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Memories That Haunt Us

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Keith held his palm up to the pod holding Lance. 

It was the middle of the night and Keith had been trying to sleep before his worry over Lance took control of him. 

Logically, he knew that Lance was going to be fine, Allura had said so and she understood more about this than he did. He was just being irrational worrying about Lance, even Hunk had gone to bed ages ago. 

He was just so worried . The idiot just had to throw himself in front of Coran, someone he’d known for less than a week , and take on a whole explosion. 

Lance looked so peaceful in his cryo-sleep, his eyes were calmly closed and his body was just floating. It was kind of unfair, how Lance could look so peaceful while Keith was out here worrying himself into a frenzy. 

It was deeply unfair. 

According to Allura, he should wake up soon but for some reason, Keith’s instincts were yelling at him that he had to be here so he could watch over Lance. 

Lance was going to be fine. He should just go back to bed and try to sleep and Lance should wake up all healed by tomorrow. And yet, he turned around to walk out of the medical bay but he somehow ended up sitting with his back against the pod and his legs curled up to his chest. 

He ended up thinking about Lance waking up and falling into his arms when he fell asleep right where he was. 

***

The pod opened and Lance fell against the floor because the team was too busy talking about time of all things. Just as Keith was going to rush to him and see if he was fine Hunk was already picking Lance up. 

“Lance!” everyone was excited that he was finally out and Keith rushed to help Lance. He wanted to talk about their bonding moment when Lance admitted to him that they made a good team. He wasn’t sure if it was fine if he brought it up in front of the team or not though. 

“Talking, eating, are you asking me out on a date?” Lance was flirting with Allura again but for some reason, Keith wasn’t as jealous as he usually was. Maybe it was because he and Lance make a good team (he’s sure he hasn’t said anything like that to Allura) and because now he had a real chance at being Lance’s friend. 

He didn’t know why and right now he didn’t care, he was still riding the high of Lance holding his hand and smiling like he was the only person in the room. 

Unfortunately for Keith things didn’t exactly go as planned, as always. When he mentioned even a whisper of a word about the ‘bonding moment’ Lance shut him down without even a second thought. 

And to think that just moments ago he was actually picturing friendship between them while Lance was clearly stuck on a rivalry Keith didn’t even want. 

He wanted the easy smiles Lance was able to give Coran and Allura who were literally another species and he’d only known for about two weeks. The worshiping smiles he’d give Shiro who’d he only heard about but wasn’t as close to. Even the sneaky smiles he gave Pidge whom he'd known for about a year. 

Well, not really. He wanted Lance to give him a special smile. One just for them. Something that conveyed just how complex their relationship was and how they could make something work. At least, that was Keith wanted to give Lance. 

He’d known Lance since their first year in the Garrison. That was the longest since everyone else, except Hunk. He felt like he should at least get something that resembled friendship instead of the outright hostility he got every time he approached the blue paladin. 

He wished he could at least get to asking Lance  why he hated him so much before they broke out into one of their usual arguments. It just wasn’t fair, why did he have to be the one that was singled out, out of everyone in their crew. He doesn't remember ever doing something to Lance that would make the boy hate him this much. 

The only thing that comes to mind is how he lied about forgetting Lance from the Garrison. He doesn’t understand why that’d be a big deal though, in the Garrison he paid Lance way too much attention but Lance never thought of him as anything other than ‘that one mullet headed classmate’. Even if he didn’t even have a mullet, his hair just grew like that. 

Lance would have nothing to be mad about since he never even cared about Keith. He wasn't vain enough to be mad that one person ‘didn’t’ remember him. 

Thinking about this made his head hurt. 

All he wanted was to be his friend. (If something else developed later though, he wouldn’t exactly be complaining)

***

Keith had discovered that training was useful as a good way to get rid of the stress that comes with being a defender of the universe. That was why he spent a big part of his day taking advantage of the training deck. 

He spent his days in the castle ship hitting away at the gladiators in lieu of hitting people. It required all his attention and made it so he couldn't think about anything else. 

Anything else usually included his relationship with the other paladins. Or more like one paladin. 

Lance. 

And today was no different than any other day. After Lance had gotten out of the pod and his relationship with Keith was still a rivalry he’d rushed out of the dining hall and had gone straight to the training deck. 

It’s not like he was actually expecting for Lance and him to be best friends now but he wished Lance had at least given him something . He hadn’t even received a smile. 

Everyone else had though. Coran had given Lance his thanks for saving him from the explosion and Lance had given him a shy smile afterward. Shiro had congratulated him and Lance had given him a proud, beaming smile that showed off his pearly white teeth. 

Pidge and Allura had both received a grateful smile and Hunk had received his usual best friend smile. But Keith— Keith had received nothing. Not even a curl of the lips or a courtesy smile that people gave him when he did something good. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. 

He was the outsider in Lance’s eyes. The one that was just there but wasn’t really a part of the team in the same way everyone else was. 

If he was being honest it absolutely sucked

Keith wanted so desperately to get just something from Lance that told him that he wasn’t the rock in the side of the road like Lance made him out to be. 

He was so focused on thinking about Lance that he didn’t even see the sword coming until it was an inch from his face. Oh shit

“End training simulation!” Lance’s voice rang out from the doorway and the gladiator immediately stopped where it was and fell to the floor seconds later. 

He turned saw that Lance had a panicked expression on his face and one hand held out in front of him toward Keith. “Are you okay?” He ran towards him and grabbed Keith by the shoulders. He turned him to one side and the other checking for injuries and bruises. 

Keith was on the verge of blushing, in fact, he could feel the telltale heat on the tips of his ears and the back of his neck. That wasn’t good— Lance touching him like this wasn’t good for him. Especially after all that happened earlier. 

He still felt hurt at how Lance had ignored him and pushed him to the sidelines and being near him and his ocean smell wasn’t helping. It was like every time he mustered up any anger towards Lance the alpha just sauntered back into his space and Keith’s omega screamed at him that this was his alpha. The one he was meant to spend the rest of his life with. 

His true alpha. 

“I’m fine, what are you even doing here?” he ripped himself away from the ocean smelling alpha and ignored the momentary hurt that overtook his features. He’d hardly seen Lance come into the training room much in their short time in the castle other than for team bonding. 

“I wanted to talk to you but then got distracted,” Lance recovered quickly from any hurt he may have and put a smirk on his face (his unfairly beautiful face, he may add). “You’re lucky I was here or you might have just lost a few teeth” 

Keith flushed out of humiliation, Lance just happened to come in right as he was getting his ass beat. All those other times when Keith beat level after level and actually looked cool. Because Keith couldn’t get even that. 

Instead, he got to be humiliated like this just when he had already suffered earlier. Shiro was lying when he said that the universe didn’t hate Keith and this was proof. 

“So talk” he was mad and humiliated and he felt stupid for still getting flustered at the boy’s proximity when it was obvious Lance was unfaced. He was an omega, his scent should make Lance want to drool over him and make him happy (even if he was on pretty strong suppressants). 

“Oh, um, I just wanted to say sorry?” It was phrased more like a question than a statement. Keith blinked twice and stared at, why would he be sorry? Lance didn’t have anything to be sorry about, did he?

He finally got his mouth to work and answered in a short “why?” 

Now it was Lance who blocked at him. “About earlier, you seemed hurt that I didn’t remember what happened during the fight. I just wanted to say that I’m sorry about that, I really don’t remember what happened though” 

“You really don’t remember?” he just wanted to confirm. That moment was important to him and it would hurt if Lance was really just faking it. He didn’t think he was that type of person but he still wanted to confirm. He at least thought that Lance wouldn’t apologize if he actually did remember. 

The Lance he knew would just change the topic when he was lying about something not confront it head-on like this. 

“I really don’t; sorry, but if it was that important, I'm willing to hear you out about what happened” Lance shook his head and then looked at Keith again with a hopeful look on his face. 

For a second Keith actually considered telling Lance about what's happened but then he realized that he’d have to explain the hand-holding and the feelings he got from the moment and he realized that he really didn’t want to do that. 

He preferred the method of avoidance. Their relationship wouldn't improve like he imagined it would but he wouldn’t spill the one thing that would definitely ruin their relationship to the point where Lance wouldn’t even talk to him anymore. 

As long as Lance at least acknowledged him there was a chance of something more happening. 

“It was nothing important. I just thought you were faking it and it made me mad” that sounded safe enough. It didn’t imply that Keith had a crush on Lance the size of a planet or that he was hurt because Lance forgot a moment that was important to Keith. Just plain statement that justified why he’d acted weird earlier but didn’t give anything away. 

“R-really?” the shock he saw on Lance’s face made Keith want to hurl. That reaction implies that he made an even bigger idiot of himself out there than he meant to. 

“Yes, really.” 

“O-oh okay then. I’ll guess I’ll leave. Sorry for interrupting your training session” Lance rubbed the back of his neck shyly before walking out of the room, bumping into the doorway on his way out. 

Keith berated himself for how cold he must have sounded. It’s not like he meant it to come off that way he just didn’t want to tell Lance why that moment was so important to him. He took a brief water break and another thought stalked him, he should have asked Lance to train together. 

That way he would spend more time with Lance (and get up close to him again) and talk to him more. Lance did say that they made a good team. He slapped his his own cheek as a way to both punish himself for not thinking quick about this while Lance was here and also to return focus to training. 

It’d be time for dinner soon and he’d have to face Lance there. He missed the chance to ask this time but they were paladins. They had to train on the regular and Keith would get another chance to ask to train together. 

With that thought, Keith returned to beating up the training bot. 

___

 

Lance wondered how oblivious he was sometimes. 

How much did he miss because he didn’t pay the right amount of attention to his surroundings? 

How many things did he get wrong because he overthought things in his head? 

Lance thought that he was pretty self-aware about his surroundings. He made a point to get to know his friends and introduced himself to new people. He was pretty flute in body language and always had an inkling of what other people were doing just based on their behavior. 

Of course, like with most things, that didn’t apply to Keith. 

Keith was an enigma. He was the one that didn’t follow the rules and made a point to never show how he felt. It frustrated Lance to no end. He just wanted to know what that boy was thinking, damn it!

That wasn’t a crime, was it? 

The black-haired omega was so mysterious Lance was continually questioning what about him was real and what wasn’t. 

Like earlier, he thought that Keith was disgruntled about their so-called bonding moment and then he goes to talk to him and apparently it's no longer important?! Then why was he making such a big deal earlier? 

Lance hated the fact that he had actually forgotten what’d happened. He thinks he can vaguely remember something about hand holding and soft smiles but that could just be a dream. God knows how many of those he’s had in the past. 

He wants to remember so badly but every time he thinks about it his head starts pounding and it all goes black. 

“So did you get to talk to Keith?” How was it that Hunk always had a way of knowing what he was thinking about? 

“Y-yeah. I asked him what happened and he said it wasn’t important and you know how Keith is when he refuses something, that’s it” It should be frustrating but Lance found it endearing how stubborn the boy could be. “And you really didn’t see what happened?” 

“No, buddy, I’d tell you if I knew but the only thing I saw is that Keith carried you bridal style into the med bay after the fight ended” Lance still got flustered when he thought about that. Keith carrying him? Yes, please.

He knows that other alphas wouldn’t see that as the hottest thing since most alphas like when an omega is soft and cute and dainty. Lance thought that omegas (and everybody) should have the freedom of being however they liked. He, himself, wasn’t the most alpha out there so if he judged it would just be hypocritical. 

He came from a diverse family and therefore had no real preference. Maybe that was why he’d fallen so hard for Keith, he had spunk and wasn’t afraid to do what he wanted. 

He wouldn’t say that he thought that the stereotypical omega wasn’t cute but only if they wanted to be like that. Otherwise, they should just be however they wanted. 

What he really wanted was for someone to like him as much as he liked them, it didn’t matter if they were an omega, beta, or even another alpha. He just wanted someone that would love him and he would no longer be stuck on this unrequited love for someone so clearly out of his league. 

“You’re thinking about Keith again, aren’t you?” How did Hank do this? Did he just have a face that said ‘Thinking about Keith’ or something? 

“You can’t prove anything” he probably could but Lance would try to hold onto any scraps of dignity he had left. 

 “Y’know when you said you didn’t even remember even though I thought it was fake. I thought that you were taking revenge for him not remembering you from the Garrison” 

“No, I could see how you thought that but I really don’t remember anything other than a couple of occasional flashes and glimpses.” Lance looked over at the rest of the team from his spot on the couch. They were all focused on other things and seemed to be paying no attention to their conversation. 

“Well, maybe nothing happened and you’re just thinking about this too deeply” Lance listened to what his friend had to say and he realized that he was right. There was no proof that something had happened between them, only Lance making assumptions about Keith. 

“I know, I didn’t really care much for that, I just wanted to ask him about the Garrison.” That had to be the most accurate thing Lance had said all day. He really didn’t care much about the ‘bonding moment’. What he wanted was an opportunity to talk to Keith about forgetting things, see if Keith really didn’t remember anything from their time in the Garrison. 

“Why?” 

“He’s forgotten all about me, Hunk,” Lance whined, staring forlornly at the back of Keith’s head. “I knew I wasn’t good enough for him. Let alone, someone, he would remember”

“Then tell him.” Hunk advised, patting his friend on the shoulder. 

“And remind him of what an idiot I was?” Lance huffed as he crossed his arms and pouted. “No way.”

“You weren’t an idiot then and you aren’t one now.” Hunk always had to be the voice of reason, didn’t he?

“Yes, well, it doesn’t matter anymore, I talked to him earlier and lost my chance to ask him anything.” there was no point in thinking about it anymore. He had to get in his head that Keith didn’t remember anything. 

Lance just didn’t fit in Keith’s life. 

He was just the extra, the one dragging him down. He annoyed Keith and in his way of finding real love and happiness. He was an annoyance and the best thing Lance could do for both of them was to stop trying to involve himself in the other boy’s life so much.