Actions

Work Header

never gonna run around and desert you

Chapter Text

The auditorium stage is a mess. But it's a good mess, Keith thinks. He always liked the mess that came with a work in progress. The stage is littered with half-finished sets and props, and the people moving about and working on them. Keith is an organized person, his bedroom a paragon of order against Romelle's crowded and cluttered one, but with drama club, he found that he felt at ease surrounded by the busy, focused chaos of a bunch of teenagers with all their hands occupied and at work.

Keith is really really enjoying his work, save for a minor inconvenience.

“Okay… Okay. Run that by me again?” asks a weak, shaky voice, one that Keith has been suffering from for the past half hour.

Sven is dead serious though, and when Keith looks up, he finds that the guy is actually taking down notes. On paper. With a pen. While sitting on a- oh. Oh, no. Nope.

“Hey. Don’t sit on that, it’s not for sitting.” Keith orders sharply. "Up. Now."

“Ah! Sorry!.” Sven quickly stands up and leaves the paper mache rock alone. "I'm so sorry. I- Umm... it looked very... realistic."

"Oh, thank you!" someone says from somewhere behind fake foliage and bushes. Keith thinks it's probably Shay. "I put a lot of work on that rock!" 

Keith sighs from his perch on top of several empty but heavy-duty crates and picks up on his task of gluing fake gems and glass pieces to a fake shiny crown. Lance had demanded that his fake crown be the shiniest crown in the history of high school theatre, and Keith doesn’t back out from a challenge.

Sven, restless, goes back to being annoying as he starts pacing back and forth the messy stage. “Right, so. Uncle Antok is gonna make me arm wrestle with him?”

“Mm-hm.” Keith says, trying to keep himself from laughing. "And he's, like, three times your size, big guy, so better start lifting today, I guess."

“And then Uncle Thace, he’ll want to know which colleges I’m applying for?”

“Yep.” Shiro answers. He’s sitting by Keith’s feet, happily painting a styrofoam mushroom the size of his torso. "So much pressure, Sven. But I think he's a bit impressed that I'm going for aeronautics, right, Keith?"

"He really likes that Shiro is smart." Keith nods. "He's not, hm... a sports person?"

Sven stares at his cousin, then goes back to pacing as he wrote the details down. He looks terrified.

Keith and Shiro exchange sly grins, and Shiro opens his mouth to say something when he hears whining from another corner of the stage.

"Captaaaaaiiii~n, James is making fun of my mushrooooom!" Rizavi complains.

"She's not following instructions!" Griffin defends. "They said one color for the head, and one color for the spots."

Shiro looks to where his "nerdlings" (as Keith called them) were sitting, painting their own mushrooms. He had dragged Griffin and Leifsdottir to the auditorium when it was clear they were both going on a meltdown from a particularly tricky math exercise - scaring the poor freshmen in the process - and then Shiro told them to get something to do to clear their heads.

They bumped into Rizavi on their way, and Shiro didn't have the heart to turn her away when she volunteered because she thought it would be fun (and because the track coach probably wouldn't look for her with the Drama Club).

So there they were. Lending extra hands to the very busy Drama Club. It seems like it's working. James and Ina didn't look like they were going to stab each other with their pens anymore, focused on the tasks at hand.

So far, Leifsdottir has finished a grand total of three perfect mushrooms, earning praise from the actual stage crew.

Griffin hasn't finished one because he's painting very very slowly, trying to make the best mushroom possible.

And Rizavi, well-

"Look at that, it's an abomination." Griffin frowns at Rizavi's work: a bright yellow mushroom that already sported red, green and purple spots, and now she's adding a blue one.

Rizavi pouts at her friend, actually looking hurt.

Shiro sighs. "James, uh, that's a very harsh word." He turns to Rizavi and tries not to wince. He doesn't want to 'make fun', because creativity should always be encouraged, but... well... "Nadia, I think we shouldn't... try to use all available colors in one mushroom? There are more mushrooms to make, maybe you can save some colors for them?"

He feels like he's talking to a preschool child and telling them they can't color the giraffe blue.

"Nah. I think it's fine." Keith says then. "At least she used complimenting colors. It looks cute."

Rizavi's eyes sparkle. "Really?"

Keith shrugs. "It'll be like... a magic mushroom or something. Just don't make too much of them. Two or three of those should be fine. Not more. And use five colors max. Okay?"

"Okay!" Rizavi cheers, then grins smugly at Griffin. "See, James, my mushroom is cute."

James huffs. Leifsdottir announces that she has finished another mushroom and receives applause from the surrounding stage crew.

"I love your boyfriend, Captain!" Rizavi tells Shiro happily, before she goes back to painting.

Shiro just laughs. "Me too, Nadia."

"Dork." Keith says, nudging Shiro's side with his foot. Shiro just looks at him and grins innocently, butting his head against Keith's thigh. Keith snorts. "You have to wait for that head scratch. I'm holding a glue gun."

Shiro pouts like a dejected puppy, and Keith just leans down to kiss his forehead before returning to his work.

Pidge walks by, carrying a laptop, trailed by Kinkade carrying a camera and several more equipment. "You two will make good parents someday, but no being gross in my stage." she says. Then her eyes narrow at Sven, who has not stopped pacing. "And Holgersson, if you don't sit your ass down, I am kicking you out of this auditorium."

Sven freezes, then immediately slumps by Keith's feet as well. He look at Shiro and sighs. "Takashi, maybe I shouldn't go with you guys on Saturday?"

"What? No. No way. You're meeting the dads, too." Shiro says.

"Romelle already told them you're coming." Keith adds. "She's real excited about it. It won't look good if you back out. Specially with Antok, he'll think you made his precious princess upset."

“Man, Keith, your dad-uncle-persons sound intense.” Hunk says from his spot a few feet away from them. He’s also sitting on the floor, surrounded by tools and repairing (read: dismantling) the school's old fog machine.

Shiro doesn't exactly know what the play is about, but then, Professor Smythe was known for his eccentric scripts. The previous year's 'Yalmor Chronicles' had been... surreal.

“They kinda are, yeah.” Keith tells Hunk. “They’re veterans, so they’re very strict and disciplined.”

He catches Shiro's eye, and Shiro grins as he turns to Sven again. “Seriously, man. Don’t touch anything in the house.”

“Or the garage.” Keith finishes. “Because they can all throw you.”

Sven gulps nervously, then nods and takes that down on his notepad, too.

“But they liked Shiro just fine, yeah?” Hunk asks, concerned.

“It took a lot of effort, though.” Shiro says. He remembers something Ulaz said. “Oh, all the wood I chopped... To prove my strength...”

Keith doesn't miss a beat. “All the grass you had to mow? They wanted you to prove that you know how to keep the house presentable.” 

“I had to help fix the garage door, and they fixed it by welding. Because real men know how to operate power tools.”

“Shiro, I’m so proud of you.”

Shiro smiles up at him. “I did it to prove that I’m serious about you, baby.”

Sven groans, clutching his face in his hands. “Oh, no… No no nooooo, what do I do? Maybe... maybe I can do the house chores... some of them... but I’m not as smart or charming as Takashi!” he despairs. “They’ll hate me!”

He earns several annoyed glares from the stage crew working around him.

Pidge walks by again. This time she's carrying a ton of rolled up wires and cables. "We get enough drama from our actors." she says. "Please don't add to that."

As if summoned, Lance bounds in from backstage. "Ohhhh, what's this?" he sings as he moves across the stage, brandishing a toy sword, his practice cape billowing behind him. "Sven, my buddy! What's up?"

Sven looks up and reaches out. "Lance. Lance, they'll hate me!"

"What?" Lance blinks, then plops beside Sven. "Who’ll hate you? You’re awesome!”

Sven groans again. “I will die on Saturday… No going to the hospital, I'll just... die.”

Lance looks at him, at a loss, but he’s a good friend, so he rubs the guy’s back for comfort."Aw, there there." he says, then he raises his eyebrows at the others, mouthing, ‘WHAT?’

Romelle arrives too, sporting glittery pink fairy wings, her script clutched in her hand. She stops when she takes in the scene before her. She crouches in front of her boyfriend. “Sweetcakes! What happened, why do you look so down?”

“They were talking about your dads.” says Matt, making Keith jump because since when was Matt here? Since when was Matt sitting beside him? Was the last Pidge-looking person who walked by actually Matt?

“Oh!” Romelle looks delighted. “Yes, yes! I’m so happy you can come with us when we pick up Red this weekend! I’m sure you’ll love my dads!”

“I’m sure I will, my darling princess.” Sven says, smiling weakly. “But I’m not so sure they’ll love me…”

Romelle frowns. “Nonsense. They’re cool! Just ask Shiro.”

“I did ask Shiro!”

Romelle finally looks at her boyfriend’s cousin, and narrows her eyes when Shiro suddenly focuses very very hard on mushroom painting.

“He and Keith told me about how Uncle Thace will interview me so I should know all your likes and dislikes and favorite things, and I should beat Uncle Antok in arm-wrestling, and that Uncle Ulaz only likes smart people, and Uncle Kolivan will make me chop wood, and mow the lawn-”

“What?” Romelle asks, then she eyes Keith, who looks very innocent, whistling as he glues another shiny blue gem to Lance’s crown.

“-and I don’t know how to use a welding machine! And I’m not smart like Shiro, so I won’t be able to impress them-”

“Oh, goodie.” Romelle takes a deep breath, and settles her hands on her boyfriend’s shoulder. “Sweetie- sweetcakes, deep breaths. That’s- That’s not- They were joking. They were joking!”

Sven stops, looking like an oversized puppy. “They-... What?”

Romelle glares at Keith, then at Shiro, then back at Keith and Shiro, and points her rolled-up script at them threateningly. “I hate you both.”

Shiro hides behind the mushroom, shoulders shaking. Keith coughs, grinning as he loads up another stick to the glue gun.

“C’mon, sweetcakes, let’s leave these bullies alone.” Romelle says, standing up, taking Sven’s arm and pulling him away. “None of what they said is true.”

“...Really? Not one?”

“Yep. Not one.” she says, glaring at her brother and his boyfriend over Sven's shoulder. "Shiro didn’t do any of those, he and Keith just cuddled on the window seat all day!"

Keith sticks his tongue out. Shiro just smiles innocently.

"What-... Really?" Sven asks, and Romelle nods fervently. He looks back at Keith and Shiro, confused. "When did you become so mean? Takashi, you're not my favorite cousin anymore."

Shiro raises an eyebrow. "I'm your only cousin."

Sven thinks about it, then, determined, he declares, "I'm adopting Matthew, he'll be my cousin."

Matt looks up and quickly says, "No, thank you. I don't want to be related to you walking disasters."

.

.

.

Krolia also tags along the following Saturday. When they arrive, it's almost a replay of the previous week. Romelle announces her presence via her mini megaphone, Antok welcomes her, she dives in his arms, and he tosses her like a ragdoll.

Shiro is taken off guard when Antok turns to him after hugging Keith and Krolia. He gets a hug, too, and actually gets lifted off a few centimeters from the ground. Shiro laughs, returns the hug as best as he can, and waves at Kolivan, Thace and Ulaz as they approach.

Then Antok sets him down, and the man turns to Sven. He doesn't say anything, but he cracks his knuckles.

Sven should be commended for keeping up his smile and not bolting away right then and there.

"Uh, h-hi, Sir- Uncle? Sir?" Sven starts.

Kolivan steps forward, always in charge of the pack, and assesses the new blood. He crosses his arms across his chest. "So, this one's yours, Romelle?"

Romelle stands beside him giddily. "Yep! This is Sven. Sven, this is Kolivan, Antok, Thace and Ulaz-"

To their surprise, Kolivan actually grins, and offers his hand first. "It's good to meet you, Sven."

Shiro notices Keith pressing up against his mother's side. Krolia slings an arm around her son's shoulder and pulls him close.

"Mom, what's happening?" Keith asks in a whisper, and... Is it Shiro or does Keith sound scared?

"Don't worry about it, Kit." Krolia smiles and rests her chin on Keith's head, stroking the teen's hair. She sees Shiro watching and winks.

Meanwhile, Sven shakes Kolivan’s hand, and is relieved when Kolivan nods approvingly. Romelle had told him about how Kolivan almost crushed Shiro's hand. "It's good to meet you too, sir-"

“Now, now, just call me Kolivan." he says, and he actually chuckles. "You look like a strong young man who values hard work, Sven.”

Sven smiles, humbled. “I... Uh. I do.”

Kolivan pats his back and smirks, “You wouldn’t mind chopping some wood for the fireplace, do you?”

Sven pales, but before he can do anything, Antok nudges him towards the backyard. He looks back helplessly at the others, but Kolivan follows behind the two so Sven just keeps walking.

Romelle lets out a scandalized gasp and jogs after them. “Hey! No fair! You didn’t make Shiro do that!”

“The trials vary from person to person, Romelle.” Kolivan says solemnly.

“Noooo...” Romelle whines, clinging to the man’s arm. “Trials? What trials?”

“One must pass the trials before courting our princess.” Kolivan explains.

“WHY???”

“He must prove himself worthy.”

"Worthy? Wha-? What am I, a magic hammer?"

"Maybe so. A very beautiful magic hammer, if that's the case."

Romelle falters. "Aw, thank y- Wait, no! No no no, we’ve been dating for six months! Mom-" she turns to Krolia. "Mom, tell Kolivan to stoppit-"

Krolia disentangles herself from Keith and steps forward.

"Oh, thanks, mom, you're the best-"

And then Krolia says, "I wanna watch this. Should be fun."

"Mom!" Romelle cries, betrayed. She goes back to Kolivan. "Hey, you don’t even have a fireplace!”

Kolivan huffs. "Maybe I do."

"That doesn't make sense!" Romelle complains, but she only ends up hanging off Kolivan's arm as they disappear behind the house.

Keith and Shiro look at each other, shaken.

"They'll be there a while." Ulaz sighs and laughs quietly to himself. 

“So.” Thace claps a hand on Keith’s and Shiro’s shoulders, then herds the boys towards the house. “Today we're baking cookies.”

.

.

.

fin.