model trains

when keith was 5, he met shiro for the first time. ‘this is your uncle,’ his dad said ‘my half brother’. keith was super shy at first, but after a few more visits he warmed up to him. 'lets play astronauts!!’ keith would yell, his toothy grin wide and chubby cheeks scrunched. shiro would smile and always let him be the hero

when keith was 9, shiro bought him his first telescope. 'i’m moving away for a bit so i can’t teach you about space anymore’ he said 'but your dad will show you the stars’. keith cried and begged shiro to stay, and shiro sat him down and pinky-promised him. 'i’m coming back keith. remember what i always tell you?’ keith nodded. 'space is full of stars and i’m the brightest one’ 'that’s right’

when keith was 12, shiro kept his promise. he drove to the derelict shack in the middle of the desert, and picked him up and a single bag of clothes. 'nothing else?’ shiro asked. 'he took the telescope’ keith mumbled. 'what else did he take?’ keith didn’t answer, and if shiro saw him silently crying on the drive to his house, he didn’t comment on it

when keith was 13, he learned how to smile again after years of blank glassy-eyed stares from his father, who would sit with his radio from dawn till dusk. shiro bought keith ice cream, and taught him how to ride a motorbike. they built pillow forts and model trains together and keith learned how naturally 'brother’ rolled off his tongue

when keith was 14, shiro walked him into the garrison and to his first class. 'it’s gonna be ok. i have your back’ keith nodded, and they did their special pinky promise behind the lockers where the other kids wouldn’t see and make fun of him

when keith was 15, he met a boy. 'his name is lance. he’s alright’ he said after dinner. shiro raised an eyebrow but didn’t pry any further. later that night, when they sat on the roof and watched the stars, keith rested his head on shiro’s shoulder and yawned. 'he has eyes like the ocean shiro. the bluest blue i’ve ever seen’ almost a year later, keith ran into the kitchen and said, with shining eyes and flushed cheeks 'i think i love him’

when keith was 16, everything in his life was just working out. lance noticed him every day, even if it was jabs and snide remarks and curious longing glances from across the room. he was the top pilot of his class. shiro was finally going to be a proper astronaut and one of the first people on kerberos. 'it’s only a few months’ shiro promised. 'please come back soon’ 'pinky promise’ 'shiroooo i’m not a kid-’ ’pinky promise’ ’…fine’

when keith was 16, he learned that just because you lose someone you love once, it doesn’t mean it can’t happen again

when keith was 16, he didn’t remember much except the pain, and the empty ache, and red red red anger

when keith was 16, he promised himself he’d never feel a single thing ever again

when keith was 17, he finally got his brother back. 'you found me’ shiro smiled, with a new scar and new arm and a shock of white hair. different, but still his shiro. keith nodded through his tears. 'i pinky promised you asshole’

when keith was 17, he started to let his walls down again. the cuban boy with blue eyes and a dimpled smile became less of a nostalgic fictional crush and instead, something real that made his blood turn red hot like it was on fire

when keith was 18, he lost his brother again. there was no goodbye. no pinky promise. one day he was there, the next he was gone, leaving nothing in his wake except a familiar cold ache and an empty lion. keith swore, for the second, fourth, hundredth time, that he’d never feel a single thing ever again