Lance feels like he's moved around more times than he can count.
This time, it's somewhere away from the warm coastal waters he's recently come to love in the southern Pacific, and tucked within the little northeastern suburbs bordering between Massachusetts and Connecticut. A slice of cozy, picturesque nowhere during the height of the autumn season.
He's never really had trouble getting friends. Lance partnered with a girl named Katie Holt during his chemistry lab a week ago, starting the new high school semester later than expected, and they nearly blew up their testing equipment while goofing off and doing their own experiments. She's two years younger than him, but a near intellectual genius who ended up in her senior year way early. He also met another senior nicknamed Hunk for his popularity with most of the junior and senior girls, despite his shyness and awkward conversational skills. Hunk often baked a ton of sugary-sweet delicious treats for his homeroom.
The problem unlike San Diego is that everyone in this historical, small town knows your business.
Even the King Street's laundromat manager knows Lance by his first name, when Lance drags himself in at two am to wash the crusty, yellow-staining infant vomit off the living room's blankets.
Nobody has given him or his family any trouble yet, so Lance remains cautiously optimistic.
During a gold-glowing Saturday morning, he rides his ten-speed bicycle through the downtown, zooming by the elderly and middle age couples silently window-shopping and pointing to the antiques, by a pair of younger, gleeful boys on skateboards by the library's low-built rails.
He tunes out, cheerfully mouthing along with the K-rock hit playing on his mobile. On the avenue, there's a mix of crabapple trees and hawthorns planted along the sidewalks, with towering, crimson maples by the river. Zelkovas and sycamores thriving in amber and oranges and yellows.
Lance hops up on the curb, as a burst of freezing wind smacks into his face — and then, a person smacks as they exit through an ornate, violet-tinted shoppe's door. A poorly timed decision.
The bike's front wheel collides to legs full-speed, and Lance finds himself tumbling onto the ground along with the other man, scraping Lance's open palm bloody and irritating the nerve in his elbow through the red-lined, army green cargo jacket. He winces, dragging himself upright, pulling and untangling his bright blue headphones from wrapping around his throat, shooting a glare.
"What the heck, man?!" Lance yells. "Why don't you watch where you're going—?"
He pauses, becoming wide-eyed as the young man eases himself onto his feet with a light push on his own knee, regrasping around the handle of his retractable, skinny walking stick.
"Actually, no. I can't."
It's not spoken out of malicious intent, as the young man's lips tilt up when he speaks aloud. Lance continues sitting on his butt on the dry, cracked autumn leaves and the concrete, jaw loosening. The guy's dark grey eyes aren't focusing on any specific spot, or even Lance.
"Oh," Lance breathes, realizing it too-slowly. He's blind — oh my god. Oh my god, ohmygod. His features grow hotter with embarrassment. "Oh, crap. Crap."
He ignores Lance's frantic babbling, resting a hand against the shoppe's outer, brick wall.
"You wouldn't mind telling me where my flowers went?"
There it is again— a tiny, amused smile. Lance catches himself staring at it, and then he scrambles for the gigantic, fragrant bouquet lying abandoned on the sidewalk. He literally hit into a blind guy minding his own business while riding his bicycle — holy crap. Why isn't he mad at Lance?
"That was stupid. I shouldn't have ran into you like that. I'm—" Lance takes a deep breath, frowning. "Dude, I'm really, really sorry." He holds the young man's item, waiting for him to stretch his fingers out before stepping closer and making sure he can grab it.
"Nice to meet you Really, Really Sorry." A chuckle. Lance's heart quickens when his companion motions with his other silvery, prosthetic hand, cuing a handshake. "My friends call me Shiro."
He's tall. Lance feels kinda small next to him, with Shiro's bulging, fantastic arm-muscles and stomach-muscles through his form-fitting, charcoal shirt. He's in a pair of maroon-colored suspenders and some tight, black jeans. God, was this guy hot naturally?
"Lance." His own tongue feels swollen in his mouth, weighed down. "Uh… my name is Lance," he blurts out, taking Shiro's hand eagerly and giving a firm, brief handshake with his non-bloody hand. "The, uhm… your bouquet is okay, by the way. It didn't get run over or anything like that. I fixed the ribbons a little. They were coming apart."
Shiro nods, their fingers squeezing gently before releasing.
Hearing his own name in Lance's ears shouldn't be this incredible. Mindblogging. Lovely.
"Where… were you heading?"
"Across the road. I usually bring my guide-dog when I'm in public, but I know my way around here pretty well by myself. A family friend is recovering from gallbladder surgery at home, and he's got a little girl on the middle school track team." Shiro pats the thin, papery-brown covering around the orchids, smiling bigger. Lance notices his face tilting downwards. "Well… at least I hope these are the black and blue school colors. Can't really tell."
"Yeah, they are," Lance tells him, not missing the obvious self-humorous joke. He smiles so hard it's beginning to ache. "I promise. They're great. I mean, you didn't fall into the mud, so you look… great. Too." He laughs nervously, rubbing his neck. "You look great as well."
Shiro taps his very long walking stick to the brick-wall, before sweeping it out in front of him, marching past Lance. "Enjoy your day, Lance," he calls back, offering a wave.
Lance's enthusiasm drops.
To his relief, his companion halts, as if listening inquisitively. Lance drags his bicycle with him, panting. "If you weren't doing anything later… you wanna meet up? Or something?" he asks, simpering. "There's a gazebo over by the park and I can bring some coffee, if you wanted, um…"
"Vanilla mocha with whipped and caramel syrup, and it's a done deal," Shiro replies, his voice deep and pleasantly ringing in Lance's ears. "We meet up around three in the afternoon?"
"Can't wait!" Lance says at full volume and grinning, turning his head and watching after him as the other man ventures down the crosswalk. "See you later then!" As soon as the remark leaves his mouth, he groans and claps his bloody palm noisily over his forehead. Damn it.
He should probably stop doing that.
A couple hours pass as if in flight, with Lance completing the last of the weekend's homework assignment, hopping in the shower for warm water before Veronica or Veronica's two older kids can.
(Living with one and a half bathrooms and seven people is unreasonable.)
He chooses the white high-tops and blue jeans and a white V-neck underneath a newer, dark jacket. His grandma shouts for him in Spanish to join her on the couch to watch television, and Lance shouts back an apology in Spanish, running into the yard for his mountain bike. He stops off by his dad's pharmacy first, getting a fresh, thick bandage around his left hand when his dad yanks Lance into the backroom and fusses over him, and hurries to the local coffee shop.
Fortunately for him, there's no line going for miles. But this time, Lance hides away his bike in the alleyway behind a coffee shop's dumpster and carries the drink to the nearby sunny park.
There's a huge pond ahead, and bridging it with a leveled, wooden plank, is the gazebo. Lance finds Shiro already there, clutching onto a black lab with a red collar and harness.
"Hey!" Lance rushes over to him, beaming and nearly tripping. "Wow! Is this your guide-dog?"
Shiro smiles and rubs the laborator's hindquarters.
"Yeah, this is Kuro."
Lance stretches out his hand, but to his disappointment, Shiro's dog lifts its head abruptly and makes no eye-contact. "He's very dedicated to his job. Don't be offended if he nudges you away from me or ignores you while you are speaking. Kuro is trained to listen to my commands only, but he loves being my best pal, too." Shiro laughs, petting Kuro's ears. "We've known each other for a while, haven't we, boy?"
After passing him his coffee, Lance leans with his back to one of the gazebo's blackwood poles. He tries to keep a conversation going between them and savors it.
Shiro had just graduated the same high school earlier in the year, and also turned 19. He wanted to go into the field of astrophysics. When he was eleven, Shiro's whole family got into a major car accident during vacationing, careening out of their lane and plunging into deep water. It took his dad away, but his mom and his twin Ryou survived it, and Shiro ended up losing his right arm in the hospital.
"My mama met my mom after I was diagnosed with the infection that took most of my sight, and eventually all of it," Shiro explains, keeping a neutral expression. "She's been good to her."
Lance sips on his white mocha occasionally, and then blinks.
"You got two moms?" he announces. For a second, Lance witnesses Shiro's body tense it. "No, no! That's awesome!" Lance insists cheerfully, slapping a hand on the gazebo's railing. "I have two dads—one of them transitioned after he had all of their kids. I'm… I'm really proud of him. We all are."
Shiro's mouth widens to a easier, more genuine smile.
"Can I ask you why you invited me out here?"
Lance furrows his brow.
"Why…?" he repeats, as if confused. "I mean, I like you."
"And you being sighted and me not so much is…?"
There's understanding, but also apprehension in Shiro's voice as he brings this up. Lance gets why finally, and snorts out a low, exasperated noise. "I know you can't see yourself, dude, but for the record… you are wicked hot and I really like that you're a good guy on top of it," he says, relieved by Shiro's loud laugh echoing the gazebo. "Also, I mean, it helps that you're not a bum."
"… You know what, that's reassuring to know," Shiro mumbles around the brim of his coffee cup.
Lance eyes him bashfully, wiping over his mouth with his trembling, bandaged hand. He doesn't care if the whole town finds out, about his dads, or his crush on Shiro. Let them.
Nobody else matters.
Voltron isn't mine. Well I signed up as a pitch hitter for the Shance Flower Exchange on Tumblr so here we are! I ended up getting thelazyfanartist on Tumblr and hopefully they get to see this and read it and it's what they wanted! I haven't had good luck lately for people I was assigned to finding their own gifts -shrug emoji- but I can't force anyone to care so! here! we! are! :) I hope anybody read does like this and any thoughts/comments are deeply appreciated! Thanks!