Actions

Work Header

The Athlete's Dream

Chapter Text

The sound of the alarm clock pleaded mercilessly. Keith opened his eyes, exhaling a deep sigh.

It was Monday.

Monday morning. 7:45 o'clock to be precise. And he needed to get up.

He switched off the alarm and sat up, drowsy from his broken sleep, his thoughts a bit dizzy from what he saw: half the dream he'd just had, half the reality he was confronted with. This included a soft knock at his door followed by a shout.

"Are ya up yet!?"

Hunk was a up already, of course. His class was about to start in… 15 minutes. Keith raised an eyebrow. He was sure that Hunk knew what he was doing. His own class would start at 10, though he liked to prepare his afternoon class in the mornings since his colours took some time to arrange, as well as his sculpture material.

Slowly he sat up, grabbed his shirt, went to the door and opened it. He expected Hunk to be leaving, instead he was rummaging through his bag and tried to sort books and notes which were all over the couch table.

"I'm up," Keith murmured. Hunk turned around, his short fluffy hair flying around his ears.

"Oh, Keith! Good morning! I'm about to leave."

"Doesn't look like it though." Keith observed what his friend was doing before he decided to go to the bathroom. Once he came out again, Hunk was still sorting his stuff.

"What are you doing, Hunk? What about class?"

"I'm about to leave."

"You said that three minutes ago."

"Oh." Hunk straightened his back. "Well, I'm looking for a certain book. I need it for the second class."

"Checked your room?" Keith asked.

"Yep."

"Kitchen?"

A nod.

"Bathroom?"

Hunk frowned.

"Just to be sure."

"Of course. But no, I haven't. Did you see it?"

Keith had to focus on the recent memories he had gained from the bathroom just now. While Keith was thinking about it, Hunk checked for himself.

"Nope," he said.

"What about my room? You studied there on Saturday," Keith mentioned.

Hunk opened his mouth as if to say something in defense. Instead of words, he scooted towards Keith's room and disappeared. Keith hoped that Hunk would not discover all his tiny little secrets he had hidden.

"There! My god Keith, why did you..?" Hunk appeared again, said book in his hands. Keith gave him a questioning look, whether he wanted to finish this sentence or not. "Well, I guess it's my own fault. I'll be on my way then."

"Take care," Keith mentioned, still a bit tired from this hasty search in the morning. Hunk slid into his shoes, took his coat and bag and waved shortly before leaving their apartment.

Keith sighed, suddenly surrounded by silence. He went to the kitchen area – kitchen and living room were all in one, though it was a quite comfortable area – and made himself a cup of tea. While the kettle was busy, exhaling steamy water into the room, Keith filled cereal into a bowl and poured milk on them. Finally, having tea and breakfast ready, he sat down on their couch and ate for himself.

If the time allowed it, Hunk and he would have breakfast – or any other meal – together. Though that wasn't the case on Monday mornings. Normally, Hunk was on time but today everything had started with chaos. Keith sighed and nipped on his tea, the empty cereal bowl resting beside a familiar keyring. Keith stared at it for a while until he realised that this was Hunk's keyring.

"Phone, phone," he murmured.

Keith put his tea aside and scooted back to his room. He grabbed his phone, switched on the Wi-Fi and ignored several messages which had collected during the night. He opened the chat he had with Hunk. Since they lived together, there was not always a need to send messages so their chat was basically nearly empty.

He started to type:


Keith: You forgot your keys, Hunk. I will bring them.


He didn't expect an instant reply. So he went back to the bathroom to brush his teeth and shave. After that was done, he dressed and packed all necessary things in his shoulder bag before he headed out.

Their apartment was a bit rundown but it gave off a cozy feeling. A complex where all kinds of different people lived. Their direct neighbours were a family of three and two grannies living their last days with each other. The flat was located on the third floor, the entrance right next to a grass field including a swing and sandbox for the children. During wintertime, all the surrounding trees were covered with a white hat and the bushes filled with frosty flakes.

It was a nice apartment. The next supermarket was a five-minute bike ride away, the university about 20.

Keith went to the little garage, unlocked his bike, put his bag into the back basket and made his way through the traffic.

His university was on a small hill, at the border of the city. There was a forest surrounding most of the buildings, though there were open fields in the northern part, reserved for sport events and tournaments. The main sections to be taught were humanities, culture, sports and natural sciences.

He parked his bike near the humanities department and walked through the side entrance and across the long hallways, placarded with advertisements for cultural events, parties and book flea markets.

Keith was a second year student enrolled in art and design. Therefore, his first approach this morning was the studio and preparation room, where he had his very own cupboard with smaller pieces of clay and all kinds of tools and colours.

The studios were located at the end of this building, close to the open athletic grounds, where in the afternoon the rugby club held his meetings and arranged matches.

It was 9:10am when he started to look through his colours. He made a list with the things he still needed for the afternoon class and opened the windows to let in some fresh air of spring. The new term had just started but this room was most of the time in use. Many students had projects running all over the year and the neighboured studio was a place for art students to create their pieces.

Occasionally, Keith checked his phone, but Hunk hadn't replied yet. He might be distracted by his classes. Since the term had just started, everybody needed to be concentrated during class. Important things were normally discussed on Monday morning.

When the clock above the door showed 9:46, Keith left for his first class that morning: Cultural history of design and modernisation in Japan.

The lecture hall was relatively small and already filled with students when Keith entered. He sat somewhere in the back next to Lance, another second year student he had met in the first week already.

"Hey, Keith, how have you been? How was the weekend?" Lance rearranged his bag so that Keith could sit next to him.

"Quite okay, I guess," Keith mumbled, unpacking notebook and pens.

"Only okay? Well, you'd never guess where I have been to! We were to this new adventure park, you know? The rollercoaster are amazing and we..."

"Who is we?" Keith raised an eyebrow. The we was new.

"My girlfriend and I," Lance said, a bit disappointed, as if he had expected Keith to know everything that was going on in his life.

"I see." Keith nodded and listened to the overly exaggerated description of those rollercoasters. Lance was talking a lot, as he always did. But there were moments in which they could talk about serious topics, too. Keith liked this character of Lance, though sometimes he rather enjoyed the silence.

When the lecture started, Lance went silent and whispered a small I'll tell you more later.

Keith followed quite well for a Monday. He took some notes about the important things concering organisational things throughout this year and especially the first semester. There was going to be an exhibition planned for the second years, though not everybody would be able to present a piece. Keith was curious but didn't have many hopes regarding the placement.

His phone vibrated and he threw a glance at the screen.


Hunk: Sorry Keith! Thank you for taking them. Lunch together? At 12, entrance of the cafeteria??


Keith chuckled silently and typed his reply:


Keith: All right. See you then.


The first class went by faster than expected. When it was time for lunch, he shouldered his bag and turned around to Lance.

"You want to join us for lunch? Hunk's coming as well."

"Yes, of course!"

They left the classroom and tried to find a quick way through the crowds of students, suddenly released for lunch all together.

The cafeteria was in a separate building close to the forest. Hunk was already there, his face full of unsaid apologies until Keith was near enough to hear them all.

"Thank you, Keith, thank you! I didn't realise, I'm so sorry." Hunk took his keyring and pulled Keith into a hug.

"I-It's alright, Hunk. You're welcome. No problem." Keith tried to catch his breath again. He gave Hunk a small smile to show that he was okay.

"Really, Keith. I'm sorry. Let me treat you."

"No, no, no, it's okay. Just… remember to collect your books before you have to leave." Keith chuckled as Hunk turned red.

"You were late to class, right? I saw you running by," Lance noticed. He lived in the university dorms on campus.

"Don't remind me. Scolded in the second week already." Hunk frowned. "Anyway, let's have lunch."

They went inside the cafeteria and queued up. Keith got some noodle soup and salad, paid and went ahead to sit down already. He watched all the other students enjoying the free time they still had. Midterm exams weren't that far away in general, but Keith liked the calm time in the beginning as well.

Though it never felt like only two weeks had passed, rather like two months and the end was already close.

Hunk arrived, a cheese olive lasagne on his plate, followed by Lance, who had chosen a salad as well as a sausage with potatoes.

"Listen Hunk, I have to tell you something about those amazing rollercoasters we visited last weekend."

"Who are we?" Hunk asked and Keith laughed.

Lance threw him a glance. "Come on guys, I told you about Allura. I met her during the winter break in the Ice Paradise they had installed near the lake."

"Ahhh," Hunk and Keith made, finally realising who Lance was talking about.

“It was love at first sight!” Lance said proudly.

“For whom?” Keith murmured while taking up his chopsticks. Lance threw him a daring glare.

"How come we've never seen her?" Keith asked.

"She studies at another university. And if you would have met her, you would definitely remember her after you met her." Lance frowned. "She is gorgeous." And a soft blush appeared on his cheeks. "Anyway, the rollercoaster."

And Lance explained in every detail the different rollercoasters of the neighbouring city's adventure land.

It was already 12:45 when Keith mentioned that it was time to head to their next class. They separated in front of the cafeteria since Hunk had a free slot and wanted to get some books from the library. Lance and Keith went northern.

"Let's not go through the building. It'll surely be crowded in the hallways," Keith said and Lance nodded.

They discussed how Lance would want to introduce his girlfriend since she studied at another university. Matching time slots were difficult but they settled for this weekend.

As they walked further north, they reached the athletic grounds usually occupied by the rugby club. But now Keith noticed some preparations; hurdles and mats laying on the red patch of the field.

"This doesn't look like rugby at all, right?" Keith murmured. He watched some people in jerseys and light shoes.

"Those are track and field club member," Lance said, watching the preparations as well. "They changed with the rugby club last Friday. Starting today, they will practice here. There were some internal organisations or something."
Keith gave a nod.

The field was close to the art and design department. He always heard the sounds of shouting rugby players over the grounds.

The setup was done relatively silent. He watched some of the members exchanging orders, pointing out directions for the hurdles or laughing.

Keith noticed that they mainly had a slim build, their bodies featured either tall legs or strong thighs. There were different specialities of what to do in track and field. Keith had been in this club during his school days as well.

Keith's eyes followed a young woman, having a bunch of relay sticks in her hands, another member followed her. She dropped a stick and a man came in sight. He picked it up and came after the woman to return it.

He was tall, taller than all the others. His body type was rather strong and muscular, broad shoulders and chest were packed into a tight shirt. Probably to reduce the impact of wind. Keith wasn't sure whether this was helpful or actually true. He had to admit that the shirt drew his attention.

He watched the man, not noticing that he'd stopped walking. Lance had went on talking but didn't recognise the absentminded Keith behind him.

The track member had short black hair with a white whiff of white on his forehead.

Keith frowned, not sure whether this was something in fashion right now he didn't know about or whether this man just liked it this way. The track member smiled once he returned the relay stick and continued with the setup of the hurdles.

Keith had to admit that he looked… comfortable to be with. Not because of his build, but because the people in the club seemed to like him. As if he was a person many people got along with.

"Keith! What are you doing!?"

Keith blinked and looked up. Lance was coming back all the way he had walked ahead.

"I've been talking to myself this whole time. Why didn't you say you want to watch them? Though… Not sure what's there to watch for that long." Lance put his hands on his hips, his eyes focusing on the club members.

"Do you know some of them?" Keith asked curiously.

"Not really. You?"

"No."

They stood there in silence. Lance threw him a glance.

"So you… want to get to know someone?" Lance had a small clue that Keith, even if his guess wasn't gay, thought that he was at least bisexual. He had found out by accident that his classmate liked men as well, but Keith was okay with it. He trusted Lance to not shout it out for everyone to hear just like that.

Lance was one of the few who knew, apart from Keith's mother and another gay friend. Keith was relatively guarded since this was a really personal matter. Even Hunk didn't know but he somehow never found a good opportunity to tell. And the more time passed by the more difficult it became to finally tell him. But it was on Keith's hypothetically to-do list.

"Not sure yet," Keith mumbled. "Let's go to class."

As they passed the fence, which separated the building and pathway from the field, Keith watched a blond tall guy approach the man in the tight shirt and slapped him gently on the shoulder. They seemed close.

Keith knew that he wasn't the only gay in the world, which was sometimes a relief but at other times a burden as well.

He sighed.

Lance watched him from the side but didn't say anything.

When they reached the classroom, they didn't have much time to unpack and talk more. Keith got a text and smiled as he saw that it was from Hunk:


Hunk: Sorry for today! I will make soba noodle soup today, so don't eat that much before dinner!

Chapter Text

Wednesday was Keith's free day. He woke up at 9am and took his time to eat breakfast and get ready to drive to university. Even though he didn't have any lectures on wednesdays, he still went there because most of his working materials were in the studio. And his small room in their apartment wasn't the best place to do clay sculptures. And Keith liked to be in the university's studio, surrounded by working art students who were relaxed and sunken into their creative worlds; not disturbing anyone else. There are always some of them having trouble with finishing before their deadlines and of course Keith was very well aware of this stressful feeling himself.

Since there was no pressure today at all, Keith stopped at the konbini and got a coffee as well as a few snacks for the afternoon. The weather was bright and clear, the air still cold from late spring.

After arriving at university, he locked his bike and made his way to the studio. When he wasn't in the cafeteria, lecture rooms or – during exam period – in the library, he could be found here. Most of the time during the weeks he spent in this studio, which's windows were already opened today, exchanging the paint pregnant air with fresh one. The forest was always visible and it was quiet, since there was only the narrow pathway which lead to the athletic ground which wasn't in use.

His next assignment was due in two months, though Keith liked to start as soon as possible. He got all his test sketches, tools and the stool he kept in his locker. Then he spread all his things in the corner where he usually worked. A table was ready where he put down his sketches and studied them, deciding which of them he wanted to make as a sculpture and how. It was only a small one this time, 30cm at maximum and the topic was Freedom in Nature.

Keith had already gathered many sketches of all kinds of birds when he went to the park or the zoo. He still wasn't sure if he wanted to use them. A simple bird was just… too simple. But he liked the robin. He stared at a specific sketch he remembered quite well. It was in wintertime and he had sat on a bench, surrounded by his coat and scarf. He'd been sunken deep into his sketchbook, surrounded by the frozen patches of water, glittering sparks, and laughing children on the playground. And suddenly a robin had sat down next to him on the bench. They had looked at each other, Keith froze, unable to move and break away from this scene. His hand had stopped sketching as he observed the bird. The robin had turned his head again and again and then he's flown away.

Maybe Keith was able to capture this moment once more so he started sketching. One robin after another flew to the table until he was reasonably satisfied with it.

He needed clay.

His stomach rumbled and he looked to the clock on the wall. It was 13:44. The cafeteria closed at 14:00. It was time to go and get some food.

Keith gabbed his coat, phone and purse and headed out. Since lectures were held, he didn't expected many people to be there. He was mistaken. The queue was long and he patiently waited until it was his time to reach the serving counter where the soups were waiting to be picked up.

As he reached out to take the very last bowl of steaming noodles and vegetables, another hand made the same movement. Surprised, Keith lifted his head.

"I'm sorry, you can.." He hesitated. It was the track and field club member with the whiff of white hair. Now as he stood right in front of him, Keith noticed a scar crossing the bridge of the man's nose, underlining both eyes on each side. And the guy was big, like… really big. His muscled arms were hidden underneath a sweatshirt, slim waist and broad shoulders were clearly visible. Keith's eyes ran over them shortly as he tried not be seem suspiscious or weird.

"No, it's okay. Please, go ahead," the man said. His eyes were grey and looked at him friendly.

"It's fine, I will find something else," Keith tried. He was really okay with it. And this man seemed nice, he didn't want to take from the nice ones. And not the buff ones either.

"No, no, you were faster." A small laugh. An amazing sound, soft and tuneful. "Please, take it."

The man nodded and went off for the pasta section. Keith stared at him but gathered himself, took the last soup and went to the cashier.

After he paid, he looked for an empty seat. It was quite full since many people just stayed to continue studying after lunch. He found an empty corner in the back and settled down.

He was just about to start his lunch as a shadow fell upon him.

"I'm sorry to bother you, but it seems there are many occupied tables. May I sit here?" Soft and tuneful voice.

It was the track member.

"Sure, go ahead." Keith nodded, a bit stunned to see this man so fast a second time. He waited until he had settled down as well, picking up his chopsticks.

"I'm sorry to have taken the soup." Keith said. He looked at the athlete who arranged his tray and picked up his own chopsticks.

"I'm totally fine with cabbage turnip, peas and potatoes," the man said and looked down on his tray.

"That… sounds healthy." Keith looked at the food thoughtfully. "But you're an athlete, so maybe you have to take care of your nutritions." He didn't want to bother someone he just had met but he couldn't resist to talk to him more, hearing this smooth voice. It was endearing

"How do you know that I'm an athlete?" The man frowned but his eyes sparkled with curiosity.

"Oh, I'm… well, I'm..." Keith blushed. Of course, this man didn't know that he had been observed two days earlier. Since he saw no other choice than lying he choosed the honest part. "I passed by the grounds when you were setting up the hurdles on Monday. I guess you're a track and field club member."

"Ah, I see. I thought you meant my clothes."

Keith recognised now that the man was fully dressed in a jersey underneath the sweatshirt which covered a tight running shirt. He scolded himself internally but now it was too late. Though he was interested in this man who seemed friendly. Friendly enough to let another person get the very last noodle soup of the day.

Keith didn't know what to do and smiled instead.

"By the way, I'm Shiro. Shirogane Takashi," the man said and Keith nodded.

"Keith," he responded. "Kogane Keith. Keith is fine though."

"Nice to meet you. You can call me Shiro." Shiro smiled. "I didn't notice anyone watching us though."

"We weren't watching. My friend and I passed by to get to the art department." Keith lifted his chopsticks again and took his first bite.

"You study art?" Shiro started eating as well, his eyes following Keith curiously.

"Yes, I'm a second year art and design student." Keith hesitated, but now it seemed okay to be openly interested. And this man – Shiro – had asked first, right?

"How about you?"

"I'm a third year, studying sport and education. Being a member of the track and field club is part of my studies, but I can choose other clubs as well. I really love running, though."

"What is your speciality?"

"It's 200m sprint."

"So you train every day?" Keith observed how Shiro picked up some peas with his chopsticks, before taking a piece of potato.

"Not every day. There are two days rest in the week." He shrugged. "I wouldn't mind running every day but the body needs some rest as well. And I have my studies. So, I was wondering." He swallowed and took a sip of water from his bottle.

Keith couldn't help but be nervous. Though he couldn't explain why.

"What is your major? Do you do paintings or sketches or something? I don't know many art students. I'm sorry if this is a stupid question." Shiro smiled apologetic.

"It's not stupid." Keith chuckled. "I think most art students do sketches once in a while, to do warmups or to visualise what they're going to create. Doesn't really matter if its canvas or wooden blocks they work with. I'm doing clay sculptures, sometimes with colour."

"Big ones?"

Keith thought about this. "Sometimes? I think." He had to laugh which elicited a spark in Shiro's eyes. It looked as if a shooting star fell down the grey sky. "My next assignment is only this size." Keith showed the height with his arms.

"From the bottom?" Shiro's eye grew big.

"From the surface of the table," Keith corrected. He needed to grin. Shiro was thinking in playful patterns.

"I see." Shiro laughed quietly. "But you do big ones as well?"

"I made some during high school. Two in my first year where we went to different introductory courses to decide for our major. I would like to try another one this year."

"I would like to see that." Shiro smiled.

Keith hesitated but choosed to pick up some more noodles. They continued eating in silence.

Keith had so many questions, but he tried to restrain himself. It wasn't really nice to overrun a person he just had met with a ton of curiosity. But Shiro seemed to be honestly interested in his doings as an art student. He couldn't deny an interest in Shiro (as well as his studies of course).

"So." Keith tried to sound thoughtful, as if he was thinking of a question. "What kind of things do you train? You aren't just running every day, right?"

"No, certainly not. We have a lot of different activities to train different muscles. There are inner and outer muscles and we use setups, as the hurdles or balls or whatever, to train different ones. You can't only focus on your legs as a runner. You need balance. So, you need to train your arms as well. Once a week we go to the gym following a certain menue which is increasing slowly adjusted to the bodily needs." Shiro explained without a pause. Then he noticed that Keith had gone silent and looked up from his turnip, squeezed between two chopsticks.

"I'm sorry," he said. "I talked so much. I… It's just that I really like running."

"I could tell." Keith laughed. "But it was okay. It's interesting hearing stuff from a completely different field. You can tell me more, if you'd like."

Shiro gave a nod, relieved. He went on describing different aspects they had to consider, their menue and the safety they had to ensure.

After a while he threw a glance to the clock at the wall and his eyes grew big. "Oh crap, I need to go!" He put his chopsticks aside and grabbed his belongings, throwing everything in his bag. "Our captain is strict, I have to be on time. Otherwise cleaning will be my responsibility alone today." He smiled apologetically. "Sorry, Keith." He threw his bag over his shoulder and grabbed the tray with one hand. The other waved as he scooted between the rows towards the exit. "Until next time, Keith!"

Keith waved perplexed, "Yes… would be nice."

He watched how the big man made his way, apologising for squeezing through the queue and hurried upstairs. Keith watched him until he couldn't see him anymore.

"Next time," he whispered, still remembering the glowing spark in those warm grey eyes.


Chapter Text

The next time Keith met Shiro was six days later: Tuesday. The university life was as busy as if they'd never had a semester break at all. Keith was working on his assignment, his studio coat stained with all kinds of colours, clay, and undefinable marks whose origin he wasn't so sure about anymore.

The days passed by and Keith focused on his work, not being able to concentrate on a break for his mind. The weekend was filled with all kinds of ideas and thoughts about future works and mainly the exhibition which had been announced in the beginning of the term. Keith wasn't sure if he was going to participate. He wanted to wait until others submitted their ideas before handing in his own. First, he needed more confidence in his own doings before displaying his art.

Monday went by in the blink of an eye and in the middle of Tuesday, Keith felt hungry. Of course, he had forgotten to eat. A bad function of his body to forget important things while focusing on work.

He left the studio and made his way to the cafeteria.

The hallway wasn't busy since lectures were taking place. Though Keith met some people here and there he actually knew. When he reached the corner to the humanities section, he stumbled across a broad back which was one meter below him.

Shiro was kneeling down, focused on searching through his bag. A small mumbling came out of his mouth.

Keith turned around. "Can I help you?" He asked.

No response.

"Shiro?"

The track member jerked and lifted his head. "Oh! Hey Keith! How are you doing?"

"I'm fine. A bit hungry though. You're looking for something?" Keith lifted an eyebrow, his eyes scooting down to the open bag.

"My… my..." Shiro was lost in thoughts for a moment again. He felt the pockets of his pants, the outer bags and the sleeves of his sweatshirt. "I'm..." Shiro fell silent, his eyes showing that he was thinking really hard about whatever he was looking for.

"Can I… help you somehow? If it's money for lunch I can lent you some."

Shiro stared at Keith, trying to process the words. "Lunch," he mumbled. "That's it!" He jumped up. Keith thought that he might reach the ceiling, so much power was behind his muscles.

"The cafeteria! I might have lost it there. Thank you, Keith!"

He hastily closed his bag and threw it over his shoulder.

"I'll come back later, sorry, I have to check it."

"Sure," Keith said. He had to admit that he was a bit disappointed since Shiro seemed as if he was about to run. Whatever he had lost had to be really important.

Shiro was about to leave before he turned around. "Say, where is your lab room? I would like to come by later."

Keith was surprised, but a warm rain of emotion ran through his body. "Yes, uhm.. It's down the floor to the right." He gestured with his hand. "You won't miss it. We're in the very last room."

"Alright, see you!" And he was gone, jumping a bit as he ran through the hallway and out of the building.

Keith followed his imaginary footsteps. He wasn't sure how to feel. Disappointed or nervous? He wondered why Shiro wanted to come to the studio. Shiro was friendly and… Keith liked him in another way. But he needed, he wanted to know more about him. He seemed interesting and .. comfortable to be with.

Keith sighed. He still wasn't sure about how to define this feeling. But comfortable seemed good enough for now. Making friends had always been difficult for him.

He made his way to the cafeteria. He didn't see Shiro anywhere and if he were to be there, Keith was sure that he wouldn't miss him.

Keith had a silent lunch and walked back on his own. He had a meeting later at 5 with some other art students. They normally gathered on tuesdays to discuss important things. In most of the cases Keith was back for dinner which Hunk had already prepared by that time.

After returning to his studio, he continued with choosing a colour palette for his work. After the first steps of progress he went on with forming the clay in the right shape. It took quite a while to carve the head how he wanted it to be. Luckily changes could be done easily with clay. Different from wood. Once cut off it was difficult to adjust.

It was already way past 3 as a knock made him pause. Normally people just came in and continued their work. The room was in the very last corner of this building so there weren't many coming by in general.

Shiro popped his head inside and Keith was pleasingly surprised.

"Oh!" He just said. Obviously, he wasn't able to form other words at that point.

"Oh?" Shiro laughed. It sounded like rough water in a silver night full of stars. "I came to see your work. My own is pretty much open to the public. Though..." He threw a glance around. There was another student in the connected room. A fourth year who was mainly here trying to finish his final piece. They hadn't noticed anything and apart from this student Keith was the only one present.

"There aren't many people here. Where is the rest?"

Keith shrugged. "Some have space at home to work there or use other studios which are somewhere else. I like it here." He observed how Shiro nodded. "You can come in if you want."

Shiro smiled. "Sure, thanks!"

He came in, closed the door and inspected the surrounding tables, cupboards full of tools, boards and mechanical devices.

"I've never been here," he mentioned. His hand slid over a table as he came closer to Keith's working area. When he reached it, he examined Keith as if he were an art piece from a foreign country. "I haven't seen you since last week."

"I was busy with my assignment. It has to be finished until Friday."

"Can I see it?"

Keith hesitated. He wasn't sure if Shiro would like his art, his interpretation, his concept. But he couldn't refuse the naivety and curiosity Shiro showed him. He really would like to see that, with no other meaning behind it.

"If-if you want. But I can't promise anything good."

"That is as if you tell me to go swim without water, Keith. Show me what you have."

Keith nodded and gestured the bigger man to follow him. He guided Shiro to the corner where his working table was. His main sculpture he was working at was sitting at the outer side of the table. It was the robin, though the colours were still missing and the tail wasn't fully worked out of the clay. Keith was satisfied with the head and the wings, one tilted, the other up in the air.

Shiro stood in front of it and looked down at the robin, his eyes interested in what he saw. He watched the bird from all sides and even from underneath. As far as Keith had carved it at least.

"It's a robin," he said quietly.

"You recognise it?" Keith was surprised.

"Of course, I do." Shiro laughed. "This is definitely a robin. But.." He tilted his head. "If you wanted to create a falcon than I'm sorry, I see a robin."

"No, no, you're right." Keith laughed. Shiro's eyes began to sparkle as he did so. "It's a robin. The theme of the assignment is Freedom in Nature. I thought a bird would be nice, maybe too common to do for this topic."

Shiro shrugged. "Not sure about that, but I do like the form. He looks… confident in his movement, brave to experience adventures but also…free." He nodded as if to support his own words. "When you finish the tail and everything, what is gonna happen then?"

"I want to colour it. That's my… my thing I would say. I like to colour the clay once it's done."

"What kind of colours?"

"Uhm,..." Keith thought of the palette he had created in the past few hours. "I'll use some red and green, grey and white, and brown."

"I see. I think it'll be beautiful."

Keith was surprised to hear this. "Thank you." He was relieved to hear these words. Someone actually liking his art, what he had created with his own hands.

"Have you done more?" Shiro looked around.

Keith nodded. "I have done another but..." He frowned. He shouldn't have said it. He wasn't sure if he wanted to show the sculpture to other people, except the grading professor. But now he had said it and he thought that Shiro would be okay with being shown more of his works.

"Can I see it as well?" Shiro paused, observing Keith reactions. "It's okay if you don't want me to."

"No, no, no! It's okay. I was… thinking whether you might like my.. concept of doing things."

"I would like to find out."

They looked at each other; Shiro curious, Keith surprised about the words.

"Well," he said and shrugged. "Come, I'll show you."

Shiro followed him to the cupboard where he had put the second sculpture.

"Do you keep them in university?" Shiro asked.

"Not all of them, only those I'm working on right now. Most of my works are at my mother's house and some in my apartment. But since it's small not everything can fit in my room."

"I understand, my room is small as well. Student apartments sure are functional, but not astethic."

Keith laughed. "Yes, that's true."

He opened the bigger drawer and lifted the sculpture. It was about 40cm high and... a dog. It was coloured in black and blue with silver lines running through the fur. Keith had specifically bought a metallic colour for this since he wanted them to appear as shooting stars.

"It looks so lively!" Shiro nearly shouted. His eyes grew bigger in fascination. "It's really beautiful. You did that?"

"Ye-yes, I did." Keith was happy that Shiro liked it.

The dog was jumping, a scene right in the movement. It tried to catch a stick which Keith had modelled into the mouth of the animal.

Shiro observed the dog and in the end he nodded approvingly. "Did you have a model for this?"

"Yes, it's our family dog. He is living with my mother right now."

"So, you're a dog person. Good to know," Shiro mumbled.

Keith waited some more time before storing the dog in the drawer once more.

"It must have taken a lot of time to organise, plan and work on those sculptures." Shiro threw Keith an asking glance.

Keith nodded. At times he spent most of his days in this room. Only taking breaks for going to the restroom or getting food.

"I'm sorry if I'm keeping you from working. You must be busy with the deadline on Friday." Shiro raised a hand to scratch the back of his head. "I understand, we have a tournament coming up, so we need to train harder than usual. I need to go to the gym, but I forgot the notebook with my records. I lost it while having lunch with the team before. That's why I went back." Shiro looked at Keith. "I'm sorry if it seems as if I'd been running off earlier."

"It's okay. I thought that it had to have been something important." Another wave of relieve washed over Keith, leaving a smile behind which suddenly appeared on his lips.

Shiro nodded.

"So," he said. "I should go to the gym soon." He shouldered his bag and made his way to the door.

"When is the tournament?" Keith didn't want to let him go yet. It was the only thing coming to his mind.

"What? Oh, the tournament! It's next month. We still have time but muscles aren't built in two days." He chuckled.

"True," Keith agreed. "Can I come by once in a while?"

Now it was Shiro's turn to be surprised. "To the gym?" He asked.

"To your training. I would like to do sketches. I could use them for models. Only if the members are okay with it, of course."

"Sure," Shiro replied instantly. "I will ask them, but I don't see any problem." He winked. He seemed to like the idea of having more constant contact to Keith. At least that's what Keith had as an impression.

"I will let you know when I've asked them."

"Yes, thank you."

Shiro waved, the doorknob in the other hand. "Next time!"

"Yes, see you then."

Shiro hesitated for a moment, as if he wanted to add something. Then he smiled and left the art room.

Chapter Text

It happened more often that Keith and Shiro met in the hallways, outside, crossing paths at the university grounds, and often while queuing for lunch at the cafeteria. Keith sometimes thought that this might not be by chance but he often saw that Shiro had seen him from afar and seemed to be waiting for him, a wide smile on his face.

But of course this was imagination. They just had met; there are only few people to have this kind of first meeting and fell in love at the first glance. (Though this might be rather in TV shows than reality.) But Keith wasn't sure about getting his hopes up.

It was still difficult to find people who had a similar orientation as him. And Shiro was… He was just Shiro. Though with every time they met, they exchanged more information about each other. Keith knew where Shiro was living (and Shiro knew of Keith's apartment's location too) and that the track member had had a dog as well when he'd been a child. He'd been a member of the track and field club since junior high school. He had never quit. He loved running and tried long jump at some point but had returned to middle distance running the next season. He went to the gym with his team two times a week and trained for three hours. He had a lot of practice, but also lectures about teaching advices, anatomy, and theoretical muscle training. His schedule wasn't especially tight, but he enjoyed being on the grounds and running the miles out of his feet.

When they met Shiro always smiled, his grey eyes sparkled and Keith was always happy to be with him. He felt warm and comfortable. He felt that he was welcome to spend some time with the bigger man who studied something totally different than him.

The weeks went by and midterm exams were upon them. Both of them, as well as all other students, were busy. Keith had three exams and an assignment to do. Shiro had to accomplish a medical check-up as well as exams. Moreover, he told Keith that his menue became even tougher, strenghtening the members for the upcoming tournament.

Keith spend most of the time in the library studying for his exams. He was accompanied by Lance and Hunk, who were busy as well. If he wasn't in the library, he could be found in the studio, working on the new sculpture. It wasn't made entirely of clay but partly of wood and metal. It was a new concept his advisor wanted the students to create. Though Keith wasn't really confident with it yet.

On a quiet Thursday evening, Keith was sitting next to Hunk in the library study corner, close to the window with view on the forest. But they didn't have time to watch how the wind was blowing and rustling through the top of the trees, turning green leaves to white ones. Hunk was mumbling something about formulas, immersed in a thick engineering book.

Keith had two notes and his laptop. He was searching for the cultural background of Japanese society of the 12th century and its development into art. It was tough and he felt like he'd been staring at the screen for four hours straight.

"Oh, Keith. I didn't see you."

Keith and Hunk looked up. Shiro was approaching them, one hand raised in a greeting. The area was occupied by other students so the track member tried to keep his voice down.

"Are you studying as well?" Keith asked. He noticed the books Shiro carried under his arm as well as his heavy-looking shoulder bag.

Shiro nodded. "Yeah," he said slowly. He seemed tired. "How are you doing? Oh." Shiro nodded to Hunk. "I'm Shiro."

"Hunk," Keith's friend said. "Nice to meet you. Keith told me about you."

Shiro raised an eyebrow.

"He is my flatmate, so we talk about things we come across in our daily life," Keith answered the unspoken question in his grey eyes.

Shiro chuckled. "I see. You're an art student as well?"

"No, I'm an engineer. Well..," Hunk tilted his head. "I hope to be an engineer one day."

"Good luck with your exams." Shiro pressed the books to his chest to have a better grip on them. One book was about to slip and Keith caught it.

"Oh, thanks, Keith. Not really happy to damage library material."

"They sure are strict about that," Keith approved. He looked at the title of the book he shoved back on the pile in Shiro's arms. "Muscle stretching and young bodies' health?" He read aloud.

"It's for my exam. When you want to be a sport teacher you have to learn this stuff for the younger students." Shiro explained. "I think I'm not that young anymore."

"But you're a third year, right?" Keith smiled since he wanted to be nice to Shiro. But somehow the track member wasn't agreeing.

"That reminds me of the book our PE teacher gave you during junior high," Hunk said, before Keith could wonder about Shiro's behaviour. He turned his head to his friend and shook his head. Not because Hunk was wrong; he was totally right about that. It was just an embarrassing memory he wanted to get rid of.

"You know, this one book our teacher gave you because you said you had trouble with stretching. He even helped you with it after."

Keith's face started to burn. But he couldn't make Hunk stop talking. And then Shrio said something even more embarrassing.

"Do you still have it? Do you mind if I borrow it? It might be useful. I have to write an essay and it's kinda hard to find material." Shiro's eyes grew big and round and they were just too gentle as to refuse his question.

Keith looked from Hunk up to Shiro, at first unable to say anything. Then he nodded. "Alright, I will bring it." His mouth was dry but he was somehow happy that he was able to help Shiro.

"Thank you. I really appreciate it. I think I might head back. Should we meet in the library tomorrow? I will be here at 9 in the morning. That okay?"

Keith nodded. "Sure."

"Alright, see you tomorrow."

"Bye," Hunk said and raised a hand to wave goodbye.

When Shiro was out of sight, Hunk frowned and looked at his friend. "Why do you still have that book though? You're not really doing much sport and… you weren't really into it in school either."

"I wonder about that as well," Keith murmured, unable to look Hunk in the eye. He knew exactly why he still had that book. He just couldn't let go of it.


*~*~*~*


Keith was early. It was quarter to nine when he arrived at the library. He was way too nervous because he would meet Shiro in 15 minutes. Since he was early, he sat down, opened his laptop and turned it on. Unable to focus on any text he opened, he stared at the screen, pretending to work.

At some point he became lost in thought and – wondering how he managed to end up there – a sudden touch to his shoulder made him jerk. He raised his head; he was somehow startled to see Shiro in front of him.

"Morning," the bigger man said, a bright smile on his lips. "Did I frighten you? I'm sorry."

"No, no, I'm fine. I was..." Keith began but then he looked back at his laptop, still showing the very first page he visited. "I'm… not sure where I was. Thinking."

"Difficult yet important as well." Shiro jerked a shoulder. He sat down and opened his bag. "Do you mind if I sit here?"

Keith was speechless. He thought he would be able to see him for a minute, or two. Maximum three. But he didn't dare to hope for more. It was nice to have Shiro next to him, it calmed him in some way.

"Sure, go ahead," he said with a neutral voice and gave Shiro a smile. He reached out for the book between his own notes and handed it over. "Here. This is the book we talked about yesterday."

Shiro took it; his eyes began to sparkle.

"Thank you, Keith. You're a lifesaver." He gave him a bright smile. "I think I spent three days already to find useful literature." Shiro opened the book and thumbed through it for a bit. There were many graphics and useful information boxes. It was really handy. Keith had read it once to be able to talk about the content. He didn't remember much though.

"I have two hours until I have to meet with the team. I wanted to study anyway. Is it okay If I just stay here?" Shiro raised an eyebrow. "I don't want to bother you with your studies so if you.."

"It's okay. I don't mind if if you stay. It would be nice," Keith said while blushing. He couldn't control it. Would it be weird to say that it made him relax when this certain track member sat here with him? He didn't want to use important words so early but he couldn't refuse this calm feeling he always had when they met.

Shiro nodded. He opened his bag and took out pencils, book and notebook. While he began to organise his studies, Keith tried to concentrate on his text for real. It was difficult at first. His eyes glanced back and forth, trying to steal some images of Shiro he'd never seen before.

Shiro wore a sweatshirt today. Not really tight but well fitting. His pants were black which – as Keith thought about it more often as usual – was a really nice colour for Shiro to wear. Shiro's clothes were simple but appealing. As if he was meant to wear them.

"I-is there something wrong?"

Keith froze and his eyes scooted back to Shiro's face.

"N-no!" He said unnecessarily loud. "No," he added, this time quieter. He felt the stare of the librarian in his neck. He cleared his throat and tried to think of an excuse but he didn't find anything in his empty head. After Keith noticed that he just admitted the truth. "I just… I think that black suits you."

Shiro raised his eyebrows. He was thinking about Keith's words, clearly visible in his grey thoughtful eyes. Then he glanced down at his own body and smile.

"Oh, uhm… Thank you. I just… happen to wear this. I'm not sure why exactly I'm comfortable in these clothes."

Keith nodded appreciatively.

"Nobody's told me this yet," Shiro admitted. A very light pink blush hushed over his cheeks.

"Oh, uhm… You're welcome, I guess?" Keith jerked a shoulder.

They both stared at each other before starting to chuckle at the same time.

For the rest of the two hours Keith was somehow able to focus on his works. He finished his text and notes and wrote down some more ideas. After around two hours Shiro packed his things and stood up. He looked down on Keith, smiling.

"Thank you for the book. It's already been helpful. I will return it to you once I'm done with it. The deadline is in three days, so how about then?"

"Sure. But.. You can use it as long as you need it."

"Alright." Shiro nodded. "Bye, Keith. Until next time." He winked. Shiro shouldered his bag and as he turned, he touched Keith's shoulder as kind of good-bye.

"Y-yes, next time." Keith smiled and watched him go, his face feeling hotter than usual.


*~*~*~*


The library became some kind of a meeting point for them. Keith went there every day to study until their exams were starting. Keith became quite busy in the final days and he was happy to have Hunk as a flatmate. Since Hunk had less exams and finished earlier than Keith, he had time to prepare dinner. Every time when Keith came back late from the library or the studio, there was always something freshly cooked or at least something done which he could warm up in the microwave.

Hunk was the oldest friend he had. They'd met in primary school and even though Keith hadn't had any friends that time as he didn't got along well with others, Hunk and he had become closer at the end of primary school. They'd gone to the same junior, middle and even high school, always staying by each other's side. Their parents' houses were close as well and somehow they'd always ended up together. But Keith was a reserved student. He often felt like being alone with his thoughts and maybe it was Hunk's attitude to be okay with this that they got along so well through all those years.

Hunk knew a lot of things about Keith and the other way around. But there was one thing he didn't know and it bothered Keith that he had never used the chance to explain, to actually tell him about this. He wanted to support his childhood friend and he wanted the same support as well. But the more he waited the more and more difficult it became.

Hunk had basically adopted Keith, a small child, silent and on his own. Keith closest friend at that time was his dog at home. Hunk had been the only one, except from Keith's family, who had cared for him in many ways and Keith was relieved to have him as a very dear and close friend. When they'd started university, they'd ended up together and the thought to share a flat had been close.

Things were going well. There was only this one thing: Hunk didn't know that Keith was gay and it had been bothering Keith all these years.


*~*~*~*


Every time Keith and Shiro met, the minutes in which they were together grew longer. Keith was happy that he wasn't the only one obviously thinking that way. A smile ran over his face every time he thought about Shiro or the possibility of meeting him just by thinking of him.

And the touches grew in number. The first time had been in the library, but now, once in a while – more often than expected – Shiro would brush his shoulder with his hands. It looked natural but Keith couldn't help but think that sometimes this had been intentionally.

Keith didn't know whether Shiro was straight or gay or bi or whatever else. (He didn't care that much about it, he was comfortable to be with Shiro, that was the most important thing he cared about.) Though he didn't want to get his hopes up. And regarding a deeper kind of relationship it might be important to see how the other part thinks and feels.

Every time Shiro touched him (whether on his shoulder, arm, back, or somewhere else) he felt a hot knot deep inside his stomach, as if he had swallowed a burning piece of soap or… a rock maybe. But he felt satisfied. As if his body needed exactly this kind of touch. A rock full of nutrition indispensable for his body and mind.

Maybe Shiro was one of the types of people who just touched other people once in a while. Keith wasn't like that, he knew that. But if it was someone he really liked or if he was close with them (as Hunk or his mother) he didn't mind.

In the end, Keith couldn't say anything. At some point he wanted to know and he either had to wait or dare do something.

Chapter Text

It was the Sunday after midterm.

The last exam had been on Friday and Keith had slept most of the time on Saturday. He had relaxed and read a bit in a book as well. Hunk had made some tasty dinner followed by a movie on their small tv.

The Sunday started late. It was half past ten when Keith came out of his room, scratching his belly and yawning. He still couldn't believe he had finally some free time again. Time, he mostly used for modelling and sculptures.

"Oh, moo'ninn," Hunk mumbled, toothbrush dangled from his mouth.

"Morning." Keith took a bowl and the package of cereal. With some milk and a spoon he sat down on the couch and began his breakfast.

"What are you up to today?" Hunk asked after he'd returned from the bathroom.

"My mother is coming at noon. She wants to make lunch together. Wanna join?"

"Sure. Haven't seen her lately." Hunk made a thoughtful face. "When was it? Last month? No, second last month."

Keith chuckled. "Well, she's not living in this town but the next. And she was busy with work."

"Will Kosmo come as well?" Hunk's eyes began to glow when he mentioned the dog's name.

"Sure he will." Keith finished the small portion of cereal and observed how Hunk sat down next to him and made a deep sigh. Keith frowned. "You okay?"

"Yeah… I guess so." Hunk shrugged. "I met someone yesterday in town, when you weren't with me."

"Who is it?" Keith remembered that Hunk had asked but he'd been so tired that he'd fallen asleep on the couch the minute after Hunk had closed the door behind him.

"They study at the university next bigger town, majoring in computer science."

"Ah, a comerade. Well, kinda.. I guess?"

Hunk shrugged. "If you say it like that. It was.. fascinating."

"Will you see them again?" Keith stood up and put his bowl into the sink.

"I hope so," was all Hunk had to say. Keith turned around, an eyebrow raised.

"You like them," he stated. It wasn't a question.

Hunk sighed again. "Not sure about that yet. There was.. something. Something I remember but I'm not sure what exactly it is."

"Maybe the character?"

Hunk stared at Keith for a while, his eyes lost in thoughts Keith couldn't follow.

"Mhmm," Hunk made. Keith smiled softly.

He left Hunk with his thoughts, went to the bathroom and after to his own room to get dressed. He cleaned up a bit and put away everything nobody should see, especially not his mother. He thumbed through the book he'd read yesterday and noticed that he didn't remember much of the story. He sat down on the couch again to read it once more.

Hunk was still thinking, his fingers drumming on the soft surface of the armrest.

"Hunk, could you please stop it? Tell me and I may help you with thinking." Keith finally said.

"Sorry, man." Hunk stopped. He fell silent for a while and Keith went on reading.

Suddenly his friend stood up. Keith was startled about the sudden move and flinched. He observed how Hunk approached the kitchen wall and started to wash the dishes.

The time went by and when noon just had passed, there was a knock on the door. Keith knew already that it was Krolia. He heard a loud sniffling noise and as soon as he had opened the door, Kosmo basically jumped into his arms, a wet tongue all over his face.

"Oh dear, Kosmo. It's the same every time I'm here with him." Krolia smiled, at least that's what Keith imagined since he only saw black and blue fur in his vision of sight. He managed to bring Kosmo's giant paws down to the ground, raised and hugged his mother.

Krolia was tall and slim. But she was trained, firm muscles visible under here clothes. She wore a violet sweatshirt and blue pants, perfectly fitting in colour the still playful Kosmo who had turned to greet Hunk as well.

"It's good to see you, Keith. How are you?"

"I'm fine, Mom. Exams are finally over. Oh, give me this." Keith reached out for one of the bags his mother carried and brought it to the kitchen. Krolia followed, stepped out off her shoes and put the other bag on the kitchen counter. She had a backback which she left on the couch from which she fetched a small plush for Kosmo to keep him distracted.

"Hello Hunk. Good to see you as well. You look fine."

"Thanks, Krolia. Nice to have you here again." Hunk smiled. They hugged each other as well.

They talked about university and Krolia's work, which allowed her to take some days off once in a while. She was living in the next town, Keith's and Hunk's hometown, and came by to visit every now and then. Kosmo accompanied her everywhere she went, even to work where he was actually needed.

While Hunk and Krolia where busy at the kitchencounter, Keith sat on the couch and peeled some peas Krolia had brought from the fields on her way to town. Kosmo rested his head on his thighs, his eyes watching every movement Keith's fingers did while his tail excitingly wagged forth and back.

Keith enjoyed this time together. They were talking about smaller things, details he wouldn't talk about normally. About university, the people he (and Hunk) had met, the professors and lectures as well as the stuff they learned. Krolia was interested in engineering and understood a lot of the things Hunk told which Keith never heard of.

Keith and his mother had a close relationship, even though they weren't talking that much when they met. Keith was sure that his mother knew that he was gay. He never told in word, but the way he acted, the way he introduced people and talked about them must have explained many things. At least to her. But Keith wasn't sure about that part. He just knew that she knew. And he always felt calm about it.

And Kosmo was special as well. When Keith was home the dog was unseparablely close to him. Even while sleeping he would lay beside him, his eyes closed, a paw across Keith's back as if he wanted to protect him.

Kosmo was a rare kind of dog. Neither him nor Krolia, nor the animal shelter, knew how old exactly he was. He just never became tired of growing and jumping and eating and loving his new owners. They brought him after Keith's dad has died. Keith was only six when Kosmo came and every memory before and after was precious.

Keith looked down and petted Kosmo between the ears. Kosmo's eyes glanced up, a soft glimmer behind the iris as if he wanted to smile but wasn't able to. This was sufficient though.

"Are you ready yet? I would like to cook the peas with the carrots." Krolia turned around, a knife in her hand.

"Yes, just.. a second." Keith took the last few shells and stood up. Kosmo lifted his head and watched every step he took, never letting him out of sight.

Keith handed over the bowl of freshly peeled peas and watched how Hunk was preparing a sauce while watching the noodles on the stove. Krolia smiled when her son handed her the peas, putting the cut carrots alltogether into the cookpot.

"Is there something more to...," Keith started his question but a sudden knock made his head turn around. They weren't expecting someone.

Of course Kosmo was the first at the door. Keith pushed him gently aside and opened the door. But as soon as it swang open, Kosmo pressed his nose, head and whole body through to welcome whoever there was.

"Oh, I.. Oh my god, who are you? Yeah, you're a good boy, good boy, ugh… My nose."

"Shiro?"

Keith pushed the door open and saw Kosmo clinging to the track member, who had an arm looped around the big dog, trying to escape all the fur.

"Hey Keith! Is it.. yours?"

"Yeah, that's… Kosmo! Come on now, let him breath." Keith pulled the dog down and tried to hold him back. Kosmo already understood and stayed still. But he was still excited to see a new face. His front paws clapped alternating on the ground.

"That's Kosmo," Keith tried once more and smiled. "I'm sorry about it. Do you need a tissue or something?"

Shiro lifted a hand and wiped over his cheek. "I think I'll be fine." He chuckled. "I see, that's the dog you made a sculpture of. It looks really similar. The fur is georgous!"

"I think so too." Krolia stood in the doorframe. "He is beautiful." She winked and looked down at her son, still knealing beside the dog.

"Morning, Ma'am, I'm Shiro. Shirogane Takashi," the track member introduced himself and bowed slightly.

"Hey Shiro!" Hunk shouted from the kitchen.

"Hey Hunk," Shiro replied smiling.

Krolia responded the same way as the track member and bowed.

"Kogane Krolia," she said. "Krolia is fine though."

"Oh!" Shiro looked from her to Keith and back. "It's a pleasure meeting you."

"Same here. Though I'm not sure who exactly you are." She smiled.

"I'm a sport student at the same university as Keith. I came to return your book." Shiro looked down at Keith who now stood up.

His face felt hot, having Shiro and his mother at one spot, introducing themselves as it was the most normal thing in the world.

But he was thinking to deeply again.

Hunk was humming a song and took care of the food.

"Here." Shiro opened his bag and handed over the book Keith had borrowed him. "It was really helpful. Thank you for giving it to me."

"Yo-you're welcome. No problem." Keith took the book and smiled shyly.

"There are many good things in there. I guess your old teacher marked some useful things inside. I liked it."

"Oh, this book!" Krolia called out suddenly. She took it out of Keith's hand and nodded, as to approve her memories. "I remember the teacher who gave it to you, Keith. He was a kind man. Not as well built as you are, I might say, Shiro, but still quite a nice man."

"Oh Mom!" Keith's face flushed even more and he tried to think of anything to make her words sound different. Afraid of Shiro's reaction he threw a daring glance.

Shiro laughed.

"Thank you, I guess."

"I'm sorry, Shiro," Keith tried, his hand caressing Kosmo's fur as if he wanted to find some more helpful words in it.

"It's okay, Keith. My mother is not around anymore so it's okay to have some embarrassing things said in front of friends you wouldn't normally dare to say in front of them." His smile was big and bright. Keith saw this and the word 'friend' sounded hard in his heart.

"I see," he managed to say and swallowed hard. He wasn't sure how to think about those words.

"Do you want to join for lunch?" Krolia offered and glanced behind her to watch Hunk puring the noodle through a sieve.

"Thank you. But it's okay. I want you to have some family time. Sunday is for family." Shiro smiled and looked to Keith. "I will see you tomorrow?"

Keith nodded. "Sure," he said.

"Okay. See you! Have fun."

"Take care." Krolia went back inside and Keith followed her, taking Kosmo with him.

Inside, Krolia took out some plates and chopsticks, starting to get the lunch ready. When Keith came to help her, she threw him a knowing glance which made it even more embarrassing.

But they kept silence about this whole thing and that's what Keith liked about her the most. That's why he loved her. Knowing her support even though silence was between them, supporting the bridge they had built over the years.

Meanwhile Hunk continued humming the song. He didn't notice a single thing which was so obvious. Instead he took the noodles and sauce, ready to be served.


Chapter Text

When Shiro woke up, he threw a glance to the clock on the nightstand and blinked tiredly. It was still early.

6:45.

Monday morning.

He normally got up at 7:00, would made a breakfast with oats, nuts, joghurt, and an apple before riding the bike to university. Every Monday was the team meeting first thing in the morning. Followed by two lectures, lunch, another lecture and training. He normally returned home at 7pm, exhausted, but in a good way.

He sighed. The sun already shone through the curtains, it was getting summer; slowly but steadily. Shiro lifted his arm to cover his eyes. 15 more minutes, he thought. 15 more minutes he could use to sleep but he didn't.

He thought of Keith instead.

They had met by chance and he was curious about the firm and slender art student who made such wondeful sculptures. He had a knack with it. Shiro knew that nothing would form to something recognisable once he'd touched it. But Keith's pieces had something lively inside of them. As if the dog had another life, hidden inside this figure of clay and dried colours. Not that they died in making, more like… as they were born once Keith had finished them.

Shiro remembered the day before. He'd just wanted to go and return the book. He couldn't admit that he'd been curious and partly hoped to be invited by Keith to spent the afternoon or something. Watching a movie or going for a walk or…

Shiro blinked.

Wait, he thought. That was going in a totally different direction.

He called Keith a 'friend' because he was. But what just happenend to his imagination? Oh, no, no, no, what was this? He swallowed hard.

But it was true that he had hoped it, he couldn't – and didn't – deny it. He liked Keith but… was it still as a 'friend'? Normal friend's would go on a walk and watch a movie and maybe havee dinner together, right? And surely they would have this desire to see the other person as often as possible. Right?

Anyway, he thought hardly, as to make these new ideas vanish. It would have been nice to be invited.

But he didn't want to disturb. Once he'd seen that his mother was there, it was as if he would had interrupted a family gathering, even though it's been a small one. But it was family, Keith's family, and that was important. Shiro knew that. He knew that very good.

He threw another glance to the clock. Still 7 minutes. He didn't want to get up yet. He still had time to think. Think about a young man with black hair growing into his neck. With soft dark eyes and a shy smile whenever there was a nice word complimenting his art pieces.

Shiro could imagine every detail there was. Hair, eyes, mouth, nose, ears, eyebrows, neck and an unpeculiar choice of clothes. Keith seemed to be lost in thoughts. He didn't seem lonely but rather… as if he sometimes chosed the loneliness by himself. Shiro had seem him with other students and friends, his flatmate and his teachers discussing. But he guessed that there were many times where Keith chosed to be alone because he wanted it to be like that.

He, Shiro, wanted to be there.

Shiro sighed.

"What's wrong this early in the morning?" he mumbled to himself.

He liked Keith, okay. He agreed.

What kind of 'like' though?

The alarm clock starting peeping and Shiro was relieved about this distraction. He would think about it later. He had to find this out.


*~*~*~*


The meeting was finally over. It couldn't last too long anyway since most of the members had lectures after. Shiro made his way from the sports department to the big lecture hall in the middle of the campus. He took out his phone and searched for the last update there was made by the professor. Shiro had totally forgotten if there was any homework to be done for today.

When he finally found the according folder, he bumped into someone.

"Oh my god, I'm really sorry. I didn't want to… Keith?" Shiro's mind took only one second. He had grabbed the arm of this someone he had ran into to keep them from stumbling. Now, he saw a flushed Keith. His face was red as if he had run through the whole university.

"Let me help you. I'm so sorry."

"I'm fine.. Shi-Shiro. Ah, you don't have to, I was distracted." Keith was flustered. He wanted to kneel down to grab his bag, which had fallen down. A heavy bunch of books and a portion of clay wrapped in foil had dropped out.

Shiro put everything back and handed the bag back to Keith.

"Here you go. I'm sorry for this."

"It's fine. No need to apologise like three times."

Shiro chuckled. He opened his mouth to apologise for being sorry all the time but stopped.

Keith laughed. "I knew that," he said in his husky voice.

Goosebumps were running over Shiro's arm and he was certain, if he wouldn't wear long sleeved today he would be totally busted.

Shiro gulped. He really needed to think about this.

"But when we're already at this topic, I wanted to apologise for my mother. She said something which others might be offended by." Keith shrugged. He glanced up to meet his eyes, full of guilt.

"Ah, that is nothing. I'm really fine. Your mother seems nice. And.. to be honest her words were meant seriously. There was no pun or bad meaning behind it."

"But she just said it at the very beginning. She never saw you before yesterday." Keith sighed, his lips curling.

"I'm really fine, Keith. Don't worry about that. There could be worse things to say."

Keith raised an eyebrow but he seemed relieved.

"I liked the dog. Kosmo was his name, right?" Shiro smiled as he remembered a gentle but wet tongue all over his face, fur in his hands.

"Yes, indeed. He is… really happy when he is petted. But he doesn't like everybody, you know."

"He seemed to like me." Shiro shrugged.

"And that's something you should be proud about." Keith chuckled.

"I really am." Shiro said quietly. He observed how Keith laugh became quieter until he became silent again and looked up to him askingly. He watched how the sun shone on Keith's hair, breaking into waves of blackness and shimmer.

"Though," Shiro mumbled and without thinking he lifted his hand to touch Keith's hair. "The texture is similar but the colour is different."

Shiro stroke a strand of black silk hair. Then he looked into Keith's eyes, suddenly realising what he has done just now. He had moved without thinking.

Shiro let go of the hair and cleared his throat. He was suddenly anxious, not sure how Keith would react. It took two seconds until he couldn't stand the curiosity anymore and looked up. At least he must apologise for this.

Surprisingly – or rather pleasingly, as the feel in his guts told him – Keith's cheeks were flushed light pinkish. A nervous smile was on his lips.

"Sorry," Shiro tried but only a whisper came out of his mouth.

"It's okay." Keith tilted his head a little, touching the strand of hair Shiro just had between the tips of his fingers.

"I was wondering," the slim man said in a small voice. He looked around as if he wanted to check if someone was close by to listen to them.

Shiro blinked. He had to focus on Keith's voice to be able to understand his words.

"You said that my mother's words were alright because you can't hear them from your own mother. Why is that? And," Keith added. "If this is something you don't want to talk about, if it's a sensible topic, it's fine. I don't need to know. It's just… If it helps in any way then I will do my best."

Shiro was surprised. Yet he appreciated Keith's thought of him and nodded. He smiled and this made Keith relaxing a bit.

"It's alright. Naturally you want to know if I introduce it like that. But.. you're right. That's no topic for the hallway of university. Maybe I can explain to you somewhere else?"

Keith seemed speechless. As if he didn't expect Shiro to agree to give an explanation. "Y-yeah, sure. How about we meet outside of university?"

Now it was Shiro's turn to be surprised. Though he had just implied this himself. He nodded. "Yes, good idea."

"I'm sorry if I ask so much, I..." Keith hesitated. He seemed to be lost in words.

"You don't need to be sorry. I would also like to ask more things about you. It's normal I guess, but some people do that in such an early state, right?"

Keith nodded. He seemed a bit confused and so was Shiro. What did he mean by 'early state'? Early state of what?

"So, how about Saturday? I have training in the morning, but we can meet after. Maybe 2pm? We can have lunch together and just… meet up?" Shiro shrugged.

"Yes, I would like that." Keith smiled. "You have me your address already, so shall I come to your place?"

"Yes." Shiro nodded. "Yes, that would be nice." He smiled as well. "I'm happy."

"About what?" Keith frowned slightly, his lips still curled.

"Not exactly sure."

They laughed. Shiro scratched his neck bashfully.

"Well," Keith said. "I think I will go to my studio. Do you have a lecure or something?"

Shiro's eyes widened.

Oh god! The lecture! Shiro threw a glance to his watch.

10:04. He was late.

"I need to hurry. See you!" He turned around and waved while running towards the exit door.

He heard a tiny 'see you' before loosing sight of Keith, who gave him a soft smile.

His heart made a jump. He wasn't sure if that was due to his excitement to be late for his lecture or because he had seen this tiny little smile full of joy and happiness on Keith's lips and in his eyes.

Chapter Text

The night from Friday to Saturday was the longest yet the shortest Keith had in the past years. He was so nervous and excited to go to Shiro's place the next day. Yet he felt a bit restrained. He couldn't show too much excitement yet he wanted to just run there already, knock at the door and…

Keith bit his lip.

Well, what exactly was it he wanted to do? He wasn't really sure how he should feel. Should he stop himself from falling to deep into this? Should he just be honest to himself and admit that he might feel more than friendship for Shiro? Dare telling him that even?

Half the night he laid awake, thinking about various scenarios. But in the end he became desperate to find a solution as well as to finally fall asleep.

On Saturday he woke up at 11am and was surprised. Though there weren't many hours left to finally go and take the bike to Shiro's apartment. He had a small breakfast and talked a bit to Hunk.

And then, a bit too early, he left the house and drove to Shiro's flat.

The track member lived in a bigger apartment house than Keith and Hunk did. But it was close to the elongated forest and half on the way to university. A green sidepath separated the building from the road, a small track guided Keith to a parking lot for cars and bikes. After locking he turned around and saw a path disappearing into the forest itself, perfect for a jog, hike or walk.

He went to the main entrance and rang the bell for the correct apartment number. A buzzing noise sounded after a few seconds and Keith pushed the door open.

The flat was in the second floor, 'Shirogane' and 'Holt' were written on the name tags next to the door. Keith threw a glance on his watch. It was 13:42, he was way too early. But now he was already in front of the door and Shiro knew he would be coming. And someone (Shiro?) had already openend the automatic door for him.

He knocked.

After some second someone opened. It was a young man with blonde hair, a mouth made for smiling and telling jokes, and bright eyes.

"Oh, you must be Keith. Come on in!" He pushed the door full open and let Keith into the apartment.

They stood in the living room. Keith saw the kitchen – unlike in Hunk's and his flat, it was separated – in the next room, the door open. Three more rooms were to be seen, one right and two on the other side. One of them was probably the bathroom. So this guy was Shiro's flatmate Keith assumed.

"You can sit down if you like. Shiro is in the shower." The guy pointed to the couch. "Want a drink? Water?"

"Uhm, yeah sure, thanks."

The man went to the kitchen and Keith sat down on the couch. He noticed the sounds of splashing water behind him. It made him nervous to know that Shiro was here, in another room, under the shower and – he swallowed – naked.

"Here you go." The man had returned and handed him a glass of water.

"Thanks."

"By the way, I'm Matt. Matt Holt, as you might have guessed."

"Why should I have guessed it?" Keith frowned.

"Oh, the name tag. Outside of the door. I meant my family name."

"Ah, yeah, sure." Keith nodded. He didn't get that joke. And he learned not to try and laugh after.

"I'm Keith. Kogane," he added.

"I know," Matt said, a grin on his lips.

"How come?"

"Shiro's talking often about you."

Keith flushed. "H-how come?" He asked once more.

Matt shrugged. "Ask him directly if you want to know." He looked around. "Well, I'm in my room. If there's something, just knock."

"Sure."

And so Keith sat alone on the black couch in the middle of another flat. He observed all the things in here: the tv in the corner, a table with some magazines, a dead flower in a pot, the window with red curtains showing the tips of the forest, and a half filled bookshelf full of titles as The Great Believe in Aeroautic or Outer Space and it's Realms.

His nervousness grew with every second. He was early but it didn't seem to be a problem. He heard the sounds of water and silence from Matt's room, who had closed the door behind him.

What if Shiro hand't noticed anything of his arrival? What if he came out without a towel and just went to his room to change, being surprised to see Keith in the middle of the living room waiting with a glass of water? What if Keith would see anything which was… unappropriate? But maybe Shiro would be used to it, since he changed often in the locker room.

Matt had probably seen everything so far. Since they lived together and all. Maybe they were close?

Keith bit his lip.

Matt seemed older than Keith. Maybe three or four years? Why was Shiro living together with him? Maybe he needed a flat and that was the one he had found by chance. But that was still no argument to be seen naked by his flatmate. Even Hunk hadn't seen Keith fully naked. But Keith was a rather guarded person. There were few people who had seen what most of people don't.

What am I thinking?

Keith sighed and nearly laughed. Thinking about people seeing other people naked. He needed to calm down.

Suddenly the sound of water stopped and the door opened soon after.

"Matt?"

"No, Keith here." Keith dared to turn around.

"Oh! Hey Keith! You're here, that's nice. Uhm..." Shiro's face was red but that was probably due to the hot water. Only his upper body was visible, the rest hidden behind the door. "Let me change and I'll be right there in a second."

"Sure, take your time." Keith wanted to give him some privacy and turned around. He heard naked footsteps on the ground and the next door being opened but not fully closed. Keith listened to rustling sounds and little steps. Then the door was pushed open again.

Shiro approached him, wearing a wide shirt and loose pants. He looked refreshed.

"Hey," he said and flopped down on the couch next to him.

"Hey," Keith replied.

They smiled at each other for some seconds before Keith cleared his throat.

"Do you.. want to see my room?" Shiro asked.

Keith raised an eyebrow, surprised about this invitation.

"You don't have to," Shiro said hastily.

"No, no, it's okay. I would like to see it."

Shiro nodded and Keith followed him to the athlete's room.

"It's just… it reminded me of childhood," Keith said.

Shiro turned around to look at him.

"You know, when friends were coming over you would show them your room and you would play there or something." Keith shrugged.

"Ah, yeah. That's right. Haven't thought about it." Shiro smiled apologetic. "Well, here we are. Sit wherever you like. There's not much place to sit though."

Keith nodded. The room wasn't big but neither was his own.

The bed was placed on the right side, covered with a black and white blanket. A yellow lamp was placed on the nightstand next to an alarm clock. A bookshelf was directly above the bed and next to the window. A desk and chair were placed in front of the window, facing the forest. There was a dark red carpet covering most of the floor, reaching the cupboard. There were piles of books and notebooks spread over the desk, a tablet was resting next to them. A dozen of pencils had escaped the pencil case. Pictures of people were placed in frames or on a pinboard next to the desk.

Keith nodded appreciatingly. He felt comfortable here.

Next to the door was the bag Shiro had taken to his training, the shoes and a towel visible inside. Shiro hurried to took it away. He smiled.

"Sit down," he said and gestured towards the room.

Keith nodded and sat down on the bed. The whole room smelled like Shiro and it was, as if he would drown in the smell. He loved it. It felt like home, welcomed by this foreign place. As if he had just returned home.

"Nice and cozy," he said quietly.

"Thanks." Shiro laughed softly. He sat down next to Keith on the bed. Close enough so that Keith could feel the radiating warmth of his legs reaching for his own. They were so close.

Keith recognised some medals and a trophee on the board next to the bed.

"You won prices," he said and leaned forward to try reading the enscription.

"In middle school," Shiro replied. "It was a 800m relay we won it as a team, that's the first medal." Shiro got up and showed Keith the shimmering piece. "The other is from a 100m race in high school and the trophee from my first 200m race. I was placed second."

"That's amazing. You did well so early already. I didn't know what to do with my future when I was still in high school." Keith chuckled.

"Well me neither. I was lucky to end up at this university. The sports department has a very good reputation. That's why I wanted to get here, but it was difficult."

Keith nodded. "You made it."

"I actually got a scholarship," Shiro said. He sat down again and scooted backwards so he could lean against the wall.

Keith made big eyes. "Amazing," he mumbled.

Shiro flushed slightly and scratched the back of his head.

Keith smiled. "I'm glad there was someone who acknowledged your willness and strength. Not many people are able to get it."

"Thank you."
They went silent for a while. Keith looked a bit around. He tried to not seem too curious about Shiro's life (what he actually was, very much) but he tried to hold back a bit. He still had the glass of water in his hand. He took a sip and tried to read the booktitles in the shelf. Most of them were related to Shiro's studies.

"I've got more at home," Shiro said. He had followed Keith's glances.

"Oh, I see. What kind of books did you read when you… had still time for that? Because students are always busy with something." Keith shrugged but needed to chuckle about this. So did Shiro.

"Mostly about space and astronauts."

"So the books in the living room are yours as well?"

Shiro frowned and seemed to think about it. Then his mimic lightened up.

"Those are Matt's." He laughed. "But I read most of them as well. We have similar interest."

"I see." Keith nodded slowly.

"I loved the stars and my uncle gave me once a telescope as a birthday present. I spent endless hours in the garden. My father called me in but sometimes he joined me and brought a blanket." Shiro's eyes grew big and he smiled softly. "I miss those times. But we can't always stay a child forever, only in our hearts."

Keith didn't know what to say. So he nodded and smiled and hoped that it helped. That Shiro would understand that he had just said something truly beautiful.

Shiro cleared his throat. "So, uhm… Should be start making lunch? I'm kind of hungry."

"Sure."

They crawled themselves out of the bed and made their way into the small kitchen. It had nearly the size of the one Hunk and Keith had, just in a separate room. The only difference was the extra window and the small table attached to the wall, able to give two people space to have breakfast or whatever.

"How about you?" Shiro asked while he opened the fridge and took out some vegetables.

"What do you mean?" Keith was confused.

"What kind of books did you read?"

"Oh, uhm..." Keith thought about this for a while.

"I think I didn't read much when I was younger. We had a dog so of course I would always play with him when he felt like that." He shrugged. "I just read what I liked to read."

"Everything?"

"If it was interesting?" Keith replied, as if it was a question.

Shiro chuckled. "That's a nice way of doing," he said quietly. "Here, can you wash and cut them?" He handed Keith a bunch of bell peppers, carrots and leek.

"Sure. What do you want to make anyway?"

"Some soup I thought. Sorry, I forgot to ask. I usually do something simple and fast on Saturday since I come back relatively late from my training. First, I don't feel hungry, but after a shower my stomach really wants something. Did you hear it?" He giggled and Keith wasn't sure, whether this was sarcasm or not.

They started he preparations and soon the soup was cooking together with a bunch of noodles on the small stove.

"Want some more water? We've also got juice and milk and some coke must be left and..." Shiro threw a glance in the fridge, trying to be able and offer a broad spectrum of things.

"I'm fine with water."

"Alright. I'll take a juice then."

They stood side by side, taking sips from their glasses and listened to the sounds of bubbling vegetables and noodles in broth.

Suddenly, the door was pushed open, carefully to not hit anyone accidentally standing behind it. It was Matt.

Who else? Keith thought.

"How is the food making going?" Matt asked and threw a glance to the stove.

"So far quite good." Shiro nodded and gave the pot an appreciative look.

"Sounds like it." A broad smile. "I will start driving to get Pidge from the station. We'll be having lunch at a nearby restaurant, so we won't disturb you two." He batted his eyelid's and looked especially at Keith.

Keith couldn't help but blushing. He took a sip of water but too hastily and ended up coughing.

"You okay, Keith?" Shiro put a hand on his back. Warmth ran like water down Keith's spine.

"Am.. fine," Keith managed to say. He swallowed his own saliva and nodded. "I'm okay."

Shiro threw an unserious angry look at Matt, who grinned.

"Then have fun you two. And remember that I will be back in two hours or so."

"Just leave already." Shiro laughed and Matt winked before closing the door.

Once again they became silent. This time it was filled with uneasiness and embarassement.

"My mother said something more weird, don't worry," Keith said.

Shiro looked at him, his face was slightly pinkish. Maybe Keith wasn't the only one to overthink the comment the flatmate just had said.

"If you say it, then I feel better."

Keith gave him a smile and watched the steam rising above the pot for a while. "Who is Pidge?" He asked curiously.

"Matt's sibling. They study in another university."

Keith was a bit confused about the choice of pronouns but nodded.

"Do you have siblings?" He decided to ask.

Shiro shook his head. "No, I didn't. I think my mother couldn't have more than me."

Keith observed him for a while. Shiro's reaction didn't change but the words had sounded hard and emotional.

"I see," he said quietly, not wanting to dig too deep into this private territory.

When the soup was ready they sat at the small table and ate. It was quite hot at first but it was really tasty. When keith said this, Shiro was surprised to be praised. He had done all the spices and Keith had trusted him to not make it too spicy. It was delicious, even though it was such a simple soup.

After they finished they washed the dishes and grabbed a bottle of juice and water and went back to Shiro's room. There, they settled again on the bed, resting against the wall.

"Would you like a pillow?"

Keith nodded and Shiro handed him one for his back.

Keith smelled Shiro's sense everywhere. The pillow, the air of the room, everything he touched, and especially the bed. He felt so comfortable as he never felt before anywhere else. Well, except home of course. If possible he could close his eyes and fall asleep right away.

But he was too curious to just do that. He wanted to talk about more things. He wanted to know more about Shiro himself. He remembered the topic they had talked about in the beginning of the week. But it was too early he thought. Maybe he wouldn't ask at all. He didn't want to sneak.

"When you graduate," Keith started slowly, " do you have any plans yet?"

Shiro threw him a short glance, before taking a sip from his glass and laid his head back against the wall.

"Hmm," he made. "I'd like to be an athlete. Like.. a real one."

"You… are a real athlete?" Keith said, confusion in his voice.

Shiro laughed. "Yeah, you might be right, but I have a lot more to train to be able to run among the higher ups."

"You mean somewhere like… " He waived his hand in the air. "Don't know, Olympics?"

Shiro nodded. "Yeah, somewhere there. I like running, I… I love running. I want to continue. But if that doesn't work out, well… I take other lectures as well, as a backup plan. But… a world leagues runner… Sounds good, right?"

"True." Keith nodded. "What kind of lectures do you take as a second choice? Education?"

"Yes, mainly. I just started it together with my sport studies and I leanred a lot so I just kept going. But I also studied English and Chinese a bit."

"I see. Are you.. fluent?"

Shiro frowned. "Maybe… not fully." He chuckled and Keith understood. Studying languages was difficult, especially a language of different origin.

"How about you? You wanna be.. an artist?"

Keith felt Shiro's eyes on him; a soft grey with a lot of curiosity directed on him.

"I love working with materials and colours," Keith admitted. He rarely talked about this. Now, where he thought about it, he might have never talked about it. "I'd like to work in a gallery, but.." He hesitated. It was his inner wish but he had never said it aloud. Saying it aloud destroyed reality, that was his imagination.

"But?" Shiro asked quietly. He rested his hand, which was still holding the glass, on his leg and pulled the other one to himself to form a triangle.

"I thought of.. maybe I could.. I want to present my own work. Someday. Maybe." Keith shrugged. He took a sip of water and took a long time to swallow.

He saw Shiro nodding from the side.

"I'll definitely go there. To see your work, I mean. I think you can do many creative things with the mind of yours."

Keith turned his head, staring at him with big eyes.

"You really think so?"

Shiro smiled. "Sure. You don't?"

"No, yes, well… I'm the artist."

"That's why you should believe in yourself. Have some trust in your own hand's work. The sculptures you showed me were beautiful."

They looked at each other. Keith surprised, Shiro softly smiling.

"Th-thanks, Shiro. That's.. Thank you."

"You're welcome. And," Shiro added. "I like your style. I like your idea. I wouldn't be able to do this so I'm happy to have a friend to be able to do this."

Keith threw another glance. There it was again. Friend. He started to dislike this word, though he was partly happy that Shiro saw him like that already.

"Some improvement is possible," he mumbled. He wasn't so sure if he meant his art or something else.

Shiro looked at him but didn't say a thing. He tapped on his glas, half of juice still inside.

Dull sound of footsteps in the neighbouring apartment and the quiet melodies of birds passing by the window were hearable.

Keith liked this. At first he felt weird since he didn't know how to feel about the last sentence he'd said. But now je enjoyed it. It was difficult to find a person to remain silent with. Luckily Shiro was one of them. They sat next to each other, listening to the sounds of their surroundings and the breath of the other.

Keith would have closed his eyes and he really thought of doing it, until Shiro said something.

"You… You asked about my mother," he started, voice quiet and restrained.

Keith nodded. Shiro stared at his hand, fingers grabbing the glass tighther than before. He was about to open his mouth once more, but Keith stopped him. Out of reflex he grabbed Shiro's arm.

"You don't have to tell me anything if you don't like it. I mean.. It seems like a tough topic for you so… That's why, it's okay."

Shiro smiled softly. "Thank you, Keith. But I'd like to tell about that. I don't want her to be forgotten and I trust you, so that's why it's okay. And when we talk about it I don't want you to feel uncomfortable about it."

Keith's mind was blank at first, but he gathered himself rather quickly. Shiro trusts you, he thought. He was kind of proud of it. But he still didn't want Shiro to push himself.

"So, my parents… It's a short story, really. And nothing which never happened to other families." Shiro frowned. "My father lives in the north of the country, on Hokkaido. Near the green mountains which turn white during the long winter. He owns a small shop and sells everything the people need in a small town. He always says that he is proud of me, his athletic son getting a scholarship and being able to study at a good university." Shiro chuckled. "I go there every year during semester break." His fingers circled the glass in his hands. "My mother..." He lost his words and tilted his head, but continued. "She died when I was young. She had an illness, couldn't be cured. And even if, my family doesn't have the money for that. After that… I think my father became two times a different person. He was the same at heart but.. he was just.. different."

Keith nodded. He didn't know what to say.

"But he never stopped loving his son." Shiro laughed quietly. He looked up. "Short story, as I said."

"Nevertheless important."

Shiro seemed surprised, but nodded and smiled. "True."

"Well, now's my turn," Keith said and before Shiro could protest, he continued. "You know my mother, but my father was a firefighter. And sometimes it happens that they go to work and never come back again."

Now Shiro's eyes turned even bigger.

"That's why my mother has our dog. When I'm not there, Kosmo never let go of her."

Shiro reached out and touched Keith's hand, which was resting next to him.

Keith was su surprised that he wanted to apologise.

"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't..."

"No, no, it's fine. I wanted to.. comfort you. I… I don't know, I imagined a happy family with a pretty big dog and such. I'm sorry." Shiro's eyes turned dark and sad.

Keith felt his hands above his own fingers. He wanted to grab it, feel the warmth and comfortness closer to his body.

"I was wondering about your name." Shiro said.

"Why? Oh.. I see. My first name is no really Japanese, right?"

Shiro nodded.

"Well," Keith said. "My father was American. I was actually born over there. But when my father died my mother took us back to Japan and her hometown. I was still pretty young so her hometown became mine. I mostly grew up in Japan."

Shiro looked at him, his eyes showing a mixture of fascination and sadness. "You're a half then."

Keith smiled. He had heard that often. But he was proud of that, having the trace of his father still with him.

Shiro started to stroke Keith's fingers, his mind seemed to be thinking about the things they had just shared. Keith couldn't help it but stare at Shiro's face, his soft looking lips, the eyes full of warmth and home, the grey iris showing sadness and understanding. He was closer than before, he realised now.

Shiro looked up and was surprised at first. The sadness vanished and only softness stayed. A smile formed on his lips. He moved an inch closer; opened his lips as if he wanted to say – or do – something.

"We're back!"

Matt's shout went through the whole apartment.

Keith flinched and unwillingly pulled his hand. Shiro let go of it and no second too early. A knock at the door before the wood swang open.

"Hey, how are you? Finished already?" Matt looked at them, a broad smile on his face.

"Yes, was delicious," Keith managed to say.

Matt looked at them suspiciously and nodded slowly.

"Alright," he said. "Anyway, we're about to start some video game Pidge brought. Wanna join? We only have three controller though." He frowned and seemed to think hard about this situation.

"We're fine," Shiro said, voice smaller than normally. Keith turned his head to see a slight blush on the track member's face.

"Alright!" Matt tapped against the door and turned around. "Oh, Pidge! Shiro has a visitor, so we'll play alone."

"Sure! Who is it though? There are rarely any visitors here." Another voice, neither male nor female, came from the living room. Footsteps and a hair full of brown hair, similar to Matt's style popped up near the doorframe.

"Hey Shiro!"

"Hey Pidge! How is it going at university?" Shiro sat up a bit, a smile on his lips.

"I'm fine I guess. Midterm is finally over."

"You say a word."

They all shared a deep sigh togther.

"Hey," Pidge said now towards Keith and stepped a bit into the room, as if it was a daily occurrence to walk into the room of the brother's flatmate. "I'm Pidge."

"Keith," he said and nodded. "So you're Matt's sister?"

"Kind of."

Keith frowned. "His… brother?"

"Neither." Pidge grinned. "I'm nonbinary, so you can call me Pidge. That's totally fine with me."

Keith nodded. "Alright," he said.

Pidge raised an eyebrow, surprised to be accepted so fast, Keith assumed. But he just went on asking. "So you're studying at another university?"

"Yep, computer science. So lot's of programming and stuff like that. Do you know more about that?"

"Not much," Keith had to admit. "I study art and design."

"Oh nice! I've never met one of you!" Pidge smiled as broad as their brother.

"One of me?" Keith asked confused.

"Well, one who isn't studying something like computer stuff or engineering or.. you know, this kinda field."

"I see." Keith thought about it. He had to admit that he rarely met other students as well. He mostly was with himself in his studio.

"Oh wait, I know someone else. Allura is in cultural studies, I totally forgot her." Pidge slammed their flat hand against their fronthead. "Well, anyway. You won't join us?"

"Let them be, Pidge. They want to be alone." Matt said, a sly grin on his lips.

"Alright." The siblings went out before any of the other two could say a word.

When the door was closed, Shiro looked apologisingly.

"I'm sorry," he said. "They're always like that."

"Barging into your room?" Keith raised an eyebrow.

"Well.. They used to do that often when we were younger, so they don't think anything bad about it. Well.. sometimes they just want to tease me." He laughed roughly.

"When you were younger?" Keith frowned.

"We grew up together. We're like childhood friends and were direct neighbours. Their parents took care of me after my mother died and when my father was.. busy with himself." Shiro smiled.

"I see. That's good to now that there was someone at last." Keith noticed Shiro's look in his eyes. "I mean," he added. "Since you were only a child back then and such."

"Yes, that's right. I'm glad to have them around even now."

"Like Hunk and me," Keith said quietly.

"Childhood friends?"

"Together since elementary school," he laughed. "He was the first friend I made in Japan."

They went on talking about their school time and how the things were much easier back then, no worries about adulthood or responsibilities at all. They had many things in common and even though it wasn't always the same path they had taken, they thought in similar patterns and that's what Keith liked.

He would have liked to spend the entire day, the entire night even. But that would be too much for the start. Though he noticed that, when they parted and Shiro brought him downstairs to his bike, Shiro didn't look like wanting him to leave yet either.

He left at 7:30pm and the whole way home he felt as if he would ride on a giant smooth wave, bringing him home happy and confidently.

Chapter Text

"You don't look good, did you look at yourself in the mirror yet?"

"I did, I'm just tired." Keith yawned, hearing a soft snap of his jaw. The lecture was over but he still sat on his place, his head supported by his hand. Lance stood next to him, bowing down a bit to look him directly into the face.

"Really, you should just sleep some hours."

"I thought you wanted to have lunch with me?"

"Yes, but..."

"Didn't you just say that if needed you will pull me with your bare hands down the hallway to the cafeteria?" Keith raised an eyebrow, watching his friend askingly.

"I did say that, I remember. But I haven't seen your face that close yet."

"Just don't look." Keith pushed Lance away, who tried to come even closer.

Lance laughed. "Alright, Keith. Maybe we make a deal. You will come with me for lunch since.. you're thin man, you should get something to eat. I bet you didn't have breakfast yet."

"I did, Lance. I'm okay, only tired." Keith sighed. He didn't want to move an inch. But a nagging Lance wasn't the best option either.

"So come with me. And after you will go home and sleep."

"I need to go to the studio." Keith said. He watched the time on the great clock above the entrance. 12:25.

"No, no, not today. Come on." Lance pulled Keith's arm and Keith got along. Slowly and a bit unsteady he followed Lance out of the lecture hall.

They moved to the cafeteria where the queue wasn't that long anymore. They got their lunch and sat down. Keith ate slowly. He threw glances around while Lance talked about the new game he had played and the date he had had on the weekend. Keith was only listening half of it though.

Of course there was a reason why he hadn't had much sleep. When he returned home on Saturday, he had tried to have a light dinner. But all he could have thought of was this one certain experience he had had this day. While sitting on Shiro's bed, they… they…

He shook his head. Even now it was difficult to even think about.

But…

They had nearly kissed, right? Right?

Keith squeezed his eyes shut for some seconds, before Lance hit him on his arm.

"Hey, you okay? Are you listening?"

"Yeah, yeah, 'am listening. Just tired, Lance."

"I know, buddy. Okay, so where did I stop?" While Lance's forehead wrinkled due to heavy thinking, Keith returned to his own thoughts.

From Saturday to Sunday he hadn't slept at all. He had been rolling over his bed, from one side to the other. Not sure what to think anymore. Had Shiro done that on purpose? Had it been an accident? Was Keith the only one thinking that this was a ki-ki…. a ki-kiss?

Or was he just too excited? What was this all about?

Sunday went by in a daze. He slept only some hours during the afternoon and that's why he had troubled finding sleep when he had went to bed late. He had woken up with the worst face ever but the Monday morning lecture was important and that's why he had no other choice.

What should he do if he were to meet Shiro again?

He threw another glance around.

He wasn't here. Keith was relieved but yet disappointed. Why wasn't he here?

He rememberd the other experience they had some weeks before, where Shiro had touched a strand of his hair. He could still feel the warmth which had spread from Shiro's fingers and ran through his hair directly to his brain and heart. He still wondered what had happenend there.

Keith took a deep breath. He needed to calm down for some minutes. He needed time to think.

Think! Goddamnit. He was so excited. Since saturday. No, since Friday.

They returned the trays and went outside.

"You will go home now?" Lance asked.

If he sees Shiro now, he would fall for sure. (If he didn't already, but he stopped thinking at that point.) He only knew that he wanted to see him, he urged to see him. The gentle grey eyes, the big bulky body which had a tough training nearly every day, the warmth of his fingers, the smile on his lips, the way he moved and cared about others. And his scent. Keith really wanted to smell it, right now. The memory of home and comfortness, the knowledge of being appreciated, liked, at peace and loved.

"Keith, are you listening?"

"What?" He tilted his head, throwing Lance an asking look.

"Oh damn, Keith. Just go to bed and sleep some hours."

"No, I'm gonna go to the studio."

"You will cause an accident and your work will get damaged." Lance stated, crossing his arms in front of his chest.

Keith stopped walking and looked at him surprised. He certainly had a point there. As they had stopped walking, he noticed where they were: the park.

The wide green area was a typical place for students to gather during break or after lectures. During exam season they came to study here. Keith preferred the library though. Especially in summer, where he didn't want to be distracted by the hot sun or bug bites.

The small path near the park leaded to the bike stalls as well as to the studios and athletic grounds. It was cross section of all departments.

"I don't know," Keith sighed. "I really want to work now."

"Your friend is right, Keith."

Keith flinched, hearing this husky yet soft voice suddenly so close to him. He turned around and lifted his head a bit, to see into Shiro's worried eyes.

"You really don't look too well," Shiro stated.

"He looks horrible," Lance added, nodding heavily and self conscious since he had a supportive voice now.

"Thanks. Lance," Keith sad with force in his voice. When he looked back at Shiro, his mimic became softer.

"I'm okay, I just want to work." He shrugged.

"I understand." Shiro smiled. "But at some point the mind should be stronger than the body. Give it a rest and get some sleep." He honestly looked worried and it made Keith feeling guilty that he had resisted.

Keith thought about it. He knew that both of them were right about it. But he wanted to work. But maybe he shouldn't.

"Alright," he finally said. "I'll go home." He nodded slowly, his eyes felt heavy. He tilted his head and looked once more at Shiro. "I have a request," he said.

Shiro nodded. "I can take you home, if that is your request."

Keith blushed. That was not his request (although he would be happy about it) and so he shook his head.

"No, not that. I appreciate it though." He observed Shiro's reaction but couldn't find any disppointment in it. "I would like to draw you while running."

Shiro lifted his eyebrows, eyes full of surprise.

"Oh," he said. "Okay. But… what exactly do you mean by that?"

"Can I watch your training once in a while? Like, when you and the others do your menue. Don't get me wrong," he said hastily and even lifted his hands as to defend himself. Shiro's eyes revealed a lot of toughts he couldn't sort so fast. "I want to make some sketches so I could use them for future works. I would like to have some more experience."

Shiro nodded slowly. "I think that should be okay. Let me ask the others first though."

Warm relief flooded through Keith's body. He didn't expect that, though he didn't know why that should be impossible.

"Th-thank you, Shiro!"

"We have a lot to train right now due to the tournament coming up in a couple of weeks."

Keith nodded understanding.

Lance stood silently right next to them while they were talking. He nodded as if he would definitely understand Keith's request and he probably did. Keith wasn't always sure what Lance was thinking, full of honesty or full of sarcasm, most of the times he was a good mixture of both.

"But first," Shiro said. "You need to go home, Keith. Get some sleep."

"Yeah, I will do that."

"Come now, Keith. I'll guide you to your bike. Don't think of sneaking away to your studio!" Lance grabbed both of Keith's shoulders and turned him forcefully around.

"I won't sneak away, Lance. And I can get there by myself."

"No can do, I will bring you there. I fear to meet you in the studio one hour later. And then you break something and who will be responsible for that? Hm? Me!" Lance pushed him further and further.

"See you next time, Shiro!," Keith said and he just saw the laughing smile appearing on Shiro's face as he was taken away.

"See you, Keith. Take care."

And so Keith made his way home. As soon as his head hit the pillow, his eyes were closed and showed him pictures of another reality.

Chapter Text

On Wednesday morning Shiro woke up and blinked his eyes until he was fully awake before sitting up.

A sigh.

Morning. Again.

But then he remembered this week so far. Tuesday was okay and Monday was calm. But the days had been so long. And the week only managed to pass so far to this Wednesday morning.

"What a joke," he mumbled.

It was only four days ago, well five, depends on counting, that Keith had been here. Sitting on his very own bed. He had enjoyed their time together. They could talk about serious topics, they could fell silent, listening to the passing cars and birds in the forest's trees. They had cooked together, had eaten together and laughed.

He felt comfortable with this certain art student.

Shiro's mouth went dry when he thought about this very short moment they had, where their heads had moved closer, their faces nearly too close to…

He swallowed.

He stood up hastily and rushed into the bathroom. If he didn't threw some water in his face now, he would feel the burning heat for the whole day.

After the bathroom he returned and dressed in his sport wear (tight pants and shorts and a dark shirt on top) and covered it with some loose pants and a sweatshirt. It was common to wear this outfit since it was a hassle to change everything before training.

Shiro made his way to the kitchen and had a short breakfast. He took an apple and a cereal bar, refilled his water bottle and brought everything to his room, to put it in the bag.

Matt was still in his room he assumed. His childhood friend had the first class off on Wednesday so he normally slept as much as possible until he would hurry later to second period. Shiro was sure about it, had seen it happening as often to be a certain about it.

He took his key, slid into his shoes and left their apartment to step into the bright morning summer sun. Once he was on the small pathway, he made his way to the bike garage, unlocked his own and started driving to university.

The day was clear, only a few clouds in the distant horizon promised no unholy weather to make it impossible to train on the grounds. The traffic was busy as always, everybody engrossed in getting to their workplace as soon as possible.

Once Shiro arrived he went directly to the lecture hall. He needed to review the previous class, something he hadn't done so far, and sticked his nose into his notebook.

The lecture was long, longer as usual he thought. Shiro didn't understand why the relativity of time hit him so badly this week. Everything felt like the world would be stuck in a very old honey comb kept in a fridge. He sighed more often than usual and his neighbours lifted eyebrows, unspoken questions on their lips. Shiro smiled excusingly, didn't know what else he could do. He himself coulnd't explain what might be a normal uni day for others.

It took a lot of strength to endure until lunch time. Finally, finally Shiro could go to the athletic ground. He went to the locker room and greeted his comerades. Everybody seemed happy to have finished lectures for the day and could run their souls and anger into the sandy tracks.

He talked a bit to the captain of the long distance runners. They went outside to do some warm ups as Shiro's eyes noticed the normally empty ranks by chance. There were five rows of wooden batten, painted (due to incomprehensible reasons) white, and were used for events or tournaments by visitors.

And in the third row sat Keith.

The art student had his bag clutched tight to his chest, his curious eyes met Shiro's and a smile was brought to each of their lips.

"I'll come back," Shiro let the others know and went over to the white battens. "Keith," he said once he'd reached them. "Good to see you!"

Keith seemed confused about his words. But his smile wasn't broken. "Yes, thank you."

Shiro chuckled about this choice of words which made Keith blush.

"I didn't expect you to be here so early after your request," Shiro said.

"Of course I can't let this chance go to waste."

"You finished your lectures already?"

"Y-yes, I'm done for the day. And I wanted to watch you. Is it.. Is it okay?" Keith asked shyly, his eyes bigger than normal, a soft shimmer inside of them. It was impossible to say no. But Shiro wasn't the only one to be watched.

"Ah, let me ask the captains!" He hesitated. "Wait here, okay?"

"Sure."

Shiro ran to the group of people and approached his captain. He was a bit shorter than Shiro, but his speed was impressive. His eyes were sharp, noticing everything around him. That's why he saw immediately that Shiro had a request.

"Captain, is it alright to have a visitor here?" Shiro asked. He threw a glance to Keith, who still sat where he was left.

The captain followed his gaze. "It's always okay to have visitors."

"But.. he wants to draw us. He wants to make sketches."

The captain frowned. "Why?" he asked with a mixture of curiosity and scepticism.

"He is an art student and he wants to so some training. Maybe he can use these for his future studies, even for models."

The captain nodded slowly. "As long as he won't come into the locker room while changing I'm in." He grinned and looked like an eagle searching for prey. Shiro wasn't sure about the meaning of his words but nodded.

"Thank you, captain!"

Shiro returned to the ranks and smiled widely.

"Alright," he said. "You can do some sketches while observing. But you're not allowed in the locker room."

"Why is that?" Keith was about to laugh.

"Not sure." Shiro shrugged. "Anyway, we'll have our meeting soon and start practice. Wait for me after, okay?"

"Yes, sure. We can go and drink something or so." Keith looked askingly and innocently that it made Shiro nervous. But in a good way.

"Okay, let's go!"

He ran back since the track members already started gathering. They had their regular meeting before starting the training and dicussed about minor changes in the menue as well as the setup for the tournament. After, they split into their groups for training.

Shiro followed the tight menue. There were small breaks in between but most of the time they were running and stopping times, doing practices with equipment or did muscle training on the ground. It was a regular Wednesday afternoon training, though he always felt that he was being observed. As if Keith's eyes burned small holes into his back whenever he was watching him, but in a comfortable way.

As if Keith's eyes could make him faster, Shiro did a good record today. The time flew by (much to Shiro's surprise and relief) and the training had already finished, before he could think about asking for the time at all.

He waved Keith, who still had his sketching pens and paper in his hands. Keith waved back, a wide smile on his face.

But before they could meet Shiro needed to change. He went to the locker room, showered, and changed hastily. He wanted to go outside as soon as possible, though he couldn't really understand why. He needed three attempts to close his shoes proberly. After a short good bye to the others, he went outside and had to stop himself from running to the ranks.

Happiness ran through his veins and his lips wouldn't stop smiling.

"Good job!" Keith said.

"Thank you. You too." Shiro climbed the closest stairs and sat down next to Keith. "Can you show me? I'm curious how we look like in your style."

Keith watched him and nodded. He fetched his notebook and handed it over.

Shiro thumbed through the first pages. Keith had done a lot of sketches. There were various shots of the runners, the jumpers and the throwers. Maybe it was Shiro's imagination but many runner figures looked similar to himself. But he didn't say anything. Maybe Keith wanted to make all the faces similar so that he wouldn't end up using one of those sketches as a model for a sculpture which ended up looking the same as the captain.

The sketches he had done were rough and nearly raw.

"I'm sorry, I just was so happy to be able to draw you. They are not really clear."

Shiro shook his head. "No, I really like these raw versions of them. It shows the motion of the runner and the hard work behind."

"You did well," Keith noticed.

"I meant your own work, Keith. You did well." Shiro chuckled when he saw Keith's baffled face.

"Thanks," he said quietly.

Shiro looked at him smiling. "Alright, I'd like to drink something." He stood up and folded the notebook neatly together. "You're coming?"

Keith nodded. He took his book which Shiro handed him and put everything into his bag. They left the ranks and walked along the green-brownish path until they were back on the street.

Side by side they went to a nearby cafe and sat down close to the window. The sky wasn't as bright as during noon anymore, but it was still clear and nice.

Shiro asked what Keith would like and ordered a coffee and a tea for himself.

"Do you plan on doing a sculpture with the sketches?" Shiro asked once he sat down again.

Keith shrugged. "I would like to do that. I need to think about it a bit."

"Until inspiration hits you?"

"Something like that." Keith smiled shyly again, revealing a small dimple on his right side. Shiro liked that smile a lot. He noticed that earlier already but now he was 100% sure.

"What did you talk about before? During the meeting in the beginning?" Keith asked now.

"About some little changes in the weight training for next week. And some arrangements for the tournament. When we do a relay, I'm normally the second in place to run."

"Is it a good position?"

"Hmm," Shiro made. "I think it's okay. The fourth is tough since you really need to hurry and run the thing to the aim. My peak is rather a bit in front of the end. There is a very small difference where I accelerate and where the others are."

Keith nodded.

"You understood what I meant?" Shiro was surprised. Many people were confused about his explanations about running conditions in detail.

"Yes." Keith nodded. "Didn't you explain it so that I can understand?"

Shiro didn't know what to say. "Well, yes but… I confused people often."

"I thought the people say that about me." They jiggled and it felt refreshing.

"Anyway, this tournament I'm gonna run alone the 200m." Shiro said.

"I'll be there and watch you."

Shiro smiled. "I appreciate it," he said quietly but Keith hummed happyly.

Their drinks came and Shiro took a sip of his tea.


*~*~*~*


The time was a funny thing he thought at the end of the day. They had spent nearly two hours in this cafe, talking about sports, sketches, tournaments and everything they had in mind which had kept their days busy until Wednesday.

When Shiro was on his way back home, he smiled joyful, looking forward seeing Keith again on the other day.


Chapter Text

Shiro wasn't the type to be overseen. His white fluff of hair always stood out, next to his bigger body type, the (subtle yet obvious) bulkiness and his soft nature. Keith always thought that he was noticed immediately by everyone. But for others he might actually be just a normal person. For Keith, he was the glowing lantern in a dark cave full of bats and hard moist rocks or something like this.

When Keith had paid his lunch and was looking for a free seat, Shiro basically guided him, even though the track member didn't possibly know about his own function as a beacon. Not to mention that he hadn't noticed Keith standing behind the cash and looking for a seat at all.

"Hey," Keith said once he was close enough. "Is it free or are you waiting for your team?"

Shiro lifted his head and a wide smile formed on his lips. "Keith! Yes, no, please take a seat."

Keith happily took the chair in front of Shiro and sat down.

"You always take the noodle soup?" Shiro noticed with a glance on Keith's tray.

"Yes, well.. I'm used to the taste and it would be a hassle to get used to something totally different, right?" Keith knew that his reason was dumb. But when there was noodle soup, he would always take it.

Shiro nodded thoughtfully. "I guess you're right." He looked down on his boiled vegetables and fried potatoes. "I think I'm having simple food most of the time as well, making it a kinda routine."

"Guess so." Keith said. He looked down on their two trays, frowning.

Shiro snickered. "Well, anyway. Could you make some use of the sketches you made?"

"Not yet. I had to work on a different assignment which I had to finish first." Keith shrugged. "But if I could I would have started right after we had left the cafe."

"Maybe we should go again." Shiro smiled.

Keith hesitated to give an answer. He was just about to say that it actually was a nice idea. But then he noticed Matt approaching them.

"Here you are! Man, I was searching the entire cafeteria. How did you find him, Keith?"

Keith swallowed his words and looked around. Indeed Shiro sat in a very much unseen corner. But he couldn't say that he was basically guided by Shiro's bright light, only visible for him apparently.
"Well," he just said and shrugged. He wasn't sure how to feel about the fact that Matt sat down as if it was an appointment the two had made. Maybe it actually was and Keith was in the way.

"I'm sorry if I disturbed. You were probably meeting?" A little bit of fear grew inside of Keith. He didn't want to be rejected. Not yet at least.

"No, no, that's fine. The more the merrier, right Shiro?" Matt poked Shiro with his arm.

"True," the track member said. "And also, you were late Matt. Where have you been?"

"I organised the meeting we'll have next week. I'm the president of the science and robotic club, you know." Matt explained directed to Keith.

Shiro nodded and continued eating. He probably knew what was coming. And indeed, Matt didn't stop talking about his club and explained various things they had thought about (it was mainly astronomy and physics students) and their theories about the Rule of Planets. Keith didn't get much of it, though he was interested in the idea of flight jets connecting the planets with each other.

"You should eat something, Matt. It's getting cold." Shiro mentioned. And indeed the steam over Matt's plate had disappeared already.

"Oh darn." Matt hastily took a spoon full of peas and choked immediately. He drank a sip of water soon after, Shiro slapping his back to help him ease.

"He talks more when he is drunk," Shiro said to Keith and chuckled about it.

"Oh," Keith said, not sure what else to add.

"That reminds me," Matt said as soon as his trachea was free again. "We wanted to go to this new bar in town, Shiro. You promised, remember?"

Shiro sighed but nodded. "Yeah, I do remember. Thanks to you reminding me then and now and often. When do you want to go?"

"Saturday? You don't have training on Sunday morning so it would be perfect." Matt grinned.

"Sure," Shiro said. Then he looked at Keith. "Wanna join?"

Keith made big eyes. "Uhm, well. I'm not good with alcohol, you know. Maybe..."

"It's not about drinking itself," Matt said. "Well, sometimes it is. But it's okay when you don't. We can go together, have a fun night."

Shiro nodded. "Would be nice if you can come. Only if you want of course."

Keith got excited. He was invited by Shiro. Well, and Matt. But Shiro wanted him to come to a bar.

"I can drink something," he said, his voice felt dry. "It's not that I can't drink anything at all."

"Even better." Matt shoveled some more food and was busy with chewing.

"But I don't know where it is."

Matt swallowed, but there was still food in his mouth. Nevertheless, he tried to speak. "Ai wee tel Shiwo ze loceshon," he mumbled.

"Excuse me?" Shiro laughed and Keith joined him.

Matt swallowed proberly. "I will tell Shiro the location. He can send it to you."

Shiro and Keith looked surprised at each other.

"Oh," Shiro said. "Maybe we should.. exchange phone numbers or something."

Matt started to laugh. "You haven't yet!? Oh dear, and I thought you would already..."

Shiro kicked him in the ribs, hard enough to make Matt whine at little.

Keith raised an eyebrow and tried to supress his urge to ask about the end of the sentence Matt had been about to finish.

For some reason Keith, and neither Shiro, had thought of exchanging phone numbers before. They somehow met every few days or more often at university. As if they were drawn to each other. While Keith noticed this, his heart started racing. His hands felt a bit shaky even as he fetched his phone from his pockets and looked expectantly to Shiro, who had his phone in his hand already.

"Alright, tell me your number, Keith."

They exchanged their numbers and scanned each other's QR code to contact via Line.

"Great," Shiro said smiling. "I will send it to you once Matt told me." He threw a glance, nearly a glare, at his friend. Matt grinned innocently.

"So, Saturday is fine?"

Keith nodded. "Yes, totally. I need to clean the studio anyway on Friday, since it's the last day the freshmen will use it and I will supervise them before."

"You supervise them?" Matt asked curiously.

"Yes, it's kind of a tutor job. I do that but at the same time I can work on my own sculptures. It's a win win for me." He laughed quietly.

They talked some more and finished their lunch together. Once they left the cafeteria, they parted. Keith left them near the education department and went to go to the studio.


*~*~*~*


Keith returned at 6:30pm and a warm meal was waiting for him.

"I just finished," Hunk said. His smile was warm and friendly. "How was your day?"

"Was quite nice. I met Shiro and Matt during lunch." Keith shrugged. He washed his hands and face and changed his clothes. Then they sat down on the couch and watched some animation while eating the lasagne Hunk had made. It was delicious as always.

Keith talked about the kind of get-together during lunch, Matt's club activities and their plan to go drinking on Saturday. Hunk was curious about it, but he didn't want to join. He didn't want to come uninvited that is. Although it wouldn't be a problem to ask Shiro (and Keith was sure that he wouldn't mind him asking), Hunk already had plans himself.

Keith didn't want to admit it but it made him relieved. He didn't mind Hunk's presence nor Matt's. But if he could he would spend hours only with Shiro together.

Though he felt a bit guilty to feel that way.

After Keith finished, Hunk talked about this setup they had done during lab work. It was a new laser system made for measuring tiny signals of movements. Their first attempt failed and it had taken a long time to set it up. Keith listened thoroughly, although he didn't get that much of it. He nodded once in a while and asked some questions Hunk tried to answer so that Keith would understand.

They spent nearly two hours together which was relatively rare. Normally there were some homeworks to be done or some assignments, but they were both free and had much to talk to about.

They washed the dishes together and thought of what to do next. Hunk wanted a shower and Keith thought of having some me-time in his room. On his way to his door, a buzz in his pants took his attention.

As if he would've touched an electronic fence, a stream of joy ran through him. It was from Shiro.


Shiro: Sorry for Matt, he sometimes is a little giant airhead :D


Keith smiled and typed.


Keith: It's okay. I had fun today! Let me know if you have more info for Sat!


He went to his room, closed the door and let himself fall onto his bed. Grabbing a pillow, he made himself comfortable and waited for a reply. But there was non so soon. Of course. He shouldn't expect it like.. right now. So he took the book he was currently reading and read half a page, as his phone buzzed again.


Shiro: Yes, of course! We thought of meeting at 7:30. That okay?


And another message.


Shiro: I will send the location in a sec.


Keith typed while some map was already loading.


Keith: Yes, 7:30 is okay. PM I guess? ;D


Shiro: Location sent


Shiro: Haha, yeah of course PM. Otherwise I'd need to wake you up.


Keith: I wouldn't mind you waking me up.


Keith hesitated. He blushed and started typing fast and immediately. Ignoring the spelling.


Keith: Oh wait! Tha soun d totlly wron. Sorry!!!


He waited, his heart beating in his throat, too nervous to see the response. How could he have written something like that??


Shiro: Ahaha, no problem ;) We can try once ^>^


Keith frowned. He wasn't sure if this was sarcasm or not. (Also, what kind of emoji was this?) He thought about his reply. Then he noticed the map sent before and checked the location. It was a five minutes ride with his bike. He didn't know about this bar but when he thought about it, he recognised that he didn't know much about different bars in general.

He took his phone and typed.


Keith: I checked the location. I can go there easily. I've never been there before but it's okay. I trust your knowlegde of bars, haha.


He read it again after he sent it and saw that he totally ignored Shiro's last message, But he thought it would be fine. Not reading too much into it.

Keep it down Keith, nobody would read this as an invitation to cuddle until noon on Sunday.


Shiro: Alright! Haha, it's Matt's recommendation not mine. So we both have to trust him.


Keith nodded smiling.

Their chat went on and Keith nearly forgot that he had wanted to take a shower as well. When he finally laid in bed, he was really looking forward going to the bar. He would meet Shiro again at the weekend, outside of university. He would be able to sit next to him and talk. He really wanted it to be Saturday already.

Chapter Text

Since it was raining in the morning, Shiro and the rest of the team spent their time inside the gym close to the athletic ground. The muscle training had increased again and when Shiro came back home and stood under the truly deserved hot shower, he sighed deeply.

It was nearly afternoon and Shiro knew that those hours in the gym had helped to pass the time before going out.

He was happy to meet Keith this day. Of course he liked to go out with Matt once in a while. But since he had met Keith there was something special and warm flying around him he hadn't considered catching yet. Even now while thinking of the firm art student, who was nearly one head smaller than him, he needed to smile. It seemed that Keith wasn't an outstanding person, but for Shiro he was a beacon on a stormy cliff during the typhoon of the year.

Shiro frowned. He wasn't sure about this metaphor but shrugged. He grabbed the bottle of shower gel and scrubbed his body thoroughly.

He had noticed a change. At first, after meeting Keith at the cafeteria, he thought that he had met a nice man, a new friend. After that they had met again and more often and maybe, so his thoughts, he had found a new good friend he could share his weekends with.

But after a while it changed again and he wasn't sure what it was. What had changed exactly? Keith or himself?

He knew he was happy when he saw Keith at university and when he came to his training and when he showed him his sculptures and when they ate together in the cafeteria and when Matt suggested to go drinking and when he saw his smile and…

Shiro wanted to swallow but took a sip of bubbles in his mouth making him choke.

While getting out of the shower and walking to his room, he thought hard about this. His head was a mess and there were so many things going on simultaneously that he wasn't able to define a certain emotion with a word.

Shiro changed and made something simple for lunch. He remembered the day where they had lunch together. He also remembered this small scene there was, not sure how else to call it so far. When he had leaned towards Keith and Keith had leaned towards him and they… nearly… touched?

Though Keith's reaction might've been embarrassment. But he had leaned towards Shiro. Didn't this mean he had wanted this as well? Though this assumed that Shiro had wanted this too.

Shiro sighed.

No, embarrassment was the wrong choice of word. Though the action itself didn't feel wrong. He should've asked what this was meant to be. Maybe Keith knew the answer?

It felt right, it felt… good?

Shiro bit his lip. Did it? He asked himself. How did he feel? How did Keith feel?

He was deeply sunken in his own thoughts. When he opened his book to study some more until it was time to leave, he couldn't properly concentrate. And when it was 6pm, a knock on the door made him realise that he didn't remember a single thing of what his eyes had read.

"You okay, Shiro?"

"It's you," Shiro said, unable to hide his disappointment.

Matt opened the door, a confused grin on his lips. "Who else?" He asked laughing.

Shiro shrugged. He threw a glance to the clock and wasn't surprised to have it this late already. Considering his failing study time at least.

"You wanna leave soon? You should change into something… something wearable for the outside world at least." Matt exmanied Shiro's clothes.

"What about them?" Shiro looked down at himself but he already saw what Matt meant. He wore a loose shirt and a pair of shorts which hadn't seen the laundy either a long time ago or way to often. "Okay, you convinced me."

Matt was about to leave but returned again. "Did you say anything to Keith?"

Shiro lifted his head. "No," he said, a bit confused. "Did you?"

"No," said Matt. "Just… I'm wondering. How is it going with you?"

"What do you mean?" He was honestly asking.

"Well I think that he… well that you.." Matt made a vague gesture with his hand.

"That we…?" Shiro tried to help but couldn't finish the sentence since he had no clue himself. It was hard to figure this out by himself and he wasn't sure if Matt was a big help there.

Matt looked at him as if he was thinking whether he should explain his friend the latest released and solved miracle of the world or better give him more material to study for himself.

"I don't wanna spoil you, you know?" Matt chuckled. "Sorry, man. But maybe you need to find out yourself what Keith would like to say."

"To me or to you?"

"I think to you." Matt nodded strongly. "Get ready! I wanna go there soon to try their drinks." He knocked against the wood of the doorframe and left.

Shiro still sat on his chair, even more confused than before.


*~*~*~*


The way to the bar wasn't long, maybe about 20 minutes. They went by bus. Since the nighttime bus schedules were relatively good, they could go easily back. It stopped raining but there were still clouds hanging above them.

When they had arrived and had walked two more streets to get to the bar, they saw Keith next to the entrance standing besides a vending machine, which was blinking in the dim light.

"Hey Keith!" Shiro noticed that his own feet moved faster than before. But that was natural, right? Shiro frowned, confused by his own thoughts once more.

"Hey." Keith smiled and nodded towards the both of them. He wore black pants and a light white and red coat above a black t-shirt. His bike was parked next to the vending machines where others could be seen as well.

As Matt and Shiro approached Keith, Shiro recognised that Keith threw a very short glance over Shiro's clothes. He didn't know what to think about this but it was obviously to Keith's favour. His head made a very tiny nod.

"Did you wait long?" Shiro asked. He threw a glance on his watch.

"No, I just got here by myself." Keith said.

"Should we go in?" Matt tapped Shiro on his shoulder and nodded to the entrance. There was music buzzing through the door and audible chattering of visitors.

Shiro nodded and went ahead, keeping the door open for Keith, Matt was the last to enter.

The bar was relatively big, but there were many cozy corners to sit down, drink and talk with each other. The music was okay. Not too loud that the people would need to scream at each other, nor too quiet to create a queasy atmosphere. There was even a stage for live performances. Many people already sat down and chatted merryly with each other. The ambiance was nice, relaxed, and comfortable.

"There are some good places." Matt guided them now to a table on the other side of the room. He greeted some people here and there and even Shiro saw some he knew from university.

They settled on a chairs somewhere near the wall plastered with music posters and CD discs.

"I'll get something to drink. What do you want?" Matt lifted his eyebrows and looked at them askingly.

"Uhm, I'll take a whiskey," Shiro said. He watched Keith. The art student had bitten his lip and seemed to think about a good choice.

"I don't really know many drinks. Can you recommend something to me?"

"Hmm," Matt made. "I'll get you a sake for the start."

"Sounds good," Shiro approved. He had a feeling that Keith was in an environment he normally wouldn't be in. He looked around often and chewed on his lip, throwing glances to Shiro every now and then.

"Alright, I'll be right back." And Matt went to the counter which background was decorated with many different kinds of bottles from all over the world.

"This bar isn't really typically Japanese, right?" he said. He nodded to the bottles.

Keith ageed. "Guess you're right. There are some foreigners as well." He glanced to the empty stage and the seats behind. And now Shiro saw the two blonde guys sitting a bit too close to each other as it would be normal.

"How was your training?"

He turned his head. "My what?"

"Your training? On Saturday morning you have your club, right?" Keith frowned and mumbled further: "Was I wrong?"

"Ah yeah, sorry. I was in thoughts. Uhm, yeah, I had training. Was quite tough again."

"Did you increase your limits more?" Keith watched him worried.

"Well yes. But it's not really the limit. Well at the moment it might be, but if we increase it very slowly and let out bodies get used to it, we will set new limits." He smiled and hoped that it would convince Keith.

"I see." Keith nodded slowly. "But how did you train today? It was raining in the morning."

"We were in the gym. Muscle training is tougher than running four rounds over the field." Shiro chuckled.

"It might be more fun as well." Keith grinned. Then his eyes got distracted as he followed Matt, who was coming back.

"Here you are," Matt said, while settling down himself. "Whiskey on the rocks for you, Shiro. Sake for Keith, and a beer for me."

"Of course," Shiro said.

"Why?" Matt frowned, inspecting his glass of beer proudly but at the same time protectively.

"You always get a beer when we're going somewhere." Shiro turned to Keith. "He says he wants to try something new but he always gets the same."

Keith snickered.

"I meant the location, dumbhead, not the drink. I'm fine with beer. You should try it once in a while."

"I'm fine with the things I have."

"Sure you are." Matt grinned. He lifted his beer and brought it to the middle of the table. "Alright, nice, we're all here now."

Shiro and Keith did the same with their drinks and they toasted before taking the first sip.

"How is it? Is it too strong?" Shiro waited for Keith response.

"It's really soft in taste." Keith made a licking sound sending goosebumps over Shiro's arm. He couldn't help it, neither explain. "I like it."

"I'm glad."

"So, Keith." Matt put down his beer and leaned forward. "I've got a question to your studies. What is it you're going to do during the times you're in your studio? Shiro told me that you spend much time in the studio," he added explanational since Keith made a surprised face.

"Oh, well, I do some assignments mostly. It depends on our major, some people do pencil sketches or oil paintings. But I do clay sculptures and need some space. Can't do that at home."

"I see. And what kind of sculptures are you doing?"

"Difficult to answer. I don't have a preference as if I would do only flowers or something." Keith shrugged. "It's what in my mind. But sometimes the professor has a task and it needs to be done."

"Is it helpful? I mean," Shiro added. "When you are meant to do something which you never thought of creating, does it help to increase your creativity?"

Keith nodded. "Yes, it really does. I think I wouldn't think in other ways without different inputs of others. But in the end I'm the only one creating my own works."

They talked some more about Matt's studies and especially his Rule of Planets and Shiro's upcoming tournament. But then Matt saw someone from his club.

"I will join them for a while." He stood up and left before anyone could complain.

Shiro smiled. A while ago he had thought that Matt wanted Keith and him to be closer. He wasn't entirely sure why but there were hints now.

He observed how Matt made his way through the crowd (the bar had gotten quite busy by now) and was probably searching for a person he could talk to while giving his cildhood friend the chance to speak alone with Keith. In some way it had similarities to being a wingman, Shiro thought. He nearly choked and stared at Matt's disappearing back. So if that was the case then his words before leaving..

"He is really into his club," Keith said. He refilled his small cup with sake.

Shiro turned around, focusing on the Keith in front of him. "I'm sorry, I can't always stop him from explaining every session they had." Shiro sighed. "I grew up with him, trust me."

"I will." Keith laughed softly. "He is curious but he is in his own world. I think he cares about others as well."

Shiro nodded. "Yes. Without him or Pidge I would've been lost when I was younger. They became my second family."

"I understand. Must be nice to have so many people around you."

Shiro stared at him, a bit worried. Keith seemed to realise what he just had said and shook his head hastily.

"No, no, no. I meant it totally different. That sounded like I was always alone for my whole life, right?" He laughed but it sounded artificially. "I always had my mother, Hunk and my dog. Although it was difficult when I was younger since my mother needed to work and my dad was… gone. I was never lonely." His next smile seemed stronger which made Shiro a bit more relaxed. Though not entirely.

"Did you always wanted to be a runner?"

Shiro was irritated by this sudden change of topic but got along. Maybe Keith felt unformfortable and he didn't want to overdo it.

"I think so." He said. "I always liked running and joined the track and field club as soon as possible." He took a sip of his drink. "How about you? Were you the talented one in class back then?"

Keith shook his head. "No, not really. I liked drawing and at the beginning… Well adults always say something different from their original meaning is what I thought. My drawings weren't the best. So I drew every day to make them become better. And I started modelling in junior high. I discovered clay and felt as it was...as it was..."

"As if it was meant to be?"

"Yeah!" Keith smiled and looked into Shiro's eyes. They interlocked for some seconds before Keith cleared his throat and lifted his cup of sake to drink from it.

"You said that you want to be part of an exhibition in the future." Shiro started softly, not daring to ask too much of Keith.

"Yes. If possible." Keith nodded slowly. His eyes laid on Shiro, a soft glimmer inside of them. Shiro could hardly look somewhere else. He swallowed but his mouth was dry, so he took a sip of his whiskey.

"So, uhm..." He said, trying to gather his concentration. "Are there any things which might help you now? Can you prepare or are there already exhibitions to participate in?"

"Actually, there is.. one," Keith slowly said. "Well, it's for the second years to present some works for the public. But the students have to apply kind of to the president and then they are selected and I'm not sure if this is good for me."

"You should definitely do it, Keith. It sounds promising."

"They actually give small prices to the students, there is a contest and the public or someone can choose a rank." Keith shrugged. "But I don't think I should participate."

"Why not?" Shiro frowned.

"I might not be able and surpass the others. Even the selection takes time and I'm..."

"Keith, you should try it." Shiro said and grabbed Keith's arm. "I know that you can do this. Even if you can't win this price, I'm sure you'll be participating in this exhibition."

Keith looked up from his sake, his face full of self-doubt. "Are you sure?" he asked. His voice even quieter than all the times before.

"Yes, I am." Shiro nodded even. He was sure. Trusting Keith's talent and the things he had seen so far, he knew that Keith would be able to be selected. Even though he didn't know much about art, he'd noticed that Keith's pieces were something special.

Keith sighed. "The application perdiod finished already. I would need to go directly to the president and I don't want to disturb them. Only in some cases it's okay or when the work was changed or something."

"You should go to the president and ask to consider your work. They make exceptions, right? You should be the one." Shiro put some more pressure on Keith's arm, not strong to hurt him but firm enough to underline his words.

Keith looked at him for a long time. But then he nodded. "Alright, Shiro. Because you said so."

Shiro was relieved. "No, it was you who decided it." He smiled.

He let go of the arm and played with his whiskey glass between his fingers. "Did you tell your mother about it?"

"No, I didn't. She was busy with work."

"I see." They fell silent and listened to the music and the chattering around them. They finished their drinks and Shiro ordered the same again. Soon after a band approached the stage and performed some titles. The music wasn't that recent, they had some rock songs and even jazz. Most of them were calm and only a few made some people dance on the designated area.

Shiro watched Keith. He had a soft pink blush on his cheeks. In order to not get him drunk, Shiro was careful and took it slow.

The band started playing a new song and Shiro smiled, nostalgic growing inside of him.

"I like this song," he said.

"I never listened to it before." Keith said. "It sounds good."

"It came out when I was in high school. We were in a CD shop and it was so good that I bought the disc actually." Shiro remembered that day in a daze. But the song was still good.

"You were there with Matt?"

"No, with my former girlfriend." Shiro said without thinking much of it. Many things had changed after high school.

He threw a glance at Keith and when he saw his face, it was as if Shiro had said something utterly horrible. But this emotion was only for a very brief second on Keith's face. After, it was gone and a smile appeared on Keith's face, Shiro wasn't entirely sure anymore if this truly happened or not.

"You had a girlffriend?" Keith asked with a rough voice. He drank some sake as if he wanted to cover it.

"Well, yes. But it didn't went well." Shiro shrugged. He hadn't known that he would talk about this in a bar but since it was Keith, he was okay with it. Nobody was listening as well. And at some point they would talk about past loves, right? And maybe he could find out about Keith's as well?

"Why? What happenend?" Keith frowned, his expression worried.

"She was really nice at first. But after a while she didn't have much time to meet and our conversations became short and unmotivated. Well," Shiro bit his lip. "To make a long story short it turned out that she was two-timing, trying to decide."

Keith was obviously surprised. "And the other party?"

"A girl, one year older." Shiro laughed quietly.

Keith snorted while trying to supress his laugh. Some drops of sake landed somewhere on the table. Shiro grinned about this and handed him a tissue.

"Thanks," Keith said. "I'm sorry. For this. And your story. I didn't mean to.."

"No, that's fine. I was confused back then too but in the end it's nice." Shiro nodded to himself. He remembed clearly his own surprise back then. "Turned out she was a lesbian in the end. But it was good to know that she found what she was looking for."

Shiro turned his glass around.

"Now I think its kinda funny since over the past years it made me realise that I dont care about gender but more about the person themself. Why is someone thinking in patterns, behaving and having a certain character? I like to discover people just like that."

Keith fell silent. He made a ball out of the wet tissue and drank up his sake.

"Well, that's the story how I discovered this part of me." Shiro smiled.

"I will get some more," Keith said. He got up before Shiro could stop him and went to the counter. His sake cup and the small flask was empty and although the cups were relatively small, Keith seemed to be slightly drunkish already. He didn't seem to be able to hold his liquor well. Shiro needed to take care of him better.

When Keith came back, they talked even more. Shiro explained his feelings for other people regarding romantic ways. He barely talked about it and only Matt knew that he didn't mind neither girl nor boy nor somebody else. But he seemed to have a tendency towards males, he couldn't deny it. There were some crushes he had and some others advancing him. But since long ago he was emerged into his running and life in general (with all the troubles it had to offer) that he didn't have much time to think about this way.

Now, since a drunk Keith was sitting in front of him, he wasn't sure anymore. Maybe he should give some time to think about this more.

He also wanted to know more about Keith's past lovers, if he had any. Shiro didn't want to use the drunkness of his friend but he couldn't help his curiosity. Keith was grabbing tightly his cup of sake and the pink blush on his cheeks got a hunch darker.

"Y'kno," Keith stammered. "When I was'n school, I had a girlfriend as well."

He was really drunk, Shiro thought. But he was surprisingly stable. Just his language lacked some letters here and there.

"When was it exactly? What year?"

"Second last," Keith answered. His eyes were clear and a sad smile was on his lips. "I thought I liked her… in that way."

"That way? You mean like in a se…?"

"In a straight way, Shiro. I mean the straight way." Keith shook his head, but he didn't mean scolding Shiro. Rather.. himself. "So, I thought I liked her that much, you know, that much which makes you undress yourself and do things and such." Keith made a vague gesture with his hand. He stared at his sake cup and sighed.

Shiro nodded. He didn't know where this talk was leading to but he expected some surprise at the end. (Just like in his own story.)

"So we were in bed and all and I kissed her and she kissed me and when we were about to do the do... the thing, you know, I couldn't get it up. Not at all. Soft as an ice cube during August." Keith fell silent for a while. Shiro observed him but he showed no reaction. Just as he was about to get worried about it, Keith sighed.

"Her nipples, y'know."

"What about them?" Shiro tried to answer seriously but the way Keith said it while blushing due to embarrassment was way to cute. It made him smile widely. Keith didn't mind. Though Shiro wasn't sure if he actually noticed it.

"They stared at me, can you believe that? The nipples were like… like a second pair of eyes on her." Keith looked at Shiro and his face was serious but the cheeks were pink. He seemed to be looking for words but couldn't find any. And then, in one go, he finished the cup of sake.

"Technically," Keith said and lifted a finger as to make a big announcement. "I'm not a virgin, y' see. But well, as things are, I just wan' to do it once, in a gay way or something."

"You're drunk, Keith." Shiro snickered.

"That migh' be true. I'm drunk. I rarely get drunk but here I am. I'm drunk. Drunk and gay. But I'm here with you so you're okay. You are allowed to know that."

"That you're drunk or that you're gay?" Shiro asked, keeping his voice low.

"Does it matter?" Keith shrugged.

Shiro smiled and helped Keith to stabilise since he leaned a bit forwards. He wasn't sure what was true of what Keith had said. Though he thought that Keith just had admitted to be a gay guy. It kinda fit him but in a positive way. Not that there was anything negative about it. Shiro frowned. It was more like… he liked the fact that Keith was gay since it gave him room to…

Yes, to do what actually?

"Maybe we should get you home, Keith. It became late."

Keith nodded drousily.

"Come on, Keith. Let's go."

"Okey dokey."

Shiro stood up and turned around to push his chair under the table. While he did that he could just see how Keith had grabbed Shiro's cup of Whiskey and finished the last sip of it.

"No, Keith!" Shiro took the cup out of his hand and sighed. But Keith already swallowed. He didn't want Keith to be even more drunk than he already was. It's been only one flask of sake and a little more, even a high school student would be okay with it. Well, probably.

"Was it wrong?" Keith came closer and grabbed Shiro's waist. Shiro felt the firm hot body next to him and tried with all might to not hug him immediately.

"No, no, Keith." Shiro said. He looked into Keith's eyes, full of sadness and worry about his suspected fault. "It's okay. I just wanted… I wanted to drink it, you know? But it's okay, we can come again. Nothing to worry about." Shiro said that but Keith still looked as if he had just destroyed planet Earth.

That's why Shiro lifted his hand and patted Keith on the head. It seemed to relax the art student and Shiro wasn't sure, but he heard something like a soft purr coming from Keith.

It was hard to let go since the black hair was so soft and felt like silk but he wanted to get them out of here. Shiro looked around and saw Matt, who had noticed them and came over.

"You're leaving?" he asked.

Shiro nodded. "Yes, he is quite drunk."

"Yes, I'm drunk," Keith said and nodded hevavily. He tried to find a good grip of Shiro's waist while his stature was a bit crooked and looked up to both of them seriously .

"How much did he have?" Matt asked, his eyes worried that he had done a mistake and made Keith suffer.

"Not that much, a bit of sake. A whole flask by himself." Shiro shrugged, the other hand tried to get a grip of Keith.

"A whole?? They're tiny!" Matt's eyes grew big. "What is he, 12?"

Shiro threw him a daring look.

"Sorry," Matt said. "But seriously, he is a real lighthead."

"Well, he said so himself right?" Shiro felt Keith's small hand running over his back and shuddered. He tried to focus on Matt's face.

"That's true but… That's really not that much."

Shiro nodded. "Well, anyway. I will take him home. I will try to come back."

"You know where he lives?"

"Yes."

"Alright."

They parted and Shiro helped Keith to get to the door. Once they left the music, people, and warm air behind, they were finally outside to breathe in the fresh air.

"Alright, Keith." Shiro threw a glance to Keith's bike, parking not far away. "Well, I guess we let it here. It's not that far to your flat, right?"

"I'm alright," Keith mumbled.

"I can see that." Shiro snickered. He took a strong grip of Keith's waist and lifted his arm around his own shoulders before he checked the signs of the street. "Here we go."

And so they started their long way home.

Chapter Text

Luckily it still hadn't rained when they got outside. Taking care of a drunk Keith as well as holding an umbrella would've been difficult.

Shiro was sure that the distance to Keith's and Hunks flat wasn't far, maybe 10 minutes in total. It would've been better to know this area better. He'd never been here before and therefore had to check his phone once in a while to get his location and correct direction. But since he didn't want to let go of an unsteady Keith, he had to stop once in a while to get his phone out of the pocket and check the map.

Like this it took much longer.

"Y'know," Keith mumbled. He looked up to Shiro and smiled before looking on the path again. His hands were burried in Shiro's coat.

"What do I know?"

"I like this shiat. Itssso tigt 'n all, I lllike the touch."

"Please use words of my language, Keith." Shiro grabbed Keith firmer since he moved on.

"Thisshiat." Keith took his second hand and caressed Shiro's chest and the shirt he wore beneath his coat. It was a bit tight since he normally wore it for his training.

"My shirt, you mean?" Shiro asked. Goosebumps were running over his body as Keith's fingers stroke the fabric, his finger tips poking here and there. Keith basically clinged to Shiro. Shiro was used to wear these types of shirts for running. Though he had to admit that he couldn't explain why he wore it on a Saturday night but now, with Keith's hot fingers running over it, he didn't have any regrets at all. He must admit that he liked the touch very much. Due to the tight fabric, it felt like Keith's fingers were much closer to his skin.

Shiro took a deep breath.

"You're a real lighthead, Keith. Your tolerance for alcohol is really low."

"I know. I'm drunk, I'm sorry, Shiro."

"It's fine. Everybody gets drunk at some point in their life. Sooner or later. Well… or in the next life or the previous one. Honestly," Shiro said thoughtfully. "I've only been drunk one time and it was not good. I'm not good with alcohol in general but jeez, Keith, you took the cake for real. I mean." Shiro looked down on Keith and smiled. "I knew that you weren't joking when you said that but I thought the limit was a bit higher. But it's okay."

They passed a konbini and some vending machines until they reached a crossing. The traffic lights were off so Shiro looked for some cars but since non was in sight they crossed the street.

"Thank you, Shiro. I'm so glad 'm hea wiss you. I llllike you a lot. I like you as much as I liked my PE teacher in school back then."

"Oh, is that so?" Shiro raised an eyebrow. He couldn't deny a certain curiousity but using Keith's drunksness wasn't fair.

But Keith nodded and his drunk voice told Shiro something which was probably not for everyone to hear. Shiro listened and smiled. Keith was drunk so he couldn't stop himself. And he already knew that Keith was gay, adding only to his story he just told. But he was okay with it.

When they finally arrived at Keith's apartment building, Shiro made a relieved sigh. He didn't hesitate much and grabbed Keith to carry him upstairs. Keith basically snuggled into his neck and Shiro needed to gather all his strength to reach the right floor and let go of Keith again.

"Alright, Keith. Now, where are your keys?"

"Hmmm, keys?" Keith tried to search in his pockets, but his fingers were weak and he didn't managed it by himself at all.

"Let me check." Shiro hesitated but searched in Keith's pockets for a key. It was a strange feeling but he couldn't help it. He finally found it and opened the door. "Here we go."

Worried about possible accidents Keith might create in his own flat, Shiro helped him getting his shoes and coat off. He took his own stuff off as well and guided Keith to his room.

"The right one's mine," he mumbled. "Come, Shiro. Let's go to bed."

Shiro chuckled. "Alright, Keith."

Inside, Shiro wanted to switch on the light but Keith stopped him, one hand reaching out for Shiro's.

"No, no, no! Don't switch it on. It will wake up Hunk. His class starts early tomorrow."

"Keith, that doesn't make sense at all. Neither the first nor the second statement you just said." Shiro needed to refrain from laughing.

"No, no light. No. Undress me in the darkness."

"As you wish." Shiro said so easily but stood in front of Keith without moving. Keith had closed his eyes and lifted his arms. He seemed so vulnerable right now but he still trusted Shiro. And Shiro thought that he would behave similar as well when he would be drunk and in Keith's care. But he wouldn't do anything to harm Keith. He was too pure, too precious.

He started removing shirt and pants and noticed in the dim moon light shining into the room a long scar from neck to shoulder which was usually covered by clothes. It seemed to be a very old scar. He stroke it softly but Keith'd didn't flinch.

Shiro guided Keith to his bed. The room was small but similar to Shiro's. There was everything a student needed: bed, desk, chair and cupboard. There were many boxes with supplies for art students. Keith's tablet laid on the table, as well as dozens of pens and notebooks.

"Come, Keith. Lay down."

"Mhmm," Keith made. He did as he was said and smiled. "You too, Shiwwo."

"I'll be here, just go to sleep."

"Stay?"

"Yes, I will stay."

Keith's smile grew bigger. "Thanks.. Shiro."

"You're welcome Keith."

Shiro waited until Keith's breathing became calm. It didn't took him a long time to be asleep. There was a short moment when Shiro hesitated to stand up and leave. He could just… lay down next to Keith and fall asleep right here, beneath this blanket which looked so cozy and soft and warm. It was a tempting thought.

Shiro bit his lip.

In the morning he could say that he fell suddenly asleep while bringing Keith to bed. He didn't mean any harm, he just wanted to lay there, warm and soft and safe.

But Shiro wasn't a liar, he'd never been one. Even as a kid he always had failed to not tell the truth.

And besides, the bed was way too small to fit the two of them laying next to each other without touching. Shiro imagined how it would be falling asleep while having Keith in his arms, a warm body between his arms, snuggling closer while pressing a cute little nose in his chest...

His mouth went dry.

Shiro shook his head vigorously.

No, he thought. Come on now, Shiro.

Shiro sighed and stood up, slowly to not wake up the drunk one again. He went out of the room and closed the door.

What now?

Just as he was thinking of searching the internet for bus connection which might bring him home at this late hour from a place he'd never been before, a door behind him opened and he turned around. He was expecting Keith to feel lonely already, his drunk mind telling him to search for his caretaker, but it was Hunk. Hunk wiped his eyes drousily while coming closer, wearing a big yellow shirt over boxershorts.

"Hey," he mumbled. "I heard some sounds. How was the drinking?"

"It was nice. But.. Keith is drunk now. I brought him to bed," Shiro answered quietly.

"I see." Hunk nodded. "Thanks for that. And thanks for bringing him home. He is a lighthead."

"Yeah, he told us, but he didn't have much."

"Just a little can be too much as well." Hunk yawned. "Anyway, wanna stay over? It's past midnight already and tomorrow is Sunday. Not even sure about buses."

"Are you sure?"

Hunk nodded. He smiled tiredly but honestly. "Yeah, just use the couch. I'll get a blanket."

He went to his room and came back soon after.

"Here."

"Thanks, Hunk."

"Just take what you need, bathroom's there." Hunk pointed towards a door. "Drink or eat anything you like."

"I'll do that, thank you."

"G'd night."

"Night, Hunk."

Hunk went to the bathroom. Meanwhile, Shiro made himself comfortable on the couch. Everything smelled a bit like Keith and Hunk. He felt comfy and snuggled himself in the pillow.

The sound of running water and Hunk's quiet footsteps filled the room. A door was closed and silent fell upon the apartment.

Shiro sighed. A lot had happened this evening. He closed his eyes but there were too many pictures, too many sounds behind his eyes and inside of his head. He thought about Keith's words, tried to put them in order.

The he remembered to send Matt a text. The reply came soon.


Shiro: I'm at Keith's place and will stay over. See you tomorrow.


Matt: Alright, Shiro. I knew that you were able to carry him home.


Shiro: I didn't.. Well, actually I did carry him..


Matt: No excuses. Might be you're chance, you know.


Shiro hesitated before answering.


Shiro: You know that I'm not using drunk people.


Matt: Of course, I know you won't. I just meant in the future.


Shiro was too tired to think that through in the middle of the night. But he wanted to be sure of something. He wanted to form in words what he was thinking this night.


Shiro: I get a clue of what you're talking about, Matt.


But for now he couldn't trust all of his feelings. He didn't know yet how to feel about Keith, how much like home he felt for him. How much he wanted to just cuddle in his bed and sleep in the next day.

For now he wanted to just get some hours of rest for himself. Maybe he'll see something more clear the next day.


Matt: It's okay. But be sure that I'm rooting for ya'.


Shiro smiled.


Shiro: Thanks. Maybe I'll need it. Good night!


Matt: Nighty!


Tiredness overcame him but before he settled to sleep, he went to the bathroom himself. And finally, he sneaked back under the blanket and fell asleep.

Chapter Text

A steady humming filled his head. It sounded like a choir of various musicians without talent. Why this noise in the early morning?

Keith took a deep breath and exhaled. Even this was way too loud. What was wrong with his head?

He blinked and saw the wall next to his bed. It was grey as always, nothing had changed. But he felt that something was different. As if he had done a huge mistake and forgot about the deed but still felt regretful after.

He was home, that was a good thing. But how did he get there?

He remembered that he had left the evening (most assumable the day before) and had met Shiro and Matt. Keith had noticed the very tight shirt Shiro was wearing, probably one of the sports wear he normally had on. It had emphasised quite well every muscle on his chest, the pecs and arms and just… everything. Keith had been tempted to touch but he couldn't just do that. On the middle of the street in bright daylight (or later in the bar with others around).

Keith swallowed but his mouth was dry.

Then they had been drinking together until Matt had left. Shiro and Keith had many topics to exchange and he had found out that Shiro was… well… He was okay with any gender concerning romantic ways. So that was a plus. But what had happened after that?

His memories were like wet sand running through his fingers. He scratched his hurting head.

What had happenend last night?

It didn't help to just lay there and think. He sat up and looked down on himself. He was naked, well, halfly. His underwear was the only thing left. Does that mean he had undressed himself? How had he actually managed to come back to the apartment?

Too many questions. His throat was dry and that's why he wanted something to drink.

Okay, Keith, concentrate. Just get up, make yourself some coffee and then keep thinking. He frowned though his forehead hurt because of that.

While massaging his temple once more, Keith stood up and opened his door to the living room. The smell of fried eggs was in the air, making Keith's stomach rumble.

And then he noticed something. Rather someone.

He stood at the kitchen counter, back towards Keith. It was a broad and muscular back. Way too muscular and not as dark in colour to fit Hunk's. But who exactly….

Keith froze on the spot.

Shiro.

It was Shiro. Standing half naked in his kitchen, trying to make… scrambled eggs?

"Shiro?" he asked quietly, his own voice too loud for the early morning.

Shiro turned around, a wide smile on his lips. "Morning, Keith. How do you feel?" His eyes looked worried.

"Okay… I guess. And you?"

"I'm fine. Do you want breakfast? Hunk is outside and tries to borrow some milk from your neighbours."

"I see." Keith came closer until he stood next to Shiro. He threw many many glances to Shiro's naked upper half of his body. He was curious and he was too groggy as to hide it. Shiro smiled at him but was busy taking care of the eggs he moved around in the pan with a wooden spatula. Keith's wodden spatula.

"Scrambled eggs?"

"Yep. Well… I had fried eggs in mind but.. It seems I've got no talent for this." He laughed quietly.

"Guess so." Keith watched Shiro doing the eggs in the pan (which looked as if it was used way too much). Then his eyes scooted somewhere else, looking at Shiro's chest and arms. He admitted that he couldn't get enough of it. He noticed a long and broad scar around Shiro's upper arm on his right side and wondered where it came from.

In the moment he thought that he might just ask Shiro, the door opened and Hunk came in.

"I got the milk, Shiro! Now we can have coffee and.. Oh Keith! How are you?" Hunk closed the door and got out of his shoes.

"Please don't be so loud." Keith had flinched at this loud words, realising that Shiro's voice had been indeed calm and soothing.

"Alright, sorry. Sit down and let us handle the breakfast. Well, lunch is the better word."

"What is the time?" Keith looked around to find a hint somewhere. He was a bit out of himself he had to admit.

"It's 11:45," Shiro said. "Here, take this." He handed him a warm cup of coffee. "You want eggs?"

Keith thought about it but for now he was satisfied with the coffee. He shook his head, sat down and watched the two of them doing the rest of preparations.

Soon after, they sat together on the couch. A folded blanket and pillow laid next to the couch.

"Did you sleep here?" Keith looked at Shiro. "Did you.. bring me here?"

"Well, yes." Shiro smiled, his eyes showing a hint of amusement and worry. "You were really drunk. And Hunk said I should stay over since it was late."

"I see."

"I'm sorry, Keith." Shiro put down the plates full of eggs and looked apologetic.

"What for?"

"I got you drunk. Well, not directly. You said you're not good with alcohol but I let you have too much and that's why you went drunk and told me those things you would probaly never tell anyone and.."

"Shiro, Shiro, it's okay. Once in a while it's fine, right? I guess so at least." Keith shrugged. "It's not your fault and I won't put this on you. I'm fine and.. thank you for taking care of me when I couldn't. It's me who should apologise." Keith bit his lips. But Shiro waived it off, a shy smile on his lips.

"How is the coffee?" Shiro asked quietly.

"Really good." Keith replied in the same tone.

Hunk watched both of them and munched his eggs. They finished relatively quickly and when Hunk had emptied his plate, he stood up, returned it to the kitchen counter and left them alone.

"I need to check some mails," he said and winked towards Keith. This was enough to make him blush. How much was it Hunk knew already?

"So," Keith started slowly. "You said that I said some embarrassing things or something?" He took small sips from his hot coffee and watched Shiro, who had dressed himself in this tight shirt he had worn the day before as well.

"You don't remember?" Shiro looked interested.

"No, well, not everything. I remember you told about your girlfriend in high school and then… Well I don't recall much."

Shiro nodded. "You told me about your girlfriend in high school as well."

"Oh, I see."

Shiro hesitated as if he wanted to add something.

"Tell me what I said, Shiro. I won't sleep the next night if you don't."

"Alright." Shiro chuckled. "Well, you told me that you were sure you would be straight so you tried to sleep with each other. You couldn't… well you couldn't get it up and that's how you recognised that you're gay."

Keith felt his heart drop somewhere in his left leg, making a dull sound reveberating within himself.

He wished that this was it but Shiro openend his mouth and continued.

"You also told me that you had a crush on your PE teacher and followed him to his classes in order to help him carrying anatomy books or hurdles."

Keith blushed. He found no words for his embarassements. That was too much. He had told his two most guarded secrets.

"Well..." Shiro shrugged.

Keith expected more but Shiro stayed silent.

"Are you.. disgusted now?" He glanced at Shiro from behind his coffee mug.

Shiro looked surprised. "No, why would I? I mean… Many people have crushes on their teachers so that's fine I guess. At least if it stays like this and you were younger and so on. And if you mean the thing that you're gay, I'm not opposed. I told you that I'm similar to you so we're kinda even, right?"

Keith nodded slowly. "Still," he continued with a rough voice. "I, uhm…. I were drunk. I'm never drunk so I guess that was the thing which did it. Otherwise I wouldn't reveal such things." Keith put his hand on his cheek, feeling his blush running hot. "Ugh, can you pretend that I never told you all these things?"

Shiro smiled. He didn't say anything for some seconds before he stood up from the arm chair and sat next to Keith on the couch, putting a warm hand on his shoulder.

Keith had to summon all his force to not lean into the touch.

"If you honestly ask me to do this, I will do so," Shiro said softly with his deep voice. "But since I would like to know more about all those things which had happened in your life so far, I wouldn't dare forgetting those important memories of your past."

He lifted his hand and touched Keith's chin shortly.

"You should shave," he added, a soft smile on his lips.

"You too," Keith replied.

They couldn't help but laugh.

"Alright, I think I should." Shiro smiled softly. "You alright now?"

Keith thought about his answer. He nodded. "I guess so. Thank you for taking me home and… Did you undress me?"

Shiro blushed. Keith couldn't believe it but that was for real.

"Well.. Yes, I did. Is it… okay? Are you opposed? I didn't want to let you sleep in your clothes. I didn't think much about it, sorry." Shiro lifted his hand and scratched the back of his head.

"No, I'm… fine I guess." Keith smiled nervously. Yet he got somehow stupidly excited since Shiro had seen him nearly naked. "Thanks for that."

"I think I will go home now. Take a shower and.. get new things to wear." Shiro took his plate and cup and returned them to the kitchen.

"Just leave them there, I will clean them later." Keith said.

"Thanks."

"No, thank you Shiro." Keith had followed Shiro and stood now in front of him. He still had his cup in his hands. "The coffee was delicious."

"I can make one anytime." Shiro smiled, his eyes fixated Keith's.

"I appreciate it and take the offer the next time." Keith grinned softly.

Shiro nodded. They fell silent and looked at each other, not sure what to say, both with a slight bush on their cheeks.

"So," Shiro slowly said. "I think I'll leave, so… Thank you for your hospitality. And to Hunk as well."

Keith nodded. "Should I lend you some clothes for the way home?"

"No, thank you. Matt will tease me anyway." He laughed shortly. "And I think that your clothes won't fit me, unfortunately."

"Maybe Hunk's will do." Keith shrugged.

"I'm fine."

"But," Keith added. "Maybe my clothes won't fit you but I would fit in yours."

Shiro hesitated. The blush became stronger and the so far slight pink hue turned red. Keith wasn't sure why he had said it right now but he liked to see this reaction.

"Next time," Shiro mumbled. He nodded one more time and smiled shyly.

He went to the door, got into his coat and shoes and finally stood in the floor. Keith had followed him and stayed in the door frame.

"I will see you next week. You can text me, if you like." Shiro shrugged, tilting his head a little.

"I will." Keith said with a certain tone. "Thank you."

"No problem."

Shiro left and Keith waited until he disappeared on the stairways.


*~*~*~*


It was one hour later when Keith noticed that his bike was still at the bar.

He told Hunk and made his way out of their apartment on this cozy and lazy Sunday midday and walked through the known neighbourhood the same way as he had went yesterday.

While walking he tried to imagine how Shiro had walked him all the way to his home. What had he done while being drunk? Apart from spelling his secrets of course. He had only a few memories and Shiro didn't say anything exactly about the way back.

Keith tried not to blush due to embarrassement but failed. He just hoped that nobody saw him like that, talking a walk on Sunday and getting red like a ripe tomato in late August. He should've taken a facial mask with him.

But he was a bit relieved. Shiro knew that Keith was gay. That was a progress somehow. And Keith knew that Shiro was okay with any gender. That was even better to know.

At first Keith had hoped that Shiro would like him and then he would notice that Keith actually liked men and then they would somehow end up…

Well.. End up where exactly? What was it Keith wanted? He knew he liked Shiro but… Did he like him that way?

He bit his lower lip.

Okay, a summary, he thought.

Shiro saw him as a friend. A good start.

Shiro knew that he was gay. Good so far. (Before making a plan to somehow let Shiro know about him being gay most likely in a subtle way, his drunken self had went ahead and told him directly on a random Saturday night's bar visit. Keith restrained from hitting his forehand with his hand.)

Shiro liked him in a sort of way. Good.

Good? Which way, that was the question.

Keith stopped at a vending machine and got a milk tea. His head still hurt so the cool drink should help.

Soon, he reached the intersection and waited for the green light to cross the street.

What did he like about Shiro?

He was friendly, nice, comfortable to be with. Keith felt at home when he was with Shiro in his room. It was a rare feeling he only had felt at home with his mother or Hunk.

With Shiro it… it just felt right. Like a certain paint designated for a wall. Keith felt welcome and his mind was at ease. He could concentrate and breath in familiar air and warmth.

Keith had to admit that he liked Shiro's appearance as well, but that was secondary. Though he remembered it clearly once his brain (or whichever body part) gave him this thought.

Maybe… Maybe he liked him. In a romantic kind of way.

Keith stopped. He had reached the bar, which was closed. Now in bright daylight everything looked plane but Keith realised something. As if his pale insides were suddenly coloured.

He remembered the day before. He had reached the bar, locked his bike and waited. And then he had seen Shiro.

Keith felt everything again. His heart had felt tighter than before, but in a good way. His head had been full of bees humming an orchestra he had never heard before. He'd listened to his heartbeat, going faster the closer Shiro had come. Breathing had been hard, everything had felt out of place, as if it would belong to another world.

He liked Shiro, he knew it now.

But no, he didn't just like him.

He loved him.

Chapter Text

It took two days for Keith to cool down his head. He had thought about lot of things but in the end he couldn't speak for other people regarding their feelings. He had to make an advance first.

It was Wednesday, his free day. He went to university by bike and was thinking while passing the calm mid-morning traffic.

Yesterday had been tough. He had remembered the encouraging words during his talk with Shiro in the bar and thus had taken all his courage and had went to the president, asking about a possible participation in the upcoming exhibition. Now, he was proud of the result from the meeting with the president of his department and wanted to tell Shiro about it. But he couldn't just type a text, he wanted to tell this in person.

While he observed the people in the passing cars while he stopped at traffic lights, he thought about this drunken occasion from the past weekend.

Keith had realised that he liked Shiro. And maybe there was the possibility that Shiro liked him as well? Like.. in a romantic way?

Though there was the word 'friend' Shiro had literally used and it made Keith hesitating every time he thought about it during those past weeks after he had heard it for the very first time.

It could be either a word Shiro used to describe, well, a friend. Just a friend, no more no less. In this case Keith felt lost and he didn't know what to do. Should he let him go already? Or should he try and confess so that Shiro would have the possibility to think about it? Maybe Shiro hadn't considered this way of feeling towards Keith yet?

It was possible that Shiro had used this word as a verbal fence. He didn't want to fall in love. Maybe he was even unable of it. That's why he tried to keep Keith at distance to not cause any misunderstandings which would result in a romantic attraction.

Well, Keith thought. Way too late for that one.

If the latter assumption was the case then Keith wouldn't be able to explain all those little moments they had so far.

The other possibilty was that Shiro used this word as the first state. They met, they become friends, they become lovers sort of way.

Keith liked the third idea. So maybe Shiro's feelings hadn't changed so far. They were somewhere in the friend level. At least for Shiro. Though Keith already knew that his feelings for Shiro had changed. But how about Shiro's?

And there was this one moment when Keith had visited Shiro on a Saturday and they had sat on his bed and… nearly touched each other's faces. He didn't dare using the word 'kiss' in his mind but truly… It would've ended like this, he was sure about it. There was not other logic explanation for this.

Keith sighed and focused once more on the traffic ahead of him.

When he finally arrived at university, he locked his bike and made his way to the studio. He got all his supplies but instead of continuing with his sculpture, he sat on a chair at his table, lost in thoughts.

He grabbed his head while focusing on the small white clouds passing by in the sky. He thought about this one time where Shiro had touched his hair.

He sighed.

"Earth to Keith, are you listening?"

Keith blinked and turned his head.

"What is it? Oh, Lance!"

"Oh, Lance.," said boy repeated. "Come on, what have you done so far. It's nearly noon."

Keith shrugged and looked more closely at Lance, who stood there with his hands on his hips. His face showed a mixture of worry and joy. His blue eyes glanced down.

"Your phone is buzzing, you know?"

Keith jerked and got his phone out of his pocket. Indeed there was a new messages. It was from Shiro.


Shiro: You want to have lunch? At 12:30?


Keith replied while checking the clock above the door:

Keith: Sure! I'll come.


They had exchanged some texts the first two days of the weeks as well. Shiro had been worried about Keith's hangover.

"Sorry, Lance. I will have lunch now."

"You didn't do anything yet!" Lance lifted his eyebrows.

"Well." Keith shrugged. He looked at his sculpture and then back at Lance. "I'm hungry."

"Let me join, too."

Keith nodded. At least he wouldn't be left alone and had better chances to hide his excitement.

They left and headed towards the cafeteria, where Shiro already waited.

"Hey, Keith. Hi Lance!"

"Oh, hey man. Long time no see."

Shiro nodded and smiled while looking at Keith. "Shall we go inside?"

"Yes, sure."

They got their food and settled at a table close to the window. The weather had gotten windy and the trees were shaking quite a lot.

Lance talked about his previous lecture and Shiro listened while nodding once in a while. He threw short glances to Keith and winked at him, making Keith's cheeks turning pink.

"And when I went to the studio, Keith hadn't done anything. He just stood there, head in the clouds." Lance closed and made a grimace.

"Thinking is important." Keith said easily.

"What did you think about?" Shiro wanted to know.

Keith scratched the back of his head. "Oh well," he said quietly. "This and that."

"You need to work on your sculpture if you want to participate." Lance folded his arms in front of his chest.

"Participate? Where?" Shiro took a sip of his tea, lifting his eyebrows.

"Oh, well, I… I took your advice and went to the president. Yesterday. I asked about whether my work can be considered to be shown at the planned exhibition."

Keith had wanted to wait to tell this Shiro (and more importantly somewhere more private) but now Lance had revealed it. He waited for Shiro's reaction.

"That's great!" Shiro grinned. "What did he say?"

"He will think about it." Keith said, unable to hide his proudness.

"He will definitely allow it. He must see that you've got talent." Lance added.

"Thanks, Lance. That's… an unexpected compliment." Keith raised an eyebrow.

"Hey, now. I'm giving lots of compliments to everybody around me."

"Was the first I ever heard."

Lance went silent. He frowned and seemed to think very hardly about the assumed compliments he had said so far which might have been minunderstood.

"Great news, Keith," Shiro said, using the silence to find some more words. "I'm glad you went there. I'm sure he will consider your work."

"I hope so. But.. thank you for giving me the advice."

Shiro smiled. "No problem."

They finished lunch. Since Keith wanted to work on his sculpture (this time for real) and Shiro had training, they separated. Lance came along with Keith.

The day became longer as expected. But Keith managed to do quite a lot work on his sculpture. Lance had left the studio somewhere before dinnertime.

When Keith finally returned, he felt satisfied with the things he had achieved this week already and looked out for more to come.

Chapter Text

At Friday, Keith's last lecture was cancelled. He discussed with Lance and some others, who would participate in the exhibition, about their pieces to present. Keith hadn't gotten the final OK from the president yet but Lance just took him along. Keith was happy to have him as a friend who would just do something which was in general speaking right and where Keith alone would have hesitated.

After this meeting, Keith decided to use his additonal free time to go to the art supply store close to university. He needed new brushes, since his own were getting old and brittle, as well as a spatula for carving the clay.

Since it was still early he went to the nearby bookstore as well and searched for the new novel of his favourite author. He was just about to get around the corner of a shelf as he frontally walked into Shiro.

"Oh, I apologise, I..." Shiro made big eyes, as well as Keith. "What a conincidence, I just thought of sending you a text." He smiled. So did Keith.

"Good to see you. What are you doing here?"

"I was looking for another workbook for my education class." Shiro lifted a book he carried in his arms. "And you? Oh, let me guess." His grey eyes scooted down to the paperbag Keith carried. "You got new colours?"

"No, new brushes." Keith grinned. "And I was about to get a book as well."

Shiro nodded approvingly. "I know this author." He looked at the cover of the book Keith was holding. "Interesting concept. I haven't read this yet, can I borrow it once you've finished it?"

"Yes, sure." Keith replied, happy to exchange interests.

"Did you finish?"

Keith nodded.

They went to the check-out and paid their books. When they reached the door they stopped in the typical pause before saying goodbye.

Keith was nervous. Now that he knew how he felt about Shiro, he wasn't as relaxed as before this realisation anymore. He couldn't help it. Maybe Shiro wanted to go home as well. It was Friday and the week must've been long.

"Do you have any plans right now?" Shiro asked.

Keith was more than surprised. "No, I just was about to go home. My lecture was cancelled. But… What about your training?"

"Cancelled as well." Shiro laughed quietly. "The gym is occupied and the field was used by the hockey guys. We will extend our training tomorrow, but well. I'm free now." He shrugged. "Would you like a coffee?"

"Sure!" Keith smiled, relieved that Shiro wanted to spend some more time together.

Shiro guided the way and they ended up in a small shop somewhere inbetween the smaller roads on the other side of the street. They sat down at the red coloured wall, which was full of calligraphy scrolls. It was a cozy small corner and Keith was sure that Shiro did that on purpose so they could talk privately.

It made Keith's heart jump a bit. He sure fell deeper and deeper with any second they would spend together.

They ordered their drinks. Keith put his purchases under the table and smiled nervously. Shiro returned the smile while he put the tips of his fingers together, resting the arms on the table.

"How will your training look like tomorrow?" Keith asked. "Since it will be tougher you said."

"Yes, well," Shiro sighed quietly but his mouth still showed a smile. "We will start as usual but it will probably last until the afternoon. But we're enthusiastic enough." His laugh was rough.

"You sure it's not too much for one day?"

"I'm off on Sunday."

"That's not what I meant." Keith tilted his head. He was a bit worried. "When you have so much force and strength to demand from your body, will it be okay?"

Shiro looked at him earnestly before answering. "I think I'll be fine. Once in a while it's okay to have more training. And it's only one time." He shrugged. "No worries, Keith. Thank you for your concern."

The waiter came and brought their drinks. Keith blushed and hoped that the slim man in black and white, who put the mug of freshly brewed coffee in front of him, wouldn't notice the obvious.

After he was gone, he took a deep breath.

"When is the tournament?" He asked.

"It's in two weeks."

"That's…. close." Keith stated.

Shiro nodded. "It sure is. But It'll be fun. Not that there is any big price to get or something. Just for us, to see how our strength grew and can grow."

"Not any big price?" Keith raised an eyebrow. "A small one then?"

"The usual." Shiro laughed and lifted his cup of tea. "We can get some small medals."

"At least something," Keith noticed, which made Shiro chuckle in his deep hoarse voice.

When Keith opened a package of sugar and put it in his coffee, he felt Shiro's grey eyes observing him. Keith tried to act as if he wouldn't mind. Well… To be honest he didn't mind at all. He actually kind of liked it. Though it didn't ease his nervousness.

"Are you okay from Saturday?"

Keith lifted his head. "I'm fine. Well.." He gave a little smile. "I caused you some troubles, I'm sorry for that. I'm a lighthead. But I feel good now. I had some time to recover, Shiro."

"I know, I know." Shiro laughed. "But I wanted to check up on you. And no, don't be sorry. It was kind of fun to take you home. I didn't intend to listen to all your secrets though." Keith blushed even more at these words. "But I feel a bit honored that you thought I'm a person you can trust this too. Otherwise." Shiro held his spoon in a weird angle. "I'm not sure if it is only me or if I was just at the right time in the right spot." He lifted his eyebrows and looked askingly at Keith.

"Because it was you," Keith managed to answer, trying to ignore the cute look Shiro offered him.

"Then I'm honored." Shiro chuckled. "Now I know you're a real lighthead."

Keith sighed, but it was meant to himself not towards Shiro. "Yeah, I know. Coffee is always a good option. It keeps me awake."

With this words said, Keith remembered the last Saturday morning where Shiro had stood in his kitchen, brewd coffee while trying to make fried eggs but failed. He had also noticed this long and impressive looking scar on Shiro's muscular arm. Keith wasn't sure if it was okay to ask about it. But it kept him wondering about Shiro's condition and the tough training which was awaiting him the next morning.

"Shiro?" He asked, his voice quieter than before.

"What is it, Keith?"

"I'm… I don't want to sneak but I'm curious. On Saturday you… Well, actually Sunday, you were in my kitchen and… Well..." Keith shrugged. "You didn't wear much so I couldn't help but notice and.." Keith hesitated.

He looked up to Shiro and noticed that his words had sounded totally wrong. But he got so far already. And Shiro's eyes shimmered with curiousity.

"You have a scar on your arm and I wonder where it comes from. Maybe an old accident or something. Children experience it quite often I guess. You don't need to tell me anything if you don't like it. I mean.. I'm not trying to sneak into your privacy and all but since you have this training tomorrow I wonder if.."

"It's okay, Keith. I know you're worried." Shiro grabbed Keith's arm for a short moment and even stroke over it to underline his own words. Goosebumps ran over Keith's skin.

Shiro nodded to himself and went silent for some seconds. Keith didn't say anything, he wanted to wait until Shiro was ready to say whatever there was he wanted to say. He took a sip of his coffee and waited.

"I wanted to tell you at some point. Well, not many people know about it. But some notice when they see my ID and such things. Anyway." He smiled softly, his eyes seemed as if he was still a bit unsure. But Keith somehow knew that it wasn't directed onto him.

"I'm not just a third-year in university, which would make me one year older than you. I'm in total four years older, because I had an.. incident when I was younger." He took his cup between his hands and turned it around. "I had a disease in my arm, my hand. My muscles weren't working properly during my first year in university. It had actually started during middle school but I never cared about it. Maybe it could've been treated earlier back then. But I was just too immersed into running and didn't want to face the truth that I might have something which could affect my whole life if I wouldn't do something about it. Since I joined the track and field club and I really liked doing sports, I got immersed into it. The training intensified and it was tough on my body." Shiro touched his right underarm with the left hand. He frowned while stroking and massaging his bent arm.

"And one day I… I just collapsed. My muscles were damaged and I needed to take treatment. I left university for that and luckily my scholarship associates were okay with it. They gave me another chance to be here and study sports." He blinked and looked up. A soft pair of grey eyes met Keith's. "I had two operations during that time and they did quite a lot on my arm. That's where the scars come from. The disease is gone now. Well… Many great diseases are never gone for real and I did after-treatment for a very long time. But now I feel good and free. I'm fine."

"I see." Keith swallowed. It was a lot of information and he didn't know what to say at first. But he had Shiro's words in his mind which kept him at ease.

I'm fine.

"I'm glad," he said. "I'm glad you're okay." He smiled, relieved to know that everything was fine. It was a long story cut in a short time like a rollercoaster in ten seconds.

Shiro smiled appreciatingly before he said: "Patience yields focus, that's what my mother had taught me when I was a child and couldn't wait for... literally anything." Shiro chuckled. "At some point something will show you the way, just wait for it and have patience. And she was right. I needed to step away from university and my atheltic carrier for a while. But… It was worth it. I got my chance and got to meet so many people I'm glad I met them. I had to endure the patience."

"Nothing as easy for a child."

Shiro snickered. "Indeed. And neither for a young student who wants to see what he can do with his life."

Keith only nodded. Suddenly his coffee tasted vapid. He wasn't that much surprised about Shiro being actually some more years older then him. He had kind of expected it since he seemed more mature, more experienced in life and what it throws at people. As if he had been through tough things in his life already which had made him like he was today.

But hearing the truth about his disease and having the story explained behind the scars on his arm, it was a bit much for an afternoon.

"Are you okay, Keith?" Shiro watched him worried.

"Yeah, yes. I just didn't expect some story like this." Keith shrugged and tried his normal smile but failed. He glanced upwards to meet a worried pair of eyes. "I'm glad you can be an athlete." He hesitated. "But.. what if the disease comes back? You want to be an atlete, right?"

Shiro nodded slowly.

"Is there any risk in the future? Like… the disease might come back and your muscles... Are they okay with the conditions they are under now? I mean the condition overall and the tough training." Keith frowned. And then a sudden realisation hit him. "I see," he murmured slowly. "That's why you take another major. Just in case you..."

Shiro nodded and pressed his lips together. "Well, in general it's always better to have something else you can rely on when studying sports and going in the field of athletic as you major income. Though I had to admit that I don't really want to become a teacher. But the combination in university was easy and when I started with the club and even now, I still have all my hopes up. The education is my last straw. Being a teacher." Shiro gave a sad smile. "But yes, the initial thought was that. If my arm makes any troubles again in the future, I would at least be safe and have a job."

Keith nodded. He saw the desperation of Shiro to realise his dream under all the tough circumstances he had to experience so far. Now, it was his turn to grab Shiro's arm and put some pressure on it to reassure him.

"I'm glad you came so far," Keith said. "I'm happy that you made it and that the chance to become an athlete is still high, as I can say that."

Shiro glanced up to meet his eyes. "Thank you, Keith."

They went silent. They drank their coffee and tea and thought about the words between them.

"What about your scar?" Shiro asked.

"My sca… You saw it?" Keith made big eyes and his heart jumped towards his throat.

"Well yes, I undressed you while being drunk, remember?" Shiro chuckled. "You have one on your shoulder."

Keith nodded. "No big story, really. When I was smaller I was running and fell into a bunch of bicycles. My shoulder was scratched open and my cheek touched some metal wires."

Shiro squinted his eyes and leaned forward. He suddenly reached forward and touched Keith's cheek with a hand.

"Really, there is a plain scar. I never saw it before."

Keith was surprised by this sudden act. His heart protested even more.

"I was lucky and only was lightly scarred," he stuttered. "I only remember the terrified eyes of my mother and the white coats of the doctors. After that I tried to never scare my mother again. I want to keep here safe from all the things she had to suffer." He spoke seriously and Shiro nodded slowly. Shiro had lowered his hand again. He seemed as if he wanted to say or ask something but he didn't.

"I'm glad that you're safe as well," he said quietly instead.

"Thank you."

They smiled at each other.

They stayed in this small cafe until it was time to go home. Shiro had a tough training awaiting him the next day and Keith.. Keith decided that he needed some rest for his heart.

Chapter Text

Keith sighed.

It was 19:48pm, time to finally go home.

This Monday was one of the longest days he had had so far. He'd been working on his sculpture he wanted to present at the exhibition. Though he didn't know yet if he was allowed to present or not but at least he would be prepared. And if not, he was satisfied to have done a work like this. All his sweat, blood, and hard effort were put into this piece and he was curious how others (especially Shiro) would react when seeing it.

Keith put away his utensiles and cleaned the table and ground around, since some pieces of clay always stick to the ground somewhere. He was in high spirtis. His work took a nice form and at this moment he was sure that his sculpture would be considered to participate. It just had to. He finally felt some self conscious when thinking about showing his work to others and it made him smile wide. Keith even hummed a song he had listened to on his phone while he was working.

Finally everything looked clean enough for the next day. His bag was packed. He took the broom and wanted to return it in the corner to the others, when he threw a glance out of the window.

It was still a bit dark outside. Since it was getting summer, the evenings would become steadily longer than during springtime. The fields were empty now, nobody could be seen. Every student was at home or at least in the library. Keith had borrowed a key for the studio which was only allowed for grad students but Keith somehow had made it.

He was just about to turn around as his eyes noticed two people close to the entrance of the athletic grounds. The club had finished at 7pm, Keith had seen the members leaving. He hadn't mind it much but now he wondered would still be there. Showering and changing take time but that long?

He leaned a bit forward. The two came closer. One of them closed the fence of the field while the other seemed to talk to him, moving their arms vaguely. They walked some meters and stopped.

And now Keith saw who it was.

The bigger one was Shiro. He had a sweatshirt around his shoulders and his bag by his side. The other person was unknown to Keith. It wasn't Matt. He was tall, but not taller than Shiro. He looked good in a way, but he wasn't Keith's type.

First, Keith thought they were arguing but now it looked more like… flirting? Shiro even smiled and nodded. Keith had never seen such a smile on his face before. He got instanteously jealous.

Keith hold his breath while watching the two of them.

They seemed to be close. The unknown man touched Shiro once in a while and then they even hugged. But not a short hug as friends sometimes do. They stood there for a while.

Keith's mouth went dry, his heart stopped beating and his brain felt soft.

Who was this person? What was going on? Shiro had a… boyfriend?

Keith shook his head. He squeezed his eyes and looked again.

They were still hugging.

A hot feeling ran through his body, but not the good kind. Tears shot into the corner of his eyes.

He just wanted to run. Run and cry and shout.

But Keith only bit his lips and supressed the tears. Instead, he grabbed his bag, locked the door with trembling fingers, and ran to his bike.


*~*~*~*


While trying to hold everything in, he made his way home. Luckily the traffic was calm, otherwise he would have created an accident. But he had no time to think about this.

What was he he had witnessed?

Shiro. And another guy. A student?

Who was he to hug the track member so close?

And if he was this close, how come Shiro never mentioned him? Shiro knew that Keith was gay, so why the secret?

It was already past 8pm when he arrived home. His legs felt strange, as if they were made of rubber, he wobbled upstairs and it took all his strength left in his arm to open the door.

He didn't care anymore. He was home, he made it. Here, he was safe.

Keith slid down next to the door, his head falling against the wall. The light switch was too far away, so he sat in darkness.

Tears dropped down his face, slowly but steadily. He couldn't explain his thoughts in words. His heart, his head, his everything was a mess. A black strom pressed down his reasons and mixing his emotions as if they were ingredients for a cake.

The door opened.

"Hey, Keith. I'm sorry, I'm late. I've been to the new supermarket around the corner and you won't believe how cheap those mushrooms were. We gonna have..."

Silence.

Keith noticed from the corner of his eyes that Hunk had slid out of his shoes and stood now in front if him.

"Oh my god, Keith! What are you doing here?" His friend kneeled down and grabbed his shoulder. "Oh, Keith, you're crying. What's wrong?" His gentle expression showed worry and sadness. "Are you hurt? Anywhere? Somewhere? Tell me, Keith, what' wrong? Do I need band air or something? Medicine? Pain killer?" He touched Keith's legs and arm as if he wanted to check for broken bones. He even leaned forward to check his forehead for fever.

"I'm not ill, Hunk, I'm fine." Keith managed to say, his lips didn't feel like his own. He wiped his face, his hand felt still weak, and trembled.

"Of course, that's why you're crying, Keith." Hunk's voice was full of sarcasm and worry. "Can you get up?"

Keith nodded, though he had no motivation to move at all. It was Hunk who pulled him up and guided him to the couch. He even removed Keith's shoes. The next thing he recognised was a warm cup pressed between his hands. He looked down. It was tea.

Hunk sat next to him and patted his knee.

"You wanna tell me?" His voice was soft and gentle.

Keith hesitated. But he could trust Hunk. And at least he was getting the words out so that they wouldn't be stuck in him. He didn't feel like himself anymore. So he didn't really care anymore.

With a broken voice he explained what he had seen. And he also mentioned that Shiro had become an important person of his, to make his explanation a bit more reasonable. He didn't mind Hunk knowing about this part of his life, or any other part in general. Though sometimes it was difficult to tell things straight forward.

"At least," Keith ended, his voice even more hoarse than before. "I know that he might like guys in this way. You know, it's good to know the facts. I never saw him hugging anyone, so he is okay with touching this way." Keith already felt better. Though it didn't change the fact what he had witnessed.

Hunk hesitated. "Aaaaand," he said long drawn-out. "That is good because...?" He frowned. Keith noticed that he had never told him this one important thing which was needed to understand everything to the fullest.

"Oh Hunk, I'm sorry," he said. "I should've told you like… many years ago. It's not that I don't trust you with this. It's just." He shrugged. "I never had the right occasion to tell. But anyway. I'm gay." He looked at Hunk, curiosity and fear filled his thoughts. How would Hunk react to this revelation?

Hunk seemed to be surprised. But he didn't seem offended.

"I see," he said. "I always thought you just… need to get closer to a person to trust them. And to be close in… that way, you know?" He shrugged. "It took years for you to tell me about your father."

"That's different." Keith tried to defend himself.

"Not that much. I know you since so many years but you just told me this fact about you now. I still consider us childhood friends, even though we didn't start like that right away. But who does that? Other people would have called us just friends but I say we're childhood friends. And we're pretty close as well and.."

"Hunk, Hunk, wait." Keith grabbed the arm of his best friend, breaking his rambles. "You're.. not against it? You're okay with it?"

Hunk looked at him and smiled. "Yeah, sure. Why should this be a problem? And anyway, I'm not really afraid since I'm not your target right now, right?"

Keith blushed. "Seems so," he mumbled.

"And now where I think about it, so many things make sense now."

"Like what?" Keith raised an eyebrow.

"You only had one girlfriend."

"That's not giving any clue. Many people only have one girlfriend." He curled his lips.

"True. But you broke up real quickly and you seemed confused after it. And also," Hunk pulled a second finger to count. "You were always drawn to choose someone where typical boys, as I might say it now, would prefer the female ones."

"Still." Keith crossed his arms in front of his chest. Hunk's way had made him stop crying, but he didn't feel good at all. Though it was relaxing to have Hunk next to him, all cards he had revealed in the open. Well, nearly all.

"And oh! I understand why you went after our PE teacher for some time. He surely was good looking. For a 35 year old sensei of course."

Keith flinched. He boxed his friend in the side. "Oh not that story! I told Shiro about it when I was drunk too."

Hunk laughed. "That's why he seemed relaxed, huh. You let him into your sphere, behind your fence."

Keith looked at him askingly.

"You know, his aura seemed calm, when you two came back that night. As if he would just had heard some good news. Something like that."

"I still don't get it."

"It's hard to explain." Hunk smiled. "So, Keith. You're better now?"

"Not really." Keith took a sip of the tea and sighed. "Thanks for the tea. It's good."

"I'm happy to know that."

They sat besides each other, waiting for words.

"What do you want to do now?" Hunk asked.

Keith let his shoulders drop and sighed. "I don't know. I don't want to ask him directly. I really want to know who he was and what this all was about."

"Understandable. Why not just ask?"

"Because I..!" Keith felt silent. "I don't know. I just… I can't, Hunk. I'm not like this."

"Maybe you just need to think about this all."

"Yes. Maybe."

"But be sure, if there is anything I can help you with, I will do so."

Keith looked up and saw a big cheerful smile just below a pair of warm brown eyes.

"Thank you, Hunk, I appre… wah!"

Hunk had pulled Keith into a tight hug. Keith really needed to chuckle and responded by looping his free arm around Hunk's broad shoulder.

"Just think this through. I know you'll find a way to express yourself."

Keith nodded, his exhausted face burried in Hunk's warm body. He closed his eyes and for a short moment, he felt relaxed and safe.

Chapter Text

The weekend passed by quickly and in a daze. Keith had mostly laid on his bed and had tried to focus on the new book he had bought or some movies he'd watched with Hunk. But his mind was mostly blank. And if he dared to think he just thought about endless dark streams and desperateness.

It was hard to get up on Monday, but luckily he had lectures to keep him distracted. A hard part was working on his sculpture. His model was quite motivating so he had wanted to do it, but now there were much more feelings going into this piece as he had known beforehand.

Hunk came by after Keith had finished for the day to pick him up and they went home together.

During this Monday, the next day and Wednesday, Keith didn't see Shiro at all. He wondered why. Though he had to admit that he locked himself in his studio or went to lectures most of the time. He brought his lunch form home or bought it on the way in a konbini. There was no need to go to the cafeteria, no need to meet Shiro at all.

On Tuesday he got a message but he just wiped it from his phone screen and ignored it. He just.. wanted to think about it.

What should he do? How should he react?

It was Thursday already and Keith got a note that the president hat allowed his piece for the exhibition.

It had taken quite long to consider his work. But Keith was only able to give detailled sketches of his work he wanted to show since he was still working on it. Maybe that was the reason why it had taken so long.

There was a small part of Keith which became happy. The allover anxiety and fear to face Shiro at some point again, had grown quite big over the last five days. He had planned to tell those news first to Shiro, since he had convinced him to participate. But now…

Keith's mind was confused and he still had no idea what to do, fearing the answer. And it surprised him that he felt like that. Was he reacting too much? Reading too much into it?

Keith just imerged himself into his work. He wanted to finish his sculpture and took every free minute there was until dawn came upon the sky. As soon as the sun set, Keith packed his bag and left.

The memory of the hugging men was still in his mind, and Keith was strangely fearing to face it again if he stayed too long in university. Neither mentally memory nor any physical reminder. Maybe the second man was a student?

Keith knew that it wasn't right what he did. He ignored all of Shiro's texts and calls. But it wasn't wrong either. That was at least what his mind told him. The whole situation was difficult.

He went to the last steps of finishing his sculpture but everything felt weird. When he had the final piece in front of him, he was sure that even though he would like to change minor things, he couldn't. He wouldn't. It was done. The thing, whatever it was, was given a form.

Keith nodded slowly.

Just some more distance, he thought for himself. Just some more time to concentrate and think. All his emotions, all his joy about this participation felt dull and hoarse.

There should be a way out of this.

*~*~*~*


Once a while during this week or the next he saw Shiro at university. The messages were less than before but sometimes Hunk or Lance tried to ask him whether he wanted to talk to Shiro again at some point. Keith assumed that Shiro had asked them to ask him, Keith.

After several times Keith told Hunk to let him know that he was working on an important piece and wanted to concentrate on it.

He saw in Hunk's eyes that he was a bit unwell with this lie. But so was Keith and he felt guilty betraying his best friend as well as Shiro, and himself.

The mentioned tournament came closer as well and with each passing day, the messages grew fewer until they stopped eventually. Maybe Shiro had lost interest already. Keith's mind tried to trick him. Of course Shiro would be busy with his tough training.

He just couldn't help feeling more lost than before. All he wanted was enough courage to go to Shiro, face him, and ask about thiy guy he had seen him with.

But after finishing the sculpture, all strength had left Keith and he felt empty again.

He was clueless. He didn't know what to do anymore.

Chapter Text

Shiro had no idea what had happened. When they had parted after going to the small cafe he had felt warm and happy. Everything had been well. They had talked about some heavy stuff about their pasts but they had laughed together.

He knew that he could trust Keith and he felt that Keith could talk to him freely as well. That was how it should be. He was really fond of Keith.

When Keith smiled, Shiro felt his heart throbbing. When he laughed, his ears felt painfully good. His blood was rushing through his veins and Shiro just wanted to stand up and hug Keith to his heart contents.

He knew that he was falling for him. Already too deep. It was too late.

Though he wasn't sure about Keith's feelings and he didn't want to destroy this friendship they had created. He wanted to be sure and wait until Keith felt the same way and show it somehow.

But now something had changed and he didn't know what it was. Did he do something? Did Keith do something? Did he experience any incidents? Was he in a conflict with someone? Did he, Shiro, say something wrong?

"How long do you want to lay there and block the couch?"

Shiro blinked and looked up to Matt. Indeed, he had laid on the couch for a while now. He looked at the phone which rested on his stomach.

It was 8:30. PM!

"Sorry," he mumbled.

"Still no message?"

Shiro shook his head, a long sigh elicited from his mouth. He pulled his legs to himself, making space for his friend.

Matt sat down next to him and patted his shoulder. "He will respond in some way," he said.

"You sure?"

"Sure! Or did you do something?"

Shiro shook his head but then he decided to shrug his shoulders as well. "No idea," he said thoughtfully. "We had a drink at this cafe, I left, I went home, we sent messages like always. And then, one day, he stopped replying. I didn't do anything, I swear!" He grabbed his head with both of his hands and sighed even deeper than before.

"What did I do, Matt? What happened?"

"I don't know, man, but you should hurry and find it out."

"How do I do this?" Every word Shiro sounded dull.

"I'm not good with those kind of things. Maybe you should just go to him and ask?"

Shiro looked at him. "What if this is something he doesn't want?"

"That's what you will find out by doing." Matt raised an eyebrow.

Shiro shook his head. "No," he said quietly. "I don't want to put pressure on him. He doesn't need to rush if he doesn't want to."

"Maybe he needs help as well? Maybe both of you need to do something small and that's where the solution is." Matt nodded, as if he just had made the best idea of the day. He grabbed the remote control and switched on the TV.

Shiro leaned back and watched the screen, though he had no idea what he was actually watching. He saw Keith's face in front of him, a shy smile and glittering eyes, soft hands and a strong back with a pale scar on it, looking reddish in the moonlight.


*~*~*~*


There was no word from Keith for the week after they had met in the bookshop and the next. Shiro had to concentrate on his tough menue for the tournament where other schools would paticipate as well. He checked his phone every day but no new messages he wanted to have were sent. He felt desperate but he looked forward. After his tournament, he said to himself. When he would be free, he'll face Keith and then he wanted to know what he had done. Because surely it must be his mistake, right?

Chapter Text

It was Saturday morning, the day of the tournament.

Keith opened his eyes and sighed. He couldn't move. Not yet.

It was the day of the tournament where most of universities athletes would participate in.

Shiro would be already up, maybe on his way to university, doing warm-ups and muscle training. Maybe he ran around the field some times and then they'd have the meeting with the captain, hearing some encouraging words and shouts. And then, they would start. Getting numbers and getting in line and…

Keith could imagine this perfectly. He had been to the track and field club several times after he was allowed to watch them. There were so many sketches gathered already.

But he would see Shiro, on purpose. And what if he came to ask him why he had ignored his texts? He couldn't just say because he was busy with his sculpture. Well, he was busy, but not busy enough to ignore his phone for nearly two weeks.

As much as he wanted to ask Shiro what this all was about, he just wanted to stay in bed the whole day and ignore this tournament day and his promise to come and watch him running.

He wasn't sure if he could accept the truth that Shiro might have a boyfriend already (which wasn't him). But he wanted Shiro to be happy. He deserved to be happy with the person he loved. And if it wasn't Keith then…

Keith frowned. He knew that he was the better choice. And he dared thinking that. He felt guilty but it felt right.

One thing was clear. He loved Shiro and he wanted to tell him at some point. But first, there was this thing which he wanted to clarify. And in any case, he wanted to know who this guy was.

He sat up and as fast as he could, he got into a clean pair of pants and a shirt.

"Hunk!," he shouted. "Let's go to university!"


*~*~*~*


"It's Saturday, Keith."

"Come in, it's already 10:30, we're nearly there. Don't complain."

"You hurry too much, Keith." Hunk's voice was broken. They came by bike and were already sweating. "Why did you drag me out on a Saturday? Saturday! Morning! I was supposed to have the best dreams ever after a tough week of uni work."

"I know Hunk, I will let you sleep tomorrow." Keith must smile about this. The first smile in two weeks he had to admit.

"Naturally."

Keith turned around to see a red faced Hunk trying to catch up with his pace.

"We're nearly there, see? There's the cafeteria."

Hunk just nodded, no more breath for talking left.

They locked their bikes and went directly to the athletic ground. Keith was happy that Hunk was accompanying him. He wouldn't have dared to come all alone. Now he felt at least at ease to have someone beside him he could trust and who would help him.

There were a lot of people on the grounds. The ranks were full of students, family members, friends and other school's participants. Some were walking around selling pretzels, sweets, and drinks. There was a long jump tournament going into the final round, as Keith could see. He winked Hunk and together they found empty seats at the upper ranks.

Keith was excited. His heart was racing as if it was about to participate in the next race.

"When is his race?" Hunk asked. He had bought two bottles of water and handed Keith one of them.

"Thanks. It's at 11."

"That's soon."

Keith nodded. He was looking over the whole field. There were a few referees here and there, different jerseys showed the association to different schools. Keith noticed early the bright green and brown with the Lion in the middle of the their own university.

Many tracks were marked, starting positions indicated with white numbers. The long jump came to an end, the last jumper had just landed and the volunteer students were about to pull the measure to write down the distance.

Keith had to admit that he was fascinated by all the movements. He regretted to not have taken his sketchbook with him.

There were some anouncements made and it seems that the neighbouring city had gotten the first price in this discipline. Next was the short distance sprint. The runners for 100m got ready and went to the starting positions. Two rounds were to be done, in total 16 runners.

Keith and Hunked watched the different schools running against each other. Keith couldn't concentrate and didn't notice who won or not.

Next was 200m. Shiro's discipline.

He slid a bit to the front of his seat and was looking thoroughly. And there, finally, he saw him.

Shiro just put his sweatshirt back to the bench of his university. He seemed calm but his movements were ragged, as if he was nervous. He walked up and down. An older man in jersey, maybe his trainer, tried talking to him but he smiled shortly and said something which seemed to finish the talk fast. He did some warm-ups and bended his leg muscles some more.

A call sounded and the group of runners moved slowly to the starting positions. Shiro seemed uneasy. He felt his shoelaces once more and ruffld through his hair.

And then, sunddenly, he stopped and turned his ehad around. As if he had heard a sound or something from the ranks.

It was then when his and Keith's eyes met.

Keith froze. Hey stared at each other, unable to make a move, a smile or a wink.

A whistle sounded and the runners had to proceed to the marks. They got into the halfy squat position and Keith stood up when the bang resounded over the whole place.

Shiro ran. And Keith watched all of his movements with his eyes.

He watched every movement, everything Shiro's body was doing to reach the front line, as if Keith tried to captures each moment to visualise it later on paper. Every muscle was tense, Shiro's face strongwilled and his arms a bit stiff, moving together with the rest of him. The whole power and force behind this action was beautiful, yet extremely fast and sudden.

An idea popped up in Keith's mind. He swallowed.

He wanted to make a sculpture. Of exactly this one moment.

He watched Shiro until he reached the finish line.

Chapter Text

Shiro was nervous. He couldn't move as he wanted to. He couldn't speak. His mind was filled with the race he was about to run and the dark doubts he had moved to the back of his head.

He needed to concentrate. If there only was one thing he could focus on.

Stay focused, he reminded himself. Come on, Shiro, you can do this. You did this so often already.

He got out of his sweatshirt and laid it on the bench his team shared.

"Are you all warmed up?" His manager, Iverson, approached him.

"Yeah, sure," Shiro said. He didn't want to ignore Iverson, but his thoughts were somewhere else and nowhere. He tried to distract himself with some streches and moved his legs and arms.

And then he walked towards the starting line as they were called.

Suddenly he felt observed. Yet with a soft touch to it. If this was even possible.

It surely was confusing.

He turned around and watched the many people of the ranks. Of course, some people watched them now since they were about to start their race. But this feeling of being watched with a soft hue felt different.

And then he saw Keith staring at him.

He was so relieved that he had come to watch his race. Shiro would smile if his face muscles would remember this movement.

His heart felt at ease all of a sudden. His blood pressure lowered again and calmness filled his mind, giving his thoughts time to recover. He felt stronger than before, ready to run this. For Keith.

He got ready and into starting position.

Not that he wasn't confused anymore about the silence Keith had kept. But he would take this in his hand later.

He bent his legs and touched the ground slightly with his fingertips.

The bang reverberated over the grounds.

He ran.

Shiro ran and ran and fastened his pace until his body was fully erected.

He was full of warm tension which gave him strength. His body was moving as it should, his arms in position, his legs full of strength and power. He saw the track in front of him, he ran the curve and saw the closing line.

He ran and ran and ran and then, finally, he made it.


*~*~*~*


Shiro caught his breath and turned around. He saw many faces at once, looking at him and the runners next to him. Everybody was heavily breathing. Some tried to stabilise themselves on their knees or laid down on the ground. Shiro was still on his feet which felt like a mixture of pudding and steel.

Many people looked at him. He felt their eyes on him.

And a funny thought came up in his mind.

Did he win?

There were names shouted into the microphone and Shiro heard his own. He was placed second. He smiled bright and happy.

Now, he would be able to face Keith.

Chapter Text

Keith was still standing, even though the runners were walking back to their benches and changed clothes already.

Some of the viewer were leaving or moving to the next site. Keith didn't care. His eyes followed every movement Shiro did.

There had been so much strength and power in his race. As if his muscles had turned into a human engine, hot blood running through the vessels, filling the tank with energy and pure force.

But there was something else. Another feeling which had made Shiro run this race with such an outcome. The Shiro before the race had been someone totally different from the Shiro after it and it seemed that only Keith had noticed it.

Keith bit his lip.

Suddenly he felt a tuck on his sleeve.

"You're already standing for a while, Keith. You wanna sit down?" Hunk asked.

"Yeah, sure," Keith mumbled, but didn't move at all.

Some more minutes passed by where the last race was run, concluding the final competitions. The main speaker announced that the medals would be distributed soon.

"Keith, you're blocking other people. Come, sit down."

Hunk pulled at his arm once more and finally Keith sat down next to him.

Keith couldn't calm down. His eyes followed Shiro who was talking to his captain and then some other people Keith didn't know. He drank something, nodded and walked a bit to cool down his legs. His sweatshirt was thrown over his shoulders, keeping him warm.

It took a while until the stage was set and even a bit decorated. The university's president came up first, talking about the tournament itself, which was held every year to compete between schools to create a friendly connection between them. His speech was quite long and Keith got impatient, starting to tap his feet. He heard a small sigh from Hunk but his friend didn't say anything.

The different managers, captains, and organisers were honored for their hard work and effort they had put into creating such an outstanding festival which had developed over the years. And when Keith couldn't stand their talking anymore, they finally, finally, started to announce the different categories.

Since Shiro's race had been the second last, it took quite a while for his group to be named. When the winners of the races were given their medals, the end of the ceremony got to it's end, and Keith and Hunk applauded respectfully for all the winners and participants.

Keith couldn't hold back his nervousness and stand up while clapping his hands. Though he wasn't the only one who did this which made Hunk mumble something in relief.

Keith stil had his eyes on Shiro, who smiled together with the other two who had gotten the first and third rank in his category. Shiro grabbed his medal he had around his neck and looked into the crowd to find Keith's eyes once more. Now, he smiled brightly and wide and Keith couldn't help but respond to that in the same way, his heart feeling lighter as during the past two weeks of isolation.

In the end, the tournament was officially closed, the crowds became quiet and the spectator gathered in small groups to congratulate their family members or friends.

Keith and Hunk waited until the hustle and bustle calmed down and they could walk comfortably down the ranks, which got more and more empty.

Keith's knees felt soft as he approached the grounds very slowly. He didn't really dare but he had to go. There were some unspoken words he had noticed in Shiro's running and he wanted to hear them. And Hunk accompanied him. He greeted some peole from university he knew but Keith ignored everyone.

Everyone but Shiro.

The athlete had finished his drink and was about to throw his bottle in a container. But he seemed to have noticed someone approaching and lifted his head only to meet Keith's gaze again.

The wide smile Shiro had worn during the ceremony returned to his lips, though much softer and with focus. And without a word, without any warning, he hurried towards Keith and hugged him tightly.

Keith was so surprised that he didn't move at all. Shiro was at least half a head taller than him and his arms seemed to be made of muscles and warm protecting skin. Keith had never felt so safe in someones arms. (Except in his mothers, but that was another thing of course.)

Shiro let go of him and smiled apologisingly.

"I'm sorry, I did it without asking. And.." He looked down at himself. "I might be a bit sweaty." He scratched his head while the other hand still had a firm grip on Keith's shoulder.

"It's okay," Keith managed to say. He looked up to Shiro and couldn't help but smile. "I'm… I'm sorry as well, uhm, I.."

"No, no, Keith! I'm sorry! I was so happy today that you came to see my race!" Shiro rambled all of a sudden, raising his voice. "And, ugh.. I should get a towel for real, uhm..."

Shiro was about to let go but Keith didn't let him. He grabbed for Shiro's shirt, which was indeed a bit damped, but he didn't mind it at all. He wouldn't let him go now, where he was literally in his hands already. He had waited too long for this.

"Keith?" Shiro sounded confused, but not unhappy.

"I'm sorry," Keith said again. "I didn't want to… I was just… my head was thinking on his own and I didn't know what it was all about and I.."

"No, Keith. I did something wrong for sure. Well… I honestly still don't quite know what it was which made you ignore me, but..."

Keith blushed. A painful sting shot through his heart as he listened to Shiro's words.

"I didn't want to ignore you, Shiro." Keith mumbled. He felt warmth running through his veins as he said Shiro's name aloud. "I should be sorry since I may have wanted something from you you couldn't give me. I'm okay if you have… other people you like. I'm fine with it."

"You don't look fine."

Keith looked up and saw in a pair of worried grey eyes. He shrugged.

"I will try to be," he said defiantly.

Shiro snickered. "I hope to be of any help." He waited some seconds. "I'm so sorry if I did something which caused you to be somewhere else but not within my reach. Maybe I distracted you from work or you couldn't work on your assignments or another wonderful piece and… if that's the case I truly apologise. I didn't want to..."

"It's okay, Shiro. It's... something else. And I want to ask you about this but maybe," Keith looked around. "Not here."

Shiro nodded, his face serious. "Sure."

"Uhm, guys," Hunk said. Keith suddenly remembered that he had been there all the time. "I will be going home and… get some sleep or food or something. Can I entrust you with him?"

Keith was about to answer but Shiro nodded already and he noticed that Hunk had directed that question towards Shiro. Keith blushed again, embarassed about that.

"I will come later, Hunk." He gave his best friend a small smile which was filled with unspoken words of thanks. But Hunk was his childhood friend and would always understand those.

Hunk nodded, patted his friend on his shoulder and left, leaving a nervous Keith behind.

Once he was out of sight, Shiro looked back at Keith.

"Should we have a cup of coffee and… sit down somewhere?"

"Sure." Keith smiled. Now was the time to fix this.

Chapter Text

Keith was sitting on a bench. Most of the people had left already, there were only some left to clean up the grounds, dismantled the stage and the things which were needed for the tournament.

But the bench was in a quite corner, next to the changing rooms where Shiro had went inside to take a shower and change.

Keith was nervous and his leg trembled a bit. He thought through all the possibile word combination there were with which he could talk to Shiro. As he knew himself he would totally ignore his preparation and talk either gibberish (at least that's what it sounds like for himself) or nothing.

He sighed, pulled his legs up so he could stick his head beneath his knees.

He hadn't expected to sit here when he had laid in bed in the morning and panicked about today. But he was happy to be able and finally talk to Shiro. Now was his chance. He wanted to ask him about the other person, about this weird guy who had hugged Shiro so wholeheartedly.

And however the answer was, he must accept it. That was the hardest part. Keith tried to prepare himself to be rejected before he could even try. Not that it was out of option really. But… Should he try?

He bit his lower lip.

Maybe… later? He had just settled for himself, as Shiro returned.

"I'm done, Keith. Thanks for wai… Are you okay?"

"Yeah." Keith lifted his head and smiled drowsily. He shook his head. "I'm fine."

Shiro raised an eyebrow but nodded slowly. He didn't seem to believe the answer. Neither was Keith.

Shiro had changed into black pants and a sweatshirt. His bag hung over his shoulder.

"Wanna go?"

Keith nodded. He stood up. Together they left the athletic grounds and went to the nearby cafe where they had been before already. Instead of sitting inside they decided to get something to drink and walk to the park close to university.

With a hot tea and coffee, they made their way through the empty paths and found a bench where they settled down. They were silent at first, both of them blowing their drinks to cool them down. The weather was nice and some birds sang their songs while jumping over the green areas.

Keith's nervousness was unbearable. He tried to break the ice, cleared his voice and looked at Shiro from the side.

"Congratulations," he said quietly.

Shiro seemed relieved that he was saying something, anything. He smiled fondly. "Thank you."

"Can you show me the medal?"

"Sure." Shiro opened his bag and fetched the silver round plaque.

Keith read the inscription – number of tournament, date and category – and nodded. "It's nice," he said. "I'm happy that you could win a medal."

"Just before the race I was sure that I was in a bad condition." Shiro took the medal back and held it in his hand to muster it. "It was because of you that I was able to maintain myself." He looked up.

Keith was confused.

"Why?" he asked.

"Because you were there. You came, even though I thought that something serious had happened. Between us that is. But you came nevertheless and watched me. And.. I felt rushed into motivation. Maybe it was adrenaline, I don't know. I should know actually, but well." He shrugged. "I was just so happy to see you that my body responded with a lot of energy. And I ran that race and ended in second place. Only because of you."

Keith didn't know what to say. But it made him happy that Shiro said all this and that they could finally talk with each other again. He wouldn't dare saying it but he'd missed him.

"You're welcome," he decided to say.

Shiro chuckled.

And suddenly Keith had the urge to talk about so many things which had happened in the past two weeks. He talked about his preparations, his lectures, his sculpture, the exhibition and Lance and Hunk and everything else, which had been on his mind he wanted to share.

There wasn't much which had happenend but Keith had gotten so used to tell Shiro about things in his life, that it felt like months since he was last talking about. And Shiro seemed to be the same.

He explained his menue, the tough training, the idea of his captain for the other teams and the words of the manager. The setup and organisation, his lectures, a small exam and at last his worries because he thought something had happened to Keith. He had asked Hunk once, when they were at university, and that's how he knew that Keith was fine. At least his body condition was good.

"I'm sorry." Keith said.

"It's okay."

They fell silent, embarassed to talk about this certain topic they were circling all this time.

Keith took a sip of his coffee.

"When will the gallery open?" Shiro wanted to know.

"Next Wednesday until Sunday."

"I will come!" Shiro nearly yelled.

Keith made big eyes and looked surprised at Shiro.

"Yes?"

"Of course!" Shiro smiled. "I look forward seeing your piece in spotlight."

"Oh, uhm.. Thank you." Keith tilted his head, his nails tried to peel down some paper from his paper cup. "It starts in the middle of the week so it will be less crowded at first."

"Sure. I will come on Wednesday then."

Keith nodded, happy and excited about this. Then his thoughts were going back to the reason why they were here now. "Shiro, about this thing. I didn't answer your messages, I'm sorry."

"It's okay, Keith. But… why did you do that? What happened?" There was so much concern in his voice that Keith couldn't help but feel sad. He looked up and into Shiro's eyes.

And then he just spilled out everything.

"One day, it was a Monday after we met in the bookstore, and I was late at university and cleaned the studio and then I saw you with another man and you hugged and I thought that he was your boyfriend since you looked so close and I don't know, I just didn't want to accept it and was sulking and sad and depressed and confused but now I think that you deserve to be happy and if you have someone you love then it's fine, I will be able to live with it." Keith took a deep breath.

"Wow," Shiro said. "That… sounded like a confession."

Keith turned his head abruptly. "Well, no, but, well..."

Shiro touched his shoulder. "It's okay, Keith. But first of all, I don't have a boyfriend. Neither a girlfriend, if that is the next thought you would have. Let me think about this Monday you mentioned." He frowned.

Keith only listened to half of his words.

I don't have a boyfriend, he had said. Relief was released as if a dam of water was breaking and the warm flood rushed through Keith's heart. He couldn't help but smile.

"Monday," Shiro mumbled, his eyes showing that he was trying to focus hard on this.

It seemed to be something which wasn't that important, otherwise he would remember this right away. Keith was still nervous but now it was more excitement to understand the reason behind all this giant misunderstanding. Well, and his jealousy.

"Ah!" Shiro punched his legs with his fist. "I know," he said. "It was my cousin. He had visited me two weeks ago. It was a surprise and he wanted to come along to university and watch the club. He used to be a runner as well so he was interested in our routine."

"Your cousin?" Keith frowned.

"Yes, his name's Masami. He's not directly related, more like the son of the cousin of my father. But we were always relatively close. He wanted to tell me that he will marry in autumn and I congratulated him." Shiro nodded and looked at Keith.

"But," Keith said. He wanted to be 100% sure about this. "It looked like you were… flirting with each other. And you seemed so close and all."

"Well." Shiro tilted his head. He hesitated. "Were you jealous?" A smile was on his lips but since Keith didn't reply nor responded to that smile, he became serious once more. He cleared his voice and said: "He.. Masami had a crush on me when we were younger. He is bi, you know, and we were teenager and everything must have been confusing for him. So yeah.. But I never felt that way in his direction. We're family and we were close. He was a good friend I still can rely on. It was tough for him to accept this but he is happy now." He smiled. "Even though we don't see each other often anymore. And.. I had to admit that for some time I felt uncomfortable to be with him. I didn't want to make him feel bad. He liked me, he couldn't help it, but I didn't want to make it worse for him. Now, he's settled. And we're fine with each other."

"I see," Keith said quietly. "I understand what it all was. And I'm..." He sighed deeply and dropped his head. "I'm so sorry that I ignored you for that. I should've asked you first. But I was so confused and ahhh!"

Shiro chuckled. "I know, Keith. But it's only been two weeks, nothing to declare to the devil."

"What?" Keith laughed.

Shiro shrugged, grinning.

Keith felt light. As if a heavy weight was taken from his shoulders.

"So you did ignore me," Shiro stated, but it was a question.

Keith blushed. "I'm sorry. You know that I'mI'm gay so that's why it was something totally different to me."

Shiro watched him as if he just realised that he was there. But then his thoughts seemed to recollect and he nodded. "Sorry, Keith. I should've told you before. I apologise that I didn't consider this."

"Well, you didn't know that I saw you by chance, right?"

"True, But still. I'm sorry. Could've told you that my cousin was coming."

"Alright, enough already with apologising. I can't hear that anymore." Keith said. He drank up his coffee and looked at Shiro. "Right?"

"Absolutely." Shiro grinned.

"I'm relieved. Can we go back to where we left before this happened?"

"I would be glad to do that."

They looked at each other, both of them smiling fondly.

"I've got another idea. I had it while watching you running that race." Keith didn't know if now was the right time to ask but it was now or never, that's how he felt at least.

"What is it?" Shiro's eyes were curiously.

"I… Well, I… I want to make a sculpture. Of you."

"Of me!?" Shiro blushed slightly.

Keith nodded seriously. "Yes, in a running position. I already have it all imagined. I just want you to model for me."

Shiro stared at him for a long time, the cheeks still pink.

Keith waited nervously and excited.

"Alright," Shiro said. "I'm in."

Keith was surprised yet incredible happy. "Thanks. I know it's gonna be a good piece."

"I know it will. I trust you." Shiro winked and gave Keith a wide smile.

Chapter Text

Keith had never been earlier awake than this Wednesday. He woke up already excited and had to calm down his fast beating heart in some way. So he sat one hour at his desk doing sketches of what was in his mind until he heard Hunk waking up.

They had breakfast together and before Hunk finally left for his lectures, he wished his best friend good luck.

Keith nodded. It felt like something was stuck in his throat. A ball of excitement or something.

He got ready and made his way to university.

The exhibition would take place in another, older studio they mostly used for these kind of purposes. Sometimes, other artists came to show their pieces or other departments of their university had celebrations.

Everybody participating and some other students met with their coordinators and supervisors. They talked once more through the plan and setup arrangements. Everyone had their task and soon the students were all busy with setting up pinwalls, poster, drinks, some chairs to take a rest, hitting nails into appropriate places, and arranging the lightnings.

Keith was busy with carrying dividers but recognised that the whole mass looked like a bunch of hustling ants, getting cups, hammer or do whatsoever. It wasn't the first exhibition where he'd been, since he had helped the other when he was a freshman. But it was th first he himself was participating. And it sure felt different.

Keith smiled. Finally the day had come. He was curious how the visitors would react to his sculpture. He was a bit more self conscious about his own work. But deep inside he kept the nervousness he felt since early morning.

They all had lunch break together and arranged the last bits and pieces afterwards. The exhibition would open at 2pm and it was nearly time for that.

Keith was finished placing his sculpture into the light spot they had arranged, as the first supervisor clapped in his hands.

It was time.

Everybody got close to their pieces. Keith smiled to Lance who was standing next to his giant oil painting on canvas showing the Earth with two moons in bright blue and silver colours. It was beautiful.

"Alright! Now, let in the masses I would say," the supervisor shouted and the students agreed. Most of them looked awfully nervous.

The doors were opened and Keith was a bit surprised to see that so many people had already waited in front of the building. The chatting mass came in and distributed inside the hall. It didn't take long until he could make out Shiro's tall figure.

The athlete approached him directly and smiled broadly.

"Congratulations, Keith," he said.

"For wh-what?" Keith was confused.

"That you can show what you created! The exhibition is only held once a year, right? And only secondyears can present. And those need to apply and be choosen."

"Well, I guess so." Keith shrugged. But he had to admit that it was pretty cool. "What do you think?"

This was it. His heart started beating as Shiro brought his attention now to the sculpture Keith had designed, created and finally arranged on a small column in the middle of a bright spot of the ceiling lamp. It was Shiro's opinion he wanted to hear. He totally focused on only Shiro's mimic, trying to see a hint of his thoughts behind the soft eyes which were concentrating on the colourful piece.

Shiro bent down to look at the sculpture from all angles. He even walked behind it. But of course that's what a sculpture is made for, a dimensional object to be looked at from all sides.

Shiro sure took his time and so Keith inspected his own work as well once more.

It was the sculpture of the figure of a man placed in front of a white wall.

Even though Keith hadn't intended to take Shiro as a model, he had to admit that he took a sketch of him to create the design. And with every minute he had worked on this sculpture, the man changed again and again until Keith was faced with himself.

The figure stood on his two legs, hands resting on his hips, the face towards the white background. It was as if he was looking at a certain thing somewhere there. Keith had coloured the man in black, violet and dark blue. And all across the body were little stars and small planets, circling around each other within galaxies.

"That's you," Shiro finally stated.

"You can tell?" Keith looked at him surprised.

Shiro nodded. "Of course." He focused the figure once more. "As if he has the universe within." He mumbled. He straightened up again.

"What is your objection?" Shiro asked, looking at Keith now.

"That… That sometimes our ways lead to unknown places where nobody has been before. And sometimes we carry it all inside of us. Everything is there, we just need to go and look for it somewhere else, before we return to ourselves."

"Like.. to space?"

Keith nodded. "But.. in ourselves."

"I got that," Shiro said seriously. "I really like this idea. How did you call that piece?"

"The Journey Within."

Shiro smiled. "Beautiful title."

"Thanks."

"Oh, Keith! There you are. I've been looking in the wrong corner."

"I'm doing sculptures, Mom." Keith turned around and saw Krolia coming along.

"I know, Keith. But the map in front showed something different." She looked back to the door and frowned. "Anyway!" She came forward and hugged him.

"Thanks for coming, Mom."

Krolia smiled. Then she noticed Shiro. "Ah, it's good to see you again. Congratulations on your second placement on Saturday."

Shiro raised his eyebrows. "You-you know about that?"

Krolia smiled and looked at her son. "Of course I know. My son tells me many things. As many as he don't."

Keith blushed and cleared his voice. "Where is Kosmo?" He asked to change the topic.

"He is outside with Hunk. I couldn't bring him inside of course."

"Hunk?"

"Kosmo, Keith."

Shiro laughed and Keith thought of hiding behind his sculpture.

"Is it your free day today?" Shiro asked.

Krolia nodded. She focused on the sculpture while answering. "My shift got changed with Saturday so I thought I would come by on the very first day." She looked at Keith. "I like your piece. Especially the colours and pose."

"Thanks, Mom."

He explained some more what he wanted to show with his work. His mother nodded and her face showed honest interest.

"Uhm, Keith. I need to go to my training." Shiro touched his shoulder to get some attention.

"Oh, sure." Keith nodded. Shiro let go but he felt his shoulder still burning. "Thank you for coming by."

"I will come again if I can."

"That would be nice!"

Shiro went out and waved before leaving the room. Krolia and Keith both looked after him until he was gone.

"You see him often?" She asked.

"Sometimes." Keith shrugged. "Well.. more often, I guess. Depending on the defintion."

Krolia was silent. "I see," was the only thing she said before turning around. "So, what about the rest? Can you show me around a bit? I haven't seen this other guy in a while. What was his name? You started university together and I saw him at the ceremony. Luke or something?"

"You mean Lance?"

"Yes, exactly." Krolia nodded, raising an eyebrow in question.

"Sure. Come along."

They walked around to the others students, presenting their pieces of paintings, sculptures made of clay or wire, or anything else they had to present. There were many interesting things to see. They stopped at Lance's painting and chatted a bit.

When Krolia decided to leave and to get some groceries, they decided to have dinner together at Keith's and Hunk's apartment. Shortly after she had left, Hunk came in, his hands full of Kosmo's saliva. The first thing he did was disappearing into the bathroom before Keith took another round and showed him everything there was to see.

Chapter Text

The first semester was over sooner as expected. Exam season started and Keith found himself studying every day once more. Shiro, Hunk, Lance, and him met in the library. Sometimes together, sometimes by chance. Since they had different majors, there were studying with the other students from their lectures as well.

After two weeks Keith couldn't see any book about culture studies, changes, forgotten paintings, dates, and timelines anymore. The last week felt like pure horror but somehow he managed to be free after.

All the exams were done, all assignments were finished. He couldn't believe that he was actually on summer break. There were nearly two months where he could do whatever he wanted.

The first thing which came to his mind was the sculpture of Shiro he had wanted to do.

Shiro and him texted once in a while and then, one day, they decided to meet up and make the first sketches.

For this, Shiro came to Keith's apartment. Hunk was still at university to finish his last exam, so there would be nobody who would disturb them. Shiro got out of his shoes and they walked over to Keith's room.

"Sit anywhere you like. You want a drink?" Keith made a gesture towards the kitchen. "We've got water, coffee, milk and I bet Hunk still has some orange juice left."

"Some water is fine." Shiro smiled. He sat down on Keith's bed and looked around. Keith had done the same when he'd went to Shiro's place so he couldn't complain. And he didn't want to. It felt absolutely right. Shiro sitting on his bed, the massive body making the mattress squeak below him.

Keith's face became red and he hurried outside to get a glass of water.

When he came back, Shiro was standing in front of the window and watched the small trees.

"Thanks. It's quiet here," he mentioned while taking the glass from Keith.

"I'm really happy about that. I need to have it calm for studying or doing assignments and sketches."

Shiro nodded. "I liked it." He frowned slightly. "You want to start with a sketch first, right?"

"Yes. That's how I do that normally. Some people just get clay and start right away but that's no option for me. I want to visualise it before."

"I see. Alright." Shiro took a sip of water and put the glass on the desk. "Since it's an athlete figure, do I need to remove some clothes or so?"

Keith stared down on Shiro's body. It was for work, he said to himself. But his thoughts weren't totally straight. Well, they've never been to begin with.

"Yes," he said with a serious voice. As serious as he could make it sound like.

"Alrighty!"

And before Keith could say anything else, Shiro had removed pants, sweatshirt and his undershirt. He also started to tuck the hem of his underwear.

"I-it's okay, Shi-Shiro! N-no-not everything."

Shiro looked up, his eyes innocent and surprised. "You sure?"

Keith swallowed many words. "Yes," he finally managed to say, his face beet red. "You're not running naked, right?"

Shiro grinned. "Not yet," he said. "Okay. Which position?"

Shiro tried some which were too much for Keith so that he bursted into laughing at some point. Shiro just lifted his leg on Keith's chair to create a thinking position. He smiled widely.

"No?" He asked.

Keith giggled. "No, no, maybe just… stand there."

"Like this?" Shiro went to the middle of the room and let his arms hang loose.

"Be more actively."

"How can I be more actively when I should just stand there?"

Keith tilted his head. "You've got a point." He came closer and tried to adjust Shiro so that he would still look a bit lively.

Keith's fingers touched Shiro's chest and shoulders to turn his torso a bit. He slid down Shiro's arms to raise them and giving the elbow certain but flat angles. He slid over the long and thick scar on his right arm and tried to not scratch the rough skin. Keith pushed Shiro's legs a bit apart. And while his fingers slid down the toned and well trained body, he felt every muscle running thick and strong just below the skin. Keith let his fingers glide over soft and warm skin and it felt as if both of their bodies would connect through that.

"Who actually won the price at the exhibition?" Shiro asked while being adjusted by Keith.

"Huh?" Keith, totally fused in his own thoughts, looked up.

"The exhibition. You said there will be a price given." Shiro frowned, his eyes were soft and askingly.

"Oh, the price, right. Some other second year got it. But the president said some nice words about my work and how surprised he was since he didn't expect this sculpture from me."

Shiro frowned even more. "So… This is meant.. in a good way?"

Keith nods. "I guess so at least." A smile appeared on his lips and Shiro seemed relieved.

"Maybe next time," Shiro mumbled and observed Keith's doings of positioning his legs.

"Yes.. Next time." Keith made a last change. "Okay, finished!"

Keith got up and stood in front of Shiro.

Shiro looked down their eyes met. Keith swallowed. Shiro's eyes were big and round and grey and so beautiful to look at. It would totally fit into a scene where they were sitting comfortably in the living room next to a warm fire place, warm hands looped around each others shoulders pulling them into soft hugs.

Keith blinked.

"Alright," Keith said to break whatever just had happenend. "I will do several sketches, so just try to not move that much."

"I will." Shiro's eyes were still on him, as Keith went to the desk to get his pencils and papers, and finally set down on his bed. Crosslegged he turned to face Shiro, who was standing right in front of him, marvellous and georgeous. He swallowed hardly. It was hard to focus on the work he was about to do. At the same time he felt extremely lucky and happy having Shiro doing this deed for him.

Through all his sketches he felt a little guilty to look at this strong body which had tough training every week to form the muscles which were clearly visible.

Keith supressed a sigh. He was hopelessly gay.

But Shiro knew about this fact. And he didn't mind being sketched by Keith? But he was an athlete as well and used to being watched. He took showers with others and went to the changing room. This wasn't something new. Right?

While copying Shiro's figure and features onto several pieces of thick paper, Keith frowned.

"Where does the scar come from?" He asked.

"Which one?" Shiro replied, a grin on his lips.

Keith chuckled. "On your nose. I wondered about it for a while now."

"I see." Shiro nodded and touched the bridge of his nose shortly, before returning into position. "It was when I was a child. I fell down the stairs in our home and fractured it. It was bleeding quite a lot as well. I kept this scar." He shrugged.

"Does it hurt?" Keith wondered.

"No, I'm fine. It just itches once in a while. My arm is worse," Shiro said.

Keith nodded and continued his work. He did several sketches and once in a while he made some small changes to Shiro's positions. After nearly two hours both were exhausted. Keith had felt so much energy running through his body he had to use. But after it was all gone and he set aside his utensiles. Shiro just flopped down onto the bed, still only in his underwear. Keith couldn't help but look at them shortly and noticed small stars on the black fabric.

He averted his eyes and looked at Shiro's face instead.

"Thank you, Shiro."

"You're welcome." Shiro raised his hand and patted Keith's shoulder. "And to be honest, I really would like to see a sculpture of myself. But..not from a narcisstic point of view. It's more the curiousity of it."

"I can understand. But I won't allow you to destroy it."

"Why should I?" Shiro tilted his head, looking at him askingly.

Keith shrugged. "Just...You never know."

"I do. I won't destroy it."

Keith didn't say something at first. "Thanks," he murmured.

"I'M DONE, KEITH!"

Both of them flinched and watched the door. Heavy steps were sounding, coming closer until the door was pushed open.

"I did it, Keith! I finally finished all my exams. God grief, I can't believe I'll be able to sleep again, ugh. Should we have dinner or… Oh." Hunk stopped in the doorframe. "Did I… disturb you or something?"

Shiro and Keith both blushed, looking like two ripe tomatoes.

"No, Hunk, I… did sketches of Shiro."

"Of course you did." Hunk winked at him. "Well, do you want to stay for dinner, Shiro?"

"Uhm, I… Yeah sure." Shiro looked from Hunk to Keith. And both couldn't help but laugh.


*~*~*~*


It took several weeks. Keith hadn't expected to be back in his studio so soon. But this time it was something different.

Working on this sculpture of Shiro was fun. Many of his sculptures were, but this one was… special.

He got a huge portion of clay and made some rough carvings in it, until he started to make them more subtle. He gave legs, arms, and head a shape, before starting the final details as eyes, nose, fingers, toes, and muscles.

Most of the time he worked on his own since he could concentrate better. It didn't mean that he never saw Shiro. Most of the time he forgot to eat and Shiro would come by and they would go to the nearby cafe, konbini or a family restaurant.

Hunk sometimes came to check up on Keith as well as Lance did. But both of them were shooed outside again. Keith wanted Shiro to be the first one to see what he had created.

Apart from spending time with the real Shiro and the clay Shiro (though Keith had to admit that he liked both of them very much) he visited his mother, went to the cinema with some of his friends from university or to some exhibitions. He even travelled to the neighbouring prefecture by ferry.

The summer break went by too fast and soon there were only two weeks left.

It was time to decide on the colours for his sculptures, which would suit Shiro best. Some days went by until Keith finally decided what to do about that.

Chapter Text

It was the end of August when Keith finished the sculpture. He was honestly satisfied with it and this was rare. There were so many emotions in this work, so many things he wanted to say but didn't find the right words to do so. This was his way of expressing something which he had kept in his heart for too long already.

Something would change, he was sure of it. He just didn't know yet what it would be.

As he had decided he wanted to show the sculpture to Shiro first.

For now, he was home and sat on his bed, a pillow behind him and his phone in his hands.


Keith: I'm finished. I'd like to show it to you. Do you have time tomorrow?


He threw a glance to the miniature sculpture in the book shelve. He had done this one at first. It wasn't really similar to the final piece, relatively small as well with not even 20cm, but Keith still liked it and kept it at home.


Shiro: Sure! When would be good? I'm a bit nervous to see it..


Keith: At 3pm? No need to be ;)


Shiro: Alright! At the studio? :)


Keith: Yes. See you then.


Keith smiled. He looked out of the window and saw some white clouds passing by.

Something was about to change.


*~*~*~*


Shiro stood already in front of the locked door when Keith arrived.

"I'm sorry, am I late?"

"No, I'm too early." Shiro laughed. "I was excited to see a sculpture of myself, that's why I couldn't sit still at home anymore."

"I see." Keith smiled. He unlocked the door and let Shiro in.

Shiro waited until Keith was ready to guide the way. He had put a kind of curtain in front of the sculpture so nobody from either the outside or inside of the studio would be able to see it. Now, where Shiro – the real Shiro – was so close to him, he got even more nervous to reveal his work. The whole bike race to university had been a path full of goosebumps and near heart attacks experiences. But he was alright. He knew that he was. Because he would be able to see Shiro. And now he was with him, probably excited as much as himself to see the sculpture he had worked on for most of the time during summer break.

"I hope you like it. I'm.. Well I'm satisfied." Keith shrugged and approached the curtain he had hung up. His working place was in a corner so the nearby walls had been convenient for this.

"I guess that it's rare to be fully satisfied with the own work by an artist."

Keith looked at Shiro, who had raised an eyebrow.

"That's true," Keith said.

Shiro nodded. "Show me. I'd like to see what you're so proud of."

Keith nodded. He started to remove the curtain until he had the fabric in his hands.

The clay Shiro was released.

He stood on the table Keith normally used. Arms, legs and chest showed significant muscles. Keith had made him wear a shirt and sport pants which were tightly fitting, revealing the form of the muscles underneath.

The clay Shiro posed as if he was about to start a race. The strings and muscles near the thighs flexed, the arms were bent and the head a bit lowered. The torso was tilted so that the face concentrated on his shoes and nothing but running. The white whiff of hair hung down right in front of Shiro's eyes which were looking onto a point only he could see.

Remarkable was the colour since there was non. Shiro was grey.

Keith observed Shiro. He just stood there and looked at himself. And then he went around the sculpture, which had nearly half the size of himself, the same as he had examined the piece of the gallery.

And then finally, he stood beside Keith once more.

"Beautiful," he said. "Your work, I mean."

"You're also beautiful, I think," Keith said without blushing. He felt Shiro's eyes on him.

"The colour?" Shiro asked.

"You like it?"

"It's okay. But… I want to understand."

Keith looked at him. "Did you want to be coloured?"

Shiro hesitated to answer. "I'm… not sure. Now where I think about it." He frowned and seemed to think deeply. "I guess I like to define it myself. To decide who I am."

Keith nodded. "Imagine the colour on your own. You have to know the person you're creating and sometimes the colours someone sees is not the same as the person would have liked to be. Sometimes I like the colours to not be fixed. It's grey, it's natural. It's free to be whatever it can be. I want to discover many more things which I can add in the future. The colour might change, maybe it will turn out even more beautiful than it is already in my mind. The future colour palette is something, which I would like to see. But it's never fixated."

Shiro grabbed Keith's shoulder and they looked at each other.

"That's… beautifully said, Keith. And I'd like to do that, if I may. Define my own colour, I mean."

Keith nodded. "Of course. That's why I made this."

Shiro smiled.

They booth looked at the sculpture once more. It was weird to watch a real life Shiro staring at another Shiro. But it was real; both of them. The movements, revealing strong muscles, trained to be able to run fast and strong, were alive and moving next to him and right in front of his eyes.

"What do you want to do with it? Putting it somewhere?"

Keith looked up into Shiro's eyes.

"I have no idea yet. Do you know a good place for it?"

Shiro was at a loss but grinning. "No idea as well."

They laughed.

"What is the title?"

Keith smiled. He had waited for this answer all along. "It's The Athlete's Dream." He observed Shiro's reaction and wasn't unsatistifed.

Shiro's eyes grew big. "Y-you m-mean," he stammered. "You made it from me?"

"Well it is you, Shiro." Keith chuckled. "But yes. You want to become an athlete, right? This is the formation of a dream. Your dream. And you can do whatever it takes to transform the grey colours into something… colourful." Keith felt his cheeks flushing. He didn't know how else to say it but with cheesy lines.

Shiro seemed speechless. "Th-thats… Th-thank you, Keith."

Keith was relieved and smiled. "You're welcome, Shiro. I hope that you're dream comes true one day."

"Your's as well, Keith."

Shiro smiled. They still looked, nearly stared, at each other. Their cheeks blushing slightly. Eyes interlocked.

Keith bit his underlip. He wanted to say it. He needed to. He couldn't keep it inside anymore. Not any longer. It was his biggest trump and his heart wanted to scream already. And all this time he'd been working on this sculpture, he had said those words again and again in his mind.

Shiro opened his mouth to obviously say something. But Keith was faster.

"I like you, Shiro!"

Shiro seemed confused, his mouth still half open. "Wh-what do you mean?"

"Well." Keith blinked a few times. He was serious. He knew what he felt and he wanted to say it. Now.

"I like you. Like… In that way."

"In that way? You mean… this way?" Shiro raised his eyebrows, making a vague gesture with a hand.

"Which way?"

They laughed.

Keith hesitated but he was sure that it was right to do.

"I will show you," he whispered. He swung his arms around Shiro's wide shoulders and pulled him down a bit, pressing his face into Shiro's neck. It felt good to hug Shiro. It was the second time but Keith hoped that it wouldn't be the last one.

It took some long seconds until Shiro did the same. Big warm hands looped around Keith's body and pulled him closer to his chest.

"This way, Shiro." He hugged him even tighter. "I meant this way."

Shiro nodded slowly. "I like you too, Keith."

Keith grabbed Shiro's shoulders and pushed him a bit away. "Wait, really!?"

Shiro nodded, his face serious and honest. They stared into each other's eyes before breaking into a smile.

"So," Keith said, tilting his head a bit. "Do you… wa-wanna da-date me?"

Shiro looked into Keith's eyes, full of warmth and trust. "Sure," he said.

Keith couldn't help it but burried his head once more close to soft and warm skin.

Chapter Text

Keith still couldn't quite believe it.

He was dating Shiro. Like… for real.

He had really asked Shiro – Shiro! – to date him. Whenever he thought about it, his heart started racing and he couldn't wait to see him again. He wanted to talk to him, hug him, touch his skin and whatever else there was. He wanted to know everything about him and ask about his daily life, his likes, the food, the drinks, his past, his clothes, the books, his studies, the hairdresser, and family and friends.

And as much as he wanted to know and take, he wanted to give. Keith knew that Shiro had some tough episodes in his life so far. He wanted to give support and warmth. He felt home and comfortable when he was with Shiro and he wanted to give him this kind of feeling as well. He liked him so much that he had no words to properly express it. But whenever he thought about Shiro, a smile formed on his lips and his mind turned every tough thought into something good and positive. When they were about to meet, his heart wouldn't stop hurting painful yet with a soft touch in it. He had a date. A date with his boyfriend. His boyfriend!! Keith had to admit that it got a nice ring to it. Everytime he thought about it he smiled to himself.

Of course Hunk noticed Keith's high spirit the moment he stepped into their apartment the same day he had confessed. And Keith couldn't deny anything. It felt good to tell his best friend about his first boyfriend he ever had for real.

He was excited to see Shiro the next day. They texted in the evening and wanted to meet to have lunch in a small family restaurant together.

A good start, as Keith thought. There were endless possibilities and he wanted to do everything with Shiro. They still had so much time during this summerbreak. Well, one and a half week, but with no other responsibilities it was a lot.

Shiro had some meetings with his club, but apart from that they met nearly everyday. Together, they went to town, into some bookstores, the cinema to watch this new animation about space pilots they were fond of, got some drinks in cafes and made dinner or lunch at home at one anothers place.

Sometimes during the morning, they met to take a run through the park near university. Keith wasn't aversed of this, though he couldn't keep up with Shiro's pace. They took little breaks in between and after some days, they grew less and less. Keith did run before but that was before he started university. He slowly but strongly gained his strength again and could soon keep up easily.

The one and a half week passed by and the new semester started.

They were busy with lectures, club, and works in the studio once more. Though they still had regular days where they met up. They went to lunch everyday. Keith had no more a free day in his weekly schedule but his afternoons were quite free instead which he mainly used in his studio.

Sometimes he came to watch Shiro's training which had the same schedule as before. Keith was even allowed in the gym while the club did muscle training. He made sketches and after, they used to have dinner or lunch. One day at the weekend they spent together in one of their apartments, went on walks or to down. They still kept going running and soon Keith was able to run as long as he wouldn' have believed it months ago.

Keith's major was still clay figures since he was fascinated by their abilities to represent the things he wanted. But he now had some other classes in paintings and computer design.

The weeks went by and suddenly it was autumn.

Chapter Text

A couple of weeks after the new semester had started, Keith visited Shiro in his apartment on a Sunday. It was a cloudy day with prospect of rain and actually perfect to just stay inside and watch a movie. Shiro had borrowed a DVD from a friend since he had wanted to watch this movie since some months already. And that's where it had orginally started. Matt wouldn't be home that weekend since he was visiting a friend in Tokyo.

Which was the original plan.

But Keith had something else in mind he wanted to do since they had started dating. He had waited until now and he thought if they wouldn't do that today, he might explode.

Since it had been Shiro's suggestion to meet, Keith was nervous. Maybe Shiro had another intention as well? So far they hadn't done anything, except holding hands when nobody was watching. It was okay. Keith liked Shiro's hands a lot and whenever he could, he would reach out to touch them. But today he wanted to try something else.

When Shiro opened the door, Keith's heart was tense and full of throbbing sounds. Shiro heard it for sure.

"Come in." Shiro smiled and Keith stepped inside.

"Thanks." He had been here more often in the past weeks but it was still something special to be able and smell Shiro everywhere he went inside those four walls. Well, except for Matt's room but Keith hadn't really been inside of this often.

He slid out of his shoes and followed Shiro into his room where they sat on the bed.

"You want something to drink?" Shiro pointed at a water bottle and Keith nodded. "Let me get a glass." He came back after a minute and sat down again.

"Thanks." Keith took the glass and Shiro filled it with water. They were silent for a while. Keith took some sips of his water.

"Did you see this movie before?" Shiro lifted the cover of the DVD which had laid on the desk.

"Not yet. It's relatively new, right?"

"It is. I don't go often to the cinema. I like it at home and watch a movie where I can press pause and go to the bathroom whenever I want or get a drink I really like."

Keith chuckled. "True. Oh." He grabbed his bag and fetched a book he had brought. "Here. I can borrow you this novel."

Shiro stared at the book for some seconds before nodding slowly.

"This," he started but didn't seem to find any more words.

"I'm done reading it and you said you would like to borrow it." Keith observed Shiro's reactions. He sure had realised that it was the book he had bought in the bookshop where they had accidently met. Soon after, the incident with his cousin had taken place.

"I'm still so sorry, Keith," Shiro said, his face honest and sad. "I really.."

"It's okay, Shiro." He reached out to touch his arm. "It's fine. We made up already, remember?"

Shiro looked at him and nodded again, slowly. There was still a hint of sorrow inside his eyes. "Thanks for the book." His smile grew slowly back on his lips when he put the book aside. "You can borrow one of mine as well. Or more, if you like to."

"Sure! Can I have a look?"

"Go ahead."

Keith nodded and leaned forward to check out the shelve next to the bed.

"Though," Shiro continued. "I don't have many books here. Most of mine are at my father's place and the ones I have here are mainly for university. That's why there might be not… so many to choose from."

"I see." Keith noticed that Shiro was right. He saw many titles about muscles, anatomy, education, and stuff like that. "You read all of them?"

"Yep. I had to." Shiro laughed. "You do have some as well for your major, right?"

"True, but.." Keit scratched his head, a shy smile on his lips. "I have to admit that I haven't read all of them until the last page."

Shiro chuckled. Keith blushed a bit and sat back on the bed again. Their knees touched and Keith felt the warmth transferring to his body.

They talked some more about their new lectures which were nice but sometimes boring. Keith felt relieved that he is not the only one thinking like that, even in a different major.

He was nervous while talking but felt more relaxed the more time passed. Though Shiro seemed shy and he often rubbed the back of his head which made his shirt lift up, revealing his toned abs and the scars on his arm. Whenever he smiled it was as if he would be a very young puppy introduced to a new playing comerade. He was kind of cute, Keith thought.

Keith remembered the first time he was here, sitting on the bed next to Shiro. The track member had explained the rules of the tournament and his running past back then. He thought he would never get tired of Shiro's voice, talking passionatly about the things he loved.

Now it seemed that they both talked shyly as if they would be waiting for something. Both of them somehow wanted it and knew what was going to happen, though non of them took action or dared to make the first move.

"So, if you want to start with the movie, just tell me." Shiro said. He put back his waterglass on his desk.

"Sure." Keith said. "Can you put mine as well?" He leaned forward and took the chance to scoot closer to Shiro's side. While Shiro was busy placing the glass on the desk, Keith noticed that he was blushing. And when Shiro turned his head again, he was much closer than before.

"Oh, uhm." Keith giggled quietly. "Sorry."

"No, it's… okay." Shiro said. "You can.. stay if you like."

Keith nodded. They stared at each other.

"Uhm, Keith, I..." Shiro's face was close. So close. His eyes looked like two grey moons in the empty sky. He swallowed and his Adam's apple made a jump. The twinkles around his mouth increased as he smiled. Keith noticed all the details and lifted a hand to touch Shiro's cheek. The skin was soft and warm, clenched muscles of his jaw relaxed once Keith started stroking slightly.

He wasn't sure what Shiro wanted to say but he didn't ask. And neither Shiro continued. They just looked at each other as back then when they already had the very first moment like this.

Suddenly Keith felt Shiro's shy hand resting on his knee. A certain hotness, comfortable hotness, spread from there, running over his legs, toes and into his muscles to every corner of his body.

He couldn't hold it anymore.

Shiro looked at him softly, his head hovering a little above him. Eyes soft and full of love.

Keith reached out, slid his fingers over Shiro's throat and neck and upwards behind his head. He pulled him down, inch by inch. And before Shiro could do anything else, Keith closed his eyes and pressed his lips softly on Shiro's.

They were soft and warm and also a little bit wet.

Shiro responded, one hand staying on Keith's knee, the other looping around his firm shoulders, pulling him even closer.

Keith couldn't quite believe that they were doing this. After all those months he had held back his feelings. Now they were here, sitting on Shiro's bed, and kissed. For real.

Warm and wet lips on his own, marking what they had finally won.

They let go of each other and Keith opened his eyes again. He looked into another loving pair which was as fascinated as himself.

"One more." Keith said.

"Sure." Shiro replied, voice husky and deep. And he leaned the few centimeters forward again to press a new kiss on Keith's lips.


*~*~*~*


When they finally started the movie, it had gotten late already. But non of them cared about it. They snuggled into each others side and watched the animated scenes. But it seemed that they couldn't focus quite well on them as their touches and words were lost into one another.

Chapter Text

"I'm sorry, I'm late. My professor just didn't stop talking." Shiro took a deep breath.

"It's okay. We have enough time." Keith smiled.

He had waited next to the stairs to the cafeteria. The queue had become longer and longer but he didn't mind. He knew that Shiro had enough time to get to club activities and was still able to enjoy a long lunch with Keith. With his boyfriend. And Keith had the afternoon free anyway.

"Shall we go?"

Shiro nodded. They went down the stairs. Keith felt Shiro's hand brushing his arm as if it would be by chance but he knew it wasn't. Since he wasn't officially out yet – and he was still unsure how to handle it – Shiro did things like that to greet him in public. He looked up to him and smiled fondly. The track member responded in the same way.

"You go for the noodle soup?" Shiro threw some glances to the other lunch possibilties the cafeteria had to offer.

"Of course." Keith grinned. "What about you?"

"I'll have a look over there." Shiro pointed somewhere and Keith watched him going to the sushi and fish counter.

They met again after the check-out and tried to find a place. It was pretty crowdy since it was the usual lunch time where most of the students were free to go.

"Hey, Keith! Over here!"

They both turned around and saw Lance sitting close to the window together with Hunk. Shiro looked at Keith and the art student nodded.

"There are way too many people today," Hunk complained. He nodded to the two empty chairs next to them.

"You barely made it through the crowd. I saw you excusing to everybody because you hit a few." Lance mentioned while raising an eyebrow, a smirk on his lips.

"Well, sorry when I'm polite." Hunk shrugged.

Lance shook his head. "It was a compliment, Hunk."

Hunk smiled. "Aww, a compliment from Lance. How rare."

Keith chuckled. "That's true."

"What do you mean by that? It was a compliment. In my way." Lance frowned. He took a huge portion of his pudding and shoved it in his mouth. "What do you think, Shiro? Am I unfriendly?"

Shiro hesitated. He looked from Lance to Keith, Hunk and back to Lance. "Well," he said cautiously. "I think you have a way to speak subtly which only few people understand."

"Oh, thank you! See, Hunk."

Hunk shrugged once more, focusing back on his lasagne. "I'm not aware of any wrongdoings of my part."

They continued eating.

"How is it going with Allura?" Keith asked.

Lance seemed surprised. "Good, really good. But… Why do you ask?"

"Because I'm concerned?" Keith raised an eyebrow. "I want to know about your life."

"Really?" Lance squinted his eyes. "That's… way too friendly of you."

"Suspicious?" Shiro threw in.

"Definitely. What happened to him?"

Shiro shrugged and picked up a piece of potato with his chopsticks. "Who knows."

"Don't say something so ominous, Shiro." Keith said. He curved his lips.

"Ominous? Did you learn a new language?" Lance giggled.

Shiro smiled mysteriously and just kept eating his potato.

Lance stopped giggling. "You act like an old married couple."

Shiro and Keith exchanged glances.

"Wa-wait, hang on. Did I miss something?" Lance made big eyes. He turned to Hunk and grabbed his arm laying on the table. "Hunk? I missed something, right?"

Hunk looked helplessly to Keith.

"Seems so," Keith said impassive while he kept eating.

Shiro smiled shyly while picking up a piece of sushi with cucumber.

"Don't tell me you… you.. you started…" He looked back and forth between the track member and art student. "You started… for real?"

Keith and Shiro looked at each other before they nodded synchronously. Luckily everybody around was so busy with their own subjects to talk about that they didn't recognise a thing they talked about.

"That's amazing, Lance, how can you tell?" Hunk sounded fascinated. "You can sense their aura or something? How does it look like? For me it's a mixture of violet glitter and soft red hearts all over them."

Keith blushed and stared at Hunk.

"Kinda." Lance shrugged. A smug smile was on his lips while he examined the couple. "I mean, you seem different than before. You smile and you look like.. You just look like it. At least for us. I bet nobody else had noticed."

"I guess." Shiro made a thoughtful face.

"I would appreciate if you do the same." Keith added.

"Alright, no pro, Keith." Lance smiled. "Though I'm happy for you."

Keith hesitated. Such a direct compliment coming from Lance was unusual. "Thanks," he said and he couldn't supress a smile.

"Let's do a double date!" Lance grinned full of euphoria. "What about this weekend?"

Keith looked at Shiro and Shiro looked back.

"Maybe another time, Lance." Shiro smiled, a mixture of an apology and fondness.

Lance nodded. "Too early, huh?"

"Not really, but yes." Keith chuckled about the confused looks.

They covered some more topics during the lunch break, until Hunk left for his final lecture and Lance to the studio. Keith wanted to make some sketches during the track and field club and joined Shiro to walk to the changing room.


*~*~*~*


When Keith came back home, he slid out of his boots and closed the door behind him. He saw Hunk who laid on the couch, his phone between a cushion and his ear. He waved a mute welcome while listening to whoever was on the other side of the line.

Keith got something to drink and sat down in one of the chairs in their living room/kitchen.

"Of course, it's really important. - I'm okay with it." Hunk made some gestures as he talked to this other person over the phone.

Keith got out his own and started texting with Shiro. He didn't want to go to his room yet but ne didn't want to switch on the TV either. And Hunk seemed to be fine with him being here.


Keith: Good job, today! I'm thinking of turning one of the sketches into a sculpture again.


Shiro: Thanks, Keith! Good job as well. Which sketch do you think of? There were a few you showed me after.


Keith smiled and remembered that he had waited for Shiro to show him the results. And of course to kiss him a goodbye when and where no one could see them.


Keith: Either the one while lifting weights or the long jumper.


Shiro: No sculpture of me? :D


Keith: Not sure yet ;) <3


Shiro: Let me know <3


"I think it would be difficult. In our language it's possible but try to imagine in another where there are only bi-gender names."

Keith looked up, observing Hunk while frowning.

"Yeah, I know right? And.. what? - Yeah exactly! This is such a good idea. You should do more of those."

Keith frowned. Who was Hunk talking to?

"How did you come up with this idea? I really like it. - Uhuh…. Mhmm…. - I'm fine. I think everybody should be free to determine this thing."

Keith's phone buzzed.


Shiro: Do you have time tomorrow afternoon? I won't have club then.


Keith: Sure! I'm free anyway. Do you have something in mind?


Shiro: There is an ice cafe having some new specials. It's already autumn but you do like ice cream.


Keith: I love ice cream! :D Sure, let's go!


"So you prefer they right? Were there people who ignored it and called you somehow differently? - I see. - Yeah, I can understand that. - Oh really!? That's so mean!"


Keith: Hunk is on the phone with someone. They are talking about gender questions.


Shiro: Oh.. What kind of questions?


Keith: Not sure, I think it's about pronouns. I just hear half of their talk though.


Shiro: Right :D


Keith: I will make something to eat. I will see you tomorrow!


Shiro: Yes! <3


Keith: <3


Keith got up and started to get some bread and ingredients ready to make a sandwich. He made gestures to ask whether Hunk wanted some as well. Hunk showed a thumb up and smiled thankfully.

Hunk talked some more, before he finished his call and sat up. Keith had put the plate in front on him and was halfy finished eating his own.

"Thanks, Keith. I was starving."

"You didn't have dinner yet?" Keith frowned.

"I was on the phone."

"I see."

They munched in silence.

"Who was it?"

"Oh!" Hunk swallowed and smiled. "You remember that I met a student from the neighbouring university on a festival some months ago? They study computer science and we got along quite well. I .. I kinda like them." Hunk even blushed which amazed Keith.

Keith remembered this certain student his friend had mentioned at some point vaguely. But he nodded anyway. Though he had noticed the pronoun.

"What about the gender questions you had?"

"This person doesn't have a gender. I mean." Hunk made a gesture with his hand Keith didn't know how to read it. "They are nonbinary."

Now it surely became interesting. Keith had a certain feeling about it. "What is.. their name?" He frowned. He wasn't used to talk in this gender pronoun.

"Pidge Holt, do you know them?"

Keith opened his mouth but he was too stunned as to say something right away. He laughed quietly about this whole connection. "Let me tell you something," he finally said and wondered, how Hunk would react about the hidden red lines.

Chapter Text

The semester passed by more quickly than the previous one. As if the time, Keith and Shiro had together, would shrink because it was just such a nice thing to spend it together. Shiro had never understood the logic about different feelings of time. Though now he felt it getting to him which made him even more curious.

Midterm exams were ahead and once again they found themselves in the library. Though this time studying was at the same time harder yet funnier.

It was harder since, since... Well, it was always hard to begin with. Instead of being outside on the grounds Shiro was sitting most of the day. Training shrinked to a minimum, and the temperatures decreased rapidly. Shiro would have loved to run a race, whichever length. But he had a scholarship and he needed to keep up his grades. He didn't mind studying in general, if it meant to enjoy himself after.

It was still hard and much harder since he would've liked to spend his precious time – apart from running – with Keith. But this is where the fun part came in.

Both of them knew that once they had finished their pensum for the day, they had some free hours to enjoy with each other. He looked forward to those and made the time pass by by studying and was always happy to meet Keith afterwards.

He still couldn't quite believe it. He had started dating Keith. Keith!

How long had his heart yearned for this moment? It had taken quite a while to actually understand his own feelings but who doesn't have these kinds of problems? Maybe Shiro was just dense, but he ignored this possible fact. It could've taken years as well.

Everytime they met he must be strong to not just stare at this beautiful man who seemed so happy to be with him. After he had initiated their first kiss – and Shiro's thoughts about it made him blush even weeks after – he had become more… attractive. But in another wanting-to-touch kind of way.

Though Shiro wanted to be sure if Keith wanted the same as he did. It was an amzing feeling to be able and kiss the person he really liked. When he leaned forward, he could watch how Keith stopped breathing for a moment and started to approach him as well. And then, their lips met and it was as if little pleasant explosions were starting on Shiro's lips. And sometime he had noticed that Keith got on his toes and had to refrain from a giggle. Keith had a lot of pride and he didn't want to take it from him. Thus Shiro made sure that he didn't bend down. He liked it like that. Keith was able to do that and there wasn't that much height difference. Keith was just.. Keith.

Shiro tried to not be too forward. He wanted to have the official talk before he ripped Keith's T-shirt off and threw it on the ground, pulling this strong warm body close to himself and kiss him wherever Keith would feel good.

After their first kisses, they became more free and relaxed; and deeper. They dared and kissed behind the changing rooms of the gym, on empty paths when the final lectures where over, when Matt turned around to walk into the kitchen.

Shiro felt comfortable to be with Keith and knew that the art student felt obviously the same. He looked forward to having many more things to share, talk about, and touch.


*~*~*~*


One day Keith had invited him to dinner. Hunk had made a lot of noodles and therefore it was noodle soup for everybody who wanted. Though it seemed that only Shiro showed up. Maybe Keith had only asked him. Or – and this was another theory of Shiro – Keith wanted to have a lot of noodle soup since the cafeterias portions might be too small for him. He always smiled when he thought about this idea.

"Hey," Shiro said. Keith had opened the door and let him in.

"Hey you too," he replied grinning. "Prepared for noodles?"

"I always am." Shiro laughed. He slid out of his shoes and touched Keith's hand. Keith looked up to him, turned around to check which way Hunk was looking, reached up and gave him a small kiss.

Shiro's cheeks seemed to glow hot. He put a hand on his skin and smiled. Keith was still a bit guarded, even around his closest friend, but Shiro understood. He was okay with that and accepted the whole being and how he was.

"Sit down. We're nearly finished." Keith made gestures towards the couch where bowls and chopsticks were already laid out.

"Can I help? Hey Hunk!" Shiro approached the small kitchen counter.

"Shiro! Thanks for your help, man. I didn't want to let it go to waste." Hunk lifted a smaller bowl for spring onions and smiled towards Shiro.

"Why did you make that much?" Shiro was still confused about this fact.

"Because he didn't read the wage correctly," Keith said while deviding the noodles into three portions.

"Come on, Keith, I was able to do that!"

"And how come you read 900 instead of 90?"

Hunk sulked, but only for a short time. Shiro helped carrying the noodles and broth and soon they sat down on the couch. Hunk took the chair. It looked quite unwittingly but Shiro was sure he did that so that the couple could sit next to each other.

"I have to tell you something which you wouldn't believe, Shiro." Keith said. He threw a glance to Hunk who nodded benevolently.

"What is it?"

"Hunk is dating Pidge!"

"Really!?" That was indeed something. "How did you meet?" Shiro made big eyes and looked at Hunk.

"Nobody said anything about dating, Keith." Hunk made a weird gesture with his chopsticks.

"But you sound like that while being on the phone." Keith shrugged.

Hunk blushed. "Well, nothing's yet officially."

Shiro smiled. "How did you know them?"

And thus Hunk explained how they had met several months ago. It was quite interesting how everything was connected. Maybe by coincidence or fate or however this was called.

"That really is surprising!" Shiro laughed. "And funny as well. I never expected that."

"Me neither." Keith looked from Shiro to Hunk. "But he sure does look happy."

Hunk tilted his head. He seemed unsure of what to say so he chewed silently on his noodles.

They watched some TV while eating and it didn't take long before the noodles were eaten. Once finished, they cleaned the dishes together at the kitchen counter.

"Well, I'm gonna go into my room." Hunk went ahead.

"You sure?" Shiro asked. He didn't want to be the reason why.

"I'm surely sure. I don't want to disturb you two." Hunk winked at them. "And I want to have a phone call. So just… do whatever."

He closed the door to his room behind him and left the two of them alone. Shiro looked at Keith and noticed that he was blushing.

"You wanna go to my room as well?" Keith asked.

Shiro nodded, his body was tingling all of a sudden. He felt Keith's hand taking his. It was so warm and a bit callous due to the craft work he did nearly every day. But Shiro liked the little roughness and followed Keith who guided him to his room.

They settled down on the bed. Shiro saw the little clay figures. Keith had done those for his assignments during midterm and now they were gathering on the window board, raising their heads against the clouds in the sky.

"So, Hunk likes Pidge?" Shiro asked. He sat back against the wall and until he was settled besides Keith.

"He always looks happy when talking to them. He seems to be fond of Pidge."

"He doesn't care about.. gender?"

"I guess not. I haven't asked him yet. But… I can't imagine Hunk being only straight or gay or something. I think that he values all the people regardless of who or what they are." Keith nodded slowly but frowned. "You're interested?"

"No, yes, well..." Shiro shrugged. "I don't mind the gender as well. That's why I like to know that there is someone else quite close around me who feels the same. It's been… a bit lonely so far. Until I met you, of course."

Keith looked unsure. "Is it bad that I'm.. only gay?"

Shiro stared at him, utterly surprised and a bit startled. "No! No, no, no! Keith, I didn't mean it that way."

His boyfriend relaxed again.

"I mean… In general. I like you so much. I don't care if you're gay or bi or… Or straight and in love with me. Or whatever. Just… I mean this one specific lable might be the same so.. That's what I meant."

Keith smiled and reached out for his arm. "I see. Sorry that I said this."

Shiro shook his head. "No, I should've said it differently. It was a confusing way to articulate it."

They looked at each other, relieved.

"You know, Shiro." Keith started. He stroke Shiro's arm a bit more, his fingertips pressing softly into the skin. "That one time when we were drinking together with Matt in this bar and when I got drunk. You remember?" Shiro nodded. Of course he remembered. He would never forget the drunk Keith. "When I said that I like you as much as my PE teacher of school back then." Keith bit his lower lip. "I think... I like you even more. No..." He smiled and looked up to meet Shiro's eyes. "I'm sure of it. I like you the most."

"That's a bit embarrassing, Keith." Shiro chuckled, his cheeks flushed red.

Keith grabbed a pillow and smashed it in his face. "I was serious here," he said while laughing.

Shiro giggled as well. When he was able to be serious again, he nodded and took Keith second hand.

"I like you as much as well. Even if I had a handsome, attractive PE teacher who could order me around."

Keith blushed.

"I would like you even more than everyone else. In… In this way." He added and leaned forward to kiss Keith on his lips.

When he withdrew, Keith pressed his lips on each other and smiled.

"Thank you," Keith said. But he looked thoughtfully. "When did you start liking me? In this way?"

Shiro was surprised about this question. He thought it through while keeping Keith's fingers in his.

"I think it was slowly at the beginning. It started slowly, like someone who is going to learn how to swim. And then, one day, I knew it."

"Which moment?"

Shiro frowned. "I can't say the exact moment. Somewhere before I met my cousin. I couldn't distinguish between the feelings for a friend or a lover anymore and ended up thinking that I really, really like you. But more as I ever felt for a friend of mine. I wanted to tell you everything about my life and listen to everything you would have to tell. And then, one day, I noticed that I might be in love with you."

Keith nodded. "Same for me."

They went silent for a minute or two until Shiro broke it.

"I'm relieved that you weren't just after my body."

Keith turned his head, looking stunned.

"Of course I am not!" He said loudly. "You're more than just muscles! You're far more than..." He stopped talking since he noticed the grin on Shiro's lips. "Oh, come on, Shiro!?" He boxed him into the shoulders while Shiro already started laughing. "Don't mess me up even more."

Keith started gigling as well. But Shiro frowned.

"You like me that much?" He asked, voice quieter now.

Keith went silent as well. His eyes looked at Shiro seriously. He nodded.

"I do," he said.

Shiro observed him before breaking into a wide smile once again. "I do like you as much as that. So… Which moment was it for you?"

Keith blushed and Shiro got even more curious.

"When I was drunk and you brought me home. I kept thinking about you the whole day and the next and… my heart felt weird and it hurt, but the pain was good." He looked up to meet Shiro's eyes. "I just knew. Maybe.. similar to the way you described it. Maybe there is not one moment, but many altogether."

Shiro nodded. "Yes," he murmured. "That sounds about right." He leaned forward and Keith raised his head. One hand slid up to Keith's neck and kept his head in position, while Shiro pressed a soft kiss on soft lips.

Shiro's head began to spin. He tested and licked over Keith's lips, who opened his mouth just enough for him to slid in his tongue.

It was weird. Everything was even more soft and wet as it normally was. He listened to Keith's shallow panting and a soft moan sounded from Keith's throat.

When they parted, they looked at each other. Keith licked his lips while looking anticipating. His gaze went from Shiro's eyes to his lips and back again.

"One more time," he said and scooted closer. They looped their arms around each other, hands on chest and shoulder and in the hair, deep sunken into their kiss which lasted even longer than all the kisses before. Shiro felt Keith's body heat. He pulled him closer, as close as it was still comfortable and sucked on Keith's tongue and inner side of the mouth.

He felt how Keith made himself a place in his lap, sitting between his legs, chest pressed against Shiro. His whole body fitted perfectly in front of him. As if he was made for this.

Shiro smiled while they changed slightly their positions some more, trying to get as much contact from the other as possible. He felt right. Right here, right there, having his arms looped around this precious person he could call his boyfriend.

Chapter Text

With the midterm exams being finished and the start of the latter half of the semester starting, Keith's birthday got closer as the October came slowly to an end.

Keith had never been the biggest one to celebrate his birthdays. Even as a child his parties had been small, which might have been due to the lack of friends or Keith's reclusiveness in general. He had never liked a big loud party. Thus, he'd usually celebrated his birthday with either his mother and Hunk. Since he had started to study in a different town, his birthday was in the middle of the semester and so there were only Hunk, Lance and maybe one or two other students from his classes he was invited by. During his first year Hunk, Lance and him had gathered during the weekend, ordered some food and just watched a movie or something. Lance complained about this plainness but he still came. He wasn't as close as Hunk but Keith still thought that it was nice to have him around.

When this year had started Keith wouldn't have imagined his birthday in any other way. But as things had changed, the main difference was that he would actually be able to celebrate with his very own boyfriend. It made this year special even though the plans didn't change much at all.

Since Keith had birthday on a Saturday, Shiro and Lance came to their apartment in the evening.

"Happy birthday, man!" Lance nearly shouted. He pulled Keith into a rather rough hug and slapped him on the shoulder.

"Thanks, Lance. Make yourself at home." Keith smiled shyly and gestured towards the room. Then his eyes started to sparkle as he looked up to Shiro who was waiting in the corridor.

"Keith," Shiro said. He came in and closed the door behind him. Since Hunk and Lance were sunken in excited chattering, Shiro leaned closer and kissed Keith on his lips. "Happy birthday, Keith," he mumbled.

"Thanks, Shiro." Keith blushed, his lips curled into a shy smile. He waited until Shiro got out of his coat and boots until they walked over to the others.

"I'll order some pizza, what do you want?" Hunk asked, having his phone ready. He raised his eyebrows while looking from one to the other.

"Mushrooms and sausages," Lance immediately answered while flopping down on the couch.

"Alright, Shiro?"

"Uhm, spinach and cheese?"

"Eww, spinach?" Lance made a weird face.

"Alright! Keith, I know what you want. You always take the same." Hunk smiled. Keith had opened his mouth but closed it again. It was true though. Whenever they ordered pizza, Keith would only choose Margherita. And so would Hunk. They had been doing this since forever. "I'm gonna phone them!"

"Thanks, Hunk!"

"Lance, you brought the movie?" Keith asked.

"Yep! It's all here. What the birthday boy asked for." He winked.

"He does that every year," Keith said towards Shiro. "He calls it his present. He only brings a movie he likes but nobody else."

Shiro chuckled.

"Hey now, Keith! You asked for this!" Lance frowned and wagged the DVD cover in his hands like a fan.

"Yeah, I know. This year is..."

"Special," Shiro said. He looked at Keith and for one moment they couldn't let go of each other.

"Alright, come down lovey-doveys! Time for the movie." Lance sighed while grinning, which was a weird thing to witness.

"Lance, move to the chair." Hunk had finished the call and returned.

"What, why?"

"Because the couple gets the couch that is. And Keith has birthday." Hunk shrugged but he winked at Keith.

Keith snickered and looked at Shiro once more. "That is Hunk's present," he explained with a grin.

"That's not true, Keith, I made breakfast for you today and served it in the bed!" Hunk crossed his arms in front of his chest while smiling proudly. But then he made a concerned look and added towards Shiro: "I hope you're okay with it. I didn't get in the bed together with him, I just brought the food."

"Oh god, Hunk!" Keith covered his face with his hand, his ears getting slightly red.

Shiro laughed. "It's alright, Hunk. Keith alreay texted me about it."

"Oh. Alright!" Hunk smiled in relief. "But still. Lance, move!"

With a lot of unreal effort and muttering Lance went to a chair and Hunk nearly pushed the couple down to sit on the cozy couch. Keith couldn't quite get rid of his embarassed feeling but he was still happy to sit next to Shiro. Anywhere would've been okay.

"Keith," Shiro adressed his boyfriend and fetched something from his bag. It was a square package wrapped in red paper with a fancy ribbon. "This is… This for you."

Keith made big eyes as he rather watched a shy Shiro handing him a present than the present itself.

"Oh, a real present, huh?" Lance mumbled from the chair though he seemed to be curious.

Shiro laughed. "Yes, it's a real present. Since it's your birthday and well." He shrugged and scratched the back of his head.

Keith gazed at him for a long time until he grinned. "Thank you Shiro." He leaned forward and kissed his boyfriend, even though there were more people around than the two of them. Keith noticed it just after and blushed. He cleared his throat and lowered his head, as if this would change what he had just done.

Shiro didn't seem to mind though he looked a bit surprised. As he kept a soft look in his eyes, he pointed on the present. "You need to open it first, Keith. Then you can thank me."

Keith nodded shyly and unwrapped the present to reveal a book. It was one written by the novelist they both appeared to like.

"You once told me that you didn't have this one yet so that's why I got this."

Keith smiled widely. "Thank you, Shiro. This is great, it was indeed missing in my.. collection?" He laughed. "I'm gonna read it next." He looked at Shiro again. "And then I'm gonna borrow it to you."

"Would be nice." Shiro chuckled. As Keith put book and paper on the couch, Shiro leaned back and when Keith made himself comfortable, Shiro had his arm around his shoulders, pulling him a bit closer. And Keith didn't mind the contact as he snuggled even closer.

"Can we start?" Hunk asked.

"Sure," Keith responded.

"Go ahead," Shiro followed.

Hunk nodded and threw Lance an asking glance. "Would you be so nice to put in the DVD for us?"

Lance sighed. "Alright, on my way, guys." He stood up. "That's what I get for bringing a movie and taking the chair. Only because it's closer to the DVD player."

Lance was still slightly muttering as he put in the DVD and made the settings. But as soon as the intro started he was smiling in eager expectancy.

They watched the movie for about half an hour when the doorbell rung and the pizza got delivered. After Hunk had paid and everybody settled with a plate and hot pieces of food, it became a cozy evening. There were soft munches, some screams from the weird movie and Hunk's complaints about the spices for his Margherita. Keith said that a Margherita had never many spices and mostly sauce and cheese which was the best part in general. And Hunk agreed although he said to make a better one next time.

Keith looked around, as he was sated from the pizza and leaned against the broad figure of his boyfriend.

When he was home several years ago, he would celebrate his birthday with his mother and their dog and Hunk, cook together or order food which they would eat all gathered in the living room.

In the previous year it had been Hunk and Lance and they had eaten pizza on the same couch while watching some dumb stuff Lance had chosen.

This year was different. It was an amazing feeling. The way of celebrating was the same as last year but having Shiro by his side, cuddled against him and feelings his warmth was incredible. Maybe turning 23 wasn't that bad after all.

Chapter Text

Keith thought about the last day where Shiro and he had exchanged those longlasting kisses on his bed. Heat rose inside of him and he couldn't deny but feeling a certain throb somewhere in his lower areas.

He didn't want to admit that it was Shiro's… bodily aesthetic which had caught his attention at first. There was so much more behind Shiro's facade which had made him fall for him and thus he didn't deny his attraction towards Shiro's body anymore. It was… a nice feature kind of and he caught himself fantasising about getting rid of any clothes they both wore and just touch him all over.

Keith shook his head. That was way too forward. He needed to be calmer about this. But he only ever did this with a girl, how was he supposed to do that to Shiro who was much taller than himself as well? Telling him to bend to in order to take off his shirt? Keith even chuckled about imagining this.

While walking down the hallway, Keith noticed some people who were probably watching his murmurs and thoughts he depicted by wild gestures. He ignored them.

He knew he wanted to see more, to do more, to touch more. But how to proceed? He wasn't sure if Shiro was okay with it as well. Hugging and kissing seemed to work so far. But how about s-se…x?

Keit stopped walking and blushed.

He couldn't even think that word.

With a strength he had left somewhere inside of him, he moved onwards and made his way to the fields. He wanted to meet Shiro and go to the bookstore. Shiro needed a new book for his studies and Keith wanted to tag along. He couldn't let the opportunity go to 1) spend time with Shiro and 2) to go to the bookstore.

He walked down the path and passed the tribune to see two guys of the team standing in front of the changing room. The rest seemed to be inside. Keith approached the two of them. By now, he knew them far better than before, since he came often to do sketches or pick up Shiro.

He wondered if it was too obvious like this. Maybe some might have already guessed that they had started dating. But maybe they just thought that they got along quite well and had become good friends. Keith wasn't sure about how and whom to tell yet, except his closest friends. And since Shiro had agreed to keep it a secret so far, nobody in his club should actually know about them.

Keith chatted a while with the two club members about some random things. It was mainly the other two who started a topic since Keith's mind was blank. And finally Shiro came out.

"Keith! You're already here. Or am I too late?" He checked his watch.

"No, that's fine." Keith smiled, always happy to see his boyfriend. His boyfriend! He could still freak out about this term.

"Should we go?"

Keith nodded.

"See you tomorrow," Shiro said to his clubmates. "Oh, wait, Keith! Come with me for a sec. I want a drink." He waved to the back of the building where a vending machine was set up.

When they reached it, Shiro dropped his bag and grabbed Keith's shoulder. With a strong but gentle force, he guided Keith towards the bulding's wall and pressed him against it.

Keith was surprised at first but knew what this was about.

"Thirsty, heh?" A smirk formed on his lips he couldn't suppress.

Shiro smiled. "Indeed," he whispered. "Couldn't concentrate that much today. Running time was bad," he said quietly while moving closer.

"And this will improve it?" Keith reached out and touched Shiro's arm to pull him even further.

Shiro shrugged. "We can try." He grinned, eyes showing a soft expression.

"Do so." Keith tilted his head and Shiro took the invitation.

He pressed his lips on Keith's, while one hand held the art student in position and the other looped around the smaller waste. With the same gentle force he pulled Keith towards his chest, pressing their bodies against each other.

Keith had felt already warm but now, with all this mighty body in front of him, he felt the temperature rising. The sound of Shiro's heart seemed to vibrate within himself. He slid his fingers over strong muscles – still warmed up from running and the shower – shoulders, back, and arms. He caressed the taut muscles formed around his buttocks just underneath the tight short and followed the strings alongside Shiro's arm with gentle care.

When they parted and caught for breath, trying to keep it low, Keith looked around. But nobody was in sight.

"You okay?" Shiro asked. He looked concerned, his cheeks were pinkish.

Keith nodded. "You?"

"Fine. No, better." Shiro grinned. "Sorry." He scratched the head of his back. "I just… needed to. I thought about you.. a lot today so.."

"It's okay, Shiro." Keith reached out and placed a flat hand on his boyfriend's chest. "I … Well, I also did that." He shrugged.

Shiro made big eyes. Then he smiled, partly relieved and partly curiously.

"Lets go." He said and Keith nodded. Shiro took his bag and together they went back to the front.

"Alright," Shiro said and lifted a hand to waive goodbye. "See you tomorrow, guys."

The captain stood now in front of the bench. He nodded. But then he frowned, his face irritated. "Didn't you want something to drink?"

Shiro and Keith stopped walking and looked at each other, both blushing.

"Ah… haha, well." Shiro looked from the ground to Keith to the captain and back to Keith. "Well, I.. I wasn't thirsty anymore."

The captain nodded slowly. "Well. See you tomorrow. Bye Keith!"

"Bye, Mako." Keith said. He waved in unison with Shiro and they made their leave.

When they were out of hearing sight, they looked at each other and broke into laughing.

"I'm sorry, Shiro. I should have remind you to get a drink." Keith hold his stomach.

"It's okay, Keith. I should've remembered this as well." He grinned. "I think they are not so so suspicious about it, right?"

Keith shrugged. "Dunno."

They walked side by side and when the street got calmer and they nearly left university ground, Keith looked around. Nobody was in sight. Most of the students had left already since it was past 7pm.

He checked twice but it seemed safe.

Slowly, he reached out and grabbed Shiro's hand. Shiro's gaze fell on him and smiled, grabbing Keith's hand even tighter.

Chapter Text

It became winter. The sky was grey, the clouds didn't seem to have ends or no beginnings at all, the crows in the park were not as active as in summer anymore, and the air tended to become foggy and stone-cold.

Keith had a long red scarf all wrapped around his neck, nearly covering half of his head. Both of his hands were stuffed into the pockets of his coat as he was trying to defrost them while waiting in front of the cinema. It was 2:53pm.

The year had nearly come to an end and Keith was surprised. The summer felt so close yet the warmth had to be safed within their bodies. Soon, the next year would come around and with this the next spring where he would be a thirdyear. Shiro would be a fourthyear, in his final year. And Keith wondered, what his boyfriend would do afterwards. Maybe Shiro himself wasn't sure of his plans either.

They were going out for a few months already. It felt like a long time but at the same time short as well. Keith kept thinking about Shiro – he always thought about him in one way or another – but there was one specific thing he had wanted to do. And since they were together now for a few months… He wasn't entirely sure how it was normally done. When do people sleep with each other while being in a relationship?

Keith bit his lower lip and tucked his scarf a bit higher over his nose.

He wondered.

He came to the conclusion that there was no rule. He was okay with touching and he wanted to be touched by Shiro. And Shiro seemed to think similarly. Keith trusted him. He liked him. He liked him so much that he wanted to do.. it.

But if Shiro wanted to wait.. If he wanted to try going out for a while without doing more and go on for another year he would be… fine, Keith thought. Apart from his nuts, but the rest of him would be fine. He didn't want to pressure Shiro. He didn't want to make him decide and hurry.

But if Shiro was okay, Keith was ready to go.

A blush turned on his cheeks and he was glad that his scarf covered most of his face.

"Keith!"

He turned his head and saw Shiro on his bike coming closer.

"I nearly didn't recognise you." Shiro laughed. "Your scarf," he added as Keith must have looked confused.

"Sorry. It's just…"

"Freaking cold?"

Keith smiled and nodded. He tucked down his scarf a bit, revealing a red nose to the frosty wind.

"Am I too late?" Shiro tried to search for his watch while his fingers were still packed into thick black gloves.

Keith threw a glance to the clock of the closeby bus station.

"No, you're early. It's 2:57pm."

"That's in time I'd say." Shiro grinned.

"I parked my bike over there." Keith pointed at a corner with a small frozen sign of a bike.

Shiro nodded and went to park and lock his own bike. When he returned, his smile was still on his lips.

They went into the small cinema and got two tickets for the movie they had wanted to watch. They decided to have some gummi bears and crackers and settled into their seats at the back of the showroom.

It was a movie about space pilots exploring a new star. They started their journey from Earth and encircled a planet before setting up a station and doing some experiments and measurements.

Keith found it quite interesting to watch, even though he didn't understand much of astrophysics. He thought of asking Matt if this was really true and viable what he watched on the screen.

The movie was quite well, but Keith didn't expect the sex scene the movie had. He had already wondered why the movie was for 18+ only and thus he couldn't help but blushing. It was weird with Shiro, his boyfriend, sitting directly next to him. Keith tried to hide his hot blooded emotions and squirming in his seat wasn't really helpful as well. He hoped that Shiro didn't notice and threw glances once in a while at him.

The track member seemed to be rather calm, showing no sign of embarassement at all. But Keith saw that his mouth formed a straight line and his fingers were burried in the armrest as they watched the two bodies moving against each other, their pace becoming faster and faster.

Keith tried to watch it as a normal scene, since it was kind of. In the end he even felt a bit relieved when the scene was over. Once the whole movie had finished, they went out and decided to go to a cafe.

After ordering, they settled down at the side of the well heated cafe, both with steaming cups keeing them warm. Keith wrapped his fingers around the mug, trying to get the cold out of them which had gotten back inside during the few minutes they had been walking to the cafe.

"How did you like the movie?" Shiro looked at him as in question.

"It was interesting. I'm no science student so I have to believe that everything was correct. But the most important thing was the possibility left to imaginations of the makers, right?" Keith frowned.

Shiro nodded. "Yes, that's true. Maybe one day we will go there exactly like this and do experiments on distant planets or even in other galaxies!"

"As an athlete?" Keith frowned while grinning.

"I'll run my 200m on Pluto." Shiro announced, although he needed to laugh.

Keith joined in.

"If I wouldn't be an athlete, I would've have become an astronaut." Shiro said, his voice and face all serious. And Keith believed it.

"And then you would be able to tell whether this movie made sense or not."

Shiro looked at him. "Thanks for your trust. But until then we can ask Matt or Hunk for advice."

"Hunk knows?" Keith asked frowning as he thought about it himself.

"Not sure. He's an engineer, right?"

Keith shrugged. "Doesn't have to mean that he knows about space things."

They looked at each other, both thoughtfully.

"You're right, he might not." Shiro nodded slowly.

They fell silent for a while, drinking their hot beverages.

"I'm sorry," Shiro said then.

Keith looked up. "About what?"

"I choosed the movie but.. I didn't know there was a scene in it like.. this, you know?"

"Like.. this? You mean like.. that?" Keith asked. He put both of his hands flat together.

Shiro giggled. "Yes, like that."

"I'm fine with it. Just surprised. But I'm okay seeing it. Not that I watch porn or something. Well..." Keith tilted his head, face all red.

Shiro chuckled. He reached out for Keith's arm. "It's okay," he said. "I'm relieved that you were okay. I was really stunned at first when they showed it."

"You… did things before, right?" Keith said hesitantly. He didn't want to say it aloud but was sure that Shiro would know that he was talking about those endless kisses they had shared so far.

Shiro nodded. "True, but there's no need to rush. I mean." He made a vague gesture but his look seemed determined, as if he wanted to dare something. “Now where we're at it. Are you..." He hesitated and played with the handle of his mug. He looked around but nobody sat right next to them. "Are you okay with... touching?" He looked from below back to Keith, his eyes showing an unknown insecurity. "I mean in a … body touching kinda way."

Keith looked at him seriously. He nodded. He hoped it didn't look like as if he wanted to start right away.

"I am," he said quietly. "I also wondered about that. It would be… somewhere next, right? Like.. we did other things but this would be the next step." He moved his arm and touched Shiro's fingers. "We could try to.. touch a little more than before. You know, like.. find out about stuff and things like this." He shrugged and hoped that Shiro didn't mind him being open like this. He looked up and saw Shiro staring at him.

"What?" He asked. Did he say too much?

"No, no." Shiro waved his other hand. "I was just… surprised that you would say it like that." He smiled and he really looked relieved. "But… stuff and things? What do you mean?"

Keith mumbled something. Truly unable to tell something like this in a cafe, even though nobody else was close by to listen to it.

"I can't understand you, Keith."

"Dont make me say something like that out loud and even in a place like that." Keith curled his lips. He wasn't angry but he just couldn't tell it out loud. Not there. "You know what I mean."

Shiro smiled and stroke Keith's fingers more.

"I know, Keith."

The touch of his big, warm hand was calming. Keith nodded and slowly, slowly he was his old self again.

"Sorry," he said.

"It's okay. I shouldn't have dared to ask right here."

Keith looked into Shiro's eyes. "Ask me later again."

"I will."

Chapter Text

It was late at night but Shiro was still awake, laying on his bed in the shadows of his room. The moon was shining through the slids of the curtains, offering some lost light.

They had a long chat in the cafe and separated after. The last university week of this year was about to start and each of them needed to focus on their studies before forgetting everything again once winter break would start.

Shiro had put one arm under and the other above his head, resting on his pillow. He kept staring at the dark ceiling where grey moon lighted dust settled slowly, while thinking about the day.

Their date had went well, though he had pushed Keith too much telling him about the meaning of the words Shiro had aleady known about. It had been too much and he felt still sorry about that. He didn't want to push Keith into the corner like this but he was curious and some part of him wanted to hear those words. He had still apologised when they had went different ways but Keith had been feeling alright again.

Shiro smiled.

Keith was like a wild cat in the zoo when someone knocked against the glass.

But Shiro knew how to calm down his boyfriend.

His boyfriend.

He smiled. It was really like that now.

He had understood Keith's reaction and knew that the anger wasn't directed onto him. He'd been just.. confused and troubled to talk about things like that in a cafe. Shiro was relieved that he was able to calm him down. It hadn't been fair, really.

He sighed.

They wanted to meet on the next weekend before they would return home to spend New Years with their families. And after this weekend, some busy months would follow until they would end this university year where so many things had changed.

Shiro closed his eyes.

He couldn't wait to see Keith.


*~*~*~*


They had agreed on meeting on Saturday at Shiro's place since Matt would be away visiting his sibling. Keith wanted to stay overnight as well.

Shiro was nervous. He ran around in the empty apartment, deciding whether to drink another sip of water or washing himself once more.

They had discussed this a bit and had decided to start a bit of touching. But he didn't know where this would end. Maybe he would do too much. What was a bit of touching anyway? He bit his lip and stood in front of the window, staring into nothingness, hands put in his hips.

He sighed. He was hopelessly gay for Keith and didn't want to change it. He wanted to touch Keith as much as he wanted to snuggle up next to him while falling asleep or protecting him from the presidents hurting words or some ninja or something.

He shook his head, chuckling.

When the bell finally rang, he flinched and didn't find the button at first. Once he finally managed to open the door, he listened to Keith's steps who came rushing into their floor.

"Hey!" Keith unwrapped his scarf and revealed a bright smiling face.

"Come in," Shiro said and closed the door behind.

Keith took a while to unpack his body. It looked a bit like a christmas present opening up himself.

Shiro smiled. Once Keith was finished he leaned down to kiss him welcome and Keith responded happily.

"You want something to drink?"

"Just water. And… not so cold, please."

Shiro nodded. "On the way."

They settled on the couch, each of them with a glass of water in their hands. Shiro felt that Keith was nervous as well, it was somewhere lingering in the air between them. They weren't just nervous but maybe a bit tense as well. But a good kind of tense.

They drank in silent. Shiro did everything he could to keep himself calm, breathing slowly and trying to control his blood pressure. But he failed.

"I'm… excited," he said quietly.

Keith lifted his head and seemed surprised. But then a flood of relief rushed over his face. "Me too," he said. "I'm glad I'm not the only one."

"Well," Shiro said while making an unknown gesture with his hands. "We gonna get to touch the one we like so I guess everybody would be excited and happy about it, right?"

Keith nodded. "Yes," he said, a small smile on his lips which seem to hide his full and true happiness.

Shiro looked at Keith, who sat crosslegged next to him, the glass of water in his hands. He was so fond of his boyfriend. A warm feeling made his way from his heart to his groin and he didn't stop that. He reached out with one hand and took the nearly untouched water out of Keith's grip. He noticed that Keith observed his movements as he put both of their glasses on the couch table.

Shiro lifted his hand once more and stroke Keith's hair so that he could see him into the eyes. Keith's head turned and their eyes interlocked, both warm and comfortable to be around each other.

Shiro wanted to say something daring. Wanna start kissing really slowly? Or Should we go to the bedroom? But he didn't manage and just leaned forward to kiss Keith on his lips.

He felt the soft and wet touch the water had left behind. But Keith's scent was everywhere, enveloping him. Keith's smaller fingers searched for a grip on Shiro's arms. Shiro felt one hand sliding up to his neck and pulling him down. He had to steady himself until he hovered over Keith, who had looped his legs around Shiro's waist.

They kept kissing and stroked each others arms, chests, and hair. Shiro started slowly sucking on Keith's lower lip and tongue, which resulted into the small moans Keith had made several times before and Shiro had remembered so well every time he felt lonely in his room.

Shiro lifted a hand and cupped Keith's cheek with the scar, his thumb stroking over the damaged skin. He moved his kisses to this spot and touched the skin gently with his lips. Then he opened his eyes and looked into Keith's. They were so soft and warm and something in Shiro knew that this was right. They were right here, together. And all those years where he thought he had missed something were gone in this blink of an eye and he was so so happy to have met Keith. Their age difference made this happen and many other things which didn't mean that those had been good things but things which had happened and had led to this moment. And Shiro was absolutely sure that many more moments were to come.

"Wanna go to your room?" Keith asked. He lifted his hand from Shiro's neck and stroke over the athlete's cheek. His eyes followed his own movements before returning to Shiro's view.

"Yeah," Shiro whispered.

They sat up – Keith was taking his bag with him – and managed their way to Shiro's room, not letting go of each other the whole time. Then they stood in front of the bed and suddenly Shiro didn't know anymore where to start. He had played this through in his head over and over but now, where he was actually here, he didn't know anymore.

Keith placed his hands on Shiro's stomach and reached up to kiss his boyfriend softly. Then he felt how the smaller man reached out for his hands and pulled him with him onto the bed.

With a soft oomph they landed on the mattress. Keith must've felt Shiro's insecurity. He shifted his body until he sat on Shiro's abdomen, legs folded on both sides.

Shiro felt his blood rushing to both sides: face and groin and couldn't help it. Keith bent down, steadied himself with one hand and placed the other in Shiro's hair. They kissed again, long and slow.

Shiro was relieved to have this start. He liked the shyness as well as the straightforwardness of Keith. It gave him a foundation he thought he had lost.

Now, he had gained his self conscious back again. He stroke Keith's sides, one hand pressing the firm body closer to his chest, the other slid under the sweatshirt he wore. He wanted to take it really slowly but his hands were faster and thus he started tucking at the hem, wantng to get it off of Keith.

Keith lifted his upper body to get his fabric off and smiled down on Shiro.

"This too," Shiro said and slid his fingers under the black t-shirt of Keith. A soft shudder ran over his boyfriends body and Shiro made big eyes. "Sorry, I didn't mean to.."

"It's okay, Shiro." Keih smiled and opened his eyes. "It just… felt good."

Shiro sighed. He watched how Keith straightened himself and got his shirt off, exposing a hunch of soft muscles and two dark nipples. Shiro couldn't help it but touch the skin right in front of him. He noticed the shuttered breath Keith did and smiled. This body belonged to his beloved Keith, his boyfriend. He was warm and comfortable to be with him. And his stomach was surprisingly firm to touch.

"You're really well build," he said. His fingertips slid over the navel and surrounded the chest.

Keith raised a brow. "Surprised?"

Shiro nods. As good as he could since he laid on his back. "But pleasingly," he added.

Keith smiled and shrugged. "Well," he said. "I do need to carry lots of clay and equipment once in a while. Like.. every week. And I was a member of the track and field club in junior high. Though… that's a bit long ago now."

Shiro snickered. "That doesn't matter. You still have it." He grinned and ran over the muscles. "Left over muscles."

Keith laughed on that and Shiro had to giggle.

"Now," Keith put his hands on Shiro's shirt. "You too."

It was a bit difficult since Shiro was laying down but they managed to get him off of his garment. Shiro rested back again since Keith didn't move away much from his position. He observed how the art student watched the chest, pecs and abdomen carefully. He had seen them before and Shiro knew that many other sport student had seen him even fully naked before. But now, laying halfly bare in front of his boyfriend, he felt different. He felt more exposed and shy than ever before. Even when Keith was doing sketches of him.

When Keith moved his touches to his clavicle, shoulders, and arms he saw a certain change in the look of his eyes. When Keith reached the old scar left from several operations, a mixture of pain and sadness ran through Keith's dark eyes.

"It's alright, Keith. I don't feel anything anymore."

Keith lifted his gaze and nodded slowly but unconvinced.

"Normally it's covered by your clothes, even with a shirt," Keith mumbled. "It's a part of you, you don't need to hide it."

Shiro stared at him in surprise. It was true that he had bought many shirts at first with this intention. He had been careful about long or short sleeves since he didn't want to scare someone. Also, he didn't want to be asked about this darker past about him. But now, this part was fully exposed. He had learned to be free about it and was content to have told Keith about it. And Keith… He understood him. He accepted who he was.

Keith leaned forwards and pressed soft kisses on the uneven scars. "It's a part of you," he said again, his hot breath touching Shiro's skin. "I love it still. It belongs to you. It's within yourself."

Shiro reached out and lifted Keith's head with a soft grip.

"Thank you," he said, his voice a bit broken. He cleared his throat. "Thank you, Keith."

Keith tilted his head, leaning closer into the touch, before approaching Shiro and kissing him once more.

They lost themselves in their kisses and explored each others upper bodies slowly, stroking and sliding their fingers over skin. Shiro reached for Keith's nipples, surrounded them with his fingers and reached down with his other hand to Keith's pants. He himself was already hard but he also felt Keith's member pressing against his lower abdomen. Shiro caressed slowly the bulge which had formed underneath the fabric and noticed how Keith breathed in sharply. A soft moan followed and Shiro smiled fondly, pressing a kiss on the neck and jawline of his boyfriend. He watched how Keith closed his eyes, enjoying Shiro's slow movements on his dick. Shiro meant to get him there slowly, maybe doing it together even.

But right before he thought of letting go, Keith shuddered and a sigh left his mouth. His chest dropped down on Shiro and Keith's fingers gripped for warm flesh to keep him steady.

"K-Keith?"

"Mhmm," Keith made. Shiro wasn't sure if this was a moan or an answer.

"Are you okay? Did you just… just..."

"Yes, I came. Sorry about that." Keith lifted himself up, his eyes showed a mixture of apology and guilt. "I-I will come back. Sorry." He grabbed his shirt while leaving the room.

And once again he was too fast as Shiro could do anything.

"Keith?"

Left alone he listenend to Keith's footsteps going to the bathroom, the sound of the door being pulled open and closed again and then only his own breath. He didn't want Keith to feel bad about what happenend. If Keith would have touched his dick, it would've been the same Shiro thought.

He bit his lip and glanced down. The half hard dick, clearly visible in his loose pants, seemed to be disappointed.

"It's okay, buddy. Hang in there," Shiro mumbled. "He'll come back."

It took a few minutes until Keith returned. His face was red and in his hands he carried a bunch of wet clothes.

"Sorry," he said quietly.

"No, Keith. It's okay. I was feeling it as well." Shiro sat up and wanted to reach out for Keith.

"You didn't come just yet." Keith raised a brow.

"Well… no. Not yet." Shiro grinned. He couldn't suppress it.

Keith smiled and nodded. He seemed relieved.

"Wanna come back here on the bed?" Shiro patted the place beside him.

"Uhm, yeah. Just…" Keith put the bunch of clothes on his own bag and fetched another pair of underwear. And then Shiro realised that Keith had tucked down his shirt he had put on again. He didn't wear anything besides.

Shiro was so so curious to just remove the shirt as well but he didn't want to push Keith again. He waited until Keith wore a new pair of underwear, removed the shirt again and came back to the bed. A shy smile on his lips.

Shiro reached out for his shoulder and caressed the soft skin, stroking the old scar.

"It's okay, Keith. I mean.. we're still young, right?"

Keith looked up to him. "I'm younger," he said. He grinned.

Shiro laughed. "Yeah, yeah, I know, I'm an oldtimer. Now come back here." He pulled him into his lap and Keith giggled as he looped his arms around Shiro's shoulders once more.

They looked at each other and their giggles became silent smiles.

"Sorry," Keith said with a small voice.

"It's okay." Shiro stroke Keith's cheek with his thumb, reassuring the warmth and comfortness they had just minutes before. "I still love you."

Keith smile became broader. "Me too."

Shiro leaned forward and pulled his boyfriend into a kiss. It started soft but soon their tongues were entwined and hot breaths exchanged.

"Do what I did, Keith.. Please." Shiro opened his eyes to meet Keith's confusing ones. He smirked. With one hand keeping Keith's hips where they were, he grabbed with his other Keith's fingers and guided them downwards until his boyfriend could feel the swell of flesh which had grown again.

Keith blushed again.

"Okay." Keith nodded. He stroke the bulged fabric and Shiro melted literally in this touch. Keith smaller but firm grip felt good on his dick. He noticed Keith tucking at his pants and he opened his eyes.

"No, Keith. Just like that."

"In your pants?"

Shiro nods. "Just as I did it to you."

Keith hesitated. "It will feel disgusting."

"Which part?" Shiro asked, honestly worried.

Keith smiled. "The after part of course. The feeling of cum inside your pants."

Shiro nodded. "Yes, that's fine. We can dry our pants together. Now, Keith, get moving. I won't last long. I want to feel you too, just like you felt me. I want to feel good with you, together."

Keith laughed quietly but agreed and started stroking Shiro's member again, this time more eagerly and with strength in his grip.

Keith kneaded his package thouroughly and it took a bit longer for Shiro to finally feel the high end. Though that might be due to the disruption they had. But he felt good. Better as when he was doing it himself. Way better. Nearly too good.

He moaned softly, not minding that Keith could hear him very well. Shiro stroke Keith's back and side and kissed his jaw and neck which Keith replied the same way, fingers occupied.

"Hnn.. Keith, I.." Shiro sighed and opened his eyes just in the right moment. He looked into Keith's dark blue once, and came.

A shudder ran through his body and he felt this feeling of cum inside his pants. It took a while to gather his breath and strength again. Keith still sat on his thighs, observing him coming back to his senses.

"Keith." Shiro swallowed, mouth dry and hollow.

"I'm here, Shiro." He smiled and reached out to stroke through his short hair. Shiro was suddenly needy and leaned in this touch, before he got his words once more.

"You were right," he said. A grin on his lips, he looked up to Keith, who seemed confused. "It sure does feel disgusting."

Keith laughed. "I told you."

"But… It felt amazing. You surely are talented with these fingers."

Keith turned red. "O-only for you though."

"Of course." Shiro grinned.

Keith climbed down and settled besides the athlete's shoulder. He pressed a kiss on his scarred skin.

"Now we did it," Shiro sighed.

"The start of more you mean?" Keith raised an eyebrow while he looked up, his head still resting on Shiro's shoulder.

Shiro gulped. He clearly felt the light grip of Keith's fingers, his black hair tingling on his skin and the soft eyes which revealed a hint of hidden lust.

Shiro nodded. "Y-yeah," he managed to say. Keith smiled and pressed another kiss on his arm.

"Great."


*~*~*~*


After they had cleaned their pants and put on new ones, they sat together and watched a movie. Only half of it though. Most of this distraction caused Keith's legs which were resting over Shiro's left thigh and his moving body which was too excited over the action scenes. And Shiro couldn't help but pull his boyfriend closer, much closer, until their lips met again and they didn't even recognise that the end credits were already through.

They tried to start another movie and managed to get most of the story. When Shiro suggested to make some dinner, they prepared it together. It seemed natural to have Keith around, getting some water, washing the rice or the leek while giving Shiro's cheeks or shoulder little kisses here and there. Shiro felt content and satisfied and this feeling kept being inside of him until the night fell. They snuggled close to each other in Shiro's bed. Shiro wrapped one arm around Keith's slim body which craddled himself like a cat close to his chest. Shiro felt his own heartbeat beating like a festivals drum and couldn't calm down at first.

"I'm the same," Keith whispers and guided Shiro's hand to his chest, where another drum resided.

Shiro smiled and kissed Keith's forhead. He wasn't left alone with his excitement to finally have Keith in his arms and to be able to see him first thing in the morning. He closed his eyes and listened to the music both of their hearts created this night.

Chapter Text

Winter break started and with this the longest time Keith had to endure without seeing Shiro nearly every day. His mother's house was in next town and the drive took only less than an hour. But he was happy to be back again. The first thing he did was throwing away his winter boots and cuddle Kosmo, who jumped at him as soon as he opened the door. Krolia put away the car keys (she had picked him up from the train station) and slid out of her boots and coat, before heading towards the kitchen.

"You want some tea, Keith?"

"Sure, Mom. Thanks." Keith wiped away Kosmo's saliva with the back of his hand. He tended to drool a lot when he was excited. Keith got out of his thick winter garments and followed his mother into the kitchen. The big dog tagged along and watched how Keith helped his mother prepare a small tea break.

They sat together at the kitchen table, where the used to have breakfast and dinner as often as their occupations had allowed it when Keith was younger. Krolia was on holiday as well and that's why Keith was eager to get home some days earlier than Hunk. Since they both were raised in this town, the wanted to come here together. But Krolia would be gone for a couple of days after Christmas and return on New Year's Day. And Keith wanted to spend those few days they had with each other.

Even if it meant to be away from Shiro for two days more.

He sighed and turned around his spoon is his mug.

Keith's hometown wasn't far away from his university city. But Shiro would be all the way up in Hokkaido to visit his father. Going there takes at least a day, though Keith was relieved that Matt and Pidge went with him. And since Matt had a car, they could take turns in driving.

Nothing compared to the boring train ride Keith had taken with all those familiar sceneries he had seen from a very young age.

"What's up, Keith?"

Keith lifted his gaze and noticed that his mother watched him carefully.

"Are you okay? The train had a delay." She frowned.

"I'm fine, Mom. Just.. I would like to go to Hokkaido some day."

"Hokkaido?" Krolia seemed surprised and Keith remembered that he never told that Shiro was born on the northernmost island.

He nodded.

"Why Hokkaido, Keith?" She took another cookie and dipped it in her tea. Small scrumbles fell off as the hard dough lost it's texture.

"Ah, well… I've never been there and uhm..."

"It's cold there in winter. You should go there in summer."

Keith smiled. Of course she would know about Hokkaido. She had been there for work. Often. Not caring about the seasons. Keith wondered to which places his mother haven't been so far.

"I know but… Ah well, everybody is there and I'm curious and.." Keith sighed. There was no helping it. "Shiro's hometown is there."

Krolia nodded slowly, her dark eyes fixated on her son. "I see," she finally said.

Keith frowned. That was all?

"You're… not gonna ask more or something?"

Krolia shrugged and munched on her cookie. "You wanna tell me more?"

Keith thought about it. About Shiro. About the things they had shared. The memory of the last Saturday flashed in his mind and he couldn't help but blushing.

"Well..." he said quietly, kneading his fingers around his mug. He was sure that she already knew what was going on but he wanted to say it himself. Maybe it would feel more real. And this time was different as when he was dating this girl. Now, with Shiro, it felt more… more real, but in another sense. It felt right. As if this was meant to be exactly like that.

"Shiro… Well Shiro and I, uhm..."

Krolia waited patiently, a soft smile on her lips.

"Well we, uhm… started da-dati-dating." Keith's voice somehow disappeared on his way and he was relieved that Krolia nodded which meant he didn't need to repeat his words again.

"You're fond of him," she stated.

"Yes, I am. I'm… Is it okay?" He looked up to watch her tall figure even while bein seated.

Krolia seemed surprised about it. "What do you mean?"

"That he is… Well that he is… a he."

"Are you okay with it?"

Keith didn't know what to say. "Well, yes, that's why I started dating him. Oh, that sounded wrong." He scratched the back of his head.

Krolia snickered. "You choosed him in a sort of way. And when you like him, when you like the person you like, I don't care who or what he is."

Keith nodded. Then, realisation hit him and he lifted his head once more. "Really?"

Krolia nodded, her face serious.

He smiled and drank up his tea. "You," he started slowly. "You knew it, right?"

"That you like men?"

Keith flinched. He hadn't expected this directness. "Well, yes?"

Krolia tilted her head. "In a way. But… I'm fine with it, Keith, really. There is no reason why I shouldn't. Also, you're my son and there is nothing you could do to stop me loving you."

Keith opened his mouth but didn't find any words for this. This was one of the most open talks they ever had and he was lucky to have her as his mother.

He stood up and put his empty mug on the counter, before returning. He hugged his mother, shortly pressing his cheek into her soft hair.

"Thanks, Mom," he whispered. He felt her hand grabbing his arm reassuringly.

"You're welcome, Keith."


*~*~*~*


The day after Christmas, Krolia needed to go to her work again. She wouldn't come back for five days. Keith spent most of the time in his room or Hunk's since he had arrived just the day before Christmas. They visited each other's houses often as they had done when they were younger or before they had entered university. Their families were close and Keith thought the similarity to Shiro's and Matt's families. Keith had always been welcome to the Garret's house, even though he had felt as an intruder who only had two friends where one of them was a dog.

But at some point he had gotten used to it and he enjoyed spending his time at either Hunk's place or his. Though there was always way more going on at his friend's place.

Hunk and Keith would watch movies together, walk Kosmo who didn't tag along Krolia this time, or just spent non-speaking time together, where each of them was involved with old video games or books.

Some afternoons, Keith just sat on the window sill of his old room and watched the falling snow and the lightbulbs still out from Christmas. These were calm times where he could just follow his thoughts and build up some ideas for new art pieces or things he wanted to do with Shiro.

He thought about Christmas time. It had been a quiet day with his mother and him cooking together. His grandparents had visited them on the afternoon and they all had dinner together.

Keith smiled.

He liked it when everything was quiet and everybody content about the world. No quarrels, no fights, nobody hurt somewhere.

Of course they would sit in the living room, where the small altar for Keith's father was set up, refresh some incense and give him a prayer and a soft smile whenever looking at the old picture of a smiling man with stubbles, pale skin, and short brown hair.

The second day Krolia was gone and Kosmo asleep, Keith felt suddenly lonely. He went down to the living room and sat in front of the picture and told his father about his life. About his friends, his classes, his sculptures and plans. And he also talked about Shiro and told his Dad that he had a boyfriend and was happy.

The days seemed to be longer since he woke up later and Keith felt far more relaxed than during the semester. Luckily he had no homeworks and for the first time after starting university, he felt satisfied with himself and his situation.

But he missed Shiro. He missed him so much. Even these two weeks were too long. He wanted to see him, his broad figure who would always smile widely whenever he saw him. He wanted to go on another date with him, to the cinema or the bookshop. He wanted a hug, a long and soft hug and two strong hands stroking over his back and burry in his hair.

Keith remembered every touch and the kisses. The last kiss they had shared before Keith left town. He thought about the things they had done so far, remembered the feeling of warm skin on his, flexing muscles taking care of Keith's needs.

He wanted to see him so badly and this was normally the point where a hot mass grew inside his stomach. It slowly drifted further towards his groin and he couldn't help but jerked off to this.

It left an only half satisfied feeling and a bit of guilt. But when he imagined that Shiro was doing something similar, he swallowed and thought of repeating everything allover.

He couldn't wait for this winter break to end and see Shiro in flesh again.

Chapter Text

Shiro: I also want to see you!


Keith: I can't wait anymore. Can I come over?


Shiro: I'm already in my boots :D I'll start driving in a minute.


Keith: ^_^ <3


Shiro: Guess you're happy? :D


Keith: Very!

Keith: Please be careful! It's still snowy outside.


Shiro: I will. Thanks! See you soon <3



Keith smiled so wide that he feared about his jaws getting so used to this wide mouth that he would never be able to sulk again.

He would see him! In less than 30 minutes!

He grinned. Wider than before. If that was even possible.

Keith got up from his bed, too nevous to just lay down until Shiro arrived. But there was still some time he had to kill. He tried reading but soon lost concentration. His eyes only following the lines but his head didn't take in the words.

He decided to get a drink and took a long time to scoot through the fridge. It was pretty full. Hunk and him had returned this morning and went to buy groceries soon after. University wold start in two days already.

Keith knew that Shiro did return on the same day. They had texted everyday during the winter break but now the time finally had come. He would be able to see him again!

He ended up drinking some water. Making coffee would've taken more time which would've been better since he needed to wait anyway. But now he had his water and he was okay.

He somehow managed to pass 15 minutes by running through the small living room/kitchen, cleaned the surfaces and table, watched the nearby trees and bushes and arranged the shoes according to their size.

Keith was just about to think whether he should clean the bathroom or better leave it to Hunk, as a knock on the door made his heart jump. He basically ran to the door until he thought that it might be a neighbour who wanted to borrow milk or something. And only 17 minutes (he had watched the clock like every 20 seconds at least) had passed. Shiro couldn't be so fast.

Keith took a deep breath to calm him down and to face whoever came over so late on this Saturday evening, before he opened.

"Keith!"

A brush of cold fabric on his skin and icy lips on his made him realise that it was definitely not a neighbour asking for milk.

Shiro released him, both of his gloved hands slid down and rested on Keith's shoulders.

"Shiro! What…? How…?" Keith smiled dumbfounded.

"Matt was about to drop Pidge at the station and took me along." Shiro grinned. "They made sure to drop me first."

Keith nodded. He knew that Shiro had told Matt and Pidge about their relationship. Since they were close and Shiro's childhood friends, he was okay with it.

"Come in first."

Shiro did as he said and closed the door behind. He took off his gloves and stuffed them in the bags of his winter coat. He truly looked approriate for a longer walk into the wild, his hair hidden underneath a thick hat and his coat was covering half of his legs. Nothing else to be expected from someone originating Hokkaido.

"The tales are true," Keith murmured.

"Which tales? Am I that famous?" Shiro giggled.

"No, just… my mother told me things." Keith shrugged. He first had to process that he was really seeing Shiro right in front of him. "Get out of this coat. Hurry."

Shiro laughed and as soon as his coat was off his shoulder and on the hook near to the door, Keith pulled him down to kiss him once more. This time longer and even deeper. He licked over Shiro's cold lips until they opened and he could feel his hot tongue waiting inside.

One hand around his boyfriend's neck to keep him right there and close to his face, Keith scooted the other over his shoulders and chest and looped it around the small of his back to pull his whole body as close as possible. He felt Shiro's hands surrounding his face and sliding into his hair, stroking them.

"Uhm, guys?"

They broke apart and looked where the sound came from. Hunk stood there, already wearing his pyjamas with a big yellow lion on it's frontside.

"Sorry, guys, I didn't want to interrupt you but I need to pee." He smiled. "Guess you would have noticed anyway since you'll hear the flush and I didn't want to make you feel more embarassed."

"Too late for that," Keith said. He blushed and saw that Shiro was the same.

"So… Can I go?" Hunk asked, frowing.

"Sure," Shiro replied, voice a bit broken. He cleared his throat. "Go ahead."

Keith saw Hunk's apologetic gaze and then looked back at Shiro who wiped away saliva from his cheek.

"Let's go to my room," Keith said. He grabbed Shiro's hand and waited until his boyfriend got out of his boots before going to his room. He closed the door.

"Sorry," he said.

"No problem."

They looked at each other and started giggling.

"Really." Shiro sighed. "I've missed you a lot. I couldn't wait. We came back and just dropped our luggage and then I saw your text. I needed to come right away."

"Otherwise it would've been me who would have come to see you."

"I know." Shiro smiled. He lifted a hand and placed it on Keith's side once more. His hand was surprisingly warm now. Shiro leaned down and Keith closed his eyes as they kissed again.

Keith came closer, sliding his finger over Shiro's sweatshirt. He scooted downwards until he reached the hem and was eager to stroke below the fabric to finally get a feel of warm skin. But he was disappointet as he touched fabric once again.

"Just how many layers are you wearing?" He asked, breaking away from the kiss, laughing.

"It's heat tech," Shiro answered. "And it's freaking cold outside. You would do that as well when you go out on the street."

"Guess so. But..." Keith hesitated. He stroke over the fabrics, unsure how to express what he wanted.

"Should I get rid of it?"

Keith looked up to meet grey eyes full of expactations. He nodded.

They finally settled on Keith's bed and took their time kissing and stroking each others skin as if they wanted to check whether they are still here, together and alive.

When both of them seemed sated, Keith pulled his blanket around both of them and nuzzled his head in the crook between Shiro's neck and shoulder.

"Missed you too," he whispered.

Shiro pressed a small kiss on Keith's head and hummed.

"Wanna tell me about your winter break?" Keith asked.

"You already know about it." Shiro must meant the huge amount of texts they had shared.

"I know but… Tell me with your words."

Shiro chuckled. "Alright." And then he spoke about his winter on Hokkaido.

He talked about the long way home while sitting in Matt's car and discussing about all kinds of things. Pidge, who was fond of Hunk, had wanted to know everything Shiro knew about him. When they had finally reached the bay of Aomori, they'd set over via ferry and drove another two hours to reach their hometown. Shiro talked about his father welcoming him with a lot of warmth. They's went together to the shrine and had some long conversations together. They usually spent Christmas with Matt's family since his father wouldn't be too alone. And too distracted from the small altar they had for Shiro's mother.

For New Years they'd went to the shrine and celebrated together. Shiro's father hand't joined but Shiro had made sure that he was okay.

"He needs attention as much as he doesn't want it," Shiro said. He smiled softly. "I'm grateful that Matt's parents are there to look after him. He can't be left alone entirely but if he could he would do so." Shiro stroke Keith's shoulder slowly.

"Is he really okay?"

"Yeah," Shiro said frowing. "He is just… sad. My mother was.. She was really important to him and he just lost her without being able to do something for her. There are still difficult times but we manage." He took a small break. "It's just… It was a lot on him. He didn't just lost his wife but his son got ill and no one knew if I could make it. Matt's family helped out a lot. Financially as well. It was just too much for him over a long decade. I think he still tries to recover from it "

Keith sat up and watched Shiro's eyes. He spoke softly but he looked worried. Shiro noticed Keith's concern.

"It's okay, Keith. We're fine."

"Are you sure?"

Shiro nodded. "He's not alone. He never was. And we had a beautiful time up there."

Keith was relieved. He leaned back and looped his arm around Shiro's middle.

"I'm glad," he whispered. He pressed his cheek into Shiro's side and closed his eyes while listening to his boyfriend's heartbeat.

Chapter Text

At the end of January they had finally some free time again. University had started with a full work load as usual and everybody was so busy that Shiro and Keith didn't find many free slots in their schedules matching. But the end of January was usually the calm before the storm of finals. Everyone gathered there strengths, reloaded batteries and got the books from the library before they were all gone.

Keith's preparations seemed to be mainly consistent of getting together supplies before he could start his project they only were allowed to do in a certain time frame. And Shiro was mostly found in the library between piles of books he thought he would never finish before graduating university.

That's why Shiro was happy to have set this Saturday to meet up. It was often a Saturday since he was at the tack and field club on Friday evenings and because he wanted to stay overnight at Keith's place, Saturday was made the best choice. They would've endless time to share whatever they felt like and there was no need to hurry to get to university the next day.

Shiro arrived at his boyfriend's place at 5pm. He had a late lunch and Matt had some stuff to discuss which is why he ended up later than expected.

When Keith opened the door he didn't look angry.

"I'm sorry," Shiro said. Once the door was closed they exchanged a kiss and Shiro gave his boyfriend a tight but short hug.

"It's okay, Shiro. I'm glad we could find some time." Keith smiled. "And you sent me a text that you'd be later."

"Yes, but.."

"No but, just accept that it's okay."

Shiro was surprised. But he nodded. "Alright. Thank you." He gave Keith another kiss, this time a bit longer.

"Was that a reward?" Keith chuckled.

"Well.." Shiro grinned and scratched the back of his head. "Maybe?"

Keith tucked at his sleeves. "Get out of your coat and boots. You can help me prepare dinner."

They made a simple dish, noodles with sauce and salad, and settled on the couch to eat.

"Where's Hunk?"

"In his room. He took something to eat with him and said to not disturb him since he wanted to video chat with Pidge for… a long time I guess." Keith threw a glance to the clock on the wall.

"I see." Shiro took another bite and frowned. "Sooo.. they're now kinda.. dating? Or what?"

Keith shrugged. "I have no idea. He always dodges the question whenever it comes up."

"He likes Pidge," Shiro stated.

"Did they say it?"

Shiro nodded. He remembered clearly Pidge's whole conversation with themselves during their ride up to Hokkaido. It was indeed a very long trip. But he was content to see that one of his closest friends was happy.

"Pidge likes Hunk. Not sure how they will work it through though. Hunk doesn't seem to be afraid of talking about things concering… some other gender." Shiro watched Keith's reaction.

"Not really," the art student said. "Anyway. You wanna watch something after dinner?"

"Sure."

They chatted a bit more while eating. After, they washed the dishes together in the small kitchen, which resulted in some more body contact as it was usual in a kitchen.

When eveything was clean and neat, Shiro closed the curtains while Keith put in the DVD he had borrowed from Lance. Some strange action movie.

"What is it about?" Shiro asked curiously as he settled on the couch once more.

"Not sure. Something about cowboys riding giant cats in space or so?" Keith flipped over the DVD cover and inspected the flashy pictures. Then he shrugged. "Well, Lance recommended it. So it's probably crappy."

Shiro laughed. "Let's give it a try. If it's really not good I know of something else." He watched how Keith's eyes flickered upwards and a grin appeared on his boyfriends lips.

"Promised?"

"Sure. Now, come." Shiro patted the empty space next to him but instead of just sitting down, Keith leaned closer and pushed Shiro's legs aside. Shiro couldn't help but blush and wonder, what on Earth Keith was about to do just now. But he just settled down between Shiro's thighs and lean backwards to rest his back against Shiro's chest.

Shiro felt the warmth of Keith's back and couldn't help but pull him into a tight hug.

"Ah, Shiro, wait! I need to grab the remote for…."

Shiro pressed his nose into the soft black hair and a kiss into it. He felt that Keith tried to grab the remote but couldn't reach it. He gave up eventually and turned his head a bit to meet Shiro's eyes. A smile formed on his face.

"Feeling good?"

Shiro nods. "You're really warm. I like it."

"I like it too." He tilted his head and kissed him on the lips. "Now… wanna start the movie?"

"Alright." Shiro let him go but only as far as he could take the remote control and switch on the movie.

They watched the beginning of the movie in silence. But there were so many scenes they had to discuss about that they didn't quite follow the red line since they were mostly talking about those scenes they watched. If there was any red line, they didn't notice it.

But more important was something else. Shiro liked how Keith moved around so much. His hands rested on Shiro's legs and thighs and arms and sometimes Shiro couldn't restrain himself from craddling him as tightly as before. During the calm scenes Keith would lean back and rest his head on Shiro's chest. Shiro stroke through the wild black hair and put his other hand above Keith's stomach.

Suddenly a thud announced Hunk's approach and soon his door flung open. Shiro had heard him faintly talking before, though one sidedly only. He must've worn headphones while video chatting. Now, he stood there in the door frame wearing a t-shirt and loose pants, his gaze falling on the two of them.

Shiro was relieved that Hunk knew about the both of them dating. But re remembered that Keith's friend had already seen them kissing and he still felt embarassed about it.

"Oops, snuggle date. Sorry guys!" Hunk grinned with an apologetic look. "I just wanna grab some popcorn and watch some movie in my room.. alone."

Shiro felt sorry to push him out without having done anything.

"Just go get it," Keith mumbled.

"You wanna join us?" Shiro added. He saw that Keith threw him a short glance, not sure if he was okay or unhappy about it. Of course Shiro wanted the both of them to have some us-time but Hunk was a nice guy and it wouldn't hurt asking. And he knew that Keith wouldn't mind if Hunk actually said yes. Though.. just the two of them would be best of course.

"No, thanks, Shiro. I will leave you two." Hunk smiled. He scooted to the kitchen counter and rustled some popcorn from somewhere out of the cupboards. He winked at Shiro before heading back into his room.

They fell silent again as they continued trying to watch the movie.

"I… shouldn't have asked?" Shiro wanted to be sure about it. He didn't want to fight either so he asked in order to prevent it.

Keith turned his head. It felt weird having his hair and head shifting on his stomach below his head. But it felt good.

"No, it's fine. I don't want Hunk to be alone but.. he had Pidge just to himself. I also didn't disturb their video chat date."

"Was it a date though?"

"Well.. That's the question."

They watched the movie to the end. It was quite good in the beginning and Shiro really liked the characters and their developments. But it got strange to the end. And afterall, Shiro didn't understand what had happenend there. But he didn't mind and would remember the good parts of it.

"Wanna go in my room? It's gotten late, already." Keith's eyes scooted to the clock though it already laid in darkness.

"Sure."

Even though it was only 9pm, it took them quite a while to be finally ready to go sleeping. They talked about university and their classes while changing clothes and brushing their teeths. Shiro wanted to look through some of the books Keith had brought from his mother's place and they read in silence, leaned against each other while hearing the sound of soft breathing and mumbled voices from Hunk's movie.

Maybe he had no headphones afterall. Or he wanted to give them some space to do stuff he didn't wanted to hear? Shiro bit his lip while he was lost in thoughts.

When it was late enough to go to sleep, Shiro laid down and watched how Keith switched off the light. His now darkened figure lumbered to his own bed, rustled his way below the blanket and scooted close to Shiro's side.

Shiro lifted his arm and Keith smiled as he snuggled into his chest.

Soft and content they enjoyed each other's warmth. Shiro draw imaginable circles on Keith's back and pressed little kisses on his head.

"Did you want to… touch or something?" Keith voice was damped by Shiro's shirt.

Shiro was surprised. He didn't expect Keith to wait for taking initiative. But now it seemed as if he wanted Shiro to take it.

"I'm okay with just being like this," he said quietly, stroking through Keith's hair. "Though I wouldn't mind either way. How about you?"

Keith looked up, his dark eyes two bright stars underneath the blanket. "I'm fine," he said, smiling. "I like this. You're really close. I never thought I could be this close to you."

"Well, there are many ways to be close." Shiro pressed a hand flat on Keith's back.

"Do you… do you want to do it? I mean.. everything? Not now that is."

Shiro was stunned. "Sure," he said. "You mean… Doing the… When we do.." He knew that both of them had been nervous but this was to be expected. They were able to touch the person they liked. Though they hadn't overcome this wall yet.

"Yes, I wanna do it with you." Keith chuckled and it sounded like fingers scratching bark. "We just… We did some things so far. Many things. But.. I want to do this too. With you."

Shiro lifted his hand and slid it over Keith's cheek. "Me too," he whispered.

"You did that before, right?"

"Uhm.. yes."

"What do you think we will need?"

Shiro was a bit surprised. He knew that Keith had some experience at least as well. Though he wasn't entirely sure if he ever managed to get through with it when he was with his girlfriend. And before he knew that he liked men only.

He remembered Keith's question and was confused.

"What do you mean?"

Keith pressed his fingertips on Shiro's chest. "I mean like... condoms and stuff."

"Oh." Shiro nodded, suddenly well aware of what his boyfriend (his boyfriend!) meant. "Oh!"

Keith chuckled. "So, what will we need?"

"Lube?"

Keith nodded.

"And condoms, as you said."

Another nod. "What about some cleaning supplies?"

"Cleaning?" Shiro frowns. "What is there to clean? I mean… I would shower before doing it but.."

Keith raised an eyebrow. "Well… you know." His husky voice sounded good as it vibrated through his chest. Shiro needed to stay focused; his mind was already starting imagining Keith's moaning husky voice and a sweaty body right in front of him. An interested twitch of his dick reminded him to stay focused. Now wasn't the right time for that. And he was too tired to do anything now as well.

"There is something going in somewhere, Shiro. It needs to be cleaned before."

"Oh, you're right! You know about that stuff." Shiro noticed. He couldn't help but blushed.

"Well, I'm gay and interested in it." Keith jerks a shoulder. "You're not a virgin, you should know about those things."

"Not really an argument. I haven't slept with many people, only one so far. Nobody told me to clean something."

"You were young."

"You're younger than me!" Shiro laughed. But he noticed a hunch of jealousy in Keith's eye and tried to remain calm and focused once more.

Keith let out a small relieved sigh.

"Alright," he said. "I know how that'll work. Something else?"

Shiro thought about it. But he couldn't think about much more. "Maybe a towel or something?"

"A bathroom is definitely helpful. And no flatmates."

Shiro totally agreed on that one. "Alright. Then we only need to think about who needs to be cleaned for this."

They looked at each other.

"You mean who will be the one to put it in?"

Shiro nods.

Keith bit his lip.

"Well," Shiro said hurriedly. "We can discuss that later as well." He stroke once more through Keith's hair. It seemed to soothe him as Keith's neck muscles visibly relaxed.

"Yeah, that would be good. Too tired for thinking right now." Keith yawned and nustled his head into the sheets of his bed and a bit closer to Shiro's chest.

Shiro smiled. "Me too. And tomorrow will be long as well."

"Right. My mother will come and we will have lunch together. Wanna stay until then?"

"Sure. If you have more food at hand."

Keith snickered. "Sure. Since we have Hunk we always buy a lot since he loves cooking. Is quite the advantage for me."

"I see." Shiro tilted his head and moved a bit closer. Keith smiled and responded with a mirrored movement, pressing a kiss on each others lips.

"Good night, Shiro."

"Good night."

Chapter Text

Keith sat in class. He was supposed to be taking notes and actually follow the things his professor just talked about. But he wasn't focused at all.

"You alright, bud?"

Keith lifted his head and looked at Lance who was sitting next to him. His friend had stopped taking notes himself and threw him an asking glance.

"I'm okay," Keith responded, in the same whispered tone. They sat somewhere in the middle of the lecture room and Keith didn't want to be noticed.

Once Lance scribbled some more, Keith's eyes fell back on his sketches he had done while thinking. He now realised what it was and quickly covered it with his notebook.

"You look like you've got a fever."

Keith turned around to face Lance once more. He seemed honestly worried.

"I'm okay, Lance. Just thinking."

"Not about the lecture I guess."

"You're guess is right."

"Wanna copy my notes later?"

Keith hesitated. Then he nodded and gave his friend a thankful smile. The lecture was almost over and all Keith had done during the professor's talk was thinking about Shiro and doing sketches.

He had lost himself in the rememberance of the talk they had past Saturday night. The top-bottom question was still stuck in his head but it was rather Shiro's cute behaviour about it which he liked to think about. He was in some parts naive but this made him even more adorable. Of course there would be something to be cleaned, Keith thought. A smile ran over his lips.

They had made out sometimes, when they were sure to be alone. Even once in the toilet of a restaurant during winter time last year. Keith clearly remembered the touch of Shiro's package through the fabric of his underwear, when he kneaded it thoroughly to get him harder. It was bigger than he had imagined. Keith didn't really care about size or circumferance or inclination or… whatever, but damn this was something. His boyfriend's small moans – his voice in general – was beautiful and had a powerful undertone within. Keith couldn't get enough of it so he had tried different angles to see what made Shiro feel it better. Some spots seemed to be similar to Keith's.

Suddenly all people around him stood up, started packing, chatted or left the room. Keith noticed that the class had been dismissed. He started packing but somehow managed to let his sketchbook fall to the ground. Keith tried to pick it up but someone else was faster. Worst dream came true. Nobody should see his scribbles.

He already started blushing since he expected some weird comments, questions or homophobic stuff which would startle him. He wasn't officially out. Only close friends knew about it. And he didn't plan to come out right after class, in which he hadn't even taken notes.

"Here you go."

It was a dark voice. A voice he barely heard.

Keith looked up and saw the dark coloured man with short black hair. He tried to remember his name but wasn't sure of it. Was it Kinrad? Kinsha? Kin…? Something with Kin, definitely.

"Ahh-thank you, uhm.."

"Kinkade."

"Keith."

They looked at each other, both of them confused and surprised about the outcome of their talk.

Kinkade's facade was even, no emotion showing on it. Or maybe just barely. Keith didn't remember he ever talked to him before.

"Here, you note."

"Thank you. Kinkade," Keith added. He took his sketchbook. The side with his sketches was still open. He clapped it together, already feeling his face getting hot.

"No problem."

"I'm sorry. That's maybe not the content you wouldn't want to see." Keith packed all his stuff and stood up in a haste, before Kinkade could make a comment about his sketches. He was just about to say that he should never say a word about this to everybody, but stopped as he watched Kinkade watching him.

"I'm fine with it. Guess we're in the same boat afterall." And then he left.

Keith stood there, unsure what to do about this. Kinkade was gay?

"Keith? Keith, come on, let's go get some lunch. I'm starving."

He felt Lance's grip on his shoulder.

"You're staring into pure nothingness, Keith. You can't eat nothingness. And why did you talk to Kinkade? Is he your new best buddy or so?"

"Not really." Keith shook his head. He made sure that everything was back in is bag. "Let's go," he said.

They made their way towards the door at the back of the room.

"What did he ask?"

"Nothing. He just picked up my book which fell down." Keith shrugged.

"I see." Lance greeted some people on the floor Keith had never seen before. Lance surely goes around the people freely.

"What did you draw in your sketchbook anyway?"

Keith turned his head, maybe a bit too fast. "Nothing," he said. Of course Lance saw his lie immediately.

"Keeeeeiith," he said with a long, nerve racking tone.

"Not telling."

Lance went on brabling about Keith being mean and not a good friend. But Keith was okay with it. Lance would stop as soon as they took the first step into the cafeteria, smelling today's lunch.

He wouldn't have thought to meet a new study colleague that way. But maybe it took at least two scribbled pages full of dicks to get in contact with new people.


*~*~*~*


They met again on Friday. Due to the closer coming finals the club activities were cut short once more. Shiro spent the afternoon in the library and Keith wanted to meet him after.

Together, they walked to the park and bought some duck feed from a machine. It sure was fun giving it to the animals who were hiding below some little buildings the park ranger had made for them.

When it was getting darker, Shiro pointed out to try a new restaurant and Keith agreed. As it was their habit they settled into the last corner, where they at least could hold hands without someone actually seeing it.

"How's your soup?"

"H-hot." Keith took out the full spoon of his mouth and placed it back in his bowl. Then he looked up, realising what he just did. "Grossed out?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.

"No." Shiro laughed. "You seem to have a cat tongue. That makes sense though."

"How does it make sense?" Keith frowned, confused about what his boyfriend meant.

"Ah, no, uhm.." Shiro waved a hand. "It's just.. Sometimes you resemble a cat. A wild cat, to be precise. But even wild cats get cozy and snuggle to their mate when they fall asleep."

Keith stared at him, not sure whether he should be acting shy about it or actually pleased. It was latter and he was happy to hear it from Shiro. Though he was a bit embarassed.

"Do I really do that?" He asked, stirring his soup with his spoon. He threw a glance and saw that Shiro didn't stop watching him.

He nodded. "You do," the athlete said. "But I have to admit that I really like that about you. You're like a personal heater, getting all snuggled up." He smiled softly.

Keith literally felt his blood colouring his cheeks.

"It's okay, Keith." Shiro lifted his hand and stroked Keith's cheek. Then he added with a whisper: "That's a part of you I like a lot."

Keith didn't know what to respond to that. So he glanced around but nobody was close or watching them. So he kissed Shiro's hand and turned back to his soup.

They finished their dinner and went to Shiro's place by bus. The streets where still full of muddy and half melted snow and the restaurant was a long way from either of their apartments.

When they finally returned and out of their street clothes, they got into their cozy pyjamas and they went straight to the kitchen to get something hot to drink.

"Oh, hey guys!" Matt stood at the counter and waited for the microwave to finish. "How was your date?"

Keith blushed. Was Matt always asking this when Shiro came home from visiting him?

"Was quite nice," Shiro replied, smiling.

Keith stared at Shiro's back, who had just casually said that. So yes, it seemed to be a normal conversation.

"Will you stay over? I only have food for one in here though." Matt saw from Shiro to Keith and back to the microwave with a look as if he wanted to solve a difficult mathematical question.

"We just had dinner." Keith said. He got out some mugs for their tea, since he knew the kitchen quite well so far, and Shiro filled water into the kettle.

"I see. Dinner date, huh?" Matt nodded approvingly. "But unluckily I will be in the flat all evening. Or should I get my headphones out?"

Keith stuttered. "A-uhm.. no-not really." He looked over to Shiro to help him out.

Shiro was fast and punched his friend in his side. "Come on, Matt."

"Why? I was trying to be considerate." Matt grinned. "But really, let me know if you're doing something. I don't want to hear my best friends moans."

Now it was Shiro's turn to get red. "You won't hear that."

"Oh?" Matt turned his head, watching how Keith turned into a tomato.

"We will do it when you're not around anyway," Keith said. He was embarassed but he still knew what to say. In most of the cases. Maybe.

"I see. So both of you.."

"Matt," Shiro sighed.

"Okay, okay! Let me know if I… should go watch a movie or two in the cinema."

"Sure, I will do so."

Matt nodded. "I can't be really of any help but I guess there's not that much difference, huh?" He frowned. "I mean, if I think of doing it with my girlfriend or if you two are..."

Shiro placed a hand over Matt's mouth. "Would you mind keeping your thinking to yourself?"

"Whafff iff a diffnnce, nnnt grll."

"What?"

Matt pulled at Shiro's hand but Shiro was stronger. They bickered while Keith poured some hot water on their tea bags which Shiro had prepared. He watched the two friends fighting and Keith had to admit that he was amused. It was kinda clear that Shiro was the stronger one but Matt gave him an honest fight.

"So," Shiro let go and they both grinned at each other. "What did you say?"

Matt coughed and stroke his mouth and cheeks where some red lines were visible. "You should reduce your training. Your muscles are way too strong."

Shiro raised an eybrow, an unsaid threat in his eyes.

"Fine. Just.. What is the difference? Keith is no girl, right?"

Shiro frowned and threw a glance to Keith.

"What is the difference, indeed. There is non, that's why it is inappropriate. I mean your comment. Doesn't have to do much with gender." Shiro turned to the kettle and saw that everything was finished. "Thank you Keith." He leaned down and kissed his boyfriend on the head.

Keith smiled and nodded. "You're welcome."

Matt watched the two of them. "Sorry," he said. "I didn't mean it."

"I'm fine, Matt." Keith said. "But there is some difference. Just not that much I guess." He shrugged.

"I see." Matt sighed and nodded. "Alright, sorry guys. You can go have some snuggles or kisses or whatever you like."

"We will." Shiro took his tea and nodded towards Keith to leave the kitchen. "And Matt."

"Yeah, Shiro?"

"You're food's ready. And probably cold by now."

Matt made round eyes and stared back at the microwave.

Shiro snickered and lead the way out and to his own room.

"It's his own fault," Shiro said. "He likes to rile up his friends. Don't mind him, okay?"

"I'm okay, Shiro, really." Keith grabbed Shiro's hand. "But thank you."

Shiro closed the door behind them and smiled. "You're welcome." He leaned down and kissed Keith, this time on the lips.

They settled on the bed and drank their tea. It was good to have something warm in the stomach after the walk to the apartment from the bus station.

"Are you ready for the finals yet?" Shiro asked.

"Yeah, I guess. My first exam is next week already. Will probably study the whole weekend and the rest of the coming week." Keith sighed. "How about you?"

"Should be okay. I still have next week but after it will get pretty busy."

"And after three weeks everything is done." Keith put his mug aside and flopped on the bed. "I can't wait to finish this year already."

"I liked this year."

Keith looked at Shiro who gave him a knowing grin.

"Me too," Keith said. "I meant.. Just the finals. I don't like exams that much. I don't like to be told to do something in a certain time frame. I like to work on a project with my own time and pace."

"Hmm, I can imagine." Shiro lifted a hand and stroke his fingers through Keith's hair. "You can do that once you have your own gallery."

Keith frowned.

"I mean it." Shiro's voice was honest and made Keith smile.

"Thanks for believing in me." Keith leaned into the touch. He reached out for Shiro's hand and pulled his boyfriend closer. Shiro set his mug aside. He was eager to follow Keith's lead and laid down next to him, putting one hand around Keith's head and the other on the art student's stomach.

They enjoyed the silence they created. Keith listened to their breathing and the soft bubbling sounds of Shiro's stomach. They were so close in this moment. Just… an ordinary day life situation: laying beside each other and listening to the sounds of their bodies. It made him smile and he pressed his nose into Shiro's shirt, taking in the familiar scent.

"So," Shiro slowly started, his voice quiet yet resounding through Keith's body.

"Hm?"

"We had this question open of.. When we.. do it." Shiro made a vague gesture with his hand but Keith got the hint.

"You mean when we sleep with each other?" He asked to clarify.

"Yes."

Keith tilted his head to be able and look his boyfriend into the eyes. Shiro seemed a bit shy around this topic. His cheeks where flushed lightly.

"Alright. Let's discuss it." Keith sat up and made his way into a crosslegged position. Shiro seemed unhappy of the loss of contact but as soon as he had mirrored Keith's movement, Keith reached out and grabbed his hands. He didn't seem to like the loss of contact either.

"Which way do you like best?" Keith wanted to ask directly. It was weird to talk about that but at least no one else was around. And this was definitely a thing they would stumble upon.

Shiro bit his lower lip and frowned.

"Well," he said as slowly as he has started the topic. "When I was with my ex girlfriend it was… well I topped. And after… My relationships never came so far and actually… I'm not sure, I haven't thought about this back then."

Keith frowned. He wasn't really fond of Shiro talking about past relationships. He shook his head and Shiro seemed to misunderstand because his face showed a shocking reaction.

"No, it's okay, Shiro." Keith stroke over Shiro's fingers and he relaxed again. "I just… I'm not interested in your past relationships in this way. When you think about sleeping with me, when you think about only doing it with me, what would you prefer?"

Shiro swallowed loudly. "I-uhm..."

"Only think about me. Well, and yourself. I want you to feel comfortable as well. We can also switch or so." Keith said thoughtfully.

Shiro nodded. "Well uhm.. If you like I can be the bottom. I don't really mind being there because… well.. I think it's not that important. I like you, a lot. I… I love you. That's why I want to be with you in that way in the beginning and I don't think I would care about putting it in or getting it in." He blushed at those words and Keith thought that this was kinda cute.

Keith nodded. "I also thought about this often. But… Sorry that I will break my words about past relationships.."

Shiro shook his head. "It's fine. I will hear you out. It's okay when you want to say something. I want to know everything there is."

Keith smiled. "Alright. Well, when I was with my girlfriend in high school, it just felt totally wrong. As if our sides were mistaken. It never felt right… y'know, to… finger her… down there."

Shiro nodded and swallowed again.

Keith couldn't help but feel that way. He wasn't sure why he thought like that but it just felt wrong.

"So you say you would want to be the.. bottom?" Shiro raised an eyebrow.

Keith nodded.

"That would be fine with me but," he added. Keith observed him, trying to find the right words.

Shiro curled his lips. "But… As you know I… my… I don't want to hurt you, you know? With… anything."

Maybe it was Keith imagination but Shiro glanced down on his own groin for a split second and Keith nearly lost it there. He glanced down, he fucking glanced down on his dick!

He tried hard to not to giggle. Shiro was serious about it and so was he. It was important for Shiro, for the both of them to discuss it.

"I will be fine," Keith said. He stroke once more over Shiro's finger and his boyfriend looked up. "I want you to… to do it to me. Because.. I don't know." He sighed and shrugged and tilted his head because he didn't find the correct words to express that it never had felt right to think about being the top in any relationships there might be.

Shiro nods, his mimic serious and warm. "Alright," he said and squeezed Keith's hands. "I'm fine with it as well. But if you want to switch, let me know."

Keith chuckled. But he took that offer seriously. "Yes. Thank you." He pulled Shiro closer and kissed him.

Shiro sighed out loud. "Now we're settled. I'm kind of relieved."

"Me too."

They sank back onto the bed again and fell into silence. Keith felt content. They came a step further towards their plans. Suddenly he felt all excited and burried his face into Shiro's shirt once more.

"Guess we won't have much time." Shiro said quietly.

"Why is that?"

"I mean.. We will have exams soon and we need to study and prepare."

Keith nodded. "But we will have time after. After our exams."

Shiro hummed and kissed Keith's temple.

"And then… do you want to… you know." Keith shrugged, which seemed strange while lying down. He noticed Shiro looking at him, waiting for a continuation of his sentence. "Like… what we said we wanted to do at some point. Do you want to… want to..."

"Do it?"

"Yes."

"Sure."

Keith blinked. The answer was fast but he would have said so himself as well. And it wasn't really a surprise after the talk they just had.

"Uhm, okay."

"You sure? We don't have to do it if you're not sure about it."

"I am sure, Shiro. I want to do it with you.." Keith placed his own hand above Shiro's. "And you will moan, I'll guarantee that."

Shiro snickered. "I hope so. And I look forward seeing and hearing you. With everything you got."

Keith nodded. "Me too." He sighed. "Okay, then lets settle it after our exams are done."

"Kind of a reward thing, right?"

"Hm?"

"Like… when we're done with the exams, we get to.. do the do?" Shiro shrugged.

"Ah yeah, I guess." Keith kissed Shiro's chin. "I'll do my best."

"Me too."

Keith snickered. He looked up to Shiro and scooted a bit closer. They kissed again, longer and deeper this time. A silent promise they made, sealed with lips and saliva.

Shiro let himself drop on the bed and Keith leaned above him, pressing his lips and tongue into Shiro's mouth, which made them both moan.

"I expect more of that," Shiro said. He gently put a string of black hair out of Keith's face.

"Oh, I will promise you that." Keith grinned. And once more he leaned down to be embraced by his boyfriend.

Chapter Text

January came and went by and with February the finals started.

Everybody got busy. As busy as during midterm season, maybe even busier. Shiro and Keith didn't see each other often. They both needed quite some time to finish this year with all their energy they could effort for their lectures and studies. Shiro was about to finish his third year and Keith his second year. But university was always quite a hand and they spent many hours over books and notes reading under the dim lamps of the library as silent snowflakes fell down on the other side of the windows. Every evening ended with nearly being chased out by the librarian who knew better than the students when to go home and get some sleep.

And then, on a sunny winter day which melted some of the ice on the nearby lake, the spring break had started. At least for Shiro.


*~*~*~*


Shiro was at home, sitting at his desk and stared into nothingness. The outside world was as busy as ever but the apartments, where mostly students lived, were still relatively quiet. Shiro was one of the first students who already had their final exam for the year. He still couldn't quite believe that he was done and could await his fourth and final year. It still bothered him that he didn't know what to do after. But he still had some time left to decide. There were different possibilities but maybe it was still too early to choose.

Shiro stared at the scribbles he had done and sighed. He thought about the new training schedule he had gotten for the next year. Since he would be in his final year and the intensity of studies, as well as the general closeness of his graduation, would increase drastically. Though he looked forward to finally close this chapter he had managed, apart from the long break he was forced to take. And of course there was another reason why he was happy to not have graduated two years before.

Apart from the changed training schedule of his club – which stated to have less training hours than before – he would have actually more time to study. But nevertheless he still had his normal PE classes and scheduled sport education. There was no chance he would loose his shape. It was a theory which Matt was amused by, though in the end there would be no reason to finally win the little bickers they had started.

Shiro closed his eyes for a moment. He needed to rest. He had finished his last exam the day before and this morning he woke up at 11am, followed by a late breakfast.

Now, he was at home, all alone. Matt had driven to his sibling's place. Pidge and he wanted to play some new video game or something and Shiro had stayed back. He wanted to get some rest. The past two weeks had been way too long. His eyes were only focused on little black letters and he didn't want to touch any book at all.

Shiro sighed and watched a bird, a seagull, flying over the houses and disappearing somewhere in the jungle of streets and people, meant to be working. And somewhere there would be Keith, sitting over his book and study for the final exam he would have in two days.

Shiro let his boyfriend have enough time to focus on his studies. They were a couple now – and he got still so excited by this thought – but that didn't mean he could distract Keith from his studies. Though he knew that Keith didn't like studying and exams that much, but this was all the reason to not deepen this further.

Thinking of Keith helped Shiro to relax. He inhaled and exhaled slowly, imagining the black haired boy with the red cardigan and black t-shirt underneath, the black smooth hair which had gotten longer over the past months. Soon he would he able to tie a ponytail. Shiro had to admit that he liked this idea. He could slightly tug at it, even pull but without hurting him. Then Keith would moan a bit louder even, sending goosebumps all over their bodies which were moving, connected and hot and...

Shiro swallowed dryly, opening his eyes.

Wait, what was that?

Did he imagine Keith and.. Well they had discussed about it and the spring break was so unbelievable close right now. Only two days until Keith was free as well and...

Oh… Oh god..

Shiro blinked wildly. It was so close, so so close. How would he start? He would be the top, alright, he could do that. But would Keith be alright? Shiro knew that he himself was.. a bit more above average and maybe Keith wasn't prepared for that. Was he?

Shiro closed his eyes, imagining Keith by himself in the shower fingering his backside. Moaning while he worked himself open to fit his boyfriend's large dick in-

Okay, nope, hang on.

Shiro sighed. That didn't help. He was thinking way too much.

And quit talking to yourself.

He swallowed once more.

I would help Keith of course.

A deep breath taking, Shiro stood up and walked to the kitchen to get some cold water. Back at his desk again, he drank the whole glass and organised his thoughts.

"Alright Shiro. Calm down. Nothing is going to start right now," he told himself. He closed his eyes once more and the picture of a naked moaning Keith appeared in his head right away. Shiro opened his eyes again and glanced down into his groin. "Or maybe it does," he murmured.

The picture of a lithe, naked and absolutely hot boyfriend, which he could call his own, didn't disappear from his head.

Keith, moving below him, writhing in the bedsheets he had cleaned just for this. (And which would need to be cleaned once more after they were done.) A Keith, who panted and pleaded for more, harder thrusts, as he pressed his flushed face into Shiro's pillow, which lay just two meters away from Shiro as he sat at his desk. His boyfriend, crying out his name and spilling onto the matress as he came, his pants slowly relaxing as the afterglow consumed both of them.

Shiro sighed. He lifted his hand, lingering over the elastic ribbon of his pants. But he hesitated, unsure whether he should do this now or try to calm down and wait until he was with Keith.

He swallowed.

He definitily couldn't wait that long.

And he didn't want to finish way earlier as he was actually supposed to be. It helped to know that Keith wasn't a virgin anymore. He knew bits and pieces, although it had been with a girl. And even if he was about to sleep for the first time with a man, he knew surprisingly much about this matter. But on the other hand was this normal, if there was the plan to ever do that in the future with someone.

And this someone happened to be Shiro.

Now, what to do with my boner?

In Shiro's mind, Keith still laid on his bed and wriggled lustfully. He couldn't just ignore this image. But he didn't want to ruin it either.

He closed his eyes.

Okay, Shiro, remember. Patience yields focus… Patience yields focus..

He repeated this quietly in his head to calm himself down. And to not think about Keith.

Don't think about Keith, don't think about… Keith.

He swallowed.

Don't… think about… about wha-? Keith! No, no, don't think about… Keith… Keith.. Naked and aching and panting and wriggling under me and..

Shiro frowned hard.

Come on, Shiro. Patience yields focus, patience yields focus, patience yields- oh fuck that!

Shiro shoved his hand in his underwear, reaching for himself.

He shrugged and slid his finger under the waistband.

I really need to make sure that no flatmate is around when we're about to do it.

Shiro frowned. This thought especially concerned Matt. But maybe his best friend would be considerate and get some headphones at least, just for the case. Shiro swallowed. Didn't Hunk used some as well. Oh no, what if they were already heard by someone?

Don't care about that now.

He tugged his pants downwards until his dick was set free. It had gotten so hard already that it flipped up against his stomach. Shiro sighed at the sudden friction. Some pearls of precum leaked onto his abs. He took a good grip of his girth and used the wet drops to get it a bit slippery. Since his training schedule and scribbles were distracting, Shiro closed his eyes and as soon as the familiar darkness surrounded him, Keith's image popped up as if he had switched on the TV. Just by chance to his most favourite channel.

He watched the scenes, a moving and naked Keith in all his facettes, and stroke himself to full hardness. Since he was all alone, he opened his mouth and let out soft moans and sighs. Shiro wondered how Keith would sound like. His imaginary-Keith in his head definitely was vocal but how about the real one?

He felt his climax coming closer as expected. But maybe it was to be expected, since Shiro had lost himself in his fantasies. He felt a warm feeling growing in his groin, as if someone had put a soft bowl of hot water on his lower stomach. Shiro didn't held back a moan vibrating through his lung and his movements became irradic and he pumped himself until coming on his own stomach.

Shiro took a minute or two to gather his senses again. Fluttering his eyes open, he stared at the mess he had done on himself, pants included.

While he took some tissues to wipe away most of the cum, he thereafter got a new pair of pants and flopped back on the bed.

Suddenly, Shiro felt bad about what he did. He had used Keith for this, his precious boyfriend. It had felt good, yes, but he wondered if Keith was alright with this. Using an image of him for someone else to feel good.

Shiro opened up his arms widely and stared up to the ceiling. He felt so bad and guilty. How would Keith react? Should he tell him? Do couples tell each other this kind of stuff? Shiro had never done this with his ex partners. But maybe… This was different, Keith was different. Their relationship was far more serious than all the others he had before.

He focused on Keith and on him alone. His smile, his soft words, his rough voice, when he spoke his name, when he caressed his hair, when they kissed.

And it felt right. It felt so so right to be with him.

He felt it in his heart and it ached. A pleasing yet painful ache he wanted to feel for the rest of his life.

Yes. Maybe couples… do those kind of things.

Shiro bit his lower lip. He wanted to tell Keith what he had done. He didn't want to hide anything.

Chapter Text

Keith: I'm done! On my way home now.


Shiro: You did great, Keith! God job!


Keith: God? :D Thanks, haha


Shiro: Oops :D

Shiro: Should I come over in half an hour?


Keith: Alright! See you soon <3


Shiro: I look forward. Can't wait to hug you <3


Keith: Cheesy!

Keith: Just kidding. Love you!


Shiro: Love you too :)



Keith smiled as he read the last message Shiro had sent him.

He was finally out of university and on his way to his bike and home. Home! Home after finals feels better than home after eight (or more) hours of library.

"Got any good news?" Lance walked beside him.

"I will meet Shiro at my place."

"Can I come too?"

Keith hesitated.

"Oh no, forget about it. You don't need a third wheel while being on a lovey dovey date at home, right?" Lance sighed.

"Why don't you meet Allura?" Keith replied, hoping this would change Lance mood to the better.

Lance bit his lip. "She is on holiday with her father. Won't be back so soon." He sighed long and loud.

Keith frowned. "You okay?"

"Yeah, yeah.." Lance made a vague gesture. "Just… What do you think about the exam?"

Keith shrugged and went along with the sudden change of topic. "Wasn't so difficult as I expected."

"Oh."

"Oh?" Keith gave his friend a worried look. "Well," he said then. "There's always the repetition examination date."

Lance laughed dryly. "Not really fond of doing that though."

"You'll be fine. Just wait for the results."

Lance nodded slowly. "Yeah, alright."

"Sorry."

"What for?"

Keith thought about it. "About your exam? About your girlfriend having fun without you? About me going to see Shiro and you can't come?"

"Thank you."

"Sounds like sarcasm to me."

"I try to be a bit cynically apparently."

"Oh, good job." Keith grinned.

"Thanks," Lance sighed. "Well, have fun with your boyfr-" He got cut short by Keith pressing his hand on his mouth. "Wh-what, Keith, why?" Lance pulled his hand away.

"I'm not out yet, keep it down, man."

"There's just the two of us here. No one will pin it at the blackboard or something."

Keith looked around. There were really only the two of them at the bike racks.

"Still. I want to decide when I want to be out. And keep it down, really."

"Geez, alright, Keith. Calm down."

"I am calm." Keith frowned even more.

"Yeah, sure." Lance actually laughed and Keith couldn't help but relax a bit. At least he made his friend laugh, even though he didn't like the reason.

"When will you see Allura again?" He tried asking carefully.

"Yeah, put salt into the wound." Lance said sarcastically. He unlocked his bike and put his back in the basket. "She will be back in three days."

"Oh, good!"

"Good? Three days of torture. I don't know what to do!"

"How about calling other friends?"

Lance gave him an asking look and Keith knew what he wanted to say. "Alright, alright! I get it. Tomorrow afternoon?"

Lance grinned widely. "Thanks, Keith! Got it. Text you later."

"Sure."

Keith watched how Lance went home into the other direction. He unlocked his own bike and made his way home. It had made him sad to see his best friend a bit down. But at least he could help him a bit.

He rode his bike back home and reached the last traffic light to cross the street, when he saw Shiro coming from the right path as well. They met at the metallic pole.

"Hey!"

"Shiro, good to see you." Keith grinned. If he could he would jump from his bike and into Shiro's tight hug, kissing him on the spot. But he moved that to later.

"Good job on your final exam," Shiro said, a wide smile on his lips.

"Thank you. You too!"

"Two days ago though. Oh, green!"

They rode the bike to the apartment blocks and locked them under the designated roofs. After, they stood in front of each other, hesitating of what to do.

"Should we go upstairs?" Shiro finally suggested and Keith nodded, glad that Shiro had said it. He couldn't wait to finally hug his boyfriend again. And he truly had earned it after days of studying.

Together, they went to the small flat and got out of their shoes and coats. As soon as Keith had put his scarf over the hook on the back of the door, he practically fled into Shiro's arms who welcomed him warmly.

They stood there for two solid minutes, breathing in the scent of each other and cuddled as close as it was possible.

"Missed you," Keith said, his face burried into Shiro's shoulder.

"Missed you too." Shiro's deep voice vibrated deep into Keith's body. He felt his byofriend lifting his head and looked up to meet his gaze. Shiro smiled, before he placed two fingers below Keith's chin and moved closer to kiss him. Their lips were cold from the wind but their tongues were not. Melting into the warmth of the other, they spent some more time right behind the door.

"Uhm," Keith said as they parted again. "You, uhm.. wanna drink a tea or something?"

"Sounds good."

They released one another and walked over to the kitchen wall, starting to prepare tea. They talked a bit about their exams and the level of difficulty. Shiro said that he haven't touched a book since his last exam and Keith totally comprehend. He also didn't feel like reading or grabbing some old dusty book about pre-war art history soon.

They settled with freshly brewed tea and some cookies Keith had found in Hunk's hidden treasure on the couch and enjoyed the presence of the other person without saying too many words.

"Where's Hunk?" Shiro asked eventually, nipping at his tea and taking a bite of his cookie.

"He's gotten a part-time job during the semester break. Working for some company manufacturing lenses or so."

"I see. Do you want to work as well?"

Keith frowned, thinking about it. "Not sure yet. I would like to spend my time in the studio but for now we're on break. And maybe I should do something else too. You know, getting inspired by doing other things."

Shiro nodded. "I agree. So, how about we go somewhere? We could take the bus and drive to the next town or to the ocean."

"The ocean during winter?"

Shiro smiled. "The winter is going to end soon. Isn't called spring break for nothing."

"I know, I know. Alright." Keith was already conviced. "Anywhere where I'm with you is okay."

"You're standards are pretty low." Shiro chuckled.

"No, you're a really high one." Keith admitted and noticed happily that his boyfriend blushed at his words.

"Thanks," the athelete whispered.

Keith smiled. He leaned forward and kissed him on the cheek which made him look more embarassed than before.

Shiro turned his mug in his hand and it looked as if he wanted to say something. Keith waited, hoping that Shiro would relax a bit more since he was free to say what's on his mind whenever he was ready.

"You know, I… I did something." Shiro finally said.

Keith frowned. He was a bit surprised since he hand't expected this sentence.

"What do you mean?" He asked carefully.

"I, uhm… I used you, I think." Shiro shrugged and a hushed smile ran over his lips.

"In which way?" Keith was rather curious than anxious.

"I… Um, I… I jerked off… while.. thinking of.. you." Shiro said every word with caution as if he would admit a murder. "I felt so bad!" He suddenly added, louder and stronger, his voice trembling and his eyes a bit wetter than before. "I'm so sorry, Keith. It just.. I thought of you, doing all kinds of noises and poses and lying in my bed all naked and I got hard and I just got off while imagining you. And now I… I feel so bad about it. It was wrong, right?" Shiro's big grey eyes looked like one of a puppy, asking for allowance to get some water or affection at last.

Keith was so stunned, he didn't know what to say at first. He bit his lip and thought about those news he had just heard about. He had to admit that it turned him a bit on to think about Shiro thinking of him.

"Uhm," he said just to say anything at all. Shiro stared at him, asking for forgiveness and at the brink of crying. "It's okay," he said to at least sooth his boyfriend. He reached out to stroke his arm and scooted closer to lean against his broad figure. "I don't mind. You don't need to feel bad about it, Shiro. It's okay with me. And… I'm kinda honored since it was me you were getting off to. Better me than anyone else. And I guess that everybody in a relationship does that at some point."

Shiro sighed, a hearable wave of relief getting out of his mouth and nostrils. "Oh god!" He nearly yelled. "Thank you, Keith, thank you." He pulled him into a tight hug, pressing kisses on his head. "Thank you, I love you so much."

"It's alright, Shiro." Keith couldn't stop grinning. He patted Shiro's arm but had to admit that he felt quite comfortable in his hug. He turned around to face the athlete properly. "Makes me kinda happy too."

Shiro smiled, his eyes still a bit wet but he seemed alright. "I felt bad for using your image for jerking off, um..."

"But isn't this part of it as well? I'm okay with you jerking off, since you think only of me and that's kinda hot I guess." Keith shrugged, as far as it was possible in this hug.

Shiro hummed happily and pressed his nose in Keith's hair once more. Then he distanced himself again and seem to hesitate to say something.

"What do you mean, everybody?" He asked, obviously remembering Keith's previous words.

Keith frowned, but then he remembered what he had said. "Uhm..." He stroke Shiro's forearm, biting his lower lip. He didn't want to admit it. But Shiro had felt so bad on his own and he wanted him to be at ease in their relationship. To not have the need to hide such things or feel bad about it. And he trusted Shiro. He trusted him as much as if he knew him for all his life. And he loved him as dearly.

"I, uhm…" He spoke slowly, drawing circles over his boyfriend's arm while he leaned a bit into Shiro's side, trying to hide his face as he wanted to be as close as possible. "Did it… too."

"You did it too," Shiro repeated, voice dry and rough. "What did you..? Oh!"

Keith waited but he couldn't resist and looked up at Shiro who stared at him, eyes round like two small moons in the sky full of stars.

"Ah, um, well..."

Keith waited a bit more but couldn't help and chuckled about this situation.

"Guess we were both feeling a bit bad about this, right?"

"Right," Shiro said.

Keith took a deep breath and leaned into the touch Shiro's shoulder offered, once more.

"So, when did you..?"

"Two days ago."

Shiro frowned. "Before the final exam?"

Keith nodded. "I was so excited. It was the last exam I had to do and I studied a lot and I knew that I would be able to meet you after and it helped me."

"Helped you?"

Another nod. "To relax. Sometimes I do that just to relax myself. I focus on my fingers and hands and movements and I can forget everything else. And it loosens my muscles after. It's like a massage, for free."

Shiro opened his mouth to say something, closed it again and opened it once more; like a fish trying to get the best water out of it.

"What is it?" Keith asked, unsure if he wanted to hear an honest answer. But he trusted Shiro.

"No, I… This is really healthy and stuff but… You thought about it. You thought it through and..."

"Don't get me wrong, Shiro." Keith tightened his grab on Shiro's arm. "I'm not going to do it with you to get a free session in physio training or relax. I want to do it because it's you. And I like you and… what's attached to you. So..."

Shiro snickered. "Yeah, I know Keith. I know that you're not just after my body."

Keith blushed. He still remembered the conversaton they had weeks ago. "Course not," he mumbled. "But still, I also need to prepare a bit."

"Prepare?" Shiro observed him.

"Yeah, you know, the cleaning part and such? I also need to loosen the muscle a bit and to… accommodate you a bit there." Keith felt his face becoming hotter and hotter with every word he spoke. He felt Shiro's eyes on his face but he couldn't get himself to look up and meet his gaze.

"I didn't do that much, just.. a bit once in a while and it's not like I don't like it."

"How often?" Shiro's voice was still rough.

"Sometimes, over the past weeks. And you know, I'm gay to begin with and I wanted it, so of course I tried to do this before. But… I think it will be something else with you."

"Why is that?"

"I need to get used to your thing."

"My thing?"

Keith looked up, meeting the eyes of a staring Shiro who fixated on his smaller boyfriend craddled against his arm and side. His mimic seemed a bit perplexed but in a pleasing way, if that was possible.

"You know, your thing? Down there?" Keith reached forward and grabbed it through the fabric, making Shiro's face flinch. A shy smile ran over his lips and a hint of disbelief, having Keith touching his dick out of nothing.

"What's with it?" Shiro asked. This time teasing and a big smile on his face

"If this is going to go inside of me I need to be prepared beforehand. You're huge, Shiro."

Shiro actually blushed and his smile curled a bit, making him look handsome and cute all of the sudden. Keith watched this change of mimic pleasingly.

"I-I see," Shiro stuttered. "But.. I could help you with it."

"I hoped so."

Shiro made big eyes.

"Really?" he asked.

Keith nodded. He pressed his face closer and smiled. "Please do so."

"Ri-right no-now?"

"Not yet." Keith moved his hand from Shiro's groin to his stomach and pressed him down. He then moved to hover sidewards above him. "Do something else before that."

"Oh, I know how that works."

"You mean this?" Keith smiled and came as close as possible, pressing his lips to Shiro's, who replied it gladly.

Keith drew his finger along the side of Shiro's jaw, taking a grip of the shorter black hair starting behind his ears and trailing his hand further to the white fluff of hair. He pushed it back while he started to lick onto Shiro's mouth. Their tongues entwined, melting together and mixing up with saliva and hot breaths. Shiro moaned softly into Keith's mouth.

Keith felt his boyfriend's hand moving over his sides and back, pressing him closer to himself. And Keith enjoyed it, leaning into the touch and clenched his other hand into Shiro's shirt, being close to him, as close as he could be.

Shiro tasted like the fruit tea Keith had made and a bit of cookie, chocolate and lemon, which were Hunk's favourites right now. And Keith knew he tasted the same. He grinned and parted, just to move a bit lower and kiss Shiro's nose, along his jaw and down the neck. With one hand still in Shiro's hair, he slid the other downwards and below Shiro's shirt, touching his warm stomach muscles, vibrating as he moved rhythmically.

Shiro mimiced the movements, pulling at Keith's sweater, finally running his big hands above his skin; back and stomach.

"Shi-Shiro," Keith sighed, distracted by Shiro's touches.

"What is it Keith?" Shiro asked, lifting one hand to cup Keith's cheek, stroking it with his thumb.

"I'm… I wanna feel you, a'right?"

"Right with me, but… Wanna move somewhere else?"

Keith nodded, still breathing hard. He got up, which was harder that he would have imagined. Together they stumbled, never letting go of the partner, into his room. They flopped onto Keith's bed, lips searching each other, found what they seeked.

Shiro was the first, tugging at Keith's sweater until Keith tried to undress. He hurried too much and somehow managed to got stuck in his own clothes before Shiro freed him. Keith seated himself on Shiro's lap and smiled.

"You too," he whispered.

Shiro nodded. He swallowed loudly and Keith liked that. He helped his boyfriend getting out of his clothes as well until they were both half naked. Keith let his fingers slide over Shiro's chest, sternum and lower to the abs, stroking the muscles gently. Shiro hold him in position, touched his arms and shoulder and rested on his neck until he pulled him down, their lips crashing against each other.

The kiss developed more tenderly than it had started, leaving them both gasping for air. Shiro kissed Keith's neck and throat and pushed him down on the matress. Keith looked up, trying to trace the soft skin which had touched him just a minute ago.

Suddenly a soft touch made him twitch as Shiro had followed the less toned muscles Keith had downwards until they met the waistband of his pants. A big hand fondled his half-hard dick still hidden below two layers of fabric. It felt good, having Shiro's hand right there. And Keith swallowed, trying to imagine how it would feel to have this hand, these fingers, at a very specific place much further down.

"Pants, get 'em off," he demanded and Shiro smiled. Keith had imagined this to be smooth but they both had difficulties getting out of their pants. They were both too excited for this, but their movements were tender and full of love for each other.

Finally, Keith laid on his bed, nothing on but a soft smile directed to Shiro, who was hovering above him, still in his underwear which showed the curvature of a quite interested dick.

"Do you have lube or something?" Shiro looked around.

"Drawer, near bed." Keith didn't seem to be able to form full sentences anymore. His heart raced and beated against his chest. Shiro was about to touch him down there and he couldn't wait for him to finally start. To realise what he had imagined over and over by himself.

Shiro brought the lube to daylight and placed it right beside Keith's legs. But before he used it, he placed his hand once more on Keith's dick, wrapping one hand around it, giving it a few demanding strokes. Keith closed his eyes and didn't hide the moan being stuck in his throat.

"Shiro," he whispered hoarsely, his mind being blank and full of images of Shiro and his hands touching him everywhere as he had imagined it so often. "Shiro," he said again and blinked and saw that Shiro smiled fondly at him.

"I've got you, Keith."

Shiro's hand moved from Keith's dick to his balls, caressing them slowly. Then he let go and lifted Keith's legs a bit, arranging them comfortably on his thighs. Keith felt the cold air surrounding his halfy exposed butt. He bit his lower lip, full of excitement and expectations. He watched how Shiro stared at his exposed genitals for a few seconds, which made Keith blush, yet his heart thundered harder. Shiro took the lube and poured some of the gel into his hand and onto Keith's hole. Keith flinched as the cold liquid suddenly touched his skin.

"Oh, sorry. I should have done that differently." Shiro looked at him, concerned.

"I'm okay, Shiro. Just.. keep going." Keith had lifted his head to observe his boyfriend's doing.

"I will." Shiro stroke his left leg with the other hand and smiled. Keith awaited the touch though Shiro seemed to hesitate, though only for a brief moment. But then he leaned closer, stroking with a finger over Keith's hole, which twitched excitedly.

Keith's head flopped back, his breathing stuttered as he felt how Shiro's thick fingers brushed over the resistent ring of muscles. He tried to relax, to make the access easier for Shiro to enter him with his finger. But he was excited and couldn't quit focus on only relaxing when he knew what Shiro was about to do.

"Relax, Keith. You're tensing all up." Shiro said with a whisper. He stroke Keith's leg and hand and placed kisses whereever he could reach. He lifted Keith's hand and licked over his fingers, sucking on them.

Keith didn't expect that and was so perplexed yet feeling good about it that he didn't notice at first the Shiro had pushed a finger of him inside.

"Uoo-ah, Shi-!" Keith made a fist, pulling his hand unintentionally out of Shiro's grasp, only focusing on the movements inside of himself.

He relaxed, he tried to at least, but it took some minutes to do so. It wasn't quite unfamiliar since he had done it himself. But it was different, having Shiro all inside of his ass, feeling his rough walls and tight muscles. It made him so excited, his heart throbbed against his ribcage as if it wanted to run and shout of his love to his boyfriend and magic finger which was working its way inside of his hole, marking the path Keith had left only two days ago.

Shiro thrusted his finger, slowly and carefully at first, but getting quicker with the lower resistance. Keith bit his lip, sighing quietly and biting his own knuckles as he enjoyed himself, trying to hide his deepest moans while doing so.

This felt right. This felt good.

He had imagined this but the reality was way better than all of his dreams. Shiro's finger were bigger than his own and the touch maybe a bit rougher yet mindful and adjusting.

He was feeling good, too good. The familiar warmth of gathering pleasure accumulated in his groin and his dick twitched, being left aside and untouched. He wanted to come, just like that. But he didn't want it to end. He wanted more, deeper, faster, and harder. He wanted more of Shiro.

"Shi-ro, I… Mo-r-. Gi… e mor.."

"Use words, Keith. I've got you. I won't go away and let this unfinished." A soft chuckle.

"More, Shi-ro." Keith sighed and blinked his eyes open to meet Shiro's eyes which had turned darker. He was turned on himself, the big dick fully erect in his own underwear. Keith wanted to touch but there was no way he could reach it.

"More?" Shiro asked, glancing from Keith's eyes to his hole and back again. "Not yet. You need to be patient. I don't want to hurt you or tear you apart."

Keith groaned, unhappy with the outcome.

"And Keith."

Their eyes met again.

"Don't hide your voice. I want to hear it. Nobody else is here who would." His lustful dark eyes watched how Keith took a rough breath and slowly removed his fist from his mouth. "Good boy."

Shiro kept going and Keith watched him doing him, moaning and wriggling on his own. Shiro took the bottle of lube once more, pouring some over his finger and Keith's hole.

"You good? Still with me?"

Keith moaned and nodded at the same time. It was weird but he didn't care.

"Gonna use a second finger, that okay?"

"Yeah," Keith panted out. It felt it was the last bit of air in his lungs. "More."

Shiro nodded and focused on his hand again. Keith felt something else and a stretch, not really painful but pulling him apart. And then there was more of Shiro inside of him, thrusting deep, deeper yet to go. When Shiro used a bit more force, he grazed over Keith's favourite spot he had discovered by himself before. Though it was difficult to reach by himself alone. Shiro seemed to be able to do so more easily.

Keith groaned, louder than before. He was surprised to hear himself like that. He felt Shiro's eyes on him and this made him kinda more excited.

"Still alright?" Shiro asked, caressing Keith's leg to reassure him.

"Yeah." Keith smiled. He caught himself rocking his hips in unison with Shiro's movements. "But deeper, Shiro. Plea-se."

"Got ya'."

And Keith closed his eyes once more, feeling how Shiro did as he said, trying to adjust the angle and thrusted his fingers deeper inside of him. And then he touched his spot again and again and Keith couldn't keep himself anymore. He melted into the soft yet forceful thrusts, the squelching sounds and the wetness he and the lube created.

And then he came, shooting hot and hard over his own stomach and groin. He squeezed his eyes shut, a bit too hard so that he saw white dots when he opened them again. Keith panted and sighed deeply, sucking in the air as he had pushed it out before. He didn't notice that Shiro had pulled out his fingers.

Shiro nestled him down on the bed beside Keith and pressed little kisses on his cheek and temple.

"You okay? Not feeling like it was too much? I guess my fingers are bigger than yours." Shiro said, grabbing Keith's sweaty hand and retraced each finger.

"I'm alright." Keith's breathing returned to normal. "And yes, yours are bigger than mine. But this is good. I like your fingers.. inside of me." He smiled.

Shiro snickered. "Good to know."

"Though," Keith added, throwing a glance down on his stomach which was still full of cum. "I thought that I might need my dick to be touched but aparently..."

Shiro nodded. "You really liked it."

"I did." Keith tilted his head to be able to meet Shiro's lips. "Thanks, Shiro."

"I would do that again."

"Well I hope you will. But first." Keith sat up and took some tissues to wipe himself clean. Well, not really clean but he got rid of the most part of it. "Now it's your turn."

"Oh, you don't have to." Shiro wanted to be nice but Keith looked down and saw that Little Shiro hadn't been able to calm down yet.

Keith reached for the bulge and stroke one finger over it. Shiro shuddered.

"You sure?" Keith asked.

"Hnngh… I might overthink my words." Shiro's eyelids fluttered. "Can you, dunno, touch or something?"

"Sure thing."

Keith settled above Shiro's legs and massaged his package a few times over his underwear, before he slid his hand under the waistband and lifted it, Shiro's dick jumping into the alluring freedom. Keith grabbed it firmly and smeared the wet precum over the sensitive tip and foreskin and stroke down the whole length slowly. He pressed softly into the underside and watchd Shiro shivering under the touch. It wouldn't take long for him to come.

Keith stroke it, pace steady and grip firm. When Shiro started to groan and moaned even louder, he put more strength into his grip, tugging at the heavy dick and stroke the hardness until Shiro gasped. His boyfriend lifted his hips and started to thrust into Keith's hand which turned Keith surprisingly on. And before Keith could think of doing anything else, Shiro came into his hand. Keith stroke him through it until his boyfriend whimpered due to oversensitivity.

When they were both settled next to each other again, Shiro flipped over and craddled one arm around Keith's back. They kissed, rather lazy and sloppy, but content.

"How would you like my mouth instead of my hand?" Keith asked.

Shiro made big eyes. "Oh," he said, mouth hanging open. "I would really like that. But… don't overdo it, alright?"

"I won't. But… I really want to taste all of you."

"Me too. I want to do it too."

Keith glanced down. "We should get a towel or something."

"Mhmm," Shiro admitted. "In a minute."

They snuggled closer and took a minute and another and more until they felt a bit more refreshed again. Keith got some wet clothes for Shiro and went to the bathroom himself to clean himself properly.

When he got outside, he heard the keyhole clacking and Hunk came in.

"Hey Keith," he said and got out of coat and boots. "How is… What are you doing!?"

"Uhm, hey Hunk! I was just… y'know." Keith shrugged. Hunk had seen him naked before, they were childhood friends and flatmates, but Hunk was still surprised.

"Oh, hey Hunk!" Shiro just came out of Keith's room to look what was going on.

"Oh… Shiro. Well that explains my unasked question." Hunk frowned and looked at Shiro. He already got his underwear and pants back on, so it was less embarrassing than Keith had imagined.

"Well, I will just ignore… whatever you did just now, and get my stuff in the fridge."

"We might need more cookies." Keith added, walking back to his room as if nothing had happened.

"What…? What did you do?" Hunk seemed disturbed.

"We ate them, Hunk. Not what you thought. I don't want to know about it." Keith waved his hands in front of his face, deeply frowning.

"Oh, don't make me the naughty one here, Keith!"

Keith grinned. "Seems to be too late for that."

"Can I help you with unpacking, Hunk?" Shiro offered.

"Ah, no, I'm fine, thanks man." Hunk waved them off. "Just… go back and get some clothes on already."

Keith nodded and dragged Shiro with him, closing the door after.

"Are you okay?"

Keith turned around, seeing that Shiro seemed worried.

"Yeah, why?" He got a new pair of underwear and pants and out on his shirt again, before he stored the bottle of lube back in the drawer.

"I mean… He saw you naked and all." Shiro made a vague gesture.

"Ah this. Well, we grew up together from a young age and sometimes we would see each other by chance and… I mean." Keith bit his lip and put a hand on Shiro's arm. "Don't get me wrong, I'm normally not walking around naked when I get out of the bathroom. I just forgot that he was coming home earlier and I didn't want to get a towel. But still… There isn't much he hasn't seen yet. And..." Keith grinned, dragging Shiro now in a hug. "Apparently, there is definitely something he hasn't seen yet."

Shiro smiled. He wrapped his arms around Keith and drew him closer to his chest. "I'm glad," he whispered. "I want to know that there are things only I know about you."

"There are." Keith assured him, leaning up to meet Shiro's lips.

"Maybe we should get a new bedding or something." Shiro said after, looking to the bed which had still some certain stains on it.

"Yeah, maybe." Keith nodded. He got some new covers and Shiro helped him to change them. "Didn't know I would be doing this today."

"Me neither," Shiro admitted and they both chuckled over this.

"So," Keith said quietly. They settled back on the bed and drank water from the bottle Keith kept beside his bed. "Should we do this more often?"

"Definitely."

"Sounds eager."

Shiro shrugged. "Well.. I do want to do that more often so… y'know?"

Keith opened his mouth but he didn't find words.

"How about tomorrow?"

Keith thought about it. But then he remembered his promise. "I will go to meet up with Lance tomorrow."

"Doesn't he have a girlfriend?" Shiro frowned.

"She's on vacation with her father."

"I see." Shiro thought about it. "What was her name again?"

"Allura Altea."

"Ahh! I have heard of her father, now I remember. He is some kind of diplomath, right? Or some important politician or something."

Keith nodded slowly, he never heard of this before.

"What was his name.. Alfons? No, Alfor?"

"No idea, Shiro. I'm not into politics or this kinda stuff."

Shiro shrugged. "Me neither, but he was in the news lately."

"I see."

They fell silent, drinking the water and breathing slowly.

"So… In two days?" Shiro asked.

"Yep." Keith smiled. "Do you want to… do all?"

Shiro shook his head which made Keith a little bit disappointed. But he knew that Shiro wanted to go slow on him.

"I want to get you… used to it, slowly. My fingers are bigger to begin with and when I compare my fingers with… it..." Shiro bit his lip. "I don't want to hurt you, Keith."

"I know you won't."

"Thanks, Keith."

"Because you will torture me to death with your fingers before I can feel your dick somewhere."

"Keith!"

Keith laughed and Shiro did as well, not without giving him a soft punch in the side.

Keith sighed. They both were nervous about this. But he felt content and assured that Shiro didn't rush anything. That he wanted to be sure to have Keith all relaxed and soft and pliant and this thought alone made him swallow dryly. He looked forward to the day after next.

Chapter Text

Shiro couldn't wait the two days. He nearly damned Lance for getting in his way but he wanted him to not be alone as well. So he waited the day he knew his boyfriend would spent with his friend and couldn't sleep due to his excitement.

When the next day finally came, they met again at Keith's place since Hunk had the late shift and nobody would be coming until 9pm.

So they repeated what they had done on this bed before and Shiro was eager to get Keith's hole adjusted to his size. It was a lot of work to stay slow and thrust in with care and not to rush things. Keith's moans weren't helpful as well. Shiro's own dick throbbed the whole time and it took all his strength to not give in.

But he loved Keith. He loved him so much and he didn't want to risk hurting him, especially not In such a delicate place.

They need a lot of time and preparation for this. They met more often and ended up doing this sort of "preparation" more often than planned. But both of them seemed to be willing to get there as soon as possible. Shiro enjoyed this time but he would be happy when they would finally get to do the do.

And Keith wasn't a great help. He got all whiny and asked for Shiro's dick several times. It took alone two weeks to get to the third finger of Shiro and it was difficult to adjust to the new stretch. Keith got needy and practically craved for Shiro's touch and he came before Shiro could pull out. He became so stimulated that Shiro was about to sink himself home right then but he insisted and stayed focused on his fingerwork.

It seemed to be pure torture for Keith and Shiro did his best to make it as comfortable as possible. His own cock wasn't a good partner as well since it twitched and urged to be inside of his boyfriend. But Shiro's mind was stronger, not wanting to hurt his boyfriend, insiting of waiting and stretching him more and more, thoroughfully touching him, thrusting carefully in and out.

Sometimes he touched Keith's dick to the end to make him come, if he hadn't yet. But at other times Keith came from his butt and both of them were surprised. Shiro remembered that Keith had said that it had never felt right to be the one fingering the other and that he wanted to be the bottom. So maybe this was a part of it as well.

It took more than half of the spring break before they finally agreed that Keith was prepared enough to try the whole thing.

Chapter Text

It was just after the peak of Spring Break was over that Shiro's birthday came around. Shiro, who was more of a family person type of man, used to celebrate only with the closest friends. And the university time was no exception.

Keith knew that his boyfriend normally celebrated with his father and the Holts (which were considered family as well) but since he didn't went back to his hometown on Hokkaido, he planned on celebrating it rather small at home. Keith felt honored to be among the closest people Shiro had. Though there wouldn't be that many people in general and Keith was more than content with this fact. He didn't like crowds either and especially on birthdays, he wanted to be surrounded by the ones he truly meant something to.

On one rainy afternoon, they had settled on the couch in Shiro's and Matt's appartment and had made the birthday plan. The guest list was done quickly and left room for preparations of cakes and drinks. Keith had asked Hunk, who Shiro wanted to invite as well, to bake a cake and Hunk was more than enthusiastic about it. Keith had been bombarded with dozens of questions concerning allergies and favourite tastes before Hunk, who loved baking as much as creating new tech (and maybe Pidge, as Keith assumed), settled on two cakes: a simple chocolate cake with sprinkles and lemon-orange cake.

Matt decided on the drinks since he said he would be sure that Shiro would only get some non-alcoholic stuff and after a "Please, not just water! What are we, animals!?" Matt took the paper out of Shiro's hand and wrote the list himself. Shiro had just shrugged and pulled Keith closer to his side, pressing a kiss into his hair.

Keith blushed but by now he was used to being kissed in front of people both of them knew and were comfortable with. It was still quite a challenge.

Keith had some days to think about a good present but the only thing he had in mind was something they had planned anyway. And since he didn't want to just hand over his dick, he thought really hard about it and when the 1st of March finally came (the day when Shiro used to celebrate since his actual birth date didn't occur this year) Keith and Hunk took the cakes and drove through the soft touches of the early sunset towards Shiro's place.


*~*~*~*


There were ten people in total: Apart from Shiro, Hunk, Matt and Lance (who Shiro got acquainted with quite well), Keith saw two from the track and field club and two others he had seen with Shiro inbetween lectures when they met on the hall ways.

And then there was another guest: Pidge.

It was the second time Keith met them in person and he had to admit that he wasn't entirely sure how to adress her-him.. them! He had never met a nonbinary person before Pidge and the last what he wanted was to adress her-them! wrongly and hurt someones feelings.

When they arrived in the flat and uncoated themselves, Hunk placed the cakes in the kitchen and shrieked full of joy once he saw Pidge (who had fluffy brown hair, eyes of a sparkling colour and an overall small built). Keith chuckled and searched for another familiar frame.

Shiro was chatting with his club colleagues, but as soon as he saw Keith, he said something apologising and came over.

"Hey, Ke-!"

Keith wrapped his arms around Shiro, not caring about the others for a small moment. He pressed his face into the crook between neck and shouder, inhaling Shiro's scent, and smiled.

"Happy Birthday, Shiro."

"Th-thank you, Keith."

They parted. Shiro still had his hand on Keith's shoulder and smiled brightly. The entrance was empty and since nobody was looking at them intensely, Shiro leaned down and Keith responded with tilting his head in order to kiss his boyfriend.

After, Shiro opened his eyes and a slight pink colour spread on his cheeks. "So, uhm… Did the cakes survive?"

"Y-yes." Keith nodded, unsure what to do or what else to say. "Hunk's in the kitchen," he managed. What would he give for kissing Shiro right there and right now and in a proper way, without those people around. He hoped to get another chance. At least he would be staying over this night.

"Come, I will introduce you to them." Shiro grabbed his hand and pulled him towards the club members who had kept chatting with each other.

"I already know them."

"Not good enough. I would like to introduce you.. properly."

Keith made big eyes. Not many people knew about them. It was alluring but he was still so nervous when he thought about it. His anxiety seemed to be visible, at least for Shiro, since his boyfriend rubbed his fingers soothingly.

"Not today, Keith. You're safe. I will wait until you're ready."

Keith nodded and swallowed dry. They approached the two members Keith had seen and talked to (though only a bit) before and they exchanged names, majors and hometowns. They were all from different cities, Keith noted.

After a while everybody had finally arrived. Hunk, Pidge and Lance were talking while Matt prepared the cakes and lit some candles. The other two guests from Shiro's lectures were sitting on the couch. They seemed to be a couple as the girl had put her arm around the guys shoulder. Keith swallowed again.

He was kinda of jealous since he wanted to be like this, all open and accepted. He imagined to be with Shiro right there, on the couch, talking casually while Shiro had his arm around Keith's shoulder, whispering some stuff in his ear once in a while and kissing his earlobe.

"Keith!"

He blinked and turned around. Hunk waved him. Keith followed and saw that the cakes were nearly prepared.

"Can you light those candles as well?" Hunk gave him a box of matches which were from a close restaurant and Keith nodded.

"And don't dare to eat something yet!"

Keith lifted his head again, hearing this unfamiliar voice. It was Pidge.

"Hunk took a bite from the corner, as if no one would notice it." Pidge cursed their lips, shooting a daring glance to Hunk, who was at least two heads taller than her-them!

Keith nodded smiling. He lighted a match and moved from candle to candle. The chocolate frosting reflected the flickering and Keith smiled fondly at the numbers Hunk had drawn with edible colours: 6 ¼ .

"I hope you used a fork at least?" Keith asked.

"Of course, what do you think I am?" Hunk made a growling noise.

"An animal? Who can't wait to get his food set in a bowl?" Pidge snickered.

"Oh, come on, Pidge. I tried to hide it."

"I can still see the hole in there."

"Me too," Keith added, who now saw the missing piece Hunk had tried to fix at the corner of the chocolate cake.

"Aww, man, Keith!"

Keith chuckled. "And now? What's the plan?"

"We wanted to dim the lights and bring him the cake." Pidge said. "And then we can hand him our presents."

"I see. Good idea… Pidge."

Pidge frowned, unsure what to think of Keith's hesitation.

"Alright, guys! Get down the lights. Lance! Do it."

"Why me?" Lance put his hands in his hips.

"I'm doing it." Keith sighed. He walked over and got his present out of his bag, he had left close to the door. He switched off the main light so that only the kitchen lamp shone through the half open door.

Everybody stood up and formed a circle around Shiro, who smiled shyly, framed by his closest friends he had. Keith tried to get a bit closer to him. Matt noticed it and shoved him right next to him, winking.

They sang a small song and Hunk brought the cake up front. Shiro looked beautiful, his face and the outline of his jaw and neck muscles were enlighted by the flickering candles and a broad smile showed on his lips.

"Thank you, everybody."

"Make a wish, man." Hunk said.

"I will. And thank you for baking, Hunk." Shiro said. "I won't let Matt try to do one again. Not in our kitchen at least."

"Nobody got hurt, right?" Matt pouted.

"Nobody but the cook himself. You still have a scar. Who uses a knife for baking?" Shiro chuckled.

"The wish, Shiro," Pidge said. "Make a wish. Before we have to eat wax. It's melting."

"Sure." Shiro closed his eyes and waited a few seconds. Keith smiled. He really took this serious. Then he pursed his lips and blew out the candles. The ones, who had free hands, clapped and then someone went to switch the light back on.

"Now, take this, Shiro." Matt took a can of beer and shoved it into his friend's hand.

"Oh, uhm, thanks Matt."

"No complains, buddy. You can't stay sober all evening."

Shiro sighed.

"You sure he is old enough yet?" Pidge asked jokingly.

"True, you only turned 6 today." Matt nodded, playing all serious.

"Hey, 6 and a quarter, yeah?" Shiro laughed.

"Three months make the difference, sure bud." Pidge patted Shiro on his shoulder – well, ellbow – which looked funny enough due to their size difference.

"It does. Even a moment can make it." Shiro's eyes glanced up and met Keith's. He smiled.

"Now, here's my present." Pidge shoved a box in his-their! friend's stomach and grinned. "Open it, Shiro!"

"Alright, alright. Got it." Shiro nestled the ribbon and paper open while Matt was about to provide everybody, including Keith, with beer or some harder stuff.

Everybody took the chance to hand Shiro their presents, one at a time, and his childhood friends were always close to comment on them.

Keith got nervous. He didn't want to give his present in front of everybody. He nestled the wrapping and the small envelope he had attached.

"What did you get?"

He flinched. But it was Lance.

"Geez, calm down, Keith!"

"Don't suprise me like that! Gave me a shock."

"Alright, everything's cool. Now, what do you have there?" Lance glanced down on the package Keith held.

"No-nothing."

"I can clearly see that it's not nothing, Keith."

"I.. I just don't want everybody to stare at it."

"A cheesy present, huh? Can't you tell me at least? You make me curious."

"No, that's for Shiro's eyes only. Well.. and mine." Keith shrugged.

Lance observed him but Keith stayed strong, lips pulled into a thin line.

"Alright, keep your secrets."

Some were already eating the cake Hunk cut and Pidge made a comment on the Men's Health magazine, Shiro had received from one of his club members (which made Shiro blush), when Keith realised that he would be the last. Though nobody would force him, he was sure about it. They were all adults – or adults to be. But still. He really wanted to give it to Shiro but only with nobody else staring.

"Do you want to?"

Keith blinked. He looked at Pidge, who stood next to him. Lance was on his way to get a piece of cake and had just left him, standing there by himself.

"Uhm… I'm not sure," Keith said with more confident in his mind than in his voice.

"It's okay. We won't say anything strange or so." Pidge smiled and it was an honest smile which soothed Keith a bit.

"Thanks, Pidge."

They stood next to each other, watching how Shiro tried the new bar-bells he had gotten.

"Well, maybe," Pidge added. "But nothing mean. And nothing against you. Shiro is fond of you so we won't pick on you or stuff. He said you're cool." Pidge shrugged and took a sip of the can in their hand.

"Thanks, uhm.." Keith frowned. He looked from Pidge to the wrapped present and back again. "I… I will ask him."

Keith fidgeted and thought of different ways to give the present later when everybody was gone and he could snuggle close to Shiro in his bed, smelling his scent and be rest assured. The other idea was to sneak away with his boyfriend, in the kitchen or… the bathroom? Options were cut short, he noticed.

But before he could decide anything, Shiro was suddenly next to him, the pair of bar-bells still in his hand.

"Can you help me for a moment?" He asked.

"Su-sure." Keith swallowed and followed his boyfriend into the kitchen.

Hunk and Lance were still inside, cutting the second cake into slices and tasting it.

"Can you give us a minute?" Shiro asked and it sounded so normal, Keith would've never managed to say it like that.

"Of course." Lance grabbed Hunk's ellbow and pulled him outside. Not without a piece of cake that was and Hunk winking at Keith.

"Thanks," Shiro said quietly as the door fell close. They still heard the music Matt had switched on and the chattering but they were finally only two people in one room and Keith felt at ease. He breathed through and relaxed. He hasn't noticed how tense he had been.

"Shi-"

And suddenly there was a pair of demanding lips on his, trying to sneak away a kiss in the middle of Keith's track of thoughts which was trying to find a proper sentence. But he gave in and responded to the kiss he had needed in a sort of way.

When the athlete finally pulled away, Keith wasn't sure if it was enough or not. Probably not.

"Shiro, I..."

"I saw you getting away more and more from everybody so I thought of giving you a little rest. And… I wanted to kiss you." Shiro smiled and scratched the back of his head.

"Uhm.. thanks. Me too." Keith admitted. "It was a lot but… I wanted to give you this!" He shoved his present into Shiro's chest and tilted his head, unable to look Shiro in his eyes. Shiro seemed to hesitate but then Keith felt two fingers under his chin lifting his head. Shiro looked at him, fondly and lovingly and Keith felt bad for the sudden change of romance which had lingered in the air just seconds earlier.

"Sorry," he said quietly. "I didn't know how to give it to you without others getting to know what's inside and..." Keith mumbled some more words he didn't know himself.

"Thank you." Shiro leaned forwards again and kissed him, this time more chaste.

"Happy Birthday, Shiro."

"Thank you, Keith."

"Now, unwrap, before someone will come."

Shiro chuckled. "I will do so then."

Shiro started to open up the ribbon and went for the envelope first. Keith got nervous, unsure what Shiro would think of it. His boyfriend got out the card, opened it and was about to read, as the door swung open.

Keith flushed but now it was too late, the card's content already exposed. Shiro, who had an idea of the content Keith had written, closed the card.

"What did you get?" Matt asked. He got a cold can of coke out of the fridge and handed it to Pidge, who had followed him. Both of them looked over to the two. "What is it, Shiro? Wet tissues? Condoms? Lube?"

Pidge shifted their glasses and frowned. "It's obviously paper in an envelope, you blockhead."

Matt shrugged. "A condom would fit in there, right?"

Shiro's cheek turned crimson. He threw a glance to Keith who didn't know either what to say or do. And as this wasn't bad enough, Matt snatched away the card out of Shiro's hands in order to read it. Keith's heart fell down through his ribcage in the very bottom of his socks.

"Come on, Matt." Shiro frowned.

"Come and get it." Matt wanted to move away but Shiro was faster and regained the card before Matt could open it.

"Okay, alright!" Matt raised his arms in surrender. "But what is it?"

Shiro shook his head, a grin on his lips. "This is Shiro's eyes only," he said in third person and winked at Keith, who was relieved.

Matt snickered. "You want a coke?" He changed the subject but the couple shook their heads. "More coke for me then." And Matt made his way to the door, which went open again and Hunk and Lance came in.

"You done in there? Can we come in and get more cake?" Hunk asked shyly.

"We're okay, Hunk. Open your eyes or you'll trip."

"Oh Pidge! What are you doing in here, too?" Hunk, who had indeed closed his eyes, opened them and came inside, Lance right behind him.

Pidge chuckled. "Trying to get a view of Keith's present, what else?"

"Oh, what did you get him? Cat's out of the bag, finally?" Lance tried to sneak around Hunk but the kitchen was small and Hunk neither, so all he could do was wait beside the fridge.

"What did you get, Shiro?" Hunk asked.

"Uh- nothing." Shiro folded the card back inside the envelope.

"Come on, we see that it's not nothing. Show it!" Lance said from the back.

"No, this is private." Shiro kept resisting.

"Something private, from Keith?" Hunk frowned.

"Oh, then it's definitely something lewd, right Hunk?"

And Hunk nodded, which made Keith feel as if he would be on fire. But Hunk seemed to be embarassed a bit. He glanced to Pidge, who was still drinking coke from the can.

They shrugged a shoulder. "As long as you let me out of it, I'm rooting for you, Shiro."

"Thanks, Pidge." Shiro tugged the envelope in his pants pockets and started to open the bigger present. He threw a glance to Keith, who nodded. This one was safe to open in front of everybodys eyes.

The main present was the envelope but the second choice of Keith was a novel from the author which's book Shiro had borrowed from him once. When Shiro had it in his hands, he nodded and smiled.

"Thank you, Keith. I'll be sure to borrow it to you when I'm done with it."

Keith chuckled. "Thanks. And you're welcome."

They went back to the living room. Keith felt more relaxed now, since he had given his present. He talked to the others and some of them had eventually been to the exhibition where he had presented his sculpture. He felt a bit proud to hear those nice comments on it but still felt unease as how to reply to them.

Keith also got to talk with Pidge. He admitted that he struggled with pronouns and felt a bit uncomfortable about this fact, but Pidge was surprisingly open about this topic. They talked a bit about it and they helped Keith how to deal with it and relaxed. Not everbody would get used to changing pronouns for a person and Keith did that, often, and apologised every time. Hunk had some advices as well and Keith felt assured that he wasn't the only one. He liked Pidge and they were quite similar to Matt apparently. Since Keith knew about the connection to Shiro's family, he had seen them always as exactly that. As if they would all be siblings and he felt safe being inside of this family which seemed to have adopted him as well as Hunk.

The birthday party went on until the night fell and when it was already past 1am, most of the people had left. Pidge would stay as well as Keith. Hunk and Lance were the last to leave.

"Alright, lets leave the cleaning for the wonderful fairy coming over night and just go straight to bed." Matt yawned widely and stretched his arms.

"You mean me?" Shiro frowned and knocked his fist slightly on his best friend's head.

"Hey, it's your brithday, right?" Matt made a grumpy sound as he masssaged his skin.

"And you distributed lots of cans of beer and coke. Give me a hand in the morning?"

"Make it noon."

"Fair enough." Shiro smiled. Keith stood beside him and couldn't resist but taking his hand. There were only Matt and Pidge around, he was safe. "Let's go to bed."

"Nhnn," Keith made. He was tired. He had talked a lot more than usual and it had been a bit stressful but he felt nevertheless satisfied.

They took turns using the bathroom and when everything was settled, Shiro and Keith went to Shiro's room where Pidge went to Matt's. Matt got himself a blanket and seemed to be asleep on the couch before Shiro could say a last Good night.

And finally, finally, they were in Shiro's room and Keith felt at home. He snuggled into the familiar blankets and rolled on the side to give Shiro space.

Shiro mimiked his movements, rolled on the side and slung his arm around Keith's waist. He yawned widely and Keith could see all his teeth and chuckled.

"Hm?" Shiro asked sleepy.

"That was nice today." Keith scooted closer and pressed his temple against Shiro's chest, before looking up again.

"I think so too."

Keith smiled. He tilted his head and kissed Shiro's chin.

"Thank you.. for .. present," Shiro mumbled, his eyes falling close. He tried to stay awake but it had been a long day already.

"I hope you'll enjoy it."

"I certainly will." Shiro opened his eyes once more, placed a hand against Keith's cheek and kissed him. "Good night, Keith."

"Good night, birthday boy. See you tomorrow."

"See you later."

Keith watched how Shiro closed his eyes and was asleep soon after. He himself cuddled himself under blankets and Shiro's warm arm in a sleep hug and closed his eyes.

He smiled, knowing that Shiro had placed the envelope on his desk. And he clearly remembered how excited he had been when he drew the two tiny crossing dicks with the ribbon around them on the blank card, indicating something they had planned and prepared for a long time. Now, it's been decided.

Chapter Text

"Over here, Shiro!" Keith waved. He had waited near the vending machine, which was blinking in green and red, trying to sell cans and bottles full of refreshments in silent.

"Keith." Shiro came closer, a big smile on his lips. He reached out with both of his hands and Keith panicked for a moment, thinking that his boyfriend would kiss him on a public street. But Shiro's eyes grew wide and his smile became sort of shy. He dropped one hand, which might seemed a bit weird, and grabbed Keith's lower arm shortly. It was awkward but Keith felt relieved at the same time.

"Good to see you."

"Yeah." Keith smiled. "Shall we go inside? It's still freezing?"

"Sure."

They went through the door of the nearby cafe they wanted to try. As soon as they were inside, warm air surrounded them and Keith felt comfortable right away.

"Would you like a coffee?" Shiro asked, approaching the counter.

"Yeah." Keith followed him, opening his coat on the way. He knew that Shiro was really aware of Keith getting a coffee most of the time they tried a cafe. But he still asked every time, as Keith did as well when he was ordering for both of them.

They waited for their drinks to finish and settled at the backside, as it was their usual strategy.

"Are you alright with.. being like.. this?" Keith started to ask, unsure how to express himself.

"What do you mean?" Shiro frowned, though he still had a smile on his lips.

"When you greeted me, you… you couldn't..." Keith looked around but nobody was close by. "When you didn't.. kiss me." He ended with a whisper.

Shiro nodded. "Hm, well. You said that you're not quite sure yet how to be about this in the public. But I'm okay with it." He said hurriedly and reached out to touch Keith's hand. "I'm fine with it, relly. I was just… happy to see you. I just wanted to… kiss you."

Shiro seemed to be shy at expressing this which made him even more adorable. Keith swallowed, his heart made a loud pound against his ribs.

"Okay," he said quietly. "Thank you."

"You're welcome." Shiro gave him another reassuring smile and stroke his fingers, before he let go and drank his tea.

They talked about various things they had in mind, which were only a few. The birthday party was just three days ago and nothing much had happened since then. After a morning, where Keith had woken up next to Shiro and eaten breakfast together with the Holt siblings in the living room, all what was left was an awkward feeling. But it felt nice, sharing those domestic moments with Shiro. Keith didn't want to leave after that day, though he somehow had to go an change his clothes at some point.

It was the beginning of March. The winter was almost gone though frosty nights and chilly days were it's last traces. After they finished their beverages, they went outside once more, stomachs filled warm and being prepared for the outside cold.

They went to the nearby park and walked around the grey lake with some ducks trying to find some food at the shore, some people were taking a walk or jogging. Keith tucked his scarf closer around his face and hid inside the hood of the coat. He looked around but nobody was close as well. It was a normal working day, so the park was almost empty. And that's why he reached out and grabbed Shiro's left hand. It was gloved but he felt very satisfied with the contact.

Shiro seemed surprised but responded and closed his bigger hand around Keith's.

Keith watched some crows sitting in the cold brown branches above their heads, following the people's movements below them. The sky was clear blue but the trees almost seemed dead, still missing their leaves and crispy buds. The usual green areas full of fresh grass were grey and forgotten, haven't grown since last autumn.

"Spring will come around soon," Shiro said, his eyes fixed on a cherry tree in front of them. "See, there are already some buds waiting."

Keith squinted his eyes and truly, there were some, having a light pink touch to them.

"It does take longer this year, huh."

Shiro nodded. "It takes much longer on Hokkaido. At the beginning, when I started to study here, I was so surprised to see the trees alight so early." He chuckled and it was like music in Keith's ears. "But now I'm used to it."

Keith nodded, giving his appreciation in silent.

They kept walking.

"This is like a classical romantic date, right?"

Shiro looked at him surprised. "You think so?" He asked.

Keith made a mixture of nodding and shrugging.

Shiro laughed quietly. "Maybe. But I don't mind. I would've never imagined this." He pulled slightly at their entangled hands.

"Why?" Keith asked. Sure this date was a bit romantic and clichee like but he would never mind. It was Shiro he had this date with and he would never change that.

"When I had this thing with my arm." Shiro looked at said limb, though it was now all wrapped up in a thick layer of shirts, hoodie and coat. "I thought a lot about my life. This.. you never know if it is treatable or not. And.. I wanted to have a partner at some point. Someone I could rely on, someone whom I could cherish and who would cherish me. Someone I… I truly love." Shiro smiled while his eyes were fixed on the cherry tree. "When you're thinking so much about the chances you might miss because you didn't have the time, you don't want to regret the things you're about to do and you might miss the chance to do something great. That's… something Matt's father would say." He tilted his head and watched Keith. "I got lucky that they could treat my arm, but… I'm also happy that my studies got delayed. That I got to meet you. That I'm here with you and that we have this cheesy date." He chuckled.

"I'm glad as well." Keith smiled and scooted a little closer to press his face into Shiro's shoulder. "I wouldn't want to not have met you."

"Me too."

They looked at each other, with fondness and love in their eyes.

"Uhm," Keith started. Suddenly he got shy again since he wasn't sure how to express it.

"Yeah?" Shiro squeezed his hand encouraging.

"I, uhm.. Well the thing is…" Keith bit his lower lip and watched his own feet. "Well, uh- Hunk won't be in town on Thursday, so..." He waited a bit before looking up, hoping that Shiro would've gotten the message.

Shiro indeed made round eyes. "So," he said slowly. "Won't be in town and your apartment would be.. empty?"

Keith nodded, still biting his own lip.

"I could come over and.. stay?"

"Yes."

"And we could do anything we want?"

"Exactly."

Shiro smiled. "Then I wold like to invite myself over."

Keith grinned, relieved. "I gladly except your… invitation?"

They chuckled about it and still smiled widely when they were about to head back.


*~*~*~*


And suddenly it was Thursday.

Keith wasn't exactly sure how he passed the time until 4pm, when there was a familiar knock on the door and he opened for Shiro. His boyfriend undressed himself and accepted the tea Keith had made before. It was cold by then but Shiro didn't seem to mind.

They were both nervous. Keith didn't say much at first and needed a tight hug and some shallow kisses before he melted in the shape of Shiro's side on the couch, finally able to relax. Though he didn't know quite exactly what he had done the whole day, but he was sure he went to the bathroom several times. He cleaned and when he was back in his room, he decided to do the whole process again. And then, when he had decided that all this was way too time-consuming to fuck with someone, he bit his lip and decided to redo the process. (He had become pretty good at t by now.)

After that he said to himself to calm down and relax and to not maltreat his backside too often before Shiro got to be around. Thinking of Shiro had lead to a heavy boner he didn't get rid off. But he didn't want to jerk off before they got to do the do they had waited months for. So he had waited for (since he forgot about the time) a very long time for the boner to subside.

In restroperspective, all of this might've taken a lot of time from the whole day.

Somehow he had managed to cook lunch, though he forgot about it and had to microwave it again. It was a relief when Shiro finally had come and now, he was able to relax in his touch, familiar hands around him to keep him steady.

A glance in Shiro's face showed him that he wasn't the only one being nevous. It wasn't that each of them didn't have experience in this. But it was the first time showing their full side to the other and Keith was both: extremely excited yet totally nervous about possible embarassements.

They started off with some shy kisses. But since they knew about doing this, their kisses soon became heated, deeper and wetter. Shiro had just managed to put down his tea, before they laid – legs entangled – on the couch, faces as close as possible to each other.

"Wanna..." Keith breathed hard, his voice already raspy. "Go to.. bedroom?"

"Sure." Shiro followed Keith's lead and soon they were lying on Keith's duvet (which he had washed and put on freshly), kissing again.

Keith wasn't sure if they were taking their time or if they were just too much into kissing, but they were enjoying themselves, trying to taste as much of the other as possible. And when Keith tugged at Shiro's shirt, demanding to get it off, his boyfriend followed. Soon, they were bot half naked and Keith felt that the heat had rushed downwards to his groin. But Shiro was the same, his erection showing clearly through this pants.

While they were already sitting in front of each other, both still panting lightly, Shiro looked around and fetched his bag from next to the bed where he had dropped it.

"Do you.. need to, uhm, clean... something?" Shiro asked.

"I'm done. I did it three times."

Shiro stared at him in surprise. "Three times?"

Keith felt his face blushing. "Yeah, well.. I wanted to be sure that it's… clean."

Shiro nodded slowly. "So.. Should I do.. something?"

"Yeah, would be good. To.. have it stretched and all."

Shiro nodded again. He swallowed and Keith could actually hear it. The adams apple made a significant jump.

Keith got up and went to the drawer where he had put the lube they had used before and the newly bought package of condoms.

Shiro made a sound and Keith looked up and over to him.

"What is it?"

"Well." Shiro shrugged and showed what he had gotten out of his bag: Lube and condoms, both in their original packaging.

Keith needed to laugh and he felt some weight taken from his shoulders when Shiro joined in.

"We haven't done any agreements before so no wonder."

Shiro settled back on the bed while Keith stood in front of his drawer, each of them having lube and condoms in their hands.

Keith shrugged. "But we will use it anyway, so it's good to have supplies."

Shiro watched him, nearly a stare.

"I mean," Keith added. "It won't be the last time, right? This is the second bottle of lube we used already since we needed to prepare my… me."

Shiro nodded slowly, his cheeks flushed with colours of a sunset in various states.

Keith observed Shiro, who's eyes looked from the content in his hands to Keith's.

"Which one should we use?" He asked.

"Since your's is new, we could use up mine first?" Keith lifted the hand with the lube. "Concerning the condom… Since you would use it, you can decide."

Shiro chuckled. "Alright. Let's start with mine first."

Keith nodded, put his package aside and came closer, standing inbetween Shiro's thighs. He dropped the lube on the duvet, before he concentrated on his boyfriend. While his hands took a firm grip of the athlete's shoulders, he leaned down and kissed him softly.

Shiro opened his mouth, responding eagerly. He wrapped an arm around Keith's waist and together they fell onto the back, Keith pressed against Shiro's warm skin.

Their mouth's felt familiar, wrapping each other with softness and saliva. This was a part they knew very well about; there was no hesitation in their movements as the stroke each other's sides, arms and thighs. Keith followed the lines of hard muscles running from Shiro's arms to his shoulder and over his chest to his abdomen. Shiro trembled as Keith pressed his fingers gently into the tissue.

Their long, deep kisses became shorter and disturbed by moans while they squeezed the parts which made them feel it at other places.

When Keith felt his lip tingling and his mind wanting something else, he felt Shiro's finger running over his back again and again.

"Go a bit lower," he whispered, kissed Shiro softly and looked him in the eyes. They were soft and warm and so familiar. Shiro swallowed and nodded. He followed the instruction and moved one hand lower to rest it on Keith's butt, giving it a slight squeeze.

Keith hadn't expect that and moaned softly, pressing his nose into Shiro's cheeks.

"K-Keith, you okay?"

"Ye-yeah, okay. Do that again. Felt good."

Shiro hesitate but did it once more and Keith let out a soft groan.

"Fuck," he said.

"I hope so." Shiro chuckled and Keith lifted his eyes again to gave him a Seriously? look. But Shiro was just too cute when he looked up to him, a smile on his lips.

"Then do something about it."

"Alright." Shiro kissed him again, shortly, and gave another squeeze, softer this time. Keith felt him trembling slightly. His other hand followed the trace and slid off Keith's back.

"It's alright, Shiro. I'm okay. We know what to do. We're both here."

"What if I fail?" Shiro asked, nearly a whisper.

"We won't. We're here, together, the two of us. No need to be afraid when there is someone right beside you. You can always ask me if I'm okay or if you need a break."

Shiro looked as if he had needed this confirmation.

They kissed again before Shiro moved his fingers back and slid his second hand into Keith's underwear and pressed two fingers between the buttocks. It was like a massage. Though Keith hoped that Shiro would be the only one ever doing that.

The touch was gentle and when Shiro made the attempt to get Keith out of his last piece of fabric, Keith followed gladly. When he was fully naked, he tugged at Shiro's boxershorts and Shiro chuckled. He undressed as well and then both of them sat in front of each other, looking at the other as if they would see them for the very first time.

Keith knew how Shiro looked like without clothes, though most of the time they had still something else on. He knew about the firm muscles, trained by a tough training menue, leading from the neck over the shoulders down the arm and chest, stomach and legs. Keith admired the two pink nipples in front of him, which hardened a bit and looked like two tiny houses on two mountains which were Shiro's pecs.

Keith reached out and stroke over the shoulders. He paused at the big scars Shiro had on his upper arm and leaned forward to kiss them. It made Shiro shudder and thus Keith retreated, not wanting to dwell on something in the past for too long.

Shiro took the grip and slid his fingers along Keith's arms and chest, exploring the exposed skin and warmth in the daylight.

Keith felt himself trembling, but only because it felt so good to have Shiro's hands on him. They were gentle and warm and maybe a bit callous due to the training where he needed to grip heavy weights.

And Keith couldn't resist but to look down. He had seen Shiro's dick before, but now it was different. He knew that he was bigger than average but it was quite a view sitting in front of each other, having the daylight shining on the pure glory with all veins showing and all the time he had to watch it now. Keith knew how it looked and felt and moved when being excited, but he had to admit that he was thirsty to see this dick everytime they were about to do something intimate. And this, today, was truly included.

Keith felt Shiro's gaze resting on his own cock and swallowed. Both of them were erect, maybe not to the fullest, but more than half.

Keith glanced up to meet Shiro's dark eyes, which were promising a good idea, before he leaned forwards, much further than before. He grabbed Shiro's thighs to steady himself and came closer to the cock, twitching with interest at his actions.

"K-Keith, you don't need to… Ah!"

Keith had put the tip in his mouth and started sucking. It was hot and pulsing, but Keith got excited by the thought that this thing was about to enter him today. It was big and thick and so hot in his mouth. He licked slowly and sucked on the slit where he felt some drops escaping. Keith didn't try to slide all of Shiro inside of his mouth, that would be definitely impossible, but he tried a few centimeters.

And then there was Shiro's hand in his hair, pulling him softly away.

"Ke-Keith, I'm… I was so close, sorry." Shiro looked sorry.

"I's okay." Keith wiped his mouth and threw his huge dick another glance, a bit sad that he wouldn't continue for now.

"Maybe… Start with the lube?"

Keith nodded. He wanted to give Shiro some time to calm down again. He didn't want it to end so soon either. He handed over the lube and Shiro poured some on his fingers.

"Can you, ugh..."

Keith nodded and sat himself on Shiro's lap, looping one arm around his broad shoulders.

"Sorry. Is that okay?"

Shiro nodded. "Yes, I… I will-"

But whatever he wanted to say, Keith cut off his words with a kiss. "Do it," he said short breathing after.

"Un." Shiro lowered his hands to Keith's butt again, one hand kneading it and slid further between the buttocks, spreading them apart. "Kiss me again."

And Keith did. They still kissed when Shiro finally reached Keith's hole and encircled the ring of muscles, still showing some resistance.

Keith shuddered at the touch. He had felt it before but now, with all the excitement and his hard dick pressing against Shiro's abdomen, it was a bit different. He pressed a wet kiss against Shiro's lips, which were a bit parted and actually quite invitable, as Shiro started to press one finger inside of him.

"Mnhmm.." Keith moaned quietly. He dropped his head and let it roll on Shiro's shoulder.

While Shiro went slowly on his hole, thrusting one finger inside and outside, Keith pressed his face into soft skin.

Shiro took his time. Keith's patience was worn out and his dick about to burst, but he knew that Shiro wanted to be entirely sure, not wanting to hurt him. So Keith let him take his time to prepare.

When he was about to add a second finger, Keith heard that he took some more lube before sliding his finger, and then a second joining it as well.

Keith enjoyed the fresh burn and stretch. Shiro thrusted quite normally but when he was about to stretch more and scissored Keith open, Keith couldn't held back his moans any longer. He kissed Shiro's neck sloppily and grabbed the back with his other hand. He wanted to get some friction against his dick and desperately tried to rub it against Shiro's stomach. But it wasn't enough.

"Shiro," he whined and wriggled in the embrace.

"Not yet, Keith." It was a whisper. "Gotta get you ready and wet enough." Shiro caressed his back and butt while still thrusting inside of him "You're doing so good, Keith."

Some minutes passed by where Keith wasn't sure if he would survive until he could finally feel Shiro inside of him. And then Shiro added the third finger and Keit was sure that he wouldn't last longer.

"No-now, Shiro. Can you.. do it now?"

"Not yet." Shiro pressed a kiss in his neck. He kept on thrusting his fingers inside and out, creating lewd sounds while scissoring the way open for his cock.

And then, finally, finally, Shiro seemed to be satisfied. Keith got nearly angry at him, but he had still some understanding in his excited mind.

"Lay down on the stomach. I think it's easier that way."

Keith nodded and did as his boyfriend said. He layed down and wriggled his ass into the air, full of expectations. His cock was pressed a bit into the duvet. It gave him the friction he had wanted but Shiro took a grab of his thighs before he could rub too much against the fabric.

Keith exhaled an unsatisfied groan. He listened how Shiro got up and hovered above him. The plastic sound of the cap being opened reached his ears. A look behind and he saw that Shiro coated his cock with lube, giving it a few thrusts himself.

Keith couldn't get enough of this view: Shiro closing his eyes for a short moment, mouth hanging open and his cock glistening and fully erect.

Shiro seemed to be ready and when he started to line up with Keith's butt, Keith felt the hot length pressing against his skin, hot and ready.

He waited in eager excitement as Shiro seemed to find a steady place for this. And then the tip of his cock pushed against his entrance, though he didn't enter yet. It took a few attempts before the tip was pressed inside the tight muscle ring. And Keith hissed at the touch, suddenly splitting him open.

A groan slipped from his lips he couldn't stop. But he didn't care anymore. He wanted Shiro to finally fuck him. His boyfriend still pressing inside him, at a torturous slow pace, wasn't very helpful.

Keith was so sunken in his own concentration and thoughts, that he didn't hear Shiro's mumblings at first. But then he did.

"Slowly, slowly, slowly," Shiro spoke to himself. "Don't hurt him. Don't hurt your boyfriend, Shiro."

He seemed a bit panicked and Keith hoped it would subside.

"Don't hurt him, don't hurt him, don't hurt him…," he hummed like a mantra. He slowly pressed further in Keith's twichting hole which Keith welcommed though the stretch was a bit unformfortable at first, having something of this size pressed inside. He couldn't deny the pain yet he wanted to have it since it gave him pleasure at the same time. It was a weird feeling.

When Shiro was a bit depper but not yet enough to really leave a satisfying feeling, Keith moaned deeply, his temple pressed against the duvet.

He couldn't wait any longer.

"Will you finally fuck me, Shiro!?"

Shiro stopped pushing and Keith didn't want to look back. Instead, he wriggled his ass and pressed down on Shiro's cock himself.

Shiro made a sound, a mixture of whining and moaning. Keith hoped that he hadn't ruined it now, but then he felt Shiro pressing in again.

He felt full. Shiro's cock inside of his ass, stretching the walls nearly unbearable. And this was the first time where Keith was really happy to have done the thorough preparaton beforehand. Though he couldn't care less in this moment.

Shiro started to move and all Keith could see was the darkness behind his closed eyelids, showing him all kinds of images how Shiro was situated above him.

Keith wanted this to last much longer than it did. Shiro dropped one hand next to him and kept the other on Keith's hip, keeping him in place.

A soft groan escaped his mouth, his hot breath was so close as it ran over Keith's neck. It made him shiver. His own cock begged for being touch since Shiro didn't seem to reach Keith's best spot. Even though it had such a spendid size.

"Fu-ck, Kei- I..."

Keith got goosebumps. He felt how Shiro's grip grew tighter for a mere second before he felt that Shiro came. The soft splurting of his come went right into the condom, tingling his insides.

"Ke-Keith.."

He didn't have enough strength to look up and watch Shiro while he was coming. What would he have given to see the face Shiro would made while whispering his name in this tone.

He felt Shiro pulling out.

"Sorry." It was a whisper. Keith wanted to turn around and grab his face, caressing his cheeks and tell him that it was okay. But his lower body asked for something different.

"Shi-ro," he said, nearly as quiet as Shiro had. "Touch me."

Shiro seemed to be startled but moved forward again. Keith felt a big warm hand grasping his hard dick, which leaked onto the duvet. Some firm tugs were sufficient and Keith felt the gathered heat escaping and he was coming over the fabrics on his own bedding.

When he had finally caught his breath, he rolled onto the side and saw that Shiro laid beside him, his chest heaving.

"Ke-Keith, I'm.. I..." Shiro was still out of breath.

"It's okay, Shiro. I'm fine." Keith reached out and stroke Shiro's arm reassuringly.

Shiro looked at him, rather observingly. "Really?"

Keith nodded. "If someone needs to be sorry then it's me. I shouted at you in a… difficult situation. I was… I wanted you to just put it in already and move." He chuckled but still felt unsure. He shouldn't have done that.

But Shiro smiled.

"It's okay, Keith. Me too. It was.. overwhelming." He smiled and Keith felt relieved.

"Overwhelming?" He asked and chuckled. "It was amazing! I knew that I love you but your dick sure is something."

Shiro blushed. "Thanks?"

Keith snickered and moved closer to press his face in Shiro's shoulder and his sticky legs against his side. He hoped that his boyfriend wouldn't mind but he wanted to be as close as possible.

Shiro lifted a hand and stroke it over Keith's head and through his hair.

"I nearly lost it there," he murmured into Keith's hair.

"Hm?" Keith had closed his eyes; listening to the beat of Shiro's heart which became calmer with every minute.

"When you moaned and I.. I felt your voice vibrating to the tip of my dick."

Keith tilted his head. "Really?"

Shiro nodded. "Was kinda weird, but in a good way."

Keith smiled, leaning into the warm shoulder once more.

"But… No, it's okay."

"But?"

"It's alright."

Keith watched Shiro again, frowning.

"What is alright? You came too early but that's okay with me."

" I didn't mean that, I… no, it's fine." Shiro blushed and stared with all his concentration up to the ceiling.

"What is it, Shiro?" Keith lifted his arm and touched Shiro's cheek. "Maybe that I didn't see your coming face? Well, you didn't see mine either so that's a shame as well."

Shiro made big eyes. "True," he murmured. "I haven't seen yours. What a shame." And he was serious.

"Now tell me what you mean, if it wasn't that." Keith stroke Shiro's chest and chin. "I'm okay with everything. There was nothing I didn't like."

"Really?"

Keith nodded.

"Maybe because you don't know?" Shiro chuckled but it seemed forced.

"Tell me." Keith kissed Shiro's shoulder.

"Well, I..." He took a deep breath. "I.. didn't have all of it… inside."

Keith was surprised. "Are you sure?"

Shiro nodded. "It's a part of my body, Keith. And I saw it going inside of… you. Just.. not all of it."

"It felt like it though." Keith frowned.

Shiro looked at him in concern. "Is it… Are you still okay?"

"Wha-? Yeah, I mean. It just didn't fit into me so… it's me we have to work on. You won't get any smaller, right?"

"True." Shiro laughed quietly. "I want to work on it so I can.. put all of it.."

"Yes, let's do that and then… Wait. Did you hold back?" Keith frowned. He sat up a bit and rested his upper body on his arm, his hand still laying on Shiro's chest.

"Well.. yes. I had to. I didn't want to hurt you and it was just half of me inside of you. That would've been too much. And it was the first time as well so..."

Keith hummed. Shiro was right about that. But with doing preparations, they should get there slowly.

"Okay," he said. "We will work on it, together." He dropped down again and hugged Shiro once more. "And then you can fuck me with your huge cock all you want." He had said it because it was the truth and because he wanted to see Shiro blushing even more. And he wasn't disappointent.

"Thank you, Keith. I look forward getting there," Shiro said flustered, his cheeks pink.

"Mhmh.."

They laid together, breathing softly and feeling warm and content. The outside world seemed muted, the neighbours not home. Everything was at peace for once.

"Keith?"

"Hm?"

Shiro sat a bit up and scooted closer, cupping Keith's face with one hand, stroking his cheek with his thumb.

Keith looked up and saw a pair of beautiful grey eyes watching him.

"I… I love you, Keith."

"Me too. I love you too." Keith lips parted for a fond smile before Shiro leaned down and kissed him as soft and tender as he always kissed him.

Chapter Text

The Spring Break was nearly over. The cold wind had drifted off to the north, there was no snow or ice anymore. Riding the bike became more easy and the amount of clothes grew few.

It was three days before the new term would start.

Keith and Shiro had decided to have breakfast outside of their apartments. The small cafe, where they had met for the very first time, was still a famous place which mostly attracted students due to it's closeness to the campus. The scenery was alright as well. The track field, a part of the forest and many buildings could be seen through the big windows.

It has to be noted that the cafe, which used to sell drinks and small snacks only, had changed a bit. They offered a small breakfast buffet by now and had even some warm meals offered during lunch or dinner time.

The couple sat close to the spot they used to sit before, a small variety of buns, bread, jam, and cheese on the table. They had some tea and coffee as well as eggs and juice, as it was a classical western breakfast.

Keith took a few drops of milk in his coffee and stirred it with a spoon. His eyes gazed from the hazelnut coloured coffee outside to the open fields of university grounds.

"It sure looks different when every student is on a break, right?"

Shiro hummed in agreement. "Though in one week it'll look totally different."

"I wonder about it." Keith mumbled. More to himself than to his boyfriend.

"About what?" Shiro raised an eyebrow, while he reached for the jam.

"Hm?" Keith was in a daze. It wasn't particulary early – they had met at 10am; the cafe seemed to be used to later breakfast times – but he was in a daze. He couldn't quite believe that one year ago, many things were different. It was always kind of a realisation that he had met Shiro and fell in love and confessed and… that he had a boyfriend. Though this realisation became softer with time, it was still an unbelievable feeling. His eyes scooted up since he wanted to look at Shiro. He realised that he was staring at him.

"What is it? Do I have something on my face? Jam?" Keith lifted his hand to feel his cheeks.

"No, it's okay." Shiro reached out to grab Keith's hand and put it down. "No jam. There's nothing on your face. Only things I like." He winked at him and Keith blushed. "I just asked what you meant. You said you wonder about something?"

There was worry in his eyes but it was gone the moment Keith shook his head.

"Nothing special, just… I wonder what… One year ago we hadn't met yet and now we're… we're..." Keith bit his lower lip.

"We're… together?"

Keith looked up and saw two eyes looking at him, soft and tender. He nodded.

"I wouldn't have expected this either, Keith. But… I'm really happy that I met you." Shiro tilted his head but kept watching him. "I was… Four years ago I thought nobody would see me like you do now. No one would like someone with a troublesome past, my passed mother, and my strange father and, well you haven't met him yet, but.."

"I would like to meet him in the future." Keith unterrupted him.

Shiro smiled softly. "I'm glad. I will give you some information before we go, so just in case." He shrugged. "But… I want you to know that that not everybody would take on this… package I carry."

"I have my own, Shiro."

"I know but… It's something I haven't thought of when I was in the hospital and right after when I got out. I was sure that there would be nobody who would..."

"Shiro." Keith took his boyfriend's hand in his and stroke it. "I know what you want to say but… It's not that I don't care about your past and the troubles you might still have. I..." He glanced around but nobody was near enough. "I love you, still. I will help you with everything I have and.. you know about my.. package as well. Everybody has something to carry, some lighter, some heavier than others. But now we.. we have each other and I'm glad that you share your life with me and I got to do that with mine."

Keith looked up and saw that Shiro had big eyes, staring at him in awe.

"Well, I… I just wanted to point out that I like you and I don't really care about the things you bring with you. I-I mean.. It's not a trouble for me. I like everything about you and your past, everything which is connected with you and I won't stop loving you because I…I.."

"I know Keith." Shiro finally smiled and his stare broke into a fond expression. "I know what you want to say. Thank you. And-" He gave Keith's hand a firm press. "I love you too."

Keith, unsure what to say, nodded and smiled.

They let go of each other and continued their breakfast.

"You still haven't answered my question."

Keith looked at Shiro thoughtfully until he realised that he was right.

"Uhm… About what I wonder, so… We haven't met one year ago but… I want to be with you in one year from now on and the other following and… I don't want to not be with you, Shiro. I-I don't know how to say that." Keith stuttered and made a vague gesture with his hand.

"This almost sounds like a proposal." Shiro smirked.

Keith felt his face becoming redder. "No, well.. Not yet."

Shiro raised an eyebrow but his expression was full of love. "Alright, I will wait for it."

Keith needed to laugh. "Will you finally let me answer your question?"

"Sure, go on." Shiro grinned.

"Well, I think… I wonder what the future will become. Where are we in five or ten years? Who are we? And what will we do?"

Shiro frowned. "Oh, you wonder about this, well… It's a good question."

"Thank you."

Shiro snickered. "I can't tell for sure where I will be in ten years from now on but… I know that I want to be with you."

"Sounds a bit cheesy."

Shiro shrugged. "I don't care about being cheesy. If it's you, everything is alright."

Keith felt his heart beating faster. "I'm okay with that as well."

"I'm glad."

"Me too."

Keith took a bite from his bread and watched a woman walking her dog on the pathway.

"What do you want to do after graduation?" He asked.

Shiro looked up from his boiled egg. "I thought a bit about it," he said slowly. "I wanted to tell you when things were a bit clearer but I have an idea of what to do."

"Go for it." Keith smiled.

"Okay, uhm…" Shiro took a spoon full of egg. "I would like to extend my scholarship. If I attend more competitions and win a few, which shouldn't be too hard, I can earn some more credits and points. My application for the extension would be better evaluated and I could study two more years."

"Here?" Keith pointed to the campus they saw outside of the window.

Shiro cursed his lips and Keith felt his heart dropping somewhere between his liver and his right kidney.

"Not here, unfortunately. The extra programme would include training at another university to get more inputs of different sport studies and atheletic paths."

"Wh-where would it be?" Keith hoped that it wasn't somewhere he wasn't able to travel to. If it was Hokkaido or Okinawa, those were definitely too far to just go there every weekend. And he felt anxiety rising in his chest when he thought of so many new people around Shiro. He trusted Shiro but he knew that he had a jealous side in him. He bit his lip, trying to keep down his boiling feelings full of doubt and fear.

"It's close, so no worries, Keith."

Keith looked up. "Really?"

"It's the same university where Pidge is. And I could use the extra room they have in their apartment so I won't have troubles in this way. And it's only two hours with the train from here, so we can meet." Shiro smiled. He also seemed to be relieved about it.

Keith's chest felt lighter, his heart beating at a near normal pace again.

"That's good. So Pidge..."

"They got me all the information about university." Shiro finished his egg and put his spoon aside. "And then I thought that it would be a good idea. What do you think?"

Keith nodded automatically. It was a bit self centric to see it like this but as long as Shiro was close, he would be fine. But it would be a good opportunity for his atheletic carrier.

"It sounds really good, Shiro. You should go for it with the application."

"Thanks. It's good to have you behind me with this. And since Matt will come to visit anyway once in a while he can just take you with him."

Keith chuckled. "Yeah, would be great. But I guess I will come more often than him."

"That's what I'm hoping." Shiro grinned. "And how about you? You still have two years ahead. Any ideas yet?"

Keith shook his head. "Not really. I want to graduate first. Maybe I start working after or continue studying. Hm… Ask me in one and a half years again."

"Sure." Shiro laughed. "And..."

"And?" Keith frowned, still smiling.

"What do you want to achieve.. on a personal level? Except from the proposal, I will wait for it." Shiro winked before his expression became serious again.

Keith thought about it. He wasn't exactly sure if Shiro wanted to ask for a specific thing. But he already thought about something he wanted to change.

"You know," he began, voice quieter than before. "Only a hand full of people know that I'm… that I'm gay. And I would like to be more open about it. I mean.." Keith looked at Shiro and hoped he didn't seem pleading. "I can imagine that it's some pressure on you as well. Constantly checking the surroundings, no holding hands, no kisses in public, no hugs which are too intimate, no..."

"Keith, it's alright, I-"

Keith shook his head. He saw the soft look in Shiro's eyes but he wanted to say this.

"I'm not going to apologise now. Well, I would actually, but you haven't said anything yet and I think you would stop me before I can be serious about it."

Shiro chuckled and nodded, but kept quiet for Keith to finish.

"We still keep it a secret and I.. I want to.." Keith sighed. "I want to be free. I want to touch you when we're outside too. I want to sit close next to you when we go to the cinema or hold hands and kiss you and-and-"

Shiro waited some more but Keith hesitated how to continue. It was his dream to be out officially. But the start was unelievable hard. He was happy that his closest friends and especially his mother knew about this, but it was something else with strangers who might have another judgement system as common sense. And even if the people who knew were around, Keith never kissed Shiro more chastely than he actually wanted. It was a border he had to cross. And he didn't want other to judge over Shiro. Keith restricted this freedom by himself.

"You know, Keith." Shiro took his hand softly. "I'm happy that you're concerned about me. And I would be happy to kiss you on the open street. But." His smile didn't fail. "We're in the same boat. I'm not what people call normal and I don't want to be. I love you and I always liked men and if you're okay with being open in public, I would be fine."

Keith swallowed and stared at Shiro. True. He had somehow forgotten that Shiro was mainly attracted by men as well.

"I'm totally fine with you being guarded, that's your character and I actually like it a lot." Shiro blushed at that point. "If you want to do that and decide that you want to be more open about it, I'm in. If you want to wait a bit more, it would be fine with me as well."

Keith nodded. "Sorry."

"Now you really did apologise."

Keith smiled helplessly but his eyes were full of love. "I forgot that we're the same. And I'm thankful that you haven't pushed me somewhere yet."

"And I never will."

"I know."

"Just let me know when you're okay with it, when you want to change."

Keith nodded again. "That's my dream. That's what I want to reach in the future. And I will be greatful to have you by my side."

Shiro tilted his head, gaze all soft. "It would be my pleasure. You're not alone in this."

Keith felt himself lost in Shiro's eyes, feeling content and happy with his plan. He wasn't alone, that was for sure. He could always rely on his boyfriend.

They finished their breakfast and walked outside. The wind was quite warm for this season so they had left the coats at home. Shiro wore his training sweater and Keith his red and white striped one he had since a long time and kept dearly.

They choosed the small path which led to the athletic grounds and ended somewhere close to the bike racks. Delicate tweets came from the close trees, the field was empty and the university nearly abandoned. Keith took a deep breath, enjoying the spring weather which smelled like fresh plants, blooming flowers and new life.

Nobody was around, the path a bit overgrown but still visible ahead. Shiro stopped and Keith did the same, surprised about it.

"Here." Shiro reached out and grabbed Keith's hand. And Keith took it, feeling the warmth going over into his fingers.

Shiro gazes around and even looked behind himself twice. He seemed nervous. Keith wondered what he was up to though he had a rough idea. And then Shiro leaned forward. He pressed his other hand against Keith's cheek, stroking his chin with his thumb, and kissed him with soft lips.

Even though he saw it coming, Keith was too surprised to react before Shiro pulled away, smiling shyly, as if he did that for the very first time. But his eyes had a knowing gloss in them.

Keith swallowed and looked a bit perplex. But then a grin appeared on his lips. He gave his surroundings a second look, before he laid his hand on Shiro's chest, tugging at the shirt he wore beneath to pull him down. His lips met Shiro's and this time it was a real kiss.

A few seconds passed before they let go of each other's lips. Keith blinked.

"One more."

Shiro nodded and leaned towards him.

They spent some minutes on the path, touching with hands and lips, before they decided to return home where they had more privacy. They headed towards their bikes, hands touching briefly once on a while. Two pairs of lips being curled in bright smiles.

Chapter Text

It had been raining non-stop since morning. The typhoon season was over but the last heavy clouds left moist and warm air behind, which made it hard to breathe.

When Shiro was about to leave the train station, his heavy bag on his shoulders, he sent a questioning look into the grey sky above him, frowning. Unfolding his umbrella, he made his way over the pedestrian way and alongside some smaller shops selling everything from used books to rice cooker. The area was cozy and beautiful. It was not the high society as in the very center of this city, but it was full of little cafes and shops and comfy romantic places which had often been visited by Shiro in the past years. Since it was aleady evening, the street lamps were lighted, guiding a bright path to Shiro's aim for this evening.

While the smooth rain hit the fabric of his umbrella, he managed to go around the largest puddles and to not knock over anyone else who was trying to reach their destinations in a mostly dry condition.

Shiro had promised to be on time and though he would miss the very opening, he would be there as fast as he could actually manage. The meeting had lasted longer than expected and his trainer was eager to have given every advice which Shiro gladly took. But today he had wanted nothing else but finally be free to get on the train.

As soon as he set foot into the right street, he saw the first posters and advertised announcements, leading Shiro's way to the gallery which was his final destination.

The gallery had two big glass fronts. Spot lights were placed right beneath the ceiling inside and directed onto a familiar looking scuplture and a painting. The main door was framed by dark wood. Two lamps stood beside the open door, leading people inside and out. There were many to be seen already, chattering and drinking juice or wine. Shiro became excited.

Before he entered, he stopped and read the inscription of the poster placed directly next to the door.

 

Exhibition of Aizawa Kanewa

Winter's Youth

 

Feat. Kogane Keith

Universe

 

Shiro smiled at his boyfriend's name being printed on every poster. It wasn't Keith's first exhibition after graduating university (it wouldn't be the last either) but everytime Shiro came to visit them, it was quite something to be a part of this. To walk alongside the way Keith had chosen.

Shiro shouldered his bag once more and stepped inside. Warm light and voices welcomed him. He tried to avoid hitting any visitor or sculpture, his eyes constantly looking for short black hair.

Shiro recognised immediately which exhibited parts were done by Keith and which weren't. He had worked on his own style and even if Shiro wouldn't see many of those things in their apartment, he would be able to distinguish between Keith's and Aizawa sensei's works everywhere.

Shiro was so proud of him. After Keith had graduated he had started working for Aizawa sensei. Since his mind was free and his soul made for an artist, he didn't continue studying but started working in the gallery instead. And soon the gallery master had allowed him to present his own parts in the exhibition, which took place inside as well as in other parts of the city or the country even.

Finally, Shiro had found what he was looking for. His lips couldn't resist a smile as his eyes discovered the familiar black hair, the tantalizing eyes and lips and body features.

Keith talked to an older couple and stood next to a sculpture showing a dog with a stick, running towards a painted wall with trees, grass and bushes.

The Running Wild was written on a small plate.

Shiro waited patiently before drawing Keith's attention. The couple nodded and smiled and then they turned to see another piece and Keith finally turned his head.

"Shiro, I knew you were there."

"Of course you do." Shiro smiled. He leaned forward and Keith met him halfway, sealing their lips.

"How was the training?"

"Tough as usual." Shiro shrugged, one hand grabbing Keith's arm, stroking it. "But refreshing."

Keith chuckled. "Good to hear that. Do you want to put your bag somewhere?" His eyes were following the heavy bulge on Shiro's back.

"Sure."

They went in the backside of the gallery, where Shiro dropped his bag and was soon pulled into another kiss, deeper and longer than the previous one.

"What was that for?" Shiro smiled, his fingers touching Keith's cheeks softly.

Keith shrugged. "Dunno. I haven't seen you in three days. Can't I have what I deserve?"

"Oh god, all you want." Shiro chuckled.

"You want something to drink? Look around?" Keith glanced to the exhibition part.

"Yes. I would like to see all of your pieces."

"Though you already know all of mine."

"I still want to see them." Shiro grinned, but he was serious. It was different to see Keith's pieces in the making – here or at home – or in a gallery with lights set.

Keith nodded and together they walked towards the bigger room.

"I will show you all of my pieces." Keith winked at him which made Shiro blush. Even now after all those years.

While Keith got some cherry wine for Shiro, the man watched the people passing by, reading inscriptions or watching the art pieces. Some of them greeted him even and Shiro responded with a smile and a nod.

"Here you go." Keith returned and handed him a glass.

"Thanks, Keith. Would you show me around?"

Keith nodded. He took Shiro's other hand and together they walked through the gallery. It wasn't a big gallery, but big enough to show a certain amount of pieces, some bigger, some smaller. Shiro had seen all of Keith's and knew the motivation behind these, but he wasn't sure about Aizawa sensei's pieces and so Keith explained them. Not that they always had a specific reason. Aizawa was a bit.. theatric. But since he was a nice man and Keith felt comfortable working with him, Shiro didn't mind.

After they had seen more than the half of the shown pieces, Shiro got himself a new drink while Keith thought about how to explain his master's works in words.

They were standing in front of a bright painting – white, yellow and orange, showing a Map of the Youth – when the gallery master approached them.

"Look who we have here. I thought you would get wild on the cherry wine I specifically ordered for you, my young student." Aizawa popped up next to them. His gaze fell on Shiro. "Oh! And this would be your boyfriend, Shirogane. I heard of your last competition, impressive. Truly impressive. Congratulation."

"Th-thank you, Aizawa sensei."

"Oh, drop the honorifics, Shirogane, if you allow."

Shiro nodded and smiled. He gallery master had reached an age between 50 and 60, his curly grey hair was relatively long, some braids were showing. His smile was a bit tilted, but his eyes sparkled everytime he spoke and his nose was long and pointy. He was like the crazy old uncle from next door who would still go to the playground and go on the swings or surprise kids with a costume on halloween.

"How come you're this late, watching your lifetime mate's exhibition?" Aizwawa frowned.

"I had training in the city hall until 7pm and couldn't get off earlier. Not that I didn't try." Shiro excused himself with an apologetic look. But he felt a squeeze of Keith's fingers around his hand and was a bit more relaxed.

"I see, I see. Good what you're doing there, lad. I'd be happy to watch your next match on TV again."

Shiro chuckled and drank some of his wine. "Yes, me too. We're still arranging our menue."

Aizawa nodded. "True, things must be done." He frowned and watched Keith. "I think you did enough for today, haven't ya? You should go and enjoy your youth once in a while." The master turned his head and looked at Shiro. "He was complaining since the day you left. Of course he didn't say anything with a deeper meaning, but I can guess what his nuts must feel like."

Shiro's face went red. What had Keith said??

"Alright, just tell me when you wanna leave, Keith."

"Su-sure, Sensei."

Aizawa nodded and waved, before he went and started talking to the visitors standing close to the painting a few meters away.

"Shiro." Keith pressed a hand on Shiro's chest so that the athlete looked at him. "I swear, I haven't said anything… weird about us. I just said that I wanted to have you back as soon as possible. Everything else is made up out of his mind."

Shiro nodded. "It's alright, Keith. I just… wonder what's going on in his mind."

"Oh, you don't want to know that, trust me." Keith snickered. "He is an artist, of course he is strange."

"You're an artist as well." Shiro raised an eyebrow. "But I love you anyway."

Keith pressed his lips together, unsure what to say. "I know." He leaned into Shiro's shoulder, putting his temple against his warm sweater. "I knew for seven years."

"Seven and a half." Shiro pointed out. He wrapped one hand around Keith's shoulders, getting as much out of this as possible. He finished his glass and put it on a nearby table.

"Shiro?"

"Hm?"

"How many did you have?"

Shiro frowned, unsure what Keith was up to. He glanced down to the empty glass of wine.

"I gave you a glass at the beginning and then you had another one when we were going around and..."

"You ordered this, right?" Shiro smiled. Keith had let go of his shoulder but still squeezed his hand. It felt wam and cozy. Keith's hand always felt like home.

"Well, yes.."

"You know that I like cherry wine."

Keith blushed. "Come," he said quietly and pulled Shiro to the backside of the gallery.

When they were finally pressed into a dark corner where nobody could see them, Shiro felt Keith's hands pressing against his chest.

"Damn," Keith whispered, running his hands up and down. "You do that on purpose. You know how much I like those tight shirts you wear. It sticks to you like a second skin."

Shiro giggled. "Well, it's not that I wore sports wear, showered and wore a second shirt which I took with me just before I took the train. Oh, I might have done that actually." He lifted his arm and wrapped them around Keith's shoulder, pulling him into a hug. But he just liked that Keith would touch him, the feeling emphasized even.

"I really know that you like them," he whispered in Keith's ears. "But I also like you in your suit." He let his fingers glide over the smooth fabric of Keith's suit.

"You're getting drunk, Shiro."

Shiro nodded slowly. He lifted his head and kept Keith with both of his hands close so that he could look into his eyes.

"I might be a bit," he admitted. "But you gave me wine and I was able to see you in a suit showing off your work which I adore. And now you're pressing me against the wall like this. My blood is a bit spinning I guess."

"Spinning? It's all going in one direction if you ask me."

Shiro grunted as Keith's knee rubbed against his groin.

"And whose fault do you think it is?"

Keith smiled. He slid his hands over Shiro's arms and chest. "I hope it is mine?"

Shiro hummed. "So what will you do about it?"

Keith's lips curled, his eyes glancing down and back to Shiro's face. "Wanna go home and continue there?"

Shiro grinned. "Sounds like a great idea."