This is how it always goes: Hunk is big, huge, strong, and so are his hugs. He knows that he is loved, and that the other Paladins love when he hugs them for comfort. They hug back and Hunk loves that too. He loves his friends: Lance and Pidge, Shiro and Keith.
But Hunk longs. He longs for it to be him, wrapped up in strong arms, drowning in a tight hug, in warmth that is all-encompassing: body and soul. Heart, too.
His longing grows, takes shape, color.
It escapes, follows his stolen glances, running away to find relief. It’s nothing but a dream because Hunk doesn’t dare. Kolivan is everything Hunk wants, far more than he should aim for. He’s just a boy from the Garrison and Antok is, well, Antok.
It takes a courage that Hunk doesn’t have. He might have helped save Earth, but it is so much easier than to save his own heart. He loses it and he doesn’t know how to ask for it back.
Antok doesn’t know that he carries it with him.
So Hunk watches, longs, suffers in silence, his aching heart in Antok’s hands. Maybe he stares. Just a little.
“Do I have something on my face?” Antok asks after a meeting, Paladins and Blades milling around them, eager to get out. The door slams behind Allura, and they are alone.
Hunk snorts, staring up at Antok, who is hiding behind his mask as usual. “Huh, that’s not what you look like?” he retorts. “I’m disappointed.” It’s not that Hunk doesn’t know; it merely happens rarely that Antok shows his face.
“It matters not; no one sees me,” Antok says, his voice tainted with a shadow of sadness. “Except you.” He lets the mask fade, revealing his face, handsome but scarred.
Hunk knows exactly what Antok is talking about. Sometimes being so big hones the art of hiding in plain sight. It saddens him. “Except me,” he says, trying to muster enough courage to inquire about his heart’s whereabouts.
He doesn’t have to.
“I see you as well,” Antok says and reaches for Hunk.
Antok’s embrace is exactly as warm and strong as Hunk hoped it would be. It is tight and unrelenting and perfect.
So is their kiss.