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Playing with Fire

Chapter Text

He probably should have read the instructions more thoroughly.

Or, at the very least, should have planned for the possibility that a summoning ritual would actually work. But no, Goro had found the tome wedged into the bottom of his father’s bookshelf and only seen an opportunity to test it out and laugh in his father’s face when it didn’t work. Proving that Masayoshi Shido’s religious ramblings were actually bullshit would have been satisfying beyond measure.

But unfortunately, the summoning had worked exactly as intended, and now that the burst of blue flame had faded Goro was left with a lazily-smiling demon with messy black hair and golden eyes in the middle of the living room.

And he wouldn’t leave.

“I didn’t summon you to make a deal! You can go!” Goro insisted, halfway behind the armchair as if that would protect him, and the demon chuckled.

“You didn’t read carefully, did you?” he teased. “There is a price to make a deal, a great price indeed, but it’s also expected that you offer something in return for my appearance. I didn’t have to answer you.”

“I-I didn’t think you would actually show up,” Goro admitted. He was running completely blind now, on nothing but his father’s repeated insistence that demons were dangerous. And none of that would be very helpful with one already here. “I don’t...have anything to offer.”

The demon’s eyes glinted as he stalked closer, the amused smile never leaving his face. He was at least a foot taller than Goro, so he towered over the protective chair in his...some sort of uniform? “Oh, I think you do. Things you cherish far too much to offer in exchange for curiosity. At least, I hope so, considering whose son you are.” He leaned over Goro, who was too nervous to move away, and said softly, “I think, in exchange for my appearance… A kiss for the priest’s virgin son should suffice.”

Goro stared up at him, at gold horns and slit-pupiled eyes and the tiniest glimpse of sharp fangs, and couldn’t figure out what to do. He wanted to protest, to defend himself, but what was he supposed to say? That his father leading the church’s worship of the God of Control consumed their lives whether he liked it or not? That he was the only child in the church and had no friends, much less anyone to do anything like that with? That when he turned eighteen in a few months he was expected to step up as his father’s heir and the future leader, despite what he believed? No, all of that would sound pathetic, and a demon wouldn’t care. He was stuck here between a chair and a grinning demon and couldn’t get away.

He flinched when his face was cradled in one large hand, but there was just the brief press of warm lips against his cheek, and then the demon was stepping back to a more respectable distance.

“Th-That’s it?” Goro stammered. “That was all you wanted?”

“It would be unfair to ask for more, when you didn’t know what you were getting into,” the demon hummed. “Consider it a kindness. Be more careful next time.” He winked, then disappeared in another flash of blue fire, leaving Goro alone in his spotless living room like none of it had ever happened. All that lingered was the feeling of warmth against his cheek, and Goro lifted his own hand to touch the spot gently.

That hadn’t been...terrible.


It took a few weeks for him to work up the nerve to call the demon again. He barely needed the book to assemble the ritual this time, and when the messy-haired demon appeared, he frowned at Goro, looking torn between his prior amusement and exasperation. He wasn’t as tall this time, and was wearing all-black, with a crimson jacket and knee-high crimson boots. His eyes were silver instead of gold.

“You do realize that the ritual doesn’t guarantee which demon shows up,” he said. “What would you have done if someone else had appeared?”

“I just wanted to make sure the first time wasn’t a hallucination,” Goro said innocently. He’d also decided after a particularly agonizing sermon that being acquaintances with a demon was exactly the sort of rebellion he needed.

...and the kiss had been nice.

“I’m perfectly willing to pay the price for calling you back,” he assured, and the demon laughed.

“Oh, are you? I suppose you’re lucky that there hasn’t been a price increase.” His heels tapped the floor as he drew close to Goro, and this time Goro could feel the heat radiating off of him. “You’re a brave little thing. Shouldn’t the Priest of Control’s son know that summoning a demon isn’t safe?”

“I’ll take my chances,” Goro said.

The demon smiled, and this time there was something fond in it. “Oh, I like you, my beautiful, unwilling little acolyte.” And with that, he cupped Goro’s face in both hands, leaning in to press their lips together.

The heat was almost overwhelming, but Goro found himself leaning into the touch, tingling with warmth where they made contact. It was a nice burn, feeding something inside of him that he hadn’t been aware was so cold. The demon’s lips massaged against his, separating briefly before returning for a second kiss, and a third, never going beyond the chaste press of mouths together.

When he drew back, he didn’t let go of Goro’s face, searching his mildly dazed expression before asking, “Does that confirm for you that I’m not a hallucination?”

It took Goro a second to reorient his thoughts enough to talk. “I… Yes?”

One of the demon’s hands combed back gently through his hair. “You’re so strange. You clearly didn’t believe in demons, but after you learned I was real, not only did you allow me a kiss, you offered it unflinchingly, without fear.”

Goro pressed into the claws against his scalp. “You were kind to me. I...didn’t think you would hurt me.”

“Foolish little one,” the demon murmured. “What do you believe in now?”

“Well…” Goro said, still feeling scrambled from the kiss. “Demons obviously exist. Does that mean the God of Control, or the deity from the Church of the Azure Gate... Are they all real, too?”

“Reality is built by belief.” The demon’s low voice wrapped around Goro, lulling him, and he leaned into the hands still in his hair. “Demons are a belief that exists across all religions, so of course we exist. Individual deities, well… it depends how prominent they are in humanity’s consciousness. The Azure Gate is the most widely-known belief system in your world, so their deity is...stronger than most.”

“They exist just because people believe in them?” That caused Goro to pull away finally, feeling more bitter than warm. “That’s ridiculous. If belief is strong enough for that, I could just…”

He trailed off, and the demon stared at him, tilting his head curiously. “Just?”

Goro swallowed hard. “...if belief was that powerful, my mother would have come back.” He turned away. “Just...go away. You got your payment for making an appearance.” It wasn’t until he heard the whoosh of flame that he allowed his expression to crack. He already felt bad for just ordering him to leave like that.

His mother had abandoned him and his father when Goro was just a toddler. He still didn’t understand why she left, but his father had told him when he was younger that it was because she couldn’t deal with his behavior.

He didn’t want to believe that, but he’d always believed she would come back.

It didn’t matter. What mattered was that he wasn’t planning to be his father’s heir. And if that meant being friendly with a demon, it was an acceptable risk. And it wasn’t like he wasn’t getting something nice out of it.

Now he just had to figure out how to apologize for snapping like that. He’d been unnecessarily sharp, and the demon hadn’t done anything wrong. But how do you apologize to an immortal hell-being?


“There’s a space in the summoning chant for a name, so I don’t risk getting someone else,” Goro said carefully a few days later, the next time he called the demon.

The demon pouted at him and said nothing. Goro could only assume he was offended, but wasn’t sure why. Yes, he’d ordered him to leave rather harshly, but what did a demon care about one human teenager being rude? He’d intended his apology to be mostly a formality, not that the demon would actually be hurt by his actions.

“I’m getting mixed messages,” the demon snarked. “You told me to leave, and you call me back?”

“I wanted to apologize,” Goro said. “I was out of line before, telling you to leave.” The demon was perched on the sofa, dressed even more casually today, and Goro took a few steps forward of his own volition. “ came. You didn’t have to.”

“Wanted to see what you were going to say. A human apologizing to a demon, though. That’s something.” The demon finally smiled and reached out to tap his nose. “Akira is what you may call me. I would very much like to hear you say it.”

Goro couldn’t stop himself from returning the smile. This was such a bad idea, but he was...having fun, oddly enough. This was the most interesting thing that had happened in his carefully-ordered life. He had no idea what was going to happen next, and when the demon was around, somehow that didn’t worry him. “Akira,” he said, watching those silver eyes sparkle with interest. “I’m Goro.”

“I know,” Akira said, hooking his fingertips under Goro’s chin and drawing him closer. “I know who you are, and who your father is. I’m not as ignorant as you may think. Now…we should discuss payment.”

“Wh… Is the usual not enough?” Goro asked, though he didn’t try to pull away, having a feeling it would be useless anyway.

Akira got to his feet, never breaking eye contact, and set a clawed hand gently on Goro’s waist. “My presence, and my name… And honestly, considering that you’re calling me here hoping for a kiss, that shouldn’t count as payment anymore.” He skimmed his free hand up Goro’s chest. “I’m not stupid. I know why you keep summoning me.”

Being called out directly like that was uncomfortable, but Goro didn’t bother trying to lie. “And if that’s true?” he asked instead. “What do you want instead of a kiss?”

“Oh, I still want a kiss. I just expect a little more along with it.” Before Goro could say anything, Akira’s lips were crushed against his, prying his mouth open with a press of tongue. Goro’s hands flew up to fist into the surprisingly plain black hoodie the other was wearing, a whimper escaping at the heat and flavor of the kiss. Akira tasted of coffee and cinnamon, and the part of his brain still clinging to logic wondered if that was on purpose, if it was some sort of enticement to lure people in. But then his thoughts were derailed as clawed hands roamed over his torso, exploring over his clothes, tracing curious lines down his spine and making him shudder and press closer to the demon.

When Akira broke the kiss, Goro involuntarily leaned forward to chase his lips, already missing the feeling of his tongue exploring his mouth. But Akira just smiled, pressing searing kisses down his jaw and neck before biting down carefully at the juncture of his neck and shoulder. Goro jerked away and lifted his fingers to the spot, and his eyes widened as they came away wet with blood. “Wha…?”

“A blood sacrifice is also valid,” Akira murmured with a sly smile, and leaned in to lap at the wound. “Don’t worry, you’ll be able to hide the bite with a collared shirt. I’m not so inconsiderate.”

Goro shivered as Akira’s hands settled on his hips, his own arms draping over the demon’s shoulders. Akira was roughly his height now, not the towering, imposing figure he had been when they first met. If not for the horns, slight claws, and unnatural eyes, he would have looked human. Goro wondered if it was for his benefit. “I would would want people to know…” he said breathlessly.

Akira nuzzled his throat, then pecked another kiss to his cheek as he pulled their bodies flush together. “Oh, I would… But I feel that you don’t want your father to know yet, and he might spoil my fun if he did. I wouldn’t want to rob myself of finding out what you’ll ask for next time.”

It was only later, after Akira had left, that Goro realized the full implications of what he’d said. The demon knew exactly what game he was playing, knew why Goro kept summoning him. It would probably just make it easier for him to manipulate the situation. But despite every warning his father had ever given him, he couldn’t bring himself to care. He knew enough not to give up his soul. And as stupid as it sounded...he trusted Akira not to trick him out of it.

Pathetic, that he had more faith in a demon than in his own father.