Shiro has a truck, which qualifies him to meet the rest of Keith’s family.
Romelle tags along because it’s fun.

Teen (13+)
Chapters: 5
Words: 14,125

never gonna run around and desert you

Chapter 3
you know the rules and so do i


Shiro meets the four dads.

Chapter Notes:

@ vld just tell us Papa Texas Yeehaw Heath Kogane’s actual name, u cowards

anyways here we go let’s pray for Shiro

They’re still about three houses away, but Romelle is already back on her feet and shouting.


Shiro doesn’t know where she got the mini megaphone, but he knows better than to question it. He simply turns to Keith and asks, “Is that normal?”

Keith shrugs. “I mean… yeah, for her.”

Shiro parks in the driveway of a two-story house connected to a wide garage with a sign that says ‘Marmora Auto Repair and Services’ in simple, big bold letters. The garage looks like a typical family-run business, the kind that built its local reputation through word-of-mouth from neighbors, family and friends.

Someone in coveralls comes out of the garage, and Romelle bounces in excitement. “Antok!!!”

Shiro just stares as the very big, very burly man grins very very widely, tosses away his dirty gloves, and runs towards them, arms spread out before him. “Princess!”

Romelle literally dives in the man’s arms and gets thrown up in the air twice before being twirled around like she weighs nothing. From the man’s laughter and Romelle’s carefree and delighted squeals, Shiro assumes that this is, again, normal.

Also it might explain Romelle’s strange love of rollercoasters. Shiro files the information away to tell Sven later.

“Come on.” Keith nudges Shiro, then opens the passenger side door and hops off the truck. Shiro follows, carefully watching the others’ interactions.

The man called Antok sets Romelle down and then opens his arms to Keith, who only chuckles once before going in for what looked to Shiro like a bone-crushing hug. Keith is twirled too, and then his cheeks are pinched, his hair thoroughly ruffled and his head repeatedly pat.

“Grew taller, Kit.” Antok says, his voice a deep rumble.

“Thanks, Antok.” Keith smiles. “You can stop patting now.”

Antok nods, and gets distracted when Romelle tucks herself under his arm and squeezes him into another hug.

All the while, Shiro just stares, because he feels so small in the presence of the man. Shiro had always been told that he’s very tall – Sven might still be half a head taller and a bit broader, but Shiro still usually felt like he was towering over his peers. But Antok is, effectively, a small tank. Big, broad and bulky, Shiro barely reached Antok’s shoulders and the man might actually be twice broader. In turn, Keith and Romelle both looked even smaller next to the man.

But then, they had told him that Antok was ‘The Big One’ so maybe the others were more… average-sized.

Another man comes out from the garage and two emerge from the house.

And. Okay. They’re not as big as Antok, but they’re still pretty big and tall, and Shiro doesn’t know how Keith and Romelle don’t feel smothered as all four men take turns poking, prodding, hugging, and lifting them off the ground.

Shiro is vaguely reminded of that time he watched a documentary that included grizzly bears grooming their cubs.

Romelle looks thoroughly rumpled, only her hair intact because she snapped the first time someone tried to touch her intricate braids. (“Not the hair, it took an hour to do that!”) Keith, on the other hand, looks like what one would look like if they wrestled with a horde of enthusiastic puppies, his hair looking more a lost cause than usual.

Finally, the one called Kolivan – only slightly smaller than Antok, scar prominent on one side of his face, long white hair in a braid – clears his throat and asks, “Keith, Romelle, you brought a friend?”

Shiro tenses as all four men turn to him – most of them seeming like they were only noticing him for the first time.

“Oh. Yeah.” Keith says, stepping backwards and reaching towards Shiro.

Shiro braces himself against four curious stares on him as he takes Keith’s outstretched hand and lets the other pull him closer.

“This is Shiro.” Keith introduces, and Shiro is hyper-aware of the eyes on them when Keith casually tucks himself to his side, a hand resting on his back. Subconsciously, Shiro drapes an arm around the younger’s shoulders and tries to smile when four pairs of eyes narrow at him.

It’s a struggle not to step backward. Shiro swallows, and tries to stay calm. ‘It’s fine. It’s okay it’s good we’re good, everything is goo- Oh boy, they don’t look happy.’

Meanwhile, Keith simply carries on – “We go to school together. He drove us here and he owns the truck.” he continues, jabbing a thumb towards the aforementioned truck.

Shiro doesn’t miss Antok looking questioningly at Romelle, who had monopolized his arm. Romelle just grins innocently.

Kolivan steps forward first, eyes lingering on Shiro’s hand on Keith’s shoulder before assessing Shiro from head to toe.

‘It’s gonna be fine.’ Shiro tries to reassure himself. What did Krolia say again? Ah- ‘I am a handsome silver-haired young man.’ he recites in his head, because that’s probably what Krolia would want him to do, and he knows that she knows best. ‘I am smart and capable.’ he adds, for good measure.

Krolia really should start giving TED talks.

Shiro prepares to face Kolivan man-to-man, but it’s Thace – goatee, spiky black hair with gray streaks, no coveralls but wearing an apron –  who smiles a friendly smile and asks in an equally friendly voice, “Is this young man your boyfriend, Kit?”

“Yeah. I thought that part was obvious.” Keith says, then finally notices Kolivan’s squinting. “Shiro, this is Kolivan. He owns the garage.”

Shiro moves on autopilot, standing straight and mustering up his winning smile, the ones he usually used when trying to ask favors or special consideration from professors or the principal. He doesn’t let go of Keith yet, but he extends his free hand. “It’s an honor to meet you, sir. Keith and Romelle have told me much about you.”

He chooses to think that it’s a good impression, because Kolivan’s stare loses some of its scrutiny as he shakes Shiro’s hand.

Then, he squeezes.


Very firmly.

Okay, too firm. Shiro thinks he breaks some fingers – maybe he should have offered the prosthetic? That one can be replaced.

He chokes a bit, but carries on and keeps smiling. “Sir.”

Kolivan nods and just says, “Young man.”

He doesn’t let go.

Romelle giggles behind one of Antok’s arms, while Keith looks at Thace and Ulaz, raising both eyebrows, imploring them to do something . But Thace just chuckles into his hand and Ulaz shrugs and-

Did he just take a picture?

God, his parents are so weird.

Keith groans and raises a hand to pat Kolivan’s arm. “Okay, okay. Stop. You’re being terrible. Mom’s already had the talk with him, while polishing her favorite scimitar.”

Shiro loves Keith dearly, but bringing that memory back does not help.

He didn’t even know what a scimitar was before that encounter, but now he knew, because Krolia had opened her speech with a brief history of said weapon and just how easy it was to murder someone with it.

Thace laughs, though, and Kolivan falters a bit.

“Let go of the hand.” Keith says, like he’s trying to calm a wild animal intent on tearing its prey into tiny pieces. “You don’t have to scare him so much.”

Kolivan frowns. “I have to.”

Keith shakes his head, unimpressed. “No. You really don’t have to.”

“I want to.” the man says instead.

Keith rolls his eyes and tries another tactic. “Okay, but don’t you think you have to save some of that for Romelle’s boyfriend ?”

Kolivan finally lets go as he and the rest now turn to Romelle.

With a barely concealed gasp, Antok asks, “You too, princess?”

Romelle glares sharply at Keith and mouths, ‘Traitor.’

Keith just sticks his tongue out, but quickly sticks it back in when Kolivan turns to him and Shiro again. Shiro, who had been staring mournfully at his hand, straightens up and quickly hides said hand behind his back before Kolivan decides to finish his previous attempt to crush it.

Kolivan shrugs, but it looks forced. “It’s good to meet our Keith’s…”

“Boyfriend.” Keith provides, no room for argument.

“…boyfriend.” Kolivan finishes, with notable resignation. “You have a good grip.”

“T-Thank-… Thank you, sir.” Shiro nods fervently. He forgets that he’s wearing glasses and shakes them loose in the process. He quickly pushes them back up and smiles again.

He doesn’t say that he thinks he’ll never be able to grip anything again in his life, after that handshake.

“You don’t have to be so formal.” Keith says, looking up at Shiro. “You can just call him Kolivan.”

Kolivan huffs, walking away. “No. He can call me ‘sir’.”

Shiro doesn’t argue. “Yes, sir.”


Keith rolls his eyes, but Kolivan motions for him to follow as he peers over at the cargo in the back of the truck.

Right. They came here for Red.

“Kit. Tell me what happened here.” Kolivan says. It sounds like an order, but maybe that’s simply how Kolivan talked.

Keith untangles himself from Shiro and gives him a reassuring smile. “Go meet the others.” he says, giving Shiro a little push. “Don’t worry, Thace won’t crush your hand.”

Shiro turns to the others and notices Thace waving him over eagerly. The man looks like the friendliest of the bunch, so Shiro meekly obliges.

“Don’t mind Kolivan. He just can’t believe his kid’s all grown up.” Thace says as soon as Shiro reaches him. He holds out a hand. “I’m Thace, by the way.”

“Nice to meet you, sir.” Shiro says, raising his own hand. He forgets himself and stops when he realizes that he had offered his prosthetic, but Thace just looks at it for a second before taking it anyway and shaking the hand. “I-… Uh. Takashi Shirogane. But please call me Shiro.”

“So we’ve heard.” Ulaz interjects. He is leaner than the others but still built, with a mohawk and tattoos on the shaved part of his head. Shiro shakes his hand next. “Ulaz. And there’s no need to call us ‘sir’. That’s just Kolivan trying his usual intimidation tactics.”

Shiro glances towards the others and sees that Antok has joined Keith and Kolivan, all three now absorbed in a discussion, no doubt about how to fix whatever was wrong with Red. Romelle is in the back again, stuffing her things in her backpack, which she had abandoned earlier when she made her grand entrance.

Shiro hears a shrill alarm going off, and he turns in time to see Ulaz press a button on a handheld kitchen timer. Thace pats Shiro’s back. “While they’re busy, how would you like to help us get ready for lunch, Shiro?”

Ulaz grins, already turning back to the house. “I’d go with us if I were you, before Kolivan decides to make you chop firewood or challenge you to a duel, to prove you’re worthy of our Kit’s hand.”

“O-Oh. Of course.” Shiro agrees quickly, holding on to the promise of safety.

He looks at Keith before he goes, and Keith only smiles and gives him a thumbs up before turning back to listen to Kolivan.




“You wouldn’t happen to be lactose intolerant, right, Shiro?” Ulaz says, getting back to work as soon as soon as they get to the kitchen.

“No, sir.” Shiro replies dutifully, hovering by the kitchen doorway. “I, uh, I’m not a picky eater, either.”

“Good, because we’re having pasta with lots of cheese for lunch.” the man continues, peeking at the oven before moving seamlessly around the kitchen. “When I say lots, I mean there are lots.”

“Romelle’s favorite.” Thace explains, heading to the cupboard and taking out some dishes. “For dinner, we’ll do Keith’s. Ulaz makes amazing baked dishes, the kids always love them.”

Shiro is glad to be put to work as Thace passes him some plates and utensils, then directs him to the dining table. He sets the table while Thace disappears back to the kitchen.

When Thace returns, he is stirring a pitcher of juice. “So you go to school with Kit? Are you in the same year?”

Shiro shakes his head. “No, sir. I’m a senior.”

“Graduating this year, eh? Good for you.”

“Thank you, sir.”

“Just Thace will do, Shiro.” the man says with an amused grin. “You and Kit have been dating for how long now? He and Romelle just transferred this year, right?”

“Ah, it’s only been a couple of months, sir.” Shiro clears his throat. “I mean. Thace.”

Thace nods approvingly.

“We were friends, first. Well. Romelle’s boyfriend – Sven – he’s my cousin, so Keith and I knew each other because of those two, and… I guess we just… went from there.”

Thace hums. “Well. Our Kit looks very happy, so I think you’re good for him.”

Shiro ducks his head, letting out a shy smile. “Thank you, it’s nice of you to say that. Keith says you’re his family, so it means a lot.”

“I’m just telling it like it is.” The man shrugs. “Don’t worry about Antok, I’m sure he’s fine with you, he’s just distracted because of Romelle. They’re very close and he missed her. As for Kolivan, well… you’ll win him over in time.”

“You really think so?” the teen asks, hopeful.

Ulaz emerges from the kitchen, carrying a big pan of pasta. “Ah, kid.” he starts, placing the dish at the center of the table. “Krolia’s the toughest of us, and Kit’s hers. If you got past her, that’s enough of a glowing recommendation in my book. Kolivan will get over it.”

Shiro lets out a bashful laugh. “That’s… a relief to hear.”

“Also,” Thace chuckles. “I texted her, and she said, I quote, ‘Don’t bully Shiro. We like Shiro.’ So… there you go.”

Shiro’s jaw drops.

‘We like Shiro.’

He tries not to cry, and just settles on making a mental note to send Krolia a bouquet on Mother’s Day, and maybe he could ask Keith when his mother’s birthday is too, for reference.

Ulaz pats him on the back and returns to the kitchen. “I’m gonna get the other pan.”

Of course there’s another pan.

“So, um, I have a question?” Shiro starts, unsure, but Thace and Ulaz have been very accommodating so far, so when Thace looks at him expectantly, he goes ahead and asks, “Why ‘Kit’? Just curious. I thought it was just his mom, but it turns out it’s a family nickname?”

“Ah.” Thace laughs, wistful. Shiro thinks he hears Ulaz chuckle, too. “It’s actually- Well. It was actually started by his father.”

Shiro pauses. “Oh…” He’s not sure if he had overstepped, so he starts to apologize, but Thace smiles and continues.

“Oh, don’t look so glum. It’s fine.” Thace waves dismissively. “Anyways, Kit was around… what, four? Five? There was one time, when his mom was bathing him, that little Kit got shampoo in his eyes. He cried and cried, and after that he never wanted to take a bath again, ever. That kid had a temper, and threw the worst tantrums. He was like an angry kitten whenever we put him in the tub.”

Shiro couldn’t help but grin, imagining grumpy little Keith, scowling as he sat in the tub.

“Then, one day, his father tried to bathe him, and he started crying again when he saw the shampoo, but Tex distracted him by making these… little cat ears? With the kid’s hair. Tex told him that if he makes his hair stand up like that, the shampoo won’t get into his eyes. And… well, you know kids. After that, Keith didn’t hate baths anymore, but he will throw a fit if you didn’t make his hair into cat ears.”

“That’s the cutest thing I’ve ever heard.” Shiro confesses, and doesn’t try to hide his smitten smile.

Thace nods. “So, Tex started calling him ‘Kitten’, and it stuck. When Keith got older, he told us not to call him that anymore, said it was embarrassing. Kolivan mourned .”

Ulaz’s laugh echoes from the kitchen.

“But, he still lets us get away with ‘Kit’, so at least we have that.”

Shiro thanks the man for sharing that with him, and- Great. Now he’s distracted by the image of Keith with cat ears.

Romelle comes in a few minutes later and rejoices when she sees her favorite dish, then joins in the effort to prepare the table.

And it turns out there’s actually three pans in total. Shiro should have known that he’s around big eaters. Ulaz lays the last one in the table and proceeds to call the others inside for lunch.




While they wait for Keith, Kolivan and Antok, Shiro listens to stories of his boyfriend’s cute and embarrassing childhood mishaps, courtesy of Thace and Romelle. It’s all good, comfortable, even. Thace treats him like he’s known Shiro for years.

Romelle hands him a glass of orange juice just as they hear footsteps and Keith’s voice says, “What’re you guys talking about? I heard my name.”

Shiro makes the mistake of drinking just as he turns to look at Keith and- What. WHAT. What-?

He doesn’t know how this happened because he swears it’s hardly been an hour since they arrived, but there it is.

Shiro.exe stops working, and the orange juice goes down the wrong pipe.

He chokes.

It’s Keith, of course it is, standing in the doorway, hair in a tiny ponytail, a smear of grease on his cheek. He’s wiping the sweat on his neck with the loose tank top he had been wearing under his button up earlier. He had slipped into coveralls, probably when he went into the garage to help examine Red, but instead of wearing the thing neck to toe, he just tied the sleeves around his waist.

It’s… a look. A look that has probably always been destined to murder Shiro.

So, yeah, Shiro is dying now, thank you very much.

As he coughs, violently, he thinks that it’s good, this is a good death.

He’ll die like he lived.

Admiring Keith.

Keith, who steps forward in concern. “Whoa- Hey, are you okay?”

Shiro considers giving him a thumbs up, but maybe that won’t be very convincing if he does it while he’s still coughing.

But Ulaz proves himself to be a saint, because he reaches over to slap Shiro’s back and tells him to hang on, he can do it, he just has to get himself together-

Thace has his head on the table, mouth covered to muffle his laughter. Romelle is holding on to the kitchen counter for support.

Keith looks at them, confused, then looks at Shiro, still concerned.

Behind him, Kolivan stands with narrowed eyes.

“I’m… I-I’m fine, Keith.” Shiro finally manages to croak out. Ulaz rubs his back like the absolute blessing that he is, and Shiro decides he will send the man a gift basket.

“Are you sure?” Keith crosses his arms across his chest and- okay okay okay, this is just unfair, because his arms look more toned when they’re sweaty.

Goddammit, now Shiro has no right to judge Sven for wanting to go to the hospital because of love.

“He’s f-fine- He’s fine, Keith.” Romelle says in between snorts and giggles. “H-He’s.. He’s just really thirsty.”

It’s a betrayal, Shiro decides. Romelle has betrayed him, which, he should have seen it coming, really. But he doesn’t trust his voice right now, and it’s not like it’s a good idea to disagree, so he just nods.

“Ngh? Mm-hm. Thirsty.” he eloquently chokes out.

He reaches for the glass to try and drink again, because… well, that’s what a person should do when they’re thirsty, but Ulaz gets to it first and gently pulls it away, whispering, “No. Bad. Trust me. I’m a doctor.”

And. Yeah, okay, fine, this is not Shiro’s proudest moment. At all.

“Okay…” Keith starts, looking suspiciously between the four in the kitchen, from Thace and Romelle both sniggering soundlessly and then to the glass of orange juice that Ulaz is holding away from Shiro’s grasp.

Unable to come up with anything sensible to say, Shiro just sends his boyfriend his fondest smile-

Then he goes cold when he realizes that Kolivan is still looking right at him.

And then Antok walks up behind Keith and Kolivan with a bright purple towel, about to wipe his face-

Kolivan snatches it and wraps it around Keith instead, all while looking right into Shiro’s wide, terrified eyes.

Keith blinks, surprised.

“Wash up before eating.” is all Kolivan says before walking off.

Keith must have missed Kolivan’s and Shiro’s little staring contest because he just shrugs, and takes the towel with him to wash up. “Be back in a sec.” he tells Shiro with a smile and a wink, and- Yep. Shiro is thankful that Ulaz took that drink away.

Antok grumbles in annoyance as he goes to find another towel.

As soon as the three were out of earshot, Thace and Romelle break down laughing.

Ulaz shakes his head as he looks pityingly at Shiro. “Kro’s right. You, my boy, are a disaster.”

Shiro buries his face in his hands. “I know…”

The man finally pushes the half-full glass of orange juice back in front of Shiro. “Here. I think you’re safe to drink again.”

“Thank you.” Shiro says, taking it. “I do need a drink.”

Before he could, Romelle giggles, low and evil. “Thirsty, much?”

This time, Ulaz breaks as well.




Keith comes back with a clean face, in a clean shirt and without the coveralls. Shiro quietly mourns. At least he still has the really cute ponytail.

They all sit down to eat lunch. Romelle gushes over the food. Shiro compliments Ulaz’s cooking. Kolivan still glares at Shiro. Antok openly hands Ulaz a five dollar bill. Keith glares at them, but doesn’t ask.

“By the way, Kit.” Thace starts, catching Keith’s attention easily. “We’ve been telling Shiro here about all the trouble you got yourself into when you were little.”

Shiro looks at Keith beside him guiltily, but Keith just rolls his eyes and grins. “At least they haven’t shown you my baby pictures.”

That turns out to be a mistake, because all four of his extra dads simultaneously reach for their pockets.

Keith looks at them disbelievingly.

“Why the hell would you have those on your phones?!”



Chapter Notes:

kolivan: it’s 2018, kit. nobody keeps bulky photo albums anymore.
thace: mine’s not in my phone. they’re in my wallet-

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