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Fantasy vs Reality

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What Keith expects is this: a small but no less dorky Welcome Home sign in bubble letters and glitter pen, a boyfriend insisting on picking up Keith’s luggage even though he knows Keith can more than handle it, and stuffing himself full of pizza rolls before he passes out, preferably somewhere on top of Shiro.

What this reality deigned to provide was this: stormy clouds rolling in, a hangar populated by a smattering of maintenance crew milling about, just waiting for him to exit the shuttle, and no umbrella-toting boyfriend anywhere to be seen.

“Fuck my life,” Keith muttered, and broke into a run as the skies opened up on him.


Shiro wasn’t in their quarters, as Keith had expected, furiously towelling his hair dry after a long but well-deserved hot shower.

Maybe he should stop expecting things, he decided as he stalked back out into the corridor, hapless cadets skidding out of his way, since the universe seemed hell bent on falling short at every turn today.


“Are you a masochist?”

Shiro looked up from the piles of papers covering every inch of his desk. “Keith,” he said, with no little surprise. “What are you – I wasn’t –”

Keith let the office door slam shut, pointedly. “I’m sorry, Sir,” he stressed, and saw Shiro wince. “Are you a fucking masochist, Sir?”

Shiro shook his head, bemused, blinking lethargically like he was trying to decide if Keith was a hallucination. “You’re – you’re early,” he said, stupidly.

Last Keith checked, he was maybe a few minutes late, given that he still had to taxi the shuttle into the hangar after the passengers disembarked. But, you know, details. He crossed over to the far side of the office and yanked the curtains open, viciously, and felt a vindictive kind of pleasure when Shiro made a pained noise.

“It’s ten in the morning, Professor Shirogane. I landed an hour ago.”

While Shiro looked like he was still reeling from that revelation, Keith stalked back to his desk and grabbed one of the papers at random. “Calculate the minimum thrust needed to break free of a planet whose gravitational pull is – what the hell?” He flipped to the first page of the paper, where the bold title stared back up at him. “Aeronautics 101?” As far as he knew, Shiro exclusively taught deep-space manoeuvres and advanced flight tactics to gifted senior cadets and junior pilots, during the scant months a year he stayed Earth-side while Keith flew short-distance missions, because Shiro loved teaching and Keith didn’t need a co-pilot for something in-system.

“I can explain,” Shiro said, weakly. He took off his reading glasses and rubbed at his temples. “But could you... I know you’re angry, Keith, and you’ve got every right to be, but please, your aggression pheromones are making my headache worse.”

Keith didn’t see how Shiro could possibly explain why he looked like he’d just pulled an all-nighter grading the core module for what looked like the entire freshman batch, but okay, he made a conscious attempt to dial his pheromones back down, until he ought to no longer be triggering Shiro’s Dominant aspect.

“So?”

“So... there was a nasty case of spacepox couple weeks back, took out nearly half the teaching staff, and there’s no one left at the Garrison to proctor the Aeronautics final?”

And Shiro, being... Shiro, offered to handle five hundred students on his own.

The idiot.

Keith huffed out a long breath and hopped up onto the edge of Shiro’s desk, snagging a red pen and a random paper.

“Keith, you don’t –”

“Shut up,” he muttered, uncapping the pen with his mouth. “The sooner we get this done, the sooner we can go cuddle in bed.”