Actions

Work Header

Respawn

Chapter Text

"Lance, it's your first birthday since we met. And everyone is leaving next week, we're leaving next week. We have to do something! It'll be our last big thing with all our friends." Keith said as he followed Lance into their living room, where most of their stuff was already in boxes.

Lance sat down, "How many times do I have to tell you! I don't want to do anything!" He snapped, Keith had been nagging him about it for days, "I don't celebrate my birthday, I haven't in years. I just can't! So stop pestering me! ¡Y ni siquiera tienes razón! This isn't my first birthday! We met a couple weeks before that. But you wouldn't know that because I. Don't. Celebrate it! So so didn't tell you back then."

Keith was shocked to see Lance snap at him like that, he had never seen that look on Lance's face before. A mixture of anger and sadness, he looked like he might cry.

Keith went to sit next to Lance on the bed, "Why don't you want to celebrate your birthday?" He put his hand on Lance's leg, he figured that was a good place to start.

Lance looked down at the floor, "It's not my birthday. It's our birthday. Mine and Sophie's. But she's gone. I can't celebrate it without her. No puedo," Lance but his lip, tears starting to fall. He rubbed his eyes before speaking again, "And it's more than just the day we were born, it's the day she died." He put his hands over his face, crying softly.

Now Keith felt like the biggest jerk ever. He knew that Sophie had died during their birthday celebration, he had just forgotten because it had been nearly a year since Lance told him about it. And Lance never spoke of Sophie, not unless they were visiting her memorial at his parent's house. Keith wrapped his arms around Lance and pulled him close, "Lance, I am so sorry. I should've been able to piece that together myself."

Lance leaned into him, taking his hands away from his face, "Remember that week where I had my phone turned off before I tried to kill myself when we first met?"

"Of course. I was so worried about you."

"My birthday was in that week. I tried to kill myself two days after I turned eighteen. My birthday... It's just not something to be celebrated."

Keith rubbed his back, "It's a trigger for you... I get that now. I'm so sorry."

Lance suddenly reached up and wrapped his arms around Keith, crying into his shoulder.

Keith sighed, hugging him tighter, "Sophie would want you to move on, you said that yourself. She would want you to keep going on with your life. And you have. But you can't keep letting your birthday pull you back down again. You can't let it have this power over you."

Lance nodded, "Lo sé. I just... I've never done it without her. And when I tried, when I turned 14, all I could remember was that day on the boat. Her falling off, jumping in after her... Ella muriendo y yo viviendo... I had a panic attack worse than any before it. I knew then that I would never be able to do it. Not without her."

"You can't hide from it forever. She would want you to be able to celebrate it, forgetting about all the bad stuff that came with that day," Keith kissed the top of his head, "You're so much stronger now. You've been through hell and back. I think you'd be able to handle it now if you just have it a try. And you won't have to do it alone. We'll all be by your side. I'll be right here, holding your hand the whole time."

Lance pulled away just enough to look at him, he was still crying a bit, "Okay... But nothing big. Please."

"Of course. We'll work up to it. Every year I'll be with you, and every year it'll get a bit easier," Keith kissed him.

Lance put a hand on Keith's cheek, kissing him back. It was a long, heated kiss. Lance stopped crying. He leaned back on the bed, pulling Keith down with him without breaking the kiss.

Keith climbed on top of him, then pulled away, "I love you so much, Lance McClain."

"I love you too now shut up and kiss me," Lance grabbed him and pulled him down, kissing him again.

Keith didn't protest.

July 28

Today was the day. Their birthday.

Lance was ready to move on. But he would never stop referring to it as their birthday. He was fine trying to push aside the memories of her death, but not the memories of her. His built in best friend, the best friend he had ever had. The best friend he did everything with, glued at the hip. The best friend he matched outfits with every day. The best friend he loved more than life. The best friend he was willing to give up his life for. But somehow she was the one who lost her life, not him.

She was the one who died.

Not him.

She was dead.

She was gone forever.

"Lance? Where did you go?" Miguel walked up the stairs, looking around for his big brother.

He heard crying coming from his room, Lance's old room. He quickly opened the door, seeing Lance sitting on the bed sobbing and gripping on to his shirt, his breathing getting away from him.

Miguel rushed over, kneeling in front of him, "Lance, look at me. Breath, hermanoEstoy aquí, no estás solo."

"Ella se ha ido. Ella se ha ido." Lance had his eyes squeezed shut.

Miguel put his hands on Lance's cheeks, "Cálmese. Estoy aquí. Breathe with me. Aspirar... y exhalar... Aspirar... y exhalar..."

Lance held on to Miguel's wrists, nodding before starting to work on his breathing with him.

Miguel smiled once Lance was mostly calmed down, "That's it, there you go. ¿Mejor?"

Lance nodded, opening his eyes, "Mejor. Thank you."

Miguel smiled, "Don't thank me. You're my brother, it's my job."

Lance smiled back, "I'm the older one, you know?"

"Irrelevante," Miguel stood up, "Are you ready to go downstairs? Everyone is waiting for you. Keith just got back with the cake."

Lance took a deep breath, "I'm ready," he stood up, "You're almost as tall as me now. Stop growing, it's not fair."

Miguel laughed and shoved him, "Let's just get down there," He grabbed Lance's hand and pulled him down the steps, "¡Lo encontré!"

Val ran to the stairs, "There you are, mijo. You had me so worried!"

Lance smiled and hugged his mother, "I'm okay, mama. I just had to have a moment to myself."

Val hugged him back, nodding, "Entiendo," She pulled away and kissed his cheek, "Let's get in the living room, all your friends are here."

Lance nodded, "Okay..." He took a deep breath, "Okay..."

Val put a hand on his cheek, "Are you alright, mijo?"

Miguel sighed, "Él acaba de tener un ataque de pánico piso superior."

Val frowned and hugged Lance again, "Take as much time as you need."

Lance hugged her back, doing his 444 breathing exercise to keep himself calm. Then he pulled away, "Okay, I'm ready."

Val held his hand and walked into the living room with him.

Miguel followed, smiling when he saw everyone, "Look who decided to finally decided to show up to his own party."

Lance shrugged as everyone laughed, "On time is early."

Keith chuckled, walking up to Lance. He quickly frowned, "You've been crying," he whispered.

Lance nodded, "I had a small attack, I'm fine now. Miguel helped me," He leaned in and kissed him.

Isa threw a grape at them, she had been snacking, "Get a room!"

Lance smirked, "Well, if you insist."

Val hit the back of his head with a birthday card, "Stop that, come open your presents."

Miguel laughed as they all went to sit down, "Mama, he's nineteen with a live-in boyfriend. You're kidding yourself if you think they're not doing it." He got hit on the back of the head next.

Lance smiled as he started opening his presents. He was surrounded by the people who he loved, who loved him. The people who went through hell with him. Yes, an important person was missing. But she was still there. Lance could feel her, in the best way possible. And he was okay. He wasn't anxious, sad, angry, guilty.

He was happy.

For the first birthday in six years.

6:37 pm

"Lance?" Keith walked into the living room, seeing Lance standing in front of Sophie's memorial.

All their friends had gone home and all of Lance's family were in the kitchen, finishing cleaning up after the party. The living room had already been cleaned.

Lance was holding on to a small gift box, "I'm saying happy birthday to Sophie. I got her a present."

Keith walked over to him and put his hand on Lance's lower back, "I'm sure she would appreciate that."

Lance nodded, "Did you know we used to wear matching outfits every day? She would just would just wear a more feminine version of it. Like in this picture," He pointed to a picture of them. Sophie was wearing a blue dress with a white collar, white lace hem, a white belt, white hair bows, and white mary jane flats. Lance was wearing blue pants with a white button up shirt and white shoes, "She would always pick her outfit first when we were shopping and I would buy something to match it. Then when we got dressed in the morning I would pick what we wore that day, but usually she would say no and pick something else," He chuckled a bit, "She loved bright colors, I always preferred darker colors."

"Really?" Keith found that surprising, Lance was always wearing bright colors. His side of the closet looked like a rainbow threw up.

Lance nodded, "She loved bright colors, so we always wore bright colors. If she was still here, she would still be picking out bright colors for us to wear. So I still wear bright colors."

Keith rubbed his back a bit, "What's the present you got her?"

Lance opened the gift box, pulling out a necklace with a ruby charm. Their birthstone. He draped it over one of the picture frames.

Keith watched, then looked at Lance. He was just now realizing that Lance was wearing an identical necklace. Matching. Just like they used to. Keith smiled, "I'm sure she loves it..."

Lance was starting to tear up a bit, "She always said how much she wanted a birthstone necklace. But mama wouldn't buy her one because she was always losing her jewelry, she said it would be a waste of money."

Keith chuckled a bit, "I guess losing things runs in the family. You lose your bracelet at least once a week."

Lance smiled a bit, "Yeah, we were practically the same person. Papa said it would be impossible to tell us apart if we were the same gender. We had the same mannerisms, talked the same way. Sometimes we would accidentally talk at the same time. It creeped Danny out."

Keith was happy to see Lance be able to talk for Sophie so long without bursting into tears like he usually did, "She would be so proud of you. Unbelievably proud."

Lance looked at Keith for the first time since he had walked up, "Do you really think so?"

Keith nodded, "I know so," he kissed Lance softly, "Do you want to stay longer?"

Lance shook his head, "I'm ready to get home. It's been a long day."

"Of course. Let's go say goodbye to everyone, then I'll take you home."

Lance took Keith's hand, following him to the kitchen.

Yes, he had been crying. But he was still happy. He knew Sophie would be happy for him. She would be proud of him. And that was all he needed. He was proud of himself.

For the first time in six years thinking of her didn't feel like a knife in his heart. More like a pin prick. It still hurt, but he would be okay. He would be able to carry on. Just like she wanted.

Lance was okay.

Chapter Text

August 2

Keith carried the last box into their new apartment before flopping down on the couch next to Lance, "I really like this place, what about you?"

Lance smiled at him, "I love it. Thank you for picking it out while I was visiting Danny in the city."

Keith held his hand, raising it to his mouth to kiss it, "I'm just glad you got to spend a couple days with your brother since he couldn't come to your birthday party."

Lance sighed, "Yeah, Danny stays pretty busy with work. Speaking of work. Isn't tomorrow your first day?" Keith had finally decided he wasn't going to college. He went straight into the work force, becoming a mechanic. He already had the skills, he had built his motorcycle from spare parts by himself.

Keith shook his head, "Nope, that's Monday. Tomorrow I'm all yours," He leaned over and started kissing Lance's neck.

Lance laughed and pushed at him, "Keith, that tickles!"

Keith pulled away, "Oh you think that tickles?" He started tickling Lance's stomach, "What about this?"

Lance tried to push away, laughing happily, "Stop it! Don't make me kick you!"

Keith chuckled and stopped, then he grabbed Lance's head and pulled him into a kiss, "You're so perfect, you know that right?"

Lance blushed, "Shut up..."

Keith kissed his cheek, then his other cheek, then his forehead, then his mouth, "So perfect."

Lance smiled, wrapping his arms around Keith's neck, "I think that's you."

"Yeah? Agree to disagree then," Keith pulled Lance closer, kissing him again. He pulled him even closer and Lance climbed into his lap, still kissing him. This time neither of them pulled away.

Not at first at least. After a couple minutes, Lance pulled away just enough to look at him, "We should start unpacking our room so we have a bed to sleep on tonight and clothes to wear tomorrow."

"Yeah, you're probably right," Keith sighed, "I was thinking tomorrow we can go explore the town a bit. See what's around here."

Lance smiled, "That sounds great. We should invite Matt and Jake. If I'm going to be at Matt and Jake's apartment whenever you're not home, I should probably meet Jake."

Keith nodded, "That's probably a good idea. You text Matt and invite them, I'll start unpacking."

Lance got off his lap, plopping down next to him on the couch, "I'll be there in a few minutes."

Keith kissed the top of his head before going to their bedroom.

Lance pulled out his phone, texting Matt.

leggylance: hey faglord. buy any new jeans lately?

matttheew:  lance i'm not afraid to kick your ass

leggylance: you love me and you know it. do you and jake want to hang out with me and keith tomorrow? we're going to explore the town and i figured we might as well invite you guys so we can finally meet jake.

matttheew:  that sounds fun. i'm down. i'll ask jake when he gets home

leggylance: yay! text me after you talk to him. i've got to help keith unpack

matttheew:  ttyl

Lance put his phone back in his pocket before going to the bedroom. Keith was making the bed and Lance walked over to help him, "Matt says he's cool but he still has to ask Jake. He's going to text me after they talk."

Keith nodded, putting the pillows on the bed, "Sounds good," He grabbed a couple boxes and put them on the bed, "Time to unpack the closet."

August 3

"There they are!" Lance held on to Keith's arm with one hand while pointing to Matt and Jake with the other.

Matt and Jake were crossing the street. Matt smiled as he walked up to them, "Hey guys! Meet Jake."

Jake waved to them, "Lance" he pointed to Lance, then to Keith, "And Keith, right?"

Lance nodded, "Yep! Nice to meet you!"

Keith chuckled, "He's a bit hyper today, he tricked me into buying him coffee this morning. I thought I learned my lesson last time, apparently not."

Lance let his arm go and hit it, "Mean."

Jake laughed a bit, "I don't mind it."

Matt ruffled Lance's hair, "Where do you want to go, you dork."

Lance thought for a moment, "I don't really know. Why don't you guys give us a tour?"

Matt smiled, "Okay, sounds good. Let's start with the strip mall. They have some stores I think you would like."

"Okay!" Lance smiled as they started walking. He grabbed onto Keith's arm again.

5:23 pm

Matt plopped down on the couch with a laugh, "Lance isn't always like that, I swear."

Jake shrugged and sat down next to him, "I didn't mind, and he calmed down as the day went on."

"When we have to watch him he's going to seem like a completely different person."

"How so?"

Matt sighed, "Well, he's very anxious and on edge the whole time. And if Keith doesn't text him back, he'll lose his shit if we don't distract him."

Jake frowned, "I still can't believe all that happened to him... And your sister got wrapped up in it."

"Yeah, I had no idea it was happening until we got a call from Hunk telling us Pidge had been kidnapped the night before and they had just found her. She still has scars from getting herself free. Lance has them too, but he keeps them covered up with makeup or bracelets. Today it was bracelets."

"That's just so horrible. You hear about that stuff in the news but it never feels real. There's actually people out there capable of doing that. I forget that it's not just something you see on TV."

Matt nodded, "Yeah, Lance and Keith's lives are something out of a suspense movie."

"And what kind of movie is your life out of?"

Matt chuckled, "My life isn't interesting enough to be on the screen."

Jake leaned in, "I've got to disagree. I think your life would be a teen romcom."

"And are you my charming love interest?"

"Damn straight," He leaned in and kissed Matt, putting his hand on his hip to pull him closer.

Matt didn't object, scooting closer of his own volition, "You're the first person I've ever kissed, you know"

Jake chuckled, "And ever fucked."

Matt rolled his eyes, "I'm serious. I had 2 girlfriends in high school but we never got past hand holding. I was too awkward for all of that."

"And too gay."

"Well, I didn't know that at the time." Matt crossed his arms.

Jake kissed Matt's neck softly, "At least I know all it takes is a couple shots to get you to loosen up." He chuckled, only joking.

Matt blushed as he uncrossed his arms, not pushing him away and letting him continue to kiss his neck, "I'm not that uptight."

"Then how come this is the most you've let me touch you since the party?" Jake pulled away to look at him.

Matt looked down, "I... I don't know. I've never been in a relationship like this before."

"Gay?"

"Intimate."

Jake nodded, pulling away a bit more and letting Matt go, "Well, we don't have to get more intimate than you're comfortable with. I'm not doing that to you again."

Matt looked up with a frown, "How many times do I have to tell you to stop blaming yourself for that. What happened at the party was completely consensual."

"Only because you were drunk off your ass."

Matt grabbed Jake's shirt and pulled him into a kiss, "That doesn't mean I didn't want it. All the alcohol did was make me not think about it as much. I just went with what I was feeling. And I was feeling amazing when you touched me."

"Then let me touch you... Do I scare you?"

"Of course you don't! I know you would never hurt me or force me into something I didn't want to do. I know that if I would've said no that night that you would've stopped. But that's the thing, Jake. I never said no. That's what you need to remember. I never said no because I wanted you to keep doing everything you were doing." Matt grabbed Jake's hand and put it back on his hip, "I trust you completely. I'm just new to this and don't really know how to handle these things. I think too much and psych myself out."

Jake sighed, "Matt... I-"

Matt kissed him again, cutting him off, "No more thinking," he put his hands on Jake's chest, he bit his lip before starting to unbutton his shirt.

Jake grabbed Matt's wrists to stop him and looked him in the eye, "Are you sure?"

"Not at all. But if I think about it then I'll never be. I'm just going with how I feel."

"And how do you feel?"

"Like I want you to let my wrists go so I can finish taking your shirt off."

Jake smirked a bit and let him go, watching as he finished unbuttoning the shirt and pulled it off. Then Jake pulled Matt's shirt off, lifting it over his head, "Let's take this to the bedroom."

Matt smiled, "Happily."

August 4
10:29 am

matttheew:  so me and jake had sex again and this time i wasn't drunk

katiehatesyou: how was that? please don't get into detail

matttheew:  lol wasn't planning on it. we were talking on the couch yesterday and he was kissing me. he asked me if i was scared of him because i didn't really let him touch me much before. and i was trying to reassure that it wasn't him, that i was just too awkward in those situations. and i guess i was so focused on reassuring him that i was able to stop overthinking it. i just started unbuttoning his shirt. he stopped me to ask me if i was sure. he's so careful not to hurt me, i love it. he let me keep unbuttoning his shirt. and we continued and obviously you know what comes next.

katiehatesyou: i'm proud of you. i know that's something that's been weighing on you. how does it feel to have your first time sober  out of the way?

matttheew:  amazing. i couldn't be happier. and i can tell he's happy too. this morning he woke me up by wrapping his arms around my waist and kissing my neck. i didn't push him away like i would've done before. i could tell that was a big deal to him. he looked so happy

katiehatesyou: i'm happy for you. and thank you for not being an asshole and actually telling me when it happens this time!

matttheew:  i've learned my lesson. no more pillow attacks necessary

Chapter Text

August 8

"Hey, Pidge!"

Pidge turned around to see two boys from AV club walking up behind her. A brown haired boy with green eyes, dressed in a button up shirt and khakis, Jude Abelman. And a blonde boy with blue eyes, wearing jeans and a graphic tee, Parker Vos. "Hey guys, what's up?"

"Well, we thought we should invite you to sit with us at lunch." Parker said.

Jude shoved him, "You make it sound like we're asking her out of obligation," He turned to face Pidge, "We know all your friends graduated last year. You're pretty cool so we figured we might as well try to be your friends, rather than two random guys from AV club."

Pidge laughed a bit, "I appreciate it. I have to stop by my locker, but I can meet you there."

"We'll walk with you," Parker said with a smile.

Pidge smiled back, "Okay, come on." She turned to start walking again.

The two boys walked beside her, Parker on her left and Jude on her right.

Jude glanced at Parker, who gave him a look back. Jude rolled his eyes, "So, Pidge. We saw your ex moved back this year. That asshole you dated in Sophomore year. We thought we should give you a heads up."

Pidge sighed, stopping at her locker, "Thanks... I was really hoping I wouldn't have to see him again. Of course, I couldn't be that lucky." She opened her locker and put her books away, getting out the lunch her mom had packed for her.

Everyone in her year and the year below knew how she broke up with Noah Brady. Word traveled fast. They had gotten in a fight in the hall, and it continued as he followed her into her next class. It drew a lot of attention. She suddenly turned around and slapped him, following up with saying "We're over, now get the fuck out of my face." No one knew what they were fighting about, there was a lot of rumors about it though. Everyone had a guess. No one was right. Noah moved away that summer. Now he was back.

Parker frowned, "We can help you avoid him if you want."

Pidge shook her head, closing her locker, "If he pulls anything I can handle it. I've fought of a psychotic almost-murderer and her rapist boyfriend. I can deal with my shitty ex."

Parker looked down, everyone also knew about Anna. Especially because she didn't bother to hide her scars like Lance did, it was a constant reminder to everyone around her what had happened.

Jude sighed, "What exactly happened between you two? Everyone had a different story. If you don't want to tell us, we won't be offended."

Pidge shrugged, "He thought I was cheating on him with Lance because I spent so much time with him. Which is stupid because Lance was still dating Zack and neither of us would ever cheat on someone. Lance is just my best friend. He and Hunk were trying to get me to break up with him, Noah was such a scum bag even while we were together. So when we got in that fight over Lance I finally broke up with him. He said 'If you keep hanging out with him, then we're over'. I wasn't going to let him control who I was friends with and it pissed me off that he even tried, so I slapped him and said 'Then we're over, now get the fuck out of my face'. He spent the rest of the school year trying to win me back. Needless to say, he didn't succeed. He finally left me alone when he found out he was moving."

Parker frowned, "Do you think he'll try it again?"

"Maybe, but I'm not stupid. I'm not going to take him back."

Jude smiled at her as they walked into the cafeteria, "You're top of the class, of course you're not stupid."

Parker nodded, then pointed to a table in the back, "We usually sit back there, we'll meet you there after we get lunch. You should go save it. Sometimes we don't get through the line in time and someone sits down before we can."

"Okay, thanks." Pidge smiled at them before going to the table, sitting down. She opened her lunch and started eating some grapes. Colleen was trying to get her to eat more healthy.

That's when a black haired boy wearing a Texas Longhorns shirt sat next to her, "Katie Holt, it's been a while."

"Noah Brady, it hasn't been long enough," Pidge rolled her eyes, "And you know no one calls me that but my family."

Noah shrugged, "Sitting alone now that Lance and Hunk graduated? Of course, you only ever had two friends."

"Actually, Noah, I have 7. You never met Keith, Shiro, and Allura. And just so you know, I'm sitting with Parker and Jude today."

"Who?"

Parker and Jude came over to the table.

Pidge gestured to them, "That's Parker and Jude. They're my friends," She looked back at Noah, "I wouldn't expect you to remember them, you never bothered to associate with anyone who didn't help fuel your massive ego. Maybe it's so big because your compensating for what isn't."

Noah glared, "You wouldn't know, you fucking prude. You never let me near you. You'd be lucky to sleep with me."

Pidge laughed, "I'm asexual but even if I wasn't I'd go no where near that baby carrot of yours. Now I'll repeat what I told you countless times Sophomore year, get the fuck out of my face."

Noah stood up and stormed off.

Parker and Jude sat down, Jude laughing, "That was so badass."

Pidge shrugged, "I dated him enough to know how to get under his skin. He's too self centered to pay attention to anyone else so he doesn't know how to get under mine."

Parker smiled, "Still badass."

"So, you're ace?" Jude asked.

Parker looked confused, "But you've had two boyfriends."

"I'm panromantic asexual. Meaning I can be in a romantic relationship with anyone. But when it comes to sex, not my thing." Pidge ate another grape.

Parker nodded, "That makes sense."

Jude smiled, "Sex is overrated."

"Like you would know, you're a virgin."

"Dude! I didn't want her to know that!"

Pidge laughed, "Don't worry, me too."

"Yeah but you have a reason," Jude crossed his arms, "I've just never been able to get a girlfriend."

Pidge sighed, "You're going to find a girlfriend one day and she'll be lucky to have you."

Parker nodded, "I keep telling him he had to lower his standards."

"Don't lower shit," Pidge said, "Don't settle because you haven't found the right person for you. I did that with Hunk and look how that turned out. It's not that I didn't love him, it just wasn't that kind of love. I got with him because I felt pressured to date someone and he was nice, treated me right. He liked me. But I didn't love him like that deep down. And it nearly ruined our friendship."

Jude nodded, "I'll keep that in mind."

Pidge smiled at him, "Good."

"So," Parker said, "How is your Rover project going?"

Pidge chuckled, "You remember what I named him?"

Parker blushed but kept up the banter, "You gave it a gender? How sexist."

Pidge rolled her eyes, "It would be sexist if I called it a girl, supporting the notion that women are objects. But, since you asked, Rover is complete now. I finished him during SSP with the help of my supervisor."

"SSP?" Jude asked.

"The Dynatech Research Lab Summer Science Program," Pidge answered, "My dad works there and got me and my brother places in easily. You have to apply to get in, we still had to do that. But ours stood out because of our dad. My supervisor said my application was more than impressive enough to get me in without him though."

Parker smiled, "That so cool that you got in. I considered applying for it but I went to my grandparents for the summer instead."

"What exactly does Rover do?" Jude asked.

"Help me hack into things," Pidge chuckled, "He gathers the information faster by following filters I program in before running the retrieval. And he stores that information too so I don't have to worry about losing it if I get kicked off the server. Which won't happen as often now because I'll be getting the information faster and can get out before I'm detected."

Parker looked at her in disbelief, "No way, you seriously got him programmed to do all that by yourself?"

Pidge shrugged, "I had some help, but I did most of the work alone. I built him alone. The programming was what I needed assistance with, just to make sure I didn't fuck it up."

"I didn't know you were a hacker." Jude said.

Pidge smirked, "Well, my folder of many confidential Harris County High files didn't appear on my desktop by itself."

"Have you ever hacked in to change your grades?" Parker asked.

Pidge shook her head, "If I changed them I'd get caught for sure. I get pretty good grades anyway."

"Pretty good?" Jude laughed, "Don't you have a 4.0 GPA?"

Pidge nodded, "Yeah. But my brother had a 4.2 GPA. He did loads of extra credit. I'm too lazy for all that. It's boring. He doesn't do extra credit now though. He just did it so it would look impressive on his college application. He's settling for a 4.0 now that he's in college."

"Settling? It's a 4.0! I have a 3.7." Parker said, "My parents still think that's pretty impressive."

Jude sighed, "The bar must be set pretty high at your house, huh?"

Pidge nodded, "Yeah. Not quite 'If you get a B, you're grounded' like people would think. They don't get mad at me. They do get disappointed though. I get the whole 'You know you would've gotten an A if you worked harder on it' speech."

Parker frowned, "That must suck."

Pidge shrugged, "That's part of life being the child of geniuses. My mom isn't a stereotypical house wife. She used to work with my dad until Matt was born, then she wanted to be a stay-at-home mom to make sure me and Matt got proper care and formed good bonds with them. She used to be the head of the disease research there. My dad is the head of technological research."

Jude smiled, "Well, if your mom quit her job for you guys then she must really love you."

Pidge smiled back, "Yeah, she does. She can just be a hard ass sometimes. She's stubborn. But my dad is a total push over. Mom says it's because I'm his only girl, and the youngest. My dad says he's not a push over at all," She chuckled, "Now enough talking about me. I feel like a narcissist just going on about myself."

Parker chuckled, "We just want to get to know you better."

"Well, I want to get to know you better. So now it's your turn." Pidge crossed her arms.

Jude smiled, "We're not very interesting."

"Neither am I." Pidge shrugged.

"Are you kidding?" Parker said, "You literally, in your own words, fought off a psychotic almost-murder and her rapist boyfriend. Didn't you knock Zack out with his own baseball bat?"

Pidge chuckled, "Yeah, that's true. But that's about the only interesting thing about me. And I only did it to save Lance. I was only involved in the first place because of Lance. Now stop asking me questions. You can grill me more about The Anna Incident after you two take your turns." Everyone always wanted to know more about what happened with Anna.

Jude chuckled, "What do you want to know?"

Pidge hummed as she thought, "What are your parents like?"

Jude answered first, "Mom is a stay-at-home mom since I have a eight year old brother and three month old sister. She's always upset about something, but that's just because she has to spend all day taking care of an infant alone. She wasn't so cranky before Lilith was born. She may be upset all the time, but she always come in my room after she puts Elijah to bed. Dad is with Lil. Mom just sits in my room for an hour and we talk about my day, how school went and stuff like that. She always makes time for me and Elijah, always wanting to make sure we don't feel like Lil is more important. Dad, however. Is a total hardass. He's still proud of me and loves me, all that stuff. But I'm never allowed to do anything until I've done all my chores, made sure my room is clean, and finished me homework. Not even allowed to be on my phone, he says it's too distracting. But it's fine. I just do my stuff as fast as I can so I can get my phone back and do what I want. He's an accountant."

Pidge smiled, "What about you, Parker?"

Parker shrugged, "Well, my dads are really chill. Papa is a push over just like your dad. He's a preschool teacher. So he talks to me like I'm a baby a lot, just out of habit from working with four year olds all day. Dad works at a nursing home. He can be pretty stern sometimes. He's the one who disciplines me. He gives the lectures, decides how long I'll be in trouble. Whenever papa tries he ends up giving in and letting me off with a warning."

Jude chuckled, "Remember that time we got caught sneaking about and all he did was send us back to your room and he never told your other dad?"

"Oh my god, we got so lucky it was papa who caught us."

Pidge laughed a bit, "Do you guys have any secret projects for AV?"

Parker shook his head, "No, I just do the projects we all do together after school."

Jude nodded, "Same here. We're not overachievers like you."

Pidge rolled her eyes, "Okay, fair enough.... Why did you guys want to be my friend?"

Parker smiled, "Because, like we said, you're really cool. You don't put up with anyone's shit, you're crazy smart, a total badass. You're just someone everyone would want to be friends with."

"That and Parker thinks you're really pretty," Jude chuckled.

Parker's eyes widened, "Dude?!"

Pidge blushed and looked down, not saying anything.

Jude shrugged, "Okay, your turn again. Do you guys really call it 'The Anna Incident'?"

Pidge looked up again, nodding, "Yeah, that's the easiest way to sum it up. Rather than calling it 'That One Week When A Crazy Bitch Stalked Us And Tortured Lance For A Week, Then Kidnapped Both Of Us, Then Tried To Kill Us, Then Her Boyfriend Tried To Rape Lance again'. It's just easier to just say 'The Anna Incident'."

Jude shrugged, "Fair enough."

Parker looked at her wrists, "Are those scars from that night?"

Pidge sighed, looking down, "Yep, I got rope burn while getting myself free. The ropes were really tight. It took me almost all day to get out of them. Literally. It was morning when I woke up in the apartment, they knocked me out when kidnapping me, it was nearly sunset by the time I got myself free. I got out just in time. Zack has already knocked Anna out, when I came into the living room he was touching Lance. I grabbed the baseball bat and knocked him out. Lance got scars too, he just hides them. The ropes were super tight"

Parker and Jude both looked sad. Jude spoke first, "That's horrible. It must've been terrifying."

Pidge shrugged, "At first it was. But when I heard Mike bringing Lance in I was too focused on helping him to be fearing for my own life. I knew she was going to kill him first and that I had to get to him before she did," She looked back up, "I had to go to therapy twice a week after it for a month."

"We'll stop asking you about it," Parker said, "Sorry."

Pidge shook her head, "Don't be. It's normal to be curious, especially with the different rumors floating around about what happened. Like, everyone thinks Keith got hit by a car. He was actually run of the road by a truck. He got significantly less injuries. There's so much that isn't right."

"Like what?" Jude asked.

Pidge thought, "Well, some people say Anna was torturing Lance with the intent of murdering him in the end. But really, she was torturing him in hopes to get him to kill himself. Then she'd delete her account so the messages on his phone would disappear. No one would connect her to the death, it would look like just a senseless suicide from a boy who had already made attempts in the past. The 'challenges' she tortured him with were designed to set the stage for him death, making him display depressive symptoms. It almost worked. He almost killed himself during the last challenge. The only reason she went off the rails and hurt Keith and I was because Lance had told her about us. Now she had to kill all of us."

Jude looked down, "That's even more fucked up. It's one thing to take someone's life. But to torture someone to the point they take their own... It just feels worse."

Pidge nodded, "She's locked away for life like she deserves," She took a bite of her sandwich before speaking again, "What else do you want to know?"

4:27 pm

katiehatesyou:   so i made two friends today

matttheew: it's only your first day, i'm proud

katiehatesyou:  apparently one of them thinks i'm pretty...

matttheew: aw you have an admirer!

katiehatesyou:  they know i'm ace. noah's back. he came up and started talking shit. he called me a prude for never letting him touch me, i said 'actually i'm ace but i wouldn't go near your baby carrot either way'. he got pissed and stormed off. jude and parker are totally cool with it. they were a little confused to the difference between asexual and aromantic, but once i cleared it up they seemed cool.

matttheew: well now your crushee knows what to expect with you

katiehatesyou:  yeah it's kind of a relief

matttheew: did anything else happen today?

katiehatesyou:  dad stuck chopsticks up his nose again

matttheew: jfc

Chapter Text

August 13

2:53 pm

Hunk walked down the hall of his school, trying to find room 364, "Why are there so many rooms." He muttered to himself as he walked along. He turned the corner and bumped into a girl with long frizzy brown hair.

She backed up, "Sorry!"

Hunk shook his head, "No, it's on me. Really. I wasn't paying attention."

She smiled at him, "Do you need help?" She noticed he was holding at a piece of paper with the room number and the time for his first class.

"Uh, yeah. I'm going to be late. I'm a bit lost."

She took the paper, "We're heading the same direction, come on." She walked past Hunk.

He turned around and followed her, "I was going the wrong way?"

"Yeah, you probably missed the hall," She held her hand out to him as they walked, "I'm Shay Brookes, by the way."

He smiled and shook her hand, "Nice to meet you, I'm Hunk Garrett."

"Hunk? That's a unique name." She wasn't judging.

Hunk shrugged, "It's just a nickname."

"What's your real name?"

"Nobody knows." He teased.

She giggled, "Okay, mystery man. You're studying gourmet?" She could tell by the class he was going to.

He nodded, "What about you?"

"Baking. I love making pastries."

He smiled, "I've never been good with pastries. But I am with cooking. It's weird."

She shook her head, "It's not weird. I can't cook for crap," She stopped at a hallway, "Okay, your class is the last one to the left. You have five minutes to spare before it starts."

He smiled, "Thank you."

She handed him his paper back, "No problem. I'll see you around." She started walking again.

He watched her leave before looking back at his paper. There was a post-it note on it that wasn't there before. '555-7843 Shay'. He smiled and went into his classroom.

4:47 pm

Lance walked out the back door of the university, walking to the parking lot. He saw Keith there, leaning against his motorcycle.

Lance walked up with a smile, "I thought you had work today?"

Keith wrapped his arms around Lance's waist and pulled him closer, "I did, but I'm off for the day. I've worked my schedule to mostly match yours so you won't have to go to Matt's as often. I know you're on edge when I leave," he kissed Lance softly, "Now, enough about that. How was your first day of college?"

Lance smiled more, "It was great! I made friends with a girl named Cara and her Boyfriend, Jayden. They're Sophomores. There's way more people of color here. At North Shore, me, Hunk, Allura, and maybe a few others were the only ones. Well, Shiro's asian so he counts too. But anyway, Trinity is way more diverse. Cara is Puerto Rican and Jayden is black. Me and Jayden started talking shit in Spanish about people at the other table who were staring at us. Cara doesn't know Spanish, despite being hispanic. She had no idea what we were saying, it was hilarious. I think the best part is no one knows about Anna. I can have a fresh start."

Keith smiled, "I'm so happy for you. So so happy." He kissed him.

Lance kissed back, wrapping his arms around Keith. He pulled away after a minute, "Okay, I'm hungry. Let's get out of here."

Keith nodded and grabbed their helmets, putting them on.

They left and went to a Chinese buffet near their apartment. Once they sat down, Lance continued to blabber on about his day.

Keith listened silently, he was just so happy Lance was happy. He had been so afraid the move would be hard for him, but it had actually been good for him to get out of the town where all those bad things happened.

"Anyway, Jayden and Cara invited me to go to a party with them on Friday. I told them I'd go. Will you take me?"

Keith nodded, "Of course! It'll be good for you to spend some time with friends of your own," He reached over to hold Lance's hand, "I love you so much, but I think it's time we start working on you being a bit more independent. I just want to make sure you'll be able to take care of yourself when I'm gone."

Lance sighed, "You're right. I can't use you as a crutch forever."

Keith rubbed the back of Lance's hand with his thumb, "I love you, Lance. So much. I will always be here for you. It's just... If something were to happen to me-"

"Don't say things like that!"

"Sorry, sorry!" Keith kissed Lance's hand, he had forgotten that could be a small trigger for Lance, "Anyway, I think hanging out with Jayden and Cara will be good for you. We don't have to keep talking about it."

Lance nodded, looking down, "Quiero quedarme contigo para siempre."

Keith sighed, "I want to stay with you forever too. But that's simply not possible. Just... Just finish eating. I shouldn't have said anything."

"Cabeza estupida." Lance took a bite of his food.

Keith chuckled, "Yeah, I am stupid."

8:26 pm

hunkinthetrunk:  a girl gave me her number today. i didn't even ask for it

ayellura: that's awesome! what's her name?

hunkinthetrunk:  shay. she's probably the only other black person in the school

ayellura:  yeah, boulder isn't very diverse

hunkinthetrunk:  yep. how's boston?

ayellura: it's great so far! i started class last week. it's very difficult and it's only one week in, but i expected it to be. i met a really cute girl. she goes to an art school. she said she's studying design.

hunkinthetrunk:  what's she like?

ayellura: her name is romelle. she has blonde hair, like the same color as rapunzel in tangled. it's beautiful. she's beautiful. i slipped in the fact i'm bi into the conversation and she said she's lesbian. we exchanged phone numbers. we've been texting for days. we followed each other on instagrams and she does beautiful special effects makeup

hunkinthetrunk:  aw. you would like you're already infatuated with her.

ayellura: infatuated is a strong word

hunkinthetrunk:  whatever lil miss business school. how did you meet her?

ayellura: we met at this café that's near her house. i was there exploring the town. she's lived here her whole life and goes there all the time. she asked if she could sit with me because this creep had followed her into the café and she didn't feel safe being alone. of course i said yes. we stayed there until he finally gave up and left. it gave us plenty of time to talk

hunkinthetrunk:  people are messed up

ayellura: we know that better than anyone

hunkinthetrunk:  did you tell her about any of that stuff from last year?

ayellura: of course not. i didn't want to scare her off. besides, it didn't really happen to me. i was listed as a potential penalty in one of her challenges but other than that i was never involved.

hunkinthetrunk:  fair enough. i won't tell shay either. unless it comes up. but how often does "my friends were nearly murdered on two occasions and now one of them is seriously fucked up" come up in conversation

ayellura: i don't think lance wants anyone to know anyway. he said he wants a fresh start with people who won't judge him because his past

hunkinthetrunk:  he deserves it. have you heard from him or keith? i haven't talked to either of them since the birthday party

ayellura: i briefly talked to keith on the phone the day after they moved into their new apartment. i was just calling to check that it all went smoothly. he said it was all fine, that lance is doing good with all the changes. he was worried it would be hard for lance. but as of friday, he's fine. he had to go before we could talk about anything else. he and lance were going to meet matt and his boyfriend

hunkinthetrunk:  i'm glad lance is okay

ayellura: you should call him. i'm sure it'll mean a lot to him

hunkinthetrunk:  i think i will

Calling leggylance...

Connecting...

"Hey, Hunk!"

"Hey! You sound excited."

"Yeah! I had my first day of class today! I already made two friends."

"I thought you were excited because I called."

"That added to the pre-existing excitement."

"I'm just teasing. I'm glad you made friends."

"What about you? Wasn't today your first day too?"

"Yeah. I met a girl named Shay. The only other black person in school, maybe in the whole town. She helped me find my class and slipped me her number."

"Oh my god, Hunk. That's great. Keith! Some girl slipped Hunk her number!"

Hunk laughed, "Did you really just shout that across your apartment?"

"Yeah. So what? I'm just happy for you and wanted to pass along the good news."

"You can't see it but I'm rolling my eyes."

"Don't be mean."

"Okay, serious now. How are you doing in Trinity? I know it's a lot of changes."

Lance sighed, "It is a lot. I was scared at first. I let Keith pick our apartment without me while I was at Danny's because I was too nervous about it. But now that I'm here, it's great. The changes were good changes. Here, nobody knows what happened to me last year. Nobody immediately judges me the minute I meet them because they saw my name in a news article on Facebook. Nobody at school is spreading rumors about me like at North Shore. I'm not having to live in the apartment I was almost murdered in 2 months ago anymore. It's a fresh start."

"I'm so happy for you. You deserve this."

"Guess what."

"What?"

"I haven't had a single nightmare since we moved here. Not one. I was having one every night before."

"Lance, that's amazing!"

Lance giggled, "I know. Every morning Keith tells me he's proud of me. I can tell he's worried."

"We all are."

"Well, you don't have to be anymore. I can finally live a normal life. I'm going to a party on Friday with my new friends."

"That sounds like it'll be fun. Just promise you won't forget about all of us once you become a great psychologist."

"Aren't you supposed to say that people who are getting famous?"

"Who said you can't get famous? Haven't you seen Dr Phil?"

Lance giggled again, "Fair enough. But I don't plan on getting on TV. I would much rather just get a normal job and live a normal life."

"We're all so proud of you, Lance. You've come so far in the past year. It feels like just yesterday you were calling me sobbing on your kitchen floor. But here you are. Living a normal, happy life. Like you deserve."

"I'm only seeing a therapist every other week now."

"You just keep pumping out the good news."

"I don't think there's anymore good news left to pump out."

"There will be soon. I know it."

"Okay. Enough about me. How was school for you? Other than getting a girl's number."

"Pretty boring actually. We just went over the syllabuses."

"Yeah, same for me. But it's going to pick up here soon."

"Yours is going to be tougher than mine. And longer. Mine is only cooking and only lasts two years."

Lance sighed, "Yeah mine is a lot of medical stuff. And if I want to become a legit psychologist I'm going to have to go for at least eight years."

"Holy shit. I didn't realize it would be that long!"

"Yep. Four years to get my undergraduate bachelors degree, then another four to get my post-graduate doctorate degree. Most students can't handle it all and tend to take longer to complete their degrees by spreading their classes out over a longer period of time."

"Can't you become a psychologist with just a bachelors? I'm only getting an associates."

"Nope. A psychiatric technician is about as close as I'd get. It's required to have a doctorate to be a psychologist."

"Well, I know you'll be able to do it. Once you set your mind on something you never give up."

"I'm probably going to have to spread it out so I can get a job. Keith can't provide for both of us. Well, he can. He has a full time, higher paying job now so he's making more now than we were making combined before. But I just hate that it's all on his shoulders."

"I get it. But don't put school aside just because you feel the need to help out. It's too important. And not to mention your mental health. Most mentally stable people have hard times managing what you're going after-"

"And I'm fucked up so it'll be twice as hard for me, I get it."

"That's not what I was going to say."

"Then what were you going to say?"

"... Okay. I was just going to phrase it differently. I was just going to say that you're sick and you'll have a harder time balancing it all."

"I know. Keith has been telling me that for the past month. I know he's just worried I'll have a mental breakdown or something. But I'll be fine. I'll schedule more therapy appointments if it comes to it."

"Just don't overextend yourself. If you can't handle getting a job, then don't. It's not something you have to do."

"I know. I know. I just feel so guilty. He does so much for me and I never do anything for him."

"You don't have to anything more than what you're already doing, Lance. He loves you, and he shows that love by being there for you and helping you. You do that in return. You're there for him. You are. It just doesn't seem like you're doing as much because you need more help than he does. You need more from him than he needs from you. But you're still giving him all he needs."

"Okay, for real this time. Enough about me. I'm tired of talking about me."

"Okay... I don't really have any news to share."

"Okay..."

"So..."

"So..."

"Maybe I should go now."

"I guess we have run out of things to talk about."

"No we haven't. You're just avoiding the things we need to talk about."

"We don't need to talk about anything."

"Okay. Well, I'll just call you back when I do have something to share."

"I'll call you too."

"Lance, you know how much we all love you, right? How much I love you."

"Of course I know. You guys are the most important people in my life. I know you'll always be there for me. I love all of you so much."

"Tell Keith I love him too."

"I will."

"Bye, Lance."

"Bye."

Call Ended.

Lance set his phone aside with a sigh, "Well, that sucked." He laid back on his bed.

Keith walked into the bedroom, "You okay?"

"Hunk said he loves you."

Keith chuckled, but then he noticed Lance didn't seem happy, "What's wrong?"

"I just feel like I ruin every conversation I have with anyone who knows what happened. Yeah, Anna's in prison. But she's still here. She's in my head. And she sneaks her way into the conversations I have. Everything always goes wrong. Somehow my PTSD always comes up in one shape or another. That's her."

Keith walked over and sat on the bed, "You don't ruin anything. We're just worried about you. We're the ones who bring it up. Or sometimes you'll mention something about it and we'll keep pushing you to talk about it more. That's on us, not you. We're always trying to get you to talk about it. Because that tells of if you're okay or not. You don't ruin anything."

Lance sat up, "Our conversation ended so weirdly because it all came up. The conversation was all about me. He said he didn't have anything to share. And when I refused to keep talking about myself, he said he should go."

"That's probably just because he really didn't have anything else to say other than questions about how you're doing. We're more worried about you than usual right now. There's a lot of changes happening."

Lance leaned his head on Keith's shoulder, "I just want to be normal."

Keith smiled, "In the entire time I've known you, you've been anything but normal. But it's not because of Anna. It's because you're a unique person, and it's one of the things I love about you." He put his arm around Lance's waist.

Lance smiled just a bit, "Mi amor por ti es mayor que las estrellas."

Keith pulled him closer, "I love you too, Lancey."

Chapter Text

August 17

10:12 pm

Keith pulled up in front of a frat house and parked his motorcycle, he pulled his helmet off as he watched Lance get off the bike. He had gotten prettied up for the party. A full face of makeup, one of Keith's black tops, dark denim shorts, black knee-high socks, and white converse. Keith thought he looked hot as hell when he dressed like that.

Lance took is helmet off and put it in the holder, "Are you sure you don't want to come? It'll be fun."

"Yeah, I'm sure. It'll be good for you to have a night out alone. Besides, this isn't really the best scene for me. Not anymore. Lots of alcohol. Probably drugs too."

Lance frowned. He sometimes forgot about that aspect of Keith's past. Looking at him you'd never guess he was a former addict, "You're right. It's not worth risking your sobriety."

Keith smiled at him before reaching over to hold his hand, "Be careful. Stay with Cara and Jayden. And, remember, if you start to have another panic attack go outside. Crowded spaces will just make it worse, especially if you've been drinking. Call me and I'll come to pick you up right away."

Lance rolled his eyes, "I'll be fine," He leaned down to kiss Keith gently, "Now, you go home and enjoy your night to yourself."

Keith let his hand go, "Okay. Just call me when you're ready to come home." He put his helmet on.

Lance nodded, "I will. I love you."

"I love you too." Keith started the motorcycle and drove off.

Lance watched him leave before running inside, Jayden and Cara were already there.

1:37 am

Calling kmskeith

Ringing...

Ringing...

Ringing...

Ringing...

Ringing...

No answer

1:41 am

Calling leggylance

Connecting...

"Hey, sorry I didn't grab my phone in time. Are you ready to come home?"

"Uh, this isn't Lance. This is Cara."

"Is Lance okay?"

"Yeah, he's fine. Just drunk. He didn't know how much was too much for him. I'm able to tolerate a lot of booze. But, apparently, he isn't."

"Goddamn it. Okay. I'll be right there."

"I think it would be better if I drove him. He would probably fall off the back of your bike."

"He's that bad?"

"Yeah. Probably won't remember this tomorrow level bad. I'm surprised he didn't throw up."

"Shit. Okay. Do you know where Crestview apartments are? It's right across the street from WalMart."

"Yeah. I know it. We'll be there in 10 minutes. Jayden just finished loading Lance into my car."

"Okay. We're in the second building. Apartment 2H. Thank you so much for looking after him."

"It's no big deal. We'll be there in a minute."

Call ended

Keith opened the door, seeing Jayden holding Lance up and Cara standing beside them. Cara was short and had dyed dark red hair. She was wearing a tank top, shorts, fishnet tights, and combat boots. Jayden was about 6 feet tall and was just wearing a hoodie and jeans. Keith sighed, "Thank you for bringing him home."

Lance giggled and wrapped his arms around Keith, Keith had to hold him up, "Hello~"

Jayden shrugged, "It's fine. We just wanted to make sure he made it back safe."

Keith smiled at them, "I'm sorry if he was a handful. He really doesn't drink. He went to a party on spring break in sophomore year and that's the only time he's ever drank. I didn't even know him yet, but there's a pretty funny video from that night."

Cara giggled a bit, "He wasn't a bother. Though, we did lose him for a bit there."

Jayden nodded, "We found him outside drinking more than he should, saying the room had gotten blurry. That's when we made him stop and called you. He kept going on about someone named Anna."

Keith frowned, knowing Lance had probably left the house due to anxiety, "She's someone from his past. Someone he would've never told you about sober. He's trying to leave her in the past."

Cara nodded, "I get it. We'll pretend he never said anything."

Keith smiled again, "Thank you. He really doesn't want anyone to know. Maybe once he gets to know you better he might tell you. But for now, she really does need to stay in the past."

Lance started to kiss Keith's neck, "I wanna go to bed~"

Jayden chuckled, "Well, we should go. Good luck with him."

"Tell him to call us tomorrow. After he gets over his inevitable hangover."

Keith nodded, watching them leave before closing the door and locking it. Then he lifted Lance up bridal style, "Let's get you to sleep."

"I don't want to sleep." He wanted to go to bed for a different reason.

"Nope," Keith said as he carried to the bedroom, "We're not doing it when you're drunk." He laid Lance on the bed.

Lance pouted, "Lame!" He grabbed Keith's pillow and put it over his face.

Keith chuckled, "Don't hide from me, come on out."

Lance peaked out, "I don't want to sleep."

"At least let me change your clothes."

Lance huffed, "Fine."

Keith kissed his forehead before going to the dresser. He pulled out Lance's favorite to wear to bed. Light pink shorts and a black baggy band shirt for a band he's never even listened to. It was a hand-me-down from Danny, it was very comfortable.

When Keith walked back to the bed, Lance had already fallen asleep. Keith laughed before taking off all Lance's clothes except his underwear and socks, then he dressed him in the pajamas.

After, he got back in bed with Lance. He pulled him close, "Sleep well, Lancey." He kissed his forehead.

August 18

Lance woke up the next morning, groaning as he sat up and rubbed the side of his head. His makeup was smeared majorly and his hair was a mess. He looked over and saw the place in bed next to him was empty. Then he noticed on the nightstand there was a cup of water and a bottle of ibuprofen. He moved to sit on the edge of the bed before taking two ibuprofen and downing the water. Then he stood and left the room.

"Keith?" He walked to the kitchen.

Keith was there toasting Eggo waffles, he looked at Lance, "Hey, baby. I'm too lazy to actually make anything today and I figured you probably wouldn't be up to it either. Is Eggos okay?"

Lance nodded with a smile, "It's perfect, thank you." He jumped up to sit on the counter.

Keith smiled at him, "How did you sleep?"

"Like the dead. But I don't really remember going to sleep. Or coming home."

Keith chuckled, "Probably because you got drunk off your ass at the party last night. Cara and Jayden had to bring you home.l

"That explains the headache. I took the ibuprofen you left for me. Thank you."

Keith kissed his cheek, "No thanks necessary," He handed Lance a plate, "Here."

Lance smiled, "I love you." He started eating.

Keith smiled back, "Mi amor por ti es mayor que las estrellas." He started eating too.

Lance sighed, "I don't get why you found drinking so appealing. I'd take a panic attack over this headache."

Keith frowned, "Well, I didn't exactly get hangovers. I wasn't sober long enough for that. Well, I did a couple times. Before I got addicted. But once I was hooked, I was drunk and high for two months straight. I didn't get any hangovers, I got withdraw. Which is ten times worse. Luckily, I only went through it twice. Once when I tried to get clean, and then again when I actually got clean."

Lance looked down, "Oh..." He felt bad for bringing it up.

They ate in silence after that.

Once Lance was done, he jumped off the counter and put his dish in the dishwasher.

Keith finished and did the same, "So, what do you want to do today?"

Lance shrugged, "I just want to stay home."

"We can do that. Why don't we watch some TV for a while."

Lance nodded, "That sounds good."

"Oh," Keith said as he closed the dishwasher, "Cara wanted you to call her."

Lance sighed, "Did I make a total fool of myself last night?"

Keith shook his head, "No, I don't think so. They didn't seem bothered. They just wanted to make sure you made it home safe. I was going to pick you up but Cara insisted she drive you because it was safer. Jayden said you left the party at one point and they found you outside. You told them the room had gotten blurry. They thought it was because you had too much to drink. But it might've been your anxiety. Maybe both."

Lance sighed, "Probably both. I should call her and apologize."

Keith put his arms around Lance's waist and pulled him closer, "You don't need to apologize for anything. You apologize all the time when you've done nothing wrong. You need to stop that."

Lance looked down, "Sorry."

"You just did it again."

Lance looked up with a pout, "It's a force of habit."

Keith sighed, "I know... Why don't you go pick something to watch. I have to take a shower, you can call her while you wait."

Lance nodded, "Sounds like a plan." He leaned in and kissed Keith softly.

Keith was the first to pull away, "I'll be in there in a bit. Go on."

Lance booped his nose before going to the living room and flopping on the couch. He pulled out his phone and called Cara, looking through Netflix as they talked.

He was worried she'd be upset about the party but she wasn't. She was happy to hear from him.

After a bit, Keith came into the living room and sat next to Lance, his hair was still a bit damp, "Did you call her?"

Lance smiled, "I did. She invited to go to the movies with them next weekend."

Keith smiled and pulled Lance close, kissing your cheek, "I told you they weren't going to be upset."

Lance cuddled up against him, "You're always right."

Keith chuckled, "Not really but I'm glad to know you think highly of me."

Lance looked up at him, "I've always thought highly of you."

Keith ran his fingers through Lance's hair, "Let's just watch TV."

Lance nodded, hitting play on the remote before laying down, putting his head on Keith's lap.

They spent all day laying on the couch watching TV. They were happy.

Chapter Text

August 21

ayellura: good morning romelle

evimeia:  good morning, so i was thinking

ayellura: about me? ;)

evimeia:  yes actually. i was wondering if you would maybe want to meet up at the coffee shop again tomorrow? maybe for lunch?

ayellura: that sounds great

evimeia:  it's a date

August 22

Allura walked into the coffee shop, looking around. She spotted the blond she was looking for sitting in the corner. She bought her lunch before walked up to the table, "Hey."

Romelle smiled at her, "You're here."

"Of course I am," Allura smiled as she sat down, "Were you worried I wouldn't show?"

Romelle nodded, "A bit, actually. We've been texting for two weeks but that doesn't mean you'd want to meet up again."

"If I didn't want to see you again then I wouldn't have given you my number and proceeded to text you every day for two weeks."

Romelle giggled a bit, "I suppose that's a good point."

"So," Allura said, "How's your art school going?"

"Very fun, actually! The first week was a bit boring. Syllabuses and what not. But that was to be expected. But we've gotten started on our first assignment! We're all entering a competition to decide the new logo for Hi-C. Everyone in my class is making a logo and submitting it. It will also be graded by our teacher. If we're picked, it's an automatic A. Even if the teacher had originally given a lower mark. Not only that, but we'd get an award and a cash prize!"

Allura smiled, she thought it was so cute when Romelle got excited. It even showed through her texts with excessive use of emoticons and exclamation points, "That sounds amazing. I'm sure yours is going to look great."

Romelle giggled a bit, "I'm still in the brainstorming stage. But I think I've got a pretty good shot. This is a general design class that gets you a graphic design degree and many certifications from different design software. Everyone in my class has a different career goal. I'm the only one planning on doing logo design and possibly advertising."

"Then you've definitely got a good shot."

Romelle looked so happy, "What about you? How is business school going, Miss Harvard."

"Boring," Allura sighed, "I knew it would be. And it's hard work. But I've got to see it through. I've worked my whole life to get here."

Romelle frowned, "Why are you doing it if you don't seem to like it?"

"Well, I'm in line to inherit my father's business. He and my mother passed when I was 13. He named me his predecessor when I was very young. He spent my entire childhood preparing me to take on the family business. I have no objections. I've worked so hard to get here. Right now, the business is being run by the board. Once I graduate, I'll be able to take over as CEO. That's all I've ever wanted, to carry on my father's legacy. He put his heart into taking that company to the next level. I'm going to make sure it wasn't a waste. Yes, schooling is quite boring and difficult. But it will all be worth it in the end."

Romelle smiled at her, "That's very honorable for you. I have no legacy to carry on. I'm just going after what I've always been good at and enjoy."

Allura nodded, "I don't know what I would do if I didn't have this position to obtain after graduation. I suppose it doesn't matter what I would do. All that matters is what I'm doing now."

"Well, if you ever need a new logo for your company, hit me up."

Both girls laughed a bit.

Romelle spoke again, "So, when did you realize you were bi?"

"Well, my friend, Lance, helped me figure it out. We joke that he's a sexual orientation guru. He helped Shiro, Hunk, Pidge, and Matt all figure out their sexualities. It's quite amazing. I was still dating Shiro at the time. But, I was catching on to the fact that I was attracted to girls as well. It confused me a bit, so I went to Lance. He's bi so I figured he would be the best person to go to. He had already helped Hunk figure out he was pan. Hunk helped me figure it out too. I wasn't sure what the difference between bi and pan was until Lance broke it down for me. If you're bi, you are attracted to both males and females but their gender does affect the way you're attracted to them. Lance says there are some things he finds attractive in boys but not in girls, and vice versa. But pan means that their gender has no effect on how you're attracted to them. You see everyone the same way. Bisexual went more in line with what I was feeling. It took a couple of weeks to really figure it out. I came out to everyone once I did. It was hard since I still had a boyfriend. I didn't like thinking about how I was attracted to girls while I still had a partner. But when I told Shiro about it, he didn't mind. He helped me work through it. It turns out he had been questioning his sexuality as well. He's bisexual too. He told me at Lance's birthday party. He also told me about his new crush, a boy. I'm glad he's moved on and we were able to remain friends. We still text and talk about this crush of his, they're going to get together any day now."

Romelle listened to every word, wanting nothing but to get to know this girl better, "I didn't know what the difference between bi and pan was either. It makes sense. Someone told me that bi and pan were the same thing and that pan people were just bi people who wanted a special label. I knew that couldn't be true."

Allura smiled, "What about you? When did you realize you were gay?"

Romelle thought, "Well, it was very easy for me to figure out. Sort of. I knew when I was thirteen that I wasn't straight, but I thought I was bi. I had a crush on this girl I was friends with. I told my friends fairly early on. But I didn't tell anyone else for another few years. I finally told my mother when I was fifteen, but I made her swear to tell anyone else. Especially my father. They're divorced, and he's not very accepting. She didn't tell him. But, coincidentally, someone outed me to my father while I was telling my mother. He then called my mother to out me to her, saying they had to set me straight. No pun intended. Luckily, I had already told her so she wasn't shocked by the news and just told him to fuck off. I avoided dad for two weeks because I knew he didn't approve. Things with him have been shaky ever since. He swore me not to tell my little brother, but I did anyway when I was sixteen. He was twelve and very confused by it, especially with all the homophobia that's been fed to him. But he's become more accepting with time. He's always been open to the idea. He just understands it better now that he's fifteen. Anyway, I got off track. When I was sixteen, shortly after I came out to my brother, I started to think I might be a lesbian. So I changed how I identified. Which was great. It all worked out. Except for the part where I had a crush on a straight girl who enjoyed leading me on. But let's not touch on that. When I was seventeen I started to develop a crush on one of my male friends. So that got me all confused again. I changed my identity back to bi. We dated for eight months. Turns out he was only dating me because he thought I would be easy to get into a threesome, which is total bullshit. Anyway, I was eighteen when I just gave up on figuring out my sexuality and labeled myself as just queer, no specifics. It was too confusing and too much pressure. But when I turned nineteen I started thinking about it again. I accepted the fact that I can manage a romantic relationship with a male. But the moment the sex topic comes up, I just can't. I know I'm not ace. I'm totally open to the idea of having sex with a girl. So that was the deciding factor for me. I'm a lesbian. And the only reason I was able to have successful past hetero relationships was because I was only considering my attraction to their mind and personality. The moment genitals come into the picture, it's out of the question. So, yeah, I've been officially identifying as a lesbian for three months now."

"That must've been so hard for you. I know it was hard for me to figure it out but it only took me a couple of weeks. It took you years."

Romelle shrugged, "I always knew I wasn't straight. That was a definite from day one. I knew I was part of the LGBT community. And other lesbians and bi women on the internet were very happy to answer my questions about my sexuality. I wasn't alone in it. Even my mother gave me advice. Her biggest contribution to it was constantly reminding me that I didn't owe anyone an explanation of what I'm feeling, that I don't need to label myself when I'm not ready. I don't need to label myself at all. She always told me it didn't matter what word I used to describe who I am as long as I'm happy with who I am. It stuck with me. I chose to label myself for myself, not because I felt I owed it to the world to have one."

Allura smiled, "I know what you mean about doing it for yourself. Things seem so much simpler when you can put a name to things. Without a name for it, it just feels so unknown and incomplete."

"Exactly!" Romelle sighed, "I've never met someone off the internet who understands these things as easily as you do."

Allura chuckled, "I should really introduce you to Lance."

Chapter Text

August 31

Shiro walked out the main doors of the building where his police training took place. He was talking to one of the other cadets. A girl with long blonde hair up in a ponytail, wearing black leggings and a fitted blue crop top. Shiro then spotted a familiar car in the parking lot.

"I'll talk to you later, okay?"

The girl nodded, "I'll text you." She leaned up and kissed his cheek.

"Uh. Okay..." Shiro quickly walked down the steps to the parking lot, walking up to the car.

Adam rolled down the window as Shiro approached, "Who was that?"

"No one important. What are you doing here?"

Adam shrugged, "I just wanted to surprise you. Get in."

Shiro smiled, "Okay." He walked around to the other side of the car and got in the passenger seat.

Adam was always showing up unannounced to take Shiro on little dates. Platonic dates. They weren't there yet. Shiro loved it when Adam did it nonetheless.

Adam pulled out of the parking lot, "Is that girl in your class?"

Shiro nodded, "Yeah. Her name is Lydia. She's always trying to get me to hang out. I keep telling her no. But I do text her. Well, she texts me and I reply."

Adam glanced at him, he wanted to look him in the eye but he had to focus on the road, "You don't have to be nice to everyone, Shiro. If she makes you uncomfortable then don't talk to her anymore."

Shiro frowned, "I didn't say that she makes me uncomfortable."

"You looked pretty uncomfortable when she kissed you on the steps. Are you going to deny it?"

Shiro hesitated, "Okay, maybe she makes me a little uncomfortable."

Adam sighed, "Distancing yourself from someone isn't rude. Don't worry about hurting her feelings. You're too nice."

Shiro sighed, "She's just being friendly. That's all."

"She's flirting with you and you're clearly not interested. Just let her down easy so you can both move on. If she's a good friend then she will respect that and you two can remain friends. Just friends."

Shiro smirked at him, "I may be too nice but at least I don't get jealous."

"Jealous?!" Adam's cheeks went pink, "I am not jealous. I'm just trying to get you to stick up for yourself for once."

"Mhm, sure."

Adam glared at Shiro for a moment before looking at the road, "What do I have to be jealous of. It's not like we're boyfriends or anything like that."

"But we both want to be..." Shiro looked down.

Adam glanced at Shiro before looking back at the road, "Have you come out to your dad yet?"

Shiro shook his head, "The only ones who know are my friends and you."

"I don't count as a friend?"

Shiro smiled, "You're more than that and you know it... We're not boyfriends yet. But we're exclusive. We go on dates, we don't talk to other people. All we're missing is the label and the intimacy."

Adam smiled, "And I'm okay with that. As long as I have you then I don't need a label. We don't have to change anything until you're ready." He reached over and held Shiro's hand, keeping his other on the wheel. Hand holding and hugs were pretty much as far as they went when it came to physical affection. Even in private.

Shiro intertwined their fingers. He hesitated before speaking, "Would it be crazy for me to say I love you?"

Adam tensed for a moment, they hadn't even started dating so they definitely hadn't gotten to the L word yet. But he relaxed and smiled softly, "No, it's not crazy. Because I love you too."

Shiro hesitated again, "I'm going to come out to my dad tonight. Telling him is the only thing holding me back."

Adam pulled into an empty parking lot. He knew this was becoming an extremely important conversation and wanted to be able to look Shiro in the eye. He let Shiro's hand go so he could put the car in park then turned to face Shiro, "Are you sure you're ready for that?"

Shiro nodded, looking down, "Yes, I know he'd be accepting of me."

"Then why have you waited so long to tell him?"

Shiro shrugged, "He just always talked about how he wished he could have a bigger family. More than just me and him. He and mom had planned on having more kids, but then she died. Don't get the wrong idea, we're happy and he loves me more than life. But he always wanted more people to love. If I had children then I could give him that. Yes, I'm bi, so I potentially could. But I lean more towards guys and will honestly end up marrying a guy..."

Adam nodded, "I get it... But you could adopt. Or you could get a surrogate mother, so the baby is still yours. There are ways you can give him grandchildren. Honestly, I think your father would be okay just having you to love because you being happy is worth having a small family."

Shiro nodded, "I just need to tell him. I feel like I'm lying to him..."

"Then do it, tell him. Just make sure you really are ready. Once it's out then there's no taking it back."

Shiro looked back up, "What about you? What happened when you told your parents you're gay?"

Adam looked down, "I don't think you want to hear that story..."

Shiro frowned, "They didn't accept you?"

Adam nodded, still looking down, "They wanted nothing to do with me. I was sixteen so I got emancipated. I've been living alone ever since. I lost all my friends when I came out too. I guess they weren't real friends anyway if they turned their backs on me so easily, I'm better off without them."

Shiro reached over to hold Adam's hand again, "Nobody should have to be alone.. I'm sorry you had to go through that.."

Adam looked at him with a smile, "I'm not alone anymore."

Shiro smiled back, "Is that so?"

Adam nodded, "I have you."

Shiro blushed a bit and looked down, still smiling, "Once I come out to my dad there will be nothing holding me back... Nothing holding us back..."

"That's true. Meaning once you come out to your dad, I'll be able to do something I've been wanting to do for a while now..."

Shiro looked back up, "What would that be?"

"Talk to me after you come out to your dad and I'll show you." Adam chuckled.

Shiro chuckled too, "Okay, I'll let you surprise me like you always do."

"Speaking of surprises," Adam turned to start the car, "We're going to have a little fun today."

Shiro smiled happily, "Are you going to tell me where we're going or am I just going to have to wait until we get there?"

"You have to wait. Why would you expect anything different?"

6:49 pm

Shiro walked back into his condo and to the living room where his dad was sitting down watching TV, "Hey, dad."

Kaito smiled at him, "Takashi, come sit with me."

Shiro nodded, sitting next to his dad on the couch with a smile, "Adam took me out again today."

"Where did you boys go this time?"

"He took me to the Science Center to check out their space exhibit, he knows I'm into that stuff. We both are, actually. I just didn't know that until today. After that, we went to eat at Mellow Mushroom."

Kaito smiled, "That boy seems nice... How old is he again?"

"Just twenty, he's not that much older than me. Only one year."

"I never said I had a problem with his age, I was just asking," Kaito reached over and held Shiro's hand, "You two do spend quite a lot of time together, though."

Shiro looked down, "Yeah, that's because.. We... Um.."

"You're boyfriends?"

Shiro looked back up at Kaito with wide eyes, "What?! No!"

Kaito chuckled, "You like boys, Shiro. I can tell. I pay attention, it's my job."

Shiro looked back down, smiling slightly, "I'm not gay. I'm bisexual. And Adam isn't my boyfriend, but I want him to be.."

Kaito leaned over and kissed the top of Shiro's head, "I know, love. I know."

"Why did you never say anything?"

"Because I wanted your coming out to be on your own terms. I'm so glad you've finally told me."

Shiro looked up again, still smiling, "He wants to be my boyfriend too, dad. I really like him. And he really likes me."

"What's holding you back?"

"You," Shiro paused, "That was bad phrasing. It's not you specifically. I just didn't want to get involved with a boy before I came out to you. But Adam and I already go on dates and other stuff boyfriends do. So I guess I already have gotten involved."

Kaito smiled, "I knew there was a reason you spend so much time with that boy."

Shiro leaned over and hugged him, "I love you, dad. I love you so much."

Kaito hugged him back, putting one hand on the back of Shiro's head, "I love you more than anything in the world. You were your mother's last gift to me before she left us, the best gift I have ever received.

Shiro pulled away, "Tell me more about her?"

Kaito nodded, leaning back on the couch. Shiro leaned back too, leaning his head on Kaito's shoulder. Kaito wrapped his arm around Shiro gently. Even the strongest people need to feel the love of their father from time to time.

"Your mother was the strongest woman I've ever known. It took me so long to win her heart. She was independent, just like you. I see so much of her in you. She laughed the same way you do, you have her eyes. My Rina, she just lit up every room she walked into. Everyone lusted after her, she was so beautiful. I was the lucky one she chose. I was oh so lucky."

"Would she be okay with me liking boys?"

Kaito chuckled, "She would've made you come out the moment she caught on to it. She was so headstrong and needed to have control over everything in her life. But she would've given you the biggest hug and told you how much she loves you. The first and last words she said to you were 'I love you more than life itself'. And she proved that to be true."

9:21 pm

shirogone: i did it. i told my dad

adambomb:  that's amazing!! how did it go

shirogone: great! he said he already knew but didn't say anything because he wanted me to come out on my own terms

adambomb:  i'm beyond happy for you shiro. like seriously so happy

shirogone: we only talked about it for a bit. then we got on the subject of my mom. he said she would accept me too

adambomb:  what happened to your mom? you never told me

shirogone: well.. it's a long story

adambomb:  i don't mind. if you want to tell me that is

shirogone: she died in childbirth. well shortly after i was born. she lived just long enough to hold me for the first time. for the last time. her heart stopped while she was holding me. I almost died too. it was induced labor due to complications. i don't know the details about that part. i just know the doctors told my parents that if she went through with the pregnancy then there was a chance neither of us would survive, that it was best to have a late term abortion. but mom refused to give up on me. she went through with it. then something happened a few months later and they had to force labor. they had to get me out of her. she ended up dying anyway. and since i was born so prematurely, i barely made it. but the doctors who looked after me while i was in the NICU were great. i was nursed to a healthy weight with ease. though i used to get a lot of infections because my immune system wasn't fully formed, but it got stronger over time and i'm better now. i have anemia still but we're able to treat it. i take supplements. i haven't had to get a blood transfusion in years.

adambomb:  oh my god shiro i'm so sorry. that's horrible

shirogone: don't worry about it. i still have my dad, he's all i need. he tells me stories about her. and i got lucky when it comes to my health. anemia is nothing compared to what most premature babies get. i'm lucky i even lived. i'm lucky

adambomb:  how are you able to stay so strong and positive all the time?

shirogone: practice i guess

adambomb:  i love you

shirogone: i love you too

adambomb:  i'm taking you somewhere tomorrow. if you have plans, cancel them

shirogone: lol okay. shady but okay. i'll text you when i wake up. i'm about to pass out

adambomb:  sleep well shiro. you deserve it

︵ 

September 1

Shiro was sat on his porch the next afternoon waiting for Adam to arrive. He had been out there for ten minutes before Adam's car pulled up. Shiro stood up with a smile and walked to the car, getting in happily, "Where are you taking me?"

"I'm not even sure, honestly," Adam chuckled, "I thought I would have figured it out by now but I haven't come up with anything. But I didn't want to postpone so here I am."

Shiro laughed, "Well, we have to figure something out or we'll end up parked in my driveway all night."

Adam shrugged, "As long as I'm with you," he reached over to hold Shiro's hand, "That's all that matters."

Shiro blushed a bit, looking at their hands, "You're really cheesy, you know that right?"

"Perhaps I am. But you like it."

Shiro looked up at him with a smile, "Let's do something crazy."

"Crazy isn't really our style," Adam chuckled, "We're cops."

"You're a cop, I'm a cadet. But you do have a point," Shiro thought for a moment, "Let's settle for something we wouldn't usually do."

"Any ideas?"

Shiro shook his head, "No, not really."

"Well, maybe ask one of your friends for a suggestion? You have some pretty interesting friends."

"That's definitely code for 'your friends are weird as fuck' but you're totally right," Shiro chuckled a pulled out his phone and opened up the group chat.

shirogone: quick suggest a really random slightly weird activity

leggylance: go to a drag show

shirogone: this is a date

kmskeith: so you two are officially calling them dates now?

leggylance: drag show

ayellura: shiro at a drag show? that would be hilarious

hunkinthetrunk: he did say weird and random

leggylance: drag :) show :)

katiehatesyou: lance is obsessed with rupaul. ignore him

Shiro looked up at Adam, "Lance suggested we go to a drag show."

Adam laughed, "That's certainly something we wouldn't usually do," Adam thought for a moment, "Let's do it. It'll be fun."

Shiro smiled and looked back at his phone.

shirogone: we're going to a drag show

leggylance: ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Shiro rolled his eyes as he left the group chat and opened Google, "Lance is a fucking mess."

"You just realizing this? I barely know him and I already know that."

"You haven't seen him after drinking coffee yet, he's ten times worse," Shiro leaned over to show Adam his phone, "There's this place that does drag shows every Saturday night."

Adam looked at the address, "It's not too far, let's go," he put the car in reverse and backed out of Shiro's driveway.

Adam and Shiro spent about an hour and a half at the club before leaving. They walked out of the building hand in hand.

"Well, that was fun," Shiro chuckled.

"I think that one guy was checking you out though."

"Is someone a little jealous?" Shiro smirked.

Adam's cheeks went pink, "You know I am, you don't have to point it out."

"You're cute when you're jealous," They had reached Adam's care in the parking lot. Shiro stopped to stand in front of Adam before wrapping his arms around him, "You're the only one I have my eyes on."

Adam smiled at him, "Yesterday you said that once you came out to your dad there would be nothing holding us back..."

"And now I've come out to my dad."

"So now there's nothing holding us back."

"Nothing at all."

Adam put a hand on the back of Shiro's neck, "Does that mean I can finally kiss you?"

Shiro nodded, "I want that more than anything else."

Adam closed the gap between them, kissing Shiro softly. Shiro kissed back. Both had been wanting this for so long. It felt perfect.

"Get it sisters!" One drunken guy yelled, having just stumbled out of the club. He had on a full face of exaggerated makeup and a crooked wig but wasn't in full drag.

Shiro pulled away to look at him, laughing a bit, "Fix your wig. You're gonna lose it."

The guy adjusted his wig, "Thanks, cutie," he blew a kiss before the girl he was with pulled him away to their car.

Shiro chuckled before he felt Adam pulling him closer, he looked at him, "Jealous~"

Adam looked away, embarrassed, "Shut up."

"You should be jealous when someone calls your boyfriend cute."

Adam looked back at him, "So it's official now?"

Shiro nodded, "Officially boyfriends.

"Boyfriends," Adam kissed him again.

They had never been happier than they were at that moment.

Chapter Text

September 3

7:46 pm

kmskeith:  you're still good to watch lance tomorrow right?

matttheew: yeah! it's really no bother. you don't have to keep confirming. even if i had something going on i'd just take him with me lol. i know how important this is

kmskeith:  thank you. i guess i'm just worried. this is the first time we're gonna be apart since we moved here. aside from him going to school and that party. there were plenty of distractions and loads of people those times

matttheew: i'll keep him plenty distracted. don't worry. i can take good care of him. i'll take him out to do something if i can't find a good distraction at the apartment

kmskeith:  jake really doesn't mind? i don't want to cause a rift between you guys

matttheew: keith seriously stop worrying. it's all fine. jake and i talked about this a long time ago. i explained lance's circumstances in detail. he understands. he wants to help when he can. he's even offered to watch lance by himself if it ever comes to it. he's not going to be around much tomorrow but that's not because of lance. it's completely fine.

kmskeith:  okay. i get it. i need to calm down. i just get so worried about him

matttheew: it's okay. we all do

kmskeith:  thank you so much for doing this. thank jake for me too

kmskeith:  oh when lance is around don't phase it that you're watching him. he hates that. really hates it. it makes him feel like he's going over there for you to be his babysitter. just say you're hanging out.

matttheew: just two bros hanging out. got it

kmskeith:  lance watches so many vine comps that all i could think of when i read that was "two bros chilling in a hot tub  5  feet apart cuz they're not gay" and i really want to kms for it

matttheew: you either kill yourself or get killed. whatcha gonna do

September 4

"Are you sure it's not me?" Lance asked, walking alongside Matt.

Matt had just picked Lance up from his apartment, and they were now walking up the stairs to his own.

"Lance, don't worry. Jake likes you. He's just running errands today. He might hang out with us a bit later if he gets the chance," Matt unlocked his front door before walking inside, once Lance was inside he closed and locked it, "I promise that it's not you. He wants to be here with us next time."

Lance nodded, he set his bag beside Matt's couch before sitting down, "Okay... If you promise..." he sighed, leaning back, "I don't have any classes on Tuesday's this semester so there might be a lot of next times if Keith doesn't get his schedule switched. When he first got it was before I switched up mine. We've matched things up mostly, just Tuesday's and a couple hours on Friday's. But I'll usually be out with Cara and Jayden on Friday's."

Matt sat down next to him, "That's perfectly okay, Lance. You can come here every Tuesday. You can come here as often as you want. I promise you're not inconveniencing anyone."

Lance smiled at him, "Have you talked to Pidge? Last I heard she has an admirer."

Matt chuckled, "Yeah, she told me about that. Parker. You know him?"

Lance shrugged, "I wouldn't say I know him, but I have met him. He's in AV with her, so I've talked to him a handful times. He seems nice. Definitely super smart, but he wears baggy graphic tees so that probably means he's pretty laid back."

"What does clothing have to do with someone's personality?"

"A lot. Keith wears dark colors because he's an emo fuck," Lance chuckled, "But, seriously, he's a pessimist. He always sees the bad in things. He's trained himself to try to see the good in things for my sake. But his mind always goes to the worst case first; he has to reroute his thinking. Allura wears business casual clothes most times. She's so serious. She's a cookie cutter little businesswoman. But her clothes are often pink, and she wears a lot of skirts, showing just how feminine she is. She's really princessy, honestly. Pidge typically wears distressed jeans and a tee. She tries to give the appearance that she doesn't give a fuck what you think, but deep down, she does. She wants to impress people. And you, your jeans say it all."

Matt hit him with a pillow, "Shut up about my jeans!"

Lance grabbed another pillow and hit him back, "Don't buy gay jeans and I won't call your jeans gay! Seriously, you couldn't be putting your ass any more out there than you are in those fucking jeans."

Matt just laughed, "Says you, you're wearing a crop top and shorts!"

"I do say," Lance laughed too, "I never denied that my clothes are gay as fuck."

Matt rolled his eyes, "What else do my clothes say about me?"

"You wear a lot of button-ups, you're trying too hard. You're too uptight. Sometimes you do wear tees, like today, but there aren't any creases or fold lines which means you hang them up. You put a lot of effort into your appearance. You want to impress people just like your sister."

"How do you notice these things? It's crazy!"

"I'm a psychology major! It's literally going to my job to notice these things one day."

Matt smiled, "I'd be mad at you for calling me uptight and making fun of my clothes, but I'm too impressed to be mad."

Lance smiled back, "So, what do you want to do?"

"Keith told me to get on you about your homework, so let's start with that."

Lance groaned, "Ese pequeño mierda es peor que mi madre."

Matt rolled his eyes, "Just do your homework. I've got some stuff to do too. We can do something fun after."

Lance grabbed his bag, "Okay, but I get to pick."

A couple of hours had passed when Jake came back to the apartment. He walked into the living to see Matt sitting on the couch and Lance laying on his stomach on the floor, the pair of them watching some romcom princess movie.

Jake chuckled a bit, looking at the TV, "What the hell is that?"

"I told Lance he could pick the movie," Matt shrugged, pretending not to enjoy what they were watching.

Jake nodded, he stopped when he passed the couch to quickly kiss the top of Matt's head before going to the kitchen to put away the groceries he had just bought. It was only four bags worth of stuff so he could handle it himself.

Lance was so absorbed in the movie that he hadn't even noticed Jake had come home. Matt just chuckled, getting up to go to the kitchen. He figured it would okay to leave Lance when he was only in the other room, and Lance was so hyper-fixated.

"Need help?" Matt asked from the doorway.

Jake was putting a six pack of coke bottles in the fridge, "No, I'm almost done. How have you two been?"

"Good. Lance is finally focusing on something, thank god. He has ADHD, so it's not easy. The worst times are when his mind wanders back to the fact he's not with Keith. I have to keep him focused on something. That's why it's best just to let him stay absorbed in the movie. The TV is pretty much the only thing that can hold his attention for more than twenty minutes, and that's only if it's something he's never seen before. I'm sorry you weren't able to say hi to him, I don't want to distract him."

Jake smiled as he put the bread in the pantry, "I get it, don't worry. I'm not offended. I'll talk to him when the movie's over."

Matt smiled, "You really are perfect. You know that, right?"

Jake rolled his eyes, putting the bags away, "Being understanding of the behaviors of your mentally ill friend doesn't make me perfect; it makes me a decent human being."

"It also makes you an amazing boyfriend," Matt walked over and put his hands on Jake's shoulders, standing chest to chest with him, "It means so much to me that you don't mind him being here. He's tough to handle when he's triggered."

Jake wrapped his arms around Matt's waist, holding him close, "I don't mind in the slightest. He deserves a safe place. I want to give him that. Anything that matters to you matters to me too."

Matt smiled and kissed him, placing one hand on his cheek.

Jake kissed back for a moment before pulling away, "We should be with him. Just in case."

Matt nodded, he grabbed Jake's hand and walked with him to the living room, "Keith is going to get here before the movie is over. We're watching it on their account so he can finish it at home."

"Sounds good," Jake sat down with him on the couch, "Seems like he's still pretty sucked in."

"Yeah," Matt looked at Jake, "How was your day?"

Jake sighed, "Busy. After work, I had to talk to my boss..."

Matt frowned, "How did that go?"

In June, Jake had finally quit his job at Best Buy, where he had worked with Matt before Matt quit and went home for the summer. He finally got a start on his permanent career.

"Well, it was a very serious conversation..."

"Did you lose your job?"

Jake reached over to hold Matt's hand, "Yes... Because I got a promotion."

Matt grabbed a pillow and hit him with it, "You scared me!"

Jake laughed, "I'm sorry!"

Lance looked back at them, "What's going on? Oh, hi, Jake!"

Jake chuckled, "Hi, Lance. I was just telling Matt I got a promotion today. I also got a raise."

"That's amazing!" Lance smiled, turning to sit properly, facing them.

Matt nodded, "I'm so happy for you," he held Jake's hand.

"Let's celebrate tonight," Jake said.

Lance smiled, "You two should go to a fancy restaurant! That's what me and Keith did on our anniversary."

Matt chuckled, "Maybe."

"Let's do it," Jake leaned over and kissed Matt softly.

Lance giggled, "You guys are more cute than Princess Lizzy and Jeremey."

Jake looked at him, "Who?"

Matt rolled his eyes, "The main characters of the movie."

Lance nodded, "Lizzy is sneaking out to meet Jeremy for a picnic by the lake."

Jake chuckled, "Well, keep watching so you can see how it ends."

Lance smiled, going back to lay on his stomach. He rewound a few minutes and started watching again.

"Let's watch with him," Matt said as he leaned against Jake's shoulder.

"Okay.." Jake sighed as he wrapped his arm around Matt's waist, romcoms weren't his thing, but if it made them happy he would sit through it.

Lance watched happily, immediately getting sucked back in. About 10 minutes passed before Lance sat up, "Jeremy is proposing!"

Matt chuckled, "It appears so."

"He's cute," Jake said quietly so only Matt could hear, "But not as cute as you."

Matt smiled and kissed Jake's cheek, "Did you say that just as an excuse to call me cute."

"Perhaps," Jake shrugged.

"That ring is so pretty. Matt, look at that ring!"

Matt looked back to the TV. Lance was pointing at the screen, "Oh, wow. That is pretty."

"I want a ring like that," Lance thought for a moment, "Actually, no. I want more of a band style but still a lot like Lizzy's."

Matt got an idea. He pulled his phone out of his pocket and started going through Google. Then he showed his phone to Lance, "Something like that?"

Lance turned to look, "Yeah! Exactly like that. It's so pretty. Don't you think?"

Matt nodded, "It's beautiful."

There was a knock at the door. Lance immediately ran to the door, "Keith's here!"

Jake and Matt walked down the street, hand in hand. Jake lifted Matt's hand and kissed the back of it, "I hope you two had fun today."

Matt smiled, "It was really fun. It's impossible not to have fun with Lance when he's hyper; he's entertaining. Unless he's super hyper, then he just gives you a headache."

"He's your sister's best friend, right?"

Matt nodded, "Yeah."

"Don't you have any friends of your own? I've noticed you never go out on your own. It's always with Lance or me."

Matt shrugged, "I didn't really make many friends when I started college, and all my high school friends are too far away. But it's okay. I like your friends. And it's good for Lance's mental health to have a familiar face around. Keith and I are all he has here. He's so sick; he needs the support."

Jake sighed, "You need to put yourself out there more. You can be there for Lance and have your own friends at the same time."

"I'm fine with how things are now."

"Lance may be the sick one, but you're the one using him as a crutch to support your fear of letting people in."

Matt frowned, "It's not like that. He needs me."

"And what would you be doing if he didn't?"

"I would... Well..." Matt sighed, "I'd still have no friends."

"Yeah, thought so," Jake stopped walking and stood in front of Matt, "Go to parties, football games, shit that I know you hate. It'll be worth it, I promise."

"Maybe..."

Jake kissed his forehead, "Now, time for dinner," Jake pulled him into the restaurant. Matt followed along happily.

11:58 pm

kmskeith:  thanks again for watching lance today. he had fun.

matttheew: i had fun too. btw, i have something to show you that you should definitely know for future reference

kmskeith:  what is it???

matttheew: lance said he would want a wedding ring like this

matttheew:

matttheew: there was a proposal in the movie and it got him talking about it       

matttheew: there was a proposal in the movie and it got him talking about it

kmskeith:  i will most definitely keep that in mind

matttheew: there's one more thing

kmskeith:  yeah?

matttheew: it's a long story

kmskeith:  just tell me

matttheew: okay

matttheew: so i'm sitting there

matttheew: bbq sauce on my titties

kmskeith:  fuck you

Chapter Text

September 4

"Keith, for someone who went to a Catholic school you really are shit with Catholic holidays," Lance rolled his eyes, scrolling through a webpage on his laptop.

Keith groaned and flopped down on the couch next to Lance, "For a non-Catholic Catholic you sure are shit at Catholic holidays too. You seriously have to look this shit up?"

Lance looked at him with a glare, "Yeah, because your stupid ass didn't. I know enough about it to get through the celebration. You don't know anything!"

Keith grabbed the laptop from Lance, "What's it called again? Feast Day?"

Lance rolled his eyes, grabbing the laptop back, "Virgen de Cobre Feast Day. You have to remember the whole thing. The whole holiday revolves around la Virgen de Cobra. You have to know who she is."

'Who is she?"

"The Virgin Mary, Keith. But more specifically, an image of her that was believed to protect El Cobre, Cuba. Or something like that. I don't know. It's something about three sailors looking for salt, but they find a statue of her instead, and they think she saved them from the storm. We learned about it in church back when mama still took us in Cuba," Lance started reading the Wikipedia page in front of him.

Keith leaned over his shoulder to read too, "Sailors, salt, and a statue. Got it. Remind me why I have to know all of this? Last year you left me out of it completely."

Lance looked at him again, "Mi Tia Lydia is super religious. Mama and Papa don't bother going to church because they think the American church is corrupted and has strayed away from what God would really want or some bullshit like that. But Tia Lydia still goes obsessively. So this holiday is a huge deal for her; it's a huge deal for all Cuban Catholics, especially Cuban Catholics that still live in Cuba. This is the first Virgen de Cobre Feast Day since Tia Lydia and my cousins moved here from Cuba. This holiday is as big for Cubans as Christmas. It's huge."

Keith nodded, "So, we're doing all this research to impress your tia?"

"Yes. She and Papa are already at a rift since he stopped going to church when we moved to America. Then there's the fact that I don't believe in God and Papa is okay with that. She thinks he should be 'poniéndome recto' by making me go to church again. But Papa thinks that I should be allowed to believe whatever I want to believe..." Lance looked down, "And date who I want to date..."

Keith sighed, "She's homophobic?"

Lance nodded, "Papa is ruining his relationship with his sister for my sake. Maybe if I show her that I know about my heritage and that Papa did raise me right... Tal vez ella no estará tan enojada con él."

Keith put his hand on Lance's shoulder, "It isn't your responsibility to mend their relationship-"

"But it's my fault it's broken in the first place!"

Keith grabbed the laptop from Lance and set it aside, "Lance, if she can't accept you then that's her problem. Your dad knows that. He wouldn't be standing up for you if he didn't. It isn't your fault that your tia is close-minded. You are doing nothing wrong by just being yourself."

Lance looked at Keith again, tears in his eyes, "Papa left everything to bring us to America eleven years ago. He left most of his family behind, Mama too. All for us. Because they wanted their children to have a better life than they did, now Papa is finally reunited with his siblings, but he can't be happy with them because of me. Mi tio isn't as angry as Tia Lydia, but he's still angry. He's just not as verbal about it. He judges from a distance. Mi other tia too."

"That's not your fault-"

"Mama's family wouldn't come to America because of me. They disowned her because she wouldn't disown me. We're dead to them unless Mama cuts me off."

Keith was silent for a moment, "Lance... I don't know what to say... That's so horrible..." Keith's family had mistreated him, so he knew how that felt, but he didn't know of causing pain for his own mother, and he wasn't going to pretend he did.

Lance reached over him and grabbed the laptop again, "Let's just study and get through this stupid fucking holiday."

Keith sighed, now understanding why this was so important to him, "Okay... Who wouldn't want to know more about salt-seeking sailors."

September 8

Keith stood in the back of the church alone, waiting outside the restroom for Lance to come out.

"Keith, there you are," Val said as she walked over, "Is Lance with you? I know he can get overwhelmed in crowds, I don't want him to be alone."

Keith smiled at her, "He's in the bathroom. He's doing fine, considering."

Val sighed, "He's still worried my husband's perra culo hermana?"

Keith's eyes widened a bit, surprised to hear Val use such swear words, "Y-Yeah. Still worried."

"Esa perra, Lydia. Tratar a mi hijo como si no fuera digno de esta familia solo porque él ama. Ese chico tiene más amor en su corazón que ella en su dedo meñique. Si se atreve a decir una sola cosa negativa contra mi hijo, le arrancaré la garganta. Lo juro, Keith. Ella es tan buena como muerta."

Keith just nodded, only picking up bits and pieces because she was talking so fast. But he got the general message, Lydia was good as dead if she said one more thing to hurt Lance's feelings, "He'll be okay. We just need to make it through the day. He'll be perfectly fine tomorrow, all forgotten. But only if we don't make a scene."

Val muttered a few more swears under her breath, "You're right, mijo. It will do nothing but stress him out."

Keith smiled, but then frowned, "Lydia is coming this way."

Val turned to face her, "Lydia, ¿hay algo que necesites?"

Lydia nodded, "Sí. No puedo encontrar a Angelo por ningún lado. ¿Donde esta el?"

"¿Has mirado afuera?"

Lydia rolled her eyes, "Claro que tengo. No soy un imbécil como tu hijo."

"Aprovecharás cada oportunidad para hablar contra él, ¿verdad? ¿No tienes vergüenza?" Val spoke with anger in her voice.

Keith stepped forward, grabbing Val's arm, "Val, let's not do this here. Be the bigger person. Remember what you said before."

Lydia looked at Keith, "Stay out of this. You're the one who corrupted my nephew and made him a fag like you."

Val was only more enraged, "¡Nunca le hables a mis hijos de esa manera!"

"What's going on?" Lance asked, walking out of the bathroom. His eyes were red.

Val turned around. She immediately noticed Lance had been crying, "Nada, mijo. ¿Estás bien?"

Lance just shrugged, "Bien..."

Lydia scoffed, "Blasfemos."

Lance was quiet for a moment, looking conflicted, but then he decided to let his feelings out, "No. Ya no quiero que nos trates como a una mierda todo el tiempo. Si no te gusto, bien. Pero no lo saque con mi familia. Eso es entre tú y yo. ¿Y quieres hablar de blasfemia e indecencia? Estás a punto de divorciarte por hacer trampa como una ramera. Entonces, ¿quién eres tú para juzgarme? Si no quieres considerarme familiar, bien. Yo tampoco quiero considerar a tu familia. Ahora, sal de mi maldito camino." He grabbed Keith's hand and pulled him to walk away with him, pushing against Lydia's shoulder as he did.

Keith followed along, "Okay, I only got half of that."

"I told her she's a cheating whore who has no right to judge and that if she has a problem with me, then she better leave my family out of it."

Keith nodded, "Are you sure you made the right decision? This could have made everything worse."

"Frankly, Keith, I don't fucking care," Lance pulled Keith out the front doors of the church.

Keith stopped, holding Lance's hand firmly so he'd stop too, "I'm proud of you for standing up for yourself, but you need to calm down."

Lance pulled his hand away, "I'm fine!"

"Then why are you screaming at me?" Keith grabbed Lance's hand again, "Just breathe, Lance. You were obviously crying in the bathroom. Did you have an attack?" He knew Lance's anxiety could cause him to be highly agitated, and it harder for him to control his emotions.

Lance didn't pull his hand away this time, "Only a little one..."

Keith sighed and pulled Lance into a hug, "I'll take you home in a bit, okay? But I think I should go explain things to your mom."

Lance hugged him back, putting his face in Keith's shoulder, "I was stupid to think I could fix this... I just want to go home."

Keith nodded, "I'll go tell everyone we're leaving," he pulled away and looked Lance in the eyes, "Are you going to be okay out here on your own?"

Lance nodded, "Yeah, I'll be fine."

Keith kissed Lance briefly, "I'll be right back. Wait here," he turned to go back inside. He looked around for a bit before he found Lydia and Val fighting, half the church staring and judging them as Angelo tried to calm the situation.

"¡El es un chico!"

"¡Más como un mocoso irrespetuoso!"

Keith walked up and looked at Angelo, "I knew Lance yelling at her would just make it worse..."

Angelo looked at Keith, giving up on the arguing women, "Where is he?"

Keith sighed, "He's outside. I'm taking him home. He can't handle this."

Angelo put his hand on his face, "Nunca debí dejar que ustedes dos vinieran hoy."

Keith frowned, "Lance would've come either way. He was dead set on trying to win her over. But after today, I think he's realized that's not possible."

"Just... Just take him home. He shouldn't be here."

"I was already planning on it. I just wanted to let you guys know first."

Angelo nodded, "You're always so in tune to what he needs," he smiled a bit, "I couldn't think of anyone I'd rather my son be with."

Keith couldn't help but smile. He had learned from Veronica that Angelo's approval for who his kids could date was hard to earn, "Thank you..."

"And if you two were to want to want to take things to the next level, I wouldn't be opposed to the idea."

Keith's eyes widened a bit, "A-Are you thinking about us getting engaged?"

"Are you?"

Keith's expression softened back to a smile, "Yeah, I think I am."

Angelo pat his shoulder, "You should go to him now. You know how impatient that boy can be."

Keith chuckled, "I've learned to live with it. I'll text you tomorrow to let you know if Lance still wants to come to dinner."

Angelo nodded, "There's no pressure to come. I would prefer if you didn't, to be honest."

"I'll let you know what Lance decides, but I'm pretty sure he'll want to stay home," Keith then turned to leave, quickly making his way outside.

It was an hour later when Keith walked into the bedroom to see Lance in bed, curled up under the covers. He walked over with a sighed, "Hey, baby. How are you feeling?"

Lance pulled the blankets closer to himself, staying hidden beneath them, "Everyone hates me but you. Even my family hates me."

Keith sat down, "Don't say that. Your parents love you; your siblings love you; our friends love you. I'm pretty sure Miguel and Pidge would gladly jump someone together for you. It's more than just me."

Lance peeked out from under his blankets, "I'm so hard to deal with. It pushes everyone away."

Keith ran his hand through Lance's hair, "I'm not going to lie to you, I promised I'd never do that again. Sometimes you can be difficult. But that's not your fault. No one is perfect. I'm sure you have a hard time dealing with me sometimes too. It's just how life works. Everyone has one thing about them that annoys the hell out of everyone else, but we deal with it because we love that person so much."

Lance pouted, "How are you able to handle me? I have a lot of things that annoy the hell out of everyone."

"Well," Keith thought for a moment, "You're like a fitted sheet. Fitted sheets are obviously superior to flat sheets. I hate flat sheets. They're annoying and always end up unaligned from the comforter."

Lance chuckled a bit, "I am well aware of you hatred of flat sheets, considering we don't have one on our bed."

Keith smiled, happy he was starting to make Lance smile, "Exactly. But flat sheets are way easier to fold than fitted sheets. Fitted sheets are so difficult. It always turns out looking like shit, like you just balled it up when you were honestly trying your best. But some people are amazing at folding fitted sheets; they make it look easy. Sometimes they're naturally able to do it, and sometimes they've just done it enough times that they've gotten the hang of it. Think of yourself like a fitted sheet. You're difficult for some people. A few people may have given up on you. You just need to find the people you can fold a fitted sheet. Find the people who won't give up until they learn how."

Lance nodded, "That makes sense..."

Keith leaned down and kissed Lance's forehead, "I didn't know how at first. It was hard; I made a lot of mistakes. But I was too in love with you to give up."

Lance sat up so he could hug Keith, "You would never give up on me. I know that. I'll never give up on you either."

Keith hugged him back happily, "Mi amor por ti es mayor que las estrellas."

Lance pulled away just enough to kiss Keith, Keith kissing back happily.

1:39 am

kmskeith: are any of you still up???

katiehatesyou: obviously

shirogone: barely awake but i can stay up if you need me to

hunkinthetrunk: i'm here

kmskeith: i guess allura is asleep

katiehatesyou: wait. why isn't lance in this group chat

kmskeith: because he's what i need to talk to you guys about

shirogone: did something happen???

hunkinthetrunk: is he hurt?????

kmskeith: his dad gave me his blessing today

katiehatesyou: like marriage blessing?????????????

kmskeith: yes, i'm flipping my fucking shit

hunkinthetrunk: omg!!! why didn't you tell us you were planning on proposing???

kmskeith: because i wasnt! i didnt ask for his blessing. he just gave it out of nowhere

shirogone: but you thinking about it now. you wouldn't be texting us if you werent

kmskeith: yeah kinda. i was thinking about it a tiny bit ever since matt sent me a pic of the engagement ring style lance likes. but i wasnt thinking about doing it soon

katiehatesyou: but you are now?

hunkinthetrunk: don't do it too soon. you know lance. you'll have to do something perfect

katiehatesyou: are you kidding me? he would be happy if keith wrote "marry me? check yes or no" on a napkin and gave him a ringpop

hunkinthetrunk: yeah but he'll want something super romantic and memorable

shirogone: wouldn't everybody?

kmskeith: i know i'll have to do something that'll top the bracelet i gave him when i asked him out. a ringpop and napkin arent gonna cut it

shirogone: dont rush it. give youself time to come up with a plan

hunkinthetrunk: it has to be something he could never forget

kmskeith: so you all agree that once i have a good plan that nw is a good time to do it?

katiehatesyou: you two are practically married already, let's be real

hunkinthetrunk: yeah you two are so domestic it makes me gag. and i watch romcoms!

kmskeith: well sorry for wanting my boyfriend to feel as special as he is

hunkinthetrunk: *gags*

shirogone: im too fucking tired for this shit

katiehatesyou: go to sleep then dickhead. we've got this covered

hunkinthetrunk: yeah we'll help keith form the perfect plan

shirogone: i dont trust you lil shits enough. who knows what bullshit youll plant in my brothers head. hes a dumbass

kmskeith: well fuck you too dude

katiehatesyou: well he's not wrong keith

hunkinthetrunk: dumbass, party of one

kmskeith: keep talking and you won't be invited to the wedding

katiehatesyou: nice try but lance already promised me i would be his maid of honor when he got married one day so HA

shirogone: youre all dumbasses

hunkinthetrunk: bitter, party of one

kmskeith: UGH what am i gonna do tho???

hunkinthetrunk: this gotta be royal wedding level shit

katiehatesyou: i am NOT going let you fuck up lance's proposal

shirogone: you guys forget lance gets overwhelmed. if its too big he could have an attack

hunkinthetrunk: damn you right

kmskeith: i can make it something he'll never forget and make it simple at the same time

katiehatesyou: don't focus on extravagance. just make it super romantic. he's a sucker for that shit

hunkinthetrunk: you can do that scavenger hunt proposal thing i saw on pinterest

shirogone: and leave him wandering around alone? yeah no

katiehatesyou: you're on pinterest? lame

hunkinthetrunk: theres good recipes on there pidge dont judge me

katiehatesyou: oh im totally judging

kmskeith: guys we gotta be serious. i've only got one shot at this

katiehatesyou: chill dude. it's not like you're in a rush. you don't have to do it tomorrow

hunkinthetrunk: lets just talk about it more tomorrow when allura is awake. she might have some good idea

shirogone: yes. great idea. now lets all SLEEP

kmskeith: okay. tomorrow

6:39 am

ayellura: you assholes are lucky i have my ringer off when i sleep

ayellura: you're also lucky because i have the perfect idea

Chapter Text

September 20

September 20

hunkinthetrunk: so. ive been thinking

shaydybrookes:  what about?

hunkinthetrunk: well we've been talking for about a month now. i was wondering if maybe you'd like to go on a date with me

shaydybrookes:  that sounds wonderful

hunkinthetrunk: i was thinking maybe this saturday?

shaydybrookes:  where to?

hunkinthetrunk: that's a surprise

*switching to texts with allura*

hunkinthetrunk: i did it

hunkinthetrunk: omfg i did it

hunkinthetrunk: i asked shay out

hunkinthetrunk: we have a date satrday

ayellura: omg i never thought you'd do it!!

ayellura: where are you taking her?

hunkinthetrunk: i don't know yet

hunkinthetrunk: i didn't think i'd get this far

ayellura: you asked her to go out in two days and you don't even know where you're going to take her??? hunk!!!

hunkinthetrunk: i told her it would be a surprise!!!

hunkinthetrunk: don't shade me

ayellura: oh i'm fucking shading

hunkinthetrunk: what should i do?????????

ayellura: well first you have to choose a date idea you dumbbutt

hunkinthetrunk: i have no ideas!!

hunkinthetrunk:  help me!!

ayellura: you're hopeless

hunkinthetrunk: just help me dammit

ayellura: what kind of stuff does she like?

hunkinthetrunk: well she's a baking major. she's a romantic. she facetimed me to tell me to go outside so we could watch the sunset together without actually being together. idk she just likes sappy stuff. she reads romance ya novels about falling in love and prince charming type love interests.

ayellura: one thing ive learned from keith about dealing with those types is that when in doubt a picnic never fails

ayellura: do one at sunset. watch it together for real this time

hunkinthetrunk: okay that's a good idea. i'll make the food myself.  cooked for her once and she loved it

ayellura: see, you can plan some things by yourself

hunkinthetrunk: shut up i'd be lost without you

ayellura: i am pretty perfect huh

hunkinthetrunk: don't let it get to your head

ayellura: too late ;)

September 22

7:21 pm

Hunk was just finishing setting things up when Shay pulled up in the parking lot. He recognized her car instantly and stood. He had a blanket laid out in the grass with pillows and a cooler with all the food he had made.

Shay walked over with a smile, "I was wondering what there would be to do at the park this time of day."

Hunk smiled back, "I thought maybe we could watch the sunset together. Actually together, not on the phone."

"That sounds perfect," Shay sat down, Hunk sitting next to her, "If we stay late enough we may get to see the stars."

"If that's what you want then that's what we'll do."

Shay smiled, "What's in the basket?"

Hunk grabbed the basket and opened it up, he named the foods as he took them out, "Turkey sandwiches with green goddess dressing, spiced pistachios, and orange ice tea; all made by me. Then my mom made her signature chocolate chunk pumpkin seed cookies. I know it sounds weird but it's good, I love them."

"Wow, you really went all out. You didn't have to do that for me."

Hunk looked her in the eyes, "I wanted to," his gaze drifted down to the ground, "I also wanted to ask you... I wanted to ask if you don't hate me by the end of this then you might be my girlfriend?"

Shay's face lit up with excitement, "Yes! That would be amazing."

Hunk looked back up with a chuckle, "So, boyfriend and girlfriend now.."

"Boyfriend and girlfriend," Shay leaned over and hugged him.

Hunk hugged her back. They hugged for a few moments before Hunk pulled away, "Are you thirsty? The orange tea is really good. It's my nan's recipe."

Shay nodded, watching as Hunk poured them each a cup,  "I'd love to try it. One day I'll make you my grandmother's raspberry tea. It's delicious."

Hunk handed her a cup, "I'm sure it is."

Shay took a sip, "Oh my god, this is heavenly," she drank some more.

Hunk laughed, "I brought plenty, have as much as you want."

The two talked and ate as the sunset, the world grew dark around them. Soon the stars began to shine. The pair laid down on the grass to gaze at them, whispering to each other about what the stars meant and how vast the universe is. They were happy. Happy together.

Chapter Text

September 28

3:27 pm

"I promise you, Jude, you're doing it wrong."

"Shut up! I know what I'm doing, Parker!"

The two were sat in the AV room, Jude re-wiring a circuit board. And Parker was right, he was doing it wrong. Though, they both jumped in their seats when someone appeared out of nowhere and tapped them on their shoulders. Parker even fell.

Pidge started laughing, "Your face, oh my god! It's so easy to scare you losers," she held a hand out towards Parker, still laughing, "You scream like a girl."

Parker frowned, grabbing her hand and pulling himself up off the ground, "That's sexist."

Pidge shrugged, "Perhaps. What are you guys working on?" she looked over at the circuit board, "Whoa, who fucked that up?"

Parker pointed at Jude, "I told him he was doing it wrong!"

Jude groaned. If Pidge said it was wrong, then it was wrong. No questions asked. "How do I fix it?"

Pidge just pushed him out of his seat and sat down, "By starting over," she started undoing everything he had done, "Let me just undo everything you did and then I'll walk you through getting it rewired."

Jude crossed his arms, "I really messed up so bad that we have to start from scratch?"

Pidge shook her head, "Not necessarily. You did a lot of it right. But you did the first part wrong and that threw everything else off."

Parker grabbed a chair and sat next to her, "Well, when you're done, maybe we can all hang out?"

"And do what?" Pidge glanced at him before looking back at the board.

"Um..." Parker looked down.

Jude rolled his eyes, "Let's go to Parker's house. You haven't met his dads yet. Parker talks about you all the time."

Pidge blushed a tiny bit, "You talk about me?" She still looked at the board.

Parker's face went red as a tomato, "Well, y-yeah. Yeah. I talk about both of you. You're my friends," he glared at Jude.

Jude just chuckled at their reactions, "So, are we going to do it or not?"

Pidge nodded, "Yeah, sounds good."

3:21 pm

katiehatesyou: i'm hanging out with parker and jude at parker's house today

katiehatesyou: apparently parker's parents really want to meet me because he talks about me so much

matttheew:  *stands on rooftop* he likES YOU

katiehatesyou: we dont know that for sure. yeah, he thinks im pretty and talks about me a lot. and brings me candy. and helps me avoid noah. and he said im his favorite person in the school next to jude. but that could all be friend things

matttheew:  -_- b r o

katiehatesyou: b r o

katiehatesyou: and lets just pretend for a seconf that he does like me. it would never work

matttheew:  dont tell me you're still worried about that

katiehatesyou: im ace and pretty much all guys just want one thing

matttheew:  parker knows youre ace. he knows what to expect

katiehatesyou: well. we're at his house now. ttyl

matttheew:  i wouldnt lead you wrong about this. trust me. he likes you

Pidge put her phone in her pocket as Jude parked in Parker's driveway. He's the only one of the three with a car. Parker leaned forward from his seat in the backseat, "Okay, papa isn't home yet. He never gets home before 4:30. But dad is home. And he can be.. Well, he embodies resting bitch face. But I promise he's nice once you get to know him. He just has his own special way of conveying that type of stuff."

Pidge laughed, "I'm sure it'll all be fine, dude. Let's just get inside," she unbuckled her seat belt and got out of the car, the boys doing the same.

Parker led the way to the front door and unlocked it before letting the other two inside, "Welcome to mi casa. That's French for front door."

Jude rolled his eyes, he looked at Pidge, "He's not actually that stupid. He's quoting Disney movies again."

Pidge nodded, "Big Hero 6. I know it."

"Good," Parker said, "You have some culture, unlike some people."

Jude glared at him, "Disney movies suck."

"You only say that because you're a big baby and they make you cry."

"They do not!" Jude crossed his arms.

Pidge just laughed a bit, "You two bicker like an old married couple."

Jude blushed, "We do not! Shut up!"

"Dude," Parker said, "She's making a joke. Quit being so sensitive."

"I'm not- Ugh!" Jude left the room.

"Where are you going?" Pidge called after him.

"The bathroom. Why don't you just have Parker take you on the grand tour while you wait."

Parker listened to the bathroom door slam shut before looking at Pidge, "I have literally never seen him that upset and we've been best friends since eighth grade."

Pidge sighed, "He's entitled to a bad day. He's probably still upset over that circuit board. There's probably stuff he's been bottling up and the board was his breaking point. I know that from experience. When everything has been building up for so long the smallest things start to seem like the end of the world."

Parker nodded, "Yeah, I think we all do that. I've never seen him like this but he's seen me like that at least a dozen times. Let's just give him some time to cool off."

"Why don't you introduce me to your dad? If Jude isn't out by the time we're done then we can just wait for him."

Parker smiled, "Yeah, let's do that," he hesitated but then he grabbed Pidge's hand, "He's probably upstairs," he led her to the stairs.

Pidge followed behind him, looking at their hands, "What's his name again?"

"Brian. And papa's name is Marcus."

"Do you all have the same last name? I know some don't, with them being gay and you being adopted..." Pidge began to think that was a bit insensitive but it was too late to take it back.

"Yeah, they took the name they gave me actually. They couldn't decide who would change their name. So, they decided they would take the name of whatever child they ended up adopting so we would all have the same last name. But I didn't have a last name when they adopted me. I didn't have any name."

"Wait," Pidge cut him off, "How did you not have a name? Everyone has a name."

Parker stopped at the top of the stairs, "I was left on the steps of a police station when I was a baby. No one knows where I came from. I didn't have a name. There was no information on me. There were no missing children matching my description. No one came looking for me. I was just discarded there because my parents obviously didn't want me. So when dad and papa adopted me they got to name me. But they still had the issue of choosing a last name. Neither of them wanted to take the others but they still wanted to share a last name. They ended up choosing an old Argentinean name. Dad is Argentinean. When people ask what I am I just say I am too because we don't know exactly. I'm obviously Hispanic, just look at me. But everything else is a mystery."

Pidge looked down, "I can't imagine what that's like... I'm sorry."

Parker shrugged, "Don't worry about. It's life, nothing you can do about it."

"Let's just go talk to your dad."

"Yeah, let's go," Parker pulled her to Brian's office, "Dad, I brought friends home."

Brian looked up, he had been putting together their monthly budget. He's the one that takes care of the family's finances, "Oh, is this that girl you're always talking about?"

Parker nodded, "Yes, her name is Pidge."

"Right, right. I forgot," Brian stood and walked over to the pair, "Nice to meet you, Pidge," he held out his hand.

Pidge shook his hand, letting Parker's hand go to do so, "You can call me Katie if you want. All my friends' parents do."

"I'll call you whatever you want to be called," Brian looked at Parker, "Is Jude here too?"

Parker nodded, "Yeah, he's in the bathroom. I'm going to show Pidge around while we wait for him."

"Did you do your homework already?"

Parker rolled his eyes, "Yes, dad. I did it while Jude and Pidge were working on a circuit board in the AV room."

Brian nodded, "Alright, you two go on then."

"Okay, bye," Parker grabbed Pidge's hand again and pulled her out of the room, back to the stairs, "He likes you, I can tell."

"He doesn't even know me," Pidge followed him to the bottom floor.

Parker smiled at her, blushing a bit, "I told them about you. Remember?"

Pidge smiled back, "Of course."

The two turned the corner and saw Jude coming out of the bathroom. He smiled at them, "Hey, sorry about earlier. I was just being sensitive... My anxiety..."

Pidge frowned, "You get bad anxiety?"

Jude nodded, "Generalized anxiety disorder. I was diagnosed when I was seven when they tested me for ADHD. I don't have ADHD, they found out."

"I'm sorry, that sucks."

Jude shrugged, "I grew out of the panic attacks. I'm okay. I just can get really irritable when my anxiety peaks."

Pidge smiled softly, understanding a better now, "Lance does that too, I get it."

"Sometimes he gets anxious for no reason so it can be hard to tell the difference," Parker said.

Jude nodded, "The textbook definition is a constant state of anxiety or fear. My meds keep me pretty level but it still flares up from time to time. But it's okay. Other people have it way worse."

Pidge still frowned, "Don't invalidate yourself. Your problems are just as real as anyone else's. Just because someone has it worse doesn't mean what you're going through isn't super shitty."

Jude smiled and walked closer to her, pulling her into a hug, "You always know just what to say."

Pidge chuckled, hugging him back, "I've had to give many speeches like this, you get used to it."

Jude let her go, "Let's go up to Parker's room. Did he show you that yet?"

Pidge shook her head, "He didn't really show me anything yet, I talked to his dad instead. But that's okay, you two can show me around later."

Parker nodded, "My room is in the basement. I have the whole thing to myself," he walked to the basement door and opened it, "Go on down."

Pidge walked down first. Parker's room was really basic, not many decorations. But he did have a huge bed, a couch, a nice TV, a computer desk, and a work station for all his engineering stuff. Pidge looked around, "It's cool down here."

Jude nodded, "He just moved back down here after remodeling, that's why all his posters are down."

"Yeah, I'm too lazy to put them back up," Parker chuckled.

Pidge walked over to the couch and flopped down, "Well, losers, what are we going to do?"

4:38 pm

Pidge yawned, stretching out on Parker's bed. The three had played video games for the past hour. Pidge had lost every round and now the boys were playing on their own. She had tapped out.

Parker glanced back at her before looking back at the TV, "You can take a nap if you want. We don't mind."

Jude's phone went off, "Or maybe I should take her home, that's my mom calling."

Parker groaned as he paused the game, "Lame!"

Jude rolled his eyes and grabbed his phone, answering it as he stood. He walked upstairs to talk to her.

Pidge got off the bed and walked to the back of the couch, "I shouldn't stay much longer anyway. Mom is making me dinner. She's still on that health food kick and is super excited about this recipe she found on Pinterest."

Parker chuckled, "Well, I'm sure it'll be great..." he looked down, "Before you go though..."

Pidge raised an eyebrow, "Yeah?"

"Well, I was wondering..."

"Wondering what?"

"If maybe.. Maybe you would want to go on a date with me?"

Pidge smiled, "When?"

Parker looked back up with a smile, "Is that a yes?"

Pidge rolled her eyes, "Only if you stop being a dweeb and plan something. You asked me out so you plan it, those are the rules."

Parker just chuckled, "Okay, I can manage that."

"Did you just ask her out?" Jude asked from the bottom of the stairs.

Pidge looked over at him with a smile, "Yes, he did."

Jude smiled a tiny bit, "That's.. cool. Yeah, so cool. But, I hate to pull you love birds apart, but mom really needs me home."

Pidge nodded, "Let's head out then," she looked at Parker, "Bye," she leaned down to kiss his cheek.

Jude looked at Pidge, then at Parker, then back at Pidge. He watched as she walked over to him, then looked back at Parker, "Bye."

Parker waved to them as they started to go up the stairs, "Drive safe!"

Pidge and Jude made their way out to the car, soon on the road back to Pidge's house.

Pidge could tell something was wrong, "Is your anxiety bad again?"

"No! I'm fine. Why are you even asking? I'm perfectly fine. You're just reading too much into it."

Pidge nodded, "You just seem a little... tense.."

"I'm fine!" Jude snapped.

Pidge frowned, sinking down in her seat, "Sorry I asked..."

Jude immediately felt bad, "No, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I shouldn't have snapped. I didn't mean to take my stress out on you. That was a dick move. I'm sorry."

Pidge smiled again, reaching over to put her hand on his shoulder, "It's fine, Jude. I just want to make sure you're doing okay. You're my friend and I want to be there for you if something is wrong. You can tell me anything."

"There's nothing to tell..."

Pidge knew that was bullshit, but she didn't push it, "Okay.. But just know the offer still stands if you change your mind. I'll always be here."

Jude nodded, "Thank you... Really.. But I'm fine. Perfectly fine."

Perfectly fine.

8:27 pm

matttheew:  so how did it go with parker today?

katiehatesyou: he asked me out

matttheew:  and you didn;t tell me!!!

katiehatesyou: it only happened 4 hours ago!!

matttheew:  that's foUR WHOLE HOURS YOU WHORE

katiehatesyou: that's sexist

matttheew:  ugh

matttheew:  i told he likes you

katiehatesyou: you were right

matttheew:  sorry can you repeat that i couldn't hear you

katiehatesyou: this is texting you dumbass

matttheew:  what was that? i can't read all of a sudden. i don't know

katiehatesyou: i hate you. i really hate you

matttheew:  i hate you too kaitlyn

katiehatesyou: fuck you

matttheew:  well if youre gonna bring it up jake is planning something tonight ;)

katiehatesyou  blocked matttheew

Chapter Text

October 7

7:38 am

kmskeith opened a group chat between katiehatesyou, matttheew, and shirogone

kmskeith: okay

kmskeith: cancel any plans you have today because i need h e l p

shirogone: i have no plans any way :/

matttheew: what's going on???

kmskeith: can you watch lance today?

matttheew: of course! why?

kmskeith: i want to go ring shopping today

shirogone: you need me to go with you?

kmskeith: yes. pidge too. she's his best friend and you're my best friend so you two are the ones i need

matttheew: there's a 99.99% chance she's still asleep

shirogone: well she'll see these when she wakes up

kmskeith: i guess i can't go right now anyway. lance is still asleep. he went out with cara and jayden last night and didn't get back till 4am

matttheew: did he turn into a party boy?

kmskeith: kinda? they drag him out almost every saturday. i don't think he even likes going

shirogone: what makes you think that?

kmskeith: he just doesn't seem to be very happy when he's about to leave and comes home wasted. sometimes he's like seriously fucking trashed

matttheew: holy shit. are you sure it's good for him to be getting that drunk that often?

kmskeith: i don't know?? what's a normal amount to drink?? you have me worried now!

shirogone: it's not that bad. it's just social drinking on weekends. it's not like he's drinking on school nights

matttheew: why don't you go to the next party with him? see what's going on with your own eyes

kmskeith: i can't. i just can't be around that stuff. when lance comes home it's a solid reminder of why i can't go with him

matttheew: what do you mean?

kmskeith: i didn't tell you because i'm embarrassed. but im not gonna lie to you. im a former addict. i can't go to parties like that. drugs and alcohol everywhere. i don't trust myself

shirogone: maybe matt should go?

matttheew: i can totally go! i'll just find out where the party is and show up. pretend it's a coincidence. we go to the same school so it wouldn't be that weird for us to end up at the same frat party

kmskeith: that's probably a good idea...

shirogone: i just want to make sure he's not being pressured into anything he doesn't want to do

kmskeith: lance has become a bit of a pushover. he lets people walk all over him. in high school i never noticed but thinking back we were always having to stick up for him or encourage him to say no to people

matttheew: well you have to keep in mind his history

shirogone: what do you mean

matttheew: zack had lance wrapped around his finger. turned him into his little pet. lance wouldn't do anything without zack's permission. you guys weren't around yet. you don't know how bad it was. lance was completly isolated by the time keith came along because zack made him push everyone away. he had him brainwashed into subservience. he doesn't know how to say no anymore. with zack saying no wasn't an option

kmskeith: god everytime someone brings that piece of shit up i want to punch something

matttheew: lance didn't reach out to anyone the entire month of july. i remember because pidge was so worried about him. she would text and he would only send short replies back, making it impossible to have a real conversation. apparently the only person he ever talked to regularly is keith. once lance told me that if keith hadn't had come into his life he would've stayed with zack. but he was starting to crush on keith, someone he knew wouldn't treat him wrong. so he finally worked up the courage to break up with him

kmskeith: and it was another few weeks after that that lance finally let me in. he was still so scared of being hurt. that's why i had to play the friendship game. he made me prove myself

shirogone: every time we talk about him as a group someone says something the rest of us didn't know and it just makes the way he behaves make so much more sense. when you see the whole picture it's a shock that he's not worse than he is

kmskeith: well I've been collaborating with his therapist and we're doing our best to help him work through the trauma he's been through. lance signed a ROI that gives her permission to give me information on his treatment without violating doctor patient confidentiality. i should probabl tell her about all of this. she hasn't done much work with him about zack. it's mostly been the effects of anna, and some of carson since he caused lance to lose months of his recovery

shirogone: you should definitely say something about it

matttheew: when is lance going out again?

kmskeith: i think tonight. he doesn't have classes tomorrow

matttheew: jfc 2 days in a row?

shirogone: scrap the last plan. when you're watching lance just ask him what he's doing tonight and if he says a party then ask to tag along

matttheew: that sound work. and that'll give you 2 a little longer to search for a good ring

kmskeith: well good thing you sent that pic of the one he likes because i would be completely lost without it

katiehatesyou: why are you assholes blowing up my phone at 8am

shirogone: keith needs us to go ring shopping with him

katiehatesyou: holy shit! are you going to propose soon??

kmskeith: not like now or anything. i just want to get it now so i know i have it ready. i'm still trying to work out the details of how i'm going to ask him. it's a marriage proposal. it has to be fucking perfect

matttheew: okay. game plan. i watch lance today and make sure there's nothing more to this whole party boy situation. shiro and pidge go ring shopping with keith and get the perfect ring. i'll bring lance home after the party. you should have found a good hiding place by then

katiehatesyou: wait what party boy situation?

shirogone: just scroll up

kmskeith: we still need a cover story

katiehatesyou: just tell him shiro is having boy problems and needs dude bro support. and dont tell him i'm with you guys. he doesn't need to know that. it would make the story less believable. if he asks, i was home in bed all day binge watching netflix

shirogone: yeah that should work. just tell him i want to keep it private. if we're not giving details then we cant contradict each other

kmskeith: perfect

matttheew: i just told jake our plan so he knows i'm going to be out tonight

kmskeith: it's probs gonna be a few hours before lance wakes up. he only went to bed like 4 hours ago

katiehatesyou: yeah me too but i'm awake

matttheew: you run on 4 hours of sleep on average

katiehatesyou: okay that's fair

2:13 pm

kmskeith: okay. me and lance about to leave for matt's. he's still feeling his hangover

matttheew: jake just left so it'll be just me and lance

shirogone: i'm ready to go whenever you guys are

katiehatesyou: i'm ready

kmskeith: why don't you two head on over. i'll be at the store by the time you get here

shirogone: okay i'm coming to pick you up pidge

katiehatesyou: okay

2:41 pm

Keith stood outside the jewelry store as he waited for Shiro and Pidge to show up. He had been standing there for ten minutes when the pair of them finally walked up to the door, "Finally, you're here."

Pidge looked at Shiro, "I told you he'd be freaking out."

"I am not!"

Shiro sighed, "It's okay to be nervous, Keith. It's a big decision you have to make today. But we're here to help."

Keith took a deep breath to calm himself down, "Okay... Okay," he pulled out his phone and showed them the picture of the ring Matt had sent him nearly four weeks prior, "Apparently Lance said this is the kind of the ring he would want. Matt, being the genius he is, was able to use a proposal on TV to get Lance talking about it."

Pidge chuckled, "I'm not sure if I'd call that dumbass a genius."

"It doesn't matter what he is," Shiro said, "We have a picture of the ring. Let's get in here and find a good one."

The three walked inside. Pidge spoke, "If you already know what to get then why are we here?"

Keith shrugged, "I just feel better knowing you two are here. So, moral support, I guess."

Shiro pat Keith's shoulder, "Do you know his ring size?"

Keith nodded, "I measured his finger when he was knocked out drunk so he wouldn't find out. 8 ¾."

Pidge walked over to one of the cases of rings, "I know he always said he likes traditional rings. So the silver with white diamonds is definitely the colors he wants. We might not be able to find that exact ring in the picture but we should be able to find something close to it."

Shiro looked at the rings too, "You know, you can buy rings online now. You could've asked Matt where he got the picture and bought the exact ring."

"Yeah, I know," Keith said, "But picking it out in the store is special."

Pidge smiled at him, "Lance's romantic side has definitely worn away at your lazy side."

Keith smiled back, "Even though he's not here for this part everything about this has to be special and perfect. I can't buy him a ring online. We're doing everything the traditional way. That's the way he wants it. I know him well enough to know that."

"Is he going to wear a dress down the aisle too?" Shiro asked, chuckling.

"No, he's going to wear a white suit," Pidge said as she continued to look for a good ring, "He's been planning his wedding in his head since before I met him."

Keith looked at her, "What else did he say?"

Pidge shrugged, "He wants bluebells and white lilies for the flowers. He said I would be his maid of honor and I would wear something that matches the flowers. He said I didn't have to wear a dress if I didn't want to, I probably will though because it would make him happy. Hm... What else... I'll tell you if I remember any other details. Just keep looking at rings."

Keith nodded, looking back at the case, "Did he say anything about the proposal?"

"Just that if he was the one to propose he would get the parents' blessing first, and that if his fiance were to be the one to propose he would hope they would do the same. It's really important to his family to follow all those traditions."

Keith smiled, "I already got that. I didn't even have to ask for it."

Shiro tapped Keith's shoulder with one and pointed at a ring with the other, "What about this one? It's not too expensive and looks a lot like the pic."

Keith leaned over and looked at it. It was a lot like the ring in the picture. The one in the picture had one row of large, circular diamonds in the middle and smaller diamonds above and below it. This ring had square-shaped diamonds, but the sized rows were the same. Keith looked back and forth between the picture and the ring a few times. Everything other than the stone shape was exactly the same, "I think this is the one."

Pidge smiled, "I think so too."

︵‿︵‿୨♡୧‿︵‿︵

The three walked out of the store with smiles on their faces. The store had to order the ring in Lance's size but it wouldn't take too long.

Shiro held the door open for the other two, "You can keep the ring at my place so Lance doesn't find it. I'll tell my dad and Adam ahead of time so they don't get the wrong idea if they find it in my room."

Keith nodded, "Good idea. Thank you."

Pidge checked the time on her phone, "It's only 3:30. Lance and Matt won't be going to that party for hours."

"Yeah, I should text Matt to check-in," Keith pulled out his phone.

kmskeith: how's it going?

matttheew: great! i have an invite to the party tonight. he's doing good without you, so don't worry about that. he's made a lot of progress the past 2 months. did you get the ring?

kmskeith: it's been ordered. i'm going to keep it at shiro's until it's time

matttheew: good idea. do you want to talk to lance? he always avoids his phone when he's here so i'll have to give him my phone. he says being on his phone here stresses him out because he's constantly having to see what time it is

kmskeith: yeah, i'll call you

Calling matttheew...

Ringing...

Ringing...

Connecting...

"Keith! How is everything going with Shiro?"

"It's all going fine, Lancey. Don't worry about it. I was just calling to check on you."

"Well, you don't worry about it because I'm fine. Matt is going to go out with me, Cara, and Jayden tonight! It's going to be so much fun!"

"Yeah, sounds like it. Do you want to just stay over there until the party? I can come get you after if you can't get another ride."

"Sounds good to me. Can you drop off an outfit for me though?"

"Sure. Just text me what you want so I don't forget."

"Okay. I love you."

"I love you too, Lancey. Have fun. Check-in with me when you can."

"I'll try. Bye."

"Bye."

Keith hung up the phone. He hated being apart from Lance for this long when Lance wasn't with his family, but he knew he was safe with Matt. He looked back at Shiro and Pidge, "The second plan is in motion. Matt got invited to the party tonight. He's going to stay there until after the party but I'm going over for a bit to drop off an outfit."

"Good," Pidge said, "If anyone is pressuring Lance then Matt will stop it."

Keith sighed, "I really hope they're not. Cara and Jayden are the only friends he's made in school. I want more than anything for him to have good friends."

Shiro smiled, "I know it's not the same with us being so far apart, but he'll always have us."

Keith smiled back, "We appreciate it."

Pidge started walking again, "Well, let's get going. You have an outfit to drop off and I have a loser boyfriend to get back to."

Keith smirked at her, "Right, that guy Lance told me about. The one you insisted wasn't interested in you."

Pidge rolled her eyes, "Shut up. We're going on a date tonight and I've got to get ready. We're going to Jude's after."

"What a cock block," Shiro said.

Pidge looked at him, "Shiro."

"What?" Shiro asked, then he realized, "Oh, I forgot. Ace."

Pidge nodded, looking forward again as they reached Shiro's SUV, "Jude doesn't like to third-wheel, he gets uncomfortable when Jude and I get all, yaknow, coupley. But we don't like leaving him out so we decided to go to his place after so we get couple time and friend time in the same night. It's my first time going over. Apparently, his parents are strict and he has to give like a two weeks advance or some shit to have friends over so they can 'prepare'. It's bullshit, really."

Keith frowned, "Well, I hope you guys I have. I'll text you when I figure out this drinking situation Lance has going on."

"You better," Pidge said, "Smack the shit out of him for me if he's just being a stupid dickhead."

"I think I would go to jail for that so I'll pass."

Pidge shrugged then looked at Shiro, "Are we going or not."

"I was waiting for you!" Shiro rolled his eyes and got in the car, "Bye, Keith."

"Bye," Keith watched the two drive away before walking to his motorcycle and heading home to get Lance the outfit he requested. He always wore more revealing clothing to parties. Keith didn't like that very much but he wasn't going to start telling Lance what to do. So he just stated his disapproval one time and left it at that.

"I just don't think it's smart. You're going to be drinking, there's a lot of hot people around. Trust me, I know what's going through gay guys' heads when they see you dressed like this."

"You trust me, Keith. Let people think whatever the hell they want. Nothing is going to happen. I'll be with Cara and Jayden the whole time so I'll be safe if someone makes a move on me. And you know I won't make a move on anyone else, right? You trust me, don't you?"

"Yes, I trust you... Wear whatever you want, Lancey. I just wanted you to know how I feel about it."

 He got Lance the shorts, thigh highs, and crop top he wanted before dropping it off at Matt's. He stayed just long enough to have a moment with Lance before heading back to the apartment, leaving Lance in Matt's hands.

10:14 pm

Lance and Matt walked into the party together, Lance pointing to the back corner where his two friends stood, "That's them back there," he grabbed Matt's arm and maneuvered through the crowd of drunken college students, "Cara! Jayden!"

The two turned to look at him, smiles on their faces and drinks in hand, "There you are, you're late!" Cara said.

Lance and Matt finally reached them, "Yeah, I know. I brought a friend. This is Matt."

Cara raised an eyebrow, "Your best friend's older brother?"

Lance nodded, "Yeah, he's my friend too. I'm over at his apartment every Tuesday. I told you that."

"Yeah, but you never said a name. You just said a friend," Jayden said before turning to look at Matt, "Nice to meet you, I'm Jayden."

Matt smiled at him, "Nice to meet you too. Lance has told me a bit about you guys," he turned to Cara, "You must be Cara then."

"Yeah, yeah," Cara waved him off before grabbing Lance's hand, "Let's get you a drink," she pulled him along.

Jayden watched the two walk away before looking at Matt, "She's not usually that rude. She just has something she's been dying to tell him."

Matt nodded, "Okay, glad it's nothing I did," he looked over to where Lance and Cara were talking as Lance poured himself a drink, "I think I'm going to get a drink too."

Jayden nodded, watching Matt walk off. He looked at him skeptically but just stayed standing in the corner. He was the designated driver and didn't need to go get a drink.

Matt went to pour himself a drink while listening in on Cara and Lance. They were going on about some guy they always bump into at the library and how he had cornered her to make a move on her. Matt figured that conversation wasn't relevant to what he was here for so he stopped eavesdropping. He just stood by the counter with the drinks for about ten minutes until Lance walked over.

Lance got himself another drink, "Why did you ask to come if you're just going to stand here all night?"

Matt chuckled, "Okay, it's only been ten minutes and I was waiting for you. And I came because I have nothing better to do tonight."

Lance was about to say something but he was cut off by a guy approaching them, "There's that fucking fag again."

Lance turned around, seeing two men standing in front of him, "Lucas.. Taylor.."

One of them stepped forward, the one named Lucas, "I thought we told you not to come back here."

Matt frowned and stepped to stand in front of Lance, "You can't tell him what to do."

Taylor chuckled, "This is our party dipshit. Let me guess, you're his little boyfriend."

"Actually, I'm just his friend. Not that that is any of your concern."

At this point, Jayden had walked over. He put his hand on Taylor's chest, "Back off before I make you."

Lucas shoved Jayden, "You better check yourself, midnight."

Lance then stepped forward with two drinks in hand before dumping them on the two frat boys' heads, "Leave me and my friends the fuck alone," he didn't usually stand up for himself but he knew he was well protected and he wasn't going to put up with that racism and homophobia.

Taylor was about to lunge for Lance when Jayden stepped between them and punched him in the face before he could. A full fight broke out between the two but Lance wasn't amused. He just rolled his eyes and walked back to get himself a new drink since he had just dumped his.

Matt backed away and looked at Lance, "Does this happen often?"

Lance nodded, "I'm usually not this involved, but Jayden is a brawl waiting to happen," he chugged his drink before pouring himself a new one.

Matt frowned, "Don't you think you're going a little fast?"

"No faster than usual," Lance drank that one a little slower.

Matt sighed and got himself another drink. He didn't want to keep the one he had before since he had left it unattended.

Lance walked past the two boys fighting on the ground, drinking more as he walked. Matt watched him go, figuring he didn't need to hover over him every second. That and it seemed like Lance was drinking like that willingly, no one had told him to drink but he had already had three.

Matt kept a safe distance from Lance during the party; staying close enough to keep an eye on him and interact him but far enough that he wasn't hovering over him. He watched Lance continue to drink. He took an hour break from the alcohol to drink some water. Then he got another alcoholic drink and went outside. Matt followed him out, going to sit next to him on the steps.

"How are you feeling, buddy?"

"Fucking superb," Lance threw his empty cup on the ground. He had sobered up a bit during that hour of drinking water, but only a bit.

"You don't look like it," Matt sighed, "You can tell me, Lance. How are you really feeling?"

"Honestly..." Lance paused, looking at the ground, "I really don't want to be here. It's the same shit every week. Listen to gossip about people I don't even know, drink, watch Jayden get in a fight, drink, want to go home, drink. It just goes on and on and on and on-"

"On and on, I get it... Have you told Cara and Jayden you don't want to come?"

Lance shook his head, "It's what they want to do. They're happy. I don't want to be the one to fuck that up."

"You wouldn't be fucking anything up. Just tell them you would rather not come. They can go on without you. They'll still be happy and you can spend your evening doing what makes you happy."

Lance scoffed, "Like what? Watching Netflix with Keith like every other fucking night. At least I'm getting out and doing something right now."

"Well, have you told Keith you want to go out more?"

Lance frowned, "...No."

Matt sighed, "Lance, you have to tell people what you want. We can't read your mind. Everyone thinks you're happy. They will continue to think so if you don't tell them otherwise."

Lance wrapped his arms around himself, "I don't want to burden anyone..."

Matt took off his jacket and put it over Lance's shoulders, "You won't be burdening anyone. We want you to be happy. I don't know your friends very well but I'm sure they'll understand."

Lance looked over at him, "I just want to go home."

"I'll take you home. I only had half a drink two hours ago; I can drive."

Lance nodded, "Okay..."

The two went inside and tracked down Cara and Jayden, who were in the upstairs bathroom cleaning a cut on Jayden's cheek.

"Hey!" Cara said, smiling at them, "You ran off."

Lance nodded, "Yeah, we're leaving," he looked down.

Jayden frowned, "Why?"

"I just.. I don't want to be here..." Lance kept looking down, refusing to look at them, "I never want to be here. I hate parties."

"Why didn't you tell us?" Cara asked as she stood, "We wouldn't keep dragging you along if we knew."

Lance shrugged, not answering. So Matt answered for him, "Lance has an issue with telling people what he wants."

Cara walked over and gave Lance a hug, "I'm sorry... But you can tell us anything. Okay? I want you to know that."

Lance nodded, hugging her back, "I know."

Jayden watched as Cara let him go, "What else haven't you told us?"

Lance tensed up a bit, "There's one thing... One really, really big thing. Something I didn't want to tell anyone."

"Does it have to do with a girl named Anna?" Cara asked.

Lance looked up at them with wide eyes, "How do you know that name?"

"You kept saying it the first time we got you drunk," Jayden said, "We promised Keith we wouldn't say anything because he told us it was something you didn't want anyone to know about."

Lance looked back down, "You won't believe me... So I guess I'll just send you the articles and explain more after that."

"Articles?" Jayden asked, "Whatever happened made it on the news?"

Lance nodded, "Not TV news, just articles. Everyone in my home town knows what happened. People were always asking me about it, playing pranks on me, full-on harassing me. I didn't want anyone to know because I wanted to get away from it all. It was horrible. First, there was the accident when I was 13, then the Anna incident, then the Carson incident. And once that was all over, nobody would let me forget it. Like, I get it, I should be dead right now. No need to rub it in my face all the fucking time."

Cara frowned, a bit confused by the last part but figured she should let him explain tomorrow, "No matter what happened I want you to know you'll still be our friend."

Lance smiled a bit, looking back up at them, "I'll send you the articles tomorrow."

Cara gave him a second hug, "Okay. Be safe on the way home."

Lance nodded before pulling away, "We will be."

Matt then took Lance home, it didn't take them long to get there.

Lance went to get ready for bed while Keith and Matt talked by the front door.

"How did it go?" Keith asked.

"Well," Matt said, "He was only drinking because he was miserable. He really doesn't like going. But he never told Cara and Jayden he doesn't. He told them tonight though. They're going to stop bringing him along."

Keith sighed, "I thought he seemed unhappy about it. I should've done something about it sooner."

Matt frowned, "He probably wouldn't have told you. I think the only reason he told me was that he's been drinking. But there's more. He told Cara and Jayden he would tell them about Anna. He's going to send them articles about it tomorrow."

Keith's eyes widened, "Shit. I didn't think he ever would."

"Do you think he's ready for that?"

Keith paused, "I don't know. I'll talk to him about it tomorrow when he's thinking more clearly."

Matt nodded, "Good idea."

"It's not your decision," Lance said, having just walked into the room. He was wearing his pajamas and had taken his makeup off.

Keith turned to look at him, "I'm not saying it is, baby. I just want to make sure you're ready. That's all. I was just going to talk to you about it."

Lance nodded, looking down, "Okay... But I think I am ready. I can't run from my past forever."

Keith sighed, "Let's just get to bed. We'll talk about it tomorrow."

"I'll leave you two alone," Matt said, "I'll text you tomorrow."

Keith nodded, "Bye, Matt," he watched him leave before closing and locking the door behind him, then he turned to Lance, "How are you feeling?"

Lance shrugged, "We left before I could drink that much. Well, I did drink a lot. But only like a third of what I usually drink. So better than I usually do when I get home."

"Okay. But how are you feeling emotionally?"

"I'm fine. It's whatever. Let's go to bed."

"You're doing it again."

"Doing what?"

Keith crossed his arms, "You said that it's whatever. I know you only say that when you're upset and don't want anyone to know. You stopped saying it to me once I figured it out but you're buzzed and didn't catch yourself this time."

Lance frowned, "Oh..."

Keith walked over to him and hugged him, "You can tell me."

Lance didn't hug him back, "Let's just go to bed."

Keith sighed, letting him go, "Okay. We'll talk in the morning."

October 8

1:39 pm

leggylance: https://newschannel9.com/news/local/13-year-old-girl-dies-in-boating-accident

leggylance: https://newschannel9.com/news/local/lindin-police-investigating-double-kidnapping

leggylance: https://newschannel9.com/news/local/suspect-charged-in-lindin-county-attempted-muder-and-double-kidnapping-case

leggylance: https://newschannel9.com/news/local/annbella-foster-sentenced-to-life-in-prison

leggylance: https://newschannel9.com/news/local/mcclain-family-under-fire

leggylance: https://newschannel9.com/news/local/lcpd-investigating-deadly-shooting-saturday-morning

leggylance: https://newschannel9.com/news/local/mcclain-attacked-again

leggylance: https://newschannel9.com/news/local/carson-carter-trial-ends-today

leggylance: read these and i'll answer any questions you have after that. i don't think you'll believe me if i just tell you

carabear: okay. but i'm sure we would've believed you either way

notjaydensmith: i'll read it after work, i promise

2:04 pm

carabear: holy shit lance

carabear: i understand why you thought we wouldn't believe it. that's just crazy

leggylance: that's why i get my panic attacks. it's ptsd

notjaydensmith: hold up i havent read it yet. it's so bad you got ptsd?

carabear: just read it for yourself jayjay

notjaydensmith: okay. but it'll be a while before i can

5:08 pm

notjaydensmith: holy shit i just read it

carabear: i can't imagine what that must've been like lance

leggylance: it was the worst experience of my life. she almost won the game

carabear: omg you almost killed yourself???

leggylance: during the game i thought about it. i was going to do it but then the challenge ended. but i have had 2 attempts. 1 before and 1 after

notjaydensmith: i understand why you didn't tell us about the other stuff but you could've told us about your mental state without going into detail. if you told us you have ptsd we wouldn't have pushed you to talk about it

carabear: we want to be good friends but we can't do that if you keep lying to us. i'm not mad. i just want you to know you can always be open with us

notjaydensmith: we cant help you with panic attacks if we don't know the real cause of it. we couldn't do anything that one time. and we definitely can't help you with your triggers if we don't know what they are

carabear: i'm a psychology major too. i can help you work through it if you let me

leggylance: i'm sorry

notjaydensmith: no. we're the ones who should be sorry for not realizing there was more going on

carabear: we'll be better friends from now on. i promise

leggylance: i couldn't ask for better friends than i already have

Chapter Text

October 19

Romelle walked to the door of her apartment, having had heard a knock. She looked through the peephole before opening the door with a smile, "Allura, I wasn't expecting you."

Allura kissed Romelle's cheek before letting herself in, "Is it a crime to surprise my girlfriend with a visit?"

Romelle closed and locked the door, "Of course not. I was just about to call you."

"Oh? What about?"

Romelle smiled before grabbing Allura's hand and pulling her to the bedroom, "I won the Hi-C competition!" she grabbed her backpack and pulled out a folder, then took a certificate out, "I got first place!"

Allura smiled, "That's amazing!" she pulled Romelle into a hug, "I'm so proud of you!"

Romelle hugged her back happily before pulling away, bouncing on her toes a bit, "I won $1,000! That was the grand prize!"

"Oh, wow! I didn't think it would be that much!"

Romelle giggled a bit, "Now we can go all out for our Halloween costumes. We don't have to worry about sticking to a budget."

Allura rolled her eyes, "We never had to worry about that. You were just too stubborn to let me pay for yours. You're my girlfriend, let me spend money on you."

"Well, now you don't have to because I can buy my own. I still think we should be princesses."

Allura giggled, "We aren't children."

Romelle frowned, "Oh come on, Allura. How often do you get an excuse to wear a fancy gown? I never got to go to prom, my school didn't have one. Let me wear a pretty dress."

Allura sighed, "Alright, when you put it that way."

Romelle smiled again, "Yay!" she threw her arms around Allura, hugging her again.

Allura hugged her back with a smile, "Let's get real dresses instead of costumes. We can donate them to Cinderella's Closet after, that way some girl will get a free dress this year. That's what I did with my prom dress."

Romelle let go, smiling big, "That's a great idea! Let's go now unless you have something you need to do."

Allura shook her head, "I have nothing."

Romelle went to the living room and grabbed her purse, "This is going to be so much fun!"

"It sure is," Allura smiled as she followed Romelle out the door, happy to see her so excited.

"I have to go to the bank to cash the check first, but then we're good to go."

"Sounds good."

And with that, the two girls were on their way to the bank and ready to get the best Halloween costumes the others will have ever seen.

"Are you sure they'll be here on time?" Romelle asked, curled up next to Allura on the couch at Allura's house later that night. They had bought their dresses and were now searching for tiaras online.

Allura nodded, "I have Amazon Prime, they'll be here in two days."

"Alright," Romelle pulled out her phone and looked at the pictures they had taken in their dresses. Romelle had gotten a baby blue floor-length dress with an aline neckline, very Cinderella-esque. The top of the dress was adorned with flowers and the bottom was tulle. Allura, on the other hand, went with a light pink, knee-length dress with a halter neckline. The top was lacey and the bottom was tulle as well, "I think we chose beautiful dresses. And going with silver flats was a good idea, the heels would've gotten very uncomfortable at the party."

Allura nodded, "I took my shoes off halfway through prom. Pidge just wore combat boots with a slight heel. She was smart and went with a more comfortable shoe."

"What is she being for Halloween?"

"I don't know actually," Allura looked up from the laptop, "Last year she didn't dress up at all, she probably won't this year either unless Lance gets his hands on her. He's always looking for excuses to get her in a dress. He's always going on about how cute she'll look. In a platonic way. They're like siblings that actually get along all of the time."

Romelle laughed a bit, "Your friends sound very fun."

Allura nodded, "They are. Lance is a handful in any scenario but especially so when he and Pidge get together. They can wreak all sorts of havoc if they feel like it. Pidge is very blunt with most things but it can be quite funny, she has a great sense of humor. So does Hunk but he will never say anything that may hurt your feelings, at least he tries not to. Shiro has his moments with inappropriate humor but, for the most part, he's well behaved. Keith is our token emo kid that will spend any get together either standing in a corner or hovering over Lance. There is no in-between unless someone drags him into some sort of activity. But he's really nice and very interactive in other situations. He just has a bad history with parties. Even small ones are a bit of a hassle for him. But that's okay. Lance and Shiro make sure he enjoys himself."

Romelle nodded, "I wish I could meet them."

"Maybe one day you can," Allura kissed her forehead, "But for now we can stick to FaceTime when we get the chance."

"We only ever FaceTime Hunk."

Allura sighed, "That's true. I suppose I have fallen out of contact with the others. Maybe we should have a group call? I think that would be fun."

Romelle smiled, "Yeah! I'd love to see the rest of them."

Allura pulled out her phone, "I'll ask them."

ayellura: is anyone up for a group video chat?

hunkinthetrunk: i'm with shay but she said she's fine with it if you are

shirogone: i just got home from the academy so i'm free

kmskeith: lance and me arent doing anthging

katiehatesyou: parker just canceled on me so i guess im free too

leggylance: wait he cancelled on you??

katiehatesyou: he and jude are having dude bro time

leggylance: what a dick

hunkinthetrunk: bros before girlfriends

shirogone: that's not the saying hunk

hunkinthetrunk: yeah but the real one is mean

katiehatesyou: it's fine. jude has just been feeling a bit left out. they need a day just for the two of them. im the one who barged in and stole his best friend

ayellura: okay lets talk about this over video chat

Connecting...

Connecting...

Connecting...

Everyone's screens lit up with four video boxes and then a fifth miniature bix of themselves in the corner.

"Hi!" Lance spoke first, "God we haven't all talked in forever!"

"Are you in Keith's lap?" Pidge asked.

"....No."

Everyone laughed.

Keith rested his head on Lance's shoulder, "We fit in the frame better this way."

"Shay and I are sitting next to each other and we fit just fine," Hunk said.

Shay waved, "Hello!"

Everyone said hi back in unison.

"Shiro put a shirt on," Pidge said.

"I'm working on it!" Shiro said, his phone was propped up on something while he looked through a pile of clothes on his bed, "I just got home from the academy and past me was stupid and decided not to fold the laundry before I left. Now I can't find a shirt," he pulled a black shirt out of the pile, "Aha!" he put it on quickly, "There."

"Perhaps you should fold that while we talk so your father doesn't kill you," Allura said.

Shiro mocked her, "Perhaps you should fold that, don't judge me."

Lance giggled, "Oh, is that your girlfriend, Allura?"

Romelle nodded, "Yep! I'm Romelle. Allura has told me about all of you."

Pidge smiled, "Nice to finally meet you. Hunk told us Allura got a girlfriend. I guess we all don't talk to each other much anymore, huh?"

Everyone frowned.

"I guess not," Keith said.

"Well, we're talking now," Lance said with a smile, "That's what matters."

Keith smiled, "Right," he kissed Lance's shoulder.

Pidge rolled her eyes, "Wait until we hang up to get all gross. No one wants to see that."

"You're just bitter because you're not with your own boyfriend right now," Lance crossed his arms.

"Um, no," Pidge said, "I'm not upset with Parker. Jude has been really... off.. lately. Like, depressed and angry. Parker needs a day with him to sort it all out. They've been friends since 8th grade. They need some time to work through it alone, without me there. For all I know, I might be part of the problem."

"You've been their friend for a year now and he only started getting weird a month ago," Shiro said, "If it was you then it would've started a long time ago. It's probably some personal stuff. Didn't you say his parents are like fucking Nazis? Maybe it's a home life situation."

Pidge sighed, "Yeah, Parker will figure it out. Anyway. Enough about that. Someone else say something."

"What are you guys doing for Halloween?" Allura asked, "Romelle and I are dressing as princesses and going to a costume party at a sorority house."

"We're all having a small get together at Pidge's," Hunk said, "We wish you could be there. But.. distance."

Allura sighed, "Yeah. Well, I'll be visiting for Thanksgiving. Coran and I don't celebrate it since we're from London, but I get time off school either way so might as well come to visit everyone."

"That will be awesome!" Hunk said, "We'll all be together again. And you can finally meet Shay."

Shay smiled, "I've been dying to meet you in person."

Allura nodded, "Romelle might come with me."

"Yeah," Romelle said, "My parents moved here from Manchester when I was six, so we don't celebrate Thanksgiving either. I just have to see if I can pull it off. We'll figure it out. It's still a month away."

"I don't celebrate it either," Shiro said, "My parents came here from Japan before I was born. We just have a fancier dinner than our usual dinner. He didn't want me to feel alienated from my friends for not celebrating American holidays when I was a kid. So, we do something. Just not a full-blown celebration."

"I don't celebrate it either," Lance laughed a bit, "I moved here from Cuba when I was eight."

"Well, aren't we a big bunch of immigrants," Allura joked.

Keith chuckled, "I don't really care enough to celebrate it so we're not doing anything."

"I guess Hunk and I are the only ones doing something," Pidge said.

"And Shay," Hunk said.

"Right," Pidge said, "Sorry." she didn't mean to exclude her.

"My family has a huge celebration," Shay said, "My entire extended family comes over. My parents are hosting this year."

"We don't do much," Pidge said, "Pretty much just what Shiro does, a fancier than usual dinner."

"My family goes all out for the dinner," Hunk says, "But that's the only thing we do."

"We shouldn't be talking about Thanksgiving before Halloween is over," Keith said.

Allura laughed a bit, "Are you guys wearing costumes."

"I'm not," Pidge said.

"Yes, you are," Lance said.

"Nope."

"Yes."

Romelle giggled, "What are you dressing as, Lance?"

"I couldn't really afford a real costume so I'm just being a male Ariel with a green skirt and a purple crop top. Green shoes too. Oh, and red hair clips."

"A skirt?" Romelle asked.

"Lance doesn't believe in gender roles," Allura explained, "Though I've never seen him in a skirt before."

Keith smirked, "He looks good in it."

"Keith. Now is not the time," Shiro said.

"What? Am I not allowed to say he looks good in his costume?"

Shiro glared at him through the screen. Keith just frowned and pulled Lance closer.

Pidge laughed a bit, "And what are you being, Keith."

"Nothing."

"Nope," Lance said, "You're both wearing something. I still have a week and a half to force you into it."

Shay giggled, "Hunk and I are just wearing our chef's outfits because we didn't want to go costume shopping."

Hunk nodded, "They're a bit stained but they'll do. What about you, Shiro?"

"I don't know," Shiro said, "I haven't thought about it. Adam has the same idea as you and is just wearing his police uniform."

Lance groaned, "You're all so laaame," he had a sad look on his face.

Keith chuckled, "Fine, pick out a costume for me and I'll wear it."

Pidge crossed her arms, looking annoyed, "Just don't put me in a dress."

Lance started clapping, "Yay!"

Shiro rolled his eyes, "He has you two wrapped around his finger."

Lance stuck out his tongue.

Keith rolled his eyes, "Oh how mature."

Lance turned to Keith and stuck out his tongue again.

Keith smirked, "You wanna do that?" he started tickling Lance.

Lance burst out laughing, "Stop!! StoOooOp! I'm sorry!" he almost fell off Keith's lap, but Keith stopped and wrapped his arms around Lance's waist to catch him.

Everyone was laughing, Lance was just pouting.

"You had it coming," Hunk said, still chuckling.

Lance glared at the screen, "You guys are just mean."

Keith pulled Lance closer, "I'm sorry," he kissed the back of Lance's neck.

"Don't get gross," Allura said, "We're all watching."

"Maybe they like that," Shiro joked.

"You don't be gross!" Keith said.

Shiro just laughed.

Everyone could hear as Pidge's phone went off, "I gotta go, Parker is calling."

"Don't leave us!" Lance pouted.

"It might be about Jude. I have to answer. Bye guys, I'll text the group chat later."

Everyone sadly said goodbye before Pidge hung up.

"We should probably go too," Hunk said, "We were working on some Composition homework when you called."

"Ugh, everyone is leaving," Lance complained.

"Maybe we should all hang up," Shiro said, "It's almost time for dinner."

Keith nodded, "Yeah."

Lance pouted, "Fine."

Keith whispered something into Lance's ear and Lance smiled again.

"I don't even want to know," Allura said.

Romelle sighed, "Well, it was nice to meet everyone."

Shay nodded, "Yes, it was nice to meet you too, Romelle."

"Bye," Hunk said.

"Bye," Shay said with a wave before Hunk hung up."

Shiro sighed, "Sorry, Lance. We'll text later," it was obvious Lance was most upset about having to hang up.

"It's whatever," Lance shrugged.

Keith whispered to Lance again and it only made Lance pout more, him crossing his arms.

"Bye guys," Shiro said, hanging up.

"Bye, Allura, Romelle," Keith said, then hung up.

Call Ended

Romelle smiled, "It was nice to talk to everyone."

Allura nodded, "Yes, it was. I miss them."

Romelle wrapped her arms around Allura, "You'll get to see them soon."

Allura smiled and kissed her, "You're right, I mustn't dwell on sad things."

"But, there is one more sad thing. I have to go home. I have a test tomorrow and need to study," Romelle frowned.

Allura sighed, "Alright," she kissed Romelle again, "We'll see each other tomorrow."

Romelle nodded, "Right. Goodnight."

"Goodnight," Allura watched as Romelle stood and grabbed her purse, "Text me when you get home."

"Of course," and with that, Romelle left.

Allura stood, "Coran! I'm hungry! Let's order a pizza!" she left the living room, off to find her godfather.