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#sheith #curtashi/#shurtis (possibly #allurance just in case)
It's been long enough since the wedding that Keith can control his emotions around Shiro and Curtis now. They've mended their friendship, and now they're all hanging out together with the other paladins and Matt
They're at a bar in town, kind of a dump tbh but at least no one has to worry about hosting, it's not usually busy, and the drinks are cheap.

As usual, everyone but Hunk, Allura, and Curtis are hammered.

Also as usual, Lance starts instigating around the 3-hour mark.
At first it started with a fairly innocent game of Never Have I Ever, but he got bored of that when everyone but Matt refused to reveal their raunchy (or in most cases, not-so-raunchy) pasts.
Then he tried the question game, but Keith thought it was stupid, so that ended quickly.
But things started picking up when Lance insisted on Truth or Dare. "I'm not taking no for an answer," he insisted. "We should all know all this stuff anyway."

So everyone unenthusiastically agreed.

Except for Matt, of course, who is an actual demon.
Keith actually thinks it's going pretty well for the first few rounds. Lance starts them of nice and slowly by asking Hunk. It's truth, of course, because Hunk doesn't do dares.

He tells everyone that his first (and so far only) kiss was with Shay in his hospital room.
Pink-faced but obviously happy, he turns the attention off of himself and onto Keith.

Keith, of course, picks dare, because Lance is looking at him with his dumb stupid face and Keith never backs down from a challenge.
Hunk deliberates for a moment and then says, "Okay, I dare you toooooo not insult Lance for like, 25 minutes."

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!"
Keith flips Lance off and takes a big swig of his drink. "Starting now," he says. Hunk hides a smirk behind his drink, and neither Shiro nor Pidge bother to hide their laughter.

It's Keith's turn to ask, so he turns to Allura. "Truth or Dare?"
Allura, who has been lost the entire time, just shrugs. "You choose."

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.
"Shot!" Lance screams. "Not fair!"

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.
Keith feels like that's an answer enough in itself, so he settles back down with a smug grin and takes another long sip of his drink. Shiro is giggling beside him -- a sure sign that he's far past tipsy. Normally he wouldn't be so openly supportive of Keith's smart-assery.
Keith loves when Shiro drinks. He's been so much more relaxed since the war ended, but there's still something so much more uptight about him than he used to be before Voltron or Kerberos.

He can't help but let his eyes slide over to Shiro for a minute and soak in his laughter.
He's snapped back to the moment at Pidge's proclamation that it is /her turn/, thank you very much, to which Lance loudly protests. Hunk, not having anymore of Lance's squawking, reaches over a clamp's a hand over Lance's mouth.

"You hush now. It's Pidge's turn."
From behind Hunk's hand, Lance tries to say something that comes out completely garbled other than "Allura," so Hunk turns to Allura and asks, "Do you want to take your turn?"

Allura, not even close to drunk enough for this shit, waves him off. "Pidge can have it."
It's at this point that Keith can see the night starting to go downhill.

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.
She turns to Curtis with a glint in her eye, and Keith knows without a doubt that nothing that happens after this can possibly go well. He doesn't know what she's planning, but she's always five steps ahead of everyone else, so there's never any telling. He holds his breath.
"Truth or dare?"

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.
"Booooooo!" comes a response from across the table. Matt is rolling his eyes, /hard/, unable to hide his feelings in his drunken state. "This is Truth or Dare, not Placate or Dare. You have to tell the /truth/!"

There is a rumble of agreement around the table.
Shiro even plays along, looking on curiously. When Curtis catches his eye, he shrugs as if to say, "Do your worst."

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."
This seems to be the answer Pidge expected. Of course. She doesn't say anything, just sits back and watches it play out.

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.
"No no!" Curtis backpedals. "I just mean, you know, with your feelings and stuff. I never really know what you're thinking."

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.
Or at least, he feels bad that his husband can't read them. Either way, Curtis looks genuinely bothered by the admission.

"More honest, huh," Shiro muses.

Another bell rings ominously in the back of Keith's mind.
"So, uh," Curtis awkwardly clears his throat. "I can ask whoever I want?"

Pidge nods.

"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.

He looks around the bar for a bit, probably for inspiration, when a wicked smirk settles on his face. Keith has never seen Curtis look so... mischievous.

"I dare you to go up on stage and sing the most embarrassing song on the list."

It's not karaoke night.
Keith has seen that list when it /is/ karaoke night, thanks to Lance and Matt, and he knows there are only seven songs on it, and by far the most embarrassing is "I Will Always Love You." Not just because of the words, but because absolutely no one can hit the notes.
Keith never backs down from a challenge, but...
Well, he knows himself. He knows he's had a few too many to be totally in control, and there's no way he'd make it through that song without embarrassing himself in a way he doesn't think Curtis or Shiro or anyone else will find particularly funny.
"Pass," he says. Curtis blinks like he's shocked that Keith didn't take the dare.

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.
Matt gets up to order Keith's shot from the bar and sets it down in a way that is a little too pleased to mean anything good.

Keith throws it back and coughs. Whatever Matt got him, it's strong. Maybe he should have asked what it was first.

Oh well.
"Hey buddy, your turn," Matt prompts after a pause that's a little too long.

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.
Matt smiles sweetly at him. "Yes, kitten?"

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."
Matt doesn't hesitate. "Dare."

Neither does Keith. "Take your shirt off."

He does.

"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.
Still, it makes Keith laugh, and that's enough to help him forget that making Matt take his shirt off is somehow supposed to embarrass him. Of course, he forgot it's Matt he's dealing with.

Honestly, he has no idea why he thought that was a good dare. Well, whatever. Turn, over.
"Why'd you make him take his shirt off?"

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.
Pidge pipes up from across the table. "What was that, Shiro?"

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.
"It's just a game, Shiro," he soothes. "I'm sure Matt can put his shirt back on."

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.
"Matt's turn!" Lance exclaims. He's been oddly quiet for the last few minutes, but he's also starting to look a bit green, so maybe he's just had enough.

"Lance," Matt drawls, "truth or dare?"

"DARE." He sways a bit where he sits.

"Or maybe truth," Allura gently corrects.
Lance shoots her the dopiest smile he can muster. "Okay, princess. Truth."

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."
Keith hates this question. He's heard time and time and time again what's so great about dating Allura. They all have. He doesn't know why Matt even bothered to ask except to torture them all.
While Lance waxes poetic about how amaaaaazing it is to love the most beautiful person in the universe, Keith lets his mind and eyes wander.

Matt is pretending to listen intently. Hunk hasn't bothered paying attention for many rounds now. Allura is smitten.
Curtis is actually listening with a little smile on his face. Keith guesses he hasn't been subjected to this same lecture a thousand times before.

Pidge looks victorious. And Shiro...

Shiro is looking at Keith. And he looks like he's completely lost in thought about something.
Keith can't help but look back at him. Maybe if he hadn't already had so much to drink, it would be easier to keep his normally suppressible feelings in check, but right now all he can do is watch Shiro watch him.

Shiro's eyes are glazed over. He's somewhere else.
But he's looking at Keith. And Keith is looking back.

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.
He goes on about how she's beautiful, of course, the most beautiful girl in any star system, but he loves her heart and her determination and her dedication to helping people. He loves that she can overcome any adversity and still have room in her heart for him.
And Shiro just stares.
After he's gone on long enough, Allura stops him with an offer of cold french fries and a kiss.

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.
Curtis has his eyes downcast toward the table as he fiddles absent-mindedly with his glass. He uses the straw to push around the ice cubes and makes water rings with the condensation.

He doesn't look up when Matt reminds Lance that it's his turn, or when Lance begins to speak.
"There are only two other people in this room, 'sides me an' Allura," he slurs, "who know what it's like to find the love of your life."

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.
"Allura's gonna be my wife one day. I just know it. There's no one else."

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."
Keith doesn't know how any of this has anything to do with Truth or Dare. But Lance is an idiot, and he always will be an idiot, and his already sorely lacking logic skills are even worse when he drinks, so Keith just glared at his fingers and forced himself not to cry.
They'd been having a good time. /Keith/ had been having a good time. He'd been perfectly fine in his feelings.

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 guesses it's because the love of his life is married to someone else, so they all pretend now like he hasn't centered practically his whole life around trying to keep Shiro happy and healthy and safe until just a couple of years ago.
He guesses it's because he doesn't bring other boys around. Or because he doesn't really see other boys at all.

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.
As he spirals, he hears Shiro murmur a quiet, "Dare."

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.
Always five steps ahead.

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.
Though Hunk maybe has Shay now or something, so maybe just Pidge and Matt. His only single friends left. The only people he can count on.
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.
He's stuck too far in his own mind now, waiting for it to be over, and doesn't hear the dare that Lance issues.

The next thing he knows is someone's hand in his hair, gentle but commanding, and he turns in the direction it beckons him.
Then he knows nothing as his mind blanks out, and it's just Shiro's lips on his.

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 can't think, so he doesn't. He just does what feels right.

He paws at Shiro's shirt looking for a handhold, but it's not enough. He needs to be closer.
He loops both arms around Shiro's neck and drags him in, running his fingers through Shiro's short hair as the other arm keeps them pressed closely together.

Shiro's tongue slides against his and it's /so good/. He lets out a whimper that should be embarrassing but just isn't.
Not with Shiro. Not when he gets this, finally, after convincing himself that he'd be fine alone. That he never needed anyone before and certainly doesn't now. That Shiro would never see him as anything more than a kid.

But here they are. Keith feels like he can breathe again.
When they pull apart, Keith can't even wrap his mind around what just happened. All he can think about is how amazing and right it felt to kiss Shiro, and how in love he is.

He doesn't consider the fact that Shiro doesn't know Keith loves him, or that Shiro is married.
It's not until he hears Hunk say, "Dude, that's messed up," that he comes back to his senses.
Immediately he feels his face flush from the base of his neck to the tips of his ears. He looks around at all of his friends, all looking at him like the homewrecker he is.

Except for Matt, who looks concerned, and Pidge, who looks like she's trying /not/ to look triumphant.
Curtis is nowhere to be found.

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.
He stands on shaky legs and tries to shake himself out of his drunken haze. Whatever Matt gave him awhile ago has definitely kicked in now. He may be woozy, but not too woozy to know when he doesn't belong.
He pushes off from the table and sees Matt rise from the corner of his eye, but he doesn't stop. He stumbles toward the door, not even bothering to stop and pay his tab. That's the least of his worries.

High on that list is the fact that Shiro didn't even try to stop him.
He's out the door before he knows it and stops briefly to figure out where he wants to go. He can't drive, so he has to walk.

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.
Everything will be closed this late, and there's nothing else around besides the residential area it eventually backs up to.

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.
But a better man wouldn't have kissed his husband in the first place.

He turns on his heel in the opposite direction and runs.
He's not too far, just at the edge of the shopping district when he hears another set of footsteps thumping behind him.


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.
Maybe if he gets far enough away, they can all pretend he was never there in the first place, and that he didn't just wreck his best friend's marriage in front of everyone.
"Keith!" someone calls again. He doesn't care who it is.

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--
His foot hits something, a large rock or a root, and suddenly he's on his hands and knees, heaving and praying he doesn't get sick. At the same time he hopes he does. Maybe it'll help with the tar pit that's bubbling in his stomach or the way his heart feels like it's rotting.
He's pictured that kiss a thousand times. Probably more. Kissing Shiro should have been the best moment of his life.

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.
"Jesus-- Fuck-- Keith-- how are you-- so-- fast?"

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.
"Hey..." Matt says when he can breathe again. He sits beside Keith in the dewy grass, and Keith can see those big brown eyes looking down on him. His brain supplies that he's wearing a shirt again.

"Leave me alone," he mutters. He doesn't even know why Matt came.

"I won't."
"Why not?"

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.
Is he okay? More than anything, he's confused. He doesn't think he kissed Shiro first, but he knows Shiro would never kiss him.

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.
He's been in love with Shiro for almost a decade. He knows how to mask his feelings and never act on them.

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."
"You should be with Shiro. He probably needs a friend right now."

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?"
Keith almost shocks himself with the growl that bursts from his chest.

"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.
They sit in silence for what feels like a long time, but eventually even Keith realizes that he'll have to get up and go home eventually.

Wordlessly, he stands and brushes the grass and dirt from his pants. Matt does the same and helps brush off Keith's back.
They trudge back toward the bar. Keith had been planning on getting a ride back with Hunk, but Matt informs him that Hunk is probably long gone, along with Lance and Allura.

"Don't worry about your tab," Matt says. "It's taken care of."

"Oh." He wasn't worried about that.
"Pidge might still be around, if you wanna go back in."

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.
"Wanna go home," Keith mumbles. He doesn't. Home is lonely and too quiet, and at home he'll be stuck with his thoughts, but he has no other options. The bar is what got him into this mess in the first place, and the only other place he wants to go is straight to Shiro.
Obviously he can't do that.

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.
He frowns to himself. He should have been more in control. He's been so careful about everything until now, and he's angry with himself for letting down his guard.

When he gets home, he barely wastes any kind yanking off his shoes, pants, and shirt, and flopping onto the bed.
He stays facedown in his pillows for a little while contemplating what he should do, but he comes up short.

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.
On any other night, he might have let himself call Shiro. Shiro has always answered his calls. For any other problem, he wouldn't hesitate, but this time Shiro can't help. Shiro /is/ the problem.

He wonders if he had Curtis' number, would he call to apologize?
Would Curtis appreciate a call like that? Or would it seem like Keith was rubbing it in his face?

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 drifts into a restless state of unconsciousness. He doesn't even consider it sleep. In the morning, he wakes up nearly as tired as he was when he passed out.

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's /wrong/, he tells himself. That's someone's /husband/.

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.
He doesn't think much of it other than the passing inkling that it's strange until he overhears a conversation between Veronica and Lance.

"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."
"And Shiro's out, too?"

"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.
"It's my fault," Lance says.

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 walks away before he can hear anymore. He has the information he didn't know he was looking for. He doesn't need to listen any further.

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's not used to feeling so reliant on anything. Normally he just lets his comm sit idly until it's useful -- until he needs to get in touch with someone or vice versa. He's not the type of person who obsessively checks his comm, yet here he is, doing just that.
Keith goes home that night with a heavy heart. Despite what Lance said, Keith knows that the only person at fault here is himself.

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.
It's hours later that he realizes he forgot to look over a critical assignment for the Blades. He was supposed to send it back with his approval and notes today so that they could get personnel sorted as soon as possible.

With a heavy sigh, he goes. He doesn't bother to change.
Despite the obscene number of workaholics at the Garrison, no one is ever in the offices this late. He's barefoot and has his hair in a messy bun, too lazy to braid it or do much else with it just for the sake of retrieving some paperwork when no one else is around.
All he needs to do is pop into the office, find the correct papers, and bring them back to his quarters for review. He doesn't intend to be gone longer than five minutes, ten max.

What he doesn't account for is the unexpected light streaming from another office.
He wouldn't think much of it if not for the two conspicuously missing people earlier in the day. He slips into his own office with the intention of being as quiet and efficient as possible.

The only problem is that he can't find the damn papers. They were /right there/ earlier.
After a few minutes of relying on only his Galra night vision and coming up short, he gives up and turns on the overhead lights to continue his search. Barely one or two minutes pass before there's a tentative knock at the door.


He goes still. "Yeah?"
"What are you doing here?"

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."
Shiro looks terrible. His shirt is wrinkled and unbuttoned, his hair is a mess like he's been running his hands through it all day, and he's wearing his glasses, which means he's tired.

"Oh," he says.
Keith watches as Shiro's eyes flit across his body, taking in his raggedy appearance, and hugs himself around the middle in a defensive gesture left over from when he was a scrawny kid bouncing from home to home.

"Sorry. Didn't think anyone would be here."
Shiro just watches again. Keith is reminded of the way he looked at him at the bar the other night. His face heats as he recalls their kiss, and he ducks his head so that Shiro won't see.

"Hey," Shiro says, "are you okay?"
His heart speaks before his mind. "Are /you/?"

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.
"What? For what? Keith." Shiro steps forward and closes the door behind him. "Keith, you don't have anything to be sorry for."

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.

"Keith, /no/."
"I kissed you, Shiro." He can hear his own heartbreak in his voice, but it's too strong. He can't hide it anymore. "I ruined everything for you."

"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."
Keith shakes his head. "Stop," he says.

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.
"Oh, Keith." He steps forward again. "Believe me, I know that."

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.
"We shouldn't talk anymore."

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.
In that moment, all of his courage dissolves. "I can go away," he whispers. "If that's what Curtis wants."

"It's not--"

"If that's what /you/ want." He swallows. "For your marriage."

The pause that follows nearly breaks Keith's heart all over again.
Shiro crumbles.

"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.
"I can't believe you'd try to save me from this, even now," he says, voice full of wonder. "Even when it's my own fault I'm here."

Keith tries to protest, but Shiro cuts him off.

"Just listen, please."
"Things haven't been... right, with Curtis, for a while now. I think he's always known why, but we've never talked about it.

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.
"The other night, at the bar..."

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,
I couldn't help but listen to what he had to say. About how she makes him a better person, and how strong and brave and kind and good she is.

"And he's right to talk about her that way, even if it gets old pretty quickly."

Keith manages a small chuckle at that.
Shiro gives him a squeeze and Keith doesn't loosen his grip, even a little. If Shiro is offering comfort, he's going to take it.

"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.
"I don't mean to say he's not a great guy," Shiro says quickly. "He is. It's been easy with him, for the most part. We got along quickly and, well, you know the rest."

Keith does. Painfully so.

"But it's not..." He sighs and pulls back, but keeps a grip on Keith's shoulders.
"It's not what a marriage should be made of."

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.
Shiro keeps going. If he's aware of where Keith's head is, he doesn't mention it.

"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 Keith, /god/, if I had been in my right mind I never would have done that to you. I put you in such a horrible position, and for that, I'm so /so/ sorry. It was such a shitty thing to do."

And there it is. It was a shitty thing to do. He /never/ would have done it.
Maybe it shows on his face, because Shiro is looking at him with big, beautiful eyes full of sadness.

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.

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