As usual, everyone but Hunk, Allura, and Curtis are hammered.
Also as usual, Lance starts instigating around the 3-hour mark.
Then he tried the question game, but Keith thought it was stupid, so that ended quickly.
So everyone unenthusiastically agreed.
Except for Matt, of course, who is an actual demon.
He tells everyone that his first (and so far only) kiss was with Shay in his hospital room.
Keith, of course, picks dare, because Lance is looking at him with his dumb stupid face and Keith never backs down from a challenge.
Keith gapes at him for a second as Lance cheers, then crosses his arms and huffs. "Fine, but if he says something stupid--"
"Ah ah ah! No insults or you take a shot!"
It's Keith's turn to ask, so he turns to Allura. "Truth or Dare?"
Keith sees his opportunity and takes it. "Truth, then. Did you or did you not think Lance was an insufferably moron when you met him?"
Lance shrieks indignantly as Allura coughs to cover a laugh.
Keith stands and props his weight against the table. "Nope! That wasn't an insult, it's just the truth! Right Allura?"
Allura is doing an excellent job of pretending she can no longer hear and is fully enthralled in conversation with Curtis.
He can't help but let his eyes slide over to Shiro for a minute and soak in his laughter.
"You hush now. It's Pidge's turn."
Allura, not even close to drunk enough for this shit, waves him off. "Pidge can have it."
Sober Pidge is already someone not to be reckoned with, but Drunk Pidge, Keith has learned, is honestly no better than her demonic gremlin of an older brother.
Curtis, ever mild, picks truth, surprising no one.
"If you could change one thing about Shiro, what would you change?"
He doesn't even think before he says, "I wouldn't change a thing. I love him for who he is."
His smile is self-satisfied.
There is a rumble of agreement around the table.
Curtis clears his throat and darks his glance between Matt, the table, and Shiro as he says, "Well, I guess if I had to choose, I wish he'd be more honest."
Shiro says, "You don't think I'm honest?" his big puppy eyes imploring the way he does when he's trashed, every expression plain on his face.
Keith almost feels bad for him, poor thing, because to Keith, Shiro's feelings are obvious. He feels bad that Shiro hides them from his husband.
"More honest, huh," Shiro muses.
Another bell rings ominously in the back of Keith's mind.
"Okay, um." He looks around the table and settled his eyes on Keith. "Truth or dare, Keith?"
Well, there's no fucking way Shiro's husband is getting the truth out of him.
"I dare you to go up on stage and sing the most embarrassing song on the list."
It's not karaoke night.
Shiro's face is twisted in confusion. It would be comical under any other circumstance.
Lance is shouting about Keith taking a shot again, and Allura is trying to shush him.
Keith throws it back and coughs. Whatever Matt got him, it's strong. Maybe he should have asked what it was first.
Oh, right, they were playing a game. His turn. Right.
Matt is the first person he sees, and after the shot he just took courtesy of the very same gremlin, Keith is feeling vengeful.
"Matt," he hisses.
Keith scowls and swats at him, but missed. By a lot. "Don't call me kitten," he grumbles.
Matt laughs. "You had something to ask me?"
Keith swats him again and grunts, "Truth or dare, assbutt."
Neither does Keith. "Take your shirt off."
"That the best you got? Or is it that you just can't resist this sexy bod?"
Matt is 6'1" and probably weighs 150 soaking wet. Even after his glow-up, he's still just an adorable twig.
Honestly, he has no idea why he thought that was a good dare. Well, whatever. Turn, over.
It's mumbled so softly that Keith doesn't even know if it's actually a question. If he wasn't sitting right next to Shiro, he probably wouldn't have heard it.
He rolls his head toward Shiro. "Hm?"
Shiro is pouting at him. Full on.
Shiro looks at her like she's asking the world's dumbest question. His face looks funny, so Keith laughs. Shiro doesn't.
"Howcome Keith made Matt take his shirt off?"
Curtis glances between Shiro, Keith, and Pidge.
Maybe that statement somehow comforts him (despite Matt's still bare chest), or maybe Shiro gives up on understanding Keith's motivation, but either way he sits back and drops the subject.
"Lance," Matt drawls, "truth or dare?"
"DARE." He sways a bit where he sits.
"Or maybe truth," Allura gently corrects.
Matt throws an arm around him and gets comfortable. "What's the best thing about dating Allura?"
"Everything," he says.
"No fair, that's not a good answer," Curtis says.
Matt agrees. "More specific."
Matt is pretending to listen intently. Hunk hasn't bothered paying attention for many rounds now. Allura is smitten.
Pidge looks victorious. And Shiro...
Shiro is looking at Keith. And he looks like he's completely lost in thought about something.
Shiro's eyes are glazed over. He's somewhere else.
And Lance prattles on in the background about how Allura makes him want to be a better person, pushes him farther than he thought he could go, makes him feel like a man, supports him in everything he does and vise versa.
Keith wants to take his eyes off of Shiro, but he can't. He wants to know why Shiro was looking at him like that.
Shiro doesn't look at him. Not like that. He hasn't for a long time.
He doesn't look up when Matt reminds Lance that it's his turn, or when Lance begins to speak.
Keith's heart drops and he can't stop the scowl from twisting his features.
Rub it in, asshole, he thinks. Just like you always do.
He's smiling like a dingus and Keith wants to fucking punch him for bringing this up while Keith is drunk. While he can't escape.
"So, Shiro, since you've found the love of your life, this one's for you."
No one needed to go off about the love of Shiro's life and how pointedly it was /not Keith/.
Plus, Keith found the love of his life, too. No one's talking about that.
He knows who the love of his life is. There won't be anyone else.
And all he wants to do right now is get the fuck out of there and away from this conversation.
He tries to focus his eyes on something and force himself not to look as miserable as he feels. He catches Pidge's eye, who looks drunk and sinister and satisfied.
Who fucking knows what's going on in her mind.
He wonders if he should just get up and leave. He didn't know this game was going to turn into a "show off how happy we are in our committed relationships" barf fest.
He wouldn't have come if he had. He would have had Matt and Pidge and maybe Hunk over.
They even let him cry about Shiro on really bad days, though those don't come as often anymore.
No one else ever lets him feel bad about it.
The next thing he knows is someone's hand in his hair, gentle but commanding, and he turns in the direction it beckons him.
Behind his eyelids, bursts of color dance across the darkness.
He can't hear anything, can't feel anything other than the insistent press of lips and the slow give and take as the kiss deepens.
He paws at Shiro's shirt looking for a handhold, but it's not enough. He needs to be closer.
Shiro's tongue slides against his and it's /so good/. He lets out a whimper that should be embarrassing but just isn't.
But here they are. Keith feels like he can breathe again.
He doesn't consider the fact that Shiro doesn't know Keith loves him, or that Shiro is married.
Except for Matt, who looks concerned, and Pidge, who looks like she's trying /not/ to look triumphant.
Shiro won't look at him, which is a complete 180 from when he'd been doing nothing /but/ look at him for a long time before the kiss.
He has to get out of there.
High on that list is the fact that Shiro didn't even try to stop him.
Left is toward town. It's a small town and not very crowded, especially at night, and it's decently well lit.
Right is toward the shopping district.
He starts off to the left and sees Curtis standing against a wall about a block down by himself.
A better man would go up to him and apologize.
He turns on his heel in the opposite direction and runs.
He keeps going. He can't stop. If he stops, everything will be terrible. He has to run now. Go. Go go go don't stop, keep running, get away.
He veers off of the sidewalk and into the grass behind the buildings. He's starting to feel sick. His legs are shaking. His hands are probably shaking too, but he can't stop to find out. He can't. He just--
And for a few brief, blissful seconds, it was.
Maybe that's what hurts the most-- getting what he wants more than anything and having it immediately ripped away.
Matt is beside him now, panting like he's just run a marathon instead of a couple blocks.
"Let me-- catch my breath-- hang on."
Keith flops onto his back and waits. There isn't much else to do.
"Leave me alone," he mutters. He doesn't even know why Matt came.
Matt shuffles closer and wipes something away from the corner of Keith's eye.
"Because I'm worried." He pauses and then asks, "Are you okay?"
Keith laughs, but takes his time to answer.
Was he that drunk? Did he really have no control over what he was doing?
No, he knows himself. He's been drunk around Shiro tons of times.
So what happened?
"How's Shiro?" he asks instead.
He doesn't look to see what kind of look Matt is giving him.
"I don't know," Matt says. "I came to find you."
He does look this time when Matt makes a noise of disbelief. Matt is giving him the most incredulous looks he's ever seen. It seems like an exaggeration.
"Keith," Matt breathes, "what about you?"
"What /about/ me?"
Matt is only taken aback for a moment. "You need a friend, too."
"No." Keith shakes his head.
Matt sighs but doesn't push.
Wordlessly, he stands and brushes the grass and dirt from his pants. Matt does the same and helps brush off Keith's back.
"Don't worry about your tab," Matt says. "It's taken care of."
"Oh." He wasn't worried about that.
Keith shrugs. He wants to talk to Shiro so badly. He's significantly more sober and more numb now. He wants to apologize. Wants to tell him he'll stop coming around if that's what Curtis wants.
Matt calls for a ride share to take the three of them home. They don't talk about it.
Now that Keith has a clear head, he wonders what Lance's dare was for Shiro. It was a dare, right? He knows he wasn't paying attention. It could have been a truth.
When he gets home, he barely wastes any kind yanking off his shoes, pants, and shirt, and flopping onto the bed.
He flips onto his back and stares up at the ceiling. He's exhausted, physically and emotionally, but he's too keyed up to sleep-- probably won't until he figures this out.
He wonders if he had Curtis' number, would he call to apologize?
What should he do next time he sees one or both of them? Should he address it immediately? Wait for one of them to bring it up? Should he pretend it never happened?
He lets the water in the shower run over him. It's impossible not to think about the kiss, but he tries not to anyway.
It gnaws at him all day.
Somehow he goes without seeing either of them. It's strange. Normally he sees Shiro in passing at least a couple of times a day, sometimes Curtis if he has business in that sector.
"Neither of them came in today?"
"Nope. Curt asked me if I could cover his duties for the day and called in sick. Totally unlike him."
"Seems like it. Haven't seen him all day. No one's heard a peep out of him except Iverson. Said he called in sick, too."
"Damn it!" The harshness is startling coming from Lance.
Keith's stomach turns uneasily. He wonders if he should be hearing this.
Veronica pauses, but since Keith can't see them, he can't read the pause.
"How on Earth is them both being sick your fault?"
"I don't think they're sick," Lance says ominously. For once, Keith actually agrees with him.
He checks his comm for what feels like the fortieth time that day. He's not sure what he's looking for, and it makes him uncomfortable.
He takes another shower, changes into an airy tank top and comfy shorts, and throws himself on the bed to stare at the ceiling some more.
With a heavy sigh, he goes. He doesn't bother to change.
What he doesn't account for is the unexpected light streaming from another office.
The only problem is that he can't find the damn papers. They were /right there/ earlier.
He goes still. "Yeah?"
Keith is painfully aware that he looks a hot mess. He curses himself for being too lazy to put on actual clothes in his workplace, no matter what time it is.
"Um." He clears his throat and turns, abandoning his search. "Forgot something."
"Oh," he says.
"Sorry. Didn't think anyone would be here."
"Hey," Shiro says, "are you okay?"
Shiro looks taken aback. "What?"
He's still hunched in on himself, but he allows himself to make eye contact.
"I'm sorry," he whispers.
It's the least he can say, but there are no other words more important than those.
The agony that accompanies that statement is shocking and tears through him so suddenly that he can't hide it until it's too late.
"No." Shiro moves closer even as Keith steps back. "No, Keith, don't you dare take the blame for this. This wasn't your fault."
Shiro stops where he is but keeps talking. "You didn't," he says. There's a heat behind it that Keith doesn't understand.
"You don't have to protect me from this, Shiro. I'm not a kid anymore."
Shiro's features soften slightly.
Keith can't take much more of this conversation. It hurts. He's tearing himself open for Shiro, trying to explain that it's for his own selfishness that Shiro is here so late instead of home in his own bed.
Shiro freezes. Keith watches as his breathing visibly spikes. He's seen this reaction before -- Shiro's about to panic. It makes his own anxiety swell.
"What are you talking about?" His voice is measured calm.
"If that's what /you/ want." He swallows. "For your marriage."
The pause that follows nearly breaks Keith's heart all over again.
"Don't go." He stalks forward, heedless of Keith's need for space. "Please, please don't go."
It barely registers that Shiro's arms are around him until he feels himself cling to Shiro's back.
He doesn't /want/ to go. He wants to stay and be with Shiro forever.
"Your marriage," he urges.
Shiro holds on tighter. There's a long pause as Keith feels Shiro actively trying to regain his breathing. He turns his face into Keith's hair as he begins to speak.
Keith tries to protest, but Shiro cuts him off.
"Just listen, please."
It was true, what he said about me not being honest with him. I didn't open up to him. I've been keeping him at arm's length since before we got married.
Keith stiffens. He doesn't want to hear about how kissing him was a mistake.
Shiro feels it and nuzzles into his hair, one hand rubbing soothing pressure up and down his arm.
"The other night at the bar, when Lance wouldn't stop talking,
"And he's right to talk about her that way, even if it gets old pretty quickly."
Keith manages a small chuckle at that.
"But it got me thinking. About Curtis, actually, and how I've never felt that way about him."
Keith's breath hitches and he feels his eyes go wide.
Keith does. Painfully so.
"But it's not..." He sighs and pulls back, but keeps a grip on Keith's shoulders.
Keith thinks back to how it felt to see Shiro announce his engagement to a man he'd only know for a little over a year. How it crushed his own self-confidence and made him wonder why he wasn't enough. Why he was /never/ enough.
"So when Lance issued that dare, I thought about all of that. I thought about how not much earlier, Curtis had asked me to be more honest with him and not hide my feelings.
And there it is. It was a shitty thing to do. He /never/ would have done it.
It's not right. Shiro should never be sad. His words don't even make sense.
"What?" Keith asks, confused. "I kissed you first."
Shiro looks at him strangely.