Title: Early-Morning Sunlight
Series: -
Characters/Pairings: Rian
Summary: Rian and a morning of surprises.
Notes: -

"None of that." The priest stared down at Rian, who still had his hands on his hood. "I know what you are."

"Ah..." Rian winced. He'd been trying to pull down a dead branch hanging in an old fruit tree that grew just beyond the churchyard wall and the branch he'd been on had unfortunately given way.

For the quickest of moments, while he'd been falling, he'd been far more worried about the tree than himself. But that was after he'd realized there was nothing to grab and before he landed in the churchyard, mostly on long green grass beside an old grave with a grey stone so weathered and mossy it was barely legible. He'd also landed partly on the branch he'd been on, but he'd gotten mostly untangled from that while trying to unsuccessfully flee and ended up back on the ground.

"Come on," the priest said as he held out a hand. "Do I need to drag you out of here or can I patch you up inside?"

Rian took a deep breath to see how he felt. There was a slight itch at being somewhere he shouldn't be, but otherwise the only pain he felt was from the landing.

"I'm okay right now," Rian admitted as he took the priest's hand. "The blessing here is old and your god is dead."

"So is yours," the priest replied.

Rian's brown hood fell back as he was hauled upright, revealing the small dark horns that poked through his shaggy pale hair.

Before Rian could say anything too stupid, the big and shaggy black grim was right there again, far too close. The priest had called it off once, right before it had attacked, but it hadn't retreated more than a few paces.

"Shalla! He's no harm."

The grim—Shalla—made a strange whine of a noise and then turned and started trotting off towards the church, vanishing midway.

"She's enthusiastic," the priest explained. "Turned up at a wedding a few months back, even, just because she could."

Rian chuckled, even as he let the priest get an arm around him. That had to have been a scene. His current predicament was probably also a scene.

"Call me Father Kyle," the priest continued as they started a slow amble towards the side door of the church. "I've seen you tending that tree and some of the other things that grow beyond the wall."

"I can sell the fruit," Rian admitted. "We can eat it. We like it."

Each step felt a little better than the last as he got his feet properly under him. That was good. If it was just scratches and bruises, he wouldn't miss a market day later in the week. He needed whatever he could make...

"Then it's good it doesn't go to waste," Father Kyle replied. "Keep on taking it, for as long as that poor tree will keep giving it."

"It's just getting old," Rian explained. "Happens."

"Don't I know that." Father Kyle chuckled.

Rian frowned. Maybe he'd been incorrect. Father Kyle seemed to not be too old, for a human. His hair wasn't all the way grey, at least. But human ages were difficult to tell, much as his own was.

Even setting foot inside the church didn't hurt him and Rian gasped. The inside wasn't large, but it was beautiful in every way. Windows, both clear and made of colored-glass, danced early-morning sunlight across benches and decorations and things that Rian knew he truly couldn't touch even if he wanted to, even if their gods were dead.

He was still a demon, after all.

Father Kyle chuckled again. "First time, I'm guessing."

"Yeah," Rian replied. "Um..."


Rian was deposited on a bench while Father Kyle vanished somewhere into the back of the building. While he was gone, Rian tried to take stock of himself properly. He could mend the little tear in his pants and get some of the stains out. His brown hooded tunic seemed fine. Little scratches on his hands, not bleeding, were possibly the worst, aside from a stinging on his cheek.

He brought a hand up and it came away bloody.

He was really sure he shouldn't be there. The pretty glass and worn benches and decorations of the dead god and the holy ones weren't for him. Just like the fruit that grew from the tree beyond the churchyard wall wasn't for Father Kyle.

"Here we go." Father Kyle reappeared with a metal box just as Rian decided not to fight the itch and moved to bolt for the still-open side door.

He hadn't been fast enough.

"I'm bleeding," Rian said softly as he settled back down. "Isn't this going to be a problem?"

Father Kyle blinked as he knelt in front of Rian. That was definitely a problem.

"You're the one who reminded that my god is dead," Father Kyle said. "But I think even the holy ones would find it far better to help someone in need than worry about them being a demon."

Rian nodded. He hadn't been assaulted with pain or burning or had a holy one descend with a sword, yet. Shalla hadn't even reappeared. Yet.

The only pain that followed was whatever Father Kyle used to clean the scratch on his cheek, which stung like fire and made Rian have to bite back curses.

But it passed and Rian relaxed, even as his hands were checked over.

"Anywhere else?" Father Kyle questioned.

Rian shook his head. "I should go, before someone sees me."

"I'm just doing my job, just like you were doing yours," Father Kyle reminded him as he got to his feet and then dusted off his robe. Rian wasn't quite sure that he understood, but he didn't need to. He just needed to keep getting by, and the best way he'd found to do that during the harvest seasons was to gather fruit and keep the trees happy.

During other times of the year, he did other things.

Hopefully Father Kyle wouldn't ask about any of that.

"I know, but..."

The itch was a little stronger and Rian sighed.

"It's time."

"Ah, I see. But there's no need to be a stranger in the future, even if you're on the other side of the wall." Father Kyle smiled and Rian almost wanted to promise he would. But he didn't know if he would. It might invite too much trouble, even if their gods were dead.

"Maybe," Rian finally said. He stood, stretched, and then made for the door quietly, out and between graves until he could grab the branch that had broken. It belonged on the other side of the wall and he heaved it over with a strength that probably seemed out of place with his lean form.

And then he turned, not at all surprised to see Father Kyle and Shalla there in the thin patch of worn grass between building and burials.

"Rian," he called before climbing over the wall. "My name is Rian."

Rian wasn't sure if Father Kyle heard him, but he didn't look back. He had two other trees to check, beyond a churchyard two towns away. The sun was already climbing in the sky, and his god was dead.

Quickly, he pulled his hood up over his small dark horns.

He knew what he was.




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