Mind games

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Keith knew that there was a chance the other paladins thought he was a bit heartless. He didn't argue against it, because if the shoe fit then there was no denying it, but maybe his definition of 'heartless' was different than theirs. Of course, Keith knew he was far from it.

The others were having a hard time adjusting to their sudden departure from Earth, in fact, they vocalized as much during their lounge times. Keith didn't know when lounging had become a therapy session, but he listened to the others describe their families through sobs with a detached kind of fascination.

Everyone had something to say, Lance talked about his large family enough to where Keith knew each and every single one of their names. Hunk was similar, his family not quite as big but just as loving. It took a bit longer for Pidge to admit her family had been captured by the Galra, but she was confident that they were out there and they were alive, it was only a matter of time until they found them.

Shiro, ever the dutiful leader, had listened intently and offered them a shoulder to cry on. Sometimes he would even talk about what he missed on Earth, the smells, the plants, the wonder of humankind towards space. Adam.

It was then that Keith realized that he was the only one that was perfectly fine and prepared to spend the rest of his life on this castleship. He didn't have anything to go back to besides the barren desert shack he had struggled to live in for a year.

So, he didn't join in on those conversations, and if the others noticed, then they didn't say anything. (Of course there was always Shiro, silently offering up his ear, but Keith had always shrugged and claimed he had nothing to cry over.) Trapped on this castleship with five people and two aliens, Keith was less lonely than he had ever felt in his entire life while the rest of his team felt isolated and more alone than ever.

Keith didn't have a right to talk during their lounge room therapy sessions.

Instead he focused on training, and group training sessions had become far more common lately once they got into the swing of things. Keith didn't mind them, it was a way to keep his mind and body occupied while waiting for an attack, and it also proved to be a good way to avoid other people. Though the training that had annoyed him the most, and that he wanted no part of, were the mind exercises.

They poked and prodded at the barrier of his brain, and once the tendrils managed to sneak through his mental blockade, they wrapped themselves around precious memories. After leaving those 'meditations' Keith felt more keyed up than relaxed. Violated.

Somehow, using the mind headbands was more exhausting than fighting the gladiator. Thankfully, Coran seemed sympathetic and always let them off the leash, allowing the paladins leave the room with tired minds.

Just when Keith thought mental exercises couldn't get worse, he was proved wrong.

That morning he had woken up with a start, wading his way through murky memories to get out of bed and stumble to the communal showers. It was blissfully empty by the time he exited the showers, meaning it must have been earlier in the morning than he thought because he knew Shiro liked to take early morning showers after his jog around the perimeter of the castle. Luckily, Lance and Hunk preferred night showers.

The morning cycle for the castle hadn't even been activated yet. Keith towel dried his hair as he walked along the ghostly corridors. He could practically feel how full of life it had once been. But now it was an empty shell of the king's home. Keith knew how that felt.

The thoughts of the ghost lingering around made Keith shiver and he hurried back to his room to change to his armor for the paladin's morning training session.

A few Varga later found Keith and Shiro helping each other stretch on the training deck, Keith sitting on the floor as Shiro pushed his back forward so he could reach past his feet.

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