tbh I find it interesting how different people interpret the 'you're like a brother to me' line? like to some people, it's just a declaration of how much Shiro means to him, while others see it as a hurdle Keith needs to overcome to recognise his romantic feelings. and then there's those who think it sinks sh3ith entirely. what's ur take on the scene?
ha i feel like ive talked about this so much it would be hard to word it better than i already have, but ill try!
ok so. thing is, this isn’t the only reference to family we see. keith says they’re all made of the same cosmic star stuff, that they’re “all related.” in episode 2 hunk claims the paladins are all “brothers” and allura tells keith she comes to think of voltron as her new family. so first off, i dont think the brother line automatically disqualifies it as a ship (as you wouldn’t be able to pair up any of the paladins or allura with each other if that was the case). i also think its important to note that while fake shiro keeps pressing this idea that all of team voltron is a family, keith’s focus is entirely on shiro. ive seen plenty of people put lance into this scene, so theres also the fact that, however you feel about the brother line or shiro and keith aside, lots of people can still interpret the situation itself–someone dying on the floor suddenly seeing their greatest hopes and dreams manifest in the form of someone they desperately want to see, someone whom they can’t bear to be abandoned by–as romantic. and again, whether you think its platonic or romantic, bom makes it clear keith still loves shiro.
but real quick, here’s something about it i wrote in one of my other meta, which i think kinda explains it better:
the thing is, shiro is the one who mentions family first. he tells keith “we’re your family” and we get the brother line in response to it. But, shiro said “we.” as in, all the paladins. and we know keith thinks of them all as a family, know that he said “we’re all related” at the end of the olkari episode. (hunk also says all the paladins are brothers, and later allura mentions them all being a family. team voltron is pretty Big on family.) So he could have definitely said, yeah, we’re all a family. But no, he puts all the focus on shiro, and goes “ you‘re like a brother to me.” That one exchange shows keith thinks of his relationship with shiro as being on a whole other level from the rest of team voltron—all of whom he’s already expressed a platonic, familial kind of love for.
Yes, he’s known shiro much longer, but i also think whatever happened back at the garrison, he managed to really click with shiro in a way that’s never quite happened before. Without their backstory, it’s kind of hard to tell. But shiro must have made one hell of an impression on keith if he ended up being the only one this poor guy opened up to prekerberos. I mean, kollivan tells shiro that keith is desperate to have him at his side. I don’t typically see This Person “desperately wants to see you” used to describe siblings, that definitely has more of an unrequited love vibe to me. If it was strictly familial, i feel like they would have used a term that implies a More Mutual, healthy relationship rather than having this connotation of the person being in agony over their desire.
also, one of keith’s worst fears is apparently confronting his own feelings, something evidenced time and again by how he pushes others away and isolates himself during the whole galra thing
and after how much he’s been hurt and left behind over the years, i think its easy to understand why keith would be so guarded about what he feels and who he strays too close to. If at this point he has romantic feelings for anyone, i think he needs to sort out his fears of abandonment and intimacy first before he even dares to consider being vocal about those feelings. because the way he is now? he’s going to stay silent and just keep throwing up walls to protect himself.
going back to the brother line in particular, im bi. and i can honestly tell you that saying “youre like a brother/sister to me” when youre scared of how someone of the same gender would react to feeling anything deeper is something people actually do. its a way to kind of backpedal out of the situation and avoid being hurt. its something ive done. so i can see keith throwing it out there as a kind of “safe” way to express how much shiro means to him without being worried that shiro won’t reciprocate his feelings or worse, risk irreparably damaging their friendship over it. especially since his goal here is to try and make shiro stop walking away, to do anything to make him stay.
i mean honestly everything at this point is still up for interpretation, but thats just how i see it. also, if the staff was so deadset on shiro and keith being brotherly, i dont think they’d support sheith anywhere near as much as they do