Chapter Three: I Didn’t Ask for This
Lance pulled the fluffy pillow under his chin as he scrolled through the most recent messages from his father. Even though his father had made it very clear that he wanted nothing more to do with him, he felt the need to report every single family member’s reaction to his “current crisis”. The one people who haven’t been told – yet, Lance had to keep reminding himself – were the family members back in Cuba. It was hard to get ahold of them sometimes and Lance couldn’t have been more grateful. He couldn’t even imagine what his younger siblings would say, being raised to believe that everything that wasn’t normal was an abomination. He was afraid that his parents would crack down on the twins, reiterate everything their “anti-everything pastor” believed in.
He really hoped not.
He was so damaged when he moved away to college. It took him two years to even come out to his friends. And even now, a year later, he was still unlearning all the hurtful and negative shit his family trained him to believe.
He prayed that the twins would know better. They had more than he had growing up. More resources, more accepting schools and people. Already at the age of nine and the twins knew what was going on in the world. They were smart for their age, already knew that Trump was “a scary man” and that SNL is losing its potential.
They were smart. They were gonna make it.
They better, Lance thought sourly, refusing to allow the possibility of his younger siblings to turn on him. His parents, he could handle. His extended family, he could handle. His twenty-seven-year-old brother, he could handle. The twins? That would surely crush him.
Lance frowned as his phone buzzed between his fingers. Another new text. He saw the words ‘padre’ and ‘abuela’ and made the decision to turn his phone off until he felt mentally capable of reading whatever text his father sent him without throwing the damn thing across the room. He watched as his only light source faded, leaving him to bask in the moonlight that barely made it past Keith’s bedroom window. Lance tilted his head down, stuffing his face against the pillow and tossing his cell behind him, no longer caring if another crack appeared on it’s already cracked screen. He’d dropped that phone more times than he’s had a significant other.
There was a light tapping on his door, following by a barely audible, “Lance?”
At the thought of his roommate – who was honestly just one of his best friends by now – he couldn’t help the childish smile that tugged at the corners of his lips.
Keith has been… something since he officially moved in two weeks ago. Hell, they practically lived together before Lance was forced to move. Since he came out, things had begun to calm around the two. Yes, they still bickered and fought and childishly egged each other on. But, one, that was them and two, there was no malice behind their words. And, hell, that was what Lance had hoped for. He didn’t want things to change between his friends – the first real group of friends he’d ever felt this comfortable and safe around. He was terrified of the endless possibilities of one of them treating him differently, even though Pidge was there.
There was a voice in the back of Lance’s mind always confirming his doubts.
They’ll think you’re a freak.
You didn’t know since you were young so you aren’t trans.
You aren’t enough. You’ll never be enough.
They’re going to laugh. They’ll never want to see you again.
Disgusting. Abomination. Unnatural.
But as he sat around with his friends on night at Shiro and Matt’s apartment, eating horrible, cheap Chinese take-out and poking his friends with chopsticks and starting a small food fight with those weird pea pods, he just… he knew. And he just blurted it out. Red faced and ready to bolt with the silence that came, he couldn’t move because he had suddenly been tossed to the ground and proceeded to be pounced on.
He never laughed or cried that much before. He felt like he was on cloud nine for weeks.
“I’s open.” He mumbled against the pillow, drawn back to the real world as Blue’s weight settled between his shins. The door opened a few seconds later, Keith cautiously sticking his head through the doorframe. Lance turned his head to the side, peering at Keith before grunting and smothering himself back into the pillow.
“Tak’a seat, Keef.” Lance’s voice was muffled against the pillow, but Keith got the message. The door lightly clicked shut and soon Lance felt the bed dip to his left, Keith nearly collapsing against Lance’s mattress the second he kneeled atop it. The two laid in silence, their heads turned towards each other, eyes never leaving the others until Blue decided she wanted in on the eye action and laid between Keith and Lance’s faces. The two chuckled and Keith picked up the Korat Princess, twisting onto his back and depositing the feline onto his stomach. Keith had learned to wear a shirt to sleep now, given how Blue usually slept with him and in the morning would decide to use Keith’s back as a scratching post. Blue had stopped doing it when Keith started wearing shirts though.
“What feelings do you think red has?” Keith asked suddenly, looking down at Blue as she nibbled and licked at his index finger.
Lance pursed his lips, “You mean besides the usual?”
Keith hummed in acknowledgment, twirling his finger around Blue’s nose until she grabbed lazily at his finger again. He softly cooed at the feline when she squished her paws against her face before stretching out. Lance watched the two as he thought, blue eyes flickered back and forth between Keith’s finger and the man himself. He realized, even during all the times they’ve spoken at 3 AM for impromptu high-off-their-asses therapeutic sessions, they’ve never been next to each other while doing so. They were usually always together, either with a group of friends or alone in one of their apartments pigging out on cheap food while studying or arguing about what to watch on Netflix or binge playing Mario Kart 64 on his N64.
This seemed surreal to Lance, finally being able to see Keith when the man was truly and completely relaxed. No worries, no frustration, no stress and anger blazing in those beautiful indigo eyes. No creases between his brows, no hunched shoulders or guarded posture, no stumbling over his words or staring intently at one object in the room to collect himself. No fire-truck red crop-top jacket that he thinks makes him look cool—
“Understanding.” The brunette spoke before his brain caught up with him. “Red… red lets you take all your frustration and anger out at the world. It eases that pain and anger from you and takes it within itself… probably why it’s so angry and broody most of the time. But, it gets it. And it wants to help, even if it doesn’t know how. Red just wants to see the world stop hurting the people it’s close to, just wants… peace, even if he—… it doesn’t think it deserves it.”
Lance had pulled the pillow back under his chin and stared at his headboard as he spoke, brows furrowed as he thought. He felt Keith’s eyes on him, and he doesn’t know why – for once – he can’t look back at him. Maybe it was because he was tired, everything from the past day suddenly hitting him like a freight train and his brain demanding he sleep this instant, or… maybe it was because he was afraid to see what Keith looked like. Keith wasn’t 100% there when it came to over-the-top obvious things, the young man was getting better though, but Lance knew that there was no way Keith knew what he was talking about. The fact that Lance knew that he wasn’t completely talking about red made him suddenly self-conscious.
Yes, although the two men have been building their relationship, there were some topics that neither of them crossed. This… whatever, had never come up before. It was new territory – and one Lance might want to investigate more, but he’d have to be coherent enough when he did decide to do this again.
“I… I agree.” Keith shifted on the bed. Lance caught his roommate clasp his hands behind his head as he stared up at the ceiling. Blue was now dozing off between their hips. “But… blue deserves it too.”
Blue? Lance furrowed his brows once more and tilted his head to look at the sleeping kitten.
“I meant you, genius.” Keith mumbled, reading Lance’s thoughts. Lance flushed and stuffed his head back against the pillow.
Now who’s the oblivious one?
“I, uhm…” Keith chewed on his lip, tilting his head back to stare out through the window overhead. “For what it’s worth… I’m proud of you, Lance.”
Lance sighed, “Keith—”
“Just… hear me out.” Keith swallowed thickly, removing a hand from behind his head to scratch at his neck. Lance blinked through blurry vision, forcing himself onto his elbows to rub his tired eyes. “You’re a family orientated guy, Lance. You’re always on the phone texting your older siblings or on the phone when your mom, telling goodnight stories to your younger siblings… You would have… you still would, maybe – do anything for your family. If your dad called right now and said your mom got in a car accident, you’d be rushing to New Mexico no matter if you received nasty looks and a few more bruises.”
Keith ran a hand down his face and sighed before turning his head towards Lance. “I’m proud of you. I can’t even begin to image what you’re going through, but you’re going through it. You’re still… you.”
You’re still you…
He didn’t feel like himself anymore. He felt like there was still a piece of him missing – the piece that always tugged at his heart when he had to deny a video call or make up an excuse to not visit for the holidays. He felt off kilter now that that piece was stripped from him, possibly replaced by the feeling he gets whenever he hears his phone vibrate from across the room. That gut sinking feeling of complete, unadulterated dread.
Who knows now? Who’s calling me sick names now? Who never wants to see me again now? Who is another brainwashed fucker that thinks just because I’ve realized who I was that they need to act like they never even knew me?
The piece had been replaced but now weighed more than he could even bare to hold.
But – now that he thinks about it – he hasn’t really been holding this piece alone. Hunk, Pidge and sometimes even Shay would come by the café or the apartment after a long day at school, bringing treats and unhealthy cake snacks as they binge watch some crappy show or movie on Netflix or Hulu. Shiro, Matt and Allura have been helping with school, making sure he didn’t fall behind because he was hyper focused on the whole family thing. They helped him with a schedule, called and texted between classes to check if he needed anything before their study session that night. Even Coran, Allura’s weirdly charming Uncle from New Zealand, sent him daily emails about everything and nothing. It was perfect and it was always what he needed. A picture of a baby kitten, picture of the cliffs and beaches on NZ, pictures of the large Santa Claus that was pulled atop a building across from that Skyscraper in Auckland he could never remember the name of – he just knew you could bungee jump off it (it was on his bucket list).
And then there was Keith, who continues to think he was just being a decent human being when really he was just being Keith. The man Lance had come to admire for his stand-offish attitude, the need to make sure his friends were happy and safe, the will to stand up for his friends and ask “who needs their asses kicked?” when he come across one of the group crying. Hell, the dude kicked Brad’s ass after he body slammed Allura at the Taco Bell down the street. Keith was more than just a decent human being. He was, without a doubt, one of the nicest people he’d ever met – no matter how rocky their relationship had started.
Lance couldn’t see him coming out of this in any good way without Keith by his side… and that scared him.
Lance froze, his breath catching in his throat, when he felt Keith’s bare fingers graze his forehead, pushing his hair from his face with concern. Lance, confused, furrowed his brows and turned to his friend. He then noticed how blurry everything looked and—oh.
He was crying.
Lance blinked a few times, a few more tears falling in the process, and Keith easily brushed them away. Keith probably thought less of him now. Men weren’t supposed to be sissy’s—
No, Lance growled at himself, stop.
Keith had moved closer to Lance during this time, Blue having vacated the area between them to finally make use of the Castle Keith bought her some odd weeks ago. Hopefully she’ll use it from now on.
Lance took a shaky breath, refusing himself the simple pleasure of Keith’s touch and, instead, shifting his head down against his pillow. Keith’s hand hung in the air between them before moving onto the small sliver of bed left between their bodies. Lance took a deep breath through his nose before letting it out. He twisted onto his side, facing Keith.
“I think… it’s only because I have friends like you that help keep me grounded.” Lance mumbled, meeting Keith’s gaze through the blurriness of his own. “If I was going through this alone – without you or Hunk or Pidge or Shiro or Allura – you, you get it; but I’m serious. Without you guys being… you and being here for me, I’d… I’d be homeless right now. I wouldn’t be making a plan to complete college or have somewhere to crash— mierda, I probably wouldn’t even be finishing up the semester.
“My parents made sure to take everything they could from me.” Lance wiped his cheek, “Hell, I’m positive the only reason my dad is still paying for my phone is to tell me how much of a disgrace I am to the family. Just a constant reminder that I’m nothing to them anymore. Just a… freak show or a magic act. ‘Watch as my… my daughter makes her family hate her in ten seconds’.”
Lance hiccuped, screwing his eyes shut before pressing the heels of his palm against them. A sob wracked his body, “I… I di— didn’t ask… for this. They— they think it’s… it’s hard on them but did… have they even thought how hard this is on me?! Ha— have they even thought about how much tu— turmoil I’ve been going through?! H— how much self-hatred I’ve had?! I thought I was disgusting for years— I didn’t know if I was… I didn’t know what… I didn’t— I didn’t—” Lance grasped onto the front of Keith’s shirt, stuffing his face against his friend’s chest as he sobbed against it. Lance was too out of it to know where Keith’s hands were, he felt something in his hair and something on his shoulder, but he also felt something circling his back so who the hell know. All he knows is that he was suddenly engulfed in warmth and pushed tightly against Keith’s chest as the shorter man mumbled soft, caring words against his head. He couldn’t make anything out, too focused on trying to stop crying while also trying to get it all out so he’d never cry like this again.
But, fuck… Why couldn’t his parents understand that he didn’t ask for this? Maybe… maybe if he went to church more, God would have been nicer? Maybe if he had prayed every night like his mother warned him to, he would be normal? Maybe if he didn’t kiss that one girl in middle school, he’d be who he was supposed to be.?
Maybe if, maybe if, maybe if— there were so many maybes— too many maybes, but no definite maybes. Nothing that could help him understand, or guide him.
“I di— didn’t ask for this, Keith…” Lance mumbled once his sobs died down. Keith’s fingers curled in his hair, blunt nails lightly scratching his scalp soothingly. His other hand rested on his lower back, thumb casting feathery circles against his covered spine, earning a mix between a hum and a hiccup from the man he was holding. Keith’s lips were pressed against the top of his head, still mumblings words of understanding against his hair.
Do You Feel It? [Chapter 5]
Not Perfect - Part 1
Not Perfect - Part 4
Space Bugs and Bonding Moments
There was a small sound, a nearly silent sniffle, before a choked sob sounded and— “Keith…”
[Or: Lance is lost and his friends are the best people in the entire galaxy.]
Fandom: Voltron: Legendary Defender
Main Pairing: Klance (Keith/Lance)
Minor/Background Pairings: Hunay (Shay/Hunk), Shatt (Shiro/Matt), Allura/Nyma, Past Rolo/Keith