Once, Shiro had cared a lot for possessions. He had cared for framed pictures of his family and his boyfriend, for medals and certificates telling everyone about his achievements, even for that small succulent Adam had given him as a present for their first anniversary.
When he got captured in space, he lost his crew and friends as well as his right arm. He returned from space in a stolen space ship and when they took off again in a borrowed robot giant that would later save earth and the universe, even his clothes were the borrowed shirt and pants his best friend’s dead father had left behind. Classic.
Shiro learnt that there were no succulents in space he could get attached to. There were angry alien cats, octo-armed space scientists and somehow a cow that provided them with milkshakes now and then. He’d never felt the need to search for a re-connection to earth like Pidge did with her books or Hunk with his cooking or Lance did with a weird gaming console and face masks, and so his room in the castle of lions remained blank and empty.
He had to learn the hard way that once you were in space, fighting a war between worlds in a giant robot lion, nobody cared for your personal belongings. There were no medals in space, only death and life and more death. And everything that mattered was your strength, tactic and pure luck.
Shiro learnt that there were no objects that could bring you back from the death when no one even knew you were dead to begin with. What brought him back in the end was love and passion for the cost of his robot arm and an ugly scar on the most beautiful face he had ever seen.
When they returned to earth and found it in ruins and the person he used to love was just as dead as he used to be, Shiro learnt that dwelling on people only caused you grief. A bitter laugh escaped his lips when he found out even his succulent had died and Keith placed a hand on his shoulder and tugged him into a hug before Shiro realized there were tears streaming down his face. The floodgates opened by a small Agave.
War was about winning and losing, so he had learnt, and when his mind connected to a new born space ship, Shiro dreaded he could count the hours until he would have to sacrifice something in return for this gift.
As he had to watch five lions fall from the sky, he learnt that he could feel a panic for loosing beloved ones, panting ‘please, not him, don’t take him away from me, too’ on his way to a crushed robot. And it ripped his heart out when he found the person he cared for – more than he could ever care for any succulent, he had to admit – in a pool of his own blood, crushed in the seat of a black lion he had also lost his connection to long before.
Fate was a cold-hearted lady, Shiro had decided at some point, so he still had to search for the catch when he was sitting in a hospital room, kissing and crying and whispering declarations of love against oh so soft lips. Promising never to let go, to treasure this beautiful gift life had thrown his way.
They lost their lions and Allura instead. It was devastating, cold, unfair. But when he laced his fingers with Keith' and Hunk had his arm around a crying Pidge while Lance stared into the sky with empty eyes, his Altean marks glowing before Hunk threw his other arm around his shoulder, Shiro thought that they would find a way to cope. Because the world was not kind, even to the heroes of the univerese, but life carried on and they had each other.
So he called for a group hug.
Shiro had learnt the hard way that objects came second in a fight for your life and in love and when two years after the war the small box in front of him caused his stomach to flip and his mind to run into thousands of worst case scenarios, it seemed just one big paradox.
He went down on one knee anyway and with a golden ring and a tear in his eyes, his best friend, his soulmate and his favourite person in the world promised to become his husband. And no possession in the universe, no robot lion, no medal, no succulent, could ever come close to making him as happy as he felt in that moment.