The bustling crowd and loud carnival music were starting to get on his nerves, but Shiro couldn't say no to Pidge and Matt. They had been talking about this for months, something about a freakshow? He hadn't been listening. Shiro didn't truly care about seeing people in costumes pretending to be poor, disfigured souls put on display for the public.
They pulled him along, stopping at different booths and food stands. Shiro just rolled his eyes, picking at his snack he bought from some guy dressed like a clown. Carnivals just, weren't his thing. Neither were circuses. He wasn't scared of anything, no, they just made him uneasy. Especially this particular group, apparently run by some schmuck named Sendak. Shiro saw him walking around, talking to different employees, and he did not like the looks of him.
He excused himself from Matt's rambling about the physics to winning the ball toss, and started wandering between the tents. In truth, he was trying to find a way to sneak out without the Holt's noticing right away. Shiro grumbled when he wandered into another tent, kicking at the dirt. Just as he turned around to leave, a small noise caught his attention.
Shiro blinked, turning back to the darkness of the tent. "Hello?"
What was he thinking? No one would be in here, and he might get in trouble for or something for snooping around. He fished his phone out of his pocket and turned on it's flashlight, blinking again at the metal bars towards the back of the tent. He tiptoed closer, shining his light into the cage.
"What the fuck?" Shiro breathed, eyes wide, staring at the thing huddled in the corner. They were- they were purple . People weren't purple. It didn't even look like makeup, and Shiro felt his stomach flip when he finally saw the shackles and the raised marks on their back.
"H-hey. Are you, are you ok?" he moved closer to the bars, inhaling sharply when their head shot up, eyes gleaming like a cats. Shiro swallowed thickly as they tracked his movements when he walked close enough to touch the bars.
"Oh, man…is- is that a muzzle? " Shiro felt his blood start to boil. This didn't seem like a circus act, and his heart dropped when they nodded slowly.
Shiro looked them over, taking in their yellow sclera and deep purple irises, their tail and ears. Like a cat, he thought.
"Can- can you come closer? I-" he trailed off. What was he supposed to do? His breath caught in his throat when they tried to move closer, almost obedient. Shiro could count their ribs, and his blood boiled when they wobbled and almost collapsed when the chains pulled back.
Shiro chewed at his bottom lip, looking around for a key or something to bust the locks.
"Is there a key? Can you tell me where it is?" He looked to them, frowning when they slowly moved back to their corner. Shiro could see the trembling that shook their frame. Now that he was truly paying attention, why was it so cold in this tent?
Shiro could feel their eyes on him as he searched through everything in the tent, but he managed to find a set of keys.
"I found keys, just, hang on-" he flinched when they lunged, pointing towards the entrance to the tent. Shiro froze, hearing footsteps approaching. He quickly found a hiding spot behind a stack of boxes. He didn't wait to see who it was, silently promising the creature he would return.
Shiro ignored the calls from the Holt's, already back at the carnival. The moon was high, the keys he had found safely tucked into his pocket. Sneaking back into the carnival was easy, no one was on guard or whatever it was they did to protect what they had. Or, maybe they didn't need to. Most people tended to stay away from things like this at night time.
He was as quiet as he could be, slinking between the tents and listening to the employees drink and talk loudly in the other tents. Shiro didn't care what they were talking about. Did they even know about the cage? And if they did, why the fuck would they let this continue?
Shiro managed to find the tent, thankful no one was watching it. He fumbled with his phone in the dark, but he eventually turned the flash light on and pointed it towards the cage.
He almost dropped the phone seeing the state they were in.
Bloodied, bruised, lacking the clothing they had on during the day.
"Fuck." Shiro swore under his breath, quickly getting the keys from his pocket. It took a bit, but he found the right one and threw the door open. They weren't shackled this time, but the muzzle was still on them.
"Hey," Shiro breathed out, keeping quiet despite his growing panic. "Hey, can you hear me?"
No response, they were barely breathing. Shiro swore again, slipping off his hoodie and wrapping it around them. He gathered their limp form to his chest, and quickly left the carnival.
It was too easy, but Shiro didn't care. He ran with them all the way back to the house he shared with his friends. They would still be out celebrating with Lance on his and Allura's engagement.
Shiro didn't stop until he was in his bathroom, sinking to the floor with an unconscious creature in his arms. He blinked, looking them over when it all sunk in.
He just kidnapped someone. He just kidnapped someone and brought them home.
"Damnit, Takashi, what the hell are you thinking…" he took a deep breath, and looked back down at them again. They looked pained, face twisted and restless. Shiro felt the dampness seeping into his hoodie, but he hoped it wasn't blood. It probably was.
He jumped a little when his phone went off, and he quickly looked at the screen. Allura. That's right, she wasn't going to Lance's party. He pressed it to his ear, hands shaking.
"Shiro? Hey, are you ok? You sound, off. What's wrong?" Allura automatically went into worry mode, and that eased his panic, just a fraction.
"I, I need you to come home. As fast as you can. I uh, I might have just done something incredibly stupid…."
There was a pause. "Ok. Ok, I'm on my way."
"Alright. And, bring some medical supplies." He hung up before she could ask him any more questions.
What the fuck was he thinking?