Everyone has words written on their skin, somewhere on their arm or hand. Everyone has that single, tiny bit of information about their soulmate, a way to recognize them when they first meet them. That is, if they're lucky enough to have something more original than a simple "hi" or "sorry".
Keith and Lance are very lucky.
It's the 22nd of December, and Lance has been running everywhere all day long for Christmas shopping. It's not entirely his fault. Sure, he could have bought some gifts earlier, but mainly, he's helping his parents to prepare the house for his big brothers and sisters who are coming home for the first time in weeks. They realized that during their big cleaning of the house this summer, they thrown most of the sheets, so he bought new ones, and Christmas ones, please and thanks.
Actually, Lance got really into the Christmas mood and bought a lot of decorations that his parents definitely didn't ask for when they lent him their credit card, but he's pretty sure he can convince them it's a great idea and that they'll love everything enough not to get mad at him.
As Lance makes his way to the grocery shop, his last stop, the car's trunk is already full, but there's always the back seats. He parks, and as he enters the shop, he notices little kids pointing at him. He smiles, he knows he's noticeable with his Christmas sweater, Santa's hat, and imp's boots, but he couldn't resist wearing them: it's only Christmas once a year after all, and it's Lance's favorite period. Everything is magic, and they even have some snow. Not much, but it's white enough for Lance to be happy.
He runs through the aisles, looking for everything his parents asked. They did most of the grocery shopping themselves, but forgot a few things, and his brothers and sisters had some last minutes demands, so he volunteered to get them. Just because he's nice like that, of course, nothing to do with not wanting to do the cleaning of the house.
He's almost done when his phone starts ringing, announcing a call from Rachel, his only sibling still living with him at their parents' house. He almost doesn't pick up, fearing she only wants to complain because she has to do the cleaning, but has the presence of mind to think that maybe, they need him to buy one more thing.
"Hello, you reached Lance, what's your demand?" Lance greets her with a huge smile she can see as they always called with video.
She rolls her eyes. "Milk." Rachel simply says.
"What? But we already bought like.. Ten bottles?" Lance retorts, certain that's enough milk for their entire family, even for a few days.
"I know, but mom said she might need some for a cake and they start freaking out so bring like.. Five more? Or a pack of six?" She asks, moving from the kitchen to the living room to avoid their dad, looking for gods' know what.
"Okay, I guess I can do that. I'll be home in half an hour I think." Lance says, mentally calculating the time to pay, put everything in the car, then drive back home slowly enough not to crash the car because of the snow.
Rachel nods. "Okay, see ya!" Then she hangs up.
Lance puts his phone back into his bag, then puts his foot on the shopping cart to move it faster in the direction he's pretty sure the milk is. He stops when he sees it, carefully changing his cart's direction without crushing some kids.
He abandons his cart at the end of the aisle when he understands he'll never be able to slalom between everyone and their own carts, and decides to just carry the milk pack to his cart when he manages to get his hand on one.
Lance finally sees the milk, but he especially sees the person in front of it, looking at all the bottles with a confused expression. The guy must be Lance's age, all dressed in black as if not even Christmas can ruin his emo look. One of his hands is brought to his face as he's thinking too hard, covered by fingerless gloves that can't really keep him warm. He's pretty, Lance realizes as he looks at the long bangs that fall in the guy's face, partially covering his beautiful traits.
And just like that, Lance feels that he needs to talk to that dude. It's one of these situations when you see a stranger and just know you have to say something because if you don't it'll destroy you. Okay, maybe it's a bit dramatic, but it's like that. So Lance walks in the guy's direction, stopping next to him.
Without thinking, he just declares: "Blue top milk is the best one."
The pretty guy jumps, startled, turning in Lance's direction to look at him with beautiful indigo eyes, wide opened, his mouth slightly opened as if he just saw a ghost. All Lance can think is damn, he's so gorgeous. Then, the guy answers: "I'm lactose intolerant." And Lance understands his reaction because same.
Lance always knew he's one of the persons that are really lucky in term of soulmate. He's incredibly lucky because his soulmark isn't an unhelpful "I'm sorry" or "good morning". No, his soulmark gave him one particular information about his soulmate. And the only thing Lance ever knew about his soulmate, is that they're lactose intolerant. Now, he knows a second thing about him: he's a really beautiful guy.
So they stare at each other for gods' know how long, just taking in the moment. Their First Meeting. In front of bottles of milk, in a supermarket. Lance had imagined a thousands of possibilities for that moment, maybe he'd offer some stranger a hot chocolate and they'd say that, maybe he'd hear a random stranger say that to someone else and he'd just know. It would be a lie to say he wasn't always thinking about that moment every time he saw some form of lactose. And now that it happened, he wouldn't gave it back for anything in the world.
"Excuse me." A woman says, coming between them to grab a pack of milk, and that's enough to break Lance's trance, bringing him back to reality. A reality where he's one of those persons who met their soulmate.
The woman leaves, and Lance smiles brightly at his soulmate. "Please tell me I just said your words." He asks, because he needs the confirmation that this is real, this is really happening.
The guy smiles back, a shy but genuine smile, and nods. "Yeah, yeah, you did. Huh, I'm Keith." His soulmate introduces himself, and it's like Lance always knew that name deep down. As if Keith is just reminding him of that vital information.
"It's really nice to meet you, Keith. I'm Lance."
Keith nods, his smile growing as he looks at Lance. "Are you Santa's son or something? I feel like I'm in some sort of Christmas movie."
Lance chuckles, blushing as he remembers what he decided to wear this morning. His stupid boots, his ridiculous sweater with a Christmas tree on it and pompoms as decorations, and his dumb hat. If someone told him he'd be meeting his soulmate that day, maybe he would have made different choices. But then again, maybe not. A soulmate is someone with whom you never have to be ashamed, right? Someone with whom you can be yourself. Lance loves Christmas, and he shouldn't have to hide his personality for his soulmate to like him. Even if his soulmate is someone who only wear black.
"Nah, I just really love Christmas." Lance admits, hoping he can be enough for Keith, that he won't be disappointed to have him as his soulmate. It's very rare, but it can happen, being rejected by your soulmate. It was one of Lance's biggest fear through all his life, but now that Keith is smiling at him like that, he already feels better. He feels warm, happy.
"That's cute." Keith comments, cheeks pink, and Lance can't take his eyes off of him.
"Can.. Can I hug you?" Lance asks without thinking, just because he really wants to and feels like he's going to combust if he doesn't hold his soulmate in his arms right now. He prepares himself for a no, for awkwardness, for Keith not being ready to give him that just yet.
But Keith doesn't even answer as he just close the gap between them, wrapping his arms around Lance who does the same, their bodies fitting against each other like two puzzle pieces. He takes in Keith's scent, feeling so good he never wants to let go. But Keith lets go, and so does Lance.
"Sorry, I.. I didn't even ask you what you want of.. This." Lance apologizes, making a vague movement between them with his hand, trusting Keith to get it. It's not rare for people to date someone that isn't their soulmate. Some people prefer to choose their partner themselves, or are tired of waiting, or just meet someone they fall in love with and that are not their soulmate. Some soulmates are platonic, but it's generally in both ways, and Lance definitely doesn't feel platonic feelings for Keith. But maybe he already has a special someone in his life. Maybe he doesn't want to let his life be dictated by the universe. Lance is totally for going with the universe's choice for himself, the universe knows better, it chose Keith, after all, and Lance wanted to choose Keith too before he knew he's his soulmate, but..
"I.. I want this, the.. the soulmate thing, if it's what you want too. I never wanted to seriously date anyone, I was waiting for you." Keith blushes, and Lance wants to kiss him. Of course the universe didn't make a mistake. Of course the universe would give him someone who wants this as much as he does. His mom always told him to trust the universe, maybe he should have.
"There's nothing I want more. You're perfect." Lance says honestly. He feels like opening up isn't something Keith does easily, and he really wants to reassure him as much as he reassured Lance. He needs him to know how happy Lance is that it's him. He reaches for Keith's hand, squeezing it, getting a squeeze back.
"Aw, is this your First Meeting?!" A little girl asks excitedly, breaking their bubble, reminding Lance they're in the middle of a supermarket, during the Christmas rush. Keith looks down, embarrassed, but doesn't let go of Lance's hand.
"Yeah, it is. I'm lucky, right?" Lance answers with a huge smile, feeling like he won't be able to stop smiling.. ever, really.
The little girl nods. "And are you Santa's son?" She adds, even more excited, if it's possible.
"Of course he is. It's the first thing I asked him too." Keith says before Lance can open his mouth.
"This is so cool!" The little girl yells before running away, calling for her parents to tell them too. Lance and Keith laugh, amused. That was so cute.
But then, Keith's smile reduces. "Huh, you probably have things to do, right?" And it breaks Lance's heart, but he definitely has things to do. He should be home right now, helping, but everything sounds so unimportant when Keith is right there. Lance needs to get to know him, to know everything there is to know about Keith. He wants to know what he likes, what he doesn't like, if he has allergies, who his friends and family are, if he has pets, what he looks like in the morning, his hair's probably a mess..
"Yeah, shit, I should be home right now. But I really don't want to go." Lance admits. Maybe he's being dramatic, but he feels like he could die of not being with Keith anymore.
"Me neither." Keith confesses with a small, shy smile.
"Why are you even buying milk if you're lactose intolerant, anyway?" Lance chuckles, desperate to win himself some Keith-time first, then genuinely wondering. He won't let his soulmate giving himself a terrible stomachache.
Keith giggles. "It's for my brother. I'm staying at his place right now but he has to go get his boyfriend to the airport so he sent me do the grocery shopping." He explains, and Lance tries to memorize every information Keith gives about himself. "I tried that blue top milk, though, I wanted to know what was so amazing about it that my soulmate loves it so much. But it was just painful."
Lance laughs, imagining a younger Keith bravely poisoning himself just because it's the only thing he knows about his soulmate. And just like that, Lance realizes he might already be falling in love.
"Oh my— Keith, you can't just do that! It was just an excuse to talk to you, dummy. Though it is the best brand but.. Just don't." Lance says, exasperated, but so fond of his soulmate.
Keith chuckles. "I know, Shiro yelled at me. He's my brother. But he understood so in the end he was just worried." Lance could tell by the way Keith talked about his brother that they were close, and he hopes the brother will like him, even if he's the reason Keith tried to drink milk.
"Well don't do that again, he was right. But wait, does that mean no one's waiting for you at home right now?" Lance asks, suddenly hopeful again. He doesn't dare to ask about parents or other family members, he knows it can be complicated and doesn't want Keith to be sad.
"Huh, yeah?" Keith says, clearly not sure of where Lance is going. And it's daring, they only just met each other, going too fast could be hurtful for their relation, but Lance has that gut feeling that tells him to just go for it, and as it's the same one who told him to just talk to Keith, he decides to listen.
"Come home with me, then? It's just a ten minutes ride, I can drive you back after, whenever you want, or you can follow me or.. Anything. If you want to, of course, I get it if you're not feeling confortable, really, we can go somewhere tomorrow or another day." Lance forces himself to shut up, realizing he's rambling. Keith looks amused.
"How many people are at your house? I don't mind meeting new people but.. I'm awkward around strangers." Keith explains sheepishly.
"My parents and my sister, Rachel. They already like you, though, so you don't have to worry about that." Lance reassures him.
Keith smiles. "Yeah? I guess if they're anything like you I'll like them too." And Lance just blushes so badly.
"They're not my family for nothing, yeah. So.. It's settled, then? You're coming?" Lance can't help but ask. Now that the idea of staying longer with Keith and bringing him home is on his mind, he really needs for this to happen.
"Y-yeah, okay." Keith agrees, and Lance could kiss him right now. Except he won't because he's already pushing, and the supermarket is definitely not his dream place for his first kiss with his soulmate.
"Great." Lance says with his biggest smile, begrudgingly letting go of Keith's hand to grab a pack of milk. "I actually really needed it." He adds.
"Wait." Keith stops him, taking his phone out of his pocket. "I need your number, first." He says, looking at Lance with expectation, handing out his phone for Lance to take.
Lance chuckles. "Aw, scared to lose me in the supermarket?" He takes the phone anyway, entering his number.
"Don't laugh, my brother and his boyfriend almost lose each other like that."
Lance looks up, but Keith is serious. "What? Does everyone in your family meet their soulmate in a supermarket? Is that your thing?" He jokes, sending himself a text with Keith's phone before returning it. He can feel his phone buzzing in his pocket, and it's weirdly reassuring to know he now can contact Keith whenever he wants to.
Keith chuckles, putting his phone back in his pocket. "Oh my gods, no. They met in a coffee shop, but were so exited to find each other that they forgot to ask the other's number. They spent the whole afternoon together, and never thought about that. The next day, my brother's boyfriend spent the day waiting for him at the coffee shop, but my brother was working and couldn't go until late afternoon. It all ended well but I don't want to risk it." Keith explains, and Lance laughs. He can't wait to meet Keith's brother and his boyfriend.
"For the record, I'd totally wait the whole day next to bottles of milk for you. I love hearing First Meeting stories. Did they have cool first words?" Lance asks, excited. His parents told him their own First Meeting so many times he knew it by heart now, but he never gets bored of it.
To Lance's surprise, Keith snorts loudly, putting his hand in front of his mouth. It's adorable. "No, it was pathetic. See, the first thing my brother told him was 'excuse me, is that seat taken?'" Keith starts, and Lance can see the problem. He would have hated to have such first words. How is someone supposed to know who's the one with words anyone can say?
"Please tell me your brother didn't have a 'no' for an answer or something lame like that." Lance laughs.
Keith shakes his head, trying not to laugh to tell the rest of the story. "Definitely not. See, Adam - it's his boyfriend - freaked out when he saw his soulmark, because he thought he'd never recognize his soulmate with that. So he decided that his soulmate would have to recognize him instead, and answered 'yes, it's taken by my ghost friend'."
Lance bursts into laughter. It's definitely something he could have done, given a similar soulmark. "That's amazing."
Keith chuckles. "Yeah, Shiro and I bonded over weird soulmarks." He teases Lance, who opens his mouth dramatically in fake shock.
"How dare you! But yeah, I'm sure your bond with your brother have everything to do with your soulmarks and nothing to do with the fact that he's.. You know, your brother." Lance jokes, then swears when his phone starts ringing. Conversation is so easy with Keith he forgot again that he really needs to hurry. He looks at his phone, seeing without surprise Rachel photo on it. "Sorry, I need to take this." He apologizes to Keith, then picks up. "Hi! As you can see, I'm taking the milk right now! I'll be home in 30 as I told you!" He says rapidly before she can yell at him.
"Yeah, as you told me more than half an hour ago." She says, rolling her eyes. "Listen, I know you're either too lazy to help or too busy spending all mom and dad's money on stupid stuff, but we can't prepare the house if you don't bring everything home. The cleaning is done, congratulations, you avoid it, so bring your ass back home or I'll come get you myself and you won't like that."
Lance doesn't dare looking at Keith, way too embarrassed. He knows he could shut Rachel up by telling the truth, but he really wants to surprise them. "Got it, I'm on my way, love you, bye!" He hangs up, and looks at Keith, who's smirking.
"So, milk?" He teases Lance, who nods, taking his milk pack back in his arms. Keith only takes two bottles, that he drops in a bag on the ground that Lance didn't notice before, with a few others things he already collected. Keith takes the bag and looks at Lance expectedly.
"Do you have everything you needed?" Lance asks, making his way to his abandoned cart, still waiting.
"Yeah, we just needed a few things. You?"
"Same, I have everything." He says, taking Keith's hand in his own so he understands he was being sappy. Keith does and huffs, amused. Lance has to drop his hand to move his cart, though.
They go to the checkout, which is miraculously not too crowded.
"Do you want to follow with your car or..?" Lance asks as they wait.
Keith shakes his head. "I don't have a car, I walked here, it's only five minutes away." He explains.
Lance nods. "Okay, change of plan. I drive you there, and then we head at my place. Sound good?"
"Perfect." Keith smiles, and it's Lance's new favorite view.
When Keith opens the apartment's door, Lance doesn't know what he was expecting, but certainly not for a huge dog to rush to his soulmate, jumping on him as if he didn't see him for years. Then, he notices Lance and smells him curiously.
"This is Kosmo, he normally stays at my dad's house, but he's travelling with my mom, she's always on the road. He misses her so he goes with her whenever he can. I generally stay with him so he's not alone, and Kosmo rather be with me, I'm his favorite." Keith explains proudly, closing the door being them.
The apartment is barely decorated, with only a Christmas tree, but it's homy, and Lance can tells that it's Keith's comfy place by the way he acts, going directly to the open kitchen and emptying his bag.
Lance is happy to know Keith still has both of his parents, as well as a great brother, even if they sound nothing like Lance's family. He just hopes Keith's vision of their future is closer to his than his parents', apparently not seeing each other that much. It's good if that works for them, but Lance knows he needs more.
"Where's your dad's house?" Lance asks before he's too afraid to.
"Texas, in the middle of nowhere." Keith jokes, but Lance is filled with a feeling of dread.
"That's.. Far." Lance says weakly, hoping Keith will get it.
Immediately, Keith turns to Lance, a soft smile on his face. He walks to Lance, taking his hands in his owns. "I'm not going anywhere, not without you. I can stay at Shiro's whenever I want, and my dad was thinking about moving anyway, maybe go with my mom now that I'm older. It would be annoying with Kosmo here, but soon Adam will come back permanently, he's away for work, and Shiro and him will buy a house. I'll make sure it's not too far either." Keith reassures him, his voice warm, and Lance can see in his eyes how sincere he is. He really wants to kiss him.
But suddenly, Keith moves away from him. "Wait a second!" He demands, them rushes into a room Lance guesses is his bedroom. Well, here goes his second occasion to kiss his soulmate. At least, now he knows Keith's here to stay. He won't run away, only to be seen once or twice a year. And he really wants this to work, just like Lance. He's so excited and happy he wants to cry and yell it to the world. He needs to text Hunk asap.
Keith comes back a few moments after, wearing a red jumper with a huge reindeer on it. He looks unsure, as if he already regrets his decision, and it's Lance's job to make sure he knows how much he likes the view. He walks to him, smiling. "You look so good, I love it. And there I was thinking you weren't into Christmas, but really you're just too shy to show it to the world."
Keith chuckles. "Not everyone can nail that look." He points at Lance from head to feet, from hat to boots.
"I can teach you. Starting now, because we really need to go."
"Oh shit, yeah."
They rush outside, Keith apologizing to Kosmo before closing the door in front of him. They decided that taking him wasn't a good idea. Then, they run as fast as they can down the stairs, then to the car, almost falling a few times, but always catching up on each other, laughing all the way.
Having put all the grocery shopping on the back seats of the car, Lance still haven't shown anyone all the stuff he bought. So when he stops in front of his house, he suddenly feels self conscious. If his past self knew he'd be bringing his soulmate home, maybe his parents would be a bit richer.
"This is.. Yeah. Honestly, seeing you, I should have been expecting it but.. Wow." Keith comments, eyes on the house.
Through the years, they accumulated a lot of lights for the outside of the house, then reindeers made of lights, and finally, a reindeer-drawn sleigh on the roof with Santa in it. Lance had always been proud of their decorations, so he hopes Keith likes them because he's planning on keeping that mood every Christmas for the rest of his life.
"Imagine inside." Lance says, winking at Keith before opening his car door to exit the car. Keith does the same on his side, still looking at the house as if he couldn't believe his eyes.
"You're sure you're not related to Santa? Because I really feel like I'm in a Christmas movie right now." Keith looks amazed, and Lance is so so happy he likes it.
"Don't worry, the ending will be the same." Lance says, thrilled when he sees Keith blushing.
"Are you hitting on me?" Keith teases him, walking around the car to join Lance.
Lance can't help but put his hands on him, taking his hand to bring it up and kiss it. "Yes." He admits with confidence as Keith melts in front of him. "Come on, we'll unload after, I wanna introduce you to them first." He adds, dragging Keith after him to the door. As Keith doesn't answer, he looks at him, to see he seems anxious. "Hey, they already like you, remember?"
Keith smiles shyly and nods. Lance guesses he'll feel better when it's done and over with, so he opens the door, squeezing Keith's hand to reassure him. He knows it'll go great. When his older brothers and sisters brought their soulmates home, their parents were delighted, immediately adopting them in the family. And okay, maybe the circonstances are a bit different. They knew about them for days, some for weeks, and when they finally came, they were invited. And there is a chance that everyone's a bit mad at Lance. But he knows them, and he trusts the Christmas spirit, it'll be fine.
As soon as the door's opened, he hears Rachel yelling from the living room. "Laaance, come here!"
"You, come here, I have a surprise!" He yells back, feeling the excitement rising in his stomach. That's it, one of the moments he's been waiting for the most in his life.
"I swear, Lance, if you brought a puppy.." They hear Rachel's voice coming closer.
"Told you bringing Kosmo would have been a bad idea." Keith mumbles, half hidden behind Lance.
Then Rachel arrives, looking pissed, but Lance can tell the exact moment she spots Keith, because she freezes completely. "Huh, hello?" She greets him, unsure, sending Lance a questioning look. He could ask Keith to show his soulmark to her, it'd be enough for her to connect the dots as she's well aware of Lance's own words, but he hasn't see them himself yet, and it feels somehow personal. Most people don't like showing their mark around, and he doesn't know Keith's point of view about that yet. Keith just waves with his hand at Rachel unhelpfully.
"Rachel, this is Keith. He's lactose intolerant." He declares simply, trusting her to get it, and he's not disappointed.
Both Rachel and Keith say "Oh my god" at the same time, Rachel with excitement, almost yelling, and Keith exasperated, dropping him head on Lance's shoulder from behind for a second.
"What?" Lance hears his mom yelling from somewhere in the house, and he laughs.
"Mom! Soulmate alert!" Rachel yells, and their mom runs across the house until she arrives from the stairs, looking tired but as excited as the others McClain.
She spots Keith, and happy tears immediately start running down her cheeks.
"Mom, he's my soulmate, Keith." He announces, squeezing Keith's hand, and it sounds so good that he honestly could tell the whole world and it wouldn't bother him to repeat it for every single person.
His mom comes closer, and takes them both in her arms in a bones crushing hug. She lets go after a few seconds, a hand on each one of them. "I'm so happy for you!"
Lance only notices Rachel left when she comes back with their dad, looking confused but happy. "Hi there, I've heard we got a new family member?" He says with a warm smile, and they're everything Lance was hoping for, greeting Keith as he deserves to be welcomed.
"Hi, it's nice to meet y'all." Keith answers with a shy smile.
"Wait a minute, were you with him when I called? Is that why half an hour turned into more than an hour?" Rachel asks, outraged as she probably realizes that Lance had his soulmate in front of him as she called and didn't tell her. Well, what can he do, he likes surprises.
"Yeah? We did bring the milk in the end." Keith says, looking unsure of what he's supposed to say.
"Honey, you know that being lactose intolerant means you can't have milk, right? Lance has been worrying about that, he tried a lot of lactose-free stuff for you, you know, you can ask him—" His mom starts lecturing Keith, but Lance decides to stop her before they all freeze to death. He'd like to enjoy some time with his soulmate before that, thank you very much.
"He knows, it wasn't for him."
"You really tried lactose-free food for me?" Keith asks, clearly touched as if he wasn't expecting his soulmate to do that for him. Lance can't wait to show him everything he deserves.
"Of course, I can't let you being sick." He says, feeling himself blushing, embarrassed that his mom had to say that to Keith. And that they're having this conversation in front of half of his family.
"Awww." Rachel mocks him without malice.
"Shut up. As you're all here doing nothing, help me unload the trunk." Lance changes the subject, also because he feels that Keith doesn't like being the center of attention.
"The car in general." Keith adds.
"Ugh, Lance." His dad says, exasperated as they make their way to the car. He opens the trunk, and for a long moment, they all just stay there in silence, taking in the view of.. Everything.
"Wow." Rachel finally breaks the silence. "Who decided to let the Christmas crazy guy do the shopping and who was dumb enough to give him their credit card?"
"It's okay, we'll reuse everything every year." His mom tries to rationalize.
"Did we really all need new pajamas, though?" His dad asks.
"Yeah, what happened to the pajamas from last year that we were supposed to reuse every year?" Rachel wonders.
"Hey, we can't just wear the same pajamas forever!" Lance defends himself.
"But we only wear them like.. Two months in the year." Rachel argues.
"It's incredible how many different stuff you found. I didn't know there was so many Christmas themed thingies." Keith says in awe.
"Don't worry, I'll teach you." Lance promises once again. His soulmate can't just have a Christmas tree as only decoration, it's just sad. Maybe it's a bit late for this year, but next year.. His brother and his boyfriend will probably have their house by them, and Lance won't allow it to stay naked at Christmas.
"Run while you still can." Rachel jokes.
Keith looks fondly at Lance, though, squeezing his hand, reminding him he's here to stay. "Nah, I like that."
Rachel huffs, but her smile betrays her real feelings. "Guess you guys really are soulmates."
"Of course, I'm lactose intolerant." Keith grins, making Lance chuckles.
"I'm actually curious. What were Lance's first words to you?" She asks, and Lance sees his parents looking at them, waiting, curious too.
"That's our secret." Keith declares, mysterious, and even if Lance wouldn't mind them knowing, he loves it. He likes the idea of these words, of their First Meeting, staying theirs, at least at first.
"What? But Lance, you always ask everyone about their First Meeting, you can't just do that!" Rachel yells, outraged.
"We should really unload everything before we freeze." Lance changes the subject, starting to take as many things as possible in his arms.
"Good idea." Keith approves, doing the same.
Lance's parents chuckles before imitating them, preferring to stay out of this argument.
In the end, it takes them fifteen minutes to get everything inside the house, but Lance has no regret.
When Lance's mom suggests that him and Keith go upstairs make the beds while the rest of them put into order the rest of the stuff Lance's bought, no one argues and he's thankful for that, for them. He loves that his mom guessed it must be awkward for Keith and gave them an exit, even though they all must be dying to get to know him.
"Did you buy random Christmas beddings or did you buy specific ones for each person?" Is the first thing Keith asks him when they're alone in Veronica's bedroom. No comment on his family, just that. No "they're cool" or "they're annoying" or anything. Just beddings.
Lance is fighting to unpack the first bedding when he answers. "Who do you think I am? Of course I didn't buy random beddings, come on. I chose pingouins for Vero because when she was a kid, she complained a lot about the fact that it's unfair they can't fly. She had a stuffed pingouin she was always making fly around."
Keith laughs. "Is everyone in your family weird?"
"Said the guy who's brother forgot to ask his soulmate's number." Lance teases him, understanding Keith is just joking around. Or maybe he definitely thinks they're weird, but a good kind of weird.
"Touché. But it's just one member of my family." Keith argues, and even if Lance is still unsure of if it's okay to ask questions, he decides that if Keith lets the door opened, it must mean it's okay to ask. And if he doesn't want to answer, he can just say so and Lance will change the subject. No risk.
"Yeah? Were your parents' better?"
Lance finally manages to unpack the bedding and gives one side of the sheet to Keith so he can help him. Keith takes it right away, moving clumsily in sync with Lance.
"Kind of. They didn't have phone, but they didn't left each other's side for weeks, and then only to go shopping or stuff like that." Keith explains with a fond look on his face. Lance can tell he loves his family more than anything in the world. Lance likes Keith's parents' story. Or at least the beginning. Once again, he wonders how they ended up almost not seeing each other that much after that.
"That's sweet. My parents are the opposite. They met at the airport as they both were about to go in holidays with their families. Luckily they actually lived not so far from each other but for two weeks they couldn't see the other." Lance tells, wanting Keith to know about his family story too. His parents first meeting has always been his favorite story.
"That must have been horrible." Keith says without thinking, then blushes when he realizes what he just said and tries to hide behind the blanket they're putting back on the bed. Lance has no idea how he ended up deserving that guy as his soulmate but he feels so blessed.
"Yeah, but after that they never left each other more than a few days so I guess they made up for the time lost. They're lucky." Lance says, now taking care of one pillow as Keith does the other one.
"Except that now they have a son who spent all their money on Christmas shit." Keith teases him, and it's so unexpected that Lance snorts loudly, then hiding his face with his hand. Keith chuckles, moving around the bed to take his hand away. Then not letting go of Lance's hand.
"Deep down you like those Christmas things. Don't lie." Lance says, pointing at Keith's jumper.
Keith smiles. "Never said I didn't."
They're about to enter the next bedroom when Rachel arrives from the stairs, looking suspiciously at them. "You're done?" She asks, eyeing them, then the beddings in their arms.
"Do you have any idea of how long it takes? And it's tiring." Lance argues, but Rachel just rolls her eyes and takes the beddings from them.
"Okay, give me that. You're needed downstairs, mom and dad are trying to understand where you meant to put everything you bought and it's painful to watch so just.. Go and help, okay? Or send them to help me and do it yourself." She says, falsely annoyed, but Lance can hear there's no animosity in her tone.
She disappears in a bedroom, and Keith leans closer to Lance. "Your sister is terrifying." He whispers, and Lance can't help but chuckle.
"Nah, she just likes to pretend she is. Come here." He guides Keith back downstairs, where his parents are trying hard to handle all the stuff Lance bought. The truth is, he didn't really think about where to put everything. He just found cute things and guessed he would find places for them.
When his parents notice them, they immediately smile brightly at them. Especially at Keith. "Oh, hi, kids."
Keith waves vaguely at them with an awkward smile.
"We'll take it from there, Rachel says she needs help with the beds." Lance says, hoping they'll take the hint and go upstairs.
His parents look at each other, then back at them. "Oh, yeah, sure. We'll, huh, go." His dad answers clumsily as his mom pushes him to the stairs, and Lance has to fight not to laugh.
When they're gone, he takes Keith's hand to guide him in the living room, in the middle of The Mess. Then, he takes the closest bag to look inside. Yeah, he definitely forgot he bought Christmas crockery.
"Did you made these?"
Lance looks back at Keith. He didn't realize his.. soulmate? Boyfriend? Were they dating yet? Anyway, he didn't see Keith walking to the tree, now looking in awe at the decorations. It's a mix of a lot of things, all so different from the others but somehow, they all fit perfectly together. At least to Lance's. It's a bit like his family: they're all very different, but it's clear they belong together.
"Some, yeah. Me, or my family. Some are really old. But there's also a lot we just found and bought because we liked them. It can look like a mess but we like it like that, as if it has a soul, you know." Lance tries to explain, feeling a bit self conscious about his weird tree.
But Keith's smile is soft and not at all judgmental. "I like it too. When he moved in his apartment Shiro just bought a few boxes of balls that went well together and just.. Reuse them every year. It's okay, though, it's enough, but this is.. I don't know, warm." Keith says, cheeks a bit pink as he struggles to explain himself. But Lance gets it.
Almost unconsciously, he comes closer to Keith, wrapping an arm around Keith to hug him from behind, putting his head on Keith's shoulder as they look at the tree. At first, Keith tenses, surprised, but almost instantly, he relaxes into Lance's arms.
"Which one is your favorite?" Lance asks, almost in a whisper. All he can hear is a faint Christmas song from a CD his parents must have put on earlier, and it's like he's alone in the world with Keith.
Then, he can feels Keith giggling in his arms, and it's his new favorite memory. He can't say he's in love just yet, but damn, he can tell he's falling fast and hard. Keith points at a tiny hippopotamus key chain that is not even supposed to be a Christmas decoration but Lance knitted it a small red and green scarf so now it is.
"I bought that one. It wasn't even Christmassy but.. I don't know, I saw it and just couldn't not take it home. I knitted the scarf. I could knit you a matching one." Lance only half joke, liking the thought of Keith wearing something he made.
Keith moves just enough to cast a glance at Lance. "You would?" And he looks so happy that Lance could knit it right now just to please him.
"Of course." He says, now decided to do that as soon as possible. Maybe he can be done by tomorrow, making sure Keith has it for Christmas.
Lance hears a phone buzzing, but can't feel his, so he knows it's not his. Keith moves again, though, extracting himself from Lance's arms to take his phone out of his pocket. He looks at the screen and swears. "Shit, it's my brother." Then: "Hi, Shiro."
The sound is loud enough so Lance can hear the answer, but that doesn't bother Keith as he doesn't do anything to change that. "Keith, gods, don't scare us like that! Where the hell are you?"
Keith rolls his eyes. "Relax, I put the stuff you ask in the—"
"I don't care about grocery shopping. Adam, tell him." His brother cuts him, then another dude's voice takes his place.
"Hi, Keith. Your brother and I would appreciate if you could warn us when you go out so we wouldn't believed you got abducted by aliens or something. You did not get abducted by aliens, right?"
Keith chuckles, exchanging an amused look with Lance. "Nah, not aliens, don't worry."
Lance puts his hand in front of his mouth not to laugh loudly.
"Good. Wait, what?!" It's the brother again, and Keith's probably on speaker. "Where are you?"
Keith's smile is proud and fond when he announces: "I don't know, I just followed some guy who likes blue top milk."
Shiro gasps loudly. "Adam. Oh my gods. It's happening. And Keith didn't run away or forgot his name or some stupid shit like that."
"Did you ask for his number?" Adam adds.
This time, Lance can't help but laugh.
"I'm going to hang up now, bye!" Keith pretends, not making a move to hang up. And Lance gets it, it's an important moment he wants to share with his family too.
"No! But really, what's his name? And where are you? It's getting late, do you need me to come and get you? Don't walk home, it's dark outside." Shiro says, between excitement and panic.
"Want me to drive you home?" Lance offers in a whisper, but not low enough for Shiro to miss it.
"Eh, is that him?" Shiro asks.
"Huh, yeah, I'm Lance. Hi, Nice to.. Meet you, I guess?" Lance mumbles clumsily, not sure of what to say. Damn, that's hard, and it's only two guys on the phone. Lance suddenly feels bad for throwing his entire family at Keith right away. Keith who's currently hiding his face on Lance's shoulder. That feels nice, though.
"Hi, Lance! I'm glad Keith found you. I'm Shiro, by the way, I'm his brother." Even excited, the guy managed to sound calm and reassuring.
"And I'm Adam, his boyfriend." The other guy says. "Shiro's." He adds, unnecessarily, making the other one laugh and Keith groan in Lance's shoulder.
"Keith, stop hiding and text me the address, we're coming." Shiro decides with his dad voice. Lance doesn't know him yet, but he can tell there's no use to argue with him right now. They're coming and there's no way to stop it. Oh well, maybe Lance brought that on himself by refusing to let go of Keith. Not that he's regretting it or ever could.
Keith straightens only then. "Ok, will do, really bye this time!" And he hangs up, cheeks red. "I'm so sorry." He adds to Lance, not looking into his eyes.
But Lance just laughs it out, smiling softly at his soulmate. "Don't be, I think they're great. Now text him before he calls again to yell at you." He half jokes, not sure he's exaggerating.
"I hate y'all." Keith groans, typing on his phone to try and hide a smile that tells Lance he's not thinking a word of what he just said. Then, he puts his phone back in his pocket. "Done. Happy?" He smirks at Lance, who wants to kiss it away.
"Very." He answers instead, deciding to give in to his pulsion by kissing Keith's cheek, making it even redder. The smirk is gone anyway, replaced by a fond look in Keith's eyes, who leans slowly in Lance's direction, his eyes leaving Lance's to look at his lips..
"Lance! Did you seriously buy me reindeer beddings again? You need to let go of that joke!" Rachel yells front the stairs, Keith straightens, putting back distance between him and Lance, who's so mad at his sister because why couldn't she wait five more seconds?
"Never, you have a pyjamas too, you're welcome!" He still yells back as he can't help it, but he also notice Keith's red and slightly disappointed face. "Sorry about that, too." Lance adds like Keith just did. Damn, meeting each other's family is great but Lance just wants everyone to ignore them for a bit so he can actually get to know more about his soulmate.
Keith smiles, though. "It's okay. You weren't joking about buying specific things for everyone and not just.. Random Christmas things. Why reindeers?"
The Christmas lights all around them reflecting in Keith's indigo eyes make it really hard for Lance to concentrate on the conversation, but he's trying his best. "Uh, she stole one when we were kids to free it from Santa or something. We were like.. Eight? The dude had to reveal Santa's not real to have his reindeer back." He explains, conscious he and his family must look so crazy.
Keith chuckles, but stop when he crosses eyes with Lance. "Wait, you're joking, right?"
Lance shakes his head. "I wish."
Then, Keith does something absolutely unexpected. He doesn't run away or look like he's regretting for Lance to be his. He laughs. Genuinely laughs, fully, snorting, even. It's an amazing sight. "I think I'll love your family so much."
Lance joins him, laughing more because he's reassured than anything else. "I mean, you could meet the rest of them tomorrow when they come." He offers, knowing Keith's brother and brother-in-law are to arrive soon and his time with his soulmate is counted.
Keith slowly stop laughing, a shy look on his face, and Lance remembers what he said earlier about meeting new people. Maybe he did come too strong this time.
"I think I'd like to wait a bit for that? It's just.. A lot for me right now. You know how Shiro joked about me running away? I would never have done that but.. I'm scared." He mumbles sheepishly as if fearing Lance would get mad or something.
Lance takes his hand in his and squeezes it. "I get it, I'm terrified of your brother and his soulmate arriving. But I don't regret kidnapping you. Might do that again soon."
"Yeah?" Keith says, almost in a whisper.
"Yeah. Just you and me, this time. Sound good?"
"Perfect." Keith smiles, and they go back to trying to tidy the mess in the living room.
When someone rings the door's bell, Lance's heart skips a beat. Maybe it's karma for bringing Keith in his noisy family, but now that it's the other way around, he's terrified.
"I got it!" He still yells for his family all around the house. He warned them, though, so of course, they'll arrive soon to witness Lance probably making a fool of himself in front of his future in-laws.
In the end, it's Keith who opens the door after an encouraging smile in Lance's direction. And Lance knows deep down that it's going to be okay, Shiro and Adam sounded like two great guys and Keith so obviously love and admire them that they have to be amazing, but he's just so stressed out.
As soon as the door is opened, Keith rushed into one of the guy's arms in a bones crushing hug, the other one looking softly at them. It doesn't take Lance more than a second to guess that second man is Shiro, and he remembers Keith talking about Adam being away for some time. He probably missed him a lot and Lance didn't even think about that, too focused on his own anxiety.
"Hey, kiddo. Missed you too." Adam greets him as they let go. It's then that Lance notices Shiro's eyes on him and he's back on freaking out mode.
"So, you must be Lance." Shiro says, still looking at Lance, expression neutral as if judging him. Lance feels his stomach knotting, opening his mouth to answer, then closing it again when he realizes he's unable to find anything to say, or the strength to actually say it.
"It's really nice to meet you in person, I'm Adam." Adam breaks the moment, offering a hand to Lance with a warm smile. Lance shakes it, smiling gratefully at Adam.
"Same here. And yes, I'm Lance. Hi." He finally answer, finding his bravery again, enough to look back at Shiro. The guy nods slowly, thinking hard, still looking as if he's judging Lance. He doesn't look like Keith described him, and Lance is terrified. That doesn't stop him from offering a hand and his brightest smile.
Shiro shakes his hand strongly, clearly meaning to impress Lance, but Lance doesn't give in, holding as strongly as he can, finally giving a small smile at Lance, who's still bravely looking him in the eyes.
"Quite being an asshole, seriously, Shiro, I was fifteen and it's not Lance's fault." Keith glares at his brother, but his annoyance is playful, and Shiro's serious expression breaks into a full grin as he chuckles.
"Sorry. Welcome in the family, Lance." And this time, his tone is warm and Lance is confused but relieved too so he just accepts that maybe his soulmate's family is as weird as his.
"Thanks, and welcome to my home." He answers, inviting them to enter, finally closing the door behind them. It's the signal his family seemed to have been waiting for, because right away, they arrive to introduce themselves.
It's natural, and everyone get along pretty well, all so excited for them that Lance feels blessed to have all of them, and happy Keith has people like that too in his life.
After a few minutes, Lance takes advantage of the agitation to grab Keith's hand to lead his away, in a corner of the living room where they can be alone for a bit. They sit on the couch, close to each other, but not glued to the other. Enough to feel the other, but not too much.
"So. You're brother. He's something." Lance comments, because he needs to understand. He gets the big brother show to protect Keith, really, but his sudden change of mood.. That's something else.
Keith chuckles, though, hiding his face in his hands for a moment. "I'm so sorry, you'll have to blame past-Keith for that one. When Shiro introduced Adam to me, I was an angry teenager who was scared his big brother would stop caring about him because he had his soulmate, now. I guess that was payback."
Lance chuckles too. At least it's not against him. "I think I'll like them."
"Yeah? I think they'll like you too."
Lance smiles as he lets his head rest on Keith's shoulder.
His family said goodbye to Shiro, Adam and Keith. He, himself, said goodbye to Shiro and Adam. They stayed a bit to all get to know each other, but everyone had things to do so now, Shiro and Adam need to take Keith back. Away from Lance, who's not happy about that. Keith doesn't really seem to like that idea either as he tells Shiro and Adam to wait for him in the car and that he'll be there in a minute. A minute is not enough, but it's still something.
As Keith turns back in his direction after sending the couple away, Lance feels his heart going crazy because it's snowing slightly now, and it's cute in Keith's black hair.
"Just you and me, next time? Soon?" He asks with a soft smile.
Lance nods. Obviously, soon. Soon can't be soon enough. "Of course. It'll be your best first date." He half jokes, as he's definitely going to do everything in his power to make Keith happy.
"You'll be there so it's already won." Keith says, cheeks pink.
Lance can't keep the biggest grin ever from his face. He closes his hand around the tiny hippopotamus key chain he took from his tree earlier in his pocket, taking it out to put it in Keith's hand. "I want you to have this one, so your tree will be a little bit less cold. And next year, I'll force the three of you to experiment the whole Christmas experience, okay?"
Keith holds the key chain close, clearly touched by Lance's gesture. "I'll take care of it. I can't wait for.. Everything." He leans to kiss Lance's cheek. "I have to go. But.. Soon."
Lance smiles. "Soon. Text me when you're home."
Keith nods. "Yeah, okay. Bye, Lance."
Lance catches him before he can go away, though, bringing him close in a tight hug. He takes in Keith's scent one last time before next time, wishing it'd be already the time for that. "Bye." He whispers in Keith's hair before grudgingly letting go of him.
When he goes back inside his house, he feels warm, a bit sad, but mostly overjoyed by everything that happened in only a few hours. His family is waiting for him, all so excited, and they don't have to insist for him to tell them everything, unable to stop talking about the few things he learned about his soulmate.