Back to the barren place

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Something that became very evident within the first few weeks Shiro had known Keith was that the kid was a hard worker.

At first he had assumed that whatever he did in the Garrison, the good grades and flight simulations, was just him being exceptionally gifted. That was a shameful assumption to make because he soon found out that Keith's good grades were only because he stayed up with a study book in hand, slaving Over terms while the other cadets slept or hung out with their roommates and friends.

Yes, the flight simulation part may have been pure talent and what got the school's attention, but Keith was always observing and improving at a scary pace, even beating some of Shiro's records at his young age.

Shiro hadn't realized exactly how hard Keith had been working until he started hitting up the library to freshen up on flight terms in preparation for the Kerberos mission in a year. The library at the Garrison held textbooks and study books instead of the normal enjoyable books, and Shiro knew that the Garrison was a military school but even he thought that was a bit too far.

But because of the sparse selection it was rare to see younger cadets in the library, mostly being occupied by professors and the seniors.

Which was why Shiro nearly did a double take when he noticed the small figure on the far table, papers spread out along the surface as he valiantly slaved over copying notes from a textbook.

"Keith?" Shiro asked as he cautiously approached, and Keith's pen froze as he looked up, about to yell only to realize it was only Shiro.

"Shiro," he greeted before returning to his work.

"What're you doing here?" He pushed, approaching across the table to get a good look at the small and neatly slanted handwriting over the papers. When Shiro caught a look at the textbook he was studying he actually did a double take this time around. "Mechanics and inter-workings of the ship? Keith, you shouldn't be on that subject until at least next semester."

All cadets were forced to take a mechanics class even if it wasn't their main pathway. Keith was bound for the fighter pilot path, and Shiro knew that learning the mechanics was better safe than sorry but he didn't know anyone who would willingly learn it in detail when there wasn't a test involved. At least, not anytime soon. Keith shrugged, "it's interesting," he grumbled to himself, tired eyes roving over the textbook.

He didn't even look like he was processing the information with those bags under his eyes. Has he always looked so tired? It had been a bit since Shiro had seen him.

Guilt bit at his insides as he sighed, eyeing the time on his watch. It was late, nearly lights out. The library was abandoned and dark except for Keith's lamp lit table.

"Hey, the library's about to close. How about I grab the book I need and we get out of here? I'll walk you back to the cadet dormitory?"

"No," Keith denied, "'M not done."

He looked done, rubbing at his drooping eyes. He wouldn't last too long and Shiro wasn't comfortable with leaving him in the dark library all alone. The garrison was a safe place, a military school, but Shiro would always be paranoid when it came to Keith's safety.

An idea formed.

"Okay then, how about instead of getting kicked out of the library you come back with me to the apartment and study there? I need to work on something anyway," it was a lie, Shiro had planned on grabbing the book and crashing when he got back, "sounds good?"

"Mmhmm," Keith grumbled, hands fisted in his hair as he almost drifted off.

"Ok, I'll be back, let me check out this book."

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⏰ Last updated: Jul 12, 2022 ⏰

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