The sky was only starting to grow lighter. Pinks and oranges were becoming vivid as the sun began to very slowly rise. This was either a time Keith was about to fall asleep or was already passed out soundly in his bed. Five in the morning was not a kind time for him. So, naturally, he didn't sleep at all. He grumbled lowly under his breath as he dragged his two suitcases over the threshold of the front door. Gentle bird chirps could be heard and Keith cursed at them in his mind, wishing their noise would stop.
He paused on the first step, staring at the man in front of him. Hands on his hips, head tilted back and enjoying the slight breeze in the air. A strong scent of strong cologne hit Keith's nose and burned slightly. He wrinkled his nose up in disgust. Lance went too heavy on it again.
How could his roommate be up and alive this early in the morning? Lance wasn't necessarily a morning person, but he did wake up earlier than Keith normally. He slowly turned around to look at Keith, a bright, white smile plastered on his face. Lance's skin was practically glowing. Perhaps he got up an extra hour earlier than Keith to prep his skin. Keith was almost positive one of Lance's bags was all skin care. Keith was almost positive on this road trip everyone would be subjected to a face mask or two.
"Good morning, Keith! Don't you look... chipper," Lance snickered, placed his hand over his mouth, trying to hide his smirk. Keith rolled his eyes at him, slamming down the handle of his suitcase. All Keith was bringing was two smaller suitcases. He didn't have much to begin with. But Lance on the other hand, looked like he was packed to stay months out on the road.
"Feeling chipper, Lance. Feeling it," Keith said with a little yawn at the end. He stretched his arms above his head, his tank top lifting with him. Lance was dressed in nice jeans, a cute shirt. Keith on the other hand, decided sweats and a tank top were perfectly fine. Later on is when he decided he would get dressed, but he planned on going right back to bed when they got picked up.
Lance's smile faltered for a moment. Keith could feel the tone in the air grow more serious in a quick moment. Great. Here it comes. Lance was going to try and talk to him about it. As if thinking about this entire situation didn't make Keith's skin crawl.
"Keith, really, if you don't think you can handle this road trip stay home. If I was in your situation and I had to spend like, two weeks trapped in a RV with my ex-boyfriend, I wouldn't go."
"I'll be fine. I'm doing this for Pidge. Besides, you're going with us now. I feel... a lot better with you with me. Shiro's going to be driving most of the time anyway. I can just... hide in the back with you. Or something. I'll... I'll be okay. I promise."
He wasn't going to be okay. It's only been two weeks since he broke up with Shiro, his boyfriend of four years. And now he was going to be spending the next two weeks in an RV with him and all of their friends.
It was nearing the end of summer. Pidge was going off to her first year of college, all the way in Houston, Texas. She was leaving Massachusetts, leaving her friends behind. So, as one last hurrah together as a group, Pidge and Matts' parents rented out a pretty incredible motorhome for them to take her to her move in day. They were going to see some sights, like D.C. or even Myrtle Beach! Anything they had time for. It was supposed to be a couple of weeks together as a group, to send Pidge off.
But Keith had to go and ruin everyone's fun.
It's not as if he actually wanted to end his relationship with Shiro. Hell, Keith was incredibly in love with that man. He had dedicated years of his life to him, even more than the actual duration of their relationship. He was positive Shiro was supposed to be his soulmate. But Keith couldn't give him what he wanted, that solid commitment. So, before Shiro could leave him and absolutely destroy Keith, Keith left him.
For two weeks Keith ignored every phone call, every text he received from Shiro. And even a few from Matt, his friend and Shiro's best friend. Keith didn't want to see his face again, worried he would give in to his weak heart and beg for Shiro's forgiveness. But there was the group road trip. Keith had to see him one last time. After this, he could slip out of their lives, and truly be the basement dweller he was.
Literally, Keith lived in the basement of Lance's family home. They had taken him in when he was younger and Keith appreciated it. He paid rent to them, even if Lance's mom refused it. She would always tell him 'family doesn’t need to pay rent'. But he found ways.
This was going to be the longest two weeks of his life.
"Keith, I can literally see on your face you're gonna fall apart."
Damn Lance. Damn him for being one of Keith's close friends and knowing him too well.
"I can do this, really. We're both adults. I'm sure he's totally okay. I know he'd been thinking of breaking up with me in the first place anyway," Keith said, rubbing the back of his neck. His voice cracked with that last sentence. He felt his heart drop to his feet, all of his insecurities creeping back.
"Yeah, I still think that's a load of horse shit. But whatever. There was no stopping you that day. You're too fucking stubborn. Do you know that, Keith? But we're all here for you. We love you, man," Lance said, stepping closer to Keith. Keith was busy staring at the grass below, watching it sway in the wind. He didn't even seen Lance place a comforting hand on his shoulder. A small gasp escaped his lips as he looked up at him. Lance truly had one of the warmest smiles he had ever seen. And in that moment, he was thankful he was going on the trip with him.
It wasn't long after that as the huge motor home rolled up in front of Lance's house. Keith didn't realize the thing was that huge. The Holts really went all out for their little girl. Lance started scooping up his bags as the door opened up and two people came running out. Mops of messy, warm toned brown hair, crooked smiles and lightly dusted freckles. The Holt Siblings.
"Morning guys! Who's ready to tackle the first leg of our journey?!" shouted Matt as he ran over to Lance and Keith. Trailing right behind him, was a near carbon copy of himself. Pidge.
"Usually, I'm totally against being up this early. But honestly? I'm way too excited to get on the road to care," Pidge said, her fists clenched up at her chest. Matt rest his arm on top of her head, leaning on her and flattening some of her poofy hair. She playfully shoved him off, which made Matt laugh, echoing over the quiet lawn.
"Same here! I could barely sleep! So, catch me sleeping for these first eight hours. Wake me up when we get to D.C," Lance said, pumping a fist into the air.
"Yeah, that'll probably be me. Oh! I forgot! We gotta discuss sleeping arrangements. I'll show you guys when we get in there!" Pidge said. She was practically buzzing out of her skin with excitement. Her smile was so genuine, eyes full of excitement. Keith could only smile back at her. She was the reason he was doing this, that smile. After these two weeks, who knew when the next time he would see that smile would be? Keith ruffled her hair, his heart warm and happy. He could do this.
"Hey, need any help?" called that deep, buttery voice Keith knew all too well from the RV.
He couldn't do this.
The moment he heard his voice, it felt like his whole world was falling apart. Every nerve in his body craved it, craved to hear it say his name again. But he couldn't fall weak to it; Keith had to stick to his decision. For his own good.
Everyone's heads turned toward the voice, Keith's eyes slowly trailing up. He leaned against the RV, thick arms crossed against his chest. The corner of his mouth was turned upwards in a small smile. The breeze was moving that small forelock of white hair. His black roots were slowly overtaking that faded white. It was a stylistic choice that Keith adored, even if white hair upkeep was atrocious. His forelock seemed longer, fluffier even. It had only been two weeks since he had seen him in person, but it's been ages since Keith's really looked at him. It had begun to be too painful to stare at him like he used to.
Keith's chest tightened and he sucked in his cheeks. His heart thumped loudly in his ears and he prayed it would stop. He wanted it all to stop. Keith could turn back right then and hide in Lance's basement forever. But Pidge grabbed his wrist and pulled him forward, meaning there was no turning back now.
"Matt, Shiro, can you two get their shit? I'm gonna give them the grand tour. I'm telling you guys, I must be the favorite child. For Matt's high school graduation, Dad gave him a pat on the back. Me? I get a cool ass RV and a road trip with my friends. Plus, spending money!" Pidge said, pulling Keith and Lance towards the RV.
"Man, must be nice having a super cool scientist dad guy. Thing. Man, it's too early to function," Lance said, trying to articulate his words and... failing. Keith rolled his eyes with a smile at them. He allowed himself to be dragged by this five-foot two creature because well, he loved her. And this trip was for her.
But Shiro was fast approaching. He was walking towards Matt as the three of them swooped past. Shiro's beautiful stormy grey eyes met Keith's briefly, but it was enough to kick his heart into overdrive. He felt his cheeks heat up as he looked away from Shiro. Did he see him blush? He hated how Shiro made him feel that way.
The stairs up to the RV were pretty wide, definitely not like anything he's seen before. Pidge had already bolted up the stairs, standing proudly inside. Keith and Lance made their way in, jaws dropped just slightly. It wasn't necessarily luxurious, but it was still a little bit swanky. Hard wood flooring, leather seats, and it was huge. Definitely the most space Keith had ever seen for an RV. He took a step in, just in mild disbelief. This was going to be their home for the next two-ish weeks.
"Okay so this is the main section. Got a pretty big dining area. It technically fits like, four people, but Shiro and his muscles count as like two and a half people. Which is totally fine cause like, we have this cool sofa. And guys, look at all this freaking counter space. Lance, you totally have to cook us like, good food. There's so much storage here, it's kinda unreal!" Pidge said, waving her arms all around.
Cupboards and cabinets were quite literally everywhere. Keith ran his fingers over the smooth counter top, nodding to himself. Lance and Matt were pretty good cooks, so hopefully they all didn't have to resort to just stove top ramen and microwavable meals all the time. There was even a large refrigerator. Keith knew they were going grocery shopping after people were settled in before hitting the road. So that was going to be something to say the least.
"Follow me, there's a bunch more to see. Also, check out that flat screen. Matt brought his PS4 and I have a crap ton of movies ripped to my computer. Plus, he has a bag of just DVDs. We're gonna be totally set for entertainment. Okay, so here's the shower. It's huge which is great for you giants. And behind this door is the bathroom. Lance, you are not allowed to take over the counter space. You get one little cupboard. We all get one little cupboard," Pidge warned, waggling a finger at Lance. Lance stared back at her with dramatic shock spread on his face.
"Lance, I'll share a cupboard with you. I don't have a lot of things. So you can spread out your things," Keith shrugged.
"Keith you're such an enabler and I love you for it. You know how to make me happy," Lance said, awkwardly wrapping an arm around Keith's shoulders. The space was tight, but Lance managed to make it work.
"So is there a door or are we just gonna be able to see who's showering?" Keith asked, arching a brow at Pidge.
"Sliding doors dude, sliding doors," she said, tapping at the frame. Lance and Keith nodded at her, following her into the back bedroom. This was quite a large bedroom, even for an RV. There was another flat screen television mounted across from a king-sized bed. There was plenty of storage space. Good because Lance surely brought a lot of stuff.
"Ugh please tell me I'm sleeping in here!" Lance said, throwing himself onto the bed. He stretched his arms out to his side with a yawn.
"Nice try. You're not driving. Lance you're sleeping on the pullout sofa out there. I'm on the lowering bed above the cockpit. Keith, you and Shiro are—oh. Shit. No, Keith you're sharing the pullout with Lance. Matt and Shiro are sharing this bed. Sorry," Pidge said, immediately catching herself. Keith stiffened up when she mentioned his name. Lance snapped up, looking up at Keith with worried eyes. Keith just waved him off.
He really threw them all off balancing by breaking up with Shiro. Pidge was about to carry on like nothing ever happened. But Keith ruined it all. He ruined the flow of the group. And he felt horrible about it, but not nearly as horrible as he did about leaving him. No pain will ever beat that.
"It's fine Pidge. It's only been two weeks. It's—It's still an adjustment for everyone. It's an adjustment for me. But it's fine," Keith said softly, clutching his fist at his side.
"I hope you're okay, man. You know if you need anything I have your back," Pidge said, giving him a thumb up and a big smile. Keith forced a small smile back at her.
"If you're in the bedroom watch out! We're coming in with Lance's crap! He's gotta go through it, put some away and then the rest goes under the damn coach!" Matt shouted as the other two came bursting through the door. Keith's body tightened up, incredibly anxious.
"God Lance, I'm the one moving to Texas not you!" Pidge groaned, stepping towards the back wall. Lance and Keith followed suit, allowing Matt and Shiro to drag Lance's four bags into the room. Matt tossed them onto the bed without a care, but Shiro was nicer and gently set his things down.
"I'm gonna go back and grab Keith's things. Lance, let me know when you're done so I can put your stuff below. Then one more stop and we can officially hit the road!" Shiro smiled, pointing a thumb over his shoulder. He quickly left the room as Matt and Lance were having a quiet stare down. Keith finally let out the tension in his body after Shiro left.
"Matt what the fuck. If you broke anything I swear to God you're going to pay!" Lance hissed.
"Quiet down, Princess. I didn't break anything! Dude, why did you bring so much shit?!" Matt replied, his eyes narrowing. Lance gasped when he called him princess, looking taken aback by it. Keith and Pidge just stared at the two in silence.
"I like to be prepared! Who knows what could happen?" Lance said, crossing his arms over his chest.
"Nothing, literally nothing will happen!" Matt said.
"Lance has always been an over packer. Once, when we went on a family vacation, he had like five suitcases and his mom and dad got so mad we left hours late because they made him put back like three of them. I had a duffle bag that wasn't even full," Keith shrugged.
"Don't come crying to me Matt when you spill something on your clothes and have no spares!" Lance said, sticking his tongue out at him. Matt tossed his hands into the air, mumbling under his breath. He turned and walked out of the bedroom, moving towards the cockpit.
"Hey Keith! Could you come here for a moment?" shouted his voice from the front. Pidge and Lances' faces immediately snapped to Keith. His lower lip quivered as he tried to think of any excuse to not go talk to Shiro.
"Keith?" Lance whispered to him, gently touching his arm. Keith pulled his arm away and started walking towards the front of the coach. He could feel their eyes glaring at the back of his head. Keith wanted to stop moving, to ignore him, but his legs moved on their own. Traitorous bastards. No doubt this was his heart's work, not his logical mind.
He stood there, waiting for him by the door. His dark sweatpants hung low on his hips, just the smallest amount of pale skin peeking between them and the black tee shirt he wore. Keith gulped, remembering quick again why he adored Shiro in sweatpants. He tried to keep his eyes up, but staring at his face only hurt him further. So, he opted for his... neck.
"Come out here for a sec. Then you can put your stuff away and we can get going. Once Lance finishes back there too!" Shiro said, shouting his last sentence past Keith. One could almost hear the 'fuck you' in Lance's loud groan. Keith practically smiled at that. Shiro shook his head with a smile before starting down the stairs that led outside. Keith followed behind him, keeping his head down.
Shiro held his hand up for Keith, hitting the grass first. Keith stared at his hand for a moment, hesitating. His mind screamed at him to not grab his hand, but the rest of his body longed for his touch too much. He slipped his hand into his as Shiro helped him down. Even the smallest touch from him still sent electricity throughout his body. Each touch always felt like the first time.
They walked out onto Lance's lawn a bit before stopping to awkwardly stare at each other. Keith kept his arms crossed against his chest, his body language defensive and anxious. Shiro swayed on his feet, as if he was swaying back and forth about what to say.
"H-How have you been?" Shiro asked after the silence began to get uncomfortably awkward. Keith could only give him a look that read are-you-serious.
"Really? You brought me out here to ask how I've been?" Keith asked, placing a hand on his hip and cocking it out to the side.
"No! Well, yes and no. I haven't heard from you in weeks. I've been worried."
"Great. I'm managing. Like I do."
"Look Shiro, do you want me to stand here and cry? Cry about how these last two weeks have been the worst two weeks of my life? Do you want me to break down in front of you and whine about how much I miss you? How I regret so much? Too bad. You aren't getting that from me, Shiro," Keith snapped. Instantly, he felt bad for it. Shiro didn't deserve that. Keith had no idea what was going on in his head. Keith left Shiro, not the other way around. Keith had no reason to be so mean to him.
"I'm not asking for that. I don't know how much of that is true either. I just... Keith I miss you. No matter what I'll always care about you. Just because you aren't my boyfriend anymore doesn’t mean I stop wanting you in my life. You were my best friend first," Shiro said, holding his hand out to the side.
"I just really can't do this. I'm on this trip for Pidge. If it wasn't for her... you wouldn't see me ever again."
"Is that what's gonna happen? After this trip... are you going to walk out of my life? Our lives?"
Keith shifted uncomfortably, staring at the grass. He didn't really have an answer to that question. Really, he didn't want to leave them. But he had to. Before he could get hurt.
"Keith, I can't let you do that."
His head snapped up. Let him? Shiro didn't own Keith. It wasn't up to him whether Keith stayed in his life or not. It would always be Keith's decision. That sentence right there ignited an angry fire in him. His upper lip twisted in a small snarl.
"What the fuck does that mean? I'm not your boyfriend. I'm not your property. You don't tell me what to do like—like some kind of fucking commander. So what if I never see any of you again? No one would miss me," Keith turned around on his heel, heading back for the stairs.
"That's not true! I would! Keith, please would you stay out here and talk to me? Or at least hear what I have to say? God, just stop running away from me! You didn't let me speak before. You told me you wanted us to be over and you fucking hung up on me," Shiro said coldly. There was this mild authoritative tone in his voice. It was rugged and sharp and it was hot. Keith froze in his tracks.
"Whatever you say to me Shiro won't change my decision. I don't--I don't want to be with you anymore. It's just going to be like that," Keith said, his voice tight. Each time he said that it was another knife in his heart. He couldn't bear see his face. Keith was a coward for the first time in his life the first time he said that. He didn't even have the courage to break up with him in person. Keith simply called him and never let Shiro reply.
"I understand that. And I know better than maybe even you that you'll stick with your word. But—please. Give me just this. My final words on this and then we can put it behind us. So it's not weird and tense the whole trip. For our friends' sakes. For our own sakes," Shiro said, his voice much softer. He was almost pleading with Keith and he could hear the hurt in his voice. Keith sighed and turned around, shutting the door again. He stood in front of Shiro once more and gestured for him to start.
"While I don't understand why you wanted to leave me, I respect your choice. But please understand that these past two weeks have been truly hell for me. Most of it has been a black out mess, I won't lie to you. Keith Kogane, I'm in love with you. And that's not going to stop. I understand you don't want to be with me anymore, but I don't think I could handle losing you completely. My most trusted confidant, my best friend. Don't just—just leave my life completely. Please," Shiro said. He was vulnerable. He was expressing his feelings outwardly again. Something Keith always noticed was reserved for just him.
If Keith weren't in his life, would Shiro be okay? Keith always knew they had a relationship much different than anyone else's. Even before they became a couple. Their best friend relationship was vastly different than Shiro and Matt's or even his own with Lance. Shiro had always been his better half.
Which is why saying this to Shiro hurt even more.
"I can't promise you anything. This—This is just too painful for me. To be around you. I had to leave you for my own sake. And—And being around you all the time isn't going to help me get over you, Shiro. I really need to get over you. And you need to get over me," Keith replied curtly. Shiro looked defeated, his head lowering. Keith could see the pain on his face and it felt like someone had ripped out his own heart and threw it away. It pained him so bad to see Shiro like this.
"Understood. Thank you for speaking with me Keith."
But what could he say? The damage had been done. If Keith could go back in time and fix everything he would. But magic and time travel weren't real. And he was stuck in reality.
He wanted to scream at him that he loved him. To beg him to take him back and that breaking up with him was a huge mistake. Why in the world did he have to fear commitment so much? If he could just take that extra step for Shiro's sake, they wouldn't be in this position. They would be happy and together still. But Keith couldn't do it. And he couldn’t necessarily allow Shiro to leave him first. No, his stronger fears of abandonment and rejection took over. He had to leave him first.
It was a moment of dead air. But eventually Shiro lifted his head up, a false smile plastered on his face. Keith knew him too well, he could see the real pain hiding in his eyes. But Shiro could never show anyone, but him how he really felt. Things would go on as if their conversation didn't happen.
"Shall we get on the road then? If we wanna hit our stops and still get Pidge to school by move in day, we gotta get going!" Shiro grinned.
"C'mon Keith! I'm sure Lance has to be good by now. This thing has a lot of storage, did you know that? Like, a lot, a lot. It's pretty awesome actually!" Shiro said, walking past Keith, their shoulders brushing. He stomped up the steps, each another knife in Keith's heart.
"Shiro, Lance is trying to take our bed over. I'm not having this!" Matt whined as Keith followed Shiro inside.
"Sorry Lance, the drivers get the big bed. C'mon, sharing a bed with Keith isn't that bad. Trust me, I've been doing it for years. Err, did it for years," Shiro said with a light laugh at the end. Ouch.
"But—But—ugh! I think we should bed swap at some nights. Cause, like, this bed is so freaking comfy," Lance said, pouting his lips. Keith rolled his eyes at him.
"Lance makes a fair point," Pidge said.
"Shut it small fry. You're the lightest so you're sleeping on the bed above the seats. And you're stuck there," Matt said, waggling a finger at Pidge. She groaned and stomped her little feet. Pidge had something about her which always let her get her way, but Keith was sure they wouldn't budge on this.
"Actually, no I agree with Pidge. The four of us can bed swap. That way everyone gets a chance to sleep in the big bed. Except Pidge. Sorry, Matt's still right with that. We can't chance one of us bigger guys accidentally breaking the bed. Sam may actually kill us," Shiro said, rubbing the back of his neck.
Lance pumped a fist into the air and cheered, "Hell yes!"
"Ugh, fine, but Shiro and I get the bed first!" Matt said.
"Well, naturally I figured we would. Tonight, he and I can sleep in it. Tomorrow, Lance and I. Then he and Lance. Then Lance and Keith. Then Keith and... I," Shiro said. He trailed off towards the end. Keith knew it probably pained him to say that. Keith would honestly end up opting out of sharing a bed with Shiro. For his own damned sanity.
"Sounds like a plan! Okay, let's get Lance's extra shit down below and head off to a grocery store. It's getting past five thirty and we gotta be on the road to D.C as soon as possible!" Matt said.
Everyone dispersed after that. Keith began putting away some of his things in spare drawers throughout the back bedroom. Lance really did take over a bunch of space, but there were plenty of drawers and cupboards. Shiro and Matt took empty suitcase and stored them away under the coach. Shiro didn't say another word to Keith. And he wasn't sure if that hurt more or not.
But finally, everyone was situated and they were ready to roll. Shiro assumed his spot at the driver's seat, Matt at the passenger side. Pidge had set up her computer and sprawled out over the dinette's table. Lance and Keith were sitting on the sofa. Lance was mindlessly chatting at Keith, while Keith traced circles onto his thigh, not really paying attention.
"First stop, grocery store. Now, Dad gave Pidge and I a small grocery budget. So—mostly we'll cover like, actual food. But everyone buys their own snacks and drinks. Sound cool?" Matt said, turning to face everyone else as Shiro started to pull away from Lance's house.
"That sounds fair honestly. Dude, straight up bless your parents for this. They're covering pretty much everything!" Lance said, leaning back on the sofa. The sound of his skin squeaked against the leather.
"Well it was either this or a boring grad party. I chose this. Family members had mailed me my grad money though. So—thank God for that!" Pidge said, adjusting her glasses with a smirk. Matt mocked her, rolling his eyes as hard as he could.
"Alright everyone, let's get going!" cheered Shiro from the driver's seat. And they were off.
"Lance oh my God, would you stop running into me with your fucking cart?" Matt said, spinning around on his heels to snarl at Lance. Lance stuck out his tongue at him like a child.
Twenty bucks says they're gonna fuck, Keith smirked in his head. Normally, he would share aloud these kind of thoughts with Shiro, but that wouldn't happen anymore. Instead, Keith sulked behind everyone, watching Shiro push the other cart. He watched his shoulder blades move as he walked and pushed the cart. Keith wished he could walk beside him, but that wouldn't happen anymore. None of it will happen anymore.
"Okay, I can't take you two anymore. We're splitting up! I'm taking Matt with Lance's cart. Since it's empty anyway. Lance, you're staying with Shiro and Keith. You three get your own snacks and shit. We'll get real food," Pidge snapped, stopping in front of them. The carts skidded to a halt and everyone was quiet. She was definitely small and very fierce.
Pidge stomped away, pulling Lance's cart from his hands. Matt gave Lance the middle finger and Lance gasped. Yeah, Keith was positive they were going to sleep together before the trip was over. He just hoped he wouldn't be around to hear it.
"Matt is such a child! God, Shiro, how are you friends with him?!" Lance huffed, hands on his hips. Shiro gave him a smile with a little shrug.
"I don't know Lance. I wonder the same thing with you and Keith. How on Earth could Keith be friends with you?" Shiro teased.
"Okay, first of all, ouch. Second of all, you're so right. Keith, Keith my man, how do you put up with me?" Lance said, falling dramatically against Keith. Keith rolled his eyes and gently shoved him off him.
"I don't put up with you. You're always a menace. But I manage," Keith said. Lance gasped and stormed off ahead of them. He was always such a drama queen. But that was something about him Keith found endearing.
But he really wished he didn't get so far ahead. That left Keith walking side by side with Shiro. He could feel the hairs on his arm standing up just being a smidge close to him. Should he say something? Would Shiro even respond to him?
"So. Lance sure is—well, Lance," Shiro said softly. Well, at least Keith didn't have to start the conversation. At least they could have a conversation.
"He's dramatic. Love the guy though. Matt on the other hand—he's extra cranky today," Keith said.
"To be fair, he hasn't had coffee yet and neither have I. We're both a little out of it. I'll be buying a cup before we head out though. Sure would suck if I fell asleep at the wheel," Shiro chuckled. Certain death usually does suck, yes.
"I feel like there might be something budding between those two."
"Oh? Care to explain your reasoning?"
"Okay, hear me out. Remember when Lance had that crush on me? And he did everything in his power to annoy the ever-loving shit out of me?"
"As opposed to him now?"
"Okay, but this is different. He's being childish. Sticking his tongue out, hitting him with the cart. Dumb come backs. I think Lance might have a thing for Matt and doesn't know it just yet. So, I have a theory that they're gonna fuck before we get home," Keith said. Shiro stopped the cart to turn and looked down at Keith. He was smirking again, this time it touching his eyes. Keith bit down on his bottom lip, chewing on the loose dead skin there. God, how he had missed that look of his.
"Really? You have a theory, Mister Conspiracy Theorist? I think I know Matt well enough to know when he likes someone. And the guy isn't into men. I can tell you that," Shiro laughed. Another real laugh that was gentle and warm. It truly was music in Keith's ears.
"I don't know Shiro. I used to notice the way he would look at you. And we're all aware you're probably the most attractive man on the planet," Keith grinned.
"Nah, sorry Keith. That's definitely you. By a landslide."
His heart thrummed in his chest. How could they be this casual? Keith was literally thinking how things would never be the same, but this felt so natural. It was like nothing between them happened. He hated this because he knew he would slip into old habits. He couldn't let himself break down.
"C'mon Shiro. Don't start this again. You know how this always ends."
"True, but I don't think that'll happen anymore. Not that I don't want to, but you did end it."
Right. It always ended with them kissing. Fighting for dominance, with the first to break away being the loser of their argument. Keith had to watch what he said around Shiro. Unless he wanted to feel the pain behind each word over and over.
"H-Hey, are there any snacks you see you wanna throw in the cart?" Keith said, desperately trying to change the subject.
"Hmm, well I see that Lance has quite the handful. I dunno, you know I'm not a big snack eater."
"Alright that's a lie. You could eat an entire box of zebra cakes in a matter of two minutes. And I swear to God I've seen you snort the leftover salt after you've finished off a bag of pretzels. Don't lie to me Shiro! I know you best," Keith laughed, lightly shoving into his arm.
"Okay you got me. Grab me what you think I'll eat then. And I'll grab snacks I think you like. We'll see who knows each other better," Shiro suggested.
"Oh you're so on, Shiro."
Thus, began a good two minute race between the two, tossing in odd snacks as they ran up and down the aisle. Lance dumped his own things in the cart, watching them in a confused awe. Keith was positive he knew Shiro the best. He grabbed things he was positive he's seen him eat before. It was a mix of severely unhealthy snacks to heart healthy granola bars.
"I don't know Keith. You really think I'll eat Rice Krispie Treats?"
"Oh I don't think—I know."
They were grinning at each other from opposite sides of the cart. Keith's eyes stared down those cloudy greys. Lance looked between the two of them, face a mix of confusion and worry. For two people who were recovering from a break up they sure did look fine in that grocery store.
"You did a pretty good job Keith. Gotta say I'm impressed. But I think I won."
"Don't be so confident Shiro," Keith started, reaching down and grabbing the box of strawberry Poptarts sitting in the cart, "I hate strawberry."
"Well good thing they aren't yours! And I wasn't gonna share anyway!" Lance said, snatching the box from Keith, his eyes narrowed.
"I guess it's a tie then Shiro. We know each other's taste in snacks."
"After four years of dating and years of friendship I would hope we did. At the very least."
Great. Now it felt awkward. Keith stepped away from the cart, crossing his arms again and just sinking into himself. Shiro nodded to himself and grabbed the cart, pushing it away from them. Lance stared at Keith, his face only worried now.
"I'm going to head to the frozen section now. I'll meet you guys there?" Shiro called behind him. But he didn't give them time to answer, he just zoomed right out of the aisle.
"Keith, what the hell was that? You were like, being civil with him," Lance asked, poking Keith's bicep.
"I don't know. I get too comfortable around him. He's dangerous," Keith huffed.
"This whole situation is dangerous. I don't think you should have come on the trip."
"And miss seeing Mothman's hometown in person? Yeah, I don't think so."
"Dude, I would have taken you to see your precious Mothman hometown another time."
"Nope. Shiro promised me we'd stop there on the way home. And I'm too excited to stop that."
Lance rolled his eyes at Keith and wrapped his long arm around his shoulders. He crushed him against his side and dragged him down the aisle.
"Let's just finish shopping so we can take a nap. I'm currently dying to take one."
Shopping didn't take much longer after that. The bill was pretty hefty so Matt warned everyone to not pig out while on the road. No one could disagree with that. Putting away the food took no time at all with four people in the kitchen and one Pidge commanding everyone from the sofa. It was around seven when they officially hit the road.
Lance and Keith had taken over the bed in the back bedroom. Keith was falling in and out of consciousness as Lance played some random movie he took from Matt's DVD collection. He didn't pay any mind to it. He desperately wanted to sleep.
"Keith, I love you," cooed that velvety voiced. He loved the way his mouth moved with the 'oo' sound. Keith adored the way Shiro said his name. It always got his heart racing.
He spun around to see Shiro standing behind him. There was a smile on his face, as beautiful as an overcast day with a slight breeze that ruffled one's hair just right. Keith's favorite weather. Keith's favorite smile. He was overwhelmed with emotions, love, happiness, confusion, acceptance, passion and more. Keith ran towards Shiro who held his arms open for him.
Every part of Keith craved to be embraced by him again, wrapped safe and sound in those muscly arms. His happy place was always with Shiro. And he was going to get there again. Keith held his own arms out, ready to grab onto Shiro.
"Shiro!" Keith shouted, nearly jumping into his arms. But as Keith tried to wrap his arms around Shiro, he phased right through him. The mood shifted suddenly. That beautiful, warm dream glow disappeared. He was left with a dark and gloomy anxious feeling. Keith's heart was racing and he felt sick to his stomach. Slowly turning around after going through Shiro, he could see the smile he loved most was replaced with the most horrifying frown he had seen in his life. There was no color in Shiro's eyes, they looked absolutely dead. This wasn't his Shiro.
"I don't want to see you again, Keith. I don't love you. You'll never be able to give me what I want. You aren't worth it," Shiro said, his voice monotonous and cold. His knees trembled, bottom lip slightly ajar. Keith dropped to the ground. Those were the words he couldn't bear to hear Shiro ever say to him. His very fears presented right in front of him. Tears streaked down his cheeks, the only warm thing in this cool, empty room.
"Please don't say that. Shiro, I need you!" he whispered. Keith reached up an arm at Shiro, but the man took a step back from Keith.
"Don't speak to me. How can you say you need me when you're the one who ripped out my fucking heart? You make me sick," Shiro asked. He spit in Keith's general direction, causing Keith to fall back on his hands. This wasn't Shiro. This was his twisted mind trying to scare him. But some part of him actually believed this is how Shiro truly felt about him now. Would it be unjust if he did? Keith was horrible and Shiro deserved much better.
"Shiro, I love you!"
Keith's eyes snapped open. And for the first time in two weeks, he actually cried.