It had been so long since Keith could enjoy seeing the Earth's sun disappear into the horizon. It took a while for the Paladins to recover from their battle with Sendak and Ms. Mystery Altean. Not to mention the diplomatic duties that lined up right after they were all discharged. Keith left Earth as an outcast; a discipline case. Now he was one of the most respected people on the entire planet. Irony, thy name is Keith.
He finally got some time to be alone this evening and he couldn't imagine spending it anywhere else: on Earth, sitting atop Black, with Cosmo the cosmic wolf. He'd seen far more incredible sunsets on several other planets, galaxies away. But this was home. Nothing could beat home.
"Man, you can be a real hard guy to find when you want to be."
Just at the sound of his voice, Keith was fighting the urge to blush. He opted to lean back on his palms instead, glancing at the man behind him. "Hey, Lance."
Lance offered a wry smile and scratched the back of his neck. "Can I join you?"
Keith patted the spot next to him and Lance sat down, staring out at the mural of colors. "Y'watching the sunset?"
"Yeah," Keith started sadly. "Might be a while before we get to see it again."
"You're right," Lance agreed quietly.
Keith turned to watch his face. Something was off. "Thinking about your family?"
Lance seemed to mull it over before playing with his fingers. "I'm always thinking about them, but I know for sure that I'll see them again this time."
Cosmo whimpered and pawed at Lance's ankle. "Yeah, buddy, I'm worried about him too." Keith turned to fully face him, frowning with concern. "What's wrong, Lance?"
The man in question flashed a shaky grin. "Didn't think you cared that much, Mullet."
"You know I do." The certainty in Keith's voice comforted Lance more than he'd like to admit, but he was grateful, nonetheless.
Lance nodded and continued to wring his fingers. "I wanted to ask Allura on a date tonight, to have dinner with my family, but I keep chickening out."
Keith had to hold his breath to contain the small pang in his chest. Focus. This isn't about you.
"She's super busy anyway, and I know I'm not good enough for her-"
"Don't you dare finish that sentence."
Lance was taken aback. His eyes nearly popped out of his head as he watched Keith soften.
"You're more than good enough for Allura, Lance. Anyone would be the luckiest in the world to have someone as great as you." Keith was so serious in his praise that Lance didn't know how to respond. He sputtered for words and stumbled over mumbled thank yous, reddening madly.
Keith swallowed thickly, shocked at his own honesty. He looked out at the skyline once more, blinking rapidly. "The annoying, stupid, Earth version of you."
Lance laughed heartily at that, shoving Keith's shoulder. Keith would have shoved back if he wasn't laughing as well. They looked at each other, both wearing their hearts on their sleeves. Lance was obviously in better spirits than when he first sat down, but now there was something up with Keith. He looked away.
"Mullet?" Lance leaned over, grasping Keith's shoulder. He could have imagined the flash of pink on Keith's cheeks, but it also could have been the last of the sun playing tricks. Keith hummed a response, not daring to make eye contact again.
"What's on your mind?"
A lot. Keith was swimming in thoughts he didn't want to think about in Lance's presence. He was thinking about how much joy he felt when Lance laughed, and how much lighter he felt when the guy was simply around. But he was also thinking about how his heart raced when Lance smirked at him, and just how clammy his hands went at Lance's grip on his shoulder.
"I don't know if you'd really want to hear it." His tone was cautious and he was mentally screaming. His filters were usually stronger than this but it seemed that the words were just pouring out.
One of Lance's brows arched high. "It doesn't sound like a witty tease, so yes, Keith, I'd like to know." Lance became fully aware of his hold on Keith's shoulder and he recoiled much to Keith's dismay.
A steadying breath was sucked in then let go. Keith looked up to the warrior in front of him and couldn't help but to flush in pride.
"You're Lance. The Paladin of the Red Lion, and former Paladin of the Blue Lion." Keith folded his legs and straightened his back, staring ahead at the darkening sky.
"The Lance that's always got my back." He let a small smile grace his lips. "The Lance who knows exactly who he is."
Keith only peeked out of the corner of his eye and could still see Lance's bright red blush. "That being said," He chose his next words carefully. "I just think that you should be someone's first choice."
Lance's demeanor faltered. The entire atmosphere felt like it had changed. His eyes couldn't decide on one focus, bouncing between multiple targets.
Keith acted immediately, gripping the hand Lance was leaning on. "You deserve to be someone's first choice. I'm not saying these things to make you doubt yourself, I swear." Lance was surprised, to say the least. His heart swelled at Keith's words and how nice his hand felt.
Lance's eyes became saucers as he looked down at their hands. For a split second, pale porcelain met rich russet in a stunning combination. Keith was the first to pull away, however. He was honestly startled by how natural the moment felt. So as he tucked his hand into his chest, he brought his gaze back to the sky. "I just don't want you to become a rebound, Lance." His ears were burning. "You're better than that," he added as a cushion. The second he reached out to stroke Cosmo's fur, the wolf disappeared. What a perceptive little mutt.
Lance nodded slowly, digesting the other's concern and facing the now-dark sky. One of his main goals since he first went into orbit was to win over the mystical space princess. Now that he actually had a chance, he was questioning if it was what he really wanted anymore.
"I'm different now, right?" The question came out shakily, as if he was voicing it as fast as he thought it.
Keith observed Lance's profile in peace. Lance was a little taller than he was when they first became Paladins. He's better at reading the room and acting accordingly; maturely. Lance was always compassionate but he genuinely listened now. He listened to Keith now. Much more had changed since Voltron reassembled. So Keith waited for Lance to look him in the eye, and he answered.
"You're better now."
Blue eyes relaxed into indigo ones and Lance smiled softly.
"Then it's okay if I have better goals to work towards other than being a rebound?"
Keith flashed a rare smirk, completely blindsided by the other. "You better have better goals than that."
Lance couldn't help but to laugh freely at that. Out of all the people in all the worlds he's been to, he wouldn't rather be with anyone else right now. Brutish, intimidating, overachieving, Keith. Kind, determined, beautiful Keith.
"Do you even really like her anymore?" The mood in the air was light, and Lance didn't feel any pressure surrounding his response. He just hugged his knees for warmth and side-eyed Keith.
"Why? Do you know anyone looking for a heroic stud like me?" Keith rolled his eyes playfully, mumbling a "Perhaps."
Lance smiled easily as he watched Keith from his knees. "I'll always admire her, but I don't feel enamored with her the way I used to. Actually, now that I'm saying it out loud I feel like I just needed somebody to talk me out of it."
Keith nodded, signaling Lance to continue. "I shouldn't keep chasing something that I've outgrown. Thanks for making me realize it, Keith."
Lance let his knees fall onto one side, allowing his and Keith's to touch. Neither seemed to mind so it was no surprise when Lance scooted closer (for warmth, obviously).
Silence surrounded the pair for a long time. Lance eventually found his head on Keith's shoulder with Keith's arm behind Lance, supporting them both. The sky was dusted in stars, maybe half of which the pair had explored together as a team.
As much as neither wanted the moment to end, Keith spoke up first. "It's getting late," his voice was laced with disappointment. "Weren't you supposed to have dinner with your family tonight?"
Lance instantly shot up. "Mierda!" He scream-whispered. The time on his watch indicated that he had a half hour to get cleaned up and dressed for his last family dinner before he went back to space. He scrambled to his feet and offered Keith his hand to pull him up.
"Go ahead, Lance. Enjoy it." Keith just wanted Lance to have a great night before the storm ensued tomorrow. As for himself, he'd probably stay atop Black until he got tired. Which would probably be around 4am.
Lance looked down towards the direction of his family and back at Keith's face. He was conflicted, and it showed.
"Really, Lance, I'll be just fine-"
"Do you want to be my date?" Lance blurted out unceremoniously. His brown cheeks were becoming rosy and bright, and Keith just hoped that he didn't look like a tomato (which he totally did). Keith opened and closed his mouth, trying to find words amongst the shock.
"I already told my mom that I was bringing someone with me." Lance tried to reason out loud, rubbing the back of his neck and gulping loudly.
"You want me to eat dinner with your family?" Keith was shell shocked. He glanced down at his boots with a slight banter in his voice. "Now I'm the rebound?"
Lance's hand at his wrist brought him out of his slight panic and his eyes made him calm. "I chased Allura for so long because I always thought that you were unattainable." His grasp slid down to Keith's fingers, holding tight. "That I could never get on your level, let alone get you to really notice me."
Keith's heart was beating out of his chest. Was he dreaming? Was this actually happening?
"I'm not good with feelings," he croaked out. "But I promise I've always noticed you, Lance. Even when I was a complete jackass to you.
With the rivalry thing, I never knew how to act around you and I didn't want to scare you away." Keith grasped Lance's other hand and held them both up, intertwining their fingers. Lance looked like he might cry at any moment, but that was just Lance.
"I know now that I did scare you away by doing that, though." His eyes darted between Lance's. "And I'm sorry."
Lance tilted his head slightly, grinning. "Moron," he whispered.
Keith held his breath and worried his bottom lip between his teeth.
"Come have dinner with my family, Keith. We don't have a lot of time and I need to make sure you look and smell decent for my abuelita."
Lance hardly waited for Keith to consent before pleading Black to help them down, only letting Keith's hand go once they parted to freshen up. In any case, his mother was surprised to see her son linking pinkies with the leader of Voltron, and not the cute alien girl Veronica was telling her about. Surprised? Yes. Disappointed? Never.