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For a moment's rest

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Shiro doesn't regret anything that happened. If his arm was the price to pay to save Pidge's life, it's an exchange he would do again in a heartbeat, without thinking about it. Still, when he looks at his image in the mirror, the stump where his Galra arm used to be creates a dull ache in his chest.

He had never liked it, but it had been efficient. Even as a weapon the Galra had installed on him to make him serve as a killing machine, Shiro had been able to use it for good. It had become a part of him, one he had to accept and learn to like and that, ultimately, had meant a victory over the terrible things the Galra had in store for him.

Now, he feels naked without it. His balance is completely off, and when he had tried sparring with the learning robot, it had been a pitiful show. He had overcompensated too much, trying to block off attacks with a limb that isn't there anymore. He had been beaten in a second.

The only one present had been Keith, watching him with a thoughtful expression. And while Shiro knew that Keith wasn't the type to offer pity, he had still felt deeply ashamed. He couldn't fight like this, nor pilot Black. He wasn't the black paladin like this, only Takashi Shirogane with all his flaws and nightmares. He had hoped to have left this all behind him.

He can't show any of his inner turmoil to the others. They still look up to him, and he will just retake his position as the coordinator of the coalition while Keith takes his place on Black. It's really not that bad. Losing Pidge would have been a sacrifice they would have never recovered from. His arm? It's just a minor set-back.

Still, the urge to grasp at where his arm once was builds inside of him. He keeps trying to move it, before he realizes there is nothing there 

All in all, it has been a terrible few days.

He's trying to sleep on his bed, hoping that the nightmares won't reach him that night, when he hears someone entering the room. There is only one person who enters Shiro's room so casually and without announcing himself and, normally, Shiro wouldn't even move. But he's tired and scared, and his mind reminds him every second of how unsafe he is without his arm.

He hears the step and he turns quickly, feeling his heartbeat speed up. If he still had his arm, it would have been pulsing with energy, ready to attack his opponent. As it is, Shiro is just panting out loud, looking unbalanced and scared. Keith watches him, from the door, with a soft expression.

"Keith," Shiro exhales. And of course, it's Keith, he had known that, but his hand is still shaking. Is this really what Shiro has become? A trembling, scared man?

Shiro listens to Keith's steps while the other advances towards the bed. The mattress dips under Keith's weight, but Shiro doesn't have the strength to look at the other in the eye and see the disappointment there. He almost jumps when he feels Keith's hand on the shoulder with the stump. At first, it's just a caress, but then he pushes his thumb a little bit deeper into the shoulder, and Shiro's entire body twitches.

The pain that flares up from his shoulder is unbearable for a second, but Keith's finger moves quick, rubbing the sore spot, and moving to another muscle. "I saw you while you were training," Keith explains, putting his other hand to work as well. "Looked like it hurt."

It had. All of his muscles were tense, compensating for a weight that wasn't there anymore, but still felt incredibly real. Phantom pain, they called it, if Shiro remembers his history lessons right.

Keith's hand massages another spot on Shiro's shoulder and he leans towards the other almost unconsciously, seeking the sweet release. Keith smiles, seeing it, and works a little harder. Shiro wants to say that the other shouldn't feel forced to do this, but at the same time he's not sure he can talk.

Keith had never given him a massage before, but now Shiro acutely regrets never asking. Keith's fingers are lean and they seem to know exactly where to push and where to rub. The discomfort that had been there all day starts to recede and Shiro can't keep in a moan.

He hears the other snicker a little and he would be annoyed, if he was able to think pass the delicious sensation that Keith's hands are giving him.

The moment Keith's hands stop moving, Shiro makes a little noise of protest. He would be ashamed of himself if it was someone other than Keith.

"I've got some oils, I asked Coran," Keith explained, with a smile. Shiro feels maneuvering him, push him down, and he doesn't resist. Soon he's lying on his stomach on the bed, without a shirt on.

 Keith positions himself over him, as to reach his entire back and he puts the lotion over his skin massaging lightly.

Shiro closes his eyes, feeling the stress of the past few days leave him with every one of Keith's movements. "It's going to be alright," Keith murmurs, low and comforting, "Pidge and Hunk are going to build you another arm soon. And I'll stay and take care of you. It's going to be alright, Shiro."

Shiro would resist more, remind him that the universe is much more important than Shiro's problems, but Keith's hands make him unable to think straight 

He relaxes enough that Keith seems to be satisfied because the massage becomes slower, his fingers working softer on his sore spots.

"Let me take care of you for once," Keith murmurs again, and Shiro closes his eyes and allows it. He'll have time to worry again the day after, now he just decides to trust Keith.