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Another Sleepless Night

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It all started with a craft fair. Yes that’s correct, an arts festival in downtown Promepolis he’d gone to with Lucia had been the source of the strangest series of events in Galo’s life, and he didn’t regret a single part about them.

Technically, the art fair had been several months ago, and had nothing itself to do with meeting Lio. But it was where he’d bought the one woven rug he’d put on his living room floor, and THAT was where the trouble started.

Galo had been washing dishes in the kitchen of his small apartment, as one does, and he’d happened to drop and break a mug he’d been washing, as one from time to time does as well. And he’d happened to step on a shard of the broken ceramic, and naturally cut the bottom of his foot open a little bit. 

He hadn’t even noticed he was bleeding as he cleaned up the larger chunks of broken mug. So he didn’t notice that it was STILL bleeding when he went back into his living room looking for the broom and dustpan in the hall closet, and didn’t notice when he got blood on directly on the patterned lines of his carpet. 

Not until the spot of blood started glowing, that was. The bright red glow did catch his eye, and he watched as the tiny drops of blood grew into a giant stain that was far too big for the small amount of blood Galo had lost, growing far too fast and far too dark like the single drop of blood spilled was opening up into a gaping hole directly in his floor.

“Well that’s not right,” Galo said into the hole. 

The hole responded by setting itself on fire.

Galo jumped back, the years of firefighter’s training responding to his body before any of the rest of his brain could comprehend what was going on. But that training wasn’t enough to help him watch in confused horror as it shaped itself, the pillar of flame that had burst from his floor coalescing into the form of a human shape. 

The flames sizzled out and the hole in the floor closed up all at once, and Galo was left with a person standing in his living room and looking around at his walls with a judgemental sort of attitude. 

“What’s this, a prison or something?” The flame person, who was actually much shorter and blonder than someone who was apparently made of fire should probably be, aksed. 

“Hey,” Galo frowned. “I like my apartment! You don’t have to insult where I live after just barging in like that!”

The tiny blonde shot a glare at Galo. “I take it you’re the one who summoned me?”

Galo shook his head. “No one summoned anyone or anything! I was just doing the dishes, but you can leave my home before I am forced to escort you out, please!”

The fire being ignored him, looking down at the floor. “We’re literally standing on my sigil. I can SMELL your blood, I can feel the contract written in our veins binding us together. I don’t know what you’re playing at by summoning me here then telling me to leave, but you’ll find I’m not a patient or forgiving demon.”

A demon? Well, he’d come out of the floor in a ring of fire, so it was almost harder NOT to believe than to ignore him. Still, what was Galo doing with a demon in his room? And what did he mean by sigil?

Galo looked at the floor himself now, finally noticed the trail of blood he’d left with his footsteps, leading up to the rug. Noticed that the pattern on the rug could be taken as come kind of magic circle, if one believed in that kind of hokey-pokey. Which Galo might have to start doing, considering the petite demon currently staring him down.

“Oh sorry,” he decided to apologize. “It looks like I may have done that after all. But it was just an accident from when I stepped on my rug, so we can just ignore it and you can go on back home now.”

The demon snorted pissily, a small plume of smoke puffing out with the angry little breath. “An accident?” He sneered, casting his pink eyes - which were kind of prettier than they were scary - down at the floor again. “A rug - is my fucking magic sigil woven into your RUG? You didn’t even have the decency to carve it into the flesh of a sacred beast, you just wove it into a rug to STAND ON?”

Once again, Galo shook head head. “I bought it like that!” He announced with cheer, giving the demon a thumbs up.

Th demon’s jaw dropped in horror. “You bought it? You BOUGHT my magic sigil, the sigil unique to summon a contract with me and me alone, the High Archdemon Lio Fotia? My sigil is being mass produced for humans everywhere to… wipe their dirty FEET on?!” He all but screeched in rage. If his deep voice was capable of screeching, which. It was getting up there.

“Nope,” Galo said, reassuring the demon with a pat on his tiny shoulder. “The artist said they were all one of a kind! Only I’ve ever wiped my dirty feet on your sigil!”

The demon - Or Lio, he’d loudly announced his name as - did not look reassured. Instead he batted Galo’s hand off his shoulder, glaring at the firefighter and snapping his fingers. 

In an instant the rug under their feet had set itself on fire, and Galo leaped off the burning carpet just in time for the bright pink flames to fizzle out, leaving nothing but a pile of ash under Lio’s feet.

“Aw man,” Galo sighed. “I liked that rug. It really tied to room together.”

Lio shot him another glare. Galo was already used to them from most of the other people who had ever met or talked to him before, so he continued on. “Did you need something from me? Other than to set my carpet on fire? I’m happy to help if you need it but I need to tell you if you set anything else on fire I’m gonna have to turn you in for arson.”

Scoffing, the demon put his hands on his hips to lean in towards Galo. “I’m supposed to be the one asking you that!” The stance, while probably supposed to make him look more intimidating, only served to highlight how slender and quite frankly cute his frame was. Not to mention what the pout was doing for his face. Were demons supposed to be this cute? “You summoned me here, that means I have to grant you one wish. Just ask for something fast so I can go home!”

“Oh is that what’s going on?” Galo said dumbly. That sounded easy enough in theory, but… “There’s nothing I really want, though.”

Lio sighed. “I don’t care! Ask for something! Anything! Just make a wish! Wish for a new rug for you stupid prison cell for all I care!”

“But I could just buy a new rug,” Galo said reasonably. “And this isn’t a cell! This is a totally nice apartment, thank you! It’s got almost three separate rooms, PLUS my own bathroom!”

Lio’s face fell flat. “Who ARE you?” He finally asked, almost to himself. 

“Galo Thymos, firefighter extraordinaire! Pleased to make your acquaintance!”

The demon buried his face in his hands. 

The conversation went on like that for a while, but two things were clear - Lio couldn’t go home until Galo made a wish, and Galo couldn’t think of anything he wanted badly enough to bother asking a demon for.

And what did that resulting standstill mean for Galo? It meant he had an annoyed demon in his apartment and no idea what to do with him.

“It’s my day off,” Galo eventually said to the demon sitting on his couch and tapping his foot impatiently. “So I’ve got errands to run in town that need to be done today. You can come with if you want, but I think I’d feel a little weird just leaving you in my apartment by yourself so… Yeah! You can just come with me!” He looked at the all-leather and straps outfit the demon was wearing. He shouldn’t stand out too much, especially if they both took Galo’s motorcycle.

Lio stopped tapping his foot but didn’t stop looking annoyed. “Fine,” he said, standing up. “I shouldn’t leave you by yourself anyway.”

He brought Lio down to the building’s garage, where Galo had the privilege of having an assigned parking space for his unit. In a city like Promepolis, parking was a rare luxury. That’s why having a small vehicle like a motorcycle could sometimes be a godsend, but sometimes be just as much of a burden.

He had brought both his regular helmet and his spare down with him, handing the spare to the demon and hoping it fit the smaller man. Demon. De-man. “Here,” Galo said. “Rules of the road, no helmet no riding.”

Lio shrugged and slipped the helmet on over his fluffy hair, waiting for Galo’s next instruction. Galo swung himself onto the motorcycle and looked back at Lio expectantly, barking out a cheerful, “Well don’t just stand there, get on behind me!”

The bike shifted with the newly added weight of Lio’s body on the back end.

“Closer than that,” Galo ordered, gesturing for Lio to scoot forward. “You have to put your arms around my waist, or when we take off you’ll go flying off the bike.”

“Flying?” Lio said dubiously, looking down at the motorcycle he was seated on through the gaze of his helmet’s visor. “Is this a flying machine? It’s mostly made of wheel, how does it get off the ground?”

“It doesn’t get off the ground,” Galo laughed. “But trust me, this baby makes you FEEL like your flying!”

Lio looked disappointed. “You know I can fly for real, right?”

But Galo was already taking off, revving up the engines and pulling out of the parking space with a quick turn that did indeed have Lio grabbing at the back of Galo’s shirt to steady himself.

Galo was excited to take his bike out on the main roads and really show Lio some speed, but the traffic was too thick today and they ended up all but puttering along to their destination. Lio had no trouble steadying himself but still kept one hand clutching the back of Galo’s jacket, his presence warm behind Galo the whole ride.

Mostly Galo had a little bit of grocery shopping to do, as he’d run out of food and been living off ordered pizzas for days now. “Hey, are you gonna be eating too? I mean for as long as you’ll be staying with me, do you need food?”

“I’d like to eat if it’s an option, but I don’t particularly need to,” Lio said, looking around at all the colored displays of wares on the shelves. “What is all of this, anyway? Where are we?”

“Food!” Galo answered. “Everything here is food! We’re at a grocery store, because I ran out of food at home and this is one of the ways humans have to get more!”

“Sounds more convenient than hunting and farming that’s for sure,” Lio said, almost sounding impressed. “Not that a high level Archdemon such as myself needs to eat. But lower demons do, so I understand what it’s like to struggle to gather resources.”

Galo whistled, low. “You do? So what, even demons help each other out?”

“But of course,” Lio said haughtily. “I have an entire tribe of demons under my command. The very first thing a good leader does is keep his own armies fed and alive.”

So he was some kind of fancy leader huh? That was pretty cool! How weird that someone like that had ended up in Galo’s living room. “Well while you’re here, you can get any kind of food you want! Just keep in mind, only about two grocery bags fit on my bike at a time, so we can only get as much as we can carry.”

“I don’t know what any of this is anyway,” Lio shrugged. “Let’s just hurry up and get out of here.”

“Aw, don’t be like that! We can have fun while we’re here! There’s free samples!”

Lio blinked up at him, big pink eyes shining with curiosity. “Samples of food?”

Galo grinned at him. 

The first free sample they found was for a guacamole dip, so there were crackers set out with the tiny cups of dip. Galo grabbed one and gestured for Lio to do the same, eating it right there at the stand so he could throw away the paper cup in the wastebasket when they were done. 

Also, so he could watch as Lio tried it. Watch the way he stuck the cracker into his tiny mouth, watched the way his eyes widened in surprise. He really was too cute to be a demon.

“This is good,” Lio said, sounding surprised. “You said I could get whatever I wanted. Can I get this?”

Galo laughed. “You’re gonna say that at every sample stand in the store!”

Lio, huffed, face turning just a little bit red at the edges. “It’s been centuries since I tried human food! I didn’t know it had evolved like this, that’s all!”

Still laughing, Galo grabbed a tub of guacamole dip and threw it in their basket.

As he’d predicted, Lio liked absolutely everything they tried, from the fresh bread in the bakery to the cheese logs in the frozen foods section. They couldn’t get everything they tried though so he had Lio pick out his favorites, only buying a few of the things he liked most while Galo bought the rest of the staples he actually needed to properly feed himself and his new guest.

By the time they got through the line and packed their groceries onto the bike, traffic had cleared up. Galo grinned, gunning it through the streets with glee and finally forcing Lio to wrap his small arms around Galo’s waist lest he fall off the bike.

“Well?” he asked then they got back to his apartment. “What did you think of my bike? Pretty sweet ride, right?”

“Not quite the same as flying,” Lio said coldly, but there was a hint of a smile on his face. “But it was almost as much fun.”

Galo grinned, patting him on the back hard enough to give Lio’s small shoulders a little shove. “Let’s go make dinner!”

He led him into the kitchen, where Lio was of course useless in actually helping to put away the groceries. And he was useless in cooking, even though he did watch Galo make the fried rice and shrimp with rapt attention.

He was even more interested in eating it, of course. After one bite his eyes sparkled, and he all but devoured the rest of his bowl in a matter of minutes. Which hey, matched how Galo ate his own dinner anyway, so it was all good with him. A compliment to the chef or something, right?

“What’s wrong, don’t they have fried rice where you come from?”

Lio’s response was a shrug, still eating. “I wouldn’t know, back in the Demon Realm I save my share of food for those who actually need it. I feed off energy, and the air in the Demon Realm is ripe with magic to fill my needs.”

“Uhhh,” Galo trailed off, confused. “Whatever that means, it’s not good not to eat!” He filled up Lio’s plate with even more fried rice. “Here, take as much as you can! You’re so tiny, you definitely need as much food as you can get!”

Lio rolled his eyes. “I’m thousands of years old, mortal. I’m officially as tall as I’ll ever get.”

Galo patted a hand on Lio’s head. “Doesn’t mean you couldn’t stand to get a little more meat on your bones! I feel like if I shook you too hard I might break you!”

“Trust me,” Lio put down his spoon to smirk up at Galo with a flutter his his long eyelashes. “There’s nothing you could do that would break me.”

Galo wasn’t sure why, but the words made him swallow, a fluttering deep in his belly.

After dinner Galo sat Lio down on the other end of his couch so they could watch TV, wanting finally sit down and unwind after such a long, weird day. Fortunately the television itself only took minor explaining to Lio, which was good because frankly speaking Galo wasn’t good at explaining anything to anyone, so thank goodness Lio caught on fast.

“We have something like this in the Demon Realm,” Lio said, sitting with his legs splayed and his chin propped on one fist on the arm of the couch. “We have plays, and we have ways to see what’s happening in far off places, but we never thought to combine the two. I don’t know why that never occurred to anyone.”

Galo grinned. “See? We humans have pretty good ideas sometimes! Wait ‘til I get someone to explain smartphones to you, then you’ll really be impressed with humanity.”

Lio gave him another one of those secret half-smiles. “I’m already getting there.”

They watched TV for a couple of hours, because it was Galo’s day off and it had been a WEIRD day off and while Galo was usually the type of person who got antsy if he held still too long, right now all he wanted was to zone out with the television. 

He got tired before long, yawning into his own fist and glancing over to see Lio casually dozing off on the other side of the couch. “Yeah, I think it’s bedtime,” he announced, stretching his arms out and standing up. 

Lio nodded with a sleepy sigh, slinking up onto his own feet. “I think you’re right.” And then, wordlessly, wandered his ass out of the livingroom and straight into Galo’s bedroom.

Galo blinked. Followed after him. And like… okay, he wasn’t sure what he expected here, but it probably should have been exactly what he saw because Lio had already plopped himself down to lay in Galo’s bed, sighing into the pillow with a contented wiggle. 

“Shut off the lights, would you?” Lio demanded, eyes still closed.

Wordlessly, Galo clicked the light off for him. Looks like he was sleeping on the couch tonight.

It only took less than an hour for Lio’s quiet footsteps to come padding out of Galo’s bedroom and into the now rugless living room. “Galo?” He asked, voice quiet and confused. “What are you doing still on the couch, I thought we were going to bed now?”

Galo blinked, sitting up to look at Lio. He was stipped of all leather and just wearing his fluffy white shirt, long enough to dip down to his meet the tops of his thighs but not long enough to cover up any of the pale skin of his skinny legs, bare all the way down to his dainty little feet. “I… was sleeping on the couch?”

Lio rolled his eyes. “Don’t be ridiculous.” He turned around to return to the bedroom, pausing to look over his shoulder. “Come on, I won’t wait for you all night.”

Not entirely certain why he was compelled to do so, Galo followed.

Lio was back in Galo’s bed again, settling in to lie down on the far side and looking at Galo expectantly. Galo swallowed thickly, but sat down on the space left in the bed for him. Looked at Lio who was looking at him. Gave up and lied down, shifting to the far side of his single-sized bed so as to try not to disturb the demon as he went to sleep.

“You’re seriously just going to lie down and sleep? Without doing anything?”

“I brushed my teeth after dinner,” Galo said back into the darkness, not sure what else Lio could mean.

Lio laughed, low and throaty. Scooter closer to Galo in the bed, one hand landing on the firefighter’s arm and slowly stroking up and down the length of it. For the first time in his life, Galo wished he hadn’t taken his shirt off earlier.

“You know for a human, you’re pretty cute.” Lio’s body pressed against his, small and smooth-skinned and scorching hot. 

“T-thanks,” Galo said, not sure where Lio was going with this. Or why his hands had started wandering, past Galo’s arm to softly touch his chest now, Lio leaning in closer and closer by the second. “You’re really cute, too, Lio.”

Lio’s smile shined at him in the dark of the bedroom, so close he could see the light in his magenta eyes. “Thanks, I know.”

Lio’s hands were small, fingers soft as they trailed up and down and all around Galo’s bare chest in teasing caresses. He felt terribly guilty about it but it really was turning Galo on, his burning instincts couldn't help but react to someone so cute touching him so… intimately . He could bear with it though - if Lio needed someone warm to fall asleep with, Galo wasn’t going to force him to sleep alone. He could endure this!

He could hear Lio’s voice chuckling again, and Galo forced himself to look at him. Lio was smirking at him now, and he squirmed his way entirely on top of Galo, his slender body laying lazily on Galo’s chest to chest and very nearly groin to groin. 

“We’re connected, you know.” Lio said, voice soft and smooth. “Our blood is connected by the pact between us. You know what that means?”

Galo shook his head.

Lio smiled. “It means I can feel your desire for me.”

Galo shivered, turning bright red. “You can probably feel that just from where you’re sitting,” he said honestly.

Lio laughed again, low and deep and all kinds of sexy. This was bad, this was so bad for Galo’s health. Lio sat up a little, moving his legs to straddle Galo’s hips with his thighs and putting all his weight right on Galo’s increasingly significant hard-on, and nevermind that was WAY worse for his health!

His tiny hands were moving over Galo’s chest again, and he all but purred out. “You can have me, Galo.” Galo’s heart stopped in his chest, then picked up again to do double-time. “It can count as your wish.”

He’d said the words seductively, but they had the opposite effect on Galo. Galo was sitting up in an instant, grabbing Lio’s hands and shouting an earnest, “I couldn't do that! You have to have more respect for yourself, Lio! You can’t sleep with someone just because you want to go home!”

Lio blinked at him, jaw dropping. “What are you talking about?”

“I understand you want to go home, Lio, and we’ll think of a way soon! But you can’t just sell your body like that! I’m sorry Lio, but you have to take better care of yourself than that!”

Lio’s face scrunched up, like an internal battle was going on inside him. “Are you rejecting me?”

Galo nodded, still holding onto Lio’s hands. They were small in his, like they’d be fragile or something. “I’m sorry, but I’m not the type of guy who can do that with someone who doesn’t really want to.”

Lio gave him another one of those weird looks like Galo was an idiot, but eventually settled on bursting out in laughter.

“Fine,” he slipped his hands out of Galo's grip, rolling off of his lap to lay back down on the other side of the bed again. “You win. Don’t wake me up with your snoring or I’ll set your bed on fire.”

Galo sighed, relieved and sort of secretly disappointed. OR at least his dick was disappointed, even if the rest of him was relieved.