they can't breathe.
with the heavy fact that their dad might never accept them, with the weight of having to make sure their mom is still doing her best to be more accepting and to learn more about their gender, with the concept that they have no idea how much of their body and personality they have to change in order to be valid as nonbinary; they can't breathe.
and then there's the literal weight on their chest.
the physical reminder that they are in a female's body.
the wrong body.
they can't bind. they have enough logic to know that hiding a potentially-dangerous, body-altering thing would cause more unwanted tension between them and their mom.
everything becomes overwhelming, so they turn to the only one who can calm their anxiety.
"hey, keith. can you come over?"
keith drove as fast as he could (while of course obeying the law).
"hey, babe," keith said as he sat down with lance on their bed.
"hey," lance said, so quiet and weak, their voice shaking and cracking from the past hour of crying.
"do you want to talk about it or do you want to cuddle for a while? or both! or neither? shit. you know i don't know exactly what's happening but i'm here for you in whatever way you nee-"
"keith, damn, okay, just stop rambling," lance chuckled softly.
"it would be great to cuddle for a bit. just, uhh, avoid my chest area. and i heard that warm weight on the area where cramps are can help alleviate the pain and shit, so maybe your hand could be that warm weight? that would be nice," lance smiles, real and genuine. so different from the laughter than transitioned him to crying.
keith just nods. he nudges lance and they get the message, lifting the blankets to allow keith to get under the covers with them. they both shuffle around and get comfortable. keith slides his arms around lance's sides and onto their stomach under their shirt; careful as to not touch their hips or chest.
"i just," lance sighs. "i wish i could be like pidge. i wish i could have parents like theirs. i wish i just had even one parent that was fucking ready to accept me."
"hey," keith starts. "your mom will get there. she's reconstructing her entire idea of you. she's trying to understand that the life she planned for you when you were in the fucking womb is no longer going to happen. it's going to take some more time, but she loves you so much. as for your dad, he loves you, too. but he was raised to be a stereotypical man's man. he was taught to not cry. and to get angry when he doesn't know how to feel. it's not your fault. you are perfect and valid and no one should have any right to take your rights away from you. but until you're 18, your parents have the right."
"i know. but it fucking sucks. i hate knowing that i can't change my name. i can't change my legal gender. i can't even be 100% out at school because i'm scared of my dad finding out from teachers' emails or calls. i can't even bind yet. i know pidge has connections with some lgtbq+ organizations and they could get a binder for me. but i can't risk my mom finding out by doing my laundry, or something. there are so many things that i want to do and i might not be able to do most of them until i'm in college. i know that my mom is trying and my dad is, well, my dad; but it doesn't fucking suck any less." lance clenched their jaw. trying to not let their angry-tears slide down from their red-rimmed, puffy eyes and down their pink cheeks.
"you haven't mentioned this, but i know you're thinking it," keith took a moment to kiss the top of lance's head. "you are nonbinary. even if you can't bind right now, even if you can't get top surgery, even if you stay in touch with your femininity sometimes, even if people aren't intelligent enough to grasp the concept that there aren't just two genders; you are nonbinary. i will always admire you for your strength and bravery. you never deny who you are, unless, of course, outing yourself could result in the compromise of your safety. i love you so much."
"thank you. i love you so much, too, keith," and as lance turns around in keith's arms and smiles at him, keith smiles back.
they share short, gentle kisses. they talk about shows they both watch, teachers they don't like, and they act as if they're not both thinking about their future together.
and for the first time in a while,
they can breathe.