okay because I had a moment earlier: Shiro getting intrusive thoughts like 'what if I just broke this' bcs sometimes he truly doesn't know his strength so every once in a while somebody from the team walks in and sees Shiro like bending a spoon with his teeth and that's kind of hard to explain away
Honestly, I’ll bet he absolutely gets those kinds of thoughts a lot. And in Shiro’s case, with no previous idea that could happen, it’d have to freak him the hell out. Why does he suddenly want to hurt things? What’s lurking in his head? Was it something Haggar put in there?
So Shiro keeps it to himself, and for the most part it’s not a huge problem. Shiro’s always been just a bit distractable in his head anyway, with the tendency to chase after a random question when the situation isn’t dire enough to require his full concentration. The tendency makes living with aliens a bit harder than necessary (Shiro once spent an hour in the system trying to figure out if Alteans sneezed, when Coran nearly started out of his chair when Hunk did it). But it makes him a bit more immune to the random impulses, even when they persist. They push at him, tug at his mind, what if what if what if, and Shiro tries to distract himself with what’s actually important.
But some days are harder than others, and there are times when Shiro just…slips.
Unfortunately, the Galra arm makes it really easy to succeed.
Shiro snaps silverware from his snacks pretty often. Luckily, there are tons of it, made for huge royal parties, so a few missing hasn’t mattered yet. Once, he stabbed a fork into a cutting board so hard that the had to physically climb onto the counter to get it back out. Another time, he just snapped a pad in half in his room. No reason, there was nothing bothering him on the screen. Just ‘can I? can I? What if I…?’ and it was in pieces.
The worst impulses are ‘what would the Galra arm do to that?’. Those, Shiro is best at keeping down, because activating the arm takes more thought and effort than just using it’s strength, so there’s a bigger hurdle to actually doing it. But there are a few cushions on the couch that were hastily flipped upside down, and one wall in his room has a gouge that hopefully he’ll never have to explain.
Shiro managed to hide it all. For months, no one had any idea, because Shiro desperately wanted to keep it from them. What would they say, if they knew what Shiro really was like? If they saw how destructive he was? Everything that wouldn’t be missed, Shiro threw into a closet in his room. Everything that would be was rearranged. And he knows it’s from his time with the Galra. He knows it. It’s about collection weapons, it’s about knowing the destructive potential of his arm, it’s about being able to make a dent on his environment, being able to change it. He’s vicious. Shiro can’t let them know that.
Until he slips in front of them.
At lunch, Shiro looked at the fork in his hand and thought ‘can I?’
The thought nags, pushes at his brain, scratches his mind with urgency until Shiro gave in. His right thumb pressed against it, heating it up. Then he jammed the fork against the edge of the table, hard enough for the red-hot tongs to twist together into one sharp point.
Shiro tilted his his head, considering, before he blinked himself back into awareness.
The whole room was staring at him.
“Was there something wrong with that fork?” Pidge asked, brow furrowed.
Most of the gazes were confused, and Shiro could deal with that. Shiro could work with that.
But he saw dawning comprehension on Hunk’s face, and Shiro’s stomach dropped to his feet. “I’m sorry, I need to-” He was giving up the game, he was giving himself away, he should smile and come up with some kind of distracting excuse, but the knowledge in Hunk’s eyes is killing him.
So instead Shiro ran out.
Later, there was a knock, and Shiro opened it, already knowing it was Hunk. This confrontation needed to happen, but at least it wasn’t in front of the others.
But it was just as well he got chewed out for it. Rightfully. What business did he have, acting like he wasn’t not dangerous?
Except Hunk asks something about intrusive thoughts, and Shiro has no idea what that is.
So Hunk explains, and the whole time Shiro felt like he was about to fall over.
It’s not that he’s broken, it’s not that he was reformed, it’s not any of the things Sendak said to him. It’s part of the human brain, part of anxiety, a compulsion. Something that it’s not just him.
It’s not just him.
Shiro nods into Hunk’s shoulder, accepts the hugs and soft reassurances, repeats to himself that he’s not wrong, he’s not twisted, he’s not bad. He reluctantly let’s Hunk help clean out the closet full of broken items, tries not to wince too badly at every reminder.
It doesn’t really help, when the thoughts are screaming at him.
It does help when he’s picking up the pieces after.