Here comes a thought.
The vents of the castle carried Shiro’s cries to Katie’s room, startling her awake. It was late; 2:38am, according to the lock screen of Katie’s phone.
Shiro's thrashing and panting was becoming more frantic, his cries louder. This night had been looking like the first one Katie would be able to sleep through in a while; dealing with her own insomnia and the endless swirl of thoughts about her family left her exhausted most mornings. Thoughts racing, she sat up in her bed, wearing a tank top and shorts.
It was a pointless hassle hiding anything now that everyone knew she was a girl. Lance had looked at her strangely until he realised she'd stopped wearing her binder; then he just gave a knowing smile and let her be.
Another bang made her jump, pulling her out of her thoughts. Katie raced to Shiro's room, tripping and falling over the covers as she got out of bed.
Shiro could hurt himself in whatever nightmare he was in. Questions chased each other around her head. How come no one else was hearing him? What if he had already hurt himself? And then, her heart clenching at the very idea: what if he attacks me? I’m basically defenceless; he could easily-
She barely stopped herself from the finishing the thought. Reaching Shiro's room (finally), she knocked on his door, hoping it would be enough to wake him. Another crash. She was banging on the door with her fist now.
Panic was rising up her throat. Hands shaking, she pulled out a panel on the side of the door, fiddled with the wires until the door opened enough for her to dart inside.
The room was dark, but the blue hallway lights were enough to reveal the chaos inside. The table had been overturned, the bed sheets ripped off the mattress, and there were large dents in the frame of his bed.
When her eyes finally found Shiro, crumpled up in a corner of the bed, Katie’s heart stopped. Shiro was thankfully clothed, in huge sweat pants and a black t-shirt. The possibly of him being naked hadn’t crossed her mind until then, and she thanked the nebula that at least she didn't have to deal with that.
Katie took a breath and made her way to him, armed with a cushion that had landed by the door. She could only think of two ways this could go: either Shiro woke up, or he stayed asleep and attacked her. 2 feet from the bed she called him, louder that she intended
"Shiro!" Her eyes were watering. His hand (the human hand) smacked against the wall, and somehow managed to dent it. What if he had broken his hand? His arm. She moved closer to grab his shirt, shaking him.
Everything went blank from a moment. She was dazed, but when breathing become harder she snapped out of it. Shiro was on top of her, his weight pinning her to the floor. His human hand clenched tightly around her small throat. His Galra hand was glowing, inches away from her face. Shiro's eyes were glassy and his pupils were dilated.
He was going to kill her. She desperately tried to loosen his grip enough to breathe, but it slowly tightened. She was going to die. Breathing becoming almost impossible, she tried one last time to wake him.
"..Ssshiro.... Please, it's me!"
Shiro didn’t hear. He was completely out of it. His hand got closer to her face. Without thinking she grabbed his wrist, trying to keep him from reaching her face. But as soon as she touched it, her hand burned. Tears running down her face she yelled, finding breath she didn't know she still had, and digging her nails into Shiro's hand enough to draw blood.
"TAKASHI! YOU’RE HURTING ME!"
A quick shift in weight, and Shiro's human hand let her go. In a blink, Shiro backed into a corner. Katie sat up, clenching her hand and gasping to fill her lungs.
Shiro had no idea what had just happened. The only thing he knew was that he almost killed one of his best friends, one of the only people he trusted. He always let himself be vulnerable around Katie and she always made him feel like his old self, if not better for a short time.
How could he have lost control again? How could he have let himself sink back into that abyss?
He was a monster again, he was back in the arena, he was--
Flashbacks were the last thing he needed. Shiro started sobbing quietly, curling into himself.
Katie was still processing what just happened. Her hand, surprisingly, wasn't badly burned (it just hurt so bad…). Shiro started mumbling, and even in the darkness Katie could see he was shaking uncontrollably. Shiro’s words were muffled by his hands, and Katie could only make out some phrases:
"I'm a monster..."
"I hurt Katie..."
"I'm a monster."
"I shouldn't be here."
"I hurt Katie! What have I done?!"
Katie got up and approached Shiro. It wasn't his fault; Shiro would die before hurting her. She wasn't afraid of him, although she was more alert this time. She made sure to give him space, trying not to make him feel trapped in his corner.
"Shiro?" She said, low voice somewhat shaky.
Shiro heard the fear in her voice and flinched away from her even though she wasn’t coming any closer, but just kneeling next to him.
"No no no no no no no no no no! I hurt you! I've hurt you! I'm a monster! I'm sorry! Katie, I'm sorry!"
Shiro got up too fast for Katie to stop him. He ran out into the hall and disappeared before she even made it out of the door.
Katie closed the door behind her. The others didn't need to see what had happened there. She made her way to the medical bay to wrap her hand, and then went to the control room.
Green was protective of Shiro; she liked him and his Lion. Together, they usually acted as protectors of the other paladins. But the Lion, of course, trusted Katie, and did not hesitate to reveal that Shiro was hiding with her.
Shiro knew that fleeing to the Green Lion’s hangar was a giveaway but he had chosen the obvious hoping it would give him time to find a better hiding spot from Katie. Little did he know Katie had already tracked him down, and was heading his way.
Green turned her head when Katie walked in, looked between her front paws. Green was sitting like a typical house cat, with Shiro like a toy she wanted to keep to herself. Shiro was still shaking and crying, knees folded tight to his chest and arms wrapped around them. Katie knew that Shiro needed to be calmed down, or else he would end up waking someone else up. The last thing she wanted was for anyone else to see him like this.
She sat cross-legged in front of him, with plenty of space between them. Sitting like this, she wouldn't have time to dodge or run if he attacked. But she trusted him, now that he was awake. Projecting tranquility was the key to getting Shiro to calm down; otherwise, she would make things worse. After a few minutes, she broke the silence.
"Shiro," she said very calmly.
Shiro only lifted his head enough to see Katie with her arms out and a kind smile. Katie was doing what Shiro usually did with her when she closed off. He found himself hugging her tightly. Shiro buried his face in her chest, crying and apologizing over and over again.
Gradually he cried himself out, and suddenly released his face was still on her chest. He quickly wiggled out of her arms, blushing a deep red, and kneeled Japanese-style while apologizing again.
Katie didn't mind Shiro crying on her chest. His embarrassment made her giggle, making Shiro look up at her.
"It's fine, Shiro, really, I don't mind." Katie said, while squatting closer to Shiro.
Katie reached out to pet his head, but Shiro intercepted it. He looked at the wrapping around it and started tearing up again, mumbling apologies. Katie quickly wrapped her arms around Shiro's neck and started speaking.
"Shiro, it's not your fault, and I'm okay!"
Shiro melted into her and nuzzled into her hair. He was sobbing again. He couldn't help it: he felt horrible for what he did to her. But she still trusted him. She wasn't afraid of him. He tightened his grip so that Katie was forced to sit instead of kneeling.
"Here comes a thought, that might alarm you.
What someone did, and how it harmed you."
Shiro wondered if he had just imagined that: Katie’s voice, quietly singing to him. He had never heard her sing before, and her voice washed soothingly over him. He relaxed into her touch as she continued stroking his head.
"You’re losing sight. You're losing touch.
All these little things seem to matter so much. That they confuse you."
Katie stopped singing for just a moment to lay her cheek on Shiro's head, then held him in her arms and continued singing the song Matt used to sing to her whenever she felt scared as a child. She remembered Matt singing it after he told her he was leaving for the Kerberos mission. She didn't want him to go, but didn't tell him that. She had just cried and cried and he ended up singing to try and cheer her up. She never knew where it came from, she just knew it helped.
"That I might lose you."
Her voice cracked a little; she was starting to tear up herself from the memory of her brother. Sniffing and giggling, she continued singing.
"Take a moment to find yourself.
Take a moment to ask yourself if this is how you fall apart.
But it's not, but it's not, but it's not, but it's not, but it's not.
It's okay it's okay it's okay it's okay it's okay.
You've got nothing, got nothing, got nothing, got nothing to fear."
She quickly placed a kiss on Shiro's cheek.
"I'm here. I'm here. I'm here.
Take a moment to think of just.
Flexibility, love and trust.
I'm here. I'm here. I'm here."
"I'm here, Katie. I'm here."
"I know, and I'm here with you, Takashi."