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Call me, or else <3

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Shiro flips through his agenda, revising his schedule for the umpteenth time, rereading details he had written days ago, underlined, wrote over in red, in blue… It was how he coped, how he dealt with his stress. However, he would not have HAD to deal with it if he had just not taken the bus that day. A 3 hours bus ride was far from relaxing, but promising to lend his car to his friend for an important interview reminded him how his own comfort could be set aside for a couple of hours. He could go through with it, he would be fine. Everything was in order, he had not forgotten anything, had taken his medication. He would be home before 9.

Sitting down at the back of the vehicle, he dropped his small briefcase at his feet and hung his coat on the side of his seat. Leaning back in the hard seat, he gritted his teeth. The hard frame dug in his back, fueling both his stress and his discomfort. This bus was too old for long distances, but apparently, it was not a good enough reason for the transport company to, at least, stuff the seats properly for their clientele. It irritated him to no end how inconsiderate people could be, but he was stoic, so his expression remained calm. He raised his eyes when a passenger stumbled in at the last second and watched the young man, probably a teenager, talk to the driver, bringing his eyes back down after a short moment.

Ignoring people around him was an easy thing to do, so he leaned to his left, against the window and watched the snowflakes fall softly to the ground. At least the weather was not too bad, they should not be delayed. The flakes sticking to the window made him think of Christmas and how he would have to travel back to Florida to see his grand-parents. He wondered if he had it in him to take the plane, or if he should take a few more days off and drive down. Both were valid choices and equally strained him.

He closed his eyes, emptying his mind. Deep breaths Takashi, you are fine.

The bus jerked backwards suddenly and they departed quickly. It bobbed left and right on the uneven ground of the parking lot. He took another deep breath, ignoring the sound of a passenger throwing up within seconds of their departure. When he realized they had slowed down and stopped, right as they were exiting the premises, he sighed, looking up.

The last passenger that had come in was still talking to the driver, an argumentation? He lifted his left arm, pointing in the direction of the only remaining empty seat. The driver shook his head and frowned when the young man almost yelled.

- I CAN’T wait!

His voice was deeper than Shiro had imagined. He looked young with his red leather jacket and tousled dark hair. He watched as the two men’s heated argument died down. They kept talking for a while, the driver shook his head and waved him off. The young man smiled and nodded, he turned around and walked towards the back of the bus. Shiro huffed, leaning his jaw against the back of his hand, his eyes shifting back to the state of the weather outside of the vehicle. He did not think much about the noise around him and barely lifted his gaze when a small black bag was pushed inside the compartment above his head.

Maybe he should sleep a bit, or read. He had plenty of essays to revise, might as well make use of this waste of his precious time, so he went to work. Within 30 minutes, he was so angry by the lack of diligence half of his students had put into their texts, he shoved everything back into his case, taking out a book. He was not in the right mood for this; he might as well just give up.

He cracked his jaw, rolling his shoulders, feeling the stiffness in his right arm like a plague. He really wished he could be in the warmth of his home. At least he had been able to get a single seat, he was not sure how he would have handled being sandwiched between a stranger and the window for so long, especially not today. He felt a headache creeping from the back of his head to his left temple.

Urgh…

That was when it happened all at once, while he was thinking about taking pills for the pain. He knew that the roads were uneven during the winter, but never so much that he had to grab hold of his seat this tightly as the vehicle rocked dangerously close to the side of the road. Dropping his book to the ground like discarded trash, he grabbed on for dear life, terror creeping up his back. There were some surprised screams around him and a child started crying. The biggest shock, however, was when a body was thrown unto his lap. He barely recognized the red leather, lifting up his left hand to catch the head of the stranger before it crashed against the window. His knuckles, however did, the searing pain reverberated through his fingers as he grabbed a fist full of hair.

His gasped of pain sounded at the same time as the shriek of the man who had landed on his knees.

The bus swerved dangerously, the yells of the other passengers resonating through the cabin. His right arm shot forward, grabbing the small man by the waist and holding him close, in horror.

Fire… so much fire… and then, the crash, the crunching of metal. His right arm bending at an unnatural angle and torn out like a doll’s. The sound of the wind howling, the helicopter’s engine hollering. He could see the blades turning slowly as his friend’s eyes stared right back at him, unseeing. The wind... and the rain... the cracking... and the crackling of the fire... crackle... crackle... snap... and CRACK!

They stilled within moments, as the driver got control of the vehicle back. Luckily, there was not much snow or ice on the ground.

He barely heard the intercom’s static, clinching at the stranger’s body like a lifeline.

- Sorry for this. We caught a pothole… seems like we are fine. Anybody injured?

The child was still crying, but everybody seemed to be okay. Shiro swallowed, panting, his eyes opened wide, his irises shrunk to tiny, almost invisible, dots, he could barely see. He was stuck in a tunnel, clinging to his sanity.

The blades turn…, turn…, and turn… Yowl… and screech… the wind, laughter… the blades they turn… turn… and turn… crac and burn... and boom and burn... crackle... crackle... do you see it Shiro? Death's door... death door, it's opening for you... CRACK AND CRACK AND BURN AND BOOM AND BURN AND DIE... HE'S DEAD... HE DIED PILOT ERROR PILOT ERROR PILOT ERROR PILOT ERROR PILOT ERROR PILOT ERROR PILO TERROR PI LOTER ROR P ILO TER ROR PILO TERRORRRR PILOTTT ERRRRROOOR PILOT ERROR PILOTERROR PILOTERROR PILOTERRORPILOTERRORPILOTERROR

P I L O T E R R O R

- Hey. You okay?

He gasped loudly, his head being pulling out of the deep waters of his broken mind.

The voice was low and soft in his ear, lips brushing against his jaw softly. A gentle hand was resting on his right arm, the other squeezed between the thin body in his arms and his chest. He turned his head sharply and immediately lost himself in a pair of deep, dark, violet eyes. He stared.

Dark violet, like the night’s sky. Somehow, that grounded him. It was not his friend, his friend had light brown eyes. This was someone different. Where was he? He blinked the fog away and straightened up. The man sitting on his lap looked up at him, concern etched on his fine features. He had large, almond shaped eyes, defined eyebrows and a face carved in glass. If his skin had been shining, Shiro would not have been surprised.

Attractive. He was… INCREDIBLY attractive.

Shiro could feel how small his waist was, compared to his own sturdier frame. His limbs were long, toned, his neck slender, and the dip of his clavicle barely showing above the collar of a black shirt. If only he could BITE on the flesh… Oh boy would he, wholeheartedly.

The man arched a perfect eyebrow, the corner of his mouth lifting into a smirk.

- Hi. You back?

Shiro opened his mouth, his throat still frozen in the fear he had just experienced. The replay of the horror died a little more at the back of his mind.

- Ye-es.

His voice sounded more like a croak. He twisted away in shame, coughing, and then back.

- I’m sorry. Yes.

- Mind letting go of my hair?

He realized then how tight his grip had been. He forced his fingers to unfold, the joints stinging from the abuse. He grimaced.

The young man chuckled, straightening on his lap. He cracked his neck and unlodged his arm from Shiro’s body, resting a second hand on his right arm. Shiro felt himself stiffen, suddenly despising the state of his own body, his scars, his prosthetic arm, his need for medication just to fight off PTSD. Oh god, he needed a glass of wine right now.

He muffled an apology, unsure of what to do.

- Thanks for the save. Almost got a breath of fresh hair through a closed window. THAT would not have been fun. Even though I hadn’t counted on having my hair pulled this way instead, not that I'm complaining... but will you be okay? You panicked there.

The attractive teen (He must have been a teen, he looked so young and perfect.) patted his fake arm, smiling gently at him. Shiro heard the sound of metal against metal when the dark rings around the young man’s fingers hit against the outer shell of his arm. At that instant, he regretted taking off his coat. He barely stopped himself from jerking his arm away, mortification clouding his face. He looked away.

To his surprise, the man’s hand did not move away, his fingers actually curled around the arm, squeezing softly.

- Hey… it’s fine. You’re fine. Come on, look at me. Seriously, don’t make me grab your face.

Shiro hesitated and turned back around, his cheeks colored slightly, shadowing the large scar on his nose. He wished he could dig a hole and hide in it. His mental state was so deplorable, he understood why they had carted him off to a far away military flight school.

The man grinned.

- Finally. I think you can let go now. I'll make sure I don’t fall again. I swear if I had intended to sit on your lap, I would have asked. I hope I didn’t hurt you buddy.

Buddy? Shiro blinked, but did not move his arm, keeping his grip locked around the young man’s waist.

- Why aren’t you sitting down? There’s an empty seat in the front.

- The guy next to it threw up on it.

The man’s nose wrinkled in disgust. He brought a hand up, rubbing it like he could still smell the putrid odor of nausea.

- Oh. I’m sorry. But… it’s not safe, standing in a long distance bus. You could hurt yourself. I don’t understand why the driver let you on, he could get a serious fine.

The young man rolled his eyes, pouting lightly. It was so endearing, Shiro felt his own lips part in the need to BITE DOWN on the pink flesh of that bottom lip. A shuddering breath passed his own and he licked them, his eyes flicking away for half a second.

Shiro… you need to calm down. Hell, he looks half your age, hold off the boner. Have some decency”, he admonished himself. He needed some kind of slap, a kick in the ass maybe, because this guy was doing things to him without even trying.

- What are you? The police? Who cares, I paid for my ride and I’m busy. I can’t just get off like a good boy because some guy was sick on MY seat. Besides, you caught me. I’m fine. So can I stand now?

- Don’t you want to stay seated?

The man frowned at his question. Shiro marveled at all the expressions he portrayed within this short conversation, this guy was extremely expressive. It was so easy to guess what he was feeling; it was both adorable and comforting. He wished everybody was like this, since he could not stand the fake pity, the forced kindness and the hidden horror most people tried to keep from him. Most people either thought he was made of glass or he was an idiot. It was disheartening.

- I do but… I can’t MAKE a seat out of nothing. Or… are you ASKING me to stay on your lap stranger? Feeling lonely? Orrr... maybe you're a creep.

His answer would have seemed rude to anybody, if not for the smile brightening his young face, a cocky, sexy, corner smile. Shiro’s hand twitched against the fabric of his shirt, his arm still tightly around his waist.

A creep... was he? He did not know.

As for lonely, it was not the right word, not withstanding the fact that he had not really thought about what he meant when he had asked. What DID he mean? Did he mean to give up his seat? His mind had just gone trough the wringer in the span of 5 seconds, he was certain he would be unable to stand for the next two hours, no matter how noble his intentions are. Soooo... probably not.

- I… well… err...

He sighed, what was he supposed to answer? He did not know, felt confused, but the warmth of this young man had brought him back from the deep. The notion of having panic attacks in public made him shudder, he felt indebted. Was he trying to repay the man? Maybe. Did it feel like it? As the seconds ticked by, less and less.

- Pff… unless you want to stand for the next two hours. I guess I am… asking you... if you want to stay... on my lap.

The young man’s expression turned to one of surprise, then his eyebrows knotted together in deep thought. He tilted his head slightly to the side, analysing Shiro’s expression. His scrutiny made Shiro's cheeks turn a deep shade of crimson. Oh god… he should just let go.

- Alright.

The positive answer came as a surprise before he could even release his grip.

- What?

The young man chuckled.

- I said: “Alright”. As in YES, I'll take you in on your offer. You're kind of comfortable actually.

He wiggled his legs slowly a little bit like an excited child, his grin widening on his young face. Feeling both dumb and self conscious, Shiro let go of the man's waist, resting his prosthetic on the arm of his seat. He grabbed unto it, as if to make sure he would not hold the young man again.

- Can I ask... how old you are?

The boy laughed some more, seeming that much younger. It made the older man feel bad, really bad, worse than at first. Oh god, he was a teenager. He had to be and Shiro had just offered him to sit on his lap for the next two hours.

- What age do you think I am old man?

- Old ma...! Wait! How OLD do you think I AM?! I'm just thirty!

His mouth remained open in outrage as the young man just laughed some more, putting a hand in front of his mouth. His eyes crinkled at the corners in clear mirth. Shiro ripped his gaze from him, looking around and noticing how some the neighboring passengers were starting to look at them in annoyance. People had noticed, he was done, his career dead, policemen would get him and he'd go to prison for being kind to a stranger.

It played perfectly in his mind too: “What do you have to say for yourself Mister Shirogane?” “I was just trying to be kind officer!” “Did you except any service in return.” “What? No! Never” “That's not what the other passengers say.”

Fuck.

He was so done.

Maybe if he pushed him off, it would all go away.

The boy laughed some more, flicking his forelock playfully.

- Must be the white hair, but don't worry.

Perky, he patted Shiro's cheek, his soft fingers sliding against his jaw before letting go. The gesture, made the older man's eyes widen that much more, panic rising thundering in his chest.

- Really, I'm younger, but not by THAT MUCH. I swear I swear, it's fine. Oh god... please stop panicking. I'm dying here...!!

The younger man bent forward, holding his stomach as he kept laughing under his breath. He eventually stopped (It took too long seriously, the nerve...). He sat up, grinning and rubbed the corner of his eyes, trying to dry of the tears of laughter that were still there, his cheeks flushed with amusement.

Shiro frowned, blushing in embarrassment, which turned into a vexed pout. His heart's pounding slowed down, return to the steady uncomfortable state kind.

- ...glad to see I can make you laugh. You pest.

He chortled, barely able to stop a new wave of uncontrollable laughter. He raised his hand, patting Shiro on the shoulder and gripped at it.

- Oh god... yes okay. My age, I'm 25. You're all safe from the angry moms, Daddy.

Shiro snorted at the nickname.

- If you call me “daddy” again, I'm shucking you out the window.

- Take if from me, Daddy is way better than Pappy .

The color drained from Shiro's face at that point, making the young man laugh so loud, people around them growled in annoyance, some even asking them to keep it down. Shiro took the young man by the shoulders, shook him once and finally pointed a finger at his nose, which made him stop. He stared at the finger, a smile splitting his face in half.

- No.

His tone was final. It made the dark haired man look up, eyes still dancing with humor. He nodded.

- I'll find something better. Promise.

- Or you can just ask my name.

The gorgeous man rose his shoulders in a dismissive manner.

- Nah, I rather like telling the story about the stranger who let me sleep on his lap for two hours without even knowing who I am.

- Sleep?

Crossing his arm, the perfect embodiement of his wet dreams (...Shiro, please stop.) leaned against his shoulder, hid his nose in the crook of Shiro's neck and took a deep breath. He had a small smile when Shiro instinctively circled his left arm around his waist, holding him in place.

- Yeah. I'm beat. You know...

He yawned silently, shuffling closer.

- ...you smell real good big guy.

By the time Shiro realized this was really happening, the most beautiful man he had ever met was on his lap, sleeping like the dead, cuddled against his large frame. He must have blushed all the way to his toes, but thankfully nobody was there to laugh at him this time. Extending a hand, he grabbed his coat and pulled it on top of his protégé. The young man sighed in comfort, one of his hands grabbing at the fabric of Shiro's shirt.

From then on, he slept all the way to their destination.

For a while, Shiro's body remained stiff and uncomfortable. He could barely believe what had just happened and replayed the entire interaction in his mind over and over again. Compared to when he had a panic attack, the scene flashing in front of his eyes made him warm, amused. He could scarcely believe it, but the presence of the man on his lap was proof enough.

Around 8h30, the bus eased into the parking lot of their destination. Raising his hand slowly from the young man's back, Shiro caressed his hair, scratching at his scalp gently.

- Hey. We're here. Wake up.

The young man's eyes half opened and he looked up at Shiro, hostility emanating from every pore of his body. He bared his teeth, growling like a dog and turned his head, hiding his face in Shiro's neck.

Shiro decided this guy was way to adorable.

- Come on. You need to wake up before we get thrown out. People are already filing out.

Laughing softly, he pulled his coat off the thin body which contracted at the sudden cold.

- Hmmm... I really really hate you right now...

- I bet you do. Get up or I'll carry you out.

The gorgeous man snorted.

- Don't tempt me.

And finally pulled himself off Shiro's lap, stretching, He grabbed the bag in the rack on top of Shiro's seat and picked up a large portfolio that was leaning against the wall at the back of the bus, before stepping in line with the other passengers. His hair was a mess and his leather jacket crooked on his shoulders, falling off one, making Shiro want to kiss it. He yawned loudly, getting an outraged gasp from an older lady standing in front of him.

With a chuckle, Shiro put his coat back on, picking up his book and briefcase from the floor. Stuffing the book in his pocket, he approached the young man and straightened his leather coat without asking. The young man looked up at him and smiled tiredly.

- Thanks for the seat big guy.

- You're welcome.

Shiro smiled softly back at him, feeling a little sad that their relationship would soon be over. He was so glad for this man, he just wished he had the strength to ask for more. He did not dare, this poor man had seen him in a state of panic and had been good enough to calm him done and not ask about it. He respected him for that, and it was because of that same respect that he did not address his need. So, instead, they stood in a companionable silence, walking slowly forward as the other passengers stepped off the bus.

The perfect man jumped down, his combat boot scrapping at the gravel on the uneven ground. He looked up and a genuine smile appeared on his face. With a laugh, he jogged forward, disappearing through the door of the terminal in a mass of people. Shiro sighed sadly and walked towards the entrance, pulling his cellphone from the inside pocket of his coat. He dialed a number he knew by heart and brought the device to his ear while leaning against a window from inside the building.

A friendly voice he knew well answered.

- Hey Captain America. How's saving the world going?

He huffed, holding back a laugh.

- If I'm Captain America, you're Scott Pilgrim, you nerd. Beat any boyfriends lately?

Matt had been a good friend since his days in the military. They had been together from the beginning to the end, to such a level, that most people called them married just out of spite. Matt was a legitimate genius, had saved Shiro's ass more than once with his quick thinking and he would not change him for the world.

- Well that's just rude. I think I'll let you WALK home Superman.

- Well Alfred, I think I could run it in about half an hour, but seriously you owe me. So come pick me up, I'm tired.

- Fine. But we get pizza and you pay for it.

Shiro sighed, shaking his head, a soft smile drawing itself on his face.

- Fine, but I chose the toppings. No buts, just come.

Before his best friend could protest, he hung up, putting his phone back in his pocket. The thing buzzed a couple of times, he chose to ignore it.

Turning around, he looked outside, cringing at the state of the sky. It looked like a serious storm was coming their way. This had been a rather strange day, he had to admit and the dread of pain in his weary joints darkened his mood..

- Hey big guy.

Blinking in surprise, Shiro twisted back around, gaze lowering to the young man that had shared his seat during the bus ride. Another man, which was trying desperately to look like he did not care about the both of them, was playing with his phone, standing behind him. Shiro could see how his eyes kept flicking towards them, visibly curious about a story he had probably just heard.

The older man chose to ignore him and brought his gaze back to violet eyed man standing in front of him. He smiled kindly. Ah damn, this guy was too gorgeous for words...

- I thought you had already left. What's up?

- Thought better of it. Give me your arm.

As he said this, he opened his coat and fiddled in his pocket, taking out a pen. Out of habit about being asked about his prosthetic, Shiro dropped the heavy piece of machinery in the young man's hand. The guy grabbed for it, yelping in surprise. He stared at it, then back up at Shiro, glowering at him.

- I bet you think you're being funny huh?

Shiro smiled at him and laughed.

- Maybe?

Shaking his head, the young man put the pen back in his pocket and pulled out a black sharpie. Pulling the cap off with his teeth, he pushed the sleeve of Shiro's shirt AND coat up to his elbow.

- Don't complain to me if you can't get it off, hot stuff.

Shiro stared at him as he started writing on the prosthetic. He usually would have pulled his arm away, but that nickname... “hot stuff” froze him in place. He must have understood wrong. Since the accident, nobody had ever called him close to “hot”. He tilted his head and frowned.

- If you're drawing a dick on there, I'll slap you with it, you pest.

The man behind the gorgeous boy sniggered, having given up on pretending he was not intrigued by the interaction. His light blue eyes had the same kind of mirth than the other, the same kind of body type and shape, stature. Shiro figured they must be related or very close friends.

- There. No dicks, promise. I'd get lost in the details if I took the time.

He laughed.

Shiro looked back down, seeing the young man closing the sharpie and stuffing it back in his pocket. His eyes turned to his arm that was still extended in front of him. Before he could see what had been done to it, mr. wet dreams grabbed him by the collar, pulling him roughly down.

Without having the time to register what was happening, Shiro got caught into the most intense kiss of his life. The lips on his were soft and full, teeth scrapping at his sensitive skin. A warm tongue was pressed against his lower lip, forcing a chocking moan out of him and giving access to the inside of his mouth in no time. His knees almost gave way when that same tongue licked the back of his teeth in clear hunger. His eyes rolled at the back of his head and he felt his gut clench as desire bloomed in the lower pits of his groin. He groaned in the other man's mouth, getting a chuckle in return.

It was over before he even had the strength to really respond. With one last soft kiss, the young, vibrant, sexy, perfect man whispered against his lips.

- Call me, hot stuff... I'll be waiting.

Then pulled away. He winked at Shiro and spun on his toes, grabbing the other guy by the arm. They both walked away, elbowing each other, chatting and laughing, as Shiro just stared, floating.

He was still staring when his phone rang again. He mechanically answered, recognizing Matt's ringtone.

- Yeah...?

- Hey I'm here, where are you dude?

- I... I'll be right there.

He looked down on his arm and there, written hastily on the inside was a clear message:

Keith 555 359-1274
Call me, or else. <3

Keith...



 

 

Chapter Text

 

Usually, on days after panic attacks, Shiro needed to cradle himself into the largest and warmest clothes he had, generally a large fluffy white hoodie he kept at the bottom of his drawers (His mother said, it made him look like a fat sheep, not too bad considering everything...). The cocooning habit had wormed itself into his being, faking a sort of comfort he could not get away from anymore. However, on the day after his bus ride, he sat up in his bed, still exhausted by the event, but without the need to bundle up like a 6 year old (Matt would have said HE WAS a 6 year old, but leap year baby jokes were lost on him).

He brushed his fingers through his short hair, scratching the back of his neck and slid off bed, putting his feet inside the slippers he had carefully placed besides it the night before. He quickly became aware, when he came back home after the accident, that obsessive habits anchored him. His mind could understand routine and processed the information much more easily when it knew that every day, he took breakfast at the same time, took a shower, dressed up and so on and so forth. The simple idea of having a very fixed schedule had helped him more than any kind of therapy he had gone through. He did not have to think about it, did not have to make any hard decisions, it was safe and grounding.

Catalogued by his friends as the « boring guy » within weeks of this, he stepped away from their entire group without shame. Most of them spent their evenings in bars to flirt with women (or men, or others...), got drunk until they forgot their own name and finally tried to walk home to wake up under an overpass miles away from their intended destination. Shiro was unable to go all « frat party » like they did anymore. Age was not the issue, since he had a high tolerance for alcohol, but his nerves could not, WOULD NOT, take it. Not anymore.

Luckily, Matt was the same, so when he moved out to the country to follow orders, his best friend followed without a second thought.

They both settled into a steady teaching job, Shiro drilling young cadets to become fighter pilots, while Matt shaped their scientific minds. They soon became the most beloved and respected teachers in their academy. Being discarded as broken plane parts by the army had finally started to slowly turn into a distant nightmare, one they learned to live with. At least, teaching was a secure job that Shiro could control. He was not trilled by it, but could deal with the boredom. 

What he could not deal with, however, was Matt being observant. His friend knew him in and out, he knew when Shiro was having a bad day, knew when his body was bordering insanity... and definitely knew when he was hiding something.

Shiro had not forgotten the written words on his arm and had immediately saved the data into his cellphone, but felt so elated by the simple idea of being flirted with, that he fended off the need to wash his prosthetic before sleep. He went to bed staring at the name scribbled on the alloy, mesmerized. 

Keith...

The gorgeous man had clearly found the idea amusing. He had easily just written his phone number on a stranger's arm, no trace of fear on his crystal shaped features. The notion of the entire thing being a joke crossed Shiro's mind several times before he fell asleep, but he still woke up with the distinct need to try to contact Keith. He had no idea what to say, or how much time was too short, or even too long to reach out, but he definitely needed to do it. Soon, very soon.

While he stepped out of his room, he pulled down on the sleeve of his shirt, trying to keep the scribbles hidden, but unintentionally bringing attention to it. He mumbled under his breath, barely waving at Matt, who was sitting in the living room with a bowl of fruit loops on his lap. Shiro guarded himself from commenting about the man's eating habits. The last time he had done so, Matt had gone into a heated battle about his dire need for colored sugary goodness that helped him see the beauty into this world. (I mean, what?) He argued that if an helicopter crash had not taken him, a few bowls of processed sugar would at least not add new scars on his, now, not so handsome face.

Matt was far from ugly, he was just a little “banged up”. The accident had done a number on him that he barely dealt with every day. This idea of blaming Shiro had never crossed Matt’s mind, but Shiro still decided to do it for him, daily. The trauma on Matt’s body was as horrifying as his own, but the wide scar on his young face never went unnoticed. It ran across his right eye, rendering it blind, crawling up and over his forehead all the way to the center of his scalp. The disfiguration was deep and a reddish skin tone that held no secret. The injury had made him suffer a great deal; it sometimes still did, in various ways. They were Matt’s own version of “bad days”.

Matt Holt

- You do know you are being extremely suspicious right. Is there something wrong with your prosthetic? Does it need a service check? 

Shiro stepped into the kitchen, dropping two pieces of bread in the toaster. He considered ignoring him, but knew how well that usually worked (A.k.a. Not at all!), so he sighed. He turned around nonchalantly and shrugged, leaning against the pristine counter tops. 

- Nothing is wrong with it. It feels stiff. I bet a snowstorm is coming. 

Shiro rolled his right shoulder in emphasis, but grabbed at the sleeve when he was done. Pulling it back down infinitesimally, he looked back at the toaster, willing it to cook his bread faster. 

Matt hummed, swallowing a few spoons full of his sugary cancer. He flipped through screens on his tablet and finally looked up, licking his lips, tongue chasing the sweet taste he loved. 

- Don't lie to me Shirogane. We are like an old couple. I know you by heart; have seen parts of you I would rather forget. I always believed, when I was young, I might die in peace someday, but I don’t think it probable, since you obstinately surmise I will suddenly become an idiotic twitter brain and post photos of your abs on Instagram, rather than see how you are STILL pulling at the sleeve of the ugliest university hoodie you own. I am aware how heedful I am of you, so stop trying to conceal what ever « this » is. You're failing just as badly as teens trying to hide a boner, the only definite impossibility in every reality. 

- Huhmm... « tell me what's wrong » would have been an easier option than what ever insanity you just vomited Matt... 

Matt snorted, dipping his nose back down into his tablet. He twirled his spoon in his bowl, picking a purple fruit loop with his finger, throwing it in his mouth and finally sucking on his fingers. The entire thing was ridiculous and somewhat disgusting, but common around their house.

- I never do anything « easily » MegaMan. What's up?

- STOP with the ridiculous nicknames! 

He heard Matt growl a “neveeeeerrr” as he forked down a few more spoons of cereal.

Picking up his toasts when they finally popped up, Shiro dropped them on a plate and grabbed the pot of peanut butter, a banana and a knife, before walking back to the living room and sitting on Matt's left side. He put his breakfast on the living room's table, pushing papers and books away to the side.

- It's hard to explain.

- Just, show me the arm. I won't get mad if you damaged it. 

His friend put his bowl precariously on top of a pile of astrophysics books, grabbed the spoon and brought it back to his mouth, clenching it between his teeth. He then extended his hand, expectantly.

Shiro groaned, Matt could be such a pain sometimes. He pressed his fingers on the bridge of his nose, asking any God that was listening for mercy. Rubbing his face wearily, he protested.

- I didn't.

Matt still grabbed his arm roughly and pushed the scratchy fabric of his hoodie half way up his forearm, staring down at it with clinical interest. His eyes remained vacant for about half a second, before they widened in shock. He pulled the arm closer, pushing the sleeve higher, eyebrows knotting together.

- Keith? Who is KEITH?

Shiro’s answer was a mumble. He had wanted to keep the meeting a secret for a little longer, he wished that would have been possible.

- A guy I met on the bus…

Matt squinted at him, he seemed unsure about the words he had heard. Shiro frowned. I guess it WAS weird what had happened. Both of them had not accepted their predicament, but knew they would probably be stuck with one another for the rest of their lives, the fake married couple. Who would want somebody so damaged? Shiro surely did not. He barely could stand his own mental breakdowns, let alone Matt’s, since they fueled one another.

- A guy you met on the bus? You met a guy on the bus? What? Did you flirt or is this just a friend thing?

He looked back down at the arm and read the words again.

- This looks like a joke a friend would do. Not funny however, what if it doesn’t come off?

Licking his thumb, he tried rubbing the black letters of the metal, successfully making it fade. Shiro yanked the arm out of his grasp, before any more damaged could be done.

- Don’t! I… I’ll take care of it later…

Matt yelped in surprise, leaning away from Shiro at the sudden reaction. His irises shrunk, fear crossing his features for a heartbeat. His regular friendly expression returned, the horror casted aside. He raised an eyebrow, ruffling his hair with a steady hand. He dropped his tablet on the sofa and turned fully towards his friend.

- Shiro, do you have a crush on this guy?

- What? Nooo…

The words felt fake in his mouth. He did not have a crush. Please. A chuckle died in his throat.

No way…

NO WAY!

Fuck… FUCK, he had a crush, a stranger had tangled his heartstrings and he could not unravel the tights knots constricting his chest. Shit. SHIT. This was a mess waiting to happen. Shiro could not get infatuated so easily, the walls he had built around his heart should have been stronger, higher, thicker and yet this small, perfect man had kicked his ribcage wide open with a few simple words: “Call me, hot stuff… I’ll be waiting”.

Shiro looked down at his hands. He gritted his teeth when Matt did not even consider replying to his lie. His answer left him dry, his heart cracking at the mere thought of failure.

- Shit…

- Figures... Did you call him yet?

Shiro shook his head. He stared at his arm longingly and finally rested his fingers on top of the numbers, successfully hiding them. This was a mistake, a very embarrassing one. He should discard the entire event and file it as a nice wet dream. Nobody was interested in Shiro, especially not gorgeous, young, starry-skied eyed, toned young men. He had felt so small, so perfect in his arm, to such an extent that Shiro mourned his absence. Ridiculous… he was so far gone because of a 15 minutes conversation, he did not dare think about what it would have been like to meet him again.

He remembered the look his friend had given him. Right, a joke… it must have been a hoax. He had probably been the laughingstock of their evening. Shiro felt so inadequate, he hid his face in his hands, his blood turning to ice.

- Where is your phone?

- Bedroom.

Shiro let go of his face, mortified. A prank… a practical joke… of course it was. People were cruel, so cruel. Life had such a way of taking things you did not know you had away. He watched as the remnants of his hope for happiness flew away. He was so exhausted by his ruined life, regret had become such a second nature that it always ruined everything.

Matt stood up without another word and walked away. When he came back, his steps were silent and light. He dropped himself back on the couch and mumbled under his breath. He threw the cellphone on Shiro’s lap after a short moment with a satisfied grunt.

- There, all done. Now make me proud and stop sulking. It does not suit you.

Shiro stared at the phone, unseeing. He finally focused when he realized the screen was unlocked and displaying a recently sent text message.

“Hi. This is Shiro’s friend. He is recently deceased due to “phone number on his arm” and unable to type a suitable reply. I figured I should let you know, so you can send him flowers, heart-shaped chocolate, or colored dildos. You know, what ever you guys are into. I’m leaving him in your hands; don’t break my faith in you.” 

His eyes almost popped out of their sockets. He read the text message at least a thousand times, before slowly turning his head towards his friend, a look of horror etched on his face.

- MATT! YOU CAN’T JUST…! WHY WOULD YOU…!

They both screamed, grabbing each other’s hands when the phone suddenly rang. The device slid down Shiro’s knees, bouncing on the floor at his feet. The screen flashing a single name: Keith. Oh no… he was calling.

Without thinking, Shiro untangled his fingers from Matt’s and bent forward, picking the phone up. He stared at it. The name flashed, as the phone kept ringing. His friend’s hand appeared in front of his face, pressing the “answer” button before the call went to voicemail. Shiro shot him the darkest glare he could come up with and muttered.

- I swear, next time I’ll really kill you…

Then brought the device to his hear, taking a deep breath. He counted to four, while closing his eyes, hoping that he was wrong, that it had not been a prank. His soul desperately grasped at the wings attached to the remains of his hope, weeping.

- Hello?

- Hey there hot stuff. So, what’s you favorite color? 

Keith’s voice was smooth in his ear, painted with laughter and hints of fatigue. Shiro tried not to grasp at the nickname, “hot stuff”… He felt his heart clench, warmth filling his cheeks. The question made him puzzled however.

- Black. Why?

- I figured that if I was going to get you a ceremonial dildo, I might as well ask you your favorite color 

A curse escaped Shiro’s lips at the reply. He stood up and walked out of the living room, escaping Matt’s inquisitive stare, glad his friend hadn’t heard Keith’s answer. He leaned against the wall in the corridor and bit the nail on his left thumb nervously. He recognized the playful banter, but was not sure he was up to the task that morning. His mind felt a little bit stretched.

- I might just kill the both of you, prepare yourself… pest. 

He growled under his breath.

His answer was welcomed by the same amused laughter, a soft bell chiming in his ear softly. He heard the sound of fabric being pushed around and Keith taking a deep breath, then a soft yawn. Had he woken him up? He dragged his phone down and looked at the time: 9:26. Late. He had not even realized how long he had slept himself. 

- At least I’m still a pest.

The answer barely registered in the phone’s speakers. Shiro pressed the device back on his ear, determined not to miss a single word being spoken to him. He was surprised when he was able to formulate a fairly coherent answer.

- Damn it Keith, I think I just flat-lined. You cannot ask me stuff like that. You really are merciless.

- Why? I thought it was hilarious. Your friend sure gets me. I don’t know what you told him, but good job. And, he gets a ton of points for forcing you to reach out.

Keith laughed some more. Relief flooded Shiro’s mind. The young man he was crushing on was glad, he was happy that he had messaged him. A few of the needles stabbed in his heart dropped out; letting in myriads of emotions he had not felt in a long time. He wanted to jump, to try and believe someone might be interested. If only he could ask him out, a movie, coffee, just a walk perhaps? But Shiro was far from being able to function so normally, Keith however, had no qualms in stating what he wanted.

- Want to go out for coffee, hot stuff? I’ll pay as thanks for yesterday.

- You don’t have to do that, you thanked me enough. 

Keith tutted at his answer, he moved some more and Shiro heard the sound of metal rings on a railing, then feet on the ground.

- Don’t I get to guess the drink you like the best at Starbucks? I bet it’s something like a Caramel Macchiato with a mountain of cream on top, or one of their ridiculous Christmas beverage. You look like a closet sugar bug.

- What…? No I… don’t really… go to Starbucks.

The worse was that Shiro could not even tell him he was wrong. He really DID love these drinks and always got himself at least one Gingerbread Latte when the Holidays came around. He was an open book and Keith knew his language.

- Come on, don’t make me beg Shiro. I love the chase, but I’m not a patient man. 

His words were soft, but full of meaning. Either Shiro was in, or he was out, and if he was out, he could kiss seeing Keith again goodbye. He pressed a palm on his chest, counting his heartbeats. He was still here, he was not dreaming. So he stepped off the edge.

- Yeah, I’d love that. How about at 2?

- 2 sounds perfect. Now don’t flunk out of me big guy.

He could here the smile on the young man’s lips when he answered, even as he whispered the hidden menace again. He thought he could see him grin, or how his eyes might have gleamed in delight when he uttered his next answer.

- I can’t wait to see your perfect butt again, can I squeeze it when you hug me?

Keith would probably be the death of him, and what a sweet death it would be.

- You…

The embarrassment leaked out of his pores, constricting his throat as he tried to reply. There were a thousand kinds of ways to die, but Shiro thought he might have found a painless one. Saliva pooled in his mouth at the mere thought of Keith wanting to touch him. He wanted it. He wanted it so badly he had to bite back a groan, which was ridiculous. They were only talking. 

He swallowed heavily, pushing back the want, the need and the images of the both of them tangled together as deep as he could. Hopefully, just temporarily. How long had it been? Too long. Maybe he should have listened to Matt and payed himself some company from time to time, he would have been less pathetic.

- Right. I’m hanging up now, before my heart EXPLODES from just talking to you.

The gorgeous man laughed again.

- Shiro…

The way he called his name was soft, fond, and wonderful in his ear. He wanted to hear it for the rest of his life. Shiro closed his eyes, picturing it, and it was beautiful.

- I’ll see you later then. Starbucks on 5th, whoever’s first should wait inside. It’s cold.

- Okay. Bye Keith.

- Laterz Hot Stuff. <3 

Hanging up, he Let himself slide against the wall until he crouched down. He gripped the phone, hoping for something he could not quite place yet. Happiness, love, companionship maybe, he was not sure. It was just a ridiculous coffee date, it might even mean nothing, but his heart dared hoping.

He stood back up after a long moment and walked to his bedroom, searching for something suitable to wear.

Chapter Text

 

He was early, about fifteen minutes too early, when he reached the coffee shop. To his relief, it looked oddly empty and Keith was nowhere in sight. He did not want to think of how difficult it might have been to walk up to the young man, especially with all his insecurities darkening his thoughts like a cancerous disease. Maybe Keith had forgotten what Shiro looked like (You saw him the day before??!!??), or he was going to leave him there to ROT until he gave up, or the gorgeous boy would realize that he was out of his league, far from deserving of his perfectly packaged sexiness. So many things could go wrong; Shiro’s nerves were going into overdrive

Calm down Shiro. It’s just sharing a coffee not marriage, for God’s sake.

Looking around, he registered the wooden panels on the walls, the aluminum tables and the single barista working at the coffee machines. The tall girl nodded at him before continuing to serve a small plump woman with pepper and salt hair, a tall lanky man standing besides her. The barista flashed him an enticing grin, almost asking him to run to her. “Right, let’s walk away”, he thinks.

He sat at a small round table, away from the windows, mindful of his own state of mind. If you sit away from loud noises, you will be fine. At least he had not forgotten to take his medication and by the time he got coffee in his system, if it ever happened, there should not be any nausea or discomfort. Bless the Lord.

A coffee date…

A coffee. DATE.

The words felt out of place, even if his best friend had tried to convince him his outing was just that. He did not really believe it.

His last conversation with Matt replayed in his mind…

 

Going on a date? Congrats. You look great Shiro.

 

Thanks, but It’s not a date.

 

Did he not ask you to meet him for coffee?

 

He did.

 

Did he say anything about paying, spending time with you or getting to know each other?

 

He mentioned… paying as thanks and… asked me to not make him beg for guessing what I liked to buy at Starbucks?

 

Wow, my hero. He is so perfect for you. Here, let me enlighten you… Internet, deliver. Ah, here we go. Ahem! “Dating: [Noun] A form of romantic courtship typically between two individuals with the aim of assessing the other's suitability as a partner in an intimate relationship or as a spouse. The result of dating may at any time lead to friendship, any level of intimate relationship, marriage, or no relation.”

 

Okay?

 

Call me a romantic, but that sounds an awful lot like what you are going to do right now.

 

It’s not COURTSHIP.

 

Being thirsty for a cute guy is a prequel to courtship Thor. So go dazzle him with your thunder.

 

OH GOD. Why am I even FRIENDS with you?!

 

He was not sure if he should believe this, wish it, or want it, but Matt sure had a way of putting things in perspective. A ridiculous way to do it, which always included some kind of nickname, but still better than how Shiro fared by himself.

His leg started bouncing under the table as the words circled in his head. He had to press a hand on it at some point, when he got a glare from the tiny woman that had taken place at the neighboring table shortly after him (Why? Go away, the room is HUGE). Her coffee was still steaming and smelled vaguely of candy canes and bad teeth rotting decisions. Sniffing loudly when he grabbed his limb with his right hand, she was about to look away when her gaze locked. A look of horror suddenly crosses her portly face, than pity, the kind he despised.

What? What had he done?

Looking down, he noticed the problem immediately. He had forgotten to put some gloves on. Shit. His prosthetic hand was completely exposed. Oh god, it was revolting, how the silver surface reflected the angry glow of the neon lights in the shop. It was unnatural, offending. Somebody he did not know had seen he was missing a limb.

No. This was far from acceptable.

Biting his tongue, he felt his breath turn to ash his lungs. Shit, he was going to hyperventilate. Clear your mind Shiro. Everything is going to be okay, you can get control of this. It is just one person, one single woman who will not meddle in your affairs. He closed his eyes, trying to convince himself of that fact and failed.

Abort mission! Children, women and invalids first! We are GOING DOWN! HELL AS OPENED UP AND IS TAKING VOLONTEERS! YES ME FIRST!

His eyes skidded nervously around the shop, who had noticed? Other people MUST have noticed, but the place was empty, except for the couple close to him and the barista. The woman was still staring at him. She leaned forward and talked to the man sitting besides her. Looking up as well and he unshamelessly stared. More pity. The woman looked like she wanted to stand up and walk his way.

Fuck no.

No. No no no. Oh GOD no!

Panic raised like a tidal wave, crashing and destroying the resolve he had in his heart. The belief of possible happiness washed away, discarded and forgotten. He clasped at his hand desperately. He needed to leave immediately before Keith came. This “date” was a huge mistake. He was a huge mistake. He was not ready. He could not do this. He needed to go back home, where it was safe and people did not see all his inadequacies… KEITH did not see his multiple pathetic inadequacies. Fuck, he was going to throw up.

His therapist kept repeating how he needed to get out and meet new people. He had thought about it, and realized it was one of the many reasons why he had stepped out of his home that day. Panic and regret twisted in his gut, reminding him how feeble his mind was. Okay, stand up Shiro, you need to leave. Right now. It is not two yet, isn’t it? Walk away and apologize for it later.

Midst the panic, he did not notice the sound of bell chime announcing a client entering the premises. Thankfully, his back was at the door, so when he felt a hand resting suddenly on his shoulder, squeezing it gently, his date not aware of how ready he was to run for the hills.

- Hey stranger. Waiting for somebody?

Keef 1

He flinched at being touched, but recognized the voice. It sounded a little muffled, but still just as soft and calming. It took too long for Shiro to look up, but when he did, the calming sea stared back. He let go of a breath he had not realized he was holding back, his lungs burning. Opening his mouth with every intent on saying his date’s name, try calling him, but the sounds never came out.

The bashful look on Keith’s face quickly turned into an alarmed one. His grip on Shiro’s shoulder tightened slightly.

- Fuck… you’re sweating bullets. What’s up Shiro?

Shiro gazed down, trying to hide his prosthetic hand. He knew Keith might probably understand the problem; he was so damaged, the simple thought of walking around without gloves pushed him over the edge.

He was resolved, as he shifted his gaze back up, to see the look of pity portrayed on Keith's pretty face, but it never came. Instead, his mouth formed a silent “oh” and he smiled kindly, straightening back up. He gently pulled on the gloves he was wearing and sat down on an empty chair after scooting it closer with a foot. Grabbing the metal hand, he pulled and looked up when he was met with stubborn resistance.

- Hey. It’s fine. It’s just me.

He pulled again and Shiro reluctantly let him, afraid. Sliding one of the gloves on the prosthetic, he pushed the fabric as high as it could go. He stared for half a beat, when he saw his phone number still written on the metal limb. A smile tugged at his lips. He finally pulled the sweater’s sleeve back down when he was done. It was a considerate action, one that made Shiro’s heart swell.

- Here. Sorry they are fingerless, but it’s better than nothing, right?

He laced their fingers together, tightening his grip on the metal fingers. He cocked his head to the side, tendrils of dark hair brushing against his cheeks. Shiro felt his nerves and heart settle a bit. Damn, he was perfect. How could anybody be so perfect? He was a statistic impossibility.

- I…

He hesitated. Keith had the power to make him feel better. The wonder of it was not lost on him, but he felt like he should give thanks.

- Yeah?

Or maybe just say how he feels. A miracle, this young man he barely knew was a miracle from high above. He held back the words as they are about to spill, but turned those around in an attempt to shield himself, making the statement seem too ridiculous to be truthful.

- I was wondering if it was too early to ask if it hurt when you fell from heaven…?

Keith lets out a loud snort and exploded in laughter, pink shading his cheeks. He brushed his thumb on the back of Shiro's hand and leaned forward, pressing his forehead on his arm as he kept laughing uncontrollably. The older man really liked it when Keith laughed, it was so genuine, and it made him grin.

- What? Why are you laughing? Too much?

The young man sat back up, grinning back, his cheeks still flushed.

- Pff… ahahah. You're so corny. Yep, definitely too early. First, buy me a few shots of vodka and some tequila, and then you can ask again. But don’t get your hopes up, I might laugh louder. I didn’t think people still used that line to flirt. What a champion. I have to admit though, I'm certain that I probably clawed up from hell, no shame in getting it wrong hot stuff. It's cute.

- Lets agree to disagree, because I believe that's highly unlikely.

Clasping their hands strongly together, Shiro shared the laugh with pleasure. If this is what peace was like, he loved every second of it.

Keith finally stood back up, letting go of Shiro's hand reluctantly, smiling.

- All right, so as promised, what can I get you?

Frowning, Shiro shook his head, uncomfortable with the concept of a younger man buying him stuff. Well, coffee was not “stuff”, but he just could not let it happen.

- You don't need to b...

Before he can finish his sentence, Keith leaned back in, grabbing his jaw with a strong hand, pressing his lips on Shiro's. His second kiss with a stranger, a guy he had barely met. Shiro sees stars, planets aligning in a flawless pattern. Beauty. 

At first, the kiss was soft, then insistent, pushing Shiro against his chair. He felt his head tilt back and his entire body shrunk under the sheer presence of this overwhelming young man. His eyes rolled back as he closed his eyelids, enjoying every single second. The touch on his jaw was strong, nails digging into his skin as a show of dominance.

This time, Shiro let himself kiss back, his hand grasping desperately at the table. He wanted to open his mouth and turn the entire interaction into something filthy, wet, needy, but he did not. He could not. Even though he wanted it so badly.

Keith eventually let go, his lips remaining very close to Shiro's. The older man swallowed, feeling butterflies overrunning his stomach. Their lips brushed together as his angel spoke again, the words a soft whisper, breath tickling his tongue. Shiro was panting.

- I said... what can I get you?

- I... Vanilla Latte?

Pushing back with a complacent smile on his face, Keith put his hands in his pockets. Shiro had no idea what he looked like at this very moment, but he hoped it was not too close to what he was presently feeling, which was overwhelmed, horny, floating on air and in need of so much more than just a single kiss.

- Are you sure? They have that disgusting eggnog coffee on the menu right now. I won't judge too much if you want that.

Shiro nodded lightly, trying to grasp at his sanity and mostly failing. He brushed a hand through his hair picking up the second glove Keith had apparently discarded on the table. Looking at it, as if it seemed more natural than just asking for something he could not put into words. He put it back down. He was surprised when he was able to talk, since his heart was drumming uncontrollably.

- Huhmm... caffeine and...

He frowned, deciding there was no need to admit his mental state. It would probably make Keith run away and Shiro wanted to enjoy his company a little bit longer.

- No matter. Believe me if I say: it's better if I keep it to a minimum.

Keith did not argue against it, nor did he ask any questions. He simply nodded with the same smile and walked away towards the counter. Shiro watched him for a while, noticing how his hair was a mess he had tied up in a small ponytail, adorable. His small frame was hidden under a heavy leather jacket and his long legs trapped in a pair of black skinny jeans, covered at the ankles by a pair of worn combat boots. He had this natural ease when he leaned on the counter, talking to the barista who was giving him a plastic smile. He did not give it back, a frown shadowing his fine features.

That was strange. Why was he frowning? Shiro searched through his memory for a moment when Keith was not laughing or smiling. He did find a few instances: When he was sleeping, when Shiro woke him up and when he fell on his lap, but besides that...

As he waited, Keith took off his coat, holding it on the crook of his arm. The barista turned back, handing him the drinks, her smile stretching. This time, it was much more genuine, charged with interest, lust? She leaned forward, her hand brushing his when he took the two cups. His expression turned sour. She talked to him for a short while, clutching as his hand. He shook his head and spun around, walking away. The girl leaned her chin on the back of her hand, despondent. Shiro noticed how her eyes graze Keith’s body like a hungry animal. He did not like it.

The young man came back, a smile back on his face. Resting both cups on the table, he tilted his head to the side, analysing Shiro’s expression.

- What?

Keef 2

Shiro had to admit the girl had some wicked taste. Without his coat on, Keith’s long sleeved shirt was hugging every curve of his body, showing off his defined hips, a wine red scarf wrapped jealously around his long neck, contrasting with the glow of the skin of his collarbone. He felt the natural pull the young man had on him, that was some power.

- Did you get a phone number?

He felt ridiculous about asking. He should not have. Keith’s smile turned into a smirk.

- Jealous? I’ve already got mine, why would I need another?

- You took mine.

- I actually didn’t. Your friend gave it to me, bless his soul.

Dumping his coat on the back of his chair, he approached Shiro again and points at his lap, grinning.

- Sooo, is this seat taken?

Proceeding to sit down on said lap, not caring that he did not receive an answer. Shiro must have turned purple, because Keith’s laugh bubbled over when he crossed his legs. The young man’s form was warm against his body and it fit like a missing puzzle piece.

- You really are shameless.

- I know right? I’m actually surprised by myself.

Still blushing, Shiro curled his arm around Keith’s waist, holding him tight. He wondered about how the strange relationship he was building with the young man might be going too fast. He was far from being in a good enough mental shape to take care of others; he barely dealt with going to school three times a week, let alone having to spend time with students that seemed to love getting into his personal space, while Keith filled his bubble with easy comfort. It was unsettling.

Keith took his coffee and sipped at it, his eyes locking on him. Shiro stared back and smiles softly; feeding off the unfounded fondness he had for the mysterious young man. Keith raised a perfect eyebrow and finally brought his cup back down.

- So talk to me big guy. What do you do? I mean, besides being a gym rat cut from marble, letting skinny teens sitting on your lap for hours and being so uncomfortable with yourself, you’d rather die than spending time with me. Hell, you almost had me beg.

Cut from marble?
He shrugged, well he could not deny being uncomfortable with himself. Wanting to die was a recurring feeling too. So Keith had noticed how much of a mess he was, and he was still sitting there. Huh. Strange.

- I teach at the Garrison. I tutor young cadets into becoming fighter pilots with the simulator and train them on hand-to-hand combat. So more of a coach than gym rat? Throwing an arrogant child over my shoulder is some work-out even though I do spend a lot of time there by myself as well. What about you?

Both Keith’s eyebrows shot up and he made a surprised sound, bringing his cup back down.

- Never mind me. Seriously?

Shiro blinked in confusion.

- Seriously what? That I can throw a kid over my shoulder or that I teach?

- Well both! The Garrison? So it’s not just your body that’s hot, you’re mind too? I swear, you’re better than any image I’ve ever had of the perfect man. So what kind of degrees do you own?

His mind? His body? HOT? Perfect man? It was a good thing Shiro was already blushing, because he might have found a new definition of the physical reaction Keith was bringing out of him. (Something like erupting possibly.) He figured this time could be good as any to take his drink from the table. Coughing, he took a sip, toning down the warm colors on his face.

- …I have a doctorate in astrophysics, a bachelor’s degree in mathematics majoring in probability and statistics, have dabbled in some aeronautical engineering and…

He hesitated when Keith’s eyes become as big as saucers. Shiro noticed how he had stopped breathing; Keith's next answer was barely a whisper, forced out of his throat so that Shiro would not stop explaining.

- And?

- …and received pilot training at a young age. I can fly anything from a helicopter, to a jet or even military prototypes. Well, use to, not anymore, not since my accident. I also know a few… martial arts and… I… what is it?

Keith’s irises had blown out of proportion as Shiro’s words came out. His voice died in his mouth. The young man’s grin was splitting his face in two, his cheeks flushed in pleasure. (Or was it arousal, it looked like arousal.) Not asking, not telling, he grabbed Shiro by the collar of his shirt and pulled him closer.

Shiro yelped in surprise.

Raising himself up, he straddled Shiro and took his lips (AGAIN?!) kissing him savagely. The hunger emanating from the man was intoxicating; his teeth were snapping at Shiro’s mouth and his tongue forced it open. It was filthy, wet and making Shiro’s toes curl obscenely. The groan escaping Shiro’s mouth was probably too loud and indecent. The older man grabbed Keith’s hips, grounding himself, or at least tried to.

Strong hands ran across his chest and over his shoulders gripping his neck. Shiro knew that if he died at this instant, he would be happy. The fingers caressing his back trailed his spine, feeding the fire lighting up in his groin. Death might have been sweeter than he had first pictured, and now it had a name… Keith.

When Keith eventually let go, a whine of displeasure escaped the older man’s mouth. The young man tipped his head, resting his forehead against Shiro’s. He licked his lips. His smile was wicked and dirty, the purple in his eyes almost gone, fiery need blazing above it. When he glued his body to Shiro’s, a familiar pressure dug into his abs. Omg. Arousal. It… was… arousal. Shiro felt his soul leave his body a bit more. He grasped at it.

- You… are hereby allowed to use me like your personal fucking whore. Talk astrophysics to me and I’ll let you fuck me up 7 ways until Sunday. Never mind that, please bring me to your car so that I can suck you dry until you cry. Fuck, you’re so fucking hot, I would do it here if you asked me to.

Shiro whimpered, not sure about how he should answer to that. If he had not had total self-control, drilled in him by the army, he would have picked the guy up and taken him up on his offer. But Shiro was flawed, never answered his urges and did not believe anything positive people said about him.

- Keith… we barely know each other.

- That doesn’t change the fact that I seriously want to bone you.

Keith lips slid across Shiro’s jaw, making shivers run down his spine. Fire, more fire. He kissed his cheeks softly and Shiro wanted to take everything and keep it for himself. His head shifted, leaning into Keith’s affectionate ministration. Yes please. More please. Do that again. Damn… he couldn’t. Shouldn’t… Be the adult Shiro. If this makes him run away, he is not the right one. He hoped Keith would not run away.

His hold tensed on Keith’s hips and when he finally made a decision, Grabbing him by the shoulders, he gently pushed him away, dying from embarrassment. Back away. It’s fine. If you want something, you take it, but not like this. Not like this.

- I would really like it… if we could get to know each other better… first? I mean… we’re in public.

Keith pouted softly, scrutinizing the neighboring tables. A grin appearing on his fine face.

- Yeah, I think that woman is about to either have an aneurism or the yummiest blog post for her fellow fifty something friends. Want cream with that honey? I can make it a good one. <3

- Keith!

Keith laughed happily as the lady gasped. She stood up with her husband/friend/companion and ran away, sitting as far from them as she could. Right, death… Keith really was a grim reaper after all. Cream. Who talks about CREAM in that kind of situation? (Apparently Keith does.)

- Fine, sure. Get to know each other better, I can live with that.

He stepped off, sitting on his own chair. Leaning back, he extended his long legs and rested them on Shiro’s lap, crossing them. He wiggled his foot and smiled. The change of mood was sudden, almost unnatural, but not uncomfortable. There was no disappointment on the boy’s face when he shrugged, sipping on his coffee again. What a relief.

To help himself calm down, Shiro did the same. Resting his free hand on the table, he chose to ignore the familiarity of Keith’s actions. He drank his latte in silence, choosing his words carefully.

He could not help but bring his head down, when he put the cup back on the table. There were things he needed to get out of his chest and he was afraid, terrified even. What if he was right about the boy leaving? He did not want to be right.

- You are recklessly crazy and too honest. If you wanted to be the death of me, that is definitely the right way to go. My heart just folded on itself and I’m pretty sure my entire body has a hard on. But, I swear to God… if this is your idea of a prank, I kindly ask that you stop right now, before I am in too deep.

Keith’s brows knot together, a frown darkening his features.

- You don’t believe me when I tell you I think you are hot?

- I don’t think I am hot.

- Good thing I am the one looking at you. I mean, not mentioning what we just talked about, I want to get you naked to draw you at every angle. Would you let me do that?

That made Shiro look up. The young man did not seem to be lying. Shiro tried to not be horrified by the idea of being naked in front of someone he barely knew. Keith did not know about the scars, it was not his fault. He had to bite the interior of his mouth to stop the nausea from rising. Scars, they were just scars.

It’s fine. You’re fine.

Taking a deep breath, he disguised it as a sigh and asked the first question that popped into his head.

- Draw me…? Are you an artist?

- Yeah. Usually people notice right away, because I’m covered in paint, or glue, or what ever I’m working with at the moment. You caught me during clean days, lucky bastard.

A small smile lit the gorgeous man’s face, as he pulled on his bangs. Nervous gesture?

- So, would you be comfortable enough to let me? I mean, you can keep boxers on, or even pants if you want. You’re just an ideal model? All those muscles, I’d be really happy if I could study them.

Shiro looked away, shying from the reflection of his face on the metallic table. He wondered what made him anxious more: the idea of Keith seeing him without some piece of clothes on, or to see himself portrayed by somebody else. He comprehended that his vision of himself was far from accurate. Well, maybe not that far. Pretty close. Probably not as horrible as it should be. Matt was injured because of him and… Sam was dead and… the blades…

He took a deep shuddering breath, clinching his eyes shot. Calm down. There’s no fire, no fire. No blades, no helicopter, everybody was safe.

His reply was a little louder than he had intended and brusque. It felt like he had lunged at Keith in self-defence, a dog bite.

- I don’t have mirrors so that I don’t see myself naked. Why would I want you to see me?

It was defensive, an accusation, all he wanted was to be comfortable and Keith was shooting down all his barriers with so much ease, he felt his anger boil over. He moved his free hand, clasping at Keith leg a little too tightly. It was a small gesture, nothing to read too much into. Well, maybe besides the fact that he was terrified the young man would leave. He was not normal. He did not deserve what was offered to him. His thoughts were dark. He was ugly. Matt always said: “I can live with being a monster”, but Shiro knew it was a lie, because he could not.

- …why don’t you want to see yourself naked?

The question was innocent, caring, but it still unsettled him. Ugly. So ugly. A monster.

- …

- Right. I’m sorry. Too direct. It’s fine if you don’t want to. I can draw you with clothes on too. Would THAT be okay?

Clothes. At least they could hide part of the ugliness. Relief was a salve on his wounds.

- Yeah. That sounds… fine.

They stayed in silence for a moment, the music of the coffee shop sifting through the sounds of the machines while other clients stepped in and out of the building. Most of them left, while others seemed to prefer the natural light filtering in through the windows. Keith and Shiro remained alone at the back of the small store.

It was shameful, how Shiro suffered. He wanted to be stronger, better and he could not. It was just an accident, people got into accidents everyday, but why could he not get passed it?

- I’m sorry.

The apology was probably for his rude rebuff, or maybe it was about his entire being.

Keith was still sipping at his coffee, innocently comfortable and unbothered by the initial refusal when Shiro looked back up. His gaze was unwavering, reflecting his sadness at Shiro’s state and his curiosity at how deep in the hell of his own mind he lived. There was recognition, understanding and a little of something Shiro did not recognize.

- What for?

- I’m a pretty damaged person I guess.

Keith shrugged and forced a smile on his face. He put his coffee down, resting a hand on top of Shiro’s, the one that was still grasping at his leg. Shiro realized how tight his grip had been. He released it, leaving his hand there.

- So am I. Does it bother you?

Shiro chuckled softly.

- How are you damaged? You’re perfect.

His answer was preceded by another snort, that one without laughter.

- Yeah sure, perfectly awful. Don’t worry hot stuff, I don’t think you’re damaged. You DO seem to have some serious issues, but… it’s fine. I have issues of my own.

The cool understanding was everything Shiro did not know he wanted. Shiro did not recall ever feeling more affection for a stranger. He took his drink back up, drinking it slowly, enjoying its softness. No caffeine had been a good idea. Keith’s fingers remained on his hand as he turned it around, taking it gently in his own. He wanted this man and everything that he was.

His calming sea.

It was a stumble back to reality, when another man approached them, locking his arm around Keith’s chair.

- Keiith, baaabe. Fancy seeing you around.

They both looked up at the intruder, Keith annoyed, Shiro surprised. The man was unusually tall, thin, with dark olive skin and bleached blood shaggy hair. His face was longer than most, with an aquiline nose and a stubble he had probably ignored that morning. His clothes were similar to Keith’s: tight dark jeans, looser vibrant colored shirt, leather coat, with a pair of metallic goggles that fit with his mid-calf high boots. He was not Shiro’s type, but probably still considered handsome.

His arm swerved around Keith’s neck, his fingers lodging themselves into his hair and loosening the small ponytail. His actions revealed a closeness between the two men Shiro did not want to see. The newcomer pulled, forcing Keith’s head back so he looked up at him.

Shiro was not a jealous man, but he still felt it simmer in his lizard brain, its green color filling his vision.

- Rolo.

The young man pushed the other one away with a rough hand, growling, as his hair was pulled even looser. He scoffed, tugging at the elastic in his hair, making it fall on his shoulders gracefully. Releasing his grip on Shiro, Keith swept his curls backwards, tying his hair back up again, an annoyed expression visible on his fine face.

- You’re in the way. What do you want dick head?

Resting his hand back on Keith’s seat, the man, Rolo, turned his head towards Shiro. His gaze rolled down and back up Shiro’s body in interest. Shiro felt defiled.

- So, who’s this fine specimen?

Chapter Text

Animosity was emanating from Keith in blistering waves as his gaze barely drifted up towards to the newcomer. Rolo, he had called him. His hand was still on Keith's chair, his fingers dangerously close to the young man's neck… his flawless skin. Hands off. HANDS OFF. The screams rang in Shiro’s head, as his stare turned into an icy glare. Those fingers, he wanted them gone, but that man kept close and was still talking. Shiro was not listening anymore, he wanted Keith to pay attention to him. He willed him to look up.

Shiro was not jealous.

He was not.

Really.

Not at all jealous. Nothing. Nope. Can’t be jealous about someone you barely know… someone you’ve just met. Someone who calms your panic attacks with a simple stare. Someone so beautiful, every other color in the world seemed to dim out, fade, become grey. His internal world was dark and twisted, while Keith was a shinning beacon.

If willing him to look up would not work, he would find another way.

So, in a not at all jealous gesture, Shiro seized the ankle still resting on his lap. He brushed his hand up, pulling on the pant leg slightly, just enough for skin to peek out, white and smooth. Brushing his left hand back down, he grabbed the edge of the fabric, his fingers pressing on the warm skin. He wanted to dig his nails in the soft skin. He stared at Keith as he did this, his eyes turning dark in jealousy.

Look at me .

Uncontrollable, unexplained, raw possessiveness.

To his delight, it finally worked. Keith’s gaze lazily slid right back to his face, locking unto him. His frown turned into a smirk and he winked, aware of more than was let on. Yes. That's it. He is mine. Mine. Mine .

- This… Rolo, is my very attractive, mature, tempting date and if you so much as breathe in his direction, I will make sure you are quite literally unable to maintain life. I hope you are not that brave.

Shiro did not know why, but this statement was probably the single hottest thing that ever came out of Keith’s mouth. (Well, except that wicked tongue…) The levels of the young man’s flirting abilities were out of this world, compared to Shiro's, but the roundabout violence of his words made his spine rigid and his cock so hard, his pants strained under the pressure.

Fucking hell. He was too old to come in his pants like a teenager. Take a deep breath Takashi, you can survive this. What kind of behavior is this? Are you a child?

Rolo did not seem to care about Shiro’s claim or glare, or maybe he did not notice it. His hand remained in the same position. He bent forward, talking to Keith in a lower tone, which Shiro could still hear very well.

- Right, not breathing I swear… so, you coming to the studio today?

Keith’s gaze did not waver. His eyes latched unto Shiro’s as he answered.

- Maybe in the late afternoon, like I said before: “I'm busy.”

- Didn't you say you had this important client to deal with? I mean, you were all in a tizzy two days ago, saying you probably wouldn't have the time to finish in time, how the colors were shit and the client was an idiotic know-it-all. New deadline?

Keith's head snapped to the side and he bared his teeth, like an animal. Pushing his friend's hand away from his chair, he twisted, sliding his legs off Shiro's lap, in anger. His warmth lingered. Shiro's breath stuttered slightly, mourning the loss.

- Deadline's the same. Now, how about you get your ugly nose out of my business and leave us be chopsticks? Didn't I saw this man was my DATE? You do know what a date is, don't you?

Two important details registered at that point :

  1. It was his first time seeing Keith angry and it was intriguing

  2. Keith was late on a job because of him.

Shiro was not comfortable with that knowledge, he did want to spend as much time as possible with the gorgeous boy, but not at the cost of his work. He brushed aside some details about his thoughts ...wanting to spend time with a stranger, feeling the pull from his body, warmth no longer pressing on his legs. He just wanted to get his hands on him, but he couldn't. He couldn't. Especially not now.

Pushing aside his needs was something Shiro did every day, so he shifted forward, his expression turning into one of worry.

- Keith, if you're busy, you should have said. I...

His date was definitely waiting for these words, as his hand shot up and pressed on his mouth in a quick motion. His eyes shifted and he smiled softly.

- It's fine. I'm not in any trouble. One sleepless night won't kill me.

Sleepless night?! From what he took from Rolo, it did not sound like a “one sleepless night” kind of deal, perhaps closer to 2 or 3. Shiro was about to protest, but froze when Keith's fingers brushed softly on his cheek, his thumb on his lower lip, than his hand on his jaw before letting go. His nails caught on a rare light stubble Shiro had not shaved that morning. His smile widened making Shiro's insides turn into jelly.

He let go. Shiro could still feel the softness of his skin, the sharpness of his nails. Shit. He was in so much trouble.

Ripping his eyes from Shiro, Keith stared back up at Rolo, annoyed, hand resting back on his lap.

- Are you going to leave us be now, or do we have to leave?

- Don't get your panties in a twist dude, I was just being friendly.

- My twisted panties have nothing to do with you.

Keith's acquaintance leaned forward again, his hand sliding on Keith's shoulder as he gave him a very clear, suggestive look. Shiro looked away, this was too personal, he felt in the way and since Keith was too far from him, he could not state a claim. Even if... well... Keith was not HIS to claim, but oh GOD did he want him. It was burning at his core, an undying amber he angrily tried to put out to save himself.

- But they could.

- No. No they couldn't.

The fire burned brighter. He should stomp it out. He knew that if this did not work out, he would probably die inside so much more than he could predict. Keith was anchoring himself so deep in his being with his smiles, his touches, that it just hurt when he did not have his full attention. Push away Shiro, people do not want you, they use you and disappear, they always do.

As the conversation progressed in front of him, he pressed his lips on his cup of latte. Ignore it, do not listen. Keith was a grown up, he could do what he wanted. Drinking slowly, he let the dying heat from his drink fill his mouth, barely savoring its creaminess.

- Are you su...

- I just answered you. Don't make me repeat myself.

Keith's quick movement made him look up. He observed, as the young man grabbed his friend by the nose, pushing him away roughly. Rolo whined, stumbling away with the offending hand on his thin face. He complained about Keith being too rough, rubbing the bridge of his nose.

Hell, you can rough ME up all you want.” Shiro mentally slapped himself at the intrusive thought. This was getting out of hand. Fuck.

They both argued in front of him, Keith seething and Rolo, hands up, trying to calm him down. Eventually, the young man leaned back on his chair, crossing both his arms and legs.

- Leave. You're in the way.

- Fine. Fine. But one last question, on a scale of 1 to 10, how bootylicious is your date? He looks high in your ratings.

Shiro's eyes widened, as a finger was pointed his way. Bootylicious? What did that even mean? Who USED that word anyway? (I do XP) Apparently this guy did. Shiro was about to laugh, when he caught Keith's eyes on him.

His mouth dried up at the darkness in his eyes. Oh... my god. He swallowed.

- A solid 20.

OH.

MY.

GOD.

He died a little more inside. PUT IT OUT SHIRO. PUT IT OUT OR YOU'LL SUFFER A LONG AND PAINFUL DEATH.

- Wow, congrats. Your fuck of this week is ace-on.

What? ...this week?

- You might want to shut up now.

- Honestly, last week sucked balls, he was like a 3. I mean, I swear, you should aim higher all the time. Sendak was a sad sad score. Did he even make you come? It did NOT look like he did the way you rant on about it. I definitely could have done better.

The demon in his heart lifted its head, grabbing his heart in his sharp claws and squeezed. Nails dig deep and more than blood dripped out. Shiro was not stupid, far from. He knew his diplomas did not mean he could read between the lines, but there were barely any lines to begin with. He called him “hot stuff”, he should have known... Fuck of this week.

- ALRIGHT! I’m ways away from killing you now, making you suffer until you beg for it will be much more satisfying. Better keep a close eye on those sculptures of yours. Let's go Shiro.

Shiro barely registered it, when Keith grabbed his hand and forced him standing. He put his coat on and zipped Shiro's in a motherly fashion. Getting a tight grip on his fingers, he walked towards the exit, seething, while Shiro's mind kept expiring.

How could Keith want him, for him? They barely knew each other. Had talked for less than an hour all together. Shiro was an idiot. A complete, utterly hopeless, imbecile.

His skin felt soggy in Keith's hand. “Another thing to hate.” His feet dragging on the pristine floors of the coffee shop, their cups forgotten. “Wasting his hard earned money.” His monstrous body crowded the door as Keith pushed it open.

- Hands off my stuff, twink!

Rolo almost screamed, making other patrons look up.

- Hands off ME horn-dog.

Keith screamed back.

He was indecisive, too small for his ugly shell, a perverse, gloomy soul within a defective body. This was a mistake, but still he followed.

- Are you sure you won't change your mind about what we talked about? I mean, I can make it worth your while.

The open wound stung, scorching his very being. He realized then how desperately he had hung unto the fleeting happiness of the idea of Keith. The idea of waking up next to him, arguing because he burnt his breakfast again or bicker about senseless details of their daily lives... colors of his tie... tv shows they would watch... where they might go on vacation...

- NOT listening! You should learn to take no for an answer. Go jerk off to your girlfriend, fucker.

Keith ignored the cry of outrage as he finally let go of the door, his nails jabbing, almost ripping the skin of his hand appart.

The idea of him... crumbled. The most important piece falling to his feet and turning to dust. Shiro watched as they started blowing away, images of all the possibilities fading softly at the back of his mind. He kept a few in a small box, hoping to revisit them on better days. Bus rides. Kisses. Hand in hand.

His chest was wide open, bleeding out, mourning the loss of something he never actually had.

He walked behind Keith, who still held his hand steady. His anger was visible, clouding around his head as they ambled in the quiet streets. Eventually reaching a deserted wooded area, Shiro's mind finally muted by the peaceful environment.

A single thought popped in his head.

Ask Shiro. If you know what you are, you won't get hurt again. If you don't want it, you can just walk away and forget everything that as happened. Ask. ASK. WHY AREN'T YOU ASKING?

He forced the words out, his voice barely audible.

- …is that what I am?

Keith's feet froze, grounding him on the spot. His hand tightened and his head barely turned, his soft curls brushed against his rosy cheeks. Shiro could not see his expression, his mouth hidden away under his small stripped muffler.

- What?

Shiro swallowed. Ask Shiro. He pulled his hand away from Keith, registering the small resistance from the young man grip, before he let go.

- Your “fuck of this week”. Is that what I am?

There was a small pause. Keith looked up at the sky, his breath filtering out of his lips in small clouds. He closed his eyes and opened them back up, exhaling softly.

- I…

Keith paused again and finally turned around. He kept his head down, which seemed peculiar. Shiro knew him as this pushy, extroverted type of person, the kind that took what he wanted, how he wanted it and when he wanted it.

The young man seemed to think for a long moment, his bangs hiding his eyes. An apologetic smile appeared on his face as he finally answered, his eyes remaining hidden.

- Look Shiro. I’m not usually committed okay. I have fun with guys I like, or like me when I’m less lucky. It DID start like that... you're hot. But you can... you know, walk away if you're disappointed. I know I'm trash.

Trash. He was trash? Was he?

Shiro was not sure what Keith's definition of trash was, but it definitely did not match his. The young man HAD mentioned having issues of his own, was this it? Were the views he had of himself so twisted he considered being a waste of a human being? That was something the older man could relate to, but he chose to ignore the comment and concentrated on something else.

- …start like what?

- Like I'd like to climb you up like a tree and leave when I'm done. I changed my mind?

Shiro almost laughed at that, his cheeks coloring. The young man's bluntness was becoming legendary.

- You’ll have to elaborate. I'm not sure climbing me is a good activity worth so much of your time.

He chuckled some more.

Keith sniggered softly, scratching the back of his neck. He finally raised his head up, his dark-violet eyes searching Shiro's expression. Shiro looked back, finding a soft sadness, some pain and an insurmountable amount of regret.

- I bet it actually is.

- Please elaborate, Keith.

He paused again, opened his mouth, then closed it. His cherry lips twisted and he chewed down on his muffler, his eyes drifting left and right. Frustrated, he pulled the scarf down his chin and took a deep breath, resolved.

- …I changed my mind! I mean, you’re kind of sweet and interesting. I barely know you and I’m realizing I actually want to get to know you better. That brain of yours is a major turn on, among other things. Which is a surprise. I guess you learn something about yourself every day huh. 'Cause... you know... anybody that would have said “lets get to know each other first”, I would have turned them down. But…

He hesitated, biting down his lower lip.

The young man was enticing, irresistible, while Shiro felt small and inconsequential in front of him. His own body was slightly turned away, probably betraying how he just wanted to run away, his nerves stretched thin. He grasped at his courage and pushed further.

- But?

Keith's eyes rolled upwards in desperation as he sighed again. He mumbled.

- Questions... so many questions...

He groaned in frustration, stepping forward. Reaching out, he grabbed Shiro by the waist and pulled him flushed against his body. His forehead pressed on the older man's collarbone. Shiro's heart did a somersault.

The older man's hands twitched. For some reason, Keith looked desperate and he wanted to engulf him in his arms to never let go. He held back, as he always did.

Keep pushing.

- But?

-…but not you? I don’t know why. You resonate with me I guess. I can see how you suffer inside, it’s so clear on your face and it’s a little bit like a mirror. I see you in me. I understand that… I don’t want to be alone, like you probably do. I don't know how to explain it, since usually that would have made me ruuuun for the hills. But... you don't. Please don't make me explain more. I haven't strained that many words together in years.

The last few sentence were more of a growl, as Keith tightened his grip on Shiro's waist. His long fingers dug in his flesh, almost bruising.

Shiro laughed, his arms circling the young man's slender shoulders. He leaned forward, pressing his cheek on the top of his head, burying his nose in his untamed ebony hair. The faith perfume of his shampoo filled his nostrils, placating his injured thoughts. Cinnamon... vanilla... and something peppery. It stung lightly. He liked it.

Keith leaned into his touch, nuzzling his chest. He circled his arms around Shiro's waist, pulling him even closer, his leg brushing against Shiro's tights.

Humming, Shiro put his thoughts in order, categorizing his questions, discarding some and highlighting others.

- What about Rolo?

Keith growled again.

- What about him?

Shiro pondered, wondering at how he could ask without sounding like a jealous teenager. Be direct maybe?

- Is he... your... I mean... are you two...?

It was a babble more than a question. He had failed miserably at it apparently.

- Huh. I didn't take you for the jealous type hot stuff.

He felt the young man smirk against the skin of his neck, as he chuckled, tapping his fingers on his back softly.

Shiro frowned.

- ...it's hard to get jealous about a guy I barely know. This isn't what this is.

- Right. Rolo is a guy a share my studio with, him and 7 others. Can't deny that he wants in my ass, but he's unwelcome. His girlfriend is sweet.

He was glad that Keith dropped the jealousy talk. He was not jealous. Could not be jealous. Would not let himself get... more... jealous... Aaaaah... fuck.

Another angle Shirogane, think of something else. The therapist said... if you can't get yourself out of a situation that wounds you, look at it through different eyes. Turn around, turn around, right. She's sweet, his girlfriend.

- Girlfriend? And he wants to... with you...

- Yep. Ever heard of open relationships?

Shiro nodded, he had heard, but was not attracted by the idea of sharing. He was greedy and wanted to own every single inch and part of things he could get his hands on. If that included a person, so be it.

- That's him taking advantage of that.

The older man frowned again.

- ...your world seems so much more degenerate than mine.

Keith laughed, patting Shiro's back in a friendly manner.

- So tactless.

- I'm just copying you.

His comment made Keith cackle loudly. He liked hearing Keith laugh and barely realized how the hurt he had felt just moments ago had tickled away, replaced by the now much more familar warmth

Happiness. He smiled.

- …so NOT your fuck of the week then.

- Unless you want to. And you know, be the fuck of every week until you get fed up with me.

Yes please, was the first thought that popped up in his head, but Shiro thought better of it. Push your needs away, find another angle, so he brought his hand up and caressed the unruly curls softly. His fingers dig deep as he scratched Keith's scalp gently. He could not help but smile, feeling content.

Keith let out a soft groan, tilting his head to the side. Shiro's response was an easy one.

- Why would I get fed up with you…?

- Because, that’s what people do.

Shiro hummed, here was something else he could relate to. People DID seem to leave a lot. He brushed his fingers through Keith's hair, thinking about it some more. Wondering about how he was and why he also had almost run away just seconds ago.

- I guess they do huh.

- Pretty much.

He had been scared. Possibly, most people felt the same and chose not to face the situation. Such a shame.

- It sucks.

Keith snorted and laughed. His chin rose up, resting on Shiro's chest as he smirked, his eyes shining with glee. His cheeks flushed as his smile widened, a small canine peeking out at the corner.

What? What did he say now?

- Heh, so do I.

Shiro's cheeks burned crimson as he pushed away the image of Keith's plump lips around his cock. That minx, he knew what he was doing and it was WORKING. Ah damn it... Body, if you dare to REACT, I am going to make you SUFFER later.

- …honestly?

- Oh yeah, I’m really good at it.

Oh god.

Shiro seriously considered doing an extensive search about how one's body could self-combust at the simple words of an attractive young male. If there were similar cases, he wanted to know about them, because he was not certain he could deal with the entirety of what ever Keith was without any kind of help.

The sharp pang he felt behind his bellybutton still unfurled in his guts, all the blood from his body rushing downwards to a single point, his manhood responding immediately at how Keith's lips glistened when he licked his upper lip. Fuck. Don't be a teenager Shiro.

Pushing his hips away, he was fully aware of how his body had ignored his command and refused to let it show anymore than necessary. Think of something else, galaxy formation, the theoretical possibility of a white hole, red stars and... red lips... and... a wet.... warm tongue...aaah...

He swallowed, monumentally failing at his attempt of control.

- T-That’s not what I meant.

Shiro yelped when Keith grabbed his ass, pulling him back flush against him. Both their crotches pressed together, hard. He could not help but groan under the pressure. Self-control, Shiro... you need to learn self-control.

- I know, but it's still true hot stuff.

Apparently, Keith did not know about patience or self-control. He grabbed Shiro's chin and pressed his wet lips on the corner of his mouth, his tongue licking it softly. His hips rolled once against Shiro's as he swallowed the gasp he emitted, opening his mouth in response.

Shiro felt cold when he immediately stepped back, digging his fingers into his coat and taking out a crushed pack of cigarettes. He took one out, placing it between his perfectly shaped lips.

- Want to take a walk?

That no good... cock teasing... fuck...

A breathless “okay” was the only answer Shiro could give, as he stepped up besides the young man.

 

Chapter Text

The next few days passed in a haze. Keith having to work on his art commission, while Shiro resumed his days of teaching at the Garrison. As strange as it might seem, his mind always felt more at ease when he was within his office space. The rules were rigid, but it was an environment he recognized from his days of normalcy. Those less stagnant days when he had not been broken.

He enjoyed being called “Sir” by the younger generation. It was duplicitous, since they were ordered to do so, but he could always pretend he had value in their eyes when they did so. He appeared useful, wanted. It made him want to spend time at the Garrison, even his current position was far from what he had wished as a career. His days of teaching still progressed in a leisurely, but enjoyable manner, by shaping up kids to become strong dependable adults. He was proud.

With the newly added pleasure of exchanging texts with Keith, Shiro was in heaven.

Their texting was the usual ribbing within standard friendly chatter. Light and comfortable, the kind of chatting he could do while he worked.

 

Keith [18:42] “Sleep is overrated HS”

Shiro [18:44] “How so?”

Keith [18:55] “Id rather sleep WT men then next to them
1st more enjoyable”

Shiro [18:56] “Oh god, why would you tell me this?”

Keith [18:59] “U seem like a comfortable men 2 sleep wt
I thought wed covered that already”


They talked about anything and everything, how they both lived their lives, their friends, what they liked to eat the most, or how they might spend lazy evenings.

 

Keith [10:07] “Mac? How can THAT be ur fav?
I swear, ur $$LOADED$$ Id believe filet mignon being closer 2 ur standards than THAT orange goop”

Shiro [10:10] “ (Loaded?!) That's because you haven't tasted the Garrison’s macaroni and cheese. It's a piece of art.”

Keith [10:42]“Dont bother trying 2 make me taste it
Its the same in and out the fucking box”

Shiro [10:45] “You have no taste Keith.”

Keith [10:46] “Well knowing how u look like
I think I have GR8 taste
Dont u?”

 

 

Keith liked b-rated movies apparently, he found them hilarious, and Shiro loved to read sci-fi novels. The mundane details mixed up with the excitement of their first two meetings, filling his heart with a warmth he had never encountered before, or at least not at that magnitude.

 

 

Shiro [22:59] “I bet you laugh at me all the time. You're actually a closet jerk.”

Keith [23:13] “AH!!1 No Im a plain jerk and unashamed 2b
U just know my sweet side better”

Shiro [23:15] “I think you spelled horny wrong there.”

Keith [23:26] “LOLLL So u CAN be funny huh
I like u more and more.”

 

 

Surprisingly, Shiro found talking with Keith to be effortless. He was astonished at how the young man found the time, within his busy schedule, to talk with him. He usually kept his sentences short and to the point, unless he was teasing, which he did more often then not.

 

 

Shiro [9:00] « I don't understand what you see in me most of the time. You look like this hungry lion, just ready to pounce. I feel like I should run away. Do you have a prosthetic arm kink I should know about? Because outside of that, I just don't understand the appeal of me.»

Keith [9:12] “Yes Nah Not it.”

Shiro [9:13] “What is it then?”

Keith [9:41] “U sure u want 2 ask via txt”

Shiro [9:45] “Well, I am curious and I'm not sure I would be able to live with the answer face to face knowing how you deliver information.”

Keith [10:08] “Cant say I disagree wt that statement.”

Shiro [10:20] “So?”

Keith [10:50] “What can I say HS... ur overall persona is attractive not forgetting how mature u are
Weve been talking a lot in the past few days and I c more and more of how intelligent and kind u r
It does THINGS 2 me
But 2 be quite frank I love big dicks and I cannot lie
So dont disappoint k? <3”

Shiro [10:52] “...I've never been so right in my life. I'm going to go die now.”

Keith [10:53] “ (*≧ ▽ ≦ ) ノシ )) ”

 

 

The older man’s mind might have expired the first time he sent a selfie, his face full of paint, grinning up at the camera, all alabaster skin and eyes deep pools of endless mirth. His shirt's neckline might have been too low, or maybe it was how his long fingers pushed his bangs away from his face. The fingers that had kindly put the gloves on his prosthetic, the ones the curled around his jaw when they kissed. All and all, he loved the entire project and could not stop himself from putting it in the background of his cellphone.

During these few days, he got more used to the young man’s forwardness, even if it still made him crimson all the way to his ears.

 

 

Keith [14:12] Shut up or Ill call u Daddy again HS.

Shiro [14:18] Please don't. I feel old enough as it is, with my white hair and scar on my face. I look twice your age.

Keith [14:25] Stop with that. Ur hot.

Shiro [14:28] I believe you are the only one who thinks that. So you might be wrong there.

Keith [14:45] Fuck it. Ur a beefcake. And Id totally eat that.

Shiro [14:53] Omg, please stop. I don't even know what being a beekcake means and I'm not certain I can stand your definition of it. And using the word “eat” is a bit...

Keith [15:01] Deal with it, these r simple truths HS. Simple. Truths.

 

 

When he got the invitation to join him at his studio to celebrate him “finally being fucking done with this stupid piece of shit art”, he agreed wholeheartedly. He was told to just “walk in”, that the others “would not care”. He still stopped in front of the door, eyeing the list of artists that were sharing the room:

  • Acxa

  • Keith

  • Lance

  • Lotor

  • Nyma

  • Pidge

  • Plaxum

  • Rolo

  • Shay

  • (Vacant - for rent)

…no last names?

He frowned. At least he recognized Keith’s name. Gently pushing the door open, he stepped in silently. The large studio had probably been an old loft they had repurposed into a sharable space. The large windows let in plenty of natural light and it had been separated in 10 evenly spaced areas, with a small kitchen near the entrance. He looked around registering the smell of paint, ink and glue in the air, with the sound of typing and soft music in his ears. A few of the presently on site artists looked up, some on computers, an other working with crystals, another with... chalk? Most barely registered his presence, going back to work, while others nodded. His gaze scanned around the room and locked on a face he actually recognized, the azure-eyed boy, which was stationed on the far left. He had black headphones on, head bobbing to the music blaring in his ears, his olive skin contrasting with the white hoodie he was wearing.

Shiro stepped forward, remembering Keith’s instructions.

 

Keith: [15:54] “My studio is @ the end, near the windows. Cant miss it. Its right next 2 Lance.”

 

Shrugging, Shiro figured Lance must be that young man. The area next to his desk was a closed off space. It was surrounded by high bookcases, their tops filled with buckets of various unknown substances, piles of canvases, some white, some filled with colors, and other objects Shiro could not identify. Keith was an artist, the set up made sense.

Lance looked up when he passed by, possibly noticing the movement or maybe his nose had picking up the food Shiro was carrying. Recognition flashed on his fine features and he grinned, then tilted his head towards the studio in question and nodded softly. Bringing his head back down, he started typing furiously on his keyboard, the look of concentration back on his young face.

Entering the space, Shiro registered the strong smell of paint thinner tickling his nose. Keith's small section of the studio was crowded with a desk, a futon, a table and 4 easels, all supporting large pieces of vibrant art. Shiro stopped and examined them all careful, he found that he liked Keith's art. He wondered if he was being biased. The floor was covered in a thick plastic tarp, stained with various colors of paint or even glue.

Keith was slumped down on the ragged futon, his black shirt riding up, and his bellybutton showing. His hair was an unabated mess, his eyes closed and his mouth slightly opened. He was asleep. The older man could not help but smile, as he rested the bag of food on the small stained with even more paint glass table in front of the young man. He sat down softly besides him and leaned forward, pressing his lips on his forehead.

When he retreated, Keith was staring back at him, his ashen skin shinning under the morning light and violet oceans reflecting Shiro’s own affection vividly. It made Shiro jump and blush, a bit ashamed of being immediately caught in the act.

- Hey.

Keith grinned, exhaustion visible on his beautiful face. He brought a hand up, motioning with his finger for Shiro to lean forward again. The older man did without pause, his warm lips enveloping Keith’s softly. He parted his mouth immediately, his tongue pressing on Keith's gently, lovingly, while the young man caught his jaw within his cold fingers, holding him in place. Their kiss was drawn out like a lazy Saturday morning, lost in a bubble while the very idea of time seemed suspended between dream and reality. There was warmth in his belly, a tingled trill in his spine and a buzzing comfort in his mind, as he pressed deeper within the young man, his groan mixing up with Keith’s humming. Oh god... he was getting so attached to this youngster, it was dangerous.

Finally letting go, Shiro smiled softly at Keith, his cheeks flushed and eyes a little glazed.

- Hi. I missed you.

Humming happily some more, Keith pushed himself up on his elbows with a smile on his face.

- I can see that Hot stuff. Never thought you’d kiss me first so soon.

Sitting besides him, Shiro took his hands gently helping him sit up. His blush still apparent on his face, he pouted softly.

- Ah well… you looked beautiful. I figured you wouldn’t mind it if you had been awake. Besides, it was just your forehead...

Licking his lips, Keith smile turned into a wicked smirk.

- Not anymore.

He leaned unto Shiro’s shoulder, sliding a hand on his stomach, making the butterflies rage in its depts. Hesitating for half a beat, the older man extended his arm and circled the lean shoulders, pulling him closer. For a moment, they just cuddled, happy to be in one another’s presence.

Shiro wondered at that moment how he could be so comfortable with someone he barely knew. Well, they HAD been chatting a lot and he HAD be hitching to get his hands on him, to hold him close. He figured he should listen to himself some more. Keith clearly did not feel like complaining.

Keith eyed the bag on the table, his eyes half closed. His voice was a mumble, sounding strained.

- …that food?

- Yes.

The young man pouted and sighed, closing his eyes. His body was pressed against Shiro’s larger frame, barely holding itself up. His fingers remained on his lower stomach, the touch light as he grabbed at the fabric of his shirt, pulling softly.

- You didn’t have to. We could have called for take-out you know.

- No need now. Besides, you look exhausted and hungry. It’s the least I could do. Want some?

Keith frowned looking up at him.

- It’s not mac is it?

Laughing, Shiro released himself from Keith’s hold, leaning forward. He grabbed the large paper bag, pulling it on his knees.

- No, it's not the only thing I eat. Besides, I think Hunk would kill you if he heard you compare his cooking to macaroni and cheese.

Fiddling in the bag, he took out a warm steamed bun, handing it to Keith, grinning. Taking it, Keith eyed it suspiciously, his gaze crawling back to Shiro’s face. His eyes narrowed, his stared unbelieving.

- I promise It’s very good.

Visibly doubting the older man’s ability to actually like regular tasting food, Keith finally shrugged. Opening his mouth slowly, he was about to bite down when somebody else rushed into his space.

- IS THAT FOOD! I SMELL FOOD!

Lance’s long lanky legs had him cross the artist’s small studio in two steps, stopping besides Keith. To both their surprises, he grabbed the food in Keith’s hand and just stuffed the entire thing in his mouth shamelessly, chewing soundly.

Keith blinked shocked, than frowned and raised an eyebrow, waiting for Lance’s reaction, which was almost immediate. His clear azure eyes lit up. He brought both his hands to his cheeks as they flared up in visible pleasure.

- Oh WOAH! This is… like… REALLY GOOD. Where’d you get this? Damn, I need to ask in marriage who ever made this. She's possibly my soulmate, the futur “Misses Blue Lion”. Can I have another one?

Shiro mouthed to Keith “Blue Lion?”, while Keith answered just as silently “Artist name”.

The look of awe on Lance's face was palpable as he approached the table to steal some more food. Keith grabbed the bag before he did, clinging to it jealously. Lance’s cry of outrage was totally worth it, as Keith fetched food from the bag, biting down on the warm bun hungrily. He slumped back down against Shiro’s shoulder and sighed happily.

- …this IS really good. So hungry...

- Told you. Did you just use your friend as a guinea pig?

Keith chuckled, eating some more, but did not answer. He lazily extended his arm, patting Shiro’s leg gently as a show of comfort.

Lance loomed on top of them, visibly offended. He tapped his foot, trying to reach for the bag again, but only succeeding in ripping a small corner.

- HEY! Come on Emo Tea! SHARE!

Keith shrugged, eating some more.

- Shouldn’t you be asking Shiro about that?

Within moments, two cries of outrage and more ripped paper, Shiro was caught in the frenzy of Keith and Lance battling over the food like a wake of vultures. Pulling on the bag until it ripped completely, leaving one half in Keith’s hand the other, with the logo of the bakery, in Lance’s and its content on the sofa and Shiro’s lap.

The head of two girls popped at the entrance of the small studio, curious gazes watching the bickering.

Shiro sighed, picking up the food slowly as they kept arguing loudly.

- Look what you’ve done now. You’re wasting food!

- Well if you KNEW how to share, this wouldn’t have happened!

They both crossed their arms, forehead pressed together in a not so silent battle.

The screams were starting to give Shiro a headache. He must have blenched, because one of the girls approached him, crouching down. She grinned, her blond heavy braids falling on the table. She cocked her head to the side, her eyes scrutinizing every corning of Shiro’s body. The vibrancy of her eyes only added to her peculiarity. The color was so unnatural, a bold magenta, which must have been colored contacts, he found her more alien than anything else. His unease at her boldness made him shrink back. He smiled faintly at her.

- Huhmm…

- Your new catch is not your type Keith.

Shiro blinked. Not his type? Oh no, Shiro did not need to start feeling inadequate. Did she find him horrifying? She must be. Her eyes were so… Oh no, please stop looking.

She didn’t.

Did I put my gloves on. I think I did. I can't look down... she'll... I...

Her comment made the bickering stop. Both Keith and Lance turned to her, Lance amused and Keith annoyed.

- What’s THAT supposed to mean Nyma? You don't think I have good taste? What’s my type according to you?

Lance snorted and answered before she could.

- Trashy?

That deserved him a kick from Keith, as he growled and snapped a few insults at him, barring his teeth like an animal, while the other girl gasped. That did not seem to deter Nyma however, she leaned forward, stretching her unusually long neck like a lizard.

- I’m so curious to know how you got this one. I mean… the last one was SOOOOO interesting. The bus thing… and how you wanted to jump him the second you saw him sitting there. I swear, if I had your imagination, I’d get any fuck I want. Standing beside him and waiting for a bump in the road… hilarious…

She laughed as she turned towards Keith.

Shiro listened to her, the situation dawning on him. So Keith had talked about this…? He turned his gaze towards Keith, disbelieving.

- You’ve got a flare for the dramatic that’s for sure. Did you ever fuck the guy? The way Lance was talking about it, he must have been hella HOT for you to leave your number like that. Don’t you usually take theirs? I mean, I understand the tactic, makes sure they won’t call when you get tired of them.

No, apparently Lance did.

The girl kept chatting in a clear voice, her hands moving in sync with her words as she went on and on. Keith’s blush raised like boiling water, he opened his mouth, ready to scream at her, and closed it when he caught Shiro’s eyes on him. Turning back to her, he screeched. Usually Shiro would have jumped at the sound, but the situation was so fantastic, he savored every second.

- SHUT UP NYMA!

Keith turned back to Shiro, probably taking in how the older man rose both eyebrows. He then opened his mouth again like a dead carp, possibly hoping to explain the situation, and finally turned around, hiding his face in his hands muttering something that sounded like “oh my god… kill me now...”

- Ooookay, that’s when we leave. I got what I came for anyway. Thanks for the food and bakery’s name Shiro! Your friend is mine now!

- His name is Hunk, Lance.

- Guy huh? Well, can't pick and chose. Not that it matters to me. Come on ladies.

Shiro nodded, eyes still fixed on Keith’s lean frame.

Lance fetched one of the warm buns off the table, pulling Nyma’s hand so that she stood up. He pushed her out of the small studio.

- What… but… Lance?

- Better shut up now pretty girl.

She complained some more as she waved lazily at Shiro while being pushed out of the space, still slightly pouting. Shiro heard them talk as they walked away. “Wait, was that him? The bus guy?” “Yep.” “Ooooh. Oops? Spilled the beans huh.” “Good job, it was hilarious. You get an award for fucking Keith over. Total gold.” They all laughed, even the girl Shiro hadn’t spoken to. Keith stomped his foot groaning. “Hey Shay, mind selling me one of your rings? I have someone I need to ask in marriage today.” “Sure. What kind of message do you want to send?” “Like eloquent affection for anything food related.” The laughter and chatter didn’t really die down, but the buzzing of it turned into a pleasant background music.

That’s when Shiro had to give up, he collapsed against the futon and just started uncontrollably chuckling. Wow, he had been had, tricked by this young man. Terrible. Unbelievable.

- …wanted to jump me the second you saw me sitting there…

He laughed some more, turning his face against the fabric on the frayed furniture. How couldn’t believe he had actually thought the entire situation was an accident. Orchestrated, planned. Keith had been clearly dedicated to it.

- …waiting for a bump in the road…

He slid against it, finding himself on the floor, openly laughing, hands on his face to try and muffle the sound as much as possible. Shit, he almost smashed his head against the window, he must have really WANTED this.

Keith sat roughly on his lap as he was still laughing.

- Stop laughing!

He slapped his hands away from his face. Shiro’s eyes watered, overcome by how hysterical the entire situation was.

- …hella hot…

Shiro snorted and laughed even louder.

Slamming his fists against his chest, Keith whined loudly, almost crying at how he had been caught. He hid his face into Shiro’s shirt, pulling at it, pleading for him to stop.

- Stop LAUGHING. I’m going to kill you! Oh my god, I have THE WORST FRIENDS EVER.

- I like your friends.

- I DON’T! And I hate YOU too! SHIT!

Shiro chuckled some more, finally resting a hand on Keith’s head and caressing his messy hair gently. He grinned, his cheeks flushed in pleasure.

- So, you really think I’m hot huh?

Keith looked up, his face a deep crimson. His eyes narrowed.

- …yeah…

- Well thank you. You are not so bad yourself.

Shiro cocked his head to the side and smiled. (Like a thousand watt smile. Shiro smiletm)

- …you know… I really like you Keith.

Keith stared at him, raising his head up higher. He furrowed his brows, which made Shiro wonder about what he was thinking.

- Alright, that’s it.

He leaned back down, opening his mouth and biting down, immediately catching Shiro’s right nipple under the fabric. Shiro yelped, clasping a hand on his mouth again before he actually moaned. Fuck.

- I’m having my revenge like, right now.

Blinking in surprise, Shiro widened his eyes, blushing furiously.

- What revenge?

- A revenge blowjob.

Keith trailed kisses on Shiro’s body, even though he was still wearing his clothes. He did not try to open his shirt, nor did he try to slide hands under it. He did, however, trickle his fingers along his ribcage, sending waves of pleasure down to Shiro’s groin. He groaned.

Shiro scoffed, trying to make sense of the young man’s practiced fingers and mouth. Well that had been a sudden turn around, now that he minded.

- Since when is a blowjob a revenge?

- You’ll see once you cry for me to stop hot stuff.

Keith's tongue dipped under the fabric of his pants, licking the soft warm skin. It made Shiro's breath itch and his heart stutter.

Shiro thought about stopping him. He remembered how he had told Keith he wanted to get to know him better, but when the young man pressed his soft lips against his lower stomach, he realized he did not care. They had met a few times, had chatted on text messages, and would have probably talked on the phone if he hadn’t been so busy. He wanted this; he wanted this so badly, he let it happen.

While Shiro had a conversation with himself in his mind, the young man’s dexterous fingers made short of the button of his pants. He unzipped them and mouthed at his manhood above his boxers, pressing his warm mouth as low as he could.

- …may I…?

The question was an acknowledgment to what they had agreed on, which Shiro appreciated just as much as he did his mouth. He exhaled a soft “Oh god… yeeess…”, his body responding readily to Keith’s touches as his back arched slightly, trying to get his pleasure bone closer to the young man's warmth.

Keith pulled on the boxers, releasing the beast. He made a pleased sound, grasping it with a strong hand and kissing it softly.

- …well… aren’t you a sight for sore eyes… <3

Shiro growled.

- Oh god, don’t TALK to it.

That made Keith chuckled as he brushed his lips along Shiro’s length, keeping his grip steady at the base. His mouth reaching the tip made Shiro gasp so loud, the young man had to claps his free hand on the older man’s mouth before he sunk in.

Shiro’s body responded immediately, arching even deeper. There were no words that could explain the levels of pleasure he felt during that perfect moment in time. A single second where nothing else mattered. No words. Not a single sound.

The entire experience was heat, starlight and a wet tongue slithering across his cock, sucking him for everything he owned. Those lips pressing, his teeth nipping, his mouth taking him in even further than he might ever believe and that marvelous tongue, coating him in saliva, desire and the belief that nothing in the world had ever been so perfect.

He might have felt ashamed if he had registered how he was moving against Keith’s ideal mouth, how he was pushing his member in between rosy lips, saliva dripping down his chin and mouth making filthy wet sounds.

His orgasm was so Earth shattering; it made him remember what he had missed all these years. Especially when, after swallowing everything, Keith did not let go, sucking him even harder. Shiro gasped, and wept, Keith’s hand still on his mouth, pushing fingers in to muffle the sound. His large hands gripped at Keith’s hair, he cried as the young man pulled a second frenzied peak out of him. His eyes rolled back, toes curling so tight they hurt.

It was another type of relief when he was finally able to pull the beautiful young man off with a whined shout.

- STOP!

Holding Keith’s head in his hands, he frowned down at him, he cheeks flushed, fingers trembling and member throbbing.

- You… just… stop…

His words ragged, panting, overwhelmed by everything. He stared at Keith, only made more attractive by the red staining his cheeks, the glossiness of his plump lips and disheveled hair falling above his violet eyes. Shiro finally let go of his face, flopping back down on the ground, arms up above his head. He closed his eyes.

Keith chuckled and crawled up his chest, pressing his hard-on against Shiro’s softening cock.

- Well, now everybody probably knows what we’ve been doing.

Shiro snorted.

- Ask me if I care later. You heathen.

Keith laughed some more.

Shiro tagged this day as a good one. A good day to try something new.

 

Chapter Text

Shame had that unabashed way of crawling back to you…

After having put himself back together, jewels tucked snuggly back in, Shiro let his thoughts wonder for a few minutes. His large hand pressed on the young man’s smaller frame, his heath radiating through the fabric of his clothes. There were many things Shiro might have wanted, felt he needed, especially as his head slipped back from cotton to a more regular state. The realization of what they had done was a mix of shame, embarrassment and deep satisfaction.

Pure ecstasy he had not experienced in a long time.

He let the shame wash over him as Keith nuzzled against his neck, his warm lips slowly sliding along his heartbeat as he hummed. His tone was low mixed with a satisfied rumble, which Shiro did not understand. How could Keith be happy when he had given without receiving anything? How long had it been? Was it too late to give back? Did he want to give back…?

Shiro pondered for a while, his head tilting towards the youth in his arms. Keith’s hands were light on his stomach, his fingers clutching the thin fabric of his shirt as his lips stopped their slow ascend along his neck.

He did. He did want to give back.

A little panicked at his delayed reaction to the intimate moment they had, he backed away quickly and turned around.

- Keith, I…

His mouth hung open when he took in Keith’s content expression, his eyes half-lidded, smile tugging at the corner of his rosy lips. The young man’s response was a questioning hum as he blinked slowly, clearly feeling drowsy.

- …Keith… would you like me to…

The question hung in the space between them, pulling a small laugh from the young man’s throat. He leaned back against Shiro, pressing his nose in the crook of Shiro’s neck.

- Naw, m’tired right now… d’you mind if I sleep for a bit…?

- N-no, b-b-but…

Anxiety gripped at Shiro’s core, its dark ink filling his lungs and pushing a nervous laugh out. He had reacted too late. It was over, wasn’t it? Oh god. Oh no. Oh please, do not let it be over. What should he do? Was there something he could do? Should he have complied more quickly? Young people were quick, weren’t they? So Keith was… Keith is… disappointed in him… he must be. He had to be. Shiro was fed up with himself all the time. It only made sense. Ruining a relationship that had barely started, only he could be so clumsy to th…

A light slap to his face startled him and made him look down. Keith was staring up at him, at grumpy expression on his face.

- Hey, would you STOP that. A revenge is a revenge, you don’t get to say thank you when it’s supposed to be a punishment. Got that?

Shiro hesitated, not certain he understood Keith’s logic. He was the worst, he had to be. Keith had climbed on him so many times; there was no way he would refuse.

- I…

Keith pinched his cheek roughly.

- Did you get that?

- Yes. No… I’m not sure…?

Keith gripped Shiro by the shoulder and rolled on top of him, his hard manhood digging at Shiro’s lower stomach, it made Shiro’s breath hitch and a small wave of pleasure warmed his body. The young man DID want him then…?

Keith settled comfortably on top of him, resting his head under the older man’s chin.

- You didn’t do anything wrong. I actually WANT you to be on top of me, or vice versa, very much. You worry too much.

Rubbing his head against Shiro’s jaw, Keith sighed, pressing his hands on Shiro’s pecks.

- …you’re really comfortable…

Circling Keith’s waist with his arms, Shiro stared at the ceiling for a few short moments. His mind trying to solve the puzzle of the situation he was in. So… he had gotten a blow job, without asking, a… “revenge blow job”

No. He really did not understand.

- …you want it… but not now?

Keith made an approval sound, his body relaxing on top of Shiro’s as he started caressing his back with slow strokes of his human hand. The young man, pressed against his body more firmly, his body curving under the touch, growling.

- I don’t understand. Usually people expect something in return.

Keith grunted, his palms twitching. His answer was a growl and a mumble as he was clearly fighting against sleep.

- I’m not “people”, I’m me, and me doesn’t expect anything from anybody. Ever.

He didn’t expect anything from anybody… that statement felt… lonely. Shiro turned it around in his head, wondering how Keith’s reasoning might have reached this point in his life. Who had let him down that he decided never to expect friends, lovers, family to reciprocate his feelings? Was the explanation part of the young man’s issues? What could be so terrible that he’d be so detached at such a young age?

Not that Shiro was really that much older…

He sighed, sliding his prosthetic along Keith’s lean frame and scratching his scalp softly. He bend forward, kissing his forehead softly.

- Alright… later then.

Keith hummed again, his fingers tightening slightly on his chest and releasing almost immediately.

Holding him strongly with two arms, Shiro stood up (Thank god for squats right?) and slumped back down on the futon, sitting Keith on his lap. The young man met the entire process with an annoyed whine. He humphed, sounding annoyed, snuggling even closer.

- …did you just stand up without the help of your hands with me in your arms?

- Yes?

Keith grinned, eyes remaining closed, his voice a whisper.

- …wow… I could feel your abs contract and everything… that’s really hot… why’s that so hot…?

- Weren’t you sleeping?

Looking up, Keith’s starry gaze locked with Shiro’s, the exhaustion was apparent on his fine features. He mouth was turned down into a pout as he glared at the old man.

- I’m TRYING but you keep doing these things… and it keeps me awake… and horny… and god… I’m so done right now…

He closed his eyes back down, yawning, his eyes watering. Shiro chuckled, kissing him on the nose and holding him close, pressing his face in his unruly ebony mane.

- ...you smell so good…

His answer was an even louder growl. Clearly, the young man was becoming impatient.

- And you taste good. Can I sleep now?

Shiro let himself fall to the side, cradling Keith in his arms, as the temperature of his body rose with the steady reddening of his face. He laid the both of them on the futon, tangling their legs together.

- …right… yeah… sure… sorry… g-go ahead…

He could feel the stretch of Keith’s smile on the skin of his neck along with his warm breath. His skin tingled softly.

- ...you’re weak hot stuff…

- Shut up, pest.

The young man chuckled before finally drifting off his lips pressed against Shiro’s collarbone.

The hours trickled by slowly, while the youth slept soundly. Shiro did not mind nor care. He enjoyed the buzzing of Keith’s fellow artists as they worked, chatting, moving in and out of the studio. The sun slowly drifted down as the room blissfully emptied, leaving the two of them alone in their warm embrace.

He did not notice when the last artist left the room, nor when they closed the lights. Shiro had long since closed his eyes and was humming, enjoying how his mind felt clear. Usually, his thoughts were always clogged with insecurities or dark happenings, but Keith’s presence was, yet again, a soothing balm.

Keith’s hand sliding along his arm was the only notice he got that the young man was awake. He, also, was starting to drift in and out of sleep and did not mind when Keith’s warm mouth brushed against his own. Parting his lips, he folded his body over the young man’s, accepting the touch with slow enthusiasm. The exchange was deep but sedate, their tongues pressing against one another, exploring the other’s mouth, licking sensitive spots with measured strokes.

Keith’s grip was firmly holding him in place, not caressing, or touching. His chest rose in synch with Shiro’s as their breath mixed, hitching in between soft panting and low moans or growls. Their lips glide together unhurried but strong, taking in the subtleties of the other’s taste and response, wrapping them in this perfect moment hoping for it to never end.

But it did. It had to, in the most brutal way.

It was a simple noise, but so sudden, loud and coming from everywhere and nowhere all at once, something metallic… LIKE HELICOPTER BLADES. It sipped into Shiro’s hazy brain, ripping him out of his comfort like a dying scream in the middle of the night. His entire world went haywire with splashes of vibrant colors, screams, voices and flashing images. There were no feelings but pain, anger, fear, betrayal, guilt… so much guilt. A guilt so fierce, it pierced and split his head wide open.

He screamed.

He needed to protect, hold tight, hide away. He did not care if he was injured or dead, someone needed to be protected, be saved. He would give anything, everything for that person to live free. His entire being would probably never be enough, but it was all he had to give. He wasn’t enough… wasn’t enough…

He was barely aware that he was breathing, his eyes locked open, unseeing. A rumble against his chest made him twitch. A question… someone was asking a question.

The sound was muffled and so far away, he strained to understand.

Question again.

Sh... C… … … uch... ou?

The sound was a little louder, barely a whisper. Not insistent. Not screaming. Just asking.

Shiro. Can I touch you?

What a strange question? Who would want to touch him? Who wouldn’t find him disgusting? In the middle of this terrible accident, all the blood, the fire and his arm really HURT.

IT HURT.

Shiro groaned, clutching his right arm. A sob escaped his lips as his fingers curled around the metal. It’s gone. It’s gone. He knew he hadn’t been enough. He was so useless.

The voice kept talking to him. The older man’s vision started to clear, adapting to the darkness, a small figure was looming over him, but he could not see who it was.

- Shiro. I am going to touch you okay?

Shiro grunted a response and nodded. A soft hand pressed on his shoulder and caressed him slowly, going down his back and up his neck, cupping his cheek tenderly. Grounding. His vision cleared some more as he made out the silhouette of the young man leaning on top of him. His eyes were a vibrant violet and his free hand was hiding the bottom of his face. Strange…

- Shiro… do you remember where you are?

He looked around, taking in his surroundings, bookcases, the smell of paint, canvases, the futon… This was… Keith’s studio. Why was he on the ground…?

- Keith?

- Yeah. I’m right here. Do you remember where you are?

Shiro growled, leaning towards the hand that was still brushing against his face softly. Closing his eyes, he took a deep breath.

- Studio. Your studio.

- Good. Here… you need to eat something. I’ll get you some water.

The older man snorted, pushing himself up in a sitting position. His head felt like a heavy piece of lead weighted down by a hodgepodge of screams, aggressive colors and prickling guilt.

- I don’t…. I’m not hungry.

Keith let go of his face and pushed a squishy round bun in his hand. He then rested his hand on top of Shiro’s, his other never letting go of his own face. That… was strange.

The bun was not warm anymore, but he recognized its softness. Hunk’s bun. He knew it was delicious. He just… did not want it. He felt like he did not deserve it. Besides, his stomach was tied up in knots, he probably would throw it all back up in a second.

- Come on Shiro, take one bite. Just one. For me? Please?

Shiro looked down at the food in his hand. He sighed. Then back up at Keith. He twitched when the glare of the young man’s cellphone resting on the glass table caught his eye. He wanted to throw it against a wall and destroy. Offending. He swallowed the almost inexistent saliva in his mouth.

For him… take a bite.

He sighed again.

- Okay…

Keith stared at him as he pealed the wrapping open and took a small bite. He nodded, clearly happy and stood up.

- I’ll be right back. Please eat some more if you can.

The young man disappeared in the darkness. The sound of water barely reached Shiro’s ears as he forced himself to bite down again. His jaw hurt, his throat was dry, his fingers were stiff… he recognized all the signs. An attack, a severe one. In front of Keith.

Shit…

He felt mortified. If he had the strength, he would have left right this moment, but that was not the case. Sitting up had taken everything from him already and staying in an upright position was exhausting.

He heard Keith’s steps approach again, which prompted him to take another bite off his bun. It hurt…. But, at least, it tasted good.

The young man sat back down next to him and smiled. Shiro stared at him, finally registering why he had been hiding his face. His nose was… it was swelling. There was blood on his shirt, which he had clearly tried to wash away, but had failed.

- Y… your nose… did I…?

Keith pushed a glass of water in his hands, still smiling.

- Drink.

- Keith…

- I said drink. Don’t worry. We fell off the futon. It wasn’t you. So please, have some water.

The young man seemed to be struggling with something, like he was forcing himself to act a certain way.

Hesitantly, Shiro brought the glass to his lips and took a small gulp. The water washed down his throat, soothing the sandpaper scratching at it. He closed his eyes and took a sip again. When he opened them back up, Keith had the phone in his hands. His thumb was pushing upwards, scrolling down something. He frowned and looked up at Shiro, his fine face illuminated by the blue light.

- Are you feeling better?

Shiro nodded slowly.

A relieved breath escaped Keith’s lips; he crawled up to Shiro and leaned on his side, wedging his head against Shiro’s neck. The older man circled his waist with his prosthetic arm and pulled him closer, mindful of his own state. He felt better when Keith was close to him. Putting the glass down, he picked up the bun again and bit down, not speaking again until he’d eaten the entire thing.

- I’m sorry…

Keith shook his head.

- Don’t apologize. It’s not your fault. I thought I told you that already.

Shiro’s chuckled was forced and exhausted.

- Yeah. You did.

Keith was still looking at his phone’s screen, which seemed odd. He had never done that before, usually focusing his attentions entirely on Shiro. The old man frowned, looking down at the phone in his hand, flinching at the light.

- …what are you reading?

Keith looked up at him and stared for a short moment. The cogs in his head were visibly turning. He shrugged.

- Listen… I get that you don’t like to talk about this, but… it’s this huge elephant in the room. So… I’ll have to address it. You have PTSD.

It was not a question, just a fact. Shiro had PTSD.

His response was a loud grunt. He looked away. Fuck.

Why did he always think people did not know about it? It was so stupid. People always noticed it. He was so broken and damaged.

- I did not know how to respond. My first thought was to slap you but… Anyway, I didn’t want to react wrong and I was worried that I might… so I looked it up.

Worried. He had been worried.

- I… I’m sorry.

Keith sighed loudly. He dumped his phone on the futon and turned around, crawling on Shiro’s lap. He rested his hands on his arms, looking up at him, his eyes a turmoil of emotions left unsaid. His nose looked huge in his face. Oh god. That looks like it hurts. The older man’s gaze turned away in shame.

- Shiro. You need to stop apologizing about things you have no control of. It’s annoying. Usually I’d get mad. I am mad. I just… stop. I don’t want to get upset with you. I don’t want to baby you. It’s not what I am. So stop. If I hear “I’m sorry” again today, I think I’m going to throw myself out a window.

That made Shiro smile slightly. He looked back up and lifted his hand, resting it on Keith’s cheek.

- ...your nose…

- It’s ugly. I get it. It’s fine. It’ll heal, it’s not broken, just bruised.

Shiro nodded slowly. Just bruised. Just bruised. Not broken. Thank god. Thank god.

He pulled the younger man in his arms, hugging him tightly. He wanted to scream, cry and laugh all at the same time. He wondered if there were any solutions to what he was. Hadn’t he already done everything in his power to get better? So why… why wasn’t he? WHY WASN’T HE?

He wanted to cry, but he did not. He took a deep breath, which sounded like a sob, but didn’t let it take him over.

Keith pressed his fingers against the back of his head, scratching his scalp softly. They stayed like this for a few long minutes until Shiro was back to breathing normally.

- Can I ask you something?

- Yeah.

Keith hesitated for half a heartbeat.

- I know… this probably isn’t the right moment to ask and not my place but… Why don’t you have a service dog?

It was Shiro’s time to hesitate. A service dog?

- I’m not blind.

Keith sighed heavily, threading his long fingers threw Shiro’s hair, probably trying to keep him as calm as possible.

- We both know that service dogs aren’t just for blind people.

Shiro pushed him away, grabbing his wrists so that he would stop. His gaze turned to ice, as he took in the young man in front of him. So… he WAS this kind of person after all, wasn’t he? The type that just KNEW how to cure him. The kind that could just answer EVERYTHING like it was easy. A service dog.

Shiro rolled his eyes and scoffed.

- I am not an invalid either.

There was an edge to his voice. He was insulted, annoyed. He should have known, people always wanted to get INVOLVED and cure him. Had he gotten himself another Good Samaritan? He did not need that in his life.

However, Keith did not seem worried. He looked more sad then anything else. He released his wrists from Shiro’s grip and took his hands gently.

- That’s not what I meant. I think it might help. He could do things for you and be good company. I mean, I’ve only met you 3 times and every single time you…

If Keith hadn’t been sitting on him, Shiro would have left at that very moment, but he was stuck. Or was he?

- Don’t.

It’s not like Keith was dangerous or hard to push away.

- Shiro.

His fingers went rigid in Keith’s grasp, not returning the touch. The older man resolved to push Keith away verbally.

- I said don’t. If it’s a problem, you just have to say it, I’ll just to leave.

- That’s not what I said.

As hard as he could, to a point that he almost screamed.

- WHAT is it then?

Keith leaned forward, not minding his intonations. He rested his forehead against Shiro’s, his eyes baring into the other man’s. His answer escaped his lips digging in deep into Shiro’s heart, like a warm blanket.

- …I just want you to feel safe.

Shiro should have felt shame at reacting so badly, but he only felt love. Pure love.

- ... I…

So much love he did not know how to react. Should he be happy? Should he be offended that Keith did not trust him to know what he needed? Did he know what he needed? Maybe he did not. Maybe he was wrong. Was he?

- What are going to do if something happens and nobody you trust is around?

Well… maybe he felt like sulking just a little bit.

- I’ll deal with it.

He was a child. An overgrown child.

He pouted staring back at the young man as if he did not want to loose the battle, even if there was not any.

Keith sighed, unlocking their stares and leaning forward. He laid his head against Shiro’s shoulder, letting go of his hands and circling his neck with his arms instead.

- Alright... Okay… A little too personal for me to get involved. I get it. But, I care about you Shiro. I’ll say it again, I just want you to feel safe.

He cares about me.

Oh.

He does not think he knows everything about my condition. He just…

He cares about me.

Oh.

Shiro’s heart expended, reaching the size of a galaxy. Stars being his feelings, planets his shortcomings and Keith right at the center, pulling him in his orbit, burning bright.

- Just… think about it okay.

- …ok.

Shiro knew then. He just knew how much he cared about him too.

Chapter Text

A thousand things might have made Shiro cry to this day. Usually, details about himself, what he had done, what he could have done. He never blamed anybody for his own faults and dealt with them accordingly. However, this feeling… the warmth, how is heart filled out to the brim almost overflowing, was overwhelming. Keith’s touch was too light, he wanted more, so much more. Keith was his new addiction, so he held him back, tight.

Exhaustion made him slump heavily on the young man’s shoulder, who grunted in return. He shifted slightly, holding him differently so that he would not fall over. Keith pressed his lips on the soft skin under Shiro’s ear and kissing him lightly.

- Want to go home?

His left hand scrolled down his spine slowly, offering a comforting touch, making Shiro even more uncoordinated inside. He sighed happily.

- …don’t think I can drive…

- I can do it. Want me to bring you back?

Shiro tensed a bit. That was… a hard question to answer to. He really wanted Keith to come to his place; he wanted to share with him more facets of his life if possible. He wanted him in it; he wanted to see small pieces of the young man around his room, another toothbrush in his bathroom maybe, sharing the space, cluttering it with his dirty clothes, or a forgotten pair of shoes, coloring the cold loneliness of it. He wanted it badly.

Sadly, it was difficult. He was not living alone. There was Matt. Matt who did not like sudden change.

- You… I’m sure you could. But I can’t… it’s…

Keith slowly backed away. It was evident he was trying to school his reaction into something accepting, but he was visibly hurt. He smiled sadly.

- Don’t want me in your space just yet?

Shiro gripped at Keith’s hips, digging his fingers into the soft flesh. Explaining was so exhausting and he did not want to do it. He just… he needed to sleep. His head felt so heavy.

He sighed heavily, no caring how bad it might sound especially with their current conversation.

- That’s not it… I would like you to come, but I… can’t right now.

He felt his body sag even further, trying to pull him into sleep.

- Hey… it’s fine. How about my place? I’m telling you now though, I live with Lance and it’s a dump.

His answer was slurred as he was fighting sleep. Come on Shiro, wake up! You cannot sleep here. Not here. Here is unsafe. It is noisy. Keith got hurt here. He wanted Keith out of here as fast as possible. He needed to protect. Protect what was important to him. Keith was important.

- S’fine…

He felt Keith stand up, walking away, making some random noises Shiro could not register. Finally kneeling back down, he hoisted Shiro up, forcing his larger body to lean against his smaller frame, pulling his coat on top of his shoulders awkwardly. Shiro was surprised how steady he was under his weight, his grip strong. The older man was lead out of the room and found himself in his own car without remembering how he got there. The engine was purring as he cracked his eyes open, lights changing from yellow, to red, then green, making Keith’s skin glow beautifully. He wanted to look at him, just stare and examine every line of his young face. How his eyelashes caught in his messy hair, the perfect curve of his (now bruised) nose, his defined cheekbones… the taste of his breath in his mouth.

He wanted him so much.

So much.

He wanted to be closer to him. To touch him.

Warmth.

He smiled softly when he heard Keith humming at the music on the radio. So much warmth.

The rest of his evening was a blur. He distinctively remembers pulling his gym bag out of his car’s trunk, changing and falling on a bed that was not his own, then everything went black.

A dreamless sleep.

He woke up leaning on his left side, light filtering through brown curtains with holes. He brought his right arm up with every intention of brushing his hair out of his face, but caught nothing. Looking down, he realized he had taken the prosthetic off at some point. Oh.

He felt dirty, sweaty and his mind over stretched. His eyes were digging deep in his pounding head and a distant buzzing was resonating in its depths. Urgh… bad night. How was he even able to sleep?

Rolling on his back, he stretched, his body curving to the side and then the other. As an answer to this, there was a hum at the end of the bed and a small tap on his leg. Flesh against flesh.

He froze, looking down. Keith was sitting there, in sweatpants and a red tank top, legs hidden under the blankets. Shiro could feel Keith’s feet tangled with his own. The mere thought of it made his heart do a small summersault. In his hands, the youth held a sketchbook and was scribbling furiously.

- Don’t move. Just a sec hot stuff.

Shiro blinked, surprised. He stopped breathing all together, his muscles becoming rigid in surprise.

- Huh?

Keith’s eyes flicked up and down and he bit down on his lower lip.

- Don’t move. Wow… I can see every line… that’s some body you have.

Shiro turned crimson at that.

- HUH?!

He felt nailed down by Keith’s gaze as he hungrily studied his body, carving the image into his brain and transferring it to paper in steady lines. After a few moments, he looked at his sketch and grinned.

- Fair enough. It’s not even close to the real thing, but fair enough.

He put the book and his pencil down and crawled on top of Shiro, stopping only when their face were leveled. The older man felt a strange kind of void when their legs untangled, only to be replaced by his embarrassment at having his beautiful date almost sprawled on his body.

- You slept 10 hours. Feeling better?

Shiro nodded slowly, not sure if he was allowed to bring his arms back down. Hesitating, he slowly did, still puzzled by what had just happened, dropping his left hand on Keith’s lower back, while his stump flopped uselessly down on the bed. He tried not to think about it, or about the angry scars checkering his skin up to his shoulder.

- I… more or less?

Keith reached up, caressing his square jaw, scratching his light stubble with sharp nails gently.

- Shower? Food? Something else?

His physical reaction to “something else” was immediate, the temperature of his body rising suddenly and his face shifting to a deep shade of purple. His entire upper body soaking in the color eagerly only putting emphasis to his current mood, not speaking of other physical reactions. Keith’s eyes widened while his smile stretched slowly, splitting his face in half.

- Wow. Just like a kettle.

Keith’s laugh was pure sunshine, his head flopped down on Shiro’s chest and his body shook. The older man could feel its rumble inside his chest, sending pangs of need in his heart, in his body. He lifted his right arm (well half of it… ANYWAY), hiding his face with it and tried to turn side ways, mortified.

The young man pushed up, wedging his head under Shiro’s chin, his mop of hair successfully tickling his nose.

- I guess you want to pay me back huh.

He chuckled some more when Shiro growled as an answer.

- As much as I want to say yes, hot stuff, I think you should take that shower and have something to eat. You look like you spent the entire night fighting fever. You’re still exhausted. After you’ve done all of that, you can pay me in triple copies if you want.

The young man sat up, straddling Shiro, his ass pressing on his stomach.

- Here. I brought you water and some pills. Sit up.

Peaking out from under his arm, Shiro looked at the young man, sitting on his lap (yet again). One hand holding a glass of water and the other pills. Even now, his skin was shining under the golden glow of the morning light sifting through the curtains. Shiro opened his mouth, meaning to answer, but different words worked themselves out.

- …you’re really gorgeous…

Oh right, is that what you’re going to do now brain? Ignore my commands and just do what the FUCK you want? How about some filtering there? I mean seriously, THANKS for saying what I was thinking without my input. Thanks A LOT.

Keith gaped in surprise, his cheeks blossoming with tinges of pink.

- I… what?

He laughed nervously.

Shiro coughed and abruptly sat up, making the young man squawk while he almost fell on his back at the sudden movement. He moved back, resting back on Shiro’s legs, his face a twisted mix of nervousness, embarrassment and wonder.

- Sorry. Ignore that.

Taking the glass of water and the medication, Shiro swallowed it all in one go, hoping that would be enough for Keith to give up on what he had just said.

Keith was still staring at him when he gave the empty glass back. He seemed to battle with himself, trying to find something to say in return.

- Thank you, and you are right. I will have that shower, if you don’t mind.

The young man’s perfect lips puckered into a pout, his cheeks still flushed. He shook his head, possibly deciding on giving up in replying to the compliment.

- I offered it.

Standing up on the side of the bed, he patted Shiro’s hair fondly after wedging the glass in the clutter of his side table.

- I already took a shower, so take your time. Don’t worry about anything, I’ll be in the kitchen and Lance isn’t around either. Second door to the left when you get out of here. ‘kay?

Tilting his head into the touch, Shiro finally nodded slowly.

- Okay. Thank you.

- No prob. Laterz.

Sliding his hand off Shiro’s head, Keith’s fingers brushed lightly against the side of his face. He smiled softly.

Finally, spinning around, the young man stuffed his hands into his pockets and sauntered out of the room. Shiro watched how he slowly dragged his feet, lightly bumping the doorframe with his shoulder as he walked out. So young, he looked… so beautiful… too perfect… Shiro wondered how he got so lucky.

After looking around the room, small, cluttered with dirty clothes, art supplies, he forced himself to stand. His body protested loudly, his shoulders and neck stiff, his head throbbing. His heart panged, pushing the extra mile just to keep him standing, everything was a chore, he really wanted to just lay back down and sleep some more, but he was not home. He could not have a lazy day locked up in his sterile bedroom. Pushing himself, he stepped forward, ignoring the pain.

Within the hour, he had taken a shower, was dressed in the remaining gym clothes he had in his bag, texted Matt to tell him he was still alive (- Oh good, I thought the Mothman might have finally eaten you! – What do you mean FINALLY?!), had swallowed a warm meal and crashed down in the living room on the comfortable leather sofa. A movie was playing on the small television while Keith snuggled to his left side. The soft fleecy blanket on their laps kept them warm and the young man did not seem to mind Shiro’s head on his own.

Shiro wondered how they had found themselves in front of a movie, especially when two words kept nagging at him and reducing his attention span to zero: something else something else something else something else something else something else something else…

He had not noticed, but about halfway through the movie, his leg started bouncing nervously, his mind reeling, his body vibrating with need. Keith’s light hand stopped the movement, pressing in even closer.

- What’s the matter?

Shit, I’m an animal. He wanted him so badly, after initially asking him to wait, he felt like a pig. Fucking imbecile.

- N… nothing, just… ignore that. My body is just being ridiculous. It happens. Especially after an attack like that. I…

He was babbling. Oh god, he was babbling. Please stop talking mouth.

- Yeah it’s fine. Ignore it.

Just… SHUT UP.

Keith’s hand pressed harder, moving up a few centimeters. Shiro swallowed, every nerve of his body completely aware of the young man’s presence, the curve of his hips, how his chest rose and fell against his arm, the smell of his hair, the feel of his legs next to his own. He closed his eyes, trying to rein it in, and failing.

- Shiro?

He took a deep breath. He needed to be better. He needed to be smarter. One mention of it being okay did not mean Keith still wanted it. Do not be a pig Shiro, and don’t be that kind of person.

- Shiro!

Oh god I am a failure. I should go back home. I had a severe attack, busted his nose, probably bruised something else and he had to make me feel better by saying it was nothing. It can’t have been nothing. He did not have these kind of feelings, while I am a broken record.

- TAKASHI!

He felt his ear pulled and his body bent to the side in surprise. What?

Turning his head, his eyes locked on Keith’s, who seemed annoyed. He raised an eyebrow.

- I… what?

- Are you with me?

He swallowed again.

- Y-Yeah? Did you just call me by my first name?

Keith frowned.

- I did. Just learned it, thought that might work. Did you just have an out of body experience? What is wrong with you?

Shiro’s head shifted to the side a bit, his eyes tilting to the movement. He could not believe he’d been so ridiculous that Keith had noticed. Should he apologize? Probably. Wow. What an idiot.

Keith sighed and tapped his cheek lightly.

- Shiro. Come on.

Shaking his head to get out of it, Shiro forced a smile.

- Sorry. Yeah, I’m here. I’m sorry. I… zoned out. What do you mean, you just learned my first name?

Keith smirked lightly.

- It was written on your gym bag, you never told me, like I never told you my last name.

He hadn’t?

- Oh.

Shiro thought about it for a moment and realized that was true. Actually, MATT had told Keith his name. That made him feel even more ridiculous.

- Wow. I am really sorry.

- Will you stop apologizing! I’m counting, you’re already at 12 for this morning alone. I’m getting ulcers from it. Now, tell me what’s wrong!

Shiro recoiled at the question, ashamed of his own body, of his very apparent needs. He was not used to get his way. He always adapted to what others required, quelling his own necessities to make people around him happy. When people were happy, they did not ask questions about what made him uncomfortable. When people were happy, they did not scream, or glare, or stare. He found that it worked well for him. That is… until something made him fidgety. Like Keith’s body…

And now… Keith was upset… and he was not sure why. So… what to do to make him happy? Swallow it up, definitely.

- Nothing I… must be a set back from yesterday. I am fine. Totally fine. Completely fine.

He laughed nervously.

Keith frowned deeply.

- Wow. You’re a really bad liar.

 

The young man sighed, shaking his head. He reached forward, grabbing Shiro’s shoulders and pulled himself on his lap. Pressing their chests together, he circled Shiro’s waist and locked his hands on his lower back, fingers just shy of exposed skin. He smiled softly.

- Tell me what you want.

Raising an eyebrow, he waited to see what Shiro would answer.

His violet stare kept the older man latching unto it. He opened his mouth, trying to find words, air, anything that might make noises that made sense, and failed. He chocked. Looked to the side, trying to find an escape route, but his body’s needs pulled him back roughly when Keith’s fingers pushed down and slid under the elastic of his belt. The gorgeous man's smile turned devilish.

- Tell me. <3

As a form of defense, Shiro brought both his arms up to hide his face. He soon realized he hadn’t put his prosthetic back on. Mortified, feeling both ridiculous and exposed, he used his left arm to hide his eyes, so that he would not see Keith’s reaction.

- ...something else?

The young man’s reaction was a soft chuckle before he leaned forward, pressing his warm lips against Shiro’s.

- With pleasure.