Loverboy Lance; despite the nickname; did not believe in love. Nor did he want it. He liked to flirt, he liked to go on dates, and fuck those dates if the chemistry was there, but he did not fall in love.
“Hunk, I told you. I am not going on a blind date with your friends brother. That sounds like a terrible idea.” Lance sighed, his smartphone held between his shoulder and ear as he punched in the code to enter his apartment complex.
“Come on, Lance. Why not? I can tell you two would really hit it off.” There were soft slapping noises, like dough being folded over and over again, so Lance could tell he was still at work, probably prepping for the next day.
“And what if we don’t?” Lance asked, stepping in from the brisk late September air to the cozy lobby. Waving at the security guard sitting there. “I am not about to sit through an awkward dinner with some guy you know, just so he can bitch and moan about it to you later.”
“Lance, he isn't like that.”
“You don't know that, people always act differently when they are trying to get into your pants.”
“Op!” Lance cut him off. “Hunk, seriously, stop trying to set me up. Im fine, you know? I don't need a mate.”
Hunk stopped kneading, there was a short pause before he let out a small sigh. “...Buddy, is this about what happened? Things might be different this time Lance, you can’t let the past keep holding you back.”
Lance inhaled deeply, jiggling his keys into his doorknob. “...I know, Hunk. Its just….” He was a 33 year old rouge omega. “I'm not that desperate yet dude, I still got it going on.” He laughed. “Look, Im home. And you should be getting home too. Its almost 11, stop making Shay worry.”
“Yeah yeah, I just need to get another two batches of dough proofing and I’ll head home.”
“Uh huh.” He hummed. “Are you sure you’re not the one running away? You're nervous about the wedding, aren't you?”
“Yeah, of course I am.” Hunk sighed, clapping his hands on the other end, flour probably puffing in his face. “We’ve been together since high school, Lance, I'm so excited to marry her but Im still worried. Like she is gonna realize that I'm, just some loser baker.”
“Hunk.” Lance said, his voice soft but sure. “You are not some loser baker. You are a strong, kind and caring man that makes delicious cookies.”
“Good cookies don't make for a happy marriage.”
“They do for me.” He laughed. “But really, it's been over a decade, babe, if she didn't want to spend the rest of her life with you, she would have said it by now.” He remembered, the struggle they went through when Hunk was starting his business from the ground up, everyone knew it would be successful but that didn't make the climb easier. And Shay was there with him through it all, even without the promise of a ring, or a future, or a mate. “Are you going to regret it?”
“No!” Hunk yelped. “Oh god no. I love her so much, Lance. She is the greatest thing to happen to me.”
“Ouch.” Lance feigned hurt.
“Shut up.” But Hunk did chuckle at that. “You’re the second greatest.”
“Awwww.” He sniffled. “Well, if Shay does decide to pack her bags, I'm always happy to take her place.”
“Shut up.” Hunk laughed again. “I'm going to finish up now, talk to you later bud.”
“See ya.” Lance hung up, finally shedding his coat and kneeling down to pet and pick up Azul. “Hello, princessa, did you miss me?” He purred at the cat, and she bopped his forehead lovingly. “I missed you too.”
Setting her back down and looking over her food try. Glad to see she drank all her water, so he filled that and then checked the automatic feeder.
His job at Altea university wasnt always the most solid schedule, and he was partially to blame for that, putting things off and always involving himself in whatever event the school was hosting. Allura was happy to have his help too so he couldn't say no to his favorite dean.
So the automatic feeder was really helpful, giving Axul set meals at set times and when he did make it home at the right time he treated her to a luxury tin if wet food.
Except when he went to check it, he noticed it was empty, tapping the thing he saw a single pebble of cat food drop out and Azul jumped on it like a starving animal. And, to be fair, she probably was. He couldn't be sure if she had gotten her afternoon meal, but seeing how she was never hungry like that, he doubted.
He opened the (Locked, Azul was a clever little girl) panty that he kept the food and and groaned when he saw not a single tin and an empty bag of cat food. Of course he forgot to go grocery shopping. He glanced at Azul who was looking at him expectantly. He couldn't just let her go hungry, who knows what she will try and eat. “I’m sorry, princessa, I will go get you something now.” He promised, patting her head. He snatched his wallet from his bag and made sure his phone was on him heading back out.
“Ugh.” He pulled the jacket closer around his neck, picking up the pace. The faster he got there the faster he’d get home.
Keith cracked his back once he stepped out of the police station, a satisfied groan leaving him. He had wiped out a whole missing persons report before he left. Everyone told him he could just do it in the morning, the DA didn't need it until next week, but he hated leaving it for later because he knew that until he finished it, he was gonna be miserable thinking about it.
He wanted his day off to rest and relax. Maybe some training. Not full of missing person reports and possible blind dates. Something Shiro has been trying to get him to agree too all day. (“Give it a shot, Keith. Hunk says that you too would make a good match. You like Hunk.” And while, yes, he did like the teddy-bear-like man, it did not mean he trusted him with his love life.
“Shiro, I'm not interested. I rather focus on work.”
“All work and no play makes for a grumpy Keith.”
“All annoying brother and no leaving me alone makes for a grumpy Keith too.”
“Your no fun.” The old man pouted.)
And it was true. He rather be focusing on work. Not that he didn't like to get around but omegas expected a lot, and he was tired. He had grown used to the quiet, and some part of he him was scared to change it.
He waved bye to a couple of the boys in blues hanging outside before zipping up his leather jacket and slipping on his helmet. He’d stop by the 24/7 Drug Store for some beer then head home. Sounded like a solid plan.
The place was mostly empty, since it was so late on a Tuesday. What he assumed was a couple walked in as soon as he parked his bike. Shutting the engine off he made his way inside and was greeted by a brain dead employee and then, an off smell. It was upset, but mostly angry. Pissed off at the world. (And ok, maybe the undertones were kind of nice, but the anger overpowered that. )
He looked at the cashier who shook her head, nodding to one of the isles. Keith should ignore it, because it was probably nothing, but he figured a quick glance wouldn't hurt. Better safe than sorry.
He listened in on their conversation as he got closer. “Really, I am fine.” One spat through clenched teeth. “I can get home by myself.”
“Aw, don’t be like that, sweetheart.” Keith watched as the man shuffled closer to the omega, leering, like he was trying to trap his prey. A hand resting on the tan man’s hips. “A pretty little thing like you can’t walk home alone.”
Keith was about to flash his badge and break them apart, but before he could he watched the omega turn to their creeper, place both hands on his shoulder and bring a knee straight to the nads. He watched the alpha get the wind kneed out of him, bending in pain and clutching his crotch protectively, like the damage wasn’t already done. Keith paused at the end of the isle, staring at them then looking up. Meeting fiery blue eyes. They stared back at him, almost challenging, as if daring Keith to do something. And everything stopped for a minute because, he swore his heart forgot how to beat.
They alpha groaned, standing back up straight. “You bitch-” He snarled.
“Enough.” Keith finally spoke, stepping closer to the two. “I think it’s best you leave him alone.”
The guy sneered. “You saw what he did!”
“And I saw you harassing him too.” Keith gave his work glare, the one that had all the criminals he interrogated bending under his command. He flashed his badge too. “So like I said, I think it’s best if you leave him alone.”
The guy glanced at the badge, deciding it wasn’t worth the trouble. “Whatever, don’t want the old slag anyway.” He snapped, stomping off, but he was sure to knock over a couple cans of cat food on his way out.
They were left alone in silence. The omega was the first to break it, letting out a little huff. He walked past Keith, and wow ok, he was immediately hit with the soothing scent of salty waves and something sweet and earthy. He watched as the omega bent down, starting to clean up the mess the guy made. He would have seemed fine after it, if the shaking hands weren’t giving him away. This guy was forcing himself to seem calm. Keith rubbed the back of his head, before bending down to help him. “Are you okay?”
The omega paused for a moment, glancing at Keith before going back to collecting the cans, doing his best to put them back in the right order on the self. “I’m fine.” He snorted. “Not the first time it’s happened. Thought I was too old for it now though.”
Keith didn’t know if it was appropriate to laugh or not, so he didn’t, standing with the rest of the cans. He was barely an inch over the stranger (which was impressive because Keith wasn’t short by any means, standing around 6’1) but Keith could get a good look at him now that they were so close. His eyes weren’t the only beautiful thing and yeah, Keith got why that guy called him pretty but that was an understatement. This man was gorgeous. Every feature sharp but still somehow so warm and inviting, making it was his high red freckled cheeks or the smile lines and little wrinkles by his eyes that showed he was a very smiley person.
“-Ello? Earth to Keith?” The stranger waved his hand in Keith face and- Wait, did he just say Keith’s name?
“Huh?” Keith blinked. “Do I know you?”
Lance snorted. “Wow, I am a little offended.” He looked up at the other, as if waiting for something to click in Keith head and sighing when he got nothing but a blank face back. “I’m Lance? I live like two doors down from you? My cat likes to play with yours?”
“Uhhh….” Keith knew Red liked to sneak off in the middle of the night but he didn’t know anything about a neighbor cat that belonged to a hot neighbor. “Right…?”
“Right.” Lance mocked, taking the last of the tins from Keith's hands and placing them on the shelf with the other ones. “Seems like your mullet sucked out all your brain storage. Anyway, thank you for that. I’ll see you around.”
“Yeah…” Keith replied without a second thought. His hand instinctively coming to the ends of his hair. Watching Lance walk off to pay for his cat food. He was a little dumbstruck even after Lance left. Moving through to get his beer and any snacks he felt he needed to restock on.
By the time he made it to his apartment, and up to the third floor, he found out that Lance wasn’t lying. The omega was standing in his doorway, cooing at two cats, one of them happening to be hid precious red. Lance must have just gotten back, because he was still holding the shopping bag. “Now now, Red, I know you would like me to give you your girlfriend back, but she needs to eat first.” He bent down, and red literally purred and for some reason Keith felt betrayed. This is why Kosmo was his favorite.
Lance looked up and their eyes met again, and Keith was wondering if his body was going to malfunction every time he met those pretty blue eyes. “Hello again…” Keith spoke sheepishly, ashamed he was caught staring.
“Hey…” Lance replied, slowly standing. It was awkward for a minute, neither knowing if they should talk more or let it go or… “You know, when I said see you around, I didn’t think it’d be so soon.” Lance leaned against his door frame, a small smirk on his face.
Keith’s eyes widened a little and, okay cowboy, calm down. “Yeah, well, we are neighbors after all.”
Lance snorted. “Yeah, something you didn’t even know until now.” He watched as the two felines circled and rubbed against each other as they went into his apartment. “I gotta feed the cats- Well, my cats, Red is probably just going to watch and wait for her to finish before they run off to wherever they go in the middle of the night.”
“Yeah, I haven’t figured that one out yet either.” Keith chuckled. “Thanks...for letting Red hang out, I know its putting you out there.”
“It’s not all all.” Lance shook his head. “Red is a pleasure to have as a daughter-in-law. Very polite, even asked for Azul's hand in marriage the other day.”
Keith was ashamed to admit he laughed harder at that than he should have. “Guess that makes us in-laws now.” He chuckled. “Good night, Lance.”
“Guess it does.” The softest smile that was on Lance’s face had Keith's inner Alpha screaming because fuck, fuck. Why did he want to make that smile home so badly. He literally just met the guy. “Good night, Keith.” The door closed and again, Keith had to give himself a minute to function properly.