“Keith, with me.” Shiro motioned for Keith to follow him against a backdrop of jeers and provocations from the other cadets. They shut up pretty quickly when Shiro threw them a warning glance, but it didn’t stop Keith from looking completely mortified as Shiro lead him into the weight room where they could have this conversation in private.
As soon as the door was closed, Keith verbally exploded. “I’m sorry! I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have done that, I know I shouldn’t have done that I just – I got so – he kept talking shit at me, I just wanted him to shut up. Shiro I’m sorry I-,”
“Keith,” Shiro grabbed a hold of Keith’s shoulders. “I know you’re sorry. McKinely is probably fine, but you could have seriously hurt him. And Keith?” Shiro said, drawing Keith’s eyes back to him. “This isn’t the first time.”
This sent Keith’s gaze skittering in all different directions and his shoulders deflated beneath Shiro’s hands. “I’m sorry,” he muttered again. “I’m trying, I just – they’re all so stupid!”
Shiro raised an eyebrow at this and Keith groaned, bringing his hands to his face
“I shouldn’t have said that. I just meant,” His hands fell to his sides. “I don’t have anything in common with them.”
“You don’t have anything in common with me, and I don’t see you trying to pull my arm out of its socket when we spar,” Shiro said.
“What are you talking about!” Keith exploded. “We built a house together!”
“Hmm,” Shiro tapped his chin. “So you’re saying if I made you all go out into the desert and build an addition onto the shack, you’d get along with everyone?” The joke was not well received and Shiro decided to move onto a different tactic. “You remember what I told you?”
For a short moment, Keith seemed to contemplate this. If Shiro didn’t value his life, he would have said it looked like Keith was pouting when he finally muttered, “Patience yields focus.”
Shiro smiled. “I can’t teach you how to get along with the other cadets. You have to do that yourself, Keith. But not letting guys like McKinley get to you like that will be a good start.” Keith’s head bobbed up and down. “And you’re not going to like this but, when he gets back from the med bay you need to apologize to him. I doubt he’ll accept it, but sometimes being the bigger man can feel better than dislocating people’s shoulders.”
Keith looked up at him skeptically and said, “I’ll believe that when it happens.”
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