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Loving You A Thousand Times

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„I love you,“ he screams in desperation.

 



 

The feeling of death being near – it’s a feeling Keith has gotten used to. This time, it was death breathing into his face, the warm, foul smell hitting Keith’s nostrils harder than ever.

For once he was convinced his end has come and arrived with the fear of leaving loose threads behind in a world he was never welcomed in. Why now? He thinks, as he’s closer to dying. He was ready to give himself up for the greater good, for their fight before, times and times again. Why can’t he let go now?

 

This time, it feels like it is for real.

If he’d regret anything in life, it would be not hugging his mom for a second time. Then, right after that, never telling Shiro his feelings. He even regrets it now that Shiro is chasing him, hitting him, killing him, slowly.

He’s not dumb, Keith knows he’s a clone. Doesn’t know if it’s still Shiro’s soul in the clone body… either way, Keith will hold unto him, hold unto him as hard as he’d hold to any other version of Shiro. As much as he held onto Shiro all his life.

Now he’s here.

The glowing, spark-scattering heated arm burns into his skin slowly and painfully. Seconds away from neatly slicing through Keith’s face, letting him leave this world, this universe, once and for all.

It’s the end, Keith thinks. Because deep down he knows, he could never hurt Shiro and save himself instead, not even consider it. He’d rather die with him.

 

Keith closes his eyes, steadying himself to take the final straw and welcome death – guilt flashes through his blood; he can’t save the others, can’t save Shiro—

 

The hit doesn’t come.

A loud clonk and the feeling of soaring heat dissolving forces him to reopen his eyes. Right in time to see Shiro’s cloned body falling to his knees, eyes rolling back, his body folding together. When Keith looks up to see who helped him, he looks right into Shiro’s face. Again.

But it isn’t Shiro. If anything, it’s Shiro from before his flight to Kerberos, except…older. Keith blinks at him for a few seconds, looks at the raven dash of black hair, the scar-less, plump and nurtured face. It’s a Shiro, without a doubt.

“What a fucking idiot,” the Shiro who hovers over him says – he gets to his knees quickly and grabs for Keith’s arm.

“Keith,” he murmurs softly and pulls him close into his arms.

“I’m so sorry he hurt you—” he continues. Keith’s cheeks heat up, he’s still so jittery, his emotions are unstable—

“Wait,” Keith croaks, “did you kill him?!”

“What? No!” The clone looks at him shocked. Then his lips turn to a soft smile.

“But I would, if he’d seriously hurt you. I mean, he did, but… you know. I’m not just going around killing people. I just gave him a hit on the head, he will be out for a few hours.”

Keith exhales. He doesn’t know if this information makes him feel safer or not. Shiro’s clone, this clone doesn’t exactly radiate the same character the other clone did, not even Shiro’s own energy. Keith thinks it’s Shiro, but with a part of him emphasized, and another part missing.

“…Thanks,” he says in the end, because it’s the only thing he can say.

For once Keith has time to look around them. The clone facility looks close to total destruction; a few of the purple containers have been broken open, courtesy of Keith’s Galra knife and Shiro’s glowing arm. The pink-purple liquid flows over the ground everywhere, dipping everything in its translucent, wet glow.

Keith doesn’t have the time to understand anything that just happened. But he has (a little) time to ask questions.

“Who are you?” he asks the clone.

He is still pressing the smaller Paladin to his chest in a tight hug, then raises his arm to brush a few black strands out of his face in a gentle gesture.

“Come on, Keith,” he snorts. “You know who I am.” He rolls his eyes at him and laughs. He reminds him so much of Shiro. But of the Shiro before his mission to Kerberos, when it all was… easier, when he hadn’t gone through unnecessary pain yet.

Keith doesn’t feel like laughing. His stomach turns, his head is dizzy (is there blood?) and his world is shaken.

“Shiro,” he exhales softly and closes his eyes.

“Yup.” The clone cradles him in his arms, nuzzles his head. Keith first freezes in his embrace, then relaxes a bit. Whatever it means – this Shiro doesn’t want to harm him.

Then it’s as if he breaks out of a daze.

“You’re not him—” He raises his voice. “Where is he?”

The clone looks at him, lips pressing tight against each other. His eyes look to the side when he answers.

“He’s …kind of fine. You don’t need to worry about it now.”

Keith wants to protest, but his heart is pumping. He catches himself with the thought that, if at least one Shiro, clone or not, is alive, that it will be at least somehow fine.

He wants to ask more questions, wants to talk what he, the clone, is doing here, why they exist – it must be Haggar, everything falls back to Haggar. Always.

“So,” the clone starts. Keith warms up to his body warmth, which is so similar to Shiro’s, Shiro…who he never hugged that long—, “you told me you love me?”

Keith’s eyes snap up at him. The clone looks smug; he grins down at Keith, eyes half-lidded.

“I…didn’t exactly tell you,” Keith murmurs, carefully touching his own chin where he got hurt earlier. Where Shiro hit him earlier. Shiro, who he loves. So, so much. The clone said, he’s safe – but what does that mean exactly?

“Same thing, same thing,” the clone chuckles.

The clone… shuffles even closer, presses more to Keith than before.

Keith doesn’t mind, really. After that fight, he welcomes the warmth and casual care more than anything. If his heart would just stop pumping, everything would be fine.

The clone nuzzles his face into Keith’s hair, then hides his face in his neck – a sudden crack from behind them lets Keith perk up, but when he turns, there’s nothing they see. The clone waits for him to relax again so he can go back to nuzzling him while Keith is frantically thinking about how he can get out of here.

The Black Lion is still at the entrance of the clone facility and Keith is currently held hostage by a cuddly clone that he has only known for a few minutes. He’s exhausted – even though he had more on his mind than his Galra side appear… he noticed the shift. His nerves calmed down, but they are still peaking as high as his blood pressure. There are other feelings…unraveling, that he’d rather not think about.

What does he do now? Just take the clone with him? Explain the others?

 

It’s only now that Keith notices the clone softly stroking over his chest. It feels good, he can’t lie, he likes the tender feeling of Shiro’s hands…

“Uhm—”

“Keith,” the clone says, voice tainted with desperation all of the sudden. “I bet you can’t imagine how much I missed you.”

Keith tries to understand; tries to get what he’s talking about—

“But we’ve never met—”

The clone sighs, he bops one finger against Keith’s nose.

“Oh, we did. Or I did. All of Shiro’s thoughts are about you,” he explains. Keith stares at him, still not understanding. The clone sighs again, as if it’s also hard to explain. “We share them, you know, on another level.”

“Via DNA?” he asks him. The clone laughs loudly – as if he’d just make a really funny pun. Maybe he did.

Keith stares at him, still lacking even a tiny bit of comprehension. He opens his mouth and closes it again, unable to say anything or explain his confusion. The clone’s hands are on his chest again (he still has both).

“I’m, uh,” Keith starts, but the clone is not listening, smiling down at him in awe.

Keith feels him leaning in, coming closer; he feels the inevitable about to happen.

The clone kisses him.

Keith has a mouthful of him – the clone bents his head back slightly and has more access to Keith’s throat, but Keith although agitated lets it happen, wants it to happen, feels the warm press of lips against his but can’t do anything against the drowning feeling that closes up on him, eating him up and not spitting him out, leaving him caged with a hot mouth and his own messy feelings. Keith almost doesn’t realize his own hands feverish gripping at his hard muscles, pulling him closer, pressing himself up against him at the same time. The warmth hits him all through and through, shoots through every vein and bone and Keith feels it but he doesn’t have time to be embarrassed about it.

“I love you, too,” the clone tells him, his own lips reddened, and his hair tousled. He smiles gently at Keith, eyes shining so brightly that Keith can recognize Shiro’s spirit in him – he wonders, why at this moment – and drowns, drowns deeper, but hasn’t felt that alive in years, too.

“We all do,” he whispers into his hair.

There’s another crack and Keith looks up. His mind has been distracted by confused feelings spiraling down on each other. He’s about to ignore whatever caused the sound – a generally unintelligent move, but in this case, it doesn’t matter – but then he sees it. Another clone has broken himself free from the restricting glass, pink fluid is spilling out in sheets.

“Uh, Shiro—” he nudges him.

“Call me Kuron, Keith—”

“Kuron, uh, there’s another one of you.”

Keith is about to scramble up when he sees the third Shiro – or Kuron – break through the glass and wander towards them.

“Oh.” Kuron doesn’t seem surprised, but also not threatened.

“We should go,” Keith urges and wrangles himself free. Kuron lets him.

“They don’t mean harm, I think,” he says and when the clones come closer, Keith sees that he was right.

He is hugged by multiple sides at the same time, arms and hands grabbing every where to get ahold of him. It’s not uncomfortable – it’s clumsy and exciting.

“Keith—”

“You’re alive!”

“I’m so glad…”

Keith doesn’t know what joke of the universe this is, but apparently all of Shiro’s clones are extremely …cuddly. And happy to see him.

“You look so good,” one of them says. “I want to hug you, too.”

And handsy too.

Keith lets himself be hugged, because, hey, it’s nice to get hugged by strong arms and stronger chests and abdominal muscles that could probably lift Keith when he sits on them as one of them does sit-ups….

He just barely escaped death. That’s why Keith can’t feel himself to care about whatever weird thing is happening right now.

“Keith,” one of the clones says, desperately, “I want to kiss you too, can I, please? I was dreaming of you…”

“I,” Keith says unsure, looks at the other clones who just wait as patiently as the one who asked for the kiss. “Okay,” he breathes, defeated by his own curiosity.

The clone doesn’t wait two seconds until he lurches forward to throw his arms around Keith. The kiss is hastier than before, more like a first kiss instead, but Keith drowns in it, too, graps Kuron’s head and brushes through the hair and he shudders, because it’s just as he imagined Shiro’s hair would be.

“Thank you so much,” the clone says after he breaks the kiss Keith feels dizzy and confused afterwards – it’s so easy to get lost in this kind of attention…

Another clone’s big hands are on Keith’s hips, holding onto him, steadying him. Keith thinks it’s smart – he’s sure his knees will give in soon, unable to hold him in place forever.

“Keith,” one of them says as they all stand in a circle around him fifteen by now, or more, “Keith, you’re hard.”

Under the waiting gazes of more than a dozen Shiro’s, Keith’s head turns red – the Blade suit hides nothing at all.

“Should I help you?” One of the clones offers and another hits his shoulder.

“Can’t you restraint yourself a little?” one Shiro asks the other. Keith’s heart skips a beat.

“I, uhm. Maybe I should make sure the others are okay first—” he begins.

“They are. This idiot,” he points to the clone that tried to kill him, “lied to you.”

“He was under Haggar’s control,” another one continues. “We will see how he is when he wakes up.”

“Thanks for saving me,” Keith says and notices faintly that the Shiro’s all struggle to come closer to him.

“You don’t need to thank us. We love you,” another one says and takes his hand.

“I, uhm. Do you…are you all connected with Shiro?”

“Yes,” they answer all simultaneously. Keith looks back at the rows of clones that haven’t woken yet.

“Let us help you, alright?”

“I’m, uh-” Keith gulps. There’s nothing he has to think or worry about anymore. Shiro is fine, he is fine, the Paladins are fine.

“Okay—“ he aspirates, helplessly.

“Be gentle,” one of the Shiro’s say as the one that held him steady before, gently pulls Keith back so he’s flush against his chest and stomach. Keith feels the clone’s hard dick nudging him from behind.

“You are so hot,” one of them says as multiple hands stroke over Keith’s shoulders, a relatively safe body part to touch, first. He’s slightly taller than the others and moves next to Keith. His hand is at Keith’s cheek, his eyes remorseful. “Does it hurt?” he asks Keith as his hands softly ghosts over it.

“It’s, ah—it’s okay,” Keith says. Someone just touched his dick.

The clone carefully pulls his chin towards him, but Keith willingly stretches towards him, ready to receive the soft lips that make him lose his mind fully.

“Shiro,” he mutters right before the clone’s mouth covers his. He feels the smooth lips nibble at his own – he pulls his arms free from the caressing hands of all the other Shiro’s to grab this Shiro’s head, pulling roughly, clutching onto strands of hair as the clone opens his mouth wider and mirrors the same. Keith barely recognizes the hands touching at his inner thighs, but he wants to feel it all, all the hands, all the body’s and the butterfly kisses over his body.

“Shiro,” he murmurs into the kiss again, “I missed you every month, the glimpses of the future—” But he can’t continue talking, because the clone he’s kissing right now, is pulling at his suit, roaming over his chest as he deepens the kiss. Keith imagined many times how it would be, how Shiro would explore his mouth or where he would touch him, but then, in the quantum abyss –

“Shiro,” he sighs again.

“Keith, we love you,” another clone speaks as Keith continues to kiss the other, he feels the press of the hard cock against his ass gain. The cruel images of the quantum abyss are quickly forgotten again as the first two clones discard his shoes and kiss his feet – it’s weird, but also endearing. He thinks about the real Shiro, connected to them all, even though he doesn’t know in which way.

“Would he want this, too?” he asks as another clone pushes away the two kissing his feet, being much rougher as the others as he grabs for Keith’s hips and presses their dicks together.

Keith yelps, but he throws his arms around him, too, caged in between two buff Shiro’s who rub against him. The one behind him is kissing and biting at his neck, while the one in front of him only looks down at him, eyes lidded, and mouth slightly opened as he pants.

A third one makes room for himself between the other one’s legs so he can nose at Keith’s clothed dick through the Barmora Suit. “Fuck,” Keith groans and a fourth Shiro catches his lips and pushes his tongue against his and starts greedily sucking at Keith's mouth.

During his time in the quantum abyss, Keith slowly realized, reliving all his memories of Shiro, that all he ever wanted was /him/.

 

Then there were visions of the future, too and he realized, that some predictions about what could happen soon…are crueler than others.

In the six month he spent on this godforsaken space whale, he thought about finding Shiro, meeting him and talking to him, spending time with him – even changing what the abyss had shown him. But he quickly gave up his fantasies of having his first time with him.

Ironically, everything came different and he’s about to have his first time with multiple Shiros at once. Oh boy.

“Keith, be rest assured,” one clone says as he stands a bit aside, palming himself at the sight of the others caressing, stroking and kissing Keith’s body, “He wants this, wants you, too. Since he disappeared, he watched over you many times. His love is strong, that's why we’re all able to feel it.”

 

Keith watches as the one that spoke slowly pulls his dick out of his pants and starts to stroke it, eyes locked with Keith. “Can I, Keith?” One says from beneath him and Keith nods, pulse running a hundred miles a second. “Yes,” he says, voice coarse and for the first time he feels some of the exhaustion of the fight, feels that his body is sore, but he can’t, no he won’t be able to stop, not when it feels so good, not when he has…perfect view of a half undressed Shiro pumping himself into his fist at the sight of him.

“Please,” he begs now, eyes fixed on the masturbating clone. “Please, the suit, take it off—"

One of them rips the suit right open – Keith laughs, jittery and overwhelmed at the sheer force he uses, but he doesn’t hurt him at all. Keith’s cock springs free and there are three mouths already licking at it.

“Fuck, fu—uhh—ck!” he shouts, unashamed. In this empty space of the universe, nobody can hear him here anyways, “Fucking god—”

The multiple tongues lapping at him move everywhere, his bare thighs, down his knees. Two Shiro’s are carrying him by now, having lifted him up easily with no effort at all. Keith feels petite between all of them and he is, no matter how much he bulked up.

“The moment he saw you step out of the old altean ship,” the Shiro behind him whispers in his ear, “he wanted to shove you against the wall and sink his cock into you.”

“But that, ahh, that wasn’t Shiro, that was—” he looks to the still unconscious clone from before.

““No, I’m talking about the actual Shiro – he couldn’t watch when you were away, he was with the team all the time. But that moment… he was furious seeing Kuron gaping at you.”

 

Keith wonders about it all –Shiro’s anger and his feelings to Keith, which the clones know all about. He thinks of his Shiro wanting to push his cock into him, too.

It happens then, a tongue casually slipping against his ass.

“Shiro—“, he shouts and has to grasp for his dick so he doesn’t come. He wants more, which means he can’t come now.

“Did you know you’re dick glows?” One of the clones says. “I didn’t,” Keith says before he can stare down, purple galra dick hard and erect, actually glowing.

“Your eyes are changing a bit, too.”

The Shiro who was pumping his cock all along shudders and comes into his hands. Keith moans at the sight – and at someone spreading his ass cheeks, too.

“Do you want us, Keith?” The one behind him asks, holding him in place as he humps against him, still.

“Yes,” Keith says as one Shiro takes his cock to the hilt, nose bumping against his stomach. “Fuck, yes, I want you all—”

"But we don't have, ahh, you know, lube," Keith reminds them. He tried it once on himself and it was only a finger. It's not exactly too comfortable.

"There's plenty," one mentions and the rest chuckles, "We've been preserved in this fluid, but it works fine as a lubricant, too."

Keith eyes the pink fluid suspiciously, observes when some clones walk out to get some with their hands. Keith shouldn't simply trust them with what they are doing, he should have some doubts about it, but …he also can't bring himself up to care.

Lying on the other Shiro so he doesn't have to lie directly on the ground, he spreads his legs to give access to whoever wants to prep him. One clone moves to kiss him again, make it easier for him to relax when multiple hands are stroking at his ass, delicately pushing against his rim.

Keith groans unashamedly against the clone’s lips, feels the hand of the clone lying beneath him roam over his body. Someone pulls his pants down, so the clone is naked under him, hard cock pushing against his thighs. Keith quickly gets used to the feeling of fingers inside of him, fingers of someone else than his own.

The first time he comes is as the fingers move in him, the cock pushes through his thighs and a mouth moves down on him. Keith comes down his throat, shudders and groans.

Fuck. That was good.

He thinks he's done for, exhaustion roaming over his body, but then he sees the clones still touching themselves at his sight or letting their hands roam over Keith’s body.

"Are you okay?" Shiro - or Kuron? - under him asks him gently, with his hard cock still between his thighs.

"I'm, uh, fine," Keith answers, endeared by multiple Shiro's kissing his body and try to make him feel good. Keith loves it.

"You still want more?" he asks Keith and observes as his cock hardens again.

"This, I don't think I ever could have... like, when I'm alone-"

"It's okay, Keith", he says, tone light and a bit amused. He kisses Keith's neck and loops his arm around his middle. "I would still love to fuck you," he tells him as he gently cups Keith's dick and brushes the slit with his thumb. Keith can't believe that he's ready for another round already again, but he sighs into the feeling of the hand around his cock, the dick between his thigh, the warmth over and under him.

"God, yes," he moans loudly, more than ready for someone - one of them - or all of them - to fuck him senseless. Keith searches his own relief, moves his hand on his cock, too, but one of the clones grasps it and holds it away. He mewls as the clones hold his arms steady, making it unable for him to touch himself.

It makes his blood boil, and he swears his dick glowed even brighter than before. That's definitely something new about his body that he didn't know about.

The clones either watch him or caress him, careful to not over stimulate him when he already came once.

Keith glances away from the ones that circle around him, either touching him or themselves to some clones a few steps away who started kissing.

 

Keith can't process what's happening there, observes in awe how the on Shiro slips his tongue in the mouth of the other, sucking, making him moan from the kiss alone. The other one pulls his own clone close in turn, rutting against him, moving his hands over his body until he finally grasps on his dick.

 

As they continue kissing, they look to the side, eyes watching Keith expectantly. Keith can only stare back, moaning from this sight and the touches equally.

The clones are careful around him, some are stroking themselves with the pink-purplish liquid, some are fingering themselves. Keith gulps and watches the fingers thrusting in and out of him, opens his mouth for a broken moan and suddenly feels his canine teeth grow longer.

"What - fuck - what's happening?" Keith groans. The clones stop their movements to look at him curiously. One cracks a gentle smile.

"You're shifting, I think, into your Galra form. You never did that before?"

"No-"

"It's hot. Fuck, Keith, you look gorgeous," another one says.

Keith feels more embarrassed than he ever has, but the sentiment changes quickly again.

Suddenly a shadow falls over Keith when one of the clone halts next to his head. "Keith," he says, kneels closer to him and brushes through his black hair. Keith is nowhere prepared for the next sentence.

 

"Keith, can I fuck your mouth?"

 

That's... straightforward, Keith thinks. But it's good, he loves how the clone smiles down at him, loves the gentle smile. He missed it so much - Shiro's gentle smile.

Even if it's not completely the same. Keith reaches out to touch the clone's cheek and nods. He opens his mouth pliant and the other clones resume to their activities from before.

Keith feels the fingers reentering him roughly at the same time he gets a taste of Shiro's cock.

 It is so good.

Keith would have never thought that he likes sucking cock that much, but here he is.

He moans around the cockhead, mouth already full and stretched because of its girth. He feels his mouth straining and takes a breath for a moment.

The clone lying under him takes a good grip at the cock and guides it to his own mouth - Keith's eyes become yellow slits as he watches it sliding in and out of his mouth. He hums around the thick cock in his mouth, earning gasps and pants from the attached owner.

Keith can't stop looking, but can't not act either. He's stretching forward and slides his tongue against the clock's base and suckles. Kuron lets it slip from his mouth so they can suck both at it, use their tongues and push messy and open mouthed kisses against each others lips as well as against the cock. The one lying under him finally grips the cock hard and guides it back to Keith's mouth.

Keith tries to take it as deep into his mouth as he always fantasized, he would when he thought about Shiro and him. He coughs and chokes a little bit and Kuron pulls out quickly, so he has time to breath and relax again.

"Fuck my mouth," he pants and stretches his mouth wide open, tongue darting out. He grips the hips from behind and pulls them closer, stretches to take the cook deep into his mouth again.

It's then when he feels a dick push against his hole - it's the clone lying under him.

He mouths at his Keith's neck as Keith is occupied with the cock slowly sliding into his mouth and pulling out again.

"Keith, can I?" he sighs against him and waits for Keith's nod. Keith feels his arms snake around him, pressing him against the body below him.

The cock enters almost too easy which could count as the seventh world wonder considering how thick they all are.

Keith loves the feeling of it pushing against his ass and in it, loves how he's filled from both sides, able to hear everyone's moans and grunts as they get off. He loves the humping against his ass and the spread of his legs by multiple arms.

 

The clone under him fucks into him steadily and spent himself quickly after. Keith wanted to come together with him, but he can't yet, not so quick after.

Another clone knees between his legs, holds his wrists down and fucks into him quickly.

Keith holds onto him and moans loudly at every slap of the hips against his ass, so much that the cock in his mouth quickly slips out and the clone standing behind him has to push it back in. They move with vigor in and out of him and spend their load at the same time into Keith's ass and mouth. Keith turns and spits it out as the next clone enters him and fucks him tenderly. He holds onto him and moves his hips with him, chasing his own orgasm.

He only notices on the side that his nails grow longer and dig into the clones back harshly, leaving bruises and scratches in the skin.

"Fuck me, fuck me!" he chants excited, slamming his ass back against the cock, wanting it deeper and harder.

Then he clenches and the clone removed himself, strokes himself a few times and comes on his stomach as the next clone gets ready.

They all take turns entering him and fucking him, some gently, some harsher. Keith feels so good, so loved by them all and he can't get enough. He laps at the multiple dicks that are hold into his face from all sides, tries to give them all the pleasure they deserve.

He loves moving against them as they fuck him, loves all of the aroused Shiro faces, loves the cum on his body and the hands and tongues that clean him.

The orgasm surprises him - he's riding one of the clones now, raising his hips up and down as his skin turns a light shade of violet, his hair grows, and his pulse rises.

"Fuck," he shouts as he clenches his eyes together and moves erratically, fuck, fuck, fuck," he shouts in the rhythm of the hips thrusting up into him.

He comes with a loud shout of Shiro's name, orgasm so hard that his vision goes white and he gasps for several seconds.

Suddenly, everything feels different. The warmth is gone and the coldness of the clone facility, too.

 

*

Keith doesn't dare to open his eyes, even less when he hears /him/.

The voice haunted him in his dreams as much as when he was awake, a single word enough to throw him off.

 

"Keith."

 

It's soft spoken, so far, so magical, but there's no doubt.

It's him, this time. It's Shiro.

 

*

 

"Keith," he calls out to him again, and slowly, only slowly Keith opens his eyes.

 

Gone is the clone facility and the dozens of Shiros. Keith is happy to notice that his clothes are tidy, and he doesn't look like a clone cum bin anymore.

He… wouldn't want to face Shiro like that.

The place he awoke is dark and Shiro is a luminous star in the darkness, waiting a few feet away from him.

"Shiro," he calls out to him, suddenly panicked, "the clone, he wanted to kill me, and the others-"

Shiro looks at him, his gaze hard to read.

"I tried to warn the others about the imposter on Olkarion, but our connection wasn't good enough."

 

"Have you been here all along?" Keith questions him, "Why?"

The next thing that Shiro says is hard to digest - all of Keith's fears became true in the end.

"I died, Keith."

Shiro explains it all - how he died, and the Black Lion retained his essence.

"Shiro," Keith sniffs and comes closer, but the Lion's conscious doesn't allow hugging him, he hugs through thin air instead.

"Keith," Shiro says to him, voice soft. "I'm sorry I made your biggest fear come true."

The tears are running down Keith's cheeks; he can't hold back anymore.

"Shiro," he says again and hides his tears behind his hand. "Shiro," he cries again.

"I'm happy our connection is that strong. To be able to talk to you like this again... Keith, I missed you."

Keith thinks about a possibility to bring Shiro back to life, to change this situation.

 

"I missed you too." His voice is coarse, he holds his gaze.

 

Then some silence - all is explained.

Shiro clears his throat.

"So. Uh. Did you enjoy yourself?"

Keith's heart rate should pick up, but here in the Black Lion's consciousness, every distress is swallowed by the void.

He... doesn't know what to say. Shiro saw. He must have.

"Shit," the curse leaves Keith lip before he can prevent it. "Shit, Shiro, I'm- I shouldn't have, I'm sorry, I don't know what to say-"

 

That's it, Keith positively ruined his chance on being together with Shiro or making it possible for them to get together. It's over - who would take your romantic feelings seriously if you fucked ten of their clones? And had to watch on top of it all?

Keith seriously wonders what was wrong with him and why he would let that happen in the first place. Even though... It felt so good. One of Shiro's eyebrows perks up and he grins.

"It's okay," he smiles, "somehow? I mean, I can understand it to some extent. If there were ten Keith clones who would try to seduce me, I had a hard time saying no, too."

Keith's head is dizzy - the Shiro he knows never told him that, Keith even assumed that he would never return his feelings in the first place. This is a big revelation for him, he feels like he might need to sit down.

"Shit," he swears again. Shiro snorts. "Fucking hell, Shiro."

"What?" he grins innocently.

"I wish I could hug you," Keith says. "Hug the shit out of you."

"Me, too, Keith."

They look at each other for a while in silence.

"Shiro, I-" Keith starts and loses his voice. It's so hard to transport his feelings again, after all of this.

"I love you," he says again. He's safe for now, not under pressure. He can face these feelings.

"When you were gone, I've…almost lost it. You’re my best friend. You’re my family. I love you, Shiro."

The Black Lion's consciousness gives him peace and the ability to speak his mind.

He never looked as gentle - Shiro's eyes are full of warmth, reflecting how lucky he feels to know Keith. That's why it's not a surprise that Shiro looks at him and says: "I love you too, Keith. I love you so much..."

Keith leaps forward and grabs his head - suddenly it works.

His hands are not gliding through air, no, they are able to hold onto Shiro as he wishes to.

 

"Shiro," he sighs and draws him closer to kiss him, soft and unhurried but with fierceness.

Kissing Shiro is amazing, a weightless, burning feeling that Keith yearns for, even now.

Shiro's lips are soft and open quickly to his tongue.

They are pressed against each other here where nobody can disturb them. Keith kisses and kisses as Shiro kisses back & the feeling of someone softly pulling him away arrives quickly, soft first but then it gets even stronger.

"I will get you out," Keith murmurs against his lips. "Shiro, I love you, please. Trust me-"

 

And then the consciousness spits him out and he's right in front of the Black Lion, a dozen brown pairs of eyes looking down at him in concern.

"Are you alright?"

"Yeah," Keith says and slowly gets up. Three hands reach out to help him, pat his back and give him kisses.

 

"Thank God, we thought we broke you," one of the clones says. A few others giggle.

"No, no," Keith says and stretches, "everything alright, but I, uh, I gotta go, check on my team. I mean they are okay, but I left them mid battle. I need to go back."

The clones all look like disappointed puppies. Keith groans. He can't just leave them here, right.

"Uh-"

They wait expectantly for him to say something. Keith has to act fast.

"Uh, do you all need a ride by any chance?" he asks them.

They nod enthusiastically. At least that was easy.

"Then let's go."

 

He makes sure that Kuron, who is still unconscious is carried into the cockpit. Then, all of them watch Keith getting seated and starting the Lion.

There are proud murmurs in the background.

With Shiro's help (Keith calls him back in a desperate yell to get to his team faster) he arrives at the castle of Lion's.

 

After they secured their situation, they land on a deserted planet and Keith explains the situation, standing next to all the Shiro clones. Their lips are sealed as Keith leaves out all the steamy details in his story. The Paladins don't need to know /that/.

"If we transfer Shiro's mind to his body," Pidge says, "won't Kuron die?"

Keith falters. That's a... possibility.

 

"There's not a lot of him left in there."

It's one of the clones explaining. "Haggar's control is tight on him, always has been since he was put into action. Since their connection has been put off, there's not much left."

"We clones are all a part of Shiro, even though we're different. I think if Kuron can rest alongside Shiro, it'll be okay. Otherwise," he looks at the other clones, "he will face certain death, and his body will be gone."

 

Keith gulps.

"So… what do you think?" he asks the clones.

 

*

The moment Shiro awakes, fully awakes, with Kuron's body and mind accepting him, Keith's hands are on him.

 

"Keith," he says, "I was dreaming."

Dreaming of you, he means. Keith bends down to kiss him, soft and tender.

"Welcome back," Keith says softly, lips only a few inches apart from him.

Shiro smiles softly and takes the next kiss happily, greedily from him.

*

Everything should be fine, Shiro is back and they got out of the battle alive. There's only one problem left: All the clones are still there.

Shiro tries to appear indifferent, but his jealousy shows from time to time. "I don't know what to do. I can't just leave them behind," Keith explains to him. Shiro agrees reluctantly.

 

Out of all people, it's Slav who has a possible solution for this dilemma.

"Where there is a reality with a thousand Shiros," he begins, "there is one with Keiths, too.”

 

It's pure luck that they find a possibility to wander through realities again - maybe it's Keith's ambition that pushes him into action.

Slav reinforces that the possibility of a reality with Keith clones is more than possible and even finds one.

 

The clones are safe and will be. Happily, they start their travel over the reality riff, ready to find their fulfillment in a fair amount of Keiths, too.

"Won't you feel lonely?" Shiro asks him soon after. They have confirmation that the clones live together happily in a faraway galaxy.

"When I have you? Never."

Keith smiles at him. He means it. A dozen Shiro's might be exciting, but he loves this Shiro and this Shiro loves him.

 

It's more than he ever bargained for, more than he thought he would ever get. And that's more than enough; it makes Keith the happiest he's ever been.

 

"I love you."

"I love you too."

"I'll love you a thousand times." Shiro sounds genuine.

Keith snorts.

"I bet you will."