Chapter Four: Look at These Plus One Biceps!
Lance didn’t know why he agreed to go to the gym with Keith at 5 AM on a Tuesday morning when he wouldn’t have to even have a conscious thought until 1 PM when he needed to get ready for class; and yet here he was, awake at 6 AM, standing at the entrance of the gym with his best friend and not entirely regretting waking up so he could workout with Keith. Keith always seemed a bit more upbeat after a good workout and Lance would give his left leg right about now to feel at least half as good as Keith post-workout.
Besides, the gym has a pool.
Lance was happy he was able to buy a few good sport bras before his dad cancelled his credit cards, even getting expedite shipping as a metaphorical “suck it”. Lance huffed with a frown at the thought of his father. This was supposed to be time to relax and let out his frustrations, not get emotional, tense and agitated. Lance was sure Keith had seen enough of his emotional side to last a lifetime, and if Lance had it his way Keith would never see him being un-Lance like ever again.
Keith walked ahead of him, opening the door for Lance – who mumbled a small ‘thank you’ – before following him inside. The gym wasn’t super big, but it was still a decent size. The pool was about 50 feet in length with 6 lanes, cut off from the main gym with windows. The entrance to the pool was through the bathroom/locker room. The gym equipment was top notch and in mint condition. The weights stood in the back of medium sized room, mirrors aligned on the back of the wall. There was a row of ten treadmills, three Stairmasters situated at the end of the line. A few feet behind the treadmills stood an array of Ellipticals – work out equipment Lance had used a few times in high school only to whine about later because, holy crow, using one of those for thirty minutes a day for a straight week nearly killed him. There were a few bikes sitting in front of the treadmills, they looked rarely used. There were other workout equipment sitting on the other side of the gym, equipment Lance couldn’t remember the names of, or some of the uses, but knew they helped with Leg and Arm Days™.
The gym didn’t even smell bad. It smelt citrusy and fresh – not something he’d expect from a gym. Big franchise gyms were different than the small family owned ones he was use to back in New Mexico.
It was nice.
Keith walked up a desk a few feet to Lance’s left, pulling out a card from his wallet and informing the worker behind the desk of his guest. The worker swiped Keith’s card with little comment, chugging their coffee and waving them both away after handing Keith back his membership card. Keith brought Lance to the men’s locker room, heading over to one of the rows of lockers and opening one. Lance through his bag in, pulling out his goggles and tossed them over his head to let them hang from his neck, before heading towards the other exit that lead to the pool. There was a small sauna across from the showers before the pool exit.
He could smell the heavy scent of chlorine halfway through the locker room. He was amazed at how nostalgic the smell of the chemical made him. Memories of hot days in New Mexico, summer camp field trips and sneaking off in the middle of the night to break into the community pool. It was nothing like what the smell of the ocean made him feel, but it was enough to make him want to forget everything and just lose himself in the sensation of one of his favorite things to do.
If becoming an animator wasn’t his dream job, he would have done more with swimming. He was the best in middle and high school, fast and agile, always a few seconds ahead of the others. He hadn’t swum competitively since his last year in high school. He missed the thrill of it all but he didn’t miss the 5 AM training sessions or the hours-long drive to the competitions. Winning though… Winning was always the best feeling. At least until he saw whose name was on the trophy.
Lance pushed the thoughts away, focusing on the pool and its lack of inhabitants.
He was glad to see that no one else was there, probably because no one wanted to take a full-blown shower to get the heavy stench of chlorine off in the crappy gym showers before heading to work. He pulled off his tank top as he walked to the lane furthest from the exits, pulling off his shoes once he stood in front of the lane. He moved them off to the side a bit, not wanting either articles of cloth ware to get wet. He pulled his waterproof wireless earphones from his pocket, pressing down on the button over the right ear piece and waiting till it flashed blue before fishing out his phone from his pocket. He put each earphone in as both devices connected through Bluetooth, scrolling through his endless lists of playlists until he came upon the last playlist titled ‘Z’. He clicked shuffle.
Lionhearted by Porter Robinson blasted through his earbuds immediately. He moved back over to his stuff, setting the phone down in his shoe before standing. Pulling his goggles on with thin lips and a determined expression, he moved back to the edge of the pool as Robinson started singing.
He stretched his arms for only a few minutes, mumbling the lyrics under his breath while glaring across the pool. He wondered if he’d every swim with his family again, play Marco Polo with the twins, wrestling into the water with his older brother again, be lectured for not waiting 45 minutes after eating to get back into the water by his mother—
He dived in without a second thought, leaving those thoughts behind and letting the water wash away his anger and frustrations, his inner turmoil and hatred, his worries, his doubts, his stress. For the next hour he just swam back and forth, oblivious to his surroundings, focused solely on his strokes, breathing and the music.
He didn’t think about the text he still hasn’t read from his father; he didn’t think about the letters he’s been secretly sending to his mom the past two weeks, letting her know that he was okay and that he was sorry for causing her any pain, that that wasn’t his intention, he just wanted her to understand; he didn’t think about what his younger siblings thought of him; he didn’t think what his older siblings thought of him; he didn’t think about his cousins in Cuba or his Uncle in South Florida; didn’t think about the Facebook he hadn’t the courage to log into since coming out or what could possibly be written on his page, or the messages he was sure to have by now; he didn’t think about what he’d actually be doing right now if it hadn’t been for his friends, for Keith, helping him and taking him in when he floundered; he didn’t think what he’d be doing right now if he’d just agreed that it was a phase, agree to let his hair grow back out, agree to stop telling them that he was a man and that his name and pronouns were feminine; he didn’t think what his life would be like right now if he was a she.
He didn’t think about any of that, just timing his kick off, breathe and letting the sweet, enthusiastic voice of Kesha lull his worries away.
And it seemed to have worked until Kesha’s voice started to fade as Lance kicked off the wall, replaced by the ringtone he had set for his family. He stopped swimming when he was only a few inches from the wall, reaching his hand out and grab onto the edge of the pool while the other flopped onto the matted ground in front of him. He took deep breathes, trying to catch his breath while also trying to control his anger, as he read the name on his phone screen over and over. He couldn’t tell if it was anger or relief he was feeling, but he didn’t like it. He cursed, reaching for his phone and rejecting the call. He quickly set his phone on airplane mode before they could call back and played the music once again, tossing it back into his shoe. He turned back towards his lane and pushed off the wall before he got a glimpse of his mullet-loving roommate, sweat slicked and glistening, face flushed from exertion, tank top being pulled off in slow motion and his ponytail—
Lance choked on water.
What the fuck?
Lance stopped swimming and quickly grabbed onto the wall to his left, turning away from Keith as he made his way around the pool and nearly coughed up a lung. He forgot how much chlorine burned. He pulled out his left earbud as he saw Keith in his peripheral vision.
Lance gave a few weaker coughs, unable to find his voice, but have Keith a shaky thumbs up. Keith nodded to him, tossing the tank top he peeled off onto the ground next to Lance’s things. He turned his back to Lance, allowing the brunette to ogle Keith’s slightly tanned and toned back – seriously, what the F U C K? – as he removed his sneakers and socks. Keith was left in only the black and red swim trunks he brought in his bag. Lance felt his face flushed as Keith turned back towards pool, oblivious to Lance’s inner screaming, moving to the lane next to his and sitting on the edge, dipping his legs into the warm water before slowly sinking in. He quickly dunked his head underwater, pushing his wet bangs out of his face as he smirked at Lance. And, honestly, Lance’s insides didn’t appreciate what Keith’s face – and body – were doing to them.
No one looked that good after working out. Not even Ryan Reynolds.
And then Keith, with his obnoxiously perfect teeth and shining indigo eyes and attractive mullet, challenges him to a fucking race.
“It’s okay if you’re not up to it, Lance.” Keith mocked, his smirk growing as Lance’s cheek continued to redden, kicking off of the wall and doing a slow backstroke. “I understand how tiring this can be for someone who doesn’t train often.”
Lance might have actually felt a bit offended if Keith hadn’t known about his time on the swim team.
Lance smirked back, plugging his earbud back in as Keith neared the other end of the pool, “Alright, McMullet. You’re on.”
Lance stuffed half a McDonald’s hash brown down his throat, humming down at the grease the food left behind on his napkin. Keith sat across from him on the booth, stretching his legs out against the seat as he cradled a Sausage McMuffin in his hands. Keith’s eyes were rimmed red from the pool, Shiro having taken Keith’s goggles last week while they trained and still having yet to return them, and Lance could tell that they stung by the way they were glazed over (even with the eye drops Keith bought).
On their way to McDonald’s, Lance had pulled them into a Walgreen’s and had Keith buy some eye drops. Lance blamed himself for not realizing how strong the chlorine had been, they were probably the first two to use it since the staff put the chemical in the night prior, and with how long the two swam against each other he should have realized that – whether or not how recently the pool had had chlorine put in – that Keith’s eyed would start to become irritated.
Keith repeatedly told him that it wasn’t his fault, that he knew what the chlorine did to his eyes and that he had nothing to feel guilty for. All it did was stop him from apologizing out loud, not from sending an apologetic gaze towards his friend every so often.
Before Lance had gotten a good look at his roommate’s eyes, the two had been having a lot of fun. Racing against his former ‘rival’ was exactly what Lance needed, and he assumed on some level Keith could tell. They hadn’t had it out like that for months – even arguing about who won the last race for a solid five minutes as they changed in the locker room before Keith starting furiously rubbing his eyes.
At least now, with the eye drops, Keith was no longer rubbing and could focus his eyes.
Lance asked about Keith’s workout as they walked, holding onto both of their bags while also having Keith’s hand grasping his shoulder for guidance as they made their way to the fast-food restaurant. Keith took a while to comment, mumbling almost tiredly that it was one of the best workouts he’s had in awhile. Lance blushed at the comment, knowing that Keith meant their little swimming competition and not the hour-long full body workout Keith usually did. At that moment, he was glad Keith was more focused on where he was stepping then on Lance. He, in turn, asked how swimming was. Lance answered with a curt ‘fine’, the subject being dropped almost immediately but not before Keith’s fingered tightened on his shoulder, almost comforting. Keith then changed the subject, moving to school and the upcoming finals. Lance commented that Allura had warned him a while ago that she would be out of the country for the last two weeks of this semester, visiting her Uncle for one week then going to visit Nyma, her girlfriend, in Ireland before coming back with her. The subjects that she was going to help him on, Physics and Psychology, were not his other tutors strong suit. Pidge was now going to help with Physics while Shay, being a Psychology major, was going to help him.
Keith offered to help when neither Pidge nor Shay were available. Lance might take him up on that offer. Other than the usual stress and worry about finals, nothing new was going on at school with Lance. Well…
“Actually,” Lance slowed his walking as they came across a crosswalk, cars whizzing by them as they waited for their turn, “I impressed Professor Haggar, my 2D Animation instructor, with something I wasn’t even working on for the class. Apparently she hasn’t been impressed like that for years.”
Keith looked at him by his side, nodding for him to continue. Lance went on to talk about the short animation he was creating about Blue, how she daydreams about becoming a blue lion robot with water-based powers in space and acting it out while she was alone in the apartment. He was only at twelve seconds with the animation, but he had the storyboard completed, the designs outlined but he was still debating on the shade of blue he wanted her armor to be and what other colors to add.
“I was thinking of adding a red diamond or something on her forehead.” He started as they stepped off the sidewalk. “Maybe glowing orange eyes and a white underbelly.”
“Wouldn’t a grey underbelly make more sense?” Keith asked, his hand slowly moving from Lance’s shoulder to his bare bicep.
“Grey?” Lance raised a brow, looking at Keith. “Why?”
“’Cause… armor is grey?” Keith stuck his head out, tilting it to the side as he looked at Lance with a raised brow.
Lance chuckled, Keith’s hand suddenly clasped in his own as they got back on the sidewalk, “Dude, Blue is imagining herself as a blue lion robot in space and the color of her underbelly is what needs to make sense?”
“I… see your point.” Keith straight up pouted, standing straight once again and tilting his head away from Lance’s gaze.
Lance rolled his eyes with a fond smile, “Well, if you’re gonna pout—”
“I am not pouting.” Keith turned back to Lance with narrowed eyes.
Lance only smiled, letting go of Keith’s hand to grab the door of McDonald’s and hold it open for his pouting McMullet.
Yeah. Blue’s underbelly is gonna be grey. He’d have to show Keith Blue’s final concept art when he finished.
Lance looked up from his meal, resting his chin in his open palm with a small smile. Keith nibbled on the last of his McMuffin, face unusually soft and eyes closed as he savored the greasy food. Lance’s smile grew, throwing the last of his hash brown into his mouth as Keith let his head fall back against the wall with a small hum.
“I haven’t felt this energetic so early since I was seventeen.” Lance spoke after swallowing that last of his hash brown. Keith cracked an eye open, reaching for his iced hazelnut coffee and wiggling his tongue out until it connected with the straw. Lance flushed, averting his eyes to his own drink as he stuttered out, “W— we should do this… more often.”
Keith stopped mid-slurp of his iced hazelnut coffee, looking up through his long lashes at Lance like he’d grown a third head. Lance pouted out his bottom lip, grabbing his orange juice while pointing his index finger at his roommate.
“I’m serious, dude!” Lance forced himself to chuckle, adding a toothy grin to the mix before sipping at his orange juice.
“Ya-huh,” Keith snorted with a roll of his eyes, setting his drink down and turning fully towards his friend, “I’ll remind you of your ‘seriousness’ when I come knocking on your door at five in the morning.”
“Please, do.” Lance set his drink down before leaned back in his booth, resting his arms against the cold, uncovered surface of the top of the booth.
Keith hummed, taking another sip of his coffee while raising a brow slowly at the man sitting across from him; almost waiting for the inevitable excuse Lance would say to get out of working out.
Not this time, Keith, Lance hissed with a smirk.
“Okay, okay, Keith; but seriously, besides bein’ all energized for the upcoming day—” Lance quickly took a sip of his drink, setting it down before stretching his arms out and flexing his barely-existent muscles, “—look at these plus one biceps!”
Lance turned from side to side, even leaning down to plant a sloppy kiss against his right bicep. That earned him a few giggles from the women behind the counter. Lance shoot them both a wink and his best flirting smile, even pulling out the big ol’ finger guns for good measure. Then he turned to Keith, whose face had grown as red as Ronald McDonald’s hair and whose eyes were trained on him, almost bewitched – and that totally was not adorable, nu-huh, nope, no way –, and gave him the same treatment.
Wink, charming smile and finger guns. Well, and an over-exaggerated kissy face. Just for Keith.
Keith nearly choked on his coffee, the blush covering his face stretching down to his neck and exposed shoulders and his ears were cherry red – holy shit. Lance, frozen and with his own growing blush, was stuck to his seat, still in his ‘finger gun’ pose while his eyes slowly widened and his lips parted to suck in a shallow breath.
Fuck, Lance thought as Keith covered the bottom half of his face with his hand, his eyes tearing up while his shoulders shook and— wow… Keith’s laugh…
Fuck, Lance thought again, his own lips splitting into a large grin as he laughed along with Keith. He caught Keith’s eye – red, watery but glistening and bright and breathtaking – before he shut them and bent down, cradling his head in his hands as his laugh continued to wrack his body.
Fuck, fucking fuckity fuck. I’m screwed.
Do You Feel It? [Chapter 5]
Adorable Klance Moment
Not Perfect - Part 1
Not Perfect - Part 4
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