Actions

Work Header

Draw Your Swords

Chapter Text

Shiro was used to hearing the same words over and over: “You’re so lucky!”, “You’re incredibly brave,” “I mean, what else could we expect from the golden boy?” And he got it. Really, most of the time he understood where people were coming from. Shiro did pretty well in high school, he managed to get into a good university and was one of the best students of his class.

People knew his name.

However, every time someone made any type of remark regarding his “luck”, something inside of his stomach boiled. He tried to shove it away whenever he felt it because some part of him still believed he had to feel grateful that people actually cared enough to look up to him. But it didn’t stop the sentiment of feeling a little hollow, a little fake. A little lonely.

The truth was that Shiro didn’t know if he believed in luck. Maybe he had gotten a little lucky along the way, but he hated how people used that word to simplify him. Making it seem as if he didn’t put any effort to be where he was today. Because most of them didn’t even care beyond the symbol, beyond the idea of Takashi Shirogane. Not many asked, either.

But he didn’t complain. He couldn’t complain. Because maybe luck was a burden.

Takashi Shirogane’s parents died in a fire when he was really young. Being the only child of a Japanese couple that had, with hard work, just gotten to America, he ended up in the foster care system. At eight years old, he got sent into different foster homes throughout that time, some with nice, decent people, and some with people who still came up on his worst nightmares. He thought he remembered once being a bubbly, witty, happy child, but at nine he was already getting in fights and got in more trouble than he would have wanted to. It was just the way to stay afloat back then.

That was the year his grandfather found him. He hadn’t found out about his daughter and son-in-law passing away until a couple of months after it had happened. He left everything behind in Japan and flew to America, without any clue of where Shiro could be but a letter his daughter had sent him when they had just gotten to Colorado. Since Shiro had been moved so many times, it became almost impossible to find him, considering that they didn’t have much information on him. A year later, he found him at a group home in Utah. He took him to a tiny house in Denver that soon became what Shiro warmly associated with the word home.

The first years with his grandfather weren’t easy. The time he spent in the system made Shiro a really anxious, defensive kid. He wouldn’t deliberately talk to his grandfather nor did he trust anything he said, but if there was something Haruto was, it was a patient person. He taught Shiro how to sew, how to garden, how to cook. They played menko, they painted and they solved puzzles. None of these tasks were easy for Shiro at first, since he was very short tempered and got frustrated very easily. However, Haruto’s constant encouragement and ongoing quote “patience yields focus” pushed Shiro to better himself and to become a more empathetic and understanding person.

The first time Shiro had planted a flower, he had become very frustrated because it hadn’t grown anything in a week. His grandfather sat him down and told him that just because something took time to bloom didn’t mean that it would never grow into something beautiful, but you had to make sure to care for them. To give them the amount of water and sunlight they needed, and then to let them do the rest. A few weeks later the flowers were on their maximum splendour, and Shiro couldn’t stand the happiness he felt. They were stunning on the little garden they had on their backyard. Shiro couldn’t believe he had been a little part on making such a beautiful thing bloom. When colder days arrived and the flowers started dying, it was hard for Shiro. He wondered what was the point of having these beautiful things, moments in life if they would end up dying in the end either way. Haruto had to explain that everything in life as it started had to end. That if they come from the earth, that’s where they should go back to, and that it didn’t mean they would go away forever.

Soon enough, his grandfather became Shiro’s favorite person. As he grew up, he realized how difficult it must have been for him, a Japanese old man who didn’t know the language, who wasn’t entirely familiar with the culture, who didn’t have a job nor citizenship to settle in America just to be with Shiro. He believed that Haruto was the embodiment of his own beliefs. Just as he taught Shiro patience and to never give up on anything, he had also never given up on him.

Another thing he had taught Shiro was about those strange markings that appeared on your body, that were words your “soulmate” would say to you. Not necessarily the first ones, but they would be told at a time when you would be supposedly ready to know. However, it was most of the time very early on when you had met someone. Apparently they would go blank and burn when his soulmate said the words. Haruto showed Shiro his’, which were on the skin of the left side of his chest, near his heart. He had explained Shiro that the first time he’d talked to his grandmother, he’d thought that he was having a heart attack. “Is this your cat?” the words had read, in Japanese. They had both always thought it was hilarious.

Shiro always asked him to tell the story over and over. Haruto was convinced the words still tugged at his heart from time to time whenever he saw his wife, even after her death, just by thinking about her.

Haruto also explained that your words tend to show up when you are born or when you are really young. In some cases, when you are a bit older. And that, sometimes, they don’t show up at all. Shiro would have loved to say he didn’t care nor check his skin every day for a while, growing a little disappointed just as a little bit more hopeful every single day.

Shiro’s words had suddenly appeared one winter evening on the wrist of his right arm when he was fifteen. The first thing he noticed was that the words were in English. “You can see the Ursa Major from here” they read, and Shiro couldn’t supress the smile that grew on his face. He had just seen the constellation the night before with his grandfather.

The second thing he realized after the shocking news his skin had brought him that he, indeed, had a soulmate somewhere out in the world, was that they wouldn’t be a girl. He felt the tug of shame and anxiety at the bottom of the stomach, but he then found comfort in the knowledge that, even if he was a guy who liked guys, there was someone out there that could, potentially reciprocate his love. He had, then, proof of that. After that day, Shiro had held onto his wrist like a gift, feeling a little lucky, for the first time in forever.

That was until the accident happened.

Shiro was almost eighteen. Haruto had gifted him a second hand, black truck that Shiro loved with his entire being. One night he decided to take his grandfather to the mountains to see the stars. He couldn’t have known. He couldn’t have foreseen the drunk driver getting in the way when they were driving the curve. The truck summersaulted towards a ditch. Haruto was killed instantly. The impact threw Shiro out of the window, where the hood crashed against his arm. His right arm. They had to amputate it right away or the internal bleeding would have killed him.

People said he was lucky.

He sure as hell didn’t feel lucky when he had woken up in the hospital room to the news that Haruto was gone.

He sure as hell didn’t feel lucky when he looked besides him only to find out that his right arm was gone, and with it, his words.

Haruto had left him the house and years of saving. Enough to go to college. Enough to survive, at least, for a while. The truck wasn’t completely torn apart, but it didn’t work, so Shiro had it on the garage. Away. Where he couldn’t be reminded of what happened. Where he couldn’t be reminded that if he hadn’t had the stupid idea of going out that night, Haruto would still be alive. The reminders were already everywhere else. In the house, the telescope, the garden’s flowers. In the scar he wore across his nose, and the arm that was once there.

He always tried to keep the house as neat as Haruto did but, sometimes, being alone in there became too much. So he focused everything he had on studying, on sports, on knowledge. He took a gap years to mourn and work. Most of Haruto’s money was left untouched. He worked with his high school friend Matt at his fathers’ lab where they assisted Dr. Holt on some of his researches. There, he offered Shiro a metallic prosthetic arm that gave him full mobility and could work underwater. At first, Shiro did not want to accept, but Mr. Holt had built it especially for him. Every day, when he got up and put the arm on and could, finally, put on some pants without it being an absolute hustle, he reminded himself that he owed the Holts the world and would, someday, repay that.

He also worked at a public pool, teaching elderly people how to swim. With the money he gained and his good marks, he got a scholarship to study Aerospace Engineering Sciences at the University of Colorado. He couldn’t stop crying when he received the letter, desperately wishing he could show it to his grandfather.

After three years of studying at the university, he became one of the most accomplished students of his generation. Teachers liked him and his fellow classmates respected him. He was also in the swimming team with Matt, where he was known for his speed and discipline.

He had been in a few relationships, but they had all mostly flopped because his focus was mainly on studying and on finishing the course, to become someone Haruto would be proud of.

He tried really hard to undermine the idea of soulmates, especially since it happened so much at University. You saw at least one person finding their match every single day. And people were discreet.

He was tired of the anxiety that grew on him each time he heard his words on his Astronomy classes, which had been many. Shiro knew it could have been anyone that had spoken those words, but he would never know unless the other person spoke up about their own mark. Shiro tried to talk to them sometimes, to see if something happened, but after two years nothing did.

It didn’t help that, one time, he was at a bar with Matt and he heard some guy say that, sometimes, the soulmate deal wouldn’t be mutual, and that, maybe, your soulmate would have someone else’s words which would be eventually reciprocated. Shiro knew that that theory had no backing, but the soulmate ordeal was still a mystery to humanity, so how could he say that was wrong? Maybe he was one of those people.

The absence of his words and the absence of his arm not only reminded him that he would never know, but also of the beautiful evenings where his grandfather would sit with him near the fire and tell him stories about his grandmother. He really did try to give relationships a try, but a piece of his heart wasn’t there. That piece of his heart wasn’t anywhere.

Shiro didn’t know if he believed in luck. But on bad nights, it was all he could think about. It was all that would plague his mind until he couldn’t breathe. “Why”, he would think. “Why did I have to be the lucky one? Why did I have to survive and not them, why did I have to live to be alone?”

He knew that he, technically, wasn’t alone. He had the Holt family. He had his friends at university, Hunk and Allura. But he was lonesome. He felt it deep in his chore. He focused on his work and goals, but he had the awful, tugging fear that it could all be taken away in a matter of seconds. Like his parents. Like Haruto. Like the reassurance of the possibility of being loved wholeheartedly.

But he lived like that. He had to.

 

 

“Morning, Sunshine.” Matt sang through the phone.

“It’s 2 pm, Matt.” Shiro rolled his eyes and put away the book he was reading on wormholes. “Spit it.”

He often used Sunday afternoons to go to the university’s library and catch up on complementary readings that the teachers suggested them to read. Shiro usually took suggestions as challenges.

“What do you mean?” Matt tried to sound clueless, but Shiro just waited. “… Okay so, remember that girl I’ve told you about? The one that has been going to our swimming matches, Romelle?”

Shiro hummed, distracted by the sound of the librarian hushing someone. “Mister McClain, if you don’t stop it…”

“She’s throwing a party on Friday and one of her friends invited Pidge, who invited me!”

He chuckled a little, and lowered his voice when the librarian, once again, called someone out. “And you should totally go.”

“Wait, really?”

“Sure. But I’m not picking you up this time, man. Finals are next week and I’m not finished with Orbit Mech. Plus I really, really dislike driving your car. I barely even fit with the amount of gadgets you keep in there.”

“No, no. You’re not picking me up.” He could practically see Matt holding his phone as if he were having a face to face conversation with Shiro. “You are coming with me.”

“Matt. I-”

He was about to answer when he heard a rushed, “Hey, hey. Sorry,”

Shiro looked up.

To say that the guy had an “excited” face was putting it lightly. He had tan skin, brown hair and wore a bag across his chest and a huge smug smile on his face. He sighed. “Matt, one second.”

“You’re Takashi Shirogane, right? I mean, I know you’re Takashi Shirogane, hah. Sorry to bother you, man.”

Matt kept talking on the phone and the guy in front of him looked like he had the energy of five toddlers combined so Shiro felt a little dizzy. “Yeah, yeah. Is there something I can help you with?”

He grinned and patted a guy that was hovering a few feet behind him, looking at anywhere as if pretending he didn’t know the excited guy. He couldn’t get a closer look because the excited guy got a little closer to his table. “You assist the Intro to Dynamics teacher, right? I was wondering if you had anything on linear and non-linear systems. I’m usually not that lost in that class, but I swear it all sounded like Sims language to my ears.”

Shiro laughed a little and let out a breath. At least he could deal with questions about the program.

“Sure.” He grabbed his folder where he had the assistantship’s program organized neatly. He took out the worksheets on dynamics and systems, and handed it to the excited guy. “There you go. My e-mail’s underneath if you had any other doubt.”

“Oooh, e-mail.” He said in that tone of his and turned around to find out the guy who was with him had left just a few seconds ago. Shiro frowned a little before the excited guy turned to him again. “Thanks, bro. I mean- Shirogane. I’m Lance by the way.”

Shiro shook his hand. “Nice meeting you, Lance.” He said and wondered if he had really meant it. “You can call me Shiro.”

“Really? Great!” He said, well, excitedly. “Honestly, thanks for the worksheet, man. I’ve been finding Intro really challenging this semester.”

Shiro huffed. “I hear you. Last year I spent more time at the door of Iverson’s office asking for clarification than in my own house.”

“Really?!” Lance said in a surprised tone. Shiro gave him a tight smiled at that and looked down. Yet another person who thought he had it easy; but before he could muster anything, Lance said, “Mullet always does that as well. Many people think that asking for clarification makes them less than, but it actually makes you succeed in your studies even more.”

Shiro genuinely smiled at that. “That’s what I think. Being proud in learning environments in not advisable. You miss out on the most important learning experiences.”

Lance snorted. “That’s something mullet would say, too.”

Shiro was going to ask who Lance was referring to when he heard a voice coming from his phone. Right. Matt.

Shiro looked at Lance. “Sorry, man. I’m just…” He pointed at his phone and rolled his eyes.

“Sure, sure, sure. I won’t keep you any longer.” He was about to turn around when he jumped. “Oh, right! There’s a party this Friday at my friend Romelle’s, you should totally come along!”

Lance waved him goodbye and when Shiro grabbed his phone to his ear, he put a palm on his forehead as he heard Matt laugh. “We partyin’ this Friday, babyyyyyyyy.”

“Not happening.”

 

They ended up going in Allura’s old chevy. Neither Shiro nor her were very convinced of going, since they were both preoccupied with the exams of the following week, but Hunk apparently had a few friends in common with Romelle, and Matt would not let the opportunity pass by. In the end, Allura elbowed Shiro’s side, telling him with a smile that they could use a little break. Shiro caved in then, because he knew his friends deserved to have fun, and for that they would probably need somebody to drive them home safetly.

Shiro didn’t spend that much time in the dorm rooms, since he didn’t live as far from the university to have a room himself. Matt and Allura also lived off campus, so the few times he had gone have been to play video games with Hunk. Which weren’t many times either, that Shiro recalled. But he really liked the environment and the energy that came from those rooms. Like a little community. Sometimes it made him feel like he was missing out, but either way he didn’t want to abandon his grandfather’s house.

Apparently, Romelle used a single room because of a paperwork error, or maybe because her roommates just never showed up. Hence, she was known for having parties and get togethers at her dorm. Shiro was often invited, not that he would ever admit to Matt, but he always found an excuse not to go. During his first years he used to have a much more present social life, but not that much since starting his junior year. Too much to study, he told people, too much to review.

As they walked in, Shiro recognized a few faces from his generation. They all greeted them with cheers and patted him on the shoulder. Even people who he didn’t know, probably sophomores and freshmen, turned to look at him. Shiro was used to it, but it still, deep down, made him feel slightly unsettled. What was it that they saw? Who was it that they saw?

As they were making their way to the kitchen, as you do when you enter any party, they ran into a tinier version of their friend.

“Pidge!” Matt stopped in front of her. “How is my favorite sister in the entire world?!”

“I am your only sister, moron.” She turned to look at the others. “Guys! I’m glad you all could make it. See? I told you they *all* would come!”

She yelled at the kitchen’s entrance, where excited guy, no, Lance made his way out of it.

“It’s because *I* also invited them.” He said and stopped as he saw Matt and Shiro standing there. “Shiro, my man! I’m glad you could come!”

“Thanks?” He said as Lance high fived him before freezing when he saw who was besides Shiro.

“A… Allura… you…. You… came…”

Shiro raised his eyebrows and shared an amused look with Allura.

“You… you... stunning… look…”

Allura turned and gave him a smug look. “Have we met before?”

Lance visibly blushed and recomposed himself before extending a hand with the confidence of a man who didn’t look like he was just about to burst into flames a few seconds before. “I’m Lance, Lance McClain, sophomore.” Allura, clearly entertained, shook his hand. “Enchanté”

Shiro was used to seeing guys woo and flirt with Allura but, surprisingly enough, he had never seen Allura actually engaging with it, nor blushing herself. “A pleasure, Lance McClain, sophomore.”

Lance, as far as Shiro had seen, was the kind of person who always wore a smile on his face. It was characteristic, encouraging, smug and charismatic. However, the smile that he was giving Allura was a completely different one. Shiro could tell that much. He didn’t take long to realize they were all there, in the end, as part of a bigger plan. Maybe even bigger than they one Pidge and Lance seemed to be pulling.

Lance, then, turned as he went back to his jovial smile to greet the others. “Hunk!” He said as he jumped to bear hug Hunk. “My moon, my blood. I miss you every moment that we are apart.”

“Right,” said Hunk as he got out of the hug while feigning annoyance. “Because we totally didn’t see each other a few hours ago when I beat your ass in Mario Kart.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Lance ignored him and looked at Matt, offering a high five. “Hey, man!”

“Hey! I’ve seen you at the swimming matche…” He stopped and looked around dramatically as he spotted Romelle and yeeted himself out of the group.

“And off he goes.” Pidge looked at Shiro and they both shook their heads in acknowledgment. “I’m gonna go make sure he doesn’t say anything he’ll regret.”

“I’ll come with, plus I need to get the recipe of those cookies you were eating the other day that Romelle made.” Hunk followed Pidge to where Matt was heading.

Shiro quickly realized the position he was left in, so he eyed both Lance, who was nervously touching the back of his head as he talked with Allura, who had ears red with blush and shiny eyes.

He approached her a little bit to tell her, “I’m gonna head to the bathroom, if I can find it.”

He waited a little to see if Allura gave any sign of being uncomfortable by being left alone with Lance, and when he found none, they nodded at each other and he turned around.

As Shiro had no intention of going to the bathroom, he walked for a while through the party, looking for, at least, something he could eat. He approached a big table that was at the middle of the room, near a balcony that led to a little backyard where people were dancing and drinking. As he was about to grab a snack when a figure came across and positioned next to where the little sandwiches rested.

“Shirogane out in the wild, who would have thought.” The guy said as grabbed a chip and tossed it to his mouth, moving his long platinum blond hair out of his face. “The rumours are true, then, apparently he is human.”

“Lotor.”

He was also a junior in the program and had, throughout the years, developed the idea that Shiro was out there to destroy his academic career. He always made silly, competitive remarks to show off and demonstrate that he was going to outshine Shiro, which he sometimes did with some grades. Shiro, however, never took the bait and continued with his own thing, and people still liked him for that, which apparently made Lotor’s blood boil.

Lotor could have been someone Shiro respected, but he knew he sometimes went over the top and did certain things to get his grades, such as buying some teachers or using his father’s influence on people. Shiro hadn’t felt like himself ever since his grandfather died, but if there was something was still set still has stone, it was the principles and values Haruto had taught him throughout the years.

That’s why he dismissed him, and went to grab the mini sandwich anyway.

“What? Your highness won’t give me the time of the day?”

Shiro tried really hard not to roll his eyes in front of Lotor.

“You said that, not me.” He smiled, waved his sandwich goodbye and turned around.

As he was leaving he heard Lotor say, in a very neutral tone. “I know who you are, Takashi Shirogane. Don’t forget, that.”

Shiro’s blood froze.

He didn’t stop. He knew that if he gave any sign that those words had affected him, it would give Lotor the upper hand to do more harm. He needed to get out of there.

With his heart almost jumping out of his throat, he made his way through the dorm room, bumping with some people, trying to seem normal. Trying to breathe.

He went through the hall and knocked on one of the doors that was near the end of it. As he didn’t hear a reply, he opened it a little and peered to check there was actually nobody in there. It was apparently a workout room, because there was a pair of yoga mats, a walking machine and a few weights. He saw that there were glass sliding doors that lead to another balcony, which was directed to the opposite end from the one where everyone else was partying.

And so he closed the door behind him and went straight out to the balcony, leaned on the railing on his elbows and let out a deep, heavy breath.

I know who you are, Takashi Shirogane. Lotor had said. He often wondered who people thought he was, but he didn’t have the courage to wonder that himself. Who was he? A fake? A liar?

Guilty.

Before he began spiralling into dark thoughts, he heard someone clear their throat behind him and immediately turned around.

With a leg up the railing, the other one hanging, arms crossed and back against the wall was a guy. He was dressed mostly in black and gray, except for a few red stripes on the arms of his leather jacket.

“Sorry, man. I thought nobody was here.” Shiro said and hoped it sounded genuine. “I can leave if you want.”

It wasn’t that guy’s balcony, nor Shiro’s, but if he was there it was very likely that he wanted to be alone, just as Shiro had.

The guy inspected him from underneath some strands of hair that covered bits of his eyes. “I don’t mind.”

Shiro nodded. He looked at the sky. It wasn’t particularly clear, but you could still see bright, shining stars in between small, grey-ish clouds. He saw some of the Ursa Minor and immediately looked away. He turned to the guy.

“Not a fan of crowds, I assume.”

He immediately cringed after saying that. He wasn’t exactly a fan of small talk himself, but he was desperate not to be alone with his thoughts.

The guy seemed not to mind as he looked away from the sky as well and turned his gaze towards Shiro, head tilted. “I think I could probably say the same about you.”

Shiro hid a small smile by pretending to rub his chin with his shoulder. He thought it could probably be assumed that he was a people person, that he liked the attention. It couldn’t be further from the truth. “Touché.”

Shiro turned around, leaning on the railing again. The breeze was really nice that night, and he was glad he had brought his jacket. The gentle wind moved the leaves of the oak trees close to the building swiftly. He remembered he had once stayed with a family that had had a garden big enough to fit a few oak trees in there. The family was never in the house, so he spent the month he was in their care under that tree. He stood there, looking at the leaves for a while, enjoying the sound of the wind against them, when he felt the guy approaching the front of the railing, setting himself a few feet away from him, not too close but also not too far either. Shiro knew he was calculating his steps, which is something he was very familiar with himself.

He saw, from his peripheral view, how the guy kneeled and picked a branch of dry leaves that had probably flown to the balcony. He started picking the leaves out of the branch and putting them on the railing, each one, on top of each other.

Shiro looked down and grabbed another branch with dry leaves and started doing the exact same. He saw the corner of the guy’s mouth move as they both took their time piling the leaves. They did that until they had a connected their piles and the wind blew them away. They both groaned in frustration and immediately laughed. Shiro felt light, after a really long time.

Shiro turned to properly look at him. The first thing he noticed were his eyes. Even in the night, he could see that they were a shade of blue that the moonlight and the few lights on the street made look as if they were purple. But it wasn’t exactly the color that had drawn his attention, it was that they were really expressive. Vulnerable. Which contradicted everything else that involved him.

The other thing he noticed was his hair.

“Hey, are you Lance’s classmate?”

He looked a bit taken aback at that, but Shiro waited, giving him space.

“I, uh. Yeah.” Shiro nodded in encouragement. “We shared most of our classes in freshman year, and I couldn’t get rid of him after that.”

“He seems like an interesting character.”

The guy gave him a little smile. “Trust me, that’s an understatement. But he’s a good guy, underneath all, well, *that*. Though, you can only there after you’ve covered your ears for a little while.”

Shiro chuckled at that. “I wouldn’t doubt that.”

The guy tried to erase his smile with his sleeve, but Shiro could still get a glimpse of it.

“What’s your name, by the way?”

The guy inspected him for a few seconds. Shiro didn’t even ask himself what he could have been seeing.

“I’m Keith.”

“Keith.” Shiro repeated, without thinking.

“And you’re…”

It seemed like Keith knew who he was, but still wanted to give him the opportunity to introduce himself. Shiro really appreciated that.

“Shiro. I’m Shiro”

“Shiro.” Keith repeated.

They stood there, at the railing, looking at the sky for a while longer, when Shiro realized he didn’t know how long he had been in there. He turned a little, not to seem disrespectful, and checked his phone. He had a few texts from Allura asking him if he was alright, the he had seen him with Lotor. Then some more, twenty minutes, thirty minutes later. He smiled, because he knew Allura cared but didn’t want to seem too noisy. Shiro replied quickly that he was okay and would be heading there whenever they wanted to leave.

It surprised him, though, that Matt hadn’t texted him a ridiculous amount of times. And in that sense, it also surprised him that Pidge hadn’t even said anything either.

“Guess it worked.” He said out loud.

“Huh?” Keith turned to him.

“Matt, a friend of mine, has been crushing on a girl for a while. Apparently he managed not to let his incredible amount of energy scare her away.”

“You mean Matt as in Pidge’s brother?”

“You know Pidge?”

“She’s one of my best friend. That means her stupid plan of bringing Romelle and Matt together worked?” He shook his head, palm on his forehead.

 “Wait. So this wasn’t a plan to get Lance and Allura together?”

“Allura is here?” Keith raised an eyebrow, amusement on his eyes. “Did Lance have a heart attack?”

“He looked like he was about to.” Shiro smiled and considered. “But it seems it might be mutual.”

Keith shook his head and properly smiled. Shiro could, then, get a glimpse of the dimples forming on his cheeks. “Pidge might be a bigger genius than we give her credit for.”

“I would never doubt that.” He looked away from Keith and shook his head. “Weird…”

“…What?”

“I don’t get it. You’re a sophomore. You are friends with Lance who is friends with Hunk, a friend of mine as well. Pidge is your friend, who is my best friend’s sister…” He looked at Keith. “How haven’t we properly met before?”

Keith seemed quiet for a while. He leaned on the railing and looked at the sky once more. Shiro waited, and thought that maybe he had said something wrong. But after a few seconds Keith spoke again.

“My dad would say that some things are better not rushed. Just as some things you gotta work hard for, some things come from waiting.”

It was not only the words, but the way Keith said it that made Shiro a little light headed. He raised his prosthetic hand to his heart and tried to breathe. Then, looked at the stars.

“He sounds like a wise man.”

“He was.”

Shiro never knew what he wanted people’s reaction to be like when they found out about his parents or his grandfather. He never seemed to know what would be right. But he did know what wouldn’t be.

So he looked at his hands on the railing. “My grandfather used to say something similar as well.”

Keith looked at him and Shiro looked back. And there was that. Understanding.

He smiled and Keith smiled back, no trace of pity.

“Yeah?” Keith said.

“I got easily frustrated as a kid.” Shiro said, surprising himself. He cleared his throat. “He taught me many things about waiting, about balance, about nature.”

Keith listened very attentively, which made Shiro feel a little self-conscious. Not in a bad way. Just in that type of way where you are seen after a very long time.

“He always used this one quote… it actually got ingrained in my brain.” Shiro laughed.

Keith’s eyes were soothing, calming. “What was it?”

“Patience yields focus.”

The calmness of Keith’s eyes completely disappeared as he opened them, as big as plates, gave a little yelp and jumped, throwing his hand to the back of his neck and removing it instantly.

“What-, Keith. Are you okay?”

“I…” Keith said, looking feral as a cat, grabbing and releasing the railing several times. “I need to go.”

“Are you hurt? You…” Shiro gave a step forward.

“No, don’t touch me. Just… leave me alone.” He said, crossed the glass door and disappeared.

Shiro stood there, at the balcony, frozen, completely and utterly confused at what had just happened.

For a second it seemed to be one of the most appeasing nights he had had in a while. He thought he was making a new, interesting, captivating friend only for him to run away for no reason. He went over what had said once, twice, ten times.

He knew that the logical thing was that something had happened to Keith, himself, that didn’t have anything to do with him.

But maybe Keith had realized something. Maybe he had seen something.

I know who you are, Takashi Shirogane.

Lotor knew. Keith knew. Everyone knew.

They knew Shiro had nothing to do there. Had nothing to do in that university, in that city, in that country. They knew he was supposed to be dead, but survived at the cost of others. If it wasn’t for Shiro, his parents wouldn’t have moved to America and they wouldn’t have died in that fire. If it wasn’t for Shiro, his grandfather wouldn’t have come back for him to work endlessly and suffer from cultural shock. If it wasn’t for him, his grandfather wouldn’t have been in that truck, in that curve. If it wasn’t for him, he would still be alive.

He held onto the railing and slowly fell to the floor. He looked at the stars, symbol of so many things that would never happen. He put his arm over his eyes and cried.

He tried to breathe. He tried to breathe.

 

Takashi Shirogane, sometimes, believed in luck. And he admitted he had gotten lucky at times. But it ran through his veins like a poison, and weighed over him like a curse.