A/N: What would have happened, in ch 66, if someone had walked in on Shiro and Mephisto? Credit for this goes to Weiryn.
I do not own or profit in any way from what Kazue Kato has created.
Starts off right when Mephisto has turned back into human form after being towel-harassed and tickled~
When Shiro heard the door open he threw caution to the dogs and pushed Mephisto-
Nowhere. The demon pushed back up against him, and there was nothing he could do about it.
"What the hell are you playing at?" Shiro hissed, opening his eyes to get a grip of the situation. Which didn't help much. For one, his eyes were -3.0 dioptres. That granted him a range of clear vision of 30 cm; which, either way, did let him see Mephisto's neck perfectly well.
The demon was busy talking politely with a blurry man in some foreign tongue, and Shiro wondered if, and how, he was explaining the situa-
Mephisto was no longer sitting in his lap, but on a small wooden stool.
"Wash my back."
"What?" Leaning sideways to peek out from behind Mephisto's shoulder, he saw the blur of a man gingerly lower himself into the onsen – and a bucket of hot tap water floated over to them accompanied by a sponge and a bar of soap. "Why?"
"I told him you were about to wash my back."
"Obviously." The bucket helpfully nudged his leg. "Have him do it, I'm on my way o-"
"No, it has to be you."
If not for the very unfamiliar note of urgency in his voice, Shiro would have left. But curiosity is not a trait limited to demons.
"And why is that?"
"Why do you think?" he huffed.
The bucket nudged his leg again.
"I'm not doing anything until you-"
The bucket was on the other side of him. Shiro's gaze shot down to his right to see what it was that-
"I need you for hiding my tail", Mephisto confessed reluctantly.
Shiro stared at the sleek, scaly thing that plastered itself against the floor, followed the curve of his leg, and hid behind his back.
"You have a goddamn tail…"
"Of course I do: I'm a demon!"
"Yeah, but… doesn't everyone here know that already? Why would you have to-" There was no difference in Mephisto's voice, no tension in his bony shoulders, no change in posture or twitching of his hair curl… and all the same, Shiro could tell he was off balance. "Why should I bother saving your ass when you've got yourself to blame for this situation?" he probed, eager to see Mephisto's reaction.
A reaction that consisted of a sly smile over his shoulder.
"I can get myself a bathrobe to hide my tail anytime I want: but I wonder why I would be sitting in your lap, if your intention wasn't to wash my back? Out of breath and my hair all tousled, no less~" He shot him the dirtiest wink history has ever seen. "Such a naughty student, seducing his headmaster; really, you ought to be grateful I'm saving you."
…it takes a demon's silver tongue to make you swallow your pride in order to save it.
Washing someone's back was pretty normal – maybe that was the problem…? What was normal around Mephisto was not normal in the rest of the world, and trying to fit those two normals together was-
He had a tail.
Try as he may, Shiro could not drag his attention anywhere else. The fangs and the ears he'd gotten used to; humans had teeth and ears too, after all: his just looked a bit different. But a tail?
Shiro watched the lather of the soap dribble down his back and get caught in the pale lime green spines that poked out of the skin on his lower back. The tail would have looked like a purple snake if not for that ridge riding the length of it. Wonder what it felt like to have a tail? Shiro couldn't quite tell if the green spines were quills or if they were hair, or some weird in-between feature of demon anatomy. Wouldn't it be uncomfortable, to hide something that long in normal clo- Oh, that was the reason for the ugly trousers?
Shiro poured water over the bony shoulders and flushed the lather to the floor: when the hot water came in contact with the tail, Shiro felt something soft and furry brush hastily against his back. It had a tuft at the end? Wonder if that was purple too, or green? Maybe it had a curl…?
Barely had he begun to turn around to find out before the same furry tip smacked him hard across the cheek.
"Who's uncivilized?" He rubbed his stinging cheek. "I was just-" Peeking on a demon's most private parts. Really, he should've learnt from the reactions of the umbrella-bat. "Oh. Sorry." Couldn't help but smile, though: shameless as Mephisto was, it was somehow also fitting his dapper manners to be a prude. That description didn't add up for shit, but then again nothing about Mephisto did. "Such a princess", he chuckled as he went back to washing.
"Manners and etiquette is the mark that distinguishes the gentleman from the rabble", he snorted. "Not that you would know."
"Nope. I'm just a monkey, scratching your back for scratching mine."
Interesting choice of words, since Mephisto seemed to have had his back scratched a few times before. Initially, Shiro had been surprised by how different European skin was to Asian. His hands were the warm, golden tint of wood: same as every Japanese who had seen a little sun. Compared to them, Mephisto's back was deathly pale: the kind of pasty white all Japanese women dreamed of. The scars were almost invisible in the pallor: thin, straight lines, crisscrossing all the way from his shoulders down to the middle of his narrow back.
"I thought demons regenerated all damage?" he said curiously.
"We do." The tips of the pointy ears twitched as he caught on to what Shiro was referring to. "Those are from when this body belonged to Johann."
"To Johann? That doesn't look like something a scholar would sustain." Unless he'd suffered severe paper-cuts when caught under a toppled bookshelf: those marks looked more like something made by cla- "Oh."
Shiro's hands halted the scrubbing. Awkward. A bit like when he had chanced upon a naked Midori in the woods, but so much more awkward. The oldest preserved tales of the legend did say that Mephistopheles had seduced Faust…
Forget the tail: how freaky wasn't it to be wearing your dead friend's – dead lover's – body? With mementos you had yourself clawed into its skin?
"If it's any consolation to you, he liked it~"
Shiro squeezed the soaked sponge over Mephisto's head, and earned himself a painful smack from the tail. Not that he cared.
"He was your friend, dammit", he snarled, and resumed the scrubbing with a thin line between his eyebrows. "And he died because of you."
"Death is always the price for life", the demon said sagely. "And for that price, I gave him a life worth living: nothing more, nothing less."
There is cold felt in the skin, and cold felt in the marrow of your bones. Watching Mephisto absentmindedly twirl the clipped tress of his bangs between his claws, Shiro felt the cold go to his very soul.
A/N: Uh, yeah... That turned dark enough. ^_^' I will be musing more around Johann Faust in the main story later, but this could more or less be considered to be part of TEotB.