“Lance?” Pidge called out into the darkness, her boyfriend’s hand clutched in hers. Her other hand shined a way through the dark with her flashlight. Keith squeezed her hand reassuringly as he walked with her down the hall of the abandoned house. Pidge chewed on her lower lip, murmuring, “This was such a bad idea.”
Keith huffed out a soft laugh, whispering, “Since when are any of Lance’s midnight ideas good ones?”
A fond smile touched her lips as she thought for a moment, “What about that time we went for ice cream?”
“It was snowing.”
“I was talking about the last time we went,” Pidge laughed.
“Oh,” Keith’s smile grew a second later, “Didn’t he sprain something attempting to do a backflip off a picnic table after that?”
Pidge rose an eyebrow in response, amused, “He was trying to impress you.”
“He was? How long has that been going on? Wait… Is that why he’s been weird around me?”
“Oh, my god.” Pidge groaned, “You’ve got to be kidding me. Really, Keith?”
“He’s been trying to get your attention since you first kissed me. We’ve all been dating for how long now, and you haven’t even tried to lay one on him?”
“I’ve kissed him!” Keith frowned, slipping his hand out of hers to cross his arms over his chest defensively.
“Hand and cheek kisses don’t count to him. You should know that by now,” Pidge adjusted her glasses.
“If he wanted a kiss so bad, why didn’t he just ask?”
“Oh, yeah. I could see that happening. Lance just walking up and asking for some sugar, and then, you- Oh, wait! That actually happened, didn’t it? And what did you do, Keith?”
Keith’s shoulders hunched up as his cheeks flushed red, “Oh, god…”
“C’mon. What did you do?”
“I… gave him sugar…”
“A literal cup of sugar…”
“We were in the middle of baking! How was I supposed to know that’s not what he meant?!”
“At least, the flour fight was fun…” a giggle bubbled up from Pidge before she fixed Keith with a more serious expression, “When we find Lance, you guys gotta talk.”
After a moment of staring back at her quietly, Keith relaxed his stance and sighed, “Yeah. Okay, we’ll talk.”
His brows rose as she held out her pinkie to him. She smiled, “Promise me.”
With a roll of his eyes, he hooked his pinkie finger around hers, “I promise.”
Their heads snapped to the end of the hall as a crash sounded. They shot a worried look at each other before hurrying towards the noise.
“Lance?” Keith called as they opened the door waiting for them at the end. Pidge peeked around him as he froze in surprise. She gasped. Lance stood in the middle of the room, objects floating around him lazily. Pidge’s flashlight flickered ominously before cutting off. She tapped it against her palm, trying to get it to turn back on as they backed away.
Pidge asked, her voice wavering, “L-Lance? Baby? It’s us… What’s going on?”
The light flickered back on in time for them to see the Cuban boy smile sinisterly, the corners of his mouth stretching unnaturally wide, before lunging at them. Keith moved to the side only to shove Pidge out of the way as he took the brunt of Lance’s weight. Keith fell back as Pidge thudded to the floor. The flashlight flew from her hand and rolled a little ways down the way they came. Keith, on the other hand, rolled to straddle Lance, attempting to pin him down. Lance flipped him onto his back, hand finding its way to Keith’s throat. Keith’s hands flew to grip Lance’s wrist to stop him, “Lance, stop!”
The boy above him actually paused before stating, “No.”
His voice was unrecognizable, sounding like a million different voices speaking simultaneously and blended into one. Keith swallowed thickly, “Lance, it’s me. Keith. You know me. Keith? We’ve been dating for half a year or something like that now?”
Lance seemed to falter slightly at that before that damned smile was back on his face, “Oh, Keith…”
His voice was a purr as he leant down, bringing their faces close together, “Keith.”
“Yeah. I’m Keith,” Keith spoke gently, “Can you let me up?”
“Nope,” Lance chuckled, the sound distorted. Keith’s eyes finally met the other’s straight on. Once blue eyes were now mostly black.
“You’re… not Lance…”
Not-Lance’s smile grew.
Pidge scrambled to her feet and shouted, “Hey! Let him go!”
Lance’s attention whipped towards her. He sat back slowly, his hands resting on Keith’s chest, “Why should I? You always keep him to yourself.”
“That’s not true,” she stated firmly, stepping towards them, “You know that’s not true.”
“It is true,” Lance scowled, the look unfitting for his usually bright features, “He likes you more than me.”
“Lance, listen to me. This isn’t you talking,” Keith moved to sit up, his hands cupping Lance’s face and turning his gaze back onto him, “Fight this.”
A hellish growl rumbled up from Lance’s chest, but his eyes seemed to clear for just a moment. Pidge marched forward and dropped to her knees beside them, wrapping her thin arms around him, “I love you, Lance. We love you.”
He blinked hard and shook his head with a wince. Keith rested their foreheads together, “We love you… Don’t let whatever this is stay.”
Pictures on the walls suddenly dropped and crashed onto the floor, startling the two. Keith grit his teeth, “I’ve read about these things. It’s feeding off your fears. Your insecurities.”
“Who knew you and your cryptid obsessions would come in handy?” Pidge asked dryly only to be shushed by Keith.
A drawer flew out of a broken dresser. Lamps fell over, and long dead light bulbs blew in their sockets. Pidge tightened her grip around him, closing her eyes. Keith glanced to her before back to Lance, “Talk to me, Lance. Tell me what’s going on in that head of yours.”
“Us two?” Pidge’s eyes flickered open and lifted to stare up at him.
Lance’s breath caught in his throat as he blinked a few times before continuing, “I’m… scared you’re going to leave me…”
Keith’s thumbs slid along Lance’s cheeks soothingly, “We wouldn’t.”
“Definitely not,” Pidge confirmed.
“You have so much more in common…” the house shook angrily around them.
“Hardly!” Pidge huffed, “He doesn’t even know how to work a game controller!”
Keith rolled his eyes, pulling his head away from Lance’s, “I don’t play video games.”
A smile cracked at the corner of Lance’s mouth. A genuine one. Keith brightened up a bit at that, despite the house still angrily throwing objects around them. He glanced to their girlfriend, “I don’t understand her tech speak.”
“Neither do I,” Lance murmured.
“You know what? Us two have more in common actually. We should just leave Pidge.”
A small laughed shook its way from Lance’s core before he hugged both of them tightly. The house finally stilled as Lance shook himself free from the minor possession. He sighed softly, smile still tugging up the corners of his mouth, “Please tell me someone’s got a bible. I feel gross.”
“Nope. Suffer,” Pidge pressed a gentle kiss to his cheek.
Lance chuckled before letting them go, helping them to stand, “I think that’s enough ghost hunting for one night?”
“We’re never coming back,” Keith deadpanned as he grabbed his hand and tugged him towards the back door where they had broken in, “Unless we plan to set the place on fire.”
“Arson’s against the law,” Pidge slipped her own hand into Keith’s free one.
“So’s hacking into government databases.”
Lance rubbed the back of his neck, “Um… I’m sorry I uh… I couldn’t really control… God, I was so close to-”
Keith paused and yanked him down a bit to press a kiss to his cheek, “Apology accepted, but you still have to do dishes for a month.”
“What?! Aw, man!”
“This was the worst date you’ve ever dragged us on.”
Pidge cackled as they walked out the door, the bickering continuing as they headed home. All three unaware as a fourth shadow followed, hidden amongst their own…