Thanks to Forest for beta'ing and encouraging!
Pairings: K/La, La/S, S/R
Guiding the drunken form of his second in command through the hallways, Keith just manages to keep the indulgent grin from his face. *Who knew that Lance was such a hilarious drunk?*
Reeling with each step, hanging off of Keith with one arm draped across his shoulders, the other draped across his waist, Lance blinks owlishly up at Keith. Even with his voice slurring, he manages to look absurdly serious. "Yerlike, _cotton_, y’know? Keit?"
Smothering his laughter, Keith manages to nod straight-faced at his sloshed teammate. "Right. I’m cotton." *Ordinary, sturdy… yeah. That’s me. Nothing special…* Shaking his head, Keith focuses on the more interesting spectacle of his drunk lover.
"Yerp. Coootoon. Thas’ you. An’ Hunk? E’s _linen_."
Manhandling Lance through the door to his room, Keith bites down the laughter. "Hunk’s linen? Really? Why’s that?"
Almost slithering bonelessly from Keith’s grip, Lance sways, before flinging out an arm and catching himself against a convenient bookcase. "E’s linen ‘cause e’s ard to git all the _wrinkles_ out -- but when ‘e does, e’ cleans up goood."
Choking, Keith has to struggle for breath before he can kneel down to fight with Lance’s footwear. "And Pidge?"
Swaying again, Lance falls forward, and braces himself on Keith’s shoulders. Rambling on, his bleary gaze sweeps his quarters. "Pidge’s polY_es_ter. Y’know. Wild an’ funky, an’ _real_ hard ta damage. Allura’s tha’ stuff in dresses --" And Lance gestures wildly, Keith’s duck the only thing saving him from a severe knock to the head. "Y’know, _gauzy_"
"Uh-huh. Chiffon?" Finally done wrestling with Lance’s shoes and socks, Keith stands up to work on the rest of Lance’s clothing.
Absently, Lance blinks in surprise at the (to him) sudden change in Keith’s position. Then he shakes that off and returns to his more important ruminations. "Yerp. Tha’s it. Nice n’ all, but nuthin’ _I_ really like m’self…" And Lance pats Keith in what would be a comforting manner, if it hadn’t been so heavy-handed.
"That’s nice to know." Keith managed to keep from grinning -- from painful experience, he learned that, though Lance might not remember the specifics, he _always_ remembered if someone mocks him. And makes that person pay, even if he was the one who was drunk and acting silly. Finally finished undressing Lance, Keith guides Lance to his bed. Searching for a distracter, and since he can see that Lance is only a few seconds away from a drunken collapse, he asks the first question that pops into mind. "So, who’s silk?"
"’Ilk?" A blissful smile spreads across Lance’s face as he sinks into bed. "Tha’s _Sven_, o’course." As his eyes shut with that pronouncement, Lance sinks into a stupor before he catches any inkling of the terrible hurt that flashes across Keith’s face for one unguarded moment.
Swallowing hard, Keith forces himself to take a breath through the pain. *One. And another. And one more.* Blinking, refusing to cry, he tenderly tucks Lance in. One hand hovers, gently tracing the air above Lance’s face. *I always knew I was second best. But this cruelty was worthy of Haggar, my love.* Backing away, Keith turns around and leaves, knowing that tonight, he can’t handle sleeping with a passed out Lance on sheets of silk.
Groaning, Lance flops an arm over, blindly searching the cool sheets next to him for his bedmate. *Keith? Hammers pounding in my head, _breathing_ too loud, tastes like a bantha did a slow death-dance in my mouth, my stomach is fighting with my head and my bladder for attention, and no lover for succor…* Lance lets out a pathetic whimper.
A very soft chuckle answers him, pitched just to just barely audible. A cool cylinder pushes firmly against his outflung hand, until he manages to convince his hand to close around it. Warm, callused fingers wrap around his, steadying his hand. Another warm hand slides gently under his head, supporting its weight so that he can drink the horrid stuff down.
"Gah!" Lance’s eyes pop wide open at the disgusting taste/feel of the hangover remedy. Inhaling hugely, he coughs, and sits up, gagging, almost throwing the stuff back up -- keeping it down only because he _knows_ it tastes even worse coming back up. Warm hands soothe his back, and even through his pounding headache, he notices that the lights are at their lowest setting. Shaking his head, he coughs one more time, his stomach settling down with a grumble and his bladder, for the moment, silent. "I swear that stuff tastes worse and worse… Why can’t your hangover remedy taste good?"
Keith’s quiet laughter wraps around him again, warming him. "If it tasted good, there would be less incentive for people to stay sober." Deftly, he plucks the glass from Lance’s shaking hand, and offers a mug of tea in its place.
Wrapping both hands around the mug, Lance manages to drink a sip of the tea, washing some of the bitter aftertaste away. "Hn. I still think it doesn’t have to taste quite so _bad_." From the corner of his eye, he can see shift of light across Keith’s hair, as Keith shakes his head fondly at the oft-heard complaint.
Sighing, he holds out his hand, taking the two tablets. Eyeing them grimly, hamming it, he takes a deep, deep breath, shuts his eyes dramatically, and pops them in his mouth, chasing them down with tea. Lips curving up, he can hear his lover’s snickers at his antics. Flopping back into bed, he turns his head carefully to look Keith square on for the first time since he woke up. Something is not quite… right. Narrowing his eyes, he scrutinizes Keith. *I’m going to get to the bottom of this. Soon. My bladder can’t wait much longer…* "You didn’t sleep with me." Having chosen the most obvious, Lance does his best to look put upon.
Keith, not buying it, snorts. Black eyebrows lifting in pointed inquiry, still, his lips twitch. "You remember almost knocking me out last night? Given that you’re worse when you’re asleep, I thought it wiser all around _not_ to sleep with you."
Lance pouts. "I don’t remember anything." Keith’s face becomes, if that’s possible, even more still. *Was that a flinch?* Internally, Lance frowns, even as he continues his pitiful act. "But we always sleep together, especially after a mission like the last. And you always said it was worth a few bruises."
Keith snorts again, his face recovering its usual animation. "Bruises, yes. But I’m not chancing being throttled to death, thank you very much. And…" A sadistic smile slips across his face. "You have more important things to worry about. Such as practice."
*He _sounds_ normal, but still, somehow, there’s something wrong…* Clearly, though, Keith is not willing to talk. Eyes widening, Lance pretends be thoroughly sidetracked. "But… But… Practice isn’t until 1400…"
In slow motion, Lance carefully turns to look at his bedside clock. Mockingly, the red numerals show 13:20. And then, his bladder informs him, that _now_ would be a really good time to visit the toilet…
Whimpering, the fading headache regulated to a distant second place to his full bladder, Lance scrambles out of bed and into the bathroom. He can almost feel the smugness radiating off of Keith as the other pilot saunters out of Lance’s room.
Sighing in relief when his bladder stops complaining, Lance frowns to himself. *I don’t know what’s going on, Keith, but sometime soon, Fearless Leader, you _are_ going to talk.*
Form follows function
So tired. Eyes can barely focus…
Swish of a door opening. Staccato beat of heeled boots, two pairs, moving much too briskly at this time of the morning down the hall. One rhythm is faster, must be Pidge. The other one is the same as mine. Lance.
Screens flicker in front of me. Still clear.
Boots stop behind me.
"Keith…." Total exasperation in his beautiful voice. "You need to sleep. Now."
Manage to shake my head, without losing it. "No. You need rest."
"Skipper -- _I_ am rested. But what would happen if Doom attacked now? You can’t fight. And we need you."
Trying to rise swiftly in barely felt anger, I groan as abused muscles protest. Loudly. "Fine."
A warm hand latches firmly onto my elbow. Voice velvet soft, just for me -- "My point, hm, Catkin?" Then louder. "You got it, Pidge."
Drift of coolness from Pidge’s wave of acknowledgment.
Vaguely aware of Lance tugging at me, the corridors pass in blurs of gray and muted light. Ending in a place that smells like home, I give up the battle with my eyelids, and mourn the loss of my love’s warm hands.
Degrees of Truth
Smiling softly, Lance carefully reaches out to brush Keith’s hair off his forehead. His eyes widen in disbelief as Keith recoils from the light brush of his fingers, hunching away from him.
Hesitantly, Lance lightly brushes his hand in one long stroke down Keith’s back. Rather than uncoiling, Keith pulls himself into an even tighter knot.
Very carefully, Lance settles into bed -- close enough to warm, but not actually touching. *Keith. What aren’t you telling me? And why do I always have to find out like this; why can’t you just _tell_ me?"
In sickness, in health
Coughing, eyes and nose red and running, Lance looks thoroughly miserable. "Why is it--" cough "that you don't" sniff "take care of yourself -- Achoo! -- but I get sick?"
Running his hand soothingly over Lance's hair, Keith smirks. "I got the luck, lover-mine." Waggling his eyebrows, Keith manages a credible imitation of Lance at his best. Or worst, depending on your viewpoint.
Lance snorts helplessly. Laughter turns into an episode of hacking and coughing, culminating in phlegm up-chuck.
Putting on his most serious expression, Keith thoughtfully bends closer to the fruit of Lance's efforts. "A nice specimen, slightly more blood-tinged than your prior--"
Lance waves his hands frantically. "Please! I give! I hate coughing junk up, you know that---"
"Sure I do. Just like you know it's better if you do." Cuffing Lance lightly, Keith reaches over and firmly offers Lance his pills.
Lance rolls his eyes, and takes them. "Well, at least you're not afraid to touch me when I'm sick." More than half his attention is wondering why the pills have to be so blasted big. Still, Lance notes the brief moment of stillness from Keith before he continues the banter.
"Your other lovers were smarter. They didn't want to get sick." Keith's tone is just right, only that slight yet utter stillness exposing his worry.
Yawning helplessly, feeling the pills drag him to sleep, Lance tries to fight it long enough to ask Keith what's wrong.
A fight he loses.
Gently running his fingers one last time through Lance's hair, Keith carefully tucks him in. *Idiot. Staying awake all night to watch me sleep. No wonder you got sick.* Hesitating for a moment, Keith sighs softly. Curling himself around Lance, the way the other man welcomes his touch is a balm. It calms him enough to see a bit of dark humor in the whole situation. *I love someone who can't stop comparing me to someone else.* Pulling Lance closer to him, Keith sighs again. *Sven was always a prick about his own health.*
Arm firmly wound around Romelle, Sven watches alertly as the Voltron Force come forward to welcome him back. Shoving his shaggy hair impatiently out of the way, he smiles slowly at Lance, who is staying closer to Keith than is strictly necessary.
Flushing, Lance drops his eyes for a moment, and then meets Sven's knowing gaze with stubbornness.
Sven tightens his hold on Romelle; his smile deepens.
Guarded hazel eyes brightening, Lance nods his head once, and starts to smile as well.
Watching, joyfulness painted over his face, Keith marvels. *An entire conversational topic discussed and disposed of in a few seconds.* Even as he greets Sven heartily and gives his thanks to Romelle, Keith shrugs fatalistically to himself. *Ah, well. I suppose I should be glad that Lance isn't going to try to win Sven back...*
Time speeds up and sweeps them all up into a round of celebration that lasts the night.
Standing in front of the mirror, Keith grumbles half-heartedly. "Can't we just not go to this?"
Lance sticks his head in the door. "Allura."
"I thought that would work." Lance smirks, and carefully adjusts his own tux.
"You don't have to give a bloody speech."
"Hey, you're our fearless leader--"
"A little less of the 'fearless.' I hate giving speeches."
Grinning, Lance moves forward, pushing Keith's hands away. "You give all those stirring before battle speeches --"
Letting his shaking hands fall to his sides, Keith snorts inelegantly even as he tilts his chin up to give Lance better access. "Yeah, like 'To the Lions!'. Real stirring."
Waggling his eyebrows, Lance leers at Keith. "It got my blood moving." Gently, he smoothes the lapels down, and tweaks Keith's collar one last time. "Relax. This is, what, the sixth victory speech you've had to give? You're an expert."
"I don't like it."
"Yeah, yeah, I figured that out the first time. You'll do fine -- you always do, and you know it."
Moving uncomfortably, Keith shrugs irritably. "Whatever. I hate wearing this stupid clothing -- who the heck designed this stuff?"
Grinning at the old complaint, Lance focuses on smoothing his hair down while he answers. "It's a sign of power , that you don't need to be able to fight. Other poor schmucks do your fighting for you."
Sighing in disgust, Keith stalks back into the bedroom, and checks his dress shoes.
Still fussing with his hair, Lance rambles on. "I mean, even apart from the cut of the clothing -- which you can't move in , the materials they're made out of is completely impractical. They get dirty, and they're a huge pain to clean. And silk! If any a fabric was made for leisure, it's silk. It's thin, it feels nice -- but it isn't sturdy at all. And it shows sweat." Finally done with his hair, Lance turns around, and walks out of the bathroom. "Do anything even remotely vigorous, and you end up with disgusting looking spots on your clothing..." Moving to check Keith's appearance one last time, Lance stops, startled. "Er... Keith?"
Shaking his head, Keith smiles brilliantly, and finishes putting on his socks and shoes. "Yes?"
Blinking, Lance gapes for a second more. *It's all right now. Whatever was eating him's gone... But what was it..?* Shaking himself, Lance throws his hands up mentally. "Are you ready? If we're late, Allura will invoke the Wrath of Nanny." *I guess as long as everything's fine.... *
Still grinning, Keith bows extravagantly. "We wouldn't want that."
Lance can't help but grin back at Keith. *Maybe someday, I'll find out what all this was about.*