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Knock, knock.

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Keith hated the sun. He hated it especially on moving days, which that specific day happened to be.

    Moving out wasn’t too much of a hassle, given the fact that he didn’t own many personal possessions. Shiro took most of whatever they shared, anyway. It’s not like Keith needed kitchen appliances or throw pillows; Nyma had plenty of both, and was more than willing to share with her new roomie.


    Keith wrinkled his nose at the thought of living with someone new. It had been him and Shiro (and, for the most part, Matt) for as long as Keith wanted to remember. It had been his first real home.

    Shiro caught his brother’s distasteful expression out of the corner of his eye.

    “Hey,” he calling Keith out of his stupor. “You sure you’re alright with the move?”

    Keith, folded awkwardly in the passenger seat of his older brother’s rusty truck, sighed at his brother’s hovering.

    “Shiro, I’ve told you a billion times,” Keith started, sending his brother the look, “I don’t mind moving in with Nyma. It’s not like she’s a random person I found on craigslist; we’ve known each other for forever.”

    “I know, I know,” Shiro sighed. “But I can feel your discomfort from all the way over here, lil bro. If you aren’t a hundred percent sure about thi--”

    “Oh my god, Shiro! It’s fine! I’m just a little warm, that’s all. Besides, Allura’s been looking for you to move in with her for months. I’m not gonna stand in the way of you guys,” Keith said, muttering the last part in case his brother discovered he was emotionally competent.

    At the mention of his girlfriend’s name the older boy smiled widely, a light splash of color rising beneath the scar on his nose.

    Allura and Shiro had been dating for almost three years. They worked at the same coffee shop, owned by Allura’s uncle, for two months before Allura finally got sick of seeing Shiro splutter every time he attempted to ask her out. Two failed dates later (zoos and libraries are not good places to go on dates), they both knew that whatever they were, it was permanent.

    About two months ago, Allura had called Keith to ask him about asking Shiro to move in with her. Keith was shocked to say the least, blanking out for at least a minute before realizing Allura had cut the call and attempted to call back. Sure, he and Allura had met more than a couple of times--and yes, he could admit that she totally deserved his brother--but he didn’t even know she had his number (she stole it from Shiro’s phone when he wasn’t looking).

    It was after that phone call that he realized that things were about to drastically change.

    Fast forward two months after a surprise proposal via key by Allura, the Broganes were headed to the apartment building where, coincidentally, they both would live in.

    “I still can’t believe that Nyma found an apartment in the same building as Allura’s!” Shiro chuckled. “Guess that means we’re still sort of roomies, huh broski?”

    Keith scowled at his brother’s choice of term of endearment. “One, stop calling me broski--it doesn’t suit you, or me. Two, the landlord owed Rolo a favor--which, by the way, I still don’t understand why he would cash on me and Nyma. And three, just because we live in the same building again doesn’t mean you get to butt into my life and mother me to death like you have the past thirteen years.”

    Shiro rolled his eyes. “Shut up, nerd. I didn’t mother you to be a pain in my ass.”

    “No, I just developed to this superior state on my own.”

    “Whatever helps you sleep at night, broski.”

    “Shiro, no!”

    Before Keith could slap his brother for being an annoying turd, the car stopped in the middle of an apartment complex, in front of a staircase leading to what he assumed was his and Nyma’s shared apartment. There was a door on both sides of the staircase, meaning that Keith might have more than just a new roommate to worry about.

     Speak of the devil, Keith thought, as his new roomie threw open the door on the left and bounded down the stairs with a gusto that should not have possible given the scorching, end-of-summer heat.

    As soon as she reached the passenger-seat door of Shiro’s truck, Keith found himself being bodily dragged out and into Nyma’s unbearably warm embrace.

    “Long time no see, roomie!” the tan girl giggled, pushing Keith to an arms length to survey his appearance. “You got taller since I last saw you, asswipe! Where have you been the last two months?”

    “Avoiding you, bitchwad,” Keith replied effortlessly, an easy smile replacing his permanent frown. “I’ve been busy packing. Sorry I haven’t Skyped you in so long.”

    “Nah, it’s chill.” Nyma shoved him lightly, before folding her arms loosely across her chest and letting her smirk grow. “I’ll have you all to myself for the unseeable future, so you can spend that time grovelling.”

    “Good luck with that,” Shiro butted in. “That emo loser is infamous for getting out of trouble--right after landing in it, that is.”

    “Shiro!” Nyma exclaimed, running over to where he had just gotten out of the car.

    After tackling another person with a hug, Nyma joined the brothers at the bed of truck to help unload.

    “So is this all of Keith’s stuff?” Nyma asked Shiro, picking up the box labelled pillows.

    Grabbing a box labelled ‘clothes’, Shiro shook his head. “This dweeb doesn’t own that many things, lol. Some of these are mine, which I’ll take over to Allura’s once my baby bro’s all set.”

    Keith kicked Shiro in the ankle on his way up the stairs while shooting his insufferable older brother the look, holding the heaviest box labelled ‘books’. At the top of the stairs, Keith struggled to reach the doorknob while balancing the aforementioned heavy box on his knee. After fumbling for far too long he turned to Nyma and Shiro, who were calmly conversing at the bottom of the stairs.

    “Nyma!” Keith groaned. “Open this goddamned door for me before my arms collapse!”

    The tired asian was met with an eyeroll and a reprimanding look, but ultimately spurred the two to hurry their pace.

    “Stop being such a pissbaby,” Nyma teased, easily shifting the pillow box onto her hip to throw the door open with her other hand. “Happy?”

    “Thanks,” Keith muttered, sliding his foot in between the door and the frame before it closed again. He pushed into his new home, leaving Nyma outside to keep his brother company.

    As they caught up in the heat, Keith was relieved that the apartment’s air conditioning worked. Nyma had moved in a few weeks ago already, and so everything was pretty much furnished and ready to be lived in. Keith took in his surroundings as he ventured into his home

    The apartment was pretty spacious, with an open living concept that Keith approved of. The door opened up right into the living room, which was home to Nyma’s mounted flat screen and a gray futon. The simple coffee table between the two already housed two lemonades with ice cubes--coasters and all. Near the balcony (yes, they apparently had an actual balcony) was the kitchen. It was wide and, although it didn’t have that much counter space, set up with Nyma’s extensive kitchen supplies (including, but not limited to, a coffee maker, a waffle iron, and a toaster). To the other side of the balcony was a small door, most likely a bathroom (Keith’s bathroom, since he let Nyma take the master bedroom and ensuite bathroom). A hallway next to the fridge lead to the bedrooms, Keith’s destination.

    He opened the first door, revealing the barren room that was to be his.

    Setting the box just inside of the room, Keith walked to the middle of it. Once centered, he took a slow turn, soaking up every detail of every crevice of his new room. This was going to be his home for as far into the future as he can see.

    The room wasn’t the biggest, but it wasn’t like Keith had too many things to fill up space. A mattress, a bookshelf, a desk, and a chair.

    Keith sighed, breathing in the musky scent of disuse. To his left, in the corner where he’d put his desk, was a huge window overlooking an empty green space. The hill curved downward, grass giving way to sand. At the sight of the water in the not-so-far-off distance, Keith was reminded of how close he was to the beach.

    With one last sigh, the not-as-disgruntled nineteen-year-old tore himself away from the room, already dreading the withering sun glaring at his pale skin from the other side of the ozone layer.

    “Fuck you,” he muttered to the sun once he reluctantly returned to the truck. He had passed Nyma and Shiro on the way out as they headed to put their boxes in his room.

    An unfamiliar voice startled him. “Well that’s kind of rude, buddy!”

    “Jesus!” Keith gasped, twisting around to face the owner of the voice. In his haste and startle Keith also managed to ram his right hip into the bed of the truck, hot metal meeting quickly-bruising skin.

    “I know; I truly am the saviour of the human race,” the mystery-man replied. “Glad to know you agree, cutie.”

    Keith blinked once, twice, thrice, before opening his mouth to respond. Whether it was the heat or this stranger’s bold attitude obstructing his mind from formulating a reply didn’t matter. What mattered, was that Keith gaped like a fish in front of the cute new guy for seven whole seconds before Nyma showed up to save him.

    “Are you harassing my new roommate, Lance?” Nyma cut in, stopping next to the two boys.

    Almost immediately, the stranger--Lance, Keith remembered--shifted his whole body and attention onto the pretty Indian girl.

    “I wouldn’t call it harassment, babe,” Lance replied cooly (like Keith wished he could’ve told him off earlier). “More like a warm welcome, you know?”

    Lance punctuated his last statement with a wink in Keith’s direction. The latter’s blush was definitely a growing sunburn and nothing more.

    Fortunately, Lance’s inadvertent flirting shocked Keith into coherency.

    “The only thing warm is the sun’s scorching heat,” Keith replied in his usual haughty tone. “Who the fuck are you?”

    At Keith’s sudden iciness, Lance’s eyebrows rose. There was a certain spark in his eyes that wasn’t there a moment ago. Nope, Keith was just seeing things. Damn the heat, playing with his mind like that!

    “Lance McClain, rude-boy,” ‘Lance McClain’ replied, shoving a hand towards Keith in what he assumed was an invitation to formally shake hands. “And who do I have the displeasure of making an acquaintanceship with?”

    Keith scoffed, and before he could reply with a smartass remark involving many bad words, Nyma shoved herself between the two hotheaded boys.

    “Keith,” she answered, gesturing to her friend behind her. “He’s my new roommate, and in extension, your new neighbor. So play nice, you two.”

    Both boys spluttered at the idea of being neighbors, only silenced by Nyma’s sharp glares.

    Keith sighed, mustering up the adultness to introduce himself properly to Lance. “Keith. Keith Kogane. And the fucking pleasure’s all mine, unfortunately.”

     Well, attempt to introduce, Keith amended in his head.

    Lance harrumphed, the smile he wore before he knew Keith completely erased. “Oh please! If anyone’s unfortunate it’s me. Sorry for trying to be nice! Guess mullet-headed idiots are immune to niceties!”
    Before Keith could defend his hairstyle, another figure joined the triangle of animosity.

    “What’s goin on here?” Shiro asked innocently, taking notice of the stranger in their midst. “I don’t believe we’ve met. I’m Shiro.”

    Lance’s face morphed back into his original one, a mask of happiness and hospitality. “Lance. Are you also moving in with Nyma?”

    Shiro chuckled, shaking Lance’s offered hand unlike his brother. “Oh no! I’m just helping my little broski--”


    “--move in. I’m actually moving in with my girlfriend, incidentally. She lives here, too. You know Allura?”

    At the mention of Allura’s name, Lance’s eyes lit up like Christmas trees. “Do I know Allura?! Of fucking course I do! She’s, like, a goddess! How could I not know her? Man, you’re one lucky dude, Shiro!”

    Shiro’s expression turned soft, as it always did when he talked about Allura. “I know. I really am.”
    “Yep,” Lance chuckled, eyeing the older man’s lovestruck expression. “Congratulations, man!”

    That is when Keith decided to continue unloading boxes. While Shiro and Lance continued sharing pleasantries (Shiro gushing about how wonderful his girlfriend was and Lance agreeing wholeheartedly with anecdotes of his own), Keith lugged the remaining boxes up the stairs. Nyma helped, deciding she needed to do some damage control between these two.

    The last box was placed in his room, when Nyma cleared her throat. She was leaning against his doorframe, eyeing her roommate’s red face and sour expression.

    “What?” Keith huffed, after a prolonged silence.

    “Nothing,” Nyma countered nonchalantly.

    Keith gave her the look . “It’s obviously not nothing . Spit it out.”

    Nyma unfolded herself from the frame and lifted a finger as she stepped closer to him. “One, your venomous act doesn’t work on me dick-for-face. Two, are you going to let Lance become a problem?”

    At the mention of his new, obnoxious neighbor, Keith scoffed loudly (over-the-top, loudly). Mirroring Nyma, he held out a finger and replied, “One, that immature kid doesn’t affect me; hence, he isn’t--and will never be--a problem. Two, I don’t have a second thing so I’ll just call you something to balance the petname game, ballsucker.”

    At the familiar term of endearment Nyma laughed. “If anyone’s a ballsucker, it’s you, you emo-ass gay child!”

    “Hey!” Keith retorted with a smile and a pillow to Nyma’s face. “I only suck balls I like! I’m not a serial-fucker like you!”

    Nyma smirked as Keith was nailed in the face with his own pillow. “Not that there’s anything wrong with a serial-fucker, right?”

    Keith rolled his eyes, his expression morphing into something only her and Shiro had ever witnessed before. “Of course.”