“I’m like catnip for spirit-eating monsters, they’re going after my friends, I get my soul knocked off my body at least five times a day, my class thinks I’m a freak, Lance McClain of all people is all up on my case-… and my worst problem is that I have a fake boyfriend.”

Shiro listened, as he always did, and he laughed when Keith eventually said, “Fucking high school.”

Teen (13+)
Chapters: 5
Words: 0

Quincy Archer Hates You

Chapter 3
The Fluff Thickens


“Fuck. I just told Pidge and Hunk that we were going to make out on a broom closet.”
Shiro laughed nervously and tried to joke. “We didn’t even get to the broom closet.”

Chapter Notes:

Or, Shiro Really Likes Keith’s Hair pt. 2

Between the shinigami lessons, the occasional Hollow, homework and night patrol, Keith and Shiro had a pretty busy weekend.

Keith felt exhausted. On a positive note, he felt like the work paid off when on Monday morning as he and Shiro made their way to school, Lance jogged up next to them with one of his raised eyebrow looks.

“You’ve done some work lately, huh.” he remarked, eyeing both of them up and down as if he could track the changes physically.

Keith tried to sound nonchalant as he asked, “You can tell?”

(Shiro’s lessons on spiritual pressure control was like some form of zen-yoga-meditation-ritual-inner-peace-thing that Keith absolutely sucked at. Things like ‘feeling the flow of power’ and ‘sense all those around you’ and ‘channeling it inwards’ and ‘controlling the release of your spiritual energy’ made him feel like he was some Jedi trainee, which was cool, except Keith was pretty sure he was not Force-sensitive in the slightest.)

Lance shrugged. “A bit. You feel less annoying. Long way to go ‘till you’re not attracting Hollows left and right, though.”

“We only started last Saturday.” Shiro pointed out.

(Shiro said that Keith was doing a great job, but Shiro was probably biased because Keith cooked him a delicious stack of pancakes earlier that day and the man almost cried because he loved it so much. Shiro’s smile was one of the reasons Keith was doing terribly, anyway. It was very distracting, and very hard to stop thinking about.)

(Keith made a pretty horrible padawan.)

Lance clearly thought the short time period wasn’t enough justification, though. “Better work on it quicker.” he said, then walked ahead, leaving them behind.

Shiro frowned. “It looks like there is no pleasing him.”

“I gave up halfway through the first year of middle school, you know.” Keith said.

Shiro looked curious. “You wanted to be friends?”

Keith huffed. “No. I just wanted to be civil with him, because I really like Hunk’s company, and Hunk thinks the world of him.”

“It didn’t happen then?”

“Yep. Lance completely hates me.” Keith said, and this time he almost sounded amused.

“And you’re fine with that.”

A shrug. “We stay out of each other’s lane. It works.”

“I can’t see why anyone would hate you. You’re a wonderful person.” Shiro said softly. He reached out to pluck a stray leaf from Keith’s hair.

Keith twirled the leaf between his fingers when Shiro handed it to him. “I seriously don’t know how you can say that and mean it.”

Shiro hummed, his fingers combing lightly through Keith’s windswept hair. Keith leaned in slightly. He just hoped Shiro was trying to fix the mess, not worsen it.

Belatedly, Keith realized that not even Pidge, Hunk or his uncles had done this, at least not in a while.

It’s just been Shiro, lately. Keith didn’t mind. Hadn’t really noticed, even though he should have.

This was quite simply Shiro as Keith had come to know him these past few months: all honesty and thoughtfulness and caring from the second they met. It may seem a bit too trusting, specially for someone like Keith, who had about several layers of walls up that only a select few people were allowed to get past, but he couldn’t find it in himself to worry. It was a different sort of affection than what he had with Pidge (jabs, punches and friendly teasing) or with Hunk (free food and earnest well-wishes). What he had with Shiro was softer, quieter… easier.

Shiro came into his life, and didn’t bulldoze those walls so much as he simply knocked politely and Keith just let him in.

Keith didn’t want to dwell on what that meant, for now.

“Hey, that’s great! You two made up!” Pidge piped up suddenly, popping up right behind them because that’s just what she did. “Oh wow, ninja mullet, your boyfriend really likes your weird hair. You two are cute.”

Shiro quickly withdrew his hand, smiling sheepishly with a mumbled “Sorry.”

“I told you, we weren’t fighting.” Keith told Pidge with a roll of his eyes, and he watched as Shiro volunteered to carry her ginormous bag for her. Pidge looked surprised – it was usually Keith who did this – but she seemed pleased as she let Shiro take the backpack. Absently, Keith mumbled, “I should cut my hair, though.”

Pidge heard this, because Pidge had Pidge Hearing. “Aw, no! It’s your signature!” she said, pulling at Shiro’s bag until the guy relented and gave it to her. It was only fair, she claimed. “Shiro, what do you think?”

“I’m sure Keith will still look good with short hair. Even with no hair.” Shiro said with a grin, and that earned him a shove.

“God. You guys are cheesy.” Pidge grumbled.

This, Keith thought, this too was Shiro. Awkward but earnest compliments and terrible jokes. Shiro was open with his affections, and Keith appreciated that.

But he was also temporary.

This was temporary. Shiro would recover eventually and reclaim his job. Keith would owe him nothing then, and then they would part ways.

But for the moment, when Keith blew on his bangs to get them off his eyes and Shiro moved to brush them aside for him, he didn’t stop himself from stepping closer and letting out a small smile in return.





And then, of course, that Monday goes to shit.

Firstly, they should have done a trial run for that Soul Candy.

Keith discovered that the thing actually came with a Pez dispenser, one with a cute mouse as its topper, and he would have questioned Shiro who the hell came up with that idea (because it was kinda genius but also WHY) if they weren’t in such a hurry. But as it stood, he simply popped the candy in his mouth and-


It was disconcerting for Keith, seeing his physical body standing and staring back at him. Keith- or well, Not-Keith, was quiet, and only blinked blankly at him and Shiro as they all stood in the school’s restroom.

“Okay.” Shiro said, after an awkward silence. “Uh, you’ll go back to class and proceed as normal until we come back, got it?”

Not-Keith nodded.

Keith shivered and turned to Shiro. “Man, this is weird. But he should be fine, right?”

And then Not-Keith spoke, in Keith’s voice but with a weird accent: “I would be fine, but I have to tell you, there’s a 79.35% chance that a person who is well-acquainted with you in this reality will find that you are acting strangely.”

Keith and Shiro looked at each other, before quickly coming to a conclusion.

“This isn’t gonna work if he talks like that.” Keith said, stepping back, even more weirded out than before. “Do I sound like that? Tell me I don’t talk all weird like that.”

“No, Keith, you’re fine.” Shiro assured him, before looking at Not-Keith again. “Okay, uh, new rule: no talking. Absolutely no talking. Keith is pretty quiet, so it shouldn’t be that much of a change. Just nod or shake your head if people ask anything. NO. TALKING.”

“But the odds that I would have to communicate by speaking is at 94% and-”

They heard the Hollow’s roar from outside.

Keith groaned impatiently. “Well, work with the remaining 6%, then! Just- Just don’t talk, alright? If you do anything weird, I swear I’m gonna crush that candy you’re in with my own sword.”

Not-Keith gulped and nodded. “Y-Yes, shinigami, sir.”





They were back by lunchtime, and Pidge welcomed Shiro and Actual-Keith to their usual spot in the rooftop with a look that was somehow a combination of confused, furious and terrified, her tiny hands grabbing at Keith’s uniform before shaking him back and forth. “WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT, KEITH?!”

“Wha- What? What did I do?” Keith asked, totally clueless, but with a feeling of dread growing in the back of his mind as he backtracked through what happened since he last saw his best friend.

He and Shiro went off to fight a Hollow. It went well. They came across another soul needing a soul burial. That went well, too. When they got back, Not-Keith (they really should’ve asked his name) said that his time as Keith’s substitute also went well. Now Keith was getting the feeling that maybe he had been too quick to believe the… guy? Soul? Being?

Oh, God. What did he do, indeed.

“What do you mean ‘what did i do’ ?!” Pidge looked at him in disbelief, exchanging a look with Hunk before continuing. “You were like, possessed in class, dude! Everyone was traumatized. You argued with the teacher about the physics problem, saying stuff like they’re disregarding laws of nature from multiple realities, and you were coming up with and writing a bunch of equations in the board that I couldn’t understand- Get it? couldn’t understand them! Where were you getting those-”

Keith groaned, burying his face in his hands. Next to him, Shiro was rubbing his temples as if nursing a headache.

“Guys?” Hunk asked, genuinely worried. “Are you okay?”

“Keith, what’s happening with you?” Pidge asked, seriously. “Are you on drugs? Because that wasn’t you. So it’s either you were high, or you went insane, or that was some kind of prank I didn’t know about-”

Keith cut her off with a soft, “Everyone saw?”

“Uh. I mean, yeah-”

“Did I punch anyone?”

“No, but you looked like you were about to. At least, in defense of the science. I can respect that.”

Keith shook his head, then grabbed Shiro’s arm. “You guys go have lunch without us.”

Pidge and Hunk only stared after them as Keith started dragging Shiro away.

“No, you should tell us what happened!” Pidge insisted.

“Keith, are you sure you’re okay?” Hunk asked, sounding genuinely worried.

Keith threw his free hand up in a helpless shrug. “I don’t know, maybe I’m still possessed!”

“Hey, I was kidding! Where are you going-”

Keith almost tripped, and would have fallen backwards if Shiro hadn’t steadied him. “Uh, we’re gonna make out! In a broom closet!”

This time Shiro was the one who almost fell over. Keith soldiered on and kept dragging him.

Pidge and Hunk gaped. “WHAT?”

“Yeah, we get really into it so don’t try to follow!”

A door was slammed.




As soon as he and Shiro were alone, Keith grabbed a fistful of the taller man’s shirt and growled. “SHIROGANE. WHAT. HAPPENED.”

“My contact said that the substitute soul was intelligent!” Shiro said, also helpless. “He said it was trained to be able to deal with anything!”

Keith let out a disbelieving huff. “Really? HOW, by making it look like I was insane in front of my entire class?!” Then his expression morphed into panic as he stepped back. He started pacing. “Fuck. And I actually like Physics, you know that? That teacher was good! And as if it wasn’t enough that everyone hates me because I’m the angry ghost kid, now they think I’m even more of a freak-”

“Hey. Hey, Keith, it’s okay.” Shiro said, voice steady because someone has to keep their calm here, at least.

But Keith only shook his head. “Shiro, it’s not! Everyone in this school thinks I’m some delinquent with anger issues. Now I have to be that one kid who went crazy in Physics too-”

Shiro breathed deeply before moving to cup Keith’s face with both hands, effectively making the panicking teenager freeze. “They’re wrong. I know you, and all those things they say about you are wrong.”

Keith stared back at him, and Shiro held his gaze as he tried to ground himself.

After a few moments, Keith managed to nod. “Yeah?”

“Yeah.” Shiro moved his hands to rest on the other’s shoulders instead. “Keith, this is my fault. I should have made sure-”

“No, it’s not. It’s… it’s done. It doesn’t matter now.” Keith said, and before Shiro could withdraw, he held on to Shiro’s wrists, staying the hands on his shoulders. “Do you think we could use the memory modifier on my whole Physics class and the teacher?”

Shiro considered the idea in silence, his thumbs absently rubbing Keith’s shoulder in an effort to reassure him. “Yes, that might work. We’ll make it work, so you can calm down now, okay?”

Keith sighed, slumping his head forward until he was leaning against Shiro’s chest. He let go of the man’s wrist in favor of planting a powerless punch to his stomach. “Shit. I panicked.”

“It’s okay.”

“If you tell anyone I panicked, I’ll kick you out of my closet.”

“Cross my heart.” Shiro said softly, wrapping his arms around Keith’s shoulders and pulling him close. “Is… Is this fine? You look like you need it, but-” Keith only huffed and tilted his head to be more comfortable. “-oh. Okay, then.”

Keith just let Shiro hold him, absently picking at a stray thread on the other’s uniform.

“I don’t even know why I panicked.” he said after a while. “It’s not like I care what they think of me. I’ve been fine my whole life being the kid who talks to ghosts and punches people when they talk shit.”

“But see, you were really worried a while ago. I think you do care.” Shiro said softly, resting his chin on top of his companion’s head, one hand steady on the small of Keith’s back and the other stroking his hair, like he always did when Keith was tired after a fight.

He was answered by a long, moody groan against his chest that sounded much like a child with a tantrum, accompanied by another punch to his stomach that didn’t have any force behind it.

“Alright, alright. I’ll stop talking now.” Shiro said, laughing lightly.

Shiro fell silent again, willing to stay for as long as Keith needed him to. After a while, he felt rather than heard Keith talking, and had to tilt his head slightly to check.

“What was that?” he asked.

“I said,” Keith cleared his throat. “You’re right. I care.”

“There’s nothing wrong with that.”

Keith sighed again, and Shiro frowned, seeing him look so resigned. “It’s not for myself. It’s not like I think I’m a freak just because they say it. And I don’t care that they don’t want anything to do with me. But-… For Thace, you know. They’ll say I’m crazy and have anger issues and they’ll think… that he raised me that way, or call him a bad parent when he’s not. He’s great. And there’s Pidge and she already gets teased for being smaller and younger than everyone and they’ll also say she’s friends with someone like me. And Hunk – he just doesn’t deserve people looking at him weird too because he hangs out with me.”

It was Shiro’s turn to sigh this time, and Keith let out a surprise groan when the arms around him tightened. “You should value yourself more, Keith. I can’t tell you not to be upset about this, or not to worry about people you care about… but you should know that they care about you too. Despite what everyone else says. That has to count for something.”

After a moment of silence, Keith nodded quietly.

Another moment, and Keith withdrew slightly. “You know Lance can see spirits since he was a kid?”

Shiro paused at the abrupt change, but nodded. “He’s a quincy. He was born with that ability.”

“Yeah, but. I mean. He’s normal.” Keith said, looking up to meet Shiro’s eyes. “No one ever called him crazy or angry even though he’s just like me. Back in middle school, the other kids were calling me names and looking at me weird whenever they catch me talking to someone they can’t see, and Lance was right there with them, probably seeing the same things as me. Except… except I just had to try and help some stray ghost, I can’t help it. But he always just-… so he never did anything about it then? Never tried to talk to them when they needed someone? And now, apparently I have issues, while everyone thinks he’s perfectly normal.”

Shiro studied his conflicted expression before saying anything. “Do you regret it?”

Keith frowned. “No. Why would I regret caring?”

When he looked at Shiro, Keith saw something unreadable pass in the man’s expression. He didn’t know what that was, and it made him feel a mess of emotions he couldn’t properly name himself, so he looked away-

Only to feel one of Shiro’s hands cup his face again, a thumb brushing his cheek. “That’s what makes you such a good shinigami- no. A good person, Keith.”

Keith swallowed, then nodded as he laid his hand over Shiro’s and gave it a light squeeze. Keith looked down as they let their hands fall, still touching lightly. He contemplated twining their fingers together – what would that feel like?

When he noticed that Shiro was quietly watching as he traced the lines in his upturned palm, Keith realized what he was doing and quickly drew back, coughing to clear his throat.

That hadn’t felt very… platonic.

Keith coughed again, gathering his composure. Shiro looked like he was doing the same. That was when he remembered – “Fuck. I just told Pidge and Hunk that we were going to make out on a broom closet.”

Shiro laughed nervously and tried to joke. “We didn’t even get to the broom closet.”

Keith couldn’t help but grin as he shoved his companion lightly. “I just mean. It’s exactly like those rumors that went around a few weeks ago that I told them weren’t true.”

“Oh.” Shiro said, and this time he couldn’t help but feel his cheeks heat up. “So… what do we do?”

Keith sighed deeply, and let out the long moody groan again. Shiro waited. Shiro had always been good at waiting. Keith didn’t know how he did it.

Then Keith blurted out, “What if we actually do it?”

Shiro spluttered. “Wha- What- uh, m-make- make out?”

Keith rolled his eyes, but he was blushing as well. “No. I mean, date! Or just. Pretend to date. Because, you know, at this point no one in this school actually believes that we’re not together. And seriously, even people who have never talked to me before come up to ask about you and when I say we’re not dating, they ask me to explain . It’s the worst.”

Shiro looked guilty. And, yeah, Keith would admit maybe it was indeed the guy’s fault – all the shoulder touching and the hair stroking and the lunch sharing and walking with Keith along the hallways… But Keith was guilty too, because he never discouraged the touching and in fact even leaned into it sometimes (it felt nice, okay?!), plus he even cooked lunch for Shiro once (or twice, wait- three times?), and also regularly dragged the guy to get to places (one of which happened to be a broom closet that one time ).

Maybe their friends were right and they were indeed the opposite of subtle, even though they literally have nothing to be subtle about.

Keith really should have known better.

Shiro, of course, a guy made up of chivalry and missed cues, took the liberty to try and remedy the situation without troubling Keith. “I can stop spending so much time with you guys and keep my distance, if you want me to.”

“No.” Keith said conclusively, sighing. “I mean, it’s just a suggestion. It’s-… It’s actually a good excuse to always be seen together. Even outside school, if we have to worry about that.”

“I understand, but won’t you be… uncomfortable with that? You already have all these people saying things about you that aren’t true.”

“It’s fine. I’m okay with… them thinking… that .”

Shiro looked torn. “Are you sure?”

“If you think about it, it’s quite a step up from the usual things they say about me.” Keith said with an annoyed huff, then his eyes darted to meet Shiro’s and his voice shook a little when he asked, “The question is, are you? Okay with that?”

Keith was pretty sure he had never seen Shiro blush this much. It was a sight to behold. “It… doesn’t sound so… terrible?”

“Wow. What a stellar review.” Keith rolled his eyes, but couldn’t help the small grin that made its way to his lips. “Whatever. The point is, if you’re okay… Only if you’re okay with it, then we can… I dunno, go with it, maybe establish some ground rules and then we can act like normal people about it for once.”

Shiro nodded. “Of course.”

Keith held his gaze for several moments, then he went back to ranting against Shiro’s chest again. “I’m like catnip for spirit-eating monsters, they’re going after my friends, I get my soul knocked off my body at least five times a day, my class thinks I’m a freak, Lance McClain of all people is all up on my case-… and my worst problem is that I have a fake boyfriend.”

Shiro listened, as he always did, and he laughed when Keith eventually said, “Fucking high school.”


Chapter Notes:

Next chapter: ACTION.
…or attempt at action I’m sorry this AU of a shounen series is actually a shoujo romance.

expand_less expand_more