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The image on the datascreen fades out around the audience’s cheers. Hunk powers down the viewscreen and looks up at Romelle and Shay, grinning. “So,” he says, “What did you think?”

He’s in his hospital bed, recovering from the fight against the robeast. He has bandages and bruises, his body stained purple and yellow (so strange how fragile a human’s body can be, Romelle thinks privately to herself), but is otherwise in good spirits.

Shay claps her hands. “It was most fun to see the show again, Hunk!”

She beams and Hunk beams back. They get lost in their own little world but Romelle’s gotten used to feeling the outsider. Everyone has been, of course, kind— but she is a new friend going up against shared history and feelings. It’s hard to compare.

“It seems silly,” she announces. She likes Hunk so she realizes she’s said the wrong thing when he wilts. She amends, “The life of a Paladin will never cease to amaze me. You go on all these strange missions and adventures… but then you do something like this. You built a Voltron out of boxes.”

Hunk laughs. “Ha, well, when you put it that way…”

He seems cheered, though. Romelle’s grateful; she knows she can be a loudmouth. The show was stupid— but meant well. It’s so easy— she knows how easy— to just focus on the negatives of what’s gone wrong. Laughter can be the best source of hope.

Lance sticks his head in not long after. “Hey guys,” he says, “Veronica said I should tell you Keith’s awake.”

Romelle perks up. Out of all the Paladins, Romelle can’t help but feel closest to Keith. And it’s not just because he and his mother were the ones to save her from Lotor, but because there’s steadiness to Keith. He’s quiet and determined, bordering on single-minded. She thinks, sometimes, that he and Bandor would have gotten along.

“Krolia’s back, too,” Lance continues and Romelle’s already on her feet. If Keith is steady, then Krolia is the solid foundation everything builds on. She’s used to a sense of community with the Alteans, even if she never felt like she truly belonged, but Krolia is something like a black hole for anxiety— whenever she’s near her, Romelle feels like it’s easier to breathe.

“I’m going to go say hello,” Romelle says, already running out of the room. It doesn’t occur to her to ask if Lance or the others want to visit Keith, too. She runs through the unfamiliar hospital hallways. If nurses try to stop her, she just ignores them.

She skids to a stop in Keith’s hallway. She traces her eyes over the unfamiliar letters on each door, unable to read the language and going based on patterns. Keith’s room is the one with the squigglier, looped numbers.

She peeks in through the crack in the door. Krolia isn’t there, but Keith is. And so is Shiro.

That, at least, isn’t a surprise. She’s used to seeing them together— their journey to Earth and time on the planet was bookended by Keith’s careful orbit around Shiro. Keith’s in bed, smiling up at Shiro who’s sitting rather close. His large prosthetic hand rests on Keith’s knee, only blanket separating metal to skin.

Normally, Romelle would just walk right in. But Shiro’s quiet admission stops her: “I wish I’d been here when you woke up.”

Romelle watches Keith’s face, watches the way his expression softens when he looks at Shiro. He never looks like that with anybody else, not even with Krolia. His hand lifts and touches Shiro’s, and it’s intimate and quiet and Romelle feels her ears turn pink just from watching the way Keith’s mouth curves into an open smile.

“You’re here now,” Keith says. “That’s what matters, Shiro.”

“You’ve always been there when I’ve woken up,” Shiro insists. His back is to Romelle and so she can’t see his expression, but she can see the way Keith’s smile touches his eyes when he laughs. He looks at Shiro like he’s the entire universe.

“Shiro,” Keith sighs, “I—”

A hand grips Romelle’s shoulder and she shrieks. She kicks the door open wide as she flails, turning to see Krolia, hands lifted away from Romelle in a sign of peace and looking amused.

“Look who I found,” Krolia calls to Shiro and Keith, eyebrows lifted. She leads Romelle into the room. When Romelle looks towards them, they’re further apart than they were a moment ago, Keith’s cheeks pink and Shiro smiling in bemusement. He stands as Krolia and Romelle approach.

“I just— I just wanted to see how Keith was doing,” Romelle fumbles. She blushes, embarrassed not just for her reaction but also for being caught eavesdropping. She wouldn’t normally. Maybe.

Krolia chuckles behind her as Shiro scrambles around to grab a chair for Romelle to sit in.

She doesn’t mean to keep thinking about that moment between Shiro and Keith, but it niggles at the back of her mind. She thinks about the Voltron show and its stupid taglines about Shiro saving princesses and Keith’s absence. She wonders at the way Keith looked at Shiro, open and obvious, at the way Shiro showed nothing on his face once Krolia and Romelle entered.

It bothers her.

 

-

 

When she visits Keith again, Shiro is sitting beside him.

All Romelle can focus on is the way Shiro holds Keith’s hand. Keith’s hand is small, dwarfed in the large expanse of metal.

 

-

 

When she visits Allura later that day, Shiro’s there, too. He’s making his rounds to all the Paladins, and Romelle watches Allura smile up at Shiro, warm and gentle. His smile is a little different, she thinks, although she can’t place the reason why she thinks so.

Allura touches his arm and squeezes. “I’m happy you visited, Shiro.”

“And I’m glad you’re doing better,” Shiro answers.

Romelle frowns at Allura’s hand on Shiro’s arm.

 

-

 

“Lance,” she asks later, sitting with him in the rehabilitation center. Today, he’s working on his grip-strength of his left hand, one of the lingering injuries from his fall in the Red Lion.

“What’s up?” Lance asks, staring down hard at the little rubber ball he’s supposed to be squeezing. He’s got one finger and his thumb wrapped around it and is working on the other fingers.

He looks up at her and flashes her a grin, the look Romelle’s learned from Hunk is meant to be Lance’s lady-killer smile, whatever that means. Romelle doesn’t understand the appeal.

“Is Princess Allura interested in Shiro?” Romelle asks.

Lance drops his rubber ball. “W- what?”

Romelle stares at him and repeats, “Is Princess Allura interested in Shiro?”

She hadn’t noticed anything out of the ordinary during the trip back to Earth between the two. But then, Shiro had been sleepy and a little out of it. She can’t really discern if Shiro would have a passing interest in Allura, and certainly his interactions with Keith seemed to hint otherwise. But she isn’t quite certain and Shiro is easily the one she knows the least among the Paladins, always withdrawing and spending so much time on their trip sleeping. She doesn’t blame him for it, and certainly the fact that her first real impression of him was him going a little crazy, attacking everyone, and trying to kill them, left much to be desired. It doesn’t help that Shiro shows very little on his face.

Still, though, if there is something there, she wishes only to protect Keith from the heartbreak. She knows it isn’t her business. She knows it’s very likely no one will thank her for it, but it’s an anxiety bubbling in her chest that she needs to tackle.

“Why, what? What did Allura tell you?” Lance demands, panicked. “She said something, didn’t she? Oh geez, I messed it up— I knew it!”

“It’s only because Keith—” Romelle begins.

Keith, too? I knew it! This is the pod situation all over again,” Lance says, and his grip-strength looks fine as he wrings his hands together. “Geez, for all I complain about the guy he has that stupid mysterious vibe. And Shiro’s Shiro! And together they’re both— ugh, I can’t compare!”

“I only meant—” Romelle begins. But there’s no stopping Lance once he’s fallen into a tangent.

“I knew it was too good to be true! That’s the last time I listen to Veronica about anything! I should have done something different. It was because of that stupid note I wrote her, wasn’t it? I knew I shouldn’t have drawn anything! Just a note! That would have been so much cooler!”

“I—” Romelle tries.

“And obviously she’s not going to be into an idiot who can’t draw! I should have hired a painter or taken a picture or better yet, not write anything at all! Oh god, what if she read the note and laughed cause it was so stupid? I didn’t send the right kinds of flowers! How was I supposed to know? I was stuck in a bed—!”

“Woah, woah,” a new voice says and Romelle watches a beautiful woman stoop down to pick up Lance’s discarded rubber ball. She plants her free hand over Lance’s mouth, silencing his rambles. “You need to calm down.”

Lance muffles something that sounds like Veronica!, both outraged and relieved. Romelle breathes out, her ears ringing.

Veronica casts Romelle a conspiring smile and winks. “Don’t mind Lance. He’s an idiot.”

“Hey!” Lance protests.

“What’s the freak-out about?” Veronica asks.

Lance pouts and takes the rubber ball Veronica holds out to him. He looks moody now, his cheeks flushed pink as he stares down at his hand, trying to curl his fingers. “Romelle wanted to know if Allura likes Shiro or Keith.”

Veronica snorts. “She likes you, dumb-dumb.”

Lance gives her an openly wounded, but hopeful, look. “Don’t tease me.”

Veronica gives Romelle another look, clearly something that’s supposed to be welcoming— welcoming Romelle into the circle of teasing Lance. She doesn’t rise to the bait, if only because something feels tight in her chest, watching a brother and sister bicker.

“Just focus on rehab,” Veronica says, her voice gentling. “Romelle and I will go get you something to drink, okay? Feeling like a snack?”

“Yes,” Lance says, pouting.

Romelle stands and follows Veronica. Veronica waits until they’re a fair distance away before she gives Romelle an indulgent look. “I don’t think you’ll get very far asking Lance things like that,” Veronica says. “A few years back, I was dating a girl and the poor idiot thought we were study partners. He eventually figured it out, but.”

Romelle frowns. “I didn’t mean to upset him. I was only curious.”

“I didn’t think you were,” Veronica reassures. “Lance is dramatic.” She tilts her head. “Why were you asking about the princess, anyway?”

Romelle frowns. “I watched the Voltron Show and it made me wonder.”

“Oh!” Veronica laughs. “God. Lance showed me that the other day. It’s really cheesy, isn’t it?”

Romelle has no idea what cheesy means, so she just nods. “There were parts with Shiro saving the princess. But as far as I can tell, it seems Keith is usually the one to save him. I wanted to know what was going on. I was curious.”

“Uh, well, I can’t speak to those two, but Allura definitely likes my brother. I’m one hundred percent sure. Honestly, I don’t care about my brother’s love life, other than thinking the princess is too good for him. But I know that much,” she says, in that way that older sisters always tease their brothers. Something squeezes in Romelle’s chest, both nostalgia and longing.

She and her brother might have been like this, had things been different. Now she’ll never know. It must show on her face because Veronica looks sympathetic.

“Hey, you okay?”

“Yes.” Romelle says, not willing or able to divulge that heartbreak to a near-stranger. “It’s good to know the princess won’t be hurt because of whatever those other two are doing.” She glances up at Veronica. “You’re part of Shiro’s crew. Is something going on with them?”

“Does it matter?” Veronica asks. “I mean, I’ve only flown with him once. I can’t say I know Captain Shirogane… you know, at all.”

Romelle privately thinks that’s the case for everyone— she wonders if anybody really knows Shiro.

Probably Keith.

 

-

 

She peeks through the open door every time she visits Keith, just in case.

Today, when she looks, Shiro’s brushing hair back from Keith’s face. Keith’s face is an open book, cheeks red, mouth tilted in a smile, his eyes full of stars.

“You’re not going to be in here too much longer,” Shiro tells him. “I promise.”

“Not sure you can promise that, Captain,” Keith teases.

Keith smiles at him with such open affection that Romelle feels embarrassed.

 

-

 

After visiting the princess, Romelle’s surprised to turn the corner and see Keith walking down the hallway. Or, more like hobbling.

She frowns and walks to him, grabbing him by the elbow. His movements are too sluggish, which is just as well. Altean strength wins out, in this case.

“What are you doing up?” she asks. “Last I checked, humans need rest to recover.”

“But I’m only half-human,” Keith returns easily, and his mouth tilts up into an almost-smile. But he doesn’t try to shrug out of Romelle’s grip. “I’m okay. Were you coming to visit me?”

“I just finished visiting the princess,” Romelle tells him. “After I visited Hunk. They’re both recovering nicely and as far as I can tell, it’s because they stay in bed when they’re supposed to.”

“I was feeling stir-crazy,” Keith admits.

“Hmph,” Romelle returns, unconvinced. She doesn’t let go of Keith’s elbow. She tests, more curious than anything else: “You’ll make Shiro worry.”

Keith’s mouth twitches. He says, “He has no leg to stand on, considering how often he pretends he’s uninjured.”

Romelle doesn’t respond and instead tugs Keith along. Shiro has two legs he can stand on, she thinks, but figures it must be a human idiom she doesn’t understand.

Romelle leads him back to his room. She even goes so far as to guide him into the bed and tucks the blankets around him. He gives her a vaguely bemused look that she ignores, sitting on the side of the bed.

“You two are good friends,” she decides, picking up the thread of the dropped conversation.

Keith’s expression shifts into something softer. “Shiro’s my best friend.”

He offers nothing more and Romelle didn’t expect him to. She nods at the words, understanding. She wants to press— Keith’s feelings for Shiro seem abundantly clear to her, but she has no confirmation. Worse still, she can’t tell what Shiro’s thinking or feeling. If it means that Keith will be hurt.

“Rest,” she tells him and Keith smiles at her, indulgent, a smile far different from the one he always tilts Shiro’s way. He closes his eyes, though, rather than resist her.

 

-

 

Romelle must fall asleep at Keith’s bedside. She blinks awake slowly, staying still and not letting her breathing shift.

When she peeks her eyes open, though, she isn’t surprised to see Shiro on the other side of the bedside. He doesn’t seem to notice her at all, his eyes on Keith. The light from his prosthetic casts his face in an eerie glow, but his eyes are soft as he reaches a hand out and brushes the hair away from Keith’s slumbering face.

Keith doesn’t stir. Shiro’s smile is quiet and intimate and not meant for Romelle. She closes her eyes.

 

-

 

Maybe they are together. Romelle can’t tell.

 

-

 

She remembers the way Keith looked, splayed out over the healing pod, Shiro laid out within it. She remembers how he never left Shiro’s side.

Remembers Shiro waking up and Keith touching him gently, reverently, helping him sit up. Never letting him go. Lingering beside him for days, keeping him in the Black Lion and looking after him.

When they camped, the lions circled up, Keith and Shiro would stay side by side. Shiro was Keith’s shadow, following him. He rested his head on Keith’s shoulder sometimes, as the other Paladins laughed and ate. He rarely joined in. Sometimes Keith would turn his head, bend into Shiro’s space, his nose in his hair and eyes closed.

Romelle doesn’t kid herself into believing nothing is going on between them, but what she can’t figure out is what, exactly, is going on. She doesn’t know why she feels a quiet sense of protectiveness whenever she sees the way Keith looks at Shiro and she can’t read how Shiro looks back at him.

She can’t discern what it means when she sees Shiro touch Keith’s shoulder, the slide of his palm down his bicep. She can’t figure out what it means when Shiro only smiles in response to something Keith says. It is friendship, yes— but she can’t tell if there is romance to it, too. Does it matter? Veronica had asked, and the short answer is no, but the longer answer is— it matters to Keith, and so somehow it matters to her.

Shiro has never captured her as cold or distant. But then, she doesn’t know Shiro. And nobody else seems to, for that matter.

Lance was useless and she knows better than to ask him again.

“Uh,” Hunk says, scratching the back of his neck when Romelle asks, “I try not to get between whatever they’re doing, you know?”

“Who cares?” Pidge answers when Romelle questions her.

“They’ve come a long way,” Allura says, smiling.

So Romelle looks outside the Paladins.

 

-

 

“I fail to see why this is relevant,” Ina Leifsdottir says.

“What Leifsdottir means,” Nadia Rizavi cuts in, grinning, “We don’t really bother with that sort of gossip, you know?”

Ryan Kinkade only shrugs his shoulders. James Griffin, in contrast, has his arms folded hard across his chest and looks downright murderous.

“Why are you bothering to ask us these questions?”

His tone makes Romelle bristle and she narrows her eyes at him. “I’m only curious.”

“Who cares what they’re— doing or not doing,” Griffin mutters. “Did Keith say something?”

Griffin’s shoulders tense up even more as Romelle fixes him with a long stare. “You don’t have to be rude,” she tells him with a sniff. “You humans are so sensitive about romance, aren’t you?”

“It’s not—” Griffin sound strangled and sucks in a sharp breath, chin tilting down. “But really. Did Keith say something? About the captain?”

“Don’t you mean the Black Paladin? Isn’t ‘Keith’ way too familiar?” Rizavi asks, and there’s definitely a thread of a past conversation being picked up again, some sort of point she’s emphasizing as she locks eyes with Griffin.

“They’re friendly,” Griffin answers, gruff, his cheeks turning red as he glares at Rizavi. “That’s— they were friends before all this, too.”

Leifsdottir offers, “It will make them roughly thirty-three percent more effective as team leaders once the Black Paladin has recovered.”

“Oh yeah,” Rizavi agrees. “There’re horror stories about the captain’s disappearance, back then— about how the Black Paladin reacted. It was really bad.” She elbows Griffin hard, again driving home a point Romelle has no background to. “He was really upset about his friend, huh?”

 

-

 

Shiro’s hand is on Keith’s shoulder today, lingering and weighted. They’re smiling at each other. They don’t even notice Romelle in the doorway. The universe doesn’t exist, as far as they’re concerned. Just the two of them.

 

-

 

“Is there something going on between Shiro and Keith?” Romelle finally asks the one person who’s likely to help her answer the question.

Krolia gives her an indulgent smile, not dismissing her outright or belittling her for asking. She knew Krolia would respect her questions and concerns, the way she always does.

“Why do you ask?” Krolia asks, which isn’t an insult or dismissal.

“I mean, it’s pretty clear to me how Keith feels. I guess I’m more uncertain about Shiro.”

Krolia tilts her head and hums thoughtfully.

“You’re concerned about him,” Krolia says. It’s an observation, not a question.

“I guess I am,” Romelle admits.

“Because you don’t know how Shiro feels in turn,” Krolia continues and Romelle nods. Krolia’s smile is faint, and she touches Romelle’s shoulder, gentle and reassuring. She squeezes. “I think you know who you should really be asking.”

 

-

 

Keith is not Bandor. She doesn’t particularly want Keith to be like Bandor, or some sort of replacement brother. But she can recognize in herself that perhaps that’s where her concern is branching from.

She misses Bandor so much. It gapes inside her like an open, bleeding wound, never to be healed. She knows it will never heal. She knows that, in some way, her desire to protect Keith from heartbreak is misplaced and stemming from the loss of her brother.

Her own heart is broken and, she fears, will never mend. Never fully. A broken vase, even when mended back together, still harbors the splinters of breakage.

It’s very different to protect a heart from breaking than it is to protect a little brother from being crushed body, soul, and spirit.

When she sneaks into the hospital after visiting hours and curls up beside Keith’s bedside, he doesn’t push her away or question her. He is not her brother, but he smiles at her as she pets Kosmo.

 

-

 

She stares at Kosmo’s fur and not at Keith when she says, “I can’t tell how he looks at you.”

“Who? The wolf?” Keith asks, laughing.

She shakes her head. “Shiro.”

Keith is quiet for a moment. She’s expecting him to sound angry when he speaks next, but instead he sounds thoughtful, confused: “What do you mean?”

“The way you look at him is—” she begins and glances up at Keith, watching his face turn red. She swallows. “But he never looks like that when he looks at you.”

Something flashes in Keith’s eyes and Romelle knows she’s walking on thin ice. She knows better than to disparage Shiro in any way, even implicating, in Keith’s presence. But he doesn’t snap at her. She’s seen him snap at others for less.

He fiddles with the blanket, smoothing out the hem and then tugging it up his chest.

“He does,” he says, finally, cheeks pink and eyes wavering. He sounds sure, though, assured. “It’s okay if nobody else knows what to look for. I know what to look for. And it’s there.”

“Oh,” Romelle says as Kosmo pulls away from her and moves towards Keith, sensing his distress. “I didn’t mean to upset you.”

“You didn’t,” Keith assures, tangling his fingers in the wolf’s fur. He smiles at him and then at her. It’s not the same smile he gives Shiro. His expression gentles, though, as he thinks about Shiro. “Shiro is… Well. Not too many people understand him. Or, they think they do and they’re wrong.”

“I see,” Romelle says faintly.

Keith pets the wolf, scritching behind one of his ears. His smile is shy when he says, “He told me once I was the one to really get him. That it didn’t matter what others thought because the people who matter knew. I— when Shiro looks at me, I can see how much he cares. That’s what matters, not anybody else. You know?”

“Yes,” Romelle answers, knowing she’s never experienced that and fearing she never will, “I know.”

 

-

 

She’s dozing at Keith’s bedside when she hears a door click shut. She wakes immediately and peeks her eyes open, expecting to see Shiro. He isn’t there, though.

She sits up, stretching, and hears footsteps outside. Curiosity wins her over and she gets up, patting Kosmo on the head when he lets out a soft whine.

When Romelle opens the door, she isn’t surprised to see that it’s Shiro. He must have gone to walk in, seen Romelle, and backed out again.

He’s pacing down the hallway. He says, softly, to himself, “Keith, I know we’ve been friends a long time…”

He pauses and stops. He sighs, shoulders slumping, and presses his hand to his forehead, thumb rubbing a slow circle between his eyebrows.

“Keith,” he begins again, “there’s something I…”

He trails off. He looks utterly lost. Romelle almost feels sorry for him— but it’s reassuring to see him here like this. She closes the door to Keith’s room and leans against it.

“You should just say it.”

He looks up at her in alarm. Whatever open, slumping vulnerability she saw there in his face is masked completely.

“I might not know Keith nearly as well as you,” Romelle says. “But you should just tell him.”

Shiro’s expression pinches. He looks at her, surprised, and the stark light of the hospital makes him look pale and uncertain. It reflects his hair. He looks so tired.

A moment later, he seems to remember himself and he smiles, tight-lipped. Despite the smile, he doesn’t look particularly happy. He says, “It’s a little complicated.”

Romelle shrugs. “You mean because of the whole… ‘An evil clone version of myself tried to kill everyone I care about’ thing?”

“He— I wasn’t evil,” Shiro says, softly.

“Controlled,” Romelle corrects, sympathetically. She knows it wasn’t Shiro’s fault— knows that if he had been evil or unworthy, so few of his friends would have stood by him. Krolia wouldn’t let him near her son.

Shiro sighs. “But yes. Among other things,” Shiro says and does not elaborate. His prosthetic hand touches at his wrist, circling it like a bracelet, and rubs absently before he lets go. He shakes his head. “I woke you up?”

“I don’t like to sleep here,” Romelle confesses. “So I’m glad you did.”

Shiro’s mouth twitches and his smile looks a little more honest when he says, “I hate hospitals, too.”

They stand there in a long silence.

“You should tell him.”

Shiro chuckles, but it’s a humorless sound. He looks down at the floor, and for someone so large, he looks so small.

“You love him, don’t you?” Romelle asks, and it’s reassuring to ask it. This is what Krolia had meant, in the end.

Shiro’s mouth thins. “I’m not answering that.”

“Why not?” Romelle presses. “It’s clear the way he looks at you, isn’t it?”

Something jagged catches in Shiro’s eyes and he looks away. “I haven’t even told him yet,” Shiro answers. “Why would I tell anyone else before him?”

“Saying that is essentially an admission, is it not?” Romelle presses. “You don’t have to tell me. I’m only saying, you should tell him.”

She steps away from the door to Keith’s room, an open invitation. Shiro doesn’t move, sighing. “We should both head out. Visiting hours are over. I’m surprised nobody’s come to kick us out.”

He turns, as if to leave. Something splintered slams through Romelle and she sucks in a sharp breath.

“Remarkable,” Romelle says. “I’ve heard so many tales from Keith of your bravery, and yet this seems somewhat cowardly.”

She doesn’t mean for it to be harsh but she knows it is when Shiro gives her a sharp look. Not angry, as he’d been when mind-controlled, and not blank as he’d been whenever he woke up on their journey, sleepy and disoriented. He looks more startled than anything else.

“Running away seems counter to everything everyone has told me of you.”

“Who said I was running away?”

She crosses her arms. “Go in there.”

Shiro’s eyebrows lift. “And if I don’t?”

“I’ll throw you in there myself,” she decides.

“You’re blunt,” Shiro says, and he doesn’t say it like it’s a bad thing the way she’s heard some people say it. He gives a small smile. “No wonder you get along so well with Keith.”

“He cares for you,” she presses instead of acknowledging that point, although secretly she’s pleased to know that someone so important to Keith should say so. Maybe she won’t always be on the outside.

“I was starting to think you liked him,” Shiro admits, and there’s something shaded in his eyes when he says it. He might not actually be an evil clone, but the look is enough to make Romelle feel prickly, unwilling to chase that line of thought.

“You care about him. That much is clear. What’s the point of sitting on how you feel?” she asks instead.

She thinks of all the things unsaid to all the people who’ve left the colony, never to return. Not just her brother, but friends and people she cared for. All those things she’ll never get to say. The ache for something that never actually existed. Everything she’d tell her brother now, if only she had the chance.

She reaches out and opens the door to the hospital. She stares at Shiro, holding his gaze.

Shiro walks through the door. She shuts it behind him and walks away, not lingering to see how the conversation goes.

It isn’t for her.

 

-

 

The next day, when she visits Keith again, Shiro is already there, holding hands with Keith. It’s almost like it’d be any other time, except this time their fingers are threaded together.

Keith beams at Shiro and it takes a quick rap on the door to break him from whatever happy haze he’s fallen into. She’s never seen him look so happy. He jerks his gaze away, looking surprised to remember that other people in the universe exist.

“Oh!” he says. “Hey.”

Shiro twists around to look over his shoulder and sees Romelle. His smile is tentative, but there. “Hey.”

“I just wanted to say hello,” Romelle says. “Don’t mind me. I’ll stop by later.”

She waves her hand and doesn’t wait for either of them to reply, shutting the door behind her as she heads off to Hunk’s hospital room instead.