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The morning blooms slow. Keith’s cozy and warm. For the first time in a long time his bodily pains have abandoned him. He comes to awareness a little at a time, enjoying it. There’s a weight over his hip, an arm. He breathes in and can smell a masculine scent he would recognize anywhere.

Shiro.

He remembers then the night, them dragging themselves back to Shiro’s, crashing into bed. It had been a good night, something that felt more in line with the old days. Better ending though, with how they’re so obviously curled together now. Keith sighs it out, trying to linger. He knows if he opens his eyes he’ll have to move. He’s curled in Shiro’s arms, and that’s fine for sleeping, fine as an unconscious choice but…

He wishes he were more selfish, that he could just nuzzle in and let himself enjoy it. He wishes for a great many things in that moment.

But like all the best moments, it’s over too soon. Keith’s eyes peek open and confirm exactly where he is, pressed against Shiro’s chest. The rhythmic whuff of breath that just barely tickles Keith’s cheek is Shiro’s. The man looks perfect in the early morning light. His hair’s a mess, and there’s drool just at the corner of his mouth, and it makes Keith’s heart throb. He wants this all to mean something-- the banter, Shiro’s clear dislike of James. In the fantasies Keith's been having Shiro’s words and actions hold a specific meaning…

But Keith knows sometimes reality isn’t like that. Plenty of people are nice for no reason, flirt with no reason, are effusive with their affection, and it doesn’t mean they want to kiss you. Keith is so afraid of falling in too deep and misreading it all. Better to keep boundaries until something more concrete comes along.

With that he reaches back and uncoils Shiro’s arm from his waist. Shiro grumbles and moves a little.

“Ke?” His sleep soft voice is barely the one syllable. Keith respectfully shuffles back just enough to maintain proper distance between them.

“Morning.”

Shiro smiles even before he opens his eyes. It’s so cute Keith’s breath catches.

“So what’s on the agenda for today Captain?”

At that Shiro’s eyes pop open, and his face is suddenly so bright and excited that Keith feels it sizzle through him. How anyone is expected to not fall in love with Shiro at close range is absolutely beyond him.

“Ah, but it’s a surprise! First thing first though, breakfast.” He gets up then and crawls out of bed. Keith’s eyes go automatically to his ass and the cling of Shiro’s briefs. Before the man turns back around, Keith averts his eyes. Barely. Everything about Shiro is unfair.

“But you stay,” Shiro says, just as Keith begins to push away the covers.

“Stay?”

“Yeah. It’s a breakfast in bed morning. Will you?”

He looks so happy, so earnest then. Butterflies burst into being in Keith’s stomach. “Okay. Sure.”

And then Shiro grins and is gone. A few minutes later Kosmo slinks into the room like a consolation prize. He hops up into Shiro’s vacated space, and Keith buries his face in the wolf’s electric blue mane.

“What’s he up to out there, hm?” Keith asks conspiratorially. The wolf only huffs and then flops over, offering his belly for scratches. Keith laughs and obliges.

It’s almost half an hour before Shiro returns. From the kitchen the smells of breakfast begin to waft in, and Kosmo gets distracted enough that he begins to try and squirm out of Keith’s hold.

“Oh no you don’t, you let him cook in peace,” Keith says, laying more completely on top of Kosmo. The wolf continues to squirm, eyes on the door, and Keith laughs keeping hold of him. That’s how Shiro finds them when he walks in with a tray of food.

“Are my best boys ready for breakfast?” It’s a tease, but Keith still gets a rush of heat through him. He sits up and Kosmo dutifully does the same, tail beginning to wack Keith in the side.

“Alright off you big doofus, you eat when we’re done!” Keith shoves at the big lump of wolf who turns to give him and then Shiro puppy eyes.

Shiro’s now to the bed with the tray. “Whatever Keith says goes,” he adds.

Mournfully Kosmo hops down. Shiro carefully climbs back into the bed and Keith helpfully piles the pillows at the headboard so they can both lean back comfortably. He looks over the breakfast tray. There’s eggs, French toast, fruit, and something that looks surprisingly like Galran yev-il.

“Shiro, this looks amazing. Is that yev-il?”

Shiro preens. “Of course, it’s your favorite.”

Keith doesn’t know what to say to that that wouldn’t be horrifically embarrassing, so he just picks up a fork. Together they work through most of the breakfast platter together, offering the leftover French toast to the wolf when they’re done.

“That was amazing,” Keith sighs back against the headboard. The relaxation from the massage must still be lingering, because he feels so, so good. There’s happiness just under his ribs, practically pushing up out of his skin.

“Glad you enjoyed. Had to kick the lazy weekend off right.”

“You certainly, certainly did.”

There’s a yip from the side of the bed, and they both look to see Kosmo sitting there expectantly. Shiro moves the tray off to the side table and then settles back into the headboard beside Keith.

“Alright,” Shiro says, “Can saddest boy in the world come back up?”

Keith snorts, shouldering Shiro affectionately. “Oh fine.”

Before the words are even completely out, there’s a mass of blue space wolf plopping down on their laps and curling over to offer his belly. Keith hates how right it all feels.

##

When it’s been far, far too long, they do look at getting out of bed. Shiro takes up the tray, nodding at Keith and his bag beside the dresser.

“Why don’t you shower, and I’ll clean up.”

“This is already starting to feel very one-sided,” Keith says even as he bends to pick out some clothes for the day.

“Indulge me,” Shiro says, “You’ve literally saved my life, there’s so little I’ve ever been able to do to repay that.” Keith scoffs at that, as if Shiro wasn’t the one to save him first. Before he can open his mouth though, Shiro is smiling wide at him. “Indulge me. Please.”

The sincerity gets him. Keith flushes and turns away. “Fine,” He grumbles. The warmth in his chest swells.

In the shower Keith takes his time. He needs it, if the status of his cock is any indication. Shiro is just so…

Good. So good. Between last night and this morning, Keith feels as if he’s floating. He hasn’t felt this good in so long, and he just wants to sink into it. There’s a niggling guilt that Shiro is doing too much for him, but he also just likes it. Likes being treated like he’s special. Likes he means something.

Keith presses his forehead against the shower tile. The soap and shampoo he’s used smell like Shiro, and it’s a lot to guard himself against. He shouldn’t, here in Shiro’s shower, but also…

Better here than an inappropriate erection the next time Shiro so much as touches him.

Keith reaches down for his cock that’s filling quickly now. He breathes hot puffs of air as he begins to stroke. It’s slow, just as indulgent as everything has been today so far. The pleasure still builds quick as it has before. Keith doesn’t know why, what’s changed, but he doesn’t fight it. He imagines it’s Shiro’s hand, large and calloused on his cock. Shiro stepping up behind him, crushing him in the best way against the tiled wall. He would wrap his strong arms around Keith, kiss his neck, and stroke Keith just like this.

I can’t… I shouldn’t be thinking about you like this. Not now.

Keith only hums, baring his neck. There are more kisses, and the interrupted gasps as Shiro takes him apart. It makes it better, the pleasure deeper, imagining Shiro enjoying even just this. Shiro getting pleasure just from watching Keith, from touching him.

You like touching me, Keith thinks. Says, in the fantasy.

Of course I do.

Shiro’s hand begins to move faster, and Keith sighs, feeling his orgasm approach.

It’s almost soft when it overcomes him. The hand stays on him as he shudders, gasping low enough the shower spray covers the sound. He comes, and it’s washed away, even as the pleasure of it leaves him dazed.

The fantasy falls away as he comes down, and then it’s just him, alone in the shower. Keith takes a steadying breath and rinses. He takes his time trying to gather himself back together. Then he turns the water off. In the bathroom he dresses, brushes his teeth, and tries to make sure he looks presentable in the mirror. He tries to look like someone who didn’t just jerk off in his best friends shower to a fantasy of said best friend.

It works, sort of. It works until he comes out of the bathroom and Shiro’s in the bedroom getting clothes out of his own dresser. He’s shirtless. Keith flushes hot and looks away.

“Oh!”

“Ah, sorry,” Keith says.

“No. Uh. No worries. Just gonna… jump in the shower. Um. Can you wait?”

“Wait?”

“Here. Um. There’s a surprise in the living room and I want to show you, I just need to shower real quick.” Shiro’s got his clothing bundled in front of him, and he looks markedly off-center. Keith notices that the bedroom door has indeed been shut.

But he’s been so wonderful, Keith’s hardly about to argue or poke at him.  “Okay. Sure. I’ll check my messages.”

“Great!” Shiro grins, but it too is a little off. He looks sort of nervous? It’s weird on him. “I’ll be quick.”

Keith walks over to the bed and plops back down on it. On the bedside table is his data pad. The shower clicks on and Keith keeps his mind off of it. Even when that dangerous heat creeps back into his belly he ignores it.

Shiro’s shower is one thing, his bed is entirely another.

##

To his word, Shiro doesn’t take long. Keith’s barely read through all his new emails before the shower is switching off. It makes Keith think then of the living room. Of the surprise. He has no idea what it could be. More food? He sort of hopes not, considering Kosmo is not in here with him. If it is food, the wolf has been left alone with it, and the odds are not great the food is still in tact.

Shiro comes out in a waft of steam, hair wet but fully dressed. He’s a bit pink from the heat, and it’s a good look. Keith closes out of his email and puts the datapad down.

“Sorry for making you wait,” Shiro says. The nerves are gone now, and he looks more himself now, even a little excited.

Keith shakes his head. “No worries.”

“Okay c’mon.” Shiro drags a towel over his head and then chucks it into the laundry bin on the way to the door. He smells heavily of soap and Keith does not think about it. Instead he follows Shiro to the door and then out into the darkened living room.

A living room that’s been truly transformed since last night. The lights are off, but with the dim lighting Keith can see there’s a tent, or a sheet, strung up to the ceiling lighting. It blocks most of the living room from view.

“What?”

Shiro walks around to an opening, ushering Keith in. As soon as Keith sees inside, he knows what it is.

“Thought we could have a proper blanket fort,” Shiro says.

The coffee table has been moved out, and the space between the couches and TV has been layered with blankets and cushions. The sheets hung from the light above service as the tent top and walls, enclosing the space. The one wall uncovered faces the TV for proper viewing. There’s even some little string lights along the edges of the floor to give the space a soft ambiance. Kosmo is in the middle of the blanket pile, sprawled out and cozy.

Shiro crawls in, gently shoving at Kosmo. “Hey you, make some space for us.”

Keith looks and looks. His heart is pounding, practically quivering in his chest. This is— it’s—

He swallows hard as Shiro flops down into an opening space and looks back at Keith, grinning. He’s haloed in the soft light of the tent.

“Coming in?”

Keith bends and crawls in. “This is so much Shiro,” he says. He means it to come off casual, but there’s a stiffness that comes through.

“Cool, right?” Shiro says. Keith takes a seat next to him, then lays down as Shiro shuffles to give him a little more room. “I used to make them as a kid. Pretended I was camping in alien territory as I scouted the galaxy.”

That startles as laugh out of Keith. “I think this is infinitely more cozy.”

Shiro laughs. “As it turns out, roughing it on alien worlds is significantly less fun in real life.”

There’s a beat of silence, then the wolf getting up to he can better sprawl across their legs. “Wow, Shiro. This is…”

“Do you like it?”

Keith’s face feels hot, he can’t even look at Shiro. “Yeah. Of course. It’s cool.”

“Good,” Shiro rolls over and grabs the remote for the TV. “Wanna choose what we watch first?”

Keith sifts through a bunch of human and alien movies before finding something that looks interesting. It’s a romcom, subtitled, but the ratings on it are too good to ignore. He puts it on and they settle in.

Thirty minutes later Keith is laughing, both at the movie and at Shiro’s running commentary. It’s… fun. Strange to be having so much fun with so little effort. Before, at the Garrison, they’d spent plenty of evenings like this, just hanging out. Now Keith experiences it as a strange novelty. He’s aware so acutely then of exactly how much he has been working. Enough to find himself a little squirmy from just a few hours of non-productivity.

He doesn’t like it. He’s ambitious for sure, he cares a lot about the universe and about rebuilding now in a time of peace, but he never wanted to be a workaholic. He never wanted to sacrifice himself wholly to a job. He’d seen Shiro headed that direction before Kerberos, and had worried about it, about how it would break him down.

Keith doesn’t want it for either of them.

Huh.

“Oh they’re going to drink the w-bhu! No don’t do it!” Shiro cries out at the screen. Keith’s eyes flicker to him, and his grin is wide, crinkling the corners of his eyes as he watches. It makes Keith smile in return.

No, he doesn’t want it just to be work for either of them.

##

After the first movie, they break to just chat. It’s not a spoken thing, the screen just lapses into darkness as they talk. They’re shoulder to shoulder by then, having somehow scooted closer over time, and Keith doesn’t really want to move. He stares up at the soft shadows cast on the sheets by the string lights, listening to Shiro tell an amusing story, and just… lets himself be.

It’s easy in the end. It’s Shiro, so their conversation winds round and round, without effort. Talk about the movie becomes talk about the actors, their planet, their society. There are things they could surely look up on the datapad, but it’s kind of more fun to speculate. They discuss the strangeness of some alien societies, how strange humans must be to them in return.

But then how similar too. How they could watch an alien romcom, and still understand a lot of the jokes, understand the plot and themes, how similarly a story is constructed even in societies completely estranged from their own. There’s something nice about that, how different and how the same.

“It’s like you and me,” Shiro says. “I know in the beginning you didn’t think so, but when I saw you ace those flight scores, then heard how that teacher talked about you… I just knew we were the same. But different? Uh. I’m not explaining it well.”

“I get it,” Keith says. “And you’re right. I remember resenting you at first until I got it. The whole Golden Boy thing.” Shiro scoffs. “I know, but you know how they put you in this box. I would ignore what you said back then because I just thought, oh he doesn’t get it. He’s nothing like me.”

“What changed your mind?” Shiro rolls onto his side to look at Keith.

Keith mirrors it, trying not to think of how close they are, how close it all feels inside this tented place. “Admiral Fritz.” Shiro makes a face of disgust, that face, tongue poking out and everything, and Keith laughs. “Yes! Exactly! It was that propaganda pep rally—“

“It wasn’t a pep—“

“It was,” Keith says. “And you were seated up front in this super important position, and Admiral Fritz started spewing all that trash about—“

Shiro groans, pained. “Please don’t remind me.”

Keith grins. “Yeah. And mid speech I look over and you’re making the most disgusted face. I don’t even think you knew you were doing it because everyone could easily see you, and it was just so funny. So not The Golden Boy. You were just some guy, just as disgusted as me by some of the Garrison stuff, and it was just refreshing. A room full of stiffs, but I looked at you and you’re practically gagging.”

Shiro laughs. “He was the worst!”

“He was. Whatever happened to him?”

“Hopefully early retirement,” Shiro says lowly.

“Ugh,” Keith says. “Why are we even still working with the Garrison?”

“Waiting for better offers?”

Keith flops back onto his back. “Are we? We’re not just going to keep doing this forever are we?”

“What would you want to do instead?”

That gives Keith pause. He can still feel Shiro’s eyes on him, but he keeps his own on the tent top. “I dunno. I didn’t really think past finishing the Garrison, getting to pilot. I didn’t think past anything during the war.”

“And now?”

“I guess I’d like to think about something else. There’s a whole universe, I don’t know…”

“Can I make a request?”

Keith turns his head to look at Shiro, his expression softened by the low lighting. He’s close enough that if Keith leaned up—

“Hm?”

“Include me,” Shiro says. “I don’t know either, but I don’t want to stay here.”

Keith knows he only wishes there was an unspoken without you, at the end of that, but it still aches through him nonetheless. The idea of leaving also suddenly feels so possible. Shiro would come with if Keith left. He even actively wants to. It tears down a barrier Keith hadn’t even gotten to yet. The fantasy of it sprawls out instead, him and Shiro flying through the stars, maybe helping the Blades or distant star systems. Maybe just exploring…

It unfolds into infinite possibilities that Keith feels like soap bubbles full of joy inside his chest.

“Okay,” he says. “I will.”

Shiro’s smile is radiant, almost difficult to look at. “Good. Now, how about some lunch, and then we’ll start another movie?”

Keith nods, almost grateful for the change in topic. They’re too close, and it’s all too much. The possibility and hope are crowding in with them, and Keith doesn’t know how he’s supposed to hold on to objective reality. But then Shiro gets up and leaves the tent, taking some of that sunshine fizzle with him. Keith takes a long, deep breath.

He’s so, so doomed.

“Grilled cheese okay?” Shiro calls.

“Sure.”

Shiro starts rustling around in the kitchen and Keith just works on relaxing. He’s still thrumming with that Do Something energy, but now it’s mixed in with a happier, excited sort of energy. He lets himself feel it in his body, a quivering urge to get up and make something happen.

Keith could, in a universe where he was braver. He imagines himself getting up, going to the kitchen. Shiro would be focused on the stove, he can just hear the butter beginning to sizzle in the pan. It would so easy just to walk up, to slide his arms around Shiro’s waist. Keith could hook his chin over Shiro’s shoulders and say, hey, lets not wait. If neither of us want to be here at the Garrison, why are we? Lets run away to the stars.

And Shiro would smile and say something responsible. But Keith we have meetings. Projects we’re both in the middle of.

So?  Keith would squeeze Shiro, press his lips to Shiro’s shoulder. Accidental or intention, Keith would offer both just to see what Shiro would do.

Keith. It’s soft, questioning. Keith’s heart leaps at the possibility. He nuzzles Shiro’s shoulder and—

“Fuck!”

It’s Shiro who shouts, but Keith gasps at a sudden, viscous pain in his left hand. He ignores it, scrambling up and out of the tent. Kosmo follows, ears up and alert.

“Shiro? You okay?”

Shiro is in the kitchen, face pinched in pain, looking at his hand.

“Ah, yeah. Just burned myself.” He walks to the sink and turns the water on, putting his hand under. Keith gets up, ignoring the way pain throbs through him.

“How bad?” The stove is still on, butter sizzling away. Keith turns the heat off on his way past to Shiro.

“S’fine,” Shiro says. “Hurts worse than it is.”

Keith takes his hand out of the spray anyway to look. There’s a red line already blooming just on the back of Shiro’s thumb from the edge of the frying pan. Keith tilts his hand, scrutinizing it to make sure it doesn’t require more aggressive treatment—

And that’s when his eye catches on his own hand. His hand that is radiating a burn like pain in the exact same place.

It’s…

Keith steps back, letting go. “Where’s your first aid kit?”

Shiro directs him, and Keith goes. As he does, his mind keeps circling an inkling of an idea. An impossible idea. It can’t— it’s too— and yet Keith’s hand burns.

In the first aid kit he finds the burn gel, and brings it back to the kitchen. Shiro dries his hand and offers it up. Keith takes a breath, and then squeezes out some of the gel onto the burn.

“So grateful for Galra medicine,” Shiro sighs out a moment later. Keith rubs it over the redness, knowing how fast acting it is. He tries not to notice how immediate the relief of his own pain is. How suddenly his hand is no longer throbbing.

Keith drops the gel and steps back. In his head, a dozen little impossible things are slotting into place. It feels shocking, impossible.

And yet not the most impossible thing that’s ever happened to him.

“Keith?”

Keith bumps the counter. He knows he’s acting strange, standing there wide-eyed and gaping. He can’t help it. They— he— but—

But it’s hard to deny then. The coincidence too large. Keith’s used to looking at the details, picking out the smallest clues that could mean friend or foe, life or death. Now his mind is racing, snapping all those things he’d seen but not understood together. Because he’d felt Shiro’s pain. Felt it.

And his relief of it.

“Keith, what’s wrong?”

The words won’t come. Keith raises his arm instead, his left one, and reaches with his other hand to pinch the more tender skin of his forearm. He pinches hard, and gets a clear sting of pain. He watches Shiro’s arm twitch, the man pulling his hand up instantly to inquire at the source of the pain on himself.

The conclusion ripples between them then. Shiro looks at his arm, then at Keith’s, then at Keith’s face. His own expression is shock.

“W-what?”

“I felt your burn,” Keith blurts. He turns his hand over to indicate just where Shiro was burned. “I felt the pain.” Keith reaches up and grabs his hair, he tugs it hard to get a jolt of pain.

“Ow! Hey! Stop!” Shiro steps forward, but then stops. Keith lets go of his hair.

“I can feel your pain,” Keith says. "You can feel mine."

Shiro still looks flabbergasted. “Uh. Okay. Um. Can we… sit? I need to sit down.”

That’s fair, Keith also feels markedly wrong-footed. They leave the kitchen and end up back in the living room. With the setup, the couch isn’t useable, so they crawl back inside the tent and sit in the nest of blankets.

“Okay,” Shiro says after a moment. “So I can feel your pain, and you can feel mine.”

“Seems like it.”

“How?”

That’s a good question. Keith casts his mind back, but there’s been nothing recently that could account for it. Instead he tries to think about the sensations, about the pain he’s been experiencing that he didn’t have a reason for.

“I don’t know. I’ve been…” The realization is there suddenly and it’s awful to know. “My pain in sparring, it’s your pain.”

Shiro frowns. “What?”

Keith laughs, but it’s a bitter thing. “I’ve been having so much pain when we spar, but nowhere else. Because it wasn’t me. It was you.” There’s a dawning horror in his voice. “Shiro what the fuck?!” Keith had barely been able to stand at points of their sparring, but Shiro hadn’t even seemed tired. “Does it feel like that for you every time?”

“I— what?”

Fucking stars Shiro, why aren’t you getting treatment?”

“It’s… not that bad.”

Keith scoffs. “I felt it. I could barely keep on my feet Shiro. Fuck!” Keith crawls forward without thinking, hand going gently to Shiro’s shoulder where the port connects. “I feel this all the time. My shoulder’s been aching for weeks.”

“I don’t—“ Shiro looks so lost, so horrified by what Keith’s saying.

“You don’t even notice.” The answer is obvious as it falls form Keith’s mouth. It’s obvious and awful. “You’re in so much pain and you’re just used to it.”

Shiro’s eyes flicker away then, and Keith doesn’t blame him. “I’m sorry you’re hurting,” Shiro says eventually.

Keith shakes his head. He draws Shiro’s eyes back to him with fingertips under Shiro’s chin. “It’s fine. I’m more concerned about you.” He pauses, another memory coming back. “And of course that second massage made me feel better because it was you who actually needed it.”

Shiro flushes. “Ah.” Then his eyes narrow. “Wait. What about you?”

“What about me?”

“I’ve been… everything’s been really intense? Sounds and smells and touch. I thought it was something with this new body.”

“What?”

“That’s you, isn’t it?” Shiro asks, “You’re… it’s like that for you?”

It’s Keith’s turn to frown. “Oh. Uh. I don’t know? I mean, how would I know?”

Shiro nods. “Yeah. Yeah. Wow.”

“Wow.”

They sit there for a beat just looking at each other.

“So not just pain then?” Keith asks. There’s something else, something his brain is pulling forth. “Because the massage felt good to me too. And… you can sense me? Or like adapt the way I feel things?” He remembers then the spicy food, the spicy food he almost couldn’t stand to eat. “Fuck, the food.”

Shiro turns to look at the kitchen, “Oh the stove, I—“

Before he can get up, Keith grabs his metal hand. “No. I turned off the stove. Not that. The spicy food. I could barely eat it, it burned so much.”

“Oh. Oh.” Shiro laughs. “So I guess sensation both ways huh, I’ve got no stomach for the spice.”

Keith snorts. “No kidding, wow.”

“So what you’re saying is…” Shiro reaches over then and slides his metal hand through the side of Keith’s hair. It’s a soft kind of raking against his scalp, and sends a sparkle of pleasure right down Keith’s spine. “Oh,” Shiro says in a breath.

Keith feels his cheeks flush just from that much. “Did you feel that?”

“Yeah. It’s faint. I was paying attention though, so I could notice it? Pain is louder, I think that’s why we noticed that first.”

Keith reaches over and does the same to Shiro, running his blunt nails up the back of his undercut, scratching at the shorn hair. He watches Shiro’s lashes flutter and then… yes, an echo of sensation in his own body. It’s smaller, and Keith only catches it because he’s looking for it.

“So the more intense, the more it comes across?” Keith asks.

“Please no more experiments involving pain,” Shiro says at once.

But that’s not where Keith’s mind was going. They’re nearly in each other’s laps in the tent, hands on each other’s shoulders where they’ve fallen, and Keith’s mind goes immediately to a different kind of intensity. The kind they shared during the massage—

That thought from before appears then, fully formed. The fantasies. The fantasies he’s been having recently with intense, indulgent orgasms. If they’re sharing sensations somehow, if they have been for weeks or longer—

Keith’s heart kicks up in his chest. He remembers every one of them, how real Shiro had felt, how all-encompassing the pleasure had been.

Have they…?

He doesn’t want to think it, let alone say it. Shiro’s blinking at him though in question, so Keith knows his face must be doing something.

“Why did you burn your hand?” Keith asks.

“What? It was an accident, wasn’t paying attention.”

“Were you… feeling anything? Before that?”

Shiro leans back instantly, taking his hands back, creating space. “I was thinking about lunch.”

It’s a lie. Shiro doesn’t lie often, and especially not to Keith, but Keith sees it so clearly as it comes out of his mouth. He doesn’t meet Keith’s gaze.

“I wasn’t.” Keith says. Shiro’s eyes snap to him. "I wasn't thinking about lunch."

He sees it dawn, can practically feel the weight of it between them.

“I wasn’t either,” Shiro confesses. “I was thinking about you.”

They’re staring at each other, riveted. “I was thinking about walking into the kitchen,” Keith says.

“You said, lets run away,” Shiro says.

Keith swallows hard. “And you said, but Keith we have meetings.”

There’s a long moment, full of every possible thing, every outcome. It’s nearly choking.

“That’s… not a sensation,” Shiro says.

“No.”

“That’s… we… fuck.”

Keith knows Shiro means it as a curse, but it’s so apropos he can’t help the startled laugh.  

“We did. Fuck.”

Shiro looks shocked, then embarrassed. There’s a flush on his cheeks, but the eyes that meet Keith’s are dark. There’s as shift in the mood.  

“And that was… okay?” The distance between them is shrinking, has shrunk while Keith wasn’t noticing. No longer is Shiro leaned away, but curled forward. Keith’s heart pounds in his chest. There’s suddenly not enough air, not enough words.

“Okay. Good. Amazing.”

“Amazing,” Shiro says. "Oh." It’s a full lean now, one that causes Keith to tilt back, to steady his weight on a hand behind him. Shiro’s so close. “We should definitely… ask Allura about this.”

“Yeah. Right away,” Keith licks his lips, watches as Shiro’s eyes dip to the motion.

“Uh huh.” Shiro’s hand lands on Keith’s knee, and it feels like a brand. “Definitely shouldn’t waste time…”

“Shouldn’t…” Keith trails off. Shiro’s mouth is so close now, just the barest bit of space. The anticipation is a live wire between them. “Maybe... we should test it?”

Shiro’s nose nudges Keith’s. His heart skips. “Oh?”

The word is so soft, practically against Keith’s lips. Everything in him feels hot, tuned toward Shiro. Keith can feel it so clearly then, how different this arousal is, how much more it is.

Because some of it is Shiro’s.

Keith’s lips part to speak the name, to demand or plea or something, but before the sound can culminate, Shiro leans in and the space between them vanishes. Shiro kisses him.

 

 

>>>>>> <<<<<<

 

 

Shiro would say it’s like an explosion, but there’s no outward motion, there’s no gap between combustion and sensation. When Shiro’s lips meet Keith’s there’s just… pleasure. It’s an inward pull, the same inward pull that’s had him since he started to understand what Keith was saying. That all the feelings he’s had, the fantasies…

Those had been real. They’d been real, he and Keith had—

Even just the thought of it gets to him. He’d known what the fantasy was in the kitchen, what it had been about. He’d been making lunch and his mind had wandered. He’d had a sudden imagining of Keith wrapping arms around his middle, finally breaching the barrier between them in the most careful way possible. Offering Shiro a future together, an offer to run away together. A plausible deniability if that’s not what he wanted.

Shiro did want. He wanted so much.

But it wasn’t just a fantasy, he knows that now. In the kitchen, that had been Keith’s thoughts too. A strange combination of their thoughts. A conversation had, but unspoken.

It's dizzying to think on, almost impossible for him to believe. It feels too good to be true.

This kiss though, this kiss is real. Tangible. Undeniable.

Shiro kisses him and kisses him, letting himself fall into the shared sensation of it. It's the same shade of pleasure it’s been for weeks, an intensity of arousal Shiro hasn’t been able to find reason for. Now he knows. He knows that it's this intense because of Keith, because of both of them sharing in it.

He leans further into Keith, curling a hand over the back of Keith’s head to lower him down into the sheets. Keith goes easy, hand even grabbing at Shiro’s shirt to keep their lips together. As if Shiro would stop. As if he could.

It’s heady, feeling that much pleasure, knowing it’s reciprocal. There’s a surety of it, of being able to feel Keith’s desire directly, to know just how much he wants it. Keith’s mouth opens as Shiro licks in, and he feels the reverberation of that, of how it feels for Keith.

Intense. Always so intense.

Good though, so good.

He descends on Keith, hand sliding into his hair as he kisses him deep. Keith’s knees come up to his hips, making space for Shiro. The kisses are waves, a push and pull of pleasure Shiro feels through his whole body. It gets louder in his head as they kiss, and Shiro lets himself sink in, tunes into that, into Keith.

His body grows clumsier in return. It feels stranger, unwieldy. He would cast it aside completely, except that with every kiss it makes the feeling in his body exponential.

“Shi—“ Keith’s voice is soft when they break to breathe. Shiro pulls back just enough to take him in, tousled and gorgeous. His hair is splayed across some of the twinkling lights that line the tent, and it looks like a star field. Shiro is struck by the image, struck by the intensity of his desire, his love.

He wanted this weekend for Keith, as a gift or a balm to how hard Keith’s been working. He’d wanted to show Keith just how much he cared, how much Keith was loved, but he hadn’t ever dared to dream something like this.

Oh,” Keith’s voice is soft. Shiro gazes down at him, unable to look away. “You love me?”

“Yes.” There’s nothing else to say. Even without this sensation sharing Shiro thinks it would be painfully clear. The sparkle of Keith’s surprise in the back of Shiro’s head though is almost funny. “Keith, I made you a blanket fort.”

Keith turns his head again, as if taking it in for the first time. “I thought it was platonic.”

Shiro can’t fault him there. Shiro had mostly platonic intentions. It had been about care. He hadn’t done it trying to woo Keith. Looking at it now though sheds new light even for him. Shiro bends to hide his face in Keith’s neck. “Oh stars, so did I.”

Keith’s arms wrap around him, and they both laugh. It feels ridiculous, bubbly across the link.

“I love you too, just for the record,” Keith whispers into his ear.

Shiro knows it’s true, has felt it to be true, but hearing the words is different. He pulls back just enough to kiss Keith again, deep and searing.

 

>>>>> <<<<<

 

The next kiss is harder, hungry. It’s a pour of lava directly into Keith’s veins. It reminds him of the far less innocent fantasies, the ones that had Keith squirming in his sheets.

A burst of want knocks into him. Shiro’s want. It’s easier, this close and paying attention, to pick out what is his and what is Shiro’s. Shiro’s leaning into him, both literally and… sensationally. Keith can feel him press in, and he welcomes it. Shiro’s a softening presence. It must be true that Keith experiences things more intensely, because as Shiro pours into him, there’s a dulling. Not that he dampens Keith’s pleasure, but instead he takes the spines out somehow. Keith doesn’t feel as though he’s too near an edge and about to crash painfully. He feels… safe.

So he lets Shiro. He opens, in some intangible way, and lets Shiro in. Lets him sooth and stoke in the same hand. They move into each other’s space in every possible way. Shiro’s weight settles more completely on him and they both gasp as their hips come together. There’s too much clothing, but Keith gets twin sensations of Shiro’s arousal, the hardness in his pants and the building desire in his head.

“Keith,” Shiro says against his lips. Want to…

An image presses in then, a gauzy, lewd image of Keith, spread out and nude. It’s… a little inaccurate, physically, which is what really cues Keith in that it’s not from his own head. It’s Shiro’s. Shiro’s imaginings of them.

And that’s—

Wow.

“Yes,” Keith says immediately. He closes his eyes just a moment and tries to return the same, conjuring this time a memory of himself in bed, touching himself to thoughts of Shiro. He focuses and tries to project it at Shiro.

Shiro curses, his metal hand sliding up under Keith’s shirt, touching Keith’s skin as if he needs something to ground him. “Keith… how?”

“I don’t know. I don’t know, but I want… too.” Shiro meets his eyes. Keith’s never seen such hunger on his face. He likes it. “Do you?”

Shiro leans and kisses the answer into his mouth.

Then it’s a little of a frenzy. Shiro tugs up Keith’s shirt, and they part just enough to pull it over his head. Before Shiro can snag another kiss, Keith lifts the hem of Shiro’s shirt. It goes as well, and then when Shiro returns, his kisses land on Keith's throat in sucking bites that have Keith immediately crying out. His thighs tighten around Shiro’s hips, and he rolls his body up, seeking friction.

“Fuck, you feel…”

Keith can’t describe it, but he’s beginning to sense that it’s a closed circuit. When Shiro sucks at the sensitive skin, the feeling runs through him and then into Shiro and back. Keith feels it like waves in a pool, ripping out and out and causing more as they crest into each other. He thinks ardently then of them both naked, all their skin pressed together. Of how good that would feel, how much he’s always wanted it.

Shiro bites hard at the juncture of his neck. “You’re going to kill me with that,” Shiro groans.

Keith’s nails scrape up the back of Shiro’s neck. “No dying yet Shirogane, not until we see how it feels to have sex like this.”

And then Shiro’s hands are sliding down his body, undoing the button. “You want…?”

Keith knocks a knee into Shiro’s side. “You know I do, can’t you feel it?”

“Yeah,” Shiro’s head comes up, and he touches his forehead to Keith’s. “It’s just… it’s you. I want to do it right.”

Keith kisses him and then, “It’s you, there’s no wrong way it could be.”

 

>>>> <<<<

 

Shiro’s heart is thumping hard. Everything is… so much. He can feel Keith and smell him and practically hear the thrum of his body beneath Shiro’s. When he kisses down Keith’s throat the taste is more, so much more than just skin. He gets it now, the bleed of Keith’s mind into his. He can see the jagged lines of it as he sinks himself in. It’s so much, but it’s all Keith and that makes it perfect. It means he can appreciate this moment so much more, and for that Shiro is grateful.

“I love you,” he says, just because he can, just because he has to with all that Keith is giving him. Keith’s returning smile is so sweet.

“And I love you. Now can we get naked?”

It startles a laugh out of Shiro. “Anything you want, baby.”

There’s a quivering of pleasantness that Shiro feels at that, Keith’s own pleasure at the word. Keith likes it. Likes being called that. Shiro smiles and undoes the zip on Keith’s pants. They have to part then to fumble with the tight clothing, but it only takes a few seconds to jointly get Keith's pants off. At the eyebrow raise from Keith, Shiro shucks his own.

It’s… strange. Stranger when they’re pulled apart. Shiro still feels Keith, feels him so presently, as if they’re still tucked against one another. And stranger still to kick off his pants and underwear and feel a pour of heat into him that has sharp edges. When he turns back to look at Keith, reclined in the sheets, Keith is looking at him appreciatingly.

Shiro does his own looking in turn. Keith’s slender but strong, absolutely stunning in the low light. He’s seen most parts of Keith before via the gym and showers and just close quarters, but now he’s actually allowed to look. Allowed to drink in the taut muscles, the trail of hair down his belly, the trio of freckles against his rib cage. Shiro memorizes it all in this moment, and then his eyes drift down to Keith’s cock. It’s hard and curved a little to the right, lying against Keith’s belly. Shiro wants.

He crawls over Keith, drawn by that half smile, by the way his hair spreads back against the sheets as Keith reclines down. This time when Keith’s legs come up around his hips it’s skin against skin. There’s a shock of it between them.

“Better?” Shiro can’t help asking. He holds himself up on the prosthetic and uses his other hand to cup Keith’s face. Keith gazes up at him and Shiro knows he must look utterly besotted.

“Yeah,” Keith says, and then pulls him in.

They kiss, and it’s lush. The warmth pools between them, in turns comforting and exciting. Shiro comes down onto his elbow, hips meeting Keith’s once more.

They sigh into the next kiss. What do you want?  Shiro tries to push that at Keith. He doesn’t know how this thing between them works, but if he could do it accidentally, then surely he can do it intentionally.

Just this, comes Keith’s reply. Just want to feel you.

And that’s easy enough. Shiro’s hand slides back into Keith’s hair, then trails down. As they kiss he caresses down Keith’s throat to his chest. Keith’s hands in return start at his neck and then map down his back. Keith uses a firmer hand, dragging deep lines of sensation while Shiro is just grazing. Shiro decides to copy him. Down Keith’s side he tries a heavier hand, ending with blunt nails at Keith’s hipbone.

In his head he feels the spike of pleasure, and in his body he feels Keith arch into him, a half-caught cry on his lips.

Good?

Fuck—

So Shiro goes for the kill then, hand sliding in, wrapping around Keith’s cock in the space left between them. He wraps around the plummy head and—

 

>>> <<<

 

Keith moans, loud and wanton. He knows his tooth grazes Shiro’s lip, but he can’t help it, the way their pleasure is wrapping around each other is pulling him apart entirely too fast. Shiro’s hand is just resting on his cock, hasn’t really done anything, but he can hear the staggered breathing from Shiro, can feel the way that Keith’s sensations are knocking into him too.

“Shiro,” It’s the only word he has, everything else in his head is a sudden tangle.

Yeah. Yeah. Wow. You’re so sensitive.”

A finger rubs just beneath Keith’s cockhead, and they both shudder. Keith gets a hand on Shiro’s hip, claws scraping. He wants more and less and—

Shiro shifts, head tucking in beside Keith’s. Keith blinks his eyes open, seeing the tent above, the soft smear of shadows and lights. A gentle kiss is pressed to his ear. Shiro’s hand unwinds and his hips move to—

Keith tilts his head to look, catching just a glimpse of their cocks being pushed together. It’s an image that will stay with him, one that’s already passing between them. Shiro huffs a breath against his ear, and sends a minds-image back that’s so lewd Keith’s heart skips. He closes his eye just to see it again, their cockheads slippery with precome, rubbing against each other. They’re drippy, flushed, ready to burst. The fantasy comes with Shiro’s dark and heady pleasure, how hot he finds it to rub himself off like this against Keith.

Then Shiro wraps his hand around both of their cocks. “You like that?” He whispers.

Keith’s nails scrape helplessly across Shiro’s ass.

“Yeah,” it’s more breath than words.

Shiro strokes them both, root to tip, a little too soft to be helpful, more of a tease than anything else. Still, when he gets to the tips he massages them together, gathering the precome there to make it slick. Keith can feel it, his own and Shiro’s pleasure all twined together. It’s sublime.

They move together like that, tangled but in sync. Keith’s body is a burn he can’t seem to stop as Shiro begins to stroke them with a little more pressure. There’s a slickening, a, fuck, you’re so wet, thought from Shiro. Keith bites at his lip, and on the next stroke Shiro twists his hand at the tip.

Keith moans at how good it feels. He can barely think about his body, but it’s taught, arched to press more fully against Shiro.

All the pain of sharing Shiro’s mind is gone now, all there is left is the wondrous pleasure. Shiro’s love and awe and arousal are quickly drowning Keith, but he doesn’t mind. He stays open, lets himself get lost in the pour of Shiro into him. It’s like nothing else has ever been, and he doesn’t want to miss a second of it.

He’s always wanted to be closer to Shiro, and now he is, as close as they were in Black’s consciousness. Closer. Keith gasps at the next stroke and the next. It’s like a direct stoking, not just of his flesh but of him. Shiro wants his pleasure, loves it. Keith can feel it so clearly.

You feel so, Keith pushes at him. There’s no words after that, just a burst of whatever the feeling is that’s blooming inside him.

>> <<

Shiro strokes faster, trying to hold on to something tangible in the blurry mess between them. He feels so clumsy in his own body, the majority of his attention is pulled into just how Keith feels. Intense, so intense.

But good too. Shiro can hardly stand it. It’s like he’s… inside Keith. A part of him. He can feel the vastness, the heat of him. He can feel just how ardently Keith feels about him. It’s…

Everything. Keith is absolutely everything.

They’re winding up toward something. It feels paltry to say orgasm, it feels larger than that, more significant. He can feel how Keith is, how his moans come from deep inside, from the sparkle of feeling running through his nerves. It’s as though Shiro can almost see it even as his eyes are closed, breathing ragged against Keith’s ear. Keith is an electrical map just aflame in color and energy moving against him. His sounds taste sweet and then sharp, there’s a slice of copper from Keith biting his own lip that Shiro feels. His cock against Shiro’s is dripping, and Shiro’s hand glides on them. It’s so hot, having Keith like this, having him moan and fuck up against him.

And then Keith says, you feel so… and something knocks hard into Shiro with an explosive dazzle of fire and pleasure. Shiro fumbles, almost loses all control of his body as he shivers through it. It’s Keith’s, Keith’s pleasure all compressed and pushed into him. An intangible thing, but Shiro still feels it like a stone in his belly. His cock’s never been harder.

He does the only thing that feels right. He gathers it up, stroking their cocks faster. He imagines it in his mind as a bundle, and folds in his own pleasure. He folds in how perfect Keith feels beneath him, how gorgeous and talented and amazing he is. How much Shiro loves him, has always loved him.

Then Shiro takes it and pushes back at Keith.

> <

Keith shudders at what comes back to him. It’s his pleasure, but more. Compounded with thoughts and images that run through him too fast to pull apart and inspect. His legs shake from the intensity of it, and he digs his claws into Shiro. He feels unmoored from his body in a strange way, but safe within Shiro. He’s losing himself, but it’s not scary, it’s thrilling.

Come on baby, Shiro says. His hand is still wrapped around their cocks, but Keith can barely feel it now. Or he can feel it, but it’s so much smaller than the thing happening intangibly between them. So much less important.

Keith gathers up the thing Shiro's pressed into him, and he rolls in just how good it feels to be here, finally, with Shiro. How Shiro makes him feel, a confusion of burning passion and calm placidity. Alive in a way that nothing else even in the far reaches of the universe has ever done.

It’s just Shiro for him. Always. Endlessly.

He pushes it back and—

<> 

It’s like a sudden slip underwater. Feet on steady ground, then gone. Tumbling. Breath and then a plunge. Blistering heat.

Fuck.

Sh—

He moves, presses up. They roll. A blind flurry of hands, mouths.

The thing turns end over end. He tastes salt, sweet, electricity. They rut against each other hard, desperate. Wet. Filthy.

We—

—yeah.

There’s no push, no pull, it spins. Pleasure grows, gaining mass, gravity. Kisses sloppy, tongue and slick, teeth clatter.

Cocks fucking through the tight ring of his hand. Needy, cresting.

He moans, groans. Consonants stutter and fall to pieces.

Expand and expand, slick sounds of lips and frot.

He whines, desperate. Needing the end, needing the cliff of the endless build. Plea— need—

Baby.

Then—

It pulls in. Implosion like a collapsing star. Tumble helpless over the horizon, pleasure smattering and infinite. Endlessly. Consuming.

Heavy panted cries, heat and sticky spill. Come across bellies. Hand. 

He tries to breathe. It's flattened and buzzing in pleaure. A burn down to the core, ash and smoke. He breathes against sheets, sweaty, disembodied.

There is nothing. There is everything.

Love. Thick, pouring like honey. Dripping cream.

Then—

A slow unpeeling. Tide receding in languid bliss, washing out and out.

Lovely sigh. Soft night. Warmth.

Drift.

 

##

 

Shiro becomes aware of his body in stages. The lungs are first, then the ache in his hand. He becomes aware of the weight of a body on top of his. He blinks his eyes open, his vision swimming before it settles.

He’s on his back, the tent above, and Keith is collapsed on him, head tucked into Shiro’s neck. Keith’s breathing is soft, his skin is damp with sweat and—

It all comes filing back into Shiro’s head. A lot of it doesn’t make any more sense than when he was experiencing it. Especially the parts toward the end.

“Sh’ro?” Keith’s voice is grated. Shiro hums in the response. “Wha' was that?”

“I think it was sex,” Shiro’s own voice sounds rough too.

Keith snorts. He pushes up then onto his forearms and looks down at Shiro. His hair is an absolute riot, his mouth is red and swollen, but his cheeks are ravishingly pink. “I think it was m—“

“I love you,” Shiro blurts.

Keith’s face bursts into a radiant smile. “I love you too." There's a beat of silence, of Keith's mind working. Shiro can see it so clearly. "Um. And not to kill the afterglow, but we should definitely ask Allura about that…”

Leave it to Keith to cut straight to the issue at hand. Not that Shiro blames him. What just happened was… something. A wonderful, amazing, spectacular something, but still a very un-human something all the same. It requires answers before anything else. Probably it required an answer before they.. did that. But.

Well they've always been a touch more reckless than other people.

Shiro nods. “I can send her a message, see if she’s free?”

Keith pushes up off of him, and their sticky bellies come apart with a very lewd sound. “Yeah. Send her a message, then join me in the shower, okay?”

Keith gets up, turning to leave the tent, and Shiro can’t help how his eyes trail down Keith’s lean figure, catch on his ass. When he disappears from view then there’s only Kosmo standing at the entrance of the tent, staring.

It’s by far the most offended look that the wolf has ever given him, and it startles a laugh out of Shiro. 

“Hope you weren’t there the whole time,” Shiro says with a too cheerful grin. Kosmo snorts and turns away with swish of his tail. Shiro laughs and pushes his own body up, aching from the strenuous workout, to go find one of their datapads.

##

The water feels heavenly on Keith’s skin, and it improves some minutes later when Shiro pulls back and curtain and joins him. The man steps directly up to Keith, wrapping his hands around Keith from behind, dropping a kiss onto Keith’s shoulder.

Keith sighs happily. It’s all too easy to do this now, it doesn’t at all feel too new or skittish. They’re not so mind-wrapped in one another right now, but Shiro still feels close. He feels like Keith’s in a way that Keith can’t articulate. Something so much deeper than some I love yous.

“Send it?”

“Yeah,” Shiro says.

They don’t speak much then. The mood is quiet but content, and Keith just settles into it. They help each other wash, and that too is easy. Relaxing.

When there’s several sounds from the datapad on the bathroom sink, they rinse off and get out. They help each other dry, and then Keith goes and fetches clothes as Shiro deals with whatever Allura sent back. By the time they’re dressed, Allura’s agreed to meet them at one of the medical centers on the base. They go.

Shiro’s explained much of it via text, but they go over it again when they arrive. Allura is there with another Altean who is dressed in a white coat. There’s some physical and mental tests then, some scans. Keith yawns halfway through from just how quickly his energy is dropping. It’s been a day even if it's only now dinnertime.

They end with Allura pouring over a screen that’s compiled all their scans and workup.

“Honestly I can’t see anything amiss. I can feel your energies are… intertwined, true, but there’s nothing physically wrong. And you don’t know when it started?”

They’ve tried to pick at this a few times now, but haven’t managed to come to a conclusion. Keith’s been feeling Shiro’s pain for a long time, and possibly even during the war, he just… didn’t have the space to notice.

“Why would it be getting more intense now?” Shiro asks.

Allura looks from Shiro to Keith and back. “Well if we are considering this similar to your time in Black’s consciousness, and the tethering feels very similar, it could just be a natural progression of your bond. You both piloted Black, both connected with her deeply. You know how the bond with Black grew over time, it could just be that. Also, Shiro, you spent so much time in Black’s consciousness, and I did the best I could to pull you out, but I certainly could have done an imperfect job at it. I could have pulled too much out, pulled a connection with Keith and…” Allura gestures vaguely. “I’m not certain, I’m sorry. I wish I had better answers.”

Keith stands and stretches. “That’s okay, thanks for looking. You think it’ll be fine?” Beside him Shiro stands, hand coming up to just touch the small of Keith’s back. It’s a nice touch, just what Keith wanted without having to ask.

“If it’s not hurting, then I think it’s fine. There’s indeed nothing on any of the tests that shows a negative reaction. If you like I can try to sever it, but I honestly couldn’t guarantee if it would work, or if it would hurt or damage either of you.”

Keith turns to look at Shiro, but he already knows the answer.

“That’s alright,” Shiro says for both of them. “I think we’ll just let it be for now.”

“Apologies I couldn’t give you more.”

Shiro shakes his head. “That was enough. Thank you. We’ll let you know if anything changes.”

They bid Allura good evening, and then Shiro guides them back to his apartment. Keith goes by the guiding hand, exhaustion growing by the second.

By unspoken agreement, they crawl into the pillow fort once again, shedding clothing as they go. Keith keeps his underwear on, but pulls the rest off as he flops into the sheets. Shiro when he lays down beside Keith is likewise dressed. They’re both on their sides facing one another.

“How’re you feeling baby?” Shiro says then, tucking a lock of hair behind Keith’s ear.

Keith blinks at him sleepily, already his eyes are drifting closed, body taking the cue from his reclined position. “Good. Sleepy…”

“You should sleep then. And when you wake up we'll have dinner.”

Something pops into Keith’s head then. He forces his eyes open, reaching a hand out to poke at Shiro’s shoulder. “Don’t think I’ve forgotten about you and your shoulder Mr. Pain-What-Pain.” Keith does his best approximation of a glare as he forces himself to stay awake a few seconds longer. “We’re gonna talk about that. All of that. Can’t be… you gotta treat yourself better Sh…”

A heavy hand slides over his hair. “Of course,” Shiro says, voice a low whisper. “And we’ll talk about your sensory issues that you are clearly not addressing.”

Keith tries to huff at that, but it’s more of a sleepy sigh.

“But sleep now love. I’ll be here when you wake.”

Keith tries to say something, anything, but the soothing feel of a hand petting at him just lulls him right down and into sleep.

##

Shiro can tell the moment that Keith slips off. There’s a quieting in the back of his head, a settling of the buzzy energy that he now recognizes as Keith. It’s almost silly, but Shiro misses it as it goes dormant.

There will be much to discuss when Keith wakes, but it doesn’t worry Shiro. He feels strangely comfortable with everything that’s happened. Shiro had felt his feelings, had felt Keith's heart. It had been something beyond language, something without expectation or pretense.

In the end it was perfectly them. Keith’s always been the exception to all Shiro’s rules, the person who fit so easily into his life as though he’d always been there.

This was just another step in their strange, miraculous lives.

Shiro watches Keith’s breath slow, the string lights just behind him like a halo of stars. He's so beautiful. So wonderful.

Shiro feels so incredibly lucky in this moment. He's so madly, deeply in love with this man, and Keith feels the same. Lucky.

Time sifts slow as Shiro just watches him sleep. It’s just him and Keith, as it’s always been. As it always will be. He thinks of their earlier discussion, of leaving the Garrison, traveling the stars. He hadn't been able to say earlier, don't go without me, but he knows Keith must have heard it, must have felt it through their connection.

Whatever this connection is, they’ll figure it out together. Shiro knows they will, he's not afraid.

Least of all considering the... perks of such a connection.

Kosmo slinks back into the tent then, and when Shiro turns his head, the wolf is giving him a look of judgement. Shiro grins and slides his arm around Keith’s middle. Keith comes easily, snuggling closer and letting Shiro enfold him. The wolf steps into the warm leftover space on Keith’s other side. They have a wordless conversation of just looks, and then the wolf huffs and settles down.

Shiro presses a kiss into Keith’s hair while pushing a soft bundle of love into Keith’s sleepy mind. There’s a small sound of pleasure as Keith sleeps on, and it makes Shiro smile foolish and lovesick. For some things, there aren’t words.