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Matt was way happier than he should be to see his bed. He’d stayed up just a little bit too late again tonight working in the lab with his dad and sister, and he was desperate to just lay in bed and let sleep overtake him, at least for a couple of hours.

He walked into his bedroom from the bathroom, having actually remembered to clean his teeth and pull on pyjama pants for once instead of just collapsing in the bed, shoes and all as he sometimes did. He stretched and ran his hand through his hair, soft and brushed where it now fell around his shoulders before making his way over to the bed stand to charge up his phone, the numbers 2:01 blaring at him from the screen as he did so. Incredibly, this was not the latest he had been to bed this week by far, but hey, no one said that defending the universe from Galra warlords was going to be easy. He was just about to switch off the bedside lamp, the only light in the dark room, when his phone rang.

Shiro.

Matt hesitated. He knew it could be important. It could be war-related; something wrong with the Atlas maybe or even that Shiro had found Pidge still in the lab when he couldn’t sleep and wanted Matt’s help to drag her back to bed. But the deep, clawing feeling in his gut let him know that he didn’t really believe that. He’d seen the tightness in Shiro’s face today, the rings around his eyes slightly darker than usual, the small tremor in his hands as he pointed at the screen in front of Matt. It had not been a good day for him and he knew why Shiro was calling.

With a deep sigh, and eyes closed tight, Matt unplugged his phone and answered.

‘Shiro?’

‘Matt…’ The voice on the other end of the phone was small and shaky, so far from the fearless leader the world knew him to be, like a little boy lost in a supermarket not sure who to ask for help. ‘I… please?’  Matt swallowed hard. Shiro was struggling to get the words out but this wasn’t the first phone call Matt had received from Shiro in the early hours of the morning; he knew exactly what Shiro was trying to ask him. He swallowed hard.

‘Yeah…’ His voice was also small and weak. He coughed. ‘Yeah, Shiro, come over.’

‘Thank you, Matt.’ And silence as he was hung up on.

Matt let out a deep breath and ran his hands through his hair. He was tired and his whole body felt heavy and floaty at the same time. He needed rest. He needed sleep. But he was weak. Shiro needed him and Matt’s will power could never stretch far enough to send him away.

He hated himself for it; hated that after all these years what he had initially dismissed as a schoolboy crush continued to haunt him, continued to twist his feelings and common sense and turn him into a simpering, blushing fool; so desperate for any attention from his hero that he would take this mental torture over saying no every single time.

He was sure it had started as a crush; Takashi Shirogane, Garrison prodigy; tall, smart and gorgeous, strong and capable yet friendly and kind; the kind of man that all and sundry fell for, the kind of man that even Matt’s father couldn’t speak a bad word against. And when Matt finally got a chance to talk to him one-on-one at the Garrison, he’d blushed and stumbled over his words like an idiot, and he’d received an amused smile in return. And as he was stuck staring in awe at those teasing gunmetal eyes, he knew he’d fallen hard.

But who wouldn’t? He argued with himself. Half of the Garrison must have been in love with him he reasoned, besides he had a fiancé, and Matt really got on with Adam. They had that great easy-going banter going on as if they’d known each other much longer than just a few months.

And so, Matt had managed to swallow his feelings down, accepting they were there but knowing that nothing was going to come of it, and that he didn’t really want anything to come of it if it came at the expense of two men he had come to care so deeply about. But then Kerberos happened, and all of the training in close quarters, and knowing that Adam and Shiro were no longer a thing- well, all of the feelings came rushing back. It was one thousand times harder now that he was a fully grown adult and he got to speak to his crush every minute of every day if he really wanted to and he might have imagined it but sometimes he thought he’d caught Shiro flirting too.

Then they were captured by aliens and his father was taken away, and the guards were taunting them about the kind of monsters they were apparently supposed to be fighting soon whilst they were surrounded by other terrified aliens who had a better idea of what was in store for them and Matt’s panic had reached fever-pitch. And just as he was about to spiral way too deep, Shiro had grabbed him and kissed him.

Matt had no chance to kiss back before Shiro was grabbing him by the shoulders and telling him to breathe and that he was strong and could get through this and other sweet things that Matt could barely hear over the feel of his burning lips. And Shiro had smiled at him, sad and worried, but with a promise in his eyes that maybe if they got through this blip of darkness, there would be a light waiting for them at the end of it all.

Of course, they had then been taken to the arena and Shiro had injured him and blah blah blah. They had got through it. Barely. Matt had thought of Shiro often during his imprisonment and time with the rebels, of course he did. But it was not the stuff of teenage daydreams as it had once been, but stress and fear that maybe he would never see him, or Pidge, or his Dad or Mum or dog or Earth ever again. A fear that was compounded when just as they seemed to be making progress and he knew exactly where everybody he held dear was, even if they weren’t exactly safe and sound; Voltron disappeared. And he’d had no time to grieve for sister and friends as warlords roamed the universe and he was forced to hide and fight nearly every second of his life. A terrifying couple of years that had firmly made their mark upon his psyche and one that would never truly fade no matter how hard he scrubbed at it.

But he’d tried. He’d made use of the Garrison counsellors and confided small bits to his sister, knowing she was the strongest one of them all by far, and much more to his Dad who had shared at least some of the same experiences he'd had. And though he knew he would never get over it completely, at least he was learning to deal with the pain. He had looked into himself at the mess the Galra had made of his mind and he acknowledged it, accepted it and he was developing coping mechanisms to tide him over until he had the time and energy to roll up his sleeves and tidy it the hell up.

Matt had known that out of all the survivors of the war so far, Shiro had received the most damage; had seen the worst things; had done the worst things. But Shiro was not owning up to his trauma. He had buried it deep, talking about it only when necessary, ever playing the protective big brother, giving just enough to maintain a deep connection with his team and friends but never enough to really let anyone see how broken he truly was. Matt just wished he would. He knew Shiro would benefit from the therapy sessions he and his father were attending, that he would benefit from talking some of it over with them even, if he couldn’t face a stranger. But he didn’t, and Matt just wished he would confide in anyone- his team, his dad, Keith…

Maybe if Adam had lived Shiro would have confided in him; would have fallen into his arms and finally found some solace in someone who loved him and knew him; someone so far removed from the trauma that he could lean on for once, could lower his walls for. But Adam had died, taking with him the last barrier that kept Shiro’s life from being more heart-rending than a Shakespearean tragedy. And Matt ached for him- ached with all of the pain that Shiro must be hoarding all to himself, wanting to take just a tiny bit for himself, to lessen the load.

He guessed in a sick and twisted way that that was what he was doingand Matt had only a second to truly feel the overwhelming sense of self-hatred that had become so familiar to him before his door was opening and a ruffled looking Shiro was walking through it. Matt loathed himself for the quick thrill he felt at the thought of Takashi Shirogane visiting him in his private quarters but it was too late to turn back now, so he pushed all of his energy into maintaining his footing as Shiro surged at him, pulling him into his arms, a cruel mockery of what Matt had longed for before reality had shattered any notion of a happy ending between them.

‘Matt…’ Shiro whispered and then his lips were pressing hard against Matt’s, desperation clear in every single push of his mouth as Matt tasted the whiskey on the others breath. Matt managed to reach out and kick the door closed as Shiro’s hand rose to twist in his hair, no longer soft and comforting, but harsh and unrelenting. Desperate, desperate, desperate; with the need to forget and bury himself in sweet pleasure with a cold drink and a warm body as Matt relented and pulled just as hard at the other’s collar, pulling Shiro in tight against him, falling back on the wall behind him.

The sickness was still lying heavy in his stomach, but Shiro’s touch was lighting up his whole body; every inch of his skin singing at the feel, the smell, the taste of this man so close to him; frantic hands pulling at his backside as sharp, sloppy teeth mauled at his neck. And Matt not only allowed this, he welcomed it. If this was all he could get from Shiro; if this was the only way to get a taste of Shiro’s affection, of being able to help him through it all, then he was going to grab onto it with both of his dirty, greedy hands. He was going to indulge in being touched and moved in ways only Shiro could and he was going to hoard the memories for the dark, lonely nights he spent laying awake and staring at the harsh white ceiling, as he tried to work out what he had done to have his life end up this way.

Matt gave it everything he had; yanking Shiro’s head up by his white hair and pulling him into a rough kiss, all teeth and tongue, luxuriating in the taste and smell of another man grinding against him. And soon enough, Shiro began making his way down Matt’s body, kissing and nipping every little part of him he could reach, as he slowly went down on his knees, now kissing and toying with the waistband of Matt’s pyjamas bottoms. Matt held hard on his shoulders, trembling and vibrating under Shiro’s touch.

And then there was a hot mouth on his cock, sucking hard and harsh, causing Matt’s head to fall back against the wall; to lean back and just feel; just feel the wet warmth encased around him, bobbing up and down, licking at him every now and then with a skilled, practiced tongue lulling him into such a relaxed state he barely noticed the slick fingers entering him and stretching him, preparing him for what was to come.

Just as Matt was worried he was about to lose himself too quickly, Shiro was upright again, mouth against his own as he guided Matt to step fully out of his pants before unzipping his own flies. And then with a strength that had Matt’s dick and hole twitching, Shiro lifted Matt to push him against the wall, making Matt wrap his legs tight around that stupidly muscled waist and hold fast onto broad, sculpted shoulders for purchase.

Matt broke the kiss to look down at hazy grey eyes, loving the way they fell shut as Shiro pushed in, stretching Matt’s walls to their limits, stroking every single nerve ending in his asshole as he dragged in and out deliciously. He found Matt’s prostate only a few thrusts in and Matt gave in further to desire, leaving no room for the previous thoughts of ‘this is wrong, this is wrong’ swirling around his head, only leaving room for Shiro. Just Shiro with his intensely distant gaze and strong grip around his thighs, and hard cock pushing in and out of him; taking what he needed and using Matt’s body like it was cocaine; taking him high enough make him forget everything at least for a little while.

As they got into a proper rhythm, Shiro’s thrusts getting harder and more erratic as he chased his end, Matt braved letting go of one shoulder to jerk at his own cock, closing his eyes to focus on the heat of Shiro’s breath against his neck and the low grunts ringing in his ears, imagining that it really was Matt that Shiro was thinking of… and he came, shooting white all over his chest as he felt Shiro follow after, pushing in deep and emptying himself in Matt’s body.

And then the high fell.

Shiro pulled away from him, placing him cautiously on the floor as Matt’s legs trembled and shook, unable to stand and instead having to stay seated on the cheap garrison carpet in his room. He looked up at Shiro and caught one whole second of eye contact with the man that had just ravished him completely, catching just a hint of softness in the half-light. But then Shiro was looking away and zipping himself up. He turned towards the bathroom, disappearing into the shadows cast by the bedside lamp.

Matt forced himself not to think too hard, to shove any thoughts of regret and sadness and despair firmly away as he pulled on his pyjamas bottoms with shaking hands, managing to pull himself upright on wobbly legs just as Shiro reappeared from the bathroom.

There was no eye contact now. Shiro stared intently at the washcloth in his hand as he held it out for Matt to take. Matt took it, their fingers touching for just a second, and Matt couldn’t help but wonder if Shiro felt the frisson between them too.

‘Thanks.’ Shiro whispered sheepishly, still not looking at Matt, but nodding in his general direction. ‘I’ll see you in the morning.’ Matt hesitated but was much too tired to keep his thoughts entirely to himself.

‘It’s late. You could stay?’ He asked softly. Shiro did look at him this time, though he still avoided Matt’s eyes directly, instead offering a sad smile.

‘Goodnight Matt.’ And he was gone. And Matt was left to stand there, cold and dirty, wondering why he continued to put himself through hell when he had just managed to escape it.