly does not consent to.
(Reasons contributing to this is the fact that everyone has the cutest puppy eyes ever and Keith. Keith is soft, okay?)
And, fine, maybe Lance looked absolutely gorgeous in his tailored dark blue suit and Keith maybe for like one tiny tiny second hoped that they could look like a couple—but! That was not happening, and Keith has to refrain from slapping himself as each minute goes by.
How did he even get in this mess again?
Fighting the Galra. Like they always were.
The planet of Primoxia had been very receptive of them, their emperor thanking Voltron over and over again for ensuring their release and safety. And, another thing—
Keith was having a really hard time telling their gender. They—for a lack of better words—looked very humanoid, but taller, and sometimes their body and hair color were unnaturally bright.
Prince Dilex had caught him staring, and explained quietly, ‘People here are allowed to dress and look however they want—it is polite to ask someone of their gender at first meeting.’ At Keith’s nod, he proceeded to ask, ‘Are there not such traditions on your own planet?’
‘Uh,’ Keith says, very eloquently, ‘Well, it’s gonna take a long time to explain.’
They both look back, where Shiro and Allura are talking with the emperor, and Dilex laughs quietly and says, ‘I think we have to time. Would you mind if I showed you around the city while we talked?’
‘That would be nice,’ Keith agrees.
‘So,’ Dilex says, ‘What of your human traditions?’
‘Well,’ Keith starts, ‘For the most part, the younger generation is very accepting of—gender changes and stuff. But some elderly people, who think God wouldn’t like anything not natural use the Bible to justify what they think is right.’
‘What is a God? And a Bible?’ Dilex questions curiously.
‘Oh, um,’ Keith fumbles, ‘You know religion?’ At Dilex’s nod, he continues, ‘Yeah, well, God is like the supreme ruler or something. For Christianity. Uh, sorry, I don’t actually know that much—I’m an atheist.’
Dilex nods quickly, and Keith hesitantly asks, ‘What about homosexuality?’
‘As I said, all are accepted here. We pride ourselves on being open-minded, so that no one has a fear of stepping forward and expressing their opinion,’ Dilex says, and Keith takes note of how much he seems to love his planet.
‘You’d make a good ruler someday,’ Keith says quietly, and Dilex stops walking. From shock, presumably.
‘Thank you,’ he says, eyes shining.
Keith smiles a tiny bit at him. As they walk on, Dilex points out scenery and buildings, explaining some of the more interesting pieces of history for him, and Keith marvels at his knowledge of almost anything in the city.
There’s a sharp sound coming into his ear, and Keith winces before remembering that he still has his helmet on. ‘Lance, what—‘
‘Keith! Where are you?’ Lance’s voice rings out, and if Keith didn’t know better, he’d think Lance was worried for him.
‘In the city?’ Keith questions, ‘Where else would I be?’
‘Kidnapped?’ Lance yells hysterically, ‘You just disappeared!’
‘No? I walked out in front of Shiro with Prince Dilex.’
‘Oh. Okay,’ Lance says, then, louder, ‘Guys! He’s okay!’
‘Keith,’ Allura says, ‘We were worried.’
‘Yeah, sorry,’ Keith makes an apologetic gesture to Dilex; the prince just grins and waves it away. ‘I’m alright and I’ll be back later, okay?’
‘Okay,’ Allura replies, ‘Have fun, Keith.’
Keith takes off his helmet after that, saying, ‘Sorry for that.’
‘It’s cool,’ Dilex grins, ‘I was the one who dragged you out, so it’s on me.’
‘Really, it’s okay,’ Keith argues.
Dilex laughs and shakes his head, taking Keith’s wrist. ‘Come on, there’s a place I want you to see.’
Keith follows him.
Alright, so maybe standing at the top of the hill is one of the best views Keith has ever seen—the city itself is not quite large, but it looks so comfortable and varied, houses styled however they want; it’s really creative.
‘So the people here,’ Keith says, sitting down under a large magenta-leafed tree, ‘What can they do? Any magical abilities?’
‘Everyone can grow flowers of their own—flowers have special meanings, correct?’ Keith nods. ‘Everyone can grow flowers that represent them—those flowers can also change within a person’s lifetime.’
‘Huh. That’s cool. Can I see yours?’
Dilex nods. Then, flexing his fingers, he murmurs something under his breath—something in his own language, Keith thinks—and Keith watches, amazed, as stems, at first, and then flowers, blossom right before his eyes. It’s magical, to say the least.
When he’s done, Dilex plucks off one of the stems, and hands it to Keith. ‘Here. For your love.’
Dilex watches him, head cocked to the side, ‘Are you okay?’
‘I’m fine,’ Keith stutters, ‘What did you mean my love?’
‘Was it not Lance?’ Dilex enquires, ‘I was sure you had feelings for him.’
‘Yeah, but,’ Keith pauses, ‘How would you know?’
Dilex laughs awkwardly, ‘Right—I was going to tell you that we can sense emotions, to say the least. It’s varied depending on one’s level of closeness with someone, but your affection was quite strong.’
‘Oh no,’ Keiith whispers, horrified, ‘You mean all of your people know I’m madly in love for one of my teammates.’ He tries to force out a laugh, but it comes out sounding like a choked groan.
‘Not necessarily,’ Dilex amends, ‘As long as you’re not talking to him or in close contact with him, your feelings will be muted and no one will notice much.
‘Oh,’ Keith murmurs, looking over the city, ‘Thanks for showing me around.’
‘It was my pleasure,’ Dilex says with a grin, ‘We should head back.’
Keith—honestly doesn’t expect to see what he sees when he gets back to the castle lounge. Which is, everyone dressing up.
‘Oh, hello, Keith,’ Allura greets him, dressed in a pink ball gown, ‘the emperor wished to hold a ball in our favor, so we’re forgoing our paladin suits and dressing up like this instead.’
‘Oh.’ Well that explained everything. ‘Okay then, what’s everyone else wearing?’
‘We haven’t decided yet,’ Pidge says, ‘Of course we’re matching our own colors, but some stuff are different.’ She holds up a green dress and a green suit. ‘I’m not sure which one I’d like better.’
‘Try the suit,’ Keith says, ‘I think it fits you better.’
Pidge considers for a moment, and then brightens up, ‘Thanks, Keith!’
Shiro’s wearing a normal black suit with a white undershirt, which Keith defines as ‘boring’, to which Shiro splutters at angrily.
Of course, Lance is the one to show off next, and Keith just. Wants to die. Why. Why is life this mean to him. What did he ever do. He hasn’t even killed any innocent puppies okay.
Lance’s suit is like Shiro’s but dark blue, and Keith, to his own disgust, doesn’t find it as boring as Shiro’s—it looks like it’s perfectly tailored (Keith feels a déjà vu) for him and—god, Keith is going to die.
‘You wish you’d look half as good as me,’ Lance says cheekily.
‘Zero times two is still zero.’
Keith laughs at Lance’s mock betrayed face. Lance stomps away like an angry child.
‘Buddy,’ Hunk calls out, ‘Whaddya think of mine?’
‘Hunk,’ Keith pauses, deliberates with his words, and then, ‘You could smash a rock.’
Hunk gasps, hands coming up to cover his mouth, ‘Keith. You did not.’
Hunk whirls around, looking to anyone for help, but everyone’s gone back to their suits, and honestly Keith feels bad for joking only around him, but his reactions are just too funny.
Giving him a glare that says I’ll catch you next time, Hunk turns back to his suit.
‘Keith,’ Allura says, sounding hesitant, ‘We have a problem.’
Keith groans. ‘What is it now.’
‘Well,’ Allura laughs nervously, edging away from him, ‘You see—we only have one formal outfit that’s red.’
‘And?’ Keith almost doesn’t want to know.
‘Well—‘ she coughs—‘It’s a dress.’
‘You’re gonna make me wear it, aren’t you.’
And then—he doesn’t know what Shiro does, but suddenly all of them are giving him puppy eyes—even Pidge, the heck—and Keith finds his resolve breaking. Then he looks at Lance and—great he’s wearing the damned dress.
‘Fine,’ Keith mumbles, and gets attacked by a five-person hug.
Lance is definitely still breathing. Yes, he’s breathing. Definitely not gasping and panicking about how hot Keith is. Nope, definitely not.
‘Why,’ he croaks out to Hunk. His best buddy, his best friend, his platonic love of his life has the gall to laugh at him, and pat him on the back.
He deserves more than a pat on the back, but okay.
There he is, Lance mocks in his head bitterly, with his gorgeous dress and perfect hair and body and his stupid red fingerless gloves that Allura had pulled out of nowhere. It wasn’t fair.
In all honesty, Lance had not been expecting that Keith would look. So. Damn. Hot.
Ugh. Kill him.
When Keith walked out of the shower, Lance’s jaw had literally dropped. Serious. He’s not kidding (the others have proof).
And, he didn’t know the only red dress that Allura owned would be so damn beautiful (but even more on Keith, his traitorous mind whispers). The sleeves and the part above the chest are made of transparent lace, and obviously, since Keith was a dude, the chest area didn’t fit quite right. There’s a bow at the waist of the dress, and the lower part is artfully decorated with gold designs.
All hopes of Keith even being slightly unpresentable are dashed as Allura fixes up the dress with a few well-placed stitches.
And that’s not even the worst part.
The worst part is the fact that the dress has a slit running up all the way to the side and—oh god—Lance could die for those legs. His thighs. Oh god. Lance is pretty sure he’s going to die.
It’s not fair, he whines to himself, how can Keith be this damn gorgeous while he’s stuck being his boring old self?
‘Perfect,’ Allura says, stepping away from Keith, who sighs in defeat. ‘I must say, you look dashing like this, Keith.’
Lance’s eyes narrow and—dammit he can’t figure out if he’s jealous of Keith or Allura. Curse his bisexualness.
‘It’s bisexuality,’ Hunk whispers next to him.
‘Bisexualness,’ Lance replies stubbornly because no way is he going to admit that he’s wrong.
Hunk laughs at him, and Lance mentally denotes him from besties to strangers.
Lance turns back to look at Keith—they all are, admittedly—and. Why. Why does life has to be this cruel to him. He hasn’t even done anything bad!
Keith is wearing heels. Keith is wearing heels, which means that he’s taller than Lance, which means that Lance has to look up to him and fuck Lance shouldn’t find that as hot as he does.
‘Why,’ Lance despairs, and Hunk, his now stranger laughs at him.
In fact, it seems that everyone has caught onto his gayness and are looking at him with amusement alight on their faces.
‘I’m going to get myself ready,’ Lance says stiffly, walking out of the room.
(He pretends not to notice Keith’s kinda-hurt, kinda-confused look on his way out.
There's also a bunch of flowers on his bed. Lance reminds himself to ask the others about it.)
When they all walk together, Lance tries to walk with Keith, but his teammate ignores him as much as possible and Lance just retreats to the front of the group with Allura.
‘I didn’t know Keith could pull off nail polish,’ Allura remarks quietly from beside him and Lance nearly gets whiplash from turning his head around to see Keith’s fingers.
He’s wearing black nail polish, Lance thinks, though he can’t see it very clearly.
Huffing, Lance turns away and ignores Allura’s giggle.
That’s where Keith is right now. Sticking to the wall beside food and hoping no one would notice him.
Prince Dilex comes up to him and says, ‘Not enjoying the party.’
‘Not really,’ Keith says flatly, and then panics, ‘Uh, I mean the party’s really nice! It’s just that I don’t like large crowds of people so—‘
Dilex chuckles. ‘It’s okay. I understand what you mean. It’s suffocating right?’
Keith nods slowly.
‘It’s okay,’ Dilex says again, ‘If you’re feeling uncomfortable people can sense it and most of them will give you a wide berth. See?’
Keith blinks, and looks—it’s true that everyone seems to give him more space than anyone else near the wall, but, ‘Isn’t it because I’m a paladin or something?’
‘There’s plenty of people who’d like to meet you if you’d like.’
‘I guess I could talk a bit,’ Keith says awkwardly, holding his arms, ‘Just one by one, though?’
‘Of course,’ Dilex winks, ‘M’lady.’
Keith blushes and rolls his eyes.
‘Serria!’ Dilex calls out, ‘Come here for a while?’
A pretty Primoxian comes up to them, and Keith takes note of how cute she looks in a purple tulle skirt and a glittery purple top matched with many purple accessories. It isn’t too overdone though, and Keith compliments her.
‘Thank you,’ she chirps brightly, ‘What about you? Where’d you get the dress?’
‘It’s Allura’s,’ Keith explains to her, ‘She only had one red dress so I had to wear it.’
‘Oh,’ she says, ‘Is she nice?’
‘Yeah,’ Keith answers, ‘She’s kinda strict but nice and she’s like an older sister to me.’
Serria nods and then, ‘Well, I’ll be going then!’ She bows to both him and Dilex, and disappears into the crowd.
‘She’s nice,’ Keith remarks.
‘She’s one of my cousins,’ Dilex explains, ‘She’s overeager and flirty, but sweet once you get to know her.’
‘Sounds like someone else I know,’ Keith mumbles, and receives a slight elbow to the gut.
‘Now, now,’ Dilex teases him, ‘What’s that I sense? Hm, it must be someone crushing hard on their—‘
‘Shut up!’ Keith whisper-yells, though he breaks out into a grin amidst his blushing.
Dilex laughs at him, and then they fall into a comfortable silence.
Keith can see his friends wandering around and socializing, and the thought doesn’t really hurt him as much as it used to.
‘Do you wanna go outside?’ Dilex says, ten minutes into their silence, ‘The stars are nice to look at.’
Keith nods, and he feels like he can’t shake the feeling of someone watching him as he leaves.
Lance groans in agony.
‘Dude,’ Pidge says, ‘Are you actually okay?’
‘I think the prince likes Keith,’ Lance whispers, staring at how Keith laughs as the prince elbows him, ‘I’m gonna cry.’
‘O…okay,’ Pidge says, shifting away.
Lance sighs miserably. First Keith wouldn’t walk with him, and now this? His life is in shambles.
‘Aw, come on, man,’ Hunk says, rubbing his shoulders, ‘Cheer up! I’m sure Keith considers you more of a friend than him.’
Lance ignores him in favour of watching Keith follow Prince Dilex out of the room.
He isn’t stalking them, he thinks, he’s just following so the the prince won’t try to stab one of their beloved teammates.
Oh, who is he kidding. He’s stalking them.
Keith stops at a balcony with Dilex, and Lance stays around a corner so he can hear what they’re saying.
‘You know what else is beautiful?’ Keith’s voice says, and Lance’s heart stops. Oh no. No way is he doing this.
‘Lance, I presume,’ an amused voice says, and Lance thinks that if his heart’s stopped before, now he’s going to be a rotting corpse.
‘Oh shut it. No need to rub it in my face.’
There’s a silence. ‘You really like him?’
‘Yeah,’ Keith says, ‘Once our castle got invaded and I cradled him in my arms. He doesn’t remember it.’ Ouch. Lance actually does remember, but it’s too much for his poor gay brain to handle.
There’s silence again, and then—
The door that Lance is leaning on creaks.
Immediately, Lance knows he’s trapped—there’s no place to run—so he just stands there like an idiot.
There’s sounds of footsteps, and then—‘Oh, hello.’
‘Hi,’ Lance squeaks.
‘I’ll,’ the prince pauses, ‘be going then. Enjoy your chat.’
With that, he unceremoniously kicks Lance out onto the balcony and slams the doors shut.
‘Hi,’ Lance says meekly.
Keith’s turned away, and Lance can’t see his expression because his hair is fanning over his face and god, Keith needs to stop being so angelic. Right. Now.
Lance eyes the balcony. It’s only about two stories high, which is about ten feet, he calculates. He could jump down and end up with minimal damage on himself—
Lance blinks. ‘What?’
Keith side-eyes him. ‘No. You can’t jump off the balcony.’
Damn. His mind-reading is good.
‘I’m sorry?’ Lance tries.
‘You probably heard the conversation?’
Lance nods meekly.
Keith sighs, ‘Sorry then.’
‘You know, if you feel awkward or anything. I mean, I know you’re not gonna be homophobic, but if you need time away from me I can understand.’
Lance is thoroughly confused now, ‘Why would I?’
‘Because I like you?’ Keith says, and looks at him, finally, ‘How have you not noticed that?’
‘Oh,’ Lance says dumbly. ‘Oh.’
Keith raises an eyebrow, grin tugging at his lips, ‘Oh? Cat got your tongue?’
Lance glares at him.
And, after a few minutes of processing what Keith says, Lance goes, ‘Yeah I like you too.’
‘That’s all I’m gonna get from Loverboy Lance?’ Keith teases, ‘I’m disappointed.’
‘Hey!’ Lance squawks, ‘It’s not my fault!’
(If he’d looked a bit closer, he’d have seen the blush on Keith’s cheeks.)
‘Sure,’ Keith mocks him, and then—
‘Can I kiss you?’ Keith says, voice sounding a tiny bit strangled.
Lance leans over and pecks him on the lips without really knowing what he’s doing.
‘Wow,’ Keith comments. ‘That was short.’
Lance huffs, ‘Okay, like you’re any better—‘
Keith puts one hand on the back of Lance’s neck, pulls him toward himself, and kisses him. Lance’s eyes grow wide, but he closes them and tries to focus on kissing back—holy hell he thinks Keith’s wearing lipstick and wow where’d he learn to kiss like that—and before he knows it Lance is holding onto Keith’s waist and they’re presses together with one of Keith’s hands in Lance’s hair.
‘Not bad for a virgin,’ Keith teases him, looking up at him with his big purple eyes and Lance feels his heart being speared by this beautiful boy. God, he’s a sap.
‘I am not a virgin,’ Lance argues indignantly.
‘Then why haven’t you grabbed my ass,’ Keith says, smirking, ‘I know you want to.’
Instead of replying, Lance kisses him again, this time using the slit in Keith’s dress to reach inside and touch his thighs and ass and—fuck, Lance is enjoying this way too much. And Keith too, if the way he moans softly is anything to go by.
Eventually, Lance stops kissing him and Keith looks at him, and Lance is absolutely sure that he can see the love in Keith’s eyes.
‘Okay,’ Keith says, backing away a bit. ‘Climb on my back.’
Lance complies, getting confused then Keith climbs onto the balcony itself. ‘Wait, Keith what are you doing?’
‘Wait Keith no! You’re in heels! This is way too high—OH FUCK ME WHY—YOU’RE GOING TO BREAK SOMETHING—‘
(Needless to say, Keith’s amazing and still outruns him in Tag with heels and a dress. Lance is so gay.)
Pidge’s alien-phone vibrates, and Shiro stands beside her to look at the picture Lance has sent her.
‘What the fuck.’
‘WHOMST THE FUCK—‘
(Allura later smiles at the selfie of Lance hugging Keith from behind with the castle in the background. She also burns the red suit that turns up in her wardrobe the next morning.)