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"You don't have to do this, you know..." Shiro reminds, not for the first time. The slight shake to his voice evidences his hesitation clear enough. It's a strange thing, hearing Shiro hesitant, nervous.

"I know..." Keith's response is steady, calm as he moves to take Shiro's human hand into his own. He tips it palm up, pressing a few small kisses to calloused, scarred fingertips.

"I want to." Equally as calm, equally as steady as the words before them, the promise falls from Keith's lips easily. There's no hesitation in his tone.

"Y-yes but--" Shiro protests only to be cut off with a slight gasp as Keith presses a kiss to Shiro's palm.

Keith takes a moment to revel in making Shiro's breath hitch. "No buts. Let me do this for you." Keith pauses then, kissing at Shiro's pulse on the inner side of his wrist, a question in his eyes.

Shiro's mouth opens and shuts on a few silent protests before he seals his lips shut, glancing away with a small nod. Keith knows it's hard for him, just accepting that the attention is entirely on him.

"Good boy." Keith kisses at Shiro's cheek, biting down a smirk at the way a soft blush spreads across the other man's features in response. He really doesn't know how sweet he is. Keith presses another kiss higher, and another farther over, again and again, peppering a trail of kisses across the scar bisecting his nose.

Keith's kisses move to inch down Shiro's cheek before moving to the side and starting to dip down Shiro's jaw and neck.

"You gonna let me take care of you…?" Keith's question is soft as his hands move to the zipper of Shiro's vest, undoing it easily and moving to slip it from his shoulders.

Shiro lifts himself up slightly to ease out of the vest before he responds, "If… that's what you want… You know I'd let you do whatever you want."

Oh, no no no. Keith's hand is in Shiro's hair in an instant, tugging his head back and forcing the larger man to look him in the eyes. He delights in the resulting gasp and the surprise in Shiro's eyes. "No. I might be doing this because I want to. But I'm doing this for you. This is about you. Got it?"

Shiro blinks owlishly at the smaller man and Keith nearly lets his serious expression crack into one of amusement but he holds firm regardless. After a moment of seeing Keith isn't going to relent, Shiro looks away only to have Keith bring his free hand up to stroke at his cheek and draw his gaze back.

"You deserve this…"

Shiro looks away. There it is. "I really…" Trailing off the larger man lets out a heavy breath, shaking his head minutely as much as Keith's grip will allow.

"It wasn't a question, Takashi." Keith can see the stutter in Shiro's breath when that same flicker of surprise lights up Shiro's gaze. "Now… are you going to let me take care of you? Because you deserve this? You're always working yourself to the bone… Working so hard to take care of everyone else… Let someone take care of you for once… Let me… " Keith moves to press a feather-light kiss against Shiro's lips, delighting in the shaky exhale. "You want this, don't you?"

A moment of hesitation. And then a nod. Keith steals another kiss before nodding as well, pulling back to grab for a length of soft silk rope. As the soft restraint trails across Shiro's wrists, Keith sees him shudder. "Relax… I've got you."

"I know," Shiro's words are honest, if still shaky. It's progress. Still, Shiro obediently raises his arms above his head, letting Keith fasten them to the headboard.

Carefully, expertly, Keith's fingers slide across the rope, fastening Shiro's wrists tight into place. He takes his time checking that the bonds aren't too tight, particularly on Shiro's left arm but also being cautious about not making his right uncomfortable with the peculiar way it tended to translate pressure from what Shiro had told him. That done, he kisses at each bond and the sides of Shiro's hands, running his fingers against the restraints. "Is that alright?"

Shiro takes a moment to tug at the bonds, twisting his wrists experimentally before nodding. "Y-yeah… It's… It's okay."

Keith can see the way Shiro's breaths quicken with apprehension at being bound and tied down. But the mere fact that Shiro's trusted him to put him in that position in the first place speaks volumes. Keith has no intention of breaking that trust.

"If it's too much… Remember just--" But before Keith can finish his caution, Shiro cuts over him.

"I know, I know. Speak up and you'll cut me loose right away." Shiro's lips quirk up at the edges. "You're starting to sound like me."

Rolling his eyes, Keith shifts his position, moving to settle at Shiro's side more comfortably on his knees.

He starts at Shiro's wrists again. A soft kiss pressed against each scar marring Shiro's skin. With each press of his lips, a word of praise or idle comment follows.

A kiss and, "You're beautiful…"

Another kiss and, "This one reminds me of a constellation…"

Yet another kiss and, "Do you even know how strong you are?"

A gentle kiss on a particularly deep-looking scar led to "You fought so hard… You always do… You fight so hard for us… For all of us…" Each pause was punctuated by another soft kiss along the length of the scar. Shiro whimpers outright by the time Keith moves onto the next one.

Another kiss with a chuckle. "This one is definitely the big dipper."

On and on, Keith makes his way down Shiro's arm. He takes his time, makes sure he doesn't miss a single mark that he can see from his angle.

"I'm not made of glass, Keith… I don't need you t-to do this…" Shiro sounds like he might cry, voice overwhelmed.

"I know you aren't. You're the strongest person I know." Keith replies honestly, bluntly. "But that doesn't mean you can't let yourself be delicate sometimes. Vulnerable… Even if it's just between us…" He moves to press a kiss to the apple of Shiro's cheek. "How about a change of pace?"

Shiro hesitates but nods after a moment.

Keith doesn't hesitate in swinging his legs to sit straddling Shiro's lap. "Good then."

Slowly, Keith tugs a small but sharp knife out as he moves, a piece of alien metal not unlike a switchblade, flicking open the blade and watching as Shiro's eyes widen at the glint of metal. He points the tip against Shiro's chest, a light press, barely enough to dent the fabric. "You trust me?"

Shiro glances from the blade to Keith's face to the blade again before nodding. "Completely." Keith hears no doubt in his voice and quells the little rush of pride. This isn't about him. This is about Shiro.

Carefully, Keith dances the flat of the metal across Shiro's torso through his shirt. And then up to the bare skin of his left arm. Keith keeps a sharp watch over every reaction, every twitch and shudder, every sharper intake of breath, gaze flicking between the blade's movement and Shiro's body language. It's obviously taking everything the black paladin has to stay still. But he's doing admirably. Keith trails the metal against Shiro's cheek and watches as Shiro lets out a shaky breath, closing his eyes and giving himself over to it more completely.

"You're doing so beautifully, Takashi…" Keith breathes the words softly, no small amount of admiration in his tone. The way Shiro's cheeks blush up is obvious. He's doing so well and deserves to be rewarded for it.

In a moment, Keith's blade turns in his grip and he makes an easy slice through fabric, the sharpened alien metal no match for the thin cotton of Shiro's shirt.

With a surprised yelp, Shiro's eyes snap open again as he looks between his now ripped open shirt and Keith's cheshire grin. "Th… that was a good shirt." Really? That's the best he can come up with?

Keith shrugs, replying simply, "It was in my way." He moves to cut at the left sleeve, splitting that open as well.

"...I could have just taken it off." Shiro protests.

With a hum, Keith takes his time to run his hands over Shiro's newly exposed shoulders. "Not with your wrists tied up, you couldn't."

Opening his mouth to protest, Shiro's words are lost to a quiet groan as Keith's fingers grip harder, digging expertly into the larger man's shoulders and kneading at the tension held there. "N-now that's not fair…"

"What's not? Taking care of you?" Keith lets the amusement seep into his tone.

Keith's smirk is lopsided as he watches the way Shiro's eyes fall shut under his touch as he moves his touch from shoulders to chest and down to Shiro's ribs and sides. Every press is precise, calculated. "I told you I would… And you're so tense… Relax. I'll make you feel good. I want to make you feel good. Do you want me to make you feel good?"

The lack of an answer has Keith pausing, reaching up to press his fingertips against Shiro's cheek again. "Hey… I asked you a question. Do you want me to make you feel good?"

Shiro's eyes flutter open at the touch and he bites his lip, contemplating the question before nodding. "Yes."

"And do you deserve this? Do you deserve to be praised and loved and taken care of just as much as any of us?"

Shiro hesitates, gaze flicking away only to be drawn back by the brush of Keith's thumb against his lips.

Keith can't help a chuckle at the kiss Shiro presses to the pad of his thumb. "Not answering the question won't get us anywhere, Takashi…"

"...I…" Shiro hesitates, faltering again.

It takes a long moment before a quiet "...I do," fills the air between them.

With a smile, Keith moves to press a kiss to a scar against Shiro's collarbone. "Damn right. You're so beautiful… You deserve this and so much more."

Keith starts to work his way down Shiro's chest, not wasting any time in getting back to his task.

After all, he has many more scars to go and many more praises to offer.