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Business in the Front, Party in the Back

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The day Lance hit the wall was the day he stopped hating Keith’s mullet.

Honestly, what direction but downhill was there to go when a goddamn mullet - the 7th deadly sin - slowly but surely squeaked its way out of the rotation of focal points of Keith Insults?

Or, for that matter, when it became another addition to (terrifyingly) fast-growing pile of Keith assets, right next to those ridiculously tight pants?

Because, shit, those things did not leave much to the imagination. And that wasn’t to say the imagination didn’t work with what it had.

But Lance digressed. Back to the mullet, and corresponding shift of opinion that had been happening these days. To Lance’s utmost chagrin, he almost, almost - damn, it was hard to admit even in thought - almost enjoyed hanging out with the Red Paladin.

But how could he help it, with the way Keith had started acting lately? It was like the little mulleted bastard was fucking with him, doing things any self-respecting rival would find repulsive.

Case in point: that time about a month ago, when Keith had stuttered out (with, of all things, a blush on his face) an invitation for Lance to practice hand-to-hand combat.

Lance, understandably, had been wary. Admittedly, Keith was a bit of a badass at fighting, so it wasn’t too great a stretch of reasoning to imagine the Paladin staging the whole ‘practice’ as a front for an extended introduction to both of his fists.

Yet, against all odds, the session had gone quite swimmingly and become a regular affair, when schedules allowed.

And, dare Lance say it, he and Keith were becoming friends.

Where were the good ole’ days, the days where Lance would amuse himself by discovering how many dollops of food goo he could drip onto Keith’s hair without the Paladin noticing? The days where Keith would fume over Lance’s repeat inquiries concerning whether or not the teen realized his jacket was too short? The days where the pair could spend literally upwards of 4 hours debating whether Star Trek or Star Wars was the superior franchise (Star Trek, obviously)?

Those were truly good times. And, as it turned out, Keith was of the opinion that a cropped jacket was “cool”, the poor, foolish boy.

But, alas, now such arguments had sneakily morphed into friendly discussions, and Lance had discovered they both rather disliked Battlestar Galactica.

Keith had also developed this habit of dropping by Lance’s room in the evenings, always asking if he could come in no matter how many times Lance had said yes before. They’d talk about anything and everything - initially shallow topics like the startlingly unappealing viscosity of the food goo. Then on to more personal funny stories, like the time 8 year old Lance had locked his entire family out of the house to secure unrestricted control of the family sweets drawer. Then, finally, on to the real stuff - the fears, the insecurities, the aching, visceral homesickness. Keith had once told him he often felt crushing loneliness, and for perhaps the first time in his life, Lance couldn’t have even imagined cracking some kind of joke.

On a lighter note, Lance couldn’t help noticing that Keith was a bit of a looker. Objectively speaking, of course! Some moments, though, the fact really hit Lance hard, like whenever Keith blushed - a weirdly common occurrence for the Red (ha, get it?) Paladin when he and Lance chilled. Maybe it was just the pale skin.

And that was just the tip of the iceberg that was Lance pretending he didn’t notice things. Things like how nice Keith’s arms looked in his grey undershirt, or those fascinating little grunts and puffs of air the teen would make while engaged in a particularly taxing exercise. Or how flexible Keith was. Or the way how, right now, the Paladin’s sweat was making his shirt cling to the impressive counters of his abs as he offered Lance a hand up, the pair having just finished a round of sparring.

Keith had won - surprise, surprise. Lance only secured victories occasionally, most often after water breaks.

“You want to go another round?” Keith asked, wiping his forehead with the arm that wasn’t extended, and Lance very nearly choked. That poor, naive boy - Keith probably couldn’t spot an innuendo if it formed goddamn Voltron in front of him.

“Sure,” Lance croaked, mind rather preoccupied providing the teen with images of just what an alternate ‘other round’ might entail.

This, too, could be added to the list of general ‘what the fuck?’ that had been occurring in Lance’s brain, that traitor of an organ. Like that one dream he’d had, with him, Keith, and a really tight hiding spot in a cave. Or the annoying way everything else seemed to turn to static whenever Keith’s lips formed that gentle quirk.

Damn, maybe space really did make you go crazy.

“You’re improving incredibly,” Keith added, and Lance took his hand and pulled himself up, breaking from his reverie.

“Thanks, I guess. Unless that was one of those backhanded compliments, like, ‘Oh, you look great today!’ And then you think, ‘What, did I not look great yesterday?’ Ya know?”

Keith looked a tad lost. “Um, yes?”

Lance rolled his eyes. Pretty or not, that boy was a bit hard to work with.

And currently frowning. “Why do you think I’m always trying to insult you?”

Lance outright laughed at that one. “Oh, I don’t know, did you forget about the entire first season? You know, when we were sworn rivals and I totally one-upped you at every action packed, TV-Y7 turn?”

At that, Keith’s frown somewhat deepened. “I’d hoped we had moved past that whole ‘rivals’ thing.”

“Oh.” Lance’s heart, yet another traitorous organ, stuttered in his chest. There were all those heart-to-hearts to consider. “Well, uh. I guess we have.”

Keith’s frown turned right on upside down. “Really?” Damn, there was that static again.

“Yeah!” Lance slapped an arm around Keith’s sweaty (ew) shoulders. “I mean, we are in a show based on a shonen anime, it was only a matter of time before the forces of friendship overtook us! Besides, after a while, the mullet really starts to grow on ya. On me, that is.”

A tad more scarlet snuck onto Keith’s already exercise-flushed face, and the teen reached back an arm to touch said mullet almost reverently. “I- thanks. Thank you.” An awkward, staccato sort of laugh escaped Keith’s lips as he continued. “It can get pretty annoying though, it always sticks to my neck and stuff when I work out. I’m actually gonna try putting it in a ponytail in a second.”

And honestly, poor Keith, because that boy looked downright baffled as Lance fell into an admittedly obnoxious fit of laughter, letting go of Keith in the process. “A, a ponytail?! You may as well turn in your man card to me now.”

“At least then you’ll have one,” Keith snapped back, and Lance’s laughter abruptly stopped.

“Besides,” Keith muttered, “Wearing your hair up isn’t necessarily girly.”

“Oh yeah?” Lance retorted, determined to win this battle, because now it had become personal. “Then name any intimidating guy ever who wore their hair up.”

Keith literally bunched his eyebrows in concentration, then let out a victorious: “Ha! Like, all of the samurai.”

Damn. “Alright, you make a fair point, pal.” Here Lance gave Keith a very enthusiastic pat on the back, drawing an “oof” from the shorter teen. “But that’s not gonna keep me from making fun of it.”

“What happened to ‘the forces of friendship’?” Keith grumbled as he began tying up his hair. “You still want to go again, right?”

And suddenly, Lance found himself quite unable to answer, because, because-

Christ on a crutch! - because Keith looked fucking gorgeous in a ponytail. Of course he would.

The pulled back hair exposed a rather exquisite jawline and equally lovely neck, the creamy skin lined with sweat. And, to make matters more unfair, Keith’s ridiculous bangs actually only added to the overall impression of hot hot hot, framing and emphasizing dazzling blue eyes.

“Lance?” Keith tried again, and Lance pinched himself to float back on down to reality.

Shit, Keith was still mind-numbingly attractive even down there in reality. But Lance couldn’t let him know that. “Aha, yep! Totally, I was born ready.”

“Wait, what’s ‘nací listo’? Were you just speaking Spanish?!”

“Oh, uh, it means I’m ready. My bad.” Damn, Lance was really far gone if he’d just accidentally reverted to Spanish. He hadn’t done that since he’d had to make a nervous presentation on the water cycle in fourth grade.

The ability to swallow reached previously undiscovered levels of difficulty as Lance watched Keith bend over to tie his boot, and Lance found himself reminded of just how tight those pants were.

Very, very, tight.

“Alright, then.” Keith walked towards the center of the room and shifted to a wide stance. “Let’s go.”

Oh god, there wasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell Lance could win this fight in his current state of mind, and he damn well knew it. He was a bit too busy having one of the biggest crises of his life to kick any kind of ass. Best get it over with quickly, then.

Lance tossed an uninspired right hook at Keith, who predictably blocked it with ease. And reciprocated, his punch actually connecting across Lance’s jaw.

Ouch. Dammit, Keith.

A bit more grounded, Lance sprang back and reset his feet. Keith pursued, aiming a solid kick at Lance’s side.

Lance caught his leg, but before he could try some kind of hold Keith yanked it back. Lance swung again, this time hard, and Keith narrowly dodged with a duck. Keith landed another solid hit on Lance’s ribcage, then backed off.

At this point, Lance's mind had more or less focused on the fight. He wiped a bit of sweat from his eyes with the hem of his shirt then put his fists back up, waiting for Keith to make a move.

Except… he didn’t. Keith’s eyes seemed trained somewhere below Lance’s eye level. Seeing his chance, Lance lunged and swiped a leg across Keith’s shins.

Keith yelped, and, in a twist, the move actually worked. Lance began smirking until he noticed which way Keith was falling.

With an overdramatic gasp (this was Keith, after all), the teen tumbled straight into Lance, knocking both of them onto the (hard!) floor.

Lance’s initial reaction was along the lines of: eww. Keith tended to get very sweaty. The disgust quickly shifted to worry, however. It wasn’t like Keith to go down so easily.

“What the hell was that, Keith, are you feeling alright?”

Keith did look rather dazed, eyes blown all wide as he replied. “Y-yeah, I was just, uh. Your shirt was riding up and I was-- Wait, no, that’s not what I meant! I, you, uh…”

Keith seemed dead-set on pronouncing a bowl of alphabet soup, but Lance had thoroughly tuned him out, because he had realized just how he and Keith had fallen.

Right on top of each other, that is. And, wow, how had their bodies managed to mold so closely?! Lance swallowed thickly. With Keith’s solid chest and hips lined up against his own… Suffice it to say Lance had been in much more unpleasant situations.

Keith seemed to notice their positioning a few moments after Lance went silent, and he sucked in a sharp breath. His cheeks began positively blazing. Lance swore he could feel Keith’s heartbeat.

And shit, shit, shit, their noses were basically touching (and that was to say nothing of their nether regions), and Keith’s beautiful blue eyes were staring down at him all wobbly, and before he could even register what he was doing Lance moved forward.

The kiss was short-lived and rather chaste. A momentary touch of lips, with shaky exhales from Keith’s nose ghosting over the top of Lance’s lip.

It was fucking fantastic, and Lance couldn’t have wiped the stupid grin from his face as he pulled away if the fate of the universe had depended on it.

“You meant to do that, right?” Keith’s voice trembled. “Please tell me you meant to do that.”

Lance’s dopey grin grew impossibly wider. “Only because you said ‘please’, pretty boy - I did.”

And before he knew it Lance found himself engaged in another kiss, this one a more heated affair. With parted lips and everything.

Keith’s thumbs began rubbing back and forth over Lance’s cheekbones, and Lance took that as a cue and gently pulled the tie from Keith’s stupid, wonderful ponytail. Lovely black hair freed, Lance buried his fingers in it and began stroking.

God, Lance had never thought he’d see the day where he genuinely enjoyed interactions with a mullet.

Keith, rather obviously a novice in the fine art of tonsil hockey, kept bumping their noses together, and holy shit it was adorable. Lance couldn’t resist commenting when the teen broke briefly for air.

“Wow, man, you kiss just about as well as you make respectable haircut decisions.”

Lance could pinpoint the exact moment the jab managed to fight its way past the apparent haze enveloping Keith’s brain.

“Oh yeah?” the teen retorted, and Lance had only a second to reflect on the lameness of that comeback before he found himself on the receiving end of an all-out assault of lips and - hot damn, Keith! - tongue.

What Keith lacked in experience, he made up for in pure enthusiasm, and Lance found himself moaning embarrassingly as hands began mapping his waist and ribcage.

Well then. If Keith wanted to play that game, the boy should damn well consider the challenge accepted. Lance’s hands left their rather PG perch in Keith’s hair and began a slow, appreciative descent along the lovely dip of the teen’s back.

Keith shivered into Lance, and then outright squeaked when Lance threw himself a bone and gave the teen’s backside a quick squeeze.

Keith separated their lips with an obscene pop, and propped himself up on his elbows to stare down at Lance.

Lance smiled sheepishly up at Keith. “Ah, sorry about that. I guess I got a bit carried away.”

The teen seemed to still be gathering both his breath and thoughts. “No, it’s… fine. Definitely fine. I’ve always imagined you’d pull something like that.”

Lance felt his heartbeat trip and faceplant. “What do you mean ‘always imagined’?”

A veritable tsunami of scarlet flooded Keith’s cheeks. “Y-you mean you didn’t notice? I’ve, uh. I’ve liked you for a while now.”

Lance heard an honest-to-god tire screech in his mind. “You?! Liked me?! For a while?!”

The tiniest of smiles grew on Keith’s lips. “Yes, to all three of those. Do you honestly think I wanted to practice hand-to-hand that much?”

Lance pouted. “I did.” But actually, the more he thought about it, Lance supposed the main draw of the sessions had been Keith all along, what with his (admittedly top shelf) banter, hilarious reactions, and cute concentrating face.

For real, seeing the way Keith would knit his eyebrows and bite his lip was well worth the bruises.

Oh. And in that moment, Lance knew.

“So, uh,” Lance said. “Just so we’re all clear, I’m pretty sure I like you too - a lot. If that cave dream was any indication, at least.”

“Cave dream?” Keith’s eyebrow quirked.

“Um, never mind. Let’s just pick up where we left off, eh?”

If the subsequent kissing was anything to go by, Keith couldn’t have agreed more.

The day Lance hit the wall was the day he found himself making out with his rival right in the middle of the training deck.

And damn, a wall had never felt so good.