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TITLE MASTERLIST:

 

(1) to the bitter end

- Keith finds himself in a desperate situation with a mind-controlled Shiro.

   (TW: contains character deaths; implicit mention of blood and gore)

 

(2) flowers in his hand

- Shiro picks up a little something for Keith.

 

(3) the coach and the professor

- Sheith school co-workers au

 

(4) aftermath

- Keith and Shiro, in their final moments.

   (TW: contains character deaths; implicit mention of blood and gore)

 

(5) cramped space

- Two strangers handcuffed together for some reason, end up sharing a single bed.

 

(6) his unspoken truth

- Drabble on Keith through Shiro's eyes.

 

(7) let it rain

- Keith doesn't mind being stranded in the middle of a heavy downpour.

 

(8) a whole lot of maybe's

- Coffee Shop AU; Shiro is a single father and Keith is a coffee shop owner who crushes on his client.

 

(9) teacup kitty

- Shiro finds a tiny kitty in a teacup and brings him home.

 

(10) the tempest

- Once again, it's raining, just as it did on that day.

   (TW: contains character death)

 

(11) ilysb

- A singer finds someone's eyes in the crowd.

 

(12) instant remedy

- The team tries to cook together under Hunk's lead.

 

(13) the actor

- Thespian!Shiro pines for his childhood friend who's in a relationship with someone else.

 

(14) coffee and rubber duckies

- Domestic married Sheith AU

 

(15) so close, together

- Married Sheith reminiscing about how they finally came together.

 

(16) captivated

- Keith spots a handsome senior in the crowd but doesn't know they've already met in what might be the most awkward first meetings he'll never remember.

 

(17) strangers on a bus

- Shiro can't help but be interested in the boy reading one of his favorite novels sitting across him.

 

(18) strangers on the beach

- His dog is humping another man's dog and Keith can't understand why this is how he meets this hottie.

 

(19) black speedo

- Shiro puts on a sexy swimming attire but it's not because there's a hot surfer riding the waves, of course.

 

(20) now trending

- Sheith movie actors AU told in news tabloids

 

(21) for only four hours

- Sheith College AU; Literal sleeping together, but Shiro can't help but feel compromised.

 

(22) scarred

- NSFW; Kureith drabble

   (TW: contains implicit sexual content & bit of blood)

 

(23) waiting

- Keith doesn't press Shiro for stories, but accepts him as he is.

 

(24)  mistletoe

- Christmas aboard the Castle of Lions

 

(25) himitsu

- What their first kiss might have been like.

 

(26) just got lucky

- More domestic married Sheith

 

(27) you've got mail

- Mailman Shiro meets dog owner Keith and his banana-suit-wearing corgi.

 

(28) who leaves, who stays

- (pre-S2 drabble) Keith is used to being abandoned. He's not about to want to get used to that again, not when it comes to the man who stuck with him through everything.

 

(29) hunger

- NSFW; Sheith smut; they like it rough

 

(30) a thousand proposals

- Modern AU Sheith; Every day a vow is exchanged until their actual wedding day.

 

(31) 2:37AM

- College AU; Keith tweets and Shiro responds.

 

(32) dark room

- NSFW; Power bottom Keith prompt fill

 

(33) for a moment

- (between S03e05-S03e06) Keith kisses Shiro after getting him back, but it doesn't feel quite right.

 

(34) collide

- Keith finally finds Shiro amidst the war.

 

(35) black speedo pt.2

- Shiro makes direct contact with the hot surfer.

 

(36) graveyard shift drudgery

- Keith mans the register in the graveyard hour and experiences a drunk Shiro.

 

(37) under meteor rain

- (Pre-S6 drabble) Shiro, pinned down by Keith while sparring, realizes something.

 

(38) fade

- Kuron, until his consciousness lasts.

 

(39) a pebble the size of the world

- Keithguin and Pengiro find love in the Atlantic.

 

(40) sweet remedy

- Sheith69Min: Healing. Shiro is having it tough with braces.

 

(41) on bended knee

- Real magic does happen in Disneyland. (proposal fic from twitter)

Chapter Text

When it happens, it’s nothing and everything Keith thought it would be – bloody, messy, unexpected.


Shiro stands before him yet there’s no recognition in his eyes. Only destruction, pain, and a bestial ferocity reminiscent of the Galra. There’s not a trace of him left in the vessel that was once his body.


Keith grips his bayard tightly, grits his teeth. He knows he’s only stalling, holding on to the hope that Shiro will still come back like he always does. But Keith’s ribs are broken, his right leg has gone numb, and his fingers have instinctively wrapped themselves around the microbomb trigger.


Shiro had been the one to insist on it, had Pidge manufacture the tiny destructive chip and had Coran inject it into the sweet spot in his neck. Keith remembers wanting to break down when it’s him that Shiro entrusts the detonator to.


Sometimes he can just be as cruel as he is kind.


Now there’s nothing left of that kindness, consumed by the overwhelming dark that has been lurking inside him, slowly eating away at the man Keith has long since sworn his heart to.


This time, he’s just not coming back anymore.


Keith drops his bayard, stands his ground.


All too quickly, a glowing metal arm pierces through his armor and punctures a hole in his chest, and Keith feels numb, feels oddly liberated. He holds Shiro tight against his broken bloodied frame, rests his head one final time against his shoulder.


“Takashi,” he whispers, and suddenly there’s noise, there’s smoke, there’s blood and gore.


Then, stillness.

Chapter Text

Keith’s initial reaction is to arch an eyebrow, stutter, blush - all in no particular order - when Shiro gives him a small handful of flowers.

It’s a ghosting of soft petals on his skin, a splash of color and purity in his hands. Strangely he feels a little bit light headed.

“What are these...?”

“You’ll have to ask Coran about that, I guess,” Shiro says sheepishly, totally missing the point, a hand absently scratching the back of his undercut.

“No, I mean, why are you giving it to me...?”

Keith brings the bundle closer to his eyes, examining each beautiful stalk. When Shiro doesn’t reply, he conjures what he knows about reasons for giving flowers as a social gesture, and these are what he thinks of:

 

(1) as a form of condolence for a funeral
(2) congratulating someone for graduating, or for having a baby
(3) a way of showing affection or romantic attraction for someone

 

He’s certain they haven’t lost anyone recently. Graduation seems like a trivial thing in the face of saving the universe, and he sure as hell ain’t pregnant. There’s only one answer left.

“... oh,” he says, and the world has never been so quiet, listening for his beating heart.

Chapter Text

They’re not really a secret in the faculty; in fact, the secret is they’re celebrated as the most adorable couple in the common faculty room.

They’re not explicitly exhibiting their affections for the other, but it’s the little everyday things that speak volumes of their relationship.

Sometimes, the teachers would catch Coach Keith silently scolding Sir Shirogane for putting too much salt in the eggs, or Shirogane bringing sandwiches and coffee over to the gymnasium during his free hour in the afternoon. Sometimes it’s the Coach’s tiny laugh when he discovers his husband has worn mismatched socks again, sometimes it’s in the way Shirogane’s fingers comb through Keith’s hair to tie it up into a ponytail.

Most of the time, it’s soft and lingering glances, a hand on the shoulder, light head rubs, careful soft quick kisses on the forehead before classes, or Shirogane absently thumbing the ring on his finger when he’s checking his students’ papers on his desk.

They come in together every day, go home together the same way.

When the track team’s training is taking too long after class hours, Sir Shirogane drops by and helps his husband with the cleanup afterwards. Consequently, Coach stays with the History teacher whenever he’s swarmed with unchecked papers and projects and needed to work overtime.

It’s in the little things, it’s in their loud silence, it’s in the way they say I love you without having to.

They’re not quite a secret, but they’re kind of everyone’s secret.

Chapter Text

Maybe it’s cruelty or the universe’s small mercy that Shiro finds Keith’s body in the battlefield.

It’s one last insidious attack of what if’s, could have been’s, if only I’s. One last stab of regret and pain and indescribable loss, one last burning and painful slap from the blade-like fingers of reality.

They’re both broken; Keith’s lost his sword-wielding arm and both legs and Shiro wants to cry thinking he’ll never see him flying on sunkissed earth again.

There’s a gaping hole in Shiro’s stomach, his guts collecting pebbles and dust as he crawls his way towards his dying world. Shiro’s grunting and coughing blood, and Keith’s head faintly moves at the sound yet his eyes are unfocused. He’s blind.

“Shiro?” he croaks. His voice sounds as weak and brittle like a tightly pulled string about to snap with the slightest touch.

“I’m here, buddy,” Shiro says as gently and as steadily as he can. Everything in his eyes is swimming, Keith is morphing into an undefinable shape and the earth is merging with the sky.

Only a little more.

Just one more.

Keith reaches out weakly towards the sound of Shiro’s voice. Shiro does the same, and yet it is not enough; they’re still inches and miles and lightyears apart.

It’s not enough.

“Keith… you need to know… I—”

“No,” Keith suddenly coughs, voice laced with urgency. Then his bloodied face sobers up, and tenderly, like a final plea, he whispers: “Shiro. Don’t.”

Keith’s voice is thick with coagulated blood in his throat, and with something else that makes Shiro go solemnly still.

He’s known all along.

One last insidious attack of what if’s, could have been’s, if only I’s. One last stab of regret and pain and indescribable loss, one last burning and painful slap from the blade-like fingers of reality.

Punishment for his withdrawal of honesty, for lack of bravery.

Shiro lets his hand drop on the ground beside Keith’s, lets tears pour out. He’s losing his sight, losing blood, losing all feeling, losing his lungs, losing his Keith.

The space in which their fingers almost touch is the farthest they’ve ever been to each other.

Chapter Text

“A single-bedroom? For both of you?”

Yes.”

Keith tries to keep a straight face, but his voice is monotonous and deliberate. It’s been a long day, he’s been in enough shit, and he doesn’t owe this nosy front desk lady an explanation for why he’s handcuffed to a companion he’s only met three days ago, or even just the story of how one of them’s almost broke, and the other is an idiot who lost his wallet.

With a messily tinted eyebrow raised in blatant disapproval and incredulity, the woman behind the window pane mutters something about foreigners, and pushes a bony hand with painted nails out to receive payment.

The idiot who lost his wallet gives her the amount, which was a big portion of the money they had left. With a slight smile, he takes the room key from her, and together the two young men trudge the dark narrow hallway of the inn.

They find the door, open it, and are greeted with the strong aroma of mothballs and dust and stale air. The room – had it been used for storage before? – was tiny, with a single bed by a window, an unclean sink in one corner near a broken door that probably led to the bath. Keith knows he shouldn’t rent a room worth 32-yuan and expect a fully-functional Jacuzzi and a King-sized bed, but he still pauses and lingers at the door.

Behind him, Shiro is much more optimistic.

“Well, it’s better than a box out in the street.”

Keith looks at the fun-sized bed and back at Shiro, and wishes he should have asked the front desk lady for some spare carton boxes or newspapers.

Shiro walks inside, and Keith follows, his arm pulled by the handcuffs.

With fewer difficulties than he had initially expected, they finish washing their faces (they had to use one hand and the hand of the other person for better efficiency) and successfully undress to their undershirts and boxers.

They’ve been cuffed to each other for a whole day, and yet in this moment, his awareness of Shiro’s hand against his is multiplied tenfold. He swallows.

Keith spares the bed one last look. One pillow, one thin flimsy blanket. He spares Shiro one quick glance.

Shiro’s looking at him. His adam’s apple is bobbing in his throat, sweat glistens on his neck.

Keith braves to look back at him squarely. He sighs.

Better make sure the 32 yuan off their pockets will be worth it.

Chapter Text

His newest secret unspoken truth is Keith.

This truth is too loud, it’s the hammering inside his chest; it’s too unbearable, it’s the sudden scarcity of air in his lungs.

It’s all too unexpected, irrepressible, irrevocable, and undeniably real.

Shiro confirms all this as his eyes find their home in a face he’s unconsciously memorized, as his nose catches a whiff of a simultaneously familiar and novel musk, as his ears pick up on a rhythmic set of footfalls that echo a similar sound in his ribcage.

In the second that the younger cadet enters the room, Shiro is the personification of a calm ocean surface, the raging fire in a furnace, jagged bolts of lightning hiding behind grey clouds, dewdrops falling from the tips of green leaves.

He’s one of the faces of authority and control; a leader, senior officer, a well-celebrated prodigy and soon-to-be pilot.

He’s all these things, he’s none of these things; he’s just a man and in this moment he is weak and vulnerable and indisputably smitten.

He’s all bones and blood and muscles wrapped up in brittle human skin, and he wonders how this myriad of emotions still fit in with all his brokenness, but it does. He wonders how feisty unpredictable Keith fits into his stable well-structured world, but he does.

Then Keith’s eyes somehow find him in the crowded room, and everything that Shiro is comes undone.

Chapter Text

It’s stupid, just… really stupid.

Why is he even doing this incredibly unreasonable, illogical thing?

He knows, and yet he does it anyway.

“You guys need an umbrella?” Keith says, voice gruff. The pair of girls politely shake their heads no, eyes bewildered that the lone wolf is talking to them. Keith insists, says he has another one in his locker. It’s a lie, but they don’t know any better so they buy it. After profusely thanking him, they walk away in the rain, slender teenage bodies snug under the tiny umbrella.

Keith awkwardly shifts in his footing, thinks twice about the next thing he does, which is one of the things he’s mentally adding to his ongoing list of dumb decisions.

Well, his umbrella’s gone now, so there’s no other choice but to proceed to Step 2, is there?

With his bag over his head, he goes and runs under the rain, his feet magnetized needles that point to that one particular destination on his compass – where Shiro’s standing under the big tree in the quad.

When he sees Keith approaching, Shiro flashes that adorable uneven smile that makes Keith want to swallow the fireworks exploding behind his eyes.

Shiro says, “Forgot your umbrella too, huh?”

“Yeah,” Keith replies, his cheeks warm despite the chill breeze.

They’re both drenched and cold, and they don't know how long this rain will last, and yet Keith doesn’t mind.

 

Chapter Text

So he has a kid. So what?

Keith really shouldn’t mind. Hell, he shouldn’t even be stressing about whether or not his customer is an overly friendly straight single dad. Keith feels like an idiot for placing his hope on or not.

Takashi Shirogane is just a writer who frequents Keith’s coffee shop, who may or may not steal quick glances at him when he’s not lingering too long on the counter when placing an order despite ending up with his usual brew of Malaysian coffee and cinnamon rolls anyway. Keith enjoys their occasional small talk, Shiro’s eager inquiries about coffee and tea, and the way he listens intently to his lengthy explanations.

Maybe it’s for the novel he’s writing on, maybe it’s for science. Maybe Keith, despite being over twenty, was feeling all giddy with all the attention he was getting, and was reading too much into the whole casual conversation and the adorable awkward fidgeting thing.

Maybe he shouldn’t have ruled out the indisputable truth that a man of Shiro’s looks and status would likely already have a significant other. After all, who wouldn’t want the man’s genes passed down into their clan of beautiful children?

Today, Shiro had asked Keith to look after his kid while he ran to the publishing house. He seemed like he was in such a hurry, and Keith also wasn’t the type to leave a young child alone.

Now he’s stuck trying to look for traces of Shiro and the woman who shares his bed in the face of a toddler.

“Kid,” Keith says, and the four year-old looks up from where he’s doodling on the ebony tabletop.

“Shizuo,” the kid says. When Keith’s eyebrows furrow together, he says, “My name’s Shizuo.”

“Okay, Shizuo. Where’s your mom?”

His insidious brain is thinking ahead of him; is she a high class workaholic in an expensive blazer and high heels? Is she a beautiful overseas worker who only comes home for Christmas?

Shizuo looks at him with Shiro’s eyes, his face blank. “My mom?”

“The person your dad loves,” Keith says, but his voice falters with every syllable. That look – Keith understands and he immediately feels like an ass.

There’s no mom. There hasn’t been, for a while.

Big round eyes don’t leave him, and Keith feels burned where they lie.

“I’m sorry,” he says quietly.

“It’s okay,” says Shizuo, and he continues to drag his crayon across his paper. “Dad still has a person he loves.”

“… Oh,” Keith says, and he doesn’t say another word.

What else is there to say? Children don’t lie, they can only say what they’ve seen or heard, reflect raw truths back to the world.

There’s no mother, but Shiro has found another to wait for him at home.

Keith spends the rest of the afternoon fighting back tears and trying not to think about every little thing Shiro has done that colored his mundane days. He bottles all the seemingly idiotic feelings up and tries to act like the professional he’s supposed to be, but once or twice he’s asked by his customers if he’s feeling unwell, and every time he just says he might be coming down with a cold.

It’s almost two hours after when Shiro comes back running to the shop, his satchel slung over a shoulder, his white forelock matted on his forehead with sweat.

“Shizuo—”

“Dad!” The child happily squeals, and he jumps off the tall seat by the counter and runs to hug Shiro.

It’s a cheerful intimate reunion, and Keith feels more like an outsider in Shiro’s life.

Shiro looks up from where he’s hugging his son, meets Keith eyes.

“Thank you, Keith.” The way he says Keith’s name still makes him melt. His smile is apologetic and gentle and it’s just so unfair. “I’m sorry for suddenly leaving him here. His sitter called in sick just this morning. He was a good kid the whole time, wasn’t he?”

“The whole time!” Shizuo echoes, pulling back from Shiro to look back at Keith behind the counter.

“Yeah, he was,” Keith replies, his voice quiet.

“What’s wrong?” Shiro says, and he comes up to the counter to pay for his son’s milkshake. “You don’t look so good.”

Shiro reaches a hand and lightly touches Keith’s forehead. The area his palm and fingers brush begins to burn, spreads all throughout Keith’s skin like wildfire.

“Nothing, it’s just a cold,” Keith says, waving Shiro’s arm away, his eyes on the cash register as he receives the payment. They’re both silent, tension heavy in the air as Keith works the vintage contraption. Their hands on the counter are mere inches away.

“You better get him home, it’s getting late,” Keith says as he hands Shiro his change.

Before they leave, Shizuo runs up to the counter and hands Keith a folded piece of bond paper.

“Thank you for taking care of me today,” Shizuo says, grinning brightly.

Keith only opens the paper when Shiro’s not looking back at him from the shop window.

It’s an adorable and messy crayon doodle of what are unmistakably Shiro and… himself?

Under it, a caption in Shizuo’s wobbly handwriting.

Dad and the person he loves.

Maybe it’s not so stupid to feel giddy after all.

Chapter Text

It’s hairy and black and wet.

And it’s in a teacup. It’s literally in a fine white translucent porcelain gold-rimmed teacup.

It’s pouting. Maybe because of rainwater pooling into the concave surface of the cup. Cats hate water, don’t they?

Shiro kneels down in front of the tiny drenched ball of fur, his umbrella balanced against his shoulder. The cat tilts its head, looks up with the most mesmerizing pair of amethyst eyes Shiro has ever seen. A silent force is drawing him in, and before he can think about it, he’s reaching a hand out to the kitten.

His left hand brushes the fine black fur under its chin, and he can feel the soft vibrations of its body as it purrs. It’s drenched from sitting in the rain for who knows how long, and apparently it’s enjoying the heat Shiro’s fingers offer. Its tongue is wet and coarse and warm against his skin.

Then, teeth.

“Ah—!” Shiro reflexively pulls his hand back, cradles it in his other hand. Two puncture marks lightly dripping with blood decorates the tip of his index finger. Smiling ruefully at himself, he presses his finger to his lips and sucks on the blood.

Shiro turns his head to look around – it’s a random route on the way home, a shortcut by the river he just happened to use today. It’s deserted, and the rain is making everything foggy and cold. Anyone could have left the kitten here, and with it their expensive-looking teacup.

Shiro stands up to have a better look around – maybe there’s anyone walking by looking for their lost kitchenware? Or their lost pet?

“Okay, buddy, who do you belong to?” Shiro mutters without any real expectation of an answer.

“Why, are you leaving me?” Someone says – squeaks – and Shiro’s body tenses at the small sound. He swears there’s no one else but him and the cat. He takes one last sweep of his surroundings. Not another soul in sight. It’s just him and the cat.

The cat.

Shiro slowly looks back down at the teacup by the front tip of his loafers. The tiny little black ball is staring up at him, neck tilted upwards and a little bit to the side in a way that makes Shiro feel like he’s being watched intently.

No way. No way this cat in this fricking teacup just talked.

It licks its feline snout, as if savoring the flavor of Shiro’s blood on its tiny fangs.

Then, “I thought we bonded.”

“… Pardon?”

The cat brings its tiny paw up, runs its tongue over it.

“Your blood’s in me now. I’m bound to you for life.”

 For life. That’s quite a responsibility and a commitment. It’s like marriage or an adoption, except he did nothing to file any papers. All he had to do was get bitten. Who made up these rules anyway? The universe?

Yet it’s just a tiny little kitty with a kitchenware freebie right? After all, Shiro’s apartment could use another tenant. Also, he may or may not still feel that silent force drawing him to this black cat.

“Take me home. I’m cold.”

 

 

Except the cat – or Keith, as he had introduced himself the first night – grew into an actual human. All remnants of his feline self are his ears, eyes, pointed teeth and nails, and a tail.

Apparently, that had been the point of drinking Shiro’s blood. Now, Keith almost stands as tall as he, dark silky fur limited to the hair on his head the bush under his pants (yes, Shiro got him to wear pants and a hoodie, and it was quite a chore cutting holes for his tail). He’s grown to his age of maturity within the short span of a month, his body taking on that of someone a little over twenty, lanky limbs developing rapidly into slender yet well-defined muscular arms and legs that often find themselves wound around Shiro’s body.

“Takashi, I’m hungry.”

“Takashi, the TV’s acting up again.”

“Takashi, do you have any more comics?”

Also, this grown up cat has absolutely no respect for Shiro’s personal space. Shiro has learned to shower with the door open because Keith had left scratches on the wood trying to get in. On those occasions, all he wanted to do was read a children’s book aloud to Shiro while he bathed. Apparently he was too excited to show Shiro he was improving quickly on his reading.

To be honest, there are moments when Shiro misses his little teacup kitty – there were days when he’d go home and spend half an hour looking for the tiny thing around his house, the ever present trail of destruction serving as his clues. He misses reading a book to Keith in the tub, all the while secretly getting amused watching Keith floating around on a rubber ducky. He misses blowdrying the little drenched ball after he slips and falls into the water.

Shiro chuckles lightly at the memory of the whole month gone by. On his lap, Keith stirs and looks up from where he’s reading, his face scrunched up in a scowl.

“You better still be listening to me. I’m bonding with you,” he chides, lips formed into the most adorable pout.

They’re sitting on the bed that they now share, Keith’s former home – the petite gold-rimmed teacup – placed lovingly on the bedside table near a framed photo of Shiro holding a tiny ball of fur to the camera.

“I am, I am,” Shiro assures him, squeezes his arms tighter around Keith’s trim waist. Like this, Shiro can wedge his head between Keith’s neck and shoulder. He smells of Shiro’s soap and shampoo – and reasonably so because they just took a bath together.

Keith leans closer against the warm bulk of Shiro’s body, his folded legs snug inside the cradle of Shiro’s thighs. Shiro loves the way their bodies fit together, the way Keith’s voice paints the very air with a myriad of colors.

He loves that he’s bound to this happiness for life.

Chapter Text

“Let’s forget it. I mean… Takashi. Just forget everything.”

Keith’s hand is on the wheel of a car, his other hand cradling a phone to his ear. In front of him, the car’s wipers are moving about, wiping on the raindrops that incessantly fall like tears on the surface of the front window. The image clears just as the wipers are clearing the glass, and Keith sees that his car is sandwiched between various vehicles, a sea of horns blaring like distant angry shrieks all around him. Outside, arms are waving out their own car windows as displeased drivers stranded yell out their protests in the highway.

There’s a storm and the streets are wet. Forks of lightning decorate the sky within five second intervals.

Keith remembers. This was that one particular night, exactly one year ago.

Except this is not his memory – he wasn’t the one sitting behind the wheel in this car, he was waiting alone in a restaurant they’d reserved a few weeks before. In fact, this isn’t even his car. It’s Shiro’s.

Was Shiro’s.

Exactly a year ago, and yet he’s having this fucking dream, reliving the tragedy in Shiro’s eyes—

“It’s not only about tonight, Takashi.”

It’s him talking – Keith knows it’s his own voice, vaguely remembers the exact words he had said. Over the phone, he sounds like he’s close to breaking. Keith can still remember feeling that way as if it all happened yesterday.

“It’s about every time we try to meet up, which mostly ends up like this. I can’t even count the times I’ve been stood up for work—“

He doesn’t want to listen to it, because he knows how it ends. He doesn’t know how it exactly happened, but he knows how the conclusion broke him to pieces. He knows and it hurts and he’s sorry, he’s very sorry but that doesn’t change anything and his apologies are never going to mean anything.

“I don’t want to stick around anymore just to find out that this – what we have – isn’t gonna last.”

He can’t put the phone down, no matter how hard he wants to. This body isn’t his after all. It is Shiro’s, and Keith is just reliving this agonizing piece of memory in his eyes. He’s hearing this body saying something into the phone, some kind of plea or compromise, but he’s barely registering it. All he can think about is the ending.

It’s probably some sort of punishment, a curse.

It doesn’t matter. Keith thinks he deserves it.

“No, Takashi. I’m tired of always being the one who has to understand.”

It hurts. He should have known better. Now it just hurts it hurts it hurts it hurts.

“When you come here, I’ll already be gone.”

The line goes dead. The relentless beeping sound seems too loud – like the finality to something big and significant in his life.

It’s too late to regret the fact that it’s the last thing Shiro had to hear him say. It’s too late to regret breaking it all off over the phone. It’s too late for anything, for everything.

Keith doesn’t remember how he got home that night, but he’s about to find out what Shiro did after this call. He lets the events unfold, lets Shiro’s body narrate every hurting thing.

His eyes – Shiro’s eyes – fall onto the seat next to him, and the sight makes Keith’s breath catch. A big bouquet of roses was placed on it, flowers held together with a big red ribbon and white lace. There is a card on it bearing only his name, KEITH, and nothing else, because no message would be enough for Shiro to convey his feelings with.

Placed neatly beside this bouquet is a tiny treasure box with a velvety surface. It’s a navy blue ring box.

Shiro grabs these with one hand, and with the other, opens the door of his car. Without looking back, he runs.

The traffic doesn’t move at all. It seems there’s been an accident due to the heavy rainfall. Keith realizes that Shiro had been lying when he said that the traffic was getting better; in fact, it seems that Shiro was in the shittiest possible situation that night, and there was no way he could’ve gotten to him if he stayed in his car.

The road is wet and the night is foggy, yet this body doesn’t stop, Shiro’s destination blindingly clear and true in his mind – Keith.

He’s out running in the rain with no umbrella, the bouquet of roses held firmly in his hand, the ring box tucked snugly in his coat’s left pocket. Through his eyes, Keith sees how he’s moving through the highway and out into the smaller streets, not once slipping in his always shiny black leather shoes.

Shiro doesn’t stop; he runs in the direction of their meeting place, with nothing in his mind but an apology and a million different ways of loving Keith, and Keith doesn’t understand why he’s hearing all of his thoughts, and why now, why after a whole year of emptiness and the lingering feeling of loss?

He is now one block away from that restaurant, and he can see it; its glass walls freckled by a thousand raindrops, chandelier lights hanging elegantly from the high ceiling. He remembers how much calls they had to make to get a reservation. He remembers feeling something big was supposed to happen that night.

Something did – but it was the complete opposite of what he had hoped. What they’d both hoped.

He sees the few remaining customers, oblivious as they enjoy their scrumptious dinner meals while waiting for the storm outside to calm, and out by the entrance calming the raging storm inside of him, was himself.

Keith remembers.

After hanging up on Shiro, he couldn’t find the strength to stand up, so he quietly sat staring at the empty seat across from him, ignoring the waiter who had come up to check if he’s ready to order.

He was the one who had ended things, yet the shock was too intense – he felt oddly numb yet he also felt too vulnerable. Without knowing it, he had started to cry, and had angrily lashed out on anyone who so much as dared to ask if he was doing okay, because he was too messed up to answer a bunch of stupid questions with obvious answers.

He knew he would probably never be welcome at this restaurant again, but it didn’t matter because this wasn’t exactly a place that he’s planning on returning to.

The Keith that was just out by the entrance and now walking to his car was him when he had sobered up a little, and decided it was time to go home and call it a fucking day. Keith, looking through Shiro’s eyes, realizes with an ache in his chest that had he waited just a second longer that night, things might have changed.

But if Shiro was already there looking at him, why didn’t they ever meet that night?

As if on cue, Keith hears Shiro’s voice from deep within his body yelling, calling out his name, Keith Keith Keith, over and over, only to be drowned out by the sound of the pouring rain, and then he was running again. He knows it’s futile, yet Keith also starts yelling for himself not to get in the car and start the engine, but of course it’s not working; the lights of his car are brought to life, and so is the engine, and he is leaving…

But Shiro doesn’t stop running. His grip on the bouquet grows tighter, and he waves his other hand in the air, calling out KEITH for all he’s worth, but the car goes further away and joins the traffic on the other side.

And then out of the corner of his eye, a ten-wheeler truck, horn beeping furiously, and the last thing he sees is the heavy lights of the truck going down on him…

 

 

Keith wakes up crying.

He remembers getting out of his car to join the people gathered around accident. He remembers screaming, crying when he sees the bloody limp body. Ambulance sirens had never seemed to ring so loud in his ears before that day.

He remembers calling Shiro’s parents and brother. There was a lot of talking and not talking. There was definitely a lot of crying.

He remembers seeing the accident on the news the next morning. He remembers closing his eyes and ears and shutting the world out for weeks.

He remembers finding the ring in Shiro’s bloodstained belongings. It still burns where he’s wearing it to this day.

He recalls being the morgue the next day, and a week later, the funeral. What happened next was vague to him; how he survived the aftermath of having lost his real and only love, how he managed to hold onto life when he was pretty sure that his own soul went away with Shiro, and how he continued on his existence as an empty walking shell of himself, even until now.

It has been a year since their first anniversary, their break up, and Shiro’s death.

Hot tears spill from his eyes into the pillows, into the empty space beside him.

Maybe in another life, Keith will take better care of him, of them both.

Maybe in another life, he’ll have more than just living with Shiro’s ghost.

Chapter Text

Ain’t ever felt this way

Can’t get enough so stay with me

 

The room is dark save for the couple of stage lights rented by the Harmonics Club for the mini event, the audience scattered in the darkness like moving silhouettes against a starless night sky. Keith’s hands are clammy under the fabric of his fingerless gloves, yet the microphone feels like it has always belonged between his fingers.

 

It’s not like we got big plans

Let’s drive around town holding hands

 

Shiro is leaning against the wall at the end of the room opposite Keith. In the semi-darkness, Keith can still recognize the white forelock, still memorize the curve of his eyes as they’re closed in deep concentration while Shiro listens to him sing. Shiro is nodding along to the melodious rhythm of Hunk’s guitar, is mouthing the lyrics he’s committed to memory after watching Keith practice countless times.

 

And you need to know

You’re the only one, alright

 

It’s his quiet truth that he can only say out loud when Shiro’s eyes are closed like this, when he can hide a confession under a performance like this. Everyone starts to sing along, but Keith can only hear one voice in the crowd.

 

And you need to know

That you keep me up all night

 

Shiro’s eyes remain closed. Keith continues to lay his heart out, bare his soul to the only person that ever mattered.

 

Oh my heart hurts so good

I love you so bad, so bad

 

Shiro smiles, still sings along, and Keith pretends they’re both consciously saying it to each other. He pretends that Shiro knows it’s all for him to hear. He pretends he’ll be fine with just this, that he won’t ask for anything more.

 

Oh my heart hurts so good

 

Shiro opens his eyes.

 

I love you

 

Keith blanks out.

 

So bad

 

The crowd continues to sing, Keith doesn’t. Purple and grey eyes continue to absorb each other in the dim light.

 

So bad

 

Keith’s cheeks are burning, and it’s not because of the heat of the stage lights. Over at the far wall, Shiro’s hand is up covering half of his face, his expression unreadable.

He’s still looking at Keith.

It’s all for him to hear, and now he knows. In this faintly lit room full of strangers, Keith’s truth found its way to the only person that mattered.

Chapter Text

“Keith, your thumb – it’s bleeding,” Shiro says, taking Keith’s hand in his.

Keith wordlessly stares at how Shiro seems fixated on the small drop of blood oozing out of the wound – they’re all cooking, or more accurately attempting to, and Keith has been assigned to the slicing department due to his expertise with knives. It only took a quick moment of distraction for him to cut himself – Shiro was making mediocre octopus-shaped hotdogs and he just had to look so adorable with that determined patience-yields-focus-ed look on his face.

Lance is snickering to Hunk and Pidge about what an amateur Keith is for making such a slipup, but everything suddenly becomes trivial and the whole world a thousand lightyears distant when Shiro lifts his hand to his lips.

Keith feels the tip of his thumb ignite where Shiro’s chapped lips connect with his skin. It’s no small fire; it explodes from the small digit and rushes in hot waves all throughout his body – suddenly there’s a soft gentle wetness, and he feels like melting.

Maybe it’s a preprogrammed habit or something, but Shiro closes his eyes as he sucks on the blood on Keith’s thumb. There’s a sensation of something coarse grazing his skin and Keith is absolutely sure that was Shiro’s tongue.

All too quickly, the moment is over, and there’s nothing but cold air and an aching desire where there once was warmth and tenderness. Keith’s face continues to burn, and he absently thinks Hunk can probably fry some eggs on his reddened cheeks.

“There,” Shiro says, a relieved smile on his lips. “All better.”

He goes back to shaping the hotdogs, all concentration dedicated to his work.

Keith blinks, still unattached to the rest of the world. Hunk’s instructions about dicing the meat falls into muffled background noise as an idea forms in his mind.

Without preamble, Keith abruptly turns to Lance who’s dropping a pint of salt into a boiling pot of soup, and pinches the poor paladin so hard on the arm. Lance screams; a hand flies to slap Keith quick and hard in reflex. Keith does nothing to evade, accepts the blow openly and willingly.

Lance releases a string of profanities – both alien and human and has to be restrained by Hunk– yet Keith pays him no mind; after all, the pinch has been paid in full with the slap. He turns to Shiro, his cheeks still burning as he mutters:

“I think my lip is bleeding.”

Chapter Text

The piano keys feel cool and smooth under his fingers like crafted ivory, letting a soft yet mournful melody resonate within the empty school theatre. The final rehearsal had ended half an hour ago, and yet he hasn’t left, hasn’t removed his make-up nor his costume. Here he stays onstage, PAR lamps shining down on him like concentrated clusters of starlight.

His back is straight, his face a morose picture of silent calm. Then, he sings.

On my own, pretending he’s beside me…”

His low voice reverberates within the curtained walls of the theater, each note from the piano melding and painting his song with azure and grey hues. In the silence amplifying the depth and volume of his baritone voice, he lets his invisible wings unfurl, he sings his heart out undisturbed.

I love him, but everyday I’m learning – all my life, I’ve only been pretending—”

He’s acting a part; he’s melded into his own character. What Eponine must have felt when she was singing her sorrow under the rain that one lonely night in the streets of France—

I love him… I love him.

When Shiro opens his eyes, there’s a familiar silhouette leaning against the entrance doors.

I love him… But only on my own.”

He finishes, his eyes stuck on Keith who is now walking down the aisle towards the stage. He waits for Shiro to end on his note before he starts clapping his hands.

Shiro stands up from the piano seat and bows theatrically, a lopsided smile on his face.

“You know, I sometimes wonder if you’re paying the maintenance to clean up at a much later time, or if you’re the one doing the cleaning up after,” Keith says, hands in his tracksuit pockets.

“I told you, they’re always scheduled after curfew. It’s still 7,” Shiro says as he sits down to let his long legs dangle from the edge of the stage. He doesn’t bring up the fact that Keith often drops by the theater after his rigorous varsity training in the track field – which doesn’t necessarily count for anything, even if it means that the Arts and Humanities Department is in the opposite way from his dorm.

“Excited for tomorrow?” Keith says, finally reaching his destination in front of Shiro.

“More than ready to break a leg,” Shiro says, a hand outstretched to pull Keith up to sit beside him onstage. Keith’s warmth is a welcome and pleasant sensation on his side, the smell of gym soap and night air small imprints of where he’d been. He fits just right into the familiarity of Keith.

“Thinking of all the autographs you’ll be signing after?”

“You know I’m only in it for the attention.”

Keith chuckles lightly, bumps his shoulder playfully against Shiro. It feels so natural and normal; it almost feels like a tiny secret communication device between them.

“Sing me a song,” Keith says quietly, his fingers absently kneading on Shiro’s upturned palm.

“Again?” Shiro arches an eyebrow but his amused smile betrays his true emotions. “I should really start charging you for this. You shouldn’t think lightly of my talent fees.”

“Then a duet,” Keith says, his grin widening. “Like how we used to back in the orphanage. That means I’ll only pay half the price, right?”

“Fine, you owe me coffee for a couple of mornings,” Shiro says, trying not to memorize and hang on to Keith’s hopeful face. He clears his throat, prepares to stand up. “I’ll be the one to play the piano—”

“It’s alright.” Keith’s hand on Shiro’s bicep is yet another burst of flame and electricity on his skin. “Stay here.”

Shiro regards him silently, a wordless prayer of gratitude on his lips before he swallows and mumbles a barely audible “Okay”.

Little do you know how I'm breaking while you fall asleep / Little do you know I'm still haunted by the memories...

Shiro’s only half there; one half of him tethered in place by the anchor that is Keith’s hand on his arm, the other half busy committing the image of Keith singing beside him under the almost heavenly beam of lights pouring from the batten above them into memory. Licks of light seem to be pooling in crescents above Keith’s long curved eyelashes, making Shiro wonder how tiny moon-shaped slivers of intangible energy can be so easily caught.

Little do you know I know you're hurting when I'm sound asleep / Little do you know all my mistakes are slowly drowning me...

Shiro only notices he’s been staring at Keith this whole time when the younger man looks up at him to join him in chorus, and he feels like he should be embarrassed at being caught but he doesn’t – it’s Keith and even though he’s awkward and aloof around other people, with Shiro he’s just so relaxed and open and honest that seeing themselves reflected in the other’s eyes feels like the most natural thing in the world.

'Cause little do you know I / I love you 'til the sun dies...

It’s strange because Shiro’s rendered breathless despite only sitting down and not belting any high notes. A gentle smile paints Keith’s features, and without preamble, he takes Shiro’s hand in his, squeezes tight.

“You’re gonna be great tomorrow,” he says, eyes searching Shiro’s face.

Shiro’s about to joke with something like “Only tomorrow?” but something in the way Keith’s lips turn up in small smile makes him stop and swallow. The silence suddenly becomes too loud like the incessant pounding in his chest and ears, and he’s once again reminded of how alone they are right now, as if the universe is telling him that meeting and staying together like this must count for something after all this time—

Like maybe it’s the perfect mood and opportunity to steal a kiss—

Then, the soft hum of something vibrating against fabric, and Shiro is pulled from his semi-drunken stupor.

Keith fishes his phone out of his pocket, sees the name flashing on the screen. “Ah, it’s—”

“Go ahead, take it,” Shiro says, his heart sinking as reality mercilessly cuts through the surface of his short-lived fantasy. Of course. His act isn’t done yet.

Keith offers him a shy smile, puts the phone against his ear, speaks. “Hey, babe—”

Shiro fights hard to maintain composure, and yet he’s well aware that the truth is seeping out of the broken seams of his mask. His chest suddenly feels tight as if his lungs have momentarily forgotten how to function normally. The word ‘babe’ just doesn’t sound right on Keith’s lips – not when there’s another person holding that title in his life.

“Yeah, I’m just chilling with Shiro for a bit. … Dinner? Sure, I’ll be there.”

There are no I love you’s exchanged as he closes his phone but the blush creeping up Keith’s cheeks speaks a truth loud enough for Shiro to hear.

“Shiro, I—”

“It’s okay,” Shiro says, his mask back on. He grits his teeth, reminds himself he’s an actor for crying out loud. “Don’t let Hunter wait too long. I got a few more things to look into backstage anyway.”

Keith’s unfairly tender smile is back again, and Shiro fights yet another battle inside himself.

“You sure you’re not just hiding the fact that you’re really the clean-up crew?”

Shiro slowly shakes his head and raises his arms in mock defeat. “You got me.”

Keith chuckles, lightly punches his bicep before hopping down the edge of the stage.

“Don’t stay up too late, big boy.”

Shiro watches him go, watches his slim frame disappear into the distance just like he does every single time. It’s become an unintentional habit, soundlessly staring at Keith’s back. Until he’s out of sight, Shiro remains an actor, remains a deceitful pretender.

The entrance doors close shut, thunderous and resounding in the silent theater, now empty and hollow like Shiro’s hand without Keith’s.

Chapter Text

When Keith wakes up, Shiro's still snoring loudly into the sheets.

Sunlight filters in through the curtains, bathing the room in a soft heavenly glow, illuminating the contours of Shiro's wonderfully chiseled face and reflecting brightly on the gold of his wedding ring. He's drooling into the pillowcase like a kid, crusts of sleep paint the edges of his eyes. In the silence of the early morning, Keith thanks every deity he could think of for yet another day waking up beside this man, yet another day of loving and being loved openly and honestly by the person of his choosing, and who had chosen him in return.

Keith leans down, plants a tender kiss on Shiro's exposed cheek. Light unshaven stubble tickles his lips, a contrasting sensation of smooth and coarse that never fails to make his body sing like a secret tiny obsession.

Shiro stirs from his slumber, and Keith grabs a tissue from a box on the nightstand to wipe his other cheek with.

"Guess who's washing yet another pillowcase," Keith says, watching in amusement as Shiro rubs his eyes.

Shiro only grumbles a response from his throat, too groggy to answer in his semi-asleep stupor.

"What a child," Keith sighs, his smile bright as he pulls the entire bulk of his husband up from the comfort of the bed. "Come on, big guy."

It's a trip to the bathroom first; Shiro gargles while Keith warms up the bath. While waiting for the bath, Keith cooks breakfast and Shiro sets the table; they've discovered early on while they were still dating that Shiro should never be entrusted with a stove nor a spatula. They both have their coffee and bring their unfinished mugs to the tub where Shiro shampoos Keith's hair while he reads the news aloud from the tab. If they still have a little time to spare, they play with the rubber ducks and toy boats they'd bought long before they even got married.

Life is beautiful in its normalcy and simplicity, the beauty of which much more amplified with the presence of another to accompany you with- a little something Keith has realized since Shiro gave him his sweetest and most anticipated "Yes."

"Babe," Shiro says, wrapping his hands around Keith's waist as they stand in front of the mirror arranging each other's neckties. "What will ever become of me without you."

Chapter Text

They’re both holding hands on the bed, fingers intertwined and legs lazily splayed on top of each other on the sheets as they spend a rare afternoon together while the kids are over at Grandpa and Grandma’s. The house is silent for the first time in four years, and instead of using this opportunity to catch up on some sexy times, they had opted to just lounge around, content with the company the other brings.

Shiro is reading a book on his lap while Keith is settled snugly on the pillows, eyes closed and his earphones on. Juliette had been crying the whole time last night, and Keith had taken it upon himself to stay in her room while Shiro stayed with their toddlers in the other room. Today was a blessing, and as much as they loved their kids, they also loved lazy afternoon such as these with no one else around.

Suddenly, Shiro feels Keith’s hand give his a little squeeze, prompting him to look away from his book and settle his eyes on his husband.

Keith’s eyebrows are furrowed, his mouth pressed tightly together in a flat line. His eyes are still closed but it looks like he’s fighting not to cry.

“Babe?” Shiro says gently, shifting a little to face Keith. “You okay?”

Keith opens his eyes and reveals them to be glossy, as if he has caught miniscule drops of afternoon light with his vision. He turns on his side and places a hand on Shiro’s beating heart, plants a kiss on his shoulder.

“Yeah, I’m fine. Great, actually,” he says, but the red creeping up his ears and cheeks tells Shiro there’s something more.

This time, Shiro places his book down on the night stand and fully turns so that he’s facing Keith.

“What are you listening to?”

Keith looks up at him through his long eyelashes, lets a quick silent beat pass before passing Shiro one earphone. Shiro takes it, and as soon as the familiar melody pours into his ears, he is hit by a strong wave of nostalgia that makes him feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

“Wow, this takes me back,” he says quietly, his lips brushing the top of Keith’s head.

“Mhmm,” Keith says into his shoulder.

They settle into another comfortable silence as Jon Mclaughlin’s voice takes them backwards in time, back to the night they both became each other’s – they’ve always been, in an unspoken and unwritten rule, but it wasn’t only until Shiro’s final school dance that they were slapped in the face with the truth as they slow-danced with their respective dates, all the while stealing glances at each other from across the high school gymnasium.

 

So close was waiting, waiting here with you

And now, forever I know

All that I wanted

To hold you, so close

 

“I still remember suddenly walking towards you in that crowd,” Keith says, his voice quiet as he pulls Shiro’s hand to kiss each bony knuckle. “It felt like a miracle when you started walking towards me, too.”

Shiro chuckles as the memory unfolds; watching Keith with his arms around a classmate’s waist, catching quick evading looks until their eyes finally lingered on each other and feet freezing in place, locked in each other’s hypnotizing gaze. He vaguely remembers muttering an apology to his date, his own arms falling to his sides as he pushed against the crowd of dancing teenagers towards a point in the middle where Keith was also heading. He remembers his head spinning, the air in the gymnasium thinning, a lump in his throat when they finally find each other at last. The whole world goes still in that one second of dawning realization that they’ve always been more than best friends, that he’s always been the one

He remembers his hands flying up to reach for and to pull Keith towards him, their lips finally meeting in an initially awkward encounter until they both discover their own rhythm, hands and fingers lost in each other’s hair and neck and shoulders.  When they pull away, they’re both smiling, people were either cheering or clapping and everything just felt in all the right places.

“That seems really far away now,” Keith sighs as he plays with the hem of Shiro’s shirt. “We’re not as young as we used to be and sometimes I just find myself wanting some quiet time and maybe dancing with you in the living room without having to worry about constantly being alert to when I need to run and get some vomit on me.”

“Babe, we’re still that kind of couple,” Shiro chuckles, sliding down to place a kiss on Keith’s nose and mouth. He slides down further to nuzzle his nose and cheek on Keith’s chest. “We can do that now, if you like.”

“No, this one’s okay, too,” Keith says, paying him back with the same tender kisses on the top of his head. “You’re here, and that’s all I’ve ever needed. You’re growing old with me whether you like it or not.”

“I’m growing old with you and that’s the best version of reality I’m living in.” Shiro looks back up at him with a soft smile, and Keith marvels at the way he looks so handsome in all that unshaven and bed hair glory.

“I love you so much,” Keith whispers, and he leans closer to kiss him on the mouth, except—

Oh my god—” Keith lurches an inch from the sheets as Shiro blows another raspberry into his stomach. “Babe—that really tickles—”

Shiro keeps his eyes shut as he blows rounds and rounds of raspberries on Keith’s stomach, shaking his head rapidly like he does to their baby Juliette. Keith can’t stop chuckling, his abdominal muscles hardening from continuous laughter and at the weird yet pleasant sensation of Shiro’s prickly stubble and chapped lips on his skin. When it’s over, Keith’s a giggling happy teary mess above him.

Shiro crawls back up to face his blushing husband. His own face is glowing as if it’s only the first day of being married. “We’re still that kind of couple and I can still make you laugh like that.”

Keith chuckles, runs his hands up Shiro’s back and settles them to cup his cheeks. Lying together like this reminds him of all the things he’s thankful for in the world.

“Babe, your lips belong better up here.”

Chapter Text

It’s almost like magic how within a sea of unfamiliar faces that seem to meld together into one huge blur, one stranger’s face suddenly stands out with stark clarity, unintentionally commanding undivided attention with their – which is it, really? – inherent gracefulness, calm and collected demeanor, a simple yet captivating smile, or all of the above.

The thing is, Keith isn’t the type to really focus on strangers’ faces, opting instead to stare into the distance, down at cold hard floors or his shoelaces. He isn’t really into the habit of zeroing in on any particular person’s face, gambling with the possibility of getting caught staring and having to deal with the awkward few seconds that follow. He doesn’t really like getting too much attention on himself, therefore he doesn’t give that much attention to others.

The thing is, that guy’s haircut is just so cool. Short black hair, long white fringe – and is he trying to trim a maze through that sexy undercut? Whatever he’s trying to do, it works for Keith – it’s just absolutely cool. He’s not even facing their direction, giving them a view of only his backside, but with a little tiptoeing to the left, Keith discovers a sharp jawline, long eyelashes that meet the edges of his fringe, the corner of lips upturned into a smile.

There’s no questioning it, he’s got Keith’s attention.

“Whoa.” He can’t hide the awe painting his voice. “Who’s that?”

“Which one is who?” Pidge says through her teeth as she gnaws on the straw of her orange juice.

That guy.”

“Uh, Keith, we’re kind of in the Science Department Lobby and there are a lot of guys, so I guess you’ll have to be more specific than that.”

“Sexy and handsome with the awesome hair at one o’clock,” Keith says, eyes not leaving his target.

“Well I got sexy and handsome with the awesome hair right here,” Lance says, giving Hunk a suggestive quirk of his brow and a somewhat drawn out once-over.

“Aw, Lance,” Hunk gushes and gives his boyfriend’s hand a tiny squeeze.

“Are you talking about undercut with the white fringe standing by the bulletin board?” Pidge says, finally following Keith’s line of sight.

“That’s the one,” Keith says, his voice a little lower. “Any chance you know him?”

“You already kind of know him, don’t you?” Hunk says after taking a look in said person’s direction.

“What?” This time, Keith whirs around to face his friends. “How is that possible? This is the first time I’ve ever noticed the guy.”

“That’s insane!” Lance chimes in, his arms up in the air in sudden exasperation. “The guy – Takashi Shirogane – has only been the famous prodigy and student legend in this school since he enrolled three years ago!”

Keith is supposed to glare at him for raising his voice, but now that he has a name to attach to the stranger’s beautiful face, he lets it go. For immediate damage control, they can all trust Hunk to softly cup a hand over Lance’s mouth, which he does.

“Don’t you remember last week, Keith?” Pidge steps in, an eyebrow raised in incredulity. “Man, you must have been really wasted.”

Keith opens his mouth to fire a question, but as soon as he does, his memory refreshes and he is almost taken aback by the rush of realization and flashbacks.

“Oh god, don’t tell me…”

“Uh-huh.”

“Is the universe playing tricks on me?” Keith says as he buries his face in his hands.

“Must be fate,” Hunk nods at no one in particular.

It happened last week, when they were celebrating Hunk and Lance’s first anniversary as a couple. It was one of those rare nights where they had all convinced Keith to loosen up and have some drinks, and when he downed his first shot, it went less disastrous than he initially thought and they all had a pretty good time. Keith doesn’t remember how or who found or stole it, but they got a shopping cart up a small hill on campus and took turns riding it down the not so steep slope. It was all going well until Keith – as he was told later – crashed into someone who was walking to their dorm after their last class that night.

He didn’t have to ask but the abrasion on his chin and the gash he found under the bandage wrapped around his arm the next day explained just how ugly it went. What was more embarrassing was that his victim volunteered to accompany them to the nearest infirmary despite not really getting any form of injury himself.

Now, looking at his friend’s faces, Keith is finally discovering who he had accidentally ran over that night.

“We didn’t even get the chance to really get to know each other and I’ve already blown it,” Keith groans into his hands, too embarrassed to give Takashi Shirogane another look.

“Classic Keith move—ow!” Lance flinches as Pidge elbows him on the hip.

“It’s a big university, Keith,” Pidge says. “He might not even remember you.”

“I hit him with a wheeled vehicle from a roughly 45-degree slope,” Keith says through gritted teeth, each word deliberately drawn out and heavy with emphasis.

“Then he might actually remember you, which could be a good thing,” Hunk offers with a smile. “Because here he comes.”

“What—”

Before Keith can think of the exact words he needs to complete his sentence, there’s a light tap on his shoulder. He swallows, knowing fully well who it is before he even turns around.

“Hey.”

Keith mutters a curse to the entire cosmos because – damn – it feels like he’s looking directly into a brilliant cluster of nine suns and he just came out of the long dark tunnel of a rat’s ass, or like he’s in one of those cheesy toothpaste commercials in which he has total confidence in getting closer to the hot guy in front of him and there’s a blast of wind to make him look cool and fresh except he’s totally getting blown away because Takashi Shirogane is simply looking at him with those mesmerizing eyes and flashing him that toothpaste-commercial-worthy smile—

“I’m sorry if this might seem random, but are you okay?”

Is he talking about the accident? Or is he actually meaning to ask about why Keith’s gaping and staring like a fish out of water. Either way, Keith is sure about one thing – he’s a total goner.

It’s almost like magic how one particular face stands apart from the rest of the crowd. It’s almost too unreal for that same stranger to spare you a second glance.

And the thing is, Keith just can't decide between totally not okay and infinitely more than okay.

Chapter Text

The guy's actually crying.

Inside a crowded bus.

Shiro's been trying hard not to look for over half an hour now.

Too focused and silent bookreader has been reading The Song of Achilles since he got on the bus and sat down in front of Shiro roughly thirty minutes ago. He's got his earphones on, a striped scarf and the finest set of eyebrows crumpled in the middle in stark concentration. He hasn't said a word to anyone, too absorbed in his reading, unaware of the internal fight raging inside of Shiro sitting opposite to him.

Ever since Shiro caught the signature golden helmet on the cover, he's been dying to start a conversation with this stranger - How far into the book is he? Isn't the poetic and artistic take on the story just enthralling? Why does it still hurt a lot despite knowing the outcome of this already famous story? - and yet this strong urge is constantly rebutted by the fear of seeming too eager or too weird, and Shiro doesn't want to ruin his chances of making a potentially good friend in a potential fellow Patrochilles fan.

Also this boy, in all his brooding and mullet glory is really kind of cute.

Which is a major reason why Shiro feels absolutely nervous.

Now the guy's sniffing and breathing through his mouth in an effort to stifle any incoming sobs, eyes glistening with hot tears. Shiro can guess where he's reading - definitely one of those parts which drips with heart-wrenching agonizing bittersweetness which is pretty much almost the entire book - and suddenly there's a choking sound.

Shiro's initial reaction is to blink at the totally unguarded and honest reaction from the person he's facing. The cute guy seems to have noticed he's made quite a loud sound from his throat as he slowly pushes the book up further to cover his reddening face.

Fighting back his urge to laugh at something he's finding so adorable, Shiro fishes a clean handkerchief from his pocket. Before his insecurities can get to him, he hands it over to book-loving mullet boy.

The guy looks up from his book, sees the folded hanky, shakes his head politely in response.

Shiro's not about to let that be the only interaction they have, especially not when this might be the only time they'll meet.

"It's okay," he says, then kind of feels dumb because the guy's wearing earphones for a reason. Regardless, he continues. "I needed an entire box of tissues when I got to the last fifty or so pages myself."

It's a gamble - he's revealing himself for the sappy TSOA trash that he is, but whatever. He's sure he's never going to catch the same bus at the same time as this person in any version of the future anyway.

The guy blinks at him, and in the silence that ensues Shiro believes he's only made a fool of himself, but suddenly one earphone is off, and a hand is holding the other end of his handkerchief.

"... Thank you."

Of course he could talk, is the first thing Shiro thinks as he lets the article of clothing go. He's probably smiling like an idiot, but he's got no control of the happiness spreading all throughout his body at the moment. Small miracles like these are hard to come by, after all.

"I don't think I've ever met another guy who's reading this."

The remark - in no tone that is condescending or judgmental - deepens the reddish hue painting Shiro's cheeks, but he's glad that the opportunity for conversation is finally open. His hand flies up to rub the back of his neck in slight embarrassment.

"Likewise," he says, his eyes darting from his shoes to the cutie's boots. "It's kind of refreshing seeing a guy even just hold the book. I mostly talk with women in the forums, which is tons great, but this also seems nice."

That's all he's got. Somehow his brain has lost its original plans for discussion a while ago. He's so lame, he can't even come up with anything to make the conversation continue--

"True. Would probably be cool to hear from you."

Shiro looks up from where he's looking for ants on the bus floor.

"What?"

"I mean, it would be nice to talk to another guy about it, you know after I read this book," the guy says, his eyes darting to the side as he blows his nose into the handkerchief. "Yikes. Gotta clean this up before returning it to you."

"Oh, yeah," Shiro mutters, finally catching on the possible future that just opened for them.

"Wait, were you really just going to give this to me and hop off the bus and leave?" He says, an eyebrow arched in an adorable way that's tempting Shiro to lean closer and pinch his face. "Maybe let fate decide if we should meet again and maybe I still have your handkerchief? You're kind of a romantic, huh?"

Shiro presses his lips together and nods awkwardly; he did not really expect to be read like this on the first two minutes of talking. That, or this guy just reads a lot of books to have that kind of imagination.

"I kind of like that, actually," the guy says, almost barely above a whisper. "Except for the part where you don't ask for my name."

Shiro looks up from where he's looking at his hands, and meets the soft lovely eyes of the stranger. Silly how he's kind of swimming in the clouds right now without even a name to attach to this gorgeous face.

"W-what's your name?" He stuttered. Real smooth.

The guy seems to find his shortcoming really adorable, because the smile painting his lips tells Shiro he's pleasantly amused. It's a beautiful happy expression Shiro silently hopes to see more of, maybe hopefully every day.

"Keith. And yours?"

 

Chapter Text

This isn’t how Keith had planned to meet hot guys on the beach – by watching helplessly as their dogs hump each other like, well, dogs in heat.

“Oh my god,” he says through gritted teeth as he pulls himself up from where he’s sitting on the sand to retrieve his collie. “That’s just—oh god, I’m so sorry—”

The two balls of fur just won’t quit taking turns sniffing each other and climbing on top of the other’s back, ravishing each other with reckless abandon. Cisco’s crotch is rubbing wildly against the other dog’s bottom with mind-blowing speed that the friction is causing Keith’s brain to melt. He’s got to do some damage control before the hot owner feels too uncomfortable to even want to make acquaintances with him – maybe some humor because laughter always saves the day.

“I’m so sorry, I guess Cisco just takes so much after his owner—”

Oops, not that kind of humor.

It’s not even funny. Why’d he say that? His brain’s totally fried.

So much for damage control.

Keith shuts his mouth, looks anywhere but the two horny dogs and the stranger’s hot as fuck face and cool metal arm. Maybe digging a hole in the sand and disappearing in it is a good idea.

Except Asian Calvin Klein underwear model flashes him the cutest smile, snorts into his palm in barely contained amusement.

“I never thought you could… joke like that,” he says, with teeth and lips Keith wants to drool into. Maybe he shouldn’t be thinking gross stuff yet because he’s about to make conversation after all.

“Wait,” Keith says, a hand up for emphasis. “Are you telling me you just made some baseless presumptions about a stranger you’ve never interacted with until now?”

“Not entirely baseless.” Can he stop smiling in that way that makes Keith want to put his mouth over his? Maybe not. “You sit on the same spot every weekend looking so morosely at the waters. I kind of wondered when I’ll get to see a smile on that face.”

“Wait, you… look at me? A lot?” Wow. Now his face feels hotter than the sun. Make that two suns.

Giorgio Armani posterboy’s arm flies up to rub at the back of his undercut, giving Keith a magnificent show of his flexed biceps. And need he mention those glorious pectorals?

His smile is sheepish and enormously cute. “It’s… kinda hard not to.”

Oh. It’s actually happening – someone is flirting with him. A male demigod is flirting with him. Everybody calm down.

Suddenly they’re startled by some sounds of rapid bestial respiration. They both stare down at their pets who have somehow changed positions and it’s either funny or cute or gross but Cisco seems to be having the time of his life getting drilled in the ass by a smaller dog.

Also, it’s almost funny how his dog has better chances of hooking up at all than the owner, except in reality it’s just really sad. In the number of sexual partners or sexual encounters, Cisco beats him by a 7:1 ratio.

Abercrombie & Fitch snorts, and Keith snaps his head back in time to catch that adorable and playful glint in his smile.

“So, the pet takes so much after the owner, huh?”

Keith swallows. He has a pretty good feeling he’s finally catching some of his dog’s luck in finding someone to canoodle with.

“I’m Keith.” Is suddenly dropping his name kind of an eager move? Whatever, don’t think, just hit him with your best sexy eyes.

Keith swears the lip-biting looks pretty damn good on the hot guy, and he also swears the dude also just gave him the once-over. A sex song is playing in his head, and he’s not supposed to be getting turned on right now.

“Shiro,” says the immensely attractive homosapien as he puts a hand out for Keith.

Keith stares at his large hand, wonders for a while what he’s supposed to do with it as a myriad of immoral things swirl inside his head like a heavy mist. Then of course, education on societal norms kick in, and he realizes it’s there for him to shake it.

“Shiro,” he mutters as his palm grazes the other’s palm, fingers brushing on the underside of his hand. The name feels so right and sweet like flowing honey on his tongue. He wonders when he can scream it.

“You okay?” Shiro asks, a magnificent eyebrow arched in concern. “You look like you’re having a fever.”

Feels like I’m running a marathon, too, Keith thinks but his mouth has gone too dry to produce any sound.

“Let’s get you something to drink. My treat,” Shiro says, and Keith shivers as his hand moves up from his wrist to his shoulder. It feels really warm, it’s really nice and fuzzy and why the hell is this guy even showing him signs that he’s kind of into him.

Keith looks around and he loves the sand, the sea, the sun, the breeze, he loves his horny dog and he loves the hand that’s guiding him towards a nearby shade.

This isn’t how Keith had planned to meet hot guys on the beach, and it certainly isn’t his plan to bring anyone home, but hopefully maybe it's Shiro's.

Chapter Text

"I see you finally bought that," Allura says, lowering her magazine to trace the thin sliver of moon peeking out from under Shiro's new black Speedo with her eyes.

"So you noticed," Shiro replies, adjusting his sunglasses in a way that he hopes looks cool. A couple of nights ago he had flooded her with photos of various swimming trunks from the department store to ask about her opinion of each. He ended up buying all.

"That mullet guy you've been ogling all summer sure did," Allura continues, her eyes back on the magazine.

"Oh, is he?" Shiro says with a nervous laugh, except he's already kind of staring at Korean Eros owning the waves on his surfboard (this is the true purpose of the sunglasses). He had spent a full twenty minutes looking at the small article of spandex displayed on his bed this morning, wasted ten more minutes contemplating about wearing it to the beach, and another hour putting it on and looking at himself in the mirror and taking it off again multiple times. He still arrived earlier than Allura, though. It's his off day, meaning he doesn't need to don the lifeguard uniform and go to the beach but that guy was always surfing there this summer.

Knowing that her friend is already hypnotized by sunkissed Apollo riding the waves, Allura gets up from her reading and walks over to stand a little behind him, pretends to be active on lifeguard duty and surveys the waves.

"Oh my, that shell looks pretty--" she says, bends down to pick something up - except when she does, Shiro's Speedo also drops down to his ankles.

Suddenly there's a blast of ocean breeze slapping Shiro's bare crotch, and somewhere on the waves, a guy with a mullet is ungraciously falling off his surfboard.

"Oh, looks like somebody needs a lifeguard," Allura says innocently as she turns back to return to her post. "Shiro, go get your guy."

Chapter Text

EXCLUSIVE! VoltronMedia star Takashi Shirogane to play half of a gay couple in upcoming movie to be produced by Altean Films

VoltronMedia instagram account teases fans with photo of star Takashi Shirogane with caption “Shiro loves you baby”

MORE: Takashi Shirogane’s leading man in upcoming movie to be revealed at last??

HOT NOW: VoltronMedia’s instagram photo of Shirogane with the caption “He is looking at Keith” sparks fan speculations about movie casting

CONFIRMED! Keith Kogane to star in upcoming movie “Of Red and Black Lights” as Takashi Shirogane’s onscreen husband

Hot Topic! VoltronMedia dishes on possible multiple kiss scenes between two of its hottest male actors!

FEATURED! Find out what onscreen husbands-to-be Takashi Shirogane and Keith Kogane think about mac & cheese, motorbikes, and working together

CORAN: “Oh, you’re gonna thank me for casting” and other juicy movie tidbits!

“Of Red and Black Lights” movie screenwriter Pidge Gunderson confirms Shirogane-Kogane kiss scene

“KEITH Kogane is a very good kisser”: Takashi Shirogane talks about hairstyles, fitness, and what it’s like to work with fellow actor Keith Kogane in upcoming movie

Kogane replies to Shirogane’s recent statement: “Kissing [Shiro] was pretty much the reason I signed up for this”

Actor Hunk Garret on upcoming film: “You wouldn’t believe the offscreen bromance happening here”

“Of Red and Black Lights” -- the next groundbreaking hit!!!

Critics applaud Takashi Shirogane and Keith Kogane for stellar performance on “Of Red and Black Lights”; talks of sequel spark excitement in rapidly growing fanbase

OR&BL stars Lance Mcclain and Hunk Garret share their own speculations on possible sequel and reaction on positive fan involvement

Most celebrated onscreen husbands bag “Best Kiss Award”

“[He]’s the best person I could think of to do that movie with,” Best Kiss Awardee Keith Kogane on exclusive interview with The Arus Times

Takashi Shirogane posts instagram photo with OR&BL onscreen husband to thank fans for support

SECRET RENDEZVOUS: Famous big screen couple spotted together at dinner in local family restaurant

VoltronMedia: “We’re not against our actors dating”

“Love is a beautiful thing” -- Fashion icon and director Allura talks about hit movie, latest fads, and more

“HE SAID YES” -- Takashi Shirogane and Keith Kogane on “Us

Chapter Text

It's quarter to 3AM.

Shiro never meant to stay up this late just to cram on the astrophysics finals he's going to take in four hours. Maybe he should've anticipated this kind of scenario, what with his indulging Keith in late night sparring sessions after school hours. Not that that's something to complain about.

With a grunt, he stretches his limbs and brings life back to the aching muscles he's left immobile for too long. He starts with his neck, then his shoulders his arms his wrists - and damn that feels so good. He stands up slowly and drags his feet along the wooden floor, eager to let himself fall into the warm embrace of his bed.

Except his bed's already occupied.

Keith has graciously taken up the sheets, is curled up in a fetal position with an open book by his head. Initially, Shiro is mildly shocked (his senses numbed by the desire to sleep) to find him there, all slender limbs and soft black hair and a thread of drool, comfortably rested in the middle of Shiro's handwashed sheets. For an instant, he wonders how this wild and feisty ball of flame can possess such an expression of tranquility; in an instant, he engraves this rare image into his memories forever.

Why was Keith here in his room again?

Oh, the sparring sessions in which time oddly ceased to exist. Right.

Keith had asked to study together to make up for the time they spent tenaciously marking each other with balled up hands and agile feet and basically just getting hot and sweaty together. They had been talking and feeding each other information in the first couple of hours of poring over their books, until suddenly maybe one of them just stopped talking and let the night settle into a peaceful silence, until the night just went and turned over to day.

Tired as he already is, Shiro lays down his options, all of which not involving stirring Keith awake:

(1) try to sneak Keith out and carry him princess-style (or sack-of-rice style) back to his dorm room;

(2) leave Keith on the bed and sleep on the cold hard floor;

(3) sleep beside Keith. It's only for a night - no, four hours, anyway.

Maybe the only four hours he'll ever get to taste the warmth of Keith's body beside him, before he goes back to pretending he's nothing more than the upperclassman who happens to share a lot of classes with Keith, and spends his free time giving exclusive solo sparring sessions.

Keith lies unperturbed, ignorant of Shiro's internal turmoil like an infant sleeping soundly despite a storm. With Keith lying still half-under the blanket like this, it's easier to study him without fear of getting caught - for Shiro, it almost feels like a crime just staring at him and wondering how it feel like to ghost his fingers over the arch of his exposed cheek, over the tips of his long eyelashes, on the soft mound of his lips.

It's a crime Shiro has long since wanted to commit.

Except it's 3AM, they've got an exam in four hours, and Shiro can't afford to be that kind of person.

Not now, not in the following days, maybe not forever.

Right now he just wants, needs to sleep.

Shiro's tired; he doesn't want to break the rules and walk around after curfew; the floor is stone cold -- there's a million reasons why he has no choice but to sleep beside Keith.

It's only for four quick hours - he'll know how to explain it in the morning.

Swallowing the lump in his throat, Shiro gently pulls the sheets to let himself in as he wonders if there's really any chance of sleeping tonight.

Chapter Text

Those fingers, those teeth – all intimately familiar with Keith’s skin – now hungrier than ever, drawing blood, marking old territory with new scars bruises and cuts, claiming him, maiming him, decorating him in colors of red black purple and blue.

Those eyes that always looked at him with a special reserved gaze, now heavily clouded with lust and desire and an almost murderous hunger – insatiable, profound animalistic hunger that draws him in despite all the warning alarms going off in his brain telling him this is dangerous this is bad this is absolutely not

“Shiro—,” he gasps, breath lost and lips swollen and bleeding under the other man’s voracious kisses.

“Wrong, little kitty,” he smiles, teeth and lips dripping, glistening crimson with mixed spit and blood.

He’s not here right now.”

Chapter Text

All feels intimately familiar under Keith’s fingertips – each scar, every jagged mound and cut on Shiro’s warm damp skin – each one a story, each one bearing a name of a prisoner who had the misfortune of crossing him in the arena.

He doesn’t ask, doesn’t pry, doesn’t let Shiro feel obligated to lay himself bare just because Keith shares his bed. No, Keith can wait, just as he had waited so dutifully for Shiro to return, albeit broken and molded back into something that still needs fixing, he’ll wait –  until every torn piece comes back, broken bit by broken bit, until all the cracks and fissures are filled and sewn together, no matter how long it takes, he will wait.

Until Shiro finds that part of him that wants to lay his stories bare to Keith, he will be the constant piece by his side.

Chapter Text

Keith is busy studying the mistletoe dangling above their heads. Shiro’s busy convincing himself that the way he’s angling his head up and standing on his tiptoes like this is not an intentional invitation to suck each other’s faces.

Shiro looks up to follow the barely visible thread of fishing line hanging over the railing from the second floor landing. He can’t see anyone, but he’s absolutely positive it’s Pidge because she had this curiously mischievous expression on her face when Allura and Coran asked what Lance meant when he said people used to line up to get him under a mistletoe during a holiday season called ‘Christmas’. Where and what means they used to acquire the parasitic plant or a version of it is something he’d rather not think about right now.

Without warning, Keith’s arm suddenly moves and his hand is up in the air, making Shiro hold his breath, making his mind race – is he going for Shiro’s cheek? Is he going for the back of his neck to pull him down?

Shiro’s immediate reaction is to clamp his eyes shut, and wait for it— only proving to himself his own weakness and hopefulness, how he’s probably wanted for Keith to know and for things to unfold without either of them saying anything at all—

Except it doesn’t happen.

He does hear Keith… hopping.

When he opens his eyes, Keith is definitely bouncing on his heels.

“Come on, Shiro, you already got the height advantage” he says, eyes still on the now moving tongue-wrestling bait. “You don’t have to close your eyes to even the playing field for this game.”

“… uh, what game?”

Keith stops playing rabbit to arch an eyebrow in genuine curiosity. “That’s what this thing is all about, right?”

 

 

Five minutes later, they’ve hopped all the way to the lounge, and Pidge decides to let them be a couple of idiots for now.

Chapter Text

It happens without preamble.

Keith pulls him in by the neckline of his sweat-drenched shirt, pushes back with shivering lips to trap Shiro's breath inside his throat, closes his eyes before he can see the inevitable shock fear disgust betrayal he's sure will paint Shiro's face. The entire world goes unbearably silent, amplifying the sound of his madly beating heart, amplifying the incoming sound of a star combusting.

It's weird because he's clumsy and it feels like he just attacked Shiro's mouth with his mouth instead of actually kissing him. It's weird because it's almost like they're both stuck in this unmoving chunk of time where their lips lock and nothing else matters. It's weird because one moment he's brave, and then suddenly he's not.

Keith pulls back. Cold air brushes where Shiro's warmth just left him.

The world is still unbearably, unsettlingly soundless.

Neither of them speak.

Keith hates this kind of quiet - the one that feeds fear and insecurity and hopelessness.

Right. Maybe he got too carried away with the heat of lingering gazes and the comfort of light, supportive shoulder touches. Maybe he read too much into Shiro routinely meeting with him privately to spar during breaks. Maybe he should have thought twice about overstepping their preexisting boundaries because in the end, Shiro is still a senior officer who doesn't need a scandal with a younger cadet to taint his perfect record.

Keith swallows the lump in his throat, wordlessly chastises himself for the warm wetness suddenly pooling in his eyes. Heavy drops, mirroring the weight currently pressed against his whole body, threatens to pour out of him like all the other things emotions words he's kept bottled up.

He takes a step back, dips his head to hide in the pseudo safety of not seeing the other person's eyes.

"I-I'm sorry," is all he manages without stopping his voice from breaking, just like the rest of him. There's no going back on what he just did, and a weak apology sure as hell won't return the trust and friendship they've established.

That's all it took - one moment of bravery, no, weakness - and everything falls apart.

"... I should go," he says, lets go of Shiro's shirt, lets go of what he has with Shiro, lets Shiro go.

 

 

Shiro pulls him back by putting a hand over Keith's on his chest, secures him in place with another hand at the back of Keith's neck, pushes back gently with shivering lips to trap the cadet's apologies and unspoken declarations of love against the back of his mouth. One kiss, all teeth and lips and their foreheads touching, then another and another and another. Shiro's skin burning like a fever, his heart breaking out of his chest like an overflowing dam. Keith kissing him back, lips swollen glistening delicious amazing on his tongue. Clumsy hands shakily holding onto each other's cheeks hair neck chest shoulders, lips finding lips finding teeth finding tongue finding promises and hopes unvoiced.

When they pull away, Shiro thinks air is suddenly an inconvenience.

Keith looks back at him, eyes set with the same soft gaze, heavy with gravity pulling him back in. Shiro waits, the whole world along with him, in loud pounding silence.

One moment of weakness, no, bravery, and everything unfurls.

Keith's voice is low, quiet, gentle like the break of dawn.

"... Shiro, do you-"

"Yeah," Shiro half-whispers, breathless, surprised he's still got enough air for Keith to steal. His chest hurts, his face hurts, but it's a good kind of hurt because he's smiling.

"Yeah, Keith, I do."

Chapter Text

The bathtub is rather small, but none of them find any reason to complain about it at all. Shiro takes up most of the space, as he does with most things in their tiny private riverside cabin - their bed, the sofa, their very own handmade canoe, and most of all (despite how cheesy it sounds), Keith's heart.

Keith doesn't mind at all - after all, in tighter spaces, what better thing to do than to huddle up together?

The idea to live in the mountains had been something they've both been considering after a couple years of dating, and after six years of a wonderful and fulfilling marriage, they just can't imagine wanting to settle down in the big bustling cities anymore. After all, it is here in the quiet and relaxing highlands where Keith has discovered what is probably the most beautiful little things he'd never thought were possible prior to meeting Shiro.

One of the things he's grown to adore so much is waking up in the arms of the big snoring bulk of his husband, opening his eyes to discover he's trapped in an entanglement of warms sheets and heavy limbs, and listening to the melodic enchantment of him simply breathing. He loves spending lazy afternoons curling up on the sofa while Shiro reads a book in his lap while they wait to watch the sunset together outside on their porch. Another good thing about living in seclusion is the freedom to walk around the living room in their birthday suits during the summer without the worry of anyone peeking at them through the curtains, which Keith finds pleasing especially when he's feeling a little too playful - which usually results in them replacing the carpet regularly.

It's also easier to spot the many stars and constellations hung like a most beautiful tapestry on the dark velvet sky, and the river is quite a sight to behold at night. Sometimes when they feel like it, they'd have a few beers, bring the laptop out and turn Shiro's cheesy romantic playlist up real loud and they'd dance like the idiots they were back in their last high school dance, all giddy and light-headed with the onset of their heavy mutually shared crushes. Mostly it ends up with some passionate love-making either on the porch or wherever they both fall down on the grass. It's a strangely empowering thing, to be in love, and  a miracle to be loved back in the same burning intensity and stark pureness.

"Keith?"

Shiro's low tender voice resounds next to his ear, next to his heart. His big hands are rubbing big steady circles along Keith's shoulders and arms, working their way around to caress on his pecs where lovebites were zealously planted a night ago.

"Is something wrong? You've been quiet for a while."

Keith shifts a little on his constant designated seat on Shiro's lap, feels a tiny pleasurable sensation shoot up his spine as their middle sections rub together a certain way, which he also feels is mirrored in Shiro with the way his body jumps in tune with Keith's suggestive mini-grind.

"Nothing," Keith says as he scoops up a bubbly handful of soapy water to blow bubbles with through his fingers. "Just thinking about how lucky I am to have ended up here with you."

Keith feels Shiro's lips curl up into a smile where he's leaving kisses along the curve of his neck. "I'm the one who's lucky to have you."

Shiro leans closer to him, as if they cannot be more cramped inside the tub together as they are, and for the umpteenth time, Keith marvels at how amazingly well they fit into each other - like lock and key, hand and glove, an erection and a condom or an open willing hole, which is probably the best way they fit together. They're a single unit, him and his husband, and it's quite rare to see them without the other that people have always considered them to be two halves of a whole.

"Shiro?" Keith says, noticing how the soft kisses have stopped treading along his damp skin. He chuckles, pushes the rubber ducky and tiny toy boat along the foamy surface of the water. "If you're going to doze off again, I'm not carrying you to bed."

Shiro snorts, his warm breath ticklish against the side of Keith's neck. "You must really love me, don't you, Keith?"

Chapter Text

No one warned him about the dog - although there's been that long-running joke of canine animosity directed towards mailmen like him, Shiro has never really been attacked like this before - at least not by a foot-long corgi wearing a banana suit.

It might have been his mistake to linger for a second on the front lawn once he caught sight of the tiny ball of fur poking out of the bushes. The next mistake was to pick up the bright red rubber ball lying on the grass beside the mailbox, and throwing it in the direction of the dog. The corgi did catch the ball and run on its short legs to give it back to him, and Shiro had thought they'd formed a bond as mailman and little beast, except now it's not interested in playing catch anymore - now it's enthusiastically gnawing at his prosthetic arm, failing to leave any permanent bite marks yet draping it in a thick shiny coating of saliva.

It's not all bad because he gets to keep the hyperactive corgi stay for a couple of minutes while he uses his other hand to scratch on its back (all he feels is the fabric of the banana suit but the experience of petting a dog is still oddly satisfying nonetheless).

"Tavvy!" A voice calls as someone bolts out into the lawn from the house. It's a guy in a crimson hoodie and black spandex shorts, and worn-out yet still aesthetically pleasing neon green rubber shoes.

Obviously he's the owner, because 'Tavvy' immediately brightens up and runs towards him, wet tongue hanging out and tail wagging vigorously out of the hole of his bright yellow costume. From the mail, Shiro remembers this new guy is a Keith Kogane.

Keith - long dark hair and a pair of beautiful piercing amethyst eyes - picks his pet up and looks over apologetically at Shiro, and spots the sticky wet mess on his arm.

"They didn't tell you about him back in the office, didn't they?" He says with a small smile as he walks over and takes off the dry towel hanging around his neck. In this close  proximity, Shiro absentmindedly notes how it smells like lavender. "They've been doing that to the new ones since I moved here."

"I-It's okay, no harm done," Shiro stutters as the (handsome) owner puts Tavvy down to sit next to him and rub the saliva off the prosthetic. Surprisingly, Shiro feels nothing where there's only metal, and yet oddly a sudden warm sensation blooms inside him - in his chest, on his cheeks, under the pit of his stomach. "You don't have to do this, I can clean myself up after my deliveries."

"It's okay, this is the least I can do," Keith says, eyes focused on the task at hand. Shiro tries not to get lost in the curve of his eyelashes.

"His chew toy's stuck under the couch again," Keith continues. "I bet one of your colleagues planted the ball on the lawn. They know Tavvy loves playing with balls - like owner like pet, I guess."

Okay now that is just more unprecedented than the corgi wearing a banana suit. Cue the awkward silence.

Keith stiffly clears his throat after a long couple of seconds. "... I've been told I should work on my socializing skills."

"And I've been told not to play with strangers' balls," Shiro shrugs, his cheeks burning like an oven baking pizza.

This equally awkward comeback earns him a snort from Keith, and Shiro loosens up and laughs with him as well. Thank god. Nothing like a good innuendo to create and solidify new bonds.

"I'm Keith, but you probably already know that from the mail."

"Shiro - but I bet you already read my name tag."

Tavvy circles around them and pokes his front paws at his owner's thigh. It's time to pay attention to him now.

"I gotta go, time for our morning jog," Keith says a bit reluctantly, but the smile on his face reads something hopeful. "You can keep the towel if you like."

"I'll bring it in, washed and dried, with tomorrow's mail," Shiro replies as they both get up from the grass.

Keith nods and with one last smile and lingering (??) mutual gaze, he mutters a "See you" and turns around with Tavvy happily skipping around his feet.

"Nice shoes by the way," Shiro says after a slight pause (staring at Keith's back), unable to hide the bashfulness in his voice. He says 'shoes' instead of 'legs' because the latter would have sounded really creepy. With a ridiculously big smile, he turns around and goes the opposite way, except when he does, he totally misses Keith giving him one last parting look.

Chapter Text

The room feels too big, too small, too lonely. Darkness creeps up the walls and swallows the ceiling, hides the empty liquor bottles and discarded clothes littered around the unkempt living room. Piles of grimy plates stand like dwarf towers on the sink facing the window, but they’re also gobbled up by shadows that Keith doesn’t bother to pretend he can climb them to get closer to the sky.

The only source of light comes from the TV, which is an effective distraction until the network signs off, and there’s nothing but the unending rumble of static to fill the room with much more loneliness.

Keith glances at the clock – it’s past 3AM. Usually a random man comes over and leaves at around this time, and Mom would finally pick Keith up from where he’s sleeping on the floor of the broom closet. This evening, no man came, and Keith was entitled to the TV for the night, which is something that he usually looks forward to.

This evening, nothing happens – and it oddly makes him restless.

He jumps off the couch, and hears a wet squelching noise under his feet. The darkness, the absence of adequate light and vision only heighten his sensitivity– the soles of his tiny feet feel like they landed on melted ice.

Squelch squelch squelch – he drags his cold feet until he faces the bathroom door. It’s still locked from the inside.

He knocks. His throat hurts and his voice cracks when he speaks.

“Mom, are you there?”

Water seeps from under the door and bleeds into the grimy carpet. Keith feels the water running down his cheeks, tastes salt on his lips.

 

 

A hand guides him through a long corridor – the sensation is foreign yet not unwelcome, and his small fingers latch on to the warmth coiled around his hand.

It’s different here – the colors are bright and vivid and the walls don’t seem to close in on him when he breathes. Framed pictures are hung about or sitting on polished wooden tables, making Keith wonder how so many people can fit inside such a house. Flowers of various colors brighten up the place, sunlight pours in through perfectly lined windows, and curious faces of other little kids line up from behind the glass to watch him.

The man – one of their neighbors in the old beat up building, the one with the square glasses who gave him a pair of gloves last Christmas and sometimes plays hide-and-seek with him when the big men come and take his mom out – looks down to smile at him, yet there’s something in his eyes that Keith can’t quite read.

They enter a room, a modest office with a single desk and two shelves full of books. An old petite nun standing in the middle of it greets them, pats Keith’s head in a way that doesn’t make him uncomfortable as strangers usually do. She talks with the man, and Keith lets go of his hand to look at the books with the stars on them.

When they’re done talking, the man takes Keith’s hand again. He’s still smiling, but the look on his face looks different – as if he’s much lonelier than before.

“Let’s play one last game of hide-and-seek, Keith,” the man says gently, unlike the many drunk ones who used to yell at his mom. “Just close your eyes and count to ten.”

“Will you be close by?”

“Always.”

“Okay.”

Keith lets go of the hand, shuts his eyes. He counts. It takes him a while because he didn’t really learn his numbers very well, but he finishes the job, and only opens his eyes after he reaches Ten.

The old nun didn’t go hide, so she’s not playing the game. Keith looks around the quaint tidy little room for his playmate.

“Uncle George, are you there?”

The man never returned.

 

 

He wakes up to a desolate place, miles and miles of dried soil and hard rock stretching like a grey sea before him. Red’s crashed and nestled ungraciously in what seems to be a crater, not completely gone yet unmoving and unresponsive. The pulsing sensation of the bond between Lion and Paladin is what keeps Keith from feeling entirely alone.

Living in solitude with minimum human interaction for a year apparently doesn’t desensitize one from loneliness. Keith finds it hard to breathe, and it has nothing to do with the planet’s atmospheric conditions.

He stands atop Red for a bit, mildly confused by the wormhole experience and falling out of the sky into brutal unforgiving land. For a second, he thought he was back in the desert on Earth, his tiny shack just waiting in the dunes for him to go home to, but then something swims in his vision.

A triangle blinks into view, pulsing like a beacon for him to follow. A ticking beep rings in his ears, urgent and important in its wailing. It’s another Lion, another Paladin.

It’s Shiro.

Keith moves.

“Shiro! Can you hear me?”

Keith breaks into a sprint, or at least what counts for one as this planet’s gravity allows him. The helmet sensors pick up better signal once he’s out of the crater, where he’s got better visuals of the location the triangle is pointing to.

“Shiro? Are you there?” Keith asks, frantic, into the intercom, and as he does he realizes how the question scares him, how he’s already anticipating the absence of an answer because the absence is the answer.

 “Shiro!” He half-yells. A boiling bitter mass is materializing under the pit of his stomach. Like a broken record he stubbornly calls for Shiro’s name over and over. “Answer me!”

 Not again, not this one—

Dry land seems to stretch on forever, grey clouds look at him condescendingly from where they float in the sky. In his ears there’s nothing but incomprehensible noise, the low and inconsistent rumble of static.

Then, his name.

“Keith—”

Shiro’s voice. Low octaves and broken syllables get through the intercom and resonate like warm fire inside Keith’s chest. Relief washes out restlessness, washes out the bitter taste of loneliness in his mouth. His chest loosens up, it's easier to breath again. It's not the time and place for an epiphany, but it comes anyway - he realizes how loneliness grows alongside yearning - for something or someone, it doesn't matter - the intensity of both is directly proportional with the other.

He's always yearned for something so simple, so human - Are you there are you with me don't leave me. He realizes it's easier to be brave when you're not alone.

Shiro speaks again, his voice much clearer, certain as the rising sun.

“I’m here.”

Chapter Text

Bruised in dark shades of black blue purple and red, cut in different places with nails and teeth - that's how Shiro decorates, worships his body. Leaves his skin tainted with hickeys and scars, gets his heart and lungs in overdrive. Drowns him in sex and pleasure until he forgets his own name.

Behind their locked bedroom door, boundaries and safe words cease to exist.

In the post-coital afterglow, Shiro licks him clean, from his bleeding lip to every stinging bite on his neck shoulders chest torso and thighs. Some parts tickle, some parts hum and come back alive for another round of passionate love-making. Sometimes it still surprises Keith how these hands that left the burning ghost sensation of a hard slap on his ass are the same ones gently cradling him with the utmost care and warmth.

Keith gives back in kind, kisses both new and already existing marks his nails have carved on damp skin. His hands rub soft circles against the coarseness of Shiro’s broad shoulders, his slender legs coming up to wrap around Shiro and pull him close.

There's a beast residing in each of their bellies, and it purrs in both satisfaction and dissatisfaction, growls in constant insatiable hunger that only either can appease. Its roar rings louder in Keith's ears, awakened with every touch and every kiss.

Shiro knows, looks up from where he's working below with a smirk. His eyes are clouded with something reflected in Keith’s, eliciting a million imperceptible sparks, electrifying the very air in the room.

"Looks like we're not done yet."

Keith shifts on the bed, wanting, needing.

“No, we’re not.”

Chapter Text

They met at a college party, had some drinks with a lot of others, and still found that they liked each other the morning after despite the fact that Keith had thrown up on Shiro’s favorite shirt. They slowly became that couple that easily fit into each other’s spaces and the much rougher puzzle pieces as well – Shiro learned early on how Keith can be temperamental, and Keith discovered the extent of Shiro’s cooking skills the hard way. Nonetheless, they found a way to live with each other, because they found that it was impossible to do otherwise.

Keith knew Shiro was going to be a definite part of his life when the man walked out of his room after Keith’s outburst and returned with a bucket of ice cream and a big blanket. Shiro knew he was absolutely sure when Keith still came back after the hundredth burnt quesadilla (or what should have been a quesadilla).

They’ve been proposing to each other before they knew it.

“I want to taste your first unburnt non-preserved dish,” Keith says one day in the economics room. “Will you keep cooking for me until then?”

Shiro’s immediate response is a stupid yet adorable giddy smile. “Even after then.”

 

 

“Will you let me take care of you even when you’re not sick?” Shiro asks as he ties Keith’s shoelaces, feeling bold enough with the absence of Keith’s roommates to plant a kiss on one knee.

“You always spoil me,” Keith replies, but his real answer lies in the radiance of his smile and the softness of his gaze.

 

 

“Stay with me even when I’m being difficult?” Keith mumbles, eyes puffy and nose running like a little kid. They’re both sitting on the floor at the foot of the bed, knees and foreheads and fingers touching, the big blanket draped over their heads like a protective veil to shut out the rest of the world.

Especially when you’re being difficult,” Shiro assures him with a kiss on the forehead.

 

 

“Do you want to just spend some quiet nights alone watching the stars?” Shiro whispers into his ear, pulling him closer against the curve of his side. Lying down on a picnic blanket they’d smuggled with them to the Armstrong Hall rooftop, they let the moonlight wash over them, let the dark sky consume the entire world as the stars wordlessly congratulate them on consummating their love.

Keith sinks into him, head cradled in Shiro’s arm in such a perfect way that he can snuggle comfortably against his neck. “With you, always.”

 

 

“Keith, will you let me have the honor of waking up beside you each morning?” Shiro asks immediately after his graduation, goofy smile on his face and a shiny duplicate key in hand. Around them, long graduation robes come fluttering by like dark flames, caught in their festive and spirited dance. Between the two of them, the universe has stopped to listen for Keith’s answer.

Keith looks up from where his face is burrowed in Shiro’s chest, eyes brimming with hot tears. “Am I really the person you want to come home to every night?”

Shiro leans closer, voice raw with emotion as he speaks softly for only Keith to hear.

“If it’s not you, then it can’t be anyone else.”

Keith doesn’t hesitate in giving his most heartfelt Yes.

 

 

The ring would come much later, after a thousand more good memories and heated fights and reconciliations, after a thousand more proposals. And every time, for both of them, it’s always a Yes.

Chapter Text

hungry

 

… was all Keith tweeted an hour ago, which he quickly forgot over an episode of Hannibal, which explains the extremely big leap his heart makes at 2:37AM when he hears a couple of knocks on his dorm room window. It’s scary because he lives on the third floor.

His immediate reasoning connects the raging storm and the long tree branches stretching all the way to his window as the source of the disturbance, but the wind seems to be howling his name as well, so that can’t be right.

Wrapped up in his blanket, he slowly makes the walk to his window, takes a couple more seconds to second guess what he’s about to do yet he does it anyway.

“Ow!” He yelps as a rock flies up to his forehead, and now the wind is howling a string of oh-my-god’s and apologies. Droplets of rain assault his face like sand in a sandstorm, and he has to narrow his eyes to peer over the tempest and look for the source of the rock.

“Keith, down here!” Someone’s yelling three floors down.

Down by the decorative bushes and standing on top of one of the stone benches having a free shower sponsored by nature.

“Shiro?” Keith yells back, tremendously surprised but in an incredibly good way. (Phew, not a serial killer)

“Can you get down here?” Shiro yells into the raging squall, arms gingerly cradling something in a protective manner. “It’s way past curfew and I don’t have a card to your dorm.”

“Oh yeah, sure,” Keith says after a contemplative pause to process that which is happening right now.

“And bring an umbrella!”

 

 

“What are you doing here?” Keith loudly whispers now that they’re inside the lobby of the dormitory. “You live on the other side of the university!”

“Yeah, crazy huh,” Shiro says, laughing like a little kid while Keith wraps him up in a dry towel. He pushes a sodden box out from under his arm, his smile getting wider like he’s about to reveal a most amazing secret. “I got you some donuts, but they’re all wet.”

As if he was the one who stayed out in the cold rain five minutes ago, Keith freezes all over. In stark contrast, his face is burning with enough suns to cook the drenched donuts back into the perfect edible heated state.

“The ice cream seems fine, though,” Shiro continues as he reveals a 475-gram bucket of Caramel Butterscotch from under his other arm. “Is Hannibal still on?”

Keith snorts, forehead falling against Shiro’s. They’re both standing in the middle of the unlit lobby, and they have broken enough rules to get themselves suspended, but all Keith can think about is how lucky he is to have decided to marathon the first season of Hannibal on this very night. And yeah, about how Shiro’s a really great guy.

They spend a good ten seconds just smiling like idiots, until they both realize they’re going to have to mop the puddles off the floor and get rid of any other evidence of this unplanned clandestine rendezvous.

“We are definitely going to be in trouble if anyone knew about this.”

Shiro’s smile is like a Galra-Empire-hired-witch-inflicted wound – it’s getting bigger. Radiant, unwavering, like his feelings for this boy who got hungry after midnight. “Then I guess you’ll have to keep me in your room until the morning.”

Chapter Text

 

Heat pools quickly in waves of molten lava in the pit of his stomach, lingers like burn marks in places he’d never considered were quite… sensitive – for instance, the backs of his thighs still sting with the ghosting sensations of covetous fingers and nails. Maybe he should have expected it – he is, after all, getting touched by the Paladin who is closest to the Fire Element.

He admits he allowed this – Shiro fully consented to being pinned down and tied up, to being stripped of everything until he’s nothing but a hopeless vulnerable spectacle for Keith to ‘practice’ control.

Tonight, Shiro is no leader, no boss, no master, not even of his own pleasure.

Tonight, he’s nothing but Keith’s bitch.

He leans back on the bed, watches with feverish want and need as Keith lavishes the crown of his manhood with the hotness of his wet mouth, his tongue and lips painted generously with Shiro’s pre-cum. Slender fingers work skillfully around the length of his cock or pulling on his balls, making him shudder with conflicting pleasure and discontent, because he wants this so badly –  he wants to get deeper inside Keith’s throat, deeper until he clenches around his pulsing erection, because oh lord Keith just doesn’t have a fucking gag reflex and the man can take the entire length of him and milk it until he swears he doesn’t have any sperm left to donate to the sperm bank.

The entire time, Keith looks up at him through his long eyelashes, his amethyst eyes dark with lust – predatory and seductive, sexy and confident, empowered by his dominance.

Every single part of Shiro feels electrified.

As if hearing his body’s silent plea, Keith releases him and pushes himself up from Shiro’s crotch, now instantaneously lonely and cold without the warm sweetness of fellatio. Shiro can’t help but stare and trace the thin line of saliva connecting his cock and Keith’s moist lips, the corners of which curve upward in a mischievous, satisfied smile.

Keith pushes himself up to a kneeling position, giving Shiro a very good visual of his own leaking cock. Shiro swallows; he’d very much like to put that in his mouth, would love to suck it, choke on it, feel it release and pour down his own throat – but tonight, unless that’s what Keith wants, unless that’s what Keith needs his mouth for, then Shiro will keep that hunger to himself – after all, there’s something incredibly erotic about denying himself of his desires and just letting Keith play with him the way he wants to.

Keith moves past his folded knees and straddles him, keeping Shiro’s leaky manhood under the weight of his own cock and balls. With him sitting right on top of his crotch, Shiro is gifted with the alluring full-body image of Keith, the dim light of the room casting dark shadows upon Keith’s damp hardened skin, giving more depth on the contours of his lovely enticing physique, from the erect nipples on his heaving chest to the sweat-glazed mounds of his chiseled torso. Keith, beautiful and tantalizing, finally comes down to meet his mouth, and Shiro is more than enthusiastic to push himself up from the bed to take his partner’s lips tongue teeth.

Immoral, slick wet sounds bounce off the walls of the room, Keith’s erotic whimpers lost in the insanely delicious caverns of Shiro’s mouth, Shiro’s own animalistic growls pushed down Keith’s throat. It’s a battle, a dance, a sensual choreography that they’ve both memorized over years of loving each other – a dance of wet tongues and swollen lips, of possessive arms and hands and fingers, of electrified hips mad and desperate for friction, skin desperate for fiery contact as they grind their cocks together in uninhibited want and need.

An inexplicable surge of pleasure rushes up Shiro’s spine, and he knows he’s a goner – with a low growl, his teeth sink into the nook of Keith’s shoulder, and his body convulses as hot shots of white spill onto his stomach.

Keith smiles contentedly against Shiro’s ear, but he’s not quite finished yet. Automatically, his hand flies down to grasp both their cocks with incredible speed and urgency, eliciting another guttural moan from Shiro, he grips tighter and jerks them off to high heaven.

Shiro slumps back into the sheets, shoulders and chest heaving, beads of sweat rolling down the curves of his taut muscles. It’s a few seconds of his mind going blank, his entire body exploding with ecstasy, and he hasn’t even put it in yet. On top of him, Keith is also a sweaty, jaw-slacken mess, seemingly glued to Shiro’s body with generous trails of whit hot cum. Shiro suddenly wants Keith to climb up higher and let him lick his abdomen, suck on his pale skin and taste sweat and dried semen. He doesn’t even care if Keith wishes to untie his hands or not, as long as he gets to taste more of him, worship him for longer, if Keith allows it.

“Don’t go soft on me yet,” Keith says as he plants a kiss on Shiro’s chin. He pushes himself back up again and supports himself on Shiro’s thighs, letting the voluptuous curve of his ass rub along the length of Shiro’s spent cock. He then begins to roll his hips again, slowly, enough to completely enjoy the sensation of Shiro’s meat rubbing against his perineum and hole.

Shiro’s almost sure he’s drooling, eyes fixated on Keith’s asshole disappearing and reappearing as Keith takes his time air-fucking while riding him without penetration. He’s still hard, and if it’s possible he bets he can go even harder with Keith just staring at him like that, eyes predatory and cloudy with lust.

Keith’s voice is a low growl in the dark.

“The next time you cum, I want it inside me.”

Chapter Text

Shiro’s room is dark; light wasn’t needed where he’d been sleeping and regaining his strength for the past few quintants. Keith quietly enters the room and the doors close behind him, and the room goes dim but it doesn’t matter—even with low visibility, even if it was the entire galaxy with far off stars as his only source of light, he’d still find Shiro.

Shiro’s snoring lightly, his chest rising and falling under the sheets at a steady pace. In the stillness, Keith wonders what dreams he’s seeing, what memories visit him when he closes his eyes. He wonders about what Shiro has faced, what challenges he’s had to endure to get into the shape he’s in.

It still feels surreal – losing him, finding him, losing him again and desperately searching for no specific coordinates within a vast registry of a celestial map for any sign of him until Black finally locked on to his location. It almost seems like a dream just watching Shiro back on his bed and staying in the same room as him, breathing in the same space as him.

Just a little touch, he swears, just the back of his fingers along the side of Shiro’s face, just to feel the growing stubble lining his jaw. Just a little look, only close enough to hear him breathing, close enough to see the face he keeps seeing in his own dreams. Just a light kiss on chapped lips, enough to feel Shiro’s familiar warmth, just a quick moment of their silhouettes merging—

Almost immediately, Keith recoils, his chest pounding madly. Shiro stirs, and Keith catches his gasp in his palm and Shiro doesn’t move anymore after that but that’s not what’s gotten the red paladin so suddenly worked up. Suddenly, Keith feels like he’s about to fold into himself, his lungs want to go on overdrive, his eyes feel like burning and his knees are failing and all he could do is move back, move away from this unexpected gush of unfamiliarity and uncertainty, of a sudden realization that something is terribly wrong, that a large part of him is still missing after all, that he failed to bring Shiro back.

His shoulders hit the wall and he falters, he needs somewhere, someone to hold onto but there’s none, he holds himself instead because there’s only darkness and air and an empty space between him and the Shiro who has made it back to this bed. His cheeks feel wet and warm, his throat full of hiccups and lodged with silent screams as he lets his deep misery drench the fabric of his pants. His chest hurts, his lower lip hurts from his own teeth, his head his stomach, everything hurts.

In the darkness, in silence, he breaks.

Chapter Text

 

Keith springs back into consciousness a few doboshes after they take a critical hit, his fortified battle senses refusing to let him stay immobile and numb for too long. He hears Coran’s voice, but in his daze it is but a distant plea for the paladins to respond; he sees explosions and trails of lasers through Black’s eyes but they all seem to meld together into one huge spectacle of dancing lights, until everything gradually comes into focus, and the familiar destruction welcomes him back into the fray.

“C-Coran? I… I hear you,” he says weakly into the intercom as he readjusts himself in his seat. He grips the controls at both sides and moves them, but the mighty Lion stays still. “Oh no, Black, please…”

“Glad to hear you’re fine, Keith!” Coran’s voice is relieved yet Keith senses the urgency in it. “It seems the other Lions also took quite a blow… We’re just lucky to have these rebels fighting alongside us to slow the enemy down while you paladins recover!”

Keith looks forward and sure enough, the fight for freedom continues beyond – Galran ships move in their usual unified collectives, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. Amid the chaos are differently colored battle pods of various designs and sizes – their allies, those who share their vision of a galaxy free from the oppression of the Galra Empire – all fighting by their side, shooting enemies that try to get near any of the Lions.

“Everyone…” Keith says silently, half overwhelmed at all the support, half agitated that he is unable to rejoin the battle.

Suddenly, over at his 2 o’clock, a platoon of Galra ships manages to get past the rebel ships blocking it, and heads straight for the Black Lion. The purple ships rapidly gain speed, the trigger-happy pilots eager to claim a Lion for their Emperor and Prince.

“No no no no… no, come on!” Keith grunts, his hands frantically clasping the controls but to no avail; Black is still unresponsive and there’s no way Keith can defend himself.

An explosion erupts in the middle of the trail as one, two Galra ships are lost in a big blast. Keith follows the origin of the fired lasers and sees a lone rebel ship breaking off from a distant unit to provide him some urgently needed cover. The rebel ship fires again, and this time the Galra ships maneuver right to meet it, purple lasers firing at rapid succession.

The rebel pilot expertly evades the incoming attacks, pivoting in perfect arcs while delivering accurate strikes upon the opponents – Keith is left at the edge of his seat as the fight quickly unfolds before him, his mind wheeling him back to what seems like a long time ago where he’d watch a certain superior in the flight simulator, watch the pilot he respected – still respects – so much take any aircraft up in the air and brilliantly dominate the sky—

A lump gets stuck in Keith’s throat, his vision becomes blurry with hot tears.

The rebel ship manages to take down every ship in the Galra platoon, shooting a final wave of lasers to smite the last one, but not without taking a hit itself – its left wing is the first to go, then the rest of it quickly follows as it is consumed in a big blast, leaving behind nothing but debris to join the ever accumulating space dust.

“Shiro--!” Keith reflexively screams— the shock causes him to jump right off his seat to run closer to the screen, where he sees a tiny figure thrown out of the ball of fire with a trail of smoke and he forgets to breathe once again – the pilot, Shiro, his Shiro, has successfully ejected at the last moment to avoid getting blasted to bits by Galra firepower.

Keith moves, his legs always quicker than the rest of him—and he’s out of the cockpit, out of the still sleeping Black and out into open space, Coran’s shocked outcry a faint whisper in his helmet. Without stopping in his heels, he takes off at full speed, his rocket blasters propelling him to where Shiro is still freefalling in space, the power of the blast hurling him away away away—

They collide, Keith heavily crashing right into Shiro, the force of the impact setting them off course from their initial projections. Keith holds on tightly as he waits for the entire galaxy to stop spinning, for the stars to stop merging with the explosions; he holds on with a strength equal to his resolve to never lose Shiro again.

“I got you, I got you.” He repeats the tiny mantra over and over in his head, and out loud so Shiro can hear, because everything else is too loud – the exploding ships, the quick needles of differently colored lasers, the Lions finally roaring back into life, his own heartbeat.

The spinning gradually slows down until they finally come into a full stop, but his lungs, his heart are still recovering from overdrive. For a moment, they are still, and Keith starts to wonder if Shiro is conscious at all, or still knocked out from the blast.

Keith starts a different and much shorter mantra; this time it’s nothing but Shiro’s name, over and over and over again.

“Shiro, I’ve got you,” he says, his voice low and gruff. “I’ve got you now, please come back.”

In the distance, he feels, hears the Black Lion. The tide is turning.

“Shiro, Shiro,” he continues, voice cracking and tears rolling. “Stay with me.”

Then he feels it – through the armor, through his skin, warmth returns all over him when the pair of familiar arms weakly yet surely wound tighter around him. He pulls back enough just to see a pair of eyes he’s missed so much slowly flutter open behind the helmet glass. He sees them all, the familiar tuft of white hair, the scar with so many untold stories behind its jagged edges, the spark of life in Shiro’s irises.

Shiro smiles, and just like that, he comes undone, he becomes closer to being complete again.

“… Keith.”

Chapter Text

“Sir, are you alright?” Shiro says as he finally reaches the hot Korean Eros hanging on to his surfboard in the salty water. It doesn’t really seem like he’s in any immediate need of a lifeguard, but the moment he disappeared under the waves, Shiro just took off the sand. 30 seconds later and Shiro’s about to need a lifeguard himself because it’s the first time he’s not seeing his crush through a pair of binoculars from the elevated platform.

“Yeah,” the surfer simply replies, with eyes a criminal shade of temptation and seduction, voice an illegal timbre of sexy, as he casually combs candle-like fingers through his ebony black mane. It takes all of Shiro’s willpower not to go ahead and lick the sea water trailing down in bright rivulets along the chiseled curves of his biceps. Suddenly the sun feels too close, too hot even for summer.

“I, uh,” he stammers, unsure now of what he’s doing and what to say next. Now that it’s become painfully apparent that he isn’t needed anyway, he’s at a loss of how to respond. What else is there to say anyway after a quick and concise “Yeah”? And how can anyone expect him to form letters into words with those beautiful amethyst eyes burning holes into his skin?

Shiro clears his throat, his gaze shifting towards the board instead. At least planks of painted wood don’t make him nervous. “My coworker there said someone was drowning, so I, uh…”

“Oh, you mean that other lifeguard on the shore waving that black speedo in the air?”

After a split-second delay for image processing and glass-shattering realization sound effects in his brain, Shiro makes a quick 180-degree swerve in the water to see Allura doing exactly as the surfer has just said. He can’t see her face clearly from this distance, and yet he’s sure he can almost hear her victorious cackle, because clearly she wasn’t waving to warn him, but to specifically alert someone else of his inappropriate lack of garments. Suddenly, it really is too hot, and he pauses for a second to wonder if the heat radiating off his entire body right now can boil the entire Pacific Ocean to a steaming cauldron.

Behind him, Korean Eros paddles closer to him on his board. The wooden plank gently taps on his broad back, and under him, he can feel toes softly brush his ankles in the water. He swallows deep in his throat when he hears the devilishly sultry timbre get even lower.

“It doesn’t look like you’ll be wanting to get out of the water soon, huh?”

Chapter Text

 

“Oh,” Keith says to himself as a familiar face enters – staggers – through the glass doors of the convenience store. It’s a little after 2AM, and the early morning November chill doesn’t disappoint in bringing in the small yet regular horde of zombie undergrads and post-graduates who need their daily dose of caffeine to fuel them for yet another cognitive battle with their term papers. This guy, however, is not someone Keith had expected at this hour.

A disclaimer: it’s not like Keith had singled this guy out among the hundreds of students and professors filing in everyday from campus. It’s really not like he went from simply “a guy” to “that guy” in Keith’s mind. He really is just, in a few words, quite hard to miss.

This big man who Keith has never really conversed with beyond the obligatory “Thank you, Sir, come again”, is made up of big biceps and a trim waist, of bright eyes and soft smiles. Ever since the weather got colder, he has swapped his contacts with a pair of thick-rimmed rectangular glasses that perfectly complements his facial structure. He usually comes by a little after 6AM to bring the sunrise with him, probably right before his classes, with a friend or two in tow.  On more than one occasion, Keith had heard one of them call the man “Shiro”, and the name has then made a permanent residence in his head.

This shining star of a man named Shiro always goes to the coffee section for a 16oz paper cup of rich and creamy French Vanilla blend. Sometimes when he feels like it, he’d buy strawberry-coated doughnuts along with it, too. He’d linger a bit in the aisles to scan the shelves yet not buy anything else in the end. He goes about this routine so religiously every day that Keith has developed the most unnecessary and unusable skill of memorizing the sound of his footfalls.

Sometimes their fingers would graze each other over the counter when exchanging money. Sometimes Keith would have the courage to look beyond the visor of his stupid employee cap instead of just nodding and grunting when he hears that crisp honey-dipped heaven sent “Good morning” undoubtedly directed his way. Sometimes their eyes would meet, and he’d instantly feel saved from the mind-numbing entirety of his graveyard shift drudgery.

Okay, so maybe Keith really did start to single Shiro out from everyone else at some point. Not that it matters because what’s a young attractive masters student got to do with a convenience store cashier anyway.

Now it’s 2AM, and Shiro’s here without his usual crew, and it’s actually the first time Keith is seeing him in a large navy blue hoodie and… penguin pajamas? And furry feline footwear?

Keith watches him with growing wonder and mild amusement as he uncharacteristically ambles about in the barely crowded store, seemingly on the search for something yet not really knowing what it is. Over by the non-perishables, his expression totally switches into sudden realization and clarity and shock, as if he just found something of importance that had been insignificant before. He leans down almost too abruptly, whispers an unreasonably soft and comforting “Don’t worry, you’ll be out of here soon,” and gathers a lot of stuff in his hands before urgently sprinting – stumbling - towards the counter. This time, Keith cannot break away from his gaze as he notices for the first time that Shiro’s eyes are glazed.

 “Uh, got everything you need?” Keith says as he stares down at the heap of packed and sealed q-tips between them. The pile is enough to keep his ears wax-free for a year, which, if done excessively would lead to skin and ear damage, and now Keith finds that he has something new to worry about.

“Positive,” Shiro says, nodding profusely. His eyes are dutifully locked on to Keith, an observation that makes Keith realize belatedly that he too is staring. He deliberately clears his throat with much more dramatic flair than necessary. He can taste his own awkwardness on the roof of his mouth.

“That’s… a lot of cotton swabs,” he says, his eyes drifting downward to where he’s fumbling with the packs of what will potentially be Shiro’s biggest puzzle when he’s much more sober in the morning.

“Sure is.”

“You alright?”

“I believe so, I mean.” Shiro’s reply is instant, and so is the sudden cliffhanging pause at the end. Keith has to look back up to know if they’re still having a conversation. He’s surprised to see the familiar soft expression on Shiro’s face, and he still doesn’t fail to look radiant despite the signs of sleeplessness lining his eyes.

Shiro lets out a tiny chuckle, light and cheery like butter and cream on pancakes on a quiet Sunday morning. “Wow, we’re talking.”

It takes a moment for Keith to process this, another moment to react which is to gape some more, and another to blink the surprise away and look down again to hide what is possibly the stupidest goofiest smile he’s ever made in his entire life so far. Maybe goofy smiles and being high can be contagious.

“Oh thank god,” another familiar voice pops out from the entrance, and in comes Shiro’s band of fellow masters students who Keith has unconsciously labelled as Redhead Geek and Gorgeous Hair.

“See? I told you he’d be here.” Gorgeous Hair says to her equally relieved companion as they make their way to their intoxicated friend.

“Your echolocation skills are amazing,” replies the obviously smitten Redhead Geek.

Knowing that these are the people who actually belong in Shiro’s world, Keith wordlessly steps back and lets them handle things and calm him down. Gorgeous Hair manages to convince him to put the q-tips back in their shelves, and Redhead Geek goes with him to make sure that Shiro won’t actually alphabetize the entire convenience store like he’s saying he would.

“Sorry, he’s not usually like this,” Gorgeous Hair says to Keith once the other two are out of earshot. “Some idiot from chem lab delivered the wrong kind of brownies to the wrong dorm room.”

“It’s okay, I mean, you don’t have to explain anything to me,” Keith says, although he is quite surprised that one of Shiro’s friends thinks that it’s important for him, a random store employee, to know of this.

“I have to, or else this guy might fail his thesis just worrying about your opinion of him,” she replies, a playful smile on her radiant face.

“Oh,” Keith says for the third time, yet he’s not sure if he actually says it out loud because he feels like his jaw just divorced from the rest of his face again. To think that a beautiful stranger in furry feline footwear cares about what he thinks—is he in the correct reality where he should be in the multiverse? Or maybe he’s in one of those hidden camera shows?

Reading his reaction, Gorgeous Hair leans an elbow on the counter and whispers: “I’m saving you from some heavy soap opera angst. Also it would definitely help us if he stops suddenly squatting down and semi-sobbing in the middle of the street in broad daylight every time he exits this store. I mean—Every. Time.”

“Maybe that’s quite a lot of information already,” Redhead Geek pops in from behind her. A couple of steps behind him, Shiro is swaying on his toes to the corny convenience store jingle, a wondrous smile playing on his lips.

“And that’s all I’m authorizing myself to tell,” Gorgeous Hair says as she pushes herself off the counter.

"Oh, we're leaving?" Shiro says with innocent worry and surprise as they usher him towards the entrance. Then, secretly (obviously) gesturing to Keith, he whimpers, "Without the cute guy?"

Keith wonders if the smoke alarm system must be failing, because he can swear with absolute certainty that his entire face is on fire.

“Your move later before 7,” Gorgeous Hair says to him over her shoulder with a mischievous wink, and before Keith can get over his mind getting blown incessantly (the only part of him that’s ever getting blown, he jokingly thinks) for the last quarter of an hour, the Shiro squad is gone, and he’s left to deal with all these feelings and realizations on his own.

He glances at the clock. Less than 5 hours until then. Less than 5 hours to calm himself down and pull himself back to the ground from this terribly confusing yet pleasant high.

Chapter Text

 

The first time he became aware of it, Shiro wasn’t quite sure. He could only liken the feeling to a spontaneous electrostatic discharge; a sharp jolt of lightning striking his very core, sobering him completely.

It came at him in waves—a herd of strong wild horses torpedoing into the single focal point that was his very being—manifested itself in a restless beating drum in his chest, a shot of adrenaline in his veins; a myriad of emotions bursting inside him like wild cosmic debris after a massive stellar explosion, all singularized in his brain into a monosyllabic “Oh”.

Before this particular sparring match, he had never been more aware of another person’s physical mass, of the intricate and harmonious assembly of hardened muscles and soft supple skin under sweat-drenched tunic; of a thick, inebriating musk.

How had he never noticed the tiny flecks of gold scattered in the amethyst ocean of Keith’s eyes, tiny pockets of perpetually suspended meteor rain?

Or maybe it had been built up by a series of little things- an incoming storm preceded by easily dismissed signals—stolen glances to lingering gazes, the accidental ghosting of fingers or brushing of arms in the hallways, a whiff of garrison-issued body wash mixed with desert night, the mysteriously entrancing movement of lips mouthing the simple word “Sir”.

Tiny nothings that dug into a growing aperture in the fog, attracting a tiny pinprick of light to clear out the grey in the clouds; that ray of light bringing him into a newer state of wakefulness; that sharp jolt of lightning.

And just then, Shiro was sure of it.

Sure that this feeling can also be likened to that of weightless flight.

Weird; to be in a simultaneous state of floating in 0-G, and of being pinned down by Keith, lying there, struck dumb.

Struck by lightning.

Chapter Text

“I love you.”

Three simple words, soaked with tears.

A split second, a tiny aperture breaks through the thick fog—Keith lying under the glare of his blade; his eyes pleading, shimmering with desperation and a stubborn hope. For some indeterminable reason, this sparks a reaction so irrational and opposite to Kuron’s initial directive—a glitch.

But the darkness comes sweeping back in all too fast, rendering him a slave to an external control, and he feels himself fading, fading—

To black.

A dark haze and an all-consuming animalistic taste for carnage—

But not for long.

Pain shoots from his arm and throughout his entire body like a million lightning bolts—he screams—he stumbles backward, falls hard on his knees and arm—only one, he’s lost the other, a clean cut. In that instant, the cloud in his mind clears; like a drug finally wearing off, he feels every blow, every cut, every purpling bruise on his body, but the gravity of everything he’s done in the past couple of hours hits him even harder than everything else.

The virus he left in the Castle of Lions.

His fists colliding with his friends’ bodies.

Him putting Keith down in every possible way.

Keith

He catches the soft light in Keith’s eyes, finds the mark he left on his face.

Everything hurts a bit more.

“Keith—“ he calls out, mind racing for the right words that might fix all the things he rendered broken, but he’s too tired, too spent, too broken to continue.

Keith’s name is the last thing on his lips as he blacks out, all his time taken away by tragic fate, his apologies and unspoken truths falling to perpetual death on his lips.                                                                                                                      

Chapter Text

 

They were flightless birds trapped by gravity, cursed to merely crane their heads whenever a fellow avian drifted by among the clouds, and yet Keithguin would often see Pengiro’s sharp beak directed towards the sky, tiny dark eyes like glinting beads on his head merging with the myriad of stars puncturing the dark velvet of night, and he’d often wonder what it was that Pengiro kept looking at that he’d never tried looking for it again in endless snow. He wondered when he stopped looking for whatever Pengiro was looking at, and looked simply at the outline of Pengiro himself.

Logic would not dictate the reason for it—of Keithguin’s curious affinity to the taller penguin. He was—has always been—drawn to him, and it was a sort of magnetism that felt more than just the animalistic growl in the pit of his stomach whenever Pengiro lunges off a 6-foot iceberg to flawlessly penetrate the glassy azure of the Atlantic, or the fluttery buzz in his chest when Pengiro flaps his flippers around when he gets excited. It was the sort of inexplicable connection that made Keithguin extra sensitive to the sound and pitch of Pengiro’s shrill squawks that he’d never fail to find him within the large colony, the same way he’d always distinguish the shape of his webbed feet trailing in the snow and set it apart from every other penguin’s. It was the warmth spreading in his insides that had nothing to do with his physical thermal insulation whenever Pengiro proved that he was able to do the same for him, too.

Keithguin knew there was no other way for him to be, except to live the rest of his lifespan with Pengiro. The pebble he spent so much time to find felt small and light between his beak, and yet such a tiny thing symbolized so much more, weighed an entire lifetime if accepted. The smooth, round stone meant that his dedication and devotion for Pengiro ran deeply enough for him to want to have a home with him, that he wanted to be his safe place, his life mate.

Tiny pinpricks of nervousness make Keithguin clumsy, and he ungraciously drops his pebble by Pengiro’s feet. He lets out an awkward squawk, his own feet jumpy, spraying snow everywhere. To his surprise, Pengiro bends down too—and Keithguin is momentarily stunned with a sharp pang of defeat when Pengiro misses his pebble as a sign he reads as rejection— but the pain is short-lived as he sees a similar small black stone drop by his feet.

Pengiro returns to stand at his full height and squawks back a shy, albeit happy sound that mirrors Keithguin’s own, and in excited waddles they inch closer to each other, until the tips of their beaks touch like the sun kissing the sea.

They are flightless birds, but in this moment Keithguin swears he finally knows how flying feels like.

Chapter Text

Sometimes Shiro wonders why he even wanted to have braces.

The best way to describe it is that the sensation is akin to what he imagines is the aftermath of being punched in the mouth. Multiple times, and maybe with brass knuckles. His gums are aflame, every tooth feels a little more sensitive to any form of contact (even by his own tongue), and his left cheek has started to feel lightly scratched.

Eating is the worst part as simply biting into soft bread, or knocking a plastic spoon into his teeth sends his oral pain receptors on fire, and don’t even get him started on the itty-bitty food chunks that lodge into the spaces between his brackets and behind his arch band. In fact, he’s already scarred his tongue trying to get a single grain of rice getting chummy with the side of his molar.

“And I was so careful about not biting and immediately swallowing,” he finishes his pitiful monologue with a sigh and the pathetic resignation of a jaded financial auditor (which he is).

Beside him, Keith almost chokes on his last mouthful of a thick and crispy chicken sandwich. Shiro’s about to wonder what suddenly came over him when the full implication of what he just said hits him like an old lady on an electronic wheelchair on full throttle.

“Well, I think I’ve got something for your pain,” Keith starts just as Shiro’s about to turn into a frying pan left outside in the summer. “You know when we were kids and we were told a bit of sucking makes the pain go away?”

Shiro’s mind is a blank. Whoever worded that statement sounds like a porn script-writer who needs to be fired.

“I just might have that on me right now,” Keith continues in his usual demeanor and Shiro starts to sweat. “You’ll love it, it’s pretty big and will feel good in your mouth, but I’m afraid it’s kind of… dripping right now.”

“Er,hey, uh,” Shiro stumbles on unrelated syllables as he tugs his suddenly too-tight collar away from the base of his neck. He looks around nervously, and although there hasn’t been another soul around in the rooftop, he still thinks they’re too exposed. Besides, “We’re still at work, and lunch is almost over, so…”

“All the more reason to finish it quickly,” Keith says pragmatically. “Why not give in to a little temptation to ease your suffering?”

Shiro’s about to leave a Shiro-sized fissure into the wall with how much he’s burning right now. Is Keith seriously asking him this? Is he completely sure about sending his junior adventurer into a wet hot cavern lined with barbed wire and metal spikes? Are they about to do this in broad daylight, right on top of their company’s unsuspecting heads?

His internal debate must be taking a while because Keith looks like he’s withdrawing his offer with a shrug. “Well, if you really aren’t going to get it, I’ll take it for myself. It’s melting through my lunch bag as it is.”

“But Keith, really, we shouldn’t- huh?”

Shiro’s staring at an almost sagging pack of watermelon-flavored popsicle. It looks like it’s sweating right into Keith’s fingers.

“I forgot I got this for you from the vendo before coming up here,” he says, a slight brush of pink on his cheeks. “I knew your braces are giving you a hard time, so I thought this could make you feel better.”

Shiro feels like he’s just discovered and mastered his ability to melt faster than the popsicle ever could with how pure Keith’s intentions are. He takes the pack from Keith’s hands and places a hand over his.

“You’re already enough for that, Keith.”

Chapter Text

So they're here at Disneyland.

They've been talking about going on a date here for weeks, and it's also here that Keith has long since decided he'd pop the question to take the next step with his long-time boyfriend. So his heart legitimately stops when Shiro drops on one knee.

Heart beating a wild beat much louder than the musical parade, he fumbles in his pocket for the velvety smoothness of the tiny box that holds the possibility of a future with Shiro.

"Is this really happening?" Keith thinks as nervousness and excitement churn his stomach.

He was also just about to propose, right in front of the perfect spot, the towering castle itself. Imagine they were so in synch they were going to do it simultaneously!

Then Shiro looks back up, a sheepish grin on his face.

"Sorry, my shoelaces came undone."

A wave of mixed relief and a little disappointment comes out of Keith's mouth in the form of an awkward laugh, but before he has the time to think beyond that--

It shone like starlight on Shiro's palm.

"Oh, and I was hoping you could help me tie the knot?"

Keith's knees wobble helplessly under him, half from elation, half from how he's falling for Shiro's dorky cheesiness all over again. Right now they're simply two idiots in love kneeling in front of each other amidst the crowd of tourists strolling by the castle.

"Keith?" Shiro's voice is a hearty laugh as he holds onto Keith to keep him steady.

"Congrats, baby," Keith responds instead, tears in his eyes and a goofy smile on his lips as he holds up his own velvet box. "Who knew we'd officially be exes in Disneyland?"