The trick to earning a wild animal’s trust is patience, and lots of it. Loud noises and sudden movements will only frighten it off: you have to let it grow accustomed to your presence, bit by bit, and eventually it might allow to let you approach it. Enough time, and it might even deign to let you pet it — but it will never be completely yours. Even if you bring it home and it grows old and fat in your care, there will always be something forever beyond your reach.
You can love it with all of your heart and give it everything of you, but that’s nothing but your own choice. And an animal that has been abandoned once is twice as unlikely to trust again, willing to show its teeth before it will reveal soft belly or softer heart.
Mikage catches sight of his new roommate a split second before the other boy sees him, and he thinks: aha, is that what you are?
Teito Klein is the enigma that isn’t: he prefers to be left alone, and dislikes insults and praise equally. He actively avoids people when he can — but there is always something fluttering and grateful in his eyes when Mikage refuses to leave him alone. His game of push-me-pull-you is actually rather adorable, though Mikage has learned not to bring that up very often. Teito’s shy, see; he doesn’t like to be reminded that somewhere underneath it all, he’s really a nice guy.
So Mikage sticks close and shows it in all the little ways he can: he walks close, touches freely, and laughs from the bottom of his heart. He thinks that if, someday, Teito could acknowledge that about himself — if he could let Mikage touch him without skittering back or retreating on instinct — that would be one of the happiest days of his life.
“I love you,” he says, and he means it, he means it from the bottom of his heart, from his gut, from everything in and about him.
“I love you,” and please don’t be sad, I know we promised but I’m so glad that you won’t be dying with me; I was happy and I am happy, please remember that.
“I love you,” and goodbye.
I’ll see you again.
Eventually, there at the end of darkness, comes light. And if darkness comes again afterwards, then it’s a good time to nap.
He curls into the crook of the arm bent just for him, and presses his face into a thin chest that smells like the dark drowsy warmth of Home before he fell, and purrs at the fingers that scritch the hard-to-reach spots behind his ears, and goes to sleep.