Disclaimer: Everything belongs to their respectful owners.
A/N: The amount of hate this ship gets saddens me and so prompts me to write this out of sheer spite
Lmao nah man I'm not THAT petty
I just! Love! This ship!
It's a known fact that his memories are missing.
Not broken, no, nor shattered to the point of it being impossible to fix it back again. Shiro likes to think he has some hope that maybe, he'll be able to properly remember what happened on that ship without freezing up everytime something as mudane as the smell of metal would set him off.
Hiding, being locked away, those are the terms he prefers to use on his memories, because the thought of having someone or something holding onto a key to free them later on is much better than knowing that they're lost forever without no hope of retrieving it back.
No matter how painful it is.
He has to go through it, for the sake of all the vows he made ever since he first formed Voltron with the rest of the crew, the inseparable bond that flows freely through them that if he focuses hard enough, he'll able to feel the hum of life they and their lions give out as they stay connected as one. Every move they make feels as natural as walking itself as they fight together, where their spirits are as one as their minds.
He's grateful to have them all, he's grateful that he finally has people who he can trust on, people who he protects vehemently.
And he will do anything to protect them.
But sometimes, there are things they're not meant to see.
Which is why he's surprised he doesn't hear Keith coming in the training room until he talks.
"You didn't tell us about this."
Shiro stiffens from where he has been doing push-ups on the floor, arms tensed straight as he recognises the way the question falls flat into a deadpan, the hidden anger shimmering under them all. He slowly bends his arms so that his chest almost touches the ground, causing the hum of his right arm to reach his ears, and he stays where he is. "How long have you been there?"
"Well, considering that you have twenty scars on your back," Keith states in a matter-of-fact that Shiro tries to hide a wince, and at the corner of his eye, he's able to see the way Keith crosses his arms as leans against the wall. "I'd say long enough."
Shiro straightens his arms again. "It's nothing."
Keith snorts. "Of course you'd say that, I wouldn't expect you to be any less modest."
Clenching his jaw, Shiro only continues doing his work out as he ignores the disdain in his friend's tone. "There's a reason why I never told any of you what I carry on my back."
"You mean your whole body," Keith interjects without missing a beat that only prompts Shiro to grunt out in neither confirmation nor denial. "You look like a damn scratching post, Shiro, and I don't mean it in a cute way."
A huff of laughter escapes before Shiro can stop it, and he raises his head to meet that stormy gaze that has been glaring at him shamelessly. "A cat reference, huh?" He smirks, and that causes Keith to narrow his eyes. "Lance would be over the roof."
"And I know he won't be when he sees what I'm seeing." Keith laments. "I imagine the others won't be as enthusiastic either."
Shiro ignores the pang of emotion in the middle of his chest. "I know."
They stay in silence for a while, letting it fill in between them that he's able to feel it weighing on his skin, a heavy blanket that he can't seem to shake off as easily as he used to nowadays whenever they're in some sort of disagreement with each other. It makes him worry, since Keith appears more difficult to open up despite the intimate moment they have outside the shack on the day Shiro is found, the day the crew saves him from the betrayal he feels for the Garrison.
He wants to change that though, he wants Keith to appear as comfortable as they used to be a year ago, before hell has been shoved into their faces, when everything seems so simple at that time.
Shiro pushes himself into a sitting position, legs folded under him as the sweat on his bare torso chills him when the cool air of the castle brushes against his skin. His left hand runs through his hair as a sigh escapes his lips. "I'm sorry."
He sees the way Keith's face softens. "No, don't be. I'm sorry I couldn't-" Keith cuts himself off by shaking his head, lips pursed as his shoulders raises slightly with tension that Shiro resists the urge to rest his hands on them to smooth out the creases of his shirt. "When I found you on that cot after a whole year of thinking that you were dead, I, well," he chuckles breathlessly. "I was kind of in a shock. Still am actually, despite flying giant lions together for a while."
Shiro stares at his right hand, flexing his metal fingers as easily as he would with his flesh hand that sometimes, he wonders at how easy they attach The Arm to his body that he doesn't feel any pain at all at the moment. "Yeah," he agrees slowly. "Me too."
"Hey," when he raises his head, Keith is already kneeling in front of him, eyes fills with comfort and worry as he clasps a hand firmly on his shoulder. "I'm glad you came back, alright? I'm glad that I was able to find you, you have no idea how relieved I was when I did."
Shiro lets the warm feeling spread in himself before he realises something. "But you left Garrison," he voices out confusedly. "Why? I thought you loved it there."
Keith gives him a wry smile. "Maybe, until I didn't have a real purpose anymore."
Studying him for a while, Shiro lets the words churn in his head, trying to find the meaning in them when Keith begins to withdraw his hand away, dismissing the topic quickly when he stands up from his position. Shiro is beginning to miss the warmth from his touch when Keith offers his hand towards him, looking at him straight in the eye. "Spar with me."
They used to do this, just spar with each other when things get too much for them that they find release through their company.
Shiro remembers it's their thing, it's their way of handling things they can't say.
And like before, he accepts without another word as he takes Keith's hand, feeling himself being pulled up that the familiar tingle runs through his back everytime they're close. His left hand lingers near Keith's as he lets his eyes fleet across his face while Keith only looks back at him simply, dark eyes carrying heavy thoughts that makes another sharp zap go down his body.
The brush of Keith's fingers against his makes his breath hitches slightly, but then, Keith is already taking a step back before he easily shifts into a stance, calmly waiting for Shiro to make the first move.
Shiro allows himself to curl the corner of his lips as he mimics Keith's position, hands raised in front of him.
A second later, he shoots forward.
He knows that after he crashes down to Earth he has become faster than the last time he left Garrison, stronger, as if they have been pushing him to fight things he never would have wanted to do after he first defeated the giant beast, after he earned the title as The Champion.
And so he sees the way Keith's eyes widen slightly when he dodges from Shiro's right fist, just barely touching him. Keith uses Shiro's outstretched arm as an advantage by wrapping his fingers around his wrist and attempted to hit three swift kicks to Shiro's stomach, but Shiro knows that he would use this move as he dodges them without a second thought before gripping Keith's arm with his own hand, twisting it around to press it against his back and delivering a hit to the back of his legs that Keith falls to one knee with a grunt.
"You're getting sloppy," Shiro teases, leaning forward slightly to meet his eyes.
"No," Keith bites out, raising his head as he catches his gaze, and Shiro feels the way his heart thuds a bit harder than before at the way Keith's mouth quirks sardonically. "You just got better."
Without another word, Keith swings his leg out that it hits Shiro in the side, causing a sharp puff of breath to release that he accidentally looses grip on Keith's wrists. Keith takes his chance to give another kick to the abdomen that causes Shiro to jerk a few steps back from the force.
Smirking, Keith bounces on the balls of his feet while Shiro tries to catch his breath. "That's what you get for gloating."
Shiro doesn't say a word when they move to attack at the same time.
They keep dodging each other's hits almost flawlessly that Shiro feels as if they're doing a much crude and harsher version of a dance as their skin starts to shimmer with sweat while their breaths comes out into pants. He feels some release in sparring with a familiar person, where Keith's presence is near him that he quietly relishes on it, slowly feeding his deprivation of contact for the past year.
And he thinks Keith misses their sessions as much as he does when a hint of a smile begins to bloom on his face.
When they back up from each other to have a breather, Shiro lets his eyes wonder over Keith to find an opening that could somehow weaken him, trying not to linger on the way his gray shirt has already darken at the collar while his hair sticks to his forehead. Keith notices this and flashes him a feral grin, all teeth and no remorse that Shiro feels the same bolt shooting down his spine that leaves his skin humming with something he isn't sure he should advance.
That prompts an idea out of him though, and he's willing to make it work as he brushes away his dark excitement that flickers under his chest.
Shiro only stays at the defensive as he dodges all the kicks and punches Keith rains onto him, and Keith manages to notice this as well when he sharply looks at him in the eye.
Just when Keith is about to land a punch onto his shoulder, Shiro quickly engulfs his fist with his own hand before twisting his arm and pushing it to the arch of his back again, kicking the back of his knees that Keith comes kneeling on the ground with a quiet snarl, his other arm an awkward angle from where Shiro has it in his grip.
They stay like that for a while, breath heaving into the quiet room as Shiro feels the way the length of Keith's back is pressed against his front, where every breath makes their bodies almost molded together that Shiro reacts hypersensitive to it.
Without thinking properly, Shiro briefly rests his forehead onto the junction of Keith's neck and shoulder, almost like a tap of skin against skin as his nose and lips bumps against him, but that was enough to make Keith inhale a sharp breath through his teeth.
Shiro feels his eyes widen as he flies off of Keith, surprised at how that makes this blatant want so strong inside him that he hopes it's not that obvious.
Keith doesn't look at him for a while from where he glares at the floor, jaw working furiously from where he refuses to look at Shiro, as if he's ashamed at his own reaction.
He stands up without another word that Shiro only watches him from where he's still sitting helplessly on the floor, trying to hide the way his hands are twitching to touch Keith again.
Keith runs a hand over his hair, causing a silver of skin to be shown when his shirt hikes up a bit, and Shiro clenches his jaw as he tears his gaze to meet Keith's eyes.
Keith studies him for a while, almost thoughtfully Shiro thinks, before dropping his arm to the side with a mild slap. "It's obvious you've gotten better," Keith comments slowly. "Because I'm pretty sure you weren't that fast the last time we wanted to take each other's guts out," a ghost of a smile comes as fast as it goes. "You were a lumbering ox."
Shiro forces out a snort, running his hand over his hair as he looks away. "Yeah, well, when you wanna stay alive in the arena, your stamina is your only friend there."
He winces at the borderline bitterness his words carry, but Keith seems to do him a favour by ignoring that when he doesn't make a comment of it and only pulls out a rubber band from his pocket.
Shiro takes the fascination of watching the way Keith ties his hair into a small ponytail at the base of his skull even if clumps of hair still sticks to his nape and temple. When he's done, he faces Shiro again, takes one look at him, and then offers him his hand.
Shiro accepts it without a second thought as Keith hauls him up. They stumble slightly and Keith's other hand hovers over Shiro's shoulder to steady them both, and Shiro is able to feel the heat of his hand that he strains the urge to not press his shoulder into it.
Instead, Keith looks at him with permission in his eyes, and Shiro realises that his hand is still hovering over his shoulder, over the large white scar that makes itself shown between the both of them.
He tries to breathe properly when warm fingers traces the ruined tissue from the dip of his shoulder and across the length of his clavicle, until it ends on his bicep.
Keith curls his fingers there as he exhales through his nose, the puff of breath tickling against Shiro's skin that he resists the crawl of a shiver that travels down his back.
"I can't believe at how much you've been through lately," Keith says quietly. "At how they used you like some weapon."
Shiro doesn't say a word, only watches those fingers brushes against the scar again.
"I'm sorry I wasn't able to save you," Keith continues in that same tone. "I'm sorry I couldn't get you out sooner."
Shiro can't stop the chuckles that burst out of his mouth. "You know, for a smart pilot, you can be an idiot." Keith narrows his eyes, and Shiro only squeezes the hand that is still pressed against his shoulder. "It's not your fault."
"I could have saved you," Keith grits out, eyes flashing with anger. "I could have followed you or even done something-"
"And take you to that place with me?" Shiro raises an eyebrow. "No, I don't think so."
Keith clutches onto Shiro's shoulder for a brief moment before taking a step back, and Shiro tries to squash the disappointment when Keith puts some space between them. "I'm starting to think you're the idiot here," he retorts, crossing his arms again that Shiro recognises the gesture as him shutting everyone off. "If I was there, I would have help you. Just-" Keith shakes his head with an exasperated sigh. "God damn it, Shiro."
Shiro shrugs, making himself walk towards the edge of the room where he dumps his stuff there. "I know how they treat the prisoners there, Keith, and the thought of you- any of you going through what I did?" He shakes his head as he grabs the bottle. "I don't think I'd hold myself back to take them all down."
"Just because you're considered as 'The Champion' doesn't mean you can take them all down, Shiro." Keith states flatly. "And for the record, we'd actually work together to get everyone out if I was there."
"Not before they decided to torture you first," Shiro shoots back, wiping his forehead with a towel. "And like I said," throwing the white cloth over his shoulder, he turns around to face him level his gaze evenly. "I can't bare to know what they'll do to you."
"They wouldn't be able to get their hands on me," Keith insists. "I'd make sure they wouldn't."
"They would," Shiro presses, remembering the way he hears the painful screams that bounces through the whole hall everytime the guards take the prisoners out of their cells to be used as a toy to the beast readied for them. He remembers wanting to shut everything out and wishing that everything would be over. "They'd do it without a second thought because that's how they work, they'd even do anything to make sure that you'd have their mark as a souvenir because to them, you're a blank canvas, ready to be used. And if they find out how much you actually mean to me-"
He cuts himself off, feeling the heat going to his ears when Keith looks at him with wide eyes, mouth slightly agape. Shiro purses his lips before he makes his way towards the door as he swallows down the lump in his throat. "You'd be dead within the second."
He feels a hand jerking him back that he almost falls in surprise, and then a pair of hands cups his face tightly as Keith presses their foreheads together.
Shiro doesn't stop the breath released as his body relaxes at the touch, his eyelids fluttering closed when he feels the way Keith breathes against his cheek, an reassurance he doesn't know he needs until he finally gets it. He weaves his fingers through Keith's, holding on as he leans into the touch more while taking a huge breath. "God, Keith," he mutters, the other hand holding onto the bottle presses against Keith's back almost desperately, wanting to feel something solid as he starts to quiver. "I'm just glad you didn't have to go through it."
Keith rubs a thumb over the apple of Shiro's cheek. "I'm sorry," he apologises softly. "I shouldn't have wished something like that. It's not fair for anyone that went through it. It's not fair to you." He hesistates for a while, and then letting out a sigh that grazes against Shiro's cheek. "When I found out that the news was a fluke, I've been trying to look for you and your crew, hoping to get some sort of signal where you were. And when Idid," he lets out a bark of laughter. "Happiest day of my pathetic life."
Shiro skims his nose to the side of Keith's face, his hand dropping to his elbow. "I'm glad you're here," he mumbles. "I'm really glad you're here with me."
Keith nods numbly as Shiro presses his lips against his shoulder firmly. "Yeah. Yeah, I'm glad you're here too."
They stay like that for a while, the sweat on their bodies already half-way dried from where they clutch onto each other as if they're going to be seperated again.
And as Keith grazes the corner of his lips with his own, Shiro hopes that it'll never happen.