Fandom: Voltron Legendary Defenders
Missione: 1 - Cerimonia per il COWT-8
When he thinks about it, Shiro's memories of the night before were hazy at best. The only clear thing is the sharp pain in his head, the muffled feel that permeates his thoughts and, strangely enough, the fading discomfort at his left arm.
He can recognize the sign of being drunk, and from the looks of it Shiro had been incredibly drunk the night before.
What he remembers, trying to look back, was the defeat and anger when the last flight out was cancelled, and the countertop of the bar where he had gone to drink himself stupid. So, all in all, nothing strikes him particularly wrong of the way he wakes up.
Well, beside the other person naked in the bed. That he finds strange.
The thing is, he isn't exactly mad about it. The guy who's still sleeping soundly is good looking, lean and muscular; his face is handsome and his hair, even ruffled and unkempt, look soft enough that he wouldn't mind running his finger in them.
All in all, drunk Shiro had good taste.
And really, why wouldn't he pick up a random stranger from the bar? He has been stuck in the airport all day, hoping against all odds that one of the flights to New York would just leave.
He has been stuck at a conference all morning, going over some stupid things he doesn't really care about, and he had been looking forward to going home, and soaking in a bath.
Instead, thanks to the stupid storm, no plane had been able to leave the airport and he had been stuck, waiting, until 1 AM, when the last flight of the day was officially cancelled.
He wonders, now, how strange it will be to kick this handsome stranger off, or if maybe the kind thing to do would be to order breakfast and share it with him.
Random hook ups are not his greatest strength, especially drunken hookups. Shiro had always been too busy, trying to create a career as a pilot and then, after the accident, trying to learn how to build planes, to focus on going out and meeting people.
So he finds himself a little confused. He raises his hand to his neck, in a nervous gesture, when he feels something cold touch the skin of his nape.
He freezes and quickly lowers his hand to look at it.
The fact is, and Shiro says it with the least judgement he can possibly muster, that he had always thought the protagonist of those stupid Las Vegas movies to be the dumbest people on the face of the planet. How do you get so wasted that you don't even realize you're marrying a stranger?
Well, he guesses he found out the night before.
There's panic building up in his throat, ugly and encompassing. It might also be the beginning of a heart attack, he thinks, unfortunately all too familiar with the way his lungs seem to be constricting inside him.
Maybe, he tries, desperately, this is just a mistake. Maybe they had been drunk, and stupid, and had bought things from some seller in the street and pretended to get married.
He looks down at the handsome man in his bad, a man whose name he doesn't even know and who might be his husband, and starts to shake him. "Wake up, wake up, please tell me you don't have a ring."
The man startles awake, going from sound asleep to deadly alert in a second flat, and he looks ready to sock Shiro in the face. Good, maybe it will make him forget everything.
"Wha-?" the man mumbles, confused, but Shiro doesn't have time.
"Tell me you don't have a ring!" he repeats, his voice reaching highs he didn't think was possible.
The man blinks twice, obviously taking in what is going on and then he looks down at his own hand. Shiro follows his gaze and freezes when he sees the red band on his finger, matching the black one on Shiro's.
Shiro removes his hands from what can very well be his husband's shoulder and tries to remember how exactly one breathes.
He has to be logical about this, it isn't the worst thing he could have done while drunk. The man beside him - should he ask for his name? Probably - is probably just as shocked as Shiro, and Las Vegas, at least looking at the movies, probably has a lot of cases of this, right? There must be an accelerated law for divorcing, right?
"Are we sure?" the other man says, looking at his own hand. He doesn't seem to be panicking as much as Shiro, his face expressionless, but there is a slight tremor to his voice. "I think there should be a document? Maybe?"
"I don't know. I have never married someone before," he says, but at the same time he feels better having something to do. He gets up, trying to find their clothes in the mess that is the room, and realizes that he is, in fact, completely naked.
He looks behind him, but the guy doesn't seem to be interested in watching him. He debates for a second covering himself, but he also thinks that it might be even more awkward than just continuing like nothing is happening.
In the end, he just reaches for his own pants and searches in his pocket. He finds a candy wrap and a coin. Also a photo of the two of them kissing with an Elvis impersonator making a heart with his hands.
So, that's probably a yes to the wedding.
He hears rustling beside him and he looks back to see the other man seated on the edge of the bed with a camera in his hands. He looks pale an unsettled. Great.
Shiro goes back to the bed, photo held tight in his hand, and wonders how one exactly talks to the stranger he just married. The panic from when he woke up is still there, bubbling under the surface, but seeing it building also in the other man makes Shiro feel a little more settled.
He had always been better at taking care of other people's problems than facing his own feelings.
"Look," he tries, but is there really anything that would make this situation better? "It could have been worse, we could have killed someone."
Shiro grimaces the moment the words leave his mouth, realizing that they probably aren't going to be that helpful. If his head would just stop pounding maybe he would actually think of something useful to say.
A moment of silence passes between them, where Shiro considers apologizing, before the man says, "We could have robbed a bank."
Shiro looks up, surprised but also a little relieved.
"Yeah, or drugs. Drugs would be worse!" he says with a little smile. The other man looks at him and smiles in response, tentative and still a little panicky.
"Instead we just got married. Thank God," he says is with a deadpan tone and Shiro is laughing after a second. He doesn't know if he's laughing at the absurdity of the situation or just because he's finally lost his mind.
All in all, he guesses, it could be worse. He's pretty sure they can just annul the wedding since they were both intoxicated. Shiro feels better now, a little more focused.
"So. Should we have breakfast before we go and try to see how to annul our marriage, husband?" he tries, with a smile.
The other man blink again, nodding. "Yeah, sure. I don't think I can deal with anything else before coffee."
Shiro nods, understandingly, and remembers the headache that usually accompanies the morning after.They have decided to put the immediate crisis on the backburner, and all the other problems of the day resurface. Namely the fact that he's naked, and that most of his body is reminding him loudly why he doesn't get drunk anymore.
Realizing it's probably too late for modesty he stands up and puts on his boxers from the night before. From the corner of his eyes he sees the other man do the same and realizes that he still doesn't know the name of what is probably his husband.
He reaches forward with a smile. "I'm Takashi Shirogane, by the way, you can call me Shiro." It only seems polite, after all.
The other man seems startled for a second, almost as if he hadn't expected it. Shiro doesn't really know why, introducing himself at this point seems like the most normal thing
they have done in the past twenty four hours.
"I'm Keith..." the other says, extending his own hand and shaking Shiro's. "I guess Keith Shirogane, at this point."
While Keith shakes his hand Shiro looks at him, actually looks at him for a second, and it hits him like a bat. He probably wouldn't have remember if not for the picture he had kept on his shelf his entire life.
The person standing in front of him, Shiro's husband, is Keith his childhood friend he had lost touch with after his family moves away from the little city Shiro grew up with.
He distinctly remembers telling Keith, who was five at the time, that he would have came back to marry him.
A lot of people made fun of him and his policy of always keeping his promises, but even for him this seems a little excessive.
It seems that Keith remembers the same thing, by the little smirk he's trying to hide. God, Shiro wants to die.
"Wow. I'm..." Shiro starts, but really he doesn't know what to say. Is there something he can say to make this less awkward? "I could have taken your surname, you don't know," he settles for, in the end.
Keith just laughs, shaking his head. "No," he says, still smirking "I assure you I've taken your
surname. I always liked it."
It strikes Shiro as something strange to say, especially to your childhood friend slash husband, but they have been reaching new high of strangeness all morning.
Shiro must have looked shocked for too long because Keith just takes Shiro's pants from the floor and throws them in his direction with an annoyed huff. "I need coffee, and then we can go back to freaking out."
Shiro is used to lead more than being led, but this seems like an order he can get behind. "Yeah, I'm not ready for this."
They talk a little over breakfast, but conversation is stilled and awkward. Shiro can't stop looking at the red band on the other's finger and Keith seems to have lost the moment of snarky rebellion from before.
After that they ask to the concierge, a little embarrassed to even have to ask at all, what to do to file an annulment and find, to their relief and shame that it's a practice so popular it's called a 'Las Vegas annulment'.
They need to file a request, signed by both the spouses and it would be reviews in one to three weeks time.
"You mean we're going to be married for a week?" Keith asks, looking at the pamphlet - because of course there is a pamphlet - and trying to digest the information.
"Or three," Shiro points out, because at this point why not assume the worst case scenario.
Keith nods and then looks back at the words. "We don't have to pretend to be married, right?"
"No, I think that after we file for the annulment we can just... go our separate ways," Shiro explains, reading the information again. It's a relief, he doesn't know where Keith lives, but
Shiro has to go back home soon, he has work to do and Allura has already called him three times, wondering what had happened.
Shiro still hasn't picked up, scared to tell her exactly what a mess he's gotten himself into.
“So we just…” Keith stops and shrugs, “go our separate ways?”
It’s a strange thought, even if he hadn't’t seen Keith in years before this… thing. Also he’s trying not to think about anything else they have done during the night- well he tries, but he’s only human and Keith has left him a hickey the size of Shiro’s palm on his neck.
“Yeah. I have to go to the airport, see how to get a replacement ticket,” he explains. Out of the blue he feels the need to apologize, but he’s not sure why.
This situation they are in, as awkward and strange, it’s Keith’s fault as much as his. Even if a part of him might want to, he can’t put his life on hold much longer.
“Me too,” Keith says, looking up at Shiro with a strange look in his eyes.
Shiro doesn’t even have to think too much about it before he offers, with a smile, “Want to split the cab?”
Keith hesitates for a second before grinning, “Well, I always believed in a marriage with a joint bank account.”
Shiro laughs and thinks that he’s glad they can have a little more time together.
Something switches between them, and soon their conversation becomes easier, flows between them with less awkwardness.
Keith tells him that he's now based in New York, he does photography and he had been in Las Vegas for a photoshoot. Shiro tries to update Keith in all the gossip he had missed in their old neighborhood. Keith tells him about his friends and Shiro tells him of Allura and his new job. They don't talk about the accident, but he sees Keith looking at his prosthetic a lot.
When they find themselves in front of the information center it's Keith, surprisingly, that asks if they can have a seat next to each other since they are both taking the same flight. It makes Shiro smile, happy and a little surprised. When the TIZIA tells them she's not sure she can do it, Shiro just takes Keith's hands and smiles. "It would mean a lot, you see, we're newlyweds."
He sees the surprise in Keith's eyes, but also makes sure the clerk can see their conjuncted hands where the rings shine brightly.
She looks at them and melts after a second: "I'll see what I can do."
In the end she gives them two seats in the front row.
"I forgot you were a cheat," Keith says, looking at his ticket. He's smiling, however, so Shiro doesn't take it to heart.
"Well I didn't lie, did I?" Shiro replies, jokingly and he's rewarded by Keith laughing.
They keep talking the whole flight, five hours of uninterrupted conversation and it feels right. It feels good. Keith talks about his father, passed away way too soon, while Shiro opens up about the accident and his shattered dreams.
Keith puts a hand over Shiro's to comfort his, and when their rings touch it doesn't feel as weird as that morning.
When the time comes for them to part it doesn't feel like they've been talking for almost seven hours. Shiro wants to stay and talk some more, find an excuse to prolong the conversation.
He knows it's not possible.
"I..." he says, with a smile, "it was nice meeting you again, Keith. Even under the circumstances."
"You make it seem like being married with me is such a chore," Keith replies, but he's still smiling and Shiro smiles to him as well.
"I'll give you a yelp review: best person to marry in Vegas while drunk. Five stars out of five."
Keith smirks, a little devious, "I'm sorry, I think I can't give you more than four stars. You didn't wake me up as a new husband should."
"Next time I'm gonna be better, I swear," he replies immediately before realizing that there isn't gonna be a next time.
Even if they live in the same city, New York is so big the chances of running into each other are slim at best. They haven't seen each other in years, ever since they were kids, and it's probably going to be another twenty years if they don't do anything.
So Shiro does what he shouldn't do: he wings it.
"Cellphone!" he blurts out, "You should give me your cellphone. To get updates on the whole tying the knot situation."
It sounds rational, right? There shouldn't be any complications, but at the same time they need to be able to contact each other if the need arises. Shiro should add Keith on facebook. Or instagram, he's a photographer, it's probably worth it.
Keith nods, with a little soft smile, almost as if he's glad Shiro asked, and asks for Shiro's cellphone. He inputs his number and calls his own cell phone quickly.
"Don't be a stranger," Keith says, taking his own luggage, "we're literally married."
Shiro nods, a little giddy, and looks down at his own cell phone. Keith has saved himself as Mr. Shirogane and he can't help but laugh out loud.
After that day they keep messaging each other.
It starts when Shiro comments one of Keith's instagram pictures and it snowballs from there. He talks more with Keith than with Allura, and he works with her.
Allura has also started referring to Keith as Shiro's hubby and mistress at the same time - he had tried to keep the whole married thing from her as long as possible, but she knows him too well. When he had tried to ask her why she had just laughed.
They meet up for a coffee after a week. It's comfortable, and he notices that Keith still has his ring.
Shiro has his too, but they don't make a big deal about it.
It feels, even if Shiro has promised Allura it's not true, like they are dating.
Shiro isn't blind, he had admired Keith's body before even figuring out that it was Keith, a person he genuinely likes, but it's worse now.
Shiro can appreciate beauty, but he's more attracted by competence and talent, and Keith has both of those in spades. Even just looking at the pictures he shows on in Instagram it's obvious, and Shiro has spent way too much time looking at his profile.
Keith is also passionate about his work, he talks about his own photos with a breathtaking conviction. Shiro hasn't felt this passion ever since he had to stop flying.
Soon, Shiro starts stalking Keith also on his facebook, looking at all Keith's friends and trying to see if, maybe, there is someone who could be Keith's boyfriend.
The only thing he manages to find is that Matt's little sister is a friend of Keith's and helps him with his equipment. He stops himself from calling Matt and asking him if he can have Katie's number.
After two weeks, their whatsapp chat is full of stupid and silly jokes, and Shiro's cell phone buzzes every two minutes.
Allura says he's pathetic, and Shiro knows that, but it's not like he can't help it.
It's seems incredible that they haven't seen each other in twenty years and yet Shiro falls in love again in a second.
Because he knows it's love.
"God, Allura," he murmurs, looking at the last text Keith has sent him - a photo of a strange flower that looks like it's flexing - "I'm in love with my husband."
Three days later, Allura still laughs whenever she sees him.
In the end the letter arrives, a document that attests the annulment of his marriage with Keith.
Shiro looks at the envelope, but he doesn't know what to think.
Should he be happy? He is, a little, being married felt weird, he can't lie about that, but he's sad that the one thing that kept him connected to Keith is now gone.
He hesitates only a second before taking a picture of the document and sending it to Keith. He doesn't know if the other received a copy, probably yes, but he still needs an excuse to talk to him.
There's nothing keeping them from falling out of touch with each other now. It hasn't been a month and yet Shiro doesn't even remember how he lived without Keith.
It surprised him when his cellphone chirps with a text from Keith. 'Beer to celebreate being free men?'
Shiro doesn't even hesitate before answering with an affirmative. He needs an excuse to see Keith in the flesh, find a way to make the other want to meet again. He might ask for some photography lessons, or maybe he could convince Keith that he needs to go to the gym with Shiro - after all Keith had admitted he had done Kickboxing for a while.
He's panicking a little, he realizes it. He flashes back to that morning where this all started, and the wild beat of his own heart feels strangely similar from the one of that day.
Shiro is as scared now, with all the ties keeping him close to Keith being severed, than when he had discovered he had married a total stranger. It's.... enlightening.
A part of him knows that, maybe, he could just as Keith out for real. Now that they are both free from the marriage it wouldn't feel forced, Keith could decide it without anything to cloud his judgement.
He thinks about it all day. He thinks about it on the train, while walking down the street, entering the pub and looking around for Keith. Shiro has almost convinced himself he can do it, when h sees Keith on the other side of the pub, waving at him. He looks good, of course he does, and Shiro remembers that as much as he wants to do it, he doesn't have the courage.
Keith pats the seat beside him and Shiro sits down quickly with a smile. There is already a pint of beer in front of him and from the looks of it it's his favourite.
If he doesn't say anything, if he just tries to keep being friends with Keith, he doesn't have to let any of this go. It's better, in the long run.
"Sorry. Have you waited long?" he asks, with a smile.
Keith shakes his head and drinks some of his beer. Shiro notices immediately that the ring isn't on Keith's finger anymore and some part of him misses seeing it.
"Not that much," Keith reassures him, "I arrived a little before you."
Shiro nods and gulps down his beer as well.
It hasn't been this awkward between them since the morning after their wedding, and Shiro tries to think of something to say, but nothing comes to mind.
In the end it's Keith that breaks the ice by putting some photographs on the table. Shiro looks down surprised, but eager to see some of Keith's shoots when he finally realizes what he's looking at.
Shiro picks up one of the photos slowly. In the picture Shiro is kissing Keith's ring while what has to be their officiant is looking at them with a smile. Keith looks... wasted, if he has to be honest, but also soft in a way that almost surprises him.
"These are..." Shiro starts, picking up another photo. In this one Keith is looking at a BANCARELLA in the middle of street, and he recognizes on the table their two rings. There is also a finger in the picture, probably Shiro's.
"Photos of our wedding night. I developed them yesterday. I thought you should have them," Keith says with a smile, looking at them. "We were wasted."
Shiro nods, picking up another one. In this one they are exchanging their rings in the chapel, while an Elvis impersonator is singing in the background. It almost feels surreal.
"Thank you," he replies, honestly, because he realizes that he needed them. Something to hold and remember all of this.
The three best and strangest weeks of his life.
"We can make a scrapbook," Keith says, "something romantic. To remember our wedding night."
Shiro laughs at the idea, but also secretly loves it. He wonders if he can actually do it and keep it a secret from anyone else.
"I just want to say that we should have hired a better photographer," he says instead, looking at some of the most blurries photos.
Keith snickers and picks up a photo where Keith is smiling at the camera. The picture is terrible, shaky and too bright.
"I like some of them," Keith says, but Shiro knows it's impossible. Keith is probably just being kind.
"I was thinking," Shiro finds himself saying, a little desperate, "I obviously need some lessons, look at these they are terrible. You could teach me, maybe. How to make decent photos."
Keith looks at him a second before shaking his head. "You don't really need it."
It's lapidary, a short rejection that Shiro hadn't expected.
It had been the best excuse Shiro could came up with, and he's left shaken by Keith shooting it down so quickly.
"I..." Shiro tries again, but nothing comes to his mind. All the excuses he had thought of before now seem pointless.
"I was thinking," Keith says out of the blue, "that we could go to a movie tomorrow. Or to eat something."
Shiro looks up, surprised, and he sees Keith looking at him intensely. There is something strange in his eyes, a nervousness Shiro hadn't seen in a long time.
It almost looks like Keith is scared.
For a second Shiro holds his breath, scared of being wrong.
"Are you..." he starts, but then he stops. What if that's not what Keith was doing? Can Shiro just ruin this?
"I was asking you out," Keith confirms. His voice seems rash, but Shiro realizes that he's just scared. He would be too, if the role were reversed and Shiro had found the courage to confess.
He takes a moment too long to answer, still shocked by the turn of event, and he sees the moment Keith starts closing off, expecting to be rejected.
"Yes!" he hastily replies, "God, Keith, yes!"
Keith smiles almost immediately, looking down at his own beer. "Good," he says, "good."
"Good," Shiro echoes, feeling a little stupid. He's smiling, he realizes, a huge smile that doesn't seem to leave his face.
"I have to warn you," Keith says, with a little smirk, "I just went through a divorce. I hope that's not a problem."
Shiro laughs, surprised. "I think I can live with that."