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Too Old to be this Shy

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He had startled awake when the sound of frantic pounding on his door was heard and it was all Shiro could do not to get tangled in his sheets and trip while scrambling to get out of bed. He managed not to face plant, by some miracle, and dressed in nothing but his boxers and an old black t-shirt, he rushed to the foyer of his small one bedroom apartment and yanked the door open, completely forgetting that he had bolted the lock before going to bed. Bleary-eyed and more than a bit disoriented, Shiro squinted at the bright light that poured into his dark apartment from the corridor, but that only made figuring out who the silhouette was standing in front of his door all the more difficult in his state.

"Hey," a boyishly gruff voice said almost frantically. "Uh, sorry to be bothering you this early but, I could use your help." the stranger said, sounding so painfully earnest and desperate that Shiro nearly considered helping the poor guy out despite not even knowing who the hell he was.

"Uh, that's alright." he tiredly replied while rubbing at one of his eyes to openly focus his bleary vision. "... Who are you?" he eventually asked sounding the tiniest bit awkward but who could blame him?

"Oh, shit." the stranger cursed under his breath. "I'm, um, Keith. Your neighbor across the hall? I just moved in about a week ago."

Oh. Shiro remembered him now. How could he not recall? The attractive, dark-haired young man who had suddenly moved into the vacant apartment directly adjacent his own, the same one who Shiro had only caught a couple of glimpses of over the last seven days because one, Shiro was unfortunately a responsible adult who had a job and two, that job often left him exhausted beyond belief and thus resulted in Shiro coming home every evening like a zombie only to let himself into his apartment to eat, shower and immediately fall into bed. So, no, he hadn't gotten to know Keith in the last seven days and in fact had almost completely forgotten he even had a new neighbor until just now.

"Oh," Shiro said. "Right, you're new to the building. I'm Shiro. Hang on, let me unlock the bolt on the door."

Despite still being a little sleep-addled, Shiro managed to fumble with the locks to the point of opening them all and pulling the door wide open, allowing his darkened apartment to be bathed in soft yellow light. Keith's face was still silhouetted by the bright corridor lights, but Shiro had gotten a good enough glimpse of him the first day he moved in to remember what the guy looked like.

"Thanks." Keith sighed with relief as he entered the apartment following after a very under-dressed Shiro who made his way out of the foyer, flipping on a light switch for the kitchen as he did so. "Sorry for waking you up."

"Don't worry about it." Shiro chuckled quietly as he entered his kitchen and pressed a button on his coffee machine. He always had it set to automatically go off at 7am but considering it hadn't gone off, Shiro could only assume that it was still very dark outside, which would explain the lack of natural light in his apartment. Glancing at the bright neon blue numbers on the small, black digital face of the coffee machine, the man confirmed for himself that it was barely past 6am. "So, Keith, you said you needed my help?" he asked just before turning around to find his neighbor staring down at something with a flush on his pale face.

Following the younger man's gaze, Shiro belatedly remembered that he was dressed in nothing but his boxers and a t-shirt. In a moment of brief embarrassment, he felt his own cheeks grow hot just before he cleared his throat softly startling Keith who's dark eyes jumped up from where he was staring at Shiro's bottoms, or lack thereof.

"Uhm, excuse me for one quick second." he said with a sheepish smile before he bolted out of the kitchen. He needed to put on some damn pants, at least.

"Yeah, sure." Keith called after him, sounding just as awkward as Shiro felt.

He found a pair of loose sweats and threw those on before calmly walking back out into the kitchen where his attractive new neighbor was leaning against his kitchen counter top casually inspecting everything inside his apartment. Or, well, whatever the kitchen light allowed him to see of his apartment, anyway. It was all still relatively bathed in darkness minus the kitchen and foyer.

Shit, Shiro had forgotten just how attractive Keith was. How had he forgotten in the first place? The other raven was just his type. Pale skin, dark eyes, tall and lithe with the softest hair he'd ever seen. Keith's gaze finally met Shiro's and the other raven sort of flushed and looked away.

"So, Keith." Shiro said, testing the name out on his tongue. He decided then and there that he liked the way those letters fit in his mouth and how they fell right off the tips of his lips. "You said you needed help with something?"

"Oh, right." the shorter raven seemed to recall. "This is... kind of embarrassing."

"Try me." chuckled Shiro as he moved toward his coffee machine to pour himself a cup despite the fact that it wasn't through with it's brewing cycle just yet. "I promise not to laugh."

"I, uh--" Keith seemed to be struggling to get the words out but patience was one thing Shiro was famous for. Or, well, at least that's what all his co-workers tell him, anyway.

With fresh cup of coffee in hand, the taller of the two turned and leaned the small of his back against the opposite counter of Keith as he regarded the other male with kind, understanding eyes. Keith seemed nervous for whatever reason and Shiro could only assume that the younger man just wasn't accustomed to asking near strangers for favors. Lifting his mug to his lips, Shiro took a long and careful sip of the black liquid, simply savoring it and allowing the shock of the intensely hot drink to wake his brain. There was definitely no way he was going back to bed after this.

Finally, Keith just gave up with a heavy sigh as his shoulder slumped forward a bit. "Here's the thing." he began awkwardly. "I, uhm, just got a call from my dad this morning saying he was going to drop by my new place today and, well..." reaching back with his right hand, Shiro watched as Keith rubbed at the back of his neck sheepishly. "I literally have nothing in my apartment except for what little furniture I brought with me and my clothes."

Blinking at the raven slowly, Shiro took a moment to process what the other had said. "O-kay..." he drawled. "Sorry, Keith, but I'm not exactly understanding what the problem is." he said with an apologetic smile.

"I'm trying to say that my place is empty, including my fridge. I literally have nothing." the shorter raven emphasized slowly. "If my dad comes by and sees that I'm not even responsible enough to buy my own groceries or even some cleaning supplies, he'll never let me hear the end of it. It's bad enough he already thinks it was a huge mistake, me moving out to be on my own, I don't need to prove him right."

"Keith," Shiro sighed with a small smile. "Is that all?" he asked.

"What do you mean, 'is that all'?" Keith snorted.

"Well, yeah, is that all? Of course I'll help you out."

That seemed to have the shorter male doing a double take, "What, you're serious?" he scoffed. "Most people would've at least taken some time to think about it."

"What's there to think about?" Shiro laughed. "It's not like you're asking me for a kidney."

"... I guess." said Keith slowly. "So, you'll lend me some stuff?"

"Of course. Just tell me what you need?"

Thus, that was how Shiro ended up carrying two bags of groceries and a basket full of cleaning products over to Keith's apartment. Thinking about it, helping Keith out by giving him whatever food he had in his fridge actually worked out well and Shiro expressed this as he helped the other raven stock his empty fridge. Keith hadn't been exaggerating when he said he literally had nothing.

"You know, this kind of helps me out too." he said as he placed slightly bruised red apples into the bottom vegetable bin of Keith's fridge.

"How so?" his neighbor asked with a snort as he placed some of the bottles of bleach and cleaning products on a pantry shelf.

"Well, considering how little I'm home thanks to work, I was starting to feel a little bad about all the groceries I just bought just sitting in my fridge, slowly going bad." he chuckled softly. "At least this way, I know they won't go to waste."

The apartment fell silent and Shiro hoped he hadn't just said anything weird to make Keith feel uncomfortable. He finished stocking the fridge with the last of the groceries and dusted his hands off once he was through. He noticed that Keith was still standing by the pantry door but he had finished putting away all the sponges and the new mop Shiro had bought but had yet to actually use. Slowly, Keith turned to face him and Shiro felt himself swallow thickly when he saw those dark eyes lock with his own.

"Listen," Keith said hesitantly. His gaze suddenly shifting down to the ground where his bare feet shifted against the cold tile. "Um, thanks, for doing this. I really owe you."

"Oh," Shiro nearly sighed. He didn't know why but he had sort of been expecting something else to be said. Still, a thank you was a thank you and he would take that too. "No problem, Keith. Really. I'm just glad I could help--"

"No, seriously." the other raven interrupted him with a suddenly determined look on his face. "You helped me out even though I'm practically a stranger. Not a lot of people would do that, Shiro."

Wow. He really liked the way his name sounded when Keith said it. Like his name belonged there, for some reason. All he could do was swallow thickly while nodding his head until he found his voice again.

"Like I said, it was no problem." Shiro said with a smile. "But, um, I hope things go well with your dad coming to visit."

"Me too." Keith sighed, eventually cracking an easy smile of his own. Shiro felt his heart thump in his chest at the sight of it. "At least now he can't tell me I'm too young and irresponsible to live on my own. Doesn't mean he won't still try to convince me to move back home, though."

That earned a breathy laugh from Shiro which in turn caused Keith to laugh right along with him. The two raven's stayed standing in Keith's small kitchen, staring at each other with tiny smiles on their faces. Perhaps it was the caffeine finally working it's magic but Shiro felt his heart racing impossibly fast as Keith stared back at him with those deep, deep blue eyes of him. So blue, they were nearly black.

"See you, later?" Keith asked quietly.

"Yeah." Shiro said with a nod. "For sure."

As he left the younger raven's apartment, Shiro couldn't help but kick himself for not mustering up the courage to ask the other out for coffee or something. But, as he made his way back across the hall and into his own apartment, Shiro couldn't help but grin to himself because at least now he had something else to look forward to coming home to, besides a warm bed and a hot shower.

He made a mental note to definitely make sure to ask Keith out for that coffee the next time he saw him. Definitely next time.