It was 02:31 PM in the afternoon and Keith was miserable.

He heaved again to empty his stomach contents in the toilet in front of him but nothing else came up. He'd been throwing up everything he's been eating ever since they'd come back home, turned out adjusting to Earth food after years of living on space food was a lot more difficult than he thought, even if he had lived on Earth for better part of his life.

He had never been picky when it came to food or mostly anything else as long as it fulfilled its purpose, he couldn't be if he wanted to survive living with foster families and in the home. But then Shiro's family had adopted him and the habit still hadn't gone away.

Even so, he had missed earth food, always thought if –not when because when was a dangerous hope and he had learnt it very little that to hope for impossible was asking for hurt– they ever got back home, he'd definitely eat whatever he could gladly and never take it for granted.

But the first night he had had his first earth meal in years –because the day had been busy with formal introductions and mission reports and debriefs– he had felt sick more and more until late at night, he was on his private bathroom floor throwing up anything and everything he had eaten.

And of course he hadn't told anyone about it because that was just asking for worried actions and annoying doting –Shiro dotted and hovered like a mother hen when he worried that Keith was coming down with sickness or that something was wrong and Adam was even worse.

So, no, he had in fact, tried to keep it hidden from others and avoided eating in front of them and had taken it upon himself to not eat until he absolutely had to and even than only the amount required in order to not get sick.

And that backfired and he regretted it now.

Because now he was actually sick with a fever in the middle of the day when he should be attending an official meeting to formally introduce the Blade of Marmora –who had arrived just the day before– and the Alteans to the higher Garrison officials and decide whether their presence should be kept private or announced to the world.

Keith had to be there half an hour ago and now he was exceptionally late and Shiro or Lance or anyone else –as Adam was still a bit hesitant around Shiro and Keith– would be coming to check up on him as soon as the meeting would be finished and find out that he was sick but he couldn't get himself to move because he was so tired.

So, he stayed there on the bathroom floor, his stomach in knots and churning. He rested his head back on the cool shower door for a couple of moments before pushing himself off of the floor and dragged himself into the shower stall and turned the tap. He stood there with his clothes on and cold water splashing on his face for a few moments and then slowly started to undress.

He had taken care of himself for years when the foster families couldn't be bothered to cancel their plans for the sick kid or were too busy because my favorite TV show is on and I can't just miss that brat, it's an important episode, just take some meds from the first aid kid and stop bothering me. So, he learnt because he had to.

He was startled out of his thoughts when a knock sounded on the door and he realized he had been standing in the shower for a while because even the water had turned lukewarm now.

"Keith, you okay there? Keith?"

He blinked a couple of times to clear the fog in his head and it took him a while to place a face to the voice –Shiro. He opened his mouth to answer back because Shiro sounded worried but the 'I'm fine' that escaped from his lips was raspy and scraped his throat. Shiro knocked again.

"Hey, you okay in there? Is everything okay? It's not like you to miss an important meeting like that, I was a bit worried"

Keith stumbled out of the shower stall and grabbed the towel from the wall to wrap around himself. He should've thought this through and bring at least a pair of sweatpants with him before stepping in the shower. He went to the door and opened it, Shiro's concerned face came into view and as he stepped further into the room, he found Lance sitting on Keith's own bed.

In his periphery, he saw Lance stand up from the bed and Shiro step towards him as he grabbed a pair of sweatpants and a shirt from his dresser and jumped as he felt Shiro's metal hand on his shoulder. He blinked a couple of times and sighed and turned around and immediately Shiro had a hand on Keith's forehead and a frown marring his features.

"It's cold, I'm cold. Please let me wear some clothes first"

Each word was like a thorn in his throat but he still managed to complete the sentence in a raspy voice because now Shiro was worried and Lance was as well if he being there was any indication. He pushed past Shiro as gently as he could.

God, he was so tired, his legs felt like they'd give out any moment now but he kept on moving because that's what he'd always done –pushed forward even when he felt like he couldn't, even when the entire world seemed to push him down. It was in his nature and a couple of years in space hadn't changed that but reformed it more firmly when he found his Galra heritage.

He quickly changed into his sweats and stumbled out of the bathroom feeling even worse than he had before and crashed on his bed. He felt the bed dip and the door to his room slide shut, he opened his eyes to see Shiro looking at him with a worried expression.

"How long have you been sick? You're really burning up."

Keith opened his mouth to answer but his voice failed, he felt weak and pathetic.

Ever since he was little, he rarely ever got sick but whenever he did it was always bad. So, he shouldn't have been surprised that he was so sick now. He heard Shiro sigh and realized that he hadn't answered yet, so he rose his hand up and loosely dropped it over Shiro's own metallic one.

"Water, please"

He heard the door open with a soft swish and then Lance's voice came, he sounded a bit off and a bit uncertain, Keith wondered why. Someone shook his shoulder and asked him a question but everything was so muddled and far away that he couldn't grasp it even if he wanted to, voices kept fading in and out of his focus as he tried to piece together what was going on.

"Is he okay? He's really out of it."

Lance's voice drifted in and he barely got what was said next and by whom but he felt hands on his shoulders again and then he was sitting up so he blearily opened his eyes and saw the blurred form of Shiro with white hair and he must have said something because Shiro laughed softly and said something that sounded like "yeah it's still me, kiddo".

He felt something soft behind him and realized someone had placed pillows behind him and then remembered that he had asked for some water when there was a glass in front of him. Shiro gently placed the glass near his lips because Keith's hands were uselessly flopped over his lap and he didn't have any energy to move any part of his body.

So, he gulped his own embarrassment down with cold water that Shiro helped him drink because he did not want to be seen in such a pathetic state and Lance was standing right there and even if they had come a long way from their rivalry since day one he still wasn't comfortable enough to be seen at his lowest by anyone and certainly not Lance.

He sighed as the water soothed his throat, and leaned back against the pillows and closed his eyes. He heard someone say something about food and medicine and sleep and something else but he couldn't understand it at the precipice of sleep and unconsciousness so he gave into the urge.

And he slept.