Shatt Angst Train™
I’m just kinda imagining Shiro being Ultra Guilty about not being able to find Matt after his escape, and feeling really bad about injuring him and then never seeing him again. Shiro probably gets really worried that Matt will hate him and he can’t really remember much so hurting Matt is really most of what he remembers of Matt during their time in the Galra prison. Meanwhile, Matt probably knows that Shiro feels bad, probably thinks about how Shiro will remember hurting him, how Shiro will feel guilty and Matt wants to tell him that he’s ok, that he’s not mad, but he can’t and it’s killing him.
- Shiro tries to cling as much as he can to the bits of Matt he can remember, and he wants to remember it all because he knows he might never see Matt again. Sometimes if he’s walking to his room late at night he’ll hear quiet sobs coming from Pidge’s room. Shiro knows that it’s all his fault. If he’d only been better, or smarter, he could have done something. He should have tried harder and he shouldn’t have been so impulsive. And now the image of Matt’s terrified face after he attacked him is burned into his memory.
- Sometimes Matt wonders whether Shiro is dead and if he does get free, if he’ll ever see Shiro again. And then, suddenly, all Matt can see is Shiro’s pained face as he whispers “Take care of your father,” as he gets dragged away to fight. Oh god, how Matt hopes Shiro got away somehow, but he knows in his heart that Shiro might have died even moments after he was taken away from the arena.
- Sometimes, when he can catch a glimpse of the stars from inside the prison, Matt will look out and wonder if Shiro really did make it out. He’ll wonder if Shiro is out there somewhere, or if he’s back on earth, and then, at the thought of Shiro back on earth, he realizes Shiro doesn’t know if he’s alive either. All he can imagine is Shiro having to explain to his mother and Katie, having to explain “I don’t know what happened to Matt,” and that’s when Matt vows that he’s going to escape some day. Because he has to make it back to his family, has to know what happened to Shiro.
- Not knowing, Matt thinks, not knowing is almost worse than a solid answer. At least if Shiro was dead he could begin to grieve, but as long as things are uncertain his heart won’t let him release the glimmer of hope. It won’t let him get rid of the fantasies of Shiro being safe and happy back on earth.
- Shiro knows he has to remain calm, he has to be the team’s leader and needs to stay strong. Yet every time Pidge announces she’s got some sort of lead, some kind of evidence that might lead them to Matt, he can’t help but feel a tiny glimmer of hope, and he tries to push it away because he knows Matt is probably dead.
- Shiro, too, decides that uncertainty is worse than knowing for sure that Matt is dead. Every Galra ship that they destroy, every ship that they watch explode, Shiro wonders if Matt is on there, and he wonders if Matt’s blood is on his hands again. He doesn’t know it, but Pidge thinks the same thing every time as well.
- In his darkest moments, when he feels like giving up, Matt remembers Shiro’s desperate face. He remembers Shiro’s voice, telling him to take care of his father. And Matt remembers back on earth, Shiro quietly reminding him to take care of himself, and how he’d reply the same way every time. “But who’s going to take care of you?” And Matt remembers that, and he remembers when he vowed that he’d make it out, for Shiro.
- If Shiro’s mantra during his time with the Galra was “Patience yields focus,” then Matt’s is that he has to make it out for Shiro. Even if Shiro is dead, Matt knows the least he can do is escape instead. The least he can do is let Shiro’s family know too, because Matt knows for every time he thinks of his father, of Katie, of his mother, that Shiro must be thinking of his family too.
- At some point, Pidge picks up on Shiro’s carefully concealed emotions every time she shares any information about finding Matt, and she makes sure she lets him be the first to know anything she finds. After that, they cling to each other trying desperately to find the reassurance that only the safe discovery of Matt can bring them.
- Shiro still thinks Pidge might resent him a little for when he tore her away from the Galra ship on Arus, when the robeast was coming. He understands her reasoning, that she would be willing to risk serious injury to find any clue about Matt. He would too, but he knows that they could have died, and that dead men cannot find Matt. She never picked up on the desperation in his voice, the conflict in his expression. He wonders if he had stayed another moment, if they would have found Matt. Shiro tells himself that living in the past is foolish, even as he replays Matt’s fearful expression in his head for the millionth time.
- Matt finds that missing Shiro is like losing a part of yourself, like a dull ache that fades but never really goes away, and that it is like a million instant replays of Shiro’s desperate expression. Shiro finds that missing Matt is like the anxiety of misplacing something important, like a persistent thought in the back of his mind, there at all times, and that it is like a million instant replays of the fear and shock in Matt’s eyes.
- Every time Shiro glimpses Pidge out of the corner of his eye, it’s like a stab to his heart. When he was first being rescued back on Earth, when he first caught sight of Pidge he thought that she was Matt. They look so similar, especially now that she’s cut her hair short, and he tries to hide his pain because he is the leader and he needs to be strong for his team. He can’t let them know how broken he is inside, how every time he sees Pidge, he thinks he breaks a little bit more.
- During the battle with Zarkon, when they’re losing, and everything is going wrong, Shiro thinks of Matt. He thinks of his last glimpses of Matt, he thinks of what Matt was like back on Earth, and he decides that he can’t die now. He has to live, because he just knows that Matt is out there somewhere. He knows Pidge got new data from Slav’s prison, which gives him hope. And Shiro knows he can’t let himself die knowing that the last Matt saw of him was when he was being attacked.
- Matt doesn’t know why, but one day, he’s managed to catch a glimpse of the stars through a window, and something just feels terribly wrong. He thinks of Shiro, at the exact same moment the team is running towards the Black Lion, only to find it empty, to find Shiro missing. Then, Matt is dragged away from the window and everything is the same as always, and still he repeats to himself that he has to make it out for Shiro.