"Rooftop parties suck."
"Rooftop parties are the pinnacle of the New York lifestyle." Lance counteracted. "They're classy as shit."
"No," Pidge argued, "they're cold as shit. Give me an insulated party any day."
Lance rolled his eyes. "Come on, it's Halloween! Live a little!"
Now, it was to be noted that at this point in the evening, Lance was in full Han Solo attire. Pidge was a tiny tiny Luke Skywalker, because they refused to wear the Leia bikini that he had suggested (and received a bruise on the arm for), and quite honestly, if when they met Hunk at the party, he wasn't in his Chewie costume like he'd promised he'd be, Lance was going to be sorely disappointed.
"Can't I live from the comfort of my own apartment?"
Lance shook his head. "Everything about you makes me sad, Pidge."
"You're one to talk. I once saw you sweat so hard trying to hit on a girl the stains came through flannel."
Lance huffed in frustration. "I told you. It was a Starbucks, the queue was building up behind me, it was making me nervous! Daddy can't work under pressure!"
Pidge groaned. "You calling yourself 'daddy' is making me excited for the rooftop party. So I can throw myself off of it."
When they climbed the fire escape, the party was already in full swing. As far as Lance knew, it was being thrown by a friend of Allura's, their friend Shiro's girlfriend. Or maybe it was a friend of a friend of Allura's. He wasn't sure after that. It being Halloween, naturally it was a costume party. As soon as they arrived, Lance was surrounded by dozens of people dressed as monsters, tv and movie characters, and sexy versions of things that shouldn't have been sexy. Lace was not opposed to that last one.
When Hunk greeted them, he was not in a full Chewbacca suit.
"Hunk you bitch." Lance whispered in betrayal.
Hunk, who was dressed as half-assed zombie, with tattered clothing and a few drawn on stitches and fake-blood gashes here and there.
"Sorry Lance," he smiled apologetically. "I couldn't breathe in the suit you rented me. I could have died."
Lance clenched his heart dramatically. "And you would have died as part of the coolest three-part costume ever. Now what are we supposed to be?"
"One Han Solo that came here to pick up slutty nurses, one Luke Skywalker who doesn't wanna be here, and a...zombie?" Pidge answered.
Hunk grinned. "Actually I'm supposed to be Lance after a night out."
Lance glared at him. "I need a drink."
On the far side of the roof there was a bowl of red punch with floating eyeballs in it. He just really hoped there was alcohol in it.
As it turned out, there was a lot of alcohol in it. Three and a half cups in of the stuff and he found himself pretty drunk, enough to sing along to the fourth loop of Thriller at the top of his lungs while Pidge tried desperately to shut him up. At some point, when Lance turned around, Pidge and Hunk weren't there anymore. He just about spotted them both across the rooftop, fairly tipsy, chatting to Shiro and Allura, AKA, the most attractive Gomez and Morticia Addams ever to walk the face of the planet.
Being drunk enough that he didn't care about being on his own, he made his way to the refreshment table again. Once he'd grabbed a handful of candy and refilled his drink, he turned to go find his friends, but found himself colliding with the person who was apparently behind him, spilling the drink all over them.
Lance's first instinct was to burst out laughing at his own clumsiness. Then, he stopped laughing.
He was standing face to face with
A) Maybe the worst Dracula costume ever. The guy was wearing fangs and fake blood dripping down his mouth to his chin, but also had drawn two red puncture holes in his neck, so Lance was confused—was this guy he biter, or the bitee? Along with his white button down shirt, which was now saturated with red punch, he wore a black refuse sack as a cape. Tacky.
B) The absolutely (now perhaps this was just the alcohol talking but) most beautiful boy he'd ever laid eyes on before in his life. Lance was both irritated and mesmerised just looking at him—dark, mysterious eyes, smooth pale skin, shiny, soft-looking hair—was that a mullet? Okay, well, never mind about the hair thing. But the rest of him was really attractive.
And he was scowling right at Lance.
"Watch where you're going." he muttered, staring down at his ruined white shirt.
"Hey, don't worry 'bout it." Lance grinned. "Looks just like fake blood or something!"
The guy gave him one last sour look before turning to away from him. Lance thought fast and caught his arm.
"Wait!" Quick, what words in the english language did he know? "Uh, what's your name?"
Dracula blinked at him. "Keith."
Lance grinned. "Oh. Cool. My name's Lance."
Keith stared at him, seeming fairly confused as to what Lance's point was. Lance was with him on that. He pursed his lips.
"Do you want a drink, Keith? Or...Dracula?"
Keith squinted at him skeptically. "Why?"
Lance almost found his suspicion amusing. "Becaauuse you're attractive? And I'm unsuccessfully trying to hit on you?"
Flirting with guys without knowing their sexual preference first often went one of three ways.
1) Lance got politely rejected.
2) Lance got a date (that one was rare).
3) Lance got a death threat.
So he was more than a little surprised when Keith blushed so hard it was visible through a pound of white face paint, and nodded. "Sure. I'll have a drink."
Throughout the night, they got to talking, and one drink turned into three, then five, then god knows how many. Lance had never been so intrigued, never met someone who he got, and yet didn't get so much in his life. Keith was beautiful, striking, shy, reserved, and a little dumb when it came to socialising. But he was also short-tempered, easy to rile up—stubborn as an ox, with a silver tongue. One moment they were bickering about which Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle was better, the next they were sitting with their legs dangling between the bars of the fire escape, away from the party, observing the stars and talking about their family lives, hopes, dreams, plans for the future.
At least, that was what the conversation sounded like in Lance's head. They were both pretty drunk, so he couldn't be entirely sure what everyone else heard.
Then, there was a pause in conversation, and Keith was looking at him, almost expectantly, eyebrows furrowed in what could only be perceived as frustration. And then Lance was leaning in and kissing him. Like, really kissing him. Keith complied straight away, sighing against him as though a huge tension was leaving his shoulders. Lance's arms wrapped around his shoulders, pulling him tighter, and Keith's hands gripped his waist. Lance was really glad he'd taken the fangs out earlier in the night.
Keith pulled back, breathing heavily. "Do you...um...where...?"
Lance tried to decipher the Keith Code. "Do you wanna get out of here?"
The other man nodded.
Lance stood up, leading him by the hand. "I live in the building below us, if you wanna..."
The next morning, when Lance awoke and rolled over in bed to find another person's body, he was more alarmed, than anything. He just couldn't believe that he'd actually gotten laid, for once. It rarely ever happened, okay? Apart from the splitting headache that drilled in his skull and the huge chunk of his night that was missing, he did remember bits and pieces from the night before.
A vampire, discarding fake fangs for real ones, biting and sucking at his neck, skin on skin, hands tracing down his back, gripping his shoulders. He could still smell sex in the air, and it was a little suffocating. He sat up in bed and stared at the man lying next to him. Keith had red face paint smudged all around his mouth, white paint streaking down his face with dried sweat. He looked at peace in his sleep, and even though his face seemed grimy, he was still just as beautiful.
Now if I could only just remember how I got you into my bed.
He stood up and padded across the room as quietly ah he could, making his way to the bathroom. Pidge didn't seem to be up yet, and Lance could only hope to god that they hadn't heard anything from last night. Or had. Then at least he could prove that it happened. He turned on the shower, examining himself in the mirror while it heated up. Red paint smeared on his mouth. Hickeys and bruises littering his body. Faint nail marks on the small of his back. Where had Keith been all his life?
Once he was done washing all of the grime from his skin, he made his way back to the room in just a towel around his waist, only to find an empty bed. Lance's heart sank. No one in the kitchen either. The place was completely vampire-free. Keith was gone without a trace. He had no number, no surname, only a pair of cheap fangs that had been left on his bedside table.
"Oh you have got to be kidding me!"
It was St. Patricks day in New York. Well. St. Patricks night. The part where anyone over the age of 21 ditched the parade floats and skipped straight to the drinking. They were currently at some bar downtown, filled to the brim with drunken strangers, blaring music, and lots of potential. Pidge was running their whole 'I'm gonna complain and pretend like I'd rather be at home reading, but in like 20 minutes you're going to catch me doing a keg stand or some wild shit like that' act.
The place was decorated to the nines, shamrock chains strung from wall to wall, green confetti littering the floors, leprechaun top hats on every second person. And so. Much. Alcohol. God, Lance loved the Irish.
And he was on his fourth beer when it all went to shit.
Shiro was in the middle of explaining what he wanted to do for his bachelors party when Lance straight up pressed a finger to his mouth, shushing him loudly. His friends stared at him in alarm, but Lance's attention wasn't on them. His eyes were on Keith, halfway across the bar, wearing a stupid green shirt, and a stupid smile as he talked to someone else, and Lance hated him.
"What are you looking at?" Hunk queried.
"Is that—" Pidge followed his line of sight. "No way, is that Hot Dracula?"
Shiro blanched. "No way. The Hot Dracula?"
Lance huffed. "He's not that hot!"
"No no," Pidge corrected, "he's incredibly hot. How did you sleep with him?"
"Shut up." Lance scowled. "I'm actually pretty smooth, y'know. I'm charming!"
Hunk was still staring at Keith. "It's nice to put a face to the name. I mean, you obsessed over that guy for ages."
"I did not!" Lance barked. "Besides, he's an ass."
He glanced over at Keith again, and to his horror, their eyes met.
"Oh god he saw me. Oh god I wanna die." Lance swivelled around in his chair so that his back was to Keith's general direction and planting his face on the counter.
Pidge snorted into their cocktail. "He's coming over, genius."
He glanced behind him, and sure enough, Keith was on his way over.
Floor swallow me now.
Forget everything I've ever said. I'm ready for death. I'm embracing it. Then at least my youthful beauty will be captured forever and I won't be stuck in this sweaty hell.
He swivelled around in his bar stool, visibly wincing and facing Keith.
His eyes looked so wide and earnest, as though he genuinely thought it was socially acceptable to speak to Lance ever again after they'd hooked up. Wasn't that like, one of the rules of one night stands? Avoid awkward confrontations at all costs?
Keith pursed his lips.
He was so hot. Lance was so done with his hotness. Maturity had not brought him less of an attraction to Keith.
"It's nice to see you again."
He could almost hear his friends smirking behind him. He was painfully aware of their gazes on the exchange.
"Uh, yeah. You too."
"So...can I get you a drink?"
Lance was actually kind of angry. Quite honestly, he wasn't good at one night stands. He talked a big game to his friends, but in reality he almost always formed some sort of romantic attraction to the people he hooked up with. And sure, it was in a drunken state, but he and Keith had talked for hours, and he'd really thought there was something there. So sue him for being upset when he'd never heard from the other man again.
He was about to decline the offer of free alcohol when Pidge cut in.
"He'd love that."
Lance glared at them, but they simply grinned, standing up and patting him on the shoulder.
"You'll thank me."
They began to walk away, the rest of his friends in pursuit.
"Sorry buddy." Hunk said, but he was smiling in amusement. Bastard.
"Was was that about?" Keith asked.
Lance shook his head. "My friends are assholes, that's what."
Keith was trying (and failing) to get the busy bartender's attention, which was kind of amusing.
"Your Pennsylvania is showing." Lance smirked, leaning across the bar and raising and flagging the bartender down. The man immediately noticed them and made his way over.
"What can I getcha?"
"Four shots of tequila." He turned to Keith. "What do you want?"
Keith seemed stunned for a moment. "I—uh...a beer...please?"
"And start a tab." Lance nodded to the man, who set off getting their drinks.
Keith frowned. "How come he noticed you and not me?"
Lance felt smug. "Ordering drinks in New York is an art form that takes years to master. Confidence is the key. Bartenders usually go for hot girls first, but after that, they go for the least annoying yet assertive people. The ones waving their hands and yelling, or the quiet unnoticables—that's you—go unserved the longest unserved."
Man, I should do a Harvard lecture on this shit.
Keith frowned. "I'm pretty sure you just made like all of that up. And also I said a drink, not four."
Lance rolled his eyes. "Well, I could ask for the four shots in a bigger glass, but where's the fun in that?"
The drinks were placed down in front of them, and Lance picked one up, raising the glass to Keith.
"A toast to the Irish."
Lance took the shot, and that was the last thing he remembered before his eyes peeled open the next morning, watery and stinging, and coated in a layer of crust that he had to fight past to get a proper view of where he was.
Very familiar man lying next to him.
Lance groaned, wanting to punch himself. Then his stomach lurched, and he staggered out of bed, desperately looking for a bathroom. As it turned out, Fancy Keith had a Fancy En Suite, and it didn't take long for Lance to drop to his knees by the toilet and empty the contents of his stomach, skin feeling icy hot and sweating profusely. Afterwards he sat back against the cool wall, instantly feeling a tad better, save his pounding skull.
He tried to recap of the events of the night before, but nada. He had no recollection of the night before. It had been St. Patricks Day. And Keith had bought him drinks. That was it, that was all he remembered. He crept out of the bathroom, taking in the room around him. Clothes were strewn along the wooden flooring, accompanied by handfuls of emerald green confetti. A plastic shamrock garland hung from one of the bed-frames, and a leprechaun had was sloppily balanced atop Keith's bedraggled, sleeping head.
The other man was completely naked, one leg thrown over the duvet covers, and it was at this moment that Lance noticed that he, too, was not wearing any clothes. Not that he was surprised, given his current state.
He cursed himself, picking up his underwear from the floor and slipping them on. He was pulling his shirt over his head when Keith sat up, rubbing his eyes and blinking at Lance in confusion.
"My head hurts and I wanna fucking die." he grumbled.
"I threw up in your toilet." Lance replied
Keith pursed his lips, mulling it over. "That's a good idea, actually."
Lance pulled his phone from his pocket, checking his messages. There were a few from Pidge, all along the lines of oi you big homo i can see you and hot dracula making out at the back of the bar dont you dare bring him back to ours if youre gonna fuck do it at his i have a lab project to work on tomorrow
along with one from Shiro, saying Use Protection! :-)
Once again, Lance wanted to die.
"I'm gonna head." he said, glancing up at Keith. "Places to go, people to see. Holes to curl up and rot in."
Keith's face was a perfect blank. "Okay." He hesitated. "Can you find your way out? I have to go...throw up."
He pulled the sheets around him for modesty's sake (as if that mattered), and padded into the bathroom, shutting the door behind him. Lance didn't stick around for the guttural heaving-sounds. Instead he found his way to the front door, and prayed to god someone else knew what the hell had happened last night.
His friends filled him in on what they knew, but as it turned out, it all came back to him days later, anyway.
That proved to be worse, because although he felt more together, not having a chunk of his life missing, he also couldn't get the staticky memory of Keith's breathy moans out of his ear, like water after a day at the beach.
No, not water. It felt more like sand.
When Lace blinked his eyes open, he was instantly met by a stream of gentle sunlight dancing in through the curtains, as well as another pair of striking dark eyes looking back at him. Keith snapped his eyelids shut as soon as Lance saw him.
"G'mornin'," Lance mumbled under his breath, still too sleepy to think yet.
Then, all the memories from the night before came rushing back, and his skin felt all warm and tingly. The fourth of July. Keith on the balcony of a suite party with a bottle of Champaign and the prettiest laugh he'd ever heard. Pinkies grazing while their hands rested on the railing as fireworks went off over their heads.
The words "I'm kind of drunk but I really like you, Lance." lingering in the air.
"On St. Patricks Day, I kind of wanted you to stay."
Lance had beamed. "I'm kind of drunk too. But next time, I will."
For once, not arguing or bickering—just silently watching the sky with intertwined pinky fingers and warm faces and warm hearts. And when they kissed, it was like the fireworks had moved to Lance's insides, exploding inside of his lungs so that he couldn't breathe.
And in the morning, Lance kept his word. One leg draped over Keith's. Foreheads touching. Eyelashes long and gently grazing his cheeks. Lance was in awe. This time it was different. He just knew it was.
Keith didn't answer him.
"I know you're awake. I saw you staring at me, ya perv."
Keith's eyes snapped open. "You're a perv! And you drool in your sleep!"
Lance chuckled softly and brought a hand up to brush his mouth. "It's too early for this shit."
He closed his eyes and snuggled closer to the source of heat, Mr. Human Furnace. Keith's breath hitched but he didn't say anything.
Why aren't we dating?
"Y'know Keith," Lance mumbled, forehead still resting against the other's, "we sure have a thing for the holidays, huh?"
"Does that mean I wont see you again until Halloween?" Did he sound disappointed? Lance still couldn't figure him out.
"Wear a sexy nurse costume and I'm there." Lance grinned and nudged him, but Keith didn't even crack a smile.
"Or," Lance backtracked, "we could...I dunno...include some non-holiday activities, too? I could take you out to dinner this Friday, if you're interested.
"Yes." his reply was quick.
"Shut up. I said yes. I would have said yes the first time we met."
Lance was outraged. "You snook out the first time we met!"
Keith rolled his eyes. "Like I said, I was under the impression that you only wanted to hook up once! How was I supposed to know you would get all gay for me like that!"
Lance kicked him in the shin. "You're lucky I don't throw you out of your own bed right now, Kogane."
Keith grinned devilishly and pulled him in tight, kissing him, morning breath and all.
It was, easy, Lance found, to celebrate holidays with Keith. Their routine still heavily involved drinking and waking up in each other's beds, but this time it was planned. Halloween was a horror movie marathon, featuring the old Dracula, and Lance making fun of Keith the entire time. Thanksgiving was celebrated with Lance's family, and Keith, with his sometimes rare but joyous smiles and warm blushes, fit right in.
Christmas brought a bottle of merlot, a joke gift of fluffy santa-themed lingerie, curtesy of Lance (Keith later wore it and made Lance eat his words), and kisses by the fireplace. New Years brought fireworks on the rooftop, both inside of them and out.
Three Halloweens later, brought a ring.
(Lance didn't see it at first, but the next time he took it off to look at it, he saw the engraving inside—To my Han Solo, From your Dracula.)