Chapter 1: The Beginning of The End
“Where in the world are you taking me?”
“I told you, to the apartment.”
“Then why am I blindfolded?”
“It’s a surpriiiiiiiise,” Lance said in a sing-song voice. He kept he hands on Keith’s shoulders, the other holding his hands out despite Lance’s guiding. He doesn’t know what is going on, and he doesn’t know whether to feel amused or slightly terrified. It was October, it can either spell beautiful gifts or an evening of Keith chasing Lance around the apartment with a shoe ready to throw for scaring him. It wouldn’t be the first time both has happened.
Keith heard the normal creak of door, still not fixed though they have sent numerous requests to cease the creaking. Lance’s hands disappeared, Keith blinking away the darkness and adjusted to the dark surroundings. The lights were turned off, leaving Keith with a big question mark above his head. He reached to flip on the switch, but Lance batted his hand away.
“Ah ah, not yet. You need to sit down first.”
“I can’t see shit.” Keith said, blunt. Lance just chuckled and took his hand. Keith tripped over a few unknown artifacts, most likely the decor Lance placed around the living room and kitchen in order to give it life. Well would be about ready to end a life if Keith couldn’t see where he was going.
“Damn it Lance, are you trying to surprise me or kill me?”
Lance feigned an offended gasp. “Keith! I would never!”
“That’s up for debate.” He grumbled. Honestly, what was happening?
“Shush, grumpypants.” Lance poked his cheek. He finally settled Keith on a chair, but walked away.
“Where are you going?”
“To switch the lights on. Do me a favor and keep your eyes on the front of you.”
Keith quirked an eyebrow up, but obeyed and kept his sight on whatever was supposed to be displayed. The lights flicker on and lo and behold, the small, cheap kitchen table was adorn in red silk, blue candles nestled in a candelabra Keith is sure Lance either stole or borrowed (is that an antique?), and rose petals scattered about. Their favorite dishes laid on finely etched porcelain plates, ones Keith has never seen before. In addition, plopped right on top of his empty plate is a purple stuffed lion, its large eyes staring up at him, practically giving him the puppy dog eyes. It was cute; something to rival Keith’s childhood stuffed hippo his parents gave him before they passed away.
Keith was speechless. Today isn’t his birthday or halloween–did he miss something? Was today their anniversary? No, that was two months away. Unless…
“AH!” Lance admonished, stopping his head from turning around. “Don’t look! Give me a second.”
He couldn’t help it–he laughed. “What are you doing? This is wonderful, but you know I’m not big on surprises.” He picked up the stuffed lion, smiling fondly at the animal. “Though I have to admit, I’m starting to change my mind.”
“Oh if you think that will change you’re mind, you’re going to love what is next.” Lance said, Keith telling there is a grin splayed on his other half.
He hugged the lion to himself, silently waiting for the kicker.
There was a rustle of cloth and a little bit of cursing (Lance seemed to be having trouble), and it took much of Keith’s strength and patience not to turn around. When Lance finally gave the go ahead to turn, Keith expected anything other than what he sets his eyes on.
They widen, his mouth agape at his kneeling boyfriend, a nervous blush dusting his neck and cheeks in quick succession. A black box is in his hands, one opened it to show the contents. A silver engagement ring sat in the confines of red satin, a small diamond embedded in the stainless metal, the light shining off the precious gem. It blinked up at Keith, pleading to be acknowledged, begging to be accepted. Keith, who never believed he would get married since his teen years, could feel his chest swell with an unknown sensation. It bloomed and bloomed, and as Lance jumbled out the common yet overwhelming words, the feeling burst from within in through steady, happy tears.
“I know this is our fourth year of dating,” Lance started, his eyes looking back and forth between Keith and the rest of the apartment in nervous anticipation. “But um…well I uh…I–sorry, I thought this far and now I’m kinda malfunctioning–”
Lance’s eyes met Keith’s and stayed there, Keith’s harsh irises melted into a soft lavender, a loving kiss upon his scattered head. All traces of his rough facial features vanished, replaced by hidden sweet nectar Keith kept under lock and key for a long time. The only ones who were able to break inside were Shiro and Adam, but they were shown the familial parts that had been shut down since his time in the system. This Keith–the one Lance had the privilege to break through and see–is on a different level. And it renewed Lance to think out all the thoughts he wanted to bring to light since they moved in; since they first became one and saw each other in vulnerable states.
Keith nods at him to continue, and he started again with a new kind of determination.
“Keith, you have seen me at my best and at my worst. I thought you were just some asshole kid–”
Heyyyyy,” Keith narrowed his eyes.
“But!” Lance quickly added. “But as I got to know you, I saw a different side to you. A person willing to help tutor me in physics. The kid who kept sneaking stray cats into the dorms during thunder and snow storms, despite our hall leader threatening to kick you out. The boy who found me by a tree mourning the loss of my grandmother and hearing me out. The man who led me out of town on a motorcycle just to show me the best place to see the rise of dawn and the descent of sunset. Who held my hand tenderly, yet hesitant on our first date. And with that same hand punched the lights out of James Griffin for poking fun at me.”
“Only I can poke fun at you. And Pidge.” Keith said, still smiling softly and hugging the lion closer to him.
“Only because they mean no actual harm.” He thought and scrunched up his nose. “Well…”
“Well,” They said at the same time, stopping to stare at each other and then let out another laugh.
“Another topic for another time.” Keith said. He motioned for Lance to finish, Lance clearing his throat.
“Keith, all those moments I learned about you and spent with you are precious. They are memories I will never forget, and wouldn’t sacrifice for the world. And I would love to continue making those memories for the rest of our lives.” He pushed the box towards Keith. “Keith, will you marry me?”
The tears started all over again, and as Keith said “yes”, he took the ring, put it on, and threw himself at the boy he loved, embracing each other so tight nothing to tear them apart.
They were heading to a fitting for their wedding. They left early in case of traffic, knowing the snow could delay the arrival. If they were late, they wouldn’t be able to get in until far later than scheduled. It was very cold out, and Keith commented on how maybe they should reschedule because the roads may be bad on the freeway. But Lance insisted they would be fine. That he knows the right route to avoid the potential slip and slide.
But no one could have anticipated the semi. The slush underneath its tires slipping into the opposite lane; for the driver to lose control. Lance pumped the breaks and tried and veer to the right, but there was no use. The breaks weren’t working and the tires kept going straight.
A flash of headlights.
A red jacket moving to cover Lance, holding his head close to him and shielding him from the impact.
A sickening crunch of metal meeting metal.
The car turning on its side and flipping.
Lance was in and out of consciousness, his ears ringing and his vision blurry. He heard sirens in the distance, and as he attempted to move he let out a cry from the pain in his middle, his ribs most likely broken. The only thing keeping Lance from hitting the front windshield is the seatbelt he had on, it securing his body in one place.
He lolled his head to the side, his thoughts slowly coming together and realizing he isn’t alone. He turned to his partner, and instantly wished he hadn’t.
Keith too was hanging by his seatbelt, but his arms were completely crushed. Blood spilled from his skull, his nose broken and chest not moving. Not even an inch.
Lance called out for Keith. Reached a hand over, though he knew it would cause more pain.
“Keith…” Lance rasped. “Keith. Keith, wake up. K-Keith?”
His hand wrapped around a cold one, letting out a cry that wasn’t from physical pain.
Keith’s ring is completely drenched in blood. And it will remain so until the paramedics pull them out. Until they are shipped to the hospital.
Until Lance changes his wedding plans to a funeral.
Chapter 2: After
A mother's reflection and her son's grief.
What can you do when your child lost the love of their life?
*Throws angst bomb at you all and runs*
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It started off as any normal day.
Lance’s mother was in town, meant to be a guide in her son’s wedding since she had experience from her older children. Lance was the baby of the family, and with him long left the nest and the last to stride on the path to create his own family, his mother insisted on being included in most of the wedding preparations. She had done it since her eldest daughter was the first to marry, and she would keep on doing it until all her offspring had been given away to their significant others.
Weddings are not only stressful, but financially frustrating. If you want the perfect wedding, you better have some money saved up or have low expectations, because one cannot simply walk into a church or venue and claim the area for theirs on that day. There are high costs. A wedding planner required money upfront. Venues can be booked for months to even years, depending on their popularity or tennant. Suits and dresses are either a hit or miss, the perfect one possibly out of budget or a rental coming out dirty and visibly used. The decision on who would be deemed the maid of honor, unless there would be too much conflict among the women and they nyxed the entire role. A cake, which no doubt would rack up dollar signs simply for the desire to have smooth fondant and a couple of edible pearls sparkled inbetween. And that all was not including wedding presents, capacity, food catering, flowers, a DJ or band, miscellaneous decorations, invitations, wedding rings and bands with or without diamonds, the honeymoon, flights, and anything else worthy of causing dizziness and shock.
She knew her son well. Knew he would want to go big or go home. But with Keith and him barely getting their feet in the soil of adulthood, she did not see riches in their future. Not under a year, that is. So she flew herself down to their city and took it upon herself to guide them. She initially planned to stay in a cheap motel to give them space, but they declared it inhumane and pushed for her to stay in the guest bedroom. They were going to change to a one-bedroom apartment since it’s cheaper and they share the same room, but the extra space was nice with how often their friends come by for game nights and conk out at 1 a.m.
She still felt the need to give them space, however. Always going out for walks, always taking the bus to the market or travelling to the city’s largest library where she could lose herself in a good novel and some coffee. When she would come back, she would make them dinner right before they came home or they would work together in the magnificent recipes Lance’s mother had stored in her brain.
Keith included. His parents long dead, he saw Lance’s mother as his, though if you were to ask him, he would become tongue tied. Would be too awkward to admit it and try to find a way out of the call-out.
Lance and her always smiled at those moments. It was sweet. And she adored the young man with all her heart. She was proud to be his mother-in-law.
But even with all her knowledge, even with all her skills and experience, she never expected to receive a phone call on the bus to the shop she was meeting Lance and Keith at. Didn’t see the snowy afternoon to stand still, the crisp flakes coating her curly hair in layers as she stood and listened to the nurse tell her Lance was in the hospital.
That her soon-to-be son-in-law, was no longer holding her son’s hand.
Lance does not remember falling asleep. His body doesn’t recognize the bed underneath him, his bones slowly awakening from paralysis and gliding across rough, white sheets. Lance blinks away the sleep, his hand moving to rub away the flecks dusting his eyelashes. But when he does it is heavy; held down by an unknown force. When he tried to bend it, a sharp pain shoots up his arm, Lance grunting in response. Why did his arm hurt so much, and why is it heavy?
“Shh, lay down, mijo.” A woman says, placing a hand on his shoulder and gently pushing him back down. Lance’s vision is blurry, but he can make out the wild, fluffy curls and kind blue eyes he has been raised with. His mother brushes his hair back, ignoring the slick coating her palm and fixing the blankets around Lance.
“Mama?” Lance says groggily. “What…Where am I?”
“You’re at the hospital, dear. You were in a very bad accident.” She says all too gently. “They called me as soon as they brought you in.”
Yes, he is starting to remember now. The semi, the slick roads, his inability to control the car at 30 miles an hour in a 50 zone–
The flash of red cloth engulfing his vision before he was surrounded by darkness.
Him coming into consciousness briefly, calling out a name… a name dear to him. A name he spoke many times in the past four years. A name he yelled when irritated or bursting with excitement, a name he called out to in the heat of passion, bruised lips and hot skin invading his senses. The name he uttered in the darkest corner of the room, his face wet from a horrible day. The name he giggled when he surprised the person on their birthday, the one dripping with adoration and honeyed pet-names, despite the other blushing red and hiding in the hood of his jacket.
The name he took a knee for and wrapped metal and a diamond around his finger, twirling him around in their small apartment at the happiness they were bestowed.
The name drenched in his own blood as they hung from their seats, dark hair covering his face while being caked in his own rivers of crimson.
The name he shouted to the officers for them to save when he was semi-conscious, losing his grip on the situation as he was pulled yet again into a dark embrace.
He suddenly tries to sit up, letting out a small howl of pain as the wrapping around his ribcage pierces into him. He is fully awake now, and he needs to know what happened.
His mother pushes him down again as his head whips around, scanning his room for a second bed. For a second comatose body with Shiro at the side, fallen asleep from the long night of “what ifs” and shuffling doctors. But he isn’t there. Shiro isn’t there, the sheets neatly creased under the mattress and pillow fluffed up.
Where could he be? They were together in the accident. Lance is sure of it. He could be in another department of the hospital, but though his memory is fuzzy, he is almost sure it was his side that got hit. He may be in a regular room with a broken bone, but...That doesn’t...that doesn’t feel right...
“Keith–where is Keith?” He asks, wild. “He was with me in the car. Is he okay? Where is he? Where is him and Shiro?”
“Lance, Lance my boy,” she hushes. “Please lay down, you’re going to hurt yourself.”
He stops, his worried irises meeting sad, avoiding twins. His mother didn’t answer his question. Why is her jaw clenched shut, her eyes swimming with unshed tears? Why does she winces when Lance set his attention on her, his desire for an answer growing bigger than him. Why did her hand tighten around his uninjured one, covering the engagement ring his wore with pride?
“What? What about him? Mama, please tell me he is okay. “
She closes her eyes, a tear falling out. “My dear boy…I am so sorry.” She closes her mouth, covering it with a fist as she breathed in, her core shaking. Breaking for her youngest. Cursing the fates for turning their backs on them. Lance sat there, frozen in place as his mother cried, not connecting two and two together. She must be crying because he is in critical condition. It must be. That would explain Lance in a stable unit. Keith is in the ICU, being monitored by doctors and nurses alike, Shiro anxiously waiting for Keith to wake up from the injuries. Lance got the sides wrong. He was hit rather than Lance and that’s why they were separated. Afterall, he couldn’t be–he couldn’t be–
“Lance, he passed away. When the paramedics arrived on the scene, it was already too late.”
The ice keeping him at bay shattered. It plunged him into a sea of deadly waters and stabbing icicles. It seized his veins and altered them into brittle snowflakes, melting with the antarctic. The iceberg, carefully concealed by the frosted fog and endless depths, hit him as hard as the titanic. He can feel himself breaking–his mind unravelling as the realization hits him.
Keith is no longer in the world.
Lance does not immediately react. He is completely still in his mother’s arms, eyes unseeing as they stare at his itchy blanket. He isn’t even sure if he is breathing. All he can process is the ring on his finger will never become a wedding ring. That its partner is not hooked up to IV’s and held by its adopted family, but cold and wrapped around a finger with no pulse; the red stone living in a crevice now surrounded by its owner’s blood.
No, this isn’t how it’s supposed to be. This isn’t right. This has to be a joke. A cruel, cruel joke. Keith was just right next to him. He was holding Lance’s hand at a stop light. Joking about the decor being too fancy. The two betting against the other on who is going to cry first at the reception.
But now it is like he is drowning. Like he is running to Keith; reaching out to him. Begging him to come back. But Keith can’t hear him. Lance can’t touch him. His back is to Lance, facing a light Lance cannot follow. Deaf to his love’s screams. Blind to what the light represents.
Don’t go. Please don’t leave me. You promised. You promised we would be happy.
It isn’t until his mother’s arms tightens and whispering his favorite song that he realizes he is crying. She only sang the song when he was upset. And he is upset, but it does not bring him relief. It just makes him cry harder, Lance burying his face in her arms as she joins him in his sadness. She loved his fiance as if he were her own son. She can recall the moment Lance introduced him to her, a nervous young man who hid behind his gloves and striking, defensive indigo eyes. How he stiffened when she welcomed him with warmth, yet embraced her with as much care. He wasn’t as enthusiastic, but she knew his reciprocation spoke louder than words. He didn’t hug often, but when he did, he made it count.
And he made it count to love her son. When she heard the news and saw Shiro outside of the room they tried to revive him in one last time, she was hit with a wave of pain in her chest, it bleeding for her son and the loss of the boy she desperately wanted to call son-in-law.
She doesn’t leave Lance’s side. Not when he exhausts himself of tears, and not when he requests to see the body. He is on crutches, yet he does not let that stop him.
She held his hand like when he was a little boy–scared of the new world and gripping his mother’s dress as the kindergarten teacher aided in prying him off of her.
Now it is her prying at him, wishing him to not look at the dead body. Asking him if he is sure in his decision. Internally wanting to cover his eyes and lead him back to bed.
But she lets him go and watches as he moves the dark hair away from the pale, scarred face, Keith’s expression looking to be asleep than dead. Lance gazes down, ignoring the shivers coursing through his bones from the temperature.
He bends down and kisses Keith’s far too cold forehead. As he does, she can see a small tear land on Keith’s cheek, as if he too is crying for the happiness stolen from their fingertips.
She believed Lance would not feel this pain until the ripe old age of 82. Saw them flourishing and all smiles as they walked down the aisle to their new life.
Instead, she is seeing her youngest--her baby--go through the pain she went through years ago. But while she had time with his father, Lance might as well have been cheated by life.
She had years. But he...he only had a tiny sliver of what she was blessed with before an undeserving curse reign down upon him in a single day.
Added some scenes and am mixing up the order into chronological, since it would make the most sense besides the snapshot chapters.
Just a heads-up, snapshot chapters will venture into the relationship and their past. Kind of like a memory in a movie. You may even see some chapters in Keith's point of view :3
Anyway smash that kudos button and leave a comment/bookmark! I'm glad to see you guys like the angst for some reason :P