The sounds of laughter is Adam’s only warning before the pounding of feet around the living-room rattles the table and nearly spills coffee from his mug and onto the large pile of papers he was currently grading.
Adam’s attention now sufficiently pulled from his work and toward the ones making all the racket. “How can you two still have this much energy?”
“‘Cause I’m fifteen and Shiro is mentally fifteen.”
“Wow Keith, thanks.” Adam can’t help but chuckle at their antics. They may both be giant headaches but they’re his giant headaches.
“Takashi, Keith. You have everything you need?” He catches them mid-noogie with Shiro being the perpetrator and Keith the squirming unfortunate victim. Shiro has the courtesy to look sheepish at least before leaving Keith to fix his hair and speeding back in their bedroom. “And you better take the first aid kit this time.” Adam shouts after him, turning back around only when he hears a “yes Adam” in reply.
“Man, you got him whipped real bad.”
“Take notes Keith, this is how you handle your future partner.”
Keith scrunches his nose. “What if I don’t want a future partner?”
“That’s honestly for the best.”
Shiro emerges from the bedroom at this point with a large messenger bag packed and hanging off his shoulder. “If you’re done brainwashing my little brother--”
“Our little brother, you mean. And I’m training him, thank you.”
Before the jabs can really start flying Keith decides to interrupt by nearly tackling Adam in a hug. “Bye Adam, see you in a week.” Adam ruffles Keith’s hair in return. “Be safe kiddo.” His voice grows in volume. “And you too Takashi. Don’t drive off a cliff this time in front of Keith.”
“That was one time Ada--” The rest is interrupted by Keith pushing Shiro out the door, knowing the two could go on forever if he didn’t break it up. Shiro gets out an “I love you” before he’s shoved through the doorway and Keith slams the door shut.
Adam lets a soft smile grace his lips, before turning back to the mountain of papers in front of him and sighing. “Never teaching summer classes again, that’s for sure.”
If there’s one thing Keith loves as much as piloting, it’s racing hoverbikes with Shiro. The purring of the bike vibrates through him, the blood in his veins thrum and pulse with every rev of the engine as he picks up speed.
His goggles shield his eyes from the waves of sand kicking up behind their bikes, as well as from the desert sun’s harsh rays. But even that fails to register with Keith, whose heart is hammering his chest.
Shiro is just a hair’s breadth away, shouting both encouragement and teasing remarks behind him.
Maybe this time he’ll win.
Keith ends up losing again but he’s getting closer each time they race. He feels a swell of pride that he can even match someone like Shiro in the first place.
“You did amazing today buddy. Looks like you’ll be beating me sooner that I thought.” He flashes Keith a grin that Keith can’t help but return.
The pair are currently in the familiar town square, the local hangout spot for virtually every Galaxy Garrison student and even some professors. The town itself is small and dusty, fitting for a place located in the middle of a desert.
Despite this, there are quite a few businesses around including several clothing stores (one of them the official Garrison uniform store), hardware and mechanic shops, pharmacies, restaurants, and one of the most popular attractions: the ice cream parlor.
Ice cream in the desert is a hot commodity and for Keith it was an especially rare treat he hadn’t indulged in since his father passed. When Shiro found this out, he absolutely insisted on taking Keith out for some at least once a week, as well as keeping a stock of it in his freezer at all times. Those simple acts of kindness touched Keith in a way he hadn’t felt in years.
Keith picked his brain for a way to reciprocate not just that but for everything Shiro has done for him. And when Shiro casually mentioned that he wanted to go on a trip with Keith for summer break, the perfect idea formulated in his head. It still remains a surprise to Shiro; all he told him was that he had the perfect place for a camping trip.
“Penny for your thoughts?” Keith rolls his eyes as Shiro chuckles, handing him his ice cream cone and sitting down across the table.
“Thanks dad. And gross by the way, how do you even eat mint ice cream?”
“The same way you somehow eat pistachio.” To make his point Shiro takes a huge bite out his double scoop then immediately clutches his head as brain freeze hits him. Keith laughs so hard he nearly drops his own cone.
Once the two calm down, they indulge in the cool air blasting from the AC, content to people watch from the large window at their side.
“Let’s see now. We have plenty of clothes, toiletries, and the first aid kit,” he ignores the snickers and “I bet” from Keith. “So that just leaves some spare fuel for the hoverbikes. Can’t you give me at least a hint as to where we’re going?”
“Nope. You’ll see it soon.”
“But the place does at least have a kitchen and cookware, right?”
Keith swallows a bit of ice cream before replying. “Yeah, nothing fancy but it’s functional.”
“Which means we need to buy some ingredients so we can cook.”
Keith snorts. “You mean so I can cook.”
Shiro puts his hands over his heart and gasps. “How could you? I thought we were friends.”
“And as your friend, I’m protecting you from yourself. Remember the pasta incident?”
“How was I supposed to know you had to cook the pasta before adding the sauce?” Keith gives him a flat stare. “Fine, I’ll only set out the cutlery.”
“Good ‘cause otherwise I’ll tell Adam on you.”
“Oh, that’s low Keith.” And in frustration he gobbles the rest of his cone without thinking, giving himself another brain freeze and making Keith actually drop his cone as he chokes on his laughter.
This time Keith leads the way, Shiro following close behind as they ride through the desert sands again. There’s no sense of urgency, no abnormal adrenaline rush. Just the joy that comes from flying itself.
They finally approach their destination, a small shack located in a remote patch of land, far from both the Garrison and the town. The two drive right up to the porch, then kill the engines on their bikes.
A low, long whistle comes from Shiro as he parks his machine. “Wow, had no idea this was even here.” Keith smiles softly, glad to be back to this little shack. He parks his own bike and turns to Shiro, nervous energy causing him to shift his weight between legs.
“This...this was my dad’s place.” Shiro’s eyebrows rise, eyes widening at the unexpected confession. “Me and him lived here before he, you know. Died.” Keith feels his eyes burn and he blinks before any stray tears can slip out. He notices that Shiro is wiping at his own eyes and Keith panics, not meaning to make him cry, but Shiro speaks up before Keith can backpedal.
“Keith I, I mean this. This, this is--” He pauses and takes a deep breath. “I never thought you would bring me to a place like this. That you would trust me this much.”
Keith feels his face burn and he looks down, unable to meet the earnest expression in his brother’s eyes. “Well I mean...you trusted me first, some trouble kid from a group home, and got me in the Garrison. And you trusted me with your home too. So, I...uh. Thanks, Shiro.”
He hears a dull thud and feels strong arms wrap around his torso and lift him off the ground. Keith yelps in surprise but soon returns the show of affection with a laugh. After a solid minute Shiro lowers Keith and pulls back, his warm grey eyes shining. “I guess we have to make this the best camping trip ever then.”
Excitement bubbles in Keith’s chest and stomach and he nods, a huge grin on his face. “You bet! After dinner, I’ll show you how to climb the roof so we can stargaze. Then tomorrow we can….” Way too many plans to fit into a single week flutter from Keith’s mouth but Shiro is too excited to notice, pitching in his own ideas in the process as they make their way inside.
They end up staying for an extra few days and even go back a second time before vacation ends, this time bringing a certain someone finally free from his summer classes.