The inhabitants of Ohsanshi had been very accommodating to them, like most races they found, for driving the Galra from their planet. A feast was planned and rooms had been made up for them in celebration in the steepled houses made of some type of pumiced rock. Shiro wondered whether it was crafted from the same rock that lined the sheer cliffs around this settlement. He glanced back at the Lions, viewable from over the large trees similar to mangroves, and offered Black a private smile. She had been quite firm that he take a break after pushing himself so much lately. Her orders were to relax, try to find himself some more. It would help, she said.
Shiro glanced at Keith, a small frown on his face.
“Yeah, I'm fine. It'll be good to relax.”
“Mmm,” Keith nodded slowly, “you've been looking stressed out lately. More than normal.”
“It's nothing,” Shiro smiled at him, “just the usual.”
“Talk to me if you need to, you know I'll listen.”
“I know,” Shiro stopped, placing his hand on Keith's shoulder, “and I really appreciate it, Keith.” He let his features soften, and with a small chuckle, removed his hand slowly. Letting it linger for too long might imply things he kept buried. He'd tell him one day, just not while they had this war on their hands.
“Hey guys! Check this out!” Lance shouted from the top of the hill. Shiro and Keith shared a look, and soldiered on upwards to stand with the others. Pidge let out a long whistle, while Hunk and Lance talked excitedly, pointing at the steaming pools of water.
“Oh hot springs!” Allura clapped her hands together gleefully, turning to the others, “on Altea we used to have them! They're wonderful to bathe in, and good for relaxing! You need to try them!”
“That's if we're allowed to. Back on Earth, in my home country, sometimes the locals can be a bit particular of foreigners using the hot springs. But I won't lie, getting in one again would be pretty damn good.” Shiro folded his arms across his chest as he stared at them longingly. They reminded him of the ones in Kusatsu, and where a large building stood surrounded by five smaller ones, he could see water cascading down into a large pool out of the rock face. It reminded him a little bit of the Yubatake onsen in the centre of the town, a place his parents used to take him when they went out to see his grandparents in the summer.
“Well, let us go and ask. We'll meet back here in a varga. Come along, Shiro!” Allura was giddy with excitement, something she rarely let herself show, and Shiro couldn't help but smile at her exuberance as he was tugged away from his memories. It'd be nice if they could. Something about this place felt homey, and it wasn't just because the natives reminded him just a little of macaques.
Keith watched Allura all but drag Shiro off back down the hill, his cries to let him please walk petering out. It was nice, Keith thought, to hear him talk about something from hime, something he'd like to do. Shiro'd always been private, and it worse now since they came to space, because he was always planning their next move against the Galra or on the observation deck. Some nights, Keith found him training alone. He'd watch quietly as Shiro moved with deadly and calculated purpose. He could never make out his facial features, and in some ways he was content never knowing the look he gave the training bot. He shook himself from his thoughts as the others started onwards. Yeah, seeing Shiro relaxed would be good for him.
“Because our springs are considered sacred, it is custom that all bathers wash themselves before entry.” The Ohsanshin motioned to the room on his left, “we also pay respects to the Sansaruki, the springs' protector, by making a small offering of a single aloru.”
“Is that the flowers you have in your hand, Kaakorra?” Hunk asked, pointing to the five blood orange flowers with huge petals he held in his hands.
“Yes. The aloru that are so bountiful, legend says, were born of Sansaruki's love of life. They wanted to see it flourish, and so they covered the lands in these flowers. From there, life as you see today came to pass. We offer their love back to them, to show that we share their love too.” Kaakorra's lips tugged upwards, the hint of fanged teeth on display.
“That's really awesome. Is that little alter there, the one with the statue, where we place them?” Hunk asked.
“Yes! Would you like to be the first to place, Yellow Paladin?”
“I-I'd love to. Is that okay, guys?” Hunk glanced over at them, and Shiro gave him a smile and nod. With that, Hunk took the flower and moved to the alter, placing it down in the depression.
“Thank you.” He dipped his head out of respect, which seemed to please Kaakorra when he made some strange high chirp-like noise.
One by one, they all took a flower and placed it in the depression, thanking the local deity as per custom. Or at least Keith did, maybe Lance considering he'd been fidgeting. Coran, Hunk and Shiro seemed to be actively engaging with Kaakorra.
“Sooo,” Lance sidled up beside Keith, resting his elbow on top of his shoulder, “steamy bath time with Shiro?”
Keith almost choked. He pushed Lance away, eyes narrowed at his stupid smirk.
“It's just a hot spring, and we're all bathing with each other!” He sharply whispered, pulling up the robe that seemingly refused to cover his shoulders properly. He caught Shiro's gaze, wondering how long he'd been staring at the two.
“I'm not making a scene. I would like to relax.”
“Relax in his arms,” Lance whispered, before he tottered off behind the group moving to the other room. Keith cursed under his breath. Was he really that obvious?
Kaakorra had shown them the level of thoroughness required for entering the hot springs through washing himself, and assisting Coran by washing his back. Helping others clean was normal by Ohsanshin culture, and seemed not to phase Coran. The others? Well, Shiro could sense the awkwardness. He was used to the openness from back home, which at least helped during his time with the Galra. As Coran and Kaakorra made their way out to the spring, carrying a towel with them, Shiro turned to the others.
“I guess pair up with whoever you're most comfortable with. We've all seen each other in the showers back on the ship, so I guess there's that. If you guys get a bit anxious, you can head on back. It doesn't seem to be an issue.”
“I don't think we need to head back, but I definitely don't want Keith touching me again,” Lance waved his hand dismissively, “I had enough contact with him when we were trying to get to the pool.”
“Well maybe I don't want you touching me either!”
“Hunk, c'mon. I wanna get clean and hope I can try catch a peek at Allura.” The devilish glint in Lance's eyes said it all.
“Dude, seriously? Her and Pidge will kill you.” Hunk groaned as he let the robes fall from his shoulders.
“Lance, don't you dare,” Shiro hardened his gaze, “because I won't carry your beaten ass back to the castle.”
“Oh c'mon, guys, I'm just joking!”
“It's not funny,” Shiro turned to Keith and offered a small smile, “do you mind helping me?”
It took Keith's entire willpower to not blurt out he'd clean Shiro anywhere if he asked.
“Sure.” He offered Shiro a curt nod and tugged his arms out of the loose robe.
“I noticed you didn't get the tie right,” Shiro muttered as he folded his up neatly, “I can show you later, if you want.”
“Yeah, it'd be nice not feeling like it's just gonna fall open at any given moment.” He wouldn't lie, it'd be nice if did just in Shiro's presence, perhaps then things could progress from there. He could feel the heat rise in his cheeks. No, no, nope! Don't think that, c'mon, he can't see me with a fucking boner. Not with everyone else here! He thought of Lance being annoying. That worked.
What had been seen could never be unseen. Coran stood from the water, one hand on his hip, the other waving the group over excitedly.
“It looks like another moustache.” Lance was struggling to keep himself from shouting out.
“It is another moustache, Lance!” Keith hissed.
“I feel like it's judging me.”
“Say. Nothing.” Shiro said firmly. Keith watched him move towards the spring, offering a wave to the others in return. His eyes caught the sway of his hips, watched how the muscles rolled under the skin. How they felt under his fingers and the tiny little noises he didn't think Shiro meant to make when he found the tense knots in his shoulder blades by accident.
Keith slipped into the spring and let out a soft hiss as the chill air contrasted with the heat from the water. He settled one the smooth rock surface under the water a few feet away from Shiro. Not too close, but not too far. He sunk down and stole glances at Shiro, who like normal was engaged in conversation with the others. He'd listen, focus on his voice. His voice was easy on the ear. Sometimes a bit husky. This was his was of relaxing.
He didn't realise he'd dozed off until a hand touched his shoulder. Keith's eyes snapped open to find Shiro had scooted over beside him.
“Did I wake you? Maybe you should get out if the water's putting you to sleep?”
“I guess you did, but I was just relaxed. How about you?”
“Well,” Shiro motioned at the empty spring, “a lot more now the noise has gone.”
“I thought you liked talking to the others? You've always been good with people.”
“Oh I do, don't get me wrong,” Shiro moved away and leaned back, placing his arms behind his head, “but I find it more draining these days.”
“Yeah.” His voice wasn't sharp, but Keith knew the conversation stopped there. It was an unspoken rule between them regarding certain subjects. They both kept things guarded from each other, Shiro perhaps more then he let on, but now Keith expected there was a lot behind those calm and warm grey eyes that Shiro would never reveal. It hurt, but Keith'd be there for him. He'd never give up on Shiro.
“You like the quiet too, and being in silent company is better then being alone.”
Keith felt the water lap against his shoulders as Shiro resettled himself.
They sat in silence. The sound of rushing water from the rock face a little way away added to the whistle of the wind above, animal song, and shouts from the others elsewhere. Occasionally Keith would look over at Shiro, in part to see if he was awake but keep himself the same. They shared looks on occasions, and Keith would follow his head back to the landscape in front of them.
“It's funny,” Shiro started, “for wanting to explore the stars, find places not like home, part of me is happy we found this place. The people here are like the macaques that live in the north of Japan, and it's kind of nice.”
“It's not like you to be homesick.”
“I know,” he caught Keith's eyes, “and I mostly don't feel it.”
“But you do now?”
“Yeah. It'll pass soon enough, but maybe I needed something grounding. Thinking all the time is...”
“Draining? You always look tired, spend a lot of time working and planning. I wonder,” Keith pulled his legs up onto the seat, if he could call it that, “whether or not to press more, but I don't want to invade your privacy. You've always been able to pry things from me, and I feel better afterwards. Maybe,” he faced Shiro, “you need to let down your walls a little too, like you broke down mine.” He hoped he hadn't over-stepped his position. He didn't want to sour Shiro's good mood. Why did he do this? He was an idiot. He couldn't keep eye contact with Shiro for long.
“If we weren't butt-naked, I'd give you a hug for that. Thanks.” Shiro couldn't look at Keith as he said it. He was right, and even though they were all in this together, just because the team were kids didn't mean they didn't understood the gravity of their situation. In his bid to try and keep them protected, he was shutting them out.
“You still can. Doesn't bother me,” Keith moved into the outstretched arms, and Shiro carefully brought him in close, water rippling out across the surface. Those magic fingers brushed against his back, and Shiro desperately wanted to ask him for a back rub. He couldn't be too forward, but did manage to slip an arm around Keith's back. It didn't matter if the water was what made him warm, Keith was comforting to hold in his arms, like he was made to fit right there.
This was much longer then their usual embraces, and Keith dared to flex his fingers out. Shiro mirrored the action against his back and Keith felt the pads press a little firmer against his taut skin. He kept his breathing steady as he moved his hands across. It took a few seconds for Shiro to do the same. It was like a game. Keith would move, then Shiro. Keith pressed fingers into the knots and Shiro shuddered; a pleased hum escaped his lips.
“Relax,” Keith wet his lips, tilting his head up towards Shiro's.
It was quick and chaste. Keith blinked slowly at Shiro as he pulled away, cheeks lightly flushed.
Shiro had kissed him. As they sat here; naked.
“Fuck.” Keith brushed his fingers against his lips, looking between them and Shiro. He went to open his mouth, probably to apologise, and Keith wouldn't have that. He pulled himself up, pressing his lips a little off-centre against Shiro's. He moved his hands up, one pushing it against the grain of his hair. In turn, he felt damp hands re-adjust; metal fingers gripping the back of his skull. The kiss deepened, Keith running his tongue against Shiro's and earning a small moan.
It broke, both panting. Keith grabbed Shiro's shoulders and pushed him back into the rock behind them, straddling his hips with a playful smirk. Shiro could feel Keith's erection and knew he could feel his.
“I wouldn't here, so much as I'd want to if you did?” He let the question hang, and as much as Shiro wanted to answer with sitting his ass down on his cock and pushing in, he couldn't do that. They'd also been in for a while, the others were around, and he was pretty sure coming in the sacred springs was pretty disrespectful. The idea of his dick causing the loss of an ally left a bad taste in his mouth. Shiro sat Keith down in his lap and ground upwards, earning a strained hiss.
“If it was so simple, I'd say yes a million times over,” Shiro pulled Keith's arms from the rock, as he sat up, “but we've got things to do, and uh,” Shiro licked his lips as he looked away, “I think we need to talk, too.”
“What's there to say? It seems pretty obvious to me.”
“It is, and I think you can tell,” Shiro watched his eyebrow raise until realisation hit him, “but I don't...there's a lot of things and I just-”
“Is this what's been on your mind?” Keith sat back in his lap, gently rocking his hips; the cleft of his ass rubbing against Shiro's cock. Fuck. This was not what he was expecting.
“Part of it.”
“C'mon, open up.”
“Are you trying to prise information out of me through your ass?” Shiro cocked an eyebrow and Keith merely shrugged in response.
“If it makes you talk, I'll do whatever it takes,” Keith stilled his hips, watching him with those intense amethyst eyes that shone in the dying sunlight, “how long?”
“Not long after we became Paladins. It's just been all of this. I wanted to wait until it was over, really make sure but,” he licked his lips, brow creased as he stared at Keith's collar bone, “I think we're past that point.”
“I think we are.”
“A long time,” Keith's voice was low as he spoke, tilting Shiro's head up and softly kissing him. Shiro could feel the intent, the emotion, and was happy to let Keith in again. Later, he'd really let Keith know. Shiro pulled him close against his chest. He supposed this was one major thing off his mind, at least for now. He leaned in to kiss Keith again, but a sharp scream of, “Lance!” Broke the mood, and they ended up headbutting each other instead.
The feast had been good. They'd been exposed to subdued entertainment, such as dances and local singing, which had admittedly hurt Shiro's ears. Like usual, Keith had been sat at his side. He was grateful that their glances and touches were so normal already by the team's standards, but at the same time that didn't help when Keith purposefully stretched, a sly grin plastered on his face. It was a face that said later, and Shiro wanted later to be now. When he became a little shit, he didn't know, but then again a lot had changed in the year he was gone. His feelings especially. He'd missed Adam, his parents, but Keith had been a big factor in keeping him sane. The only good thing was that the damn robe he had wasn't falling off his shoulders any more. He knocked back the Ohsanshin alcohol, a strange dry drink that tasted better warm.
“I don't need it,” Shiro shot Keith a smirk of his own as he leaned in, “you might though.” The noise Keith made from his throat had Shiro chuckling as he shifted back to his position, falling into conversation with Allura and Kaakorra.
“You're sure you're not drunk?”
“You just had a few with Keith, Allura and Coran, and I dunno, you just got...louder?”
“I'm just relaxed, seriously it's fine,” Shiro offered her a smile as she looked between Keith and Shiro, “honestly, I can drink a lot more then this. Besides, surely you should be asking the baby here?” He ruffled Keith's hair, earning a snort from Pidge.
“You're both complete dorks. Can't believe you joined in on the Lance versus Keith ass smacking contest.”
“Well Hunk did too. But it's besides the point. Don't worry, I promise we're fine, see?” With that, Shiro stood on one leg and touched his nose with ease, “does that prove it to you?”
“Eeeh, I guess. Either way, sleep well. I'll go at...some point,” she offered a lazy smile and waved as she left.
They watched her go until she was out of sight. Keith leaned into his shoulder, running a hand along Shiro's bare forearm, the robe rolled up around his elbows.
“What about it?”
“Do you want to pick up where we had to stop?” Keith's answer was Shiro spinning him round into the wall, hands splayed either side of him.
“What do you think?” The light smell of alcohol on his breath made Keith shudder. The playful smirk that hadn't left his face grew wider. This was why Pidge thought he was drunk, at a guess, because usually he kept himself in-check.
“Then,” Keith leaned forward, “maybe we should get back?”
“Then what're you stalling for?” Shiro pushed himself away, watching him from over his shoulder as he moved towards their rooms.
Shiro's back made contact with the wall, breath catching as he let Keith kiss him again. It was hungrier, messy, winding him up. A hand ran down his side to rest firm against his hip, while the other drew him in close. Shiro couldn't help but moan into Keith's lips, his own hands wrapped around his chest.
“You're full of surprises,” he muttered into Keith's mouth. His response was a low chuckle and a hand around the belt, teasing his fingers between the fabric.
“Were you expecting me to be shy?” His hands stilled, intense gaze locked on Shiro with a smirk on his face.
“I guess,” Shiro let his hands drop to Keith's small waist, “not as forward.” With swiftness, he hoisted him up and over his shoulder.
“Can't let you think I'm passive,” he nudged his head against Keith's side as he stopped in front of the bed and dropped him down to the sheets.
From all the movement, Keith's robe slipped down his shoulders, the sleeves pooling around his elbows. He caught the widening of Shiro's eyes, and with a hum of amusement laid back. The fabric fell away, revealing more flesh. He notably swallowed, and Keith flopped backwards, drawing his legs up.
“You gonna stand there or are you gonna-” he laughed as he felt the mattress depress and hands around his ankles.
“You're a shit.”
“You're obvious.” Keith allowed Shiro to drag him closer, licking his lips as he locked them around Shiro's waist.
Shiro bore down over him, one hand beside his head, the other teasing warm fingers through the open robes. Keith shuddered as Shiro stroked lightly against his nipple. He pressed and rubbed the nub with a finger, catching Keith in a rough kiss with the smallest hint of teeth against his lips. He allowed Keith's hands to wander down his chest to the fabric belt. He made quick work of it, feeling the soft material brush over his chest. Finally, he could really explore Shiro's body. No armour, flight suits, dreams or sacred springs stopping him. Did he grab like he wanted? Should he slowly caress the skin? So many decisions.
Shiro hummed as Keith traced his warm hands from his collar bone down over his chest, fingers dragged firmly against his skin. It was weirdly cute, but felt good too. He sat up, and while keeping eye contact with a lazy smirk, he rolled the robes off his shoulders, dropping the black and gold garment off the side of the bed until he was left in his boxers. There was a hungry look in Keith's eyes that Shiro was going to play on as he hitched his fingers into the hem, arching an eyebrow.
“Do you want to take these off, or should I?” His answer was a careful stroke against his cock by Keith's foot.
“Sure. I can remove them another day. Go right ahead.”
Shiro flashed his teeth as he pushed the material down and kicked them off.
“I think so,” he brought his own hands to his robes, but Shiro took his wrist.
“Keep them on, you look...” he licked his lips, “good in them. Real good.”
“You wanna fuck me like this?”
“Maybe I wanna fuck you.” Keith brought a hand up against Shiro's face, lips tugged upwards.
“Well, like you said earlier, maybe another day.” Shiro took his hand and gave it a small kiss.
Keith pulled him down. Their hands roamed over each others' skin as they rolled between the sheets. Keith let Shiro tug his boxers off, and in turn he let go of his worries and groped at the scarred chest. Shiro's husky gasp in his ear sent a shiver through the body; warmth from the alcohol mixing with need for something more. He wanted to taste his skin, his mouth again, hear that noise more. He rolled Shiro over with no resistance and ran his tongue from his neck down over the collar bone, grazing teeth against the skin.
That was a shame, but he didn't say no grazing. Keith did it again, applying a little more pressure over the taut muscle. He felt metal fingers brush over his scalp, his hair curled into that metal fist. Keith chuckled as he moved to Shiro's nipple and flicked his tongue against it. Shiro pushed him against his pec, and Keith continued small laps and swirls.
“Try teeth.” Shiro writhed when Keith did, voice catching in his throat.
“Feel good?” Keith glanced up.
“Mmm, but not too much. Sensitive.” Shiro tugged his head back down, and Keith happily complied until he knew it was time to sink lower.
Shiro swore when Keith finally stopped teasing and took the head of his cock into his mouth. The robe had pooled around his waist, and the way his silky hair stuck to the light sheen of sweat on his forehead made Shiro just want to push him back into the bed and fuck his throat. He wouldn't; didn't know how much experience Keith had, and from his own knowledge, knew it could be intense especially after such a long break. He arched his back up when Keith took more of him into his mouth, letting heady moans roll off his lips. Keith gripped his hips tighter as he built up a steady pace. He made small moans every so often that had Shiro tensing at how close that made him.
“I do wanna fuck you.” Shiro breathed as he pushed himself up on arms that felt like jelly. Keith blinked slowly up at him before removing himself, leaving trails of saliva and precome between them.
“Do you have lube?” Keith asked.
“Yeah,” he laughed at the raised eyebrow, “I was planning on having some time to myself tonight.”
“You wanna tell me?” Keith leaned back in, teasing patterns into the tip of Shiro's cock with a shit-eating grin on his face. With a sharp exhale, he attempted to save face. It didn't work.
“Pass my bag.” He watched Keith move from the bed over to the wall. He handed it back to Shiro who rooted to the bottom. He tossed the lube at Keith, and then fished out the vibrator.
“It's got ridges.”
“Someone's astute. Found it for sale on that market planet we went to.”
“How did you even find that type of place?” Keith gave him a bemused look as Shiro handed him the toy. He offered a sly smile in return before taking it back. He pushed Keith back into the sheets. With a coquettish look, Keith drew his legs up and bit down on his finger. Shiro ran his hand down Keith's chest, and in reply he was captured in strong thighs again, a small nod offered to continue. Shiro took the lube and quickly applied it generously to his fingers and then Keith's entrance.
The heat of Shiro's body against his own was a good distraction as he felt a finger carefully press at his entrance. He pulled Shiro close, burying his head in his nape.
“Deep breaths.” Shiro whispered as he teased and poked, until slowly he coaxed a single finger in, stopping and moving as Keith tensed and relaxed until he could feel Shiro's knuckles against the skin. It thrust and coiled inside him, then Shiro eased in another, then another. Keith hissed out through his teeth, wrapping his legs tighter around Shiro's body.
“S'good. Real good,” he made a small groan when they curled. Shiro kissed along his jawline and down his chest as he opened Keith wider, the rim becoming more pliant with ever-careful but well-aimed thrust of his fingers.
They pulled out and Shiro sat between Keith's thighs, cheeks painted in a pretty blush that Keith wanted to see again and again.
“You ready?” Shiro looked really ready as he slowly stroked the lube into his cock.
Keith gave his head a vigorous nod 'yes' and pulled his legs up. The invitation was accepted as Shiro moved between his thighs. He felt the press and push; Keith rolling his head to the side as he loosened a long moan.
“Mmm.” Keith lazily brought his forearm up over his forehead as Shiro inched further inside. Keith shifted his legs apart until the muscles burned, biting the bottom of his lip. Shit, shit, he's so fucking...
“Shiro,” Keith beckoned him down. With the first soft look of the evening, Shiro leaned over. He brought his hands up to stroke the sides of Shiro's jaw, staring into those inviting eyes and kissed him. It was slower, more careful than the others. As they broke apart, Shiro nosed his face.
“You're buried balls-deep in my ass, I should be thanking you.”
“No, for talking to me earlier,” Shiro smoothed some strands from his forehead as he made a languid thrust, “you're a good friend.”
“So're you. More then that, really.”
“Yeah?” He was caught by another chaste kiss.
“Lemme show you how grateful I am for being here in one way I know how.” Shiro's hands pushed between the fabric; one holding his waist and the metal hand caressing his chest.
“Then show me, Shiro.”
He didn't remember falling asleep, but Shiro knew this was one of the best nights sleep he'd had in well over a year. Keith's back was against his chest, and he traced the curve of his spine down to his incredibly fine ass. Shiro swallowed and licked his lips. It'd been good. Really good. He was hoping Keith's moans didn't wake up the others. He'd bled Shiro dry and still had energy to go on, and Shiro wasn't sure how much his hips could take. He chuckled softly as he ran his fingers through Keith's hair. Perhaps it was the half-Galra side that explained the softness. It didn't matter. He shuffled a little closer and let his arm drop over his waist.
Perhaps being relaxed and thinking of home reminded him of himself, before the Galra, before Voltron. When he got to be a person instead of a mentor, a leader, the Garrison's golden boy. He felt his brow crease. There was a lot he'd forgone, and now time stolen from him, to the point he'd wonder some days who was staring back in the mirror. He hoped today that the man in the reflection would show a genuine smile, because last night had been the best night of his life in years. He tensed his hold. He'd enjoy the company for as long as he could. Maybe he could invite Keith up to a quiet bit in the castle some time, or his room, and maybe he'd let Keith show him how to relax. He kissed the back of his hair and closed his eyes. He could do with some more sleep.