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The Language of the Flowers

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            Keith hadn’t intentionally seen Shiro on his morning flight in the sky on a brisk Tuesday morning. He really hadn’t. He was just enjoying the breeze under his wings, the wind whipping his hair around (though it was ponytailed) and making his cheeks flush a dark red. It had been about a month or two since they had their first date, and things were going fantastically. They went out for ‘donuts’ (“You’ve never had donuts before, Keith?” Shiro had asked him a little bit closer to January. “They’re really good.”) and they went out to a diner where Keith tried many different things like soda and burgers and milkshakes, which Keith quickly learned he couldn’t have. They… did things to his stomach. What was it? Lactose?

            Well. Keith had learned pretty quickly.

            But! The point was, Keith felt like he was on top of the world, and even though Hunk and Lance would mercilessly tease him about it every chance they got, like an overabundance of snapdragons in the greenhouse, Lance teasing him when he was daydreaming at the front counter, and at one point not telling him Shiro was over while he was still asleep and telling him modified stories about his childhood, he could tell that they were very supportive of him and his relationship with a human, something that would be considered scandalous back in the other realm. Keith refused to consider it home, no matter how much he might miss the Crystal Mountains, or Lance might miss Sandcastle City, or Hunk the Eternal woods. No matter if they missed it sometimes, they knew that this would be a far better place for them, because in the human world, winged Nixies could be with abnormally large Brownies, and Shimmerlings like Keith weren’t just seen as shiny little trinkets with thin, weak wings. In the Human world, nobody needed to know what he was, and he was perfectly fine with that.

            In his smaller form, Keith was about four inches tall, so when he flew, unless someone got a really good photo, they couldn’t tell he was anything more than a massive dragonfly. He liked to dip and twirl and swerve in the air, and sometimes even nosedive, when he had the time. The sun looked absolutely beautiful in the crisp morning air, and as his breath bloomed in front of him before he zipped through it, he noticed something… familiar. That something was a patch of white hair, and everything in Keith’s head screeched to an absolute halt when he realized exactly whose hair he almost dive-bombed into. He barely managed to twist out of the way in time and hide behind a brick building before Shiro had turned around, his brows furrowing in confusion. “Was that a dragonfly?” He mumbled, and Keith made sure that his body didn’t glow at all, and didn’t attract any attention. Shiro almost turned towards where Keith was, but with a blink and a gasp, Shiro looked down at his watch. “Ah, shit!” He then quickly turned around and speed walked away.

            Now. Keith wasn’t reckless… mostly. But some could say that he was… over-curious. Which got him into a lot of trouble. But he couldn’t help it, really! Some things were just… too interesting to keep away from.

            Like his boyfriend speed-walking somewhere and Keith not knowing where. His wings fluttered in excitement behind him as he peeked around the corner. “Just following should be fine, right?” He mumbled to himself. “Just… no intervening. Or talking to him. Just watching.” He nodded a few times before pushing off of the wall with a strange sense of determination and with a deep breath, shooting himself into the air, far above the building. He always felt so powerful in the air, so free and independent. But now he has a mission. So with a push of his wings, he hovered over where he could see Shiro walking as fast as he could on the sidewalk. He looked a little frazzled, to be sure. Keith wasn’t sure what time it was, but he knew that whatever Shiro was late for (he kept staring at his watch in rapid intervals) it was important.

            So he zig-zagged in and out of the streets, following Shiro from a safe distance and giggling slightly when Shiro accidentally ran into a pole, apologizing to it, and then realizing it was an inanimate object. What a sweet man. Keith was content to watch him all day, but soon they reached their destination.

            The Garrison.

            Keith felt his mood drop at the school’s visual, but he shook his head. He was already in another good school. Just because this school rejected him because of some stupid favouritism doesn’t mean Shiro’s as bad as the rest of the teachers. But… how was he supposed to get in? The college campus was pristine and their windows were spotless, but how the hell did he get in unnoticed?

            The answer came when something on the roof of the school clattered, and Keith jumped at the sound. A man stepped out of an opening, and Keith’s eyes widened as the man started working on what seemed to be some loose patch on the roof of the building. With a zip and a flash, he managed to get past the worker and down into the hatch, brightening his own glow so he could see down the dark tunnel into the school. He popped out near a ventilation shaft, and then quickly made his way into that before suddenly realizing something very important:

            He had no idea where the fuck he was going.

            His wings fluttered anxiously behind him as he looked between the four openings around him alongside the one above and the one below him. He… really made a mess of things, didn’t he? He hovered a little bit before hearing something scratch slightly at the metal behind him. He didn’t realize exactly how much of a mess he had made until he turned to see a squirrel climbing through the ducts, after him. With a screech of surprise and a yelp, Keith took off in the opposite directions, hearing the chittering and scrabbling of the creature behind him. He couldn’t change back, the ducts were too small and he’d get stuck, so all he could do was try his best to keep moving, which led him from corner to corner to corner until his wings strained with each movement. Shit, this was taking more out of him than he thought it would. It wasn’t until he heard the laughter of humans that he realized there were some dead ends to the left side of himself. If he could just… gain a little bit more speed… With a yell, he pushed even harder, speeding through the vents so fast a thin trailing of his red pixie dust was left. He quickly rounded a corner, made another tight turn, and curled in on himself, trying to hide as best as he could. The skitterings became louder, louder, louder… and then the squirrel rushed past him, screeching into the vents. He couldn’t stop his massive breath of relief, his body practically shaking as he let his head relax in his lap. “I fucking… hate squirrels.” He mumbled, exhausted. He wished he had more flight maneuvering space, but he was lucky that he managed to get away thus far. He waited for a little bit longer before carefully poking his head out, looking around curiously to see if there was anything left of the rodent. Instead of seeing the unpleasant creature that had managed to chase him down the vents to god knows where, he heard the familiar laugh of the very person he was chasing down to begin with. “Shiro?”

            He didn’t hesitate to follow the sound that was very quiet, straining his ears to hear where it was coming from.  He weaved left and right through the ducts before finally, it sounded as if Shiro was right below him. He paused and twisted around before seeing an opening, barred but still a window to an office. Shiro’s office, where the man was sitting in a black chair, paperwork scattered across his desk along with… was that a polaroid of himself? Keith squinted a little bit before immediately blushing. It was Keith, at the flower shop. He was asleep on the desk, his brow furrowed even in sleep. When had he managed to take that photo? Did he come in sometime in secret? No matter the case, he was absolutely sure that Hunk and Lance had let him in to do it. In a chair across from him was a woman with white hair but youthful looks, dressed in a pencil skirt and a pink blouse, black heels making her look every inch a professor. Were they talking about something?

            “…And he’s smart, too, Allura. He’s going into Mechanical Engineering? Good lord. I don’t know how he wasn’t accepted into the garrison, I can’t possibly think of a single reason why.” Shiro leaned forward to rest his head in his arms, groaning loudly into his arms. The woman’s soft sounds of laughter made Shiro lift his head a little bit more. “Don’t make fun of me, I didn’t make fun of you and Matt when you accidentally punched him in the face when he tried to kiss your cheek.”

            “That was one time.” Was her immediate reply, grinning from ear to ear. “And this is the first time I’ve ever seen you so smitten with someone. It’s honestly something I never expected from such a straight laced man such as yourself. It’s almost like you want to get married to him already.” She switched which leg was crossed and looked even more smugly at the groaning man in the chair. “Not only that but you took the time to understand The language of Flowers? Shiro, I demand to be your best man at your wedding.”

            The laugh that left Shiro made Keith decide that maybe sitting down would be better, he didn’t think that he would be leaving the area anytime soon. He hadn’t heard Shiro talk about him when he wasn’t around, and to be more than a little curious was not something outside of his habits. It’s what killed the cat after all.

            “But Allura, the man’s almost magical. Somehow he attracts dragonflies, and snapdragons. It’s fucking magic when I’m with him. I don’t even know how to describe it, but if I could somehow find words, I would say that… It’s just. Perfect. Did you know when I bought those red carnations in my house that those were my first purchase? The first time I talked to him? It was incredible. I didn’t look up the definition of the flowers because I thought he would want it to be a secret, but I couldn’t help it. I’m a weak man.” Shiro sighed a little dreamily, resting his chin in his hand. “They were red. Cherry red. I looked it up, and they meant deep love. Adoration. I don’t know if he meant it like that, but…” His tone turned less incredulously smitten and into something Keith could only hear as loving. “I hope that one day he might.”

            Allura watched her coworker with a little bit of sentiment. “You sound pretty in love already. I’m sure it won’t take him that long to follow. After all, if he’s even a little bit as in love as you are, you two are going to be together for a long, long time.” She leaned over and squeezed his hand before standing up, putting her hair up into a tight bun, a stray strand dangling in her face. “Now enough gossip. I need those papers graded.” Shiro laughed and nodded, pulling them up, and before Allura left, she paused at the door, her grip on the handle loose before she turned back around. “And Shiro?” A pause, before a small smile appeared on her face. “I’m very happy for you. Both of you.” And she clicked the door shut, not waiting for his response.

            Shiro blinked a little owlishly at the remark before absolutely beaming at the door. “Me too.” He mumbled. “Me too.”

            If Keith didn’t managed to come back until about an hour later, cheeks flushed and unable to do much but giggle no matter how worried Hunk sounded, his hair an absolute mess from flying circles in the sky and flying in pure delight, well… Nobody decided to tease him very much that evening.

            Not when everything seemed to be going so perfectly for him.

            And it was.