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What Happens In Space

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The way Keith’s voice breaks on the last syllable of Shiro's name  as soon as he's finished pressing a searching, open-mouthed kiss into the upturned palm of Shiro’s right hand will stay with him for a long, long, long time to come.

As a result, Shiro finds himself needing to swallow. Once. Then twice. And after that, he immediately attempts to tell himself his uncharacteristically rattled reaction has absolutely nothing to do with Keith’s unrelenting stare. At all.

Nor the fact that Keith's mouth is still hovering a hair's breadth above the smooth, unforgiving surface of his Galratech prosthetic.

"What are you doing, Keith?"

As if frozen in place by the unforgiving tone of his voice, Keith licks his lips. A little nervously, perhaps. "You tell me."

But Shiro can't. He simply can't.

This flushed, bright-eyed version of Keith is nothing like the stoic teenager he'd met back on Earth. And the way this virtual stranger is oh-so-timidly crowding him up against the door of his room is completely throwing him off of his game.

Right.

OK.

Keith's clearly been doing some growing up of his own, hasn't he? Shiro is reluctantly beginning to realise he has no idea what he's dealing with, here. It's just a little daunting. Yet strangely exhilarating at the same time. "If you're just doing this as a distraction "

"That's stupid," Keith interjects. Surprisingly vehemently. His hot breath is starting to leave a thin sheen of condensation behind on the inside of Shiro's wrist, but Shiro can't seem to bring himself to draw away. "I thought you knew me better than that, Shiro."

"That makes two of us," Shiro eventually manages to offer in reply. Although he does his best to keep the tone of his voice as neutral as possible. "Don't you think you're a little too young to be making these kinds of moves on me?"

Keith blinks. "Hold on," He begins, enunciating the end of each word very clearly. "That's what you're choosing to get hung up over here...?"

Undeterred, Shiro simply fires back: "Have you ever done this kind of thing before, then?"

"Do I look like I have?"

"No," Shiro reluctantly allows. "No, Keith. You really don't."

Reddening even further, Keith hurriedly averts his eyes. "It doesn't have to mean anything," He says. "What happens in space, stays in space. Y'know? I'm not bothered about your age. You shouldn't be, either."

"And here I thought you'd know me better than that," Shiro admonishes, as gently as he can, and slowly retracts his hand from Keith's unexpectedly loose grip. Instead of moving it back down to his side like he probably should, though, he ends up using it to thread unsteady fingers through Keith's bangs. "This isn't exactly the best idea you've ever had, buddy. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's right up there with 'picking a fight with Zarkon'. On your own."

"Aren't you ever going to let me live that one down?" Keith half-hisses, half-whines. "It turned out pretty well for you, didn't it? For all of us."

Shiro decides he doesn't like the shuttered expression gradually making itself at home on Keith's face.

Not a single bit, in fact.

Steeling himself for a number reasons he doesn't care to investigate too closely at the moment, he purposefully tips Keith's chin up in an oddly instinctive bid to remove the last traces of hurt from Keith's uncharacteristically wide eyes — and leans in close enough to let his breath slowly fan out across the bridge of Keith's nose.

To his credit, Keith doesn't flinch away.

He smells nice, too.

Like home.

And something oddly hopeful.

"What are you doing, Shiro...?"

Shiro merely smiles. To himself, mostly, but also to Keith. And then, completely on impulse, he allows the very tip of his nose to dump into Keith's. "Turning the tables on you," He decides, after a beat. "Is it working yet?"