Keith didn't realize he was handcuffed to the bed until he tried to turn over and almost dislocated his shoulder.

"The fuck?" he mumbled, not even bothering to open his eyes, still not sure if he was really awake. An experimental tug on the handcuffs and a sharp pain as his left shoulder was pulled up when his right pulled down convinced him that this was decidedly not a dream.

Ah man. Not again.

Keith sighed and opened his eyes, suppressing a small flash of disappointment as he realized that he was still in his room on Arus and not chained to the wall of a Doom prison cell, helpless to resist whatever nefarious plans the blue-skinned prince of Doom had in store for him. Ah well. Keith put that particular fantasy away again and concentrated on the situation at hand, because waking up chained to his own bed was potentially as dangerous as waking up chained to a prison wall. At least in prison Keith still had the possibility of maintaining a semblance of dignity. Here he'd be lucky if he managed to escape without any embarrassing photographs appearing on General Hammond's desk.

He knew he never should have given in to Sven's bondage kink.

Well, no good crying over old mistakes. What Keith really needed to do right now was determine a)who was responsible for his current condition, b) what the purpose of the handcuffs were and c) how the hell he was going to get out of them before his bladder burst and he got himself into an even more embarrassing situation. The last problem was obviously the most pressing, but Keith would probably be able to figure out the first with the greatest amount of ease.

Keith turned his head slowly from side to side, stopping when he saw Lance sitting quietly in a chair. His second-in-command was just out of kicking range. Smart boy.

"Lance." Keith put every ounce of disappointment he could muster into the word.


"What're you doing?"

"I think we need to have a little chat." Lance leaned forward in his chair, an intent expression on his face. "I love you, Keith."

Keith blinked, slowly, and then raised a skeptical eyebrow. "You handcuffed me."

"I just wanted to make sure I had your undivided attention."

"Oh you have it." Keith shifted slightly. His arms were starting to ache. "Well. You've said your piece. You can uncuff me now."

"Oh no. We're not done yet."

Keith's other eyebrow rose, changing his expression from skeptical to comically shocked. A thousand scenarios ran through his head, most of them too kinky for Keith to consider them sexy this early in the morning. Anyway, he was naked and he did not want to add to this entirely surreal scene by sporting a bed-tent in front of Lance.

"See, I don't think you're really listening to me, Keith." Lance leaned forward. "I don't think you really understand what I'm saying. I. Am in love. With you."

"Great. Wonderful. I'm happy for you. Meanwhile, I have to use the bathroom." Keith shook his arms, making the chain rattle nicely against his wooden headboard. "So, yeah, I think you need to uncuff me now."

Lance shook his head again. "Not until we've discussed this."

"What's there to discuss? You love me and I have to use the bathroom. There. End of discussion."

"Keith," Lance whined, "can't you try to take this seriously? I'm declaring my undying love for you!"

Keith glared at Lance. "You handcuffed me. To my bed. While I was naked. I'm sorry if I'm not reacting to your declaration with the proper amount of gratified enthusiasm. Now uncuff me so I can use the bathroom, and maybe I won't have you court-martialed."

"Well, I see we're not going to get anywhere right now, so I'm going to leave you alone for a little while to think about what I've said and come back when you're in a better mood."

"What!" Keith strained against the cuffs but stopped when pain lanced up and down his shoulders and black spots began to swirl in front of his eyes. He fell back and settled for a glare. "If you leave now without releasing me, it's mutiny."

Lance paused in his leave-taking and put on his thinking face. "No. No, I think to have a mutiny we need more people. This is just your basic insubordination. See you later, Keith."

"Oh you fucker. You fucker!" Keith lost his control on coherency at that point and resorted to mindless screaming. Lance blithely ignored him and let Keith's door slide close with a satisfying snick.


Keith was not in a better mood when Lance returned.

"I am going to kill you, then get Hagar to bring you back to life. Then I'm going to castrate you. Slowly. With a dull plastic spork. I'll make it so you never have kids," Keith said conversationally when Lance opened the door.

"Um, hello, gay?" Lance replied. "I'm not exactly expecting to father children anytime soon."

"I don't care. I'm still going to castrate you."

"Uh huh." Lance nibbled on his lower lip. It would have been cute if Keith hadn't been in a murderous rage. "Not feeling better, I see."

"Oh, what an astute observation." Keith rattled his chains again. "I'm still handcuffed, you fucker. Of course I'm feeling better."

Lance sighed, shoulders slumping a little. "This is the last time I let Sven give me advice on anything. He swore you'd be more pliable if I got you into handcuffs."

"Yeah, well, Sven's a kinky fuck and you're a dumb ass for trusting him." Keith half-sighed and mumbled, "Good thoughts in, bad thoughts out. Good thoughts in, bad thoughts out. You won't make Admiral if you go around killing your team members."

"Keith?" Lance had edged forward on soft feet during Keith's mumbled mantra. He was sitting on Keith's bed, now, eyes illuminated with some uncertain emotion. "You're not really pissed at me are you?"

"What do you think?" Keith snapped, then relented slightly as Lance's eyes began to fill with shining tears. "No, not permanently. It'd probably not be a good idea to be near for a few weeks, but I probably won't kill you. Especially if you uncuff me right now."

"Oh." Lance let his head fall, his hair falling in a shining brown curtain. His voice was soft and low and trembling slightly. Keith wasn't falling for it.

"Lance, I'm not going to say I love you while I'm handcuffed to a bed. Right now I'm trying very hard to remember that I even like you." Fuck, he needed to use the bathroom. "Look, just let me go, okay? I'm about to piss myself, I'm not kidding. This really wasn't the smartest way to begin a conversation about love, you know."

"Uh huh." Lance's hand traced obscure patterns on Keith's sheets and Keith has a brief, painful moment when he thought that, maybe, Lance wasn't faking his sadness. "It's just. You run every time I try to talk about it. I just. I wanted you to listen."

"I didn't-" Keith began, but then stopped because that wasn't true. He had run because suddenly his comfortable, blessedly shallow relationship with Lance was turning into...something else. And the last time he'd let anybody get close enough to love him, he'd been with Sven and that had. Yeah. They still weren't really speaking to each other, not really, and Keith still hadn't forgotten the way Sven's mouth and eyes went tight and cruel right before the first punch was thrown.

He, usually, liked Lance too much to let that happen.

"I have a bad track record," he said instead. "You know that."

"Yeah." Lance still didn't look up, but his voice changed, grew less shaky. "I don't care."

"You aren't going to be able to change me. I'm not-I can't be anything other than I am. And I'm a horrible person to live with, Lance. I'm mean, and demanding, and strict, and I'm not. I don't remember people very well."

"I don't care. I know that. I still love you."

Oh fuck. This. This couldn't end well, Keith thought. There was a darkness in his soul that Lance didn't know about, couldn't know about. The darkness was frightening and primal and.

"Don't, Lance. Don't love me. It's too dangerous."

Lance looked up at that, and flashed a quick, dark smile. "I thrive on danger." His eyes grew deep, no longer gleaming with light. He bent forward, leaning over Keith until his face filled Keith's sight, his soft, warm breath floated over Keith's cheeks. "Please, Keith. I want. I need you. I need more of you."

A hopeless moment hung in Keith's eyes, before he gave in and let Lance's love sweep over him, twining with the love he had tried to keep hidden. "Okay. Fine. We'll. We'll try things your way." Keith shook his chains. "Uncuff me now?"

Lance pulled away, slightly. "Maybe." He eyed Keith, considering the situation before him. "Sven was right. You're really hot when you're handcuffed."


"Fine, fine." Lance took the key from his pocket and undid Keith' chains. Keith pushed Lance away and ran for the bathroom, only half-hearing Lance's laughter. He was still angry, still ready to kill Lance, but beneath the anger pulsed something else. Keith couldn't name it, not now, and he shoved the feeling aside in favor of the more enjoyable contemplation of how he was going to make Lance suffer.

But later, when Keith finally relented and let Lance back into his bed, and he lay there sweaty and sated and drifting off, the feeling came back, echoed in the steady pulse of Lance's heart that whispered "mine, mine, mine," and followed him into sleep.