Shiro shouldn’t have done it. He knew as the words were leaving his mouth that this was one giant whopping mistake. It was so cliche too. It didn’t matter, he had no real reason to lie, but in that moment he just panicked.
“Takashi, honey, I’ve got someone I want you to meet.”
“Gran, I told you I really don’t need you to set me up with anyone.”
“They would be the perfect date for your cousin’s wedding.”
He could have just said no thank you, I don’t need a date. Instead, he said:
“I already have a date.”
“Oh? Who? Do I know them?”
(It’s just a small lie. No big deal. He was sure Keith would come with him. He was nice like that)
“Oh! Keith! That’s lovely. Are you two…?
This is where Shiro should have said No, no. We’re just friends. But of course, that’s not what came out of his mouth.
“Yeah,” he cleared his throat nervously. “We’re dating now.”
“Oh,” his grandmother said again delightedly. “That’s wonderful, sweetheart! I know you’ve been sweet on him for a while now. I’m so happy for you.”
(Oh fuck ).
Okay, so Shiro just had to be honest with Keith. He would totally help him out. He had a knack for saving Shiro from half the messes he got himself into and this wouldn’t be any different, right?
He just didn’t know if he would recover from the embarrassment. Honestly how many rom-coms had been made about this exact fucking situation? But his gran sounded so happy and he couldn’t just call her back and tell her he had lied.
(Okay he could do that and it would probably be the morally right thing to do but also. Fuck that. Nobody likes disappointing their grandmothers.)
He made his way over to Keith’s apartment, nerves twisting tightly as he approached the door. Using his key he let himself inside, only barely getting the door shut before Keith’s massive wolfhound barreled him over.
“KOSMO,” he heard Keith shout from further inside the apartment. “Quit knocking Shiro over!” He managed to crane his neck around the tufts of fur in his face to see Keith standing over the pair on the floor with an amused smile on his face. Keith grabbed at Kosmo’s collar and hauled him back. “Just because you can tackle Shiro doesn’t mean you should,” he cooed at Kosmo, scratching behind his ears as the dog tilted his head to the side inquisitively at Keith.
Keith reached out a hand to Shiro and helped pull him up from the floor. “Come on,” he said motioning for Shiro to follow him to the living room, “I just called in an order for takeout.”
Keith pulled Shiro down onto the couch next to him.
“So what’s up, Shiro? You look like you’re gonna be sick.”
“I need a favor.”
Shiro’s heart clenched at the earnest and open-ended offering. He knew Keith meant it too.
“I told my grandmother that you were my date to my cousin’s wedding next month.”
“Okay…? That’s not a big deal, dude. I’ll be your plus one,” he said lightly as he nudged Shiro with his shoulder.
“And,” Shiro coughed, “I also might’ve told her that we were...dating?”
Keith blinked at him. Shiro felt his face heat up and he was quick to fill in the silence.
“But I can tell her it wasn’t true! She just...she asked and I panicked and just said that we were together and I don’t know what I was thinking—”
“—I could be your boyfriend,” Keith said quietly. It was Shiro’s turn to blink in surprise. His brain screeched to a halt because Keith using the phrase your boyfriend in conjunction with himself was right out of a dream. Keith cleared his throat. “I mean. For the wedding. I could be your boyfriend for the wedding,” he finished.
Shiro had to work to keep the disappointment off his face. Of course that’s what he meant. He swallowed past the lump in his throat.
“You’ll pretend to date me so my Gran doesn’t find out I lied?” He confirmed. Keith nodded.
“Sure. I mean we’ve been friends for long enough, it’s not like we’ll have to work at faking knowing each other.”
Shiro’s shoulders sagged with a resigned sort of relief. They could do this.
“That’s what had you looking so scared?” Keith asked scooting closer to Shiro on the couch. “You know I’ll always help you.”
Shiro nodded wryly.
“Besides, nothing will ever be as embarrassing as that time I had to spend an hour getting gum out of your hair after you got drunk at that party,” he said bumping Shiro’s shoulder again, trying to lighten the mood. Shiro ignored the horrible yearning that boiling in his stomach at the thought of this whole situation. This was all going to be hard enough as it was, pretending to date someone and fool his family, but it made matters even worse that this was the man he was also desperately in love with.
“Shut up.” He elbowed his friend back, shoving down the whirl of emotions. “I hope you ordered spring rolls.”
Alright. This was fine. This was totally freaking fine. He and Keith had been friends for years and they’d shared a bed before. So why did it suddenly seem like so much more of a big deal for them to share a king bed in a hotel room? It’s all fine.
Shiro and Keith had arrived two days before the wedding at the beachfront resort where they would be staying at for the week. His cousin had planned a lavished beach wedding with an accompanying reception in the garden venue area attached to the resort. Shiro had planned to book them a hotel room a few miles away from the resort because they weren’t on vacation, not really, but his grandmother had insisted they stay there.
You should treat your boyfriend on a nice trip, she had said. He could hear the clacking of a keyboard in the background—she was booking the rooms as they spoke. Take a few extra days, spend some time together after the festivities. It’s a gorgeous place. He couldn’t possibly argue with her, not when his email pinged not three minutes later with a booking confirmation. That and the idea of several days of Keith in a bathing suit stretched out on a beach lounger under the sun made his mouth dry and his knees weak.
“Ah, sorry that there’s only one bed,” he said as they finished putting their suitcases away. “Gran made the reservation. I can–I can call to have them change it.” He reached towards the phone clumsily, mentally cursing himself for not checking the details of the reservation more carefully before Keith laid a hand on his arm.
“Shiro. It’s okay. We’ve been friends for how long? I don’t mind sleeping next to you. We have before, you know.” He flopped back down onto the mattress and star-fished out his limbs. “Besides this bed is huge so I sincerely doubt I’ll get in your way.”
Get in his way? That didn’t ring correctly.
“I hope you don’t still hog all the blankets,” Keith said archly.
“I don’t steal the blankets!”
“Suuuure you don’t, Shirogane. We can pretend that.”
“Yeah, well at least I don’t snore.”
Keith thwacked him soundly with a pillow before dissolving into laughter.
Later that night they’re in bed, having spent most of the afternoon walking the beach and relaxing. Shiro’s grandmother would be arriving the following day and they had plans to have dinner together that evening. Keith has already fallen asleep, his shower-damp hair curling around his face and mouth open just slightly.
Earlier, while they had been walking the beach, Keith reached out and took Shiro’s hand. For practice, he’d claimed when Shiro gave him a bewildered look. So that you don’t look like you’re going to jump out of your skin every time I touch you when we’re with your family.
Those words replayed over and over in his mind for the rest of the day. Every time I touch you. He wanted. He wanted so damn badly. He’d always wanted Keith, from the moment they met. There was nothing slow about falling for him, not for Shiro.
Honestly, he had no idea how he was going to make it through this week without combusting. He’d hoped that as time went on it would get easier, the ache inside him would lessen and he’d get over it. Like exposure therapy, but for feelings. That totally made sense, right? Except all it took was an hour of hand-holding to completely dash any and all hope that he had of ever moving on.
So now he’s laying here, wide awake, Keith’s lightly snoring next to him and Shiro’s so in love he can’t stand it.
What did he get himself into?
They’d met Shiro’s grandmother for dinner in one of the resort’s restaurants. He adored his grandmother, who was sharp and candid and tutted over Shiro in a way that only grandmothers could do. It had been a while since he’d gotten to spend time with her, she lived about 5 hours away by car and work hadn’t allowed him to take the time to travel out to see her. She’d met Keith several times throughout college, but they’d not really ever had a chance to sit down with just the three of them to get to know one another. He knew his grandmother liked Keith, but he wanted her to see how wonderful Keith truly was. How much he cared about him.
“Keith! It’s so good to see you, sweetheart,” Shiro’s grandmother wrapped her arms around Keith’s shoulders and hugged him tightly. He could see Keith’s ears turn pink with embarrassment as he hugged the woman back.
“Mrs. Shirogane, it’s good to see you too.”
“Please, call me Gran. No need to be so formal,” she said as they took their seats. “I mean, you’re basically family—dating my grandson and all,” she said with a wink. That adorable blush of Keith’s dusted his cheeks again and he seemingly choked on his own tongue. Shiro’s grandmother smiled indulgently and patted Keith’s hand as she turned to Shiro to ask how they liked their room and the resort.
Once Keith managed to get past the initial shock of the moment at the beginning of dinner, the rest of the meal went without a hitch. His grandmother prodded them for information about the when’s and where’s and how’s of their relationship. They had only briefly discussed some of the fabricated details of their relationship, but Keith’s elaborative answers were something Shiro hadn’t expected.
“Oh I’d had a crush on Shiro since our sophomore physics lab,” he said easily, eyes flicking to meet Shiro’s for a moment. “I didn’t think he could get any cuter and then he put on those lab goggles and I was gone. ”
Keith sounded so sincere it made Shiro’s head spin. He suddenly very much wished that he could take everything back, to reverse what he had done to bring himself to this moment because the heartache of hearing Keith say he was cute and know that it was just for show hurt much more than he anticipated. To be honest, it sucked.
However, Gran was laughing and smiling and she was clearly enamored with Keith. So yeah, it hurt, but also his two favorite people getting along together might make it worth it.
The wedding was scheduled for sunset with dinner and dancing to follow. They spent the morning lazing around the room, watching the Discovery Channel and enjoying the sounds of the ocean drifting in from the open balcony door. Around mid-afternoon, it was time to change and get themselves down to the venue for the ceremony.
Shiro was emerging from the bathroom, fully dressed, sans jacket, fussing with his cufflinks. He rounded the corner, calling out for Keith because damn it all to hell if he couldn’t figure out after all these years how to put on a pair of damn cufflinks—
Shiro looked up and his mouth went dry.
Keith was devastating in a slim cut suit that was a violet so deep it was almost black. A crisp white shirt stood out nicely against the black satin lapels. He wore it without a tie, instead opting to leave the first few buttons undone, baring the column of his throat and the lines of his collarbones.
He had his hair swept back into a low ponytail, which only further accentuated the angular features of his face. He noticed Shiro looking at him in the mirror and he turned to face him. His cheeks were pink as he took in Shiro’s own appearance.
“Need some help?” He asked with a smile, making his way across the room to where Shiro stood dumbfounded. Shiro opened his mouth to reply, but his words had left him so he just nodded weakly instead.
“You look great, Shiro,” he said quietly as he took Shiro’s wrist and affixed the cuff. Shiro couldn’t help but flush a little at the slow way Keith’s gaze dragged across his body. Shiro was so screwed.
“So do you.” His voice was hoarse and his pulse was hammering. Keith’s eyes darkened and Shiro cleared his throat, breaking the crackling tension between them. He almost didn’t want to label that feeling for fear of breaking the spell. But that’s what it was. That was hunger in Keith’s eyes.
(God help him, he was going to need it tonight)
He finally broke his gaze from Keith to find the navy smoking jacket he’d packed for the event. He needed to get out of this room, into the open air, before he did something that he might regret...like jumping his friend’s bones and making a mess of that gorgeous suit.
“We should head down.”
Keith’s smile was easy and he reached a hand out to take Shiro’s hand.
“Lead the way.”
(Yeah, he was screwed)
The night was going well, against all odds. Shiro was a little buzzed on champagne and Keith hadn’t stopped touching him and the atrium where the reception was being held had a wonderful breeze where the giant bay windows had been opened to let the night air in.
They were sitting at the table enjoying the last bits of the slices of cake that the caterers brought out. Seated with him and Keith was his grandmother, an aunt and great-uncle and a handful of cousins.
They’d been idly chatting, laughing and swapping stories when his grandmother laid her fork down and pressed a hand to Shiro’s arm affectionately.
“I never thought sweet little Takashi here would ever tell Keith how he felt! I can’t tell you how many times when he was in school he would call to tell me about this cute boy in his class.” Shiro felt his stomach bottom out.
“ Gran,” he protested weakly, his face beet red from his hairline to his collar. She just shushed him with a wave of her hand.
“Sweetie, don’t be so embarrassed. You’re dating him, he knows you like him!”
Shiro didn’t hear the rest of what his grandmother had said because Keith was staring at him with shining eyes. His expression was a complicated mix of emotions, violet eyes focused and searching. He reached for Shiro’s hand under the table and laced their fingers together. Shiro’s heart was in his throat when Keith leaned over to press a soft kiss to his temple.
“Takashi?” Keith murmured into his ear. Shiro shifted his face a fraction so that he could meet Keith’s eyes. Their noses brushed, Keith was so close. “Dance with me?” Nodding weakly, he stood with Keith and they moved to the area that had been set up as a dance floor. He felt clumsy and heavy as anxiety and fear racketed his body.
Keith wouldn’t stop being his friend. He’d made it perfectly clear that there was nothing that he wouldn’t do for Shiro. But...what if Shiro’s feelings made him uncomfortable? Would he second guess their closeness? Maybe he could play it off as a past crush. He felt another wave of nausea thinking about that lie.
He expected Keith to say something, but he never did. Instead, he wrapped an arm around Shiro’s waist and pressed his cheek to Shiro’s as they slowly spun around the dancefloor. Slowly, Shiro felt himself melt against Keith. Solid, precious, wonderful Keith. Shiro inhaled the sweet scent of Keith’s floral shampoo and felt his heart swell.
No, he couldn’t lie. Not about this. Not about how much he loved the man in his arms, to whom he owed the world.
They made their way back to the hotel room, hands clasped together, shoulders brushing as they walked. Then tension from earlier was back, crackling thickly between them.
“So you had a crush on me in school, huh?” Keith asked as the door to the room clicked shut. He leaned against it.
“Uh,” Shiro laughed nervously. “Yeah. I–yeah. I did.” He scratched the back of his neck and plopped down onto the bed. “Sorry if that’s, um. Weird or whatever.” Smooth, Shiro. Or whatever. Smooth.
“Do you still?”
His head snapped up. What? Keith was looking at him intently. Shiro swallowed audibly but gathered his courage.
“Yes. I do. More than a crush…I’m in love you.”
"Oh for Christ's sake" Keith muttered and suddenly he had crossed the room in a few strides and was crawling into Shiro’s lap, straddling his thighs as he grabbed Shiro’s face between his hands to crush their mouths together. Shiro gasped in surprise but he immediately brought his arms up to wrap around Keith’s middle, pulling him in closer instinctively.
Shiro's heart was beating wildly and for the first time in days, he feels lighter. Keith pulled back slightly to whisper in his ear why didn't you say so sooner? as he pressed kisses just under Shiro’s ear and down this neck. Shiro just helplessly moaned, trying to stammer out an apology.
"We've been wasting so much time, Shiro."
The sound of his name, light and sweet, melted in his mind and dripped down his spine like honey and all he could think is that he just wants more of it; more of the sweetness and more of his name in Keith’s mouth and the wet, delicious slide of Keith’s lips against his own.
“I’ve had feelings for you for years. You had to have known that.”
“I didn’t—I would never have assumed. I just. Keith.”
The man in his lap pressed a kiss to the place on Shiro’s neck where he had just bitten.
“Yes, Shiro?” He drawled.
“Say my name again.”
“Takashi,” he whispered, placing a kiss under his jaw. Shiro moaned.
“Takashi.” Another nip of teeth.
Shiro groaned loudly, flipped them over, pressing Keith into the mattress and proceeded to kiss him senseless.
They woke up the next morning tangled in one another. Keith was draped across Shiro’s chest, soft skin-on-skin contact, his hair tickling Shiro’s chin and breath brushing warm against his neck. The only sounds in the room were the whir of the ceiling fan, the muted sounds of the ocean, and Keith’s soft snores.
Shiro let one of his hands drag up the bare line of Keith’s back, tracing the delicate knobs of his spine. His hand idly drifted down to Keith’s side, fingers wandering to the subtle dips of Keith’s ribs which caused the other man to shift away slightly.
“Sorry,” he said, brushing Keith’s side again with a little more intent.
“You stop that,” Keith said again, grabbing Shiro’s wrist and lifting his head to glare at him. Shiro grinned dopily. Keith’s hair was a mess, there was a bit of dried drool on the side of his mouth, and one of his cheeks was red from where it had been pressed to Shiro’s shoulder for too long.
“You were snoring again.”
“I don’t snore,” he argued, eyes narrowing further.
“I’ll show you cute,” Keith growled, swinging a leg over Shiro to pin him to the mattress.
They met his grandmother before she left for her flight. They were standing by the entrance, Shiro’s arm casually wrapped around Keith’s waist while the other man leaned into him. She took one look at them and smirked.
“Oh good. You figured it out.” She patted his arm and leaned in to kiss his cheek. He stooped down to accommodate the action automatically, brow furrowed in confusion.
“Figured…it out?” Shiro glanced between his grandmother and Keith, whose cheeks were pink but was also snickering into his hand. His grandmother merely arched a brow and shook her head at Shiro.
“Wait...Gran, you knew? Was this a setup?”
“Takashi. I’ve told you once, I’ll tell you again: stop trying to lie, you’re not good at it. Of course I knew!”
Shiro looked to Keith accusingly. “Did you know?” Keith shook his head, biting back a grin.
“Not really. I had a…feeling? She wasn’t very subtle, Takashi. I’m not sure how you didn’t notice.”
“Probably because he was too busy making eyes at you,” his grandmother said to Keith with a snort. Shiro wondered if perhaps it was too late to make a run for it.
“She’s right, Shiro.” Keith laughed when Shiro covered his face with a groan. These two. He felt Keith wrap his arms around Shiro’s middle, still laughing.
His grandmother was a menace. His boyfriend (boyfriend!) was a menace.
And Shiro couldn’t have been happier.