Looking back, Shiro’d been through a lot. Starting with Kerberos, his life began to spiral into a mess of unfamiliarity and uncertainty. At one point he believed he’d die in captivity, either in the Arena or in Haggar’s lab. Next he was sure he would die on the battlefield, taken by a war he was unwillingly thrown in the middle of. Part of him accepted he wouldn’t see the end of the war, that he would be gone long before its conclusion. In a way he was technically right. He had died before the war’s conclusion, but he was brought back stronger, wiser, troubled.
He became the head of Earth’s force against the Galra, leading the Atlas to victory alongside the Paladins. The final fight was grueling, demanding more than they were prepared for - and taking its fair share of lives in the process. Both sides had lost plenty by the time the war was officially declared over. Not just in lives, but in innocence. You don't come out on the other side of a war the same way you went in. Shiro knew this all too well.
He'd lost his own friends and family to a war he never truly asked to be apart of. What he didn't expect was for any of them to return.
Shiro had met with the Blade at one point after the war, discussing their next approach in rebuilding the universe. Kolivan suggested a marriage, an intertwining of both human and Galra in an attempt to symbolically demonstrate their new peace. Shiro knew both “participants” needed to be of great importance to their respective races, being that's the entire point of their attempted political marriage.
As they were discussing the best candidate for Shiro's marriage, Allura entered, apologizing for her interruption but urging Shiro outside.
There's someone you should see.
Outside of the meeting room stood a single Galra, eagerly awaiting the former Paladin. Shiro recognized him immediately, despite new scars scattered along his face and arms. His hair was longer than when Shiro had seen him last. It gathered into a ponytail that trailed between the firm set of his shoulders, his eyes tired yet welcoming at the sight of Shiro.
Shiro could barely get his name out before throwing himself at the Galra, arms tightening around his strong waist.
He quickly returned Shiro's embrace, arms encompassing almost his entire back. Ulaz began explaining his reappearance, going on about accidental interdimensional travel and his own struggle with getting back home. Shiro couldn't care less, attempting to fight back his own overbearing emotions to retain an air of professionalism.
There was so much Shiro wanted to say. So much he owed Ulaz for saving his life, twice. Deep down he found himself thankful Ulaz was here to experience a life without conflict. A life not surrounded by unending battles, questioning every day if he would live to see another.
Shiro quickly ushered him back inside to reunite with his team. They were all standing almost immediately, surrounding him like doting mothers at an odd I-thought-you-were-dead family reunion. Shiro stepped back to allow them their moment. They all knew Ulaz for longer, after all. An operative and a friend for deca-phoebs. The least he could do was give them space.
One by one the Blade shared greetings with Ulaz, and yet Shiro couldn't help but watch over their shoulders, smiling at the joyful expression on Ulaz's face as he was welcomed. Often, Ulaz returned Shiro's grin, glancing over the other Galra constantly.
It wasn't long before Kolivan noticed their silent exchanges. He gave them both a knowing smirk before calling attention to his team. He began proposing their marriage idea to Ulaz, quickly filling him in on their meeting and goal to achieve full tranquility in the universe. He then went into comparing the two, going on about how both Shiro and Ulaz are soldiers, marred and deformed by their pasts, forcefully separated from their families before fighting their way back. Shiro could argue that the same applied to almost anyone in the room, but it didn’t take a genius to figure out what Kolivan was implying.
So he let him speak, let Kolivan give the raw information. Let him display the facts on the table before Shiro interrupted.
Before Kolivan could say it himself, Shiro turned to Ulaz and practically asked for his hand himself.
Of course, Shiro backtracked almost immediately, stuttering out that they can keep it purely political if Ulaz wishes, that the marriage is nothing more than a symbol. Ulaz stopped him with a hand on Shiro’s hip, a small smile on his face, and an I do.
Shiro didn’t know what he expected with the wedding. It wasn’t a normal wedding by any means, in the back of his mind he pictured some paperwork and speeches. Their names plastered along intergalactic media as they began the new era of peace.
He certainly wasn’t ready for the extravagant party that he was lead into, following behind his new husband after a brief ceremony. It was honestly overwhelming after an hour or so, the two of them being surrounded by various aliens of planets he’d never even heard of. He lost count of how many pictures were taken throughout the night. Fortunately, Ulaz understood far too well how exhausting being crowded around was. He gave the two of them an excuse to part early, and led them both back to what was now their shared quarters.
Shiro collapsed in their bed before properly undressing, his shirt was hastily unbuttoned and tie was abandoned across the room. Ulaz quickly took a spot next to him, encompassing Shiro with a deep warmth and soft fur, making sure to keep his arms around Shiro. Protective, but not restricting. Shiro buried himself in Ulaz’s chest, drifting off to the gentle breathing of a friend he thought he’d never see again.
Friend, he thought to himself, no, that wasn’t right.
I care about him far too much for just that.
Husband, lover. That’s more fitting.