He rubs the seam where metal joins with flesh and tries to yank his mind somewhere else. There's no point in dwelling when he actually has
Someone shouts on the other side of his wall and Shiro sighs. He doesn't want to deal with the kind of human who would summon him, but he doesn't want to be here either, surrounded by demons he doesn't like, alone except for
Shiro listens to his neighbor start cursing at someone and rolls off his bed to find the earmuffs that are under his bed to hopefully block them out.
He closes his eyes and breathes through it.
When he opens them, he's no longer in his apartment.
He's also gorgeous with black hair that looks like hands have been in it and wide violet eyes and angular features.
"What the fuck," the man says, his voice deeper than expected with a pleasant rasp.
"Summoned you?" The human -- his new master, presumably -- asks.
He doesn't know what to make of this man in his sweatpants and t-shirt in a shabby kitchen.
"Yes. Summoned me," Shiro says carefully. It is prudent to proceed with caution until he gets a feel for his master. He doesn't want to invite punishment by overstepping.
Shiro feels his shoulders draw back and his tail lashes once before he gathers himself, tries to erase all traces of annoyance, of uncertainty. "I'm a demon," he says, starting with the most basic fact since this human seems confused.
Something like realization rolls over the man's sharp features before he winces. "I'm sorry," he says, sending shock rippling through Shiro. No one /apologizes/ to a demon they've summoned, just commands them.
And oh. That makes sense. Of course he's not actually wanted here anymore than he is back in the underworld. No one wants to deal with a demon who bears the marks of shame as he does, in any sense of the word.
The human offers his hand to Shiro.
The human pulls to help Shiro to his feet and Shiro stumbles into his chest, old injuries making his legs slow to respond.
The contact, brief as it is, was warm and tingly and Shiro wishes it had lasted longer.
His foot lands on one of the shards of glass, slicing it open, and he can't help but hiss at the pain.
The human makes a sympathetic face and then starts to make his way out of the tiny kitchen area.
"Talk?" Shiro asks before he can think to hold it back. He's leaving bloody footprints on the floor. "You're not sending me back?"
Shiro curses himself for putting the idea in his master's head. He's not sure he wants to be sent back yet. He's curious about this man and his unthinking kindness.
He nods after a minute though. He can't lie to the one who summoned him, not about something this direct.
The human sighs. "Just come sit down and let me stop us both from bleeding and we'll figure this out."
He watches the human dig around the bathroom area for something, admiring the lithe lines of his body and the grace with which he moves.
The human quickly deals with his own cut before looking back up at Shiro. "Let me see your foot?"
There's a note of pleading in his voice and in the face of it, Shiro can do nothing but prop his foot up on his knee to display his cut foot.
The human nods and focuses on the cut. The piece of cotton fluff tickles and Shiro
He sticks a bandage over the cut and then sets the first aid kit on the floor.
"So you don't want me here," Shiro says, voicing his thoughts from the last few minutes, his fear. He digs his teeth into his bottom lip. "Should've guessed that."
There's just a certain point where it seems like the rejection should stop hurting so much.
"I didn't say that," the human blurts out.
Shiro looks at him in surprise. "But--"
And that's.... that's /staggering/. Something like hope tries to sprout in Shiro's chest. "Oh," he says, unable to gather other words.
Shiro ducks his head, letting his hair fall forward to hide behind. Of course he would want that, his full name is the thing that binds Shiro to his will.
"Is that what you go by?" The human presses.
Shiro peeks up at him, suddenly breathless. The human wants his usename. Like a friend instead of a master.
"Okay, Shiro," he says, tongue smooth over the two syllables. He smiles before completely knocking Shiro off his feet without warning with two words. "I'm Keith."
"Yeah," Keith assures him, like it's that easy. Maybe it is for him.
"Okay, Keith," Shiro says. The weight of his name feels right.
"You summoned me," Shiro says, unable to tear his eyes from Keith now, memorizing the little details of his face. He feels the tip of his tail swaying back and forth. It's an effort to keep the rest of his tail still.
"And?" Keith prompts.
"And that means I am at your disposal." Shiro says. Keith really doesn't know anything about summoning, apparently.
Especially one of Shiro's reputation and type, but if Keith doesn't know.... Shiro will keep it to himself. It may be a little selfish, but he doesn't want Keith to look at him like he's a monster.
Keith reaches over and rests a hand on Shiro's knee, sending a thrill through him. All this contact might actually be the thing that kills him.
"And why did you think I was going to immediately send you back?"
He'd looked down again so he doesn't see Keith move but suddenly his hand is cupping Shiro's cheeks, urging him to meet his eyes.
Shiro feels his jaw drop a little. Keith's name escapes on a breath. No one has ever....
"Thank you," he says, putting all of what he's feeling into the two words.
Keith's cheeks color and he pulls back. "Of course," he says, like it was nothing.
He needs to do what he's supposed to when summoned though.
"What do /you/ want, Shiro?"
Shiro freezes, whirling brain coming to a halt. "That's... that's not how this works."
That's a solid point. He shakes his head.
"So, what do you want, Shiro?" Keith asks again. He pauses for a second before continuing. "If you don't want to be here, just tell me how and
He trails off and Shiro keeps staring at him, awestruck and a little smitten. "You don't want anything for yourself?"
"Okay," Keith says. Again. Like it's that easy. "Stay here then, until you want to leave."
"You mean that?" He asks, voice shaking now.
Shiro barely hesitates before pitching forward and wrapping his arms around Keith, tail moving to touch too.
"Thank you," Shiro whispers next to Keith's ear. "You are very kind, Keith. I will stay here with you."
Maybe this is his chance to find how to be happy.
For now, he just holds on.
(for now. there will be more in this verse!)
(commissions are also open if that's a thing you're into)