Word Count: 6024 (Fidipù)
Scritta per il COWT 8, Missione 3 Crazy
Summary: Five times Keith and Shiro kiss and one time they don't.
The feeling of Shiro's breath on his lips and the warmth of his skin makes Keith squirm lightly.
It's cold around them, but at the same time it feels like everything is burning. He wonders if this is what all those movies go on about when they talk about love. Keith has never felt this way before, not really, and he's not sure he likes it.
Shiro is different from everyone else. He's as stubborn as Keith is. He makes promises and backs them up with devotion and practice. Keith might have more raw talent than Shiro, but the other outdoes Keith in effort. Shiro is more focused, more dedicated.
Shiro promised he would be the best pilot of the Garrison and worked hard to achieve it. Shiro had promised he would be Keith's friend and he has been insufferable in his attempts.
Keith doesn't know if Shiro also promised to kiss Keith on the roof of the Garrison, long after curfew, but he had worked hard on that too.
"Are you cold?" Shiro asks him, and his face is so close to Keith's that he can actually feel the air stir at the movement of his lips. It feels like a torture, slow and meticulous.
"Not really," he answers, and he would get closer if there was any space left between them. He longs to wrap his arms around Shiro, bring the other down and kiss him under the stars. And yet he hesitates.
There is something in the air between them, an inkling of possibility and uncertainty. Should they?
"Keith," Shiro whispers, but leaves the word there, hanging in between Shiro's lips and the cold universe around them.
Keith wants to match the words with his own, but his throat stops working. He doesn't want to talk, not really. He pushes a little forward, still not enough to completely close his mouth over Shiro's, the distance of a hair’s breadth, a fleeting connection.
Just a single push.
Shiro moves slowly, angles his face just right so that his lips overlap Keith's for a second before moving again, almost shyly. A kiss that's over too soon and still feels like too much.
Keith surges to meet him, a little awkwardly, tentatively. Without really noticing, he raises his hand and lets it hover over on the right side of Shiro's face.
It comes as a surprise when the other turns and kisses it, so tender and kind. Keith didn’t expect it, doesn't know how to react. His heart is beating so fast, an entire symphony in his throat, and he wants more.
"Are you cold?" he asks, watching as Shiro's eyes close briefly at the warmth of Keith's breath on his skin. It feels inebriating, he feels lightheaded and hot all over.
When Shiro reopens them, he lets his gaze meet Keith's and holds it. There is softness in his eyes, and a vulnerability Keith has never seen before.
The need to protect him—to fight someone so that Shiro will always be safe—that overcomes him is almost too much for him to handle.
"A little," Shiro responds, turning so that they are facing each other again. Keith almost shivers when the other raises his hand and puts it in between their shared breath, only to touch Keith's lips with his thumb.
"My fingers are cold," Shiro explains. And they are. His thumb on Keith's lips is almost freezing, and the sensation makes shivers run down Keith’s spine. He wonders what they have done until now, how he could have gone months without experiencing this.
Shiro's hand is tempting in front of him, but the feeling of Shiro's lips on him, as fleeting as it was, left him hungry for more. He takes thehand then, intertwines their fingers and squeezes lightly, before lowering them.
Keith pushes forward again, surer than before, kissing Shiro's mouth slowly this time. He worries about this, wonders how it's going to feel. It's not the first kiss he has given, not by a long shot, but it feels like it’s the most important.
Shiro relaxes under his touch, pliant for a second and then he pushes forward, circling Keith's waist with one arm.
Keith melts at the contact, arches his back so that it sits more firmly against Shiro's hand. And then he kisses him more deeply.
Shiro opens his mouth and Keith licks into it tentatively, almost fearful, and nearly loses his balance when Shiro closes his lips and sucks lightly on his tongue.
The other stops immediately and backs up quickly , putting some distance between them. Keith realizes he's panting, and they haven't even done that much.
"I'm sorry, was that too much?" Shiro wonders, a little short of breath himself. He looks incredible with his flushed cheeks and white puffs of air coming out of his mouth at every breath.
Keith needs to kiss him again.
"No, you were..." he stops, tries to understand how he can explain what he feels, how to put to words the warmth and the incredulity he’s experiencing right now, but he realizes he can't. He leaves the idea of explaining himself behind and just pushes forward again, kissing Shiro with more passion, more strength.
He kisses Shiro's upper lip, nips at it with his teeth and enjoys the little gasp of air that leaves the other's mouth. He enjoys every reaction, every spasm.
There is no way to know how this will end up, if they are making a mistake, but tonight it feels like the only possibility they have and it would be such a shame to waste it.
Keith is the one to break the kiss, backing away gently and with reluctance, just enough to be able to look at Shiro’s eyes. "I think it's just enough," he says, pushing Shiro's hair back and enjoying the smile on the other's face.
He doesn't know how he looks, but he feels wrecked, even if they haven’t done anything else but share a kiss.
Keith fears Takashi Shirogane will be the death of him.
The thing is, they were never under the impression that their relationship would get in the way of their dreams. Keith still wants to be the best pilot of their generation and Shiro still wants to discover every new civilization in the universe.
They work because they recognize each other goals and walk together towards them, both of them incredibly competitive people in their own right.
So, in the end, it doesn't come as a surprise.
Keith looks at a poster of the Kerberos mission announcement for what feels like forever, even if it's one from the early days. It's a little yellow around the edges, and Shiro's face is a little smudged by rain. Keith still finds him beautiful.
There aren't many days left before the launch and soon, Shiro will get quarantined as per procedures. Today is the day they let the crew say goodbye to their families and he knows that the Holts have their whole family there, cheering them on. Keith feels honored he's there for Shiro, but also a little sad, melancholy mixing with pride.
The end of the day is approaching fast, and Shiro has already given him a tour of the shuttle and the labs. It feels bigger than anything they have ever done, bigger than them.
He feels a hand on his shoulder and doesn't startle, recognizing the weight immediately.
"Did you enjoy the tour?" Shiro asks him, looking at the poster as well. Keith wonders sometimes what the other is thinking when he gets that faraway look. Is he thinking about Keith? Does he think about them as much as Keith does every day?
"It's a great mission," he answers instead of asking those questions, "you should be proud."
Shiro smiles, turning towards him. "I am, it feels like a dream," his voice is soft, almost dreamy, like he can't believe what's happening right in front of him, "it's everything I've ever wanted."
Keith knows this, as deeply as he knows his desire to be there beside Shiro, to pilot his own shuttle launch. He wonders how he can feel like this—a little jealous, a little resentful—when he would be over the moon in Shiro's shoes.
"You know you will have your own mission soon," Shiro says after a while, a little smile on his face. "You will blow everyone away and they will let you pilot all the shuttle launches you want. I will be the one seeing you off soon enough."
He doesn't seem bothered by the idea, and Keith wonders if maybe there is something wrong with himself. His stomach is in knots, even though he thought he would be prepared for this. It's not fair to hold Shiro accountable for every person in his own life leaving him behind, but God if this isn't what that feels like.
He wants to say that he'll miss Shiro, but doesn't want to burden the other with his feeling on their last encounter. "I know," he says instead, then, and hopes it's good enough.
Shiro's hand moves then, from his shoulder to his hair. His grip is gentle but sure, and Keith feels his thumb caressing his scalp. He looks up in the other’s eyes and almost like the first time they kissed, he is frozen, petrified by depth of the emotions he finds there.
"I will miss you every day," Shiro says, his voice almost too faint for Keith to hear him clearly. The way he says it, it sounds like a shameful confession that no one is supposed to hear.
To Keith it sounds like a prayer.
"I will wait for you," Keith responds, reaching for Shiro's jacket and holding on to it with all the strength he's capable of.
Shiro nods and smiles as well. "I'll try to hurry it up, unless we encounter traffic on the way back."
Keith huffs, amused despite himself, and gets on his tiptoes to kiss the other lightly on the mouth, just a peck. He means for the kiss to be short and sweet, but when it's time to back down he hesitates.
Shiro pushes back a little, furrowing his brow and asks, a little worried, "Everything okay?" and it hits Keith that this is the last time they'll kiss for months. The last time he'll get to hear Shiro's stupid sense of humor in person until he gets back. This is it.
He could echo back Shiro's sentiment, tell him he's going to miss him, but it feels redundant. Useless.
Instead he pushes forward again and kisses Shiro with force. He pours into it all the words he can never say, all the feelings he fears never get shared. Keith gives this kiss the power to destroy him, the power to reveal every single secret he has.
Shiro’s response is slower than usual, maybe still too shocked to do anything, but after a while Keith’s face is cupped by the other's hands and Shiro's opens his mouth, lets his tongue lick Keith's.
The other takes complete control and slows down Keith frenetic movements. Shiro kisses him calmly, taking his time to tease Keith's mouth with his tongue and then invite Keith to do the same.
It feels less like a goodbye now, and more like a see you soon. It's heartfelt and sweet and Keith will miss this with every single breath.
When the kiss is over, Shiro looks back into Keith's eyes and smiles, still a little bit out of it. His mouth is red and puffy and Keith can't resist kissing it again, a quick peck. The way the other smiles at him makes it worth it.
"You better hurry back or I might not be here when you get back," he teases, trying to go for light and funny, but feeling the fear in his own voice.
Shiro laughs and nods, with a cheeky grin. "I'll be gone and back before you even notice."
It takes a little more than a year, and every day Keith looks up at the sky and wonders how things can change this quickly. There is still a part of him that wants to pilot a shuttle, but now he only wants to have a way to reach Kerberos and look.
It takes a little more than a year before Shiro touches down on earth again and then Keith feels like he can finally breathe again.
Shiro has changed, in ways Keith can't even register. He doesn't smile as much, and he doesn't hold himself the same way: he's tighter, rougher around the edges. He resembles Keith a lot more. And yet he's still the most beautiful thing Keith has ever seen in his life.
It takes a while before they have a moment alone, surrounded by their new teammates. Keith sneaks in Shiro's room at the castle at night, when he’s sure everyone has gone to sleep.
Shiro is seated at the edge of his bed and doesn't seem ready to go to sleep. He’s looking at his feet, his face a marble of inscrutability. Keith doesn't advance, almost scared—maybe of Shiro, who looks ready to disappear at any moment; maybe of discovering he’s dreaming, and Shiro is still lost in space.
"I'm sorry. I was pretty late. You probably noticed," Shiro says, his voice raw, almost as if he was crying. Keith takes a step towards him almost unconsciously.
"I think I can excuse you this time," Keith says, trying for levity. It has never been his strong point, but Shiro smiles anyway, "there was a lot of traffic."
He wonders if Shiro even remembers the last thing they said to each other. Keith thought about those words every day, hollow sounds that kept him company at night. Shiro has been through so much worse than he has, and it feels stupid to think that he could remember such a silly conversation.
Shiro still laughs, a choked-up sound that makes Keith want to close the distance between them. Yet, he stays back.
They don't talk for a moment, and Keith wonders what he should do, before Shiro speaks again: "You were still there, waiting for me:"
His voice is just above a whisper, uncertain and scared of who knows what. Keith knows immediately what he's referring to and he rushes forward, getting on his knees in front of Shiro. He looks like a praying man, and it feels like it's exactly what he is. He’s begging, praying to something he doesn’t believe him to push Shiro a little bit more, so that every part of him can come back to Keith.
"Of course I was," he whispers, even though he wants to shout it out loud. He wants to put every single emotion into this, pour it out for Shiro to use as he wishes. "I never left. I would have never left. I waited for you."
When he had thought that Shiro would have never come back, he waited; even when he had been booted from the Garrison, he waited. Even in the nights he had thought of letting Shiro's memory go. He waited.
Keith searches Shiro's eyes, but the other keeps looking around, avoiding his gaze. It gets old pretty fast and Keith reaches up, taking Shiro's face between his hands and angling his face toward Keith's, making eye contact.
"I waited," he repeats, holding the other's gaze for as long as he can.
"You shouldn't have," Shiro answers, breaking Keith's heart.
He doesn't know exactly what has happened in this year, isn't exactly sure Shiro knows as well, but the mere fact that Shiro utters those words blinds him with sadness. And rage.
Has he gone crazy in his time in captivity? Has he lost his mind completely that he thinks that Keith would have ever preferred a life without him than have him back in any way?
"How dare you?" he hisses, holding Shiro's face harder. He hopes it hurts, at least a little, at least enough to make the other understand how much he has just hurt Keith. Shiro seems surprised by Keith's outburst, and it only makes him angrier. He feels like he's a ticking bomb, just waiting to explode. "How dare you?" he repeats, his voice raw with emotion.
"Keith," Shiro starts, probably to explain himself, but Keith doesn't want to hear him.
"No. Shut up," he hisses, almost snarling. Because Keith had been alone, he had been hurting, and while he understands Shiro has suffered more than he can ever imagine, he won't stand for this. He had waited, he had held on to Shiro's memory when it had hurt the most.
Keith just wants to be happy now.
He just wants to revel in the fact that someone came back to him.
Words fail him, as they always do, and Shiro doesn't seem to be able to understand him without Keith actually talking—once, Shiro would have understood effortlessly. He wants to reach into Shiro’s mind and make sure the one Keith knew is still there.
So, he acts impulsively and drags Shiro's face down to kiss him. The other doesn't react for a second, but Keith bares his entire soul, tries to make him understand, to make him see.
He bites Shiro's lip, maybe a little harsher that he needs to, and that drives Shiro into action and press himself more firmly to Keith. He kisses back just as aggressively, and is just as desperate.
They can both feel the desperation in their actions: the way they press to each other close enough that it's uncomfortable; teeth biting on each other lips and tongues; hands grasping and squeezing hard enough to leave bruises behind.
It's not a soft kiss, it's not a gentle kiss: it's almost violent and everything Keith needs.
He needs to make sure Shiro is back, safe and really still here. He needs to make sure Shiro is real, made of flesh and bones, and still his.
At the same time, Shiro needs it too. He needs to feel something again, needs to realize that he's back and that Keith has him: no matter what happens, no matter what happened before, no matter what.
"Don't ever say that again," Keith says, when they slow down. Panting, with their faces still as close to each other as possible, he says it again. "Don't you dare." He doesn't know if he manages to convey what he wants to, doesn't know if they can get back what they had completely, but he looks at Shiro and thinks that he's not going to give up.
"You waited," Shiro repeats, quiet in the sudden silence of the room, and Keith nods.
"I would wait again."
Keith helps Shiro leave his shuttle and it reminds him painfully of that day in the desert, bound to that table. It makes him wonder how many times will they be doomed to repeat this strange dance for the rest of their life.
Will he have to run after Shiro forever? Will he have to live with the knowledge that he will have to lose him time and time again, only to find him hurt and beaten every time afterwards?
The terrible thing is, Keith will do whatever it takes with gladness, if it means that he finds Shiro in the end. Every single time, the possibility of living his life without Shiro makes him weak and scared.
Everyone else tries to help Keith in dragging Shiro to the infirmary, but Keith doesn't let them. Shiro isn't aware of his surrounding enough for it to matter, and if Keith has to be honest he smells terribly. But he doesn't budge.
He takes Shiro to the pod and leaves him there to heal. He stays in front of it for hours, bristling at everyone that tells him he should go rest.
When Shiro is finally healed he's still hungry and tired, so Keith brings Shiro to his own room and asks Hunk to bring some food for them. He doesn't leave Shiro's side.
The other doesn't talk much, he smiles at Keith, but only for a fleeting moment. He seems to be deep in thought, troubled by things Keith isn't yet again privy to.
It hurts to be so kept so distant, to be on the edge of Shiro's world and not in the center of it.
"I'm sorry," Shiro says, once he's done eating, "it seems I always make you wait."
Keith thinks it's a step up from the terrible words Shiro said the first time, it makes him feel better that Shiro isn't trying to push him away completely. He wants to smile, say he does it gladly. It's almost shocking to realize that he can't.
Keith doesn't know how to explain what happens, why at one moment he's looking at Shiro with relief and fondness and the next he's crying, wet tears staining his cheeks. It's just something he has to accept.
He's crying and he doesn't know why.
"Oh, Keith," Shiro breathes, hints of fear in his voice.
He's back. Keith didn't give up and he found him. Now that Shiro is back in Keith's room, now that he's safe and sitting on the bed, now that he's fed and not almost dead, he can believe that Shiro isn't dead. Again.
He came back. Again.
It takes a second to register that his tears are more out of happiness than anything else. Or maybe this time it had been Keith going crazy slowly, losing his mind every time he’s forced to live without Shiro and see him come back broken.
All the tension, the anxiety and the anguish he has been feeling lately fly out of him in a single breath that he uses to call Shiro's name.
Shiro kisses him the next second, as if Keith had summoned him just by uttering his name.
It's a sweet kiss, Shiro's lips brushing against Keith's and nothing more, before Shiro angles his head a little more to the left and kisses Keith's tears.
Keith wants to tell him to stop, that he shouldn't, but he only cries harder.
"It's all right, Keith," Shiro murmurs, low and comforting. His voice is just as Keith remembers it, and he doesn't want to live another second without it. He would follow Shiro into any wormhole, fight multiple empires at his side, just to hear his own name pronounced by him.
They kiss again, meeting in the middle. Keith lets Shiro lead and follows, as it should be. He had forced himself to be the leader Shiro wanted him to be, but he feels like himself more in this one moment that he had in months.
Shiro caresses his left cheek with such care that it almost makes him feel even more fragile. He handles Keith like he's made of glass and something that could disappear at any moment.
That's how I feel, he wants to scream at Shiro.
The kiss is slow, but Shiro is determined in his care. It makes Keith soft on the inside and he pushes his face more towards Shiro's hand.
His skin is calloused, even more than before, but also so gentle. So familiar.
Shiro never had a stubble in all the years they have been together and the sensation is strange on Keith's skin, but it almost makes it more real. The gentle way Shiro kisses and the rough feeling of his beard on Keith's chin it’s a contrast that allows Keith to actually believe this.
When Shiro backs up, putting some distance between them, Keith follows him almost unconsciously and he feels the soft smile the other makes, even with his eyes closed.
"I love you," Shiro murmurs. It's not the first time they have said it to each other, but after Kerberos the occasions had been less frequent. Now it almost shocks Keith to the core.
I'm so happy you're alive he wants to say; I don't think I can go on without you, what he wants to scream; Never let me go, what he wants to fervently whisper on his skin.
"I love you too," he says in the end, kissing him again. In the end it's the only thing that makes sense.
Shiro looks at him with a face that has changed so much and so many times since they have met and every time Keith had fallen in love all over again.
He wonders where this will bring them, how many times they'll have to burn before they can rest.
Keith wonders how many times he will have to wait for Shiro to come back to him and how much broken they will find itself the time after.
Well, it doesn’t matter. He’ll do it as many times as it takes.
Keith startles when someone grabs his shoulder and tries to evade their grip, reflexes going into hyper mode, honed in months of Blade training. He's in the castle and he doesn't think an enemy could have snuck on board, but his nerves have been shot to hell lately. He positions himself to fight before he even realizes.
The grip is too strong, however, and he feels himself dragged and then pushed against the wall, into a little alcove of the corridor. He's ready to respond with a punch to the torso of his attacker, in what is the galra equivalent of punching a human in the liver, and hope for the best.
Keith stops his hand before the impact, noticing now for the first time the metallic tinge of the arm that's holding him.
Shiro's face is tense and grim, completely different from the smiling face everyone saw when they were celebrating the victory. Even the all too real danger of Lotor’s possible plan hadn't been able to dampen anyone's spirit, all too high on success.
"Are you all right?" Keith asks, relaxing his stance. It doesn't matter how tense Shiro looks, how serious his face appears, his presence will always have a relaxing effect on Keith.
Even if they have been awkward around each other recently, even if there is something in between them that they can't identify: Shiro has always been his safe harbor.
"How can you ask that?" Shiro whispers. There is something raw in his tone; emotions that lately have been lacking in his demeanor. Keith had left him his space, trying to let Shiro sort this out on his own, but the fervor behind his words, the tremor of the other’s voice shocks him.
Keith raises a hand, caressing Shiro's cheek, unable to help himself. "What's wrong?" he asks, almost frantic. He doesn't understand what’s going on, not really, but the need to fix whatever is putting that expression on Shiro's face drowns out everything else.
If Shiro asked him, Keith would go and face Zarkon this very second.
The other doesn't answer immediately, and Keith sees the way he's thinking, trying to build up his walls again. Shiro does this sometimes, he hides behind logical thinking and battle strategies when he doesn't know how to face what's in front of him. Such a stark contrast to Keith, who had never been able to control the fire in his veins.
However, it seems that for once Shiro's mind is failing him, and the thunder in his eyes only grows.
"Matt told me," Shiro starts, his grip on Keith's shoulder tightening again—not painfully so, and Keith has the impression that Shiro needs that hold as a comfort more than anything else, "he told me what you were going to do."
At this point pretending to be unaware of what Shiro means would be not only futile, but also disrespectful. Keith had been ready to die in that moment, but/and he understands now he might have not be able to live with the consequences of it. He doesn’t know if he can survive Shiro’s anger, or his disappointment.
He could say that he hadn't seen any other choice, but he doesn't think Shiro would appreciate this kind of logic. So he settles for the truth. "The mission, our mission, is more important than the life of any individual," he recites, and at this point he isn't sure who is quoting, the voices of Allura and Kolivan overlapping and fusing.
It had been his motto when he was piloting Black in Shiro's place, a mantra to force himself to keep going. Nowadays it feels like the only thing that makes sense.
Shiro keeps looking at him and the storm in his eyes is morphing, quietly changing into something deadlier. There is ice in Shiro's gaze, a ruthlessness that Keith doesn't recognize.
In all fairness, Keith doesn't recognize himself in the mirror, nowadays.
It's a surprise when Shiro just kisses him. Keith feels the rough press of Shiro's lips on his and before he can even respond, Shiro forces his way into his mouth. Shiro's kisses have always been more delicate, emotional but kind. Right now, Shiro is kissing him the way Keith sometimes kisses Shiro.
It's fire and desperation. It's a message Keith knows all too well.
He can feel it in the way Shiro angles Keith's head. In the way he bites Keith's upper lip, a little too painful to be completely pleasant. In the way his robotic arm holds him against the wall, cutting off any possibility of escape.
Don't leave me alone, Shiro says with every movement of his tongue; with every heavy breath on Keith's face. It's heartbreaking but it’s what Keith so desperately needs.
The thing is, and he fears Shiro already understands this, Keith doesn't regret his choice—doesn't think it was the wrong one. If Lotor hadn’t arrived, Keith's sacrifice would have been the only way to save everyone's lives.
Keith would do it again.
Shiro takes a step back, close enough that Keith only needs to arch his back to kiss him again, and pants for a few seconds. Keith gives him time to organize his thoughts.
"I promised I would always came back," Shiro says, voice slow and determined "but you have to promise me the same thing."
"Shi-" Keith tries to intervene, but Shiro talks over him as if he hadn’t even heard him.
"We lost so much for this war," he continues, low and ashamed, "they took so much. But we... we can promise this. That we'll keep trying to get back to each other."
Neither talks, and Keith recalls the two times he thought the man in front of him could have died. He thinks about the months he had to come to terms with never seeing Shiro again, never seeing his face.
He tries to think about what he would do in the other’s shoes, knowing that Shiro had tried to sacrifice himself for them and has to stop himself from kissing the other man again, with all the force and aggression he's capable of.
Sometimes he fears that Voltron has changed them too much, that their fragmented spirits cut each other even more deeply than the galra do. He wonders if they are even good for each other at this point.
How much has this one experience destroyed them? This war they are fighting is slowly destroying them, making them go crazier and crazier with ever second that it passes. Every time they talk to each other they are a little more broken than before, a little crazier and a little worse for the wear.
But then he looks in Shiro's eyes and remembers the days at the Garrison, the moments of peace in the castle. He remembers when they had been whole, when the war had been in a terrible future, looming over them, but distant.
Keith has never been one for lying, so he doesn't think he can give Shiro what he wants, this blanket promise that he will forever be safe. Instead, he traces over Shiro's scar with his thumb.
"I promise I'll try," he concedes in the end, because he knows he will try to give Shiro anything he wants.
Shiro looks him in the eye without moving before he nods, his grip on Keith's shoulder finally relaxing. "We'll try," he repeats, with a tired smile.
What will be of them by the end of this war? Keith's only hope is that they'll both be there to find out.
Keith can still hear Lance’s laughter in the distance, and the way Pidge and Hunk are arguing over how to repair some part of the ship. They are all tired, worn down by years of war and constant fighting.
He still can’t believe it’s over.
There’s a part of him that doesn’t really believe it, expects someone to attack them at any moment.
No one will come, however, because they have won.
Of course, there is still a lot to do. They might have defeated Zarkon, but the loss of the Empire will have repercussions on the whole universe. But now? Now there’s nothing for them to do but wait for the castle to be repaired.
Keith had noticed Shiro slipping out before, and he now ventures on the planet to search for him. Finding him is easier than Keith would have imagined: he’s looking at the sky, still and lost in thought.
They are on some kind of beach, but the water is denser and much more yellow than the one back at home, but the rhythmic sound of the waves is a comforting background noise.
Shiro doesn’t seem to have noticed his presence, so lost is he in his own head. Yesterday Keith would have walked beside him and stood there with him, overlooking the vast sea, but he feels bolder today. Free.
He advances then, and takes Shiro’s hand on his own. He feels the other startle, surprised, but he just holds on tighter. It takes a second for Shiro to relax and turn to him. He looks older, tired; it’s not the first time Keith has noticed, but now that everything is over he can let himself look and categorize all the changes that time has sculpted on Shiro’s face.
“I didn’t hear you coming,” Shiro explains, but he smiles, fond. “It’s beautiful here.”
Keith doesn’t want to look at the scenery, doesn’t want to ever look away from Shiro’s face. They have time now, a future sometimes they had both doubted.
“We did it,” he says. Because they have, and nothing else seems to matter now. “We could go now,” he continues, “take the lions and go back to earth.”
“Or travel the universe,” Shiro says, getting a little closer. He’s still smiling, soft and relaxed. Keith had forgot that it could be like this, that once it used to be always this way. “We could visit all the planets we freed, actually enjoy them.”
“We can stay and help Allura, help the Coalition grow and settle,” Keith suggests. He closes his eyes and he feels Shiro’s forehead touch his own. Their breaths intertwine in the space between their faces, but they don’t close it.
It feels nice to stay like this. Just them and no impending doom, no responsibilities.
“I don’t really care what we do,” Shiro admits, with a little laugh. It’s such an incredible sound that Keith wants to touch it, keep it with him. He knows how crazy that sounds, so he just raises his free hand and puts it on Shiro’s chest, almost as if he could feel the beating of his heart even under the armor. “I just want us to be together.”
Keith smiles as well. “We saved the universe, I think we can manage that.”
Shiro laughs at that, a little desperately. And not for the first time Keith reflect on how much this war has changed them, at how much of their sanity they have given up in the years that it has taken them, but now that it’s over, that they are looking at a future where they can finally be together… he thinks that maybe they still evolved in the same way. Maybe, without changing, they never would have won.
Their broken parts that fit perfectly.