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Sleepless Nights

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When Keith came to, it wasn’t in the warm embrace of his bedding, buried in the nest of blankets on his barely big enough mattress. No, he wasn’t in bed, but it was warm — too warm. Too.. wet? He shot up.

Keith was sure of one thing: he definitely wasn’t in bed if the sun, the grass, and the slew of tired morning class students was anything to go by. That was where his certainties came to an end. He had absolutely no idea where he was.

He heaved himself up with a sigh, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes and indulging in a stretch before he began the journey back to his dorm. To some, waking up in the quad of a dorm you don’t recognize might be a jarring experience, maybe even a sign of needed intervention, but it was just another Tuesday morning for him — Tuesday? Wednesday? Damn, maybe it was Wednesday.. His sense of time was always screwy after an episode.

Keith was a chronic sleepwalker.

He couldn’t remember when the sleepwalking started, which was usually the case, Keith supposed. Many people found it weird, but sleepwalking was more common than a lot of them realized. Normally, a person would grow out of the habit after puberty, but sleepwalking was seemingly one of the only constants in Keith’s early life.

As if being tossed around the foster system wasn’t enough of a “character building experience” — as countless wack-job therapists so eloquently put it — Keith’s sleepwalking never ceased to make each new foster home an.. ordeal. Some parents dealt with it well and were patient.. the bare minimum requirement of a guardian. That was rare though. Usually, they didn’t take it so well, generally just blaming him for being a nuisance, or intentionally trying to make their lives difficult. Obviously, Keith’s sole mission as a child was to cause as much trouble as possible, and endure the often physical consequences. Obviously.

Nothing had changed much when he got to college, not that he had expected it to. He’d been roomed with some reclusive tech-kid who’d graduated early and was possibly on track to either work for the government or take down the government; Keith wasn’t exactly sure which. Both of them usually stayed cooped up in their dorm, opting out of the traditional college experience of excessive partying and frequent alcohol poisoning. Surprisingly, sometime between bonding over cryptids and enjoying the silent company of each other’s presence, they had grown somewhat of a friendship.

Enough of a friendship at least to where neither of them found it weird trying “Solution to Keith’s Sleepwalking, #54: Full Body Restraint”. It was really more of a weird hobby for the two of them at this point than the method to finding an efficient way for Keith to manage his sleepwalking. After he had found his way back the next morning, they had had a very interesting, very perplexed brainstorm session on how Keith had managed to wriggle his way out of shittily tied TikTok-tutorial bondage.

Keith had finally happened upon his dorm, pulling himself from his idle monologue as he climbed the steps up to the door. Luckily, he hadn’t forgotten to slip his key card into his pants before he went to sleep last night; extensive previous experience had taught him well. Now THAT was character building.

So, while his quirk wasn’t the easiest to deal with, it was manageable.. For the most part. At least, he had never really had or caused a serious injury, he’d never done anything (too) stupid, and he’d never gotten himself in a dangerous situation. Keith really just considered it a weird habit of his. And everyone had weird habits.

Keith unlocked the door to his room, the little bell they hung knocking against the door, and noted the absence of his roommate. He found it odd, considering they didn’t usually have class until later in the day on Wednesdays. He made a noncommittal sound, shirking off sweat and dew damp pajamas, and rifled through his drawers for a fresh pair of underwear and a shirt. He woke his desktop, noting the time. 12:26 PM. Keith froze. He turned to the calendar hanging on the back of the door, realizing that no, it was definitely Tuesday.

If Keith wasn’t in his lecture twenty minutes ago, he was gonna be late for class.

___

Class had ended ten minutes ago — a ballpark estimation on Keith’s part.

Most of the students had left the immediate vicinity, aside from the few scattered about collecting their notes or waiting their turn to discuss some urgent matter with the professor, office hours be damned. Looking down at his own notes, Keith was met with a rather empty sheet of college-rule with only a few random blurbs scribbled across the blue lines.

“space big”
“dont forget. more ramnen”
“math”
“im tired”

Keith yawned, annoyed at the irony, and resigned to putting his things back in his bag.

At least today his semi-conscious scribbles were legible. Too many times had he gone to class after an “eventful” night, only to find the pages he set up for notes filled with meaningless chicken scratch or random sequences of letters. Thankfully, today’s “notes” had been somewhat useful. Space was big, and now he remembered that he’d needed to stop by the campus store for more ramen before heading back to the dorm.

Keith finished packing up and began down the stairs of the lecture hall. The only question now was what kind of ramen to get.. Usually, they bought creamy chicken but he was craving beef lately. They say a person’s taste buds change every seven years and Keith was only 19, but lately the creamy chicken just wasn’t tasting as good as he remembered. Maybe they changed the formula? Maybe he had a nutrient deficiency.. It’s not like ramen was the only thing he ate, but it was pretty prevalent.

Keith leaned into the door, walking out into the dry heat. Maybe he could just order out tonight. Real food might be a nice treat after a long we-

“Earth to Keith, over.”, a familiar voice called out in very close proximity. Keith nearly jumped out of his skin, his thoughts scrambled.

“Woah there, didn’t mean to scare you.. Sorry, haha.” the voice apologized, gentler this time.

Keith turned to face the source.

Leaning against the wall was Takashi Shirogane — Shiro, if you weren’t a complete stranger — his hands held out in an almost nostalgic placating gesture. They were matching today, Shiro in a plain undershirt and black athletic leggings, Keith in a white tee and black jeans. It made Keith feel a way that a common coincidence shouldn’t.

“You’re fine, you didn’t really scare me anyways.” Keith reassured, adjusting the strap on his bag.

“Is that why you nearly leapt over the building?” Shiro teased. Keith felt his ears grow hot.

“You- I didn’t- That's not even possible, the buildings like fifty feet tall.” Keith attempted to argue, his sleep deprived brain supplying a weak defense.

Shiro chuckled, brushing past Keith toward the main sidewalk. “Lets go, we gotta get you walking before you fall asleep standing up.” Keith rubbed at his eyes at mention of his lack of bubbliness.

They began walking in the general direction of the dorms in silence. The desert weather, never one to disappoint, blessed them with a clear blue sky dotted with clouds and a blazing hot sun. It hadn’t taken long for the coolness of the lecture hall to melt away, and for Keith to begin sweating. It didn’t help that he’d forgotten to take his jacket off before heading home either — he was basically baking. Keith stole a jealous glance at the other in his athletic wear.

It looked like Shiro wasn’t completely immune to the heat, if the thin sheen of sweat covering the other was anything to go by. His shirt was becoming transparent in places, the fabric clinging to his body more than at the beginning of their journey. His usually fluffy tuft of white fringe was sticking to his forehead.

Keith mulled over how it was even possible for someone to look that good while being that sweaty.

“So,” Shiro began, breaking the silence. “I can tell you’re gonna need another session this week. You slept through almost the entire lecture this time. Another restless night?” he asked, his voice tinged with concern.

Shiro was acting as a tutor of sorts for Keith — the “of sorts” referring to the credits Shiro was going to gain for his services, and definitely not referring to what really went on in their sessions: Shiro catching Keith up on everything he missed in class while he was asleep. Shiro was studying, in addition to his major, to become a professor. He was already a teacher’s aide, and the credits he would earn from the tutoring he did on the side would go toward his teaching degree. He’d already been offered a job at the university, all he needed was the certification, and Keith was more than happy to assist.

“Yeah.” Keith responded curtly, tacking on a “you could say that.” in his mind.

“Have you been to health services yet? Whatever you’ve got going on seems to be getting worse. I’m getting kind of worried..” the other admitted, brow furrowed.

Shiro was worried about him. Keith didn’t know which emotion to focus on, the fluttery feeling of Shiro’s attention or the guilt over making him worry.

“Nah, it’s nothing too bad. It’s been like this for a while, really, you don’t have to worry about me.” The guilt weighed heavier.

“I’ll probably worry regardless, haha..” Shiro chuckled. The fluttery feeling was putting up a good fight. “I’d probably worry about you less if you at least made an effort to make it to class on time.”

Keith scoffed, smiling. “I overslept, it’s not like I make a conscious effort to miss the classes I need to pass.”

“Yeah, just an unconscious effort, right?” he smiled, bumping into Keith’s shoulder.

Keith snorted at the joke. He’d be lying if he said he agreed to the “tutoring” for purely unselfish reasons — wouldn’t anyone be? Keith enjoyed being around Shiro, almost more than he’d like to or would ever be willing to admit. Being with and talking to him came naturally to Keith, a phenomenon that seldom happened, if ever. Shiro was in his senior year of college now, Keith in his sophomore, and they had met a year ago when Shiro TA’d for one of Keith’s classes.

It was one of the first times Keith had fallen asleep during class, and he was visibly distressed over his lack of notes for one of his major classes. He hadn’t even noticed Shiro coming toward him until he was already there.

“..eep during most of the class. Would you like some help on what you missed?”

Keith jerked around in his seat, startled by the sudden appearance of the stranger standing behind him.

“Ah, sorry I didn’t mean to startle you..” the stranger held his hands up, a display of peace.

Standing before him was one of the most attractive men Keith had ever seen, not that he spent his free time ogling men… that was besides the point though. The man was wearing a fitted purple button-up, tucked into khaki slacks that looked tailor made to fit his body. His face looked vaguely familiar, the scar running across the bridge of his nose triggering a memory, but Keith was sure that he’d never spoken to this man before. At least, not consciously — the thought made him sweat.

“Sorry what did you say? I was kind of.. Spaced out.” Keith apologized, forcing himself to relax so that he didn’t look as frazzled as he felt.

The other man relaxed in response, an easy smile on his face as he put one hand in his pocket and held the other one out toward Keith. “No worries. I’m Shiro, I’m the current TA for this class.”

Keith shook Shiro’s hand, the grip firm but not suffocating, unlike most of his professors. “I’m Keith. I.. attend this class.” he facepalmed mentally. It earned him a chuckle. Keith never knew a chuckle could sound so pleasing.

“Well Keith, I was asking you if you wanted some help catching up on class. I noticed that you had fallen asleep at some point, and I wasn’t sure if you had caught everything that was discussed today.” Shiro explained, putting his other hand in his free pocket.

“Oh, uh..” Keith felt his face heat with embarrassment. It was only day one and he’d already made a fool of himself to someone important. Keith’s mind wandered for a moment, memories of late night student and teacher videos flitting across his mind. His face had surely reached tomato status at this point.

“If not, that’s alright! I offer tutoring on the side so I figured I’d present my services in case you needed some help, but if you’ve got everything sorted out already, there’s no need I suppose..” Shiro trailed off, back-tracking.

“No!” Keith exclaimed, wincing at his volume. He made another attempt, quieter this time. “I mean.. No you’re right. That would be really helpful, actually. Thank you. For offering. Thanks.”

Shiro lit up.

“So, when are you free?” he asked.

No response.

“Keith? You there?” Shiro asked, stepping in front of him and waving a hand in front of his face.

Keith was brought back to the present, his nostalgic flashback fading.

“Sorry, what?” Keith asked, blinking himself back to life.

“Jeez, I should book you a session just to make sure you get some sleep.” Shiro said, his brow furrowed the same way it had been earlier.

Keith ran his hands through his hair and down his face, trying to jostle himself to look a little more alert. “I’m fine, I promise, last night was just a bit rougher than usual.” Shiro looked unconvinced. Keith sighed.

They were coming up to Keith’s dorm now. Swallowing his nerves, Keith decided to take a leap of faith.

“I swear, I actually got enough notes from today’s lecture so.. give the spot to someone who actually needs it.” he lied. “But I was wondering if you were free sometime else this week?”

“Oh? Was there something else you wanted to go over? I knew you still looked confused last session, but you told me everything was-” Shiro rambled before Keith cut him off, his resolution steeled.

“No, not that. I was wondering if you maybe wanted to hang out or something? We could get coffee or lunch or something. Or just.. Hang out, I don’t know, whatever sounds good.” Keith was sweating for an entirely different reason now.

Shiro processed the words for a moment, his eyes widening and his brow raising in realization. “Oh. Oh.” The other’s face flushed a shade of peach. Keith felt his own temperature rise. “Um.. I... don’t know about that. I’d have to check my schedule. Between tutoring, TA duties, midterms are coming up, I’ve got people booking emergency sessions left and right.. I’ll get back to you on that, yeah?” he replied, shooting Keith down.

“Yeah, that’s fine. I get it.” he tried not to look visibly withered as Shiro looked everywhere but at Keith.

“I’ll text you, alright? I gotta run, I’ll talk to you later.” Shiros said, eyes glued to his phone as he strode away, leaving Keith alone in front of his dorm. He didn’t even bother calling out to reply, seeing as Shiro was trying to set a new world record for the fastest speed at walking away.

He swiped his key card, entered the dormitory, and took the elevator up to his room all very mechanically. When he had finally made it into the room, he didn’t even take the time to change his clothes. He dropped his bag to the floor, kicked his shoes off, and climbed into bed before cursing to himself.

He forgot the damn ramen.

__

At least this time, Keith wasn’t in the middle of a soggy field.

It looked like he was in a hallway — a dorm, based on the name-decorated doors. He had somehow chosen the direct middle of the walkway to pass out in. He pulled himself up using one of the, thankfully, locked door handles.

Keith read the nameplates in passing as he sleepily trudged his way to the elevator. There was no one he’d recognized, not that he knew many people anyways. The more he woke up though, the more sure he came to the conclusion that he wasn’t in his own dorm. Keith didn’t want to know how he’d managed to get into a dormitory that he didn’t have a key to.

He’d nearly reached the end of the hallway, when a familiar nickname yanked him from his stupor. He felt his blood run cold.

Keith was in Shiro’s dorm. He was in Shiro’s dorm, standing in front of Shiro’s room.

Keith sprinted the last five feet to the elevators, smashing the bottom button and pressing himself against the wall. It had to have been the longest he’d ever waited for an elevator.

When the doors finally opened, Keith dashed into the car, assaulting the ‘Close Doors’ button. Now, he was a little bit interested in how he’d gotten here. He’d never even been to Shiro’s dorm before, and the exact location of his room wasn’t just something that would have come up in their conversations.

Keith was afraid to think about what would have happened if he’d encountered Shiro while “asleep”. He’d talked to people while sleepwalking before, but it was usually never anything of substance. Still, he’d heard of people having full, coherent conversations while sleepwalking. His mind couldn’t help but graciously supply him with scenario after scenario of mortifying semi-conscious confessions.

Keith promised himself that he would do whatever it took to keep that from happening. Maybe it was time to watch a better tutorial.

__

Shiro keyed open his room and stepped inside, peeling off his sweaty gym wear and stripping down to his underwear as he toed his shoes off.

It had been two days after Keith had asked Shiro out, and he still hadn’t texted him like he said he would. The thought was grating on Shiro’s mind, and the gym did nothing to ease his anxiety like it usually did.

It's not like he was avoiding Keith on purpose, it was just what felt right for Shiro to do. Shiro was in a certain position of power over Keith, and he didn’t think it would have been a good idea to accept his invitation. But you’re friends with him too, aren’t you?, he argued to himself mentally. It was true, it wasn’t like he was one of Keith’s actual professors, and their relationship had blossomed into somewhat of a friendship. Yeah, and friends go out to do stuff all the time, Shiro rationalized. He kicked himself for not coming to this conclusion earlier. Surely now it was too awkward to take Keith up on the offer, and it definitely would have been weird to suggest something himself after his silence. Shiro clutched at his head, the situation sprouting a headache — he felt like he was in highschool again, worrying over his crush and how they perceived him.

Shiro sighed, resigning to take a shower in the morning and just toss his sheets in the laundry while he was at his morning class. He climbed into the welcoming embrace of his bed, willing his brain to switch into the off position — to no avail. The situation weighed heavily on his mind and refused to ease up. He tossed and turned for a while, hoping to get at least a shred of sleep before the alarm clock went off and he had to start a new day.

He had just begun to succumb to the soothing tendrils of unconsciousness when a loud banging at his door startled him awake. Well.. it wasn’t really a bang, more of a dull thud. Who was at his door at this hour? It had to have been well past 1 AM now. Shiro rubbed at his eyes, frowning at the thought of yet another freshman disregarding his sleeping hours.

Shiro reluctantly climbed out of bed, and padded over to the door, leaning down to glance through the peephole and find out who the offender was. Except, he couldn’t see the hallway on the other side at all — the view was pitch black. Confused, he unlocked the door and cracked it open cautiously. He had to move quickly to ensure that the unconscious person leaning against the door didn’t fall to the ground. Really? Of all the doors this person could have picked to drunkenly fall asleep against, they had to have picked Shiro’s. Except, this person was awake. Shiro instantly recognized the glazed indigo eyes looking up at him.

“Keith?” Shiro asked incredulously.

Keith made an unintelligible noise as his head fell forward into Shiro’s bare chest.

“Keith, are you okay?” Shiro questioned again, holding Keith out in front of him, hands under his armpits. He had a growing bruise on his forehead where he must have made contact with the door.

“Mmmmmmm..” Keith groaned in response, his head lolling backwards.

Shiro sighed, scooping Keith up with a muttered “Up you go..” and carried him into the room. As his senior, Shiro couldn’t, in good consciousness, leave him outside in this state; he had to make sure that nothing happened to him. Keith was much lighter than he looked, his solid frame deceiving against how much he actually weighed. Shiro pushed the door shut with his back, and walked over to his bed to set him down. He grabbed a black tank and a fresh pair of sweatpants so that he wasn’t nearly as naked in front of the boy he was just losing sleep over.

“... Nakey.” slipped a single word from Keith’s lips, echoing Shiro’s thoughts in more juvenile vocabulary. Shiro let out a single snort as the tips of his ears went red — he wasn’t completely wrong.

When Shiro turned back around, Keith was curled into a ball, shivering. Shiro quickly walked over to tuck him under the comforter, pulling over the extra duvet folded neatly at the foot of the bed for good measure. His lips turned up, thankful that he ignored the mocking of his friends for buying a full bed set for his crappy college-issue bed. He knew it would come in handy someday, but who would have guessed it would have been used to tuck his drunk crush to sleep.

Shiro walked back over to his dresser, pulling extra bedding from the bottom drawers for himself. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust himself or Keith not to do anything stupid, but he wasn’t a masochist either. Looked like he was sleeping on the floor tonight.

“How many.. Blanketsdo... we need?” Keith questioned weakly, the words running together. “Do you need layers? Are you onion? Are you.. Shrenck? Skreg?” the drunk boy interrogated.

Shiro simply stared at him before letting out a few loud laughs, the decibel making Keith jump. The image of his own face overlaid onto the green cartoon ogre was now burned onto his brain.

“We don’t need that many blankets, the bed is all yours tonight — I’m sleeping on the floor.” Shiro replied, still smiling.

“No. You.. come.” Keith removed a limp arm from underneath the sheets and gave a single weak pat on the empty space beside him. “Here.”

“No, I don’t think that's a good idea right now.” the older man said with a chuckle.

“Why..” Keith whined, rolling over until he was face down into Shiro’s pillow, the end of his words snuffed out as he continued to grumble.

Shiro frowned, setting the blankets onto the floor beside the bed. He turned around toward the dresser again, bracing his hands on it.

“I just.. I don’t want anything to happen that either of us will regret, and I don’t mean to put either of us in a box, but in your state..” Shiro sighed, his eyes sliding shut. “I just think we should keep our distance for now, at least until we can have a coherent conversation about.. Well whatever is going on here.”

After waiting a minute with no response, Shiro willed himself to turn around, only to find Keith still face down on the pillow. He felt his stomach drop as he closed the short gap between him and the bed, fearing the worst. He leaned down, listening for any sound of life, and heard soft, muffled snores coming from the center of the pillow. Keith had fallen asleep.

Shiro sighed in relief, dropping down to perch on the edge of the bed and letting himself get lost in his thoughts for a moment.

He remembered the first time that he’d noticed Keith in that lecture. It was the first week of classes, and Shiro’s first time TA’ing. For the most part, everyone was paying attention to what the professor was droning on about — that beautiful first week attention span — but one boy at the top of the hall was already asleep. Shiro had to hold in his laughter, being at the mercy of everyone’s observance and all. Well, almost everyone, he supposed. He allowed himself a small smile.

After class had ended and Shiro had collected his things from his desk, he looked up the rows again to find the same boy looking rather distressed. Considering he had been unconscious for a good majority of the lecture, Shiro had no doubt in his mind that his notes were severely lacking. He glanced over at the professor's desk and at the lack of students waiting to talk to her, and decided still to go and speak to the student himself. He was there to aid the professor, so why not go the extra mile?

The boy had been so wrapped up in his own thoughts, he hadn’t even noticed Shiro come up and speak to him until about the 4th try. After Shiro had apologized for alarming him, they had made eye contact for the first time. The boy — Keith, he corrected himself — had had the most beautiful eyes he’d ever seen. They shifted between indigo and a unique purplish-grey hue, and were speckled with lighter dots of color; they resembled the night sky. Shiro laughed to himself in his head when Keith had said that he’d been spaced out.

Eager to get to know him better, his naturally helpful nature blossoming, he offered to help catch him up on whatever he missed. When Keith seemed reluctant, Shiro quickly backtracked, his anxiety getting the best of him. Grasping at straws, he lied and said that he did some tutoring in his spare time in a last ditch attempt to vouch his experience.

Truthfully, he’d never tutored a day in his life. It was only because luck was on his side that people had caught wind and began asking if he was free to book sessions with other people; his lie had eventually turned into truth. Though he’d said it later on, there was no side credit being earned for his services, at least not with Keith’s sessions. What Shiro really got out of them was the satisfaction of knowing that he was helping Keith not flunk out of college.

And if Shiro got to spend a little time with a beautiful boy one on one, well, that was just an unplanned bonus.

He shook his head, clearing his thoughts like they were a drawing in an etch-a-sketch, as he came back into reality. Glancing behind himself, Shiro noticed that Keith had rolled over again to face the wall, leaving a substantial bit of space on the bed. He figured nothing could happen if both of them were asleep, so he accepted Keith’s earlier offer and climbed under the comforter.

As if hooked up to a motion detector, Keith rolled back over as soon as Shiro was laid down. Before Shiro had the chance to pull the blanket back up, Keith had rolled all the way over until he was lying on top of the other. Shiro’s eyes were blown wide, face fixed in an expression of bewilderment. His hands were held out to his sides in the air, unsure of where to settle them. He felt his blood pool in places rather unhelpful for his situation.

 

 

Keith simply tangled his hands in the fabric of Shiro’s tanktop and nuzzled his face into Shiro’s chest. “Mmmm.. c’stay like this…” he trailed off, snores resuming just as quickly as they’d stopped.

Shiro held his face in his hands, the groan he let out expressing a variety of different emotions.

Looked like he wasn’t getting any sleep tonight.

__

It was the first time in his memorable life that Keith had woken up not drenched in rain, or curled up in some broom closet, or sunburned from sleeping in the elements for too long, but laid out, comfortably cradled in the plushness of a bed and well-rested. He almost didn’t want to open his eyes, his rational brain telling him that he must be lucid dreaming right now — what other explanation was there for finally getting a good night’s rest after 19 years of helplessly sleepless nights?

Almost.

Except, something wasn’t quite right.

The room didn’t smell right. Usually, the air in his room smelled pretty stale — dirty socks and ramen colonies contributed greatly to that. This place had a woodsy aroma, a cozy scent that Keith recognized oddly, but not as a smell of his own volition. And it was too quiet.. Keith wasn’t usually in his dorm during the mornings, expectedly so, but word was that the students in his dormitory were known for being particularly rowdy. That didn’t quite match the tranquil chirps of the birds outside and the overall lack of ruckus.

If these major clues weren’t enough to tip Keith off that something was amiss, there was one more that would surely do the trick. For starters, the fact that his bed seemed to be breathing.

Keith’s eyes shot open, and not even a few inches away from his face were tired grey eyes staring back at him, strands of white hair tickling his nose.

He flung himself off of the other with so much force that he hit his head against the wall, letting out a sharp curse. A dull ache began to bloom in his head and he cradled it in his hands, pulling his knees up to his chest — partially in an attempt to soothe the pain but also finding refuge in the small bit of privacy it gave him.

“Holy shit, are you alright?” Shiro asked, his voice thick with concern. Keith felt him reach out and instinctively recoiled.

“I’ll be fine.” he responded hoarsely, keeping his head firmly buried in his knees. Gathering the little courage he had, he settled for covering his face but sitting up straight before speaking again. ”I’m sorry. For all of this, um..yeah. Did I.. Did I say anything? Last night?”

“It wasn’t anything too embarrassing, I promise. And you don’t have anything to apologize for Keith, it’s college, people get drunk — it happens. Though, I was a little perplexed as to how you got into my dorm. Or even found it for that matter, I don’t think I ever-” Shiro mused. Keith’s face scrunched in confusion as he let his hands drop to the bed.

“Drunk?” he questioned, making eye contact with the other for longer than 2 seconds at a time. “I wasn’t drunk. I don’t.. I don’t even drink.”

Shiro looked just as confused as Keith felt. “Oh. Were you.. Did.. What did you.. Take?” he questioned carefully.

Keith slammed his hands back onto his face, taking solace once more in the false privacy it provided him. “Oh my god, I didn’t take anything!” Keith groaned, the conversation causing him physical pain. Even though, rationally, he knew he couldn’t be upset with Shiro for not knowing his intimate history with sleepwalking, he still couldn’t believe that he’d somehow come to the conclusion that Keith must have taken drugs.

Steeling himself, he blurted the words out before Shiro could come to any worse conclusion about what Keith must have gotten up to prior to landing on his doorstep.

“Iwassleepwalking.”

It didn’t help that his face was still smushed against his hands — the words came out in one muffled, unintelligible noise. “You what?” Shiro asked.

Keith sighed. “I.. was sleepwalking.” He had moved his hands just enough so that the words came out clearly, but kept his face guarded.
“I sleepwalk. A lot. That’s why I’m so tired all the time.” Keith admitted, divulging his history to the one person that he wished he would never have had to. At least, not this soon.

It had taken him a while to let it all out but oddly enough, once it was all out there, it felt like a weight had been lifted from his shoulders.

“I’m sorry again. I know you’re probably really weirded out right now, and then I went and took your bed and now I’m probably making you very uncomfortable..” Keith rambled anxiously, waiting for a response, or any sign of acknowledgement from the man beside him. When none came and his nerves began to fray, he practically vaulted himself out of the bed, desperate to escape the suffocating atmosphere. He’d told so many people about his sleepwalking in passing — friends, acquaintances, neighbors; usually random people that he’d ended up inconveniencing, and all people that he usually never saw again or didn’t even know. But this was different somehow.

Even though, deep down, he knew that Shiro wasn’t the type of person to judge someone about this sort of situation, his rational brain seemed to have clocked out; all his mind could muster up were images of Shiro’s face twisted in irritation about Keith’s weird, troublesome habit.

He was halfway to the door, eyes stinging with tears that threatened to spill over at any second when a strong hand gripped his forearm.

“Wait, don’t go.” Shiro pleaded, his voice strained. “You don’t have to leave, I..” he repeated, struggling for words. It only made Keith’s heart hurt more. He tried to pull away, but Shiro proved to be just as strong as he looked.

“Look, I’m just gonna go I-”

“I’m sorry.” Shiro said, letting his arm fall away. Keith allowed himself a shy glance in Shiro’s direction. He had moved to sit on the edge of the bed. “If anyone has anything to apologize for, it’s me, so I’m sorry.”

“Why.. why are you apologizing?” Keith asked, wrapping his arms around his stomach as he turned to face Shiro fully.

“I haven’t been completely honest with you either — not that you even owed me any of that I just..” the man explained, running a hand down his face and sighing. “The whole tutoring thing was originally.. It was just a lie. I had never tutored anyone before, I just.. I thought you could use the help and then I could get to know you better but.. I’m sorry. I should have just been truthful with you from the start.” Shiro admitted, guilt coloring his words.

“If you get anything positive out of this, I just want you to know that.. I’m not “weirded out” by you, and it would take something way more extreme for you to ever make me feel uncomfortable.” Shiro reassured, his eyes soft. “But I completely understand if you don’t feel comfortable around me anymore, and will leave you alone, if that's what you want.” Keith thought he sounded almost mournful saying the words. That was the exact opposite of what he wanted.

“You don’t think that.. It’s weird? That I’m weird?” Keith questioned bashfully, his gaze cast to the floor, focusing on the fact that Shiro had worn socks to bed rather than on the conversation. He felt that the deception should bother him more than it did, but in reality, he was focused on another part of what Shiro had confessed.

“Of course not.” Shiro confirmed, reaching a hand out toward Keith before pulling it back into himself. “Sleepwalking is actually a lot more common than a lot of people realize, you know?”

“Yeah, I know that.” Keith snorted, smiling for the first time that morning as he kicked at the other’s foot.

Shiro offered a chuckle in return. “Of course you do.”

Keith walked forward timidly, closing the gap between them until he was standing just a few feet in front of Shiro. Emboldened by the general lack of aversion from the other, he padded the extra few feet until he was standing between Shiro’s spread legs.

“I..” Keith started, the blood rushing to his face and ears. It had been so long since he’d done this. He startled when he’d felt a warm hand on his side, and he’d met Shiro’s gentle eyes once more. Keith’s heart panged with a familiar emotion as they gazed into each other. Then, carefully, he unwrapped his arms from around his torso and placed them delicately onto Shiro’s shoulders. He gulped, his nerves all alight, burning up.

Slowly, he began to lean down, Shiro meeting him halfway as they bumped foreheads. Shiro snickered a moment, Keith permitting himself a nervous laugh of his own. Then, finally, Keith’s eyes slid shut as their lips met in a tender kiss. Shiro’s free hand came up to rest on Keith’s other side, Keith’s hands sliding up to fist in Shiro’s cropped hair as they both tried to convey almost two years worth of repressed feelings into one exchange.

All too soon had the two of them pulled away to breathe, resting their foreheads against each other as they panted for breath. To say that it was the most breathtaking kiss of Keith’s life would be too literal.

“You don’t know how long.. I’ve dreamt about doing that..” Keith confessed in between breaths.

“I could say the same, haha.” Shiro agreed, his laughter a melody that Keith could listen to all day. “Though, wouldn’t you find it hard to dream seeing as you’re barely ever asleep?” he joked, a playful smirk displayed on his features.

Keith pulled back, offering him a weak punch to the shoulder as he scoffed. Shiro barked in laughter as he wrapped his arms around Keith’s waist, pulling him into his lap. Keith let out a surprised yelp at the unexpected movement, but cuddled into Shiro’s side nonetheless — a place he could get used to being.

“You know,” Keith began, toying with the hem of Shiro’s tank top. “Maybe.. We could find a way for both of us to lose a little sleep.. Together?” he supplied, the end cadence of his words turning the sentence into a question.

“Oh?” Shiro looked down, a sly smirk on his face as he rose his brow. He pulled Keith in for a more passionate kiss, the latter turning in his seat to straddle Shiro’s waist as Shiro laid back until Keith was sitting atop him.

Shiro’s alarm clock had decided that now was the perfect time to go off, jolting the both of them back to the reality of their lives. Shiro grumbled, grasping for his phone as Keith simply laughed above him, his hands braced on the other’s chest. He swung his leg over, climbing off of Shiro to stand up and stretch, and it wasn’t long before he was joined with a huff.

“I forgot I had a damn class today.” Shiro bemoaned, clearly peeved. Keith found it endearing that Shiro was now so candidly expressing his want to spend time with him, even if it wasn’t so much spending time as.. Keith let that train derail itself before he had more time to think about it.

“We’ll have plenty of time to continue that later you know, go get ready for your class.” Keith assured, contradicting himself as he wrapped his arms around the taller man’s waist and rested his forehead against Shiro’s chest.

Shiro smiled fondly, enclosing Keith in a firm embrace and pressing a soft kiss into the crown of his head. “Yeah, plenty.”