The Obedient Demon (Part 2)
When Shiro and Lance got to the scene, the ghoul was still wreaking havoc. Shiro could see the other exorcists standing at the top of a parking garage and sharply turned into it. The tires screeched at the speed he was driving up to the top. At the sound, the exorcists turned as they scrambled out of the car and to the edge of the structure. Ignoring the looks of confusion on their faces, Shiro turned to look at Lance.
“I need you to get down there and prevent the ghoul from leaving the barriers, Keith in the team leader so listen to anything he says,” Shiro commanded. With a single nod, Lance leaped off the building and toward the fight. After a few moments, Allura cleared her throat and he turned to look at her.
“What?” He asked at her incredulous stare. Her eyebrows raised as if in disbelief.
“What you mean what? I thought you said that Lance was as good as gone,” she said gesturing back to the fight. Shiro sighed and rubbed his hand down his face.
“Something happened,” He said simply. He groaned at the unimpressed expressions on their faces.
“We have to debrief about the examinations later anyway, I’ll tell you then,” he tried instead. They looked to contemplate it for a second before nodding in approval. Just then a deafening crash echoed around them and they focused down to where the ghoul was beginning to topple.
“What just happened?” Shay asked confused.
“They never go down that easily,” Coran commented. As the beast fell to the ground, from the far barricade they could see Lance, a large glowing rifle pointed towards the monster.
“Is that?” Allura asked awed. Shiro squinted his eyes trying to see the weapon in more detail but the way it disappeared into thin air confirmed it.
“His spirit weapon,” he said proudly with a wide smile. Every demon had a weapon that was unique to their soul; Keith had a broadsword, Hunk a heavy machine gun, and Pidge a chain scythe, each tinted slightly with their colours; red, yellow, and green. Every fight, they summoned their weapons but this was the very first time that Lance had ever summoned his. Shiro couldn’t help the feeling of pride that was welling in his stomach for his familiar.
Even from so far away Shiro could see Lance looking up at them with a slightly apprehensive look on his face. Shiro gave him a single thumbs up and saw the ears on his head perk up slightly. By that time, the other demons were closer to the building than him and once again took off without him. With a jolt, he followed and Shiro frowned slightly at the other demons. Through his disappointment and annoyance at Lance’s behaviour, he missed how excluded Lance really was from the others. Hopefully, that would all change when Shiro revealed what had happened to the other exorcists. They met their masters with the same greetings and praises but his entire focus was on Lance as he climbed up in front of him. Lance gave him a little grin as he wiggled his way up and stood in front of him.
“Fantastic job out there, Lance,” he said gently petting the top of his head, in between his ears. Lance’s eyes widened and before he knew it, Lance was clutching his hand to the top of his head and letting out a wail.
“I need you to get down there and prevent the ghoul from leaving the barriers, Keith in the team leader so listen to anything he says,” Shiro commanded. Lance nodded and leapt off the building. Without a sound he hit the ground and ran towards the ghoul, immediately he noticed that the monster was about to break through the northern barricade, the furthest one away from him. He dropped to all fours and sprinted past the side streets and jumped on top of a street sign.
“Pidge, Hunk get it’s legs!” He heard Keith yell from behind the monster. Without a sound, the two swooped down and hit it’s ankles. It barely faltered before continuing forward.
No. He could finally make his master proud of him. He wasn’t going to let his first mission with a clean slate go anything but perfect. He started drawing on his energy to call his weapon. He knew that it had been five years since he summoned it but if there was ever a good time, it was now. With a blue flash, the familiar weight of his rifle fell into his hands. It took him less than a second to have the weapon raised and lined up for a perfect shot. It took him even less to pull the trigger and nail the disgusting creature in the forehead. The creature collapsed after that single blow.
He let the rifle burst into light and disappear from his hands. He knew that the visit to the priest today fixed whatever mistake was made before he was summoned but he couldn’t ignore the slight fear that still tingled in his mind. What if the circle didn’t change anything and he was still just a faulty familiar? With slight hesitation, he looked up at Shiro to try and gauge his reaction. His ears perked up when he received a little thumbs up. Did that mean he did good?
“Move out guys,” Keith’s voice called. With a start, he realized that they had already run ahead without him. Again. He jumped forward and tried to catch up to them but they were too fast for him. They didn’t like him and he knew that but maybe now they could become friends. He started scaling the building, slipping slightly in the process. He finally grasped the top and clawed his way to the top. Unlike after usual missions, Shiro had a grin on his face when he met his eyes. He couldn’t help the smile that stretched across his face and quickly scrambled up to stand in front of his master.
“Fantastic job out there, Lance,” he said gently. He couldn’t move as his Master’s hand fell between his ears and scratch his scalp. His Master is praising him, he did good. His hands reached up instinctually and held the hand in place, trying to preserve the friendly touch from Shiro in his memory. He couldn’t stop the wail that crawled out of his throat but he didn’t fight it away either. He expected Shiro to pull away quickly but instead, he heard him say something to the other exorcists and pull Lance to his chest. At the action, Lance let out another sad sob and pressed his face into the chest.
“Shh Lance, it’s okay, it’s all okay,” he comforted stroking his hair and ears back away from his face. He unsuccessfully tried to stop his cries but he couldn’t control his stuttering breathes. The next few minutes were filled with reassuring sounds from Shiro and the soft cries from Lance. Slowly brought his face away and blushed at the wet spot he could see on Shiro’s shirt. He nervously fluttered his hands around the stain and glanced from it to Shiro and back again.
“Master! I am so sorry, I didn’t mean to!” He cried with a blush on his face. Shiro let out a laugh and ruffled his hair again.
“Lance it’s okay,” he comforted him. Lance looked down at the ground and slightly nodded his head. He glanced over to where the exorcists were standing and realized that they weren’t there anymore. He looked back at Shiro in confusion.
“They went ahead to Headquarters,” Shiro said. Lance nodded and they headed back to the car. They climbed in and unlike the way they came in, they calmly drove back towards HQ.
“What happens now?” Lance asked looking at Shiro. Shiro hummed turning out of the garage and onto the street.
“I have to report with the other exorcist’s about what happened during our examination,” he replied. Lance nodded silently and looked forward. Even though he was just there, he couldn’t get rid of the niggling anxiety at going back. They didn’t go back often since Lance’s behaviour would be unpredictable. Soon enough they were pushing through the hallways of Headquarters.
“Shiro!” Shay called cheerfully with a wave as they got closer to the group. He raised a hand in greeting and stopped beside Allura and Keith. He put a hand on Lance’s shoulder and gave him a smile before the four of them walked into the boardroom and closed the door behind them. Lance’s tail and ears fell limply as he looked longingly towards the door. His ears swivelled when he heard the other demons start talking among themselves. He turned to face them and noticed that they were looking at him with open hostility.
“Um, hello,” he greeted softly.
After getting through Coran, Shay, and Allura’s report with nothing to note from them, they turned their attention to Shiro.
“What happened Shiro?” Coran asked gently when he didn’t readily give up any information to them. He sighed after a moment and looked up at them, they were shocked to see that his eyes were welling up with tears.
Shiro?” Allura asked placing a hand on his arm. He focused his eyes back to the table, unable to bring himself to look at their faces.
“The priest who summoned him, fucked up the circle somehow, so every command I’ve been giving Lance has come out the opposite of what I mean,” he explained putting his head in his hands. He sniffed and looked up to see their eyes widened in realization.
“Then that means… that Lance was being obedient the entire time?” Allura asked gently. Shiro nodded his head solemnly.
“And I’ve been punishing him for it,” he confirmed. They gasped and looked towards the door of the boardroom imaging the demon standing obediently outside.
“You couldn’t have known Shiro,” Coran said standing up from his chair and putting his hand comfortably on his shoulder. “All you need to worry about now, is giving Lance the best possible life now, you know he has been completely obedient, it’s time to reward him for that,” he stated when Shiro looked up to him.
“You’re right Coran,” Shiro said with a smile directed at the older exorcist.
“Of course I am!” he said merrily. “Now wipe those tears my boy, and go treat that familiar of yours!” he cheered wiping some tears off of Shiro’s cheeks and slapping him on both shoulders. Shiro gave him a single nod and they stood from their chairs to leave the room.
“Maybe we could start by introducing the other properly, we could have dinner or something at my place,” Shiro suggested. There was plenty of room at his house, they were far away from other people and the yard was big enough for the demon to play around with each other.
“That sounds like a marvellous idea!” Shay said with excitement, her hands clasped in front of herself with glee.
“I agree, I think that would certainly help Lance with socializing with the others,” Allura agreed. “Besides I don’t think Keith, Pidge, or Hunk have been able to run around freely for a good while,” she added thinking about the penthouse she and Keith lived in. Sure it was spacious but it was by no means appropriate for a pet, let alone a demon familiar.
“Perfect, we could even do it tonight or tomorrow,” Shiro said. “Or you know, whenever you guys are free,” he said rubbing the back of his neck.
“I’m good for tonight,” Allura said with a shrug.
“As am I, my boy,” Coran said twirling his moustache.
“Me too,” Shay said with a smile.
“I guess I’ll get cooking then, ooh maybe we could have a barbecue,” He said with glittery eyes.
“Shiro careful, your dad is showing,” Allura smirked nudging him in the side with her elbow. He pouted and pointedly ignored her, crossing his arms and facing Coran and Shay instead.
“Whatever is good with me,” Shay said, getting a nod from Coran as well.
“Hopefully this will work for them, they are a team after all, and they were able to function so it shouldn’t be too difficult,” Shiro said as they finally started towards the door.
“I don’t think it should either, who knows, maybe they already bonded while we were in here,” Coran said positively. Shiro gave him a thankful smile; he was right, Lance could speak English now after all. Maybe he was able to bond with them while he was spilling everything to his friends. He didn’t really know anything about Lance though, although he and Lance had been living together for five years, you miss out on a lot of things when you can’t communicate with someone.
Shiro turned the knob and walked out of the room. Although he sort of expected this result, it was somehow more disheartening than he thought it would be. Keith, Pidge, and Hunk all went around him to get to their masters. While Lance would usually rush to him as well, this time he stood still looking down at the ground as if he didn’t realize that they had come out. Shiro carefully crept forward and pet Lance’s hair, making his head snap up to look at him. Shiro’s eyes widened when he saw his face.
“Lance, what happened?” He asked looking at the scratches across his left cheek. He looked off to the side, not meeting Shiro’s eyes.
“It’s nothing, it was my fault anyway,” he muttered. Shiro’s eyes narrowed and he looked back at the pairs by the door. The exorcist’s eyes were focused on Shiro and Lance while their familiars tried vainly to attract their attention. Shiro took Lance’s shoulder and guided him over to them. The exorcists gasped when they saw the still sluggishly bleeding scratches on Lance and they finally turned their attention to their familiars.
“Who did that?” Allura asked sternly. The familiars froze, not used to Allura’s booming presence, especially in defence of Lance. After a moment of silence, Keith warily brought his trembling hand up. Her eyes snapped to him in disbelief.
“Keith? Why? I know you’re better than this,” she said, disappointment obvious in her tone. Keith seemed to curl up on himself, his ears folded back against his head and his tail curled between his legs as he looked up at his master’s disappointed stare.
“Master Allura?” A quiet voice asked. She looked over at Shiro and the demon still in his arms. “Please don’t blame Keith, it was me, I provoked him,” he said looking down at the ground. Shiro looked at him in confusion. Lance wouldn’t do anything like that, not willingly. He looked at Keith and also saw him looking at Lance in confusion.
“I’m very sorry,” he said bowing to the white-haired woman. She sighed and looked between the two demons. It was obvious that what Lance admitted wasn’t completely true but she wasn’t sure if she would get the whole story from either one of them.
“No matter, we’ll resolve this at a later time,” she decided, turning to face Shiro and Lance. “We’ll see you tonight then, text the group when we’re able to come over,” she said bringing her hand to the nape of Keith’s neck and leading him away from the group. He nodded to Coran and Shay as they passed by and noticed that Lance looked longingly at them as they passed by.
“Ahem,” Shiro cleared his throat gaining Lance’s attention. When the clear blue eyes looked up at him, he gave him a blinding smile.
“Let’s head home,”
“Um, hello,” he greeted softly. The hostile looks turned to shock and confusion.
“What the hell? Just earlier, you were refusing to speak English, now you have no problem?” Keith asked angrily. Lance’s ears pressed down warily at the tone and he back off slightly.
“Something happened while I was being summoned,” Lance tried coming forward a bit. “Everything I heard was opposite,” he explained simply. They shrugged and turned back to each other, once again ignoring the feline demon. His heart dropped as well as his smile as he looked on in sadness. After a few minutes, he worked up the courage to approach them once more.
“I’m really sorry I haven’t been the best teammate,” he said as a sort of icebreaker. They looked over at him once more, Keith with a raised brow.
“Whatever, it probably won’t be the last time,” he said scathingly. Lance ignored the sting from the comment and crept a bit closer. This time Keith noticed and stepped further back away from him with a huff. Lance paused and looked at him with hurt confusion.
“I really don’t want to talk to you Lance, you’ve messed up this team for five years,” Keith admitted with a scowl. Lance flinched back and looked at him with wide eyes.
“B-but, I didn’t mean to,” he said, tail falling limp.
“It doesn’t matter Lance, you should have been able to see it,” Keith snarled ignoring the protests from Hunk and Pidge.
“Is there anything I can do?” Lance asked worriedly. Keith’s eyes widened as suddenly Lance was much closer than before.
“You can back off, I seriously don’t want you near me,” he said seriously. Lance didn’t heed the warning and came closer, making Keith’s tail puff up in warning.
“Please, I’m sorry, I’ll do anything,” Lance pleaded.
“I’m serious Lance, back the fuck up,” he growled. The cat stopped for a moment before taking the last fatal step.
“But-,” is all he got out before Keith’s right hand shot up and his claws were raking down his cheek. He yowled and jumped back pressing his hand to his cheek in pain. He tried to blink the tears out of his eyes, so the salt water didn’t run down and burn the open wound. After a few pain-filled minutes he looked up at the fox demon who was standing in the same spot.
“I’m sorry,” he said earnestly. Keith looked at him in shock but quickly looked away when they heard the door to the boardroom opening. Lance looked down at the ground, trying to hide the wound from his master. He couldn’t ignore him when his hand landed in his hair though.
“Lance, what happened?” he asked him.
“It’s nothing, it was my fault anyway,” he muttered. It was true, it was his fault. Keith told him to leave him alone and he didn’t. Maybe he really was just a disobedient demon anyway. Shiro’s hand guided him towards the group and he couldn’t help but go forward with him. He was slightly surprised by the concern the other exorcists were showing him but he supposed he could understand since they now knew the truth.
“Who did that?” Allura asked sternly. He couldn’t help but flinch at how hard Allura’s voice sounded. He was used to her being approachable and open to others, this was a side he hadn’t seen of her before. He saw Keith’s hand go up into the air. He knew that Keith wasn’t scared of Allura and was only really scared of disappointing her. He saw the way his feature’s and appendages get limp and sad at her scolding. Really, he couldn’t sit through this, it wasn’t even he fault in the first place.
“Master Allura?” He asked summoning all the bravery he could. Her gaze snapped to him and he flinched slightly, not used to her eyes being on him at all.
“Please don’t blame Keith, it was me, I provoked him,” he stated. It was true, it’s all true. Don’t blame Keith, just blame me. It’s easier and I probably deserve it anyway.
“I’m very sorry,” he said earnestly. He bowed low to her and kept his eyes locked on the ground and didn’t come back up until he heard her and Keith’s footsteps echo down the hall. He looked up in time to watch Coran, Pidge, Shay, and Hunk leave behind them. He watched after them longingly, one day he hoped to have as good of a relationship with his master as good as theirs.
“Ahem,” the guttural cough of Shiro brought him out of his musings and he looked up at the man with a smile.
“Let’s go home,” he said walking towards the parking lot. “We’ve got a lot of work to do,”
“What do you mean?” Lance asked curiously.
“We are going to properly introduce you to the other familiars,” Shiro replied. Lance gulped and looked up at him.
“I won’t let Keith hurt you this time, I promise,” he said earnestly. Lance nodded this head in understanding.
“I believe you,” Lance said softly. Shiro smiled and ruffled Lance’s hair again, cementing the habit into their lives.
“I promise from now on, I’ll be there for you,”