Foster houses are not foster homes (pt.2)

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Shiro had found himself drawn to the feisty middle schooler known as Keith the first day he met him. Sure, there had been many other promising cadets with a more than stellar record and attendance compared to Keith. There were many safer options for Shiro to hinge his mentoring on, but Shiro had a habit of picking up strays that hissed and scratched until he managed to tame them and in the end, Keith hadn't been much different.

Sure, his attitude had been an issue, but once Shiro had started to show him respect and a guiding hand (not annoyance and pestering like most other adults in the boys life) Keith had quickly grown to love Shiro and Adam like a family.

Shiro would never regret taking Keith under his wing.

He had found himself asking on many occasions if Keith was okay. Because Keith reminded Shiro so much of himself when he was younger that it hurt sometimes (true, he may be the Garrison's golden boy now, but he hadn't always been.)

Concern festered in his gut everytime Keith had come to study or for lessons with a new bruise or injury, but he would always wave the two of them off with an excuse of 'got into another fight.' Shiro could only wonder just who he was getting into these fights with because he hadn't heard anything about it from the Garrison unless Keith was involved in some underground fighting ring.

Oh god what if he was involved in an underground fighting ring-

"I'm sure that's not the case," Adam had reassured after Keith left, "the boys smarter than we give him credit for, he wouldn't waste his scholarship away by getting involved in underground activities."

That had managed to calm Shiro down. Adam always had a way with words that made everything else around him seem less urgent. In the end, though, maybe the alternative of the fighting ring was the better reality.

Shiro and Adam's suspicion had reached a tipping point when once, in the middle of the night during a hurricane and flash flood warning, there had been three very light knocks at their apartment's door.

Shiro hadn't been fully asleep, but not yet awake either. Assuming it was the tree branches of the overgrown shrubbery outside the apartment complex that Adam always complained about, Shiro just rolled over to find the cooler side of his pillow. From next to him, Adam didn't stirr.

Thunder clashed and lightning flashed, rain pelting the windows with torrential force and a moment later the scratching- no, knocking- had become more insistent. Someone was knocking on their door and it wasn't the damn tree branch.

Now fully awake, Shiro stumbled out of the king sized bed, reaching for the closet to slip a shirt and sweatpants on, not bothering to see if they were his own clothes or Adams. When Adam didn't wake (he had always been the heavy sleeper of the two) Shiro silently grabbed the bat they kept in the back of their closet and exited the master bedroom.

Their apartment wasn't small, in fact, it was quite spacious with two bedrooms, a living quarters and a kitchen. Shiro held the bat steady in his hands as his socked feet slid across the wooden tile. The lightning through the blinds provided enough light for him to make his way to the door.

The knocking became more insistent, less hesitant than before.

Someone could have an emergency, but it was also two in the morning and Shiro wasn't taking any chances. Upon looking into the peephole, Shiro found nothing out of the ordinary, but when his eyes traveled further down, he spotted a tuft of black hair.

Very familiar black hair, even if it had been plastered down from the rain.

"Shit!" Shiro hissed, throwing the bat to the side and quickly unlocking the three locks on the door before swinging it open. As if all of his weight had been resting on the door, Keith fell forward and Shiro was quick to steady him, pulling him into the warmth of the apartment and closing the door before the wind could whip it back open.

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