When they had tried to decide where to go for their vacation, Shiro had tried in every way to convince them to go everywhere but a place with snow. He had suggested cities, beaches and even a week long exploration of europe, but his friends had been adamant: they wanted to ski.
And normally Shiro wouldn't mind being outclassed in a vote, he usually is with Pidge and Matt ganging up on him, but the truth is that Shiro hates the snow. Not only because it's cold and frankly annoying, but also because he's terrible in any sport that involve snow. And this time, this time Shiro really wants to make a good impression.
He looks at the other side of the bus where Keith is sitting, listening to something on his cellphone. He looks focused, and Shiro wonders what he’s listening, if there is any way to go there and just ask him.
They haven't known each other long, but it hadn't taken much for Shiro to develop a big, fat crush on the other man. It's not really Shiro's fault if Keith is incredibly talented and passionate now, is it?
"You're looking at him again," Matt says from the seat just beside his, and Shiro doesn't even turn towards him before shoving him almost out of his seat. The other laughs harder and Shiro hates him.
Couldn't they have gone to the beach? There were some places where it was still hot this time of the year and Shiro is a pro at surfing. Skiing on the other hand? Terrible. Snowboarding? Even worse.
Many people have told him that it’s strange. While he is extremely athletic in most sports, it almost seems like he is completely useless the moment his feet touched the snow, so much so that his friend have started commenting on snow being his kryptonite; they have entire albums in their phones dedicated to the last time Shiro had tried skiing. And he really doesn't want to look pathetic in front of Keith.
The problem with that is that, at this point, he doesn't have any other choice but to skip any sport related activity if he wants to avoid making a fool of himself, and just hide in the cabin for the whole vacation.
That doesn't sound bad, if he is being honest, especially considering the months of terrible studying that he has just left behind him, but at the same time, he had been looking forward to spending some time outside of the campus walls with Keith.
"Now you're moping," Pidge helpfully informs him and Shiro just kicks the seat in front of him. The other laughs just as loud as her brother had just mere seconds ago. Shiro really hates them both.
"Don't worry," Matt says, smiling at him, "I'm pretty sure he likes you enough already that seeing you fall face first in the snow a hundred times won't change it."
Shiro really needs new friends.
The thing is, Keith is brilliant with the snowboard. Shiro knows that because, and he admits it with little to no shame, he has stalked Keith on all his social media profiles, so much so that at this point he could teach a class.
It seems that Keith was born in the snow, and many of his videos, especially before college began, were of him doing some tricks with the snowboard. He made it look so effortless, as if anyone could have done it. Shiro knows he can't show him what a disaster he is, because Keith won’t be able to relate to it.
In the end, it’s better if he stays in the cabin, he decides. So, the next day, while everyone else gets ready to go hit the slopes, Shiro takes a mug of hot chocolate and sits in the sofa just in front of the fire. He’ll wait for them at home, enjoying the calm and the quiet. He’ll ready a book maybe, he hasn’t been able to read anything not school related recently.
Just because this vacation might not have gone the way he wanted, it doesn't mean that he can't try to enjoy it.
"What are you doing?" someone says, and Shiro looks back startled. Keith is looking at him from the door, dressed in complete skiing attire. He looks good, and Shiro had been convinced until today that those ski suits couldn’t look gone on anyone , and yet Keith pulls it off with grace. It's possible that Shiro is a little biased.
"Drinking chocolate," he replies after a few seconds, and he sees Keith furrow his brow, confused.
"We're leaving soon. Matt went to everyone's room to tell us," Keith informs him, talking slowly almost as if Shiro would have problems understanding him.
A part of Shiro wants to nod and pretend he just has forgotten, he could go and put on the clothes he had put inside his luggage anyway and go with Keith. Surely a little bit of humiliation would be worth the time spent with the other.
Then he remembers the one terrible vacation when he was sixteen: it had been the last time he had seriously trying skiing, and he had spent most of the vacation falling in the snow. In the end he had broken his arm after a particularly nasty fall, and had been forced to wear a cast for entirely too long.
He smiles, mournfully. "I don't sky," he explains, and he sees the way Keith's eyes turn even more confused. "Or snowboard. Not even sledding. I just... read. And drink hot chocolate."
"You don't..." Keith repeats, almost as if he's trying to make sense of the words, "then why did you came?"
It sounds a little offensive when he says it like that, almost as if Shiro's presence was kind of superfluous. Shiro tries not to take it to heart, since he knows that Keith isn't exactly very good with words.
"Matt and Pidge wanted to come here," he replies, shrugging, "and we can stay together during the night. I think it's worth it."
It seems like Keith might want to say something else when Pidge comes barrelling from upstairs. "Keith, good! We're almost ready, come on. Bye Shiro! See you tonight!"
Shiro waves at them, and sends a smile Keith's way, hoping that whatever strange tension there was between them will go away by the time they get back
Keith just looked at him strangely.
He doesn't move from his spot for hours and while he had his reservation he can admit he's starting to finally relax. Would he have preferred to be with the others? Maybe, but he's happy here too. The warmth of the fireplace makes him feel comfortable and a little sleepy. He has to catch himself from falling asleep a couple of times.
He wonders what the others are doing, idly, but thinking about it makes him a little sad, so he tries to avoid it. In the end, he loses the battle and falls asleep, trying to imagine Keith doing some tricks on his snowboard.
When he wakes up again he isn't sure of how much time it has passed, but when he looks around he notices immediately that Keith is seated in the sofa beside him and looks to be reading a book.
Shiro blinks, surprised. "DId I sleep all day?" he wonders, catching the other's attention.
Keith shakes his head and just shrugs. "No, I just didn't feel like snowboarding today. I thought I would come back and relax."
The explanation is a little surprising, considering how much Keith loves the snow, but it also makes him incredibly happy. "You decided to join the hot chocolate club?" he asks, with a smile, and Keith replies with one as well, a little smaller but just as genuine.
"I heard good reviews," Keith jokes and Shiro lets the feeling of contentment spread inside him.
Maybe this trip won't be a waste, after all.
"Matt told me you're terrible at winter sports," Keith then says, and Shiro forgets everything he was just thinking. He's going to
Matt. "He told me the time you fell twenty times in five minutes. He described them all."
Shiro feels mortification grow inside of him, and he knows that his cheek must be flaming red by this point. "I..." he starts, but there isn't much he can say to defend himself, is there? "Yeah," he admits in the end, because at this point what does he have to lose? "it was a tragedy."
Keith laughs and Shiro turns towards him. Keith looks good when he's laughing, really, and even if Shiro would have preferred not to be the butt of the joke, he enjoys what he can.
After a few seconds Keith calms down and he turns towards Shiro. His eyes are twinkling a little and Shiro could look at him for the rest of his life and never get bored.
Then Keith's face morphs, He looks hesitant now, like he's not sure if he wants to say what he's thinking. It takes him a second to gather the courage. "I could teach you," he proposes, dropping his gaze and talking to the book in Shiro's hand. "I'm good with a snowboard. I'm sure I can... help you. Call it my way of saying thanks for the tutoring sessions."
Shiro blinks surprised and takes a second before he blurts: "Yes. Sure. I- yes." he knows he's going to regret it, that he's really hopeless , but he's not going to say no to Keith.
The other looks surprised for a second before smiling again.
Yeah, Shiro is ready to be humiliated for that smile.