Five Times Shiro and Keith Insist That Their Fake Relationship is Indeed Fake, and the One Time It Totally Wasn’t
(Snippets from my Bleach AU feat. Shinigami Shiro and Substitute Shinigami Keith)

Teen (13+)
Chapters: 6
Words: 0

Speaking is Not Communication

Chapter 3


Coran listens to Keith and Shiro talking heart-to-heart, holding on to each other because they’re definitely not gay.

Coran was just cleaning up his usual diagnostic equipment when someone knocked on the door he had left ajar.

Keith peeked inside curiously. “Uh, Slav said you guys were here.”

“Well here we are!” Coran greeted cheerfully, waving him over. “Don’t be shy now, lad. You can come in.”

Keith stepped inside, looking around the room as he made his way towards Shiro, who was sitting up on what looked like a hospital bed, just starting to button up his uniform shirt. “Hey.”

“Hey.” Keith replied. It took no time at all for him to recognize the bed, the shelves of medicine and the table with the tools in it. He grew up in a clinic, after all. “Is everything okay?”

Coran didn’t miss Shiro’s soft smile, but thought it better than to watch so openly, so he withdrew his gaze and focused on packing up the tools and trinkets on the table.

“I’m okay, Keith. It’s just the routine check-up. Just making sure my soul’s doing fine in this body.” Shiro said, then yawned. “Always leaves me sleepy, though. Side-effect of the… diagnostic… spell… things…” He rubbed his eyes sleepily.

While picking up one of his gadgets, Coran caught a glimpse of Keith gently prying Shiro’s clumsy hands away so he could button up the man’s shirt himself. “Are you really okay?”

Shiro chuckled. “You can ask Coran.”

Keith didn’t have to ask. Coran perked up and nodded reassuringly. “There’s no need for alarm, my boy. He’s been steadily regaining his strength. The drowsiness is a sign of that, his current body is meant to store only low-level spiritual energy, and he’s slowly moving past that, so he tends to get tired faster. Don’t worry, I’m working on a new, more suitable body, and for the meantime, I can give him something to ease the fatigue.”

Keith blinked. “What, like a medicine?”

Coran nodded. “Just a harmless pill, once a day. Think of them as some sort of… vitamins? Food supplements. Anyway, it’s only for two, three days, tops. I’ll have the new body by then. Otherwise, your Shiro is great.”

“See?” Shiro smiled as he smothered another yawn. “Your Shiro is great.”

Keith snorted, finishing up the last button on the shirt. He also straightened the collar for good measure. “My Shiro should probably take a nap.”

“But… we have to patrol-”

“I can manage. Pidge was able to put the tracker thing on my phone.” Keith said, crossing his arms across his chest. “And she wants to tag along tonight, actually.”

“A nap would be conducive, Shiro. Listen to your Keith.” Coran said with an amused smile as picked up his stuff and turned towards his guests. “You may use that bed, if you want to.”

“See?” Keith said, smirking. “Listen to your Keith.”

“My Keith is bossy.” Shiro tried to pout – it was adorable – but he ended up yawning again.

“I’ll just put these away and then I’ll get you that medicine.” Coran said as he crossed the room, heading for the door.  “I mean it though, the room’s yours so feel free to take a nap.”

“Thanks, Coran.” was the last thing he heard as he left the room.

He headed to the lab to put his tools away. Matt and Slav were there, bent over one of his prototypes. They greeted him distractedly. After that, he dropped by the training room and found Lance and Hunk having a chat. Across the room, Pidge was experimenting with a very small version of her shield, using it as some sort of seesaw for the mice while Allura watched in fascination. No wonder, Pidge’s precise control of her new power was very impressive.

Coran never really expected Shiro to bring his friends over. Not that he didn’t like them. Coran did like them a lot – they were curious and intelligent and painfully young . He enjoyed having them around. It was a nice change of pace from his and Allura’s usual isolation.

Coran and Allura never expected Shiro , period. They found him shortly after he had lost his powers. Coran and Allura didn’t know much about Shiro, but as far as they can gather, he was just an ordinary shinigami… he gave his powers to a human, and thus effectively stuck in the living world for the meantime. Had this happened several centuries earlier, Coran was sure that Allura would have said ‘no’, would have pointed out that what Shiro did was against the rules. But their circumstances have changed since then. He and Allura knew better. It was actually Allura who decided that they would provide assistance.



((“Are you… You’re-?” Shiro seemed at a loss, a soul without powers, approached by a strange man and his cat. “You’re gonna help me? I don’t-”

“We can give you a new body, an identity, some tools to help you get started and settled while you recover…” Coran said, walking around the man as if to get all his angles. “That’s our business.”

“Business?” Shiro frowned. “I’m sorry, I-.. I don’t exactly have the means to pay-”

Allura did a cat’s version of a huff, and Shiro looked bewildered at her. He only managed to blink tiredly when Coran leaned down and pat his back. “No worries, my boy. We can open a tab.”))



And then, because they had decided to help Shiro, it also figured that they’d be helping Keith.

Keith, who had an unbelievably strong spiritual pressure, growing even stronger day by day. Keith – strong, brilliant, thoughtful Keith who Shiro had nothing but praise and fondness for. Keith, who Shiro had insisted they keep their distance from because “he’s done enough for me, I don’t want to drag him into this.” Keith, who Shiro ended up bringing to Coran and Allura anyway, because they could help Keith, and Shiro only ever wanted what’s best for him. Keith, who remained blissfully oblivious to the nature of his powers.

Coran thought that maybe they should tell him, but Allura took one look at Shiro looking at Keith and Keith looking back, and she decided that maybe they can wait a bit longer.

Besides, it wasn’t just Keith who ought to know. Coran knew other people who maybe could explain it all a bit better.

He must have been too caught up in his thoughts, that he didn’t notice that he was back again in his home clinic until he heard voices from inside the room.

“So… nobody. Nobody ever calls you by your first name? It’s really always just ‘Shiro’?” Keith’s voice was soft, almost a whisper, but loud enough in the silence.

“Hm… yes. Anyway, almost everyone just calls each other by last name. Shiro is easier than Shirogane, so it’s still a nickname, I guess.”

“What about your friends?”

“I don’t really have… many friends.” A sigh. “I know a lot of people, but… They don’t really- They’re more like co-workers.”

“You? No way. Everyone likes you.”

Shiro’s chuckle was sheepish, sleepy. “It’s… different. Back there. I’m different.”

“Different how?” then he huffed, smug – Coran could almost see the teasing grin. “Are you a big deal over there or something? Have some sort of reputation?”

“No, it’s not that.” Shiro replied, sounding hesitant. “I look different. I’m not… I just look different, over there.”

Keith let out a confused hum. “Different how?”

There was a pause. Shiro was thinking. “You don’t remember? The night we met?”

“It’s a bit hazy. I know what happened. I remember the fight and the Hollow. I don’t… I don’t recall the little details.” Keith said.

Shiro sighed. Leave it to Keith to regard a man’s scarred face and a metal arm as ‘little details’.

“Wait. The scar? You had a scar. I think.”

Ah. There.

“A lot of them, unfortunately. And there’s my arm.”

“I didn’t see it much. What’s… What’s wrong with your arm?”

“My arm is… My right arm’s a prosthetic, Keith.”

“Oh.” Keith fell silent again.

Coran knew all that and more. He met Shiro in soul form – he saw the angry scar running across the man’s nose and examined the prosthetic arm himself. It was easy to attribute them to injuries from the field. Shinigami were effectively soldiers in a way, and Hollows were dangerous and ruthless. Still, in the living world, the scar and the arm would attract unnecessary attention, specially on someone supposed to be blending in as a high school student. That’s why he provided Shiro with a physical body that was free of either. The hair, however-

“Skunk hair.”


“You had white hair, right? Not all over, but… It’s like… like a… sort of… floof. Right… uh. Here-”

“A floof.” Shiro laughed softly. “I did.” then as an afterthought, “I still do. You just can’t see it right now.”

Coran knew of several things that could have caused the hair, but he chose not to pry. He remained cautious, though. Hence the check-ups and questions. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust Shiro – he was actually surprised just how much he trusted the man – but he didn’t trust how Shiro isn’t entirely sure how the white happened.

“So, what, just because you’re a big guy with white hair floof, a scar and a prosthetic arm… people didn’t like you?

“I think they get sort of… intimidated.”

“But you’re-…” Keith stopped, probably considering his words, and coming up short. “…you.” His next words were stilted, but they were honest. “You’re not scary. They should get to know you before they judge you. You’re… good.”

“Thank you, Keith.” came Shiro’s reply. He let out another yawn. Coran shook his head. The man was still stubbornly fighting naptime, of course. “It’s not so bad. I didn’t really have the time for it, anyway. I was focused on my job. And now I have you. And the others. You’re good friends.”

“You risked yourself for us several times. It’s the least we could do.” Keith paused for a beat, and Coran was about to make some sort of noise, announce his presence before entering- “So your friends can call you by your first name, then?”

“Hm… Well, I’ve already gotten used to ‘Shiro’, but-”


Shiro was quiet.

“Did I say that right?”


“Takashi.” Keith repeated again, as if testing how the name sounded, coming from his lips. “I sound weird. Kashi? Huh. I sound like a toddler. ‘Takashi’, then?”

“It sounds nice.” Shiro said, after a while. “You can use that, if you want.”

“Maybe I’ll stick with ‘Shiro’, for now.” Keith said. “I’ll save ‘Takashi’ for when you piss me off or something.”

Shiro laughed. “I finally get someone to call me by my name, and it’s only when they’re mad at me?”

“Yeah.” Keith chuckled, then his tone went hard – “Seriously, though. You have to take your nap now. Takashi.”

Shiro let out a strangled noise, but the boys didn’t say anything else, just sort of laughing softly at each other. When Coran heard rustling, he finally decided to announce his presence and enter the room.

He held back from his usual loud greetings, knowing what he was walking in on, but he still stopped midway a quieter one when he saw how his two guests had been talking all this time.

Keith was sitting up on the bed. Shiro was lying on his side, head pillowed comfortably on his companion’s lap. One of Keith’s hand idly stroked Shiro’s hair, while his other was swiping through his phone. Shiro was already asleep, he had dozed off fast as soon as he stopped trying to stay awake.

Coran chose not to comment on any of it, instead exchanging a quiet nod with Keith as he crossed the room and rifled through his shelves. He found the medicine quickly and handed it to Keith, who, familiar with reading prescription medicine labels, examined the little bottle right away.

“So just take one pill once a day?” Keith asked. “This will keep his energy up?”

“Basically. It’s only until I finish making the new body. Shouldn’t take that long.” Coran reassured.

Keith’s next question was more careful, guarded. “Coran, how… how many bodies have you made for Shiro?”

Coran looked at Shiro, napping peacefully, then at Keith’s hand scratching gently at the sleeping man’s undercut. “Only two, so far. When he decided to stay and pose as a human while recovering his powers, I gave him a body fit for the purpose. All human functions, but can house a soul steadily gaining spiritual pressure of a shinigami of his rank. Then he came back to me, asking me if I can make a body with enhanced physical strength so he could assist you. It was made in a rush, so while it was able to focus on physical strength, its capacity to hold spiritual pressure isn’t as flexible as the first one. That’s the current body he’s in. The next one I make will be fit for both.”

“I see.” Keith replied, tucking the medicine bottle in his pocket. “His soul form… Is it…? Is it different? From… this one?”

“Yes.” Coran said with a nod. “But you have to know, the substitute bodies I make, they’re only that. Vessels. Something physical to house a soul. Some details might have been tweaked just a smidge, but as far as we’re concerned, one’s soul, one’s mind and heart, they remain just the same.”

Keith nodded back, sparing a small smile. “Right. Thanks, Coran.”

Coran smiled, making for the door. “Well, I’ll check up on Matt and Slav in the lab now. They’re very smart, but we don’t want the house to burn down. Also, Pidge meant to ask when you’re going to start patrol?”

Coran could tell that he had mostly lost Keith to Shiro’s peaceful sleeping face already. “Give me a few more minutes. I’ll join them in a bit.”

“Got it. I’ll tell her.” was all Coran said, and when he exited the room, he made sure to close the door as quietly as he could.



When Coran found the others, Pidge had upgraded from a seesaw for mice to a seesaw for humans.

Lance and Hunk were sitting on opposite ends of her shield, and she was moving her hands left to right and back, focusing on controlling the contraption.

It moved less like a seesaw and more like some amusement park ride. Hunk looked about ready to throw up.

“Keith wants to tell you that he’ll be joining you in a bit.”

“What about Shiro?” Pidge asked. “He usually comes too, right?”

“He’ll be staying behind for now, I reckon. He’s taking quite a nice nap in Keith’s lap.” Coran said, grinning like a proud father.

Lance whistled. “Ya know. I think I’ve figured out why they keep not-dating each other.”

Hunk blinked. “Okay? Mind sharing your theory?”

“They skipped dating altogether. They just started from strangers, then went straight to couple-married-for-30-years-and-still-grossly-in-love.”

Nobody spoke for a while, then Pidge shrugged. “That’s… not entirely incorrect?”

“Pardon me.” Coran started, and the three teenagers turned to him expectantly. “Do you mean to say that our two good friends Keith and Shiro aren’t actually… together?”

He was answered with groans.

“Nobody knows, Coran.” Hunk said with a resigned smile.


Well, then.

How could he possibly have missed that, he wondered.

Chapter Notes:

Keith: “I’m just gonna cradle My Shiro in my lap and stroke his hair while he sleeps.”
Coran: “Ah, young love-”
Keith: “No, you misunderstand, it’s all platonic.”
Coran: “Sweet child, I think YOU misunderstand what that word means.”
Anyways, Coran is out there… Knowing Things… about Keith… What could those things be… I wonder…
(No, really. I wonder. I’m winging this thing 100% as I go.)

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